Title: Disappointment
Fandom: Star Trek: Discovery

Pairing: Hugh/Paul
Rating: PG

Summary: Even though he doesn’t feel well, Paul’s got tickets to the opera and is determined to use them.

Notes: Written for day 17 of my 23 Ficlets project to celebrate my 23rd anniversary in the community




Paul coughed lightly into his shoulder as he bent on one knee then the other to tie the laces of his black dress shoes. The shoes were new so still stiff and pinched in the wrong places, but it was hardly the thing making him feel the most uncomfortable just now. He straightened up and pulled on his dress uniform jacket, smoothing it out. He couldn’t afford to have any wrinkles. It hadn’t been easy tonight, but he had to present himself to look perfect so Hugh wouldn’t suspect anything was the matter.


“Ready to go?” Hugh asked, tugging at the cuff of his jacket as if he didn’t already look perfect without even trying.


“Absolute—“ He cut the word off abruptly as his hand flew to his face. The side of his hand pressed against his nostrils, applying just the right amount of pressure. His eyes widened. Blinked. Then his whole body relaxed, hand dropping to his side. “Absolutely.”


Hugh cocked his head to the side slightly. “What was that?”


“What was what?” He patted the pocket of his suit to make sure he had his pad. Their ticket reservation was surely in the system already, but systems weren’t foolproof. He didn’t want to risk going all the way to the opera house just to find they couldn’t actually see the show.




“Hmm?” Paul made himself look so genuinely confused, brows knitted together, that Hugh shook it off.


“Never mind.” He sighed and walked over. “I’m ready. Let’s get going.”


“Wouldn’t want to be late.”


Squaring off in front of Paul, Hugh grinned. “You know I wouldn’t.” His hands gently stroking Paul’s upper arms, he went in for a kiss. Just like Hugh, it was perfect. Paul felt himself give into the pleasure of it and relax even more.


Which, in retrospect, was a mistake. He turned his head and brought his hand up as his head tilted back then snapped forward. “Yehshhhoo!


“Bless. Honey?”


Eyes closed, Paul took a step back from Hugh and held one finger up to signal him to wait while his other covered the lower half of his face. “H’yihshhhhh!


“Bless,” Hugh said again. “Are you all right?”


Paul managed to nod even as another sneeze came. He was all right. He just had to sneeze. “Hihhh-IHshhhoo!


When he opened his eyes finally, Hugh was frowning. “Are you coming down with something?”


Paul gave him the most casual, reassuring smile he could. “Look, a couple of sneezes doesn’t necessarily indicate illness. We should get going before we’re l—”


“Answer my question, Stamets.”


Last name. He meant business. How had it escalated so quickly? Hugh was a damn good doctor, that’s how.


“Fine,” Hugh said with a shrug. And, for one brief second, Paul actually thought he was off the hook. This whole night was for Hugh, and maybe Hugh was just as eager as he was not to see it ruined. Then out came the medical tricorder. Paul didn’t even have time to consider why Hugh would even have it on his person, because he was off, moving purely on instinct now.


He practically sprinted around the couch, putting the largest piece of furniture between the two of them was a good start, but Hugh was fast and coming after him. They went in circles around the couch then faced off on either side of it, faking moving in one direction only to go in the other. Paul very nearly ran right at him at one point, realizing almost too late what direction Hugh was about to go and course correcting. He slid the side table out to make the loop they had to run wider, thinking that would buy him an extra second or two, only to have Hugh climb right over the back of the couch and tackle him.


Swept into Hugh’s arms, panting, coughing, Paul felt himself being guided to sit down. He did so and immediately hunched over, forearms on thighs, head nearly between his knees. The coughs were strong now, shaking his body, and louder, too. But not loud enough to drown out the ping of the tricorder as it scanned him. When the coughing passed, he raised his head and winced at Hugh’s crestfallen expression. “Why didn’t you want to tell me you’re sick?”


Paul swept his hand vaguely at Hugh’s face. “This is why. I didn’t want you to be so disappointed. I figured I could tough it out for a couple hours.”


“La Bohème is almost five hours long in Kasseelian.”


Paul’s eyes went wide. “Five hours?”


“Yep. An hour for each act and with intermissions in-between.”


Now the feeling of letting Hugh down was coupled by the relief that he’d dodged a phaser blast. And the feeling that he was going to sneeze yet again. He cupped both hands to his face this time, closing his eyes as his mouth dropped open. “hhhyshoooo! HIHShoo!


He felt Hugh’s tender touch, fingers stroking the side of his face. Then he felt that touch at his chest, sliding to his shoulders, and pushing back the uniform jacket. His body went a bit limp as he let Hugh move his arms to take off his jacket. “I’m going to give you something for this virus. It’ll help with the symptoms.”


“Is it sniff bad?” Paul asked.


“It will be once the congestion starts to settle in. I’m sure that childish running around the living room didn’t help any.”


Paul bit his lower lip.


“But you’ll survive.” He squeezed Paul’s hand. “I’ll make sure you do.”


After a hypospray and stripping down to boxers and tees, Paul found himself in their bed with Hugh’s muscular arms wrapped around him. Usually they slept the other way around, but this was something of a treat. This didn’t seem so bad at all. When he felt like sneezing, Hugh pressed a tissue into his hand. And when he coughed again, his body didn’t shake as much with Hugh holding him. “You sound like Mimi,” Hugh told him once a small coughing fit passed.




“The lead in La Bohème.”


“Oh.” Paul nodded and cleared his throat. Into the darkness of their room on Starbase 46, he said, “I’m sorry we couldn’t go tonight.”


“No you’re not.”


There was a smile behind those words. Paul’s eyes were closed, but he could definitely hear Hugh’s smile. “No, I’m not. But I am sorry you didn’t get to see it.” His breath caught and, for a second, he thought the sneeze might back down. But then he was glad Hugh had passed him another tissue. “huYIHShhhoo!


“Bless. We’ll go another time,” Hugh said, pressing a kiss to the back of his head. “Now try to get some rest. That’s the best thing for your body right now.”


It was no secret that Paul disagreed with Hugh about Kasseelian opera. But even though Hugh was a doctor, Paul also disagreed with him on that last point. Being awake to enjoy the feeling being held like this was doing wonders to make him feel better already.