The Discovery is airtight, and Hugh can’t really hear the pulsing music that’s blaring through the recreation deck, but he feels like he can. It puts an extra thrum in his step, aided by the smiles on the crewmembers he passes, some headed for the party and others newly tumbling out of it. Hugh was invited, naturally, and he did visit, but he found exactly what he expected: a profound lack of Paul.
When he finally reaches the lab, he’s not surprised to find it empty save for that one scientist that can’t ever seem to take a break. Paul doesn’t even look over as Hugh descends the steps and crosses the dark grey floor. Paul’s eager eyes are lost in his console, hands flying across it as he streams through new calculations.
Hugh bluntly states, “You’re missing the party.”
Paul predictably counters, “I’m working.”
“You’re screwing me out of a dance.”
Paul pauses. He glances sideways to face Hugh’s tight smile. Hugh genuinely means it. He has enough friends on board that a party could still be fun without his significant other. Maybe even just being out of a sickbay for a long enough period would be fun. But it’d be so much better with Paul in his arms, and more than himself, he wants to see Paul unwind.
Paul weakly retorts, “It won’t even be real dancing. It’ll just be... kids grinding.” He says it like they’re still in Starfleet Academy, instead of surrounded by grown officers on a starship. “I thought you were classier than that.”
Hugh shrugs and admits, “I like ‘proper’ dancing. But I’d also be perfectly fine with you grinding on me.”
Paul snorts. He dons a real grin, shaking his head, and for a moment, he looks back to his console. But then he surrenders, shoulders slumping into a forced yet oddly relaxed posture, and he turns to slip his hand into Hugh’s. He guides Hugh’s free hand to his hip, then clasps Hugh’s shoulder, and begins to guide him through a few steps of old-fashioned choreography that Hugh follows with a laugh. It stretches his smile wider just for the warm physical contact and the effort that Paul’s showing. It doesn’t matter that the only music is the gentle hum of the engines below the deck plates, or that they’re both still in full uniform. Somehow, that only makes it all the more bizarrely romantic. Paul’s a decent dancer, though his form is a little rigid and he almost steps on Hugh’s toes once.
He even spins Hugh under his arm, and Hugh follows along with it, laughing pleasantly. When he returns to Paul’s arms, he closes the distance, brushing a kiss over Paul’s lips. Paul’s lashes lower, eyes grazing Hugh’s mouth. He kisses Hugh again.
The doors swish open. They both look over to watch Tilly stumble in, dressed down in recreational clothes, cheeks flushed but eyes bright. “I’ve had a breakthrough!” she announces, words only slightly slurred. It’s still obvious she’s had too much to drink. She makes it to a console and nearly collapses atop it.
Paul releases a long-suffering sigh, but Hugh recognizes the fondness underneath it. He hates having to leave. But he can sober her up in sickbay in no time and still be back in time for an encore.
Paul grabs him for another fleeting kiss before he leaves.