" What in the hell are you doing?!"

" You were still asleep, so I was changing clothes. I fell asleep in my uniform last night because you wouldn't let me get back up, and it was so uncomfy..."

" Spare me your faux distress and put a shirt on."

It was less that he didn't want to see him unclothed, and more that William's entire side was nothing but a mottled bruise, deep purple and black on his hips and ribs, with lines crisscrossed throughout that Nova could've sworn were old scars. It was a stark, unpleasant reminder of how delicate he was. If it weren't for the single-minded zeal he had thrown himself into battle with, he may well have died.

" Rude! Don't you want to see me bare, Nova?"

" Not when you look three-fourths dead and can't be touched without crying like a kitten."

" 'Look, Don't Touch' is quite a harsh policy, isn't it?" William mused, tugging on a white button-up. " Sorry I've inflicted this torment on you."

Nova sat up and stretched, trying to work out the kinks in his joints from sleeping on William's prohibitively small bed. He made a mental note to make him to sleep in his quarters from then on; no wonder he looked so tired all the time, there was no way he got any decent sleep...

" I'm going to go back to my room and change," he said. " I didn't intend to sleep over here..."

" It's not as though we did anything scandalous," William said. " You just kept bumping into my bruises when you were trying to roll over and doing that funny thing with your hands."

" It's not funny. Fuck you. I didn't even mean to."

" It's fine though, it was cute."

" Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you."

" It's cute when you get defensive about being cute, too..."

" How in the absolute hell can you find me cute? How about regal? Refined? Impressive?"

" Cute and lazy and spoiled."

Nova huffed and fell back on the bed.

" You're incorrigible."

" Do you want to get breakfast with me after you change?"

" You normally go eat breakfast in the ship's cafeteria, so no. I dislike being around so many people at once."

" Will you have lunch with me later, then?"

" Fine. As long as we're in your office and not out gallivanting around in public."

William leaned over him, and kissed him on the cheek.

" ... Thank you, Nova."