Summary: Duke's boat has the best view in Haven. Duke/Nathan fluff.
Duke is still asleep when Nathan decides he needs a little air. He’s never been claustrophobic, but sometimes the knowledge of how close the sky is out here makes him feel like there’s something unnatural about being enclosed. He slips out of bed slowly, quietly, trying not to startle Duke awake, and makes his way above deck.
The sun is just starting to think about coming up. A cold grey light is seeping into the sky, just enough to define the railing at the edge of the deck as Nathan heads for it. He settles against the railing and leans out over the edge, watching the water. It’s still for now, or as still as the ocean ever gets. The surface rises and falls in unhurried ripples, easy and tranquil as a sleeper’s breathing. A smile barely touches his lips at that thought, and the thought of Duke sleeping that peacefully below.
It’s still so new and surprising, that little glow that comes with thoughts of Duke and has nothing to do with physical warmth. It’s like first love all over again. Nathan doesn’t know exactly what to do with it. He breathes it in with the morning air, letting contentment and the smell of the water fill his lungs, and exhales a tiny sound of joy. For the first time in a long time something feels perfect.
The light is growing now, the sun just starting to creep above the edge of the world and tint the waves in orange and gold. It’s a fogless morning, and everything is clear and beautiful in that sunrise way that lets Nathan trick himself into thinking it might stay beautiful. He can see everything, the little coastal islands that are brilliantly green even in this light, the birds that are just starting to wake up, and the broad stretch of water that seems so vast that it might as well not have a shore. He imagines that it’s endless in all directions, and he’s at the heart of it. There’s no harbor at his back, and no town where he leads his real life. If he doesn’t turn around, he can be a part of this perfect sunrise beauty forever.
He almost does turn around at the sound of footsteps behind him, but he knows that sound well enough to know that it’s a welcome one. “Thought you might have skipped out on me,” Duke murmurs in his ear. He starts to lean on the railing next to Nathan, but flinches away from the cold metal. He leans against Nathan instead, wrapping an arm around him in a way that Nathan would probably appreciate if he could feel the chill in the air the way Duke obviously can.
Nathan doesn’t respond, just smiles and leans on Duke in turn, taking Duke’s free hand in his. There’s a whisper of movement by his ear and something that moves his head a fraction: Duke kissing his temple. The way Nathan’s shoulder drops a moment later tells him that Duke’s head is resting against it. There’s a long moment of silence as they stand together and watch the light grow. Eventually, Nathan sighs. “Next time you leave port, take me with you.”
Duke’s little laugh is muffled against Nathan’s shoulder. “Finally getting sick of this town?”
Nathan rolls his eyes and taps the back of Duke’s hand impatiently. “I don’t want to leave. I just...want to be out there.”
“I get that,” Duke says, quiet and kind. “‘Course, most of the trips I make are business trips. You’ll forgive me if I’m not big on the idea of bringing you along.”
Nathan breathes out with a nod. There’s his real life creeping in again, the one where he’s not allowed to know – doesn’t want to know – what Duke does on those days when he and his boat disappear for a few hours or a few days. The one where he’ll go into town later today and pretend he didn’t spend the night in Duke’s arms and this sunrise didn’t happen. The light is already starting to fade and settle into its ordinary daylight colors.
There’s the rustle and shift of another kiss as Duke stands up. “Which doesn’t mean I couldn’t find some other reason to be out there. Say the word and I’ll find the time. Just you, me and the sunrise.”
Nathan can’t stop a smile, even as he can’t imagine finding a way to sneak away from the shore for any length of time without being noticed. He takes one last look out at the water before he turns to follow Duke back to the real world. “Think we already missed the sunrise.”
“That’s the nice thing about sunrises,” Duke tells him. “There’ll be another shot at one tomorrow.”