Disclaimer: The characters belong to Ngozi.
A/N: Title from "Sparks Fly" by Taylor Swift.
At midnight, the library shuts down everything but the first floor. From midnight to one in the morning, the circulation desk and research desk are unstaffed, but students can remain one final hour at the computers or the study tables if they so desire, before getting unceremoniously kicked out completely at one o'clock.
Nursey's been having trouble studying at the Haus lately, and for some reason his English professor made their big paper due the same day as the Student Research Symposium, which Nursey is presenting at. (He applied to give the presentation last semester, thank you very much, so he had no way of knowing the two things would overlap.) Given this confluence of circumstances, it's not that surprising that Nursey is one of the last students in the library the night before Student Research Symposium—or, at this point, the wee hours of the morning of Student Research Symposium. He finished the paper around 11 p.m. and has been throwing together his slide deck and script for his presentation for the past nearly two hours.
No, none of that is surprising. What is surprising is that Dex is here in the library too, sitting unobtrusively across from Nursey and, if Nursey has read Dex's face accurately while sneaking glances at him, coding. (The fact that Nursey knows Dex's coding face is—well. They have been dating for six months at this point, so.)
Just as Nursey wraps up his presentation script—he only sometimes scripts presentations, but he's going to be tired enough tomorrow that winging it is definitely not an option—the announcement comes over the PA system that the library will close completely in five minutes. Dex makes a final few keystrokes, stretches, rubs his eyes, and says, "Ready, Nurse?"
Nursey shoots back a tired smile. "Yep. Thanks for staying, by the way."
"Of course," says Dex. "You're calmer when I'm around, and you seemed pretty stressed earlier."
This is what continues to surprise Nursey about Dex, even several months into their relationship. That Dex can read him. That Dex cares about him and actually takes effective actions to put that care into practice, like giving him caffeine when he's tired and soup when he's sick and company when he's stressed. That Dex brought his guitar to school this year and serenades him semi-regularly with fucking Frank Sinatra songs because he's realized how much Nursey loves that sort of thing. That Dex reads Nursey's poetry and has taken the time to learn what specifically to compliment about it. Nursey's never going to say that Dex didn't have his head up his ass their frog year, because he absolutely did, but he's grown up beautifully since then and Nursey loves—really loves—the man he's become.
"I appreciate it," Nursey says, powering down his laptop and shoving it into his backpack while Dex does likewise.
Dex takes an umbrella out of his backpack after putting away the rest of his things and says, "Do you have an umbrella too, or should we share this?"
Nursey squints in the direction of the window. "It's raining?"
Dex chuckles. "Oh my God, Nurse, have you somehow not noticed that it's been thunder storming for the past hour and a half?"
"What will you do if I say yes to that?" Nursey asks.
"Share my umbrella with you and chirp you a little while wondering if it's safe for you to get so far into the zone that you don't notice anything going on around you," Dex replies as he and Nursey start walking toward the library exit.
"I noticed you," Nursey grumbles. It's hard to tell given the way the light changes as they exit the library, but Nursey thinks Dex is blushing. Then they get actually outside, Dex opens his umbrella, and Nursey reflexively says, "Holy fuck," because seriously that is so much rain.
"Yeah, I'm a little concerned that you didn't notice this. The rain was hammering on the windows for over an hour," says Dex.
"This is, like, biblical," says Nursey. He and Dex are walking quickly, and their shoes are entirely soaked, not just from the rain currently falling but also from the water flowing down the sidewalk.
"If so, then I'm pretty sure we're doomed," Dex replies. "Neither of us being named Noah and all." He says it lightly, but Nursey winces anyway. He knows religion is a sore spot for Dex, given his family's intense and homophobic Catholicism, and Nursey doesn't usually bring up religion for that very reason, but it's one in the morning and he's been concentrating way too hard for way too long, so now he's a little out of it.
"Hey Dex? You know all those scenes in movies where people kiss in the rain?" Nursey says, to change the subject.
Dex sighs. "You want to make out on the sidewalk in the rain like we're in a rom com?"
"Yeah," says Nursey. "But only if you do. It's okay if it's too much PDA or whatever."
"Normally it would be, but it's past midnight on a Thursday," says Dex. "There's barely anyone around."
"In that case . . . ," says Nursey, slowing to a stop on the sidewalk. Dex stops with him, bringing one hand to Nursey's face while continuing to hold the umbrella over both of them with the other. They're exactly the same height, and there's something so satisfying about kissing, especially while standing up, neither of them reaching down or craning up, both of them able to just press forward. Nursey has his hands in Dex's hair, and somehow the other sensations of the moment—the heavy backpack weighing him down, his soaked sneakers, the rain blowing into his legs despite the umbrella—just add to the forces keeping him present in the here and now, exactly the opposite of the cerebral work he'd been doing on his presentation for the past two hours.
It's a good kiss, is the point.
A clap of thunder interrupts them, and Dex pulls back to say, "I'll feel better being indoors, actually. Run back to the Haus?"
Nursey grins and grabs Dex's hand. "Three, two, one."
They splash their way back to the Haus, soaked and laughing. Nursey's going to be tired tomorrow, but he'll treasure the memory of tonight long after he's dealt with the fatigue.