|If not you
Author: elaiel PM
A slow building fic in which Rush and Young discover they have a common ground when it comes to shared misery. In the course of working together to fix Destiny, they find that they may be fixing more than just the ship.Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Dr. N. Rush & Col. E. Young - Chapters: 30 - Words: 128,102 - Reviews: 171 - Favs: 67 - Follows: 99 - Updated: 06-16-13 - Published: 10-19-11 - id: 7477570
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Here you go Sacredclay, may resolve your shower issue? :P
As always, I have Kimmy to thank for beta.
The next day seemed normal enough. The science team was apparently in a planning session for the next series of repairs and were camped out in the core interface room. James, Barnes and Calvos were manning the bridge and a number of crew were undertaking a referencing project in the large storage area. Every different kind of part was being photographed, logged on a database and a reference number fingerpainted on the side of the crate with some home made whitewash someone had created. With a large number of crew on shore leave the inhabited area was very quiet.
Young spent the morning ferrying another group of crew to Down Below, as Scott was on leave, and the afternoon reading the brief exploration and foraging reports from the returning crew and an updated stores report from Becker and Inman once the Shuttle was unloaded. Tomorrow he was scheduled for a briefing on Earth and the following three days was his assigned shore leave, and he noted a few recommendations for amendments to foraging priorities while he was away, signed off the suggestions and rubbing his eyes, went to find dinner.
Dinner was cold boiled grains, salad and a little cold meat left over from the previous day. Not too bad, the fresh vegetables were very welcome and would only be available for the time they were here so Becker appeared to be making the most of them. He had never really understood Emily's seemingly unlimited variety of teas, herbal teas and chais, tea was tea. And was not coffee which was more important to his mind. However, when it was all you had to drink but water, you began to welcome some variety. Today's tea was vaguely sweet, berry flavoured and a warm orange colour. He picked up a mug to go with his meal and walked over to take a seat at a table with Ramirez and Cho who were apparently talking about writing, and Greer who was giving his own meal some serious attention. He slid into an empty spot on the opposite end from Greer, nodded to the others politely and got down to the serious business of eating.
Focussed on his meal he hadn't noticed Rush walk into the mess hall until he walked directly into Young's field of vision. Rush stepped up to him and leaned down to speak quietly and privately.
"Are you on all my shore leaves?" Rush's question surprised Young.
"Yeah." He replied awkwardly.
"Why?" Rush asked.
Young was thrown by the question. Rush did not seem angry, more curious. He shrugged. "I don't know." Young admitted. "I can't say anything more than that. It was a spur of the moment thing, and once I'd asked Camile to do it, I couldn't rethink it."
"Would you change it?"
"If you want me to." Young said fairly, looking at him. He knew he had put Rush in a position, not given him any choice in the matter. Rush was silent. "If it would make you more comfortable...I can get her to change it."
"No." Rush said finally. "I can live with it." He gave Young the quirk of his lip that served as a half smile. "I need to be on the bridge." And he was gone.
Young sighed and went back to his dinner. He looked up as Greer moved up the bench and sat down opposite.
"You okay?" Greer asked. "Looked like Rush was getting in your face about something."
Young gave him a surprised look. "No, he just wanted to check something."
Greer chuckled. "Way he came in and got in your face I thought he was gonna have a go about something."
"No, it was a personnel issue" Not entirely a lie. "I suppose he didn't want to raise his voice too much."
Greer nodded. "Ah, fair enough."
Rush cornered him again as he was leaving the observation lounge later in the evening. He was walking from the direction of the core room and fell into step with Young as he walked towards his quarters.
"We need to talk." Rush said bluntly.
For a moment Young thought he was about to ask Young about what had happened two nights before and some discomfort must have shown in his face as Rush gave him a strange look before continuing.
"What about?" Young had intended the question to sound firm, but his voice just sounded tired and a little fed up to him.
"We're on shore leave for three days and there's repairs that need to be done while we're gone. I need you to sign off your end of it so your soldiers will do their assigned tasks."
Young slowed his pace and shot a glance at Rush and raised an eyebrow at the implication that the civilians would get on with it anyway without his permission.
Rush scowled. "It's all in the original work plan, but no doubt you'll want the details." He said sourly. "Can we discuss it tomorrow?"
"I have another briefing." Young said. "I'll be back after."
"Will Telford be there?" Rush asked pointedly.
Rush looked around briefly at the empty corridor before speaking again. "Will you sort out the financial issues with Emily?"
"I don't know. Why do you even care?"
Rush looked at him a little darkly. "I don't like unfinished business, it…grates on my nerves."
"It isn't your unfinished business." Young snapped back.
Rush scowled at him. "It has an impact on your effectiveness, Colonel."
Young did not miss the emphasis on his rank and role. He stopped and stared at Rush. "Is that your only concern?" He asked roughly.
Rush was quiet for a moment, looking intently at Young's face. "I'd like to think," Rush said quietly, "that we'd at least some semblance of a friendship developing, considering it seems we spend at least one night a week in the same bed. I'd be a pretty poor friend if I didn't at least try and give you good advice."
Young sighed. "I was gonna reply by email. Tell her to send the papers care of Homeworld Command."
Rush frowned. "And Telford?"
Young fought the urge to glower at Rush and tell him to get lost, although probably in stronger language. "He'll be there tomorrow." Young admitted. "But I'm damn sure he's going to behave himself. O'Neill is chairing the briefing." Young started walking towards his quarters again and Rush followed.
"The main focus of this one is a briefing on the repairs?" Rush asked as he caught up.
Young nodded giving Rush a suspicious look. "There'll be a quick discussion of crew and supplies, but mainly they'll be interested in your repairs and discoveries. Did you brief Eli?"
Rush nodded back in response. "He know's what's going on. I'll make sure he's in the right place at the right time Colonel."
"You better warn him that Gutierrez is likely to be there." Young said. "But he does fine. He's always positive and O'Neill likes him."
Rush snorted. "That doesn't surprise me."
Young chuckled, and the tension lifted minutely.
They walked on a few more paces and Young pulled up as he reached the entrance to his quarters, reaching out for the door release. He rested his fingers on the bulkhead over the button without pressing it. "Well, I better get some sleep." He felt himself waiting to see whether Rush would want to invite himself in. He glanced at Rush with a querying look, trying to suppress any expression of anxiety from showing on his face as he looked at him. In the three or four seconds before Rush spoke, Young felt his anxiety surge. His thoughts sticking unpleasantly at the risk of another embarrassing incident after their last night in the same bed.
"I've got some long range sensor readings Volker ran, looking at options for mining in the system, that I need to check before I go to bed." Rush said. "I'll won't keep from your bed any longer. Sleep well." He said wryly and he walked off.
Young's tension dissipated. He let out a quiet sigh of relief and let himself into his quarters.
Young walked into the stones room. Dunning was waiting by the stones but there was no sign of Eli.
"Not here yet sir."
Young checked his watch. "He's not that late yet."
There were footsteps in the corridor, and Rush walked in.
Young gave him a distrustful look. "Where's Eli."
"On the bridge." Rush said.
"He's meant to be here."
"I thought, being as you always tell me they ask why I won't come back to the briefings I thought I'd make an appearance."
"You better not be planning..." Young stopped abruptly, unwilling to discuss his concerns further in front of Dunning.
"I can assure you, Colonel, I plan to be well behaved. This is simply an appearance to stop them becoming further concerned about my non-appearance." Rush's voice was that blend of pleasant and slightly condescending that irritated the hell out of Young.
He glared at Rush, but stepped up to the stones plate. "Come on then."
Rush opened his eyes in the stones room at Homeworld Command. He looked in the mirror and scowled when he realised he was in the body of one of Gutierrez minions. Young, next to him was in the body of a second.
Young stood and turned giving his name and number. Rush stood slower, turned and gave his name. The soldier in front of them nodded and led them out.
"They're ready for you in the conference room. Although I was told it would be you and Eli Wallace, Colonel."
Rush watched Young's face, neutral and pleasant, as he responded. "Doctor Rush managed to free some time to attend the briefing."
The conference room was large and airless, the off-white painted walls looking oddly pale and bright after Destiny's metal bulkheads. The long conference table, dark shiny wood, was completely filled with personnel, except for two chairs halfway down one side. Young walked straight in, but Rush paused in the doorway. He recognised Telford, O'Neill, Gutierrez, two IOA representatives and few other scienntists.
"Everett, Mr Wallace." O'Neill greeted them.
"It's Rush." Rush said.
He noted the looks of surprise from around the table, a vague scowl from Telford and a frank look of surprise from Gutierrez. He smiled wolfishly at Telford and ignored Gutierrez.
"Good to see you Doctor Rush." O'Neill said. "Grab a coffee."
He walked over to the side table, pouring himself and Young a coffee and sat down at the last chair, in between Young and an older woman he didn't recognise.
"Nicholas." The woman said pleasantly.
He looked at her, trying to work out when he had met her, but watched as she caught herself.
"Oh dear." She said quietly with an apologetic smile. "It's Susannah."
Realisation dawned and he smiled back in genuine pleasure, committing her real face to memory. He guessed she was in her early sixties, but looked fit and active. Her long grey hair was plaited and rolled and pinned into a large bun at the nape of her neck. Her skin was clear, and her blue eyes quirked with a smile at his scrutiny. She was almost certainly taller than he was and was wearing a classy soft grey pant suit with a cream silk blouse.
"Am I what you expected?" She asked.
He tilted his head in amusement and was about to speak when O'Neill spoke from the head of the table.
"Okay people, if we can get started."
The meeting was equally as boring as Rush had anticipated. Most of the time he had managed to avoid these meetings, although he and Young had both attended them on a regular basis via the stones from Icarus. There was a long discussion about the supplies and crew status which Rush paid only vague attention to, followed by a short discussion of the status of various families connected to the crew which Rush ignored completely until the discussion finally turned to the repairs.
"Doctor Rush, if you could give us a brief run down of the repairs and work your team are currently undertaking?"
Rush took a deep swallow of coffee and paused before starting.
"The main focus at the moment is the peripheral areas around the dome..." he started.
"I thought you were working on the cold area?" Telford asked.
"We were," Rush said, "but now that we have a source of dome panels we have changed to working on the dome."
"You didn't mention you had a source of dome panels." One of the scientists spoke up, a chubby man with thick hair scrapped back into a long pony tail and a navy blue suit.
"Colonel Telford was made aware that we have been working on the seedship," Rush said smoothly, "requesting it to undertake mining and construction in it's manufactory."
Young nodded beside him. "The dome, now that it is possible to repair it, has to be the main project." He added. "That is if we want to eat. At the moment it needs to be the main focus of Doctor Rush's science team."
"Requesting? You say you are requesting the seedship to undertake tasks?" The same scientist spoke again.
"The seedship has an AI, like Destiny, it is capable of decision making and planning it's own work schedule. Being as none of us is currently able to successfully programme the seedship to undertake specific tasks," Rush said disingenuously, "we are requesting it undertake tasks and leaving it to the AI to plan the details and order it undertakes them in."
"Can't you simply order it? Programme exactly what you need?" The scientist looked intent and rather aggressively focussed. "Isn't your course of action risky on your limited timescales? What if it doesn't do what you want?"
Yes I probably could programme it, but I'm not admitting that to you. Not yet at least. "So far it has proved extremely effective, and if you'll cast your mind back to what I said about five seconds ago," Rush said acidly, "No-one is able to programme the seed ship anyway." The lie fell easily from his mouth. "So our current option is to let the seedship know what we need and let it provide it. Does that answer your question?"
The scientist glowered and started writing notes on his pad, Rush assumed the man had given up.
"As I was saying," Rush continued, "we are currently working on the area around the dome. When the dome blew out, it unfortunately overloaded a significant number of systems in the area. We are in the process of replacing those systems as far as we can, in order that the dome can be made functional once the ceiling is replaced."
There were a few murmured conversations before Gutierrez spoke up. "What does that involve Doctor Rush?"
"Life support systems, ventilation and heating, power conduits, sensor conduits and some structural repairs." Rush said succinctly. "Structural repairs first, then power as the others evidently rely on it, then sensors and finally life support."
"Why are the sensors more important than the life support?"
Why are you bothering to ask this? Rush thought. This is information you should know. What's your angle here? He answered anyway, waiting to see where Gutierrez was going with this line of enquiry. "Because the life support systems use the sensors to function at the appropriate levels and because we also don't want crew in the area until it has been certified safe for use." Rush said flatly. "I appreciate that many people at this table don't want to hear me go into detail about the functioning of those systems in this general briefing, but I'm sure I can find someone with enough time to explain it to you next time you visit Destiny."
Gutierrez glared, his expression suggesting to Rush he would quite happily stab Rush with the pen that was clenched in his hand.
Telford leaned forward on the table, the movement catching everyone's attention, smiling openly in a way that made Rush distrustful. "So you're actively keeping the rest of the crew out of this area, only your own staff are able to access the area." He asked Rush.
Rush did not miss the slight emphasis in Telford's statement. That was where Gutierrez was going.
"It does function to keep staff who are not aware of the dangers out of the area, yes." He said easily. "We wouldn't want people to unwittingly place themselves at risk."
He took another mouthful of coffee, it was awful but it was coffee, and waited for Telford to continue.
"So you have completely ceased work on the cold area?"
"Not entirely." Rush said. "We are still undertaking some preparatory work towards that project."
"But I thought Colonel Young said that the dome project needed to be the main focus of your team. Wasn't that the main orders for your team."
Rush wondered why O'Neill had not intervened in the discussion yet, he glanced up the table, catching O'Neill's eye. O'Neill raised an eyebrow momentarily. Rush pulled his gaze quickly back to Telford, sitting back in his chair and pressing his hands together in front of him.
"I'm aware from my visits to Destiny and conversations my staff have had with your staff as well as other crew that your team put a high priority on the work that you want to undertake in the cold area."
"I'm sorry Colonel Telford. I'll admit I don't always get on with Colonel Young and we've had our problems." Telford didn't even try to stifle the sharp laugh. "But in the interests of us all staying alive another year we've had to some to some accommodations, and that means Colonel Young respects my professional judgement and I don't try and undermine his command structure."
"However annoying you find it." Telford said.
"I don't have to like it, I just have to work within it. Undermining his command is counterproductive in the long run. Hence our primary focus is currently the dome, but when time permits we undertake some additional work towards addressing the cold area." Rush snapped. "Now, it would be considerably more positive if you could desist from running around behind his back also." Rush felt more than saw Young tense next to him and Telford appeared to blanch. "And while you're at it, desist from having your scientists attempt to do the same with mine. I have enough problems without having to deal with you trying to undermine the command structure on Destiny when we're trying to stay alive."
Telford's face was a picture of suppressed fury, Gutierrez had blanched and then gone blank and at the far end of the table O'Neill leaned forward and said amiably. "I'm sure that isn't the case Doctor Rush."
Rush however did not miss the quick glance O'Neill shot at Telford though. Next to him, Young was still tensed. Rush moved his leg minutely so his knee brushed up against Young's and felt him jump slightly, but in his peripheral vision, the man shifted his shoulders and appeared to settle.
"And on that note." O'Neill said. "I suggest we break for lunch before the meeting splits to science and personnel groups."O'Neill stood, effectively cutting off any further discussion "You have two hours. Use it to calm down. I'll see everyone back here at two thirty."
The assembled group started to stream out of the room. Young reached out and grabbed Rush by the arm before he could escape. The other man was almost vibrating with the irritation that was pouring off of him. He shifted his grip to Rush's bicep and turned Rush towards him.
"Come on, let's go get a coffee and some lunch."
Rush scowled, flipping hair out of his face that was not there in this body.
"Tea." He snapped.
"Tea? I thought you drank coffee?"
"I want a fucking cup of tea, in a mug, not in a fucking plastic beaker. And it's going to be brown and have milk in it. No bloody lemon. We are getting out of this place and you are taking me somewhere that does tea. Real tea."
Young stared at him. "You want me to take you out for tea."
"I can go on my own if you want."
"Would you come back?" Young asked him
Rush glared at him.
"Where are we supposed to get tea round here?"
"I don't know, I never come here." Rush shuffled his papers in order and slid them back in the folder.
"Come on." Young sighed. "I'll ask."
"Daniel dragged me to some place once."
They both turned in surprise as O'Neill walked up behind them. He took the pen out of Rush's hand and stole a sheet of notes from the half open folder. He leaned on the table, scribbling directions on the back.
"Enjoy." O'Neill advised them. "You get out little enough as it is. Chill out and I'll see you in a couple hours." His gaze was on Rush.
He clapped Young on the shoulder and walked out.
"Come on, I need five minutes to check my email." Young told Rush.
"Afterwards, you can do that later before we leave."
Young looked at Rush, reading the expression on his face and folded. "Fine. Come on, you're here because of me, I can at least get you a decent cup of tea."
The place recommended looked like a coffee shop from the outside. Rush eyed the place suspiciously. Young had not had the occasion to see Rush in anyone else's body before, though he had strong memories of Telford in Rush's body. Rush's expressions and mannerisms were still obvious, even in the body of a scientist ten years younger than him, six inches taller and a double handful of pounds more solidly built. It was slightly odd looking up at him though, as the man whose body Young had borrowed was not much taller than Rush in real life, if about half as wide again at the shoulders than Rush's slight build.
"I'm not going to walk around looking for anywhere else now we're here." Young said. "Come on." He walked in, knowing Rush would follow him.
The coffee shop was quite busy at lunchtime. They walked up to the counter, waiting their turn. The young man behind the counter had a local accent, but when the older woman serving behind the counter spoke to him, her accent was obviously British, although Young would not have been able to hazard a guess where she was from.
"Where's she from?" He asked Rush. "Can you tell?"
"With that accent?" Rush gave him an incredulous look. "O' course I can."
Young gave him a quizzical look.
"From Newcastle." Rush said as if it was self evident.
Young turned back to the counter as they made it to the front of the queue. "I'll have a large coffee and a tuna salad. He'll have a tea."
Rush cut in. "I'll have a large pot of tea, and milk."
Young rolled his eyes.
The woman obviously heard his accent as she grinned and walked over. "Proper tea no doubt. I can do you toast and marmite as well." She offered. "Or scones and jam."
"Scones please and a bacon sandwich with thick white bread and ketchup if you've got it."
"It's no trouble." She said. "I'll bring it all over."
Young looked at Rush who had suddenly become polite. Rush scowled at him.
"I thought you drank coffee. You were always drinking coffee." Young said as they found a table.
"I like American coffee better than American tea." Rush said. "And I like caffeine."
"There's not as much caffeine in tea." Young said.
"Depends on how you make it." Rush said darkly taking a seat.
The woman came over moments later with a tray, putting Young's coffee in front of him and placing a large brown china pot of tea, a jug of milk, a sugar bowl and a mug in front of Rush. He sipped his coffee as Rush put milk in the mug then poked around inside the teapot with a spoon before pouring himself a mug of tea that was practically orange in colour.
"That looks vile." Young told him.
"Shut up and let me drink it." Rush's tone brooked no response and it was evident he was in no mood to talk. He took a sip. "It's fucking perfect."