I did this for the SGU fic exchange over on Livejournal, can be found on my LJ account as well.
I don't own SGU. I do however think it is epic.
There were times when Rush questioned the sanity of everyone on board, excluding himself of course.
More often than not it would seem like they were all a bunch of whining teenagers instead of scientist or soldiers or even representatives of different organizations that he had no choice but to interact with if he wanted to be able to do anything back on Earth.
But the one thing he had become used to counting on was that he and Eli would always be able to keep their heads above the water and be able to think clearly.
Which brought him to the current problem he had.
When Eli had started staring at the console he was working at while mumbling under his breath, Rush just thought that he was working some equation out in his head.
When it started happening, Eli staring blankly while mumbling, just about anywhere, Rush started to get worried.
He brushed it off at first, deciding that as long as Eli continued to show such impressive results while they were working their way into the ship's systems than why should he care where the boy's mind went?
It wasn't until he walked into an empty hallway to see Eli having a one-sided argument, a real shouting match at that, with himself did Rush decide it was time to ask him what was going on.
The day had started off about as normal as it could when you were in a galaxy millions of years from Earth on an ancient spaceship that you had no way of controlling.
He hadn't thought much of it when Eli hadn't shown up that morning, knowing him he was probably just off hiding from Scott's training sessions, which they had both become particularly talented at.
He worked away at trying to worm his way into the Destiny's systems, he was acutely aware, much to his aggravation, of the fact that without Eli there working on it with him he wasn't getting nearly as much done as usual.
Finally, right around when lunch was about to be served, Rush decided that what was going on was strange, even for Eli. He just sincerely hoped that Eli wasn't doing one of the 'secret missions' that Col. Young assigned him from time to time.
And off he had gone, to search the ship for the illusive Math Boy, best known for its smart-ass traits and black pelt.
Speaking of his smart ass traits, Rush needed to stop spending so much time with the young man, he was becoming a bad influence on him.
After about five minutes of searching the ship, Rush was deciding that whatever Eli was up to, it wasn't any of his business, so he was just starting to turn to head back when he heard shouting coming from a hallway.
His eyes narrowing, Rush crept closer, the voice becoming clearer until it was obvious that it was Eli, but who was he shouting at? Rush couldn't hear any voice but his.
"I'm just saying, we should tell someone!" Rush slowly glanced around the corner to see Eli, standing along in the hall. "Well, we should tell Rush at the very least."
"Tell me what?" Rush asked, stepping out into the hallway.
Eli jumping straight into the air with a look on his face akin to that of a deer in a monster truck's headlights was one of the few things that Rush wanted to laugh out loud about, but didn't because of the fact that he had to remain serious in order to get a straight answer out of the man, he would laugh about it later.
"Dr. Rush!" Eli gasped as he attempted to regain his breath and keep up the appearance that he still had some form of dignity left. That attempts failed. "I was just – um…" He trailed off, unable to think of anything more to say.
"Talking with yourself?" Rush offered. "Trying to figure out a way to tell me of your insanity?"
"Rush…" Eli murmured, trying to get him to listen but Rush was having none of it. He was on a roll.
"Oh! How about this one, you're having a secret affair with an imaginary friend and they want to kill me so you're trying to convince another one of your imaginary friends to help save me." Rush was enjoying torturing Eli, it wasn't anything personal he had against the genius, he was just too easy to mess with and Rush was too easy to set off.
"No!" Eli snapped, crossing his arms. "It's not anything like that – I'm not insane!" And Rush wanted to believe that, what use was it to have the only other person on the ship he trusted to actually get things done be insane? But the evidence was piling up on the side of Eli being quite insane.
"Oh?" Rush raised an eyebrow, his glasses pinching at his nose, they never had fit quite right sine they got there, even with his best efforts to fix them they still hung off of his face in odd ways. "And what, pray tell, is going on then?"
Eli fidgeted where he was standing, tilting his head upwards slightly as if listening to someone speaking.
After a moment, he let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, thanks." He turned back to Rush. "Look, I can tell you what's going on, but we need to go somewhere private, my room." He pointed down the hallway.
Rush briefly entertained the idea of simply turning and walking away, but, as was usually the case, scientific, if even that, curiosity won out.
So he followed Eli to the younger man's room, at which point said younger man spent approximately three point five seconds looking around outside the door to make sure there was no one in the vicinity before closing it and turning to face Rush.
Rush was, naturally, tapping his foot impatiently while having his arms cross over his chest. As was the default pose for him whenever he was up against a problem he could figure out, the problem just happened to be Eli that time.
"Well?" Rush asked, getting impatient with his fidgeting and slow time to answer. As curious as he was about what 'big secret' Eli seemed to have, he did have other duties to attend to, about a million more than he would have like and about six million less than there were in total to be precise.
"Okay," Eli started off, completely unsure of how to word the following without seeming like he was crazy. "You know how we're still trying to figure out a lot about Destiny?"
Rush nodded, he knew all about that all too well, he had spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out just one of the many secrets the ship held.
"Well…" Eli took in a deep breath. "I can… Speak with Destiny."
Rush couldn't be quite sure what Eli expected him to react like, shock and awe were among the possibilities but very unlikely to happen. There was also the thought of him lashing out, which was evidenced by the way Eli tensed himself.
But none of that happened, what happened instead was that Rush simply blinked as the statement registered in his mind, and then asked Eli to prove it, otherwise he was going to get T.J. and see what types of things she could offer that involved large uncomfortable needles.
It had taken well over an hour to fully convince Rush that what Eli was saying was the truth, in this hour a certain amount of amusing antics involving a wine glass, a wash cloth, and an elephant that briefly appeared before inexplicably disappearing once more.
And after all that, along with many things that are equally strange but not very relevant, had been used was when Rush started asking the questions that were burning at his mind.
First: "When did this start?"
"Just last week, and I've been trying to convince her to let me tell you the entire time, I swear." That got a small smirk out of Rush before he continued.
Second: "Why haven't you used this to get us further into the systems of the ship?"
"It's a bit complicated, but from what I can get it's because the Destiny that I'm talking to isn't so much the ship as the AI running it, and her memory banks were damaged over the years so a there is a lot of information she can't remember."
The questioning stopped there, and Rush left to take a quick shower before he would return to the lab to work on the systems, now with an explanation as to Eli's strange behavior.
But as he stood in the Destiny's equivalent of a shower, he closed his eyes. The third question he had kept himself from asking was burning at his lips.
"Why you? Why did Destiny choose you, and not me?"
The next day had started off relatively normal, he and Eli had been typing away at their consoles, Eli would occasionally offer him some advice on his part of the project which Rush would take and silently boil about, and it had really just been the kind of day where you don't think anything particularly exciting would happen.
That was exactly the reason why, as Rush should have learned to have understood by that point, Destiny chose that exact moment to drop out of FTL.
Now this in itself tended to mean that there was something that they needed, and given that the Destiny was operating at half the power it was capable of holding that meant that someone was going to have to gate to the planet.
The second clue that it was going to be a strange day was the fact that when the Kino transmitted back images of the planet that Destiny had connected to.
The first they had seen was that the sky of the planet was apparently purple, with yellow streaks.
After they had gotten over the strange appearance of the horizon, it was rather odd even when you took into account the way many of the planets the Destiny had visited previously were odd, but after they had finished gawking at the sky they managed to direct their attention to the ground around the 'Gate.
Well, it was an incredibly unanimous opinion, as it very well should be, that the cave with Ancient writing and pillars at the entrance was worth checking out.
They assembled a team that consisted of Greer, Scott, Eli, and Rush.
The mission was fairly straightforward; they had about three days worth of time to investigate the planet, along with some early versions of the scanners that Eli had found a week previously.
It was supposed to be simple, get on to the planet, take the readings and samples that they could, listen to Rush bitch and moan about not being able to study all that he wanted as it came down to just a few minutes before they had to leave, and then get back to the Destiny.
But, then again, when was anything ever as straightforward or simple as they expected it to be.
The first clue that something was going to go horribly wrong hadn't happened right away, as many might have thought they would, but if a clue that something were to go horribly wrong were to happen straight away then they would simply turn tail and run, and then we wouldn't have a story, would we?
No, the first clue that something was going to go wrong wasn't until Rush and Eli were in the cave, Scott and Greer having stayed on the very edge of the mouth of the cave to keep an eye out for trouble.
It had happened very quickly, too quickly for the mind to comprehend when looking back on it.
Everything seemed to be going fine for the first few minutes, and then it all went to shit.
The cave around them started shaking, there was shouting, and just when Rush looked up and managed to catch sight of Scott up at the entrance to the cave, rocks fell from the ceiling, landing mere centimeters away from Eli and completely blocking their one and only exit.
Rush and Eli would never be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the cave in, but let it remain between you and me that it was a rather unfortunate incursion of plot.
In the beginning, there was nothing. Or at the very least that's what it seemed like.
And then Rush turned on the light, the light being the Ancient scanner he was holding in his hands.
Rush was leaning against one wall of the cave, the scanner set in front of him and casting an eerie glow around the five feet that it barely illuminated.
Slumped against the wall across from him lay Eli.
"Eli?" He asked, at first concerned that the younger man had been knocked unconscious during the panic; these fears were abated when he groaned and looked up at him. He still didn't look very well, though. "Are you all right?"
Eli groaned once more before nodding. "Yeah, yeah I think so."
Rush raised an eyebrow. "You think you're all right? How does that work?"
Even in the dim light provided by the scanner, Rush could tell that Eli had rolled his eyes at the statement. Good, it meant that he was more or less all together.
"Is there anything numb, or in extreme pain?" Rush asked, pushing himself up farther against the wall a few more inches. His ankle gave a tiny twinge at the motion; he must have sprained it when he fell.
Eli paused for three seconds, and if Rush looked closely he could just barely make out that the younger man was gently twitching the muscles over his body before he answered.
"No, I'm fine." Eli said, shaking his head before looking back at Rush. "You?"
"Huh? Oh, I'm fine." Ignoring the ankle that was slowly beginning to hurt more and more and the splitting headache he was getting.
But Eli didn't notice either of these, not that he had much of a chance to with the low lighting and Rush resolutely not saying a word of it.
"So what happened?" Eli asked before promptly realizing what an utterly stupid question that was. "Never mind." He looked away from Rush into the deep recesses of the cave.
They stayed in silence for a while before Eli gave a cough and turned back to him. "So how long do you think it'll be until they rescue us?"
Rush looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "What makes you think they're going to rescue us?" Some might call Rush a pessimist for saying things like that, but he preferred to think of himself as a realist.
Eli shrugged. "I dunno, but I kind of have to think like that, otherwise I'm going to get depressed."
Rush sighed, he knew that, it was only natural for Eli to keep optimistic; sometimes he couldn't help but wonder what was really the true mindset of the boy and what was just him keeping up a façade.
He would have thought of it further, but Eli had begun talking again.
"I mean; I really doubt that Destiny will take off without us." Eli might have thought he was being comforting, but Rush felt a whip give a sharp snap inside his mind at those words.
"Leave without you, you mean." He muttered bitterly. "After all, the Destiny wouldn't want to leave her golden boy behind."
He wasn't looking Eli in the eyes, he didn't want to, and even if he did his head was too heavy for him to do much more than stare at the scanner in between them.
But he didn't need to be looking at Eli to know the look of confusion that spread across the younger man's face.
He deeply regretted letting the words out the moment they left his lips, and he knew that it didn't take much longer than three seconds for Eli to piece it together.
"Wait a minute." He heard Eli mutter, or at least it seemed like he was muttering, he seemed miles away. "Are you actually… jealous about that?"
Rush didn't answer with words, just let out a low grunt, it was all he really wanted to do, his mouth felt like it was made of lead.
"You are!" Eli sounded torn between a small amount of excitement, about what Rush had no idea, and a large amount of amusement. "I can't believe it!"
With an amount of effort that Rush wasn't going to ever admit to, he raised his head and glared at Eli.
Eli paused when he caught sight of the glare before continuing, in a less amused and more natural tone. "Ah, c'mon, why would you be jealous?"
Because Destiny chose to talk to you when I've been the one who had dedicated all of their time to find it back in the Milky Way and you just found the answer purely by chance. Rush thought bitterly.
Or at least, it was supposed to be a thought, whether or not it actually had been one became pretty much moot point when Eli responded to it.
"That's what your problem with this is?" Eli asked while shifting his weight. "That it happened to me instead of you?"
Rush said nothing, Eli let out a small chuckle. "Do you know how much she talks about you? Granted, some of it is about how annoying you can get, but most of it is about the good your doing to help her get fixed up."
That still didn't answer the question of why it had happened to Eli instead of him.
"It just happened to me because she all ready tried you." That caught Rush's attention; he lifted his head and looked at Eli. "She told me that she wasn't sure what it was but you were subconsciously resisting her or something like that."
And once Rush would get around to sitting down and thinking about it, he could remember a few instances back during the first couple weeks of being on the Destiny where he felt something pressing against the back of his mind but had pushed it away.
But that wasn't what he was thinking about at that moment, what he was thinking about was how much his head was suddenly hurting, it had changed from a dull throb to an almost unbearable stabbing.
This did not go unnoticed by Eli, and his face contorted in worry.
"Rush?" He pushed himself onto his knees and crawled over to Rush's side, where the man was holding his head in his hands. "What's wrong?"
After a brief power struggle within his head, Rush looked up and gave a painfully forced smile. "I'm fine Eli."
Eli didn't believe him, he wasn't as naive as he was back when they first got on the Destiny.
He shifted around so that he could survey Rush completely without being in front of him, he absently rested a hand on Rush's ankle.
The reaction was immediate, and Eli hadn't even been trying to provoke one, Rush let out a shout of pain and jerked his leg away from Eli. That action only served to put him in more pain.
Something in that event must have caused something inside of Rush to snap, because the next thing Eli knows is that the man has pressed himself up against a wall. Rush pulled his legs into his chest and let out a hiss that sounded too much like a whimper for Eli to be comfortable.
He wasn't good with things like this, like having to comfort people, he hadn't been good with his mother after his father left and he wasn't good with Chloe after her father died. How in Hell was he going to handle calming down the most socially awkward man he had ever met?
Tentatively, Eli raised a shaking hand up to Rush's shoulder and got as firm a grip on it as he could manage.
Rush slowly stopped shaking as he became more aware of the pressure gripping him, slowly pulling him back into reality.
As he came back to himself, he became aware of Eli crouching down less than a foot in front of him.
"What…?" Rush trailed off, unsure of how to end his sentence in a way that didn't make him seem like an idiot.
Fortunately, Eli seemed to understand. "You had a minor freak out, in all honesty I'm surprised it was you and not me." And he was.
It was at that point that Rush became aware of Eli's hand still on his shoulder, clutching tightly, but not too tightly, just enough so that he was aware of its presence and the heat radiating from it.
And all too suddenly, the length of Eli's arm was not enough distance for him to be away from Rush, his throat suddenly dry he for a moment forgot the pain in his head and his more than likely to be broken ankle and was only aware of how absurdly close to him Eli was sitting.
He wanted to speak up, to push Eli away, but his mouth was cotton and his arms were lead. And even then he felt that he wouldn't be able to bring himself to force the younger man away.
The moments within which all he could focus on was Eli passed all to soon, and his headache returned at full force.
He let out a low hiss that went on for a few seconds only to be cut off by Eli slowly massaging his head.
He mumbled incoherently for a while, that felt nice.
His eyes slowly became half lidded and he felt sleep slowly taking a grip on his mind.
This was cut off when Eli's fingers pressed into a rather unfortunate spot that was where the pain was originating from.
Rush let out a yell of pain and Eli yanked his hand back.
After a few moments, Rush managed to calm down and steady his breathing.
Once he managed to clear his thought he looked at Eli, who was staring at his hand.
He held it up for Rush to see, not that it was very easy considering the low lighting combined with his blurring vision.
Some of his confusion must have been evident on his face because Eli let out a small sound of annoyance before speaking in a sharp tone that Rush hadn't been aware he was capable of. "It's blood, you're bleeding."
Rush knew deep in the back of his mind that what Eli was saying was important but he couldn't bring his mind to latch onto the meaning of the words.
"Dammit Rush." Eli growl before sliding his jacket off and gently pulling Rush's head forward, pressing the bundled up cloth to the open wound, causing Rush to cry out in pain.
"You know, this kind of thing, this is bad." Eli had started out with a growl but that had quickly degenerated into a small whimper, and his eyes shown with worry in the dim light.
Rush wanted to make a snarky comment to that, of course it was bad, he was fucking bleeding from the back of his head while his vision slowly blurred, but all he managed to get out was an incoherent mumble before Eli continued.
"Never mind the fact that we're stuck here for who knows how much longer, do you know how important you are to m, to the expedition?"
Rush mumbled something under his breath, it probably made no sense, and that made Eli all that more worked up.
Please. He pleaded desperately, trying as hard as he could to reach Destiny wherever she was. Help!
It could have been minutes, it could have been hours, but it seemed like days as Eli held onto Rush, sometime in the past they had shifted from Rush leaning up against the pile of rocks separating them from sweet sweet freedom to Eli holding him against his chest, and kept his jacket pressed firmly to the back of the scientist's head
What was he supposed to do? He knew basic first aide, courtesy of his mother, but that was it, and even then they had no medical supplies and it was just barely bright enough to see your hand in front of your face.
Eli knew that there was nothing he could do, so he held Rush tighter and felt his erratic heartbeat.
Eli looked up at the rock wall, and his eyes widened in a combination of relief and amazement as the rocks twitched, and after a moment some disappeared right before his eyes to reveal a tunnel to the outside, inside of which was Lt. Scott.
Eli didn't think, he just lifted Rush up as best he could and hurried over to the tunnel.
"Okay, let's hurry, I have no idea what I should be doing with him."
The ran through the gate just in time to see the counter hit one hour – had it really been that long since they got trapped? – and before Eli could blink T.J. was on them.
He was pretty sure he managed to mumble out something about Rush needing help more before the medic had caught sight of the other man and quickly switched targets.
During this Eli managed to sneak out of the gateroom, he didn't stop moving until he had collapsed on his bed and unconsciousness was pulling him under.
He fought it, he really did, until Destiny's melodic voice echoed in his head.
"Don't worry, Eli, you can rest, he is safe, he will be fine."
It had taken over two weeks before Rush woke up again, and even then it had only bee for ten minutes at most.
"Eli was here, you know." T.J. commented casually, turning away from Rush so he couldn't see the small smirk that was insistently pulling at her lips like a child trying to get their mother to the petting zoo.
"Was he?" Rush asked, his accent briefly thickening as he pushed himself up into a sitting position.
"Yeah, I practically had to chase him out with a proverbial broom after the first seven hours." T.J. chuckled as she rolled her eyes. "Buuut, he kept coming back. And knowing his schedule he should be here in about ten minutes." She scribbled a few things on her notepad. "You think you're going to be awake when he gets here?"
She turned around to look at him only to find him all ready nodding off, she gave a small smile before walking over and helping him lay back down.
"I'll tell him you asked about him." Even with unconsciousness gripping onto him and pulling him deep into the abyss, Rush could hear the smirk in her voice.
He would have glared, but he wasn't really sure he remembered how.
And that was a scary thought.
The next two days were one big blur of him drifting through various states of consciousness, when he was more aware of himself than just the fuzzy warm sensations that wrapped around him like a boa constrictor Eli was always there, talking about anything that popped into his mind.
He wanted to be annoyed about it, he really did, but something about the consistency of Eli always being there seemed to be a grounding force for him.
What the hell was happening to him?
When he finally came out of his 'not quite a coma but more like a brief and forced hibernation' Eli was sitting next to his bed and making a face as he attempted to eat one of the strange potatoes like plants.
In actuality, it seemed more like he wasn't so much trying to eat as trying to not have to taste it a second time.
Rush just lay there for a while, watching with vague amusement as Eli made a gagging noise before a chuckle slipped out, causing the younger man to snap his head over to look at him so quickly that Rush was positive that he defied several laws of physics.
"Hey!" His face spread into a wide grin that just looking at made Rush's own cheeks hurt. "Destiny's been telling me that you keep waking up but whenever I check you're asleep."
Rush absently shrugged, but it didn't seem to occur to Eli that he wasn't talking back, and honestly he would have been if he weren't so tired, and the younger man continued talking animatedly about the goings on of the ship.
Truthfully, Rush didn't care, he didn't need to do any talking so long as Eli was there, and really all he wanted to do was sit back and watch the sparks dance around in Eli's eyes.
A week after getting out of the infirmary, Rush was in his room when a sharp knock jarred through his thought process
When the door opened he barely had time to utter a single syllable before someone ran in, closed the door, then practically crushed him in a hug.
They stayed like that, frozen, for three seconds before the person that had run in pulled back, and Rush wasn't really all that surprised to find out that it was Eli who was standing before him.
"Eli?" Rush asked, raising an eyebrow as he looked at the younger man. "What's wrong?" He asked, or rather, meant to ask, Eli pulling him into a crushing kiss cut this question short rather quickly.
For a moment Rush just stood there, his arms hanging limply at his sides as all he could focus on was how Eli tasted and how his scent was overwhelming.
Somewhere along the line he started to back up, it wasn't until his legs hit the bed that he became aware of what was happening.
"Eli," Rush said, pushing the younger man away despite every part of him wanting nothing more than to pull him close. "No, we shouldn't be doing this."
"Why not?" It wasn't a whine; it was pretty close though.
"Well, for starters I'm twenty years older than you." Rush looked him in the eye. "And second, so you really want to get involved with someone like me? I'm not exactly everyone's favorite person."
Eli rolled his eyes before forcing Rush's arms to the side and once again pulling him into a rough kiss.
When they pulled away Eli rested his forehead against Rush's and spoke in quiet tones, "I honestly don't give a damn about your age, I don't care what everyone else thinks of you, all I care about is what I think of you."
Rush swallowed heavily. "And what, pray tell, do you think of me?"
With that Eli pulled him back into a kiss. And Rush didn't need to ask any more questions.
The next few hours were, rather unfortunately, a blur of heat and friction to both of them that ended with Rush curled into Eli's chest while the younger man clutched him in his sleep.
And as Rush slowly joined him in that realm of not awake, he might, just might, have heard a musical voice in the back of his mind whisper "it's about damn time, you two."
What did you think?