Don't own SGU; don't want to unless I run out of Robert Carlyle DVDs to buy (which at the rate I'm going seems entirely likely).

This is my fanciful take on what happens after they arrive home.

Afterwards
By EllieV

The one thing that TJ couldn't get used to so far was people. Crowds and crowds of people everywhere. She felt hemmed in and panicked, though she let none of it show on her face or in her body language. Her father kept patting her arm, as if checking she was really there. Her sister watched her anxiously. TJ kept smiling to show her family she was happy to be back from that long tour of duty she couldn't talk about.

General O'Neill had personally called him, her father had said, to say that she was coming home. The Air Force had flown all the families out to meet them. At the big aircraft hanger reunion, she'd spotted Chloe getting into a big car with a woman, presumably her mother. She'd seen Young and his wife and avoided them like the plague. She marked a thin, nervous looking woman down as Eli's mother and she'd smiled when she was right. Scott was greeted by a blond woman and a young boy; Wray by a pretty woman who gave her a rapturous hug and kiss; and Greer by someone she thought was probably his mother.

She didn't see Rush at all. Nor could she see anyone that she thought could possibly be a relative or friend. She didn't even know if he'd left Destiny.

Her father touched her arm and she looked up with a smile.

"You okay, honey?" he asked.

"I'm great, Dad," she said. "I'm so happy to be home." She thought it would help if she said she wasn't used to the crowds. "Not used to so many people around."

"But you're okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine, Dad," she said with as much reassurance as she could muster. "It's just a little strange; I've been so used to the same faces each day. I forgot how different people can look."

Reagan National was filled with people making their way home for the holidays. They sat in Starbucks waiting for their plane to be called.

"I'll get us some more coffee, Dad," TJ suggested.

"I'll do that," he said immediately.

"I was just out of the country, Dad," she said in a teasing voice she didn't feel. "I am quite capable of buying coffee."

"Sure," her sister said. "But do you have any money?"

"Ah, no," TJ said. "I'll get the coffee, Angie, if you give me some money."

She made her way to the counter to order the coffees but as she paid she dropped the coins, startled, as she heard a thick Scottish accent behind her. It wasn't him. The man was tall, broad shouldered and beefy.

"You all right, love?" he asked, looking concernedly at her.

"Yes, thank you," she said. "Are you … Are you from Glasgow?"

He looked surprised.

"Aye," he said. "That's right. You know Glasgow?"

"I know …" She corrected herself. "I used to work with someone from there."

It wasn't likely she'd see him again.

The man smiled at her and said, "You should visit sometime then; it's a great city."

"Lunch at Stravaigin," she said.

"Your friend has good taste," he said. He held a bottle of water and a coffee.

"Are you on your way home?" TJ asked.

He nodded oddly pensive for a moment.

"New York first to pick up the wife then back to Glasgow," he said. "We were there on holiday but I had to come to DC for a couple of days."

"Have a good trip then," said TJ.

"Same to you, love," the man said, smiling again. "Nice to meet you; I hope you make it to Scotland one day."

He walked back to his table and sat down, holding out the water to his companion.

TJ caught her breath. The noise and the crowds disappeared.

He'd had a haircut. He'd shaved. He looked so much younger. And in the black coat and scarf he was wearing he looked almost insubstantial next to the man sitting opposite. There was instant irritation when he couldn't open the bottle. The man with him took it out of his hands and opened it, handing it back. TJ didn't know what to do.

"Tamara?" her sister's voice came through a fog. "Oh hey, he's cute."

Cute. Not a word she would have chosen but then Angie didn't know him.

He took off his glasses and pinched his nose, rubbing his eyes a little, as if the glasses were hurting. They looked like new frames.

"Not usually my type but god, look at his eyes," Angie said. "They're just tragic."

Dark fathomless pools, TJ thought. Sympathetic. Pitiless. Cold. Warm. And yes, tragic, so completely tragic. A good way to drown. She remembered his eyes fixed on the wall of Destiny's infirmary, unmoving, as they tried to put his hand back together. He hadn't made a sound.

"So, what do you think he does?" her sister asked, standing by her side. "I think he's a writer. Glasses, that big coat and scarf. He looks all arty and intellectual."

This was a game they used to play when they were kids.

"He's a scientist," said TJ. "He has four doctorates: math, physics, linguistics and philosophy. The one that matters most is philosophy. It's his anchor."

"Details," Angie said with a giggle. "You were always better at this than me."

TJ just watched him. He picked at the label on the bottle of water and nodded as his companion said something to him. A child sitting a couple of tables away shrieked at the top of his lungs and he winced, holding his damaged hand to his head, just as TJ felt herself cringe at the noise.

"Tamara, you okay?" her sister asked, putting a hand on her arm. "You don't know that guy, do you?"

"I'm fine," TJ said.

TJ shook off her hand and walked swiftly. If she moved slowly, she'd change her mind. The beefy man smiled at her as she approached them. Rush gradually looked up. His hair wasn't in his face anymore. There was nothing to distract her from his eyes at all.

"Um, hi," she said more anxiously than she meant to sound.

He stared at her and stood up, the chair scraping on the floor.

"Erm," the beefy man said, also standing.

Rush took no notice of him.

"Lieutenant," he said quietly.

"Not any more," she said. "I resigned."

Rush nodded. TJ bit her lip when he didn't say anything else.

The man with him frowned at her, all goodwill gone. He said, "You okay, Nicky?"

Nicky. Not Nicholas. Not Dr Rush. Not Rush, with all the loathing it encompassed. Nicky. Familiar and sweet. A childhood name.

"I'm fine, Tommy," Rush said.

The man didn't move. He glared at TJ.

"I don't know about that, Nicky," Tommy said. He folded his arms. "I know you told me to shut up about it but last thing anyone hears from you is that you're going away for work and then fucking forever later, you turn up looking half starved and nearly dead, your hand smashed to shite. This wee girl know about that? Lieutenant, is it? Is this some sort of fucking American military bollocks? Is that what you were doing?"

He ended in a voice of fury that barely disguised his anxiety.

"Tommy," Rush said, with a patience that she didn't expect, "it's fine."

"Nicky," Tommy began.

"Just piss off for a fucking minute, would you?" Rush said. There was absolutely no annoyance in his voice.

Tommy said, a glint in his eye, "Remind me to say no next time I get a frantic phone call from your bloody cousins to come get you."

Rush raised his right hand, lifting an elegant middle finger to him without taking his eyes off TJ.

"Listen you fucking gnome, you are going to explain this whether you want to or not," Tommy said pointing a finger. "You think Patty's going to put up with your vague 'Nothing's wrong' crap? With you looking like that?"

He walked away and watched them, clearly making sure he was in TJ's line of sight. Left alone, Rush dropped his eyes to his feet and studied his shoes.

"I thought you'd still be on Destiny," she whispered.

He shook his head.

"No," he said.

"I didn't see you when all the families arrived," she said.

"No," he repeated. "They wanted to debrief me."

His voice was neutral.

"You've been in a debrief all this time?" she asked.

It had been three weeks since Destiny had jumped out of FTL above the Alpha site. She remembered the icy voice coming through the radio. No one was to touch anything on Destiny anymore; armed marines boiled through the gate and ordered everyone to stay in their quarters until told otherwise. It had been the last time she'd seen him.

"I went to a hotel," he said. "Then Tommy turned up. Luckily."

"Why?" she asked.

He looked up faintly amused.

"I didn't have any money," he said. "All I had was my passport and that was only because it was in my bag when we left Icarus."

They'd debriefed him and then what? Told him he could just go? Without anything? Without any money? Didn't they look at his hand?

"Is he …?" she fished.

"We went to school together," Rush said.

"Bet you were an ass in school, too," she said.

"Yes," he agreed, still a little amused.

"And Patty?" she asked.

"His wife," Rush said. "Another old school pal."

"And your cousins?" she wanted to know.

"Many, many cousins," Rush said, looking inwards.

She wanted a reaction, one that was more than withdrawn, neutral or amused. If it weren't for his eyes, she'd have thought they were just vague acquaintances. She had always noticed how he rarely volunteered information about himself unless prompted; he almost never asked her anything at all. Did he not want to intrude or was he just not interested? One question she didn't want to ask. She wanted to know what he was like in school, what his childhood was like. That someone he went to school with came running to help him spoke volumes to TJ.

"What happened with the IOA?" she asked. "Your debrief."

"Nothing," Rush said. "It was fine."

He was lying.

She stared at him worriedly but he said, "You're going home?"

Deflecting attention off himself. She looked past his shoulder to see her father and sister watching them, both of them concerned.

"Yes," she said. "Maybe I'll get to medical school at long last."

"You should," he said with a sincerity that made her want to cry. "You probably know more than the doctors."

"I think my scholarship might have run out by now," she said jokingly.

There was a pause then he said, "I'm sorry."

Damn him. He shouldn't be apologizing, not for anything. What the hell happened during the debrief? She wanted to shake the information out of him.

"You got us home," she said. "Even after you said it couldn't be done."

Rush shook his head and said, "Eli …"

"Don't," she said putting out her hand. She didn't dare touch him. "Please, just once, accept a thank you."

He shrugged and stuck his hands in the pockets of the big coat.

"Nice coat," she tried. "It'll be nice to have some new clothes. These are my sister's."

"It's Tommy's," he said. "It's too big."

He looked around and caught her family's stare, looking away immediately. They stood in silence for a moment.

"Uh, Tamara," her sister's voice said. Angie had come up to them. She stared at Rush. "They've called our plane."

"I'll be there in a minute," TJ said.

"Aren't you going to …" Angie began.

TJ interrupted and repeated forcefully, "I'll be there in a minute, Angie."

There was no way she was going to subject him to a family interrogation.

Rush said quietly, "Goodbye, Lieutenant."

It would be the last time she saw him. She would never go to Glasgow. She didn't know what to do so she leaned in and kissed him on his cheek.

She said softly, "Thank you, Dr Rush."

He didn't shift away from her.

He said, "You're welcome, Lieutenant."

She'd got a couple of feet away when he said, "Tamara?"

She turned back. It was the first time he'd said her name. In all that time, he'd never once said her first name. It sounded beautiful in that rolling accent.

He was looking at his shoes again, his shoulders hunched and uncomfortable, his body language uncertain.

"Yeah?" she said breathlessly.

Her sister was just behind her. Rush's gaze moved to Angie and beyond them to her father.

"Nothing," he said closing up. "It doesn't matter."

"Can I ask you something?" she said.

"Of course," he said.

Before her courage failed her completely, she stepped into his personal space. She took his hand, the one she couldn't fix.

"Is there a medical school in Glasgow?" she asked.

He looked down at their hands.

"Yes," he said softly. "Yes, there is."

FINIS.


Note: Don't ask about the hand; it is a tale that will be told in due course. Your Ellie rarely does things in a linear fashion.

Thanks to LadyPredator for the four doctorates and for reading the initial draft.