AN: Warning, this chapter is rather explicit
Rush blinked blearily up at TJ, the insane paranoia and panic slowly ebbing away like the tide. The scientist tried to lever himself up on one elbow but TJ put a hand out to stop him.
"Whoa. Take it easy. You've got plenty of time." she said, squeezing his shoulder soothingly. "Just relax a sec before you go barrelling off to your lab."
"Wha-what happened, exactly?" Rush asked, still slightly disoriented.
"Long story short: Alien tick, mind altering chemicals, hallucinations all round." the blonde medic said with a convivial smile. Dimly, Rush thought about the quote that pregnant women "glowed". TJ seemed to be glowing like a supernova. He fought the urge to squint.
"Ah." it was the only thing he could think of to say. "But everything's fine now?"
"Yeah, seems to be. Til the next disaster." TJ grinned.
Her warm, dry fingers touched his throat as she checked his pulse.
"Yeah, you're fine. If you absolutely insist on leaving, you can go."
Rush swung his legs over the side and hopped off the bed, swaying momentarily before regaining his balance and stalking off to his lab.
"You're welcome!" TJ called after his retreating figure, her voice slightly annoyed.
It wasn't til much later that Rush discovered exactly how much his body hurt. With all the distractions of dealing with Volkner and the others' ineptitude gone, he was left concentrating on the screaming agony in his muscles and joints. He couldn't remember exactly what had happened while he was hallucinating, but he seemed to recall a tussle with some rather large marines. Reluctantly, he straightened up his notes for the day, put them in a folder, and headed back to his quarters.
He didn't bother changing; simply kicked off his boots, pulled off a couple of layers of shirts, and lay down on his bed. Rush couldn't remember feeling this tired back on Earth. This was a deep, persistent exhaustion that lived in his bones, making them ache and joints pop. A sudden rapping at the door made him jump. A moment later and the knocking happened again. Rush dragged himself to the door and smacked the button to its side irritably. Chloe stood in the corridor, hair a mess and eyes red rimmed.
"Please don't send me away." she whispered, her shoulders were hunched and she had crossed her arms protectively over her breast as if she were cold.
Rush merely grunted, guided her inside, and shut the door.
"I saw my father…" she said, by way of an explanation. "I saw my daddy and… I just lost him. All over again."
He knew that feeling; had experienced it just a few days ago, reliving the memory of his wife's last week alive. Old wounds reopened were twice as slow to heal. Rush felt the guilt return, however distantly connected to the Senator's death, he knew Chloe would always associate him with being the cause of her loss.
"Are you ok?" the dark haired girl in front of him asked.
"What d'you mean?" Rush asked innocently.
"You're all bent over and hunched."
"I'm old." he retorted, surreptitiously straightening up. "It happens when you get old."
Chloe's hands were suddenly on his shoulders as she used her slight advantage in height to take the lead.
"You're not old. Matt says the soldiers had to… restrain you, while you were hallucinating."
He raised an eyebrow, not bringing up the fact that her father and he were contemporaries in respects to age. Chloe's fingers worked at the knot of muscles in his neck and shoulders. Rush groaned appreciatively, arching catlike against her touch.
"Shouldn't you be asleep?" she asked.
"Aye. Easier said than done."
"I wanna sleep." Chloe said, her tone almost petulant.
"Well that makes two of us, only I find that it's easier said than done."
The short massage died away, Chloe pressed a quick kiss to the exposed skin of his shoulder. Rush guided his young companion to bed, tucking the covers around her and laying down next to her, as had become their somewhat nightly routine. To the casual observer, the two were as children; curled together, using one another to stave off the monsters in their nightmares. He shut his eyes, listening to the low hum of Destiny's engines and the gentle breathing beside him. Rush felt pressure on his chest; Chloe's arm lay over him, her fingers playing with his shirt. He looked down and met her gaze; large blue eyes, deep enough to get lost in, fixed him with an unreadable stare.
"Hi." she said.
He could almost see the patterns of thought being worked through in her mind. She was contemplating something, trying to decide her next move. After she had weighed all the apparent pros and cons, Chloe levered herself up, moving up and over so that she was above Rush. She licked her lips unconsciously before finally leaning down and kissing him. The pressure was as gentle as butterfly wings. Chloe pulled back; both startled by the gesture. The second kiss was met halfway; Rush surprised himself by pulling her rather forcefully into his lap. Chloe now straddled him and he found himself really despising the fact that he had worn jeans that day on Icarus.
"Chloe…" he murmured hazily.
"I'm not made of glass." the young woman said. "You can touch me if you want."
Rush wanted to; oh how he wanted to. Now that he'd been given permission, undomesticated equines could not stop him. His fingers moved inexorably under she tank top, pulling it off over her head and taking a moment to gaze hungrily at the slim figure now situated on his lap. Chloe reached behind her back and unhooked her bra, shimmying out of it and dropping it beside the bed.
"You're beautiful." Rush said in the tones of one seeing a goddess in the flesh.
She blushed, the pink tinge spreading all over her body and making her skin even warmed to the touch. And touch he did; Rush traced the gentle curve from her waist to her hip, both hands travelling over her backside and squeezing gently as he pulled her in close for another kiss. Rush plucked insistently at the waistband of her yoga pants.
"These need to come off." he said hoarsely.
Chloe laughed, reaching down and stroking him through his jeans.
"You're one to talk; who goes to bed wearing jeans?"
She gave a little shriek of surprise as Rush rolled her onto her back, catching hold of either side of her pants and tugging them off. "Why," Rush said in the tones of the genuinely perplexed. "have you got a cupcake printed on your knickers?"
"Why not?" Chloe replied.
Rush let his fingers explore the flawless white skin that had been hidden away by her pants; always skirting the edges of her light pink, inexplicably cupcake decorated panties.
"Niiick!" she whined.
"Hmm?" he mumbled distractedly, eyes fixed on the apex of her thighs.
Chloe growled and seized the hem of his shirt, wrestling it over his head and flinging it away decisively. She smiled smugly as it landed in a heap on the other side of the room.
"Fuzzy." she said, grinning as she tugged at a sparse tuft of chest hair. "I knew you'd be fuzzy."
"Ouch, woman!" Rush yelped, squirming away. He leaned down, capturing her legs and clamping them to his sides as he nipped lightly at her hip.
She wriggled, grinding against him purposefully. Rush let out a strangled groan and all but ripped her panties off.
"For fuck's sake take OFF the jeans." Chloe demanded, tugging impatiently at his belt loops.
Chloe took the initiative and used her weight to knock him off balance, sitting naked on his legs as her hands worked to unbuckle, unbutton, and unzip the offending garment. She frowned, noting the extra hole that Rush had cut into the belt when the smallest option had been too big. Her fingers came into contact with his boxers.
"I figured you for a boxer-brief man. Looks like I was right." she said with a devilish grin.
The way he said her name, low and hoarse, almost pleading; Chloe shivered, although not because she was cold. Indeed, her skin felt like it was on fire. Chloe took charge, guiding him in; her eyes slid shut as they found a comfortable rhythm. Rush looked up at the beguiling woman on top of him; her tongue darted out to moisten her lips as her brow furrowed in concentration. His hands rested on her hips as she moved; moments melted into each other, not that time really mattered. Chloe tried to stifle her scream and was not quite successful, her voice echoed in his ears as Rush gasped her name a heartbeat later and pulled her down for a kiss. Shaking, she rested again his chest for a moment before she rolled off and lay panting next to the scientist. They remained that way for a few minutes, trying to catch their breath. Rush's hand rested on her flat belly, his thumb stroking back and forth over the smooth skin.
He let himself smile when Chloe curled her warm body alongside his, one leg rubbing up and down his. She frowned momentarily as her skin came into contact with rough denim.
"I still didn't manage to get you out of those stupid jeans." she grumbled, absentmindedly stroking the twin scars left by the aliens and TJ's impromptu open heart surgery.
Rush chuckled, his own hands tracing designs over her sweaty skin.
"Aye…D'you think you can manage a bit of sleep now?" the scientist said with a rakish grin.
"Yep. You wore me out." Chloe sighed dramatically, burying her face in his shoulder.
Rush brushed a sweaty lock of hair back behind her ear. Her face was pink with the exertion of their prior activity. He bit his lip, unsure of what name to put to the strange feeling that filled his chest. It had only ever hit him like this once before. Not even with Mandy had he felt as breathless as this.
They slept. Her closeness chased away the demons; blue skinned, transparent aliens nowhere to be found in the dreamscapes of his mind. Had he been more analytical of the situation, he would have chided himself on allowing her to become so much of a necessity for his happiness. For now, he was happy not to bring science into the equation of Chloe and himself. For now, he let himself rest.