Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Stargate: Universe.
Author's Note: I never really meant to write a fic for SG:U, but after watching Faith I got a bit of inspiration. This was meant to be a short piece on TJ, but once I got writing it sort of evolved into an extension of Faith. There are spoilers for that ep, so if you haven't seen it then don't read this yet. Otherwise, enjoy!
The moment the shuttle docked with Destiny, TJ had headed straight for her make-shift sick bay. She always felt safer there. When it was full she had something to do, something to keep her busy and get her mind off of the fact that she was stuck on a spaceship in another galaxy. When it was empty she was surrounded by her tools and her medicines, and it made her feel safer. Even when she was so over her head that it terrified her, the familiarity of the sick bay kept her going. At the time the shuttle docked the sick bay was empty, a fact for which TJ was grateful. She couldn't deal with people at that particular moment. It had torn her apart to get on the shuttle and leave the planet behind. She knew she had to do it, both because she had been given an order and so that the civilians who wanted to could stay behind, but that didn't make it any easier. The ship had never felt so small before.
She found reasons to stay in the sick bay all afternoon, organizing and reorganizing the same cabinet over and over. Her mind kept drifting back to the planet.
"Did you tell him about me?"
"It's not my place," Matt said quietly. He paused. "He is the father, isn't he?"
TJ jumped and turned. Matt was standing in the doorway.
"They said dinner's ready." He smiled, but somehow it seemed just a bit forced. "It's supposed to be a pretty big deal."
"I'll be there in a sec," TJ said. Matt nodded and turned to leave, then turned back.
"You sure you're okay?" he asked. TJ hesitated, and then nodded.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'll see you in a minute."
"Okay. I'll try and make sure Greer doesn't eat it all." He smiled and left.
TJ listened to his footsteps receding down the hall, and then turned back to the cabinet. For a moment she thought about heading after him and joining the others in the mess hall, but that just made her think of the fruit they had brought back, which made her think of lakes and green grass and waterfalls that she had been forced to leave behind. And then she was back staring at blank metal walls again, still trapped on Destiny. She had never really thought of it as a trap before.
She started pulling the bottles out of the cabinet again.
- - -
Two hours later, TJ was sitting at a table in the sick bay, staring at the wall. She had reorganized every cabinet in the sick bay (well, actually she had just pulled out the contents and put them right back in), but there wasn't much. She had also pushed around some of the makeshift gurneys and tables, but they all ended up right back where they were. Now she didn't know what else to do with herself. She knew she should go down to the mess hall and get something to eat, especially now that they had something besides gruel, but she wasn't in the mood to be around people at the moment. Especially people who were happy and excited. Especially Colonel Young. She knew he had done what he thought was best, but it still hurt too much. She knew she probably couldn't face him just then without coming close to tears. She would just wait until everyone else had left and then head down there alone.
TJ looked up to find that Chloe had entered the sick bay, unnoticed. She was holding a plate of food.
"I noticed you weren't at dinner. I, uh, thought you might be hungry."
TJ felt the corners of her mouth turn up just a little at Chloe's kindness.
"Thanks." She took the plate and silverware that Chloe held out, and started cutting one of the fruits. Chloe leaned against the wall in silence for a moment, watching TJ eat.
"I guess everybody's pretty excited about all the new food," TJ said, making an attempt at conversation. Chloe nodded.
"That's an understatement. I haven't seen them all this happy since we got on Destiny." She trailed off, comparing the faces of those currently in the mess hall with the faces of the soldiers on the planet when Colonel Young had delivered his ultimatum. TJ studied her a moment, knowing what she was thinking.
"Why did you come back?" she asked quietly. "You could've stayed."
"Why didn't you?" Chloe shrugged.
"I don't know. I guess… I spent a lot of time with you down there and, well, I really like you. As a friend. And Eli. And Matt. And you were all going to be here, and…" She paused. "And I didn't think it was fair that he made you leave."
"He's the colonel," TJ said a bit stiffly, getting to her feet and walking across the room to one of the cabinets. "He does what he thinks is best."
"I know how badly you wanted to stay," Chloe said softly. "I'm sorry."
TJ turned around slowly and leaned against the cabinet. She was quiet a moment, and then finally she began to talk.
"When I was little, my family would go camping. My dad and I used hike around and find waterfalls and lakes. Sometimes we'd be out there for days. That's what it reminded me of…" She looked up at Chloe.
"In about 20 weeks I'm going to have a child. What if we don't make it home by then? What if we don't ever make it home? What if my child has to grow up here, surrounded by adults and guns and machinery? What if they only get to see trees and waterfalls when Destiny drops out of FTL near a suitable planet? What if my sister's kids never get to meet their cousin? What if…" Tears began to fill TJ's eyes. She took a shaky breath and then slowly slid to the floor, wrapping her arms around her stomach and drawing her knees up to her chest as if to somehow protect the child she knew was there.
Chloe walked over to the cabinet and sat down beside TJ.
"I can't do it," TJ whispered. "I can't raise a child here."
"Yes, you can," Chloe said, her voice gentle but firm. "You're strong. And you're not alone. Matt and I are here for you, okay? We're going to take care of you and your child. I promise. And when everyone else finds out, I know they'll be behind you too. And it won't be forever. We are going to get home. And until then, we're going to do everything we can to make sure this child's life is as normal and as good as we can make it, okay?" TJ nodded. Two tears slid down her cheeks.
"It's going to be okay," Chloe promised. She wrapped her arms around TJ so the young medic's head rested on her shoulder. Tears continued to slide silently down TJ's face, tears she had been holding back since arriving on Destiny. Chloe had always been good with speeches, but she wasn't much for comforting. She didn't really know what to say. In the end she didn't say much of anything, just held TJ close and continued to repeat her promise that everything would be okay. She wasn't really sure if she was saying it more for TJ or for herself.
- - -
Chloe wasn't the only one who had noticed that TJ was missing at dinner. After eating his fill of fruit and taking some time to enjoy everyone's good spirits, Colonel Young excused himself from the festivity and made his way to the sick bay. He had seen the look in TJ's eyes that morning as if her heart were about to break, and he wanted to talk to her. He knew he didn't have to explain himself to anyone under his command, and he done his best to return his relationship with TJ to a purely professional level, but he still found himself struggling with the need to explain his decision and make sure she was okay.
Upon reaching the sick bay door, he was stopped by a sound coming from inside. The sound of someone crying quietly. It only took him half a second to know who it was. TJ. TJ was crying.
As he wrestled with whether he should go in or just let her be, he heard Chloe's voice telling her it would be okay. That made up his mind for him. TJ didn't like people to see her cry. And if Chloe was with her, she would be alright.
He turned away from the door and started back to the mess hall. His heart ached. He had promised his wife that the whole mess was over, but part of him still cared for TJ, and he couldn't get over the fact that he had hurt her so badly, that he had made her cry. For the first time since leaving the planet that morning, he began to wonder if he had made the right decision.
- - -
TJ's tears finally stopped and her breathing began to slowly even out. Chloe made no move to leave, and so they sat together in silence. After a while Chloe looked down to find that the medic's eyes were closed. She had fallen asleep.
"Hey TJ-" Matt stepped into the sick bay and fell silent as he saw Chloe and TJ sitting against the cabinet. "Is she…?" Chloe nodded.
"She dozed off a few minutes ago," she said. Matt nodded.
"We should probably get her back to her quarters."
He crossed the room and knelt and gently lifted TJ into his arms, careful not to wake her. Chloe stepped into the hall first, making sure it was clear. It was. Everyone else was still in the mess hall. They made their way quietly down the corridors to TJ's quarters. Once there, Matt laid her gently on the bed. Chloe slipped TJ's shoes off and pulled the blankets up over the young medic. They both stood there a moment, watching her sleep.
"She's gonna need a lot of help," Matt said. Chloe nodded.
They left the room as quietly as they could. Once in the hallway, Matt started back toward the mess hall. Chloe hesitated, not sure what to do, and then called after him.
Matt hesitated a moment, and then turned. Chloe stepped up to him looking nervous, not quite sure how to say what she wanted to say.
"I wanted to talk to you," she began awkwardly. "About the coup. I just wanted to say that… I'm sorry that we ended up on opposite sides."
Matt nodded, digesting what she had and hadn't said. Not I'm sorry for what I did, or I'm sorry I betrayed you, or even I'm sorry for taking their side. Just I'm sorry we were on opposite sides. Not apologizing, just expressing regret. If she could do it over again, she would still have sided with Dr. Rush and Wray, and she knew he would still have sided with Colonel Young. She wasn't sorry for that decision, or for the part she had played in the coup. But she was sorry that it had hurt their relationship. The last month on the planet had begun to mend that, but there was still a gap, and Chloe was trying to do what she could.
"Me too," Matt said finally. Chloe looked up at him, trying to decide if this meant she was forgiven, or if he was just saying it. Matt hesitated a moment and then slid his arms around her in a hug. Chloe responded immediately, slipping her own arms around his waist. They both knew that a month before he would have kissed her instead. It wasn't quite what it had been, but it was getting better.
Maybe, Chloe thought as she rested her head on Matt's shoulder, maybe the other civilians on the planet had been right. Maybe there was some hope after all.
- - -
The next morning at breakfast, people's spirits were still sky-high. Even Dr. Rush had a smile on his face as he sat down beside Eli and Wray, who were both laughing so hard they were about to cry. Dr. Park, ever the optimist, looked even brighter than usual, and for once Brody had nothing depressing to say. Matt and Chloe were sitting together holding hands again as they listened to one of Greer's crazy stories, which was accompanied with wild gestures and a broad grin. TJ came in slightly late, but the sparkle that had vanished in recent days was back in her eyes. She gave Chloe a grateful nod, and then sat down beside Vanessa, who was smiling and swapping jokes with a young scientist. For once, everyone was happy.
In the doorway to the mess hall, Colonel Young took a moment to just stand quietly and watch everyone before heading inside. For the first time since arriving on Destiny, they were all one big family. For once there was no grating division between civilian and military. They were just a large group of friends and colleagues sitting together and enjoying themselves. He knew there would come a day, maybe even tomorrow, when they would once again have to worry about food and water levels, about aliens and attacks, about weapons that would not function and power supplies that were running low. There would come a time when the cracks would resurface and they would once again be divided into camps that simply could not function together, when tempers that had receded would rise again, threatening to explode and tear them all apart in the process. But not today. Today they were united. Today, for once, they were able to just sit together and talk and laugh like good friends. Today things were okay.
Today, they had hope.
I want to know what you people think, so please write a review and let me know! :)