Okay, I'll admit I'm slightly obsessed with fics about people sleeping. Or not being able to sleep. Also proof I do still write Rush/Chloe fic, well, Rush/Chloe pre-relationship if you squint. I can't resist writing awesome caring Chloe.
She knew he was there, although the lights were out. She knew he had refused counselling from TJ. She knew he couldn't stand people taking hold of him in any way. She knew he'd barely slept in days, could see it in the drawn lines of his face.
She walked quietly into the storage area and stood stock still, listening. Silence, then, finally, someone shifting their weight in the far corner.
She padded, sock footed, across the gangway and took the long way round to the far corner. Peeping round an Ancient crate, she saw him, sitting next to a tiny light, staring into the darkness. She shifted and brushed against the stacked crates, which creaked. His face jerked up and she ducked back.
"Whoever is there you can go away." He said harshly. "I'm in no mood for company. If that's you Eli that includes you."
Chloe took a deep breath and stepped out into the dim light.
"It's me Dr Rush."
"Well it includes you too." He snapped and turned to stare into the darkness again.
She shifted from foot to foot.
"Dr Rush?" She ventured.
He ignored her. She stepped out into the corridor.
He ignored her still. She stepped in front of him.
"Dr Rush." She said sharply.
Dr Rush stared straight through her.
"Nicholas." She said gently.
He looked up at her. "Go away Chloe." He said emphatically.
She folded her arms across her chest. "No." She replied quietly.
She sat down on the floor, close to his knees and waited. Time passed and although it wasn't warm, it was late and she could feel herself starting to drift. She leant back against the crate next to his knee and let herself doze.
His voice woke her.
"You'll get cold sleeping down there on her floor, Chloe."
She blinked and shook her head to clear the sleep from it. Shifting her weight slightly to look up over her shoulder she blinked owlishly at him in the light.
"I'm okay." She said.
"Why are you here?" His gaze stayed on the darkness.
"I thought you needed some company, Dr Rush."
"I don't want any company."
"I didn't say want," she contradicted, "I said need."
He finally looked down at her.
"Did TJ or the Colonel put you up to this?"
She shook her head. "No-one put me up to this. I promise. No-one even knows I'm here." She shrugged. "I'm not even sure anyone else knows you're here."
He looked away, then back again. "You followed me."
It wasn't a question.
"A couple times." She admitted.
She shuffled uncomfortably on her bottom and slid her foot out from under her other leg. It twinged uncomfortably on the verge between numbness and pins and needles. He shifted across, away from her.
"There's room up here." He muttered.
Awkwardly on her numb foot, she struggled to her feet and sat down next to him, leaving a gap between them and resting her back against the crates in the nook he'd created. They sat in silence and she began to doze again.
She woke again with a start and a gasp as she slid sideways into his shoulder. He froze.
"I'm sorry!" She apologised hurriedly and began to pull herself up again.
"No." He put a hand out and patted her knee, sighing. "It's okay."
She put her hands carefully in her lap and leaned into his shoulder a little, letting herself drift into a doze again.
"Chloe." His voice was quiet but urgent. "It's time to go."
She shook her head to clear it, stood and followed him silently out.
Chloe walked in quietly, walked round the long way so as not to walk through his line of sight down the gangway and sat next to him. She tucked her feet up next to her, leaned back and waited. After a while she dozed and when he woke her she found she was leaning on him again. She got up, stiff from the odd position and the slight chill in the room, she must have been asleep like that for a while without him moving her.
They both stood to leave. Rush turned to her, as if to say something, then paused. Before he could speak she smiled and nodded, walking out of the room quietly.
Chloe slipped quietly into the room again and padded the long way round to the hidey hole. She said down next to him, tucked her feet up, closed her eyes and leaned into his shoulder. Rush tensed, then relaxed. Chloe let herself drift into sleep.
Rush woke her with a hand on her arm. She smiled up at him and got silently to her feet. They walked to the door. She raised a hand briefly and silently in farewell and walked away down the corridor, feeling his eyes on her back.
Chloe walked into the storage room and padded round to the cubby hole. She stopped in brief surprise. Rush was in his normal place, but there was a blanket folded across to pad the impromptu seat. Rush was studiously ignoring her and she decided not to make a point of the change. She sat down next to him, leaned against his shoulder and went to sleep.
"Chloe." He patted her knee to wake her. "Chloe."
She woke with a start and sat there blinking and flexing her numb feet. As she stumbled to her feet he held out a hand to her and she grabbed it to steady herself. He flinched and she released her grip, grabbing a crate with the other hand. He looked up at her with an unreadable expression and she smiled back down at him. He stood silently and they walked out together.
The next night she was waiting for him, curled on her side on the blanket, only half awake. Rush looked down at her for a moment then sat down next to her. She studied him for a moment before letting her eyes close again. The dark circles under his eyes were almost black. Chloe let herself drift asleep.
She woke gradually, aware of an odd sensation. She lay there for a moment, before realising Rush was stroking her hair, a glimpse through her eyelashes showing her he was still staring out into the darkness. She didn't move, the feeling as he absently stroked her hair was soporific and sleepily she turned her head into his hand. He stopped and looked down at her surprised as if he hadn't realised what he was doing. She blinked up at him sleepily, turned her head to press her cheek against his palm momentarily then snuggled down onto the blanket and closed her eyes again.
On the seventh night, Chloe padded up to Rush and sat down. She curled up next to him and lay her head in his lap. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him look down at her in surprise, but his hand came up to rest on her shoulder.
"You're here again." He said quietly. "Isn't Lieutenant Scott missing you."
"He's on late shifts on this duty roster." She replied, staring out at the dark across his knee. "For the next week as well."
There was a long silence.
"So you come here to... keep me company in my lonely vigil."
She shrugged, her shoulder moving against his thigh.
"Why are you here Chloe?"
She craned her head up to look at him, considering what to say.
"Ah don't worry," he said resignedly, "I know why you're here."
She frowned. "When was the last time you slept properly." She asked.
"I guess it's nightmares again," she said gently, "old ones and new ones."
He snorted again.
"So you come here and sit, until you can't stay awake any more."
Then he sighed. "Persistent, aren't you?"
She rolled onto her back and looked up at him. His hand shifted down to his thigh, resting against her upper arm.
"You can't go without sleep indefinitely." She told him.
He looked down at her. "I'm getting sleep."
"How much?" She asked pointedly.
"Well, what do you suggest?" He asked acidly.
She put her hand up let it rest over his. His brows furrowed and she pushed herself to sitting, holding out her arms.
"Platonic, entirely platonic." She said. "Trust me."
He glared at her suspiciously.
"You aren't the only one who still gets nightmares." She said.
She scooted up and put an arm round his shoulders. He tensed, and she rubbed the curve of his shoulder with her thumb. After a moment he relaxed into her. She leaned back into the crate and waited. Her eyes began to close and she slept.
She woke later, stiff, with a weight leaning on her. Rush was asleep leaning across her lap. Very carefully she slid out from underneath him, scooted around behind him and spooned up against him, throwing an arm over him. He mumbled, leaned back into her and settled again. Chloe closed her eyes and went to sleep.
"Dr Rush." The voice crackled from the radio. "Dr Rush, are you there? Dr Rush?"
They both woke with a start. Rush was laying on his back with his knees tented, Chloe on her side, squashed up between him and the crates, her knees tucked under his.
"Dr Rush?" More crackling.
Rush blinked at her, then grabbed the radio. "Yes Eli."
"We just dropped out of FTL."
"Doctor Rush, you're needed on the bridge." That was Young.
"Fine, I'll be there soon. Rush out."
He turned his head to look at her. She lifted her wrist and looked at her watch.
"Six straight hours."
He looked at her. "You win." He said. "Six straight hours."
She reached out and squeezed his hand.
"I'll be here all week." She said.