There were times when Eli was pretty sure the universe was out to get him. How could he not, when the cause of his first big moment of happiness in months had been taken away from him? Melodramatic, maybe, but it was pretty much the way he felt.
Ginn had been beautiful and sweet and funny and she'd been interested in him. Actually, legitimately interested in him. Okay, yeah, so she'd had to study his work, but that had led to her being interested in him so he hadn't really minded that part. Much. Well, he had but honestly, when you're stuck on a ship about a bazillion years from home, you get a little less picky and start to settle after a while.
Eli snorted at that thought, following it up with Oh God, I'm a bitter, cranky man now. I'm turning into Rush.
Talk about terrifying nightmares.
Before he could wallow any further into the pit of self-pity and despair, there was a sound at the door to alert him to the presence of someone on the other side. Wearily, he rose from his seat and went to answer the door.
"... Chloe, hey." He was more than a little surprised to see her, honestly. She'd been pretty much keeping to herself lately, not that he blamed her. The look on her face could only be described as tired and haunted. "What's up?"
"Thought maybe you'd like some company," she said softly. "And that maybe you shouldn't be alone right now."
"All I want to be right now is alone," Eli replied, even as he stepped back to let her into his quarters. "But... thanks, Chlo. It's... it's good to see you. Haven't seen you out and about much lately." At least, not when she wasn't completely unaware of it and then realizing she was completely not where she'd been the last time she was aware of being someplace.
Chloe shrugged one shoulder. "Haven't felt like being out much, between everything going on with me and... well, everything else."
And cue awkward silence!
Still in the middle of the awkward silence, Eli motioned for Chloe to make herself comfortable. "So..."
That about summed it up, really. They were friends, and there'd been a point where Eli had thought -- and maybe hoped -- that they could be more. But that hadn't come to pass. They weren't more. They weren't less, either. If he could talk to anybody about anything, he thought it might be her.
"It's not fair!"
The words came from him in a rush as he flopped back down into the spot he'd just been in.
"What's not?" Chloe asked quietly, patiently, even though she had a feeling she knew. She folded herself gracefully into a sitting position on the floor and looked at Eli, waiting for his answer.
"Ginn. I mean, everything was going so well... she was happy, she was contributing, she liked me... and now that's all gone." It was equal parts anger for himself because he'd lost her and equal parts anger on Ginn's behalf because she'd lost her life, damn it.
"Losing someone is never fair, Eli." Chloe was thinking about her father as she said it.
"I know, I know." Eli sighed, looked away for a moment, looked back. "It's just... even more unfair like this somehow. She barely had a chance at anything and now she'll never have a chance at anything."
Chloe wished she knew what to say. She wasn't sure about much of anything anymore, with the way she was changing and becoming... well, more and more not herself with every passing day. But Eli was her friend and she had to at least try. It was her last gift to him, in a way. She brushed her hair back out of her face and quirked a sad smile.
"Ginn was... special to you, Eli. You hadn't known her that long but she was still special to you. So I'm not going to diminish that by giving you some complete load of crap about how she's in a better place or how sometimes things are out of our control or anything like that. I'm just going to... be here, I guess. I may not know what to say, but I can certainly listen."
Eli couldn't help but smile a little at that, however sadly. Chloe was more and more disconnected lately, struggling so hard to cling to her humanity. She had to be terrified, not knowing how much time she had left as her before she became... something else entirely.
"I don't think I can talk about it more," he said. "But if I could... you're the one I would tell."
Chloe lowered her head slightly, fighting back tears. She was trying to do something for Eli, and he'd just done something for her instead. He'd just showed her that he still cared. She'd been worried about that, worried that people would start to be afraid of her and stop being her friend. Eli was proof to the contrary. (Sure, she had Matt, but he was her... well, her boyfriend, for lack of a better word. That was an entirely different set of problems and issues and troubles to deal with.)
"Okay," she said, looking up at him again with a tremulous smile. "You know where I am if you want to talk, though."
"Of course I do," Eli said, making a face at her that elicited a small giggle. "Not like you can get away."
"Hey, wait a minute, you're supposed to be..."
And that was when Chloe bounced to her feet, gave him a conspiratorial wink, and said, "This is where I try to sneak back to my quarters before anybody realizes I broke containment." She grinned and was out the door like a shot.
Eli would have offered to help, but he was too busy staring in shock. Chloe had been in a funk for God only knew how long about what was happening to her and she'd broken out of it long enough to try and give him some measure of comfort.
The attempt hadn't worked, but for Chloe...
For Chloe he would try to pretend that it had.