~Late at night when all the world is sleeping
I stay up and think of you
And I wish on a star that somewhere you are
Thinking of me too~
Scott stared out of the large window that made up half the wall of his quarters, one hand braced on the railing in front of him and an empty glass in the other. The mouthful of whiskey that had been in it now burned its way down his throat, and he let out a breath through his nose. It was the middle of the Tempest’s night cycle, and everyone else, with the possible exception of Kallo, Scott supposed, was sound asleep.
And weren’t they just lucky? thought Scott somewhat snidely as he kept his gaze leveled on the stars outside his window. None of them were being woken up in the middle of the night with dreams that were sometimes innocent and sometimes not-so-innocent about the chief engineer of the Tempest. Dreams that Scott found were happening more and more frequently.
Okay, that was an understatement. They were coming every night now. It was getting to the point where Scott had to be careful when he so much as closed his eyes. And the loss of sleep was starting to cause him to make stupid mistakes whenever he’d get into a fire fight while out on a mission. They weren’t terribly big mistakes, granted, but everyone was starting to notice. And the fact that other people were noticing things like him not watching his footing or missing an otherwise clear shot if he didn’t force himself to concentrate would only devolve into bigger problems that would cause someone on his team to get hurt.
Scott tore his eyes away from the view outside his window and cast a glance at the nearby table where several bottles of alcohol sat.
“Scott, I do not believe more alcohol will solve your current dilemma,” SAM said.
“No, but if I get drunk enough, it’ll make me pass out,” Scott argued.
“While that is a distinct possibility, I do not believe Engineer Brodie would be terribly pleased to introduce you to his friend while you’re nursing a hangover,” SAM pointed out.
“Damn,” Scott muttered under his breath. SAM was right, as usual. The Tempest was currently on course for Eos, and Gil had been contacted by his best friend, who wanted to meet the Pathfinder. They’d be landing first thing that morning. Aside from the fact that Scott had no desire to walk around under Eos’s blazing sun with a severe headache and nausea, he also had an appearance to keep up. If the Pathfinder himself were seen walking around suffering the after effects of a night of drinking, he’d wind up receiving several lectures from specific members of the Andromeda Initiative’s leadership that he really didn’t want to have.
And, as SAM said, Scott didn’t want to embarrass Gil like that. This meeting seemed to be important to Gil, and Scott found himself caring way more than he probably should about whether or not it went well.
Scott returned to the table full of booze, but only to set the glass down. He then returned to his vigil at his window. The ship was almost to the Pytheas system, but it would still be hours before they landed on Eos. Hours Scott should be spending asleep, since after his meeting with Gil’s friend Jill, he’d be taking Drack and Vetra with him to investigate a kett power station some miles out from Prodromos. A mission that could go horribly sideways if he didn’t resolve whatever was going on between himself and Gil soon.
“This has never happened to me before,” Scott murmured, slumping forward until his forehead met the transparent panels.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what has never happened to you before?” SAM asked.
The comment had been purely rhetorical, but Scott decided to answer SAM’s question anyway. Maybe talking about it would help, and he couldn’t bring himself to wake anyone else up at this hour. “Getting myself worked up over a guy,” Scott said.
“Are you perhaps referring to your relationship with Engineer Brodie?” SAM asked.
Scott huffed out an unamused laugh. “If you can call it a relationship, yeah. Actually, I don’t know what we are to one another. I mean, I’ve had them in the past, and I’ve flirted with my fair share of people, but it’s never been on this scale before.”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean I’ve never wanted it to actually mean something before. Like, it was all harmless and innocent fun when we first started doing it, but now…”
“…But now it’s not,” SAM finished.
“Not anymore, no,” Scott confirmed.
After a few seconds of silence, SAM spoke up again. “Scott, would I be correct in assuming you’ve developed feelings for Engineer Brodie?”
Scott let out another unamused laugh. “Feelings makes it sound like a crush,” he said.
“Is a ‘crush’ not what you are currently experiencing?” SAM asked, and Scott could have sworn the AI sounded mildly confused. Not that Scott could blame him if he actually was.
“This feels like more than just some crush, SAM,” Scott said. “This feels like…like…”
“Like?” the AI prompted gently.
“Like…” Scott paused and drew in a steadying breath. “Like…like it’s just so easy to be around him. Like, when we flirt with each other, it just comes so naturally. And not just the flirting, but just talking to him in general. I feel like I could tell him anything, and he would just get it.”
“An argument could be made that most of the crew, with the exception of Mr. Jath, feel the same way,” SAM said.
“Yeah, but this is more than that. When I’m not around him, I actually feel it. I feel like a part of me is missing.”
“That would make sense, given that your concentration and focus has been affected so much that the rest of the crew has noticed,” SAM said.
“Damn it, they really have, haven’t they?” Scott muttered, his eyes sliding closed. “I’m actually a bit surprised no one’s spoken up about it.”
“I feel I must inform you that Dr. T’Perro, Lieutenant Harper, and Lieutenant Ama Darav intend to speak with you about that very subject as soon as your return from Eos,” SAM said. “Specialist Kosta and Ms. B’Sayle are considering joining them.”
“Oh God, they’re actually planning an intervention over this?” Scott moaned, lifting his head from the pane so he could scrub a hand down his face. “Because that’s just what I need on top of everything else.”
“If it makes you feel better, Dr. Anwar and Ms. Nyx plan to do the same for Engineer Brodie,” SAM said. It did not in fact help that much, but Scott decided not to say anything. Mostly because he was hung up on the implication of what SAM hadn’t said. Was Gil honestly being affected by whatever was happening between the two of them as well?
“In any case, you were saying a part of you feels like it’s missing when you’re not in his presence?” SAM said steering Scott back to the topic at hand.
“Yeah,” Scott said. “And when I’m not, I worry about him. About whether he’s taken a break long enough to eat something or get some sleep. Or, if we’re at an outpost with a bar, is someone going to lose it when he cleans them out at poker and try to start a fight while I’m not there? Hell, what if the Tempest comes under attack while I’m out on a mission and something happens to him? Or what if it comes under attack while I am on board and something happens in engineering and I can’t get to him?”
“It would seem you care about his well-being to a degree you do not show to the rest of your crew,” SAM pointed out.
“I don’t, do I?” Scott said. “I don’t have these kinds of dreams about the rest of them, either. And I don’t get caught up thinking about how best to make any of them smile just because I like seeing them do it so much, nor do I feel like I could get lost just staring into their eyes, or—“
“If I may,” SAM interrupted, “what you are describing to me sounds very much like the emotions your father experienced when he spoke of your mother.”
“Yeah, well, they were so ridiculously in love with one another that he would do anythi—…shit,” Scott trailed off as the realization dawned on him. “I fell in love with him, didn’t I?”
SAM, thankfully, remained silent. He seemed to realize that Scott needed it, since it seemed like everything in his brain had come to a crashing halt.
But for what felt like the first time since they’d arrived in Andromeda, it was a good kind of crashing halt, like the kind he used to get when he’d be on the ocean on his surfboard and riding a massive wave back to shore. It was nothing but himself and the ocean and nothing else in the world seemed to matter except for the adrenaline rush and keeping his balance on the board.
Scott never wanted that feeling to go away, either.
At that thought, Scott laughed—a laugh that was all happiness and joy this time—and looked, really looked, as if he were seeing them for the first time, back out at the stars. They were almost in orbit of Eos now.
“While I offer my congratulations to you, Scott,” SAM said after a few minutes, “may I recommend you inform Engineer Brodie of your feelings for him sooner rather than later?”
“Don’t worry, SAM,” Scott said, turning away from the window and going back to his bed. “I have the feeling that by the time we’re done at that kett base, the ‘intervention’ won’t be necessary.”
~Wonder if you ever see me
And I wonder if you know I'm there
If you looked in my eyes
Would you see what's inside
Would you even care?~
Gil slumped on the counter in the galley, his chin resting on his crossed arms as he stared absently at the coffee pot in front of him. He guessed he managed to get a grand total of thirty minutes of sleep out of the six or so he had spent lying in his bunk with his eyes shut futilely before he gave up and decided to go to engineering and get something done down there. But he wasn’t going without a cup of coffee in hand.
He was hoping that at the very least, the caffeine buzz would take his mind off of the one man who had been occupying his thoughts at every waking moment recently. So much so that for once, it was a person and not work that kept him from getting any sleep.
“You know, you can stare at it all you want, but it’s never going to pour itself,” said the one person on the ship that Gil considered it a good day if he didn’t hear from him.
Gil didn’t bother turning around to face Kallo. “Thanks for the insight,” he bit out instead as he straightened up and filled up his coffee mug. “What are you doing in here, anyway? I didn’t realize robots were allowed to take breaks.”
“We’re in orbit of Eos and haven’t had anything to eat or drink in hours,” Kallo snapped. “What are you doing out of bed so early? Planning more ways to screw up the ship’s engines?”
“None of your business,” Gil snapped back as the refrigerator door opened and shut again. “And what makes you think I even went to bed?”
“Oh, great. You’re sleep deprived again. Everyone’ll love hearing that. Especially Lexi, who I’m sure will be more than happy to force some sedatives down your throat before you get us all killed,” Kallo said snidely.
Gil glared at him over the rim of his mug. “Trust me, if we do all die up here, it’ll be because of pilot error, not because I neglected the engines.”
Kallo glared back at him as he cracked open a bottle of some kind of salarian juice Gil couldn’t remember the name of. But the glare melted into suspicious curiosity as he got a good look at Gil’s face.
“What?” Gil growled out.
“What the hell is going on with you?” Kallo asked in answer.
“What in the bloody hell are you talking about?” If Gil wasn’t annoyed with Kallo before, he definitely was now.
“Please, I know you well enough by now to be able to tell you didn’t pull an all-nighter working. This is an ‘I-tried-to-go-to-bed-but-couldn’t-get-to-sleep’ look.”
“It’s none of your damn business,” Gil gritted out through clenched teeth. The only thing keeping him from throwing his coffee in Kallo’s face and then punching him in it was that it would be a waste of perfectly good coffee. Instead he took another sip of it.
“Wait, does this have anything to do with you taking Ryder to meet your BFF today?” Kallo said, still giving Gil that irritating look. Then a slow, sadistic smile curved over the salarian’s lips. “Are you actually nervous?!”
“I’m not discussing this with you of all people,” Gil snarled as he headed out of the galley and turned towards engineering.
Kallo only followed him. “You are nervous!” he practically crowed. “I can’t believe I’m actually seeing this! I should take a picture and send it to everyone!”
“You do and I’ll make sure they never find your body,” Gil muttered angrily.
“Oh, this is great! You’re actually nervous about introducing the Pathfinder to your friend! Though I have to say, I didn’t think your relationship with him had even gotten that far,” Kallo said gleefully.
That drew Gil to a stop in the middle of the corridor. “What relationship?”
“Uh, yours and Ryder’s?” Kallo shot him a droll look. “You know, for a species that seems obsessed with romance, it takes you an awfully long time to realize that you’re even in one.”
“Kallo, if all you’re going to do is talk nonsense, then you’re more than welcome to get the hell away from me,” Gil said, his glare at Kallo deepening. “And Ryder and I are not in a relationship.”
Kallo only met Gil’s glare with one of his own. “Oh, please, everyone on the ship’s noticed the way you two look at one another. And then there’s all of that disgusting flirting between the two of you, not to mention that depressed edge your tone took when you said you and Ryder weren’t in a relationship. It’s almost like you wished you were.”
Gil found that he had nothing to say to that. “So tell me I’m wrong,” Kallo said after a beat.
“I already said I’m not discussing this with you,” Gil said. He suddenly wasn’t in the mood for Kallo and his bullshit anymore.
“Alright, fine, but I will say this; one of you better make a move on the other one soon, before you find yourselves locked in a room together or something. Because the rest of us are getting tired of watching the two of you dance around your feelings for each other.” With that, Kallo turned around and headed back for the bridge.
Gil rolled his eyes and continued on for engineering. Once there, he locked the door behind him. He didn’t want to take the chance of Kallo deciding he had something else to point out.
Because, damn him straight to hell, Kallo was right. Gil was nervous about taking Scott to meet Jill.
What he couldn’t figure out was why exactly that was. Gil Brodie didn’t get nervous. He just leaped into things without giving himself time to think it over, much less giving himself time to be nervous about it.
Sighing, Gil leaned against a console and stared down at his coffee as if it held an answer for him. He supposed all of this started the day he met Scott right after he took command of the Tempest. The two of them had started flirting with one another almost immediately. And at first, it had all been in good fun.
But then Gil realized that he was beginning to mean the things he was saying to Scott. Things that he wanted to have happen between the two of them. The problem, thought, was that he didn’t know if Scott meant them back. Gil was coming to realize that he hoped he did.
He was also coming to realize that he was actually trying to think this through first. Jill was like a sister to him, and didn’t one usually introduce someone they were serious about to their family first?
That thought had a smile spreading over his face. He was serious about Scott, wasn’t he? He would even go so far as to say he was very serious about Scott. He might even be—
No. He couldn’t go that far. Not yet, anyway. Besides, what if Scott didn’t feel the same way about him? What if Scott only saw their flirting as nothing more than that? What if—
Gil derailed that train of thought by swallowing down half of his coffee, scalding his throat in the process. That damn Kallo was right again. One of them needed to make a move on the other one, and soon.
So that’s what he’d do. As soon as Scott met him in Prodromos, he’d put it out there, no looking back. After all, he did need to know how he should introduce the Pathfinder to his best friend.
~Late at night when all the world is sleeping
I stay up and think of you
And I still can't believe
That you came up to me and said I love you~
Gil had no idea what made him wake up. He wanted to curse up a storm at whatever it was, because he was in the middle of the best sleep he’d had in a long time.
Then there was the second of mild confusion as his brain tried to catch up to what was going on. He was in an unfamiliar bed, his head pillowed on a muscular chest, a heart beating steadily under his ear.
Ah, that’s right. He was in bed with Scott.
And a few hours ago, they had had the best sex Gil had ever had in his entire life.
A lazy smile pulled at Gil’s lips as he remembered: the heavy make-out they’d been in the middle of before Scott had thrown himself onto his bed and told Gil to join him, Gil pausing—pausing, of all things—as he realized right then and there what exactly this feeling he had for Scott even was, and Gil immediately needing to lay his heart bare.
Gil’s eyes cracked open and he glanced up at the still-sleeping Scott. He could swear there was a trace of a smile on Scott’s lips. Moving slowly so he didn’t wake Scott up, he pulled his arm free from where it was wedged between the two of them and shifted until his fist was resting against his cheek, propping himself up as he watched Scott sleep.
And then came the memory of finding out Scott felt the same way he did. Gil would have cheered, except that was when their lips crashed together and hands started moving everywhere, and the two of them were lost to each other.
But the best part had been afterwards, when Gil had asked if using that word would be inappropriate at this point. Turned out it hadn’t been, and Scott had been the one to say it first. Gil would have cheered again, had he not been sliding into post-coital drowsiness.
Gil smoothed a stray lock of hair back from Scott’s forehead. He stirred in response only enough to turn his face towards Gil’s hand before settling back down. Gently, Gil lay back down and put an arm around Scott, who in turn shifted closer to Gil and curled into him. He couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face. He felt like the luckiest man alive right now.
“I love you, Scott,” he murmured softly. This time, he was certain he wasn’t imagining the smile on Scott’s beautiful face. Gil sank back down into slumber with that image still in his mind.