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Destiny's giant engines buzzed and whirred as the mysterious ship flew through space just like it had for so many centuries, lights switched on illuminating the long hallways and breathing life back into the bridge. The gate stood proud knowing it would soon be called into action once again and air began to circulate the vessel making it livable. Delicate rays of FTL light flickered past portholes in wisps of green, purple and blue almost like an artist who hadn't quite decided what to pain. All had rested in a quietude but that time was over and it was once again time for Destiny and its crew to live, to venture forth.

Three years and seventeen days, that was how long it took for the Destiny crew to wake up, a few of them anyway. Only the main crew. Rush's pod was the first to open followed by TJ's and then Young's, Chloe and the others followed but in an unknown order since Doctor Rush, TJ and the Colonel had already turned their attention to Eli's pod. He still stood there frozen just as they'd been, the large ovular metal rings casting an almost eerie shadow on Eli's chest. Tools and notes lay scattered about where he'd worked to fix the stasis chamber and Rush nearly fell over a screwdriver on his way to Eli's control panel, in seconds Chloe was at his side looking up at her best friend with worry; Rush easily registered her silent question, is Eli okay? A neon pink post-it note had been stuck to the panel with Eli's child-like chicken scratch scrawled on it – Rush was getting him handwriting lessons if it was the last thing he did, for Gods sake his had been better while going through nicotine and caffeine withdrawal on two hours of sleep – after a moment of decoding he figured out what the note said. Don't try to open the pod until you see the kino footage. There was a smiley face on the end. Rush glanced around but Young who had read the note over his shoulder had already grabbed it from the floor, everyone in the room listened intently to their crew mates words.

Hey guys, as you can see I got the pod working so em, go me! There is a bit of a problem though, I can't get out again. I was running out of time and air so I had to hope that you'd all wake up and find a way to get me out, who am I kidding I need Rush. Rush, you'd better get me out of this ice box. All my notes are left on the floor, I wrote down everything I did and sorry but I kind of used up the last of the paper, as far as I can tell I got the system working but the timer didn't activate so it won't unfreeze me like the rest of you and the reanimation is still shot so even if the timer worked I still wouldn't wake up. I have faith in you, even you Rush, you're a difficult man to get on with but there's no denying you're a genius. If em, if you can't wake me up there's another kino in my room with messages for you guys. I didn't want to do it after this recording because I didn't want to cry and spend who knows how many years with frozen tears on my face. Hopefully I'll see you all soon.

The footage ended and a blanket of silence was cast over the crew, Chloe reached out a hand and pressed it to the cold glass of Eli's pod, Matt instantly rested his hands on her shoulders in a sign of comfort. No one wanted to lose Eli, he was their friend and if something happened to Rush he knew Eli was the ship's and the crew's only chance. The moment of quiet stretched on, but then that moment ended and Young snapped back into action, they couldn't stand there forever.

Only a the people in that one room had woken, everyone up at the same time would have been chaos. Rush had already set off back to work scribbling in his notebook as he went – seemed Rush still had a little paper left - while Chloe remained at Eli's side with that same look of worry decorating her delicate features. TJ and Greer had helped Park off towards the infirmary taking each step slowly, Varro offered to carry her but Park had quickly refused. Young pulled Scott and Greer out to the hallway leaving Chloe alone with her frozen friend.

“Scott, I want you to select military personnel to remove from stasis and Greer wake Camile up so she do the same for the scientists and civilians. I want this to remain equal rather than looking like there's pressure on the others, we've only just woken up and I don't want problems. Have Camile ask Rush who he needs.”

“Of course Sir, keeping a balance is good.” Said Greer. “Don't want problems straight off the bat.”

Young could do without any major issued until at least a day out of stasis, he needed time to get his head on straight, to them it had only been a few seconds since the doors closed but who knew how long it had really been.

“I'm going to check in with SGC or at least try.”

A short time later Camile had been roused along with Brody, Volker, James, Corporal Barnes and Airman Becker as well as a few civilians. Brody and Volker had been dragged to work after less than a second of consciousness much to their dismay. Up on the bridge Rush and Volker went over as many systems as they could as quickly as they could while Brody had been sent to the control interface room and had already started relaying bits of information. Rush worked mostly in silence locked in his own brain as usual completely unaware Dale Volker had been talking to him for at least two minutes, he's not been saying anything important though, not in Rush's eyes anyway. Destiny seemed to be just as they'd left her, she'd recharged along the way and as far as he could tell wouldn't have to do so again for at least a month; everything had gone to plan. Everything except Eli, but Nicholas knew he could fix that given enough time; of course he could he was Doctor Nicholas Rush after all. It felt good to be back at work, almost the second he'd stepped out of the stasis pod he'd felt his calloused fingers itching to return to what he did best.

“Rush!”

Volker's shout was finally enough to drag the grumpy Scotsman out of his own little world and back to the bridge and reality.

“What?” He asked through gritted teeth.

“There's something on the ship, not that I've already said that eighteen times.”

Rush frowned in confusion before walking over to Volker's terminal practically shoving the taller blonde man out the way.

It could be another one of those trackers the blue aliens left.” Volker continued. “It's not like they haven't done it before without us noticing, they could have done it before Destiny made the jump to this galaxy.”

“Possibly.” Rush said without looking up from the screen. “But this seems smaller than the tracker ship they attached to us, and it seems there's been no attempt to prevent us detecting it.” Nicholas reached for his radio, pulling it from the console and raising it to his mouth. “Young come in this is Rush.”

There was a short pause and then the radio crackled to life.

This is Young, what's the problem Rush? I was about to use the stones.”

“It seems we have a tag along. Volker found something clinging to the hull and form the scans we're not to sure what it is, it's tiny but it's there.”

I'll have Scott take the shuttle out. If it's one of those bloody trackers I'll have him destroy it like the last one.”

Rush couldn't help but notice Young's approach just seemed to be fire enough bullets and hope the issue went away, still if it was a tracker blowing it up was probably their best option.

It took almost half an hour for Matt to get the shuttle to the location Rush had sent him, the parasite clinging to them had tucked itself up in an area that was rather hard to access thanks to the raised guns flanking it . Greer went with him as usual while Rush helped guide him from the bridge, he'd been expecting the worst when Young had informed him of what Volker had descovered, everything they'd gone through to flee the blue aliens and yet there they were still following, still determined to get Destiny and kill them all. However, when the craft came into view he and Greer shared a look of confusion, it definitely wasn't part of Destiny but it didn't look like anything the blue aliens had ever used before, not that they could know that for certain, it was an almost perfect sphere made of a white-grey metal and had stuck itself to a section of the hull that lay in an unexplored part of the ship. It looked nothing like a Nakai fighter and a little pang of thorny concern settled in the bellies of Scott and Greer.

“Sir, Rush was right...” The as usual was implied. “... this isn't from the blue aliens, unless they went through one hell of a makeover. It's tiny, like a mini cooper.”

Young's voice drifted through the comms.

Doesn't matter, we can't risk them or another species stalking this ship. We only just made it away form the blue aliens. Destroy it please, Lieutenant Scott.”

Scott knew he didn't have much choice and that was how he found himself preparing to fire on the strange craft. The shuttle fired but there was no explosion as Scott and Greer had expected, instead the blast bounced off into space leaving the sphere intact.

“Sir, this thing had a shield.” He fired again but the direct shot did nothing. “The shuttle can't penetrate the shield.”

Back at the bridge Colonel Young turned to Rush with a frown as though it was somehow his fault.

“Can we use the ships weapon systems yet?” The question came out quickly.

“I wouldn't risk it with so many still in stasis, we haven't gone over the weapons system yet and it could pose a risk to the sleeping crew since it will drain power.” He paused for a moment and stood staring off into nothingness before snapping back and continuing. “That section of the hull shares a wall with a part of the ship we don't go into or use, we could open up the wall and see if we can disable the shield from inside. Brody found what looked like mining equipment shortly before we all went into stasis, we could use that.”

“Wouldn't we just find the same problem?” Asked Young. Rush opened his mouth to answer but Brody got there first.

“No, its shield won't go all the way round in a bubble like Destiny's does, it will be more like a dome, from the inside we should completely bypass it.”

Young took in the information slowly thinking it over as though he had more than that one option then nodded to himself.

“Alright, that's what we do.” He lifted his radio to his lips. “Scott, Greer, bring the shuttle back in we have a new tactic.”

 

XXXX

 

It had taken the better part of the afternoon getting through the thick metal to Destiny's parasite, Young had finally gone to use the stones and everyone had been relieved to find out SGC had waited for them. The crew had felt a weight lifted from their shoulders and found the ability to breath easily had returned to them. Camile had already started working on a rota for people to return to Earth and see their families, three years was a long time. She thought it best for those with children to go first.

Rush, Greer and Matt had slipped on their bulky gold-copper colored space suits in an effort to avoid accidentally drilling a hole in the side of the ship and killing themselves but after less than five minutes the grumpy Scotsman wanted to tare it off. A few hours Rush had endured enough, he was beginning to think drilling was pointless when finally, finally, Matt let out a loud we're through! Sections of the strange white-grey sphere came away at the hands of Matt and Greer while Rush monitored for any indication of the hull losing integrity. The metal was strange and smooth like a stone a the bottom of a river, what looked like rubber tubes started to appear from the hole they'd drilled and some kind of gelatin goo that was a cross between milk white and green seeped out, it didn't look like something found inside a tracker. Matt managed to clear away enough to stick his head into the hole and get a better look at the craft but instead of calm movements they got quick jerks and a look of both shock and horror. Scott screamed into his radio.

“TJ get down here now!”

“What the hell, man?” Greer asked in puzzlement but Matt didn't answer he just kept yelling for TJ. “What is it?” He asked again but still got no reply.

Greer wasn't just going to sit there by a massive hole in the floor, he pushed Lieutenant Scott out the way and crammed his own head into the hole they'd drilled, it was reasonably sized if needed he could have squeezed through. When it came up his face was filled with utter bewilderment. Rush had grown impatient the two military men looked like they'd seen a ghost.

“Well?” Rush demanded.

“... It's a little girl.”

Chapter Text

Greer shredded his heavy suit as though he were on fire and carefully extracted the little girl from the strange craft that Rush was starting to think of more as a lifeboat than anything else, she was naked and pale with long ebony hair that hung in loose damp curls down her back to just below her scapulas; she was entirely covered in a strange almost translucent white-green goo. Her body hung limp in the soldiers arms as he wrapped her in his BDU jacket and bolted down the halls towards the infirmary, half way he ran into TJ who gasped at the sight of her, how was any of this possible? That was the question Rush had wandered off to the bridge to answer, he'd have Volker get samples of the goo while he and Brody attempted to figure out just what the hell that sphere really was; it also meant Rush wouldn't have to put up with Dale Volker for a while. Lieutenant Scott wanted to remained to start sealing the huge hole he'd drilled into Destiny's hull but knowing Rush would throw a tantrum he decided it best just to watch the doctor like a hawk instead, he was still trying to process what they'd just seen.

As soon as TJ had the girl laying in a bed she checked her pulse and breathing, over her face was some kind black mask that jutted out at odd angles and covered her mouth and nose, TJ carefully removed it finding it attached to a long clear tube but the little girl didn't stir as it came up her throat. Not wanting her to get cold she had Greer start wiping away the strange gelatinous ooze that coated her skin with a tiny blue towel, he would have found it awkward what with her being an unconscious and very naked child but he was it too much shock to process that properly.

Hours passed by and Doctor Johansen's tests went on for a while. Greer kept having for force puzzled eyebrows down as he watched TJ check over the young girl, maybe they were still in stasis and this was all a dream? That had to be the only explanation, the only one that made sense anyway. Since Rush had trapped them aboard Destiny Ronald Greer had seen some pretty strange crap but a naked kid covered in strange gel and stuck in a tiny pod in the middle of space rocketed to the top of the list.

The blonde medic found no scars, cuts or bruises on the child every inch of flesh was pale and smooth, her deep honey chocolate eyes reacted normally under light though didn't focus on anything, her heart beat steadily in her chest and her breathing was gentle and rhythmic like a calm stream in the middle of the woods; tranquil. Truth be told Tamara could find absolutely nothing wrong with her save for being a little dehydrated but so was everyone else on Destiny.

Tamara looked down at her with a soft smile remembering Carmen, the blonde had hoped her daughter would have grown up as beautiful as this little angel asleep before her but alas that was never to happen. The little girl's skin was snow white like something out of a fairytale and her hair felt like silk - damp silk thanks to the goo but silk nevertheless, TJ gripped her little hand and squeezed in a sign of comfort that did more for her than the still unconscious child.

“Is she going to be alright?” Greer finally asked, he acted all tough but on the inside he cared for every single person on the ship; even Rush though he'd never admit to that.

“I think so, I can't find anything wrong with her apart from the fact she's here.”

“So she is... human?”

TJ locked her baby blue eyes down on the brunette little girl with a soft smile.

“As far as I can tell yes she is.” She glanced up to Greer. “Which should be impossible this deep into space, we're the only humans here and she didn't come with us or the Lucian Alliance. So how did a seven or eight year old girl get here?”

“Doc, I have got no idea. That's the nerds department.”

 

XXXX

 

A full day went by and Command was not happy to find the strange sphere had contained a young girl, many ideas for how she got there had flown about but none of them really connected all the dots. General O'Neill had wondered if it was another Cassandra but he kept that thought to himself. Greer had been assigned to watch the little brunette and Young had grilled Tamara about everything she'd found out about the girl, which was little to nothing.

In the early morning Chloe stopped by asking if there was anything she could do to help, she needed something to take her mind off of Eli but with the child asleep and only a fraction of the crew awake there was nothing for her to do. TJ felt sorry for Chloe, she could see all the worry building under her skin, Eli was her best friend and if they lost him she would break. Chloe had kept an eye on the sleeping angel for a while so TJ could give physicals to all the conscious crew – of course a certain Scot didn't show up – and then wandered off to the blackboard corridor in search of Rush hoping he'd have something for her to do. What was the point of having all that knowledge locked up in her brain if she didn't use it? People still looked at her strangely, like she'd suddenly go all alien again, at first Chloe had ignored those little looks since she could hardly blame the crew for their concern but after a while the sideways glances just became painful. Especially when they came from Matt, she felt like he didn't trust her at times, Rush though, he was the only one to look past it. He'd made her feel helpful, feel normal. 

Come the afternoon and Sargent Greer was ready to die of boredom, the girl just slept and he had other things he could have been doing like helping Scott to close up the hole they'd drilled or performing a full sweep of Destiny to make sure there weren't more little girls wandering around, this wasn't Bioshock! His dark eyes glanced up to Tamara who was doing inventory quietly over in the corner before back at the child... honey brown eyes were watching him with fear.

“Em, Doc.” He pointed to the girl not knowing what else to say.

TJ spun around to see the little girl had finally woken, her breathing bordered on hyperventilating and her tiny body had started to curl into a ball. Greer stepped back a little knowing he scared her but he remained vigilant, she may have looked like a normal human child but looks could be deceiving. If this girl went feral he'd not let her hurt TJ or anyone else.

The child's chocolate orbs darted around the room sporadically searching for escape but a tall man with mocha skin stood too close for her to go running. The woman raised her hands up in an non-threatening manner that did little to comfort the girl, her body only grew more tense as thick ebony curls shrouded her face in a thick cloak.

“Hey, it's alright Sweety.” Tamara began softly. “No one is going to hurt you, okay?” The girl gave no answer and for the first time the blonde wondered if she even knew how to speak. “I'm Tamara, but you can call me TJ. This is Greer.” She gestured to the man a few feet behind her, still the seven-year old found no comfort in Tamara's words.

While TJ continued to calm her down Greer slowly reached for his radio hoping that Colonel Young had returned from SGC.

“Em Colonel Young?” There was a crackle before Young responded with a go ahead. “Sir this is Greer, the girl woke up

I'll be right there Sargent? Young out.

Yes Sir.

Greer turned his attention back to TJ and the brown eyed ankle-biter.

“You're alright Sweetheart, you're safe.” She'd managed to get a few steps closer but their new found mystery still looked like a cat ready to scatter.

“Are you sure she can understand us?” Questioned Greer but Tamara paid no attention.

The small brunette shuffled back trying to become invisible, clearly TJ wasn't getting through to her. Suddenly Colonel Young entered the infirmary with quick steps and Camile trailed behind him. That was far too many people in the room and the little girl fled to the corner on the other side of the room, she didn't know or trust these people; would they hurt her?

“Command isn't happy about her but since we can't get rid of her they want to know what she is and to be honest I want the same.” Said Young completely uncaring that the small brunette could hear every word.

“What is her name?” Camile ignored Young instead asking her own question.

“I still don't know.” Came TJ's quick response. “She just woke up and she's scared."

“Can you really blame her?”

Everyone watched as Camile calmly and slowly approached their new shipmate crouching down a few feet away and offering a smile.

“You shouldn't get too close.” Greer's warning went unheard.

“Hey there Angel. I'm Camile, can you tell me your name?” The child didn't respond, just continued to stare with horrified but beautiful honey chocolate eyes that somehow seemed familiar. “Alright, you don't have to speak right away.”

“Does she even know how?” Young interrupted in a gruff tone and Tamara answered.

“Greer asked the same thing. As far as I can tell she has the ability but she's not said a word yet. It could be she doesn't understand English.”

Camile turned her head to look at the other three still stood on the far side of the room, when she spoke it was calm and quiet to avoid scaring the girl any more than they already had.

“What exactly happened yesterday? Greer you were there.”

“The shuttle couldn't get through the pod things shield so we drilled through the hull and got to it from the inside. When Scott broke bits of it off all this weird ooze came out and then her.” He gestured with his left hand to the child while the right rested on the stock of his weapon. “You know the rest. I brought her here and Scott stayed behind to keep an eye on Rush.”

“R... Rush.”

All eyes turned to the child, her voice had been quiet and gravely from lack of use but they'd all heard it. Her eyes were still full of fear so Camile offered a reassuring smile, not that it did anything.

“So she can speak.” Young seemed pleased with that, he could get information from her that way.

“Okay.” Camile grinned. “Were getting somewhere. But you're all scaring her so everyone out, except TJ"

“I'll report this to General O'Neill and see what he thinks but Greer stays, someone has to watch her. Just because she looks human doesn't mean she is. I don't trust her.” Young looked up at Greer and spoke plainly. “You know what to do if the situation calls for it.”

“She's a child!” The blonde medic objected quickly, her mothering instincts kicking in full force.

“That remains to be confirmed. She would have to go and choose Rush's name, it makes me trust her even less.”

That was the moment Nicholas Rush decided to make an appearance, he'd come in search of anything he could use as a petri dish for the odd goo they'd found but hearing Young complain about him was always amusing.

“I heard my name, what evil could I have possibly caused n-” Suddenly the child cut him off.

“Daddy!”

The girl with ebony hair bolted passed Camile only just dodging her and straight into Rush's arms almost knocking him over with the force of her impact, she clung to him with a grip that would take a crowbar to break. The air turned cold as everybody in the room stared at them, this was the very last thing anyone had expected. Greer's eyebrows had shot up so high that they'd vanished into his hairline and Young was growing more suspicious as the seconds ticked on. Rush regained his ability to speak first.

“Okay, I think you're mistaken little girl.” He tried to sound gentle but he came out more angry than he'd wanted.

“Daddy!” She cried again refusing to release her grip on his waist, her smile pressed into his stomach.

“Rush what did you do?!” Young growled.

“Nothing. I think I'd know if I had a daughter. I don't.” He shot back quickly.

“Well she seems pretty convinced.” Camile mumbled to herself.

“And you can't deny she kind of has your eyes now I think about it.” Added TJ absent-mindedly.

“Alright, get off now please.”

Rush did his best to wriggle out of her vice like grip but the girl wasn't having it, she was more stubborn than the chief scientist himself. Though he wasn't happy to have some kind of alien kid on the ship Greer did find Rush's reaction rather amusing.

“I want to stay with you Daddy.”

The child's voice was timid and still groggy from sleep but there was no denying her little voice was beautiful, almost like a celestial spirit had bestowed it upon her. Camile thought about the strange situation for a long moment – because strange was the only word for it – until she eventually decided on a course of action.

“Rush, if she's with you she may talk more. We could figure out where she came from.”

“She's just told us, Rush.” Greer tried to jest but no one was listening to his stupid comments in that moment.

“No. I have things to do, not play happy families with her.” He signed and let his eyes fall to the little girl still clinging to him for dear life. “Please get off me.”

“I'm frightened Daddy.” She mumbled into his stomach, Rush would be lying if he said he didn't know how she felt.

“Fine!” He growled through gritted teeth. “But if we have to do this can we do it on the bridge so I can work.” It wasn't a question, more of a demand.

“We should stay here-” Camile tried to say but Rush cut her off.

“No, it's the bridge or you can cope with her on your own.”

The dark-haired woman nodded knowing there was no winning with Rush.

“Camile try to get everything you can out of her. Greer don't let that girl out of your sight. I'll be using the stones to inform General O'Neill that she's awake.”

Everett turned to leave but was stopped halfway out the door by TJ, she pushed a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear.

“Sir, could you arrange for a pediatrician?”

A pediatrician was probably a good idea, Young nodded to the medic and then vanished down the long halls and out of sight.

“Can we get this over with please?” Rush bit out.

He tried to get the girl off so he could walk but as soon as he did she threw her arms up in the air in a silent demand to be picked up, at first he thought about refusing but when he saw the longing in her eyes and Nicholas found himself relenting before lifting her up. His arms supported her gently and found the child to be rather a lot lighter than he'd expected but he wouldn't complain, she snaked her little arms around his neck and her legs dangled down either of his flanks; her head rested on the space where his neck met his shoulder. He was suddenly thankful to Greer who'd put his BDU jacket on her because what he could feel of her skin was ice cold and shivering. Rush could feel her smile against his neck and he found himself wondering if this was what it felt like to be comforted by a parent. Rush's mother had died when he was young and he regrettably remembered little about her, as for his father, the man had done his best but with the hours he worked at the shipyard back in Glasgow Nicholas had never really gotten much parental attention.

Nicholas silenced his mind as he carried the girl down the long dark metal hallways towards the bridge with Camile trailing only a few steps behind him. Hardly anyone had been roused from their stasis chambers yet but those who had found it hard not to stand and stare as their grumpy chief scientist carried a possibly homicidal child through the ship, some even giggled. Half way to the bridge Camile's voice filled his ears.

“We really should have stayed in the infirmary.”

Rush stopped dead and turned, the little girl still clinging tightly to him.

“Look if you want me here for this little chat of yours we do it on the bridge where I can still work.”

“Great parenting there Nick.” She muttered more to herself than anyone else but Rush still heard her, his eyesight may have betrayed him at the age of thirty-five but his hearing certainly hadn't.

“She's not mine.”

If he hadn't been in such a foul mood Nicholas would have noticed how the child tensed in his arms and gripped his green t-shirt tighter. On the bridge they found Volker and Brody working away with grins on their faces as though one had just told the other a joke of some kind. In all honesty Rush needed Doctor Park back but unless her eyes healed that wasn't going to happen and Chloe was more than capable to assist him; she'd even asked Rush to teach her Ancient. I suppose we can still bounce ideas off Park . Poor girl, first Simeon had strapped a bomb to her back and now she may never see again, at least she had Greer.

Nicholas set the seven year old down gently before sitting himself in the command chair and pulling some of Volkers notes from the chairs arm and started to read them; turned out most of the scientists had paper stashed away. The little girl with ebony hair looked around the room with utter awe, the bridge wasn't like the rest of Destiny, it has personality to it and was far from the boring black of the infirmary; she liked it. Camile moved closer to the kid with every intention of crouching down to her level and offering comfort but before she could take a step the little angel was clambering into the lap of a rather stunned Nicholas Rush and settling herself happily. Volker and Brody grinned wider than they thought possible.

“I don't remember telling you to stop working.” Rush sneered frightening them back to work.

“Daddy.” The child grinned and cuddled herself into his chest.

Brody snorted while Volker managed to refrain from making Daddy jokes. Camile leaned down so she could meet the child's honey chocolate eyes and smiled softly, it seemed all fear had drained away from her the second she'd seen Rush, which was unusual considering the reactions people normally had around the chief scientist.

I think it's obvious she feels safe with you.”

You don't say?” Rush's voice dripped with sarcasm but he didn't look up from Dale Volker's notes. “Why did she have to choose me?”

“Kids are like cats, they know who doesn't like them.” Said Volker answering Rush's rhetorical question.

“Thank you for that apt description. If you would give your work the same attention-” Nicholas left the statement open and the blonde begrudgingly went back to work.

Silence passed for a short time that was somewhere between five and ten minutes, Camile wanted the new arrival to be comfortable with her surroundings before she started asking any more questions, that and she was enjoying the look on Rush's face; not that she'd ever admit to that. When her little chocolate brown eyes had finished darting back and forth she deemed it the right moment to start talking to her.

“Is it alright if we have a little chat?” She asked softly, she was pleased when the girl nodded. “Okay, let's start easy. How old are you?”

There was a pause and Rush found his attention drifting from Volker's scrawled notes to the child sat in his lap, she took his arm void of paper from the chair rest and wrapped it around her almost like a blanket.

“I... I don't know.” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“You don't know?” Camile questioned with incredulity which only earned her a head shake. The dark-haired woman decided to move onto another question rather than risking upsetting her and getting nothing at all. “Okay, how about your name can you tell me that? Like I said earlier I'm Camile, over there is Dale and Adam.” She pointed to the other two scientists. “And you know who Nick is.”

The brunette looked up to Rush who shot her an expectant look but the girl's beautiful eyes grew sad.

“I don't know.”

“How can you not know, Sweetheart? Surely you've got one?” Camile tried to keep her tone as gentle as possible.

“Mommy and Daddy never gave me one.” The girl sounded as though she could cry.

It was becoming quickly apparent that Camile was getting nowhere with the girl and she started to grow frustrated, she didn't specialise with children because children had never really liked her, there had been the odd few she got on well with but for the most part she didn't do well with kids.

“Where is your Mommy? Did she come from Earth?”

“Uh-huh.” Uh-huh was probably the best answer Camile had gotten since the girl had woken up. “Like Daddy.”

Rush tried desperately to ignore the little girl sat in his lap with eyes he couldn't deny matched his own. Sure he liked kids but he'd never expected to be a father. He was brilliant: always thinking, always analyzing, always utterly pragmatic but never had he believed himself to be father material.

“How did you get here from Earth then, Sweetheart?”

Didn't.” She muttered, her voice grew timid and she hugged Rush's arm tighter around herself. “There were... bad things.”

Tears started to drip down her cheeks and then the damn burst and she buried her pale face into Nicholas' neck crying loudly letting tot tears soak his two shirts.

“Daddy.”

Rush sighed and snaked his arms around the girl to hold her close, he knew it was the only way to get her to stop crying but the action still surprised him a little.

“Look,” He began grabbing Camile's attention. “I know you're trying to get answers from her and believe me I want them too but do you really think this interrogation is a good idea? She's only just woken up in a strange place and looks to be about seven.”

Camile sighed and stood up straight.

“You're right Rush, Young wants answers but you're right this isn't good for her.”

Soon the girls sobs had turned to little hiccups, she played with the strap of his watch and Rush wiped the wetness from his neck with his palm. The girl looked so small in that moment curled up against his chest and Rush tried to deny he enjoyed the feeling of being needed, he had no idea who she really was but she made him feel something he'd long forgotten about.

“Come on, Sweetheart.” Camile held her hand out for the child to take. “Let's go and get you something to eat, you'll feel better.”

Honey chocolate eyes flashed up to meet a matching pair.

“Daddy, can I?” She asked while pushing away the last of her sniffles.

“Hmm? Oh, yeah you can go with Camile.” He'd not though she'd actually ask for permission and if she went with Camile he could get back to work.

His so-called daughter slipped from his lap and timidly took Camile's outstretched hand, she looked to be in two minds as to whether she should leave Rush or not but he said it was okay and Daddy knew best. Daddy's smart her little mind muttered.

Brody opened his mouth but Rush got there first with a voice like thunder.

“Not a word!”

The engineer held up his hands in a sign of surrender then turned back to his terminal giving Rush the utter silence he wanted.

Some time later Chloe finally appeared on the bridge, she knew sitting by Eli's side forever wouldn't help free him. There was a laptop in her hands, Park's laptop. She'd asked Lisa if she could go through the information she had on the stasis chambers in an attempt to help her frozen friend but it had yielded no result.

“I hear the little girl is awake. TJ says you became a father.”

So far he'd gotten suspicious accusations and teasing comments about the new arrival but Chloe sounded more curious than anything else; not a single note of sarcasm could be detected in her silky voice. Rush didn't much like people but Chloe was his exception, she was kind and actually tried to befriend him, of everyone on the ship she was the only person he would call friend. Since she'd been kidnapped by the 'blue aliens' Chloe's intelligence had grown from above average to genius – or crazy clever as Lieutenant Scott would put it, how Chloe would choose someone so dense was beyond Rush – like his own and that had helped her to understand him better than everyone else aboard. In his own way he cared for Chloe, and he couldn't deny just how beautiful she was, but he'd never admit to any of that.

“Seems that way. Have you seen her yet? She's in the mess hall with Camile.”

“No not yet, I've been in my quarters looking at the notes on Doctor Park's laptop about the stasis pods. I hoped there would be something to help free Eli but there's nothing, I learnt a lot though.” Chloe set the laptop down over by Volker before turning to face the chief scientist. “I saw her the other day when TJ was doing check ups – you still haven't been for yours by the way – she was so beautiful. Kids always are when they sleep. I'd have thought she'd have latched onto Young or Matt though or maybe TJ as her Mom-” Rush cut her off abruptly.

“Yes, thank you very much Miss Armstrong. We all know I'm the last person anyone would want as a Father.” He shot to his feet. “I'll be in the blackboard corridor.”

That wasn't what I meant Chloe's mind muttered as she, Volker and Brody watched Rush stomp away from the bridge.

Chapter Text

Young stood in the gate room, it was quiet and that was just how he liked it though soon everyone would be awake and everyday life aboard Destiny would start anew; except for that girl of course. The Colonel ran a large hand through his scruffy hair and it came away a little greasy, oh how he longed for a real shower and not the vapour stand in that Eli had found, to Everett that was more like standing in humidity and sweating; certainly nothing like a calm relaxing shower. He'd kill for new clothes as well, especially socks and a pair of boxers; at this point he didn't care if they were neon pink and had little hearts on them. His stomach rumbled and he knew he'd have to go to the mess hall at some point in the near future. Maybe Destiny would drop out of FTL and give them a planet covered in deer-like or cow-like animals and Greer could finally get everybody that barbecue he was always going on about, no one was going to turn down a stake especially not him.

Young turned his mind away from thoughts of luxury and back to his crew, everyone was alive and safe – except for Eli – and Young hoped it remained that way. He looked up to the gate wishing he could just dial Earth and take everyone home but unfortunately that wasn't possible and they just had to make do with the cards they'd been dealt.

Adam Brody had gotten Hydroponics up and running again so there was enough food and he hoped to have the still working by the end of the day and then they'd have the option of a night cap again. Young missed beer.

Finally Camile appeared walking towards him down the hallway towards the gate room, he stood silent waiting until she came to a halt by the staircase on the right hand side of the room.

“There you are. What have you learnt about the girl?” He asked quickly getting right to the point, no good morning Camile just straight to the questions.

Camile cleared her throat before answering his questions.

“She's with TJ at the moment.” Said the dark-haired woman. “We already know she can speak so there's no language barrier. TJ estimates her to be about seven or eight years old, but when I asked her she told me she didn't know her age.”

“How is that even possible?” The Coronal asked in a bewildered tone.

“I'm not sure.” Camile responded honestly. “I didn't push her though, if I had she may have shut down and stopped talking all together. I'm not a child therapist. She gave the same response when I asked her name. I quote, Mommy and Daddy never gave me one.”

“And Daddy is Rush or someone else?”

She just had to choose Rush didn't she? The one person Young didn't trust as far as he could throw him.

“I think it's likely her actual father shared some resemblance with Rush, you can't deny they have very similar eyes so it's probably that. She's scared and has latched onto something that's familiar. In this case Rush reminds her of her father. Let's face it, there's no way Nick has a seven-year old daughter. I saw his file, he's never been a father. And even if he did there's no way she could have gotten here from Earth.”

“No one could have gotten here but us, Camile.” Everett paused for only a moment. “So she's something pretending to be human.” He accused.

“We can't go jumping to conclusions.” Camile tried to reason. “We've seen other humans out here, she could-” Young cut her off abruptly.

“Or she could be something sent to kill us all and take the ship.”

“She's a little girl.” She declared with a frown coating her otherwise beautiful features.

“No, she looks like a little girl.”

“I don't think she's something in disguise, she started to say something about bad things and that she didn't come from Earth, I think someone or more likely something hurt her.”

“I want her in quarantine.” Young said quickly,

“You can't just lock up a child because you're scared of her! You did that last night and she cried all night but you wouldn't let Corporal Barnes in the room just made her stand guard outside.” Camile couldn't believe Young was really suggesting this.

“I'm not afraid of her, I'm concerned for this crew.”

“Well she is part of this crew now unless you plan to jettison her into outer space.” She shrieked.

Young signed, he didn't want a fight, just to take care of the crew as best he could. Most of them weren't even awake yet, that was the job of Lieutenant Scott for the day. He tried to be a reliable leader but he wasn't perfect and sometimes he had to make the hard decisions, the Colonel knew locking a child up in a room was cruel but he couldn't just let her wander around and find she wasn't human at all, that she was a threat. A wolf in sheep's clothing.

“Of course not. What is it you suggest?” He asked trying to calm his tone and find a compromise.

Camile thought for a moment, her dark eyes gazing off into the space behind the gate, Young could almost see the cogs of her brain moving as she thought. Finally she looked back up at the ageing Colonel with a plan in mind.

“For the time being I think it best that she spend time with me or TJ. You should post Corporal Barnes or Greer to watch her, maybe Lieutenant James . She's already seen Greer and Barnes, and James is another woman so she should be more comfortable around her. I also think we should have Rush spend time with her.”

Young raised an eyebrow at that.

“Wouldn't that just be feeding the delusion?” It was a valid question.

“Yes, but his presence would help to keep her calm and to feel safe and comforted. Over time she'll hopefully accept that Rush isn't her father and treat him like anyone else on the ship.”

“You're acting like this is a long term plan, entirely forgetting that she randomly appeared in an alien vessel attached to the ship, with God knows how many tubes sticking out of her and covered in some kind of gloop. And that she's told us little to nothing about herself.”

It was Camile's turn to sigh as she shifted her weight and looked the military man straight in the eyes.

“I understand your concern, I agree she's not from Earth but that doesn't mean she's going to try and kill us all or sabotage the ship.”

“Chloe did.” He deadpanned and Camile fell silent. “Just because she looks innocent doesn't mean she is. If you were going to send someone to sabotage the ship or hurt us wouldn't you make it look innocent and harmless?” Camile chose not to answer that so Everett continued. “General O'Neill isn't happy about her either, I think you should be the one to swap with the Paediatrician when she's sent here, the girl already knows you so she'd not panic or anything.” The woman nodded in acknowledgement. “At least after this child doctor looks at here we'll know if she's human or in a person suit.”

With that Colonel Young stomped off like he usually did.

 

XXXX

 

Chloe swished her long dark curls back over her shoulders and sighed, she'd been in the stasis room all morning with Brody trying to figure out a way to free Eli. Brody seemed to think that since he was the engineer he'd have Eli out in a jiffy but after hours of work he'd only succeeded in annoying himself. Half of Eli's notes weren't readable so Chloe had been translating for him. Each time the beautiful young woman with ebony hair looked up at his frozen form she wanted to cry, all Chloe wanted was for her friend to make some stupid joke and hug her, is that too much to ask? Apparently it was.

Volker had been up on the bridge for more hours than he cared to think about going over the very last of Destiny's systems and making sure there were no surprises, for once Rush and Young agreed that it was best to check everything just in case. So far the worse they'd come across were some blown out panels which was probably just old age and looked to be easily fixable by cannibalising parts of the unused sections of Destiny. Nicholas himself had been going back and forth supposedly supervising but Chloe knew he was just as worried about Eli as she was, most wouldn't believe Rush to be a caring man but he was, he felt things deeply like a hot spring hidden inside himself; unfortunately he also excelled at steeling his emotions. He'd been jotting away in his practically full notebook with a tiny almost non-existent pencil each time she saw him, and every time Rush came into the room he'd reassure her that they'd soon have Eli back: which was more than Brody had done all day.

Eventually Rush couldn't take his hunger any longer and had ended up in the mess hall with Volker who'd only sat with him because of the lack of seats. Nicholas had asked Chloe if she wanted anything but she'd muttered something about staying to help Brody and Rush hadn’t questioned her.

Doctor Rush didn't speak he just got his bowl of so-called food and sat down to eat it, whatever it was tasted bland and grainy on his tongue but it was the best they could do for the time being until the crops had started to grow again or they found a planet, for some reason since waking from the stasis chambers he'd craved cheesecake. However, there were small dried purple fruit that looked like red grapes but tasted more like oranges; at least those had some real flavour. He'd just about scraped the bowl clean when he heard a happy and high pitched voice not far behind him.

“Daddy!”

All eyes were on Rush as the child pulled away from Tamara and James then raced towards him with a huge grin on her face, he couldn't deny the strange feeling he got from someone being pleased to see him. It was actually a little amusing to watch as she forced her way into his lap and cuddled him, she'd been determined. Volker and the others knew better than to say anything and just pretended they weren't watching the scene unfolding before them. James, who'd been watching the child along with TJ, grabbed herself a bowl of... whatever it was and started to eat with her eyes still on the girl. James thought her cute and nothing but a normal little girl yet she'd obey the orders Young had given.

“Come on Sweetheart.” TJ began holding out her hand for the girl to take. “Let's get you something to eat and then go back to the infirmary, or maybe the observation deck.”

Her soft smile faded to shock when the tiny brunette screamed defiantly at her.

“No! I want to stay with Daddy!”

Nicholas tensed, he wanted her off him, she would be happier with Tamara and Camile in the long run but he couldn't yell at her like the rest of Destiny's crew and he'd become so touch starved that his body was reluctant to release her; his physical form had turned on his mind.

“He needs to work.”

The blonde tried to reason but his so-called daughter seemed to be just as stubborn as Rush himself if not more. He actually liked that. The brunette little girl looked up at him with those eerily familiar eyes and a pleading look on her delicate features.

“I'll help. Please Daddy? I want to stay with you. Please?”

The grumpy chief scientist sighed audibly and gave in far to quickly, that feeling of being needed prevented him from saying no to her.

“Fine.”

He shifted her from his lap so she stood beside him and rose to his feet before walking off out the mess hall, in seconds she followed grabbing his hand that hung by his side. Lieutenant James wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and set the finished bowl down on the table closest the door.

“I'll watch him. Rush is an asshole but I don't think he'd hurt the kid.”

Before Tamara could respond Vanessa had followed the father and daughter out the room and down the halls.

Matt, who'd been eating quietly at the far table, stood and discarded his bowl before walking over to the blonde. He straightened out his BDU jacket as he went.

“Do you think it's wise to leave her with Rush?” He asked with more concern as to Rush's plots and plans rather than the child's welfare.

“I don't know.” Tamara told him honestly. “But Camile seems to think it's a good idea and for now we have to work with what we've got.”

 

XXXX

 

Rush made his way to the control interface room with a sweet little girl holding his hand and almost skipping down the black metal hallways, the borrowed black t-shirt she wore swishing around her knees. It amazed him that she could be so happy, clearly she remembered something horrible about where she came from and she was surrounded by strangers. The child didn't seem phased though and Rush didn't know if that made her strong or in denial. Once inside Nicholas sat her down in a chair and wandered over to the mass of wires Brody had managed to overload while running tests the previous day, he sat cross-legged on the floor and started to search the huge lengths of wires; Lieutenant James just stood and watched by the door. The child wagged her feet back and forth and she actually looked like a normal little girl rather than an utter mystery at the edge of the universe.

“Daddy, can we go to the room with the big window and see the lights?”

“I have work to do.” He responded gruffly before realising it was the girl asking and not one of his incompetent scientists. “Lieutenant James could take you to the observation deck, I'm sure she wouldn't mind.”

“I wanted to go with you.” She told him in a sad tone staring at the ground. “The lights will be there later right?”

Rush didn't look up from the huge pile of wiring on the floor that surrounded him, just continued to rip out dead wires and throw them across the room out of his way. James watched the child's face drop and instantly wanted to make her happy again, she didn't like it when children were upset; it was that parental instinct inside her.

“He's right, I can take you to see the FTL lights.” She offered with a smile.

The girl shook her head and watched her father going about his work.

“No thank you, I want to stay with Daddy.” She responded quietly.

Rush let out a grunt of success and pulled two wires into his hands twisted the metal together and leaned up to push a button on the control panel but ground to a halt when his alleged daughter started speaking in a worried tone.

“Daddy, that's the wrong wire. You want the one that looks greeny-blue.”

Rush's brow furrowed as he examined the wires he held while James' eyes grew wide.

“You're right.” He admitted. Had he pushed the button to restart the power flow he'd have likely electrocuted himself and damaged the electrical panel even more.. For the first time the little girl truly had his attention. “How did you know that?”

She tensed and looked down as though she was preparing to be scolded.

“I don't know.” Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I... I just do. Are you angry, Daddy?”

“Hmm? No.” How could he be angry with the girl who may have just saved his life? Suddenly he was beyond curious about her and wondered just how much intelligence she had locked away in that tiny brain of hers, Nicholas quickly formed a plan. “How about you come over here and help me?”

“Rush this isn't wise.” James tried to say but she went unheard because the girl talked over her.

“Really?!” The nameless girl grinned from ear to ear and Rush nodded.

James didn't like this idea but the child seemed so happy and she knew Young would just lock her away again, so she didn't reach for her radio, Rush would know if she tried to damage anything.

Chapter Text

An hour after TJ had let the little girl wander off with Rush,  Greer came to relieve James, he walked quickly but calmly into the control interface room to find Doctor Rush had the kid in his lap and actually looked happy; which was a little disconcerting. What was all the more worrying were the shredded wires she held in her tiny pale hands.

“What's going on here?” He asked in a deep voice.

“She understands Destiny like him.” James muttered.

“And you haven't told anyone?!” In an instant Greer was reaching for his radio.

“Sorry, but I've basically spent an hour watching father-daughter time. It's cute.”

Sargent Greer chose not to respond to that and instead talked into his radio, Rush and the child paid him no attention.

“Colonel Young this is Greer, come in.”

The usual crackle came and then Young's voice filled the room.

This is Young. What is it Sargent?”

“Sir, Rush and the kid are in the control interface room and you're going to wanna see this. You may want to bring Wray as well.” He added as an after thought.

Young mumbled something almost inaudible through the open channel but Greer knew it was something along the lines of for fucks sake Rush, what now before clearing his throat and responding properly.

We'll be there in a minute. Young out.

As promised no more than a minute later Colonel Young and Camile Wray appeared in the control interface room, the woman wore an expression of curiosity while Young's was that of a man expecting chaos.

“What do I need to see?” He asked with a deep sigh.

Greer gestured to Rush and Young's aged eyes followed, he'd not been expecting to find the little girl sat on Rush's crossed legs with her hand deep inside the wiring of a control panel. Everything below her right elbow was inside Destiny's metal walls.

“Rush!” He yelled but only succeeded in making the child practically jump from her snow white skin.

“Yes?” Nicholas responded in a gruff and annoyed bark but didn't look away from his ostensible daughter.

“What is going on here, Rush. Why is she tampering with the ship?”

Nicholas shot him a look that said Tampering? Really? Young didn't look amused.

“She's not tampering, her hands are smaller so she can reach the burnt out junction better than me.” In Rush's mind it was all very straight forward. “And it helps that she seems to know what she'd looking for.” His attention turned back to the little girl with ebony curls. “Got it?”

She nodded and carefully pulled her forearm free bringing what looked to be some kind of burnt out circuit board with her. She handed it to her Daddy with a smile.

“Do you want me to check the power converter?”

“Please, Little One.”

Young, Camile, Greer and James watched as she easily fed her hand back into the damaged panel.

“You can't let her do this Nicholas.” Said Camile. “She could hurt herself.”

Hurt herself? Forget that, we don't know what she's doing in there.” Young bellowed.

Rush shot the Colonel another one of those are you serious expressions.

“I can see everything she's doing and I can have someone else do this just as soon as you find someone else with child sized hands.” James silenced a snort.

“You should have told us Rush.” Started Camile taking a step forwards. “Not put her to work, she's a child not one of your scientists."

“She wanted to help her Daddy.”

He grinned knowing the response would only annoy Young, and Nicholas was right as usual.

“You're not teaching her to fix a car!”

James just found herself stood by the door wondering if anyone was even still aware the girl was in the room.

“I'm not teaching her anything she doesn't already seem to know, just making use of her knowledge.” He argued, Destiny needed all the help she could get.

“How does she already know?” Young demanded.

“Not a clue.” He told the Colonel with a hint of sarcasm. “Seems she takes after her Father.”

“Rush, don't encourage that.” Camile snapped. “Come here, honey. You've been in here all afternoon, let's go get you dinner.”

The seven year old pulled her arm back and muttered something about the power converter being fine before standing up and looking down at her father still sat on the floor.

“Will you come too Daddy?” She asked softly.

“Alright.”

Rush couldn't deny his back was killing him and he was still curious about her knowledge, pulling himself to his feet he found the girl raising her arms in the air, a silent request to be picked up. He liked the feeling of her arms slipping around his neck and holding him close, it had been so long since he'd really been needed and not to fix something or translate from Ancient but actually needed. He also liked there being someone he could have an actual intellectual conversation with; who'd have though that would have been a seven year old girl who thought I was her father? As he carried her down the hallways with the four others behind him – which became three when James broke off and headed for her quarters – Nick found himself enjoying her presence, at first he'd be entirely against it but he was starting to change his tune; he'd probably been eating better since she showed up as well.

The borrowed black t-shirt they'd stuck her in bunched up as he supported her weight and it took away from her natural beauty. It obviously fitted badly and drew the eye from her honey orbs and delicate ebony curls but not to Rush, he saw how beautiful she was, he knew she wasn't dangerous; not in the way Young believed anyway. The Colonel though she was some kind of undercover assassin but Rush would call her a child prodigy.

The mess hall hadn't grown overly busy yet and Rush was grateful for the peace. Greer had a tighter grip on his weapon while Young seemed tenser than usual, that little vein on his temple was pulsing again. Camile muttered something about getting the girl food while Rush set his apparent daughter down at the table closest the door, Young said nothing but Rush knew he was watching intently as though waiting for her to suddenly grow scales and claws.

Rush was pulled from his inner thoughts when Camile set a bowl of what looked like watery oatmeal down before his daughter, she looked unimpressed but didn't complain. Once she'd started eating Young grabbed his and Camile's attention with a glance and they ended up stood in a small huddle a foot or so from the child.

“Tomorrow Camile will swap with the child doctor and I'll swap with General O'Neill, he wants to see her for himself. We'll report to Colonel Carter in the meantime.”

“Do I have to see a doctor, Daddy?”

None of them had been aware she'd listened to everything Young had said. Rush turned, bent down to her level and offered a smile; which was not something he was accustom to doing.

“Yeah, Little One but it won't hurt.”

No one knew if they should have been surprised or worried that the chief scientist had started to parent her, Young quickly chose worry while Greer and Camile balanced on the fence. Knowing he'd get no further with Rush Young gave up and stalked over to get himself a bowl and crashed down beside Corporal Barnes and Airman Dunning at the far table.

Camile watched the little girl eating her bland meal with a half smile, she was just so cute, until TJ and Chloe caught her eye entering the mess hall with Matt a step or so behind them.

“Thanks for the help, Chloe.” Tamara smiled.

“Oh sure, it's probably best to pull myself away from Eli for a while. If I don't I'll go mad.”

 

The seven year old snapped around at the sound of Chloe's voice, instantly she felt safe and happy. The girl didn't know how she knew these things but she knew Chloe.

“Mommy!”

She practically knocked Rush over as she charged towards the young woman in yoga pants and a pink tank top. Little arms tightened around Chloe's waist and a similar expression to the one Nicholas had worn a day ago descended onto her delicate features.

“Sweetheart, I think you're making a mistake.” Chloe tried to sound calm but her shock and utter bewilderment showed through.

“Mommy.” The girl mumbled happily into Chloe's stomach in a determined tone just like she had with Rush.

Young shot from his seat.

“Is there something you and Rush want to explain?” He seethed. This child had turned everything on it's head and Everett didn't like it.

“No.” Nicholas and Chloe said in unison.

Camile could see Young getting worked up again and she made a mental note to speak to TJ about his mental stability, but until then she had to calm the situation.

“This is probably the same thing as with Rush.” She told them.

The seven year old didn't pay attention to the dark-haired woman, she didn't like what Camile said, instead she looked up at Chloe with glee.

“Mommy, where have you been?”

The older woman sighed, she felt so sorry for the girl, how alone must she feel to choose me and Rush as her parents?

“Angel, I don't want to upset you but I'm not your Mommy.”

Tears started to brew in her dazzling honey orbs, blurring her vision.

“You're Mommy.” Her tone was heart-broken. “I... I don't... remember much, but... I know you're Mommy.” Tears readily tumbled down her pale cheeks and Chloe fought the urge to pull her into her arms. “I though... I'd be safe with you and Daddy.”

“What do you mean, Sweety?” Tamara asked crouching down beside the child who still clung to Chloe.

It was too late though, she started to cry full force and charged from the mess hall, to the surprise of everyone it was Rush who went after her followed eventually by Greer.

“Alright I want answers.” Young ranted. “Your theory worked with Rush but Chloe too is way too much of a coincidence.” He looked to Chloe. “I'm assuming you didn't secretly have a child with Rush.”

“What? No. I only met Rush on the day we came here.”

There was no way in hell she was going to admit to her attraction to the grumpy Scot, it was the accent.

“Right, let's deal with this tomorrow. We'll get nothing out of her now anyway, best to let her be with Rush for now.”

“I want her back in quarters until the doctor comes and then she's going back in. This is all too strange.”

“Do I need to remind you again about last night and how she cried for hours?”

Young knew the situation was turning into putting the crew at risk or being accused of child cruelty, there wasn't a single inch of middle ground and the Colonel knew he was slowly starting to look like the bad guy. He didn't want to hurt the girl if she really was a little girl but he feared for himself and everyone else; Chloe had been abducted and they'd taken Rush as well, Scott had nearly died coated in alien fungus and after what happened to Riley Young saw threats everywhere. Maybe he was over reacting but after all that had happened to them he couldn't take the risk. The Colonel sighed.

“We can't just leave her to wander about.”

“Maybe you could leave her with Doctor Rush?” Chloe chimed in, the military man and Camile turned to face her. “She's watched like you want Colonel and Rush will actually get some sleep for once. Have Becker or someone stand guard.”

“That may actually be a good idea.” Camile put in with a thoughtful look on her face.

“Fine, as long as we know where she is that's fine.” Everett didn't have the energy to talk to them about this any longer and raked a hand over his face. “I want her separated from everyone else though, at least until the doctor is done with her. Tomorrow I'm going to need options on what to do with her.”

“She's not a stray cat.” Said Chloe.

“I'll ask Rush to stay with her, hopefully that will help her feel safe for the night. She'll probably only trust him.” Camile didn't say anything else just wandered off in the direction Rush and Greer had followed the girl.

Soon after Young departed leaving Chloe stood in the middle of the room thinking about what had just happened, the little girl was cute with glistening eyes and rosy red lips but the idea of being called Mommy actually scared her. Her mind snapped back to the world around her when Matt – who had all but faded into the background as soon as the child had raced over to Chloe – rested his hands on her shoulders.

“Don't worry Chloe, the kid is just confused. I mean seriously, you and Rush?”

What scared Chloe was that the idea of her and Rush wasn't as ridiculous as Matt liked to believe.

Chapter Text

Everything was silent save for the quiet hum of the engines, just the way Chloe liked it, back on Earth she'd found it hard to sleep thanks to the mass of cars and sound of the city but aboard Destiny there was peace at night. Pale blues, purples and the occasional burst of green of the FTL lights shone in through the little porthole of the room bathing the space in an almost supernatural glow and Chloe found herself growing sleepy as she stared out of the circular window.

H er mind's thoughts troubled Chloe that night and something had been wrong since waking up from stasis, she loved Matt but there was some unspecified force pulling her away from him. Chloe did her best not to think about it though, maybe she just hadn't woken up from stasis properly; that's what it has to be. She glanced from the porthole to Matt who sat on the edge of the bed pulling off his black boots and tossing them to the ground before he clambered into bed beside the dark-haired beauty.

“Do you think that girl could really be my and Rush's daughter?” Chloe knew she'd not given birth to her but there was an emotion inside her heart that said the girl was their's.

“Of course not.” Matt told her quickly in a reassuring tone that actually wasn't that necessary. “Don't be ridiculous, you're beautiful and fun and he's.... Rush.” Matt almost snorted. “The kid is either crazy or lying to get close to us.”

“You don't think she's human?” Chloe questioned.

“Doesn't matter. I don't think she wants us all dead but who knows what people would do to get Destiny. I think Young is right and we can't trust her, there are so many things that don't add up with her.” Matt leaned across the bed a little and pressed a kiss to her pink lips. “Don't worry Chloe, we all know she's got nothing to do with you.”

Matt snuggled down into the bed and tried to go to sleep.

But what if she is? Chloe's mind continued to wonder.

Far away on the other side of the section of crew quarters was Rush's normally unused room, the little girl sat on his bed watching her feet as they swished back and forth while Nicholas, Camile and woman whose jacket revealed her to be Corporal Barnes went on about something the girl didn't much listen to.

“Are you sure you're alright with this, Nick?” Camile asked him softly.

Rush shot her a glance before pulling his watch off and tossing it down onto the table, he'd lost track how many times Camile had asked him that in the last ten minutes. Rush wished she's just leave and let him sleep, he'd been up since coming out of stasis which was around seventy-two hours ago, he finally had to accept he needed sleep.

“I'll be right outside, Doctor Rush.”

“Fine, good-bye.” He muttered dismissively and was thankful when they finally fled his quarters leaving him alone with his so-called daughter.

All was silent as he tugged off his green t-shirt, he dropped it to the floor uncaring as to where it landed and slipped into bed after turning the tiny lamp off, the little girl took that opportunity to climb into bed as well though she didn't try and cuddled up to him like she had throughout the day. She was rather quiet too.

“Night.” He said trying to be polite and shut his stinging eyes.

“Night Daddy.” She sounded sad but Rush just assumed the child was tired so said nothing about it.

Nothing else was said, the room was black apart from the flare of FTL light that had become a comfort to him. Nicholas had just started to doze off on his back with his left arm above his head when he heard sniffles and a tiny voice drifted through the darkness.

“Daddy, am I bad?” The sniffles continued.

Rush's eyes flew open, he let his head tilt to the side and for a moment he just watched her wondering what she meant, he could see her laying on her side facing him almost curled up in a ball with tiny tears slowly tumbling down her cheeks; her face half illuminated by FTL light.

“What do you mean?” He finally asked in a voice groggy with sleep.

“Everyone keeps saying I'll hurt you all. That... that I shouldn't be here.” She wiped a tear away from reddening cheeks. “Am... I human? Am I bad? Is that why... you and Mommy don't want me?”

She continued to hiccup and sobbed quietly, the little girl was so tiny but at the same time seemed mature beyond her years. Rush's brow furrowed with concern for the tear-y angel and it suddenly struck him that everyone spoke as though she wasn't in the room, everything they had said was nothing but hurtful to her. Nicholas could be an asshole but that crying little girl made his heart break.

“No, no, there's nothing wrong with you.” He tried to reassure her. “Come here.”

He pulled her close to his chest and didn't care when his white long sleeved shirt grew damp from her salty tear, Nicholas rested his bearded chin on her head keeping her close. In that moment something inside him changed, took root in him, he was beginning to care for her.

“You're not bad.” He told her with a thick accent. “Young is just overreacting as usual. There's nothing wrong with you and we know you won't hurt us. And Mommy” He couldn't believe he was actually having this conversation. “she's just a little surprised to have you, she'll get used to the idea.”

Rush couldn't know that for sure of course, Chloe had looked just as shocked as he'd been if not more so. His mind had been racing with thoughts as to where the little nameless girl had come from since that moment.

“Do you... want me to go away?” She sobbed into his chest. “I wanted to be safe-” She hiccup which caused her to leave the sentence open.

“No, you're staying here with me.” That emotion that had taken root in him dug in deeper, sharp claws taking hold but it wasn't some outside force. “I'll keep you safe.”

Nicholas couldn't deny that he wasn't liked by everybody around him and he didn't much care what they thought but he found it impossible to be his usual annoyingly rude and uncaring self when it came to the child.

“Promise, Daddy?”

Her tears had slowed but she showed no sign of releasing his damp shirt.

“Aye, Daddy promises. And I'm starting to understand where you came from. Now go to sleep, you'll feel better in the morning.”

She didn't say a word and nor did he, Rush just lay there with the seven year old in his arms watching her slowly fall into slumber. This was all very strange but that feeling of being needed was just too pleasurable to him. Doctor Rush was the pariah of the ship, the one everybody loved to hate and yet there laying beside him was this sweet little girl who came to him for comfort and love, who trusted him and had faith in him.

 

XXXX

 

In the morning Rush woke to find he'd not moved all night and still had the honey eyed girl wrapped up in his arms. Her breathing was soft, gentle and her ebony curls draped over her snow-white cheeks, her little hands still gripped the fabric of his shirt. For the first time since Gloria had died Rush woke in a pleasant mood, his eyes didn't sting, his back no longer ached and for once his first thought wasn't about work.

Sensing his matching eyes on her the little girl stirred from her slumber and rubbed sleep from her eyes before looking up at her father with a sleepy smile, it was infectious and before long Rush was smiling back at her; one of those rare true smiles.

“Morning Daddy.” She greeted.

He lay there for a long time with his daughter in his arms, over night that urge to take care of the little girl had grown and maybe it was selfish but that feeling of being needed and just plain liked sure did feel good. That moment ended though when there was a huge thud against his quarter's door, Rush groaned and hopped out of bed letting his arms fall from the girl. On his way to the door Nicholas grabbed his t-shirt and started to pull it on after hitting the door release, on the other side stood Colonel Young and TJ.

“You survived the night then?” Young asked flatly.

“I live yes, not that's she's going to hurt anyone. Are you, Little One?” Rush turned to look at the girl.

“No, Daddy.” She answered quickly and pulled her seven year old self upright and tugged her knees to her chest.

Young didn't look convinced but said nothing on the subject, his eyes were drawn to TJ who walked over to the child and crouched down with a soft motherly smile.

“Come on, Sweety. We'll get breakfast and then the doctor should be here to see you.”

“I can take her, you'll need to meet the doctor.” Rush told Tamara and the girl lit up when he pulled her into his arms.

Young told James that Greer would relieve her as soon as they got to the mess hall; Vanessa had taken over from Corporal Barnes at some point of the evening.

“Camile will swap with the doctor as I said the other day, her name is Elyse Sawyer and apparently SGC think she's the most qualified for this. I'll be swapping with General O'Neill. Rush, make sure she's there on time.”

With that he left the room, a rather perturbed looking TJ following behind but not before offering the child another warming smile.

In the mess hall father and daughter were greeted by Greer who sent James off to get some sleep and watched Rush set the girl down at the table closest the door before going to get two bowls of gruel and some of those dried orange flavoured grape-like things she seemed to enjoy.

“Hey kid.” Greer grinned sitting down across from her.

“Hello.” She muttered back.

“You managed to put up with Rush all night then?”

“Daddy is nice and kind.”

Greer actually admired that she was quick to defend the man she persevered as her father. The Sargent leaned in close so only she could hear him.

“I bet he snores though.”

It wasn't true but still they laughed and Greer found himself thinking the kid wasn't so bad, Young should have been more wary of who sent her not the little girl herself; but he was just a Master Sargent while Young was in charge. When Nicholas returned the military man couldn't help but notice that the chief scientist seemed more at ease than usual, it looked good on him, maked him seem less manic.

“Can we get some real food soon?” He mused aloud sitting down beside his little girl. “Some bloody recipes at least?”

“Not until we drop out of FTL.” Mumbled Greer, he felt the same.

 

XXXX

 

General O'Neill opened his eyes to find himself sat aboard Destiny looking up at Lieutenant Scott, it was colder on the ship than it was back home and Young's body shivered a little, the idea of wearing Colonel Young still didn't sit right with him but he'd been through worse over his many years with the Stargate program; Carter, Teal'c and Daniel could attest to that. On the other side of the table that held the stones was Camile, or at least Camile's body, the consciousness was actually Doctor Sawyer. He and a few others – Colonel Carter being one of them – had selected Sawyer from a rather long list of pediatricians and had decided on her based on the fact she'd once been part of the US Army Reserve until a nasty car crash had left needing a cane. She looked at her feet in awe when she stood and O'Neill wondered if it was cruel for her to have this moment of happiness knowing it would be taken away again.

“Hello General O'Neill.” Lieutenant Scott greeted.

Jack stood and looked around the room, he'd not been to Destiny before and he wanted to take it all in. Our spaceship's nicer was the first thought that came to his mind but he didn't voice it. He brought Young's eyes to Scott and nodded in greeting.

“You must be Lieutenant Scott, Everett's mentioned you a few times.”

“All good I hope, Sir.”

“Most of it.” He flashed a small smile. “This is Doctor Elyse Sawyer, she's here for Rush Jr.”

Since the kid didn't seem to have a name and so far no one had bothered to give her one Jack had taken to calling her Rush Jr or at least in his head he had, Carter didn't think it would go down well in his reports and what Samantha Carter thought was normally correct.

“I'm told she's attached herself to one of your scientists, it may be best to have him present when I perform my examination of her.” Said Doctor Sawyer.

“Doctor Rush is our chief scientist and rather... grouchy.” O'Neill snorted, grouchy was putting it mildly “It would probably be best to speak to TJ, em, Lieutenant Johansen about her first. She's our medic.” Scott explained to Doctor Sawyer, she nodded.

“Very well, Lieutenant.” Doctor Sawyer flashed him a smile. “Lead the way.”

“Once the doctor is done with her I'd like to speak to her alone.” Jack told Scott quickly.

With a nod from General O'Neill they were off, it was strange to see Young's body standing in such a relaxed manner but this was Jack O'Neill not Everett Young, of course he held himself differently. O'Neill seemed far more casual and at ease despite inhabiting another man's body, Matt decided he liked the General.

It didn't take very long for Tamara to fill Doctor Sawyer in on everything she'd gathered on the young girl, it essentially came down to four things; young, scared, healthy and she'd latched onto Rush and Chloe as her parents. Sawyer seemed almost giddy as Tamara went on, this wasn't the sort of thing the average pediatrician got to be part of.

Nicholas had a great sense of timing and appeared holding his so-called daughter in his arms just as Lieutenant Johansen finished her mini briefing, he set her down on the bed closest to TJ and Sawyer while Scott and General O'Neill watched on in silence. The little girl swung her legs back and forth happily but there was still an air of light fear hidden away in her honey eyes however, Rush's presence seemed to put her at ease. Elyse stepped forwards slowly.

“Hey there Sweetheart.” She greeted the girl with ebony curls. “I know I look like Camile Wray but I'm actually Doctor Elyse Sawyer, I'm here to take a look at you and make sure that you're healthy. Is it alright if I do that?”

After a second and a reassuring look at her father the little girl nodded slightly, steadily Doctor Sawyer preformed the examination with calm motions so as not to frighten Rush Jr; her smile never faded from her lips or more correctly Camile's lips. TJ, General O'Neill, Greer and Rush stood by just watching the doctor and child knowing they could do no more, all of them seriously doubted she was dangerous and hopefully they'd soon be able to convince Colonel Young of that.

“Alright, I just need to ask some basic questions and then we're done, okay Sweetheart?” The little girl responded with a light uh-huh. “I agree with Doctor Johansen that you're about seven, you're also perfectly human. It would be good if you could drink more water since you're a little dehydrated but I understand that can be an issue. Since you don't have a name-”

“Cressida.” Nicholas interrupted.

Suddenly all eyes were on him.

“What?” Doctor Sawyer questioned.

“Her name, it's Cressida. Cressida Isobel Rush.”

“Em, okay.”

Rush didn't know why he'd suddenly named her, he'd not thought about it until the words were coming out of his mouth but from the look on the little girl's – no, on Cressida's face – he'd made her very happy. Rush knew he was growing attached and he almost cursed himself for it but he just couldn't bring himself to do so. No one questioned him knowing it wasn't worth mentioning, Cressida had every right to a name; TJ even smiled.

 

XXXX

 

When Doctor Sawyer had officially finished with the newly named Cressida Rush, General O'Neill was lead to the observation deck by Greer with Cressida trailing at his side. He'd asked Doctor Rush to be absent so it was just the General and the little girl, this wasn't going to be an interrogation like Young would like, it was just a conversation. Sargent Greer waited just outside the door for them and the two took a seat to watch the FTL lights, after a moment O'Neill started to speak.

“You know I'm not Colonel Young, right?” Cressida nodded.

“Daddy said there were stones.”

He smiled.

“That's right. No idea how it works, I'm not the smart one, I leave that sort of thing up to Sam. I'm General O'Neill but you can call me Jack, okay Rush Jr? Sorry, I guess it's Cressida now.” She grinned wider than he thought possible and O'Neill found it was infectious. “I take it you like your new name?”

“Yeah! Daddy gave it to me.”

Jack couldn't help but think she was adorable and quite clearly a Daddy's girl, Young painted her as a vicious wolf in sheep's clothing but he could see that wasn't true. If she hurt anyone or tried to damage the ship is was most certainly against her will.

“I'm told you've said very little about where you came from.” He broached the subject casually.

“Mommy and Daddy.” She told him without looking away from the large observation window.

Jack snorted at the flat statement.

“Cressida, I'm going to ask you a direct question because I don't think you do well with beating around the bush.” When she nodded the affirmative Jack continued. “What's your first memory? I know that's a loaded question but just answer honestly.” That's it, straight to the point. If she is Rush's daughter she'll appreciate that.

She was silent for a long time but just when Jack started to think she'd closed off Cressida started to speak in a faint tone.

“There was... water.”

“You were by a river? The sea?” Cressida shook her head knocking her ebony curls side to side.

“No. It was all around me.” She pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. “I couldn't breathe.”

O'Neill nodded to himself.

“Was there a lot of space or were you submerged in a chamber?”

“Chamber.” She mumbled her answered. “I could see out.”

“Was it glass?”

Cressida nodded, Jack could see she was scared. He'd certainly gotten more out of Cressida than anyone else save for Rush, maybe it was because he'd been a parent while Camile and Young hadn't. Slowly he snaked a comforting arm around her little shoulders and found himself smiling as she relaxed into his side.

“Did you see anyone?”

“I saw... the... the bad things.”

“So they didn't look like us.” It wasn't a question but she nodded anyway. “Were there snake-like things swimming around you?” Doctor Sawyer hadn't noticed any scaring and they were too far into outer space for the Goa'uld to have anything to do with her but Jack liked to be sure.

“No.” Jack was pleased to hear that.

The next thing he knew Rush was striding into the room while slipping his overly used notebook into his back pocket pencil and all, Greer tried to stop him but Rush just dodged the taller man and entered the room anyway.

“They were blue, weren't they Cress?” His accent was thick.

Cressida nodded then hopped down from her seat beside General O'Neill and went to her father, once she was in his arms Cress answered him with a yes Daddy.

“Rush I asked you to wait.” Jack stood and turned to face the chief scientist.

“I don't do well with orders.” Rush shot back quickly.

“Joing the club.” Jack sighed. “How long have you known it was the blue aliens you encountered that sent her here?”

“My suspicious started when she referred to Chloe Armstrong as her Mother. And it's the only logical explanation when you think about it.” Rush's told the other man. “I think when we were held captive they stole our genetic information and for some reason made Cress, maybe they were just curious as to how we reproduced.”

“Shouldn't she be a toddler then?” Jack asked like it was the first question that should have been asked.

“I think the water she just mentioned was actually the same gelatinous substance we found her in, I believe it stimulated her growth causing her to age and develop faster than normal. Lieutenant Johansen had to pump it out of her lungs so I suspect it is heavily oxygenated as well. We haven't performed thorough enough tests to yield a detailed result, we would need better equipment for that.”

“And you didn't say any of this because?”

“You think I'd tell Colonel Young that my daughter is a creation of the Nakai? The same hostile aliens that will do anything to get their hands on Destiny and already tried to have Miss Armstrong sabotage the ship.”

General O'Neill sighed.

“I suppose that's a valid reason, I'm still concerned for Young's mental health if I'm honest with you. Yet the crew respect and accept him as their leader.” Some do, Rush thought while shuffling Cress' weight. “Have you told anyone?”

“No, but Camile suspects and so does Lieutenant Johansen, they just don't want to cause a panic. And if Miss Armstrong hasn't figured it out yet she soon will do.”

General O'Neill took it all in for a moment with his eyes just watching Cressida happily cuddle into Nicholas' neck.

“That just leaves why they sent her here.”

“I think they took my knowledge, somehow downloaded bits of what I know and gave it to her. Why I don't know.”

“That's why she could fix the ship.”

It wasn't a question and Nicholas wasn't going to bother clarifying that she'd not fixed the ship but rather prevented him from electrocuting himself, instead he simply nodded which seemed to please the General. There was a muttering from Greer just outside the observation deck doorway and a person who was quickly discovered to be Chloe entered the room, her hair hung loose around her face in a thick cloak just like her so-called daughter's did.

“Do you think they wanted her to sabotage the ship like I did?”

“Mommy.”

Cressida grinned ear to ear and wriggled in Rush's arms until he set her down so she could run to her Mother, Chloe looked a little more hesitant than Rush to pick her up but she pushed it aside and did so anyway. Cress clung to her Mother happily with love.

“Hello, I hear Daddy named you, Cressida is a pretty name.”

There was no denying that Chloe felt the same thing Rush did when she held Cress. She felt the same need to protect the child as well as something else, it was warm and soothing, strong and enjoyable. It was love. Matt didn't seem to approve but Chloe couldn't help but be pulled towards mothering Cressida and it scared her a little at how quickly she'd come to terms with being a parent.

“Possibly.” Responded Rush. “I've not seen any symptoms like there was with you though.” He took a step towards his daughter in Chloe's arms and smiled softly at her. “Cress, have you been waking up tired or stood across the room? Maybe forgetting things, little spaces where you can't remember how you got there?”

“You can tell us the truth, we won't be angry.” Chloe added and Cress through for a moment.

“No. I woke up next to Daddy.” She answered in that little silken voice of hers.

Jack watched them for a moment and if he wasn't already aware of who they were he'd have thought the three of them were a real family, a happily married couple with their young daughter trapped aboard an ancient spacecraft; General O'Neill knew the truth though. He knew danger and those who meant to cause harm, Cressida Rush was not one of those people and so resting his hands on his hips he started to speak.

“That's good enough for me. I'll have Young remove the constant guard rotation when he gets back for now -” He leaned to one side so as he could see around Chloe and shouted out to Greer. “- Hey Sargent Greer, you're not needed. Go get something to eat., read a book.”

Greer opened his mouth to protest but thought better remembering he was talking to General O'Neill and not Colonel Young, he decided to just do as ordered. Jack looked back to the little family and tried not think of Charlie.

“I want one of those Kino's of yours in the room at night, you know, just to be certain.”

“Thank you General.” Said Chloe offering him a little smile. Jack was just about to return it when Rush started speaking again in that demanding tone he used more than any other.

“I want Cress to help me.” The General was lost for a moment so Nicholas took the opportunity to elaborate. “There's no point letting her talent go to waste, she could be of great help. And Cressida is probably more competent than Volker.”

Chloe tried not to chuckle at that. Jack thought the idea over for a time, he wanted to say no not because he thought he was dangerous but because he knew how Rush worked the science team to death. However, Doctor Park couldn't work as she used to and Franklin had been downloaded into Destiny's memory, they needed all the help they could get. If Nick was right Cress had the same intellect as her father essentially giving them a second Rush – Oh the horror – and that could benefit them no end. In a normal situation General O'Neill would have said no in a heartbeat but this wasn't a normal situation and that was how he found himself answering in the affirmative.

“Okay. She stays under supervision at all times when dealing with the ship and she doesn't do anything without running it by you first.” Rush didn't do well with orders but he'd accept this one, mainly because he agreed.

“Seems fair.”

“You're not...” Cressida's stuttering voice filled the room dragging the adult's attention. “... s... sending me away?”

Jack leaned down at a forty degree angle and looked the little girl in her burnt honey eyes.

“No Rush Jr, you get to stay.” Cress beamed at him like the cat who'd gotten the cream. “I give the orders so what your Uncle Jack says goes.”

Chapter Text

The next day seemed uneventful and after breakfast Chloe went to seek out Rush hoping he'd have something for her to do since TJ couldn't even make up stuff for her to help with any longer, she found him rather quickly at the far end of the blackboard corridor scribbling away with a piece of white chalk that was almost non-existent. He didn't notice her at all until she cleared her voice, even then Rush only glanced up and nodded in greeting before going back to his notes on the top half of the wall.

“No Cressida?” She asked softly.

Rush stepped back from his notes and quickly re-read them, changed a single symbol and then turned to face Chloe, she had her arms wrapped around her naked shoulders and couldn't help but think she should have worn her jacket.

“She's with Lieutenant Johansen, she asked to spend some time with Cress. I thought it would be a good idea since I need to work.” He told her quickly.

“That was nice of you. She's out of your hair for a while then.”

The young beauty smiled delicately at the grumpy older man and watched as he set down his bit of chalk sensing she wanted to ask something, Chloe couldn't help but notice how handsome his hands were long and piano like, she'd always had a thing for hands.

“Can I help you with something, Miss Armstrong?”

There was silence for a moment and then she began to speak somewhat hesitantly, that surprised Rush a little, Chloe was usually such a strong person but stood there looking at him she seemed small, as though she didn't exactly know what she was asking.

“We have a child together I think you can call me Chloe.” Rush nodded, with a deep breath she got to the point. “... How are you doing it?

“Doing what?”

“Being a parent to Cressida?” She looked him in his eyes locking rich azure with honey whiskey. “You just suddenly became her Father. It's like you found a book or downloaded how to be a father from Destiny or something.”

Rush breathed out a laugh.

“I hadn't even thought to look for parenting books in the ships system, searching for anything to help with ALS has been at the top of our list.” He sighed and fell silent for a second or two. “To answer your question I don't know how I'm doing it, I just am. Maybe it's because I always wanted children or because I took care of Gloria when she got sick. Cress likes to help with the ship too so I guess I just focus on being a teacher again.”

“You always wanted to be a father?”

“Yeah, never happened though, and I bury myself in my work so I didn't think I'd be much good at it. Didn't stop the want though.” Chloe smiled a little at that, she thought Rush was a rather good parent.

“Matt doesn't think I should spend time with her but-” She cut herself off.

“You want to.” He finished for her in a flat tone, he understood how she felt and Chloe nodded.

“Did the blue aliens really make her? The Nakai.”

“It's the only explanation that makes sense.” He told her softly.

“Then she needs us even more.” Rush admired Chloe's heart, her kindness and pure goodness. “How do I-?” She cut herself off again.

“Chloe...” She liked the way his accent made her name sound. “... I can't tell you how to be a mother but I think you need to be sure it's what you want before you try. If you suddenly decide it's not what you want it will be even harder for you and Cress.”

She knew what he was saying was for the best, Chloe didn't want to end up hurting the little girl – their little girl. She sighed.

“You're right. Why are you always right, Rush?”

“It's a talent.”

Chloe laughed and it caused him to smile, she was the only one who laughed at his jokes; even the stupid ones. His dark eyes watched as she pushed a stray strand of dark hair behind her ear, Cressida certainly had her father's eyes but her hair that came straight from Chloe. No one could deny they'd made a beautiful daughter, even if they weren't actively involved. His mind suddenly came back to him when Chloe started talking again.

“If she likes things that you do maybe Cress would like some of my hobbies. I could try that.”

In the end she didn't really need Rush to tell her how to be Cressida's Mother, she would figure it out on her own.

“It's as good a place to start as any.”

Rush expected her to leave then, to walk away having gotten her answer but instead she remained putting him at a loss for words. Silence stretched on and just as he reached for his chalk again her voice quietly whispered.

“Why did you call her Cressida? It's not the sort of name you'd think of quickly like Jessica or Marie.”

Cressida is one of the moons of Uranus, it was discovered in nineteen-eighty-six by Voyager2. The moon was named from the Shakespeare play Troilus and Cressida she's the Trojan daughter of Calchas - I like it because the play is confusing, it goes back and forth between tragic gloom and comedy, people find it hard to understand. However, the play does question the values of honor, hierarchy and even love. It's similar to Cress, how she got here and where she came from is hard to understand and the thought of the Nakai steeling out genetic information is both horrifying while at the same time it gave us her so I don't even care they stole pieces of me.”

Chloe could have cried, Cressida was a beautifully unique name with a beautiful story behind it that Rush had really thought about. In actuality he'd thought about all that after the name had tumbled from his lips, seemed his subconscious had thought it all through before he'd had chance.

“As for Isobel, it was my Mother's name.”

“They're beautiful names.” She told him truthfully. “I always like Verdi and Annalise. Never been very fond of my Mom's name though, Patricia.”

“You're secret is safe with me.”

That earned Rush another one of her beautiful smiles that he thought were just heavenly.

“Can I maybe take her from TJ for the day?”

Rush looked a little gone-out, he'd not expected Chloe to bother asking him, Camile certainly didn't bother; it was funny to watch the seven year old repeat the word no over and over in a stubborn tone that matched his own though.

“Of course. You're her Mother, you don't have to ask.”

With another of those big smiles Chloe was gone leaving Rush stood there with a piece of white chalk still in his hands.

 

XXXX

 

Lieutenant Scott was tired but it wouldn't stop him from enjoying his evening, nor would the slight ache in his feet from having run laps of the ship that morning. Now they'd finished waking everyone up Destiny was once again abuzz with noise and the mutterings of conversations that partially echoed down the long dark metal hallways, sometimes loud enough to know who was speaking but not about what. On his way to his and Chloe's quarters he passed Varro who was helping Lisa Park down the hallway towards the mess hall, he had his arm linked with hers and looked like a perfect gentleman. Doctor Park had started to report being able to see very faint patches of grey amongst the blackness and the whole ship was hopeful that she'd soon see again. He greeted them as they passed by.

Since Camile and Young had returned from Earth the Colonel hadn't been happy with General O'Neill's ordered but there wasn't much he could do about them, Camile had just been smug. Matt himself was still wary of Cressida as she'd been named – that really is a stupid name, he thought as he walked – since they knew next to nothing about her and if being on Destiny had taught him anything it was to be prepared for danger at a moments notice. Matt just didn't want her hurting Chloe by turning out to have been on the Nakai's side the whole time or indeed physically. They'd all had their suspicions about the blue alien's involvement in Cressida's appearance and Rush's conclusions only made him worry more. Matt just wanted everyone to be safe.

It took but a moment more of walking for Lieutenant Scott to arrive at his quarters, he hit the button and stepped inside to see Chloe settled on the bed with Cressida at her side following along as she read to the little girl. She had one arm wrapped around her daughter and the other resting the book she'd gotten off Doctor Park on her legs that towered up like a pyramid, Jane Eyre wasn't really the sort of novel Chloe would normally read but it was appropriate for such a young girl and they had a pretty limited selection of books on board. Chloe assumed as well that with Cress' advanced intellect she'd be able to comprehend the characters just fine; she'd been right and Mister Edward Rochester had already become a favourite of Cressida's.

“Hey Matt.” Chloe greeted as soon as she noticed him stood there. “I was just reading to Cress.”

“Em, okay. I just wanted to get changed and to know if you wanted to come play poker with me, Greer, James and some others?”

Chloe didn't even think for a second.

“I'm going to stay here and read to Cress.”

“Come on Chloe.” He smiled, since waking from stasis they'd not really spent much time together. “Give her to Rush and let's have fun. We've not had any in ages.

She offered him a soft smile before answering and Cressida wriggled in her arms trying to get comfortable.

“Maybe next time.”

Chloe really wanted to try this mothering thing and so far she was doing rather well, turned out that the little girl liked yoga and reading was quickly becoming a favourite as well. Chloe was suddenly pulled from her thoughts when Matt picked up a spare t-shirt from what had been serving as a dresser and he started to speak again, this time in a more sorrowful tone.

“I'll see you later then.”

He pulled off his sweaty black top and threw it down on the makeshift dresser before tugging on the replacement, the whole time he had his back to them as though he was somehow embarrassed for Cressida to see him shirtless, then he left. Matt didn't storm out or huff but Chloe could tell she'd upset him, it was true they'd not spent much time together – n ot for lack of trying thought Chloe – and she knew that poker was him trying to make an effort but she had Cress now. Chloe had supported him when he found out about his son but Matt seemed to think she shouldn't have a daughter, as to why she didn't know, Chloe suspected it was a combination of worry, fear of what the Nakai would do, and the fact that Nicholas Rush was her father and not Matt himself. He'd come around in time.

For a time the length of which Chloe didn't know she just stared at the closed door in an almost frozen mental state but little hands pushing at her stomach and Cressida's beautiful voice dragged her back to the world around her.

“Mommy, keep reading.”

“Sorry.”

Blue eyes went back to the page and continued to read aloud.

A few hours went by and Chloe got through a good portion of Jane Eyre before she realised that Cress had fallen asleep at her side, she just sat there for a while watching her darling daughter sleeping peacefully all wrapped up in the oversized t-shirt they'd taken from Airman Dunning; we have to get you some real clothes.

Knowing it was getting late and that Matt would return from playing poker with the others soon she decided that the best place for Cressida would be Rush's room where she'd slept every night but the first; the woman with blue eyes thought Cress would find that comforting to wake up to. Ever so carefully she lifted the seven year old into her arms and after a few seconds of trying to reach the door release headed off towards Rush's quarters, they were as far away from everyone else as he could physically get which didn't surprise her much. TJ saw her on the way and grinned down at the sleeping angel in her Mother's arms, nigh-night Sweety she'd told her. Chloe was thankful to get to Rush's room as Cress was beginning to get a little heavy in her arms, after fumbling with the second door release she stepped inside to see Rush half way through taking his green t-shirt off and froze in the doorway.

“Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you'd still be working.”

It wasn't like she'd walked in on him naked but there was still something intimate about that situation that threw Chloe a little, Rush didn't seem to notice nor care. Chloe would be lying if she said she'd not noticed the way his slender muscles contracted under his white shirt. He wasn't a muscular man like Greer or Scott and he wasn't chubby like Volker instead Nicholas was lean and toned, probably stronger than he looked as well. She pushed those thoughts away.

“No, it's alright. Lieutenant Johansen says I need more sleep and since I'm running a diagnostic of the ship's systems I can't really keep working until it's done. I may as well take her advice.”

“Good idea. You shouldn't make yourself sick.” Suddenly she remembered the small girl in her arms. “I thought Cressida would be happier to wake up here than in my room.”

“Probably best.” He said while pulling his waistcoat to the other side of his bed so Chloe could carefully set Cress down. “I doubt Lieutenant Scott would want Cressida there.”

Just as Chloe tried to pull her hands away Cress' shot out to grab her hand.

“Mommy please stay. Please?” She muttered sleepily, only half conscious.

“It's alright you've got your Daddy.” Chloe tried to comfort her daughter.

Please?” The seven year old all but begged.

She glanced to Rush who gave her a short nod that said he didn't mind and finally relented.

“Alright, but just until you fall asleep.”

The girl with dazzling blue eyes sat down on the side of the bed closet to the door while Rush clambered in on the other leaving only Cressida to separate them, Cress muttered a night Mommy, night Daddy before settling down and drifting back off, Rush didn't hear it though since he was asleep the second his head hit the pillow, how exhausted is he? Chloe sat there in the dark waiting until she was absolutely sure Cress wouldn't wake up but she never got up to leave, instead Chloe fell asleep with one arm snaked around her daughter and a grumpy Scotsman less than a foot from her.

Chapter Text

Chloe's cerulean orbs fluttered open to a room lit only by the green, blue and purple wisps of a FTL mosaic lighting the room, she knew it was early despite there being no sun to tell her so, seemed her internal clock still kept perfect time. For a moment she wondered where she was but as soon as those blue eyes cast downwards to her stomach she remembered, I'm in Rush's room. In Rush's bed! Rather than panicking like most other people probably would Chloe just found herself asking if she'd covered herself over with the gold-copper covers or if maybe Rush had done it.

Glancing over she found him and Cressida still fast asleep, Cress on her side with her face buried in her Father's chest and Rush turned to face Chloe and the door. He had his arm thrown over Cress with his hand resting on Chloe's stomach, in the night she'd obviously wriggled which had caused her pink yoga top to ride up ever so slightly meaning she could feel the tips of his fingers on her warm skin... and it wasn't unpleasant. She found herself thinking about how soft his fingers were despite the callouses that coated them and just how peaceful he looked with bits of brown hair flashed with grey draped across his sleeping face. It was kind of strange seeing him so peaceful but it did make him look years younger and showed off just how handsome he really was, the scowling usually hid it; Chloe would go so far as to say he looked cute.

Suddenly Cress shuffled a bit but didn't wake and Chloe just watched her little chest rise and fall while listening to the gentle hum of Destiny's engines, she'd always wanted a family. Alien DNA tampering wasn't what she'd had in mind, still it was a nice image, Rush would make a good family man; he was already making an excellent father.

Dragging her mind away from happy families Chloe realised it would most likely be rather awkward for Rush to wake up to her watching him so she carefully pushed his hand away to hold Cress and extracted herself from the bed. She froze when he twitched but he didn't wake.

Chloe left entirely unaware that Nicholas had actually woken the second she touched his hand.

Combing her fingers through her hair as she walked, Chloe wandered back to towards her and Matt's quarters with a mind full of thoughts, it had only just dawned on her that it was the fist night since the Nakai had kidnapped her that she'd not had a nightmare. Normally Matt had to wake her up in the middle of the night because she was thrashing around and covered in sweat, yet not last night, she'd slept all nigh through without so much as a hint of fear. Was that because of Cress? Or Rush? Chloe didn't know the answer and wasn't a hundred percent sure if she wanted to know. She'd woken feeling refreshed and without stinging eyes, a welcomed change.

As she grew closer to her quarters she realised just how pleased she was that early those awake were coming up on the end of their shift and everyone else was either in their room or in the mess hall eating, no one saw her leave Rush's room pulling her top back down. No one could get the wrong idea. That was when she remembered the Kino, damn! It didn't matter though, if Young said anything about it he could clearly see that Cress didn't want her to go and that nothing happened.

Before she could push the door release it flew open and Matt nearly crashed into her, she'd expected him to look mad for not coming back but strangely he seemed more like she was going to tare his head off.

“Chloe, there you are. I was looking for you.” She opened her mouth to speak but he got there first. “I'm sorry.”

Huh? What did I miss?

“What for?” She asked softly wondering what she'd missed.

“For not coming back last night. I had too much of Brody's moonshine after the poker game and passed out. I've got one hell of a headache. Please don't be mad.”

He didn't know she'd ever left the room, maybe it was wrong to let him believe she'd never left but it was better than telling him she'd spent the night in Rush's bed cuddled up with Cress like a real family.

“It's alright, I'm not mad at you. You're headache is punishment enough.” She offered him an elicit smile.

“Yeah.” He breathed out a laugh. “I'll ask TJ if she's got anything for it after breakfast. You want to go to the mess hall?”

Chloe nodded.

“Lead the way.”

 

XXXX

 

Over the next few days Colonel Young started to relax around Cressida since she'd not suffered a single blackout, after being informed of where she came from and how she'd been made he actually felt sorry for her. None of that meant he trusted her though, she'd have to earn that just like everyone else had, to be honest he trusted Doctor Rush more than her; not by much though. She'd taken to assisting Rush working on the ship and had, reluctantly, found from Brody that she was rather efficient, while Volker had told him that her presence seemed to have a calming effect on the chief scientist; Volker was rather pleased with Rush yelling less.

The small girl was having an affect on TJ as well, Young knew it was both pleasing and painful to have her there for TJ. His mind filled with thoughts of Carmen and he couldn't help the sigh that fell from his lips. He didn't dare talk to Tamara about it, Young didn't know if he was ready for their daughter to be part of casual conversation.

Meanwhile on the other side of occupied Destiny Chloe wandered the halls pushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear as she went. Since waking from stasis Doctor Rush had been teaching her Ancient only to discover that she was a natural, complements from Nicholas Rush were a rarity so Chloe found herself lapping it up with glee; Rush was such a good teacher. Volker and Brody had also put several of their engineering manuals and textbooks onto a flash drive for her to go over, Rush had even been kind enough to explain certain bits to her, Chloe knew the answers but couldn't understand why she knew that was the answer; like finishing a jigsaw without having any of the pieces.

Noon, right after lunch had become their Ancient language lessons but when she left Matt in the mess hall to meet Rush she found the blackboard corridor void of grumpy Scottish chief scientists, and anyone else for that matter. He'd probably gotten caught up fixing something, running a diagnostic or yelling at Volker. With that in mind Chloe headed up to the bridge expecting to find him hunched over a terminal half way through mumbling at Brody and Volker but he wasn't anywhere to be seen.

“Hey guys, where's Doctror Rush?” She asked softly while walking down the steps, one hand on the railing.

“Not a clue.” Replied Mister Brody without looking up from his terminal, it was clear he wasn't really paying attention. “Maybe he went out for some milk.”

“Hi Chloe.” Volker smiled and Chloe offered one in return. “He was muttering to himself as usual and writing in that notebook of his, next thing I knew he was gone. Thought he'd gone to meet you. You two have a lesson right?”

I do.” She responded in Ancient.

“You're getting good.”

“Thanks! I guess I'll continue the search, there's only so many places he could be.”

Volker said good-bye but Brody remained too engrossed in whatever he was doing to notice the chestnut haired beauty leave the bridge.

The halls were surprisingly empty considering lunch had just ended, she peaked in the observation deck but only found Greer and Doctor Lisa Park, quickly she darted away not wanting to interrupt the two of them. Feet carried Chloe to a few more places, the gate room being the last before finally winding up in the control interface room; why is it always the last place you look? Loan behold there he was bent over the main terminal at an angle clearly detrimental to his spine.

“Hello.” She greeted, pleased when he looked up rather than just ignoring her as he did with so many. “Did you forget about our lesson today?”

“... Oh, yes I did. I apologise.”

“That's alright.” Chloe moved further into the room, so close she could easily peer over his shoulder at the terminal. “What is it you're doing?”

Rush sighed.

“I'm just trying to improve the ships power efficiency, I may have found a way to boost it by fifteen percent.”

Rush seemed engrossed in his work as usual, Chloe could almost see the cogs turning in his head.

“Would that mean we wouldn't need to go into stasis again?” Chloe asked curiously with a hint of hope.

“Depends on how large the next gap is.” Said Rush flatly.

“I hope we don't need them.” Rush easily noticed the blatant sadness on her face. There was something inside him that said he should reach out and comfort her but he wasn't sure it would be welcome. “There's too many of us now.”

Suddenly it dawned on him that they'd only just had enough stasis chambers for the last jump but now they had Cressida to think about. She didn't have one, she'd be... Rush didn't want to think about any of that. He'd make sure they never needed stasis again! He'd build another one if needed, I can figure that out! Rush promptly realised Chloe had started speaking and left his thoughts.

“... I'll leave you to your work. We could maybe have our lesson tomorrow.”

Chloe flashed him a twinkle of a smile before turning to leave, she made it three steps before Nick verbally stopped her with a wait and an extended hand, she turned back to face him.

“Take a look at these for me. You think they're right?”

She smiled and went back to the terminal, it was nice to be asked. Chloe looked over his calculations for a little while hoping she didn't miss anything and throw his work off.

“I can't see any mistakes.” She told him honestly.

“I know. I just wanted to double-check.”

There was silence for a moment that had a hint of... something to it that made his breath quicken ever so slightly.

“Thank you.” She beamed after a time and Rush's eyebrows shot up.

“What for?”

“For asking me to help. I know it's not much but it means a lot to me. Volker and Park test me sometimes but you're the only one that asks for my help or opinion.” Before she could stop herself Chloe leaned in and pressed a kiss to his scruffy cheek.

In an instant everything stopped and their eyes locked, rich dark brown met dazzling cerulean. Rush's mind stopped dead as though his ability to think had been stolen, Chloe felt much the same. An invisible force used all its might to push her over the edge and into unadulterated emotion, passion. She shouldn't, she shouldn't... but God did she want to. Before her mind had realised what was happening her lips had pressed to his.

He tasted bitter as though he'd just eaten some of that so-called oatmeal that Destiny called food. His greying beard scratched at her cheeks and chin but Chloe didn't care, her mind was much too lost in his soft lips. Just as her mind started to return Rush let out a deep growl, grabbed her neck and deepened the kiss almost brutally. There's need and want in the kiss; teasing, torment and passion. Chloe found herself falling into it shamelessly, heart pounding. Logical thought fled both their brains leaving only raging desire that both had denied until that very second, it was warm and rich.

One of them let out a moan but neither knew who it came from and to be honest neither really cared much, they were much too lost in the moment. With a sudden surge of nonplus strength Rush cupped Chloe's ass and lifted her up to sit on the main terminal, a move that aroused and shocked her. She felt calloused hands slip up her yoga pant covered thighs knocking them apart so he could fill the gap, his chest pressed against her own causing Chloe to gasp; Rush took advantage of her parted lips quickly and slipped his tongue into her mouth. Her body vibrated with pleasure when he started to map her mouth as though he'd never get to kiss her again, maybe he wouldn't. Her heart pounded in her chest with the speed of a falling star. She tasted sweet like sugar and something else that was quickly becoming addictive. Maybe she should have worried about someone walking in or the console collapsing but instead Chloe parted her legs a little more and pulled him closer by the collars of his t-shirts. Another moan, nails digging into his shoulders. He nibbled at her neck reviling in the sweet little sounds she made when his long fingers gripped her hips.

In that moment everything was perfect... but then that moment end and life invaded again.

Rush come in, this is Young.” The radio crackled to life brining everything to a halt.

Nicholas sighed and backed away a few steps, chest rising and falling breathing out air that had once been in Chloe's lungs. Chloe watched as he reached for the radio and responded.

What is it Colonel?” God I hope Young doesn't notice how breathless I sound.

We've dropped out of FTL-” Rush hadn't even noticed. “-Brody says there's a gate in range.”

“I'll be there in a minute. Rush out.”

Nicholas clipped the radio back onto his belt and just stood there for a moment trying to fully process what had just happened, it took a second for his mind to re-boot. Chloe started speaking before he'd figured out what to say and hopped down off the console, Rush didn't want to just walk away knowing it would only upset her.

“I'll go and get Cress from TJ. I have a present for her anyway, she can't stay in that black t-shirt forever.”

With that she shuffled out the room and off down the corridor desperately trying to ignore the wetness between her legs.

Doctor Rush stood there for a few seconds before audibly sighing and trudging to the gate room. Young, Brody and Doctor Volker stood by the gate terminal while Sargent Greer and Lieutenant Scott waited off to the side a few steps. The gates blue-silver light flashed over the metal walls like some kind of sleepy disco.

“Have you sent a Kino yet?” Rush asked the second he entered the gate room.

“Just done it.” Volker responded without looking up from the Kino feed.

“And?” His tone was demanding.

“It looks like a built up area.” Brody began. “Advanced but entirely abandoned as far as I can tell.”

In an instant Colonel Young and Rush had gathered directly behind Mister Brody to see the footage for themselves. The area around the gate seemed to be a large city that had been abandoned years previous, roads had large cracks and buildings were derelict coated a thick scattering grass and trees that had laid claim to the wreckage. They twisted and turned into the old metal hiding civilisation behind the world of nature.

“What the hell happened here?” Greer asked quickly while glancing between the Kino screen and the open gate.

“War.” Young deadpanned. “Look at the buildings, some of the larger ones are singed while the smaller are blown to bits. They were bombed.”

“I'd say world war.” Rush announced without looking away from his terminal. “I'm not getting any indication of the planet being inhabited. They probably wiped themselves out, like Russia and America only this lot actually launched.”

“Is there radiation?” Scott asked quickly with a slight look of concern on his face that seemed to mirror Young's own.

“No. Readings indicate it's fine, no harmful radiation at all.” Finally the chief scientist looked up. “We can send a team through.”

It was a little strange when Dale Volker finally pipped up, they'd all gotten used to him being silent, stood behind Rush just staring at the screen.

“We could salvage so much from a place like this. It could be a goldmine.”

“My thoughts exactly Doctor Volker.” Young turned to Lieutenant Scott. “Scott would you put a team together please, we'll see what this place has to offer.”

“Can do.” Having been given his orders Scott set off on his task leaving the room.

All eyes shot to Chloe and Cressida as they entered just after Matt had vanished out of sight, Chloe wore a pleasant smile on her dazzling pink lips and Rush desperately tried not to blush at the memory of their kiss. His mind turned to other matters when honey eyes fell to his daughter, instead of the borrowed black t-shirt she wore a gold-copper dress, knee-length and basic but there was no denying it was beautiful on her and fit so much better than Airman Dunning's t-shirt. It had tiny cap sleeves, one of which was ever so slightly longer than the other, practically unnoticeable. Unbeknown to the Destiny crew Chloe had spent days carefully stitching fabric together in an attempt to give Cress something acceptable to ware; something that showed her for the beautiful little girl she really was. The little golden brown bow around her waist was the perfect finishing touch, the dress would win no awards but what it lacked in skill the dress more than made up for with care and consideration; It was a product of a Mother's love.

“Daddy! Daddy! Look what Mommy made for me.” She seemed so excited and Rush couldn't blame her, most of Destiny's crew would kill for a new outfit. Chloe just continued to smile.

“Yes I see, very pretty. You look beautiful.”

Cressida beamed and spun around leaving the skirt to flare as she showed it off proudly. Rush's brown eyes locked on Chloe's cerulean ones.

“How did you make it?”

“I took the bedsheets from one of the unused rooms and borrowed a knife from Corporal Barnes. It was just time after that. I had enough fabric to make her another outfit too, this one seems to be her favourite though.” Chloe's smile matched Cressida's almost perfectly. “She wanted to come see the Kino feed and show you her dress.”

“Can I see the planet? Please Daddy.”

Rush's lips turned upwards in a little half grin which still confused everyone but they all had to admit it was rather refreshing to see. The chief scientist went to his child and bent to pick her up easily before walking back over to the Kino screen, Volker automatically backed out of his way.

“Sure, of course you can see.”

The look of pure awe in her chocolate eyes almost brought tears to Rush's eyes, he pushed that away though, there was no way in hell he'd cry in front of them; in front of anyone. It occurred to him that though Cress knew what the sky, grass and sun was she'd never actually seen them before, and that was heart-breaking.

Lieutenant Scott returned then with James, Varro and Corporal Barnes following behind, seemed he'd gathered the others of the away team. Within a few moments Volker, Greer and Rush himself had been told to gather their things and Rush was thankful to have a chance at some fresh air, Varro felt much the same.

They had a new planet to discover.

Chapter Text

It took less than twenty minutes for Rush and the rest of the team to gather everything they needed and meet in the gate room, the pools rich blue-silver light bouncing around the space looking more magical than scientific. The planet – or Warville as Greer had dubbed it – awaited, a mystery to be discovered. Greer and Volker stepped through first followed by Varro who wore a pleasant smile, he really was looking forward to fresh air, even if it was in an apocalyptic city. Rush clipped his sand colored rucksack closed and threw it over his shoulder just in time to catch Cressida who came charging into the room somewhat faster than she had twenty minutes ago, it turned out that the other outfit Chloe had made for her consisted of a pair of pants that looked a little like leggings and a matching top with three-quarter sleeves; Chloe really had put in a lot of effort and he could tell Cress appreciated it.

“Daddy, let me come with you!” Rush couldn't quite tell whether it was a question, a plea or a demand she said it so fast. “Mommy said I couldn't but please, please please-” Rush cut her off when he caught sight of Chloe trailing after their daughter.

“You're Mother is right.” He told the girl in his arms softly, unaware of Lieutenant Scott's eyes on him.

“I'll be good.” She told him quickly, it was easy to see she was desperate. “I just want to see the sun.”

Oh that broke his heart. The sun, such a simple thing that she'd been denied because of how she'd been created.

“She'll be alright for a little while.” James smiled, she'd taken a liking to the little girl. “There's four military personnel and Varro too.”

“It's an unexplored planet.” Scott objected.

“I've had the Kino running since we first discovered the planet; no radiation, no animals, no people.” For a second Brody wondered why he was helping the kid, he didn't like her that much. “She'll be fine.”

“Alright.”

Rush consented, he knew he should have said no but the look in her eyes ripped down his resolve and made him putty in her hands. Cressida beamed with joy.

“Rush-” Chloe began but Rush quickly cut her off.

“We have to check in an hour from now, so how about she can come until then?”

Chloe thought it over for a few moments, she worried for her child but at the same time knew that Cress couldn't be forced to remain on Destiny every time the came to a new planet. This one seemed reasonably safe though, not that Destiny was safe, maybe it would be alright? It's just an hour Chloe, she'll be fine. Cressida is mature for her age, maybe that's a good thing the Nakai did to her, the dark-haired mother muttered to herself.

“Okay.” She relented before looking down at Cress. “But you do what he says when he says it.”

Cressida nodded happily in her father's arms.

“And you don't leave my sight.” He added sternly.

“No, I won't wander off. I promise, Daddy.” Cressida was practically giddy.

She waved to her Mother over Rush's shoulder as they stepped through the gate and tried not to pay attention to the concern on the elder woman's face. Everything tingled when they entered the pool, it wasn't cold but not warm either and there was a strange high pitched buzzing that seemed far away. For the briefest of seconds Cressida lost the touch of her Father and felt like she was floating through a void, then suddenly he was back holding her in his arms like it had never happened.

Cressida opened her eyes to see long pale grass and broken tarmac with weeds growing up through the irregular cracks, honey eyes shot up to the sky and squinted at the bright orange sun hanging in a blue-purple sky; it was beautiful. Rush just watched her with a smile, she'd never seen anything like this before, just metal hallways and goo lined tanks. Cressida was a little girl – his little girl – not a science experiment. She clung to him tighter and tighter as her awe rose.

There were so many buildings, some tall some large, all made of a dark blue substance that looked to be a cross between marble and hard metal, there were next to no windows and those that did exist had nothing but dusty shattered shards of glass remaining. Stood in the not too far distance were what could only be described as two sky-scrappers, one had around fifty floors while the other had half collapsed and now rested against the other, it's roof half inside the middle of the other sky-scrapper. All the buildings had been half-reclaimed by nature, grass and trees intertwining with broken metal and destroyed glass, whatever had happened to this world had been a very long time ago.

Rush found the derelict city before him strangle beautiful, the way nature had slowly reclaimed had a certain charm, leaves of green re-moulding everything into a new paradise. Though destroyed everything seemed peaceful. Tranquil.

“Do you like it?” That was a silly question, of course she liked it.

“It's... beautiful.” Her voice full of wonder.

Lieutenant Scott stepped through next to them unintentionally ruining the moment and quickly grabbed everyone's attention while straightening his jet black baseball cap. Rush silently set his daughter down beside him and held her soft little hand in his.

“Right, Cressida is with us until the first check in so keep an eye on her.” Volker opened his mouth to grumble just as the gate shut off but Scott just continued to talk. “Let's do a check of the general area, Varro and Barnes stay with the others, James and Greer you're with me.”

Matt, Greer and James fanned out while Nicholas and Volker set to work with the help of Cress, Rush adored that she was like him because it made him feel like she really was his daughter; of course she is! Cress has my DNA no matter what those blue bastards did! Sometimes Rush needed to remind himself of that. He'd have carried her about since she didn't have any shoes but he needed his hands to work, maybe Chloe had an idea on how to make her some.

Everything around them was strangely silent which was just a bit ominous, he'd expected some kind of wildlife but there was nothing. Varro and Corporal Barnes kept an eye out while Volker took samples of a fruit he'd found growing on a tree that jutted up from some kind of caved in tunnel system, it looked like a lemon but smelt of almonds, a quick pH test revealed his suspicions to be correct. Cyanide. Best not to eat this then, he grumbled to himself. Rush dug up a small amount of soil to test but when he turned to his bag to get a tube for it he found Cressida had pulled it into her cross-legged lap, a second later he was handed to him.

“Thank you.” He smiled, Cress liked to help.

A good forty-five minutes passed like that, quiet work, but then the sun started to set; from what they could tell due to the size of the planet and the angle of the sun sunset took hours. Cressida had never seen it before and found it beautiful, she also found herself wandering off towards one of the half demolished buildings hoping for a staircase she could climb to get a better look, she knew she shouldn't – she'd promised her Daddy she'd stay in sight – but her bare feet carried her off anyway.

“Cress, can I have another tube?” Rush asked but got no response, his head shot up to fine his bag not daughter. “Cressida?” She was gone. “Cressida!” Volker would be no help, he'd had his back to them for a while but how had Varro and Barnes not seen her wander off; what sort of a look out were they? “Cressida!”

Meanwhile Cress had indeed found the staircase she'd wanted but couldn't hear her father through the thick blue walls despite them being half gone. The space around her looked like it had once been a home of some kind, there were three cut outs in the walls and a ladder that looked like built in bunk beds, large triangles arranged in a circle had been placed in the roof like skylights and actually still had a faint pinkish glass in them, though it was beyond dusty. A strange silver-red engraving hung by the door she'd walked in through that Cress thought was some kind of flower but other than that there was no decoration.

“Cressida!”

The little girl jolted upon hearing her Father yelling and faced back down the stairs almost slamming into Varro almost knocking the blonde to the ground, he righted himself quickly and picked her up with a come on, you'd Daddy is worried. She'd not meant to disobey or worry him, Cress had just been curious.

“Doctor Rush I've got her.” Varro called out as soon as the others came into view, in less than a single heartbeat Rush filled his arms with her.

“What did I say!?” He didn't mean to yell at her but he'd just been so scared, it was getting dark, she could of fallen and hurt herself. “Don't wander off again.” He added a little more softly.

“I'm sorry, Daddy.” Cress cuddled into the crook of his neck, she was smart enough to know his anger was born of concern. “I didn't mean to upset you.”

“I know.” He breathed against her forehead. “You're just brave and curious like your Mother.”

“Run!” Screamed Volker at the top of his lungs.

 

XXXX

 

Lieutenants Scott and James along with Sargent Greer had ended up taking a leisurely stroll through the destroyed city with nothing to show for it, the place was void of anyone or anything, the buildings were mainly homes as far as they could gather while a few of the piles of rubble looked as though the could have once been stores, James quickly came to the conclusion whoever had inhabited Warville, as Greer was still calling it, hadn't been too different from humans. They'd started back almost ten minutes before but Greer had come across a jet black door they'd not notice before, it was thick and yet bent completely off it's hinges as though a truck had driven into it at full force. Curiously they approached with weapons raised.

Inside there was nothing but dust and darkness, the space was a black hole illuminated by their flashlights, he place was, for lack of a better term, an underground parking lot or store room. Everything was cold and dank with a thick layer of rubble and twisted metal where one of the upper floors had caved in, their lights glanced over the whole room slowly.

“It looks like someone was living down here.” Said Scott when his flashlight ghosted over a pile of tattered fabric that had once been clothing.

“Oh God, what's that smell?” James quickly covered her mouth and nose with one hand but it didn't do much to help fend off the stench, it smelt of sweat and rancid blood.

“Maybe whoever lived here died, could be decay.” Greer muttered.

Lieutenant Scott panned his beam of light a little further to the left and stopped dead, bodies, more than he could even start to count. They were bone white and coated in faded scraps of fabric and blackened blood, they looked humanoid save for the extra set of arms though some of the bodies were missing limbs.

“Em, guys.”

James and Greer turned, all three lights gathering on the pile, James gasped while Greer just raised an eyebrow. Suddenly the pile started to move and creek, the bodies crawled over one another so slowly at first that the three humans weren't sure they were moving at all, and then all of a sudden twenty or thirty sets of dead black eyes locked on them. No one said a work they simply started firing, muzzle flash lighting up the room like a disco, some of the creatures fell to the ground only to get back up while others didn't even react to being shot. Scott screamed for them to fall back and everyone ran, Greer pulled the bent door as far closed as it would go before following.

They raced the short distance back to the gate but never got there, the sound of Barnes firing her weapon reached them just before Rush, Cress and the others came into view hauling ass away from more of the bone white monsters. The sun had almost set when the two groups met and darted down a small side street half blocked by rubble, they managed to clamber through two by two and Rush never let go of Cress; if anyone had been thinking anything beyond run they'd have been amazed at how quickly he could scrabble over the stone blockage with her in his arms.

How everyone managed to keep up as they darted around corners and over destruction they weren't quite sure, those things just kept coming clambering over one another in an attempt to grab of the newcomers; that was probably the only thing slowing them down enough for Rush and the others to stay ahead of them. Darting around yet another corner Rush ground to a dead stop with Cressida still securely in his arms leaving everyone else to race past him, he looked up at a ladder next to him that went all the way to the roof of a two story building, it appeared sturdy, glancing back those monsters hadn't turned the corner yet.

“Stop running and yet the hell up here!”

Heads turned at Rush's words, feet as well once they say him give Cress a piggyback and start clambering up the ladder as fast as possible. It was a race against time to reach the roof before the monsters figured out which way they'd turned, Volker, Barnes, Varro, James, Scott they all bolted up the ladder as fast as they could go leaving only Greer who'd been leading the charge down the street. As soon as his foot touched the ladder the herd appeared at the far end of the street, Greer knew if he went up that ladder they'd only follow and trap the others.

“Over here ya freaks!”

With a deep breath he fired at the mass of white multi limbed bodies coming towards him attracting their attention before turning and racing down the apocalyptic street and out of sight.

“I'll loop back!” Were his parting words.

Chapter Text

Snarls, screams and sheiks followed Greer into the darkness with the spread of a raging river, James and Scott watched as their friend vanished out of sight, they felt guilty but knew they couldn't go after him in the dark.

“What the hell are those things?” Lieutenant James yelped as soon as they were all up the ladder.

“Be quiet.” Scott quickly shot back in a frantic half whisper. “They'll hear us.”

Rush sat slumped on the floor with Cressida crying quietly into his chest but that didn't stop him from hypothesising on the creatures.

“We found evidence in the soil, a mass quantity of a chemical I can't identify, I'm not a chemist. It's such a thick layer that I'd say it fell with the bombs, Volker found that nothing here is edible either. These people were wiped out by a chemical attack... those affected must have turned into those things.”

“Is the air safe to breathe?” James asked quickly.

“Yeah.” Said an exhausted Volker who'd collapsed on the ground only a foot away from Rush and his daughter. “The cloud would have dispersed after so many years, it's all in the soil and the plant life now.”

“So we're in our own little zombie apocalypse?” James continued.

“They don't seem too smart.” Varro added. “They make up for that with homicidal rage it seemed.”

Changing the subject Corporal Barnes began to speak only to have Volker interrupt.

“We have to go and get Greer-”

“No, we need to get the bloody hell off this planet.”

Scott took a few steps towards the blonde doctor, Cress continued to cry into her father's arms.

“How? With those things we have to stay here until Greer comes back, he said he'd do a loop. Just calm down and be quiet, panicking isn't going to help the situation.”

Volker grumbled but said no more on the matter, just crossed his arms and sulked, he was scared, they all were but that didn't mean they could start yelling and freaking out. He mumbled something about a fire but Varro shut him down quickly.

“We can't risk building a fire, there's nothing to light up here and more importantly those creatures would see it. A fire would be like ringing a dinner bell.”

Meanwhile Cress gripped Rush's oversized camo jacket tight and continued to sob, she'd never see something like the monsters before, not even the Nakai had frightened her so much. The bone-white skin that just hung off their bones, bits of blackened flesh caught in their teeth and soulless eyes; it was horrifying. Their snarls still rang through her little head and her over-active imagination had already presented her with images of one of bogeymen clambering up onto the roof with the savage intention of ripping her from her father's arms.

“Sush, you're alright.” Rush tried to comfort his girl and Cress knew she needed to be quiet. “You didn't cry when you woke up in the infirmary, did you?”

“No.” She sniffled.

“Because you're brave just like your Mother and stubborn like me.” He was pleased when she laughed ever so slightly through the tears. “I'm not telling you to stop crying, I know that's hard but I need you to do it into my chest, okay? Be as quiet as possible.”

Cressida did just that, pressed her face into his chest and mumbled something that sounded like an okay.

James and Scott looked around the reasonably small rooftop while Varro watched the ladder with Corporal Barnes. There was a tower in one corner that had almost completely been destroyed along with what had once been a stairwell, it was too dangerous to risk using meaning that the ladder was the only way back down. Other than themselves there was nothing else up there. The buildings that surrounded them had half fallen or were just piles of broken rock and metal, they couldn't hop to another roof and there were no other ladders.

Returning to the others they found Cress had managed to quiet her tears to little hiccups and everything in Vanessa James told her to comfort the little girl but she doubted Rush would appreciate it. Volker continued to look annoyed and scared but he would never admit to it.

“Looks like that ladder is the only way down.” Said Scott.

“Great going Rush.” Volker mumbled under his breath but everyone heard him.

“No. He did the right thing, we're all alive up here and they can't see us.” No one was more surprised than Rush to find James sticking up for him.

“It's probably a stupid question but do you think we could sneak past them?” Asked Varro. Night had completely descended leaving nothing but black and thick cloud cover. Rush sighed.

“You found them somewhere dark right?”

James nodded. “ Yeah, it looked like huge storage room of some kind.”

“And we found a caved in tunnel system near the gate, they came up out of there.” Varro added.

“As soon as the sun went down enough for shadows to take over those things just came running like they'd been waiting.”

“Volker makes a good point.” That was probably the only time Rush would ever say that. “These things are clearly nocturnal, maybe before the chemical maybe after, I don't know.” He paused for a moment in thought before speaking again. “Let's suppose for a moment that this was an all out chemical war, whoever bombed these people probably expected everyone to die quickly but clearly that didn't happen.”

“Those things used to be people.” Cress muttered while wiping away the last of her tears.

Rush nodded. “Twisted and broken to the point that they've got nothing but rage left.”

“So it is a zombie apocalypse.”

“No, Lieutenant James. They're not dead, years have passed since this war meaning that if they'd died their bodies would have decayed to nothingness.”

“I don't care what they are.” Scott cut in with a grumpy tone. “Or how they got like this.” He sighed. “Rush, do you have any idea how we get past them?”

“Daytime.” Cressida said before Rush got a chance to open his mouth.

“What?”

“She's right. Daytime, as I said those things seem nocturnal so during the day they'd be asleep somewhere nice and dark. We could make a run for it then.”

“Right, okay. We can't do anything about it tonight then and there's no way we're leaving without Greer. We just have to hunker down for the night. I'll take first watch with James, Varro and Barnes you can take over.”

Scott wondered why Destiny hadn't dialled the gate and contacted them but he didn't want to cause more panic and worry by mentioning it to the others, none of them had asked about it and he was willing to keep quiet for a while longer.

 

XXXX

 

“Where the hell are they?!” Chloe stormed into the gate room fists clenched in worry. “They've been gone for hours.”

Chloe's panicked tone drew the attention of everyone in the gate room, Brody may have jumped a little. In seconds TJ was by the worried mother's side in an attempt to comfort her while Camile just continued to stare at the gate off in her own little world.

“Brody, have you got any further with the gate?” Young asked in a deep voice full of stress.

“No.” The engineer said quickly without looking up from the control terminal “It's not a problem at our end, there's something wrong with the other gate. I'm sorry but there's nothing I can do from here to establish a wormhole.”

“Rush'll figure something out.” TJ offered a reassuring smile but Chloe was still halfway between panic and concern.

Suddenly Camile spun around to face the other four people in the room. Somehow the engines seemed quieter than usual which only added to Chloe's discomfort, she'd come to find Destiny's background noise reassuring.

“Could we send the shuttle down?” Camile spoke like all problems were solved.

“Unfortunately not.” Sighed Young. “Scott and Greer have the best experience with the shuttle, I don't want to risk anyone else.”

“It wouldn't matter anyway, Sir.” Brody muttered. “The planet's atmosphere is extraordinary thick to cope with this system's sun, the shuttle's shields wouldn't be able to handle it after leaving Destiny. To put it simply the shuttle would burn up.”

“So there's no way to get them back?” Camile deflated.

TJ shot a glare at Camile in warning but she didn't seem to notice, the blonde could feel Chloe's tension growing, TJ knew exactly how she felt.

“I'm sure Rush will fix what ever it is, you know how he is.”

There was silence for a moment, nothing but steady breaths and Brody tapping away to fill the dark room.

“Mister Brody I want you to look at getting the shields on the shuttle improved, if Rush and the other's don't return soon we'll have no choice but to send the shuttle.”

“Who'll pilot it?” Asked Camile.

“I will. I won't risk anyone else and I'm the only other person who can fly it.”

With an unconvinced yes sir Brody vanished off to find Volker and figure out some way to increase the shuttle's shield capacity, it certainly wasn't going to be an easy job – then again on Destiny nothing was easy – and it would take far longer than Young seemed to realise especially with Rush gone and Park still out of commission; Brody hated to admit it but he would have been grateful for Cressida's help.

Once the engineer had left the room Young ran a large hand through his dark locks dusted with grey and turned to Chloe, she feared for her child that much was obvious.

“Chloe, I know you're worried and want us to go now but-” She cut him off softly.

“I understand. That doesn't mean I like it though.”

He rested a hand on her shoulder. “Scott and Cressida will be back soon, I promise.”

And Rush she added in her head, her worry mainly circled around her daughter but Chloe would be lying if she said they weren't also for Doctor Rush. Chloe didn't want to think about that just now.

The bridge was where the dark-haired woman felt closest to Cress and Rush, they spent more time there than anywhere else on the ship, that was how she found herself walking in and down the steps towards Brody and a disgruntled looking Volker. Chloe could imagine Rush sat in the command chair with Cress atop his knee looking at equations and bits of Ancient as they translated it; that made her smile. Chloe wanted her daughter back... Rush back... and Matt of course her mind quickly added.

With a gargantuan sigh Brody began to speak jolting Chloe from her thoughts.

“It's going to take absolute ages to upgrade the shields. We could really use your help.”

Chloe's help would save them a great deal of time, but she couldn't help but wonder if he was trying to take her mind of things, Adam Brody caring and concerned? There was just something in his over the top sigh and over dramatised that it seemed more for her benefit than his, either way she agreed to help him. 

Chapter Text

An hour had passed by since Greer had vanished off into the night and each second that ticked on seemed longer than the last, all but Lieutenants Scott and James had found sleep – though Corporal Barnes kept waking up every ten minutes or so. Rush had curled up on his left side facing in towards the centre of the roof with Cressida cuddled up to him, she had her back pressed to his chest and his right arm holding on to her shoulders tightly. Everyone thought the two were asleep but they'd been hanging in a state too exhausted to remain away and too full of adrenaline to sleep.

“Are you cold?” He asked his daughter when he noticed her little body shaking. Cressida didn't answer and Rush found himself muttering in a tone of self-loathing. “I'm a terrible father, I never should have let you come.”

In less than a second Cressida had flipped over to face him gripping his borrowed BDU jacket for dear life and had pressed her cheeks to his chest.

“No.” She said defiantly. “I love you Daddy.”

“I love you too, Cressida.”

The young girl froze solid as a stature, grip growing tighter. That was the very first time Rush had said he loved her and it made her heart swell with happiness, if all her tears hadn't already been used up she would have burst out crying again. He loved her, her Father truly loved her.

“Try and sleep, Little One.” He whispered against her forehead. “You'll be alright, I promise.”

It took a while but Cress finally fell asleep with those words echoing around her head bringing her comfort; I love you too, Cressida. A little while later Rush found slumber as well.

Time went on with snarls and growls filling the chilly night air, Scott started to grow twitchy as the night continued until suddenly there was a rattling at the ladder, someone or something was climbing up. Scott shot to the edge of the crumbling roof eyes locking onto the ladder, James only a beat behind him.

“Greer!”

Quickly clambering up the was the Sargent, he looked exhausted with sweat dripping down his forehead. Scott grabbed hold of one arm while James grabbed the other and pulled him up onto the roof, Greer just panted on the ground.

“Where the hell have you been?” Scott demanded while James dropped to her knees and pulled Greer up into a seated position, the man continued to pant.

Finally he got his breath back enough to speak.

“Man those things can run. I ended up... going through that... skyscraper thing that's collapsed against the other one.”

Scott snapped up to look at the skyscraper and then back down to his exhausted friend.

“That's got to be a two clicks away.”

“I lost them up there – most of them – some kept coming but I managed to slip out of sight a few streets away.” Greer took a deep breath. “Got any water?”

“Yeah, of course.” James leapt into action pulling her canteen from her backpack and handing it to Greer.

He took long gulps letting little trickles of the liquid tumble down his chin, Adams apple bobbing with each swig. It took a while but eventually Greer regained normal speech and told his tale of charging through the ruined city in a desperate attempt to escape but with each turn more of the monsters seemed to appear from nowhere. He'd raced up crumbling stairs and through broken windows, under damaged beams and down yet more stairs, James and Scott didn't pressure him further.

 

XXXX

 

Despite everyone being on edge – and that was putting it lightly – they managed to find sleep, even Sargent Greer. Varro and Corporal Barnes kept watch, desperate not to see the creatures return. The air was ice cold without a fire but they couldn't risk indulging in one, they'd all rather be cold than dead. Corporal Barnes rubbed at her arms wondering if the cold could actually kill them first, it had been so warm during the day but there in the dead of night it was as though she'd been thrown into the Arctic, still she kept her mind filled with thoughts of fresh logs crackling on the hearth and a wave of pleasant warmth seeping past her skin into her icy bones. Varro hadn't even registered the temperature, far too caught up with watching the streets.

Volker lay on his side curled up in the foetal position and his coat pulled up over his lower face, his hands had been tucked under his armpits and his chin pulled down to his chest. Scott had curled himself up in almost the exact same position a few feet over only he had his ballcap pulled down almost as a shield; poor James just kept tossing and turning. Greer, who had truly been exhausted, lay flat out on his back with hands tucked into his pockets too tired to care about warmth.

Suddenly Cressida's eyes flew open with the speed of a shooting star but focused on nothing almost as though she were sleepwalking, no not like, sleepwalking was exactly what was happening. She tilted her head left and the right without really taking in anything around her. She seemed to be on autopilot, as though she'd been drained of all personality. Not once did her eyes dilate. Cressida didn't speak, didn't blink, she just took slow silent steps towards Varro and Corporal Barnes who had their back to her. The two were talking but the seven year old didn't register a single word, it was unimportant to her task. Brown unfocused eyes looked up to the heavens, there were two large moons, one silvery and the other somewhat rose tinted, there was a little cloud cover but not much and far off stars glistened as if calling out for attention; Cressida noticed none of this. Despite the black look on her sleeping face, anyone who'd seen her would have assumed she was looking for something, having not found it Cress simply stepped back over to Rush and curled back up in his warm arms. Her eyes closed as though nothing had ever happened.

 

XXXX

 

When dawn finally came Varro went round rousing everyone form their uncomfortable slumber – which meant nudging the group with his foot, save for Cressida. The blonde man crouched down beside her and shook her shoulder softly muttering it's time to wake up quietly, Rush bolted upright at the slight movement still hyper-aware of the dangerous planet and the need to protect his daughter; seeing it was just Varro he calmed his body.

“It's been light for a little while.” Said Varro. “We haven't heard any of those things for a while now and haven't seen them in hours.”

“There aren't enough shadows for them to hide in, right Daddy?”

 

Rush smiled down at his still sleepy girl.

“Aye, that's right.”

Rush stood and stretched before reaching for his water bottle and passing it to Cress who took a long gulp and then returned it. She rubbed sleep from her eyes.

“If it's daylight then we have better make a move.” Began Scott as he straightened his ball cap. “Greer, you alright?”

The Sargent was still exhausted and hadn't slept that well – not that any of them had – and kept scraping a large hand over his stubble coated face in an attempt to wake himself up. God I could use some real coffee was his only thought.

“Yeah, I'm good.” Came his response mid yawn.

“Those things didn't bite or scratch you did they?” Volker asked with an air of worry and possible panic. “We have no idea what they could be carrying.”

“Nah, I'm fine. Nearly broke my ankle jumping over some kind of fence.”

“We can worry about all this later. TJ is going to have us all in quarantine for this.”

Everyone there knew just how right James was about that, it would be the first thing that happened when they got back to Destiny – if they got back.

“For now can we please just focus on getting out of this creep show?” Scott almost sound pleading.

Carefully they descended the ladder, Scott going first to make sure nothing was lurking, and retraced their steps from the evening before. At first it was difficult to remember which way they'd come thanks to the maze of streets and fear they'd felt, the group got lost several times in the labyrinth with hours floating by. However, as soon as they found the rubble pile it got easier, only by then it must have been around noon if not later. Lieutenant Scott and Varro took point while James and Barnes brought up the rear leaving Volker, Cressida, Rush and a shuffling Greer made up the middle.

Rush didn't say it but he was so proud of Cressida, fear had taken her the night before but she seemed to have forced that away and taken on the courage of her Mother; she looked tired though. Little black bags had started to form under her eyes making them look even more like Rush's own.

No one spoke on the walk back unless it was absolutely necessary, if they were too tired to take or just didn't know what to say they didn't much care. They gate sat on a grassy hill just outside the abandoned city and they couldn't wait to see it, Volker's feet hurt and he kept thinking one of the monsters would jump out at him like a bad horror movie but it was as though they'd never existed. Only dusty mass tracks indicated the pack of devils had ever been there.

“Oh shit.”

All eyes darted up to Scott and then in the direction he was looking to see the gate had collapsed; Volker could have cried. Feet pounded the hot ground as they bolted towards the gate, had the bogeymen felled it on purpose or had it just happened when they'd emerged from their tunnel? No one really cared about the answer they just wanted to go back to Destiny.

“Does this mean we're stuck?” Barnes asked no one in particular.

Rush took a deep breath. “No.” He had to think about this logically. “To be honest a gate will open no matter which way it's facing, they were designed to last. It'll be a rough landing though.”

“We can live with that.” Said Scott. “Volker, dial the gate.”

The blonde scientist did so quickly, fingers moving faster than they ever had before... nothing happened.

“Volker?” The Lieutenant didn't sound pleased.

“It's not me!” Barked the blonde defensively. “Something is wrong.”

“Daddy, what's that?”

Rush looked down to the section of silver-white gate that his daughter pointed curiously at, his eyes narrowed; why couldn't we just go?

“Crap! The gate casing is damaged, must have happened in the fall. I bet it's jamming the gate rotation.”

“Well what the hell does that mean? We stuck?” Greer barked.

“The newer gates like the one on Icaurs have exposed chevron rings.” Seeing all the blank faces he explained. “You can see it going round while the gate dials. The ones left by the seed ship are for lack of a better term old school, it's all internal.”

“That sounds rather backwards.” James made a fair point.

“Actually it's not. I need to get this damaged panel off and remove whatever is blocking it, it shoulder take too long. Cress I need you.”

Rush rolled up his sleeves and crouched down beside the gate with Cress not a foot behind him, Volker was a little annoyed that Rush didn't ask for his help, he had studied the gates for years after all.

“Cress, we don't have any cutting tools so I'm going to pull the casing back as far as I can and I need you to put your hand in, okay?” She nodded. “There's going to be a sort of latch, it'll feel different to everything else, small and round like a peg. Push it as hard as you can. It won't come free but push anyway.” Another nod.

Rush and Volker spend almost two hours cutting through the casing with their measly cutting tools that were practically useless. Eventually Rush got enough leverage to fit his fingers under and pulled with all his strength, seconds later Varro joined in while the others cautiously watched the perimeter, raising it just enough for Cress to stick her tiny hand into the inner gate. It took a moment but she found the peg like anomaly her father had said would be there, everything felt smooth and metallic save for this little round peg that felt more as though it had been made of stone; rough and uneven. She pushed with all her might, fingers going white.

 

“Got it!”

“Varro, pull.” Rush ordered and the two men used everything they had to free the metallic casing.

Just when it seemed it wouldn't come free Scott aided them and it popped free with a grating sound. With the chevron ring exposed Rush dropped to his knees in search of the blockage but didn't find one.

“It's not here. Cress can you reach down the next section and-”

He cut himself off seeing she was already doing it. That's my girl, were the first words that came to his mind but his thoughts were quickly cut off by Volker who seemed both annoyed and suspicious.

“Doctor Rush, how do you know any of this? We've never taken a gate apart before.”

“You haven't.” Came his quick response that lacked much attention, he never even tilted his head towards the other doctor. “I took Destiny's apart almost the second we got on board.” There was a slight sense of smugness to his words.

“Rush!” Scott began with outrage but Nicholas was having none of his crap while on an alien planet filled with murderous, chemically mutated monsters.

“What?! The gate still works, you didn't even know. And because I did Cressida and I can get you off this insane asylum.”

“Found it, Daddy!”

The little girl beamed as the chirped words left her lips. She stretched her arm further into the small opening, there wasn't much room between the chevron rings and the exterior metal but thanks to her tiny frame her hand and arm just fit. If it was a tight fit for Cress then none of the others stood a chance, she was there saving grace.

“Good girl.”

“I... I can't quite reach it. I think I need a knife.”

Rush didn't say a single word, simply handed over his lock knife to the seven almost eight year old, he did however flash her a cautionary glance. His daughter wasn't stupid, in fact she seemed rather mature for her age; Rush suspected her mind had developed somewhat faster than her young body had. She's probably more mature that most of the people on Destiny.

Minutes went by, first one then ten then twenty. With each one the away team grew more and more frustrated, edgy and tense. Greer even felt the need to point out their survival rested on a genetically engineered child but Rush and Cress paid no mind, she was too focused on prising the piece of metal free from the chevron ring and Rush didn't care where she'd come from, Cressida was his daughter no matter what; Greer's opinions didn't matter.

Tension continued to build as yet more minutes passed, Cressida started to grow tired but she didn't give up. Varro and Rush remained encouraging but Volker grew apprehensive which caused little outbursts such as hurry the hell up and do you even know what you're doing kid? He didn't mean to sound so rude and angry but fear had started to get to him.

“Got it!”

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the dark-haired girl pulled her arm free holding both the knife and a sharp fragment of metal, it was large and strange considering they couldn't see any exterior damage to the gate but none of them questioned it; the casing had probably fractured internally.

“That's my girl.”

Rush beamed like a proud Father – because that was exactly what he was – as he took back the knife and threw the metal off in a random direction, the Scotsman then picked up his backpack slipped it over his shoulders and picked up his darling bourbon eyed daughter.

It tool less that half a second for Volker to jump into action dialling the gate, never had any of them – except maybe Rush – wanted to see Destiny more. Cress smiled up at her father, she adored the look he gave her, it was warm and loving. All happiness faded away to nothingness though when the gate made no movement.

“There must be another blockage.” Said James hoping they could deal with it quickly, if they kept going at this rate darkness would descend once more.

“Unlikely.” Was all Volker could say as he tried again with no new result.

“The receiver could be broken.” Young Cressida suggested, still clinging to her Father.

Everyone but Rush and Volker stared at her with questioning eyes.

“That makes sense.” Rush agreed.

“For anyone who doesn't speak science nerd, would you explain?” Greer asked.

Rush sighed. “What Cress is saying is that the dialling device won't connect to the gate. The original dialling devices used crystals to establish a link between-” Barnes cut him off.

“Like when your phone won't connect to the wifi.”

“That's a seriously dumbed down version but yeah, sure.”

“Sorry to interrupt the science lesson but could you maybe stop talking about fixing it and just fix it?” Lieutenant Scott was starting to grow impatient. “It took use hours to find our way back here and nearly three more to get that bit of metal, we can't risk staying here any longer. The sun will go down again.”

“Unfortunately it's going to take a while to get to the gate's receiver-” Volker began only for Cress to talk over him; she really was like her Father.

“Why bother? It's slow to do that.” She registered his annoyed face. “Sorry, sorry, I'll be quiet.”

“Thank you. As I was saying-”

“Volker shut up. Cress what's your plan? You thinking what I am?”

Cressida nodded at her Father as soon as he set her down. “We do it by hand. The chevron ring is already exposed.”

“Little One, you're a genius.”

Rush kissed the top of her head and then dropped to his knees pushing the chevron ring around manually, as each chevron locked hope in the group rose until finally, finally, the wormhole established and a bold burst of silver-blue burst forth.

They all jumped.

Chapter Text

After nine hours of trying to improve the shuttle Brody and Chloe had been forced to give up, the shields just couldn't take the boost; Rush would have figured it out of that they had no doubt. Chloe hadn't said a single word in all those hours, too lost in her worries for Cressida and Rush... and Matt of course. Instead she'd been sat cross-legged a few feet in front of the ancient gate praying it would roar to life; God, Allah, Zeus, Odin, Amun Ra, she'd prayed to just about every deity she could think off. I just want my little girl safe. The beautiful brunette sat there so long that her legs went numb, she didn't care though, hardly even noticed in all honesty.

Then, suddenly, finally, the gate whirred to life, Chloe darted out of the way on shaky legs just as the blue pool raced forwards and Chloe could have sworn that in less than a second TJ, Young, and Brody appeared behind her. It couldn't have been more than a heartbeat that passed but to Chloe it felt like an eternity before she saw her little girl fall through the gate alongside Rush, then Varro, Volker and a plethora of military personnel.

“Oh thank God you're safe!”

Scott opened his arms for Chloe to fill but she raced right past him and grabbed Cressida from Rush, she held her sweet little angel close and tight; Cress was colder than usual but her tiny body fitted against Chloe's own perfectly. The child was unwilling to leave her Father though so the three ended up in a sort of group hug that to everyone around them looked rather intimate.

“I was so worried about you.” She mumbled into Rush's chest as he continued to hold his daughter tight.

Colonel Young wasn't stupid, he could see how hurt Scott looked at the scene before him and so he decided it best to distract the younger man.

“Lieutenant, report.” He commanded in that deep tone of his.

Scott's head snapped back to the world around him as he turned towards Young.

“Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir. Everything looked abandoned at first just like when we searched with the kino, but we misjudged sunset – Volker said it was something to do with the atmosphere thickness. When it went dark these, things appeared.”

“Things?” Young questioned suspiciously. Brody and TJ moved in closer curious for explanations.

“It's a damn zombie apocalypse down there, Sir.” James blurted dropping her backpack to the ground.

When Young shot Rush a look that said what the hell are they talking about he decided to explain and help the other man. He still held Cress and Chloe close, body unwilling to release them both.

“Some kind of chemical attack that lead to vicious mutations. Don't worry we're not carrying anything, Greer needs an examination though, he raced all over the city.”

“Right, no one move!” Seemed TJ had put on her medic hat and was taking no arguments. “Brody, Colonel, I need you to back up. I want to be cautious about this.” Suddenly Camile walked into the room mouth open prepared to speak but Tamara cut her off almost instantly. “Stay there Camile!”

The dark haired woman ground to a halt at Tamara's quick words, her eyebrows raised questioningly. She wobbled on the spot for a second or two having stopped so quickly but she managed to straighten up before moving over to stand by Young and Mister Brody.

“All of you are going into quarantine for twenty-four hours, after that I'll evaluate you and if I decide there's nothing to be concerned about you can go back into general population.”

“Doc, you don't have to make it sound like prison.” Greer grumbled.

“You're going into quarantine as well Chloe.” The brunette nodded. “Varro and Volker in one room, Scott and Greer in another, Corporal Barnes and Vanessa together I think. Rush, Chloe and Cress in the last.”

Scott wanted to voice his complaints about Rush and Chloe sharing but it soon dawned on him that it was all for Cressida's benefit. It was quarantine not a slumber party after all. That and it wasn't like he had anything to worry about, no one would go for Rush especially not his beautiful Chloe. The only reason she went anywhere near him was because of Cressida.

TJ wasted no time locking them all into their rooms, Scott was told he'd be fully debriefed via radio later before the door closed locking Greer and the Lieutenant inside. Volker spent the entire walk complaining that he'd have to share with Varro and none of them were certain that the blonde scientist wouldn't get his lights punched out just for some quiet.

Brody tossed Rush a small piece of white chalk which he was grateful for even if he didn't show it, he'd begun writing almost the second the door had shut behind them not to open again for twenty-four hours. Chloe and Cressida sat on the bed for a time and just watched as he filled the wall in with his scribbling until eventually Chloe pulled her daughter close and started to tell a story. Time went on.

“... but when the space merchant woke he still couldn't find anyone on the ship. He called out but the only thing to meet his ears was the echo of his own voice.”

Rush paused at that, he'd been hard at work trying to figure out how to wake Eli for a few hours but the sound of Chloe's voice kept drawing his attention.

“What are you telling her?” He asked looking over to his beautiful daughter curled up in Chloe's arms happily listening to the story.

“Hmm? Oh, Beauty And The Beast but the space version.” Chloe smiled softly, pushing a loose strand of brown hair from Cress' face.

“The space version?” He repeated.

“Yeah, Belle's father is a space merchant and the Beast was infected by a virus on another planet, true love's kiss is the only cure.” Chloe told him happily, motherhood suited her.

“Right.”

“Daddy, shhh. You're ruining the story.”

Rush smiled at that, she sounded just as bossy as he did; that's my girl. Still he did as his baby girl wanted and quieted down instead going back to his notes and what he did best.

The story and work went on and then another story began, then another until finally night descended – or at least their version of it – and Cressida fell asleep on what had been serving as a couch. Rush continued to work though, long fingers pressing the nub of chalk to the almost full wall, he was starting to get close to fixing the reanimation of his stasis chamber. The sound of chalk grating on the metal wall reverberated quietly but to Chloe it had been all she'd heard for the hour since she and Cress had settled down for bed.

“Rush, please stop. I want to sleep but I can practically hear you thinking, it's louder than the chalk.”

“I'd be doing this in the blackboard corridor but -”

“I know but you need to sleep as well.” There was a sense of pleading in her voice.

“Fine.”

Nicholas relented, Chloe could always get him to do what she wanted. He fopped down onto the floor beside the young brunette after setting the chalk down, his body thanked him for that, his lower back ached from having been stood so long.

“What are you doing?” She asked suddenly.

“Going to sleep like you told me to.” Came his quick answer as though her question was stupid.

“On the floor?”

“Well unless you've discovered a way I can hang from the ceiling like a bat, yes.”

“No, no, no. You're sleeping on the bed, there's plenty of room.” She patted the bed invitingly and Nicholas raised an eyebrow.

“Really? You sure?”

“It's not like we haven't shared a bed before and Cress told me about that roof, it couldn't have been comfortable. I don't want you to hurt your back.”

“Okay.” Came his unsure answer as he rose from the floor to sit on the bed. “If you're sure.”

Chloe watched as Nicholas pulled off his waistcoat and greet t-shirt, casting them aside for another day, he settled down with his back to Chloe, he tried to shut his brain off but since coming to Destiny and gaining Cressida it had only grown harder.

“Night.” He said gruffly.

“Good night and thank you.”

There was a pause that stretched on just a few seconds too long before Rush finally had to ask, yet he didn't turn to face her.

“For what?”

“For protecting Cressida.” Her voice was soft as she looked over to their sleeping daughter.

“I am her Father.”

“Yes you are, and a very good one.”

Rush finally turned to face the brunette at that, her tone was so truthful, he found her laying on her side watching him and for a moment he had to fight the urge to shuffle backwards.

“You mean that?”

Everyone on board Destiny had doubted his ability to be Cressida's father – so had he at first – and he wouldn't have been surprised to hear they still doubted him, Chloe had never doubted him though and it wasn't until that moment that he realised just how much hearing those words meant. The dark-haired beauty nodded with a sweet smile that made her dazzling blue eyes sparkle; he was a good father and she wouldn't let anyone take that away from him.

“Gloria and I always wanted children.” He rarely ever spoke about Gloria but with Chloe he felt like he could open up. “I wanted a daughter more than she did though.”

“You wanted a Daddy's girl, Cressida is certainly that.” Chloe told him softly but she could see the self-doubt in his honey chocolate eye's. “You really are a good parent, I mean that.”

“I used to think I would be but then I buried myself in my head, in my work.”

“You've started sleeping and smiling more since she came along. You're happier, that's plain to see. This isn't how I intended to ever have a child but I wouldn't change her for the world.”

“I'm sure you wish she was Lieutenant Scott's though.” He said almost absent-mindedly.

“No.” That surprised him. “If she was Matt's daughter she wouldn't be Cressida, she wouldn't be helping with the ship she'd be assembling assault rifles and planning tactics. I love her just the way she is.”

“Me too.”

Before he knew what was happening Chloe leaned in the few inches between them and pressed a kiss to his lips, seconds later their eyes locked and they shared that look again, just like in the control interface room. She was so beautiful and Nicholas just couldn't resist her; those eyes, that pale skin, the angelic smile and best of all a heart full of kindness. There foreheads touched as he stared at those gorgeous blue orbs, she smelt sweet and intoxicating. Then without warning passion grew, they kissed deeply, not innocently, like a tease but hot, fiery, passionate and demanding. She didn't want this, couldn't want this.

“We shouldn't.” He managed to say though his hands refused to release her.

“I want to. And Cress can sleep through almost anything.” She said in a husky tone as she pulled him closer so his chest pressed to her own, his weight pinning her to the bed.

His arousal only grew, it was only then that he noticed Chloe's talented fingers pushing his white top up over his head, maybe he should have stopped her but he just couldn't bring himself to. God he wanted her.

He wasn't overly tall or massively muscular but Nicholas was by no means ugly, his body was slender and lean covered in smooth skin that had a gentle tan. Chloe slid a hand into his hair to find it softer – and far more magnificent – than she'd imagined. They kissed again and the world fell away, the press of his needy lips were slow and soft, comforting in ways that words could never be. Rush could feel her heartbeat vibrate through her chest and into his own. Her body was like a drug. Rush slipped his hands under her pink yoga top casting it away as though the fabric somehow offended them, Chloe moaned.

Rush couldn't help but cup her breasts in his hands, thumbs ghosting over her pink nipples. God you're perfect, his mind told him. Chloe's lips continued to caress Nicholas' only when their lungs could take the oxygen deprivation no longer did they separate and free themselves of the rest of their clothing, garments found themselves cast to the floor as though they offended their owners. Everything stopped when he saw her naked for the first time, body so perfect and magical; almost like a fairytale.

“You really are one hell of a woman Chloe Armstrong. Beauty, brains, and aye, a perfect pure heart.”

She grinned at that just pulling him closer and digging her nails into his shoulders, Rush's hand move down to her sex, she was wet and Rush growled.

“Are you sure?” Rush found himself asking, she'd said she wanted him but in his mind Chloe could do so much better. Nicholas didn't think he was worthy of her in all honesty. “Absolutely sure?”

“Yes.” Came her breathless answer and Rush wouldn't let himself need more encouragement.

Her thighs were torn apart giving Nicholas the perfect view of her naked and glistening sex, a shiver of want shot up her spine that almost sent her vision white. His eyes sparkled once more in the darkness before he started to trail open-mouthed kisses down her smooth porcelain skin.

A whimper of lust escaped her lips as Chloe's heavenly blue eyes slipped shut in bliss and a single moment later she clamped her hand over her mouth; they couldn’t wake Cress. Maybe it was wrong to have their daughter asleep in the same room, but they'd not planned this and Chloe feared that if they stopped now Rush would run away to the bridge and she'd never see him again.

She could feel Rush grinning even though he was nowhere in sight, it was like a warmth that told her the noises amused him. Nails grated over the pale skin of her thighs and Chloe thought she could cum just from that small touch alone; Rush seemed to realise that as well.

Chloe could feel soft kisses up the sensitive part of her inner thigh that sent electricity vibrating up her whole body, when his mouth finally touched her she all but purred in delight, arms wrapped around her legs and a talented tongue set to work. His mouth was perfect and she felt her orgasm building, no man had ever made her feel like that so quickly, his tongue circled her sex before dipping into her. Chloe couldn't speak, couldn't think. Her hips bucked without her consent.

“Behave.” He said dominantly with a smile, the word symbolised a change to his whole demeanour and the ebony haired beauty revelled in it. Bliss was so close, so near, tormenting her, teasing her.

“Please!” It was a plea muffled by her hand still clamped over her mouth. She needed the release!

Chloe clenched her eyes shut even tighter while the hand that didn't cover her mouth desperately tried to claw onto something, eventually the sheets yielded letting her cling to them with an unrelenting vice like grip. She was desperate, so desperate. Her body started to tense and Rush knew her release was only seconds away, Chloe could see the cliff edge and the euphoric finish line.

The chestnut haired beauty came with a loud moan that ended up being almost inaudible.

It took a while but soon enough Chloe started to come down from her high, rapid breaths fading to shallow pants but Rush had other plans he clambered back up the bed to kiss her, Chloe could taste herself on him. When the kiss broke Nicholas smiled a true smile at the sight of Chloe's lips glistening with her own juices, his hard member pulsing and twitching at the way her tongue licked her bottom lip. If he got his way she would look like that all the time.

“Please, I need you.”

Chloe's hips rose to meet his again Rush felt as though he were dreaming, surly this was all in his head – some wonderful dream gifted to him by a merciful angel, or a demon in want of his soul – it just had to be. Didn't it? Yet she was so warm, so real, her perfect skin couldn't be a figment of his imagination, her eyes, her body, her taste!

She seemed to sense his confusion though and managed to answer him simply, Chloe wrapped her legs around his waist and pulled him closer. With a grin and one sharp but far from painful thrust he filled her to the hilt before stilling for a moment letting her adjust to his size. Matt would be depressed to find out he pales in comparison.

“Move.” She begged and demanded all at once. She was so perfect.

Rush quickly obliged pulling almost all the way out only to slam back in. Chloe dragged him down for a kiss but moaned into it when his hand returned to her wet sex. It didn't take long to have the ebony haired princess moaning and meeting his thrusts. A perfect rhythm; delicate but overflowing with heated passion. Chloe's tongue made its way into Rush's mouth readily as they became one, mapping his mouth, taking her tongue across his teeth causing his thrusts to become erratic for a second or two. Chloe was dangling on the very edge with her grumpy Chief Scientist not far behind her, she wiggled her hips in just the right way, teasingly, and send him into some kind of rut, thrusting like his life depended on it. It was then that Chloe grew needier and dared to do something she'd never expected of herself, she chose to flip them. Rush's fingers gripped her hips leaving tiny little bruises over her porcelain skin, pushing herself down onto him, impaling herself. Chloe leaned down to kiss him again, gasping at the new angle and the way her kissed nipples grazed against his chest.

Chloe could take it no longer and came... hard. Seconds later Nicholas silently moaned out her name and tumbled over the edge too.

Chapter Text

In the early hours of the morning – or at least what Destiny called early morning – only a few souls were up and moving about the gargantuan ship; a couple of scientists working the second shift, some of the civilians that couldn't sleep and Airman Dunning who'd been assigned to guard the quarantine hall as TJ had dubbed it. Other than them everyone slept.

Rush and Chloe had redressed after their little tryst before continuing to sleep soundly in the darkened room completely unaware of the way their daughter's eyes had suddenly flew open. There was no life behind them, almost as though she had slipped into a trance just like the last time up on that ruined roof. She stood from the couch slowly and silently just as she had the night before, for a long time she stood there in the darkness blankly just staring at her sleeping parents; if she'd been aware of her surroundings she would have noticed just how happy and peaceful they appeared. They'd wrapped themselves up in each others arms, Rush holding Chloe so her back was to his chest, but Cressida registered none of this and instead calmly stepped over to the large door and slammed the door release. Nothing happened. She hit the door release once more but still the door didn't open leaving her stood there. Seconds passed by with Cress doing nothing but wobble on the spot then, like nothing had happened, the eight year old just turned and clambered back onto the couch letting herself fall to sleep once more. Almost as though everything that she'd just done had been a dream.

 

XXXX

At a more reasonable hour – a full day later – TJ and Colonel Young walked down the long quarantine hall to release everyone, they'd been checking in regularly and as far as they could tell there had been no zombie like reactions. Young carried a cup of what they'd been calling tea, though it tasted far more sweet – he actually rather liked it - he sipped between sentences.

“Are you sure they can be released?”

“I've already been in radio contact with all of them and no one has shown any signs of infection or increased rage, I asked Chloe about Rush specifically and she said he's just been working and sleeping. I'll give them all exams of course but yes, I think we're okay. Like Rush said, after that long the chemical wouldn't have been in the air, it would have settled into water and the soil.”

“So they're okay but we're still being cautious. Good. And let's face it, if an alien rage virus would affect anyone it would be Rush.”

They got to the room Greer and Scott had been locked up in first and released the door letting it slide open. There was a single split second where TJ and the Colonel took in the sight before them – Greer laying on the bed staring upwards while Scott did as many push ups as he physically could – then the Sargent shot up and over to the two newcomers.

“Oh thank God!” He exclaimed with glee. “I was gonna go crazy... Sir.”

Young could appreciate that.

“How are you feeling?” Tamara asked in her medic voice.

“Perfectly normal, Doc.”

“There's nothing wrong with us, Sir.” Said Matt as he stood up to face his commanding officer and the doctor.

“How about headaches or sweating?” She asked.

The two shook their heads, Lieutenant Scott was sweating rather perfusly but that could be put down to the set of push ups he'd just been doing.

“Come on, let's get your exams over with.”

The same answers came from everyone else and Young had been surprised to find Varro hadn't punched Volker during the night. Corporal Barnes, James and Varro vanished off the mess hall as soon as their medical exams ended. Greer had wasted no time heading off in the direction of Lisa Park's room, no doubt he'd missed her, and Doctor Volker – who somehow was still complaining – went to get some real sleep as he put it. Scott, however, remained in the hall only a few steps behind his commanding officer and TJ waiting for Chloe. The blonde slammed the door release letting it slide open to reveal the chamber within, Young took another sip of his third cup of tea.

Inside Rush stood by the far wall covered in chalk scribblings with Chloe at his side while Cress stood between them writing on the wall as her parents watched on happily; their clever little girl. Only the three of them knew what any of it said what with half of it being equations while the rest had been written in Ancient.

“Morning, how are we all?” Tamara asked in her best bedside manner voice as the three entered the room.

“Fine thanks.” Came Chloe's smiling response as they turned to face the newcomers. “Hungry though,”

“Any headaches or odd behaviour?”

Cress and Chloe shook their heads as Rush grumbled out a no, Young took the last gulp of his tea and leaned against the door frame. Tamara noticed the way Chloe seemed to glow and the extra sparkle in her eyes, what had put it there she didn't know but she couldn't deny she was happy to see Chloe smiling again; the idea of loosing Cress had almost killed her.

“Come on Chloe, we'll get you something to eat.”

Lieutenant Scott stepped forwards and held out a hand for the brunette to take but she made no attempt to move. Her blue eyes hesitantly glanced over Rush who'd tensed ever so slightly, but that was how he normally looked to the untrained eye.

“Em, sure.” She took a single step forwards before halting and turning back to Nicholas. “Is it alright if I take Cress for the day? We can keep practising Ancient in the afternoon.”

“Chloe stop asking me, she is your daughter too.”

Cressida lit up and hugged her Father tightly, arms around his hips, before latching onto her Mother's hand, Matt deflated a little and Young couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for him.

“Rush, Brody is working on the bridge and Volker has gone back to bed-” The Chief Scientist cut the Colonel off.

“Oh has he now?”

Rush made to take his radio out and head down the hall but TJ verbally pulled him back.

“I need you three to go to the infirmary so I can check you over, after that you can do as you please. Rush don't even think about vanishing because I'll find you and make your life a living hell until I get that medical exam done.”

“Consider me warned.”

“You've been alright?” TJ asked in that same doctorly tone.

“Like I said we're fine, TJ.” Chloe told her again. “Rush worked, I told Cress a story then we went to sleep until Cressida woke us up.” Okay, maybe that was a rather selective time line but it was the one Chloe was going to go with.

Young crouched down to Cressida's eye level, he'd started to grow fond of the eight year old in the last few months.

“Hey Cress, I know you don't like me much but-” She cut him off.

“I like you. You treated me with suspicion because you wanted to keep everyone safe, I know that.” Why does she have to sound so grown up? Young questioned himself.

“That's exactly it, and it's very grown up of you to think that way.” Is it patronising to talk to a girl with her intellect like she's a kid? She is a kid so no, but she's Rush's daughter so... I have no idea. “I like you too. Can you do something for me?” She nodded. “Good girl. I need you to keep an eye on your Daddy. If he starts getting angrier than normal could you tell me or TJ. That way we can keep him safe.”

“And under watch.” Rush growled out.

“Okay, but you don't have to talk to me like I'm two.” Rush burst out laughing, she had his sarcasm. Seems it was patronising, Young couldn't help but chuckle a little himself.

“You really are his daughter.” He stood up to his full height. “Right, I think we're done here. Like TJ said once your exams are done you can go back to work.”

After the medical exams Scott took Chloe to the mess hall with Cress trailing along side while Rush vanished off to the bridge, he'd wanted it to be just them but he knew he had to put up with Cressida. Matt didn't hate her, he loved kids, and Cress was sweet and but she was just a constant reminder of Rush, of Chloe's kidnapping and the panic he'd gone through when she was gone. She reminded him of when he'd felt scared and as though he'd never be able to save Chloe. Then what had happened? Rush had brought her back, saved her when he couldn't. Cressida's presence just made him feel like a failure, deep down he knew that wasn't her fault. Cress also reminded him that she wasn't his.

XXXX

It took Rush less than three minutes to drag Volker from his bed and set him to work – two of those minutes had been him walking to Volker's room – the blonde doctor had all night to sleep, there and then they'd got work to do. Brody and a seriously pissed off and sleepy Volker worked silently save for the odd occasions they'd bounced ideas of Doctor Park after Greer had brought her up to the bridge. She'd sat in the command chair since arriving and Rush found himself glancing at her every now and then with concern, her eyes showed improvement but it was nowhere near giving her eyesight back. Nicholas hoped she get better soon she was one of his best scientists but more than that she deserved something good for a change; the memory of Simeon flooded back to him. Greer had been a little annoyed when Park had told him she wanted to go to work on the bridge right after breakfast but he couldn't fault her loyalty to her job.

Doctor Rush stood on the far right of the room working away on a terminal trying to increase the shield capacity but his mind kept betraying him and wandering to the night before, the feel of Chloe's soft skin, her kisses, her taste! He wouldn't have been surprised to find that angels would fight over her. He'd expected it to be awkward when they woke but it hadn't, he'd opened his eyes to see Cressida writing on the walls – the sound had actuality woken him – as she sat cross-legged on the floor and found Chloe curled up in his arms. Carefully he's disentangled himself from the dazzling brunette and gone to sit with Cress. Rush had challenged his daughter to writing pi to one hundred digits and she'd done it, even he would have struggled to do that off the top of his head. He just continued to grow more and more proud of his little girl. However, she had asked him what Pi was afterwards; I need to fill in the blanks she's got. Like Chloe she seemed to have all the knowledge but no idea how she knew any of it. When Chloe had woken she'd found him teaching Cress Ancient and had just joined in, no awkwardness, no nothing. Was that it? Complete dismissal of everything that had happened? Nicholas couldn't help but think it was for the best, he was a lot older than her, grumpy, everyone hated him, far from the best looking man on Destiny and then of course there was that strong strapping Lieutenant of hers. Why would she ever want him? His mind kept throwing her words at him. I want to. Please I need you! But Rush found himself throwing them back, maybe she'd meant them at the time but surly she regretted it now. Last night was nothing but a lack of judgement on her part, of course she regretted it, Chloe was just too polite to say so. All Nicholas Rush could do was carve the memory of her beauty and perfectness into his mind forever.

Chapter Text

Chloe, Matt and the eight year old sat in the mess hall at the table furthest from the door eating their breakfast. It was nice now they had some real food rather than just dried fruit and watery oatmeal, hydroponics really was something to be valued. Airman Dunning had even gone to the trouble of squeezing some of what could be describer as a kiwi that tasted like mint and strawberry into a sweet juice, finally something that wasn't water or overly sweet tea, instead the Destiny crew had a refreshing beverage; Cress couldn't get enough of it.

They'd sat in utter silence for a time, Chloe and the Lieutenant facing each other while Cressida had cuddled into her mother's side with her glass; Cress kept yawning.

“How about we do something today? I'm not back on shift for hours, just for TJ just to be extra sure.” Matt smiled as he spoke.

“Yeah, sure. Sounds fun.”

Going to be awkward though. She didn't know what to do after what had happened with Rush the previous night. Chloe had thought it strange though, we have a daughter out in the wilds of space but that was the first time we had sex. Rush hadn't said a single word about what had happened, at first Chloe had thought he'd not wanted to talk about it in front of Cress but there was just something about him that had seemed off. Does he think I regret it? That wasn't true, Chloe could never regret what had happened between them, it had been amazing and perfect... she didn't know how to broach the subject though, maybe he regrets it. She didn't want to accidentally force him into anything but at the same time she didn't want to lose him now she had him.

“Good, that's great.” Chloe snapped back at Matt's words. “We could go to the observation deck first.”

“Okay.” She turned to Cressida and kissed her little girl on the head when she yawned again. “Are you okay? Did you wake up last night?” Chloe suddenly asked when she realised Cress might have actually heard them.

“No, Mommy. I'm tired though.”

“It's probably from being on that planet.” Scott interjected. “Maybe she had nightmares.”

“No.” Said the child softly.

“I'll put you to bed and you can have some real sleep.”

C hloe went to her and Matt's quarters where she put Cressida back to bed, she'd wanted to spend time with her but the ebony haired child needed to sleep. Matt who had trailed along behind her was pleased he got Chloe all to himself, he dragged her out the room as soon as Chloe had kissed her daughter's forehead.

Cressida slept comfortably for a while, eyes closed softly and her little hands gripping onto a pillow as though it were a comforting toy, knees pulled up leaving her in the foetal position. Her beauty only grew as she slept, dark chestnut hair draped over her face like a cloak and porcelain skin smoother than silk. Cressida looked like a normal child lost in slumber... until she sat bolt upright, eyes sleepy and hardly open. The eight year old didn't say a word, she simply stood and walked to the door, her little gold-brown dress swishing around her legs as she walked. Just like the night before she slammed the door release but this time it slid open easily.

Her little feet carried her down long halls as she freely turned this way and that as she went to gather everything she needed , everyone she past generally ignored her, they'd grown used the little girl. Cress made another left to find Varro helping Lisa Park to the mess hall since Greer had gone back on shift, the sunglasses were finally gone but her vision remained bluey and filled with grainy blotches; she'd gone from worse case scenario to being almost fully recovered.

“Hello, Cressida.” The blonde man greeted.

Since waking up aboard Varro and Cressida had become firm friends. No one trusted her at first, thought she was nothing but dangerous and Varro could relate to that, no one had trusted him in the beginning either – which had been entirely justified – that and he adored the little girl. Cress just had a way of making those around her smile, maybe it was that youthful innocence she resonated or maybe the way she bounced back from almost anything; despite her youth the eight year old saw the universe with an old soul. Varro had always loved kids – he'd grown up with two younger brothers – Varro and his wife had never had the chance to have children. They'd spent hours racing around the ship playing hide and seek or tag, he'd felt free and child like. Their friendship meant a lot to Cressida as well – her parents loved her but it wasn't the same as having friends and since no one else on board was her age it limited her options – Camile tried but just ended up treating her as though she were mentally eight, TJ was always so busy and Greer just ended up teaching her how to resemble any weapon he could find. Young had warmed up to Cress as well but he wasn't about to start running up and down the ship playing tag.

Despite their friendship though, Cress hardly acknowledged him. Normally he would have been shone that beautiful smile of hers but instead her face remained blank. Is she okay? He had been about to ask her just that when she finally responded.

“Hello Varro, Lisa.”

She didn't look up though. If he'd not been so occupied helping Doctor Park he'd have seen the dead stare in her eyes and registered the monotonous tone in her voice.

“Where are you going, Cress?” He asked in a polite tone.

“To see Daddy.”

“Okay.” He smiled.

“I hope my eyes hurry up and heal, I actually miss Rush and work.”

“On that note let's get you to the mess hall and then you can go see TJ.”

When he looked back to say good-bye to Cress she was gone, he didn't think much about the odd encounter instead focusing on Lisa.

Cressida's feet and subconscious took the little girl down the long labyrinth like hallways until she reached the grey engine room – grey was the only word to describe the large room – surprisingly it was quiet even with the engines working away. Without her subconscious stopping even a second for after thought she went to a panel in the corner of the room and ripped it off, it took her a few attempts but eventually it came loose and gave way, the metal cover clattered to the ground echoing around the room and for a single second it looked as though she'd wake up, that didn't happen even when a few drops of blood dripped down her left hand; seemed getting the panel off had been harder than it appeared. The cut along her palm must have hurt but she didn't even notice it. Each wire on the inside had been coated with a protective plastic like material of charcoal black or occasionally white, from her pocket came a small scrap of paper and a match, if asked where she'd gotten the items from she couldn't have answered, the memory didn't exist. She struck the match on the textured wall and watched it burst to life before setting the paper on fire and sitting it at the back of the mass of wires, it burned away happily as Cress picked up the cover and wedged it back into its rightful place. Then just as blankly as she'd entered the engine room Cressida made her way up to the bridge.

As usual Rush was working away on the bridge with Volker and Brody, he'd been so locked up in his head that he'd hardly noticed anything that had happened in the last ten minutes, at least until Cress tumbled down the little step to the left of the command chair. His head snapped in her direction instantly.

“Cress, are you alright?” He asked as he dropped to his knees beside her. “You cut yourself.”

The fall seemed to be enough to wake the eight year old up from her trance like state, she blinked rapidly as the world came back to her, then the pain in her hand did too.

“Ouch! It hurts, Daddy.” She said looking at the crimson blood.

“I know darling, come on let's take you to TJ.”

In seconds Rush had the little angel in his arms and was half way to the bridge door, he ground to a dead stop though when all hell broke loose.

Chapter Text

… All hell broke loose.

 

Destiny's lights flickered worryingly and then suddenly an alert roared to life screaming out for attention that it quickly got; Rush's eyes went wide.

“What the hell is going on?!” Volker screamed as he tried to balance in the shaking ship.

“Destiny's engines are overheating!” Came Brody's quick retort, eyes glued to the read out on his screen.

Rush raced to the terminal to see for himself, he dropped Cressida on her feet and started listing every curse word he'd ever some across at light speed; he may have invented a few as well. The ship shook violently and the screaming alarm threatened to deafen everyone aboard, Nicholas' radio crackled to life.

Rush, what the hell is going on?!” Colonel Young yelled. “Are we under attack?” The scientist didn't respond. “Rush, answer me damn it!

The Scotsman sighed and pulled out his radio before pushing it into his daughter's hands, Rush didn't even take his eyes from the glowing screen; figuring out what was happening was more important than taking a break for a chat.

“Tell him no.”

Cress raised the radio, her own eyes locked on the terminal just as her father's were.

“Daddy says we're not under attack.” She told him loud enough to be heard over the screeching alarm.

Then what is happening?

“From what I'm reading, there's some kind of overheat in the engine room.” She left the channel open as she looked up to Rush. “Daddy, I think it's a fire.” Why do I think it's a fire? It could be a lot of things.

“That's a good point, baby girl. Brody check!”

There was silence for a moment - at least from the crew there was, that blasted racket still echoed around Destiny -  while every scientist in the room got to work, after a few seconds Colonel Young appeared behind them, face contorted in slight pain thanks to the alarm that continued to attack their ears.

“Right, I want answers and I want them now. What's this about a fire?”

Young didn't stop moving until he was almost directly behind Rush and Cressida.

“She's right.” Said Brody, begrudgingly having to admit he liked the girl and her intellect “The computer system is reading a fire.”

“Cress, get the Sargent. Two... seventeen. And Brody shut that bloody alarm off, now!”

She didn't need further explanation, it was obvious he wanted Greer on the radio. There was a sense of dread deep down in Cressida's heart and for the life of her she couldn't figure out why, it felt like a sting in her heart, like guilt. It didn't make sense. Cressida chose not to dwell on her internal concerns, there were more important and pressing issues at that moment in time. Instead of all that she did as her father asked.

“Sargent Greer come in, this is Cressida.”

Finally the alarm fell dead just as the Sargent responded.

What is it? Where's Rush?”

She didn't answer his questions, instead she simply told Greer what they needed him to do in that beautiful voice of hers.

“There's a fire, we need you to go to engine room two, panel seventeen and put it out. It'll be easy to find since it's on fire.”

She hadn't intended to sound sarcastic, sometimes that part of her she got from her father popped to the surface.

Young took out his own radio and raised it quickly to his lips.

“Lieutenant Scott, I need-”

I know, Sir. I'm already with Greer. We're on our way now.”

Silence descended once more leaving Young to simply watch the scientists and Cress – well I guess she's one of them, isn't she? Doctor Cressida, it's got a nice ring to it – rush about working at lightning speed. May aboard Destiny teased the science team, calling them geeks or nerds, but when shit hit the fan they were the ones Young and the others ran to for answers; to fix it. Young snapped out of his mind when Cress started speaking from across the room at her own screen.

“Daddy at this rate we'll loose all power to the shields.”

“The weapons system can't take much more either.” Volker added quickly.

It's out!” Greer yelled through the radio just as the ship ceased its violent shuddering and jolting.

“It's too late, Daddy.”

Rush didn't respond and instead watched as Young spoke into his radio.

“Sargent Greer would you please get up here.” It wasn't a question. There was a second or two of pause as the he turned back to Rush and continued. “Now, what the hell just happened?”

Nicholas sighed. “There was a fire that short circuited Destiny's power system, we're drifting.”

“No shields.” Said Brody.

“No weapons.” Volker added.

“No heat.” Cress finished their little morbid list.

More importantly the air has stopped circulating.” The Chief Scientist said depressingly and ran a hand through his long greying hair.

“How did this happen?” Young asked quickly, shifting foot to foot; something he often did when stressed.

I don't know.” Rush snapped. “I'm good but I'm not that good, I can't see through walls.” He sighed. “I need to take a look at it first and we need to do something about the air quickly. If not we'll all suffocate.” He turned to face the blonde doctor. “Volker, stay here and see if you can do anything with auxiliary power. Oh, and radio Chloe and tell her to meet us in engine room two. Brody come with me, Cress go have your hand looked at.”

No.” She's certainly my daughter. “I'm fine, it's stopped bleeding. I just want to help, Daddy. You need me.

Rush relented for one reason and one reason only, he needed all capable hands working as fast as they could. Cress – in his opinion – was the most capable set of hands after himself.

Alright, you're right I do need you. Come on.” The Colonel opened his mouth to speak but Rush cut him off with a raised hand and paused for a moment halfway up the small steps of the bridge. “No, I have to deal with this quickly, you can moan later.”

With that Rush left followed closely by Cressida and Mister Brody.

 

XXXX

 

Time went on, the air started to grow thinner and TJ found herself inundated with cases of headaches, they were all starting to struggle breathing and Cress had all but passed out beside her parents. Brody panted and Volker who'd joined them around fifteen minutes previously had even been forced to quit complaining, at least there was one boon from the situation.

Rush was breathless and his hands ached from over work, his back stung from being hunched over and Chloe looked much the same. He couldn't stop though, couldn't give up, he was so close, so close...

“Got it!” He exclaimed with glee.

The vent almost directly above where Rush had been working steadily returned to life, cool air started to flow through the ship once more. Nicholas grinned at Chloe as he forced himself to his feet and drug Cress closer to the vent that had started to shower them with fresh air once more.

“You'll be alright now.... we fixed it.”

Chloe crawled over to where her daughter and the scientist had collapsed, she lay down and rested her head on his left thigh. Brody and Volker would have raised their eyebrows at the intimate scene had they not been too busy filling their desperate lungs with oxygen.

“Our hero.” Chloe smiled.

Rush had never been anyone's hero before and he wasn't going to deny that it felt good.

“It took all of us.” He said modestly. “I think... we're just shy of... cerebral ischemia.” He shouldn't have been using such big words with such little oxygen circulating his blood.

Slowly air travelled around the ship once more breathing life back into the Destiny crew, after a while Chloe, Rush, Cress had regained the strength to stand along with Mister Brody and Doctor Volker. Carefully – and still dizzily – they made their way to TJ in the infirmary.

“I think everyone is alright.” The blonde told them when she finally made it through her patients to the scientists. “There was enough air remaining in the ship to prevent any lasting damage, a few headaches and shortness of breath but otherwise we're good.”

For a moment all seemed right with the world, and then realisation dawned on Chloe.

“Wait, what about Eli?!”

“The stasis pods have their own power supply, closed circuit, since it's on a separate system Eli is fine. We've restored power enough for auxiliary, which powers lighting, air flow. It won't last long though.”

“What does that mean in the long run, Rush?” Questioned Young as he walked into the infirmary, looking a little paler than usual.

Nicholas sighed but Brody answered the question.

“We're drifting though space-” Volker interrupted his friend.

“With no shields or weapons, so we're open to attack though it's unlikely considering we're in the middle of nowhere.”

Cressida coughed. “It'll get cold too, until we drift closer to this systems sun and then we'll cook.”

Sometimes she really did have her father's way with words.

“Heat is out too?”

“Yes, Colonel.” Rush snapped. “How many times do we have to tell you? Heat is out, shields and weapons are down, auxiliary power won't last. Need I go on? All of us working as fast as we could to get the air back only just succeeded before we all suffocated, God knows how long it's going to take to fix everything else. Fortunately – as Cressida said – we're drifting close to a sun so we can refuel and gain some heat from that, unfortunately that also means that if we don't figure out how to band-aid the shield soon we'll frizzle up.”

“Right so air, which we have, then shields so we survive long enough to refuel and then we can get to work on weapons and everything else?”

Rush, Cress, Chloe, Brody and Volker all nodded in unison as though it had been scripted. Nicholas leaned backwards in his seat a bit to look around Tamara to Lisa.

“Doctor Park, I'll need you on the bridge.”

“She's still recovering!” Volker objected quickly. “You can't just-” Lisa cut him off.

“I'll help anyway I can, Sir.”

“Me and Cress too.” Added Chloe, the situation they'd found themselves in was dire and they needed all hands on deck.

“We'll fix it, Daddy!”

“That's my girl.” He grinned down at his daughter.

“I'll have everyone gather in the engine rooms, they're the warmest place at the moment and will offer a cooler place when we get closer to the sun.” Rush nodded, he couldn't disagree with Young's plan. "And I still want to know how that damn fire started." 

They all did.

Chapter Text

Hours went by and even the engine room started to feel cold, if they took much longer to repair the systems – or more correctly put a band-aid on the problem – then Destiny's hull would start to over heat as they drifted closer to the system's sun. Young had wanted to send people down to a planet but lucky them had found the only system with no planted gates. All the scientists – including Lisa Park – had gathered on the bridge desperately trying to fix their growing problems; God they wished they had Eli. They were having little to no success though, as soon as they got one section working another shorted out. Rush sat in the command chair looking at the maps of Destiny to see if there was something he'd missed while Cressida sat on his knee writing long calculations down on her left arm with a black marker, she'd been calculating how long it would take until the gargantuan sun put too much strain on Destiny's hull and... well, killed them all basically. It wasn't a nice thought for any of the crew, especially the eight year old; she may have had the maturity of a twenty year old woman but at heart she was still a child.

Rush shifted and reached into his pocket to retrieve his well used notebook only to find it missing, he'd left it in his quarters when they'd gone to the infected planet and hadn't had chance to pick it up since what with everything gong on; looking to his daughter it explained why she had been writing on her arm rather than using his notebook as usual.

Keep the seat warm for me okay, baby girl?” He smiled as he stood and sat her down where he'd been. She nodded, hardly looking up from her equation covered arm. “And keep an eye on Volker, idiot looks like he's going to start panicking any second.”

With that Doctor Rush was gone, speed walking down the cooling halls and off towards his chambers, it was strange to find himself walking through a warm patch of air and then suddenly an ice cold one but he tried to to dwell on it too much. Taking a left he found Chloe coming towards him, he didn't react.

Everything alright?” Chloe asked softly.

I need my notebook.” Was all he said as he continued to take long strides down the dark hallway, Chloe followed though.

Hey, Rush.” She started slowly and cautiously. “I know this isn't the time but we have to have this conversation and frankly I don't want to die not knowing.”

We're not going to die.” He told her dismissively. “And what is it you want to speak about?”

You know exactly.”

Chloe was right, of course he knew, he just didn't want to talk about it. The door of his quarters came into sight. His head had filled with thoughts of what she would say, he already knew what she thought... or so he believed.

Please, Nicholas. We can't just pretend it didn't happen.”

That brought him to a halt outside his room, she never called him by his given name, no one did, except occasionally Camile.

I thought that was what you wanted.” He told her with a puzzled face having momentarily forgotten what he was doing. “You've been ignoring it since it happened.”

Chloe sighed. “I just didn't want to talk about it in front of Cress and then you wandered off and would hardly look at me, then the ship.” Chloe took a deep breath before looking Rush in his beautiful whiskey eyes. “When we first came here I was the least qualified person on board, just breathing air that another scientist could have used. I had Matt though, he made it easier. Then I was kidnapped and they messed with my head, did God knows what to me. They changed me but you helped me, you stopped me hurting the ship, you fixed me. Some people still look at me as though I'm dangerous, even Matt does at times, but then there was you.” She looked at him with such honestly and something else he couldn't name. “You told me to pull myself together and look at the good, to take what they'd done to me and use it to help the crew. You helped me understand the knowledge inside my head. You showed me I could be useful, showed me I had a purpose and could help. And you never once flashed me one of those suspicious looks. Rush, you're the only one that treated me like I was still human. You look past what others won't or can't; my kidnapping, Doctor Perry's condition, Cressida being created rather than born. It's like you don't even see it.” Chloe was starting to cry now and Rush felt a pang in his heart. “Rush, you have no idea how much that means, you made us happy.”

And your strapping Lieutenant doesn't?” He'd not intended for the question to come out in such a growled tone.

He used to.” She told him casting her eyes to the floor as though remembering the early days. “I'm not that Chloe Armstrong anymore though, so much has happened and it's not like he hasn't got someone else to make him happy and warm his bed.” Rush didn't like where this conversation was going. “You remember the night I fell asleep in your room with you and Cress?” He nodded. “I went back to my and Matt's room thinking he'd be worried and angry but he wasn't there, he came in a few moments later saying he'd drank too much with Greer and had fallen asleep in the mess hall. He looked exhausted and couldn't quite hide the line of love bites going down his neck. I didn't put them there and it's not the first time I've seen them.” She wiped a few stray tears from her cheeks.

How could that wing nut cheat on Chloe? She's so beautiful and perfect. Rush was honestly confused, to him Chloe was the ultimate woman; smart, beautiful, brave, funny, caring and full of fire.

What do you want from me, Chloe?” He asked softly.

I'm meant to love Matt... but I don't. Since waking up from stasis it's only gotten worse. I don't know what I want, not completely anyway. I know I want my daughter, that's for certain.” She paused for a moment. “And I'm pretty sure I want you, my heart does. You make me happy, you treat me like a person, make me feel capable of anything and you're a wonderful father. I... I think I love you.”

Rush didn't even pause for a second before he had her pressed against the large door and their lips locked; a battle of passion and fire. Quickly he lifted her into his arms and carried her into his room, throwing her down on the bed forcefully enough that she bounced; Chloe liked it. Rush ripped off his two shirts and tossed them aside not caring where they landed and toed off his shoes while the ebony haired beauty did just the same, everything around them had stopped, there was no impending doom or Lieutenants who were going to be incredibly pissed, just them. He unbuckled his belt and then Rush was on top of her, pressing his length against her naked form and pulling moans from her parted lips. A hand slid down her delicate body committing every curve, every mole and blemish to memory while the other plunged into her thick curls letting his nails scrape against her scalp. Their kiss deepened as Chloe pushed his jeans and boxers down and off in one smooth motion, Rush latched onto one of her rosy nipples and lavished it with attention as a hand slipped between her legs.

Oh Rush.” She gasped, a sound that only re-enforced his almost animalistic need to be inside her. “Please... stop teasing. I just... I need... just need you.”

Chloe didn't want the soft gentle sex they'd had while in quarantine, she wanted raw passion filled fucking. Wanted him, needed him. When she suddenly flipped them knocking Rush onto his back he got the message – demand really – and gripped her hips as Chloe slid down onto his hard member.

Christ, Chloe you're perfect.” He growled as she started to ride him, slow at first but soon their rhythms joined and it grew faster, harder, deeper. He pulled her hips down hard, impailing her.

It had never been like this with Matt, he always had to be on top, be the protector. Matt treated her like a glass princess that could break at any second, Chloe didn't want to be a princess she just wanted to be a woman; Rush made her feel like that.

He moaned when she leaned down to kiss him, her nipples grazing against his naked chest. Rush was close, very close, he knew that but he couldn't leave her unsated, his right hand left her milky hip where little marks had started to form and made its way to her glistening core.

Chloe could feel it, that euphoric cliff coming into sight threatening to let her fall into the waters below. A few more thrusts and she came, walls tightening around Rush and pulling him over the edge with her.

Nicholas!” She cried and collapsed on his chest, both of them panting.

He pressed a gentle kiss to her pink lips, smooth and gentle, after the rough he just held her close and made her feel safe. Matt treated her like a glass princess, Rush made her feel like a woman but more importantly he made her feel... loved.

Chapter Text

 

After their fiery passion had died down Rush's quarters fell into a peaceful silence that offered a moment of pause between panic and worry for Destiny. Both completely naked, Nicholas lay on his back with his left arm propped behind his head and the other tucked around Chloe, keeping her cuddled close. Chloe had hooked one leg over his and a hand rested comfortably over his chest. It had always been obvious that the Chief Scientist was skinny and lean but it was only there with her hand grazing up his flank that she realised just how toned he actually was; God, he looks good for his age.

“That was amazing.” The ebony haired beauty muttered into his neck before pressing a kiss to it.

“Not to pat myself on the back but yes it was.” He smiled and pulled her a little closer, her rosy nipples pressing into his side. He sighed after a moment. “It's getting warm in here so we really need to get the shields back up before it warms up a little too much and we get deep fired.” There was another pause. “Is it bad that's making me think about corn dogs?”

Chloe snorted and closed her eyes as she breathed the older man in.

“Probably, but you've always had a morbid streak to you, it's part of your charm. As for me, I'm just hungry for junk food now so thank you.”

“Cress has probably covered herself in inky equations by now.” Said Rush as he sat up and looked around in search of his pants.

What?” Chloe slipped off the bed and grabbed her yoga top , pulling them on quickly.

“She's been calculating for a while now and since we've been gone so long she'll have Pythagoras' Theorem on her forehead.”

The two smirked as they dressed quickly knowing that Rush was right.

“You'd better pass me my panties then so we can get back to saving the ship.”

With a grin he grabbed the still damp item of clothing and knocked her back down onto the bed, knelt and slowly slipped them back up her thighs; when he was done Rush pressed a gentle kiss to her flat stomach.

“I never thought you'd be putting them on me.” She teased.

“I never thought I'd be allowed to get them off you.” He retorted before Chloe kissed him and pushed Rush away in favour of getting dressed.

“You can take them off again later.”

Rush and Chloe tugged on their clothes quickly and quietly after that, Rush ran a large hand through his tangled – but still rather magnificent – hair before grabbing his notebook and heading out the door. Nicholas only got two steps before Chloe grabbed him from behind, her chest pressing into his back as she wrapped her arms around his slender frame.

“I meant it, you know.” She told him firmly before kissing his neck. “I love you.”

“I believe you said you think you love me.” His voice was teasing rather than accusing. “

“I guess you're right, but that was then. I know it now. I love you, Nicholas Rush. You don't need to say it back.”

Rush knew she mean that, he could just walk away back to the bridge and his work and Chloe wouldn't hold it against him, that wasn't what he wanted though. He didn't turn because he wasn't sure his courage would survive if he looked at her in that moment, but he did let the hand void of notebook come up to hold hers.

“I've thought you were beautiful since the second I saw you on Icarus base, wearing that pink dress and smiling, but much too young and perfect for the likes of me.”

“You think I'm perfect?” No one had ever called her perfect before and it made her heart sore.

“Aye, you were. Then you got kidnapped and it only made you more so. Chloe, would you be angry if I said I'm glad the Nakai took you, took me? If they hadn't I – we wouldn't have Cressida.”

Chloe went silent for a brief time but didn't release Nicholas. At the time Chloe had thought everything the Nakai had done was pure horror and that was correct but it had also given them their daughter, a sweet young girl with her hair and Rush's eyes. Cressida was their silver lining.

“I'm not angry. You're right, we have her because of them.”

“All that aside, Chloe, I love you too.”

He'd not truly realised it until the words tumbled from his lips like water tumbling over the falls, he did love her and until that moment Rush hadn't noticed. With Gloria he'd known the second he'd laid eyes on her but Chloe wasn't Gloria and it wouldn't have been fair to compare the two. This young woman was much to good for the likes of him but Nicholas Rush could be selfish when he wanted to be and so he'd keep Chloe by his side until the second she came to her senses. Love didn't always make sense and since landing on Destiny nothing really had made any sense. There was more to the world – the universe – than just work and Rush knew that, he'd used it as a shield after Gloria was diagnosed but he wouldn't again, he couldn't, not with Chloe. Even with all that surging around his chaotic mind there was still a little voice at the very back, what are we going to do about Lieutenant power muscles? However, before that could get anymore of his brain for processing his radio crackled to life.

Doctor Rush, this is Volker, come in. This is no time for a sabbatical.”

Rush sighed and pulled his radio loose when Chloe finally released him in favour of standing by his side.

“What is it, Volker?”

We need you back on the bridge, Destiny's go no shields and heading for a sun remember? Cressida may have figured out a way of getting our systems back on line too.”

“I'll be right there.”

Chloe grinned at him then.

“That's our girl.”

XXXX

Turned out Cressida's idea was a very simple one, one they'd completely overlooked because of how simple it actually was. Axillary power was what had the air circulating and basic lighting working as well as giving them access to terminals however, it had been damaged so every time they tried to transfer main power over it blew; a fact Brody liked to keep reminding everyone of. Cressida's plan though was to gut the working cables from the main power system and transplant them to auxiliary which would hold long enough to survive the sun, recharge Destiny and then they could use the time to fix the main system. It was a band-aid just like Rush had said.

“It won't be able to take that and even if it can it'll take longer to fix the main system.” Said Brody yet again.

“It will as long as we don't run weapons through it or jump into FTL since they pull the most power and it'll give us the time we need. I don't see you having any better ideas, genius.”

“Cressida!” There was a pause where Brody and the others believed Rush would scold her for her rudeness but as soon as Rush grinned they knew that wasn't to happen. “I'm so proud of you, you clever girl.” He turned to Volker and Brody. “You two go and start stripping wires for manual change over. Cress and I'll stay here and see what we can do here. Chloe will you help?”

“Of course, anything I can do to help.”

XXXX

It was either really late or really early when Chloe finally tucked a sleeping Cressida Isobel Rush into Rush's bed. Volker and Brody's fingers had started bleeding from all the sharp wires and Rush had only stopped long enough to kiss his daughter's sleeping forehead. After setting Cress down Chloe started towards the mess hall with the intent of getting Rush something to eat; he never ate enough. Half way though Matt fell In beside her, his arms slid around her slender waist and pressed her up against the warm wall – it all went well they'd have the shields up in a few hours, Cressida had worked out that they had fourteen and a half hours before the ships hull met the point of no return.

When Matt pressed his body against her own Chloe kissed him automatically, which surprised her for a moment before she returned to her senses and pushed him away.

“What's wrong?” He asked, puzzled expression coating his chiselled features. She could see another of those love bites peaking out from his collar.

She took a breath to steady herself.

“Matt, I didn't want to do this now, not until after everything was fixed and working again but-” She cut herself off.

“But what?” Matt questioned.

There was a long pause – very long – but not one of those peaceful and comfortable ones like she shared with Rush, it was awkward and made her feel as though the world was watching her. Only when Chloe couldn't take his eyes on her any longer did she speak.

“I can't do... this anymore.”

“Do what?” Was he that oblivious or was he simply denying what was in front of him?

“... Us.” She answered without meeting his eye. “It's not been right for a while, ever since I was kidnapped it's been different. I'm different. I know that was hard on you, it was hard on everyone, especially me. But-”

“Wait! Wait! Wait! Are you saying we should... break up?” He looked as though the idea was utterly ridiculous . “Is this about Cressida?”

“Not completely.” She said before her head suddenly snapped up and she found herself staring him in the eye. “And that's another thing, when you found out about your son you did everything to meet him, but you seem to want me to avoid Cress. She's a little girl and you don't seem to like her.”

“That's because I felt like I was loosing you. Anyway, its not like you gave birth to her.” He snapped before realising what he'd just said; it was cruel.

Chloe knew he didn't really mean that but it still hurt.

“You didn't give birth to your son but he's still your child.” Another pause. “I'm sorry Matt, I really am, but this isn't working anymore. It hasn't been working for a long time. I want my daughter... I want... my family.” I've only just realised.

Matt stepped back a few inches as he tried to possess everything Chloe had just said, he looked a combination of angry and shocked. It wasn't as though she didn't care for him, Chloe just needed to do what was best for her and Cressida.

“Family?” The Lieutenant muttered to himself more than Chloe. He looked up at her. “You, Cressida... and Rush? You're choosing Rush?! That bastard!”

Before Chloe could utter a single word or take a single step Matt had turned and marched off down the hall, Chloe had no choice but to race after him. Scott had every right to be angry and shocked but he seemed to be tipping over into rage. He charged around a dark corner slamming into Greer but he only bounced off and continued down the hallway towards the bridge, Chloe and Sargent Greer glanced at one another before following him. Rush had his back to Scott when he entered, Volker and Brody had been about to leave but ground to a quick halt when they saw the look on Scott's face.

“Rush!” Scott growled, the scientist turned only to be punched square in the face knocking him back against the terminal. “You bastard! Stay away from Chloe.”

Surprisingly Rush chortled as he dabbed the rich blood from his lip and Chloe found herself stunned into silence, leaving her to just stand there with Greer at her side; Rush wasn't so stunned.

“She isn't a possession, Lieutenant. Maybe you should let Chloe decide what she wants for herself. Now, I have work to be doing so that we won't all die. Why don't you go be an infant somewhere else?” His voice dripped with sarcasm and a lack of interest, he tuned his back on the Lieutenant in favour of viewing the console. “And Lieutenant, you may want to clamber down from your high horse, hypocrites don't get horses.” Teenagers would have referred to his expression as #smugface.

“What are you talking about?”

Rush smirked and turned back to the military man.

 

“Oh, she's about this tall...” He held his hand up. “Dark hair, dark eyes and her name certainly isn't Chloe.”

Suddenly it all snapped into place and Scott launched at him only for Greer to grab him and hold Scott back.

“Don't, mate! Just calm down and breath.”

The Sargent pulled him away a few steps before Scott broke free, huffed and stormed off out of the bridge, leaving Volker and Brody stood there with raised eyebrows. Chloe had started crying at some point and only after Scott had left did she regain her ability to move and before she knew it Chloe had raced to Rush and pulled him into a hug with a vice-like grip. That lasted only a moment or two before dragging him into a kiss. Volker's and Brody's eyebrows rose even higher and Greer's dark eyes grew wide before he started to push the scientists from the room.

“Okay, everyone out. Nothing to see here.”

“I'm sorry, Chloe.” Rush apologised as soon as they were alone.

“No.” She cuddled into his chest. “You've got nothing to be sorry for. Thank you for not getting into a fight.”

“Please don't cry, I don't like to see you cry.” He told her as his arms slipped around her waist, holding her tightly. She tilted her head up and kissed him once again. “How about we go to bed? Cress already is asleep and I have a diagnostic running so there's nothing else we can really do until it's complete.”

“Okay. But I want another kiss first.” How could Nicholas deny her?

Lieutenant Scott would calm down soon enough and then hopefully Chloe would be able to speak to him without anger getting in the way.

Chapter Text

A few hours of peaceful sleep past before everyone was up again in want and need of repairing Destiny, Young however, had gone in search of Lieutenant Scott who he found pretty quickly, meanwhile Camile searched for Chloe. With a gruff follow me Young had dragged him to the observation deck, when they entered they found several civilians there.

“Clear out!” The Colonel demanded causing everyone to scurry off. There were a few moments of silence before Young turned to a gloomy looking Scott. “You want to explain what happened with Rush.”

It most certainly wasn't a question, pure demand through and through. He folded his arms and leaned back on the railing giving the gargantuan window his back, his glare hard on his Lieutenant. Scott was silent for a time that just continued to stretch on and only when Young started to grow impatient did the military man speak.

“Chloe left me, Sir.” He said with all the composure he could muster.

“And you blame Rush because of Cressida?” Questioned the older man.

“No, she actually left me for Rush.” The Lieutenant growled.

Young nodded to himself for a brief time before looking Matt in the eye and sighing.

“Son, I know you don't like the situation but Chloe is a fully grown woman and she can make her own choices.” Another sigh. “I really wish you'd not hit him though because now I have to make you apologise for your actions.”

“I know, Sir. I'm sorry it's just she... she cheated on me with Rush.”

“And that's worse than what you and James have been doing because?” Young wasn't stupid, in fact the man was rather intelligent – not what Rush would deem intelligent but still rather smart.

“I-”

He'd planed to say something like I didn't mean to or I was drunk but he knew none of that was true, he'd not tried very hard to resist James: at least Chloe had actually had the courage to tell him. But Rush?! Finally Young snapped him out of his thoughts.

“We all have to work together on this ship, all have to live together. I had no choice but to revoke fraternization rules but we still need to conduct ourselves, okay?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“You have until the end of the day to apologise to Rush.” With that Young was gone leaving Scott with only his thoughts.

Meanwhile Camile had looked everywhere for Chloe leaving only the blackboard corridor to search, as soon as she entered her quest ended though. Cress, Chloe and Nicolas stood there working away as usual. Cressida – who wore her simple gold-brown dress – sat cross-legged on the floor jotting down equations far too complex for Camile to understand while Chloe and Rush had their backs to her looking at another wall coated in a long line of Ancient, and just like the equation Camile had no idea what it meant. In the brief seconds before they noticed her Camile saw they were holding hands and it brought a smile to her soft lips; unfortunately it just made her miss Sharon all the more. Chloe would be good for Rush.

“Hello, Aunt Camile.”Grinned Cress and Camile returned it.

Since TJ and Camile had taken care of her at the start Cress had taken to calling them Aunt while Greer and Varro had been christened as her Uncles. Greer wouldn't ever admit it – especially in front of Scott – but he rather liked it; like Camile he also thought Rush and Chloe would be good together. 

“Hey Sweetheart.” She looked up to Chloe. “Chloe it's your turn to use the stones. Your mother has been kicking up quite the fuss since we woke up. She wants to see you. Oh, General O'Neill wants to see you as well, Nick.” Rush didn't seem pleased.

“I'd completely forgotten about Mom what with Cress and the ship.... and Eli.”

“I have work to do, we have no shields or weapon capabilities so until that's dealt with General O'Neill can wait.”

“Why don't I take Cressida?” Suggested Chloe.

Cress jumped up and raced over to her parents and Camile, a massive smile on her face.

“Can I go, Mommy? Can I? Can I?”

“Not a good idea.” Camile said softly. “Cressida is only eight, a consciousness swap, wouldn't that be dangerous?”

“Please let me go?” Cress pleaded.

“Let's see what Stargate Command thinks and see if your Daddy thinks it's dangerous.” Chloe reasoned, maybe she'd been a bit premature suggesting it.

XXXX

In in the end and unfortunately for Cressida they eventually decided Camile had been right and wouldn't let Cress use the stones. They just had no idea what they would do to Cressida and refused to put the child in danger, for an eight year old to suddenly be inside the body of fully grown woman could have done anything to her. At first Cress had complained and objected but eventually realised they were right, instead she decided it would be best for her to remain with her Daddy and aid fixing the ship; hours were running out.

Instead Chloe had gone back to Earth with Greer. They'd rushed her off to her Mother's house rather quickly and Chloe assumed it was partly due to ther fuss her Mother had been causing. Little had changed in the three years she'd been gone and Chloe found herself smiling with nostalgia. She knocked softly on the door only for it to be ripped open a few seconds later, her dark-haired Mother was already crying and she dragged her daughter into a tight hug.

“Oh Chloe! I'm so happy to see you, I was so worried... I thought.... I thought-” Sobs cut her off.

“I'm here, Mom. I'm alright. A lot has changed in three years though.”

When Patricia got a hold of herself – which didn't actually take that long – she told Chloe to sit down on the white couch and tell me everything. Chloe had missed her Mother, especially her voice and until that moment Chloe hadn't realised just how much.

“Do you want some tea?”

“That would be great, Mom.” Patricia flew around the house pouring milk into tea and setting it before Chloe quickly; normally Patricia wasn't so emotional but three years seemed to have broken down some of her stoic nature.

“Mom, you don't have to rush around for me.” Chloe smiled.

“Oh Chloe, I'm just happy you're here.” Finally she sat down beside her daughter. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom.” Said Chloe with a smile.

“How long until you come home? Are you eating enough? Drinking enough? How is Matt? Is-” Chloe cut her Mother's questioning off.

“Mom, slow down.” Chloe grinned. “I don't know how long until we come back, we have to wake Eli up first and then there's the shields, but that's another story. I'm eating and drinking as best I can on Destiny and Matt-” She abruptly cut herself off and looked down to the floor which has suddenly become very interesting.

Patricia's face softened and she grabbed Chloe's hands in a sign of comfort, her nails were chipped a sure sign of a Mother's worry over the last three years.

“Chloe, what happened? Did something bad happen?” There was so much care in her eyes, she truly loved her daughter.

“Not exactly bad just not what you'd expected. Matt and I aren't together anymore.”

“What? I thought you two loved each other, you seemed so happy.”

“We were but things change, I still care about him but I just don't love him like I did. Em, Mom, I have something else to tell you but I don't want you to freak out. There are some things I can't tell you because it's classified but-” Chloe paused for a moment and looked back to the ground as though thinking of the right way to phrase it. In the end she decided blunt was the best way to go. “I have a daughter..”

Patricia expression turned to something crossed between shock and puzzlement, to be honest Chloe couldn't blame her.

“What?”

“A daughter. Her name is Cressida, Cress for short, and she's beautiful. So beautiful. She's got pale skin, my hair and her Father's eyes. Cress is just as smart as him as well, maybe more. She helps to fix the ship.” Chloe grinned as she told her Mother about her Granddaughter.

“What?” The elder woman repeated “How could she help if she's a baby, and you left Matt after having his child?” It was safe to say that Patricia was confused.

“No, Cressida is Doctor Rush's daughter.” She explained.

“That man your Father hated?”

“Dad didn't hate him but yes that's him. Cressida is eight, don't ask me how because I can't tell you, but she is, I didn't give birth to her but like I said it's all classified. Cressida is so smart and she lights up when she helps Rush with the ship. You'd love her and I can't wait for you to met her.”

Patricia paused.

“So I have an eight year old Grandchild by a grumpy Scottish scientist?” Chloe nodded.

“Yes, and Nicholas isn't as bad as people make out. He's kind and funny and braver than he thinks he is. He makes me happy.” Chloe's smile grew as she spoke of him which just made her Mother smile as well.

“Are you with him now then?” There was no judgement in her tone and Chloe was grateful for that.

“I am yes, at first we weren’t but I got to know him and... and I love him.”

“If he makes you happy then that's all that matters. I'm your Mother, you being happy is what is important.” Chloe couldn't help but think her Mother had softened in the years she'd been away.

With that awkwardness out of the way the rest of the afternoon was filled with chit-chat, catching up, gossip and everything else Mother and daughter could talk about. It was peaceful and pleasant.

XXXX

Rush bolted down the long hallways with Cress following behind, they went from the bridge to the hyper-sleep chambers in only a few minutes almost as though they were being chased, seconds later Volker and Brody joined them from the Control Interface Room, Colonel Young only a step behin them.

“Why are you yelling I've got it and racing though the ship like there's a research grant at the finish line?!" Asked Young with a dominant tone. Brody and the blonde scientist smirked.

“We've been going over repairing the shields-” They had approximately nine hours left for that according to Cressida's calculations. “-and we figured out that we've been over thinking Eli's predicament as well. We've been attempting to fix the pod.”

“Obviously.” Said Brody. “That's how things start working again.”

“Yes, thank you. What would we do without your helpful input?” Rush rebuffed quickly.

“Rush, get back to the point.” Young cut in, he crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall just right of the door.

“Daddy, I don't understand, what did you mean by band-aid that's it, Cress already solved it?” Volker flashed him a glance that said he didn't understand either.

“We've been tip-toeing around more dangerous ideas because it could kill Eli so we thought that left us with going through everything and fixing it all. What we should be doing is the exact same as with auxiliary.”

It couldn't be denied that since Cressida had showed up theories and efforts to free Eli had somewhat slowed, to be honest the scientists had also just about exhausted all their ideas. That was no excuse though, he was their friend and they had to get him back.

“I don't follow.” Said Young with that usual puzzled expression of his.

“Actually that could work.” Began Volker. “Why the hell didn't we think about this sooner?”

“Because we can't risk damaging the other chambers or Eli's further by cannibalising, I'm an engineer remember so I know this isn't a good idea.” Complained Brody.

“Surly it would make more sense to have Eli back and then fix the chambers over months. From what I've heard Eli is a genius and your friend so we shouldn't ignore our best chance of waking he up right?” Said Cressida with those big brown eyes of hers.

“Cannibalising? I still don't understand.”

Rush opened his mouth to once again to explain in a heavily dumbed down way but Young just raised a hand cutting him off, instead he just crouched down and looked Cressida in the eye.

“Cress, why don't you explain.”

Young wasn't stupid, he knew exactly what they were telling him but after all the mistrusting glances and she's dangerous and can't be trusted comments Young wanted to show some faith in her, it helped that they all thought he shared his intellect with a Jack Russell; on some subjects that might have been true.

“Em, okay. Daddy believes that Mister Brody and Doctor Volker have been over thinking the issue just like we all were with auxiliary power. He's saying that we need to take key parts from the other chambers and put them into Eli's chamber to repair it. Eli couldn't have done it because all the other chambers were in use but they're not anymore. The only issue would be that in order for us to work on Eli's chamber we've have to tell the system that it's maintenance rather than tampering. I think we need the chair for that rather than the bridge.” Cress looked so happy having been of help to the Colonel.

“Always with the chair.” Young muttered himself quietly before standing and looking back at Rush. “Can this really work?”

“Yes, Colonel it will. It's been staring us in the face but we've been too focused on Cress then the infected planet and now Destiny's power damage to realise it. If we work fast enough, have Brody assist Cress by striping parts while Cress wire them into Eli's chamber and I'm in the chair with Volker monitoring me, we can do it.”

“Why does it always end up with you in that bloody chair?”

“Why do I have to assist her!?” Exclaimed Brody gesturing loosely to the eight year old.

“Because I said so and you really don't want to annoy me or my mini-me.”

Brody raised an eyebrow that seemed to say yeah you make a good point while Volker just tried to avoid giggling at the term mini-me; giggling wouldn't suit him.

“If that's the case then do it.” Ordered Colonel Young.

“With pleasure, just as soon as we have shields back on line.”

Finally they had a plan, a practically fool proof plan that would soon return Eli to them. Nicholas couldn't wait to tell Chloe, she'd be so pleased. All she'd wanted since waking up was her best friend back safe and sound, Cressida would take some explaining though. Knowing Volker and Brody they'd let him believe he'd been asleep for years as some kind of joke. They'd get him back and now that had a plan on how to do it.

Chapter Text

According to Cressida's calculations their clock was down to eight hours and forty-five minutes exactly and everyone was beginning to get a little nervous but Rush pushed all those thoughts away and focused on his work. Before hyper-sleep he'd have worked so hard because it was what he did best or because he wanted to discover Destiny's secrets but that wasn't what drove him in the hours they had left, no, one sentence drove him in those hours; save Cressida and Chloe. Doctor Nicholas Rush wasn't a brave man – or so he thought – many people believed him to be thanks to some of the things he'd done but that was more a combination of arrogance, recklessness and quite often there was anger in there too, however, his daughter and Chloe gave him the gentle push he needed to slip into bravery.

H e'd hardly looked up from the screen in the Control Interface Room for the last hour and people had left him alone in that time, Cress had been working up on the bridge, no doubt keeping the command chair warm for her Daddy; my good girl. His peaceful working silence was finally broken when the tall blonde known as Varro stepped into the room looking like he had something to say.

“There you are, Doctor Rush, just the man I was looking for. “ Varro came to a stop only a few steps away from the older man.

“Well don't I feel honoured.” Said Rush without looking up, voice dripping with sarcasm.

“This is important.” Still no reaction came. “It's about Cressida.” With that his head snapped up to the blonde.

What is it? Is she alright?” There was instant Fatherly worry in his tone, something that made Varro respect the elder man.

Have... have you noticed anything strange about Cressida lately?” He started slowly knowing Rush's daughter was going to be a touchy subject. If Varro didn't have all of Rush's attention that question certainly got it. “ I play with Cress all the time and I know what she's like but this was... not her.”

What do you mean?” Asked Rush in a gruff tone.

“I didn't think much of it at first but... before the fire I saw her walking down the hall. She seemed dazed and not like her normal self, at first – like I said – I didn't think much off it just thought she was tired after all the work she'd been doing. Cress told me she was going to see you but later when I thought about it she seemed so blank and then I realised the direction she was going in was the long way around to the bridge... and it would have taken her past the engine room.” He paused only for a moment. “ I saw her about twenty-five minutes before the fire alert. Rush, how long before the alert did Cressida show up on the bridge?”

R ush didn't want to think about it, she was his sweet little girl but as the memory came back to him he realised what Varro was suggesting had to be correct, the Nakai had done to Cressida what they'd done to Chloe. It had been hidden much deeper than with her Mother though, almost as though it had been time delayed. 

Not until a few moments before.” Rush finally had to admit.

Did she seem off?”

Rush sighed. “She tripped down the steps and it was like... like she'd just woken up.” Then he remembered. “Her hand was bleeding but I don't see how she could have cut when she fell.” His head snapped up to Varro. “Why now? It's been months so why does she trigger and sabotage the ship now?” The blonde wasn't entirely sure if Rush was asking himself or actually wanted Varro to answer; he decided to answer anyway.

I don't know but it would explain why they created Cressida, why she's here."

“She's just a little girl.” Nicholas said to himself, so quiet that Varro almost didn't here him.

“She's your little girl. All that knowledge and the Nakai's desperation to get Destiny-” The blonde found himself cut off by Rush speaking over him.

And now we are drifting through space with no shields or weapons to defend ourselves.”

“You have to tell Colonel Young, now.”

“What?! Tell the man who thought she was dangerous since the second we found her that he's right. Just when he's starting to trust her?”

“You have to, Doctor Rush.” Argued Varro softly. “If you and Chloe tell him then he won't react as badly.”

“He's right, Nicholas.” The two men turned to the doorway to see Chloe stood there, tears pricking in her dazzling cerulean eyes. “If this is true then we have to tell Colonel Young.”

Before they had any chance to respond Tamara came charging into the room with a look of worry on her angelic face.

“Have any of you seen Cress?” She asked quickly. “She was in the infirmary with me, said she needed a brake and then she was just gone. It was strange and she's not answering her radio.”

Chloe sighed and went to Rush's side where he pulled her into a gentle hug, she just needed the contact in that moment.

We have to tell Young, don't we?” Chloe just nodded.

Once we find our daughter, yes.”

In only a few seconds they had TJ, Varro, Camile and Airman Dunning helping to search for their daughter. Young had demanded answers the second they managed to find her but as time ticked on that started to look less and less likely; they were all getting worried. Observation deck, quarters, bridge, hydroponics, showers; they looked everywhere with no success. Minutes turned into hours – or at least that's what it felt like to her parents – like when a child went missing in a mall and all that panic bubbled to the surface.

It was Varro who found her although he really wished it had been somewhere else, Cressida lay face down in the chair room. His heart rate spiked.

“Cressida!” He dove onto the ground beside her pulling the child into his arms.

Cress was so beautiful and sweet, he couldn't believe she'd have sabotaged the ship of her own freewill; she probably had no idea she'd been doing it just like Chloe hadn't.

“Cress, wake up! Come on, wake up!”

She was limp in his arms but he could see her chest rising and falling as he stood with her bridal style before racing out the room and reaching for his radio.

This is Varro, I found her. She's unconscious. Meet me in the infirmary.”

E veryone did just that, all converging on that one location, all full of worry for Cressida. When Varro arrived he found TJ was already there and quickly set to checking Cress over once he'd laid her down on the bed; stethoscope flying around at lightning speed. The blonde man had never been a religious man of any kind but he found himself praying to anyone who'd listen that the girl would be alright. In the months since she'd arrived Cress had been treated in much the same way as he had, suspicion and even hostility. That had been a force to them befriending each other and Varro felt responsibility for her; she did call him Uncle after all. His mind snapped back to the world around him when Chloe and Rush charged into the room, they looked panicked and honestly, who could blame them?

“What happened?”

“Where was she?” The asked over one another.

T J flashed a light into Cressida's whiskey colored eyes, they dilated and her breathing seemed to be soft and normal; the only issue Tamara could find was that Cress was unconscious. Suddenly Colonel Young and Camile burst into the room as well and ended up watching in silence. Young wanted to asked what she'd been doing but he knew it would only piss off Rush; probably not the best plan. Rush and Chloe stood close to their child, Mother holding her daughter's hand forcing TJ to work around them.

What is going on?” Rush growled demanding answers from the blonde medic.

“She's unconscious and I don't know why, I can't see any wounds and her vitals seem normal. Give me a minute.”

Young turned to Varro and tried to keep his tone soft so as not to anger Rush but still get an answer.

“Where did you find her?”

“She was in the chair room.” Varro responded, worry in his eyes. “She was just lying there.”

“Did it look like she'd sat in the chair?” Camile questioned faster than she'd intended but Cressida's parents and TJ just ignored her.

I really don't know, I don't think so. She looked more like she'd walked in and just collapsed.”

“Right, that rules out some things.” Seemed TJ had been listening all along.

W hat if something was really wrong with Cress? What if-? No, no one wanted to think about any of that, she'd be fine. Cressida was the daughter of Nicholas Rush and Chloe Armstrong the two most stubborn, brave and determined people on board.

X XXX

They'd hit seven hours and thirty-eight minutes on Cressida's original calculation before the ship's hull could take the heat no longer and in that time Chloe had refused to leave her sleeping daughter's side while Rush had slipped down to the floor with his back to the wall lost in his thoughts. Only when Tamara had been stood in utter silence for around five minutes did the two notice she'd stopped moving and that Varro, Young and Camile had left the room. Rush's stomach fell seeing TJ's expression.

What?” Rush asked in a voice that showed he was trying not to panic, he stood.

“Em, she... Cress-” Tamara paused seeing Chloe starting to shake. “Cressida's muscles seem to be atrophying... which means she's losing muscle mass and is very weak. Her skin is starting to yellow and jaundice as are the whites of her eyes.”

Chloe had descended into full blown tears, a waterfall of emotion down her face while Rush looked as though he couldn't breath, or maybe he was going to be sick, or both.

“Please just tell us.” Pleaded Chloe, clearly the question of a desperate person denying what was already evident.

“I am so sorry.” TJ couldn't hold it in anymore and let her tears fall as well. “Her organs... they're shutting down. She's loosing muscle strength and mass. I... I... I don't think... she was meant to... live this long. Cress is dying.”

Chloe just collapsed to the ground, face dripping with tears and Rush just fell down beside her pulling Chloe into his arms; it was all he could do to comfort her. He didn't cry but TJ could see him vibrating with rage. He'd been lost in a cloud of static where time seemed to stop, Rush didn't know what he felt because he had so much emotion surging around himself like he'd been lost in a storm; beyond rage he couldn't name his feelings. Cressida was a sweet eight year old girl and the Nakai just wanted her to die.

“Daddy?”

He blinked awake from the horror storm of static, once more Chloe was in his arms and Destiny existed; so did the pain. Cressida's voice had been so quiet but Nicholas would always hear his baby girl. He raced to her side, pulling Chloe up with him.

Hey, baby girl.”

“How do you feel?” Chloe asked as she wiped her tears away.

“It hurts.” She looked up to Rush. “Daddy, I... I did... something bad.” She stuttered, suffering too much pain to get through a sentence without several breaths. “I didn't... mean to. The fire... it was me... I-”

Rush stopped her as he pushed a strand of stray hair behind her ear.

“Shhh, it's alright. It wasn't your fault. The Nakai made you.” He told her with love.

“Why... does it hurt?”

Everything went silent and that long drawn out silence was what finally broke Rush and tipped him over to tears, bold and violent. Cressida was such a sweet and innocent little girl, now they had to watch her die and it shattered his heart into a million pieces. He'd not felt so much pain since Gloria and he actually thought he'd be sick for a second. Chloe gripped his hand so tight that his knuckles cracked. He wasn't the only one suffering, Cress was Chloe's daughter too.

“Don't worry, Sweetheart. You're just sick, you'll be better in no time.”

Was Chloe lying to Cress to make her feel better or was she denying what TJ had said? At that moment Rush didn't have the brain power to answer that question. Cressida didn't believe her though, she was much to smart for such a simple lie to have any affect on her, the girl wouldn't cry though, it would only make her parents hurt even more.

How does she remember that?” Chloe managed to ask Tamara who wondered for a moment.

“Em, maybe the barrier keeping her subconscious programming separate is breaking down as well.”

It seemed to be the only logical option. TJ knew next to nothing about what was happening to her mind. TJ left after that, she couldn't see another child die, just couldn't.

“Daddy-”

“No, baby girl, you need to rest.” Rush was actually rather surprised that his voice didn't shake.

“You're Daddy's right, Sweetheart.” Chloe continued to wipe away tears.

“But I... remember.” She paused, eyes growing sad and pained. “They're coming. They made me... to sabotage the... ship. Slow it down... give them time... to... catch up.”

It hit him then, they'd been drifting for so long with no shields or weapons; Destiny was a sitting duck! That was why Cressida had collapsed, she wasn't meant to survive after damaging the ship and completing her mission, the Nakai had no use for her. They didn't need her so now Chloe and Rush had to watch her die. No! No, I won't just stand here and watch it!

“I'm going to figure this out, Cress. I promise.” Nicholas pressed a loving kiss to his daughter's forehead and then he was gone, a gust of wind being the only indication he'd ever been there.

Chapter Text

Colonel Young and Camile had gathered in the gate room; one of the few places that usually remained void of people. The sound of footsteps played as constant background noise as the two waited for Greer and Scott, a quietude settled between them. Everyone had found themselves preoccupied repairing the ship but everyone found their minds drifting to the innocent child they could do nothing to help, no one should have had to suffer the pain Rush, Cressida and Chloe felt.

“There you are.” Said Young when Greer and Scott finally entered the room.

Is there a problem, Sir?” Scott asked, a look of worry coating his features.

A big one.” Came Young's quick reply. “It turns out that the blue bastards known as the Nakai are coming after us. They've somehow managed to follow us over the gap between galaxies.”

“How could they do that, Sir?” Scott asked. “And I thought the fire damaged our scanning ability.”

“It did. Cressida set the fire, they did the same thing to her that they did to Chloe as you probably already know. Now though, she seems to be remembering things and she says they're coming.

“So that's why they gave her Rush's knowledge, to make it easier for her to sabotage us.” Greer mutters to himself.

Poor girl.” Camile mumbled.

“So we were right about her the whole time.” Lieutenant Scott summarised.

“Not knowingly.” Began Camile, refusing to let it seem like Cress had plotted it all. “She only knows now because her body is breaking down.”

Lieutenant Scott had the dignity to look ashamed of how his commented had sounded, he knew the kid wouldn't have hurt anyone willingly but he was still angry – broth with himself and with Chloe – about the break up.

“Cressida is dying, the Nakai don't need her now so she has no worth to them. If you want to see her or tell her anything then I suggest you do it now.” Camile told them, Greer nodded sadly.

“I know this is hard – more so for Rush and Chloe – we've all grown to care for Cressida, even me. We have to focus on the impending attack though. They used her against us and then just tossed her aside deciding she didn't deserve to live, Cress has warned us though she's using the last of her strength to give us a chance so we're not going to let it go to waste.” He took a breath. “We have no weapons or shields which means they'll just board us. Lieutenant Scott, I need you and Greer to gather anyone who can fire a weapon and prepare them for a fight. They'll want the bridge first but they'll board us somewhere they can't be ambushed in.”

Sir, if you want them ambushed we'll find a way to do it.” Announced Greer. “For Cressida.”

“You're good lads. Go on.”

T he Lieutenant and Greer obeyed and went off to do just as the Colonel had told them. Colonel Young took a deep breath and let it out in a powerful sigh, silence rained for a few moments until Camile stepped forwards and looked up at him; eyes full of melancholy.

Chloe can't stop crying, she won't eat or drink.” Said Camile. “And Rush-” She sighed just as the Colonel had. “- Rush has locked himself away in the blackboard corridor hell bend to figuring out a way to save her.... in reality he's just hiding from the truth.”

“You should go talk to him. He can't hide from this.” Young knew how Rush felt, he and TJ were the only ones on board who knew the pain of losing a child.

XXXX

It didn’t take long for Camile to do just as Young had suggested, she'd been planning on talking to him from the beginning but she dreaded it; she'd never comforted anyone through losing a child before; No! Don't think like she's already gone. There's hope. Always hope she told herself as she walked, she'd gotten so lost in her own thoughts hat she walked straight into Varro as they turned to head up the same hallway.

“Sorry, Camile. Are you going to see Rush?” His voice was full of concern as he fell in beside her.

“If I can get him to open the door, yes. It's gong to be hard though.”

“I'm coming too, Cress is my friend.”

“Sure, you certainly can't make things any worse.”

The two set a fast pace up darkened hallways, twisting and turning corners rapidly in an effort to get to the blackboard corridor as fast as possible. Everything seemed to be coming to a head and they couldn't lie and say the crew was unafraid, they were afraid, for Cress, for Chloe and Rush, for th ship and their lives. The hope Camile had been attempting to cling to had started to dwindle even in those few seconds between bumping into the blonde and their destination came into view. Quickly she thudded her fist against the hard metal door.

“Rush! Rush, open the damn door!” She didn't need to check to know it was locked. As expected she got no response, Camile glanced over at Varro before going back to yelling through the door. “I know you're hurting and I am so sorry, no one should gave to go through this kind of pain but the whole ship is in danger. You can't bury yourself in your work like you did with Gloria. Cress needs you, you're her father.”

Still no response came and all Camile could do was sigh, it was then that Varro stepped forwards with a determined but sad expression on his gruff but handsome features.

“Maybe I should give it a go?” It wasn't really a question but the blonde still phrased it as one.

“This is my job, Varro.” Camile replied quickly, almost snapping at him.

“But you're not a parent and don't have any siblings. You already know about one brother but not the other one. He was a lot younger and I basically raised him. I know the sort of things going through his head.” Sorrow crossed Varro's face.

“Okay, fine.” She relented.

Camile had to admit it was true, she wasn't a mother and no matter how many books she read or classes she took she'd never be able to understand Rush's pain. Knowing it was all up to the blonde Camile stepped back and leaned against the heated wall; just another reminder of their impending doom. After a brief pause and a deep breath Varro knocked softly on the door, the sound echoed gently.

“Doctor Rush, this is Varro.” He paused only for a moment. “When I first came to this ship no one trusted me and I can't really blame them for that, I understand why. Roles reversed I would have felt the same, but TJ placed her trust in me and saw the good just like you did with Cressida. You were the first to trust her, to treat her like a person and not a threat, you have no idea how much that can mean to someone. Cress is a little girl, she may act mature beyond her years but she's still a child and you putting that faith in her is the most important thing that's ever happened to her. Cressida lights up when she sees you, it's the same look my brother gave me, pure happiness, and I bet every time she smiles at you like that you forget everything and just think of how much you love her.” He paused once more and closed his eyes for a moment as though remembering something painful. “Now you're loosing her. The Nakai are taking Cress from you and you just want to run away to somewhere where time will stop and you don't have to feel anything. Trust me I know, I felt the same when my little brother died. I wanted everything to stop, it was like being surrounded by white noise where my mind just stopped functioning. I never got to say good-bye, and you may not want to say it, may think that means giving up on her, but it's not, it's being a father. Cressida is scared and in pain, she needs her Daddy to be holding her hand and for you to tell her how proud you are, how much you love her. Cressida is dying and not being able to change it isn't failing her, hiding away and leaving her alone is. If you stay here you will be failing her. She doesn't need a hero she needs her father, just be with her.

Silence rained, so void of sound that not even Camile's and Varro's breathing could be heard; were they even breathing? Finally, just when Varro was about to give up the door clicked and slid open revealing Rush; the man looked like a shell of himself. He didn't move nor speak so Varro continued.

“Cress is a beautiful young girl and I am glad to call her my friend, but you're her father.”

“What was your brother's name?” Rush asked almost silently.

“Kokai, his name was Kokai.”

Slowly Rush nodded. “Thank you, Varro.”

Without another word Rush took a deep breath and then started down the mass of hallways towards the infirmary. Camile and Varro stood there for a moment gazing into the blackboard corridor to see the almost obsessional scrawling across the walls, if they'd left him be any longer Rush might have spiralled into something he couldn't crawl back from.

“I'm sorry about your brother.”

Camile's words pulled Varro back to the world around him but he didn't answer, instead they tuned and followed the path Rush had just taken.

Just as everyone had expected Chloe still stood by Cressida's side, tense and gripping her child's hand. The eight year old had been propped up but was still in pain; unbeknownst to her mother Cress had been hiding just how much pain. Despite all that her pale face still lit up when her father returned to her side.

“Daddy!”

“It's okay, Little One, I'm here. I love you.” Cress smiled up at him as he kissed a tear stained Chloe quickly. “I'm not going to leave you again, Baby girl. We can still figure this out.”

“We can't.” She said almost mutely. “I wasn't meant to live, I'm just an experiment.”

“Don't say that!” He told her angrily and far louder than he'd intended. “So Chloe didn't give birth to you and I wasn't there when you were born, it doesn't mean you're not our daughter.” Varro had been right, he needed to be by her side.

Before Nicholas could say more Colonel Young entered the room, said something to TJ in a hushed tone and then cleared his throat drawing the room's attention.

“I'm sorry to interrupt and please know I wouldn't be here asking questions if I had any other options.” He took a step towards the bed. “Cress, do you have any idea when they'll get here?”

“Please just leave her alone.” Chloe begged as another round of tears started and Young had the decency to look apologetic.

Cress coughed. “Not long. I was suppose to damage Destiny's shields when they got close enough. Don't ask me how I knew they were close, I just did.” She tilted her head to the left looking past Young to Varro. “Uncle, what did I look like when you saw me before the fire?”

“Em, dazed, like you were sleep walking. You're voice was monotone. Why?”

 

“Because I have an idea.”

Chapter Text

With a loud thud that echoed violently, a circular section of the ship's hull collapsed inwards; roof hitting floor from which the Nakai emerged. The unit of blue aliens stood tall and armed only a few feet from Hydroponics, their bodies tall and thin wrapped in almost dive suit style blackness. Orders were quickly shouted by the tallest – clearly their commander – before the blue aliens burst into action, feet mounding the dark metal floor as they marched. Suddenly, just as the first turned a corner there was a singled shot and the Nakai fell down dead, in less than a second a fire fight ensued; bullets flying swiftly, screams of pain, thuds as bodies fell. After six civilians were lost the Destiny crew were forced to retreat, there were just too many of them. Lieutenant Scott dove for his radio as they fled.

“Young, there's too many of them!”

A few of the Nakai, four or five, branched off and headed down another corridor while the main unit stalked the Destiny crew, more orders being shouted as they went. The war for Destiny had begun.

Meanwhile only a few dark corridors away stood Rush with an almost petrified expression on his sharp features as he watched his darling daughter lean against the hard wall fighting off the pain she was in. He couldn't tell whether it was her bravery or stubbornness making her fight of her pain, the constant stinging of death.

“Daddy, you have to let me do this.” She told him in a determined tone that mirrored his own.

“No you're not. You're going somewhere safe and staying there until this is over.”

There was a pause in which Cressida seemed to grow up, her eyes reflecting an intelligent and courageous woman. She'd always acted older than her eight year old body seemed capable but this was different, what Rush saw was someone mature and better than any other he'd ever met.

I'm going to die anyway.” Oh, how that made his heart drop and his eyes prick with tears. “I let them in, I don't want to be the reason you all die! Let me help save everyone, please?” It was a beg but Nicholas knew she wouldn't care about his answer, she'd just do it anyway; she really was his daughter.

You can hardly stand and you're eight years-”

He was abruptly cut off when the smaller team of Nakai that had branched off turned the corner at the end of the hallway and started heading for them, Rush peaked around his own corner to count them; five. Before he could think let alone speak Cress pushed her Father back down the hallway in the direction of the bridge and stepped out in full view of the Nakai, his arms reached out to grab her but it was too late. Father stood there a moment forced to watch and wait to see if they'd kill his child on sight.

Guns raised but thankfully they didn't fire – maybe Rush managed to will them not to shoot – he couldn't see the blue bastards but he knew they must have been confused to find her still among the living. Honey whiskey eyes watched as Cressida's arms went limp at her side and her own brown orbs stared off into nothingness, her whole body drained of personality leaving her as a blank slate. When she spoke it was monotone just as when she'd spoken to Varro in the hall before the fire.

I damaged the ship more than intended.” She stated plainly, each sentence short and lacking emotion. “The humans didn't stop the fire in time to avoid almost irreparable damage. Destiny does not have much time before the hull can take the stress no longer. Allow me to repair it before I completely shut down and am no longer useful to you.”

The Nakai Commander – als o the tallest – tilted his head for a moment looking her over, the jaundice had worsened and Rush was amazed that she was capable of display of painlessness. Suddenly the Nakai Commander shouted something and though Cress had no idea what he said she somehow knew what he meant.

“Yes, Master.” Rush hated hearing that word leave her lips, she was his daughter not a slave! “Thanks to the repairs the humans have already done I can finish repairs from the bridge.”

When Cressida turned and started to lead them towards the bridge Rush ran off ahead of her, he didn't like leaving her there with the blue aliens but he had to get to the bridge first. As much as he hated to think about it they wouldn't harm her until Destiny had been fully repaired. Rush and Destiny had no choice but to use Cressida's plan.

Though on the outside young Cress was blank and seemed nothing more than a shell, the inside was quite the opposite. Inside she surged with agony, with each second that ticked by – each step she took – Cress could feel her body and organs failing her. To ask if she was scared would have been stupid, of course she was, but the people of Destiny were her family and it would be an honour to give her life to save them, she really was brave and wise beyond her years. Rush and Chloe hadn't just given her DNA they'd made her who she was and given her life, there was no one else she'd give it up for. To the Nakai she was an experiment but to Destiny and it's crew she was Cressida Isobel Rush, the genius daughter of Doctor Nicholas Rush and Chloe Armstrong; the Nakai used her while they loved her. The knowledge of that was the only think keeping her almost flawless act up.

Her family and friends had faith in her and it kept her pushing.

XXXX

Rush charged onto the bridge, down the few tiny steps to the others at lightning speed; when he ground to a halt Rush was panting. Chloe, Varro, Brody and Volker stood watching him for a second expectantly as he got his breath back.

“Did they believe her? Is Cress okay?” Chloe practically interrogated him, a look of utter worry on her face.

“They believed her, she's fine.” The for now was implied. The Chief Scientist took one last deep breath getting his breathing back under control he pressed a kiss of comfort to Chloe's lips.

Volker cleared his throat. “Brody and I got the power transferred but we still can't do anything with it. Are you sure she knows-” Whatever Volker had intended to say got cut off by Brody.

“Oh, shut up. The kid's a genius and it's too late to go back now.” The engineer snapped as finished the final touches on his terminal.

Chloe couldn't help but cuddle into Rush's chest, he was hardly taller than her but still the elder man made her feel safe and cared for, Nicholas' presence was the only thing granting her any comfort as to the situation and the peril Cressida was in.

“Don't worry.” He said softly. “She's stubborn and cunning like me and brave like you.”

Chloe appreciated that he tried to comfort her but it didn't do much.

“I'm done!” Announced Brody, stepping away from the terminal and turning to face them.

“Good. It's all up to Cress now and like Rush said, she's brave, stubborn and cunning.” Varro smiled in that way he had, the one that said everything would be fine.

Knowing they didn't have a moment to loose the circle of people dispersed to terminals in an attempt to look busy while Rush planted himself in the Command Chair. Show time, he thought almost mournfully.

One, two, three, the seconds ticked on almost endlessly, four, five, six. The Scotsman had counted to fourteen when he heard heavy footsteps pounding towards them. At twenty-three the Nakai burst into the room lead by Cressida.

Varro aimed his weapon at the blue monsters as Rush shot to his feet to do the same, they didn't fire though, they might have hit Cress.

“Give her back!” Rush and Varro almost yelled in unison but the Nakai didn't answer.

Cressida tilted her head in a dazed sign of confusion and for the first time since her act started her eyes made contact, her father almost cried when he saw all the emotion she'd locked up with in them; his child was in pain and there was nothing he could do about it.

Silly humans.” Began the eight year old in her blank tone. “Lower your weapons or you will be killed.”

The three men made a show of debating her command before reluctantly dropping them to the ground with a thud before kicking the three pistols over to the Nakai. With a glare from his Commander one of the blue aliens gathered up the weapons and threw them over into a corner way out of reach. The Commander shouted something entirely unknown but Chloe and Rush easily recognised it as bad due to the little flash of concern that flared on Cressida's face.

“No!” She almost shouted before remembering herself and dropping back into her act. “Master, the time required to repair the ship fully will exceed my remaining lifespan without the aid of Doctor Rush. Also I believe he will refuse to assist if you kill any of the others.” The Commander grunted and announced something. “Thank you, Master.”

Slowly Cress walked to the help and looked down at the terminals, her pain was starting to lessen and Cressida wasn't certain if that was a good or bad thing; probably the latter. The Nakai let Cressida begin her work while the alien soldiers moved further into the room, one knocked Volker to the ground by the command chair before pointing at him indicating the rest should join the doctor on the floor. They obeyed, all except for Rush who was ushered over to his daughter's side.

“Assist me, Doctor Rush.”

That was the Scotsman's cue to fall into sorrow.

“Why are you doing this?” He pushed so much sadness into his voice.

“Because I serve my Masters, now aid me in my mission.” It hurt him to hear her speak in such a way but Rush knew it had to be done.

Each moment passed by awkwardly as Cress and Rush worked as fast as they could leaving the Nakai to guard their friends. She knew she didn't have the energy to keep the act up much longer, like a shaken soda can Cressida's body was ready to explode and let whatever was inside out. Occasionally the blue aliens would say something – growled was a better word – especially when the gunfire between them and Destiny's crew could be heard. Every now and again the Commander Nakai would push Rush with the butt of his weapon a silent order to hurry up completely unaware that Rush and Cress were already working as fast as they could.

Suddenly though, without even a hint of warning the alien Commander grabbed Doctor Rush by his right shoulder and threw him across the room, his lean body crashed to the floor and skidded the six or so inches to the guarded bridge crew; his head thwacking against Brody's left knee which caused both men to wince. Less than a heartbeat later Chloe had helped Rush to his knees with a look of great concern in her dazzling blue eyes and the alien started to bark something; Cress translated.

“You may be intelligent, Nicholas Rush, but so am I.” She paused as the alien continued before translating the rest. “You humans really are illogical, you'd destroy this ship, killing yourselves in the process, just to prevent the Nakai taking it as our own. You would call it brave, my kind call it stupid. Fight and take what your species wants or accept your failure and die.” There was a whirring sound that pulled everyone’s attention for a second and Cress turned back to the main terminal, when she spoke again it was clearly for herself. “You're too late anyway, my Masters now possess this ship.” Another surge sound echoed. “Power has been fully restored. Press that button, Master, and Destiny's shields will activate.” She stepped back and pointed to the correct button. “Destiny is finally yours.”

The alien Commander didn't hesitate, he simply barged Cress out of the way almost knocking her to the cold floor and slammed his long fingered hand down on the key she'd indicated.

Chapter Text

The alien Commander didn't hesitate, he simply barged Cress out of the way almost knocking her to the cold floor and slammed his long fingered, almost luminous blue hand down on the key she'd indicated.

However, the shields didn't activate, instead the main gun roared to life and fired directly at the Nakai's main ship. With their shields down to allow smaller crafts out the orange-yellow beam tore through the dark metal like a hot knife through butter. Half a second later there was a gargantuan explosion as their engines blew ripping new holes in the hull and venting half the ship into space. With one push of a button the blue aliens had killed half their own soldiers and destroyed their ship. Thanks to the vacuum of space the explosions made no sound but everyone could imagine, at first it was sharp sparks of fire that shot from the Nakai ship but soon after a rich fireball erupted almost engulfing the enemy ship completely before the vast emptiness of space ended it. Shards of metal, some thick others thin, flew off in every direction, quite a few of them were instantly caught in the sun's gravitational pull and headed straight for it but others – rather large pieces – hurtled straight for Destiny and just before her legs failed her Cress dove for the terminal and engaged the shields. The sun posed no threat to Destiny now, they were safe from one painful method of death leaving only the remaining blue aliens as the other.

Her last act had been to save them, Cressida's pretence failed her and so did her body, she collapsed to the floor with a thud and slipped into unconsciousness.

“Now!”

Screamed Young as he burst and TJ into the room – they'd been laying in wait – Rush and Varro pulled two G36Ks from their hiding place under the control chair, with the aliens being momentarily distracted they took the opportunity to end them. Small bursts of gunfire sounded, just a handful and the Nakai Commander and his soldiers dropped down dead. As Varro kicked the blue alien Commander to make sure he was indeed dead Young grabbed his radio and raised it to his mouth.

“Scott, Greer, Cressida has destroyed their ship. Time to take the gloves off, get these blue bastards of my ship!”

They'd been hiding and retreating, making it easier for the Nakai to believe they were winning, but there ship was gone now and the Destiny crew would take back theirs.

Yes Sir ” Lieutenant Scott's response came quickly and seconds later gunfire erupted around the ship pushing the aliens back.

Rush and Chloe never heard Young's order or Scott's response because they'd already darted across the room to Cressida, her body was coated in a cold sweat and her eyes were closed.

“TJ!” Screamed Chloe.

The blonde was there in seconds, taking Cressida's pulse and pulling her eyelids open to see if they dilated.

“She's alive but... she hasn't got long.”

Chloe plunged into tears once more.

XXXX

A few hours past and Destiny had plunged into the sun recharging the ship and restoring power; wireing was still a little off causing flickers now and a agin but they could live with that for a while. Scott and Greer had managed to lead their few soldiers and a group of civilians in ending the few remaining blue aliens on board. The Nakai on smaller fighter ships couldn't break through Destiny's restored shields, though they continued to try; James and Corporal Barnes had happily firing their weapons system putting an end to those as well.

In the infirmary Cressida remained unconscious and the jaundice of her skin had worsened making her look as though she'd had a mishap with spray tan, it would have been funny had the circumstances been different. Young's heart went out to Rush and Chloe as they all stood by Cressida's bedside, he could practically hear their hearts breaking and his own ached knowing there was nothing he could do. No one should have to watch their child die. The only thing he could think of to make her death meaningful was that without her they'd have never survived the Nakai attack, she'd saved them; it was little consolation though.

Suddenly Lieutenant Scott burst into the room – Rush would have snarled at him if he'd had the energy – Young turned to face him.

“Sir, we have confirmed death of all Nakai on board and Lieutenant James says that the fighters are all destroyed as well. It's obvious their main fleet was to follow but now Destiny has refuelled we'll be long gone.” He paused as he glanced to Chloe, eyes full of concern. “Volker and Brody want to take the shuttle to the Nakai vessel, they think it would be beneficial to see if there's anything worth scavenging.”

“Yes, fine. Put a team together.”

Rush didn't even blink, normally he'd have jumped at the opportunity but in that moment he couldn't have cared less, he just wanted his daughter. Scott nodded and went off to do as ordered.

XXXX

A few days went by as the scientists repaired the ship and explored the one owned by the Nakai, Cressida had only gotten worse, her breathing was laboured, body coated in thick cold sweat and still she refused to wake. Chloe and Rush hadn't eaten or slept, hardly said a word, they'd even lost the energy to cry leaving Tamara to grow increasingly worried about the pair. Varro and TJ remained close by too, all TJ could do now was keep the girl comfortable. Brody had tried to ask Rush for help a few times with the Nakai ship but the elder man hadn't responded and Brody had just been silently dismissed.

The science team had harvested metals, spare parts and just about everything they could get their tiny hands on in the days that had gone by, some bits were easily identified and put to use while others continued to be a mystery and without Rush's aid they'd probably remain that way for some time.

Suddenly Young came charging into the infirmary on the third day - how Cress had managed to cling on for so long was beyond the blonde medic - Varro and TJ looked up sensing he had something important to say while Rush and Chloe only cast him a minor glance.

“Rush, Chloe, you have to hear this!” Young brought the radio he held up to his lips. “Mister Brody, say that again, nice and clear.” Then he held it out so the whole room could hear, there was a crackle as the radio sparked to life.

Em, okay. I think we found where Cress was – I don't know – born? Created? We're in a large room at the back of their ship and it's got a large tube just like she described in the centre of it-” Volker cut him off.

Yeah, the main display screen has an image of her and there's some kind of vitals reading from the last time she was in here.

W as there a chance? Was there hope? If there was Rush would jump at it and cling on for dear life just like his eight year old was doing with her life. Suddenly the Chief Scientist filled with energy, like he'd been given a new battery.

“If that's the chamber they grew her in then-” Chloe cut him off and finished for him.

“Then we might be able to save her.”

Young brought the radio back up to his lips and started barking orders.

“Lieutenant Scott get the shuttle back over here now.” The radio crackled with a quick yes sir before looking back to the suddenly alert Scottish man. “Rush, when Cress destroyed their ship she vented a lot of it to space, we only have three suits.”

The scientist nodded in understanding.

“I need Scott's, Chloe will need Volker's and we'll need Brody's help.” Probably the first time he'd ever said that.

“And Cress?” Asked TJ from Varro's side. “She makes four... and she's too small for a suit.”

There was a pause as Rush thought, he'd not used his brain in the last few days and he found it actually hurt for a moment; likely his brain punishing him for having been ignored.

“Varro?” The blonde man stepped forwards looking eager to help his young friend. “Do you think you can spot weld the pod we found her in? Make it hold long enough to get her over there? It's still full of that ooze so she'll have oxygen and protected from the vacuum.”

“For that little girl I can do anything. I'll get started.” With that the blonde charged from the room in search of the welding equipment the Lucian Alliance had brought on board.

“When he's done I'll put her into the pod, I assume she'll need to breath that goo in again?” Asked Tamara, her expression somewhere between worried and overjoyed, Rush just nodded. “You two go get the suits from the others.”

They had a chance to save Cressida, a small shred of hope that both parents clung to. There was a saying back on Earth, you can't change fate, but they hadn't been on Earth for a long time and the Destiny crew did the impossible on a daily basis.

Chapter Text

The second that the shuttle docked back on Destiny Rush was on board pulling Lieutenant Scott out of his suit with angry mutterings of hurry the hell up and faster damn it while Volker shredded his own brown-gold suit as fast as possible fearing an angry mother; Rush was bad but he felt Chloe would be worse. The parents put dressed at lightning speed while TJ and Varro loaded the small white pod containing Cressida onto the shuttle where Brody waited quietly , it had been patch welded and TJ just prayed the girl's heart held out long enough to get to the ruined Nakai ship.

The welding will hold through the vacuum, she'll be safe long enough to get her into that chamber.” Said the blonde man in a comforting tone.

N o one said a single word on the short trip over to the Nakai vessel, Rush was too focused on his task for speech and Chloe just couldn't stop thinking about what would happen if they failed; Brody just feared the Chief Scientist blowing up at him. It wasn't exactly an awkward silence, simply a quietude where everyone was lost in their minds. Nicholas had to quickly sidestep a few larger pieces of debris left over from the explosion and each time he did Chloe feared for Cress who was sloshed violently inside her pod. Had her mind been more focused she'd have wondered if the start had been the foreshadowing of the end, they'd found Cress unconscious inside the pod and there she was again; lungs full of an unnamed ooze that breathed for her with an uncertain future.

D ocking took a little longer than expected thanks to the amount of damage Cressida had managed to do to the enemy ship and Rush felt his muscles grow even more tense over it, he managed to stay calm though – or at least as ca l m as Doctor Rush could get – he had to save his daughter.

Brody guided them quickly to the large room he and the others had found at the back of the ship, not too far from the shuttle bay which had been a relief. The room was gargantuan and shaped in a half circle - oversized for the single glass tube that occupied it's centre – the walls were a charcoal colored metal with concentric rings of white light breaking up the black flooring. It was a strange layout but neither parent or the engineer noticed as they carried her rather light pod to the glass tube she'd been born in. The chamber wasn't too dissimilar to their stasis pods back on Destiny only this one was free-standing and had a large and tall black slab fitted to its right side with a single lit up display sowing a humanoid shape and a fixed reading of what looked to be vital signs, on the left was a similar slab only this one had a cut out that perfectly fitted her pod. As soon as Rush and Brody set it down the system roared to life, some kind of docking clamp fixed the white pod in place and the control terminal lit up like a Christmas tree, after a second or two the empty glass tube filled with more of the strange ooze and Cressida's unconscious body flooded into it leaving her to just float there like a specimen in a jar. The previous vital reading updated and Chloe gasped.

“Nicholas please tell me that doesn't mean what I think it means!”

Rush, this is Young. What's going on?”

Not now!” He yelled back before turning to Chloe. “Can you understand what this says? It'll take too long for me to figure out. I need a defibrillator, find something about an electrical charge.”

Their daughter's heart had finally given up and Rush was growing more frantic by the second, Cressida was dead. Chloe's beautiful blue eyes raced over each and every symbol trying to find what Nicholas had asked for, slowly the markings started to make sense.

“Chloe you only have a max of six minutes.” Rush told her quickly, his whiskey eyes locked on his child.

“What?”

“Without CPR a brain can only survive about six minutes now please God hurry up.”

It was a beg. Nicholas Rush was known for being abrasive and angry but he didn't beg, he'd beg for his daughter's life though, to anyone or anything that stood a chance of saving the eight year old he'd beg until his voice gave out, until his tears dried up and his mind failed him.

Chloe blinked quickly banishing the well of tears that blurred her vision as she searched, it wasn't like learning Ancient where she had to understand what each symbol meant, it was more like the markings fading away until she could see the words in English.

“Found it!” She cried, hand flying up to point at it. “That button and the dial.”

Rush waisted no time, now he knew what he was working with he cranked up the dial and slammed his hand down on the button, suddenly a large bolt of electricity surged through the goo and Cressida's body seized violently and Chloe's heart wrenched. The vitals on the terminal remained the same, flat and blank, Rush didn't give up though and slammed his hand back down on the button. Once more Cress' body went rigid and then, finally, her heart started; Chloe nearly collapsed with relief. Everything calmed for a moment, a much needed moment.

She may have been alive but there was still a long way to go, Brody and Rush poured over the terminal asking Chloe to translate bits. Eventually they found that they could enlarge sections of the humanoid shape which granted a view of organs, almost every single one of them were shutting down – her kidneys being the worst – but her brain remained healthy and revealed far more synapses than a standard person; which helped to explain her intellect and ability to comprehend at such a young age.

Rush- ” Brody paused for a second not wanting to upset or worse yet anger the Scot. “ - I don't see anything here that can help rebuild her organs, they're too damaged.”

“Shut up! If you're not going to be useful go stand in the corner like the dunce you are!”

Normally Chloe would have made the scientist apologise but there and then she couldn't care less what he said to Brody, Cress was more important... then it dawned on her.

“They used us to grow her right? And they sped up her ageing. What if we tell the system that it's not done building her? That her organs aren't done yet. Couldn't it repair them?”

Chloe didn't know if any of that had come out sounding feasible or if it was just the desperate rantings of a mother; it was more of the latter but it sparked an idea in Rush. When they'd found Cress she'd been in perfect condition, no cuts, no bruises, not a patch of damaged skin caused by spending too long submerged; she should have but didn't. If the Nakai had designed her to be absolutely perfect them maybe he could use the base program to return her organs to pique condition.

 

XXXX

 

The infirmary was nothing but a void of sound; Varo sat on a chair hunched over, Young leaned against the wall by the door with his radio in hand, TJ had slid to the floor beside him with her knees pulled up against her chest as she stared off into space, Camile was the only other person in the room and just stood dead centre with one arm folded while the thumb of the other got chewed on. Every single person in that room had only one thought, Cressida. She was just a little girl, the Nakai had no right to take her. Children weren't supposed to die. In her short life that little girl had been through more than anyone could imagine but had never let it stop her, she was brave like Chloe and just as stubborn as Rush. Cressida couldn't die. She couldn't.

TJ blamed herself for not noticing something was wrong with her, for not being able to do something about it. Varro wished he'd found her sooner. Camile felt guilty for failing to help her when they'd first found her. Young though, he hated himself for how he must have made her feel, for the mistrust and fear for the crew that must have just seemed harsh and cruel to her; Cress had told him she understood his actions and that she liked him but Young still hated how he'd treated her.

In the grand scale Cressida Isobel Rush had only been with them for a short time but she'd made their lives happier, she was one of them and they wouldn't just let the Nakai take her from them.

If anyone deserved to live it was that little girl. She was pure and good.

Chapter Text

A few days went by and at first Rush and Chloe had been terrified, they'd been forced watch as Cress lost her hair – eyebrows and eyelashes included – until finally the yellowing of her skin had started to fade leaving it porcelain and the cut she'd gotten on her hand from setting the fire vanished as though it had never been there. It seemed that her body was returning to the perfect form she'd been in when they'd found her what felt like forever ago, only time would tell if her brain had been reset as well. Cressida's parents hardly slept or ate over those few days and only returned to Destiny after several hours of Young nagging them that they had to at least eat something, they'd always gone straight back. The combined prayers of the crew for Cressida's recovery had been granted.

The rest of the Nakai ship had been stripped of anything valuable and Volker had downloaded every bit of data the blue aliens had, Doctor Park – whose eyesight had finally returned enough for her to walk the corridors on her own had started to help them try and make sense of it all but Tamara made sure she didn't over do it. Brody had even managed to start on the plan to wake Eli and as soon as they were certain Cress was safe they'd attempt waking him, everyone would feel better as soon as Eli returned to them; they missed his can-do attitude, stupid jokes and comic book references.

“Her hair is down to her shoulders again.” Chloe told him the instant Rush returned to the odd half-circular room. “She looks like herself now.”

“Good. Has she moved?” He asked approaching the large black terminal attached to his daughter's tank, it would be nice when he finally managed to get out of the suit for longer than ten minutes, it was bulky and cumbersome. “Anything happen with her read out?”

“No, all the same. I've noticed her eyes moving under their lids though, I think maybe she's dreaming.”

“She could be or it could be her brain re-wiring.” He answered as he continued to scan the terminal. “What's this?”

Chloe came closer and looked at what he'd pointed to on the screen.

“Oh, I don't really know. It's some kind of file or program that seems to be rejuvenating along with her. I only noticed it a moment ago. You can't pronounce it in English.”

“What does it mean?” He asked inquisitively.

 

“... Downfall.” Chloe thought about it a moment but there was no doubt it was that one word. “Yeah, downfall.”

All went quiet for a moment, Rush had been reluctant to go messing around with the terminal without knowing what effect it would have on their daughter, things had only just started to look up for her. However, he felt the cogs of his mind starting to turn in that familiar and occasionally manic way until and idea struck him.

“Downfall.” He repeated and Chloe just looked at him from his side. “What if this is what caused her to sabotage the ship? What caused her body to shut down? Think about it, it could be like a virus on a computer. Does what it's programmed to do, in this case it's cripple Destiny, and then deletes everything, killing Cressida. You said the file was resetting, so if we're putting Cress back to her factory setting then the virus is doing the same.”

Chloe's face fell.

“So all of it is just going to happen again?”

“Not if we delete it.”

“You want to go messing around in our daughter's brain?” Chloe looked to be half way between horrified and telling him to hurry up and do it. “We don't know what that would do to her!”

All fell silent in the large black metal room as Rush thought, a million pros and cons flying through his brain almost simultaneously. His finger started to tap furiously against the thick glove of his suit an almost absent-minded action helping to release some of the tension he felt.

“If she's still regenerating then so is the program. You said you only just noticed it so it's only just started, so if we delete it then it'll be like it was never even there.”

“How do you know?” She asked quietly, eyes full of love and worry for her child.

Rush sighed. “I don't. Maybe I'm just looking at all this through rose-tinted glasses, Chloe. I have no idea what ninety-nine percent of this says, what will happen if I push the wrong button or even if Cress is going to come out of that bloody chamber and still be Cressida.” He paused in an attempt to calm himself. “The only thing I know for certain is that I can't watch her go through all of this again, she's a child. The first thing she saw in this universe was those blue bastards... I won't let the last thing she sees be them as well. I won't.”

Silence hung heavy in the air, almost suffocatingly so. That static fog stared to descend upon him again blocking out the world around him but then Chloe's arms were around his waist and her helmeted head rested against his chest bringing him back.

“Delete it.” She told him in a whisper, almost so quietly that he missed it. “You're right, she shouldn't have to do it again. Delete it, Nicholas. Symbol on the far left.”

Rush nodded but he knew she couldn't see it, with a deep breath he pushed the symbol Chloe had indicated and watched the file vanish from the screen like it had never existed; there was no turning back. Whiskey eyes flew to Cress instantly looking for any sign that what they'd just done had hurt her but she just remained floating in the translucent gel. He'd not noticed that his arms had slipped around Chloe keeping her close, he'd have kissed her if he could, oh how he longed to kiss her. Her skin was always so soft to the touch and... not the best time to be thinking about that.

Suddenly a fist was slammed down on the thick glass chamber, noise echoing around the large and rather acoustic room. It startled Chloe and the elder man so much so that they jumped away from one another. Blue and chocolate orbs shot up to see Cressida wide eyed and looking panicked and frightfully so , she said something they could hardly hear but Rush knew it was Daddy.

Cressida!” Chloe raced forwards and pressed her hand to the cold glass desperately wanting to help her child.

“Cress, baby girl, I need you to calm down.” Rush could see on the terminal her heart rate was way too fast and with her still recovering he didn't want to risk any more harmful issues. “Just relax, you don't need to breath let the gel do that for you.”

Slowly the eight year old relaxed as her father had said and let her heart return to something resembling resting and her eyes lost that desperate panic. The thick liquid in her lungs kept her supplied with oxygen but it truly felt unnatural, but it wasn't so much her breathing that had scared her instead it was waking up in the chamber. At first Cressida had thought it was a nightmare but as her eyes fully adjusted it had dawned on her that it was in fact real, only when she realised it was her parents in the brown-gold suits did fear start to lessen.

“Are you in pain?” Rush asked loudly so as she could hear him, eyes alternating between his scared little girl and the screen readout.

There was a moment of pause, then slowly Cressida's left hand raised up to tap her head and then went down to press against the glass where her Mother's still rested. Rush wasted no time scouring the bulky computer.

“We just removed the programming that made you sabotage the ship and your body shut down-” At least I think we did, hope we did. “- You'll be alright, but if anywhere else starts to hurt or it gets worse you tell us, understand.” Cress slowly nodded. “Shut your eyes baby girl, it'll help your headache.” It took less than a second for Cress to obey her Daddy.

Things had started to look up after that, if fact now that the Downfall program had been removed Cressida seemed to be better than when they'd first discovered her. For the first time in days it looked as though the girl would be alright – would live – and her parents finally got to relax. Chloe stopped bursting into tears at odd moments and Rush found he could actually breath calmly again. Tamara, Varro and Camile had been just as relieved when Colonel Young had passed the information on to them, Cressida had touched the lives of just about everyone on board Destiny.

Nicholas had assured Chloe that one more day and they'd be able to take her back to the ship and TJ would look her over to make sure Cress was indeed okay. None of that meant that Cressida's parents were going to leave her aboard the Nakai ship alone though, especially now she was awake; dozing was probably a better term for it. Chloe has spend a few hours sat before the glass tube while Rush and Mister Brody double and triple checked every bit of data from her chamber, at first she'd told her daughter stories – she'd known they made Cress feel better by the small smile on her face – after that she'd sung to her, just little nursery rhymes and her favourite songs from before they left Earth, not to mention Be Our Guest from Beauty And The Beast which was her favourite. Eventually though Chloe's legs had cramped up and she'd been forced to stand, Rush understood the look in her eyes so had quickly taken over talking to their daughter leaving Brody to stand like an unneeded extra.

Chloe hadn't really paid much attention to the room around her beyond the chamber, at first sight it was just a half-circle of dark metal walls and oddly eerie lights. She walked over to the flat wall and ran her hand along it, smooth and featureless almost as though it had spend thousands of years being weathered by rushing water; it was just as cold as well. She walked absent-mindedly with her fingers gliding over the walls, her only intent being to banish the stiffness of her legs. She grounded to a sudden halt when the tips of her fingers felt a coarse section of the wall, almost unnoticeable and for a second Chloe believed she'd imagined it. The rough patch was invisible to the naked eye but it was certainly there, small, round and felt similar to limestone. That curious spark Chloe had passed on to her daughter flared up and she found herself pushing the circular section, it didn't dint into the wall like a button but it certainly released some kind of lock because hardly a second later part of the flat wall slid open.

Chloe screamed!

Chapter Text

Chloe screamed and Rush bolted over to her with Brody only a single step behind before grounding to a dead halt. For a long time nobody spoke, just stood there in utter silence, maybe they were at a loss for words or maybe they had actually forgotten how to speak. Silence was a strange thing, wasn't it? It could signify a void of absolute nothingness whether people were present or not and just because it signified nothingness didn't mean there was nothing there; the word was practically a paradox, silence wasn't simply a complete absence of sound, no, it was a body's emotional response for when it didn't quite know what the correct emotional response was. Sometimes it went hand in hand with shock, Silence and Shock the two sons of Sentiment just like Anger and Courage were the daughters of Hope.

The scene before them was almost like a horror movie, that moment when the characters first saw the gruesome s ecret for the first time wondering is this real? It was real though and it left them hanging on the edge of running away in denial or remaining.

What just happened?! Rush?! Chloe?!” Young yelled through the radio but no one answered, no one even noticed it.

For a few moments Rush and Chloe may have forgotten how to breathe and Mister Brody backed away as far as possible until he could no longer see the small room filled with specimen, some in chambers eight feet tall while others were no bigger than a thermos.

“... Cress... she wasn't the first.”

Chloe managed to stutter with tears in her eyes, deep down she'd know Cressida couldn't be the first, the only ; they all had. She was too perfect, but Chloe had done everything she could to hide that knowledge from herself; as had Rush. Somehow the Scotsman managed to move, stepping forwards through the jars and larger chambers that matched Cressida's own. There were eighteen of them littering the room, just pushed out the way as though they didn't matter, as though they'd never been alive! Six were small jars containing foetuses no older than three months, hardly formed and looking more like something out of a B movie than anything that could have been a child, the next four actually looked like infants, seven or even eight months into development ; their children, three boys and a girl. Rush brushed his fingers over one of the gel filled tubes, just to let his child know they were. Chloe started to cry again and reached for Rush, he took her hand in his. Her heart ached, the Nakai had stolen parts of them and used it in some kind of dark Nazi like experiment; Chloe wished they could kill them all over again. Turning to the rest of the chambers their pain only grew, stabbing in their hearts and anger... those children were never going to get to meet their parents, never going to grow up or get married; they never even got to see the sun. Seven of the last eight chambers contained children between a year old and about three, six of them girls . How long had they lived in that strange goo? Had they woken just as Cressida had? Were they scared? Had they been in pain? Had they wondered why their Mommy and Daddy hadn't come to save them?

How could anyone do this? They were just babies.”

... Chloe, to the Nakai they were nothing more than test subjects, practice for Cressida. Those blue bastards never cared that they're our children.”

His voice was quiet, uncharacteristically so, and his accent almost vanished as though yet another part of himself had been ripped away. Rush wouldn't cry, he had to be strong for Chloe but Rush also knew that if he did let that dam burst it might never be capped. These infants could have become anyone, anything, they should have been with their parents, should have had names and personalties.

Nicholas !”

It took the scientist a second to realise she'd spoken, his thoughts had started to take over. He shook his head mentally throwing his internal monologue away before going to the last chamber where Chloe stood. This one was different, all the other glass tubes had been dark and the ooze had started to turn a purple- black color , this one though, the lights that lit the bottom of the tube were still illuminated, the boy was older too , closer to five years old; he looked like Rush.

“Nicholas is he-?” She couldn't finish the sentence, as though saying it would cause everything to crumble away to nothingness.

Was he? Was this little boy alive? Was their son alive?

“I think he might be.”

Suddenly there was action again, shouts and adrenaline, all their pain and horror got pushed to the side. Silence and his brother Shock had no place in that moment.

XXXX

When TJ entered the gate room she found Colonel Young pacing back and forth, arms folded over his chest blocking himself off from the universe. The beautiful blonde didn't know how long he'd been like that, not long enough to burn a hole in the floor but certainly a while. TJ just watched him for a brief moment, Cressida dying wasn't just painful for her parents but for herself and Young too, they just kept thinking of Carmen. Fortunately Young turned abruptly and spotted her which prevented Tamara from going too deep into her thoughts.

“Why can't Rush just answer a simple question? Like, what the hell is going on over there?!”

It didn't take someone with Camile's qualifications to see he was annoyed and somewhat frustrated. TJ sighed and moved further into the room until she was no more than an arm's length away.

“To them Cress is more important than answering your questions, and they're right. Yes, things are looking good for now but all that could change. Chloe tells me that she's grown all here hair and eyelashes back though.” TJ offered a small smile.

“Oh so they tell you things.” Young sighed and went to sit on the stairs opposite the large silver gate; Tamara followed.

“I'm the medic, of course they tell me. You shouldn't worry so much, this isn't Rush defining your authority or being his usual stubborn self, this is a father trying to protect his daughter. Surly you can understand that.”

“TJ, I'm not annoyed about any of that, I'm worried about Cressida. That little girl was braver than all the soldiers I've ever met combined, I mean how did she manage to pretend she couldn't feel that much pain for so long? I know the Nakai did things to her but – as everyone likes to keep reminding me – she's only a child. I'm worried about her.”

Some on board Destiny had mistaken his protection of the crew as not caring about Cress but that wasn't true, he cared a great deal and just wanted her safe, back working on the bridge where she was happy and smiling. After everything that girl deserved some happiness. Destiny had lost one child already and Young didn't know if they could take the loss of another; he certainly couldn't.

Tamara smiled softly as she looked at him, that was the Emmett Young she'd fallen in love with all those years ago. That was the caring and good man hidden behind the authority and orders, she rested her head against his shoulder.

“Next time I talk to them I'll ask Chloe to leave the channel open, that way we'll get our peace of mind and they don't get hassled.”

“Thank you, TJ.” He'd intended to say more but before he could start his next sentence Chloe's scream came howling through the radio, sharp like that of a Banshee. Young's radio flew to his lips. “What just happened?! Rush?! Chloe?!”

No answer came, they waited a few long minutes hoping for an answer but none came.

“Try Brody.” TJ suggested.

“Mister Brody, this is Colonel Young. What just happened? Why was Chloe screaming?” The radio crackled.

I don't think you'd believe me if I told you.”

Try us.” Was the only answer that came.

Em, there are... others.”

Tamara took the radio from Young, she'd never really been one for cryptic mysteries.

“What do you mean others? More Nakai?” Oh God please not more of those bloody aliens.

No... not them. Other em, infants. It's horrible.

The faces of the medic and Colonel fell, they too had been in denial about prototypes for Cressida but they couldn't push it away now. Children should have been sacred, had the Nakai had no heart what so ever? Tamara felt sick.

“Are-” She began but had to pause to let her stomach settle. “Are any of them-”

Alive? I have no idea. I'm not going near them, it's too freaky. I don't think so, they all looked too- wait.” The line remained open but silent for a second. “What? I guess there'd be other pods but- yes – no – okay, okay, I'll tell them.”

“Tell us what, Mister Brody?” Young had taken the radio back and sat awaiting answers, clearly Rush had been barking questions and demands at the engineer.”

We need TJ on standby, one of them is alive... we think. Rush wants every single one of them moved to Destiny too.” After that the radio fell into a quietude.

Young opened his mouth to speak but TJ was already halfway out of the room headed in the direction of the infirmary, there was no way in hell she was going to let the blue aliens continue to hurt yet another child.

The Colonel hopped to his feet and started down the long hallways in search of Varro and Greer, he knew exactly where they were. Preparations to awaken Eli had been well under way for the last few days and to keep himself busy Varro had offered to help, Greer was probably doing the same. Sure enough as soon as he walked in there they both were doing the heavy lifting for Doctor Park, with her eyesight back she'd launched back into her work.

“Greer, I need you go to and wait for the shuttle to get back, you too Varro.” He said as soon as he'd entered the room.

“What? Why? Is something wrong?” Varro dropped the back of tools he'd been holding to the floor and straightened up to his full height.

“Cressida is fine. Apparently they've discovered the children created before her, before they got her right, one of which is still alive.”

“What?” Greer and Lisa Park asked in almost perfect unison.

“We're going to bring them all here, it's only right. I don't know how they're going to transport the other child over – Brody said something about a pod – so I think they're doing the same as when taking Cress over there.”

“Are they bringing Cress back too?” The blonde man asked.

“I don't know. I hope so. Just be ready.”

Neither Varro nor Greer answered just just ran past the Colonel to take their post similar to how TJ had vanished from the gate room. Young could hardly blame them, they'd started as a group of people thrust onto an ancient alien ship and forced to survive but Cressida had connected them, she'd somehow turned them into a family, a rather dysfunctional family that didn't like each other half the time, but still a family. How Young didn't know, but he did know that the crew were stronger for it.

Lisa sat on her knees by Eli's stasis chamber, a screwdriver in one hand and a concerned look in her fully healed eyes.

“Are you alright, Colonel?” She asked softly.

“Hmm? Oh, I'm fine, Doctor Park.” He cleared his throat. “How is progress with Eli coming?”

“Almost done, Sir. There are little bits that Cress is going to have to do since her hands are smaller and no one is waking him up until Rush gets back, but it's going well. Eli shouldn't have to stay in here too much longer.”

“Good. Eli is a smart boy and everyone cares about him. We need him back.”

The chances of Eli, Cressida and now this new child all surviving were starting to grow and Young felt almost giddy at the idea. After the Nakai attack and almost suffocating to death they were owed a win.

Chapter Text

Camile had loosely been filled in on the discovery over at the remnants of the Nakai ship but Rush, Chloe, Young and the others had all been far to preoccupied with Cressida and the young boy they'd found and rightly so, almost everyone had charged off to the infirmary or to aid Doctor Park as soon as the shuttle got back. That lack of complete understanding was what had Camile almost marching down the long halls towards the shuttle bay. She grounded to an unexpected halt as she turned into the shuttle only to jump quickly out of the way lest Airman Dunning run her over with a large glass tube.

“Oh my God!” She breathed in shock seeing the child encased in slowly blackening goo. “There really are others.”

“I'm so sorry, I didn't see you there.” Said Airman Dunning, seemingly unaware of anything Camile had just muttered before continuing moving the long tube via the Kino sled.

Camile took a breath and continued into the shuttle to find Greer stood surrounded by the smaller chambers and jars, six of them to be exact. None of which were very far into development, her heart went out to those infants, the Nakai had refused life to them, taken away any chance of ever having a childhood.

“Is this all of them?” Camile asked and actually startled Greer into spinning around.

“Camile.” She could understand why he was on edge, the shuttle had become rather morbid in the last few hours; just when the Destiny crew thought they'd seen everything the universe threw something new and horrible at them. “Em, no, there are seventeen not including the boy that's alive.”

“They created and hurt eighteen children just to make Cress sabotage the ship? They're just children.”

“The Nakai are gone now, they can't hurt Cress anymore.” He told her as he gathered two of the jars in his arms. “We're putting them into one of the storage compartments off from the cargo hold, away from prying eyes and somewhere safe.”

Camile nodded in agreement. “I want to help.”

She didn't wait for an answer, just gathered up two more of the heavy jars and followed Greer off in the direction Airman Dunning had gone in.

XXXX

Before leaving the ruined Nakai ship, Rush had transferred the data of both Cressida and the boy for TJ to peruse. As far as they could tell the boy had never been programmed with Downfall and he seemed to be just as healthy as when they'd discovered Cressida; yet that did raise the question of why the blue aliens had sent Cressida instead of him. Cress herself had finally been returned to Destiny and now lay in a bed with TJ in the infirmary, the blonde medic had pumped the oxygenated ooze from both children's lungs but neither had woken; Chloe had panicked at first before Tamara reminded her how long it had taken Cress to wake the first time.

It had taken a while but Colonel Young had eventually managed to convince Rush to go help Lisa Park in waking up Eli, they needed their friend back and Rush needed the distraction. Chloe had left of her own accord, TJ assumed it was to finally get some sleep but that wasn't the case.

TJ stood there looking down at the two children laying side by side on the beds, at least this little boy  of proximity five years was alive. After all that loss that little boy represented what the crew had nearly run out of; hope.

“Remember to breath TJ.” Said Young as he entered the room, slowly he walked to the blonde and snaked his arms around her waist, pulling her back against his chest. “They're going to be alright. You, Rush and Chloe have done everything humanly possible and now look at them, Cressida is alive and healed, the boy has a chance at being a child.”

"They didn't deserve any of this, Emmett.” She sighed.

“They're on board Destiny now. They're safe.”

Nothing was said after that, nothing really needed to be, the two just stood there in a soft quietude watching over the Rush children.

XXXX

Chloe had been sat hunched over Nicholas' pilfered notebook with a pencil in the black storage room where Greer and Airman Dunning had put their other children for the better part of an hour when Rush finally found her. For a moment or two the Chief Scientist just leaned against the door frame watching her scribble something before crossing it all out and starting again. Her tears had finally stopped but it was clear how broken-hearted she was.

“I know you're there, Nicky.”

Nicky? Please tell me that's not going to stick.” Chloe didn't answer as he came to sit beside her, legs tucked underneath him with one arm propping him up. “I came to tell you we're ready to wake Eli, once Doctor Park has finished double checking the data of course. What are you doing, Sweetheart?”

Finally Chloe sat up and looked at him - her back thanked her - there were dark circles under her eyes showing just how much sleep she'd missed; Rush had started to worry about that but chose not to say anything. During a long moment of silence Rush pulled Chloe to his chest knowing she needed to be held, her skin was chilled thanks to the cold storage room she'd been sat but her breath was warm against his green t-shirt clad chest.

“Gonna tell me?” He asked after a moment, chin rested on the top of her head.

“... The whole time we were over on that ship we just called them the children or them. They never got to live but they deserve names.”

“That's what you're doing, naming them?” He said softly.

Chloe nodded. “Help me? They're yours as well.” Her voice was so quiet.

This was what was important enough to take her away from their daughter and son, the blue aliens had taken away so much from their other children and Chloe was determined to give them something, she was right, they deserved names.

“Aye, of course. Whose been named so far?” He asked delicately unsure of the etiquette for the situation; not that Rush had ever really cared much for etiquette.

Chloe swallowed and sat up straight, the ebony haired beauty took a deep breath before pointing at one of the youngest foetuses.

“There are five boys, six girls and six too young to have even developed a gender.” Her voice contained so much pain. “It's harder than I thought to name them. Only that one has a name so far.”

Nicholas followed her finger to one of the smallest jars, on it was a page from his notebook held there by a square of duct tape.

Sacha Rush

He read in Chloe's neat handwriting, it was no longer the child or any other generic description, this was Sacha. Suddenly Sacha had an identity even if it was a tiny one.

“I tried to think of something for a boy or a girl since... you know.”

“Unisex is a good idea, Sweetheart.” Nicholas reassured her pressing a kiss to her forehead. “Any other ideas for them?”

There was a long pause as Chloe clung to Rush in thought while forcing back tears, she'd expected to one day sit with the father of her child and debate names but she'd always pictured it sat on a couch with a baby name book open before them, instead she was sat on a cold metal floor trying not to cry, their only option being to label them. Chloe and Rush were their parents and parents named their children, there was no way in hell Chloe would let the Nakai deny them that right as well.

“I always liked Misha.” Chloe finally answered. “And Wren, you know, like the bird.”

Chloe had never been one for popular names like Sarah or Jack, to be honest she didn't like how commonly used her own name was and that was clearly reflected in the three names she'd already chosen.

Rush nodded and took his notebook from the floor, writing the two names down before grabbing the black duct tape and pining the pages to the next two containers. He hated doing this, writing names and taping them as though they were memos but he understood what it meant to Chloe... and he needed it to be done as well.

“What about Quinn?” The Scotsman asked as he returned to Chloe and sat down. “I knew a Quinn when I was at school back in Glasgow, one of my closest friends, always rasing a wee bit of hell.”

That made Chloe smile, he hardly ever talked about his life in Glasgow, she nodded before taking up the notebook and pen. Naming moved slower after that, they didn't want to just pluck a name out of thin air for the sake of providing a moniker. The emotion of what was happening slowly grew easier as time went on though, realising that what Chloe and he were doing was something good.

After two hours or so they'd named all the genderless children; Sacha, Misha, Wren, Quinn, Remy and Shiloh. Rush had also named two girls and a boy, while Chloe had named two other sons; Violet, Freya, Fraser, Aidan and Kade. Some they'd always liked and others came from people they'd cared for and befriended over the years. Over that time there had been long periods of silence followed by sudden bursts of movement. With each name came a new wonder as to who they could have grown up to be, would Aidan have been a scientist like his father and sister? Would Freya have had her mother's imagination and become an author? Maybe Fraser and Violet would have been inseparable, or perhaps Kade would have become a chef and opened his own restaurant with Misha. Each new idea a possibility that never stood a chance. Chloe started to get lost in those thoughts when Rush suddenly spoke.

“Jeremy.”

“Hmm?” Chloe's beautiful blue eyes looked up at the man she'd fallen in love with.

“Jeremy.” He said again. “It's my middle name, my Mother chose it.”

I like it.” Chloe told him softly, a gentle smile on her beautiful face. “Sophia and Jessica are mine.”

Rush nodded as he wrote down the new trio of names. “That leaves two more daughters and our son.”

Another pause.

“... When I was a little girl I used to play dress up like most girls and I had this book, bright pink and only about four pages, a two-year old could have written it. I loved it though, made my Mom read it just about every night and I was determined to be a Princess just like her – I was five, a Princess was all I wanted to be – that book made me happy. The Princess in it was called Opal.”

Rush smiled.

“It's cute, Cress would like it too.”

“Is this what you've been doing all this time? Naming them?” Their heads snapped around to see TJ stood in the doorway much like Rush had when he'd first entered. “They deserve names.”

Of course they did, no one was going to deny that.

“How are Cress and the boy?” Chloe asked gently, head tilted in curiosity.

“The same, they'll wake up though so don't worry. It took a while for Cress to wake up the first time.” Chloe nodded and leaned further into Rush searching for comfort that she quickly found. “I always liked Daryl for a boy, I just like the way it sounds, Daryl. I would have named Carmen that had she been a boy. I like Valentina too, it means strong and it's just so beautiful. The sort of name that just makes you smile.” TJ stared off into the other side of the room as memories ran through her mind."Anyway, I'll leave you to it, I just wanted to check you were both okay."

“I think that names our last son and daughter.” Rush announced as he got up to add the last names to the remaining chambers.

TJ grinned, she'd not meant to go suggesting names, it had just come out and for a moment she wondered why Rush would accept her suggestions, however, Chloe and the blonde had grown rather close and she valued TJ's opinion. Valentina was indeed a beautiful name and bother had meaning to TJ.

Suddenly Rush's radio crackled to life.

Doctor Rush, this is Volker. Are you coming back? Lisa has gone over the data twice already. Colonel Young is starting to grow impatient too.”

Nicholas sighed, in all honesty he'd forgotten about waking Eli. That poor young man had been in his stasis chamber much too long and they had no right to leave him there any longer. Rush raised the raised the radio.

“We're on our way.” He helped Chloe up to her feet. “Let's go get Eli.”

Chapter Text

 

Eli Wallace came back to himself suddenly and with a sense of having never been away even though he knew that wasn't true. He drew in a deep breath, cold air filling his lungs as he blinked rapidly, his body stiff from lack of use. The chamber door slid open releasing him but before Eli could say a single word or even finish blinking away his sleep Chloe had jumped on him and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.

“Eli!” She slammed into him with such force that Eli nearly collapsed.

She'd clearly missed him and it suddenly dawned on him that he'd been in that chamber far longer than the few weeks to a month he'd hoped for, that had been his best case scenario. For a long time Eli just stood there with his arms full of Chloe, his best friend, he gripped her tightly as though she'd suddenly vanish and he'd be locked back in that chamber but no, this was real – she was real – and he was safe.

 

It took a few minutes but Chloe eventually released him taking a few steps back and Eli's hazel brown eyes finally noticed the others in the room. Colonel Young and Lieutenant Scott both stood just inside the door, Doctor Park and Mister Brody had been sat cross-legged before a her laptop – she can see! That brought a smile to his face – Rush as usual looked sleep deprived but far less grumpy and standoffish than was normal as he stood before Eli with his hands on his hips.

“Do you feel strange at all?” TJ asked as she entered the room and went straight to him.

“Hello Eli.” Greeted Camile as she followed the blonde medic in.

“Hey Camile, TJ.” Eli grinned before answering Tamara's question. “A bit stiff but nothing else.” He told her truthfully.

Rush watched silently while TJ performed a basic check up on the young genius, Chloe had her best friend back and he could already see her relaxing. Good, she needs some peace, the Scotsman thought to himself, she deserves to be happy. When he'd first come to Destiny he'd been hyper-focused on discovering her secrets and had cared about anything, or indeed anyone else, however, somehow he and the stunningly beautiful Chloe Armstrong had drifted together. Even before they'd discovered Cressida there had been something connecting them, originally Nicholas had believed it to be her new-found intellect and their kidnappings but over time he'd come to understand that there was something else indescribable connecting them. Chloe made him happy – an emotion he'd been almost forgotten – she reminded him that there was more to the universe than just his work. Rush had long since passed having an affinity for her, they were too genetic for his liking, he loved her, was devoted to her. Doctor Rush wasn't stupid, he knew Lieutenant Scott still glared at him for stealing his girlfriend but the Chief Scientist didn't particularly care, Chloe was his, Cressida was his, that little boy in the infirmary was his. Chloe kept saying it and she was right, they were a family. He couldn't stay focused on his thoughts though and forced his attention back to Eli and the rest of the crew.

“... I don't see any issues but I still want to see you in the infirmary.” TJ finished with a smile.

“Sure. Hey, Rush, how did you manage to fix the pod?” Eli asked as he, Rush and Chloe followed TJ down Destiny's long halls to the infirmary. His eyebrows shot up when he saw Chloe reach for Rush's hand.

 

“We stripped parts from the other hyper-sleep chambers to repair yours, took us a while to get the parts salvaged though.”

“Well at least you got be out, so, em, thanks.” His face grew even more puzzled at the sight of his best friend and the grumpy Scottish scientist seemingly happy with their hands laced with one another. “Okay, seriously, what's going on with the two of you?” He asked quickly as they turned into the infirmary. Eli stopped dead upon seeing two unconscious children, an older girl who looked just like Chloe and a younger boy with damp Rush colored hair. “How long have I been asleep?! Chloe, what's going on?”

For a moment he thought he was dreaming.

“It's kind of a long story.”

Chapter Text

 

For a long time Eli just sat in the infirmary on a chair between Cressida and the still unnamed boy with confusion scrawled across his face, Chloe and Rush had gone slowly and explained everything that had happened; finding her attached to Destiny, the gel in her lungs, her intellect and instance that Rush was her father, how she'd helped save and sabotage the ship, everything. Chloe needed Eli to understand that the Nakai forced her, she wanted her best friend and her daughter to be friends, maybe she'd even call him Uncle one day like she did with Varro and Greer.

I n all honesty the most difficulty Eli had with the information was that Chloe was actually with Rush now, I mean he's... Rush. Grumpy, rude, everyone-loves-to-hate-him Rush. A Pariah. Everything else Chloe told him made sense in a Si-Fi sort of way but the idea of the nicest girl he'd ever met and the Chief Scientist would take some getting used to, Chloe and Matt had seemed so strong.

When he'd looked at Cressida his first comment had been cool name but after a few seconds it was clear she could have only been Chloe's daughter, they looked so much alike, and if she was as smart as Rush said then he'd have someone new to hold an intelligent conversation with, also since she was a kid he'd be able to teach her all about comics. Right there and then he decided to be the best big brother/Uncle/Mom's best friend he could be to the girl and boy.

Eli? Are you alright?” Chloe asked when she saw the way he was just staring at Cress.

“Hmm? Yeah, I'm fine. It's just-”

“What?” Rush prompted when Eli cut himself off.

“It's just, the Nakai took Chloe, they took you. At the time we didn't know what had happened to either of you and now I find out they stole your genetic information. That they did all this evil and hurt so many without a second thought, yet despite all that here we are, here she is, all that evil intent that ended up being nothing but goodness.”

Chloe gave him a watery smile that looked as though she might start crying again.

“She's going to love you when she wakes up.”

“Daddy?”

With that one faint word everything stopped, Rush's head spun around so fast that he nearly broke it. Was Cress finally awake?

“Daddy?” She said again but a little louder this time, she was, their little girl had woken up. TJ quickly used her radio to inform Colonel Young.

In less than a second Chloe and Rush were with her, stood on either side of the bed while TJ rushed over with a pen light and her stethoscope.

“Hey, Little One. We're right here.” Rush assured his daughter as she blinked rapidly, trying to get used to the lights.

Mommy?”

“I'm here too, Sweetheart. You're safe, just let TJ look you over okay?”

TJ made to move closer by Cress instantly backed up as though the blonde would hurt her.

“Who are you?” She asked in a fearful tone and tried to crawl into her father's chest.

With that one question Chloe's heart broke.

“I'm TJ, Angel, you know me.” Tamara tried to sound positive and reassuring but she couldn't quite convince her face to take up the same act.

Nicky, what's happening?” Chloe didn't look up from their daughter and Rush didn't even register she'd called him Nicky again.

Thoughts and theories flashed through his head but they weren't needed, he knew exactly what had caused her amnesia, they had.

He sighed quietly as he pulled his child closer.

“We put her back to her factory setting, Chloe. When we found her she only knew us as her parents, no one else. We didn't just delete the sabotage, we deleted... her.”

Eli had never heard Rush use that tone before, of having been broken, and it gave him the sudden urge to hug the man, he refrained though, this was about the three of them not him. It was strange, that their child could be there in their arms and gone at the same time; suddenly Eli wished he was still asleep.

Can you tell me your name, Angel?” TJ asked after she backed up a little so as not to scare her.

“... Mommy and Daddy never gave me one.” Cress repeated from the first time she'd been asked and Chloe nearly burst into tears there and then.

“How old are you?” TJ tried a again, a forced smile on her face.

“I... I don't know.” Each response was exactly the same as when Camile had asked her all those months ago and it was heartbreaking. Cress looked up at her father, she's still a Daddy's girl, thought Chloe sadly, at least that's something. “Did I do something wrong, Daddy?”

“No, Babygirl, no you didn't.” He reassured his child. “We did.”

It was at that moment that Colonel Young strode into the infirmary looking somewhat happy with Camile hot on his heels.

“I was told our little scientist was awake. Hey you.” Colonel Young had gotten off on the wrong foot with Cressida but the little girl who was mature beyond her years had forgiven him, and after everything she'd done to save the crew and the ship Young was determined to treat her as though she were his own. He'd been so worried about her when she'd collapsed but there she was looking at him with those whiskey eyes. “How you feeling?”

Cress didn't answer.

“You okay, Sweetheart?” Camile asked with a smile.

TJ shuffled slowly to the newcomers in an attempt not to scare the little girl but it was to no avail, Cress was just to smart not to notice the uncertainty in the adult's actions.

“She forgot.” TJ said quietly.

“Well, that's to be expected, it was a stressful situation. Probably best she doesn't remember blowing up their ship.” Came Camile's response.

“No. she didn't just forget what happened before she collapsed, she forgot everything.” Their heads snapped to Tamara. “She doesn’t know who any of us are, anything she's done. She doesn't know her name.”

For a single second Young thought she was joking, but who would joke about something like that? The Nakai were gone but they'd stolen one last thing from Cressida, they'd stolen who she was.

XXXX

Two days went by and the young boy with Rush's hair didn't wake, his heart beat softly and the data Rush had transferred showed brain activity but he continued to sleep. Cress had slept a little longer than the previous time and so the Destiny crew had just assumed them waking up was random.

Per Camile's suggestion everyone acted like nothing had changed towards Cressida, she thought that if the girl went back to work there was a chance that her memories might reappear, though there was a great difference between amnesia and deleted memories. Rush and Chloe were desperate though and so were willing to try just about everything. She's accepted her name rather happily – Cressida Isobel Rush – and was just as adept at working with the ship as before, still a total Daddy's girl too. Varro tried playing tag with her like they used to but she didn't know him and felt uncomfortable spending time with him alone.

Rush had even gone back to the ruined Nakai ship to search for some kind of data file that might of saved her memories but he'd found nothing, just a dead ship with nothing new to offer. Chloe had cried a lot in those two days and all Rush had wanted to do was gather her up in his arms and make everything better, he'd solved the mystery of the ninth chevron but he couldn't make the woman he loved feel better. He would always be thankful to have his daughter back alive but without her memories her personality was subdued, like huge chunks of herself were lost; she didn't skip down the halls to see TJ in the infirmary, she didn't hum as she worked, she didn't laugh, she didn't write equations on her arms or correct Brody and Volker, she didn't tilt her head to the side when thinking, she didn't hug Varro when he entered a room. All those tiny things her parents had taken for granted were just gone and Rush would give anything to have them back.

Chapter Text

Eli hated to see Chloe suffer, pain for her daughter's lost memories practically radiated from her porcelain skin. His long thoughts into what could help had led Eli to the observation room where he sat for a good hour in silence, until the little girl that filled his mind wandered in. It was clear she'd not seen him as she approached the gargantuan glass window, Eli would have sworn that the curls in her chestnut hair fell in the exact same pattern as her Chloe's, Cressida was literally a miniature version of his best friend. That kid is going to so beautiful when she grows up, and she's already as smart as Rush.

“Hey Cressida.” Eli smiled, his tone quiet and gentle.

She didn't jump or start, just turned softly to face to face her new colleague, her Mother had told her so much about Eli but it had all been forgotten with the deletion of her memories, that didn't prevent her noticing the feeling of well-being that radiated from him.

“Hello.” Came her quiet reply.

“Wanna come sit with me?” Eli scooted over a bit to make room for her, before patting the seat beside him. “Come on.”

It took a moment or two but she joined him, whiskey eyes – Rush's eyes - flashing up at him. He'd had the chance to see her in action throughout the day and had been thoroughly amazed by just how intelligent and talented she really was; it had been her idea that had gotten him out of cryo after all. She saved my life.

“Shouldn't you be tucked up in bed by now? It's late.”

“I wasn't tired.” She said plainly. “Daddy says I'm like him, we don't sleep that much. I like the lights.” She gestured up to the large window that showed off the FTL lights, sporadic glows of purple, green and blue.

Me too.” He always had, there was something calming about them. “You were awesome this morning by the way, you know, with the main power. It would have taken me and Rush days to come up with that.” Cress nodded but didn't look up at him. There was a pause and Eli sighed. “Look, I understand how you feel, really Cressida, I do. You feel isolated, like you've missed everything important, I was in that box for months longer than everyone else; I missed you being discovered, the zombie planet – that's what James keeps calling it – that would have been cool in a terrifying sort of way, I missed the air and power going out, the Nakai attack and everything else. You're not the only one missing bits, so like I said, I get how it feels. Admittedly, never having had the memories is different to them being taken away.” Cress looked up at him, those brown eyes sparkling like Hessonite garnets. “We need to keep going though, Cressida. We can't dwell on what we missed or the memories we lost. How about you and I stick together and make new ones?” Eli put on his best Star Trek voice and sat up straight with a smile. “Cressida's and Uncle Eli's continuing mission to watch out of each other.”

There was a pause.

“The name needs work.” She smiled in that way only a child had.

“Yeah,” He chuckled. “I've never been good at naming things, the Kino was probably my best.”

“'Uncle' huh?”

“Well, I am your Mom's best friend and – don't tell Rush I said this but – I'm kind of his protégée. Friends?”

Eli thrust out his hand for her to shake and for a few seconds she just looked at it, only when Eli started to think she'd leave him hanging did she finally shake it.

“Sure... Uncle Eli.”

“You're names really cool by the way.” He leaned back in his seat now that he felt more relaxed, Eli was determined for them were going to be as thick as thieves.

“Mommy says that Daddy chose it. It's from a Shakespeare play – whoever that is – about something called a Trojan.” Cressida would have to have her Daddy explain all that for her.

“It's a moon too.” Said Eli happily.

He had a good feeling about the little girl, she was a good person, adult when she needed to be and a silly kid the rest of the time... just like him.

XXXX

Rush and Chloe lay awake in bed together, Rush on his back with Chloe's head rested on his naked chest, his arm around her keeping the younger woman close. The only light being the FTL glow shimmering through the porthole, one of those peaceful moments that had always been rare aboard Destiny. He could almost hear the cogs of Chloe's mind turning though as her delicate fingers ran softly up and down his flank.

“Go on.” He encouraged, breaking the quietude.

She sighed. “Are you sure it's a good idea to let Cress wander?”

“She won't harm the ship-” She cut him off quickly.

“Not what I meant.” Those beautiful blue eyes of looked up slicing through the darkness to take in the face of the man she'd fallen in love with. “She doesn't remember anything, Nicky. She's muted and she's walking around Destiny alone.”

“She's nocturnal like me, Chloe.” He let the nickname Nicky slide, it looked like that was going to stick much to his dismay. “Camile said to do what she did before and you know she's always liked to meander, it's the quiet. Anyway, don't worry, I have Varro keeping an eye on her.”

Good.” She lifted her head to press a soft kiss to his lips before cuddling back into his chest. “I saw her writing equations on her arms this morning, and she laughed with TJ.” Even though he couldn't see her angelic face he knew she was beaming at the small marks of Cressida's personality.

Aye, our little girl is coming back. The memories won't but her personality can't be kept at bay forever. I know you're worried but don't be, Cress is going to be fine.”

I hope so.” She said honestly. “I love her.”

“We both do, Chloe.” Rush pressed a kiss on her forehead, a hand running through her chestnut locks.

What about our son? He still hasn't woken up.

That was going to take some getting used to, son, their daughter and son. When he'd accepted Stargate Command's job offer he'd imagined so many possibilities of what his future held, two children and the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen hadn't been anywhere near the list.

He will.” Rush assured her. “TJ says everything is fine and I'm inclined to believe her.

“He still needs a name.” She told him abruptly, head tilting up to look at him. “But... you didn't name Cressida until she had a personality and-” She cut herself off.

“I know. He'll get one, Cress' name just came to me, maybe his will too.” Rush kissed her, soft and gentle, most saw him as prickly and demanding – which he was – but Chloe got to see the softer side of him; it was what made her love him. “Just go to sleep. If Cress isn't back in thirty minutes I'll go and get her.”

“Mmmm.” Was the only reply he got, Chloe's exhaustion had finally caught up with her and pulled her off into the realm of dreams.

Chapter Text

Rush's belt clicked open as Chloe dropped to her knees beside their bed, his legs parting to let the beautiful young woman fit between them, her blue eyes sparkled as she pulled him free of his pants.

I love you.” Chloe told him in a hushed tone before pressing a kiss to the head of his painfully hard erection.

Nicholas could feel the stirrings of desire beginning to overtake his mind and body just from that one small press of her lips. Gods he wanted her, she was beautiful and prefect, soft and supple and for some reason had fallen in love with him. Chloe slowly ran her delicate hand up his thighs, teasing her way toward the prize. Rush stared down at her with a knowing grin firmly plastered upon his lips. The chestnut haired beauty reached into his boxers and caressed his balls briefly pulling a moan from his lips before settling my hand upon his manhood. He was painfully hard and desperate for her, neither knew how they'd quite gotten to this exactly, they'd been stood in their quarters talking innocently about work when he'd pressed a kiss to her soft lips and then one thing had lead to another until Chloe was on her knees before the Scottish scientist. A needy accented moan escapes his slightly parted lips as Chloe continue to massage and squeeze him tormentingly seeing if she could tempt him into dominance.

Chloe let out a little groan of greedy want as she took him in hand and stroked him, feeling his substantial girth fill her palm, thumbs lightly running over the sweet spot just below the head on the outer side of his cock, she revelled in the gasp it brought. Her cerulean eyes flashed up to watch his own eyes flutter shut, his arms looked ready to give way and let him collapse to the bed and just enjoy her touch. His chest rose and fell as he drew in fresh air, the only thing cooling his heated body. Rush's tongue flicked over his top lip momentarily before his brown eyes managed to open again and he looked down to his sweet Chloe.

“Fuck! Chloe, don't stop.”

She grinned at his desire for her, Matt had never made her feel so lusted for, so loved; that moment wasn't the best to think of Matt though. Locking her eyes with the man she loved, Chloe took Rush deep into her wet mouth and groaned.

“Fuck, yes!” He moaned with a buck of his hips.

She alternated between long sucks and strokes of her hand punctuated by Chloe swirling her tongue around his head, she loved the noises he made, all for her, because of her. Head bobbing as her nails dug into his thighs hungrily. Suddenly his hips bucked again, she could see how hard he was tying to resist thrusting into her mouth, his hands had gripped the bronze colored sheets so tightly that his fingers had turned white.

She pulled off his member and fluttered her eyes seductively at him knowing exactly what the look would do to him.

“You can do it, you know, just do it.” She encouraged with a sultry grin.

Rush didn't need to be told again, he needed Chloe so badly, his right hand slipped into her dark locks and gripped tightly as he guided himself back into her mouth and started to thrust, slowly at first so as not to unwittingly hurt her but soon his pleasure started to rise and his thrusts came harder and sharper. Chloe let her jaw relax and clung tighter to jeans clad thighs.

“God! Chloe, you're perfect.”

She hummed happily sending vibrations up his thick length almost pushing him over the edge. He was so close, euphoria waiting for him on the other side of the void. So close. Almost. His thrusts grew erratic and desperate, harder and more desperately.

“Chloe!”

With a cry of her name Rush came, his grip on her hair turning almost painfully tight. He thrust through his orgasm and Chloe did her best to swallow until his hand slipped from her hair and Rush collapsed against the bed panting.

Chloe revelled in the knowledge that she had been the one to do this to him, to turn the stoic and grumpy Chief Scientist into a panting mess. He looked years younger as she clambered onto the bed and cuddled into his chest, relaxed and sated, she had done that to him and no one else. Chloe was the only one Rush had eyes for, the only one he loved and that was worth anything the universe decided to throw at them.

“I love you, Chloe.” He told her between gulps of air, his arm wrapping around her shoulders to keep her close.

“I love you too, Nicky.”

“Please stop calling me that.” He groaned.

“Nope, you're my Nicky.” Chloe grinned. “That or I'm going to call you Puppy because of your messy hair-”

“Nicky is fine.” He told her abruptly which only made her chuckle.

The two lay there for a few moments happy in the peaceful silence while Rush got his breath back. His lips had just locked with those of the woman he loved and his fingers went to slip into her yoga pants when his radio crackled to life. This had better be im-fucking-portant, his mind barked until TJ's voice flooded the room knocking all other thoughts from his and Chloe's minds.

Rush, come in. Rush, this is important. The boy is awake!”

Chloe and Rush leapt into action straightening their clothing as Nicholas quickly answered the blonde medic that they'd 'be right there' before charging down to the infirmary. They almost slammed into Colonel Young when they rounded the last corner to their son but no one said anything, all too preoccupied with the knowledge that the little boy had finally woken up. They marched into the room to find the child with Rush's hair looking horrified at TJ mush as Cress had done to begin with. Eli and Cressida appeared behind them only a few seconds later, Cressida immediately joined her parents and brother by his bed.

The unnamed boy's eyes flashed up to his parents, a sense of safety shining there as he recognised them. It was only then that Rush and Chloe noticed his left eye was bold blue like his Mother's but the right was whiskey brown just like those of Rush and Cressida.

“Mommy?” He asked quietly.

“Yes. Yeah, you're okay, you're safe. It's alright.” Chloe beamed as she pushed dark strands of loose hair behind his ear.

“Is he like me?” Cress asked from her Daddy's side.

“Aye, baby girl.” Came Rush's calm answer, a hand rested on his daughter's right shoulder. “Seems he is.”

The little boy appeared to have been created before Cress and yet she had been the one aged and sent to Destiny, Rush hadn't understood why, at first he'd thought maybe the Nakai had believed they'd be more inclined to trust a female but seeing his son's bold heterochromia he couldn't help but wonder if the Nakai had believed the boy to be flawed or faulty. None of that mattered though, he was their son.

“How do you feel?” Nicholas asked the young boy of approximately five or six.

“... Okay, Daddy.”

He smiled upon hearing his parental title, after Cressida's memories had been deleted he'd been worried that the boy wouldn't know who they both were.

“Ezra.” Chloe suddenly announced as she continued to pet her son's soft hair. “It's want my Dad wanted to call me if I'd been a boy.”

“It suits him.” TJ said from the bottom of the bed.

“What about Ezra Alan Rush? For your father?” Nicholas asked without taking his eyes from his son, Chloe nodded happily.

Cressida had been named for Rush's Mother and their son for her Father. Nicholas had told her that a name would come to them and it seemed that - as usual - he was right.

“I'm... Ezra.” The child said softly.

At that Chloe started to cry with joy, both her children were safe.

Chapter Text

A few peaceful days went by and the crew of Destiny found themselves in something resembling normal; which had become highly unusual. Rush and his beautiful Chloe had spent the time happily introducing Ezra to Destiny's systems, not that he'd needed much help. Ezra was just as intelligent as exceptional as their daughter Cressida.

The four of them really were a family of scientists. Chloe adored that word, family, ever since childhood Chloe had wanted a family of her own, as a little girl she'd imagined the whole – possibly hackneyed – fairytale fantasy with flowers and a Prince Charming but as she'd grown up and matured she'd started to think about a real marriage and where she could meet Mister Right; what they'd name their children. Chloe hadn't thought of any of that though after arriving on Destiny, she'd been with Matt for months before thoughts of her marital and maternal dreams had started to re-emerge. However, something had always seemed wrong between them though, something difficult to describe like a bookshelf without any books, or a loved one's house after they'd died. Something she'd never really wanted to talk about or even acknowledge. Rush though, with Nicholas Rush everything had always felt right, perfect, meant to be. The grumpy Scot might not have looked like a traditional Prince Charming but her was her Prince Charming, their son and daughter were perfect even if she'd not given birth to them. Who'd have thought she'd be happy with a grumpy Scottish pariah twice her age and two children an alien race had genetically engineered to destroy them. They were a strange little band of people thrown together from across the universe but they were blood. They were family and they loved one another.

After Gloria had died Rush had buried himself deep in his work slipping further and further into a dark abyss but Chloe was a light flickering in the void. The ninth chevron had been about discovering secrets of the universe but instead he'd discovered so much about himself.

XXXX

It was late, Rush and Chloe had spent all day in the Control Interface Room with Cress and Ezra working away happily. The children worked in almost perfect tandem as though they'd been doing it for years, it had warmed the hearts of their parents. Cressida and her little brother might have been remarkable in every way but they were still only eight and six years old, children who needed their sleep; no matter how nocturnal Cress tended to be.

As Rush and the gorgeous woman he loved carried their kids, who had started flag and droop, into their quarters. Cress hung in her Daddy's arms with her head rested on his shoulder lovingly while Ezra had practically passed out in his Mother's. Rush hit the door release and stepped aside for Chloe to go first, she flashed him a soft smile as she passed and lay Ezra down on the bed before pressing a loving kiss to his forehead, his bold blue and brown eyes blinking sleepily up at her. Chloe had worked hard to sew Ezra his own set of clothing just as she'd done for Cressida, soon he'd be free of the oversized black t-shirt commandeered from Airman Dunning.

Nicholas lay his baby girl down beside her little brother before pulling the covers up and tucking them in with a small smile, Rush wasn't one for grins, occasionally hysterical laughter but not grinning. He brushed a stray strand of chestnut hair behind her ear as she fought the urge to sleep, Cress wasn't going to win though.

“Goodnight, baby girl.” He said fatherly. “Night, Ezra.”

That moment was probably the most domestic Rush had ever encountered but he wouldn't change it for the world.

Chloe pressed gentle kisses to their foreheads while Nicholas tucked them up lovingly. Cressida's dazzling blue eyes fluttered shut as sleep snaked its arms around her and tucked her into the realm of dreams. Normally Chloe would tell them a story while Rush turned out the lights and made sure they were perfectly comfortable, a story wasn't needed though, the little tykes had worn themselves out.

When their parents left them to sleep Cress turned almost instantly onto her side away from the door and towards her brother, eyes closed and one hand under her pillow. Her first night in that bed she'd cried and asked her Daddy what was wrong with her, if she was evil, but those days had long since ended.

Destiny's engines had just started to lull Cress off to sleep with their purr when Ezra rolled over and cuddled into his sister's chest, it startled Cressida so much that her eyes flew open and her body tensed for a moment. Ezra's hands were soft and gentle, innocent too, his body was warm and Cress found herself wondering if this was how Rush had felt when she'd first hugged him, I like it. Before that though had even really finished darting through her large mind she'd snaked her arms around him just as her parents would. She couldn't remember anything that had happened when she'd originally arrived on Destiny but it didn't take an intellect the size of Cressida's to realise it was fear she'd felt, fear her little brother still felt.

You're alright, Ezra.” She told him quietly.

“Promise?”

Yeah, I promise.” She took a breath.

“I'm scared of the dark, the-”

“You don't need to be.” She said with a sense of certainty. “The dark can't hurt anyone.” She paused. “Do you want to know a secret, Ezra?”

“Uh-huh.”

You can't tell anyone, especially Mommy and Daddy.” The little boy with Rush's hair nodded into her chest. “Everyone thinks I don't remember... that I don't remember what the Nakai did to me. At first that was true, I'm not sure how I can still have the memories but I get these... flashes. When it started it just felt like I'd done certain things before but now... I see things when I'm asleep. I don't remember all of it but I remember opening my eyes for the first time and seeing the Nakai just staring at me. I remember the heat when I set the ship on fire, being chased by creatures on an alien world. Mostly, though, I remember pain, like being hauled over broken glass.”

I won't tell.” Her little brother muttered as tears started to well in her azure eyes.

My point is, I remember all those horrible things but I'm not scared, not anymore, because the Nakai are gone. We're finally free of them. I'm not saying there aren't other monsters to be feared, I'm just saying- I don't know what I'm saying.” She ended quietly with a sigh.

“I think you're trying to tell me you'll keep me safe.”

Cress chuckled half-heartedly. “At least someone knows what I'm talking about.”

Chapter Text

It had finally happened, after almost a month of hard work Destiny's scientists had repaired the ship; or at least Destiny was as fixed as it was going to get. That meant that everyone on board had finally gotten some time to themselves, to relax.

TJ and Camile slowly strolled down Destiny's long hallways towards the observation deck chatting about unimportant things when young Ezra suddenly flew around the corner and slammed into Camile almost knocking her to the floor, in fact it would have if the blonde medic hadn't caught her in time. He was out of breath and giggling, almost instantly Cressida came charging after.

“I'm sorry.” Ezra mumbled.

“That's okay.” Said Camile.

“Are you two alright?” Asked TJ with a gentle, motherly smile. “What's with all the running?”

“Daddy's it!” Cress beamed before she and her little brother ran off down the hall and around the next corner.

Sure enough the two women only had to wait a moment for Rush to turn the corner and run past them, which actually surprised Camile and TJ, he looked... happy. Years younger. Neither of them were going to say anything about it though, a cheerful Nicholas Rush was an unusual thing.

“Well, that was different.”

“It's good to see Ezra settling in though. You were right, Camile, Cress is a good big sister.”

“She is.” They carried on down the black walled hallway, footfalls sounding almost rhythmical. “I was worried that Cressida wouldn't view him as a sibling at first, what with how they were created.”

Camile fell silent as she and Tamara finally turned into the observation deck to find Chloe sat cross-legged on the cool floor. The colorful FTL glow dancing across her face with a supernatural beauty.

“Hey Chloe,” The chestnut haired mother looked up with a soft smile. “I heard the scientists are finally finished.”

“Yeah, it's about time, right?” Camile and TJ sat down beside her. “Brody is working on a new batch from his still, Volker is doing whatever Volker does when he's not working and Doctor Park is with Greer, no prize for guessing what they're doing.” Chloe chuckled.

“We just saw Rush and the children, they looked like they were playing tag.” Camile couldn't help thinking how good it was for there to be some laughter on board Destiny again.

Chloe grinned. “Yeah, Nicky promised Cress and Ezra that if they got auxiliary power stable by lunch he'd play tag with them and Eli through the ship. I think Varro was going to join in too, he's quite the kid when he gets going.”

“You're not playing with them?” TJ seemed surprised, normally Chloe took every opportunity to be with her kids.

“I have a headache.” Chloe rubbed at her temples. “I'll play later... they'll force me.” She chuckled.

“I can get you something for your head if you want?” That 'medic tone' as Cress liked to call it suddenly appeared.

“Nah, I'm alright. It'll go away soon enough, just spent too long staring at screens.” She took a breath. “Nicky told me to take a break but I didn't listen.”

Nicky?” Camile questioned with a gleam in her dark eyes.

Camile probably knew Rush better than anyone else on the ship, she knew he hated himself for not being able to save Gloria even though there had been nothing he could have done. She knew he embedded himself in his work because science made sense while society didn't. Camile also knew that Chloe and those children were the best thing to have ever happened to Nicholas Rush.

“I guess I've given him a nickname.” TJ and Chloe chuckled.

“I like it, makes him seem like a little puppy dog.” The medic straightened her high ponytail. “And I never thought I'd say that about Rush.”

“He's not that bad.” Chloe defended a little too quickly, she'd seen the other side of Nicholas.

“You two seem to be... getting on well .” Camile smirked. “You've made him happy, you're good for him. He's spending less time alone in his head now, he's stopped snapping at the crew as much as well.”

“He makes me happy too.” Chloe gushed without really meaning to. “Nicky is funny when he wants to be, kind too. He's a wonderful father, I mean let's face it, most men would have freaked out and headed for the proverbial hills when told they have two genetically engineered children. I almost did for a while.” She sighed, Chloe wasn't proud of that particular part of her life, even if it had only been a few hours long. “But, Nicky is great with them. You should see him when he puts them to bed, we take it in turns to tell them stories, his are their favourite because apparently he does the voices properly. Camile smirked at that.

“Chloe,” Marvelled TJ. “you sound like a wife talking about her husband-”

“No!” The young beauty exclaimed. “We're nowhere near that yet, nowhere near.” She took a breath. “Having Ezra is still sinking in.”

“Would you though? Want to marry Nick?” Camile asked curiously.

Chloe paused for a little longer than needed, as though having some huge internal debate.

“It's a nice idea but, he's already been married, do you really think he'd want to be again?” Chloe asked gingerly, blue eyes locked on the floor with almost child-like avoidance. “And anyway, like I said, it's a long way off. I haven't even told my Mom that she has a grandson yet. If I spring hey, I'm marrying Nicholas Rush on her she'll likely kill me and whoever I've swapped with.”

“How did she react to you and Rush?” TJ questioned softly. “To Cress too?”

“Rather confused when it came to Cressida, I think she thought she was dreaming. Rush though, she took that surprisingly well, it might have just been shock now that I think about it.”

“To be honest I'm not surprised you ended up with Rush. He's the father of your children and you've always been the closest to him.”

“Have I? Are you sure, Camile?”

“Yes, you have. Even before we went into hyper-sleep Rush had a great deal of respect and admiration for you, Chloe. To be honest I think he had a little bit of an infatuation with you. You're young and beautiful, and then he got to spend time with you teaching you Ancient and to understand the knowledge you gained from the Nakai.”

“So you're saying Rush had a crush on me? Really? He always seemed rather indifferent until Cress.”

“That's just an act of his.”

“You're together now, and he's good to you.”

“Yes he is.” Chloe said with a smirk in a sultry tone.

“Chloe!” TJ cackled with mock shock and outrage.

“What?” It had been a very long time since Chloe had engaged in anything even remotely resembling 'girl talk', she'd missed it.

Camile stood up, clearly not wanting to talk about Rush in anything even remotely sexual.

“On that note, I think I'll leave you too it. I want to check in with Colonel Young anyway, you know how he is.” With a simple good-bye Camile left the observation deck.

TJ just smiled and shuffled closer to the young mother.

“Come on then, if we're going to talk like teenagers you have to tell me, is he any good?” Tamara seemed to have turned into a pile of smirks.

“Are we really having this conversation?”

“You started it. Now stop avoiding the question.”

“Fine, and yes, he's very, very good. Attentive, thoughtful... surprisingly strong.” Chloe smiled to herself.

“Well, aren't you a lucky girlfriend. Maybe that's not the right word, boyfriend doesn't really fit when it comes to Rush.” TJ paused for a moment. “Partner maybe.”

“That sounds better, boyfriend seems more like a teenager. Oh God-” A look of realisation dawned on Chloe's face.

“What?”

“In a few years I'm going to have two teenagers to take care of.”

“Ah, good luck.”

Meanwhile Eli – who stood just outside of observation deck where no one could see him – had heard the whole thing. He'd managed to dodge Camile as she left but the knowledge that Chloe actually enjoyed the idea of marrying Rush, well, he shouldn't have really been overly surprised, they were together after all and marriage was a logical next step.

Cressida had asked him to check on her Mother for her and see if her headache had died down enough for her to come and play with them, but after overhearing what he had it was probably best to leave Chloe with TJ for a while.

Slowly he turned down the hallway and went back to the game, he'd last seen Cress and the others playing near the mess hall. Eli was in a bit of a daze as he walked back only coming back to himself when Cressida suddenly grabbed his hand and tugged him off towards the infirmary.

“What are we doing?” Asked Eli while his mind muttered about how surprisingly strong she was.

“We're playing hide-and-go-seek, Varro wanted something he stood a chance at. Ezra is in the Control Interface Room and Daddy is coming this way.”

Eli smiled down at Cress as she pulled him down behind one of the far beds beside the wall where they couldn't be seen. He'd not played silly games like hide-and-go-seek since he was about eight and it wasn't until he'd been hidden there with Cressida for a good five minutes that Eli realised he'd missed it.

“What's wrong, Eli?” Asked Cress in that beautiful voice of hers. She seemed to have a sixth sense about her when it came to Eli, probably why they'd become so close so quickly.

“Just something Chloe said.”

“Is Mommy alright?” She whispered, a flash of concern crossing her delicate features.

“Hmm? Oh, yeah, she's fine.” He paused. “Hey, if I tell you something do you promise not to tell?” Cressida nodded and muttered an uh-huh. “Chloe may want to marry Rush.”

The dark-haired little girl stared at him blankly. “What does 'marry' mean?”

“Em, it's a... a ceremony where two people vow to love and protect each other forever.” He explained with a sense of uncertainty, he didn't quite know how to put it into words. “They give one another rings as a symbol of love and they become husband and wife.” He finished lamely.

“So anyone can get married?”

“Pretty much, yeah. But it's only for couples like your Mom and Dad, not something for friends.”

“That's not a very helpful description.” That actually made him chuckle.

“You're parents can probably explain it better than me.”

“But you said not to tell them.” Cress smiled knowing she was being a smart-ass.

“Then you're gonna have to wait a few years to ask them.”

“Fine, now shut up, I hear footsteps.”

Chapter Text

A few months sailed by without any real incident worth writing home about and Ezra had truly settled in to life aboard the ancient ship; as though he'd always been with them. In that time Ezra had even started to pick up his father's Scottish accent much to everyone's surprise, but at the same time it was rather cute. The kids played happily through Destiny after their shift and everyone had gotten pleasantly used to hearing the sound of children's laughter echoing down the long maze of hallways.

SGC was still on Colonel Young's back about the Nakai attack, they wanted every tiny scrap of information they could possibility get on the blue aliens as well as Cress and her little brother, Ezra. Most of the high ups didn't like the idea of having two kids aged eight and six having access to Destiny's mainframe on a constant basis; especially after what Cressida had done. However, General O'Neill – who insisted on being called Uncle Jack by the two Rush children – knew them well enough to know they were perfectly capable scientists and actually loved their unofficial occupations.

Over those few quiet months Eli and Cress had grown rather close, she let him go on and on about his comics and video games without complaint or boredom. Eli had just stared at her when the whiskey eyed girl had asked 'whose Nightcrawler?' but he'd soon filled her full of back stories and movie mistakes. In fact she'd taken to referencing some of them when they were working much to Eli's pleasure; finally he had someone to talk geek with. Cressida really did have the maturity of a twenty year old but her new discovered love of comics and video games revealed her true age, it was good she had time as an eight year old rather than constantly acting like an adult.

Chloe and Matt had started talking again, there was still an unspoken awkwardness and that was to be expected but it was a good start. Matt despised seeing her with Rush though, he could clearly see that she loved the grumpy Chief Scientist but that didn't mean it made sense to him, Lieutenant Scott had thought he and Chloe had been so close and stable while in reality it had been crumbling away under his feet. He'd been the one to ruin everything not Cressida as he'd believed out of anger, Chloe deserved someone who truly loved her and refused to give in to any sexual attraction for anyone else, he'd hurt Chloe, he was the one at fault, he had ruined things between them, Rush had picked up the pieces and made Chloe happy again. In all honesty Matt supposed he owed a debt to Rush for healing her heart.

XXXX

Cressida skipped down the long hall, it was late and most of the crew had already retired to their quarters in search of sleep but Cress had always been a night owl. Her little gold-bronze dress swished as she skipped but she came to a quick stop when she found Eli knelt down before one of the airlocks with its control panel open and the wires exposed.

“What are you doing, Eli?” She asked with a smile.

Eli actually jumped with surprise, much to Cressida's amusement, but returned her smile and a glint in his chocolate eyes.

“Hey, Cress. I, em, well, the airlock here's always been stuck so I thought, you know, crack it open and take a look.”

“In the middle of the night?”

 

“Rush has had me running around like a mad man today. You and Ezra were on the bridge, he's had me down in the Control Interface Room.” He told her.

“Oh don't sound so hard done to, you don't need to start lamenting. My Daddy isn't that bad.”

“To you.” He grinned with mock annoyance. “You're a Daddy's girl.” Eli paused when she giggled, Cress had such a beautiful laugh. “You wanna help?”

“Sure. Can't have you blowing Destiny up, can we?” She crouched down beside Eli to look into the panel.

“Nice to know you've got faith in me.” He huffed. “Alright, I've gone through the airlock systems and-”

“Hang on, first things first.” Said the eight year old– probably closer to nine after the months she'd spent on Destiny – hand gesturing for him to quieten. “Have you made sure that if we get this door open the other door isn't stuck open? We don't need everyone getting sucked out into the vacuum of space.”

“Alright, you bossy know-it-all.” Eli chuckled. “And yes, I checked. All the read outs say the door is down, we’re fine.” He assured but his eyebrow raised when Cress snorted. “What?”

“For all that brain power of yours, you're not too bright.”

“Okay, now you're starting to sound like Rush if he were a teenager.”

He knew she wasn't trying to be mean or spiteful, he'd grown to like Cress and her singular way of saying things; in a way Eli felt closer to her than he had to Chloe.

“Sorry, Eli. But you really should look through the porthole first.”

Eli could have facepalmed, if he'd learnt anything it was to never take the computer's word for it. Sure enough as soon as he stood and looked through the tiny window he discovered the outer door a third of the way open.

“How did you know that? You're not tall enough to see.”

“I'm smart.” She laughed. “Come on, if we start with the outer door and get that shut then we can work on the inner without dying.”

“Probably best to avoid that.” Eli knelt back down on the floor, pushed Cress to the side a little and crammed his hands into the wall panel to tinker. “Ah, looks like this is going to be simple.” He chirped. “The connection seems loose... I can't reach it though.”

“Let me, my hands are smaller.” She nudged the older man out of the way with her shoulder, a smile of jest on her face and sipped her hand into the exposed panel much as Eli had. “Yeah, I can reach it.”

After a few seconds of silence went by and then the metallic sound of the heavy outer door slamming down echoed around the deck, Cress leaned back with a smug half-smile.

“Great! Let's get this door open.”

The two set to work stopping only when Chloe came across them, she gave Eli orders to make sure Cress went to bed as soon as they were finished and not a moment longer; Eli agreed quickly.

Chloe'd had a busy day and couldn't stop yawning on the way back to Rush's – their – quarters but a smile spread across her face as soon as she entered. Rush lay asleep flat out on his back with his right arm above his head with scruffy hair in his eyes. Rush wasn't what made her smile though, little Ezra cuddled up to his father's chest was. The boy with dark hair lay protected and encircled by Rush's left arm, they looked so alike when asleep. Chloe's urge to go to bed suddenly left her and instead she just sat on the edge of the bed and watcher the man she loved and her son sleep, her delicate hand came up to brush the hair from Nicky's eyes, his face scrunched ever so slightly but he didn't wake.

Rush was healthier since they'd become a couple, he slept more and had stopped snapping at everyone as much; he seemed happy. Ezra had settled in to his new life and no longer feared everything around him, he smiled and laughed and played. Then their was Cressida, she'd been more through more horror than one person could take, she'd lost so much but against all the odds Cress had clawed her way back to who she was. Those few days when Chloe and Rush had believed they'd lost her had been the longest and most painful of her life but moments like the one she enjoyed there and then made all the pain worth while.

After about ten minutes Chloe lay down beside Rush putting Ezra in between them and moved his arm so as it encompassed her as well; seconds later she fell asleep.

Chapter Text

A little over three years had gone by and Destiny had lived in relative peace; no Nakai, no attacks, in fact there had been hardly any alien encounters what so ever. A way to get back to Earth still eluded Rush and the science team but everyone knew Rush and his children would crack it eventually, about a year and a half back Ezra thought he'd cracked it but it turned out he'd forgotten to carry the two.

Cressida had grown into a twelve years old, her hair had grown out to the point that she often wore it in a loose braid over her left shoulder. At only twelve Cress was stunningly beautiful and as she continued to grow she'd only become more so, her skin was purer than snow with full red lips. Ezra had gone through a growth spurt as of late and at only nine was practically the same height as his sister, seemed he got his height from Chloe's side of the family, all the men on her side were at least six foot. The boy with heterochromia eyes had also become something of a prankster much to Volker's and Brody's displeasure and Rush enjoyed cultivating his son's ability to annoy the engineer and scientist.

Destiny hadn't come cross a planet with a breathable atmosphere for about a month and since the crew was in no need of food or water – unusual but not unwelcome – and Rush was busy trying to build two new stasis chambers for Cress and Ezra to use during the next galaxy crossing so the new planet had gone pretty much unnoticed, or at least it had until Eli and Cressida had decided to take a look. It had taken a while to convince Colonel Young to let them go but they'd eventually been granted permission to take the shuttle down to the three mooned planet, they'd only be gone a few hours and Cressida had become a rather excellent pilot under the guidance of Lieutenant Scott.

Cress set the shuttled down softly and let the door fall open after about twenty minutes of flight and hopped out of her chair with a sense of glee.

“Come on, Eli.” She beamed.

“Why are you all excited?” He asked as he unbuckled himself from his seat, her ability to constantly smile was beyond him.

“I haven't been on an Earth-like planet for months. Since I've never been to Earth so I like to live vicariously through these little trips.” Cress peered down the ramp to the forest covered planet. “Come on, maybe there will be an ancient temple we can deface.”

“Monster!” Eli said with mock outrage before joining the twelve year old.

It appeared they were in a glade about a mile wide, when they stepped out they could see the planet's three moons, two similar in size and one far larger. The trees were large and tall like oaks but the leaves were the color of plums, it was actually rather beautiful especially with the glade's purple grass. Fresh air was nice.

“Let's see if there's any fruit, we can never have too much on the ship.”

He was right, even though they weren't running low it couldn't hurt to scrounge up what they could; still Cress decided to tease her friend.

“Do you ever stop thinking about food?”

“Oh, now you're just being evil.” He grinned at her while they wandered further away from the shuttle. “I'll have you know I've thinned out a lot.”

It was true, over the last three years Eli had shed his chubby layer, he would never be muscular like Greer or Varro but he certainly wasn't fat; healthy would be the best word to describe him. Rush sending him back and forth through the ship as well as playing Tag with Cress and Ezra had helped a lot.

The two friends went about the usual things after that, taking soil samples and searching for clean water, nothing seemed to be toxic and the stream water they found about forty feet into the forest actually tasted pretty good.

Eli reached his cupped hands into the cold water for another mouthful and reviled in its refreshing taste but felt his heart drop when he stood up and turned to find Cress was gone.

“Cress? Cressida?” His voice was panicked.

“Up here!” She called out and Eli looked up to see the girl a good two meters up one of the tall purple trees.

He watched her pulling something small and round like a tear free from the branches.

“What are you doing?” He shielded his eyes from the lowering sun with his hand. “And be careful, if something happens to you up there Rush is going to kill me.”

“Catch!” She tossed a few of the brown objects down to him, to Eli they looked like kiwis but the size of coconuts.

Cress clambered back down slowly and the worry of Rush trying to kill him had almost left Eli until a branch suddenly snapped and Cressida came tumbling down like a bowling ball, thankfully Eli broke her fall.

“Ouch!”

Cress pushed herself up slightly, removing her face from his chest and looked at the older man apologetically.

“Sorry, Eli.”

“That's okay, I didn't really need my spine anyway.”

That made her chuckle and Eli could feel the sound echo through her chest, past the 'you are here' t-shirt and into his own. He pushed her gently off of himself until they were laying next to one another on the cold soil, neither said anything for a long moment just enjoying a quietude that was finally broken by Cressida.

“It's peaceful here. Gentle and quiet."

“Yeah it is. Nice to get some fresh air, I might actually fall asleep here if I'm not careful.”

Cress laughed. “I wouldn't. I'm likely to make some kind of dye out of tree bark and leaves just so I can draw a moustache on you.”

“Where did your parents go wrong? You really are a little monster.”

“Yeah but I'm not as bad as Daddy.”

Eli was about to shoot some sarcastic comment back but the suddenly appearance of meteors racing through the shy muted him.

“What the hell? How did Destiny miss meteors?” They both shot to their feet, eyes fixed on the sky.

“...Maybe they were behind one of the moons? Sensors wouldn't have been able to pick that up. Although, from the angle I'd say we're in no danger, still I don't want to fly back through that if I can help it. Guess we're sleeping here tonight.”

“Oh goody.” Eli didn't look too impressed.

“Quit your moaning, it'll be fun. I can build a camp fire.” She beamed and started to head back to the glade.

“Cressida, what is it with you and pyrotechnics?”

She just shrugged leaving Eli to follow.

 

XXXX

Meanwhile back on the ship Chloe strode onto the bridge quickly to see her Nicky at the main terminal while Brody and Volker prattled on in a corner about gods knows what while Doctor Park had engrossed herself in quiet work in the left corner of the room.

“How bad are the meteors?” There was an aura concern in her voice and she was by Rush's side almost instantly.

“There's nothing to be worried about, the meteors aren't anything to worry about, tryst me I checked.” Chloe relaxed. “It will prevent Cress from bringing the shuttle home until the shower has ended.”

“But Eli is the only one with her.”

“Don't worry, Cressida will protect him.” He grinned and slumped down into the command chair pulling Chloe down after, his arms snugly around her waist in a loving gesture. “If anything was wrong she'd come straight back, you know she's a proficient enough pilot to get back if needed, Lieutenant Scott taught her well.”

Once Chloe and Matt had started talking again Matt had found himself coming to terms with the end of Chloe and his relationship, with her being in love with Rush. Somewhere along the line he'd even managed to befriend Cress and Ezra; they were good kids. Cressida had shown an interest in the shuttle and before he knew it Matt had been teaching her to pilot the thing.

“Dad is right, Mom, Cress knows what she's doing.” Chloe and Rush hadn't noticed Ezra had entered the bridge until he spoke. “And Eli won't let anything happen to her. Now, could you please get of Dad, it's gross!”

Good, thought Rush, nice to know we can creep out our kids.

Chapter Text

The sun had just started to set on the strange purple forest-covered planet when Cressida made a camp fire with wood Eli had gathered; the three moons became more apparent and meteors continued to race through the sky. After six – almost seven – years aboard Destiny Eli had just celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday though he looked no more than thirty-two thanks to three of those years being in stasis, but still he liked to play the 'old man' card, hence was flat-out on his back with his feet by the fire and his head in the shadow of the grey-black shuttle.

“Eli, look!” Cress somehow managed to whisper and screech at the same time while shaking his leg.

He pushed himself up on his elbows but all he saw was Cress sat on her haunches.

“What?”

“Look!” She exclaimed again and leaned to the side revealing the most adorable creature he'd ever seen.

Eli's dark eyes took in the creature carefully, they'd not even heard a bird throughout the whole time they'd been there so finding a four-legged animal sat in the clearing no more than five feet from them gave him a moment of pause.

“It looks like a cat and a fox had a love child with rabbit ears.”

The animal was about the size of an adult male fox with similar coloring and a fluffy tail, its paws were cat-like as was the shape of the creature's face and its eyes; bold green with thin black slits. The ears though were what drew Eli's attention, they weren't quite as long as a rabbit's but they certainly stood out with the same upright ovular shape, although the very tips were pointed just like a fox. The animal's nose and whiskers were a little bunny-like too.

“It's the cutest thing I've ever seen.” She beamed before sticking her hand out for the creature to smell and slipped into her best 'baby voice' “Hey, little guy.”

Cautiously the fox-like animal shuffled closer and sniffed at her hand, it looked lost and as though it would bolt but Cressida's smile must have won it over because it was soon sat happily in her lap as though they'd know each other forever. Eli was starting to wonder if Cressida's ability to befriend just about anyone and anything had been a design aspect from the Nakai. He couldn't help but watch as she petted the creature's ears softly with her right index finger, she seemed in awe and Eli supposed it was because she'd never seen such an animal, Eli himself had never had a pet so in a way he understood how Cress felt.

“You discovered it so you get to name the species.”

He told her as he slowly crawled to sit by her side and tickle the animal. Despite being the size of a fully grown fox Eli suspected it was still rather young. Cress paused for a moment looking over the ball of fluff in her lap as though thinking deeply, her head tilted to the side slightly and Eli could only smile as he watched her brow furrow with thought.

“What about an 'Elcress' or maybe a 'Creli'?” When Eli just started at her in confusion she elaborated. “You know, Eli and Cressida. We both found him, at least I think it's a him.”

Eli grinned. “Alright, but let's go with an 'Elcress', it sounds less evil.” His fingers tickled the animal's caramel brown head.

“He still needs a real name though.”

“What about Tails-?”

She cut his suggestion off quickly. “We aren't naming the alien critter after Sonic The Hedgehog!”

Some days he regretted telling Cress all about comics, movies and video games.

 

“... How about Vulpine?” He suggested. “It means 'like a fox'.”

“Fitting.” She agreed while smiling down at the little fluffball sat in her lap. “Vulpine it is, but how did you know that?”

“There's a Pokemon named 'Vulpix' that's based on the name.”

“Of course there is.” Said Cress in her best why am I not surprised tone as she stared at him. “I like Vulpine though, it's cute.” She looked down to the critter again. “There you go, your name is Vulpine.”

Vulpine let out a little noise that wasn't a bark but also wasn't a meow, it was somewhere in between and just made Cress want to cuddle the animal all the more.

Cress and Eli chatted for a while about the ship and the maintenance Rush wanted to run but mostly they talked about unimportant things, or at least the did until Cressida's whiskey colored eyes fell shut and she slipped into slumber with Vulpine cuddled up to her side. Ezra had kept his word all those years ago and never told a single soul about his big sister's nightmares which she was eternally grateful for but that night, out in the open with a warming fire and Eli less than a foot away from her on watch she slept without a care in the world. Cress knew she was safe with Eli.

The next morning Eli awoke to the large sun scattering its golden-red rays through the purple trees and Cressida kicking his thigh softly. They'd swapped over who was on watch at some point of the night and Eli had slept like a baby on the fluffy grass with his hoodie balled up like a pillow under his head. He stretched and reviled in the satisfying pop of his joints before pulling on his blue hoodie and standing up, his hair was everywhere and almost looked as though he'd been electrocuted but Cress just laughed and pulled down by his 'you are here' top so as she could straight it into some kind of order for him.

“Thanks, Cress.”

“Sure. Now, come on, I want to go exploring.” She beamed up at him.

“We should get back, Rush and Chloe will be worried about you.”

Please?!

Cressida had developed puppy eyes and knew just how to use them, they were just about useless on Young and Camile but everyone else seemed to fall for it hook, line, and sinker; Eli included. He couldn't deny her and he knew it.

“Fine.”

He caved and grabbed his bag which he slipped onto his shoulders while Cress gathered up Vulpine and chose a direction.

They wandered for a bout fifteen minutes off to the north and were surprised by the amount of wildlife they came across, yesterday they'd not even heard the scurrying of a distant animal save for Vulpine but as they continued to walk they found the planet to be teeming with deer like creatures; which Eli suspected were Vulpine's main source of food once he was fully grown.

“Hey Cress.” Eli called when he spotted something in the distance. “What does that look like to you?”

Cressida, who'd been happily skipping through the woods paused and made her way back to her best friend who pointed off to the west, glinting through the trees was a second clearing filled with a huge scattering of grey-white rocks covered over with vines.

“Man-made.” Came her soft reply.

“My thoughts exactly.”

With that they set off to discover just what the blocks were. The whole area remained Eli of an archaeological site, Doctor Jackson would love it here, he thought when he noticed the small carved writing on some of the blocks. After about ten minutes of just looking around Cressida spoke.

“I don't get it. If this world can support life, has an abundance of clean water and food and had a civilised culture, why didn't the seed ships leave a gate here?” Her beautiful face was pulled into a puzzled expression.

“This might have something to do with it.” Eli called out and Cress hopped over a section of destroyed wall before running to his side. “Look,” He pointed to the edge of one of the larger blocks. “it's singed. There are a few others too and when we first entered this solar system we found that ocean of asteroids, there's the meteors as well. Think about it, if the planet was in the middle on an extinction level event the seed ships wouldn't have bothered putting a gate down here. Half these rocks are so weathered that there's nothing left so they've clearly been here a very long time, Vulpine and those deer things must be descended from the few remaining species that survived.”

Cress couldn't argue that his theory was sound, full of conveniences but sound nevertheless, further evidence to support Eli's theory came in the form of large craters dotted around the area. With the amount of rubble on the ground though Cress couldn't help but wonder if there was something hidden underneath.

Vulpine scampered through the site with a sense of glee and out of curiosity Eli pulled a small branch from one of the closest trees and threw it, happily Vulpine charged off to go and get it. However, after that he started to pick up every twig and stick he found and sat them by Eli's feet, an hour  later and there were neat little piles everywhere the man had paused for more than a minute; Cressida found the whole thing utterly adorable.

Eventually Cress came across a strangely void section of the rubble that looked as though it had possibly once been a huge open courtyard of some kind, Eli was surrounded by yet another pile of twigs a little to her left and she was just about to say something to him when suddenly the ground gave way and Cressida went plummeting into darkness. She screamed.

Eli's head shot up instantly and his dark eyes searched around for Cress with a sense of desperation, he'd seen her not a minute earlier and now she was just gone.

“Cress?!”

No response came and Eli found himself charging to the grassy area he'd last seen the twelve-year old in, Vulpine hot on his heels.

“Eli!”

He heard her, she had to be close. Suddenly it came into sight, a large sink hole about three and a half feet across, he had no idea how deep it was thanks to the pitch black.

“Cress? You down there?”

“No,” She answered quickly from the dark with sarcasm. “I've discovered how to become invisible, yes I'm down here. Get me out?”

“Em, yeah. Give me a sec, I'll think of something.”

Eli glanced around in search of something he could use to pull her up while Cress could do nothing but stand at the bottom of the sink hole in the dark; I told her we shouldn't have gone exploring. She was lucky not to have broken her legs.

While Cressida waited for Eli to come back she found her eyes adjusted to the light rather quickly and was soon looking around the small cave like area she'd found herself in. A small gap she was too big to get through led out to a long tunnel and she wondered if it was part of the ruins or some natural occurrence, the walls were smoothed almost as though they'd been worked so she guessed it was the former.

She was content in her gentle searching until she found the strange white sily like substance that had broken her fall, it was set out in threads and stuck to her feet, then out the corner of her eye she saw something move. Spider. Not just any spider though this was – what she was going to call it thanks to her Daddy's colorful way with words – fucking gigantic! It folded it's long spindly legs through the gap she'd previously investigated and started to pull itself through slowly so as not to damage the creature's massive cephalothorx and abdomen.

“Eli!”

Her eyes went wide. She didn't like spiders, her mother had told her about one on a trip to Australia and she'd been freaked out by the mere idea of them ever since. She really didn't like spiders.

“Hold on a minute.” He called back, completely unaware of the panic rising up inside her.

“No Eli! Now!” The spider had just about gotten its cephalothorx though and its mass of beady eyes were fixed on her. “Giant spider! Eli, get me out of this thing now!”

There was a heads up from her best friend and then a mock rope made of the thick vines that covered the ruins came down with a little loop tied in one end.

“Put your foot in and I'll pull you up.” He didn't need to tell her twice.

She was about a foot off the ground when the spider finally managed to squeeze though the gap and edged towards her on its huge but somehow thread-like black legs, in the darkness it blended in with the walls but there was a shine to it that gave the monster away.

“Eli! Please! Hurry the hell up!”

By now he'd sensed her panic and knew that 'giant spider' hadn't been an exaggeration, however, despite her small frame it was still hard for him to pull her back to the surface; Greer and Matt were the muscular heroes.

Just before full panic could set in her head broke the surface and she crawled out onto the grass before shuffling away from the hole quickly. Eli had expected to see spider legs emerge but they never did, either she'd imagined the whole thing or it didn't like sunlight, Eli knew which was more likely. He fell to his knees beside her.

“You okay?” He asked with concern in his chocolate orbs.

“Yeah, I am now I'm away from that thing. Nothing has the right to have that many legs, I mean what does it need them for? How many knives is it going to pull? And what's with the eyes, is it just greedy or is it trying to stare into my soul?”

Eli erupted into laugher and tumbled onto his back, she looked at him with annoyance for a moment before his chortling infected her and she burst into laughter as well while Vulpine continued to pile sticks up – seriously, where was he finding them? - beside the male genius' head. Soon their laughing died down to soft hiccups before falling to silent and they simply laying there.

“You done exploring now? Can we go back to the ship?”

They'd been silent so long that Cressida had almost forgotten he was there, her head fell to the side so she could look at him.

“Alright, since there aren't any spiders up there.”

That made him snort briefly before he stood up and pulled Cress up along with him. It didn't seem to take as long to walk back to the shuttle as it had to find the ruins not that it mattered that much.

When they got back to the shuttle Cress quickly set about making sure the water they'd gathered up was strapped down and not going to end up sloshing everywhere – that was how Greer had ended up soaking wet a few months back – while Eli did the same with the kiwi looking fruit they'd found.

“Hey Cress, where is Vulpine?” Asked Eli after a few minutes, eyes darting around in search of the cute little animal that had been sat happily at the foot of the shuttle ramp not ten seconds ago.

“He was right here. Vulpine!”

Their eyes raked over the glade in search of the fluffball but he was nowhere to be found.

“He probably decided it was time to go home.” Said Eli softly. “He's only a baby and we couldn't have kept him anyway.”

Cress knew he was right but she had still wanted to say goodbye.

“But he was so cute.”

“Well,” He began with a grin. “it's a good job you have me to look at then.”

Cressida chuckled at that and let Eli shuffle her into the shuttle so as they could go back to Destiny. Once in the pilot's chair she shut the shuttle door and set off back to the ship.

 

This is the inspiration for Vulpine. It's a Maned Wolf which lives in South America. Despite it's name it isn't actually a wolf or a fox.

      

Chapter Text

When they got back Chloe, Colonel Young, Varro, TJ and Greer were waiting for them, Young had his arms folded across his chest, a clear indication he wasn't happy. As soon as Cress and Eli disembarked the shuttle Chloe grabbed her daughter and pulled her into a bear hug.

“I was so worried.”

“I'm fine, Mom.” She told her. “I had Eli to protect me.”

Carefully Cress pulled herself free of her Mother's grasp just in time for Varro to ruffle her hair and let out a hey Cress before he headed into the shuttled to start unloading the water and fruit along with Greer.

“Find anything interesting?” Asked the Colonel conversationally, maybe he wasn't as unhappy as Cressida had thought.

“Some fruit that Eli says looks like a kiwi – whatever that is – and some water, can't ever have enough.”

“Wildlife too, some deer and a really cute Elcress.” Informed Eli before quickly shifting out of Varro's way.

“A what?” The blonde medic raised an eyebrow.

“This little fox thing, we didn't know what it was so we named the species. It spent all night and morning with us.”

“Cute?” Asked Chloe when she noticed the glint in Eli's chocolate orbs.

“Oh yeah,” began Cressida. “it looked like-” She was cut off by a meow-like bark from inside the shuttle that had Varro and Greer grounding to a halt before Vulpine charged out to hide between Cress' feet. “He looked like that.”

Greer had his weapon trained on the young animal in a heartbeat.

“Greer, it's okay.” Assured Eli quickly, his hand held out to emphasise his words.

Everyone just stared at Vulpine for a moment, maybe they were in disbelief or maybe his cuteness had forced them to silence. They'd thought he had gone back into the woods but it turned out he'd hidden in the shuttle without them noticing, Vulpine must have been scared when they took off. It was that moment that Rush appeared in the hallway with them.

“What the hell is that?”

“This, Daddy, is Vulpine.”

The dark-haired girl crouched down to pick up the tiny animal and Greer finally lowered his weapon when Varro nudged him; the Sergeant was basically pointing a gun at Cressida's feet.

“Seems even alien animals follow kids home.” Chuckled Chloe.

“It can't stay here.” Announced Young suddenly in that authoritative tone of his.

Cress used her puppy eyes and looked up at her father. “Please, Daddy?”

God dammit, not the puppy eyes, even Rush could resist those. He didn't want to cave, he was Nicholas Rush, the most stubborn man on the ship and thankfully TJ spoke before his resolve fully collapsed.

I could check it over for any diseases – which means the both of you need a medical check up too – if it's safe I say we keep it, it's so cute.”

“TJ-” Tamara cut Young off.

“Why not?” Young glared but it did nothing to silence her. “If it's been with them all night I don't think it's that much of a threat.”

“He won't hurt anyone!”

“Oh let her keep the thing.” Said Rush finally. “We can't send it back anyway because of the meteors.” That was a lie but Young didn't need to know that.

Young pointed a finger at Cressida. “ If it's not got anything.”

“Yes!” She beamed and Eli just chuckled.

XXXX

General O'Neill had been on board and using Lieutenant Scott's body for about an hour and a half when he entered the bridge led by Colonel Young and Greer instantly came to attention by the door.

“At ease, Sergeant.” Greer obeyed as O'Neill went down the steps to where Ezra and his sister were working. “Hello you two.”

“Hey, Uncle Jack.” They responded in almost perfect unison.

“Young and Johansen tell me you've got a pet.”

“Well,” Began young Ezra, his blue and brown eyes locked on Jack. “it's more Cress' pet than mine.”

“Vulpine.”

She called out and a second later the fox-like animal hopped down from the command chair where it had been curled up and padded over to Cressida's feet. Vulpine had been with them for about two months and was treated like a puppy by pretty much everyone on Destiny; he also liked to chew Varro's boots but only when he was wearing them.

“Johansen wasn't kidding when she said it was cute.” He bent over to tickle it's caramel brown ears. “Friendly little thing.”

Jack straightened up when he realised that as a General he shouldn't have been getting so engrossed in a little fluffball. He cleared his throat.

“Rush, how are the extra stasis pods coming?” Nicholas – who was by the main terminal – turned to face General O'Neill. “You've got a few weeks left until the next galaxy crossing and it's what? Three-” Rush cut him off.

“Four years Earth time.”

“I know it doesn't seem as long to you all but after this crossing you'll have been out here on this god-forsaken ship for twelve years. You can't stay out here forever.”

O'Neill was right, everyone knew that, almost a decade of being on board, people missed their families. Ingrid Watson, one of the civilians was two months pregnant by her boyfriend Daniel Cartwright. To the crew they'd only been there five years but in reality it had been eight, after another four years in stasis who was to say that their loved ones would still be alive?

Rush paused for a moment and looked to his children.

“Ez, go to the Control Interface Room and make sure Brody hasn't screwed anything up or annoyed your mother, please.”

“On it.” Smiled Ezra before he wandered off.

“Cress, find Eli. He's not answering his radio.”

Cressida nodded and hugged Jack then left the bridge.

“Okay.” Began Jack. “Why did you clear them out of the room?”

XXXX

Cressida wandered down the hall with Vulpine hot on her heels, she poked her head into the mess hall when she finally got there. Airman Dunning and a few others were gathered there eating their meals, one of which was Varro; the man she treated as an Uncle.

“Varro, have you seen Eli?” She asked softly. “He's not answering his radio.”

The blonde looked up. “Em, yeah, a while ago. Looked like he was heading to the blackboard corridor. You okay?”

Vulpine charged over to him when Varro held out some of his fruit for him, everyone had been pleased when they'd discovered he was an omnivore just like humans.

“Yeah, I'm fine. Daddy is stressed out about the stasis pods though especially now Uncle Jack is here.”

“It'll all be alright. If Rush can't solve the problem I'll shoot it.”

Cress laughed at that which was exactly what he'd wanted.

“Thanks. When in doubt, shoot it. See you later.”

With a quick whistle to get Vulpine to follow Cress turned and went off in the direction of the blackboard corridor and hopefully Eli. Sure enough he was there on his knees scribbling on the wall with chalk just as she'd seen her Daddy doing so many times.

“Lost your radio or something?” Eli jumped, he'd not heard the door open.

“Bloody hell! You scared me.”

“If you answered your radio I wouldn't have to, dummy.” She smiled.

Eli quickly patted himself down in search of his radio only to find it wasn't anywhere to be found.

“I must have left it in my room, sorry. I didn't sleep well last night, kept tossing and turning.”

Cress could understand that, though less frequent she still had nightmares of her past.

“Daddy sent me to find you but I think that was more to get me off the bridge.”

Her best friend shuffled to sit with his back against the wall with his legs sticking out and opened his arms.

“Need a hug?”

Cress smiled and fell to the floor beside him so Eli could wrap an arm around her as she rested he head on his shoulder.

“Daddy is worried about what it will mean if he can't get two extra hyper-sleep chambers working.” She sighed. “Maybe it would have been better if Ezra and I had never existed.”

“Don't say that!” Eli didn't yell, was always so softly spoken, so when his voice rose it actually gave Cressida a moment of pause.

“It's true though. There wouldn't have been a fire, no Nakai attack, no-” He cut her off.

“Enough. Yeah, sure, things could have been easier without you and your brother but they wouldn't have been better. You're my best friend Cress, I wouldn't trade you for anything."

She snorted out a laugh half-heartedly. “How do you always know what to say?”

“You're not the only genius around here.”

“Can we talk about something else?” The dark-haired man nodded and let out a little sure. “How was your Mom?”

Eli and Camile had been the last to return to Earth before Matt had swapped with General O'Neill, and of course he'd gone straight to his Mother.

“She's okay, got a cold but nothing serious. She keeps asking when I'm coming back though.”

“We'll get back, you'll see her again, promise.”

Eli flashed her a smile. “You know, you're pretty good at this knowing what to say thing as well.”

“I learnt from the best.”

XXXX

Meanwhile back on the bridge O'Neill stood wanting answers.

“Okay, Why did you clear them out of the room?”

Rush sighed and glanced down to the floor for a moment before looking back to Jack.

“I hate to admit failure but even with Cress and Ez working on it, we can't build the extra chambers. There are specific parts that aren't on board, we can't salvage or build them either. After repairing Eli's there just isn't enough let to build two extras. It can't be done which means that two people are going to have to remain out of stasis for four years with minimal life support, myself and another, the improvements Cressida has made are the only reason we'll live through it.”

“No.” Said Young quickly. “You're not staying awake for four years unsupervised, I'm watching you like a hawk.”

“Oh what fun.” His voice dripped with sarcasm. “We can braid each other's hair before you try to kill me... again.”

“I understand you don't want Cress and Ezra to worry but you will have to tell them.” Said Jack. “And if you two will be awake I'll have SGC in daily contact with you, I assume the dog is going to remain awake too.”

“It's an Elcress and aye, it'll have to.”

Four years of Rush and Everett alone on a ship, Jack gave them ten minutes before all out war started.

Chapter Text

The two weeks between General O'Neill's visit and the day of the galaxy crossing had finally arrived... and as Rush had feared they'd not been able to build the hyper-sleep chambers. Rush had worked himself and the science team as hard as he could but it just couldn't be done. There was only forty-six minutes left until Destiny crossed the galaxy edge, they'd run out of time and Nicholas was going to have to put up with Young for four years. Air had already been shut off to all unnecessary areas of the ship and most of the crew had already gone into stasis leaving only Rush, Chloe, Young, TJ, Eli and the Rush children awake; Vulpine stood by Cress' legs. TJ stepped into her pod easily and flashed Young a smile before the door closed sending her to slumber for almost half a decade.

“Chloe, you're next.” Said Rush from the terminal.

Rush didn't want to admit it but the idea of being without Chloe horrified him, not being able to hold her or kiss her soft lips, not waking up to the woman he loved laying next to him. Without her or his darling children he'd quickly revert to his grumpy self; especially with only Young for company. When she slipped her arms around his shoulders and leaned in to kiss him Rush committed every second of it to memory, she tasted of the fruit Cress and Eli had brought back and Rush's hands instantly found her hips. Her breasts pressed against his chest and for a moment Nicky didn't think he'd be able to release her, Chloe was his everything.

“I love you, Nicky.” She told him when their kiss finally broke.

“I love you too, Sweetheart.”

Rush kissed her forehead hoping beyond hope that this wouldn't be the last time he ever saw her, their son and daughter. She broke away from Nicky and turned to Cress and Ezra, quickly they filled her arms.

“We'll be here when you and Daddy wake up.” Said Cress and their parents flashed them a look.

“Cress is right, don't worry about us.” Ez smiled.

“What are you talking about?” Questioned Colonel Young as he took a step closer and folded his arms over his chest.

Cress and Ezra stood back, side by side looking strong and determined; their stubbornness clearly came from Rush.

“You and Dad-” Began Ezra as he glanced to Colonel Young, his voice accented but not as strongly as his father's. “- have decide to remain awake because there aren't enough chambers. You never asked us though.”

Eli shuffled closer. “What are you saying, Ezra?”

“It's very simple, Eli. Myself and Cressida will be the ones remaining awake. No offence but you two are the eldest on board, it's not a good idea for you both to be awake for all that time. We, however, are the youngest and we're fully versed in the ship's systems, we will watch over Destiny and its crew.”

“Ezra is right and you all know it.” Said Cress in a determined tone. “We might look like a twelve and nine year old but we're not, we have the minds of adults and you know it. Everyone treats us as though we're wise beyond our years when we're working so please don't regard us as children for this. It's the only logical solution, we'll stay awake.”

“And it's not fair of us to ask you to give up your chambers for us.” Added the boy with heterochromia eyes.

“Cress-”

She cut her Mother off. “It's also not negotiable.”

“The hell it is!” Exclaimed Rush, he hated the idea of being awake for all that time so he sure as hell wasn't going to let his children do it.

“Daddy, Uncle Jack will be in constant contact with us and we're the best scientists you've got, it has to be us.”

“We're not asking, Dad.”

Had Eli not been trying to get the idea of Cress and Ezra being alone on the ship through his head he'd have found the two mini Rushs funny.

Colonel Young hated to admit it but they were right, the time wouldn't affect them as harshly and they were perfectly capable of running Destiny. He also realised they weren't getting much choice.

Young sighed. “They're right.”

“No. Ezra, Cress-”

“Mom, we know you're worried but there's no need. Daddy-”

She left the sentence open knowing she needed to say little more, she didn't need words, her eyes said it all. The Chief Scientist ran a large hand though his long greying hair and forced himself to calm down, they were right, he didn't want to admit it but they were.

“Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?” He asked his children and they responded in perfect unison.

“Yes.”

There was a moment of complete silence, not even breathing could be heard and then finally Rush relented.

“Aye, alright. If something happens you wake me up instantly.” It wasn't a question and they could only nod.

“You don't have to do this.” Chloe reasoned even though she knew they'd made their mind up which was only confirmed when they both uttered another yes. “Okay.”

Chloe pulled them back into another hug, squeezing them almost too tight; she pulled Rush into it as well. She didn't release them again until Young finally prompted them.

“I'll go next then.” Young hopped into his chamber and let the doors close.

“Can I go next please? Before I cry.” Everyone nodded and quickly put Chloe into her chamber, she looked so peaceful as soon as stasis took her.

“Eli, you're turn.” Said Rush.

“Sure.”

Cress jumped into his arms and hugged him tight, he was her best friend and she'd miss him just as much as her parents. Eli had become irreplaceable to Cress, and she was fairly certain he felt the same. When she released him a few moments later Eli paused, his eyes ghosting over her and then he suddenly stripped off his blue hoodie and hung it around her shoulders; it was almost ridiculously large on her.

“Here, with life support on minimal it'll be colder than usual.”

“Thank you, Eli.” She slipped her arms into the hoodie and rolled the sleeves up to free her hands.

The dark-haired genius leaned down and pressed a kiss to her cheek.

“See you soon guys.” He flashed Ezra a smile nodded to Rush before – just like everyone else – stepping into his chamber and letting the doors lower; this time though he knew he could get back out.

“You're the only one left, Dad.” Ez told him as he took his father's place in front of the terminal screen.

“Aye, looks that way.” He stood there for a moment and just looked at them. “If something happens you wake me up.” He told them again then paused for a moment. “When I wake up you're not going to be my children anymore, you'll be my teenagers.”

“But we'll still be us.”

“Yeah you will, baby girl. In my quarters there's a grate with two of the Lucian Alliance's pistols in it, I took them before Young had them counted so he has no idea they even exist. If you need them they're there.”

The siblings nodded and then threw themselves at their father who wrapped his arms around them tightly, his chin rested on Ezra's head.

“We love you, Daddy.” Said Cressida into his waistcoat clad chest.

After Gloria's death Rush had resigned himself to never having a family, no children, no new love, not even a dog, but then Cressida had charged into his life and given him everything. She'd brought Chloe and himself together and without her they'd never have found Ez. Rush loved his children and hated the idea of leaving them alone on the ship but he knew they were strong and even more stubborn than he was, if anyone could live and prosper it was them.

“I love you too.” He meant that, Nicky had never loved anything or anyone as much as his children.

He squeezed them tight, reluctant to every let go of them. Rush was two seconds from calling the whole thing off and awaking Young back up, he could survive four years with the Colonel... no, he couldn't; they'd kill each other.

“We'll be fine, Daddy.” Cress assured him.

“I know you will. And don't start fighting over the command chair again.” There was a slight chuckle in his voice but Ez and Cressida knew it was all for his benefit.

“We won't.” Cress told him.

“We probably will.” Added Ez.

Eventually Cress and Ezra pulled away from their father knowing that if they didn't force him into his chamber he'd never let go of them. Rush stepped into the chamber beside between Chloe and Varro.

“Sleep well, Daddy.” Was the last thing Rush heard before the door fell shut and forced him into slumber.

Ezra nor Cress spoke, they just walked silently to the bridge with Vulpine trailing behind them, Cress sat down in the command chair while Ezra took his usual place at the helm and Vulpine curled up on the floor.

“Are you ready for this, little brother?”

“Four years of bonding with my sister, of course I'm ready.”

Cress snorted and then Ez put Destiny into FTL travel. It was going to be a long four years.

Chapter Text

Three months had gone by since they'd all left the galaxy and Destiny seemed almost eerily quiet without the crew running around the halls. Ez and his older sister spent most of their time on the bridge or in their quarters since all but an tenth of the ship had been shut down to conserve as much power as possible so there weren't many other places on board they could go, just the Control Interface Room, hydroponics, the gate room, the few halls that connected them and if needed the engine rooms; the two of them didn't really need more. They sailed through the cosmos, just them, an arc, in an ocean of dark, no stars to light the universe around them nor planets or natural satellites, just a bleak wasteland. Despite all that though the FTL glow provided a beauty few humans had ever had the good fortune to witness.

In very little time the two had learnt to read one another almost effortlessly so some days they hardly spoke, just interpreted what the other needed and set to work. Cress scribbled on her arms as usual with, her feet swinging over the arm of Destiny's command chair, heels almost scraping Vulpine's ears. In that moment all was silent, she could hardly even hear the engines purr, the footfalls of her brother soon broke that silence though. When he came into view the boy held three small plates of food and had that look in his unique eyes, the one that said he was thinking, always thinking. Ezra knew his sister was too much like their father, a Daddy's girls, if he didn't sit a plate in front of her like his Mother had to with Rush Cressida would never eat. He set one of the plates down on the floor before Vulpine who ate quickly and hungrily before pushing another into Cress' hands. He was pleased when his sister just started to eat without trying to set it aside or announce she wasn't hungry.

Cressida was wrapped up in Eli's blue hoodie, it was much too large on Cress' tiny frame, almost comically so but it smelt of him and kept her warm.

“Thank you, Ez.” She said softly as her little brother slumped down onto the floor beside the Elcress and tucked his legs under himself, he quickly noticed she picked at her food more than eat it.

“Seriously what's wrong with you, Cress?” She said nothing. “It's the nightmares isn't it, don't lie to me, sister. I'm the only one you ever told about them remember?”

“I know and thank you. You're right, it's them, I still don't know why I remember them. I shouldn't be able to, who knows, maybe the Nakai installed some kind of backup ability into us.” Cress fixed her eyes Vulpine who ate merrily.

“It's the one about setting the fire, isn't it.” It wasn't a question.

“Yes. It's not even the actual act I remember, it's heat, it's the fact I was pleased because it had satisfied the Nakai.”

“None of that is your fault, they forced you, Cress. And look at it this way, if you'd not done what they wanted then they wouldn't have caught up and Mom and Pops wouldn't have found me.”

She knew her brother was right, and even if Cress could have changed things she wouldn't if it meant her brother wouldn't have been there with her.

“I know it wasn't my fault but it's always going to feel that way and even when I did turn on them, I could have killed you.” There was a single second of pause before her eyebrow raised. “And since when did you start calling Daddy Pops?”

“That's what the guy who works for Uncle Jack calls him, always asks 'how's your Pops and the others', I kinda like it.” Ezra set his empty plate down beside the remnants of Vulpine's and shuffled closer to the command chair. “You should visit Earth, you'd like it. It's just like Mom said.”

Finally Cress looked at her brother.

“Someone needs to stay on the ship... and, I want the first time I go to Earth to be as me.”

Ez chuckled. “You're too much like Pops, even if we do get to go back to Earth you'll want to stay on Destiny. I think Mom might want to stay too.”

“Do you?”

“As long as I get to visit Earth when I want of course I do. This ship is our home, we were basically born here, Cress.”

“Good. Now shut up and let me finish eating, I like the quiet.”

“Yep, way too much like Pops.”

XXXX

Since they'd had complete access to Destiny's system the siblings had been able to have a pretty good look through the data banks, they'd not got even a third of the way through but it was more than they had a two years ago when everyone had gone into stasis. They'd not found anything of real importance as of yet but Cress and Ez wouldn't write it off as useless until they'd gone through absolutely everything.

At the age of fourteen Cressida had found her body starting to develop, just minor things but she knew that soon enough her body would grow inviting curves just like those of her Mother's. Ez – who was eleven – hadn't changed all that much, his hair was longer making him look like their father and his heterochromia had somehow become even more prominent; he also seemed to be in the beginnings of a growth spurt.

Speaking of Ezra, he'd gone to check on the stasis chambers almost an hour ago and she'd not seen him since, Cress would have used her radio but she could see her brother's on the command chair; walking off without it had become a habit of late and she'd started to wonder if she should just tie it to him. With a sigh she went down the halls to her parent's stasis room but her brother was nowhere to be found.

“He gets his vanishing act from you, Daddy.” She told the frozen form of her father with a soft smile. “And he says I'm too much like you.” She rested her hand on his chamber. “I love you, Daddy, you to Mom.”

With that she was off to the other rooms to find her brother, if she remained before her parents any longer she'd cry; Cress missed them so much. The teenager quickly searched the other stasis rooms, the sleeves of Eli's blue hoodie constantly falling down her arms forcing her to roll them back up. The fabric was warm and soft, it even still smelt of Eli – which was surprising – but it was much too big on her little frame; she'd started to wonder if she could use it as a tent. Just as her mind started to wander off to Eli and his stupid jokes Cress came across her little brother in stasis room three, he sat cross-legged on the floor hunched over with his unique eyes looking at Ingrid Watson the pregnant civilian among their crew.

“Ez? Ez, what are you doing?” Cress crouched down by his side, eyes glanced between her brother and Ingrid.

“Just thinking.” He told her softly.

“What about?” She settled by his side. “You look like something is bothering you.”

Ezra didn't speak for a long time and Cress started to grow concerned, she'd never seen her brother like this, he was usually so full of life just like their Mother but in the last few weeks he'd started to grow quiet. In the beginning she'd just dismissed it as the mood changes of a boy nearing puberty but sat there with him she could see it was something else; their bodies may have seemed child-like but their minds certainly weren't.

“Pops loves Mom. Colonel Young loves TJ, Varro loves TJ. Greer is with Lisa.” He went quiet again after that.

“Ezra, I don't understand.”

He pointed up at Ingrid and her small rounded belly. “That's what people are meant to want right? Find a girl, settle down and have children, live happily ever after.”

“I think everyone wants a family. I still don't understand though, Ez.”

“I like the sound of that, the happily ever after bit, maybe even have kids. The problem is the... the find a girl part.”

Cress smiled softly. “I know that the only person on the ship near your age is me, but we'll get to Earth and you'll meet someone. Not everyone has to travel into the recesses of space to find love like Daddy did.”

“No, it's not that it-” He cut himself off and went quiet again but Cress just waited patiently and eventually he carried on. “I don't like them.” Ez glanced up at his sister.

“How do you know that until you've met them?”

 

“No- I think the Nakai did something to me, twisted things.” Tears started to fall from his eyes and in an instant Cress had him wrapped up in her arms. “I've never been right, I just didn't realise it until recently. I don't like them, Cress.”

Suddenly it all clicked into place and she finally understood what her little brother was struggling to tell her.

“Oh.” Ez clung to her. “Ezra, there's nothing wrong with you.”

“There has to be.”

“No, there is nothing wrong with you. Just because you don't know what it is doesn't mean it's wrong.” His head left her shoulder and glance up at her for a moment, eyes red. “You're gay.”

“I'm what?”

“Gay, and you're not alone, Camile is too. It refers to someone whose sexually attracted to someone of the same gender. That's what you're trying to say isn't it? That you don't like girls.”

He didn't speak, just nodded.

“I asked Camile about it once, I think I insulted her actually but that was because I didn't understand. She said that it's not a choice, not something you can control, apparently you're just born that way. I don't know why and I get the feeling that no one does, but Camile said that there are lots of people on Earth who are, men and women. I won't pretend to fully understand it since I don't feel that way, you'd be better talking to Camile, but I do know there's nothing wrong with you. It's just who you are, Ezra. So please don't cry, you're still my brother.”

“You're sure they didn't do something to me?” He asked while wiping tears from his cheeks.

“Yes. You're eyes, me fighting back and helping to save the ship, they're all things that just happened, this is no different.”

“Thank you.”

The siblings sat there in utter silence for a long time, just the sound of soft breathing filling the room until their legs started to cramp, that finally forced Cress to speak.

“Come on, my legs have gone dead and Vulpine probably thinks we've abandoned him.” Ez stood and helped his sister up with him. As they left the stasis room for the bridge Cressida grinned. “So, if you only just realised it recently does that mean there's some cute guy on Earth?”

Ezra just grinned.

Chapter Text

Brown eyes opened slowly and the world drifted back to Rush as though walking up from a deep dreamless sleep and the first thing they found was his sweet Chloe smiling up at him. Young was already awake but Rush couldn't have cared less about that, he quickly stepped from his stasis chamber and took the woman he loved into his arms. Their lips met quickly, soft but needy, their slumber had only been a few seconds to them but their minds knew the truth and felt the urge to be close; to touch.

Morning, Sweetheart.” He said when they finally parted; other chambers opened but neither paid any attention.

“Morning, Nicky.” She greeted. Chloe's arms snaked around his neck keeping him close as she breathed him in.

She'd hated him at first, thought him arrogant and self-centred with too much ego but now that Chloe knew him and the hardships he'd been through, knew how caring and loving Nicky really was she couldn't imagine her life without him. Chloe loved him with everything she had.

Hey!” Announced Eli the second his chamber opened andhe'd stretched, Eli was just happy to wake up along with everyone else.

Suddenly there was a snarl and out the corner of his eye Eli could see Varro go into instant fight or flight mode. From the doorway came a large fur covered animal with sharply pointed ears, it had to be the size of a fully grown tiger possibly bigger and Eli's eyes went wide.

“Enough, Vulpine.” Said a deep Scottish voice that was soon followed by Ezra. “You know them.”

At the age of fourteen Ezra had shot up, almost taller than Rush and his hair had grown longer to hang around his face in a soft of organised mess, it didn't quite brush his shoulders like his father's but it was certainly getting there. His clothes were better fitting as well, as though it had been tailored, of course nothing like the detailed work of a professional but they fitted well, more surprising was that his pants seemed to be made of a purple-black leather, as were his boots.

When Cress entered the room Eli's eyes went wide, her legs seemed to go on forever and were wrapped in the same purple-black leather that her brother's were. Her stomach flat under a gold-bronze top that had clearly been reworked from the outfits Chloe had made for her long ago. Her hair hung around her porcelain face in loose natural curls and her eyes had only become even more dazzling; almost azure. If ever asked Eli would deny it but her eyes weren't all he'd been staring at, she still wore his blue hoodie – though over the years it had faded somewhat – it had zipped up to just under what really had his attention, her impressive chest. Cressida no longer looked like a child but a young woman of sixteen, the gold-bronze tank top had a deep V that unintentionally showed off her cleavage.

When his mind finally snapped back to him Eli realised that Chloe and Rush had enveloped their children – their teenagers – in their arms. Colonel Young kept a close eye on Vulpine who had become undeniably huge. After a time the parents finally released their children Cressida beamed.

“Eli!”

She raced to him and jumped full force into his arms almost knocking him over. Cress clung tightly to him as though they'd not seen each other in years and Eli quickly remembered that she hadn't.

“Missed you.” She told him.

“I missed you too, Cress.” Carefully he set her down on her feet, God she's beautiful.

“Where is TJ?” Asked Colonel Young, he'd been quiet so long that everyone had almost forgotten he was there.

The siblings looked at one another for a moment with a smile before Cress answered his question.

“We woke her up about a week and a half ago.” She could see Emmett was about to erupt with questions so got in there first. “Since we had the time to go through Destiny's system we've been looking for an ALS cure, it took three and a half years but we found something. At first we didn't think it would work so we woke TJ up to help us with all the medical details and after a week or so we had a plan. TJ went back to sleep while we worked on and then woke her up a week later, she checked everything over and-” Cress cut herself off so Ezra finished for her.

“We cured her. She's in the infirmary resting, you should go and see her.”

No more than a second later Young and Varro were gone from the room, quiet footfalls being the only indication they'd ever been there.

“You cured TJ?” Asked Chloe in disbelief.

ALS had loomed over Tamara for years and they'd all known they were running out of time to save her life. It haunted not only TJ but Varro and Colonel Young as well, all that horror and anticipation had ended though, the Rush siblings had figured it out though; TJ would live.

“We did.” Smiled Ezra.

While Rush agreed it was wonderful that Tamara had been cured but he'd found himself focused on Vulpine and his substantial size. Last he'd seen the creature was around the equivalent of a fully grown Labrador but he'd far surpassed that in four years, he was certainly fully grown now and Rush was thankful they'd had Vulpine since he was a cub because otherwise Rush seriously doubted they could have tamed him.

“When did Vulpine get so big?”

“He just suddenly shot up about a year into the galaxy crossing and sort of didn't stop until he got to holy crap size.”

“He seems to have a pack mentality as we first believed so he's of no danger to anyone unless I tell him to be, he sees me as the Alpha.” She turned to the creature and bent to tickle him behind his ears and in her best baby voice said. “Whose my deadly little boy?”

Chloe smiled when Cress had to step backwards to avoid Vulpine knocking her over, Vulpine wasn't letting her go no he'd got her attention. Ezra took the opportunity to cuddle into his mother's side.

“We missed you, Mom.”

“I know, darling, but we're back now.”

XXXX

Soon after everyone had woken up and got their bearings Colonel Young had called a meeting for the crew, well, most of the crew; the civilians had been allowed to relax in their quarters. Young stood dead centre of the mess hall with Scott and Greer at his side, Chloe and Camile sat with Eli at the table Cress and Ez perched on while Varro and TJ sat at the metal table beside them. Rush leaned against the wall right beside the door as though ready to escape at any moment; Vulpine sat at his feet. Though Young resonated authority it was the Rush siblings that spoke.

“We've been in this galaxy – which we're calling the Jumble Galaxy due the mess of the place – for about a month and a half, we would have woken you sooner but we've been focused on TJ and then there's the solar flare issue. Ezra and I decided it would be best to avoid waking the crew until we were certain that the flares hadn't caused any damage to our systems or risk to you all. This is the third solar system in this galaxy.”

“In the second there were a lot of gated planets so we've been gathering fresh water and food, even found some animals hence the cool pants.” Ezra gestured to his leather covered legs.

“There's jerky too thanks to Vulpine's hunting skills, stake as well.”

“Oh you are a goddess, woman.” Grinned Eli, his mouth watered at the thought of a stake.

He'd not intended that to sound so strange, or at least it sounded strange to him but Cress and the others didn't seem to notice. Eli had been listening to the meeting of course but he just couldn't stop thinking about how grown up she looked, tall, slender and Eli hated at how many times he'd looked at her cleavage.

“Once everyone has had some time to adjusted to being awake again we'll get going on breakfast.” Added Ezra.

“Great!” Varro clapped his hands together. “I'm starving.”

“I'm sure everyone will be grateful for something to eat.” Said Camile. “It'll help people ease back into being aboard Destiny.”

“Cressida,” began Colonel Young. “what is the situation with Stargate Command?”

“Uncle Jack is awaiting you, Sir, you're to use the stones tomorrow morning and he wants Camile to build a rota for the crew to go back and see their family.” Camile nodded but said nothing.

“Good, I'll check in with the General tomorrow and hopefully we can get back to figuring out how to get home.”

“We're sorry, Sir. Me and my sister tried to get the gate to dial Earth but we've not really gotten anywhere, especially after finding we could cure TJ.”

“You two did the right thing.” Chloe smiled at her son and daughter. “You saved TJ.”

“Thank you.”

Tamara had said that so many times before but she felt the need to remind them. They'd not just saved her life but saved her from suffering in silence too.

XXXX

It was very late when Rush walked onto the bridge from the Control Interface Room, most were in the mess hall dining on the fresh meat that his children – his teenagers – had procured with the aid of Vulpine but Rush wanted to get back to work. For a few moments he just stood there and watched as Ez and Cress worked in a content silence, they were very efficient. Ezra was taller than his sister now, not by much but taller nevertheless and it was clear that they'd become almost inseparable over the last four years – not that anyone could blame them. Vulpine nudged his hand in search of tickles behind his long rabbit-like ears, of course the animal quickly got what he wanted.

“You two should go relax.” Cressida and Ez looked up as he made his way to them with Vulpine following him. “I'm awake now and you've more than earned some sleep.”

“It's alright, Daddy.” Smiled Cressida. “We're fine, you still need to get your bearings.”

Rush pushed a stray strand of hair behind his sixteen year old daughter's ear with a soft smile.

“Bearings got, now go and relax. You've been working solid for four years.”

“Alright.” Smiled Ezra.

“Thanks, Daddy.”

Nicholas pulled his children into a hug and held them tight for a moment before Cress leaned up and pressed a kiss to her father's cheek.

“Just don't stay up all night, okay Pops?”

Rush released them and nodded. With a come on Vulpine thrown over her shoulder the Rush siblings were gone leaving their father to settle in and get back to work.

Chapter Text

Ezra found his mother in the Control Interface Room, fingers hard at work at the terminal. She didn't even notice him until he cleared his throat.

“Hey, Mom.”

Chloe beamed the moment she laid eyes on him and pulled her son into her arms.

“Hello, Sweetheart.” Chloe squeezed him. “You're getting so tall, you'll be bigger than your father soon.”

“Guess I get height from your side of the family.” Ez chuckled. “He kicked me and Cress off the bridge, said we deserved to relax.”

“And he's right, you and your sister safeguarded us for years. Now we're awake you two don't have to do everything on your own.” Chloe pressed a kiss to his forehead before stepping back and looking down to the screen, Ez stayed close to his mother's side. “I was just looking at the new solar system before I went to bed. You wouldn't think I'd be so tired after being in stasis.”

“It's because your metabolism has kicked back into action. Please remind Pops to eat something, you know what he's like.”

“I will, Sweetheart, I'll take him something in a little while. You should go and get some sleep, Angel.”

“I think you're right. Night Mom.”

“I love you, Ezra.”

“I love you too.”

XXXX

Almost half a week went by and the Destiny crew settled back into life aboard the ancient vessel easily. TJ had gone from strength to strength and kept a close eye on Ingrid Watson and her unborn child, the baby was healthy and growing happily. Rush – as usual – spent most of his time on the bridge working hard to find a way of dialling Earth, progress was slow but they were much further ahead thanks to Ezra's and Cressida's four years of hard work.

After a long day when most had gone to bed Cressida went to the Observation Deck as had become her custom, she liked to just look out at the stars as they sailed past, the peace. She ground to a halt though upon seeing Eli with his arms rested on the long silver railing, he had his back to her and looked strange without his hoodie.

“Hey.” She greeted with a smile that was quickly returned. “Thought you'd be doing something clever with the Kinos or sleeping by now.”

“Nah, just trying to finish processing that four years have gone by. You've grown up, my Mom-”

“She's okay!” She said a little faster and louder than intended. “I asked Command to keep an eye on her for you. I asked the same for Grandmother for Mom.”

“She's alive?” Asked Eli with concern. “She's happy?”

“Yes, Eli, she is. She misses you and I don't blame her, I missed you too.” Cress smiled up at him.

“Thank you for checking on her... and if stasis hadn't seemed like all of two seconds then I'd have missed you as well.”

“Aww,” she grinned in jest. “you really know how to sweet talk a girl. I feel all special. Look, my sixteen year old heart is all aflutter.”

Eli smirked, sometimes Cressida's sarcasm surpassed her father's.

“Alright, alright, quit your snark.”

She took off the hoodie revealing her porcelain arms and that damn chest of hers, she held it out for him to take.

“You'll want this back.”

“It's okay, keep it. It looks better on you anyway.”

Brown eyes watched him with surprise, big and bright. “Are you sure?”

He nodded. “Of course. Keep it, I'll survive.”

“Thank you, Eli. You really are sweet.” The next thing Eli knew Cress had pulled him into a hug. “And I really did miss you. I nearly went mad with only Ez for company, he can be a terror. About a year ago we went through a huge asteroid field, I think the galaxy was much larger but something happened, whole solar systems destroyed leaving nothing but floating rubble. Anyway, he decided to Ninja his way through... in the middle of the night... while I was sleeping... at full speed.”

He could feel Cressida's chest against his own and Eli desperately tried to rip his attention away from it, thankfully only a second later she pulled back from their hug but her smile didn't fade; if anything it grew.

“Oooh, I have something for you. Come on!”

Cress grabbed his hand and tugged him down the halls, Eli just let her.

XXXX

As expected Chloe found the man she loved alone on the bridge sat in the command chair and scribbling in his notebook as she had every night that week.

“You let everyone have the night off?”

“I must be going soft.” Came his easy reply when Chloe came into view, a plate of food in her hand that was quickly set down in his lap. “Don't tell anyone.”

“Eat something.”

“Nah, I'm not hungry, Sweetheart.” He set the plate aside.

“Nicky-”

“Hush.”

The Chief Scientist pulled her down to straddle him, his lips locked to her own quickly as a hand cupped her cheek. It was a kiss both gentle and passionate. Closer Rush tugged her by the back of Chloe's thighs and she couldn't resist rocking her hips which earned her a growl.

“I love you, Nicky.” She whispered against his lips.

“I love you too, Sweetheart.”

An eager hand slipped inside her grey yoga pants in search of her wet core, Chloe gasped in need and quickly set to work opening his belt.

XXXX

Cressida continued to tug him down the halls and around corners, Lieutenant James saw them at one point and flashed Eli a look he couldn't quite describe; it wasn't overly important at the time though so he ignored it. Eventually they came to Cress' quarters and the doors slid open easily. Her room had changed somewhat since he'd last seen it – which in all honesty wasn't overly surprising – there were little thing's she'd collected or built over the years as well as something that looked suspiciously like Pyrite. In the far corner sat a couch like object that Eli had seen in only a few of the rooms on which Vulpine had curled up in a huge fluffy ball; he assumed it was the equivalent of a doggy bed.

Finally she released his larger hand and bent over to retrieve something from beside her bed, Eli certainly did not gaze at her beautiful backside in those tight black-purple leather pants of hers. When she rose and turned her arms were full of the same leather, she handed it over quickly with a big smile.

“Here, if you're letting me keep your hoodie you'll need a replacement.”

Eli unfurled the pile of leather to reveal a dark jacket with thick cuffs and collar, it looked like dragon skin.

“Cress, this is awesome!”

“You think? After Vulpine was done hunting we had a lot of skin to make leather so I thought you'd like something new. We grew out of our old clothing so we needed to learn to make more. I taught myself to sew, Ez is useless.” She grinned. “I hope it fits.”

Quickly he slipped it on, cold leather brushing his arms softly, it looked hard but was actually soft and smooth.

“It fits perfectly.”

Cress stepped back to take in the man before her, it fitted him surprisingly well considering she'd not had any measurements to work from, a little loose in the arms maybe but that was hardly a hindrance and it paired well with his scruffy brown hair.

“You look cute.”

“Thanks, this might be the best gift I've ever gotten.”

“Yeah, right.” Cress scoffed.

“No, really. No one's ever made me anything before, unless you count my Mom's cookies. This must have taken ages.”

Eli enveloped her in a hug, the leather creaked. When he pulled back their eyes locked... and something changed. Time seemed to slow almost to a crawl, have Cressida's eyes always been so deep? So beautiful? Her tongue darted out to wet her lip and Eli focused on the action, so small and simple but it had all of his attention. Then suddenly his lips were pressed to hers, soft and gentle as his hand cupped her cheek. Cress pressed her body ever closer to his as her hands snaked up to grip the lapels of his new leather jacket, unconsciously she shuffled backwards until her legs hit the bed and they tumbled down onto the sheets, lips still locked. Quickly she started to shove the jacket from Eli's shoulders and that was when his mind snapped back to him; violently and all at once.

“No, no, no.” He shot back as though he'd been burnt. “We can't, you're sixteen, eleven, you know what I mean. Oh God, and Rush is your father. We can't” Eli spoke quickly and all in one breath.

“Why not?” He hated how hurt Cressida sounded.

“We just can't.”

Eli almost fell from the bed and scurried out the room. I shouldn't have done that! I kissed her. I... oh God what have I done? Cressida was left alone on her bed. Tears fell from her eyes.

Chapter Text

Two afternoons after 'the incident', as Eli had mentally dubbed it, and he'd been avoiding Cressida at all cost; Rush too. Avoiding her was cowardly, Eli knew that, but he just couldn't bring himself to face her, to see the look of sadness in her eyes. He'd hurt her, of course he'd not wanted that but he had and Eli felt awful because of it. Ever since Eli had left her alone in her quarters he'd found it difficult to concentrate, yet all the dark-haired genius could think about was how to apologise; he had to at some point. Of course he did, but for a little while Eli just wanted to stay in the Control Interface Room and hide.

Rush had him running a system diagnostic and since Eli had every intention of avoiding the bridge he'd leapt to work, Ezra had already flashed him several disappointed looks – which hadn't surprised Eli, she told her brother everything – Rush didn't seem to know though and Eli had breathed a huge sigh of relief at that. If Cress told her father anything then he was a dead man. About an hour later that dead man feeling came full force.

Stomps echoed down the hall, at first he'd thought it might have been Varro, Greer or Scott rushing after a problem – hoped it was one of them really – but then Rush thundered around the corner and Eli's stomach jumped into his throat. Suddenly with a growl and more strength that Rush's lean body seemed capable of, Eli found himself slammed against the hard metal wall by the scruff of his neck; his head hit the wall so hard that for a moment Eli thought his skull had cracked.

“You bloody fucking bastard!” Yelled Rush as though he were an angry animal.

Rush's accent was thick and rage had long since bubbled to the surface.

“I'm sorry! I'm so sorry.” Eli repeated like a mantra. “Please, Rush... please don't-”

“You stupid moron!”

Eli stopped dead at that. His bold eyes looked over the Scotsman with a more critical eye, all that anger he'd first seen had started to fade to something closer to chagrin for Eli.

“Wait, what?” Confusion coated the younger man's face.

Rush finally released him. “Are you bloody blind? Cressida is in love with you! She has been for years and you leave her crying and thinking she'd not good enough!”

Eli felt as though he'd tumbled into a parallel universe, how hard had Rush slapped his head against the wall? Had the Chief Scientist beaten him into unconsciousness and all of this was a dream? Eli held up his hands in puzzlement.

“Hold on, you're mad I stopped kissing Cress? Really?”

Rush sighed and raked a hand through his greying hair. If the whole mess with Cressida had happened when they first arrived on Destiny he'd have killed the younger man with his bare hands but Chloe had long ago had a calming effect on him and Eli felt relief at the prospect of not being murdered. Rush sighed again.

“Eli,” He began slowly, brown eyes locked on the floor. “I'll level with you. I can't really complain about the age difference, just look at me and Chloe. Aye, Cress is young but mentally she's older than you, and she knows her own mind. We can't treat her as though she's a child because she isn't. And... if I'm honest, I'm glad it's you. You're the only one worthy of her.”

Eli had never expected to hear that from anyone let alone Rush. He still wasn't sure what was happening but Rush's words flooded him with a sense of honour. Had Rush been replaced by an alien or something?

“Seriously?”

“She loves you, and I've seen the way you look at her... so grow a goddamn pair and tell her, because if you leave her in the state she is now I'll throw you out an airlock.” There was warning in his voice.

Yes, Nicholas Rush was a volatile genius that bordered on mad man but he loved his children and as much as he didn't want it to be true Cressida was his favourite. He loved that girl with everything he had and all he wanted was for her to be happy, for that Rush would set aside any other feelings he had.

“She can do better-” Eli started quietly once the shock had worn off but Nicholas cut him off.

“She doesn't want better, Eli, she wants you. I know my children, they don't keep secrets as well as they think they do. I know they were using my gun for target practice while we were asleep, I know they helped themselves to Brody's still, I know my son is gay and I know that all Cressida wants in the universe is you.”

There was a pause.

“I never thought you'd be talking me in to dating your daughter.” Said Eli slowly.

“Neither did I. At first that airlock was looking mighty inviting but Chloe talked me out of killing you." He sighed yet again, that was becoming a too common occurence. "Go on, I'll watch over the diagnostic.”

Eli nodded, Rush was right – always was – he did love Cress. The boy wonder turned to leave but just as he reached the threshold Rush's voice brought him to a stop.

“Eli, you make her cry again and-”

“I know, you'll throw me out the airlock.” He smiled.

“No, I'll skin you and then throw your body out the airlock.”

Eli swallowed as he left the room, that hadn't been an empty threat, Rush would kill him; and he'd take pleasure in it.

 

XXXX

 

Chloe saw Eli vanish around a corner towards the bridge as she made her way to the Control Interface Room, pleased to see he was still alive. She quickly found Rush with his back to her and easily slipped her arms around him, Rush turned in her arms and pulled the stunning young woman close.

“You didn't kill him then, Nicky.” There was a minor tone of jest in her voice.

Rush pressed a kiss to her pink lips. “No, seems not.” He breathed. “Guess I shouldn't have slammed his head into the wall-”

“Nicky!” She slapped his arm. “I told you to let me talk to him but no, he made your little girl cry.”

“He's been warned about doing it again.” Rush said flatly before resting his chin on top of her head.

“You did tell him we're okay with it though, right? Didn't just threaten him to within an inch of his life? We want the two of them happy not you hiding a body.” Chloe told him firmly but there was a smile there. “I really wish you'd let us both talk to him rather than going all protective Papa.”

Protective Papa?” There was bewilderment in his eyes which caused Chloe to chuckle.

“You do that, accept it.” She sighed and cuddled into his chest. “It's up to them now though and I know Eli will do the right thing, he loves Cress like you love yelling at Volker.”

“Aye and that's a lot.” The two chuckled.

“But she's still a teenage girl and too young for-”

“Do you honestly think I needed to tell Eli what would happen if he bedded our sixteen year old daughter?”

Chloe and Nicholas stood there for a time with a calm silence between them, Rush adored those moments where he could just hold Chloe close and breathe her in. Her body was always so warm and inviting, so soft and smooth. How she'd ever fallen in love with him Rush didn't know but he was grateful every single day that she had. One day they'd make it back to Earth and even though he didn't want Cress and Ezra to be planetless forever, Rush didn't know if anywhere but Destiny could be home his family anymore.

Chapter Text

Eli turned a corner in his rush to the bridge only to slam straight into Cressida who only just managed to stay on her feet thanks to Vulpine who stood as a huge solid force behind her. In hindsight Eli was greatful that Rush hadn't brought the animal with him into the Control Interface Room.

“Cress?”

There was a flash of worry in her beautiful brown eyes and it instantly sent his heart into his throat.

“Eli? Ezra said Daddy was looking for you, he-”

“He already found me, but it's all fine.” Interrupted Eli. “He actually helped me realise something.” The male genius said to himself more than Cressida.

“He didn't try to kill you?”

Eli shook his head slowly and took Cress' soft hand in his, so warm, so perfect, Eli couldn't resist, he had to press a kiss to her palm.

“It's fine, really.” He tried to ignore the spark-like pain in the back of his head where it was no doubt bleeding. Eli flashed her a smile but couldn't hide the nervousness in his voice. “Don't you want to ask what he helped me realise?”

“Okay, what did Daddy help you realise?”

She asked with little curiosity, Cress seemed to be in her own little bubble of 'how are you still alive' and really wasn't interested in what life lesson her father had no doubt bludgeoned into the math genius.

Eli took a breath, he felt ashamed for hiding from Cressida for so long, for hurting her, he felt confusion and was filled with reservation about his conversation with Rush. Eli even found himself honoured by Rush, … I'm glad it's you. You're the only one worthy of her. But stood there before the ebony haired beauty Eli just smiled at her, a sparkle in his eyes.

“That I love you.”

Her dazzling orbs grew wide but she never got to say anything because Eli had leaned in to press his lips to her own, at first she didn't kiss back but soon Cressida passed through the wave shock and into happiness.

Yes she was much, much, younger than him, genetically enhanced and altered but Eli didn't care about that any longer. Eli knew her mind was probably more mature than his was, that she was funny and sweet and kind and smart, not to mention beautiful... so, so beautiful. He loved her and as his mother had once told him, 'love works in even stranger ways than God'. Eli loved her and for some strange reason he couldn't figure out she apparently loved him too. When they finally separated the sixteen year old just stared at him.

“But-”

“I know.” He cut her off abruptly. “And I'm so sorry I hurt you, made you cry. I do love you, Cress. I think I always have but... you're just so young and I didn't want to take advantage. And you're gorgeous, you're way out of my league, I mean look at me, I'm just the geek that was still living with his Mom. But if Rush is right you don't care about any of that and as long as you're happy I don't think he does either. I love you.”

Eli had never confessed his love for someone before, the closest he'd ever come was when he'd told his Mom he loved her cookies but that didn't really count. Truth shone boldly in his eyes though, a silent message to Cress to please God forgive him, to know he really did love her. He stood there for what felt like an eternity before she finally spoke.

“And my Daddy helped you realise that?” There was still shock in her voice and frankly he'd not expected that to be the part of his confession she focused on.

“Yeah, I thought he was going to kill me – still might if I upset you again – but he just wants you happy.”

She grinned and shuffled closer to Eli until she could reach up and cup his stubble coated cheek.

“You better not upset me then.” With that she pressed her lips to his, soft and gentle, a chaste kiss but no less passionate than the ones they'd shared a few days earlier. “I love you too, Eli.”

How the hell did he get so lucky?

 

XXXX

 

A week or so went by and the crew of Destiny seemed to be relieved  that Eli and Cressida had finally settled down and stopped dancing around one another, a fair amount of rations had probably exchanged hands, everyone knew Brody and Volker had been the ringleaders for the betting. Eli and Cress didn't care though, they just enjoyed being together, at least as much as they could be.

Eli knew if he went too far with her Rush would kill him on principle. None of that meant he didn't get to hold her as they slept, her warm cheek on his chest. The math genius had felt rather self-conscious the first night they did that even though he'd thinned down a lot since ending up on Destiny, but Cress had soon put all his worries to rest, she didn't care what he looked like – save for that adorable little grin of his – Cress just wanted him for him.

They'd gone to bed early for a change and as had become their norm they'd shared a bed. Eli couldn't sleep, he wasn't exactly uncomfortable it was just that he'd had her pressed up against him all night, her rather impressive chest to be exact. That and Vulpine snored. Loudly. About twenty minutes after he'd managed to deafen himself to the bunny-dog's snores and his eyes had just fallen shut ready to carry him off to the land of nod, Cressida sat bolt upright and scared the living daylights out of her boyfriend; that word is going to take some getting used to.

“Oh, that could work!”

She exclaimed into the darkness loud enough to wake even a snoring Vulpine, the animal leapt to his feet in instant fight mode until the world came back to him and he saw their wasn't any danger, no one to maul. Eli wiped at his eyes as he propped himself up on an elbow, brown hair sicking out at all angles.

“What are you talking about, Cress?”

It wasn't the first time he'd woken up to her basically shouting eureka! Due to the genetic engineering she and her brother seemed to have the ability to keep their subconscious mind working on problems whether they were awake or asleep – a skill Rush was clearly jealous of- it was probably also the reason Ezra said he didn't dream.

“I have an idea to get back to Earth.” That got Eli's body to snap to fully conscious, his eyes were wide. Cress turned to face him in their bed. “I need you to go get Ezra and take him to the bridge. I'll get Daddy and Mom.”

Before she'd even finished her sentence Cress was out of bed and pulling on her black-purple leather pants in a rush to get dressed. As soon as she'd put her top on Vulpine padded over to the door and booped the door release with his nose – clever boy – then waited for his Misteress.

“Eli, now please, this is important. I know I woke you up and you're not good when you're sleepy but please hurry up, honey.”

The girl with ebony hair leaned over the bed and pressed her lips to his for a brief moment and then she was gone along with Vulpine. Eli found himself nodding to an empty room as the last remnants of sleep left him, he stretched almost sinfully and then finally managed to clamber out of bed to pull his jeans over his blue boxers.

 

XXXX

 

I stood there in the blackboard corridor flanked on both sides by what I'd come to think of as the 'main crew' of Destiny while the scientists tried to explain Cressida's plan to everyone without a phD. I'd been pretty good at high school science but that had been a lifetime ago before the Air Force and becoming a Colonel, and frankly I didn't understand much of what they were saying. There was so much math in there that after 'dial Earth' my eyes sort of glazed over, the Rush family and Eli had spent the last seven hours talking about it – I know, I counted – before they decided to finally share with me and the others. Cress and Ez – as usual – seemed awake and motivated, a trait they no doubt got from Chloe while Rush kept pointing to different lines and symbols in the equations they'd precisely written on the walls.

Somehow through my haze I managed to glance up at Lieutenant Scott and Sergeant Greer and as expected they shared my dumbfounded expression, hopefully Eli and Chloe would simplify it a little for everyone who wasn't a scientist or created to be a genius.

One thing was for certain though, all of them seemed on board with the idea – which was a miracle in itself – even Volker had remained quiet and appeared supportive. Ezra had hardly spoken since they'd all been called into the blackboard corridor, too busy scribing down the equations with his back to everyone; turned out pink chalk was all they'd got left. Even though I didn't understand half of what they were telling me I knew this was our only real shot for getting home and I for one was looking forwards to the chance at some new underwear, and seeing my pay after our little stint in space.

Me and Rush had our problems – trying to kill each other for instance – but his children might have just saved all our lives. Ez and Cressida didn't seem to want to admit it but I and everyone else knew that going to Earth would be good for them, it might even convince Cress to stay, that girl was far too much like her father in my opinion. All of those were thoughts for another day though. Don't count you chickens before they hatch and all that.

After God only knew how long of them talking I felt my legs go numb, no, that was wrong, it was more like I sort of noticed they were when my stomach rumbled. I needed them to stop, the general idea I got and we could talk about it more after some real sleep.

“Okay, okay.” I said while my hands gestured for them to shut up. “Is there any chance of blowing up the ship with this plan?” There was a pause that I didn't find comforting.

Chloe stepped forwards. “There's always a risk, Colonel Young, but we think that we can make sure it's only a tiny risk.”

Again, I didn't find that overly comforting.

“As long as we calculate correctly.” Added Eli.

“And life doesn't screw us over, of course.” Said Ezra rather unhelpfully, I could practically hear Camile raise a not at all pleased eyebrow; would have been comical under different circumstances.

I sighed. “Alright. I'll inform General O'Neill, Rush you're coming too.”

“Fine,” Grumbled the Chief Scientist. “though it might be an idea to let me explain to Colonel Carter since her head won't explode.”

Ahh the Rush smugness, I wondered where that got to.

“Uncle Jack's not the best when it comes to maths as you've probably noticed.” Added Cress in a nostalgic tone.

I could sense us starting off down a tangent and quickly pulled us all back, Alice could go by herself down the rabbit hole.

“Colonel Carter or not, you're explaining it to Stargate Command and they're going to sign off before any of you start working on it. If we lose that gate we're all dead.”

“I'll try and keep people calm.” Said the voice of reason that was Camile Wray. “As soon as everyone else hears about a plan to get home they'll be demanding we just do it.”

She was right, Camile usually was at the end of the day even though I didn't want to admit that.

“Scott, Greer, if the civilians cause a problem try to handle it without a show of force, I don't need another mutiny.”

That really was the last thing I needed. Scott and Greer nodded as I knew they would and sounded off with their yes sir's. We had a plan. We had hope. It still amazed me that Cressida and Ezra had been created to help the Nakai destroy us and take over Destiny and yet, there they were saving us all again. Looking back I still wouldn't have blindly welcomed Cress into our crew, protecting us all was my primary mission, but I'm glad she and Ez are now part of that 'us'. I don't care how bloody redacted or classified it gets, when we get home – because I have faith that we will get home – my report is going to be filled with every single thing those two have done to save us, every selfless and painful act. They're more human than any of us.

Chapter Text

Nicholas and Colonel Young had swapped with two men named Private Darrow and Corporal Summers according to their uniforms, one tall and blonde that housed Rush's consciousness and the other an almost perfect carbon copy of Greer. They were quickly lead down hallways and up flights of stairs all grey and seemingly endless as with every government base, all perfectly forgettable. When they finally reached Jack's office the Private leading them knocked loudly and waited for the grunted 'come in' before he pushed the door open and let the two men inside.

“...The last three weeks, Sir.” Finished a man in full air force uniform as the Private closed the door behind them.

“Ahh, Rush, Everett.” Said O'Neill who stood motionless – and probably bored – behind his desk.

“General.” Greeted Colonel Young while Rush remained silent.

“Colonel Davis, you remember Colonel Young.”

“Of course, pleasure to see you again.”

He held out his hand for Young to shake and Nicholas resisted the urge to make some sarcastic comment about 'seeing' him again. Rush had heard of Paul Davis, a liaison from the Pentagon who'd been involved with the Stargate Program pretty much since day one, he'd been a Major back then and had mainly worked with George Hammond and SG-1 when on site; Rush couldn't remember much else. Reluctantly he shook the dark—haired Colonel's hand when it was thrust out towards him, Paul smiled.

“I've heard about your work with Destiny, the reports are truly fascinating.”

“Thanks.” Muttered the disinterested Scotsman.

“I'll leave you all too it. General, Colonel, Doctor Rush.”

Paul quickly packed up his documents from Jack's desk into a briefcase and left without another word. Rush liked him, he knew when to shut up and go away. As soon as the door clicked shut behind Colonel Davis, Jack dropped into his desk chair and looked up at Young and Rush expectantly.

“We know how to get back to Earth.” Deadpanned Rush, no easing into it just boom problem solved.

There was a split second pause where O'Neill tried to figure out if he'd heard Doctor Rush correctly – frankly Nicholas found it mildly amusing – and then he leaned to the side past Young and looked to the door.

“Davis!” He shouted hoping the liaison could still hear him, after a few seconds of nothing he called out to the Private guarding the door instead. “Private!” The door opened. “Go get Davis and bring him back here.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Almost as quickly as he had appeared the Private was gone again in pursuit of Colonel Davis. Young raised an eyebrow but no one said a word for the thirty or so seconds it took for Davis to return. The blonde Private shut the door behind the dark-haired man and Paul set down his briefcase again.

“Was there something, General O'Neill?” He asked polity.

“You're good with numbers, know what you're talking about when it comes to tech. Be my stand in Sam and listen to this.”

“Alright, happy to help.”

Paul folded his arms over his chest and turned to face Young and Rush. There was something about Davis that reminded Nicholas of his son but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Rush spent about fifteen minutes explaining what Cressida had come up with as slowly and as simply as possible but he could tell that Jack still didn't get it, the man was a pilot and a solider, science had never been his strong suit. When he finished there was a second or two of pause and then Jack looked to Paul with an expression that said go on then, explain.

Paul took a breath. “You'd be better talking to Colonel Carter, Sir, or maybe Doctor Jackson. However, it sounds to me like they want to channel the solar energy Destiny uses to re-charge and power it's systems into the gate and use that as a power supply to dial Earth.”

Rush was pleased at least one person in the room understood what he was saying.

“It's obviously just a rough idea at the moment. I've got Cress, Chloe and Eli running the numbers again.” He cleared his throat. “There's also the issue that the planet Iccarus base was on had a whole different composition to Earth and we have no access to substitutes currently.”

“Is there any way we could perhaps mine asteroids or other planets for such things and essentially build our own?” Asked Davis.

“That was Ezra's theory.” Answered the grumpy Chief Scientist.

“I'm not even gonna pretend I know what you're all talking about. Seems to me that whatever happens here it's going to come at a huge risk to Destiny and Earth.” Jack looked up to Paul. “Davis, I need you to report to the Pentagon about this and then get me a transfer order for Rodney McKay, he's an annoying little Canadian but he's a geek like Carter.”

“No McKay, he tried to railroad my work with the ninth chevron because he didn't like the way I worked. Just leave him in the Pegasus Galaxy where he belongs-”

“You're getting him.” Said Jack quickly leaving no room for argument. “It's easier to get him here form Atlantis than it would be Carter, she's still in command of the Hammond. I know you don't like him, hardly anyone does but he's a good scientist.” Rush grumbled something under his breath that no one heard and Young shot him a unpleased expression. Jack turned back to Colonel Davis. “Davis, I get the feeling you'll be spending most of your days here for a while, you'll have to download The Simpsons.”

Paul stifled a chuckle in order to remain his usual stoic self.

“Yes, Sir.”

Jack rose to his feet.

“Everett, Rush, I'll have cake waiting for you when you're back on Earth.”

 

XXXX

 

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months as the Homeworld Command searched for a planet such as the one Iccaus base had been on or materials to substitute another, it was very slow going and the civilians were starting to lose hope again; they all were. Rush had spent most of his time on Earth with McKay – much to his annoyance – while Eli and Cressida had dedicated their time to making sure the engines could cope with what they were asking them to do. Chloe had dubbed herself a 'drifter' and seemed to float between the bridge and Control Interface room; during the time Rush was aboard Destiny she'd been talking him out of killing Doctor McKay as well.

Young still had reservations about the whole idea but they had no other choice for getting home. General O'Neill had been on board several times in the last few weeks and still seemed to be non the wiser, he was a hero not a math guy, but his presence did wonders for crew morale, it showed that Earth hadn't forgotten them.

To be entirely honest Rush didn't care what Jack did as long as he, his children and his science team could carry on with their work. He'd seen the way Chloe had lit up at the prospect of returning to Earth, of being able to hug her mother in her own body, to introduce Cressida and Ez to their grandmother. And Rush was damn well going to make it happen for his beloved Chloe. If anyone deserved to be happy it was her. The stress had started to get to him and Nicholas had been snapping at almost everyone, at one point even Ez but he'd been apologetic only a few seconds after that.

The emergence of his stress snark had somehow resulted in Chloe gasping out his name as he thrust into her wet heat. How that woman had fallen in love with him still remained a mystery to him but Rush had long ago stopped caring how, the how wasn't important. What was important was the fact that she truly did love him; he'd never stop being grateful for that.

Suddenly she let out a strangled scream as she fell into her bliss and tugged Nicholas in after her, he only just had the mental capacity to pull out and avoid filling her with his seed. Panting she collapsed against his sweaty chest and just clung to him for a few moments in silence. His hands left her hips to snake around her thin body and keep her close as though she were a dream that would evanesce as though she'd never existed.

“Feel better?” She purred into his chest as a finger lightly drew little patterns against his skin.

“God yes!” He responded which made her smile.

“Just think, back on Earth there are condoms.”

Rush chuckled at that.

“Ooh fun.” That only made Chloe laugh, an angelic sound that vibrated through his torso.

“I love you, Nicky.”

“Aye, I love you to.”

The two lay there for a time in a gentle quietude, Rush's arms wrapped around her body and they were happy. After Gloria had died Rush hadn't thought he'd ever know happiness in any sense of the world again but then Chloe had come along and brightened his life. There were days when she'd be asleep next to him and he'd wonder what her life could have been like if they'd never come to Destiny, would she have been happier in that life? Surely there was someone better suited for her back on Earth, someone younger and better looking, someone she could have walked down the street with without being stared at. He knew Chloe loved him and she'd never care what others thought of their relationship, but Rush knew she could have done better. He couldn't dwell on that life though, they didn't exist in that other world they were in this one, they were on Destiny and the most beautiful woman in the universe had given him her heart.

Nicholas and Chloe had just started to nod off when the radio crackled and Cressida's voice echoed from it; that had become a common occurrence.

Daddy, I think we're good. Young's just come back and he says the Tok'ra have found a suable planet, it's already got a gate on it so we can gate there and then Earth.

She sounded excited and rightly so. The line stayed open and they could hear it change hands.

It's Earth or dead time, Pops.”

Oh, very comforting, Ezzy.”

I told you to stop calling me that!” Grumbled the younger Rush seemingly unaware his parents could still hear him.

No-”

Nicholas cut in abruptly, if he hadn't their little argument would have gone on for a good ten minutes.

“Would you two quit it!” The fell silent instantly, it hadn't been a question. Chloe would have called it his dominant father voice. “Your mother and I'll on the bridge soon, get everything started without me and keep an eye on Volker, he's an idiot. Rush out.”

He let the black radio fall against the bedsheets and pulled Chloe closer so as he could press his lips to her own, so soft, so perfect in every way.

“I think it's home time, Sweetheart.”

Chapter Text

General O'Neill, Colonel Paul Davis and Doctor Daniel Jackson stood at the bottom of the gate ramp at SGC in a neat little line as the the gate locked in incoming chevrons. Davis straightened his Air Force blue blazer and stood tall, the perfect image of a Colonel while Jack stood there with his hands in his pockets.

“Here we go boys, hold on to your asses.” Said Jack as he rocked back and forth on his feet.

“I think we're good, Jack.” Replied Daniel as blue burst forth behind the metal iris the gate then settled into a shimmering pool.

The voice of someone up in the control room chimed over the radio.

Wormhole established and stable.”

The line was left open for all to hear when Destiny sent confirmation through but all they heard was crackling.

“Why is this taking so long?” Grumbled General O'Neill.

“Distance, Sir.” Davis answered without taking his eyes from the gate.

“Huh?”

“What Paul is saying, Jack, is that the planet the Tok'ra found for the Destiny crew to use as a proxy may not be as far away as Destiny itself but it's pretty out there. The distance between the two gates means there's a time delay between sending and receiving messages. Give it a minute.”

O'Neill nodded slowly with that look on his face that said he got the idea but didn't quite understand the details, he opened his mouth to speak but Colonel Young interrupted.

Homeworld Command this is Destiny.”

Instantly a cheer went up around the gate and control room. Jack grinned while Davis and Jackson shook hands and beamed. General O'Neill pulled his radio off his belt and raised it to his lips.

“Everett, we're all here. You're coming through loud and clear. We're ready when you are.” Jack looked up to the control room. “Open the iris.”

The iris mechanics echoed around the room and shimmering blue bounced off grey walls. Everyone watched with eager anticipation, tensions rose until finally, finally, after so many years, Lieutenant Scott and Sergeant Greer stepped through to Earth. The two men looked around in awe for a moment and then Scott reached for his radio.

“Sir, we're on Earth. It's all good here, come on through.”

That was it, seconds later a flood of civilians, science staff and military personnel made their way through the gate and back to the world they'd started to think they'd never set foot on again. They were home. Some people cried as doctors lead them off for their check ups, they were truly home. Young, Rush, Chloe, Eli and the Rush children were dead last to come through the gate and just about everyone from Destiny's crew had been lead off to different parts of the base. The solider stationed in the room grew cautious when Vulpine followed them through but Cress kept him close to her side and they seemed to accept the animal wasn't a threat.

Cress cautiously looked around, she'd only ever know Destiny and hadn't even used the stones like her brother had, the air smelt different and the gravity even felt heavier. Despite all that though she couldn't deny her amazement at the new world. Cressida held onto Eli's hand tightly, she could practically feel him vibrating with happiness. All her worries melted away though when she noticed her little brother perk up out the corner of her eye, his eyes grew a little wider and he stood up perfectly straight which could have only meant one thing, he'd found a cute guy. She'd know her brother long enough to know that look and his type; male, dark-haired, bold eyes and strong without being overly muscular. How he'd gotten so picky while living on a spaceship where everyone thought of him and their cute nephew she didn't know but that was Ezra Alan Rush for you. Several of the gate room's occupants fitted Ezra's type – a surprising amount actually – but her guess was that the man stood between Jack and Daniel was the only that had his attention, he wore and Air Force uniform and had short black hair, even Cress had to admit he was rather cute, nice smile and not too tall either, maybe Eli's height. There was no doubt in Cressida's mind that he was the man Ez was all but drooling over and she didn't blame him, had she not fallen in love with Eli almost the second she'd met him Cress could see herself developing a healthy crush on the military man; oh my God me and my brother share a type!

“Cressida, Ezra,” began O'Neill as he stepped forwards and the gate shut off. “on behalf on Earth I'd like to officially welcome you to the planet. I think we all also thank you for saving the rest of our people.”

“We didn't do much.” Said Ez modestly.

“Yeah.” Agreed his sister. “Daddy did most of it... and Eli.”

Doctor Jackson stepped forwards up the ramp just a little and pushed his glasses up his nose.

“The way I hear it you had the idea. Sorry, you don't recognise me. I'm-” Cress cut him off.

“You're Daniel Jackson. We can tell from the way you speak and stand, same way we recognise Uncle Jack.”

Daniel chuckled. “You know one day we're going to have to stop underestimating you two.”

 

It was then that the cute guy Ezra had found drew some attention to himself, surprisingly he held out his hand for both Ez and Cress to shake which they found odd; no one had ever offered to shake their hands before.

“I'm Colonel Paul Davis with the Pentagon. I've been tasked with heading up the security detail assigned to you both as well and the crew's re-introduction to homeworld life. You know, cover stories and all that.” He flashed the siblings a smile.

“Davis has already had a room set up for you, I'm sorry but technically you're aliens in the eyes of our government and they see you as risks to national security. We can't let you off the base.” Informed General O'Neill sadly.

“So my kids are prisoners.” Growled Rush from behind them, the tone had Vulpine's ears shooting up.

Paul sighed. “Unfortunately at the moment Cressida and Ezra don't exist, their DNA also isn't entirely human. I met with my superiors yesterday morning and they have agreed to allow you identification and documentation, I'll see to that personally.”

“Now though you all need to head to the infirmary and then get some rest. We start debriefing tomorrow and 0900 sharp.”

Finished Jack and the remaining Destiny crew filed off down the long halls to the infidelity, even Rush went without further complaint much to everyone's pleasure. They were home, they had all made it and were actually on Earth!

 

XXXX

 

Two hours later saw the Rush children out of the longest medical exam either of them could have ever come up with and Paul Davis lead them down the grey painted hallways and into a reasonably sized room that they'd be living in for the foreseeable future. The siblings found it a little odd that an Air Force Colonel was leading them about like a Private – Ezra didn't mind all that much – but if the Pentagon had assigned him to them then they'd clearly made an impression. During their medical check up he'd wandered off and reappeared a few moments later with a brown folder stamped with the Air Force seal and they'd been mentally guessing what it was ever since. Cress and Ez also found it a little amusing to see the staff giving Vulpine a wide berth, wasn't everyday they saw a creature larger than a fully grown tiger with a big fluffy fox tail and long rabbit-ish ears.

“I thought you two might prefer to share a room.” Said Davis. “From what I've read – and it was really nice to read up on something other than the Stargate Program by the way – that you're quite close. I thought it might be easier for you to be together.”

“Easier for us or easier to keep an eye on us?” Asked Ez with a grin of jest.

Oh Ezzy you really do have it bad, muttered his sister's mind.

Paul sighed. “Truthfully, both. Look I'll level with you. If it was up to me and General O'Neill the two of you would be free to go and do as you pleased, I've read the reports, you're heroes, saved so many lives. But it's not up to us, our government is a little more cautious and a lot more paranoid.”

Cress cut him off before he could say any more.

“It's okay, Colonel, we understand. If roles were reversed we would be cautious of you too.”

“I'd not expected you to be so understanding.”

“Yeah, we get that from our Mom. Pops would just yell at you until he got what he wanted.”

“That's true.” Added Cressida and Paul smiled, he'd only read about Cress and Ezra Rush until now but after meeting them they'd quickly grown on him. He'd not expected them to be as mature as they were.

Davis looked down at the file he'd been holding and then set it down on the desk by the door and flicked on the desk lamp, he unbuttoned his blue blazer and sat down. The two teenagers gathered around him in curiosity as he pulled out a pen form an inner pocket while Vulpine went to sit on one of the two beds for a nap.

“Before I leave you in peace I need to ask you some questions. I just need your basic details so I can set to work getting you both birth certificates and such. The Pentagon didn't see the point at first but I argued that as children of two Earth residents you had a right to them.”

“Thank you.” Smiled Ez. Yep, baby brother got it bad.

“Right,” began Paul. “Miss Rush could I take your full name?”

“No one has ever called me 'Miss Rush' before, you can just call me Cress.” The Colonel nodded and flashed her a smile. “And it's Cressida Isobel Rush. I S O B E L.”

There were so may different ways of spelling her middle name that she thought it best to spell it for him. The two found it cute when they heard him muttering to himself as he wrote.

“... E L. Father is Nicholas Rush, Mother is Chloe Armstrong. And your full name, Mister Rush?”

That grin of Ezra's grew and Cress nearly rolled her eyes at her smitten brother.

“Ezra Alan Rush. After my Grandfather apparently.”

“Yes, I never had the good fortune to meet Senator Armstrong. His death was a tragedy.”

“Mom says he saved everyone.” Mumbled Cressida and Paul nodded while he wrote.

“I read the report, he did.” There was a pause and the two watched as Davis raised an eyebrow. “This is a bit of a hard question considering. I need to know your ages, we already have the days of your discovery that I intend to use as birth dates but we need a year and age.”

“We had trouble with that at first too. Cress is somewhere between sixteen and seventeen and I'm either fourteen or fifteen. We're not quite sure.”

Paul thought for a moment, green eyes looking the Rush children up and down for a few seconds.

“Considering your maturity I think we should say seventeen and fifteen, if that's alright with the both of you?”

“Yeah one less year for Pops to try and kill Eli for touching his daughter.” Chuckled Ezra.

“Ezzy!”

“I take it you and Mister Wallace are a couple?” Colonel Davis didn't seem overly surprised and there wasn't a hint of judgement in his eyes with had Cress smiling softly almost instantly. “From what I know of Doctor Rush it's rather amazing that Mister Wallace is still walking.”

The siblings laughed at that, Davis had come across as prim and proper at first but after only a few moments alone taking to him they'd quickly realised that wasn't the case. The man actually had a great sense of humour and way of befriending people really rather quickly; probably why he was so highly prized at the Pentagon. It was just the stressful job that kept him using formal titles and immaculately dressed.

“Strangely he was the one who pushed for it. Odd, I know.”

“Do you need anything else from me-us?” Ezra corrected himself quickly and tried not to look too eager for the older man to stay.

“No. You're medical check up already added everything else we needed to know and I've already made note of your hair and eye colors. I've never seen Heterochromia so pronounced before, it's truly unique.” If Cress wasn't mistaken her brother blushed, she was going to enjoy teasing him about his hots for flyboy. “As for nationality you'll be put down as America for obvious reasons. Birth certificates will say Colorado since this is where the Stargate Program is based. I'm sorry if you'd have rather had your father's nationality but it is easier for us to insert two new American citizens than it is two new Scottish ones, I know you have Doctor Rush's accent, Ezra.”

“It's fine, not like I was rooting to be Scottish or anything.”

“Ezzy, don't tell Daddy you said that.” Cress turned her attention back to Colonel Davis, her big brown eyes looking up at his pale green ones. “Colonel, how long until we're allowed to leave unsupervised?”

Paul sighed. “I'm sorry but I don't know. Getting you down as legal citizens is one thing but until our government is convinced you pose no danger you are classified above top secret and have to remain here. I'll work as fast as I can to get you your paperwork and then I'll start pushing at the Pentagon to have you released, General O'Neill has already started.”

“Thank you.” Said Ezra softly. “We expected something like this. Just because our parents are human doesn't mean we are and we've been dangerous before. Then there's the fact our Pops is the most stubborn man in the universe and we take after him.”

Paul huffed out a small laugh. “You haven't met the President.”

“We're not trying to rush you, Colonel Davis, we just want to be with our parents... and Eli.”

“I understand.” Paul slipped his pen back into his pocket and rose to his feet with the file in hand. “Like I said, I'll do my best to get this done as fast as possible for you. I'm sure you've already guessed but your dog-”

“Elcress.” Corrected Cressida. “His name is Vulpine.”

“Vulpine, is also classified. Even when we get you two out into the real world he can't leave the base without expressed written permission. He's an alien animal and even though I think he'd only be dangerous if you tell him to be-”

“We get it. I promise Vulpine won't hurt anyone, I'll keep him with me at all times.”

Paul nodded his thanks. “I'll leave you to get some rest and something for you two to eat will be brought later. What does Vulpine eat?”

“His dietary needs are pretty similar to humans actually but he prefers red meat.”

“Alright, steak for the pup it is.”

With that the Colonel from the Pentagon was gone and the two siblings fell down onto their beds, only a second later Vulpine rested his head on Cressida's leg and went back to sleep. They just lay on their beds in a peaceful quietude for a brief time until Cress huffed and finally broke the silence.

“I don't envy that man.” She told Ezra while looking up at the blank ceiling. “Poor dude is a Colonel working as a Pentagon liaison and he's been dumped with the role of our glorified babysitter.”

“I'm not complaining, Sis.” Ez wiggled his eyebrows at her.

“You wouldn't, perv.”

“Hey, it's not my fault he's nice to look at. Especially in that uniform.”

Cress placed a hand over her hear and gasped in mock shock. “My brother is objectifying men, I've never been so ashamed to be related to you. Where did our parents go wrong?”

“Yeah, yeah, says the fire starter.”

“Hey! I was not responsible for that, that was the Nakai.” She sat up to tickle Vulpine's ears.

“I meant the fires you started since then. Two weeks ago you nearly burnt Volker's eyebrows off.”

“I told him to stand back... and it made Daddy laugh.”

Ez snorted. “It's gratuitous violence against Volker, of course Pops laughed.”

The conversation fell silent after that and the two just lay there with Vulpine snoring softly. The beds were comfortable enough and it was nice for them to not have to rush around the ship for a while but something was off.

“It's too quiet.” Muttered Cress. “I didn't realise just how much I'd grown used to the engines and I don't think we've ever gone so long without working.”

“We still are.” Ez rolled onto his side to face her. “Can't you feel your subconscious going over equations?”

“Of course I can but you know what I meant.” Suddenly Vulpine rose to his feet, stretched and then all but passed out again on top of Cress; he was getting a bit too big to do that. “At least they didn't take Vulpine away.” She tickled the creature behind his long ears and slipped into that baby voice she only ever used for him. “No, they didn't take my baby prince did they?”

Ez snorted. “I don't think any of them are brave enough to try let alone succeed. If someone so much as stands between the two of you he growls.”

“He's just protective, aren't you baby boy?”

Vulpine barked and Cress snuggled him closer. No one could say their lives were boring.

Chapter Text

Eli had hoped to bring Cressida with him to meet his Mom but it didn't look like she, Ezra or Varro would be leaving the base any time soon, didn't matter though, he'd bring her when he could. It had been years since he'd walked up to that door in his own body, since he'd knocked on the door and embraced his mother, he'd started to think he never would again but there he was climbing the steps. Eli's whole body shook with anticipation but he forced it all back down as he glanced back at the unmarked black car across the street; this was his Mom not some alien species. The dark-haired man raised his fist to knock but before he got chance the door was tugged open revealing his aged mother already with tears streaming down her face.

“Eli, is that really you?”

She'd grown older since he'd last seen her, her hair no longer mousey brown but grey with just a hint of its original darkness. Her face had grown more frail but surprisingly still looked younger than when she'd stopped taking her meds so long ago; Eli still thanked anyone who'd listen that she started taking them again. That smile was the same though, bright and full of love for her son.

“Yeah Mom, it's me.”

Marian flung her arms around Eli and held him close, she breathed in that scent she'd not smelt in years and let the tears come, Eli did his best not to join her.

“You're actually here!"

She couldn't quite believe it, when she'd gotten the call from the Air Force early that morning she'd nearly collapsed by the phone with shock. Eli was home, her beautiful baby boy was alive and home on Earth. Marian had never been so thankful in all her life.

Eventually Eli pulled away and just looked at his Mom for a moment with a grin. “Can I come in?”

“Of course you can.” She stepped back so as he could cross the threshold. “Oh my little boy is home.”

They settled in the living room – which had hardly changed since he'd left – with a cup of tea and a big plate of his Mom's home-made chocolate chip cookies; Gods how he'd missed those!

“You're so thin, when was the last time you ate?”

Asked his mother but Eli just chuckled, it was no secret that he'd been a little more than chubby when he'd first boarded Destiny and since then he'd thinned down a lot, even grown a little muscle from dragging heavy equipment around the ship. Eli had gone from chubby to what he'd conciser healthy.

“This morning. And it's okay, I just do a lot more running around on the ship. Cress seems to like the stubble though so I kept it.” He informed while absent-mindedly raking a hand throw the short brown stubble that coated his chin.

“Cress?” To Eli it sounded like she'd heard that name before. “There was a girl, a friend of yours a while back, the Air Force said she'd made quite the fuss to have them check on me for you.”

Eli grinned at that, he remembered the day he'd woken from stasis and found Cressida had gone to the trouble of making sure his Mom was alright for him.

“Yeah, that's Cress, Cressida. I was in stasis with everyone else and she kept an eye on you for me. Real sweet of her.”

“Sounded like the Air Force didn't want to tell me too much about her so I didn't pry.” She took a sip of tea. “I take it she works with you?”

“Em, yeah she does. Cress is the daughter of Doctor Nicholas Rush, he's the guy that recruited me.” He paused for a moment and set his half drunk tea down. “Cress, em, Cress is also my girlfriend.”

Eli's Mom paused at that, not because she hadn't expected it, or because she thought her son was uneatable – though he had gone through a slacker phase just before the Air Force came knocking on his door – but because of the way he'd lit up. The dark-haired man reached into his leather jacket – something Marian thought must have been a gift considering she'd never before seen him in such a thing – and pulled out a photograph; Marian saw him grin when he saw it.

“I asked Colonel Davis – he's basically in charge of her for the moment – if I could take a picture of us and he said it was okay.” Eli handed the image to his mother. “That's Cress.”

The photograph had clearly been taken by someone else and showed her son with his arms around a smiling young woman, his chest pressed to her back and his head rested on her shoulder. They looked happy. Eli grew concerned though when his mother didn't smile or say anything.

“Mom?”

“Oh sorry.” She jolted from her thoughts. “She's very beautiful. It's just-” Marian paused for a moment and Eli raised an eyebrow. “She's very young.”

The math genius chuckled awkwardly at that.

“Em, yeah. She's seventeen.” His mother opened her mouth to protest but Eli got there first. “It's really complicated and half of it's – most of it actually – is classified, but her parents are cool with it and... I love her.”

Marian just looked at her son for a moment or two, he'd lit up just talking about this Cressida girl. He did love this girl, she could see it in his eyes. Marian hadn't ever seen him like that before, it wasn't just Cressida's beauty he found attractive, it was her, all of her, and Eli's Mom couldn't help but wonder if she was looking at True Love. That and if there was one thing she'd learnt about the work Eli did and the Air Force it was that nothing was ever what it seemed. If this Cressida girl made her son happy then so was she. Marian pushed any and all concerns from her mind and instead held the photo out for him to take and smiled.

“When do I get to meet her?”

“You can keep that, it's why I took it.” He gestured for her to keep the photograph and Marian set it aside on the coffee table, she'd find a frame later. “And I don't know, it was meant to be today but she's not allowed off the base. General O'Neill and Colonel Davis are fighting to get her and Ezra – that's her brother – government permission to move around freely, but I've got no idea how long that's going to take. As soon as she can I'll bring her to see you... after the comic store.”

“Oh you're not forcing your comic books on the poor girl, are you?”

“Ah, she likes them, and said she'll watch Star Trek with me now that we're back. What can I say, Cress is perfect.” Eli chuckled and Marian savored the sound, she'd come close to thinking she'd never hear it again.

Eli's Mom listened intently as her son told him of Cressida Rush, the girl who'd captured his heart, about her dog – a breed she'd not have heard of according to Eli – and how they'd named it together. He told her about how she'd made him his leather jacket and the way she'd let him go on about movies or games and actually listened. He told her of the way Cress always knew what to say to him to make everything better and how sometimes her snark reminded him a little too much of Rush.

Marian had no doubt, he'd given this girl his heart.

 

XXXX

 

Cress and Ezra walked along the grey pained base hallways so as Vulpine could get some exercise, an animal that size needed it regularly and they couldn't just let him run about the ship freely any longer. Vulpine padded along happily while Cress and her brother continued to enjoy the way everyone – most of them highly trained soldiers - insisted on giving the creature distance as they passed by.

Just as the siblings and tiger sized animal turned a corner Varro came into view followed by two armed Corporals, they'd not seen much of their blonde friend since making it to Earth despite him being the only other crew member to be forced to remain on base. Cressida and Ez grinned when they saw him while Vulpine nuzzled into the man's leg in greeting.

“Hey you two.” Said Varro as he came to a stop; much to the two Corporals displeasure.

“You're still under heavy guard then.” Stated Ezra.

The older man sighed and glanced to the two men behind him. “Yep, I'm ex-Lucian Alliance after all.”

“That was years ago.” Cress and everyone else on Destiny knew Varro wouldn't hurt any of them, he was their friend not their enemy.

“So was your programming.” The older man reminded her. “Earth's paranoid and the Lucian Alliance is dangerous, they may be underground now but they'll be back, I know they will. I'm off to be debriefed and see how useful I am.”

“You'll do great!” Smiled Ezra assuredly.

“Yeah, if not we'll set Vulpine on them.”

“Vulpine to the rescue.” Chucked the blonde with a subtle shake of his head as he petted the creature and then headed off and out of sight.

The Rush children knew that the American government would have to let them out eventually but Varro was another story. He'd proven himself to the crew but Earth was another story, to them he was part of the group that had tried to take over Destiny. Cress and Ezra tried not to think about it though and instead carried on down the hall with Vulpine in toe towards the cafeteria, as of late they'd developed a bit of a thing for the blue jello that seemed to be in constant supply, they'd never had anything like it before.

“Ezra, Cressida.” A familiar voice called out from behind them and they turned to see Colonel Davis approach.

Suddenly Vulpine went charging towards the dark-haired man and pounced knocking him to floor, Vulpine licked at his cheek. Instantly two guards who'd been walking down the hall raised their weapons.

“Get your fucking guns away from him!” Yelled Cressida and everything ground to a halt.

Ez had never heard his sister swear before and it actually startled him for a moment as he followed her to Paul and her beloved Vulpine.

“It's okay.” Began Paul with a smile from the floor. “Lower your weapons.”

Somewhat reluctantly the two men obeyed the Colonel and Cress whistled, short and sharp, for Vulpine to return to her side. Ez helped Paul to his feet – in no way savouring the feel of the soft skin of his hands – and watched as the Colonel straightened his uniform.

“Thank you, Ezra.”

“You're welcome.”

“Sorry about that.” Said Cress with a light smile. “He must really like you, he's only ever done that twice before. Once to me and once to Daddy.”

“It's alright, really. No harm done.” He patted Vulpine's head which the animal seemed rather pleased about. “I like you too, pup.” The Elcress barked as everyone around them slowly started to go back to whatever they'd been doing.

“Did you need us for something, Paul?”

Cress wasn't stupid, she knew her brother had slipped the Colonel's first name in to see if he'd object to the familiarity; he hadn't. Looking at her brother she understood why her Daddy always seemed to know what they were thinking, Ezra's face certainly didn't hide his interest in the older man. Was I that obvious with Eli? Suddenly Paul's mind snapped back to him.

“Oh, right, yes. I require pictures for your documentation. Once I have that I can get it all rushed through.”

“Sounds great but could it wait? Mom and Daddy are waiting for us, we haven't seen them in two days.”

Paul paused for a moment and then nodded softly, more to himself than anyone else.

“Okay. It needs doing but I guess it can wait until later, I'm sure Doctor Rush and Miss Armstrong would like to see you as soon as possible.”

“Thank you, Paul.” Said Ezra before turning to leave with Cressida.

She just watched him smugly out the corner of her chocolate orbs for a few moments until Ezra flasher her a what expression.

“Could you be any more obvious? Just jump him already, I know you want to.” A huge grin danced over her features as she started to sing teasingly. “You love him, you wanna kiss him-”

“Shut up.” Ez elbowed her in the arm cutting his sister off. “Let's just go see Mom and Pops.”

“I'm sorry, but you know, if you like him then you should say something.”

“Yeah... maybe.”

Ezra had absolutely no intention of doing that, Colonel Davis probably just thought he was a kid with alien DNA and nothing more, Paul had been dumped as their babysitter after all.

Chapter Text

Sirens and alerts screamed down and red lights flashed at Cressida and Ez as they desperately worked to disarm the Naquadria bomb sat dead centre of the SGC generator room. Cress had tied her hair up in a messy bun so as she could see what she was doing while Ezra had ripped off his jacket, neither looked panicked but their quick movements certainly showed their concentration.

“Ninety-five seconds until detonation.” Said the dark-haired boy.

“This isn't going to work.” Growled Cress was hunched over on her knees and had her hands among the inner workings of the bomb. “None of these wires make sense! Who the hell wires something like this?”

“Questions later, Sis. Bigger problems... like the huge bloody bomb in the middle of the SGC!” Ezra took a breath as he fished through the blue tool back beside him for a screwdriver. “Forty-five seconds.”

“Yes, thank you Ezra. I can read the timer.” Responded his sister absent-mindedly.

The two of them had developed a very effective way of working in the four years they'd spent alone together. When working on something small and compact Ezra passed tools and held the light, he'd create the diagrams as they went or hold wires out of the way, while Cress did all the manual work since her hands were smaller and – as the elder Rush – pulled rank.

“Thirty seconds.” In truth Ezra's countdown was only stressing his sister. Suddenly he sat bolt upright and nodded to himself which pulled Cressida's attention from the bomb to her younger brother. “Wait, we could-” He gestured to the black Naquadria bomb only to be cut off by Cress.

“Ooh, that's good. Ezra you are clever.”

The two of them grinned then launched into sudden movements as though a current had passed through them. They gave up with the nonsense wiring and instead started ripping open the timer casing, Ez passed Cress a pair of wire cutters and she made short work of stripping the colorful casings before wrapping wires together as though hot-wiring a car.

“Eight,” Began the youngest Rush. “seven... six... five... four...three...” Ez's voice started to grow concerned. “Two, one... fifty-nine.”

The siblings erupted in laughed and fell back onto the floor giving their aching knees a rest. Suddenly the alerts and red lights shut off and Colonel Davis stepped forwards with General O'Neill at his side, Paul held a stop watch but both wore a look of amazement.

“How did you two do that?” Asked Jack as the Rush siblings casually leaned against one another on the floor.

“That test is designed to be unbeatable. It's function is to teach our men that sometimes – no matter how hard you try – there's nothing to be done.” Said Paul.

“And you two just kicked its ass!” Added the General with a grin. “Seriously, how the hell did you deactivate the bomb?”

“Didn't.” Chuckled Ezra. “We outsmarted it. I do witty single liners, Cress does the explanations and technical bit. Sis, you're up.”

Cress fought the urge to roll her eyes.

“We didn't deactivate it, we tricked it. We made the timer think instead of being set for one hour that its been set for ten thousand hours. You've got over a year to deactivate that bomb.”

“Four-hundred and sixteen days to be exact.” Added Ezra.

“Nicely done.” Smiled the Colonel as he tucked the stopwatch back into his pocket and held out his hands to help both teenagers to their feet.

Jack chuckled. “I should give you two your own SG team.”

“Why did you have us to this?” Asked Cressida while her brother tried to nonchalantly savour the warmth of Paul's hand. “Surly the two of you have better things to do.”

Both men sighed and the siblings could tell this was just another thing their bosses had forced them into.

“The guys at the top want to know what you've got locked up in those heads of yours.”

“Huh?”

“What General O'Neill means, Ezra, is that the Pentagon wants to know exactly what you're capable of. And – I'm sorry but this is the only was of phrasing this I know – how much use you can be to Earth and the Stargate Program.”

“Listen guys, I know you're going stir crazy here and frankly Rush is starting to do my head in with his storming into my office and demanding you two are let out. So I'm sending you back to Destiny. That ship has been left unattended long enough, other than the both of you I'm sending Rush and Wallace as well as SG3 to lead and a small science team that includes McKay.”

The Rush children grumbled in almost perfect unison and pulled the exact same expression.

“Not McKay.” Groaned the both of them, they'd met the man once and just like their father taken an instant dislike to the man, yes he was intelligent but much to irritating.

“I'll be going as well, I'm way overdue for some of world work.”

At that Ezra perked up, Paul was going with them! Baby brother's in love. If Cress wasn't mistaken Ez let out a little 'yes' under his breath. A thought occurred to her.

“Can I take Vulpine?”

“Sure.” Said Jack quickly as he leaned against the door frame. “I don't want to try crating that thing let alone separate you by a wormhole.”

Having outsmarted the test, Ezra and his sister made their way back to their room where they found Eli and Vulpine playing on the bed right where they'd left them. The second Vulpine noticed Cress he bounded down off the bed and over to his mistress almost knocking Ezra off his feet as he passed. Cress tickled his head and scratched behind the animal's ears, Vulpine might have been the size of a tiger but for Cressida he was a puppy. Once Vulpine allowed Cress to move she went straight to Eli and sat herself in his lap while Ez dove onto his bed and pulled out the candy bar he'd had stashed. Cressida snuggled into Eli's strong chest and pressed a chaste kiss to his lips.

“Thank you for watching him.”

“Sure thing. He really does think you're his Mom though.” Replied Eli as he pulled the chestnut haired girl closer.

“Because she is.” Muttered Ezra through his chocolate filled mouth. “You've seen how she babies him.”

“That's because he is a baby.” Cress cleared her throat. “Anyway, I hear we get to go back to Destiny tomorrow.”

“Yeah, you know I actually miss that ship. Not the constant fear of death, but still.”

Eli subconsciously pulled her hair loose of the messy bun she'd put it in and tucked a stray strand behind her ear, to Eli she was the most beautiful thing in creation and for some reason she loved him.

“Pops will be happy.”

“You too.” Said Cress quickly with a teasing grin. “Flyboy is coming as well.”

“Shut up!”

“Flyboy?” Questioned Eli.

“Yeah, Colonel Davis. Ezzy's little crush slash infatuation-”

“Shut up! It's not an infatuation.”

Cressida couldn't help but laugh.

“Just think, brother mine, that prim and proper uniform gone for fatigues. Who knows, he might even get sweaty and take off his jacket.”

At that point Eli started to laugh as well but not with malice.

“You done?” Asked Ez flatly.

“For now.”

“Good. Freak.”

“Perv.”

“Okay you two. Cress, I think it's time we took Vulpine for a walk.”

“That's right, you can go be gross somewhere else.”

“Love you too, Ezzy.”

Cress and Ezra argued a lot and insulted one another constantly but it was all good natured. At heart they were the best of friends, thick as thieves, and always there to support one another.

Eli and Cressida left Ezra alone in their room and took Vulpine out into the long hallways with Vulpine in tow. The math genius took Cressida's hand in his as they wandered down the halls and couldn't help but smile when she leaned into his side.

“How was your Mom?” She asked as they turned a corner. “I'm sorry I couldn't go with you.”

“It's okay,” he told her truthfully. “and my Mom is fine. Happy to see me, gave me a hug so big I couldn't breathe for a moment. I got chocolate chip cookies too.” Eli grinned at that.

“Ooh, you must have been in heaven.” Teased his girlfriend with a smile that shone angelically in her dark orbs. “And her health? Is she still taking her meds?”

“Yes she is. Mom seems to be doing well actually. Didn't look tired or drained, there was some color in her cheeks too so that's good. I didn't realise just how much I'd missed her.”

“I know how you feel.” Lamented Cress. “There were days on the ship when me and Ez wanted to wake up Mom and Daddy – you too, but that was more me – just for a hug.”

“You could have woken me up for that, I wouldn't have minded.” Actually he'd have felt rather honoured.

“We didn't want to risk the power supply but I almost did it anyway.”

Eli paused then which forced Cress to stop as well since her hand was in his, she looked up at him with those dazzling brown eyes. Originally he'd associated those eyes with an aggravated Rush but now he just thought of perfection and how much he loved the woman before him. I should take her to my high school reunion and watch everyone's jaws hit the floor. Eli liked to refer to his girlfriend as 'sexy as hell', the Nakai had engineered her to be a perfect human female, perfect health, perfect intellect, perfect physical fitness, perfect other things... and damn had they done a good job; it actually made him hate the blue bastards a little less because they'd given him her.

“I love you, Cress, you know that right?”

The teenager with long chestnut curls just smiled up at him, was there any man more adorable?

“I know, and I love you too.”

With that Cressida rose up on her tip toes and pressed a kiss to Eli's soft lips, just a gentle press of lips but it meant the world to Eli. They eventually separated when Vulpine barked as if to say 'hurry the hell up' and the two carried on down the hall with the creature, a comfortable silence rang out for a moment or two before Cress started to speak again.

“Back to your Mom though, you don't have any surprise siblings?”

Eli laughed at that, well, snorted but he'd have rather referred to the sound as a laugh.

“No, that doesn't happen in real life-”

“Ezra.” She deadpanned.

“Okay, maybe it does happen, but no. Still just me.” Eli cleared his throat. “I showed her that picture I had Ezra take of us.”

“Oh, I wondered what that was about.”

“She thinks you're beautiful, then again there's no denying that and every one thinks you are.” Cress let out a little 'awww' but if it was sarcasm or real Eli wasn't entirely sure. “I got the whole 'she's too young for you' speech.”

“That's to be expected, she doesn't know what I am. Your Mom will come around once she's actually met me.”

“I think she already has come round, she went from 'she's too young' to 'well, if you're happy.”

“She Momed you!” Chortled he seventeen year old.

Eli glanced down at her sceptically. “She what?”

“She Momed you, mine does it too. It's the idea that if their child is happy then they are as well. It's quite touching really.”

Eli couldn't argue with that. He'd not been able to spend as much tome as he'd have liked with Cress since returning to Earth so walking Vulpine – because he couldn't freely wander around Destiny any longer – had become a ritual of theirs; one that Eli treasured.

“Hey, I was thinking I could go get Thai take-out and we could watch something.” She'd never had Thai food before.

“Sure, and by 'watch something' I assume you mean Star Trek or Star Wars.” Suddenly her face grew teasing and mock worried. “You'd have to be on your best behaviour though, I need to ask Davis if my boyfriend can stay over.”

“He can.”

Said Davis suddenly as he and Daniel Jackson suddenly passed them probably heading to Jack's office; neither had heard them approach. As soon as the two older men vanished around one of the corners Eli and Cress burst out laughing.

Chapter Text

Morning rolled around and everyone had prepared to leave for the proxy planet before Destiny, Colonel Albert Reynolds – SG3's CO – had made quick work to try and make sure Rush knew he was in command but Nicholas Rush had never obeyed authority very well. Paul had gathered along side Eli, Vulpine, Rush and his children while SG3 stood with the small science team and Rodney McKay almost as though they'd filtered into two teams. General O'Neill had wished them luck before they'd sailed on through to the proxy planet – it had a ID number but only the SG team and Davis had bothered to learn it, however, Rush, Cressida, Eli and Ez had taken to referring to the planet as 'Niflheim' on account of its constant snow and the mass of frozen over rivers; the name had slowly spread to Paul and eventually Jack as well.

The science team acted as though they were kids in a candy store as soon as they stepped foot on Niflheim, boots digging into the snow. They'd insisted on remaining there to study the planet far longer than the allotted time, they still had to go to Destiny and set to work there. Yes, discovering if Niflheim would remain stable and able to act as a proxy for them but Cress, her brother and father itched for the place they called home.

After God only knew how long of standing there beside the gate making a clacking noise with her tongue while everyone else either guarded the perimeter – kind of pointless considering the Tok'ra had confirmed the planet was uninhabited – while everyone else carried out their experiments, Cress couldn't take it any longer. It was fairly obvious that Rush, Ez and Eli would have rather set to work on Destiny but had found themselves roped in to what the other scientists were doing. The dark-haired teenager made her way over to the DHD and quickly imputed Destiny's dialling code causing all of SC3 to spin around with guns raised.

“What do you think you're doing?” Demanded Captain Hartman, a tall man with mocha skin who thought he was God's gift to the Air Force.

“I'm going to Destiny to make sure it's powered up and return power to the lighting.”

Eli, Rush and Ezra all knew that was total crap and she suspected that Colonel Davis did as well but none of them said a word, she'd had enough of listening to McKay and there was actual work she could have been doing.

“Aye, we'll be there in a minute. I'm about done.” Said Nicholas as he started to pack away his things, he didn't care one bit about Reynolds complaints that he was in charge.

“Okay. Come on, Davis.”

Smiled Cress, she'd seen how bored he was and decided it was only polite to take the Colonel with her as well as Vulpine. Also, if she took the dark-haired Colonel, it would annoy Ezra, she grinned smugly at her brother before she turned to follow her beloved pet and Paul through the shimmering blue pool to Destiny.

The place was wrong. Vulpine started barking almost instantly Cress found herself ill at ease, Davis didn't seem to notice but he'd not spent years on board the ship.

“What is it?” He asked without taking his eyes from the barking Elcress while Cress wet to the terminal on the other side of the gate room.

“The ship is being pulled starboard against the thrusters- oh shit! Shut down the gate now!” She yelled without looking up. Cress slammed a few buttons and the shimmering pool shut off, Paul glanced up as chevrons started to lock – Rush hadn't lied about being right behind them - only to have Cressida rip his side arm from his thigh and start firing into the large metal ring forcing it to silence. Davis ripped the weapon away from her as Vulpine finally stopped barking and aimed it at on instinct; she didn't raise her arms, just calmed Vulpine who didn't take kindly to Paul threatening his mistress.

“Explain!”

That was the first time she'd ever heard Davis sound angry and she quickly realised he had other sides of the one he happily presented to everyone at SGC, in a way it was sort of attractive.

“Alright,” she agreed. “but we need to go to the bridge.”

Reluctantly Paul nodded and holstered his weapon before following Cress and Vulpine towards the bridge.

 

XXXX

 

Thirteen, thirteen times they'd dialled Destiny from Niflheim only for nothing to happen, not even the first chevron would lock.

“Why won't the gate open?” Asked Reynolds as though it was the scientists fault.

“It's not the DHD, it's not that the planet has become unstable.” Listed Rush, quietly to himself; a habit he'd actuality picked up from Cressida.

“It's not this gate either, it's trying to engage but can't lock the chevrons.” Finished Ezra somewhat sorrowfully.

“So it's Destiny's gate.” Said Eli slowly. “What about Cress, Vulpine and Davis?”

“They could be dead.”

Announced McKay only for Rush to turn and glare at the man terrifyingly, had he not been more focused on getting the gate open and his daughter back Rush would have launched at Rodney and kept punching until someone managed to rip him away.

“The gate established before, the wormhole was stable for them to go through so whatever is causing this happened after. They are on the other side, their safe.” He sounded as though he were trying to convince himself.

“We'll head back to Earth and see what Command thinks we should do.” Ordered Reynolds, General O'Neill was not going to be happy.

 

XXXX

 

Cress and Paul stood beside Vulpine on the bridge with their heads glued to the main terminal.

“You can't be serious!” Said Davis in disbelief.

“I can and I am. Daddy told everyone that Destiny shouldn't be left unmanned so long.”

“But a black hole?”

How many men could say they'd encountered not one but two black holes in their lifetime? He ran a hand through his cropped black hair as he tried to wrap his head around what Cress had just told him.

“Oh God they were right. I am a disaster.” Paul muttered to himself.

“What?” Asked Cress with a small smile as she set to work at the terminal.

Davis sighed. “About ten years ago back when I was a Major, the staff at the SGC took to calling me Major 'Disaster' Davis because I only ever showed up from the Pentagon when there was a huge problem. A black hole was actually one of them, that's why you took out the gate right? To stop the gravity affecting Niflheim.”

“Check you being all genius, that's exactly why.”

“Are we dead?”

“Not yet, Disaster.” She grinned.

Paul groaned. “That's going to stick isn't it?”

“Oh hell yeah, just wait 'til I tell my brother.” Cress chuckled. “Come on, I need to see the engines.”

Colonel Davis followed down the halls away from the bridge until Cress suddenly came to a half and smiled up at him 'want to see something cool?' she'd asked, to which Davis had nodded then followed her in a new direction. They entered the observation deck and the Colonel gasped; stars, a far off nebula, all of it beautiful.

“Very few have ever actually seen this part of space. We're in a new solar system too so we are the only two people who have seen these stars.” He thought was something almost poetic about her words. Cress gestured up to the top right corner of the gargantuan window. “You see that black distortion?” Paul nodded. “That's the black hole, it's some serious distance away but we're already caught in its gravity. Can't waste any more time though, need to see those engines.”

 

 

Chapter Text

As soon as she and Davis stepped foot in Destiny's vast engine room Cress fell over a bag of tools that had been haphazardly left practically in the doorway. Fortunately for her, Paul quick reflexes made it easy for him to catch her. With his hands around her thin waist she noticed how cold his hands were, after the amount of time she'd spent on Destiny with the ship at minimal power the cold wasn't something she really noticed; Niflheim hadn't even bothered her that much.

“For God's sake, Ezra!”

Paul chucked at that before releasing his hold on the seventeen year old and stepping back, ever the gentleman thought Cressida.

“I take it your brother is rather messy.”

She nodded. “The engines are his thing, he knows them better than anyone else, even Daddy. He's always leaving stuff everywhere though, while everyone was in stasis he nearly killed me twice by leaving things for me to fall over.”

Paul smiled, he supposed that sort of thing happened between siblings all the time, of course he didn't really know, he was an only child. His father had been in the military and his mother had constantly been sick so his childhood hadn't been as happy as most would assume, he'd always wanted a sibling. The Colonel pushed those thoughts from his mind, straightened up and looked down at Cress who'd already busied herself with the engines.

“I won't pretend to know what I'm doing, I'm not an engineer after all, I work with people and languages, but tell me what you need me to do and I'll do it. I can also recognise a couple of words in Ancient.”

“Really?” Cressida's eyebrows raised.

She'd not expected him to know the anything about Ancient, most of the SG teams didn't and they came across it more often. There was no denying Davis was an extraordinarily intelligent man so she probably shouldn't have been that surprised, of course Cress and her brother had cheated because they'd been engineered to understand it thanks to their Father's knowledge.

“Well, we're not going to have a conversation in it any time soon but yeah. You've got no idea how many reports I have to read, after a while you start to pick things up whether you want to or not. I like Ancient though, I'm the only one at The Pentagon that understands any of it.”

“Those few words could actually be really useful for us, we never know. And I'm sure Ezra wouldn't mind teaching you if you wanted.”

Cress could count on one hand how many people spoke Ancient well enough to actually teach it efficiency – herself, Rush, Ezra, Eli and Doctor Daniel Jackson - but what sort of sister would she be if she didn't push Davis towards her love sick baby brother?

“Thank you. I'd like that.”

How the Colonel hadn't figured out Ezra's crush – which now bordered on infatuation – Cress couldn't quite understand, it was bloody obvious. Maybe he had and just pretended not to know because of how young Ez was or because he was straight, Cressida didn't know and frankly she had more important things to do that figure out whether Paul Davis liked her baby brother.

True to his word Davis – or Disaster as she'd taken to calling him, much to his chagrin – did whatever she asked of him while they worked. He was quick, efficient, queried anything he didn't understand and she soon found herself preferring him to Volker and Brody. Almost an hour later they made their way back up to the bridge where their work continued. However, Paul had always been rather observant and could see the way her can-do attitude slowly faded and frustration set in until eventually she crashed down into the Command chair with a great thud and downcast eyes. He sat himself on the floor beside her and let silence hang between them for a moment or two before speaking softly.

“How much trouble are we in, Cress?”

She sighed loudly. “In layman's terms, the ship re-charges by travailing through a sun. We refueled before dialling the gate to Niflheim so we could boost the gate's power and stabilise the wormhole, but because we've now come back the power is depleted. The engines are at half power which means we don't have the propulsion to fight our way clear of the black hole, I've got the engines working to keep us stationary for the time being but that is the best I can do.” She huffed out a laugh. “Don't suppose you've got about forty pounds of C4 hidden away in a pocket?”

“Fresh out, sorry. How long until the point of no return?”

“About two days if the engines hold out.”

The two were silent for a long time as they sat there staring out into space through the thick glass at the front of the bridge. Cress looked and sounded as though she'd started to give up and not even Vulpine who had his head rested on her knee could sooth her busy mind.

“You'll think of something, you're a genius remember.” He tried to comfort her but it was only there that he started to realise that despite her big brain she was still only a seventeen year old girl.

“Thanks, Disaster, but... I'm not actually that smart.” Her voice was emotionless as she petted Vulpine absent-mindedly and that worried Paul more than if she'd cried. “I just know how to sound like I am. I can't do this without Daddy, Ezra and Eli.”

“Yes you ca-”

“No I can't!” She cut him off with an air of anger. “There isn't enough power and contary to popular belief I can't figure out every little thing that's thrown in my face!”

His green orbs looked up at her to see just how scared Cress truly was. All that intelligence and being at the peak of physical health and been built into her by an alien race fixated on Destiny, she still felt fear like every other human. He'd read the report, knew she'd been willing to die years ago if it meant saving the Destiny crew from the Nakai but now, facing a black hole, death had no meaning, and she blamed herself. If she'd not been so desperate to get back to the ship she wouldn't have trapped Davis there, true had she waited they'd all be there, but Cress had focused more on the fact that she'd not only doomed herself but Paul as well. He didn't blame her, she couldn't have known, and he wasn't going to let her sit there with fear and self-hatred until a black hole swallowed them up. He didn't have much experience with teenagers or children but he did his best to comfort her.

“Yesterday Ezra said he does the one liners and you do the technical bit, I know I'm not much of a substitute but I can stand in for him until we get back." There was a pause. "I witnessed an attempted murder earlier... fortunately only one crow showed up.”

“That is the worst joke I've ever heard.”

“I've got more.” Paul laughed, it was already having the effect he'd wanted.

“Please don't.” Cress groaned.

“The Past, The Present and The Future walked into a bar... it was tense.”

“Please God stop." She tried not to laugh at his horrendous jokes.

“Okay, okay.” He held his hands up in surrender. “What would Rush do? If he were here what would he do next?”

“He'd... he'd go to the blackboard corridor with some chalk and sulk until Mom went to get him.”

“Right,” Paul hopped to his feet and held a hand out for Cress to take. “blackboard corridor it is. Maybe with less sulking though.” She just looked at his hand. “Come on, you beat an unbeatable Naquadria bomb, you can do this. I'm just moral support.”

“Alright.”

The young woman with loose chestnut curls reached out and took his proffered hand.

 

XXXX

 

After dialling Destiny about a million times - and that wasn't really that much of an exaggeration - Rush and the others had been forced to admit that it was Destiny's gate that was the problem not Niflheim's, that little nugget of information had only worked to put Rush even more on edge. Three weeks they'd been trying to establish contact with Destiny but with the gate broken and the stones locked up in a SGC vault they'd got no options what so ever.

The lab was pitch black save for a tiny lamp over in one corner that lit up the white board that Rush had covered in equations and possibilities, the Scotsman's whiskey colored orbs stung but he didn't care just forced himself through it and carried on.

“Nicky?” Chloe's voice came softly through the silence from the lab doorway but he didn't acknowledge her. “Nicky, you've been in here for hours. It's two in the morning, please come to bed.”

“I don't have time to sleep.” He barked back without taking his eyes from the dimly lit whiteboard.

“Please Nicky. Cress will figure something out, she's like you. And she wouldn't want you working yourself to death... and... I need you.”

There were tears in her cerulean eyes but Rush hadn't noticed, too locked up in his own world.

“I need to figure this out.”

Chloe couldn't hold back her tears any longer, they rolled down her cheeks and dripped of the end of her chin onto the floor, sniffles caused her face to redden as her arms wrapped around herself.

“Please Nicky,” She pleaded again. “Cress is my little girl too.”

He stopped at that, almost as though he'd snapped back to the world around him and turned to face Chloe. He'd been ignoring her, of course she hurt too, Cressida was their daughter not just his. The marker he'd been holding fell to the ground and he quickly took Chloe into his strong arms to hold her close.

“You're right, I'm sorry Sweetheart.” The Chief Scientist rested his chin atop her head as she cried into his red shirt; it was still strange to see him in something that wasn't that greet t-shirt “I should have been with her.”

“Then I'd have lost you too.” The words were muffled into his chest, fingers clung to the fabric as she refused to let go of the man she loved.

“Shush, it's all alright.” He soothed. “Come on, let's go to bed like you wanted. You'll feel better after some sleep.”

General O'Neill had been kind enough to provide Chloe and Nicholas with a room on base until they got Cressida and Colonel Davis back rather than forcing them to stay with Chloe's mother and commute back and forth. That was one meet the mother that everyone had wanted to know about but with Cress gone no one dared ask.

Rush helped dry Chloe's eyes when they got to their basic quarters right across the hall from Ezra and settled her down in bed before pulling his clothes off, throwing on a pair of black sleep pants and a grey t-shirt and then clambered into bed with her. Chloe instantly cuddled into his chest in search of warmth and comfort, they'd nearly lost their daughter once before, they shouldn't have had to do it again.

After about thirty minutes – just as Chloe had finally started to nod off – there was a faint knock on the floor and Ez poked his head in. Nicky saw his son had been crying instantly and just shuffled over a bit for the boy to sit beside his mother. At first they'd expected the problem to be fixed in a few hours, then a few days but they'd been gone almost a month and the panic and pain had fully settled in. Ez rubbed at his Mother's shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.

“We're going to get them back. Almost four weeks doesn't mean anything.” Ezra sounded more like he was trying to convince himself than Chloe.

“Of course we will.” Said Rush quickly. “I've never met anything your sister can't figure out.”

In all honesty Cressida's absence had probably affected Ezra the worst, he'd never been without his sister before, they'd spent four years alone together with only one another and Vulpine for company and Rush seriously doubted his son knew how to function properly without her. The way they worked together, the way they didn't have to speak for the other to understand, Rush hated to admit it but Ezra needed Cress more than he or Chloe did.

Long ago when Gloria had gotten sick he'd hidden away in his mind and his work, then he'd done it again after Cressida saved them all from the Nakai. This time there was no work to hide himself in, there wasn't anything he could do to get that gate open, all he could do was watch the woman he loved cry and his son grow quiet and subdued.

But what hurt most was not knowing whether Cressida, Paul and that beloved pet of hers were alive or dead.

Chapter Text

Cress had put her hair up in one of those messy buns of hers and tied Eli's hoodie – that she was rarely without – around her thin waist, while Paul had stripped off his fatigues jacket and untucked his black t-shirt. Cressida had been forced to shut down most of the ships systems in order to conserve energy, air condition had been the first to go. She'd found it mildly amusing though, if Ezra had been there to see the Colonel slowly stripping off layers he'd have been drooling, unfortunately that amusement and Paul's pep-talk didn't keep her going long and she soon crashed down against one of the walls on the bridge with a deep sigh.

“We've been at this for hours and I can't get enough power into the engines to break clear of the blackhole's gravity.” Calmly Paul sat down beside her with his knees up. “I mean we're still stable but at this rate the thrusters will burn out or use up what power we actually have in the engines.” She paused for a moment. “I don't know what else to do, Disaster.”

Yep, that's really going to stick, isn't it? Muttered Paul's mind before he responded.

“When this happened at the SGC, General O'Neill used an explosive directed at the gate to sever the wormhole. Could we do something like that?”

“That would be prefect but with what? There aren't any explosives on Destiny and you already said you're fresh out of C4. Truth be told Ezra would stand a better chance at this, he does the engines I do computer systems.” The ebony haired girl huffed out a laugh. “Actually, maybe he wouldn't with you around.”

Paul raised a confused eyebrow. “What?”

“Seriously?” She deadpanned, mouth open in disbelief. “You haven't noticed?”

“Noticed what?”

He had to be messing with her, there was no way in hell Colonel Davis could have been that blind.

“Em, that my brother is completely and hopelessly in love with you.” The dark-haired man's eyes went wide. “Holy crap, you actually didn't know. God, the Tok'ra noticed and they've never met him.”

As Cressida sat there staring at his – frankly adorable – shocked face, she expected him to say something along the lines of 'that's inappropriate' or maybe 'I'm sorry if I did anything to lead him on', but Paul said none of those things instead he fidgeted with his hands and looked down to the floor.

“I'm much too old for him, Cressida.”

She looked at him for a moment, middle-aged, no wedding ring or evidence that there ever had been one, his eyes – though beautifully green – were sad and it made her heart break. This man had given his whole life to the Air Force and Stargate, become a Colonel but it had left him lonely. Everything in her told Cress to hug him and so she did without caring whether he wanted her to or not. It took Paul a few moments but he eventually hugged her back and left Cress wondering when was the last time someone had actually gone out of their way to comfort him.

I want you to answer me honestly, Disaster.” She said as she pulled away just enough to look him in the eyes. “If my brother was the same age as you, would you want to be with him?”

There was a long silence where the threat of the blackhole vanished for a time.

Yeah.” He finally answered, low and almost whispered. “He's sweet and funny, but like I said, I'm too old for him. Ezra is fifteen years old, I'm forty-eight.”

Cress just smiled at him, she'd seen that look of want and uncertainty in Eli's eyes what felt like forever ago.

“The thing you have to remember about me and my brother is that we're not teenagers. Of course we are physically but, that's what we look like it's not who we are. Our minds are adults, our personalities are adults, yes we can be childish but what adult doesn't have a childish moment every now and again? That's basically how Jack lives his whole life.” She paused. “I've been in love with Eli most of my life, since I learnt what love was, and I never thought there was an age gap because mentality there isn't, Eli though, he saw it, he panicked and left thinking he was taking advantage and that I could do better. I don't blame him for any of those things, if I'd been a normal teenager I'd have been grateful, but Ezra and I aren't normal teenagers. Our minds chose you and Eli not or physical appearance. My point is that if you like my brother you should tell him because I'm sick of him drooling over you and the both of you deserve to be happy. Okay so the people on Earth not up to speed on aliens and the Stargate would probably think you're a pervert but they'd never have to know, and everyone who would is aware of what Ezra is. My parents, our friends, everyone accepted me and Eli being together so why wouldn't they except you and Ezra?”

My job-” He began but Cress had started her date-my-brother mission.

You're attached to the Pentagon not the Stargate program, no conflict of interest. Who cares if your gay? You're an Air Force Colonel and this isn't the fifties. And as long as you don't make him cry Daddy won't have a problem, I think him and Mom are actually taking bets on it.”

You're brother is very lucky to have a sister like you, you know that?” Cress didn't respond just sat there smiling at him knowing he'd cave. “Okay, fine, I'll tell him and see if we can work something out that doesn't involve me getting arrested or court-martialled.” Cressida's smile turned into a grin. Totally winning the best sister in the universe award. “You've got to save us first though, I don't know maybe we should pack up our toiletries, take that moonshine and flee in the shuttle.”

Cressida suddenly sat bolt upright and stared off at into space as she thought, it was an expression that Davis had grown used to and he found it warming his heart and soothing his soul, she'd got an idea.

“That's it! That'll work... it should work, well, if the universe doesn't decide to screw us over.”

Yes, she'd definitely thought of something, Paul had learnt fairly early on that when any of the Rushs started muttering to themselves and talking about the universe working against them it meant they'd got an idea. Usually one that was more likely than not to kill them.

Disaster, you're a bloody genius!”

Cressida grabbed hold of his cheeks pressed her lips to his and then charged off out the room leaving a very confused Colonel Davis sat on the floor.

Chapter Text

They were getting dangerously close to when Cressida had said the thrusters would burn out and frankly Paul had started to feel each second as though it were a grain of sand in a hourglass, he hadn't seen the Rush girl for some hours and couldn't take staring at the monitors on the bridge any longer, he had to go find her. She'd already shut off life support to just about all of the ship so there were very few places she could have been, sure enough after five minutes Davis found Cress hunched over a large water barrel filling it with the water the Destiny crew had collected from random planets. He just stood there in the door way with folded arms and a puzzled look on his face for a few moments.

“Bit thirsty?” He asked gently but she didn't look up.

“I need water to make a bomb.” Davis raised an eyebrow at the mater-of-fact way she spoke and moved further into the room.

“Bomb?! I thought you said yesterday we couldn't build a bomb.”

“What you said before about packing up our things and leaving on the shuttle gave me an idea. We might not have explosives on board but I can make the chemicals for one, well, a poor man's excuse for one.”

“You're using water to make a bomb?” He asked himself more than the ebony haired teenager, he shook his head with a half-smile. “I'm glad you're on our side because I think we'd all be dead by now if you weren't.”

“Ahh, making Sodium is easy.” She said as though it were like making a cup of tea. “It's the time involved, once I'm done here I'll shut everything down except the bridge, you're going to have to put a space suit on.”

Cress turned off the tap and picked the huge barrel of water up, or at least she tried to, it was much to heavy for her and Paul instantly leapt into action and grabbed it for her like the perfect gentleman he was. She called out Vulpine's name causing him to stand up and follow along behind them as they headed down the hallways.

“Air is going off too then I take it.”

“Yep, air too I'm afraid. We need every Watt of power we can get.”

“Okay, never worn a space suit before, maybe I'll do my Neil Armstrong impersonation.” He grinned in jest.

“If it's anything like your jokes, please don't. I don't think I could take that.”

“Spoilsport.” The two huffed out a laugh. “There is one thing I don't understand-”

“One thing?” Cressida interrupted with a smile.

“How did you make Sodium on a practically deserted ancient ship?”

“Easy!” She beamed. “Marble mixed with baking soda gives you Sodium Carbonate mixed with left over Calcium Hydroxide gives you Lye, and Lye mixed with Aluminium gives you Sodium. Submerge the Sodium in water and you get what I like to call a badass explosion!” Remind me never to piss this girl off, announced Paul's mind quickly. “It won't create a huge explosion with enough force to break us free but it will trigger the moonshine from Brody's stash and then the shuttle, instead of one big bang I'm going for three little ones.”

“Easy huh?”

“Well that is the really basic version but yeah.”

“You're going to blow up the only shuttle?”

“I have to, it's the only explosion I can make that is big enough to stand a chance of breaking us free of the blackhole. The thrusters won't hold out much longer.”

Paul wasn't stupid, he could see she was struggling under the weight of the situation. She tickled Vulpine's head.

“I don't remember reading anything about a dog suit, what are you going to do with Vulpine?” He asked as they turned a corner. “Stasis?”

“Can't, we don't know if it can support his species and I really don't have time to find out.” Cressida sighed. “However, I have an idea-”

“Always do, you're good like that.”

“- I'm going to put him in an airlock. I can pump it full of air and it's secure.”

“Won't that still be using power?” The barrel had started to grow heavy in his arms and he hoped they were almost wherever she was going.

“No. Once the air is in I can cut the power without a problem, coaxing him in is going to be the hard part though. Vulpine knows when I lie to him.”

 

XXXX

 

An hour later and Paul had put on his suit and Cress had locked a reluctant Vulpine up in the airlock, Paul couldn't deny that Destiny was awfully eerie without any lights on and the sound of himself breathing only added to the atmosphere.

“Moment of truth.” She told him once she'd joined him on the bridge after rigging the shuttle to explode.

Cressida's voice was slightly muffled through the radio in his helmet and he could hardly see her thanks to the bulky suit. She was scared and honestly so was he, this was literally the only chance they had, if it went wrong they were dead; hell if it went right they might still have been dead. Paul took her hand in his which was rather hard with them both in the space suits but he managed.

“Disaster, do you think there's a Heaven?” Asked the teenager through the radio.

Davis paused at that, he'd never been asked anything like that before and it threw him for a moment.

“... I really don't know, but I think if anyone deserves to get in it's you.” The Colonel squeezed her hand comfortingly.

With a deep breath Cressida pushed a single button on the main control terminal as they stared out the large window into unexplored space and released the the shuttle. The seconds ticked by like hours as he headed for the blackhole, heart beats raced, palms sweated.

“Now!” Cried the teenager, Paul slammed his hand down on the other console.

The moonshine blew then the larger Sodium bomb and finally the shuttle itself, the wave of destruction pushed Destiny as far as it could but wasn't enough.

“Kill thrusters.”

Paul was quick to obey and shut down the practically dead thrusters while Cress brought the main engines online, they hardly moved for a moment or two and then finally, finally, Destiny gained some distance. In a last desperate attempt to escape the blackhole's gravity Cress used what little power they had left to engage the FTL drive.

“Is this working?” Asked Paul loudly, eyes flashing through the large window as though he'd see something useful.

“No, no, I don't think-”

Suddenly Destiny launched forwards and shot off at full speed.

Paul Davis had just survived his second backhole.

Chapter Text


They may not have been hurtling towards a blackhole and certain death any longer but that didn't mean Cress and Paul were off home yet. Cressida had shot the gate almost into extinction as soon as they'd gotten on board and hadn't even started repairs; repairs that could have taken weeks, she didn't know yet. Also, Destiny hadn't re-charged since escaping the black hole's gravitational pull, as a result Cress had retreated to her and Eli's room with Vulpine – who was still bitter over being locked in the air lock – under her nice warm covers to stay warm. Until Destiny had re-fulled they were on minimal life support.

Though awake her eyes were closed as Vulpine snored against her back, her mind had just started to drift on into sleep when a knock came at the door that could have only been Paul.

“Vulpine.” Grumbled Cressida without opening her eyes and the animal reluctantly hopped down from the bed and pressed his nose against the door release before charging back to the warmth.

“Is it me-” began Paul as soon as he entered the room, door closing behind him. “-or is it getting colder in here?”

“It's you, Disaster.” Responded the eldest Rush child as she stretched. “The shields prevent any real heat escaping the ship. Trust me it's not getting colder.”

“Understood.” The Colonel shivered. “Know where any blankets are?”

Cressida smiled to herself before brushing stray locks of chestnut hair behind her ear and finally opened her eyes, Disaster had his arms wrapped tightly around himself. Suddenly she pulled the covers back and resisted the urge to shiver.

“Get in, it's late and this is warmer.”

Paul just looked at the young woman for a moment with a raised eyebrow before the chill got the better of him and he kicked off his shoes quickly and lay down in Cressida's bed. She wasted no time cuddling up to him, his skin was like ice so she tightened the covers around him; as a result she ended up sandwiched between her beloved pet and her brother's future boyfriend. It was a little strange to the both of them but being warm was the important thing,

“How long until the ship re-charges?” Asked Paul softly, his breath teased her forehead and it almost reminded her of when Eli and she were in bed with him holding her close; it made her feel safe. She missed Eli.

“About six hours until we enter the same sector as the sun, another two until we actually re-fuel.” Cress shuffled a little closer into Paul's chest in search of the warmth. “As soon as we do I can turn the heat back on. Until then I have a lovely Colonel to cuddle up to.” She chuckled and Paul found it infectious.

“When we get back let's not tell Doctor Rush about this, I could do without a punch for sleeping with his daughter.”

“He's not that bad, and anyway, I still have to fix the gate, you won't run into my Daddy for a while yet.”

“... Alright, you fix the gate and I'll...” The hand not wrapped around Cressida gestured loosely at nothing. “I don't know, make breakfast.”

Cress snorted. “Sounds good to me, Disaster. I'm hungry now though.”

“Sleep first. Sleep is good.”

Paul's voice was heavy and had started to slur at the end of words, it wouldn't be long before he tumbled into slumber. Cress just lay there for a time with her eyes closed, Colonel Davis' arms wrapped around her was comforting and kept away the chill but there was no changing the fact he wasn't Eli. That was how she fell asleep, thinking of Eli's smiling face.

XXXX



It took him a while but Paul eventually managed to prepare breakfast, it actually hadn't tasted that bad either. Cressida had gathered with Paul and Vulpine in the mess hall wrapped in blankets to stay warm, they only had a few hours left until they entered the sun and re-fueled. Once they had power back Cressida could start on the gate. She'd spent her time waiting for Disaster's prized breakfast by gathering up all the tools she'd need, most of which Ezra had left lying around the engine room. Cress wanted to get them both back to Earth as quickly as possible, she didn't want Eli, Ez and her parents to worry any longer than they had to. To Disaster and the eldest Rush child they'd only been on Destiny about a week but having been in the black hole's gravity she had no idea how long it had been to their family and friends. For all Cress knew when they got back – because they would get back – her little brother might have been her big brother. Well at least that would make things easier for Ez and Disaster, she'd muttered to herself.

They'd been on the bridge when Destiny entered the sun, Paul had just watched with amazement, he'd never seen anything so extraordinary. Cress had just watched him with amusement before kicking on the heat; much to Vulpine's pleasure.

As soon as they had full power Cressida had hopped into action in the gate room. Unfortunately when Cress emptied a full clip into the gate she'd damaged it far more than she'd first thought, in her desperation to just shut it down it seemed she'd done it a little more permanently than she'd wanted. Fixing the gate was going to take longer than was ideal.

Paul – bless him – didn't really know what to do with himself so had ended up sat cross-legged beside Cress' tools while she worked to get the gate functioning again. He watched her with an eager curiosity, she had this strange way of working where her movements were perfection calm but her eyes showed the truth, those big brown orbs flashed back and forth as though a thousand pieces of information were fluttering past her face. Paul could only imagine how many things she thought about at once, Cress was on a whole other level.

“Do you need me to do something?” He asked while pushing a wrench around in a circle with one finger and looked up at her from the floor. “I feel bad just sitting here while you do everything.”

“Nah, it's okay.” She responded easily without looking away from the gate, wiring and crystals all exposed. “I might need you to do some heavy lifting for me in a while though.” Cress paused then and turned to face him. “You can't really sit still can you? You've always got to be working. How old were you when you joined the Air Force?”

Paul kicked out his legs and leaned back on his hands while Vulpine took the opportunity to pad over and snuggle up to his side.

“I joined straight out of high school. My Dad was Air Force and I knew it was always what I was going to do. I guess you'd say it was my calling. And what about you? Did you want to be a scientist like Doctor Rush or is there some secret dream to be a ballet dancer I don't know about?”

Cress chuckled at that.

“Ballet is the thing with the strange little shoes right?” Paul nodded, to be honest he preferred her description of ballet. “I don't know how to do anything else, what I do know is quantum physics, Ancient, how to build a bomb out of deodorising powder.”

“That was a good one, I'll have to remember that trick.” When they'd first met Cressida had though Paul was just another military man who was all order but she'd learnt the truth, he was funny and kind. Truth be told she was happy she'd been trapped with him, then again anyone would have been better than Volker.

There was no denying that repairing the gate would take a while but Disaster had no doubt that Cress would figure it out. He had faith in her, they just needed to be patient. 

Chapter Text

 

Doctor Rush lay in bed with Chloe cuddled into his chest as she cried, he just lay there quietly with his arms tight around her. Chloe had nights like this, nights where she cried for their lost daughter and Nicholas didn't know what to tell her any longer. Didn't know how to comfort her save for keeping her close to his chest. He'd promised the woman he loved that he'd get Cressida home but after months of desperate attempts and the rest of the Stargate Program's scientists had failed. Rush was Cressida's father, he loved that girl with all his heart and he'd failed her. He couldn't reunite his daughter with her broken-hearted mother.

Ez had retreated in on himself, he didn't laugh, hardly spoke. Ezra didn't know how to function without his sister. Cress was older, she'd been an only child and could survive alone but Ez was different. Cress wasn't just his big sister she was his best friend.

Rush saw it as his job to protect his family, to keep them safe and yet he'd failed monumentally. Ezra was a shell of his former self and Chloe couldn't go more than a day without weeping. The Scotsman had worked until his hands bled but there literally wasn't a single thing he could do to get a wormhole open to Destiny... that was if Destiny even still existed. It did. Rush would have felt if his daughter were gone. The Nakai had created her from him and Chloe, she was part of him, he'd know if Cressida was dead.

“I'm sorry, Nicky.” Said Chloe, her voice muffled against his chest; the words snapped him out of his self-loathing.

“For what, Sweetheart? You've done nothing to be sorry for.” He brushed a stray strand of chestnut hair behind her ear as he spoke.

“I yelled at you. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have and it's not your fault, I'm sorry I said that to you.” She sniffled and pressed a loving kiss to the top of her head.

“That's nothing you need apologise for, Chloe.”

She was referring to the day before when Nicholas had finally told Chloe that there wasn't anything else he could do to get to Cressida and she'd understandably gotten angry, accused him of giving up and told him it was his fault she'd gotten separated from them in the first place. All of which he agreed with.

“Yes I do. It's not me that lost her it's us. You, me, Ezra and Eli.” Chloe finally looked up from Rush's chest and wiped stray tears from her cheeks as composure started to return to her. “I haven't seen Eli eat in days. I know he's thinned down but it was healthy, now though.... he's starting to look sick.”

“Don't worry.” He told her softly. “I'll talk to him.

“You know, sometimes I think he loves her more than we do.” The dark-haired woman's told him almost sorrowfully.

“No Sweetheart, he just loves her differently.” The scientist leaned down to kiss his darling Chloe. “Like I said, I'll talk to him, promise.”

“Thank you and I am sorry I yelled at you.” She smiled. “I still haven't thanked you for this house either.” Chloe gestured to the dark room around them.

Rush had purchased a modest home for them all about a month previous, he'd not wanted Chloe and Ez staring at the grey walls tucked away in Cheyenne Mountain forever. It have been far over shadowed by Cress' absence though.

“Aye, you're welcome, my love. It's for all of us, even Eli.”

Originally Rush had intended on having the house for all of them to use on a cycle system that the SGC had wanted to put his family on. A home away from Destiny. Seemed like that was pointless now though. The house was larger than the one Rush had shared with Gloria but still modest, he had an office with huge built in bookshelves already crammed full of tomes, he'd envisioned turning the basement into a workroom for Cress and Ezra to share but the staircase was his favourite part of the house. Rush had thought it perfect to hang his and Chloe's wedding photos along the wall. However, without Cressida he couldn't bring himself to ask for Chloe's hand; so the ring just sat in his safe. If he asked her it would have felt like he was asking her to move on and he couldn't.

Rush didn't have all the answers, he, Chloe and Eli had lost her. Ezra had lost his sister and the man he'd fallen for. He couldn't fix it. Nicky didn't know what to do anymore to help them.

“Sleep now, Sweetheart, you'll feel better in the morning.” Was all he could say.

“Only if you promise to sleep too. I know you just sit and watch me.”

He smiled at that, a true smile not one of those sarcastic smirks he shot everybody else.

“You're just so beautiful, I can't help myself. But alright, I'll sleep.”

The couple settled down against the soft pillows and Chloe instantly cuddled into his chest, all lean and warm. After a kiss to her forehead Rush watched as sleep took her, so beautiful despite her tear stained cheeks. He'd promised Chloe he'd sleep, he couldn't say anything about it being restful.

 

XXXX

 

O'Neill was at his office desk, body tense just as Doctor Jackson's was who stood on the other side of the desk. Both glared at the suit clad bureaucrat that had been sent down from the Pentagon.

“... you can't do that! We still have people out there.” Complained Daniel with a furrowed brow.

“This is ridiculous.” Jack shot to his feet, large hands firmly planted on the dark wood desk.

“These are your orders, General.” Clucked the generic bureaucrat. “There is no discussion, no more attempts to reach Destiny. The Stargate Program has priorities.”

“I'm sorry,” Doctor Jackson gestured in disbelief, “our people aren't a priority?”

The bureaucrat sighed. “Don't say it like that, of course we care but Doctor Rush himself has admitted there's nothing else to be done. We can't keep the Stargate running at half capacity and continue to beat a dead horse.”

“No. No, he said he hadn't thought of anything new. There's a difference. He isn't going to just give up on his own daughter. Cressida Rush saved lives, she prevented the Nakai not only taking over an ancient ship with who knows how much tech but from killing our people. She's a hero and Davis basically keeps the Pentagon running. Since he ended up on Destiny you lot haven't had a clue what you're doing!”

“Enough.” The bureaucrat all but growled. “General, shut down the rescue mission.”

With that the short, black suit wearing man clicked his briefcase shut and marched out Jack's office without another word. The General slumped back down into his chair and Daniel perched on the desk edge, both were silent for a moment, neither could believe that their government was on board with just giving up Davis and Cress.

Daniel sighed. “Jack, you can't just leave Paul and Cressida out there.”

“I'm not. We'll call off the official rescue as ordered but I don't remember about preventing any search on personal time. I'll give Rush, Ezra and Wallace a new assignment so it seems we're following orders to the letter but I'll have all the rescue material shifted to another lab.” Jack paused only for a moment. “Daniel, that kid calls me 'Uncle', I'm not leaving her.”

“You're a good man, Jack. I'll see what I can do to help, you keep the Pentagon off our backs.”

“It's what I do.” The two men chuckled. “SG10 should be back within the hour with news from the Asgard.”

 

XXXX

 

Cress had finally decided to take a much deserved break from fixing the gate, her fingers stung and Vulpine had wandered off – probably back to her and Eli's room – out of boredom; all that animal ever seemed to do was nap. Paul had vanished too about twenty minutes prior which she'd found odd because he'd told her he'd be right back.

Cressida stretched, she'd been hunched over for some time and her back ached. Her knees complained when she rose to her feet, they'd grown used to remaining in one position and didn't want to support her full weight. How long have I been sat here? Three? Four hours?

When she turned to the gate room door though she heard music drifting down the hall quickly getting louder, she knew that song, it was one of Eli's favourites; Bob Seger's Old Time Rock And Roll. Suddenly Paul slid into the room just like in the video's Eli had shown her which forced her to giggle straight away. The music was coming from an iPod that Cress had never seen before but she hardly even noticed it as Paul danced over to her, this was the playful side of himself that few ever really got to see.

“What are you doing?” The teenager laughed. “You're mad.”

“Maybe General O'Neill has finally gotten to me. And you've got to love Bob Seager.”

“Eli said much the same.” Cress stepped closer and took the iPod from Paul's strong hands. “Where did you even find this? I've been on this ship years and never seen it before.”

“It was in one of the rooms, no idea whose it is and it's a little outdated now.” The song came to an end and instantly played something more classical. “With a strangely varied music selection it seems.”

Paul set the iPod down on Cressida's half empty bag of tools – she'd said Ez was the messy one but frankly Paul thought they were as bad as each other – and held out his hand for Cress to take.

“It's going to take you a while yet to get the gate fixed, care to dance?”

“I don't know how.” She smiled softly.

“That's alright, I haven't danced since my cousin's wedding on 2002. We can stand on each others toes.”

The chestnut haired beauty just stared at him for a moment or two, chocolate orbs glinting with amusement before she took his hand. Both were awful just as had been expected and soon ended up just shuffling around in a small circle laughing. Paul really did know how to make things fun and Cressida hadn't known just how much she'd needed a laugh, to forget about the gate and ship. He seemed to know just how to cheer her up, maybe Paul should have been a therapist.

Chapter Text

The gate roared to life, rings spinning and drawing everyone's attention. Unscheduled incoming wormhole, announced the speaker system which lead to General O'Neill, Rush, Chloe Ezra and Doctor Jackson racing down from Jack's office with puzzled expressions. They'd all been in yet another meeting regarding The Pentagon's insistence that they cease all attempt to get Cressida and Colonel Davis back... or at least prove they were dead.

“Who is it?” Asked Jack as he came to a stop looking up at the gate through the glass, blue shimmered against the back wall a luminous beauty that no longer amazed the SGC staff as it once had. “Is it SG7?”

“No, Sir.” Responded the young man at his control station. “I'm not getting a code. Wait-” There was a pause while the young officer with blonde hair watched intently at his screens. His eyes went wide. “That's Destiny's code!”

“Cressida!” Rush lunged towards the radio as Chloe's eyes went wide, his heart thumping in his chest; Ezra gripped her hand tightly. “Cress? Cress, come in.” Rush all but begged for his daughter to answer.

A few moments went by, the weight of them felt more like hours of horrendous agony. Then, finally,  just when Chloe's heart threatened to break all over again there was a static like rumbled and a voice.

“She's right here, Doctor Rush. Vulpine too.”

A huge cheer erupted throughout the control room and Chloe finally broke down into tears though this time they were of joy. Ezra pulled his Mom into a tight hug since his father had already charged out the room towards the Gate Room.

“Open the iris.” Ordered Jack, an order that was quickly obeyed and everyone followed Rush.

The blue pool of the wormhole shone and shimmered, teasing them with movement. Nicholas almost vibrated with anticipation, he stood at the bottom of the metal ramp unblinking lest he missed something.

Almost the second Cressida stepped through the gate Rush had her in his arms, hands in her hair keeping her close. The safety of her Daddy's arms was nice but it didn't last long thanks to her mother who pushed Rush out the way so she could embrace her daughter.

“Oh my baby girl! My sweet baby girl.”

“Mom... can't... breath.”

Chloe was forced to release her eldest child, it was then they all saw how forcefully her tears were streaming down her face.

“What the fuck happened?” Demanded Rush.

“Long story.” Said Disaster while he petted Vulpine's long ears, eyes occasionally flashing towards Ezra. “We're going to need one hell of a debrief, Sir.” He told Jack who nodded.

“My office, now.”

“Where is Eli?” Asked Cress, brown eyes flashing around the Gate Room for him.

Rush, Chloe and Ez flashed each other a look before Ezra spoke.

“Em, his Mom too a turn for the worst. He's at home with her.”

“I need to see him.” It was almost like withdrawal being without her Eli, she'd missed his stupid comments, his schoolboy smile and the way he would wrap the teenager up in his arms.

“We need to debrief you.” Announced Jack.

“Please, Uncle Jack?”

“There will be time for that later.” Argued Daniel softly.

Jack sighed. “Okay, you're right.” He looked over to Cress. “But the doc takes a look at you first.”

She nodded, Cress couldn't argue with that.

“No.” Said Chloe. “No, we just got you back.”

“Mom, we're back on Earth again. I know its been a month-” Ezra suddenly cut her off.

“A month?! Cress, you've been gone for seven.”

Paul and Cressida's eyes widened, she'd expected it to be a little longer than a month due to the blackhole's gravity but not seven months. Cress had horribly miscalculated.

 “I'm so sorry, I didn't know the time stretch was that long.”

“Time stretch?” Questioned Rush quickly.

“Black hole.” Stated Paul and everyone save for Jack let out a sound of understanding.

“I'm so sorry.” Repeated the eldest Rush child, how much heartbreak her mother had been through.

Chloe wouldn't release her little girl, she'd thought Cress was gone, thought she'd never see her baby again, but there she was safe and alive. Cress had come back to them.

 

XXXX



An hour later Cressida surged out of the unmarked black car and up to Eli's front door, she stopped dead with her hand raised to knock. Her heart hammered in her chest, she'd missed Eli, it actually hurt to be away from the man she loved.

The dark-haired beauty took a deep, calming breath as she glanced up to the window, at that sight her heart stopped. He was sat on the couch with his back to her, shoulders bouncing up and down sorrowfully as he cried, instantly a wave of concern washed over her. Cressida forgot about knocking and just pushed the door open, thankful that it was unlocked, she just reacted on the instant urge to go to him.

She'd not heard his voice in weeks but to him it had been seven long months but she'd not wanted the first thing she heard from him be sobs and tears. Carefully she rounded the couch and stood looking down at him, she blocked some of the light and had Eli blinking away tears and looking up.

“Cressida?!”

There was utter disbelief in his voice, eyes wide and bold. To him she'd been gone for seven months, he'd started to think he'd never see her again.

“I'm hallucinating now. Great.” He sighed and ran a hand through his stubble.

“You're not hallucinating, Eli.” She told him softly as she tried not to cry as well. “It's me, I'm here. I'm real.”

Cress reached out and cupped his cheek, in an instant Eli leant into her warmth while she wiped away a stray tear with her thumb.

“How?” He breathed, clearly he still thought he was hallucinating or dreaming.

The eldest Rush child smiled half-heartedly. “It's a long story, that's not important though. I'm here now.”

Eli just looked at her for a moment and then without hesitation he pulled her down so she straddled him and just clung to her as though she'd fade away; so tight it almost hurt. She'd missed his scent, it made her feel safe.

“I thought I'd lost you, Cress.”

He sobbed into her neck and gripped her tighter and then he was kissing her as though his life depended on it. It was only then that she realised just how much Eli truly loved her. Soon he had Cressida on her back on the couch so he could run his fingers up her flanks and under her t-shirt. His stubble which had become more beard like since she'd last seen him – something needed to be done about that – and it scratched at her cheeks. But it was him, it was her Eli and they'd found one another again.

Suddenly his nimble fingers hooked into belt loops and started to pull down her jeans.

“Eli, no, I'm still only-” He cut her off.

“I thought you were dead. I thought the woman I love more than anything else in the universe was dead. I thought you were gone. I need you Cress.”

She understood that fully, she felt the same, she needed him just as much as he needed her... her father wouldn't mind. His big brown eyes were full of so much love for her and it made Cress smile. She nodded.

Eli took a moment to just look at Cressida, at her beauty. Chestnut colored hair like a cape around her angelic face, skin so soft and supple that it was purer than snow. Eyes like golden whiskey and filled with an indescribable spark, she's perfect.

Eli yanked his grey t-shirt over his head and tossed it aside until he came to rest half under the coffee table, he could feel her heart thud like a generator vibrating in her chest. His large hands pulled her jeans all the way off then went back for the top that was chucked just as unceremoniously as his own almost as though it offended him.

The dark-haired man caressed her body with nips and sucks, marking her porcelain skin with tiny purple bruises, hands ran up her flanks before reaching behind her back to open her bra and pull it off, she's going to be the death of me, he settled his hands on her hips. He'd seen her naked before but never like this, never so exposed and on display before him. It was instinctual for Cressida to part her legs letting him settle between them while she snaked her arms around Eli's neck.

“You're beautiful.” He told her truthfully before taking a nipple into his mouth; she moaned and threw her head back.

Eli slipped his hand down her smooth stomach to her core, fingers teasing her wet sex.

“Eli !”

She moaned loudly, fingers combed into his magnificent hair and gripped so tight it hurt. That sound, that delectable sound, made him surge with primal pride, a growl that rumbled through his chest and into Cressida's own. She'd never experienced anything like this before, maybe it was the need that had the eldest Rush filled with such desire, she didn't know and maybe she didn't want to know.

Slowly Eli pulled the last garment of clothing down her supple thighs leaving the goddess naked before him, he slipped down her body leaving delicate kisses in his wake as talented fingers circled her needy core, the grip she had on his hair only grew tighter, bordering on the boundary between pain and pleasure. His fingers moved within her, mapping the beauty from the inside with nothing but touch. Eli could feel her walls start to quiver, she was close and he adored every second, he eyed her teasingly before pressing a gentle kiss to her inner thigh. When his mouth finally found her core Cressida all but purred in delight, arms wrapped around her legs as his need for her took over and tongue set to work. Eli's mouth was perfect and she felt her orgasm start to build rapidly, no man had ever made her feel this before, his tongue circled her sex before dipping into her. Cressida couldn't speak, couldn't think. Her hips bucked without her consent, but his firm hands kept her in place.

So close. Just a little bit more. Just a little...

“Oh God!”

She gasped desperately, the sound of ecstasy racing through him and filling Eli with an animal-like pride. He watched with a grin as her her mouth hung open in a silent moan. Gods she's beautiful.
 
“Eli, I need you. Please.” She pleaded, hands clawing at him until the older man consented to being pulled back up her breathtaking body for a deep and passion filled kiss.

How could he ever say no to her? He couldn't deny the needy goddess before him especially with his own need spurring him along. At almost lightning speed the older man shredded himself of his remaining clothing, uncaring where the fabric landed and pulled Cress down the bed to him by the backs of her knees. It was a little dominant spark that Cress had never seen from Eli before... and she liked it.

This wasn't about making love, not entirely anyway, it was about need, passion, fire and want, all the sinful desires that tasted so sweet and quickly became addictive. With one last gaze into her magical chocolate orbs Eli gripped her hips tightly and slammed into her; Cressida moaned. His thrusts were gentle at first, and it hurt but that faded away quickly, but soon the thrusts grew hard and deep, powerful and quickly began to rip away her ability to speak or think in anything other than whimpers and gasps. Her fingers reached up to grip his strong shoulders when he took one of her rosy nipples back into his mouth.
 
Their bodies met in a perfect rhythm; delicate but overflowing with heated passion. Cressida's tongue made its way into Eli's mouth readily as they became one, mapping out his mouth desperately, raking her tongue across his teeth causing his thrusts to become erratic for a second or two. Had Cress known sex was like this she'd have caved a long time ago. Cress was dangling on the very edge, looking down into the euphoric depths below with her darling partner not far behind her, she wiggled her hips in just the right way, teasing, and send him into a primal rut, thrusting like his life depended on it. It was then that the dark-haired beauty grew needier and Eli managed to flipped them – no easy task on such a small couch – his long and talented fingers gripped her hips leaving tiny little dents over her porcelain skin, puling her down onto him, impaling her. Cressida leaned down to kiss him again, gasping at the new angle and the way her kissed nipples grazed against his smooth chest.

It was then that she could take it no longer and plunged into the smouldering waters of bliss and euphoria her body clamped down around the man she loved as she rode her orgasm, pulling him over the edge and into climax with her.

“Eli!”

She somehow managed to whisper and scream out his name at the same time, back arching into his touch. Finally Cressida collapsed against Eli's surprisingly strong chest, happy and warm. He lay there panting for a time with Cressida rested against him, her breathes slowly returning to some semblance of normal. It had been a long time for Eli what with being 'math boy' and spending so long on Destiny but he didn't remember sex ever having been that good. Sweat had gathered in little beads on his forehead wetting the black hair hair at his temples as he stared up at the ceiling.
 
“Wow.” He breathed.

Cress just smiled, that was the only real word she had to describe it as well. Maybe it hadn't been the romantic candle lit encounter other girls dreamt of but it was no less special.

“I had no idea I could feel that.” She told him truthfully. “I just... wow.”

“Thank you, baby.”

“For what?” She peered up at him with confusion a hand rested on his chest.

“Coming back. I really thought I'd lost you.” Eli pressed a kiss to her forehead.

Cress smiled. “Puddin', you should know by now that I always come back. The Nakai programmed my body to die, but I'm still here. You'll never lose me.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.” She confirmed.

Eli pulled her tighter to his chest and just breathed her in.

“Hang on, did you just call me Puddin'?” His brow furrowed.

“Yeah, you know, like Harley and the Joker.”

Eli chuckled at that. “You are such a geek, baby. I love it.”



XXXX



After a few weeks Eli's mom started to recover but the HIV had taken its toll on her body after so many years, Eli had been so worried that it had taken a toll on him as well, but he had Cressida back. His darling, genius Cressida back and with her return came his hope.

The debriefing had been fast paced but taken forever, the Pentagon had learnt of Paul's and Cressida's return and sent some pencil pusher to grill them both on what had happened. They'd been sceptical about a black hole but the eldest Rush child had just started listing calculations and how the time stretched had occurred until only her father, Ez and Eli fully understood what she was saying. It hadn't taken long for Paul to make a case for why Destiny was still safe, and praised Cress at every opportunity until the Pentagon had essentially been forced to quit their moaning so as Colonel Davis get back to work.

Jack, Rush and Eli talked about returning to Destiny, clearly they couldn't leave it alone again so Paul had been on base building the best military team he could with the aid of Doctor Rush, General O'Neill would handle the military personnel. Surprisingly many had actually asked to be stationed on Destiny now they knew they could return most notably Varro, Colonel Young and Lieutenant Scott. Greer had grumbled but people suspected he'd choose to return as well, Destiny suited his personality in a strange sort of way.

Paul 'Disaster' Davis spent a lot of long nights at the base and it was one of those long nights when Cressida knocked on his open door with Ezra just behind her.

“Cress?” He questioned with a smile as he rose and rounded his desk.

“Disaster, here's Ezra just as requested.” She all but shoved her brother towards the Colonel, then flashed the older man a look that said 'do it'.

With that she was gone, abandoned the room knowing she'd forced the two to finally talk about the gargantuan elephant in the room. It took Paul a moment to clock all the information into place and figure out what the hell she'd been talking about. The conversation they'd had back on Destiny suddenly flooded his mind. He'd told her he'd talk to Ezra when they got back and that had been two, nearly three, weeks ago. Clearly Cress was going to force him to keep his word. Suddenly Ezra's voice snapped Davis out of his thoughts.

“I didn't believe her when she said your nickname was 'Disaster'. I like it.” He grinned.

Paul sighed half-heartedly. “I knew I shouldn't have told her that.”

“It suits you in a weird way.” A brief pause. “Anyway, my sis told me you wanted to see me. What can I do?”

Paul was silent for a moment, Ezra acted like an adult just as Cressida had said but it didn't change how young Ez really was. Nerves hit Paul like a brick wall. He was an Air Force Colonel, he could do this. Disaster took a deep breath.

“Ezra, em, well, your sister has sprung this on me but frankly I shouldn't be surprised.” Good God, I sound like a twelve year old with a crush! Ez just looked at him. “Em... when I was growing up boys and girls were expected to act a certain way, and that got even worse when I  joined the Air Force. Eventually things changed and people realised that not everyone fitted into the same box, but I'd spent so long like that, spent so long basically hiding who I was from my job that I was just used to it.” Another pause, Ez's brow furrowed deeper as he caught on to where this was going and what his sister had done. “... But then you came along and... and-”

Ezra cut him off with a shy smile and a hand on the older man's uniform clad chest.

“Are you trying to say you like me back but you're not quite sure how to show it?”

Paul smiled softly, green eyes lighting up.

“That's why you're the smart one.”

“I'm a Rush, it's kinda comes with the name.” With that Ez let his hand fall from Paul's chest to grab his large hand instead. “You know I'm not as young as I seem, right?”

Davis nodded. “Oh, believe me, your sister has drilled that into me. She loves you very much.” Ez knew that, of course he knew. “I'm more worried about Doctor Rush trying to kill me than your age.”

“Won't happen. He already knows I'm in love with you, Pops would have killed you already if he wasn't okay with it. Disaster?”

Paul sighed. “That's going to stick, isn't it?”

“Yep!” Beamed the younger man.

“God, you and Cressida are so alike.”

“Are we going to keep talking about my Pops and sister, or are you going to kiss me? Because I'd really like that.”

“I'm going to get court-martialed for this.”

With that Paul finally, finally, pressed his lips to Ezra's own.

Chapter Text

“Ready?” Rush asked hid family as he stood before the bridges control panel, they nodded.

Cressida leaned back into Eli's chest while his strong arms came to rest on her belly, four more months and they'd have their beautiful baby boy, though they still couldn't agree on names; no matter how many times Eli asked Cressida wasn't letting him name their son after Batman. Actually it was quite the year of milestones, she and Eli were expecting a child, Chloe and Rush were coming up on their fifth anniversary and Ez would have his third PhD by the end of the month.

“We're totally ready.” Responded Chloe as she in to press a kiss to her husband's bearded cheek.

There was a momentary pause before Rush hit a single button and the ship surged with power, which Vulpine didn't like – a few seconds later their radios crackled.

Open Sesame.” A round of grins erupted at Paul's corny words.

Finally, after years of work, the exposed sections, all of it, was repaired. They had full access to the entire ship. Destiny couldn't hide her secrets from them for much longer. Ez pulled out his radio and brought it to his lips.

Baby, what are you doing on Destiny?” A pause.

Well, you know how I wanted to learn Ancient properly?”

Yeah?”

Ezra drew out the word while the others got back to work, people had been trying to convince Cressida to return to Earth but when Cressida Wallace didn't want to do something, she wasn't doing it.

Just when Ez started to wonder if Paul's radio had cut out the man himself turned appeared on the bridge with a smile.

“Think of it this like when you went to France to improve your French.”

The youngest Rush was in Paul's arms in an instant, the older man ran a hand through Ezra's dark hair as he looked into those bold heterochromia eyes then pressed a kiss to his lips. It was Cress that drew their attention back to the bridge and everyone on it.

“You do realise that now we have full access to the ship it won't be long before he's unlocked her last secret. Once he does Daddy will be looking for some new mystery to unravel.” Chloe chuckled at that.

“I think that mystery might be grandparenting, I'm really too young for that.”

“True but this ship will always have secrets and who knows what we'll find in the new sections. We've just unlocked the areas, we're not done yet, baby girl.”

“That's the nice thing about space, isn't it?” Muttered Eli, Cress still wrapped up in his arms. “There's always more to see and explore and Destiny is our front row seat.” Eli really could be a poet at times.

Nicholas looked at his family; a wife as smart as she was beautiful, two children who'd clawed back their childhood from a psychotic alien race and managed to retain their sanity, a son-in-law that saw past his daughter's and son's alien origins to the people they really were and a grandson waiting to be born. Even Paul with all his prim and properness that his his fun loving side. A strange little group that he'd had to go to the ends of the universe to find but they were his family and he loved them wholeheartedly. And to think all he'd wanted when he'd been recruited to the Stargate Program was to solve a puzzle.

Rush had never expected a family – especially after Gloria – but he was truly grateful for them.

 

'Family is not an important thing. It's everything.'

Michael J. Fox

THE END