In Sarra Dr Rush found a kindred spirit; in Dr Rush Sarra found the friend she desperately needed. It must have been destiny. Rush x OC
The first time Sarra saw Dr Nicholas Rush, he was in her infirmary.
Well, that isn't quite true. The first time Sarra noticed Dr Nicholas Rush was when he ended up in her infirmary after a nervous breakdown. She looked over him, declared him in perfect health other than exhaustion, and gave the doctor's orders of a good twelve hours sleep.
He only got ten, and for that she made sure to seek him out and tell him off. He looked up from his notepad, raised an eyebrow, and walked off. But she was sure she had seen a smile tug itself into existence on the corners of his mouth.
That made her smile.
The next time he passed her in the corridor, she made sure to acknowledge him with a warm smile and friendly "Dr Rush."
He looked at her in surprise and returned the greeting curtly.
Then they went their separate ways, but Sarra smiled again when she saw pleasure flare briefly in those dark eyes. She understood his pleasure. It was the pleasure of the invisible man been noticed- no, it was the pleasure of getting friendly attention after so much hostility aimed his way.
At first she had done her very best to ignore him, blaming him for their current predicament of been stuck on Destiny, but after the incident with the sun she had learned that this ship was more of a home than the little whitewashed house in Australia ever was.
And though she felt bad about not been able to look after her sister after her accident, though it tore at her heart to let her down, she was still able to write her letters and, really, she was glad to be here.
She felt like a traitor to say she preferred the long, falling apart corridors to the neat little bungalow by the beach. She hated the fact that she was happier here than she knew she would have been looking after Jessi.
Jessi had written to her to say she had a lovely carer and missed her desperately, but understood that she was otherwise occupied and the money she was earning was paying her carer, and giving her a good life.
And for that, she was glad Everett Young hadn't quite gotten around to telling the General she was a civilian now.
Weeks passed of this- Sarra would greet Rush politely and in friendly manner, he would return the greeting- before the pattern reversed itself. Two, to be exact.
The first time Dr Nicholas Rush acknowledged her presence first she had been absorbed in her notebook- for she, much like Dr Rush, preferred good old-fashioned handwriting to the chunky tablets the scientists carried around- and she was shaking her now empty pen impatiently.
"Blast it all," she exclaimed. "That was my last one!"
"Pencil?" a quiet, Scottish voice enquired and she whirled around to see Rush standing behind her, offering her a yellow led pencil. She extended her hand, shocked, and took it. His notebook was now without a pencil, she noticed.
"Thanks," she managed, and realised it was razor sharp when she stabbed herself in the palm with it. She winced slightly and turned to thank him again for sharpening it, but he was already gone.
She was staring at the wall of her infirmary, and had been for she didn't know how long, absorbed in her thoughts, when a quiet cough at the door told her that she was been watched. She turned to see the gangly form of the most unpopular man on Destiny wearing a crooked smile.
"Something interesting on the wall?" he asked, and she shook her head slightly to clear it. She cocked an eyebrow at him, looking him up and down.
"You don't look injured. Why are you hovering in my doorway, Dr Rush?" she asked in tones that indicated she clearly didn't mind him been there. She was so often in the same position as him that any company was good.
Though she was a civilian, she was still a soldier, and for that the civilians didn't trust her, though they ran to her when they needed a doctor, all right. For their part, the military didn't spend too much time in her company, and she didn't seek theirs out. Though they trusted her with their lives, both in the field and on the table, she wasn't the most social person, and never had been.
"I brought lunch," he offered, holding out the two trays of supposed food that provided the nutrients they needed, but not much in the way of taste, and she blinked in surprise. She hadn't noticed. From the quirk of his lips she could tell he'd noticed. She'd forgotten all about lunch.
"You actually eat now?" she asked, trying to cover the fact she wasn't while indicating that he should sit on the table beside her, and he slid onto it, handing her the tray and spoon. She spooned a mouthful of the stuff as he laughed.
"If not for Eli I wouldn't," he replied with a genuine smile, and a thrill of joy passed through her at the sight of that smile. It lit his features up and she felt a small worm of something in her belly. "The boy is an odd one. He actually puts stock in my wellbeing."
"Well," Sarra replied, swallowing before continuing, "All I know is that I do. If not we'd all be dead several times over."
"But we'd not be here," he said softly. She glanced up at him and chuckled humourlessly, pain in her eyes.
"Destiny isn't named what she is for nothing," she replied, guilt stirring in her stomach, guilt that she hadn't been able to shed, though she could mask it. How could she prefer to be here than have to deal with her own sister? He smiled again, something stirring behind his dark eyes- kinship, maybe?
"No she isn't," he replied and the two ate in silence.
If anyone had asked her, Sarra would not have been able to recall the topic that had led to her sister- yet she and Dr Rush were sitting on the observation deck discussing her.
"I resigned to take care of her," she was saying, voice tight. "I'm supposed to be there right now. I stayed the last two days on the base for the Colonel- just two days, he said, to clean up the paperwork on my desk-" Rush swallowed, looked down, acutely aware of the fact that she was here, away from her sister, because of him.
"She has a good carer," she said, regathering herself with difficulty. "A woman called Gloria. She's written to me about her, not that I have the letters here of course."
He froze, images of his Gloria flashing through him, and he bit her lip, tried to clear his mind and face, but she noticed.
"Nothing," he said, quickly, and the comfortable silence that made up most of their conversation fell over them again.
"But I'm glad I'm here," she said. "I really am. This is an amazing place. If Jessi hadn't had her accident, I'd be overjoyed to be here. It's what I've always dreamed of."
"Me too. I wish you could be with your sister, but, I'm glad you're here."
Sarra put her hand on his.
"So am I."
The exact moment that Sarra started to crave Rush's silent company rather than her chattering sister's was one she could not pinpoint, but she suspected she had always preferred it. Silence was easier to manage. It took much more energy to participate in conversation.
Their exchanges happened during breaks when both were off duty, and both were careful to keep work out of their conversations; though if she had no patients, Sarra was often to be found in one corner of the lab, writing something in her notebook with one of Rush's pencils, and the very few times he couldn't find something to occupy him in the lab, Rush would seek her out in the infirmary and offer his company, an offer she usually accepted.
Today was one of those quiet moments where she was curled in the lab, watching the comings and goings. As usual, Rush was irascible, and currently ordering a poor unfortunate scientist out. Eli wasn't in the lab, which left just the two of them.
The man sighed and slumped in the chair before the terminal, holding his head in his hands and muttering under his breath.
"I'd offer you something for the headache if I thought it would help," Sarra commented, and he turned wearily to her, offering her a tired smile.
"I'd ask for it if I thought it would help," he said, and she grinned as she plopped herself down in front of one of the terminals.
"Always wanted to know how this works. Pity I don't know Ancient," she commented, pantomiming hitting the buttons. Rush's chuckle was resigned.
"Neither does anyone else, it seems," he sighed, and she moved closer to him, examining him properly.
"You need more sleep," she declared. He raised his head to her and screwed his face up, in an almost comical way.
"Don't we all," he replied, and, not seeing the need to reply to that, Sarra placed her hand on top of his. They remained that way until her radio went off and Vanessa James asked for her assistance. She made a face and slid off the stool.
"See you at mess hall," she told Rush, and he nodded, smiled a strained smile as she left.
The next time she came back to her body after visiting Earth, the woman was stricken, and Rush wanted nothing more than just to hold her. The urge shocked him. He'd never been prone to physical contact, but the sight of his friend made him want to hug her.
So he did.
She leaned against his shoulder and wrapped her arms tight around him, starting to sob. He didn't feel awkward about the contact at all. It felt right; like it had with Gloria... he silenced that thought quickly.
"What happened?" he asked, smoothing her hair down with one hand and she hiccupped into his shoulder.
"Jessi... there were complications... she's sick..." she managed to get out before the rest of her words were lost in the torrent of tears that burst forth. He held her tighter and just let her cry. When she looked up and drew back, her eyes were red rimmed.
"T-thanks..." she said, and, realising that they had an audience, for three civilians were staring from the door, she quickly let him go and took a deep, composing breath and left.
Rush glared at the civilians, who quickly found other places to urgently be, and then stared down the corridor Sarra had left from. His heart burst for her, and he was vividly reminded of Gloria's illness.
Biting his lip, he followed her out.
"She's... she's not going to make it..." Sarra's voice broke and Rush pulled her into a warm hug. "She isn't going to make it, and I... I... I always wanted to be here... not... I could never deal with it..."
"Ssh," he said, softly, pulling her close to him. "Hush." She sobbed onto his shoulder and he was glad they were alone.
"I... don't want to be there... deal with it... I know I have to... but, I..." Impulsively he pressed his lips to her forehead and felt her relax slightly. She looked up at him and gave him a shaky smile.
"Nick... is it wrong to want to... be... away from her?" she asked, and her eyes were desperate. He paused a moment before replying, to make sure his words were right.
"I know how hard it is," he said, carefully. "To be away from one you love going through a hard time. I don't blame you for been scared." She sniffled and dried her tears.
"T-thanks, Nick," she said, eyes red rimmed but composed.
Blindly Sarra stared at the blank wall, breath heaving in her chest. The consoles in the room beeped and flashed, but she didn't stir. She was shaking very slightly. Light footsteps behind her announced that someone had entered. They stopped and Dr Nicholas Rush spoke.
Sarra looked up, a little belatedly, and dully focussed on the man. Her lips formed a half grimace, in what was obviously her attempt at a smile. She soon gave up the attempt and heaved a huge sigh, head drooping to rest on her chest.
The words were spoken listlessly and barely audibly. Rush hesitated a second before he stepped forward and knelt before her.
"I'm sorry," he said, awkwardly. "I feel your loss. My wife..." he stopped, but Sarra looked up at them, focussing on him.
"Wife? You're married?" she asked, frowning a little in confusion. The thought of Rush marrying had never occurred to her, and it had never come up in their conversations.
"I used to be," he replied after a moment, sitting down beside her. He didn't speak for a long moment, and neither did she. She just stared at the wall.
"What happened?" she asked, turning to him. Grief lingered behind her bright green eyes, threatened to overwhelm them.
"Cancer," he answered simply. She nodded, bit her lip.
"At least you were there," she said. "In your own body." A slight chuckle left the man and he nodded.
For several minutes they just sat there in companionable silence, and when Sarra next spoke, her voice was much more even and controlled.
"She wasn't cleared, you know." A lump developed in her throat and she paused, swallowed around it. "I told her, though. She knew at the end. She said she loved me." Tears swelled in her eyes and a single one tracked down her cheek. Rush paused before lifting a finger and catching it.
"Sarra," she interrupted him, firmly.
"Sarra," he said a smile in his voice, "There was nothing you could do." She turned to look at him with glistening eyes, and, for the first time, he noticed how vivid a green they were. "You did all you could. At least she knew who you were."
She nodded, reluctantly.
"Nicholas," he corrected, and she smiled.
"Nicholas. Thank you." She bit her lip, and reached out her hand hesitantly. He grasped it firmly but gently and felt her relax. Her hand was soft, very soft, for someone on Destiny in any event, yet bore traces of hard labour, the calloused palm of a soldier. He rubbed it between his hands, almost unconsciously tracing the palm lines with a thumb.
She smiled, and her eyes drooped. She was exhausted, physically and mentally. As she started to slump back into sleep, he guided her forward until she was leaning against his shoulder and smiled. Her breathing evened out and her tense shoulders unknotted as he let her hand drop and started rubbing them gently.
"Sleep well, Sarra," he said softly.
"Her funeral was today," Sarra said, looking up from her meal at Rush. "I tried to get onto the stones but there were no vacancies. The Colonel told me to take his place." Rush looked up from his notepad and closed it, laying it on the table before him.
"What was it like?" he asked. The woman blinked back tears.
"Touching," she said. "She was well liked, the priest-or-whoever-organises-the-funerals said, and read out something I wrote about her five minutes earlier. It wasn't like I could read it." She attempted a chuckle but it came out as a sob, and he took her limp hand from the table between them, holding it gently.
"I'm off duty," she said at length. "Colonel put TJ on. Said I deserved some time off."
"You do," Rush told her and she managed a real smile this time even as tears sprang to her eyes.
They spent the rest of the meal in silence, Sarra only eating half of hers, though she slowly nibbled on the hydroponic tomatoes even as she gave up on the rest. Rush didn't let go of her hand; and she made no move to remove it from his grip. Her trembling subsided somewhat as she relaxed.
"I feel so guilty," she said when they were alone in a corridor, suddenly stopping. "I... never wanted to be with her, to deal with her, and now..."
"Hush," he told her, taking her hand in his. "You had no choice. Don't dwell on it. That'll only make you feel worse." She sniffled and looked up at him.
"Experience?" she asked him, cocking her head.
"Actually, no. I never dealt with it. I just buried myself in my work," he said ruefully. "It was only onboard Destiny I finally dealt with it. After... after the chair." She squeezed his hand.
"At least you did deal with it," she said, softly.
It was two weeks later that Sarra broached the subject of Gloria Rush.
They had both been listening to the quiet hum of the consoles for the last half hour, at an hour when sensible people had long since gone to sleep. In the relative darkness, their silhouettes were strangely lit by the blue and white lights behind them. Neither watched each other.
"Your wife-" she began, and Rush sighed, a barely audibly sound as he nodded.
"Gloria," he said, with a deep sigh. Though she couldn't see it, Sarra could imagine the grief tinged smile she now knew he wore when thinking about her, and she was sure she wore when thinking about Jessi.
"A beautiful woman," he said, voice misty. "So loving and caring. I don't know what I did to deserve her."
"You don't give yourself enough credit," she said. "You've a lot of worth, Nicholas." He was glad for the darkness as he suddenly blushed. He lost his train of thought for a moment, thinking of Sarra, how she felt pressed against his body, how her hand felt held in his. Finally he shook himself free of such distracting thoughts and continued.
"I never paid her enough attention." His tone was tinged with regret, and Sarra reached through the darkness to grasp his hand.
"Nicholas, when my sister was born I was too busy playing with my friends to love her." A sob tried to work its way into her voice, and she tried valiantly to keep it out. "As she grew I resented her. She was intruding on my fun. I was twelve years old, and we couldn't go to the really fun places because of my five year old sister. She idolised me. Copied everything I did. I hated it." She paused, chuckled quietly.
"When I left home, I realised how much she meant to me. I wanted to go straight back, but I couldn't. My parents paid good money to get me into university, and I'd always wanted to be a doctor." She squeezed his hand and he tightened his grip on hers.
"After I graduated, I found work in a military hospital nearby and she, by now a teenager, couldn't stand me. I was the big sister. That was when I knew I'd wasted the adoration years. After she left school she started viewing me as a friend, and I the same. No time is wasted, Nick. We will all have our good and bad memories."
They sat in silence for a time, then Rush broke the silence.
"Why did you join the army?" he asked, turning to face her. She took a moment to reply.
"I was sick of fixing up soldiers after the fact. If I could prevent their injuries, I would."
Neither spoke again that night. Without a further word, an hour later, Rush stood and led her to his room. They curled together for comfort on his bed and slept.
It was another month before Rush spoke about his feelings. A subject odd enough that she looked up from the poem she was writing, a pale pink tinge touching her cheeks, and swallowed audibly. He ploughed on regardless of the blush in his own cheeks.
"Sarra... for the last few months... I've felt..." he began awkwardly, staring at her, and not missing the fact that she was determinedly looking everywhere but at him. Currently her hands occupied her attention. She was examining her soldier's palms with great interest, refusing to meet his seeking gaze.
"Complete, with you," he finally said. "You're beautiful, Sarra. You're kind, caring, compassionate... a true gift." The pink tinge turned into a raging scarlet fire and she awkwardly put a hand to her cheek in a vain attempt to hide it.
She finally met his eyes, and the depth of feeling she saw there riveted her, and made her want to look away- but she couldn't.
"I..." she began, but the words stuck in her throat. She settled for nodding, and somehow he got the message. He leaned forward, slowly, and so did she, very conscious of the open door behind them.
Their lips met, at first gently; then they pressed harder against each other, wrapped their arms about each other. When they broke apart, both were breathing heavily.
Neither felt the need to fill the silence with talk as they clasped each other's hands and stared into the blue vortex of FTL, her head on his shoulder and his head on hers.