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Stargate Universe: Mathboy (Fanfiction)

Series: Destiny’s Faces (Masterlist)
Companion Piece: Mathboy (you don’t have to know it to understand this one)
Word Count: 2.233
Snippet: “You’re smart, you learn fast … but we couldn’t trust you, mathboy.” Eli realized that he started to hate that name.
Characters: Eli Wallace, Nicholas Rush
Rating: PG
Spoiler: Time, Justice, Divided
Setting: in between Divided and Faith
Author’s Note: Written for the Stargate Universe Challenge Community. I’m answering Prompt #011 - Identity. Inspired by the quote below. I thought it was
1.) a shame that Eli and Nick never talked about what happened (even though I’m still hoping for more scenes between those two)
2.) weird how Eli reacted to Amanda Perry calling him mathboy (in Sabotage).
3.) interesting that the mood on board changed after Faith. I tried to include part of those changes in this one shot but I’m not sure if I succeeded.
Feedback: Can’t breathe without it.
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Stargate Universe and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

Destiny's Faces Masterlist


“Hey, mathboy! Got those calculations I was asking about?”-“Done. And … please don’t call me that.”
(Eli and Amanda Perry in Sabotage)


He’d never had problems to sleep except once, when he’d been fourteen. When his father had left him and his mother, Eli Wallace had had trouble falling asleep for half a year. He’d been awake in his bed, listening to his mother trying to muffle her sobs. And he’d always wondered whether he should go downstairs and comfort her. But he’d never done it. He’d told himself that there was a reason for her to hide her tears. That she didn’t want him to comfort her or to worry. She’d always smiled the next morning while preparing his breakfast and Eli hadn’t had the courage to talk to her about it. He’d eaten, taken his school bag and pressed a kiss to her forehead, muttering “Love ya”, before he’d left the house. She’d stopped crying sometime and Eli had had no trouble to fall asleep ever since.

Now, he wished that there would be such a simple reason for his insomnia. But while he was staring at the ceiling of his quarters on board Destiny, waiting for sleep to claim him, he realized that the reasons were anything but simple. Somebody passed by his room. Eli heard the heavy steps echoing in the corridor and suspected that one of the soldiers was making his rounds. Colonel Young had decided to guard the corridors. He’d said that it would be only for a couple of days until he could be sure that there wouldn’t be a new mutiny or secret meetings. But Eli knew that Young’s pride had taken a serious blow. Proving that he was in charge was his way to handle it.

Eli sighed and turned on his side. His quarters were almost dark, illuminated by the weak light of the kino station’s screen. He breathed out, rubbed his tired eyes and then got up. He put his jacket on over his t-shirt and slipped into his shoes before he slid his radio into his jeans. Then he left his room. Perhaps, it would help to walk around. He was tired but his mind wasn’t ready to let go, yet. If he reminded it of his body’s need to sleep, then maybe it would give in.

He put his hands into his jacket pockets and headed for the observation deck. The sound of steps made him stop. He didn’t want to be caught by one of the soldiers wanting him to explain what he was doing up so late. He felt silly, though, when he pressed against the metal to hide behind a thick pipe. He could see the intersection where the steps were coming from and was surprised when Nicholas Rush turned out to be the source. The scientist was walking with his eyes fixed on the notepad in his hand. Eli frowned. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one suffering from insomnia. Carefully, he followed Rush back to his quarters.

For a moment, he stood in front of the closed door, not knowing what to do. They hadn’t talked since Rush’s operation. It wasn’t Rush’s fault alone, even though the scientist was ignoring Eli. But the young man was doing his best to avoid Rush also. And not only him. He hadn’t felt that unsafe on board the ship for weeks. But the civilians trying to take Destiny a few days ago had destroyed some of that security Eli was relying on. Rush and the other scientists - and Chloe, too - had excluded him from their plans and Colonel Young had won control back by fighting against people with no training. To make matters worse, Eli had been stuck in the middle, traded from one side to the other without being asked if that was okay with him.

So Eli preferred to be alone at the moment. He didn’t even know why he’d followed Rush. He shook his head and turned away from the door. He was just leaving when it opened behind him and he turned back around to face Rush. The scientist was obviously surprised to see him. “Eli,” he said. He looked around as if he was expecting Young or one of the soldiers behind Eli, then he looked at back at him. “Is there something you wanted?”

Insecure, Eli shook his head. Rush’s eyes narrowed mistrustfully. “Then what are you doing here?”

“What were you doing outside your quarters?” Eli replied.

“I could ask you the same thing.”

Eli pulled up his shoulders and brushed the back of his hand over his forehead.

“I was fixing the heating system on the observation deck. Colonel Young told me to, by the way. Just in case you want to know.”

“No,” Eli answered softly, “Not really.”

Rush left his room and the door hissed closed. “Have a good night, then.” He headed back towards the control room.

“Actually,” Eli said and Rush stopped. Eli didn’t know how to end the sentence. “Actually,” he started anew, “I’d like to … could we … talk for a minute?”

Rush narrowed his eyes and walked towards Eli slowly. “What about?”

Eli swallowed. “I … don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You came to me to talk at three in the morning -- and you don’t know what about?” Whenever Rush was looking at him that way, Eli felt like the most incompetent person on the whole ship. He closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, Rush was still staring at him searchingly.

“The mutiny.”

“Yes?” Rush asked.

“Why?” Eli asked. His throat felt tight and he swallowed. Rush frowned. Abruptly, he opened the door to his quarters and entered. After an inviting look in Eli’s direction the young man followed him hesitantly. The door closed and Rush threw his memo pad on the bedding before he leaned against the wall under the window and crossed his arms. When he grimaced in pain a second later and instead opted to shove his hands into his jeans pockets, Eli asked, “Are you still in pain?”

Rush laughed bitterly. “The operation wasn’t done that expertly.”

Eli thought that he was being unfair. “TJ did what she could. Nobody could have known beforehand that the contact to Dr. Brightman was unstable.”

“I’m not blaming Lt. Johansen, Eli.”

Eli ducked his head. Rush waited. When Eli didn’t say anything, he sighed, “I have work to do. You wanted to talk to me. Do it.”

Eli took a calming breath. “You shouldn’t have started the mutiny.”

Rush snorted. “I think Colonel Young needed to know what we’re thinking about him being in command.”

“That’s not why you were doing it,” Eli shook his head, “You just wanted to be in charge yourself. That’s what you wanted from the moment we arrived here.”

Rush shrugged. His indifference caused Eli’s anger to bubble to the surface. “You’re to blame for what happened between you and Young. You tried to frame him for Spencer’s murder because you wanted to study that chair. You betrayed him.”

Now, Rush’s temper got the better of him. “Are you telling me that Young did the right thing when he left me behind on a planet to die?” His eyes betrayed his hurt when he added, “And you did everything in your might to help him cover it up.”

Eli took a shocked step backwards. Rush came towards him and put his hands in his hips. “You knew bloody well what had happened but you decided to be one of Young’s good little soldiers instead of doing the right thing.”

“What?” Eli asked. He shook his head.

“What did you do while I was gone?”

Eli crossed his arms. He glared at Rush. “I did what I had to do, okay?”

“You did what Young told you to do.”

“So? What was the alternative? To start a mutiny?”

“You should have told everyone that he tried to kill me, Eli.”

“You aren’t exactly chatty about it, either.”

Rush took a step back. He rubbed his chin. “The colonel and I ...”

But Eli wasn’t done, yet, and interrupted him. “What was I supposed to do, Rush? It was my word against the colonel’s. What do you think who they would have believed?” He nodded. “I’ll tell you: The experienced colonel of the Air Force who’s trying to get us home. I had nothing to prove it, okay? Just kino footage showing you going into Spencer’s quarters to get the gun. Footage I had to delete, by the way, because Young wanted me to. Footage, only he and I know about because I never showed it to anyone else.” Eli brushed a hand through his hair. “You’re blaming me for being on Young’s side but you aren’t exactly shy about showing me that you don’t want me on yours. You started a damn mutiny all the civilians knew about … except me.”

Rush raised his eyebrows. “I couldn’t be sure-“

“Right,” Eli answered, “’Let’s just not tell Eli. Let’s do a trade later. They’ll give him to us for water, you’ll see. A cheap price to pay.’ Lucky for you that Young thought so, too.” Eli turned away and closed his eyes, beaten. He hadn’t wanted to say all this but he was tired and hurt and he hadn’t really talked to anyone for days because he didn’t know who he could turn to. Even Chloe had used him. And that hurt more than Eli was willing to admit.

“Are you done?” Rush asked softly. When Eli didn’t answer, he seemed to take that as a yes and said, “We couldn’t tell you, Eli, because we didn’t trust you.”

Eli turned around to face him. It was one thing to suspect something like that but he would never have expected it to hurt so much more to have his suspicion confirmed.

Rush’s eyes were much more gentle than his words and now, a smile touched his lips. “And you can’t blame us. But we thought about telling you.” He laughed without humour. “You did manage to slow the data transfer down.”

“That wasn’t me. Everyone trying to stop the transfer-“

“Not everyone,” Rush answered with a shrug, “Volker wouldn’t have managed it. Maybe Brody or Park. But not as fast as you.” He laughed bitterly. “Well, you’re living up to your name, mathboy,” he said with a hint of mockery, “As Chloe once said: If somebody can do it, you can.”

Eli frowned in confusion, then he recalled the conversation in the officer’s mess on Icarus. It had been three months since that evening. It felt like forever. Rush hadn’t taken part in the meal. He had to have listened by accident.

“You’re smart, you learn fast … but we couldn’t trust you, mathboy.”

Eli realized that he started to hate that name. He wasn’t the boy he’d been when he’d invented the name to make a joke. Three months could change a person. “Don’t call me that.”

Rush shrugged and Eli turned away to leave.

“Eli.”

He stopped and looked back to Rush. The man had his arms crossed now. Apparently, pain couldn’t break that particular habit. “I missed you in the control room these last few days. I asked Colonel Young and he told me that he didn’t assign you any other duties so … why haven’t you been there?”

Eli shrugged and ducked his head. “You seem to do just fine with Brody and Park.”

Rush nodded slowly. He came towards Eli. “You know that I need your help.”

“You don’t trust me,” Eli replied coldly and Rush sighed.

“You stuck your hand into an open wormhole when I told you to. You didn’t even hesitate for a minute. You calculated the correct course to help Lt. Scott land the shuttle. I didn’t look at the numbers because I knew that you were right.”

Eli nodded slowly. “A great team,” he said softly.

“Yes,” Rush nodded, “We were, before ...” He sighed and shook his head. Eli knew what he wanted to say. Before being in the right camp became the most important thing. In hindsight, it what was so ridiculous because there were enemies out there trying to kill them all. It seemed as if Rush had read his thoughts because he said, “The colonel promised me to order the soldiers to make an effort. He’ll stop the nightly rounds tomorrow. I told the civilians to cooperate with the soldiers. The colonel and I decided to change a few things. Those aliens are out to get us and we can’t waste energy fighting each other.”

Eli frowned. “When did that happen?”

Rush grimaced. “We had a talk. It was … necessary.”

Eli couldn’t help but smile. Rush answered with a small grin. “The both of us … we can learn to trust each other like we did before. Like the civilians and the soldiers,” he said.

Eli nodded. “Give it time,” he answered.

Rush’s hand on his shoulder was warm. Just like his smile. “Give it time.”


END
05/10

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