Now, this is an ELF, with much the same idea as most ones, but with different twists and stuff, so please
read and review. Thanks!
Lucas slammed his fist into the cold steel wall in his quarters. Why him? Why was his life so unfair. Why couldn't they all just leave him the hell alone?
He sighed, slumping down onto his bed, falling back. He rested his head on his pillow and closed his eyes. Willing his life away, or maybe willing himself away. Far away, where no one knew his name, no one even spoke his language, so they needn't "talk" just live happily. Swimming with dolphins and playing basketball.
He smirked at his unrealistic, and even corny, dream. Oh well, that's all it would ever be, a dream. Of course it was more realistic than the other dream. The dream that gnawed at him every moment of his worthless life... To be loved. To be wanted. To have a family... Somebody, anybody, who accepted him for who he was, who knew of his past and loved him anyway...or even better, never had to know of his past. Most didn't, and didn't like him anyway, so that really didn't matter.
He sighed again, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand. It had been a long day. Everyone who used to think he was useless...well...still did. He was useless...his skills however... Lucas, do this. Lucas, do that. Lucas, behave! Lucas, Lucas, Lucas.
So many people had asked him to do things, and he'd gotten them all done without so much as a thank you...not that he'd expected that anyway, but he'd never gotten around to his original task, and now the captain was pissed.
'Great! Why the hell not?' he thought, bitterly. 'This is me after all, someone has to be pissed, I have to screw up sometime every day.'
He groaned, sitting up. The captain had told him to go to his quarters and sleep. He had a whole load of work for him to do tomorrow to teach responsibility, seeing as he couldn't have even accomplished the simple task Bridger had asked of him. Of course Bridger didn't know about the kazillion other projects piled on him by the rest of the crew, and Lucas just didn't have the energy to tell him, not that he'd listen anyway, no one ever listened.
With a wince from his sore back from bending over to fix the gym's cooling unit for 3 hours, Lucas made his way to his computer. The Captain had told him to forget it, he'd have someone else do it in the morning, but Lucas refused to allow someone else to do what was his responsibility. Sure he'd have tons of work from Bridger tomorrow as threatened, but he had to do this. Bridger may be stern, but he was a good man, and had put up with Lucas since he came aboard. Lucas figured he owed him this much as he began to work away at the problem.
He worked straight into the early morning hours, and once he was finished, didn't even bother to walk to his bed, as he let his head drop into his arms and he fell asleep on his work bench. The task was complete.
"Mr. O'Niel, can you get to work on that computer glitch I told you about?!" Bridger asked the next morning as he entered the bridge.
Tim looked up, confused. "Sir, you asked Lucas to do that."
Bridger sighed, rubbing his hands over his face, "That I did Lieutenant, however, Lucas wasn't able to do it."
"Well Sir, besides the fact that I can't believe Lucas wouldn't be able to fix any computer problem, he did sir....At least someone did."
"What do you mean?"
"I checked the system this morning sir; it's fixed."
Bridger furrowed his brow, then shook his head.
"Hmmm... Okay, then, continue as normal, O'Neil, thank you."
"Yes sir," Tim said, going back to monitoring his terminal, knowing it had to have been Lucas that had fixed the problem. It wasn't done late last night, but was fixed this morning. No one could do it that fast except the kid.
"Problem Sir?" Ford asked, approaching his puzzled Captain.
"Huh? Oh no, Commander..." He paused, looking thoughtful, "No one else could have had that system fixed that fast could they?" He finally asked his XO.
Ford didn't need to think about that one. Everyone knew the answer. "No sir, it had to have been Lucas...but I didn't see him since 2330 last night."
"He must have done it in his quarters, which would have taken longer than normal, which means the little bugger was up all last night." Bridger shook his head. "Why would he do that?"
Jonathan shrugged, but answered best he could. "I dunno sir, maybe he felt bad about not getting it done, when he got everything else done for Kristen, the Chief, Ben and Shan."
"Everything else? What everything else?"
Ford looked at him, surprised. "Well I came across him several times yesterday at different tasks. They'd asked him to help them out with some things. I asked him when he was getting the program fixed. He gave me this look and said not to worry, he'd get it done."
Bridger looked surprised, worried and little guilty at this news. "All right, thank you Commander, you have the bridge."
Bridger didn't have to go far, when he came upon Lucas making his way toward the bridge. His appearance was normal, baggy jeans, and black T-shirt, soft blonde hair brushed back, a few bangs falling into his normally bright blue eyes. His eyes, however, were now dull and glossy, no doubt from lack of sleep and staring at a computer screen all night.
Bridger felt a swell of both pride and parental worry. He hadn't known the kid more than a month, but he already felt the need to protect him...and he wasn't sure why. The kid was cocky, arrogant, sarcastic, standoffish, didn't seem to care about anyone, or anything...but at the same time, the Captain caught a glimpse of the boy under all that, beyond the in-your-face attitude.
He saw it when Lucas was working on his latest project in the lab, or when he was playing with Darwin. He had a gentle spirit under that tough cover. Bridger sensed there was a kind, caring, sweet natured little boy somewhere in that teenager, with eyes that reflected wisdom and experience beyond their years.
"Lucas." Lucas, who had been off in a daze, jumped a foot at the Captains voice. This alone also bothered the Captain. The boy was very jumpy for a cocky 15 year old, but he didn't have time to ponder that. He was more concerned about the dark circles under the youth's eyes.
"Take it easy, Kiddo."
Lucas semi-relaxed at the sight of his Captain standing before him. He bristled at the scrutinizing look he was receiving from him though. He hated people looking too closely at him - he was always afraid they would see through his mask, the fake front he put up.
"What?" Lucas said, a rude tone to his voice.
Bridger ceased his survey of Lucas, raising his eyebrow at the boy's tone.
He recalled the first day they'd met. Lucas had been just as mocking and rude then, but when Lucas had come to convince him to stay, the boy had eased off slightly on the attitude. And it hadn't been that bad since then, but some days it came back full force, often worse than before.
"Pardon?" Bridger asked.
Lucas rolled his eyes, crossing his arms. He looked away from the Captain's commanding gaze, "Whatever."
"We can stand here all day until you address me more properly."
Lucas gave him a withering look, "So sorry, Captain Bridger Sir. What can I do for you?" His tone was mocking, and the Captain reined in his instinctual anger. He had a feeling it would do him no good with this kid.
"Watch it pal, or you can help Halton scrub the urinals."
"Hmph, yeah right. You'd need me before I even got to the second one."
"You think so? I believe this boat was handling fine before you came along."
"I believe it also took you twice as long to do anything."
At this Bridger remembered the reason he'd gone looking for Lucas. The same reason the boy's eyes were glazed with lack of sleep. He decided to ignore the his sly comments, and let him win this one. Arguing with the teenager was more tiresome than dealing with drunken sailors in a brawl.
"Did you sleep well last night?"
Bridger grinned at the look on the boy's face. He had totally caught him off guard. He quickly hid his smile at the dark scowl.
"I slept just fine."
"Mmmm-hmmm. So, you up to full days work then, as well as fixing that system from yesterday."
Lucas didn't blink. "Yes."
Bridger raised his eyebrows. Damn this kid was stubborn.
Before Bridger could say anything, Lucas made to pass him. Bridger quickly grabbed his arm, "Hold up kid-"
Bridger was caught by surprise when the boy tensed up, jerking away from the Captain, and backing hard into the bulkhead, wincing. Bridger instinctively released the boy's arm, watching in concern as the his breathing evened out again from the sudden sharp intakes he'd caused, and the color returned to his pale cheeks.
"What do you want?" Lucas asked, his voice catching as he tried to recover his arrogant tone.
Bridger was bewildered. This boy was a mystery to him, a mystery he intended to solve. What could make this boy go from having a huge, I-don't-need-anybody attitude to looking so scared and small it was heartbreaking?
"For you to take it easy first of all. And for you not to lie to me."
Lucas tensed. "I don't have to take it easy, and I'm not lying to you."
"Don't give me that, Lucas. You didn't sleep a wink last night, you fixed that program."
"I wasn't lying to you, I did sleep, and I slept quite well thank you."
Bridger looked at him skeptically.
"I did...after I finished fixing the program, I got some sleep."
"When was that Lucas?"
"How the hell should I know?"
"Watch you're language son. And where did you sleep, in the chair, by your desk?"
The boy suddenly looked lost, as well as angry. "I'm not your son."
With that he walked away, leaving a frustrated Captain behind. Dammit, when was he gonna open up? Bridger sighed; even Robert was never this difficult.
Lucas ignored the glances as he entered the bridge, making his way to Miguel's station.
"Hey Lucas." Miguel said with a smile, concern in his kind chocolate brown eyes. Miguel had grown to like Lucas. He'd taken to ignoring the attitude, and found the kid wasn't that bad if you didn't ruffle his feathers. "You all right?"
"I'm fine." Lucas snapped, but Miguel thought he caught a hint of regret in the boy's eyes for snapping. He smiled, accepting the apology hidden in the youth's faltered gaze.
"All right buddy. You wanna give me a hand then? That starboard WSKR is acting up again, but I think it's a malfunction in these controls, not the in the WSKR."
Lucas nodded kneeling down to open a panel by their side. Miguel crouched down beside him and the two conversed over the possible problems. Neither noticed the Captain enter the bridge, as he made his way over to stand behind them.
"Ortiz, Lieutenant O'Niel wanted to see you."
Miguel looked quizzically at his Captain, knowing Tim would have contacted him over the headset. He caught the look in his Captains eyes though, and nodded, patting Lucas on the shoulder, before getting up and walking over to Tim's station.
Bridger crouched down beside the boy, who was intentionally ignoring him. The captain was silent for a moment, then he spoke. "Come on kiddo, you need some rest."
The boy continued to ignore him. Bridger sighed. "Lucas please, I know how you were helping everyone out yesterday. I'm sorry I snapped at you, but you could have told me that people had piled work on you...and you could have refused-"
"No I couldn't." Lucas finally spoke up. "It's hard enough being at least 10 years younger than anyone aboard this boat. At least if I do what they ask, I'm not in the way so much, and they don't completely resent me being here."
Bridger's eyes softened. "Hey, nobody resents you being here, Kiddo."
Lucas gave him a look that matched as he said, "Where have you been living?"
Bridger chuckled. The kid was arrogant and sarcastic, as well as witty as hell. He often had some comment that made whoever was around him laugh.
"Seriously Lucas, you're much appreciated here...apparently too much, I can't have you to myself, others want your help as well now...maybe we should have a sign up chart, huh?"
Lucas hid his smile well, but the Captain caught the slight glimmer. He said nothing, though; he hadn't become captain of a submarine by being stupid.
"Come on Lucas, you're a part of this crew, and as a part of this crew, you have to follow orders. I order you to take the afternoon off, get some sleep and get something to eat."
"No arguments young man."
"Fine, but I gotta finish this. I've already started, and besides, you don't want this malfunctioning if we run into trouble."
Bridger sighed; the kid was right. "Fine, but as soon as your done, and I mean right as you put that panel back in place, you're done. Got it?"
Lucas nodded quietly, too tired to argue.
Bridger carefully, placed his hand on Lucas' shoulder, and gave a gentle squeeze. It was slowly becoming instinct not to act abruptly around the teen. He was way too jumpy.
With that he got up, and made his way to his command chair. There he surveyed his crew at work, eyes often falling on the blonde haired youth, working away, biting his lip as he fiddled with some wires. Ortiz quickly rejoined him, and Bridger relaxed at the smile Lucas offered the older man.
Bridger knew many of the crew were still not comfortable with the boy being there, but he wouldn't admit it to Lucas, and besides, what mattered was the senior staff were warming up to him, and that was Bridger's main concern. He already knew Ben and Kristen liked the boy, and it seemed Tim and Miguel got along with him too. The Chief, Commander, Hitchcock and Shan were coming along, a little more slowly.
He sighed, all in due time.
Chapter 1 coming when I get some feedback... *hint* *hint*