Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for Condemned
Length: 1200 words
Summary: For the mcsheplets Challenge #41: Secret
A secret shared is not always a secret spoiled.
When the alarm rang, it was still dark but Eldon was up and moving shortly after it went off. After a quick visit to the bathroom, he was back in the room picking up his things, packing them neatly into a bundle and leaving no evidence of his stay. He quietly closed the door behind him and walked through the dim halls back to his own room.
He fished out the things that needed to be cleaned and replaced them in the bag before placing it in the corner to be ready for tonight, if it were to be needed. He glanced at the clock and figured he had time for a nap before it was time to go to breakfast.
At breakfast, he watched Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard have breakfast with Ronon and Teyla. Team. While he sat separate and they did not often address him, he felt like a small part of them.
Soon after arriving in Atlantis, Dr. Z had explained to him about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as part of his orientation to the city and to its inhabitants. Eldon was familiar with the concept even if the phrase was new. There had been those in the Olesian prisoner camp he had been rescued from whose only crime had to been to love another man. Any unusual or unwelcome behavior had been punished by being sent to await culling by the Wraith.
While Dr. Z was careful to keep it as general information, there had been an introduction to the city-wide life signs detectors that same day. He explained to Eldon that the detector in the lab did not require the ATA gene to use since it had already been activated for general use.
"There is a record of all of us?" he asked Dr. Z doubtfully.
Dr. Z shook his head. "Not of specific people, only of life signs. While there is a log that shows where people are, it just does not identify who is where."
Eldon thought that through. "That means, it would know that.... ummm...." he knew enough to be delicate, "if I were entertaining company in my room, it would only show two people in my room but not who was in my room."
"Exactly!" Dr. Z had beamed.
"And if, perhaps, I were not in my room some night, it would show I was not there but it would not know where I was," Eldon went on.
"That is true," Dr. Z agreed.
Elden asked hesitantly, putting the separate discussions together, "Could the information in the logs be used to punish two of Colonel Sheppard's men?
"The Colonel," Dr. Z had replied seriously, "would not do such a thing. He does not care about rules such as that. In Atlantis, there are many more important things to worry about. But the Colonel reports to others who are more mindful of the rules and he does have enemies. So the logs could be used against him.... to try to take him away from the people of Atlantis."
Dr. Z didn't elaborate further but the discussion made Eldon pay closer attention to these people who had taken him in. Dr. Z had let him study the life signs logs -- as part of his training, of course -- and it was not long before he realized that Colonel Sheppard spent many nights elsewhere besides his room. And that Dr. McKay's room showed two people in his room those same nights. It warmed him that Dr. Z thought he could be trusted with this information -- Dr. McKay had saved his life in bringing him back to Atlantis and he would do anything he could do to repay that debt.
"Dr. Z," Eldon stood in front of the scientist. "I am sorry, I did not mean to, but I seem to have erased some of the logs for the life signs detector."
Dr. Z shook his head but the small smile was Eldon's clue that he had done the right thing, "I don't know what I'm going to do with you. I will have to look into this."
"It won't happen again," Eldon offered. I have an idea to help he said silently. Dr. Z nodded understanding.
"We do need to find something else for you to do," Dr. Z had mentioned before wandering off to his own work.
Eldon's idea was to put a life sign in Colonel Sheppard's room -- his own. It would be simple for him to spend the occasional night there. That way no one could look through the logs and accuse the Colonel of not obeying the rules. If Dr. McKay wanted to entertain overnight guests, he knew there were no rules against that.
In the camp, Eldon had learned to sleep in snatches to protect himself from his fellow inmates and he used that ability again. He'd check the life signs detector in the lab at night and if he saw the Colonel's room empty, he'd sleep most of the night in Colonel Sheppard's room, a few hours in his own room and would catch the odd nap in the afternoon. If he wandered the halls at unusual hours, the military men on patrol chalked it up to something Dr. Z or Dr. McKay had him doing when they took their own sleep.
Once, there was a knock on Colonel Sheppard's door in the middle of the night. Eldon knew he had to open the door since the person knocking would know that someone was in the room. He opened the door to Major Lorne saying, "Sorry to bother you so late..." only to trail off when he realized it was Eldon in the doorway and not Colonel Sheppard.
"I'm sorry," Eldon said, "I was looking for Colonel Sheppard myself and decided to wait for him here." He saw Major Lorne look him up and down and recognized that, with his bare feet and sleep clothes, it was a thin story but it was the best he had.
The light went on in Major Lorne's eyes. "Ah! Good idea, Eldon," the Major replied, "yes, you wait for the Colonel. I will handle this myself since it's not that much of an emergency and I can talk to the Colonel in the morning."
"Ummm..... Colonel Sheppard does not know I am waiting for him," Eldon felt forced to explain. "I.... well...." He didn't want the Major to tell the Colonel what he was doing but he did not know how to say that without just coming out and asking.
The Major caught on and nodded, "Not a problem."
Some time later, Eldon had read the Harry Potter books, purportedly to make him more fluent in English but he had enjoyed the stories, and realized that perhaps he could think of Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay being under a Fidelus charm with Dr. Z as their Secret Keeper. He knew that he had been let into the secret to help keep it and he knew there were others who were doing the same.
Now if there was some way to perform Adava Kedavra on the Wraith.......