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andrastewhite organized Multiverse 2007. I wrote a backup story for medie.

Title: I make the glare for light bulbs
Author: voleuse
Fandoms: Stargate SG-1/Doctor Who
Pairing: Daniel Jackson & the Doctor
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: "Yes, where would we be without them?" "In the dark."
Notes: Set before the Stargate movie



It was his second doctorate at his fifth university, and Daniel was studying in the Social Services library not because it had anything at all to do with his research, but because the windows stretched from floor to ceiling, and his pen was running out of ink. The light was cold and halfway to blinding, but it was only half as bad as it would be outside.

Daniel liked Chicago, most of the time, but it was difficult to lug his books and notes from library to library when he was wearing two sweaters and a coat.

His neck was, vaguely, starting to throb from the hours he had been hunched over, but he didn't pay attention. As far as he'd seen, there was no word for "migraine" in Sanskrit.

A shadow crossed on the right, then it paused. The shadow shifted until it blotted the precise phrase Daniel had been picking at for the past twelve minutes.

He looked up, following the shadow until it resolved into a man, tall, fiddling with a scarf as if he didn't quite understand it.

"To think I used to wear this all the time," the man muttered out loud. He met Daniel's eyes. "I don't think it suits me anymore, do you?"

"Um," Daniel responded.

His smile was flash-quick and gone. "You're dwelling on the transitive."

"A fragment is missing," Daniel explained, "but the structure of the sentence presupposes some sort of--"

"Maybe the fellow sneezed," the man suggested. "Stranger things, you know."

"Sneezed?" Daniel glanced down at the scanned manuscript, then frowned. "Wait, how did you--"

But the man was already gone.

*


Four days later, Daniel strode through a library to which he was even less accustomed, though the subject headings sorted themselves sensibly when Daniel scanned over them. When he turned the corner, he startled a pair of undergraduates, and rolled his eyes when they scattered.

"You'd think they would have known better," a now-familiar voice remarked. "Egyptian history's a rather popular topic."

"A popular class," Daniel replied, turning slowly on his heel. "I'm doing a guest lecture, and I thought I'd check out the available material."

"Ah. Best to be prepared." The grin was wider now, but more sincere.

Daniel considered the man for a moment, the smile and vagaries and the coincidences. Then he mentally shrugged, extended a hand. "I wondered how someone in public welfare would be able to read Sanskrit upside-down."

"Doesn't everybody?" The man clasped Daniel's hand, and his grip was firm and dry. "It's a useful skill."

Daniel retrieved his hand, his laugh half-released. "You're a professor here, then?"

"Now and again." The man tugged at his coat in a way that suggested broader lapels. "They call me the Doctor."

"Daniel. Jackson," he amended. "The Doctor? That's an odd nickname."

"Is it?" The Doctor tipped his head. "You should hear what they're going to call you."

*


The Doctor, it turned out, was a wandering scholar loosely associated with Cambridge. Daniel thought it was Cambridge, anyway. The details, when they came up, were vague but convincing. The Doctor's precision as they discuss the authenticity of certain proto-Meroitic texts cemented their academic acquaintance.

His whimsical tirade on false positives in Aztec crime-solving, however, was what inspired Daniel to invite him out for a beer.

*


They ended up, despite Daniel's protests, at a sports bar. The Doctor finagled a booth in the far corner, as if by magic. The tabletop smelled of lemony chemicals, and when Daniel slid onto the bench, the cracked vinyl scratched his palm.

"Brilliant," the Doctor observed, craning his neck towards the closest monitor. "They think of everything, don't they?"

"You don't go to bars too often, do you?" Daniel laughed.

The Doctor chuckled, and the first round arrived before Daniel thought to order.

*


"...knew Nick, and the conversation went to hell from there." Daniel spun his glass between his hands, and wondered at the quiet slosh of the remnants within.

"Philologists," the Doctor scoffed. "Bunch of gossips, the lot of them."

"Be that as it may," Daniel said, "it would have been helpful if they hadn't known. For my credibility, at the very least."

"Credibility, ha." The Doctor leaned forward, and his expression was so serious that Daniel pushed the glass aside. "What if he was right?"

"What?"

"What if old Nick isn't as crazy as he seems?" The Doctor's fingers drummed against the tabletop, once.

Daniel shifted back, scowling.

"People are like parchment. Papyrus." The Doctor drummed his fingers twice more, than sat back. "Let the ideas sit too long, and they get brittle. A new thought comes along, and poof! You crumble to dust."

"I wouldn't say--"

The Doctor held up his hand. "Archaeology. Philology. Ridiculous subjects, really. All conjecture and jigsaw puzzles. Maybe you're looking at the pieces upside-down." He tossed a few bills on the table. "It was good to meet you, Daniel Jackson."

"Likewise," Daniel replied, still deciphering the statement previous.

The Doctor tapped a finger against his temple and smiled. "Until next time."

*


Years passed. Daniel collected his third doctorate, as well as a dozen nicknames, both odd and unendearing. Two days before the symposium where Catherine Langford would approach him, Daniel found in his mail, slipped between an electricity bill and a fast food flyer, an unsigned postcard.

Its edges were crumpled, and the postmark had bled. The stamp was from Indonesia, but the postcard itself featured the Golden Gate Bridge.

In a bold smear of blotchy, unfamiliar handwriting, was a single sentence:

You're the first to put it right-side up again.

*


It was a while before the pieces fell together. Two and a half years, in fact.

Daniel was sitting in his apartment, still surrounded by boxes, a beer open and half-empty on his coffee table. He laughed, and felt strange, laughing alone.

The second postcard arrived a week later, bearing an e-mail address and a signature, and a joking refutation:

I have it on good authority: The gentleman certainly sneezed.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Philip Levine's The Doctor of Starlight. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally archived here.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
liminalliz
Sep. 2nd, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
Fabulous, fabulous and FABULOUS.
starpaint
Sep. 13th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC)
Seconding the glee here.
beeej
Sep. 20th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Completely fantastic!
_kiden
Sep. 20th, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC)
Yes. Just: yes. This has made me so happy.
thank you! :D
xnicholle
Sep. 20th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
♥!
burntcopper
Sep. 20th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
okay? way too well done and rather fascinating. do we get to know which Doctor it was?
adafrog
Sep. 22nd, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, so fun, thanks.
paranoidangel42
Sep. 23rd, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
here via crack van
I really like this - it entirely makes sense that the Doctor would know about the same things as Daniel. And of course the Doctor would know that he sneezed :)
remey
Jul. 16th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
This is Brilliant.
fatema
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
*SQUEE* The Doctor and Daniel! This makes me very happy!
orockthro
Jul. 18th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
I just found this through link-surfing on Delicious and my oh my how happy it made me!
<3
Thank you so much! The Doctor and Daniel, tip-toeing around in Daniel's formative years... utterly perfect.
<3
garnet_words
Oct. 16th, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
Hee! This is very cool :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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