Observer Effect

It wasn't enough for Daniel Faraday to be spaced out half the time and techno-babbling the other half. No, he had to be staring, and running his fingers through his hair, and generally being creepy. It was getting to be a really small goddamn boat.

Someday, Daniel was going to stammer out an invitation he'd regret.

Miles couldn't fucking wait.


"What the hell's wrong with you?" Miles asks.

Daniel takes a deep breath. "Extensive short term memory loss. Similar to an early-onset Alzheimer's. Symptoms include disorientation and occasional fugue states."

Miles stares. "It's a genetic thing?"

Daniel gives him a wan smile. "In the end … they don't really know what's wrong with me. But it's likely related to long-term exposure to radiation."

"Oh. That sucks, man." Even Miles feels that this is somehow inadequate.

It doesn't seem to phase Daniel, who raises the cup and takes a swallow of tea. Like Charlotte, he drinks the stuff endlessly. Meanwhile, Miles yearns for decent cup of coffee. Maybe a cappuccino. From Starbucks.

"Yeah. Yeah, it does. Heh." Daniel finishes up his tea, and sets the cup back in the saucer with a thoughtful look.

When Miles raises his eyes from his paperback, Daniel is fixing him with a stare. Daniel often has puppy-dog eyes, particularly when addressing Charlotte or Naomi, but Miles is not quite sure what to make of the expression in his eyes at the moment. It is all business.

Daniel leans forward, and says in a voice that is not quite a whisper, "I time-travel."


Miles is not sure what tipped him off that someone was in the doorway- a tiny intake of breath , maybe. Miles finishes pulling the shirt over his head.

"What's up?"

"Naomi, she sent - she thought we should each have one of these."

Miles picks it up and examines the gadget. "What's it do?"

"Any number of - well, it's basically a Swiss Army knife."

Miles pockets it. "An expensive one?"

"I think so, yeah."

"Cool."

"We have training on it tomorrow and more - firearms." Daniel's pacing a little. Miles hopes that doesn't mean he's about to zone out, or worse, expand some passing thoughts on non-linear differentials. "You seem very comfortable with them, Miles."

"What, the rest of the freaks?"

"Freaks?" Daniel pauses for a moment, and shakes his head a little. "No, I meant guns."

Miles is a little disappointed that Daniel hasn't taken umbrage at the label.

"It's easy." Miles finger-machine-guns the bench, boom boom boom boom. "I just pretend I'm in a movie."

Daniel seems a little startled, as if Miles had really starting blowing unoffending furniture away.

"Maybe that's the problem. I don't watch too many movies."

"Rent Die Hard," Miles advises. "And remember - it's them or me. And I'm more important than some motherfucker pointing a gun at me."

"Hmm. But what if it's not always that simple?"

"It is," Miles says shortly. "Trust me. Being dead sucks." And Miles grabs his bag and gets out.


The first time, Miles just got up and got the hell out afterwards. Daniel was asleep, of course. He looked exhausted. Miles told himself it would be stupid to be scared. Miles was still pretty drunk. Miles didn't want to think about it. He told himself that "we will never speak of this again" had been understood.

It was; Daniel looked a little sad, maybe, the next time Miles saw him, but then Daniel often looked a little sad. Hell, it was even possible Daniel actually didn't remember. It was a relief, Miles insisted to himself. He threw himself into Naomi's training regimen. It was too bad he didn't have the same kind of luck with Naomi.

He'd woken up one night and had to finish himself off, remembering the feeling.


The second time, they ended up in Miles' cabin. His temporary place, but then he didn't remember having another kind. Daniel staggers a little in the hallway. It was too close to Frank's cabin, right across, but luckily Frank had drunk much more than the two of them combined and was probably sleeping it off somewhere on deck.

"Hey, don't go zombie on me, man." Miles reaches out to catch Daniel without thinking.

"No, no, I'm… just fine. I'm fine, Miles," but Dan doesn't quite straighten up. Instead, he reaches out to touch Miles' cheekbone with his fingertips. Miles looks around to make sure no one's there. Some days he has the feeling there's more people on this ship than the team knows about.

Miles isn't sure why he blurts it out. "How can you trust me?"

"I don't know." It's definitely a sad smile this time. Miles lets Daniel kiss him. Then Daniel pushes him against the wall. Daniel swears later that he had just wanted to see what would happen.

This time is really better.


The next time, Miles wakes up with Daniel's lips kissing the back of his neck softly, arms wrapped around him, and Miles knows in his bones that this was a big, big mistake.

"We can't keep doing this," Miles says, and wishes his voice had come out steadier. He feels like an asshole already. "Charlotte's gonna kill both of us."

Dan stops, and Miles can hear him breathing. Then Dan sort of slides away from him, lies back with his head on the pillow, and it's like Miles can feel the weight , then feel something slipping away.

"Yeah … yeah, I know," Daniel says, and puts his hand over his eyes for a moment. Then he gets up and leaves, and there is one horrible moment when Miles wants more than anything to call him back. Then the moment passes, and Miles just really wishes he wasn't on a goddamn boat.

End


Notes:

Daniel is way too much of a woobie here. I swear he's going to turn out to be a super-villain in canon.

Hey, if Michael can have his own cabin, so can the science team members, no matter how improbable. I swear there was something in one of the episodes where Miles hinted Naomi "trained" them on the freighter.