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09 August 2010 @ 08:24 pm
Quantum Leap - Looking for Nostalgia  
Title: Looking for Nostalgia
Author: clair_de_lune
Fandom: Quantum Leap
Characters: Sam, Al
Category: Gen
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~ 560
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: He’s missing something he can’t even remember.
Author’s Note: Written for rosie_spleen’s Bleeding Cuticles Challenge.

Thanks to subtlefire @ PI for the beta. Any remaining mistakes are mine.

He’s missing something he can’t even remember.

He’s Sam Beckett. At least, this time, he remembers his name. He’s a jumble of knowledge, feelings, emotions, and memories that don’t all belong to him. He can’t tell which are his, and which belong to other people.

It’s an ache; it can’t be nostalgia because nostalgia thrives in remembrance. Nostos, homecoming, algia, distress. Go figure in which of his incarnations he learned that, but that’s not the point. The point is that, once again, he can’t remember home – whatever you put behind that word.

Al finds him sitting on the carpet, by the bed of whomever he’s leaped into. It takes him twenty seconds to evaluate the situation, go from his quirky friend mode into his Admiral one, and start yelling at Sam. No success. Since it’s obvious that Admiral Calavicci won’t be of any use here, he reverts to Al, sighs, punches a few keys on his handlink and slides down to sit in front of Sam. Well, hundreds of miles, dozens of years away in the future in front of Sam.

“Don’t make me get Veb in there, Sam,” he whines. “If you won’t do it for you, do it for me. You know I can’t deal with the shrink stuff.” He lowers his voice. “They poke holes in your brain, you know!”

“My brain is already full of holes. You know, the Swiss cheese thing?”

Ash falls from the tip of Al’s cigar and vanishes. Sam computes that it landed on the floor of the Imaging Chamber hundreds of miles, dozens of years away in the future. He wonders if one day, he’s going to leap back home and find the floor of the Imaging Chamber – the floor of the God-knows-how-many-million-dollars Imaging Chamber – covered in cigar ash.

“You can always poke more holes, especially if you’re a shrink.”

“Is that an unsubtle way to tell me that things could be worse?”

“You tell me, kid.”

More ash falling. He doesn’t talk anymore. He waits and waits, until Sam looks up.

“That’s it?” Sam says. “No stories about the people I helped? No big life lessons? No offering to show me the last issue of Playboy magazine?”

“You’re hopeless and can’t appreciate a good centerfold the way it deserves, Sam, so I’m not going to bother. As for the rest, there’s nothing I can do except... stay here with you and wait.”

He stays with him and waits. Even when, he explains to Sam, people knock hard on the door of the Chamber, asking him to get out, reminding him how much each minute spent in there costs in energy, and that in this case, energy is money.

“Most expensive friendship ever,” Sam points out with a smile.

Al avoids his gaze and fumbles awkwardly with his Chavello, and Sam knows he’s going to come up with something sentimental he’ll later deny having said.

“Friendship’s priceless,” he grumbles.

“Say that to the taxpayers.”

“I pay taxes too. You still pay taxes too, by the way. You may be lost in time, but your assets aren’t lost on the IRS. Plus, we have private funding. And last but not least, since our Project Director is MIA, I run the circus.”

Sam shakes his head.

He’s missing something he can’t even remember. At this instant, though, he’s this close to touching it.

* *

--Comments are always welcome.
Current Mood: blahblah
The One with the Cauldronburntcircles on August 10th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)

One of the things I like about your writing (apart from the different genres that you are capable of dipping into) is your use of specifics, details, the way that every word serves a purpose, be it characterization or atmosphere, etc.

I did love Quantum Leap as a child, so for me reading this was quite nostalgic (unlike Sam, and luckily for me, in every sense of the word).

Thanks for writing this. I enjoyed it very much.
Clair de Lune: quantum leapclair_de_lune on August 10th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm lazy, so every word better has to serve a purpose! ;) (In real, I often edit a lot... except that I don't have this kind of time for this challenge.)

I loved Quantum Leap too. I still do even if, luckily, I'm not obssesed with it anymore. I'm happy it made you leap a few years back ;) Thank you for the kind comment :)

Edited at 2010-08-10 05:00 pm (UTC)
juniperphoenix on August 10th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Very nice! I especially like the first few paragraphs. Also, I love that this seems to be just an everyday moment instead of a big crisis. Sam always pulls it together and does what he has to in an emergency; it's in quiet moments of downtime that he's most susceptible to these kinds of feelings.

(Also, I wanted to let you know that the link you posted in dr_beckett is broken.)
Clair de Lune: quantum leapclair_de_lune on August 10th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
Indeed. He had a couple of big crisis, but as far as I remember, they were triggered by something. Here, I just wanted to write a snapshot, a little slice of a 'regular' leap with Sam feeling a bit blue. I'm glad it worked for you and you enjoyed this :)

(Thanks for the heads-up and sorry you had to look for the fic. All fixed now.)
seshat0120 on August 19th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
This was a great little story. The "voices" of Sam and Al really rang true.
Clair de Lune: quantum leapclair_de_lune on August 19th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
Thanks a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)