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11 February 2009 @ 09:45 pm
fic, Lost: Jughead, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Daniel, various), PG13  
I have my theories re where the hell did this thing decide to come from but still, if it isn't the weirdest thing I've ever written all my life then it's up there.

Title: Jughead, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Rating: meh, PG13 I guess
Character(s): Daniel; then Charlotte (some Dan/Charlotte), Sawyer, Desmond, Locke and mentions of other people, too
Word counting: 3375
Disclaimer: Lost is not mine because I wouldn't have had atomic bombs in there and anyway I'm sure that today's episode will completely ditch this.
Spoilers: Until 5x03; and some for the movie referenced in the title.
Summary: Him, Charlotte, a Dharma house and an atomic bomb; well, this is not exactly how he had predicted this story was going to unfold. Not to end; it still isn’t over by a very, very long shot..
A/N: for lostfichallenge #87, Daniel Faraday, and chem15try, #5, entropy. The title references the Kubrick movie indeed, but it was just because it gave me a couple of ideas which are all there anyway. I'm not rewriting that yet of everything. I didn't still understand if the theory I ended up basing this on has some sense or not but I tried to do my physics homework.

Him, Charlotte, a Dharma house and an atomic bomb; well, this is not exactly how he had predicted this story was going to unfold. Not to end; it still isn’t over by a very, very long shot.


“We’ll meet again,” Daniel tells Desmond before the sky flashes white.

He has temporarily lost the others and Desmond is in front of him, wearing this blue shirt which lost at least half of its buttons; he should say a lot of things, he
should, but he feels the flash coming and he can’t. He just manages that.

Desmond blinks and then he isn’t there anymore.


Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, nonmetallic, tasteless, highly flammable diatomic gas with the molecular formula H2. With an atomic weight of 1.00794, hydrogen is the lightest element. The most common isotope of hydrogen is protium with a single proton and no neutrons. In ionic compounds it can take a positive charge (a cation composed of a bare proton) or a negative charge (an anion known as a hydride). Hydrogen forms compounds with most elements and is present in water and most organic compounds…

Daniel Faraday learns all this and more while still in high school; he can’t say for sure that during that month, when he starts learning an infinitesimal part of the mysteries of chemistry from his textbook, he realizes that this is part of his destiny. It’ll happen during that year, but he doesn’t know yet as he devours an amount of information higher than what was asked of him from sources more qualified than his textbooks; properties of elements and reactions that aren’t nearly enough to feed his hunger. From hydrogen to quantum theory, it isn’t a giant leap. Not really. He searches for more because he just likes it. Physics becomes his life then, even if he still doesn’t realize it.


Hydrogen sort of fascinates him; hydrogen is quite the element, indeed. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the universe, making up 75% of normal matter by mass and over 90% by number of atoms. Think about it. Staying down on Earth, there wouldn’t be water without hydrogen; reaching up to the sky, hydrogen reactions are what makes stars shine. It’s called nuclear fusion.

It’s pretty ironic that nuclear fusion will make stars shine (and then be the cause of their eventual death) and h-bombs explode. H is for hydrogen, of course.


Daniel does research for research’s sake; what he does, isn’t in order to serve an immediate purpose. After all, time travel does not serve immediate purpose and even if he found it out, he doubts it could have any immediate use. He doesn’t think that changing the past is possible; but it’s fascinating and fascination is Daniel’s propellant.

It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t study nuclear reactions; for a while, he grows fond of the idea of time travel through a nuclear reaction. Someone even theorized it, once. Why not?

Hydrogen is indeed quite the element.

Eventually, it’s not a nuclear reaction he’s searching for; it’s rather another kind of radiation.


Daniel doesn’t watch many movies. It’s just not his thing. He has actually never watched Dr. Strangelove: Or, how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, but he loves that title. Not the Strangelove part, but rather the rest. Of course he doesn’t love bombs; he just loves studying the reactions that make their existence possible. He just does his job and doesn’t worry. He never thinks about consequences.


He starts with consciousness; fine, his dream is real time travel, physical and all, but baby steps are in order here; he knows it can be done and he builds his own device (not authorized, but he does have someone financing him after all). It doesn’t exactly work. It’s like something’s missing but he can’t quite point out why; radiation kills most of the rats he uses for the experiments and he still doesn’t know if it’ll end up hurting him. After all, radiation isn’t something you can mess easily with. Doesn’t matter, though; science requires sacrifice.


“Wow, that’s just fuckin’ great. You mean we’ve got our own h-bomb, Dr. Strangelove?”

The name is just thrown out carelessly, the sentence fluid and impulsive leaving Sawyer’s lips; Daniel shivers for a second. Well, here’s one who saw that movie. He doesn’t answer and just hopes they buried it deep.


A Desmond Hume finds him and gives him the key for success; Eloise is the price, but suddenly it doesn’t seem too high to pay.

Desmond is the proof it can be done, that it is possible, that it can happen and that you can also change the past; whoever theorized the butterfly effect, was wrong.

If it is, it means Desmond will be alive sometime in the future; and if they met, he just could be. He could.

He writes, if anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant; he was always one to write things down.

Just his luck.


Radiation doesn’t always mean bad news. It’s like every element and every reaction; it doesn’t mean good or bad, it just depends. Casualty, one could say. Atomic radiation never meant good news, at least until now.

There’s always a first time.


Theresa does it spontaneously.

He should have experimented on himself, first.

It becomes clear that not everyone can do what Desmond Hume could, or can; he pays the price indeed and then, well, maybe whoever theorized the butterfly effect wasn’t wrong at all. He doesn’t know if it’s because of the time traveling or the radiation exposure; he just knows he starts forgetting things and that she’s just gone.

Something went very, very, very wrong.


“Anyone… anyone knows whether there was some concrete in this place somewhere?”

The beach is sunny now, another flash just happened; it doesn’t rain anymore, they’re still drenched. Locke turns in his direction, looking pensive.

“I think there was. In the hatch.”


“Jack told me he had been there with Sayid. And Sayid had said that the last time he had heard of so much concrete, it had been at Chernobyl. Why?”

“Wait, wait, wait. That hatch… the one which blew up?”

“That one. When Desmond turned the failsafe key.”

Suddenly cold sweat breaks all over his face. Charlotte and Miles come closer, looking concerned.

“What’s happening?” she asks.

“We might have a very, very, big problem.”


He goes to the island; he doesn’t know why but there’s something in his journal that mentions one and maybe it’s the key to everything. That’s why he accepts; he doesn’t forget that, not really.

The night before the ship leaves, there’s a movie on his hotel tv: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

He doesn’t watch it and goes to sleep instead; he forgets why he had turned the tv on in the first place.


No one catches the irony; maybe Sawyer could have, if he had known that Locke was paralyzed before crashing here, and Locke could have, if he had seen Dr. Strangelove. Daniel doesn’t know about Locke and hasn’t seen the movie.

“I can walk!” was the last line.

“I can walk,” was pretty much the first thing Locke had thought when he opened his eyes and moved his feet on September 22nd, 2004.

As ironic as nuclear reactions fueling stars and killing 200000 people in one go.


Charlotte is hard edged and beautiful and not exactly nice to anyone, but she’s nice to him.

It’s not like he never understood how wrong he was when he accepted to jeopardize Theresa’s well-being, but now it just hurts harder when he thinks about it.

He can’t forget Theresa.

On the third day after the boat sailed, he swears to himself he won’t let anything of that kind happen to Charlotte; he doesn’t forget this, either. Whoever said that love at first sight exists maybe was right.


He reflects, because it’s his job after all. Pondering and analyzing his information and coming to reasonable conclusions via one reasonable hypothesis.

If someone came to test an h-bomb on this island in the fifties, the island couldn’t be hard to find. Surely not as hard as it is now and as it was before, from what he gathered.

“Locke… how did that hatch… blow up?”

“Desmond turned a key. A fail-safe key or something.”

“And… before?”

“He pushed a button every 108 minutes. He was told it meant saving the world or something. The only time he missed it, the plane crashed on the island. The second time, he turned the key and… objects were flying, earth was trembling, it was just so…”

“What, Strangelove, you understood what’s happenin’ now?”

Daniel nods weakly, barely.

“He was saving the world indeed.”

He wonders how to explain them that the electromagnetic field that Desmond was keeping in check pushing that button was generated by an h-bomb buried under that hatch. He wonders if it was kept in check long enough and then the bomb just imploded. He wonders how to explain them that the reason for which this place is so hard to find is that field. He wonders if it has anything to do with his memory getting better. If he knew about Locke, he wouldn’t have many doubts.

He wonders how come this might be the only kind of positive nuclear radiations he’s ever known of.

There’s something that does not add up here.


Everything adds up when he talks to Desmond; they met now, Desmond will go back to him, Desmond will obviously survive. He just knows. It already happened even if it didn’t. He searches through his journal that night; he had somehow forgotten writing that, but he remembers now.

It still doesn’t explain what happened with Theresa, what was happening with Minkowski when they left and what’s happening with Desmond; he figures he’s bound to find out. Maybe he doesn’t remember just that yet.


“You said he was… pushing a button.”

Locke nods and Daniel wants to laugh.

“What’s so funny here?”

Daniel can’t tell Sawyer that he has never heard of it. Usually, when you push a button, you want your h-bomb to explode. Maybe Desmond was just releasing energy. Maybe after that much energy was released (and well, he figures it has been at least fifty years if they followed his advice, and they obviously did) the bomb just imploded.

“You said you were there in the hatch?”

Locke nods again. “Me, Desmond and two other people. Only one survived with serious wounds.”

“Is the other person alive?”

“He’s dead.”

“Braveheart was with him when he died,” Sawyer adds. Daniel raises an eyebrow. “Desmond, I mean.”

This is definitely more difficult than he thought.

Of course Daniel doesn’t know about the visions. If he did, he’d realize just how much about nuclear reactions is not known.


Physical time travel isn’t the same as mental time travel. Daniel has never experienced the latter but he’s experiencing the former now and then he finally realizes the problem.

Time is like a street. You can just go up and down, you can’t create another one.

That’s why it didn’t work with Theresa or Eloise or Minkowski. But somehow it works with Desmond. Desmond is an exception; to what rule, Daniel still doesn’t know. It doesn’t matter, he thinks as he knocks on the hatch’s door.


“It’s because of the bomb,” he murmurs suddenly.

It all comes clear in front of his eyes, crystal-pure clear, laid in front of him, the last piece of the puzzle. It’s not just the radiation; it’s the reaction. Desmond probably wasn’t really special or an exception until he turned that key; but from what he realizes now, if he turned the key he had liberated the last of the energy which wasn’t enough for the bomb to explode. Hydrogen imploded over itself, concrete or not, and Desmond was just exactly over there. How could he survive, or how could Locke survive it, or those other two people near there, he doesn’t know.

But he’s sure that there’s something else going on that turned those radiations into something positive rather than negative; after all, such a green jungle can’t grow over nuclear radiations.

He doubts it’s anything that could be explained with science, though.


His journal says something about Dharma and a source of energy big enough to bend space and time and about someone almost dying from the force of it and a mine in which digging was interrupted soon after.

He doesn’t know what this means.

Then he knows about the bomb and now everything adds up. Everything adds up and he knows he’s already been there and done that even if he still hasn’t.


“So, is it Doomsday or not?” Sawyer asks, his voice sounding exasperated, Juliet’s hand on his arm; Daniel wishes he knew, but if he’s right, then they’re safe at least from that.

“I don’t… I don’t think so. I think Desmond… neutralized it.”


“The hatch. The bomb was down there. But if it… imploded, then… then it should be gone.”

“Since when a fucking nuclear bomb implodes?”

Daniel shrugs. “There are a lot of strange things happening here.”

“No shit. So, what the hell’s up with the bomb anyway?”

“Maybe… maybe asking what is not up with the bomb would be more… appropriate.”


Charlotte’s skin is soft and pale and smooth under his shaky fingers, her lips red and full as they kiss, her body fits against his like a glove; the sky flashes once and twice and they don’t worry, not as his heart beats wildly just because she’s here with him and she’s alive (the nosebleeds stopped for now). He knows he loves her. He doesn’t worry about anything else. He has definitely learned how to stop worrying, at least for a short amount of time.


“I need to bring them back.”

Locke is about to go, but Daniel says he needs to go with him; he might have written something useful. Charlotte doesn’t want him to go, no one actually wants since he’s the only one who understands something of what’s going on. He promises he’ll be back and follows Locke into the station.

“Now that’d be the time to make a choir and sing We’ll Meet Again,” he catches Sawyer saying. Juliet answers something else but he’s too far to hear it.

He searches on the diary and finds something, indeed, as Locke watches a videotape. Daniel doesn’t pay attention to it.


Locke turns the wheel (it’s everything they could come up with); Daniel feels the earth trembling and as the room is filled in white light he wonders how exactly powerful this reaction was.


And then the island is stuck. Or at least, they don’t flash anymore.

They’re in the seventies and he ends up working for Dharma and writing in his diary what he had read while down in the Orchid.

It had to be a pretty powerful reaction, indeed.


Sawyer can’t help himself; he’s humming that song half of the time.

“Shit, can’t you just change the music?” Miles asks once, while Daniel is still checking the journal, wondering how the hell are they going to get unstuck again or how Locke is ever going to bring everyone back.

“That’s just stuck in my fucking head. We’ll meet again my ass, wish I never even thought ‘bout it.”

Daniel ignores the bantering; he can’t help thinking about the bomb. By now, it hasn’t exactly imploded, but he figures it’s buried; anyway, nothing too dangerous. He wishes he could do something, that he could have talked to Desmond during that flash when he was alone, but…

“Fuck, that’s why I thought ‘bout that in the first place. All your fault, damn you.”

“Mine?” Daniel asks, taken by surprise.

“That song was in the end of fuckin’ Dr. Strangelove. Between h-bombs and your blathering, guess it was bound to happen.”

Well, Daniel thinks, that’s called ironic.


One day he’s in that mine and someone touches him on his shoulder; Daniel turns and his eyes meet Desmond’s and it’s the proof everything happened as it should have. Desmond must have met his mother, he must have done whatever it took, probably the others are here, too; maybe someone knows what they have to do and even if they don’t, maybe he could try something dangerous himself. His constant is here, after all.

And all thanks to an h-bomb, a couple of nuclear reactions and something that transcends science which Daniel still hopes to figure out someway, someday.

Patience is the major requirement for research, after all.


They all met again; indeed.


“You sure it ain’t gonna blow up?”

“It will implode in 2004. If it blew up you wouldn’t even… be here. The island wouldn’t have been there for you to crash on anyway.”

“Oh, that’s just too fucked up to follow. You got any idea about goin’ back?”

“Let’s wait. It has to happen.”

“Astonishingly good idea here. Could’ve had it myself.”


The bomb doesn’t blow up; nothing happens. Daniel knows that something eventually will happen but it won’t exactly include them dying; been there, done that. It just can’t happen.


And so they have houses. As everyone who works for Dharma anyway.

As Charlotte joins him on the bed he’s sitting on, she tells him something crazy happened, she met this redheaded one year old who is just like…

He kisses her and doesn’t let her finish. She’d worry. He doesn’t. He loves her; and it sounds horrible and ironic and definitely stupid, but in this moment he thinks that among everything he somehow learned to love that bomb, too. It did bring him here, after all. So, yes, not the end of the story. Not that for now he isn’t perfectly alright with it. Learning not to worry is, seriously, the best thing sometimes.

feeling: confusedconfused
spinning platenavras_rheya on February 11th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna read this in a few, but being a Kubrick-head. I FUCKING LOVE THE TITLE.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost nirvana!jackjanie_tangerine on February 11th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
Ha, well, I had to write it when I had the title in my head because I just couldn't not. And yay for being a Kubrick-head because I totally am too.
elliotsmelliot: Danielelliotsmelliot on February 13th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
This is not weird. This is Daniel. You captured his inner and outer voice really well. All the science stuff was enough to make my head swim, but you grounded it in his humanity.

It’s pretty ironic that nuclear fusion will make stars shine (and then be the cause of their eventual death) and h-bombs explode. H is for hydrogen, of course.

This was a beautiful section. It had a lot of rhythm that made me want to read these two sentences over and over.

He has actually never watched Dr. Strangelove: Or, how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, but he loves that title

This is how I felt before I saw the movie too.

As for concrete and Chernobyl, I had not made the connection with the Swan but not that bit of history with Sayid’s exploration. Very cool!

Sawyer can’t help himself; he’s humming that song half of the time.

I loved how you tied in the movie with Daniel’s own history. I really enjoyed this piece! It was worth the struggle.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost faradayjanie_tangerine on February 13th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC)
Then Daniel is weird because he makes my head hurt. ;) Thanks so much, I seriously don't have an idea what to make out of this but if he was IC then it was worth it indeed. And oh, the science. As soon as stuff went into quantum mechanics realm I gave up and went on intuition. I have my limits.

How can someone not love that title? ;) Glad to hear the whole tying in with the movie worked here, I didn't want to push it too much but I had to justify that title. Thanks so much again, I'm definitely happy to hear you enjoyed it! ♥
sedaunysedauny on February 15th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Poor bewildered Daniel, learning not to worry. I loved it. I'm with Daniel in this--I never saw Dr. Strangelove, either, but I do love the title. Many, many good bits in the fic, but this one caught my eye because it's so true: fascination is Daniel’s propellant. That may be what gets everyone saved, in the end, because I don't really trust ghost!Christian, or Jacob, or Locke, or Ben, or Richard (&c&c&c) to tell the truth on what is best for the human beings trapped on the Island. We may have "left science behind" but I hope Dan brings it back in to help any atheists in the Church of Island. You did a good job of balancing the science that fills Dan's head with the events of which he is part, and which he immediately relates back to the science again. And you kept Charlotte alive, chance or not, AU or not! We need more women on the Island. (And I love her meeting up with herself. I wonder whether that would be a problem, but I tend to go with the "you can't step twice into the same river" thesis and assume that life experiences change a person enough between childhood and adulthood that they're not really the "same person" meeting.)

I laughed at the song stuck in Sawyer's head because I have been there often enough. About the time Jughead aired, I was stuck with "Will Ye No Come Back Again?" playing on repeat and it seemed too appropriate (that's the one that starts: "Bonny Charlie's now awa'/ Safely o'er the friendly main/ Many a heart will break in twa/ Should he ne'er come back again" :D)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost faradayjanie_tangerine on February 15th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm so glad you liked it! I swear this was some of the hardest stuff I ever wrote all my life. Seriously, Daniel makes my head ache so it really means a lot. ;) And Dr. Strangelove has quite the best title ever, as soon as I had it I had to go for it. For once I did have the title before the fic, which would be quite the exception to the rule.

I hope everyone gets saved because of that and it doesn't end up being totally not-scientific because I'm totally with you on there. I only trust ghost!Boone for all I care *cough* but I never was on the Christian/Jacob/Locke/Ben quadrangle either. I wrote this before the last episode, but I had posted it the day it aired and as soon as I saw the last episode I was like 'oh, damn, they killed her off and this is totally screwed' but who cares really. I had grown to like the poor girl, indeed. I had some doubts about her meeting with herself but then I figured I could screw it, it's not like time travel makes sense on the show anyway.

LOL, I've totally been there, too, and oh God, THAT song is indeed appropriate!!
(Deleted comment)
the female ghost of tom joadjanie_tangerine on February 28th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Eeeeh... yes I did. LOL. I wasn't too wrong in the end, was I? ;) Thank you!