Title: The Dangling Conversation
Fandom: Sports Night
Rating: G
Summary: The past really is a foreign country.
Notes: My first entry for
[info]fandompoolside! And also, since I found the title there, for [info]hyperfocused's Bookends: The Simon and Garfunkel (and solo) Title Challenge.

"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."*

"What?" Dan looks over at Casey, who is absently staring at the computer monitor in front of him, brow furrowed thoughtfully.

Casey turns toward Dan, eyes clearing. "What?"

"'The past is a foreign country...'?" Dan prompts him.

"Oh." Casey sits up straighter and glances at the computer, then back at Dan. "Nothing, just...it's a quote."

"A quote?"

Casey nods. "A quote."

"A quote that you were quoting for some particular reason?" Dan watches, amused, as Casey fidgets.

"No. Yes." He shakes his head once, hard, as if to clear away an obstruction. "I was looking at this website. Baseball history. All the rule changes that have occurred over the years...and it got me thinking. A baseball fan from a hundred years ago might hardly recognize a baseball game today."

"But it's still baseball. Surely it wouldn't be that hard to understand." Dan isn't sure where this is going yet, but he doesn't really think it has much to do with baseball. He pushes aside the laptop, giving Casey his full attention.

"True, but...it's the details, you know? It could look like an entirely different game to that person." Casey leaned back in his chair, looking thoughtful.

Dan is pretty sure they still aren't finished, so he presses further. "And this musing prompted the quote?"

"Yes. No." Casey sighs, seeming frustrated with himself. "I was thinking about rules changing and realized it happens in life, too. A change here, a change there, and suddenly your life is completely unrecognizable as the one you were living previously. The rules change, and it's a foreign country."

Oh. Right. Dan stares at Casey. He considers dropping the subject, but...no. "Rules changing can be a good thing," he replies quietly. He watches Casey for a moment before looking away. He hears Casey get up and move toward him, but doesn't look up.

"Dan." A hand touches his shoulder lightly. "Danny."

He finally looks up at Casey, who is standing over him now, looking concerned.

"I didn't say changing the rules was a bad thing. It's just...different. I don't think the me of ten years ago--hell, the me of two years ago--would recognize this life. When I think about how things were...it really is like a foreign country. 'They do things differently there.'"

"I don't think I want to go to that country," Dan says, looking steadily into Casey's eyes.

Casey's eyes widen, then he smiles. "Me either. Been there, done that. I'm happy where I live now." He squeezes Dan's shoulder and goes back to his desk.

Dan watches Casey settle into his chair, then returns to his script, satisfied that Casey's said what he wanted to say, and more than a little relieved. For a moment there, he'd thought...well, it didn't matter. "I'm pretty happy where I live now, too," he adds.

Casey looks up, surprised, then smiles and starts working on his script.


* The quote is from L.P. (Leslie Poles) Hartley (18951972), British author. From the prologue of The Go-Between (1953).