This chapter is scary-long. Really. I thought I was getting long
with 6000 words...but no! Emilie must write longer and longer chapters.
It's not my fault; I'm just channeling a slightly insane muse...Okay,
so it's a bad excuse. So it's just me writing a lot. And, possibly,
writing a lot of junk. But read it anyway, please; maybe you'll like it!
I hope you do, anyway. Enjoy!
"He just had a concussion Colonel!"
"Yeah, I know that! It's not like I meant for this to happen!"
Daniel's currently lying next to me, in a hospital bed at the infirmary, still unconscious. They've ruled out spinal injuries, but they're still waiting for symptoms of another possible concussion. Janet says his pupils are good, and the CAT scan was good, but he may still have hit his head—and it's my fault, ostensibly because I was there.
"Two concussions in a row can be very dangerous, Colonel, especially in a child," Janet says. "The fact that he hasn't regained consciousness is a bad sign."
"Look, he pressed a button! You know how he is about stuff like that!"
Daniel sighs softly, and shifts on the bed. I look at Frasier, who quits yelling at me and moves to the opposite side of the bed from where I am. "Daniel?" she says. "Daniel, it's time to wake up now."
He wakes up.
It's quite dramatic, actually: one second he's lying down, unconscious, and Frasier's talking about how he may never wake up again—which I think is meant to scare me more than anything else—and the next, he's sitting straight up, eyes wide open. He pants for a second, and then lies back. "What's going on?" he asks confusedly.
"I'm going to ask you a few questions, Daniel, okay?"
He glances at Janet, then at me, and nods.
"Okay. What's your full name?"
"Daniel Jackson. I don't like my middle name, so I'm not telling you."
I look at Janet bemusedly, eyebrows raised. She shrugs. "Okay, good. What's your birthday?"
"July eighth, 1966."
Janet nods. "Good. Can you tell me the name of the President?"
"Of the United States?" At Janet's nod, he says, "Gerald Ford. I think."
Janet just stares at Daniel for a minute, then says, "Okay, Daniel, thank you." She backs away, gesturing for me to come with her. Once we're out of Daniel's hearing range, she says, "I have no idea what that was. It could be due to a head injury, or it could be an effect of that…box he was playing with. Do you think you could ask some questions, figure out how much he remembers?"
I nod. "Sure."
As she walks away, I head back towards Daniel. "Hey," I say. "Remember me?"
Ah, the classical 'Duh' expression. "You're the guy who was here a few seconds ago. You were talking to the doctor over there." He points to where we had our little conversation.
"You don't remember me from before?" I ask. Gawd, déjà vu. I mean, he's already had his memory erased. Why do the Powers that Be want to do it again?
"No. Gerald Ford's not the president, is he?"
"Not anymore. You're a little behind, I think. What's the last thing you remember?"
"I was in my room at the Jameses' house. What's going on? And why am I so small?"
"I don't know how much you remember, Daniel," I say, sighing. "You have to throw me a bone here. I know if you don't remember me, you think you're…oh gawd…twenty-nine at the most, or something like that. But I don't know, so you have to tell me."
"Twenty-nine? How old am I really? And if I'm so old, why am I so little?"
"Hold your horses, will ya? How old are you? In your mind, I mean."
"Wait, Mister, I wanna know what's going on. How old am I, according to you? Where are we? Who are you, and why'm I here?" He looks ready go on for as long as necessary, and I lose my patience.
"Just…tell me how old you are!" I snap, and he stops talking, suddenly looking afraid.
"Nine," he answers, and then adds defiantly, "Almost ten."
I sigh, and put my face in my hands. I so do not need this. "Gimme a minute, Daniel, then I'll explain, 'k? Sorry for yelling."
He nods, slightly in awe of me, and I seek out Janet. "I think it's the thing."
"The thing?" Janet asks.
"Yeah. The machine…thing. He thinks he's nine. That makes some sense, based on what he told me about it. How much am I allowed to tell him?"
"What do you mean?" Janet asks.
"Well, I was planning on telling him his life story from nine to thirty-eight, as much as I know of it, but if you think I shouldn't…"
Janet sighs, and rubs her face with her hands. "I really don't need this…"
"Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing. Should I tell him?"
"Sure. I don't see what harm it will do. Do you have any idea how we're going to get him back?"
I raise my eyebrows. "Me? You gotta be kiddin'."
Another sigh. "I'll alert the General. And Sam and Teal'c, they'll want to know too."
I smile briefly. "Thanks. I'm gonna go tell that brat how much of a hotshot he is grown up."
I walk back to Daniel, who immediately says, "I'm not a brat."
I smile slightly. "How did you know I called you a brat?"
"I can read lips. Why'd you call me a brat?"
He so is a brat. Reading lips… "Because you ask too many questions and you're too smart for your own good. It's a compliment, in a way. Wanna hear your life story?"
Daniel blinks, bemused. "Sure."
"Well, at nine you're living in foster care, right?"
"Yes," Daniel says. "Until I'm eighteen. And I can't wait to get out."
I smile slightly. "Well, you're out. But you weren't out until you went to college, which…I dunno when. You may have skipped a few grades, and then you go to college, and graduate school, and get oodles and oodles of doctorates. Following me so far?"
"Yeah. What year is it?"
"The year when you've gotten your doctorates?"
"Uh, it's 2005. Do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?"
"2005?" he says, slightly awed, and then adds, "What do I get doctorates in?"
"Archaeology. And languages. Anyway, after you get the doctorates, you start talking about how pyramids were made by aliens, and even though you end up right, everyone in the academic community thinks you're nuts. The military hires you to do a translation job, and it turns out they've found a big ring that can form wormholes between two planets, called the Stargate. You convince General West that you have to go on the exploration mission, and you go with my team and meet a girl there, and fall in love with her. Meanwhile, you defeat a bad guy called Ra…you getting all this?"
"I defeat a bad guy called Ra? Like the Egyptian Sun-God Ra?"
I frown. "Because he's bad?"
"This sounds like a bad science fiction movie."
"Well, it's real," I say. "Shall I continue?"
Daniel sighs. "Fine."
"So you defeat Ra, and you stay with Sha're, your girl, for a year, and then she gets kidnapped and eventually…killed, and you come back to Earth and we spend our time going through the Stargate. Several months ago, you almost died on a mission, and some of our very advanced allies decided you should be allowed to live, so they made you a new body. Unfortunately, it only aged to six years before you started inhabiting it. So you're six and you live with me, even though your mind is thirty-eight."
"Okay. Suppose all this really happened…why am I nine if I'm six and thirty-eight, too?"
I frown. "Good question. You found some alien technology thing that made you think you're nine, is my only answer. We're gonna try to fix you."
Daniel pouts. "What if I don't want to be fixed? I like my life."
I raise my eyebrows. "Really? Because the old Daniel never really said anything about liking his childhood."
Daniel glares at me and turns his head away.
I sigh. "Sorry. Look, you hungry? It's almost dinnertime. What's your favorite food?"
Daniel glances at me. "I like pizza," he says quietly.
I smile in relief. "We can definitely do pizza," I say. I was worried he'd say couscous or moussaka, or something really international and out there.
Daniel grins. "Pizza Hut? Is there one near here?" He looks around, and mutters, "Wherever 'here' is…"
I nod. "Sure. We'll get an airman to bring us some. What's your favorite topping?" For grown-up Daniel it's sardines with pepperoni. Go figure. Hopefully this Daniel is a little more moderate. Hey, he didn't ask for couscous, so…
"Sardines. And I like pepperoni too."
I sigh, feeling put-upon. "Sardines and pepperoni it is." I stick my head out the infirmary doors, snag an airman, and give him my request.
"Okay. It may be a while," I say. "In the meantime, whaddaya wanna do?"
Daniel blinks and shrugs. "I dunno," he says.
"Hangman? Scrabble? Wait, you always beat me at that. Uh…"
"Who are those people?" Daniel asks, pointing his chin at the door. I turn around to see Teal'c, Carter, and Hammond coming through the door.
"Those are the guys who go through the Stargate with us. Well, except for the old guy. He commands us."
"Old guy?" Hammond calls, quirking his lips.
I grimace. Oops. "Can you read lips, too, Sir?" Daniel smiles as Hammond raises his eyebrows in silent question. "Never mind," I tell Hammond. "Anyway, I meant… relatively."
"I am much older than General Hammond, O'Neill."
"Thank you, Teal'c," says the General.
"Your name's O'Neill?" Daniel asks.
"Well, yeah, but you can call me Jack," I reply. Daniel calling me O'Neill would be…too weird. "This is Carter, Teal'c, and General Hammond. You call Carter 'Sam.'"
"Sam's a weird name for a girl," Daniel says. "And I've never heard the name Teal'c. Is anything normal around here?"
"Sam is short for Samantha," Carter says. "Daniel, you don't remember anything?"
"No," says Daniel flatly. "I'm nine. I remember everything up to when I'm nine, because that's how old I am. Except, you know, when I was a baby, I don't remember that stuff. What about the name Teal'c?"
"My name means 'strength' in the language of the Goa'uld. I come from the planet Chulak," Teal'c says. "I was enslaved by Apophis as a Jaffa for many years."
Daniel blinks, bewildered—but he latches onto the name Apophis. "Apophis?" he says. "Like Apep, the evil demon of darkness? Is that why you have a snake symbol… thing on your head? He's real?"
"Indeed, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c says. "Apep was one of his many names; however, Apophis fell in battle years ago."
"Not that many years ago," I murmur. Guy still gives me nightmares sometimes.
Doc comes over. "Daniel," she says, "do you think I could examine you more thoroughly now? I need to check some things."
"Uh…okay," says Daniel. "I guess." He glances at me, and I nod.
"We're getting pizza in an hour, Doc," I say. "If possible, try to be done by then?"
Janet smiles. "I think I can manage that, Colonel," she says. "Why don't you come back in thirty minutes?"
I take that as a dismissal, and leave post-haste—with the rest of SG-1 and Hammond behind me. "Briefing room," Hammond says, and I figure I've got some 'splainin to do.
"Let me get this straight," Hammond says. "This device made Dr. Jackson believe he is nine years old?"
I nod. "With all the memories of when he was that age, yes."
"How do we get him back?"
I grimace. "Well, it may be the device can do it for us, in which case we should get somebody who's good with Greek to look at it—and maybe someone from your department, too, Carter?"
Carter blinks, and frowns. "I don't have a department, Colonel."
But only because she keeps turning down the job, saying she has enough to do dealing with SG-1 and her own projects.
I sigh. "Well, you know. Physics and machines, and…so on."
Hammond nods, and says, "Can you recommend someone to look at it from…that department?"
Carter nods. "Actually, Sirs, I'd like to take a look at it myself. I might have more insight into the mechanics of it, knowing more about…physics and machines and so on…than Daniel."
I squint my eyes. "If you shrink your brain, I'm not babysitting you. I've got enough on my plate with Daniel."
Carter smiles slightly. "I'll make sure to be careful, Sir."
I frown. "You do that."
After the meeting we all go our separate ways. I start to head back to the infirmary to be with Daniel, but as I'm leaving the room Teal'c asks, "May I accompany you, O'Neill?"
"Sure, big guy," I say. "I was going to the infirmary to be with Daniel."
Teal'c nods. "I am aware," he says.
We walk in silence for a while. We're nearing the infirmary when I finally say, "Anything wrong? You've been quiet…well, quieter than normal. What's up?"
"I am not normally a loquacious person, O'Neill," says Teal'c.
"Well, yeah, but…"
"I do not understand why, when the shit hits the fan, Daniel Jackson must always take the fallout."
I sigh. "Neither do I, Teal'c."
We enter the infirmary, and I see Daniel lying on one of the beds, hands tucked behind his head. The doc's working on something at the back. When he hears the door open, Daniel looks over at us, and then sits up. "Finally!" he says, and then calls behind him. "Dr. Frasier, Tilk and that Jack guy's here! Can I leave now?"
Frasier looks over her shoulder, smiles, and walks over to us. "Just a minute," she says to Daniel, and turns to me. "He's okay; no concussion. But I'm not sure what the other effects of this device there may be. It's possible this is it, but if anything unusual happens, give me a call, okay?" She turns to Daniel, and continues, "And that goes for you, too. If you start feeling sick, or different from the way you do now, I want you to tell Jack or whatever adult is closest. Is that understood?"
"Fine," says Daniel impatiently. "Can I go now?"
Frasier smiles. "Sure. And if there's any pizza left, save me a piece, okay?"
I raise my eyebrows. "Pepperoni and sardines, Doc…"
She winces. "Oh. Okay, never mind. Have fun, Colonel!" She smiles and starts to walk away—but before she does, she looks at the bouncing Daniel and says, "No coffee or soda!"
I wince. "No fear."
"Let's go-oooo!" Daniel says petulantly. "I want pizza!" He grabs my hand and starts pulling.
"This behavior is unseemly, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c says. "Please calm down, or we will not show you the pizza."
Daniel immediately stops bouncing, and his hand goes limp against mine. "I'll be good," he says, face serious. "Really. But I want pizza. I'm soooo hungry."
I smile. "Teal'c's just joking. You'll get food either way, don't worry. But the lack of bouncing is appreciated."
Daniel smiles. "Okay. I won't do it," he says quickly. "Can we get pizza now?"
I roll my eyes. "Sure. I told the airman to deliver it to your office, so let's blow this popsicle stand!"
"Is not the device still there, O'Neill?"
I frown. "I think Carter took it. We should be safe."
"What happens if I touch it again?" Daniel asks. "Do I turn negative a lot in my head?"
I wince. "I hope not," I reply. "Just…if you see it, avoid touching it. Really."
It looks like the pizza's just gotten there when we get to Daniel's office: it's steaming, and it looks really good—well, except for the sardines.
Problem, though: there are five pies.
Daniel's eyes widen, as he says, "That's a lot of pizza."
I blink. "Yeah. Good thing we have Teal'c here. Maybe I should call Carter in as well."
"I will do so, O'Neill," says Teal'c, and does so. Meanwhile, Danny and I check out the pizzas. They're all sardine-and-pepperoni pizza—I check. Heaven knows what the pizza guy thought of the order—and I'm slightly bemused that the airman thought SG-1 was weird enough for this.
"Can I have some, Jack?" Daniel asks, and then quickly corrects himself. "I mean, may I have some?"
Oh, yeah. Linguist in the making. "Sure, help yourself. Want anything to drink?"
"Water," Daniel says, pulling a slice out of the first box and starting to munch as he sits on the couch.
I get Daniel his water from the fountain down the hall—there are always cups in his office, so I don't have to scrounge for one. When I come back, he's almost done with his first piece. Teal'c walks over from the phone, grabs a slice for himself, and says, "I have requested backup, O'Neill. Major Carter is coming."
I grin, take a slice for myself and start picking off sardines. "So, Daniel, what's your favorite subject in school?"
Daniel rolls his eyes. "Grown-ups always say that. Anyway, I don't really like school."
I frown. "Why not?"
"I never learn anything, except maybe in math. I read all the textbooks at the beginning of the year, so I knew everything already when they covered it. It's boring."
"What would you rather do than go to school?" I ask.
Daniel shrugs. "It's not that I don't like learning. You know. It's just that I don't like pretending to learn when I don't ever get to. Or letting everyone know you know what's going on, and then you get picked on for being a geek." He takes a huge bite of his pizza, which temporarily prevents him from talking.
I get the message, and ask Teal'c, "When do you think Carter's coming down?"
"I do not know, O'Neill," Teal'c says. "I believe she was coming down immediately. The type of pizza which you ordered has enticed her."
I wince. "Her, too?"
Teal'c raises his eyebrow solemnly. "Indeed."
"How come you're always so serious?" Daniel asks Teal'c curiously, pulling a second slice from the box.
"It is the way of a Jaffa," Teal'c says. "A warrior's life is harsh. He must be able to withstand it."
"Oh," Daniel says, and takes a sip of water.
We munch happily on our pizzas for several minutes. Daniel starts his third slice—I never knew he was such a pizza lover. Soon Carter comes in.
"Hey, guys," she says. "I heard you have some pizza."
"Sardines and pepperoni," I mumble, chewing. I swallow, and add, with a gesture, "Help yourself. There's plenty. By the way, what's up with that machine? Have you found anything yet?"
Carter grabs a slice and sits on the couch next to Daniel. "Well, it's only been forty-five minutes," she says, "so I haven't gotten very far."
"What have you been doing?" I ask.
Carter raises her eyebrows. "If I tell you, you're going to be bored," she warns.
"Oh," I say dismissively. "Never mind then. But you'll figure out how to fix it, right?"
Carter frowns. "Maybe. I don't know. I've never seen a device like this before."
"What are you trying to do?" Daniel pipes up.
Carter looks at him. "Find out how to give you your memory back," she says.
Daniel frowns. "Oh."
I quickly change the subject. "So, who wants to play Scrabble? Daniel, you have a set, right?"
Daniel looks bewildered. "Um…I don't know…"
I wince. "Right," I say. The I'm-a-little-kid thing. Well, I think you put it in here…" I rummage through the bottom left drawer of his desk, and come up with a battered Scrabble box. "Here it is," I announce, lifting it out. "Does everyone want to play?"
Everyone nods or murmurs in assent, so I clear away some space on Daniel's desk and set up the game.
It's an epic game, I'll say that. Everyone manages, for once, to hold his own, even Teal'c, who originally had a hard time understanding the concept behind the game. I get a fair amount of points for 'jiggle,' managing to get the 'l' on a double word space. Carter plays 'xylene,' which I challenge, but when we look it up in Daniel's humongo-big-and-expensive dictionary, there it is. But Daniel (sweet, innocent nine-year-old-ish Daniel) hits the jackpot, near the end: working off an 'x,' he manages to use up all his letters on 'coxcombs,' hitting a double-letter space and a triple letter space, and using up all his tiles besides, which grants him a fifty-point bonus. From that turn alone, he gets 194 points. After that, we all know he has us. Carter plays a couple more clever words that I don't know the meaning to, but Daniel has such a lead that nobody catches up.
And Daniel and Teal'c keep eating pizza right through, too. I think at the end, Daniel's eaten eight pieces, and Teal'c's eaten something like two pies—which isn't so much, considering it's Teal'c. But I'm kinda surprised Daniel was able to put away eight pieces.
It's 21.30 hours when we finish that game, and I say, "Wanna play another one?"
"I'm sleepy," Daniel says, yawning. "Can't you guys play while I sleep? I can do it right here," he says, patting the couch as his eyes close. "And then…you'll still have fun."
Carter, Teal'c and I all glance at each other. Carter smiles. "I think we're done, Daniel," she says. "Don't worry about us. We had lots of fun."
"'Kay…" Daniel says. God, if I thought he was cute when he first got turned into a kid, he's even worse now. "'m gonna sleep." He pulls his knees up to his chest and lays his head on them.
I smile slightly. "Why don't you guys clear on out," I murmur. "I'll clean up."
Carter nods and says, "Good night," while Teal'c bows his head with a smile, and they leave together. Probably Teal'c is going to meditate while Carter works some more on that machine.
I quickly clear up the pizza boxes, tossing the extra pizza in the big garbage bin outside—nobody's really gonna want that flavor enough to eat it cold except Daniel, and I figure he's had enough. I clear the Scrabble game away as well, and then turn to Daniel. "Ready to go home?"
He looks up, and blinks. "Home? Where's that?"
I frown. "Well, either a guest room or my house, depending on what Frasier says. I forgot to ask if you have to stay on base, so I guess our first stop's the infirmary."
"Okay," he says, getting wearily to his feet. I take his hand so he doesn't stop in a hallway to doze off, and lead him out the door, flipping the switch as we leave. After about twenty feet, I pick him up: otherwise it'll take us forever to get to the infirmary.
He drools on my shoulder in the elevator, but we're quickly in the infirmary. I sit him on a bed, where he happily stretches out.
After a minute, probably alerted by our resident Nurse Ratched, Doc comes over. "Problem?" she asks, concerned, but I shake my head.
"Nah, he's just sleepy. I wanted to ask if I could take him home or if we should stay in a VIP room tonight."
Janet frowns. "Well, I suppose you can take him to your house. But if something goes wrong, same rules apply: contact me right away. All right?"
"Peachy," I say, grinning. "Hear that, Danny? We're going home tonight."
Daniel stirs and sighs in his sleep. Doc raises her eyebrows. "Have fun," she says, walking away.
I pick Daniel up again. "Ready to go home?"
"Mmm," he says. "Home."
The car ride is uneventful. Daniel perks up a little when I get him out of the car, but I can tell he's still sleepy.
I carry Daniel to the house, and shift him from my right hip to my left when I get to the door so I can open it. As I turn the key, I hear Sirius snuffling and barking, clawing on the door.
Daniel looks up at me. "What's that?" he asks.
Opening the door, I reply, "Sirius, our dog."
"Oh," says Daniel, and he leans his head back against my shoulder.
Sirius jumps against my legs, dancing around us—he almost goes up to my knee. "Later, Siri," I murmur. It's amazing the weird nicknames you can come up with for animals. At the barbecue—when Daniel and Cassie were kidnapped—Carter took to calling Sirius 'Ree-ree.' Cassie called him Snuffles, apparently because that's what the dog in Harry Potter was called… I didn't get that one, really. Oh, well.
I carry Daniel to his
bed and tuck him in.
"Jack?" he says quietly.
"I don't feel well."
Uh-oh. "What's wrong?"
"My stomach hurts," he says seriously.
"Think you need to throw up?" I ask. After hearing his symptoms, I remember the eight pieces of pizza, and I'm not so worried—but vomiting could be unpleasant.
"No," he says softly.
"Good. You probably just ate too much. Want some Pepto-Bismol?"
He shakes his head no.
"Okay… Want me to stay here?"
He shakes his head again. "I'll be okay," he says.
This kid turned self-sufficient way too fast, I think.
"Alright. Call me if you need me, okay?" Daniel nods, and I add, "Okay. Sleep well."
I'm woken at 0325 by a shout, and immediately go to Daniel's bedroom. It's a parent thing; when you hear a noise at night and happen to have a kid, you immediately go there, and often you're next to them before you're really awake.
"Daniel?" I ask, shaking him, trying to get him awake. "Daniel, what's wrong?" He's muttering and crying in his sleep. "Daniel!" I say, more loudly this time, and he wakes up.
"Um…Jack?" he asks, sleepy and upset, still trying to get his bearings.
"Yep, it's me. What's wrong? Feeling sick? Want me to get the Pepto-Bismol?"
He blinks and looks down. "No, I'm okay," he says softly.
I pause. Yeah, right. "Okay," I say, not pressing. "Want to tell me what your dream was about?"
He shakes his head mutely.
"You sure?" I persist. "Sometimes it helps."
He shakes his head again. "It was nothing," he murmurs. "I'm sleepy."
I sigh. "Okay. I'll see you in the morning."
"'Kay," he breathes, and closes his eyes again.
Daniel's obviously feeling better in the morning, because I can hear him puttering around half an hour before my alarm goes off. This definitely is still nine-year-old Daniel, I think; 38-year-old Daniel never gets up earlier than he has to, unless there's a dig to…dig. Then I think, What the hell, I may as well get up.
He's in the kitchen, eating Rice Krispies. "Hi, Jack," he says. "I got cereal. You don't mind, do you?"
"Nope," I reply. "Up early?"
"Yup," he says, grinning. Yeah, he's better.
I get out my own cereal bowl as Sirius dances around my legs again, hoping for something to eat. I 'accidentally' drop some Froot Loops on the floor, and Siri starts cleaning them up with his tongue right away.
I pour milk on my cereal. "Yeah?"
"What's your dog's name?"
"Well, technically he's your dog, and his name's Sirius."
"Like the dog-star?"
Daniel frowns. "Is he real?"
I frown, not sure where he's coming from. "Yeah, he's a real dog."
"No, I mean…you said Ra was real, and Apep…so is this Sirius the real dog-star? He doesn't look like a star."
I smile. "No, but we named Sirius after that star."
"Oh," Daniel says, and starts scraping cereal off the bottom of his bowl. "Are we going to that place we were yesterday?"
"Yes," I say, "but we don't have to be there for a while. Wanna do something in the meantime?"
Daniel frowns, thinking. "Like what?"
"Play chess, watch TV…"
Daniel wrinkles his nose. "What kind of TV?"
I smile. "Hockey?" Daniel frowns. "Uh, cartoons?" No answer. "Fine, history channel. Happy?"
Daniel grins. "Okay," he says. I'm not sure if the History Channel was around when he was really nine, but he seems to be happy about it now.
So we watch something about the Emperors of Rome for half an hour, until it's time to go. Daniel keeps commenting on it—not correcting, but adding on quirky information. It's pretty cool, too—I learn something, for once.
At 0700, I figure we should get going, so I switch the TV off. Daniel pouts for about three minutes, but quickly cheers up again. "What's it like going to other planets?" he asks, buckling his seatbelt.
"Pretty much the same as Earth," I reply, as I pull out of the driveway. "Lotsa cool people. Every once in a while you get some really, really neat stuff."
"Do you have fun telling people about it? What other planets are like? Do people get jealous of your job?"
I smile slightly. "Well, the Stargate is a secret. We're not allowed to tell people. The only people who know are the ones who work for the program and some really high-ranking officials in the government."
"That sucks," Daniel announces, and I chuckle. That's pretty much the best and most succinct way of putting it. Daniel continues, "I always thought there'd be flying cars and spaceships to Mars and stuff by 2005. I mean, people went to the moon years ago!"
"Yeah…but there aren't any Stargates on the moon or Mars. Carter—sorry, Sam can talk to you about flying cars. I'm still waiting for those myself."
Daniel's quiet, thinking about that for a while. We're at the base in fifteen minutes, and Daniel quickly unbuckles and gets out. "What do we do today?" he says, walking around the car.
I sigh. "I do budget and requisition meetings," I say, taking his hand as we cross the parking lot. "You would, too, only you don't remember what you need. I figure I'll foist you off on Sam."
Daniel looks up at me. "Doesn't she have budget meetings too?"
I sigh. "She hasn't let herself become the head of the Science department, so she's safe. She works alone; all she has to do is say what she needs to the guy they chose because she wouldn't do it. Sometimes I get jealous. You have to sign," I say, lifting Daniel up so he can sign in. I signed off for him last night, because he was asleep. He seems to get a big kick out of signing his name.
Daniel pats my hand as we walk into the elevator. "I bet being the head of a department is a lot of responsibility," he says.
I shrug as the elevator door closes. "Well, I'm just the head of the SG teams, and they mostly know what they need. All I really have to do is figure out what SG-1 needs and compile it with the rest of the stuff. The real problem is defending all the stuff to the guys who come in and say we can't possibly need this many field-dressings, and what do we mean, we need more uniforms, we just got some. That's what I have to do today." I shudder.
"Oh," Daniel says. There's a twelve-floor pause, and then Daniel says, "Budgets sound boring."
I laugh. "They really are," I say. "Really, really boring." We step out of the elevator, and head to Carter's office.
"When I'm with Sam," Daniel asks, "can I ask her about flying cars?"
I smile. "Sure, you can," I say, just as we step into Carter's office.
She's already there, and looks like she has been for a while, leaning over that little boxy machine that made Daniel think he's nine. When she hears us, however, she looks up. "Hey, guys," she says. "Sure Daniel can what?"
"Ask you about flying cars when he dumps me on you," Daniel says candidly.
I roll my eyes. "I just don't want you to get bored, Daniel. Trust me, you would with the meetings."
"I know," Daniel says, "but you said you were going to foist me off on Sam, and that's what 'foist' means." He grins cheekily.
"When's your meeting, Sir?" Carter asks.
I look at my watch. "Ten minutes or thereabouts. Can you take him?"
Carter winces. "For how long?"
I sigh. "Until lunchtime, at least. You're not free?" Daniel's head is whipping back and forth between the two of us as we speak.
Carter sighs. "Not really, sir. My dad and some other Tok'ra are visiting to give us some intel on Anubis, and General Hammond has requested that I be there, since everyone else is tied up with the budget today."
I sigh. "Isn't our timing just great?" I ask rhetorically. "D'you know if Frasier's free?"
Carter frowns. "She may be," she says. "I know the Medical department doesn't do the budget the same day as everyone else—probably because they need so much stuff," she adds, smiling a little. "You want me to take Daniel to her?"
"I'm here, you know," Daniel mutters. "You don't hafta talk about me like I'm not. And I can just sit in a corner somewhere, I won't bother anybody."
I look down at him. "I know," I say. "We're just trying to figure this out. But without someone to help you out, you'll get lost, trust me. I still do, sometimes, in this place." I turn back to Carter, and say, "I can take him to Frasier. Thanks for offering." I smile, take Daniel's hand—which he gives me reluctantly—and we start to leave.
"If you're not free in the afternoon, I can keep him company," Carter calls.
"Maybe," I say, turning around. "I might be free by then, in which case we'll probably take the day off. But if not, that'd help."
"I can tell you about flying cars then," Carter says, grinning at Daniel. "More importantly, other flying stuff, which is much cooler, since it actually exists."
Daniel grins. "Okay," he says, and I drag him out of Carter's office—not that I mind them talking, but I'm already going to be late.
We quickly get to the infirmary. "Doc?" I call, and she comes out of her teeny office.
"Yes, Colonel?" She looks at Daniel. "Is there a problem? Was last night okay?"
"Fine, other than a little bellyache from eating too much," I say, and Daniel kicks me gently, with a reproving look. "Stop that," I say quietly, and turn back to Frasier. "Anyway, he's here because he's developed a little allergy to budget meetings. Think you can keep him safely ensconced away from them until lunchtime? "
Frasier smiles. "I suppose I can manage that," she says. "Daniel, you like coloring?"
Daniel scoffs. "Coloring is for babies," he says.
The Doc rolls her eyes. "I've got some cool coloring books I used in medical school," she says, offering her hand. Daniel takes it tentatively, and walks back to the teeny office with her. "They're fun, I promise."
The meetings are, as promised, boring. I have to fight for every band-aid, P-90, videotape and thumbtack the SGC might need for the next six months, and by the time I get out I'm exhausted. I don't get tired running six miles, but sitting in a chair talking about money wears me out: go figure. Guess I was never meant to be an accountant.
I go to pick Daniel up from the infirmary, and find him happily coloring on the floor in a detailed anatomy-themed coloring book.
"Look, Jack," he says, showing me his latest picture, "It's the alimentary canal! There's the esophagus, and the stomach. And here's the intestines!"
I look up at Frasier. "Corrupting him already?"
She grins. "It was a good way to keep him occupied," she says. "Going to lunch?"
I smile. "Yep," I say. "Want anything?"
She shakes her head. "I'm going a little later."
I nod. "Okay. Daniel, ready to go?"
"Yeah," he says, and picks up the coloring book. "Thanks," he says, handing it to the Doc.
"You're welcome," she says, smiling. "Anytime."
As we walk out of the infirmary and to the cafeteria, Daniel says, "Most of the time when there are coloring books it's something really stupid, like ponies or trucks. That was cool."
"Hey, trucks are cool," I protest.
Daniel grins up at me with that 'yeah, right' expression he gets. "You can do better," he says.
We have sandwiches and jell-o for lunch. "Are you done with the budget?" he asks, munching on his sandwich.
"Yep. Thank God."
"Can I look at the stuff where you found the machine that made me like this? Dr. Frasier said there was a video."
I frown. "Why?" I ask, curious.
Daniel shrugs, putting his mostly-eaten sandwich down. "Well…because, um… I don't know. You…you and Sam and Janet and Teal'c really, um…"
"We care about you," I prompt.
"Yeah," Daniel says. "And…you want the grown-up me back. Uh, the grown-up-brain me. Um."
"Right," I say slowly. "Because we think it would be better for you. So?"
"Well…maybeIcouldhelp," Daniel says quickly.
"You already tried to translate it as an adult, and failed," I say. "Maybe you could have figured it out, given more time, but…anyway, I didn't know you spoke—speak—Greek at nine."
"I do a little," he says. "My dad was teaching it to me—"
"When he died?"
Daniel frowns and looks down. "Yeah," he says softly. "That's what my dream was about last night."
"I kinda figured," I say. "It's okay to be upset. Kids shouldn't see their parents die."
"People shouldn't see people die," Daniel says fiercely.
I smile. "Yeah, Old Daniel thought—thinks—that too."
"Good," he says defiantly. "'Cause I'm right. Anyway, Mr. Jones says I shouldn't be unhappy about my mom and dad dying, because it happened almost two years ago."
"Well, you shouldn't always be sad, yeah," I say. "Your mom and dad wouldn't want you to be sad all the time. And let's face it, you've had an amazing life--well, you can't remember that, I guess, but you have. I know they'd be proud of you. But it's okay to be sad sometimes."
"I know," Daniel says quietly. "But some people don't think that, so I try not to be."
"Well, nobody here thinks that. At least, I don't think they think that. And if they do, they're wrong." I shrug.
Carter's in Daniel's office when we go there to take a look at the stuff.
"Hi, Sam," Daniel announces, and Carter jumps, looking up quickly.
"I didn't hear you guys coming," she says, once she realizes it's us. "What's up? More budget meetings?"
"Nope, I'm done," I say. "Daniel wanted to look at the stuff we found on the planet yesterday, right, Daniel?"
"Yes," Daniel says decisively.
"Um, okay," Carter mutters, turning to Daniel's laptop and looking through the files until she finds the right one. She spends two minutes teaching Daniel how to go between the video file and the word documents of those poem things, which he made up yesterday. "These are the ones you said were relevant. I was looking at them earlier, but I couldn't make anything of them."
Daniel looks over the word documents. "Why does it talk about time so much?" he asks, after a few minutes.
Carter clears her throat. "You told us it had to do with Chronos, the God of Time. What do you make of it?"
Daniel sighs and turns around. "Nothing," he says. "I don't get it. Did I get it when I was big?"
I frown. "Not really."
"Oh," says Daniel, dejected.
"Don't worry, Daniel," Carter says, putting a hand on her shoulder. "We'll figure it out."
Daniel shrugs her hand off. "I just don't know if I want to…turn back. I don't remember being big. But you guys want me to, and you're really nice…"
Sam smiles slightly. "Thanks, Daniel."
He skims the writing. "The memory will return," he murmurs, and I look over his shoulder: it's a part of the poemy-bible thing I haven't seen before. "God, what does it mean?" Daniel says, scowling, and for a minute I'm looking at adult Daniel, frustrated over one conundrum or another.
"Don't worry about it, Daniel," I say.
He glances at me. "I don't know what any of this means," he says, dejected.
I roll my eyes, smiling. "Well, it had to happen someday," I say. "Why don't we go home and watch TV or something?"
"Okay." Daniel hops off the chair, glares at the computer, and then turns to Sam, and politely says, "Thanks."
She smiles. "You're welcome, Daniel."
Daniel smiles back, and then turns to me, saying, "C'mon, Jack. Let's blow this popsicle stand."
Forget Frasier--I think I'm corrupting him.
"Let's play a game," Daniel says suddenly, after drifting off for the third time during a hockey game we're watching.
As it's obvious that my team is losing abominably, I mute the TV and say, "Okay. Like what? More Scrabble?"
Daniel wrinkles his nose. "Nah. That game's too easy."
I smile. "Hockey? I've got a net and some sticks outside."
Daniel looks horrified. "No!"
"Okay, okay. What, then?"
"A questions game," Daniel says. "I ask a question and you have to answer it."
I blink. "That's it?"
"No me asking you questions? No rules?"
Daniel sighs. "Fine. I'll ask you a question, and you ask me one. Okay?"
"What type of question?" I ask. I remember this kind of game with Charlie: the kid practically asked me to read his mind, and if I didn't he'd get upset. Hopefully that won't happen with Daniel: we've both got enough to deal with, without that happening.
"Any type of question," Daniel asks. "But it can only be opinions, or facts that you know I already know. No asking the millionth element in the periodic table, or anything." He looks sternly at me. "Do you understand?"
I smile. "Yeah, I get it. You wanna go first?"
"Okay. What was your mom like?"
So I talk about my mom, Jennifer, and how her favorite flowers were the crocuses and how she made waffles for me and my Dad on Sundays, and how she died twelve years ago from cancer. "Is it my turn now?" I ask when I finish.
"Okay. What are the Joneses like? They're the guys you were living with, right?"
Daniel shrugs. "They're okay. They're not as cool as you guys. Or my parents."
"How many sets of foster parents have you had, Daniel?"
Daniel frowns. "It's my turn to ask a question!"
I hide a smile. "I beg your pardon."
"Good. Did you ever have a wife?"
I blink. "Yes, I did," I say slowly.
"Was she nice?"
I grin. "I thought you were only allowed one question at a time."
"That's only for you," Daniel says, "because you're the grown-up."
I raise my eyebrows. "How convenient," I say. "Yes, my wife was very nice. Her name was Sara."
Daniel frowns. "What happened?"
I look down. "Our son died," I say, looking at my hands, "and I was too upset about it to pay any attention to her for a while, and she left."
I look up and smile. "It's okay," I say. "My turn to ask you a question?"
"Yeah," Daniel says, "I guess. If you want to stop, we can."
"No, it's okay. Okay, answer this: why do you want to fix your memories, remember being older again?"
Daniel frowns. "Well, because…I want to be big. I always wanted to be big."
I sigh. "But you realize that the stuff you were looking at won't help you to be big again? The only thing it could possibly do is make you remember being big."
Daniel shrugs. "I like knowing stuff. As long as I know what it's like to be big…plus knowing all the stuff you say I know, that'd be really cool. Plus, size doesn't really matter."
I laugh, much to Daniel's perplexity.
We laze around for the rest of the day: I make peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, which Daniel decides he likes, and microwave s'mores, which Daniel decides he doesn't like—probably because they blow up in the microwave and taste like charcoal. We watch Indiana Jones—it wasn't out in 1975. Grown-up Daniel hates it. He says it's completely unrealistic, and can't we just watch the one with the aliens again? But this Daniel thinks Indy is the best thing he's ever seen, and immediately vows to become just like him. I refrain from reminding him that he's already been doing this stuff for years.
Every once in a while, I get this niggling feeling that says this: You should be doing paperwork. But I ignore it.
Daniel seems to sleep a lot, too. It seems like every time I look at him, he's dozing off. And more often than not, it ends in nightmares.
"I hate bad dreams!" he says, pounding his little fists on the couch. "Why can't I have nice dreams like everyone else?"
I shrug. "Well, everyone else gets bad dreams sometimes."
Daniel frowns. "But not ten times every day," he says. "Anyway, it hasn't been this bad since the time when my mom and dad had just died."
I nod sagely, putting that away in my head so I can tell Janet later—maybe it's a clue as to how Daniel got this way.
He dozes off again around 9:00 PM, and this time he seems like he's really out. I know that if Frasier doesn't hear about his nightmares soon, she'll ream me out, so I find her number and dial.
Cassie answers before the first ring has finished. "James?" she says breathlessly.
I frown. "Definitely not," I say. "Who's James?"
"Oh, hi, Jack," Cassie says. "James is…my boyfriend. And if you scare him off like you did Dominic and Maurice, I'll never speak to you again. What's up? I'm waiting for a call."
"I'd gathered," I say dryly. "Whatever happened to that Norman guy? I thought he'd be scared by the stuff I told him…"
"Nicholas had his head up his butt anyway," Cassie says. "I was waiting for a good time to break up with him when you gave him The Talk and scared him off."
"Glad to be of service," I mutter, then say, "Can I talk to your mother for a minute?"
"Sure. Mom!" she yells. "Phone for you. It's Jack." Talking to me again, she says, "Are you and Daniel okay? I mean, you're not bleeding all over the kitchen floor or anything dire like that, right?"
I roll my eyes. "Would I be chatting with you about scaring your boyfriends if I was?"
"I guess not," she says. "Mom's here. Take care of yourself, okay?"
"I always take care of myself."
Cassie snorts. "Yeah, right. Here's Mom."
"Colonel, what's wrong?" Frasier's cool voice comes over the phone. I know that if I told her I'd just cut my finger off, she'd stay just as calm. Which is reassuring, really.
But happily, that's not what's going on right now. "Daniel's having nightmares," I say without preamble.
"More than one?"
"Yeah. Well, every time I turn around, he's dozing, and if I let him be for more than half an hour, he starts dreaming about that accident his parents had in New York, when they died."
"It may be PTSD," Frasier says. "If they're bothering him, he should speak with a psychologist."
I frown. "But we're going to get him to remember, right? So he won't need that."
"At this time we don't know how to do that. Colonel, it really would be advisable for him to talk to someone."
I sigh. "Well, not Mackenzie," I say. "Daniel will kill me if I put him in that idiot's hands."
"As a matter of fact, we've recently added a child psychologist as a part-time staff member. Daniel recommended him, in fact."
I frown. Daniel recommended a psychologist? "Do you need a child psychologist badly enough to have one on staff?"
There's a pause. "Well, we've had several incidents involving children, Colonel. Cassie probably could have benefited from talking someone who was experienced in working with children, but nobody who fit that criterion had security clearance. Then there was Charlie, that kid created by the Reetou, and Merrin, and maybe even Ryac when he was brainwashed. And now this situation with Daniel—"
"Mom!" I hear in the background. "I'm waiting for a call!"
The Doc sighs. "I'll set up an appointment with the psychologist tomorrow, okay? And remember, Daniel's also scheduled to meet with me or another doctor on staff at 1100 hours tomorrow. I have to go; Cassie's waiting very impatiently for the phone."
We exchange goodbyes and hang up. Twenty minutes later, Daniel has his nightmare again.
We're in the really long elevator thing—the second one down. Jack's holding my hand, and I keep having to pop my ears or they start to hurt.
"Why do I have to see a psychologist?" I ask Jack. He told me Dr. Frasier got me an appointment with one, and I don't think I'm happy about it. I know about psychologists. They ask the kind of questions that are none of other people's business, and if you don't answer, they think you've got something to hide. If you do answer, it's worse, because then they give you a silly diagnosis.
Jack sighs. "You've been getting a lot of nightmares, Daniel. Remember? Doc Frasier thinks this might help you."
"Did grown-up Daniel get nightmares?"
"Sometimes, when bad stuff happens to us, we all get nightmares. But everyone gets nightmares sometimes. When you get lots of them, though, it can mean something's wrong."
I frown. "Like what?"
Jack shrugs. "I don't know. Stuff that I was never taught a lot about. Dr. Frasier thinks it might be PTSD."
"Post-traumatic stress disorder—it's something that happens to people when they've been in a traumatic experience. Nightmares can be a symptom."
I frown. "Oh."
We get off the elevator and go right to the infirmary, where Jack says I have another doctor's appointment. I don't know why I get so many.
"Oy, Doc!" Jack calls, when we see that Dr. Frasier isn't around. "We're back!"
Dr. Frasier pokes her head around her office door. "Be with you in a minute, Colonel," she says. She retreats into her office for a few seconds, then comes back out. "Hello," she says, smiling. "We have to make this quick; Daniel's appointment with Dr. Kenneth is in fifteen minutes."
Jack looks at his watch. "Where are we meeting him?" he asks, as I climb onto the exam table.
"Dr. Mackenzie has offered to let Dr. Kenneth use his office," Dr. Frasier says. "You know where it is, right?"
Jack rolls his eyes. "Only too well," he mutters.
Dr. Frasier starts by poking the spot behind my ears, and moves her fingers down my neck. Then she starts doing all her other doctor stuff, with the arm cuff thing that takes blood pressure, and the thermometer, and the little flashlight that she sticks in front of my eyes. Then she steps back. "Are you feeling okay?"
I shrug. "Fine," I say. "Kinda tired."
"Colonel O'Neill says you've been having trouble sleeping because of nightmares," she says seriously.
I look down, embarrassed. "I guess," I mutter.
She smiles suddenly, and rubs my back. "Your appointment with Dr. Kenneth," she reminds us, and Jack takes my hand again.
"Hello, Daniel," Dr. Kenneth says, ushering me into his office. He told Jack to wait outside, so I'm alone with him. "Nice to see you again."
I frown. "I don't know you," I say.
"Right, well, Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Frasier say you've lost almost thirty years of your memory, so I don't expect you would know me. I met with you once before, although you mostly lied to me that time, because I didn't have security clearance." He smiles. "But that's not what we're here to talk about. Do you want to tell me about your family?" he says, picking up a pad of paper and a pen.
I shrug. "My parents are dead," I say. "Nick works in Belize."
"And who's Nick?" Dr. Kenneth asks, scribbling notes on his legal pad.
"My grandfather. He's an archaeologist."
"Do you remember your parents?"
"Sure," I say. "They only died two years ago."
"Longer than that, Daniel," the doctor says gently.
I shrug irritably. "Well, in my memory it was two years ago. So, yeah, I remember."
Dr. Kenneth smiles. "Fair enough," he says. "Will you draw me a picture?" He gestures to a pad of white, unlined paper on a table next to me, along with crayons, markers, and pens.
I pick up a piece of paper and a pen. "A picture of what?"
"Your parents," he says
So I sketch my mom and my dad, and when I look at the picture it seems really plain. So I put the cover stone behind it, doing squiggles where the hieroglyphs are supposed to be—I don't remember what they were anymore. Then I get up, hand the paper to Dr. Kenneth, and sit back down.
"What's that?" he asks, pointing to the coverstone.
"That's the artifact my parents were working on for a year before they died," I say.
"That's how they died," he says quietly.
I nod, looking at my hands. "The chain snapped, and…they were crushed."
An image flashes in my head, and I blink. "Can I have another piece of paper?" I ask.
"Sure," says Dr. Kenneth. "Go ahead."
So I grab a second piece and draw the symbol quickly—a shen, or a circle with a line under it. More slowly, I draw symbols that I can barely remember, carefully looking at them once I'm done to make sure they're right. "There," I mutter, putting the pen down.
"Can I see?"
I stand again to hand the paper to the doctor, noticing as I get up that my head feels funny—dizzy, sort of. I close my eyes, holding tight onto the arm of his chair to avoid falling.
Dr. Kenneth looks at the drawing. "That looks like the Stargate addresses they showed me," he mutters. "And that looks like the Stargate—a simple depiction, but…"
"It's a shen," I mutter. "Symbol of protection. I thought the others were…just pictures…"
"Daniel," says the doctor, "are you all right?"
I blink, opening my eyes, but all I can see are black dots, swarming. Dr. Kenneth says something else, but his voice sounds far away, and my breath sounds loud in my ears. I close my eyes again, gripping the chair tightly, trying to regain my balance, but I can feel myself falling. Hands catch me, and I sleep.
The doctor pokes his head out. "You may want to come in, sir," he says. "Daniel's fainted."
I get up quickly and hurry into the office, Dr. Kenneth moving out of my way. "What happened?" I ask, kneeling beside Daniel. He's laid out flat on the floor, and looks white and delicate.
As I check for a pulse, the doctor says, "He was showing me a drawing when he fainted. I caught him as he fell, and then I called Dr. Frasier."
"I can't find a pulse," I fret. "But he's breathing."
Dr. Kenneth nods. "His blood pressure is probably too low. Dr. Frasier should be here soon."
And there she is, along with a gurney and a nurse. "Doctor, Colonel," she says, moving toward Daniel at least as fast as I did, and kneeling at his other side. "What happened?"
Dr. Kenneth says pretty much what he told me, and I add, "I couldn't find a pulse."
"Don't worry, Colonel," she says, "he's breathing. Daniel, can you hear me?" When Daniel doesn't respond, she says, "Can I have a BP cuff, please?"
The nurse hands her one, and Doc pumps the thing up.
The Doc mutters something about Daniel's blood pressure being low, and then does some more doctor things—the penlight, and her stethoscope and stuff. "Has he been conscious?"
"For a few seconds," Dr. Kenneth says. "He opened his eyes and looked around. I don't think he really knew what was going on."
"Okay. Let's get him to the infirmary."
Dr. Kenneth watches as I help lift Daniel up onto the gurney, and they roll him away. I follow, jogging to keep up. Since we're still in the medical wing, we quickly get to the infirmary proper. The Doc starts calling out for stuff, and I try to stick close to Daniel.
His eyes start fluttering. "Daniel?" I say.
Dr. Frasier quickly turns to look into Daniel's face. "Daniel, can you hear me?"
"Yeah," he says groggily. "Jack?" He turns towards me and blinks slowly.
"Yup, I'm here. How do you feel?"
"Dizzy," he mutters. "What happened?"
"Your blood pressure is low," Dr. Frasier says. "We're going to hook you up to an IV." She turns away and starts speaking in medicalese again.
"What happened?" Daniel asks again.
"What do you remember?" I counter.
"I was in Dr. Kenneth's office…"
"Right," I say. "You fainted. You're in the infirmary."
"Why?" he asks, screwing up his face.
"The Doc says low blood pressure. She's running some tests."
"Oh." Daniel yawns. "I'm tired."
I frown, thinking. "I think you're allowed to sleep."
"Good," he mutters, and closes his eyes.
At some point they've hooked him up to an automatic blood pressure cuff, which started beeping as soon as it was put on since Daniel's blood pressure was so low. It suddenly stops, and Frasier looks over at it.
"Blood pressure's back up to normal," she says, looking at the monitor, and then tells the nurse working beside her, "I guess we don't need that saline after all."
The nurse nods and walks away.
"Daniel," Frasier says gently, putting her hand on Daniel's little cheek, "I need to talk to you."
Daniel opens his eyes reluctantly. "Jack said I could sleep."
"I said I believed you were allowed to sleep," I correct. "Apparently I was wrong."
Daniel pouts. "What, then?" he says.
"Can you tell me your name?"
"Daniel. Can I go to sleep now?"
"Your full name, Daniel."
He sighs. "Daniel Jackson."
I smile. "I thought you had a middle name."
"Which is none of your business," he mutters. "Let me sleep."
I look at the Doc. "I don't think he hit his head this time."
"I know, Colonel. Daniel, what's your date of birth?"
"Year?" I ask.
Daniel smiles lazily. "Now, that would be telling," he says.
I glance at the Doc. "Sounds like old Daniel," I comment.
"Yes, it does," the doctor says. "Daniel, what's the last thing you remember?"
"Wishing with all my heart that I could just go to sleep," Daniel says, glaring.
Frasier just looks at him.
Daniel sighs. "Being in a psychiatrist's office, thinking I was nine years old."
"So you remember the Stargate?"
"Yup. Can I go to sleep yet?"
Janet sighs. "One last question. Who's the president?"
"Of which country?"
Frasier closes her eyes. "Daniel…just answer the question. Please."
"Henry Hayes. He's very nice. Are you happy? Can I sleep now?"
"Yes," says Frasier. "Thank you." She turns and walks away, obviously irked with Daniel's contrariness.
I'm not, though. He's back!
Daniel's sleeping, and he's fine, so after I sit with him for a while, I figure it's okay for me to go and catch up on some of the paperwork I neglected when I was taking care of the real little-Daniel. Dr. Kenneth comes in almost as soon as I start, though, so I don't really get much work done.
"I'm not bothering you, am I?" he asks, standing in the doorway.
"Nah," I say, "not really," and put the paperwork aside—it wasn't much fun anyway. "What can I do for you?"
"Well, at the time we had bigger things to worry about," he says, "but now we know Daniel's okay I thought it was worth mentioning." He hands me a piece of paper. "Daniel was showing me this when he fainted."
I look at the paper: at the top is a circle with a line directly beneath it, which looks sort of like a Stargate, sitting on a flat patch of earth. Below that is a Stargate address.
I look up at the doctor. "He drew this before he remembered…the last twenty-something years?"
Dr. Kenneth nods. "I don't know much about this Stargate stuff, Colonel, but I thought it might be worth telling you about."
I nod. "Thanks. I'll bring it up next time I'm with him. I'll see if I can find out what it's about."
The doctor smiles, nods, and leaves.
"A shen," Daniel says.
I frown. "Thanks, that makes it so much clearer."
We're looking at the picture while sitting in the infirmary, because Frasier wants to make sure Daniel doesn't suffer a relapse. Daniel fiddles with the sheets with one hand while tracing the shen with one finger. "The shen represents eternity and protection," he says. "Technically, it's a picture of a rope with no beginning or end."
"And the Stargate address?"
Daniel sighs. "The coverstone my parents were working on when they died…there was always one little piece that fascinated me. It looked basically like this—with a shen, and the seven funny little pictures below it. I'd forgotten all about it, but…I guess when I thought I was a kid I remembered it better."
"So…this is a Stargate address? That was on your parents' diggy coverstone thingy?"
"Well, yeah. It sure looks like one, anyway."
"You want to go there?"
Daniel shrugs. "It would be pretty cool." He's trying to look nonchalant, but I can tell he really wants to go.
I try to distract him. "So the point of that device that made you think you were a kid…was just a memory device?"
"Maybe. It's not entirely clear, but that may be its purpose. That might be why I was having all those nightmares—I was trying to remember the coverstone, but that memory kept getting in the way. So, can we go to the planet with this Stargate address?"
I frown. "We have to send a MALP first, and then a preliminary team before you can go. After that…maybe."
Daniel pouts. "Fine," he says. "But at some point I'm going."
"Only if you tell me your middle name," I tease.
Daniel frowns, first in confusion and then in annoyance. "Jack, that's blackmail."
"I freely admit to that," I say, getting up. "How badly do you want to go?"
"You're incorrigible," Daniel complains.
"Yup. Tell me your middle name," I say, now at the foot of the bed.
"Fine," I say. "Don't go on the mission." Daniel looks outraged, and I smile. "You don't have to tell me yet. We don't even know if you're allowed yet. But if it's cleared for you…"
"I hate you, Jack," Daniel says, folding his arms. The look is slightly ruined by the grin that creeps onto his face.
"I love you too, you monster. I'll catch ya later; I have paperwork to do."
I have two rubber ducks. One bites people who decide not to give reviews, and one nuzzles those who do--and also they tell Santa that you've been a very good little boy or girl this year. Your choice. ;)
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Your frazzled writer (who is sorry she didn't post for a month when she promised a week, she didn't mean to),