Genre: Angst, General, Hurt/Comfort, Team Friendship
Rating : T for depressing themes, as well as a naughty word or two.
Timeline: Late Season 4. After The Light but before Entity.
References to: Need, Fair Game, Legacy, Learning Curve, Forever in a Day, Shades of Grey, The Other Side, The Light, Red Sky.
Summary: Apart from an unwelcome sneeze in the face, SG-1's latest mission goes surprisingly well. Everyone is pleased. That is, until Daniel falls ill.
Author's note: This is quite different from my usual writing style. I'm not sure what triggered it, but it just kinda came out. Experimentation on my subconscious's part, I suppose.
My thanks to my beta, Amaranth Traces, for going with the flow and as usual fixing that which was driving me crazy.
"I am so sorry, Dr. Jackson," Dinarra says, handing Daniel a handkerchief. "Hallen is allergic to many things and all the flowers in the hall have probably aggravated his condition."
Daniel smiles at the embarrassed woman, wiping at his face. Young Hallen peers at him from his mother's arms. He doesn't seem at all sorry to have sneezed all over an off-world guest.
"It's fine, Dinarra. I have allergies myself." He looks over and sees Jack waving at him, looking pointedly at his watch. "Unfortunately, it's time for us to go." He hands back the handkerchief and smiles to take any possible sting out of his words. "We've enjoyed our stay here."
"Will we see you again?"
"Probably not us specifically, but my government will send a team of diplomats to discuss trade relations with your leaders. There is much our peoples can learn from one another."
Dinarra smiles. "There is indeed. I look forward to it." She holds out her hand in the way Jack showed her the day before. Daniel shakes it.
Then he makes his way through the reception hall and back to his team. Twenty minutes later, they step through the stargate.
"Seriously, Doc, you should have seen it. One minute we're all staring at each other at gunpoint, and the next Daniel's sweet-talked them into throwing us a feast."
Daniel rolls his eyes as Janet runs her hands down the sides of his neck, checking for inflammation and God knows what else during his post-mission exam. "It was hardly that easy, Jack."
The Colonel swings his feet back and forth as he sits on the cot, one arm in a blood pressure cuff being run by one of the nurses. "It was close enough. They were eating out of your hand within half an hour."
Daniel sighs loudly, his objection interrupted when Janet sticks a tongue depressor halfway down his throat. "Ahhh."
He hears Sam's voice from behind him. "Don't deny it, Daniel. It was pretty impressive."
"Indeed," says Teal'c, although the word is somewhat muffled behind the thermometer the Jaffa has in his mouth. Janet still insists on checking him thoroughly too, despite his symbiote. Just as well. The thermometer almost covers the amusement Daniel can still hear in his voice.
Daniel suffers a scope in his ears, then a penlight in his eyes, before Janet finally looks directly at him, rather than at whatever part of him she's currently inspecting. "You're fine." She tucks the penlight in her pocket and surveys her infirmary. Everyone seems to be behaving to her standards, and she turns back to him, hands on her hips. "So, tell me. How did you convince them you were friendly?"
He blushes. This is embarrassing. "I, uh, I swore."
She cocks an eyebrow. "You what?"
"I swore. In Abydonian."
Janet keeps staring at him, clearly awaiting further explanation.
"The entire situation was just so reminiscent of every bad first contact we'd ever had. The first thing anyone ever does is stick a gun in our faces. It's very frustrating. I'd had enough. It was just a coincidence that they understood me and found it amusing."
"What did you say?" Janet asks.
Daniel clears his throat. "It was a curse that became popular on Abydos after Jack killed Ra. Roughly translated it's 'May your head bow under the waste of your camel'."
Teal'c snorts with suppressed laughter, just as he did on the planet.
Janet continues to stare. "And this made you new friends?"
He nods. "You see, in Abydonian it sounds almost exactly like the phrase 'Blessed is the Almighty Ra' which was part of the devotions they were once forced to give. They've turned it into a blasphemy against a false god. Turns out our recent hosts were once ruled by Ra and appreciated the sentiment. So we settled down to talk."
Janet shakes her head and then moves on to explore Sam's throat and ears.
Daniel doesn't even think to mention Hallen's sneeze.
After the debriefing, Hammond sends them home for the week of downtime they have coming. For once, Daniel doesn't begrudge being kicked off the base for seven days. He's just brokered the first stages of an alliance and trade agreement by losing his temper. It worked out in this case, but it speaks of him desperately needing a break.
He stops on the way home at a grocery store. It's been a while, and anything that was in his fridge last time he was home is probably well beyond the edible stage.
He's pondering the steak choices at the meat counter when he feels tiny arms suddenly wrap around his leg. He looks down to discover he's acquired a toddler. The girl smiles up at him, before starting to cry when she realizes that Daniel is not, in fact, Daddy.
Daniel looks around the aisle, but can't see anyone who seems to be missing a child. He crouches down so he's almost at the little girl's level. She looks to be about three. "What's your name, sweetheart?"
She scrubs at her right eye with a tiny fist. "Chelsea."
He smiles at her. "Hi, Chelsea. I'm Daniel. Did you lose your Dad?"
Chelsea nods solemnly.
"Okay. I'll help you find him. We'll go to the help desk and have them make an announcement. Can I hold your hand?"
Chelsea seems to think about it for a minute, but then instead of offering her hand, she throws her arms around his neck.
Daniel is taken aback for a moment, but then shrugs and goes with it. He hoists her up and settles her on his hip. She snuffles into his neck, not releasing him in the slightest. He can feel what he hopes are tears sliding over his collarbone.
This is new. Cassie is the only child Daniel has had any experience with lately, unless you count the Urrone of Orban, and Cass is fifteen now, going on twenty-five. Still, it's kind of nice to be so instantly trusted by someone he hasn't just tried to insult.
He makes his way to the service desk at the front of the store, carefully keeping an eye out for a frantic-looking father figure. They almost reach the desk when he spots one. Or rather is spotted by one.
"Chelsea!" The man rushes over, clearly unsure of Daniel's intentions. He reaches for the little girl.
Daniel hesitates to release her until she returns the greeting with a joyous "Daddy!" Then he lets go and watches the happy reunion proceed.
After a moment, the young father looks up. "I'm very sorry. I merely turned around for a moment and she'd vanished." His accent is English. Southampton, if Daniel's not mistaken.
Daniel nods. "I understand." He looks down, noticing the man's loafers. "We just happen to have the same taste in shoes."
After being thanked with a handshake, Daniel quickly finishes his shopping and heads home. The day hasn't turned out too badly.
Two days later, Daniel wakes up freezing. He checks the thermostat in his apartment, but it's exactly where he set it.
He has a hot shower and pulls on a sweater before tackling some more of the archaeology journals he's been catching up on.
It isn't until three misinterpretations of obviously Goa'uld-wrought hieroglyphs later that a headache starts to hit him full force. At first he thinks it's due to the ignorance of his academic colleagues, but when coupled with the chills he's still feeling, he's forced to admit he's probably getting sick.
He gives up on the journals and makes himself some soup, taking a couple of Aspirin while he waits for it to heat up. He spends the afternoon resting in front of the History Channel and goes to bed early.
The next morning Daniel is feeling ten times worse. The headache is now more of a full body ache, and his sinuses are congested and sore. Great. He rummages around in the bathroom medicine cabinet, coming up with some slightly out of date Nyquil. It might be less effective than normal, but he knocks it back anyway. It's better than nothing.
He heads back into his room, grabbing his cell phone from the dresser on the way. He punches in a familiar number as he crawls into bed.
"You okay? You sound awful."
"Nice to talk to you too."
"Sorry," she says, though he can hear her smile. "Anything wrong?"
Daniel shrugs, a bit stupidly since she can't possibly see it over the phone. "I've caught a cold. I'm going to have to renege on lunch."
"That's too bad. I was looking forward to it."
"Yeah, me too."
"You want me to bring you anything?"
He's tempted, since he's now out of cold medicine, but he doesn't want her to get sick too. He'll drag himself to the drugstore later. "No, I'm fine."
"Okay, then. Get some rest. I'll call you tomorrow to see how you're doing."
"Thanks, Sam." He flips his phone closed and succumbs quickly to sleep.
Oh, God. He's feeling oh-so-much-worse than a cold can explain. It takes him three tries to get out of bed and stagger to the bathroom. He shakes two Aspirin into his palm, hesitates, and then adds another two, swallowing them with the help of water sucked straight from the tap.
Daniel peers at his blurry image the mirror. His eyes are bloodshot and runny, his nose is red, and his face is covered with a thin sheen of sweat. He shivers, clutching at the counter as the trembling gets beyond his control. He slips to the floor and waits for his body to calm before crawling back to the bed. But he can't for the life of him work up the energy to get back up and into it.
He lies on the floor beside the bed for what seems like a long time. He thinks he may have fallen asleep for a little while, but since he doesn't feel any more rested than before, he can't be sure. His headache, if anything, is worse, despite all the Aspirin he took. He wonders how much more he can have before risking an ulcer, but decides it's a moot point since he'll never be able to make it all the way back to the bathroom.
Daniel reaches up and grabs the covers, determined to make one more effort at getting back into bed. He fails, accomplishing nothing more than dragging the blankets to the ground. Which works, he realizes. He can sleep just fine on the floor if he has blankets to cover him, to keep out the chill that threatens to shake him apart.
He pulls on the covers and encounters something hard under them. It takes him a while to extricate it, but he's not an archaeologist for nothing, and he's eventually rewarded with his cell phone. Good. That could be considered good. He can use it to call Janet, and she can come over and jab him full of something that will help him kill this un-cold of his.
The problem is he can't remember her number. Any of her numbers. They're all stored in his phone somewhere, along with Jack's and Sam's and Catherine's and all sorts of others, but he can barely see the screen and doesn't trust his luck not to accidentally call the Chinese place down the street. Which, in his fever-driven confusion, is the one number he actually does remember.
Daniel squints at the phone again, but this time at the keypad rather than the screen. He comes up with a plan. He hits redial and waits. The phone on the other end rings. And rings again.
Then there's a click. "Hey, Daniel. How you feeling?"
He tries to answer Sam, but he didn't test his voice before calling, and finds that it isn't working. He coughs instead.
"That good, huh? You should have let me bring you some soup yesterday. Or maybe some Contac-C." Her voice is light. Sympathetic, but teasing. "Only you would spend your first on-world downtime in months sick as a dog."
Daniel wheezes a bit more and finally manages to clear his throat. "Sa— Sam?"
"Daniel?" Sam asks, sounding more focused now. More concerned. "Are you okay?"
"No. No, I don't think so."
"Where are you?"
"At home. In my bedroom. The floor's cold."
"The floor? Why are you on the floor?"
That is a silly question. "Can't get up."
"Shit," Sam says. It's a very un-Sam-like thing to say. "Stay put, Daniel. I'm coming to get you."
"'Kay." There. Sam will take care of things. She always does. Daniel shivers uncontrollably again, gasping as his abused muscles protest and his head throbs.
"Daniel?" Sam calls through the phone. "Daniel, stay with me."
He tries to. He really does. But it's too difficult and he fades out.
To be continued...
Reviews are most welcome, especially the constructive variety.