Chapter 1: Little Angel
I was sitting, trying to finish off the report Hammond wanted when smack, a well-aimed chocolate chip cookie hit off my shoulder.
“Daniel,” I growled, “Knock it off.”
Two minutes later, another cookie landed onto the file I was using. I turned to find the little cherub, sitting cross-legged on the floor, the picture of absolute innocence with a book open in his lap, looking for all the world as though he was engrossed in it.
“Something wrong, Jack?” he looked up at me with innocent blue eyes.
“Just quit it, squirt,” I told him, turning back to my report.
“Are you not finished yet?” came the sigh, “I’m bored.”
“Couple of minutes, Daniel I promise,” I said, unable not to smile; it had been an interesting few days.
I should start at the beginning of how Dr Daniel Jackson had become the pint-sized terror who was driving me even faster down that slow descent into madness.
We were on P4R T11, watching some sort of games/ritual involving extremely pointy sticks being thrown about, one of the contestants’ aim was off and the javelin he was throwing headed straight towards the VIP area. Basically, Daniel saved the life of the Chieftain of the village we were visiting, getting pretty much skewered in the process. Luckily, the people had a nifty Asgard device that saved his life by miniaturizing him but also alerted Thor who came to help.
The device turned Daniel back into a five year old, with all his memories and after six months Thor will use the device again so he’ll become ten then after another three months twenty then and I’m not sure how this’ll work but final treatment and we get a thirty year old Daniel Jackson back.
Now, you think that he’d be pissed, suddenly dependent on people again and no longer being an adult but not Daniel. No, he’s decided to embrace this second childhood and has, in less than a week, become the bane of my existence.
Okay, maybe a little harsh but he’s driving me nuts.
Daniel always had this sweetness thing going on that had all the female members of the SGC wanting to take care of him. However now, with the long bright blond hair, big crystal blue eyes and angelic innocence he projects, everyone and I mean absolutely everyone, including Hammond, Teal’c and the scary nurse whose name I can never remember, is wrapped around his little finger and he knows it.
“Can we go?” the pint sized pain in my ass cried again.
“A minute,” I replied, greeted with another groan.
“Jack,” he whined, “I’m bored.”
Now Daniel, at normal size if he was bored, could be annoying but you could usually distract him with some strange language or one of his rocks. Mini-Daniel has the attention span of a gnat, and think of who’s saying this. I know I get bored easily but the little guy needs something new to distract him about every five minutes.
“I’m finished,” I told him, closing the file and seeing a ‘finally’ look cross his face.
Daniel walked over and lifted his arms up.
“You can walk, Daniel,” I reminded him.
“Jack, your legs are twice as tall as me,” he rolled his eyes at me, “If you want to get where we’re going today, pick me up.”
I muttered under my breath, feeling sorry for his parents, knowing that the only reason he survived those years was because he does look like an angel.
When we first found out what happened to Daniel, I could see Carter looking at me as though I was going to explode or something. It took me a few minutes to realise what she was so worried about but other than the hairstyle, Daniel and Charlie were nothing alike.
For one thing, where Daniel looks angelic no matter what, Charlie had this laugh and look where I swear the horns and tail were just waiting for me to turn my back before they appeared.
I, of course, mentioned this to Sara who whacked me over the head before starting to laugh as he gave her the look too. When we told my Mom, she started to laugh and turned to Sara.
“At least we know he’s the father,” she said, sending them both into fits of giggles.
Anyway, back to my original topic, once this had happened and Daniel listened to Thor explain everything, which took some time as Daniel kept getting distracted, the little archaeologist turned to me.
“So, you have to learn to cook rather than get takeout.”
“What?” I demanded a little confused.
Daniel rolled his eyes at me, “You don’t think I can stay alone now I’m this tall? And there is no way I’m living on the base for a year, ergo I’m staying with you.”
And that was it; absolutely no choice was given to me because Daniel had spoken. Not that I didn’t try to argue but Daniel had already got to Carter and Teal’c, who ganged up on me, then adding in Hammond and Janet meant I was now official Guardian to the miniature version of my best friend.
It was now a normal sight to see me walking through the base with the ‘cherub’ being carried by me. Daniel of course, doesn’t even notice anything as he chatters away excitedly.
Hammond’s idea, to make sure I didn’t kill the little one, was that we take him to Abydos and let Kasuf have some fun. I took this as a great idea and Daniel was absolutely ecstatic, he was looking forward to spending time in the sand and sun with his family.
I was looking forward to seeing what he was like in that situation, I always think of Daniel and sand together. Not to mention, I can’t wait to see Kasuf deal with the mini-archaeologist from hell.
About fifteen minutes later, we were all standing in the Gateroom waiting for the Gate to dial to Abydos. Daniel, looking cute as hell, in his mini-BDU’s was bouncing next to me, obviously excited to be going back to his home. Personally, I couldn’t wait to see how Kasuf was going to react. We’d warned him, because Hammond thought it’d just be cruel to dump this on him.
Damn General, ruining my fun.
“Daniel,” I turned to him and offered him my hand.
He rolled his eyes, “I’ve done this before.”
“Not since you were miniaturised,” I replied, “Now, take my hand or Teal’c carries you. Upside down.”
He glared at me, which just makes me want to reach out and pat him on the head, but he took my hand. I saw Carter smile slightly at the sight before she followed Teal’c up the ramp when he took the lead. I walked slowly so that Daniel’s little legs could keep up with me and together we headed back to the sandy planet Daniel called home.
Kasuf’s face was…well let’s just say I am so grateful Carter had the presence of mind to snap a picture because that one is getting framed.
“Hi,” Daniel said nervously to his father-in-law.
Kasuf, once he got over the shock, reached out to the miniature version of Daniel and enfolded him in his arms. I was shocked by the look of contentment that crossed the little guy’s face; I forget how little Daniel touches people when I’m around him because I’m allowed in his personal space. Kasuf is obviously one of the few people who Daniel allows to touch him.
“Come,” Kasuf motioned us all, “Join us for our evening meal.”
With that said, he turned and took Daniel’s hand walking them towards the other Abydonians who were surrounding a big fire. It reminded me of the first time I was here, except of course Danny wasn’t so little.
I was caught by a few of the kids who had fought with us against Ra after dinner and lost track of Daniel for an hour or so. When I finally managed to get away I noticed Kasuf motioning me over to a tent.
Danny was sleeping on the mat in the corner of the tent; the excitement of the day had exhausted him. I was obviously not needed to look after mini-archaeologist from hell as Kasuf had taken over the care of my kid for the duration of our visit. Kasuf seemed happy at having the boy wonder here, but he had lost both his kids so it did make sense.
“You are taking good care of him?” Kasuf’s question was more like a demand when he stood at my side.
I nodded, “Daniel told me I was looking after him when this happened to him. He’s pretty persuasive,” I paused for a second, “I promise you, Kasuf. I’ll not let anything happen to him.”
Satisfied, Daniel’s father-in-law gently clapped me on the shoulder, “I know.”
I woke up the next morning to find that Daniel wasn’t there; I decided not to panic just yet and poked my head out of the tent just to see if I could find the kid.
And find him I did.
He was sitting on Kasuf’s lap, obviously in the middle of a story and I smiled to see him so happy. I actually entertained the notion, for a couple of minutes, that I should leave him here with his family but then I realised I didn’t want to let him go. He may be a hyperactive five year old with the attention span of a distracted goldfish and driving me crazy, but he’s our Daniel and I wouldn’t let anyone else take him.
Chapter 2: Abydos And Shopping
The voice intruded on my rather enjoyable dream where I was on a tropical island with nothing to do but sit and watch my Simpsons collection.
I sighed as the voice came again and I peeled open my eyes to find my mini-archaeologist from hell standing looking down at me.
“Morning, Jack,” he grinned at me, completely innocent as though he hadn’t woke me up, “It’s time for breakfast.”
I sat up, wincing as my muscles complained – Abydos is not exactly the Ritz, “And you’re making me get up today specifically?”
He shrugs, innocence and sweetness radiating from him, “Kasuf said.”
I muttered under my breath as I dragged myself up, I don’t care what Daniel says this was not the most comfortable sleeping apparatus – then again during his year here he did have a pretty young woman sleeping beside him.
As I stood up, I realised Daniel had gotten rid of the BDU’s he’d come here in and was wearing Abydonian robes. They were just a mini version of the ones he has in his closet back on Earth and I barely managed not to laugh at him as he went skipping across the sand, barefoot towards where Kasuf was sitting.
When this first happened Thor told me that there would be times that Daniel would behave like he was five but I didn’t really see it that much. Other than his tendency to bounce around like he’d drank a ton of coffee he had been his usual self - mostly. But here with Kasuf I saw the other side of the coin. Daniel spent most of his time, when he wasn’t running around playing with the other kids, sitting in Kasuf’s lap looking extremely content.
I wandered over and took a seat next to Kasuf and the innocent looking terror, Daniel was sitting happily munching on some sort of bread as he leaned back against his father-in-law.
“Jack,” my attention was pulled away from my breakfast to Daniel.
“We have to go back to Earth tonight;” he frowned, “Don’t we?”
“‘Fraid so,” I replied, I hated that we only had a short time here because I was seeing my friend in a whole new light, “Hammond needs us back.”
Daniel let out a deep sigh.
“You are needed,” Kasuf reminded him, gently rubbing Daniel’s back soothingly, “And O’Neill has assured me that it will be only a short time you are like this.”
Daniel nodded, “Yeah,” sounding slightly sad.
“And I expect a visit once you are yourself once more, Good Son,” Kasuf told him sternly.
Daniel turned and hugged Kasuf tightly, “I promise, Good Father.”
“Okay,” I said as I turned off the engine, “What are the rules we agreed on, Daniel?”
In the mirror I could see my currently mini best friend roll his eyes at me.
“I act like I’m five, meaning no trying to pay for things with my credit card, no coffee and no pointing out how that’s the brand of beer I like” he rhymes off with a smirk on his little face, “Hey, does this mean I can throw a tantrum when you won’t buy me chocolate?”
“No,” I automatically respond before groaning, annoyed he managed to get that from me.
Daniel chuckles, “Come on, Jack. The sooner we get this done the faster we get back to yours and I can check my email.”
I laugh at the bizarre normality of this and get out of the car; I open the backdoor and wait for Daniel to climb out to join me. I head into the shop with him wandering beside me and hope this doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
We spent three days on Abydos, it would have been more but I had work to do that couldn’t be put off much longer. Watching Daniel say goodbye to Kasuf almost broke my heart and I started to question my decision not to leave him there but before I could change my mind, Daniel appeared at my side and looked up at me waiting to go. After the medical where Daniel sat and chatted away to scary nurse we headed back to my place. Half-way there I realised we needed food so that meant the hell that is shopping.
“Jack,” Daniel interrupted my musings, “Don’t forget that Janet ordered you get healthy food.”
I snorted, “The Doc has no idea what I usually eat. Despite what you may think, Danny I do know how to cook a lot of healthy and varied meals.”
“So why is it always pizza when we come over?” the sarcastic question seems so bizarre in the high pitched child’s voice.
“Because it was easier,” I told him.
Daniel stopped as I grabbed a cart and gave me a horrified look, “I am not getting in that.”
I chuckle at the disgust in his voice, “I wouldn’t dare; just keep somewhere I can see you.”
“Don’t you trust me, Jack?” he asks before he wanders ahead of me.
This actually wasn’t the nightmare I envisioned, I decided as I picked up some fruit. Then I heard it.
“Let me go!!”
I recognised my mini-archaeologist from hell’s indignant voice instantly and I headed towards it.
“What’s going on?” I demand as I turn the corner to where a security guard had a hold of my kid. Beside them stood a woman and a little girl who was crying, though even I could tell it was completely fake.
“Is this child yours?” the woman demanded and irritated me instantly.
“Danny,” I ignored her, “What happened?”
“I was just looking at the chocolate,” he told me, still trying to wrench his arm away from the security guard, “When this...this brat tried to shove me out of the way.”
“How dare you?” the insane woman snapped, “My little Sunbeam would never do such a thing.”
Daniel and I shared a quick look as we both tried to work out if sunbeam was the actual or pet name for the brat.
“And Daniel wouldn’t lie about this,” I snapped back before turning to the security guard, “Let him go.”
Daniel let out an annoyed huff as he was let go and marched over to me, “I didn’t do anything.”
“I know, Danny,” I murmured, resting my hand on his head, “Okay, we’re going.”
“I want an apology,” the woman demanded.
“Like hell, lady,” Daniel muttered under his breath and I had to bite the inside of my mouth not to laugh.
“I want an apology from your child,” she told me.
I rolled my eyes and could see the security guard just wishing we’d all go away so he could go do something much less stressful – like jump out a plane without a parachute.
At this point I lost my temper, “Look, lady. Your kid isn’t crying, she’s faking it to get chocolate and quite frankly I’m not going to force my kid to apologise for nothing so that you can spoil your kid more. Danny, let’s go.”
As we walked away I could see the smirk on his face.
“Not one word,” I told him.
I actually sighed in relief as I dropped onto my couch that night, who knew one shopping trip could be so stressful. We finally finished our shopping, despite the witchy woman throwing us glares at every turn – I was seriously contemplating getting a restraining order on her, and made it home with minimum fuss. As I put away everything, Daniel disappeared into his room to check his emails and stuff. The few days on Abydos had been good, for both of us. Kasuf had pretty much spoiled him which I found hysterically funny but it also meant I was able to relax and not have him wittering away in my ear almost continuously driving me crazy. Strangely I missed it.
“Jack,” the little angel himself came wandering in, a book in his hand, “Am I allowed to work?”
“Work?” I asked a little confused.
“You know look over what’s brought back, translate things...my job.”
He looked so worried and I could see the emotions of his child’s body taking over as his blue eyes were becoming watery.
“Danny,” I motioned him over to me and picked him up onto my knee, “You are still you. Younger and cuter than before but everything is still in there.”
“Jack,” he frowned at me.
“The only thing about you working is you more than likely won’t be able to do it for long periods of time,” I reminded him, “Hell, you can barely keep your mind on one thing for more than five minutes.”
“So,” he frowned even more, “I can’t work.”
“Daniel, you can do what you want,” I soothed, knowing why he had the entire SGC wrapped around his little finger, “But remember this is only temporary. Few months and you’ll be ten and then twenty and then we’ll have back to normal – even if you get to be a little younger than you should be.”
He smiled in relief and hugged me before he slipped off my lap and taking his book, settled into a corner of the couch and started reading.
Thank God he doesn’t get to be a teenager again - I don’t think I’d survive.
Chapter 3: Settling In
“Daniel,” I called as I made pancakes, “Come get breakfast. We’re due at the base soon.”
I could hear unintelligible murmuring coming from the hall just before the little guy appeared. His long blond hair all over the place, his eyes barely open and he was shuffling along still wearing the Spiderman Pyjamas that Carter bought for him. I won’t tell you his response to her present but I’ve made sure anytime I buy him any clothing it’s plain. The only reason he’s wearing them is we only have two pairs and the other is dirty.
Daniel refuses to buy too much while he’s in this incarnation because he will be bigger in the next two months and anything we get for him now will be donated to a local children’s home. Daniel was pretty vehement about this. He almost refused to buy anything but we persuaded him he had to.
I placed a plate of pancakes in front of him watching as he poured a large glob of syrup on the side of the plate before meticulously cutting the pancake into small pieces and soaking the piece in it before munching. What’s even more amazing was his eyes were barely half-open during this.
It’s a scene I’ve witnessed many times but never like this. Daniel, when he’s his normal size, can also chug down a mug or two of coffee at the same time before he even shows signs of actually being fully conscious.
Despite the fact he’s only half-conscious, Daniel can still get dressed faster than anyone I know. He’s spent a long time being self-sufficient, since he was eight years old to be exact, and it shows even like this. We got all our stuff together and headed to the car, Daniel jumped in the back quite happily and made sure he was secure before he pulled out his book – the third Harry Potter book he’s on now. Despite seeing the movies with Teal’c, who loves them for some reason, Daniel decided to read the books and the only reason he’s not further on with them is he keeps getting caught on work and the occasional urge to draw with crayons. I have a great picture in my office that he drew of the four of us, I’m getting it framed. Daniel doesn’t know I’ve got it but I managed to steal it before it got slammed in the trash with everything he draws. Danny, as an adult is a talented artist but his childlike motor skills at the moment have robbed him of the finesse he usually has.
I know both Carter and Frasier are both hoping for an opportunity to steal one too.
“Morning,” Daniel grinned at everyone we passed as I carried him through the corridors, again.
“Good morning, Dr Jackson,” was actually the response he received apart from those who call him Daniel normally.
He was still happily bouncing away in my arms, chattering away without thought of the fact I wasn’t listening at all. We were there for a few hours then we had to go shopping for Cassie’s birthday present, something I was dreading after our last little shopping expedition. I keep expecting psycho lady to pop up and demand an apology from Daniel again but so far she’s not appeared.
We went first to Daniel’s office so he could get what he needed for the morning then we headed up to my office – I was amazed to find I actually had one. Anyway, Daniel settled in the small desk Carter had set up for him that can be upsized for when he’s ten and I started going through the paperwork.
Unfortunately all too quickly Daniel got bored and started fidgeting in his seat. He stops his own work and pulls out his book, after ten minutes which I’m sure is a record he decides to draw. I watch him out of the corner of my eye and feel my heart break just a little as I see him draw a woman with deep black hair and dark brown eyes but even that wasn’t finished and he tossed every drawing in the trash before turning to me.
“Can we go yet?” he demanded.
I checked the clock, an hour and a half, better than the last few days.
“I still have stuff to do,” I tell him, receiving the ‘not again’ roll of the eyes, “Why don’t you go an...visit Carter for a while.”
“Because,” he folded his arms across his chest, the expression was almost annoyed but he couldn’t manage it completely as he still looks so cute, “I can’t walk around the base without someone with me.”
That was true; it was one of Hammond’s first orders when this happened. It was purely for Daniel’s safety as he’d probably be trampled anytime we had an emergency and the defence teams went running through the halls.
I didn’t want to traipse all the way to Carter’s lab and back but then Danny was in the annoying mode where I wanted to tie him up and gag him – something I know Hammond and Fraiser would frown upon so when Silar wandered past I knew I had my scapegoat.
“Sir?” our fixer of all things asked when I called him back.
“Silar,” I grinned and I could see the worry on his face, “Could you take Daniel down to Carter’s lab for me?”
The little terror turned to Silar and gave him a big grin, all angelic eyes and sweet smile making Silar grin back.
“No problem, sir,” our Mr Fix-it told me, “Coming, Dr Jackson?”
Daniel gave me a quick smile and wave before he trotted out after Silar, leaving me in peace.
I finally finished all my paperwork and without the voice of doom from the desk telling me how bored he was. I picked up all his junk and packed it so we could head for lunch before another dreaded shopping trip but I couldn’t resist checking out his drawings.
There was one of Thor, which wasn’t too badly rumpled – maybe ironing it would fix it and I could frame it for the little grey guy? Another picture was of the Stargate and the four of us ready to go through it, finally there was a picture of Sha’re. Not as good as the one he draws in every journal during his watch while offworld but still not bad.
I replace the ones he wants rid of except the Thor one which I hide in my desk and head to rescue Carter.
As I walked through the corridors towards Carter’s lab I listened for anything that meant she needed rescued but there’s nothing. I ended up standing in the doorway watching Daniel sitting on a stool, swinging his legs back and forward as he drinks a glass of milk. Sam was next to him and they were sitting discussing something I’m not even going to try and guess what. It was such a natural picture I couldn’t help but smile. Big or small they can always talk together easily.
“Hey,” I finally interrupted, cause quite frankly I’m hungry, “Are you ready, Daniel?”
He placed the glass gently on the table and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, there’s a five year olds trait if I ever saw one, before he hopped off his stool and waved goodbye to Carter. Carter who I know is dying just to give him a big hug and kiss him like he is the kid he looks like.
Once he’d said his goodbyes Daniel walked to me and held up his arms expectantly. What’s strange is that in the few weeks this has become the complete norm for me to walk through the corridors with Daniel at one shoulder, the little cherub talking in my ear. The image of having one in each ear, the devil and the angel hits me and I muffle a laugh.
I must have some kind of brain tumour or something to have made me think that this was a good idea. We stopped off at the new restaurant on the way to the mall, The Waterfall Cafe, a Mom and Pop operation that appeared only a few weeks ago it has a play area for kids and from what I’ve heard pretty good food, so we agreed this would be our stop for lunch. There were lots of kids running around and I winced at the noise.
An annoyingly chirpy waitress showed us to a table in the corner and cooed over how cute Daniel was as she got him a special chair that meant he could reach the table without stretching.
“She’s nice,” he noted once she’d given us the menus and taken our drinks order.
“She’s both too old and too young for you,” I grinned at him over the top of my menu as he rolled his eyes at me.
“I’m married, Jack,” he reminded me with a long suffering sigh, both the words and that sigh coming out of the small rosebud mouth just didn’t seem right.
I quickly changed the subject, “So, what do you want to eat?”
Daniel shrugged, his mouth twisted slightly in thought, “I don’t think I like the children’s menu.”
“Then pick something off the normal one,” I told him, “And we’ll get them to pack the leftovers.”
That mollifies him and he starts studying the normal menu intently. The waitress arrives back and smiles at the cuteness of Daniel pouring over the menu.
“So,” she says with a slight southern twang, her nametag reads Crystal, “What can I get you two handsome gents?”
Daniel ordered the Special Chicken Wrap with fries; Crystal warned that it was extremely spicy but Daniel just grinned at her.
“I know,” he said with his bright blue eyes wide and innocent.
“And what about you?” she turned to me.
My order is blander, a ham and cheese toasted wrap with fries but still sounds pretty good since I had breakfast at almost 5 am – thanks to Daniel who fell asleep on the toilet floor. Apparently he got up in the middle of the night to use the toilet and dropped the toy he sleeps with, a large gorilla called Louie that is almost half his size, he knelt to get him and somehow ended up fast asleep curled around it. I got up and found him, the confusion and worry he’d done something to himself woke me up completely. I put him into his bed and he didn’t get up for another two hours while I was bouncing about cleaning my house at the 06:00 because I wasn’t getting back to sleep.
“Jack,” Daniel interrupts my thoughts, “I’m going to the play area for a bit. I’ll be back when the food comes.”
“Sure,” I shrug.
It still astonishes me how much he loves doing kid things, I think he’s trying to get in practice for when he has one of his own once we get Sha’re back. I sit and sip at my iced tea as I think about how long he’s going to be like this. Only another eight and a half weeks and he’s going to be ten, that’ll probably bring a whole new load of challenges.
“You’re not my dad,” a voice yells loud enough to get over the noise of the restaurant, “I want my dad.”
The voice I recognise instantly as Daniel means I’m on my feet and headed towards the play area but my kid’s not there. Panic fills me and I spin to see a man in a black suit trying to make off with Daniel, who is fighting furiously, through the back door.
“Hey,” I yell, “Let him go.”
The potential abductor glances up at me and I see horror fill his eyes, then pain as Daniel, taking advantage of the distraction, bites the man’s hand before head butting him in the crotch. Black Suit’s knees buckle and Daniel runs over to me. I scoop him up in my arms and I can hear someone calling the cops but I’m too busy making sure Daniel hasn’t been harmed.
Black Suit taking advantage of the fact I was ignoring him tried to run, Crystal slammed a tray into his face and knocked him to the ground.
“Thanks,” I smiled at her.
She nodded at me grimly as a few of the kitchen staff kept a hold of the would be kidnapper. I followed them as they moved him to a back room.
“The police are on their way,” Crystal told me.
I shook my head and placed Daniel down; he wrapped an arm around my leg to let me know he was still there as I pulled out my cell and dialled quickly. This was no random abduction attempt. It looked like Cassie was getting money for her birthday this year.
“It appears NID has heard about Dr Jackson’s new state,” Hammond told us as we sat in the briefing room.
Daniel frowned as he munched on his lunch; we’d brought it back with us once I had got Black Suit in custody. Carter had almost smothered Daniel when she hugged him, Teal’c simply wanted ten minutes in the room alone with our almost kidnapper.
“What do we do?” I demanded, waving away Carter as she steals some more of my fries.
“The usual, Jack,” he replied perfectly calm, something I was not.
“Do I have to stay in the base?” Daniel spoke up, around a mouthful of food.
Hammond smiled slightly at him, “No, son. We will however have the house watched by our people until such time as you are your adult self again.”
Daniel chewed his lip for a moment before turning back to the General, “Are you sure they’ll stop coming after me once I’m big again?”
“We’re sure,” Carter answered, “They want a five year old Daniel Jackson they believe they can mould. What they obviously don’t know is you have all your adult memories.”
“And,” I jumped in, “If they think they can suppress those, Thor has you tagged remember. He can find you no matter where you are.”
Daniel nodded, “Great. Can we go shopping for Cassie’s present now?”
I smiled as I saw the trust Daniel had in us, so complete – he knew we would protect him no matter what.
“Let’s go,” I told him passing Carter the last of my fries as my little angel wandered to my side.
I was going to enjoy every moment with this Daniel, then I was going to enjoy every moment of the ten year old version once he was with me and then, I was going to appreciate my friend for being himself.
Chapter 4: Zoos And Barbecues And Dogs, Oh My
It was peaceful.
It was just so peaceful and the reason was simple. My mini-archaeologist from hell was nowhere near me.
Doc Fraiser had promised Cassie a trip to the zoo for her birthday and Daniel had asked, surprisingly shyly, if he could tag along. Fraiser had instantly agreed and I had dropped him off earlier at the Doc’s house. I hung around for ten minutes so we could give Cassie our birthday present and, even if I do say so myself, the kid has two fantastic uncles in me and Danny. We got her a digital camera that she loved, Sam had already put the software on her computer for downloading the pictures and we promised her a trip to Disney, once Daniel was grown again, so she could use it.
I knew I was being horrible being so happy that he wasn’t there but it had been over three weeks with the constant chatter and worry about him getting trod on accidentally.
The alarms forced me out of my comfortable seat and the hell that is paperwork; I headed into the Gateroom as the Iris was rolling open.
My second in command turned and grinned at me, “It’s my Dad.”
I grinned back. I liked Jacob but the thing that I was really looking forward to was the fact he didn’t know what happened to Daniel yet and I wanted to see his face.
Jacob walked quickly down the ramp and hugged his daughter before turning to me with a grin, “Jack.”
“Hi there, ‘Dad’,” I grinned back, “Social call or do the Tok’ra want us to risk our lives for very little back?”
Jacob gave me that look, the one that says ‘I have Selmak swearing at you in my head’ before he shrugged, “Just a short vacation.”
“Cool,” I started walking with him.
“So, where are the other two clowns?” Jacob asked with a smirk.
“T is beating a few new recruits to a pulp,” I replied, “Daniel’s at the zoo with Cassie and Janet.”
Jacob nodded and I caught Sam’s eye who grinned back at me, obviously getting that I really wanted to surprise Jacob with our mini-archaeologist from hell.
“We’re having a barbecue for Cassie tonight,” Sam took over for me, “Want to come, Dad?”
“Is Teal’c cooking?”
Sam and I both laughed.
“No,” Sam grinned, “He’s promised never to do it again until we get him cooking lessons.”
The sun was shining as we set up the barbecue; Teal’c was using his considerable warrior skills with a blade to chop the salad while Sam was fixing the drinks we’d bought and Jacob was sitting lounging in the sun.
I heard Janet’s car draw up and watched Jacob out the corner of my eye as I saw my kid come speeding towards me.
“Jack,” he beamed, throwing himself at me with glee, “You’ll never guess what I did?”
“What did you do?” I asked, suddenly worried.
“Adopted a monkey,” he grinned at me, “I named it Jack.”
“Funny,” I replied, I could see Jacob looking confused and leaned into the little blond head, “Go say hi to Jacob.”
Daniel’s head spun and he grinned as he saw Carter’s Dad staring at him; with a smirk that I had become all too familiar with, he wriggled so I’d put him down before strolling across the grass to Jacob.
“Hi, Jacob,” Daniel greeted him, “Hi, Selmac. Are you here for Cassie’s party?”
Jacob simply stared at this innocent little cherub; he could obviously see the resemblance to our fourth member but just couldn’t quite make the connection or wouldn’t.
“Daniel?” Jacob finally spoke.
“Yeah,” the little guy continued to grin sweetly at the poor confused man.
It was Sam who finally rescued him and explained what had happened.
Daniel sat on a chair at the picnic table, scoffing down his second burger as he swung his legs smiling as Jacob continued to stare at him.
“Something wrong, Jacob?” he asked with a grin.
“You’re...short,” Jacob managed to say, “How’s it working for you?”
Daniel laughed, it was a sound I’d heard frequently since he was shrunk and I was sure I’d probably not hear it once Daniel was back to normal.
“It’s an interesting point of view,” Daniel replied, grinning at Jacob who I know adored Danny anyway at his usual height and age.
“Sam said you’ll be...” Jacob hesitated trying to phrase it right.
“Biggified,” Daniel laughed, throwing an amused look at me as I nearly fell off my seat at his use of my word for Thor’s procedure.
“Okay,” Jacob said unsure, “That’s happening soon?”
“Eight weeks,” Daniel told him with a nod, “Actually that’s just the first phase where I’ll be made ten then I’ll be twenty then thirty.”
Jacob nodded and fell into silence. I took pity on him and handed him another beer, he looked like he needed it.
You’d think being in charge of the five year old mini-archaeologist would be stressful enough but no, we had to add one more ingredient. Ladies and gentlemen, we got a dog.
In my defence it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t like I woke up and thought hey I needed an even bigger challenge.
We were out for a walk after breakfast the Sunday after Cassie’s party and as we passed one of the houses near the end of the block there was a lot of commotion going on. I looked down to find Danny had left my side and joined the throng of kids.
“Oh no,” I sighed, wondering what was going on.
“Jack,” Daniel yelled as he appeared at my side, “Puppies.”
“Puppies?” I asked, the feeling I get when a Jaffa is sneaking up on me arriving at the same time.
“Come on and see,” Daniel grabbed my arm and yanked me towards the rest of the crowd.
Lying in the centre of the circle was a golden haired Labrador, looking tired as about seven, possibly eight puppies all fought for their dinner. The owner stood looking down at the new brood with a smile on her face, I recognised her as Mrs Sanderson who I helped every so often when we crossed paths in the grocery store.
“You got your hands full there,” I noted to her when she saw me.
Mrs Sanderson gave an amused sigh, “Do you want one?”
At her question Daniel spun to me with hope in his eyes and I wanted to ask him how he expected to look after a dog when he was going on missions again but I couldn’t.
“One,” I told him.
Now personally I was going to take one of the ones who were fighting to get some food who I knew we’d probably have to wait a few weeks to take home but instead Danny found the runt of the litter. A tiny little bit of fur who was shoved out of the road by all his older brother and sisters that Daniel gravitated to instantly.
Because our puppy was the runt of the litter and couldn’t be fed by his mother it meant we had to hand rear the dog. So somehow I ended up preparing bottles as Daniel looked after the scrap of fur.
“So what are we going to call the little pipsqueak?” I asked as Daniel stroked his new dog as it sat in his lap.
“How about Pipsqueak?” Daniel suggested.
“You’re not serious?” I demanded, dropping onto the couch and flicking through the channels until I found a game to watch.
“Why not?” he grinned, “I like it. What do you think, Pip?”
The dog gave a small squeak which Daniel took as approval and so Pipsqueak, or Pip for short was so christened.
Chapter 5: A Day At The Park
I was having a peaceful dream. I was on a beach, cooler at one side filled with beer as I sat watching the Simpsons;– I wasn’t asking how the TV and DVD player was working on the beach with no wires, I was dreaming.
Then suddenly little sharp pinpricks on my toes forced me back into the real world and I groaned at the slobber all over my feet.
“Daniel,” I muttered, knowing the pain in my ass had put the animal there, Pip couldn’t get on my bed himself, “Get the dog away from me.”
A giggle made me squeeze my eyes shut; I resisted the urge to kick at the thing biting my feet as I knew I’d probably kill the poor thing. Daniel thankfully lifted Pip off the bed and left me alone.
We’d had the dog for about two weeks now and he’d become Daniel’s constant companion. It was the funniest thing in the world to see this puppy growl at anyone he didn’t know come near Daniel, as though he could actually do something to an attacker.
Hearing the terrible twosome were out of my room I opened my eyes and sat up, instantly putting my slippers on – bare feet were an open invitation to Pip who loved eating toes, especially mine.
“Morning, Jack,” the innocent looking brat smiled at me as I entered the kitchen, he was sitting on the floor with Pip chewing on a fake bone as Daniel pulled slightly on it.
“Morning,” I replied, moving to start breakfast, “What do you want?”
I shook my head, he made this request every few days but it was at the top of the list of Janet’s ‘not a chance in hell’ list.
“It’ll stunt your growth,” I replied, it was my usual reply.
“Actually the APA, American Paediatric Association to you, confirmed that coffee does not stunt kids' growth,” Daniel told me with a sweet, angelic smile, “So, can I have some?”
“Let me ask you one thing,” I said, “If I did give you some and Janet found out, which you know she would, what do you think she’d do to both of us?”
He frowned, thinking over it for a few seconds before looking back up at me, “Milk please.”
Pip followed Daniel to his room when the kid went to get dressed; the golden fur ball adored my kid and went everywhere with him – even slept beside him which I couldn’t stop. Try as I might.
“Danny, hurry up and get dressed,” I called, “We need to go to the base before the park.”
“I know, Jack,” he called back, “You’ve told me about ten times.”
A yip of agreement came from Pip and I laughed. We’d had the puppy for two weeks but already he was part of the family, I just wanted to know how the poor thing would react when five year old Danny turned into ten year old then more.
Our trip to the base lasted longer than it should have, it was supposed to be a quick in and out. Then Daniel wanted to say “hi” to Sam then to Teal’c and then Janet. We also stopped off to see Hammond who asked Daniel to look over a few things quickly while he played with Pip. I now know how Daniel’s going to keep the dog and still go on missions; Hammond wouldn’t allow Pip to be sent away.
It took us a good bit of time to get out of the base, everyone said “hi” to Daniel who rode on my hip and petted Pip who was riding in Daniel’s arms. I was amazed by how trained this puppy was considering he was only a few weeks old. Yes, he did still leave little gifts around the house but whenever Daniel picked him up, Pip sat happily until Daniel put him back down.
Finally we made it off the base.
“Jack,” Daniel piped up from the back seat, “You know you missed the exit for the park, right?”
“I thought we’d pick up food from the Cafe and have lunch there,” I explained, seeing him grin.
We’d become regulars at the Waterfall Cafe and they welcomed us despite what had happened on our first visit, unfortunately in six weeks Danny would become ten and it would be out the question to eat there until Daniel was back to his normal age. How do you explain a five year old, a ten year old and a twenty year old who all look alike?
“Hi,” Crystal greeted us with a big grin as we walked up to the new takeaway window, “Nice to see you.”
“You too,” Daniel grinned back, looking altogether so cute I could see Crystal practically ‘aww’ out loud.
“Can we get the usual to go?” I asked her, “And throw in whatever the special dessert is today.”
“Of course,” Crystal scribbled down our order, you could tell how often we come here, “That’ll be a few minutes.”
I gave her the money along with a good tip, we liked Crystal and since there was no one waiting, Daniel started telling her how he was training Pip to fetch a stick. I watched this version of my friend knowing soon he would no longer be this cute little bundle.
It surprised me to realise I would really miss him like this. The energy, the attention span of a gnat, the tendency to laugh, I was even going to miss carrying him through the halls of the SGC.
Crystal disappeared for a second and returned with our order, she smiled down at Daniel and handed him a candy bar with wink. I rolled my eyes at her as I ushered Daniel back to the car while Crystal simply smiled innocently at me.
The park was filled with families all enjoying the sunny Sunday afternoon, we somehow managed to find a good spot in the picnic area and I set out lunch. Pip found a spot in the sun, yawned and closed his eyes.
“I want to say goodbye to Crystal before I change,” Daniel told me as he munched on his spicy chicken wrap, “It’s not like this me will be able to return.”
I nodded, “We’ll do it the day before Thor comes.”
Daniel grinned at me before shovelling some fries into his mouth, he actually eats more in this form than when he was his adult self – it occurred to me that it was my doing and I knew I’d be looking out for him even when he grew up again.
“I’m finished,” he announced, wiping his mouth on the napkin I handed him, “I’ll be on the swings. Look after Pip.”
Before I could reply he was away running to play with the other kids. I moved to the other side of the bench so I could keep an eye on Pip, our tiny pup opened one eye before shuffling slightly closer to me. I gently stroked his fur as I watched Daniel swing higher looking for all the world as though he were really five.
As our pup snuffled in his sleep, I smiled as I remembered the first night we had Pipsqueak in the house.
“You’ve never owned a dog?” I asked in surprise at his soft announcement.
Daniel shrugged as he gently fed the pup in his lap, “My parents weren’t keen on pets. They couldn’t travel with us. The first foster family I stayed with had a dog.”
I sat next to him to listen to him speak; Daniel rarely talked about his childhood even during this second one.
“It was an Alsatian called Max and it was huge,” Daniel smiled wryly, a strange expression on a five year old, “I was terrified of him at first. When my social worked knocked on the door he barked like crazy and I didn’t want him anywhere near me. I think it was the week after I’d arrived and I was sitting out the back thinking about my parents. I was shocked when this dog planted his head in my lap and whined slightly,” he smiled properly this time at the memory, “I nervously reached out and rested my hand on his head. I didn’t talk after my parents died, I couldn’t but for some reason Max gave me someone to talk to.”
“More successful conversations with dogs?” I asked, pure innocence covering my face.
Daniel simply laughed and continued looking after his puppy.
I turned to the unexpected voice and smiled to find Sara standing there, “Hi?”
We stared at each other for a few seconds before I stood and gave her a quick hug, turning as Pip squeaked in protest that I’d stopped petting him.
Sara laughed and moved to gently stroke the puppy’s fur smiling as he gave another big yawn.
“Meet Pip,” I introduced her.
“You named your dog Pip?” Sara asked, trying not to laugh.
I shrugged, “Actually his full name is Pipsqueak,” I saw her bite her lip to stop herself laughing out loud, “I didn’t name him.”
“Of course not,” she replied, “What are you doing here? I thought you hated coming here since...”
“I did,” I reached out and squeezed her hand, this had been once of Charlie’s favourite places.
Sara looked shocked as the blond haired tyke came speeding over, she turned to me wanting to ask but didn’t get a chance as Daniel arrived and stopped, recognising her without a moment of confusion.
“Hello, Sara,” Daniel greeted her.
“Hi,” Sara squeaked completely confused.
“Sara, meet Daniel Ballard,” I introduced them using the alias we’d created for Daniel, something easy for him to use; “He’s staying with me while his folks are abroad.”
“Jack has your picture,” Daniel told her, ignoring the death glare I gave him, “You’re prettier.”
“Thank you, Daniel,” Sara beamed, instantly charmed, “Is this your puppy?”
Danny nodded, playing the precocious five year old to perfection, “Pip is only a few weeks old. His mom had too many babies so we had to raise him.”
Sara looked astonished and turned to me, “Really?”
“Couldn’t leave the poor thing,” I told her, smiling as Daniel climbed up beside Sara and joined her in petting the puppy.
I carried Daniel back to the car as he slept against my shoulder; Sara held Pip in her arms since he was still too small to roam around on his own. Once I had both my charges safely secured in the car I turned to Sara.
“Thanks for helping,” I told her, “It was nice to see you again.”
Sara nodded, “It was an interesting afternoon. He’s a sweet kid and obviously enjoys staying with you.”
“It’s only a few more weeks before he leaves,” I sighed, not sure why I was blurting this out, “I’ve got used to having him around.”
“You’ll see him when his parents come home though, won’t you?” Sara gently rubbed my arm comfortingly.
“It won’t be the same,” I sighed before taking a deep breath, “I better get him home. He’ll be hungry when he wakes up.”
Sara nodded and gently kissed my cheek, “See you around, Jack.”
When I arrived home I carried Daniel into his room and rested him on the bed before placing Pip beside him. Pipsqueak stretched and looked around the room for a second ensuring his charge was safe before settling down again.
Standing in the doorway I watched Daniel as he slept. About four years ago I met a man who I normally wouldn’t have looked twice at unless it was to push him out of my way and in that man I found someone with extraordinary strength, determination and wisdom who pulled me out of the black hole my son’s death had thrown me into.
I needed my friend back, but there were still a few months until that happened, so I intended to enjoy being the little guys’ guardian.
Assuming Pip let me near him.
Chapter 6: Important Meeting
“I don’t like this, General,” I noted for about the tenth time that morning, possibly the hundredth time over the past week.
“Dr Jackson’s analysis and trade agreement with the people from P34 G44 is important,” Hammond reminded me for the equally hundredth time, “I asked that they postpone this until he has been returned to his proper state but you know who wanted this today.”
I grimaced as I looked over at where Daniel, blonde little cherub that he appeared to be, was sitting against the wall under the window that looked over the Gateroom; he was playing with Pip as he waited for Siler to fix his seat so during the meeting he would be able to be face to face with our visitors without having to kneel on the seat.
“Sir,” I tried for one last time, “He’s got the attention span of a five year old and the emotions as well. If the ba...Senator gets in the kid’s face...”
Hammond sighed, “Jack, I’ve tried but this meeting is happening in less than an hour. So try and keep him focussed.”
I let out a snort - that was easier said than done.
The small ball of fur growled as Siler walked over to Daniel and I chuckled as the puppy drew itself to its full height, which wasn’t very much, to protect its master.
“Knock it off, Pip,” Daniel muttered, gently tapping the dog’s nose so he’d back down.
“Daniel,” our jack-of-all-trades smiled down at the mini archaeologist, “That’s your chair fixed.”
“Thanks,” Daniel replied, “I really don’t know why they had to do this today but at least I won’t look like an idiot.”
Siler smiled down at him before he petted Pip and left us alone again. Daniel turned back to rolling a ball around so Pip could chase it for a while as I pulled out the notes Daniel had managed to make over the past week. Something that would usually take him a few hours had taken days because he just couldn’t concentrate long enough.
I heard a yelp at my feet and glanced down to see Pip trying to chew one of the laces from my boots, “Oh no you don’t,” I reached down and lifted the puppy into my arms as he growled or as close to a growl as he can get – it comes out more like a high pitched squeak.
Daniel climbed up into his chair and motioned me to give him over his backpack, another Carter bought thing with Spiderman on it - I really have to ask her about this fetish some time.
I watched as Daniel pulled out some clean paper and crayons to draw for a while so I pulled up at a seat at his side and stroked the puppy who had decided to go to sleep in my arms.
“Jack O’Neill,” an amused voice made me look up as Pip snuffled in protest at being woken up.
Placing Pip on the table top next to Daniel who petted him for a second before returning to his picture, I turned to the first of our guests for the day. He was about the same height as me with thinning black hair, dark brown skin and brown eyes which at the moment were filled with amusement, dressed in his formal blues he simply grinned at me.
“General Rob Storm,” I greeted with a grin, reaching out to shake his hand, “And I thought you’d be busted down to Captain after the last time I saw you not promoted.”
“When I heard about this place,” Rob laughed, “I knew before they told me that you were part of it.”
I chuckled, “I had to check several times when I saw it was you coming to do this.”
Actually I stared in astonishment and wondered how someone I trusted to lead me under fire was suddenly working with the man who came second on the SGC’s most hated list.
“So, where is the genius I’m here to listen to?” Rob asked.
I grimaced slightly, “How much do you know about him?”
“Dr Daniel Jackson opened the Stargate to Abydos and joined the mission you led,” he rhymed off, “Fast forward a few years and you’re leading the team SG1 while Dr Jackson has been turned into a five year old. How am I doin’?”
“Come meet the kid,” I motioned him over to the conference table; gently I tapped Daniel’s shoulder to get his attention, I saw his latest picture of Sha’re briefly before he scrunched it up and threw it in his bag, “Daniel Jackson, meet General Robert Storm, he’s here for today’s briefing.”
“Nice to meet you, General,” Daniel nodded, his face set in the blank expression he reserves for meetings like this.
“And you, Dr Jackson,” Rob replied, he was about to say something when a yipping from beside Daniel caught his attention, “And this is?”
“This is Pip,” Daniel replied, gently pushing the puppy back from the edge of the table, “He’s my dog.”
Rob reached out and gently scratched the puppy behind his ears; Pip nosed at the hand, sniffing to get to know the new person. Now all we had to do was wait for our second guest.
“Sorry I’m late,” our second guest stated as he walked down the stairs, “A certain congress man, who will go nameless, just does not know how to take no for an answer.”
Daniel glanced at me and rolled his eyes as we both thought the same thing.
“Senator Kinsey,” Hammond nodded, “Welcome to the SGC.”
I looked down as I heard a soft growl coming from my side but my attention was drawn back to our ‘guest’.
Kinsey merely sneered, “Let’s get this over with. I was assured this meeting was important so where is Dr Jackson?”
I grimaced; he was supposed to know about Daniel’s circumstances, “He’s sitting there, Senator.”
Kinsey turned and looked at the little boy sitting stroking the puppy who was lying on the table beside him.
“I thought the report was a joke,” Kinsey noted.
“Why would we joke about that?” I stated coldly, “Is that why you demanded the meeting go ahead?”
Kinsey ignored me and turned to Daniel, “Well, Dr Jackson I hope your report is completed.”
I felt anger fill me at the way this ass dismissed me and still wanted to interrogate Daniel even though he was a child.
“Completely, Senator Kinsey,” Daniel replied and Pip growled again.
Suspicion filled me but I sat silently listening as Daniel spouted off things that sounded weird normally but coming from the little angelic face was just plain bizarre.
“This is preposterous,” Kinsey snapped suddenly, stopping Daniel mid flow as he was laying out options to best work with the natives, “You’re talking about people who live in mud huts.”
“I’m talking about the people who live there,” Daniel retorted, “It’s their home and we’ve managed to get them to agree to allow us to mine. They’ll also provide shelter during the rains which trust me our people won’t survive without.”
“Is it that bad?” Rob asked, speaking for the first time.
I grimaced as I remembered the mission, two days stuck with my team in a small cabin while Daniel negotiated and I had nothing to do but sing ‘ten green bottles’. Actually, I started at one hundred and by the time I got to fifty Carter had made earplugs out of the stuffing from the handles of her pack while Teal’c threatened to gag me if I didn’t stop.
“It’s that bad,” I told him; I absently scratched Pip’s head as he snuffled closer to me.
“I believe we’ve given you all the information you require, Senator Kinsey,” Hammond said, as Pip growled once more.
Kinsey glared at him before turning to Daniel, “I expect that this report to be looked at by someone qualified.”
“I am qualified,” Daniel replied getting angry.
There are few people on the base who can actually stand their ground when Daniel gets pissed; it’s such a rare occasion as Daniel has a very long fuse – something I pride on chopping every so often. I’ve actually seen marines turn and walk the other way in case he gets them in his sights as an angry Daniel is a force to be reckoned with. Even Carter inches away when he goes off on one. In fact there are four people I know who don’t run when Danny boy’s temper boils over – me, Hammond, Teal’c and Doc Fraiser.
Well make that six, I know Kasuf wouldn’t budge and of course the lovely Mrs Jackson who despite, from what Daniel has told me, having an exceedingly short and just as fiery temper I know from a conversation during a bottle of scotch is able to calm Daniel whenever he gets that angry.
Kinsey sniffed and Daniel leaned forward, hands on the table next to Pip who was now standing on the table growling at the Senator.
“I may look like I’m five years old,” Daniel stated coldly, “But my mind is every bit as sharp as it’s always been. I made this deal with the natives and if you back out of it or try to do something contrary to it they will leave whomever you send when the rains come and they’ll die.”
“I’m in full agreement with Dr Jackson’s proposals,” Rob spoke up, “Everything he’s agreed to is easy to work with and makes sense.”
Kinsey threw Rob a dirty look but knowing he was getting no backing in this he finally nodded, “You’ll be granted the funding,” he checked his watch, “Now I have another meeting scheduled for this afternoon. General, General,” he nodded to Hammond and Rob completely ignoring me and Daniel.
“Have a nice day, Senator Kinsey,” I called after him, hearing another growl coming from Pip.
I turned to Daniel, “Explain to me how you managed to train him to do that but you can’t toilet train him?”
He’s just a puppy, Jack,” Daniel reminded me, stroking Pip as he smiled smugly to himself, “And some things are easier to learn than others.”
Chapter 7: Babysitting Duty
“Are you kidding me?”
I glared up at Jack as Pip happily munched on the boot he’d yet to put on.
“Daniel, I’ve got to go on this mission,” he sighed, “And with everything going on in the base you can’t be there.”
“So where am I going?” I demanded, catching sight of the kid I am at the moment pouting in the TV screen.
Jack shrugged, looking guilty as he tried to avoid my question by shooing Pip away from the boot and sitting down to put it on. I grabbed his hand making him look up at me.
“Jack,” I said slowly, “Where are you sending me for the day?”
He muttered something under his breath and I stamped my foot, yeah I know childish but I am five at the moment.
“I asked Sara,” he confessed, rushing on quickly before I could interrupt, “I know it’s not someone from the SGC who knows the situation but she’s more than happy to help...” he trailed off as I stared at him, “It’ll only be a few hours, and you can take Pip with you.”
“Wonderful,” I snapped back at him.
“Daniel,” he took a hold of my arm and made me look at him, “You know I wouldn’t be doing this unless it was important, right?”
“It doesn’t make it any easier,” I replied, “Why the hell didn’t you ask Catherine?”
“Because she and Ernest are in Egypt, remember?”
I sighed and dropped onto the couch, “This means I have to act like a kid all day.”
He gave me a sympathetic shrug and that was that.
I sat in the back seat of the car Pip in my lap as usual trying to look on this as a positive experience the way I had the rest of the last few months. I will admit I was enjoying being five, even though I wasn’t really five, well I was but...never mind it’s too complicated – anyway Jack was right in one respect with everything that was happening at the base me being there was not a good idea.
As we drew up to the house Sara appeared at the door and I took a deep breath, Jack had gone over the list of things not to do while we drove here which included trying to do any normal work. It was going to be a challenge.
“Hi,” Sara greeted us, actually she greeted Jack first with that look of ‘I miss you’ before she turned and smiled at me.
“Hi, Sara,” I said as brightly as I could.
“I know this sucks for you, kiddo,” Sara told me, “But we’ll have fun, I promise.”
I shrugged handing her Pip before I unhooked myself and sliding out the car. Jack gave me my bag containing my book Harry Potter, as well as my paper and crayons – for drawing before he handed Sara the other bag with Pip’s stuff and a change for me. Hey I’m five – kind of.
Then he drove away.
I stood staring at the retreating car suddenly feeling like I was being abandoned, even though I knew that was completely stupid.
“Come on,” Sara touched my shoulder, “Let’s dump this stuff.”
With a deep sigh I followed her inside with Pip following along behind me. I don’t know why I felt so abandoned but once inside I dropped to sit on the floor against the couch stroking Pip when he sat beside me.
“It’s not for long,” Sara said kindly as she crouched down beside me, “And I can be fun.”
“I know, Sara,” I told her, “I’m just...this is...Jack normally takes me with him.”
“Its one day and he’ll be back before you know it,” Sara stood up and pulled me up before sitting us down on the couch and putting on the TV, “Now, why don’t you sit and draw for a while and I’ll make us breakfast.”
I pulled out some paper and sitting at the coffee table started to draw. I’ve always liked to draw and sketch, ever since I was a kid the first time. It’s a trait I picked up from my mother; she was an incredible artist, I have a few of her sketches of my father I found when I managed to get their belongings back. As I looked down at my picture I realised once again I was drawing Sha’re.
I think about her a lot, even like this though there’s nothing sexual about my thoughts – I’m five that’d just be weird. My thoughts and memories focus on how she made me feel so happy, her warmth, her laughter and the way she always smelled of spice and honey.
I started to crumple it up but stopped as Sara entered the room again.
“That’s beautiful,” she picked up my drawing, “Is she someone you know?”
I hesitated, “Yes. She’s a friend.”
Sara put a plate of pancakes beside me with a glass of milk, “You have incredible talent.”
I stared at her confused, it was just something I could do and I knew I wasn’t really that good.
“No one’s ever told you that you’re a good artist?” she asked.
I shrugged, “No one sees my drawings but me.”
“Well I feel honoured,” Sara told me, her hand rested on my shoulder, “Come on and eat then you can draw some more later if you want.”
Pip growled as I pulled slightly on the toy bone he had between his teeth. I’d never had any kind of pets – the mastadge don’t count, except for goldfish which aren’t exactly the best companions. I loved my puppy, I felt such a kinship with the poor little thing the moment I saw him and couldn’t turn my back on the poor waif that needed a home.
Sara was on the phone to someone, I’ve no idea who but it gave me some time to sit alone and wonder what was happening at the base.
Up until now I’d enjoyed being five, it was an experience no one else would ever get and I was making the most of it. I just didn’t like being in the dark on what was happening to my friends.
We’re now at three weeks and counting until I’m upgraded to ten years old. I wasn’t the happiest ten year old the first time around, my parents had died two years before and I’d been moved around so many times I had no idea where I belonged. I guess that feeling didn’t really disappear until a few years ago.
Anyway, ten would be fun to try out again. I would have a little more freedom since Hammond had promised I’d be allowed to move around the base without a constant chaperone. I knew there were going to be several provisos on that but at the moment I didn’t care.
Sara came into the room and sat beside me on the floor. Pip gave up fighting with me to snuggle up to Sara as she petted him.
“Traitor,” I murmured as I tossed the toy into my bag.
Sara smiled and rested her arm around my shoulders giving me a quick squeeze. Against my better judgement I moved closer to her and took the affection. Even like this the only person who really gave me hugs was Jack, I knew the others kept thinking how it would be awkward once I was back to normal but I wanted to be hugged sometimes.
“Want to watch a movie?” Sara asked me, “I have some good ones.”
I hesitated, she’d put on a kids movie and I wasn’t sure I could stand watching some stupid cartoon but I also knew how hard it had to be for her to have a child here with her own dead.
“Okay,” I shrugged, slipping away from her I climbed onto the couch.
Sara picked up Pip and dropped him onto my lap before she pulled out a DVD, “How about Harry Potter?”
I looked at her surprised she had the movie but since I’d been reading the books I nodded. Sara slid the DVD in and joined me on the couch. As we watched the movie I felt my eyes start to droop, without thinking I cuddled close to Sara who pulled a blanket round my shoulders and rubbed circles on my back until I slipped into a relaxed sleep.
I opened my eyes to find Jack grinning at me, still half asleep I gave into my five year old self and reached out my arms to be carried. Jack obliged, pulling me up and onto his shoulder.
“We going home now?” I sighed tiredly.
Jack patted my back, “Sure, kiddo. Sara’s just getting Pip for us; he went to play in the kitchen while you slept.”
I pushed myself up as Sara arrived holding my puppy, I gave her a small smile, “Thank you.”
“You’re more than welcome, Daniel,” she gently kissed the top of my head; “Maybe we’ll get to see the end of the movie next time.”
“Uh hu,” I sighed as I lost my fight against my tiredness and dropped my head against Jack’s shoulder again half hearing Jack and Sara saying goodbye.
I opened my eyes surprised to find we were in the car and pulling into the driveway of Jack’s house.
“Sleep well?” he grinned when he saw I was awake.
My answer was lost in a wide yawn making him chuckle.
“Is everything sorted at the base?” I asked hopefully, “Can I come back tomorrow.”
Jack opened the car door and picked me up again, something I wasn’t protesting against as I was still tired.
“I guess you missed me today,” Jack said as he dropped me onto the couch before sliding an equally sleepy Pip beside me.
“Yeah,” I confessed.
“Don’t worry everything’s fine now so you can come to the base tomorrow,” I felt Jack’s hand rest on my forehead as I fell asleep again.
Chapter 8: Upgrading
It’s always worrying when you think one of the brightest minds in the universe was currently lying on my kitchen floor letting his puppy lick toast crumbs off his face while wearing his ‘hated’ Spiderman pyjamas.
“Daniel,” I called, “We’ve only got ten minutes and you’re not even dressed.”
I heard a giggle from the five year old as Pip licked his nose, typically I was being ignored. Rolling my eyes I lifted the dog off my kid who scrunched his nose up at me, I gently tapped him with my foot.
“Go, get dressed,” I told him, “Or,” I cut off his next remark, “We won’t have time to go to the Cafe.”
With that ultimatum Daniel shrugged and wandered out of the kitchen. I watched the small child leave knowing that this time tomorrow I would have a ten year old Daniel on my hands. Pip, who I was still holding, started squirming and barking to be let down. I petted him for a few minutes before letting him loose, watching with a smile as the little thing headed straight for Daniel.
I heard yapping and Daniel laughing before he came hopping into the lounge wearing only one shoe, Pip had the other one in his mouth as he ran around the room. I rolled my eyes.
Thor was due here in a few hours, giving us just enough time so five year old Daniel could say goodbye to Sara and Crystal. He wasn’t going to see them again in his current incarnation and we’d decided to avoid going places with his ten year old self he’d been as a five year old. Mostly so we didn’t have to explain anything.
Despite his jovial attitude this morning last night we’d had the solemn task of packing away all the things we’d bought for his five-year-old body. Clothes, backpack, books and toys were neatly boxed up and labelled ready to be donated to the children’s home Daniel worked with in his, very little, spare time. What he was wearing just now would be washed and added to the boxes which were going to live in my garage until after the next change from ten to twenty.
“Yeah?” I glanced at him in the rear view mirror sitting in his booster seat.
“This will work,” Daniel licked his lips nervously as he absently petted Pip, “Won’t it?”
“Of course it will,” I assured him, “You’ll be ten in a few hours, couple of more weeks twenty and then completely back to normal.”
He shrugged and went back to stroking his puppy’s fur that happily lay in the kid’s lap. We continued driving in silence for another few minutes.
“What if it doesn’t work?”
“Daniel,” I sighed; it was going to be one of those days.
“What happens to me if I stay like this?” he asked, looking very young and very scared.
I stopped the car and turned to look at him, “Daniel, no matter what happens you have a home with us. Even if you stay five and don’t turn ten for another five years. Okay?”
He nodded and I turned back round to start the car again.
“I have to get big again,” he told me, “I can’t stay like this. I have to help Sha’re.”
I slid out the front seat and got in beside him, “Danny, no matter what happens every SG team is looking for her. And we’ll get that thing out of her.”
“But what if you do and I’m still small?”
I paused, I had absolutely no answer for him and was now being assaulted of images of how to break the news to the lovely young woman her husband was now a kid.
“Maybe Thor could change her back too,” Daniel suggested, “We could grow up together.”
Now that was a terrifying thought, the two of them as kids would be enough to give me and everyone else heart failure – especially when reaching the dreaded teenage years, though the image of Sha’re as a five year old was one that made me smile.
“Daniel,” I ruffled his hair, “No point in borrowing trouble. This is going to work but before it can we’ve got to go see a few folk. Are you ready?”
“Jack,” Sara smiled as she opened the door, “Daniel and Pip. What do I owe the pleasure?”
Before I could answer Pip scampered into the house and Daniel went after him leaving us alone.
“He must have smelled the cookies I was making,” Sara laughed, “Come on in.”
I followed her in smiling as I watched Daniel chase Pip out of the kitchen. Sara gently ruffled Daniel’s hair as he jogged after the dog.
“What do I owe the pleasure?” Sara asked as we took a seat, Daniel finally caught Pip and dropped to sit in the ground stroking his fur.
“Danny is here to talk to you,” I told her gently tapping his shoulder.
Sara looked down at him waiting.
“I...” he hesitated, I gently rested my hand on his shoulder suddenly realising how hard this was for him, “I’m here to say bye. My parents are coming home and we’re leaving.”
“Oh,” Sara frowned, she reached out and Daniel moved into her arms, “I’m going to miss you then, Daniel.”
Daniel glanced at me and I saw so much sadness in his eyes it hurt but I didn’t move because he wanted to do this himself.
“I’m doing to miss you too,” he told her giving her cheek a quick kiss.
Pip decided he didn’t like being left out and yapped until Sara lifted him up to pet him.
“I’ll miss you too,” Sara told the puppy.
“Pip’s not leaving,” Daniel said.
Sara looked up at me, “Why not?”
“Daniel’s mother is allergic,” I explained. Which would you believe is actually true; Claire Jackson was allergic to dogs – another little thing I’d learned thanks to the downsizing of my best friend.
“Pip’s staying with me,” I threw in.
Sara smiled slightly and gave Daniel a quick kiss on the top of his head before she disappeared into the kitchen. She reappeared a few minutes later and handed Daniel a bag filled with chocolate chip cookies.
“For your journey,” she told him, “That’s a point, where is home?”
“California,” I spoke up as Daniel clutched the cookies to him, I doubted I was getting near those. I checked my watch and sighed, “We need to get going, we’ve got one more stop to go.”
Sara crouched down and hugged Daniel again, “It was so much fun spending time with you, Daniel. Try and keep in touch, sweetie.”
“Are you okay?” I asked as we drove to the cafe.
Daniel was silent in the backseat; I glanced into the mirror to see he was stroking Pip who was trying to get into Daniel’s back-pack and the cookies.
“I didn’t think it’d be this hard,” he whispered, “I know I’ll see Sara again but she won’t know.”
“Daniel, we can skip the cafe,” I assured him, I hated watching Daniel upset normally but especially in this form, “If you want?”
He stayed silent for several blocks; in fact we were almost at the restaurant before he spoke again.
“I want to say goodbye to Crystal,” he whispered, “But let’s do it quickly.”
We wandered into the cafe which was as usual extremely busy but we were given a seat quickly while Pip was taken into the manager’s office with his own meal. He was pretty spoiled the few times we’d brought him with us.
We quickly ordered our usual, what can I say we’re boring people really, before Daniel headed to the play area for the last time.
I watched as ‘my kid’ laughed and played, allowing out the five year old that he was for the moment for the last time. As Crystal walked over with our food she stopped next to him and ushered him to the table.
“Here you go,” Crystal smiled as she gave us our food, “Enjoy.”
“We always do,” I grinned back at her, laughing as Daniel started shoving fries into his mouth.
We ate lunch in comfortable silence, I studied the child in front of me trying to imprint the image in my mind before he was gone and replaced by an older version. I had taken a lot of pictures over the past few months, some admittedly to tease Danny with when he was back to normal but there were others that were going to be framed to remind us both that we have a family – no matter how strange.
“Can I get you anything else? Crystal asked, smiling as she cleared the table, “Or is it just the bill and the dog?”
“Four slices of chocolate fudge cake to go,” I asked, seeing Daniel’s eyes light up, “Then we have to go.”
As we gathered up our things, and dog, Crystal brought the cake and our bill. I paid, leaving a big tip as always before stopping her from disappearing.
“Danny wants to say something,” I told her.
Crystal crouched down to him, “What’s up, sweetie?”
Daniel took a deep breath, “I wanted to say bye. I’m going home.”
“You won’t be back?” Crystal asked sadly.
Daniel shook his head, “We live in California.”
“That’s a shame,” Crystal frowned, she gave him a hug and kissed the top of his head, “Well, look after yourself and if you do come back, you come and see me. Deal?”
“Deal,” Daniel smiled, he turned and waved at her before we left the cafe for the last time.
“Try it and lose a finger,” Daniel threatened as Sam tried to steal a bit of his cake.
Carter laughed turning to me, “He looks like an angel as well.”
I pulled my own cake closer to me, “He has a point though, hands where I can see them Carter.”
“But my cake is gone,” she gave an exaggerated pout before laughing, “I’m not even going to try.”
“You are wise,” Teal’c told her, “Trying to steal dessert from either O’Neill or Daniel Jackson is a dangerous activity.”
We all chuckled sitting around my office as we waited for Thor to arrive for the procedure. In one corner of the room in his basket Pip was sleeping happily, I’d treated him to some doggy chocolates so he didn’t try to steal any of the cake. Didn’t work much but he’d given up knowing Daniel wouldn’t share the chocolate cake even with him.
“SG1 report to the conference room,” the voice came over the speaker system.
Daniel and I sighed, we both quickly finished our cake before Teal’c grabbed Pip while Sam took Daniel’s things and I lifted the mini-archaeologist.
“Thor,” I greeted the small grey alien who was sitting waiting for us, “Good to see you, buddy.”
“O’Neill,” Thor inclined his head slightly to me before looking at his reason for being here, “Are you ready for this, Dr Jackson?”
I felt Daniel stiffen slightly, he was scared of doing this and of it not working but after a second he took a breath and nodded.
“Then we will adjourn to the Beliskner,” Thor reached out and pressed a button on the side of the chair, instantly the bright light filled our vision. When it subsided we were on Thor’s ship.
“Jack,” Daniel whispered to me.
“If something goes wrong,” I could hear the tremble of fear in his voice, “You will find her, won’t you?”
I gently stroked his fine, silken blond hair as I looked at the cherubic face, “I promise but nothing is going to go wrong and soon you’ll be ten.”
He nodded and wriggled to be let down, I handed him the robe we’d bought for this since he was going to grow and he headed behind a screen to change.
“Are you okay, Sir?” Sam appeared at my side, concern in her eyes.
I nodded, “Just got used to him as a little guy.”
She rested her hand on his arm, “Soon we’ll have him back to normal and you can tease him for days about this.”
I grinned, “Good point. Did you get some clothes for him? And I pray there are no cartoon characters this time, the rant he gave last time...” I trailed off and shuddered.
“Plain jeans, plain t-shirt,” she promised, “I learned my lesson.”
Daniel appeared in the blue robe which was tied at his waist and trailing along behind him. He walked over to the pod that would age him and waited for me to help him up. When I lifted him up he gave me a quick hug before I settled him into the pod. I stepped back allowing Thor to start the procedure. I heard a small yapping and turned to see Teal’c was still holding onto Pip, I reached out and took the puppy into my arms gently stroking his fur as he growled softly obviously knowing something was happening to his master.
It was only a few minutes but it stretched forever as we waited. Finally the pod opened and I looked in.
Daniel opened his eyes and looked up at me, “Did it work?”
I nodded, looking down at the ten year old boy laying there. His blond hair wasn’t as fine and was slightly darker, his face was no longer as cherubic but still had that look of innocence he had even as an adult. With a grin he sat up and climbed out accepting the clothes Sam passed to him with a grateful smile.
Pip let out a soft yap reminding me I was holding him so I started to pet him as we waited for Daniel to change. The new ten year old version of my best friend appeared in clothes slightly too large for him, wow, he was a skinny kid.
I frowned confused as Pip started to growl slightly as Daniel came closer to us. Daniel rolled his eyes and tapped the puppy’s nose, “Knock it off, Pip.”
At this the poor thing whimpered for a second before snuffling at Daniel’s hand obviously trying to work out what was going on. Daniel took a hold of the puppy and stroked him as he looked up at me.
“So what’s for dinner?”