SUMMARY: Sick Daniel; Jack
SEASON/SPOILERS: Season 4-ish.
NOTES: This is a companion piece to a story I wrote a while back, called "Simply." You do not need to read that story to understand this one, but if you'd like to, it's on my website or the alpha gate website.
A big thanks once again to Devra, for the alpha and the kind words.
DISCLAIMER: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
"I'm okay, Jack. Really."
/ Okay, my ass/ Jack O'Neill thought as he studied the younger man sprawled on the couch in front of him. Daniel was sick. Plain and simple. He had been for the past four days. The first day, Jack had been too busy recovering from his own bout with the flu to notice. The second and third days, however, were full out Daniel-denial, meaning the linguist pleaded tiredness and buried himself in the paperwork he failed to complete while Jack was sick. Today, the archeologist was called into the SGC to consult on some artifacts SG5 brought back.
Now he was on the couch.
Jack admitted if it was anyone's fault Daniel was sick, it was probably his. Daniel had spent five days taking care of his partner, and Jack knew he was not an easy person to contend with when he was sick. Sara had often given up halfway through, and let him moan until he consented to less complaining. Charlie, in those pre-school years, used to bound into the master bedroom and tackle Jack, as if that itself could make his father feel better.
Jack smiled wistfully at the memory. It was nice to have a good one every one in a while. He shook himself out of his diversionary trot down memory lane as he stared once again down at the couch. Daniel was asleep, sprawled in a position that looked more than slightly uncomfortable. In some ways, Daniel reminded Jack of a kid; he worked his batteries right up until they burned out, then plopped and slept anywhere that he deemed halfway decent. Although, judging from his awkward position Daniel would be one unhappy camper in the morning if he didn't move.
Still, Jack hated to wake him. A flush covered the younger man's face and Jack knew, from recent experience, that just the short trek to the bedroom would wear Daniel completely out. Checking his watch, Jack figured he'd give Daniel another fifteen minutes before moving him to more suitable grounds.
That decided, he headed into the kitchen and proceed to make coffee. Or try, at least. Daniel had told Jack his coffee machine was inferior to the models now on the market and since they spent more time at Jack's than they did at Daniel's, the linguist promptly went out and bought one of those brand spanking new coffee makers, complete with all the bells and whistles - and an instruction booklet almost as thick as a paperback and twice as complicated. Currently it remained on page six, "Using your machine." Jack glanced at the page and then dug into his cabinet for the item Daniel considered sacrilegious - instant coffee.
He set the tea kettle on the stove and turned back to check on his sleeping partner. Daniel hadn't moved an inch. Jack stared down at him, no longer afraid Daniel would wake and catch him in the act. Staring was one of the 'couple perks.' His and Daniel's was still a relatively new relationship, but together they begun setting ground rules.
The tea kettle whistled and Jack made his coffee, carrying the cup into the living room, knowing the mere smell of coffee would wake the archeologist up, sick or not. Sure enough, two minutes after placing the cup on the table and helping the aroma drift towards Daniel with a wave of his hand, Daniel stirred, opened his eyes and gazed up at Jack.
Daniel wrinkled his nose. "Instant coffee? Jack, that's what the coffee maker is for."
He lifted the cup and took a swallow before he answered. "That over-priced piece of metal that needs a six page explanation to turn it on? Nah. And before you even complain, all you're getting is orange juice."
"I'm fine. I could use a cup of coffee. The good stuff."
Jack shook his head. Just what he needed, a wired, sick archaeologist. "Caffeine is the last thing you should have. I was thinking more along the lines of bed."
Daniel shifted into a more comfortable position on the couch, then raised himself onto his elbows before he attempted to sit up. He succeeded in getting about halfway there before turning three shades paler and swaying. Jack quickly put his coffee down and reached out to steady him.
"Bed might be a good idea. At least for a little while," Daniel finally relented. "Then, after I take a nap, I can catch up on some more work."
"The only catching up you'll be doing, Danny, is on your soaps." Jack was trying to carefully steer the man into the bedroom.
"I don't watch soap operas." At least Daniel wasn't resisting anymore.
"Well, now's a good time to start. I recommend 'Passions.' Tacky, supernatural storylines that suck, but always make you laugh." They'd reached the door and Jack helped Daniel sit down on the bed, before heading into the bathroom. When he reappeared, Daniel was sitting halfway up with his back against the pillows, clinging to the top of the bedspread as a shiver racked through him.
"Take my word for it, it works better when you're _in_ the bed, not on top it of it." Daniel closed his eyes in response. "Hey, not so fast." Jack waved the items he'd gone into the bathroom for - Tylenol, water, and a thermometer. Daniel simply opened his eyes and let out a sigh of defeat.
"I'm surprised you even have a thermometer," he grumbled, plucking it from Jack's hand and placing it in his mouth.
"All courtesy of Fraiser's 'Danny survival kit.' She knows you too well."
"She knows both of us of too well," Daniel grumbled around the thermometer.
"I don't get sick." A snort came from the bed. "Well, not often." He removed the thermometer. "102. Sick." He tossed the Tylenol at Daniel along with the remote, followed by the glass of water. "Take two. Passions is on channel 12. You'll see how much fun mindless television can be."
"I told you that I don't watch -"
"Ah." Jack held up a finger, then grabbed back the remote and turned on the TV. "TV or sleep. I'll be back." He turned and walked out, leaving Daniel to the opening credits of Passions.
True to his word, Jack returned within ten minutes with soup for Daniel and a stack of his own way-past-due SGC paperwork and for the next ten minutes, Jack read quietly as Daniel listlessly played with his soup.
"I can't believe you ever watched this, Jack." The older man looked up to see Daniel pointing at the TV.
"It's not so bad. You're not giving it a chance."
"But the plot is just so out there. Not believable at all."
"Well, Danny, after all we've been through, I think Passions sounds very believable." He saw Daniel stir his soup again. "You know, it helps if you eat it when it's still warm."
"Not hungry." Jack sighed, knowing it was a lost cause. Daniel was never hungry when he was sick, usually leading to the loss of a few pounds, which were always enough to raise Fraiser's eyebrows. Shifting his paperwork, Jack scooped the bowl up, moving it to the nightstand, out of Daniel's view. If his own previous illness was anything to go by, Daniel wouldn't be keeping much down anyway. He pushed a glass of orange juice in the archaeologist's direction.
"At least drink that." Daniel made a face, but picked up the glass and took a few tentative sips. Jack went back to his paperwork.
"Jack, you don't have to sit here. Go work in the living room. The light's better there. All I'm going to do is lay here. Nothing exciting."
Jack looked up. "And what I'm doing is? Besides, the bed's more comfortable."
"Uh huh," Daniel muttered, his tone telling Jack he didn't believe a word of his explanation. Oh well. It didn't matter much to Jack. Daniel could call him a mother hen all he wanted, but he was content to stay where he was.
Besides, he wasn't lying when he said the bed was more comfortable.
Daniel drifted into an uneasy sleep and Jack stumbled his way through what he considered useless paperwork. Of course, his reasoning, he supposed, was exactly why he always had piles of it in his rarely used office. It occupied the majority of his desk, which he thought was fine, but every so often, when Hammond's secretary would drop off more, she'd scan the desktop for the important items and drop them into Daniel's desktop, with a scrawled note demanding the colonel's attention. The woman was certainly observant, he had to admit, and quiet to boot. He figured Daniel's charm may have had a lot to with it. He always made a point to ask her about her children whenever he waited outside Hammond's office and she brightened at the question, brandishing polished picture frames from her desk showcasing her family's latest adventures and achievements.
Daniel shifted and Jack sighed, knowing his attention was waning from the overdue reports. Daniel was a wonder to watch, and asleep he appeared younger, but everyone did, Jack supposed, but that wasn't what made Daniel's sleeping form beautiful. It was because in rare moments like this, even sick, Daniel was relaxed. Relaxed enough to let the normal lines of everyday tension escape. Regain a sense of peace. Innocence, even.
No, not innocence, Jack decided, taking the thought back. Daniel was far from innocent and that was exactly the way he wanted him to be. Though Daniel did have a persona that invoked protection mode in many, Jack was more than happy to acknowledge that he was a grown man with clearly marked wants and needs.
After all, he was a grown man who could fulfill a few of those wants and needs. And Daniel could return the favor.
Daniel shifted again and muttered in his sleep. He pressed himself against Jack's thigh, and sighed contently before settling down again.
Yep, all was right and normal in the world. Well, as right and as normal as it could be given their current chosen professions.
Jack gathered up his paperwork. If he
remained in the bedroom much longer he would really get nothing
done. He needed another cup of coffee and a hard sofa. At his
movement, Daniel snuggled into the warm spot Jack had vacated,
and the blanket slipped, revealing a hint of skin as shirt rode
up. Jack swallowed.
Maybe a cold shower wouldn't hurt either.
Something was wrong. He could feel it the moment he walked in the door.
Jack had left to run to the grocery store. Since he'd been sick and then Daniel had been working, the cupboards were empty. He'd walked into the bedroom, brushed a hand across Daniel's forehead, and after convincing himself his fever hadn't risen, ducked out.
But now as he placed the bag down on the counter, he felt uneasy. Leaving the bag and ignoring the fact that the ice cream inside was beginning to drip onto the floor, he walked straight back into the bedroom.
Daniel laid just the way he left him an hour before.
Jack left out a sigh of relief and kicked himself. He really _was_ a mother hen. Of course, Daniel was one too, when it came to his care. Despite the fact that the archaeologist was getting fed up with his constant requests for water, blankets, and attention, he always raced back when Jack admitted he wasn't feeling well. Part of a new relationship he figured, although he believed his hold on Daniel wouldn't release itself. He'd had too many close calls. And with his luck, the flu wouldn't just be the flu and all hell would break loose.
He settled on the bed, causing the mattress to dip and Daniel to stir. He was greeted by fever bright blue eyes. They blinked.
"How are you feeling?" Jack watched Daniel blink again before swallowing.
"Yucky," he admitted.
Jack grinned. "Yucky? I'm disappointed. I expected something a bit more descriptive from someone that supposedly knows dozens of languages."
Daniel muttered something in what Jack thought was Abydoian. "Now that didn't sound very nice."
"Jaaacckk. I'm sick. Did you come in here with a purpose?"
"Oh, so now you're sick. A few hours ago you were fine."
"Well, a little kinky, but since you're asking..."
"Jack!" Daniel made an attempt to turn away but the bed sheets got in the way. He started coughing - harsh, heavy coughs that lasted too long and left him panting.
Not good. Jack's initial feeling returned. He helped the younger man sit up. "Daniel?"
Daniel finished, laying back on the pillow. "'kay. Done now. Tired." He closed his eyes.
Choppy sentences were never good in the land of Daniel. Jack placed a hand on the archaeologist's forehead.
"Hmm. Hand's cold. Nice." Daniel snuggled into the touch.
Warm. Too warm. Ten minutes later he was on the phone, bickering with a petite red-headed physician.
"His temperature is nearly 104! What do you mean you can't get here for at least an hour?"
"Sir, you need to calm down. A respiratory infection can be a common byproduct of the flu. Especially with someone who doesn't take very good care of themselves, like Daniel." He could hear the hustle and bustle of the infirmary in the background. Someone was yelling something about lab results.
"But he was fine when I left and I was only gone an hour."
He heard Fraiser shift the phone and address someone. "I'll be right there, Julie. Colonel, sometimes it happens. I suggest you give Daniel some more Tylenol and run a tepid bath to get his temperature down. While I am certainly concerned, I have a slight crisis with SG-13 that I need to deal with. You told me Daniel's breathing isn't greatly impaired. I will be there as soon as I can. If his temperature climbs or he has difficulty breathing, take him straight to the academy hospital and call me."
"Jack." Her tone changed. She didn't usually address him so casually, but then again, she did know of the nature of his and Daniel's relationship. It was hard to hide from the person who handled your very through physicals. "I know you are worried. But he'll be fine. You can handle it. I'll call you when I'm on my way."
Sure, he could handle it. He'd gotten lots of practice over the years, after all. He bypassed Daniel's sleeping form, resisting the urge to feel his forehead again, and carried the portable phone into the master bathroom. Positioning it on the corner, he turned, and with protesting knees, bent down to turn on the facet. He winced at the sound of muffled coughs.
Yep, handling it all right.
The funny thing was he used to suck at this whole caretaker thing. The first time Sara had gotten sick, he had no clue what to do and after burning a pot of chicken soup and spending nearly an hour in the over-the-counter flu medicine aisle at the local drug store, he'd found he had little choice but to give up and pleaded ignorance to his mother-in-law. When she was feeling better, Sara had laughed at his defeated expression. Soup was easy to burn when you are trying to fold laundry at the same time and none of those flu medicines helped much anyway she told him. It was the fact that he cared that really made the difference. Of course this moment existed in the carefree early days of their marriage, when the spark was strong and he was home more often.
So when Charlie got sick, he was a little more prepared. Of course that didn't stop Sara and he from panicking and calling the doctor and anyone else who would listen when their five month old spiked a fever. But by the time the chicken pox hit when Charlie was three, they were pros. Of course it was when _both_ Charlie and Sara got sick that was the real test.
It was then that he learned to fold laundry and watch a pot of Campbell's.
Of course, being domestic wasn't something he liked to admit. And thus far, Daniel was the only one that knew he was particular about the way the towels were folded. They simply fit better in the closet that way.
A glance at the tub told him that if he didn't shut off the tap soon, he'd be facing a minor flood. It was like the soup all over again. Well Daniel wasn't Sara of course, so he was starting from scratch. First off, he was a guy. And while Jack had cared for Daniel before, he was used to injuries, healing surgical sites, changing bandages. The flu was new territory to conquer. And it was different before. He and Daniel were friends. Now they were ... more. Lovers, he guessed, though Daniel's recent use of the word made it sound wrong. Yes, physically they were that, but it didn't describe their whole relationship. Nor did it help conquer his inaptitude on how to handle a very sick Daniel.
Getting Daniel up proved harder than he anticipated. Daniel was not a happy camper about leaving his nest of blanket to venture in a chilly bathroom. The tepid water wasn't a picnic either.
"It's cold," he said, followed by heavy coughing.
"It's tepid." Jack was just happy he was awake and beginning to string together more complex thoughts again.
"Tepid means cold."
"Only when you've got a temperature of 104." Normally the idea of Daniel naked lying in a pool of water would be the most exciting thing he'd ever seen. And he'd be lying if a certain part of his anatomy didn't totally ignore the idea. But the coughing and shivering form sitting in that water was far from a fantasy come to life.
"I feel better, really. Can I get out now?" More coughing.
"Oh, you really sound loads better, Daniel." But a touch of the forehead revealed his fever seemed to have gone down, which was certainly a victory.
Daniel repeated Jack's actions and touched his own forehead. "See? Feel better. I'm cold. This water may have been tepid at one point, Jack, but now it is cold." To prove his point, he lifted his dripping hand and drizzled it on Jack's head.
"Cold?" Daniel smiled sweetly at Jack, before muffling another cough.
Jack opened his mouth to retort when the phone rang. Immediately he jumped up and answered it, relieved to hear Fraiser's voice.
"His fever is down. Yep, put him in the tub." Behind him he heard Daniel proclaiming "you called Janet? Why?" followed by more coughing.
"He's coughing a lot. Wheezing a little, too. Uh huh. See you soon." He placed the phone back on the counter.
"I am not wheezing." The coughs and wheezing that followed betrayed Daniel's statement.
Jack handed him a towel. "Uh huh. Fraiser will be here in twenty minutes. Just enough time to get you dried and gussied up for her arrival."
Ignoring Daniel's weak tokens of protest, the colonel got his archaeologist settled into bed just as he heard the front door open and Fraiser announce her arrival. Two minutes later she poked her head into the bedroom.
"I'm fine, Janet, really," Daniel insisted, propped up on pillows and stifling a cough in the crook of his elbow. Fraiser and Jack exchanged looks with a side of eye rolls.
"Why don't you let me be the judge of that, Daniel," Fraiser said with a smile, placing her bag on the bed beside Daniel. She shooed Jack out and he found himself in the kitchen, making another can of Campbell's soup, unsure of how to handle this. He felt even more clueless than he did that first time with Sara. Sure he got Daniel into bed, gave him juice instead of coffee and made him soup, but he still felt like he should be doing more. After all Daniel didn't get better, he had gotten worse.
"If you leave it on any longer, sir, there will be no soup left." Jack looked up to see Fraiser standing next to the counter, bag packed up and in her left hand. How long had he been stirring? He looked down at the pot and saw how little soup remained and the noodles were stuck to the bottom. He shut the flame.
"Bronchitis. Could have been pneumonia if you hadn't wrestled him out of the SGC today. I'm going to leave you with some prescriptions, including an inhaler."
"It will help break up the secretions. And despite Daniel's protest, it is not optional. I've called them into the pharmacy down the street and you can pick them up in a half hour. But, Daniel should be fine in a few days, if you can contain him that long."
She smiled. "Really. Relax. This happens sometimes you know. You did everything right."
Damn it, she was sneaky. He wondered if somehow Fraiser picked up mind-reading in the mysterious back room of that infirmary of hers.
"Call me if he doesn't improve by tomorrow night. I have a cranky ward of severely itchy men to get back to."
"Oh, yeah." She grinned. "Just so you know, Colonel, I expect a very nice birthday gift from you and Daniel next month." With that, she turned and he heard the front door open and close. Dumping the small remains of the ruined soup in the garbage and soaking the slightly burnt pot in the sink, he plucked a clean glass from the cabinet, filled it with orange juice and headed towards the bedroom.
Daniel's eyes were closed and Jack almost backtracked.
"Don't go." Daniel cracked his eyes open. "Orange juice? I thought I smelled soup."
Jack set the juice down before sitting next to Daniel on the bed. "Yeah, well, you were wrong. Orange juice it is."
Daniel smiled before settling himself deeper in the pillows. "Doesn't matter. Not hungry. But the idea of you bringing me soup is so..."
"If you say domestic, I may just have
to whack you with one of these pillows you know."
"You brought me soup."
"Which you told me was too hot and then later threw up on my toes."
"Well, no one's perfect."
A comfortable silence settled between the two. Jack moved the juice to the dresser then settled himself into his own pillow, weariness creeping in.
"Yes?" He was sure Daniel had drifted off.
He smiled. "Right back at you, Danny. I'm not so easy to take care of, you know."
"No kidding." A series of coughs followed.
Summing his strength, Jack picked his head up. "I need to go get your meds."
"'kay." The word was lost in a yawn as Daniel turned into the pillow.
Sitting up, Jack couldn't help adjusting the blanket one more time before lifting himself off the mattress.
Yep, it was different now.
But it wasn't really.
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