SUMMARY: Daniel tried to deal with being little Daniel. Inspired by the DJsSG-1Lverse yahoo list.


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.

Tying shoelaces is easy.

Well, it _was_ easy. Yesterday it had been a task he could accomplish so easily, so simply, that he never realized he took it for granted. Fingers that could grip the strings and pull them into a loop that basically held his entire foot safe.

Now his foot was denied that safety.

Now things were different.

For starters, his foot couldn't even reach the ground anymore from his perch upon one of the infirmary's chairs. His stubby fingers couldn't grip the laces with enough coordination to form the loop needed to secure the neat, tight bow.

He slammed his fist in frustration, but that, too, was different. The heavy plastic barely felt what he had intended to be a hearty blow. He picked up the shoe and launched it across the room.

"Daniel." He looked up. Jack O'Neill held the object of his annoyance in his hand. The shoe seemed so tiny next to his large, long fingers.

"I'm sorry," he muttered, and silently cursed when he felt tears threaten his eyelids. No! This was no reason to cry. It was just a simple pair of shoes, a simple pair of shoelaces.

"It's okay," Jack said and crouched down to his level, his brown eyes meeting his own blue ones. He shook his head. He didn't want sympathy. He didn't want help. He didn't want new sneakers withlaces he couldn't even manage to pull into a stupid loop.

He wanted to fix it.

The tears threatened again and this time he was unable to stop them from flowing down his cheeks. He was such a baby. No, not a baby...

A child.

He watch and sniffed ad Jack wordlessly took the shoe and fit it over his foot and tied it efficiently into a bow.

The tears increased. He couldn't help it. He wanted to, but he stared at the small little shoe on his small little foot and it all got blurry.

He felt Jack pick him up, felt his arms circle him, and he leaned into the embrace, both embarrassed to be crying into Jack's shirt collar and relieved for the comfort he felt. His emotions were on a rollercoaster and he feared any and everything would set them off.

"We'll get you Velcro," Jack murmured into his ear and he tried so very hard to stop crying. He truly did. "Shhh." Jack was smoothing his hair back, taking a tissue from someone he couldn't see and prying him away from his collar so he could dab at the tears. "It will all be okay," he soothed.

But it wouldn't be okay. Things were different now. Different forever.

The tears eventually stopped falling and he still found himself in Jack's arms.

"Better?" Jack asked and he simply sniffed.

"It's different now," he finally said, voicing his own fears. He wiped his hand across his nose.

"Don't do that," Jack gently scolded. He took a clean tissue and pushed his nose into it. "Blow," he commanded and for a second, he feared he'd tear up again from needing help for such an ordinary task. He finished and Jack threw the tissue down.

"It is different," Jack finally agreed.

"I don't want it to be." His voice was smaller, sad.

"I know." Jack smoothed his hair back again and he wanted to resist the touch. He wasn't a child. He said so.

"I know," Jack repeated, but the two of them knew the truth. A five-year-old was a child. The fact that his brain wanted to be thirty-eight, remembered being thirty-eight, in some ways still thought it was thirty-eight, didn't matter.

They couldn't fix this.

They'd tried.

New sneakers were now meant to be permanent, at least until he outgrew them.

He sniffed, tired of fighting the five-year-old thoughts, but worried about losing his thirty-eight-year-old ones.

"I want to be thirty-eight," he muttered and Jack tightened his grip.

"You will be. Someday," Jack promised.

But someday wasn't soon enough for Daniel Jackson.

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