(#4 in Shoelaces LD universe)
SUMMARY: Daniel and Jack try to deal with Daniel being little Daniel. Inspired by the DJsSG-1Lverse yahoo list.
All things medical researched at some handy asthma websites. Hopefully I've gotten it right. Apologize greatly if I haven't.
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.
He dangled his little legs over the side of
the bed, staring at the Velcro straps of his sneakers as they
swung back and forth gently.
"I know how to use an inhaler, Janet."
Janet Fraiser loomed in the top his vision, a child-sized inhaler in her hands. Jack stood behind her he knew. He could see Jack's shoes. Janet leaned down and met his gaze. She gave him a half smile.
"I know that, Daniel. But things are..." She tripped over the last part of her sentence, so she just let it drop. "Humor me. Colonel O'Neill doesn't know how it works."
Great, reverse psychology. He knew he was being tricked and sighed. He stilled his feet, dragged one foot up to play with the Velcro and stuck the remaining thumb in his mouth, ready to use both as defense mechanisms. Take that, reverse psychology.
In response, he got Jack's hand pulling his thumb out of his mouth. He frowned.
"Do we need this? I haven't had an attack since I was a ..." The word 'kid' died on his lips. He was a kid. And while he'd yet to have a major attack in the three and a half months since he was miniaturized, he had become significantly wheezier and his allergies were completely out of control. They'd yet to figure out how to treat them, either. It was like the first time he'd come to America all over again. He remembered his anxious mother and the fact that that first trip to New York only lasted a few weeks while his parents chatted with the museum and he wheezed and had an asthma attack severe enough to send him to hospital and add ten years to his parents' lives.
He resisted the urge to chew his thumb again and concentrated on the Velcro strapping.
He watched Jack and Janet exchange a look. Jack took the inhaler and sat down on the bed next to him.
"Like Fraiser said, I don't really understand these things, Danny. You know me and this stuff - goes right over my head."
"I hear that." He felt Jack reach for his hand and untangle it from his shoe. The inhaler was pressed into his hands.
"Danny. You don't want me to panic every time you have an attack. Because I can. Can call the big guns out and drag you to the emergency room every time I hear-"
He shook his head. "You're lying."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Am I now?"
He contemplated that sentence.
"Danny." He looked up and met Jack's eyes. They were tired,
They were a family now. The papers were signed. He had a new name, new shoes.
A new life.
While for the first time in a long time he didn't feel tears threaten, he did feel sad. He felt like another chunk of Daniel Jackson was floating away, never to been seen or heard from again. The part that left asthma behind him, that had finally balanced his medication so that he could have fresh flowers in his kitchen. That had outgrown an insecurity.
He felt little.
He felt five.
The inhaler was now in his hand and he looked at it, blinking. Another step. A rediscovered a pair of tennis shoes you left in your closet that you found years later, thinking you'd left them behind, and poof, they are back haunting you with their same tiny gaps that let in the dirt and rain.
It felt like a step backwards, but he logically he knew it wasn't. A five-year-old brain could even tell him that. This time, it was the thirty-eight-year-old that was protesting.
The irony felt like a slap in the face.
"This one's different from the one I had," he relented.
"No different from the emergency inhaler I still made you hold onto offworld, Daniel," Janet offered and he knew she knew he was stalling.
"Right," he muttered, not having the heart to tell her he'd lost that inhaler long ago. He hadn't needed it, so it didn't matter. He didn't count on getting changed into a five-year-old who would probably be very dependant on such a device for the greater part of his adolescent years.
He'd still never need it offworld.
He cursed his thirty-eight-year-old brain. Maybe this whole thing would be easier if he'd just let go of that part of him. Try and embrace Daniel O'Neill and forget Daniel Jackson.
But he knew it didn't work that way. He was both of those people and his brain would never let him forget it, even if it meant the simple act of demonstrating an asthma inhaler caused a major overload.
He stared back down at the inhaler. "Well, if it's the same, than it's a dry power inhaler, right?" He looked up at Janet, who nodded. "Basically, I put my lips on here," he pointed to the mouthpiece, "and breathe in. Fast."
"Well, somewhat rapidly," Janet added. "Why don't you demonstrate?"
He gave her a 'do I have to' glance, but she held her ground. He lifted the inhaler, but quickly realized that his small hands had trouble gripping it and breathing in at the same time.
He started to panic when he realized that if he did have an attack, he was too small to help himself.
He heard himself wheezing and all he could hear was the blood pounding in his ears. Oh god, he thought, he couldn't breathe out.
He felt hands guide the mouthpiece to his mouth and hold the inhaler in place. He grimaced as the medicine taste hit the back his tongue. He heard "breathe" and concentrated hard on doing so.
Gradually, he could breathe again. He coughed, and pushed the inhaler aside. He realized then that Jack had been the one holding it in
"You lied. You know," he whispered as Jack put an arm around him. He leaned into the touch, still a bit wheezy.
"Fraiser did give me a crash course," Jack admitted.
Janet had her stethoscope out and was reaching the cold disk under his shirt. He gave a little shiver but didn't move, just tried to breathe as she asked. Finally she pulled it away, seeming satisfied.
"Probably more of a panic attack then anything," she said. She slipped the stethoscope back around her neck. "I'm sorry, Daniel. I didn't mean for this to happen. I just wanted to see you if could work the inhaler efficiently."
"Tricked me," he said, trying to be angry, but coming out tired and small. Truth was he was scared because he felt he *couldn't* work the inhaler efficiently. What if Jack wasn't there?
As if he could read Daniel's mind, Jack squeezed his hand.
He wasn't used to being so dependant on others. For food, clothes, shelter, love.
It was disconcerting and troubling. But nice. Jack's arms were warm and he wondered that how, in the future, he would be able to get hugs when he no longer needed so much help.
"So?" He blinked. Jack was talking again, this time to Janet.
"A nebulizer is a better choice, I think. At least for the time
He squirmed and shook his head. Nebulizers were awful, pushing more of the medication into his lungs. "No."
"Daniel, you're five-"
"Almost six," he corrected, even he though knew July was still six months away.
"Almost six," Janet conceded. "I know it's not really pleasant, but a nebulizer will be efficient, Daniel, and I am sure you know that. You will be able to use it yourself and all you need to do is breathe."
"Tastes bad," he answered. Jack patted his head.
"If it will work, we'll take it." Jack nudged his head toward an object laying on the opposite bed. Daniel frowned. "Is that it?"
"Yes." Janet picked up the facemask and held it in Daniel's view. He pulled his thumb to his mouth. "This goes over Daniel's mouth and nose and after a couple of pumps to machine, the liquid medication gets turned into a mist he can easily inhale."
"In case of emergency?"
"Yes, but it's also preventive. During extremely wheezy days, Daniel will probably need two or three treatments a day, each about ten to fifteen minutes."
Insecurity crept back in. His thumb was feeling the abuse. Bye, bye, Dr. Daniel.
Janet was walking away, promising to bring back some oral preventive medication, as well as antihistamines for his other allergy troubles. He'd be a regular walking medical chest, that's for sure. Jack wasn't going to like what he got himself into.
He blinked. What if Jack really didn't like what he was getting into? The papers had only just been dropped off, they'd yet to finalize anything.
He felt hands circle him tighter. He blinked again, surprised for a second time, that there were no tears.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
He saw Jack frown. "For what?"
"Being sick. I'll understand, you know." He wanted to give Jack an out.
"You're not sick. You have asthma." Jack's hand squeezed his again. "And family, remember? I don't just give my last name away to anyone, you know. O'Neills are special." He paused a moment. "It's a bit overwhelming, I admit. But things will get easier. You'll use the nebulizer. Then you'll get bigger and we'll go back to the inhaler."
"It would be easier if I was bigger now."
Jack sighed. "Been down that road, already. Sorry, kiddo, but we know it ain't happening. So we make the best. You and me. I'm not sure how long my knees will last, but hey, I've never been one to turn down a challenge." Jack tilted his head down and met his eyes. "Last time I checked, you didn't either. Or has that changed simply because you're smaller?"
"Then there. All settled. Fraiser doles out the meds, we pick up some paperwork for your desk, and then we get ice cream."
He could help grinning. "You think ice cream's always the answer."
"Well isn't it? Sure worked on a six foot archaeologist I know, so I figured it may just work on you."
For a moment if he closed his eyes, he could pretend things weren't different. That his voice wasn't so soft and so small and that he and Jack were simply bantering in the middle of his lab. But things were different. And he was being stubborn, clinging to a hope that no longer existed. Every step he climbed, he still found himself with another hurdle.
Like slippery shoes that couldn't hold on to the surface without falling and had to get up once again and try.
"Thanks." He was thankful, grateful. If he didn't have Jack, he was sure he wouldn't be able to handle this. Sam, Teal'c, Janet, even Hammond, were kind, great, but only Jack understood him.
"No problem." They lapsed into comfortable silence.
Janet returned with more pills and more instructions. He pushed himself up, let Jack feel his chest like Janet instructed, trying gage normal from wheezy. He'd played with his Velcro strap again and wished for a Matchbox car when his mind wandered as Jack and Janet discussed antihistamines. Jack would take care it.
He stopped and realized something.
Jack *would* take of it and he *would* let him. Jack would help the insecurity, never let him feel stupid for having it. And he'd let him help. He needed Jack, Jack needed him. He just kept realizing how much a little more each day. Jack let him in. He'd have to let Jack in.
And he would. It would take time to adjust, but he would.
He smiled, and he even let Jack pick him up when his shoes slipped on the infirmary floor as his climbed off the exam bed.
Because despite all the insecurity, allergies, asthma, bad knees, ice cream, and poor humor - they were family.
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