Speckled Shoes
(#8 in Shoelaces LD universe)

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


NOTE: All things medical researched throughly. Learned wonderful things on great websites. Apologize if I got it wrong.

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.

"Daniel, stop scratching."

"But it itches!"

He was miserable. His head hurt, he was achy, and he was covered in what seemed like a million little red dots all over every inch of his body, including a few choice areas he didn't even want to think about.

Chicken pox.

The stupid childhood disease he'd never bothered to get had decided to take advantage of his second youth and bite him in the butt.

Things had settled down after Hammond's barbecue and the weather was warming up, prelude to what Daniel hoped would be a beautiful summer. He was busy counting the days until July 8th, when he could finally say he was six years old and not five anymore. Not that one year made a difference, he was still small for his age and slow to gain the few pounds he needed to ditch the car seat taking up residence in Jack's SUV, but it was a start. Despite the fact that he'd settled into his new life, new path, whatever one wanted to call it, and the upcoming eight month anniversary of his journey back to childhood, every so often the SGC would try and dial through to the planet where Daniel found himself in this predicament in the first place.

It had yet to engage, as if it never existed in the first place.

It was an eerie thought, but frankly Daniel had other things on his mind. Like how he was going to reach the extremely itchy spot on his back.

Two days ago, Hammond informed Jack that Tessa had the chicken pox. Jack's reaction was to take him straight to the infirmary and ask Janet about the chicken pox vaccine.

"It won't work this late in the game. He was exposed a week ago. If we caught the exposure within forty-eight to ninety-six hours, maybe we could cut it off at the pass. Now if he's going to get them, it will be very soon. But children are very resilient, Colonel, and you know that. They bounce back from this sort of thing faster then a rubber ball. I'd be more concerned if Daniel had been exposed when he was thirty-eight."

"But what about his asthma? I saw this article about corticosteroids and chicken pox-"

Janet had held up a hand and smiled. "Frankly, sir, I'm a bit surprised and impressed you've been researching. But it's unfounded, really. Those are isolated cases and they all involved oral steroids. Right now Daniel's on inhaled preventive steroids. He's yet to have an attack severe enough to warrant orals, so his system is clear."

Daniel had swung his legs under the gurney, thumb in mouth. Jack was such a worrywort. He may never have had the chicken pox, but how bad could they be?

Looking back on it, he realized he was eating his words. They weren't just bad - they were hell. He reached towards his back.


He withdrew the hand. "I know, I know. Scarring. But it itches!" He was whining, plain and simple, and he knew it.

Jack sighed. "I know it does. I can run another oatmeal bath."

"But it smells and feels funny."

"Calamine lotion, then."

"It's sticky."

"Danny, I'm running out of solutions. I'm this close to duck taping oven mitts on those little hands of yours."

"You wouldn't."

Jack give him a look that said 'wanna bet? Try me' and Daniel snuggled deeper into the folds of the living room couch.

"I feel yucky," he proclaimed, his five-year-old mind wanting the problem to disappear when the older part of his brain told him it just didn't work that way. It was frustrating.

And itchy.

Jack sat down next to him. "I know you do, kiddo. The bath does help, even though it smells and feels weird."

"I know," he admitted, "but can't Janet just make them go away? I'll take pills or that disgusting pink stuff. I promise."

Jack curled a hand around his shoulders. "You and I know that it doesn't work that way. It's only a couple more days and then they'll crust over and you will feel a million times better. Ya gotta trust me on this one."

"I'll believe it when it happens."

Jack smiled. "Of course you will." He felt Jack place a hand on his chest and the smile disappeared. "Feeling a little wheezy there, kiddo?"

He did. Pollen was in the air and his allergies were really beginning to flare, which in turn affected his asthma as well. Coupled with the itchiness, it made him one unhappy camper. But he refused to admit it. "I'm fine."

"Uh huh," Jack responded nonchalantly. "I think the neb wouldn't hurt."

"I'm fine, Jack. Really. Don't need it." He hated the nebulizer. While the medication helped his breathing immensely, it left him jittery. And the taste it left on his tongue was just as awful as it had been back in the 70s.

"It's not that bad."

"How would you know? You're not that one being forced to use it."

Jack patted his head. "Since you're sick, I'm going to ignore that little bit of attitude."

"I'm sorry, Jack, but I don't need it." He pulled up his best puppy dog expression to plead with Jack.

"Oh, no. That look isn't going to work on me. Carter may buy it, even Fraiser may cave every now and then, but not me." He got up off the couch. "You forget, Daniel, I know the thirty-eight-year-old you too well. You sit tight."

He was losing his touch. The two halves of his brain would need to regroup and form a different strategy against the Air Force Colonel.

Jack returned, nebulizer in hand. He placed in on the table, pumped the machine twice and guided the mask to Daniel's face. Daniel grimaced.

"Yucky," he proclaimed, but continuing breathing in the fumes.

Jack smiled. "You really need to expand your vocabulary. I know you have way better words in that brain of yours."

Oh he sure did, he thought, but bit his tongue on a comeback. Though he didn't really believe it would happen and that Jack only used it as an empty threat on occasion, he didn't relish the idea of Jack washing his mouth out with soap.

Jack settled on the couch and pulled Daniel into his lap, still holding the mask in place. Daniel picked at the lint on his blanket and the two sat in comfortable silence a few minutes while the medication did its job.

"It's not so bad," Jack said, absently stroking Daniel's hair. "This I mean, not the meds."

"This?" His voice was slightly muffled by the mask.

Jack lifted his hand to point to the two of them. "You and me." He sighed. "I needed this, Daniel. And if for some reason we do ever find out how to make it all right again, I want to you to know that. Even though it's not easy, you're giving me something special that I never realized how much I missed. You're a gift. Big and small."

He was surprised. Jack didn't admit feelings much and sometimes it was so hard to pry things out of him he thought he'd need the Jaws of Life. Not that he was any better, at least before he shrunk and found his emotions impossible to always control. They were the perfect pair, the two of them. He snuggled into Jack's embrace and looked up to see Jack smile. It was such a beautiful sight. Jack looked content and he realized he'd never really seen that look on his friend's face.

He didn't want to do anything to take it away. Even if it meant his brain was at war for the rest of his life. He smiled and tugged on Jack's hand to pull the mask away.

"Sorry I didn't gift wrap it," he told him with a smirk. "Though I could always stick a bow on my head if you want."

Jack laughed.

"You don't need any ribbons, kiddo. I prefer you right out of the bag. Fresher that way." He pulled the mask back up to Daniel's face and pulled him closer. "When this is done, how about that bath?" His other hand began stroking Daniel's hair once again.

"Sounds good," Daniel agreed, although if he didn't move from this very spot it would be fine. In fact, he realized, now he actually had the perfect leverage to reach that very itchy spot on his back.

Jack's hand was around his before he could even try to scratch. "Don't even think about it."

"But Jack..."

"No scratching."

"It itches!"

Jack squeezed his hand. "Yep, I'm sure it does. But it'll get better."

Itching, wheezy, covered with spots, Daniel knew he was right. Things would get better. In many ways, they already were.

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