(#12 in Shoelaces LD universe)
SUMMARY: Daniel and Jack try to deal with Daniel 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.
Daniel hated trips to the pediatrician.
He hated the animal wallpaper, the toy bin, and the copies of Highlights magazine thrown out on every surface of the waiting room. He hated the Little Tykes table and accompanying child sized hard plastic chairs. He hated his impulse to grab the crayons and scribble on the table's surface.
But it had been almost eight months and Janet insisted that he stopped going to the infirmary. She wasn't a pediatrician, she'd told him. He said he didn't care. Even Jack agreed. But she was firm. She sent them off with a recommendation and news that she'd already set up an appointment for that afternoon.
He supposed it was no big deal. He was already seeing the allergist. What was one more doctor?
It was one too many, he decided the second he stepped foot into the crowded waiting room. One child was crying, there was sniffling everywhere, and he almost ran back out to the car.
This wasn't fair. He had Janet. She could take care of him. He didn't want to see a doctor that would treat like he was five.
Which of course, he was. And wasn't. Which Janet knew and dealt with on a regular basis.
This Dr. Richards didn't.
He clung to Jack's leg, taking some comfort in the fact that this looked like the last place Jack wanted to be in as well. Jack led him to an empty chair at the little table before heading up to the
"Wanna color?" He looked up to see a girl about his age thrusting an orange crayon at him.
"No, thank you," he told her and it took every ounce of his willpower not to stick his thumb in his mouth.
"But it's fun," the girl said, not ready to take no for an answer.
The thumb went in.
She cocked her head. "You shouldn't suck your thumb. Only babies do that."
He couldn't believe she just told him that. He needed Jack and he needed Jack now. Thankfully, as if his prayers had been answered, he saw Jack move to an empty seat on the couch, a clipboard and pen in hand. Leaving the little girl gaping, he bolted in Jack's direction.
"I want to go home," he told him the second his brain was able to get his body to release his thumb from his mouth.
Jack sighed. "I know, I know. But Fraiser's right, you know."
He shook his head. "No, she's not. She's wrong. Really wrong."
"You're physically little, Daniel. Though I don't understand it, Fraiser says your system needs be dealt with differently."
"I don't have to like it."
Jack gave him a small smile. "No, you don't have it." He pointed to the paperwork. "I could use a little help here, though. You'd think they were writing a novel on you from all the info they need." He patted his lap and Daniel glanced back at the table and taunting girl before climbing up.
For the next ten minutes, he watched Jack fill in the blanks on the forms and he volunteered information when he could. He doubted that Jack didn't already know the information, but was secretly glad that he let Daniel stay involved. It was something he needed, especially with so many freedoms he'd once had now gone.
Finally the receptionist called Daniel's name and a nurse came out to greet them. She led them into an empty exam room.
"I'm not getting undressed,"
Daniel declared before the nurse could
even speak. She just laughed.
"We won't ask you, I promise. However, I do need you take off your shoes before you get on the scale." She pointed to the scale in one corner of the room.
Daniel frowned, but leaned down and managed to get his shoes off without too much of a fuss. He let the nurse weigh him and measure his height, frowning again when he asked her how tall he was and she told him he was forty and half inches.
After she left, he sat on the exam table staring at his socks.
"Forty and half inches, Jack. I'm not even three and half feet."
"So what? You're five, Daniel. Did you have any growth spurts the first time around?"
Now that Jack mentioned it, he was one of the shortest kids his age until he hit age 13, when he shot up nearly 8 inches in a little over a year. Still being short, and especially short for his current physical age, didn't make things any easier to deal with.
"I guess," he admitted. He stared at the wall, noting that the animal print wallpaper decor continued in the exam rooms.
Jack leaned against the exam table. "You'll grow eventually. Maybe this time around you'll be taller then me."
"Jack, I may be small, but I still have the same DNA. I'll still be the same height in the end." He paused. "I think."
Their conversation was cut short when the exam door opened, and the doctor walked in, Daniel's brand new chart in his hands. Daniel took a moment to study the man. He had dirty blond hair, was about six foot, and at best guess, Daniel gauged him to be in his late thirties, early forties. He had a stethoscope hanging out of one lab coat pocket and Daniel was relieved to see that he didn't seem to have "kid-a-fied" it.
The doctor smiled directly at Daniel. "You must be Daniel," he said, before looking to Jack. "And you must be Colonel O'Neill. I'm Dr. Ben Richards." He extended a hand to Jack, who took it. "I spoke to Dr. Fraiser this morning and she relayed a lot of information," the doctor continued, "But I don't really like second hand information, so I hope you won't mind if I take my own stats, so to speak." He put the chart down and fished out his stethoscope.
Daniel blinked. He'd been waiting for the doctor to talk down to him, but he maintained eye contact the entire time he spoke. Daniel exchanged a glance with Jack who raised an eyebrow as if to say 'I told you so.'
The exam went smoothly. Dr. Richards always spoke directly to Daniel, never referring to him in the third person, and let Daniel decide if Jack should answer the question or not. When he was finished, he sat on a stool next to the counter, scribbling in Daniel's chart.
"Dr. Fraiser warned me that you were one smart kid, you know." He spun the stool so he could face Daniel and smiled. "One smart, pretty healthy kid." He gave a glance at Jack. "Probably give your dad here a run for his money. And a heart attack or two."
"Or twelve," Jack replied.
"I'm not that bad," Daniel insisted.
Dr. Richards shook his head. "Of course not." He closed the chart. "Everything looks pretty good. How long have you been seeing the allergist?"
"Umm..." He looked to Jack.
"Almost four months," Jack answered. "Although we have been going a lot lately because the allergy meds didn't seem to be doing the trick. He had the chicken pox about a month ago and the allergies flared, causing the asthma to act up too. Allergist changed his meds. They seem to work."
"No they *don't*," Daniel but in. "I still sneeze."
The doctor smiled at him again. "It's the pollen, Daniel. Gets to me every spring and summer despite any pill I take." He paused. "You *do* sound a little wheezy, but I wouldn't be too concerned." He directed the later part of his statement to Jack. "And other than the asthma and being a little small for your age, I'd say you are one pretty healthy five-year-old."
"Not five," he said to the doctor. "Six."
"In nine days you'll be six," Jack corrected and Daniel crossed his arms.
"Close enough," he hissed.
The doctor looked down at Daniel's chart, obviously reading the fake year of birth Jack had doctored up to create Daniel's new birth certificate.
"Well, happy birthday early,
then," Dr. Richards said. "You doing anything
Daniel thought for a moment. He'd been so focused on adjusting to being five he hadn't though about celebrating being six. He had just wanted to be thirty-eight again and had hoped that this birthday he'd be turning thirty-nine, not contemplating how to survive until he reached double digits again.
"Oh he'd doing something special all right," Jack commented, handing
Daniel his shoes.
"We are?" What was Jack planning? Oh god, he hoped it wasn't some grand kiddie affair. AS much as he did love playing in the sandbox and playing with his cars, the whole cake and streamers and Chuck E. Cheese party extravaganza was not what he wanted. He had enough reminders telling him he was little. He didn't need the whole population of Chuck E. Cheese to sing it out to him.
But Jack just grinned at him.
Daniel kicked his feet back against the exam table. "Are we done?" he asked the doctor, plotting to get Jack to spill the beans once they were able to get to the car.
"Almost," Dr. Richard's promised. "You're up to date on most of your immunizations, but there's still a couple you need before you leave."
Daniel swallowed. "A needle?"
"Small one, I promise. It will be over before you even notice."
Daniel didn't know why, but he started shaking his head. This was silly. He'd had injections before. Recently even, since Janet liked to draw blood frequently. But Janet was one thing. She was gentle, she didn't hurt, she was Janet. This was some guy he'd just met and despite the fact that Daniel may even go as far to say he liked the man, he did *not* want the doctor sticking a needle into his arm.
He kept shaking his head and saw Jack get
up from the chair he had retreated to during the exam. "I
don't want a needle," he said
Jack stroked the top of his head. "I know. But Fraiser's given you shots before."
He knew that. Knew this was stupid. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Dr. Richards drawing up the needle in question. "Not the same," he said. "Not Janet."
Jack looked at him. "I know. Fraiser's good at that whole needle thing. Although if you tell her I said that, I'll deny it." He gave Daniel a smile.
"She already knows, I think," he said. "And you are trying to distract me."
"No, I'm not." Daniel shot him a look. "Okay, maybe I am. It working?"
"Oh I wouldn't say that." Daniel looked up to see Dr. Richards pull a needle away from his arm. "All done."
Daniel blinked. "Really?"
The doctor nodded. "Really. Go. Play. It's a beautiful day out there. Enjoy it before you forget how and you find yourself stuck inside working for a living every day."
"Oh, he will," Jack promised. He patted Daniel's head and helped him off the table. "Not so bad, huh, kiddo?"
Ten minutes later, they were in the car and Daniel had a moment to ponder both Jack's and the doctor's words. He'd survived the pediatrician despite a little of a performance he'd be embarrassed about for a bit.
Was that was he was doing? Simply surviving?
Yes. And no.
He took each difficultly as it came, conquering it and trying to move on. But it was hard to completely move on and accept his fate, when a tiny voice inside him told him perhaps this wasn't his fate. Eight months had passed and his new life had began, yes, but had he simply been trying to cope?
He was Daniel O'Neill, not Daniel Jackson. But, wait, no, that was wrong. He was still Daniel Jackson. Jack told him so. A change in name meant nothing.
But it was still different. He was still different.
When they got home, Daniel found himself in front of the fridge, staring at the picture he'd drawn Jack for Father's Day. He and Jack, hand in hand, smiling, even though it was hard to tell because a five-year-old was hardly an artist.
"Danny" was written so proudly at the bottom and Daniel realized how much he enjoyed drawing that picture. How much he enjoyed Jack's smile. How, deep inside, he'd lost something beyond his adult freedom and possessions.
He'd lost his burden.
And that was one thing he didn't miss. Being a child could be so carefree, fretting about simple things such as needle sticks, Father's Day gifts, and getting Jack to buy Starbucks ice cream. Enjoying all the hugs, smiles, and birthdays.
Had he really forgotten about that? Had he really ever experienced
He contemplated this for a few minutes, before he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Jack standing next to him.
"That's some picture, kiddo."
"I know," he said softly. He held Jack's knees crack as the man knelt down to his level.
"What's wrong?" he asked. "Arm hurt?"
He shook his head. "No."
Daniel shook his head again. "Nothing, Jack. Nothing's wrong." He paused. "I have fun, you know."
"I know you do. You certainly had a good time with Tessa in the sandbox yesterday. Carter will be disappointed I didn't have a camera."
"I'll draw her a picture."
"You know, I think she'd like that. A lot."
"Yeah," he agreed. He turned to Jack. "Jack?"
"It's a beautiful day. I want to play outside."
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