Ripped From The Headlines -
Bruised, But Unbowed
Based on a newspaper story in my local paper that told of a 56 year old woman who was attacked by two 8 year old boys with skateboards, who beat her over the head with them, then stole her purse.
"Hey, you okay?"
Daniel looked up from where he sat perched on the gurney in the ER cubicle, and Jack winced at the bruise covering his left cheek.
"Ouch," Jack said sympathetically, sitting on the edge of the bed next to him and looping one arm around the thin shoulders. "That's gotta hurt. Hope the other guy looks worse."
Daniel dropped his chin to his chest and mumbled something.
"What was that?" Jack asked, tilting his chin up with one gentle but firm finger.
"I said, 'kids, not guys'," Daniel repeated, louder this time.
"Oh. So what happened?"
Daniel's head drooped again and Jack felt the shoulder under his hand stiffen.
"I wanted to get some stuff on the way home from the Mountain so I asked Ken, my driver, to stop at the 7-11. I bought some snacks and then when I was walking back to the car-" Daniel stopped, looking up at Jack, his lower lip trembling, his eyes damp with unshed tears.
"Take it easy, buddy. Just tell it at your own pace," Jack said softly.
"There were these kids behind me and just as I was about to cross the parking lot to get back to the car, one of them hit me with something in the back. It hurt like hell and I fell forward. Guess that's when I got this." Daniel fingered the bruise gingerly.
Jack leaned him forward and lifted the hospital gown, whistling at the large bruise that marked the kid's back. "Shit! What the hell did he hit you with?"
"A skateboard," Daniel said. "I was down on the ground and they were grabbing at my hand, trying to get my wallet, but I was holding onto it really tight." The tears were overflowing now. "I couldn't let them get my wallet. It's got my ID in it, you know, for," his voice dropped to a whisper, "the SGC." He sniffed and wiped his hand over his tear-wet face, jerking it back as it touched the bruise. "Anyway, just as the other one was about to bean me with his skateboard, Ken showed up and scared the bejesus out of them, and they took off running. The manager caught them and Ken brought me here. He wanted me to go to the SGC, but I knew Janet would go all mother-henny on me and I just wasn't in the mood for that."
"Oh, Danny." Jack lifted the boy onto his lap, turning him so he could press his head against his chest.
"They were 8 year olds, Jack," Daniel said, his words muffled by Jack's shirt. "How can that happen?"
"I don't know, Daniel. Have you spoken to the cops yet?"
"I said I wanted to wait for my dad to get here." He gave Jack a watery grin. "Sorry. I just figured they wouldn't take much notice of a five year old saying he didn't want to press charges."
"You sure you don't? Might be what these kids need-"
Daniel shook his head. "I can't. How do we explain me?" He gestured down at his downsized body.
"I guess. Still doesn't seem right that they should get off scot-free though."
"I was thinking maybe you and 'Murray' could pay them a visit at home, with their parents' permission of course. Tell them it doesn't pay to beat up on five year old archeologists," Daniel said, smiling more broadly now.
"Oh yeah, Teal'c will love it. Better tell him to leave the staff weapon at home though." Jack set Daniel back next to him. "So, you sure you're okay to go home? The doc says it's up to you. Luckily, you've still got a hard head, so no concussion." He ran a gentle hand over Daniel's back. "And luckily no broken bones here either."
"I'd rather just go home, soak in a hot bath, have pizza and watch The Simpsons with you," Daniel said.
Jack helped him off the gurney and took his hand, leading him out of the cubicle. "Doable," he said, "very doable."