Learning to Be Daniel
"You okay?" Jack looked down at Daniel who was pressed up against his leg as they stood in the doorway to the infirmary.
Daniel nodded, his fair hair flopping untidily over his forehead, into his eyes.
"You need a haircut," Jack said gruffly, running his fingers through the silky strands.
Jack took his hand and walked him back to the bed, lifting him up onto it. Daniel stayed there obediently and looked up into Jack's face.
"I need to ask you some stuff, Daniel, all right?" Jack pulled a chair over and sat down. "You know you're Daniel Jackson and that I'm Jack O'Neill, right?"
"Okay, do you remember being here before?" Jack swept a hand around, encompassing the infirmary, a place that had become almost a home away from home for Daniel when he'd been part of SG1.
Daniel's eyebrows drew down and he nodded slowly. "I think so."
"How do you know me?" Jack asked.
Daniel shrugged then he smiled and pointed at his head. "Because you're in here," he replied.
"Right, of course. Shoulda realized that. Do you remember being with Oma?"
"A bit." Daniel shrugged again and his fingers twisted the bedcover.
"Do you remember asking Oma to send you back to us?" Jack asked.
"Yes. Oma said I was sad when I was with her. She asked what I wanted and I said I wanted to help people. She said I could begin again and have a new life and in my new life I could help people. Did I want that? I said yes and she made me go to sleep and I woke up with those people where you found me." Daniel's eyes grew grave and his lower lip trembled. "You're not sending me back there, are you? They were nice to me but I want to be with you."
"No!" Jack pulled the child to him. "We want you here with us. I won't let them send you anywhere."
"Can I live with you?" Daniel asked hesitantly. "I'll be good. I won't be any trouble."
"I doubt that," Jack murmured but he hugged the boy again. "I need to speak to the General and Doc Fraiser about that first. I'm gonna get Carter to sit with you a while. She's missed you. She really wants to see you. You remember Sam, right?"
Daniel nodded. "I know who she is. I just don't really remember knowing her when I was big."
"It'll all come back." Jack put Daniel back on the bed, ruffled his hair and walked out to the waiting area where predictably he found Carter waiting expectantly. "I need to go see the General. Can you sit with Daniel for a while?"
Carter shot out of her seat like a missile on a launch pad, a huge smile on her face. "Yes, sir."
"Don't expect too much, Sam," Jack said gently. "He knows who we are, knows we knew him before he ascended but he doesn't have any real memories of that time. It's more like he just knows instinctively we're his friends."
"I won't push it, sir. I'd just really like to see him."
"Okay, good. He's resting but he knows you're coming. I'll be back as soon as I can. Where's Teal'c? I thought he'd be here waiting his turn to see Daniel too."
"He said he was going to meditate. To tell the truth, sir, I think he's a little worried about seeing Daniel again, worried Daniel might remember-"
"About Sha're," Jack finished for her. He sighed. "I don't think so. I'll talk to Teal'c after I've spoken to the General and Doc Fraiser."
He watched her enter the infirmary then turned and headed for the elevator.
Sam almost ran into the infirmary but slowed to a hesitant walk as she approached Daniel's bed. God! Daniel's bed! She'd never thought she'd ever be able to imagine those words again, to think them aloud. Creeping forward as silently as possible, she sat down in the chair at the bedside and looked her fill. It was Daniel, she was sure of it, would have been sure just looking at this child's face. She could *see* Daniel here.
Drowsy blue eyes opened and fixed on her face as she watched. "Hi, Sam."
"Hi," she said, tears threatening to overflow. She bit down on her lip and reached out a hand to him, taking his small one in hers. "It's so good to see you. I missed you."
"Thanks," he said, the tone of it so adult and incongruous coming from his child's mouth that she squeezed his hand and then pulled hers back, tucking it under her thigh as if the very action could stem the questions wanting to pour forth from her lips.
"You okay?" she asked. "Do you need anything? Juice? Water?" She bit her lip before she could utter "toys?" and was relieved when he replied, "I'm fine." He yawned, showing tiny white teeth and then his eyes drifted shut again.
Once she was sure he was asleep, Sam pulled her hand out from under her leg and allowed herself to touch him, gently, her fingers smoothing down the blond hair, feeling the living warmth of him. Then she let the tears come, quietly, stifling the sobs in the fist of one hand while the other kept touch with the tangible proof that Daniel was back.
"Come in, Colonel," General Hammond said, glancing up as Jack knocked on his office door.
Jack stepped inside and stood tensely in front of the desk, giving Janet Fraiser a quick nod of acknowledgment.
Hammond smiled up at him. "Relax, Jack, have a seat." He waited till Jack sat down then went on. "Dr. Fraiser here tells me Daniel's ready to leave the infirmary."
Jack nodded. "He wants to go home with me, sir."
"I see. I'm not totally surprised by that," Hammond replied. He looked over at Fraiser. "Doctor, any thoughts?"
"I don't have any objections to that but Colonel O'Neill would have to be taken off the active duty roster for now," she said.
"Why?" Jack asked, surprised. "Plenty of the SGC frontline personnel have families."
"That's true, but none of them are single parents of newly descended five year olds with strange powers," she replied sharply.
"Point taken," he agreed dryly. "Okay, so what then? Do we stand down SG1 completely?"
"Why don't we give your team a couple of week's downtime and take it from there?" Hammond suggested. "God knows, you all deserve a break. I know it hasn't been easy for any of you losing Dr. Jackson and then operating as a three man team-"
"Please don't tell me I should have let Jonas Quinn join SG1," Jack interrupted. "I couldn't. It wouldn't have been fair on the guy. Every time I see him I still can't help thinking that-"
"What happened to Daniel was his fault," Janet finished for him. She gave him a sympathetic smile. "Jonas understands that, Colonel. He still blames himself but he's happy working with SG4. He's made himself a part of their team."
"Good. So can I take Daniel home now?" Jack stood up.
"Yes." Janet nodded, standing as well. "I'll go back with you. I want to say goodbye to him. I want you to bring him back in a few days for a check up though."
Hammond stood up. "Well, guess I'll come along too. I haven't really had a chance to see him at all since he got back."
"I'm sure he'll be happy to see you, sir," Jack said. "You two go on ahead. There's someone missing from this little reunion and I need to go pry him out of his cave."
Jack knocked once on Teal'c's door then pushed it open when he was told to enter.
Teal'c was sitting cross-legged on the floor of the room but there were no candles lit and it didn't look like he was in the middle of Kel'no'reem so Jack started in right away.
"Doc says I can take Daniel home with me," Jack said.
"That is good news," Teal'c replied as he stood up. "It means the child is not injured or ill."
"Nope, Fraiser says he's fine. How about you? How are you doing?" Jack asked, lounging up against the doorframe.
"I am well. I was not injured."
"You haven't been to see the kid either."
"No." Teal'c crossed to his desk and picked up a photograph in a frame. He held it out to Jack. "This was taken the first time you prevailed upon us to accompany you on a fishing trip," he said.
"I remember." Jack grinned as he looked at the photo. Daniel was soaking wet, having tumbled off a rock into the river. Teal'c was just as wet, having jumped in to pull him out. They had their arms around each other's shoulders. Daniel was grinning from ear to ear and Jack could see the sparkle of amusement in Teal'c's usually solemn eyes. "What's this got to do with you not seeing Daniel?" he asked as he handed the photo back.
"Does Daniel Jackson remember all that transpired in his life before now?" Teal'c asked.
"Not really." Jack sighed. "To tell the truth, I don't know. He remembers all of us but You're worried he remembers what happened to Sha're, aren't you?"
"I am. Daniel Jackson and I were able to recover our friendship after I killed Sha're but it took many weeks before I felt that he truly trusted me and wanted my friendship again. I do not wish to be the reminder of that time for such a young child Nor do I wish to experience the loss of his friendship again."
"Look, T, I can't tell you how he'll react to seeing you but don't you think, if he doesn't remember, he'll think it even stranger if you don't go visit him? What do I tell him if he asks?"
Teal'c placed the photo back on his desk then nodded slowly. "Very well. I will accompany you to see him."
Jack wasn't sure what he expected to happen when he pushed open the door to the infirmary and ushered Teal'c in ahead of him. Daniel had been quiet and almost restrained since they'd come back, a complete turnaround from the Daniel of old who'd have been analyzing everything that had happened vocally and verbosely. He watched as Teal'c walked to the end of Daniel's bed and stood there next to Carter.
Daniel looked up from his perusal of the book on his lap and across at Jack, giving him a beaming smile of recognition. "Hey, Jack," he called out.
"Hey, buddy." Jack walked over to the bed and stood next to Teal'c. "I brought someone else to see you."
Daniel followed Jack's movement with his eyes then said, "Hi, Teal'c, it's good to see you."
"As it is good to see you also, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c replied, inclining his head.
Daniel clambered up onto the mattress, accepting a helping hand from General Hammond to walk unsteadily up to the end of the bed where he stood directly in front of Teal'c. With one small hand he reached up, touching the Jaffa's cheek gently. "Don't be sad, Teal'c," he said solemnly. "We're still friends, aren't we?"
Teal'c nodded then scooped the child up into his arms. "Indeed we are, Daniel," he replied as Daniel wrapped his arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.
"Sometimes hard decisions have to be made in the face of friendship," Daniel said as he pulled away.
"Oy," Jack muttered, "here we go with the Oma-talk again." He was somewhat relieved when Daniel turned and stuck his tongue out at him in a suitably 5 year old way.
"Can we go home now?" Daniel asked as Teal'c placed him on the floor.
"Yep," Jack said. He gave Daniel's current attire a once-over. "Might need to get you some other clothes first though-"
"Already taken care of, sir," Fraiser said, handing over a plastic bag filled with clothing. "Sergeant Masterson got her husband to drop these off a few minutes ago. Their son, Joe, is around Daniel's current age and they apparently have clothes to spare."
"Great, how about we get you changed and you can say bye to everyone and we'll head off then," Jack suggested.
"Okay," Daniel agreed cheerfully then went from person to person and delivered a goodbye hug and kiss on the cheek to each.
Jack grinned as he watched the General hug the boy back and tousle his hair, admonishing him to be good. Then he grabbed Daniel by the hand and started to lead him off to the bathroom to help him get changed.
Daniel jumped as the klaxon sounded loudly. He plastered himself against Jack's side, small fingers digging tightly into Jack's legs.
"Hey, it's okay," Jack soothed, managing to pry the clutching fingers loose long enough to get down on one knee.
Daniel immediately wrapped both arms around his neck and climbed up onto Jack's bent knee, burying his head against Jack's shoulder. "Something bad's happened," Daniel whimpered, his small shoulders shaking.
"Medical team to the Gateroom!" a voice called over the loudspeaker as the siren stopped.
Jack heard Fraiser shouting orders and then the sound of shoes clattering past at a run. "Hey," he murmured into Daniel's hair, rubbing one hand up and down the child's tense back, "it'll be fine."
Daniel shook his head. "It's something bad," he sobbed.
"Daniel, it's okay."
Jack looked up and saw Carter, Teal'c and Hammond standing around them, forming a protective half-circle.
"You are a brave warrior, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said and Daniel nodded furiously at that then reached one hand up till Teal'c grasped it.
"I'm trying to be," Daniel said quietly, his voice shaking. "I don't know why I'm scared. I know you're my friends and you'll take care of me."
Hammond bent forward, placing a hand on Daniel's nape. "We'll certainly do that, son," he said assuredly.
Daniel lifted his head and smiled tremulously up at Jack. "You can put me down, Jack. I'm okay now."
Jack gave him a last pat on the back then set him on his own feet and stood and stretched.
"Make a hole!" a voice yelled from outside the infirmary door.
Teal'c pulled Daniel to his side as the doors flew open and a gurney was pushed through, the man on it writhing and screaming in agony. Blood covered the man's face and legs and Jack shuddered inwardly as he saw bone sticking through the torn cloth of the man's pants.
"Lieutenant Mason," Sam said. "He and SG 10 were on a meet and greet on 787 today."
"Looks like more than a meet and greet happened," Jack snapped.
"You could say that, sir," a voice at his side said and Jack turned to see Colonel Jim Pearson at his side. "They ambushed us. Pretended everything was all friendly and neighborly then jumped us on our way back to the gate."
"Why?" Jack asked. "What happened?"
"Damned if I know," Pearson growled. "But I'm taking a team back there ASAP to find out."
"Not until you've been debriefed and we send a MALP through, Colonel," Hammond interjected. "I'll see you and the rest of your team in the briefing room in one hour. In the meantime, get yourselves checked out."
"Yes, sir." Pearson motioned the rest of his team in.
"Okay, Daniel, let's go-" Jack glanced down to where he'd last seen Daniel. "Um, Teal'c, where's the kid?"
Teal'c followed his gaze. "I do not know, O'Neill. He was right beside me a moment ago."
"Colonel, can you come in here?" Janet Fraiser's voice came from behind the curtained cubicle to which Mason had been taken and Jack trotted across, snatching the curtain aside hurriedly. "Daniel! What the hell do you think you're doing?" he yelled.
Daniel was up on the gurney, his arms wrapped around the shoulders of a now quiet Lieutenant Mason. The child's face was white and his eyes were closed.
Jack stepped forward and grabbed Daniel up in his arms, feeling the child go limp as he did so. "Doc!" he yelled, turning to where Fraiser stood as if frozen to the spot, her gaze fixed on Mason's leg.
"Oh my God!" Carter said from behind him and Jack turned back to the gurney. Mason's trouser leg was still bloodstained but now there was no sign of the ugly wound that had been there just minutes before.
"He healed me," Mason whispered. He pulled himself up to rest on his elbows. "Is he okay?"
Jack felt Daniel stir in his arms and looked down to see wide blue eyes blink slowly open. "Hey, kiddo," he said, emotion making his voice husky. "You shouldn't have done that."
"He was hurting," Daniel said. "I just wanted him to feel better."
Fraiser came over and put a hand on Daniel's forehead, the other wrapping around his wrist. "He seems okay," she said.
Jack sat Daniel astride his hip. "He's fine," he assured Mason, turning to carry Daniel from the cubicle, Fraiser scurrying along at his side.
"Um, sir, didn't Oma say that every time he did this "
Jack froze in place. "Oh for crying out loud," he muttered.
Continued in Healing Touch 3