By Lyn & Annie
EMAIL: Lyn, Annie
Daniel had no memory of the accident that had downsized him into a four-year-old body, or of the first few days following it. He only remembered waking in the infirmary with a worried, haggard looking Jack seated beside his bed. He hadn't believed Doctor Warner at first when he tried to explain his condition but a quick glance in the mirror had certainly changed that.
He cried a lot at first. While his intelligence appeared to still be that of a thirty-five year old man, and his memories of his life before the accident were intact, his emotions seemed to have taken a nosedive to kindergarten level along with his body. In the past few weeks, he'd managed to keep his tears mostly under control. For Jack's sake. He didn't want to see the devastated look on Jack's face every time the hopelessness of the situation got to him, because he knew Jack blamed himself for the accident.
He still lost his temper when he couldn't reach a cupboard or turn on the faucet over the sink, got frustrated when nothing they tried worked, and frightened, thinking that perhaps he'd be this way forever, but he vowed not to cry anymore. At least, not in front of Jack.
Nothing the doctors or Sam had tried had worked. Daniel couldn't help wishing Janet was still there. She'd never failed to come up with solutions to the most bizarre problems.
An idea had come to Daniel when he'd woken that very morning and struggled with fingers that seemed too small to tie his laces and button his shirt. Foregoing brushing his teeth, he rushed out to the kitchen where Jack was buttering toast. "I've got it!" he announced triumphantly.
Jack looked at him warily. "Got what? Measles? Zits?"
Daniel rolled his eyes. "I know how to grow me back up. At least " He tried to push down his excitement, knowing he was going to have to really explain this well for Jack to go for it. " I think I know how we can find someone who can."
Jack pushed a glass of orange juice toward him and Daniel looked longingly at the coffee pot on the table. "Nah-huh," Jack said. "Doctor's orders. No caffeine."
"Just a sip," Daniel begged. "Half a cup, and you can even add milk." He shuddered at the thought.
Jack pointed at a chair. "Sit. Drink." He handed over a plate of toast. "Eat." He waited for Daniel to do so, then sat opposite him. "So, what's this great plan of yours?"
Abandoning the lure of the coffee, Daniel smiled. "The quantum mirror."
Jack frowned. "And that will help us how?"
Daniel sat forward, his hands waving about as he spoke. "It's still in the lab. We've been running some tests on it. We can check and see if any of the alternate realities have had a downsized Daniel, and if they did, how they fixed it."
Jack took a sip of his coffee then carefully placed the mug down on the table. He scratched his head. "Daniel, look, it sounds like a good idea in theory, but there's just too many what-ifs."
"Like What if none of them have had a downsized Daniel, or if they have, what if they couldn't figure out how to fix it?"
Daniel felt his hopes deflating. "We've tried everything else," he said softly. "Can't we at least try?"
"What about that Endoscopic Cascade thingy? Now that's a big what-if."
"Entropic Cascade Effect," Daniel said with a small smile. "That doesn't happen right away, so we just need to get back here before it does."
Jack was already shaking his head. "I'm sorry, Daniel, I'll run it past Carter, but I don't think it's a good idea."
"Can't I run it past Sam?" Daniel asked around the tightness in his throat. He just knew he was going to cry. After all this time of holding it in, of crying in the dark when Jack was asleep, he was going to lose it. He blinked a couple of times when his eyes burned with unshed tears. "I can explain it better than you, even if I only look five."
Jack pushed his chair back from the table. "Come here," he said.
Daniel hesitated. He was barely holding it together as it was. "Why?"
"Just do it, huh?"
Climbing off his chair, Daniel walked around to Jack, who lifted him onto his lap. "I know," he said, rubbing a comforting hand down Daniel's thin back, "that you're a smart guy. The smartest I've ever known, but I don't want to risk anything happening to you."
Daniel heard the unspoken 'again' loud and clear. "It wasn't your fault, Jack," he said quietly.
"Yes, it was."
Daniel heaved out a weary sigh and leaned back, resting against Jack's chest, grasping Jack's arms and wrapping them about him. "So, I can at least talk to Sam, right?"
"Yeah, you can talk to Sam."
Daniel nodded. He let the tears come then, not even trying to hold them back. "Okay."
Sam came rushing up to them the minute they stepped out of the elevator. Daniel smiled at her. "Hey, Sam, there's something I need to talk to you about."
Sam scarcely glanced at him, her expression worried. "Hey, Daniel." She turned her attention to Jack. "Sir, there's something I need you to see."
Jack frowned and laid a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Why don't you go wait in your lab? I'll come get you in a minute."
Daniel shrugged Jack's hand away. "Why can't I come?"
Sam looked at him then. "It might be nothing, Daniel. I just want Colonel O'Neill to take a look."
"Then will you listen to my idea?"
"Idea?" Sam looked puzzled.
"For growing me up."
"Oh, right." She nodded and reached out to tousle his hair. Something she seemed unable to stop herself from doing and something he truly hated. "Sure."
"I'll come get you in a little while," Jack said.
Daniel shook his head. "I want to check out some stuff on the mirror."
Jack shook an admonishing finger at him. "No touching, okay?"
"Sheesh!" Daniel shook his head in frustration. "I'm not really a kid, you know."
Jack gave him a smirk. "And you weren't a kid the last time you touched the thing." His face grew stern again. "I mean it, Daniel."
Daniel held up his hands in surrender. "Okay, already! No touching."
Daniel was so lost in his examination of the mirror and the people beyond it, that it took several seconds for the loud blaring of the klaxons to register. It still seemed so weird to see his own face, staring back at him. The adult him, of course. He hadn't seen a single child version of himself yet. That didn't mean anything, he knew. Sometimes, it was Jack he saw, or Sam, and he was aware that in some of those realities, he was already dead, killed by the Jaffa who'd invaded that Earth. But maybe, just maybe, one of those adult Daniels had, at one point, been downsized.
"This is General Hammond. We have a foothold situation. The base is on immediate lockdown."
Standing, his heart hammering in his chest, Daniel ran for the gate room. They'd always wondered if it would come to this. To now, they'd managed to keep the Goa'uld away, engaging them offworld, but keenly aware that the enemy possessed ships far more advanced than the shuttles on Earth. In the past week, NASA radar had shown a scout ship on the far edge of the galaxy and they'd been on level three alert since then, waiting.
The corridor was a scene of organized chaos. A mass of personnel hurried past him, their concentration set grimly on their appointed task. With his heart thudding in his chest, Daniel weaved his way through them, picking up speed as the gateroom came into view.
"Hey!" An airman grabbed for him but Daniel managed to flinch out of reach and kept going, determined to find Jack. "You can't go in there-" The rest of the man's words were lost in an explosion of gunfire.
Panicked by the sounds of screaming coming from the other side of the door, Daniel fumbled in his pocket for his access card. Something slammed against the other side of the locked door and he stumbled backward, the card falling from his hand. He stared for a moment at the door, his throat tightening in fear. Turning, he ran for the steps that led to the observation deck.
His shorter legs made the climb hard going and at the top, he stopped, afraid to go further. Bodies lay slumped on the floor, blood oozing from ghastly wounds.
"General?" he whispered. Hammond lay propped against the wall. Next to him, Walter Harriman lay unmoving, his eyes staring sightlessly at Daniel. Daniel took a hesitant step forward, stopping short when Hammond gasped and his eyes opened.
"Get out of here, son," Hammond wheezed. "Nothing you can do."
Daniel shook his head then flinched as more gunfire erupted in the gateroom below. He glanced over to see the uppermost glyph on the dialing computer light up. When he looked back at Hammond, the general's eyes were closed, his chest still. Tears welled in Daniel's eyes, coursing down his cheeks. "Jack?" he shouted. "Jack?"
He forced himself to go to the window and look down. Bodies lay strewn at the base of the ramp. From here, it was difficult to identify anyone. A lone Jaffa stood on the ramp and Daniel recognized him immediately as Apophis' First Prime, Teal'c, the one who had stolen Sha're from him on Abydos.
As though sensing he was there, the Jaffa's gaze flickered up to him and Daniel shrunk back at the cold look in the man's eyes. He jumped, startled, when the security door opened, and gunfire peppered the room. Huddled just outside, weapon up and firing was Jack.
"Jack!" Daniel pressed his hands to the glass, frantic to see him.
Jack glanced up at that moment, his eyes widening. "Get out of there, Daniel!" Jack ordered. "Run!"
Daniel shook his head.
A brilliant flash of light streaked across the gateroom. Someone screamed in agony. Terrified, Daniel turned and ran for the stairs. He stampeded down the stairs, tripping and almost falling at one point in his haste to get to Jack. Throwing himself off the bottom-most one, he glanced at the doorway to the gateroom. The room was silent, save for the dialing of the Stargate. Steeling himself, he stared at the man lying in the doorway, blood oozing from his mouth and nose, his chest a bloody, smoking mess. Daniel took a small step forward. "Jack?"
Footsteps pounded from within the room, approaching the corridor, and Daniel stood stock-still, panic and shock assaulting him in equal measure. The First Prime stepped out of the room, stepping unceremoniously over Jack's motionless body. Daniel stared at the Jaffa, unable to move. The Jaffa raised his staff weapon and Daniel turned and fled.
He could hear the Jaffa gaining on him, knew what lay in store if he were captured. He hurtled around the corner and dived toward his salvation, grabbing the transport device and slamming his hand against the mirror's surface before throwing himself into the vortex.
The sudden effect of simply finding himself on the other side of the mirror shocked him as much this time as it had the last time he'd used it. For some reason, he still expected the screaming, whirring tunnel of the Stargate rather than this gentle passage through to another dimension.
He stood and looked into the mirror, seeing the Jaffa who'd killed Jack and the others rounding the corner of the room beyond the mirror. Thinking quickly, he flicked the control in his hand and breathed a gasp of relief as the mirror faded to blank implacability.
Sirens wailed around him, hurting his ears, and he dropped to the floor, hands covering his head, his heart pounding in his chest. He heard the thundering of footsteps, too reminiscent of the Jaffa, and he cowered down into his self-made sanctuary of a tightly curled body, till he heard voices speaking to him and recognized the words as English.
Lifting his head, he looked into the face of a man dressed in an army outfit a little dissimilar to the one worn by the men of his SGC. Daniel stood, holding his arms out to his side, hands trembling uncontrollably in the face of the weapons pointed at him.
"What the hell are you doing here, kid? How did you get in here?" the man in front of him asked, not unkindly.
He tipped his head back and looked up into the man's face. "My name is Doctor Daniel Jackson. I came through the quantum mirror from an alternate reality and I need to see Colonel Jack O'Neill."
"You're a little young to be a doctor, son," the man, a sergeant, Daniel could see now, said, smiling.
Another soldier walked up and whispered something in the other man's ear. The sergeant shrugged, then nodded. "You need to come with us, son."
"Will you take me to see Jack Colonel O'Neill?" Daniel asked, stepping forward.
"Let's just get you to the infirmary first and get you checked out, then we'll talk about that, okay?"
Daniel nodded. "Okay," he agreed.
The sergeant put his gun away and held out his hand, which Daniel took.
Daniel looked back at the mirror as he was led away, tears beginning to fall from his eyes. "Bye, Jack," he whispered. "I love you."
General Hammond looked around the table at the three members of SG:1. "How's Dr Jackson coming along with that translation he's helping SG:5 with?"
Jack O'Neill looked up from the sheet of paper he was doodling on. "Good, apparently. They should be back here in about three days. He said the locals are being helpful, and there's some high priestess or other who's very keen to give Daniel any aid he needs."
Sam Carter smiled as she said, "Just another typical Daniel away mission, by the sound of it."
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed, his dark eyes showing affectionate amusement. "At least this time, he has remained unscathed."
"Yeah, well, he's still got three days to fall down a hole or get himself zatted," Jack replied. "So, General, what's up? I thought we were all on standby till Daniel gets back." He lifted his coffee mug and sipped. "Seems to be all quiet on the Western Front for now."
Teal'c raised a quizzical eyebrow at him.
"It's an old war movie reference," Jack explained. He set his cup down and raised an enquiring eyebrow at Hammond. "Sir?"
"Well, we've got an interesting situation downstairs," Hammond began. "This morning, around 6 AM, the quantum mirror was activated from another dimension-"
"Someone came through from another reality?" Sam's voice was tight with excitement, and Hammond smiled at her, even as he raised a hand to stop the expected rush of questions "Let me finish, Major."
"Sorry, sir." Sam settled back in her seat, but it was obvious she was just barely holding her enthusiasm in check.
"When the guards entered the room, they found a small boy there. He's aged around five or six years old, according to the SF who found him, but that's not the most interesting part. When he was asked what he was doing there, the boy said that his name was Doctor Daniel Jackson and that he'd come from an alternate reality-"
"What?" Jack was leaning forward, his eyebrows almost meeting his hairline. He looked at Carter. "Is that possible?"
Sam shrugged. "I guess it's possible that a child version of Daniel could come through. It's possible that not all realities are on the same timeline but-"
"I think you've missed something," Hammond interrupted. "The child didn't say he was Daniel Jackson. He said he was Doctor Daniel Jackson. Now, I realize that many alternate realities will have some differences with ours, but I don't know many that would have a 6 year old capable of obtaining a PhD, do you?"
"Well, no." Carter shook her head. "I mean, our Daniel was considered a genius, but even he didn't get his PhD that young. What else did the boy say?"
"Nothing," Hammond replied. He stood and walked to the window, looking down on the Stargate below, then turned back to face SG:1. "He refused to talk any more until he'd seen Colonel O'Neill. He was very adamant, had quite a fine tantrum, apparently. He's been taken to the infirmary and I want you three to go down and talk to him, find out what the Sam Hill is going on here."
Jack stood, Carter and Teal'c rising to join him. "On our way."
"Jack." Hammond walked over to stand before them. "Go easy on the boy. He may say he's a doctor, but from all I've heard, he's also a scared, confused little boy. It might be better if you talk to him one on one. We don't want to overwhelm the boy."
"Of course, sir."
Daniel couldn't help darting curious glances all around him as he was shepherded through the long corridors of the place he'd been brought to. It looked a lot like home, though the uniforms worn by the men escorting him were a little different. Every now and then, he'd catch sight of a familiar face and once he called out, "Hey, Siler!" before remembering that the man wasn't his Sergeant Siler and this was not his home, no matter how closely it resembled it. The man glanced at him curiously, but didn't respond. His heart felt heavy with grief for all the friends he'd lost - Jack, especially.
"In here, son," came the friendly voice of the Major who'd brought him here, and Daniel went through the door in front of him and stopped, looking around.
This infirmary was pretty much identical to the one back on his home world except He gasped as a small woman approached him, a gentle smile on her face. "Janet?" he whispered.
The woman stopped in front of him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Hi, do you think you recognize me?"
"Dr Janet Fraiser," Daniel said, swallowing hard against the tide of relief at seeing such a familiar, well-loved face. He took a breath and held out his hand. "I'm Daniel Jackson."
Janet nodded and shook his hand as if she was used to meeting downsized archeologists every day. "It's good to meet you, Daniel. Do you mind if I take some blood, run a few tests?"
Daniel shook his head stoically. He'd been punctured so many times since being downsized that he was inured to it. "That's okay," he replied. "I know you need to run your tests, make sure I'm telling the truth. Um," he looked around the room, "is Jack here?"
"You mean Colonel O'Neill? He'll be here soon," Janet said, walking him over to one of the beds and hoisting him up to sit on it, his legs dangling over the side.
"Oh, okay. That's good. It's just I really need to see him soon, to explain-" Daniel stopped, a thought suddenly looming large in his mind. "Am I dead?" he asked breathlessly.
Janet frowned at him, smoothing back his fringe with one hand. "Of course you're not dead, honey-"
"Not me - me." He stopped again, struggling for the words to explain. "The me in this reality am I dead? Because if I'm not then you need to watch out for signs of Entropic Cascade Failure."
Janet blinked at him, surprise in her eyes. "You know about that?" she asked.
"Well, I wouldn't have mentioned it to you if I didn't know about it, would I?" Daniel smiled at her unsurely. "Do you know about it?"
"Why don't we get these tests out of the way and then I'm sure Colonel O'Neill will be able to answer any questions you might have," Janet said, turning to pick up a syringe and tourniquet from the side table.
"Okay," Daniel said. He reached out a small hand and grasped her wrist gently, smiling tremulously at her when she looked down at him. "It's really good to see you, Janet," he murmured, pushing back the tears again. "I've missed you."
"You have?" she asked.
Daniel looked down at his feet. "In my reality, you were killed three months ago."
Janet looked startled then seemed to recover her equilibrium. "Just a little pinch," she said softly, inserting the needle.
Daniel watched as the vials of blood were given to a nurse to be taken to the lab then he was taken to have an MRI scan. He'd had them before, of course, and it was over relatively quickly so he didn't mind too much, except that lying on the table, with nothing else to do except think, he found his mind filling with images of Jack dying on the floor of the gateroom. Before he could stop them, tears were streaming down his cheeks, making his nose clog up, as his sobs became louder and more uncontrollable.
"It's okay, we're almost done," Janet's voice said through the microphone built into the machine, but her calming voice didn't help and by the time he was pulled out of the scanner, he was sobbing heartbrokenly.
Janet scooped him up and rocked him, shushing him gently, patting his back.
Eventually, he managed to gain a tenuous control and he lifted his face from her damp shoulder. "I I'm okay, now," he stammered. "Sorry."
"That's okay." She put him down on the floor and took his hand then led him back to the infirmary where she settled him on the bed again.
"Colonel O'Neill's ready to see you. Is that all right?" she asked.
He nodded, heart in his throat. Finally.
"Do you want me to get you a drink or something to eat first?" she asked.
He shook his head. "I'm fine. I'd really like to see Jack - Colonel O'Neill now." He forced himself to remember that this wasn't his Jack, clenching his hands into tight fists as he fought to maintain control.
"All right. I'm going to leave you here with Michael while I go talk to the Colonel." Janet motioned over a male nurse and asked him to sit with Daniel. "Then I'll bring the Colonel in, all right?"
Daniel nodded and watched nervously as she walked out of the room. He looked at the nurse, smiling a little at the familiar face. "I've met you before," he said conversationally. "How's Jenny?"
"Um, she's - she's fine, thank you," the nurse stuttered.
"Good, that's great, Michael," Daniel replied, his eyes now fixed firmly on the infirmary door, his heart still thumping madly in his chest.
"You all right?" Michael asked.
Daniel nodded then shook his head. "I'm a little scared," he admitted.
Michael's big hand covered his own small one and squeezed gently. "Everything'll be okay."
Daniel huffed out a breath and forced himself to relax. "I know."
Janet stepped into the small anteroom off the corridor that served as a waiting room and nodded at Jack. "He's ready to talk to you, but go easy, he's a very frightened little boy."
"Did you find out anything about him?" Jack asked, moving towards the door.
"Bits and pieces, nothing much. He did say that in his reality, I was dead. He also asked if our Daniel was, because he was worried about Entropic Cascade failure," Janet replied.
"You sure he's really a kid and not just a midget?" O'Neill asked, half-jokingly.
Janet shrugged. "He's definitely a kid, about 6 years old, I'd say. The MRI came back clean and I've sent blood off for DNA and the usual checks. He's still insisting he's Daniel Jackson, and I have to say, Colonel, he's got me pretty much convinced, as difficult as it may be to believe that."
"Is there anything we can do?" Teal'c asked.
"Actually, there is. While the Colonel's talking to the child, I'd like you to go to Daniel's office and get a couple of his things, artifacts or books, personal belongings, something he should recognize if it really is him."
Teal'c inclined his head. "I shall go immediately."
Sam stood up. "SG:5 has a scheduled radio check in about 5 minutes. I'm going to talk to our Daniel. Just to make sure he's where he's supposed to be."
"All right." O'Neill ushered the doctor ahead of him. "Let's do this."
The child sitting on the bed looked up as he entered, blinking nervously as Jack approached him.
"Jack?" he asked. His bottom lip quivered and two small white teeth bit down hard on it.
Jack winced, then sat on the bed next to the boy. "Easy, kiddo, you're gonna end up with a fat lip if you keep doing that."
Daniel nodded, then lifted a hand and touched Jack's chest tentatively. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," Jack replied, "how about you? You doing all right? Everyone taking good care of you?"
"Yeah." The blond head nodded again. "Do you believe me about where I came from and who I am?"
"Well, why don't we wait till Janet has the results back from the tests and then we'll have a better idea of what's going on here, okay?"
"Still the cynic, huh?" Daniel quirked a dimpled grin up at him and Jack's heart leapt. That was a grin he knew only too well.
"Yep, cynical Jack, that's me. So, you want to tell me how you got here and why?"
"Sure. I came here because I had to, there was nowhere else to go. I had planned to wait till I could find the right reality to jump to, but the Goa'uld attacked too quickly and Jack told me to go, so I did. I just-"
Daniel stopped, looking up curiously as the door to the infirmary opened again and Teal'c stepped through. Mouth dropping open, eyes wide with fear, he screamed and launched himself off the bed at the Jaffa. "No! You can't be here! You killed Jack! You killed everybody!"
Jack stared in shock, too surprised to react immediately when the kid threw himself off the bed and launched himself at Teal'c. Screaming unintelligibly, hands and feet flying, the boy pummelled Teal'c's legs and stomach, pretty much any part of Teal'c's body he could reach.
Teal'c's own efforts to defend himself were hampered by his obvious wish not to harm the child. Dropping the articles he held in his hands, he reached down and picked the screaming boy up, holding him at arms' length, his own eyes wide with shock.
Jack shook himself and hurried over, taking the fighting bundle from Teal'c and, wrapping his arms around Daniel, murmuring soft words of comfort, just as he had done with Charlie when he'd woken with nightmares so many years ago. "Easy, easy. It's okay. I've got you."
It didn't take long for the boy's rage to be exhausted and he curled in on himself, huddling up against Jack's chest, his arms wrapped tightly around Jack's neck. His face was turned toward Teal'c and his gaze was firmly fixed on the Jaffa. He was still sobbing softly, his breath hiccuping. Jack's shoulder was damp with tears. Jack patted the kid's back. "Teal'c's our friend," he said.
"He killed Jack and General Hammond and Walter " Daniel stuttered. "And Sha're. He took her away from me."
That one stopped Jack in his tracks and Teal'c too, if the startled look on the normally stoic face was anything to go by. Janet appeared in the doorway, a questioning, worried look on her face. Jack waved her away.
"In your reality, maybe," Jack said, still patting Daniel's heaving, thin back. "Here, he's a friend. He saved our lives."
Daniel scowled at Teal'c. "Hate you," he whispered. He swiped at his nose with one hand; the childish action incongruous with the hateful words he'd spoken.
"Daniel " Jack began warningly. He trailed off when he realized that he was as convinced as Janet that this was - somehow - Daniel. Smaller, but still Daniel.
Teal'c took a step forward and Daniel cowered back into Jack's sheltering embrace. "As you have every right to, DanielJackson. In this reality - and perhaps in yours, though I was Apophis' First Prime, I was also a member of the resistance, led by my good friend and mentor, Bra'tac."
Daniel glanced up at Jack and Jack hurried to explain. "The resistance is like -"
"The underground, the French Resistance, Covert Ops," Daniel interjected. "I know. I'm not really a kid." He scrubbed at his face with his hands, smearing moisture and mucus across his cheeks.
"Right. Of course you're not. Silly of me to forget." Jack rolled his eyes and just barely restrained himself from ruffling Daniel's hair, but he was relieved to see the boy had uncurled himself from his protective embrace. He was still eyeing Teal'c warily but there was a glint of familiar, enthusiastic curiosity in his eyes. "Here." He pulled a tissue from the box on the bedside table and cleaned up Daniel's face. He was so caught up in his ministrations that he didn't notice Teal'c gradually coming closer.
He stood in front of them, towering over Daniel, then he reached out slowly and cupped Daniel's cheek, stroking gently. After a moment, he brushed a lock of hair from Daniel's eyes and spoke. "I too have a son. His name is Ry'ac. I would protect him with my life, just as your O'Neill did for you. If it were not for the Tau'ri coming to Chulak when they did, it is likely I would still be First Prime of Apophis. The Jaffa Resistance was courageous but small, too small to have any hope of defeating the Goa'uld. It is possible that if the Tau'ri in your reality had found Chulak before now, such bloodshed may have been averted."
Daniel glanced away and a tear overflowed and dribbled down his cheek. "We - we sent a bomb to Chulak. Jack thinks that's why they came to Earth. They were able to track us. I didn't want them to send the bomb. I told them it wasn't the people of Chulak we had to fear but the Goa'uld who enslaved them." He reached for Jack's hand and squeezed it. "Jack didn't want to do it either but the order came from the President and the Joint Chiefs. Jack said his hands were tied."
Jack swallowed against the nausea that surged. "Now that's a familiar story."
Daniel looked up at Teal'c. "So, you're a member of SG:1?"
Teal'c inclined his head and bowed slightly. "As are you."
Daniel tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn and slumped back against Jack's chest. "Here, maybe. At home I'm still on the team but I don't get to go offworld. I mean, I was on the team."
"Sir?" Sam stood in the doorway, her intent gaze fixed on the boy on Jack's lap.
Daniel's eyes had closed but they fluttered open at the sound of Carter's voice. "Hey, Sam," he muttered and then he drifted back to sleep.
"Kid's exhausted," Jack said. He stood, carefully juggling the sleeping boy and then deposited him on the bed.
Teal'c gently tugged the blanket from beneath Daniel and covered him with it. Daniel stirred briefly then settled down with a soft sigh. Jack crossed to Sam and held a finger to his lips. "Let's talk in Hammond's office."
Carter was still staring at Daniel. "So, you really think it's him?"
Jack shrugged but Teal'c spoke up. "I am convinced," he said firmly, "as is O'Neill."
Jack raised an eyebrow then nodded. "What T said."
"I spoke to Daniel our Daniel," Carter said. "He's fine. Everything seems to be going smoothly. Of course when I told him about our visitor, he insisted on coming straight back, but I told him it's probably better he stays put for now, till we figure things out."
"That Endoscopic Cascade thingy," Jack added and Carter grinned like she always did when she knew Jack had mangled his words. "You know what I mean," he said, suddenly feeling as irritable as hell. He sighed and rubbed at his eyes with his hands.
"Yes, sir," Carter replied, as Jack knew she would. "It's a valid point."
It should have mollified him but it just riled him further. "So what do we do with a 6 year old kid who says he's Daniel, when our own Daniel is out there, cooling his heels?"
"Doctor Fraiser just got the DNA results back," Hammond said. "There's no doubt that the boy is who he claims to be."
"So what?" Jack said. "Do we leave Daniel out there or toss the kid back into the mirror and hope like hell he finds a reality where Daniel is already dead?"
"Actually, that's not a bad plan," Carter said. She sat down next to Jack and clasped her hands on the table. "The finding another reality part of it," she added quickly at Jack's frown, "not the leaving Daniel out there bit." She shrugged and looked apologetic. "We know that Daniel had no effects from Entropic Cascade Failure when he went through the mirror because the Daniel in that reality was already dead. If we can find another such reality -"
"What? We just dump the kid?" Jack stood and paced to the door then back to the desk. He glanced over at Teal'c, who stood silently, and, anyone who didn't know him, would think, unconcerned by the conversation, but Jack didn't miss the tiny frown between his eyes, the tense stance, the troubled gaze in the dark eyes. "Can we fix him first?" At Carter's blank look, he went on, his hands waving as he tried to explain himself. "You know, grow him up again? I mean, it's got to be tough for an adult to adjust to an entirely new world, but a kid? Even if there is an adult brain in there. Besides, Daniel's gone through that already, way too many times."
"I'm not sure," Carter said slowly. "I've got a couple of ideas and Janet's looking at the DNA angle, but it could takes weeks, months, even if we can come up with something."
"So, for now, we wait," Hammond said decisively. "There's no rush for Doctor Jackson to return from the planet, although once they're scheduled to return, if we haven't found a solution by then, we're going to have to come up with one fast." He closed the folder in front of him with a decisive snap. "In the meantime, Major Carter, I want you to work with Doctor Fraiser on finding that solution."
"We could contact the Asgard and the Tok'ra, sir. They might be able to help," Sam suggested.
Hammond nodded. "Do that." He turned to Jack. "It seems that your alternate reality self and the boy were close. I want you to stay with him, reassure him we're doing everything we can to fix things."
"Yes, sir." Jack turned to leave.
"How can I be of assistance, General Hammond?" Teal'c asked, speaking up for the first time.
"You're with me, big guy," Jack said before Hammond even opened his mouth. "I have a feeling I'm gonna have my hands full. A thirty year old Daniel was hard enough to control, a 6 year old version " He gave a theatrical shudder. "I need all the help I can get." He patted Teal'c's shoulder when he frowned. "I thinking he's taken a shine to you. You can introduce him to Star Wars. I think Daniel might have missed it in his first childhood."
Teal'c watched as the small boy shifted uneasily in his sleep, muttering under his breath.
O'Neill leaned forward and smoothed his hand across the child's brow, smiling triumphantly as Daniel settled beneath his touch and seemed to rest more comfortably.
"It would appear that this DanielJackson gains as much comfort from your presence when he is in the infirmary as our own does," Teal'c observed.
"What does that mean?" O'Neill straightened and looked over at him inquiringly.
"Nothing more nor less than that when DanielJackson is injured, it is your presence that most calms and reassures him," Teal'c replied. "I believe it is because of the depth of your friendship. You have known each other for some time now. It is only natural that when one of you is injured, the presence of the other is comforting."
"A brothers in arms kind of thing?"
O'Neill grinned at him. "You mean it doesn't make you feel better when you wake up here and find me sitting next to you?"
"Indeed it does. However, it is DanielJackson who has required confinement in the infirmary more often than I, or Major Carter, for that matter."
"Yeah, tell me about it." O'Neill sighed. "Looks like their Daniel's as much a trouble magnet as ours. I mean, even our Daniel never got himself turned into a kid."
"I believe that is a case of the cooking utensil calling the urn dark, O'Neill. After all, it was you who was aged many years in advance of your actual age some time ago."
"That's the pot calling the kettle black, T, and that was a whole different thing," O'Neill replied.
"How so?" Teal'c asked.
"Well, I mean It's not like I touched something I shouldn't have or something-"
"That is true," Teal'c agreed. "You ate something you shouldn't have."
'It's not the same Never mind."
"Yes, Lieutenant?" O'Neill looked up at the petite nurse who'd approached them.
"Major Carter is requesting your presence in the control room. She says it's urgent, sir."
O'Neill shot to his feet.
Teal'c stood as well.
"Stay here, Teal'c. Keep an eye on the kid for me."
"I believe it would be best if I accompanied you, O'Neill. I do not believe DanielJackson will be comforted if he awakes to see me here instead of you."
O'Neill shook his head. "He's sleeping, Teal'c. Look, I'll be back as soon as I can. It'll be fine. If he wakes up, put Star Wars on for him or something."
Teal'c sat back down and watched as O'Neill left the room at a run. Looking down, he saw the boy stir again and reached down a hand hesitantly, mirroring O'Neill's action from earlier, rubbing gently along the child's creased forehead. He smiled a little as the boy turned into the caress, let out a deep sigh and settled to sleep once more.
He watched the child for a few minutes more then convinced he was in a deep sleep, closed his own eyes and turned his mind to Kel'No'Reem.
"No! Jack! Wake up! Jack! Jack! Wake up!"
The high-pitched screams jolted Teal'c from his meditative state and he stood quickly, moving to the boy's bedside and untangling him from the covers. DanielJackson was sobbing now, his words no longer audible, his face red and covered in sweat that dripped from his forehead and mingled with the tears coursing down his cheek.
Teal'c pulled the child free of the covers, then sat down on the bed and pulled Daniel onto his lap. The boy fought him for a few brief moments while Teal'c soothed him with calming words and gentle rubs along his back. "It is all right, Daniel. All is well," the big man murmured, his body unconsciously rocking back and forth.
The child's hands wrapped around his neck and Daniel used them to literally pull his way up the broad expanse of Teal'c's chest until he reached his shoulder, where he twined his arms more tightly and settled his face into the crook of Teal'c's neck.
Teal'c kept rocking, rubbing, and murmuring till he felt the boy relax and the sobs settle into hitching breaths. "It was simply a nightmare, DanielJackson. You are safe here," he said softly.
The small head shook back and forth against his shoulder. "Jack's dead," Daniel whispered, his voice husky with the remnants of his tears. "What's going to happen to me now?"
"We will take care of you, young Daniel." Teal'c unwound the small arms from his neck and moved the child to sit back on his lap. He placed a finger under the downcast chin and lifted it gently, looking into the oddly familiar blue eyes. "Do you trust us?"
Daniel nodded, wiping his cheeks with the back of his hand.
"Then believe me. We will ensure you are safe and cared for, no matter what it takes to do so."
Daniel slumped forward and rested his head against Teal'c's chest. "Thanks, Teal'c," he said quietly. "I'm sorry I was mad at you before. I know you're not him-"
"It is of no consequence, young Daniel," Teal'c said.
He rubbed Daniel's back for long minutes until he was sure he slept again, then looked at the rumpled bedcovers, and thought about placing the child back under them now he was asleep. Instead, he wrapped his arms around the skinny back again and began to rock once more.
They were still sitting there when Jack came back an hour later.
"Everything okay?" Jack asked, stopping just inside the door.
Teal'c turned his head to look at him. "It is. Young Daniel had a nightmare. He is fine now. He is sleeping."
Jack moved across and sat down in the chair next to the bed. "I can see that. Ya did good, T."
"I thought perhaps he would become more distressed when I attempted to comfort him, but he accepted my reassurances," Teal'c said gravely.
"He's a bright kid. Figured it wouldn't take him too long to work out who the good guys were," Jack replied. "You want to put him back in the bed?"
Teal'c swivelled and began to lower the child to the mattress, straightening up again as the arms tightened around his neck and the small body stiffened in protest. "Perhaps later," Teal'c remarked calmly. "Do you need my assistance with something, O'Neill?"
Jack sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. There was a headache lurking back there, just waiting to pounce, he knew. "Not much you can do, buddy, but we do have a problem."
Teal'c waited silently.
"We've got to bring Daniel and the others back. They came under fire and the DHD got damaged. They're managing to hold off the natives for now but they can't dial the Alpha site so they're going to have to come back here."
"And this is a problem because " Teal'c indicated the sleeping child in his arms.
"Yep, that endoscopic thingy. Carter thinks we'll have a day or so's grace before it kicks in but in the meantime we've gotta figure out what we're gonna do with the little guy once Daniel gets back-"
"Perhaps the Tok'ra " Teal'c suggested.
Jack frowned. "Yeah, I guess maybe. To tell the truth, I'd rather send him off to the Nox than to that bunch of tight-assed 'we're not Goa'ulds', but we need to think it over first. And we need to find out what the kid wants too. I mean, he should have some input on his future, ya know. Our Daniel didn't get that much choice when he was a kid, after his folks were killed. He was shunted into one foster home after another. I want to give this Daniel some choice in his future." Jack stood and stretched. "One thing I do know is that we don't have a lot of time to make a decision as to where he's going and to get him there."
"Are you sending me away?" The small, frightened voice startled them both.
Jack sat down on the bed next to Teal'c, smiling as the boy clambered from the Jaffa's lap to his and curled in close. "I thought you were asleep," he said.
"I was." Daniel looked at Teal'c. "Thanks for staying with me, Teal'c."
"It was my honor," Teal'c replied.
"You said your Daniel has to come back," Daniel said, looking back up at Jack.
"'Fraid so. He's in a tight spot, Danny."
"I understand. I don't want anything to happen to him."
"Tell you what." Jack looked into the boy's eyes. "Let's get our Daniel home safe and then we can all sit down and talk things through. I'm sure Carter can come up with a solution. It'll be fine." He gave the bony shoulders a squeeze. "Teal'c's gonna take you to get something to eat. I gotta get back to the Gateroom."
"Okay." The boy climbed off his lap readily enough and waited for Teal'c to stand and take his hand.
"O'Neill," Teal'c said, "I could go through to provide backup for DanielJackson and the rest of SG:5-"
"Too late, Teal'c."
Jack swung around as he heard the familiar voice. "Hey, there you are. You okay, Daniel?"
"Fine. SG:5 is fine too. Janet's cleared us. So " Daniel looked down at his small doppelganger. "I hear you've been having some fun without me."
"We have," Jack said. "Doctor Jackson, meet Doctor Jackson."
Despite having been forewarned, Daniel's mouth dropped open. Jack's finger tapped his chin and then gently pushed his jaw closed.
"You'll catch flies, Daniel."
"It's just a little weird, you know." Daniel glanced at Jack. "You're positive it's me? Not me, but you know, me."
"Absotively," Jack said with some satisfaction. It wasn't often they caught Daniel with something out of left field. "Passed all the tests with flying colors." He reached out and tousled Danny's hair. "Right, Champ?"
Danny nodded, looking up shyly at Daniel through his eyelashes. "Hi," he said, giving his adult self a small wave.
"Hi." Daniel closed his eyes for a moment then opened them and shook his head. "God, he looks exactly like I did at the same age."
"Well, duh." Jack rolled his eyes but Daniel ignored him and turned back to the miniature replica of himself.
"I was I was just going to go get something to eat. Been living on MREs for way too long. You hungry?"
Danny nodded and Daniel held out his hand. "You guys want to join us?"
Jack shook his head. "Need to go check with Carter and the Doc. Teal'c, you wanna come along?"
"Of course." Teal'c touched the top of Danny's head gently then followed Jack from the room.
Daniel led the way to the commissary and found a table for two out of the way of inquisitive eyes. He ushered the boy into a chair and sat beside him. "So, what do you like to eat?"
Danny grinned up at him and Daniel couldn't help smiling back. This was just so weird. "Stupid question, I guess, but I can't really remember much about when I was a kid."
"Did you have mean foster parents too?" Danny asked.
"Not all," Daniel replied. "Some were better than others."
"When I got small again, the General thought it would be better to put me with a foster family because they couldn't figure out how to grow me back up. I was so scared." Tears glinted in Danny's eyes but he blinked them back and smiled. "But Jack said I was going to a foster home over his dead body."
"He's - Our Jack's a bit like that too," Daniel said. "I'm glad he was there to look after you and I'm sorry he died."
"How about a burger and fries?" Daniel suggested, desperately wanting to chase the sad look from the boy's face.
"That'd be good," Danny agreed. "And coffee, black, one sugar."
"Ahh, no, not a good idea. How about a soda?"
Danny studied him appraisingly for a moment. "You gonna have coffee?"
Gritting his teeth against the desire after drinking lukewarm, reboiled slop for the last few days, Daniel resolutely shook his head. "Nope, soda sounds good."
They'd finished their meals and were slowly getting to know each other, taking notes of the small discrepancies in their own worlds, and smiling over the fact that their respective Jacks had not been very different at all, when the intercom announced a message for Daniel.
"Doctor Jackson, to the briefing room."
Both stood at once. "I think that's for me," Daniel said.
"I can come with you though, right?" Danny asked.
"Sure. Let's go see what's up." Again, he clasped Danny's hand in his and led him out of the commissary.
Sam was seated alongside Jack at the table, while Teal'c sat opposite her. Hammond headed the table as normal. Daniel led Danny to a seat on the other side of Jack then sat beside Teal'c. "What's up?"
"We thought it a good idea to discuss some ideas of where we might be able to send young Daniel before the Entropic Cascade Effect has a chance to manifest itself," Hammond said. "Major Carter says we've got some time, but as she and Doctor Fraiser are yet to come up with anything else that might help at this point, it's best we look at our options." He smiled at Danny. "Son, I know you've been through an awful lot in recent months, but you also understand why we can't keep you here, don't you?"
Danny's chin quivered but he nodded. Jack reached out and grasped his hand, squeezing it gently. "I know. If I'd had a chance, I would have studied the other realities first, but it was too late."
"Not your fault, Danny," Jack said. He looked at Carter. "Any ideas?"
"Ideally, sir, we need to send him somewhere we know he'll be safe and cared for."
"What about the Nox?" Jack asked. He smiled at Danny. "You heard of them?" At Danny's negative head-shake, he went on enthusiastically. "They're great people! Love kids, and they have some pretty cool magic tricks."
Danny's eyes widened. "Really? Like what?"
"Won't work, sir," Carter interjected.
"Why not?" Jack asked, exasperated.
"Because we only have contact with them in our reality, not Danny's. Our only chance is to find a reality -"
"Where I'm dead already," Daniel finished for her. Carter gave him an apologetic smile but he waved it way. "So, we need to look for any realities where I don't exist."
The phone rang and Hammond held up a hand for silence, then answered it. "Hammond." He listened for a moment. "Are you sure?" He nodded briskly. "Right, we'll have someone there as fast as we can." He hung up the phone and stared at Danny for a moment. "There's been a development. Jack, why don't you take Danny down to see Doctor Fraiser for a while? Perhaps she can fill him in on what she's working on."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Sir?"
"We'll discuss it when you get back."
"Why couldn't I stay and listen," Danny asked as he gripped Jack's hand and walked beside him, "if it's about me?"
"Might not be," Jack replied. "Anyway, it's probably just boring details."
"I don't mind the boring stuff," Danny said. "You were the one who -" He broke off suddenly.
Jack jiggled the small hand in his grasp. "Who what? Come on, you can tell me."
Danny shrugged. "Doesn't matter."
Jack squatted down in front of the boy and grasped his shoulders lightly. "I know this has been really, really hard, and I think you've been incredibly brave. I just need you to trust me for a little longer and I promise you we'll figure something out."
Danny reached out and wrapped his arms around Jack's shoulders, hugging him tightly. Taken aback at first, Jack quickly returned the embrace.
"I miss him," Danny whispered.
Jack patted the thin back. "I know," he said around the lump in his throat. "I know."
"So, what's up?" Jack asked, seating himself next to Daniel at the briefing table.
"The call was from the storage area where the quantum mirror is kept. Seems they've made contact with Doctor Jackson's Danny's reality."
"What?" Jack sat forward. "I thought they were all dead!"
"Details are sketchy, Colonel, but I suggest you all take a trip down there and find out what's going on."
Jack pushed his chair back and stood. "On our way, sir. Keep an eye on the kid, will you? He's still pretty shaken up."
Jack stared in open-mouthed astonishment at the scientist in front of him. "Can't be the right reality. Danny said his Jack was dead."
"As far as we can tell, Colonel, from the boy's description of the room where the mirror was kept, it's the right one. It might be best to bring the boy " He glanced nervously at Daniel. " the other Doctor Jackson back here to verify it."
Jack motioned to Carter. "Get on it, Major."
"So, can we talk to this guy while we wait, see what we can establish?"
"Yes, sir. If you'll follow me."
Okay. Daniel was right. This was weird. The man on the other side of the mirror could have been Jack's identical twin. Jack shook the discomfiting thought from his mind and cleared his throat, trying to make his voice come out as authoritarian as possible. "This is Colonel Jack O'Neill. What can I do for you?"
The man on the other side of the mirror leaned forward slightly, wincing as though the movement caused him pain. He was bare-chested and a wide bandage was wrapped around his upper torso. "This is Colonel Jack O'Neill. You got my kid?"
"Umm, excuse me." Daniel stepped closer to the mirror. "We're not entirely sure who you mean by 'your kid'."
The O'Neill on the other side of the mirror stared slack-jawed at Daniel. "Daniel," he whispered hoarsely, "is that you?"
"No! At least not the you you think I am." Looking distinctly uncomfortable, Daniel backed away, glancing nervously at Jack. "I think you'd better handle this."
General Hammond picked up his phone on the first ring.
"General, this is Doctor Fraiser."
"What can I do for you, Doctor? Is the boy all right?"
"Well, actually, that's why I'm calling you, sir. Danny's rather agitated, which is not surprising, given the circumstances." Hammond heard a sigh huff out from the receiver. "Look, sir, we're strained staff-wise at it is at the moment. SG:7 just came back through, all suffering the effects of some sort of potion they ill-advisedly partook of on P7R111 and Danny's-"
"You want me to babysit?" Hammond's voice rose in unavoidable incredulity.
"Well, yes, sir. I mean, if you're not too busy. I mean, it's just that he's asking a lot of questions and my staff don't know what's going on and the less we're able to tell him, the more upset he's getting "
Hammond shook his head. An image of the child as he'd first seen him came to mind, the blue eyes wide with fear, lips trembling, on the verge of tears "I'll send Walter down to bring him to my office," he said finally. "It's probably better to have him here anyway, just in case-"
"Yes, sir, thank you, sir," Fraiser replied, the relief evident in her voice.
Hammond hung up the phone, rubbed a hand over his face then called Walter into his office.
"Have a seat, Daniel," Hammond said as Walter ushered the child into his office. "Would you like something to eat or drink? I could get Walter to get you something-"
"I had lunch with Daniel your Daniel," the boy replied, climbing onto the chair across from the General and kneeling up on it. He reached out and picked up the photograph on the desk. "Tessa and Kayla," he said.
Hammond grinned broadly. "They're in your reality too?"
Daniel nodded. "I played with them you know, since I got made a kid. Jack wanted me to have fun."
"And did you? Have fun?" Hammond asked gently.
Daniel nodded. "Tessa and Kayla didn't ask questions about why I was suddenly a kid like them. They just accepted me as a friend. I like them."
"Me too." Hammond watched as Daniel put the photo back. "It must have been tough on you, being a child again but still having your adult memories."
"Sometimes." Daniel laughed. "Make that most of the time. Everybody tried so hard to make it easier on me, especially Jack." He stopped suddenly and rubbed his eyes with his fists. "Sorry. My emotions ambush me sometimes."
"If you were still an adult, would you feel sadness at losing Jack and your other friends?" Hammond asked softly.
Daniel nodded, tears spilling past his hands and down his cheeks. "I saw you die too," he whispered. "I don't want to be the only one left."
"Oh, Danny." Hammond stood and walked around the desk, lifting the boy into his arms. He cupped Daniel's head in his hand and nudged it forward to rest on his shoulder, then sat down in the chair and held the child as he cried. "It's okay, son. Everything will be all right," he murmured, swallowing hard against the tears that threatened to spill from his own eyes.
The phone rang and Hammond reached out with one hand to pick it up. "Thank you," he said after listening for a moment, "we'll be right there."
He pushed the child away from his shoulder, seating him securely on his lap. "They're ready for you to go down now," he said.
"What's going on?" the boy asked, wiping at his eyes with his sleeve.
Hammond pulled a tissue from the box on his desk and blotted the boy's face gently. "A message came through the mirror," he explained. "There's a man who says he's Colonel Jack O'Neill and he's looking for you-"
"Jack's not dead? But I saw him, he was bleeding-"
"Well, let's just go down there and see if we can't sort it out," Hammond suggested, placing the boy on his feet next to the chair. He stood up and grasped the child's hand in his. "Ready?"
Daniel nodded firmly. "Let's do it."
As soon as they entered the room, Daniel cried out, "Jack!" and threw himself toward the mirror where the two Colonels stood facing each other on the other side.
"Stop him," one of them called out, and Teal'c stepped forward, his large hand reaching down to hold the boy back and then scooping him up in his arms. "You must wait, young Daniel," he rumbled against the boy's ear, even as the child squirmed against him and tried to climb back down.
"No, let me go, Teal'c. It's Jack!"
"What the hell is he doing to my kid?" There was a sudden flash of light from the mirror and then the alternate O'Neill was through and hurling himself at Teal'c. "Let him go, you murdering son of a-"
Teal'c stood his ground, easily fending off the attack from the obviously weakened man, managing to keep Daniel securely in his grasp as well.
Another flash and Jack was through as well, stepping forward to grab at his alternate's arms.
"Jack! Stop-, Teal'c's my friend! Stop it!" Daniel was sobbing now, huge gasping breaths making his words almost indecipherable.
The alternate O'Neill stopped mid-swing and looked into the child's tear-stained face. "What did you say?"
Daniel hiccupped a sobbing intake of breath. "He-he's not like the other one, Jack. He's a good man here. He's my friend."
O'Neill looked up into the Jaffa's face, seeing the warmth in the dark eyes that looked down at his kid, at the big hand that cradled the boy gently even as he held off O'Neill's blows. He looked around at the others. "You trust this guy?"
"Yes." Daniel, the other Daniel, O'Neill realized, the one who looked just like his friend before he'd been turned into a child, stepped forward. "Teal'c's an ally and a good friend. He would never hurt anyone of us, and certainly not the boy."
O'Neill suddenly fell to his knees, his face whiter than pale, hearing Danny call his name through the roaring in his ears.
Seconds later, Danny was in his arms, crawling onto his knees, his thin arms wrapping tightly around O'Neill's neck. "I thought you were dead," he murmured brokenly.
O'Neill rubbed his back soothingly, wincing as the precious weight pulled at his barely-healed wounds. "I'm sorry. I just wanted you to be safe," he said.
"Hey, you okay? Maybe we should take you to the infirmary."
O'Neill looked up to see a blonde woman at his side, her pretty face creased in concern. "Doctor Carter?"
"Oy," he heard his alternate mutter from behind him somewhere. "Don't tell me. We're engaged or married in your reality, right?"
O'Neill shook his head in bewilderment. "No," he replied. "Doctor Carter works in the facility as an astrophysicist. She's not married."
"Phew," his alternate said, whistling in what sounded like relief. "Sorry, Carter, no offence."
Carter grinned. "None taken, sir." She looked back down at O'Neill. "Infirmary?" she asked.
"I'm fine. I just got out of there yesterday, then I spent all night trying to get a message through the mirror."
"How did you manage that?" Carter asked. "Your Daniel brought the transport device through with him."
"You jury-rigged another one Well, not you you but you " O'Neill sighed. "Our Sam did," he said finally.
Danny pulled himself away from O'Neill and wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Sorry," he muttered when O'Neill frowned at him, "don't have a tissue. Jack, we have to go to the infirmary before we leave."
"Why? I told you I'm fine, Daniel. You're not going to start motherhenning me as payback for me doing it to you since you got made into a kid, are you?"
The boy shook his head, smiling. "There's someone there I need to say goodbye to," he said. "Janet's alive here, Jack!"
O'Neill gave him a quick hug. "Well, we can't go without saying goodbye to Janet, can we?"
"Um, hate to be a party-pooper," Jack said, stepping forward. "How do we know you're from the right reality?"
Danny looked through the mirror. "There are marks on the walls from where the other Teal'c shot at me with his staff weapon," he pointed out.
"I want a little more proof than that," Jack said, helping his alternate to his feet and keeping a steadying hand under his arm, just in case.
"You think there are that many other realities out there where I've been turned into a kid," the adult Jackson asked sceptically.
"Knowing you, Daniel, it wouldn't surprise me. Danny, listen," he crouched next to the child, wincing as his knees cracked, "ask the Colonel here a couple of secret questions. Something only your Jack would know."
"Okay," the boy replied slowly. "What's my dog's name?" he asked O'Neill.
"You sure you want to ask me that?" O'Neill nodded his head toward Hammond. "By the way, it's good to see you, sir," he added.
"Thank you. I take it my alternate self wasn't as fortunate as you," Hammond asked sombrely.
O'Neill shook his head. "No. He didn't make it." He looked down at the boy. "George," he said softly. "Your dog's name is George. The General gave him to you last month."
The child turned an 'I told you so look' on Jack and the others. "See, I knew it was him. Can I go home now?"
"What about the Goa'uld?' Carter asked worriedly. "Maybe you should stay here until we can find somewhere else to send you-"
"The Goa'uld won't be problem, for the foreseeable future. We got some help from a people called the Asgard," O'Neill said.
"Little grey guys, led by someone called Thor?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, how did you - Never mind. We'd rather go home. There's a lot of work to be done to get our planet back on track," O'Neill said. "But thank you, for looking after Danny."
"Nada," Jack replied. "Why don't you take the Colonel and Danny up to see ole Doc Fraiser to say goodbye, Teal'c?"
Teal'c inclined his head in agreement and ushered them from the room.
Fifteen minutes later they were back, Danny's eyes solemn as he looked around at each of them. He walked over to Hammond and shook his hand. "Thank you for letting me talk to you today," he said. "I'm going to miss you, sir."
"You know, I'm going to miss you too but I'm glad to know that the other Tessa and Kayla will have you there to help them through a difficult time."
"I'll do my best," the boy said.
"I know you will, son."
Sam stepped up and knelt down, putting her arms around the child and pulling him into a warm embrace. "Bye, Danny," she whispered into his ear. "You look after yourself and the Colonel, okay?"
"I will," he replied, surprising her with a kiss to her cheek. "I'm going to go see Sam when I get back," he said. "I think she gets too caught up in work sometimes. Maybe me and Jack can take her fishing or something."
"Oy," came a quiet mutter from behind them.
Daniel spun around and held out his hand to Jack. "Bye, Jack. Thanks for everything."
Jack reached down and tousled the boy's hair. "My pleasure, kid," he said. "Keep the old man out of trouble, all right."
"Hey," O'Neill interrupted, "I'm not the one who got down-sized because I touched something I shouldn't have."
"Perhaps we should warn the Colonel about Kynthia-" Teal'c began.
"Yeah," Jack said. "Listen, if you ever go to some planet and some beautiful girl says she made this cake and you're the only one who's allowed to eat it just say no, okay?"
"Oookay," O'Neill drawled.
Daniel walked over and bent down to look into his small doppelganger's face. "Bye," he said. "It's been-"
"Interesting?" Danny said with a grin.
"Yeah, that too," Daniel agreed. "You take care. I hope you find a way to get grown back up, though I gotta tell you, maybe being a kid isn't necessarily such a bad thing, when you have good friends to help you through it."
He stood and turned to O'Neill, shaking his hand, surprised to see the dampness in the man's eyes. "Look after yourself, Daniel. It's been good to see you again," O'Neill said quietly, watching Danny walk across to Teal'c.
The big Jaffa leaned down and lifted the boy into his arms, hugging him. "Goodbye, young Daniel," he said. "I hope that the Teal'c in your world may one day have the opportunity to meet the Tau'ri again and become allied with them, and thereby set his people free."
"I hope so too, Teal'c."
Teal'c bowed his head at O'Neill, who returned the gesture.
Teal'c set the boy on his feet then moved over to join the rest of SG:1 in front of the mirror.
"Ready to go home?" O'Neill asked, smiling down at the child.
"Yep," Daniel said firmly, grinning up at him.
"You have the dialing device?"
"Of course," Daniel said.
"Then let's do it."
Together they reached out and touched the mirror.