A little interim piece I wrote while I wait for RL to slow down enough for me to write the next past of A Nightmare Shared. Sorry for the delay, guys.
"No?" Jack gave Daniel his best frown. "You're sick. You have a fever. This will help."
Daniel rolled over to face the wall. "I don't care. Have you tasted that stuff?"
"As a matter of fact I have." Jack surreptitiously scrutinized the bottle. "It's cherry. Tastes delicious."
"Does too!" Jack sighed. "Look, we don't know what adult medications might do to you. You have to take this. You do want to go to the base tomorrow, right?" Daniel's shoulders slumped and Jack forged ahead, sensing success. " Well, then, just take the goddamn medicine."
"You swore, and you promised Janet you wouldn't." Daniel giggled. The sound stopped Jack in his tracks. Who was he dealing with here? An adult or a child, or a combination of the two? The whole damn situation was giving him a headache the size of Texas.
Jack held out the cup with the revoltingly bright red liquid in it. Even the smell was enough to make him want to gag. "I've got a water chaser right here. C'mon, Daniel, be a sport, okay?" When Daniel didn't move, he pulled out the big guns. "I could get Janet over here to give you a shot."
Daniel stiffened then turned over to face him. His face was ghostly-white, his eyes shadowed with fever, bright with panic. "No! I don't like shots!" He reached out and grabbed Jack's hand, almost spilling the medication over the bed. "Sorry, I'll be good."
Jack quickly set the medicine cup on the bedside table. "Hey, it's okay. I was just joking." Daniel just stared at him, his face closed now and almost stoic, except for the rapidly blinking eyes, now filled with tears, Jack reached out and pulled the child onto his lap. "Sorry, Daniel. I didn't mean to scare you." He allowed Daniel to burrow against him for comfort, taking his own solace for frightening the boy. "You know Janet wouldn't hurt you," he said finally.
Daniel snuffled against his neck, his breath hot, his skin warmer than it should be. "The hospital. Doctor Mackenzie. They held me down, kept jabbing me."
Jack wrapped Daniel closer in his embrace, silently cursing those who had caused all of this. How very cruel to leave a child Daniel with the terrible memories of his past. "I won't call Janet unless you get really sick," he promised solemnly, "but you're pretty sick already. Will you please just take the medicine?"
Daniel pulled away and looked up at him. Carefully, he reached up and wiped away the wetness from Jack's cheeks. "Sorry, Jack, I didn't mean to be a pain."
Jack gave him a tremulous smile, feeling like his heart would burst. "I know, buddy. I just want you to get better."
Daniel nodded solemnly. "I know." He closed his eyes and held out a hand. "I'm ready. Give it to me."
Jack couldn't hold back a chuckle. "It's not poison, you know."
Daniel opened one eye and pinned him with a glacier glare. "I'm trying to be brave here "
Jack schooled his features into solemnity. "Sorry." He grabbed the medicine cup from the bedside table and held it to Daniel's lips. "Bottoms up!"
Daniel drank, his face screwed up.
"A little more," Jack encouraged.
When the dregs were gone, Daniel sat still, his eyes still closed. "See, not so bad," Jack said.
"Tastes like crap," Daniel grunted.
"Does not," Jack retorted, out of habit.
"Does " Daniel's face scrunched up. "Jack "he suddenly wailed, "think I'm gonna -" He burped loudly and Jack jumped back, almost sending both of them to the ground then Daniel grinned. "Fooled ya!"
"Jesus, Daniel! You scared ten years' growth outta me!" Jack struggled to right the chair and pushed Daniel back to arms' length, giving him a stern glare for good measure.
"I was just joking," Daniel said softly, then his expression changed to one of surprise and then dismay. "Jack think I'm gonna "
Jack gave him a mirthless grin. "Not gonna pull it on me twice, buddy."
If it was possible, Daniel's face turned paler. He hiccupped and then threw up the most vile, bile-infested, foul smelling concoction Jack had ever seen on Earth or off. Jack waited to see if Daniel's head would do a 360. Okay, he was probably exaggerating it, but it was pretty damn vile.
He held Daniel against him when it was over, murmuring reassurances, allowing Daniel to slump against him, wiping his mouth with a tissue, encouraging him to drink a few sips of water, trying to ignore the mess that mashed them together.
Standing, he hefted Daniel in his arms and carried him toward the bathroom, the rank smell of vomit and sweat churning his stomach. He sat Daniel on the edge of the bathtub while he ran the water. The kid's gaze kept drifting toward him then jerking away whenever Jack looked at him. Finally, Jack placed a hand on Daniel's knee and squeezed gently. "It's okay, Daniel, not your fault you're sick."
"My fault I'm a kid again," Daniel said softly.
Jack shook his head and wrapped the boy in a hug, uncaring of the muck on both their clothes. "You trusted them, Daniel, that's not a fault." He held on for a moment longer, taking his own comfort from Daniel's embrace then pulled back and gestured at the bathtub. "I say we go for blue bubbles. What do you think?"
Daniel nodded, a small smile chasing away some of the shadows from his eyes. "Blue's good, Jack."