Very mild slash
Summary: Daniel's sick (yes, again). He's about to get sicker.
Dr. Daniel Jackson looked over his stash with a critical eye. It was all there, everything the archeologist with a cold could need. Tissues, orange juice in a nicely chilled glass, Tylenol, zinc and echinacea tablets, and from the kitchen, he could just smell, through his clogged sinuses, the aromatic odor of Mrs. Murphy’s homemade chicken soup beginning to bubble away in the slow cooker. He hadn’t been too surprised to find the pot of soup outside his apartment door this morning. He’d spent most of the night before sneezing and coughing and Mrs. Murphy, though eighty five years old if she was a day, still had ears like a hawk. She mothered everyone in the building to some degree but seemed to concentrate most of her mother-henning on Daniel. He had to admit that much as he hated Jack or Sam or god forbid, Teal’c, fussing over him, he kind of liked it when Mrs. Murphy did it. She was what he sometimes imagined his grandmother might have been like if he’d ever gotten to know her.
He sneezed again and grabbed for yet another tissue. His throat was sore now and he went to the bathroom and grabbed the lozenges he’d put in there after his last bout with the flu a few weeks ago. One thing about being prone to allergies and colds, he decided ruefully, was that you tended to be prepared. Now all he needed was a nice hot shower, and a few hours in bed, catching up on his reading while sipping on Mrs. Murphy’s soup and by tomorrow he had no doubt he’d be fine.
He’d just stepped into the bathroom and turned on the faucets when the phone rang. He looked longingly at the shower cubicle that was just beginning to fog up the bathroom nicely with comforting steam then cursed in Abydosian (always much more satisfying than English, he’d found) and went back out to answer the call.
“Hey, Daniel, it’s Jack. Got a job for ya.”
“It’s my day off,” Daniel pointed out nasally and more than a little sharply.
“I know. That’s why I’m calling you at home,” Jack said patiently. “Hey, you sound funny. You okay?”
“I have a cold,” Daniel replied, sitting down wearily on the side of his bed. “What’s up?” The steam was emanating from the bathroom into his bedroom now, tantalizing him with its promising comfort and all he really wanted was to get Jack off the phone as quickly as possible. Or get Jack over here to take care of him. Either one would do.
“A cold? You sure it’s not just your allergies?” Jack asked.
“It’s a cold, Jack. I know the difference. What’s the job?” ‘And when is it?’ he wanted to ask, hoping wildly that Jack would say next week or next month, hell, next year. Anytime but now when he just wanted to relax and enjoy being sick for a change.
“Remember the Valerans?” Jack asked.
“Yeah,” Daniel replied slowly. He’d brokered a treaty between them and a warring tribe on their home planet a few months back.
“They want you back,” Jack said. “Just temporarily,” he added quickly. “Seems their buddies, and I’m using that term loosely, the Antareans, aren’t sticking with the treaty and the Valerans think they might listen to you.”
“What are the Antareans doing?” Daniel asked.
“Oh, the usual – burning and pillaging the Valeran villages,” Jack replied. “Look, Hammond thinks you should go and I’m going with you. Teal’c’s off doing some big chinwag thing with the Free Jaffa and Carter’s gone off with her dad somewhere, so it’ll be just you and me, big fella.”
“When?” Daniel asked, dread already roiling in his gut.
“Now… or first thing in the morning,” Jack said, apparently waking up to the distinct lack of enthusiasm in Daniel’s tone at last.
Daniel tucked the receiver between his neck and his ear and rubbed both hands across his eyes. “Let’s just get it over with,” he said. “I’ll see you at the Mountain in an hour.” He hung up the phone, sneezed heartily, and groaning, went out to the kitchen to turn off the slow cooker.
Daniel sneezed three times in quick succession and fumbled through his tac vest pockets. “Damn,” he muttered. “I forgot to repack my tissues.”
Jack shook his head then pulled a travel pack of Kleenex out of one his own pockets and handed it over. He gave Daniel an assessing look. He had to admit the guy looked miserable. If Daniel had been sick when they arrived on Valera, he was sicker now. Not surprising considering the fact that the heavens had opened the minute they’d stepped through the gate and they’d spent two hours or more battling against rain-drenched cross winds and slogging through the resultant gluey mud to get to the Valeran’s main village.
Daniel shivered and Jack stepped closer to him. “You okay?” he whispered, taking advantage of their hosts standing in the far corner of the village chief’s hut discussing strategy.
Daniel shot him a ‘d’oh’ look. “I’m sick,” he replied acerbically. “I was sick before we got here. Now I’m sicker.” He sneezed again then blew his nose noisily. “Yuck,” he added, tucking the used tissue away in his BDU pants pocket.
“Look, just get these guys to talk to the other guys like you did last time and then we can go home,” Jack said. He waggled his eyebrows meaningfully at Daniel. “I’ll tuck you into bed and warm you up.”
“Damn straight you will,” Daniel retorted. He sighed. “Problem is, I don’t know that it’s going to be that easy this time around.”
“I don’t know that I’m going to be able to stay on my feet long enough to do the job,” Daniel replied.
“Then you can sit down and do it,” Jack rejoined. He winced as Daniel coughed, sounding like he was hacking up a lung, and patted his back helpfully then looked up as Metheus, the village chief, came back to them.
Metheus gave Daniel a concerned look. “You are unwell, Dr. Jackson?”
“It’s just a cold,” Daniel said. “Um, maybe we could move things on a little though.” He shivered as he spoke and Metheus frowned.
“We have herbs that will help you,” the chief said, turning to one of his compatriots and telling him to fetch the healer.
“Maybe that’s not such a good idea,” Jack whispered, leaning in close to Daniel so Metheus wouldn’t overhear. “You seem to be allergic to a lot of things.”
Daniel shrugged then blew his nose. “Couldn’t feel much worse than I do now,” he murmured back. “Besides they’re just herbs.”
“I don’t know…” Jack fell silent as the healer appeared and took Daniel off to a corner of the hut to examine him.
“The herbs will work quickly,” the healer said when they returned. “We cure this ailment all the time here. You do not have such a cure?”
“No cure for the common cold on our planet,” Jack replied. “If it works, we’d like to take some of the herb back with us though.”
“Of course.” Metheus nodded, a broad smile plastered on his face. “It will be the least we can do as thanks for Dr. Jackson bringing peace once again to our people.”
“I’m feeling better already,” Daniel said as a man entered the hut and told them that the Antarean delegates had arrived. “Shall we?” He indicated Metheus should lead the way then followed him out to the meeting area.
Jack rose from where he’d been sitting on the ground outside the meeting hut and rubbed his aching knees. The Valerans really needed to get some home décor going. He hadn’t been allowed in with Daniel, so he’d sat outside, whiling away the time chatting to various villagers who’d wandered over to speak to him.
“Well, I think that went pretty well,” Daniel said as he walked across to him.
“Really? That was quick. No arguments? No threats of wiping out entire villages if one or the other side doesn’t get their way?” Jack raised his eyebrows in surprise.
Daniel shrugged. “Not really. The Antareans simply want a disputed area of territory ceded to them. Turns out they actually settled it first and despite the fact the Valerans eventually took it over, because the land is very fertile for crops, there are still more Antareans living there than Valerans. I got the Antareans to agree to share all the crops growing there with Valera and everyone seemed happy enough.”
Jack patted him on the back then snuck his hand up to give his neck an affectionate rub. “So… home?”
“Home it is,” Daniel replied, turning to wave goodbye to Metheus who stood at the entrance of the tent.
“Hey, what about that herb you took?” Jack asked.
Daniel tapped his backpack. “I have some in here. We can come back for more if Janet thinks it’s worth it.”
“Okay, let’s book. Personally,” Jack dropped his voice to a suggestive whisper, “if that herb’s worked and your cold’s better, I can think of a few great ways to spend the evening.”
“Insatiable,” Daniel said but he grinned and set off beside Jack back to the gate.
They’d been walking for around a half hour when Jack realized that Daniel’s interminable monologue about the history of the war on the planet and its similarity to the problems in Earth’s Middle East had stopped and that Daniel was no longer walking beside him. Looking back, he saw Daniel was at least a couple of hundred meters behind and he stopped for a moment then hurried back to join him. “What’s wrong?” he asked, noticing Daniel’s pace had taken on a distinct side to side wobble.
“Good news, bad news?” Daniel asked then stopped walking and bent forward, putting both hands on his knees. He angled a sidelong look up at Jack. “Good news – my cold’s much better. Bad news – I really don’t feel so good.”
“Define not so good,” Jack said, reaching out a hand to steady him as it appeared Daniel might topple sideways onto the ground.
“Oh, dizzy, nauseous, hot and cold…” Daniel put a hand over his mouth. “Sorry, going to-”
Jack kept his hand fisted in the back of Daniel’s jacket as Daniel threw up, keeping him from falling face-first into the mess then he helped him stand upright and offered him a drink from his water bottle.
Daniel used the first few sips to rinse out his mouth then took a couple of long swallows, stopping when Jack pulled the bottle away.
“Go slow,” Jack said, “or you’ll just throw it all up again. You feeling any better?” He doubted Daniel was if the pallor of his skin and the sweat beading his forehead was any indication and he wasn’t really surprised when Daniel replied shortly, “Not really” then slumped down to sit in the sand.
“Look,” Jack crouched next to him, mentally calculating the distance between where they’d come from and where they had to go, “we can either go back to the village or keep heading for the gate. It’s up to you.”
Daniel sighed then held out a hand for Jack to help him to his feet. “Let’s keep moving,” he said. “I’d rather let Janet try to fix this.”
“And she will,” Jack said confidently, slinging an arm around Daniel’s back to support him then turning them back in the direction of the gate. “Couple of the Doc’s biggest needles in your ass and you’ll be feeling fine in no time.”
Daniel groaned but Jack ignored him and set off slowly, dragging Daniel with him.
It was slow going. Daniel had bulked up muscle-wise over the past year or so and his weight pulled heavily on Jack, forcing him to keep his pace slow and steady in order not to overbalance. Daniel wasn’t talking anymore and whenever Jack could spare a sideways glance at him, it was to see his eyes were barely open, the lids heavy as if just staying conscious was taking all his strength.
Jack halted, wrapping an arm around Daniel’s waist, keeping him on his feet. The air felt different suddenly, heavy and oppressive and Jack groaned as there was a huge clap of thunder from overhead. “Oh please,” he muttered, “give me a break, will you?” just as the heavens opened and the deluge began.
“Just great,” Jack said, hauling Daniel in close so he could yell in his ear above the storm. “We need to find shelter, Daniel. Can you try to at least act like you’re conscious just till we do?”
The rain seemed to have helped Daniel regain at least some of his focus because he straightened up and pulled away, attempting to take his own weight.
Jack shook his head as Daniel’s knees buckled and he almost hit the ground. He reached out and curled his fingers into the front of Daniel’s jacket then pulled him against his side once more. “Let’s go!” he yelled, spotting a small opening in the line of rocks to their left. He took off as fast as his legs and his burden would allow him, not stopping till they reached the relative shelter of the cave. He shoved Daniel in ahead of him then fell to his knees beside him, wiping the water from his face and eyes with a hand that shook from exertion. As soon as he caught his breath, he turned his attention to Daniel, rolling him over onto his back so he could get a better look at him.
He didn’t look good. Daniel was even paler than before and his eyes had a slightly glazed tint to them that had Jack even more worried. He bent down and placed a soft kiss on Daniel’s forehead, relieved to feel his skin was cool so that meant no fever at least.
Daniel seemed to refocus a little at the contact and he put a hand up to cup Jack’s cheek. “Sorry,” he whispered. “I’m an idiot.”
“Yes,” Jack replied, punctuating the words with a kiss to the tip of Daniel’s nose, “you are but you’re my idiot and I’m going to get you home. All right? Then you can make all this up to me in the way I’d like to have it made up to me.”
“See, insatiable,” Daniel said and Jack grinned then he helped Daniel move so he could sit up with his back against the wall of the cave while he headed back to entrance for a recce.
What he saw outside made his heart sink. The rain was still bucketing down and the lowlands they’d just come from were already flooding. No way they were getting back to the gate just yet unless Daniel was up to swimming there.
Jack made his way back to Daniel’s side. He shrugged out of his and Daniel’s backpacks that he’d been carrying and opened them up, taking each item out and mentally cataloguing what help they’d be in their current predicament. Not a lot… He considered giving Daniel a couple of Tylenol but then thought the medication might have some kind of cross-effect with the herbs he was having a reaction to. “I really wish you hadn’t taken those herbs,” he told Daniel conversationally as he put everything back in the pack and zipped it up.
“They were just herbs,” Daniel said.
“It’s my fault,” Jack said. “I shouldn’t have made you come. I knew you were already sick. I definitely should have ordered you not to take those herbs. I should have known better. We don’t touch stuff from other worlds unless it’s been vetted…”
“Oh please.” Daniel rolled his head to the side and looked at him. “We do it all the time. Food, drink, cake…” he added with a hint of a glint in his eyes.
“I swear if you mention Kynthia…” Jack warned, but he pressed a quick kiss to Daniel’s dry cheek all the same. “I keep telling you, I thought it was just a cake.”
“Cake with a side order of Viagra,” Daniel teased. “Why aren’t we heading for the gate?” he asked belatedly.
“Jealousy, thy name is Daniel,” Jack replied “And we will. Just not right now,” he added in response to the last question. “It’s drier where we are, believe me.”
Daniel groaned and put his hand over his mouth, turning away from Jack to throw up the little water he’d taken in.
“Damn,” Jack muttered. If Daniel couldn’t even keep water down, he’d get dehydrated in a hurry and then there’d be no way he’d be in any shape to hike to the gate. “I’ll be back,” he said, patting Daniel’s shoulder then heading off to the mouth of the cave again. The rain was still beating down outside and Jack glanced at his watch. They were nowhere near overdue enough for the SGC to send a team after them and unless he could make it to the gate *and providing the gate itself wasn’t under water*, there was no way for him to contact Hammond and ask for help. There was one thing he could do and he didn’t like the thought of it one little bit. He was pretty sure Daniel wouldn’t either.
“I’m going to head back to the gate,” he said, kneeling down at Daniel’s side, putting a gentle hand over Daniel’s mouth when the expected protest began. “It’s the only way to get help,” he went on. “You’re too weak to slosh through that water. It’s more than knee deep and flowing fast. We’re far enough away from the village that they probably think we made it to the gate already and I can’t get a message through to the base unless I can open the gate.” He ticked off the reasons for his leaving on his fingers, hardening himself to Daniel’s pleading eyes.
“I could try,” Daniel said, already pushing himself away from the wall but paling as he got upright.
“Yeah, right,” Jack said. He pushed Daniel back again and handed him his pack. Unzipping his own, he pulled out the light space blanket from inside then covered Daniel with it and pushed his own bottle of water into his hand. “This way you’ll have two,” he said as Daniel tried to refuse it. “Believe me, lack of water isn’t something I’m gonna have to worry about.” He added a grin and was relieved to get a pale imitation of one back. “Just keep taking small sips,” he said. “Maybe you’ll keep some of it down.”
“Okay.” Daniel looked resigned. “Hurry back.”
Jack gave him a kiss on the forehead then stood up and turned to leave. “You bet,” he said, walking towards the mouth of the cave and refusing to look back.
He wasn’t going to think about the fact that Daniel might not be alive when he got back with help and he wasn’t going to think about the fact that he might not make it to the gate, he told himself firmly as he stepped into the water. They’d been in worse spots than this and survived. It was what they did. No reason for it to change now.
The water was cold and almost hip deep by now but there was no current to fight against at least. The biggest enemy was the mud under his feet, pulling at him, sinking his boots ankle-deep, so that within minutes his leg muscles were aching from the need to lift them out of it in order to move forward. Twenty minutes in and he felt as if he’d barely made any progress.
Spotting a fallen tree just out of reach, he managed to slog his way over to it and cut himself a decent sized walking stick from it with his penknife. Experimentally he dug it down into the mushy soil, relieved when it held firm and supported his weight. Relief gave him renewed energy and he moved on.
The suns were already sinking into the horizon when he finally looked up and spotted the gate only meters ahead. The rain had stopped a half hour or so into his trek and the water had begun to recede slowly till it was down to his knees. He shivered with cold and his BDUs clung uncomfortably like a second skin to his body but he shoved the discomfort aside now that his target was within reach. He made it to the DHD in what seemed like seconds compared to his nightmare journey from the cave, punched in the coordinates for Earth and then sent his message for help.
Once he knew they were coming, he wanted nothing more than to head back to the cave and Daniel but he knew he had to wait. So he did, counting off the seconds on his watch, pacing back and forth through the muddy water. He thought he’d never seen anything as beautiful as the wormhole coming to life, the blue puddle opening to reveal Teal’c, SG3, and a medic.
“It’ll only get wet again,” he said, shrugging off the blanket the medic put around his shoulders.
“You should wait here,” Teal’c said, replacing it. “We will go and bring Daniel Jackson back here.”
Jack shook his head firmly. “You won’t know where to find him,” he replied. “I’m going with you.”
“Very well.” Teal’c gave him a look that suggested he wasn’t convinced it was a good idea but Jack stood up and moved on ahead them, pleased that the waters had receded even more. His feet still felt weighed down by the mud by the time they’d gone a hundred meters and he wondered if he should have just done what Teal’c suggested, worried that he was just slowing them down. Then he thought of Daniel, alone in the cave, waiting and it seemed to give him renewed energy and he shook off the supportive hand Teal’c had placed under his elbow and began to surge ahead.
He had a moment of panic when they reached the valley where the cave was and he realized there was in fact more than one opening in the rocks. He guessed in his rush to get them to dry ground earlier he hadn’t even noticed that. He splashed towards the one he thought was where he’d left Daniel and kneeled down to peer inside. “Hey, honey, I’m home,” he called. He almost fell forward in relief as he heard Daniel answer, “It’s about damn time. A man could die of thirst around here.”
In fact he hadn’t been all that far wrong, Janet Fraiser had said after she’d examined Daniel back at the SGC. He hadn’t kept down any of the water Jack had left with him and he was dehydrated and weak still. “He’s got an IV going flat out,” she added, pushing Jack down into the chair next to Daniel’s bed. “Sit!” she ordered firmly, “or you’ll end up in that bed right next to him.”
Jack wouldn’t really have minded that too much, he decided. As long as he could see Daniel and know he was going to recover, he’d go wherever the doctor told him. “What about the herbs?” he asked. “Have they caused any long-term damage?”
Janet smiled and picked up the robe at the end of Daniel’s bed and draped it around Jack’s shoulders, tucking the ends around him maternally then handing him the hot coffee she’d asked to have sent in. “Drink!” she said and Jack did.
“No, the herbs didn’t cause any real problems. In fact, he’d’ve been fine if he wasn’t taking antihistamines as well. From what I can see from his bloodwork, there was a cross-reaction between the two, that’s all. In fact, he was in more trouble from not being able to keep hydrated than anything else.”
“Water, water everywhere yet nor any drop to drink,” Jack muttered.
“I know,” Janet replied, giving his shoulder a comforting pat. “Seems strange to think someone could actually die of thirst in the midst of a flood.”
“Yeah.” Jack leaned forward as Daniel shifted in the bed, placing a hand on his forehead and smoothing out the furrows there with his fingers. He grinned as Daniel sighed and relaxed.
“But he didn’t die,” Janet reminded him. “Now get some rest. You can probably take him home tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Doc.” Jack waited till she left then shuffled his chair closer to the bed and picked up Daniel’s lax hand, clasping it in his own. “Tomorrow, you hear that, Daniel. Just you and me and that nice big bed of mine.”
“I don’t think Janet meant you should smother me,” Daniel said, pushing off the second blanket Jack had placed over him.
“She said I should keep you warm and hydrated,” Jack replied, plonking down an icy glass of orange juice on the bedside table.
“You could keep me warm yourself,” Daniel said with a wink.
“And you call me insatiable.” Jack grinned then got undressed and climbed in beside him, reaching out to pick up the glass and hold it to Daniel’s lips. Once he’d finished he put the glass back then turned on his side and pulled Daniel in close against him. “Will you please stop doing stuff to scare me,” he asked plaintively. “I’m getting too old for stuff like that.”
“Sorry,” Daniel said, “but you’re the one who insisted I go. I told you I was sick.”
“Yeah, okay, fair enough.” Jack leaned in for a slow sweet kiss. “No more strange medical concoctions offworld though, all right?”
“You gonna promise me the same thing?” Daniel asked, pulling away to give him a sharp look.
“You’re never going to let me live that damn cake down, are you?” Jack asked.
Daniel swooped in for another kiss then shook his head. “Never.”
“You feeling okay?” Jack asked.
“I keep telling you I’m fine. Why?” Daniel asked, sounding suspicious. “Please don’t tell me you have another warring planet for me to go deal with as soon as Janet gives me the okay.”
“Nope.” Jack snuck his hand down under the waistband of Daniel’s boxers and grasped his cock gently. “Remember when I was telling you I had a few great ways to spend the evening when we got home…”