Title: Choosing

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Stargate SG-1 (somewhere around 3rd/4th season)

Rating: G

Pairings: none (imagine that!)

Disclaimer: The Stargate universe and its characters certainly don't belong to me. As such, I make no profit from this. It's just for fun.

Summary: Though not feeling his best, Daniel hides his condition in order to go on a mission, but doesn't manage to hide it long enough.

Notes: My first ever "finished" attempt at some Daniel whumping. Written as Friday Fic #13





     Normally a long briefing would not have been such a chore to sit through, at least not for Daniel. Jack looked as bored as ever, though it was clear he was taking in every word. Sam was going off about things she'd clearly included in the mission report that Daniel had already read through twice. And Teal'c looked calm... as he almost always looked. Just a normal meeting, really, apart from the throbbing pain in Daniel's head and the reoccurring tickles alternating between his nose and throat.


     Dr. Fraser had already cleared them all to leave this morning, luckily managing to do so just before SG-4 returned from a routine exploratory mission with some type of rash. Disinfecting the gateroom and hallways had taken little time thanks to procedure, and SG-1 was still on schedule to leave for P9X-398 in twenty minutes. It was a simple mission, and one he'd been looking forward to for a day now. They were to drop in for a few hours, spend some time with some identified ancient ruins, look around for normal planet life signs or evidence of what might have ended such, and then return home where Daniel would get to spend hours doing what he liked best: pouring over books and trying to discover the secrets of a civilization's success.


     It wasn't as though he didn't enjoy the field missions as much as the research... it was just that today he was feeling much more inclined to get in and out without any problems. But if he had to choose between staying home in his nice warm bed to take care of himself and traveling billions of light years away to delve into the history of an ancient people and try to discover links between civilizations, he'd certainly choose the latter. It was only a bit of aching and a stuffy nose. He'd had much worse on missions, after all, and this was worth a little suffering to him.


     Daniel was almost sure he had never been quite so glad to hear General Hammond concluding the meeting, telling them to suit up, and wishing them luck. He headed out with the others, feeling that somehow they were moving a lot faster than normal. He stuck to the back of the group, hoping they wouldn't notice when he rubbed at his nose and cleared his throat into a fist. No matter how minor his ailment was, it wouldn't do to have any of his teammates noticing he was sick and causing a delay in the mission.


     Seventeen minutes later, and quite a few pounds heavier from their gear, they were standing in the gate room inhaling the newly cleansed lemon fresh scent. They waited for the dialup sequence, and kept their distance as the wormhole flushed out at them. Then their boots sounded heavily as they headed up the metal ramp, the footsteps echoing in the large room. Daniel felt the tickle in his throat return, and cleared his throat quickly to successfully head off any coughs. Then he followed Teal'c through the stargate, stepping into the shimmering pool of blue and feeling himself pulled forward with a familiar though still somewhat unpleasant sensation.


     As he stepped out onto the planet, Daniel doubled over at the pain. It had been years since the sensation caused such a strong sickness and he flashed back to the first time he had ever gone through the stargate. He remembered arriving on Abydos nauseous and shaking with cold, and Jack trying to tell him he'd be all right and that the feeling would pass. It had been difficult to believe him then, but it had. And this sensation now would pass as well.


     He straightened up with a shiver and felt a hand on his back. He looked up to see Jack and gave a weak smile. The frozen sort of feeling was already wearing off as the temperature around them was warm and the sun high overhead. "The calibrations must have been off," Sam said. "That would explain the frost we saw on the MALP's transmission."


     "Great," Daniel muttered. He tried to fight the urge to walk right over to the DHD and go back home. But he'd managed to get here, and here was where he needed to stay. Besides, he knew he'd feel better once he was out in the warm sun deciphering glyphs on the ruins.


     The ruins they'd seen on the MALP's projection up on a far hill turned out to be roughly an hour's walk from the gate, down half of the way and up the other half. Daniel was winded by the end of it, and his coughing was a mix of physical exertion and his ailment. The others said nothing about it as they secured the perimeter. The planet had seemed uninhabited currently and Daniel was glad that now that they were there, that was still the case. He set to work looking over the columns and slabs of rock that remained of a once great temple.


     "Doesn't look all that safe," Jack said, walking backwards slowly as he circled the ruins, looking warily up at the roof-like structure.


     Forced to agree, Daniel looked up at it as well. He had a sudden flash of it tumbling down on top of him and immediately jumped back in panic. But the structure was stable, and had not budged. And he approached it cautiously, vowing not to sneeze or cough while under the large stone blocks for fear of setting it off.


     "Just don't touch it. No sudden moves or loud noises," Daniel told Jack, feeling suddenly as though it was a life form they weren't sure about. Though, in a way, that was sort of what it was. The writings on the stone slabs and columns did feel as though they were alive to him. Some representation of a civilization that endured after the peoples' deaths. Of course, there was little that would survive from the ruin if it were to collapse and if it took him as well, there would be few who could interpret it.


     Daniel tossed Jack the digital camera. "I'll start copying and you start snapping. Then I can make sense of them from afar." One hand still clutching his gun, Jack used his other to take digital photos, going in order from top to bottom and left to right so Daniel wouldn't give him a hard time about it.


     Except that Daniel hardly noticed. He was scribbling down some of the glyphs rather madly, working as fast as he could at the task and trying his best not to sneeze. His nose was tickling rather badly, and all he felt like doing was going back to bed. Why he had chosen to go on this mission in the first place, he couldn't really remember. They ruins were amazing, that was true. But delaying the retrieval of the writing thereon could surely have waited a day or two for his health. All he knew was that he wasn't at all as warm as he'd hoped he'd be, and the need to sneeze and cough was getting stronger by the second.


     He cupped a hand to his face to muffle the sound of a sniffle, then dragged his sleeve back and forth beneath his nose. His nose was beginning to run, too. If his symptoms continued to develop in this manner, he was going to have a hard time concealing them from the rest of the team for the remaining two hours they were scheduled to be there.


     Two hours aside, he was hoping now for at least two minutes. Checking to be sure Jack was around the other side of one of the walls, Daniel took off his glasses and rubbed the back of his hand vigorously against his nose. It did little good, the tickle building in his nose the whole time, moving from bridge to settle in his nostrils. Daniel sighed, knowing from experience that it was pointless to resist when that happened. He stepped back, standing clear of the ruins altogether as his breath caught. "hh-hhh-huhPpshhh!" He sneezed into the back of his hand. Then he sniffled and slid his glasses back on. Cautiously, he looked up to be sure the noise hadn't caused any disturbance. There had been none.


     "Bless." Jack peered over from behind the wall, one eyebrow raised. "Allergies?"


     Daniel didn't like lying, but telling the truth was just as unpleasant an option. He merely shrugged. Jack went back to his work, and Daniel did similarly. While the glyphs were quite intriguing, he really was starting to want to be back in his apartment in bed. Covers tucked up to his chin, box of tissues on the pillow next to him, warm tea in his hand. The sooner they finished up, he reasoned, the sooner he would be able to get back and do just that.


     By the time Carter and Teal'c were due to return, Jack was pacing about and Daniel was sitting a bit of a ways from the structure, going through his notes. "This here," Daniel told Jack excitedly, gesturing to his notes. "This points to a great evil, ah presumably a Goa'uld by their description, that the people of this world conquered using what they call the triad."


     "The triad?" asked Jack, sounding only mildly interested and partially amused. He stopped pacing and squatted down to look at the symbols Daniel was pointing at though he actually understood what they said. "Couldn't come up with a better name, is that it?"


     "It refers," Daniel went on, with a bit of a smirk and an eye roll at Jack's comment, "To three powerful things that, when combined, were powerful enough to overthrow the evil. The first is the power of their minds, of thought. The second seems to be some sort of courage or bravery. And the third... is a weapon."


     "Weapons are good," nodded Jack, approvingly. "Any chance of figuring out where they stashed it so we can grab it and get out of here?"


     Daniel shook his head. "That's the part that's going to take some... time." He motioned towards the digital camera as his voice caught in his throat. He needed to cough. He tried clearing his throat and swallowing a few times, but that only made it worse. Quickly he pulled out his canteen and leaned back to take some gulps, not wanting to spill on his notes if he should cough while drinking. In the meantime, Jack stood up again.


     "Sir?" Carter called, coming upon them with Teal'c right behind her. "We found a small village about twenty clicks west of here. Have a look." She raised the binoculars and Jack took them, focusing, looking.


     "Upon further inspection," Teal'c said, "We found it to be in ruins as well. It does not look as though this area has been inhabited for many years."


     Jack nodded. "All right. Well, we're ready to head back then." He checked his watch. Plenty of time for the lwalk back before they were expected to return to base.


     "hh'CHpshhh!" Daniel sneezed suddenly, catching it with a cupped hand but still bending forward during and sniffling afterwards. "Sorry," he said, looking up. All three pairs of eyes were looking back down at him.


     "Are you all right, Daniel?" Sam asked concernedly. Daniel hoped he didn't look remotely as bad as he felt. He bobbed his head up and down.


     "It has been a while since I have seen you sneeze on a mission," Teal'c pointed out. Daniel nodded at that, too. A change in allergy medication had contributed to that particular success.


     "I'm all right," he reiterated. "Really." Daniel gathered up his notes and looked around to be sure he hadn't left anything behind. With one last glance at what remained of a great temple, now abandoned and left for ruin, he turned to the rest of his team. "Let's head back, then."


     The downhill walk went quickly though Daniel dragged behind at times, struggling to keep up. He had begun thinking less about his bed at his apartment and more about a bunk at Stargate Command. He didn't feel up to heading all the way off base to his apartment, let alone risking getting behind the wheel of a car. It was easier just to crash on base in one of the bunks. With the nice firm sheets and virtually pitch black rooms. They reminded him of beds in the infirmary to a point, but away from prying eyes and sterile conditions which were quite preferable. He felt it was to his benefit to continue to hide his ailment in order to get to the bunk and avoid feeling even more miserable while Janet gave him a lesson on mission health and safety.


     As a whole, Daniel found the walk back to the gate to be much more difficult than the walk from it had been. Repeatedly he rubbed at his nose to keep from sneezing, and coughed frequently when the itch in the back of his throat got too bad. Before long, he'd run out of his immediate canteen rations and didn't have the energy to get more water from his pack. His whole body was tired, and though there was the encouraging prospect of translating the pages to keep him moving, he suddenly felt less like getting back to bed and more like just lying down and curling up right where he stood. He shuffled his feet tiredly, hanging his head. He tried to pretend he was studying the rocks on the hill when the truth was he was nervous about looking up with a miserable expression on his face and being found out.


     It wasn't until halfway up the other side of the hill, with the stargate in sight, that he lost his footing. The slope was far from steep, but covered in rocks. And one rather strong sneeze "hahTChshhh!" made his right foot slip off a rock. It slid down the side of one until it hit another but and caused him to go down hard on both knees. He kept his upper body from hitting the rocks only by throwing out his hands against them. Daniel groaned and coughed as pain rushed through his leg. He'd either twisted it or sprained it, because he was sure he hadn't heard a break. And the pain in his lower leg only mirrored that of his hands and the aching of his head. His glasses were knocked off in the fall, too, but luckily had not broken.


     He felt a pair of hands gently pull his foot from where it was stuck, wedged between two rocks. Another hand eased his glasses back onto his face for him. Then another strong hand on his arm and one on his back lifted him up to his feat. Daniel winced as straightening his legs at the knees hurt marvelously. He could feel blood trickling down and knew he'd scraped his knees open without having to look at them. Instead he looked up into Teal'c's concerned face, and tried to give a reassuring smile. Teal'c did not react as though Daniel had succeeded. Daniel closed his eyes, feeling faint from the pain that now accompanied the aches in his body.


     "Hold still, Daniel," came Sam's voice, along with the ripping of bandages. "This is going to hurt for a moment." Wetness touched the open cuts on his palms and stung almost blindingly. Then soft gauze and bandages wrapped around his hands. Once his pants were rolled up, the same was done to him at the knees.


     "Will you be able to continue, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked, still holding Daniel upright.


     "Um..." Daniel tried putting weight on his good leg. It hurt to unbend his leg, but he could bear that pain. The bandages limited his range of motion at the knee so it hurt less all-around. But when he tried putting weight on his right leg, a sharp pain shot through him. "Not well," he replied weakly.


     "Here, lean on me, too," Jack offered. Daniel felt both men holding him up so there was one on both sides. They readjusted their grips until Daniel was securely between them. He hopped forward on one leg as they moved slowly up the side of the hill. On one leg he was unsteady, slipping on the rocks here and there, but held in place between his two teammates as they practically carried him upwards.


     Sam led the way, looking back to be sure they weren't too far behind. Daniel's condition was growing worse, as he clutched the two men beside him and wasn't able to cover his nose or mouth. His nose was running, throat tickling, and his head felt heavy. Wishing that he'd just stayed behind on this mission, he stumbled forward towards the gate. Home and a soft bed was in sight.


     Sam reached the dial home device first, and began entering in the symbols. They all stood to the side, waiting for it to connect. But as she hit the seventh one, nothing happened. The symbols on the gate glowed, then slowly faded. The gate did not engage. The wormhole did not open.


     "Tell me you entered it wrong?" Daniel said, hopefully. There was virtually no chance of that. They'd been doing this for years now and there was nothing that would make them forget Earth's home address. They could enter it in while they slept.


     "I don't think so," she said, frowning. Curious, Teal'c let Jack take Daniel, and went over to observe Sam, hands clasped behind his back along with his staff weapon. She slowly entered the address in again, her palm pressing down on the symbols completely. She entered them very slowly, one at a time and in order, so they could be sure it. But after the last one, again, nothing happened.


     There were a hundred possible reasons for this, they all knew, though probably more considering the unpredictability and random peril that seemed to follow them around. The easiest explanation was that there was a miscommunication between the DHD and the stargate itself. It had, after all, been off a bit in order to cause frost and nausea upon their arrival. The worst, however, was that Earth had been attacked and was no more.


     Supporting Daniel with one arm, Jack checked his watch. They were due back within ten minutes. Yes they were a little early, but ten minutes was hardly a matter of concern for this mission. Their earliness was certainly no reason for the SGC to have disconnected the gate on that end. Something had to be wrong, and it wasn't on their end. "All right," Jack said, stepping up amidst the confusion. "We've still got options, right? We can try dialing somewhere else. Or we can just wait here and keep trying home for a while. We've got a few days worth of rations."


     Sam completed her third dialup attempt, to the same effect and sighed. "It's possible this DHD isn't working properly," she said, trying to be logical about it. "In which case it would be best to try another address in hopes of connecting."


     "If it is in fact the fault of this DHD, I am not sure using it to travel anywhere would be a wise decision," Teal'c said. "It could interpret any address incorrectly, for example. However, Daniel Jackson does require medical attention."


     Daniel opened his mouth to protest that he'd be all right when he sneezed a very badly timed sneeze. "heh-hehKShhhhff!" It caught him off guard and shook his body. And the only thing that kept him from collapsing was leaning heavily on Jack for support.


     "Bless." Jack eyed him suspiciously. "I think we should make an attempt at dialing out elsewhere. Abydos?"


     Daniel shook his head. Apart from the many obvious reasons not to go there, he didn't want his former friends seeing him like this. It was bad enough his current friends were now. He was quickly losing the battle of hiding his ailment from them. "Alpha Site," he suggested wearily. Then he called out the symbols for P3X-984 just so Sam was sure of them. Teal'c stood behind and watched to be double-check that they were entered correctly.


     This time when Sam punched the sequence in, there was a low rumble in the ground and blue plasma shot out at them in a rush from the gate. "Well, that worked," Jack said, shrugging and tightening his grip around Daniel's waist. Teal'c went through the gate first, armed and ready just in case. Sam followed, looking glad that at least something had worked. Jack and Daniel took up the rear rather slowly.


     The trip through the gates was fast, and Daniel was just about as bad afterwards as he had been before stepping in. His body hurt too much in every possible way to be otherwise. He simply clung to Jack to keep from being sick upon exit.


     The Alpha Site was still in development, construction projects here and there only half done in the best of cases. But there were guards at gate to greet them and everyone lowered weapons as tension dissipated. "It's SG-1. Over," one of the Lieutenants said into his walkie-talkie.


     "Didn't come from earth, did you?" asked one officer, a captain, suspiciously.


     Sam shook her head. "No," Jack replied, shaking his head as well. "We were off world and couldn't establish a connection to Earth. Are you having the same problem, then?"


     Several men nodded. "We've been trying on and off for the past hour. We sent out a few scouting parties to other worlds, but they've all come back saying they couldn't connect from elsewhere either. We sent word through one channel to the Tok'ra but haven't heard back. How long since you left Earth, Sirs?"


     "About five hours," Sam said, addressing the officer. "Captain, there are a number of off world SG teams who are due to return back soon. Some may be in more distress than others."


     The man nodded. "If you have the addresses, we'll put together the teams to get them. We'll need to take a long route home in retrieving them, but we'll make the effort," he explained. The address of the Alpha Site was unknown to the Goa'uld and they couldn't risk entering it somewhere enemies might see. If they hopped to a few planets in-between, this was easily avoided.


     Daniel's leg was starting to hurt all the more, the pain getting so bad that things were beginning to look blurry even with his glasses on. His eyes fought to stay focused against a blaring headache and sinus pressure. He still needed to sneeze, and didn't have the excuse of allergies on this world unless he claimed it was leftover from something still in his system. Daniel leaned into Jack a little more.


     Continuing, "In the meantime we'll get some tents assembled for you all to rest. I'm afraid the barracks and infirmary aren't yet completed." He gestured towards a half-built structure with only a frame of a roof. "But do make yourselves at home here."


     "Thanks," Jack said with a nod. Then, aside to Daniel, he whispered, "Getting a little heavy here." Daniel was leaning into him more and more with every second. Jack had to adjust his grip to keep Daniel upright, but as he did the man lost consciousness. Daniel crumpled to the ground, hitting the stone of the platform supporting the gate.



     The next breath he was aware of taking brought heavy, moist heat into his lungs. He coughed harshly and heard a jumble of voices, none of which he could understand. Then he felt the familiar plastic, ribbed neck of his canteen touch his lips. He drank until the violent urge to cough left him. When he opened his eyes, his vision was blurry, but he could make out Jack beside him, Sam in front of him, and a couple of people he didn't know besides. "You collapsed," Sam told him, patting his leg gently where she had apparently just changed his bandages. "But you'll be all right."


     Daniel tried to look around him, straining to make out objects and his surroundings. He was in a canvas tent, that much was clear. That explained the warm temperatures. And he was off the ground a little on a cot of some sort. He could see their packs to one side and another empty cot a few feet away on the other side of the tent. But that was just about all he could figure out.


     Though he felt disoriented and hot, there was also a bit of panic seizing him. His heart was flying fast with beats, his breathing just as fast to match it. He couldn't quite place the dream he'd had, but whatever it had been had clearly been terrifying.


     "It's all right." Jack echoed the sentiment kindly. "You were just dreaming. Said the ruins had collapsed. They hadn't. You just fell is all."


     It all rushed back to Daniel at once. His parents' deaths beneath a structure not unlike the one he'd been working at on this mission. His visions earlier of the same thing happening. His regret at going on the mission in the first place.


     "How are you feeling now?" asked Jack, his voice light but soothing.


     Daniel wanted to reply, he really did. But his head was pounding and his nose tickling. His breath caught and he couldn't keep the sneezes back, as much as he wanted to. "hehhh-KShhhh! ehhhHupshh!"


     Sam reached up with a tissue and wiped his nose for him. Then she touched the back of her hand to his forehead. "He's running a temperature."


     "No I'm not!" Daniel insisted, absolutely sure from the heat he felt around him and inside him that he was.


     "He looks like he's in pain. And he's still sneezing," she went on to reason, "He may have contracted some sort of virus or infection when he cut himself."


     "Or maybe he's just got a cold?" Jack suggested with a chuckle.


     "heh-ehh-ehhhPHShhhh! hepTshhhh!" Daniel tried and failed to nod in agreement. Even admitting he had a cold was better than getting poked and prodded or more painful off world treatments for a supposed infection. He lifted his hand and rubbed at his nose, then pressed his palm against his forehead. His head hurt terribly and concentrating on seeing them without his glasses on made it no better at all. His palm was less cool and soothing than it should have been, for there was still a bandage around it.


     "Here, for the pain," Sam said, the sound of rattling was soft at the foot of the bed, and Daniel's free hand was pried open. Two small pills were placed there, and he swallowed them at once with a sip from the canteen that found his lips again. He swallowed the lukewarm water, wishing it was cooler. He was hot and sweating in the tent and would have welcomed cool water and fresh air if it did not mean having to move and get up. Just the idea of moving made his head throb.


     Before he could reassure himself that the pain would go away once the medicine kicked in, his nose began tickling again. Strong, intense tickles settled at the tip of his nose where he couldn't rub them away if he tried. "hehh... ehhh-FSHHH! ehhPUHshhhh! Huh-CHIHShhhhh!" He rubbed at his nose afterwards, the tickling gone but the runniness still there.


     "Can we get you anything else?" Sam asked. From the sound of her voice, it seemed she wasn't completely at ease, even believing it was indeed just a cold.


     "Tissue?" he requested weakly, hoping that perhaps blowing his nose might relieve some of the pressure in his head.


     Someone obliged, and he blew his nose one-handed having had years to perfect the technique. As he did, he could hear a bit more muttering, and then two of the blurs he didn't recognize left the tent. He resisted the urge to groan now that he was alone with Sam and Jack. They apparently sensed his misery or it showed upon his face, because Sam patted his leg gently and Jack ruffled his hair. "How long have you been feeling sick?" Jack asked.


     Daniel was tempted to reply with a truthful 'early this morning' but realized he wasn't entirely sure what day it was. "How long have I been asleep?"


     "Just a couple of hours," Sam told him. "We brought you in here since all attempts to contact Earth have continued to fail."


     Daniel frowned. His hand slipping down from his sweaty forehead to cover both his eyes. The darkness that brought was soothing. Even a cool bed in the stargate command infirmary was starting to look appealing now compared to the stuffy heat of the tent and the possibility of never seeing home again. Surely if the Earth had been in danger, they would have had time to evacuate a few people to the Alpha Site. That was what the place was there for, after all.


     "We heard from the Tok'ra." Daniel smiled weakly, thinking that Jack had surely read his mind just then. "Apparently large portions of the gate network are down. They wouldn't explain precisely why because the channel wasn't secure, but they have a ship somewhat near Earth that looked in on the planet and reported nothing wrong."


     Daniel, still smiling, gave a small nod of understanding. Then he rolled over onto his side where it was a little easier to breathe. Sam handed him another tissue, and Jack mussed his hair again affectionately. After another bout of coughing, he opened his eyes to find Teal'c in the tent as well, offering fresh, cool water to all. Daniel drank thankfully, surrounded in comfort by his teammates, his friends. He was starting to feel more comfortable, more relaxed, and he assumed the pain medication must be kicking in now.


     Sure that the mess with the gate system would be worked out soon, Daniel suddenly had no desire to go anywhere. He suddenly couldn't imagine a bed feeling quite so welcome and comforting as he felt now in the tent with the rest of his team. He smiled again. "Just a short nap, then I'll get to translating," he stated, more to himself than anyone else. There was a mix of sentiments from all three, telling him just to rest and not worry about it. And though he was looking forward to translating as soon as possible, he had no intention of doing so until he felt much better and could at the least see straight. It was simply nice, now that he wasn't hiding his illness any more, to hear such comments from them. He gave his nose one last wipe and then let himself fall back to sleep, knowing they'd be there when he woke no matter what bed it was he woke to.