Title: Sympathy vs. Empathy
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Disclaimer: Not my characters or universe. I only play; I make no money from this.
Summary: Daniel's always the one with the allergies on off world planets. Well, almost always.
Notes: Penalty Drabble. I had a difficult time choosing amongst the suggestions, but this one finally started writing itself in my head, so I went with it. It's a little rough; sorry.
Sympathy vs. Empathy
Colonel Jack O'Neill felt blood slowly trickle down the side of his face from hairline to temple. His instinct was to reach up and determine the damage the alien weapons had done to his head, but both hands were occupied currently with trying to hold Daniel Jackson upright. Meanwhile, Teal'c provided suitable cover fire as Samantha Carter dialed the address home then promptly passed out at the foot of the gate.
Daniel sneezed for what had to have been the hundredth time in half an hour. The man moaned in pain as the sharp, spastic sneeze jerked his body and aggravated his injuries. Jack held him more tightly, with both reassurance and annoyance.
The moment Jack got Daniel back to Earth, the man sneezed again. Not even bothering to cover the sneezes any longer, Daniel merely looked apologetic and guilty as Jack shot him a look. Holding a sneezing man was one thing; being sneezed on directly was quite another. When two medics rushed up to take Daniel, Jack wiped the now wet portion of his hand on his pants. He turned to see Teal'c rushing through the gate with Sam in his arms. What members of the medical staff weren't attending to Daniel went straight over to help Sam.
Jack felt a bit dizzy in the temperature-controlled gate room, swarmed by people trying to simultaneously help and figure out what went wrong. “It was my sneezing. I gave away our position,” Jack heard Daniel confess. “I'm so sorry.” Jack glanced over at Sam. Through the sea of white coats, he could see she was pale and not moving.
He barely managed to stagger over to the infirmary after the patients. And he might have lost his footing altogether had Teal'c not been right there to catch him. “Doctor Janet Fraiser, we require your assistance here.” Teal'c called with what should have been alarm but was matter-of-fact coming from Teal'c.
But Jack waved her away as she rushed over. “Don't bother. I'm fine,” he said.
Janet immediately slapped some gauze to his head, however. “You most certainly are not,” she insisted. “That's a nasty-looking abrasion. Here, Sir…” She led him over to a bed which happened to be beside Daniel.
Daniel was lying, half-curled on his side, sneezing repeatedly into tissues. Someone had supplied him with two boxes, though Jack wondered if that would be enough, the way he was going. Daniel looked apologetically up at Jack. “I ab sorry.”
Jack sighed. “I know, Daniel. I know you are. But you've got to do something about those allergies. This can't keep happening.”
“We'll try another permutation of dosages and medicines,” Janet said absentmindedly, inspecting and cleaning Jack's wound. “We'll find something that works, I promise. It's not Daniel's fault.”
Jack tried to look over at Sam, but the doctor held his head in place so he couldn't move. “Right. Tell that to Sam.”
“I'll be all right, Sir,” came her weak voice from the other side of the infirmary. She didn't exactly sound fine, but the fact that she was conscious was an improvement.
“Besides,” Janet continued, “next time it could just as easily be you.”
Daniel sneezed again and Jack replied flatly. “Except that I don't have allergies to anything.”
“That you know of,” she pointed out.
In hindsight, Jack should have known better than to agree to exploring what looked like a garden planet. They'd had enough of gardens and paradises over the years to know nothing ever turned out to be as good as it seemed. But the last three planets they'd explored had been almost identical in climate to the deserts on Earth. Jack was still finding sand in places… well, places sand wasn't supposed to be. Plus, Daniel hadn't had allergy trouble in years; even his nervous sneezes hadn't shown themselves in a long time. So when the opportunity to visit what looked like a gorgeous, serene planet, Jack jumped at the chance on behalf of SG-1.
It wasn't until his fifth sneeze that he began to suspect something was wrong with the planet. And it wasn't until Sam's eighth which coincided with Teal'c's twelfth that he knew unequivocally that something was most definitely wrong.
The very first sneeze, however, had caught them all off guard. “ehhhhh-eh-HEHShihh!”
Like a reflex, Teal'c began, “Bless you, Daniel Jack…” but he trailed off as his eyes met Daniel's. The two men looked at each other and it took them both a moment to realize what precisely was wrong with the situation. Then Teal'c realized Daniel hadn't been the one to sneeze. And Daniel realized Jack was just about to sneeze a second time.
Jack turned, his hand cupped over his nose and mouth. “hehhhh-EHShihhh!” The sneezes were strong, snapping him in half from force and surprise. He straightened up and saw three shocked faces staring back at him. “Strange. Suddenly I just felt… like I had to sneeze.” He sniffed a few times then made his way around a bush of purple flowers, heading towards Daniel. “Do you have… a tissue or something on you?”
Or something ended up being a small travel package of tissues Daniel carried in a pocket on the sleeve of his uniform jacket. They were as good as anything, and Jack took one out of the pack immediately. He folded it around his nose as his breath hitched again. “Thanks. I just can't get rid of this sn-snee… heh-heh-EEHTshooo!”
And that was when the others began sneezing as well. Jack tried to think clearly as he rubbed his nose into a tissue, but his nose burned with incessant little tickles. “Samples,” he said, his voice uneven and muffled. “We should collect sah-samples. Ehhh-HEHShooo! Sniff! And… get readings… and…” As he looked up, eyes watering, he realized no one was really listening to him. “Look for… ehhh-Hih-hihShihhhh!”
His sneeze was echoed and Jack came to the horrible realization that none of them were going to be able to stop sneezing so long as they were on this planet. He groaned and blew his nose, feeling his nose begin to tickle again almost immediately afterwards.
Jack felt a hand on his back. “I'm sorry I didn't bring any medication with me. I haven't needed anything extra in quite some time. But they'll be able to get you something back on Earth,” said Daniel, trying to offer a little hope. He could barely be heard over the chorus of sneezes. “I'll dial home. We're no good here like this. Unless…” he smiled knowingly, “you want to try to carry on with the mission?”
Another round of sneezes provided all the answers needed. Even Jack shook his head at once. Daniel pried the tissues out of Jack's hand, took one for Sam and one for Teal'c, and then handed the pack back.
Blinking at the man, Jack nodded appreciatively. He looked over at Teal'c, who was sneezing almost nonstop. And he saw Sam, sneezing into the crook of her arm. Jack's eyes itched furiously and he rubbed them, wishing a moment later that he hadn't. They both itched and hurt now, and Daniel was a blurry figure in front of him. Jack blinked again and sniffed. “Wait… why aren't you sn-sneezing like the rest of us?”
Daniel shrugged as he headed to the DHD. “Must be the allergy meds I take.” Daniel laughed at the irony of being the only sneeze-free member of SG-1 for a chance. The gate flushed outward and Daniel walked each of his team members over in turn.
Just before Jack went through, he sneezed again and Daniel reached over to him. Jack didn't need to be steadied, but he smiled at the reassuring, understanding touch all the same. Jack felt his nose run slowly; he pressed a tissue to his nose as he stepped through the gate.