Sense and Sensibility
By Gemsong

 

Rating: PG for ouchies
Category: Adventure/Angst/Smarm/Whumping
Spoilers: Fifth Race, Window of Opportunity,
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were, I wouldn’t be writing fanfiction.

Chapter 1

P3X-415. Nice boring mission, Colonel Jack O’Neill thought. Nothing but ruins for Daniel to happily clamber around. Sam would be helping him once she collected her soil, water and plant samples. All he and Teal’c would need to do is keep watch. According to the MALP and the UAV, there was no sign of habitation within a 50 mile radius. No sign that the Goa’uld had ever discovered this world since it had been on the list of gates that Jack had entered into the system while his head had been filled with the knowledge of the Ancients.

Anything to do with the Ancients always made Jack feel a little queasy. The time loop had made him doubly so since he and Teal’c had to learn a variation of Latin in order to find a way to stop the loop. Nope. Didn’t like it. They could do it without him. No more ancient stuff for him.

The two mile trek to the ruins went quickly enough. It was nice day on planet P-whatever. Clear, deep blue sky. Green trees. Flowers in the meadow. Nice big blue lake. Jack wondered if he should have brought his fishing gear. It would give him something to do.

The ruins themselves were crumbling block shaped buildings, almost like a ziggurat. They looked vaguely familiar to Jack, though he couldn’t remember where he might have seen them.

Daniel was overcome with excitement, though the years had taught him not to run ahead until Jack made sure the place was secure. The buildings were set up to give the appearance of a small village. A village with big buildings, Jack thought. The streets were all perfectly straight leading to a building in the center of a large plaza.

A couple hours later after making sure the building didn’t look like it was about to crumble down on top of his favorite archeologist’s head, Jack gave the go ahead.

“And don’t touch anything,” Jack said.

“How am I supposed to examine artifacts without touching them, Jack,” Daniel replied as he walked into the darkness of the main building and turning on his flashlight.

“Use your eyes,” Jack replied following him. “Vision is very important and can keep you from blowing yourself up.

“From the apparent age of these ruins, Jack, I doubt there’s anything likely to blow up here,” Daniel replied.

“From your mouth to the local god’s ear,” Jack replied.

They passed through a narrow entry hall. As they shone their lights on the walls, markings became clear.

“Similar to ancient,” Daniel said. “But a different dialect I haven’t seen before.”

“Wonderful,” Jack drawled. He felt his stomach go queasy. Note to self: Touch nothing. “Just make sure there aren’t any head grabby things. I’ve had enough of those.”

Daniel smiled. He couldn’t blame Jack for his reaction. “I’ll make sure you steer clear,” he said. “I have enough trouble understanding you.”

“Back atcha,” Jack replied smiling faintly. Daniel had been his only link to communicating. He really didn’t want to have to go through that again.

The narrow hallway led to a larger room. The floor was littered with debris from where parts of the walls and ceiling had crumbled. Unlike the exterior of the structure, this room was round with twelve dark opening at equal distance from each other around the room. There were crumbling stairs that led to a ledge that ran around the room, also with 12 dark openings.

“This is different,” Jack said.

“I’ve never seen a layout like this before,” Daniel said. “Notice there are 12 openings?”

“For each of the zodiac signs?” Jack quipped.

Daniel just rolled his eyes. “It’s surprising for the ancients,” he said. “Considering their mathematics was based on a base-8 system.”

“If you say so,” Jack replied. “I can’t add two and two without a calculator.”

Daniel snorted his disbelief. He knew Jack was a lot smarter than he would admit to. How many people could learn to speak and understand a variation of Latin that was the ancient’s language in less than three months?

The alcoves on the lower level were all empty and half destroyed. Or they were filled with an assortment of meaningless debris. Jack was already bored as Daniel systematically worked his way through each of the alcoves. He stared up at the domed ceiling where writing could be seen. Definitely a variation of ancient’s language.

He frowned a little in concentration as he stared at it. There was something vaguely familiar about it. He was vaguely aware of Daniel moving behind him from alcove to alcove. He crossed his arms as he looked up at the markings. It wasn’t like he had anything pressing to do at the moment.

He wasn’t aware that he was speaking aloud though it was little more than a low murmur. “Weight… no… burden… lifted? Raised? Self… learning? Discovery? Innocent… uh.. sense.. uh sensitivity… nah… sense….”

“I wonder what it means,” Daniel said casually behind him after recording his murmuring.

Jack flinched and made a face. “Something cryptic and meaningless you won’t figure out until too late,” he said dismissively.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Daniel said not pressuring him. Jack occasionally had unusual instincts when it came to the Ancients. He had learned quickly to make a note of anything Jack said. It inevitably was a clue to something that was related to his findings. Although if he ever told Jack that, the man would clam up and avoid anything Ancient more than he did now.

Daniel found nothing of use in the lower alcoves. With Jack following him, he carefully traversed the crumbling curving stairs to the second level. Surprisingly it seemed to be in better shape than the lower level. Jack followed him as he went through each of them.

“I’m bored,” Jack said shifting his to hang P-90 over his back.

“I am aware of that,” Daniel replied with a faint smile. “Why don’t you go back to translating the ceiling?”

Jack made a face and shuddered. “I don’t think I’m that bored,” he said.

“Of course you are,” Daniel said glancing back at his friend with a smile.

Jack stuck his tongue out at him and hit the button on the radio. “Carter? Teal’c? Check in,” he said.

There was a hiss of static before Sam’s voice came through. “I’m reading you faintly sir,” she said. “We’re on our way back.”

Jack frowned at the static. “How far away are you?” he asked.

“Not more than a couple miles,” Sam replied. “Are you near a power source?”
“I’m near rocks and dirt,” Jack replied. “Lots of rocks and lots of dirt.”

“Have Daniel check for radiation emissions,” Sam said. “We’re on our way.”

Jack thumbed the radio off. “Daniel, did you hear that?” he asked.

Daniel pulled the equipment from Jack and handed it to him. “Why don’t you check around while I finish up with this,” he said.

“Why me?” Jack asked checking over the settings.

“It’ll give you something to do and keep you out of my hair,” Daniel replied with a teasing smile.

Jack snorted. “May you have children worst than me,” he muttered and turned away.

Daniel smiled and continued examining the alcoves. He lost track of time until he heard Jack’s voice call to him. The tone was that he had called his name more than once.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“What’s the deal with the yellow crystals at the top of the alcoves?” Jack asked.

“I haven’t determined that yet. Why?” Daniel replied.

“Because that’s where the energy readings are coming from.” Jack said standing at the opening to alcove on the opposite side of the second level.

“Radiation?”

“I can’t tell what kind,” Jack said. “That’s Carter’s deal. This one seems to have the strongest level and….

Abruptly there was a flash of brilliant light from the crystal. Jack had been looking directly at the crystal. He threw up his arm over his eyes with a cry as he fell forward into the alcove, the sensor clattering to the floor. Daniel shielded his own eyes as he ran around the ledge of the level.

“Jack!” he yelled. Tears stung his eyes. He shut his eyes tightly and reached into the alcove blindly feeling around for Jack with one hand. His other hand thumbed the radio. “Sam! Teal’c! Get in here!”

“We’re coming!” came Sam’s reply, heavily riddled with static.

Daniel was lucky the message got through at all. Keeping his eyes tightly closed he reached into the alcove, feeling around until he felt cloth. Jack’s uniform. He grabbed a handful and started pulling. At first it wouldn’t move. He struggled with the weight. Jack had to be unconscious.

“Daniel!!” A voice yelled. It was Sam.

“Up here!” he yelled back.

Sam and Teal’c both shielded their eyes as they hurried to the sound of Daniel’s voice. Even their sunglasses barely helped cut the glare. The light went out as quickly as it had come on and Daniel fell backward, Jack’s body sprawled across his lap.

“What happened?” Sam asked as she knelt beside him removing her sunglasses.

“I don’t know,” Daniel replied. Teal’c helped him roll Jack onto his back, straightening his limbs.

“Colonel? Can you hear me?” Sam shook his shoulder slightly.

There was no response from Jack. His face was pale and his pulse was rapid where Sam put her fingers against the side of his neck. She leaned forward lifting his lids to check his eyes then jerked back with a gasp. There was something wrong with his eyes. She took out the small flashlight to be sure and lifted the lid. The chocolate brown irises had remained, but the there was no sign of his pupils. As if they didn’t exist.

“We’ve got to get him out of here,” Sam said.

“I will carry O’Neill,” Teal’c said. As he lifted the inert form of their leader, Daniel and Sam quickly gathered up the equipment.

They soon hurried after Teal’c who was carrying Jack. The Jaffa noticed how limp Jack was. How light he seemed to be. Meanwhile Sam and Daniel were moving just as fast just to keep up.

Daniel was describing what little he knew. “Jack was using the detector for that radiation you said might be present,” he was saying. “He said it was coming from the crystals embedded in the top of the alcoves. I don’t know what triggered it.”

“I’ll examine the readings when we get back,” Sam said. “Was he looking directly at the crystal when it lit up?”

Daniel shook his head. “I wasn’t watching him,” he said. “Jack said something about the reading being stronger there, then he yelled and that blinding light came on.”

Sam chewed on her bottom lip. What she had seen in Jack’s eyes disturbed her in ways she couldn’t describe.

 

Chapter 2

The return to Stargate Command occurred quickly. Jack was transferred immediately into Dr. Frazier’s care while the remainder of SG-1 underwent post mission physicals. However it was only Sam and Teal’c available debriefed Hammond. Unfortunately there was little to be said. Daniel hadn’t seen what actually happened and Sam and Teal’c had only arrived at the end. It was up to Janet to come up with answers. And she was keeping Daniel in the infirmary due to some rather unusual test results that came back.

The two waited impatiently outside the infirmary as Janet performed test after test on bother of Jack and Daniel. The status of Jack’s eyes along with his continued state of unconsciousness worried her. But it wasn’t what was worrying her the most.

Eventually she let his team in to sit with him. Daniel simply sat up on the bed he occupied next to Jack’s wishing he could get dressed. Sam noted how small Jack seemed. Then she noticed his hair. More brown than gray.

“What is going on?” she asked in a whisper.

Janet was checking the sensors attached Jack. “I’m not sure,” the doctor replied.

“He almost looks like…” Sam started.

“Like’s he’s getting younger?” Janet asked. “He is. The best that I can tell is that he’s regressing to a younger state. But I don’t know how far it will go.”

“I was in the light as well,” Daniel said. “Why didn’t it affect me?”

“Daniel, have you looked in a mirror?” Janet said.

“What?”

“Your tests came back similar to Colonel O’Neill’s. Your cells have regressed. I think you’ve lost perhaps five years but it’s stopped with you,” Janet said. “Jack was in it longer. I don’t know what this means.”

Daniel walked over to a mirror and looked at his reflection. He hadn’t really noticed since his mind was more on Jack. Upon closer examination, the fine lines around his eyes and mouth were gone. He did look five years younger. His hair was still short, but it seemed to have the same sun streaks it had when he first came back from Abydos.

He turned back to Janet. “You think that light did it?” he asked.

She nodded. “But some reason it hasn’t stopped in Colonel O’Neill,” she said. “And I don’t know what to do yet.”

“What about his eyes,” Teal’c asked. It was the question they had been avoiding.

Janet went to stand by Jack’s bed. “I would say that he is effectively blind at this point,” she said. She turned to rest of them. “His optic nerves are… dissolving for lack of a better term, being absorbed into the surrounding tissue.”

“How is that possible? What is causing that?” Sam said shocked.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Janet replied. “And there is nothing I can do to stop it.”

There was a moment of heavy silence in the room. No one knew what to say. His team was stunned. Janet was feeling horrible.

“Well this goes beyond sucking,” came a voice from behind Janet.

Janet whirled around. “Colonel? You’re awake?”

“Obviously,” Jack said. He hadn’t moved but his eyes were still closed. “With the four of you chattering, how am I supposed to sleep?”

“Colonel… how much did you…?” Janet began hesitantly.

“Unless all the lights are out in here, then I’m blind,” he said. He opened his eyes, seeming to stare upward. “And according to you I’m getting younger, which would explain why my knees don’t ache.”

He seemed too calm about the news.

“Sir, do you remember what happened?” Sam asked.

“I remember taking readings and next thing I know a sun exploded in my face,” Jack said. “Not something I would recommend.”

“I’ll examine the readings you took,” Sam said. “Maybe there is a clue there and perhaps a way to reverse this.”

“That would be nice,” Jack said calmly.

“Get some rest Colonel,” Janet said. “I’ll be back to check on you later. Dr. Jackson, I recommend you do the same.”

“Janet, I’m…” Daniel started.

Janet raised a hand then pointed to the bed without a word. With a sigh Daniel leaned back on his bed with a pout.
“Doesn’t pay to annoy the good doctor,” Jack said closing his eyes again. “I still have memories of the size of her needles.”

Janet’s mouth twitched in a brief smile before she left. She was joined by Sam and Teal’c as they too left the area after wishing the two of them goodnight.

For a long moment there was silence in the room. Daniel turned on his side to look at Jack lying on the other bed. The scrubs were already loose on his body.

“You’re staring,” Jack said quietly.

Daniel jumped startled. “How did you know?” he asked.

“I know you,” Jack replied. “I can feel your eyes boring into me.”

“Sorry… it’s just…”

“How old do I look?” Jack asked interrupting him.

“At a guess, maybe 30,” Daniel replied.

“Twenty years,” Jack said. “Now that would be something to see.”

Daniel didn’t know how to respond to that.

“Jack… I..”

“Good night, Daniel.”

Daniel sighed. “Good night, Jack.”

Chapter 3

Jack lay there in the silence. But it wasn’t silent to him. He could every sound. The light snoring and the occasional rustle of sheets as Daniel slept in the bed next to him. If he focused he could hear the soft indistinct sounds of the night nurses talking in the hall. He could even the faint sound of the air moving through the vents and how they made the curtains around his bed rustle slightly.

Beneath his hands he could feel the roughness of the blanket that was over him and the slightly softer feeling of the loose scrub he wore. Every inch of his skin seemed hypersensitive. Every one of his sense was sensitive. Even to every smell.

He knew he appeared calm on the outside. But he was anything but. Inside he was screaming. He didn’t realize the moment he fell asleep.

Daniel woke to the sound of whimpering. He sat up and looked over toward the other bed. Jack’s body was twisting in the other bed. The whimpering was coming Jack. Daniel quickly got up and went to the other bed.

In the lowlight Jack seemed smaller than a few hours ago. In fact he looked like little more than a teenager now. In a matter of hours had lost more than a decade from his life. The process was accelerating.

Daniel hit the call button as he went to Jack. He caught him by the shoulders shaking him. “Jack, wake up!”

Jack fought him, his strength much less now. “The light! The light!” he cried.

Daniel had to wrap his arms around Jack and hold him tightly. “Jack! I’ve got you! Wake up! Wake up!”

Jack shuddered in his arms. “D-Daniel?”

“It’s me.”

“I can’t see…” the voice was a hushed frightened whisper.

Daniel took Jack’s hands and put them to his face. “Feel me,” he said.

Jack’s hands moved over Daniel’s face. The contours of his brows to the stubble on his chin. “Daniel… he said with a shuddering sigh.

Daniel was rubbing Jack’s back when Janet appeared in answer to the call button. She pulled up short when she saw Jack in Daniel’s arms.  He looked like teenage, shaggy haired, 15 year old. The progression of the regression was accelerating.

“Colonel?” she said.

Jack lifted his head from Daniel’s chest. There were tears down his cheeks and his eyes were wide open.  “Janet?” he said his hand reaching out.

She took his hand and put it to her face. His fingers moved gently over the curve of her face. She had never felt a gentler touch. “Are you all right?”

“Nightmare,” Daniel said.

Janet pulled her penlight from her pocket and turned Jack’s face toward her. She shown the light into both eyes but there was no reaction. The irises were brown with flecks of black.

“I hate that,” Jack said.

“How did you know?” Janet asked surprised.

“I heard the click when you turned it on,” Jack replied. He turned and rested his forehead against Daniel’s chest.  “I’m tired.”

Daniel rubbed his arms and then helped him to lie back on the bed. “Just relax,” Daniel said. “I’ll be in the next bed. I won’t be far.”

Jack tried to relax against pillows but he was still trembling. “My voice sounds funny,” he said. “How old am I?”

“You look like a teenager,” Daniel said.

“That was fast,” Jack said with a hitch in his voice. “I’m going be in diapers by lunch.”

“With what you eat, Jack,” Daniel said still sitting on the side of the bed. Jack’s hand slipped into his gripping his tightly.

A faint smile touched Jack’s mouth, but it trembled. He was afraid and it showed. Daniel and Janet exchanged a look. Daniel would be staying up with him. Daniel’s thumb moved over Jack’s wrist in a comforting stroke.

Chapter 4

Six hours later and the situation had not improved. Daniel had remained with Jack on his bed as the now former colonel continued to get younger. Janet was frantic trying to either find an answer to stop or reverse the situation. Sam had spent an equal number of hours in her lab going over the readings that Jack had taken just before the light affected him.

 

It was like nothing she had every seen before. It was a type of radiation that barely registered on her instruments and she had no way to duplicate it without returning to the planet. That was out of the question. They had no idea what had set it off. It could have been the detector itself.

So here she sat now with Jack so Daniel could take a break for food and a shower. Jack was so small now. The size of a four or five year old child. Only his size had changed, not his mind. Currently he was cuddled up on her lap. He was constantly touching her. His fingers were moving over her face.

“I always wanted to sleep with you, but this isn’t what I had in mind,” he said.

“Wh-what?” Sam sputtered shocked.

“You’re blushing.”

“How….?

“Your face got warm,” he said, his mouth curving up in a smile. Then he snuggled against her, he head against her breasts. “Ah… nice pillows….”

Sam choked. “Sir…”

“I think you can call me Jack now,” he replied. “At this rate I think you’ll be changing diapers soon.”

“Maybe not,” Janet said walking into the room. Behind her were Daniel and Teal’c.

Jack lifted his head. “You found something?”

“I’ve gotten the latest test result,” Janet said. “The process has stopped abruptly. You are no long regressing.”

“It’s reversing itself?” Jack asked.

Janet shook her head without thinking. “No, colonel,” she said. It’s simply stopped. Your body is approximately that of a perfectly healthy four year old child.”

“A perfectly healthy four year old blind child you mean,” Jack said with an edge.

“Yes sir,” Janet said. She didn’t know what else to say.

Jack was silent for a moment before he pulled out of Sam’s arms. “Next stop, child services?” he asked bitterly.

“No!” Daniel snapped abruptly, which made all of them look at him in surprise. “There is no way I’m letting you get put into the system like that. I’ll adopt you first.”

“Daniel…” Jack began slowly and hesitantly.

The archeologist picked Jack up in his arms settling him on his hip. “No,” he said. “You are not going to end up in that situation. Been there. Done that. Special needs children don’t get adopted. You come home with me first.”

“I suppose we need to brief General Hammond on the situation,” Teal’c said. “So that the proper arrangements can be made.”

Chapter 5

The occupants of the main conference room was limited to General Hammond, Dr. Frazier and the members of SG-1 including the now child sized Jack O’Neill.

As they discussed the situation, Jack soon became bored with the conversation. To him they were just rehashing the situation endlessly. Nothing new, just the same thing over and over again. Not the same words of course but the same points. Daniel allowed him to slip off his lap with a murmured ‘be careful’. Jack just nodded.

Sam was sitting in the chair next to him and he reached out to touch the arm his fingers going over the skin of her forearm while she spoke.

“General,” Sam was saying. “If we could send a remote unit with sensors, we might be able to get more information. At least get a better reading on the radiation that affected Colonel O’Neill.”

Jack felt his way along the back of her chair until he could touch her other arm. He then moved to the empty chair beside her. Touching the arms and back, making his way slowly and carefully around the table.

“Can it handle those steps?” Daniel asked. “There were no crystals in the alcoves on the first level. Its have go up to second where the crystal were.”

“I think I can modify a MALP to handle it,” Sam said. “But it’ll take me some time to do it.”

“Do we have the time?” Hammond asked. He looked at Jack at the end of the table. The ‘child’ was systematically making his way around table one chair after the other, feeling his way.

“Every test is showing that the regression has stopped,” Janet said. “I can’t even find the any evidence of the radiation that caused it to begin with in his cells on any level. He’s normal enough.” A snort echoed from the other end of the table. A faint smile touched Janet’s mouth briefly. “All my data tells me he’s going to grow up again. Hopefully with fewer scars.”

“And his eyes?” Hammond asked.

“That… is more difficult to understand,” Janet said. She looked down at the folder in front of her. There have been cases where children have been born without or with an incomplete optic nerve. Colonel O’Neill’s optic nerves are gone. Absorbed into his body and replaced with something else.”

“Something else?” Daniel asked the concern strong in his voice.

“Don’t ask me what it is or what it does,” Janet said. “I have no idea. All I know at this time is that his other senses are becoming more heightened.”

“She means don’t try to whisper around me,” Jack said. “I can hear it.” He had reached Teal’c chair, touching the big man’s arm.

Teal’c touched his hand and squeezed it gently. Jack smiled slightly then moved slowly around his chair then felt for the arm of the general’s chair.

“I will consider your request, Major Carter,” Hammond said. “Write me a formal request. Work with Doctor Jackson to put it together.”

“Yes sir,” the two said in unison.

“Anything else?” Hammond asked.

“Can I see you?” Jack asked abruptly.

“What?” Hammond asked surprised looking at the small boy beside his chair.

Jack held up his hands to Hammond. “I want to see you too,” he said.

Without another word the general slowly reached down and picked Jack up, letting the boy settle himself. Jack rose to his knees and reached unerringly for Hammond’s face. His hands were gentle as he traced his features. Then surprisingly he put his arms around Hammond’s neck and inhaled deeply.

“What are you doing?” Hammond asked gently.

“I want your smell,” Jack said. “You have your own special smell.”

Hammond smiled and put his arm around Jack to hold him secure. “So what do we do with you now?” he asked.

“I’ll take him home with me,” Daniel said quickly. “Its better he be with someone he knows and in familiar surroundings.”

“All right Doctor Jackson,” Hammond said. “Very well, I don’t see any problem with that. Provided Colonel O’Neill has no objection.”

Jack lifted his head then. “I have a condition.”

Daniel frowned slightly. “What condition is that?”

Jack smiled angelically. “I want a dog.”

Fini

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.