Memories are Made of Thisby devra
"You sound like shit."
"Tis the season."
I hold the receiver away from my ear as Daniel coughs. Long, hard and raspy. "This is what you get for playing offworld with other teams." I'm in Washington and Daniel's at the SGC, distance doesn't make the heart grown fonder, it just makes me worry more. "You should be home, in bed—"
"With anyone you know?"
He sounds like Elmer Fudd, and there's something so wrong about anyone sounding like a cartoon character while making sexual innuendoes. "You're contagious and there's no one I know who should even be near you as you hack up a lung."
"I'll remember that."
"Sure you will."
He sighs, coughs then clears his throat. "Hold on a minute," he squeaks.
I can hear rustling of papers, the scrape of his stool, and I wait patiently as I imagine him searching his desk for an unfinished cold cup of coffee, tea, or a warm, opened bottle of water.
Curiosity gets the better of me. "So, what was it? Cold tea, coffee...?"
"Which I washed down with lukewarm tea. Feel better now?"
I feel vindicated at how well I know Daniel. "Going back to my original question, if you're taking antibiotics, coughing, what the hell are you doing at the SGC?"
"Waiting for Janet."
"She's driving me home."
"Driving you home?"
"Why are you echoing everything I say?"
"To drive you nuts." I can just picture the eye roll.
Beginning again, his voice is raspy and it hurts just to listen to him speak. "I spent the majority of the day in the infirmary. With breathing treatments and IVs - happy?"
"No, I'm not."
"I answered your question, told you why I was here."
"You're leaving out too many things. Like *why* did Fraiser stick your ass in the infirmary."
Daniel mumbles something.
"Sam ratted me out."
"Ahhh." See, this is one of the reasons I love my 2IC, when I'm away, she steps right into my shoes.
"It all started with Teal'c coming to my office. He must've said something to Sam who in turn came to play 'inspect the archeologist', who then went to get Janet. You know, I really hate that I work with a bunch of tattletales."
Daniel may think tattlers; I see this as teamwork at its finest.
"Okay, so let me get this straight. Teal'c reported to Carter who reported to Fraiser who dragged you to the infirmary and hooked you up with antibiotics and other drugs."
"That's pretty much how I spent my day."
"And Fraiser's driving you home?"
"Which means my car will be sitting here at the SGC and I'll be a prisoner in my own house."
Personally, I think that's what the doc was going for, but I'm not connecting the dots for Daniel. "If Fraiser's driving you home, then why are you in your office?"
"I know you're calling me. I'm asking why you aren't in Fraiser's minivan at the moment."
"She's giving report to Doctor Warner and I just thought—"
"Yeah, I know what you thought. Go find the doc before she comes looking for you and gets pissed, okay."
"When are you coming home?"
"I know. I'm sorry."
"I thought Washington shut down for the holidays."
I laugh. "Yeah, that's what I thought, too. Surprise. Surprise." I miss Daniel. "Look, I'm going to fly in on a military transport, you hitch a ride to Fraiser's Christmas Eve party and I'll meet you there and drive you home."
"Sounds like a plan."
No, it doesn't. It actually sounds like the least of two evils coupled by the fact we truly don't have any other choice. You'd think people who'd saved the world/universe/galaxy could be cut a little slack. "Go find Fraiser. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"No, tomorrow," I insist. "You go home and get some sleep."
* * *
Colorado is cold, colder than Washington, but Fraiser's house is warm and I stand by the front door just drinking up the heat. And the odors. Military transports are great, but the food sucks even worse than commercial airlines and my stomach awakens with a vengeance.
Cassie takes my coat; Fraiser presses a drink in my hand and pulls me to the side. "Daniel's not here."
"Hmmm?" I can feel my eyebrows dance along my hairline. "And where, pray tell, *is* Daniel?"
"Home. In bed." She checks her watch. "Probably enjoying a slumber compliments of Benedryl."
"Would you care to explain?"
"He had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics—"
"Antibiotics? Daniel always—"
"Age can do that. A body can suddenly decide medication, which had never affected it before—"
"Affects them how?"
She nods. "Hives." Her hand sweeps up and down her body. "Head to toe. Everywhere."
"And he's not in the infirmary because…" I roll my hand along encouragingly. See, Daniel may hate the infirmary, but I feel a sense of security when he's there instead of being treated long distance.
"I paid him a visit this morning, as soon as he called me. Checked him out. Grimaced in sympathy. Fought the urge to take photos to be used later for blackmail. Gave him a shot of steroids. Left him a z-pack of steroids and a healthy supply of antihistamines with the instructions to call me if he felt worse, or if the hives worsened."
"So he's not sick, sick?"
"A residual cough from the bronchitis. But besides looking pretty horrific from the hives, no, Colonel, he's not sick, sick. Uncomfortable, definitely, but not sick." Fraiser checks her watch. "If Daniel followed the schedule I left—"
"Daniel follow a schedule?" I hold back a snort.
"Believe me, he was wretched enough to do whatever I told him to."
"Yeah, my sentiments exactly. According to my watch, Daniel should've taken another dose of Benedryl about twenty minutes ago, which leaves you about thirty minutes to grab some food, for me to make you a platter to bring to Daniel, and for everyone to gather up both your presents and for you to make it back to Daniel's before he wakes up." She taps her watch. "Clock's a tickin'."
* * *
I didn't expect Daniel's house to be an advertisement for the holiday season, but neither did I expect Daniel's abode to be a black hole on his street. I shift the overflowing Christmas shopping bags to my left hand, the handles digging into my fingers as I use the key to open the door.
Daniel's house, for the unaware, is a death trap, because the man has the strangest decorating sense, and I've learned from experience to never maneuver around his rooms without turning on the lights. I flick on the switch by the front door to find the living room littered with boxes of what appears to be decorations. I step over and around these cardboard obstacles to place the shopping bags full of presents by the empty tree stand. I stand there, attempting to rub out the indent the handles have left in their wake.
I continue to flex my hand as I walk down the hall, hugging the wall, the bathroom light my beacon in the darkness. The bedroom door is open, the bedside lamp is on, and I use it to assess the situation. The room is uncharacteristically cool and Daniel is lying sprawled on his stomach, naked from the waist up, with a sheet covering him from the swell of his ass down.
Fraiser's nuts. I'm not brave enough to say that to the woman's face, but there's no way Daniel should be home based upon the condition of exposed skin. Hives, the size of which I've never seen in my lifetime, cover his back, creeping up to his shoulders and even peppering his neck. He shifts, turns his face to the side and I can't stop myself from squatting down and peering into his face. There's a trace of a five o'clock shadow among the hives on his face. Daniel's left eye looks painfully swollen and his lip looks like he lost a round or two with a prizefighter.
I find a spot on his bicep that's hive-free and gently place a kiss before leaving the room.
* * *
I put the care package from Fraiser in the fridge, saving her tidbits for tomorrow. I dig through the basket on the counter and find the take out menu for Szechwan Garden, grab the phone and place an order for delivery. I assure the person that a forty-five minute delivery which, considering it's Christmas Eve and Daniel's still sleeping, is fine with me.
* * *
Out of boredom, I begin to decorate. A snowman here. A red candle there, until I'm riffling through the boxes, picking and choosing with purpose, so much like a middle aged, male Martha Stewart that it's scaring me.
"Jack? What the hell are you doing?"
Obviously, my behavior is scaring Daniel also.
"I'm putting a bit of Christmas cheer in the house."
"Oh." Daniel blinks myopically out of one eye, the other eye is swollen shut and he's apparently out of it. Totally out of it. Walking, talking, and grinning, but at the moment he's one fry short of a Happy Meal. The dead giveaway? The fact that he's wearing only boxers in the dead of winter. No socks. No sweats. Just boxers. Being cold to Daniel is one baby step below being ribboned.
He looks down and wiggles his bare feet. "Yeah."
"How about you put something on?"
"Are we going somewhere?"
"We're going to go to bed. Later. But besides that, we're not going anywhere."
He coughs, long and loud, a nice souvenir from his bronchitis. "Good, don't exactly want to go out tonight."
* * *
Daniel comes back into the living room with sweats, socks and coherency. Dropping onto the couch, he yawns. Rubs his thighs through his sweats, then yawns again. Next he rubs his forearms, and it's not until he rubs his stomach through his sweatshirt do I intervene. "Are you supposed to be scratching?"
With his swollen lip, it sorta sounds like 'not thrwatching', but I keep that comment to myself. "You are."
"You're making me nervous."
"I'm making you nervous?" I use the angel in my hand to touch my chest.
"Um, Daniel, it's Christmas."
He rubs his nose.
I point a warning angel at him. "No scratching."
He pouts, then runs his fingers though his bed hair.
"Are you scratching?"
Daniel glares, but drops his hands. "Are you decorating?"
"Not only is it Christmas, but you have boxes full of stuff. Where the hell did you get—"
"They're Jacob's. She'd been storing the boxes in her house, and since Christmas isn't high on the Tok'ra holiday list and Jacob no longer has a house, and I do, she thought I'd like them."
"And do you like them?" I put the angel gently back in the box, realizing that the ornament must be an antique.
"I have nothing against the ornaments, though, like the Tok'ra, Christmas isn't high on my lists of holidays." Defiantly, he scratches his stomach.
"You always celebrate Christmas."
He buries a cough in his shoulder, then rubs his stubble against the shoulder. "Yeah, I do. Buy presents and stuff, but I never decorate."
Daniel is saved by the doorbell. "Jack?"
"Thought you'd be hungry. Chinese."
* * *
I thought wrong. Daniel manages a bowl of soup and a cup of tea before scratching takes precedence over eating. "Benedryl," he growls. It's said more in annoyance for his need for the medication than an order for me to fetch it for him, but I do anyway.
Checking the time, I give him two antihistamines, his dose of steroids and a glass of apple juice. He downs them all quicker than I've ever seen Daniel take medication.
He squints at the clock on the microwave. "Merry Christmas, Jack. These two pills should carry me over into the 25th. Sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry for. As Fraiser said, you're not sick, sick. Just uncomfortable."
"That's putting it mildly."
"Wanna be uncomfortable on the couch or the bed?"
* * *
He's lying down on the couch, I go back to sorting through the boxes, when he spies the shopping bags by the tree stand. "What's in there?"
"Presents. Collected them from Fraiser's house."
"Oh. I made her take my presents to everyone when she came to check me out." He blinks at the bags. "Those are all for me?"
"Yeah, you're a pretty popular guy."
"Cool." The smile flashes on his face for a second before it slides right off. "I didn't forget your present, Jack." He yawns, and rubs against the back of the couch. "I had planned a nice dinner…"
"A date?" I sit on the couch and take his feet in my hands, scratching gently though the socks. Tomorrow's Christmas, sue me.
He groans in appreciation. "A date."
"Was I going to get lucky at the end of this date?"
Daniel moves down the couch, granting me access to a larger portion of his leg. "You may."
"Sounds like a plan." I slip my hand under the elastic binding by his ankle . I can feel the heat of the hives under my fingers. "Just dinner and sex?"
Daniel snorts. "There's more than that?"
"I don't want to give you the impression that I'm easy. I was at least hoping for a movie."
"That's doable. Are we talking movie in a movie theater or a DVD."
"Theater. I'm neither that easy nor that cheap, Doctor Jackson. Not if you expect me to put out."
"Then it's a date." He yawns, then truly settles into the couch. "Sorry if your present may be a few days late."
"See you in a few hours, Daniel."
He nods. "Merry Christmas, Jack"
* * *
Daniel's snoring. He's blotchy, itchy and still congested. I'm old, tired and understand there's nowhere else I'd rather be at the moment. Maybe in some convoluted, mixed up way, Daniel's right. Christmas isn't about the decorations and the trappings, but more about the people you hold close in your heart or the person whose hivey, lumpy legs you hold in your lap.
I close my eyes, secure in the knowledge that by the morning, the house won't be decorated. The presents will still be by the empty tree stand, the Chinese food, which is sitting on the table, will be thrown away, I'll be stiff and cramped, Daniel will be itchy and covered with hives, and that this is the type of Christmas memories are made of.
A Christmas story for my wonderful beta jo, who watches my six and my words with an eagle eye. Thank you for always going the extra step (even with your present). This fic is also for Amy—nice to know fiction can reflect RL—and to the sisters of my heart may the gifts of the holiday season be all that you desire.
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