The "Little" Room Part 4: The Rest of the Story
by Maureen Thayer
Content Warning: Mild Profanity
Spoilers: The Tok'ra, Fragile Balance
Author's Notes: Everyone in the Little Danny Yahoo Group begged me to continue with this series, so I decided to do so. This really is the final part.
Jack stared at the newly shrunken Jaffa, toying with the idea of telling Teal'c that he was a cute kid. However, since he wanted to live to see adulthood again. . . .
"So, Daniel. Any bright ideas on how we're going to reverse this?" he asked.
"Well, we could try leaving the room."
They all clomped out in boots that were now enormous and stood waiting for several minutes outside the room.
"I'm not feeling any taller," Jack remarked.
"You're not looking any taller either," Daniel stated.
Jack glared at him. "Thank you so much for pointing that out, Daniel." He jerked up his pants, which were threatening to descend to his knees. "Next idea, please."
Holding up her pants with one hand and her scanner with the other, Sam said, "As I was saying before, sir, I'm getting some unusual energy reading, unlike anything I've ever seen before."
She went on with a whole bunch of technobabble, which was bad enough coming from the adult version, but was downright unnatural in her present form.
"Yeah, yeah, okay," Jack interrupted. "So, what does all that mean?"
"Colonel, look at us. Whatever did this actually reversed the aging process in the space of five minutes. That's extraordinary!"
"I can think of a lot of words for it, Carter, but 'extraordinary' isn't even close to being one of them."
"You do have to admit that there are advantages to this," Daniel said. "I mean, if we really are the ages we appear to be, we can live our entire lives over again with the advantage of the knowledge and experiences we had as adults. Think of what we could accomplish in the next thirty or forty years."
"Ah, yes. Reliving puberty, acne and all those other fun kid things. I can hardly wait. Have you considered the fact that they're not going to let children work at the SGC?"
"Oh. Yeah, you're probably right about that."
Sam made a loud growling sound. "That's it! I can't take it anymore! All of you turn around."
"What?" Daniel asked, confused.
"Turn around!" She twirled her finger. "Turn your backs to me."
Glancing at each other, the three formerly adult men shrugged and turned their backs to Sam. They heard boots hitting the floor, then the sound of rustling clothing.
"Okay, you can turn back now," Sam said after a couple of minutes.
They did and found that she'd shed her boots, BDU pants and vest. Her T-shirt and jacket came all the way down to her knees, so it's not like anything . . . private was showing, but the three guys still found themselves staring at her bare legs.
Sam looked down at her own legs, then back at her male teammates, her eyes narrowed.
"I'm ten years old now, and there's nothing sexy about them. Get over it."
Daniel blinked a few times. "Right. I guess I should go back in the room and see if there's any writing in there."
As he passed the pile of Sam's clothing, he saw certain other garments peeking out from underneath the pants and blushed scarlet. Apparently, the pants weren't the only things Sam had been having trouble keeping in place. Actually, he was having the same trouble.
Stepping out of his boots before they made him topple over, Daniel walked across the room, holding his pants – and what was beneath them – up as he tried not to get his feet tangled in the pant legs. For a moment, he was tempted to do the same thing as Sam. The thought didn't last long.
"Not you, too!" Jack exclaimed.
Daniel turned to see that Teal'c had also shed his vest, boots, pants and, er, um . . . okay, not gonna think about that.
Clinging to his pants with the irrational fear that someone would try to remove them, Daniel looked around the room. He couldn't see any writing, no script, no symbols, no handy instruction manual entitled "How to Regrow Your Lost Adulthood." Damn.
Daniel was beginning to think that maybe Jack was right. Reliving your childhood might not be all that great after all. Who was going to take a ten-year-old archeologist seriously? Not that anyone in the archeological community was taking him seriously after that lecture anyway, but. . . .
"Sir, we're due for a check-in in ten minutes," Sam announced as she laid her clothes down in a neat pile by the door.
Jack groaned. "Oh, I am not looking forward to explaining this to Hammond. We are never going to live it down. You stay here with Daniel and see if you can figure this thing out. Teal'c and I will go to the gate."
As Jack struggled all the way, nearly falling flat on his face more than once, Teal'c strode easily and proudly to the gate, seemingly not the least bit uncomfortable about his less than fully clothed state.
"Isn't it a wee bit . . . breezy under there, T?" Jack asked.
"It is not, O'Neill. I saw no purpose in continuing to wear garments that hindered my free movement."
'Yes, and, now, no movement is being hindered at all,' Jack thought. Choosing not to dwell on that thought, he yanked up his pants again and covered the last few yards to the gate. He stared up at the ring, which looked twice as big now. Then he looked at the DHD, hoping that he'd be able to reach all the symbols.
He managed to dial Earth's address and got on his radio.
"This is Colonel O'Neill. I need to speak to General Hammond."
There was a long silence, then, "E-excuse me?" said the voice of Sergeant Harriman. "Who is this?"
Then the general came on. "This is General Hammond of Stargate Command. Who is this?"
"This is Co. . . ." That's when Jack realized that all they could hear was a little child's voice, not the recognizable one of the adult Jack O'Neill. He cleared his throat and attempted to speak in a deeper voice. "This is O'Neill, sir. Sorry. I seem to have a bit of laryngitis."
"Look, I don't know who this is or what kind of joke you're playing," Hammond said in a stern voice, "but you have no business pretending to be Colonel O'Neill."
"But I am me! I mean, I am Colonel O'Neill!" Jack declared with a whine, dropping the fake voice.
"Son, whoever you are, you are in a great deal of trouble. Now, I want you to get Colonel O'Neill or one of the other members of SG-1 immediately."
"But-but. . . ."
Teal'c entered the conversation. "General Hammond, I assure you that he is, indeed, Colonel O'Neill, as I am Teal'c."
"Whatever game you both are trying to play, it is not going to work," Hammond stated. "I can only assume that SG-1 has been captured or disabled in some way. I am ending this transmission now."
"But, sir!" Jack cried. "Sir? Hello? Can anybody hear me?" Realizing that Hammond had, indeed, cut off the audio transmission, Jack cursed. "Great. Now what? They'll probably disable our IDC code. This day just keeps getting better and better."
"Sam, could you roll up my pant legs?" Daniel asked. "I'd do it myself, but I'm afraid that I'd . . ." he blushed, "drop something."
Smiling, Sam did as he asked. She couldn't help but smile even more when his cute little feet were revealed. Not that her feet were any bigger.
Sam studied the person before her. She'd always suspected that Daniel had been an adorable child, and, now, it was confirmed. He looked even cuter with those glasses on, which were way too big for his face now and kept sliding down his nose.
"What?" Daniel asked, wondering why she was staring at him.
"Nothing. I just think you're cute."
Daniel blushed again. "Thanks, but I'd rather be big and cute."
Sam grinned. "Well, you were that, too. So, you're no longer enamored of the idea of living your life all over again?"
"No, not really. I realized that there would be a whole lot more disadvantages than advantages."
"Yes, I was thinking that my dad would have heart failure when he realized that he might have to raise me all over again."
Daniel turned his gaze away from her. "Well, at least you'd have someone who could do that."
Sam grimaced. "I'm sorry. I didn't think."
Daniel shrugged. "It's okay." He began opening the doors of the cabinets lining the walls of the room, hoping to find something. What he found did not give him any feelings of confidence that they'd be discovering a way to get big again. All the cabinets were filled with toys, games and other things for children. He looked around and realized for the first time that the place looked like a playroom.
"Uh, Sam, I'm beginning to think that regaining our former . . . stature is not going to be easy."
"I think you may be right. This really isn't good. What's the purpose of all this? Why turn people into children?"
"I don't know. Maybe it's some kind of . . . of psychological study, see how adults handle it, if they go with the flow. . . ."
"Or go nuts?"
Daniel smiled slightly. "Something like that. At least we still have all our adult memories. It could be worse."
"Yes, I suppose it could."
"Then again, Jack as a petulant ten-year-old with the sarcasm and bad mood of the fifty-year-old version would be enough to give anyone nightmares."
"Oh, man. That's not going to be pretty. He was bad enough as a teenager. I mean his clone was."
Giving up on finding any gadgets that would turn them back into adults, Daniel sat in one of the little chairs. At least in the seated position he didn't have to struggle to keep his pants up.
That's when he got an idea. "Hey, Sam, can I have your belt?"
"Um, sure." She got it from the pile of clothing and handed it to Daniel. She then watched with interest as he took off his vest and turned his belt and hers into a pair of suspenders for his pants.
"Hey, smart idea!" she said, smiling.
"Thanks. It'll still be awkward walking around in them, but at least they won't fall down." He pushed his glasses up again for what seemed like the millionth time. "So, what are we going to do if we can't reverse this?"
"I really don't know. The colonel's right about the SGC. Even if we do still have all our memories intact, they won't let us work there, and the colonel and I certainly can't remain in the Air Force. They'll probably set us up somewhere safe and assign somebody to watch over us. They couldn't let anybody. . . ." She hesitated, not sure if she should say it, given Daniel's history.
"Adopt us?" Daniel said, guessing that's what she was going to say.
Sam didn't reply, giving him a sympathetic look.
Daniel didn't let it bother him. He put on a smile. "Hey. Maybe your dad will adopt us," he said jokingly.
Sam snorted. "My dad adopt the colonel?"
Daniel grinned. "You're right. He'd kill Jack inside a month, which would probably be longer than the time it would take Janet to kill him if she adopted us."
Sam's eyes widened in realization. "Oh my God. I'm younger than Cassie!"
"But I'm her godmother! Well, sort of, unofficially. That is just so wrong!"
Jack and Teal'c stomped back in. Well, actually, it was just Jack who was doing the stomping. Why hadn't he taken off the boots yet?
"We are officially screwed," Jack declared.
"What happened?" Sam asked.
"General Hammond did not believe that we were who we claimed to be," Teal'c stated.
Jack plopped down in a chair. "He thought we were a couple of kids fooling around."
Daniel frowned. "That's not good."
"Maybe he'll send another team through," Sam said hopefully.
Jack stared at her. "And then what? There is no way I'm staying like this for the rest of my life."
"Well, technically, you wouldn't be," Daniel corrected, "since we'll probably age—"
Jack's finger shot up. "I don't want to hear it, Daniel. I want my adult body back."
"Grey hair, wrinkles and all?"
Jack gave him a heated glare. "Those weren't wrinkles, they were character lines. Men don't get wrinkles."
Sam gave him a dirty look that promised all kinds of future torment for the colonel.
"Excuse me?" she said in a voice with more frostiness than Jack would have thought possible coming from such little vocal cords.
"I, um . . . what I mean is. . . ." Jack turned to Daniel. "Any luck figuring out what's going on here?"
"No. This room seems to be some kind of playroom. There are toys in the cabinets."
"They don't actually expect us to play with them, do they?"
"It shouldn't be that much of a challenge for you, Jack."
The colonel was about to issue a retort when he saw what Daniel had done with the belts. "Hey! Suspenders! Great idea. Teal'c, give me your belt."
A few minutes later, Jack's pants were more or less firmly held in place and the cuffs rolled up. He'd finally removed the boots.
"Now that nothing is going to be falling down, I say we check the rest of this place out," he said. "We might find something in another room that will get us out of this mess."
The next room the team went to also appeared to be a playroom, except that it was filled with games and toys more suitable for kids in their mid-teens, whereas the third room they went to had things for much younger children.
Daniel looked around at the contents of the "preschooler" room. "Do you think it's possible that they de-aged people to different age groups?"
The same thought struck everyone at the same time, and they froze.
"No, no, no!" Jack cried. "Not a preschooler!"
They all ran out of the room and stood staring at each other, waiting for them to start shrinking even more. Nothing happened.
Daniel visibly relaxed. "Maybe you can only be downsized once."
"It is unfortunate that we did not first enter the room for older children," Teal'c said.
Jack agreed. "Yeah, I'd rather be fifteen than ten." Then he recalled what his fifteen-year-old clone was like. "Then again, maybe not."
The room they went to next was clearly an observation room, containing monitoring screens that had most likely displayed images from the three playrooms.
The rest of the rooms were living quarters, three of which contained four bunk beds apiece. There were two lounges, a kitchen, bathroom facilities and rooms with single beds that were probably for the scientists.
"Okay, there has to be more than this," Sam said. "Where's the computer, all the equipment, the technology that made us like this?"
"Maybe there's an underground level," Daniel suggested.
They did find a door that probably led to all that other stuff, but it was securely locked, and not even Teal'c's staff weapon could get them past it.
"Well, so much for that," Jack said. "Now what?"
"Well, it's obvious that this was a research facility," Sam replied.
"And they were probably researching the effects of being returned to childhood," Daniel added.
"Which I'm sure I would have found quite amusing if I wasn't one of the subjects," said Jack.
Daniel thought for a moment. "I think we should go back to the first room."
They all returned to the room for their "age group". Jack, Sam and Teal'c watched as Daniel got out some of the toys, coloring books, games and puzzles.
"Daniel? Whatcha doin'?" Jack asked.
"I'm going to play." He looked at his teammates, who were staring at him like he was nuts. "Okay, it's obvious from all these toys that the test subjects were supposed to play, so . . . I'm going to play."
"For what purpose, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c queried.
"I don't know. What if there's some kind of automated system watching us, waiting for us to do what we're supposed to?"
Sam frowned. "You're thinking that, if we play along, act like test subjects, we'll get changed back after the test is completed?"
"It's worth a try. What else are we going to do? Even if we do get back to Earth, how can they fix this? I don't think that growth hormone is going to work."
Sam shrugged. "I guess you're right." She got a jigsaw puzzle and dumped the pieces onto one of the tables. Daniel sat down at the table and began looking for the border pieces. Intrigued, Teal'c took a seat as well.
For several minutes, Jack watched his three teammates put the puzzle together.
"For cryin' out loud," he muttered before joining them.
It was around twenty minutes later that they all realized they were actually having fun.
"I haven't done a puzzle in years," Sam said as she fit a piece in place, "not since shortly after Cassie came to live with Janet."
Daniel picked up a piece, studying it, then the picture on the puzzle box. "Mom, Dad and I used to do them sometimes."
"Such things do not exist on Chulak," Teal'c stated. "Games were designed to strengthen the body and hone reflexes."
Jack was hunched over the puzzle, staring at it, then at the loose pieces, trying to find one that had been eluding him.
"What about you, Jack?" Daniel asked.
"Huh. What?" He blinked and looked at them. "What about me?"
Daniel didn't get the chance to repeat the question, for, at that moment, SG-3, weapons raised, came striding toward the door.
"No, don't!" Jack shouted, waving his arms frantically.
"Too late," said he, Sam and Daniel a moment later.
Jack smiled humorlessly. "Better hold onto your pants, boys. You're about to join the party."
Colonel Reynolds glared at him. "Who are you and why are you wearing those clothes? Where is SG-1?"
"Um . . . ask us again in five minutes," Daniel replied.
Five minutes later, there was no need for Reynolds to ask again.
Jack studied the newest members of the Shrunken SG Team Corp. "At this rate, we'll have Stargate Command's entire contingent of SG teams playing in the Munchkin League before the day is out."
Reynolds, whose ten-year-old face didn't look any less humorless than his adult face did, asked, "What the hell is going on here?"
"Good question. If you come up with any answers, let us know."
The leader of SG-3 stared at him. "Jack?"
"My sentiments exactly."
Daniel filled the new arrivals in on everything they knew and on what he had guessed.
"So, we're just supposed to sit here and play?" one of Reynolds' team asked.
"Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds," Jack replied.
"We need to contact the SGC and tell them what's going on," Reynolds said.
"Tried that already. It didn't quite work out as expected."
Sam turned to Jack. "Sir, maybe if we all go, we can convince them that it really is us. If we can get them to send a MALP, they'll be able to see us."
"Why don't we all just go through the gate?" SG-3's second-in-command asked. "Your IDC code has been disabled, but ours still works."
"I've been thinking about that, and I don't know if that's a good idea. What if Daniel's right and the key to this is here? If we go back to the SGC, will they allow us to return?"
"Probably not," Jack replied. "And I don't want to think about what the NID and the guys at Area 51 might decide to do with us."
The eight mini SG team members went back to the gate. Though they'd removed their boots, the four members of SG-3 had refused to take off their pants, which were now somewhat being held up by single strap suspenders made from their belts.
As soon as the gate was dialed, Reynolds sent SG-3's IDC code to act as identification. He then cleared his throat.
"Sir, this is Colonel Reynolds. We've run into a problem here."
There was a moment of silence, then a very angry Hammond said, "I am getting very tired of this."
"Sir, it really is us," Sam declared. "We've all been turned into children. Ask us any personal question you want to, and we'll answer it."
There was another pause. "All right. What is the name of Major Carter's father, and what happened to him five years ago?"
"Jacob Carter, and he was blended with the Tok'ra symbiote Selmak to save him from dying of cancer."
"Your granddaughters' names are Kayla and Tessa," Daniel said.
"You are called 'Hammond of Texas' by Master Bra'tac," Teal'c stated.
"I never did see about getting your wall fixed after I kicked it when I was wearing that armband thingie," said Jack. There was no response. "Sir, send a MALP through. Then you'll be able to see us."
"Very well. We will send one through shortly. Hammond out."
The MALP arrived a short while later.
"Smile for the camera boys and girls," Jack said. He grabbed Daniel and pulled the archeologist forward. "Look at this face, General. Now, you can't deny that this is Daniel." He pinched Daniel's cheek. "Look at these cheeks."
Daniel batted his hand away. "Cut it out, Jack."
Hammond's voice came over the speaker in the MALP. "I do admit that I see resemblances, but this seems so far-fetched. How can I be certain that you're not clones, like the clone of Colonel O'Neill that Loki created?"
"Oh. I didn't think of that," Sam murmured. "Sir, we're definitely not clones. We actually witnessed the . . . downsizing of some of us. But I don't know how we can prove that to you."
Daniel spoke up. "We think this is all part of some kind of behavioral experiment by the people who used to be here."
"All right," Hammond said. "For the sake of argument, let's say that I believe you. Is there any way to reverse it?"
"Daniel has an idea that we're going to try," Sam replied. "It's the only idea we have at the moment."
"Very well. We will wait for word from you. Hammond out."
The group returned to the facility and back to the room, where they got down to the business of playing. While SG-1 got back to work on the puzzle, SG-3 found other things to do.
As time passed, they all found themselves relaxing. There were smiles, some laughs, a few jokes. Two members of SG-3 had found squirt guns and were now chasing each other down the hallways. It felt good to just be kids and enjoy the simple toys and games. Daniel's face looked more peaceful than his teammates recalled ever seeing it as he worked his way through a big pile of storybooks. Sam's mind wasn't filled with equations or scientific gadgets. Instead, she was deciding what color to make the flowers in the picture she was coloring. Teal'c was working on another jigsaw puzzle, his entire attention focused upon it. As for Jack, he was building an elaborate skyscraper with an alien version of an Erector Set.
They'd all been playing for around four hours when there was a chime.
"Experiment completed successfully," said a female computer voice.
Everyone looked at each other. And then they began to feel it. They were getting bigger.
"Eeep!" Sam squeaked. She jumped out of the chair, scooped up her clothing, and made a mad dash out the door.
Jack looked at Teal'c. "Uh, hey, big guy. Aren't you gonna go do the same?"
"You have seen me unclothed many times in the locker room, O'Neill."
"Well, yeah, but that's not quite the same thing."
The Jaffa remained seated as they all regained the years they'd shed. Within five minutes, the process was complete.
It was then that Teal'c stood to don his clothing. Everyone else hastily looked elsewhere.
Fifteen minutes later, they were all standing in front of the MALP.
"We're back, General," Jack said. "All grown up. Daniel's idea worked like a charm."
"I'm glad to hear it. Of course, you will have to undergo rigorous testing when you return so that we can be sure it really is you."
"Of course, sir."
"Come through anytime you're ready."
As SG-3 went through, Daniel looked back over his shoulder at the facility, a wistful expression on his face.
Sam touched his arm. "What are you thinking?"
"It was kind of nice not having to worry about things or deal with grown-up stuff. Playing wasn't something I did a lot of when I was a kid, not after Mom and Dad died. I never realized how much I was missing until now."
Sam gave him a smile. "I know what you mean. Once we're grown up, we sometimes get so involved in all the stuff that comes with being an adult that we forget how good it can feel just to let it all go and play."
"Come on, kids," Jack said. "Let's go home."
It had been a week since the "shrinking" incident. The week had been rather hectic, and the members of SG-1 were all looking forward to relaxing over the weekend. Jack had insisted that they all come over to his house on Saturday, saying that he had plans.
When they got there, Daniel, Sam and Teal'c were surprised by what they saw. Piled high on the dining room table were games, coloring books, toys and, to Teal'c's delight, jigsaw puzzles.
They all turned to Jack, who was grinning from ear to ear.
"Hey, I figured there was no reason why we had to have ten-year-old bodies to have fun," he said. "So, come on. Let's play!"
With smiles, his teammates happily complied.