Title: Barista 29--Airport Delay
Season: Season 3
Related Episode: Crystall Skull (321), Nemesis (322)
Category Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Rating: PG-13

Author's Notes: It has been ages since I have properly thanked everyone for providing me with such wonderful feedback and encouragement with my stories. Kira and her quirky tales would certainly have ended with Season 1, if it wasn't for all the wonderful support I get from you kids. Thank you from the bottom of my I-know-it's-bad-for-me-but-I-still-love-it diet coke can!

I tell myself that it is way too early to ask if we're there yet, but it is taking all of my self control to keep my mouth shut. I fiddle with the dials on the radio and after two sweeps of the choices available, turn the static off with disgust. Times like this, I really hate living in the mountains. Wonder if we're there yet…

I sneak a glance at my driver and am not surprised at all that he's trying hard not to smile. Nice to know I can be so entertaining at such an early hour.

"You're dying to ask, aren't you?" He asks me with twinkling eyes. You know if he wasn't so darn cute and one of my favorite people, I just might give him a flippant answer.

"Even if I were to say yes," I begin, deciding that I feel like giving a flippant answer anyhow. "It would be for a completely different reason, and not for whatever it is you're thinking about." Even to my ears I sound like a complete spoiled brat. Maybe I should just ask if we're there yet and get it over with.

"You won't miss your flight Kira," Daniel assures me, giving me a patient smile.

"I know," I answer grudgingly. "I'm sorry I'm being so snarky, Daniel. I'm always like this before a big trip."

"Snarky?" Daniel gives me an odd look. "Kira, I might know a few languages…"

"More than 30?" I know I'm fishing, but maybe I'll get lucky and finally find out how many languages Daniel does speak.

"I might know a couple of languages," Daniel repeats, doing his best to ignore my hastily cast query, "but I don't believe I'm familiar with the word, snarky." Man, Daniel can sure be tenacious when he wants to be. Betcha Jack really likes that. Ha!

"Oh, come on Daniel!" I insist. "You have to know what snarky is." I mean, let's get real here, who on this planet doesn't know what snarky means? I bet they even have an equivalent to it in Russian!

"Afraid not," Daniel replies shaking his head. "Now, when used in the context of your sentence, I can assume it means cranky and a little anxious, but I would definitely challenge you if you tried to place the word in a scrabble game."

Note to self: Never play scrabble with Daniel.

"You play scrabble?" I actually love the game, but I bet Daniel is like Grand Master good. Although, come to think of it, do they have Grand Masters in scrabble?

"Sam and I enjoy playing," Daniel replies with a grin. "I use perfectly legal archaeology and anthropology words to frustrate her, and she uses perfectly legal physics and astronomy words to frustrate me!"

"What about Jack?"

"Jack likes to play words like snarky and insist that they're real." I grin. I knew I liked Jack for a reason!

"Remind me to play scrabble with Jack sometime," I laugh.

"Not with me? Kira, I'm crushed." Daniel tries to look offended, but isn't quite able to pull it off.

"I'm afraid I have an ego Daniel, and you'd crush it between your multi-doctored fingers if I played with you." Daniel starts to laugh, but suddenly grunts in pain and clenches his teeth so loudly I hear them click.

"Daniel, you ok?" Naturally, Daniel can't tell me exactly what he has been up to for the past week or so, but he did let it slip that there was a bit of a radiation scare at work. Oh God! He's not dying of radiation sickness, is he?!

"I'm fine, Kira," Daniel says finally, struggling to look like he's not affected. Don't quit your day job, Daniel. "I just shouldn't have drunk so much coffee on an empty stomach, that's all," he adds lamely. Oh really? Since when?

"I offered you a bagel..."

"I know," Daniel answers with a shrug. "I just wasn't hungry Kira."

"You sure you're all right Daniel?" I ask again, giving Daniel a more critical once-over. Is it just me, or does he look a little more flushed than normal?

"Positive." Daniel gives me a reassuring smile. "So tell me again about what you're going to be doing in Cairo." That's right! I'm on my way to the airport to catch a flight to Egypt! This is so cool!

"I'm going to be studying Pre-Dynastic history at the American University in Cairo," I gush enthusiastically. "I'm going to spend some time working on a dig in search of the lost libraries of Alexandria." Is it possible to make something sound cooler, just by saying it aloud?

"I knew you couldn't stay away from archaeology!" Daniel says smugly.

"Daniel," I explain patiently. "I'm going to be studying history and looking for clues as to the whereabouts of a 2500 year old library."

"Like I said," Daniel replies. "Archaeology"

"Are we there yet?" I ask aloud as I look out the window.

We have driven in affable silence for another five minutes or so when I notice Daniel wince yet again. His torso-area does this crazy dance-like thing and I swear he clenched every muscle in his body at once. Something is definitely wrong.


"Kira, would you mind if we stopped at the next exit so I can get some antacids or something?" Daniel asks, slowly exhaling from what looked to be a very painful stomach cramp.


"Yeah," Daniel says putting on his blinker and taking the next exit. "I really shouldn't have eaten so much at Jack's BBQ last week." I don't fail to notice that Daniel didn't even pretend to wait until I answered him.

"That was last week Daniel!" Gas doesn't last a week, does it?

"You obviously haven't had Jack's secret-family recipe ribs.." Suddenly both of his hands cradle his middle as Daniel gasps in pain.

"Daniel!" I cry, as I grab the wheel. Thankfully, we had just finished the sharp turn that exits tend to have, and were about to stop at a light. I straighten the car out, and Daniel manages to put his foot on the breake. His hands are still wrapped around his middle and he looks like he's about to get sick. There is no way this is indigiestion -- Daniel needs a doctor. Immediately.

"We uh... should stop," Daniel says awkwardly, as he takes control of the steering wheel again.

"There's an AM/PM over here on our right." I point towards the bright blue store just in front of us. Without a word, Daniel drives the car into the parking lot and parks in the furthest available stall he can find. He has only just turned off the ignition when suddenly he his face loses all color. Daniel fumbles with his seat belt and yanks open the door. I cringe as his body heaves first once and then once more. I have actually never seen anyone get sick other than myself . I sure hope it's a good long time before I witness it again.

"Daniel?" I ask softly, as he wearily pulls himself back upright and releases a shaky breath.

"I actually feel much better," Daniel says with a weak laugh. Without opening his eyes, he reaches out and pats my leg reassuringly. "Just give me a minute and I'll be ready to head back out."

"I don't think so!" I reply hotly. There is no way Daniel is going to drive me, or for that matter, himself, anywhere. I already am reaching into the backseat for my purse; it's time to call in reinforcements.

"Kira, I'm fine," Daniel insists. I have to admit, he does sound better. Still—it just isn't normal to have severe stomach cramps and throw up in AM/PM parking lots!

"It really must have been something I ate." He sounds quite rationale and sincere, but I just can't believe that is all there is to it. "If you can just run in and get me a little package of antacids, that would be great. I'll just take a couple and then we can take off and get you to the airport!" He gives me another reassuring smile. Silently, I nod okay. I grab my purse and head into the store.

The moment I am out of Daniel's line of vision, I reach for my cell phone and dial information. This time, I know exactly what to say, and who to ask for. In less than thiry seconds, I'm patched through to Jack's office. In spite of the speedy connection, I glance at my watch as I listen to the phone ring; I cross my fingers that Jack is an early bird.

"O'Neill," Jack answers. I exhale a breath I didn't know I had been holding. Not only is he there, but Jack doesn't sound tired, amused, or really much of anything. Guess 6:45 in the morning is a good time for him.

"Jack!" I don't mean to sound panicky, but I just can't help it.

"Kira?" Jack asks after a moment. "Aren't you supposed to be in Egypt or something?" Despite the circumstance, I can't help but get a little happy-glow; Jack remembered that I'm heading to Egypt!

"Daniel's sick," I explain, cutting to the chase.

"Sick?" I can just picture him taking his feet off his desk and sitting up straighter. "What do you mean sick?"

"Stomach pains, nausea, and I think he might have a fever as well."

"Dammit, Frasier said he'd be fine…" Jack mutters to himself.

"Not the radiation!" I gasp.

"Dammit, Daniel!" Jack swears, as I hear him pushing some additional phone buttons. "Kira, if Daniel doesn't learn to shut the hell up, I'm going to have to bring you in for a debriefing." As much as I am curious as to where Jack and Daniel work, I don't think I'd like to see it via an interrogation. A thought hits me: Oh God! Is radiation sickness contagious?

"Jack..?" I ask feeling more than a little scared.

"Hold on a sec, Kira." In the background, I hear Jack barking out order for someone to find Doctor Frasier. "Have her call me the moment she gets in."

"No, it isn't contagious," Jack finishes, as he returns to my part of the conversation. Wow. Guess colonels are really good at reading minds and anticipating questions. A phone rings in the background and in seconds I'm on a three-way conference call with Dr. Frasier and Jack.

"Colonel?" Dr. Frasier asks. "What's going on?"

"Daniel's sick," Jack explains succinctly. "Kira?"

"Kira?" Dr. Frasier repeats, sounding pretty confused.

"Hi," I say anxiously, wondering if I really shouldn't give up the charade of buying antacids and go check on Daniel.

"You're with Daniel now, Kira?" Dr. Fraiser asks. I nod. I then smack myself on the head as I realize that no one is around to see me.

"Yes," I say aloud. "Daniel is supposed to drive me to the airport this morning, but started getting some really bad stomach pains. We managed to stop at a local convenince store, but as soon as we stopped, Daniel got sick." I pause to think what more I can say. "Daniel insists he just needs some antacids, but I think he's really ill."

"Doc?" Jack asks worriedly.

"It isn't what you think Colonel," Dr. Frasier instantly answers. "I promise you, it isn't that." She pauses and I can just tell her brain is going into overdrive, trying to figure out what made Daniel sick. "Kira, did you notice if Daniel ate anything this morning?"

I shake my head. Kira, would you stop it! They can't see you!. "No, ma'am," I reply. "In fact, Daniel didn't even except my offer of a bagel with his coffee this morning."

"Is that unusual?" I'm not sure if she's asking Jack or me.

"Yes," we both reply simultaneously. "But it's different Doctor Fraisier," I go on and explain. "Something is wrong with him. I'm certain of it!"

"Describe his stomach pains for me."

"They come on very suddenly and seem like they're quite sharp and intense. At first he just gritted his teeth, but this last time he actually cried out before doubling over. We pulled over at a convenience store and Daniel barely was able to open the door before becoming sick. He says he's better..." My voice trails off. "I don't think he is, Dr. Frasier," I insist. "He's flushed, but it doesn't appear to be from a fever."

"Colonel, how did Daniel seem last night?" Dr. Fraiser asks Jack. "Did he eat anything out of the ordinary?"

"A bunch of us took Dr. Frasier's daughter Cassie to see a movie last night." Jack explains to me. "Actually Doc," Jack replies, sounding a little worried, "Daniel didn't eat more than a few bites of bread. He made some lame joke about still being full from my BBQ last weekend."

"He said the same thing to me," I add. A horrible feeling is now growing in my stomach.

"It isn't food poisoning," Dr. Frasier diagnoses. "But other than that, I won't know until I see him. "It could be the flu, but the symptoms don't seem to be in the right order…"

"There's an order?" Both Jack and I repeat at the same time. I can just picture Dr. Fraiser shaking her head in exasperation.

"Kira, how's Daniel doing now?" Dr. Frasier asks seriously.

"I'm currently in the store and Daniel's in the car," I explain. "If I go outside with my cellphone in hand, Daniel will know for sure that I've called you."

"Do it," Jack orders.

Orders. And get this- I don't hesitate for a moment.

"Daniel?" I ask softly as I open the door. He has unfastened his seat belt and tilted back his seat a bit. His face is anything but relaxed-looking and his hands are resting protectively against his stomach. A little to the right of his stomach actually. A thousand little gears begin to turn in my brain.

"Jack!" I whisper, as I put the phone to my ear and quickly step out of the car. "Has Daniel ever had his appendix out?"

"Appendix?" Jack asks, clearly confused by where I'm going with this.

"No," Dr. Frasier interjects. "Daniel has not had his appendix out."

"A friend of mine from school had hers removed last Christmas," I explain. "The way Daniel seems to be favoring the right side of his stomach got me to thinking about it."

"Appendix?!" Jack repeats again.

"Kira, put Daniel on the phone," Dr. Frasier asks.

I open the door back up and call out to Daniel.

"Hi, Kira," Daniel greets me, opening his eyes and giving me a weak smile. "Were you able to get the antacids?"

"No," I reply feeling guilty. If it turns out that Daniel does just have heartburn or gas, I'm going to feel really bad about all of this. "Daniel, I have Dr. Frasier on the phone." I explain, offering him my cell phone.

"Janet?" He asks confused. I nod and give him the phone.

"Janet?" He repeats into the receiver. "Why are you calling?"

I don't hear Dr. Frasier's answer, but listen as Daniel says yeses and nos and does a lot of frowning. He isn't too happy to hear either Dr. Fraiser or Jack's voices. I don't hear the specific question, but I do hear Daniel say, "I'd really rather not." He pauses to listen to something, and sighs as he hands me the phone. "Kira, Janet wants to talk to you." Clearly he isn't thrilled with what she's going to tell me.

"Kira, listen carefully," Janet begins. "I need for you to gently press on the right side of Daniel's stomach directly above his waist band. His appendix is actually located below that, but I don't think either one of you would be comfortable with going lower."

"You have that right," I murmur blushing.

"You're looking for any inflammation or swelling. If he does have appendicitis, it may be obvious."

"Ok," I say. "I have to set the phone down for a minute."

I set the phone down and look at Daniel apologetically. "You ready?" I ask. Daniel nods and lifts up his shirt slightly. Ah, man! He has ripples! The first guy I'm going to touch with actual abdominal muscles and it's to see if he's sick. Life is so unfair.

"It's ok, Kira," Daniel assures me, as he notices my hesitation. I might like the view, but I definitely don't enjoy the thought of hurting him. Very, very gently I place the fingertips of my right hand over his waist band. Daniel lets out a small sound and closes his eyes. I move my hand a little to the right and very, very gently splay my fingertips across his stomach and press down. Pressing down doesn't seem to elicit any strong emotions from Daniel and I am very, very thankful that it appears like I had this appendicitis diagnosis completely wrong. Then I remove my hand away. Instantly there is a reaction:

Daniel screams.

Oh my God, I just made Daniel scream. With shaking hands and eyes that are threatening to overflow, I grab the phone as Daniel attempts to curl his body into a protective fetal position.

"Daniel.." I begin into the phone.

"We heard Kira," Jack replies softly. "Janet is on the phone with 911 now. She thinks his appendix has already ruptured," he explains. "There was nothing you could have done differently."

"Really?" I ask, as tears begin to fall.

"Really," Jack insists. I take a shuttering breath as I try to put things in perspective. Help is on the way.

I made Daniel scream.

"They'll be there soon," Jack confirms.

"Will you stay with me until they get here?" I whisper, as I continue to stare at Daniel and his trembling body.

"You'll lose me in the elevator out of here, but i'll call you back as soon as I get to my car. I'll be with you all the way to the hosptial, Kira."

"He's in a lot of pain," I cry, openly sobbing into the phone. I can't help it! Daniel might be dying right next to me and I can't do anything to help him. "I'm sorry Jack!"

"Kira, it's ok," Jack says gently. "He'll be ok."

"Promise?" I ask, knowing full well that Jack O'Neill has no control what so ever over Daniel's apparent appendicitis.


"So, how's he doing?" Jack asks, as he finds me in the waiting room drinking a weak cup of tea. He's dressed in an odd-looking blue jump suit and has an anxious look on his face.

"They took him into surgery about 20 minutes ago." I explain, filling him in on everything that has happened in the last 90 minutes. Jack stayed with me until I got to the hospital, but after I entered, I needed to hang up per hospital policy. "They weren't really supposed to tell me anything, but seeing as how we already suspected his appendix, they confirmed it.They believe it had mostly likely burst this morning." Tears once again, threaten to spill. "Before he even picked me up!"

"He'll be fine, Kira." Jack leans down and gives me a comforting hug. "He has been through way too much to let a simple thing like appendicitis get him down." I nod into Jack's chest and have no doubt what so ever that he's right and Daniel will be fine. Together we wait for Daniel to wake up.

"Hey," Daniel says semi-drugged as he blinks owlishly in our direction. No one has given him his glasses back. "You're still here."

I nod and bite my lip hard to keep from crying. Jack had left me alone to check in with work and get some coffee; I was an emotional wreck. The good news is that the surgery had gone fine and Daniel's ruptured appendix had been removed without any complication. The bad news: this had happened while he was driving me to the airport. It's all my fault.

"Not your fault you know," Daniel insists, eyeing the cup of ice chips on the table next to him. I put several chips on a spoon and carefully feed them to Daniel. "God, you can't believe how good these things taste after surgery," Daniel says as he closes his eyes and sighs contentedly.

I'm a little disturbed that he's had enough surgeries to make a comment like that.

Daniel opens his eyes and squints around the room. "Where's Jack?"

"He just went for some coffee," I reply. Daniel nods and closes his eyes again. Suddenly he snaps them back open. "You're still here!"

I smile and nod. "I'm catching a flight tonight to New York and will arrive in Cairo tomorrow."

"I'm so sorry Kira," Daniel apologizes.

"Daniel!" I admonish. "You had a burst appendix! If anyone should be sorry, it's me for having you drive me to the airport."

"Can we just agree that it's no one's fault?" Jack interjects from the doorway. "Honestly, what is it about kids these days and guilt?"

"Hey," Daniel says squinting over at Jack.

"Hey," Jack replies. Oooo- big talkers these two.

"Kira Meyers?" I turn around and see a military guy in the doorway.

"Can I help you?" I didn't park illegally or something did I?

"I'm here to give you a ride to the airport ma'am." Instantly I shoot a look at Jack.

"Hey! It's the least I can do for keeping an eye on Daniel yet again."

"I thought we established this wasn't my fault," Daniel interjects, sounding a little hurt.

"It isn't your fault Daniel," Jack confirms. "It seldom is your fault, but that doesn't mean I'm not displeased when these things happen to you when someone is around to watch your back.

I smile.

"You'll take good care of Daniel while I'm gone, right?" I ask Jack. "Make sure he eats, takes his vitamins and doesn't exceed the Daniel recommended dosage of 300 mg of caffeine a day?"

"Will do!" Jack says cheekily. "Come here." I walk over and Jack gives me a hug. He releases me and then grabs me again and gives me another one. "That's from Daniel," he whispers.

"Take good care of yourself Kira," Daniel says in a slightly slurred voice as his eyelids begin to droop. "Have fun in Cairo."

"You too, Daniel," I say. "I expect at least one email reply a month. I know you guys travel and such—but let me know every now and then that you're alive and kicking ok?" Daniel nods and then loses his battle to keep his eyes open and falls into a light sleep.

"Ma'am?" The military guy says from the doorway. Oops. I had forgotten all about him.


"Bye Jack."

"Bye, Kira." Jack gives me a final nod, as he takes a seat next to Daniel's bed. I steal another look at Daniel and then head off with my personal chaperone. It is damn nice having Jack and Daniel as friends.

Notes: And so we come to an end of the Chapter 3 Barista stories. Season 4 will continue sometime in late July. {ducks as people shoot scowls in my direction} Vacation people! Vacation! Heh. I'm biking across country! ;D

Completed May 28, 2004

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