Shreds of Life by devra

Jack crept from the bedroom, closing the door behind him and literally tiptoed, which was a visual he so didn't want to imagine, into the kitchen to use the phone.

It was early, really too early to call his mom, but it was Mother's Day, and while Jack knew he and Daniel would be getting a thank you call for the flowers and the day at the spa they'd sent her, he really needed to speak to her now.

He grabbed a pen, an unopened piece of junk mail from the basket on the table, and the phone. Slowly, with exaggerated caution, Jack opened the sliding glass door and stepped out into the cool, damp May morning.

She answered the phone on the third ring.

"Hi, Mom."

"Morning, honey." There was a moment of silence. "It's a little early in your neck of the woods to be calling and wishing me happy Mother's Day. What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong," he bristled. "Can't I just call my favorite lady—"

"Of course you can, son, but your track record... Where's Daniel?"


"Sleeping? As in sleeping under Janet's care or sleeping, still in REM sleep, at home in bed."

"He's sleeping in bed. Honest." Just a little white lie. "I just wanted to talk," Jack added to make up for the fib.

"Okay but since that's the case, I hate to be rude, but can we talk later? I'm going out to breakfast with—"

"That's nice, but before you go, can I have your chicken soup recipe?" Jack stuck the phone between his chin and his shoulder and readied the pen and envelope.

His mother sighed. "Jack, dearest, darling son of mine, you hate my chicken soup."

He did.

"Which," his mother continued, "can only mean you lied to your poor mother."

"I didn't lie. I want to talk to you."

"You had an ulterior motive which you hid behind your desire to talk to me."

It was Jack's turn to sigh. "Does this mean you're not giving me the recipe?"

"Does this mean you're going to be honest with me?"

"Daniel's sick."

"You said he was sleeping."

Most people had normal discussions with their mother. In/out. How's life treating you? How's the weather? Why were conversations with his mom exercises in frustration? "He *is* sleeping."

"But not because he's tired?"

"No, not because he's tired."

"Jack, the restaurant we're going to only serves breakfast until eleven thirty. Could you kind of just talk to me about Daniel before I'm forced to call Janet up and get the information from her? And then *you'll* have to do all the explaining to Janet."

Jack shuddered, annoyed at himself. He should have just looked up a chicken soup recipe on the internet; it would've saved him a ton of grief. But no. This was all Daniel's fault, asking him in between coughing and blowing his nose if Jack was privy to Rose's wonderful, cure-all chicken soup. And Daniel had asked more than once. Actually, Daniel had asked more times than Jack had fingers on his hands. So here he was, too early for him to be up, after spending the majority of the night being a germ catcher for Daniel, calling his mother.

They'd been offworld, three days from the 'gate, on their way home, when the planet had exploded into a springtime bloom so horrific that even doubling Daniel's antihistamines barely made a dent in his symptoms. SG-1 had arrived at the SGC with a sneezing, stuffy, wheezing, totally miserable Daniel.

Janet had examined him, declared him allergy ridden and sick and after their debriefing, had sent Jack and Daniel on their merry way with instructions and a bag full of medication.

Coming home to Colorado, which had entered the throes of spring, had just added insult to injury to poor Daniel. Red nosed, bleary eyed and Elmer Fudd-sounding, he'd requested the soup.

"It's allergies." Jack scribbled the pen on the back of the envelope just to make sure it worked.

"Chicken soup doesn't help allergies."

"Ahhh, Doctor O'Neill, I'll make sure to mention that to Daniel. I mean, he probably believes that it does, he asked for it a dozen or so times."

"He did?"

"Yes, Mom, he did."

"Does he have a fever?"

At this point, it wasn't worth lying. "Yes, he does. Low grade."

"But, I bet the poor boy has a headache."

"The poor boy is sleeping now, so I'm not going to wake him up to ask." Jack wondered when Daniel had risen to prodigal son ranking.

"I wasn’t insinuating that you should ask him. Don't get all snotty with me, mister, you know you're not too big for me to come over there and—"

"What? Spank me?"

She laughed. "Give you a good tongue lashing."

Jack smiled. "The recipe, mom? I want to make sure you make it to breakfast."

* * *

Jack's cell phone rang as he was examining cut up chicken in the meat section of the grocery store. He glanced at the caller ID before answering. "Yes, Mom."

"You left a sick Daniel home alone?"

"I thought you were at breakfast?"

"I am."

Jack heard a chorus of "Hi, Jack" from his mother's cronies. "Daniel's sleeping. I left a million little Post-it notes all over the house. I left a bottle of water by the bedside, the cordless phone and only one pill, because we didn't want him taking more than his prescribed dosage."

"Are you poking fun at me?"

Jack laughed. "Nope. Just covering all my Daniel bases."

"Good boy. Now go finish shopping. Don't spend too much time picking out the chicken, just go for two breasts and a package of thighs. Oh, here's my breakfast, I'll talk to you later."

Jack hung up the phone, then examined it, wondering how the hell she possibly knew what he was doing. The thought that his mother had some type of mental connection to him was just too frightening to comprehend.

* * *

Jack brought the bags into the house, then went to check on Daniel. The sleeping, snoring drooling man hadn't moved an inch, but his temperature had crept up from low grade into actual temperature zone.

"Wake up, buddy." Jack shook him until Daniel's eyes opened.


"Yeah, my sentiments exactly. Come on, sit up. It's time for your pill, Tylenol and a call to Fraiser."


"No? No to what? Antibiotics? Antihistamine? Tylenol?"


The CMO's name was so mangled by Daniel's stuffed nose, dry throat and lousy feeling that Jack had to think a minute. "Oh, Janet. Fraiser. You don't want me to call Fraiser."

Daniel nodded, reached for the water bottle, squinted at Jack's Post-it before ripping it off with a one shoulder shrug and drank.

"I won't call. Promise."

"Good. Cassie's taking her out."

Jack needed an interpreter who spoke ill-Danielspeak, he was out of practice. It had been a long time since Daniel had had an allergy attack of this magnitude.

"I haven’t had an attack like this since I was a kid."

Great, Daniel and his mother were now reading his mind. Wonderful.

* * *

Daniel had gone right back to sleep. Jack was in the kitchen, shredding the boiled chicken when the phone rang.

Greasy hands and all, Jack dove for it before the ring would wake up Daniel. "Mom, do you slice the carrots or shred them?"

"It depends, Colonel."

"Oh, Doc. Sorry." Jack wiped his hands on the towel shoved into the waistband of his jeans. "Happy Mother's Day."

"Thank you. I was just calling—"

"Daniel's sleeping. His fever's a touch higher this morning. One oh one, but I gave him Tylenol and the prescribed meds."

"And you're making chicken soup for him, good."

"How did you—oh, carrot question."

"Based on experience, sir, slicing is much better than shredding."

"Thank you for the input, I'll take it under consideration."

* * *

Jack may hate chicken soup, but damn, it smelled delicious simmering on the stove.


Jack put the lid back on the pot and turned. "What are you doing out of bed?"

Daniel pointed to the stove and smiled. "Is that chicken soup?" He looked over his shoulder. "Is Rose here?"

"No, my mother isn't here," Jack mimicked. "I made it myself. From her recipe." He eyed Daniel suspiciously. "How did you possibly smell this cooking?"

"There was an experiment done at Yale University, and the findings had to do with odors penetrating stuffed nasals passages. And chicken soup ranked number one in smells—"

"You're lying."

Daniel rolled his eyes. "I'm here, aren't I?"

* * *

Daniel sat at the kitchen table, orgasmically leaning over the soup bowl, eyes closed, just breathing.

"Are you going to eat this? I mean, I endured my mother early this morning, went food shopping *and* cooked, all just for you."

The phone rang before Daniel could answer.

Jack checked the caller ID. "Yes, Mom, how was breakfast?" Jack nodded. "I'm glad—hold on a minute." He handed the phone to Daniel. "She wants to talk to you."

Daniel put down his spoon and picked up the phone. "Hi, Rose. Yes, I know I sound terrible... drinking fluids… yes. The bowl of soup is right in... okay, I'll taste it. Hold on." Daniel exchanged the phone for the spoon and took a taste of soup, his eyes widened in surprise.

Jack preened.

Daniel picked up the phone. "It's delicious. No, of course, not as good as yours. No one makes soup as—" Daniel stirred his soup while listening. "Okay, love you, too. Talk to you later." Daniel hit the disconnect button and handed the phone back to Jack, then tucked into his soup.

"What did my mom say?"

Reluctantly, Daniel stopped eating. "She wanted to know how the soup was, was it as good as hers and she wanted me to tell you Happy Mother's Day."

"Me? I'm not a mother."

"She mentioned something about mother henning me and the apple not falling far from the tree and..." Daniel hesitated, before burying a sneeze in his shoulder. "Oh, and she wanted to make sure you sliced and didn't shred the carrots."  

The End!

Authors' Comments:

A big thank you to jo for always giving of her time and her friendship. This one's for you.


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