In the Month of Shemou
WARNINGS: M/M Pairing.
CATEGORY: Slash, Established Relationship.
SUMMARY: The joys of Thanksgiving with a blind Jack in charge of the deep fryer.
"Daniel, sit down."
"I cant sit down. Theres a blind man deep frying a turkey in my driveway."
"Tealc is out there with him."
"Yeah, well. Tealc said he wanted to witness the actual ritual conflagration of the flightless fowl once proposed to be the symbol of our nation, it didnt exactly reassure me."
Ive seen that look. Thats Sams patented youre-a-silly-Luddite-and-technology-is-our-friend look. She can try all she wants but it will not replace the flashing terror of images of Jack being draped in gauze and stretchered to the burn ward that keeps invading my every waking moment since Jack first murmured the words "propane tank" and "thirty quarts of hot oil". The same man who refused to even listen to the report from the local FOX station that fifteen homes were burned to the ground last year by *sighted* people who thought frying their way through Thanksgiving was a good idea.
"Then go out there."
"Oh no. Id never hear the end of it."
Jack has been muttering for days about the high-smoke point of oils and whether to go with Cajun spices. He is in no mood to be dissuaded.
"You remember where we were last Thanksgiving," Sam reminds me.
Oh, I remember. I spent last Thanksgiving scrubbing cranberry sauce off the infirmary walls because lunch happened to coincide with one of Jacks more memorable temper tantrums.
I look out the window for what has to be the four hundredth time. Sams right. I would have given a lot, a hell of a lot, back in those days when he wouldnt eat, for fear of looking like an idiot, to know that a year from then, Id be here -- worried about Jacks
propensity for managing to look like hes ignoring the fact he no longer has even a glimmer of light perception.
The sound of Jacks laugh floats through the cold and the closed door. Tealc has on one of Jacks more memorable ski hats and Jack hasnt even bothered with his dark shades, though he is wrapped up in a parka. It hasnt started snowing yet. But I can see small patches of yesterdays rain frozen at the edge of the driveway.
"Im going to get the salt."
Sam waves a dismissing hand in my direction. "Ill go check on the dressing."
I murmur a distracted "thanks" and set about making anywhere Jack might wander ice-free.
"What did I tell you?"
Jacks rather smug about the main entrée which is, Ill admit, a compelling crispy brown. And he still has all his fingers, a decided plus. He knows I was worried cause he gives my biceps a little squeeze as he steps behind me.
He fumbles a bit for the chair back and the general cant help but steady him.
"Sir?" he inquires as he discreetly untangles himself. "I believe it is the patriarchs duty to give thanks and youre closest to qualifying."
Hammonds daughter and her two girls are meeting the generals possible new in-laws and the mans been quiet. His daughters regular Friday-night date seems to have turned into just a bit more and, well, George is adjusting. Cassies off at her boyfriends parents as well and Janets been commiserating.
We are, perhaps, one of the more unusual families joined together on this day of thanks.
The general must be having similar thoughts as he looks around the table. "I think perhaps the honor should go to Tealc."
"All right." Jack turns back toward the other end of the table. "Tealc."
Tealc can look as gravely serious as would have once befitted the First Prime of a god. He bows a little in the direction of his superior officer. "Among the Jaffa there is a saying, I think it would be an appropriate benediction Ones true family is borne not of blood but of the forge of daily battle. I am most thankful to have passed many days at the side of all of you."
"Amen," says Jack, surprisingly quietly, and I wonder if Sam and I are not the only ones remembering the war we were waging three-hundred-and-sixty-five days ago.
But then he pulls out his chair and swings into it with a broad grin. "Hit the trough, folks."
Leftovers have been doled out. Tealc has conscientiously placed all of Jacks turkey-frying hardware back in the garage where it can rest safely out of the path of unrepentant ex-colonels. Surprisingly, the general is the only guest that remains.
I hear Jack in the den, turning on ESPN. "Get you something to drink?"
Then he pads his way into the kitchen, more overtly cautious than usual since things have been disarranged. He finds the edge of the counter with the back of one hand, an automatic gesture now. Ive almost forgotten how Jack would stride through the
mountain, long-legged and fast. He brushes along the formica edge until he reaches the dishes still piled on the countertop then skims them lightly with four fingers and moves on. He no longer turns in the direction of whatever his hands encounter. No longer tries to see except by touch.
"Am I going to be able to find the beer, Danny?"
"Right in front."
"You want one?"
"No, I think Ive had enough."
"Thats my cheap date," he teases, holding two bottles in one hand and stretching out the other for my soapy one.
He pulls me closer into a kiss. The pair of icy bottles resting coldly against my ass.
"Go keep the general company," I order, unwinding myself from his grip.
"Im telling you right now he doesnt kiss near as good," he grouses, but he reaches back out for the guidance of the cabinetry and pads back toward the sound of the television.
I cant say Im thankful for the battles but I am grateful for what weve forged from their aftermath. Im thankful for Jack, for his strength, his affection.
But if I have a prayer, it will not come. Instead, I think of the words written in the 20th Dynasty, the time of Setnakhte, the Beloved of Amun Re.
It is like a ripe pear in a man's hand.
It is like the dates we mix with wine.
It is like the seeds the baker adds to bread.
We will be together even when old age comes.
And the days in between
will be food set before us,
dates and honey, bread and wine.