A Place to Call Home

Note: This was a challenge fic for our dear Ann-Marie

Food - my mouth starts to water as the heating soup begins to give off a wonderful aroma.

Food first, then bed. My aching body twinges, but I tamp down the fatigue. I've gotten good at that over the past two days.

Soup, sandwich. Water - Okay, maybe not necessarily in that order. Maybe I'll have the water now, while the soup heats up. This is my fourth, or is it my fifth glass of water since SG-1 saved my sorry ass just a few, short hours ago. That was today, wasn't it?

Water - it's odd. It's something I never truly thought about � open faucet, catch the stream in a glass, and drink. It's there. It's convenient; it's free - unless I'm stuck on a planet far, far away, with no food, no water, no chance to rest - running for my life.

Run � running � ran. Oh, I ran all right. Chased by the denizens of that planet � felt like I'd been chased all over the damn continent.

I look at the wonderful water in the glass and my hand trembles. I'm suddenly ashamed and I quickly put the glass in the sink and turn the water off. I hold both hands close to my chest and give Jack a quick, sideways to see if he noticed my momentary weakness.

My friend's busy going through my mail. Saved, by the mail. I giggle at the thought. Silent mail. Holy mail� All is calm� I blink, realizing suddenly that not only am I humming that particular tune, but that Christmas has come and gone three months ago.

God, I'm so tired. I think I've passed beyond punchy and am heading straight for passed out. I sway as fatigue hits me and I lock my elbows and take a moment to close my eyes. I could sleep standing up, if I let myself. I feel my body begin to relax as I refamiliarize myself with the sights and smells of my apartment. I want to sleep so badly, it hurts. And then the strain of the past two days hits me and I jerk, instincts kicking in as my body reacts to the memory of the constant danger. My brain knows I'm safe; it just hasn't managed to pass the message down to my body.

In order to hide my reaction, I grab the glass of water and down it in several long gulps. The liquid hits my empty stomach with a cold splash, and it feels good. The cheese and crackers Janet gave me in the infirmary an hour ago are long gone, and I'm drooling at the smell of my soup.

Soup. I've been dreaming about that Tupperware full of soup in my freezer for the past two days. Not pizza, not steak, not roast chicken � but the soup I made a few months ago from leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Soup and sandwiches. Toasted ham and cheese sandwich, and soup. Jack's taking care of the sandwiches, and I'm heating the soup.

"Soup's on," I declare, unable to wait any longer, the simmering melange nearly driving me to distraction.

"You've got bills." Jack tosses the mail onto the corner of the kitchen table while I fumble in my drawer for a ladle. Carefully, I draw it through the simmering soup and manoeuvre it so none of it spills over the sides as I pour.

"Daniel�" Jack grabs my hand, stopping me in mid-pour. "What're you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" I'm hungry, I'm tired, and I waited a long two days for this. I pull my arm away, trying to free myself from Jack's hold, and end up spilling some of the soup onto the counter. "Look at what you made me do." The spill spreads quickly, threatening to drip onto the floor.

"Go sit down, let me clean this up."

"I can do it�" Somehow, Jack got the ladle out of my hand and I'm sitting at the table, watching him wipe the counter down. I blink, unsure of how I've lost those few seconds. My eyes are burning and I take my glasses off and rub at my eyes.

"I think you need a new toaster."

"What? Why?"

He holds up the toaster, which is dripping soup. I squint, wondering what Jack did to it and then the memory of me, pouring soup into the slots of the toaster instead of the bowls makes my face heat up in embarrassment. I can't even imagine what I'd been thinking in order to do that.

I turn my back on Jack and bury my head in my face. I feel his hand on my nape, and then the smell of the soup hits me again. I open my eyes and there's a bowlful in front of me.


"Please tell me I just didn't..."

"You're exhausted."

Not an excuse for such a stupid mistake. I shake my head; at least it was my toaster I ruined, and not Jack's. I guess the worst thing is having a witness to such stupidity.

"Eat," Jack repeats, pushing a plate with a sandwich next to the bowl of soup. I guess I didn't spoil that much of the soup because Jack's got a bowlful in front of him, too.

I pick up my spoon and dredge it through the soup. It's thick and hot and spicy and when I taste it, the past two days are just a memory. Here, now, I remember the dinner I cooked for my friends, the wine we drank, the time we spent together.

I'm finished before I know it, the meal's gone, I don't really remember eating most of it but there's a satisfied heat in my stomach telling me I really did. I burp softly and squeeze my eyes shut at the slowly spinning room.

"C'mon. Let's get you horizontal."

I'm in no mood to argue, and I let Jack pull me to my feet and lead me to my bedroom. I wave him away and quickly drop my pants and pull my sweater off, sliding under the sheets in just my t-shirt and boxers while Jack bids me goodnight.

"If you need anything, just call. I'll take the couch tonight."

I nod, too exhausted to argue. I stretch and then curl on my side, luxuriating in the comfort. How I'd dreamed of doing just this; no more running, no more danger. Just the simple things - a full stomach, warmth, safety, friends � what better place than home.



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DISCLAIMER:The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.