Rating: G

Answering carolyn_claire's request for "Some chicken-soup fic from the Wrong Story-verse. It could have actual chicken soup in it, I suppose, or any other remedy they'd use to deal with a virus. Caretaking, that's the thing."

Mid-morning, and the living room was cool and full of shadows. The sun would be backing away across the kitchen counter by now, sliding out through the windows; good news in the summer, but bad in the winter, when the house's inhabitants spent their days following sunbeams through each room like cats.

Actually, Daniel thought it was probably a pretty nice day out for March. Jack and Sam had gone out early; Daniel had waved vaguely at them when they'd come into the living room to claim the pepper transplants from the warm spot beside the stove, and he figured he must still look pretty lousy if Jack hadn't even made a half-hearted comment about playing sick to get out of mucking around in the dirt.

God, he felt awful. He ought to drag himself out into the kitchen; the idea of eating just didn't appeal at all, but he was pretty sure it would be good for him to try. On the other hand, then he'd have to get up off the couch.

Nope, not worth it.

Daniel woke disoriented some time later, thinking gunfire. He levered himself up onto his elbows, blinking, which was kind of stupid actually he should be going down after all not up if there was—and then Jack was there, sitting on the coffee table, one hand on Daniel's chest. "Hey, easy. Didn't mean to wake you. The fire was almost out."

The door to the stove was standing open, showing flame instead of coals. It popped again, and Daniel let out a long breath, flopping back down onto the couch and closing his eyes. "Mmf," he said, feeling like he ought to acknowledge this piece of information somehow, but not quite able to engage his brain enough to explain the confusion. When he didn't hear Jack walking away, he cracked one eye and peered up at him. "What?"

"You look like shit."

"Well, that's accurate, then." God, he thought, go away. Or bring me drugs. Or ice cream. Or orange juice. Or a big mallet you could use to make me unconscious.

"It's freaking Carter out."

"It's just flu," Daniel whined, and ew, he didn't even like to listen to himself when he sounded that way. "It's not my fault she's been paranoid since the malaria."

"Yeah, well, I'm the one who has to listen to her." Jack checked his forehead with the back of one hand and frowned. "It'd really help if I could tell her you'd kicked the fever. You drink anything yet today?"

"Thought about it—"

"Well, that won't help. I'll be back." He shut the stove door on his way by; Daniel rolled over onto his side, fished under the couch for one of the less-disgusting handkerchiefs, and blew prodigiously. His ears popped as loudly as the fire had, and the sound of Jack rummaging in the kitchen was suddenly a lot louder.

It was… nice, actually. Sam was usually good for a poor baby or two when people were sick, but ever since the malaria she went cross-eyed every time he sneezed. Jack wasn't anywhere near as good at sympathy, but it meant something that he was trying. Besides, it also meant that Daniel wasn't going to have to drag himself out to the kitchen for water, which was definitely a good deal.

The room had warmed considerably by the time Jack returned and roused him with a tap on the shoulder, pointing at the items laid out within arm's reach on the coffee table. "Drink the tea; Carter got it from Helen, it's supposed to be good for colds, don't ask me, forage or something—"


"Whatever. Probably tastes like crap, but you should drink it anyway. Water's in the pitcher, rice pudding in the bowl, that's the last of it and we're getting low on sugar so appreciate it, huh? We're out of clean handkerchiefs so I broke out the napkins instead. You warm enough?"

"Yeah, it's good," Daniel said. Jack nodded, apparently satisfied, and patted Daniel on the knee briefly before turning to go; Daniel caught his hand and squeezed it briefly. "Thanks."

Jack smiled that little, head-ducking smile that Daniel loved best. "Sure. Feel better, will you? Seriously, Carter's making me nuts." He leaned in and kissed Daniel lightly on the temple—brave of him, Daniel thought, considering all things viral—before checking the fire one last time and heading back out to the garden.

A few minutes later, he discovered that some of the last of the peaches they'd put up that fall had been mixed into the pudding, chopped up into tiny pieces just the way he liked it. It was a little thing, but still, it made him happy.

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