A Bowl of Cherries by bluebuickr
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Category: General
Genres: Angst, Drama
Rated: All Ages
Warnings: None
Series: Cornucopia
Summary: A day like any other day.

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Author's Chapter Notes:
Herein lies bad language, violence, "therapeutic" drug use and just some all around ugliness.
The heavy metal door squealed open. Rust and bone dry hinges better than any electronic alarm system ever invented. Not like there was much worth stealing inside the squalid little apartment anyway. They never had any currency in surplus sitting around. As soon as they made it they spent it. It was safer that way, but really they didn't do it out of practicality, more out desperate need. Food, rent, meds, repairs, clothes. In that order. It left very little for anything else.

The door screaming open, kicked open from the hallway, startled him. He dropped the little palm light he'd been fiddling with while sitting on the low bunk. It crashed to the floor and shattered into a dozen pieces, bits of plastic and cheap metal scattering everywhere. He cursed the ruined work and the fact that he'd been caught off guard. He lunged for the pulse pistol sitting by the end table, berating himself for setting it so far from reach. One would think after the last incident he would have learned to keep it right by his side at all times even when he was puttering around at home. His hip, hell his whole right leg screamed at the sudden maneuver and he let out muffled grunt.

Grasping the gun, he twisted over onto his side aiming for the doorway and the figure who swayed there. He thanked shit his fingers weren't as shot as his leg or he wouldn't have been able to abort the reflexive twitch of his trigger finger when his target was in sight. God, fucking damn it! The kid was going to get himself killed a hell of a lot faster if he pulled shit like this on him. Sitting up he tossed the weapon down in frustration to bounce on the bed. He levered himself to his feet glaring at the new arrival.

"For fuck's sake, Danny. What're you trying to do, get your head blown off?" he yelled.

"I was practically breaking the door down banging on it!" the younger man snarled back. "When you didn't answer the stupid thing I figured you'd gone out."

"Stupid kids have been coming around all day. I keep telling them I won't have another batch until next week but they don't seem to get the message. I thought you were just another of the little pricks."

"What do I keep telling you? Just remember which ones keep harassing us and don't sell to them the next time. That'll stop them in a hurry."

"Yeah, yeah, mister customer relations." He rolled his eyes. That's when he finally took notice of his roommate's condition.

Daniel was standing by the door hunched over slightly, left hand pressed hard against his side. Both his hand and his side were slicked with blood and a stark new bruise blossomed on his right cheekbone to add to the assortment of red, purple, green and yellows already diffused over his face and body. He seemed slightly out of breath as well.

"What the hell happened to you?" he exclaimed shuffling over to his side and grabbing a forearm to steady him.

"What does it look like?" Daniel snapped. "Some bitch stuck me."

"I thought you said you weren't going to participate in weapons play anymore," he said coolly.

"I didn't," Daniel huffed. "It was a normal fight. Some huge chick. I'm talking like amazon material here," he continued. "We go at it. The novelty of it being a woman drawing a big crowd. I felt it'd gone on long enough so I knee her in the crotch. That was that. Then her girlfriend or sister, I'm not sure which, comes in from behind cursing a blue streak a mile long and darts in quick. She got me right in the side, grabbed the other one and they high tailed it out of there."

"How bad?" he sighed. They didn't have the money for surgery. He could do a quick sew job if it was necessary but that was about the extent of his medical capabilities when it came to this stuff.

"Not bad enough for me to leave my winnings?" Daniel grinned, rummaging around in his deep pocket and pulling out a handful of specie.

"That doesn't tell me much," he shook his head. "You could be half dead and still collect your cut." He gently steered his companion over to the bunk.

"You know me too well," Daniel tossed the money onto the end table with a clatter.

"Don't I know it."

Pressing Daniel down onto the cot he sat beside him before turning slightly towards him to get a good look at the wound. He unbuttoned the soiled, blood soaked shirt, helping the other man out of it and tossing it to the side. He'd have to mend the hole up tomorrow.

"Jesus Christ," he groaned at the sight of the stab wound.

It wasn't a slash like he hoped. The woman had plunged the blade in deep. There was a good half inch hole in Daniel side, right under the last rib. It looked like it was done with a round object, not a flat knife blade. Like someone took a stiletto heel and jammed it good into the man's torso. Blood was leaking out of the perforation now that no one was putting any pressure on it, dark rivulets running down to disappear beneath Daniel's waistband.

"She got you good," he murmured, pressing lightly around the puncture.

"Ya think," Daniel hissed in a pained breath. "But I knocked her friend's clit to the base of her skull. Fair trade I think."

"One of Carter's lessons I take it?" he chuckled despite himself.

"Uh, huh. She said once that even if women aren't as sensitive as men down there that a good blow will halt proceedings pretty darn fast. I think she said she knew from personal experience after she fell onto the support bar of her brother's bike when she was a kid."

"Ouch."

"Apparently," Daniel looked down and him examining his wound. "Get the damn rod, Jack."

"It might not be necessary," he stubbornly replied.

"Yes it is. Get the fucking rod." Daniel carefully sprawled back until he was lying down, one arm slung over his eyes, his feet still touching the floor. "How long have those leaves been fermenting?"

"A week," he replied, getting to his feet with difficulty and moving over to the boarded window, kicking pieces of plastic our out his way. The sill had various pieces of junk scattered all over it and it took him a second to find the metal rod under all the clutter.

"Good enough," Daniel replied, reaching out towards the little plastic container sitting in the corner. He opened and closed his hand in the classic 'gimme' gesture.

Opening the door to the little brazier set near the bed he stuck one end of the rod into the center. Grabbing the plastic container he walked back over to Daniel and sat back down, putting the vessel in between the crook of Daniel's elbow and his body.

"Thanks," Daniel rasped hugging the bowl closer and reaching out to pull the yellowing rubber tube stuck in the domed lid over to his mouth.

The battered man took the end between his lips, working a couple of quick sucks, blowing out slowly through his nose. He closed his eyes consciously trying to relax his muscles. After the third pull he let the tube fall out of his mouth and he coughed harshly.

"Good stuff," Daniel wheezed, keeping his eyes closed.

"I think it's the new manure," he told him. "The leaves seem to be darker with this mixture than the last."

Daniel smiled lazily. "I told you we shouldn't be wasting it, no matter how disgusting you though the idea was."

"Hey, don't take too much of the credit bucko, who's the one who slaves over the little suckers day in day out trying their best to keep them alive in that god awful paddock back there? Way too much sun, not nearly enough water and soil you couldn't grow a dandelion in."

"You're just lucky you have any place to grow it at all. If Miriam hadn't lent you her backyard you wouldn't be growing squat," Daniel informed him before taking up the tube again and softly sucking up the trapped gas.

"I'd hardly call that little square of walled in dirt a backyard, Daniel. And she gets her fair share so she shouldn't complain. Her thumb is as black as her teeth so I grow the stuff and not only do I have to pay her a freaking tithe she also gets rent money. Speaking of which, she was by today looking for this month's."

"Did she spit in your face again?"

"No, she just glared at me and when I told her I didn't have it yet. She snarled and said she didn't care how cute you were she'd kick us out if we didn't have it in by the end of the week."

"She always says that. She won't though. She likes me."

"I know she does," he sing songed. "She also thinks we'd be bringing in more money if you were turning tricks instead of getting your pretty face beat in. Offers to manage you every chance she gets I recall."

"You won't let me," Daniel pouts.

"Damn right I won't!" They were desperate, but never that desperate. Would NEVER be that desperate. He'd kill himself and save Daniel the extra mouth to feed before he'd let that happen. "I don't even like the idea of the fights."

"You were doing them," Daniel points out, opening his dilated eyes to look him in the face.

"I know and look what it got me," he gestures to his aching and warped leg.

"I'm younger though. I even have a rep now," Danny smiles his cockiest smile the missing canine gaping disconcertingly at him.

"Your just lucky as hell you had me to show you the moves."

"Yes Obi-Wan, but you see, now I am the master."

"Rods probably ready," he says dampening the light mood rather quickly.

"Let's get it over with then," Daniel nods, taking a few more long breaths from the tube.

As he moves over to the stove he brings the bowl along with him to set back in its place of honor. The large, decomposing, dark green leaves sloshed around in their pool of liquid as he set it down. Pulling his sleeve over his hand he snagged the now heated rod out of the brazier on his way back to the bed. He had to remind Daniel to pick up another heating chip on his next trip into the market, this last one was almost out of power.

Helping Daniel sit up he stood in front of his friend taking a firm hold of one arm while the younger man grabbed and fistful of scratchy blanket in the other.

"You ready?" he asked starting to feel the searing heat bleeding through his shirt sleeve onto his hand.

Daniel nodded his head jerkily, bracing himself, teeth clenched hard.

He jabbed the glowing end into the wound slowly, making sure all the sides singed, every blood vessel sealed. Daniel's free hand beat down on the bed, the other flying up to squeeze his bicep in a white knuckled death grip. The smell of burning flesh and boiling blood blurred with Daniel's scream, rising into the air. The fat old bastard who lived next door thumped one of his wall.

"Take a flying leap you old coot," Daniel snarled under his breath.

Then it was over and as he pulled the rod out of the wound Daniel flopped back down onto the bed. The younger man began to rock the rickety cot with jerky sways of his body. The momentum built until the head of the bed began to bang against the wall and Daniel started yelling.

"Oh, yes, Jack! More! Harder! Yes! Yes! Yeees!"

More thumping from next door this time peppered with some choice words.

Daniel kept the boat rocking and smiled over at him.

"He's just jealous," Danny winked.

As he tossed the rod over in the general direction of the window Daniel's rocking ceased, bored with the neighbour bating already. Wrinkling his crooked nose as he caught another whiff of charred flesh, Daniel spun around until his feet were propped up high on the wall and his head hung over the side of the bed, staring at him upside down.

"I wish Sam or Teal'c were here," Daniel exclaimed out of the blue. "They'd make a mint at the fights. No one would ever take Sam seriously and she'd clean house and Teal'c would never lose. Plus they would have to put up with disgruntled losers with pointy objects instead of me. That's always a plus."

"And what would you do?" he replied.

"Be a kept man."

He snorted at that.

"How's the water?" Daniel asked rolling onto his stomach hardly acknowledging the angry red wound on in his side even though he knew it must hurt like all get out.

"Still brown last time I checked."

"Damn. So I guess a shower is out of the question, huh."

"With that open injury I'd say yes. Plus do you really have the energy to prime the pump?"

"Gawd no."

"What about some food?" he offered.

"All we have left are those stale flat breads and the can of chunky mystery meat right?" Daniel inquired.

"Yup."

"Think I'll pass then."

Brushing his fingertips along the grimy floor, nudging the scattered pieces of palm light around Daniel's muffled voice filtered up.

"What's this?"

"Oh, my last project. It was going to be a little hand light until SOMEBODY gave me a heart attack and I drop the piece of crap."

"Jesus Jack, I'm sorry." The sandy head snapped up, apology shinny clear through his multi-coloured face.

He shrugged. "No big deal. It obviously wasn't very sturdy to begin with if it broke up like that just from me dropping it. It wasn't even working yet."

"Still."

"We going to bed?" he asked trying to steer the conversation away from guilty feelings and busted pieces of junk.

"Nothing else to do," Daniel remarked, rolling back to lie down lengthwise on the cot he snared the pulse pistol with a finger through the trigger guard and stuffed it under the pillow. "Kaleen isn't on planet is she?"

"Not that I've heard," he said, walking over to slap the flickering overhead light off plunging the room into completely darkness. "She hasn't been by looking for you. She was due to make a drop off this month wasn't she?" He carefully slid his way over to the bed, his dragging feet making contact with the plastic strewn all over the floor every once in a while.

"Yeah." He could hear Daniel shifting over for him, feel the displacement of air as he raised the blanket for him to get into bed. "I wonder what happened to her."

"Maybe she's dead," he suggested as he climbed in beside Daniel, squishing the younger man into the drafty wall as he squeezed onto his side on the narrow bunk.

"Most likely," Daniel agreed, spooning in behind him for warmth, throwing an arm over his waist and shoving a long leg between his thighs. "Maybe when I go out tomorrow I'll look for some new company."

"Just remember what I always tell you," he reminded him as if lecturing a small child.

"Yes, yes." Daniel butted his forehead against his shoulder. "No alien species and ask her if she has a friend."

"Good boy," he yawned and closed his eyes.
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