TITLE: SOGGY COFFEE AND SUPER-GLUE
AUTHOR: Elizabeth E. Carter
GENRE: STARGATE SG1
PAIRING: Sam / Janet (very maternal relationship Sam / Cassie / Janet)
CATEGORY: hurt / comfort
SPOILERS: well….1st / 5th / 7th seasons
Written for the Femslash Advent Calendar 2006: The Dog Days of Summer
Date in Calendar: 23 June 2006
The coffee cup shattered to the floor in a heap of multi coloured glazed pottery and dark rich coffee. Steam rose above the shards as if it were a spectre rising from the newly turned grave of a loved one. In a sense this was true as the mug was indeed beloved.
“SHIT” the cry was the dirge of the one who had lost the mug.
Sam bolted up from her chair in her home-office navigated around the corner of her desk, hitting her leg on the corner of the said furniture in the process and limped into the kitchen, knowing she was going to have one hell of a bruise later in the day.
All manner of images of horror flickered in her minds eye like an old black and white movie before they perfected the technique of film. What she discovered was a distraught and seriously infuriated Janet Frasier, kneeling over the mess of coffee and bits of pottery. A hand broom and dustpan in hand she was scraping the remains of what was once a coffee mug into its plastic shallow scoop.
“Hon?” Sam eyed the shards and knew at once which mug had come to its very abrupt end. And knew why the tears fell hard. She recognized the debris immediately. “Maybe we can fix it; I’m pretty handy at that.”
There was a sniff and a slight cough, evidence of a voice that had been weeping. The words were as soggy as the eyes that shed the tears. “I don’t even think the Nox can bring this back…” sniff…. “Oh Sammy…..this was the best mug…” sniff… “How am I supposed to tell her…” sniff…. “I was stupid enough to…” sniff….sniff……. the words were lost in a second cascade of tears.
Sam stealthily removed the dustpan and hand-broom from her lover’s tiny hand without a word and concentrated on making sure that all the tiny bits were in the pan’s recess. She set about with a wet paper towel in case any remnants of the pottery lay hidden so she could deposit them into the same pan. After all the debris had been collected she laid it aside on the counter on top of a stack of newspapers waiting to be tossed into the recycling bin. The next order of business was to mop up the coffee, sweep ‘ground zero’ three times for any hidden slivers that might somehow find a bare foot and lodge itself into the padding of human or beast.
Janet fingered the debris of what was once the best mug in the world. No, it wasn’t from some lost tribe in the Amazon, or some relic from some long gone Dynasty in China or some find on an alien planet. It was the best because it was misshapen and had a horrible rainbow glaze that had run together because the thirteen year old artist thought rainbows were pretty. It was the best because (if you tilted your head just so, squinted your eyes and had a massive imagination) it had a lopsided pink pictograph of a rabbit wearing sunglasses with a bass-drum and black feet which were supposed to be flip-flops. On its crude back was a silver cylinder which could have been late megalithic-period representation of an Energizer battery. It was the absolute best because it was made out of love. It was a fine treasure because it was a gift for the first Christmas Janet and Cassandra had together as mother and daughter.
Now it was in ruins.
Janet mourned its passing as if she had lost a beloved family member. “You could try that whole solar-flare thingy”
“Messing with time-travel isn’t the answer, besides I can’t dictate when a solar flare will happen.”
“Even if we could, the other Janet in that other reality if she had the same mug would be as broken hearted as you are now.” Sam answered.
‘Sniff’ and a head nodded.
“I think this job calls for super-glue and a magnifying glass.”
“Sweetie, I’ll put it back together in the garage or if you prefer I’ll take it back to the Base and put it back together there in my lab.”
A very weak “Okay” was heard just before another sniff. “The garage…will be okay.”
Sam put her hand over her beloved’s hand and gave it a very gentle squeeze. “Jan, she knows you adore this mug because she made it and you do the ‘mom’ thing and use it all the time. She will know you didn’t break it on purpose. I can put it back together but you may not be able to drink out of it anymore but um… a pencil holder?”
Janet meekly nodded. “I’ll have to tell her first before I use it like that.” The voice quavered. “I’ll tell her I’ll use it here at home so she knows I’m using it.”
“Good idea.” Sam nodded.
Cassie bounded into the house, tossed her coat in the general direction of the coat-tree on the hall wall, kicked off her shoes and they tumbled haphazard under the bench that tucked in the corner of that same hall.
“Mom!” the teenager bellowed. “I’m home.” There was a thud as her book bag was dropped to the floor, Cassandra winced waiting for the call, ‘don’t leave that there! Take your bag to your room young lady!’ but it never came. Cassie frowned. That wasn’t right. She picked up the bag once more and this time dropped it from a greater height. “MOM!” she called out “I said I was home!” she waited - still no reprimand. Shrugging the girl picked up the bag a third time. She wasn’t going to drop it but decided she would get ahead of her mom and trudge it up the steps to her room. She crossed into the living room and the bag did indeed drop a third time, but this time not out of teenage rebellion and ritual but out of shock. Her mom’s hands were curled around the Energizer bunny mug and her face was red, the eyes puffy the sure marks of crying.
“Mom!” like youths everywhere who didn’t want to acknowledge there were worse things than not being able to watch your favourite show or that there was life beyond junior high Cassie’s steps were very hesitant as she entered the living room proper. She had seen devastation on a global scale. She was the only remaining survivor of Hanka. She knew death, lose and pain.
She didn’t want to feel it again.
“Honey…I have bad news…”
Tears filled brown eyes…..“Is it Sam? She’s okay right…She’s not in danger on some planet? Or Buster…he’s okay…not hit by a car is he?”
“No honey nothing like that. Sam is fine; she went out for ice cream. And we ordered pizza and…” Janet sigh was the sigh Atlas might have given as the world settled on his straining shoulders. “I’m so sorry.” Janet showed Cassie the mug that Sam had repaired several hours earlier. It wasn’t complete there were bits missing because the shards had been rendered to powder but it was as whole as it could be. The picture of the rabbit had somehow remained intact.
Cassie looked at the mug.
“Oh Mom!” Cassie flung herself at Janet. “I thought the worst!” she hugged Janet close. Settling herself into her mother’s lap Cassandra fingered the hideous thing and smiled. “Its okay mom, I know you didn’t mean to break it,” she said in a very grown up voice. “Better the mug than something bad happen to you, Sam or Buster.” She smiled again and placed a kiss on the soggy cheek of her adopted mother.
“You’re not upset?”
Cassie shook her head. “It’s okay, Mom.” She snuggled into the arms. “I guess you can always use it as a pen-holder.”
“That was what I thought” Janet nodded. “I’ll put it in my office.”
“On the Base?”
“I was thinking here at home.”
“No. At the Base that way a part of me is kinda with you Mom. And you used to drink your morning coffee out of it everyday but now you can still use it every day.”
Janet smiled. “You got it Baby.”
Cassandra was finally sleeping on the bed. Janet hovered over her feathering aside damp locks of golden-brown hair. Her lips touched the hot forehead worry marked the otherwise beautiful face. “Oh baby,” her voice shivered with pain, worry and helplessness. There was so little they could do right now. Nothing made any sense. P8X-987 hopefully had the answers perhaps it was in the bio-samples that had been brought back by SG-1.
Dr. Frasier was forced to move her patient into an isolation room. The EM field her body was generating was interfering with all the other monitors in the Infirmary. More than that though Cassandra seemed driven to go back to the planet. Janet didn't know if that was instinctual or a side effect of this retrovirus. Her fever had peaked, but her bloodwork said otherwise Cassandra had no antibodies. No indication that her body was fighting this thing, just more retrovirus. There were no answers. None. And Janet felt her grip on her heart slip. Her daughter was dying.
She could still picture the black horse-head knight turning over and over in a telekinetic summersault. Cassandra had said ‘It's almost like…the heat is leaving my body, and going into the chess piece.’ What burned in her mind more was the accusatory note in the child’s voice as she questioned ‘You haven't got a cure, have you?’
Janet had to be honest, no she hadn’t. She still hadn’t had answers when Sam came into her office. Both studied Cassandra’s latest scans.
“That can't be right. The EM field must be interfering.” Sam frowned reading the scans, they simply didn’t make sense to her.
Janet shook her head, “No, she'll be able to control that now. I ran the test three times, the results are consistent and it corresponds with the EEG. There's a twenty-five percent higher level of activity than normal.”
“How can her body sustain that?” Blue eyes studied her lover who flexed her still tender hand that had sustained the burn which was still red.
“Well, she's found a way to channel the heat from her body. Don't ask me how, but I don't know how long she'll be able to keep it up. What I'd like her to do is sleep. She's been awake for thirty hours straight.”
Sam placed a hand on her lover’s tight shoulder noticing the spine-aching tension building up there. Janet was in for a migraine if she didn’t already have one. “I was about to go and see her.”
Janet brought her arm up and capped Sam’s hand with her own. “Thank you.” Deep doe brown eyes fell on the hideous mug. Little hands had lovingly made it; a heart filled with a child’s love had crafted it into its lopsided shape.
Taking her styrofoam cup she sipped a hardy drink and winced. The coffee she had sipped tasted soggy in her mouth. Odd how that could be since it was a liquid. Fraiser sighed and put the coffee aside undrunk, unshed tears making her eyes watery and blurry. Things were slipping away from her, Cassandra was slipping away.
Janet was at a breaking point, a point to where she would do whatever it took to save her child. Whatever it took.
Charts in hand Fraiser returned to her office more than grateful her child was now safe, and recovering turning back into the teenager she adored, she’d even welcome the belligerent angst teen back into her arms because her littler girl was alive.
A smile spread across her lips as she traced the outline of a lopsided badly drawn pink Rabbit on a dilapidated mug.
“I can’t believe you still have that thing!” Cassie said. She lugged the strap of her book bag over her shoulder.
Janet grinned. “It’s a priceless treasure.” The older woman said.
“But it’s hideous!”
Janet beamed. “Don’t say that!” there was a bright smile, “my little girl made it for me. Cassie, I treasure this because it was the Christmas you first called me mom.” She blushed, “I even have the wrapping paper and card you wrapped it up in. ‘To my new Mom love Cassandra’.” Her eyes brimmed with soggy tears, this time they fell not from angst or the inability to do anything to save her child but from the sheer overwhelming joy.
Cassandra blushed and pulled her mom into her arms. It was the first time she realized she was taller if only by two inches than her mother. But nobody messed with her mom. Momma bear is ready, with gun if necessary. And if came to her child Janet was fully willing to break her Oath if only to save her daughter. Cassandra was still in awe that Janet had pulled a gun on Nirrti and was all ready to blow the Goa’uld’s head off if she didn’t comply. Jack had told her more than either of her parental units. Jack said Janet held that gun on Nirrti for nearly ten minutes before they caught her. Jack said he had never seen such loathing before, such anger. He hoped never to see it on Janet’s face again. It was an expression that didn’t belong.
Cassandra ran her hand over the mug she had made three years ago. A mug her mother …yes her mother cherished. “What if I got you a new mug with a logo of the real Energizer bunny?”
“I have a better one.” Janet answered with a lopsided grin. “Nothing beats that mug even if I can’t have my coffee in it.”
“You’re mushy Mom.”
“A mother’s prerogative. Get used to it.”
“Sorry.” Cassandra looked down at her shoes. “I didn’t mean it, and I don’t want to subconsciously mean it either. You ARE my mom. I …I called you Doctor Frasier and…”
“Cass, you were fighting for your life, frustrated, sick of being sick and of course there is something I can not cure but in four years time your body will kick it. You’ve got the Teen-rebellious-virus called ‘I’mrightyourwrong-youdon’tgetme-mitosis syndrome.”
Cassie smirked, “Oh is that right?”
“The prognosis seems dim. Like I said you’re in for four more long years of it before you get better.” Janet smiled warmly, the same smile she had flashed in the infirmary. “But you know I’ll still love you even if your head turns 360 degrees and you projectile vomit green goo, and climb up the walls.”
“Sam said the same thing.” Cassie admitted.
“We love you.”
Like all teenagers there seemed to be willing limit for admissions of parental love, before they begin to imagine their peers jeering at them because the parental units got mushy. “So...er… I love you too...so…um. pizza?”
Janet took the claim of love as it fell with welcome arms and like mother’s everywhere instinctively moved away from being too ‘mushy.’ “I suppose, but you have to finish your algebra first.”
“Ah….moooooooooommm….” the voice was a sing-song whinge, but both knew it was a token protest for the benefit of the phantom peers that haunted Cassie’s imagination. What would her friends say if she merely complied? Looking down she turned the horrendous mug she had made ages ago and touched it with the awe one held when faced with the memories collected by your mother. Janet loved her as much as she would have if she had given birth to her, and loved her even after the things Cassie had said to her when she was sick. She wiped away a tear, pretending it didn’t fall from bleary eyes.
Her body swelled with great warmth as she was held in the safe place of her mother’s arms. A sigh escaped her lungs, everything was going to be fine now she had her mom.
Cassandra wanted to throw something. Anything. Her hand clasped onto some ugly thing on her mother’s desk filled with pens and pencils.
It was a lopsided horrendous mug that might have been made by primitive humans. Or a thirteen year old girl who liked rainbow glazes and tried so hard to paint the perfect Energizer bunny. The mug in her hand was now piecemealed together by super-glue. Cassie’s eyes watered, her own styrofoam cup of Starbucks coffee was cold and if she drank it now it would taste soggy.
Cassie had wanted to come to the Base to collect the civilian/ personal effects her mother had kept there. The office was dimly lit, brightened only by the desk lamp which caused shadows to cascade in the small space. In some strange ritual Cassie had adorned her mother’s lab coat taking in the scent that lingered there still on the collar of the garment.
“It’s not fair!” she screamed. “I shouldn’t have to lose two mothers! I hate the god-damn Goa’uld. I hate them… I hate them….I hate them! They need to die, all of them! Every single fracking one of them!” Cassandra fell to the floor. She clutched the mug to her chest and wept.
Sam knelt down by the girl she loved. “I know this pain…”
“No you don’t. You lost only one mom. I lost both. I lost everything, all my people, and my moms. I want mom back…I love her.”
Sam wanted to say I lost my lover, my best friend. But she didn’t it wasn’t a contest of the heartbroken. “You’re right; I didn’t lose two mothers, or my whole race of people. I lost my….I lost Janet…my lover…..but my family is here. So is yours. You still have me, and Buster. We will go on.”
“Because Janet never gave up and we won’t either. She never gave up on me or you. She fought so hard for you when you were ill.”
Cassandra nodded. “She should have blown her fracking head off after that snakehead saved me. Nirrti should have died.”
Sam didn’t say a word. After a beat she said: “Your mom….is the best thing that happened to both of us. And right now we let the pain hurt. But we have to let it be healed too.”
“I don’t know. I just know that it will happen. You mom’s memories will make it happen. It’s going to take a long time, but we’ll somehow make it through. I have to believe that.”
“I want to kick Daniel in the nards. He should have been paying attention to what was going on around him not filming some flunky snot-nosed airman thinking it was his last. That freak is why my mother is dead. Daniel is a loser! He didn’t do his duty. I hate him.”
Sam wanted to counteract those remarks, wanted to tell Cassie no she didn’t hate Daniel, but right now she didn’t do that. A part of herself blamed Daniel for not watching Janet’s six like he was supposed to. “Your mom would never want you to hate Daniel, she wouldn’t want me to either.”
Cassandra snorted but said nothing. She clutched the mug she had made all those years ago. “This thing is really ugly.” She said at last.
“But you mom loved it above all others.” Sam answered touching the rim of the mug. “to her there was nothing better.”
“I told her once she was mushy and she said it was a mother’s prerogative. “ Cassie wept, her eyes making the world blurry and her face soggy. Sam’s strong arms held the girl who was as her daughter. “She’s going to miss her mug, Sam, even if it’s super-glued together. She won’t have it anymore. She needs her mug Sam. She needs it!”
Sam’s eyes became just as blurry. “Um…I…Think we can send it to her.”
Cassie looked up, hope twinkling in the brown eyes. “How?”
“The Stargate….we open it up into space…..and…”
“They’ll never let you just open a gate to empty space……”
Sam ignored the fact pointed out to her. “We can send it to the same area we sent the wreath…. You’re right Cass. Janet needs her mug.”
“And coffee.” Cassie said at last, willing to believe their plan if the private memorial was truly going to work. “We should send the best mocha-latte with foam and caramel and whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles, she’ll like that. We put it in the mug; use it like a cup-holder.”
Sam nodded, “That is a great idea. Janet adored her coffee.”
Somewhere in great void of space the best mug in the galaxy floated and tumbled in zero-gravity. No, it wasn’t from some lost tribe in the Amazon, or some relic from some long gone Dynasty in China or some find on an alien planet. It was the best because it was misshapen and had a horrible rainbow glaze that had run together because the thirteen year old artist thought rainbows were pretty. It was the best because (if you tilted your head just so, squinted your eyes and had a massive imagination) it had a lopsided pink pictograph of a rabbit wearing sunglasses with a bass-drum and black feet which were supposed to be flip-flops. On its crude back was a silver cylinder which could have been late megalithic-period representation of an Energizer battery. It was the absolute best because it was made out of love. Bubbles of mocha-latte with foam and caramel and whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles tossed and orbited the hideous mug like small moons around a planet.
Somewhere out there a phantom smiled as soggy coffee and a super-glued treasured mug tumbled her way. It was a mother’s prerogative to be mushy. And the phantasm loved that horrible misshapen mug.