The Twelve Days of Christmas
by Orrymain

Laugh and cry with Jack and Daniel as they experience their first holiday season together as a married couple. From getting the Christmas tree to the joy of Christmas day, the happy couple go through a myriad of emotions and events. Join them ... in real time ... beginning with the first day of Christmas on December 14!

A new day will be added every day up to and including December 25! I hope everyone who reads will enjoy it! Oh -- I've been told definite hanky warnings are in effect for Days 10 and 12 for sure!

My thanks to MidnightAscension for this wonderful photo manip! Thanks MA!!!

Day One

Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel  .... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 14, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  13kb, ficlet
Written:  December 2,5,13, 2003
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  This was a whim; all in fun.  I don't have anything to do with them legally!
Summary:  It's the first day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the schedule for the day, getting the Christmas tree!
Notes:  
1) There is a reference to my story, “Out of the Fire, Into Our Souls” contained here, but it's not necessary to read that one in order to understand this one.
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Charlotte!


........ “On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Daniel, get the lead out.  It's time to go!”

Daniel had been daydreaming outside on the patio deck, having gotten lost in his thoughts of Jack and their first Christmas together as a married couple.  Jack's bellowing, however, easily disrupted the peaceful serenity of the moment, the image of cuddling in front of the fire and a lighted Christmas tree having poofed with the bark of Jack's voice.

“Danny, come on.  Don't sit there like a bump on a log.  We gotta go.”

Daniel looked down for a second before he rose from his spot, “Gee, Jack, you're so romantic.”

Standing just outside the patio doors, Jack thought for a second he was in trouble until he saw the little smile on his lover's face as Daniel approached.

“I'm sorry, Danny ... just trying to beat the rush.  Actually, just trying to avoid the possibility of that phone ringing.”

“Don't even think it, Jack,” Daniel sighed, as he leaned into Jack's embrace.

“We were going to go get that tree last week, and nothing is going to stop us from going today.”

“We could just buy one, you know.”

“Only the best for you, Angel.  We have traditions to start.”

Daniel smiled, “We've cut them before.  It's not the first time.”

“Yes, it is.  It's the first time that is the first part of our forever,” Jack kissed Daniel tenderly, “Geez, I love you.”

“Hmmm,” Daniel crooned softly, “You sure are good at that.”

“Glad you approve.  Now let's scoot!”

“Yes, Sir, Colonel, Sir,” Daniel laughed as he leaned over to pet Bijou and Katie goodbye.

“Be back later, Girls.”

Daniel walked into the house, and picked up his jacket, fully expecting Jack to be behind him.  He was surprised to see Jack still outside staring at their two beagles, Bijou and Katie.  He had an odd look on his face.

“Jack.  Is something wrong?”

“No, it's just ... traditions.  We're starting a new family tradition, right?  I mean I know we've done it before, but this is the first Christmas of our marriage, so it's the first time, kinda ... I don't know what I mean.”

“Jack, what are you thinking?”

“That we should take the girls.  Of course, it means a little less, um, well ...”

Daniel walked to Jack and placed a giant kiss on his spouse's lips, “I love you, Jack.  Let's take them.  We were gone so long on our honeymoon.  I still feel guilty ... sort of.”

Jack laughed, “Yeah, me, too, and then we had that trip to Washington.  Am I being a bit ... crazy here, Danny?”

“No, you're being loving and sweet and caring and wonderful and ...”

“Whoa, Danny you keep looking at me like that and we are so not getting that tree today.”

Daniel kissed his love one more time, a kiss that lead to yet another, soft moans coming from both.

“We'd better get out of here,” Daniel laughed, “or we won't get out of here.”

“Okay girls, ride time!  New family tradition -- cutting down the Jackson-O'Neill Christmas tree!  Let's get those harnesses,” Jack spoke with bravado, the two dogs eagerly going inside the house and to the drawer their harnesses were in.

====

The family hopped into Jack's F-350 truck, and Jack turned the radio to a station that played Christmas music exclusively throughout the holidays.  There was a light snow out, just enough to have fun in but not enough to put a damper on the family outing.

The dogs happily woofed along to some classics as Jack and Daniel sang along, Jack doing his best Gomer Pyle imitation as he did so, causing Daniel to lovingly slap him lightly on the arm.

It took about two hours to get to Jack's favorite spot for cutting trees.  He liked it because it was out of the way, a place full of trees where one missing tree wouldn't affect the landscape.  

“This is the only time I love to see nothing but trees,” Jack teased as they got out of the truck.

Daniel had hold of Bijou's harness, and Jack had Katie's.

“Let's check the area out first, and then we can let them go for a while,” Jack said.

“A recon on our family tradition?”

“I protect my family,” Jack said with a smile, but with a tone of seriousness that warmed Daniel's heart.

Their dogs in tow, Jack and Daniel scouted the area, memorizing the scope of the terrain that day.  When satisfied there were no hidden dangers, Jack unsnapped the leashes, but looked at the girls intently, “Do not go running around.  You two stay right here with us.  This is strange country.  You don't know it yet.  And besides, we love you, so ... stay close.”

Bijou and Katie looked at each, and back at Jack, tails wagging, and Bijou let out a small “Woof” as if to acknowledge Jack's comment.

“Hey, what about you, Little One?” Daniel looked at Katie, who hung her head a bit sheepishly, “Katie!  Do what Jack says not what he does -- behave!”

“Hey, I heard that!” Jack put his arms around Daniel, tugging him to him tightly, and kissing the side of his neck.

“That tickles,“ Daniel giggled.

“Geez, I love it when you giggle.“

“I don't ... giggle,“ Daniel giggled again as Jack kissed him in the same spot along the neck.

“Do, too, and I just proved it.“

“Do not, but maybe if you do it again, I'll ... be convinced.  After all, I'm a scientist.  I need lots and lots of research.“

“Love scientists,“ Jack said softly, ignoring the ticklish neck in favor of kissing Daniel soundly.

“Mmmm Jack, we're getting distracted.“

“You're right.  Let's pick out our tree.”

The family looked at various trees for about a half an hour and, finally, it was down to a choice of two.  Jack had one that was tall and straight and looked perfect in every way.  A few trees down, there was a slightly smaller tree, a tad crooked, but it was full of depth and character.  Daniel loved it.

“Danny, it's crooked.”

“It just needs some love ... a few bulbs and ornaments, some lights ... a little encouragement, that's all.”

Jack threw his hands up in the air, “But look at this one ... it's perfect, Daniel.”

“Let's let the girls decide.”

Jack was about to mock the comment when he decided that it was as good of a way as any to avoid an argument and make the decision.  The couple took Bijou and Katie to both the trees and let them get familiar with each.  Then, they went to a spot at the center of the two trees.

“Okay Girls, welcome to the family, and it's time to earn your keep,” Jack said.

“Jack!” Daniel frowned.

“Sorry, I didn't mean that and you know it, all of you,” Jack looked at Daniel and then down at the beagles, “Geez ... all I'm saying is that you get to have a real say here, make the choice.  So, Girls, which Christmas tree adorns our home for 2003?  Go on, take your pick!  No hard feelings, we promise!”

Bijou and Katie looked at Jack and Daniel, both men smiling, their arms wrapped happily around each other.   Then, Bijou barked twice at Katie who gave one “Woof” back in response, and then together, they went to the tree Daniel had chosen, and sat down, looking back at the couple.

Daniel tried to suppress his snicker as Jack said loudly, “Oh for crying out loud ... done in by a couple of beagles!”

Shaking his head, he gave in to the defeat and walked to the tree, “Guess it's a Charlie Brown Christmas for us!”

Jack studied the tree for the best angle and position to cut it.  

“Okay, Angel, get the girls.  Don't want to take any chances.”

Daniel put the leashes back on both dogs, and the three stood safely away from Jack and his axe, watching contently as Jack cut down the tree.  They bound the tree up and placed it on the back of the truck securely, and then decided to play a while longer in the snow, the highlight of which was a snowball fight that no one won, kisses interrupting the battle.  

The girls loved the snow and watching Jack and Daniel being so happy.  Thirty minutes later, the Jackson-O'Neill's headed for home.

====

“Okay, Danny, where do you think?  The usual place?”

“Yeah, but make sure it's far enough back from the beanbag.  The girls get priority,” Daniel said.

Normally, they placed their tree just to left of the fireplace, but that was now the regular home of the large, comfortable beanbag that the beagles shared when in the house.  Jack scooted the tree back, selecting a spot he thought fit the bill.

He sat the tree in front of some bookshelves, centered between the fireplace and the patio door.  It left plenty of room for the beanbag and for the girls to play as they normally did, as well as allowing lots of room to place the gifts that would soon be placed under the Christmas tree.

“Perfect, Jack.”

The couple went to the garage and took down the decorations from the rafters and spent the rest of the day decorating the tree.  Christmas carols filled the house as they happily inspected their holiday decor, dislodging any dust that might have accumulated and making sure the items were in tact before putting them in place.

By mutual agreement, the phone had been shut off and the pagers hidden in the bedroom drawers.  If they were needed, the SGC would have to physically come and get them!

Carefully, they put up all the decorations they had acquired together as a couple over the years, plus the few Daniel had managed to save, mostly from his college years, and some Jack had as well, some of which were given to him by Sara after the divorce.

“I still don't understand what happened to that angel,” Jack complained as he hung an ornament of a child singing to a branch near the top of the tree.

“I don't know.  I wish I did,“ Daniel replied sadly.

“It's not your fault, Danny.  We had it one year, and then it vanished.  It probably fell off the tree into some wrapping paper, or maybe we missed it.  No one's fault.“

“But it was Charlie's angel.”

“Yes, it was, but it's still only an ornament.  Charlie's real angel is still with him.  The decoration was just a symbol of their bond.  Besides, you're MY angel, and you're here with me, and that's all I need to be happy.”

The two shared a look of devotion, and continued on, chattering away about their decorations, and letting go any further conversation of the special ornament that had once been Charlie's.  

Daniel had found the bulb in with some of Jack's holiday decorations their first year together as a couple, not realizing its significance and had hung it on the tree.  Once he had known it was Charlie's, he had started to take it down, but Jack had stopped him.  It was at that moment that Jack had first called Daniel “Angel” and since then, he had used the nickname frequently.

It had been a good Christmas, and the next year when they had gone to decorate their tree, the angel ornament had mysteriously disappeared.  They'd never seen it since.

By 7 p.m., the Jackson-O'Neill homestead was fully decorated on the inside, the tree being the centerpiece.

“Light 'er up, Danny,” Jack said after connecting the last string of lights.

With all the other lights off in the house, Daniel flipped the switch.  The two studied the tree carefully.  It still leaned a little at the top, Jack observed as he walked around behind his spouse, placing his arms around him.

“What do you think, Love?”

“I think all it needed was a little love, Jack.”

Jack smiled, leaning his head against Daniel's.

“What do you think?” Daniel asked.

Jack sneaked a glimpse of Daniel, his eyes shining and bright as he watched the tree.  He looked over at Bijou and Katie, resting peacefully in their beanbag, the glow of the fire accentuating them.  Then, his eyes focused on the festive tree, standing pretty darn proud, Jack thought.

Daniel had said all it needed was love.  Jack knew Daniel had been talking about more than the tree with that comment.

His hands caressing Daniel's against the young man's stomach, Jack answered truthfully, “I think it's perfect!”

Daniel looked at Jack, and the two kissed, and spent the rest of the night in front of a warm fire, satisfied that the first day of Christmas would always be a treasured memory.

~~On to Day Two and the Second Day of Christmas~~

Day Two


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Season:   7 - December 15, 2003
Spoilers:  Children of the Gods (very minor)
Size:  18kb, ficlet
Written:  December 2,5,14, 2003
Summary:  It's the second day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, putting up the houselights and decorating the yard!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Suzanna, Charlotte!


........ “On the second day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Oh for crying out loud, who ate my Froot Loops?”

Daniel entered the kitchen, barefoot, wearing a pair of old, tattered blue jeans and a white tee shirt.  He yawned, and said, “Trust me, Love, it wasn't me.”

“Well, then who was it?  I know there was still enough for one more bowl.  You think Thor beamed down and helped himself?”

Daniel rolled his eyes and went to his flustered husband and planted a kiss on him that had Jack totally uninterested in cereal of any kind.

“Jack, do you really think I ate your Froot Loops?”

“No,” Jack relented, knowing Daniel ate Froot Loops only as a last resort, meaning starvation and even then, it would be a close call, “but I can't believe I did, and I forgot to get some more.  You know how I feel about my Loops.”

“Yes, I do.  You're positively loopy for your loops,” Daniel said, patting Jack on the rear as he turned to make his morning coffee.

“At least you didn't say I was fruity ...”

“Jack, that's bad ... very bad.”

“Yeah, I know.  I just ...”

“Want your Froot Loops?”

Jack nodded, a pout on his face that almost equaled Daniel's best pout, so Daniel decided to put his lover out of his misery.

“Jack, Love?”

“Hmmm,” Jack answered, still surveying the kitchen as if the box would magically appear in front of him if he just looked around long enough.

“You took the box into the study a couple nights ago to snack on while reading Flight Magazine, remember?”

“I did?  Oh, yeah, I did,” Jack beamed, kissing Daniel briefly as he pranced happily to the study to retrieve the prized box, leaving Daniel laughing as he poured his coffee.

Daniel was already warm.  He had planned to make his coffee, but Jack had already prepared it for him, even being sure to select Daniel's favorite Arabian Mocha blend.  Daniel knew from the timing that Jack had to have started the coffee before seeing to his own breakfast.

“Gawd, I love him,” Daniel said aloud.

“I so hope you're talking about me,” Jack said as he returned, Froot Loops in hand.

“No, Paul Davis.”

Jack glared as Daniel shook his head, putting down his coffee and walking over to his soul mate, putting his arms around him.

“So help me, Jack, if you don't know by now ...”

“Oh, I know, I just ... still can't believe my luck.  Who would have thought this old run down Colonel would end up being the luckiest man on the face on the Earth, all because you love me?”

“Oh, Jack,” Daniel kissed his husband, his heart full of love and warmth.

"What?  You think I can't do romance?  I'll have you know that Harry said I was the most romantic man he'd ever met."

"Maybourne?“ Daniel asked, returning to the counter area and his coffee, ”Jack, you are in serious need of therapy.  Still, I know what you mean.  Kinsey once told me that when I kissed him that it felt as though his whole life had been heading for that one point in time.  I thought it was the most romantic thing anyone had ever said to me."

"Dannnnnniellllll!"

Jack's bellow was loud, his face twisting like he had just seen some grotesque monster.

"Jack?"

Daniel's mouth twitched as he saw Jack advance on him.  He was pulled into a tight hug, and Jack started nibbling on his ear.

"You are a sick, sick, man, Daniel.  You've put a picture into my head that no man should ever have to imagine.  Ewwww!"

"Worse than Maybourne spouting romantic lines at you?" Daniel chuckled.

"Hey, a man can dream can't he?" Jack laughed.

"You are so gonna get yours, and when you do it had better be me doing the giving!"

"Always, Danny!  Always," whispered Jack as their lips met.

====

“Any preference on what we do first?”

“Let's get the outside lights up, Jack, and then we can add the extras.”

Jack and Daniel's agenda for the day was to get the outside of the house decorated.  Fortunately, it was a fairly nice day out, so they could work at a leisurely pace without worrying about the weather.

As Jack checked the lines to make sure the bulbs worked, Daniel climbed the ladder and hung the twinkling lights across the house.  They decided to go all the way around, so he had to go up on the roof to place the lights along the side.  They hung the small multi-colored lights along the patio decking, and the roof deck, too.

“Hey, Jack, let's put some lights in the trees in the back!”

“Great idea, Danny, but we'll have to go buy some more lights.”

“Why don't you go pick up a few lines while I check out Santa?”

“Why don't we both go?”

Daniel looked to the side, “Because ... um ... hmmm ...”

“Because you don't want to get in the middle of that swarm of buffalo you are sending me into.  Isn't that true, Dr. Jackson?”

Daniel coughed, “It's just you're so good at pushing your way through.  You know me, Jack, I'd be letting the little old lady behind us go in front and you'd just get mad.”

Daniel smiled at his logic.  Nothing frustrated Jack more than Daniel's natural tendency to exude human kindness, frequently letting others go ahead of them when they were in long lines.

Jack grunted, “You'll pay for this.”

“Is that a promise?” Daniel smirked.

“Oh yeah.  Tonight!” Jack smiled.

“Can't wait!  Love it when you exact revenge!”

Jack laughed, “Be back in a jiffy.  When you get done with Santa, how about fixing us a sandwich or something?  I'm starved.”

“My big strong he-man.  He's had a long day already,” Daniel teased.

“Hey, I almost lost my Froot Loops,” Jack continued to laugh, blowing a kiss at his husband as he got into the truck and headed for the nearest store.

Daniel practically glowed as he walked to the Santa and whispered, “He's such a push over.  Silly man loves me senseless.  I'll tell you a secret, Santa.  Jack's not the lucky one.  I am!”

====

“Boy, am I so going to make you pay,” Jack bellowed as he walked through the front door 90 minutes later, “That place was a zoo!”

Daniel greeted his love with a lingering kiss of thanks, his hands at Jack's neck, gently massaging.

“Thank you, Jack.”

Jack grunted, having turned into instant marshmallow, “Geez, Danny, what you do to me.”

“And vice versa, My Love,” Daniel spoke softly beginning another kiss, “Lunch is served, but your reward comes tonight.”

“Maybe we could finish the decorating tomorrow?”

“Tonight, Jack,” Daniel said sternly.

“Slave driver,” Jack teased.  “They were out of the multi-colored twinkles, Danny.  I got the clear ones, though.  I thought they'd give the trees a pretty look, you know, that elegant style to contrast a little with the house.  What do you think?”

“Sounds like a great idea, Babe,” Daniel kissed Jack again, and then moved to pick up the bags and pull out the lights.

Jack was such a gooey gop of silly putty at the moment.  He watched Daniel's face as he examined the new lights.  Standing there, Jack remembered a time when Daniel had to be begged to celebrate Christmas, prodded into getting a tree and decorating it, the painful memories of the past bogging him down.  Now, his spouse was a happy man, and the feeling that knowledge brought to Jack's soul always melted him.

“Danny, you know what?  I could go to the mall.  I'll bet one of the stores there would have more of the colored ones.  I know how much you like them.  I'll be right back.”

Jack headed for the door.

“No, Jack, wait,” Daniel put the boxes down and chased after his husband, catching him at the door.

“The clear ones are just fine.  They're beautiful, and with the snow we'll supposed to have, they'll make the trees look like big lighted snowmen or something.  Kinda like a ... scenic countryside or something.  It'll be beautiful, Jack.  I love the idea,“ Daniel kissed Jack tenderly.

“But I'll go if you want me to.”

Daniel smiled, cupping Jack's face.  “Gawd, I love you so much.  You always try so hard to make everything perfect.  But it is perfect, Jack, because you and I are together.  The clear lights are just fine.  Let's finish the decorating so I can remind you just how perfect we are.“

“Oh, I do like the way you think.  Love you, Danny, with all my heart,“ Jack paused, regrouping, his emotions having just jumped from one extreme to the other.  “Okay -- lights!”

Daniel watched Jack as he picked up the boxes.  “It is perfect, because you love me,” he said silently, and then with a happy sigh, he joined his husband to finish their task for the day.

====

The two placed their Santa on the porch of their home.  The Santa lit up, his hand moving up and down.  The 4 1/2 foot figure was motion sensitive, so whenever someone walked near him, Santa would exclaim, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!”

Then, they put the lights on the trees in the backyard.  They hung a wreath on the front door, and placed holly all around the patio and roof deck.

“Danny, where's Rudy?”

“Still on the rafters.”

Jack headed to the garage to pull out the life-size reindeer.  He climbed a ladder to the rafters and pushed aside a couple of boxes when one grabbed his attention.  He had forgotten about it.  He took the reindeer down and then grabbed the box and went inside the house, to the study.  

He sat quietly as he opened the box and reviewed the contents.

====

“Jack, where are you?”

Daniel entered the garage, worried something had happened to his soul mate.  He saw the reindeer on the ground, but no sign of Jack.  He went in the house and called out, “Jack?”

“In here,” Jack answered.

Daniel walked into the study, “I was worried.  What happened?”

“I'm sorry, Angel.  I got distracted.”

Daniel saw the box of items and sat down next to Jack.

“Charlie?”

“Yeah.  Geez, Danny, there's always another box, something I've forgotten about that comes back to haunt me.”

“He's not haunting you, Love.  He just wants you to remember.”

Jack looked at Daniel surprised, but Daniel put his arms around Jack's left arm and caressed, “Don't be so surprised.  Aren't you the one who spent years trying to get me to finally come to terms with my parent's deaths?”

“Yes, but ...”

“But nothing.  We worked hard, Jack.  Both of us, for Mama and Daddy, and for Charlie.  It doesn't mean we don't still have our moments, but when we remember now, it's mostly the good.  Isn't it?”

Jack smiled, holding a photograph of Charlie in the first grade.  It was one that Jack's parents had kept on their mantle.  Jack laughed as he showed it to Daniel. Charlie was dressed as an elf for a school play, all decked out in green with a funny little hat and shoes.  Sara had spent hours making the costume for their son, and you couldn't help but smile when you saw the small boy in the holiday costume.

“Yeah, it's good.  You know, if I do say so myself, Charlie was the best one in this play.  Actually, he was the best elf that ever was.  You should have seen him.  He ...”

Jack talked for several minutes about the play, the preparations for it, how nervous he and Sara had been beforehand, and then how proud they were of Charlie for doing so well.  Daniel listened attentively, never stopping his loving caresses, a smile always on his face.

When he was done, Jack put the photo back in the box and looked at his husband, “How about we get Rudy situated?”

“Okay.”

“Thanks, Danny.”

“I didn't do anything.”

“Oh yes, you did.  A few years ago, I would have found this picture and gotten drunk.  Now I can look at it and remember, even laugh and tease about it.  I can remember my son for his life and not his death, and that's all because of you.  Angel, I guess what I'm trying to say is, after all these years, I've finally forgiven myself.  Gawd, it hurts, but ... I've finally found a peace about it, and I never thought that day would come, when the pain wouldn't overshadow the love.“

Jack kissed the man who was his heart, and smiled, “I love you, Danny.”

“Love you, too, but Rudy's feeling abandoned.”

Jack chuckled as he stood, and holding Daniel's hand, they returned to the garage to get the reindeer and put him in his place on the front lawn.

====

“Not bad, eh, Love?”

“Not bad at all, Jack,” Daniel replied as they stood on the sidewalk looking at their home.

It had begun to snow lightly, the fluffy white particles accenting their holiday decorations.  Jack and Daniel stood side by side, their arms around each other's waist.  It was a freedom they took sometimes, and this was one of those times.

The stars were out, and the house and the trees were totally lit.  Santa was doing his greeting, and Rudolph's red nose was shining brightly.  They had a few small snowmen placed throughout, and a couple of elves.

The two walked inside and took off their jackets that they had put on to see how their handiwork looked at night.  Bijou and Katie were asleep on the beanbag, as usual, and their indoor Christmas tree sparkled with happiness.

“Danny?“ Jack called, taking something out of his pocket.

“Yes, Love?“ Daniel asked as he hung up his jacket in the entrance way closet.

“Here.“

Daniel took the small golden box of Godiva truffles, holding it in his two hands.

“Ah, Jack, you didn't have to get these.“

“I was out anyway.  No biggie,“ Jack shrugged, hanging up his jacket next to Daniel's and walking over to look at the lights on the backyard trees.

“You had to go out of your way to get these today,“ Daniel spoke softly.

Daniel actually hadn't had any of his favorite Godiva candies in a while. He had missed the sweet taste, but hadn't said a word about it.  Both had intended to get some during various trips about town, but often times, they had ended up behind schedule and the “chocolate run” had been postponed.  After all, it wasn't exactly an urgent priority.

“You're such a softie, Jack,“ Daniel put his arms around Jack's waist, one hand still holding the box of eight deluxe truffles.

“For you.“

Jack turned and kissed Daniel.

“You hate shopping.“

“Not for you.“

“I love you, Jack.“

The two held each other for a couple of minutes.  They didn't kiss, just touched and caressed.  They were letting the sensation of each other speak their words.  Finally, Jack kissed Daniel's cheek, “You going to share?“

“Oh,“ Daniel laughed, “Always with my Silver Fox!“

Daniel and Jack each enjoyed a truffle along with a cup of hot chocolate, cuddling on the sofa as they did so.  When the drinks were  depleted, Jack carried their mugs to the kitchen.  Daniel stood and stretched, and smiled lovingly at the box of chocolates that sat on the kitchen counter.  

He turned and looked at the family photos on the mantle.  Pictures of his parents, Jack's parents, Charlie, friends who were more family than friends, and their precious beagles.  Daniel looked down at their children in the beanbag, and walked over to them, kneeling to pet them.  Jack joined him, also petting the girls for a minute.  

Then both stood, just smiling.  Both were ridiculously happy, bubbling over in sappy feelings, and they knew it!  Then, reality took a hold of Daniel.

“I'd better check our messages, Jack.  We haven't looked at the phone in two days.”

“One more night won't hurt,” Jack said, “Besides, can't ignore tradition.”

“Tradition?”

“Tradition,” Jack said with confidence as he held his love in his arms, looking upwards.

“Oh, tradition,” Daniel agreed, as the two kissed under the sprig of mistletoe that was directly overhead.

A few minutes later, Daniel teased, “Of course, Jack, you realize that if we follow that tradition, we won't get anything done until after the holidays.”

“Have a problem with that?”

“No, but General Hammond might.  I mean, I'd love to hear you explain why we never made it out of the house.”

Jack coughed, “No, I don't think so.  I guess we'll have to tough it out every now and then.”

“Hmm-mmm,” Daniel agreed.

“But, in the meantime, tradition,” Jack kissed Daniel again.

“Jack, you don't think you overdid it a little, do you?”

“Just covering my bases, Love.  Just covering my bases,” Jack grinned.

After another kiss, Jack steered his soul mate upstairs for another union of their bodies.

As she watched Jack and Daniel kiss all the way up the stairs, the oldest beagle looked at her puppy.  She then looked up at the ceiling, full of mistletoe.  There were few gaps.  Jack had hung the green sprigs everywhere throughout the house.

Bijou stuck her face out and placed a sloppy kiss on Katie, who rolled over and kissed her mama back.  Then, Bijou laid on her side and went to sleep, a smile on her face, knowing all was well after the second day of Christmas, whatever that was!

~~On to Day Three and the Third Day of Christmas~~

Day Three


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Season:   7 - December 16, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  18kb, ficlet
Written:  December 2-3,7,15, 2003
Summary:  It's the third day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate
their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the
agenda for the day, the gift of giving!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Charlotte!


........ "On the third day of Christmas, my true love said to me" ........

"Daniel, I want a divorce!"

"Already?" Daniel chuckled, "It's only been a month!"

"That's right, and you're taking me for granted!"

"I am?  Care to explain that?"

"Sure, I'm fair.  I believe in full disclosure."

Walking up to Jack who stood at the foot of the stairs, still dressed
in his red flannel pajamas, Daniel put his arms around Jack's neck,
his right hand slipping back to play with Jack's ear a bit, "So,
what's the crisis?"

"I woke up alone.  That's not fair.  Our one month anniversary, and I
blasted woke up alone.  I was ... cold."

Daniel broke out into hysterical laughter.

"It's not funny.  I was counting on ..."

"On what, Jack?"

"Never mind," Jack said, giving in to his lips which were desperate to
touch Daniel's.

They kissed long and hard for several minutes, their hands roaming
each other's bodies.

"I missed you, Danny."

"Sorry, I know it's unusual, but I woke up early.  Of course, having
Bijou licking my back probably helped."

"Bij!  Yikes, Danny, we left the girls in all night."

"Hmm-mmm.  And they were ready to go out, Jack.  Of course, I could
have stayed comfy on my Jack pillow but ..."

"Good choice, Daniel."

"I thought so!'

"Happy Anniversary, Space Monkey."

"Happy Anniversary, My Silver Fox."

"Danny, are the girls outside?"

"Hmm-mmm."

"You don't have breakfast cooking or anything?"

Daniel shook his head, as he leaned in and took a nibble on Jack's
earlobe.

"How about we ..."

"Hmm-mmm, yes, how about we ..."

And they did!

====

It was lunchtime, and since Jack was in a meeting with General
Hammond, Daniel headed to the Commissary alone.  He thought Sam or
Teal'c might be there, and he could join them, but neither were
around. Daniel selected a bowl of vegetable soup and a small salad
along with some crackers and his coffee.

He sat quietly at a corner table.  The place was full of Marines and
Air Force personnel.  Daniel was actually surprised it was so busy
since several staff members were on vacation.  As he ate, Lou Ferretti
entered with Tom Armstrong, a member of SG-7.  Lou acknowledged
Daniel, but seemed wrapped up in a personal conversation with
Armstrong so there wasn't anything more than a brief "Hi" spoken
between he and Daniel.

As Daniel was finishing the last of his soup, the noise volume of the
Commissary dropped as personnel had cleared out.  He didn't mean to
eavesdrop, but he couldn't help but hear some of what Lou was saying
to Armstrong.

"I sure wish I could find a way to take Carolyn on that trip.  She's
really earned it."

"You both have.  I bet you could find a way.  Dig a little deeper, Lou!"

"Nah, I've already tried every way I could think of to get the loot
together, but with the kids and the medical bills, I just can't do it.
It's frustrating, you know?"

Daniel sat quietly for a few moments.  The Ferretti's kids were
teenagers now and college was looming.  They had struggled for years
to make sure they would be able to send all their children to college,
and with the rising cost, that wasn't easy. 

They were doing okay until Carolyn had become ill a few years earlier.
It wasn't long after they had separated briefly.  Her battle had been
a long, costly one.  In the end, she had beaten the monster that
threatened her life, but still, the financial impact was one the
family was still trying to dig out from under.

Daniel left the area and went back to work.

====

Jack and Daniel had eaten dinner, after which Jack went to the study
to return a couple of phone calls.  Daniel spread out on the sofa, and
soon, Bijou joined him, using Daniel's stomach as a pillow.  Daniel
laughed, petting her almost absentmindedly as time passed.  Katie was
content to have the big beanbag by the fireplace all to herself for a
while.

At 7:30 p.m., Jack emerged from the study and watched his spouse for a
couple of minutes.  He looked down for a second and then walked over
to the sofa, tickling Bijou's left ear and leaning over to steal a
kiss from Daniel.

"Missed you," Daniel spoke softly.

"Danny, what's going on in that brain of yours?"

"What makes you think ..."

"Daniel, I'm your husband.  I know these things!"

Daniel laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"You knew those things before we were lovers."

"That's because we were always meant to be," Jack kissed his love
again, and then stood up, "Sit up a little," Jack directed.

Jack sat on the couch, with Daniel's head on his lap.  He caressed
Daniel's head, and then asked, "Okay, so what's up?"

"Jack, remember that year, our first Valentine's Day, when we made
that ridiculous promise not to spend more than $10 on each other?"

"Oh, please, I don't want to remember.  Nightmare."

"I still have the pen."

"I drank the beer, Danny."

"Gawd, I hope so," Daniel joked, still petting the mama beagle.

"Love, I hope you aren't suggesting that we ..."

Daniel smirked, "Are you kidding?  We fail miserably anytime we try to
say we won't do anything, regardless of the occasion.  I'm just as bad
as you are."

"A-Grade romantic sap?"

"Certifiable," Daniel teased.

Bijou shook her head, her floppy ears whipping around.  She jumped
down and ran to the patio door, requesting to be let outside.

Daniel got up to let her out, calling Katie to join her.  He walked up
to the Christmas tree, and reached in to touch a couple of the
ornaments.  Jack rose and went up behind Daniel, his arms rubbing
Daniel's for a second and then going around the younger man's waist.

"So the point is ...?"

"We have so much, Jack.  I mean, we have each other, our dreams.  I
mean, our dreams have come true, and the ones that haven't yet, we're
making plans for."

"Love you," Jack whispered.

Daniel leaned his head to rest against Jack's shoulder, "The meaning
of Christmas ... the gift of giving ... it is about giving, not
receiving.  Jack, I'm not suggesting we don't do anything for each
other because, I know us, and we will, but ...," Daniel turned to look
at his husband, his hand placed over Jack's heart, "what would you
think about maybe ... well, trying to make a few dreams come true for
our friends?"

"Not trying to be dense, Love, but not sure what you mean."

"I'm thinking maybe we could try to find something ... something
really special for them, Jack, for our family, not just ties and books
or video games, but something they need or want that they either can't
afford to get themselves, or maybe just won't because they think it's
... I don't know ... frivolous."

Daniel's hand caressed the fabric that pressed against Jack's heart,
"We have so much, Jack.  I just want others to ... to have their
dreams, too, at least the little something that maybe we can help make
happen."

"Gawd, you're beautiful, and I'm not just talking about that beautiful
face of yours either," Jack leaned his forehead against Daniel's as
they stood in silence for a minute or two, just loving being in love!

"Think about it, okay?"

Jack nodded, and the couple went about their evening, watching
Christmas videos, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the
Snowman."

Sam called from her office to chat with Daniel about some science
experiment she was doing, but 20 minutes into the call, Jack grabbed
the phone and said, "Carter, get a life.  Go home NOW and that's an
order!"

He started to hang up but he knew that would land him in the doghouse,
so he casually handed the phone to Daniel, and said, "Say goodnight,
Daniel."

Daniel rolled his eyes as he wrapped up his conversation with Sam, and
then went to the study and turned on the computer.

"What are you doing?"

"I promised Sam I'd email her some information on ..."

"Daniel, so help me, you spend more than a half hour on this
contraption and YOU'LL be sleeping with the girls!"

Jack started to walk out and then he turned to clarify his position,
"IN THEIR DOG HOUSE ... OUTSIDE!"

Daniel laughed, snickering, "Right!"

"I heard that," Jack shouted back from the hallway.

====

It was 11:30 p.m. and the Jackson-O'Neill's had gone to bed an hour
earlier, but Jack had wakened and instantly knew he was alone.  He put
on his green robe and went downstairs, and found his missing spouse
sitting by the lighted Christmas tree, a notepad in his lap.

Daniel was tapping the pen against his knee rapidly.  He had let the
beagles back in the house, both Bijou and Katie watching the younger
man as he sat quietly.

Jack sat down next to his love, "Hey, I thought we went to bed."

"Sorry, thinking."

"You do that a lot.  Let me guess ... the gift of giving."

Daniel nodded, "We don't have to, Jack.  It was just an idea."

Jack knew he was toast.  Anything that had the love of his life so
involved was something he couldn't ignore.

"So where do we start?" Jack smiled.

"Well ... the Ferretti's."

"A maid to pick up after Ferretti?" Jack teased.

"No," Daniel said hesitantly, a tad concerned Jack was about to
explode at his suggestion.

"Spill it, Danny.  Something tells me you know exactly what you want
to do."

"Paris."

"France?"

"They had their honeymoon there.  Carolyn's folks paid for it, and it
really meant a lot to her.  They were only able to stay a few days,
too.   We could send them for ... a week, maybe even ten days.  She's
always wanted to go back."

"And I've always wanted to go to Tibet, well not really, but Paris?
Danny, that's not a gift, that's a vacation!"

Daniel sighed and looked down dejectedly, which naturally melted
Jack's heart.  The older man thought for a few moments.

"Okay, I admit it.  Carolyn has talked about going back ever since I
met her, and Lou has always wanted to make that happen, and I realize
that he's never been able to swing it, and probably won't ever be able
to either," the older man admitted with a sigh.

"They've had a tough time, Jack.  The kids and when she was sick.
Let's make their dream come true."

"It's expensive, Danny.  I mean, if you want to do it right."

"Jack, I make a ridiculous salary, and you have a wonderfully
ridiculous savings account ... and My Love, it would be a like a
second honeymoon for them."

"Gotta love America," Jack joked, in reference to how he had acquired
such a well-endowed bank account, something no one but Daniel and the
IRS knew about.

Then Jack said seriously, "Lou's a proud man, Love.  I don't think
he'll accept that kind of gift, regardless of our intentions."

"I was thinking about that, and the gift of giving.  The real gift is
... well, it is the giving, not the kudos that come for doing it."

"Are you suggesting that we give these gifts anonymously?"

Daniel nodded, "We can do it, make it work.  I'll bet Lou would come
to you to make sure it wasn't a setup, and you can verify it, say
you've checked it out.  They don't need to know it was us, and we
don't need them feeling like they owe us anything for the rest of
their lives either."

"Gawd, you're beautiful."

"You already said that."

"Well, it's true," Jack took Daniel's hand, still holding the pen, and
kissed it.  "Okay, but you do know we'll still have to buy regular
gifts, too, or they'll figure it out?"

"I know.  Jack, are you sure you don't mind?  I don't want you to do
this just because I want to."

Jack sneered, giving Daniel a bit of an evil eye, and spoke with
exasperation in his voice, "What do I keep telling you?"

"Not to over think."

"Thank you.  Now ... who else and what else do we do for our ...
family of friends?" Jack smiled.

"You're going to laugh, but fortunately for you, she isn't here to see
it."

"She who?"

"Sam."

"Okay, hit me with your best shot."

"Contrary to your belief, Jack, Sam does have a life, and she has a
boyfriend."

"Yeah, the mystery man.  So?"

"So, Jack, Sam's a beautiful woman, and as terrific as you think she
is as a 2IC, and as much as you think she looks great holding a P90,
she is a woman."

"I've noticed, Daniel," Jack smiled, not really looking at his spouse.

"Oh you have?" Daniel asked in a tone Jack was sure he should try to
avoid at all cost.

"Only at weddings ... like ours.  No, not like ours.  Didn't even
notice she was there.  Had eyes only for  you, just you," Jack leaned
in for a kiss, hoping to distract Daniel from the conversation.

"Nice try, Jack.  It's a good thing I know you love me."

"Took you long enough."

"Jack!"

Jack put his chin on Daniel's right shoulder, trying to see what he
had written down on the notepad for Sam.

"No cheating!"

"When did this become a test?" seeing Daniel's glare, "Okay, this must
be good to get this kind of build up.  What are we doing for Carter?"

"A ... spa ... resort," Daniel said softly.

"A what?"

"Spa," Daniel looked towards the bottom of the Christmas tree.

"Danny, are you out of your mind?  Carter would kill us for even
thinking about something like that!"

"Jack, you're wrong.  She's got that big secret vacation planned with
the boyfriend next year.  She's not going to be wearing BDU's.  And
though she loves to build motorcycles and ride them, and while she can
outshoot most of the SGC, and even though she can, as you love to say,
kick Goa'uld butt, she's still a woman."

"Yes, Daniel, I've ..." Jack stopped himself just in time, "Oh, she
is?" Jack coughed.

Daniel shook his head with a small smile on his face and continued,
"You're blind, Love, if you think Sam wouldn't like to be pampered for
a weekend ... massage, fragrances, facial, all that stuff ... she'd
love it, and I'll bet she'd be willing to leave her P90 at home."

Jack grunted, "I'm so glad this is anonymous because she'd kick my
butt.  No, don't look at me like that, Angel.  She might kiss you, but
she'd kill me."

Daniel laughed, and then grew serious again, "She's career military.
I know that, but that doesn't mean she wouldn't enjoy letting her
feminine side take over for a few days, maybe even right before the
big vacation."

"Okay.  Carter gets to be pampered.  Next?"

====

Jack yawned.  He was lying with his head on Daniel's lap.  Katie had
moved to rest atop of Jack and Bijou was in a ball, cuddled up against
Daniel's thigh.  It was 3 a.m. and the happy couple had covered a
variety of ideas for their closest friends, the ones they thought of
as family.

"Danny, I'm going to fall asleep during your briefing tomorrow ... I
mean, today, so I apologize in advance.  Please try not to hate me
when I snore.  It's nothing personal especially since I happen to love
you," Jack twisted a little, getting a bit more comfortable.

Daniel leaned over and kissed Jack's forehead, "We can go to bed now.
I think we've covered everyone."

Another yawn, "I sure hope so.  This is turning out to be more
expensive than your car!"

"You're exaggerating!"

"I know ... that's what I do!  Can we really go to bed now?"

"Yes, Love, we can."

"Gawd," Jack said in agony, as he had started to get up and then
plummeted back down, plopping his head against Daniel again.

"Jack, are you okay?"

"Katie ... she's sound asleep."

"You're such a toughie, Jack."

"You wake her up."

"I have my own problem."

"Bij?"

Daniel nodded, "She's right up against me.  The two of you are keeping
me very warm."

"Warm?  I thought I was hot!"

"Please don't go there, not now."

"Danny?"

"Hmmm?

"It's been a month.  It went by so fast."

Daniel carded through Jack's hair with one hand, his other now around
Jack's head, both to support and to caress.  After a moment, he
reached inside the top of Jack's pajamas to lightly caress Jack's
upper body with his right hand as he leaned over for a long kiss. 

Their eyes met, speaking much more than words.  Jack took hold of his
husband's left hand, and kissed the ring finger.  He looked up and
spoke their words of devotion, "Forever and always, Danny, I love you."

"Forever and Always, Jack, I love you.  Happy Anniversary."

"And many more to come, Love."

"Lots more."

Jack continued to hold Daniel's hand, and said, "The gift of giving.
I like that."

"Me, too."

And as the third day of Christmas closed, Jack, Daniel, Bijou and
Katie enjoyed their quiet time together under the Christmas tree with
gladness and goodness in their hearts.

~~On to Day Four and the Fourth Day of Christmas~~

Day Four


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Season:   7 - December 17, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  12kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3,5,7,17, 2003
Summary:  It's the fourth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, those pesky holiday cards!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Suzanna, Charlotte!

**


........ “On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Daniel, I wanted to watch hockey tonight ... and have pizza ... and drink beer ... and make love to you.”

“I assume I come after the hockey?”

“Best for last, Love,” Jack winked from the sofa where he sat.

“Jack, we've put this off way too long as it is.  You can tape the game.”

“What fun is that?  I'll hear the score on the news before I have a chance to watch it.”

Daniel stood at the foot of the stairs, wearing a long sleeve navy blue turtleneck sweater and dark blue pants.  He looked very handsome in Jack's opinion, and Jack couldn't wait to get his lover out of the attire ... after the hockey game.

Daniel stared for a moment, watching Jack settle in for another round “jocks and their big sticks“ as Daniel sometimes referred to the sport of hockey.  Then, Daniel's brain engaged in a plan.  With a smile, the young man said, “Okay, Jack, enjoy the game.”

Jack smiled, “Finally won one,“ he thought to himself as he took inventory of his ”must have“ items for any sporting event:  beer, a couple of soft pretzels, and a bowl of chips.  

He clicked on the TV just in time to hear the announcers introduce the starting lineups.

Two minutes later, Daniel called out to Jack, who turned his head to face his lover.

“Just wanted to wish your team luck.  I'm going to go work on the cards,“ Daniel walked slowly but steadily to the study, intentionally making sure that Jack had time to enjoy ”the view.“

Jack watched Daniel leisurely stroll out of the room.  He looked back at the TV, then at the now-vacant hallway, back at the TV, and back at the room where Daniel had exited.  He swallowed hard, and then turned off the TV, put away the beer and snacks and walked into the study.

“Okay, I'm all yours.“

Daniel grinned as he approached Jack and gave him a huge kiss, a wicked laugh escaping from his throat.

“That wasn't fair, Daniel.“

“Why, Jack, haven't you heard?  All's fair in love and ... greeting cards!

With his arms still around Daniel's waist, Jack's hands slipped downward, slapping Daniel on his butt just as he released him and walked to the desk.

As he sat down, Jack looked at his spouse and smiled, “Scrumptious, Love, but go change.  You'll catch a cold or something.“

Daniel laughed, “I'm okay.  The heat's on.“

“Boy, I'll say,“ Jack said semi-sarcastically.

Daniel smiled inwardly, making a note to remember this particular outfit, the one he had changed into on the spur of the moment to lure his lover away from the hockey game ... a sleeveless blue cotton tee, with the Avalanche symbol on it that showed off Daniel's muscles, and denim shorts that were way too tight, showing off a few of Daniel's other's “assets.“

“You sure?  Seriously, Danny, I'll ... stick it out.  I don't want you to get sick because of me.“

“If I get cold, you can warm me up,“ Daniel said seductively.

“That voice in that outfit is not conducive to writing cards.“

“Sorry,“ Daniel said, deciding it was time to get down to business, and apparently Jack had come to the same conclusion, picking up a pen.

“So, how are we doing this?“

Daniel pulled out several boxes of holiday cards from a shopping bag.  The two had picked up a selection of four different designs earlier in the month.   Seeing the boxes Daniel was stacking on the desk, Jack whined, “Danny, why are we doing this?  What's wrong with using the computer?”

“It's too easy, cheapens the sentiment.  We're using snail mail, Jack.”

“Snail mail.  Now who the heck came up with that crazy name anyway?”

“No idea, Love, but considering how long it takes to get mail sometimes, it fits.”

Next, Daniel retrieved three pages of notes from a folder in the bottom left drawer of the desk and placed them in front of Jack.

Standing by Jack's chair, Daniel explained, “This is your usual Christmas list, and this one is mine, and that one is ... ours.”

Daniel sighed, noticing how short the third list was in comparison with the other two.

Jack reviewed the three lists, “I don't like this, Danny.”

“We're doing the cards ...”

“No, that's not what I meant.  I meant ... this,” Jack pointed to each of the papers individually, “Yours, mine and ... ours.  We should just have an ours.”

“I know, but we don't, and we can't get around that,” Daniel started to move away.

Jack grinned wickedly, suddenly grabbing his lover, pulling Daniel to sit on his lap.  Daniel laughed as he exclaimed, “Jaaaaack!”

The older man was laughing, his hands making sure Daniel didn't try to slip away, but then he heard his lover speak and saw his eyes.  Daniel was in no hurry to move.

“Jack,” Daniel repeated more calmly as he reached his right hand to Jack's neck, moving it freely along the neck and shoulder, under Jack's shirt, “I love you.”

The two kissed, and Daniel leaned his head against Jack's right shoulder, “I don't like it either, but people don't even think we live together.  I mean, not even as friends.  I have the apartment and everyone thinks it's where I live.”

“Everyone?  Sometimes, Danny, I think we're fooling ourselves.  In my honest opinion, I think anyone with a brain would have to know we're together.  You're never there.”

“People don't pay attention.  Besides, you know perfectly well most of the SGC doesn't even know where we live, either of us.”

“I know, I just ... hate it, that's all.”

“I don't like it either.  Gawd, I hate it as much as you do.”

After a moment of silence, Jack spoke up again, "Hey!  How about we stir things up.  I'll go right into the SGC and announce over the intercom that I'm madly in love with a crazy archaeologist and have wild sweaty sex with him on a daily basis.  Actually on a twice daily basis.  Well, to be fair it's probably more like ..."

"I get the picture, Jack, I'm usually there you know."

"How do you know?"

"Know what?"

"That you're usually there?"

"Where?"

"With me."

"When?"

"Daniel?"

"Yes, Jack?"

"Shut up!"

With Daniel contented for the moment, Jack scanned the list, “You know, I'll bet you most of the people on my list wouldn't blink at getting a card from both of us.  Geez, Danny, I talk about you all the time.  If I don't mention you for five minutes, they ask about you themselves.”

“We can't do joint cards except for the third list, and you know it, so we might as well get to it.  The sooner we're done, the sooner we can ...,” Daniel kissed Jack with a wet promise of what would come later.

“Best motivation in the world,” Jack let Daniel get up and then they each prepared their Christmas cards to their individual friends.

“Form letters are looking better and better,” Jack said as he finished his tenth card.

“Never.  Talk about lack of personality and caring.  I hate those things.”

“Saves time.”

“It's also like reading a magazine article.  Might as well send it to Reader's Digest rather than sending me a personal holiday wish.”

"That's a great idea.  We'd only have to do the one card and get them to add it to their latest edition in between 'Monk Fish Found On Beach, 500 Feet Long' and, 'How To Make Your Own Spitzlenoogle."

"Earth to Jack!  There's no such thing as a Spitzlenoogle.  Trust me, I'm a linguist."

"There is so such a thing.  I read it the other week in that Sci-fi mag.  It was being advertised right under the article that said an alien ate my mom."

"Are you going to get on with this, or do I have to make you do them all, mine included?"

“Of course, nothing wrong with just signing our names.“

“Jack!“

“Okay, okay, was just making conversation,” Jack wrote on, wishing he and his friends all knew shorthand!

====

Three and half hours later, Jack placed the last stamp on his last card, “Yes!  Three points!” he cheered as he tossed the card into the basket they had set out to place the finished cards in.

“I'm done, too.”

“Good, now for dessert.”

“No, now for the 'ours' pile.”

“The fun pile, and speaking of fun,” Jack stood and walked to Daniel who was seated on the floor in front of the sofa, just placing his last card in its envelope.

Jack rubbed Daniel's back as he waited for his lover to finish, and when he was, Daniel leaned back into Jack.

“You didn't really hate it, did you?” Daniel asked hesitantly.

“No, of course not.  I spout off like this every year. You know that.”

Daniel nodded, but Jack felt he was a bit hesitant, so caressing his lover, Jack voiced his concern, “Danny?”

“I just don't want it to seem like I'm making you do things you wouldn't want to do.  I mean, because I ...”

“Changed clothes?” Jack laughed, and Daniel nodded.

“Nah, this was on the agenda and I had no business trying to stick the hockey game in there.   I love our life, Danny, all of it.  I'd rather be in here with you getting writer's cramp than sitting out there by myself watching guys beat each other up, but you tell anyone that, and I'll have to ...”  

“To what?” Daniel moaned from the pleasure of Jack's touch against his shoulders.

“This,” Jack said, leaning down and beginning a long round of fondling and kissing that lasted a half hour.

“Jack ...,” Daniel finally interrupted their make-out session

“I know, the 'ours' pile.”

The two got up and brought the cards and list that contained the names of their special family of friends to the sofa.  They sat side by side and wrote cards to each person on their short list, people who knew that Jack and Daniel are forever.  Each card was full of love with little tidbits about their honeymoon or first month of marriage.  Jack would write a paragraph and then Daniel, the cards often ending up much like their verbal banter, and thus, were longer than any of their individual cards.

As a result of the combined writing efforts, and the back and forth of written sparring, the small list of cards had taken two hours to complete, but the couple had laughed and teased the entire time.

“Now that was fun,” Jack said as he carried the completed cards and placed them with the others.

“Actually, this is more fun,” Daniel said, removing his tee with lust for his husband in his eye.

Jack's eyes grew wide with his own lust, and as the fourth day of Christmas ended, Jack and Daniel once again, grounded themselves together with a powerful motion of their bodies that spoke of their everlasting commitment and love for each other.

~~On to Day Five and the Fifth Day of Christmas~~

Day Five


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Season:   7 - December 18, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  11kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3,5,17-18, 2003
Summary:  It's the fifth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, fire in the kitchen!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Suzanna!


........ “On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“DANIEL!  QUICK!  GET THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER! ... OUCH!”

Startled into action, Daniel jumped up from the sofa where he had been reading a magazine.  He grabbed the fire extinguisher from the closet and ran into the kitchen, immediately releasing the foam and dousing the fire that had begun on the stove.

“Jack, what happened?” Daniel asked, putting down the red fixture and moving rapidly to Jack who was holding up his hand, and rubbing his thumb.

“I burned it.  What do you think happened?” Jack barked.

Daniel checked his husband's hand.  It might be a little singed with soreness from the burn, but he was fine.  Daniel held the hand under the cold water faucet for a minute or two as Jack barked obscenities.  Daniel dried the hand gently.

“You're fine, Jack.”

“But it hurts,” the older man pouted.

"You are such a baby ... Babe," Daniel snickered as he tended to his lover.

"Kiss it better."

"No, I'm not kissing it better.  Kiss it better yourself."

"But it burns ... it burns ... I'm melting ... melting!"

"You've been watching far too much television, Jack.  I may have to take away your DVD of 'The Wizard of Oz!"

Jack played his burnt appendage for all it was worth, desperately wanted Daniel to have pity on him.  Daniel, on the other hand, was determined not to let his lover turn into a five year old ... at least until he made the mistake of looking into Jack's eyes and noting the expression on his face.

Jack had such a cute look that Daniel couldn't help himself.  It was a combination pout that said “You don't love me,” grin that said “I am sooooo funny” and just a tad of seriousness that said, “It really does hurt.”   Not unlike the Wicked Witch of Oz, Daniel melted, right there in front of his husband.

Daniel kissed the thumb gently, and then kissed it again.  He ended up placing kisses all along the joint, completely tracing it, and then he kissed the very tip of the thumb before putting it in his mouth.

Jack never moved, his eyes locked onto his sexy spouse.  Daniel sucked on the thumb for a moment, and then released it placing another kiss on it.

“Still hurt?”

“Huh?”

“Your thumb.  Does it still hurt?”

“My thumb?  Oh, my thumb.  No, ah, no,” Jack tried to regain his equilibrium which had been totally shot.

Daniel put his arms around Jack's waist as he kissed him on the lips and whispered, “So what happened?”

“Fire.”

“I know that.  Why?”

“I think I put too much vodka in the fudge.”

“Vodka?  In fudge?  JACK!”

“I'm only kidding.  Burners must be dirty.  It boiled over a little and the next thing I knew, it was flame city.”

“Be careful, My Love.  I need you,” Daniel said in complete seriousness.

Jack kissed him again, “Love you, Angel.”

“Love you, too.”

====

Jack washed his hands and cleaned out the burners before continuing with his holiday cooking.  Meanwhile, Daniel went back to his magazine.  An hour later, Jack walked out of the kitchen and stopped dead in his tracks.

Daniel was laying on the sofa, asleep.  On his stomach were both Bijou and Katie, Daniel's hands protectively holding on to each.  The Christmas tree was lit, holiday songs were playing, and there was a fire going in the fireplace.

As he watched, Jack fell in love all over again.  The setting was gorgeous, and the sight of Daniel with their beagles was by far “the most beautiful thing I've ever seen” Jack thought.

It was such a warm sight to his heart, that Jack sat on the bar stool for a good five minutes, just watching.  The love in his heart almost overwhelmed him, and once again, he looked up to the Heavens and mouthed “Thank you” to whatever power that may be that had given him the gift of Daniel Jackson-O'Neill!

With a glance at the timer in the kitchen, Jack moved to the sofa and sat on the edge of the sofa.

“Jack?” Daniel said, waking slowly.

“You just keep on saying my name as soon as you wake up, and we'll be just fine.”

Daniel smiled and prepared to be kissed.  Jack leaned in, petting Daniel's head and kissing Bijou and Katie.

“JAAAAAACK!”

“Oh, sorry, Love ... easy mistake!”

“Jack, you are so going to be sleeping with Bij and Katie tonight.”

Jack laughed, “Now you know you were a gorgeous lost puppy yourself once upon a time.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, “I was not.”

“Yes, you were.”

“Was not.”

“Was.”

“Not.”

“Oh, yes.”

“You're exaggerating.”

“You stood there in that hallway with great big puppy dog eyes that begged me to rescue you.”

“I did not.”

“Did, too!”

“Not,” Daniel said softly.

“Sooooo did, too,” Jack said, leaning over and finally kissing Daniel soundly, Daniel's hands reaching up and moving up and down the back of Jack's head, keeping him close.

“I was not a puppy, lost or otherwise, but ... in case I haven't said it before, thank you for rescuing me.”

“You're welcome, and yes, you were,” Jack said, interrupting Daniel's objection with another lingering kiss.  “You want me to finish this cooking job alone, or did you still want to help?  I don't mind if you want to keep resting.”

“I want to help.  It's our first official Christmas.  I want us to do everything together.”

“Okay, well, O'Neill's Secret Fudge is about done and I've locked away the ingredients so the kitchen is safe again.”

“How's your thumb?” Daniel asked, his voice and expression full of love and concern.

“Trust me, Danny, I forgot all about it after that little display of yours.”

Daniel blushed.

“Geez, I love it when you do that.  C'mon, time to cook, and then we'll ... cook,” Jack teased.

====

“Gawd, I love these things,” Daniel said, as he poured the Rice Krispies into the melted mixture of marshmallows and butter.

Jack stirred as Daniel emptied the cereal, “Me, too, especially since you've turned me into a marshmallow.”

Daniel laughed, “Don't worry.  Most people still think you're as scary as King Kong.”

“Does that make you my Fay Wray?”

“Doghouse.  Think ... doghouse!”

Jack flinched, as he continued to stir.  Daniel brought out the pan, and Jack poured the mixture into it.  With wax paper, they smoothed out their Rice Krispies Treats.

====

Daniel was doubled over in hysterics.

“It's not that funny, Daniel.”

“Sorry, Love, but you look so ... so ...” Daniel gave in to more laughter.

Jack growled as he tried to peel off the sticky layers of taffy that plastered his face, neck and chest.

“You didn't have to let go like that.”

“Oh, yes, I did,” Daniel snickered, and then seeing murder in Jack's eyes, took off for safer pastures.

“You're going to get it, Jackson,” Jack yelled, chasing his love outside into the cold air of the night.  

There was a light snow falling as Jack continued his pursuit.  Daniel dodged behind the beagle's house, using it as a protective shield.

“You can't run forever.”

“And you can't chase me forever,” Daniel retorted.

They kept dodging each other, the doghouse in between them.

“Give it up, Jack.  Besides, if you don't, that taffy might freeze to your face.”

Jack startled at the thought, “Oh, you are SO going to pay.”

Jack retreated to the house and cleaned up.  When he returned to the kitchen, Daniel was putting the finishing touches on the taffy.

Jack considered a plan of attack, until Daniel spoke, “Careful, Love, I'm armed!”

Seeing the batch of taffy, Jack decided to get his revenge another day.

====

“I never in my life thought I'd be baking Gingerbread men, let alone decorating them,” Daniel laughed as he squeezed out a smiley face on the last cookie.

“Gingerbread men are great.  Self-portraits, and this one, is you,” Jack grinned at the smiling cookie, one in which the smile was especially huge.

“I'm so happy, Jack.  Gawd, I can't believe it.  Sometimes, it scares me to feel like this.  I just never believed I would know what this was like.”

Jack took the icing out of Daniel's hand, and turned his lover to face him.  He put his own hands on Daniel's face, cupping it, massaging as he stared deeply into his soul mate's eyes, “I waited so long to hear you say those words, that you were happy, for real ... not just for a moment, or even a few days of moments, but ... forever happy.  I knew it would happen.  It had to, but when you finally said those words, and I knew you meant it, geez, Danny, I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven.  It just made the whole world light up for me ... hearing you say them.  Say them again.”

“I'm happy, Jack, so happy,” Daniel beamed like a shining star twinkling in the night.

The two kissed as the cookies smiled.

====

“Not bad for a night's work,” Jack said, taking in their handiwork.

On the kitchen counter, were batches of several holiday snacks that included the Rice Krispies Treats, taffy, fudge, and the Gingerbread cookies, as well as a variety of other foods such as popcorn balls, Snickerdoodles, and brownies.  

They had made several variety packs to give to their friends as a holiday greeting, and to take to the SGC, and some would stay at the house to nibble on during the holiday season.

“This fudge is really good.  Are you ever going to tell me what the secret ingredient is?”

“Maybe.  One day,” Jack smiled.

“I thought we didn't keep secrets,” Daniel flaunted with batting eyelashes.

“Nice try, Danny.”

“I have my ways, Jack.  You'll tell me!”

“Oh yeah?  Let's see you try!”

As the fifth day of Christmas came to a close, Daniel showed Jack the first of several ways to get information from him.   The problem was, Jack's brain cells had fried, as had Daniel's, so by the time they were through, fudge was the last thing on their minds!  Maybe some day Daniel would learn the secret ingredient for the chocolate confection, but all he cared about at the moment was that his husband was all the sugary confection he had ever needed or wanted.   It was indeed a happy holiday season!

~~On to Day Six and the Sixth Day of Christmas~~

Day Six


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Humor, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Season:   7 - December 19, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  19kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3-4,7,18-19, 2003
Summary:  It's the sixth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, Santa and his helper spread some cheer!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Charlotte!


........ “On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Hurry up, Daniel, or we'll be late!”

Reluctantly, Daniel walked gingerly down the stairs to where Jack was waiting.

“I don't know how I let you talk me into this,” he complained.

“It's for the kids,” Jack reminded.

“Low blow, Jack.”

Jack coughed, as he reached for his keys.

“So help me, Jack,” Daniel warned, “one photo and you're sleeping alone for a month.  A month, Jack.  Do you hear me?  THIRTY-ONE FREAKIN' DAYS!”

Jack desperately tried to suppress his laughter and, knowing he was losing the battle, he hurriedly made his way to the front door.

“Jack?”

“Jack!” Daniel repeated more forcefully.

“JAAAACK!” Daniel followed, concern consuming him that Jack hadn't assured him there would not be a photo taken.

Dressed as Santa Claus, Jack was already in the truck waiting, the heat on low, considering the warm attire.  Skittish and hesitant, Daniel worked a while at getting his feet wearing long green shoes with bells on them into truck.  It hadn't been easy to get his head wearing a red  pointy hat that had a few fluffy balls attached to it inside either!

Jack burst out with laughter at the sight.

“You're so dead, Jack,” Daniel said, finally successful in getting his entire body into the truck, and closing the door.

Jack admired his lover's costume.

“Ah, Angel, is Santa's number one elf going to turn on him?”

Daniel glared intensely, “Drive the truck, Jack.”

====

“Colonel O'Neill, you're a saint, that's for sure!” Molly O'Hanlon spoke in her Irish brogue.

Molly was in charge of a small children's shelter in Colorado Springs, and for years, Jack had helped them out in a variety of ways, including playing Santa Claus during the Christmas holidays.   This shelter was one of a few Jack had contributed to regularly, both with time and money.  Somehow, giving in this way had always made him feel closer to Charlie.

“Molly, this is Daniel Jackson.  He's my helper tonight.”

“Ah, Mr. Jackson.  The Colonel has mentioned you so often. 'Tis good to finally make your acquaintance.”

“Um, thanks,” Daniel said quietly.

Jack whispered, though Daniel could still here him speak, “He's a bit shy about the costume.”

Molly, born and bred in Ireland, laughed sweetly, “Ah, you make a darlin' elf, and you know Santa always needs a good helper.”

“That's me, Santa's slave, I mean ... helper,” Daniel half-smiled.

After a bit more discussion, the sixty-something Molly led the two men, each carrying large bags of gifts, towards the Recreation Room where a group of 20 children were waiting.  They stopped short of the room to make sure their costumes and gifts were okay.

“Jack, turn around,” Daniel ordered, “Your belt is crooked ... and ... Jack, stop fidgeting,” Daniel said as he made sure the long white beard was secure.

“Do I pass inspection, Elf Daniel?“

“Yeah, I guess you'll do.  You make a great Santa, Jack.”

“This is so sweet of you both,” Molly said again as they continued to the closed door, and then she whispered to Jack, “Your Danny Boy is so adorable.  The kids are going to eat him up.”

Jack smiled and thought to himself, “That's exactly what I'm going to do to him as soon as I get him home!”

Looking at Molly, Jack said softly, “Ah, Molly my love, I wouldn't go 'round callin' Elf Daniel here by Danny Boy.  He might go pout in the corner!“

“Jack, I heard that!“

“I'll just go in and make sure the precious babes are ready for you,” Molly said, entering the room, leaving Jack and Daniel alone in the hallway.

“Ready, Elf?”

“You are so dead, Jack.”

“Love you, too,” Jack whispered, a grin decorating his bearded face.

“Time to sparkle,” Jack said, checking his belly padding one last time.

Daniel looked at him quizzically, “Sparkle?”

Jack shrugged, “It's what came out.  What can I say?”

“Nothing, Santa.  Let's get this show over with.  I feel like such a fool in this get up.”

“OH SANTA ...” Molly shouted, ringing a little bell at the same time.

“Showtime!” Jack laughed, wondering why he hadn't thought of that phrase in the first place!

Entering the Recreation Room, Jack shouted with gusto, “HO! HO! HO! MERRRRRY CHRISTMAS!”

The room full of kids had bright smiles on their faces.  They stood and laughed and ran to Santa and his helper.  The kids ranged in ages from four to twelve, and were of various nationalities and races.  It is the thing that made Molly's little shelter so special to Jack, the way she kept the children of multi-colors and backgrounds as one family.

“Have you been good boys and girls this year?”

A chorus of yeses were heard as Santa Jack walked to the chair decorated in red velvet in his honor.  He put down his large red bag of toys and began to talk to all of the children as Daniel put his down and went to get another bag they had outside.

Once all the bags were in place near the throne, Daniel tried to hide inconspicuously behind them, but suddenly, he heard, “Children, this is my number one helper, Daniel.  He's my best elf, but he's a little nervous.”

Santa Jack leaned forward and talked more softly, “He thinks his elf uniform is silly.  You kids are going to have to make him feel welcome!”

Most all the kids laughed and ran to Daniel, surrounding him, asking him questions about the North Pole, Rudolph, making toys, and Santa himself.  Daniel was taken aback by the overwhelming reaction of the children, and did his best to give the “right” answers.  He soon learned that answering in detail wasn't the requirement to satisfying the kids, but responding with love was.

Eventually, the children settled back down in their spots on the matted floor.  Santa told them a few stories about life with Mrs. Claus and all the reindeer and elves at his village at the North Pole, making sure to mention that he just couldn't get anything done without the assistance of Elf Daniel.

Then, he and Daniel made a big deal out of passing out gifts “just for being you today” to each of the children.  Each child received a present that Jack and Daniel had purchased on their own, based on suggestions Molly had given them for each of the youngsters in her care.

Next up, Elf Daniel organized the children so that one by one they sat on Santa's lap.  Jack had memorized information Molly had given him about the kids, so they were frequently shocked at the way Santa Jack had been able to point out the things they had done, both “nice” and “naughty,” over the past year.  Each child gave him their Christmas wishes, which Molly secretly wrote down from behind Santa's throne chair, hoping to be able to surprise the children with some of their wishes on Christmas day.

When they were two-thirds of the way through, Daniel noticed a little girl sitting quietly in the back row.  He couldn't remember talking to her about being an elf, nor giving her a present.  As he looked around, he didn't see any toys near her.  Something about the girl's lost look reached out to him.

Daniel went over and sat down, a bit clumsily considering his attire, in front of the little blonde-headed child.

“Hi there!”

“Hi,” she said in a very small voice.

“My name is Daniel.  What's yours?”

“Kathleen.”

“You're very pretty, Kathleen.  I love your curly hair.”

“Mama said my hair was naturally curly.”

Daniel smiled, “How old are you?”

“Six ... and a half.”

“Wow ... almost all grown up.”

Kathleen chuckled, “I'm just a little girl.”

“A very pretty little girl!”

“You're pretty, too!”

Daniel didn't know whether to scream or blush, so he didn't do either, and instead, tried to pretend the small child hadn't said anything.

“Are you ready to talk to Santa Claus?“

“No.“

“No?” Daniel asked with surprise.

The curly blonde shook her head.

“Don't you want to give Santa your Christmas list?“

Kathleen shook her head again.

“Why not?“

“He's scary.  Loud.“

“Trust me, Santa is teddy bear, very soft and cuddly.“

Kathleen looked, “But he's so loud ... and big.“

“Not all the time.“

Kathleen shook her head again, not wanting to go up to Santa Jack.  Daniel decided to let it drop for the time being.

“How long have you been here, with Molly?”

“Just today.  My parents died last week,” Kathleen said with her smallest voice.

“I'm sorry.  My parents died when I just a little boy.  It feels lousy, doesn't it?”

Kathleen nodded.

“It'll get better, Kathleen.  Believe me, someday, it won't hurt as much.”

“It's okay.  Mama said I was ...npendat.  Do you like being an elf?” Kathleen sniffled, apparently wanting to change the subject.

“Yeah, Santa needs me.  You know, it took me a long time to figure out that needing people and being needed was a good thing.  When my parents died, I pretended that no one loved me.  And I decided that I would never love anyone again, because it hurt so much to love them and then have them go away.  But Santa, he showed me that love is a good thing.  Sometimes, it makes us cry, but most of the time, if fills us up with goodness and laughter.  Don't lock yourself away, Kathleen.  Give people a chance!”

“I like elves,” the little girl stated, rocking back and forth just a little.

“And I like you,” Daniel smiled back in reassurance, and then he remembered the gifts.  “I'll bet you think Santa forgot about your present, don't you?”

Kathleen nodded, “It's okay.  I just got here.”

“You're wrong.  Santa always keeps one very special present for one very special little girl or boy.  I'm betting you're the one.”

“Don't you know?”

“Me?  I'm just his number one elf.  Santa's the one who knows everything,“ Daniel leaned over and whispered into the little girl's ear, ”He has the official naughty and nice list.  He doesn't show it to anyone, not ever.“  Sitting upright again, Daniel added with confidence, ”You wait and see.  I'll bet he has a big surprise waiting for you!”

“Hey!  Elf Daniel, where are you?” Santa Jack beckoned.

“Whoops!  Santa needs me.  Don't you disappear now.”

“I won't.”

“Promise?”

“I promise, Daniel.”

Daniel stood and went to Jack and took care of what he needed, and then watched as the next child visited with Santa.  When that child was done, Daniel spoke softly, “Santa ...” and nodded with his head towards a corner of the room.

“Elves.  They are so demanding,” Santa Jack spoke to the kids, “I'll be right back.  Don't forget where we were!”

“Elf Daniel, what's up?”

“Cut the elf thing, Jack, er, Santa.   Listen, we have a little problem.”

“Santa doesn't have problems.”

“Well, Santa Jack does.  See the little girl sitting in the back, staring towards the window?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, number one, she's scared to death of you, I mean Santa.  He's loud and big.  And number two, she's new.  We don't have a present for her.  And number three, her parents died last week, Jack.  She's scared and alone and getting ready to shut out the world.  Believe me, I know.”

Santa Jack studied the youngster for a moment, and then smiled, “Danny, that doll we got for Vanessa.  Did you take it to the base?”

Daniel lit up with a huge smile, thinking about the present they had gotten for General Hammond's youngest granddaughter.
 
“Great idea, Santa!  And no, it's still at the house.  I'll go get it.”

“You can't leave.  It'll be too obvious.  Where's Carter?”

“Girls night out.  She and Janet and I don't know who else doing who knows what that honestly, I don't want to know anything about.”

“Daniel, you're giving me a headache, and no, I don't want to know either.”

“Cassie,” both spoke in unison.

“I'll call her,” Daniel said.

“And I'll handle problem number one while you do that.”

“Jack, remember, she's frightened.”

Jack nodded and went back to the kids, visiting with all of them a while.  Then, he spoke, “Okay, Kids, Santa will be right back to finish talking with you guys over here,” pointing to the group that hadn't yet sat on his lap.

Slowly, he walked over to Kathleen.  Stopping a few feet away, he kneeled down slowly, careful not to startle her.

“Hello, Kathleen.”

Kathleen looked up meekly, overwhelmed by Santa Jack.

“Boy, I'll tell ya, being Santa isn't easy.  Everyone wants me to Ho Ho Ho all the time.  I end up being as loud as an old grizzly bear.  Ever heard a grizzly bear growl, Kathleen?”

She shook her head, “Well, think of me when I first walked in.  Loud, huh?”

Kathleen nodded.

“I'll tell you a secret.  Most of the time, I prefer to talk like this,” Santa Jack said softly.  “I know you probably won't believe this, but, most of the time, I'm pretty lonely.  During the Christmas holidays, everyone loves me, but then they forget about me.  For the rest of the year it's like I don't exist.  I get very depressed,” Jack sighed, “I'm sad just thinking about it.  I wish someone would give me a hug.”

Jack looked all around at the kids, excitedly playing with their toys, laughing and chatting with Molly.

“See, they are all wrapped up in their toys and Santa gets forgotten.  I could sure use a hug.”

Kathleen slowly got to her feet and inched her way to Santa Jack.  She gave him a look, and then she flung her arms around him, “I won't forget you, Santa.  I'll remember all year long.  I promise.”

“That makes me feel so much better.  It's nice to be remembered.  Thank you.”

Kathleen pulled back from the hug and smiled.

“Hey, would you come sit on my lap on the throne and tell me what you want for Christmas?  It would make me happy.”

Kathleen nodded, so Santa Jack lifted Kathleen up as he stood, careful not to tower over her.  He carried Kathleen to the throne seat and visited with her for several minutes.  It took some coaxing, but with his smiles and soft voice, Santa Jack finally convinced her to admit to a few things she'd like to have for Christmas.

Elf Daniel walked in towards the end of the conversation and beamed when he saw the little girl smiling and chatting away on Santa's lap.  

“Gawd, I love him,” Daniel thought as he watched Santa Jack in action and saw the sweet expression on the innocent little girl's face.

Jack saw Daniel had returned to the Recreation Room.  Seeing Daniel nod, Jack knew the “situation” was under control.  He smiled and finished talking to Kathleen.

Afterwards, he chatted with the few remaining kids who had yet to sit on Santa's lap, and then all had special holiday treats, homemade by Molly and her assistants.  With their treats settling in their stomachs, Daniel Elf read “The Night Before Christmas,” the children enraptured by the holiday tale.

Cassie arrived near the end of the story, out of breath from her rapid pace.  She had worried about having taken so long to reach the shelter.

“Relax, Cass, you're just in time.”

“I'm glad ... Santa.  I really have to go, though, unless you need something else.”

“No, just this.  You saved a little girl from a horrible heartache tonight.  You're a peach.”

Cassie smiled, and exited, “Tell Uncle Daniel I love him.”

“Okay kiddies, it's about time for Santa and Elf Daniel to go ...”

A round of boos and sighs and “please don't go's” abounded, but Santa Jack explained they had a lot to do before Christmas, “And besides, if we don't go soon, Dasher and Donner are going to want overtime!”

The kids laughed as Jack continued, “But first, Santa has a special present for a very special little girl.  Kathleen, come here, Sweetie,” Santa Jack kneeled back down as she approached.

“This is for you,” from Santa, and Elf Daniel, and all the reindeer.

Kathleen's eyes were wide with awe at the very large box.  All the other kids wondered what it could be.  Slowly, Kathleen opened the box and took out a life-size little brown-eyed doll named Cindy.

“Wow, she's as big as me!” Kathleen said, holding the doll up, and then putting it down very carefully, she threw her arms around Santa, “Oh, thank you, Santa.”

“You're welcome, Kathleen.”

Then, she ran to Daniel and threw her arms around him, “He's not so scary,” she said, adding “Thank you, Daniel.  I'll remember what you said.”

“Merry Christmas, Kathleen!”

She ran back to her doll, a big smile on her face.

Jack and Daniel exchanged a smile, and then said their good-byes.

====

Still in their costumes, Jack held Daniel in his arms as they stood at the foot of the steps to the front porch of their home.

“It wasn't so bad, was it, Danny?”

“No, not so bad.”

The two kissed tenderly, a holiday risk in doing so in front of their home at only 9 p.m., but one they couldn't deny themselves at the moment.  Then, out of nowhere, a female voice said, “Hey, Daniel!  Cute outfit.  Love the shoes!”

Daniel turned, facing the voice.  His eyes were wider than ever, his mouth open like a guppy gasping for air, his expression one of both shock and horror.

--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--Flash--

Daniel screeched in the aftermath of the camera flashes, “SAM!”

Jack's hysterical laughter drew attention away from the woman.

“Way to go, Carter!  Good job!” and then seeing Daniel's face of death, Jack swiftly fled up the steps, unlocking the door as quickly as possible, and going into the house.

“JAAAAAACK!  YOU ARE A DEAD MAN, O'NEILL.  JAAAAACK!”

Daniel ran inside, neglecting to close the door.  Sam could hear the running, things falling, and one final shout, “TWO MONTHS, O'NEILL - IN THE DOGHOUSE FOR TWO FREAKIN' MONTHS!  DON'T TOUCH ME!”

Sam laughed, and as she walked to her car, covertly parked down the street, she sang softly, “I ... saw Dan-iel kissing Sannnnta Claus ...”

As the sixth day of Christmas came to a close, Santa Claus was heard shouting for mercy and desperately wishing he could hide out at the North Pole for at least a year!

~~On to Day Seven and the Seventh Day of Christmas~~

Day Seven


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship  
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 20, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  18kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3-4,7,19-20, 2003
Summary:  It's the seventh day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, a romantic interlude!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Charlotte!


........ “On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Daniel, you've got to be kidding?”

“No, I promised the General I'd get that report on P2J-552 done, and it took longer than I thought.  I have to go to the Mountain and finish it so he has it Monday morning.”

“Danny, it's Saturday!” Jack tossed the newspaper onto the sofa in frustration as Daniel stood with his arms folded in between the sofa and the stairs.

“I don't have a choice.”

“You always have a choice, Daniel.”

“It was either finish it today, Jack, or miss the Elf bit last night.  Would you have preferred that?”

“Oh for crying out loud, of course not, but Hammond will live if you don't get the report done until Monday afternoon!”

“I promised he'd have it Monday morning.”

“Stupid.”

“What?”

“Stupid, as in stupid promise.”

“Jack, we can stand here and argue all day and then tomorrow, I'd have to go to the SGC.  Is that what you want ... for us to argue all ...”

Almost at the same time, Jack and Daniel locked eyes, frozen in their current positions, and in unison, both said softly, “Argue?”

Since their wedding on November 16, Jack and Daniel hadn't argued once.  They'd done their patented bickering, but it had been good natured.  Their little tiffs, like the one last night after Sam had taken the photo of Daniel in the elf costume, had just been in fun.  The couple hadn't had a serious disagreement, or anything close to it in over a month, and for them, that was a lifetime!

“Danny,” Jack said, breaking the frozen trance first, and quickly stepping towards his lover, “I love you.  I'm sorry, so sorry.”

Daniel put his arms around Jack, holding them still at first against his back, and then as he nestled into his soul mate, he began to caress, just as Jack was doing for him.

“Gawd, Jack.”

“Well, it had to happen sooner or later, and all things considered, this was a minor skirmish.  To tell you the truth, Love, I don't even think this qualifies, do you?”

“No, I guess we caught ourselves just in time, but still ...”

“Pact.  Realistically, we're going to argue at some point.  You just know it'll happen, but ... let's make a promise that it won't be until at least after the New Year.  No matter what ... no fighting.  What do you say, Babe?”

“Does that include bickering?”

Jack laughed, “I don't think we could stop that if we tried.”

“I don't either, and ... crazy as it sounds, I don't really want to.”

“Crazy as it sounds, neither do I.”

“It's too much a part of us, Jack,” Daniel said, taking a deep breath as he enjoyed the warm, comforting embrace.

Jack pulled back, kissing Daniel on the temple as he did so.  

“So, you promised Hammond?”

Daniel nodded.

“Okay, I'll find something to do.  Maybe I'll take the girls for a long walk or something.”

“I'm sorry, Jack.  We just had so many interruptions yesterday.  I tried.  I swear I did.”

“Hey,” Jack cupped his lover's face, “Danny, you are the BEST at what you do.  Don't apologize if something takes two days instead of one.  I know you tried.  I do,” Jack leaned forward and the two kissed, a little moan escaping from Daniel in regret that they couldn't continue.

“Go on.  I'll be here when you're done.”

“Jack, it's probably going to take a while.”

“Do your job, Danny.  We have tonight, and all our tomorrows, forever.”

“I love you, my Silver Fox.”

“Hmm, love you,” Jack whispered as they kissed again, and then Daniel left the house and went to the SGC.

====

It was 7 p.m. before Daniel finished his project, and with snow on the ground and still falling, it meant it was just a few minutes before 8 when he finally walked in the door to his home, tired from a very long day, and sure Jack would be upset.  He was prepared for the worst.

But when Daniel walked in the door, he was stunned.  The lights were out, except for the Christmas tree.  A fire was roaring in the fireplace, and a few well placed candles were lit around the living room.

The table near the kitchen was set, with their best china, the set that had belonged to Jack's grandmother.   Daniel's favorite wine, St. Julien's, was on ice in a silver bucket.  A single red rose laid across one of the plates in the spot where Daniel normally sat when they ate at the table.

Daniel looked in the kitchen and could smell the aroma of food, but Jack was not there, nor did he see their beagles, Bijou and Katie.  Daniel went upstairs and found some clothes sitting on his side of the bed ... a new blue silk shirt and black pants.

A note atop the clothes said simply:

“D.

Had to run a quick errand.  Took the girls.  Didn't use the truck.  Be back in a jiffy.  Take a shower and put these on.  You know!

J.

P.S.  Stay OUT of the kitchen.  Everything is fine!“

Daniel laughed and said softly, “Yeah, I do know.”

====

Feeling refreshed after his leisurely shower, Daniel dressed as requested and went downstairs.

“Hey Girls,” he said happily, leaning over to say hello.

“About time.  We've been waiting,” Jack laughed as he walked out of the kitchen, “Wow.  Gorgeous ... absolutely gorgeous.”

Daniel blushed, much to Jack's pleasure, as Jack embraced him, “So sexy, Danny.  Missed you today.”

“I missed you, too,” Daniel said as he kissed Jack's neck and took in the scent of his soul mate.  “I'm sorry it took all day, and I know what you said this morning, it just, gawd, it was hard.”

“But you did it,” Jack said with pride as they continued to hold each other close.

“You're guessing.”

“Nope, I know you, and you always get your translation,” Jack teased.

“I'd rather get you,” Daniel said, taking a nibble of Jack's earlobe.

“Careful, Love, that's dessert.”

“Dessert first,” Daniel crooned.

“Oh no, not after I've slaved over a hot stove for hours making the perfect meal.”

“What is it?”

“O'Neill's Surprise.”

Daniel laughed, “You mean it's not what it started out to be?”

“Don't be a smart aleck, even if you're right, but it does have a lot of  your favorite ingredients.”

“It's delicious.”

“You haven't had any yet.”

“But you made it, Jack, just for me.  Gawd, this place is beautiful.  I thought ... well, I thought you might be angry but when I saw the candles and the table ... Gawd, I love you.  And you went shopping, too!”

“Love the feel of silk on you, not to mention how it looks.”

The two stood touching, and then they leaned their foreheads together for a few moments, a silent connection of their souls happening as they did so.  Jack leaned up and placed a kiss on Daniel's forehead and softly spoke, “Dinner will be served after I change.”

“I hope you have new clothes for you, too.”

“Would I deprive my husband?”

“You had better not!”

“Be right back.”

Jack went upstairs to change and Daniel again took in his surroundings, the home he loved, the dogs he treasured, the overwhelming feeling of ... happiness.  He still couldn't believe it.  It was his.  This was the best holiday season of his life.

He moved to the sofa and played with the dogs until Jack returned.

“Okay, let's eat!”

“Hmm, yeah, let's eat,” Daniel's eyes were feasting on his husband.

“Um, Daniel, I meant ... food.”

“Food?” Daniel asked as if he had never heard the word before.

“Yeah, you know, that stuff that nourishes our bodies.”

“You can nourish my body, and I'll nourish you,” Daniel said as he moved to Jack and ravished his mouth with a long, hard kiss.  “I want to eat you, Jack.”

“Whoa, boy, after dinner.”

“Dinner ... want you for dinner,” Daniel sighed.

“Geez, Daniel, what do you think I am ... a piece of meat?”

“Filet ... the best filet ... slender, choice, tasty -- gorgeous, totally edible.”

Daniel's eyes were dark with lust.  He wanted Jack, and again, they kissed, a passionate exchange that lasted four more minutes.

“Geez, what you do to me, but if I know you, and I do, you haven't had a thing since breakfast.”

“I was working,” Daniel whined.

“Food first, ravishing ... very soon,” Jack whispered into Daniel's ear, a soft moan escaping from Daniel's throat.

Daniel stood back and looked Jack over again.  His lover had on a royal blue silk shirt with black pants.  His belt was silver.  Jack's shirt was unbuttoned half way down, which was unusual for him, but it was something Daniel liked, so the younger man knew Jack had dressed that way just for him.  

“My Silver Fox,” Daniel crooned, “Gorgeous and all mine.”

“Always, Love,” Jack said walking to Daniel and kissing him again.  “Do you have any idea what you do to me when you look at me like that?  You make me feel so special.”

“You are special, Jack.  Gawd, you're everything to me, that special, wonderful everything!  I love you so.”

“Ah, Danny, I love you, too!”

A few more kisses later, Jack and Daniel finally sat down to dinner, dinner of the food kind.  

Bijou and her puppy went to their beanbag and relaxed by the fire as the lovers enjoyed their meal, which turned out to be an interesting mixture of Chinese and Italian.

“Don't ask how it ended up like this, Danny.  Just be thankful it actually tastes good.”

Daniel laughed, “Gawd, it does.  Too bad you can't recreate it some time.”

“Couldn't if I tried.  I have no clue, no clue at all,” Jack said with surprise at his luck.

"Are we still talking about the food here, Love, or just you having no clue in general?" Daniel teased as he ate another bite of the strangely delicious food.

"I had a clue about you."

"Oh, you did?"

"Yeah, knew I'd wear you down eventually, that under all that long hair and unresolved sexual tension, you wanted me badly."

"Unresolved sexual tension?  Okay, Jack, what have you been reading?“

Jack flinched.

“Jack?” Daniel said, a warning in his voice.

“Fan fiction.  It's on the internet.”

“Oh gawd, you've reached a new low.”

“Hey, some of that stuff is pretty darn good.  Then again, Apophis could probably do better than some of it, too.”

Daniel shook his head in disbelief, and decided to ignore the source of Jack's latest epiphany, “So, this unresolved sexual tension ...”

“Just say UST.”

“UST?” Daniel asked incredulously.

“They abbreviate.  Saves time.”

“Right.  So, this ... UST ... You figured this out, how?"

"All those little looks you kept giving me, the sideways glances on missions."

"I was probably trying to figure out a way to get you OUT of my said long hair.  You were always bugging me, lurking."

"Lurking?  I never lurk.  I observe."

"Jack, you are the biggest lurker in the history of lurking. You should be proud.  You're very good at it.  Maybe there's some sort of lurking award I can put you up for."

"I DO NOT LURK! "

"Do, too!"

"Do not!"

"Do!"

"Not!"

They both started laughing and settled back to eat their meal.

A few minutes later, Jack took a bite of food and froze.  Daniel was staring at him,

“What's wrong?” Jack asked, almost afraid to swallow his food but having little choice not to.

Daniel smiled, his eyes totally focused on the older man.  Daniel still couldn't get over how gorgeous his lover looked.  He was “sexier than sin” in Daniel's mind and he simply couldn't stop staring.

“Danny?”

“Just looking, that's all.”

“Looking?”

“At my Silver Fox ... my favorite handsome and sexy, completely beautiful Silver Fox.”

Jack reached out and took Daniel's hand, and squeezed it, “Well, this Silver Fox thinks he's highly over rated, but he sure is glad you think he's not.”

“I know he's not.”

They held hands for most of the rest of the dinner, losing contact only a few times when finishing the meal required it.  Jack stood to take the dishes to the kitchen and Daniel started to help, but Jack lightly slapped his hand, “Na-huh, you're the spoilee tonight.  Sit and drink your wine.”

Jack took the dishes into the kitchen as Daniel sipped his wine, but then he stood and walked towards the fireplace.  Jack had put on holiday music and it filled the room with a joy and festive feeling.

“Dance with me, Angel,” Jack spoke as he entered the living room, taking the wine and placing it in the bookshelves.

As Johnny Mathis sang, “The Christmas Song,” crooning about the chestnuts roasting on the open fire, Jack's and Daniel's eyes locked on to each other's as they moved their bodies as one.

By the time the singer finished the last “Merry Christmas,” chestnuts and dancing were the last things on the lover's mind.  As the song ended, the two kissed their way to the fireplace and sank to the floor where Jack had strategically placed a few pillows for comfort.

Daniel laid prone, his upper body resting on one of the large pillows, his hands caressing Jack's face and neck as they began to kiss again.

“My Angel, so beautiful,” Jack whispered between kisses.

“Mmmm, Jack, love you so much, want you so much,” Daniel sighed.
“Forever, Danny, yours forever.”

Their hunger for each other grew with their words and their kisses.  Their tongues united frequently as they sought to make their kisses as deep as possible, not getting enough of the other.

“Love the feel of you.”

“Gawd, Jack,” Daniel almost leaped into Jack's mouth, a desperation to taste his husband beginning to overwhelm him.

Daniel's need grew so much that the next thing Jack knew, he was on the pillow and Daniel was topping him, until suddenly, he stopped.

“Danny?”

Daniel turned around and looked over his shoulder.  Four eyes were staring at him.  He closed his eyes and slouched down onto Jack, burying his head in Jack's shoulder.

“What?  Daniel?”

“The girls ... they're ... staring.  Gawd, it's snowing, too.”

Jack arched his back up slightly and saw two sets of eyes, bright eyed and focused on he and his lover, and then Jack laid back down, his arms wrapping around Daniel.

“Snowing means you aren't going to let me put them outside, right?”

“Don't act so tough, Jack.  You couldn't do it even I said you could.”

“You aren't supposed to know that.”

“Right,” Daniel sighed.

“Danny, they're dogs.  What are we worried about?”

“Dogs, yes, but when is the last time we thought of them as dogs?”

Jack thought, “I don't think we ever did.”

“Exactly.”

“Oh, for crying out loud, we were on a roll here.”

“A roll?  Jack, I was ... I AM ... gawd!” Daniel said with exasperation in his voice, his hand making due by slipping inside Jack's shirt to caress his soul mate's chest.

“You aren't the only one, Love.”

After a minute or two passed, Jack spoke again, “Okay, Plan B.”

“Jack, there is no Plan B with where this was going.”

Jack laughed.  He loved a snarky Daniel, and second to that was a frustrated Daniel, and right now, Daniel was definitely frustrated.

“Trust me,” Jack said, pushing Daniel off of him and leading them upstairs.

“Here,” Jack tossed Daniel his blue flannel pajamas and Jack put on his red ones.

“Plan B,” Jack said, hopefully.

Daniel chuckled as he changed.  Flannel for some strange reason was their number one material to fondle on each other, silk a close second.  No material was always the unspoken and understood preference, however!

Hand in hand, the two walked back downstairs.  Jack brought over the wine, and Daniel grabbed a few snack items.  Jack laid back down and reached up, “Come here, Husband,” he spoke with a jovial quality to his voice.

Daniel snuggled in closed, but leaned on his left side, his head leaning against his elbow as his right hand traced Jack's lips, chin and neck, and then found Jack's heart.

“I love you, Jack,” Daniel said, leaning over for a kiss.

Jack's arms pulled Daniel all the way down to him, and they kissed for a long time, knowing they would keep it in check.  As the evening passed, they sipped on their wine, nibbled on each other and the cheese and crackers Daniel had brought out for them.  They talked more about their future and what the New Year would hold.

Mostly, the two listened to the music of the season, their hands caressing their bodies, and enjoyed just being together.

As midnight struck, Jack said softly, “Plan B isn't bad.”

“Love Plan B.  Love Plan A better, but Plan B is good, too.”

As the seventh day of Christmas came to a close, Jack and Daniel had nothing but joy in their hearts, and big hopes for their future together.

~~On to Day Eight and the Eighth Day of Christmas~~

Day Eight


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 21, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  15kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3,5-6,21, 2003
Summary:  It's the eighth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, here we go a caroling!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Suzanna, Charlotte!


........ “On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Oh, my aching back!”

“Hmmm.”

“Ouch!  Danny, wake up!”

“Na-huh, comfy,” Daniel said, his face nuzzling even closer to Jack's chin as he slept on his Jack pillow.

“Angel, I love my Daniel blanket, but my back is killing me.”

“Aspirin. Take aspirin,” Daniel sighed.

“Good idea, but you have to get up.”

“Comfy.”

“Daniel ...”

“Shhh ... sleeeeee...”

Jack grunted and then chuckled.  His back ached, but his heart felt only pleasure.  He placed a kiss on Daniel's forehead, and gently caressed Daniel's back.

About five minutes later, Daniel's eyelids blinked several times as he awoke with a start.  He moved slightly and saw Jack smiling at him.

“Jack, what did you say?”

“When?” Jack chuckled.

“Your back.  Jack! You said your back hurt.”

“Just from the hard floor.  It's okay.  I'll take an aspirin or something when we get up.”

“For crying out loud, Jack, wake me up when you hurt.  Don't just lay there,” Daniel said forcefully, moving off his lover and standing, his hand reaching down to help Jack up.  “Honestly, Babe, just tell me.”

“Yes, Daniel,” Jack responded.

Leading Jack towards the stairs, Daniel continued his lecture, “There's no reason for you to lay there when ...”

Daniel stopped and looked at Jack who said nothing, “Oh, gawd, you did say something.”

Jack scooped Daniel into his arms and kissed him, “You were comfy, and nothing makes me happier than keeping you ... comfy.”

“Geez, Jack,” Daniel sighed, relaxing into Jack's secure hold.  He closed his eyes, a smile appearing on his face ... and then ... “Oh, gawd, I'm doing it again.  I'll get you some Tylenol.”

“Thank you, Love.  I'll let the girls out.”

“The girls?  Oh, gawd.  I've lost my brain.”

“Don't worry, I'll find it for you.  Where was the last place you remember leaving it?”

"That's just it.  I would never just leave it anywhere,“ Daniel joked, ”You know how important it is to me.  I need it before I go back to work or General Hammond will kill me."

"You think it was stolen?“ Jack asked, mock alarm in his voice, ”Hmmm, that's definitely a concern, a Daniel brain in the hands of the enemy."

"You're so funny, Jack.  I think I can feel my side cracking."

"No, seriously, Daniel.  I think we need to notify the Brain Police.  Your noggin is a dangerous thing in the best of hands, but if Kinsey's managed to get hold of it, he could be using it as a basketball by now. Maybe he's having one of those brain transplant operations.  Quick Danny, grab the phone!  We have to inform the FBI, CIA, CNN ... Showtime!"

"Jack, get a grip, let the girls out, and then make me a large cup of coffee.  I think you'll find that my brain can be found in the bottom of the cup."

"Your wish is my command, oh brainless one,“ Jack bowed down, as if a servant to a King, ”now go, fetch my Tylenol, whilst I hunt down your brain amidst the coffee grinds!"

Daniel shook his head back and forth rapidly, as if trying to wake up from a nightmare, and then took a deep breath and headed upstairs.

====

“Jack, let's leave the girls in while we're gone.  We shouldn't be that long.”

“Okay, Love.  I'll take them out now and make sure they take care of business.  Meet you downstairs.”

Daniel put on his gray turtleneck sweater and combed his hair, and then went downstairs where a few minutes later, Jack walked back inside.

“Be back soon, Girls,” Jack said, locking the patio door.

“Burrrrrrr, it's cold out there.  We're gonna have to keep moving to make sure we don't turn into icicles!”

“Where are the girls?”

“They ran into their house and snuggled up together.  Katie gave me that 'go away' glare of hers.  I think she was 'comfy' nuzzling into Bijou,“ Jack winked.

Daniel smiled and took the long red scarf he'd been holding and gently put it around his husband's neck, pulling it forward slightly to bring Jack's lips to meet his, “Love you.”

As Daniel began to turn, Jack suddenly grabbed the younger man and dipped him, placing a long, wet kiss on his lips.

“Love you so much,” Jack smiled when the kiss was done, and pulling Daniel back up.

Daniel blinked, “Geez, Jack, warn a guy first.”

“No fun that way.”

“Gawd, you scared me half to death.”

“Complaints, Dr. Jackson?”

“Only one.”

“And what's that?”

“That I didn't think of it first,” Daniel smiled.

Daniel wrapped his own matching red scarf around his neck and once bundled in their coats and gloves, the two went outside and headed for Lou and Carolyn Ferretti's home.  There, they met up with Sam, Teal'c, Janet and Cassie, and several other SGC personnel, all of whom were participating in the annual Christmas Carol Chorale.

Every year, personnel would go caroling through a neighborhood, and then to the Air Force Hospital, and finally to one of the Senior Citizen nursing homes.  The event would begin and end at one of the participant's homes who then hosted a small party.  This year, the Ferretti's had volunteered to be the hosts.

There was an especially large turnout this year with some 35 different personnel showing up, various family members in tow.  Everyone spent a few minutes going over the list of carols selected for the night, and then they reviewed their travel route through the neighborhood.

“Last chance for coffee or hot chocolate before we go,” Carolyn announced above the crowd.

“Coffee?” Daniel perked.

“Down boy.  You had two before we ... before you came over here.”

“But it's cold out,” Daniel whined.

**I'll warm you up later**

Daniel grinned at the telepathically relayed message and responded with his own silent message.

**You'd better, Colonel, or I'll be too frozen to do anything but shiver, and it won't be because of you ...**

“Daniel!  Daniel!”

“Huh?  Sorry, what Sam?”

“Did you want a cup?”

“No, that's okay, thanks.”

Jack chuckled and then turned to answer a question Jeff Cornell had asked him about Bijou.  Jeff was Bijou's original owner and always wanted to know the latest events surrounding the beagle and her puppy, Katie.

Fifteen minutes later, the SGC choristers grouped together and began singing their songs of celebration.  Jack, of course, didn't use the wonderful voice Daniel knew he had, the one Daniel longed to hear again after Jack had sung to him at their wedding.

The group began with “Joy to the World” followed by “The First Noel” and then “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

They strolled the neighborhood, stopping in front of homes.  Little kids seemed fascinated and every now and then, just like in the movies, someone would bring out some hot chocolate to warm the chilling songsters.

“This is an interesting tradition, O'Neill.”

“I don't know about interesting, but it's always fun ... and cold,” Jack said before joining back in the current song, “Sleigh Ride” which was followed by “White Christmas” and “Deck the Halls.”

Jack got a little carried away during the latter song, trying to pantomime for Teal'c the decking of the halls.  Flinging his arms around in a wild motion, he ended up sliding along the icy pavement.

“Jack!” Daniel called out, running to his husband.

“And that, Teal'c, is how you don't deck the halls.  Help me up, Danny.”

"I don't know, Jack.  I kinda like you sprawled out like this, all helpless and wanton," Daniel whispered.

Jack didn't need to whisper his forceful response, "Danny, if you don't help me up right now, you're gonna join me."

"Geez, you keep making all these promises and failing to follow through on them."

Jack considered punching his husband, but he had a problem with that -- he loved him too much, so he decided to use his serious and sincere voice instead of lashing out, "Daniel, my butt is cold and I think it's starting to bruise."

Daniel touched Jack's shoulder, the joking game over, “Are you okay?”

Jack wanted to kiss Daniel to reassure him, seeing the genuine love and concern in his eyes, but that wasn't a choice at the moment.

“I'm just fine, Daniel.”

“Stop trying to show off,” Daniel warned once Jack was standing again.

Daniel returned to the group which had continued their singing at the next house.

“You sure you're okay there, Jack?”

“Fine, Lou.  Nothing's hurt but my pride!  Come on, Folks ... 'Frosty the Snowman ...”

The SGC carolers continued their song as they walked a few more blocks.

“Folks, it's time to hit the hospital before visiting hours end, and we still have to make sure we get to the nursing home at a decent time,” Jeff reminded after checking his watch.  

The group scurried back to the Ferretti's and then drove to the hospital. They were greeted by staff on duty who gave them a few special instructions on rooms to make sure they visit as well as a few to stay out of.  Then the music of Christmas filled the halls:  “Jingle Bells,“  “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night.”

They worked their way through the three floors they were permitted to visit, warming the hearts of patients and visiting family and friends.  After the final song of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” the gang headed for the nursing home, one chosen by Megan Williams.

“My grandmother died here two years ago,” she said to Daniel as they walked towards the entrance, “She always said that the few times throughout the year that they had visitors were highlights of their entire time in the home.  It's so sad, Dr. Jackson, that we only seem to remember during holidays.”

Daniel could only nod in agreement.

“Here We Come A Caroling” was the song sung as they entered the building.  Unlike the hospital where family members were frequently seen, there were few people present but the staff and the elderly patients, some sitting quietly in wheelchairs, others lying hopelessly in their beds.

“O Come All Ye Faithful” was the next song.  Daniel's heart ached for the senior citizens he had seen.  As he sang he thought, “Why don't we all realize that one day this will be us?”

Megan's words echoed through his mind, the impact of a group of carolers should be something fun, but the not the highlight of someone's entire existence in a place they lived.

The next songs were  “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Do You Hear What I Hear,” but Daniel was having a hard time getting through them.  As the group walked on, Daniel quietly slipped away, walking back outside.

It was still snowing lightly, and Daniel patted himself with his crossed arms to try and keep warm.  At first, he couldn't stand still and walked the parking lot to try and get rid of his anxiety.

A few minutes later, Jack found his lover outside.  By this time, Daniel was standing still by Jack's truck, arms folded, hands still patting himself for warmth, looking down.

“Angel, what's wrong?”

“It's wrong, Jack.  People shouldn't be locked up in places like this where people like us are their only source of happiness or ... I mean, we're all going to be there one day ... if we're lucky to live that long.  It's just wrong.  Why is our society so messed up?”

Jack looked around.  He desperately wanted to hold his husband, but this was definitely too risky, but he did reach out and briefly caress Daniel's cheek.

“People don't want to think, Danny.  The closer we get to it, the more we want to forget that it not only could be, but probably will be us, in some way.  I agree.  It's wrong, but all we can do is try to be that ... that smile.  It's better to give them something, Danny, then for them to have nothing all year.”

“But why, Jack?  Megan said something about that.  Why is it we only think they are worth our time during holidays?   Why just Easter and Christmas?  Why not ... March first, or August 25th, or November 10th?  Why, Jack?”

“Ah, Angel, I wish I had an answer for you, but the only answer I have is that you have the biggest heart I know, and I love you.”

“We're so happy, Jack.  I know I keep saying that, and gawd, I hope I'm not jinxing us, but it's hard to be so happy and then see such sadness and not be able to do anything about it.  I'm sorry.  I don't mean to spoil the night.”

“You're not spoiling anything.  What you are doing is reminding me that Christmas is a year-long event that too often gets boiled down to 30 days of shopping and doing what is easy.  How about we start some new traditions, make our own holidays?”

“I don't know what you mean.”

“Danny, we can't solve all the problems of the world, and I know we're making a few dreams come true for friends this year, but we're not Oprah, and we don't have her money to cure all the ills of the world, but what we do have is time and desire, so let's put it to use.”

“How?”

“We make March first a holiday, or November tenth, or whatever the heck day you want.  We grab Carter and Lou and whoever else wants to, and we come visit.  It's not a perfect solution, but it's something.”

“I want to kiss you, Jack.”

“Feeling's mutual, but ...”

Daniel grabbed Jack's hand and lead him behind a SUV and planted a huge kiss on him, “I love you.”

“Geez, Danny, what you do to me.”

The couple braved one more brief kiss when they heard the carolers exiting the build.

“Everything okay, Sir?” Sam asked, seeing Jack and Daniel outside.

“Perfectly Peachy, Carter!”

====

Back at the Ferretti's, everyone enjoyed some Eggnog and snacks, chatting about the joy of the evening, and then, as was their tradition, the night ended with everyone walking to their individual vehicles, singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

As the eighth day of Christmas ended, Jack and Daniel drove home, content from a fun night with friends, and with a strong hope in their hearts that maybe in the future they could do something to truly spread good will to men, and women, throughout the year, and not just during the Christmas season!

~~On to Day Nine and the Ninth Day of Christmas~~

Day Nine


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Humor, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 22, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  16kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3,5,8,20-21, 2003
Summary:  It's the ninth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, the Christmas office party!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Charlotte!


........ “On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Oh, come on, do you really think we can gate there and back in three hours without incident?  We step off this planet and you just know something will happen to mess up Christmas,” Jack said in a an aloof manner as he paced the Briefing Room.

“Jack, the Ruvario people have already proven themselves to us.  This is ... their Thanksgiving, and with the alliance between our worlds almost a done deal, making a significant appearance will go a long way. They put a great deal of emphasis on respect on their world.”

Jack glared at Daniel, just knowing something would happen.  It always did whenever they thought a mission was “a piece of cake.”

“Colonel, SG teams 3 and 9 have been on Ruvario for the last four days. The Pentagon feels we should send more teams as a show of our faith and respect.  As Dr. Jackson said, Ruvario has been sharing their knowledge and weaponry with us for several months.”

“But General, you're talking about what ... three or four more teams?  That's a lot of trust without the signature on the dotted line!”

“Sometimes, you just have to trust in people, Jack,” Daniel said, sitting at the table, his hands cupping a hot cup of coffee.

“Jack, I won't order you, but I believe if we let this opportunity pass, we may regret it,” the General stated, hoping his 2IC made the right choice.

Jack looked at Daniel, knowing he wanted to go, and then he slapped both of his hands against his chair, “Okay, we'll go.”

“Very well.  SG teams 1, 2, 7 and 11 will join the teams already off world.”

“SG-11, Sir?”

“Yes, according to Dr. Jackson, Ruvario has some sacrificial areas that might be worth excavating.  We want them to meet SG-11 to see if a rapport could be established so that the Ruvario people might agree to at least let them do a minimal amount of work there.”

“Oh, I see.”

“You depart at 1000 hours.  The festivities should last three hours, and you'll be back in time for the party, Colonel.”

“Right,” Jack said, still skeptical.

Everyone began to exit the room.

“Oh, Jack,” the General called as Jack reached the door, “I have a meeting off-base so I won't be here when you get back, but I should make the party by 1700 at the latest.  Please try and make sure our people don't overdo it this year.”

“Overdo it, Sir?  Us?  Imagine that.  Never heard of such a thing, Sir,” Jack said, exiting with a wicked smile.

====

“Okay, Kids, off to see the Wizard.”

Jack watched as several team personnel stepped through the Stargate.  When the last one was gone, he looked back up at Hammond and gave his expression of, “I really don't like this” and then he turned, and spoke softly, “I just hope the Wizard doesn't turn out to be the Terminator!”

On Ruvario, the SGC personnel were treated superbly, though Jack kept waiting for the shoe to drop.  A feast had been prepared, speeches given, promises of a hopeful future between Ruvario and Earth exchanged.  The people were pleasant, intelligent, and caring from what Jack could tell, both from SG-1's prior visits and all the mission reports he'd read over the last few months.  Two hours into the celebration, he began to think they just might survive without a disaster.

“This is Ardelina, our keeper of the sacred juices.  She prepares this especially for times of unification and sharing.  It is a rare joy to be able to partake of the Rhlblem,” the leader of Ruvario had announced when a beautiful red-headed female appeared, followed by several helpers carrying jugs of the beverage.

“Rhlblem?” Jack repeated.

“The sacred juices have been passed down for millennia.  Please, enjoy!”

“I don't like this,” Jack whispered to Daniel, fearing the sacred juice to be something more than simple juice.

“It would be rude not to drink, Jack.”

Jack knew his concern would be a lost cause, so he went with the flow, “Whatever ... drink up!”

An hour later, Jack was relieved everything still seemed normal.  The celebration had ended, and farewells were being said.  As a sign of their alliance, the Ruvario leader gave the Tau'ri several jugs of the sacred juice to take back to Earth, after learning that this was a special time of year for humans.  

Daniel couldn't help but chuckle as Teal'c, of all people, explained the Tau'ri tradition of Santa Claus, eggnog, and presents.   There were only a few thoughts Daniel had felt he should correct as Teal'c taught the Ruvario leader and others gathered around about the meaning of Christmas and various holiday rituals.

As the Stargate engaged, Jack was happy that his intuition had for once been wrong!

====

The SGC Christmas party was in full force in the Commissary.  Jack had put Teal'c in charge of the Rhlblem, making sure it was evenly disbursed.  Everyone loved it, the juice proving to be a popular choice.

“See, Jack, you were wrong.  Nothing happened.  We went to Ruvario, and here we are, back having a good time at the party.”

“Yep, I'm man enough to admit my failure.  We were wrong.”

“Failure,” Daniel chuckled.

Jack raised his eyebrows in a lock of mock-insult, and then reached for another glass of Rhlblem.

====

General Hammond walked towards his office, Sergeant Davis at his side.  Davis had accompanied the General to the off-base meeting.  Both silently were surprised at the lack of personnel they'd seen as they walked from the Main Gate towards Hammond's office.

“I guess the party must be a smashing success,” Hammond said, “Let's take a quick look,” so the two diverted their path for the Commissary.

“What the ...” the General spoke as they reviewed the large room.

“There's no one here, Sir,” Davis spoke.

“I can see that.  Where the devil is everyone?” the General spoke harshly, as he made a hasty retreat towards his office.

The noise volume increased the closer they got to Hammond's office, which was above the Control Room, just off the Briefing Room.

Hammond made his way to the Control Room, and looked into the Gate Room, which was jammed with SGC personnel, apparently having the time of their lives!

“I don't believe it, Sir.  Look at the Stargate!”

The Christmas Tree had been placed right at the center of the huge circle.  Tinsel, holly berries, and mistletoe adorned the circular object, each chevron also draped with garland.

Hammond hurriedly made his way to the Gate Room, “COLONEL O'NEILL, WHAT THE BLAZES IS GOING ON IN HERE?”

“George!  Good to see you,” Jack swaggered over.  “We're having a party,” Jack said, raising his glass and waving his hand towards the party personnel.

“I can see that, Colonel.  What I want to know is ...”

“Excuse me, Sir, Colonel, but I just have to do this,” Sam giggled.

“MAJOR CARTER?  WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU WEARING?”

“First things first, General Hamat, um I mean Hammock.  No, that's not right,” Sam thought and then gave up, “First things first, Sir.”

Sam laid a big kiss on Jack, totally surprising him.  She seemed to take it all in, considering the kiss.

Then, she moved to the sergeant and kissed him in the same exact way, and again, she had that same thoughtful expression.

And then, surprising everyone, including the General, she kissed him, leaving him flabbergasted and temporarily speechless.

“Way to go, George,“ Jack whispered.  

“Now where's that little cutie pie?  OH, there he is,” she smiled, walking over to Daniel and kissing him with the same gusto as she had the other two.

“MAJOR CARTER, ATTENTION!”

Sam snapped to, as best she could, but she found she couldn't stand straight very well.

“Sir, I think maybe you'd better let her ...”

“At ease, Major.  Just what in the name of Texas did you think you were doing?”

“Research, Sir.”

“Explain.”

“Just seeing which rank kisses the best, Sir.  We women don't want to get saddled with guys who don't know their upper lip from their tongues ... Sir!”

The Major General stood, totally stunned.  Before he could figure out what to do, he heard Lou Ferretti and Megan Williams screaming, not in horror, but apparently, they had strung up ropes to the ceiling, and Lou was being Tarzan, and Megan his Jane.  Lou gave the Tarzan yell, as he swung across the room.  The General and others ducked out of the way  just in time to avoid being hit by the swinging Ferretti.

Megan was dressed like Sam ... wearing a boustier without any other top.  As he looked around, he saw a few other women wearing the fancy bras themselves.  Hammond shook his head.

Jack had wandered off, and as Hammond searched for him, Daniel approached.

“Excusssse me, Gener'l Hammy, but I have a secret.  It's a bigggggg secret.  But you know what?” Daniel swayed as he spoke, snickering as he leaned in, “You aren't supposed to ask, and ...”

“DR. JACKSON!” the General barked, “You're drunk, as is everyone else in the room.

Daniel thought, and then nodded, “Yes, Sir.  Hammmmy, about that secret,” Daniel took another sip from the glass he was holding, and placed one arm around Hammond's back, “I want you to know.  I feel soooo guilty.  You should have ...”

“Dr. Jackson, I order you to be quiet,” and just then, the SGC Head of Medicine, Janet Fraiser, entered the Gate Room, much to Hammond's relief.

“Dr. Fraiser, a word please,” Hammond took Janet to the side.

Janet had been attending to patients at the hospital and had only just arrived.  Her look of shock at what she was seeing confirmed for Hammond that she was fine.

“There has to be something we can do.”

“Short of tranquilizing them, Sir, there probably isn't until whatever it is has worn off.  What are they drinking?”

“I don't know.”

“I'll get it analyzed, and ...”

“Janet, oh Janet, my friend,” Daniel hiccuped as he put his arms around her.  “You're such a good friend, Janet.  You know the secret.  Hammy, I want to tell ...”

“Daniel,” Janet tugged on his arm, “Why don't you help me with something?”

“Sure, JaNET, right after I tell Hammy the biggggg secRET.”

“Get him out of here, Doctor Frazier, and do it now.  Lock him up, or do whatever you have to, but do NOT let him associate with anyone else on the base until he has regained his common sense.“

“Yes, Sir.”

“We don't need rumors going around here, Doctor, especially ones thought up through some alien happy juice.  Understood?”

Janet nodded and dragged Daniel to the infirmary.

“What do you want me to DO?” Daniel swaggered around the infirmary with a big grin on his face.

At the moment, two nurses walked in, and Daniel approached them, smiling, “Wanna know my secret?  If I tell, it won't be a secret and then weeeeeeee...”

“Sorry, Dr. Jackson, it was for your own good,” Janet said, removing the needle from his arm.

“Help me, Ladies,” Janet requested of her nurses, as they carried Daniel to the bed “reserved” for him.

====

“That's the last one, Sir.”

“Explain this to me again, Doc,” Jack asked wearily.

“The sacred juice of Ruvario isn't an alcohol exactly, but it contained a chemical that when combined with our particular mixture of oxygen resulted in a imbalance of sorts.  It's not that everyone was drunk, but actually, more light-headed.  It was enough to impair judgment and to give the appearance of drunkenness.  Everyone has had the shot and seems to be back to themselves, except for Sleeping Beauty over there,“ Janet chuckled, looking at Daniel who was sound asleep with a sappy smile on his face.

“What happened to Daniel?”

“I had to put him out, Sir.  He was ... very talkative, much too talkative.”

Jack got the hidden message, “Thanks, Doc.  Can we all go home?”

“Yes, but I'm not clearing anyone affected to drive.  You can have family members or unaffected personal drive you.”

“What about Daniel?”

“I'll give him the shot now.  He might take longer to recover from the affects because of the tranquilizer.”

====

“Oh, gawd, I think I'm going to die, or maybe I'm already dead,” Daniel said as he collapsed prone on the sofa, his hands covering his eyes.  

Jack said hello to the beagles, but kept them outside, and then took a seat in his favorite chair.

“It was ... interesting, that's for sure.  Never thought I'd see the day Carter would kiss Hammond,” Jack laughed.

“Oh gawd, she kissed me.”

“She kissed me, too ... and Davis and Siler, Ferretti ... I think she kissed most of the guys there.”

“Teal'c?“

“Oh yeah!  The big guy really got into it, too!  Planted one on her that actually made her fall to the floor.  Of course, maybe that was the happy juice, but with Teal'c, you just never know.“

“Sam's gonna die when she remembers.”

“Yeah!” Jack smirked.

Daniel looked at him briefly, “No, Jack, you are not going to flaunt this in her face for the next decade.  Oh, my head.”

“Does it hurt, Angel?  Anything I can do?”

“I feel like I was hit by a truck.”

Jack walked over to the sofa, “Move, Danny,”

Jack sat down and Daniel rested his head on Jack's lap.  Jack gently massaged his lover's temple, as Daniel sighed with his eyes closed.

“Is that better?”

“Hmmm ... much.  Thank you, Babe.”

“My pleasure.”

A few minutes later, Jack was still gently caressing Daniel's forehead and temple.  He knew it felt pleasing because Daniel would let out contented sighs every now and then.

Suddenly, Daniel yelled, “OH GAWD, I DIDN'T!  Oh, Jack,” Daniel sat up quickly, so quickly that he thought he might throw up.

“Whoa, Danny, take it easy.  Everything's okay.  Think calm thoughts.  The wedding.  Bijou.  The fire.   I love you.”

Daniel regained his control, of both his mind and body, and leaned into Jack's arms.

“I called the General ... Hammy,” Daniel sighed in discontent, and I ... oh gawd, tell me I didn't tell him about us, Jack.  I mean I know he knows, but please tell me I didn't ...“

“You didn't!”

“Oh thank goodness.  Jack, you aren't just saying that because I told you to?”

“No, that's why Janet put you to sleep.  You were about to tell the whole world, so she knocked you out.”

“Flowers!  Roses.”

“At least a dozen, maybe two,” Jack said with a chuckle.

“Red ones.  Gawd, she saved us.”

Jack placed a kiss on Daniel's head, “Would it have been so bad, Danny, if you had told them?”

Daniel looked up and smiled, “No, just would have interfered with our schedule, that's all.”

The two kissed briefly, Daniel not up to anything more passionate just yet.  He settled again against Jack's comforting shoulder.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Love?”

“When we tell, it has to be together.  Maybe we can just say it at the same time.”

“I have an easier solution.”

“What's that?”

“We'll just do this,” Jack kissed Daniel, this one longer and more engaging than the last.

“That'll do it,” Daniel smiled, “I love you, Jack.”

“Love you, too, Space Monkey.”

Daniel groaned, and Jack chuckled.

As night fell on the ninth day of Christmas, Jack and Daniel cuddled together, each silently envisioning the time when they will no longer have to hide in plain sight, about the time when the Jackson-O'Neills will be able to shout their love to the world.

~~On to Day Ten and the Tenth Day of Christmas~~

Day Ten


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, H/C of the mental kind, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 23, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  32kb, short story
Written:  December 3,5-6,8,22, 2003
Summary:  It's the tenth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, time to honor the past!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Suzanna, Charlotte!


........ “On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“I don't want to get out of bed.  I'm sick.  Tell Hammond I died or something,” Jack said, pulling the covers over his head as he rested on his left side.

“Jack,” Daniel sat on the bed next to his love, “You're not sick, so ... tell me what's wrong.”

Daniel ran his hand up and down Jack's right arm.

“Tell me, Jack,” Daniel repeated.

“I have a case of ... of ...”

“Of what?”

“The Daniels.”

“Huh?”

“Geez, I feel like you used to be.”

Daniel was still lost.  

“Jack, as you so often have said to me, speak English.”

Jack turned over on his back, and with his hands, turned down the comforter to his waist.  It was a big motion, one supposed to indicate frustration, but all it did for Daniel was excite him.  Nothing in the world was sexier to him than Jack's chest hairs.  He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sexy chest just now flaunted at him and focus on the problem.

“I had a nightmare, a dumb, stupid nightmare that I can't get out of my head, and I don't want to think about that nightmare, Danny, not now ... especially not now,” Jack said, letting his vulnerability show through.

“Charlie?”

“Yeah.  It's so crazy.   We've talked about him so much.  I'm fine with it.  I mean ... oh, you know what I mean.  It's ...” Jack turned his head towards the other side of the room.

Daniel's hand caressed Jack's chest, “Jack, being able to talk about it, remember and ... laugh at the good things, or share the memories ... being able to move forward, doesn't mean that sometimes we can't feel the pain, too.  We both know how hard it is to let go of hurt like that, but I think we have.  It doesn't rule us anymore, Love, but we'd be liars if we said that sometimes, we still want to cry.  We'd be bad liars, Jack.“

As he had spoken, Daniel's voice had gone from a firm, reassuring one to that of a tender and sentimental one, almost mournful ... even regretful.

“Ah, Danny,” Jack sat up, and kissed the man who was heart and dried the one tear that had escaped from his left eye.

“I'm selfish to be wallowing like this.”

“No, that's what I'm saying, Jack.  We're so happy, and ... we've come so far, but maybe we're afraid if we take a minute to say that yes, it still hurts a little, too, that we're ... I don't know, slapping our happiness in the face.  Does that make sense?”

Jack caressed Daniel's cheek some more and smiled, “Perfect sense.  We're afraid to let even a minute of sadness through the door because we're afraid the OTHER one of us will think something's horribly wrong, that we're not happy, when we are.”

“Yeah, something like that,” Daniel cracked a small, knowing smile.

“We're idiots, Daniel.  You realize that?”

Daniel answered softly, “I do now.”

Jack's internal Daniel alarm chimed, “Danny, have you thought about your parents?  Geez, I know that's a dumb question.”

“No, it's not, because what you're really asking is ... has it hurt.”

Jack nodded, “Yes, so, like with me today, has it ... for you?”

Daniel stood up from the bed and, self-hugging, walked towards the door and then turned around.  He wanted to crawl into a corner, but then Jack smiled, a patient, loving, non-judgmental smile, and Daniel knew he was being silly for worrying so much.

He inhaled deeply for a moment, holding the breath, and then released it.  He returned to the bed, sat back down, and took Jack's hand.

“Gawd, I feel so guilty.”

“Don't, Love.  Just tell me.”

“I didn't lie, Jack.  I just ... left it out,” Daniel admitted.

Jack put his other hand over Daniel's and brought it up to his mouth and kissed it.

“It's okay, Danny.  Whatever it is, it's okay.”

“That Saturday, when I had to work?”

“Last week.  The report for Hammond,” Jack confirmed and Daniel nodded.

“I'm not sure why, except one of the figures in the translation reminded me of a painting in the Museum ... in New York.  I've seen it so often, and once that image was in my head, I couldn't get rid of it.  It ... distracted me, and I started thinking about the cover stone, and how my parents died, and how much I missed them growing up and ... and how much I wish they were here now, to meet you, know how much I love you.”

Daniel paused, a few more tears running down his face which Jack tenderly dried with his hands.

“It just hurt.  It hadn't hurt like that in a long time, but it did that Saturday.  I couldn't work.  I just kept seeing the stone falling, and the blood, and then I'd cry because they weren't here to see how you've changed my life, given me life.  So, instead of finishing by noon or something ...”

Jack smiled, and brought Daniel close to him, his chin nestling into his lover's neck.

“I understand.  It's okay.  I'm not mad, Love.  You didn't lie to me.”

“We're both rationalizing.”

“Sometimes that's okay,” Jack insisted as he pulled back and looked Daniel in the eyes.

“I didn't want you to think ... I mean ...”

“I know, Love.  I need to do something, Danny.  Will you come with me ... right now?”

For a split second, Daniel remembered another report due today, but for one of the rare times in his life, Daniel put his own needs first, and today, he knew he and Jack needed some time to remember their past together.

“Yes.”

Jack reached for the phone and called in “sick.” “Sick of hiding,” he explained to Daniel after hanging up.   Daniel then placed his “sick” call.  “Sick of archaic laws that prevent people from openly showing how much we love each other,” he stated to Jack after he had hung up the phone.

====

“Hey, Sport,” Jack knelt down at the headstone of Charlie's grave, speaking almost inaudibly.

Daniel stood back, giving Jack time with his son.  Jack rarely went to the gravesite, his rationale being, “He's in here, in my heart, not in some piece of ground” and Daniel couldn't argue with that, so he had never tried.

But on this day, Jack needed to be near the physical remains of his son's flesh and blood.  

Daniel thought it would be a day of mourning, and more tears, but then, Jack was always full of surprises.

“Sport, I know you know.  You have to, but your old Dad has gone and fallen in love with the greatest guy on the face on the Earth.”

Daniel's mouth fell open, totally shocked at what Jack was saying.

“Yes, I said, guy.  He's really bulked up over the years, too.  Mr. Muscles, My Danny is now,” Jack spoke with pride.  

“I hope you don't mind that, Charlie.  Your mom.  She's the greatest, and I loved her.  I still love her, Son.  She's happy now, too.  I'm sure you know that.”

Jack adjusted a few flowers on the grave.  He knew Sara must have been there recently.

“She's probably told you about her life, and made excuses about why I've stayed away.  I'm ... I've never been good with words, Sport, but Danny, sometimes he turns me into a poet.  He's a good man, Charlie, a kind man, full of love, and for some crazy reason, he's giving all that love to me.

“You'd love him, Charlie.  God knows I love him.  Strange as it may seem, he's my life.  I wish you could know him.  I wish ...,” Jack struggled not to tear up at that point, “... you could see how happy he makes me.  I wish I knew you approved, that you'd understand that love is everywhere.

“It took me a long time, Son, to figure out that there are no rules for loving someone.  When you died, and your mom and I realized we couldn't make it work together anymore, I thought I'd die.  I was going to ... and then I met Danny.

“I thought love had to be a certain way, a man and a woman joining together.  Then I realized I had fallen in love with him.  He was my best friend, and he turned my whole life upside down,” Jack's hand now ran up and down the corner of the stone as he talked, “It scared me at first, Charlie, but in the end, I learned that love is beautiful and wherever we find it, we need to embrace it, so I did, and miracle of miracles, My Love fell in love with me, too.

“We got married, Charlie.  It was a perfect day, in the mountains overlooking the waters.  There was a sunset there, Sport, that made me feel so alive because it reminded me how precious life is.  The only thing missing from our special day was you not being there,“ Jack smiled at the gray stone, focusing on the photo that was in the center of it.  

He took a breath and continued to speak, “It's been a whole month now, and I've never been happier.  Gawd, Charlie, do you ... can you understand that?”

Daniel was having a hard time maintaining both his distance and his composure.  Jack's words were bearing into his heart and soul.  He had a lump in his throat that he was sure was the size of a mountain.  Tears were welling up, and he struggled to keep them back.

“Sport, Danny and I ... it's not going to be easy, but we want to adopt some kids.  Yeah, I know, you probably never thought I'd say that, but he's going to be the best father.  We have so much love to give, so friggin' much, and we want to share it.  I pray that you understand that, too, because I'll never forget you, Charlie.  I love you, and ... and I know Danny loves you, too.”

“Charlie, you always wanted a little brother or sister, and now, well, I'm sure Mom has told you she's bringing another precious life into this world, and now, so will Danny and I.  You'll probably end up with a whole bunch of little siblings, and Son, they'll all know about their big brother.  I promise you that.  They'll know about you, Charlie ... how much ... how very much we ... we love you, and miss you ...“

Jack began to cry, and Daniel went to him, kneeling down, putting his arms around him.  Jack looked at him and smiled, and then back at the stone.

“This is ... Danny.  He's my heart.  So are you, Charlie.  I wish ... I just wish ...”

Jack needed a bit of a reprieve, so Daniel gave him one.

“Hi, Charlie.  I'm ...” Daniel looked at Jack, and suddenly he felt like he could be just as free with Charlie as he was with Charlie's dad, so for the first time since he was a little boy, Daniel introduced himself with a complete lack of inhibition, saying “I'm Danny.”

Jack looked at his love, recognizing and appreciating what Daniel had just done, something Daniel would probably never again do in his lifetime.  Jack smiled a soft, tender “thank you” that was spoken, not in words, but heart to heart.  Then, he listened as Daniel continued to speak.

“I just want you to know that I love your dad with all my heart, and I promise, I'll do my best to keep him happy for the rest of our lives.  And, like your dad said, our children will know all there is to know about their older brother.  It's a promise from me, too.”

Daniel rubbed Jack's back, his head leaning against Jack's shoulder, and then Jack regained his composure, “See, Son, I can cry now, and admit that the pain makes for a helluva nightmare sometimes.  I let the pain from losing you destroy me ... until I let Danny's love heal me.  I've learned so much from him.”

“It works both ways,” Daniel said softly.

“Charlie, it's Christmas, and Danny and I have had a wonderful season.  Perfect tree.  The house is all decorated.  We even have little costumes for the girls.  Oh, the girls are our beagles, Bijou and Katie.  They're such a crazy pair; they keep us hopping.  You'd love them, too.”

Jack looked at Daniel, “Gawd, I love you,” he spoke softly.

It took him a moment, but after a sniffle and swallow, Jack looked back at the headstone and spoke again, “We're gonna go, Sport.  I just wanted you to meet Danny officially.  I wish I knew you were okay with it, but, Son, I never lied to you, and I don't lie to Danny either, and I have to tell you, that it's okay if you're angry with me for what happened between your mom and I.  It was my fault.

“And it's okay if you don't understand about me falling in love with a man.  You weren't here long enough to learn all the facets to love.  It can get so dang complicated sometimes.  But just so you know, I do hope you approve, that if you could, somehow you'd give us your blessing.  But even if you don't, I'll never leave Danny.  We're forever and always, and I need you to know that.  I'll love you until the end of time and beyond, Charlie, but Danny's my life now.  Okay?  That's the straight scoop, father to son.”

Jack stood, so Daniel did, too.

“I love you, Son.  I'll try not to stay away for so long.”

Jack turned and headed back for the truck.  After watching Jack walk for a few seconds, Daniel looked down at the grave, “He said that for my benefit.  He loves me, and it's mutual, big time mutual.  I can't imagine my life without him.”

Daniel sighed, all kinds of emotions flowing through him, but he had something else he had to say, something he had to reassure Charlie of.

“But I'm not so sure that if he had to make a choice, he'd choose me.  You're not here, in the flesh, so it's easier to not think about that, so don't be upset with him for what he said.  I don't really think it's true, except ... I think I make him happy, and ... I think if he did have to choose, he'd be miserable, no matter what choice he might make.  Don't make him choose, Charlie.  He loves us both so much.

“And, one more thing, I know you've been watching over him.  I want you to know that I'll do my best to look out for your dad, to take care of him as I know you wish you could do in person.  He's my life, Charlie.  He's given me so much.  Gawd, he's spun my world around until I'm dizzy, but all in such a good way.  He showed me how to live, Charlie.  I will love him, forever and always.  Goodbye.”

When Daniel reached the truck, Jack was standing in front of it waiting.

“What were you talking about?”

“How much you love us ... both of us.”

Jack nodded, adding, “And that is the truth.“

"I know."

Both stood with their hands in their pockets, the air nippy and crisp.  Jack leaned against the front of the truck and looked off to his left.

"It's just so hard.  Danny,  after our wedding ceremony, you felt it, didn't you?“

“That there was something ... greater than us, than the day, and the sunset that we watched?  Yes, I felt it.”

“It used to seem simple, but now ... Sometimes, I think Charlie is with me, watching over me, but then when I look up, all I can see is him in that grave, cold and alone, wondering where Mommy and Daddy are.”

“He's not alone, Jack.  I don't believe that.”

“But we don't know, do we?  Maybe he thinks we've deserted him, or maybe that's all there is for him, the cold and the dark.  How do I know that he's okay?”

“You have to listen to your heart, feel him inside of you.  Isn't that what you told me about my parents?”

“Figures.  Throw my own words in my face,” Jack winced, a small smile showing.

“Jack, I'm not sure what I believe exactly, but we both know there's something, if from nothing else, than from what we shared during our wedding.”

Jack shrugged, shaking his head, fighting off more tears, his voice cracked as he spoke next.

“Years ago, I knew what I thought, and then I lost a lot of my beliefs the minute I heard the gun go off.  Where was God then?  Why didn't he stop him from pulling the trigger?  Charlie was a good boy, a sweet child and he'd only just begun to live.  I don't understand why God would allow that to happen.  Why didn't He protect him?"

Daniel saw the confusion in his love's watery eyes, and he desperately wished he could answer the questions as easily as he had those on an exam.

"There's a lot that we'll never understand, about life and death.  I don't have cast iron answers to any of it, but I believe you, Jack, what you said to me years ago about my parents, that they live, in here, in my heart, and maybe,“ Daniel looked around, his eyes gazing upward, ”out there somewhere.“

Daniel smiled as he exhaled a breath, “I don't believe for one second that Charlie is in that grave.  I don't, Jack.  You've always said his spirit was out here, filling up the world with his essence, and that's true.  To believe anything to the contrary would mean that life itself was ... well, nonsense.  I mean, what would be the point?”

“But why, Danny?  Why take the children?”

“Jack, in my work, I've come across a lot of different beliefs, and yet,  for all their differences, they all lead to virtually the same thing, the continuation of the soul after death.  So many cultures believe that when a child dies and goes to Heaven or whatever name they give to it, that the child keeps on growing, as if still living.  The child grows in both body and spirit and gains the understanding that comes with it.”

Daniel paused, his right hand reaching out to caress Jack's, making sure his husband was still with him.

“Jack, I'm not lecturing, am I?”

“No, go on.”

“Other societies believe that whenever time ends, and life moves forward to another plane, that those taken early will get to live their lives out during the transition.  I know ... it sounds complicated, but really, in the end, all these variations still say the same thing ... that the spirit is separate from the body, and life goes on, in some way, for that spirit when the physical body ceases to function.

“I don't know about God.  I want to believe.  Sometimes, I think I believe so strongly.  I ... I pray in my own way to whatever that force is that we felt on the day we got married because I do believe it's there.

“I also know that we aren't meant to have all the answers, as much as we want them because that is what life is ... a trek for the answers.  If we knew everything, if there were no questions, I'm not sure what it would be, but it wouldn't be life as we know it.  Our journey wouldn't be much of a quest if we always knew where to go or what to do.  I guess ... I guess that's what faith is all about, trusting that what we have here means something more than we can see.”

“Not knowing, Danny, I just ...,” Jack looked away for a second, and then back at Daniel, “It almost killed me.  It destroyed my soul, not knowing, wondering why.  You saw what I was like.”

“My Love, you can never lose faith.  Call it a faith in God, or Mohammad or the sunset, but you have to have it, Jack.  Both of us have to believe that our world goes on.  I wish I knew how, too.  I'm a scientist, for crying out loud.  I wish I could I stand here and say my parents were standing right there, or to another extreme, that somehow, their deaths had to be in order for the cosmos to be safe.   Gawd, I don't know.

“Jack, that force, if you think about it, aren't we lucky?  Do I really have nine lives?  Think about what we've lived through.  We sound like a ... a ...”

“Sci-fi movie,” Jack laughed.

“Yes, one of those bad sci-fi B-movies that everyone laughs at because it's so ridiculous.  Jack, are we really that good, or is there something, someone out there that helps us make the world a better place?  I don't know for sure, but I guess I'm leaning that way.

“I can't believe my parents were crushed to a pulp and have spent the last few decades in a piece of earth, and that's all there is for them.  And I don't believe that your precious son is there either.  It's nice for us, the survivors, to have a place to go, to remember, to pay our respects.  It's ... comforting to have a place that can symbolize the love in our hearts, where we can laugh and cry as we say hello and then goodbye again.

“But, I guess what I'm saying is that we have to believe that everything happens for a reason, that the innocent do get their day, and who knows, Jack, maybe where they are now is a more wonderful place than we can imagine!”

“It's just thinking about him being alone.  I think that bothers me more than anything else.  Children shouldn't be alone.”

“He's not alone, Babe.  The minute he pulled that trigger, there were arms around him, holding him tight.  He was just a child, an innocent, and that would be the most precious thing to those that have gone before.  Jack,” Daniel cupped Jack's face, his thumbs gently sweeping across the cool skin, “what is in that piece of ground is just the remnants of the physical body.  We need that connection, to know it's there, and to be able to visit.  It's for the survivors.  But Charlie, his essence, his soul ... Jack, your son is in a place surrounded by love, with others to help him and care for him until the day when his parents can be with him again."

Jack nodded, and realized both he and his husband were on the edge of crying like babies.  He didn't want to cry.  He'd done that, and so had Daniel.  They'd moved on so far from the pain.  Both wanted their loved ones to be at peace, and Jack knew, for that to happen, the two of them had to be, too.

“Geez, it's Christmas.  Why are we standing at a cemetery anyway?“

“Because Christmas is a time of renewal, of honoring life, of paying homage to whatever that greater power is, and because your son has a father who loves him very much.  And, on days like today, sometimes fathers need to be with their sons.   Love is good, Jack.“

“He'd love you, Danny.  I know he would, and if he were here, you'd be his father, too.”

Daniel was taken aback by that statement, “Jack, if Charlie were alive, you'd be living happily with Sara.”

“Would I?  I'm not so sure, Angel.  I think somehow we would have found each other.  Don't ask me how, Danny, but you are too much a part of me to be able to think that Charlie had to die for us to be together.  I don't believe that, Daniel.“

“I don't know what to say to that,” Daniel desperately tried to say without succumbing to more tears.

“You don't have to say anything,” Jack exhaled a big breath, “I guess that, in the end, it is faith that is the most important, believing in whatever waits beyond when we get through here, and there is something, because we go forever.  I've never believed anything more in my life, than I do in you and I and our eternity.  My faith is right here, Danny.  You're my faith.“

“Charlie has the best father, Jack.  I know he's proud of you.“

“I don't know about proud, but, he's a lucky kid.“

“Yes, lucky to have had you.“

Jack shook his head just slightly, taking Daniel in his arms, “Lucky that he has a mom who adores him to the ends of time, and lucky that he has two fathers who love him.“

Daniel's heart stopped.  In fact, he was so stunned that he almost fell to the ground, Jack's strong arms keeping him upright.  He was speechless, and positive he had just read something into Jack's words that weren't there.

“Danny, My Love, you do love him?“

“Ye...yes, of course I do, bbbb...bbb....but ...“

“No buts, Love.  If he were here now, you would be just as much his father as I am.  We'd be ... doing those joint custody weekends.  He'd be yours, too.“

“Jack ...“ Daniel was shaking, so Jack held him close.

“Two fathers, Danny, three if you count Mark, but he'd have both of us, always.  I love you so much, so much that I ..."

"That you'd share your son with me?“

“Our son.  He's ours,” Jack whispered firmly into his husband's ear as he held him tight.

“I love you, Jack."

The words didn't seem enough, but Daniel had no words to speak his heart.  Jack had just given him a piece of himself that Daniel didn't know was possible to give, and as a result, the younger man's own heart was barely beating.

“Let's go home,” Jack smiled.

====

As they drove in the truck, Daniel looked out the window, lost in thought.

“I wish your folks were buried here,” Jack said, luring his lover out of his silence.

Daniel agreed, and yet, it made him feel awkward.  Where would he bury them?  He didn't want his life with Jack to revolve around cemeteries.  Besides, he wasn't sure he had a right to move his parents to fulfill his own needs, so he decided against thinking about it any more than he had already that day.

“I do, too, but they're someplace they love.  Yet, in a funny kind of way, it would be nice to have some place to go.”

“Yeah.”

“But still, you're right with what you've always said, they're in our hearts, always with us.”

Jack reached out and squeezed Daniel's hand briefly.

====

“Hey Sara, how's the pregnancy? ... Good ... Listen, I'd like to talk with you about something, but not over the phone.   Do you think Mark would mind if I dropped by for a few minutes?  ... Yeah, that would be great.  I have some errands to run, so I can ... <laughter> He's great. ... Okay, see you soon.  Thanks.”

Jack walked out of the study, “Danny, I'm going to take care of those errands now.  I'll probably be a few hours.  How about when I get back we go for a walk?”

“Sure.  I think I'll get some work done while you're gone.  Jack, are you okay?”

“Perfectly.  You wiped away all my blues.  Visiting Charlie was the perfect thing to do.  Thank you for coming with me, for trusting me.”

“I always trust you, Jack.”

“Love you.”

The two kissed their good-byes, and then went on with their business.

====

Later that night, Jack and Daniel went for a short walk.  It had started to snow, so they didn't go as far as they would have normally.

“This is a good place to live,” Jack said, taking in the neighborhood as small flakes fell on him.

“I like it,” Daniel said, “Different though from Egypt.”

“Colder anyway,” Jack laughed.

“Jack, where'd you go today?”

Jack glanced at Daniel, “Didn't fool you for a minute, did I?”

“No, you had something you needed to do without me, and I knew that whatever it was, well ... you had to do it alone, I guess.”

“I went to see Sara.  For one thing, I wanted to tell her that we went to see Charlie.  I thought she'd want to know.”

“She used to give you a hard time about that, didn't she?”

“She was right on that one.  I was avoiding it because of my own problems.  I wasn't thinking about Charlie, I was focused on myself.  I just wanted her to know.”

The two walked quietly for a few minutes, “And yes, there's something else, but I need to keep that a secret for a little while.”

“What are you up to, Jack?”

“Now, 'up' is a very interesting word.”

“You're trying to distract me.”

“All I said is that 'up' was an interesting word.  You're the one who is assuming.”

“I didn't assume anything.  I was following the conversation,” Daniel insisted.

“Up is still a very interesting word, and in fact,” Jack scooped Daniel into him for a long kiss, “I'd like to show you just how 'up' I can be.”

“Jaaaaack!” Daniel pushed him away, “Geez, we're outside, in front of ... gawd, I don't even know who lives here.  Stop it,” Daniel laughed, walking away quickly.

“You can't run from me,” Jack teased.

“Oh, yes I can,” and to prove it, Daniel ran the rest of the way home, with Jack close on his tail, catching him by the front door.

“Caught you!”

Both were out of breath, air coming from their mouths due to the chilling air.  “That's because you have the keys.”

“Smarty pants.”

Jack kissed Daniel again on their front porch, and as he did, managed to reach in his pocket for the key and unlock the door, both of them nearly falling into the entrance way as the door opened.

As the tenth day of Christmas ended, Jack and Daniel made love, and then shared more stories from their holidays past with Charlie and Daniel's parents, and then they made love again, happy to have spent some of their first official holiday season with their precious family members who were no longer with them.

~~On to Day Eleven and the Eleventh Day of Christmas~~

Day Eleven


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 24, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  14kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3,5,23, 2003
Summary:  It's the eleventh day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, presents that matter!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Charlotte!


........ “On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Danny, I love you so much,” Jack cooed, kissing his lover's sweaty head after a dynamic round of lovemaking, their third of the day.

It was Christmas Eve, and again, by mutual agreement, they had turned off the phones and buried the pagers, and had, in fact, spent most of the day in bed, loving and being loved.

“This feels so good,” Daniel crooned, happy and warm against his hairy Jack pillow.

“I hate to say this, but we really should get up for a while.”

“Why?”

“The girls, silly.  We promised them a walk, and you know they'll be angry with us if we forget.”

“They will, too,” Daniel laughed, reluctantly moving off his lover and towards the bathroom.

A while later, the two put on their sweats, along with their jackets and wool scarves and took the dogs for a quick walk, enjoying the brightly lit homes in the neighborhood.

Once back at home, they poured some cider to drink as they warmed themselves by the fire, cuddling together.  Bijou and Katie were lying against them, rolling over, begging for attention which they received.

It was a playful hour, Jack and Daniel enjoying their home with their precious beagles.  After they had finished their cider, they romped on the large pillows they had left there to rest against.  Both dogs had tug toys in the house, and they all took turns being the winner.  They even sang “Frosty the Snowman” together when it came on the CD, Bijou and Katie both howling as Jack and Daniel sang jovially.

Eventually, the dogs wanted to go out, so the couple got up.  Jack let the girls out and when he turned around, Daniel was stretching, his hands held taut over his head, his torso leaning to the right and then moving to the left.  Then, Daniel bent down, his fingers trying to touch the ground.

“Round four coming up,” Jack said, not realizing he had said it verbally.

Daniel turned and blushed, “Jaaack!”

“Geez, Danny, you should be outlawed.  You keep doing that and you won't get your Christmas Eve presents until tomorrow!”

Daniel laughed as he did a final stretching move and then walked to the tree, and looked it up and down, “It really is a good tree.”

“Just needed love, that's all, just like you said,” Jack replied softly.  “Want some more cider?” Jack asked after a few moments.

“That would be nice.  Thanks.”

Jack got the cider and rearranged the pillows closer to the Christmas tree.  By then, Bijou and Katie were ready to come back inside, and within minutes, all were again comfortable by the tree.

Jack and Daniel kissed softly.

“Merry Christmas, Jack.”

“And to you, My Angel,” Jack said as they kissed again.

They reached under the tree for their presents, the ones they would open tonight.  Jack and Daniel had decided that they would always leave a couple for Christmas morning, too, so each had set some aside for the next day.

They began with the gifts received from friends and co-workers, a variety of shirts, ties, books, CDs, DVDs, gag gifts and more.

Then they pulled out another group of gifts, the ones for the girls.

“This should be fun,” Jack said.

“Katie, come here.  Present time.”

“Bij, here girl,” Daniel called.

Both came running eagerly from their beanbags.

“Here, Bij, this is yours, from the grizzly bear over there, and me, too.”

“I am not a grizzly bear.”

“You're not?”

“Giant Black Bear,” Jack laughed, and Daniel did, too.

Bijou pawed at the snowman wrapping paper, tearing it and then used her nose to lift up the paper from the gift.

“Woof!!” she wagged her tail, taking the large bone proudly and running all over the living room with it.

“Woof Woof Woof!” Katie chased after her.

“Katie, get back here.  You have a present, too!”

Katie turned and ran back to Jack.

“You realize that you are a bit too tiny still for that big bone.  That one was for mom.  Now, you need some help?” Jack asked.

Katie looked at him, and then down at the package.  She used both paws to try and open it, and while it broke, she had a difficult time making a large enough tear.

“Woof” she said quietly.

“I'll help,” Jack said, making a bigger tear, “You want me to do it all, or ...”

Katie's nose dug into the tear, and then with her paws, she pulled out her own bone.  She licked Jack's hand for a second, and then took her bone, and ran around the room just as Bijou had done a few minutes before.

Both dogs held their presents in their mouths as they sat staring at each other by the fireplace.

“Danny, what do you think they are talking about over there?”

“No idea, but I'm sure they know!”

“You don't suppose they're arguing over which is ...”

“Jack, I think it's pretty obvious which bone is bigger!”

“Girls, there's more!” Jack showed off the packages.

Both dogs ran to the couple seated by the tree.  With adult help from time to time, Bijou and Katie opened the rest of their presents -- gourmet treats, new harnesses (Katie was outgrowing hers), sweaters, and an assortment of toys including new “artifacts” for Katie to bury in her play yard.

Jack and Daniel had laughed watching their girls open their gifts, their noses getting tape stuck on them, their paws pushing paper back, their teeth cutting through or pulling on ribbon that had adorned some of their gifts.  The entire time the beagle's tails had been wagging, and every now and then they had let out small growls or grunts from their efforts as they had attacked the wrapping that surrounded their treasures.  It had truly been like magic for the family.

“Time for the people gifts,” Jack said, shaking a box with his name on it.

“Here, you go first,” Jack handed Daniel one of the presents.

Daniel carefully opened the small package.  Inside were two envelopes, on each was written “Baby Jackson-O'Neill.”  Daniel looked at Jack quizzically, then gently opened the envelopes. Inside each were $1000 savings bonds.

“Jack?”

“It's nice to give things to our friends and each other, but we need to plan for the future.  No matter how much we think we have, you just never know when the economy will turn us upside down, so, I figured we should start a little account for our kids, add to it when we can ... make sure they have funds for college, something to start out on.  What do you think?”

“I think I love you.”

Daniel was staring at the bonds.  He raised his left hand to his eye and wiped away a tear.  Jack couldn't see it because of the angle.

“Danny, it's supposed to be a good thing.”

“It is.  It's the best thing.  It's real, isn't it, Jack?  I mean ... it's going to happen.”

“Oh, yeah, you'd better believe it, Angel.  Those kids, they're ours, just as soon as we get done doing what we have to do with the Stargate.”

Daniel leaned over, the bonds falling to his lap, his left hand possessively massaging Jack's right check, as he kissed his husband, their tongues going full strength against each other.

“Mmmm,” Daniel moaned, leaning his forehead against Jack's after the kiss, “Love you so much, Jack, so much.”

“Then, where's my present?”

Daniel chuckled, “Here,” and kissed his love again.

“Best present ever,” Jack sighed happily.

Daniel carefully put away the savings bonds, and Jack opened his first gift.

“Oh, Danny, Angel,” Jack smiled, “Geez, my loves, together,” Jack stared at the framed photo, “How'd you do this, Danny?”

“Computer.  I ... I hope you don't ...”

“Danny, gawd,” Jack leaned over and kissed him, “It's perfect.  How you always know to do this ... I just ... thank you, Love.  I wish I could carry it with me always.”

“There's an envelope.”

Jack looked at Daniel in surprise, and dug deeper in the box, and sure enough, there was an envelope with a small wallet sized copy of the photo.

“I figure even if someone sees it you can come up with something to explain it, like ... I don't know, but you're the Special Ops specialist, and I know you'll think of something!  Gawd, I can't believe I did this,” Daniel looked down, a shy smile on his face.

“I didn't even know Carter had those developed already.”

“I ... asked her to rush them.”

When Jack looked up with surprise again on his face, Daniel sighed, “You'd find a way to get them from her.  We both know that, so I just, decided to go with the flow.”

“My genius,” Jack spoke with love as he looked at the photo.

Daniel had done a manipulation of the photo Jack had come across of Charlie in the school play, the year he had been an elf, superimposing it with one of the photos Sam had taken the night they went to the Children's Shelter and Daniel had dressed up as Santa's number one elf.  The idea for Daniel to dress as an elf had been Jack's, after seeing the photo of Charlie.

So now, Jack had a photo of Daniel and Charlie, together, both in elf attire, Daniel looking surprised and wide-eyed as he looked over Charlie's shoulder.  It looked as natural as if the two objects of Jack's affection had actually been in the same room when the picture had been snapped.

Jack put the smaller one in his wallet, next to the velvet pouch that held his wedding ring.  Staring at the pouch and then the photo, he pulled out the ring.

“Danny?”

“Someone might come.”

“I don't care.  It's Christmas, Angel!”

Smiling in agreement, Daniel took the ring and placed it in on Jack's finger.  He kissed it, and then leaned in to kiss Jack, “Forever and Always, I love you.”

Daniel reached for his wallet, removing his wedding ring, and then Jack repeated their words of love, and after another kiss, they continued with their holiday gift giving to each other.

Jack got Daniel another blue shirt, a couple of books he'd been wanting, and a box of chocolates.

Daniel got Jack a book he'd been hinting for, a new emerald green robe, and a deluxe model plane to put together, something had become a bit of a tradition over the years since Daniel had purchased one of the kits years ago as a way to give Jack a weekend getaway trip to Utah.

Daniel opened the chocolates, and took one.  He leaned over to his love, and gently placed it between his lips.  Jack took a partial bite as Daniel leaned in to share the chocolate cream treat.

“Mmmm,” Daniel moaned as their tongues met, and they both nibbled on the treat, never parting.

Daniel's left hand was at the back of Jack's head, his thumb rubbing against the strands of silver-gray hair.  Jack's hands were wrapped around Daniel's waist, but then he brought his left hand to Daniel's face, caressing as they ate and kissed, their tongues continuing to swish around the melting chocolate.

They kept their mouths pressed together in a unity that didn't end until every last residue of the chocolate was gone.   Jack's thumb rubbed against Daniel's cheek as he leaned in again, noises of pleasure escaping from both their throats.  Their heads turned from side to side as their bodies continued to speak of their love.

Jack's hands moved down again to his lover's waist, tugging up Daniel's sweatshirt so that he could feel the smooth skin that sent shivers through him.  Slowly, Jack eased them down, a pillow perfectly in place to support his love.  They never missed a beat, their kisses growing stronger.

Daniel pulled up Jack's sweatshirt, and Jack parted their lips only briefly to let the apparel go over his head.  Daniel tossed it ... somewhere that wasn't on Jack, and then his hands reached Jack's lower back, moving constantly as their fire gained strength.

“Jack ... the girls.”

“Don't move ... and don't you dare argue.”

“Not going to argue, Jack.  Just ... hurry!”

Jack called Bijou and Katie to the door, “Sorry, Ladies, but this time, the people win.  Out!”

The girls ran quickly to the warmth of their doghouse.  Jack watched, making sure they were in the house safely, the door covering the opening to keep the warmth inside for the two dogs.  Satisfied, he returned to his husband.

“Are they okay?”

“Yep, snug as two bugs in a rug,” Jack said just before making contact with Daniel's lips again.

“You know why I love you, Jack?” Daniel asked suddenly.

Jack was a bit surprised and not sure how to answer.  Daniel smiled, his fingers walking through his lover's hair, “I love you for so many reasons, but not the least of which is that knowing how much we both want each other right this second, you made sure the girls were safe first.  I love you so much for that,” the last sentence coming out almost as a whisper, Daniel's voice lost with the emotion.

“They're our girls.  Have to keep them safe, but now, Dr. Jackson-O'Neill, the night is ours.

And as the eleventh day of Christmas ebbed, Jack and Daniel's fire raged more powerfully than the one in the fireplace, the unions of their bodies thrusting and erupting in a pleasure that took both to a blissful oblivion.  Their first Christmas Eve as a married couple had been all they had dreamed it would be.

~~On to Day Twelve and the Twelfth Day of Christmas~~

Day Twelve


Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Rating:  PG-13
Season:   7 - December 25, 2003
Spoilers:  None
Size:  22kb, ficlet
Written:  December 3,5-6,8, 2003
Summary:  It's the twelfth day of Christmas as Jack and Daniel celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband!  On the agenda for the day, Christmas is here!
Notes:  Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Suzanna, Charlotte!


........ “On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love said to me” ........

“Merry Christmas, Angel.  I love you so much, so darn much!”

“Merry Christmas, My Precious Love,” Daniel sighed contently as the two touched their way into the morning.

They were lying on their sides, just looking and caressing, occasionally kissing.  They wanted each second of this special day to be remembered, nothing rushed and none of the magic missed, so they took their time as they awoke, allowing their bodies to say their good mornings to each other before getting up.

But the best made plans often go awry, and as Jack and Daniel kissed, they suddenly heard, “Woof!” and felt the warm fur of Bijou who had somehow nuzzled in between the two and was pawing at them.

After their evening lovemaking downstairs the night before, Jack had dissolved into silly putty, telling Daniel as they had been about to go upstairs, “Love, it's cold out.  Do you mind if I let the girls back in?“

Daniel had given Jack such a big grin that the older man thought he might burst from all the love being directed his way.  Both loved their beagles as if they were their children, and as in most homes, their children often turned the adults into Jell-O.  So, the two dogs had been left in the house and had settled into their beanbag for the remainder of the night.

“I think she's trying to tell us something,” Jack spoke as the morning loomed and Bijou tugged at the two lovers.

“Apparently,” Daniel agreed, looking around.  “Where's Katie?”

“Probably downstairs,” Jack stretched after he stood up, putting on his robe.  “I'm going to take a shower, Love.  Care to join me?”

“Woof! Woof!“ Bijou barked, standing anxiously by the door.

“Oh yeah, definitely.  I'll check on Katie and put the girls out for a while before Bijou goes nuts.”

Daniel slid on his blue robe and went downstairs as Jack warmed up the shower.

“There you are,” Daniel leaned over to pick up Katie to give her a proper hello.

Katie leaned her head against Daniel's warm body, “Hey girl, ready to go out for a while?”

Jack was whistling, about to take off his robe and get into the shower, when he thought he heard something.  He walked out of the bathroom, and ...

“JACK!  COME DOWN HERE!  QUICK!”

Daniel gently carried Katie to the sofa and sat down.  Bijou sat anxiously near Daniel's feet.

“What's wrong, Girl?”

Jack ran down the stairs, “Daniel?”

“Something's wrong with Katie.”

Jack hurried over to sit by Daniel.

“She's ... sluggish.  Look at her, and she's warm.”

“Hey, Katie, what's going on?  You eat something nasty?  Bet that's it,” Jack placed a little kiss atop Katie's head.  “You watch her, and I'll call Pam.  Sure do hope she's home.”

====

“That's a good girl.  You're such a good patient,” Pam said, petting the small beagle gently.

Pam looked at Jack and Daniel, both of whom had quickly dressed into their sweats, and smiled, “She's fine, guys.  Her temp is up a couple of degrees, but with what I just gave her, it should pop right on down in no time.”

“But what was wrong?  That stuff she threw up earlier looked pretty ugly.”

“She probably ate something or got a whiff of something she's allergic to.  Have you used anything new outside ... fertilizer, any sprays, anything?”

“I can't think of a thing, Pam.  Danny?”

Daniel shook his head, his focus still on Katie, who was much more alert and active than when he had first come downstairs.

Pam saw the worried faces, “Listen, guys, trust me.  She should be fine. Watch her closely for the next day or two, just in case, and call me if you need to.  I'll be in town.  When you get a chance, check outside for anything that someone might have tossed over the fence, or just ... anything ... different ... even new weeds.  Of course, at this time of year, the chance of that is slim, but it's not impossible.”

“Woof! Woof!” Katie spoke as Pam stood up.

“Anytime, Katie,” Pam laughed.  “I'll see myself out.  Bye, Bijou!” Pam waved.

“Woof!” Bijou followed Pam to the door and gave another “Woof” as she opened the door and left.

“Okay, crisis averted.  She's fine.”

Daniel nodded.

“Danny, I'm going to take that shower, and then I'll come back downstairs and be with Katie, and you can take yours, okay?”

“Okay.”

Jack kissed Daniel's cheek and headed upstairs.

====

A few hours later, Katie was running around, happily playing with Bijou.  Daniel was quietly watching them from the steps of the patio deck in the backyard.  Jack stepped out and sat down next to him, putting his arm around Daniel and squeezing him gently for a moment.

“She's fine now, Love.”

“I know,” Daniel leaned his head against Jack's shoulder.  “Jack, it's not going to be easy, is it ... having kids, raising them, watching them when they're sick, feeling so incredibly helpless, not to mention useless?”

“No, it's not easy, but you're weren't useless.  Don't make that mistake ... of devaluing what love does.  Katie knew we were right there with her, and so did Bij.  She knew it, Danny, and our children will know it.  Love goes a long way.  I think we've both proved through the years.”

Daniel looked into Jack's eyes, “I lived for you, never dreaming we could be like this.”

“Love goes a long, long way,” Jack reiterated softly.

Jack leaned in to kiss Daniel when he suddenly stopped, and backed a bit, scooting to look around his husband.

“What?”

“I'm not sure,” Jack stood, and walked to the edge of the deck where some piping was barely visible.

“Danny, come here,” and when Daniel approached, “Look.  This is it, the pipe that runs from the kitchen.  It's always stuck out here a little, but it's ... molding, and geez, look at this ...“ Jack pointed out a small section that looked as if it had been licked or eaten.

“Oh gawd.”

“She's just like you ... has to touch everything!”

“Jack!”

“Well, it's true, and you know it.  I swear, if she were human I'd so believe she were yours ... biologically speaking,“ Jack smiled, adding,  ”I'm gonna call Pam and make sure there's no problem with this.  Why don't you grab something to wrap around it?”

====

“Pam says no problem.  She couldn't have ingested enough to do more harm, especially with the response we've had.  She threw it up earlier, so she'll be okay.”

“I covered the piping.  She won't be able to get into it again.”

“First thing Friday morning we get that handled.”

Daniel had a big smile on his face.

“Geez, Danny, our kids are not going to face temptation if I can help it.  We'll do a little survey while we're at it, of the garage and the back and see if we can see anything else that might be a potential danger in the future.”

Daniel's broad smile was still intact, “I love you, Jack.”

====

The dog problem solved, and Katie having made a quick recovery, Jack and Daniel finally ate a decent lunch, and prepared to continue their holiday.

“Hey, why so quiet?” Daniel asked Jack as he stood at the patio door watching the beagles.

“I ... wanted to show you something.  It's part of your Christmas, but it means leaving the house, and I wasn't sure you'd want to do that.”

Daniel looked at Katie and back at Jack.

“We can leave them in the house.  It won't be long, will it?”

“An hour probably.  Danny, I don't want you to worry the entire time if we go.”

“Well, I'll probably worry even if we stay here, so as long as we aren't gone too long, and Katie's fever isn't back up when we let them in, then I think we should go ... wherever it is we're going.”

====

Daniel was surprised to find they were back at the cemetery, where they had gone only a couple of days ago.  Jack exited the truck, and Daniel followed.  Just before they got to Charlie's grave, Jack stopped and turned to Daniel, and said, “Listen, this is really important.”

“Okay.”

“No, Danny, I mean, really important.  If this isn't something you want, then you need to tell me.  I just thought ... I just ...”

“What?”

“Come see ... but Danny, you have to tell me if you don't like it.”

“Like it?”

Daniel was totally clueless, and then reaching the gravesite, he still didn't get it.

“Danny, you see, Sara and I, we bought all of this space.  Originally, we thought we'd both ... you know, but now, she and Mark want to be together.  Mark's family has space in Denver, and since they're planning on having more kids, they want to be together.“

Jack took a breath.  This was more difficult than he had anticipated.

“And well, I figured you and I would be together, somewhere ...” Jack paused, really regretting that he wasn't a linguist because at the moment, he felt way out of his league.

“Danny, I thought, if you want ... I mean I know they aren't there ... but ... Sara was okay with it ... we could put a stone here, or something, some little memorial ... for your folks.  I mean, they could ... if you wanted to, but I know you said you thought they were, um, good, oh crap,” Jack walked away, totally frustrated.

He took a breath and looked back at Daniel, “You don't have to say  anything.  It was a bad idea.  Let's go.”  

Jack started to walk towards the truck, but he realized Daniel hadn't followed.  Jack returned to his lover who was standing motionless in the same spot he had been in for the past five minutes.

“Danny, we can go now.  Come on.  I'm sorry.  It was a really stupid idea.  I mean, putting a headstone over an empty plot, and I know you don't want to move them.  I get stupid, dumb, CRAZY ideas sometimes.  Come on.  Let's go home.”

“I'll be along in a minute, okay?”

“Okay.”

Jack backed away, but he couldn't get himself to leave.  Daniel seemed too vulnerable now, and Jack felt like an idiot for ever coming up with such a weird idea.  He watched as Daniel knelt by Charlie's stone, touching it much as Jack had done during their visit there earlier in the week.

“Hey, Charlie.  Your dad.  He sure gets some wacky ideas, but gawd, I love him.  Can you imagine anyone thinking of such a thing?  A place ... a place for my parents ... and with you, the son he loves more than anything.  They wouldn't be alone anymore.  I mean, they're sort of alone, too.  It's a place they liked, but, it's just the two of them.  It would be perfect, to have them here, if I knew you wouldn't mind, but I don't know that, and I just can't do that to you.  It wouldn't be right.

“Wow.  Your mom.  She's amazing, as Jack says.  I wish I could thank her for saying yes to whatever he asked of her, but I wouldn't want to make her feel uncomfortable.  You're lucky, Charlie, to have two parents who love you so much.

“But ... Charlie, I ... I need you to help me.  You see, Jack ... your dad ... he's going to think I'm upset, and I'm not sure how to tell him that I think this was one of the most precious things he's ever tried to do for  me, just the offer, just having the idea.  It's just ... he thinks you'd love me, but ... I just don't want to intrude ... Gawd, help him, Charlie, okay? To know I love him, even more for this gesture.

“Oh, and Charlie, if you heard what Jack said the other day, it's just ... he loves me.  Don't be angry at him.  He's your one and only dad.  I could never be anything like that.  He just wanted to make me happy, and you know something?  He did.  He filled my heart, Charlie, because if I could, I'd love to be your father, too.”

Jack slipped away quietly, back to the truck as Daniel talked to Charlie.  When Daniel joined him several minutes later, Jack took his husband in his arms and held him, and whispered his love.

“It was a wonderful idea, Jack.  I just don't think it's the right thing, but thank you so much for thinking of it.  I love you.”

“I know, Angel.”

====

Back at their home, the two played with their girls for a while, and then cuddled listening to holiday music.  They danced a few times, and did a lot of fondling as they enjoyed the calm of the day.  

Then, they opened the last of their presents, the highlight of which was one of Daniel's gifts for Jack ... tickets to go visit Danny Jenkins, the little boy Jack had befriended last Christmas at a skating rink.  It was Jack who had taken a stand and had Danny removed from a bad foster parent environment and who had eventually found friends eager to adopt the young boy.

The adoption had gone smoothly, and Danny had stayed in touch.  The Jenkins had even come out to the Springs earlier in the year so their new son could visit with his “best friend” so now, knowing Jack had been eager to see the boy again, Daniel had arranged for them to go for a two-day visit right after Christmas.

“Oh, Danny, thank you.  It'll be great to see little Danny again.”

“You're his hero, Jack.”

“I was just in the right place at the right time ... and I had a little nudge from my own hero, and that's you, in case you've forgotten.”

“You say the craziest things, Jack.”

“Only the truth, Danny.  Thank you for this.”

Next, the Jackson-O'Neill's feasted on a turkey dinner for four, Bijou and Katie both enjoying turkey, too!  Daniel smiled at Katie's appetite.

“She really is okay, Jack,” he spoke happily as Katie gulped down another piece of turkey.

As the stars came out, Jack and Daniel went outside with their beagles.  They laughed and played for about 30 minutes and then walked back into the house.  Jack shut the door, and turned to join his lover, but was surprised when he bumped into him.

“Whoa, Danny, geez.”

Daniel was breathing hard, staring at something.

“Danny?”

“Jack.  Look.”

Jack looked around, “Okay, it's our house.  The dogs, the tree, the ...”

“Mantle.  Jack, the mantle.”

Jack looked at the mantle and scanned from right to left the various  items and photos placed there.  And then Jack's heart stopped, his eyes locked onto the same thing that had Daniel so shook up.

“What the heck?” Jack approached the fireplace, never losing sight of the item.

Daniel hadn't yet moved.  Jack looked back at him.  Daniel shook his head, his breathing still labored, his arms locked around himself.

Sitting on the mantle was the angel ornament that had been lost so many years earlier.  The decoration had been Charlie's, and had represented the angel that watched over the young boy all the time.  After Jack's and Daniel's first year together as a couple, the ornament had disappeared.

Now, without explanation, in the space of 30 minutes, the ornament had reappeared, and had been placed directly in front of the photo of Daniel and his parents.

“Danny, I don't understand this.  This was not here when we went outside.”

“I know that.  I was just looking ... gawd, oh gawd.”

Jack turned and hurried back to Daniel, taking him into his arms.

“It wasn't there, Danny.”

“No, it wasn't.  When we got home, I was looking at the pictures on the mantle.  There was nothing else there that hasn't been there for ... gawd, Jack.  Where'd it come from?  It wasn't there!”

Daniel was shivering in Jack's hold, and Jack himself wasn't so steady, having no answers for Daniel's questions.  Finally, they both walked to the mantle, both afraid to touch it, but finally, Daniel reached out and gently took the ornament in his hands.

“It's real, Jack.  Gawd, it's real.  I don't understand.  How?  Where?”

“Danny, the pictures.  My gawd.”

“What?”

“Charlie's picture.  It's always been on the right side of the mantle, by my parents.  Now, it's here, by your parents.  And ... Angel, our wedding photo is ... how the heck did this ... I don't ... Danny?”

Jack and Daniel didn't keep their wedding photos downstairs, but in  their bedroom and Daniel's den, they had several.  Their favorite, of them holding hands while looking out at the sunset just after saying their vows, was suddenly on the mantle, right in the center.

Jack and Daniel stared at each other, neither knowing what to say or how to explain what had happened.  They stood in silence for a long time.

Still staring at the photo of Charlie, Jack instructed, “Angel, put the ornament on the tree.”

“Jack?”

“Go ahead; put it on the tree.”

Daniel slowly walked over to their Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and found a spot right in the middle where the angel ornament was easily viewed.  Daniel backed away, shaking his head.  Jack still stood by the fireplace, staring at the pictures.

It was several minutes before either moved or spoke again, and it was Jack who finally accepted the unexpected gift.

“Thank you, Sport.  I love you.”

Daniel turned to face Jack, who returned the gaze.

“Don't you see, Danny?  He found a way.  Gawd, Charlie found a way.  I told you that he'd love you, and he's telling me, and you, that he does.  The ornament ... the photos.  Angel, his photo is here now, by your folks.  He's answering you, Danny, just as he answered me.  Don't ask me how.  I don't ... Danny, he's ... geez, Danny, he's giving us his blessing.”

Daniel was too shaken to move, so Jack went to him and held his love again, kissing the side of his neck.

“It makes no sense, Angel, but ... do you have another explanation?”

Daniel shook his head, and held on to Jack tighter than ever.

“It wasn't there, the ornament, the photo,” Daniel spoke softly, his mind still searching for logic for something that wasn't logical.

“I know.  Danny, your parents.  They could be with Charlie.  Do you want ...?”

Without hesitation, Daniel nodded, still holding on to Jack, still trying to find a normal breathing rhythm.

Jack ushered his love to their spot in front of the Christmas tree.  He chose that spot because they could see both the ornament and the photos.  Bijou and Katie had long ago laid down in their beanbag and were asleep.

Daniel leaned into Jack's hold, not wanting any separation.  He felt strangely lost for a scientist.  The two sat quietly for a long time, as song after song played on the CD player they had turned on when they had arrived home from the cemetery.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Love?”

“Sara's really okay with it?”

“Totally.  I wouldn't have offered if she had been the least bit hesitant or resistant.  She actually liked the idea, of having someone there to watch over Charlie.  You can ask her for yourself.  By the way, I told her what I told you the other day, and she said to send you her love, and wants to know when you are going to send her the back alimony.”

“Jack, she didn't!“

“She did,“ Jack smiled, and then added seriously. “She understands, feels the same way about Mark.  Charlie ... he has three dads now, Danny.“

Daniel smiled, “She's amazing.“

“Yeah, she is.  Charlie got all his good stuff from her.“

“From you, too, Jack.“

“Okay ... we split, but she had to deal with the day to day stuff with me being gone so much, and she did a heck of a job with him.“

Daniel stared at the angel ornament, still wrapped up in the warmth of the enormous gift they'd been given, and then he remembered something Jack had said earlier in the day.

“Wha...what about us?  You started to say something about us when we were at the cemetery.“

“I figured ... hoped, actually, that we'd be together, Danny.  I was thinking we might invest in something ... for us and our family.“

“Our family,“ Daniel repeated softly, enjoying the sound of the word.

“We could find someplace peaceful, make sure there's room for ... generations of Jackson-O'Neill's.  Families used to do that all the time.“

“Like a tomb.“

“Let's not be so gothic.  We could just take care of us, though, if you prefer, but ... I just thought ... you never know, the kids or grandkids might like not to have to worry about it.“

“Grandkids?“

“Kids have kids, Daniel.“

“Believe it or not, I haven't thought that far ahead.“

“It's a little overwhelming.  We have time ... lots of time!   Danny, I ...,“ Jack sighed, and shook his head gently next to Daniel's, choosing to let his words die in silence.

“It's a crazy world, isn't it, Jack?”

“Can't argue with that.”

“I mean ... there's so much we can't explain, like how sometimes we know what the other is thinking, or we can communicate. I mean, Jack we have real conversations ... in our minds.”

“Yeah, it's like being in the Twilight Zone sometimes, but I love that connection, Danny.  I've never understood it, but I sure do like it.”

“Me, too.”

A few minutes later, Daniel spoke softly, “Thank you, Charlie.”

Jack smiled, and said, “From me, too, Son.  Thank you.”

“It's really been perfect, hasn't it?” Daniel asked about their holiday season.

“In every way.  Love you so much, Angel.”

Daniel smiled, “So much, Jack.  For always.”

As the twelfth day of Christmas came to a close, Jack and Daniel reveled in the magic of the day.  Their holiday season had been all they had dreamed, and much more.  And with their Christmas miracle, they had been given a gift neither had ever expected to receive, one of love and acceptance.  

They prayed to whatever that greater power was that existed, one that both knew was there, that in the years to follow, they'd always remember this special day, and the treasured gift they had received, and never dishonor it.

As the two lovers fell asleep next to the tree, somewhere out in the distance, in a place that can't be described, a young boy smiled and said, “I love you, too, Daddy ... Daddies!”

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~


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