A Box in Time

Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating: PG-13
Season: Beyond the Series - November 14, 2010
Spoilers: None
Size: 70kb, ficlet
Written: April 29, May 4, 2018, December 27, 2020
Summary: Jack and Daniel are adopting three more children, all of whom become curious about their environment, especially the intriguing boxes in all of the children's rooms.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
Notes:
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): “Saturday at the J-O's”

A Box in Time
by Orrymain

Lulu woke up bright and early and sat up gently in the bed. She didn't want to wake up Chenoa who was still asleep. Both girls shared a three-quarter-sized bed in the nursery. When her cat, Calico, jumped into her arms, the little girl giggled and hugged the feline. She felt happy, an emotion she experienced rarely in her life. There was hope now, though. She was being adopted by a large family, the Jackson-O'Neills.

The curly-haired girl looked around the room, taking a longer look at what was present. She saw Chenoa's desk and a small round table with a tea set atop it. She noticed the slanted ceiling and thought that was strange. Maybe when she felt braver she would ask someone about it.

There was a box that captured her interest. Releasing Calico, Lulu went over and looked at the alluring box. She saw pictures of her new brothers and sisters on it as well as their hand prints. When she felt braver, she'd asked Chenoa about it, but right now, the call of Mother Nature drove her to the bathroom.

====

Early to rise on this particular morning, Jeff quietly approached his new sister’s bedroom that was above the garage and knocked lightly.

~I hope she’s awake.~

“Come in,” a fully dressed Jennifer acknowledged from her spot on the side of her bed. Seeing her brother, she greeted, “Good morning, Jeff. You’re up early.”

“Settling in, I guess. I thought, well, I thought maybe we could just talk for a few minutes.”

“Sure. Have a seat.”

Jeff sat in a chair that was near the wall and looked around the room, taking in the décor briefly.

“Are you missing your birth father?” the young girl questioned gently.

“Yes. There’s so much change.”

“You’re going to like it here, Jeff, and, if I haven’t told you yet, which I probably already have, Dad and Daddy do not want to replace your birth parents. The Hunters are part of us now. You can trust me on this because I know from first-hand experience that Dad and Daddy are in addition to, not replacements for, our birth parents.”

“I hope so.”

“I know your mother died when you were younger,” Jennifer commented.

“I think about her a lot, but it's like a fantasy, Jen. I don't really remember her at all,” Jeff confided about his mother, Harriet. “I was only five when Mom died of cancer.”

“That's sad. I feel lucky that I was a teenager when my parents died. David remembers, but Noa doesn't remember them very much, but the funny thing is, she feels them. She remembers Mom holding her and she remembers the loss, knowing they'd never come back.”

“Hey,” Jeff spoke, moving from the chair onto the edge of the bed where his sister was. He put his arm around her. “I guess there's a lot of loss in this house.”

“Yes, but the love makes up for it. Dad and Daddy are big on love. You'll see.”

“Is that a toy box?”

Jennifer laughed and admitted, “In a way. It is for the younger kids, but I’m using for my special things.”

“Special things?”

“I don’t have much from my life before here, but I have a few items from our old home. Dad and Daddy took us there once.”
“What was that like?”

“I’ll tell you about later, okay?”

“Sure.”

“Anyway, there were a few things left for us, David, Noa, and I, and then there are things Dad and Daddy have given me that I treasure. I keep them in that box. That box will always go with me, wherever I go.”

====

Brianna was dressed and heading up the hallway to go downstairs for breakfast. She noted the door to the girls’ room was open.

“Ash? Jenny?”

The tomboy didn’t get a response. She was about to walk away when something caught her eye.

~That’s an interesting box. It has photos on it and,~ Brianna laughed out loud, ~is that a piece of a dog bone?~ She cocked her head slightly. ~Now that’s weird.~

When the girl turned to leave, she saw yet another box. It, too, was adorned with pictures and other items, including a miniature pom-pom like cheerleaders us.

~Okay, this is interesting.~

Brianna was curious, but she began to feel like she shouldn’t be looking around her sisters’ room. Somewhat self-conscious as a newcomer to the home, she backed away from the second box and exited the bedroom.

====

Breakfast on this day was prepared by Jack and Daniel, a duty they were slowly relinquishing to their children as a rotating chore.

“Eat up!” Jack instructed the hungry children.

As the meal progressed, Jack had the sense something was a little off. Little Lulu kept looking over at Chenoa for quick seconds at a time and then lowering her head. Brianna was acting a bit aloof, not talking much to the others. Jeff seemed fine, though reflective. In fact, most of the chatter was coming from the four-year-old Munchkins, the three-year-old twins, and the Mouseketeers, previously known as the three Morgan children who Jack and Daniel adopted a few years ago.

“Okay, listen up,” Jack called out, using his napkin briefly to remove the leftover oatmeal on his lips. “Kids, there are eleven of you now, and it may take a while, but the eleven of you are our brood. If something’s not right, speak up.”

“Everything’s okay,” Brianna responded softly.

“I’ll believe that when there’s more chatter. This feels a little like being in a library,” the father whined.

A few minutes passed without much change and then, almost by accident, Lulu gulped and eked out, “I like that box in your room, Noa.”

“My box?”

“The one with the pictures and handprints on it,” Lulu clarified.

Brianna interjected, “Yeah, I saw boxes like that in Ash’s and Jenny’s room.”

“They’re our special boxes,” Jonny piped in to explain.

“We all have one,” David told the three newcomers.

“I saw Jen’s,” Jeff advised. “It’s very nice.”

**Jack, we a problem.**

**Got it covered, Angel.** Jack smiled. “All you newbies hopefully have nothing special planned for this afternoon because we’re going to have a box-making day.”

Daniel expounded, “You see, a year or so ago, we decided to let the children make and decorate their own toy boxes. As you’ve seen, handprints were put the boxes and they used pictures of our family and other things that mattered to them to make them individual. We’d like you, Jeff, and you, Bri, and you, Lulu, to make your special boxes now, too.”

Lulu smiled, but then she sighed.

“What is it, Li’l Bit?” Jack asked, using the girl’s new nickname.

“I don’t have any pictures.”

“Yes, you do,” Chenoa insisted. “We have lots of pictures you can use.”

“If someone has a camera, maybe we can take a picture of Calico for Lulu,” Jeff suggested.

Eagerly and with bright eyes, Lulu asked, “Could we?”

“Of course, we can,” Daniel responded. “In fact, you three think about what special photos or items that mean something to you that you want on your boxes and maybe we can figure out a way to make sure you have it.”

At last, the conversation at the breakfast table was more to Jack’s liking.

**Danny, we’re going to have make sure we have our eyes open more. We almost missed this.**

**Awareness, Babe. We want everything to be equal, but there’s an adjustment time, too. We have to remember that.**

**Agreed.**

“Who wants to go with their old man to the hardware store to get what we need?” Seeing a few hands go up, Jack nodded. “We leave thirty minutes after breakfast.”

More smiles broke out and the rest of breakfast was a smashing success.

====

That afternoon, Jeff, Brianna, and Lulu all assisted in the building of their own personal boxes, including sanding down the wood and assembling it into the shape of a box.

“Uh, you can add to this later, if you want,” Daniel advised. “There’s nothing that says these have to be complete now.”

“Yeah. I added a bone to mine last year,” Aislinn chuckled.

“I saw that,” Brianna acknowledged. “Why a bone?”

“Bij like it a lot and she gave it to me,” the youngest Munchkin explained.

“Woof!” the nearby beagle agreed with a wagging tail.

“It was a special present so I put it on my toy box and showed her. She liked it.”

Bijou seemed to confirm the comment with another bark and her still-wagging tail.

“Why do you think she gave it to you?” the tomboy queried. ~A dog give up a bone? I don’t think so.~

“It was my birthday,” Aislinn stated. “She came right up to me and handed me the end of her bone. When I took it, she said ‘Happy Birthday’. Well, she actually went “Arf,” but that’s what she meant.”

“Wooof! Wooooof!” the mama beagle affirmed.

“Bij and Katie are the best doggies ever,” Aislinn proclaimed as she hugged Bijou.

Silently, Brianna challenged, ~Those are great dogs. They are, but I don’t know. These guys like they’re human or something; like they … really communicate. Strange.~

“Jeff, I don’t have anything of your dad’s,” Jack began, “but I have the Air Force logo, if you’d like it for your box.”

“Thank you,” Jeff replied with a smile. “I’d like to use it very much.”

Eventually, the three newcomers had boxes full of family photos, including one of their deceased older brother, Charlie. There were photos of the two beagles as well. Lulu’s box included pictures of both her cat, Calico, and the family cat, Mittens. The entire family placed their handprints on all three of the just-made boxes as well.

“I’ll figure out what else to put on my box later,” Brianna announced.

“Bri, our family is forever,” Daniel stated. “I know you might still have some doubts about that, but you can believe it because it’s the truth. All I’m saying is that you have all the time in the world to make that box truly your own with whatever you’re interested in on it.”

Brianna nodded, happy to have a box, but wishing she had more décor on it. She wanted to believe Daniel, but with her past, it was still a little difficult for her. Time would drive away her doubts.

~Got it~ With a grin, Jack requested. “Wait one.”

The kids laughed at the military order.

“Does he always talk like that at home, too?” Jeff inquired.

“Frequently,” Jennifer answered.

Roughly two minutes later, Jack returned and handed Brianna something to put on her box with the photos.

“A hockey puck?”

“Is there anything better?”

With a laugh, the hockey-loving tomboy returned, “Never! This is great. Thank you!”

Once the hockey puck was in place, Jack requested, “Let’s get these upstairs and in place.”

Though not how Jack and Daniel planned their day, it ended up being exactly what the family needed. They were now thirteen plus animals. Adjustments would need to be made. Belief would need to be gained. Trust was there, but only in part, but would be honored with the passage of the days.

For the Jackson-O’Neills of Colorado Springs, the most important thing they needed was time and the most important advantage they had was love. It was a combination that would make this family happy and safe for decades to follow.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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