Category: Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - January 4 - February 9, 2014
Size: 33kb, short story
Written: May 5-6,8,11-15, 2008
Summary: When two potential best friends are torn asunder by prejudice, can Jack and Daniel find a way to make it work?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Carol, Wolf Moldy, Claudia, Sara, Melissa, Linda, Keri, Irina!
“She's lots of fun,” Aislinn spoke excitedly about her new friend,
Alison. “She likes to sing, too, and, Daddy, we can harmonize
together. She picks up things really fast.”
Daniel smiled, listening to the seven-and-a-half-year-old Munchkin ramble on about the little girl she had met today at the park. Jennifer had taken Aislinn out for some special sister time, and they'd stopped by the park to play for a while before heading home.
“How old is she?”
“I didn't ask her, but her voice is pretty, Daddy, and ...” Aislinn continued as she regaled her youngest father with other interests she and Alison shared.
When Aislinn stopped talking for a brief second to take a breath, Daniel asked, “Does she live around here?”
“I don't know, Daddy; she said they just moved here, but I know she likes butterflies. She ...”
The archaeologist chuckled. It wasn't important to his daughter how old the other girl was or where exactly she lived. They'd had fun and were new friends, and that was all that mattered.
Over the next couple of weeks, Aislinn and Alison met several more times at the park and had become firm friends and singing partners. Much to their disappointment, Jack and Daniel had yet to meet Alison. The parents were in the middle of a busy stretch with their company, J-O Enterprises, so their time for outings had been very limited.
Consequently, it had always been Jennifer or one of their other caregivers that had taken Aislinn to the park. Now, however, things were finally clearing up, and Jack and Daniel both planned to make up for the time they had missed with their children as soon as possible.
Today it was Jennifer who had again taken Aislinn to the park. As he exited the kitchen, going into the living room, Daniel realized it was just about time for the two to return, and he was looking forward to hearing his daughter's latest happy diatribe about her new friend just as soon as she got home.
~There they are,~ Daniel thought, smiling as the front door opened.
“Daaaaaadddddy!” Aislinn sobbed, running into her younger father's arms and wrapping her arms around his neck when he picked her up.
Daniel cradled the little girl's head against his shoulder and kissed the side of her head as he tried to comfort her despite not knowing what had her so upset. He looked over at Jennifer for answers, but the college student was too busy trying to control her own emotions to answer. She looked away, trying not to cry at the sight of her sister's sadness.
“Ash, what's wrong?”
“She won't let us play together. She hates us. Why, Daddy? Why does she hate us? She doesn't know me. I love Ali. We're bes...best friennnnnds,” Aislinn cried.
Daniel rubbed the anguished girl's back and looked over at Jennifer, who shook her head some more and then sighed, “You know the story, Daddy. They were playing, like they always do, and this woman walked over. I guess she's Alison's mother.”
“Best friends, Daddy,” Aislinn sniffled. “We were gonna do a ... a sonnnnn...ng to...toge... Daaaadddy!”
The Munchkin's tears were tearing Daniel apart. Based on the little Jennifer had just said, he was pretty sure he knew what had happened. Unfortunately, it wasn't anything new, but this instance might be the most hurtful to date.
“She seemed nice,” Jennifer stated. “We were just talking, and then she ...” The young woman sighed, “I said something about you and Dad, and she flipped out. Daddy, she literally yanked Alison away from Ash, and she yelled at her.”
“She said I was bad. Daddy, I know I'm not bad, but I love Alison. Why does it matter to her that you and Dad are my par...parents?” Aislinn asked, questions running through her reddening eyes.
“It shouldn't, Sweetie. I'm so sorry,” Daniel expressed emotionally as he continued to hold the distraught little girl while offering her the only comfort he could. He was also wondering to himself, not for the first time, whether he and Jack were making the right decision in having such a large family. ~I wouldn't trade my life with Jack for anything, but do we have the right to cause such pain in our children's lives?~
“People like that should be shot,” Jack groused, having just left the girls' room where Aislinn was still crying while being comforted by Jonny and Little Danny, who were refusing to leave her side, forcing the parents to have an unplanned 'in the womb night'.
On these special nights, Aislinn and Ricky would trade places, so that the twins would sleep together, as would the triplets. Since the male Munchkins were in protection mode with their sister, Jack and Daniel decided that it would be a good evening for another one of these nights, only because Aislinn needed to feel better, Jonny and Little Danny were staying in the girls' room so she could be surrounded by her favorite things, while Jenny moved into the boys' room with her twin.
“Jack, we've been lucky it hasn't happened more frequently,” Daniel responded.
“I'm just saying that in the past we've been lucky. We've ... turned a lot of people.” Daniel sighed, seeing his lover's glare. “You know what I mean. It's not the first time we've come across bigoted parents. Our children have met friends before with parents who don't approve of us, and, luckily, we've won a lot of them over. We've been able to ... minimize the hurt. I'm not sure we're going to be able to do that this time.”
“Ignorant idiots,” Jack groaned, sitting down at the foot of the bed and clasping his hands together. “She's a beautiful seven-year-old. She loves the world. Who couldn't love her?”
“I know,” Daniel agreed as he leaned against their dresser, his arms folded across his chest. “She's our angel, our little miracle. She understands these people are just ... ignorant.”
“In her mind,” Jack clarified. “But her heart was just stepped on by big, huge honkin' prejudice that she can't control, and she'll never understand that. I don't.” He sighed in despair, “Crap, Danny, she's still crying.”
“I didn't say understanding it meant feeling better. I just ...”
“Daaaaaddy,” Aislinn cried from the doorway, Jonny and Little Danny standing behind her.
Jonny was scowling, and it was obvious that he was plotting his revenge on the people that had hurt his sister. Little Danny, on the other hand, was looking at Aislinn with a mixture of helplessness and concern.
Daniel immediately picked up the little girl, hugging her close.
“Hey, why don't we go sit down for a while? Would you like that?” Feeling the nod against his neck, Daniel gave his husband a quick look and expectantly called out, “Jack?”
“Guys, let's go downstairs for a while.”
“We hafta stay with Ash,” Jonny insisted.
“She needs a few minutes with Daddy,” Jack responded, adding, “And I'd like a few minutes with you.”
With the discussion over, Daniel headed for the nursery, which was empty at the moment. He knew that would give him the chance for some quiet time with his daughter. Entering the room, he started to move Bobo, the stuffed monkey that belonged to Kayla Armentrout, the birth mother of the Munchkins and the Spitfires, but the little girl reached out for it.
Daniel sat down in the rocker, holding Aislinn as she leaned against his left shoulder and held on to Bobo with her left hand.
“I miss her,” Aislinn sniffled.
“I'm so sorry, Sweetie,” Daniel spoke softly.
“I love Mommy,” Aislinn spoke, her eyes on Bobo. “Why does Ali's mommy hate me just because you and Dad are my parents?”
“She doesn't really hate you, Ash,” Daniel corrected. “It's just that she doesn't agree with our lifestyle, with two men being in love and having a family.”
“I know she's ignorant,” Aislinn spoke sadly. “I still don't understand why. Ali and I just want to play together,” she sniffled.
“I wish I could say something to make you feel better, Ash, but the truth is that Dad and I are who we are. If Mommy were here, maybe it would help.”
“I love Mommy a whole lot,” Aislinn repeated. She leaned over and kissed her father on the cheek and said, “But I love you and Dad more than anything. You're my parents. I just want to play with Ali sometimes.”
“I wish you could,” the archaeologist sighed as he continued to try and soothe the heartbroken little girl.
“Dad!” the oldest Munchkin whined stubbornly a half-hour later.
“Jonny, stop pacing,” Jack requested strongly.
“Boys, why don't you go up with your sister now,” Daniel suggested, barely finishing his sentence when the two whirlwinds blew by him.
“Any better?” Jack asked hopefully.
“No, but she's tired. I think once they settle down, they'll fall asleep fairly quickly.” Daniel sighed, “Jack.”
Jack walked over to his husband and pulled him into a tender embrace. Both of their emotions were like open wounds. Seeing any of their children hurting was bad, but watching them suffer for this particular reason just shot through their hearts and souls like a canon destroying a fort.
“We can't help her,” Daniel lamented.
“Sure we can, Angel. We love her, and we do everything we can to get her through this.”
“Right,” Daniel said, his voice low and disbelieving as he rested his head on his husband's shoulder.
“She'll be okay,” Jack assured.
“Will we?” Daniel challenged.
Jack sighed. It was all he could do at the moment.
Aislinn spent a lot of her free time over the next few days in the music room, sitting at the piano. She'd told her parents she was working on a special song. They suspected it had to do with Alison because every time their daughter emerged from the room, her eyes were red from crying again.
On this day, Jack and Daniel were at the park with several of the children, including Aislinn.
“There she is!” Aislinn exclaimed, running over to Alison, who was on one of the swings.
The parents watched hesitantly as the two girls hugged, even as they kept an eye out for Alison's mother. They could tell Aislinn was telling Alison something, and she'd just handed her a piece of paper when a woman suddenly appeared and yanked Alison away. She grabbed the paper from her daughter and, ignoring her own daughter's cry of protest, tore it up, letting the pieces fall to the grass below without even pausing to look at it.
Jack and Daniel were already moving towards their little girl, when Aislinn ran over to them, lunging up into Daniel's arms. Jack glared at the woman, who simply glared back and then tugged on the crying Alison's arm and stalked away.
“Ash,” Daniel sighed, holding the sobbing girl to him.
“It was our song. I wrote it for us,” Aislinn cried.
Daniel blinked back his own tears, watching Jack head over to the swing and pick up the pieces of paper. The archaeologist closed his eyes, wishing the world wasn't such a cruel place for their little girl at the moment.
“Babe, calm down. You have one of those Brass things that you hate, and you don't need to walk into it already upset,” Daniel said that evening, tying his lover's tie and then leaning in for a kiss. “Dress blues -- oh, yeah.”
“So help me, Daniel, if I ever meet those people when kids aren't around, I'll ...”
“Have fun tonight?” the younger man interrupted, trying to calm down his soulmate with a distraction.
“Fun?” Jack questioned curiously, his eyes widened in curious anticipation.
“Play your cards right, Fly Boy,” Daniel promised and then walked his husband to the door. “Be nice.”
“I'm always nice, but I'll work hard on not offending anyone too much.”
“I'll take that,” Daniel replied.
The lovers shared a kiss that the two were just able to keep under control, and then Jack headed off to the Mountain. A special reception was being held on one of the upper levels, and although he was no longer required to attend such events, he was appearing as a favor to the SGC's current leader, General Hank Landry.
“That's an excellent point,” Landry responded to the couple he was speaking to. They were just chitchatting about the Air Force and life in Colorado Springs. “We have some ... oh, Jack!”
Jack paused, twisting around and seeing the general. He walked over obligingly, prepared to make more small talk.
“Jack, I'd like you to meet Colonel Gaylord Goodman and his wife, Alexis,” Landry introduced. “This is Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill.”
“Colo...nel,” Jack began pleasantly, only to stumble when he glanced over at the man's wife. In an instant, his smile faded completely, changing to an angry scowl. “Hank, you'll have to excuse me.”
“I'm sorry, but if I stand here one more minute, I'm liable to lose my temper and tear the crap out of this woman. Excuse me.”
Landry watched in confusion as Jack walked out. Perplexed, he looked at the couple and observed that while the colonel seemed equally confused, his wife didn't.
“Gay, that's him. That was one of that girl's fathers at the park,” Alexis muttered.
The light dawned for Landry. He hadn't heard the story, but he could guess, and he allowed some of his own anger to surface.
“Ma'am, I don't know what this is about, but I can assure you that General O'Neill and his husband are highly valued both to this Command and to the President. They're men of integrity; in fact, they're heroes. You might want to re-think whatever your concerns are about them.” Landry gave the colonel an encouraging stare and added, “General O'Neill and Doctor Jackson, though retired, will always be part of this Command. I suggest you find a way to make peace with them before you end up in Siberia.”
“I'll be back,” Goodman said anxiously, walking away from his wife and searching out Jack, who he caught waiting for the elevator. “General!”
Jack turned and snapped, “You know, I find it *odd* that someone named 'Goodman' with a first name of 'Gay' can be so bigoted.”
“You want to know if you're going to wind up peeling potatoes? I wouldn't waste my time on the paperwork, but if you don't leave me and my family alone, I just might.” Jack entered the elevator and selected the parking level, but just as the doors were about to close, he held them open, deciding to speak his mind just a tad more. “They're two little girls, and they like each other. Who friggin' cares who their parents are? My little girl has been crying for days, and you know what your wife did today? She ...” He looked down, hoping to keep the other man from seeing the emotions that were so close to the surface. “It was a song about two friends who would never forget each other. My daughter wrote that song for your daughter, and your wife just tore it up and threw it on the ground. You know, maybe the paperwork would be worth it after all.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the paper he'd taped together earlier. He didn't know why he'd put it in his Class A uniform pocket, but he had. “Read this,” he instructed, shoving the paper into the man's hand. “Maybe you can learn something.”
Jack pulled back his hands, scowling at the stunned colonel as the doors closed
“I probably would have done the same thing,” Daniel whispered as he and his husband stared into the darkened girls' room, their focus on Aislinn.
“No, you would have been diplomatic, but I couldn't do it, Danny. I saw the look of contempt on that woman's face at the park, and then tonight, she ... deer in the headlights. Her husband's career flashed in front of her eyes. It is *so* tempting to make them pay.”
“Jack, maybe you should have heard the man out. Maybe he doesn't share his wife's opinions,” Daniel suggested quietly.
“Maybe I should have, but ...”
“But you were just so angry that you didn't consider it at the time,” Daniel stated, finishing his husband's sentence.
Jack nodded, saying, “All I could see when I looked at that woman was Ash crying her eyes out.”
“I'm proud of you for not causing a scene and just leaving. It was the right thing to do,” Daniel assured, giving his husband a kiss.
“We better finish our rounds,” Jack suggested. “Then we can ... you know.”
“I love how you think, My Silver Fox,” Daniel responded with a seductive wink.
Jack backed up and headed down the hallway to go to the master bedroom. Daniel sighed, walking over to their daughter's bed and leaning over to plant a sweet kiss on her forehead.
“I wish we could take away all the pain,” Daniel whispered as he pulled the covers up a bit. “We love you, Ash, so much.”
Two days later, a knock at the door drew Aislinn's attention. She glanced out the blind and gasped.
“Jen, it's Ali! It's Ali!”
Surprised, Jennifer opened the door, staring at the woman who didn't seem at all happy about being on the front step of the Jackson-O'Neill home.
Immediately, Alison grinned and rushed in, calling out excitedly, “Ash! Ash, we get to play together!”
The girls hugged and danced around in a circle, instantly chatting away as if they'd never been parted. Jennifer saw Ali take out a piece of taped-up paper and begin talking to Ash about it.
“My husband would like the children to play together,” Alexis spoke formally.
“I, uh ... I'll need to get my fathers,” Jennifer responded hesitantly.
At that moment, Daniel entered the living room, recognizing Alison from the day at the park when Aislinn's song had been snatched from the girl's hand. He could hear the girls singing, both of them obviously happy, which brought a smile to his lips. He headed for the entranceway and saw the distressed but compliant look on the blonde woman's face. He recognized her, too, though he'd only seen her from a distance.
“Daddy, this is Mrs. Goodman,” Jennifer introduced.
“Alison's mother,” Daniel clarified, just to verify his recollection was correct.
“Yes,” the woman spoke succinctly and without a smile. “My husband got your address from someone at NORAD.”
~Makes sense,~ Daniel thought, curious as to who had given it out but not all that interested in the answer at the moment. He had other priorities just now -- his daughter. “Would you like to come in?”
“No ... thank you,” Alexis added as an afterthought. “My husband wants our children to play together.”
“But you don't.”
“I'd rather not answer that.”
Daniel turned and walked over a couple of steps to observe the two girls, their tears long gone, replaced by a songful harmony of their voices and big smiles on their faces. He walked back to the front door, glancing for a second at Jennifer.
“Mrs. Goodman, I guess there's no rule that says parents have to be friends. Our daughters are happy. I'll have to talk to my husband,” Daniel ignored the woman's wince at the mention of Jack and continued smoothly, “but I'm sure we can work out an arrangement so that the girls can continue to see each other and play.”
Alexis nodded, said, “I'll be back in a couple of hours,” and then walked down the steps.
“She's not happy,” Jennifer observed as she closed the door.
“But Ash is,” Daniel replied.
“What happens when they want to play at Alison's house?”
“I have no idea,” Daniel responded as he headed for the living room.
There's a song that says people need people,
and there's a song that says you've got a friend,
but there isn't a song that says you are my best friend,
I love to sing, and so do you,
We both like butterflies and sunshine,
Our hair is brown, and our smiles broad,
you are my best friend.
Even if we never meet again,
I will never forget you, my best friend.
I'll remember the flight of our songs,
because you are my best friend.
Jack and Daniel smiled. They were listening to the two girls sing the song that Aislinn had written. She'd written other songs before, but none this poignant or grown up. It reminded the parents once again of how intelligent and talented their children were.
“I love our song, Ash,” Alison spoke. “I love this. Does she have a name?” she asked about the stuffed monkey.
“That's Bobo. She was my mommy's.”
“You have a mommy?”
“She died when I was a baby, but I love her. She left this for us. I take real good care of Bobo for Mommy,” Aislinn stated.
“Ash, do you like having two daddies?” Alison asked curiously.
Aislinn sighed as she reached out and took hold of Bobo.
“It's okay, Ash. My mommy doesn't like your daddies,” Alison said unnecessarily.
“Maybe we shouldn't talk about them,” Aislinn spoke.
“Maybe you should,” Daniel interjected from the doorway. He glanced back at his lover and then walked inside the room. Kneeling down and shaking Bobo's hand, he said, “Ash, Alison, people can be different. Look, pretending something doesn't exist doesn't usually help. Alison, Ash has two men for parents. If you're curious, if you have questions, we'll answer them, as long as your parents say it's okay. We don't mind.” He gave her a wry smile. “We actually like curiosity and questions, but what we've realized lately is that in the end, who Ash's parents are, who your parents are, doesn't matter. What does matter is your friendship. You're welcome here, any time. We'll make it work with your parents. Okay?”
Alison smiled and replied, “I like you, Doctor Jackson-O'Neill.”
Daniel smiled back and said, “I like you, too.” Standing, he said, “Have fun. You have about fifteen minutes before your mother is due to pick you up.”
“Ali, I didn't answer your question, and I want to,” Aislinn began. “My mommy was beautiful, and I love her, but Dad and Daddy are my parents, and I love them the bestest.”
Daniel had just reached Jack's side. Both men smiled happily at their grinning daughter. A moment later, arm in arm, they headed down the hallway.
“Danny, how exactly is it that we're going to make this work?”
“I don't know, but we will, for our daughter,” Daniel replied a bit sternly.
Jack nodded, certain it would be difficult, but pledging inwardly to make it work.
“Mommy, can Ash come to our house next time?”
Jack and Daniel saw the woman flinch at her daughter's question, but they didn't say anything. It was going to be up to her to respond to Alison's query and decide on whether or not Aislinn would be invited over to play one day.
“We'll talk to Dad about that,” Alexis responded.
“Mrs. Goodman, just so you know, whenever our kids go to someone's home for the first time, one of us always goes with them. It's precautionary, but I'm sure as a *good* parent, you can understand the reason for it,” Jack stated.
Daniel sighed, looking down at Aislinn, who had just blinked and was suddenly looking sad.
“Uh, but if it would be better for you, we will consider allowing our eldest daughter, Jennifer, to accompany Ash.”
“Jack -- making it work, remember?” Daniel warned. He looked at the woman and, at the same time, gently rubbed Aislinn's shoulders. “Mrs. Goodman, we don't have to be friends for our daughters to be friends. Let Jennifer come with Ash, and, for the record, we've told Alison that she's welcome here at any time.”
“I'll talk to my husband,” Alexis responded. “Alison, let's go.”
“Bye, Ash,” Alison said, waving.
“Bye, Ali,” Aislinn replied, waving as well. When the door closed, she reached up for Daniel and, hugging him, said, “Thank you, Daddy.” She turned to Jack, hugging him and said, “Please let Jen take me, Dad.”
“Okay, Ash,” Jack agreed, knowing he was going to lose the argument he would have had with Daniel about it anyway. “We'll talk to Jen.” Straightening, he watched as the happy little girl hurried towards the recreation room to join her brothers and sisters. With a shrug, he asked his lover, “What's a dad to do?”
“Good answer,” Jack responded, sharing a kiss with his Love. “That was a pretty good 'or' there, Daniel. I knew you'd find a way. You always do.”
One week later, Alison was over at the house again, playing with Aislinn and the brood in the game room. The girls had played at the Goodman's home a couple of days before, and Jennifer had brought back a detailed report to her parents about the home and its feel. Although she hadn't liked Mrs. Goodman, she had felt that, all things considered, the house was a safe and pleasant environment.
After a lot of discussion, Jack and Daniel had agreed that Aislinn could occasionally play at the Goodman home, though they would monitor it closely and use Jennifer as much as possible to make spot checks.
Today, though, the couple watched the happy expression on Aislinn's face and noticed how well Alison fit in with the brood.
“I talked to Hank this morning,” Jack said quietly.
“And?” Daniel asked.
“Goodman's scared to death he's gonna end up in Siberia.”
“Is he?” Daniel questioned, not the least bit teasingly.
“Not as long as Ash has that smile on her face.” Jack sighed as his soulmate stared at him. “Danny, you're right. We don't have to be friends with every set of parents our kids associate with.” He frowned and added, “You know what I mean.”
“Yes, I do,” Daniel acknowledged.
“It's easier, if we are.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Ali's a good kid, and I think I know what you're thinking,” Jack stated.
“Oh, you do?”
“I know you, Daniel Jackson-O'Neill.”
“Explain,” Daniel requested with a small smirk.
“If we didn't allow this little arrangement, in which Ali is exposed to a dad and daddy relationship, she'd probably grow up like Ice Lady.”
Daniel raised his eyebrows at his lover's nickname, but he was getting used to it. Ice Lady was the name Jack had used to refer to Alexis from the day they'd seen her in the park when she'd torn up Aislinn's song.
Jack continued, “Now she's got a shot at staying as tolerant as she seems to be at the moment.”
With a smile, Daniel acknowledged, “So that's something. It's not a perfect world, Babe, but when we look over there,” he glanced over at Aislinn and Alison, “we see hope for the future of the world. Maybe when they grow up, it really won't matter if a family is a man and a woman, or two men, or two women. Maybe all that will matter is the love that makes a family ... a family.”
“Amen, Love,” Jack said, smiling lovingly at his wise husband. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Daniel responded. “Jack, we really don't know how Colonel Goodman feels; maybe we should talk to him.”
Jack sighed, not sure how he felt about that, but he decided to go along and replied, “I'll call him later and see if we can set up a time to talk.”
“Good. I, uh, think we should try to make this as easy as possible for Ash's sake. I don't want us to be responsible, in any way, for her friendship with Alison failing.”
“Compromise,” Jack said, aware that he never had given the colonel a chance to say much at the Mountain and that it was the colonel who apparently had forced his wife to allow Alison to play with Aislinn. ~Motivation: is he trying to save his butt, or is his wife just an idiot?~
“Maybe a little conversation can go a long way,” Daniel speculated.
“My diplomat,” the general responded lightly.
Daniel gave a little smile and then said, “It's almost snack time, so we'd better ...”
“... get snacking,” Jack laughed as the two turned and headed for the hospitality room.
It might not be a perfect world, but Jack and Daniel hoped for a brighter future for their children. It wasn't easy for them to tolerate parents who had no tolerance for them, but they loved their brood enough to sacrifice a little. They didn't know if Aislinn and Alison would be lifelong best friends yet, but, so far, the girls were certainly headed in that direction, and if that's what Aislinn wanted, then her parents were all for it. For the Jackson-O'Neills, what mattered most was one another, and that's the way they always wanted it to be.
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