Beagle Interlude, Too!

Author: Orrymain
Category:  Slash, H/C of the Spoiled Puppy Kind, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - May 4, 2004
Spoilers:  None
Size:  24kb, ficlet
Written:  October 17,19,27,29, 2003  Revised:  February 4, August 22, 2005, May 27-28,30, June 2, 2006  Revised for consistency:  March 2,26, 2007
Summary:  After Jack gets carried away while playing with Katie, Daniel doesn't approve, which leads to the younger man doubting his ability to be a parent.  Can Jack help his lover to overcome his fears, and will Katie forgive Jack for his actions?
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:  Starshadow, Michele, Gail, Claudia, Jodi, QuinGem!

Beagle Interlude, Too!
by Orrymain

“Here you go, Fly Boy,” Daniel said, throwing the football sharply towards the older man.

Jack moved into position, but slipped on the grass as he took possession of the football, sliding to the ground, landing flat on his back, both laughter and a few swear words escaping as he fell.

Bijou, the oldest of the two beagles Jack had gifted Daniel with for his birthday the year before, ran to Jack, pushed the football off his abdomen, and then continued to push it with her keen nose.

“Oh, trying to intercept, are ya?  Well, you're too late, Girl,” Jack insisted.

Playfully, Bijou growled as Jack, still lying flat on the grass, reached over and grabbed the football.  Just then, Katie, who was the littlest of the mama beagle's litter, jumped onto Jack's stomach, her tug toy in her mouth.

“Help, Danny,” Jack pleaded in a mock tone.  “They'e double teaming me,” he explained needlessly.

From a few feet away, where he was cleaning the exterior of the beagle's deluxe doghouse, Daniel just laughed, content to watch the fun take place as he worked.

“Looks like they win, Babe,” Daniel quipped jovially.

Without warning, Bijou jumped on the older man, pushing Katie down slightly.  The mama beagle sat on the silver-gray haired man as if she were a conqueror saying, “Mine.”

“You think so, do ya?” Jack challenged the would be conquering canine.

“Wo-ooooof!” Bijou responded, her tail wagging feverishly.

Jack dropped the football on the ground next to him and reached around their dominating beagle to grab Katie's pull toy, thus beginning a tug-a-war.  The move prompted Bijou to go after the football, leaving her puppy and Jack to their war game.

~Come on, Katie.  He's just a grizzly bear; you can do it!~ Daniel silently rooted for the smallest dog.  He felt so happy watching the girls at play with his husband.  ~This is ... good; very good,~ he thought about their life together.

Katie was protectively holding her toy, interspersing her growling with tugs and pulls.  She was doing amazingly well for a little dog.

“No way am I going to be bested by a puppy ... grrrrrr backatcha,” Jack grunted.

~Don't let him scare ya,~ Daniel channeled as he continued to watch what was happening.  He had just finished his chore and was headed over to the patio.  ~Think strong, Katie.~

Katie kept wagging her tail and eventually started to walk backwards, pulling a mostly unresisting Jack with her.

Jack sat up, and as he leaned forward, he warned, “Okay, Little Miss, you get to learn the hard way.”

Just as Katie was anchoring her paws to strengthen her backwards pull, Jack simply let go of the toy, causing Katie to practically fly in reverse, ending up sitting on her behind, looking very confused.

“Jack!” Daniel exclaimed sternly, clearly not very happy with his soulmate at the moment.  ~I can't believe he just did that.~

“Told you,” Jack said to Katie.  “Don't mess with the master.”

Katie ran over to Daniel, who was now sitting on the patio deck steps.  His relaxed contentment from watching the tug-a-war disappeared as she batted her sad puppy eyes at the younger man.  Shooting a glare at Jack, he scooped her up, holding her protectively.

“It's okay, Sweetie.  I'll protect you from the bad colonel.  He's just an overgrown grizzly bear who hates to lose,” Daniel spoke, the agitation in his voice evident.

Jack laughed, “Geez, Daniel, we're only playing.”  Standing up, Jack found Bijou's red ball and threw it across the yard.  “Here you go, Bij!”

Bijou quickly left the football behind and gave chase.  Katie, meanwhile, continued sulking, seeking comfort in Daniel's care.

The older man walked over and sat down next to Daniel on the steps.  When Bijou approached with the ball, he took it and threw it to the farthest point of the yard.  Bijou barked once as she darted off to happily retrieve it.

When Jack turned to pet Katie, she growled softly, prompting him to respond, “Oh, come on, Katie, don't be a sore loser.”

“Leave her alone, Jack,” Daniel ordered as Katie sank further into his caress.

“Daniel, we were just playing, and now she's pouting.  It was just play ... right?” Jack asked, hoping Daniel would agree with him.

The archaeologist hesitated, knowing his lover was essentially right, but at the same time, Katie was asking for his help.  She was so young, just a puppy.  How could he ignore the fact that she had sought his protection?  The answer was that he couldn't, and he felt an obligation to keep her safe.

~Oh, for crying out loud,~ Jack thought.  He leaned over and kissed his worried soulmate on the cheek, saying, “Danny, consider this your first lesson in Children 101.  Trust me, okay?”

“What are you going to do?” Daniel asked warily.

Jack smiled and answered, “Play with our girls.”

“But Katie ...” Daniel began, feeling a bit anxious about it and subconsciously pulling her a bit closer to his chest.

“Katie is sulking,” Jack stated firmly.  “I love them, Danny.  You know that.”

~Gawd, that's true.  What am I doing?~ Daniel sighed.

Seeing Daniel's capitulation, Jack stood up and bent over to take Katie from Daniel's arms, though he noticed a slight hesitation from the younger man before he let the small dog go.

“Okay, Miss Pouty Puppy.  You are definitely learning this from Danny.  He has this down pat,” Jack lovingly whined as he scratched gently under Katie's chin.

“Jaaaack.”

“Don't interrupt, Daniel,” Jack laughed.  Focusing on the little beagle, he continued, “As I was saying, I don't blame you.  After all, we already knew you took after Daniel when you started digging in the ground like he does all the time.  That's why you have your own private play yard to dig in.  Now, I did not cheat.  I was letting you win.  Okay, okay.  I could have done it differently, but spilled milk and all of that.  Let's try it again.”

Jack sat back on the grass, grabbed the pull toy, and teased Katie with it, but she stood by indignantly, watching Jack swish it back and forth.  Try as he might, the beagle was ignoring all of his efforts.  He risked a glance over at his spouse and felt a chill run down his spine.

~Oh, crap,~ the colonel silently groused.

About this time, Bijou went over to Daniel, sitting at his feet.  She had decided to wait and see what transpired before passing judgment.  Katie was her baby, but she loved and trusted Jack and Daniel.

Daniel leaned forward to rub the beagle's ears for a minute and confided, “He's going to be in the doghouse literally, if he doesn't fix this.”

“Gruff,” Bijou replied softly in agreement.

“Come on, Katie, give me a break,” Jack whispered in desperation.  “Danny is gonna make me sleep out here with you and Bij tonight if you don't forgive me.  You don't want Danny and I to be separated, do you?”  Jack sighed discontentedly as the puppy stood her ground.  ~This isn't good.~  He tried again, pleading quietly, “Help me out here.  Please?  Oh, for ... Come on, Girl. I love him.  I'll miss him when he sends me to your doghouse.  I'll be cold and lonely.”

Katie sat down, staring at the colonel, then over at Daniel, and then back at Jack, as if thinking it over.

“I'll buy you a new toy tomorrow, if you go along,” Jack offered.

Accepting the bribe, Katie wagged her tail and grabbed one end of the pull toy.

“That's my girl,” Jack said as the two began a new round of tug-a-war.

Katie growled, and Jack groaned as they played, Katie moving towards Jack and then away from him several times.  At last, Jack's fingers gave way, the object escaping his grasp, resulting in Katie prancing around the yard victorious.  With her pull toy in her mouth, the happy beagle proudly ran her victory lap.

“I guess he fixed it,” Daniel spoke, picking up Bijou's ball and tossing it for her.

Bijou scurried after the ball, after which she and Katie began to play and romp together.

Meanwhile, Jack returned to the patio steps, sitting down and putting his arm around Daniels' waist.  He rubbed gently against his lover's side as they watched their girls frolicking in the yard.

After a minute or so, Jack stated, “Danny, when we adopt, kids being kids, they're going to try the old Divide and Conquer game, just like Katie did just now.”

“Divide and Conquer?” a clueless Daniel inquired.

“Yeah, pitting you and I against each other.  We have to be careful about that, make sure we're united.  We can't let them get their way by playing games, like the old 'but he said it was okay' thing,” Jack opined.

Daniel sighed, “Oh, I ... didn't think about that.”

“They can't hear 'no' from me and go running to you, or vice versa,” Jack continued.  He let out a sigh of his own and then said, “You know, Charlie was great at that for a while.  He played Sara and I like a finely tuned violin, until we finally figured out what he was doing, and that he was doing it intentionally.”

“He did?” Daniel asked.

Nodding, the older man expounded, “We realized we were hurting him by letting him get away with it, too.  It's not easy to say 'no' all the time.  Being tough, disciplining the child who is a part of you, watching them be sad or upset, is tough, because you love them with every fiber of your being.  Still, a parent has to be firm.  We have to be firm, Danny, to teach our children responsibility and honor.”

Daniel stared out towards the fence, watching the girls, except he wasn't really focused on them.  He had gone far away, lost in his doubts of whether or not he was suited for parenthood.

Jack sensed his husband's misgivings and, as he pressed Daniel a bit closer to him, assured, “Love, you're going to make a great father, and we're going to be super parents.  Stop worrying.”

“What makes you think I was worrying?” Daniel tried to chuckle.

“Because I love you, and I know you,” Jack answered, placing a kiss at Daniel's temple.  ~I can read you like a book.~

Shaking his head slightly, the younger man confided, “I've never had to think about stuff like this before.”

“Well, the girls are good practice,” Jack replied.  “Danny, don't over think this.  Most parents begin as novices, you know!  I was mostly being silly with Katie, and she was, too.  The premise is the same, though.  She was sulking a little, which she's done before.  The difference was that this time, you started to fuel it, acting like she needed to be protected, and she was taking advantage of that, just like a human child would do.”

“You're right, Jack.  I'm sorry,” Daniel apologized, still feeling somewhat anxious about his ability to be a good father.  ~I'm glad he's got experience at this.  Breathe, Jackson.  You don't even have human children yet.  Breathe!~

“Nothing to be sorry for, Danny.  Like I said, the girls are good training,” Jack commented.

“We'll need rules, I guess,” Daniel suggested.

Chuckling, Jack agreed, “Oh, yeah, lots of those.”

“Jack ... I ...” Daniel sighed.  “I love you.”

“I know that.  I also know that isn't what you were going to say.  Come on, Love.  If we're going to be parents, we have to be honest with each other about things, which we always are, anyway.  Right?” Jack prodded.

Smiling, Daniel nodded and admitted, “I don't want you doing stuff like that with the girls ... any of them.  I didn't like it, Jack, even though I know you were playing.  It's just ... she could have gotten hurt and ... and, Jack, she was trusting you ... I mean, like I do ... with every ounce of her being.”

Daniel looked out towards Katie, who was having a great time with her mom. His eyes were full of love and empathy for them.

Firmly, Jack acknowledged, “Okay, rule number one:  careful with the rough-housing, which doesn't mean none, but common sense, and, for the record, I'll never make them sorry that they trust me, Danny.  I'll protect them like I do you.  I'll never do anything to make you regret trusting me the way you do, either.”  Jack reached over, brushing his thumb across Daniel's lips, and added, “I swear.”

Daniel kissed his lover's thumb, and then leaned over to share a tender kiss on the lips with the man who was his heart.  He pulled back, looking deep into Jack's eyes.

~I am so lucky, and my heart is so full ... I could burst!~ the archaeologist chimed inside.  “I know that,” he softly replied to his husband's promise.  “I really do.  It's just ... she's so tiny.”

“And I'm a big grizzly,” Jack acknowledged.  “Message received.  Better judgment next time, and that's a promise.  So no overly rough rough housing, and ...?”

“... And especially not just so you can win,” Daniel stated, his eyes full of warning.

“Okay, Love.  Dad is prepared to lose all the battles,” Jack spoke lightheartedly.

“That's not what I meant, either,” the younger man sighed.  “It's not that you can't ... I mean ... you're more athletic than I am ... it's just ...”

Jack chuckled, “I know what you mean.  You don't want our girls getting hurt because I decide to be a wise acre.”

“Yes, that's it,” Daniel laughed.

“You got it,” Jack promised, leaning in for another quick kiss.

“Rule number two: no playing Dad against ... Pop,” Daniel teased.

“Pop?  I don't think so, Dannyboy, and who says you get to be 'Dad'?” Jack asked jovially.

“Because you love me,” the younger man smirked, knowing Jack couldn't deny him anything.

“No fair,” Jack whined.

“But it's the truth,” Daniel maintained.

Jack groaned and smiled at the same time, admitting, “I do most definitely love you, Doctor Jackson-O'Neill.”

After another kiss or two or three, Daniel acquiesced slightly, saying, “Actually, I think you should be Dad, and I'll be Daddy.”

Jack pursed his lips curiously as he inquired, “Interesting.  Why?”

The younger man responded, “Because we both know that I'm the one they are going to ... run to for safety.  I'm the one they're going to try and take advantage of, so we might as well face it and stick the most appropriate name to it.”

“You do have other choices like 'Pa', Pa!” Jack quipped.

~I don't think so.~  Shaking his head, Daniel laughed, “Papa.”

Jack countered with, “Pops.”

“Pappy!” Daniel exclaimed, his laughter increasing in volume.

Jack was laughing, too, as he came up with the more formal, “Father.”

“Or, we could demand, Sir!” Daniel laughed, quickly joined by his husband.

“I think we're military enough already,” Jack said, dismissing 'Sir' from the list of choices.

Softly, as he gazed into his life partner's eyes, Daniel spoke, “You be Dad, Jack.  I'll be Daddy.”

Smiling, the older man asked, “You sure?”

“Yeah, I'm sure, Babe,” Daniel confidently responded.  “Jack, what did Charlie call you?”

“Dad usually, but sometimes in those ... you know, those scary moments, or tender father and son times, then I was Daddy, especially when he was four and five, even six,” Jack answered.

“You can be Daddy if you want, Jack,” Daniel offered with sincerity and loads of love in his voice and eyes.

“No, Angel, I think you're the perfect fit for that name.  Let's leave it how we decided,” Jack suggested.

====

After lunch, Jack found his husband staring at the fish tank, self-hugging.  That usually meant something was wrong, or the archaeologist was feeling a bit insecure about something.  Jack approached his soulmate from behind, wrapping his arms around Daniel.  He kissed his nape, and as he did so, Daniel began to caress the hands that were engulfing him in an embrace of strength and love.

“A dollar for 'em,” Jack offered.

“A whole dollar?” Daniel asked, letting out a tiny snort of surprise.

“Just a hunch that it's a biggie,” the older man replied, kissing the top of Daniel's shoulder.

As he leaned back into his spouse, Daniel asked, “Jack, do you think the girls will be jealous of ... the children? I mean, oh, geez, Jack, I'm so used to calling the dogs our children.  I'm not sure I can stop that.”

“Why try?” Jack asked.  “It'll be fine.  Remember what I said?”

“What's that?” the younger man asked.

“Stop worrying!” the older man ordered, squeezing Daniel to him in emphasis.

“Oh,” Daniel responded, still full of concern, worry, and anxiety.

Jack continued, “Danny, we're not there yet, but when we do get there, the girls, the beagles, will love our human kids, and vice versa.  The trick is to love them all, and make sure each knows how precious they are to us.  Trust me, Love.”

“I always do, Jack,” Daniel answered honestly as their hands joined and entwined as one.

“Angel, why don't we ...” Jack nodded towards the stairs behind them.

“Yes, why don't we ...” Daniel began, his smile completing his sentence as he turned to face his lover.

Bijou and Katie ran past the couple, moving speedily to the front door.  Their tails were wagging wildly, and they had big smiles of expectation on their faces.

“Jack.”

The older man sighed, “Danny, if we can't resist two dogs, our human children are going to be able to get away with murder.”

“But, Jack ...”

Groaning, Jack advised, “Daniel, be strong.”

Bijou and Katie lay down in front of the door, both looking as dejected as they could muster.

“They'll understand. They're spoiled enough,” Jack opined as he pulled the younger man's shirt from out of his pants, where it had been neatly tucked and began a kiss that was anything but passive.

Daniel returned the passionate kiss, his tongue eagerly dancing with Jack's, his fingers gliding through the fine strands of Jack's hair at the base of the older man's neck.

Jack took a deep breath as he looked into Daniel's eyes not more than a minute later and asked, “You knew I'd cave, didn't you?”

“The whole time,” Daniel acknowledged.  His smile turned swiftly into a grin as he expressed his joy.  “I love you, Jack.”

“It's bad enough that you have me wrapped around your little finger,” Jack remarked as he walked over to get the dog's harnesses, “but the girls, too.  Geez, and I'm supposed to be an intimidating military officer.”

Daniel laughed, taking Bijou's harness to put it on her as Jack put on Katie's, both dogs again wildly wagging their tails in anticipation of their family outing.

“Okay, let's go,” Jack said, adding, “Here, Daddy, you can take Pouty Puppy, Jr., and I'll take Mom.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Daniel laughed, opting to let the jab go by the wayside.

Jack was moderately disappointed that his lover hadn't retaliated.  Of course, then he realized that for Daniel, that had been the fun of letting the jab go -- driving Jack crazy by not making a retaliatory remark in return.

~It worked,~ Jack inwardly groaned.

Daniel opened the front door, but Jack stopped him before walking outside, instead turning to kiss Daniel again as their precious beagles watched.  The kiss was, by movie definitions, larger than life, big, powerful, all-consuming, and full of passion.

“It's a good life, Danny,” Jack happily stated as he faced his husband a second later.

“It's the best life, Jack,” Daniel responded.

“And, it can only get better and more full when we add to our family,” Jack spoke confidently.

Daniel smiled, and the two shared a more conservative kiss.  Then both men, feeling happy, content, and peaceful, walked out the front door with their children into the sunshine of the day to go on a family outing.  No, life just didn't get any better than this, at least not yet.

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