Category: Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - January 13-22 , 2014
Size: 21kb, ficlet
Written: May 8-11,16,18 2008
Summary: Ricky becomes Captain Nice. The question is why?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Tammy, Melissa, Bernice, Linda, Keri!
Jenny and Ricky were chatting gaily with some friends at a month-long
gymnastics camp the two were attending. They would go for two
hours per session, twice a week. At the moment, the class was in
a transition as some of the older children were finishing up their more
Suddenly, Ricky gasped at the same time a girl screamed and a big thump was heard. He and the other children stood up and ran forward, stopping when the adult instructors called out to them.
“He's okay,” one of the adults assured the youngsters, though he really didn't know for sure.
“What did he do?” Jenny asked, having not been looking in the direction of the injured child when the accident had occurred.
“He fell off the balance beam,” Ricky answered, his eyes glued on the boy, who he didn't really know personally but had seen before at the gym center.
“Children, let's go to the playroom,” another of the adults urged, ushering the kids into another area of the facility. “Ricky, come on, please,” she called, seeing him lagging behind.
“Ricky, let's go play on the swings,” Jenny suggested when they arrived home after their gym class had ended.
“I'll push you this time --- waaaay up!”
“I'll push you, Jenny,” Ricky replied, following his twin outside. “Hi, Daddy.”
“Hi,” Daniel greeted, a bit surprised that he hadn't gotten a huge smile to accompany the hug the boy had just given him before going outside. “Jack?”
“There was a little accident at the gym,” Jack advised.
“One of the kids from the older class didn't listen to the instructor. He tried a dismount he'd never done before.”
“They have padding.”
“Yep, but the kid lost it, ended up dismounting over to the right. His foot landed at the edge of the pad. He's okay; just a sprain they said.”
Looking towards the backyard, Daniel observed, “Jenny didn't seem upset.”
“She's not, and Ricky's fine, too. I think he just feels sorry for the kid,” Jack stated. “Where are the dancers? Time's a wastin'.”
“In the dance studio, practicing. They ...”
Jack and Daniel headed for the studio to continue with the next event on their agenda for the day.
“Boys, get a move on!” Jack shouted the next day, his voice carrying throughout the upstairs level.
“Jack, once and for all. We have an intercom. Use it!” Daniel warned, sighing when his lover just shrugged and smiled innocently.
Some of the couple's children were already gone, and Jack and Daniel were just waiting for the rest to gather together in the entranceway so they could both begin running their errands for the day.
“Sorry,” Little Danny apologized when he appeared from around the corner.
“Yeah. We were talking with Captain Nice,” Jonny advised as he stood by his brother.
“Captain Ni...ce?” Jack asked, surprised when Ricky suddenly appeared.
“Captain Nice, good morning,” Daniel greeted lightheartedly, quickly picking up on Ricky's new persona.
“Good morning, Daddy. Good morning, Dad. I'm ready to save the world,” Ricky announced.
The little boy was sporting a costume that Jennifer had made for him to wear for a skit in a family talent that they'd recently held. It was intentionally a bit campy as it was designed after a television character from a late 1960's comedy series. In fact, the super hero attire appeared to resemble pajamas in its makeup.
The white top had gold stars on it and the words 'Captain Nice' printed in big, navy blue letters on the front. The bottoms were white, too, with one-inch thick red, vertical stripes. A gold belt buckle with the initials 'CN' on it cinched the pants, and over his eyes, Ricky wore a pair of goggles. Accompanying the white tennis shoes, a body-length blue cape with red interior completed the ensemble.
The parents shared a brief look, and then Jack shrugged.
“Let's go. It's a big world,” Daniel quipped.
“Ricky, you need to get dressed,” Aislinn admonished when she saw her younger brother coming down the stairs.
“I'm Captain Nice, Ash, and I'm gonna do good.”
“Oh. Okay,” Aislinn replied, accepting the answer.
“We'll meet you at McDonald's in three hours,” Daniel said.
“Copy that, Babe,” Jack acknowledged and then kissed his husband goodbye.
With each man taking charge of his designated group of children for their outings, Jack and Daniel went to their vehicles and began their tasks.
“Mommy, look,” a little girl giggled, pointing at Ricky.
“I'd say his parents didn't bother to get him dressed this morning,” the mother replied.
“Darn!” another woman exclaimed, having just dropped the deposit slip she'd been holding.
“Here, Lady,” Ricky said, hurrying over and picking up the dropped deposit slip and returning it to the woman.
“Thank you,” the woman responded, smiling at the boy.
As Ricky returned to his older father and siblings, he heard murmuring from other customers in the bank. For a moment, he clung to his father's leg.
Finally, having taken an encouraging breath, Lulu walked a few feet over to the gossipers and scolded, “My brother is Captain Nice. He's doing nice things for people today. Have you done anything nice for a stranger today?” As the stunned woman just stared, the little girl questioned pointedly, “And are you being nice by gossiping about him?”
Jack grinned. He looked down and saw Ricky's smile. The boy seemed re-energized by his older sister's dressing down of the woman. As if to back that up, he ran over to the big doors and opened them as a senior citizen, using a walker, was about to reach them.
The general was also proud of Lulu for continuing to come out of her shell, and he made a mental note to share the incident with his husband later that day.
“Have a *nice* day, Ma'am,” the super hero wished with a bright smile.
“Thank you, little boy,” the elderly woman responded appreciatively.
“See!” Lulu snapped challengingly and then she returned to Jack's side.
“You have some nervy children,” one of the ladies whined to Jack.
“Ma'am, I have very respectful and caring children who love and protect each other. I'm very proud of them,” Jack responded. “Captain Nice here is setting a ... nice example. Maybe you can learn from him. Kids, it's our turn,” he said, seeing the light turn green, indicating a window was now available.
For the next several days, Captain Nice was always ready for action. He opened doors, picked up trash, brought water to people waiting in lines, retrieved dropped pens, papers, and handkerchiefs, and did all other sorts of nice things for family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Wherever he was, Captain Nice was on the job.
Ricky wore his costume, sometimes with the goggles and sometimes not, all day, every day, except for when he went to bed. He did super hero feats during playtime, pretending to fly and fend off evil doers.
“Babe, we need to figure out why he's doing this,” Daniel said as he and his lover talked in the study.
Leaning against the edge of his desk, Jack agreed, “Any ideas?”
“No. I don't mind that he's a ... super hero. He's not taking risks; he's just playing, but there must be a reason behind it.”
“Okay, let's talk this through,” Jack suggested. “He's not confusing reality and Captain Nice.”
“No, he's not. He knows he's Ricky and that he's just a little boy. He answers to his name, and he's not trying to,” Daniel shrugged as all kinds of crazy things ran through his mind, “fly off the patio or anything.”
“The couple of times I've asked him to stop with the persona, he's done it,” Jack pointed out.
“Okay, so he's not confused,” Daniel reiterated.
“Or aggressive with his super hero powers,” Jack pointed out.
“So, nothing dangerous is going on here,” Daniel deduced from the couple's conversation and observations. Chewing on his lower lip as he thought about options, he suggested, “I think we need some help.”
“Syl?” Jack asked about the family's private personal physician.
“Bye, Doctor Syl!” Ricky stated, waving as he picked up his cape and flared it around. “I'm gonna go fly now.”
“Don't hit any birds!” Doctor Sylvia Preston quipped, smiling brightly as the boy hurried out of the study to join some of his siblings in the backyard.
“Well?” Jack prompted.
“When was Captain Nice born?” Sylvia asked.
“About a week ago,” Daniel responded.
“Anything special happen?”
“No,” Daniel answered, though his tone of voice was unconvincing.
“Daniel?” the doctor questioned.
“I don't know. I can't really think of anything,” the archaeologist sighed.
“Children often take on super hero personalities, but it doesn't usually last for long. Ricky seems to understand that he's playing, but if there's more to it, it's important for us to find out. Think, fellas,” Sylvia urged. After a brief pause, she put forth, “He might be afraid of something. Being Captain Nice could be helping him to overcome a fear. Any ideas there?”
“Except for Jenny and grasshoppers, our kids have never been afraid of anything,” Jack stated, almost regretting that since it meant the brood often engaged strangers in 'battle' when he wished they'd be more cautious.
“That could be part of the problem, and the explanation,” Sylvia replied.
“Excuse me?” a confused Daniel queried.
“Your kids are brave. In his mind, maybe he thinks his siblings wouldn't approve of his fear.”
“Or us,” Daniel sighed, suddenly realizing he may have stumbled on to the reason.
“It could be.”
“Wait a minute,” Jack interjected. “Why would he suddenly be afraid of something? Nothing's happened around here that ...”
“Not around here,” Daniel interrupted, reaching out and gripping the other man's arm. “Jack, the gym center.”
“That accident you told me about.”
“Daniel, tell me about it,” Sylvia requested.
“I wasn't there, but when Jack picked up the twins from their gym class last week, one of the instructors told him about an accident one of the older children had.”
“Some kid thought he could fly; he was wrong; sprained his ankle in the process,” Jack elaborated. “Ricky saw it.”
“And ...” Daniel said, realization hitting him full force, causing him to squeeze Jack's arm which he was still holding. “Jack, Ricky said he wasn't feeling well and missed the second class last week, and this week Jenny told us he just watched and didn't participate very much. The instructors didn't push him because they assumed he might still be sick.”
“Daniel, he wasn't sick. We let him stay home, but Captain Nice spent the afternoon ...”
“... playing leap frog with JD for two hours in the backyard,” Daniel completed.
“Trying to convince himself he wasn't afraid,” Sylvia added. “Guys, I think we've found the problem.”
“He's afraid of getting hurt?” Jack asked skeptically.
“No,” Sylvia said, shaking her head. “You said he saw the accident? What was the boy doing?”
“Dismounting the balance beam.”
“And Captain Nice is always talking about flying around as he saves the world. Guys, I'd say Ricky's either afraid of falling or afraid of heights,” the physician opined.
“So, what do we do?”
“Captain Nice, it's story time,” Jack called out the next afternoon.
“Hurry, Captain Nice,” Jenny called out enthusiastically as she jumped up on the bed.
“Can we listen, too?” Lulu asked as she and Chenoa were walking by.
“The more the merrier,” Jack chuckled. “Hey, why don't you two read the story to the Spitfires?”
Lulu and Chenoa grinned as they nodded their heads, and then Jack handed the book to Lulu.
Once in position, Lulu began saying, “This book is called, 'The Giraffe Who Was Afraid of Heights' by David A. Ufer.”
Jack watched carefully from the corner of the room. He watched Ricky squirming a little at the beginning of the tale, but then the boy seemed to focus more until he actually asked to read the last couple of pages himself.
“That was a good story,” Jenny stated when Ricky closed the book.
“Let's talk about the story,” Jack said, walking forward to lead the children in what he felt could be a pivotal discussion for the male Spitfire. “What do we know about giraffes?”
“They're very tall,” Jenny said. She giggled, “It's bad to be tall and be afraid of heights.”
“What about the hippo? He was afraid of water,” Lulu pointed out.
“And the monkey was afraid of climbing trees,” Chenoa added.
Ricky listened, but he wasn't contributing to the discussion much. Still, for the next half-hour, Jack and the children talked about the story, reviewing it and discussing how the animals mentioned in the story had once been afraid, but had eventually conquered their fears.
“They were very brave,” Chenoa asserted.
“Yes, they were,” Jack agreed. “Okay, time for some sunshine. Let's go outside and play for a while.” As the children began to walk out of the upstairs library where the story time had occurred, Ricky lagged behind. “Son?”
Turning around, Ricky asked, “Dad, does it hurt if you fall down?”
Jack walked over to his soon and kneeled down in front of him, saying, “Yes.” He wouldn't lie; he couldn't lie. “But it doesn't last long. Ricky, pain is a part of life. I wish it wasn't because no one likes to be hurt, but it's just part of living. The best part is, once you fall and know what that pain is like, it'll never be that bad again.”
“Okay,” Ricky stated, turning around and leaving Jack wondering if he'd blown it by answering the question wrong.
The next day at the gym, Daniel watched Jenny tumbling and smiled. She was excelling in the gymnastics program and having a great time. He looked over at Ricky, who was staring at the balance beam in the distance. It wasn't something that his age group used, at least, not in his particular class, but the boy's eyes were glued to it. He walked over to his son and kneeled down.
“Ricky, would you like to look at the balance beam?”
Still dressed in his Captain Nice costume, Ricky nodded, so Daniel took him by the hand and led him over to the apparatus.
“That's a long way up, Daddy,” Ricky observed about the height from the narrow balance beam board to the padded floor.
“It's about four-a-half-feet,” Daniel said. “Do you want to stand on it?”
“Will you hold me?”
“Sure, I will,” Daniel said, carefully lifting the boy so that he could stand on the beam. His hold was secure and firm, and he made sure Ricky felt safe every second. Then a thought occurred to him. With a steady and somewhat playful voice, he asked, “Captain Nice, how about coming in for a landing?”
“I'll be your co-pilot.”
Ricky bit his lip as he stared down at the padding under the beam. From his point of view, it looked as if he were on top of a big mountain looking down into a valley hundreds of feet below, but it was really just a few feet to the floor.
“Okay, now, I'm your co-pilot, so I'm going to stay right on your six,” Daniel said, using fun terms that were very familiar to the youngster and should be reassuring to him. “On three. One ... two ... three.”
Daniel essentially carried the boy off the beam to a firm landing on the mat below.
“Great landing, Captain Nice!”
Ricky grinned and replied, “That's because I have the best co-pilot in the whole wide world.”
Smiling, Daniel asked if Ricky wanted to do it again. Getting a nod, the father and son repeated the flight six more times. Each time, Daniel held on tight and guided the little boy to a smooth landing.
“Daddy, if I fall, will it hurt?”
Jack had mentioned the question to Daniel the night before. The general had been uncertain about his choice in responding, and now the archaeologist was having to make the same decision. Before he could answer, an instructor and a couple of the older children approached, as it was just about time for their session to begin.
“Hey, kid,” one boy said. “Nice outfit.”
Ricky recognized the boy as the one who'd been injured in his fall.
“Does that hurt?” Ricky asked, forgetting to say 'hello' first.
“Nah, it's nothin'.”
“I saw you fall. I bet that hurt a lot.”
“I was stupid,” the boy said. “I knew better,” he admitted, looking at his instructor apologetically. “You gonna do the beam when you're older?”
“It hurt a lot, huh?”
“Only for a couple of minutes,” the boy responded. “I can't wait until I can get on again, though.”
“Uh, excuse me,” Daniel interrupted. “So, what you're saying is that it did hurt, but that's okay.”
“Sure. My pride hurt more than my ankle. Like I said, I was just stupid, but I love the beam. They don't let guys do it in the Olympics, but it's my favorite cycle,” the boy put forth about the various gymnastic activities. The boy saw Daniel's look, and he had a hunch there was a problem with the child in front of him. “Kid, are you scared of the beam?”
“Na-huh,” Ricky answered truthfully. Then he bowed his head and admitted, “I'm afraid of falling and getting hurt. I saw you when you got hurt.”
“Oh,” the boy said, looking over at his instructor for a second. He knelt down on one knee to be eye level with the younger boy he'd never noticed before. “Ever had a shot; you know, a vaccination or something?”
“Did it hurt?”
“Only for a second,” Ricky said. “I close my eyes now and think about my Etch-a-Sketch.”
“Oh,” the boy said. “Uh, ever fall down and skin your knee?”
“Sure! Lots. We run and play all the time.”
“But you get right back up and keep on running, right?” the surprisingly wise boy asked.
“Yeah. Why not?”
“No reason. So, ever play basketball and get hit in the head, or jam your thumb against the ball?”
“Ouch!” Ricky exclaimed, recalling times when both things happened to him.
“So, you don't play basketball anymore?”
“Yes, I do.”
“But it hurt,” the boy reminded Ricky.
“Just for a minute,” Ricky argued. Then he blinked. He looked up at his younger father, then over at the instructor, then at the other nodding students, and finally back at the boy. “Just for a minute,” he repeated. “Daddy, can you help me fly one more time?”
“Do you mind?” Daniel asked, aware they were interfering with the new session.
“Go right ahead,” the instructor spoke with understanding.
“Okay, Captain Nice, let's ...”
“Daddy, I'm just Ricky, okay?” the boy asked, removing the cape and goggles from his attire.
“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged. “I'll lead you down,” he said, picking the boy up and giving him a moment to steady himself on the beam. “Here we go!”
“Ricky, where's Captain Nice?” Jonny asked curiously when the Spitfire walked in for dinner that evening, now dressed in his regular play clothes.
The parents always had a spare set of clothing, one per child, in all of their vehicles. They'd learned from experience to always be prepared where their brood was concerned.
“He's inside all of us,” Ricky replied. “Guess what I did today?”
“What?” Chenoa questioned.
“I flew off the balance beam, with Daddy helping me,” Ricky answered. “When I get older, Mister Steve is gonna teach me how, and then I'm gonna do it all by myself.”
Jack and Daniel shared a smile. Their son had overcome a fear that had crept up on him without warning. They didn't know if he was totally over his fear of heights and being hurt, but they knew he was on the road to being victorious, and they were very proud of him for confronting his fears.
At the same time, both fathers knew that a little bit of fear was a good thing and would help keep their son safer. The truth was, even when Ricky was being Captain Nice, they were proud of him for being a good example to everyone and helping people out. To them, it didn't matter what name their son went by, because Ricky and Captain Nice were both great kids.
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