Cream Cheese

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - January 8, 2013
Spoilers:  None
Size:  11kb, ficlet
Written:  February 12-13,19,23,27, 2008
Summary:  Just like a pencil needs an eraser, bread needs butter, and Jack needs Daniel, a bagel needs cream cheese.
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) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Tammy, Tonya, Melissa, Linda, Lil Bear, Keri!

Cream Cheese
by Orrymain

“Daniel, where's the cream cheese?” Jack snapped as he searched the refrigerator.

“Second shelf where it always is,” the younger man answered.

“No, it's not,” the older man groused.

“We must be out.  Put it on the grocery list.”

“That doesn't help me now,” the grizzly bear growled.

“What?” Daniel asked, turning to face his lover.

Holding up the item in his hand as he stood by the refrigerator, Jack asked, “What's a bagel without cream cheese?  Blick, blug, yuck.”

Laughing, Daniel replied, “You could just eat the bagel, Babe.”

“Are you nuts?”

“Not since MacKenzie drugged me,” Daniel joked, laughing until he saw the stare of admonishment.  “Sorry.”

“Daniel, come on.  It's Food 101.  You can't have a bagel without having cream cheese, too,” Jack insisted, tossing the bagel onto the counter and walking away.

“Whatever you say,” Daniel chuckled, amused by the entire conversation.

====

Later that morning, Jack found himself all alone in the family home.  It was a temporary afternoon reprieve until dinnertime when the house would become a zoo again.  Uncharacteristically, he decided to go upstairs and play with Bagel, the family's New Zealand rabbit, for a bit.

“Hey, Bagel.  Wanna come out and play?” Jack asked as he opened the latch and took out the white bunny.  After trying to both feed and play with the rabbit, he was becoming a bit concerned.  Bagel just wasn't interested in their games and frolicking like she usually was.  ~Hmmm.  She's being finicky today.~

The more Jack tried to commune with the animal, the odder he felt.  Something was wrong.  He just didn't know what.

In a bit of an inner panic, though he'd never admit it, Jack put Bagel in her traveling cage and headed for the family vet.

====

“Jack, knowing how you feel about animals, you aren't going to like this,” Pam Lawrence, the veterinarian spoke.  “Actually, you'll pretend not to like it and then just complain a lot,” she teased.

“Pam, when did you become an expert on me and animals?”

“Once your zoo took in Mittens.  After that, it was hard not to pick up on that particular trait,” the woman smirked.

Jack growled appropriately before asking, “What's the diagnosis?” as he looked down at Bagel.

“Bagel's lonely,” the vet answered, trying not to laugh at the confused look on Jack's face.

“Lonely?  Pam, the house is full of people and animals.”

“But there's only one rabbit, Jack, and rabbits need rabbits.”

“Isn't that a song?” Jack snapped, thinking about the famous song, 'People'.

As she rubbed her hand against Bagel in a gentle motion, Pam chuckled, “Jack, the need for companionship is important to all of us, including rabbits.  Even wild rabbits need to live in groups.  They work together and cooperate in doing what they need to survive and raise their young.  A human being fills that need for companionship to a point, but it's not the same as having another rabbit to bond with.  Imagine Bijou without Katie, or vice versa.  They'd be healthy, happy dogs, but nowhere near the level of daily happiness that they have together.”

“Bagel needs a playmate,” Jack sighed.  “One of her own kind.”  ~Crap.~

Smiling as she continued to pat the creature, Pam affirmed, “Once they bond, two rabbits are rarely out of each other's sight, and they talk to each other constantly, though not so much with sounds as with movements.  Look, Bagel loves you and your family, but she is lonely.  Her bond with you is deep, but you can't understand what she's missing.”

“Yes, I can,” Jack said, thinking about how empty life would be without Daniel, even with a dozen children and a large animal kingdom surrounding him.  “Where do I find another rabbit?”

“Well, if you're serious, a farmer turned over some rabbits to me last week, and I've been looking for homes for them, and *don't* look at me like that.  I did not make any of this up.  If you don't believe me about rabbits and bonded pairs, go look it up on the internet or call another vet,” Pam challenged upon seeing Jack's skeptical glare.

“Are they wild?”

“No.  Their daughters wanted some rabbits, but then they got bored with them, and I guess, as a way to teach them a lesson about obligations, the father decided to give them away.  I'm not sure of the details, but I do know, they are perfectly healthy.  One of them is a year or so younger than Bagel.  She's a black Holland Lop rabbit.  Hollands are the smallest of the lop-eared rabbits, growing to an average of three to four-and-a-half pounds.  I think Bagel will just love her.  She's very sweet.  Shall we introduce them?”

====

The house was suddenly full of Jackson-O'Neills as the children ran in after being dropped off by their various caregivers for the day.  The influx of children all happened in a matter of about three minutes.

Daniel had just walked in with Aislinn and Jenny when Jonny ran down the stairs, shouting, “Bagel had a baby!”

“What?” a slew of young voices called out in amazement.

“Uh, Jonny, that's not possible,” Daniel responded.

“Well, she didn't exactly have a baby,” Jack said with a guilty look.

“What?” the younger father questioned.  “Uh, Jack?”

Excitedly, the children ran upstairs.  Daniel stared at his husband, who hadn't said a word and was working hard on avoiding looking him in the eye.  With a confused but curious sigh, the archaeologist followed the children to the boys' room where the rabbit cage was set up.

“It's a new cage, too,” Aislinn pointed out immediately upon entering the room.

“It's a double-decker,” David observed about the two-story rabbit hutch that had a ramp in it, allowing the rabbits to go up and down as they wanted to.

“That's not a baby rabbit,” Jenny stated.  “He's too big.”

“She,” Jack corrected.

“Babe?” Daniel called out curiously.  “Is there something you'd like to tell us?”  ~And by 'us', I mean me.  I thought we shared decisions in this house!~

“Look, here's the deal.  Earlier today, I noticed Bagel was a little lethargic.  She wasn't interested in my breadcrumbs.  I took her to see Pam, and Pam said she needed a bunny friend.”

“Two by two, Dad,” Ricky stated.

“Huh?” Jack asked.

“Noah and the Ark,” Ricky responded.  “Animals went two by two, not one by one.”

“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged.  Looking at Daniel, he smirked, “What's a bagel without cream cheese?”

“That's what we'll name her!” Chenoa giggled.

“What's what we'll name her?” Daniel asked.

“Cream Cheese,” Lulu giggled, knowing that's what her sister was thinking.

“Hi, Cream Cheese,” Aislinn giggled.

“Why is it every animal we get is named after a food?” Jack sighed.

“'Cause we love food,” Jonny laughed.

“This is a great new house, Dad.  Thank you for getting it for them,” Little Danny spoke as he studied the new habitat.

“Softie,” Daniel said with a soft smile to his husband.

“Well, you know, peanut butter needs jelly,” Jack stated a bit playfully.

“And Froot Loops need milk,” Daniel chuckled as he glanced at his husband.

“Cute, Danny,” Jack replied dryly.

“A fire truck needs its siren,” Jonny chimed in playfully while sticking a finger inside the lower level of the rabbit hutch.

“And monkeys need bananas,” Little Danny added.

“A singer needs a song,” Aislinn sang, bringing a smile to everyone's face.

“Just like ham needs cheese,” Jeff chuckled, deciding to participate in the word game that was occurring.

“And girls need diamonds,” Jennifer mused with a smile, sharing a smile with her teenage brother after catching Jack's glare for her airy, Marilyn Monroe-like voice as she'd made her statement.

“And Dad needs Daddy,” Jack crooned tenderly as he gazed at his soulmate.

“And Daddy needs Dad, so much,” Daniel replied lovingly.

The kids all smiled at the exchange of affection and then quickly continued on with their verbal word game.

As David was delivering the next what-needs-what line, Brianna walked up to her older father, nudging his arm as she said, “Dad, I thought you said no more pets.”

Jack smiled down at his tomboyish daughter and smirked, “Sometimes when I say things, I don't really mean them.”

“Ya think?” Daniel laughed, imitating his lover and then shaking his head at the comment.

“Does that mean we can get a dolphin?” Brianna asked with the straightest face she could muster.

Jack took a deep breath so that he could reply loudly, but then he just smiled and asked, “What do you think?”

“No.”

“I always knew you were a smart one, Bri,” Jack responded, patting the girl on her shoulder.

Smiles on their faces, the Jackson-O'Neills spent the rest of the night getting to know Cream Cheese.  As he watched, Jack observed that Bagel did seem happier.  It was a lot of little things that caused him to believe that, and he could definitely see and hear it by the rabbits' actions and chatter.  He looked over at Daniel and smiled.

“What?”

“I love you, Angel.”

Daniel cocked his head, not quite sure what was behind that declaration, but he smiled as he responded, “I love you, too.”

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