Diamonds in the Rough
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - June 18-19, 2011
Size: 20kb, short story
Written: December 16-17,20-21,31, 2005 Revised for consistency: September 7, 2007
Summary: It's Father's Day, and not everyone is happy about it.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) See end of fic for one more important note, included at the end of the fic so as to not spoil the reading for anyone.
2) 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.**
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: QuinGem, Claudia, Linda, Tamara, Heather!
Diamonds in the Rough
The Jackson-O'Neill madhouse was exactly that -- a madhouse.
Recent events had seen a number of injuries and illnesses, and for
other reasons as well, things were in a bit of an upheaval.
Still, the eleven children knew that a special day was just around the
corner, tomorrow, in fact -- Father's Day.
Secretly, various types of covert plotting and planning had been going on for quite a while, and the children were all grateful for their co-conspirators, who included Sam and Pete, Janet, Teal'c, and Mrs. Valissi. On this night before Father's Day, the children were huddled together in Jeff's room, wrapping their gifts and making their cards.
One child, however, sat unnoticed, fidgeting nervously with her hands. She fought hard to hold back the tears, determined not to let on that she was sad. The little girl didn't want to spoil the day for her new brothers and sisters.
Lulubelle Lewis Jackson-O'Neill was just six-and-a-half years old. She had been adopted by Jack and Daniel last November after being brought home as a stray by Jonny and Little Danny, who had found her at the zoo. The curly-haired brunette had been abused by her foster father and required great care, though the love of her new family meant that she was making great strides in healing her mental wounds.
With a fake smile on her face, Lulu quietly watched her siblings enthusiastically talking about their surprises for their parents.
“Dad and Daddy will love this,” Brianna said about her gift.
“We giving them special things, too,” Jenny said about the gift that she and Ricky were giving them.
Lulu looked over at the door, wanting to run out. Her tiny heart was aching. What no one in the room realized was that she hadn't been able to get anything for Jack and Daniel. She'd forgotten about Father's Day, and just a few weeks ago had indulged in getting herself new dance shoes. The expense had taken all of her saved-up allowance.
~I hate my shoes,~ the sad child now thought.
All of a sudden, Little Danny said something that caught her attention. David had just commented that he was glad he'd been able to save up enough for his special present.
Little Danny had responded, “It doesn't matter, David. Dad and Daddy no need things. They have us. We're their best gifts.”
Jennifer smiled and, as she helped Chenoa with her present, added, “Little Danny is right. Look, we've all gotten Dad and Daddy a lot of things here, and I'm the first to admit, presents are fun, but they'd be disappointed in us if we didn't remember and realize that what matters most is being together and how much we love each other.”
“You're right, Jen,” David agreed. “They'd be happy if we gave them Froot Loops.”
“Dad maybe, but for Daddy ...” Jeff began.
“Chocolate!” several scattered voices called out, laughing at the same time.
Lulu let out a tiny gasp. Her gasp gave way to a smile that turned into a grin. Quickly, she ran out of the room, hurrying downstairs. She had to find something, and she needed to find it fast.
“Lulu, no running,” Daniel called out from the kitchen.
“Sorry, Daddy,” Lulu responded, though apparently unable to stop her legs from moving in a sprint.
“Lulu, what did I say?” Daniel asked sternly.
“I'm sorry,” the little girl said again.
“You could hurt yourself, running around like that. I know you know better,” Daniel scolded.
“I do. I'm sorry, Daddy,” Lulu said, turning around and regrettably still moving too fast for her father's taste.
“Lulu, stop!” Daniel commanded, walking over and kneeling down.
“We have rules, and those rules are to protect you. If you can't stop running, you're going to have to go to your room. Do you understand?” Daniel asked.
“Yes,” Lulu answered quietly, nodding.
“Okay, no running,” Daniel reminded as he stood back up and returned to the kitchen.
“Don't run,” Lulu quietly scolded her legs before she dared to move.
Two seconds later, Lulu was running, all the way into the den. She stopped suddenly, seeing Jack standing in the middle of the room, apparently on the way out.
“Lulu, were you running just now?” Jack asked, having seen her come to a screeching halt along the wooden floor of the study.
“Dad, I need something,” Lulu answered evasively.
“Okay,” Jack said, deciding to let the running issue go for the moment. “What?”
Lulu looked around the room in desperation, finally seeing the object she remembered, a small gold box about five-by-three-by-two inches. She didn't recall what was in it, but she knew that Daniel had recently surprised Jack with a gift, and Jack had put the gift in his study.
“That!” Lulu answered, pointing at the box as it sat on Jack's desk.
“I'm sorry, Princess, but that's mine. If you really need a box, tomorrow we can go out and ...” Jack began.
“No, Dad. I need that one,” Lulu reiterated, pointing over at the box. “It's important.”
“Daddy gave me that. We'll get you one tomorrow. Come on, Lulu, scoot!” Jack said, turning her around and giving her a nudge in the direction of the door.
~But I need that one,~ the little girl silently sniffled. ~Has to be a special box.~
In despair, the youngster took off running and, to her misfortune, not only was Jack upset by it, but Daniel had walked into the living room in time to see it, too.
“Lulu!” both parents spoke in unison.
**I'll handle it, Jack. This is a repeat offense,** Daniel communicated. Seeing Jack's nod, Daniel said, “I'm sorry, Lulu. You're on time out. Go to your room, and stay there until Dad or I come up and tell you it's okay. Go on.”
Obediently, Lulu walked upstairs, her heavy heart finally stopping her disobedient legs from running.
The house was dark as the clock struck two in the morning, but not everyone was asleep. With her eyes red from the tears she'd cried underneath her covers, Lulu quietly got out of bed. Making sure she didn't wake Chenoa, with whom she shared what had been the nursery, Lulu slowly walked out of the bedroom and went downstairs into the study.
Smiling to see the desired box was still there, Lulu took the box, carefully removing its contents, leaving it on the top of Jack's desk. She walked over to the sofa and climbed onto it, holding the box lovingly in the palms of her hands.
“I love you,” Lulu whispered as she prepared her very special present for her parents.
Sometime later, when she was done and had covered the box carefully, Lulu walked through the house to the projects room, where she knew some wrapping paper and bows were. Finding the white storage box alongside the wall, she opened it and found just what she wanted -- a large blue bow and red tape.
Diligently, Lulu wrapped the red tape around the length and then the width of the box. Then she took the adhesive bow and put it right in the center.
At peace now, the little girl carried her gift upstairs and hid it underneath her bed. Then she got under the covers and went to sleep, a smile on her face.
“LULU!” Jack bellowed as he entered the dance studio.
The little girl stopped mid-movement of her ballet step and stared at her father.
“That box is gone. Where is it?” Jack asked pointedly.
Lulu didn't want to lie, so she said nothing.
“Lulu, answer me,” Jack demanded.
After a family breakfast, Jack had gone into the study to enjoy his Neo-ritual, something he saved for special days. It was a time when he'd make a bowl of popcorn, grab a beer, and read the latest issue of the National Geographic, which was one of his favorite magazines. It was upon entering the study that he saw the gift Daniel had given him resting, boxless, on his desk.
“Lulu, I asked you a question,” Jack stated again. When she didn't answer, he sighed, “You're grounded. No dancing for one week; no television. Go to your room,” he ordered.
“Yes, Dad,” the little girl replied meekly, turning off the music she had been practicing to and then slowly leaving the room.
Jack sighed, knowing Lulu had just lied by omission. He felt frustrated and confused. It wasn't like the youngster to take something that didn't belong to her, but at the moment, there was nothing he could do about it. He hoped that Lulu spending time alone would convince her to open up about the box.
It was mid-afternoon, and the family was gathering around to celebrate the Father's Day holiday. Actually, Jack and Daniel had no clue why the children were suddenly congregating around them in the recreation room, but one by one, each with huge smiles on their faces, they began to enter.
The parents weren't that clueless about the day, but they had been led to believe that their family breakfast had been their present, since all the children had pitched in to prepare the meal, serve it, and then clean up afterwards. There'd also been a big card the children had made themselves as well, so both Jack and Daniel felt they'd had a marvelous day already.
**Jack, they're up to something,** Daniel said, turning off the movie the two were watching.
**Ya think?** Jack communicated as a grinning David entered the room.
Looking around, Jeff asked, “Where's Lulu?”
“She's in her room, Jeff. Why don't you go get her; tell her it's okay to come downstairs,” Jack instructed, knowing she was expected to be there for whatever was coming.
Each parent had attempted to talk to Lulu more than once that day already, but the little girl was like the proverbial clam -- she revealed absolutely nothing about her behavior or the missing box. The only response they had gotten from her was the wiping away of her tears.
“Here she is,” Jeff announced, returning with Lulu. “Okay, Kids!” he added, after which nine children ran back into the living room, returning seconds later, each holding a gift and shouting, “HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD AND DADDY!”
Jeff smiled and went to get his own gift while the surprised fathers hugged their children.
“This is from Ricky and me,” Jenny said, handing a gift-wrapped box to Jack and Daniel.
“Thank you,” Daniel said as he took the box, smiling brightly at the twins.
Over the next thirty minutes, the happy parents opened their gifts, surprised at both the ingenuity and imagination of their children at having been able to acquire the items. Of course, they knew without asking that the children's extended surrogate family had helped to pull it off.
After hugs and kisses of thanks, the children returned to their play in other parts of the house. The last to leave was Lulu, who gave her parents a small smile and thanked them for letting her come downstairs to watch.
“Yeah, I noticed,” Jack sighed.
“She bought her shoes not long ago, remember?” Daniel said.
“She probably forgot about Father's Day,” the older man surmised. “After all, that last son of a ...”
“Jack!” Daniel warned, afraid one of the children might be lurking and overhear.
“She didn't have a reason to remember last year, and she's only six,” Jack excused.
“And a half. Never forget the half. Lulu says it's very important,” Daniel reminded, recalling the handful of reprimands they'd already had about her age.
Jack nodded; then sighed, “Any ideas?”
“Not yet. Let's, uh ...” Daniel paused, still deciding on the best course of action. “Jack, we don't want her to feel bad.”
“Maybe we shouldn't say anything,” Jack suggested.
“Not today, but tomorrow. Jack, maybe that's why she's misbehaved this weekend. She's crying out, but no one heard her,” Daniel put forth.
Jack let out a doubtful sound as he smacked his lips together and said, “I don't know, Danny. Why wouldn't she tell Jen, or Noa?”
“I don't know. Scared? Jack, we're talking about Lulu,” Daniel stated, his eyes saying much more than the words.
Nodding, Jack put his arms around his husband and replied, “Let's give her the benefit of the doubt, Angel. We'll talk to her tomorrow, take her off restriction, and hope it's all tied together. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” Daniel said as he leaned into his soulmate's hold. “We have the greatest children, Jack.”
“We sure do!”
It was after 11 p.m., and Jack and Daniel were just getting settled in their bed, their children having gone to bed long ago. As they got comfortable, they heard a tiny knock.
“Come in,” Jack called out, wondering which child had gotten back up.
Slowly, the bedroom door opened and in walked Lulu, her hands behind her back. Her cat, Calico, trailed behind, but then leaped onto the bed, purring as she stretched out against Jack's right leg.
“Princess, are you okay?” Jack inquired. ~And what is it about me that cats like so dang much?~
With a big smile on her face, the little girl explained, “Dad, Daddy, I'm sorry I was bad, but I wanted to get you something special for Father's Day. It's very special, and I didn't want to give it to you in front of the others.”
**She's afraid we won't like it,** Daniel commented.
**Where'd she get the money?** Jack asked.
**Aunt Sam, Aunt Sara, Aunt Cassie, Teal'c -- should I go on?**
**No!** Jack smiled and replied, “Lulu, your love is all Daddy and I need.”
Grinning, Lulu revealed her present, holding it as if it were a prized treasure.
“This is for you. I love you, Dad and Daddy!” the little girl exclaimed, her grin bigger than ever.
“Oh, Sweetie,” Daniel responded. **Jack, that's the ...**
**Yeah, the box your gift was in,** the older man completed, immediately recognizing the gold box.
At her parents signal, Lulu handed over the gift and climbed up onto their bed, sitting between them as they sat up, their backs against the headboard. She smiled at Calico, petting her for a split second before turning back to see her parents' reaction to her gift.
“Here, Danny, you open it,” Jack encouraged.
“Okay,” Daniel agreed, smiling at Lulu as he took the box, examining it by habit for a moment.
**It's pretty light; can't be much,** Jack commented.
Daniel opened the box and stared. He looked at Jack, who seemed to be as clueless as he was.
Out of desperation and a hunch, Daniel put on a huge smile and said, “Lulu, it's wonderful. It's all I could ever ask for. Isn't it, Jack?”
Covertly, Daniel elbowed his lover, who was eyeing the apparently empty box with a confused look on his face.
“Uh, yeah,” Jack mumbled. “It's the best present ever, Little Bit.”
“You really like it? It took me such a long time,” Lulu commented as if exhausted from her labors.
“It's perfect,” Daniel said softly.
Excitedly, Lulu said, “I put a whole year's worth in there. I had to get a piece of paper and count. I double-checked it, though, 'cause I didn't want to be short.”
“Sounds like a lot of work,” Daniel responded sympathetically, though he still had no idea what their daughter had done.
“Took hours. I was tired, but now, whenever you need one, you can have a kiss, just from me,” Lulu said proudly.
“A kiss,” Daniel whispered, looking at the box.
“Don't spill it, Daddy,” Lulu advised, seeing the box tilt a little.
“No, I won't do that,” Daniel promised in a whisper as he straightened his hold on the gold box.
Jack quietly said, “So you put three-hundred and sixty-five kisses into the box?”
“Na-huh. Put that twice, so you and Daddy both have kisses all year long. Do you really like it?” the little girl asked again.
With misty eyes, Jack pulled Lulu to him, hugging her tightly.
“Little Bit, this really is the best present Daddy and I have ever gotten, except for the love of you and your siblings,” Jack spoke with a cracked voice.
“We'll, uh, take very good care of this,” Daniel assured as he gingerly closed the box and set it on the nightstand. “In fact, we'll ... we'll keep it right here all the time.” When Lulu leaped into his arms, he instantly enveloped her in warm hug and choked out a very emotional, “I love you, Lulu.”
“Princess, why didn't you ask Jen or one of the others for help?” Jack asked.
“I forgot about Father's Day,” Lulu sighed. “I got my shoes, and I was afraid to tell them I didn't have any money, but then I thought about kisses because you like kisses.”
“That we do,” Daniel agreed.
“Dad, I buy you another box for Daddy's present in the study,” Lulu offered.
“No, Lulu, it's okay, and you're not grounded,” Jack stated. “Dancing and TV privileges are restored, too.”.
“Can I sleep with you tonight?” Lulu asked.
“You sure can,” Jack answered, getting a nod from his husband.
Minutes later, Lulu was sound asleep, a smile on her face as she lay between Jack and Daniel, Calico moving to nestle between her arm and Jack.
The two men looked at each other as they used their non-verbal communication to talk.
**She was running because she was so excited, looking for that box,** Daniel surmised.
**And I punished her. She told me it was important, Danny, but I didn't even give her chance to explain why,** Jack replied.
**She probably wouldn't have told you. Babe, I think we need to talk to Jeff and Jen.**
**I agree. One of them should have paid more attention to Lulu's situation,** Jack commented. **I know they're just teenagers, but still.**
**Actually, Jack, we only need to mention it; they'll feel bad enough once they find out.**
**You're right, Angel,** Jack agreed.
**Look at her, so happy now,** Daniel said silently, smiling as he leaned over to place another kiss on her forehead. “She's beautiful,” he added out loud.
“A real princess,” Jack agreed, leaning over to kiss her, too. “I love you, Danny.”
“And I love you, and you, too, Lulu. Sleep, Princess,” Daniel whispered, adding, “And thank you so much for a box of kisses. Thank you ... for reminding us of the power of love.”
“We love you,” Jack reiterated softly.
Lulu let out a pleased sound, her smile a grin, some part of her hearing the love being expressed to her.
“Happy Father's Day, Love,” Jack said to his husband.
“Happy Father's Day, My Love,” Daniel echoed.
There would be more days of celebration and more gifts to receive, but their box of kisses would make this Father's Day one that Jack and Daniel Jackson-O'Neill would never forget.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Extra Note: This fic was inspired by a story going around the Internet called, “Gold Wrapping Paper.” No author is attached to the small story, but upon reading it, it simply cried out to become part of the J/D universe, especially where Lulu is concerned. There are a couple of different versions of the story on the Internet, and anyone wanting to read the story or its variations can simply do a search for 'Gold Wrapping Paper', and it should immediately pop up.
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