Category: Slash, Angst, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating: NC-17 (violence/intensity)
Season: Beyond the Series - November 1-3, 2016
Written: December 6-10,16-17,27, 2008
Summary: The horror of Lulu's past resurfaces, threatening the young girl's future.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
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) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “It's Raining ... Kids?”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Irina, Tammy, Ali, Carol, Claudia!
“Geez, where'd all this wind come from?” Jack asked his lover as they
worked outside, removing the Halloween decor that had adorned their
front yard for most of October.
“I know what you mean,” Daniel replied as the morning sun did it's best to shine down through the clouds on the hard workers. “This wind is unusually strong.”
“Where's Mary?” the older man asked.
“Who?” Daniel asked as he looked at his husband in confusion, trying to place the name.
“Mary Poppins,” Jack clarified. “It was gusting like this when she blew into town,” he mused.
Rolling his eyes, Daniel just shook his head and returned to work.
“Okay, so it's not Mary, ” Jack called out, having noticed his remark had not been responded to. “It's more like Mariah.”
“Jack, that's fiction.”
“Mariah, or rather Maria,” Daniel answered, referring to the variations of the name that he knew existed.
“I saw the movie, Daniel, and it said the wind was Mariah,” Jack argued even as the winds continued to blow.
“You believe everything you see in the movies?” the archaeologist challenged pointedly.
Pausing to consider the inquiry, Jack acquiesced, “Okay, but it has to be based on something.”
“It was. George R. Stewart's book, 'Storm' -- uh, 1941, I think,” Daniel stated. “The song was written ten years after the novel, and the novel was the first to name a wind. Actually, the book is what prompted the National Weather Service to start naming storms. They ...”
“I get it,” Jack interrupted, cutting off his lover's words. “Sure is windy today.”
Chuckling, Daniel responded, “Yes, it is.”
A few minutes passed as the couple worked diligently at their task. Then Jack paused, looking up and down the block. There was just something about this unusually windy day that gave him the creeps.
“There's something odd about this wind,” Jack opined uneasily as he looked around at the swaying branches of the trees. “It seems almost evil.”
“Witches winds,” Daniel stated. “Or if you want to go back to Babylonian times, you could say it's one of the seven evil spirits. Uh, the South wind is the first of the raging storms, ruthless demons, workers of evil ...”
“It's actually documented,” the archaeologist stated, deciding to stick with his first train of thought, ancient Chinese culture, instead of Babylonian mythology, which would take far longer to explain to his husband. “People report being restless, unable to sleep, being irritable, depressed,” he listed. “They even get physically sick.”
“And why is that?” Jack inquired, already beginning to wonder if he would soon regret having asked the query.
“Ions?” Jack repeated.
“Positive ions, to be exact,” Daniel answered. “They wreak havoc on our good senses and dispositions. Negative ions are the opposite, enhancing everything from our moods to, uh,” he grinned, “sex drives.”
“Bring on those negative ions,” Jack urged excitedly, leering at his soulmate.
“Why do you think Feng Shui is so popular?” Daniel responded with a smile. “It's literally wind and water.”
“Time to redecorate,” Jack mused.
“A fountain gets great results,” Daniel stated alluringly. “Falling water creates negative ions by splitting neutral particles of air, freeing electrons to manifest their, well, vitalizing function.”
Suddenly, Daniel found himself being totally devoured by his husband, right there by the front bushes.
“Babe, we're outside.”
“That can be rectified,” Jack stated between kisses. “Who needs Feng Shui?” he questioned rhetorically. “I've got you.”
“Hmmm. Ditto,” Daniel replied and then hurried inside the house and up the stairs to the master bedroom where he and his husband created all kinds of energizing ions that would vitalize them for the rest of the day.
Early that afternoon, inside the office of Doctor Corinne Cooper, the psychologist and Lulu were just finishing up another session.
“I always feel so guilty,” Lulu confessed.
“You shouldn't, Lulu,” the doctor replied with a confident smile. “Your fathers know that when you have one of these flashbacks that you aren't really afraid of them. You're back with Kevin. In those moments, he's the one you're afraid of.”
“It's just I never know what will make me flashback. They feel so bad when they realize they've frightened me.” Lulu sighed and said, “I love them so much, Doctor Cooper.”
“I know you do, and so do they,” Corinne responded. “What we need to work on is getting you to snap out of those moments a little quicker.”
“I do better now than when I was younger,” Lulu stated. “They used to have to reassure me a lot, but now I know I'm just remembering something with that man.”
“That's a tremendous amount of progress. The next time you flashback, try telling yourself to think about something positive instead. What makes you happy?”
Lulu thought and then grinned as she answered, “I'm getting too old now, but I love it when Dad carries us around on his shoulders. It's a little thing, but I've always liked it.”
“Okay, when you're doing your visualization exercises this week, I'd like you to practice thinking about being on your dad's shoulders, if a flashback occurs. Train your mind to go there on command. It's not easy, but you can do it.”
“I'll try,” Lulu promised as her session wound down.
Later that afternoon, at a neighborhood park, the Curly Tops, Chenoa and Lulu, were giggling as they secretly talked about one of the neighborhood boys. Lulu thought the boy was cute, but she wouldn't admit that she liked him. It wasn't her way. Though she shared everything with her sister, something inside of her still hesitated at the thought of liking a boy as more than just a friend.
As the sisters continued to giggle while sitting on the grass, they had about an hour to go before it would be time to return home and help prepare the evening meal.
In another section of the park, Daniel chatted with Mrs. Valissi, the two sitting on a park bench as they visited. Mrs. Valissi was holding the leash that kept her dog, Andie, close to her. Not too far away, Jonny and Aislinn were playing, with Bijou and Katie keeping guard.
Deciding that now was as good a time as any, Chenoa and Lulu stood up and began to run the perimeter of the park. As dancers, the eleven-year-olds wanted to keep in shape, and they'd decided to try out jogging, something both of their parents did with some regularity, especially their older father.
After having run the expanse of the park a couple of times, Chenoa realized that her sister was inexplicably slowing down. In fact, she had practically stopped, and Chenoa had unintentionally run several yards ahead of her.
“Lulu?” Chenoa called out, beginning to jog back to where her sister was standing. She grew alarmed when she realized that Lulu was staring off to the right at a man, who was casually walking towards her on the path. The man said something that Chenoa couldn't quite make out, but that made Lulu turn pale. She increased her pace and was soon at her sister's side. “Lulu?” she asked again, looking at the girl and then at the smirking man. “Lulu, let's go,” she instructed firmly, not liking what she was sensing.
“Nice seeing you, Lulu.”
The words sent chills down Chenoa's spine, especially since her sister was acting like a statue, barely breathing.
“Lulu, let's go,” Chenoa ordered. “Lulu, now!” she insisted, grabbing her sister's hand and tugging on her until the dark-haired girl finally followed her.
Holding Lulu's hand to make sure the girl kept running, Chenoa helped them to run as fast as they could.
“*Daddy!*” Chenoa shouted when the girls were close enough for Daniel to hear.
The slightly panicky tone in his daughter's voice caught Daniel's attention immediately.
“There's a man over there,” Chenoa warned urgently, pointing.
Daniel looked off into the distance, seeing a man looking in his direction, but he was too far away to make out the stranger's face. He took in Lulu's rigid posture and put a reassuring hand on each of the girl's shoulders.
“I'm not ...” Chenoa began.
“Kevin,” Lulu whispered. “It's Kevin.” She stood frozen, lost in the horror of her memories. ~He's gonna hurt me again.~
“Lulu!” Chenoa gasped, immediately putting her arms around her sister.
“Go!” Mrs. Valissi ordered. “Andie, alert!” she ordered, the large dog immediately going into protective mode. “Jonny, Aislinn, come here, please. Now!”
The Munchkins knew that tone. They also caught sight of the Curly Tops and recognized something was wrong. Not only that, but both saw their father dashing full speed across the park.
“Bijou, Daddy!” Jonny ordered, pointing in Daniel's direction.
“Grrrrr!” Bijou responded, taking off just as soon as Jonny had freed her from the leash.
Katie was barking furiously, wanting to help her mother, but knowing she needed to stay and protect Jonny and Aislinn. The beagle kept barking, nudging the Munchkins to move more quickly over to where the other family members were.
Just at the edge of the park, Daniel lunged forward, tackling the man to the ground. Though it wasn't an action he would normally have taken, the archaeologist believing in asking questions before committing any kind of violence, he'd seen the look on Lulu's face and he'd heard the terror in her voice. Regardless of the man's identity, Daniel felt he was a threat, and he had to act in order to protect his family.
Daniel turned the man over and hit him hard on the jaw in order to gain the advantage. Sitting on him, he held down the man's hands, utilizing all of his strength to keep the fighting man from pushing him off and leaving.
Bijou arrived on the scene and snapped at the man, growling angrily at him for disrupting the beautiful fall day her family was having at the park.
“Good girl, Bij,” Daniel praised. Breathing heavily, he focused on the man. He was older, but there wasn't any doubt. Daniel remembered him from the trial. It was Kevin Guyer, the man who had molested Lulu while she was in his care. Anger mounted within the archaeologist as he thought about the fact that Lulu was still recovering from Guyer's abuse. “What are you doing here?”
“Just visiting,” Guyer answered with an evil smirk on his face.
The man's evil expression brought Daniel to the brink of hitting him again. Only the knowledge that his children were nearby watching him was staying his hand.
“Stay away from my daughter,” Daniel warned, keeping the man restrained. “Bij, don't let him move.”
Having seen to it that Andie was protecting the others, Katie hurried over to assist her mother in guarding the man and keeping Daniel safe.
“They may be small, but their teeth are sharp, their jaws are strong, and they don't like you,” Daniel cautioned the man while reaching for his cell phone. “I wouldn't move if I were you.”
Carefully, his eyes still focused on Guyer, Daniel pressed his speed dial.
“Pete, this is Daniel.”
“More like what's down,” Daniel answered. “The answer is Kevin Guyer. Bij, Katie, and I have him ... down at the park. Pete, he confronted Lulu.”
“A unit will be on the way ASAP,” Pete promised. “I'm rolling, too.”
Not wanting to risk the man escaping, Daniel didn't say anything further. Instead, he ended the call and returned the phone to his pocket.
“What did you say to my daughter?”
“Wouldn't you like to know?” the man laughed evilly.
Daniel wasn't a believer in fighting if there was another way out, but a glance over to his family indicated that Lulu was still shaken. The more Guyer laughed and made crude remarks, the harder it became to remain calm. His mouth was foul, and his threats disgusting.
Looking across at his family again and seeing that Mrs Valissi and the rest of his children at the park were absorbed in trying to comfort Lulu, Daniel lost it at Guyer's next lewd claim of what he would do to Lulu at his first opportunity.
Without warning, Daniel hit the man again and ordered, “Shut up! Not one more word!”
“Or you'll ...”
Sirens blaring, a police unit arrived right at that moment, sparring Guyer Daniel's response. The two officers took Kevin Guyer, still laughing, into custody, placing him into the backseat of their patrol car. About that time, Pete Shanahan arrived, immediately dashing over to where his friend stood.
“Pete, what the heck is Kevin Guyer doing here?” Daniel inquired anxiously. “We were supposed to be informed when he was released.”
“He wasn't released, Daniel. He escaped.”
“Escaped?” Daniel echoed. “Gawd!” he expressed in a sigh, closing his eyes. Anger rose within the normally mild-natured scientist. Glaring at Guyer as he sat at the back of the patrol car in the distance, Daniel asked sharply, “When the ... when did he escape, and why weren't we told?”
“I don't know, Daniel, but I need to talk to Lulu, Daniel,” Pete stated quietly. “Just for a minute.”
“I haven't even talked to her yet,” Daniel responded as he began to jog over to the other side of the park where Mrs. Valissi and his children were.
“Daddy, did you get the bad man?” Jonny asked when Daniel was within hearing range.
“Yes,” Daniel answered, patting the boy on the back and hurrying over to Lulu. “Little Bit, are you okay?”
“Daddy,” the girl cried, going eagerly into Daniel's secure embrace.
Daniel felt his daughter trembling, and the sobs were as noticeably loud as her tears were wet.
“It's okay now, Sweetheart. He's gone.”
“We've got him, Lulu,” Pete reassured his niece. “He's going back to jail.”
Lulu just cried harder into Daniel's shirt, soaking it with her tears.
“Lulu, Honey, did he say anything to you?” Pete asked gently. He wanted to get the answer himself and spare the girl having to talk to strangers about the frightening experience. “It's important.”
Turning to look at the detective, Lulu was shaking as she answered, “He said he wanted to see me again; that it would more ... fun now that I was ol...older.”
The wails intensified, and Daniel held Lulu as tight as he could, rocking her gently to try and soothe her. He placed a kiss atop her curly black hair and continued to speak steadily and calmly, wanting her to feel safe in his arms. The concerned father was eager to call his husband, but he just couldn't leave Lulu's side. There was another urgent call that he knew he needed to make.
Jonny was seething. He was old enough now to better understand what had happened to Lulu when she was younger. No one should be touched like that against their will. He wished he were older. Then he'd really give Kevin Guyer something to worry about.
With Lulu still clinging to him, Daniel pulled out his cell phone and searched his address book for the correct number.
“Daniel Jackson-O'Neill for Doctor Cooper. It's an emergency,” Daniel stated, waiting to be connected. He was relieved when the receptionist didn't question him further and simply put him through. ~Corinne runs a good office.~
“Daniel,” Doctor Cooper's worried voice came through the phone. “I'm with a patient, but Estelle said it was an emergency.”
“It is. I know it's getting late, Corinne, but Lulu really needs to see you -- right now,” Daniel advised with a mixture of authority and desperation.
“Bring her in right away,” the therapist replied, hearing the young girl's sobs in the background and realizing something had definitely upset her patient. ~She's been making so much progress. What could have happened?~
“Thank you. We'll be there in about fifteen minutes,” Daniel stated, closing the phone. “Pete, can you take the children and the girls home, please?”
“No problem,” Pete answered, his heart breaking for what Lulu was going through.
“Lulu, we love you,” Aislinn spoke, getting a nod from her older sister. “Daddy, maybe I should go with you.”
“Me, too,” Chenoa offered, not wanting to leave her sister.
Jonny's scowl towards the man sitting in the police car off in the distance was very noticeable. He was plotting revenge, while still trying to utilize his older father's advice of being patient and not acting rashly.
“Jonny,” Daniel called out, well aware of what the oldest Munchkin was thinking. “Jonny!” he exclaimed, seeing the boy turning his way at last. “I really need you to take care of your sisters for me while I take Lulu to see Doctor Cooper. Can I count on you?”
“You know you can, Daddy,” Jonny answered and then turned his attention towards his sister. “I love you, Lulu. You know we'll always protect you.”
A moment later, Daniel and Lulu were on their way to the psychologist's office, while Pete finished up at the park and then took the others back to the Jackson-O'Neill home.
“Lulu, come in,” the psychologist welcomed warmly upon seeing the father and daughter arrive in the office foyer. “Daniel, it'll be all right,” she promised, seeing that Daniel was shaken and upset over what happened to his daughter. “Lulu will tell me about what happened.”
Daniel sighed and walked over to a corner of the office's waiting area, where he once again pulled out his cell phone and made a call. His husband had a variety of things he had planned to do for the day and was probably on the road when the call went through.
Smiling at the caller ID, Jack answered the phone, greeting, “Hello Beau...”
“Jack, Kevin Guyer is in town, and he confronted Lulu while we were at the park,”
Daniel interrupted, quickly relaying all that had happened thus far.
“*What*?” Jack questioned loudly, his anger evident in his voice as he pulled over to the side of the road, not trusting himself to drive until he'd heard the entire story and managed to get himself calmed down.
“Jack, believe me I know how you feel, but we need to be calm,” Daniel urged with a restrained voice. “Lulu's okay for now; well, as okay as she can be under the circumstances. We're at Doctor Cooper's office.”
“How is she?” the concerned general questioned, his tone suddenly soft and caring.
“She cried all the way here, Jack. She's very upset.”
“If he goes near Lulu again, I'm gonna kill him, Daniel,” Jack stated evenly, fully prepared to do whatever was necessary to protect his Little Bit.
“I almost did,” the archaeologist admitted, remembering how hard he had hit Guyer and the fervent desire he had felt to kill the man while staring down at the evil man's cackling face. Although he hated feeling such things, he couldn't deny the fact that he had them. With a sigh, he added, “Pete said Guyer escaped. They'll probably add something ... Babe, hold on. I've got an incoming call from Pete.”
Daniel dropped down to his haunches in disbelief as he listened to the veteran police detective. It just wasn't possible. He wanted to yell, but there was another child and his mother waiting. He had to keep calm, no matter what.
Returning to his first call, Daniel couldn't help the slight tremble of fear and rage in his voice as he told Jack what Pete had said.
“Jack, Guyer just escaped ... again. We have to ...”
“I'm on it. You stay with Lulu, and I'll contact Carter on my way home.”
“Jack, the brood ...”
“I'll get home as fast as I can,” Jack responded, checking traffic as he pulled back onto the road to continue his journey, not that he was all that much calmer than he had been when he'd stopped driving. “How are you?”
“How do you think?” Daniel snapped. “I'm sorry. I'm as good as you are. See you soon,” he said, flipping shut his cell phone.
Standing up, Daniel smiled politely at the receptionist who was witnessing his somewhat strange behavior. He didn't care. His family was in harm's way. If protecting them meant standing out and appearing a little odd, he'd stand out. Impatiently, he checked his watch. He wanted to get Lulu home now, but he realized that she desperately needed this time with her therapist.
~That maniac could have set her back years,~ Daniel thought angrily. ~Stay strong, Lulu. He's not worth losing your beautiful soul. He's just not worth it.~
“Hey,” Jack greeted, giving his husband a quick kiss on the lips as Daniel and Lulu came in the front door. “Little Bit, how are you?”
“Better, Dad,” Lulu answered in a small voice as she fell into Jack's arms.
“There's nothing to worry about. You know our family. You're safe,” Jack promised, holding her close until, with a sniffle, she let go. “Your brothers and sisters are in the rec room. Daddy and I will be right there.”
“Okay, Dad,” Lulu responded quietly and then slowly walking away, her head bowed.
“Danny, I've got the system on full alert. I waited for you so we could talk to the brood together,” Jack began, getting a nod from his lover. “I already called Karissa and told her to rearrange our schedules for the next few days.”
“Did you advise her to ...”
Nodding, Jack interrupted, “Yeah. J-O is on watch, too. No strangers anywhere; only clients we've dealt with before. She's reminding everyone not to answer any questions about us. It's work and only work.”
“Good,” Daniel sighed. “Sam and Cassie?”
“They're following the alert code, as we planned it,” Jack confirmed.
“We'd better go talk to them, Jack,” Daniel suggested, knowing the children had to be anxious about what was happening.
Jack and Daniel walked into the recreation room and saw the brood waiting patiently. The children were all silent, which was unnerving, given the chatter and continual noise that usually pervaded the Jackson-O'Neill household. Most of the kids were sitting on the comfortable floor pillows, but a couple were sitting on pieces of the sofa sectional. Lulu was sitting in the middle of the group, Bijou and Katie on either side of her, Calico on her lap, and Mittens on Little Danny's lap.
**Pin drop,** Jack communicated to his husband.
**They know something's really wrong, Jack. They only need the details,** Daniel asserted. “Um, okay,” he began awkwardly. “Jonny, Noa, did you tell your brothers and sisters what happened at the park today?”
“Yes, Daddy,” Jonny and Chenoa both answered at the same time.
“Thank you,” Daniel acknowledged with a small smile. He looked at Lulu, surrounded by her family, her head still bowed as a trembling hand stroked Calico's soft fur. “Basically, to summarize, at the park today, Kevin Guyer approached Lulu and made threatening comments. I chased him down, and Uncle Pete came and took him into custody. When Guyer stood trial for what he did to Lulu, he received a sentence of twelve years, which was one of the toughest prison sentences of that time. He was eligible for parole next year. From the beginning, Dad and I have planned on fighting that. I don't believe that will be an issue any longer because Guyer escaped from prison. Most likely, he'll have extra years tacked on to his time and because of what he did today, I think we'll be able to convince a parole board that ...”
“Daniel, that's the future. Let's get to now,” Jack interrupted gently, fully aware that his lover was just as worried and upset as he was.
“Somehow, Guyer managed to get away from the policemen who were taking him back to jail. He's out there, and we're fairly sure he's going to try and get to Lulu,” Daniel stated frankly.
A whimper escaped from Lulu, and Little Danny and Chenoa, who were seated on either side of her, moved closer. Little Danny placed his arm around his older sister, and Chenoa took hold of Lulu's hand and held it tightly.
The angry look that had been in Jonny's eyes since the incident in the park intensified as he looked between Lulu and his parents.
Making a mental note to have a word with Jonny about what the youngster might be planning in the way of vengeance, Jack spoke, “And that's why we're on lockdown until further notice. No one goes out of this house without Daddy or me. No opening the doors, no playing outside, and no trips to the balcony. We're just going to stay right here, nice and cozy, until Guyer is caught.”
“What about Bij and Katie?” Little Danny asked, worried about Lulu but always concerned about the welfare of the family's beloved dogs.
Smiling warmly, Daniel assured, “When they need to go out, they won't be alone. We'll be out there with them. Remember, our outdoor alarm is very strong. The cameras are on, full time, as of now. We can see every corner of this house.”
“How about Tommy?” JD questioned.
Jack nodded as he answered, “Both Cassie's and Aunt Sam's houses are on lockdown, too.”
Suddenly, Chenoa gasped and called out, “Hot and Chocolate?”
“Aunt Sam took care of them for us when I talked to her earlier,” Jack reported, seeing the relieved look in the children's faces, as well as in his lover's eyes. “They're inside, and the barn alarm is turned on. As soon as Uncle Pete gets home, she's going to place some additional security, lighting, and cameras to make sure the barn has full coverage.”
“Thank you,” the girl replied appreciatively, relieved since it had occurred to her that the Shetland ponies would have been an easy target for any attack.
“What about Jen and Jeff?” Brianna questioned about the oldest Jackson-O'Neills.
Jeff was studying at the University of Cincinnati, and Jennifer had traveled to England to spend a couple of weeks with Peter Hamilton at Oxford.
“We'll call them in a few minutes, but Guyer doesn't have the resources ...“
“... or a reason,” the younger man interjected.
Jack nodded and continued, “... to get to them.”
“Uh,” Daniel muttered quietly. “Lulu's having a hard time, and I think we can all understand that. Be supportive. Don't push.”
“We love you, Lulu,” Little Danny declared quietly, happy that his sister gave him a smile in response.
“Remember, all the alarms are on,” Jack stated. “No restrictions inside. Dismissed.”
It didn't surprise the two parents when the children didn't budge, all of them determined to rally around Lulu. They sat quietly, waiting for her to move. Until she did, they would all remain with her. They were united, and no one would hurt any one of them.
That night, the lovers were talking in the privacy of their bedroom.
“Jack, he just stood there. By the time he took off, I was heading towards him at full speed.”
“Babe, the children might be lingering,” Daniel interrupted, stopping the crude language from continuing since it wouldn't be that unusual for their little ones to be waiting nearby in the need of comfort.
“That ... monster,” Jack spoke, changing his word, “wanted to be caught.”
“So we'd know for sure it was him,” Jack asserted, his mind in Special Ops mode.
“Yes, but ... no,” Daniel stated, turning around from his spot by the dresser. “Jack, he wants Lulu to know for sure he's here, and that he can get to her.”
Approaching his lover, Jack refuted, “Oh, no. He's not getting near Lulu.”
“But he wants her think he can. You're right, Jack. He wanted me to catch him, but how could he be sure he'd get away?”
“Because he's a cocky son of a ...” Jack paused. At moments like this, he hated the couple's no profanity rule, even when the kids weren't around. “He's an S.O.B.; that's why.”
“You know we can't keep this lockdown on for more than a couple of days,” Daniel stated.
“I know. Shanahan'll catch him,” Jack put forth positively.
“I hope so,” Daniel agreed. Then he sighed, “Babe, I'm not sure Jen's gonna stay in Europe.”
“She'd better,” Jack responded. “Danny, the more we change what we do, the more Guyer wins, and we can't let that happen.”
“No, we can't. I think we should call her and Jeff again before we go to sleep.”
“Reinforce the big picture,” Jack stated.
“There's nothing they can do but sit here and worry with us,” Daniel replied.
“They have phones,” Jack added, pointing out the obvious, that both young adults could stay in near-constant contact with the family without returning home at the moment.
“From your mouth to their ears,” Daniel remarked. As he began to return to his bedtime preparations, he paused, turning back towards his lover. “Okay, Jack, out with it.”
“I don't care where Jen and Jeff are, there's no way you'd be so casual about them at a time like this. What did you do?”
Jack considered an evasive response, but decided on confessing the truth. After all, there was always the slim chance Guyer had contacts out there.
“I have someone watching both of them,” the older man admitted. “They're very ... reliable. Do you want me to call them off?” he asked, willing to do it, but daring his soulmate to request it.
Daniel stared into his Love's eyes for several seconds before answering, “No,” and turning around to continue getting ready for bed. Inwardly, he was ruing that he and his husband were even having this conversation. ~Keep them safe, Jack,~ he urged. ~Keep them *all* safe.~
All of a sudden, the archaeologist felt his general's arms around him. Then he felt the tender lips pressing against his nape.
“That's the plan, Angel,” Jack spoke softly as he reassured his Heart with all that he had. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Lying in bed, neither Jack nor Daniel had been able to fall asleep. Finally, they rolled over on their sides to face each other as they talked.
“She's come such a long way, Jack,” Daniel noted. “When I picked her up from her last session, Corinne said she felt like Lulu was on the verge of a breakthrough with the flashbacks.”
“Well, she taught her a couple of techniques to snap herself out of it before she really even feels the effect of the flashback.”
“Some kind of hypnotic thing?” the older man questioned.
“No, not really; just positive association. The flashbacks are so rare now, but they're disturbing. Corinne told me that Lulu's more worried about us feeling bad than she is about having a flashback.”
Jack nodded, sighing as he replied, “We've gotten better, too. Those first times, though. Danny, they were scary. We're doing something we don't think is the least bit confrontational or harmful, and suddenly, she's shivering and seeing that S.O.B. instead of us.”
“I know, but we've learned how to respond to those situations now, too, and that's helped her. Still, I'm ... worried.”
“We're all worried.”
“It's just ... with Guyer lurking in the bushes, the flashbacks might become more frequent again and ...”
“What?” Jack prodded after his lover had paused, a sad expression overtaking his face.
“She might be scared of us, involuntarily, I mean. Maybe she'll pull away and ...”
Just then, a tiny tap rapped on the door of the master bedroom, and a black mop of hair appeared in the darkness.
“Lulu?” Jack called out. “It's okay, Princess.”
Getting the encouragement she needed, Lulu ran from the door to the bed, climbed on top of it, and practically forced her way in between her two parents. She nestled into Daniel, who instantly put his arms around her. Jack brought his hand up to caress her arm supportively.
“Nightmares?” Daniel asked quietly.
Lulu nodded and whispered, “Lots of them. I'm afraid.”
“It's okay, Little Bit,” Jack responded softly, rubbing her back.
“You're safe, Sweetie,” Daniel added, kissing the top of her head. “Go to sleep. No one will hurt you. Dad and I will keep you safe.”
“I know, Daddy,” Lulu whispered, needing the security of her fathers' presence to return to sleep.
“That answers that,” Jack said to his husband, a small smile on his face. “Night, Angel.”
“Night, Babe,” Daniel replied quietly while continuing to comfort his daughter.
The following afternoon, Daniel stood in the doorway of the dance studio and sighed inwardly at the sight of his unhappy and frightened daughter, who was sitting in the middle of the dance mat, her head bowed as it had been so often since she'd seen Kevin Guyer again. She was holding her cat, Calico, petting her gently.
Daniel walked in and sat down in front of Lulu, gently caressing her cheek for a moment.
“I love you, Lulu.”
“I love you, Daddy.”
There was silence for a moment, the father wishing he could comfort the daughter, and the daughter wishing the father could make her feel safe again.
“I was almost normal,” Lulu finally whispered.
“Normal? Sweetie, you are normal,” Daniel refuted. All of a sudden, he realized he and Jack had made a huge mistake over the years, and it was time to correct that error. He wished Jack weren't involved in reading the Munchkins a story right now, but he also felt like he needed to take action right away. “Lulu, I want to show you something,” he stated, standing up and then extending out his hand for her to grab onto.
After Calico meowed and scrambled out of Lulu's lap, the father and daughter ambled leisurely out of the dance studio as they headed for the stairs to go up to Daniel's den.
“Little Bit, Dad and I have often gone overboard in trying to keep you and your brothers and sisters protected from all the bad things that are out there. We've had to step back more than once to catch ourselves. It's hard, though, because we love you all so much that we want to keep you safe.”
“I like being protected,” Lulu responded quietly.
“We all do, but there's a difference between keeping you safe and keeping you living inside some sequestered bubble,” Daniel replied. “Have a seat,” he requested, letting the little girl sit in his chair, while he pulled over a stool from the corner.
“What are you going to show me?” Lulu asked, watching her father call up something on the computer.
“The truth,” Daniel answered. “Lulu, you are normal, and I want you to see just how normal you are.” A few seconds later, he continued, “Look.”
For the next several minutes, Daniel showed Lulu the sad truth of just how many children were abused every day in the world. They read news stories, looked at photographs, and glanced over some statistics on the subject. It was an eye-opener for the youngest of the three Mavericks whom Jack and Daniel had adopted at the end of 2010.
“That's a lot of kids, Daddy,” Lulu stated, blinking as she stared at the monitor.
“The odds say that some of your friends are abused, Lulu. You just don't know it,” Daniel stated softly, causing the young girl to look at him.
“That's a bad thing, Daddy,” Lulu responded sadly.
Spinning the chair to the right a bit so that he could face the girl easily, Daniel spoke, “Yes, it is.” He paused a moment before continuing. “Lulu, normal is just a word. Dad and I still sometimes get lost in that ideal, that we want to be normal.” He chuckled, “The Stargate? Family members who are alien? Two men, married.” Sighing, he concluded, “We'll never be normal, but I'm not even certain that there is a normal anymore, not when you look at those numbers and not when we know what we do about the world.”
Daniel paused. He didn't want to lecture, and he wanted Lulu to have time to think about what he was saying. He smiled, waiting a few more seconds before he continued to express his thoughts.
“Lulu, you *are* normal.”
“Why don't I feel normal, Daddy?”
“Because you're afraid,” Daniel answered quickly. “One of the first things Dad taught me was to channel any fear that I had, to make it work for me instead of against me. Lulu, you know what growing up for me was like. We've talked a lot about that.”
The young girl nodded in acknowledgement and smiled. As much as she hated knowing that her younger father had also been abused as a child, that knowledge had helped her enormously. He was constant living proof that it was possible to overcome a traumatic childhood; and as weird as it might seem, it gave them a unique bond because it was something that the two of them had in common.
“It's not just me, Lulu. You know what a lot of my foster siblings have gone through, like Nellie, even though she was just a baby when that nightmare was happening.”
Lulu nodded again. She'd met Nellie Montgomery, and she seemed to be perfectly normal, in spite of the tragic story that was part of that woman's life. Now that she thought about it a little, maybe normal wasn't so far away after all.
Returning his daughter's smile, Daniel opined, “Normal means moving forward, one step at a time because that's what life is -- moving ahead, even if it's only a little bit at a time.”
The archaeologist paused again. He wanted to illustrate his thoughts to make them real to his daughter.
“After my parents died, I didn't have anyone. I just ... moved forward, living in books, but the point is, I kept on going. One day, I met your dad. I never believed that he and I could be friends, let alone best friends. We were so different, fighting for different goals, but one day, I realized he was my friend. On another day, I smiled. For the first time in my life, I had a best friend. Then in one amazing moment of time, I knew I was in love with him. Even though I knew that and we were together, I was positive that one day he'd leave me.”
“Dad would never leave you,” Lulu insisted.
Smiling, Daniel replied, “I didn't know that. I was so afraid that he would that I made things much more difficult in our relationship than it had to be. Growing up, everyone I cared for disappeared from my life. Why should Dad be any different? I let myself be a victim. I let my fear of Dad leaving me nearly drive him away. It would have been me, Lulu, not Dad that would have ended our relationship.”
“That's scary,” Lulu stated.
“Very. That's what happens when you let the fear drive you instead of you driving the fear.” Daniel took a breath and looked down for a second before continuing on with the more positive part of his story. “One day, Dad surprised me with Bij and Katie.” A huge smile appeared on his face as he recalled that special day. “Lulu, I just ... I felt ... fulfilled, finally. It was like the clouds parted and the sun began to shine for the first time since my parents died.”
Lulu felt her father's joy, and she couldn't help but smile, too.
“I proposed one night, and then the next thing I knew, we were getting married, declaring our love in front of family and friends.” Daniel was still smiling, the joy and warmth from his emotions at recalling the wedding overtaking him. “It was incredible. Then it got crazy because all of a sudden, we realized we wanted a family. Us -- a family.”
“The Munchkins,” Lulu interjected, still smiling.
“Yes, and then the Mouseketeers and the Spitfires.”
“Then the Mavericks,” Lulu stated proudly about the grouping that she belonged to, along with Jeff and Brianna.
Daniel nodded, “And then JD, and our zoo, and all of the people we love so much. Little Bit, it's all because I made myself move on from the pain of those years as a young boy. I just kept taking one more step, making it through one more day. Was I normal?” He shook his head, opining, “I don't think so. Are we normal now?” Shaking his head again, he put forth, “Not in the traditional sense, but that's just the thing -- tradition.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the problem with tradition is that it keeps changing. Our society evolves; our values and morals changing with it. What was perceived as normal when Dad was born, for example, is often laughed at today. The way the world was when I grew up was also a lot different from how it is now. All I'm saying is that I'm not sure normal exists anymore. I know I'm not ... normal in that sense, anymore than I believe that our family as a unit is normal. That said, I honestly don't believe that there is a family anywhere that is normal anymore; at least, not by the traditional definition.”
“Daddy, you're confusing me,” Lulu admitted. “I thought you wanted me to believe I *am* normal.”
The little girl blinked and frowned while trying to make sense of the answer, and then she asked, “Then why are you telling me you aren't normal, and that our family isn't normal?”
“Does it matter, Lulu?” Daniel questioned seriously. “JD was born from a womis, alien technology. That's not normal by Earth standards. Does that make him abnormal? Yes, it does, but is that bad? No, it's not.”
Lulu thought hard about her father's words.
“Sweetie, normal is in the mind, that's what I'm saying. Whether any of us are normal or not, it depends on how we define 'normal' and it's how we choose to handle it that makes or breaks us. I knew I wasn't normal, but I didn't let it stop me. I still kept moving forward.”
“One step at a time,” Lulu stated tentatively.
“Yes. You have to believe in yourself, just like we do. Everyone has a story, Sweetie. Good, bad, maybe a little of both, but it's a story. When you're out there, mixing and mingling with others, just remember that. Maybe their story is worse than yours, like some of what we read,” Daniel suggested, looking at the computer screen. “Some of those children didn't make it, and some struggle every day just to survive.”
“I'm lucky. I have you, Dad, and the brood.”
“And a lot of others who love you and who will help you take that step on days when it might be hard to do on your own,” Daniel promised. He leaned over, caressing her cheek again as he spoke, “You're normal, Lulu. You're just as normal as anyone else. All you have to do is believe that with all your heart and soul. Once you do, no one can beat you, not today, not ever.”
Lulu smiled and jumped forward to hug her father. Her arms wrapped around him, her hold tightening.
“I love you so much, Daddy.”
“I love you so much, too, Little Bit,” Daniel responded, tears welling in his eyes as he gave her a kiss on the cheek and continued to hold her securely. ~Men like Kevin Guyer suck the heart out of little girls. Well, you're not going to do it with my daughter, Guyer. I won't let you, not as long as I have a breath in my body, and believe me, it takes a lot to get me to stop breathing permanently.~
On the third day after Guyer's escape, the children learned that the lockdown was over.
“As much as we'd like to continue to keep all of us cocooned in a safe little bubble, it's not realistic,” Jack had told the children after having discussed the situation with Daniel, Sam, Pete, Cassandra, and Dominic.
“We aren't going to be prisoners in our own homes. We have to life to live, and if we fail to live it, Guyer wins by default,” Daniel had pointed out, being perfectly honest with the children of all three families.
Still, Jack and Daniel had arranged for Teal'c, Lou Ferretti, and Jeff Cornell to help them watch the youngsters. Pete, too, had arranged for frequent patrols by the Jackson-O'Neill, Shanahan, and Luca family homes. In addition, none of the children were allowed to go anywhere alone. Curfews were early, and there would be frequent check-ins.
That was the plan as the children were released back to their normal activities, including Chenoa and Lulu, who had a dance lesson scheduled for the day. Jack accompanied the Curly Tops, watching with delight as they took their instruction to heart.
The first part of the session was a group one, but then it was time to separate. Jack groaned, realizing they hadn't taken this into consideration. While Lulu's concentration was ballet, Chenoa's was tap, which was occurring in a separate building across the street. The general had a decision to make.
~Lulu's here. She doesn't have to leave this room. Two other students are here already, and so is the instructor. Noa has to go alone to the studio across the street. Today was not the day for the dance assistant to be sick,~ the general groused about the woman who normally walked with Chenoa to the other adjacent location. ~But it's Lulu, Guyer's after. On the other hand, he knows attacking Noa would still be a very effective way to get to Lulu. Lulu will be safe here.~
Jack debated asking one of the girls to miss their dance class so they could stay together, but he decided that letting fear dictate their actions would amount to letting Guyer win. Reluctantly, he headed out with Chenoa. The round trip shouldn't take any more than five minutes; less if he sprinted on the way back, which he planned to do. He just couldn't chance Chenoa being outside and unaccompanied. She'd be in the open for far too long. His decision made, Jack headed out with the youngest Mouseketeer, looking back to nod at Lulu, an assurance he'd be gone for just a few minutes.
“Students, we have a surprise today. Follow me, please,” the ballet instructor requested, a move that wasn't that unusual. They could be going in to practice with another class or watch a video. Sometimes there were special guests who spoke to the dancers in a meeting room. “You're going to love this.”
The other students got a head start on Lulu, who had been lost in thought and slow to change into her ballet slippers. As she hurried after her dance mates, Kevin Guyer darted out from a corner, grabbed the young girl, and forced her back, out of the hallway so that they wouldn't be visible to anyone.
Lulu struggled and tried to scream, but felt herself fading. The cloth being held to her nose reeked of chloroform, and seconds later, her body became limp, allowing the fiend to slither out of the building with the unconscious girl.
“Lulu?” Jack called out to the empty building. “Lulu?” he shouted, running out and down the hallway.
“General, we're in here,” a fellow student of Lulu's called out, though as she spoke she looked around and realized the girl wasn't there. “Miss Grimes, Lulu isn't here,” she advised.
“She was with us when ...” the woman began, stopping when she saw Jack's fuming demeanor. “General, I'm sure she's ...”
Jack wanted to shout and rail at the woman, but knew the fault wasn't hers. He hadn't told the instructor about the danger facing his children. He'd just said he'd wanted to observe, something all of the parents did from time to time.
“When's the last time you saw her?” Jack asked calmly. ~Crap!~
When Lulu awoke, she saw the evil smirk of Kevin Guyer staring at her. She was on the cold floor of a small room within an abandoned warehouse, though all she knew was that the room was small, devoid of any furniture, and cold.
“You've matured nicely, Lulu,” Guyer spoke with a husky voice as he stood up. “I've waited a long time for this.”
In response to the move, Lulu stood up slowly, her eyes never losing focus of the predator and her hands feeling the gray wall behind her.
“We're going to have a real good time,” Guyer spoke, approaching his prey while licking his lips and allowing his tongue to stick out as he made a moaning sound.
~Move forward. Daddy says I'm normal, and I want to stay normal. Don't be afraid,~ Lulu told herself. ~Teal'c's trained us. All those sessions, learning how to fight. 'Defend yourself'. That's what he said to do. Focus. I'm supposed to focus.~
Guyer was right up against the young girl, his hand against her cheek, causing her to cringe. Flashes of her past began to pound within her brain. Memories of abuse after abuse took over her mind.
Guyer molesting Lulu!
Guyer threatening to molest her again!
Lulu's head turned from side to side as tears began to fall. He was touching her now on her small, but growing breasts.
~Move forward; control my fear. I'm *not* a victim,~ Lulu told herself, her body cringing from her attacker's closeness. “*No!*” she called out, raising her right knee to impact the man's groin, causing him to bend over and turn around, walking away a few steps. “You aren't going to touch me ever again!” she shouted, kicking the man in the back.
Angry, Guyer forced himself to ignore his pain. Full of venom, he charged forward, surprised when he found himself flying over the girl's shoulder and taking a hard landing on the floor.
“You're a horrible man. No, you're not a man. You're a monster, like Dad says!” Lulu cried out, turning around and running forward, kicking the man unrelentingly.
Guyer stunned Lulu by successfully grabbing one of her feet and knocking her down. He pulled her close, while still lying on his back.
“No!” the girl shouted as she looked down on the abuser.
Remembering Teal'c lessons on the points of weakness of the human body, Lulu used all her might to slam her fists down on the man's chest, then his neck, and finally his groin once again.
“*Never ... again!*” Lulu shouted. “I'm normal! You're the one who's not!” she yelled as she continued to pound on the man's private parts, causing him to scream in agonizing pain.
Crying wildly, Lulu jumped up and ran over to the door. She tried to open it, but it was locked. The monster had installed a lock that only worked from the inside, with the use of a key.
“You're dead,” Guyer gasped, blood running out of his mouth as he stumbled to get up.
Lulu stared coldly at the slow-moving monster as he walked towards her.
~Use my fear. That's what Daddy told me to do. Remember what Teal'c taught us. Pressure points. One blow in the right place. I don't have to be strong, just accurate. It's my life. I have to fight for my life because ... because ... I want to live, and I don't want him to touch me anymore. Use my fear. I am normal, Daddy.~
The little girl knew the place to hit Guyer. The problem was reaching it. She was taller now, but still not tall enough. She had to get him down to her level, and then she had to act, without fear and without hesitation. She had to be strong. Everything depended on her ability to follow through.
Out of the corner of her eye, Lulu caught sight of a bag. She assumed Guyer had brought it with him, though she really didn't know for sure. She also didn't know what was in it, but it was her only shot. In flash, she ran for the bag, picked it up, and threw it at her attacker.
Sure enough, the bag and its contents were heavy enough that Guyer had to bend around to fend it off. In the process, he bent over, just enough that Lulu had a brief second to pounce, and that's what she did. Invoking everything Teal'c had taught her during self-defense classes, she held her hand out flat, her palm facing downwards and her wrist turned so that her fingers were pointing outwards.
~Accuracy. Focus, Lulu. Move forward, one step at a time. Do it now!~
Her hand positioned so that it created a fairly sharp point from the joint at the very base of the thumb, Lulu struck. With a swift swinging motion of the arm, she made contact with Guyer's temple. Instantly, the man crumbled to the floor, unconscious.
“Pressure points: that's what Teal'c called it,” Lulu told her foe, her chest breathing heavily. ~Get out of here, Lulu,~ she ordered herself. Mustering her will, she searched Guyer for the key. Finding it, she unlocked the door and ran as fast as she could, hurrying through the maze of the warehouse until she found her way outside. Looking around, she knew when Guyer came to that he could probably find her. There wasn't anywhere to hide, and she didn't see any phone booths. There was, however, some light traffic. ~Use my fear. It can't be worse,~ she told herself as she ran onto the two-way road, hoping one of the few cars would stop.
“You crazy kid! What are you doing?” a man shouted, having narrowly avoided hitting the girl and feeling frustrated and unnerved by the near miss.
“Please. A man kidnapped me. Will you call my fathers? Hurry, please!” Lulu requested, looking back at the warehouse. “Jackson-O'Neill. The number is ...” she spoke hurriedly, her eyes focused on the cabin.
“Get in the car.”
“Call my fathers!” Lulu exclaimed, uncertain about the man, although as she looked back at him there seemed to be something familiar about him. She was too strung out from her encounter with Guyer though to work out whether it was a good familiar or a bad familiar. ~I want Dad and Daddy.~
“Jack Jackson-O'Neill? General O'Neill?” the man called out, getting Lulu's attention. He pulled out his wallet and smiled as he introduced himself. “Sergeant Walter Davis. I know your father. Both of them. Doctor Jackson ... hey, you said you were kidnapped. Get in here. Look, Lulu, I know it's been a while,” Davis said, having recognized the girl after hearing Jack's name, though he hadn't seen her in quite a while. He looked beyond the terrified girl to make sure she hadn't been followed. ~Looks clear.~
“Sergeant Davis!” Lulu gasped, making the connection herself and quickly getting into the car.
“You said he's in there?” Davis questioned, looking over at the warehouse.
“Yes. I knocked him out, but I don't know how long it will take him to wake up.”
“You knocked him out?” Davis asked incredulously.
“Teal'c taught me.”
“Now I understand,” Davis responded, pulling his car off the road and positioning it so that he could see as much of the warehouse as possible. “I want you to get down and stay there,” he ordered, watching as the little girl disappeared from sight in the front seat of his car. Pulling out his cell phone, he made a call. “Cheyenne, this is Chief Master Sergeant Walter Davis. Patch me through to General Landry stat.”
Davis chuckled inwardly. He sounded so colonel-ish in his view. It was actually fun. When Landry came on the line, Davis filled him in. After being advised that a team was on the way and to stay put and keep Lulu safe at all cost, the sergeant called Jack.
After Lulu's disappearance from the dance school, Jack had called Daniel, and the two had made their game plan. As soon as Jack had arrived home with Chenoa, the couple began to search for their daughter. They'd also notified Pete, who had convinced his boss to put every available police person on the hunt as well. In addition, it had been agreed that if Lulu wasn't found within a couple of hours, an Amber Alert would be issued. Meanwhile, Carolyn Ferretti had hurried over to be with the anxious children at the Jackson-O'Neill home.
“Sir, it's Sergeant Davis.”
“Davis, I can't ...”
“I have someone here I think you'd like to talk to, Sir,” Davis interrupted, putting his phone on speaker and nodding for Lulu to talk.
“Dad, it's me!”
“Lulu?” Jack called out in disbelief.
“It's me, Dad. I'm okay. Sergeant Davis is taking care of me,” Lulu reported.
“Davis, where are you?”
After getting the answer, Jack called out to his husband, and just as the soon as they made sure the brood was being looked after, the two headed out for location, which was on the outskirts of town.
“As the general would say, there's the cavalry,” Davis observed, seeing personnel from the SGC arriving. “You can come up now, but you'd better stay inside the car with me until they get the situation under control.”
Helicopters full of military personnel landed, surrounding the warehouse. Though they called out, Guyer didn't respond.
One of the men could be seen signaling to the others to go inside.
“That's Ice,” Lulu called out, recognizing Colonel Marc Reynolds.
“Oops,” Lulu spoke apologetically. “It's his nickname. No one's supposed to know it, though. Please don't tell him I told you.”
Davis felt amused and curious about the moniker, but he wasn't about to worry the traumatized girl.
“Told me what?” Davis teased, his smile bright and reassuring, causing Lulu to smile, too. “With your fathers retired, Colonel Reynolds is our best man now.”
Reacting to gunfire, Davis pulled Lulu closer to him and down. Though it wasn't in their direction, stray shots weren't impossible. Also, he didn't want her to see if any of the violent action were to occur outside.
“What's happening?” Lulu asked nervously.
“I don't know, Lulu. Stay down,” Davis answered, his arm around the girl protectively.
A couple of minutes later, Reynolds reappeared outside the building, signaling to the others on guard that the standoff was over. Davis saw the personnel standing down. The medical team was called in, but they weren't moving swiftly. The sergeant believed that meant just one thing.
A minute later, Jack and Daniel sped up in Jack's truck, the two men jumping out and running towards Davis' car.
“Your fathers are here,” Davis spoke, seeing the men.
Lulu bounced up, opening the door as quickly as she could, and running out to meet them.
The parents knelt down, embracing the girl in a three-way hug. Lulu cried some more, but it was more of a healing action than her prior tears.
“I remembered what you said, Daddy, about fear, and I remembered what Teal'c taught us. I wouldn't let him touch me. I won't ever let him do that again.”
“You won't have to, Little Bit,” Daniel spoke softly as he looked across the street.
Though Jack's first reaction was to shield the girl, Daniel turned her around so she could the body being carried out of the warehouse, a sheet covering it entirely.
“He's dead, Lulu. Kevin Guyer will never bother you again.”
“He's evil, Daddy. He's going to Hell,” Lulu stated strongly.
“Yes, he is,” the archaeologist agreed, feeling no remorse or regret over the death of this individual.
From across the street, Reynolds caught sight of the couple and jogged to speak with them, though he hesitated at first.
“Speak freely, Reynolds,” Jack requested, his right hand on Lulu's shoulder, just as Daniel's left hand shored up the girl's other shoulder.
“Yes, Sir,” Reynolds responded. “We tried to coax him out, but there was no response. We went inside, and he opened fire. We had no choice.”
“You did good, Ice. He wasn't a nice man. He tried to hurt me,” Lulu stated. “Don't feel bad for killing him.”
“I won't Lulu,” Reynolds assured the young girl, sensing the girl's strong emotions and feeling torn about her seemingly stone cold stance about Guyer's death, though at the same time, he admired her strength. ~She's a sweet girl. She shouldn't be in this situation.~
“Thank you,” Daniel spoke emotionally to the colonel.
“Let's go home, Lulu,” Jack encouraged.
“We need to call Pete,” Daniel stated.
“I'll be happy to coordinate with the CSPD, if you like,” Reynolds offered.
“Thanks, Reynolds,” Jack responded. “Contact Pete Shanahan,” he requested. “Tell him what happened, that Lulu's safe, and that we're headed home.”
As Reynolds returned to his spot, Lulu ran over to Sergeant Davis, who had gotten out of his car and was giving his report to one of Reynolds' men.
As the parents watched their daughter thank the sergeant, hugging him, they felt blessed. Yet another family tragedy had been overcome by what they perceived as a miracle. What were the odds that an SGC colleague would be in this area at the precise moment their daughter was in need?
“She's not crumbling this time, Danny.”
“She's found her strength,” Daniel supposed.
“I'm ready now,” Lulu called out as she ran back to her parents. “Dad, you aren't gonna be all paranoid now, are you? I don't want you to hover over me, okay?”
“We'll talk about it,” Jack answered, not quite prepared to let his princess out of his sight. “Walter! Thank you.”
Late that night, Jack and Daniel were up on the Aerie, the two leaning over the rails a bit, just relaxing and trying to take some effective calming breaths. Now that they didn't have to stay strong for their children, the day was hitting them hard.
“She answered every question Pete asked like a trooper,” Jack remarked.
“Corinne wants to see her again tomorrow,” Daniel reminded.
“What was her initial response to their phone session?” Jack asked, curious about the twenty-minute phone call that had taken place between Lulu and her therapist.
“Positive. She said that in the end, this could have been the best thing that's ever happened to Lulu, outside of us being her parents,” Daniel answered.
“Best thing?” Jack asked, cocking his head in a somewhat sarcastic motion.
“Babe, she stood up for herself. It was a moment that could well have defined her life forever. She had to choose -- to be a victim and let him accost her again or to channel her fear and make it her strength. She chose the latter and put in to use everything that we and Teal'c have taught her to do. She focused, and she escaped. She chose life, Jack. She chose a *normal* life.”
In response, Jack snorted, “Yeahsureyoubetcha, every little girl fights for her life with Chulakian fighting techniques and pronounces that her dead attacker is going to Hell.” Choked up, he put forth, “I wonder, Danny, if she can be just like any other eleven-year-old girl. Her innocence is gone forever.”
“We didn't steal her innocence, and we've tried to allow her to experience as much of a carefree childhood as we could,” Daniel rebutted. “She's on the brink of becoming a young woman now, and I am so grateful she can move forward without that ... monster haunting her. She may still have nightmares Jack, but at least the world she wakes to doesn't have Kevin Guyer in it.”
“I know, Danny, but she should never have been in the position she was in today or to endure the totality of what she has. The fears she's had to face are enormous. It's just not fair.”
“It's not fair that *any* child should have to endure what she has, Jack, but life isn't fair; you know that. All we can do is move forward and live in the moment.”
Jack reached over and took hold of Daniel's hand. He looked out at the trees and made an interesting observation.
“Angel, the winds have stopped.”
“I noticed that,” Daniel answered. “Actually, uh, they wound down about the time Guyer was killed. When we got close to the warehouse, I noticed the weeds in the fields were still.”
“Could have just been the area we went into,” Jack offered.
“Maybe, but you don't believe that, anymore than I do.”
“Witches winds and positive ions?”
“Something like that,” Daniel acknowledged. “We were lucky Walter was there.”
“That was strange,” Jack replied.
“Yeah,” Daniel agreed thoughtfully. “He said he just got the urge to take a drive. He hadn't been out in that direction in months.”
“Gotta love the Fates,” Jack spoke, squeezing his Love's hands.
“Jack, about what Lulu asked earlier.”
Grimacing, Jack replied, “Yeah, I know. No leash.”
“She can take care of herself. She proved that, so ... no bubble, okay?” Daniel requested hopefully.
“Cell phone,” Jack countered. “Danny, let's get her and Noa phones. They're old enough, and we're living in a cell phone world. If she'd had one, she could have called us, and I don't know that we can rely on the family upstairs to always be there. They must have other things to do sometimes, especially considering the size of our brood.”
“Agreed. We'll go shopping tomorrow.”
“Feng Shui-me,” Daniel responded, kissing his husband as the foreplay to their lovemaking began.
The evil winds had passed, bringing through Colorado Springs a monster from their past. With the monster's breath removed, the fresh air returned, and Lulu had finally gotten her wish. She'd freed herself of her nightmarish past, and just like her younger father had done, she'd move forward, finding as much happiness as she could along the way. Life was there, and she was determined to live it to the fullest.
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