Girls or Boys OR Boys or Girls

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - February 6, 2016
Spoilers:  None
Size:  13kb, ficlet
Written:  July 29-30, August 1, 2017
Summary:  A trip to the toy store becomes a challenge for the Jackson-O'Neill children.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic was inspired by a segment on “What Would You Do”

Girls or Boys OR Boys or Girls
by Orrymain

Around ten in the morning, Jack was about to enter the boys' room when he heard a small disagreement taking place.

“Hey, what's going on?”

“Jenny won't give me back my dump truck,” Jonny whined.

“I just want to empty my load first,” the Spitfire explained.

“But you need to make sure the mommy takes care of her little baby,” the Munchkin complained as he held up the two dolls.

“You take care of them for a minute.  I'm a good worker and I have to finish my job,” Jenny insisted.  “Dad, my order was to get rid of the trash in my truck over there,” she advised as she pointed at the trash can.  “I'm not there yet.”

“But the baby is crying,” Jonny pointed out about the tiny baby doll.

“Son, you take care of the baby,” Jack instructed.

“But ...”

“But what?”

With a sigh, Jonny acquiesced, “Yes, Sir.”

“Great.  You both have a half-hour before our shopping trip.”

“I love to shop,” Jonny admitted.  “What are we shopping for?”

“Now that's a good question,” Jack responded, smiling as he turned and left the room without giving the kids an answer.

“We don't need food,” Jenny stated as she rolled the dump truck towards the wastebasket.

“Books!  We haven't gone book shopping for a while.”

“Oh, I hope so.  I need new books.”

“Me, too,” the male youngster agreed as he rocked the baby doll in his hand.

====

Jack and Daniel rounded up the children who were going with them for a special shopping trip.  With them were Lulu, Jonny, Jenny, and JD, all of whom were very curious about the reason for the trip.

“Are you going to tell us where we're going?” Jonny inquired.

“You'll see when we get there,” Jack answered as he piloted the SUV.

Soon enough, the family pulled into a large parking lot.  It was a place the Jackson-O'Neill brood knew well.

“Toys!” four-year-old JD exclaimed as he clapped his hands upon recognizing the large store that was full of delightful toys and games.

With the vehicle parked, Jack and Daniel turned to face the children in their seats.

“Dad and I wanted to surprise each of you with one toy today.”

“Yah!” Jonny cheered as he did a fist pump.

“Did we do something special?” Jenny asked, wondering why they were there and not the rest of the siblings.

“You all know that sometimes, not often, but sometimes, Daddy and I like to reward you for good deeds or habits.  Usually, we do that with praise and/or experiences, but this time, we decided to let you all pick out a new toy.”

The children had big smiles on their faces.  JD might not yet understand it all, but the other three certainly knew that surprises and rewards normally came in other ways and that this was a happy exception for all of them.

“What did we do?” Lulu inquired.

“All of you improved your schoolwork averages in three or more subjects by a, a ... well, a lot,” Daniel answered, opting not to give the specifics.  “That's pretty extraordinary.”

“Wow!” Jenny spoke in amazement.  “I worked really hard on my science.”

“We saw that, Red,” Jack responded.

“Uh, listen,” Daniel began, wanting to clarify an important issue.  “You have always done well in your studies and we've always been proud of you for working so hard to learn.  We noticed how you put in extra time on some of your more difficult *or* advanced subjects over the past few months, and that's why we're here.”

“Job well done, kids.  Okay, let's go get your toy treats,” Jack encouraged as he unlocked the doors.

====

The parents didn't rush their children and allowed them to take their time determining what to bring to the register.  Neither did the fathers interfere with the choices, except for helping JD decide on his toy.

Finally, the Jackson-O'Neills were waiting in line.  It was Saturday and the store was very busy.  As they waited, a conversation began to seep through the normal noise and buzz of the customers in the checkout lines.

A pretty girl who looked to be about nine or ten was pleading with her mother to let her get the toy she wanted and earned.  The brown-eyed child had long flowing brown hair with a decorative pink and white ribbon bow in the shape of a butterfly clipped in her hair.  She wore a beautiful pink knit shirt with her blue pants.

“But, Mommy, you said I could get whatever I wanted if I got good grades, and I got all A's last semester and I want this,” the girl said as she held up a large green truck that came with a detachable snow plow.

The conversation felt extremely relevant to the Jackson-O'Neills and was like a magnet in getting their attention.

“Lila, you're a little girl, not a little boy.  Find a doll.”

“I have lots of dolls at home, but I don't have any trucks.  This is an awesome truck.”

“Trucks are for boys, Lila.  Maybe you'd like a new teddy bear.”

“Mommy, I have lots of stuffed animals, and dolls.  Why can't I get a truck?”

“I already told you.”  The woman looked around and spoke quietly, “I ... I just don't want you playing with the wrong toys.”

Before Jack and Daniel could move, Jonny broke out of the line and hurried over, saying, “Trucks aren't wrong toys; they're great toys.”

“For you, but not for my daughter.”

“Why?”

“Yeah, why?” Jenny asked, having followed her brother over to the conversation.  “I play with trucks.”

“See, Mommy.  She's a girl.”

“But you don't know about the future,” the mother spoke softly to her daughter.

“Danny, this could get ugly,” Jack opined before walking over.  “Kids ...”

“I'm a cheerleader, too, and I have a shelf-full of dolls and *lots* of stuffed animals.  We even have a great big dinosaur; he's *huge*, and I named him -- Muffin.”

“She was scared of him at first so we let her name him,” Jonny sighed.  Quickly, though, he grinned and put forth, “But Muffin's a great dinosaur.”

“She got A's,” Lulu interjected.  “You should keep your promise to her ... Ma'am.”

“I just ... don't want temptation to come her way.”

“Temptation for what?” Jack challenged, unable to refrain any longer.

Daniel hung back.  He was afraid an all out war would begin if he interjected and the woman realized she was talking to children from a same-sex marriage.  Besides, JD as yet hadn't experienced this kind of prejudice and Daniel observed his son was listening very carefully to what was being said.

“I ... prefer not to say in public.”

Jack considered responding, but he was well aware of his surroundings and decided not to escalate the situation.  He somewhat regretted he'd said anything at all.

“Kids, back in line.”

“I play with dinosaurs,” Lulu admitted.  “We pretend we're on big adventures, back in the days of the dinosaur.  Sometimes, I'm the lead archaeologist and Jonny's my secretary.”

“Assistant,” the boy groaned.

“And sometimes he's the lead archaeologist and I'm the secretary.  We change places all the time.  It doesn't matter if I'm a girl and he's a boy.  We just play and have fun.”

“She's right and this morning ...”  Jonny sighed.  He couldn't believe he was about to admit this in public, but he looked at the little girl and saw the hope in her eyes.  She was counting on him to convince her mother to let her get the truck.  “This morning Jenny and I were playing and she was emptying the dump truck and I was taking care of the mommy doll and her crying baby.”  He drew a deep breath and added, “And I did a good job, too.  The baby had fun.  Didn't she, Jenny?”

“She did,” the redhead agreed.  “See, toys are just toys, and we have fun with lots of toys.  Just because I play with trucks doesn't mean I'm a boy, and Jonny playing with dolls doesn't mean he's a girl.  It just means we wanted to play with those toys right then.  Your daughter has lots of dolls, she said.  She wants a truck now.”

“One truck isn't going to make her a boy,” Lulu added poignantly.  “It's just a truck.  It's not her soul.”

“All right, kids, you've said your piece.  Back in line ... *now*.”

“Yes, Sir,” a trio of voices rang out.

As he walked away, Jonny glanced over his shoulder and called out, “I hope you get your truck,” to the young girl.

Jack stared at the woman, but, still resisting the lure to call her out for her ignorance and prejudice, simply shook his head and returned to his family.  As he rejoined them, it was their turn in line.  He watched his children chattering to the clerk about their new toys and what they'd done to earn them and was awed how they'd gone from fighting prejudice to talking about their new toys in a matter of seconds.

Their purchases paid for, the family headed for the store exit when JD, being held in his daddy's arms, suddenly exclaimed, “Lit'l girl got truck!”

The family looked over and saw a happy smile on the face of the girl, who gave them a thankful wave while her mother paid for the toy.

“Way to go, kids,” Jack praised.

====

That evening, Jack and Daniel were tucking JD into bed.

“Dad, Daddy, why that mommy not want lit'l girl ta have truck?”

“It's complicated,” Daniel replied.

“No un'stand, Daddy,” the yawning child spoke.

“We've talked about this before, in a way.  You know that a lot of your friends have mommies and daddies, or just mommies, or just daddies.  There aren't as many who have two mommies or, like you, two daddies.”

“I have a mommy,” JD corrected as he thought about the beautiful woman in the picture on his nightstand.

“Yes, you do,” Daniel acknowledged as he smiled at the photograph of Kayla Armentrout, the deceased birth mother of the Munchkins and the Spitfires and the spiritual mother of JD, though at this tender age, JD was not aware of the truth regarding his birth and why Kayla was listed as his mother.  “I shouldn't have said, what I said, that way.”  Daniel sighed for a moment as he contemplated how to proceed.  “JD, that mommy was afraid that if she bought a truck for her daughter that she might grow up and fall in love with another girl, or, uh, maybe wish she was a boy herself.”

“So?”

“That's the point,” Jack responded.  “Son, it's not a big deal.  Who we are is in our soul, like Lulu said at the store.”  With a smile, he added, “And about who we love, man or woman, love is love and love is all that matters.  She didn't understand that.”

“But maybe she does now,” Daniel proposed with hope.

“She think a toy make lit'l girl a litl' boy?”

“Something like that.”

“She silly.”  JD yawned.  “Go sleep now.”

The parents finished their goodnights with their youngest child and left JD's room.

“Kids get it,” Jack spoke in partial amazement.

“Some do.”  Daniel looked back at the closed door.  “Our son is one of those.”

“Jonny really kicked butt,” Jack noted proudly.  “He and Red, even Lulu, stood up to her and tried to help that girl.”

“I never thought I'd hear Jonny proclaim in a store full of adults and children that he played with dolls.”

“He was protecting that girl, Danny, and he did what he had to do.”

“And JD watched and learned.  Trust me, Babe, he was processing that scene using all cylinders.”

“Good, because he was learning good stuff.”

“Agreed,” Daniel concurred.  “Okay, girls next.”

The day's main event was a simple slice of life for the family.  The brood was not known for hanging back.  They were vocal and from the beginning, they'd been taught to stand up for others, and themselves.  Today had been another example of the brood refusing to stay silent, no matter where they were or what the situation was.  For Jack and Daniel, life was sweeter than ever and soon, they'd snuggle together and marvel at their growing wonders and at their good fortune in having twelve awesome children.

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

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