It's Getting Bigger

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - December 31, 2007 - January 1, 2008
Spoilers:  None
Size:  22kb, ficlet
Written:  December 26-28, 2010
Summary:  Jack and Daniel celebrate New Year's with their growing family, which now includes the Mouseketeers.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Tammy, Classic, Navi!

It's Getting Bigger
by Orrymain

Jack and Daniel were glad to be home, ready to celebrate the New Year with their ever expanding family.  The night before they'd been stranded in Summit County due to a terrible storm that had left two-thousand travelers on Interstate 25 with no place to go because of the highway's closure.  Equally happy they were back, babysitter Sam had taken her leave to return to her home for peace and quiet, something she hadn't had at the hopping and robust Jackson-O'Neill residence.

This year, in addition to a pair of loving canines, New Year's Eve meant a celebration that included mobile triplets, three-month-old twins, and a set of Mouseketeers.  It would be a far cry from the somewhat quieter celebration the family had observed just one year ago.

Earlier, Jack and Daniel had opted to pack up their brood for a few hours and take them over to Lou and Carolyn Ferretti's home.  The Ferretti's party would be going well into the wee hours of the morning, but a short appearance there gave a lot of Jack and Daniel's friends a chance to see the babies.  As luck would have it, though, the newborns had slept through most of it, meaning that they would likely be awake for the family's private celebration.

“Okay, kids, it's time for Rudy,” Jack called out.

“Ruuuudy!” Aislinn cheered.

“Sanda!” Jonny exclaimed, mispronouncing Santa's name.

“He's here for a while,” the general confirmed.

“But this story is about the New Year, and how Rudolph saved it,” Daniel stated as if he were talking about a true anthropological fact.

With that, the entire family sat down and watched Rudolph's Shiny New Year.  Six-year-old David, who loved babies and young kids, held Jonny in his arms as they watched.  Jennifer, the oldest of this new brood at age twelve, had her biological sister, Chenoa, snuggled into her.  Just a couple of months after having turned two, the little dove was still a baby to many herself.

Jack had Little Danny, once known as Michael, in his arms, while Daniel nestled with Aislinn.

The youngest beagle, Katie, jumped up onto the sofa to sit with Jennifer and Chenoa.  About the same time, Bijou squeezed into the armchair, which had been moved slightly to get a better view of the television, with Jack and Little Danny.

With punch, popcorn, and trail mix at the ready, the family enjoyed the holiday program, though the twins, watching from their infant swings, slept through much of the DVD.

“Rudy saved Baby New Year,” Chenoa stated as she applauded through the rolling credits.

“Daddy, was there ever really a Baby New Year?” David inquired thoughtfully.

“David, saw!” Chenoa argued, pointing to the TV screen.

Jack looked at his genius spouse and advised mischievously, “You're on.”

“Thanks,” Daniel acknowledged, standing up with his charge.

Sensing what was coming, Bijou jumped down, shook herself, and headed over to take Daniel's warm spot on the sofa.

Meanwhile, Daniel handed Aislinn to Jack, giving him double-arm baby duty as they sometimes called it when one parent held two of the Munchkins or twins at one time.  He walked over to the TV, manually shutting it off as he silently determined how he was going to proceed. Then he turned and smiled.  With his hands on his hips, he began his reply.

“In a way, yes, there was a Baby New Year.”

Chenoa grinned and clapped her hands together.  That was all she needed to hear, and she quickly turned her attention to playing with Katie's floppy ears.

“The Greeks would choose a baby and place it in a basket.  They'd have ... well, let's call it a parade, and the baby represented the rebirth of their god of fertility.”

“Dionysus,” the very intelligent David interjected, employing his knowledge of Greek mythology.

“Yes,” a pleased Daniel affirmed.  “That began about 600 B.C., and then the Egyptians starting using babies to symbolize rebirth.”  He sighed as he looked into the faces of the impressionable Munchkins, all of whom were focused on him, but who were so young that Daniel was certain they hadn't a clue what he was saying.  Glancing over at the newborns, he saw that Ricky was yawning, though Jenny seemed to be focused on the mini-lecture.  ~This is nuts; they don't know what I'm saying, right?~

**Carry on, Love,** Jack instructed via their special non-verbal communication.  **They're young, but they're listening, as best they can.**

The archaeologist grinned at the mental support, which went against a lot of Jack's more verbal jesting.  It felt good to know that his husband was actually on the same page.

**Carrying on then,** Daniel agreed.  He moved closer, stopping just short of the coffee table.  He then sat down on his knees, leaning back a bit on his heels.  He wanted a closer connection so that even though the children couldn't understand the words, they'd pick up on the passion.  “As you get older, we'll talk more about paganism, which deals with non-Christian beliefs and activities.  The funny thing is that the word 'pagan' began by meaning a country dweller.  Somewhere along the line, it evolved into a more negative meaning.  Now I bring this up only because the Baby New Year was looked at by the church, uh, essentially the Catholic Church, as being a heathen symbol.  It took a very long time before the church relented and began to use a baby to represent the rebirth of Jesus.

“Uh, the Germans brought the idea of using the Baby New Year like we saw on Rudolph's Shiny New Year.”

The mention of the show caused Chenoa's head to pop up as she tuned back into the conversation.

“Putting the sash across the baby came from a German tradition,” Daniel continued.  “Then we added the diaper and the top hat, and an American tradition was born.”

“Daddy, what about Father Time?” Jennifer asked as one hand rubbed against Katie's back.

“Well, the month of January is named for Janus, who is ...”

“The Roman god of gates and doors,” David proudly interjected.

“That's right,” Daniel acknowledged.

“He had two heads, one ...” David gasped in realization.  “I get it, Daddy.”  He looked over at his big sister and explained, “Janus had two heads, Jen.  They faced in different directions.”

“One looking forward, and one looking back,” Daniel stated.

With a smile, Jennifer deduced, “So one is Father Time at the end of his year, and the other is the Baby New Year, just coming to life on January 1.”

“Bingo!” Jack exclaimed.  “Time for ice cream!”

====

Ice cream treats devoured, diapers changed, and all of the children except for Jennifer now in their pajamas, Jack and Daniel decided to continue the next part of the family tradition that had begun the year before.  The entire family, sans the dogs who were happy to relax in their beanbag in the living room, went upstairs, walking through the master bedroom and onto the roof deck that separated the bedroom from the nursery.

Daniel held Chenoa, who pressed the button which retracted the roof, revealing a very clear night sky.  It was colder than last year by some five degrees, which is why the children were all bundled up warmly over their pajamas.  It was also why Jack's lecture was always bound to be shorter than his husband's.

“Why did you bring us up here, Dad?” Jennifer questioned as she gazed up at the stars.  She was still discovering how truly unique and special her new parents were.  ~It's so cold.~

“Respect.”

“Huh?” the pre-teen responded, her gaze snapping back to her older father.

“Jen, Daddy's speech downstairs earlier about Janus and the Baby New Year wasn't just a history lesson.  Okay, it was a history lesson, but he told it because he wants all of you to have a respect for beginnings and why things are.  Neither one of us want you to go through life blindly.”

“Okay, so why are we up here in the, brrrrr, coooold?” the pre-teen asked as she held Little Danny a bit closer to help keep him warmer.

“Respect for what's up there,” Jack answered, pointing up at the stars.  In his arms, he held his namesake, with Daniel holding Aislinn.

David was standing behind the double stroller in which the twins had been secured.  He figured his charges were a lost cause for the space respect lesson, since both were sleeping.

“Kids, the truth is that our space program sucks.  It sank with the Apollo Program being cut off in the early seventies, but no matter what, man is going to keep reaching for those stars up there.  They hold the answer to our future.”

There was so much more truth to that statement than the kids knew, and as he listened, Daniel bowed his head momentarily, his mind wandering to the Asgard and to other worlds that had given Earth access to medicines and technologies that were light years away from being formulated here.

“Learn from what is out there and explore the possibilities,” Jack continued.  He looked at Chenoa and then at the other girls, smiling at them.  “This past year, Space Shuttle Commander Pam Melroy and Space Station's Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson made history.  They docked, opened the hatch, and shook hands, two-hundred miles,” he pointed upwards, “up there, in the stars.  Whitson has logged more time up there than any other woman.  Possibilities, kids.  There are no limits, not up there.”

“But there are here,” Daniel declared, motioning to his Love that it was time to retreat inside the warmth of their home.

====

“What are we doing?” David asked as he picked up a pencil and stared down at the empty piece of paper his dad had just handed him.

“Getting rid of the negative,” Jack answered.  “We all goof up.  Write down something you messed up on this past year.  Don't tell anyone else what you write.  This is just for each of us to know about ourselves, not to share.”

“The idea is that we acknowledge a mistake, or something we regret.  Maybe it was something as simple as saying a harsh word to a stranger or friend,” Daniel put forth, already holding his folded paper in hand.

“It could be anything that you're sorry for.  Write it down.”

Jack and Daniel helped the five babies as they'd done the year before, and then also helped Chenoa.

“You just think it, Princess,” Jack told the curly haired girl.  “Then make your mark.”

Chenoa smiled, closed her eyes, and thought about something she was sorry for.  Then she opened her eyes and pretended she was coloring on the paper.

“That'll work,” Jack observed with a smile and kiss.

Then Bijou and Katie approached, adding their paw marks to their papers.

After that, the older kids walked to the fire and, along with their parents, tossed in the papers, watching them burn.  As proxies for the younger members of the brood, David was allowed to toss in their papers, too, with Daniel throwing in the dogs' regrets.

“I like this tradition,” Jennifer stated a bit quietly.

“Whatever you wrote, let it go from your heart,” Daniel advised.  “It's ... freedom.”

“That's why I like it,” the girl agreed, smiling at her daddy.

====

Just as the older kids and their parents were wrapping up a quick game of Charades, a special jingle was heard from Jack's cell phone.  As they'd done the year before, the couple had shut off their landline phone.  However, there was one phone call that they were expecting, so Jack's phone has been programmed to accept just that one call.

“Top of the New Year to ya,” Jack spoke in an Irish brogue as he took the call.

“Hello, Jack.”

“How's the Caribbean?”

“Oh!” Jennifer exclaimed, realizing who was on the phone and smiling over at the Munchkins, happy they were awake.

“It's great.  How are the children?”

“Ask them yourself,” Jack replied with a smile, walking over and handing the phone to Aislinn.  “It's Mommy.”

“Moommmmy!” Aislinn cheered into the phone.

“Hi, Ash.”

Daniel watched closely, smiling and feeling good inside.  Every one of the children, including the weary twins, responded to Kayla's voice.  He silently wished she hadn't gone away for a couple of months, though in his heart, he knew why she'd done it.

~Space.  She is determined to give us space,~ the archaeologist lamented about Kayla Armentrout's insistence to never interfere with the raising of the five children she'd given birth to as a surrogate mother.

The last conversation Daniel heard was with Jennifer.  It was like listening to her chatting with a good friend.

“Shoes!” Jennifer exclaimed.  “Thanks, Kayla.”

Daniel took the phone and spoke, “Kayla, we wish you were here.”

“I'll be back in a couple of weeks.  They all sound wonderful, Daniel.”

“They'd be more wonderful, if you were here,” the archaeologist challenged.

“Maybe next year.”

“We insist,” Daniel responded firmly.

“I promised them kisses.  Will you give them kisses for me, all of them?”

“I promise.”

When Daniel hung up, he took the phone to put into a drawer since they wouldn't need it anymore.  Before he could turn around, he felt his husband at his side.

“Give her time, Danny.”

“Next year, Babe.  Next year she stays and celebrates with us,” Daniel insisted strongly.

“We'll use force if necessary,” Jack half teased.

Daniel nodded, and the two shared a quick kiss before refocusing on their family.

====

“Where?” Chenoa asked as she toddled around the room.

“Hot!” Jack called out.  “Steaming hot!”

“Here!” the little girl shouted, jumping up and down as she held the velvet bag with her name on it.

The family had already played the hide and seek game with the five younger members, and then it was the Mouseketeers turn to find their own velvet bags.

“Okay, open 'em,” Jack ordered.

“Wow!” David expressed in surprise.

“It sure is shiny,” Jennifer observed.

“Those are this year's lucky coins,” Jack announced.

“Lucky coins?” David inquired curiously.

“Yeah,” Daniel affirmed.  “Look, luck is something that you can't buy, but superstition or magic or mythology or, well, all kinds of things talk about lucky coins.  Dad and I decided to give you these Morgan silver dollars as this year's symbol of the good things, or good luck, or whatever name you want to give to it, that will come in 2008.”

“Keep in mind, this is just for fun,” Jack advised cautiously.  “And the coins are not meant to be spent.”

“Dad's right.  Coins don't bring luck; luck comes from within.”

“Let's look at it as a chance to wish for the future,” the older man suggested.  “What are your dreams for the new year?”

“Well, I'd like to see Britney in concert,” Jennifer answered with a hopeful smile.

“Of course you would,” Jack groaned, having already heard more about Britney  Spears than he ever wanted to in his lifetime.  “What about you?” he inquired of David.

The young boy surprised his parents by answering, “I have what I wished for, a family.”

That led to hugs for the orphaned boy, who was happy to still be with his biological sisters while also having gained five baby siblings.

“Noa, what do you wish for?” Daniel asked.

“Want horsey.”

Jack closed his eyes, shaking his head.  No horses were going to be a part of this family, unless they were of the stuffed variety.  This he was certain of.

Then the parents asked the Munchkins what they wished for.  Jonny wanted a dump trunk, and Little Danny didn't answer.  The truth was that he still wasn't talking.  He watched everything that went on around him with great intensity and curiosity, but he'd yet to actually speak a legitimate word.  Then it was Aislinn's turn.

“Mommy home.”

“We're working on it, Sweetie,” Daniel replied, picking up his little angel and hugging her close.

====

After talking about the investment value of the kids' new lucky coins, it was time for the countdown, as well as one more new tradition that was being added to the list.  Having brought in some of the play steps from outside, the stage was set.  With the TV on the desired channel, the older kids and their parents did the countdown.

“... Three ... Two ... One!  Happy New Year!”

“Go, Jen!” Jack urged.

“Leaping into 2008!” the girl called out, jumping off the step onto the carpet.

“Here I come, New Year!” David called out before he leaped into the new year.

“Happy New Year!” Chenoa shouted, clapping and then making an assisted jump down.

Then Jack and Daniel helped Jonny to make the leap, while Jennifer and David helped Little Danny.  The two teams alternated until finally all of the babies had made assisted leaps into 2008.  Then the noisemakers were put into play, along with hugs and kisses, which was followed by the traditional singing of Auld Lang Syne.

====

When things had calmed, Jack and Daniel ushered their children to bed.  The Munchkins and the twins were sound asleep long before their heads even touched the pads of their cribs.  Chenoa, who slept in the three-quarter size bed in the nursery, said her prayers and went to sleep before her parents could even wish her sweet dreams.

The two men walked into David's small room, which was at the direct rear of the house and was accessed from a door at the other side of the nursery.

“You asleep?” Jack asked, smiling when the boy rolled over and looked up.

Daniel sat down on the edge of the bed and adjusted the blanket over his son.

“Daddy, I meant it.  I have my wish.  Jen, Noa, and I are together, and we have lots of brothers and sisters now, too.”

“We wouldn't be complete without you, David.  We love you so much.”  Daniel rubbed his hand against the boy's cheek and added, “It's okay to wish for other things, too.”

“Like a book about rocks?  I like rocks,” the happy youngster noted.

“Yeah, like that.”

“Did you have fun tonight?” Jack asked as he stood behind Daniel.

“A lot,” the boy responded.  “Do you think my mommy and daddy are happy now?”

Daniel sighed and nodded, answering, “Any parent wants their child to be happy.  I know they wish they were here to keep you happy themselves.”

With a yawn, David's eyes kept fluttering close.  He was so tired.

“I love you,” Daniel whispered, getting up and kissing the boy on the forehead.

“Love you, Son,” Jack declared as he did the same.

The two men retraced their steps, both glancing over at Chenoa, who was fast asleep with a smile on her face.  They walked over to the cribs and stared down at the five babies, all deep into slumber.

“It's getting bigger,” Daniel commented.

“Huh?”

“Remember last year?  We said it was the start of something big.  Who knew our family would jump from three to eight in ... months?”

“That seems like a long time ago,” Jack admitted.  “Regrets?”

“Only when the clock strikes thirteen o'clock.”

Jack cocked his head at the strange answer and replied, “Daniel, that never happens.”

“Exactly,” Daniel acknowledged, a cute grin on his face.  “Monitor.”

The older man chuckled, then made sure the monitor was in position and on.  He grabbed the portable receiver and followed his Love to Jennifer's room on the other side of the house.  After saying their goodnights to the pre-teen, the lovers returned to the living room.

====

“All locked,” Daniel reported after letting Bijou and Katie back in.  When he turned around, he chuckled, “Deja vu.”

“Huh?”

“This is what happened last year,” the archaeologist explained about seeing his husband sitting on the carpet and beginning a play session with the beagles.

“Tradition,” Jack responded as he went nose to nose with Bijou over a tug toy.

“One of the best,” Daniel agreed as he joined his family.

====

“This is nice,” Daniel opined contentedly as he nestled close to Jack while they danced to the soft sounds of the stereo.

“No arguments from me,” Jack replied, his head leaning against his lover's.  “You didn't tell me your wish.”

Daniel pulled back, his sparkling eyes conveying more love than Jack could even imagine.

“You're my wish, my dream come true, my everything,” the younger man answered quietly.  “You've given me everything that I ever wanted or needed.  What more could I wish for?”

“I love you, Angel.”

The lovers kissed and then adjourned upstairs where they expressed their desires in a more physical way.  It had been a year of surprises, ones that both men relished from the depths of their hearts.  All they could do now is wander what the next twelve months had in store for them.

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