It's What We Do
Category: Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - October 19-20, 2013
Size: 37kb, short story
Written: May 2-3,6,10,12, 2008
Summary: When bullies hurt Aislinn, Jonny wants revenge. Can Teal'c get him to see reason?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Tammy, Wolf Moldy, Linda, Lil Bear, Melissa!
It's What We Do
Jack and Daniel were enjoying a weekend alone together, away from the
responsibility of parenthood, though they'd brought their precious
beagles, Bijou and Katie, with them.
Meanwhile, the brood was having fun in the care of various babysitters, including the recently married Teal'c and Janet, who were staying at the Jackson-O'Neill home with their charges -- Jennifer, the Munchkins, and the Spitfires. At the moment, they were at the local park, playing.
While her siblings played, Aislinn was kneeling down on the grass over near some bushes and flowers, holding a small box in her hands.
“It's beautiful out here; you're gonna love it.” Aislinn smiled and then sang a song as she prepared her two-day-old babies to live life on their own. “Thank you for letting me watch you grow; you're so beautiful, but you don't belong in a box or a cage.” Carefully, the seven-year-old girl opened the box and gently urged the creatures to go out on their own. “Fly away, Butterflies! Fly away, high and proud.”
The youngster stood up, watching her butterflies test out their wings and soar in the air. She smiled brightly, feeling happiness and joy for the pretty painted ladies as they flew around. She began to sing another song as she watched.
With a frown, Aislinn turned to see two boys, both of whom were at least a head taller than she was.
“I'm singing to my butterflies,” Aislinn responded. Raising her left hand up into the air, she looked up, smiling at the new lives as she exclaimed, “See! They were just caterpillars a few days ago. Aren't they beau...”
“I said, shut up,” one of the boys said, moving forward and shoving Aislinn down.
The push surprised the little girl, who was pretty good at self-defense, thanks to training she and the brood had received from Teal'c and others. She stumbled backwards, unable to get control of her fall. As a result, she landed on her right hand, twisting it. It hurt, and she began to cry.
Just before that, though, Jonny and Little Danny had been playing leap frog when the oldest Munchkin happened to look over at Aislinn. He witnessed the boy shoving his sister and her fall. He frowned as his ire built. When he heard her cry, his anger reached its peak.
“*Get away from my sister!* the sandy-haired boy yelled as he began running towards the bushes.
Jonny was tall for his age, so when the boys saw him, they thought he was older and quickly took off running.
“Teal'c!” Janet called out urgently from where she and Jennifer had been chatting about the wedding.
“I see, Sim'ka,” the Jaffa responded, using a Chulakian term of endearment for his wife, and then sprinted after the two boys.
“Come with me,” Janet ordered the Spitfires, rushing towards the Munchkins, who were now all together.
Aislinn was still sitting on the ground with Jonny kneeling down on her right side and Little Danny mirroring his brother's pose on her left. Both boys were trying to comfort their sister.
“Ash, are you okay?” Jennifer asked as she reached the triplets.
“Hurts,” Aislinn cried, holding out her hand.
“You'll be okay, Ash,” Jonny promised, getting up and running to the other end of the park, where Teal'c had a hold on the shirt collars of each of the two boys.
“Jon...ny,” Janet sighed, wondering how Jack and Daniel ever kept a leash on all twelve of their children at the same time.
Little Danny wanted to follow his big brother, but Aislinn was still crying. While their Aunt Janet examined the girl's arm, hand, and wrist, he held his sister close, wrapping his arms around her neck and shoulders in a comforting hug.
Just then, one of her butterflies came over and landed on her hand, which caused her to smile and say, “I'm okay, Butterfly. You go fly; it's what you're supposed to do.”
“Hello there,” Janet spoke to the creature, having been surprised when her examination was interrupted by a butterfly.
“It's okay. You make me happy, Butterfly.” Aislinn giggled as the butterfly flew away. “It hurts, Aunt Janet,” she admitted as the butterfly landed on a bush and began feeding.
“Nothing's broken. Move your wrist in a circle for me, Ash,” Janet requested, watching carefully as the youngest Munchkin did as she was told. “I think you just sprained it,” she concluded reassuringly. “We'll go take an X-ray, just to be sure.”
“We get to go to the Mountain?” Ricky asked enthusiastically.
“Yep,” Janet confirmed.
“Yeah!” Ricky cheered.
“Ricky!” Aislinn admonished.
“I like going to the Mountain,” the little boy stated.
“Me, too, but not to the infirmary,” Aislinn sighed.
“Does it still hurt?” the male Spitfire questioned.
Aislinn nodded as Little Danny kept his arms around her.
On the other side of the park, Teal'c was walking the two boys over towards the others when Jonny ran up to them. He was red-faced and practically jumping with anger.
“*You hurt my sister! I'm gonna get you for that!*”
“JonnyJacksonO'Neill!” the Jaffa called out.
“My dad says paybacks are okay. I'm gonna get payback, and you're gonna hurt, just like my sister!” Jonny shouted, the tiny veins in his neck showing from all the rage he was feeling as he pointed at both boys.
“Yeah, yeah, big talker.”
“I would advise you not to talk at this time,” Teal'c recommended to the boys.
“You're just bullies, and I'm gonna get you!” Jonny shouted again.
By now, Teal'c had reached the others and asked, “How is Aislinn?”
“I don't like them, Teal'c,” Aislinn sniffled. “He pushed me down,” she pointed to the boy on the left, “and all I was doing was singing to my butterflies.”
“Ash is a pretty singer. Why would you hit her?” Little Danny questioned.
“We'll get revenge,” Jonny scowled, his brown eyes cold and dark as he focused on the boys.
“JenniferJacksonO'Neill, please take hold of these ... bullies, and do not let them move. Sim'ka, she is all right?”
“Yes, but I want to take an X-ray as a precaution,” Janet said, standing and helping Aislinn up. “I'll take these two and the Spitfires with me,” she suggested, knowing that her husband was intending on having a discussion with the bullies. “Remember where we are,” she added with pointed eyes, reminding the Jaffa they were on Earth and not Chulak.
Teal'c nodded, pleased with the understanding that he and his bride shared with each other. She knew he wanted to discuss the situation with the bullies as well as talk with Jonny about his revengeful attitude. He watched as the redhead walked away with the children and then instructed Jennifer to stay with the two boys, while he headed over to a nearby bench so that he could talk with Jonny. He made sure, however, that he was facing the boys, just in case they decided to make a run for it.
Sitting Jonny down on the bench, Teal'c stood, looming over the still-fuming youngster and asked, “You are angry?”
“I'm mad!” Jonny confirmed with a harsh voice, his small hands gripping the slat of the bench firmly.
“You want revenge?”
“Payback,” Jonny stated coldly, his mind already trying to think of ways to avenge his sister's injury.
“Revenge is wrong,” Teal'c declared.
Jonny looked up in surprise and argued, “But he made Ash cry!”
“Indeed, but you must be careful with what you allow in your heart.”
“I hafta protect Ash. It's my job, and they hurt her, just because! They're bullies, Teal'c.”
“Yes,” the tall, dark alien agreed. He glanced over at the offenders and then stared at the Munchkin. “I am going to tell you a story. I am not proud of it, but it is a story you need to hear. Listen well, JonnyJacksonO'Neill.”
“I don't wanna hear a story. I want reven...okay, I'm listening,” Jonny acquiesced after seeing Teal'c's stern expression, which included his famous raised eyebrow, and knowing he didn't have a choice in the matter.
“Many years ago, when I was enslaved by the Goa'uld and was the First Prime to Apophis, I often met in battle with the Arkad, First Prime to Co'rak.”
“You never talked about him before.”
“He is of no importance.”
Jonny sighed and fidgeted, clearly not wanting to listen to a story right now.
Teal'c continued, “In one of the battles, Arkad's parents and sister were killed. He swore revenge. It was not long thereafter that my mother was murdered.”
The little boy's mouth opened in surprised and a tiny gasp came out.
“I blamed Arkad and was convinced that it was he who killed my mother. I, too, swore that one day I would avenge her death with Arkad's blood. Years later, no longer enslaved to the Goa'uld, I joined with SG-1 to fight for our freedom. When that battle was won, the Jaffa Nation struggled to find its place. There were some who wanted to trade in one form of slavery for another.”
“I don't understand.”
“Perhaps the day will come when you will, but that story is not important right now,” Teal'c responded. “One day, there was to be a summit.”
“Like the one where you and Master Bra'tac almost died?” Jonny questioned, remembering the tale he'd heard not too long ago about the time when two Jaffa were almost killed and began taking Tretonin in order to save their lives.
“At that time, we were still struggling to be free. This was a few years later. The summit was to discuss our future. The place of the summit, Dar Eshkalon, was attacked, an explosive device murdering twelve warriors, eighteen bystanders, and two children. Twelve more were critically injured, including Master Bra'tac and myself. As I lay fighting for my life in the aftermath of the destruction. I vowed revenge. Nothing would stop me.”
Jonny swallowed, while his eyes were big as silver dollars. His grip on the bench tightened as he rubbed the palms of his hands back and forth on it. He was totally captivated by the story Teal'c was telling.
“When I was well, I received intel that Arkad was responsible for the attack. As soon as I could, I parted ways with the Tau'ri.”
“You left Dad and Daddy?” the surprised Munchkin asked in disbelief.
“I had no time to deal with the problems of the Tau'ri. All that was important to me was obtaining my revenge. Many of my people had been killed for no reason. It was time for ... payback.”
“Wow,” Jonny responded quietly, bowing his head in thought for a moment.
“Before the explosion, I had seen a man walking through the village.”
“No, but something about his presence disturbed me. My thirst for revenge eventually led me to him. His name was Ba'kal, a terrorist, who had betrayed his own people. I surprised him in his tent and knocked him out. I removed his symbiote and replaced it with a bomb, one exactly like the one he'd used at Dar Eshkalon.”
Jonny's gasp was loud, and he raised his hands to his chest. He was stunned by what the man was saying.
“When he awoke, I advised him to tell me all he knew, but he did not fear death, and I had no time for torture. He remained firm and told me nothing, even though he knew about the bomb I had placed in his pouch. He would not tell me what I needed to know, so I calmly began to walk away. I recall with satisfaction his last words. He asked, 'Where are you going?' to which I responded, 'I am leaving. You are about to explode'. He died seconds later.”
“You killed him?” the wide-eyed boy asked, gulping afterwards.
“I wanted revenge, and I had yet to exact it,” Teal'c responded. “However, I regret what I had to do next.” He saw Jonny waiting with baited breath and continued, “GeneralHammond ordered SG-1 to find me. Do you know why?”
Jonny shook his head, the youth silenced by the harshness of the story.
“When you are a family, what one member does, reflects on the other. This is true of a team as well. It is also true of a nation. I was known throughout the galaxy as Teal'c, the shol'va, the Goa'uld traitor, who had fought for the freedom of all Jaffa. Everyone knew my allegiance with the Tau'ri. As such, once the SGC and Earth's government realized I was serious about getting my revenge, they had to try and stop me.”
“Because what you did affects Dad, Daddy, Aunt Sam, Aunt Janet, Grandpa, Uncle Lou ...”
“You are correct,” Teal'c spoke, interrupting the long list Jonny had begun of close family friends who worked at the Mountain. “SG-1 and SG-3 located Arkad's planet. Certain I, too, had discovered this information, they set a trap for me. My quest for payback was *strong*, JonnyJacksonO'Neill. It was all I could see. Therefore, I knocked out SG-3, and when I made contact with my team, my family,” he said with a nod, “I warned them. I told them, 'I do not wish to harm any of you, but if you try to stop me, I will'.” Looking deep into the young boy's face, he stated strongly, “I meant it, Jonny, and I did.”
“You hurt Dad and Daddy?”
Teal'c sighed, walking forward a couple of steps as he affirmed, “DanielJackson pleaded with me, but I ignored his advice and used a Goa'uld shock grenade to render the team unconscious. Only O'Neill escaped its effects. We fought, but I won, and then I continued my quest. Payback was to come soon.”
“You ... hit Dad?”
“Indeed, many blows were struck. O'Neill, and DanielJackson, are both formidable warriors,” Teal'c expounded. “I had no choice. I went to Arkad's chambers and confronted him. We fought as I have never fought before. Many times, I thought I would not be able to get up to continue to battle, but his words taunted me. He admitted that he had killed my mother, and that spurred me on. I surprised him and ran my sword through his belly. I had my revenge.”
“He was dead?”
“He was. SG-1 arrived just after I killed Arkad. To protect me, they lied to General Hammond and to their government.”
“Lied?” Jonny questioned, not believing that. “Dad and Daddy don't lie.”
“I am family. Had they not lied on their reports, no one knows what would have happened to me. Certainly, I would have been banished from the SGC, and perhaps even from Earth, and would no longer have been a member of SG-1. To prevent that, they told GeneralHammond that Arkad had set a trap for them; indeed, capturing them. They claimed that I rescued them and was injured in the process. GeneralHammond suspected it was a falsehood, but he, too, supported their report.”
“Grandpa lied, too?”
“Revenge is costly, JonnyJacksonO'Neill. The irony is that all those years that I wanted revenge on Arkad for my mother's death, even though he took credit for killing her himself, I knew he did not. It was another, but I told myself that Arkad was evil, a coward; he had to be stopped.”
Teal'c walked over to the bench and kneeled down, staring Jonny in the eyes.
“Revenge goes deep into your soul. It eats away at it, and it makes your heart harden. Revenge kills, not those to whom you want your payback, but yourself. Do you understand?”
“Teal'c, you just lied to me,” Jonny spoke quietly, looking the Jaffa straight in the eye.
“You wouldn't kill a man by putting a bomb in his pouch, and you wouldn't hurt Dad and Daddy. I don't believe you,” Jonny spoke his words spoken with a steady voice and strong conviction.
Teal'c smiled, nodding once as he replied, “You are correct. The truth was that Arkad did murder the Jaffa on Dar Eshkalon, but I was injured, as was Bra'tac. SG-1 discovered the location of Arkad's planet while I was recovering. At first, my heart was hardened, but it was DanielJackson who reminded me that we were a family and that I had my son, Rya'c, to think about as well.”
“Daddy convinced you not to get revenge?”
“That, and O'Neill locked me up in the brig for twenty-four hours to give me time to cool off, as he called it.”
Jonny chuckled and asked, “Did you cool off, T?”
“I did. I thought about my son and my teammates. When I could not meditate, I became anxious. I realized the reason for this was the anger in my soul and the numbness of my heart.”
“So both Dad and Daddy helped you,” Jonny deduced.
“That is correct. I trusted that revenge would come, but it would come in due time, be it at my hand or at another's. Soon, SG-1 went to the planet. Arkad *did* set a trap for us. It was a tough battle, but we won. Arkad and Ba'Kal were both killed there.”
“Did they really kill your mother?” Jonny asked a bit hesitantly.
“I believe they were responsible, yes,” Teal's answered.
“I'm sorry, Teal'c,” Jonny spoke compassionately, leaning forward to hug a man he thought of as a hero. Then he added, “I knew you couldn't hurt Dad and Daddy.”
Teal'c sighed and confided, “There was a time, Jonny, when revenge was in my heart for a woman, a temple priestess, who was killed by a Goa'uld named Tanith. I cared very much for her, and it blinded me to the risks I took in achieving my goal. Tanith was killed in battle, but in my attempts to get payback, I did on more than one occasion put O'Neill in danger. However, I did not recognize that fact until a few years later. Do you understand now what I am trying to teach you?”
“They made Ash cry,” Jonny said softly, his argument not quite as feisty as it had been earlier.
“Indeed, but when you let revenge tear away your soul and eat away at your heart, you hurt only yourself. Would AislinnJacksonO'Neill not be upset if that happened to you?”
“Shouldn't they be punished?”
“That is so, and we will do our best to see to it. I do not want your heart to grow cold. AislinnJacksonO'Neill needs you to protect her,” Teal'c said with a smile.
“It's what I do, Teal'c.”
Teal'c nodded once and then stated, “I suggest we take the bullies to their home and ...”
“Teal'c!” Jennifer called out anxiously when the two boys suddenly pushed her back and ran off.
“Come!” Teal'c ordered. “See to your brother,” he instructed the young woman as he hurried after the bullies.
“Where are they?” Jonny asked agitatedly when he and Jennifer met up with Teal'c.
“They have evaded my search. JenniferJacksonO'Neill, please return to your home and get your car. We shall do an expanded search.”
“I'll stay with T,” Jonny said, removing his hand from his sister's grasp and slipping it into the Jaffa's much bigger hand.
Seeing Teal'c's nod, Jennifer sprinted home to get her car.
“Teal'c, what if we don't find them?” Jonny asked.
“We will,” Teal'c stated. As the two walked, he added, “Even when faced with what seemed like insurmountable odds, SG-1 always believed. You must believe now.”
“Like we did when Dad was lost that time or when Daddy got hurt in the car accident,” Jonny responded.
“Yes. We will find them, and we will entrust their punishment to their parents.”
“They hurt Ash,” Jonny sighed, understanding Teal'c's story of revenge, but still having a hard time with it.
“They will be punished.”
Twenty minutes later, Jennifer was driving her Mini-Cooper slowly down various streets that were within walking distance of the park. Jonny was in the back seat, while Teal'c sat in the front passenger seat.
“Teal'c, I'm sorry my car isn't ... bigger,” Jennifer mused, glancing over briefly at the packed-in Jaffa.
“When you marry, it must not be to a Jaffa,” Teal'c responded.
“Is that a Jaffa joke? Dad's told me about those,” the young woman teased.
“That's them! Jen, stop!” Jonny exclaimed excitedly, interrupting the conversation.
Jennifer pulled the car to a stop. Getting out, the three headed across the street to where the two boys were playing. A woman sat on the front stoop, standing when she saw the strangers approaching.
Jonny ran forward and, just as Teal'c was going to stop him, ignored the boys and hurried to the woman, surprising the Jaffa with the move.
Pointing at the boys, Jonny asked, “Are you their mother?”
“Um, well, yes,” the woman said.
“They're bullies. They pushed my sister down and hurt her. She cried and had to go to the doctor. It's their fault. I wanted revenge, but Teal'c says you'll punish them.”
“The brat is lying,” the taller boy stated.
“I am Teal'c,” the Jaffa introduced, politely bowing his head. “These children did indeed cause injury to this boy's sister at the park today.”
“They wouldn't do that,” the woman replied, though her words were hesitant and less than convincing.
The boys had smug expressions on their faces, confident they were going to beat the rap. They began to tell their mother a tale about seeing the little girl and talking to her, but they claimed she'd fallen on her own.
Just then, a car pulled into the driveway. A man in civilian clothes got out and stared at the Jaffa in confusion.
“Major Castleman,” Teal'c acknowledged.
“What's going on?”
“Dad, that boy is lying,” the smaller of the two boys claimed, pointing at Jonny.
“Major Castleman, you are returning to the SGC?”
“Yes, I just transferred back. This is my wife, Marla, and my, our, sons, Brandon and Lonnie,” the major introduced.
“Are you aware of O'Neill and DanielJackson and their children?” the Jaffa asked.
Nodding, the man answered, “I've heard stories.”
“This is JenniferJacksonO'Neill and JonnyJacksonO'Neill,” Teal'c introduced.
“The stories are true then,” Castleman acknowledged, bobbing his head up and down a few times.
“Are you prejudiced?” Jonny asked with his hands on his hips.
The oldest Munchkin was prepared to deal with revenge on this day, but he really wasn't in the mood to deal with same-sex prejudice.
Castleman smiled as he answered, “No.” He sighed, looking at Teal'c. “What did they do?” he queried, looking at his sons.
“Dad!” the boys exclaimed.
“Be quiet.” Castleman listened as Teal'c and Jonny both told him what had happened. “I'm sorry. There are reasons, but ... I am sorry.” He looked over at his children and said, “Go get your bikes.”
“Why?” the oldest boy queried stubbornly.
“I said, go get your bikes,” the father ordered sternly, his expression backing up his words. “Teal'c, Jennifer, Jonny, I apologize. I'll be in touch. Is there a number where I can reach the general and Doctor Jackson?”
“Um, here,” Jennifer said, opening her purse and pulling out a business card for J-O Enterprises. On the back, after getting a nod of approval from Teal'c, she wrote down their home address and phone number. “Here you go.”
“We will go now,” Teal'c stated.
“Are they gonna be punished?” Jonny asked expectantly.
“You can count on it,” Castleman promised sincerely.
That evening, Jack and Daniel arrived home. Janet had called them, and they'd decided to come home now rather than in the morning. The brood was all home, and Aislinn was the center of attention. Wanting to make their injured sister feel better, many of her siblings even offered to share their nightly bowl of ice cream with her.
“No, thank you,” Aislinn said with a small groan after having her fifth bowl. She'd had a variety of flavors -- butter pecan, strawberry, fudge brownie, French vanilla, and maple walnut. “I think I'll go to bed now.”
Jack and Daniel exchanged an amused look. Their daughter had consumed way more of the family's favorite treat than was usual for her, and they weren't sure what else she'd been given before she got home. That was in addition to having an extra helping of spaghetti for dinner, too.
Late that night, with almost everyone asleep, one of the brood quietly walked through the house to Jack and Daniel's bedroom. The youngster listened with his right ear against the door, hoping not to hear any sounds. Sighing when all was quiet, the child opened the door, walked in, and climbed up onto the bed, taking a position right in the middle of the two parents who had, in a rare moment, fallen asleep away from each other, possibly when Daniel realized he still had his glasses on and had shifted to put them on the nightstand.
Shaking the archaeologist, the concerned boy called out, “Daddy, wake up.”
“Huh? Wha...what? Huh?” Daniel responded, mumbling more as he awoke and leaned forward on his elbow. “Jonny, what's wrong?”
“Hey, what's happening?” Jack asked, realizing the bed had three bodies on it, instead of the normal two.
“I want you to tell the truth, okay?” Jonny asked, staring primarily at Daniel, but also looking at Jack.
“Jonny, we would never lie to you. What is it you need to know?” the younger man responded.
The little boy, seated on his knees, pulled against the sheet as he responded, “Did Teal'c kill Arkad?”
“What?” both parents stated, each of them sitting up a bit more.
“Jonny, where did you hear about Arkad?” Jack asked. “Never mind,” he stated, knowing the boy had to have heard about the murderous Jaffa from Teal'c.
Daniel reached for his glasses while stating, “Yes, but it was during a fight.”
“He set a trap for SG-1?”
“Okay, listen,” Daniel said. “Teal'c told you about this, right?” When Jonny nodded, he asked, “Does Teal'c lie?”
“No, Daddy, but he was telling me a story, and I just want to know what really happened,” Jonny stated.
“Okay. Well, I, we,” Daniel began, pointing back and forth from Jack to himself, “don't know what Teal'c told you, so we'll just give you a brief summary. When the Jaffa Nation was new, they planned a meeting where they could get together and talk about what they wanted for their future. This meeting was at a place called ...”
“Dar Eshkalon,” Jonny stated.
“Right,” Daniel affirmed. “Not every Jaffa wanted the same kind of government, and one of them wanted to lead the Nation himself. That was Arkad. For some reason, he felt that he had to kill in order to lead, so he placed a bomb that ... killed a lot of people.”
“Two of them,” Jack confirmed, rubbing his namesake's left arm gently. “And Teal'c and Bra'tac were both there and were hurt, too.”
“But Aunt Janet made them better,” Daniel added.
“Well, we did what we do a lot. We went after the bad guys,” the younger man answered.
“We put out some feelers and got some intel; found Arkad's planet in the stars. We tracked him down for the good of the universe,” Jack informed the boy. “There was a fight, and Arkad and a couple of his cronies died.”
“Teal'c never hurt you, did he?” Jonny asked his older father.
Jack opened his mouth, not quite sure how to answer that.
“Son, did we just change subjects?” Daniel asked.
“Teal'c said somethin' 'bout a pizzatess.”
Trying not to laugh, Daniel corrected, “Priestess. What did he say?”
“I'm not sure. It was confusing, but he said he was sorry that he didn't understand then about danger and Dad and stuff. I don't understand now, but he says revenge isn't good.”
Jack and Daniel exchanged a look. Suddenly, the boy's questions made sense, as did Teal'c telling him a story that wasn't entirely true.
“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged. “Jonny, Teal'c is family. He's also from a different culture, and that culture has different values and morals than we do. I think Teal'c made some choices early on that he wouldn't make now.”
“He loves Aunt Janet,” Jonny said with a grin.
“Yes, and when you have someone to love, that changes everything,” Daniel put forth, smiling at his soulmate.
“But Ash is my sister.”
“Jonny,” Jack interjected. “We're protectors.”
“It's what we do, Dad!” Jonny agreed emphatically.
Jack sighed, “What Teal'c was trying to say is that there's a difference between protecting your family and becoming obsessed with the need for revenge. Back when the priestess was around, he didn't think I had a family because he didn't know about Daddy and me. He thought we had nothing to lose, so when he had a chance to get his revenge, he went for it, and, sometimes, he took me along for the ride.”
“He's sorry, Dad.”
“That's nice to know,” Daniel spoke. “But even if he wasn't, Jonny, we still love him because Teal'c is ... Teal'c.”
“I don't want to lose my soul,” Jonny said.
Daniel smiled and reached out to pat the boy's thigh while responding, “I'm glad. I'm guessing you're a little confused because, sometimes, we talk about payback. Sometimes, we even act like it's a fun thing.”
Jonny nodded and said, “Teal'c tried to explain it to me.”
“We'll talk about it some more tomorrow, okay?” Jack asked.
“Do you think they'll really be punished?” Jonny asked, surprising his older father when he moved closer and sprawled out against him.
Smiling as he looked over at Daniel, Jack answered, “Yes. I have to believe that his parents will take care of it. We have some options, too. You can't hurt another person, Son. We could report them to the police, if we wanted to.”
“There are a lot of options, Jonny,” Daniel said. “We want to talk to the boys' parents before deciding on anything.”
“Hafta protect Ash,” Jonny yawned. “... what we doooo.”
Jack leaned around slightly to get a look at the boy's face and then said, “He's asleep.”
“He was really angry, Jack,” Daniel said, rubbing the boy's back.
“Yeah. He's not the only one,” the older man responded.
“I'm proud of you,” Daniel said with a smile of his own.
“He's our son. I want him full of smiles, Danny, not feeling bitter or angry about ... morons like those bullies.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too, Angel,” Jack said as he and his soulmate settled back down to sleep, their oldest Munchkin in between them.
The next day, Jennifer answered the front door, a bit surprised to see Major Castleman and his two sons there.
“Do it,” the major ordered, gently tapping his oldest son on the shoulder.
“Hello. We'd like to see General O'Neill and Doctor Jackson.”
“And Aislinn, too, please,” the other boy stated, though he didn't sound all that earnest in Jennifer's opinion.
“Uh, just to be correct, our last name is Jackson-O'Neill,” Jennifer said, looking at the major with a polite shrug, but leaving it to him as to whether or not he explained her statement to the children. “Come in, please.”
“Jen, who's ... Castleman,” Jack called out.
“General!” Castleman said, snapping to and saluting.
“Not at my house,” Jack said with a shiver and a sneer.
“Sir,” Castleman replied as he stood at ease. “My boys would like to speak with you and Doctor Jackson ... O'Neill,” he said, looking over at Jennifer with a nod.
“Did I hear my ... name?” Daniel asked, joining the others in the entranceway.
After introductions were made all around and the group went into the living room, Castleman again prompted his boys.
“We're sorry for pushing your daughter,” the disgruntled oldest boy spoke.
“Yeah, sorry,” the youngest boy said.
“Go on,” Castleman instructed forcefully.
“Here,” the oldest boy said, turning over two-hundred dollars to the general.
“General, please take it,” Castleman requested. “I'll explain more later.”
Jack looked over at his husband, who shrugged his agreement.
“And ...” the major prompted.
“We'd like to apologize to the little girl,” the youngest boy said.
“Jen,” Daniel stated, watching as Jennifer headed upstairs to get her sister.
A moment later, Jennifer returned, not only with Aislinn, but with the other two Munchkins as well.
“You're the bullies,” Jonny stated upon seeing them, his arms folded tightly across his chest and his eyes emitting daggers, challenging them to deny the truth.
“We are n...” Brandon began to argue, stopping when he felt his father's hand on his shoulder.
“You are what you are, Son. You both acted wrongly. Now apologize and admit it,” Castleman stated.
“We're sorry for being bullies and for pushing you,” Brandon stated, looking at Aislinn.
“I'm sorry, too,” Lonnie added.
“And ...” the major prodded.
“Can we do anything to show you how sorry we really are?” Lonnie asked out of the corner of his mouth.
Aislinn smiled, holding up her bandaged wrist while answering, “Today's the day I was going to change all the clothes on my dollies. Now I can't because Aunt Janet says not to use my hand. It hurts.”
“Dad, dolllllllls!” Lonnie whined, groaning when he saw his father's stare.
“Can we help you?” Brandon asked, glaring at Jonny, who was now snickering and much calmer than he had been a minute before.
Smiling coyly, Aislinn answered, “You can change all their clothes for me and then play with me. I have a new house for my dollies.”
Brandon looked at his father and sighed, “Okay.”
“We'll go watch,” Jonny said, following Aislinn and the bullies to the girls' room.
“Jen,” Jack ordered.
The girl nodded, going upstairs to keep an eye on things herself.
“Coffee?” Daniel asked the major.
Now seated around the table in the dining nook of the kitchen, Castleman explained, “My wife died three years ago. I married Marla last year, and it's been a difficult transition for the boys. No, it's my fault. I've let them get away with things because of their mother's death, and Marla's been in the middle. I've spoiled them.” He sighed and took a sip of his coffee. “Marla's tried to tell me, but I couldn't see; I didn't want to.”
“So, what are you going to do?” Daniel asked.
“Remind them they have two parents. Their mother is dead, but Marla loves them, and she wants to be a mother to them, or at least a friend. I need to remind them they have a father, too, and not just in name only. I came back to the SGC wanting a fresh start. I just didn't realize how fresh it needed to be.”
“About the money ...” Jack began.
“General, donate it, or do with it what you want. I'm thinkin' you took your daughter to the Mountain for care, but my boys need to see a consequence. They'd just gotten new bikes. We sold them last night. I need you to accept that money.”
“We, uh, have a sort of ... nursing scholarship in the name of the surrogate mother who gave birth to some of our children, including Ash,” Daniel began. “She died in a car accident.”
“Drunk driver,” Jack interjected.
“This money will go to that, if it's okay,” Daniel spoke.
“Thank you,” Castleman acknowledged. Then he smiled and asked, “Tell me something. Has your daughter ever done this clothes changing thing before?”
Jack and Daniel shared a look and then both answered, “No, not that we know of.”
“At least not 'scheduled',” Daniel added.
“Yeah,” Jack agreed with a smile, knowing exactly with the little girl had done.
Castleman laughed and continued to renew his old acquaintance with Jack and Daniel.
“Will you come back next week?” Aislinn asked the two boys as they were leaving. “My wrist might still be hurting then.”
“Daaaaaad!” Lonnie exclaimed.
“They'll be here, Ash,” Castleman promised. “Let's go.”
Jonny put his arm around Little Danny and opined, “Now that's payback, Little Danny.”
Walking towards her brothers, Aislinn said, “If they hadn't surprised me at the park, I could have taken care of them myself.”
“We'll protect you, Ash,” Jonny promised as the three Munchkins went happily up the stairs.
“Well, this has been an interesting weekend,” Daniel remarked, his arm now wrapped around his husband's.
“Interesting and odd,” Jack replied, leaning in for a kiss. “Castleman's a good man.”
“Yeah. How about we check out the new doll attire?”
Jack grinned as he headed for the stairs and said, “Our daughter, queen of the ultimate payback.”
“Jonny got it, too.”
“Yeah. Yeah, he did.”
As if on cue, Jonny appeared at the top of the stairs and called down, “Dad, Daddy?“
“We're coming up,” Jack said as he and Daniel began their ascent.
“Did Ash get payback?”
“She sure did,” Jack acknowledged.
“And that was the good kind of payback, huh?” the boy asked eagerly.
“Absolutely,” Daniel responded.
“The kind that doesn't hurt my soul?”
“Exactly,” Jack confirmed.
Jonny grinned widely and asked, “Can we buy Ash some more dolls this week?”
Jack laughed, patting the boy on his shoulder as he reached the top of the stairs.
Jonny Jackson-O'Neill had learned a valuable lesson, and it was one that his parents hoped he'd retain forever.
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