Let's Go Fly a Kite

Author:  Orrymain and special guest co-author, Mama Bear!
Category:  Pre-Slash, Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  S1 - December 6-7, 1997; Beyond the Series - April 10-11, 2010
Spoilers:  None
Size:  34kb, short story
Written:  July 11,13,18,22-23, 2006  Revised for consistency:  August 25,27-28, September 4, 2007
Summary:  Kite flying memories, both old and new, sweep over Daniel.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) “Let's Go Fly a Kite” from “Mary Poppins” was written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.
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:  Claudia, QuinGem, Carol, Melissa!

Let's Go Fly a Kite
by Orrymain and Mama Bear

====
--December 1997
====

It was a little after five in the afternoon on a cold Saturday in Colorado Springs when Jack walked into the kitchen, intending to get a beer.  Just as he reached the refrigerator, he heard a knock at the door.

~Who the heck could that be?~ Jack groused as he turned and walked through his house as he headed to the entranceway.  He opened the front door, both surprised and pleased to see SG-1's archaeologist standing there.  “Hey, Daniel.”

“Hey, Jack.  Can I come in?” Daniel asked.

Both men were dressed casually in jeans and comfortable athletic shoes.  Daniel wore a brown plaid shirt, though it was unbuttoned, his white T-shirt prominent. Jack had on a gray pull-over shirt.  It was v-neck, allowing some of his chest hair to show through.

~Brown.  Geez, that's such a drab color on you.  Blue, I think.  Yeah, you look great in blue,~ Jack thought, though he wondered why he was evaluating his friend's apparel.  He shook off his strange thoughts in a split second and moved to the side to let the younger man in, saying, “Danny, you know you don't have to ask.  You have a key, remember.”

“I know, but ...” Daniel began, but only shrugged the conclusion of the sentence. “You sure you aren't busy?”

“Daniel, get in here,” Jack instructed, reaching out and gently grabbing the younger man’s arm, tugging him inside.

“Thanks,” Daniel responded with a tiny smile as he entered the country-style home.  ~Gawd, I love it here.  I wish I hadn't moved out, but ... well, anyway.~

“For inviting you in?” Jack chuckled.  “I'm not about to carry on a conversation at the front door,” he added as he shut the door and then brushed by Daniel, leading him into the living room.

“Thanks, Jack.”

“You already thanked me,” Jack pointed out.

“No, uh, I mean for giving me the space that I've needed lately,” Daniel spoke sincerely.

“Everyone needs a little time to themselves occasionally,” Jack spoke.  “Besides, it's only been a week.  One more day, and I would have come after you,” he chuckled.

Daniel let out a little laugh.  The two had seen each other almost daily at the SGC, but for the last seven days, Daniel had kept to himself during his off hours.  Normally, he would have spent at least a couple of nights with his friend, if not more.

More seriously, Jack stated, “Danny, you're my best friend.  I know something's been bothering you, but I also know that when you're ready, you'll spill.”

“I hope I don't make a mess,” the younger man teased.

“If you do, we'll both do the cleanup,” Jack mused.  “So, what will it be tonight -- chess or gin?”

“How about hockey and pizza?” Daniel suggested.

Jack cocked his head back slightly in surprise, commenting, “You are actually offering to watch a hockey game.”  He grinned and asked, “Okay, who are you, and what have you done with Daniel Jackson?”

“Very funny, Jack,” Daniel responded.

“Pepperoni?” Jack asked, going for the pizza menu.

“Extra cheese.  How about Canadian bacon and pineapple?” the archaeologist suggested as he sat down on the sofa.

“Fruit on pizza,” Jack mumbled.

“Get a half-and-half,” Daniel stated.

“Always a negotiator,” Jack teased, nodding as he reviewed the menu to decide on a final choice.

====

When the pizza arrived, the two teammates and friends watched the Vancouver Canucks take on the Colorado Avalanche as they ate.  They sat with their feet up on the coffee table, the large pizza box open on the table in between them.  Jack held a near-empty beer in his right hand as he munched on his third slice of the pizza with his left.  Daniel's beer was on the coffee table, still half-full.  He was a third of the way through his second piece of the food item.

Jack was still teaching the younger man the finer points of the game, and Daniel was learning the sport, not because he liked it, but because Jack did.

When the hockey game concluded, the two played a couple of games of chess, which Daniel easily won.  Afterwards, they challenged each other at gin, in which Jack was the victor.  Their conversation through the night was lighthearted for the most part, the friends talking about world events, Jack's antics at the Air Force Academy, and Daniel's growing collection of relics.

Around midnight, Daniel looked at the clock and remarked, “I’m sorry, I didn't realize it was that late.”  Getting up, he said, “I'd better go,” as he began walking towards the door.

Jack grabbed the archaeologist's arm, stating, “Danny it’s late.  Just stay here tonight.”

“I don't want to impose,” Daniel spoke softly.

“Impose?  Give me a break,” Jack chuckled.  “You're cooking breakfast.”

“Oh,” Daniel responded, a small smile on his face.

Jack locked up the house, and the two headed upstairs.

Daniel had lived with the colonel for a few months upon returning from Abydos.  His wife, Sha're, had been abducted by the Goa'uld System Lord, Apophis, and Jack had been ordered to bring the archaeologist back to Earth.

Once he had done so, however, Jack had been faced with a homeless Daniel.  Unable to live with that fact, the older man had brought the scientist to his house, and Daniel had simply remained there for quite a while, until he'd finally found a nice apartment located about twenty minutes away from the SGC.

The spare room which the archaeologist had used while living with Jack had been dubbed, 'Danny's Room'.  Often, after the two friends spent time together, Daniel would stay the night.

“I'm gonna beat you at chess one of these days,” Jack promised as the two stood near the master bedroom.

“One of these days,” Daniel responded, nodding.  “Goodnight, Jack,” he said, walking to the spare room.

“Night, Danny,” Jack replied as he walked into his room and closed the door.

====

Just after two in the morning, Jack awoke to screaming and ran into Daniel’s room, finding the archaeologist in the midst of a very terrifying nightmare.  He rushed to his friend, sitting on the side of the bed and began to try and wake Daniel up.

“Daniel.  Danny, come on, wake up,” Jack urged, grabbing Daniel’s flailing arms to keep from being hit.  “Daniel!  Hey!” Jack spoke loudly while gently shaking the younger man.

“J'ck?”

“Yeah, Danny, it’s me,” Jack replied, letting go of Daniel’s arms.

Daniel was breathing heavily, and he was a little disoriented.  Jack put his hand on his friend's shoulder, rubbing it in an attempt to calm Daniel.  After a few moments, Daniel’s breathing began to return to normal.

“Must have been a bad one,” Jack commented quietly.

“Yeah, um, I, uh ... excuse me,” Daniel requested, getting out on the other side of the bed and hurrying away.

Since the archaeologist was still dressed in the pajamas that were always kept for him in 'Danny's Room', Jack knew exactly where Daniel was going.

~I'll give you a few minutes,~ Jack decided, getting up and going to his bedroom where he changed into some sweats.

====

Fifteen minutes later, Jack climbed over the top of the ladder onto his roof deck.  In his hand was a pair of sweats.  It was definitely chilly out, and he knew his friend needed warmer clothing.  He was startled, though, when he saw the younger man.

Daniel was sitting up against the house.  The wall he was leaning against was actually the wall of the master bedroom.  His knees were drawn up to his chest, and his arms were wrapped tightly around his legs.  He was resting his head on his knees, looking to the right, so he didn't see Jack approach him.  Apparently, he was also so lost in his thoughts that he didn't hear the colonel, either.

“Danny, it's ...” Jack began.

Daniel jumped a bit, startled at hearing Jack's voice.  Automatically, he turned his head to face the man.

That's when Jack realized his friend was crying.  He sat down next to Daniel, leaning his back against the house as well.

Embarrassed, Daniel turned his head back to face the other direction.  Jack had a huge backyard, and though he had neighbors, there was a considerable distance between his house and theirs, with plenty of trees and brush to block anyone's view.

“Danny,” Jack spoke, not getting any response except for a tiny sniffle.  “Danny, c'mere,” he urged, reaching over and sliding his arm around the younger man.  He tugged slightly, feeling a bit of resistance at first.  “It's okay,” he spoke quietly.

Slowly, the younger man moved into the older man's embrace.  When he did, more tears fell, wetting Jack's burgundy sweatshirt.

“It's okay,” Jack repeated, rubbing gently on his friend's upper arm.

Daniel let Jack hold him, needing to be comforted from the nightmares of the darkness.  In truth, that's why he had come to his friend's house in the first place.  He'd had a bad couple of weeks, and he hoped he'd just get over it.  Nothing he had tried had helped, so he'd finally done the one thing he was certain would make him feel better.  Even though it was out of character for the insecure genius, he had knocked on Jack's door, wanting an evening of diversion, which is exactly what had occurred.

~I don't understand how he makes me feel better, but he does,~ Daniel thought as he felt Jack's strength so close to him.

For more than an hour, Jack held Daniel, neither saying a word.  They didn't need words, and that was one of the reasons they'd become best friends.  They also didn't need the protective walls they normally showed everyone else.  The closeness of this particular moment, of two very strong men just holding on to each other, was something neither would allow with anyone else.  For some reason neither really comprehended, it was okay for the two of them to touch.

~Must be my parental tendencies,~ Jack sometimes thought, having once had a son, who, unfortunately had died before the first Abydos mission.  ~He's so young, and he needs to know it's okay to let go of his emotions,~ he thought about Daniel.  ~Nah, I just like being his friend, and he needs one -- badly.~  Inwardly, he snorted, ~So do I, and he's one heckuva good friend.~

Finally, his voice a bit shaky, Daniel said, “I’m sorry, Jack, for being such a ...”

“Danny, stop.  I swear, sometimes all you do is apologize.  Cut it out!” Jack ordered.

“But ...”

“But nothing,” Jack interrupted.  “You have nothing to be sorry for.  Geez, I have nightmares, too.  You know that.  Wanna talk about it?”

“No, I ... I don't want to burden you with ...”

“For crying out loud, Daniel, we're best friends.  Friends share.  Now, I know perfectly well that something's been going on with you, and I figure tonight you decided you'd had enough, which is why you showed up at my door, which, for the record, I'm glad you did.”

“Was I that transparent?” Daniel asked, still in Jack's embrace.

“Another day and I would have shown up at your place,” Jack spoke, not really answering the question.  “So ...” he prodded.

Daniel leaned back, and Jack released his hold on him.  He sighed as his head went back, touching the wall as he looked up at the sky.

“I hate nightmares,” the younger man remarked.

As a breeze blew by, Jack remembered the sweats he had brought up for Daniel. The archaeologist was a 'heat' person, and though he'd been back for many months, he was still adjusting to the cooler temperatures of Colorado Springs.

“Danny, put these on,” Jack instructed, handing the sweats to his teammate.

“Up here?”

“I've seen it all, you know,” the older man commented about the younger's modesty.

“I wasn't worried about you, Jack,” Daniel responded, rolling his eyes as he stood up.

Jack chuckled.  Having worked together for so long, just going in and out of the SGC showers, not to mention impromptu bathing needs that sometimes came up on off-world missions, both had seen the other naked before.

“Geez, Danny,” Jack laughed when he saw the archaeologist put the sweats on over his pajamas.

“I'm cold!” Daniel rationalized as he sat back down next to his friend.  ~Okay, so I am worried someone might see.  The neighbors might have binoculars or something.~

“So ...” Jack prodded again, staring at Daniel.

With a sigh, Daniel spoke, “The nightmare isn't important.”  He didn't want to talk about it specifically, but in the dream, he'd lost the only constant and content part of his world during the last several months -- Jack.  The older man had been killed on a mission while trying to rescue Sha're.  He'd jumped in front of Daniel, taking a staff blast for him.  In the end, Sha're had been killed as well, and once again, Daniel was alone.  ~I don't want to think about it.~

“It is important, if it's the reason for your distance lately,” Jack refuted.

Daniel nodded, raising his knees back up, and temporarily bowing his head to rest atop his knees.

“Talk to me, Danny,” Jack requested.

“It's just ... I saw something a couple of weeks ago.  It's silly really, but you know that park not far from my apartment?” Daniel asked.

“Sure,” Jack acknowledged, the two men having gone bike riding in that area before.

“I saw a family, and, uh, well, I guess the mother looked a little bit like my mother, and the little boy kinda reminded me of me,” Daniel confided.

“It's not silly to miss your parents or your childhood,” Jack responded.  Although he had his suspicions about Daniel's childhood being less than ideal, he was not yet fully aware of just how barren the younger man's childhood had been.  He saw a frown on Daniel's face, and he could swear he had seen the man tense.  “It's more than missing them,” he surmised.

“I, uh, haven't had the best of luck with family or ... or with friends,” the archaeologist hesitantly admitted.  “Sometimes, I ... I feel like a ... a jinx.”

“Daniel, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.  I don't believe in jinxes, and I can't believe you do, either,” Jack responded a bit sternly.

“When I lo...care about people, they don't seem to stay around very long.  I could make a list, but, gawd, actually, it wouldn't be that long, but ... Jack, you're ... I mean ...” Daniel sighed, unable to continue.

Jack placed his hand on Daniel's shoulder and gently encouraged, “No holding out, Danny.  Tell me.”

“This is ... hard for me to say, even with all we've gone through since Abydos, but, uh, I ... I need your friendship, Jack,” Daniel confided emotionally.

“You've got it,” Jack assured with a smile.

“It's just ...”

“Danny, you are *not* a jinx,” Jack interrupted.  “No more staying away, okay?” he said, smiling and squeezing his friend's shoulder supportively.

“Thanks, Jack,” the younger man spoke appreciatively.

Jack wished his friend would open up about the nightmare, but at least he had voiced some essential truths that had been bothering him.  Of course, now they were bothering him, too.  He wondered about the losses Daniel had endured.  He knew some things, but he suspected it was the details that made the pain so difficult.

~A jinx?  Who put that idea in his head?~ Jack wondered.  ~I just don't see how he could have gotten that idea on his own.~

For the next several hours, until the sun rose, the two watched the stars and talked about more inconsequential things.  It wasn't what they talked about that mattered, but, instead, it was the companionship.  It was knowing that neither was alone, that each had a best friend, and that best friend cared deeply for the other.

====

The next morning, though the night had been rather sleepless, Daniel followed through on Jack's 'deal'.  He cooked breakfast, preparing pancakes, poached eggs, and bacon.

“Smells good,” Jack opined, sniffing the aroma of the frying bacon as he looked over Daniel's shoulder.

“It'll be done in a minute,” Daniel stated.

“Good.  Orange juice?” Jack asked.

“And, could you, uh, put on the coffee?” the younger man asked with a shrug.

“Wouldn't dream of depriving you of your coffee,” Jack quipped, opening the cupboard and pulling out a package of Folger's instant.  “Sorry, all out of your favorite.”

Daniel cringed, but shrugged in return.  He needed coffee, even if it was instant and not Starbuck's.

As they enjoyed their meal, Jack suggested, “How about we go to that exhibit I heard you talking to Carter about?”

The younger man stared at Jack; then chuckled, “You're offering to go to an exhibit.  Okay, who are you, and what have you done with Jack O'Neill?”

Both men laughed at the replay of the prior night's banter about having a night of pizza and hockey.  They also knew they were doing things the other enjoyed, and that was another reason their friendship was so incredible.  Museums were to Jack what hockey was to Daniel; yet, he was happy and eager to go, just as Daniel had been happy to learn that a hat trick meant scoring three goals in a game and didn't refer to a magic act.

====

After breakfast, the two men had a couple of hours before the exhibit opened, so they decided to take a walk.  There was a park fairly close to Jack's house, and the two of them would sometimes go jogging there or just hang out.

This morning, they were family watching, observing the parents and their children that were enjoying the area.  There were several since it was a fairly nice day out.

All of a sudden, Daniel let out a tiny laugh, but it was a bit haunted.

“What are you laughing at?” Jack asked, looking out over the park, trying to determine his friend's line of sight.

“Look at that little girl, trying to fly a kite that's three times her size,” Daniel pointed out.  “I wonder what that's like,” he mumbled, not realizing he'd said it out loud.

“Are you telling me that you've never flown a kite?” an astonished Jack asked.

“Never,” Daniel admitted, his smile fading.

~He's joking.~  Jack looked incredulously at Daniel for a moment, afraid to wonder what that said about Daniel's childhood.  He shook his head.  “Dannyboy,” he began, putting his hand on the younger man's shoulder.  “Today, you are going to experience the thrill of kite flying -- my treat.  We'll do the museum next week.”

“Jack, we're grown men,” Daniel objected.

“Men can't fly kites?  I have to tell you that I've told a lot of men to go fly a kite,” Jack mused in double talk.

Daniel laughed, bowing his head for a moment and then shaking it as he responded, “I doubt you meant that literally.”

“No, I didn't, but, Danny,” Jack paused, grinning.  “Let's go fly a kite!”

====

The next thing Daniel knew, he was in a hobby store, staring at kites and kite supplies.

Fairly quickly, Jack selected a kite in the shape of an eagle.  He looked around for Daniel and spotted him still looking at the various types of kites.

~Looks like he found one,~ Jack thought as he watched his friend pick up a kite, examine it, and smile.  He could see the kite was an angelfish and chuckled, knowing how much Daniel liked fish.  He did, after all, have a fish tank in his apartment.  ~I need to rent 'The Incredible Mr. Limpet' for Danny to watch; bet he'd get a kick out of it.~

The colonel became distracted by some kids and watched them for a while.  He also picked up a plentiful amount of kite string to use.

~Can't be chintzy, not on this,~ Jack thought.  Then he went over to Daniel's current location.  “Ready to check out?” he inquired.

“Um, sure,” Daniel answered, surprising Jack when he picked up a kite that had multi-colored shapes on it.

“Are you sure that's the one you want?” Jack asked.

“Yeah,” Daniel quietly confirmed.

There was nothing special about the kite, so Jack couldn't understand why Daniel wanted it.  Then he noticed it had been pulled from a 'clearance' box.  A glance at a similar kite confirmed that the selected kite was probably one of the cheapest ones the store had.

~Danny, stop this,~ Jack lamented internally.  The younger man was earning a good salary, and Jack knew he had started to get the back pay owed him from the original mission to Abydos, so money wasn't the problem or the reason for the selection.  ~I don't get it.  Why don't you think you're worth spending a few extra pennies on?  You're worth it, Daniel.  I guess I'm going to have to force the issue.~

“It's a ... a nice kite,” the archaeologist added, his voice still incredibly quiet.

“Let's try this again,” Jack suggested as he took the kite from Daniel, putting it back and then walking over to another area.

“Jack, what are you doing?” the archaeologist inquired as he helplessly followed the older man.

Jack answered, “Buying you the kite that you want,” as he picked up the angelfish kite.

“Tha...that isn't the one I picked out.”

“Yes, it is,” Jack maintained as he began walking to the counter to pay for the purchases.

“But ... it's ... Jack, it's too expensive,” Daniel stated as he sprinted to catch up with the colonel, who had walked swiftly to the checkout counters.  “Jack!”

It was pointless.  The older man just smiled as he stood in line, paying for the two kites and the spools of string needed to make the kites soar.

Daniel stood bashfully behind his friend, secretly grateful, but not believing he was worth the expense Jack was going to, in buying the item.  The angelfish kite was high quality and one of the most expensive that the hobby store had to offer.

“Beautiful day to fly a kite,” Jack commented as the two men exited the store and got into his Ford F-150 truck. He secured the kites as he thought, ~One of these days, I'm going to power it up to a 250. Maybe I'll surprise myself for one of my birthdays.~ Starting the vehicle, he noticed the younger man was quiet, almost withdrawn. “What is it, Danny?”

“I've never had a friend like you, Jack.  You ... pay attention to things,” the younger man responded.  “You saw me looking at that angelfish kite; you knew I wanted it.”

“It was the smile,” Jack revealed, smiling himself.

“It's expensive,” Daniel echoed from earlier.

“I can handle buying a couple of good kites,” Jack mused.  “I may not be rich, but I'm not destitute, either.”

“I was, for a while,” Daniel reminded.

“Did you finally get the rest of your back pay?” Jack questioned, deciding to make sure money wasn't the cause of Daniel's reluctance to purchase the more costly kite, not that it mattered in terms of the kite itself.  ~I'm still buying it myself.~

“Most of it.  I think there's still a couple of payments left,” Daniel responded.

“The installment plan,” Jack mused as he backed out of the parking space and headed out for a secluded area he knew that was perfect for kite flying.  He wanted them to have lots of room to run, and he also wanted Daniel to have some privacy.  ~Gotta bring him out of that shell of his slowly.~

“Jack?”

“What?” the older man asked as he checked for traffic.

“Thanks.”

Jack smiled, saying, “All I did was buy you a kite.”

“No, you did more than that, and I think you know it, so ... just thanks,” Daniel spoke.  “Where are we going?”

“You'll love it,” Jack spoke.  “It's ...” he continued, telling Daniel about a spot where the wind caught kites just perfectly and where there was plenty of room to play.

====

“Go on, Danny,” Jack urged, seeing his friend standing still, holding on to his kite.

Daniel shrugged, responding, “I feel silly.”

“Kite flying's been around forever,” Jack encouraged.  “Let yourself go.”

Just then, Jack took his eagle kite and began to jog along the open meadow.  Within seconds, his kite was captured by the wind and soaring through the wind.

~Wow, look at it soar.~  Daniel smiled, feeling good at what he was seeing.  He looked at his angelfish kite and sighed.  ~Why is it so hard?~

“DANIEL, STOP THINKING!  JUST DO IT!” Jack shouted.

~That's it.  I'm over thinking.  I'm ... thinking ... too much.  Yeah, that's ...~

“NO THINKING, DANIEL!” the older man ordered.

“No thinking,” the archaeologist said aloud, closing his eyes for a moment.  Opening his eyes and refusing to think, he began to run, letting his kite go higher and higher.  ~It's ... flying!~

“WAY TO GO, DANNYBOY!” Jack shouted enthusiastically.

For the next two hours, Jack and Daniel were like children, flying their kites through the breezy skies of Colorado Springs.  Only when the wind died down did they reel in their apparatus and head back to the truck.

“That was fun, Jack.  Thanks for mak...uh, for bringing me here,” Daniel said with a shy smile.

Jack laughed, knowing he'd forced the issue, but he was learning about his friend more and more with each passing day, and one thing he was certain of was that Daniel's inner child was alive, somewhere deep within him.  He knew he needed to prod the younger man to experience things that he'd taken for granted, like kite flying; and the picture Daniel made now, his cheeks flushed from the wind and the exercise, his eyes alight with joy, was all the thanks Jack needed.

“Anytime, Danny.”

====
--April 2010
====

The music swelled as the people of London and the Banks family sang joyfully:

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!

“That's a great movie,” Jennifer, the couple's teenager daughter, commented as she stood and stretched.

Jack and Daniel had fallen in love and gotten married, and, more than that, they had eight wonderful children, five with the help of a surrogate mother, Kayla Armentrout, and three who had been adopted.  Unlike the occasionally contented man of 1997, the Daniel of today was unabashedly happy.  His dreams had come true beyond his own belief and wildest dreams.

“It's a classic,” Jack spoke about the film 'Mary Poppins'.

“Time for bed,” Daniel instructed.

With happy smiles on their faces, after having spent a fun evening watching the Disney classic and enjoying their favorite treat, ice cream, the Jackson-O'Neill children headed for bed.  Their parents stayed behind to do a little cleaning before going upstairs and making sure all was well.

The lovers were sharing a brief kiss as they sat on the sofa in the recreation room when they were interrupted by the Munchkins, the nickname Jack had assigned to their triplets shortly after their birth.

Sporting energetic smiles, all three asked, “Can we fly a kite?”

“Danny?” Jack asked.

“We have tomorrow afternoon free,” Daniel responded.  “Do you think they're old enough?”

“Daddy, we no babies!” Aislinn spoke, pursing her lips and putting her hands on her hips.  “We big!”

“You sure are, Princess,” Jack chuckled.  “We'll make it a special day with Dad and Daddy, just the five of us.”

Two 'woofs' were heard from a couple of very excited, tail-wagging beagles, who had eavesdropped on the human conversation.

“Just the seven of us,” Jack corrected.

“Yeah!” the trio cheered as they turned to head upstairs.

“Jack ...”

“Daniel, just because you were a big, big, big, big, *biiiiiiiiiig* boy when you first flew a kite, doesn't mean our kids need to be.”

“Jack?” Daniel called out.

“Yes, Love?” the older man asked.

“You clean the kitchen,” the younger man smirked, adding, “while I take my big, big, big, big, *biiiiiiiiiig* self,” he looked down at his mid-section, “and go to bed ... and sleep!”

Jack laughed, “Losing your sense of humor, Babe?”

As he rounded the corner, Daniel replied, “Not if I hear something funny!”

“Geez, he's adorable,” Jack stated to the room as he hurried to finish his cleaning so the good-nights could be done and then he could concentrate on getting some of that 'biiiiiiiiiig' action.

====

Daniel backed away, returning to stand by the place where they'd put down their backpacks and equipment.  It was the perfect day with perfect weather and a perfect breeze.  Everything was simply perfect.

With a smile on his face, the archaeologist watched as his husband helped their triplets with their kites.  For the first time, the Munchkins would be kite flying.  The rest of the children were with Jack's ex-wife, Sara, for the afternoon.  Their girls, Bijou and Katie, two playful and protective beagles, were present and currently running around Jack and the kids, wagging their tails excitedly.

Up until a minute ago, Daniel had been right in the middle of the action, but suddenly feeling emotional, he excused himself under the pretense of getting the digital camcorder.  It was true he had forgotten it in his backpack, but the real truth was that he just needed a moment to try and understand the strange feeling that was washing over him.

Daniel blinked and then frowned.  He put his hand to his eyes and then slowly lowered it, staring at his fingers.

“Gawd, I'm crying,” the happy man spoke to no one.  Looking over at his family, he noticed Katie, the youngest beagle, stop and return his look.  “I'm okay, Katie.  Keep playing,” he said quietly, sporting a smile for the protective canine.

Apparently understanding, Katie nudged Little Danny, who giggled.

Two hours ago, Jack and Daniel had taken the Munchkins to the same hobby store where they'd purchased the eagle and angelfish kites years earlier.  Trying to get the kids to decide on a kite was a chore, but, finally, Aislinn had chosen a butterfly kite that was yellow, Little Danny had selected one that looked like a jellyfish, while Jonny had picked one reminiscent of a lizard.

Now, the family was at the same meadow location where Jack had taken Daniel.  It was still open land and a great place for kite flying.

“You three stay right here,” Jack instructed.  “I'm going to see what's taking Daddy so long.  Girls, watch 'em.”

“Woof!” times two came the response from the beagles.

“We watch ourselves,” Jonny scowled.

“Right,” Jack smirked as he headed over towards his lover.  “Hey,” he whispered when he reached Daniel.

“I, uh ... I'm being emotional,” Daniel admitted before Jack said another word.

“Okay, since you're smiling, I would say these are happy tears,” Jack surmised, smiling as he wiped away the tears from his sentimental husband's face.

“I was just thinking back about twelve or thirteen years when you brought me here to fly a kite for the first time,” Daniel explained.  “You have no idea how much that meant to me at the time and how much it still means to me.”

“Yes, I do,” Jack responded tenderly, going over to his bag of tricks he'd brought with him.  He glanced over to make sure the Munchkins were still in sight, happy to see that the beagles were keeping a firm eye on the sometimes elusive triplets.  ~Can't be too careful with those little ones.~

“Jack, I ...” Daniel began as he, too, continued to look at their children.

“My little Angelfish,” Jack lightly jested, kissing Daniel's nape and holding up the angelfish kite that he had bought for his lover on their kite flying adventure so many years ago when they were still just best friends.

“Jack ... Wow, I mean ... wow!” the younger man exclaimed, getting emotional again.  He hugged his husband, being careful not to crush the kite.  With new tears falling, he whispered, “I love you.”

“Love you, too, Danny,” Jack replied, lightly squeezing his lover to him for a minute.

Daniel leaned back and kissed his Heart.  The kiss lasted several moments, and made the two men soar higher than any kite.  Unfortunately, the impatience of youth didn't agree with the disruption in the scheduled activities.

“Dad, Daddy, kiss later; fly kite now,” Jonny demanded.

The parents laughed and shared one more brief kiss. Jack handed Daniel the angelfish kite and then retrieved his own eagle kite.

“Love, let's go fly a kite,” Jack stated before they rejoined their children.

====

“Watch me and Daddy, and then you can try,” Jack instructed the eager siblings.

After about twenty minutes, Jack and Daniel reeled in their kites and helped their children fly theirs.  The Munchkins were very fast learners, and, in no time, they were flying their kites on their own.  The parents cheered their children on, applauding, shouting words of encouragement, and, in general, just being happy and energetic about the kids' accomplishments.

Daniel made sure to catch as much of the action as he could with the camcorder, wanting to always remember this wonderful moment.

After a while, with the Munchkins doing so well on their own, the parents were able to spend more time flying their own kites, though they kept a constant eye on their children to make sure that they had no problems.

Bijou and Katie jumped up and down, barking eagerly, and running along with the triplets throughout their adventure.

====

Two hours later, the family packed up their kites and headed home.  Jack's and Daniel's hearts were soaring higher than their kites could ever reach, even with all the string in the world.  The wind that lifted their hearts and souls was called love, and they had plenty of that to take them up to the heavens, far beyond the clouds.

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