Like Father, Like Son
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - November 3, 2012
Written: December 2-3,8-10,17-18,23, 2008
Summary: Jack and Jonny head to Texas for a bit of special father and son bonding time.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Texas Two Step”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Irina, Keri, Claudia, Ali, Tammy, Robert!
Like Father, Like Son
Six-year-old Jonny Jackson-O'Neill, backpack on, stood in the entryway
of his home and hugged his Munchkin brother, declaring, “I love you,
Little Danny. I wish you were going with us.”
“No, you don't,” Little Danny refuted as the hug ended. “This is special Dad time.”
“But I do love you.”
Aislinn chuckled, “You're only gonna be gone a little while.”
“But I'll be far away,” Jonny countered. Walking to the youngest triplet, he hugged her and stated, “I love you, Ash. Little Danny will protect you while I'm gone.”
“I know,” Aislinn replied, both amused and gratified by the statement. “And I'll protect him, too.”
Then the oldest of the Munchkins knelt down and hugged the family's precious beagles.
“Love you, Bij. Love you, Katie,” Jonny stated. He whispered, “Make sure you keep an eye on things while I'm gone. Use your ears and noses.”
“Woof!” Bijou replied, while Katie responded by licking the boy's face, causing him to laugh.
The little boy continued to laugh as he hugged the two dogs. He trusted them and was certain his message had gotten through to the pair.
Jack and Daniel shared a loving look, both men enjoying the goodbye scene that was taking place.
“Airman, step it up!” Jack called out, tapping his watch demonstratively. “Time to move out!” As Jonny scrambled to his feet, Jack kissed his lover tenderly. “Love you, Angel.”
“I love you, too. See you tonight,” Daniel responded.
“Be good,” Jack requested of Little Danny and Aislinn as he leaned over to kiss and hug them goodbye. “You, too,” he told the beagles, bending over to pat both girls a few times.
“Dad, can I help you fly Jo?” Jonny asked as his older father opened the front door to leave.
“Sure. Just don't tell the FAA,” the expert pilot mused, glancing back at his lover and smiling.
Jack and Jonny were en route to Dallas, Texas in the family's Meyers 200A aircraft, nicknamed Jo. It was a relatively short trip by air; less than ninety minutes, in fact, which meant the distance could be traversed in a direct flight with no refueling stops.
During their peaceful time in the air, the father and son discussed a variety of topics.
“Do you think Bogey knows I'm gone?” Jonny asked.
“Sure,” Jack answered. “But he knows you'll be back tonight.”
“Bet he woulda liked to fly in Jo.”
“Jonny,” Jack stated sternly, adding a bit of the famous 'general eyes' to ensure his son understood he was serious. “*Tell me* that Bogey *isn't* in this plane somewhere.”
Jonny gulped, fearing his father might turn the plane around if he suspected the lizard were on board. Fortunately, at the last minute, the Munchkin had returned his pet to his cage before coming downstairs.
“He's not, Dad, but I miss him,” Jonny responded. ~Maybe next time.~
Pleased his father accepted his response, Jonny made a mental note to himself that if he did bring Bogey along on a future trip, it would need to be done very covertly.
“Fire Chief Jack O'Neill,” Jack mused in answer to his son's question about what he had wanted to be when he was Jonny's age. “I was going to be the best fireman on the planet,” he added enthusiastically.
“I like fire trucks,” Jonny interjected excitedly.
“I also wanted to catch the biggest fish known to man.”
“I bet you did!”
“Nope, but I had fun trying,” Jack chuckled. “Hey, what do you wanna be when you grow up? Policeman? Fireman? Baker? Indian chief?” he chuckled.
“No, Dad. I want to be just like you,” the little boy replied earnestly.
Jack smiled, full of pride and emotion at his son's continued insistence on following in his older father's footsteps.
“I'm gonna be the second best pilot in the entire universe.”
“Second best?” Jack questioned.
“You're the best, Dad. No one's as good as you.”
“Jonny ...” Jack began humbly, ready to refute the strong pronouncement. “You know your daddy's a pretty good pilot, too,” he added, trying to deflect some of the attention off himself.
“Daddy's a *great* pilot, but he's not as good as you. He says so, too!” Jonny responded strongly, believing that if Daniel himself had said that Jack was the better pilot than it was okay for him to say it, too. “Dad, teach me somethin' 'bout being covert,” he requested, changing the subject and wanting to add to his growing repertoire of military skills.
“Being covert?” the general wondered aloud, glancing off to the left for the moment and enjoying the natural beauty of the sky. Looking back at the boy, he instructed, “Don't stand out, Son, but if you do, make sure you're keeping the enemy guessing. Never act afraid, but be afraid.”
“Son, there's nothing wrong with fear. Only stupid men don't fear anything,” Jack put forth. Automatically checking the plane's controls for a moment, he expounded, “Accept the fear for what it is, and then it won't be your enemy. In fact, it'll be your friend. It'll motivate you to be safe. In a crisis, use your fear to feed your adrenaline. It works.”
Jonny pondered his father's words, trying to make sense of them. He didn't understand all of what he'd heard, but it was clear that being afraid wasn't a bad thing. He'd try to remember to ask his Munchkin brother what 'drenolen' was when he got home.
“Dad, what's that first thing you said?”
Jack laughed, “Jonny, I don't even know what I'm saying now.”
“Yes, you do,” the boy argued firmly.
Jack was about to maintain his position when he caught sight of his namesake's stern expression.
“Okay. I said try not to stand out, or if you do, fool them.”
Jack groaned, not certain how to talk about his all time favorite covert tactic.
“Being dumb?” Jonny surprised his father in asking.
~Okay, he's definitely smarter than I was at this age,~ Jack opined. “Yes,” he answered, deciding to be honest.
“Why be dumb?”
“You want to keep your enemy off balance, be in control by being low key,” Jack advised. “If you do it well, your opponent will underestimate you. That gives you the advantage.”
“'Cause they don't pay attention to us when we're dumb, right?”
~Us?~ Jack asked himself. “Right.”
“Okay, Dad,” Jonny stated, looking out into the blue sky. “I'm good at being dumb, too.”
“Of course, you are,” Jack heard himself say, wondering if his husband would approve of complimenting their son for acting dumb. ~What am I thinking? Of course, he wouldn't. He hates it when I play dumb, but at least he understands why I do it. Ah, Danny, I love you.~
Jack quizzed his eager co-pilot, “What do we do first?”
“Call the tower,” Jonny answered.
“So they know we're here, and ...” Jonny hesitated, his face screwed up in thought.
The father smiled, patiently waiting for the wannabe pilot to finish his answer.
“Oh, and they know where we're gonna land, so we don't run into any other planes,” Jonny finished.
“What do we say?”
Brightly, Jonny answered, “Dallas, this is Meyers two-four-one-two requesting clearance to land on runway,” he paused thoughtfully a moment, “Dad, what runway?”
Jack chuckled and spent another couple of minutes reviewing the landing procedure with his son. In just a few minutes, it would be time to play it out for real.
“Ready, Pardner?” Jack asked his son as he parked their rental car in the parking lot.
“Ready, Pardner,” Jonny replied cheerfully.
The two had just arrived at Dallas Heritage Village. Just over two months beforehand, the entire Jackson-O'Neill brood had visited the old west attraction while on their road trip across America. Unfortunately for Jonny, they'd visited on a day when the village's gunfights weren't held. As a special treat and to make up for his own bit of shenanigans during that trip to the special theme park, Jack had promised the boy that the two of them would come back before the end of the year and see one of the reenactments.
This was the reason for the special outing that was under way. The gunfights were held on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Today was the first Saturday in November, and the first of two performances would begin in about twenty-five minutes.
The father and son made their way towards the old town area where the show would take place. They walked along the same street they'd walked in late August, reminiscing about the family visit, and they went inside the saloon and said 'hello' to Choctaw Jack, a stuffed grizzly bear that boldly stood on display. During the family's visit, the sight of the mounted creature had caused Little Danny to be quite upset for a while when he'd realized the mounted animal had once been very much alive.
Several other guests of the popular old west park were gathering on the street, all eager to see the recreation of an old west gunfight. Officials emptied the guests out of the saloon and other nearby buildings and then cordoned off the area with practiced ease in preparation for the show, wanting to make sure that the viewers of the show remained safe and out of the way of the performers.
Finally, the show began, beginning with the saloon barmaid quitting her job, much to the chagrin of the bartender who owned the place. The woman had quit because of an unruly customer. Eventually, the offending customer accused another man of cheating at cards. The two players bickered, their argument escalating as they stood and worked their way from their table inside the saloon to the wide expanse of the street.
The men pointed at each other, shouting accusations at each other, while the barkeep continued to complain about the first man driving away his waitresses.
“Dad, I can' see,” Jonny stated exasperatedly as he tugged on his father's pant leg and pointed at the family that had just accidentally blocked their view.
“I'll take care of that,” Jack replied, picking up his son and placing him on his shoulders and then moving slightly to their right.
“Now I have the best seat of everyone,” Jonny announced happily, patting his father's head in thanks and smiling as he watched the action picking up its' pace.
The scene continued, the accuser killing the alleged-but-innocent card shark, taking the man's watch, and then threatening the bystanders not to say anything, should the dead man's brothers arrive and ask if they'd seen what had happened.
Watching the man return to the saloon, Jonny leaned forward to look down at his dad and said, “He's a bad man to those people. Bet he gets shot dead, too.”
Sure enough, as the action unfolded, the victim's three siblings arrived. Angered by their brother's death, they coerced the crowd into telling them not only what they'd seen, but the location of the killer: the saloon. Calling the man out, the brothers began a second gunfight that resulted in their deaths, as well as the offending customer and his own brother, too.
The satisfied crowd both laughed and applauded as the action came to a close.
“I don't get it,” Jonny admitted. “Why is Mister Smith happy?” he asked about the bartender.
“He's happy because the barmaid's agreed to come back to work.”
“Oh, because the bad men are dead.”
“You got it,” Jack confirmed. “Let's go talk to the barkeep,” he suggested.
Tradition at the theme park allowed visitors to chat after the show with the actors who put on the demonstration. As a thank you for the crowd's support, the players gave out trading cards with their sketched images on them.
“Gee, thanks,” Jonny said to the man who portrayed the unruly customer. “You were a very bad man.”
“Only in the old west,” the performer chuckled.
“Is that a real gun?” Jonny asked.
“It sure is,” the man answered, tapping the now-empty weapon that was in his holster.
Jonny studied the gun, his neck arching for a better view.
“You can't hold it, but if you're dad says it's okay, you can get a closer look,” the actor offered.
“No, that's okay. Guns are dangerous for kids, but when I grow up, I'm gonna have one of my own.”
“That they are,” the man agreed, both surprised and impressed at the response since it was obvious the child was interested in the weapon.
Jack picked up the boy, holding him in his arms and placing a kiss on his cheek.
“Why'd you do that, Dad?”
“Because I love you, and you're definitely not dumb.”
“Dad, shhh! We're not supposed to let them know that, remember?”
“Sorry, my bad,” Jack apologized, giving a nod to the player, who was struggling not to laugh at the little boy, and walking away.
“He said they do all different kinds of scenes, Dad,” Jonny reported about his last conversation with the first victim of the old west demonstration.
“I heard,” Jack mused, noting that his son was sounding a bit like Little Danny, chattering non-stop about the conversations he'd had, totally ignoring the fact that Jack had been an active participant in each of the talks and was well aware of everything that had been said.
“Who'd fight over an election, though?” the boy asked with a grimace, referring to one scenario where the gunfight followed a disagreement over the 1900 presidential nominees.
“No one I know,” Jack responded, clearing his throat at the slight lie, since he knew a lot of people who had argued over politics. ~Let's change the subject,~ he determined. “How about a drink before we look around some more?”
“Sarsaparilla?” Jonny asked.
“Sounds good to me, Pard,” Jack answered as they walked over to the saloon for a quick drink.
On the flight back, Jack and Jonny were having a merry time together, especially when Jack started telling silly stories.
“I know a joke, Dad,” Jonny offered.
“Lay it on me,” Jack requested while doing a routine check of the controls.
Jonny took a breath and then spoke, “A faucet, lettuce, and a tomato were in a race together. How'd it go?”
“Hmmm,” Jack replied thoughtfully. “The faucet rained on the veggies?”
“No, Dad,” Jonny groaned.
“Okay, how'd it go?”
With a grin, Jonny answered, “The faucet was running, the lettuce was ahead, and the tomato was trying to ketchup.”
Jack laughed, leaning over to rub his son's hair, messing it up a little as he praised the boy's joke.
“Hey, I know a joke, too,” Jack announced lightly.
“Lay it on me,” Jonny requested, mimicking his father as he took a precautionary look at the plane's controls.
The father looked over at the son and grinned. Jonny had just sounded exactly like him. He just couldn't get over the tremendous feeling of goodness it gave him. He loved all of his children deeply, and moments like these just warmed his soul.
“Here it comes,” Jack replied. “What sound does a grape make when an elephant stomps on it.”
“Hmmm,” Jonny responded, his face wrinkling as he worked hard to figure out the puzzle. “Snorky?” the boy answered, imitating the sound of an elephant's cry, though it didn't sound funny to him.
“Nope,” Jack answered. “It lets out a little wine.” He laughed wildly and said, “That's a good one -- a little wine.” He kept laughing until he realized that Jonny hadn't reacted at all and was just staring at him with a blank face. “You know, grapes and wi...” Pausing a second, he nodded, saying, “Son, wine is made out of grapes, and when you're frustrated, sometimes you whine ... never mind.”
“A joke is supposed to be funny, Dad.”
“Of course, it is,” Jack replied dryly. ~And age appropriate.~ He smiled and asked, “What flavor ice cream for dessert tonight?”
Jonny grinned, his enthusiasm restored, and he began to think about what flavor of ice cream he was in the mood for.
~Ice cream works as a distraction every time,~ Jack mused happily.
“Be careful,” Jack warned as he maneuvered Jonny into a position where he could take the controls.
“I got it,” Jonny said as he gripped the handles.
“Just keep it steady.”
“Am I flying Jo?”
“You sure are,” Jack affirmed.
“Whoops,” Jack called out as the excited youngster began to push on the handle, causing the small aircraft to start a downward descent. “We're not ready to land yet,” he told Jonny as he helped guide the plane back into position.
“This is fun. I'm gonna be just like you when I grow up, Dad.” Jonny chuckled gleefully as he flew the plane, oblivious to his father's assistance and firm hand. “Just like you,” he repeated.
Jack smiled. Being a father was a joy he could never describe. Days like this one always reminded him of what was right with the world. At the top of that list was his husband, their amazing brood, and even their zoo full of loving animals.
“Little Danny! Ash! Are you okay?” Jonny called out as he ran into the house, unconcerned about the family's 'no running inside' rule.
“Did you have fun?” Aislinn called out as she and Little Danny walked out of the game room, followed by some of their siblings.
Jonny was floored by the smiling faces. Of course, he wanted his siblings to be okay, but he'd been gone almost all day. That was a long time. They must have needed him for something during all that time.
“Did anything go wrong while I was gone?” the sandy-haired boy asked, unable to mask the hint of hope in his voice.
“Na-huh. We just played a lot,” Aislinn answered. A bright smile on her face, she added, “We didn't even have school today.”
“Didn't you miss me?” the oldest of the Munchkins asked impatiently. ~I was gone *all* day,~ he lamented silently.
“Jonny, we missed you, but it was just for the day,” Aislinn responded, a bit impatient herself. ~I'm not gonna tell him that I needed him to fix my radio. Nah-uh, not gonna.~
“Lil' Danny missed me, huh?” Jonny stated tentatively, hoping that at least his brother had needed him for something during the day.
“Sure, I did,” the boy affirmed. “I had to eat *two* pieces of Aunt Sam's pie because you were gone.” Smiling innocently, he thought, ~But I saved you a big piece, too, but I want it to be a surprise for before we go to bed.~
~Somehow, I don't think that's the reassurance Jonny was looking for,~ Jack mused inwardly.
Sensing the same thing, Little Danny changed the subject and asked, “Was the show good?”
“It was great. Here, I bought you cowboy hats,” Jonny declared, giving his fellow triplets the cowboy hats he had indeed purchased with his own money. A bit grumbly, he added, “Even if you didn't miss me.”
“We missed you, Jonny,” Aislnn assured, giving in as she gave her big Munchkin brother a hug.
“Sure, we did,” Little Danny agreed, joining in a three-way rug and then beginning to adjust his hat for the best fit, as did the other two children.
“Now that's a picture,” Jeff interjected, walking over to a cabinet in the recreation room and pulling out a camera. He had several cameras stashed throughout the house to ensure that special moments could always be captured on film. “Say ...”
“Pardner!” Jonny suggested excitedly.
“Pardner!” the Munchkins exclaimed just as Jeff took the photograph to immortalize the special day.
“Hey!” Daniel greeted the group as he entered the room, immediately getting a 'hello' kiss from his husband. “How'd it go?”
“It was great, Daddy,” Jonny answered, running up to Daniel and hugging him.
“Little Danny, we saw Choctaw Jack again and ...”
As the children chatted about Jonny's big day, Jack and Daniel ambled over to a corner for one more kiss and to listen to the stories the oldest Munchkin was telling.
“He's happy,” Daniel concluded.
“It was a great day.”
“Any concerns about the gunfight?” Daniel asked seriously.
“No,” Jack answered, shaking his head. “Danny, he knows the difference between a show, something that's for entertainment, and what's real. He had a chance to see one of the guns up close, and he turned it down.”
“Good,” Daniel replied with some relief. “I love you, Jack.”
“I love you, Angel,” Jack replied, smiling at his lover with eyes that shone with love.
Their arms around each other's waist, the happy couple walked over to the sofa and sat down to listen to the ongoing tales of the big gunfight. Jonny was riding high, pulling off his backpack and taking out the trading cards he'd collected, not just for himself, but for his brothers and sisters, too. He'd managed to get at least one card for each of his siblings. He was also doing his best to answer all of Little Danny's history related questions, thankful that he had paid attention on the trip and was able to answer all of them.
Several minutes later, the children had migrated back to the game room, leaving their parents alone in the living room, although Mittens had appeared and jumped up onto Jack's lap for some 'purr' time.
“Danny, it was the craziest thing,” Jack began quietly, wanting to discuss something that had been on his mind during the entire trip. “All day long, Jonny kept telling me that he wanted to be just like me.”
“He's said that before,” Daniel responded.
“I know that, and, geez, it feels so good to know he thinks I'm worthy of that kind of admiration.”
“But?” Daniel prompted, the look on his husband's face telling him that Jack had a concern about Jonny.
“He was really trying to be me. It was a lot of little things.” Widening his eyes, Jack pointed out, “He even tried to change his voice to sound like me.”
“Imitiation is the greatest form of flattery,” Daniel remarked lightly.
“Now is not the time for clichés,” Jack stated, a small growl in his tone. After a moment, he continued, “Look, my grandfather was my hero growing up, but the man I saw was a fisherman, and that was only a part of who he was. Jonny sees the general. That's okay. I'm proud of that, but I don't want him getting so caught up in my rigamarole that he loses sight of himself.” He paused and asked, “Am I crazy?”
“Totally,” Daniel teased, leaning over for a kiss. “But, Babe, are you sure you're not just getting a case of 'Am I worthy'?” Seeing his husband's grimace, he expounded, “All I'm saying is that you've had a tendency to under value yourself. You're the best role model, Jack. It's not a bad thing that Jonny wants to be like you.”
“Maybe it's a little bit of self-doubt, but it's for real, Daniel. We have great kids. I just want to make sure that all of them turn out to be themselves and not images of what they think they have to be.” Jack groaned, wondering if he was making any sense. “Okay, maybe I *have* lost my mind.”
Shaking his head, Daniel admitted, “I feel the same way about Little Danny sometimes. On those days when he follows me around, doing everything I do, *exactly* how I do it, I wonder why he'd want to be like me, but then I also know that he loves archaeology and so many of the things that I do.”
“But?” Jack prodded, much as Daniel had done to him earlier.
“But sometimes I wonder if there's a sportsman or educator or, gawd, a politician inside of him.” Daniel sighed contentedly, thinking about how his namesake often acted just like him. “I love that he wants to be like me, but I'd rather he be the person he is.”
“Time for a refresher?” Jack questioned, inferring that the two should speak with the two boys about their concerns.
“Sounds good,” Jack agreed. “Danny, it's a great feeling, but I just want Jonny to be himself and not a ...”
“Mini-me,” Daniel said in unison with his husband before sharing another kiss with him. “Jack, maybe we should get some outside advice.”
“Daniel, have you been reading those parenting magazines again?”
Closing his eyes as if to ward off the remark, the archaeologist continued, “I'm just saying that it couldn't hurt to do a little research and make sure we're not missing something that could potentially be a big problem later. I mean, we can talk to them, like we've agreed, but how do we know when, or if, Jonny and Little Danny, or any of our children, cross a line from appropriate ... mimicking into something that isn't so healthy?”
“You have a website in mind?” Jack responded somewhat reluctantly.
“No,” the younger man answered. “I was thinking that Sylvia might have some thoughts on the subject,” he explained, referring to Doctor Sylvia Preston, the family's main physician for their children.
Twenty minutes later, Jack and Daniel were in the privacy of the study, the two sitting near their phone that had been switched to speaker. Sylvia had set up a conference call with Doctor Helen Simonton, an acquaintance who was a specialist in same-sex couples parenting.
“Thank you for speaking with us on such short notice, Doctor Simonton,” Daniel stated once the call was established.
“Please, call me Helen, and I'm glad to help, especially if it means being able to speak with one of the most famous same-sex parenting couples in the world.”
“Famous?” Jack echoed. “Famous?”
Laughing, the specialist explained, “Not paparazzi famous, but you and yours have been in a medical facility or two over the years and have, shall we say, a bit of a *tendency* to get your way, even if it requires the assistance of the President.”
Jack and Daniel looked at each other, not really sure what to think or if they should be concerned or not by the comment.
Simonton laughed lightly as she continued, “Don't be surprised. The medical community is smaller than you might think, and while the laws have tightened, observers on the periphery still tend to talk.”
“You mean gossip,” Jack stated a tad sarcastically.
“Call it what you like, but it means I know a little something about you, such as you've been excellent parents to *twelve* children, including one given up as a victim to the system and one rescued from an abusive foster home.”
The men exchanged another look at the references to Brianna and Lulu. They just weren't used to someone acting like they knew that much about them, and it was making both uneasy.
“Helen, a moment please,” Sylvia requested.
“Surely, but my meter is running,” the physician prodded good naturedly.
With her colleague on hold, Syvlia spoke, “Jack, Daniel, you said you wanted advice. This is Helen's expertise. Medical ... gossip, for lack of a better word, is no different from Pentagon chatter, and you both know that when Lulu's foster father was tried, there was quite a bit of publicity about it. Now, do you want Helen's advice, or not?”
With a nod, Jack responded, “Let's get it over with.”
With Helen reconnected to the call, Jack and Daniel explained their concerns and then answered a few questions posed by the parenting counselor.
“You guys are terrific parents,” Simonton stated emphatically as she prepared to answer their specific inquiry. “If every parent had the concern and love you do, the juvenile court system, the foster home system, and every adoption agency would be out of business.”
“Thank you,” Daniel responded, though he was anxious to hear the specialist's conclusions.
“The boys are going through a normal and healthy phase. We all become our parents to some extent. In a heterosexual marriage, most children identify with the same-sex parent. If the child's personality is different from that parent, it can cause anxiety, and the child may conclude something is wrong with him or her. In your case, the boys are each identifying with their natural strengths.”
“So, do we have anything to worry about?” Jack questioned, wanting to get a direct answer to the question.
“I don't think so,” Simonton answered. “You've provided a variety of healthy adult role models through your extended family network of friends, so all you really need to do, in my opinion, is make them aware that there are different ways of being like someone else, and that it is okay to want to be like several people at once -- one for their profession, one for their approach to life, another for their friendliness, and so on.”
“So, we're good?” Jack asked, smiling as he sat up a bit straighter.
“Is there anything we should look for?” Daniel questioned, reaching over to stop his lover from standing and glaring at him until Jack let out a sigh and settled more securely in his seat.
“If they start to turn down foods, TV shows, or anything they really like to imitate your likes and dislikes, or if there's an outbreak of hostility towards their siblings or others who exhibit preferences ...”
“Hostility?” Jack interjected uncertainly.
“It could signify a possessive tendency because they consider it their prerogative to imitate you and no one else's,” Simonton explained. “I really don't think you have anything to worry about, however.”
“Thank you,” Daniel replied. “We appreciate your time.”
“Thank you, too, for sharing a bit of your lives with me. I'm waiving the consult fee, and please call again if you have any questions.”
“We will,” Daniel responded, ignoring Jack's grimace at the thought.
“One more thing, I'd like you to consider starting a website that other same-sex couples can use as a resource. You don't realize how much benefit you could be to other couples.”
~That's *so* not gonna happen,~ Jack responded inwardly.
“Think about it, and call me if you would like to discuss it,” Simonton requested. “Goodnight, gentlemen, and goodnight, Sylvia.”
“Thanks, Helen,” Sylvia replied, hearing the woman hang up. “She gives good advice.”
“Yes, she does. Thanks for contacting her, Sylvia,” Daniel stated.
“Danny, we worry too much,” Jack deduced as he disconnected the call.
“That's part of being a good parent, isn't it?” Daniel challenged.
“So's this,” the older man stated, leaning over and kissing his soulmate.
“How so?” the younger man questioned, his face still so close to his Love's.
“Happy parents make for happy kids,” Jack put forth, kissing Daniel again.
“Let's be happier,” Daniel suggested, his arms wrapping around Jack's as he actually moved over onto his lap.
The happy parents enjoyed some quality kissing and fondling time for several minutes until the aroma of an Italian meal being prepared by Jennifer drew their attention back to their family and a late dinner.
At the end of their nightly rounds with their children, Jack and Daniel entered the boys' room and stopped to say goodnight to Ricky, who was fading fast. Then Jack walked over and sat down on Jonny's bed, while Daniel smiled as he sat down on Little Danny's bed.
“Boys,” Daniel began, glancing over at Ricky again and believing the Spitfire was far too gone to be disturbed by the quiet conversation about to take place, “Dad and I want to talk to the two of you about something.”
“What is it, Daddy?” Little Danny questioned curiously.
“It's about ... growing up,” Daniel answered with a smile. “What would you two like to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be just like Dad,” came the quick response from the oldest Munchkin, the boy grinning at the prospect.
“And I want to be just like you, Daddy,” Little Danny chimed happily.
Jack smiled at both of their sons as he responded, “Jonny, Little Danny, we both love that you want to be just like us, but we'll love you and be every bit as proud of you if you grow up just to be you.”
“Huh?” Jonny asked with a grimace.
“What Dad is saying is that we want you both to understand that you don't *have* to be like us.”
“What he said,” Jack mused. He nodded as he put forth, “Part of what makes living in this world so wonderful is that there are all different kinds of people. If everyone was the same, it would be pretty boring, huh?”
“I like being like you, Dad,” Jonny proclaimed. “Why is that bad?”
“It's not bad,” Jack refuted. “It's ...” he paused, thinking of how to explain what he was feeling. “Daniel.”
The archaeologist fought off a chuckle and explained, “It's not bad, Jonny. Just make sure that you're both exploring all that *you* are and don't limit yourself to what Dad and I are. Uh, you can be like Teal'c in some ways, or Uncle Lou, or Aunt Sam.”
“She's a girl,” Jonny whined.
“She's a girl who taught you how to open a lock without a key, remember?” Jack challenged, trying to ignore his Love's proud smile at his instant and firm rebuttal to their son.
“She's taught us lots of neat stuff,” Jonny agreed in an upbeat tone. Then he grouse, “But she's still a girl.”
**Jack, let it go for now. We don't want to lose our focus,** Daniel urged mentally. “All we're saying is that there are a lot of people -- family, friends -- who are good, worthwhile people. Being like them sometimes would be good, too. You could be like Aunt Sam when figuring out a problem or like Grandpa when ...”
“You're the best, Daddy,” Little Danny praised, interrupting his younger father. “Don't you want us to be the best?”
“Yes, of course, but ...”
“Then why shouldn't we be like you then?” the young genius questioned pointedly. “You and Dad are the best in the whole wide world, so Jonny and I want to be like you and be the next best,” he proclaimed with a bright and determined smile.
“Yes, well, that's ... uh, Jack?”
Taking the pass, Jack put forth, “Daddy and I are more than willing to teach you anything you want to know. We just want to make sure you follow your own paths; be yourselves.”
“We *are*, Dad,” Jonny insisted with a heavy sigh, wondering why his parents weren't getting it. “We're us, and we're just like you, and we *like* being just like you. Don't we, Little Danny?”
“Yeah!” the child prodigy exclaimed. “'Cept you're forgetting the important part,” he stated as he stared at his parents.
“What's that?” Daniel asked.
“I wanna be just like you, Daddy, but I wanna be like Dad, too. I like doing covert, too, and flying, and I think 'The Simpsons' *are* funny,” Little Danny answered.
“And I like history and going to museums and studying languages,” Jonny stated. Then his face lengthened as his mouth opened in horror. He gasped, realizing what he'd just spoken aloud. “But don't tell anyone I said that,” the little boy requested, causing both of his parents to chuckle, though both tried to hide it.
“See, we're like both of you,” Little Danny stated reassuringly.
“Yeah, I guess you are,” Jack replied from his spot next to his namesake.
“Looks like Dad and I were worried for nothing,” Daniel spoke, feeling very proud of his sons. “It's just, we want you, and your brothers and sisters, to be the best that you can be, and we don't want you to feel overshadowed by what you think we are.”
“You're the best,” Little Danny maintained, getting an affirmative nod from his brother.
Deciding to give it up, Jack smiled and declared, “We love you.”
“Very much,” Daniel added, sharing a smile with his husband over the boys' heads.
Jack and Daniel tucked their namesakes in and kissed them goodnight before heading downstairs for a nightcap.
“That went well,” Jack mused as the lovers walked through the jog.
“Very,” Daniel agreed. “We managed to let them explain to us why we were wrong,” he chuckled.
“So, no worries,” Jack replied.
“Not a one,” Daniel said, almost laughing. “Gawd, we do worry too much.”
“You just now figuring that out?” Jack queried jovially while walking down the stairs.
“No, but I continued to be amazed ...”
Life had been adventurous for Jack and Jonny in Dallas, Texas, and now it was as enthusiastic and loving as ever for the entire Jackson-O'Neill family. As the lovers chatted and enjoyed a drink, a beer for Jack and a glass of wine for Daniel, their namesakes were fast asleep, both dreaming of being on a dig and fighting the evil Goa'uld. Indeed, they were just like their fathers and always would be.
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