The Little Ambassador
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - October 12-26, 2016
Written: August 22-24, September 7-10,12,26-27, 2009
Summary: There's a call to duty at Stargate Command, only the call isn't to Jack and Daniel.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) After some spoken foreign words or phrases used for the first time, the English translation appears in italics, such as “Nai.” [No]
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Tammy, Irina, Becca, Navi!
The Little Ambassador
Daniel and Little Danny were traveling homeward in the archaeologist's
silver sports car after having been on a day trip to the mountains
where they'd explored the area for its archaeological merit. At
the moment, they were chattering away in Italian. Little Danny
was mastering more languages than any of the other children thus far,
although all of the children were conversant in several languages.
“Babbo, c'è un altro tacchino!” [Daddy, there's another turkey!] Little Danny called out enthusiastically, though he also had that 'we need to rescue him' tone to his voice.
Daniel saw the single turkey running across a meadow. He had no clue where the animal could have come from. Still, it seemed his namesake was a turkey magnet. No matter where they were, Colorado turkeys appeared out of nowhere wearing imaginary 'rescue me' signs around their necks. The problem was that their turkey sanctuary was at capacity as it was.
“Figliolo, non abbiamo spazio per altri tacchini,” [Son, we don't have room for more turkeys] the understanding father spoke compassionately.
“E se lo uccidessero, solo perché io non ho spazio?” [But what if they kill him just because I don't have room] the animal-loving child questioned sadly.
Daniel just couldn't deny his son. The love of turkeys had prompted Little Danny to become what he called a turkvegan since he rarely ate turkey anymore.
“Forse potremmo comprare della terra in più, ma dovrai aiutarmi,” Daniel stated, glancing over at his son as he told him that perhaps they could buy some more land for the turkey sanctuary, but that the boy would have to help.
“Puoi avere tutti i soldi del mio salvadanaio, babbo,” a pleased Little Danny responded, having just offered all the money in his piggy bank for the project.
“Va bene, ne parleremo ancora stasera quando ci saranno tutti,” [Okay, we'll talk about it some more tonight during our family meeting] Daniel replied.
“Ma cosa facciamo con quel tacchino? Stasera potrebbe essere già troppo tardi,” [But what about that turkey? It might be too late] the youngster implored from his heart, directing soulful blue eyes at his father.
Daniel sighed, “Okay,” as he relented and turned the car around. He'd seen a side road about a half-mile back and thought that would be a good place to start their turkey hunt. “Vediamo se riusciamo a trovare il proprietario,” he advised his son, hoping that he was right and that they could find the turkey's owner and buy the animal. ~Jack is *so* going to kill me.~
“Dad?” Jonny called out as he leaned over the truck's engine, watching as his father worked on the Ford vehicle.
“What's the difference between a fish and a piano?” the sandy-haired youngster asked as he leaned on the truck with his elbows while putting his smiling face on top of his hands.
Pausing his work, Jack requested, “Tell me.”
“You can't tuna fish,” Jonny answered with a happy smirk.
“Good one,” Jack praised, chuckling appropriately. “Come here and help me with this,” he urged, helping the boy over to the right spot.
In the projects room, Ricky shaded in the final area of his drawing and then beckoned, “JD, would you like to play here?”
Not quite four-years-old, JD put down his crayons and looked at where his brother was pointing. It was an appealing sketch, even if JD didn't understand why Ricky was working on this particular item.
“We have a tree house,” the youngest Jackson-O'Neill stated without answering the query. Tilting his head to the side, JD gazed at his brother curiously. ~Why would we want another one?~
“I know, but Kevin and Susie and Petey and Sammy Jo don't.”
Now understanding what his brother had in mind, JD affirmed, “I like it.”
“I'll draw another one,” Ricky stated, deciding to give the Shanahans a choice of design. “Tomaso and Amara need a tree house, too,” he added, thinking about Cassandra's children.
Meanwhile, across town at Cheyenne Mountain, a briefing was being held about a potential new ally.
“There has to be a way of communicating with these people,” General Hank Landry insisted as he sat at the head of the long conference table in the briefing room.
Leaning his arms against the table with his hands folded over the mission report being discussed, the general looked at the assembled besiegingly. He wanted suggestions, and everyone knew that to be the case.
“We've tried, General,” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Davis imparted. “We've been turned away with our every attempt.”
“What's the problem?”
“Age,” Colonel Marc Reynolds of SG-3 answered.
Paul Davis continued, “Their society is based on innocence, and they believe that the purest innocence and the most trusted are children.”
“Their leaders are children?” Landry inquired. “Is this another Orban?”
“Not exactly, General,” Major Emmett Martin of SG-9 responded. He was the diplomatic team's cultural expert. “The society is advanced. The children are highly intelligent, but it's a natural occurrence. Once a child hits puberty, they join the tongra, which is what we might call their workforce, including parenting. There isn't anything subservient or second class about it; it's just a shift in focus.”
“Children between the ages of five and puberty are their political and social leaders,” Davis expounded.
“You're telling me that little kids make the decisions on this planet?” Landry asked incredulously.
“They do, Sir,” Reynolds responded.
“However,” Davis interjected, “we believe that their age cycles are longer than our own or those we normally encounter. In fact, based on the knowledge we've gathered, it's possible that a child entering puberty has already lived at least forty human years, and very possibly more.”
Landry nodded and stated thoughtfully, “Doctor Lam has informed me that the medicines available on this world could be vital to developing cures for several muscular diseases on Earth. I'd like to find a way to secure some kind of agreement. Suggestions?”
Davis looked down and then over at Reynolds. He had an idea and while slightly hesitant to bring it up, he also believed it was the best choice and highly doable.
“General, I have an idea.”
“Dad, we saved another turkey!” Little Danny exclaimed happily as he and Daniel entered their home a couple of hours later. Bouncing over to his older father, he quickly hugged Jack's hip before scampering off. “I'm gonna go tell everyone,” the boy advised as he hurried away.
“Another one?” Jack questioned with a bit of a scowl.
“Jack, you know how Little Danny feels about turkeys,” Daniel responded as he leaned in for a hello kiss.
“Well, we actually had to buy six of them,” Daniel responded sheepishly. “Don't look at me like that. You would have done the same thing.”
“Would not,” the older man denied ardently.
“Remember who you're talking to, Babe. You wouldn't have lasted two seconds with our son's pout at full blast.”
“Daniel, that little sanctuary of ours is full up as it is,” Jack argued. ~He's right, though. I would have caved in five seconds flat.~
Daniel smiled brightly and animatedly pointed at his lover, saying, “See, see, see! I knew it!”
“Calm down, Daniel, before you launch yourself into the Danny Dance,” Jack snarked. Then he sighed and accused, “Mind dropper.”
Moving away from their fun banter, Daniel advised, “I called Mark and asked him to look into buying a few more acres near the current site.”
Jack simply let out a groan, but then he shook it off. After all, this was nothing new. They'd been dealing with the turkey issue for a while now.
“How was the exploration?”
Daniel laughed, “Well, until we found Bernard ...”
“The turkey,” the younger man answered as he headed for the kitchen and a cup of his favorite Arabian Mocha coffee blend. “Anyway, until then that's all he could talk about.”
“So, you had a good time.”
“Yeah. What about you and Jonny?”
“I let him fix the ...” The ringing phone interrupted Jack's response. Upon answering the call, he was surprised to hear Hank Landry's voice on the other end. “Now? ... Hank, you do know we're retired? ... Okay, we'll be there.”
“He wants to see us,” Jack told his husband as he glared at the phone, wondering what that phone call was all about.
“We can't go anywhere until Jen gets home,” Daniel pointed out, checking his watch.
“Then I guess they'll just have to wait,” Jack replied, a pleased smile on his face.
“You're so bad.”
“Isn't that the truth,” Jack agreed as he kissed his lover.
“What?” Jack barked as he stood at the end of the long conference table later that afternoon after learning the reason for the summons to the Mountain.
In fact, Jack and Daniel had kept their old Stargate Command outfit waiting about two-and-a-half hours. They were partially hoping to be dismissed, and they'd been somewhat stunned to see the assembled personnel who had apparently been waiting for them to arrive.
“Excuse me?” Daniel questioned at the exact same time. He looked up at his husband and instructed, “Jack, sit down.”
Jack gave his lover a glare but sat back down. He looked around the table, expressing his displeasure with death stares. As in the earlier briefing, those present included the team members of SG-3 and SG-9, most of whom knew it was wiser to avoid the man's stares at the moment.
“Jack, hear us out,” Landry requested. “A successful completion of this mission could have far-reaching effects on eradicating muscular disease as we know it today. Unfortunately, the residents of the planet won't talk to anyone over the age of puberty.”
“Orban the sequel?” Jack quipped. ~Creepy.~
“Jack, let's just hear them out,” Daniel suggested.
“Thank you, Doctor Jackson,” Landry responded. “Major,” he called out with a nod.
Major Martin passed down two folders which contained all of the information gathered thus far on PJ2-991. He informed the couple of the highlights, including the reason for their request. Part of the data relayed was how the idea to call Jack and Daniel came about in the first place.
“General, it's not as though your children haven't been through the Gate,” Landry pointed out, his look reminding Jack about missions Jonny and Little Danny had gone on. “Jennifer and David have done an excellent job with the Teen Gaters as well,” he added.
“There is a difference, General,” Daniel interjected. “The Teen Gaters go to planets where we've established diplomatic ties and where there isn't much of a chance of danger, not anymore than there would be crossing the street. You're asking us to allow one of our children to go to a place that we really know nothing about.”
“And without safeguards,” Jack stated.
“We're as certain as we can be that these people aren't a danger,” Martin responded.
“Not good enough,” Jack rebutted quickly.
Landry leaned forward and replied, “Jack, Doctor, without your help, establishing a relationship with these people will most likely be impossible.” He paused thoughtfully and then stood. “I'd like a moment in my office.”
Seeing the motion for them to follow, Jack and Daniel went to Landry's office, noticing that he shut the door behind them.
His back to the others in the briefing room, Landry began, “There's a reason why you two were allowed to call the shots after you came back to the Stargate Program. Part of the accommodations dealt with the future, and that future concerned your family.” He walked over to his desk and sat down. He looked up at the couple and continued, “You started it, Jack. You wanted your kids to go through the Stargate and that set in motion something that didn't go away simply because you two decided to retire again.”
“We don't owe the government anything,” an angry Jack stated strongly. He added curtly, “And I'll be damned if our children pay a price for anything we did here.”
“Jack, calm down,” Daniel admonished, placing his hand atop his Love's left forearm. “General, what exactly was set in motion?”
“You've said it yourself, joking or serious, I don't know. The Space Family Jackson-O'Neill. Like it or not, your children are part of this place.”
Jack lunged forward, his hands gripping the edge of Landry's desk as he spat, “Our kids don't owe this place crap.”
“We'll think about it,” Jack stated with ire. He headed for the main entry to Landry's office and snapped, “Daniel, let's go.”
“There's a lot at stake here, Doctor Jackson,” Landry put forth as Daniel headed for the exit.
The archaeologist turned and replied, “General, I don't know what our answer is going to be, but trying to force us into this decision wasn't the smartest way to convince us to go along. Except for Jennifer and David, whose only obligation deals with Teen Gaters, our children are *not* a part of this program. Any implication that they are is going to come at a price, and we won't be the ones paying that price.”
Surprised at the forcefulness of Daniel's statement, Landry could only watch as the archaeologist joined Jack and disappeared from his sight.
The knock on the door was loud and determined, and it totally ignored the more quiet and unobtrusive doorbell. Whoever was making the noise was interrupting the beginning of a relaxing evening at home between the secretly married Paul Davis and Marc Reynolds. Davis had on a mauve, long sleeve shirt that had a V-neck collar that zipped down a few inches. He had it all the way down at the moment. The pale color went perfectly with his black pants. His black Laguna Slide Sandals were comfortable and fashionable.
With a martini in his hand, Paul Davis opened the door.
“Glad you're not busy, *Airman*,” Jack stated as he barged in, his shoulder brushing the man back a little as he entered.
A chill instantly ran up Davis' neck. It had taken him an extraordinary amount of time to get promoted to his current rank of lieutenant colonel. Now Jack's tone and demeanor were hinting of a strong demotion, taking multiple steps backwards instead of forward.
Not only was Jack's icy greeting that was a concern, but so was his very presence at Davis' townhouse. In reality, while Jack and Daniel had become friends with Paul and Marc as couples over the last few years, most of their socializing was done at the Jackson-O'Neill homestead or at places deemed 'safe' for Paul and Marc to be in and around the Colorado Springs and Denver area.
The general looked the place over, taking in the decor, though he really wasn't interested in the current motif and atmosphere, especially the dimmed lighting and aroma of incense. He considered calling out to Reynolds, who he was sure was lurking in a corner somewhere. Still, his beef was with the martini drinker, not with the leader of SG-3.
Closing the door, Davis walked forward and asked, “Jack, wh...”
Turning abruptly to face the man, Jack interrupted sharply, “General!”
In an instant, the air was full of tension. It was clear that this wasn't a social call. In fact, it was about as far from it as it could be.
“Yes, Sir, General,” Davis acknowledged, bracing himself for what was coming.
With his brown eyes cold and glaring, Jack warned, “Don't you *ever* talk about my children at SGC again!”
“Davis, if you're at SGC and you think there's something Daniel and I should know or might be interested in, then you bring it us first. You do *not* mention my kids by name and talk about their interests. Do you understand?”
“Of course *what*?”
“Of course, I do ... General,” Davis responded, snapping to, actually dropping his martini glass to the floor, and feeling very confused about the ire that was spewing from the retired general.
“You don't get it, do you?” Jack accused. He let out a snort and commented, “The truth is that I don't friggin' care whether you do or not.” He looked around for a few seconds and then walked forward into Paul's personal space. The sound of the martini glass being stepped on filled the air. Staring his momentary foe in the eye, he spoke both in observation and in warning. “This is a nice set up you have going, and if you don't want it to disappear and find yourself playing servant boy to one of those suits back at the Pentagon while your lover is digging latrines in Russia, then you make sure to keep my kids out of your voice box.”
Jack walked forcefully by the other man to the door. He stopped and turned around, deciding to say one more thing.
“Don't be fooled that this little friendship we've hooked up the last few years will stop me from doing what needs to be done. *Never* talk about my kids. Don't say their names and for crying out loud, don't talk about what their interests are.” Opening the door, Jack began to walk out. As he did so, he glanced back over his shoulder and said, “Send me a bill for the glass.”
Paul Davis was stunned and had nothing to say in reply, watching silently as Jack left the townhouse. A moment later, Marc Reynolds was at his side, holding his husband's hand in comfort and support.
“He had a full head of steam,” Reynolds observed as he stared at the door that had just banged shut.
“Why is he so upset? He said I didn't get it, and he's right, Ice; I don't,” Davis remarked, still staring at the closed door.
“He's protecting his family, Paul,” Reynolds told his lover, getting a curious look in reply. “I was there, and I probably should have stopped you, but I couldn't think of a way to do it without stirring up questions. I'm guessing that the general's jacket doesn't contain half of what he's done off the record for the government. He has a lot of enemies.”
“And by putting something on the record about one of the kids, I've potentially made it possible for someone to use them to get to him.”
“Or to get their revenge by getting to the kids,” Reynolds added. “That's why he's steamed.”
Reynolds put his arm around Davis' waist and turned him towards the living area. They'd walked a few steps when Davis' demeanor suggested there was something more on his mind.
“Fess it up,” Reynolds requested.
“He didn't mention Elmendorf.”
“That should be a blessing,” Reynolds chuckled.
“No, Marc,” Davis refuted. “He was serious about the transfer. That's why he didn't say it; it's why he mentioned the Pentagon. He knows what happened there and what it would mean if I went back.”
“The man doesn't joke when it comes to his family,” Reynolds rationalized. “We need to be more careful. We don't have his history.”
“I'm sorry. I've made it hard on both of us.”
“The only thing you've done is give us a wake up call. We were careless. We can't let that happen again.”
Paul Davis nodded as he watched Marc set about to pick up the shattered martini glass and dry the floor. Their romantic evening was over with for this night. Now it was a matter of regrouping and developing ways to making sure they never messed up again.
“Jack, we're going to have to get a new carpet if you keep pacing like this,” Daniel told his husband late that evening. “The children are going to think something's wrong if you don't stop.”
“I paid for this crappy carpet, and if I want to wear it out, I will,” Jack barked.
“I'll see you get a good funeral.”
“Alex won't like you calling this carpet 'crappy',” Daniel explained.
“Alex can go hang,” Jack snarked angrily.
“Okay, Jack, let it go,” Daniel advised strongly, praying for patience.
“The friggin' nerve of those people,” the older man stewed verbally. Waving a hand towards his lover, he challenged, “How come you're so calm about it?”
“Because you're angry enough for both of us, and then some,” Daniel answered. “And because we knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time before they asked us to ...”
“To *what*, Daniel?”
“Jack, why are you so upset?”
Jack stared at his husband and then let out a groan. He walked around a few more times before sitting down on the old, reliable sofa in his study.
“Davis was an idiot.”
“Paul isn't an idiot, Jack. On the surface, there's nothing wrong with his suggestion. It's just our history and our paranoia ...”
“That paranoia has saved our behinds more times than I care to think about,” Jack put forth argumentatively.
“I agree,” Daniel replied. “However, it's not like they're asking us to send her into a Goa'uld-infested world. We have options, more than they know about.” Seeing his husband's uneasy and perturbed expression, he suggested, “All I'm saying is that we should check the place out ourselves and then discuss it some more.”
Jack leaned his head back, bringing his hands to cover his face. Slowly, he slid his hands down halfway, shaking his head at the same time.
“I'm not saying we should allow it,” Daniel continued gently. “I'm just saying that we shouldn't not allow it simply because we don't like the way the suggestion was made. Uh, by the way, why were you late getting home?”
Jack turned his head to look at Daniel and answered, while standing, “You know where I was.”
“Daniel, I don't care if you call it paranoia or eccentricity, I do *not* want anyone talking about our brood and their hobbies at SGC but us, and you know why.”
“Yes, I do,” Daniel affirmed as he stood. He placed his hands on his Love's cheeks and smiled softly. “But, Jack, we've also agreed that we can't live our lives looking over our shoulders every second of the day. It's done; let it go, and let's focus on this mission.” He leaned in for a gentle kiss. When he pulled back, the lovers gazed into each other's eyes until they kissed again and this time, their hands enveloped the other in a tender hold and embrace while the kiss endured. “Jack, this isn't a bad thing.”
“Kissing's a great thing.”
“You know what I mean,” Daniel returned mildly.
“Okay, we'll go,” hearing his cell phone ring, Jack reached into his pocket, “check it out.” He looked at the caller ID and reported, “Lam.”
“Let's ask questions, Babe.”
“And then we'll talk to the Doc,” Jack stated firmly, referring to Janet. “Doctor Lam,” he greeted upon answering the ring.
Her feet dangling from her spot on Daniel's recliner in his den, the little girl smiled as she waited for her parents to get settled. She'd been told that they had something very important to discuss with her and that it was to be a private conversation. That's all she knew. She watched eagerly as Jack slid the pocket doors closed, chuckling as he re-opened one of them and told the mama beagle to come on in. The young girl laughed as Bijou jumped up on the recliner and settled in on her lap. Obediently, the child began to pat the beagle's floppy ears.
Daniel was already seated in his desk chair and Jack was just adjusting his spot on a stool that he pulled over from the corner of the room.
“Princess, Daddy and I have something very important to talk with you about, and we want to tell you right off the bat that should you not want to do this, you don't have to at all. We'll just go right on to tomorrow.”
“It's important for you to know that you can just say no,” Daniel added.
“Okay,” Chenoa responded, having no clue what was so serious.
Chenoa listened intently as her parents told her about the planet and what was needed of her. They told her how they'd gone to the planet themselves the day before and felt it was safe. They added that they'd be going with her if she agreed to the mission and that 'Uncle Thor' would have a patch on her at all times and was prepared to be in orbit and pull her out at a second's notice.
“Why does General Hank want me to go?” Chenoa asked.
“Because you're a horsewoman, Noa,” Daniel answered.
“The folks on Lalahand ...”
“Laloma is the name of the planet,” Daniel interjected, rolling his eyes at his husband's intentional misnomer.
“Whatever,” Jack responded. “The horse is sacred to them. All the kids ride horses, little ones, some regular ponies, and some like Hot and Chocolate,” he explained, referring to the family's two Shetland ponies.
“I get to ride?” Chenoa asked with big, excited eyes.
“Probably,” Daniel acknowledged. “Noa, there's a lot at stake. You'd have to learn, study, *a lot* over the next couple of weeks. It's not going to be easy.”
“It's science, Princess,” Jack expounded. “Aunt Janet and Doctor Lam would be tutoring you.”
“What about my homework?”
“You'll be excused from our family studies until the mission is done and then we'll work on catching up after that,” Daniel answered.
“Are you sure I'm smart enough?” Chenoa queried shyly. “Ash is smarter than me. Maybe she should go.”
“She's not the right age, and she's not the horsewoman that you are,” Daniel replied.
“Princess, we have confidence in you,” Jack stated with a firm smile. “You're plenty smart, but it's up to you.”
“Why don't you think about and let us know what you decide,” Daniel suggested.
“No pressure, Noa. We love you. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do,” Jack stated firmly.
“Okay,” Chenoa replied, climbing off the recliner and heading for the door. She stopped and turned around. “Can I tell Lulu? I tell Lulu *everything*?”
Jack and Daniel shared a look and then a shrug. Secrets weren't encouraged in their household, not among the brood.
“Of course, you can,” Jack answered with a smile.
When the little girl was gone, Jack stood up and paced again, finally letting out with a curse word.
“She's smart, Daniel, and she's doubting herself because of what we told her,” Jack expressed angrily.
“She's fine, Babe, and if she decides to do, we're going to watch her like a hawk,” Daniel asserted with a knowing look.
“They're not going to push her.”
“No, they're not,” Daniel agreed with equal firmness.
“Okay,” Jack stated with a nod.
Daniel was sitting in his recliner in the den when Jack walked in and smiled. The general had just returned from Lou Ferretti's house.
“She's sleeping,” the archaeologist spoke quietly about Chenoa, who had been still in his arms for the past few minutes. “She came in to ask me a question and didn't make it halfway through the answer.”
Jack sat down in the office chair and gently ran his fingers through Chenoa's curly hair.
“She's working so hard.”
“She's done,” Daniel advised. “They want her to go tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Jack questioned skeptically. “Is she ready?”
“I think so,” the younger man answered as he massaged the girl's arm and placed a kiss on her forehead. “I'm so proud of her, Jack. She's studied so hard.” He looked at his husband, sensing the question, and shook his head. “No, we can't back out. She'd be crushed.”
“Yeah, I was afraid of that,” Jack agreed ruefully. “Our little ambassador.”
The next morning, the official Tau'ri party was ready to embark. It was a large group, though only one member was really important to the mission. SG-1 had reassembled once again, something that was rare these days. Both Sam and Teal'c had insisted on going, however, and Jack and Daniel were extremely appreciative.
SG units 3 and 9 were also going to Laloma. Also along were Jennifer and David, acting both as representatives of the Teen Gaters and as assistants to the Ambassador. It was a long shot, but Landry hoped that having two more younger representatives from Earth would earn points with the leaders of the youthful planet.
“You look beautiful, Noa,” Jennifer praised as the Gate dialed the address.
“Jen, I've never been that smart. I don't want to let Dad and Daddy down.”
The young woman knelt down and smiled at her little sister. She fussed with Chenoa's clothing, an English riding outfit that had her looking like an elegant horsewoman.
“Noa, Dad and Daddy are so proud of you, and so am I,” Jennifer replied, flicking off a piece of lint she'd discovered on her sister's right shoulder. “There is nothing that you can say or do that will disappoint them. You've studied so hard, and all they want is for you to do your best.”
“I promise to do my best,” Chenoa replied earnestly, her expression quite serious.
“Hey, loosen up a little,” Jennifer suggested. “You're going to play with some new friends, and while you play, talk turkey.”
“Tell them we're friends and that above all else, that's all we want, their friendship.”
“But we want that medicine,” the curly-haired girl retorted.
“Yes, we do, but that comes after we become friends with them,” Jennifer responded. She smiled and stood up, placing a comforting hand on her sister's shoulder. “You'll be great, Noa.”
“Noa, are you okay?” David asked as he joined the sisterly discussion.
“I'm scared, David.”
From their vantage point by Sam and Teal'c, Jack and Daniel watched the developing Mouseketeer huddle with great concern.
“Let's give them a minute, Danny. We'll take our cues from Jen and David,” Jack responded.
“Want me to hold your hand?” David offered.
Chenoa smiled and asked, “Can you be my escort?”
“Sure, I can,” the teenager assured the youngest Mouseketeer. “I'll be right back.”
“Do we pull the plug?” Jack questioned David before he'd even said a word.
“She's just a little nervous,” David returned casually. “She wants me to be her escort; you know, hold her hand. That's against protocol, but ...”
“Screw protocol,” Jack interrupted rudely.
“Jack,” Daniel warned with both a stern expression and a harsh tone.
“I think we can tell them that in our culture it's not proper for a young ambassador to go without an escort,” David suggested. “Dad, Daddy, she'll be okay once we get there and get started. She just needs Mouseketeer Power.”
“Mouseketeer Power?” Jack questioned with wide eyes.
“Well, if the Munchkins can have Munchkin Power, why can't we have Mouseketeer Power?” the teen asked with a smile.
“You're her escort,” Daniel answered as the kawoosh of the Gate blasted within Cheyenne Mountain. “I'll let the others know,” he told his lover as he headed to where the other two teams were standing.
Teal'c approached the young girl and called out, “ChenoaJackson-O'Neill.”
“Thanks for coming, Teal'c,” Chenoa responded with a bright smile, her young love for the Jaffa still a big part of her soul.
Teal'c nodded and stated, “You will be safe. You will do well. I believe this to be true.” He saw the little girl straighten a bit more, her confidence and resolve growing. “We are your protectors. You have only to wave your hand, and I will be at your side.”
“Thank you, Teal'c. I feel better now.”
“Crap, Danny, look at her.”
“K'hang has made up a lot of ground, but Teal'c is always going to be in her heart, Jack. He's her first love.”
“A girl never forgets her first love, Sir,” Sam interjected, causing Jack to bob his head a couple of times in acceptance.
Just then General Landry called out over the tannoy, “SG-1, it's good to have you with us. SG-1, 3, and 9, you have a 'go'. Good luck, Ambassador.”
Chenoa looked up and waved at Landry. She smiled when she felt her brother's strong hand taking her shaking hand in his.
“We can go home,” Jack told his little equestrian as he and Daniel approached.
“I can do it, Dad. You and Daddy will be right here, right?”
“You won't be out of sight, Princess,” Daniel promised.
“Okay, protocol for Laloma says the Ambassador's number one assistant goes through first,” Jennifer advised. “Then any other important staff, and then Chenoa. Everyone else goes through after.”
“Right,” Jack responded, ignoring protocol and heading up the ramp.
Jennifer sighed and looked at Daniel for help.
“Jack, we've been there,” Daniel called out. “There's no point in going if you're going to mess it up before Noa even goes through the Gate.”
Jack's growl could be heard by the entire room. Slowly, though, he turned around and extended out his hand towards the Gate.
“Ambassador's Assistant,” Jack prodded irritably.
“Thank you, Dad,” Jennifer replied, smiling as she walked past her father and through the Stargate.
“Whoa!” Jack exclaimed quietly as he flipped his sunglasses off to make sure he was seeing what he really thought he was seeing.
Daniel nearly bumped into his husband as he walked down the steps, the archaeologist also surprised by the sight.
In a whisper, Daniel asked, “Is it me, or are there about a thousand children staring at us?”
“At least,” Jack affirmed.
“Ambassador Chenoa, welcome to Laloma,” a pretty young girl greeted.
“Thank you,” Chenoa responded. “These are my assistants, Jennifer and David. David is also my escort.”
“Welcome.” The greeter turned and curtsied as another young girl approached. “This is Betima, our wisest.”
Chenoa curtsied, bowing her head as she spoke, “Betima, I am honored to meet you and enjoy the presence. Please, may my party and me visit and speak with you on this day?”
Chenoa's words had been carefully crafted to fit Laloman custom, though it was awkward sounding in English.
“Honored,” Betima replied with a bob of her head, which was all she was obligated to reply. “You ride?”
“Yes,” Chenoa answered as she resumed a normal stance. “This is my riding outfit.”
“Tikmo,” Betima praised.
“Betima, if I might ask,” Chenoa began as she remembered the correct phraseology she was supposed to use to ask a question, “David is a growing master of the languages. He would like to know what 'tikmo' says.”
“The Ambassador is correct,” David responded.
“Fontana will assist you in this,” Betima agreed, motioning for one of the girls to join David.
“'Tikmo' in Tau'ri means cool and fabulous,” Fontana translated as she took her place just behind David.
“Let's ride!” Betima announced to the cheers of the thousand children. She reached out and took Chenoa's hand, pulling her away. “You will ride my Empathigma. She is the most beautiful horse in our world.”
Jack and Daniel exchanged a quick look before trying to follow their daughter, which turned out to be a lost cause. She was already in a sea of children. There were only two positives from the current scenario.
“David's with her,” Daniel stated, trying to convince himself that everything was okay. “And there's the safeguard.”
Jack glanced back at the SG teams, motioning for them to follow the children. As soon as the teams had cleared his location, the general pulled out a small device which no one but Daniel knew he had on him. He pressed a button according to the prearranged plan. Perhaps stereotypically, it was yellow in color. He waited anxiously for the response.
“Well?” Daniel asked, the father in him causing his patience to be as limited as his husband's was at the moment.
“Blue,” Jack answered about the response he'd just received.
“So, Thor's watching her?”
“It's blue,” Jack responded, which was the designated color that indicated the Asgard was monitoring Chenoa's every move.
“I like this new patch,” the archaeologist replied quietly.
“Yeah, video,” the general acknowledged.
The Asgard leader had upgraded the patch that he'd given to the Jackson-O'Neill family years ago. This new version had a visual option where anyone approaching Chenoa could be seen. In this way, any threat to the little girl would be quickly detected.
“She's okay,” Daniel stated, more in an effort to convince himself than to assure his lover.
“Yep, she's okay,” Jack agreed, walking over to a cement bench and sitting down. ~This had better not take too long.~
“They're riding, Sir,” Reynolds reported about fifteen minutes later. “Chenoa is with Betima. She's laughing.”
“What about David?”
“He's riding right behind Chenoa, General. He's close enough to hear everything they're saying.”
“Keep me posted,” Jack responded before checking the device to ensure it was still blue.
“General, they're heading for the communication center. It's about one click north and two clicks east of your location,” Reynolds reported two hours later.
Paul Davis clicked on his radio and added, “Jennifer and two members of SG-9 are already there awaiting Chenoa's and Betima's arrival. Betima's afirte, that would be her diplomatic counselor, has agreed to allow you and Doctor Jackson-O'Neill to wait in the chamber that adjoins the center. This isn't normally done, so it needs to be recognized as a special privilege.”
“Copy that,” Jack responded as he Daniel began to walk towards the center.
“Look at her, Jack,” Daniel observed from watching Chenoa as sat Indian style on the peace mat that was at the center at the communications center. With Betima across from her, the two looked very serious and yet they were frequently nodding and smiling. “I'm so proud of her.”
“David sure is taking a lot of notes.”
“So is Jen,” Daniel pointed out.
“How much longer do you think?”
“It'll take as long as it takes,” a much calmer Daniel stated, using a lesson he'd learned in a long ago negotiation with the Unas. ~Being able to see her makes a huge difference.~
“Hey!” Jack called out. “Something's happening.”
Daniel returned to his lover's side, watching as Chenoa and Betima exchanged curtsies, hugs, and kisses on the cheek. Then the two girls joined hands and walked towards the chamber where Jack and Daniel were waiting.
When the doors opened, Chenoa smiled at her parents and advised, “The people of Laloma welcome us, the Tau'ri, as their friends.”
“We're very happy to hear that,” Daniel replied with a proud smile.
“Now we must ride again and then we will do the signing,” Betima announced, disappearing with Chenoa again.
“Hi!” David waved as he hurried to catch up with the Mouseketeer. “Bye!” he called out as he moved out of sight.
At that point, Jack notified Thor of the need to pay special attention to the little girl's whereabouts.
“Jen?” Daniel asked when his oldest daughter approached.
“She was amazing, Daddy. She only forgot one thing, but she just laughed and told Betima that she'd had a long week. Betima laughed with her and made some joke that Noa thought was hysterical. Then she remembered, and they kept on talking,” Jennifer reported. “Um, does Noa really have the authority to sign the papers?”
“Sign?” Jack questioned.
“Dad, Daddy, they look at her as the Ambassador. Her signature is the only one they want.”
Jack looked at his husband expectantly as he called out, “Daniel?”
“Uh, well, okay, uh ...” Daniel paced around the room a couple of times and then suggested, “Jen, when they get back, tell them that as part of the Tau'ri regulations Noa has to confer with our leader. We can call the President from the SGC.”
“How'd it go?” Davis asked as SG-9 entered the area, something that was permissible now that the meeting had ended.
“We have a problem,” Jack announced.
An hour later, Chenoa arrived back at the Stargate. Betima's afirte had agreed to Chenoa's return to Earth, but she also said that, per Laloman law, agreements made had to be signed the same day they were made. In their eyes, if it took longer to finalize a deal than it meant there must be something to hide. It all went back to the concept of being pure and innocent.
“We return soon,” Chenoa had promised before stepping through the Gate.
“Ambassador,” General Landry greeted as he waited at the foot of the ramp. “I understand you did exceptionally well.”
“Thank you, General, but now we need the President.”
“He's waiting for our call.”
A few minutes later, Chenoa, her parents, Jennnifer, and David were in Landry's office. A fax had just been delivered.
“Chenoa Jackson-O'Neill, you are now an official Ambassador to Laloma, fully authorized not just to negotiate on Earth's behalf but to sign agreements as well.”
“Thank you, Mister President,” Chenoa responded, adding a giggle to the end of her remark.
“Your nation is proud of you, Chenoa. You've done your fellow man a great service,” the President stated over the phone. Then he called out, “Hank, she's legit. Let's get that accord signed.”
“Yes, Sir,” Landry responded after which the click of the phone was heard.
“Wow, I really am an Ambassador now.”
“You sure are, Princess,” Jack agreed, grinning as he picked her up and gave her a kiss.
“And then the President said I was legit, and we went back to Laloma. I signed the agreement,” Chenoa told her siblings with a huge smile.
Off to the side, Jack and Daniel stood, pleased everything had gone smoothly.
“Danny, this agreement Noa signed ...”
“What happens when it has to be renegotiated?” Jack asked.
“I guess we go back to Laloma,” Daniel answered. “She is the Ambassador, Babe.”
“Yep. There's that.”
That Wednesday Jack again knocked on the door of Paul Davis' townhouse. It was shortly before eight at night when Davis answered the door.
“Davis,” Jack greeted, brushing by Paul and heading inside. He had the same sense as before. Marc Reynolds was somewhere nearby, and there was a romantic evening brewing. “This is for you,” he stated, holding out the bottle.
“Smirnoff's?” Paul asked curiously as he took possession of the spirit drink.
“Classic number 21, the best,” Jack boasted.
“Russian vodka,” the man mused quietly.
“It seemed appropriate,” Jack replied. After a pause, Jack looked to the side for a second before refocusing on the other man. “Davis, it's like this. I may have overreacted, not by much, but maybe a hair, but we're talking my children and a background full of no-good ... idiots who would make Kinsey look like the good fairy.”
Paul looked down, trying not to laugh at the comment, though he was somewhat unsuccessful.
“Okay, you know what I mean.”
“Yes, Sir, I do,” Davis acknowledged.
“I have to protect my kids.”
“I understand, General,” Davis replied. “I made a mistake by not talking to you first or taking it to General Landry in private.”
“Yes, you did.” Jack stared at Paul Davis, his eyes boring into the smaller ranking man's eyes. ~He gets it,~ the general decided. He gave a slight nod of his head and then headed for the door. With his hand on the knob, he added, “Paul, Danny and I would like you and Marc to come over for dinner Saturday night.” He smiled and with a raised voice called out, “That okay with you, Reynolds?”
“Yes, Sir,” came the reply from an area hidden from Jack's line of sight.
Jack and Paul both smiled, and then Jack opened the door and stated, “Have a good night.”
“Thank you, Gen...Jack.”
“Thank you, Babe,” Daniel spoke, his hands around his lover's neck and his fingers toying with the thin strands of Jack's silver-gray hair.
“Yeah, well, he had a mental slip up. It won't happen again,” the general stated with supreme confidence.
“And it's not like we haven't made our share of mistakes in the past,” Daniel noted before sharing what was the third kiss for the couple since Jack's arrival home.
“Us? Mistakes?” the older man teased.
Daniel placed a kiss on the side of his Love's neck and declared softly, “Jack, I'm as proud of you for deciding to apologize to Paul and Marc on your own as I am of Chenoa for doing such a wonderful job on Laloma.”
“Does that mean I get a gold star and a trip to see the big horses?” Jack laughed, referring to a couple of the special ways in which they were going to reward Chenoa for all of her hard work.
“I have a, a very ... special ... star for you. It has to be delivered ... succulently with ... insatiable resolve.”
“Oh, I do like the sound of that,” Jack replied, his voice getting a bit more husky sounding. “La Mio Bello Stella Cadente,” he whispered to his falling star.
“Caro Mio,” an eager and happy Daniel responded. “Up...”
“Dad, Daddy, I need help with my math,” Chenoa requested, totally unaware of how deflated both of her parents had just become from her comment.
The little girl was eager to catch up on her studies, and the important fact that Jack and Daniel realized was that her confidence level had grown tremendously. There was no way they could put her off just to satisfy their own needs of the moment.
“Later,” Jack whispered to his soulmate, sharing one more kiss before smiling at Chenoa. He made a funny face, a monstrous sound, and then picked her up, causing her to laugh wildly. “We can't have our little ambassador having math problems.”
Daniel laughed along with his lover and daughter. Life was good, and both men knew that. They also realized they'd have time to talk, and do other things, later. It promised to be a very special awards session.
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