Loss

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, H/C of the emotional kind, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - June 29 - July 6, 2015
Spoilers:  None
Size:  23kb, ficlet
Written:  July 1-2, 2008
Summary:  Tragedy strikes the Jackson-O'Neill family.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) This fic is in tribute to Don S. Davis, who passed on June 29, 2008, and as such, a hanky warning might be apprropriate.  Thanks for the artistry, Don, and rest in peace.
2) The beautiful wallpaper at the conclusion of the story was created by, and is used with the permission of, Judy Carman.
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Anger's Song”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Keri, Linda, Ali!

Loss
by Orrymain

“Shhh!” Jonny whispered, shushing his siblings behind him as the group walked stealthily down the stairs.

“Jonny, it's just a cat,” Ricky responded, instantly regretting his comment when Little Danny and Lulu both looked at him with stern stares of disapproval.  “I like cats,” he added, hoping to get himself out of trouble.  “I fed Mittens and Calico last night,” he reminded.  Then he yawned and explained, “I was comfy in bed.  It's too early to be up.  Cartoons aren't even on yet.”

“Jonny thinks this cat is gonna have kittens,” Little Danny chastised lightly.

“Yeah.  She looks big,” Lulu agreed.

“Wait for me!” Chenoa called out, her voice a bit louder than the others', resulting in a chorus of quiet hushing sounds.  “Sorry,” she said, stopping and putting her hands over her mouth.

“Dad and Daddy are gonna be mad at us,” Aislinn pointed out.

“Only if we go outside,” Jonny refuted.  “We're just going to look outside.  That cat is always on our porch in the morning.  Bet she's gonna leave her babies for us to adopt.”

Little Danny and Aislinn shared a glance, both liking the idea of looking after the kittens and yet both knowing their older father would probably fly through the roof at just the thought of adding even one more feline to the family fold.

The children gathered round the window by the front door and peeked through the blinds, their young eyes blinking through the various slats of the window dressing.

Suddenly, little gasps and sighs of concern rang out from some of the brood.  Looks of confusion were exchanged as they watched in silence.

Finally, Jenny asked, “What are they doing?”

“I've seen that on TV,” Lulu stated.  “Those men are doing CPR.”

“I'm scared,” Chenoa said vulnerably as she shuddered, letting the slat go taut as she backed away.

The little girl was instantly surrounded by Lulu and Aislinn, neither of whom were sure what to make about the events going on outside.

“Look at Mister Svenson,” Jonny stated.

“He's crying,” Ricky observed.

All of a sudden, Little Danny burst away from the entranceway and went to the intercom.  This was an emergency.

“Dad!  Daddy!  Something's wrong with Mrs. Svenson.  Come quick!” the child prodigy shouted through the intercom, pressing the button that actually went to every room of the Jackson-O'Neill home.

It wasn't long before the rest of the family hurried downstairs, all in their pajamas and robes.

“What's going on?” Jack questioned in command tone.

“Dad, look!” Jonny responded, opening the blinds fully and revealing a fire engine and paramedic squad in the street, in front of the home where Christa and Jacob Svenson lived.

“No!” Daniel exclaimed, instantly realizing the severity of the actions taking place.

Not wasting a moment, Daniel turned off the alarm, opened the door, and, without any shoes on, hurried towards the lifesaving actions that were going on.

“Danny!” Jack shouted, glancing back at the kids, but then following his husband.

When JD began to run after his parents, Bijou growled, getting a yawning Jennifer's attention, the young woman not fully cognizant of the morning's happenings as yet.

“Hey!” Jennifer called out, catching up with the young boy, only to watch helplessly as the Munchkins, Spitfires, and her fellow Mouseketeers hurried outside.  “Jeff, help me!”

Jeff ran by his sister, with Brianna right behind him, causing Jennifer to sigh in response.  She took a breath of relief, though, as she watched the entire brood check for traffic before running across the street, which was much to the dismay of the firemen, who had just become aware of the onslaught of little children to the scene.

“Jacob?” Daniel called out as he approached the elderly neighbor.

“We were going for our walk.  You know Christa likes to stay in shape.  She's too fragile now.  I tell her that all the time.  Go slow.  We both need to go slow.  I bought her the right kind of coffee yesterday.  I made sure of it.”

“I know,” Daniel spoke softly as he stood by the upset gentlemen.

Years ago, Christa and Jacob had argued over Jacob not remembering her favorite coffee.  It was something that Jack and Daniel had gone through, too.  In fact, there had been one dark time when Daniel had come close to ending his relationship with Jack forever, but then he'd seen Christa and had been reminded of the important things in life.

Jack felt the clasps of young arms on his hands and legs.  He looked around to see the younger members of the family sniffling, blinking, and rubbing away tears.  The older ones were equally upset, but they were also working on keeping their siblings out of the way of the paramedics and firemen.

“My Christa,” Jacob cried, causing Little Danny and Aislinn to make their way over to the senior citizen and hug his legs.  He looked down.  “The little ones.  She loves you.  'Breaths of sunshine', she calls you.”

“We love her,” Little Danny proclaimed emotionally.

“Come on, Christa.  Gut it out,” Jack urged in a lightly audible encouragement.

Other neighbors began to gather round as the activity on the edge of the lawn drew their attention.  The sun was high up in the sky, warmth beginning to settle in the early morning air.

“I told her we shouldn't go out.  Too old.  'Sit and watch the sunrise', I told her,” Jacob spoke, full of lament and fear.  “We have a beautiful swing in the backyard.”

“I know,” Daniel said, his voice cracking since, after all, the swing had been a gift from he and his husband to the couple as a thank you for their calming effect during that time when the archaeologist had come so close to leaving Jack's home forever.

Jack and Daniel had known for a long time that the Svensons were having a harder time being in their home without assistance.  Once spry and agile, the elderly couple had slowed down a lot over the last couple of years.  Christa suffered from Osteoperosis, and Jacob had an ankle injury that never seemed to heal.  There'd been talk about moving into an assisted living facility, but Christa was holding out as long as possible, not wanting to lose her independence.

Only recently, Jacob had begun to show signs of Alzheimer's disease.  He was aware of it.  It was another reason why the couple were hesitant to give up their life in the home they'd treasured for close to fifteen years.

“Let's get going!” one of the paramedics ordered, after their most recent attempt to get Christa's heart going.

“She's gone, Ray,” the other paramedic responded.  He looked over at Jacob and said, “I'm sorry, Sir.”

“We'll be taking her to ...”

The informational words faded, their meaning pointless to the shattered man, who suddenly looked ten years older than his already advanced age.

“She's with our mommy now,” Little Danny comforted, while wishing he was the one being comforted because all he really wanted to do right now was cry.

“Is she dead?” Chenoa asked, leaning in as close as she could to her older father.

“I'm afraid so, Princess,” Jack responded softly, leaning over slightly so that he could rub her back supportively.

The brood watched in silent reverence as the sheet was raised over Christa's head and her body was placed in the ambulance, which then slowly headed for the hospital.

“I told her we should stay home this morning.  She wanted to walk,” Jacob cried as he shuffled towards the front door.

Aislinn walked over to where the gurney had been, watching as the cleanup continued.  She reached down and picked up the white sweater that Christa had been about to put on when she'd fallen forward, stumbling over the edge of the grass.

As a fireman watched her, the youngest Munchkin said, “She loved this sweater.  Mister Svenson gave it to her for their anniversary one time.  It doesn't belong on the ground.”

The fireman smiled and nodded, watching as Aislinn held the sweater close to her chest and then hurried after Jacob, as were several of the children.

Jack and Daniel stared at each other, both in shock and neither sure what to do next.

====

“Grandpa, can you come over?  Please,” Chenoa spoke into the phone.

The curly-haired girl was making an unauthorized phone call from the hallway of the Svenson home, and she didn't care that she was breaking the rules.  Her siblings, along with Mrs. Valissi and another neighbor, Mitzi Miller, were with Jacob, helping him to get ready to go to the hospital and tend to the various obligations that needed to be done.  Jack and Daniel had gone across the street to get dressed, both determined to help their neighbor through this difficult time.

“It's important,” Chenoa added.

“I'll be right there,” Hammond spoke, not having a clue why he was being summoned, but not hesitating in the least.  He could hear the vulnerable tone in the youngster's voice.  It was one he hadn't heard in quite a while, not since she'd found out about Teal'c and Janet becoming engaged.  It meant changing his plans, but that was of little consequence to him.  “Are you okay?”

“Yes.  Hurry, Grandpa.”

Chenoa hung up the phone and then joined the others.

====

“Brood, you can't come.  I know you want to, but ...”

“Jack,” Daniel interrupted, seeing Hammond's car pulling into their driveway.  “I thought he was going golfing today?”

“Yeah; with Mrs. Crenshaw,” Jack quipped with a small smile about the woman Hammond had been seeing for a few years now.

“Grandpa!” Chenoa shouted, running to the street, stopping to make sure there was no traffic, and then crossing it.

Before Jack and Daniel could voice an objection, the entire brood had run to their home, except for Little Danny, who seemed torn.

“Mister Svenson, we love you,” Little Danny proclaimed.  “Dad and Daddy will take good care of you, and then we will when you come back, okay?”

“You're a good boy, Little Danny -- a breath of sunshine,” Jacob responded with a smile.

Little Danny smiled sadly and then turned and joined the others across the street.

--

“Hey, what's going on?” Hammond asked, swamped with hugs, kisses, and lots of tears and proclamations of love.

“Mrs. Svenson died,” Lulu explained.  “She loved cats,” she added in a bit of a non sequitur.

“Oh, I see,” the bald-headed man sighed, looking across the street just as Jacob was getting in the SUV.

“Sir ...” Jack called out.

“Go on, Jack,” Hammond shouted back.  Refocusing on the children, he said, “Let's go inside.”

====

“We still don't know about the cat,” Jonny sighed, referring to the reason the children had gotten up so early in the first place.

“I'm sure she's fine,” Hammond reassured and then placed a kiss on Chenoa's forehead, smiling as the young girl leaned against him.

“Grandpa, why did Mrs. Svenson have to die?” Jenny asked.

“It was her time,” Hammond answered softly.  “From what I know of her, she lived a wonderful life.”

“But we love her,” Aislinn cried.

“What's gonna happen to Mister Svenson?” Ricky queried with concern.

“He doesn't remember so good anymore,” Jonny pointed out.

“He told me the same story three times last week,” David interjected.

“I'm sure he'll be fine,” Hammond responded, though he wasn't quite convinced of that himself.  After all, there was a time when he thought he wouldn't survive the death of his wife.  He'd been lucky, though.  He found a second family at Cheyenne Mountain, thanks to Jack and Daniel.  “We'll all help as much as we can.”

“Don't die, Grandpa,” Chenoa begged, her hold tightening on her grandfather.

Hammond smiled and assured, “I don't plan on going anywhere for a long, long, long time.”

====

“At first, they thought it was the fall,” Daniel stated quietly two nights later as he, Jack, and Hammond sat at the table in the dining nook, cups of coffee in front of all three men.  The lieutenant general had been in demand with the brood and was spending extra time with them to help calm their fears.  “But now they believe she had a heart attack and just ... died.”

Hammond took a deep breath and asked, “No warning?”

“Jacob said she'd been a little fussy the night before.  That's why she insisted on the walk.  She wanted to be in the open.  She was feeling hemmed in,” Jack expounded.

“What's going to happen to Mister Svenson?”

Jack and Daniel looked at each other with resignation, and then Jack answered, “He's lost without her.”

“He can't take care of their place without Christa,” Daniel added.  “He doesn't have anyone.”

“David said something about Mister Svenson repeating things,” Hammond stated leadingly.

“The doctors aren't a hundred percent on his short-term prognosis,” Jack responded.

“Yeah, uh, his Alzheimer's hasn't been so bad until recently,” Daniel interjected.

“But the last couple of days, he's been the worst he's ever been,” Jack noted with a heavy sigh.

After a pensive pause, Daniel nodded at his husband.  Both knew that they'd make sure that Jacob was cared for, and they knew their brood would insist on spending a lot of time with the man.  Still, they wished they had a better solution than either hiring a stranger as a caregiver or sticking him in a nursing home that he really didn't need quite yet.  The choice was theirs, though, since a few years ago, the Svensons had asked the couple to be their advocates, if ever necessary.  Legal papers had been drawn up and filed to handle any emergency situations, as well.

“Jack, Daniel, I have a suggestion,” Hammond spoke up after taking a sip of his coffee.  “I've already talked with Martha about this,” he began, referring to Mrs. Crenshaw.  “What if Jacob moved in with me for the rest of the summer?  It would give you two a chance to get his house in order, and Martha could help me look after him.”

“I don't think he can be left alone, Sir,” Jack interjected.

“He won't be.”

“But aren't you going to visit your friend back east and go fishing?” Daniel questioned.

“Son, my grandchildren don't want me out of their sight right now.  I'm not about to go fishing for a while, not until they're feeling more secure,” Hammond stated strongly.

Jack nodded, relieved to have the idea as temporary solution, though he wasn't sure Jacob would go along with it.  Taking a drink of his coffee, he began to recall more joyous times with the Svensons.  Soon, Jack and Daniel were telling Hammond tale after tale about their beloved neighbors.

====

“It's a great idea, Grandpa,” Little Danny proclaimed as the brood, their parents, and Hammond headed over to the Svenson home to check on Jacob.

The sun was shining brightly, and breakfast was on the horizon for the hungry family, but checking on Jacob was their first duty of every day right now.  It had been this way for the past several days, since Christa's passing.

The funeral had been a quiet, quaint affair, with mostly neighbors and a few friends in attendance.  The brood had insisted on going, splitting themselves between Jacob and Hammond.  Silently, Jack and Daniel wondered how the kids would divide themselves had Mrs. Valissi not been in Italy visiting her son and his life partner.  She'd left on the scheduled trip the day before the funeral service. As it was, they'd made daily calls to her to make sure she was okay and to express their love for her.  It had been the same for Catherine and Ernest Littlefield, too.

“Jacob?” Jack called out, opening the front door with his key.

The family, still chattering away, went in search of the lonesome man.  It was Jonny who found him.  Going outside and walking over to the swing, he stared at the man.  He recognized the cold stillness.

“It's okay now, Mister Svenson.  Tell Mrs. Svenson and my mommy 'hi', okay?” Jonny asked the motionless man, whose head was tilted back.  He leaned forward and patted the mother cat, who was nursing her new kittens.  “He took care of you, didn't he?”

The mama cat looked up at Jonny and then over at Jacob and 'meowed' sadly.

“Jonny, what's ...”  Little Danny's words fell quiet.  He swallowed hard as he stared at the man.  Touching his hand, he felt the cold.  “Goodbye,” he whispered.

“Jacob ...” Jack called out, not realizing the man was dead.

“Dad, he took care of the cat,” Jonny said.

“And then he went to be with Mrs. Svenson,” Little Danny put forth.

“He's happy now,” Aislinn asserted tearfully.

“Grandpa?” Chenoa called out.

Hammond lowered himself to sit on his haunches and asked, “What is it, Noa?”

“Are you going to leave us to be with your wife, like Mister Svenson did with Mrs. Svenson?”

Hammond noticed all of the younger children were moving closer, every one of them listening intently.

“I love my wife.  There's not an hour that goes by that I don't think of her, and I miss the dickens out of her,” Hammond answered truthfully, seeing some of the children on the verge of sobbing.  “But look at what I have here?  I have all of you, and you're all so special to me.  I plan on watching you grow up, get married, and have kids.  I might need a wheelchair, but I'm gonna be around to see it, if I have anything to say about it.”

“We love you, Grandpa,” Chenoa sniffled as she fell into the man's arms.

“I love you, Noa,” Hammond responded as he continued to assure the young girl and her siblings.

====

“Danny, what are we going to do with all these cats?” Jack asked, watching as the children tended to the mother cat and her kittens.

“Find them good homes,” Daniel answered simply.

“We're a good home,” Little Danny suggested, though his eyes never looked at his parents.

Before Jack could bark out a response, Daniel put his hand over his lover's mouth and shook his head in warning.

“Okay, Christa, that's enough,” Aislinn said to one of the newborn kittens.

“Jacob's cute,” Chenoa giggled about the male kitten she was watching at the moment.

“Mister and Mrs. Svenson will live on forever because of the kittens,” Jenny asserted.

“Sweetheart, they'll live on because of you,” Hammond corrected.  “You and you and you and you,” he continued, looking at each of the children present at the moment.  “You remember them, and they'll live.  That's all any man can hope for, to be remembered by his children and grandchildren.”

Little Danny ran over to hug the man, throwing his arms around him and then giving him a kiss.

“We'll always remember you, Grandpa.  Always!”

“Always!” came the chorus.

Jack and Daniel shared a warm smile.  They knew it was the truth.  General George Hammond was in their hearts, and he would be for as long as they and their children, and their children's children lived.  It was a joyous truth, and it was one they were eternally grateful for.

“We love you, too, Grandpa,” Jack whispered.

The only one to hear the remark, Daniel leaned over to give his husband a tender kiss before looking back at Hammond and the children and quietly adding, “Very, very much.”


Wallpaper courtesy of Judy Carman

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