Category: Slash, Angst, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - February 3-5, 2012
Written: December 28-31, 2006, January 27, February 5,14,19-20, 2007 Revised for consistency: September 16, 2007
Summary: The Jackson-O'Neill children, assisted with some special tricks of the trade, face off against The Trust, while their unsuspecting parents enjoy a romantic evening together.
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), “Lost”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Jodi, Linda, Claudia!
“Danny, don't forget the diaper bag,” Jack chuckled, rushing to the
door to hand the bulky item to his lover.
~Dia...per ... oh, yeah.~ Daniel's eyes widened at his near blunder, and then he grinned. “Geez, if I'd done that, the general would really have been in a mess,” he responded lightheartedly, a bit of a gleam in his eye at the thought.
“Mess and doo-doo,” Jack teased. “Be good to Grandpa,” he requested, giving their newest addition, four-week-old son, JD, a kiss and following that up with a kiss with his lover. “We'll rendezvous at the Hyatt.”
“A whole month, Jack,” Daniel lamented about how much time had gone by since their last 'rendezvous'.
This would be the couple's first date night since JD's birth on New Year's Day, and both men were longing for some tender loving with the other. Any attempts at lovemaking had been repeatedly interrupted by middle-of-the-night cries as well as late night and early morning feedings.
Jack was sure JD had some sixth sense about when his fathers were about to 'you know', as all too often the two would just get to the crucial moment and be stopped by a wail over the baby monitor.
Because it had been a while, Jack and Daniel were going to spend the night at the Hyatt in Denver, indulging themselves in a night focused solely on their nation of two.
JD was going to spend his first full night with his Grandpa George, who was enthusiastically looking forward to the special time with his newest grandchild. He'd had bonding time with all of his surrogate grandchildren, and he enjoyed each and every opportunity. His granddaughter, Tessa, was in town as well, eager to get to know the latest member of the Jackson-O'Neill family.
“Soon, Love,” Jack whispered. “Make sure Hammond has the number, just in case.”
Daniel chuckled, “He knows where we're going, and he has all of our contacts, Babe, but okay. I think you're worse than me.”
Jack considered refuting the point, but decided not to, shrugging and then shooing his lover away. Once Daniel had driven off with JD, he gathered together the rest of the brood, making sure they had their backpacks with them, and headed for the Wilson residence. By now, they were like a well-oiled machine, and the process was quick and smooth.
With her husband Mark out of town on business for several days, Jack's ex-wife, Sara, was looking forward to having the brood with her, especially since her father was having 'Grandpa Time' himself with her own children, Angela and Madeline, both of whom were spending the entire weekend with Mike at his farm on the outskirts of Colorado Springs.
~It's gonna be a good night,~ the general thought as he drove. ~Yeah, just Danny and me, alllllll night long.~
“Dad's smiling,” Jennifer whispered to her brother, Jeff.
“I think he's been looking forward to this since JD was born,” Jeff replied.
“I don't think I want to think about it anymore,” the young woman chuckled, turning her attention to her other siblings for the remainder of the drive.
Almost two hours later, night had fallen, and Jack and Daniel were enjoying their evening in Denver, the two currently relaxing in their private spa and sipping some of the younger man's favorite wine, St. Julien's Chateau Beychevelle. It was even his favorite year -- 1959.
Meanwhile, the children were happily ensconced in the Wilson living room. A few of them were playing a card game, a couple were reading, and some were just talking and watching TV. Sara was part of the latter group. Chenoa, however, was in one of the bathrooms upstairs. She'd gone upstairs to change her shirt, having spilled juice on it.
The children loved being at Sara's and knew her home as well as they knew their own. Sara's house was warm and inviting.
The garage was on the left side of the house. While there was a door at the back end that went directly to the backyard, another door at the front of the garage led into the dining area of the long, rectangular kitchen.
The dining area of the kitchen contained a table with six chairs and china cabinet on a wooden floor. The street side of the room had a three-sectioned glass window with lace drapes that could be drawn. Standing near the window, a person could have a broad view of the front yard and the street. Beneath it was a small buffet server that was only three-feet-high and a foot in depth.
The kitchen cooking area, also with a wooden floor, was just beyond the dining area. The sink faced the street with a window in front of it, allowing the front yard to be visible to anyone standing there, though there was shrubbery surrounding the window on the outside. On the opposite side of the sink and cabinets were the refrigerator and stove, as well as more cabinet space. Opposite the door that connected the dining area to the garage, at the other end of the kitchen, was an open archway that connected to the entrance hallway where the front door was.
The front door had two slender glass panels bordering it, each panel tinted yellow and designed so the owners could see out, but those on the porch could not see in. The floor was wooden for a few feet, until reaching the living room and the low pile carpet. Also in the entrance area was a coat rack, since the nearest closet was to the right and down a ways.
Walking in the narrow, square entrance hallway, a visitor would either turn to their immediate left to enter the kitchen or walk forward a few feet where they would either walk straight into the living room or turn right to go to other parts of the home, such as the family room, bathroom, and Sara's home office. The stairs that led up to the second level were right there as well.
A sliding door, which was currently closed, gave the kitchen privacy from any guests arriving in the home and entering through the hallway.
A wall divided the living/dining room from the kitchen/dining area. Whereas the larger left side of the house was divided into just the two sections from front to back, the same depth of the smaller left side was divided into three segments: Sara's office in the back; a half bath, laundry closet, and coat closet, all tucked off a small hallway in the middle, and, in the front, a guestroom that Mark had converted into his own work and hobby area.
On the larger side of the house, there was another sliding door between the living room and the kitchen/dining room area. If in the living room and opening that door, a visitor could enter at the mid point and go right to the dining table or left to the actual kitchen area.
The back end of the expansive living room was graced with a glass patio door and windows. Even a dog door was on the far, right side with a comfortable chair near it in the corner of the room. In the opposite corner, on the left side, was another relaxing chair. Next to it, centered opposite the sofa on the wall which separated the garage from the living room, was the console television. One of these days, the Wilsons planned on upgrading, but, for now, their old and reliable twenty-six inch TV was satisfactory.
The Wilsons owned a long sofa with comfortable sectional pieces. The main part of the sofa faced the middle of the house, allowing anyone seated to have a nice view of the backyard, the fireplace, the stairs, and the entrance hallway. Behind the sofa, facing the television, they often placed a couple of small sectional pieces. These could be moved, letting them shape their furniture in several ways, depending on the need of the moment.
A formal dining area, with a table with long fold-down leaves and a couple of set in leaves, was at the end of the living room and was actually right next to the dining area that was part of the kitchen. Only the wall separated the two eating areas.
The living room wasn't anywhere near as big as the Jackson-O'Neill recreation room, but it was much larger than Jack and Daniel's living room, giving the children plenty of room to all be engaged in different activities and yet still be together.
A loud thump on the roof drew Sara's attention, and that of the children, skyward. Instinctively, they all gazed at the ceiling.
“What was that?” Jennifer inquired, her eyes moving from the ceiling to Sara.
“Maybe it was a squirrel, or somebody's cat. It might be hurt,” Little Danny spoke, leaping to his feet, worry etched on his brow.
“I'm sure if it was an animal, it's fine, Little Danny, but I'll go and check it out. You stay here,” Sara replied as she stood up. ~I think it was probably a branch falling on the roof, but the poor little Munchkin won't rest if he thinks it was an animal that is injured now.~
The caregiver had visions of Jonny and Little Danny sneaking outside and climbing onto the roof themselves to check that there were no injured animals up there. Sara knew it was far better to check it out herself, rather than run that risk.
“Thanks, Aunt Sara,” Little Danny responded gratefully, sitting down again.
“Children, you stay here,” the blonde instructed again as she walked to the front door, her eyes lingering on Jonny a little longer than the others. ~Jonny will use any excuse for an adventure. Wonder where he gets that from, huh, Jack?~
Going into the darkness of the night, the woman let the door swing close behind her. She couldn't hear anything and knew if it was an animal of some sort, she'd be able to hear it. Silently, she bemoaned the fact that their floodlight must have gone out, since it was darker than normal. Still, there was enough illumination from the quarter moon in the sky to help her see.
~Must have been a branch,~ the blonde determined silently, smiling reassuringly at Jeff and Little Danny, who she could see watching her through the window.
Sara turned, about to go back inside, when a blur on the roof caught her attention. Before she could react, a man wearing a face mask and dressed completely in black jumped down on top of her, pinning her to the grass. Terrified for the safety of the children, she began struggling.
The man punched Sara in the face. While she was disoriented from the sudden pain, he drew a syringe from his pocket, injecting her with a fast-acting tranquilizer.
As he waited the few moments it took for the tranquilizer to work, the man cursed the slippery patch on the roof that had caused him to fall and cause the thump that had drawn Sara outside.
~At least I managed to loosen the bulb on the floodlight before I fell. Why couldn't the stupid family have set the frickin' light on the ground instead of right up there on the roof.~
Jeff and Little Danny had still been watching Sara when she was attacked, and they both gasped in horror when they saw the man punch her. Their outburst prompted Jonny to dash to their spot in the entrance hallway. Jeff noticed the instant look of rage that crossed his younger brother's face.
“Jen, there's someone out there. They've done something to Aunt Sara,” Jeff alerted, walking a couple of steps towards the girl, who was standing by the head of the sofa in the living room. “Call nine-one-one. Jonny, don't you dare!” he ordered, turning around just in time.
Jonny stopped with his hand on the door, arguing, “We have to help Aunt Sara, Jeff!”
“I'll go help Aunt Sara,” Jeff responded, walking back to the door and physically pulling the boy away. “I need you to look after your brothers and sisters.”
“I think the phone line's been cut,” Brianna stated as she hung up the Wilson's phone. She had heard Jeff's comment and had immediately picked up the phone and dialed since she was closer to it than Jennifer. ~Wow, look at Lulu,~ she thought, moving quickly to the curly-haired girl, who looked terrified.
“Okay, Bri,” Jennifer acknowledged and then pulled out her cell phone. She started dialing before looking at the screen. She frowned, realizing nothing was happening. Shaking her head, the teen stated, “I can't get a signal. Jeff, this isn't ... these are ...”
Jeff nodded. He knew what his sister was trying to say. The signal was being blocked, and this kind of thing wasn't the work of amateurs, which meant that they were in big trouble.
~This is why Dad and Daddy have always had such tough rules. They've always been worried about something exactly like this happening,~ Jeff thought, knowing that Jennifer was thinking the same thing.
Both teenagers realized that immediate action and quick thinking was required, from all of them.
Since Jeff and Little Danny were no longer looking out the window, they didn't see another man in black pick up Sara, toss her over his shoulder, and carry her around the right side of the house. With ease, he broke the simple lock and entered the backyard, depositing Sara's limp body against the side of the house.
“Okay, Brood, we need to stay together and find a way to protect ourselves,” Jennifer instructed. The sixteen-and-a-half-year old nodded in response when Jeff signaled that he was going to go outside to see if he could help Sara. Her face wrinkled as she worked hard to remember something. ~What's that group Dad and Daddy warned us about? The ... NID, or ... no, The Trust.~
Looking around, Jeff grabbed the first thing he could find, an umbrella on the coat rack, and went outside to try and help his surrogate aunt.
Pouting, Jonny watched Jeff leave and whined, ~Not fair. I could help Jeff rescue Aunt Sara.~
Little Danny nudged his brother and nodded towards their siblings, who, except for Chenoa, were all in the living room.
Quietly, Little Danny encouraged, “We have to protect them.” He knew his brother liked to be in charge and that he considered himself the leader. He had also realized that the oldest Munchkin felt bad about being left behind while Jeff went on the rescue mission. Little Danny had hoped his comment about protecting the rest of the brood would make Jonny feel better. ~Jonny's a good big brother.~
Jonny looked at his frightened siblings, though the only one that really looked scared was Lulu. Aislinn had joined Brianna, both girls staying close to Lulu.
“Don't worry, Lulu. These people aren't like those ... criminals you used to live with,” Brianna expressed with a sneer. “Even if they do manage to get in the house and take us somewhere, they won't hurt us. We'd just be bored while we waited for Dad and Daddy to rescue us.”
Aislinn nodded and added, “But they aren't going to get us, Lulu. We can beat them. We're the J-O brood!”
Jenny and Ricky heard Aislinn and nodded their agreement. They were more annoyed that their chess game had been interrupted than anything else.
~I was finally winning,~ Ricky thought, frustrated that his victory was now in jeopardy because of the intrusion.
As Jennifer paced, trying to think of a way to contact someone for help, David moved to the entrance hallway window to keep an eye on Jeff. Though he'd have a better view by going into the kitchen, this view was safer since the attacker couldn't see in.
“Did you hear that?” Jonny whispered to Little Danny.
The two boys cocked their heads, listening intently, and heard the sound again. They walked towards the door in the middle of the wall that divided the living room from the kitchen. The closer they got, the more it sounded like someone moving around, trying to be quiet, but failing.
A scornful look crossed Jonny's face as he remarked, “They're not very good at being bad men. Ash can move more quietly than that.”
“He must be in the kitchen,” Little Danny whispered.
Jonny shook his head, disagreeing, “Not loud enough, Little Danny. I think it's coming from the garage.”
“What are you guys doing?” the youngest Munchkin asked, having approached her brothers near the sliding door.
“We think someone's in the garage and trying to get in the house,” Little Danny answered.
The boys were right. The first man, the one who had knocked Sara out, had then used an electronic scrambling device to open the garage door, closing it immediately upon entering the garage. It was one of the flaws in their plan, since the garage door opening and closing was a bit louder than anticipated.
Jonny looked around, asking, “Where's my backpack?”
“Over here,” Aislinn answered, walking several feet to the foot of the sofa and then pulling the pack into view. She returned to her brothers, asking, “Why?”
“We heard a sound, Ash,” Jonny said. He'd been so focused on the potential intruder that he hadn't heard his brother tell her that a minute earlier. Fortunately, he was still concentrating on listening for further sounds and so missed her eye roll. “Don't worry. We'll protect you.”
“*I'll* protect you!” Aislinn spoke confidently. ~Girl Power!~
Little Danny immediately acted to quell oncoming dispute, saying, “We'll protect each other.”
The three quickly put their hands together, one atop the other, and then softly cried, “Munchkin Power!”
Hearing the cheer, Jennifer stopped her pacing long enough to shake her head in amazement as she thought, ~I can't believe they're not even scared. I wonder what they're thinking.~
The teenager then looked at Lulu, who was looking a bit more confident now, although Jennifer noted that the young girl hadn't moved far from Brianna. The two had joined David, Jenny, and Ricky in watching the front of the house, waiting for Jeff and Sara to return. With her attention now focused on her other siblings, she didn't notice the current activities of the Munchkins.
Jonny unzipped his backpack and pulled out a big pouch, which contained part of his giant collection of marbles. He loved his marbles and had several jars full at home. He'd brought some of them to play with at his Aunt Sara's. Moving slowly and cautiously, with his fellow Munchkins behind him, Jonny opened the draw-stringed bag and gently rolled the colorful circles onto the floor. He made sure they spread out all along the dining and kitchen areas where someone might walk upon first entering the rooms.
Then the triplets returned to the living room and quietly shut the sliding door, leaving just enough of it ajar so they could see what was happening.
Too confident of his plan to be afraid, Jonny grinned when, sure enough a moment later, the door slowly creaked open. A tall figure emerged and stood quietly for a moment, listening to the sounds of conversation coming from the living room. Assuming from the calm sounding voices that he had been undetected, he began to walk swiftly across the wooden floor. Almost immediately, he lost his footing. He fell hard onto his backside and slid forward a few feet, letting out several curse words as he hit the vinyl of the kitchen cooking area.
“Get the duct tape!” Jonny ordered his siblings, sliding open the door and leading the charge to where the man lay near the sink. Thanks to his lessons learned from MacGyver, Jonny most always carried duct tape in his backpack. ~Thanks, MacGyver.~
The intruder had fallen hard enough that he was winded and stunned, which allowed the triplets to converge on him. Jonny and Little Danny sat on the man so he couldn't get up, giving Aislinn time to grab a frying pan. Seconds later, the youngest Munchkin stood by the man's head, ready to hit him if he so much as moved.
About the same time, in the living room, Jennifer looked over at Lulu, expecting to see Chenoa beside her.
With a gasp, the teen realized she hadn't seen her sister for a while and called out, “Where's Noa?”
Meanwhile, upstairs in the bathroom, Chenoa had finished changing her shirt when she heard the thump on the roof.
~Must be windy if the branches are falling on the roof. Glad I'm inside.~
The young girl looked forlornly at her grubby shirt and hoped that if she left it to soak, the purple colored drink stain would come out. She wondered if she should have taken up Sara's offer to wash the shirt for her, but then shook her head. It was her own carelessness that led her to spill the drink, and it wasn't fair to put Aunt Sara out by putting on a load of washing on just for her.
~I'll wash it when we get home tomorrow.~
With the dirty shirt now soaking, Chenoa was washing her hands when she heard the window slide open. Her heart beat faster at the idea of a burglar breaking in. Her first inclination was to get Sara. As she took a step towards the door, though, she realized that if she did that, the burglar would be able to get inside. He might get downstairs before Sara could react.
~Think.~ Taking a few deep breaths to calm herself, Chenoa began to take stock of her environment, just as her fathers had taught her to do, should she ever be threatened. She spotted a plunger by the bath tub and nodded. ~That'll do.~
Her eyes fixed on the window, Chenoa clutched the plunger more tightly as a black-gloved hand appeared on the window sill. Forcing herself not to panic, she waited until a black-masked and painted face appeared. As soon as it did, she took the plunger and rammed it against the man's face. She pushed as hard as she could, hearing the man swear loudly as he tried not to loose his grip on the ladder he was using to reach the second story room. She slammed the window closed and locked it, even though she knew he could still break the window to enter the house.
Hurriedly, the curly-haired blonde turned, opened the liquid soap dispenser, and spread it out all over the floor. Then she fled the room, shouting and going as fast as she could to find her aunt and siblings.
Outside, Jeff looked for Sara, surprised not to see her. Then, though, he heard the sound of a man cursing. He looked up just in time to see a plunger disappear back into the bathroom, and the window slammed as the intruder struggled to stay on the ladder. As Jeff watched, the man managed to grab a hold of the window sill and steady himself.
~I don't think so,~ Jeff determined silently. With a smile, the teenage boy called out, “Oops, I think you're about to fall.”
When the invader looked down, Jeff kicked the ladder out from under him, and the man fell to the ground. The teen wondered if he should feel bad when he heard the man's groan upon hitting the grass, but since the man didn't pass out, he didn't have much time to think about it. Using the pointed end of the umbrella, he held it against the downed attacker.
“Where's Aunt Sara?”
“I killed her, and you're next,” the evil man snarled.
Jeff froze in shock, and his breathing became more labored. Before he could say anything, the man tried to grab the umbrella and push it away.
“No!” Jeff shouted angrily.
His panic and fear for his siblings and his grief over Sara, washed over the teenager, and Jeff pushed the point of the umbrella into the man's shoulder. Blood gushed out as the man swore and yanked the umbrella out.
Stunned by his own actions, the teenager stepped back and looked in horror at the bloody tip before meeting the eyes of the man on the ground. Seeing the murderous rage on the man's face renewed Jeff's fear. As the man struggled to stand, the teen began hitting him on the head with the umbrella until the intruder finally passed out, overcome by a combination of the fall, the stabbing, and the hits to his head.
~This is why I hate the military. Sorry, Dad. Sorry Dad and Daddy.~
Jeff was about to go for help next door when he heard a moan. It had sounded like a female voice, and as he sought out the sound, he prayed that it was Sara.
Jennifer had placed Brianna in charge and was halfway up the stairs when she saw her sister running down them.
“Are you okay?” Jennifer asked.
“I plungered a man!” Chenoa exclaimed.
Jennifer wasn't sure what that meant, but she understood quickly enough as Chenoa excitedly told her what had happened. Taking her hand, the teen led the little girl back to the living room and explained what had been going on downstairs. Chenoa's eyes widened as she realized that the man she'd kept out of the bathroom hadn't just been an ordinary burglar.
“Everyone stay together and ... fudge! Where did the Munchkins go?” Jennifer asked in frustration, twisting all around to try and find them.
“They went into the kitchen,” David answered, peering out the window.
The boy had seen the three go in there, but had been too preoccupied with looking out the window and watching the front door for Sara and/or Jeff to return to really think too much about it. Unfortunately, the moon was currently covered by clouds and wasn't giving out much light, so he couldn't really see much. That didn't stop him from looking, though.
“Shoot!” Jennifer moaned. “Bri, David, watch the young ones, and don't let anyone go anywhere on their own.”
Jennifer walked towards the kitchen, suddenly aware she had a shadow.
“You might need me,” Brianna responded, having signaled David to take charge of the youngest children.
Jennifer rolled her eyes, but continued onward with Brianna just inches behind her.
“Jen, be careful. Marbles are everywhere,” Brianna warned after almost slipping on one.
“Oh, my gosh!” Jennifer responded when she saw a man completely taped to the floor with duct tape. From his head to his feet, layers of duct tape had been used to confine the man, evidently with great success as he still hadn't managed to free himself despite his struggling. In addition to the tape, a dish towel had been stuffed into his mouth. “Munchkins, where are you?”
“In the garage,” Aislinn responded, her voice echoing through the kitchen door, which had been left open just slightly.
“Get in here!” Jennifer ordered, relieved when all three of the children walked in, Jonny carrying a rusty metal chain and Little Danny a padlock.
“What are you doing?” Jennifer asked as she and Brianna watched the Munchkins, carrying the unusual items, march purposefully over to the man.
“Hafta make sure he can't escape,” Jonny answered as he opened the bottom doors, revealing the sink pipes. Quickly but efficiently, he attached the captured man to the metal pipes with the chain. As the man grumbled through his muffled mouth, Jonny ordered, “Be quiet. You're under arrest!”
“This will do it,” Little Danny added as he used the padlock to secure the chain.
“Thank you for falling so close to the pipes,” Aislinn smirked, then sniggered.
Jennifer and Brianna couldn't help sharing a look of bemusement as the Munchkins finished off their task with a three-way high five.
“Where'd the marbles come from?” Brianna questioned, starting to pick some of them up.
“Leave them, Bri, in case his partner tries to get in,” Jonny requested. He turned to his fellow triplet and instructed, “Ash, go tell the others to stay out of the kitchen. Tell them about the marbles.”
“Okay,” the little girl agreed, turning and carefully returning to the living room to fill the others in on what was happening.
“Partner?” both older girls questioned at the same time Jonny had given his instructions to Aislinn.
Jennifer was aware this was unlikely to be a one man operation, but hadn't realized Jonny would know that.
With a frown, Jonny revealed, “Jen, I think someone's coming over the fence.”
“Yeah,” Little Danny agreed. “We thought we saw him, but we had to take care of him first,” he said, pointing to the chained intruder.
“Crap! Go in the living room with David, and don't leave again!” Jennifer ordered the male Munchkins.
Jonny rolled his eyes and beckoned his brother to follow him, though silently he was already forming another plan to help protect the brood and rescue their Aunt Sara.
Looking back at Brianna, Jennifer motioned with her arm, saying, “Let's go check it out. Watch your step.”
Nodding, Brianna began to follow, at the same time proposing, “I can climb the fence and go next door for help.”
“Let's see where they're coming from first,” Jennifer responded. She thought that leaving the house sounded like a risky move since they didn't know how many people were out there. ~Better survey as much as we can before making a move like that.~
Jenny, Ricky, and Lulu were in the hallway by the front door, still trying to see what was happening in the front yard,. In the living room, David and Jonny were trying to calm Chenoa, who was still a little shaken from her unexpected solo encounter with the intruder. The two were standing by the sofa.
Aislinn was standing in between the two groups, by herself, having already told them about the marbles on the floor and the man who was now their prisoner in the kitchen.
“Noa, it's okay,” Jonny stated, trying to calm her.
“Jonny, a bad man tried to get me upstairs,” Chenoa explained, telling the Munchkins her story.
“We already got one of them, Noa,” Jonny spoke confidently. “We'll get the others, too.”
Chenoa's eyes grew wide. Now that she wasn't in immediate danger, she was beginning to panic a little.
“You're okay, Noa,” David assured, patting her hand.
Jonny motioned for his fellow triplets to follow him to the entrance hallway, which they did. Meeting up with Jenny and Ricky, the Spitfires started to tell him about what had happened to Chenoa, but Jonny interrupted, informing them that he already knew.
“We hafta make sure no one gets in,” Jonny quietly instructed the others. The five youngest children nodded to each other, silently agreeing that they'd watch the upstairs and stop the intruders from getting downstairs. “Let's go, and everyone be very quiet.”
With Jonny leading the way, the Munchkins and the Spitfires began creeping upstairs; however, another noise distracted young Jenny.
Jenny turned to look towards the patio door and sneered, “Oh, no, you don't!” as she ran to the sofa.
“Jenny?” David called out, hearing the indignation in his sister's voice and also being surprised by the girl's actions.
Focused on her task, Jenny took out her jump rope from her own backpack. She ran over to the patio door where, quickly and forcefully, she slapped the ropes against the slender man who was trying to get in through the dog door. This was the third member of the attack team that had tried to gain entry to the house, and she was determined that he wouldn't get inside.
“You can't come in!” Jenny exclaimed, clearly aggravated by the attempt.
While Mark and Sara didn't have a dog, Bijou and Katie were at their house so frequently with the children that the couple had put in the door for them. Sara had unlocked and opened the protective flap of the door before the children had arrived, not knowing for sure whether or not the beagles would be coming with the brood. She hadn't yet gotten around to locking the door, since the girls were left at the Jackson-O'Neill house.
The slender assailant groaned, but finally managed to grasp the rope, pulling it from Jenny's hands. He swore at the little girl as he worked his way inside.
Instead of becoming afraid, Jenny simply got angrier. With the man halfway through the door, she began kicking and jumping on his hands and upper body.
“Jenny needs help!” Ricky called out after realizing his twin was fighting off a bad guy.
When he'd realized that Jenny hadn't followed them upstairs, Ricky had come back to look for her. He ran over to the door and joined Jenny in stomping on the man's hands.
“It's not nice to try and hurt my sister,” Ricky chastised as he kicked the man, who let out a moan.
David looked around the room and spotted a foot-high wooden statue. Grabbing it, he joined the Spitfires, raining down blows on the man until he was forced to retreat. As soon as his head disappeared, David pushed down on the flap, smiling in satisfaction when the invader yelped in pain as it nearly closed on his retreating fingers. As soon as it was closed, Jenny quickly locked the dog door. They heard the man trying to open it again and grinned at each other when the bolts held.
“Bri, we have to do something. Jonny's right. Another man is coming over the fence,” Jennifer said anxiously as the girls watched from the window at the back of the garage.
Brianna looked around, spotting a basket of laundry. Not far away, she also saw Mark's old golf clubs. She smiled, remembering Mark's whining about his wife being upset at how much time he spent on the golf course. After an argument in November, Sara had finally relegated his golf clubs to the garage, something Mark hadn't been happy about. Of course, it had all been a ruse on the woman's part as she surprised her speechless husband with a brand new set of clubs for Christmas. They were keeping the old ones for Angela and Maddy, should either of them take a shine to the sport as they grew up.
“Sorry, Aunt Sara,” the tomboy whispered as she took one of Sara's bras out of the basket of clothing.
“Bri, what are you doing?” a confused Jennifer inquired.
“Watch this!” Brianna spoke. Making a few quick adjustments to the bra, the tomboy grabbed a box of golf balls from the bag and did a few quick practice shots without actually releasing the ball. “Okay, open the door and then get out of the way fast,” she instructed.
“Geez, you're smart, Bri,” Jennifer stated. “One ... two ... three!”
When Jennifer opened the garage door that led to the backyard, Brianna quickly moved a couple of steps outside. She took careful aim and then, using the bra as a slingslot, fired a golf ball in the direction of the oncoming attacker.
“Give me another one,” Brianna requested.
In just a few seconds, Brianna had flung all four balls in the package, the last one hitting the man in the groin and causing him to immediately double over in pain.
“Should have aimed there the first time,” the athletic tomboy chuckled lightly. “Jen, let me try and get next door,” she requested.
“No, we don't know for sure where others might be, Bri. It's too dangerous. Now, come on, and get back in here,” Jennifer ordered.
The girls slammed the door, locking it behind them, and returned to the house.
“Wait!” Jennifer called out.
The teenager had taken auto shop in high school, and she knew Sara was an ace mechanic. Therefore, she was certain the garage would be full of ammunition. Sure enough, there was a case of oil.
~If marbles worked in the kitchen, this should work in the garage,~ the oldest girl thought. “Come on, Bri. Let's spread out all the oil.”
“Great idea!” Brianna exclaimed.
“Thank Jonny,” Jennifer mused as she opened several bottles of the black liquid. “Wait, wait, wait!” she ordered just before they spread out the oil. “We'll need something more to really keep them out, I think.”
Brianna looked around the garage for inspiration, silently ordering, ~Think, Bri. You've watched 'MacGyver' with Jonny so many times now that you should be able to think like him. Okay, we have some bricks over there, a couple of planks of wood, some rope, a few more bottles of motor oil -- we should be able to make something out of that.~
“Hmmm.” Jennifer was clearly following the same line of thought. As she picked up a brick while studying the door, she suggested, “We could hang some bricks over the door, try and rig it so that if they get through the door, the bricks will fall and hit them on the head.”
“I guess,” Brianna agreed. Then she spied a pile of elastic Octopus straps and a two-drawer file cabinet on wheels that she knew held Sara's old teaching papers. “How about this?” she asked, wheeling the small cabinet over so that it rested in front of the door. She chose a couple of heavy duty octopus straps, attached them to the cabinet, and then to a hook above the door, making sure the strap was fairly taut. “With the oil, that'll discourage anyone who tries to come in this way.”
Hopefully, if one of the invaders managed to break the door down, which he was sure to do, and subsequently pushed the remains of the door and the filing cabinet away, the octopus straps would then snap the cabinet back against the door, at least knocking the attacker, or attackers, unconscious.
“Okay, let's dump the oil,” Jennifer said.
Their task completed a minute later, the girls were headed inside when they heard the now-recovered man, slamming his shoulder against the door.
“Let's add these for good measure,” Jennifer suggested, grabbing a jar of ball bearings and tossing them all along the cement floor of the garage.
“That should definitely slow anyone else down who gets inside,” Brianna agreed. She looked up to find Jennifer grinning. “Think this will work?”
Jennifer shrugged, answering, “Who knows? MacGyver never knows if his stuff'll work, and it always does. Lets hope we have the same luck.” Hearing the man shove his shoulder against the door again, she cringed. “Let's hurry up and get back inside.”
Brianna nodded, and the two left the boobytrapped garage behind.
Jeff was slowly making his way around the house, having decided to go around the garage and into the backyard via the gate on the left side of the house.
~Dang it!~ the teenager exclaimed, realizing the gate was locked.
Then the boy shrugged and looked for the best place to try and climb over the fence. Picking his spot, he climbed over, jumping down into the backyard. Just as he did, he heard a crash. Looking towards the garage, he saw a man lying on the ground, the victim of Jennifer and Brianna's file cabinet trap. Their plan had worked, and the man was unconscious.
“We need help,” Jeff spoke to the night. Still, he didn't want to leave the Wilson home. ~Okay, just rig something to draw attention,~ he thought as he looked around for inspiration. Just then, he heard a moan come from the fallen attacker. ~First things first.~
Jeff looked through the remains of the broken garage door and grinned at the booby traps that had been set by his sisters. Carefully maneuvering through the trap set by his sisters and trying his best not to slip and slide along the oily cement floor of the garage, he grabbed some twine. He returned to the man, tying his hands together. He smiled, remembering an old movie with the voluptuous Dolly Parton. With a chuckle, he bound the man's feet, then tied the rope binding the hands with the rope binding the feet.
“Just like a calf,” Jeff chuckled, silently thanking his older father's love of the beautiful woman for him having watched the movie, 'Nine to Five' on several occasions. ~Daddy isn't too fond of it, though,~ he mused, knowing it wasn't often that Daniel showed jealousy of any kind.
Privately, the teen thought that was one of the reasons Jack loved to watch it, was because viewing the movie would inevitably result in their parents sneaking off to 'you know'.
With the man out of commission, Jeff turned his focus to finding a way to draw the attention of neighbors. He didn't have much time, though, as he still needed to find Sara and check on his siblings.
Then the teen saw a supply of soda in the corner of the garage. His mind flashed back to something he had seen on an episode of “MacGyver.” Combining that with an experiment he'd helped David do once, Jeff put his plan into motion.
“Sorry, Uncle Mark,” Jeff remarked as he emptied out several of the 7-UP, Barq's Root Beer, and Dr. Pepper two-liter plastic bottles.
Jeff knew the frequent campers always had some dry ice on hand, and much to his delight, it was already crushed. He took some from the garage freezer and poured about three-quarters of a pound into each of the bottles as quickly as he could. He carried the bottles to the backyard, placing them along the fence, safely away from the garage and back patio door and windows. Then he heard a bark and worried that a neighbor's pet might be injured if he left the bottles where they were.
~Little Danny would never forgive me if I hurt someone's pet.~ To be on the safe side, Jeff moved the bottles again so that they were still in the backyard, but along the side wall, still away from any glass. ~It's the best I can do.~
The teenager added some water, using a plant watering pitcher that he had seen in the garage and filled up. Then, he twisted on the bottle caps, making sure they were on as tightly as possible. Swiftly, he moved away. He wasn't sure how long it would take. He knew from David's experiments and what he'd read that it could be anytime from just a few seconds to an hour.
~Okay, now to find Aunt Sara,~ Jeff told himself, going around to the back of the house to search for the woman.
Having gone upstairs, Jonny, Little Danny, and Aislinn stealthily began to check out the rooms, wanting to make sure things were secure. As they were still in Mark and Sara's bedroom, David and Ricky joined them, Jenny having remained downstairs with Chenoa.
As the five entered the playroom that was on the back side of the house, they heard a noise.
“There!” David exclaimed as he pointed to one of the windows that faced the backyard.
The three ran to the window and saw a man adjusting the ladder he'd just placed against the wall.
“What are we going to do?” Ricky asked.
The children looked at one another as they thought, trying to come up with a plan.
Then Little Danny exclaimed, “I know!” He ran to the hall closet and pulled out the fire extinguisher. All the kids knew how to use it, having been taught during fire drills at their home. “We'll spritz him.”
“Good idea, Little Danny,” David whispered. He then gathered together the three other extinguishers that he knew were kept in various spots upstairs. He made sure they were ready to go, lining them up on one of the chairs. A bit nervously, he took his position. “Let me,” he requested, since he was taller and stronger than his younger brother. “Jonny, Ash, go check the other bedrooms. More than one might be trying to get in.”
“Okay,” Aislinn stated, quietly following Jonny as he led the way.
Patiently, in the dark of the room, the three remaining boys waited anxiously.
Looking around and realizing David couldn't hold off the man for very long with the extinguishers, Little Danny tugged on Ricky's arm and said, “Come with me.” In the corner, a special table was set up for various science projects. “We'll slime him!”
Little Danny knew where the supplies were. Normally, he'd never get into them without an adult being present, but these were special circumstances. He climbed up on a chair to reach a high shelf and pull down the items they needed. There wasn't a big supply kept there, but just enough to make one of their favorite things -- slime.
Working as fast as they could, Little Danny and Ricky made a batch of slime, using Borax and polyvinyl alcohol, their small hands mixing the substances as if they were beaters.
“He's at the window,” David announced, glancing at his younger brothers only briefly. “He's cutting the glass with a razor blade,” he added. “I think it's a razor. Well, he's cutting it with something, so hurry!”
“Almost done,” Little Danny responded. “Here, Ricky, put this in one of these bags,” the boy instructed, motioning towards the Ziplock bags they often used to store slime. “I'm making it so it's real gooey and liquidy.”
“That's not a word,” Ricky argued.
“Ricky!” Little Danny sighed. “This isn't time for studying.”
“Sorry,” the youngest boy replied.
Just then, they saw the whole pane of glass being removed, allowing the intruder to climb through. Then the man click on a radio.
“39 -- I'm in; upstairs rear. I'll go downstairs and ...”
The intruder's words were cut off by the release of CO2 from the fire extinguisher. Unrelenting, David never released pressure. The attacker backed away, forced against the wall and the glass-less window. As soon as it ran out, David picked up the next one. The intruder never had time to make any forward progress.
Finally, giving up, the man backed out of the window, intending to go back down the ladder. He'd climbed down only a third of the way when he heard very welcome words.
“That was the last one; it's empty,” David revealed, having depleted all of the small extinguishers' CO2.
The invader headed back up the stairs, only to be surprised when Little Danny and Ricky released slime all along the ladder. His hands slipped, and he bumped his way back down to the ground, cursing when he realized he'd injured his hand. As he looked up, the boys waved, then pushed the ladder backwards, causing it to land atop the man.
“Ouch!” Little Danny exclaimed. “I didn't like doing that.”
“Me, either, but they're trying to hurt us, Little Danny. We don't know where Aunt Sara is, or Jeff,” David reminded seriously. “We have to do what we have to do,” he spoke soberly, frowning as he recalled a time a few years ago when he'd had to hurt another man with a baseball since that man was going after Jack.
“We better check the other rooms,” Ricky suggested.
Nodding, the other two boys agreed, and the three went off to finish searching the upstairs.
As Jeff made his way across the backyard, he was alarmed to see a man climbing a ladder, heading for one of the upstairs windows. Then he chuckled, seeing two pairs of hands reach out the window and cover both the ladder and man in a batch of slime. As he wondered whether he'd be strong enough to wrench the ladder away from the window with the man still on it, he saw the attacker lose his grip and begin sliding down.
When the man landed on the ground, the ladder soon falling atop him, Jeff waited to make sure the man was disabled. By the time he got into position and looked up at the second floor, his three creative siblings had already left the playroom.
The teen looked down at the would-be-attacker, who suddenly shoved the ladder upwards. Apparently, he wasn't as out of it as Jeff had assumed. The teen fell backwards, landing on the ground. For a moment, he wondered if he was about to die, but the man didn't brandish a weapon; instead, he moved toward him. Their eyes met through the attacker's black mask.
Jeff began to crawl backwards until he was up against the wall of the house. He reached behind him, covertly turning on the faucet. He could hear the water filling the green hose that was behind him and prayed that the water nozzle wasn't locked. He knew he'd have just one shot at deterring the man, and if the nozzle was locked, he'd have to spend precious time trying to unlock it. The problem was, Mark had just gotten new nozzles for both the front and back hoses, and Jeff wasn't familiar with them, so he wasn't exactly sure where the lock would be on these new additions.
With the man almost upon him, Jeff pretended he was his older father. He smiled deceptively.
“Thirsty?” the teen asked, shocking the man. “Coffee? Tea?” he asked lightheartedly, without moving. Then, in a flash, he whipped out the water and sprayed the man directly in the face, asking at the same time, in a harsh tone of voice, “How about a hose full of water?”
The invader put his hands to his face and backed away, while Jeff stood, now daring a glance at the nozzle. He saw there were power degrees on it. Making sure the man was still backing away, he paused for one moment to adjust the setting to its hardest, most powerful position. The man screamed as the water hit his face, feeling like a bullet blasting through him. Having no choice, he turned and ran, disappearing over the back fence.
“Aunt Sara, are you here?” Jeff called out in a raised whisper, disappointed not to get a response.
Concerned the man might return, the teenager spread the hose out to its full length, keeping it low. He wrapped it around one of the trees, keeping it about an inch off the ground. If anyone came back, he'd hope the hose would act as a trip wire, causing them to fall.
Remembering another ploy he'd seen on “MacGyver,” Jeff took some of the twine from the garage and affixed it to the handle of the sprayer. He took the twine and connected it to his trip-wire hose. If someone tripped, the twine would move, forcing the harsh spray to release. It would be another distraction that might help the brood survive this ordeal. Not knowing where the men might trip over the wire though, Jeff widened the sprayer, keeping it forceful, but setting it to spray a broader area. It was the best he could do.
His task completed, the teen again looked for his Aunt Sara, pausing a moment to glance inside the house.
“Good move,” Jeff thought, seeing that the kids had shut all of the blinds and drapes.
“Okay, what do we do now?” Brianna asked while the oldest Jackson-O'Neill female took a head count.
“Where's Jonny and ...” Jennifer paused, seeing Jonny and Aislinn coming down the stairs. “There you two are.”
“We wanted to know what was happening,” Aislinn stated.
“Yeah, it was boring up there; the bedrooms are empty,” Jonny reported.
“Boring?” Jennifer heard herself echo, shaking her head for a moment at the boy's comment. With the ten children inside the home together in the Wilson living room, she asserted, “We need to secure the inside of the house. They'll try again.”
“I know!” Chenoa called out. “Balloons!”
“What?” David questioned.
“Angela has lots of balloons; she loves them!” Chenoa explained.
“How will balloons help?” Aislinn asked.
“We can fill them with water, put them on all the windows and doors, and tie them to the latches, so if anyone comes in, the balloons will hit them with water. We'll hear them,” Chenoa explained.
“Noa, you are *so* smart,” Brianna responded. “It's just like what we rigged over the garage door, Jen.”
Lulu, still the most frightened, but hanging in there, surprised everyone by finally speaking up and suggesting, “We can move furniture in front of the doors, too, like they do in the movies.”
“Brilliant, Lulu!” Jennifer agreed.
“Munchkins, Spitfires, get the balloons and fill them up. Noa, where are they?” Jennifer asked.
“In Angela's chest, by her bed,” Chenoa answered.
“Great,” Jennifer replied. “If you need help tying them, come and get one of us. Go!” she ordered, sending the five children upstairs.
“Bri, you, David, and Noa start moving things in front of all the windows and doors on the back side of the house. Lulu, you can help me, okay?”
“Okay, Jen,” Lulu agreed, still scared but feeling like she had finally contributed to the brood's safety.
“Let's move it,” Jennifer heard herself saying, wondering if she sounded like her father, the general.
Several minutes later, the inside of the house was as secure as it could be. Lulu had made another suggestion, and now all of the younger children held frying pans. Jennifer held a broom handle with the broom itself removed, while David held the one baseball bat in the house. It was only there at Jack's insistence that one day, Angela and Madeline would love baseball, like all kids should, so the silver-gray-haired man had declared. Lulu and Chenoa were using long-handled dusters retrieved from the hall closet as their 'weapons'.
“Listen for Jeff,” Jennifer reminded. “We don't want to clobber him by mistake.”
“Jen, let's get our Jacks and put them by the front door,” Little Danny suggested.
Jennifer nodded permission, so the Munchkin genius went upstairs, got the small toys, and then returned downstairs, spreading all of the Jacks along the wooden floor of the entrance hallway.
“Okay, now, we wait,” Jennifer instructed. “Bri, try nine-one-one again.”
Brianna tried both the house phone and the cell phone, but there was still nothing except static or no signal at all.
“It's The Trust, isn't it, Jen?” Jonny asked. “Those are the bad men Dad and Daddy told us about before.”
“Probably,” Jennifer confirmed. “This is why we always have to follow more rules than our friends. Dad and Daddy have a lot of ... enemies,” she sighed.
“They're so brave,” Lulu responded.
“Yes, they are, and they make our world a safer place,” Jennifer asserted. The teen couldn't help it. While it was a true statement, she chuckled, thinking, ~That sounds like an ad for a TV show -- the Jackson-O'Neills: making your world safe!~
“Jen, what's so funny?” David asked, hearing the chuckle.
“Uh ... nothing.”
“I'm glad JD is with Grandpa,” Chenoa commented a minute later.
“Me, too,” Jennifer sighed.
“Bij and Katie would protect us,” Little Danny spoke confidently.
“Yeah, I'm, uh ... yes, they would,” the teenager replied. ~Gawd, they might hurt Bijou and Katie. I think it's better they aren't here. Oh, geez, we almost brought them with us.~ She knew the beagles would defend the children to their deaths. The thought numbed her. Though the brood had had close calls before, this was the first time they'd essentially been on their own like they were now, and she could tell from the severity of the attempts that the attackers probably wouldn't think twice about hurting two innocent dogs. She also knew what the canines would do to protect the brood, especially Little Danny. ~No, it's good they're safe at home.~
Meanwhile, in Denver, Jack and Daniel were making love, totally oblivious to what was happening in Colorado Springs. They were completely immersed in each other, enjoying this first night together in a several weeks.
In their sated aftermath, Daniel admitted to a brief thought of calling Hammond to check on JD. Jack silently had the same inkling, but the two decided against it.
“They'll call if anything's wrong,” Jack spoke.
“Yes, they will,” Daniel agreed as he settled back against Jack's sweat-soaked chest, relishing just being with his soulmate.
“39 -- report,” Jeff heard, turning in the direction of the sound. It was muffled, and very low. The teenager realized the man must have had a radio. Sure enough, returning to where he had faced off with the home invader, he saw the small earpiece that had fallen out of the man's ear, apparently undetected by the fleeing man. He picked it up, depositing it in his pocket. ~Who knows? Maybe Dad and Daddy can trace this.~
As Jeff continued on his way to find Sara, the teen had another thought.
~I should be able to hear what they say to each other, and maybe stop an attack before it happens.~
Inside the house, Jonny was restless. Something was bothering him, but he couldn't determine what it was, not until he turned around and processed that the entire family, except for Sara and Jeff, were together, in one spot.
“Jen, we're being dumb,” Jonny announced. “We need to spread out, in case the bad men try to come in. We can sound a warning.”
“With bells!” Little Danny exclaimed, hurrying over to a cabinet that was against the wall in the hallway that led to the rooms on the right side of the home. “Aunt Sara's bells!” he added excitedly. “We can take them, and ...”
“Yeah,” Jonny interrupted. “We'll be the bellmen,” he chuckled.
“Bell people,” Aislinn corrected sternly, taking one of the bells.
“Jen, I think he's right,” Brianna opined. “Being together might not be that smart.”
Thoughtfully, the oldest Jackson-O'Neill present responded, “Okay, let's see.”
“Me and Jenny will guard the house from the playroom upstairs,” Jonny said, taking over. “Little Danny and Ash can protect us from Aunt Sara's office there,” he said, pointing down towards the direction of the room. “Jen, you and Lulu stay by the front door. Uh, check on the man in the kitchen, too,” he urged, nodding. “Noa and David protect the patio door, over there,” he said as he motioned with his head. “Bri, you go to Angela's room. It has the best view of the front yard.”
“What about me?” Ricky asked, feeling left out.
“You stay there, by the kitchen door, so you can watch the garage door and the bad man at the same time,” Jonny suggested. Seeing the brood still in their spots, the youngster ordered, “Hurry!”
As the others each grabbed one of the bell's from Sara's large bell collection and moved to their assigned places, Jennifer whispered to Brianna, “Geez, he's good.”
“Holy Moly, Jen,” Brianna agreed, adding, “and he's only five-and-a-half. Dad better watch out; he'll get his stars.”
The girls shared a chuckle for a moment before picking up bells themselves and moving to their positions.
Just as Brianna had taken her position, she was surprised when Little Danny walked in, holding a walkie-talkie.
“Noa remembered Uncle Mark got Angela two sets of walkie-talkies,” Little Danny explained. “Jonny has one, Jen has one, and I get one. This one is for you, 'kay?” he said, handing the girl a walkie-talkie.
“Okay, thanks,” Brianna replied, smiling at their actions. ~We're pretty good at this,~ she chuckled.
Looking out the window, the tomboy knew there wasn't anything to joke about, but she'd been out on the streets before. She was tough.
“No one is going to take away my family. It's not going to happen,” Brianna spoke. Then she noticed something for the first time. ~What's that?~
Blinking the girl focused in on the object that was suddenly fascinating her. After a moment, she clicked on the walkie-talkie.
“Hockey One to ... everyone,” Brianna called out.
“General Jonny here,” Jonny spoke.
“Sproglet here,” Little Danny replied, stopping on the staircase, not having reached his designated area yet.
“Teen Rebel here. Go ahead, Hockey One,” Jennifer chuckled.
“Teen Rebel, there's one of those big, black trucks down the street. You know those ones with the satellites on top of them? We see them at the Mountain sometimes,” Brianna noted in her attempt to describe the items.
Seriously, Jennifer stated, “Brood, listen up. It's The Trust, like we talked about. They want to get us, or just one or two of us maybe, to get to Dad and Daddy.”
“But, why?” Little Danny inquired.
“I don't know, Lit...Sproglet,” Jennifer admitted. “Maybe they want them to do something they don't want to do. Daddy's told us that sometimes the government tries to apply pressure by inappropriate means.”
“The Trust are the bad guys, Jen,” Brianna stated.
“Not always, Hockey One,” Jonny replied, using their code names. “Daddy told me that sometimes the government is bad, too. Not all the government, but the ones who work ... you know where.”
“Everyone keep a sharp look out. I'll alert ... Spitfire 2,” Jennifer said about Ricky, “and Squiggy's Pride,” referring to David, who had a green frog toy named Squiggy that their birth parents, the Morgans, had given him years ago and that he still kept on his bed.
“Copy that. General Jonny out,” Jonny said succinctly.
Jennifer stared at the walkie-talkie, amazed at how military he was being.
“Okay, Jen. I mean, copy that,” Little Danny added, changing his words after hearing Jonny's come back.
“Roger wilco,” Brianna acknowledged, her eyes glued to the truck. Suddenly, another thought occurred to her. Quickly, she contacted Jennifer again. “Teen Rebel, come in. Jen, hurry!”
“What is it, Hockey One?” Jennifer asked, now standing by Ricky.
“What if they have the house bugged? What if they're listening to us?” Brianna asked anxiously.
“They wouldn't dare,” Jennifer replied angrily. “Well, if that's how they want to play.”
“Jen, that's how we get help!” Brianna exclaimed.
“Noise, Sis, and lots of it,” the younger girl clarified, a big smile on her face.
“Yeah,” Jennifer said, nodding as the idea formed to fruition.
As Little Danny reached the bottom of the stairs, he had a thought. Smiling, he went to the bathroom and retrieved the hot water bottle, carrying it downstairs.
“Jen, can you come into the kitchen with me? I need to get a few things,” Little Danny asked his big sister once he was downstairs.
“Sure, Little Danny. Lulu, if you see anyone, call me on this,” Jennifer stated, handing her walkie-talkie to the little girl. She saw the look of fear in the little girl's eyes and added, “I'll hear you on Little Danny's walkie-talkie and be hear in a flash.”
“Okay, Jen,” Lulu acknowledged, taking the object from her big sister. ~I'm brave; I'm a Jackson-O'Neill.~
In the kitchen, Little Danny was telling Jennifer about how MacGyver had made tear gas with things he found in the store he was shopping at. The young genius had just seen the episode again a of couple days ago.
Ignoring the grumble of the man chained to the pipe, the boy explained, “Jen, I need mace, cayenne pepper, baking soda, and vinegar. MacGyver mixed them all together in a hot water bottle; then the water bottle got big like a balloon, and MacGyver poked a hole in it with his knife. It sprayed all over the robber's face and into his eyes.”
“Okay, Professor,” Jennifer chuckled as she retrieved the items and gave them to her little brother.
The items in hand, the boy headed for the door, saying, “I'm going to take these into Aunt Sara's office with me.”
The teenager went back to the front door with Lulu to guard against attack there, while Little Danny joined the youngest Munchkin in the office. There, he opened all the items and began assembling his homemade tear gas to have it ready in case the intruders decided to come through the office window.
Twenty minutes later, a rock was thrown through the office window, almost hitting Aislinn.
“Ash, you okay?” the middle Munchkin called out.
“No, I'm mad!” the little girl grunted, completely unharmed, but now looking murderous.
“Me, too,” Little Danny admitted. He immediately mixed the items together and watched as the hot water bottle expanded. “What am I gonna pop it with?” he asked out loud as his eyes searched the room.
“Little Danny, hurry! He's coming in,” Aislinn urged.
Grabbing the letter opener from Sara's desk, he said, “This'll work!”
Little Danny set the hot water bottle on the desk chair and wheeled it into position. Then he stabbed it with the letter opener, the concoction spraying in the eyes of the invader and sending him yelling through the yard.
“Wow!” Aislinn exclaimed as she watched the man flee. “You did good, Little Danny,” she said, hugging her brother for a few seconds.
Hearing the commotion, Jennifer sprinted into the office, quickly realizing that Little Danny had used his MacGyver tear gas and thwarted the Trust operative.
“Jen, it worked,” Little Danny reported excitedly.
“I can see that. They must be getting desperate since they didn't even try to sneak in this time,” the teenager surmised aloud without realizing it.
“Don't worry, Jen, we'll handle them,” Little Danny assured.
“Yeah, we take care of the bad guys. We'll make them so scared, they'll never come after us again,” Aislinn added.
Jennifer smiled and replied, “Yes, we will. I better get back to Lulu. Keep up the good work.”
Outside, Jeff finally rounded the corner to the other side of the house.
“Aunt Sara!” the teen called out, his heart aching as he feared the worst. He ran to the woman, gently turning her over. He saw the bruise on the side of her face, and there was a cut on her forehead. “Aunt Sara!” he said urgently as he checked for a pulse, taking a huge breath when he found a steady beat.
Sara's skin was chilled from the night air, and she wasn't rousing. No way could Jeff leave her out there.
“I hope I don't hurt you, Aunt Sara,” Jeff spoke as he struggled to pick her up. He had learned the fireman's carry and decided that was his best bet. “Sorry,” he whispered when his hand accidentally slipped and tapped her buttocks. ~This is harder than it looks. It was easier with a dummy,~ he thought about the CPR and safety sessions when he had learned the lifesaving maneuver.
Carrying Sara, Jeff cautiously headed towards the patio door in the backyard. Suddenly, a cacophony of noise erupted from the house. Apparently, the children had turned on every stereo and radio they could find, and it was screaming at the highest volume.
~That'll work,~ Jeff thought, knowing at least one of the neighbors would wake up at the sudden din. ~One of them will call the cops, I hope.~
“32 and 34, time for the direct approach. Break down the front door,” was the order given over the earpiece that was in Jeff's pocket.
~No time to stop the attack from the outside, but I can help from the inside,~ Jeff said to himself as he hurried towards the house.
“Love you,” Jack crooned happily as the naked lovers shared a dance.
“Jack? I'm not sure we've ever danced naked before,” Daniel commented. “Well, at least not this kind of dancing,” he chuckled.
Jack's hands scooped his lover's six, pressing in tightly for a moment, and replied, “I like it.”
As Daniel's lower half brushed up against his lover's, their private parts rubbing together and causing each to 'react', the younger man agreed, “I do, too.”
“I wonder what the brood is up to,” Jack pondered as the song ebbed to its end. ~Probably asleep or watching something on TV, if Sara's let them stay up.~
“I have no idea, but I know what we're 'up' to,” Daniel quipped before slinking down and starting to bring his husband great joy as their arousal took hold of them again.
“All stations, alert! I repeat, alert!” Jennifer shouted out frantically. “This is Teen Rebel. They're trying to break down the front door,” she called out about two men who were working in unison to get through the thick door. “Back up, Lulu,” she instructed, her eyes fixed on the straining wooden door as she pushed her younger sister backwards gently.
Quickly, the brood gathered in preparation for another battle. They had no way of stopping the invaders from getting in. They hoped their water balloon trap and the jacks-laced floor would cause the men to fall and slip. Then the brood would protect themselves as best they could.
Just as the door was shoved open, Jonny and Jenny reached the rest of the family.
“Remember what T taught us,” Jonny urged loudly, trying to make sure his voice could be heard over the deafening music.
“Chuk'ga,” Aislinn affirmed, referring to the karate-like Jaffa self-defense technique that Teal'c had taught them several months earlier.
“Focus,” Jenny reminded.
Chenoa put the umbrella down, choosing to take a protective stance instead. Teal'c had practiced Chuk'ga with her many times.
“I'll make Teal'c proud,” Chenoa stated.
“Just be smart,” Jennifer urged.
Two men dashed in. One was successfully doused with the water balloons, while the other man slipped, but didn't fall on the jacks.
“Kree na bik!” Chenoa yelled, her little legs flinging out firmly, both feet connecting with the man's groin, causing him to cry out, curse, and double over in pain.
As soon as the man was bent over, Jonny exclaimed, “Kree na bik!” and landed a blow with his hand on the man's neck, resulting in the intruder slamming down, head first to the floor.
The second man had managed to push past the children, clearly heading for the more open space of the living room. As he moved, he grabbed Brianna, who was the closest to him, from behind.
“Kree na bik!” Brianna spat, elbowing the man, who grunted and bent down allowing her to grab a hold of his arm and actually use his weight to toss him over her shoulder and to the floor.
Once there, David stood over the man, his baseball bat at the ready, while Lulu held her umbrella like a sword.
“I love my family. You can't hurt them,” Lulu spoke bravely, her small voice just barely audible because of the music.
“You can say that again,” Brianna added.
Just then, Jeff called out, banging with one hand against the patio door.
“It's Jeff!” Ricky called out after looking out. “He's got Aunt Sara.”
“Open the door,” Jennifer instructed from her spot over the first man. ~Gawd, I hate this,~ she thought as she pressed the broom handled against the still-downed man's throat.
“Aunt Sara!” several of the kids called out in worried voices as Jeff entered.
“She's hurt, but I don't know how bad,” Jeff confided in a near shout as he lay her out gently on the sofa. “What's going on?” he asked, seeing the two intruders.
As Jennifer began to explain, Jeff's first dry ice bomb erupted, the sound pounding through the normally quiet neighborhood. It sounded like a semi-automatic rifle going off and was even louder than the music that was still blaring at full volume.
“What's that?” Jennifer shouted.
“The calvary,” Jeff answered cryptically as a second bomb exploded.
“Jen!” Little Danny shouted as the man at the entranceway took advantage of the teen's temporary distraction to make a move, jerking upward, pushing the teenager back, and then retreating out the door.
Jennifer, Aislinn, and Jonny hurried out front, being careful not to succumb to their own traps.
“Jeff, someone's out baaaa... they fell and ...” Ricky's words faded as Jeff joined him, smiling that his trip-wire hose had worked.
When another ice bomb went off, the man scurried over the side fence and headed toward the front of the house.
“Jen!” Jonny called out, pointing at the radar truck as it started to pull out.
The two running men were trying to hop on, but the truck wasn't slowing. Their haste was due to the police sirens that were closing in on the residential home. One man was pulled up by someone in the back of the truck, but the other was still struggling to climb on. Now that the police were close by, none of the children wanted to see so many of their attackers get away. They wanted to catch at least one more for their parents to interrogate.
“Balls!” Jonny called out, running over to a box of outdoor play items.
Acting quickly, Jennifer, Aislinn, and Jonny threw or rolled all of the balls toward the oncoming man, causing him to fall flat onto the pavement. With that, the radar truck sped off. Jennifer called out for reinforcements, and a minute later, the too-slow attacker had five children sitting on him to hold him down.
It only took another few seconds for the police to arrive. Within moments, two cars had the house blocked off. With their arrival, three different sets of neighbors came hurrying out to see what was happening. All three had all been woken up by the loud music and, knowing the music was uncharacteristic for their good friends and neighbors, one of them had been about to check on the Wilsons when the ice bombs began exploding. At that point, all three neighbors had called the police.
“What's going on here?” one officer asked as two others pointed their guns at the man, allowing the children to release their captive.
One officer continued to hold his gun on the man while his partner cuffed him.
“Ben, over there!” the officer handcuffing the man said, pointing towards the house where Little Danny could be seen gesturing to the police.
“There's another one in the house,” Jennifer informed Ben. “And we need an ambulance. Our aunt has been hurt. Although, actually, it would be better to call Aunt Janet.”
“Call for backup,” Ben ordered one of the other officers, who clicked his radio and ordered two more patrol cars. “What's your name?” he then asked the teenager.
“Jennifer Jackson-O'Neill,” the teen said firmly. “These are my brothers and sisters. Our fathers are Major General Jack Jackson-O'Neill and Doctor Daniel Jackson-O'Neill. They work at Cheyenne Mountain. I think you should call our grandfather, Lieutenant General George Hammond. He runs the Mountain. I don't think we should say anything else,” the wary teen spoke.
“We need to know what happened,” Ben insisted.
“We could call our friend, Mister President Hayes,” Jonny smirked as he stood at Jennifer's side.
The police officer was about to roll his eyes at what he assumed was a childish fantasy when he saw that the teenager in front of him was actually considering the idea.
Jennifer smiled, cocked her head, and suggested, “We could, but I don't think it's necessary to bother him this time of night, him being the President and all. Really, I think you should just call our grandfather.”
Sensing that girl was serious, Ben alerted his commander, who placed the call to General Hammond.
“In here!” Jeff shouted from the doorway, waving the latest police arrivals inside. “Jen, your cell phone works now. I called Aunt Janet.”
“What about Grandpa?” Jennifer shouted in return.
“Not yet. I thought I'd start with Aunt Janet since Aunt Sara is still out cold,” Jeff explained.
Jennifer looked at the policeman, who was requesting an ambulance, and interrupted, shaking her head as she advised, “Uh, Aunt Janet works at the Mountain, too. Trust me, she'll be here with a full medical team before an ambulance could.”
“Who are you people?” Ben questioned.
Beaming with pride, Jennifer answered, “We're the Jackson-O'Neill brood.” Taking Jonny's and Aislinn's hand, she protectively suggested, “Let's go back inside.” Looking back at the policemen, she reminded, “There are other bad guys that need to be watched until Grandpa gets here. He won't be happy if you're standing out here on the street.”
The statement was a bit smug, but the brood had been through a lot and had come out the victors, no thanks to anyone but themselves. Years of warnings from their parents, special training from their friends, and of paying attention to their surroundings had paid off. They were together, alive and well.
Within fifteen minutes, Janet arrived. She didn't live that far from the Wilsons, so had been able to get there quick.
“Doctor Janet Fraiser,” the redhead said, flashing her ID for the policemen at the door. “Jennifer, what's going on?”
“Aunt Janet, it's Aunt Sara,” Jennifer announced. “She won't wake up.”
“What about all of you? Are you okay?” Janet asked as she approached, seeing yet more policemen inside the house, along with those apparently searching the front and back yards.
Jennifed nodded and assured, “We're fine, a little shook up maybe, but fine. Aunt Sara was the only one hurt.”
“Okay, back away, and let me get a good look at her,” Janet requested.
It was no more than ten more minutes later when General Hammond, Sam, Teal'c, SG-2, headed by Lou Ferretti, SG-3, headed by Marc Reynolds, and Janet's medical team were all on site.
To their confusion, Ben and the other police on scene had been dismissed by their commander. Ben was told to simply guard the house until the military arrived. Then they were to release their prisoners to Hammond and his men. They were also instructed to continue their patrols without making any reports. In fact, they were to forget the entire incident had ever happened.
“Where's JD, Grandpa?” David asked.
“He's with Tessa,” Hammond explained. “Son, you'd better fill me in from the beginning.”
“Okay, but first ... Colonel Reynolds,” Jeff called out. “At the side of the house, by the garage, there are at least three more dry ice bombs that haven't gone off yet.”
“We'll take care of it,” Reynolds responded, motioning for his team to follow him.
Jeff looked at Hammond and said, “Well, it began ...”
Hammond shook his head. He got up and looked out at the front of the house where the four intruders left behind were just being taken away in handcuffs. The outcome of the attack could have been so much worse. He turned back, reviewing the eleven members of the brood, all of whom were staring at him.
The general walked slowly back to face them and was about to speak when everyone heard the voice they'd been waiting to hear for quite a while.
“Janet?” Sara groaned. ~When did Janet get here? What on Earth is going on?~
“It's okay, Sara,” Janet responded. “I think you were given something. We need to check you out, and ...”
“The children?” Sara asked, sitting up in alarm as her memory came flooding back. She closed her eyes and said a quick prayer of thanks when the brood surrounded her with smiles and hugs. “Is everyone all right?”
“Better than you,” Jonny answered with a bright smile.
“General Jonny led the charge,” Brianna teased.
“Sara, we should take you to the infirmary and ...” Janet began.
“I feel fine, and I don't want to leave the children,” Sara stated, holding on to Lulu, who had squeezed in between Janet and Sara to hug the blonde.
“Okay, well, we're calling Mark,” Janet stated firmly, getting a nod from Sara.
“And I think it's time we called your fathers,” Hammond stated.
“NO!” Aislinn answered forcefully. “I'm sorry,” the little girl apologized for her raised voice.
“Grandpa, this is their first date night since JD was born. They've been cooped up with us since the New Year,” Jennifer reminded.
“We're all fine,” Jeff pointed out.
“We can take care of ourselves,” Jonny advised, a statement Hammond was hardpressed to deny considering that four men had been captured by the brood, and the others driven away.
“Sir, we can stay and help Sara,” Sam offered. “The general and Daniel will be back by noon tomorrow.” She looked over at Sara and asked, “Isn't that normal?”
“Right,” Sara confirmed. “They're already missing JD, George,” the woman said with a knowing smile. “Jack will have a tantrum, but then ...”
Everyone laughed as Sara smiled, ending her incomplete sentence.
“Please, Grandpa?” Aislinn pleaded.
The youngest Munchkin had always had some kind of unique way of telling when her parents needed private, alone time. Apparently, she thought they needed it on this night.
Hammond looked at the pleading eyes of the brood and sighed, thinking, ~Jack and Daniel are going to kill us when they find out we didn't call them, but who can resist those pleading faces?~ “Very well,” he responded. “Colonel Carter, Teal'c, I'd like you to remain with Sara.” He looked at Sara and stated, “My men will remain here for the night. I'll decide what to do next tomorrow, when Jack and Daniel return.”
“Thank you, General,” Sara responded gratefully, reaching out and taking his hand for a moment.
“Grandpa, you're blushing,” Brianna teased.
Hammond coughed, causing most everyone to laugh.
“I'm very proud of you,” Hammond said a bit emotionally. “You did your parents proud, very proud.”
“Well, you know what Dad and Daddy always tell us, Grandpa,” Jennifer said.
Together, with just a few scattered voices, the brood sang out, “Together, we're unbeatable.”
Hammond laughed, “Too bad The Trust didn't know that.”
“They do now!” Jonny stated, his head bobbing up and down emphatically.
The next day, as Jack and Daniel drove the SUV towards the Wilson home, Daniel suddenly frowned.
“Danny, don't you know that frowning makes you get wrinkles?” the older man mused.
“Jack, I have the oddest feeling,” Daniel confided.
“I thought I was the one who always thought something was odd,” Jack replied, not concerned at all about his lover's comment.
“That's because odd is normal for you, with you being an oddball and all,” the younger man joked. He laughed, “Kidding, Babe.”
A moment later, Jack glanced at his husband and asked, “You really think something's odd? The kids?”
“I don't know, but ... uh, make that a yes,” Daniel spoke under his breath, pointing toward the Wilson home.
“What the heck?” Jack barked, seeing three military vehicles out front, not to mention the members of SG-3 that were visible, one near the fence between the Wilson's house and their neighbor's, one directly in front of the porch, and yet another on the other side. Not only that, but another group of people seemed to be doing something to the house. “Daniel ...”
“Jack, stop the truck,” Daniel ordered, not caring about parking in a permissive area. He practically jumped out of the SUV before Jack had it stopped. “*Jennifer*?” he shouted.
“Ut oh, and that's just Daddy,” Jennifer said, looking out the front window from the kitchen where some of the children were eating lunch.
“REYNOLDS, FRONT AND CENTER!” Jack ordered once he had gotten out of the vehicle, knowing that the leader of SG-3 had to be there somewhere.
“And that's the grizzly bear,” Aislinn chuckled about their oldest father.
“Jack, don't blow a gasket,” Sara advised, hurrying out the front door. “Daniel, they're all fine,” she said as Daniel flew by her.
“General, let's do this inside,” Janet called out from the entrance hallway as several of the kids waved to their parents, but remained in the house, mostly since Sam and Teal'c were holding them back.
“General!” Reynolds called out, snapping to and saluting.
Jack looked over at the officer and then at his ex-wife.
“Jack, he's here by General Hammond's orders. The general is at his house with JD. Please, come inside, and we'll tell you all about it,” Sara requested, her hands reaching out to go around Jack's arm. “Jack, stay calm, and listen to me.”
“What are they doing?” Jack asked, looking over at some workers.
“Sam can answer that question better than me, but I swear, Jack, I can't believe Mark and I haven't done this sooner. I'm so angry. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I should have known better. I can't ...”
“Sara,” Jack interrupted. He took a calming breath as he stared at his ex-wife. He bobbed his head up and down several times as he took in the outside environment, and then he said, “Let's go inside, and you can tell me all about it.”
Sara smiled, saying, “That's probably a good idea, Jack.”
Looking at Reynolds, Jack ordered, “Dismissed,” and then let Sara take him inside the house, where he was inundated with hugs and kisses from the children, the same treatment Daniel had just received moments before.
Thirty minutes later, Jack and Daniel had been updated with every detail of the previous night's events.
“We're so proud of you,” Daniel expressed emotionally as he held on tightly to Jenny, Aislinn, and Chenoa, who were all sitting with him.
“Very proud,” Jack added, his hands securely affixed to Jonny and Lulu.
“They proved themselves to be great warriors, O'Neill,” Teal'c spoke proudly, getting smiles from everyone, especially Chenoa.
“So, Carter ...”
“It won't be as specialized as yours, Sir, but the team is installing a pretty sophisticated security system. No one will be able to get even close again without a lot of bells and whistles going off,” Sam affirmed. Then she added, “I've already talked to Pete, and we're going to have them install a system at our house, too.”
“And I think mine, as well,” Janet added with a pointed look. “Sara is right; we all should have done this a long time ago.”
“We've been lucky,” Daniel opined, realizing that while they had gone to such great lengths to keep their family safe in their own home, somehow, they had failed to do so with their much-beloved caregivers.
“We'll need to talk to the general, too,” Janet pointed out. “The kids are there almost as much as they're with any of us.”
“No one was scared?” Jack asked.
Jonny sighed, putting his hands on his hips, and frowned incredulously as he answered, “Daaaaad!”
“Sorry,” Jack apologized, picking up his namesake and putting him on his lap. “You had some very good ideas, Jonny.”
“We all did, Dad,” Jonny said, willing to share the credit. In fact, he knew someone needed a little special mention. “Dad, Lulu's ideas were really good.”
Jack had never been more impressed with the young boy as he was in this moment. He knew exactly what he was doing.
“You're right. Lulu, come tell your ole dad about it again,” Jack beckoned, putting Jonny down and extending out his arms.
Lulu smiled and hurried to her older father, giggling when he picked her up and tickled her. He gave her a kiss on the cheek and held her close.
“Tell us what you suggested, Little Bit,” Daniel requested.
The military men and women of Cheyenne Mountain had repaired the Wilson home and returned it to its pre-invasion state. With the new security system, it was actually even better than before, especially since Sam had also had them install some fancy gadgets that weren't part of any standard residential setup.
“I hope I remember all of this,” Sara laughed.
“It's all right here,” Sam said, handing her friend a guide to the new system. “If you have questions, just call me.”
“Thanks, Sam,” Sara spoke, after which the two women embraced.
Soon, the presence at the Wilson home was down to just the Jackson-O'Neills, Sara, and Teal'c, who was just giving Chenoa a final hug before leaving.
Janet had made Sara promise to visit her physician as soon as Mark returned home. As a precaution, however, she'd taken a sample of the blonde's blood, wanting to double check for any alien substances. She didn't believe The Trust, or their offshoots, would risk using such a drug on a civilian, but she certainly didn't want to leave anything to chance, either.
“I don't think we should leave you alone,” Daniel opined as the family prepared to leave.
“Daniel, I'm perfectly okay,” Sara assured.
“What about the girls?” the archaeologist inquired about the woman's own children.
“They're still at Mike's,” Sara answered. “He's bringing them home tonight.”
“Daniel, you're as bad as your husband. Go!” Sara ordered, shoving him lovingly out the door towards the SUV, which the children were already seated in.
“Your neighbors will have questions,” Jack stated.
“I can handle it,” Sara spoke gently, feeling her ex-husband's hands on her arms. He dropped them down, taking her hands in his. “Jack ...”
“Are you sure you're okay, Funny Face?” the general asked, using an old nickname for Sara, one he hadn't used since they'd been married, until two years ago when Jonny and Little Danny had gotten lost.
Touched by the usage, the blonde nodded.
“Always so strong,” Jack said softly.
“I had to be, Jack, to be married to you,” Sara replied, a smile on her face.
Jack nodded, letting out a tiny snort of agreement and then saying, “I like to be a challenge.”
“You're very good at that,” Sara chuckled. “Mark's due in anytime,” she said about her husband. “He would have come home right away, but I knew he needed to be at that very first meeting this morning. I insisted, and you know how I get when I want something.”
Jack laughed, throwing his head back for a moment and then sighing, “Yeah, one stubborn b...”
“Careful,” Sara warned, leaning forward and letting her still very good friend hold her. It felt good. “People think we're crazy, Jack.”
“Let 'em,” Jack dared as he backed away slightly. Still holding her hands, Jack raised them to his lips and kissed them. “Thank you, Sara.”
“Goodness, Jack, for what?”
“I couldn't list all the reasons why I'm thankful for having you in my life. It's just way too long,” the silver-haired man answered.
“Jack, you've turned into such a romantic poet.” Sara shook her head, saying, “No, you're right. You were always romantic, but I'm fine now, and your family's waiting for you.”
“Don't forget to turn on the ...”
“Jack Jackson-O'Neill, don't start,” Sara interrupted.
Placing a kiss on her cheek, Jack whispered, “You're the best, Sara Wilson.”
“I'll call you on Monday, Jack,” Sara stated, having already promised to call Jack after her doctor appointment.
“I still think you should have Mark take you tonight,” the general argued lightly.
“Goodbye, Jack,” Sara said, amused at her ex-husband.
Jack nodded and headed for the SUV, thinking, ~I'll call Mark myself and make sure she's okay.~ Getting in the vehicle, Jack began to ask, “Everyone ready ...”
“Dad ...” the entire brood started to say, until Daniel waved them off.
Jack looked at the children, then at his husband, and chuckled, “What time does he get in?”
“The plane lands at 2:23,” Daniel answered.
“That's precise,” the older man commented.
“His car is in the shop, Dad,” David pointed out.
“He didn't drive to the airport?” Jack questioned.
“Nope. Aunt Sara was going to pick him up when he got back next week,” Little Danny stated.
Jenny added, “But Aunt Janet made her promise not to drive for at least a day.”
“Uncle Mark said he'd take a taxi or the shuttle,” Jeff noted.
“We don't know the airli...” Jack began, not even finishing his word.
Daniel interrupted, “Yes, we do.” Smirking, he said, “You're not the only one who can gather intel quickly.”
“I guess not.” Jack glanced at his watch, then started the vehicle, saying, “Back to Denver we go.”
“This is a surprise,” Mark Wilson said, seeing the Jackson-O'Neills lined up near the courtesy phone, where they'd had him paged.
“We're your ride,” Jeff explained.
“I wasn't expecting the brood to ...”
“We're the MacBrood,” Little Danny laughed.
“MacBrood?” Mark questioned.
Jack cocked his head, saying, “Since their adventure last night, they all think that they're that MacGyver dude. MacGyver, MacBrood.”
Mark laughed, “Works for me. Jack ...”
“She's okay,” Jack answered as they started to walk towards the exit, since Mark had already claimed his luggage. The two men hung back as Daniel and the older children kept the brood together as they walked back to their SUV. “She *says* she's okay. Janet isn't sure what was in that tranq, though.”
“Sara made it sound like it was nothing,” Mark replied quietly.
“That's Sara,” Jack responded.
Nodding, Mark agreed, “You're right. Do you know she said she'd leave me if I came home any earlier than now? Jack, I don't care squat about that deal, but ...”
“I know,” Jack acknowledged. “Look, Janet thinks Sara is fine. She has a bruise on her cheek and a small cut on her forehead, but, other than that, she checks out, as much as Janet could check her out without having more equipment around. It's the shot that's bugging the Doc.”
Mark tugged on Jack's arm, stopping their motion, and asked, “This shot -- do you think Janet should be the one doing the exam, or our regular doctor.”
Jack pulled a card from his shirt pocket and handed it to Mark, saying, “Drag her, kicking and screaming, if necessary, but Janet's staff is expecting you at the Mountain tonight. Janet took a blood sample from Sara, but there are more tests they need to run.” He sighed, “We called Mike and asked him to keep the girls another night. I know that's stepping over the line, but ...”
“Thank you, Jack,” Mark acknowledged gratefully as they continued walking.
“Hand that card to whomever is at the security gate. All they have to do is call down to the infirmary to get you in. After that, you know where to go.”
“Sara's gonna be angry.”
“Yeah, but she'll be safe and healthy,” Jack spoke without missing a beat.
Leaving JD with Hammond for a bit longer, Jack and Daniel held their family meeting early that night, starting it only forty-five minutes after getting home, as that was basically how long it took for everyone to greet their animals and change clothes. They reviewed what had happened and asked the children how they felt about what had occurred at the Wilson home. So far, Chenoa, Lulu, and David had talked about their feelings.
“I didn't like it,” Little Danny spoke up next, about his part in harming the bad men. He was sitting on his younger father's lap. “I don't like to see people get hurt.
“I know, Sproglet,” Daniel acknowledged. “I don't like it, either; none of us do, but, sometimes, we don't have a choice.”
“Like when we pushed the ladder down on the bad man,” Little Danny spoke.
“Exactly,” Daniel agreed. “But we have to protect our family, and that's what you were doing, right?”
“Right!” Little Danny responded positively.
“I wasn't scared at all,” Jenny maintained. “I knew we'd beat those old bad guys.”
“It's okay to be scared, Jenny,” Jack insisted.
“But I wasn't scared. I was with the ...” Jenny paused, about to say she was with the brood, but then she smiled and said, “... the MacBrood!”
“What will happen to those men?” Ricky asked.
“I'll bet they go to jail,” Chenoa responded.
“We don't know yet,” Daniel answered.
“The Trust can't be trusted,” Jack said, adding, “But they have a lot of friends. The important thing is that you won't be seeing these men ever again. Grandpa is making sure of that as we speak. Wherever those guys end up, it'll be far away from Colorado Springs,” he promised.
“Well, now I understand the great importance of having all the rules,” Jennifer sighed. “We've dealt with some awful things in the past, Dad, Daddy, but never this directly, never with all of us in danger at the same time and without one of you there. I'm sorry, if I ever took the rules lightly. I won't again.”
“We know it's hard,” Daniel replied. “We know we impose more rules than most parents. We screen your friends, and you don't get to go and do a lot of things because if we haven't had a chance to make sure it's safe, we just ...”
“Say 'no',” Jonny whined.
“You got that right,” Jack said, leaning over and messing with his namesake's hair. “We have rules that seem unfair sometimes, but it's because of others like those men last night that we do.”
“Dad, Daddy, maybe this is a dumb question,” Brianna began. “Um, those special things that we sometimes have access to, like the patches, and the watches, and ... well, you know what I mean.”
“Yes, we do,” Daniel acknowledged, referring to devices that essentially kept track of the children via GPS or alien devices.
“Why don't you make us wear that stuff all the time?” the tomboy asked.
“Do you want to?” Jack asked.
The children looked at each and hesitantly shook their heads.
“That's why,” Jack answered.
“We've thought about it,” Daniel admitted. “But you'd feel like you were always being watched, like you didn't have any freedom. When Dad and I decided to have a family, we knew it wouldn't be easy. In ways, we knew it wouldn't be fair, and not because we're two men and not the traditional man and woman who are married. It was because of what we do for a living, before we formed J-O -- the military. You've been off-world. You know about a lot of the good things, and we've let you in a little bit of the bad, but ...”
“I'm guessing we haven't really been exposed to much of the bad at all,” Jennifer surmised.
“That's a good guess,” Daniel confirmed.
Jack continued for his lover, saying, “We have to walk a careful line. That's why sometimes we insist you carry those special pagers or wear the patches, but we want you to be kids while you can, and that's now.”
“So, please, just continue to follow the rules. Be alert, like always,” Daniel requested.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” Jeff stated, reaching into his pocket. “One of those guys was using this. I thought maybe you could trace it or something,” he said, leaning forward to hand Jack the device.
Jack bounced it in his hand, saying, “An earpiece.”
“I'll give it to the general when I pick up JD later,” Daniel said as he took the earpiece from his husband. “That was a smart move, Jeff.”
“Anyone need to talk about anything else?” Jack asked, seeing a bunch of shaking heads. “Here's the deal. What you went through might seem like fun in some ways. Jenny, I know you weren't afraid, but maybe you should have been, a little. Being afraid can save your life.”
Daniel interjected, “If anyone needs to talk more, we'll be making rounds together tonight. If you want to talk to one of us alone, please tell us. You know how we feel about that. And, um, it's okay to cry, too. Aunt Sara was hurt, her home was invaded, and you had some close calls. Don't expect this to disappear overnight. If it does, that's great, but, if it doesn't, remember, you have each other, Dad and me, and a whole lot of family who loves you.”
“Okay, ice cream time!” Jack said.
Cheers erupted as the family meeting ended, and the ice cream party began.
“What did Hammond say?” Jack asked as he and Daniel put away JD's things and prepared the tired baby for bed.
“He wants you to stay out of, Jack, and I want you to as well,” Daniel spoke about the tracking down of the escaped men and the ultimate outcome regarding the men that had been 'captured' by the children.
“Jack, *Grandpa* is going to handle it. I don't think I've ever seen General Hammond so upset as he was earlier. He's already had one phone conversation with the President. This is front-burner.” Daniel smiled down at JD, who Jack had just put in his crib. “I don't want to turn our house into a fortress, nor do I want our children looking over their shoulders twenty-four hours a day.”
“I don't either, but I could tear those renegade G-men into a thousand pieces,” Jack responded, sneering at his old movie reference to government men.
“So could I,” Daniel stated. “But where would that leave our children? Jack, this is our life. Actually, uh, I'm a little surprised I'm not more ... freaked out.”
Jack turned to face his lover, his right hand on the top of the crib rail. He stared at his husband, studying him.
“You're right, Danny. Considering what happened, you're pretty calm,” Jack observed. “Is the other shoe going to drop?”
“Maybe when we're alone, in bed later, but ...”
“What?” the older man questioned curiously.
Daniel smiled, saying, “Babe, our children just held off an attack group of well-trained, Black Ops specialists. They used their minds, remembered their self-defense training, and kept their wits about them during the entire ordeal. Jack, our brood beat The Trust. They've proved themselves, not that I want them to go through anything like this again, but it's kind of reassuring to know that they can hold their own against people that might try to hurt them. I just ...” He paused, smiling at JD again. “All I'm saying is that we've done all we can do, short of keeping them locked up all day.”
“And Hammond will take care of this group.”
“Yes, he will, and he'll keep us out of it, because of the children. Jack, we can't stop The Trust, or anyone, from coming after us, but ... we're doing the right things, and I'd just rather we focus on that, instead of tracking down a few men who will be replaced by morning anyway for failing so miserably.”
“My genius,” Jack mused.
“I take it very seriously, Jack. I'm ... shaking inside, and I'm not happy, but ...”
Jack took Daniel into his arms and said, “We're on the right track.”
The next morning, Jack and Daniel came downstairs, surprised to find the entire brood up, watching TV in the rec room. On the weekends, the children were often allowed to turn on the television before their parents were awake. They had a list of 'A-OK' viewing, and as long as they watched that programming, their parents were fine with it.
“You've got to be kidding,” Jack remarked as he held JD in his arms, seeing their children taking notes as they watched the show.
“We're studying,” Jenny chuckled.
“Yeah, you don't know when we might need to know this stuff again,” Brianna laughed.
“The dry ice bombs came from one of these episodes,” Jeff added.
“A lot of what we did came from things Mac did. Can we keep watching?” Lulu asked.
Daniel shrugged as he said, “Well, Babe. MacGyver helped to keep our children safe. If they want to study, let them study.”
“Have fun ... MacBrood!” Jack laughed as he and Daniel headed for the kitchen to enjoy their breakfast.
Always and still unpredictable, life for the Jackson-O'Neill family was good. It got even better when both Janet and Sara's private physician confirmed that Sara hadn't suffered any ill effects from her injury. In addition, Janet's test showed it was just a fast-acting tranquilizer and nothing alien, as she had feared, that had been injected into Sara.
As February marched steadily onward, so did the very happy and very loving MacBrood, their parents, and their family of friends.
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