Making a Miracle

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - September 13-16, 2014 and March 7, 2015
Spoilers:  None
Size:  28kb, ficlet
Written:  May 19-22,24, 2008
Summary:  Strange things happen in this world, as Jack realizes in this tale of unexpected and odd occurrences.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) This fic was inspired by an email that has been making the rounds.  I've since learned that it's a true story.  The email touched my soul, and I knew it had a place in the Jackson-O'Neill universe.  With thanks and blessings to whomever was responsible for the actual event, this fic is offered up in its honor.  Details of the actual event are at: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/abbey.asp.
2) 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) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Ali, Claudia, Bernice, Linda!

Making a Miracle
by Orrymain

The last day-and-a-half had been quite hectic for the Jackson-O'Neills, not because of any particular crisis, but just from being on the go and doing things around the house that needed to be done.  While everyone had been trying their best to stay in a good mood, Jack had become a bit of a grouch, the result of too little sleep and a lot of inconveniences that, individually, meant nothing, but, when lumped together, was causing the grizzly bear in the retired general to come out.

At the moment, Jack was outside, mumbling about how much he had to do and how little time he had to do it in.

~Whose idea was it to have all these dang flowers and plants, anyway?~

Of course, all those flowers and plants had been one of the reasons Jack had fallen in love with the country-style home when he'd originally purchased it.  He'd gotten a lot of peace from tending to the greenery over the years, but his grouchy side was winning out today.  Instead of beauty, all he saw were thorns and dead leaves.

As he cut away some excess leaves on one prickly bush, Jack cursed and sucked his thumb.

~Gloves.  Who stole my gardening gloves?~

The grumpily thought question just proved again what kind of day Jack was having.  His gloves were, in fact, right where he'd left them from their prior use.  Of course, his problem was that he couldn't remember where that was, and instead of breaking in the new pair that his patient husband had dangled in front of his nose, he whined about wanting his 'comfy old gloves', as if there were some huge difference between the two.

After quite a while, Jack had filled a bag with pruning remnants and some excess dirt that seemed to have appeared from nowhere.  At first, he had cast suspicious looks at Katie, who had been in the area for a bit earlier before returning to the backyard with Little Danny, but it didn't look like the beagle's handiwork.

~We must have a dirt fairy around here somewhere.~

Standing, Jack stretched out his back and began working on cinching up the large garbage bag when a sudden gust of wind caused him to lose his balance and stumble backwards.  He lost his grip on the large bag, which flew up into the air.

Just as Jack lost his balance, the mailman shouted out in warning, “Look out!”

The movement couldn't be stopped, however, and Jack's garden shavings and the postal carrier's mail that was in his cart ended up all jumbled together, while Jack ended up right on his rear end.  When he caught his breath, he looked up at the government worker and cocked his head.

“Are you all right, Jack?” the mail carrier asked.

“Peachy,” Jack snapped as he stood up.  “You don't look the worse for wear.”

“I'm just fine,” the carrier said jovially.  “I can't say that for the mail, though.”

“Sorry.  I don't know what happened there,” Jack responded as he began to help the mail person collect the mail.  Suddenly, he realized that this wasn't the neighborhood's usual mail delivery person.  “Hey, how'd you know my name?”

“I was just about to give you your mail.  I saw the name -- Jack Jackson-O'Neill.  That's you, right?  Or are you Daniel?  I have mail for him, too, but you look like more of a Jack.  Are you Jack?  I have to be sure, of course.  I can't let the mail get into the wrong hands.  It's important,” the man said cheerfully, grinning and with a twinkle in his eye.

“Yeah, that's me,” Jack responded, still suspicious of the person he was talking to.  “What happened to ...”

“Vacation.  Won the lotto actually; not enough to quit, but enough to take the family on a nice trip.”

“Good for them,” Jack said, genuinely pleased to hear of the other person's good fortune, but still feeling grumpy.

With the mail now back in his cart, the carrier wished Jack well and went on his way.

Holding the pile of letters, bills, magazines, and a couple of packages in his hands, Jack pondered the strange event that had just occurred.  Something about it just felt very odd.

~Great!~ the frustrated man exclaimed sarcastically, realizing how dirty the edge of the yard was now.  Letting out a huge sigh, he had just begun to shove the dirt, leaves, and trimmings back into the bag when he spied an envelope.  Picking it up, he realized it wasn't part of the family mail.  “Hey!  Hey!” he called out as he went up the street, looking for the mail carrier.  ~Okay, he couldn't have gotten that far.~

Jack sprinted up the street, checked both sides of the next cross street, and then returned to the house, his eyes intently looking for the postal carrier.  Yet, he saw no one.  Not only that, but he couldn't see the mail truck that was usually parked a couple of houses down the block while the carrier walked the area, delivering the mail.  Even the substitute drivers parked there most of the time.  Yet, the vehicle was nowhere in sight.

Another wave of weirdness passed through the Air Force officer, but he shook it off.

~I'll just mail this la...ter,~ Jack thought silently, his eyes staring in disbelief at the envelope.  ~This is different.~

The envelope had a return address in the corner along with several first class stamps on the front.

~Overkill.~

It was the addressee that had stunned Jack, though.  The letter was addressed to 'God in Heaven'.

~Definitely misdirected mail.~

Jack took a second look for the carrier.  He knew the Svensons across the street hadn't gotten their mail yet, so that meant the carrier would have to come down the street again to deliver mail to the odd-numbered houses.  He put the letter aside and finished refilling the garbage bag; then he settled in to wait for the postal worker.  He waited, and waited, and waited, but there was no sign of the mailman.

“Jack, lunch!” Daniel called out.

“Right,” Jack mumbled.

“What?” the archaeologist called out.

“Be right there,” Jack replied more audibly this time.  He tapped the envelope against his other hand and then slid it in his pocket.  ~I'll figure it out later.~

====

“Daddy, what's wrong with Dad?” Little Danny asked that evening.

“I think he's just tired,” Daniel answered, glancing over at his husband.

Since the afternoon, the general's inner grouchy bear seemed to have gone back into hibernation and left Jack in a subdued contemplative state.  Several times, he'd pulled out the letter and just stared at it before putting it back into his pocket.  Even after he'd showered and changed clothes after having finished his chores, he'd kept the heavenly bound message with him.

Little Danny headed into the recreation room, climbed up on the sofa, and surprised his older father with a big hug.

“Hi,” Jack said with a smile.

“Hi, Dad.”

“What was that for?”

“It was a 'just because' hug,” Little Danny answered.

Jack grinned, gave the boy a kiss on the cheek, and said, “Thank you, Son.  I needed that.”

**Are you okay?** Daniel questioned with the lovers' special communication while returning to the rec room to take a seat.

**Yeah,** Jack answered, giving his husband a reassuring smile.

Movie night was about to begin, and the family and their various zoo members were settled in to enjoy the flick.  As he'd been since coming inside, Jack was suddenly their pets' best friend, and while he might never admit it, the animals affection was definitely mutual.  He just couldn't be around the family zoo enough.

~Oh, geez,~ Jack thought when the movie began, one that the children had chosen under supervision.

'Oh, Heavenly Dog!' then began, leaving Jack shaking his head at the 'heavenly' reference.

====

Unable to sleep, Jack roused from his rest and gently slid out from beneath his beautiful geek.  He ran his fingers through his mussed silver-gray hair and took a deep breath.  Looking over at the nightstand, he glimpsed the letter.  He reached over and picked it up, after which he stood and slipped on his robe.  He glanced over at his lover and smiled.  Then he headed downstairs to the study, his smile broadening when Bijou followed him to his haven.  The mama beagle jumped up on the sofa and watched to see what Jack was going to do.

Jack sat down at his desk, his elbows on the edge of the desk.  He held the letter in the tips of his trembling fingers, staring at it as the seconds, and then minutes, ticked on.

~I am *so* not God.  I'll just run out and mail this,~ Jack decided, standing up.  He didn't actually move a step, though, before sitting down again.  He tossed the envelope on the desk and then lowered his head onto his arms, shaking his head. ~Why is this affecting me like this?  It's only a friggin' letter.  Just mail it.  The post office must get letters like this all the time.  They probably have a procedure for dealing with them.~

Again, Jack stood.  Again, he resumed his position in the chair.  He sighed as he picked up the piece of mail with his right hand, his eyes focused solely on the addressee.

~Fine.  I know where I'm going anyway.~

Jack succumbed to temptation and opened the envelope, pulling out a note card. As he did so, a color photograph fell out.  He smiled as he took in the picture of a small girl, who looked to be under five years of age, who was lovingly hugging her dog.  The photo reminded him a little bit of Aislinn when she was younger and played with Mrs. Valissi's dog, Andie.  Andie was a shepherd-collie mix so had been almost equal in size to the little girl at that time, just like the one in the photograph.

Placing the photograph back on the desk, Jack turned his attention to the card, which read:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog?  She died yesterday and is with you in Heaven.  I miss her very much; I cry a lot because she's gone.  I am happy that you let me have her as my dog, even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her.  She's very nice.  She likes to play with balls and to swim.  I hope you have a big lake for her to swim in.  I am sending you a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog.  Her name is Mandy.  I really miss her.

Love,

Claudia

P.S.  Mommy wrote the words for me.  I don't write very well yet.

Jack's eyes were tearing.  He picked up the photograph again, studying it carefully.

~So help me if this is some joke.~

The man's silent threat ended when he reread the card.  It was so heartfelt.  Jack stared again at the picture, trying to see if he could recognize the girl, but nothing came to him.  Re-sealing the letter, he decided, yet again, to mail it the next day.

“Come on, Bij.  How about sleeping with Danny and me?”

The beagle wagged her tail and followed Jack back to the master bedroom, quickly jumping up on the bed and resting alongside Jack's leg.  A minute later, Katie appeared and took a position at Jack's feet.

~Best dogs in the whole world,~ Jack thought as he closed his eyes and finally went to sleep.

====

Later that day, Jack reached out to drop the letter in the box, but his fingers stuck like glue to the card.  Behind him, an impatient patron honked their horn.

“Mac, mail it, or move it!” the angry driver shouted.

Snapping out of a near trance, Jack pulled the letter back inside and went on his way.  He wondered how long he'd been at the mailbox, especially since the clock in the truck showed fifteen minutes later than it had when he'd decided to mail the card.

~Male menopause: that's what this is.~

====

~What?  Crap!~ Jack thought, missing his exit.  He didn't normally come this way, and he had no clue why he'd done it just now.  ~Holy What the Heck is Going On With Me?~

Suddenly slamming on the brakes, Jack's breathing became more rapid.  There, sitting sadly on the lawn, was the little girl in the picture.  A moment later, a woman came out and sat down next to her, pulling her close.

Jack watched as the woman and child talked for a moment, and then they got up and went inside the house.  Driving by slowly, he glanced inside the house.  Looking through the large windowpane, he could see a family portrait hanging on the wall.  Included in the portrait was Mandy, the girl's dog.  Just like in the photograph, little Claudia had her arms around her pet, love emanating from both of them.

As he processed what he'd seen, Jack felt a great deal of warmth and respect for the girl's mother, who had written the letter for her daughter.  She'd been so compassionate and caring, having allowed young Claudia to use ten times the necessary postage to mail the letter, which was no cheap act in this day and age.

~Good woman; good mother, but this whole business is definitely odd.~

What was even odder for the general was that every time he'd tried to talk about the card and its' contents, something would interfere.  Whatever was happening, apparently, it was he who was to take action.

~Fine.  I'm a general.  I can do this.~  Jack sighed.  ~Do what, O'Neill?  What exactly is it that you're supposed to do?~

The answer continued to elude him as he drove home.

====

The next day, much like the previous ones, Jack was distracted and unusually quiet.  He was continually having to reassure his family that he was fine and just lost in thought about something, which, as like the day before, he was never able to tell them, thanks to distractions and interruptions.  Also like before, he had a strange need to be around the animal kingdom in residence at the house, especially Bijou and Katie, both of whom stayed remarkably close to the man, obviously sensing that he needed them.

In the afternoon, the general was at the store, picking up pet supplies for the family's growing zoo.  A book caught his eye.  It was small, just thirty-pages or so, but it was the topic that entranced him.  The book was called, 'When A Pet Dies', and it was by the still well-known, though deceased for several years now, children's host, Mr. Rogers.

For a reason currently unknown to him, Jack added the book to his cart and then continued with his shopping.

~I'd better make sure the kids don't see it, though; they're likely to think there is something wrong with one of our menagerie.~

====

For the third night in a row, a restless Jack awoke, slipped out from under his Angel, his husband, and took the letter with him to the study.  It amazed him that Daniel never awoke during any of his absences.  It was out of character; it made no sense, but that's how it had been.

Daniel certainly noticed his lover's absence and would become a little restless, but then he'd grab hold of Jack's pillow, snuggle into it, and fall back into a deeper sleep.

Once again, Bijou was on her throne -- the old, comfy, and reliable sofa in the study.  She watched all the action and was ready to take her own kind of action, if necessary.

For two hours, Jack sat, staring at the photo and rereading, over and over again, the plea of the little girl whom he now knew did live close by.  He'd read the book, knowing that some may not like the direct approach on the subject, but believing that it would actually be of help to such a young child as Claudia.

~Forgive me.  I know I'm not You, but ... well, someone seems to want me to handle this situation, so that's what I'm gonna do.~

Having decided on a course of action, Jack began by taping the envelope, in which the original card and photograph were, to the inside front cover of the book he'd purchased.  Then, on the opposite page, he wrote the following note:

Dear Claudia,

Mandy arrived safely in Heaven.  Thanks to the picture you sent, I recognized her right away.  She isn't sick anymore and is running and playing all the time.  Yes, there is plenty of heavenly water for her to swim in, too.  All of her desires are coming true for her here.  She's making new friends in Heaven, too.  You know, her spirit is here with me, just like it is with you.  She will always be in your heart, just as long as you remember her.

Mandy loved being your dog, and she misses you, too.  She's watching over you with me, and she doesn't want you to cry anymore.  If you ever get scared, just look beside you.  That'll be Mandy, watching you for me.

Since we don't need our bodies in Heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your letter and picture in, so I'm returning them to you in this little book that I hope you'll use as a way to always remember your beloved Mandy.

Thank you for the beautiful letter, and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me.  You have a wonderful, caring mother.  I picked her especially for you.

You are a beautiful little girl, Claudia, and I send my blessings to you and your family every day.  Remember that I love you very much.  By the way, I'm easy to find; I am wherever there is love.

Love,

God

Taking a final look at his words, Jack wrapped the book, using gold gift wrap.  On the front, he wrote, 'To Claudia'.

~Okay.  No bolts of lightning, please.  This is what You want, right?~

====

In the twilight of the morning, Jack delivered his package, leaving it on the front porch and certain no one had seen him.  He desperately wanted to see the little girl's reaction, but he couldn't.  He had no reason to be in the area, and he didn't want to risk being discovered.

That night, Jack was finally able to tell his lover his secret of the last few days.

“Danny, it's been the weirdest thing.  I tried to tell you, but something happened every time.  You never woke up, you didn't press the issue about me being quiet.  None of the brood did.  Don't you think that's ... odd?”

“Very,” Daniel agreed.  “I wanted to ask you what was going on, but I ... I just never did.  I guess I could sense ... I wasn't ... worried, not like ... you know.”

“I just don't get it.”

“It was a nice thing that you did, Babe,” Daniel praised, leaning over to kiss his Love.

“I felt possessed.”

“Maybe you were, but it was still a nice thing.  It, uh, was kinda like ... making a little miracle,” Daniel opined.

“I wonder what she thought,” Jack sighed, yawning.

For the first night in weeks, Jack slept through the night.  His slumber was peaceful, and his husband rested in his usual place, atop the older man's chest. Bijou and Katie had apparently felt the peacefulness, too, the two beagles now in residence with different members of the brood.

Jack still didn't understand why things had happened the way they did, and the mysterious substitute postman was never seen again.  He had lots of questions about that, but he decided that not all questions really needed answers.  That was reinforced anytime he drove down Claudia's street, which he couldn't resist doing from time to time, and saw her happy smile that had replaced the sadness he'd seen that first day.

====

Many months later, Jack went out for a jog.  For some unknown reason, he took an unusual route, one that went right by Claudia's home.  As he neared her home, he stopped, spotting Claudia and her mother, though he managed to run in place and avoid drawing undo attention to himself.

“Claudia, get Jack.”

Jack was shocked; his running in place stopped completely.

“Can I help you?” the woman asked, seeing Jack standing at the edge of the grass, looking stunned.

“No, Ma'am.  I'm sorry.  It's just ... I heard you say to get Jack.”  Seeing the woman was still looking confused, Jack explained, “That's my name.  Jack ... Jack O'Neill, uh, actually, Jack Jackson-O'Neill.  General, Lieutenant General, retired.  Oh, crap, I can't think.  Must be a lack of oxygen to my brain,” he tried to rationalize, happy when the woman's concerned expression gave way to a gentler one that included a small chuckle.  “I live a few blocks over and decided to take a different route on my jog this morning.  Like I said, it just startled me when I heard you tell your little girl to get me, uh, Jack.”

“This is Jack,” the little girl said, running up to the two adults with her brown and white Brittany Spaniel.  Her hand fondled the canine's ears as looked up and Jack. “I used to have a dog named Mandy, but she got sick and died.  She's in Heaven, though.  God wrote me a letter and told me she was all healthy and happy now.”

“I believe that,” Jack replied, leaning down to pet the dog for a moment and feeling more overcome with emotion than he wanted to let on.

“I'll always love Mandy, and now I have Jack to love, too.”

“Claudia, you and Jack get in the car.  We have to meet Daddy at the park,” the woman requested with a smile.

“Yes, Mommy.  Bye!”

“Bye,” Jack responded, smiling as the girl and her dog hurried to the car.  “I've only known one other dog named Jack,” the general stated, thinking back to Cassandra's dog, the one he'd given her when she'd first arrived from Hanka.

“It does seem like a strange name, doesn't it?” the woman acknowledged.  “I don't know.  It was crazy.  Claudia had such a hard time when Mandy died, but then she wrote a letter to God, and I don't know how, but someone answered.  It took a while, but the kindness of a stranger helped her get through it.  Then one day, we opened the door, and there was Jack.  He didn't have a tag, and we have no clue where he came from, but he walked right to Claudia and hasn't left her side.  She looked right down at him and said, 'Mommy, this is Jack.  Can we keep him?'.”  The woman sighed contentedly as she watched her daughter and the young dog at her side.  “Miracle worker.”

“Ma'am?” Jack asked, not having heard the woman's words.

“Someone made a miracle happen for my little girl, Mister O'Neill.  I'll be forever in their debt, whoever they are.”  With a smile, she said, “It was nice to meet you, but we have to go.”

“The pleasure was all mine, Ma'am.”

“Bye!” Claudia called out again, waving at Jack as her mother made sure she was secured in her car seat and then did the same with Jack the dog.

“Woof!” Jack called out.

Jack the general watched as the woman backed out of the driveway.  He could swear the dog was smiling at him.  He knew Claudia was.

~Odd, very odd,~ Jack thought.  Then he looked up and smiled.  “But thank you. That was ... thank you.”

Jack wasn't a miracle maker, but he felt like, for some strange reason that he'd never understand, he'd been used to help a little girl, and he was okay with that.  He'd benefited from the somewhat eerie experience, too, as he'd realized that, with the exception of Bijou and Katie whom he'd adored as much as any of his children, he'd begun to take the Jackson-O'Neill pets for granted a bit.  He loved them, and he always had, but he appreciated them all a little more now.  For that, he was eternally grateful.

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