Million Dollar Conversation

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - November 17-18, 2016
Spoilers:  Upgrades
Size:  38kb, short story
Written:  May 4-7,16, 2010 Tweaked: January 1, 2012
Summary:  At the end of a very long and special day for Daniel and Jonny, Jack surprises Jonny with a late night trip that is both eye opening and emotional.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): “Million Dollar Son”
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Tammy, Navi, Claudia, Irina, Ali, Mama Bear!

Million Dollar Conversation
by Orrymain

The day had been full of fun for Daniel Jackson-O'Neill and his son, Jonny.  They'd played at the creek where years before Jonny had found his pet lizard, Bogey, and they'd worked together on installing a new and imaginary rocket booster to Daniel's sports car.

However, the day had also had a serious moment.  That had occurred before most of the fun events, when Daniel had to go by Cheyenne Mountain to lend his skills to his old staff.  As often happened, Jonny had gone exploring and ended up overhearing two Air Force personnel making disparaging remarks about Daniel.  Naturally, this upset the boy.  Ultimately, though, he'd been even more unnerved because for some unknown reason, he'd backed off from his usual 'I'm gonna fight 'em' attitude and had settled into a calmer and more emotional stance of just wanting them to leave Daniel alone.

As a result, Daniel and Jonny had entered into a long discussion about the child being a product of both of his parents. Daniel had told him to be whoever he wanted to be, keeping true to himself, and if he really desired a military career, he should ask questions and not push forward blindly.

While Daniel felt he'd made his point with the oldest Munchkin, he also believed that it was vitally important for his husband, Jack, to backup his comments.  It was commonly known that Jonny worshipped his older father and wanted to be just like him.

That night, as the lovers settled into bed, Daniel told Jack all about the day's events.

“Everything okay?” Jack asked.

“Jonny met some old acquaintances of ours today,” Daniel answered quietly, rubbing Jack's arm.

“Who?”

“Lawson and Johnson.  Remember them?”

“Buffoons who look like men?”

“More or less,” Daniel acknowledged. “They haven't changed.  Apparently, Jonny overheard them at their best.  I guess they saw us come in.”

“I wish you hadn't stopped me from kicking their butts that time; or you could have at least let me transfer them somewhere cold and dull.”  Jack saw his husband's shrug and knew it didn't really matter anymore, so he moved on.  “So what happened?”

“He started to be General Jonny, and they didn't buy it.  I stepped in as soon as I caught up and that ... started Jonny thinking about things.  Babe, he's a little scared right now.”

“Jonny and scared aren't two words that go together,” Jack responded, not sure what to make of what his lover was saying.

“He showed a little bit of ... me today, and that's what scared him.”

Jack cocked his head in surprise, though he was still unclear on what happened.

Daniel continued, “Up until today, he'd always reacted like you when faced with an adversarial situation.  Well, actually, he did react that way, except he felt something more than outrage and anger.  He wanted a hug, Jack, and he didn't understand that.”

“Maybe you'd better start at the beginning,” Jack suggested.

When Daniel had finished explaining, he added, “He needs reassurance that he can be Jonny without disappointing either of us.  He needs to hear it from you, Jack.  You're his hero.”

“Hey.”

“Jack, this isn't about me.  You know how he looks up to you.  He does to me, too, but it's the military thing.  He needs you to tell him, Jack.  He has to hear it from you,” Daniel insisted.

Jack sighed, nodding as he replied, “Growing up is dang tough.  What happened today, Danny, is that our son made a realization.”

“Which is?”

“He wants to be like you, too, and being like you means *I'm* not as perfect as he thought.”

“I disagree, Babe.  It's not about perfection; it's about being himself.  He's afraid of having to make a choice and hurting one of us.  He wants both worlds, and he wants Little Danny to go along with him.”

“Whoa!”

“Yeah.  He has dreams of both of them joining the Air Force, flying jets, and graduating from Harvard, Yale, and Oxford.”

“All three?” Jack asked with widened eyes.

“Little Danny prefers the scholastic route.”

“What are we going to do about it?” Jack questioned.

“Let them grow up and be however they want, and you need to make sure Jonny understands that being in the military doesn't mean he's turning his back on Academia, or his brother.  I think that's a part of it, Jack.”

“The kid's only ten.”

“I know, but it's in his head now.  Just ... talk to him, okay?  Let him know it's okay, whatever his ultimate choice is, even if he does have a big dream to do both.  Who knows?  Maybe he'll talk Little Danny into it.”

“How would you feel about that?”

“It's his choice, Babe, not mine.”

“Daniel?”

“Hmmm?”

“I'll talk to him, but after I do, can we not think about this for another ... seven or eight years?  I'm getting a headache,” Jack groaned, closing his eyes as his head dropped back onto his pillow.

Daniel laughed and agreed, “Okay.  So, what should we talk about now?”

“I was thinking we wouldn't talk.”

“Sometimes, My Love, I love how you think,” Daniel returned, his eyes sparkling as he cupped his husband's face.

A kiss later, Jack groaned.  Surprising his lover, he stood up and put on his robe.

“Where are you going?” a much deflated, in more ways than one, Daniel asked.

“If I know our little general, he's not asleep.  I'll be back, and we'll pick up where we left off,” Jack promised with a seductive gleam in his eyes.

====

Sure enough, Jonny was in bed, his eyes closed, but he wasn't asleep.  When the door of his room moved, his eyes snapped open, and the little general was instantly alert.  Jonny couldn't help but grin when he saw his dad's head pop through the opening.

Putting two fingers in front of his lips to shush his namesake from saying anything, Jack motioned for Jonny to put on his robe and follow him.  This would be a special chat, so the general figured it deserved to be held in a special place.

“Wow,” Jonny responded when the two went outside and climbed up the ladder to enter the tree house.

With him, Jack had a thermos full of hot chocolate and plastic bag of Snickerdoodles for snacking.

After the father and son settled down, the two sitting on pillows that made the floor more comfortable, Jonny guessed, “You're gonna talk to me about those men at the Mountain, huh?”

Jack chuckled at his son's awareness and corrected, “No, not exactly.  I'm going to talk to you about choices.”  He took a sip of his hot chocolate and then looked across at the youngster.  Jonny was almost a mirror image of Jack at that age.  “You're so much like me,” he mused out loud with a sigh.

The comment made Jonny sit up straighter and grin with pride.

“When I look at you, Son, I see a lot of me, but do you know what else I see?”

“Daddy?” Jonny asked thoughtfully.

“Yeah, Daddy,” Jack confirmed quietly.  “He's as much a part of you as I am, and that's a wonderful thing.”

“Dad, those men hurt Daddy.  Why didn't you make them go away?” Jonny asked.

Even though he'd understood his younger father's rationale for not retaliating against the men earlier in the day, the oldest Munchkin wanted to know how his older father had managed to refrain from acting.  Although his reaction at the Mountain might have been to retreat, Jonny now had an overwhelming urge to see justice done.

“I wanted to.  I wanted to eighty-six those dudes and every single idiot who ever looked at Daddy sideways,” Jack answered with some force.  “Sometimes I did, but ... Daddy didn't want me to interfere so much.”

“He said it would make it worse,” Jonny mumbled while eating a Snickerdoodle.

“He was right.  I witnessed it once, and that was enough to make me reconsider.”

Jonny looked skeptically at his father, a probing look of disbelief on his face.

Finally, Jack growled, “Okay, I confess.  I just didn't tell Daddy what I did all the time.  Sometimes, a word to Grandpa or a simple reassignment did the trick.”

“Daddy knows that,” Jonny chuckled, almost as if he'd just dared his dad not to tell him the truth.

Jack smiled slightly as he reached over for a cookie.  Somewhere deep down, he knew that Daniel was aware of his efforts to keep him out of harms way, even when they hadn't discussed a particular occurrence way back when.

“There's another piece of the pie that needs to be considered about those guys,” the father told his son.  “Look, I'd love it if every member of my team and everyone who fought with us were all people who were free of prejudice and loved the world around them, but that's not our world. There are people who don't think the way we do and who aren't as tolerant.”

“I know,” Jonny sighed, thinking back to some of the people his family had encountered over the years who had given them grief, mainly for being a family with same-sex parents.

“Sometimes those people make terrific fighters.  It's probably the rage they feel, the same thing that makes them so angry at the world ... or certain people in it, that makes them be strong soldiers.”

“Is that why those men are still in the Air Force?”

With a sigh, Jack nodded and expounded, “It's probably the only job they could hold as adults.  You know that being military means fighting for your country, if needed.”

“Dad, what about our allies?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I get that maybe we need those guys to fight, but shouldn't the soldiers at Stargate Command be ... um, uh ... special?”  The boy frowned and then he shook his head to shake off his statement, waving his hands to stop his dad when Jack had started to speak.  “We meet aliens at SGC, so shouldn't our best people be at SGC?”

“Now that's something Daddy would say, and he'd be right, just like you are.  I hear you, Son.  There's a lot of fighting that needs to be done, and maybe the best place for soldiers like those two men you met today isn't at SGC.”

“What if Uncle Thor had met those two men first?” Jonny questioned and then refilled his cup with a fresh dose of hot chocolate.

“Good point,” Jack acknowledged.  ~Wish I'd thought of that; would have saved some fights with Danny over this stuff.~

For a minute or two, father and son enjoyed their snack and let the conversation to this point settle a bit.  Then Jonny broke the silence.

“Dad, did Daddy tell you why I got upset today?”

“He mentioned it to me,” Jack acknowledged.  “Geez, I love these things,” he mumbled with his mouth full of Snickerdoodle.

“They're good,” Jonny added enthusiastically, still munching on his own cookie.

“I don't know,” Jack said thoughtfully as he reconsidered his praise.  “Too much sugar.”

“Na-huh.  Jen made these.  They're terrific,” Jonny refuted.

“No,” Jack insisted, shaking his head.  “Way too sweet.  We should throw these out.”

“Dad, I like them,” Jonny insisted.  “They aren't too sweet, and Jen makes 'em special.  She doesn't use that much sugar when she bakes them.”

“They're imperfect.”

Jonny cocked his head, staring at his father.  He just didn't understand what Jack was saying or trying to get at.  There had to be a reason why he was criticizing the cookies.  His parents would never say such bad things about something a member of the brood had made.

“So am I,” Jack added softly.

The sandy-haired boy's jaw dropped as he argued, “No, you're not.  You're the best dad in the whole wide universe.”

“What about Daddy?”

“He's the best *daddy* in the whole wide universe,” Jonny responded with complete conviction.

“You're right there.  Daddy's a very good man, Jonny.  He brings out the best of me, and that may not be something you understand just yet, but one day when you grow up and fall in love, you'll know what that means, if you're lucky to find the right person like I have.”

Jonny took a breath, feeling a little better, but still being confused by the discussion.  He didn't understand why his dad had gone from talking about Jennifer's cookies to talking about his daddy.

“Son, I'm not perfect.  I'm glad you think so, but I'm not, and the reality is that Daddy isn't perfect, either.  He's perfect for me, but we all have our ... flaws, our rough edges.”

“You are, too, perfect,” the boy said under his breath just before sipping more of his drink.

Jack groaned and came to an unorthodox decision.

“Son, a good soldier always does what he's told, right?”

“Uh-huh,” Jonny agreed.

“When he's given an order, he obeys it straightaway, right?”

“Uh-huh,” the boy agreed, which was about all he could say with his mouth full of yet another Snickerdoodle.

“What if a soldier thinks he just knows better?”

“An order is an order,”  Jonny replied without hesitation.

~Geez, Danny, he's done a complete one-eighty since you were at the SGC.  He's right back to being a ... mini-me before I had you.~

“Is there ever a reason to disobey an order?”

“Nope,” the boy replied with certainty while reaching for his hot chocolate.

~Okay then,~ Jack said to himself, feeling like he'd sufficiently primed the pump. “Saddle up, Son,” he stated resolutely.  “We're going to the Mountain.”

Jonny's eyes grew as wide as dollars.  He was more than willing, but it sure was an unexpected event, especially since it was already after ten o'clock.

====

After father and son had dressed, and Jack had filled Daniel in on his idea, the general and the wannabe officer headed for Stargate Command.  All the way there, they talked about military protocol and insubordination.  In Jonny's mind, no Air Force officer worth his salt would go against orders.

“Sir?” Sergeant Davis called out, shocked to see Jack and Jonny on the base at all, let alone this late at night.

“Walter, where's my jacket?”

“Dad, you're wearing it,” Jonny interjected, surprised by the request.

“Not the jacket I'm talking about,” Jack clarified, ruffling Jonny's hair.  Looking at the sergeant, he questioned, “Hank's office or buried in the archives?”

“Jack, what are you doing here?” Major General Hank Landry greeted as he walked out of his office.

“Trouble?” Jack inquired, considering the lateness of the hour and the exhaustion on the other general's face.

“Minor crisis.  It was averted by dinnertime, but I ended up with a backlog of paperwork.  I was just about to leave.”  Landry looked down at Jonny and smiled. “Jonny.”

“Hi, General Hank.”

“No running around my base,” Landry ordered the boy.  “I don't have any extra personnel free to chase you down.”

“Okay,” Jonny chuckled with a loose salute.

“Hank, is my jacket in your files or ...”

“Jack, your jacket is celebratory.  We don't have a box big enough to hold it,” Landry teased.

“I need to see it,” Jack stated, tapping his son on the shoulder and indicating that the concept that there was a lesson involved for the youngster.

“It's right where you left it,” Landry advised the other general.  “Use my office.  Just don't doodle on my desk.”

“Me?  Doodle?” Jack questioned as if hurt by the affront.  ~All I did was enhance the desk with a bit of patriotic drawings.  Had to do something to brighten up the room.~

====

A couple of minutes later, Jack and Jonny were inside Landry's office.  Jonny was seated on the top of the desk while Jack was using his friend's chair.  In front of him, and to Jonny's left, was Jack's huge Air Force jacket.

“Jonny, this is my military jacket,” Jack explained.  “Uh, everyone has a jacket.”

“A file?” the boy guessed.

“Yes.  It's the record of our military performance.  It's our history.  All the extra good and the bad are packed in here, right in here,” Jack said as he patted the accordion file that was actually three accordion files taped together to hold all of his records.

“You've done a lot of extra good, Dad.”

“Right,” Jack sighed.  ~Okay, get to it.~  He stood up and went to the files where team leader jackets were kept for easy access.  Most records were kept on a separate floor, but others had always been kept in this office.  “Look at this one,” he requested as he held out a folder, one that was about three-quarters of an inch thick.  “That's Uncle Lou's jacket.”  Pulling out another one that was, he mused, thicker than Lou Ferretti's, he stated, “This is Aunt Sam's jacket.  ~Probably all the citations for her doohickeys~

“You have the most, Dad,” Jonny observed pridefully.

“Annnnnd,” Jack pulled out another one that was somewhere between Lou's and Sam's files, “This is Daddy's.”

Jonny's face fell.  How could his daddy's jacket be so small?  Then he figured it out.

“Daddy's must have been in a fire and that's all they have left.”

~Geez, ingenious, but oh so wrong,~ Jack chuckled inwardly, though he was stone-faced outwardly.  He carried that file with him to the desk and then sat down again.  “Let's take a peek.”

Jack perused the file, factoring in what might be classified or inappropriate for his son to hear.  He pulled out accommodations and merit records and read a few remarks given by General Hammond and even himself when he'd run Stargate Command.

“Now, Daddy's not perfect, and here's one time when Grandpa was pretty mad at him.”

“Grandpa was mad at Daddy?”

~He was three times as mad at me,~ Jack thought, though he wasn't ready to reveal that yet.  “Daddy was supposed to stay on the base.  He knew that, but he went to town.”

“How come?”

“He was hungry,” Jack answered simply as he shrugged.

The answer made no sense to the young boy who found himself wanting to defend his daddy against his dad, and that confused him even more so.

Jack understood his son's inner turmoil and moved swiftly on to his ultimate goal by simplifying his point.

“Jonny, let's look at my jacket.”

Jack went back to his early days and straight up through his retirement.  Unlike Daniel's handful of civilian reprimands, Jack had a long string of them.  By the time he'd finished relaying edited versions of his military history, Jonny had climbed down off the desk and retreated to the opposite side of the room.  He was on the floor, sitting with his head down.

~Crap, but I had to do it.~  Jack put the last nasty report back and then walked over and sat down opposite his namesake.  “Jonny, I'm not perfect.  Now I'm not proud of everything in that file, but everything I've done that earned those reprimands, I had a reason for doing.”

“You disobeyed orders.”

“Sometimes, you better believe it.  The stuff I did early on was just being an idiot, showing off a little for my buddies.  There's a lot of smack in the military.”  Jack paused for a few seconds, letting the information sink in a bit more.  “Sometimes I just thought I knew better than my superiors.  Sometimes I did.  Do you know why I got away with it?”

“'Cause you were good.”

“Darn tootin',” Jack acknowledged.  “Jonny, as much of a pain as I was, I did my job, and I did it well.  I did a lot of things for my country, things I still can't talk about and things that aren't easy to live with, and when you do some of what I've done, you get a little leeway.”  He took a breath and then continued.  “But then there were the times that I questioned my orders, not to play it big for team or even because of my ego.  Do you know why I did that?”

Jonny slowly looked over at his father, piecing together the puzzle, and answered, “Daddy?”

“You'd better believe it.  Daddy finally knocked some sense into my thick head and convinced me to ask 'why',” Jack stated.  “'Why am I doing this?'  'How will my actions affect innocent people?'  Son, do you know what innocent people who happen to be in the way of a mission's success are called in the military?”  After Jonny shook his head 'no', Jack elaborated, “They're called collateral damage.  That means they don't matter, that if they are harmed for the good of the mission, too bad.”

“That's not right,” Jonny spoke up.

“No, it's not.  Look, it's hard, it's friggin' hard to know where the line is, and maybe sometimes I just didn't see that line, but the first time that Daddy convinced me to be honest with myself and ask those questions, there could have been a lot of collateral damage if I hadn't listened to him.”

Jonny stared into his father's eyes and saw sadness.  It frightened him a little, because he also saw a smidgeon of fear.

“I don't like to think about the collateral damage I've caused in the course of my career or what could have happened if I hadn't listened to Daddy.  If you follow in my footsteps like you say you want to, you'll understand.  Part of me doesn't want that, Jonny, because it's ugly, but ... sometimes, you have to do things to protect your family or your country, and you do it because it's the only way.”  After a smile, he added, “But sometimes, Jonny, you find the 'or'.”

“There's always an 'or',” Jonny proclaimed brightly.

“I believe that, and I always have, but Daddy got me to look at it with a wider lens.  When there's going to be collateral damage, look for the 'or'.”

“That's what Daddy taught you,” Jonny practically gasped as the lesson began to live within him.

“Yes, and because of Daddy's reminders to remember that collateral damage means lives, people, human beings, life forces on other worlds, that jacket doubled under Grandpa's command,” Jack stated as he pointed at the big file.

“Grandpa wouldn't ...”

“Grandpa was doing what he had to do.  He didn't have all the intel that SG-1 had out in the field.  Jonny, part of being a good officer is being able to think on your feet.  We weren't always able to communicate with Grandpa, and sometimes, I had to go against him.  I had to follow my gut.  Now when I did, I was prepared for the consequences.  That's part of being a good officer.  You make a decision, you'd better be willing to back it, good or bad.  That means you take your lumps, if you have to, and you do it with your head held high.”

The little boy was trying hard to digest all that he was being told, but it was a lot to grasp.  His young heart was beating faster because of his efforts.  He really wanted to understand.  After all, his dad was perfect, no matter what he was saying now.  He had to be.  That's what Jonny thought as he bowed his head in a certain, very familiar way.

Jack reached over and tapped his son's chin lightly, raising it a bit, and then noted, “Daddy does that, lowers his head a little when he's uncertain.  You do that because of Daddy.”

“Daddy's not military,” Jonny replied softly.

“No, and I never wanted him to be, but you've seen Daddy in action.  He can protect himself, you, the rest of the brood, Aunt Sam, Teal'c, and he's saved my butt more times than I can count.  He's the bravest man I know, and he has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known.  Son, you be proud that Daddy's influencing your actions.  That is the *best* thing that could happen to you, to have Daddy's passion for life.  Jonny, that's what this is about.  Daddy cares so much about people, people from all over.  Their rights matter to him a great deal, and while at SGC, that's what drove him much of the time.  He had to fight me sometimes on that, but he was always right.  Do you understand?”

Jonny looked down for a minute, contemplating all he'd learned on this night.

“Dad, sometimes the answer isn't fighting,” Jonny stated slowly, thinking back to the events of earlier in the day.

“Most of the time the answer isn't fighting,” Jack corrected.  “The hard part of being an officer and a human being is knowing where the line is.  That line, Jonny, is often hard to see.  If you ever get into a situation where you're given an order by a commanding officer, and it involves collateral damage, listen to your heart; and if your heart says, 'it's wrong', look for another way.  Give your commanding officer an alternative.  If you don't have one, ask your team.”

“Did you ever just not want to fight?”

“I never want to fight, not when lives are at stake,” Jack answered.  “Is that how you felt today?”

“At first, I wanted to slug them.  Then I thought I'd just use one of Teal'c's moves on them,” Jonny confided.

“And then?”

“Then  ... then I thought they were just a couple of idiots.  I know I'm not supposed to think that about people, but they were so mean, Dad, and just to be mean.  Then I wondered why they were being mean in front of me, like maybe they wanted me to fight them.  I thought maybe they wanted to get me in trouble,” the boy expounded.  “Then I thought about Daddy, and how we were gonna have a fun day today, and I knew he wouldn't want me to fight, and then I didn't want to fight.  That scared me.”

“It shouldn't.  You should be proud that you know the difference between having to fight and fighting just to fight.  Jonny, those men who attacked Daddy haven't changed in fifteen years.  What would you accomplish by fighting with them now?”

Jonny shrugged and admitted, “Nothing, except ...”

“Go ahead.”  When his son seemed a little hesitant, Jack guessed, “Except it might make you feel better.”  He saw the boy nod.  “That's natural, but those impulses aren't the ones that make you a good soldier.”

“Dad, your jacket was big before they made you a general, huh?”

“That's affirmative.”

Jonny grinned and opined, “That means it was okay for Grandpa to be mad at you.”

“Jonny, Grandpa wrote me up because I disobeyed his direct orders, multiple times, but he also put me in for medals because I saved lives.”

“You gave him an 'or',”  Jonny piped up as he grinned.  He was picking up on the balance between obeying orders and doing what is right.  ~I can do that.~

“A lot of them, but he still had to document how we got there.”

“I still want to be like you,” Jonny confessed, even knowing a bit more now about his dad's military career than before.

Jack's heart was pretty happy at hearing that, but he wondered if his lesson had sunk in or if it had all been for naught.

“But I think Daddy's right, too, and Little Danny says everyone needs an advocate.”

“An advocate?” Jack mused, surprised his son would use that word.  ~What kinds of conversation have they had anyway?~

“Yeah, like he is for the turkeys and all the animals,” Jonny explained.

“Ah!” Jack responded.  “He's right.”

Out of the blue, Jonny questioned, “Did Daddy really break the rules just because he was hungry?”

Jack chuckled, “Actually, it was Aunt Sam's idea.”

“It was?” the boy asked, surprised.  With a scoff, he waved his hand at his father and declared, “No way!”

“Oh, yeah -- way,” Jack affirmed.  “Jonny, I want you to be absolutely clear on something.”

“What, Dad?”

“I love you, and I'm so proud of you.  I admit that hearing you say that you want to be like me makes me feel good, but whoever you turn out to be and whatever you do, I will still love and be proud of you.  You could be a fisherman or ...”

“... a scientist?” the boy suggested with a hint of snark.

“Or a scientist,” Jack echoed, secretly amused.  “All I want is for you to be happy with your decisions.  If you can, keep Daddy's passion for life with you, in here,” he patted the boy's chest over his heart, “so that you'll always know to be your best self.”

“I won't fight just to fight, Dad.  I understand that now.”

“Let's talk about Daddy.”

“Daddy's brave and real smart, and I love him.  I wanna be like Daddy, too,” Jonny put forth.  “So, when I'm in the Air Force, I promise to be a pain in the mikta, just like Daddy.”

Jack roared with laughter as he leaned back, actually falling onto his back and letting out with a small, “Oooooh...ouch.”

Jonny scooted over to his father and asked, “Are you okay, Dad?”

“I'm just great, Sport.”

“Thanks for telling me about your jacket, Dad,” Jonny said as he hugged Jack's chest.

“You're not disappointed in your old man?” Jack questioned while still on his back.

“Na-huh.  You're my dad, and you're the best dad, and Daddy is the best daddy.  You know why?”

“Why?” Jack questioned.

“Because by yourself, you're a fighter, and by himself, Daddy's a people lover.”

“Okay, but I'm not following you,” Jack admitted.

“Well, when you're together, you're a fighting people lover and Daddy's a people lover who fights.  See?” the boy concluded brightly.

~No, but I guess it makes sense to him,~ Jack thought as he stared at his son with a vacant expression.  Inwardly, he smiled.  ~He is just like Danny, too.  He'd say something like that.~

“Dad, did you know that Little Danny is a better kick boxer than me?”

“He is?”

Nodding, Jonny explained, “He's real good.  He beats me all the time when we workout with Teal'c.”  He thumped lightly on his father's chest and whined, “Daaaad!  Don't you get it?”

“Sure.  Of course.  Naturally, I do.”  Jack sighed, “Get what?”

“Little Danny's a good fighter, but he only likes to fight when we're training.  I like to fight a lot, to practice, but now I know that I need to learn to listen, like Daddy and Little Danny do.  I don't like collateral damage, Dad.  I wanna be able to think of an 'or' or know how to hear an 'or' when someone gives me one.”

“There you go,” Jack replied gently.  ~Finally, he's beginning to understand.~

“I'll be the best of both of you, okay?” Jonny asked.  Not waiting for an answer, he continued, “I promised Daddy I'd always ask questions, and I will, and when I'm giving the orders, I'll make sure I'm like Grandpa.  I wanna be like him, too.”

“He'd like that,” Jack expressed softly.  “Let's go home.”

Standing up, Jack went over to the desk, picked up the jackets, and returned them to the files.

“Dad, will you tell me more about why Daddy and Aunt Sam disobeyed Grandpa just because they were hungry?”

With an evasive groan, Jack suggested, “How about I tell you about Merrin instead?”  He hoped his namesake would accept that; after all, he had disobeyed Hammond's orders as well, not to mention he was the team leader.  ~I don't wanna tell him how I made collateral damage out of Siler, either,~ he acknowledged, recalling how a simple pat had given the man a concussion.

As Jack took his hand, Jonny muttered, “I'll ask Grandpa.”

Jack rolled his eyes as the two exited the office.  He nodded at Sergeant Davis and then slid his key card through the slot to call the elevator.

“Dad?”

“Yes, Son?”

“About those two men ...”

“I'll call General Landry in the morning,” Jack interrupted, looking down at Jonny, after which they both broke out into laughter.  “And ...”

“We won't tell Daddy.”

“Bingo!” Jack exclaimed enthusiastically as father and son stepped into the elevator and began their trip home.

====

Back at home and with Jack's permission, Jonny woke Daniel up and assured him that he was going to be the best of both of his parents.  A few minutes and hugs later, the boy returned to his bed, leaving Jack and Daniel to act on Jack's promise to pick up where they'd left off.  It was a wonderful union of their bodies and both were as happy as ever as their naked bodies remained as one, with Daniel lying atop Jack's chest, one leg crooked between his husband's.

Jack kissed the top of Daniel's sweat-soaked hair and smiled.

“You're smiling,” Daniel noted softly.

“How can you tell?”

“I feel it.”

“Geez, what you do to me, Angel,” Jack expressed with much love and satisfaction.

“I love you.”

“Love you, too,” Jack replied.

“Jack, does Jonny really understand now?” Daniel questioned.

“I think he does.  He'll ask those questions, Danny.  I'm pretty sure of that,” Jack opined.

“That's all I want him to do,” Daniel sighed contentedly.  “Thank you for talking to him.”

“It was a million dollar idea, Angel, and it was a million dollar conversation.”

“I'm glad.”

“Daniel ...”

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel agreed as round two started.

There wouldn't be as much sleep for the happy parents on this night, but that was okay.  Lovemaking was high up on their priority list, especially on nights like this that followed days like they'd just had.  For Jack and Daniel, all was well and good for them, their brood, and their zoo.

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