(Slice of Covidity - October 2020)
Category: Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - October 7-11, 2020
Written: February 5, March 15,18,26, April 15, 2021
Summary: COVID-19 is still an issue, but every now and then something fun does happen.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): "Unexpected Miracle" and "Dolphin's Edge"
Slice of Covidity - Movement
As the country continued to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, people attempted to go on their lives. Schools were still closed, businesses operated on a limited basis, and individuals were going stir crazy from staying at home or otherwise curtailing their normal habits. Amid it all, though, life did march onward.
For the Jackson-O'Neills, October was special. It wasn't just Halloween that provided fun, but it was the birthday month for both Chenoa and Brianna. The youngest Mouseketeer was now fifteen, and the tomboy was about to turn twenty.
Much like Jennifer was originally, Brianna didn't feel a need to own a car, even at her age. For years, she drove Jeff's truck, but when he returned home as a college graduate and went to work for Archonics Ltd., he had to take possession of the vehicle back. Thus, in the time that followed, Brianna got around by driving the family SUV, using public transportation, commuting with her friends, or, on occasion, taking Jeff's truck when he didn't need it. She was able to use the old truck more often once Jeff and Chely married, since that meant Jeff was sometimes able to use his wife's vehicle. In her most desperate times, she used one of the ride-hailing services that were so popular at the moment. The system was somewhat unreliable, but Brianna made it work as best she could.
Brianna, whose career goal was to become a marine biologist, was currently attending the University of Colorado at Denver where she was in her senior year. Not having the use of a vehicle on a regular basis was becoming more of a nuisance. She'd been saving up for a car, but always put it off, believing she needed to spend the money on her studies and the many opportunities given to her over the years to actually spend time with the dolphins or developing related skills, such as deep sea diving. Fortunately, the Flipper Fund, as Jack called it, saw her through times of financial difficulty. This fund was created in 2011 when Brianna told her parents about her desire to study dolphins as a career. They agreed to contribute money, as long as the tomboy maintained her grades and followed through with her desires, which she always did.
Jack and Daniel were well aware of their daughter's situation and often tried to persuade her to let them buy her a car, but she refused every time, wanting to make her own way.
"Thanks for the ride," Brianna told the driver as he stopped in front of the Jackson-O'Neill home. With her ride paid for, the college student exited the red car and headed inside. Seeing a neighbor outside, she waved and called out, "Hello."
From the music room where they could see out the front window, Brianna's parents were frowning.
"Jack, I don't think we can let this go on."
"I don't like those car services," Jack admitted. "They don't vet those people. They just make sure they have a car that runs."
"I don't like it, either. So, what do we do?"
"We do what we always do?"
"Ignore her and buy her a car anyway?"
"Danny, this is October, and what happens in a few days?"
Catching on, Daniel grinned and responded, "Our daughter has a birthday, and we need to get her a present, something ... useful."
"A practical gift," Jack noted.
"Something ... essential."
"And needed for daily living," Daniel put forward.
"I'm thinking car. What about you?"
"Sounds good, and then we'll deal with the fallout."
Brianna's birthday party was in full swing, as much as one could be during a pandemic. As all of the Jackson-O'Neill birthday celebrations were during this unprecedented year, attendees were limited to just the family. There was one agreed to exception on this night. Surprising everyone but Jack and Daniel, Sam Shanahan used the code given to her earlier that day and entered the house.
"Social distancing," the woman called out when the brood started to approach. "Okay, screw it."
Looking at their parents for approval, the brood saw the smiling nods and ran to Sam, giving her hugs.
"I can only stay a second," Sam said, "but I wanted to wish you a happy birthday, Bri, and to give you these, on behalf of two men who love you very much. Enjoy."
Sam turned and left, still cautious about the Coronavirus and not wanting to risk her family or the Jackson-O'Neills.
"Keys? What for?"
Jack shrugged, while Daniel suggested, "Maybe you should look outside."
"What did you do? You know how I feel about this," the suspicious blonde sighed before walking outside.
Jack and Daniel had a philosophy about buying cars for their children. It had little to do with the kids having the latest and greatest model with the newest, most advanced gadgets. Instead, the goal of the parents was to ensure their children had a suitably safe vehicle to get around town in. They wanted it to be functional.
In Brianna's case, the parents wanted something with plenty of storage space so she could easily place her diving equipment inside. Brianna was a certified diver now and wanted to start teaching others. She knew she could earn a lot of money as an instructor and talked about that frequently. As a result, the couple decided on a 2015 GMC Terrain for their daughter.
Having purchased the transportation for Brianna prior to her birthday, the car was hidden in the garage of the Shanahan home until Sam could spring it on the birthday girl this evening.
"This is cool," Jonny opined as he took in the silvery-white rugged vehicle.
"I could fit all of my diving gear in here," Brianna noted as she looked over the rear storage space.
"Four doors," Aislinn mentioned. "Easy access when chauffeuring your loving brothers and sisters around," she teased lightly.
"Sure," Brianna mused.
Jenny reviewed the car carefully, focusing on the tires and wheel assembly, and then switching her attention to engine. She lifted up the hood and studied the motor carefully.
"What do you think?" the tomboy queried.
"From a strictly visual point of view, thumbs up, Bri," the budding mechanic opined.
With that, the deal was sealed. Brianna loved the all-wheel drive car. It suited her needs perfectly. She approached her parents and sighed.
"Mad?" Jack asked.
"Are you kidding?" Brianna returned. "How is it you guys always know what is best for us, even when we are sure you're wrong?"
"We're parents," Daniel mused lightly.
"I know I fought it, but I really want to get going with the diving instruction thing, and Doctors Katalski and Majovavich are eager for me to get as much experience with dolphins as I can. I can venture out now. Thank you."
Brianna hugged her parents and walked back to her brand new car, asking, "Who wants to test her out with me?"
Naturally, everyone volunteered, but there was only room for four passengers, so ultimately, Jeff, Lulu, Little Danny, and JD were chosen to share the first ride with their sister. The others were taken on rides in the days that followed.
Late that night, Jack and Daniel made their goodnight rounds and finished up with Brianna. They found her staring at hologram that showed a dolphin swimming.
"Hey," Jack greeted.
"I was talking to Rainbow," Brianna said about the much-loved dolphin who was murdered by a hunter years before. "I treasure these gifts," she sighed. The hologram was given to her by Sam. She also cherished a 3D pendant of Rainbow jumping that Daniel gave her. In addition, Rainbow's ashes were in a decorative dolphin bronze urn given to the grieving dolphin lover shortly after Rainbow's passing. "He's always in my heart."
"You're going to be a wonderful marine biologist, Bri," Daniel asserted.
"It's all because you two have supported me from the beginning. I mean, I even thought I was crazy. I didn't think I had the brains for this, but Little Danny helped me through the rough stuff, as did David, the little geniuses."
"You have the intelligence, Bri, or you wouldn't be graduating next year," Jack stated strongly.
"You've worked hard, Sweetie. David and Little Danny helped you at the beginning, but if you weren't able to do it on your own, you wouldn't be graduating. Be proud of your accomplishment," Daniel advised.
"Own it," Jack advocated strongly.
"It sure seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?"
"What does?" Daniel inquired.
"When Megan took me on vacation with her to the Bahamas and I swam with the dolphins for the very first time. I still remember that feeling, the contentment of being there, surrounded by these peaceful creatures. It changed my life."
"We know," Daniel replied softly.
"I didn't know if I could go on after Rainbow's death, but somehow, his death motivated to do my absolute best, to do him proud. I guess that's kind of silly."
"You know better than that," Jack refuted. "We believe in Rainbow Bridge ... for dolphins, too. Maybe it's ... Rainbow Tank."
Brianna laughed and then said, "I feel him sometimes. There's this ... sense that he's here, watching me." She wiped away a single tear. "How can one dolphin touch my heart so much?"
"Love," Daniel answered simply.
The tomboy nodded and smiled at the progress her life has taken.
"I really appreciate the car. It will let me do the things I've been wanting to do for a long time. I should have let you buy it a long time ago."
"Timing is everything, Princess. We gambled now was a good time to surprise you."
"It was, but I didn't know it until I saw it. Amazing, how that works." Brianna let out another sigh. "Chemistry, math, physics: who knew?"
"We did," Jack pointed out confidently.
"Get some sleep, Bri, and happy birthday again," Daniel spoke.
"Happy birthday, Princess."
"Thanks for everything. I love you both very much."
"We love you, too."
The next afternoon, Brianna emerged from her room and went downstairs where most of the family were gathered.
"Who wants to go to the rink and play a quick hockey game before dinner?"
"Me!" Jenny exclaimed.
"I'm in," David said quickly.
"And me," Aislinn called out. "I'll kick your sixes right off the ice," she teased with confidence.
"Room for one more because I'm driving my car."
"That's my cue. I may be your old man, but hockey's *my* game."
"You're on, Dad," Little Danny challenged.
Daniel chuckled as the five retrieved their gear and headed outside. He watched Brianna start up the GMC and pull safely out of the driveway. It was movement in the right direction, and he was pleased.
Times were changing for the Jackson-O'Neill family of Colorado Springs, especially now that their children were maturing and starting to go out into the world to make their own way. Jennifer and Jeff were already doing so, and soon, Brianna would be gone. Her mentors, whom she met on that trip to the Bahamas, had a job waiting for her as soon as she obtained her degree. Her parents were proud and yet, as parents often do, quietly lamented another child leaving the home. It was part of life, transition through the ages, movement in maturity, and new beginnings from choices made. At the moment, though, Jack and Daniel enjoyed every second with all of their children. A pandemic might still be ruling the land, but for Jack and Daniel, the only thing that ruled them was love, love for each other, the love of their children, and, of course, the unconditional love that only the zoo could bring.
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