Munchkins Away!

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - November 30 - December 7, 2009
Spoilers:  None
Size:  34kb, short story
Written:  August 26-28, September 3-4, 2007
Summary:  The Munchkins prepare to take on the universe!
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
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), “Nyan and the Munchkins” and “The Teddy and the Grizzly”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Carol, Claudia, Pam, Linda!

Munchkins Away!
by Orrymain

“Thank you, Pumpkin,” Daniel spoke when Aislinn handed him a small square tablet.

The archaeologist was seated at his desk in his office, with Aislinn sitting on his lap as he worked to solve the latest puzzle brought back by SG-22.

“What that, Daddy?” the little girl questioned.

“It's, uh ... it's a tablet,” Daniel answered in the simplest terms.

“What it for?”

“Well, it tells a story,” Daniel answered.  “See all those shapes on the tablet?  They're a type of writing.”

“What it say?”

“It says ...”  Daniel sighed, “I have no idea, Ash, but that's what I'm trying to find out.”

“Oh,” the youngest Munchkin giggled.

--

“I hate paperwork,” Jack mumbled.

“Why do then?” Jonny questioned as he stood in ToddlerTown in front of his older father's desk.

Jack and Daniel were working in the archaeologist's remodeled corner office.  Jack's part of it was essentially around the corner from his lover's main desk.  A wall could slide down and close off the two sections at any time, but right now it was up.

On this day, the couple had been left without their anticipated caregiver for the Munchkins when Sam was asked to join a rescue mission with SG-3.  With Jennifer in school, David and Chenoa with the Wilsons on an overnight trip to Springfield, and the twins with the Svensons, the triplets had accompanied their parents to the SGC.  There hadn't been any other options since both General Hammond and Janet were working, Teal'c was on Chulak, Mrs. Valissi was enjoying the holidays in Italy, the Ferrettis hadn't answered their phone, and the Svensons were too elderly to tend to all five of the younger children.

At the moment, Jack was busy evaluating mission reports from SG-22 and SG-9.  They'd recently met a potential new ally, the Neries, and he was trying to decide if the budding relationship warranted or required a visit by SG-1.

“Because Grandpa says I have to,” Jack said, answering his namesake's question.

“Grandpa like pap'work?” Jonny questioned.

Jack thought, and thought, and then responded, “I'm not sure Grandpa does paperwork.  I think he has Walter do it.”  Slyly, he added, “I know that's what I tried to do when I was doing Grandpa's job for a while.”

“It work?” Little Danny questioned from his spot in ToddlerTown.

The two-star general groaned, “Not very well.”

Jonny and Little Danny chuckled while their older father continued his work.

--

Aislinn was playing peacefully under Daniel's worktable when the linguist began muttering to himself.  He got up and walked to the bookshelf, searching the rows for the volume he was looking for and then pulling it out.  The three-year-old girl giggled, watching her father mumble, pace for a few steps, and then hurriedly flip through the book.

The linguist sighed, mumbled some more, and headed for the doorway, calling out, “Jack, watch the triplets.”

Meanwhile, Jack was grumbling at the lack of detail in one member of SG-22's report.  Both he and the leader of the team had already talked to the lieutenant before about the 'lightness' of his reports.  The general needed all the facts for his decision about the Neries, and he just didn't have them.

Grumbling, Jack stood and headed for the exit on his side of the office, calling out at the exact same time his lover had spoken, “Danny, watch the triplets.”

Both men were so engrossed in their own thoughts and projects that their voices had blended together, and their minds, registering the other man's voice, interpreted it as an acknowledgement.

Aislinn looked around at her part of the empty office.  Walking to the door and looking into the hallway, she laughed.

“Ash, where you?” the oldest Munchkin called out.

Running over, the little girl laughed, “Dad 'n' Daddy gone.”

“Let go!” Jonny commanded, easily climbing out of ToddlerTown since the parents hadn't affixed the top to it.  “Come on, Little Danny,” he urged, helping his brother to climb out.

“Where we go?” the middle triplet inquired.

“We go 'ploring like Daddy,” Jonny suggested.  “I be point.”

“What point?” Aislinn questioned.

“It mean I go first.”

“Oh, okay,” Aislinn agreed.  “I go point next.”

“Ash, only one go point; first one point,” Jonny attempted to explain.  “You cover my six.”

“Huh?”

“You go after me,” Jonny sighed.

“I go after Ash,” Little Danny surmised, getting a nod from his brother.

Jonny peeked outside the doorway, looking all around.  Then he looked back at his siblings and made a shushing noise as he held up his fingers to his mouth.

Little Danny chuckled, “We 'plore like Daddy 'n' we be covert like Dad.”

The oldest child laughed in agreement and then led the way outside of the office.  Staying close to the wall, as they'd seen people do on TV and in movies, the triplets suppressed their giggles, with somewhat limited success, as they walked along the corridor.  As they got to the elevator, Jonny kept his siblings in line, waiting for the perfect opportunity.

~I 'member her,~ Jonny thought as he observed Airman Hancock swipe her card through the elevator.  At the same time, he saw Doctor Carolyn Lam walking to the elevator.  “Now!” the sandy-haired boy ordered.  “Act na'tral,” he instructed.

The Munchkins toddled as stealthily as they could to the elevator, stopping behind Carolyn, just as the elevator doors opened.  As Hancock and Carolyn entered, the children followed.

Hancock hit her floor choice, as did the physician, who was finishing up a thought, saying, “... and I ...” She paused, smiling as she noticed the presence of the children and greeted, “Well, hello there.”

“Hi, Doctor Carolyn,” the three kids spoke in scattered voices.

“You know them, Doctor Lam?” Hancock laughed.

“Yes, of course,” Carolyn acknowledged, smiling down at the Munchkins.  “They're the Jackson-O'Neill triplets.”

“I 'member you!” Jonny said, pointing at the airman.

Seeing Carolyn's questioning expression, Hancock explained, “Last year, this little guy ...”

“Not little,” Jonny insisted.

“You've grown, but you're definitely you,” Hancock laughed.  To Carolyn she said, “He helped General Jackson-O'Neill conduct a training session.”

“Oh, yes, I remember,” Carolyn spoke.  “I didn't realize you were in that group.” As Hancock nodded, the doctor asked, “What are you doing here?”

“We 'ploring,” Aislinn answered.

“We gonna see Grandpa,” Little Danny answered at the same time.

~That good idea,~ Jonny thought.  “Yeah, Grandpa here.”

“Who's ...” Hancock began to ask.

“General Hammond,” Carolyn interjected.

“Oh, I ... didn't know that,” Hancock responded.  ~That's interesting.  Wow.~

“I think maybe we should find ...”  Carolyn's suggestion that they find Jack and Daniel was interrupted by the sound of the klaxons going off and a voice over the tannoy calling her to the infirmary.  “You're sure your grandfather is waiting for you?” she asked urgently as the doors to Level 27 opened.

Before Jonny could answer, Hancock dashed out of the elevator, needing to get to her assigned post.

“We sure,” Jonny answered, his fingers crossed as he held his hands behind his back.

“Okay, just go that way,” Carolyn instructed, pointing toward the SGC leader's office.  After the Munchkins exited the elevator, she repeated, “You're sure?” not finding the three earnest nods in answer to her question all that reassuring.  The doors having closed, the doctor headed back up to the infirmary level.  She wished her page hadn't been urgent.  ~Something tells me I've just been taken for a ride by a trio of Munchkins.~

--

“That was easy,” Little Danny said.

“She say go that way,” Aislinn said, pointing towards the direction Carolyn indicated.

“That why we go this way,” Jonny stated, leading his brother and sister in another direction.

With SGC personnel settling into their positions, the triplets walked down the stairs from the briefing level to the gate room level.

Aislinn gasped, bringing her hands to cover her mouth, when she saw all the guns pointed towards the Stargate.

“Shhh,” Jonny admonished.

Six eyes popped when they saw the kawoosh of the Stargate.  The children were mesmerized by the shimmering blue event horizon.

“It water?” Little Danny asked.

Jonny shrugged as the Munchkins continued to keep their eyes glued to the Stargate.  They'd seen it once before, but that was when they were babies, and none of them recalled it.

Suddenly, Sam walked through the Gate, her P-90 at rest in front of her green BDUs, and called out, “It's okay!”

“Aunt Sam!” Aislinn spoke quietly.  “She come through funny circle.”

“Stand down,” Hammond called out over the speaker.

“That Grandpa,” Jonny whispered as the Marines began to scatter to the back part of the gate room or exit through the opposite door.

Medical personnel swooped by the youngsters, all having a job to do.  Most didn't notice the youngsters, their minds focused on their duties, while those who did see them crouching against the wall, didn't have time to wonder about it.

“Colonel, I'll meet you and your team in the briefing room in thirty minutes,” Sam said to Colonel Reynolds, leader of SG-3, as she handed her weapon over to one of the armory attendants.  ~Whew!~ she thought as she ran her left hand through her hair while walking towards the exit, her head bowed a bit.  ~That was a close call.  I really want to talk to Pete and ...~

“Hi, Aunt Sam!” a chorus of three voices rang out.

Sam started at the unexpected sound of the Munchkins in the gate room.  Snapping out of her thoughts about the mission and her desire to see the love of her life, she was stunned to find the Jackson-O'Neill children grinning at her.  The blonde was about to smile back at them when she realized that neither Jack nor Daniel were anywhere nearby.  She looked back at the Stargate and then up towards the control room, realizing that Hammond couldn't see the trio from his vantage point.

“What are you three doing down here?” Sam asked pointedly, without any hint of a smile on her face.  “Did you see the ... that?” she questioned, pointing back at the circular object.

“Was it water?” Little Danny asked curiously.  Suddenly, he ran forward, past a surprised Sam and further into the gate room.  He ran past the medical personal and the rescued major being treated for some minor injuries in front of the ramp, past the only remaining member of SG-3 who was standing at the edge of the step to the ramp, and all the way up to the Stargate, stopping right beneath the tall alien object.  “Where you come from Aunt Sam?” he questioned as he looked all around, not understanding what he'd seen.

“What the frickin' heck is a kid doing in the gate room?” the member of SG-3 called out incredulously.

The Marine's question caught the attention of Master Sergeant Walter Davis, who was still at his seat in the gate room.

“Ah, General Hammond,” Davis called out.  “I think you need to see this.”

“What is it ... holy smokes.”  Disgruntled, Hammond walked over to the phone, pressed the appropriate buttons, and called out sternly, “General Jackson-O'Neill and Doctor Jackson-O'Neill to my office -- NOW!”

“Little Danny, get down here, right now,” Sam called out as she walked a few feet towards the ramp, with the other two Munchkins right behind her.

Little Danny gulped as he walked down the ramp, noticing the injured man for the first time.

Moving to stand at his brother's side, the boy genius whispered, “Jonny, Aunt Sam have gen'ral eyes!”

Jonny's eyes grew wide.  They'd never seen Sam look so stern before, not even when they had accidentally broken the glass vase Pete had given her for her birthday.

Sam sighed and knelt down, shaking her head as she stated, “You're not supposed to be down here.”

“We went 'ploring like Daddy,” Little Danny imparted.

“Covert,” Jonny added with a nod.

“So, I see,” Sam said, ushering the children to the side as she stood up and watched the medical team leaving with the injured man.

“Thanks for the rescue, Colonel Carter.  If you hadn't nailed that alien with your first shot, I'd be dead instead of him,” the man said, unaware of the presence of the children.

“Anytime,” Sam responded with a smile.

Jonny, Little Danny, and Aislinn all exchanged looks of shock, though they didn't understand all of what they'd heard.

“Colonel Carter, bring the renegades to my office,” Hammond ordered.

Aislinn looked up and waved at Hammond, cheerfully greeting, “Hi, Grandpa!”

====

In other parts of the SGC, Jack and Daniel had both heard the page, each wondering what had happened.  Immediately, their thoughts had gone to Sam, both men afraid she might have been injured.  Then they realized that Hammond wouldn't have had such a harsh tone over the speaker had that been the case.

As he walked from a linguistics lab towards the elevator, Daniel thought, ~I'm sure Jack has talked to Nyan.  He'll probably just have him come over to the office for a few minutes to keep an eye on the Munchkins while we meet with General Hammond.~

At the same time, after abruptly finishing his admonishment to the SG-22 lieutenant with the inadequate report habits, Jack hurried to the elevator, thinking, ~Wonder if Danny would leave the Munchkins alone?  Nah, I saw Nyan walking to his lab when I left.  He'll just ask Nyan to stay with the ragamuffins for a bit.~

====

“Hey,” Jack greeted when he met up with his lover as they approached Hammond's office from different areas.

“Hey.  Any idea what this is about?”

“Nope,” Jack answered as the two men walked innocently into the three-star general's office.

Daniel's mouth gaped open, while Jack cocked his head to the right and leaned back slightly in shock.

Hammond was sitting behind his desk, glaring at the two men.  Jonny was standing by him, his hands on the edge of the desk.  Little Danny was seated on the desk, breaking into a smile when he saw his parents.  Sam stood, looking at the shaggy-haired boy, while Aislinn was seated in one of the chairs in front of the general's desk, her feet plopping up and down.

“Lose something?” Sam smirked.

“What, uh ...” Daniel questioned nervously as he walked forward two steps.  Before he even finished his sentence, he looked back at his lover and chastised, “I told you to watch them.”

“Me?” Jack asked, his eyes growing wide.  “I told *you* to watch them.”

“No, you didn't,” Daniel argued.

“Yes, I did,” Jack insisted.

“No, Jack.”

“Yes, Daniel.”

“No.”

“Oh, yes,” Jack smirked.

“You did not!” the younger refuted sternly.

“I did ...”  Giggles interrupted Jack, who finally finished, “... not.”

“Ash?” Daniel questioned the laughing girl as he looked back around to face her.

“You tell Dad watch us,” Aislinn said.  Just as Daniel was about to say 'I told you so' to his husband, she added, “Dad tell you watch us same time.”  She giggled some more, saying, “Both you leave same time.”

“We go 'ploring,” Jonny announced brightly.

Jack and Daniel were stunned after hearing the tale about the Munchkins' escape from the archaeologist's lab and what they'd seen in the gate room.  Just as they were about to speak, the phone rang.

“Yes ... I understand ... no, not at all ... thank you,” Hammond spoke.  He sighed, “That was Doctor Lam.  She wanted me to know the Munchkins were on the loose.”

Jonny snickered, having not yet revealed the 'how' of their adventure.  Once he had informed his parents exactly how the three had gotten from Daniel's office to the gate room, both Jack and Daniel were even more exasperated.

“Sir, all I can say is ...” Jack began.  He stared at Hammond, and then he stared some more.  Finally, he said, “I got nothing.”

“We apologize for the disruption,” Daniel interjected.  “It *won't* happen again,” he said, staring at each of the three children with daggers emanating from his eyes.

“Daddy have gen'ral eyes 'gain,” Jonny sighed.

“Ooooooh, you haven't seen the start of my general eyes today.  *Move!*” the younger father ordered, pointing at the door and getting an immediate response from all three kids.  “General ...”

“Go,” Hammond sighed, shaking his head.

As Jack and the triplets headed out, Sam touched Daniel's arm and said, “Daniel, they not only saw the Stargate in action, but they saw Major Arndt being tended to by the medics, and ...”

Daniel saw the concern in his friend's eyes and prompted, “What, Sam?”

“Daniel, I had to kill one of the aliens to save Arndt.  I only had one chance; it was a clean shot through the forehead,” Sam stated.  “Arndt didn't know the kids were there.  He thanked me for saving his life, and he made a reference to what happened.  I think the Munchkins heard it; I'm not sure they understood, but there was a look in their eyes.”

The archaeologist sighed, surmising, “You mean they know Aunt Sam is ... G.I. Sam?”

“Maybe,” Sam confirmed with a nod.

“Thanks.”  As he started to walk out, he stopped and questioned, “Sam, are you okay with that, or do you want us ...”

“Daniel, I'm not sorry for what I did, or what I do.  I'm just worried about how they might react.”

“They're strong kids, Colonel,” Hammond spoke up.  “They can handle it.”

“I agree,” Daniel responded, nodding at the general and then at Sam.  Joining his family in the corridor, he asked, “Does no ice cream for a month mean anything to the three of you?”

“Ah, Daddy,” Jonny whined, kicking the floor with his foot.

“Danny, I *have* to finish that evaluation,” Jack spoke a bit regretfully.

“And I really need to finish the translation.  I'm almost there,” Daniel sighed.

“Back to the office,” Jack stated, adding, “And if you three break out again ...”

“We no break out; you left us,” Jonny reminded.

“Jonathan ...” Jack began, about to reprimand his namesake, big time, for using a technicality to argue with, even if it was true.

“Jack, not now,” Daniel interrupted, stopping his lover from getting into a dispute over words with their astute son.

“Later,” Jack said with a glare towards the sandy-haired boy.

“I ready,” the oldest Munchkin challenged.

“Jack!” Daniel warned.  **He doesn't realize how serious this was, and now isn't the time.  Gawd, he is *just* like you.**

Jack wanted to argue, but he couldn't.  Just like him, Jonny was using loopholes to stick it to the man.  It was just his misfortune that, at the moment, he was the man.

The couple agreed to table the discussion until later.  They had some decisions to make, but first, they needed to complete their obligations to the SGC for the day.

====

The parents had dealt harshly with their children's misbehavior at the SGC.  It was the holiday season, but the Munchkins would not be having any ice cream for the entire month, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  While that might not sound harsh to some, to a Jackson-O'Neill, it bordered on corporal punishment.  In addition, there would be no television for one week, they'd be doing the chores normally assigned to the twins for the entire month, and they were restricted to the inside of the house when not on a family or homeschooling activity for two weeks.

Jack and Daniel had told the triplets that the Stargate was not open for discussion at this time.  They were not to mention it to their siblings or even discuss it amongst themselves.  Though the triplets weren't aware of it, the last part had been a test to see if they could obey the rules and keep a very important secret.

Arndt's comment to Sam had been easy to explain.  The Munchkins were eager to think of Aunt Sam as a hero.  They hadn't made the connection that being a hero had meant the death of an alien.

Doing more spying than they normally did and utilizing Jennifer's assistance after having confided in her what had happened at the Mountain, the couple scrutinized the triplet's movements and conversations.  For one of the very few times ever, when the triplets were alone, they'd 'eavesdropped' on their talks, using the intercom.  They'd hated it, but they had to know.

“Jack, not one word,” Daniel spoke on Friday.

“Nope, not one.”

“So ...”

“So,” Jack echoed.

“I'm thinking the Nox.”

Jack smiled, nodded, and said, “I'll call Hammond and tell him Swiss Family Jackson-O'Neill is now Munchkin-inclusive.”

“Noa was only barely three when she met the Nox,” Daniel commented, trying to convince himself they were doing the right thing.

“Danny, they're gonna love it.”

“Gawd, they are,” Daniel both sighed and chuckled.  “Call the general.”

Getting up and heading for the study, Jack asked, “Monday?”

“Monday,” Daniel agreed.

====

Once again, Jack and Daniel had brought the triplets with them to the SGC.  They were in the enlarged office, the triplets sitting side-by-side on the cot that was against the wall.

“Okay, Munchkins, we have a surprise,” Jack said.

“Love surprises,” Aislinn said, though she inwardly wondered why they were getting a surprise, well aware she and her brothers were still in big trouble with their parents.

“Well, since you've seen the Stargate work, Dad and I have decided to tell you more about it.  It *is* a secret, and we'll talk more about that later, too, but this is going to be a special day, one you'll never forget, no matter how old you are.”

For the next little while, Jack and Daniel talked about the Stargate and the universe that lay beyond it.  Then, they took the triplets to the gate room and watched as the Munchkins gazed at the Stargate with wide-eyes, fascinated by the turning rings as the chevrons were locked in place and then as it kawooshed and ebbed into the shimmering event horizon.  It may not have been their first time to witness it, but the triplets were still glued to every facet of the Gate's activity.

After Sam had joined them, it was time for the Munchkins to see more of the universe they lived in.

With Daniel holding Aislinn, Sam holding Little Danny, and Jack holding Jonny, the group walked through to the Nox home world, where the triplets were awed by their new friends, Lya and Nafrayu.

“Hello, friends,” Lya greeted as sweetly as ever.

Lya walked up and was introduced to each child, Little Danny being the last.

“Can I touch hair?” the boy genius requested politely.

“If you like,” Lya responded with a slight nod of her head.

Little Danny reached out and touched the Nox woman's hair.  He scrunched his nose slightly as his fingers traced the thick and unusual strands.

“I am aware that those of your world think our hair is odd,” Lya spoke.

“No, funny, but good funny.  Not odd; just different,” the middle Munchkin said with a big smile on his face.

“You are a wise child, and much like your father, I suspect.”

“Which one?” Little Danny asked.

Sam snickered, after which Lya looked at Daniel and smiled.

“We 'plore your home?” Jonny asked.

“Some,” Lya said with a nod.  “Come,” she invited, placing both of her hands in front of her and motioning the visitors forward.

The group from Earth stayed for an hour before returning home.

====

With the Munchkins chattering away about their new Nox friends, Jack and Daniel led their first-borns to Nyan's lab.

“Hi, Nyan!” Jonny said as he ran over to their sometimes caregiver.

“Hello, Jonny.”

“Nyan, the Munchkins have just gone on their first trip through the Stargate, and, if you're okay with it, we'd like to revisit some of the things you first talked about when you met them.  Is that okay?” Daniel asked.

“Of course,” Nyan said, walking over to a chair and sitting down.

“Munchkins, have a sit,” Jack said, motioning for the children to sit down on the floor, the three making a semi-circle in front of Nyan.

Seeing the triplets all looking at each other and obviously eager to tell of their experience with the Nox, Jack stated, “It's okay to talk about the Stargate in front of Nyan.”

For ten minutes, the triplets chattered on, each taking turns talking about the Stargate and what they'd seen.  Then Daniel walked over and stood by Nyan.  His arms were folded across his chest as he smiled.

“Munchkins, where is Nyan from?”

“Bedrosia,” all three answered.

Daniel smiled.  It had taken the triplets a while to learn the strange name, calling it 'Bosia', “Drosa', 'Rosia', and other such derivatives for a long time.  Now, though, they were able to say the name correctly.

“That's right.  Munchkins, Bedrosia isn't a country in a faraway land like we told you.  It's another planet,” the archaeologist stated.  Seeing the triplets exchange glances, he waited a moment for them to process what he'd said and then continued, “Just like you have to keep the Stargate a secret, Nyan has to keep the truth about where he's from a secret.  Now that you know about the Stargate, though, it's okay for you to know the truth about Bedrosia.”

“Kids, Nyan is an alien,” Jack stated.

Little Daniel shook his head and asserted, “Nyan not Nox.”

“His hair wavy; Nox hair colors; look funny,” Aislinn commented from her spot in between her two brothers.

“No, I'm not a Nox.  I'm a Bedrosian,” Nyan stated.

“Daddy, lots of planets 'n' aliens?” Little Danny questioned.

“Yes, Son.”  Looking at all three of the children, he said, almost in awe of it himself, “It's a big, big, *big* universe, Munchkins.  The Nox, Nyan -- they're just one part of it.”

“Holy U'verse,” Jonny exclaimed, causing Jack to smile and shrug at his husband at the Jack-like comment.

“Nyan, why don't you tell the children again about why you're living on Earth,” Daniel requested, walking over to stand by his lover, so that now they were essentially behind their children.

Nyan nodded and said,“Do you remember that I told you how my people were called the Bedrosians and that they believed that life was created by Nefertum?”

“He false god,” Aislinn said, having previously discussed the topic with her parents.

“That's correct,” Nyan stated quietly.  “Bedrosia was made up of two continents, the one I lived on and the one the Optricans lived on.  While my people believed in Nefertum, the Optricans did not.  Instead, they believed that our people  evolved on another world and had been brought to Bedrosia by an interstellar gateway.”

“What that?” Jonny asked.

“The Stargate,” Nyan answered.

Frowning, the oldest boy questioned, “Why not call it Stargate?”

Nyan chuckled, “We didn't know that's what you called it.”

“It easier,” Jonny stated.

“I agree,” Nyan acknowledged.  “The inter...the Stargate was holy in their opinion.  The problem was that no one could find it.”

“Where was it?” Aislinn asked, totally immersed in the tale.

“It was buried in a cliff during the Upheaval.  An associate of mine, her name was Mallin, and I found it one day.  We were trying to prove there was no such thing as a Stargate, but then we found this large circular ring.”

“Stargate!” Aislinn stated, earning her a nod of affirmation from Nyan.

“Mallin was scared when we found it, but I was curious, even though it eventually meant that everything I had grown up believing was a lie.  My people wouldn't listen to the truth, though,” Nyan stated with regret.

“Show them Stargate,” Little Danny suggested, thinking that the answer to the conflict was pretty simple.

“I wish that could have been the answer,” Nyan sighed, his expression sad.

Nyan looked so sad that Little Danny stood up and hugged him, saying, “No mean make you sad.”

The alien hugged the small boy with the huge heart and replied, “I think they hid it again.”

“Why?” Little Danny asked.

With Jack's and Daniel's assistance, Nyan told the story about how SG-1 came to his world and how he'd fled with them to Earth.  Since then, they had never been able to successfully dial the Stargate on Bedrosia, and Nyan relayed his belief that the Bedrosians had buried it and hushed up all evidence of SG-1's existence and visit to the planet.

“Okay, so one of the reasons we wanted you to know about Nyan, is because we want all of you to realize how important it is not to judge others.  We want you to be open minded and tolerant,” Daniel spoke.

“Do you remember what Nyan's job title is?” Jack quizzed.

“He cul'tral man,” Jonny answered.

Hiding his chuckle, Jack stated, “We told you he was a cultural expert.  His full title is actually off-world cultural consultant.”

Daniel elaborated, “Every time we explore a new world, the team archaeologist makes a report about the people on the planet -- how they live, things that are unique about their customs and rituals, all kinds of facts about the planet's history.  Nyan is in charge of organizing those reports and comparing them to each other.  Sometimes, he tells us when we need to go back to a planet to find out more, and it's his job to help us recognize links between all the different worlds out there.”

Seeing the somewhat confused looks on the children's faces, Jack simplified, “It's a small, small world, and what Nyan does is tell us when Planet A has Homer Simpson and Planet G has Homer Simpson, too.  Otherwise, we visit so many places that we might miss that.”

“Can't miss Homer!” Jonny stated emphatically.

“That would be wrong,” Nyan chuckled, having now been indoctrinated on everything 'The Simpsons', thanks to the youngsters.

“How know who alien?” Aislinn asked curiously.  In fact, she got up and walked to Nyan, touching his hair.  “Hair feel same; not like Nox,” the little girl observed.

Nyan responded, “There's no difference, Ash, between human hair and Bedrosian hair.  In fact, our physical bodies are very much alike.  There are some chemical differences, things that are unique to each of us, but it's on the inside, not the outside.”

“What chemco?” Jonny asked.

At the very same time, Aislinn queried, “What fiscal?”

Nyan chuckled lightly and said, “Let me try again.  You have two arms, two legs, a head, ten fingers, two eyes, one nose, one heart ... right?”  He saw the understanding nods and said, “So do I.  All those things describe your physical body, and mine.  But inside our bodies, we have ...”

“Blood!” Jonny said eagerly.

“Yes, we do, and a lot of other things.  It's some of those other things, inside, that are different between your physical body and the physical bodies of my people,” Nyan explained.

“Oh.  I un'erstand now.  Ask Aunt Janet 'bout chemco stuff later,” Aislinn said.

“So how know alien?” Little Danny asked again.

Daniel smiled and answered, “Son, is it really important to know who is an alien, and who isn't?”

Little Danny thought so hard that his eyebrows furrowed and he almost frowned from his concentration.  Then, like a firecracker going off, he jumped up and gasped.

“Daddy, no matter.  Just like no matter you 'n' Dad married.  It about here,” Little Danny said, patting his hand on his chest over his heart.  “It no matter.”

“That's exactly right,” Daniel spoke, smiling at his son and then over at his husband.

Finally, the visit came to a close, and the Jackson-O'Neills headed home.

====

That night, after the twins had gone to bed, the older Jackson-O'Neills held a special family meeting.  It was one of the few times the Munchkins were allowed to stay up late, but it was a special occasion.  It was time for them and the Mouseketeers to discuss the wonders of their alien friends.

“Jenny and Ricky know soon?” Little Danny asked.

“In a year or so, probably,” Daniel answered, not necessarily happy about it, but at the same time being realistic.

“What's the main rule?” Jack questioned.

“Be hon'rble,” Chenoa stated.

“Which means?” Daniel prodded.

“No talk 'bout Stargate with anyone else and not outside, not ever,” Little Danny stated, bobbing his head up and down to emphasis the statement.

“It's very, very important to keep the Stargate a secret.  If you have questions, you can ask us, and we'll help you learn what you can and can't say, and when you can say it, and to whom and ...

“Danny, they get it,” Jack interrupted good-naturedly.

“Right,” Daniel chuckled.  “When in doubt ...” he prodded.

Jonny answered, “Zip 'n' throw 'way key,” as he ran his hand along his mouth as if zippering it and then pretended to throw the key away.

Jack and Daniel smiled as their children chatted about their secret friends.  Their Swiss Family Jackson-O'Neill was becoming more and more of a reality every single day.  They weren't certain where they were headed with their universal travels, but they were certain it was going to be one long and fun ride.

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