O'Neill's Folly

Author: Orrymain and special guest co-author, Robert!
Category:  Slash, Humor, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - December 22-23, 2011
Spoilers:  None
Size:  22kb, ficlet
Written:  May 7-8,10,14-15, 2006  Revised for consistency:  September 15, 2007
Summary:  Daniel smirks, Jack squirms, and Mrs. Valissi just smiles.  The question is -- who will get the last laugh?
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 fics, “Unexpected Miracle - Chapter 9” and “The Burning”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Jodi, Heather, Claudia, QuinGem, Linda!

O'Neill's Folly
by Orrymain and Robert

“Jack, we've been meaning to take Mrs. Valissi out to lunch to thank her for all the favors she's done for us.  How does tomorrow sound?” Daniel asked as he stood up to stretch for a minute.

The two men were in Daniel's den, sharing a quiet moment with their unborn addition to the family.  The lovers were awaiting the birth of their child, a miracle in the works thanks to alien technology.  The unborn baby was nicknamed Bean Sprout, and, until his or her birth, someone was always present to make sure everything was okay.

“She might have plans,” Jack replied from his spot in the recliner.

“I'm sure she said she'd be home.  Besides, I'm getting a little nervous about the baby.  It'll be good for us to get out of the house for an hour or two.  I've already checked with Billy, and he and Jilly don't have plans, so they can watch Bean Sprout for us,” the younger man stated informatively as he leaned to his right and then to his left with his arms raised over his head.

“Okay, as long as Jen and Jeff are home to watch the brood,” Jack responded.  ~Gawd, I want him,~ he thought, seeing the exposed skin of his lover's abdomen as his sexy soulmate did his stretching motions.

“I've checked with them already, and they will be,” the archaeologist spoke, smiling a little smugly at his own thoroughness.

“Danny, do you have something up your sleeve?” Jack asked, suspicious of the smirk on his husband's face.

“Just my arm, Babe.  Uh, if it's okay, I'll just pop on over and ask Mrs. Valissi to join us for lunch,” Daniel suggested cheerfully.

“Sure, Angel,” Jack agreed, tossing down the newspaper section he'd been reading, replacing it with the comics page.  ~Much better.  Poor Beetle Bailey -- he'll never learn.~

====

As he made his way over to the home of their much beloved neighbor, Daniel mentally hummed an aria from one of Jack's favorite operas to keep from mentally 'spilling the beans' to his lover.  He was feeling pretty confident and pleased with himself at the moment as he thought about his ulterior motive for inviting their neighbor to lunch.

~I'm driving, General, and on the way home, we're taking a little detour to the Shanahans',~ Daniel chuckled inwardly.  ~We'll finally get to the truth of 'O'Neill's Folly'.~

The 'folly' Daniel was referring to was Jack's impulsive purchase earlier in the month of an entire sewing and craft room from an estate sale.  All of the equipment and materials were currently being stored at the Shanahans' home, which was the only way of keeping Jennifer from discovering what had become an unexpected part of her Christmas.

Jack insisted he had gotten a “good deal” on the merchandise, the total price of it all being five hundred dollars.  It wasn't that the amount was such a large sum for the couple, but they had never spent that much before on just one child without consulting each other, which is exactly what the older man had done.

The 'incident' had occurred the Friday before when Jack, along with Sara, was on his way to pick up some of the children and, having time to spare, had spontaneously stopped at an estate sale.  The sisters handling the sale were eager to get rid of their mother's crafts items.  As neither woman, nor Jack or Sara, knew the actual value of the items, the sisters had basically pulled a figure out of the hat.  Put on the spot, the general had agreed to their price, and, with the help of a few friends, had transported the equipment to the Pete and Sam's home.

Jack had been less sure of his purchase after showing his lover the items, and Daniel had made his comment about being fleeced like a little lamb, complete with the 'baa, baa, baa'.  It had been the source of some good-natured bickering over the past week as the two debated whether the purchase had been the 'good deal' Jack claimed it was or the 'fleecing' Daniel believed it had been.

~It's probably worth a couple hundred,~ Daniel surmised as he approached their neighbor's door.

The smiling man didn't really mind the folly.  While he doubted the value of his husband's spur of the moment purchase, believing it was worth less than Jack had paid, Daniel was secretly enjoying their lighthearted bickering about it.  He was hoping that Mrs. Valissi would give him even more ammunition for their bantering game.

“Daniel, how good to see you,” Mrs. Valissi greeted, a big smile on her face.  “Come in, please,” she invited.

“Thanks, Mrs. Valissi,” Daniel said as he entered the home.

“You know, Dear, for years I've been trying to get you to call me Sophia.  I really wish you would,” the senior citizen spoke warmly.

Daniel smiled, gave her a hug, and replied, “I just have so ... so much respect for you, Mrs. Valissi.  You've always been so kind to me, even ... well, you know, in the beginning when almost no one else knew about Jack and me.  I ... I love you, Mrs. Valissi.”

“Oh, Daniel, you are like a son to me, and so precious,” the woman responded emotionally, taking the man into her embrace for another hug.  “Coffee and cookies?”

“You bet!” the archaeologist answered with a big smile, following the woman to her kitchen.

====

The next day, Jack, Daniel, and Mrs. Valissi were enjoying their meal at the Steakhouse, chatting away about the holidays and the impending birth of the baby.  The woman wasn't aware of the 'how', of course, but she knew the 'surrogate' was due to give birth any day now.

“Your brother, Billy, told me you took the children to Pike's Peak this week to honor their other parents,” Mrs. Valissi spoke after finishing her salad and awaiting the main course.  “You two are exceptional parents to encourage such things.  I am so proud of you.”

“We honored our folks, too,” Daniel confided emotionally.  “Mrs. Valissi, we have a lot of love in our home, and we don't see any reason to try and ... and ...”

Jack reached over and took his husband's hand, saying, “All of our children are miracles, and we feel only good things about the people who entrusted them to us and brought them into this world.”

“It's a healthy thing,” the woman acknowledged.  “I should send a balloon up for my husband sometime.”

After exchanging a look with his husband, Jack said, “Mrs. V, the kids have asked us to consider doing this again.  If we do, and you'd like to join us, then ...”

“Jack, Daniel, could I?” the woman questioned, looking back and forth between the two.

“We'd be honored to have you join us, Mrs. Valissi.  You're part of our family,” Daniel replied, a smile on his face as he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

When Jack did the same, Mrs. Valissi chuckled, “My husband would be so jealous if he could see this.”

“What makes you so sure he can't?” Jack mused, remembering how close the entire family had felt to their dear loved ones that day.

After a nod and more laughter, the trio talked a bit about Jennifer, the parents acknowledging how the senior citizen was helping her to grow up and endure the traumas of the year.

“She's a lovely girl,” Mrs. Valissi opined.  “She just needs to know she can be her own woman.  She enjoys a lot of things other girls her age don't understand these days.  That takes courage, Boys.”

“Peer pressure,” Jack muttered.

“Jack, don't sit there and pretend you weren't swayed by what your buddies thought,” Daniel taunted, adding, “though you did have a few heroic exceptions.”

Jack cocked his head and shrugged, after which Mrs. Valissi commented, “A woman can be a lot of things in this day and age.  I think Jennifer just needs assurance that she has a place to fall without being crushed.”  She saw the disconcerted look on the men's faces and quickly added, “No, you've misunderstood me.  Jennifer is grounded.  You've taught her well, and she knows you'll both be there for her if she has problems.  What I meant was ...”

“She needs a woman's ear sometimes,” Daniel surmised.

“Samantha, Janet, Sara -- all the women in Jennifer's life are giving her images to use.  They're there for her, and she loves them dearly.  They are her mothers, and they give her everything a mother has to give a daughter,” Mrs. Valissi intoned tenderly.

Daniel smiled as he added, “But she also needs grandparents, like General Hammond ... and you.”

“Why, Mrs. V, I think you're about to shed a tear,” Jack quipped in his Irish brogue.

“Jack, don't be silly,” the woman responded, tapping him on his hand just as the main courses arrived.

====

On their way home, Daniel surprised his lover by not turning down their street.

“Uh, Daniel, you missed our turn,” the older man observed.

~Like the spider to the fly ...~  Daniel responded, “Did I?”

“Daniel?” a now suspicious Jack queried.  ~What is he up to?~

“Going this way,” Daniel said, as he made a left turn, “... we'll go right by Sam and Pete's.  Mrs. Valissi, would you mind doing us a small favor?”

~Crap!~ Jack exclaimed.  “Now, Daniel, we don't want to impose on Mrs.V.”

“Nonsense,” the woman interjected, having no clue what was really going on.  “If you need my advice on anything, all you ever have to do is ask.”

“Well, Jack bought up an entire craft room of equipment and accessories at an estate sale recently, and we were wondering if you could tell us what the approximate value of the equipment is and if any of it is worth keeping.”

“Of course, Daniel.  I'm not a professional appraiser, you know, but I'll do my best,” Mrs. Valissi agreed.

“Daniel, Pete and Carter might not be home, or they could be, well, uh, busy,” Jack stated in a desperate tone.  **Daniel, this isn't kosher!**

Daniel only chuckled as they approached the home in question.

Jack's heart sank as the Shanahans themselves came into view.  The two were outside, obviously engrossed in an animated conversation about their front yard.

~Double crap!~ Jack groaned.

~Right where you said you'd be.  Thanks, Guys,~ Daniel thought underneath the softest mental volume of another aria.  ~This mental communication stuff can get a bit tricky,~ he thought as he opted to drown out Jack's silent whining.

“Hey,” Sam greeted when their visitors disembarked from the truck.  “We were just about to go inside.  Come on in, and I'll make a fresh pot of coffee, or I have already have some lemonade made,” she offered.  She smiled at the elderly woman, greeting, “Mrs. Valissi, how nice to see you.”

“Thank you, Dear.  The boys just treated me to a wonderful lunch, and Daniel said they were storing some things in your garage, and he wanted my opinion on them,” Mrs. Valissi responded.

“Yeah, I'll bet,” Pete chimed in.  “Gorgeous and I have our own bet about Jack's ...”

“Pete!” Sam chastised, gently elbowing her husband in his abdomen.

“Yes, Dear,” Pete responded.  He walked over to stand next to Jack and teased, “Wanna place a side bet?”

Jack looked at Pete and retorted, “No!”  He paused, quietly adding, “Five says I win.”

Pete chuckled, “Just five?  Not much confidence there, Jack.”

~Dang cops,~ Jack cursed in his mind.  “Ten,” he offered, fearing it was money down the tubes, but having to keep up the front in the hopes he was right.

“You're on,” Pete agreed as the two shook hands covertly.  “Can't wait to get this stuff out.  Gorgeous wants us to reorganize the garage.”
 
“Christmas is in a couple of days,” Jack responded, knowing Pete was just giving him a hard time.  ~Might as well get this over with,~ he thought glumly as the two joined the others in the garage that Sam had just opened.

====

Now inside the garage, Mrs. Valissi hadn't said anything for a couple of minutes as she examined and evaluated the items she saw.  As she did so, the others simply chitchatted, though Daniel was smirking at his lover frequently which caused Jack to squirm quite a bit.

Anxious for the outcome and needing to do something besides standing still, Jack walked over to a corner and picked up a large cardboard carton, intending to place it elsewhere.  It made no sense to shift it; he just needed to move.

“Is that the model it says on the box?” the senior citizen inquired as she glanced at the box Jack held.

“It must be,” Jack answered.  “The lady said her mom bought it right before she became ill.  I don't recall if they said she had even unpacked this or not.”

**Probably like a Model T,** Daniel joked, causing the older man to grimace.

Mrs. Valissi nodded; then looked at the equipment again, saying, “A knitting machine, older, but still serviceable.  I wonder if the manuals are here and if there is a supply of spare needles to go with it.”

**Probably gone with the cobwebs,** the archaeologist smirked.

“The woman's daughters packed everything up,” Jack responded, shrugging and giving his lover a look that could kill.

“Oh my goodness!” the amateur appraiser exclaimed, raising her hands to her cheeks for a moment.

“What is it?” four voices asked in unison.

“That big collection of boxes over there -- is that what it says on the box?” Mrs. Valissi asked.

“Yes, it is,” Jack confirmed.  “It's a huge, honkin' loom; never even been out of the box.”  He cringed, thinking this item would probably be the only good value of the set, but was probably worth far less than he had spent.  Then he groaned, wondering if the item were a lemon.  ~Maybe I did get fleeced.  Geez, Danny will never let me live this down.~

Calmly, Mrs. Valissi questioned, “How much did you pay for all this, Dear?”

“Yes, *Dear* how much did you pay for all this?” Daniel asked wickedly, though he obviously knew the answer.

“Well, you see, this lady mentioned to her sister she didn't know what to do with their mom's craft room, with the looms and all,” Jack began to ramble. “I asked to see it because of Jen's interest in weaving.  I had to pick up Lulu and Noa at dance class.”

“Jack, you're rambling,” Daniel interjected, his eyes sparkling with 'I told you so's'.

The general continued, “It was now or never, do or die, so I did.”
 
“Just tell her how much, Jack,” Daniel insisted.

“Five hundred dollars,” Jack mumbled, looking off to the side.

“How much?” the woman asked again in disbelief.

Jack saw Daniel's smirk and heard his snickers.  He also caught sight of Pete holding out his hand, awaiting payment.

“Five hundred dollars,” the general sighed regretfully.

Mrs. Valissi blinked as she stared at Jack and again sought verification, asking, “Excuse me, did you say, five *hundred* dollars?”

“Uh, yes, Ma'am,” Jack admitted.  ~Great. Here is comes.~

~Oh, boy, this is gonna be really good,~ Daniel anticipated, already figuring out ways to make Jack pay for months to come, all in good fun, of course.

~I hope they don't have a fight over this right here,~ Sam thought.  ~I'm ... in the mood,~ she sighed, smiling amorously at her husband.

~Sure hope I win the bet,~ Pete thought as he returned his wife's smile.

Mrs. Valissi looked at Jack with something akin to pity and informed, “I'm afraid, General, that all this stuff isn't worth quite what you thought it was.”

Crestfallen, Jack was about to apologize to his husband when the declaration continued.

“It's worth more, much, *much* more,” the woman revealed happily.

Daniel's mouth opened, Pete withdrew his waiting palm, and Jack, after taking a step backward in shock, grinned like a Cheshire cat, rubbing his two hands together from the announcement.

Triumphantly Jack asked, “How much more, Mrs. V?” while giving his husband a smug 'I told you so' look.

“The sewing machine is between three and four years old.  It is top of the line, and I believe it sold for well over seven thousand dollars new at that time.  If the best embroidery software package, and all the accessory kits available, were purchased with it, it's easily worth ten thousand dollars alone,” the older woman observed.

Stunned silence filled the garage, and Daniel suddenly folded his arms across his chest.  Pete sighed and pulled out his wallet, earning him a glare from his wife, to which he just smiled, shrugged, and hoped he hadn't killed 'the mood'.

Jack's grin ebbed, the shock of the revelation turning him into a statue.  He pinched himself, silently asking if he was awake, and then, realizing he was, began grinning again.

As she looked through one of the cartons, Mrs. Valissi continued, “The large loom still in the box, with all the extras that seem to be here, is identical to the one Jennifer used to make, ah, ahem, it's just like the one she used on the weaving retreat.  It is easily worth about eight thousand dollars, even if it were heavily used.”

~I am *so* dead,~ Daniel thought.

Smugly, Jack looked at his husband, rising up on the balls of his feet for a second in victory.  In fact, he even began to whistle, until Daniel's glare caused him to clear his throat and return his attention to their neighbor instead.

“The spinning wheel, the serger, the linker -- each are worth over what you paid for the lot.  I can't begin to assess the value of the rest of it without unpacking it all and sorting through it.  There is still another loom, cherry wood by the looks of it, and a tapestry loom in the box.  That one looks repacked, though.  I hope it's all there.  Jack, Daniel, there has to be in excess of thirty thousand dollars worth of stuff here,” the woman announced, using her hands to spread out over the garage-full of materials.

“Um ... thank you, Mrs. Valissi,” Daniel managed to squeak out.

“Yes, yes, *thank you*, Mrs. V,” Jack boomed.

“I'd be glad to open the boxes up and help you sort through all this,” the woman offered.

“We're ... giving it to Jen on Christmas, so I'm, uh, sure, she'll ... she'll, uh,” Daniel began, shaking his head as he looked around at the cartons of equipment.

“Don't give it to her all at once, Boys.  You'll overwhelm the poor girl,” Mrs. Valissi laughed.

Jack chuckled, “Thank you, Mrs. V.  We'll pass on your offer to Jen.”  He walked over to Pete and grinned, raised his eyebrows, and held out his hand. “Thank you, Detective,” he responded as he put the ten-dollar bill he'd just collected into his pocket.

====

After dropping their neighbor off at her home, Daniel pulled into their own driveway and barked, “You set me up!”

“What?” Jack asked, surprised by the accusation.

“You knew what all those things were worth when you bought it.  You just strung me along, knowing I wouldn't let it go until Mrs. Valissi looked at everything.  You deliberately set me up to embarrass me.  You're a mean man, Jack O'Neill,” Daniel spoke irrationally, intentionally leaving the 'Jackson' off of his lover's name.
 
Jack looked at the archaeologist, not knowing what to say, but thinking, ~He sounds as looney as he did when our sofa died.~  He grimaced as he feared the worst.  ~Oh, no, not again!~

“You can't deny it, Jack.  You have some nerve,” Daniel argued as he got out of the truck.

“Daniel,” Jack spoke cautiously from the other side of the Ford vehicle.  “Let's go inside.  You look tired, Angel.  You lie down, and I'll make some of your favorite herbal tea,” he offered.  ~No Starbucks for you, not in your frame of mind.  I'll call Janet on the sly and ...~

Looking at his totally perplexed and worried husband, Daniel quipped, “Gotcha!” and broke out into a huge grin.

“Danny, *you* set me up!” Jack challenged.

Laughing, Daniel joined his lover and gave him a quick kiss saying, “Babe, I really thought it was just worth a couple hundred, and I swear, I had no idea it was worth thousands.”

“Yeah, I feel a little guilty about that,” Jack said.

“Maybe we can contact the sisters you bought the things from, give them a little more,” Daniel suggested.

“I don't think they're around anymore, Danny, and they were happy to just get rid of the stuff.  They practically begged me to take it all away,” the older man recalled.  “I'll contact the real estate agent, though, or stop by the house and see if the buyers know how to contact them.”

“You were really scared there,” Daniel teased.

Nodding, Jack confirmed it; then added, “But I was more frightened when I thought you ...”

“Jack, stop it.  I was *not* irrational about the sofa.  It made perfect sense,“ Daniel spat, waving off his lover and heading for the door.

“But, Angel ...”

“It'll be a very cold night for you this evening, General,” the younger man promised as he walked up the steps to the porch.

“Angel, Space Monkey,” Jack pleaded.  “I only meant ...”

“Gotcha again!” Daniel joked as he turned and grinned at his husband.  He gave him another kiss and promised, “Trust me, Babe, tonight, we will *not* be cold.”

“Danny, life with you is never boring,” Jack mused.  ~And I wouldn't change a thing ever!~

Having had a pleasant and fun afternoon, the lovers headed inside to see what the rest of their day held.  One thing they did know, it wouldn't be boring.  Life at the Jackson-O'Neills was certainly never that!

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