Outer Limits

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - January 10, 2016
Spoilers:  None
Size:  11kb, ficlet
Written:  July 17-18,25,27, 2011
Summary:  In Egypt, Jack has a conversation about outer limits with Kevin Shanahan.
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):  “Twisted Minds”

Outer Limits
by Orrymain

The last few months had been difficult for the Jackson-O'Neills and their extended family of friends.  At the center of the drama was Jack's near-fatal truck accident that had demolished his beloved Ford truck and left him paralyzed from the waist down.  He'd fought a hard war with himself over his self-worth and physical status.  During it all, he'd taken his vengeance out on those he loved most, including the Shanahans.

Colonel Samantha Carter-Shanahan had always been there for Jack and Daniel.  It hadn't always been sunshine and roses, but their bond was tighter than most siblings.  As fate would have it, Sam's family lived in the house behind her friends.  Her family included her husband, Detective Pete Shanahan, their adopted son, Kevin, adopted daughter, Susie, and their eighteen-month-old twins, Petey and Sammy Jo.

With Jack's attitude at its worst, he had emotionally shoved seven-year-old Kevin away just as the youngster was making significant progress.  Kevin was autistic, and Jack's action had put to an end all of the boy's forward momentum at the time.  That had been when Sam blew her top, saying things to Jack that shocked him to his core.  He'd realized his wrongdoing and apologized, and then he suggested a trip to Egypt for Kevin and his family since the boy was obsessed with pyramids.  Kevin had responded, seemingly forgiving Jack.  Now, a large group of travelers from Colorado Springs were in Egypt and ready to explore the ancient sites.

The caravan of vehicles had just arrived at the location of the Great Sphinx Pyramid on the Giza Plateau.  They were far enough back at the moment where they could see the giant statue straight on.

The Jackson-O'Neills, Shanahans, Lucas, and other friends exited their vehicles.  Jack, fully recovered from his injuries and able to walk again, saw Pete lifting up Kevin and starting to walk forward.

“Shanahan!” Jack called out.  He smiled as he jogged forward.  “Pete, let me talk to Kevin for a minute.  You mind?”

Pete looked at the silent boy, who appeared to be in his own world and not cognizant of where he was at the moment, and agreed, “Here you go.”

“Thanks,” Jack responded as he took Kevin into his arms.  He headed for the exact center of the Sphinx so they could see the giant creation head on, leaving the rest of the entourage to themselves.  “Okay, Kev, this is the place.  That sounds grandiose, doesn't it?”

The general put the boy down and turned him around.  He got down onto his knees, wanting to be on Kevin's level.  He put his right arm around the boy's shoulder, hoping the physical connection would reach Kevin, even as the child held onto a ball that he kept twisting around in his hands.

“There are a lot of rumors and stories about the pyramids,” Jack began his speech.  With a chuckle, he admitted, “Some of those rumors just happen to be right on, but as my husband would say, that's neither here nor there at the moment.  Look at the Sphinx, Kevin.  It's tall and proud, a human lion, maybe the best of man and animal; but he's not afraid, Son.  He's guarded his ground for thousands of years.”

Kevin was still twirling his ball, but the motion was slower than before.  Jack hoped this meant the boy was listening.  He gently squeezed Kevin's shoulder for a moment.  This wasn't to be a rushed conversation.  It was too important, so the general was determined to take it slow and steady.

~Like the turtle,~ Jack thought.  ~Time is the hare, but we're going to beat time.  Think about my words.  You hear me; I know you do.~

A few seconds into the silence, Kevin stared at the rotating ball and replied, “I like pyramids.”

With a smile, Jack agreed, “Me, too, especially this big guy in front of us.  He's different, Kev; he's a mystery, a riddle to be more precise.  No one really knows why he was built.  He's without a purpose; at least, that's what they say.  I like riddles, and one of these days, we're going to figure out the riddle of why the Great Sphinx exists.  What do ya say?  How about we work on this together?”

“Sphinx a riddle?”

The question made Jack smile wider.  Kevin was listening.  The youngster was high functioning, and there was no doubt that he was intelligent.  He simply went in and out of the so-called real world sometimes.  The goal was to bring him into the reality full time, to lessen his focus on rotating balls and have him respond with correct sentences instead of repeating phrases as he did most of the time.  That's why Kevin's query warmed Jack's heart.

“Yeahsureyabetcha.  It's a big riddle that needs to be answered.  I think we should go inside and look around; see if we can find some clues to find out just who built this thing and ...”

“Aliens built it.”

Flabbergasted, Jack stared for a moment and then echoed, “Aliens?”

“Mommy says so,” Kevin elaborated.

“Your mother has loose lips.”

“Uncle Jack says it, too.”

“Uncle ... hey, that's me,” Jack replied, enjoying the almost routine talk he was having with the boy.  With a bit of a fake cough, he conceded, “Okay, I have the gift of gab, too.”  Getting back to the point, he prompted, “So, you and me?  We'll solve the riddle.  It might take a long time.  We'll have to focus.”

“Focus good,” the boy responded, looking at his ball again.

This was a situation all of Kevin's loved ones wanted to solve.  He'd talk normally, for a minute or two, and then revert back into his world.

“Never fear, Kevin, Uncle Jack is here.  You watch the ball, but I know you can hear me.  Listen, last year, I was a cad.  I let my fears get the best of me, and I pushed you away.  I take complete responsibility for that, but it's not going to happen again, Son.  You and me are going to spend all the time we can working on this riddle.”  Jack paused, watching Kevin turn the ball around in his hands.  “You have no limits, Kevin, not on the inside and not on the outside.  You're in there, and your mom and dad, your brother and sisters, my brood ... all of us, we want you to kick that barrier in front of you all the way to the moon.”

“Moon bright.”

“I knew you were listening, so hear this, Kevin.  You take all the time you need, but we're here, ready when you are.”  Jack stopped, looking over at the Sphinx for a few seconds.  Focusing on Kevin again, he commanded strongly, “Cadet Shanahan, I'm giving you a direct order.  Join us in our world.  We need you.  Who's going to help me solve the riddle, if you don't?”  He leaned in and more emotionally explained, “Look, I know you know my brood is a little ... brainy.  Frankly, I don't understand what they're talking about most of the time, so I really need your help here.  I'm counting on you.”  Then he put his mouth right by Kevin's left ear and whispered, “The only outer limits you have are in your mind.  Mind over matter, Kev.  You're strong.  You can do it.”

Jack pulled back and stood up.  As he did, Kevin looked up at him, holding up the red ball he'd been playing with.

“For me?”

“Solve riddle now,” Kevin replied encouragingly.

“Yeah, let's go find some clues,” Jack suggested, fighting off a swelling of his emotions.  “I love you,” he heard himself say.

Kevin leaned in for a hug, something he'd done sparingly since meeting the Jackson-O'Neills.

Looking up, Jack motioned with his head for the others to start walking forward.  As the group gathered, he heard Pete say something to his son about having had quite a talk with his uncle.  His heart skipped a beat as he heard Kevin actually respond.

“We're going to solve a riddle, Dad,” the voice stated just as firmly as if he had been Jonny or Little Danny talking.

“Hey, you okay?” Daniel asked his husband, who was lagging behind.

“Danny, I single-handedly derailed that boy's progress last year, and you'd better believe I'm going to get him going again,” Jack vowed determinedly.

“He's improving,” the younger man assured.

“He sure is,” Jack agreed as his composure began to reshape.  “Remind me to tell Carter to shut her trap.”

“Excuse me?”

Jack grinned as he expounded, “The truth is that Kevin's been eavesdropping on our conversations when we think he's zoned out.  He told me Mister Sphinx over there was built by aliens and that he learned that from his mom, and me.”

“Oops!”

“A good 'oops', Love,” Jack opined quietly.  As the couple walked forward, he quietly noted, “Kevin and I are going on a mission, and I may need your help to get there.”

“I'm right here, Babe.”

Jack turned his face to see his beloved's eyes, full of love and the promise of support, no matter what.

“You always are, Angel, and I don't know what I'd do if you ever weren't.”

“Well, that's something you'll never have to worry about.”

Jack was about to answer when his forward momentum was stopped by his 2IC.

“Hey, warn a person, Carter.”

Sternly, Sam accused, “My son says you say I have loose lips.”

Stunned, Jack stared, trying to think of a way to get out of his poor choice of wording.  Just when he was going to try to deflect the remark, he found himself with an armful of blonde colonel.

“Thank you, Sir.  I don't know what you said to Kevin, but thank you.”

Before Jack could say anything in reply, the misty-eyed mother turned and sprinted back to her immediate family.

Taking a deep breath and feeling the supportive aura of his husband, Jack prodded, “So, Danny, about the Great Sphinx, tell me everything, absolutely everything, down to the most boring and tedious detail.”

With a smile of his own, Daniel walked alongside his lover, prattling on about this specific pyramid, and this time, Jack was listening to every word and nuance.  After all, he was on one of the most important missions of his life.  There was a riddle to be solved, and he would make certain that Kevin solved it.

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