Out on Strike

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - January 7-12, 2012
Spoilers:  None
Size:  22kb, ficlet
Written:  May 6-9,12,15,24,27, 2010 Revised: April 24, 2011
Summary:  The brood wants a raise in their allowances.  Jack and Daniel just want the house clean.  Who will win the battle of the strike?
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) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Ali, Tammy, Navi, Irina, Claudia, Mama Bear!

Out on Strike
by Orrymain

The Jackson-O'Neills were seated in the recreation room as they held their family meeting, a traditional occurrence which happened weekly, if not daily.  It was Saturday, and they'd had a typical day, one full of activities and fun.

“Okay, time for this week's chore assignments,” Jack announced, ignoring the round of groans from the brood.

Jack and Daniel rotated the chores for their children so that at some point, everyone did everything.  Age was factored in, of course.

“David, you're on animal duty,” Daniel began.  “Feeding, cleaning, everything,” he elaborated.

The two men had learned from experience that if they assumed the brood would do the entire job correctly, it usually didn't happen.  As with most kids, in the beginning they tended to do only what they were told and nothing else.

“Aislinn, this is your week for the trash,” Jack stated.

“Eww,” the youngest Munchkin responded.  “That's a boy's job.”

“Not in this house,” Daniel corrected.

With a chuckle, Jack added, “We're an equal opportunity chore home.”

“Very funny, Dad,” Jennifer sighed.  ~Who knows what I'll get this week.~

“Jen, your duty this week is to keep the live-in areas clean.  You know the routine, the …”

Jennifer cut off her older father, saying, “Living room, rec room, library, kitchen … yadda, yadda, yadda.”

“Watch how you do your ‘yadda, yaddas',” Jack warned lightly.  “Gotta add more snark to the last ‘yadda',” he instructed before breaking out into a smile.

“Little Danny, you're in charge of the backyard,” Daniel continued.  “Ricky will help you if you need him to.”

“Okay, Daddy.”

“Bri and Lulu, you're on bathroom detail,” Jack advised.

As Brianna grimaced, Lulu made a face, but didn't say anything. She smiled when Chenoa took her hand in sympathy.

“Jenny's your trainee,” Jack added. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a quick glare. ~Did Red just give me the evil eye?~

“We'll talk about what's appropriate for her to do later,” Daniel interjected, wanting to make sure the little girl didn't work with any of the chemicals involved in the cleaning of the bathrooms.

The list of chores continued and, in fact, a few new ones had been added to the children's list.  Both Jack and Daniel were a little surprised when no protests followed the new chore assignments, but after a quizzical glance at each other decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Jen,” Chenoa whispered encouragingly when Jack and Daniel had finished dishing out the assignments.

“Jen has something to say,” David explained.  He whispered in a low voice, “Go on, Jen.”

**This should be good,** Jack communicated to his husband via their unique non-verbal communication ability.

**Well, something is definitely up,** Daniel concurred.

“Okay, already,” Jennifer groused after Jonny was the latest one to give her a nudge.  “We'd like our allowances increased.”

“Why?” Jack asked.

“A girl has expenses, Dad,” Jenny put forth.

“Yeah.  Expenses,” Aislinn seconded.  ~It's expensive being a kid.~

“Ah, as I recall, the rule is that you get your allowances upped on your birthdays,” Daniel reminded.  “Hard as it is to believe, the calendar happens to be clear of birthdays this month.”

“But you gave us more chores,” Ricky whined.

“We've had a lot of new chores added,” Jonny pointed out calmly, keeping his composure as best as he could.  After all, ~Little generals shouldn't pout or whine,~ the boy thought.

“Kids, nice try, but no go,” their older father informed them, his tone leaving no room for negotiation.  ~Not today, anyway.~

Daniel, however, interjected, “If someone has a specific need for extra cash right now, you know you can come to us at any time to discuss it.”

“But we don't wanna have to ask you all the time,” Jonny rebutted.

“I really need a raise,” Chenoa stated firmly.

“Noa's right,” Jennifer purported insistently.  “The cost of living has gone up.”

“Allowances increase annually on your birthdays,” Daniel reiterated.  “Anymore family business?”

“But, Daddy!” Jenny whined. Seeing Daniel wasn't going to be moved and already knowing her dad wasn't giving an inch, either, the Spitfire stood up, put her hands on her hips, and let out with a big, “Hmmpf.”

“Are we finished?” Jennifer queried, more in an attempt to keep Jenny from being punished than anything else.  ~There's pushing the line and then there's just plain skipping with it.~

“We're done,” Daniel declared.

“Brood, dismissed,” Jack called out, half playfully and half feeling like he'd just gone through a cadet mutiny.  When the kids exited, he looked at Daniel and stated, “That was close.”

“I wonder why they want more money now?”

“Daniel, our kids don't need more money.  Their piggy banks are stuffed,” Jack put forth.  ~Geez, what would they do if they knew how much money they had in bonds and trust accounts?~

With a shrug, Daniel headed for the kitchen to get an apple.

“Were we wrong, considering what we agreed on earlier?” the general inquired as he joined his husband, referring to a decision the two had made recently but hadn't yet put into action.

“Nope.”  Daniel smiled and then took a bite of his apple.  “Besides, I just want to see if they really need something, or if they're just ...”

“Spoiled?” Jack suggested curiously.

“Keeping up with the Jones' ... and the Wilson's,” Daniel corrected.  “Mitzi and John just gave their children a ... raise, and so did Sara and Mark.”

“Angie got a raise?”

Daniel nodded and teased, “You really should talk to your ex-wife more, Babe.”

“Why?  I don't need to.  You two are thick as thieves,” Jack snarked.

“Let's just see where this will go for a couple of days.  I want to make sure we don't miss anything.”

“In case there's something special they haven't told us about,” Jack expounded.

“Right.”

“That's my smarty pants,” Jack joked, leaning in for a kiss and getting a piece of apple in the process.  “Hey, that's good.”

Putting his hand out to stop his husband from stealing his snack, Daniel told Jack, “Get your own apple.”

“Stingy,” Jack laughed as he walked over to get an apple for himself.

====

The next morning, Jack and Daniel came downstairs to see eleven children standing in what could best be called a united front.  They were in two rows, the tallest ones in the back.  All of them had their arms crossed in front of them, although Jennifer and Jeff looked a little less self-assured than their siblings.

“Good morning,” Daniel greeted cautiously.

“Okay, out with it,” Jack ordered as he held the youngest member of the family, baby JD, in his arms.  “We're on a feeding schedule here.”

“We're the BAPBs,” Jonny sharply informed his parents.

“The ... BAPBs?” Daniel questioned.  ~Darn acronyms.  Can't anyone come up with a name that isn't an acronym?~

“Yeah,” Aislinn affirmed.  “Brood Against Parental Brutality.”

**Oh, this is gonna be good,** Jack mused.

“Parental brutality?” the archaeologist repeated uncertainly.  ~They can't mean us.~

“This has to do with your allowances, right?” the general surmised as he glanced down at JD, who had just made a sound.  ~The cute age: stay this way.~

“We have demands,” David advised, exchanging looks with the rest of the brood, all of whom were nodding their heads.

“Oh,” Daniel responded.  “And what would they be?” he prodded with just a hint of parental snark.  ~It's too early for this.  I need my coffee.~

“We get our allowances raised, or else,” Jonny dared bravely.

“Or else ... what?” Daniel questioned.  ~Make that wine: a nice glass of St. Julien's should do it.~

“We go on strike,” Jennifer averred, taking some of the heat off of Jonny.

“Happy striking,” Jack told the kids airily as he passed by his husband and went to the kitchen.  ~They just might work themselves into getting an allowance reduction instead of raise.~

Daniel gave the brood a shrug and followed his soulmate.

“This should be interesting,” Jack told his Love when they were away from the BAPBs.

“What do children do when they're on strike?”

“Be pains in the miktas,” Jack answered.  A moment later, he put forth, “Forget the strike, Angel.  This guy needs to be fed.”

====

Over the next forty-eight hours, Jack and Daniel learned what it meant for the brood to go out on strike.  They didn't do any of their chores, and they gave their parents the silent treatment, which was really hard for them to do, especially when the occasional hurt expression appeared on their fathers' faces when they were ignored.  That was a big part of the reason why the eleven kids remained huddled together in support almost constantly.

“Jack, we can't let this continue,” Daniel stated on Monday evening as he leaned against the couple's dresser in their bedroom.  “Their bedrooms are a mess, not to mention the rest of the house.”

“No cleaning; no allowances,” the older man insisted as he sat on the bed while putting on his socks as he redressed after having taken a quick shower.

“I agree, but we're operating on basic rules now and with their ... alliance, they could keep going like this a long time.”

Jack grinned as an idea came to him.

Seeing the smug expression on his Heart's face, Daniel questioned, “Jack, what are you thinking?”

“Time to get the brood together,” Jack replied as he stood up, slipped on his shoes, and headed downstairs.

“Jack?  Jack!”

====

After reviewing his idea with Daniel, Jack now stood before the rebellious brood and announced, “BAPBs, meet the PABBs.”

To himself, Daniel sighed, ~I know.  It's another acronym, but when you're married to a kid like I am and when you're fighting fire with fire, as he claims, well, what can an archaeologist do?~

“PABBs?” Jeff echoed in confusion.

“Parents Against Brood Brutality,” Daniel explained with a smile.

“We're not brutal!” Jenny refuted defiantly.  ~Are we?~

“Alienation of affection,” Jack expounded.  “You won't play with us anymore,” he added dejectedly.

~I think he misses it more than they do,~ Daniel thought, feeling somewhat amused by the idea.

“We're here to give you one final chance to end your strike and get things back to normal, or else,” Jack advised the kids, essentially using the children's own words that had been given to the parents when their strike had begun.

“Or else what?” Aislinn asked.

“You don't want to know,” Daniel answered.

The children exchanged looks, various nods of agreement circulating among them.  They were going to hold firm.

“Okay, what's good for the goose, is good for the gander.  We're on strike,” Jack declared.  Pivoting on his foot, the general left, while calling out, “Have fun,” over his shoulder.

Daniel followed his Love out with a smirk of his own.  

“Jen, what does that mean?” Chenoa queried uncertainly while looking up at her sister.

“I'm not sure, but I have a hunch we're not going to like it.”

====

During the next two days, the brood learned what it was like to have their parents on strike. Not only were they not earning any allowance money, but except for JD, they were living on the basics, which meant in part that their meals were uncooked fruits and vegetables, cereal, and lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Worse in their minds even there was no ice cream, which in the Jackson-O'Neill home was a travesty.

With Jack and Daniel no longer picking up after the kids at all, the house was looking its worst ever.

“Little Danny, have you seen my tow truck?” Jonny asked as he looked under the sofa in the recreation room.

“Na-huh.  Have you seen Burt?”

“Burt?” the oldest Munchkin inquired, having no clue who or what Burt was.

“Burt's the snail that Dad almost stepped on,” the middle Munchkin answered.

“You brought him in the house?”

Little Danny saw his brother's panicked face and feared the worse.

“I'm sorry.  I didn't know he was a pet,” Jonny sighed.  “I gave him to Bogey.”

“Jonny!”

“Maybe we can still save him.”

With no rules in the house at the moment, the two boys ran upstairs to their bedroom.

“Bogey!” Jonny called out to the bearded lizard.  He opened the cage and grabbed his pet just in time.  Looking at his fellow triplet, he urged, “You'd better get Burt fast.”

“Poor Burt.  He must be traumatized,” Little Danny spoke with concern as he got a piece of paper for the snail to slide onto.

Of course, Jonny's desk was a mess, with all kinds of paper doodles and paper airplanes and paper everything on it.  Little Danny picked up one that was loose atop a notepad.

“Not *that* paper, Little Danny,” Jonny whined.  “Ah, shucks.  That was my battle strategy.”

“Oh, sorry,” Little Danny apologized, though Burt was already on the battle plan. “Jonny, we can't find anything anymore.”

“I never thought I'd get tired of mess,” Jonny expressed with a sigh.

====

“Jen, can't you cook us something?” Lulu asked gently.  ~Maybe this strike idea wasn't so good after all.~

“Dad and Daddy said that using the appliances cost money, so unless we want to contribute to the utility bills, we can't use them, except for getting milk out of the fridge and stuff like that,” the teenager explained.

“I never thought I'd get tired of PBJ,” Ricky interjected.

“I'm sick of milk and water.  I want a Pepsi,” David complained.

“Dad is selling Coke for a dollar a piece,” Jennifer informed her brother as she stared wantonly at the soda cans.  “It's seventy-five cents for the Pepsi; he says it's inferior.  Seeing David reach in for a can, she swatted his arm away while ordering, “Pay up, Bro.”

“He'll never know,” David countered.

“He counted, and he told me if the count is off, he'll take a dollar from all of us.”

“I can't afford that,” Chenoa told David as she nudged his other arm.  “I have shoes to buy.  Get the milk, please, David.”

“Oookay,” the reluctant male Mouseketeer agreed.  ~I don't know how long we can keep this up.~

====

“Jack, how long are we going to keep this up?” Daniel questioned from the doorway of the kitchen as he unknowingly echoed the David's thought.  He was looking into the recreation room where most of the brood were gathered, though they all looked rather bored.  “Maybe we should let them play in the game room.”

The brood had been barred from the game room, unless they wanted to pay an admission fee of a dollar per hour.  Naturally, they weren't paying.

“Stay tough, Danny.  They're weakening.”

“Maybe,” Daniel replied.  “But what about the girls?”

“What about them?”

“They're trying not to take sides,” the younger man noted.  “They've been sleeping outside all week.”

“You miss them,” Jack mused, a knowing smile on his face.

“Jack, they're splitting their time.  They spend about ten minutes with the children and then ten with us.  Then they go outside, because it's easier.”
 
“Bij and Katie are just fine,” Jack assured.  Seeing Daniel's questioning stare, he explained, “We had a chat.  They were concerned about the mess.”

“Their beanbag is the cleanest part of the house.”

“You're exaggerating, Love.”

“I just want everything to be normal again.”  Slowly, Daniel walked into the rec room and called out, “Story time.”

“Yay!” several of the kids responded, not even realizing they were breaking their own strike rule, something which made the archaeologist feel pretty good.

Eagerly, the kids followed Daniel to the bookshelf to select the story of the night.

~I feel like the pied piper,~ Daniel mused, happy to see that Bijou and Katie were following him, too.

====

The next day was much like the previous one, and it was weighing heavily on the entire family.

“It's almost over, Danny,” Jack promised as he observed the kids staring at the jar of Skippy Peanut Butter with contempt.

“I hope so.”

“We could put our foot down,” Jack countered.

“But if we do, we're brutes, and they learn nothing,” Daniel lamented in frustration.

“I'm thinkin' they'll give in by tomorrow night.”

“And if they don't?” the younger man put forth with arched eyebrows.

“Then we think of an 'or'.  They need hot food,” Jack admitted.  “They're eating a lot of fruit and veggies, but it's time for some real protein.  Agreed?”

“Agreed.”

====

As with the night before, the children were bored with their messy house and nothing to do since everything had a price tag attached to it.  Also like the previous evening, Daniel offered up a story, which delighted the brood.  When the story was finished, the children were sad, each of them wondering how'd they would finish up the evening.

“Daddy, how long are you and Dad gonna stay on strike?” Jonny asked.

“Well, how long are you guys going to stay on strike?”

“Just a minute,” Jonny responded.  He signaled to the brood, who gathered round near the big screen TV, which hadn't been used since the strikes had begun.  “Brood, I vote we stop the strike.”

“What about our raises?” Chenoa asked.

“I vote we get one raise a year, on our birthdays,” Jonny put forth.

“That's what we get now,” David groaned.  ~All this striking for nothing!~

“I like that plan,” Aislinn interjected.

“Me, too,” Lulu added.  “Besides, I want pasta for dinner tomorrow.”

As he watched, Daniel covertly communicated, **Babe, looks like you were right.  I think the strike is ending.**

**There we go!  Be right there,** Jack responded.  “Your old man knows how to handle a mutiny,” he told JD as he put the baby gently into his crib and made sure he was settled before going downstairs.

====

“Hey,” Jack greeted the family as he walked into the rec room.  “What's up?”

The brood was still in their huddle, the pros and cons of giving up their strike being bandied back and forth.

“We're having a meeting,” Lulu advised her older father.

“Okay.  I'll be over here, with my group,” Jack teased and then went over to sit down on one of the sofa sectionals next to Daniel.  “Must be a whopper of a conversation.”

“Looks like it,” Daniel agreed as he sat with his arms folded across his chest.

“Okay,” Jennifer sighed as the huddle ended.  The brood turned so that they were all facing their parents.  “The brood has made a decision,” she announced.

“Yes?” Jack questioned in happy anticipation of the announcement.

“As of now, BAPB is dissolved.  We accept your terms of allowances being raised just once a year, on our birthdays.”

“I guess I don't need new shoes,” Chenoa sighed.  ~Angela's new shoes are so pretty.~

Jack and Daniel exchanged a look and then Daniel stated, “As of now, PABB is also dissolved.”

“Can we have ice cream now?” Jonny asked hopefully.  “We haven't had any in four whole days.”

“Can we have pasta tomorrow for dinner?” Lulu requested with bright eyes.  “Pleeeeease.”

Jack looked at his watch and told the brood, “Here's the order of events.  We want everything off the floors.  Then we'll have ice cream.  Tomorrow, this house gets a full cleaning before we pig out on pasta night.”

“Yippee!” Lulu exclaimed joyfully.

“Let's go!” Jonny encouraged, preferring to focus on the advent of ice cream instead of the defeat of the allowance battle.

“One more thing,” Daniel called out, stopping the children from their floor pickup. “Dad and I have decided to give everyone a one dollar increase in their allowance.”  The cheers were deafening.  “*On* the condition that you all do one additional chore, to be announced.”

“Deal!” Jonny announced without even bothering to check with his siblings.

The brood headed upstairs to pick up their rooms, their plan being to work their way down so that they finished their cleanup right by the hospitality room where the ice cream would be served.

“Ah, Daniel,” Jack began when they were alone.  “When did we decide to go ahead on the raise business?”

“Just now.”

“Why?”

“Well, we'd already decided to increase their allowances next month anyway; cost of living,” Daniel reminded about that decision the parents had made before the strike of the BAPBs had been announced.

“There's that,” Jack agreed.  “Maybe we should tell them; they'd go nuts to know they went through the last few days for nothing.”

“No, I don't think so, Babe.  This was a good lead in to our history lesson.  I mean, uh, they're used to going without now.”

Jack laughed, “Wait until they hear about pioneer days.”

“That's why we let them eat all the pasta they want tomorrow night.”

Jack and Daniel laughed, knowing something that the children didn't at this point. As part of their homeschooling, they'd be living like the pioneers for a few days.

“If they only knew,” Jack chuckled.

“Well, at least they feel like they accomplished something,” Daniel replied.

“Let's go accomplish something ourselves,” Jack suggested.

“Ice cream delights for all,” Daniel agreed.

Happy the strike was over and amused at what was to come, Jack and Daniel began preparing the ice cream treats for their brood.  The strike was over, but there was always more excitement to be had in the home of the Jackson-O'Neills in Colorado Springs.

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