Patch

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - September 8 - October 13, 2012
Spoilers:  None
Size:  30kb, short story
Written:  September 25-26,28-30, October 1-2, 2007
Summary:  JD gets a new toy, but no one seems to know where it came from.
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), “The Bet,” “Lost,” “The Last Mission,” “Unexpected Miracle,” “Brothers,” “Wallpaper,” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Claudia, Melissa, Robert, Sara, Cassiopeia, Carol, Linda!

Patch
by Orrymain

Jack whistled happily as he walked down the hall towards the nursery to tend to his ten-month-old son, JD.

“Morning, Noa, Lulu,” the cheerful father greeted as he entered the room that was actually half-nursery and half-bedroom.

“Hi, Dad,” Chenoa spoke, looking up and smiling at her father as she paused making her bed for a moment.

“Morning, Dad,” Lulu said at the same time as she walked up and gave the tall man a hug, her head only reaching his midsection.  “Does Daddy need any help with breakfast?”

Smiling down at the black-haired girl, Jack responded, “I'm sure he can always use help from a fine cook such as yourself.”

“Good,” Lulu replied, her eyes brightening.  “I want to make strawmallow waffles.”

“Strawmallow?” Jack questioned, raising his eyebrow.  ~I'm afraid to ask.~

“They're yummy.  Come on, Noa, but don't run,” Lulu told the other curly-haired girl.

“All done,” Chenoa said, looking around to make sure she hadn't left anything on the floor or out of place.

The brood had a bet going with their older father.  For two months, they had to be essentially perfect children, doing all of their chores and not causing any problems.  If they succeeded in staying out of trouble, which included keeping their rooms clean and not running in the house, then their parents would celebrate their upcoming wedding anniversary with an elaborate, formal party.

Jack chuckled as the girls left the room, both walking at a carefully sedate pace.  Then he looked over at JD.

“Good morning, Son,” the general spoke happily, picking up his youngster.  “Hey, where'd this come from?” he asked, looking at the stuffed animal the boy was clinging to.

Jack didn't remember seeing this particular toy before, but he guessed that it was something his husband had bought recently and had forgotten to tell him about.  He also surmised that, for some odd reason, Daniel must have given it to JD during the night.

~These days he's way too good at not waking me up when he gets up before me,~ Jack thought.

The happy father smiled as JD giggled and clung to his new stuffed animal, a mostly white dog with black ears, a black tip on his nose and tail, and a great big patch of black surrounding his left eye.



“Well, it's time to get dressed, so let's leave this little guy ...” Jack began, reaching out to take the plush dog from JD.

The baby shocked his father by clutching the toy even harder to his chest and letting out a loud cry.

“Oooookay,” Jack responded, releasing his hold on the object.  “I get it.  The dog stays with you.”

With JD smiling again, Jack proceeded to get the youngest Jackson-O'Neill ready for the new day.

====

With breakfast over, only Jack, Daniel, and JD remained in the hospitality room, the brood having scattered to their various rooms to do their homework before being allowed to play or indulge in other weekend activities.  Normally, they would have done their homework Friday afternoon, but they'd been given a reprieve 'just because'.

Daniel glanced over at JD, who was in his bouncer, holding onto the stuffed animal.

“Jack, that's a cute stuffed animal.  Where'd you get it?”

“Me?  I thought you got it,” the older man answered as he wiped the countertop.

“No, I ... ” the archaeologist paused, exchanging a confused look at his husband.  Suddenly, an idea came to him, and he asked, “Sam?”

“Carter?” Jack spoke at the same time.  Laughing at the fact that both he and his lover came up with the same solution at the same time, he concluded, “Has to be it.  She and Shanahan must have given it to him last night when they babysat.”

“Yeah, that's ...” Daniel paused again, a sudden frown appearing on his face.  “Uh, Babe, we both checked on JD last night when we got home, and I know that stuffed animal wasn't there then.”

Jack thought for a moment, replaying their return home, and then sighed, “Yeah, you're right.”  He threw away the wipe he'd been using and asked, “So, where'd it come from?”

Shrugging, the younger man suggested, “One of the kids?”

“Trying to score points by spending their allowance on JD,” Jack grumbled lightly, shaking his head in annoyance.

“Jack, stop being skeptical.  These are *your* children, you know,” the younger man chastised.

“*That's* why I'm skeptical,” the silver-haired man teased with a grin.

"Well, bribery was always your favorite tactic, Love,” Daniel snarked.

“Hey, that's not true.  It's only my second favorite tactic; intimidation is my favorite,” Jack responded.  “Wait a second.  What am I saying,” he stated, a thought occurring to him suddenly.  “I sure didn't win that round.  You tricked me, Daniel.”

Grinning as he pressed the 'start' button for the dishwasher, Daniel walked over to the infant seat and knelt down, asking, “Who's your friend, JD?”

JD only clutched the dog tighter and giggled, as if he had a secret.

“Definitely your son,” Daniel whined, shaking his head at his lover.

====

“No, Daddy, honest,” Jennifer said, shrugging after explaining that she had never seen the stuffed animal before now.

Holding JD, who was still tightly clutching the mystery item, the archaeologist had gone from room to room to talk to each of the children.  One by one, each child had responded in kind: that they didn't have a clue where the toy came from, that they'd never seen it before it, either, and they'd had nothing to do with its sudden appearance.

As he approached the bottom of the stairs, Daniel sighed.  Looking downward, he saw Bijou and Katie, both sitting in the hallway, tails wagging happily.

“Girls, I don't suppose you know where this came from?” Daniel asked hopefully, motioning to the stuffed animal.

Two innocent expressions were Daniel's answer.

“I don't suppose you know where the biscuits are?”

Two running beagles sprinting towards the kitchen was Daniel's answer this time.

“I thought so,” Daniel chuckled.

====

“Carter, come on,” Jack pleaded later that day over the phone.  “Fess up.  You used those doohickeys of yours to turn off ...”

“No, Sir.”

“Shanahan did it,” the general put forth, anxiously trying to solve the mystery of the stuffed dog.

“No, Sir,” Sam reiterated.

“You do know the stuffed dog I'm talking about,” Jack asked, or rather stated.

“No, Sir,” Sam answered.

“Carter, stop saying, 'No, Sir',” the general barked.

“Yes, Sir,” the blonde chuckled.  Hearing the man groan, Sam added, “General, I swear on my ... doohickeys that neither Pete nor I know about the stuffed animal. We played with JD for a while, but then he went right to sleep at bedtime.  We checked on him a few times, and he was fine; and there was no sign of any new stuffed animals in the crib or anywhere else in the nursery that I know of.”

With a sigh, Jack thanked the woman and hung up the phone feeling slightly uneasy.  It wasn't that he minded JD's new toy, but he didn't like the mystery of how it got there.  The family had an elaborate security system, so he couldn't fathom the idea that someone could sneak into the house; and, if they could, why just leave a toy?  Of course, their close family of friends had the codes, but everyone thus far had denied any culpability in relation to the appearance of the toy.

====

“JD, it's a beautiful morning, so let's go outside,” Daniel suggested, picking up his youngest son.

“Waaaah!” the baby objected when his father surprised him by removing the stuffed animal from his hand and tossing it into the crib.

“JD, it's time to play with a new toy,” Daniel stated.  “Like Dad says, variety is the spice of life.  Okay, it's a cliché, but those are Dad's father phrases.”

“Waaaaaaaaaah,” was the loud, and getting louder, response from the obviously distraught child.

“We'll play with the stuffed dog later,” Daniel said soothingly, rocking his son, though JD continued to cry.

“Give it up, Dannyboy,” Jack called out from the doorway.  “He's not buyin' it.”  He paused and then observed, “JD's glued to that thing, just like Ricky was to his blue blanket.”

Frustrated, the younger man surmised, “Maybe it belongs to someone else, and we just never no...ticed.”  He sighed.  He was trying desperately to solve the puzzle, but his solutions were more farfetched than the puzzle itself.  “Someone had to give it to him, Jack.”

“Are you saying our children are lying?” Jack questioned pointedly as he moved forward, picking up the stuffed dog and tossing it to Daniel, who gave it to JD, who instantly stopped crying.

“No, of course not, especially not with this silly bet going on,” Daniel replied.

“Then ... what?” Jack prodded.

“I have no idea,” Daniel answered as he brushed by his lover to continue on with their day.

====

Almost one month after the stuffed animal's sudden appearance in JD's crib, Jack and Daniel were in the study, talking over some J-O Enterprises business.

The two had still been unable to trace the origin of the toy and had taken the precaution of having their alarm system checked and rechecked.  Then, much to JD's unhappiness, the toy had been temporarily taken into Sam's custody so that it could be checked over.  Fortunately, she didn't find anything amiss, and the dog was returned to its crying owner.  Reluctantly, the two had been forced to accept that the appearance of the toy was likely to remain a mystery, although they continued to speculate on its origins.

It had been a busy weekend.  The day before, Chenoa had turned seven.  The family had celebrated big time, and they'd gotten a surprise when JD had spoken his first word: 'Creeeeeeam'.  It made the day extra special, though Daniel was still sighing that the boy's first word hadn't been 'Dad' or 'Daddy'.

This morning, Chenoa and Teal'c had enjoyed a special tea on the aerie, which was the upper roof deck.  Now, the children were scattered throughout the house, working on various projects and, much to Jack's chagrin since he wanted to win the bet, behaving like perfect little angels.

JD was playing contentedly on the floor as his parents talked, the lovers keeping an eye on the boy, as was Katie.  She was on special duty, just in case Jack and Daniel became too engrossed in their conversation and accidentally took their eyes off the young boy.  It wasn't something they'd do intentionally, but both were aware that it was a danger of human nature.  If Katie hadn't been present, they would have set up ToddlerTown for the baby, who had begun standing on his own and walking a few short steps at a time.

Sure enough, the co-owners of the archaeological company were reviewing survey results and disagreeing on how to proceed.  Katie scowled inwardly at the two men, but kept her focus on the bubbling baby.

“'atcs,” JD said suddenly, attempting to speak.

“Woof!” Katie warned as she kept pace with the toddling baby.

Jack and Daniel quickly turned their attention to their child.  Somehow, the stuffed dog had been tossed to the other side of the room, and JD had gotten up to go get it.

“'atcs,” JD repeated as he reached the stuffed dog and plopped down onto the carpet, holding the dog lovingly in his arms, snuffling his nose into the soft fur.

“Atcs?” Jack questioned, making a funny face.

“That's what he said,” Daniel responded.  “I think.”

“Daniel, for the past month, we've been calling the thing 'Dog'.  That's it.  Just 'Dog'.”

“Yes, I know,” Daniel acknowledged as he and his lover watched the boy playing peacefully.

“So, what is ... atcs?” Jack asked in confusion.

“I have no idea,” the younger man sighed.

====

The following Saturday, Jack was chasing JD down as he sprinted, toddler-style, across the living room.

“You're lucky you aren't part of the bet,” the general called out.

JD giggled as he ran into the sofa and slid down to the carpet, laughing louder.  Jack pretended to be a plane, going in for the kill, his nose 'attacking' the baby's abdomen.

“What's going on?” Daniel asked as he walked into the living room, having come from upstairs.

“I was the plane,” Jack spoke.  “I made a direct hit,” he stated, repeating his attack on the laughing youngster.

“Time to put the plane away,” Daniel chuckled.  “We need to get the children together, or we'll have to go to the later show.”

“Jeff and Ash are in the music room.  He was practicing, and Ash asked him to help her with her new song, so we know where three of the brood are.”

“Three down, and nine to go,” Daniel quipped.

“Patch?” JD said.

Jack and Daniel shared a look of confusion; then both focused on their son and questioned simultaneously, “Patch?”

“Want Patch.  Where Patch?” JD asked, getting up and starting to look around.

“Patch,” Daniel repeated as he tried to figure out the latest puzzle, although he all of a sudden began processing another little fact.  **Jack, does it seem a little ... odd that our son's speech has, well ...**

**Danny, I don't want to think about it, but before I don't think about it, I'll say that I think he's probably another little genius.**

**Sometimes, I wish you didn't think so much, Babe,** Daniel quipped, feeling like if his lover thought any more than he just had that he might get one of Jack's 'brain' headaches.

**He's picking up this language game pretty fast, Love,** Jack pointed out.

**Yeah, he is,** Daniel replied with a tiny smile.  He couldn't help but have some pride in JD, and all of their brood.  Then, in a flash, he made the connection that had thus far escaped the couple.  “Jack, Patch!  Atcs, Patch!”

“Want Patch,” JD repeated, looking up at his fathers.

“He's in the study,” Jack answered as he stood up.  “I'll get him.”

Daniel chuckled as JD hurried after Jack, though he plopped down just as he got to the hallway.

~Not quite there yet, Son, but any day now, you'll be ready for the fifty-meter race, I'm sure.~

“Here you go, Son,” Jack said, having returned with the stuffed animal and handing it over to the happy youngster.

“Patch love,” JD stated, his vocabulary growing in leaps and bounds.

“Well, it makes more sense than Atcs,” Jack stated as he and Daniel just watched the boy as he hugged the plush toy.  “Danny, it had to come from somewhere.”

“Yeah, somewhere,” Daniel said as he headed for the stairs to start to gather their family together.

Just then Jeff finished the introduction to the new song his sister was learning, and Aislinn began singing in an achingly pure soprano voice: “I peeked in to say goodnight, and there I heard my child in prayer, 'And for me, some scarlet ribbons, Scarlet ribbons for my hair ...”

Both fathers were captured by their daughter's voice and stood listening to the haunting melody and lyrics that told of a miracle granting an innocent child's request while she and the parent slept.

Suddenly, Daniel, who had climbed up two stairs, had a funny feeling.  At the same time, Jack's eyes widened.  He looked over at his husband, who was slowly turning around to face him.  Their eyes locked onto each other's.  The two men appeared to be coming to the same conclusion.

“Charlie?” the duo chorused, wondering if somehow JD's dog had been a gift from the beyond.

“I don't know, Jack.  I'm not sure that's possible.”

“I know, Daniel, but when you almost died that time, you woke up with your mother's ring in your hand.  The angel ornament reappeared out of nowhere, and we've had pictures rearrange themselves.  You and the brood celebrated me home when I was out of my mind and nearly dead.  Charlie helped Jonny and Little Danny find their way to Sol's place.  Heck, we saw hands snatch up balloons being sent to our loved ones.”

“I know, Jack, but intuition or ... or maybe wishful thinking, even the power of suggestion, is one thing.  What we're talking about here is an apport.”

“A what?”

“An apport: an object transported from elsewhere or materialized by spiritual means into three-dimensional reality, usually temporarily.  Uh, from the non-physical realm to the physical one.”

“Great.  All we need is for that dang stuffed pooch to disappear.  Are you saying it appeared by magic?  Miracle?  Magic?  How can you tell, anyway?”

“A miracle is considered something that is a gift from a higher power, usually a gift of circumstance or timing that is particularly fortunate.  It may be requested by someone for themselves, or for another, and it often shows itself in an unexpected way.  Requested miracles of physical manifestation are rare, even in legend.”

“And magic?” Jack questioned, curious to see how his lover interpreted the difference.

“Magic is considered the application of means by which natural law can be superceded by individuals who, by birth or training, can do so.  It's a common fantasy in cultures, even ours.  It's why Harry Potter is still so popular.”

“But I don't recall asking for a new stuffed toy for JD, and, unless one of your degrees is from Hogwarts, we're back to square one.”

Daniel nodded thoughtfully as Jack continued, “You became a wall because you asked for it, and you and I were kids for a week, just a couple of years apart in age because I asked for it.  If we hadn't figured out how to undo them, those effects would have been permanent.”

“Yes, Jack, but that was technology, not miracles, and certainly not magic.  That stuffed toy just did not pop in from out of nowhere.”

“But it did.  To quote Arthur C. Clarke, 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'.”

“Jack, my brain hurts.”

“You think *your* brain hurts?  I'm hoping they make ice cream laced with Advil!” the older man exclaimed, feeling like he'd just used up his entire allotment of intelligent brain cells for the day.

The two men began to pace, with Jack murmuring, “Technology you can't tell from magic.”

Daniel whispered, “Pop in from nowhere.”

The lovers bumped heads and looked up at the same time as they called out in unison, “Thor!”

JD giggled, “Thor!”

“But we had Carter check Patch out, and she didn't find any sign of alien technology,” Jack pointed out, grasping at straws.

Daniel shrugged, "We're talking about the Asgard here.  Do you really think they haven't developed ways of completely hiding their technology from us?”

“Those crafty little gray ...”  Jack didn't finish the sentence, but instead stalked over to the little boy, leaned over, and politely asked, “May I borrow Patch for just a minute?”  When JD reluctantly released the stuffed animal, he said, “Thank you, Son.”  Standing back up, he looked Patch straight in the eye and began, “Thor, get your gray little butt into our living room now, before I ...”

“Jack, you will not do ... what you're thinking,” Daniel said, smiling to cover up his warning.

In response, Jack smiled and looked at Patch, asking, “Thor, would you please do us the honor of visiting ...” his smiled faded “before I throw you in the washing machine and keep it on spin cycle all day.”

“What if it isn't the Asgard, Jack?”

“Double scoops of that Advilnilla, please.  I so do not want to even think about it.”

A beam of light resulted in the appearance of Supreme Commander Thor of the Asgard by the patio door.

“Nice of you to drop by,” Jack snarked.

The Asgard leader walked over to Jack and held out his hand expectantly.

“Jack,” Daniel admonished when his lover pulled the toy closer to him.

Fearing a night on the sofa alone, Jack handed Patch over to Thor, who walked with the stuffed dog over to the baby.

“Little Thor, here is Patch,” the gray alien stated, holding out the dog to his namesake.

“Patch!” JD exclaimed, clapping just before he took possession of the black and white dog again.

“You are growing well, Little Thor.  I am pleased.”

JD grinned, saying, “Thor good.”

Jack grimaced, not sure if JD was referring to the Asgard or to himself.  He had images of his son growing up and wanting to be called by the alien name, which was indeed one of his middle names.

“You bellowed, O'Neill?” Thor asked innocently as he turned and stood between Jack and the baby, as if to protect the child.

As Jack looked befuddled, Daniel began to laugh, earning him a glare from his husband.

“Sorry,” Daniel said as he straightened, trying not to smile.  “Uh, Thor, about ... Patch.”

“It is customary on Earth to give namesakes presents, is it not?” the Roswell-like alien asked.

“Yes, it is, but you could have told us, especially when it's a spy toy,” Jack groused.

“I do not spy, O'Neill,” Thor insisted.

“Of course, you don't,” a disbelieving Jack replied, getting nothing but a prolonged blink from the Asgard.

“Thor, that's all it is, a gift?” Daniel inquired cautiously.

“It is the custom,” Thor repeated.

“Yes, it is,” Daniel affirmed with a smile.  “So, you gave it to him when we were gone,” he said, pointing at his lover and then at himself.

“Yes,” Thor confirmed and then elaborated on his visit.

//Flashback//
Thor beamed into the master bedroom of the Jackson-O'Neill house, finding it empty.  Hearing a noise, he walked into the hallway.

“Pete, stop!” Sam giggled.  “We really shouldn't.”

“We just checked on the kids, Gorgeous.  That gives us an hour before we have to do the next check.”

“Pete, it's the general's sofa,” the blonde giggled again.

“You think they haven't done more than sit on this sofa?  I think that's why Daniel got so freaked over the loss of its predecessor last year,” Pete responded.  He kissed his wife and then encouraged, “C'mon, Sam, you know you want to, so let's ...”
//End of Flashback//

“Whoa!” Jack interrupted.  “I *so* don't want to know anything more about that. Can we just ... fast forward ... please,” he requested a little desperately.

Daniel blushed and communicated, **Gawd, Jack, they know that you and I ...**

**Daniel, every couple uses their furniture for 'you know'.  It's perfectly normal.  Remember that the next time we sit down on the Shanahan's sofa.**

**I prefer not to think about what other couples do on their furniture, and why did you have to put that thought in my mind?** the younger man questioned, closing his eyes for a moment.

**Just think about what we've done: against the door, on the sofa, on the table, on the counter, on the ...**

**Stop!** the younger man commanded, wishing the whole subject had never been brought up in the first place.

**Problem, Sexy Thang?** Jack asked, egging his lover on in a seductive manner.

As Daniel blushed again, determined to ignore his husband, he looked at Thor, who had just nodded and was moving forward in his tale.

**Danny, you're going to have to talk to ...**

**Not on your life, or mine, Babe.  If you want to talk to them, then *you* do it, but I'm not saying a word.**

**They're supposed to be babysitting our kids!** Jack exclaimed.

**Jack, considering we take up half of their non-work time with our brood, I don't really think we should complain when they ... uh ... well ... um ... Look, I really don't need the visuals on this, okay?** Daniel responded, smiling as he just shook his head, ending the non-verbal discussion and putting every bit of his attention to what their visitor was saying.  

//Flashback//
Having realized that the Shanahans were enjoying some private time downstairs, Thor headed for the nursery.  He walked inside, checking on both Chenoa and Lulu before walking over to the crib.

“Little Thor, are you awake?” Thor asked quietly.

JD woke up, entranced by the tiny alien he'd seen several times before.

“I have brought you a gift, Little Thor,” the gray being informed.  “This is Patch.  He is a dog.”

Thor placed the stuffed dog into JD's open arms.  The baby giggled lightly, clutching the toy.

“You must not wake your sisters, JD,” Thor admonished, the baby's giggles quieting almost immediately.  “Little Thor, I cannot always be here with you, but I am proud of you, and the Asgard hold you and your family in high regard.  You have only to call, and we will respond.”

JD cooed and let out a yawn.

“I believe the tradition is to sing a lullaby.  I shall do my best,” Thor said as he began to sing an ancient Asgard song of caring.  As JD began to drift asleep, he reminded, “Keep Patch with you, Little Thor, and you will always be safe.”
//End of Flashback//

“The Asgard have lullabies?” Jack asked incredulously.

“In ancient times,” Thor confirmed.

“Ancient times would be ...” Daniel questioned curiously.

“When we were able to reproduce, over a thousand years ago.  As you know, it has been more than thirty-thousand years since the Asgard looked much as you do.  When our genetic reproduction ceased, many things superfluous to it ...”

“Like lullabies?” Jack interjected.

Thor nodded, concluding, “Those things were no longer necessary to our existence, but the songs are still present in our databanks of knowledge.”

“Dang!  I should have accessed those when y'all kidnapped my brain ... both times,” Jack added quickly.  “Are they anything like Jaffa jokes?”

Thor gave the general a look of rebuke and then said, “Now that we download our individual consciousnesses into cloned bodies, we focus on other pursuits.”

Though sounding business-like, the little alien looked forlorn as he reflected on the ultimate demise of the Asgard race.

**No 'you know' for a thousand years; unimaginable,** Jack claimed.

**Jack, focus!  We can lament their lack of mating habits later,** Daniel admonished mentally.

**Fine, I'll focus,** Jack replied.  “Thor, when Daniel and I got home that night, we both checked on JD.  That dog wasn't there.”

“You are correct, O'Neill.”

“I am?” Jack questioned.  “Of course, I am.”  He blinked and then asked, “How am I right?”

“While I was in my quarters in The Daniel Jackson ...”

“I wish you wouldn't put it like that,” Jack said, making a face, while Daniel rolled his eyes at his lover's statement.

The alien went on, saying, “I realized there was a small defect in Patch.  I retrieved Patch, corrected the defect, and then returned it to JD.  Apparently, that was when you and Doctor Jackson checked on Little Thor.”

“Defect?” the general questioned, bristling slightly.  “Okay, Thor, just what ...”

“Yes, Thor,” Daniel interjected, walking over to where Jack and Thor stood opposite each other.  “Thank you for the gift and fixing whatever it was that was wrong.  We're happy you care so much about J...Little Thor.”

Jack stared at his lover as if he had two heads, but before he could say anything, the alien disappeared.

“Daniel ...”

“Jack,” Daniel said, tapping his hand gently on his lover's chest and then kneeling down in front of JD and Patch.  “JD, you can always trust Thor.  He's never let us down, and he cares about all of us, so you can believe him.”  He looked at Patch, smiling as he rubbed it and said, “Thor says Patch will always keep you safe.  Okay, then believe it.”

As his husband stood up, Jack began, “Danny ...”

“Babe, was anything I just told our son incorrect?” Daniel questioned, folding his arms over his chest.

“No,” Jack answered a bit reluctantly.  “But you know that ...”

“Jack, he says Patch will keep JD safe.  What is there about that statement that upsets you?”

“I ...” Jack sighed.

“I know you're worried about the idea of Thor listening in, but we've been complaining about that for years.  Jack, we both know he's not exactly watching us, but we also know he has some way of knowing when we really need him.  Honestly, I don't really think I mind.  I'm sure Patch has one of those communication devices in him somehow.  Whatever it is that is part of Patch obviously had some problems.  Thor checked it out, and then he fixed the problem, whatever it was; and you know something?  I don't freakin' care.”  Daniel smiled and asked, “Do you?”  His eyes bore into his lover's as he asked again, “Do you, Jack?”  Not waiting for an answer, he leaned in for a kiss and then headed for the stairs, saying, “I'm going to start getting the brood together.”

Nodding, the older man sighed and looked back at JD and Patch.  He watched for a minute, smiling when JD got up and started toddling around the room, keeping the stuffed animal close to his chest.

“JD, can I borrow Patch again?” Jack asked, holding out his hand and nodding when the baby released it into his care again.  Looking into Patch's eyes, he spoke, “Thor, you know I grumble, but thank you.”  He looked down at the little boy and then back at the stuffed animal as he continued, “Little Thor here could use the extra pair of eyes to keep him out of trouble, so thanks.”

JD giggled gleefully, “Patch!”

“Here you go,” Jack said, returning Patch to his owner.  Then he picked up the baby and said, “Let me tell you a story about your Uncle Thor and how that little gray butt saved your old man's butt.  There were these big bad Lego bricks ...”

As Jack told JD a colorful, but based in truth, story about Thor, Daniel gathered up the brood.  Life was going forward for the Jackson-O'Neills and their new protector, Patch, in Colorado Springs.

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