Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - September 19-23, 2016
Written: May 10-11,19-23, June 6, 2009
Summary: A trip off-world holds an historic discovery for Jack and Daniel, only they aren't the ones who unearth the find.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
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: Irina, Tammy, Becca, Navi!
Jack was leaning forward in the recliner, his feet firmly on the floor
and his hands clasped together. His eyes bore into his lover's,
eager to have a meeting of the minds on his proposal.
Seated in front of his desk in his comfortable chair, the archaeologist had swiveled the chair around to face his husband for this important discussion. He'd been sitting back in his seat, but now he, too, was hunched forward. What his soulmate had suggested required some serious thought.
“So, what do you say?” Jack asked anxiously. After a beat, he urged, “Come on, Danny. They've earned it.”
“Yes, they have,” Daniel agreed while still mulling it over. “What about ...”
“SG-2 *and* SG-3,” Jack interrupted, answering the unasked question.
“SG-3?” the younger asked, his voice lifting with surprise.
“Hank still owes us. You know, for the last time we saved the world.”
“Jack, that was a long time ago.”
“He has a good memory,” the older man noted with a smile.
Skeptically, Daniel accused, “What did you do? Show him our old reports?” Seeing a smirk in response, he exclaimed, “Jack!”
“Oh, relax, Daniel.”
Daniel sighed. He knew Jack must have exerted some type of pressure on General Hank Landry to get him to go along with this idea, not to mention including two of the best teams SGC had to offer.
“What about Ash?” Daniel asked.
“I was thinking a Celtic Woman concert,” Jack replied in reference to the all-female Irish singing group which was Aislinn's favorite.
“Celtic Woman?” Daniel echoed. “That's, uh, good, Babe, except Colorado Springs isn't on their concert schedule for this year.”
“This is a special year,” Jack put forth. “A trip for her and the sibling of her choice, with you and me, or at least one of us, somewhere in the world. She'll love it.” He reached out and took his lover's hand as he implored, “Danny, they're ...”
“I know,” Daniel interrupted. “They're our children.”
“You betcha!” Jack concurred with zest. “And they've *earned* it.”
“And you miss going off-world,” Daniel pointed out with keen awareness.
“So do you,” Jack countered. “It'll be fun.”
“Okay,” Daniel finally agreed, a smile breaking out on his face almost instantly, a smile that grew after the tender kiss that he and his Love shared to seal the deal.
“Yes!” the older man exclaimed, making a face as he pumped his fist excitedly.
Daniel laughed as he stood up, feeling such love for his spouse, who was also standing up now. Their life wasn't common place, and it never had been. They were protective of their brood, but then the Jackson-O'Neills had never lived a risk-free life. It just wasn't who they were and to deny that fact was to deny their heritage and very essence of what made them such a formidable family.
“Space Family Jackson-O'Neill,” Daniel mused as he headed for the door of the den.
“It's our destiny,” Jack teased.
“Admit it; you're just as excited as I am.”
“Oh, I admit it. I also think we're crazy,” Daniel chuckled, opening the door and heading into the hallway.
“There's that, too,” Jack replied, chuckling as well as he followed.
Jonny and Little Danny were seated next to each other on Jonny's bed, the two having been summoned by their parents. They sat nervously, sharing looks of concern. They watched with baited breaths as Jack and Daniel pulled up a couple of chairs to chat with the boys.
“Okay, well ...” Daniel began.
“Jonny, what did you do?” Little Danny asked.
“Me? I haven't done anything,” Jonny responded. “Did you get into Daddy's den and ...”
“No!” the child prodigy denied emphatically.
“Boys!” Jack called out, reaching over to his sons and placing a hand of one of their thighs. “No one is in trouble.”
“In fact, we want to talk about your birthday.”
“I'll go get Ash,” Little Danny offered, making a motion to get off the bed.
“No,” Daniel replied, tugging his namesake back into his previous position. “Dad and I will talk to her in a bit.”
The Munchkins were just a week away from celebrating their tenth birthday. There were plans for a big party during the day on Saturday with all the neighborhood kids and various friends of the triplets and then a smaller, more intimate celebration that evening. Birthdays were always a big deal in this household.
“Daddy and I would like to give you a very special birthday present,” Jack began.
“Ash is going to get something very special, too,” Daniel interjected, sensing both boys had been immediately curious about their sister's absence from such a discussion.
“SGC has a report of an ancient world,” Jack told the boys, who suddenly sat up straighter. “No signs of life or civilization.”
“The MALP?” Jonny asked.
“It's sent back pictures, and they've sent two UAVs,” Jack noted.
“The pictures showed the presence of some ruins,” Daniel stated, glancing for just a second at his husband. “General Landry has scheduled a recon to evaluate the ruins for their worth.”
“SG-2 is going,” Jack stated, his facial expression not revealing a thing.
“Uncle Lou!” Jonny exclaimed. Then he scowled. “Dad, SG-2 isn't an archaeology team.”
“SG-3 is going along, too,” the general stated, not bothering to respond to the oldest boy's remark.
Little Danny bit his lip, and his eyes were alight with anticipation. He was catching on, even if his brother hadn't yet fully grasped what was about to come.
Daniel smiled. He couldn't help it. He saw the joy and passion in his namesake that he himself so often felt when anticipating a dig.
“You said there wasn't any life there,” Jonny responded in confusion.
“Jonny!” Little Danny called out. “Listen!” he urged forcefully.
“Part of SG-1 is going, too,” Daniel advised.
“But SG-1 is retired,” Jonny refuted.
Jack and Daniel had retired the from the Stargate Program in 2013, and while Sam still went off-world occasionally, she spent most of her working hours at the Mountain, which allowed her to attend to her growing family. Teal'c's time was divided between training on the alpha site, participating in government affairs on Chulak, and being attached to various SG teams as needed. Right now, he was immersed in training the latest batch of recruits, one of his favorite duties at the SGC.
“That would be Dad,” Daniel clarified, purposefully drawing out the revelation, “me ...”
Little Danny was starting to lean forward in expectation, and Jonny was finally getting the gist of what was happening, too. He was fidgeting slightly in anticipation.
“And you two,” Jack completed for his husband, a grin emerging on his previously stoic face.
“Really?” Little Danny asked excitedly.
“We get to go?” Jonny questioned at the same time.
“Really,” Daniel confirmed, suddenly finding himself with an armful of miniature archaeologist.
“Daddy and I believe you two are ready for a real mission,” Jack stated as he hugged his namesake.
“I won't touch any weapons,” Jonny promised, gulping even as he said it. He'd learned his lesson from a previous off-world excursion. ~Never again, until I'm old enough and a cadet for real.~
“If we thought you would, we wouldn't be having this discussion,” Jack the General spoke commandingly. “The briefing is at 0800 Friday, and we ship out thirty minutes after we're dismissed.”
The boys bubbled over with questions and couldn't wait for Friday to come.
It was 0750 on Friday morning, and the male Munchkins were in their specially-made BDUs as they walked through the dull, gray corridors of SGC en route to the briefing. Passing an airman, Jonny returned his salute.
“Jonny, stop saluting,” Little Danny ordered, jabbing his brother lightly on the arm.
“But I have to,” Jonny insisted. “They're saluting me.”
Little Danny rolled his eyes and responded, “That's because Dad told them to.”
“But they're still doing it,” the little general-in-the-making smirked with delight as he returned yet another salute.
“Geez,” Little Danny sighed, shaking his head at his brother's attitude.
A minute later, the boys entered the briefing room, Little Danny on Jonny's left side. Jack was seated on the side closest to the door, where Daniel was on the opposite side. In fact, he was looking very comfortable as he sank restfully into the chair. Members of SG-2 and SG-3 were already spread around the long conference table, with reports on the planet about to be explored in front of them.
At that very moment, General Landry entered from his office, causing almost everyone in the room to bolt up in an instant.
Immediately, Jonny stood erect, saluting as he called out, “Acting Airman Jonny Jackson-O'Neill reporting as ordered, Sir.” Realizing his brother wasn't responding in kind, while still saluting, he nudged his brother and whispered, “Little Danny, salute.”
The child prodigy just stared at his brother and then began to head over to where his younger father was sitting.
“We're not military, so we don't need to salute, do we, Daddy?”
With several sets of eyes now peering down at the archaeologist, Daniel grasped the ends of his chair and smiled.
“Uuuuuh, yeah; that's right,” the archaeologist finally admitted. “It does have its advantages,” he added with a smile while looking at the standing personnel.
“Sit,” Landry ordered, amused by what had just happened but not showing it.
“Son,” Jack requested, motioning to his lap since there was a shortage of chairs in the room.
“Ah, Dad,” Jonny whined, though Little Danny didn't hesitate to take a spot on Daniel's lap.
“Jonny, they know how old we are,” Little Danny chastised, becoming exasperated with his brother.
“I'll sit on your lap, Jack,” Lou Ferretti offered with an amused grin as he pretended to act as if he were going to stand up.
“Just ... stay there,” Jack responded, giving his son a glare that meant 'get over here and don't argue'.
“Ah, gee whiz,” Jonny groaned, kicking his boot toe into the flooring for a second before reluctantly sauntering over towards his older father.
“With your permission, Sir,” Colonel Marc Reynolds stated, looking at Jack and standing up. “Jonny,” he beckoned, seeing a huge grin on the boy's face.
Jonny took four excited steps towards the chair before stopping and looking back at his general father.
**Jack, it's important to him,** Daniel communicated.
“Go ahead,” Jack acquiesced, giving a nod of thanks to Reynolds.
“Thanks, I...Colonel Reynolds,” Jonny stated, about to call his friend 'Ice', which was a nickname known to the Jackson-O'Neill family and a few of Reynolds' friends on the base.
“Colonel,” Landry ordered, looking over at Lou Ferretti, who happened to be responsible for the information gathered so far on the planet.
“Yes, Sir,” Ferretti responded, growing serious as he opened the written report for reference, if necessary. “P9C-389 ...”
Jonny and Little Danny shared a grin. It was real. They were going on a mission, and as the briefing continued, no one was making allowances for the fact that they were children. They weren't any kiddie jokes or references to making sure someone would be watching them. Rather, those assembled in the conference room were going about their business as usual.
“Gear up,” Jack ordered after Landry dismissed the troops. “We leave in thirty.”
In the gate room, the members of SG-2 and SG-3 were filtering in. Jack and Daniel were standing at the right edge of the ramp, watching their children. Standing at the middle of the step to the ramp, the two brothers were checking each other's backpacks and radios to make sure they were secure and as comfortable as possible.
“Sierra Gulf 1 leader to Munchkins. Radio check,” Jack spoke quietly into his radio.
Even though they could hear their father, since he was standing just a few feet away, Jonny and Little Danny both reached for their radios. They'd just learned how to use them earlier that morning.
“Munchkin 1 to General Dad, I read you,” Jonny called out playfully.
“Munchkin 2 to Dad and Daddy,” Little Danny began. His back was to his parents at that point, but he turned around and smiled. Clicking his radio, he smiled and said, “Thank you.”
Jack and Daniel both wanted to go to their sons and pick them up, giving them huge hugs, but they knew that would be out of place. Instead, they smiled as lovingly as they could at the happy boys.
“Walter, hit it!” Jack ordered, looking up at the control room.
“Hey, going somewhere without us?” Sam called out brightly as she entered the gate room with Teal'c right behind her.
Both Sam and Teal'c were in their green BDUs, totally geared up and ready to go on the mission.
“Aunt Sam!” Jonny called out happily, running over to the blonde.
Little Danny followed, and both boys cheerfully hugged both Sam and Teal'c.
“Now we're *really* SG-1, all of us!” Little Danny exclaimed joyfully.
“Carter?” Jack questioned, a puzzled look on his face.
Jack and Daniel hadn't wanted to impose on either Sam or Teal'c to alter their plans and go on this mission, even though secretly both men had wanted to ask them. They knew Teal'c was at a crucial point in his training, and Sam had a family to raise in addition to her work. Any off-world venture was risky, and they also knew that her autistic son, Kevin, was going through a new therapy program on Friday mornings. She was missing that to be here.
“Kevin's therapist worked us in early,” Sam answered. With a huge smile, she reported, “He talked to her today about the pyramids.”
Little Danny hugged his aunt again and said simply, “Soon.”
Not wanting to become overly emotional, Sam looked at her friends and teammates and added, “Pete's taking the day off.” She looked at Jonny and Little Danny and commented, “I couldn't miss this.”
“Thank you,” Daniel spoke with deep gratitude.
“Your excuse, Big Guy?” Jack teased.
“It has been some time since you and DanielJackson went on a mission, O'Neill. I wish to make sure you don't hurt your backs.”
Jonny was grinning bigger than ever at the accusation, while Jack grimaced at the remark.
“Right,” Jack responded dryly. Again he looked up to the control and shouted, “Walter, I said hit it!”
“I did, Sir. It's dead,” Chief Master Sergeant Walter Davis called out, holding up a paper with a dead fly on it.
“The *Gate*, Walter!”
“Oh, yes, Sir,” the technician acknowledged with a perfectly innocent look on his face as he began the dialing sequence.
Jack looked at his team and remarked, “It may be time for him to retire.”
“He was waiting for us, General,” Sam explained.
“Boys,” Daniel called out, gesturing with his hand for the two to back up a little.
Bouncing on the balls of their feet, Jonny and Little Danny gasped and then smiled at the thundering kawoosh of the Stargate as the wormhole opened.
“Ah, Dad,” Jonny sighed quietly.
With the military team halfway up the ramp, Jack looked at his husband to gauge his position.
“Hold it!” Jack commanded SG-3 just before walking up the ramp. He turned to face the Munchkins and called out, “Acting Airman and Acting Pain-in-the-Butt.”
Little Danny was totally un-phased by the remark. He and his brother scurried up the ramp to their older father.
“I go through first; you follow in a five-count. How's that?”
Jonny and Little Danny huddled together for a second. Having just their overprotective (at least in their eyes) father go through first wasn't as bad as having an entire team of gun-toting men walking through ahead of them.
“Deal!” Jonny spoke on behalf of both boys.
“Daniel?” Jack questioned, wanting and needing to make sure his husband was in agreement of the game plan.
The archaeologist nodded, being as confident as he could be that all would go smoothly.
“I've read the file, Daniel. It should be as safe as going to the Nox home world,” Sam offered as she stood by her friend.
Looking at Reynolds, Jack ordered, “Me, the kids, Daniel and Carter ... however you want.” Walking to the event horizon, he shook his head quickly while thinking, ~I'm losing it.~ He dryly and inwardly mused that he was about to give the pecking order of who went through the Gate when, ~Like Noah and the Ark, the creatures going two by two.~ He'd stopped himself just in time. ~They know their jobs,~ he reminded himself.
The general walked through the Stargate to P9C-389 and quickly surveyed the area. He had mere seconds to ensure his kids would be safe before they'd be following. He took a deep breath when everything looked okay.
“Wow!” Jonny exclaimed.
“I love going through the Stargate,” Little Danny stated as he walked down the four steps that led up to the Stargate. “Dad, which way is it to the ruins?”
“Let's just wait for,” Jack glanced over at his husband who had just appeared through the Gate, “for everyone to join us.”
It was roughly two miles to the site of the ruins, but it was an easy walk. Trees were sparse, and it was a smooth path from the Stargate to the site. The children didn't like it, but they rode much of the way atop FRED, the field remote equipment device, that had some supplies on it.
“I think they brought FRED just to carry us,” Jonny whispered to his brother.
“I think it's fun,” Little Danny responded, putting a positive slant on everything associated with this special mission. Suddenly, he switched positions, getting onto his knees, and pointed off to the distance. “Daddy, the ruins!”
Within sight of the teams was their destination. Columns protruding from the ground were visible. Most were leaning. Debris from a fallen structure was spread out. The entire site appeared to be about a quarter mile in diameter, which was quite the find. There would be a lot to study, unless it all turned out to be nothing but old wood.
A few minutes later, the teams reached the site. While Daniel helped Little Danny get off the FRED, Jack approached his namesake and gave him an interesting look.
“What is it, General Dad?”
“Let's just keep it 'Dad',” Jack suggested. “Acting Airman, let Major Williams know that we've arrived at the ruins and to expect a check-in in two.”
Jonny grinned as he straightened. His dad had just given him a legitimate order, one that mattered.
“Yes, Sir, Dad, Sir!” Clicking on his radio, Jonny called out, “Major Williams, this is Acting Airman Jackson-O'Neill. We've arrived at the ruins.”
“Copy that,” came the reply over the radio.
“We'll check-in in two hours.”
“Understood,” Williams acknowledged, just as if Jack himself had given the command.
“Well done,” the general praised as he helped the boy down. He nodded to Reynolds, watching as the colonel motioned to his men to set up a perimeter guard of the area. Looking over at his husband, Jack called out, “Daniel, we're going to check out the area.”
“Have fun,” Daniel replied and then refocused on Little Danny.
“Let's go,” Jack ordered his son.
Jonny gasped in surprised. He didn't think he'd really get to go and check out an area that his fathers hadn't already searched. This was big, really big. He was so excited that he thought his pounding heart might just beat right out of his chest.
“Teal'c, take point. Lou,” Jack instructed, motioning for him to have his team spread out around them. He looked down at Jonny and sternly stated, “You stay right beside me, and if I give you an order, I expect you to carry it out immediately and without question. Understood?”
“Copy that, Dad,” Jonny answered brightly, his natural energy causing him to be fidgety.
Jack knelt down and added, “Jonny, we don't expect to find anyone or anything, but you never know. You're too young to carry a weapon, but your hands and your feet are weapons, just like you've been taught in the past. Use your eyes and ears. This is a recon. It's not fun and games.”
“I know, Dad,” Jonny responded more seriously. He took a breath, mentally calming himself down. “I'm ready.”
“That's my boy,” Jack praised as he patted the boy on the shoulders and then stood up. “Move out, Cadet!”
Jonny looked over at Daniel for a moment and felt good when he saw a smile directed at him. He saw the supportive nod of his younger father. He couldn't help but smile when he saw Daniel mouth the words, 'We're depending on you'.
Jack paused just a few seconds to look over at his husband, too, only Daniel had already returned his attention to their little archaeologist. He was just amazed at how much their two Munchkins were just like them, like both of them. He'd just witnessed that as proud and happy Jonny was to have Jack's praise and approval, it was equally important for the boy to have Daniel's support and belief. Seeing Little Danny looking over at him now, Jack knew he had to emit that same belief to the middle Munchkin.
“I'll be expecting a full report, Little Danny. There's a lot to learn from this. SGC needs your opinion.”
Little Danny grinned as big as ever and called out loudly, “I can do it, Dad.”
“I *know* you can,” Jack responded and then sprinted a few steps to catch up with Jonny.
Jonny and Little Danny were having the times of their lives, and their parents just hoped it would all go smoothly.
“Little Danny, it's time for rations,” Jonny told his brother a few hours later.
“I'm not hungry,” Little Danny responded. Looking up from his notes, the genius asked, “How was your recon?”
Jonny groaned and then responded, “That was three hours ago. It was lots of fun.” Tugging on his brother's arm, he reiterated, “It's time to eat.”
“Later. I have to finish translating this.”
With a sigh, Jonny pointed out, “If we don't eat, they won't let us go on another mission.”
That piece of logic resonated within the child linguist as he secured his notes and followed his older-by-minutes brother to join their parents.
Another ninety minutes had passed when Jonny walked over to where his brother was now working. It was in a patch closer to the right edge of the ruins. Little Danny was sitting, Indian style, with a notepad in front of him, only he wasn't writing anything down. He was just staring at the triangular-shaped pillar in front of him. He was frowning as he studied the writing on the ancient object.
Jonny joined his brother, kneeling down on the knees, and asked, “What's wrong?”
“I'm not sure,” Little Danny answered thoughtfully. “Nothing, probably.”
“Okay, what's not wrong?” the sandy-haired boy questioned.
“I'll be right back,” Jack told Teal'c from across the ruins. He was getting a strange vibe and needed to check it out. Glancing over to where the boys sat and seeing Little Danny's intensity as he worked, he couldn't help but smile. ~Geez, he's just like Danny; so intense.~
“You think so?” Jonny had just asked his brother when his father approached.
“Find something?” Jack questioned as he tapped his P-90 that was strapped to his chest.
“Dad, I think this is a door,” Little Danny answered.
As his father kneeled down on his haunches to get a closer look at whatever Little Danny was looking at, the middle Munchkin explained, “Right there it talks about a portal to truth. I think that means this is a door.”
“A door to where?”
“I don't know, Dad, but it's a door,” Little Danny claimed, feeling sure of himself.
“There's nothing here to go into,” Jonny observed, looking around the area.
“I think it's underground.”
“That's crazy,” Jonny stated.
“Na-huh,” Little Danny refuted. “This,” he patted the ground around him, “could be earth that settled in the thousands of years since the portal of truth was created. Just like when they find lost cities on Earth. They have to dig because earth has grown over it.”
Jack stared at his son for a moment and then looked to this left where his husband was working on his section of the ruins.
“Daniel! We've got something over here.”
Daniel headed over to where Jack and the two boys were. Sam was in the middle of a radio check with Williams, making sure he hadn't had any problems with setting up the naquadah generator that would allow them to dial the Gate when they were ready to leave. The use of the generator was necessitated because the planet was so old and had so much damage and decay done to it, that the DHD wasn't working properly. They'd faced this before when coming across abandoned Goa'uld worlds.
Lou and Teal'c watched from afar while the rest of the teams continued to survey the area.
“Hey,” Daniel greeted, walking over to stand behind the children. “What do we have here?”
“Daddy, read this,” Little Danny requested.
“We think it's a door,” Jonny chimed, shrugging in response when Little Danny just stared at him incredulously for making the comment.
“To someplace under the ground,” Little Danny expounded.
Daniel read as he wiped his brow from the heat. He blinked a couple of times as he reached the exact portion of the writings that had fascinated his namesake so much. Nodding his head, he began to mumble some of the words as he read.
“So?” Jack questioned.
“I think he may be right,” Daniel stated. “I want to get something out of my pack.”
As Daniel headed back over the land he'd just traversed, Jack followed, leaving the boys alone.
“You did good, Little Danny,” Jonny praised. “If it's a door, though, how do you open it?”
“I think it has something to do with this,” the young archaeologist answered, pointing to a few symbols that were above and below the section that talked about the portal to truth.
“There aren't any buttons or anything, though,” Jonny said.
“We don't know what those symbols are.”
“It's just writing,” Jonny opined.
“But maybe this isn't just a pillar,” Little Danny countered.
Jonny laughed, leaning forward as he teased, “Maybe it's just a tic-tac-toe game. See!”
“Jonny, no!” Little Danny yelled as the boys disappeared.
“Sir, Daniel!” Sam called out as she ran towards the pillar where the children had been.
Jack and Daniel turned around, both shocked to realize their Munchkins were no longer visible. There wasn't a sign of them. Running to the spot, the only thing that remained was the imprint in the ground where Little Danny had been sitting.
“Where'd they go?”
“He must have touched something,” Jack supposed with a slight cock of his head.
Daniel faced his lover and challenged, “He *who*?”
“One of them,” Jack answered with a cough. “Look, we've been through this before. If that's a door, we just have to figure out what they touched and do the same thing.”
“Sam, watch us,” Daniel requested as he and Jack knelt down in front of the pillar. “It has to be the symbols.”
“Jonny, I *told* you not to touch anything,” Little Danny rebuked.
“Sorry,” Jonny stated. He clicked his radio and spoke into it. “SG-1, come in, please.”
When there wasn't a response, Little Danny pressed the talk button on his radio and spoke, “ Daddy, are you there? This is Little Danny and Jonny. We're in a ... a something. We're okay. Just press the two symbols on the right side of the pillar, the ones that mean 'sun' and 'honor'.”
Wherever the boys were, it was dark. They could barely see each other's eyes. Jonny had already pulled out his flashlight and, after finishing his communication on the radio, Little Danny did the same.
Looking at the area where they'd been deposited, Jonny cryptically questioned, “You think?”
“Probably,” Little Danny agreed. Trying not to smile, he pointed out, “But we're not supposed to touch anything without Dad and Daddy.”
Jonny waited a moment and then suggested, “Let's explore.”
“Just stay right with me.”
“We don't want to lose each other,” the oldest boy warned.
“Better come on then,” Little Danny called out, having already walked ahead at least two feet.
“Little Danny!” Jonny exclaimed, hurrying to catch up.
“There's not much here, is there?” Jonny asked after several minutes had passed.
The hallways were barren. In fact, it was as if they'd been stripped of what might have once been there. There were a couple of rooms, but aside from a few relics, there just wasn't anything of interest; at least not to the boys, anyway.
“Jonny, come in here,” Little Danny beckoned, his flashlight shining on a much-more ornate room.
Jonny made a 360-sweep of the room and observed, “There's a lantern over there, I think.”
“Lanterns?” Little Danny questioned curiously.
“Did they have lanterns in ancient Egypt?” Jonny asked.
“No one knows for sure,” Little Danny answered. “But we're not in ancient Egypt.”
“Oh, yeah,” Jonny responded. He reached out and gently turned the knob on the lantern-like object that was at the center of the room. Sure enough, it emitted light bright enough that the flashlights became unnecessary. “Yep, it's a lantern.”
“Wow, Jonny,” Little Danny spoke. “There's a lot of writing on the walls in here.”
The room was full of panels, all engraved with Egyptian writing. As he began to read it, Little Danny's mouth opened. Then he gasped.
“What is it?”
“Jonny, the Goa'uld took the Egyptians through the Stargate, right?” Little Danny asked.
“And Dad and Daddy said that we know that because of all their ancestors, I mean, it was the ancestors of the abducted Egyptians who SG-1 met on missions, right?”
“But they've never heard the story from an actual Egyptian who'd been forced through the Stargate, right?”
“Right,” Jonny agreed.
“I mean, nothing for sure; maybe just hints of what happened, but not a for real, true, actual telling of what happened. Right?”
By now, Jonny's curiosity was taking a backseat to his brother's ongoing questions.
“Right!” Jonny affirmed a bit gruffly. “Why?”
“Look!” Little Danny commanded excitedly.
Jonny looked at the wall and slowly moved to another section. Then he gasped.
“Little Danny, the Goa'uld left them here on purpose, to die,” Jonny informed his brother with dread and sadness.
Little Danny walked over to his brother and read in silence for a minute before observing, “It's so sad, Jonny.” Then he looked at his brother with a quizzical expression. “You read that all by yourself.”
“Um, well, uh ...”
“I *knew* you could read Egyptian better than you let on.”
“Don't tell Dad.”
Rolling his eyes, Little Danny then hurried over to his backpack. He had lots of blank paper that was perfect for tracing the writings.
“We have to get this for Daddy,” Little Danny insisted. Handing his brother a pencil and a stack of paper, he requested, “Start tracing the writing.”
“Okay, well, maybe it's this,” Daniel stated, having tried several times to figure out what his sons had touched to trigger the portal.
“Looks like that was the one, Teal'c,” Sam said to her teammate after Jack and Daniel disappeared. She tried to radio the two, but there wasn't a reply. “Okay, we wait thirty, and then we go in.”
Teal'c nodded. Jack had already given the order to allow the passage of a half-hour before sending in the troops in a rescue attempt.
“How's Janet?” Sam questioned as she began to count down the time.
“Boys?” Jack called out as he and Daniel entered the room where their sons were hard at work.
“Daddy, you need to read this. It's important,” Little Danny called out, not stopping his work.
“Hey,” Daniel replied, stopping his son from working. “Hey,” he repeated, meeting his son's eyes. “I love you. We were worried about you.”
“We're okay, Daddy, but this is *really* important,” the little boy reiterated, glancing back to the wall of writing.
“Not far from the tree,” Jack quipped out of the corner of his mouth, referring to Little Danny being just like Daniel when it came to subjects deemed important and their priorities in the scheme of things.
Daniel gave his Love a subtle glare, but nodded at his namesake as he requested, “Okay, tell me about it.”
“It's Ra!” Jonny exclaimed fervently.
“Ra?” Jack asked, looking around in a concerned fashion, even though he knew Ra was long dead. ~I guess old habits die hard. He's dead. He went boom. Yeah, old habits, that's all.~
“Ra took them,” Little Danny stated excitedly.
“Okay, take a breath,” Daniel instructed. “Tell us.”
“His name was Ptah. He was a craftsmen in Ancient Egypt, and Ra came and took him and many of his friends. He brought them here,” Little Danny exclaimed.
“It's his story, Daddy,” Jonny interjected. “This part over here talks about how Ra left them here to die. He was going back to Earth.”
“Going back?” Daniel asked, going over to start reading the writing.
“You can read all of that?” Jack questioned his namesake, wondering what other talents Jonny had hidden away.
Jonny just shrugged and turned his attention back to Daniel and Little Danny.
~Not far from the tree here, either,~ Jack mused happily.
“Daddy, that's why this is the portal of truth. Ptah was telling the truth about what happened. I think he wanted to make sure that someday, someone knew how they were taken from their home and then just left here.”
“I think you could be right,” Daniel agreed quietly as the three continued to examine the writings.
Jack looked around the room and stared at the writings closest to him. So many squiggles and funny pictures. He glanced over at Daniel and their sons, so involved in this apparent first-hand account, something they'd never had before.
Jack cleared his throat and hesitantly called out, “Looks like Ptah wasn't the only one to write his story. Suhad here says their god got angry when they didn't build his temple fast enough. There was some kind of sickness. That's why Ra left.”
Turning around, Jack saw three pairs of eyes, all gaping at him. All three seemed to be in shock.
“Jack, you've been paying attention,” Daniel called out as he slowly began to cross the room.
“Well, it's not like this is the first time I've seen this ... oh, for crying out loud, that's what it says, right?” Jack bellowed, feeling a little self-conscious that he'd succumbed to feeling left out so much so that he'd just revealed his secret, that he'd developed a decent knowledge of basic Egyptian writing after years of observing his husband, not to mention some covert studying on the side.
“I'm proud of you, Babe,” Daniel proclaimed happily, giving his lover a kiss.
“Daddy, do you have your digi-cam?” Little Danny asked.
“Oh, yeah,” Daniel responded, realizing his son was right and he should record as much of the room as he could. “That was a great idea about tracing the writings.”
With a smile, Little Danny replied simply, “That's what you taught us to do.”
Daniel began to record the images when he stopped suddenly. He looked at his namesake and handed him the digital recorder.
“It's your discovery. Go ahead.”
Daniel felt his lover's arm wrapping around his shoulders. Proud as can be, he watched as the children made sure to document every inch of the writings that they could. Of course, Jack interceded to get some of the writings that were too high for the boys to reach.
At one point, the parents were standing at the rear of the room, just watching their sons work. They figured they had five more minutes before Sam would bring down the troops and alert SGC.
“SG-11 definitely needs to come back here,” Daniel spoke. He turned his head to see a disconcerting look on his Love's face. “Jack?”
“Danny, I think we made a mistake.”
“What? You don't mean bringing the boys here?”
“No, I mean we didn't really ask Ash, or any of the other children if they wanted to come,” Jack stated, his tone subdued. “All day long, all we've done is talk about how much they're like us.”
“Gawd,” Daniel sighed. “We excluded the rest of the brood.” Standing a bit straighter from the realization, he asked, “Jack, why'd we do that?”
“How does it ever happen, Danny? We fell into the trap.”
“David,” Daniel sighed. “We should have brought David. Birthday trip or not, he would have loved this.”
“We told ourselves he goes through the Stargate with the Teen Gaters, so ...”
“... so this wouldn't be that special for him,” Daniel completed. “But it would have been, Jack. David *loves* this every bit as much as Little Danny and Jonny do.”
“They're just like us,” Jack sighed, his eyes focused on the two boys.
“We made a huge mistake,” Daniel agreed with regret. “We should have asked Ash, too.”
“I don't really think she'd want to come, but Noa might have,” Jack supposed. “She likes Gate travel.”
“To Chulak anyway,” Daniel chuckled. After a few seconds, he began, “Jack, SG-11 ...”
“David's coming, if he wants,” Jack agreed with the unspoken sentiment.
“He was quiet, Jack.”
“I know,” the older man agreed, referring to the couple's teenage son. “Do we come with him, or is that too late?”
“I'm not sure. I think ... Jack, I think we just need to be honest with him.”
“Tell him we messed up?” Jack asked.
“Yes. We've done well by being honest with our children, even when it hurts,” Daniel replied.
Jack nodded and added, “I should have thought of it when you made that Space Family Jackson-O'Neill remark.”
“That's your line, Babe. Maybe that was my subconscious trying to send me a message, but I just wasn't listening. I was too excited about watching them, just like we've done all day,” Daniel sighed.
“We both ignored it. Crap!”
A moment later, Jack and Daniel shared a look that said everything would be okay. Their family was solid. They were just human, and as such, they made mistakes, like the one they'd made this week. It hadn't been intentional, and it had, in fact, opened their eyes to how they'd ignored making sure that David had the chance to grow within Stargate Command, if he so chose. They'd tell him their realization, and they'd work it out. They were confident of that.
The lovers shared a kiss and then gathered their children together to return to the spot where they'd appear in the underground space.
“Just press those two, Dad,” Jonny instructed.
“*You* were the one who touched the symbols?” Jack asked with a regretful sigh.
Daniel just grinned at the knowledge that maybe Jonny wasn't *quite* exactly like his older father. Of course, in the past the boys had tried to tell their parents that they were an equal combination of the two men and that they liked being a mix of Jack and Daniel.
“Well, I didn't think anything would happen,” Jonny stated defensively.
“I told him not to touch anything, but he's just like you, Dad,” Little Danny asserted. “He likes to play with things.”
“Time to go,” Jack advised with urgency caused by his own embarrassment. He pressed the two symbols while calling out, “Up, please.”
“Sir, Daniel, you found them,” Sam stated happily, smiling at the children.
“Aunt Sam, guess what we found?” Little Danny began, reminding his parents of Daniel as he talked rapidly, almost non-stop for the next little while.
“Let's pack it up!” Jack ordered, even as his son was speaking.
“... and Ptah and Sudah decided to write their story. They wanted someone to know what happened to them and their people who Ra took from Egypt.” Little Danny sighed, sadness flowing through him. “Ptah had a wife and two children. He never got to see them again.”
Jonny added, “We recommend that SG-11 go back to the ruins and do a full survey. There might be more rooms there, with other stories. It's important that we find them.”
General Landry looked thoughtfully at Jonny and then at Little Danny, absorbing all he'd learned from their very thorough report.
“Well, that's quite the revelation that you boys discovered. Thank you for your evaluation. We'll schedule a full site exploration for SG-11 as soon as possible. Dismissed.”
Jack and Daniel watched as Ferretti, Reynolds, and other members of SG-2 and SG-3 praised the boys, patting them on their backs and messing with their hair. There were some fist jabs and a couple of high-fives. It was all in the guise of positive reinforcement.
“I'd better get home,” Sam stated.
“Thanks, Sam,” Daniel responded, giving her an appreciative hug. “We want to hear all about Kevin's session tomorrow.”
“There's a lot to tell. I feel it, Daniel. He's going to be a success story.”
“He already is,” Jack interjected, smiling assuredly at the blonde.
As Sam walked over to say good-bye to the boys, Teal'c was just speaking to them himself.
“You performed your duties well,” Teal'c stated. “I am honored to have been a part of your mission.”
As the boys grinned, Teal'c turned, nodded at Jack and Daniel, and then headed for home to spend the evening with his wife.
“Thanks for making sure we didn't fall on our faces, T,” Jack joked. “Okay, let's go home.”
“Daddy, it's okay,” Aislinn assured as her father tucked her into bed. “I like going to visit the Nox, and I *really* want to go to the concert.”
“You're sure?” Daniel questioned. “I mean, about not minding that we neglected to really ask you if you wanted to go on the mission.”
“Maybe next time,” Aislinn answered with a smile, totally not caring about not having been a part of her brothers' special day off-world.
“I love you, Ash. Dad will be in to say goodnight in a few minutes,” Daniel told the youngest Munchkin, kissing her on the forehead as he got up to continue the nightly rounds.
“Thanks, Dad,” David responded to his older father's third apology of the night. “I'd really like to go with SG-11.”
“I already cleared it with Landry,” Jack replied. “Son ...”
“Dad, three apologies in one night is enough,” David interrupted. “And that doesn't included Daddy's apologies and guilty looks,” he chuckled lightly.
“We go a little overboard sometimes,” Jack put forth. “Look, we trust you to go by yourself, or one or both of us can go. We want ...”
“Dad,” David interrupted. “Do you really want to go back to P9C-389?”
“How about Daddy?”
“Well, his eyes were lit up like he'd just walked into a pyramid,” Jack admitted.
David just smiled, hoping his father would catch on to his feelings.
“I get your point,” Jack acknowledged, reaching out and patting the teenager on the arm. “Daddy will be in shortly.”
“Try to convince him not to apologize anymore.”
Jack chuckled, “I'll see if I can head him off at the pass.”
“Fancy meeting you here,” Jack teased, leaning in for a kiss.
“How'd it go with David?” Daniel questioned as his hand caressed his lover's chest.
“He's tired of us apologizing,” Jack responded. “What about Ash?”
“She's fine,” Daniel sighed. “Jack, why do we always make such a big deal out of things that our children view as being ... simple?”
“Because we're parents, and that's our job.”
“To go crazy?” Daniel questioned.
“To worry,” Jack corrected.
“Oh,” Daniel mused. “Well, shall we say goodnight to the boys together since we're both here?”
“Yeah, but first this.”
The lovers kissed, their love and passion for each other coming through stronger than ever.
“I love you, Angel.”
“I love you, My Silver Fox.”
A kiss and an embrace later, the parents entered the boys' room, chuckling as Little Danny and Jonny were still chatting eagerly about their adventure. Ricky had already fallen asleep, but that hadn't stopped the two Munchkins from reliving their adventure, telling every piece of it to Bijou and Katie, who were listening intently to every word.
“It was great, huh, Daddy?” Little Danny asked with a grin.
“It was terrific,” the archaeologist answered, sitting down on the bed and automatically patting Katie.
“Dad, can we go on another perimeter check?” Jonny asked. “I learned a lot today.”
“You did?” Jack asked, surprised as he sat down on his namesake's bed and found himself with a lapful of beagle in the form of Bijou. “Love ya, Bij,” he chuckled as she licked his hand.
“Yeah,” Jonny replied to his older father's query.
“What did you learn?” Jack asked curiously as he scratched the rear of Bijou's back.
“I learned how to watch three areas at once, like you do,” Jonny began.
**He's just like you, Babe,** Daniel communicated.
**Like both of us, Angel,** Jack insisted. **He reads Ancient Egyptian.**
**So do you.**
**Oh, yeah; there's that.**
“... and I learned how to command without saying anything. You didn't tell Uncle Lou anything, but he always knew what you wanted,” Jonny concluded. “So can we go again?”
“Sure,” Jack agreed. “Time to close your eyes,” he advised lovingly while gently scooting Bijou out of his lap.
With kisses and hugs given and expressions of love made, Jack and Daniel finished tucking in the Munchkins and then gave the sleeping Ricky a kiss, too, before going to the doorway and turning out the light. They smiled at the beagles, who opted to go exploring around the house a bit, rather than stay with the boys at this point. The parents paused for a moment, both silently counting their blessings, as they so often did.
“We make mistakes, but we have a perfect life,” Daniel spoke quietly.
“Mistakes are part of life, Angel, and we do have the best lives,” Jack agreed.
Daniel closed the door to the boys' room and to the regrets and apologies that maybe they hadn't made all the right choices in the past few days. That wasn't important anymore. What was important was that the Jackson-O'Neills were a loving and caring family. That wasn't a new revelation; that was a steady fact that kept the space-traveling family glued together and always would.
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