Is There a Santa Claus?
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series – December 14, 2020
Size: 89kb, ficlet
Written: December 14-16, 2010
Summary: With the COVID-19 pandemic still a global issue, the Jackson-O’Neills attempt to celebrate the holiday season with their usual jubilant pattern. However, one of them isn’t so jubilant. Can the family find a way to solve the problem and welcome Christmas cheer?
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) “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” letter and editorial are the property of Virginia O’Hanlon and her estate, Francis Church (editor), and The New York Sun
4) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): “The First Christmas,” “A Munchkin Christmas,” and “The Night Before Christmas”
Is There a Santa Claus?
Clouds permeated the skies on what was a chilly day of forty-two degrees in Colorado Springs. There was no snow and only a light breeze from the southwest. Still, it was cold; at least to the residents of a certain suburban home in El Paso County where the Jackson-O’Neill family lived. Perhaps, though, the chill was more because of the darkness that the COVID-19 pandemic brought upon their lives. It was December, a time when the family normally celebrated with wondrous aplomb. Would they be able to come together and master the holiday as always?
Not long ago, a family meeting was held in the rec room of the household. During that time, the family agreed that Christmas was still Christmas and no pandemic was going to stop them from celebrating such a festive occasion. It might be different than past years, but they would go ahead full steam to make the season as joyful as ever.
With that decision made, the house was decked with all the usual decorations, the front yard and roof of the house adorned with holiday figures in a variety of scenes, and the backyard bespangled with all types of bright and glittery designs. As usual, the centerpiece was a large Christmas tree, placed in its traditional spot in the living room, near to, but not too close to, the fireplace.
On this Monday morning, Jack and Daniel were in the archaeologist’s den on a conference call with Alex Dennison, their long time friend and architectural designer. They were in the middle of updating all of the buildings under the J-O Enterprises banner. Though a vaccine was now approved that would hopefully rid the world of the deadly virus plaguing them throughout 2020, the couple decided to continue with their plans to switch to a more home-based office design where their employees did not all need to venture into the office on a daily basis. They had the space to do so in each of their buildings, the home base in Colorado Springs as well as their Virginia east coast office and their warehouse in Texas, so the plan was to give in-house employees more space and to make the units safer. After all, the COVID virus seemingly struck from out of nowhere, and who was to say another epidemic from some other virus or disease might not occur someday.
The decision was, again, a family one with Jack and Daniel conferring with their children, who each owned a piece of the business, if only by trust at this point. The brood overwhelmingly agreed to invest in the future of J-O, even if it could cost them what some might refer to as their own personal fortunes. They loved the business and they all knew how important it was to their parents, not to mention that J-O was potentially the future for Little Danny and David, if not other brood members, too, who planned to work with, or even lead, J-O Enterprises when their parents retired for good.
While Jack and Daniel spoke with Alex about the status of the various renovations, several of their brood were working in the projects room on scenery and decor for a play they would soon be presenting. Since they couldn’t have everyone in their home this year, they were opting to do the next best thing: filming and broadcasting the play to extended family and friends. They were all determined to make the best of it. Thus, the children were busy on preparations for their rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
While some worked on the background, Jennifer and Chenoa were busy sewing the costumes. Not everyone, though, was busy with the play at the moment. Some were involved in other pursuits.
Fourteen-year-old Jonny, wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt, was in the library, looking for a new book to read. His parents kept the library stocked with old and new volumes, eventually storing some or donating others to the public library when the children outgrew them or a book had served its purpose. As he skimmed a shelf with new selections he hadn’t seen before, the brown-eyed youth noticed a sad sack enter the room and plop down at the foot of the table near the door.
“What’s wrong with you?” Jonny inquired as he remained standing in front of the books, one tome open to its fifth chapter as the Munchkin skimmed it to determine if the book would be of interest to him.
JD, the youngest member of the brood who was growing like a weed, as Jack often observed, and who would turn nine on New Year’s Day, sighed as he leaned forward, his elbows on the table and his hands cupping his face. His eyes were drooping and his mouth curved downward into a frown.
“Jonny,” the little boy began while pulling back to sit up straight, “you wouldn’t lie to me, right?”
“Never. You know that, JD.”
“I know.” JD let out a big sigh. “And Dad and Daddy wouldn’t lie, either?”
“Never,” Jonny affirmed.
“Or Little Danny or …”
“JD,” Jonny said, cutting off his brother from listing their entire family, “we have a rule in our family. We never lie to one another. I know you know that. Right?”
“What do you need to know? I’m your big big … um, big brother. I’ve …”
“You left out Charlie,” JD pointed out.
Jonny’s eyes darted upward and to the left and then he shook his head slightly in disbelief of his error.
Looking upward, as if to Heaven, the teen expressed, “I’m sorry, Charlie. There’s so many of us. I almost left out Ricky.” He refocused on the unhappy child and continued his original thought. “I taught you everything, JD. I told you when you were a baby that you could always come to me. Out with it.”
“Jonny, do you believe in Santa Claus?”
Jonny grinned and without hesitation answered, “Yep! I do, JD.”
“But all my friends, *all* of them say he’s not real, and I know all the ones collecting money on the streets and the ones in the malls aren’t really Santa. Is there *really* a Santa, Jonny?”
Jonny closed his book and turned to face his little brother. This was more serious than he originally thought and he was now going to give JD his full attention.
“It’s complicated, JD, but Santa is very real. He has a lot of helpers all over the world.”
“It doesn’t make sense, Jonny. I’ve read Little Danny’s encyclopedia about St. Nicholas. They say he was Santa Claus. He gave away all that money. He died, Jonny. He couldn’t live forever.”
Jonny took a big breath, but felt relieved when his triplet brother walked in to find a book he wanted to read as well.
“Little Danny, JD wants to know if there really is a Santa Claus,” Jonny informed the blue-eyed teenage.
In an instant, Little Danny, also in jeans, but sporting a blue shirt, smiled while sitting down on an adjacent chair at the table and replied, “JD, Santa is very real. I totally believe in him.”
“But how? And no one else does?” JD argued. “I mean, no one but” he gulped, unsure really what pronoun to use, but finally settling on, “us.”
Little Danny turned his head to look back at his other brother and asked, “Jonny, when’s the last time we read …”
At the same time, the Munchkin boys stated, “Virginia.”
“Let me get it,” Jonny added. “It has to be here. Dad and Daddy wouldn’t store that one or give it away.”
“Look over by Dickens,” Little Danny suggested.
“Found it,” Jonny spoke as he pulled the small book out of its spot. He walked over and sat down at the table, taking the seat that essentially put him behind Little Danny as JD eyed them.
“JD, in the late eighteen-hundredths, there was a little girl named Virginia O’Hanlon. She was eight years old and like you, all her friends were telling her that Santa didn’t exist. It upset her a lot.”
“Was she real?” JD asked, not really wanting to hear a fictional tale in order to solve his internal quandary.
“Virginia was real. She lived with her parents in New York,” Little Danny responded. He added with an assuring smile, “I’ll show you her information in my encyclopedia, or we can look her up on the computer later.”
“I believe you.”
Jonny continued, “Back then, Virginia’s father subscribed to a newspaper …”
“Newspaper?” JD interrupted as in his world, news came over the television or computer.”
“You’ve seen Dad and Daddy read newspapers,” Little Danny reminded. “They don’t do it as much anymore, and a lot of newspapers have gone out or business or been reduced to only a handful of pages, but until computer technology and other tech like it grew, people read newspapers, big, thick newspapers, to find out what was happening, not only in their city, but all over the country and around the world.”
“Little Danny, take a breath,” Jonny chastised.
“He sounds just like Daddy,” JD mused, actually giggling for a moment before the frown returned to his face.
“Sorry, but you know what newspapers are, right?”
“I remember now. Dad said he’d never stop reading them. He said he’d always keep reading that paper from Chicago. He doesn’t like tech much,” JD pointed out unnecessarily to his siblings.
“Right,” Little Danny affirmed.
“Okay, so Virginia’s father loved this one newspaper.”
“The New York Sun,” Little Danny elaborated. “It’s still publishing.”
“And, so, Virginia followed her father’s advice and wrote a letter to the newspaper,” Jonny explained.
“Why didn’t he just tell her whether or not Santa was real?” JD wondered.
“I don’t know,” Jonny answered.
“I think he, her father, wanted her to have a, well, an expert opinion, one her friends would see and not just him backing up his daughter.”
Jonny added, “In the story, it has her father telling Virginia that if it’s in the Sun, it’s so.”
“Oh, okay, I guess,” JD responded. ~But I’d believe Dad and Daddy. They don’t lie to us. I believe Jonny and Little Danny, too.~
“She wrote the letter and listen to reply,” Jonny instructed.
“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.
“There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal life with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
“Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
“You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
“No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
Little Danny looked back at his brother with pride. Jonny read the reply with great emotion and flair, reminding them both of their older father, who was a fabulous story teller.
“Well read, Bro,” Little Danny praised.
Silently, JD pondered the story. It mentioned God and that moved the youngster to think about something the Bible said. He couldn’t remember the exact quote or where it was from, but he knew Jesus told his apostles that people were blessed who do not need to see in order to believe. He recalled talking with his siblings about the apostle Thomas being the origin of the cliché phrase, “doubting Thomas,” because Thomas wouldn’t believe Jesus was resurrected until he saw Him.
~Maybe Santa isn’t supposed to be seen,~ JD pondered. ~But then why do people pretend to be him? Hmmm.~
With his attention turned back to JD, Little Danny queried, “Do you understand, JD? Santa lives in our hearts. You don’t have to see him to know he’s there. It doesn’t matter that you can’t reach out and touch him. He’s in your heart and that means he’s very real, and, yes, maybe way back in our history, the legend of Santa began with St. Nicholas, or some other man who spread good all around, or the legends of Father Christmas and Sinterklaas, or, well, I don’t know, but I believe in Santa. The idea of Santa is what matters, and, so, people try to help that out, to spread the cheer and the goodness.” He reached out and tapped on his little brother’s hand to emphasize his next statement. “JD, I questioned Santa, too.” He nodded to affirm his comment and continued, “I did. I did when I was younger. I knew what I’d read, and my friends were picking on me a little for still believing, but I didn’t care then, and I don’t care now, and you shouldn’t care, either.”
“Care about what?” Jack asked upon entering the library. “Sounds like a serious conversation going on in here.”
“JD, tell Dad,” Jonny urged, not wanting to bring it up if JD wasn’t comfortable.
“Dad, is Santa Claus real?”
“Oh yeah. Absolutely. Youbetcha’ he’s real,” the Air Force general put forth without any pause or lapse. He knelt down on his haunches to be eye level with his young boy. “Son, I know for a fact that Santa exists. I can’t explain it. I don’t know for sure how long he’s been around or where he comes from, but I’m darn-tootin’ positive he’s real.”
“How do you know?” JD asked somewhat quietly.
“Yeah, Dad. Have you been holding out on us?” Jonny questioned with a semi-laugh.
“You know for sure?” the ever-curious child prodigy asked, his eyes wide from all kinds of possibilities that suddenly raced within him.
“I guess Daddy and I never told you. We, ah, don’t talk about it much.”
“I heard my name,” Daniel interjected and walked into the room, standing behind his husband.
Jack stood up and turned to face his still-youthful lover. He sighed as he looked into the baby blues that turned his heart to mush.
“Danny, JD wants to know if Santa is real. I just told him I know *for a fact* that’s he real. What do you think?”
“Well, Babe, if you’ve already told them, what can we do?”
Jack turned back and announced, “Kids, we’ve met the man. Now, it was a little odd. We didn’t want to think it was Santa, but the second time was something we just couldn’t deny. We’ve kept it to ourselves because the story is so incredible.”
“And because at the time, I wasn’t exactly the most, uh, well, believing person.” Daniel looked down for a second and explained, “This was a long, long time ago, when Dad and I were first working together. I wasn’t much for holidays.”
“And I was determined to change that.”
“I think you did, Dad,” the middle Munchkin opined with a smile and look at his daddy, who was very active in holidays and had been for the entire life of the brood.
“Yes, but back then my feelings were different and even now, sometimes I have to make peace with the conflict of my work.”
“You mean science,” Little Danny surmised.
“Correct. I mean, science says you believe in the science, not in what it calls myths and legends, but because of your dad and the Stargate, I’ve had to expand my views. I absolutely believe in science, but with all that has happened to us, Dad and me, and our family, I can’t not believe in … other things, too.”
“Like Santa?” JD probed.
“Like Santa,” Daniel affirmed with a smile. “JD, he’s real, if only in our hearts and in the spirit of the season.” He sighed. “Yes, I believe in Santa Claus; and, yes, Dad and I met someone who we believe might be Santa, or a close helper.”
“Still hedging?” Jack inquired of his Love with raised eyebrows.
“It still seems … incredible, but I know what happened. I know I didn’t buy that present and I trust that you were honest with me. I guess I hedge, because of science and all the logic that suggests, but my heart, Jack, my heart believes.”
“What do you think, JD?” Little Danny asked the perplexed teen.
JD looked at each of the faces in the room and he thought with all his brain. Then he did what his parents always told him to do when he had a problem. He searched his heart. Yes, he believed his brothers and his parents. It didn’t have to make sense. He didn’t have to see Santa to feel him. Was Santa a person? Was he an alien like his Uncle Thor? JD didn’t know, but the more he listened to his heart, the less perplexed he was and the more peaceful he became.
“Dad, Daddy, I haven’t written my letter to Santa yet. Do you think he’ll still get it if I write it now?”
“Guaranteed,” Jack spoke, nodding and wearing the most confident expression on his face.
“Absolutely,” Daniel added, his face etched in a similar look at his soulmate’s.
“I’m going to go write it now,” JD said, standing up and heading for the door. He stopped and turned back. “Thanks Jonny and Little Danny. Now I know it’s okay. I gotta go. It’s almost Christmas.”
With JD gone, the parents faced the Munchkins.
“Sounds like you handled that very well,” Daniel praised.
“Great idea to use the book,” Jack added, seeing the book about Virginia on the table.
“We haven’t read it in years,” Jonny noted.
“Or watched the animated version,” Little Danny reminded.
“Well, it’s on the agenda now,” Jack promised.
“Dad, Daddy, will you tell us what happened?” Jonny asked. “I mean, will you tell us the story of how you met Santa?”
“Please,” Little Danny pleaded as he stood up, something Jonny did at the same time. “Maybe you could tell all of us after dinner, before our singalong,” he suggested, referring to the family’s plans to sing carols before ending their day.
Jack and Daniel looked at each other, both seeing agreement in their eyes.
“Before the singalong,” Daniel answered.
The boys high-fived each other and went back to their book searches, while Jack and Daniel left the library to check on their other children. It might be chilly outside and the world might still be a COVID mess, but inside the Jackson-O’Neill home, things were warm with plenty of love and the joy of the Christmas season.
For Jack and Daniel of Colorado Springs, no virus would ever be strong enough to keep them, or their family down. With simultaneous “Ho! Ho! Ho’s!”, the happy couple strolled through the jog and down the hallway to the stairs, eager to see what came next on this December day.
“Merry Christmas, Love.”
“Merry Christmas, Jack.”
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