Something to Think About

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - October 11-12, 2003
Spoilers:  Maternal Instinct (minor)
Size:  40kb, short story
Written:  September 8-9,11,16, October 9 2003  Revised:  January 30, August 3,22, 2005, March 2, September 10, 2006, February 27, 2007
Summary:  Is a bundle of joy in Jack and Daniel's future?
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) This story was inspired by Sonneta who wrote “I feel a child in the near future” in her feedback for my story where Daniel proposes.  Thanks, Sonneta! Who knew?  I didn't until you encouraged me!
2) 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.**
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Tina, Brynn, Linda!

Something to Think About
by Orrymain

“Having a good time, Sir?” Sam asked cheerfully as she looked out at the group of co-workers and friends that were socializing together on a rather pleasant October Saturday.

Jack turned to see his 2IC smiling happily, a Diet Coke in her hand.  She had on tight fitting blue jeans and a simple white blouse with small yellow embroidered flowers around the collar.

“Having a great time, Carter.  Ferretti really knows how to throw a barbecue,” Jack replied as he held a beer in his hand.

“You mean he doesn't char the steaks into ash,” Sam said smartly.

Jack looked at the blonde indignantly, responding, “Carter, are you accusing me of not knowing how to cook a steak properly?”

“Who me?  No, Sir, definitely not ... Sir,” Sam retorted, feigning innocence.

A crying baby drew Jack's and Sam's attention to the small patio near the house. It was six-month-old Carli Janssen, Carolyn Ferretti's youngest sister's baby.

Jack watched as the infant's mother appeared flustered.  Without having a chance to adjust, Daniel was surprised, maybe even stunned, when the mother suddenly placed the baby in his arms and ran into the house.  Jack laughed at the horrified look on his lover's face, but then the laughter turned to something very warm as he saw Daniel hold Carli with great care and gentleness.  It was obvious that Daniel was becoming increasingly more comfortable as he held the baby.

The younger man began to smile as he bounced the baby lightly in his arms.  He leaned in close, rubbing his nose against the infant's face.  The crying babe settled as Daniel continued talking to her.

“Danny would make a great father,” Jack remarked softly, his words almost a wisp of a statement.

Sam nodded her agreement, a sweet smile on her face as she considered the comment, and replied, “Yes, he would.  He's very good with children.  Oh, excuse me, Sir, there's Janet and Cassie.”

Jack acknowledged Sam's departure, but his eyes were glued on his lover, who was smiling as he reached up with his right hand, one finger extended, and Carli decided to see if she could grab the finger.

~It reminds me of ...~  Jack's thought ceased when Daniel looked up for a moment and saw him staring.  The two exchanged a tender smile, sharing the event.  **You're so beautiful, Danny.**

**Gawd, Jack.  Do you believe this?  I don't know what to do with a baby,** Daniel replied via their special non-verbal communication.

**You're doing just fine, but you might want to reclaim your finger before she eats it.**

Daniel chuckled as he pulled his finger back just slightly, preventing the baby from making a sandwich of it.

Jack took a drink of his beer just as Carli's mom returned with a bottle of milk.  She took her precious child back into her arms, her eyes apologizing to Daniel for her quick exodus and also thanking him for taking such good care of her daughter, something that was obvious since Carli had stopped crying and was now contently playing with this stranger as he held her so warmly.

Daniel shrugged and immediately folded his arms across his chest in a semi-hug.

**Danny, you were perfect.  Relax.**

The younger man confided, **I was afraid I'd drop her.**

**You did a great job, playing with her.  Besides, she's not the first baby you've held,** Jack reminded.

**I know, but ... she's a beautiful baby.**

**Yeah,** Jack agreed, lowering his eyes to the ground for the moment as he become lost in thought.

====

In between enjoying the tasty food being served by their hosts and games of horseshoes and tag football, Jack, Lou Ferretti, General George Hammond, Sergeant Siler, and some others were busy exchanging old Air Force horror stories, trying to see who could outdo the other in the most outlandish or freakish mission they'd been involved in.

Meanwhile, Sam, Janet, Megan Williams, Carolyn Ferretti, and several other women were in another corner of the yard, discussing men and Sam's black widow curse.  Of course, the ladies were pumping the beautiful blonde for information about her current beau.  Everyone knew Sam was seeing someone, but she was still keeping him under wraps, both figuratively and literally, if her frequent blushing was any indication.

In yet another section of the backyard, Cassandra was with several of the teenagers, talking music, boys, and clothes, which was mostly all she ever talked about, anyway.

Jack's attention was diverted from the war stories when he heard a familiar laugh, one he wasn't used to hearing in places of mixed company.  He surveyed the Ferretti's yard until he found the hearty sound.  Immediately, he broke out into a grin.

As Jack looked on, Daniel played with a group of seven or eight children who looked to be in the six to ten age range.  All of them were totally focused on the archaeologist as they began a new round of whatever game they were playing.

~Geez, listen to him.  He's laughing, here, in front of everyone.  My Danny - laughing like he didn't have a care in the world,~ Jack observed.  ~You're the life of the party, Love.~

The children began running around, chasing Daniel and each other in what Jack surmised was some kind of tag game.  He laughed when one of the smaller boys tackled his lover, knocking him to the ground.  He was amused when the archaeologist threw up his hands and looked to be saying, “I surrender.”

~My Danny surrendering?~ Jack asked himself.  Daniel was one of the fastest runners at the SGC when he put his mind to it, but at the hands of a child, he was apparently as slow as molasses.  ~A snail could beat him right now, but those kids wouldn't know it.~

Jack didn't hear any of the tall tales told over the next fifteen minutes by his colleagues at the SGC.  He faked a nod or laugh when the others did, but his eyes were on Daniel, romping happily with the small group of boys and girls.

~How is it that in a flickering of an eye, in the time it took a little boy to tackle you, that I love you more than ever?~ Jack wondered.  ~It's not possible that in the space of an hour, or the bat of eyelash, that my love for you has quadrupled, but it has.  Geez, Angel, I just fell in love with you all over again, and it feels wonderful!~

====

“Thank you again,” Carli's mother said to Daniel as he and some others were saying their good-byes.

“Oh, uh, it was my ... pleasure,” Daniel responded, a shy smile on his face as he stood with his hands in his pockets.

“Carli likes you,” the mother proclaimed.

“Oh, I ...”

“Oh, my,” Carli's mother said.  “Here, please; I'll be right back.”

Suddenly, Daniel found himself holding little Carli once again.

“Uh ...”

“Hey, Doc, you're pretty good at that,” Lou quipped as he watched his nervous friend gently bouncing Carli in his arms to stop her from crying.

“I ... I think she's ... she needs ...”

“Diapers?” Jack laughed as he stood next to his lover.  He reached over and placed a gentle caress on Carli's head and added, “You know babies, Daniel, they basically eat and ...”

“Jack, I know,” Daniel responded, wanting to stop his lover before the older man became to crass for the mixed group they were in, which included a couple of the younger children standing with their parents.  “Lou, wouldn't you ...”

“You're doing just fine, Doc,” Lou responded, shirking off the archaeologist's attempt to hand over the infant.

“He's right, Danny,” Jack added.  “Besides, it's not good to hand babies around like their toys.”

Daniel nodded, smiling down at the infant.  If he let himself admit it, he was enjoying the moment.  It reminded him of holding Shifu, Sha're's harcesis child, when SG-1 had found the baby on Kheb.  He'd been filled with an awe and a peacefulness that he could almost touch.  As he held Carli, he became lost in her little smile, the slight crookedness of her nose when she cooed, and the light of goodness he saw in her eyes.  For a moment, he forgot anyone else was around.

“I'm so sorry,” Carli's mother apologized as she hurried over to reclaim her child.  “I realized I didn't have anymore diapers in the bag and had to see if Aunt Carolyn had some around here.”

“For you, Lou?” Jack joked, knowing that Lou and Carolyn might very well have a small supply of baby items on hand for emergencies like this.

“Very funny, Pal,” Lou responded.

“Here you go,” Daniel said as he slipped Carli into her mother's arms and then finished up their good-byes and leaving the Ferretti's home after a fun-filled day there.

====

Late that afternoon, Daniel sat, relaxing, on the sofa in the living room of the house he shared with Jack.  He had on blue jeans and an old brown tee shirt that had a little hole at the top of the left shoulder.  He was reading an issue of 'Oprah' Magazine.

~Wow, you are so beautiful.~  Having just come downstairs, Jack stood still on the last step, smiling as he watched his soulmate.  He was content to just stand there for a minute, taking in Daniel and his presence.  Finally, he walked towards his lover.  “Hey,” he greeted, leaning over to kiss his lover on the lips.  “Whatcha' doing?”

“Reading 'Oprah',” Daniel asked, holding up the magazine slightly to clearly show the cover of the publication.

Jack laughed as he lay down on the couch, resting his head on Daniel's lap.  Daniel's hand automatically began to play lovingly with the thin strands of his soulmate's hair.  It was something he had always loved doing.

~Mmmm,~ Jack contently moaned, enjoying the tender touches of Daniel's fingers.  “Daniel, why on Earth are you reading 'Oprah'?”

“Teal'c insisted,” Daniel answered.  “At least it's not another book of the month, but he wants to discuss Oprah's thoughts on ... whatever this stuff is,” he mused.

“The things we do for a friend.”

Katie, their youngest beagle, picked that moment to jump up onto the sofa, settling on Jack's abdomen.  Jack laughed and began to stroke her fur gently, while Daniel continued to read.

“The barbecue was great, wasn't it?” Jack asked thoughtfully after a few minutes.

“Yeah ... had a great time.  It was almost as good as one of the general's Fourth of July get-togethers,” Daniel observed.  “Tiring, though.”

Jack chuckled, “That's because you spent most of the time playing Hide and Seek and something that looked like it was Tag.  What was that game, anyway?”

“I have no idea.  I just ... well, I followed their lead.  We, uh, ran around a lot,” Daniel chuckled.

A few more minutes passed, Daniel reading 'Oprah' and Jack patting Katie as she lay atop him.  He heard a noise and looked over, chuckling at Bijou, who was rolling all over the floor on her back, trying to soothe an itch, or maybe she was playing.  He wasn't really sure, but the mama beagle seemed happy, especially when she stopped, got up on her paws, shook herself, and trotted over to her beanbag, where Jack could hear her gnawing on a rawhide bone.

“I can't believe Teal'c finds this stuff so fascinating,” Daniel remarked, shaking his head as he finished an article called, 'The Party-Thrower's Guide to ... Everything.  “Gawd, next is ...”

“What?” Jack inquired curiously.

“Dr. Phil's true love survey,” Daniel sighed.

“I can't believe you humor him by reading it,” Jack chuckled, having forgotten himself and temporarily ceased patting the youngest beagle; that is, until Katie placed her snout under the palm of his hand and pushed upward.  “Sorry, Girl,” he laughed as he continued the beagle's massage.

“Why not?  I humor you all the time,” the younger man teased.

“Yeah, but you love me,” Jack retorted, a big grin on his face.

“Technicality, Colonel,” Daniel replied and then leaned forward for a quick kiss.

“Woof,” Katie barked.

“Uh oh.  She's jealous,” Jack laughed as his beagle caresses transitioned to a more playful mode with the canine.

Daniel read a few more articles, as Jack rested, patting Katie off and on as she relaxed and began to sleep atop him.  It was a quiet time, and all three were very content to be where they were.

“Those kids were cute,” Jack opined, finally breaking their silence.

“Which kids?” Daniel asked, thankful from the reprieve of reading Oprah's 'Dress Code Glossary'.  ~Just what I always wanted to know, not!~

“All of 'em, and you were ...” Jack began, his voice trailing off.

“I was what?” Daniel prodded.

“Beautiful.  You laughed, Danny, a loud, beautiful laugh.  I loved it, loved watching you play with those kids, and when you held that baby, geez, you took my breath away.”

Daniel blushed a little, rationalizing, “I just held her, Jack.”

“She stopped crying,” the older man observed, quickly adding, “Twice.”

“Lucky.”

“Nah, I think you have another conquest.  I saw her little arms reaching for you for the rest of the barbecue, and when we were leaving, she didn't care how yucky her diapers were, just as long as you were holding her.”

Daniel shook his head, refuting, “Jack, she slept through the rest of the party; at least, most of it, and when we left, well ...”

“She loves you, Danny.  Trust me on this,” the older man interrupted.

Daniel rolled his eyes and went back to reading the latest issue of “Oprah.”

~She loves you.  All the kids loved you, and you were so good with them.  I remember playing with Charlie like that.  He would have loved you, too, Danny.  I wish you could have met him.~

====

“Here you go, Girl,” Jack said as he tossed a long rubber chew toy off towards the corner of the backyard.

Bijou and Katie both went running after it, and then began to play tug-a-war with it as Jack watched and laughed.

It was evening now.  Jack and Daniel had eaten a light dinner, just a salad, since they had stuffed themselves at the Ferretti's barbecue.  Jack had gone outside to play with the girls while Daniel finished up the remaining articles in the magazine that he had promised Teal'c he'd read.

“Jack, we need a new washer for the hose, but I couldn't find any in the garage.  Are we out?” Daniel asked as he joined the older man outside.

“Oh, crap.  Sorry, Danny.  I meant to get some last week at the hardware store, but I forgot.  I'll go by tomorrow,” Jack spoke apologetically.

“S'kay, just thought I'd fix it while I had a minute,” the archaeologist replied.

“All finished with Ms. Winfrey?” Jack asked.

“Every last word,” Daniel responded as he shook his head in relief.

“It could have been worse,” Jack commented.  “It could have been Martha Stewart Living or Redbook.”

“Jack, don't even think it, and *don't* tease Teal'c about it!” Daniel warned.

“Wouldn't dream of it, Love,” Jack smirked.

“Jack, I mean it,” Daniel warned in a sharp tone of voice.

“And whatcha' gonna do if I do?”

Daniel sauntered over to Jack and put his arms around his neck as he tenderly answered, “I'm going to tell him that you read Vogue and Elle and are dying to discuss fashion with him.”

Daniel's closed grin was a sign of victory, even before Jack acquiesced, saying, “You win, Angel.”

As he gently pushed away from his lover, Daniel smirked, “Thank you, Babe.”  He sat down on the steps of the patio and turned to say something, but hesitated when he noticed Jack staring at him.  “What?”

Jack shook his head, saying, “Nothing, Danny.”

“Jack, you've been ... I don't know.  There's something going on in that head of yours.  Why not tell me now, and get it over with?”

“Nah, just a ridiculous notion; could never work; I'm just daydreaming,” Jack replied as nonchalantly as he could.  A ringing phone interrupted their conversation as Jack went inside to answer it.  “Yeah, he's here.”  Jack walked back outside and announced, “It's the big guy.  He wants to know if you've finished 'Oprah'.”

“Oh, gawd.”

Having done a mock shiver of his entire body, Daniel walked inside the house to speak with Teal'c.

Jack sat back down on the steps, glancing just briefing through the patio window at his sexy soulmate.

~Just daydreaming, Danny, but ...~  The colonel sighed, then called out, “Bij!” as he decided to focus on reality and play with the much beloved beagles.

====

Daniel climbed into their bed and snuggled up next to Jack.  It had been a good day, but this was the best part of it, or any day, the moments before going to sleep when they could hold each other close and whisper those silly sweet nothings that no one would ever believe two such strong independent men would say to each other.

With his left hand playing with Jack's chest hairs, Daniel decided to go back to their earlier conversation and requested, “Jack, tell me what you were thinking about earlier.”

“Nothing, Danny, just being ridiculous.”

“Jack, so help me, if you don't stop saying that and just tell me what you were thinking ...”

Jack sighed as he debated the issue, pondering, ~Oh, well.  All he can do is clobber me.~  “Danny, you ever ... no, we talked about this in Denver.  It wouldn't work, couldn't work.  I must be out of my friggin' mind to even have thought it.  Nah, forget about it.”

Daniel looked up into Jack's eyes and stated, “I thought we could talk about anything.”

“Aw, Danny, don't turn this into that.  I swear on ... on my fishing pole that it's just a silly notion, like wishing on a star for ...” Jack laughed as he gazed into Daniel's eyes.  “Dumb, very dumb almost analogy,” he conceded without Daniel having to say a word.

Daniel kissed his lover, then spoke, “Very dumb, considering you wished for me on star and *got* me.  Tell me, Jack.”

Jack let out a deep sigh and observed, “You'd make such a good father, Danny.  Babies love you; children love you; teenagers love you; I love you.”

“And we know you're nothing but a big child,” the younger man quipped.

“Cute, Danny,” Jack spoke.

“Thank you, Love,” Daniel responded, chuckling as he settled his head against Jack's shoulder to consider what his soulmate had just told him.  He didn't say anything at first, not really sure where Jack was going with this train of thought. He remembered talking about children briefly in Denver the night he proposed to Jack, but neither were willing to, or even wanted to, give the other up in order to have a child with someone else.  “Children love you, too, Jack.  You're a natural,” he finally stated, though his mind was still on their conversation that had taken place in Denver.

At that time, Jack had made Daniel promise to tell him if he ever had a strong desire to have a child, but the conversation hadn't gone much further than that. Frankly, Daniel had been too nervous in anticipation of Jack's reaction to his marriage proposal to even remember exactly what they had said to each other that night about the child issue.

“Told you it was just a crazy notion,” Jack commented as he rubbed his lover's back, noting his lover hadn't responded to his remark, choosing instead to shift the focus to Jack.

“Are you saying ... Jack, what are you saying?” Daniel asked a bit anxiously.

“I don't know.  Nothing.  Go to sleep,” Jack suggested, adding a manufactured yawn.

The couple didn't talk any more, each simply saying a quick “I love you,” before they pretended to close their eyes.  In actuality, neither fell asleep for quite some time, their minds wandering about the brief discussion.

~I'd love it, Danny, but it's a crazy idea,~ Jack thought.

~Jack, do you ... gawd, have you changed your mind?  Do you want children now?  Maybe you ... I don't want to think about this anymore,~ Daniel silently fretted, worried his lover wanted to leave him so he could have children.

====

“Washers, as promised,” Jack said, smiling as he returned from running a few errands the next day.

Today was Sunday, and it was a pleasant seventy-seven degrees out, which meant it was a good opportunity to get some work done around the house or just spend time outside for a while, if they wanted.

“Good, now we can use the hose again without taking a shower,” Daniel laughed, taking a washer out of the bag Jack had just handed him and going outside to complete his chore.

Jack headed for the study, an urge to check something on the Internet having gotten the best of his common sense.  He entered his search criteria, and then clicked the URL that looked like it would answer his questions.  He became so involved in his reading that he never heard Daniel enter several minutes later.  The younger man sneaked up behind him, his hands wrapping around Jack's eyes, shielding them.

“Hey, guess who?”

“Little Bo Beep,” Jack snapped.

“I should hope not,” Daniel chuckled, lowering his hands to go around Jack as he leaned forward over the chair, his hands unbuttoning the top buttons of Jack's tan shirt and then going underneath the polyester material to caress his lover's chest.

“Danny, how many times do I have to tell you *not* to sneak up on me like that?  Someday, I might kill you, and then I'd have to kill myself.”

Daniel ignored Jack, chuckling and kissing his nape before his eyes sneaked a peak at the computer monitor.

“Adoption?” Daniel asked with surprise as he ceased his fondling.  ~He wants to ... gawd, he doesn't want to leave me; he wants ... oh, gawd.~

“Just forget it, Danny,” Jack said as he started to close the web browser.

Daniel's hand shot out from underneath Jack's shirt and down to Jack's hand on the mouse, tugging at it.

“No, Jack, wait,” Daniel sternly forbade.  “Are you saying you want to ... I mean, do you?”

“I don't know what I mean,” Jack admitted a bit warily.  ~I do, but I'm scared, Danny.  What if you don't want this, too?~

Jack turned the leather desk chair to the left as Daniel walked over to desk, leaning against it.  Jack's hands reached out for Daniel's, and they held on to each other, their touches slowly draining the uneasiness from their bodies. Finally, the older man spoke the truth that had been prickling inside him for the last twenty-four hours.

“Danny, I know what we've said in the past, but seeing you yesterday, something clicked, or jumped out at me.  You were so beautiful, and I found myself thinking about it.  It's crazy.  We couldn't even really think about it until after I retire, and I'm already old,” Jack lamented.

“Jack, you know how I feel about that 'old' garbage, so cut it out, now!” Daniel ordered sharply.

“Yes, Sir,” Jack mocked lovingly as their hands still caressing each other's.  “I didn't think I'd want to, Danny; didn't think I could even imagine going through the chance of loving and losing again, but watching you with Carli and those other kids yesterday, it made me think maybe we could.  Oh, for crying out loud, this is nuts.”

Jack started to pull his hands away from Daniel, but the younger man held on and asked, “Jack, if we could, would you really want to?”  ~Say 'yes', Jack, because I ... say 'yes'.~

~Of course, I do.~  The older man took a deep breath and looked into Daniel's blue eyes that mirrored his soul.  He replied, “I think I'd like to think about it, talk about it.  What about you, Danny, seriously?”

~I think I'd like to devour you right here and now, but ... first ...~  “I think I'd like to think about it and talk about it, too,” Daniel answered with an endearing smile.  “And, we could research it, which apparently you have already started doing.”  The younger man turned to face the computer monitor, releasing one of Jack's hands, but still holding the other.  “What does this say?”

“I was just getting to the applicable part.  The first section was about couples adopting where one of the children was biological.  The next section seems to address people like us.”

The lovers read the piece together and exchanged a look of hope.  It wasn't out of the question.  In fact, it was being done more and more.  They could do it, if they wanted to, and they knew that all they had to do was admit that, firmly and clearly, that, yes, Jack and Daniel wanted children, their children, together.

Jack stood up, and he and Daniel shared a kiss, their arms encircling the other's waist, their eyes locking after the kiss.

“We're not even married yet, Danny.”

“Soon, but we can't adopt until we quit the program.  It's too dangerous, Jack,” Daniel advised, not wanting their children to ever be in harm's way because of their work.

“I know, but that's going to happen,” Jack responded with certainty.

“One or two more years, and we'll be done,” Daniel stated assuredly.

“It's something to think about, isn't it?”

“And talk about,” Daniel agreed.

Jack speculated, “The laws might even be better by then, but even if they aren't, we can find a way.”

Daniel nodded his affirmation and then sighed, “It's still sad how that has to work, that only one can adopt at a time.  It doesn't seem fair, Babe.  I mean, how do we decide who does what when?”

The current laws read that a same-sex couple could adopt, but the way it actually worked was that only one parent adopted the child; the other was just there.  They couldn't adopt the child as a couple.  It was a nasty drawback, but at least, it was something.

“Beagles,” Jack answered.

“What?” a confused Daniel asked.  Jack could be a little thick sometimes, but this made no sense to the younger man.  ~Sometimes, My Love, you sound just like me, but, uh, I'll never admit that.~

“We get two, his and ... his,” Jack laughed, “just like the girls.”

“Good idea, but I'd still prefer ... I mean, it's just not fair, Jack,” Daniel stated.  “How can our world be so advanced and still be back in the dark ages?”

Jack shrugged, but replied, “That's our society, Daniel, and we can't change it.”

“I know,” Daniel sighed.  After a moment, though, he smiled and intoned, “Like I said, good idea, Jack.”

“It happens,” Jack replied.  “Boys?  Girls?”

“One of each?” Daniel suggested.

“We have all the time in the world to think about this and decide if it's really something we want,” Jack stated, not wanting his lover to be scared off by rushing into the notion of adoption.  “We definitely don't have to rush into anything.”

“You're right, Babe.  I mean, it, uh, would be a drastic change.  Life would never be the same,” Daniel replied, silently feeling the same way as his soon-to-be husband.

Even with their cautious commentary, the lovers were smiling.  They couldn't seem to stop, and yet their words continued to be tentative, full of 'ifs' and 'maybes'.

“Freedom gets shot to pieces, Love.  Diapers, Little League, report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and, have I mentioned loss of privacy?” Jack asked with a low voice, his lips locking with Daniel's, and his tongue slipping inside his lover's mouth.

Daniel moaned from the sensation.  He felt so good right now, but he didn't know how to express it.

“That's what door locks are for, Jack,” Daniel responded softly, still reeling from their kiss.

“Can't lock out the kids.  They'll set the house on fire or pin Katie's tail to the coffee table or eat the fish.”

“Jack!”

“Sorry, Love, I've been there.  Kids are a handful, and they do change how you live.  We have a lot of freedoms that we'd lose if we do this.  There'd be lots of sacrifices, so we have to be sure.”

“Pros and cons,” Daniel stated logically.  “We can make a list, itemize, rank, lay out the possible scenarios for our future.”

“There's a thousand and one cons, Danny, and some of them,” Jack sighed, a dark memory surfacing.  “Some of them aren't pleasant.”

“But there's one great big pro, isn't there, Jack?” Daniel prompted.

“Yeah, there is,” the older man acknowledged, smiling at happy memories of his deceased son.

“Is it big enough?” Daniel asked, his eyes boring into Jack's, searching for the truth.  ~I'll never agree to this if it causes you pain.~

“I never thought I could even think about this seriously again, Danny.  Charlie, that was ...” Jack shook his head, fending off the pain.  “But the love, Danny, how can I deny that?  It stays inside us forever.”

“I love you so much, Jack.”

“So, we think about it and see where we are in a couple of years,” Jack offered rationally.

“We think about it, and we talk about it,” Daniel agreed intelligently.

The two kissed for a few minutes, reveling in their love and a conversation neither had ever envisioned happening with the other.  Each wondered who was more surprised -- the other or themselves.

====

After a while, the couple headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner.  As he retrieved a head of cabbage from the refrigerator, Jack let out a huge laugh.

“What?” Daniel questioned as he opened the cabinet to get the box of rice that was on one of the shelves.

“Maybe we should stick with boys,” Jack suggested.

“Why?”

Moving to rinse off the cabbage, Jack explained, “Danny, if we adopt daughters, *you* are explaining the facts of life to them *including* that time of the month.”

“Jack!” Daniel exclaimed with exasperation.

They laughed, and as he reached up to bring down a can of corn and cut carrots, Daniel chuckled, “Definitely boys.”

“Told you.”

“No, that's not it,” Daniel refuted.

“Why then?” Jack inquired as he chopped up the cabbage, placing the bits in a bowl.

“Jack, you'd murder anyone who tried to date our daughters.  I can see you now on the front porch with your P-90, daring some guy to kiss them,” Daniel dryly responded.

“Kiss?  Oh, no, no, no!  Absolutely *no* male contact for our girls until they are at least thirty,” Jack teased, only half jokingly.

“They'd hate you,” Daniel responded quietly.

“They'd adjust,” Jack added as the two continued to prepare their dinnertime meal.

A few minutes later, Daniel was working on cooking the rice and vegetables when he got a rather perplexed look on his face.

“What are you thinking about with that scrunched up nose of yours?” Jack asked as he put the casserole he'd just prepared in the oven.

“Scrunched?”

“Just answer the question,” Jack ordered.

“What would they call us?”

“Huh?” a perplexed Jack responded.

“No mom here.  Two dads.  Dad and Dad would get confusing.  Maybe it's not fair to them,” Daniel commented, wondering if their thinking was a complete mistake.

“Danny, the most important factor is love.  What they call us is probably the least of our concerns,” Jack stated.

“Okay, Mom!” the younger man joked.

“Daniel!” Jack exclaimed.  Then, equally excitedly, Jack called out, “Got it ... different names!”

“They aren't calling us Jack and Daniel,” Daniel groaned.

“No, of course not,” Jack responded, adding, “Never have liked that, kids calling their parents by their first names, but, Danny, one of us can be Dad or Daddy or Pa or Pop or Father or something, and the other one of us will be a different name like that.”

“Wow, Jack, you can be a genius when you want to be,” Daniel happily replied.

Jack gulped slightly, then responded, “Coming from a genius like yourself, I take that as a compliment.”  He approached his lover at the counter, leaned over, and kissed him.  ~Maybe this could work.~

“We'd need more room,” Daniel observed, looking into the living room.

“We can build on.  Our backyard is huge, so we've got lots of room to play with.  We need to do something about your artifacts, though, to keep them safe.  Trust me, Danny, a toddler would do in your collection in about an hour.”

“We'll think of something, Jack,” Daniel opined, not really worried about it.

“Yeah, we have plenty of time to think about it.”

“And decide,” Daniel added quickly.

“Right,” Jack agreed.

Daniel put the finishing touches on the vegetables until it would be time to finalize their cooking, while Jack adjusted the oven temperature.  Their plan was to go into the living room and watch a bit of ESPN, but, suddenly, both stopped their actions and looked at the other, smiles slowly forming on their faces.

Daniel lowered his eyes for a moment in contemplation and then looked up and met Jack's gaze again.

Jack walked over to his soulmate and kissed him passionately.  Both sighed as they leaned their foreheads together, a gesture they had done from their very first night together.  It symbolized the unity and spirit that made them one heart and one soul.

“We're crazy, you know that?” Jack asked softly.

“I know we're crazy in love.  Maybe we are crazy, Jack ... crazy to want it all, but is it wrong?” Daniel asked in earnest.

“No, Angel, it's not.”

“Are you sure?  Do you know what we'd be letting our children in for?” Daniel probed, not wanting to make a mistake on something so very important.

“A lifetime of love, Danny, from parents who will love them so darn much that nothing else will matter.  C'mon, let's let it settle for a while and watch some hockey or something.  We have lots of time to think about this and make a decision,” Jack reminded.

Jack led Daniel to the sofa and they sat down.  He put his left arm around Daniel's shoulders, but, instead of hockey, they watched some show on Egyptian pyramids.  He didn't mind.  It made his lover happy to rant about how misguided the experts were who spoke about the building of the tall structures, and as long as Daniel was happy, then so was Jack.

As the credits for the program ended, Daniel spoke again, but not about the show they had just watched.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Angel?”

Daniel smiled and questioned, “We've already decided, haven't we?”

Jack kissed Daniel's silky hair and answered, “You're going to be the best dad in the universe, Danny.”

“Second best.  I love you,” Daniel crooned, feeling happier than ever.

“Love you, too,” Jack replied, his eyes misting at the prospect of their future, and his heart full of love, joy, and anticipation.

There might be more to think about, and certainly, there were a great deal of decisions to be made, but for the engaged couple, another facet had been added to their future, one that included a family with children.  Both men felt warm inside.  It was the right choice, and, now, as they continued to prepare for their wedding, they'd also prepare for a wonderful future that included children.  Life was definitely a joy, in Colorado Springs.

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