Category: Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - May 28, 2013
Size: 14kb, ficlet
Written: November 4-5,7-8,11, 2006 Revised for consistency: September 22, 2007
Summary: Jack's lost in a hockey video and gets a big surprise when he finally rejoins the world.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) This story is inspired by the real life adventures of Lil Bear!
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) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Noa Grows Up” and “Unexpected Miracle”
5) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Linda, Jodi, Claudia, QuinGem!
“Incredible,” Jack spoke quietly as he walked into the kitchen,
glancing back into the dining nook where Lulu was seated at the round
“What's incredible, besides me, of course?” Daniel smirked with bright eyes as he continued to stir the batter he was preparing.
“Well, listen to you!” the older man retaliated.
“I'm not incredible?”
“Daniel, don't start.”
“Well, now I know,” Daniel replied, letting out a mock sniffle.
“Danny ...” Jack began, ambling over to the cooking man's position by the stove.
Daniel broke out into laughter and gave his husband a kiss, after which he repeated his question, “So, uh, what's incredible?”
“Lulu's entertaining,” Jack answered, referring to Lulu and her 'friend'.
Glancing over at their daughter, Daniel smiled, saying, “Cindy's hungry.”
“Cindy, you have to be patient. If you aren't patient, I won't make you waffles,” the eight-year-old said sternly.
Lulu had first developed her imaginary friend, Cindy, earlier in the month. Since then, her parents had done quite a bit of research, learning that invisible playmates were actually indicative of creative children; therefore, they weren't worried at all about Cindy's growing presence among their brood.
At the moment, Lulu had out some play cookware and utensils her parents had given to both her and Chenoa last Christmas. It was a shared gift because the two were only a year apart in age, and it seemed silly to buy the same item twice. The little girl was using the items to make a pretend meal for herself and Cindy.
“Cindy'd better be patient,” Jack quipped.
“Yeah, Lulu makes a mean waffle,” Daniel chuckled as the couple continued to cook and make their plans for the day.
That afternoon, most of the Jackson-O'Neill children were out and about with various members of their extended family.
Jeff was home, though, roaming the house, taking photographs with his camera. He was experimenting with various filters and lens, capturing various everyday items in unusual angles and from unfamiliar positions.
Chenoa was upstairs, in her room, quietly reading a book. Bijou, the family's mama beagle, was by her side as they sat on the little girl's bed.
In the recreation room, Jack had the big screen television lowered and was watching one of his favorite hockey tapes. It was the seventh game of the playoffs from 2001 when the Colorado Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup championship. He was totally enthralled by the game, as if he were seeing it for the very first time instead of the thirtieth.
Lying down on her abdomen on the right side of one of the floor pillows, her head resting in the palms of her hands, Lulu wondered what was so wonderful about hockey. She ended up being more focused on her father and his dramatic reactions to the actions on the screen than the video itself.
Katie, the youngest beagle, didn't care at all about hockey. She was sprawled out against Lulu and had just stretched her entire body before yawning and going back to sleep.
“Dad gets very excited when he watches hockey, Cindy,” Lulu observed in a whisper shortly after the game's final period began.
As if on cue, Jack's arms flailed out in front of him as he yelled out at the screen, saying something about the referee forgetting his heritage.
~Forget?~ Lulu thought. She looked over at her imaginary friend and asked, “We don't want to forget anything important, do we, Cindy?”
“Yes!” Jack exclaimed at a successful defensive play by his beloved Avalanche.
Lulu just blinked and sighed as she pondered the strange sport that was so much a part of their lives.
When the competition concluded, Jack pumped his fist and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Now *that* was a game!”
“Hey, Babe,” Daniel greeted with a smile as he walked into the rec room. “What ...” He paused, looking all around, stunned by what he saw. “Uh, Jack, what's ... this?”
Daniel had just arrived home from a meeting at their archaeological firm, J-O Enterprises. He had entered the large room from the front hallway instead of going through the kitchen, which was their norm.
“What do you meeee...” Jack began to ask, trailing off as he stood up and finally saw the new decor of the room.
“Jack, why are there post-its ...” The archaeologist looked at the beagle, who had just gotten up and shaken her body, causing three post-its to fall off her body. “Katie?” He shook his head; then looked at his lover and inquired, “Jack, let me try this again. Why are there post-its all over the rec room ... and Katie?”
“You're asking *me*?” Jack asked, tearing off one of the yellow sticky notes from an ottoman. “'Ottoman',” he spoke with wide eyes as he crumbled the small paper in his hand.
Daniel walked to the card table, lifted up the yellow paper, and read, “'Table'.” Then he moved to where Katie had been and picked up those small papers. “Uh, 'Katie's tail', 'Katie', and 'Katie's ear'.”
Jack moved to the outer wall and removed a sticky paper that said, 'Wall'. He glanced over at his lover, who was now staring at the bottom right-hand corner of the huge plasma screen. “What are you looking at?”
Daniel pointed at the post-it and answered, “'TV', it says.”
As the couple examined the room, they discovered a multitude of post-it notes attached to just about everything.
“For crying out loud,” Jack whined, walking over to the large bird cage and gently pulling off a post-it from Ptolemy, the family's Hyacinth Macaw. “'Bird'.”
“No bird, queen,” Ptolemy corrected.
“The post-it says you're a bird,” Jack argued.
“Queen bird,” Ptolemy insisted.
“In your mind,” the general snarked as his husband laughed. “Danny, look.”
Daniel walked slowly towards his lover and then looked where the older man was pointing. Not only was the rec room lined with the yellow papers, but so was the kitchen. He walked to the entrance to the kitchen, removing the first post-it note he came to.
“'Doorway',” Daniel read, holding up the small paper as he continued to look at it. “Jack, who did this?”
“I was ...”
“Lulu!” both men suddenly exclaimed, realizing that not only was she the only child with opportunity to have done the deed that afternoon, but also recognizing her writing on the sticky notes.
Just as he was about to walk into the kitchen, Daniel caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye. Instead of going inside the kitchen, he remained in the rec room.
“Jack, you need to see this,” the younger father advised, motioning towards a chest that was positioned against the wall and was adorned with family photographs and knick knacks.
On the latest family picture of the entire brood, their parents, and their 'zoo' of animal critters, Lulu had put a post-it that read, 'My happy family'.
“She's come such a long way, Jack,” Daniel praised. He elaborated, “Given her situation and the struggle she was facing, having to learn what came so naturally to the others, Lulu's done amazingly well in a relatively short amount of time.”
“Yeah, she has,” the older man agreed as he removed the post-it. Then he shook his head and put the post-it back where it had been. “This one stays for a while,” he stated quietly.
Nodding, Daniel added, “I guess doing the research and spending the extra time helping her really paid off, Babe. Look how well she's forming her letters now, and her spelling is excellent.”
“We did good, Danny, and so did Lulu. Her confidence is really shining through these days,” the older man observed.
Both men smiled. They were happy that the little girl who had such a hard life before joining their family was now a happy, healthy eight-year-old. They hadn't even been aware that she had a form of dyslexia until roughly eighteen months ago, but once the situation had been revealed, they'd dedicated themselves to doing whatever was necessary to help their daughter overcome her learning disorder.
Daniel shook his head in amazement as he picked up a pencil, the item still adorned with a post-it labeled 'pencil'.
“Jack, I'm just, uh, curious. Why would she do this?” the younger father asked, a bit anxious as to the reason, yet so proud of their daughter's accomplishments.
“I think it's a simple affirmation, Love,” Jack theorized as he wrapped his arms around his husband. “She knows her family is a happy one and that her place here is safe. She now has pride in herself, and she just wants to show it, the best way she knows how.”
“My genius,” Daniel replied as he grinned at his lover, pleased with the theory behind Lulu's post-it caper. He teased, “And where were you when she did all this?” Of course, the archaeologist already knew the answer. When his husband was watching hockey, very little could distract him. ~I did do that striptease one time; that got him.~
Well aware that his lover had his number, Jack retaliated, “You know perfectly well that I was reliving that playoff game.”
“The one you love so much,” Daniel responded. Seeing his husband nod, he asked, “Uh huh, I thought so, but, uh ... do you love it more than this?” just before giving his husband a passionate kiss.
“Dumb question for a genius such as yourself,” Jack responded when the kiss ended.
Back to the topic of their labeling daughter, Daniel opined, “We need to acknowledge this, to let her know she's doing so well.”
“I agree. I wonder how bad the damage is to the kitchen,” Jack pondered, twisting around to look toward the room in question and wondering how many post-its were actually used there. ~Looked like a lot.~
“Let's find out,” Daniel chuckled, sharing one more brief kiss with his soulmate before heading towards the kitchen.
Once inside the cooking area, the couple got a better look at everything that had been tagged there, and that proved to be most everything in sight.
A minute or so after her parents had walked into the kitchen, Lulu entered from the living room and called out happily, “Hi, Daddy!” as she walked towards her parents.
“Hey, Little Bit,” Daniel greeted, hugging his daughter. “Hi, Cindy.”
Lulu grinned at the acknowledgement, though Jack frowned slightly from his position just behind his spouse.
**Danny, how did you know Cindy would be with her without asking?** Jack inquired, via their special non-verbal communication.
**Simple, Babe. You were so distracted by that hockey game that Lulu was bound to need company. Logical assumption,** Daniel responded. “Lulu, did you put all these post-its on the furniture and accessories?”
“How come?” Jack asked, his hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.
“So we don't forget,” the little girl answered earnestly.
“Forget what?” the younger father questioned.
“What things are,” Lulu answered, giggling.
“Makes sense to me,” Daniel commented jovially.
“Me, too. Lulu, you did great!” Jack exclaimed. “An A-plus job of labeling!”
Without missing a beat, Daniel added, “We're so proud of you, and we love you very much.”
Seeing the happy smile lighting Lulu's face, the fathers knew praising her had been the right thing to do.
“One more,” Lulu stated, putting her last post-it on the floor, appropriately labeled 'floor'. Then the curly-haired girl turned around to go back upstairs. “Come on, Cindy. We won't forget anything else.”
“That explains it,” Daniel stated quietly when Lulu had disappeared from sight.
“Yeahsureyabetcha,” Jack agreed, bobbing his head in short up and down movements. “I can't believe she put one of those on the TV without me noticing.”
“Next time I go into the office, I'm hiring a babysitter,” Daniel remarked as he began to remove the post-its from the appliances lining the counter. “'Toaster',” he chuckled.
“A babysitter? Lulu won't like that,” Jack replied emphatically.
“Not for Lulu, Jack -- for you!”
Daniel grinned, walking up to his lover and pulling off the post-it that was affixed to his clothing.
“How'd she do that?” Jack arched back, totally stunned to see he'd been tagged without his knowledge. ~I'm losing my touch. I've gone soft.~
“'Dad',” Daniel laughed as he held up the yellow paper.
“At least she knows who I am,” Jack muttered, watching as his husband re-entered the rec room. “Mmmm. Why didn't she label you?” Hearing Daniel humming the classic song, “Unforgettable”, he suddenly took a mock-offense to the action. ~Unforgettable, my foot. I'm unforgettable, too. Aren't I?~ In lighthearted desperation, he turned and ran after his humming husband, calling out, “Danny ...”
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