Thor's Gift

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - July 9-12, 2013
Spoilers:  None
Size:  36kb, short story
Written:  April 13-21, August 18-19,21,26-27, 2006  Revised for consistency:  September 22, 2007
Summary:  Thor finally reveals what he did to Bijou and Katie all those years ago!
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my past fic(s), “Alien Drugs are Yuck” and “The Pact”
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Linda, Claudia, Jodi, QuinGem!

Thor's Gift
by Orrymain

Pam Lawrence, the Jackson-O'Neill family veterinarian, chuckled when Bijou and Katie both sat on the examination table, each wagging their tails and staring over at her stash of dog biscuits.

“Not until we're done, Girls,” Pam told the two beagles.  Looking at Daniel, she asked, “Wow, you're alone?  I'm used to doing my examination surrounded by little ones with inquiring minds,” she commented about the brood as she grinned.

“They had a chance to win a year's worth of free ice cream at the neighborhood fair,” Daniel replied.  “I think if it had been up to Little Danny, he would have come with me, but Jonny managed to convince him that Bij and Katie would want the brood to try and win ice cream so that they could share it with them.”  He laughed, “The girls love ice cream.”  Seeing Pam look up at him with a questioning expression, he added, “I know, but ice cream is sacred in our family. Bij and Katie are family, so ...”

“So they get ice cream,” Pam chuckled.  As she prepared to listen to Katie's heartbeat, she surmised, “No contest then.”  When she was done, she added, “Actually, I'm glad it's just you here today, Daniel.  I've been wanting to discuss something with you for a long time.”

“Nothing's wrong, is there?” the archaeologist asked in alarm, each of his hands automatically extending out to hold onto each of his precious pups, rubbing gently as he did so.

“Relax, Daniel, Bijou and Katie are both in excellent health,” Pam stated, moving to check Bijou's heartbeat.

“Sorry, I guess I ... panic easily where family is concerned,” Daniel responded softly.

A few seconds later, Pam smiled and said, “Good girl.”  Then she began to check the beagles' ears and expounded, “Daniel, Katie is ten years old now, and Bijou is twelve.  They are both in remarkably good condition for their ages.  They're trim and alert, no eye degradation, no sign of heart disease or cancer, no back problems, no ... anything that can be found in dogs of their ages.”

“The brood keeps them very active.  You should try chasing after twelve children, especially JD!” Daniel chuckled.

“Are you giving them anything?” Pam inquired as she made a note on Bijou's chart.  “Dog vitamins or supplements?  Something I don't know about?”

“No, nothing.  They eat the same dry dog food they've eaten for years,” Daniel responded as the vet finished her examination of the dog ears.

“What is it, from another planet or something?” Pam chuckled.

Daniel only smiled at the unusual comment, and then he grinned internally at the idea of an intergalactic open marketplace, complete with alien pet food.

“Temperature time, Girls,” Pam said, taking out the thermometer and shaking it.

“Physicals are never fun,” Daniel lamented sympathetically, remembering a slew of pre- and post-mission exams that he'd rather forget.

After finishing up her examinations, Pam treated the beagles to their usual biscuits and said, “Well, whatever you're doing, keep doing it.  These two are in the best shape I've ever seen for dogs of their ages.”

“We'll do that,” Daniel assured, smiling at the two canines.

“You don't look too bad yourself,” Pam added a bit flirtatiously.  ~Oh, he fell for it,~ she mused inwardly upon seeing the man's stunned expression.

“Uh ...” the nervous archaeologist stuttered.

Pam laughed loudly, apologizing, “I couldn't resist.  My husband always tells me I like to stir the pot just for reaction and yours just now was priceless.”

Daniel nodded, replying, “My husband is the same way.  He can be pretty ... incorrigible sometimes.”

“That's why we get along so well,” Pam said with a smile.

====

Early that evening, as he sat down in the gazebo that was in the backyard, Daniel began to write in his journal.  He had about twenty minutes before the family would get together for their nightly family meeting, and he wanted to take advantage of his few minutes of alone time.

The children hadn't won the supply of ice cream for a year, but they had won one free shake each from a local fast food establishment, which they'd already enjoyed that afternoon before coming home.  Daniel had listened to their excited tales of the competition and wanted to make some notes about that in his journal, as well as jotting down his thoughts about some other things that were on his mind.

Several paragraphs into his writing, a noise drew the archaeologist's attention.  Daniel looked up to see Jack chasing their energetic eighteen-month-old son across the lawn.  It was a beautiful sight and filled him with so much love.  Then he sighed in contemplation as he watched the two romp in the grass.

~You moved so gracefully just then, Love.  No grimacing; no pain; nothing,~ Daniel thought.  He remembered back over the years, especially to when the Munchkins and the Spitfires were toddlers.  ~It almost seems easier now.  That's, uh ... odd.~

After a few minutes, Daniel resumed writing in his journal, though, at the same time, his mind continued to replay years of memories.  Something was needling him, gnawing on the edge of his thoughts, just out of reach.  He just wasn't sure exactly what it was.

====

Two days later, Jack found his husband sitting on the steps of the backyard patio, lost in thought.  As he stepped outside, he felt the slightest whiff of an evening breeze.  He also noticed that Daniel was holding something in his hands.

“Penny for 'em,” Jack verbally bid as he sat down next to his husband, situating himself so that their shoulders were touching.

“That's a pretty cheap offering, O'Neill,” Daniel teased.

“You're easy,” Jack joked, gently nudging Daniel with his arm.

“Aren't they beautiful, Jack?” Daniel asked, looking over towards Bijou and Katie, who were playing a game of tug-a-war with one of their toys.

“Sure are,” Jack answered, smiling at the girls, but then looking at his lover with curiosity.  “Danny?”

Daniel drew an audible breath before he responded, “They're doing great, Jack.  The other day Pam gave them a glowing report.  She also commented that they are doing better than most dogs their age.”

“That's great!” Jack exclaimed, his smile ebbing as he struggled to figure out what was going on in Daniel's mind.  He looked down at the object in the younger man's hands, realizing it was a photo of the two of them with Bijou and Katie, taken shortly after he had gifted the beagles to his lover for his birthday ten years ago.  “I've always liked that photo.”

“Me, too,” Daniel acknowledged, glancing down at the photograph, angling it up and down slightly as he fidgeted with it.  “Notice anything about this photo, Jack?”

“Great color,” Jack responded quickly.

“Anything else?”

“Daniel, you're starting to worry me,” Jack noted.  “It's us, the girls, here, at home, full of love -- that's what I see in that picture.”

“I do, too, but there's something else,” Daniel began.  “Look at *us*.”

“Quite handsome, if I do say so myself,” Jack teased.

Daniel chuckled, requesting, “Jack, will you be serious?”

Jack shrugged as he responded, “I'm trying, but since I don't know what the problem is ...”

“There isn't a problem, exactly,” Daniel interjected.  “It's just ... look at us.  Babe, you're as sexy as ever.”

“That's a bad thing?” the older man asked with widened eyes as he stared at his soulmate.

“No, of course not,” Daniel answered, sighing and bowing his head for a moment.  “Jack, people ... age.”

“Yes, they do,” Jack concurred.  “My hair proves that.  It used to be brown, if you recall.”

“I know, but ... Jack, look at the picture,” the younger man urged.

“Daniel, can we skip the games?” Jack requested a bit brusquely.  ~What's the problem here?~

“We're older, Jack, but I ... gawd, I still feel pretty much like I did ten years ago, and you ... your face ...”  Daniel reached over with his left hand to trace his lover's face, examining every inch of it.  “No worry lines, just the slightest hint of ... style,” he commented with a smile, refusing to say the word 'wrinkle'.

“Danny, we're not invincible or indestructible.  I almost died a couple of years ago, if you recall,” Jack reminded more seriously.

“I know,” the archaeologist acknowledged.

“And you had a close call recently,” Jack said more softly, reaching over to caress his lover's cheek.  “We've both been sick at various times, too.”

“I'm not saying we're ... invincible,” Daniel replied.  “It's just ... I don't know.  There's something.  I just ... I ... I ...”

“My knees,” Jack suddenly spoke, drawing a look from his lover.  “I always thought they'd get worse; they were so bad for so long.  It's sort of evened out after we retired.”  ~Sometimes, I think they slightly improved.  Who knows?~

“Before that, I think,” Daniel said.  “Maybe I'm just being paranoid.  We are ... older,” he noted with a slight chuckle.

“My aching muscles and creaking bones agree with that assessment, Doctor Jackson-O'Neill,” Jack teased, exaggerating a bit.

“We keep fit,” Daniel quickly added.  “I guess I just let what Pam said to me about the girls get to me.  It seemed a little ...”

“Odd?” Jack completed for his lover.

“A little.”

“Danny, we aren't superheroes cut from some comic book.  We're getting older; so are our kids.  Everything's normal.  We're just in good shape, that's all,” the older man commented.

“Twelve kids and a zoo,” Daniel smirked.  “Who wouldn't be?” he laughed.

Sharing a kiss, the lovers got up and made their way back inside their home to check on their brood, though Daniel still had lingering doubts.  He'd done some research on beagles and aging, and while beagles weren't susceptible to a lot of things as a norm, their girls exhibited no signs of any health problems, not even an earache.  He was happy about that, and yet, he couldn't help but continue to feel like he was missing something.

====

“JD follows Jonny around like a ... a ...” Daniel began, smiling when he wasn't sure how to finish his sentence.

“Like a colt to its mother?” Jack asked as he sat at the edge of his side of the bed.  As Daniel slipped into his pajamas, the ones with the hieroglyphs on them that were now several years old and worn through in places, he silently wondered, ~Might be time for some new ones.  Then again, I kinda like where those holes are on this pair.~

Ignoring Jack's sudden smirk, Daniel responded, “He's JD's mentor, I think.”

“Jonny's trained him well,” Jack chuckled.  His gaze turned lustful as he watched his lover buttoning his pajama top.  ~No, I don't think so, Love.~  He rose from the bed and walked to the bathroom, briefly brushing against his soulmate.  Quickly, he turned, seizing Daniel from behind, putting his arms around his waist and ordering, “Not a word.  You're my prisoner.”

“Oh, am I?”

“Not one word,” Jack reiterated.

“Or what?” Daniel asked.

“Or I let you go and go to sleep,” Jack quietly threatened.

“Zipping it,” Daniel compliantly agreed.

The two lovers began their erotic game with Jack in the dominant role this time around.  Their passion was hot and demanding, consummating with a final, deep thrust of Jack's length inside his lover.

The older man trembled from his release, his sweat-soaked body having sent his lover to a state of utter bliss, or so he hoped.

Daniel's own sweating body quivered from the last, dramatic jolt from his husband.  He was about to submit to a willing state of euphoria and become lost in unconsciousness when he blinked, suddenly realizing what had been troubling him.

As Jack gazed into Daniel's eyes, about to collapse down on his soulmate, Daniel suddenly called out, “Thor!  Gawd, Thor!”

“Excuse me?” Jack asked in utter disbelief.  “What did you just say?”

“Thor!”

“Daniel, trust me on this.  It was *not* Thor who just ... you know!” Jack stated gruffly.

“No, I mean ... Jack, maybe it was Thor,” Daniel supposed.

Grunting, Jack rolled off his husband, settling next to him on his back as he mumbled, “I must be losing my touch.”

Rolling over to look down at his sulking husband, the younger man questioned, “Babe, remember when that alien drug played havoc with me?”

Jack grew serious, blinking as he stared up at his soulmate, and answered, “Dumb question, Daniel.”

“When Thor helped us, he was going to tell us something, remember?” Daniel inquired.

The older man sighed, “It was a long time ago.”

“I know, but he ... he fixed me, and you, too, because you had trace amounts of the drug, and he ... Jack, I remember.  Thor started to say something, but we were anxious to get home.  I ... cut him off,” Daniel recalled.

“That's right,” Jack agreed as more details came back to him.  “He had just wiped that stuff out of our systems when you triggered the whats-it, and we beamed back to the SGC.”

“Yeah,” Daniel said, moving back to his side of the bed so that he was lying down on his back as he stared up at the ceiling.  He chuckled inwardly for a moment of Jack's choice terminology -- ~A whats-it?~ -- but then his mind returned to the topic being discussed.  He felt Jack take hold of his right hand and smiled.  “Jack, we never found out what he was going to say.”

“If it was important, he would have told us later,” Jack insisted.

“Maybe,” Daniel half-heartedly agreed.  “Or maybe he just decided we didn't need, or want, to know whatever it was.”

“Angel, the Asgard can do a lot of things, but they can't work magic,” the older man commented.

“I'm not talking magic,” Daniel stated, darting up out of the bed and slipping on his robe.  Suddenly, he turned to face his lover, extending out his right arm as he supposed, “What if there was something else about the alien drug that ... that somehow affected our physical bodies?”

At the moment, all Jack could see was his sexy lover's naked body since Daniel had neglected to tie the sash around his robe.  His focus caused him to smile wickedly.

Realizing where his husband's attention was centered, Daniel rolled his eyes, sputtered a “Gawd,” and then drew the sash tight around him, thereby concealing the bare skin and body parts that were so effectively distracting the older man.

“Danny, this all started because of a comment Pam made about the girls.  Now for crying out loud, how does any of this possibly relate to Bijou and Katie?”

“I ... I don't know,” Daniel sighed as he walked to the bed, turned his back on Jack, and sat down.

“Look, it's just your imag...”

Hearing his lover pause, Daniel turned his head to glance back at his lover.  He spotted a curious and thoughtful expression on the man's face.

Jack looked up at Daniel, sighing, “I just remembered something odd.”

“What was that?” the archaeologist questioned.

“The first time I can recall Thor beaming here with the girls around, Bij and Katie didn't react to him.  I never thought about it much, Danny, but it did seem strange that a little gray alien popped in, and they just sat there,” Jack remarked.

“Like ... maybe they'd seen him before?” Daniel put forth.

“Or something,” Jack agreed.

Nodding, Daniel lie back down, cuddling into his husband.

“I guess we should talk to Thor,” Jack suggested.

“I guess so,” Daniel agreed, his mind full of dozens of possibilities and even more questions.

====

“JD is sound asleep,” Daniel reported the next afternoon as he entered the living room.

Jack walked over and flipped on the monitor so they could hear their sleeping son.

“Mrs. Payne just picked up the girls, so the house is clear,” the older man noted, meaning that all of their children were now with family, friends, or fellow homeschoolers.  “Ready?”

Daniel nodded, then called out, “Thor?”  Two minutes passed without a response.  “Maybe he's not in the area.”

“He had a meeting with the geeks ...”  Seeing his lover's glare, Jack backtracked, saying, “... with Carter's group this morning.  He has to be here.”

“Well, maybe he's at the SGC then,” Daniel theorized.

“Or maybe he knows we know,” Jack responded suspiciously.

“Jack, we don't know anything,” Daniel replied.  “We're just ... suspicious,” he noted with a nervous smile.  “Uh, maybe we should use the communication device he gave us.”

“Daniel, you know perfectly well he has our house bugged; he doesn't need that friggin' device to hear us when we're home,” Jack stated, feeling mildly agitated at the Asgard's failure to appear as yet.

“We aren't certain about that,” Daniel refuted.  As Jack glared at him with a 'come on' type of look, the younger man shrugged.  “I'm just saying we should give him the benefit of the doubt.  He's a busy little gray butt, after all.”

“Right,” Jack replied dryly.  Then he walked around the sofa, looking up towards the ceiling.  Finally, he shouted, “THOR, GET YOUR LITTLE GRAY BUTT OVER HERE!”

“Jack, JD!” Daniel scolded.

“JD is like you; he'd sleep through an earthquake,” Jack quipped, noting with pleasure Daniel's evading glance towards the backyard.  ~Truth is truth, Love.~

After a couple more minutes elapsed, Daniel sighed, collapsing down on the sofa.

Jack groaned upon seeing his lover's distress and joined him on the sofa, putting his arm around his soulmate.

“This isn't a crisis, Danny,” Jack soothed.

“I know, but it just ... Jack, what if that drug is still doing something to us?” the younger man asked with concern.

“Angel, it's been years,” Jack pointed out.

“I know, but ... the things Pam said, the picture ... I ...”

Jack shook his head in denial as he silently recalled the time when Thor had helped eliminate an alien drug from their bodies, one that had been plaguing their lives.

//Flashback//
“Thor, in the last year, Daniel was kidnapped by one of those rogue NID clowns.  They gave him something.  We know it's from another world, but that's all we know.  It keeps coming back to haunt him.”

“Haunt?”

Jack quickly gave Thor the overview of Daniel's kidnapping, torture, and the drug.  He told him about the attempted brainwashing, how Graham Simmons and his men had tried to use the mind-altering drug to turn Daniel against Jack, and how the drug had so-often affected Daniel's behavior with nightmares and reactions like the one he had just had.

“I see,” the gray alien spoke.

“Thor, they gave some to me last time, too.  How come I didn't react to it like Daniel?”

“He was given more over a longer period of time, O'Neill.”

“Can you help him?”

“It sounds like Krynik.”

“Krynik?  What's that?”

“It is a substance used to control deviants on the planet Krynor.  It is far away, O'Neill.  I do not understand how the Tau'ri could have gotten hold of it.”
//End of Flashback//

“Krynik,” Jack suddenly spat aloud.  “Sounds like something from a Superman comic strip.”

Daniel leaned closer to his husband, saying, “I'm just glad he recognized it.”

“It scared me to death when Thor explained how that junk wasn't meant to be absorbed by our bodies and the risk involved in removing it,” Jack admitted, cringing from the memory as the lovers continued to recall the event.

//Flashback//
“The components of Krynik, when combined with the chemistry of your bodies, create a third element.  If left in the human body for a prolonged period, it mutates.”

“Mutates?” Daniel asked.

“Yes, the Krynik that you were given dissipates.  It is why your Doctor Fraiser could not find it in her tests after a few days.  However, one component of the Krynik bonds with ... you call them antibodies and creates this other mutation called Sugna.  The Sugna is undetectable without the appropriate tool,” Thor said, pointing to his medical consul. “The longer the Sugna remains in the human body, the more difficult it is to extract because it becomes a part of the body.”

“And the risk?”

“We must separate the original element of the Krynik from the cell.  If not done correctly, the cells may be damaged.”

“Oh.”

“Cellular damage can have all kinds of complications, Doctor Jackson.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Your immune system could be irrevocably damaged, leaving you vulnerable to all diseases and ...”

“We get the idea,” Jack said.  “Thor, how long does it take to do this ... extraction?”

“Approximately two of your Earth hours.”
//End of Flashback//

“That was the longest two hours of my life,” Jack lamented, placing a kiss atop Daniel's head.

“Didn't seem that long to me,” Daniel lightly quipped.

“Smart aleck,” Jack teased, knowing his lover had been essentially asleep in one of Thor's chambers for the duration of the process.  Daniel hadn't been brought to until the process was completed and Thor had run a scan to verify that he was free of the Sugna.  “It seemed like forever to me,” he whispered.

“I love you, Jack,” Daniel spoke softly.

Jack smiled at the younger man, running his fingers through the ends of his lover's hair as he expressed, “I love you, too, Angel, so friggin' much.”  The two shared a kiss before continuing their discussion.  “Thor was positive all the Sugna was removed, Danny, and there wasn't any of that stuff in me.”

“Thank goodness,” Daniel sighed, adding, “It's a good thing the Krynik wasn't in your system long enough to allow the mutating process to occur.”

“Thor said that stuff is dangerous,” Jack recalled.

“We couldn't have begun our family if he hadn't been able to remove it,” Daniel opined, tilting his head to place a kiss on his lover's cheek.  Both men knew that the risk of Daniel having some kind of reaction with the alien drug still within his body was too great.  “I'm glad he was able to remove the Sugna.  It ... changed our lives, so much,” he spoke softly.  Taking a breath to soothe his emotions, he mentioned, “After that is when he started to tell us something, Jack.”

Jack nodded, replying, “Yeah, you're right.  He said there was something else we needed to know, but then we left.”

“I can't explain it, but I know we have to find out what he was going to say,” Daniel stated a bit anxiously.

“We will, Love,” Jack promised, standing up and walking around for a minute.  All of a sudden, he looked up, calling out, “THOR, *NOW* WOULD BE GOOD!”

“What is it, O'Neill?” the Asgard inquired, having beamed in.  The alien seemed a tad annoyed as he explained, “I am in the middle of an important meeting with your Colonel Carter.”

“First of all, Buddy, she's not *my* anything.  She's Shanahan's,” Jack barked lightly, sighing when the alien simply gave him a stare accompanied by a single blink.

“Doctor Jackson, is something wrong with Little Thor?” Thor asked about JD, who did indeed have 'Thor' as one of his middle names.

Daniel smiled as he stood up and answered, “No, J...Little Thor is just fine.”

“But his parents need answers,” Jack interjected, walking a few paces closer to the Asgard leader.

“Very well,” Thor responded, ambling over to Jack's favorite seat and sitting down.  “What is it you want to know?”

Just then, Bijou and Katie came running down the stairs, having been up in the nursery with JD.

“Woof!” Bijou greeted the alien as she and Katie went over to say hello to Thor.

Thor nodded regally at the two beagles before returning his focus to Jack and Daniel.

“Now, see!” Jack exclaimed, extending out his arms.  “Thor, just when exactly did you meet the girls for the first time?  I don't recall introducing you,” he said suspiciously.

“It was a long time ago, O'Neill,” Thor answered calmly.

“Yes, well, that's what we want to know about,” Jack said as he and Daniel sat back down on the sofa, a few inches separating them, and both men leaning forward.  “Thor, that alien drug that messed with Daniel's mind.  You were going to tell us something, but never did.”

“You did not wait to hear,” Thor chastised.

“That was my fault,” Daniel admitted.  “I wanted to get home, Thor.  I'm sorry.  I, we, just figured if it was important that you'd tell us.”

“... eventually,” Jack added.  “Danny's right.  Whatever it is, it's important, and there is a connection to Bij and Katie, isn't there?”

Thor blinked, raising his head just a tad as he considered the current conversation.

“What did you do to the girls?” Daniel questioned quietly.

Bijou and Katie looked up at Thor, both acting as if they were curious to hear the story as well.

“If you insist,” Thor responded, recalling the night he had truly met the beagles for the first time.

//Flashback//
“Hello, Bijou.  Hello, Katie.  I am Thor.”

The girls had seen Thor before, but this was the first time he had ever talked to them directly.  They looked at him, not feeling threatened or concerned in any way.

“I have something for you.  You must trust me as O'Neill and Doctor Jackson do.  Come.”

The two beagles went up to the Asgard leader and sat.

“The Asgard owe O'Neill and Doctor Jackson much.  They have saved our world on many occasions.  I regret we still do not have the resources to aid more in their war with the Goa'uld, but at least this we can do for them individually.  It will not hurt, and it will make them happy.”  Thor leaned over and injected the two dogs with something.  Then he put them both in a portable chamber, not unlike the one Daniel had been in.  “It will only take a moment.  There is nothing to fear.”

Thor pressed some buttons on a portable scanner.  Inside the chamber, Bijou and Katie lay down, panting and watching Thor with great curiosity.  They weren't afraid.

Two minutes later, Thor opened the chamber.  The two beagles shook themselves and gave the little alien an affectionate lick.

“It is done.  Good ... dogs?  Is that the correct word?  Yes, good dogs.  I must go now.”

Bijou and Katie looked at each other as a beam of light appeared.  By the time they looked back at their alien visitor, Thor was gone.
//End of Flashback//

“So ... what did you do?” Daniel inquired curiously.

“More to the point, what was that you gave them?” Jack queried, glancing briefly at his lover before staring at Thor again.

There was a brief pause, but to the Earthlings, it seemed like an eternity.

“What?” both Jack and Daniel asked anxiously in unison, neither having given the Asgard a chance to speak as yet.

“The Sugna was completely removed, as I explained,” Thor began.  “However, there is one side effect of having the mutation in your system.”

“And ... that would be?” Jack prodded, his head bobbing slightly in encouragement.

“It provides for long life,” Thor stated simply.

“Long life,” Daniel echoed.  “Thor ... what does that mean exactly?”

“You are not immune from aging, Doctor Jackson, but the chemicals in your body now progress more slowly.  It is undetectable by any means on Earth, but it is within you, and O'Neill as well,” Thor explained.

“And, the girls, too?” Daniel replied.

Bijou and Katie looked up at Thor expectantly, and the alien leaned forward to pat each of them briefly.

“They are important to you,” Thor stated.

“You gave them the Sugna?” Jack surmised.

“A very small amount,” Thor confirmed, adding, “which I quickly removed.  They are as you are.”

Daniel let out a tiny chuckle as he got up and walked over to the beagles.  He leaned forward and picked up Bijou, staring into her eyes.

“That's why you still act so young, Bij,” Daniel stated.  “You are young.”

“Woof!” Katie interjected, running over to Jack who picked her up.

“Imagine that,” Jack spoke lightheartedly, smiling as he patted the beagle.  “Thor, how slow is ... slow?”

“You are aging, O'Neill.  All of you are,” Thor stated definitively.  “As I said, the process is slowed, but it is still progressing.”

“But we're not ...” Jack began.

“As you are aware, O'Neill, the process does not prevent illness or death,” Thor interjected.  “It only slows the age-inducing chemicals within you.”

“So, the reason that my knees haven't worsened is because of the alien drug,” Jack deduced.

“That is correct,” Thor answered.

“Which is the same reason our faces haven't developed more ... uh, well ...” Daniel stuttered.

“Wrinkles, Danny,” Jack answered.  “They're called wrinkles.”

“In time, your bodies will do whatever is normal for a human being.  It is just ...” Thor began.

“Slower,” Thor, Jack, and Daniel all spoke at the same time.

“Wait!” Daniel suddenly called out in alarm.  “Thor, Jack didn't have the Krynik in his system long enough for the Sugna mutation to occur.  So, if that didn't happen, then ...”

Smugly, the alien answered, “Knowing the effect of the mutation, and of your caring for each other, I took the liberty of injecting O'Neill with the amount necessary to trigger the response.  I wiped it from his system before any of the normal effects could be noticed.”

“You drugged me without telling me?” Jack asked incredulously.

Not giving an inch, Thor replied, “Would you not have wanted it that way, O'Neill, knowing Daniel Jackson would be affected as he was?”

Jack smiled, a bit more gratefully than before, and said, “Thanks, Good Buddy.”

“Thor, you haven't done anything to our children, have you?” Daniel asked.

“No, Daniel, I have not.  At the time I gave the substance to the dogs, they were like your children, so I understood.  They were also old enough; if not, I would not have given them the drug,” Thor explained.

“Uh, why?” Daniel asked.  “I mean, not that ... well ...”

Thor continued, “This drug is especially harmful to those who have not yet developed.”

“Children,” Daniel deduced.

“That is correct.  However, because of their species, I was able to dilute the Sugna sufficiently so that no harm was done to Katie.  I would not risk her; she is like your child,” Thor stated firmly.  He blinked once and continued, “The drug was destroyed once I returned to my ship.  As I explained before, it is very dangerous to your race,” Thor noted with intensity.

“We understand,” Daniel answered.

Thor stood up, saying, “If there is nothing else, I must return to the SGC.”

“Yes, the geek squad,” Jack quipped.

“Jack!”

“Sorry,” Jack apologized with a shrug.  “Thanks for dropping by,” he said to the Asgard.

“Thor,” Daniel began, his fingers scratching behind Bijou's ears.  “Thank you, um, not just for all you've done for Jack and me, but for the girls because ... well, you're right.  We love them.  They ... they're just as important to us as our human children are, so ... thank you.”

Thor nodded and then disappeared in a beam of light.

“Well, we have the answer,” Jack stated, smiling at Katie, who suddenly licked him on the lips, causing him to laugh.

“Yes, we do,” Daniel concurred, holding Bijou close to him as he took it all in.

The lovers smiled and once again returned to their spots on the sofa, sitting quietly as they patted their precious beagles.

====

That night, Jack and Daniel snuggled together in their king-size bed.  Daniel's left hand was playing with the silver-gray chest hairs of his lover, while Jack's hands caressed his soulmate's back and arms.  Each were in their pajamas as they enjoyed this special time together before falling asleep.

“Jack, should we feel any ... different?” Daniel asked tentatively.

Jack let out a little snort, shaking his head just slightly as he answered, “No, Angel, because we aren't any different today than we were yesterday or last week or three years ago.  We are who we are.”

“Looking good?” Daniel chuckled.  “Doesn't it make you ... worry?”

“About what?”

“I don't know ... standing out?” the younger man asked.

Jack placed a kiss atop his husband's head, leaning his cheek against it while answering, “We don't really, anymore than we normally do.  Danny, I'm gray ...”

“Silver-gray,” Daniel corrected, nuzzling in against his husband's chest.

“Silver-gray,” Jack echoed lightly.  “We are getting older.  Okay, so it's slower than normal, but we're still getting older and ...”

Daniel blinked, realizing his husband's pause was a bit more anxious than before.  He raised his head and gazed into Jack's eyes.

“Danny, I'm not unhappy about it.  Would I have asked for it or chosen it?  Probably not,” Jack surmised.  “The truth is that the little gray butt may have given me the chance to see all of our brood grow up.  I'm not a spring chicken, Angel, and that's not me being facetious.  It's me speaking the truth.”

“In the first place, you mean us, not just you,” Daniel replied.

“I have a few years on you,” Jack pointed out.

“Jack, don't go there,” Daniel warned, his eyes communicating all that was necessary to remind his lover about their pact.  “Together, always, remember?”

Jack raised his hands to cup Daniel's face and whispered, “Geez, how you make me feel.”

After Daniel smiled, the two kissed tenderly.  The younger man ran his fingers along Jack's cheekbone and then kissed the jut of Jack's chin.

“Secondly,” Daniel continued, “I ... I think you're right.”

“Can I get that in writing?” Jack joked.

After both men chuckled, Daniel responded, “There is a reality to deal with, and, well, I guess I'm happy Thor ... butted in, too.”

“He gave us years, Danny,” Jack said emotionally.  “I think we needed those years, and from what he told us, it's not enough that we'll stand out too much.  There are some darn good-looking people in their eighties and nineties.  We'll be two of those.”

“They're in great shape, too,” the younger man added, thinking of their neighbor, Mrs. Sophia Valissi, who was very sprightly for her age, and other close friends like Ernest and Catherine Littlefield, who were still quite active.

“And, the girls,” Jack spoke in amazement.  “They'll be with us a very long time, and ...”

Daniel could see the mistiness in Jack's eyes and hear the crack in his husband's voice.  Tenderly, he placed a sweet kiss on his lips.

“I love those girls, Danny,” Jack whispered emotionally.

Nodding, Daniel affirmed, “Me, too, very much.  We owe Thor a great deal for what's he done.”

“I'm glad we went ahead and named JD after Thor,” Jack remarked.

“Me, too,” Daniel said, settling back down atop Jack's chest.  “How do we thank him?”

“We say 'thank you',” Jack spoke, his simplicity going deep inside Daniel's soul.

“That, uh, sounds like a good plan, Love,” Daniel agreed.

“The little guy tricked us, kept a huge secret from us, but above everything, he gave us a priceless gift, Angel.”

“The gift of life,” Daniel replied.  “Now it's up to us to stay as healthy as we can, because, Jack, I want us to grow old together, and I want us to see all of our children grow up and get married, and ... gawd, I want ... I want ...”

“To be grandfather,” Jack spoke softly, a smile on his face.

“I want to be a great-grandfather,” Daniel chuckled.

“I love you, Danny,” Jack crooned.

“I love you, too,” Daniel replied.  Softly, he added, “Thank you, Thor, wherever you are.”

Content to snuggle the night away, the lovers continued their touches of love, each marveling at the unusual gift they'd received, and each very thankful to a certain Asgard who had become such a big part of their lives.

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