Threads

Author: Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 and Beyond - June 2003 to September 2007
Spoilers:  None
Size:  49kb
Written:  September 23-25, October 1, 2004  Revised for consistency:  July 29, 2007
Summary:  Life is like a fabric, various threads linking different experiences together.  This is the story of some of those threads for Jack and Daniel as the years pass.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Portions of this fic are based on suggestions made from readers on what they'd like to see.  Thanks to Ellen, Sue P., and Linda for their feedback and comments.
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 past fics, “Allegro,” “Ten Months,” and “Transitions: The Next Ten Months”
5) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Sue, Claudia, Brandy, Linz, QuinGem, Drdjlover, Linda!

Threads
by Orrymain

====
--June 28, 2003
====

“Oh, gawd, Jack.  I saw stars again,” Daniel gasped once he'd regained a bit of his senses.

“That's a good thing, Danny,” a grinning Jack replied as he held his lover in his arms.

The two had just made love, spontaneously, in a room Jack referred to as 'Plant Central' because, “All I have in there are plants.”  It was a small, easily overlooked, room, off to the right when walking in through the front door.  Jack often wondered why it was even there.  The only furniture in the room was a table and a couple of shelves, the surfaces of which were covered in a variety of plants.  Floor space was also taken up by several large plants that he'd purchased when he had first bought the home.

“Angel, what made you think to stick some lube in here?”

“Well, we never know where we'll be,” Daniel answered.

“But in Plant Central?  The only time I even come in here is when I water the things.”

After placing a kiss on Jack's chest, Daniel chuckled, “I just like to be prepared.  There's a first time for everything,” he smirked, his eyes twinkling.

Jack laughed as he responded, “Apparently.  After all, how was I to know I'd be attacked by a sex-crazed archaeologist while I watered the plants?”

“It was that butt of yours.  It was just too tempting to resist.”

“I love you, Danny.”

“Love you, too.”

“Maybe we should come in here more often.  It is peaceful with all the plants around.”

“Plants are calming and soothing, but it is kinda crowded,” Daniel said, pressing his foot against the table to demonstrate.

“The plants love it though.  They get a lot of sun in here.”

“Sun?” Daniel said in alarm, shooting up off his lover.  “Oh, gawd.”

“Crap,” Jack said, getting up and quickly putting on his boxers and pants.  He looked at his stunned soulmate and couldn't help but grin.  “Daniel, don't just stand there, put some clothes on.”

The colonel hurried to the large window that graced the small room and looked around.  He breathed a sigh of relief when the neighborhood view revealed no people on the street.

“Anyone out there?”

“Well, if they were and they were looking this direction, they just got quite a show.”

“Babe, I really don't want to give anyone a ... a show like this.”  Now dressed, Daniel joined Jack in front of the window.  He handed Jack his shirt and sighed, “I should have been more careful.”

Jack turned and took Daniel into his arms.

“Jack, don't ...” Daniel tried to move back, but his lover wouldn't let him.  “Jack ...”

“Danny, so what?  If they saw, big deal.  Let them try and prove it in court.  If they do, I don't care.  I have you ... right?”

“Always,” Daniel answered softly, letting Jack pull him close.

“I love you, Daniel Jackson, and that's for the long term.”

“I love you, too, for ... for longer even.”

“You're so competitive,” Jack teased as he closed in for a kiss.  He sighed and moved back, buttoning his shirt as he did so.  He looked out the window.  “Yeah, I guess we should try and be more careful, though, but Angel, if we do get caught someday, it won't be the end of the world; it'll be the start of our world, and that's not a bad thing, either.”

“But they might court-martial you, Jack.  I couldn't live with that.”

“They won't do that, not to me.  Not to toot my own horn, but I've done too much.  Odds are that the worse they'll do is make me retire.  Like I said, not a bad thing.”

“You can't be sure, Jack, especially not with Kinsey out there,” Daniel responded, still concerned about being seen.

“We've got friends, Danny.  Look, I don't want it to happen, but if it does, it'll be okay.  If I have to pull in favors, I will, but no matter what, we're together.”

“Gawd, I love you,” Daniel gasped, and he just couldn't help himself.  He lunged forward and kissed Jack again, window or no window.  “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Just ... making me feel ... loved.”

“You are loved, forever and always,” Jack spoke tenderly.

The lovers parted again, not wanting to push their luck.  They were about to clean up when Jack peeked out the window again and smiled.  Daniel saw and looked.  His eyes widened as he got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.  Jack patted him on the back.

“Just smile, Danny ... and breathe!  Mrs. Valissi didn't see a thing.  She's just passing by for a walk.”

Smiling nervously, Daniel nodded at the senior citizen and said, “Right.”

“Come on.”  When Daniel sighed, Jack questioned, “What?”

“I ... worry about her, being alone.”

“Yeah, me, too, but she's healthy as a horse from what I can see,” Jack opined about their senior citizen neighbor.

“I wish her son lived closer.  He's overseas, right?” Daniel asked.

“Somewhere in Europe I think,” Jack answered.  “She needs a dog.”

“Your answer to everything,” Daniel chimed, knowing how much his soulmate loved canines.

“Dogs are great protectors.  Bet she'd love a dog.”

“Jack, you are not sticking her with a dog.  Now, I'm hungry.”

“You're always hungry.”

“Yeah, but I never eat,” Daniel laughed.

“Unless it's chocolate or a power bar,” Jack retaliated.  As they walked out, he laughed again as he spoke, “I still can't believe you thought to put lube by the plant containers.”

“You just can't believe *you* never noticed before.”

Jack coughed, trying to hide the truth of the statement, but then he decided to just admit it, saying, “True.  You're always full of surprises!”

“You, too, My Love.”

It had been a fun morning, but now the lovers went on with their day, running errands and conducting business before having to report to the SGC later in the afternoon.

====
--December 13, 2003
====

Daniel got up out of bed and stretched, yawning as he did so.  He heard the water running in the shower so knew that's where his husband was.

~Mmm.  Husband.  Love that word.~

The soulmates were newlyweds, not quite married one month yet, and about to celebrate their first holiday season together as husband and husband.  Daniel looked at his wedding ring and smiled.  He felt so warm inside.

~Gawd, I'm happy.  I can't believe it, but I'm so freakin' happy.~

He looked over at the other side of the bed and saw Jack's gray sweatshirt, the one he'd worn the night before.  Daniel picked it up and brought the clothing up to his face, savoring his lover's scent.  He closed his eyes and smiled.

“Mmm, Jack.  It smells of Jack.”

Daniel sat down at the end of the bed, just feeling happy at being in love.  He looked again at his ring.  The moment they'd returned home from work the night before Jack had insisted that they put their rings on.  He hadn't argued.  They'd have to be very careful if anyone came to the door, but both wanted to revel in the fact they were legally married, in Canada, anyway.

Suddenly, Daniel heard barking from downstairs.  The lovers now had two very loving and protective beagles, Bijou and Katie, whom they considered to be their children.  The problem with the noise he was currently hearing was that it didn't sound like the normal 'let me out' bark or even the 'someone's at the door' bark, but rather, it was a frightened bark, sometimes seeming like a loud yelp.  The archaeologist hurried downstairs, taking them two at a time and actually jumping over the last three stairs to reach the living room.  At that moment, he saw Bijou growling, not in anger, but in warning, at her youngest puppy.

The mama beagle was between the sofa and the coffee table, while Katie was in front of Jack's favorite chair.  It was clear to Daniel that the youngest beagle was doing something Bijou didn't like.  He looked closer and, as he did, his heart began to race.

With widened eyes, Daniel called out sternly, “Katie, stop!”  He went to her and pulled the tube of Astroglide out of her mouth.  “Oh, gawd,” he expressed in dread, sinking down to the floor.  He affixed the cap securely to the tube, his heart aching as he saw tooth marks in the tube and lube leaking out of them.  He picked up the beagle, noticing several sticky glistening smears on her muzzle. “Katie, are you all right?  You didn't swallow any of this, did you?”

Bijou had moved closer to Daniel and barked again.

Daniel looked towards the stairs and shouted, “JACK, GET DOWN HERE.”

Hearing the alarm in his husband's voice, Jack didn't hesitate.  In his robe, he ran down the stairs as quickly as he could.

“What's wrong?” the older man asked as he came to a halt a few feet in front of his spouse.

“Call Pam.  We need to have Katie checked out,” Daniel requested with urgency, referring to their veterinarian, Pam Lawrence.

“Okay.”  Without knowing the specifics, Jack immediately went to the phone and began dialing.  Why?” he asked, dialing and then waiting for an answer.

“Look,” Daniel answered, nodding towards the tube of lube.  “She must have found it under the chair.  I think she swallowed some.”

Jack's heart stopped, too, but at that moment, someone answered the phone.  He asked for Pam, but was told she was in the middle of a procedure that would last another fifteen minutes.

“Tell her Jack O'Neill is on the way in with Katie, that it's possible she's swallowed something she shouldn't have.”

Jack hung up, not wanting to get bogged down with questions.  He and Daniel dressed in a hurry and left for the vet, taking Bijou with them as well.

====

“What do you think she swallowed, Jack?” Pam asked as she looked Katie over.

Jack coughed and looked at Daniel who stared back at him.  Pam had been their vet almost from the day he had brought Bijou and Katie home as a surprise birthday present for Daniel.  They all got along well, but like always, in Colorado Springs, the couple had to be careful with whom they shared the truth about their relationship.

Jack brought his right hand to his face and scratched his forehead with his finger.  Then he sighed, reaching into his pocket and handing over the drug store item.

“Astroglide?” Pam asked as she took possession of the item and began to read the ingredients.  She looked at Jack and then at a very shy and blushing Daniel.  “Oh,” she said simply, a smile on her face.  “Do you know how much she ingested?”

“Not much,” Daniel answered.  “Bijou barked to warn me, I think.  The, uh, gawd; the tube was open, and she had a little on her tongue.  I scraped it off.  As you can see, the tube was half-full.”  He looked over at his lover, uncertainty in his eyes and feeling extremely embarrassed on top of being worried about Katie's health.  “Gawd,” he mumbled, closing his eyes for a second.

**You're so cute when you blush,** Jack communicated via the couple's unique silent way of talking, something they had never understood but had always been grateful for.

**Jack, stop that.  This isn't the time or place.**

**Katie's fine.**

**You don't know that.**

**Look at her, playing with Pam,** Jack refuted.  **She's fine, and you're beautiful.**

**Gawd, Jack.  Not here,** Daniel replied as he looked away, redder than before.

“I'm not sure she swallowed any of this,” Pam said while examining the beagle, looking up at her customers for just a second.  As she did, though, she saw the red-faced archaeologist.  She looked over at Jack, noticing his devilish smile.  ~Wonder what he did that I missed.  For that matter, I wonder how I missed their relationship.  Cute couple, though; different, but definitely cute.~

“Katie, you having a good time, Girl?” Jack asked, seeing the beagle playing with Pam's fingers.  “You just wanted a little extra attention, didn't ya?  She is okay, right?”

“But she had a little on her mouth,” Daniel said, replying to Pam's comment.

~What a man; he's acting all confident, but I know a nervous owner when I see one.  He's not so sure.  Ah, I understand now.  I saw that look he just shot in Daniel's direction.  Yep, he's putting on a strong show for Daniel.  That makes sense.  One more thing to check here,~ Pam thought in response to Jack's demeanor.  “Give me a second, Daniel.”

Her examination complete, Pam assured, “Katie is fine.  It sounds like between Bijou's objections and what you removed, Daniel, she may have only swallowed a tiny drop of the, uh, contents, but not enough to do any real harm ... *this* time, if you get my drift.”

“Don't worry.  It will *not* happen again,” Daniel responded firmly.

“Daniel's right.”

“Bij, how ya doing?” Pam asked, deciding to check on the mama beagle since she was there.

====

An hour later, Jack and Daniel along with the two beagles walked into the house.  Katie was fine and wanted to go outside so Daniel let both dogs out.

“Jack, we can't let this happen again.  We were lucky,” Daniel spoke as he closed the patio door.

“I know.  We've been so used to it just being us around here,” Jack said, looking around the living room and dining nook of the kitchen and knowing there were other tubes placed in strategic locations that the beagles could get to if they really wanted to.

“And the fish,” Daniel said with a smile.

“Can't forget the fish,” Jack teased.

Daniel grew serious again, saying, “Well, it's not just us anymore, so, we can't leave the lube out like that.”

“Any ideas? Other than roughing it, literally?”

“Mister Impatient?” Daniel jested.

“And who was attacking whom last night, Doctor Jackson?” Jack asked with arched eyebrows.

Daniel smiled.  When they had those urgent needs, oftentimes they were lucky to get to the lube, and sometimes, they didn't.

“Jack, couldn't we, um, tape the tubes?”

The older man's face lit up as the possibilities began to form in his mind.  If they made the tubes part of the furniture, Bijou and Katie would leave them alone.

“Great idea, Angel, and,” Jack rubbed his two hands together, “we can use Velcro, too.”

“No, the girls might be able to knock the tubes off.”

“Not if we use strips, placing them all the way around the tubes.  That'll be just as secure as the tape.  It'll be a little inconvenient, but worth it.  We'll tape or Velcro the tubes to the bottom of the furniture or wherever we have them,” Jack suggested.

“And instead of leaving it out behind things, we'll tape it down or put the tubes inside something.  We have to protect the girls, Jack.  Nothing haphazard.”

Approaching his lover and putting his hands on his shoulders, Jack spoke seriously, “Danny, I won't risk them, either.  I love them.”

“I know,” Daniel responded with a smile.  The two shared an intimate moment.  It was about love and family, which is what the four of them were.  Okay, so it was unique; some might even say odd, but for Jack and Daniel, they were indeed a family.  “We need to find every tube of lube we have around here.”

“All of them?”  Suddenly, Jack looked doubtful.  He wasn't arguing, but he wasn't sure it was possible.  They had hidden the tubes everywhere.  ~I'm not even sure I know where they are.~

“Yes, Jack, every *single* one, and we have to do it now.  I'll get the tape and Velcro from the garage.  You start looking.”

“It's going to take all day, Daniel.”

“The sooner we get started, the sooner we'll finish,” Daniel replied, raising his eyelids, giving Jack the silent message: there would be no 'fun' for the colonel until the job was done to Daniel's satisfaction.

====

“Geez, finally!”  Four hours later, Jack sank down into the sofa and sighed.  He looked over at Daniel and smiled.  “Danny, how could we possibly have that many tubes of lube?”  As Daniel grinned mischievously, Jack answered his own question, saying, “Oh, that's how.”

“I love you, Jack.”

“Love you, too, Angel.  I think we got them all.”

“I hope we have.  We've looked everywhere I can think of, but ...”

Daniel's smile was alluring, and Jack knew what he was thinking.  They'd made love everywhere in that house, and several places outside.  Each of them had placed tubes of Astroglide in various hiding spots throughout the years.  All they could do now was hope they didn't have any stragglers.

“I'm sure we have,” Jack said positively.  “I vote we test out our new procedure.”

“You're so bad, Jack.”

“Ain't that the truth?” Jack laughed seductively as he kissed his lover.  Raising his eyebrows, he asked, “You don't want to?”

“And now you're delusional,” Daniel replied.

The two men laughed, then made love, as certain as they could be that they'd found all the stray tubes of lube and had either affixed them securely to furniture or hidden them out of reach of Bijou and Katie.

====
--June 27-29, 2004
====

“Hey, Jack!” Ben Iverson greeted.

“Morning, Ben,” Jack greeted his neighbor in reply as the joggers crossed paths about eight blocks from the Jackson-O'Neill home.Jack's house.  “Looks like it's going to be a nice day out,” he commented as he looked up at the partly cloudy skies.

“Did you hear about the robbery?” Ben asked as the two ran in place while talking, not responding to comment about the weather.

Jack stopped his jogging motions, surprised at the question, and inquired, “Robbery?  When?  Who?”

“The Millers were robbed Friday night while they were out to dinner.  Amateur job, according to the police.  They really messed the place up, took some of the bigger items like the television and stereo, but left smaller, more expensive pieces, including Mitzi's diamonds.”

“Geez, we haven't had any problems here in a long time,” Jack responded.

“They think it might be teenagers.”

“A gang?”

“Maybe.  Joan's glad we have Bowzer,” Ben spoke about his wife and dog, respectively.  “She knows it's not full proof, but she feels so much better with that beast guarding the place.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  Our ... uh, the girls, Bijou and Katie, do a great job of patrolling the place.”

“To be honest with you, Jack, I worry about the Svensons and some of the older folks who are alone in the neighborhood.”  Ben sighed, “I hope this was a fluke, Jack.”

“Me, too,” the colonel replied.

“I'd better get going.  Joan hates it if we're late for church because I'm jogging.”

“See ya, Ben.”

====

Two days later, as the lovers were out running errands, Jack stopped the truck in front of a house Daniel didn't recognize.

“Jack, where are we, and why are we here?”

“I want you to meet someone,” Jack said, exiting the vehicle.

“Uh, who?” Daniel asked as he got out of the truck.  He followed his lover up to the door of the suburban home, located just outside of Denver.  “Jack, I thought we were going to Denver to ...”

“Danny, Ted and Alice Cutberthson live here.  Ted used to assigned to the Air Force Academy, but he's just accepted a new duty overseas,” Jack spoke.  “They're moving to Germany,” he added.

“Which means ... what?” Daniel asked as his lover rang the doorbell.

“Jack, glad you could make it,” Ted said enthusiastically as he opened the door and let the visitors inside.

“Ted, this is Doctor Daniel Jackson.  He works at the Mountain with me.”

“Oh?  Hot shot civilian?” Ted asked.

“I ... wouldn't say that exactly,” Daniel answered hesitantly.

“I would,” Jack said, trying not to beam with pride too much.  “Where is she?”

“Outside.”  Ted led Jack and Daniel outside where they were warmly greeted by Ted's dog.  “This is Andie, Doctor Jackson.”

“Daniel,” the archaeologist corrected cordially.

“Daniel,” Ted spoke with a nod.  “She's a great dog, very friendly, as you can see, and obedient.  She's a great guard dog, but more importantly, a wonderful companion.”

“Um, I'm sure she is.  She's beautiful.  What breed is she exactly?” Daniel asked as he patted the canine.

“She's a shepherd-collie mix.”

“She looks more like a collie,” Daniel said, noticing how soft her yellowish-gold fur was.

“But she has the protective instincts of a shepherd.  Great dog, and not quite two years old yet; I'm going to miss her.”

“Jack?”

Jack saw the panic in Daniel's eyes.  He had wanted Daniel to meet the dog without any preconceived notions, but he saw now, he might have made a mistake.  His lover was a bit confused, his mind racing with possibilities about why Jack had brought him here.

“Daniel, I was thinking Andie would be a great dog for Mrs. Valissi,” Jack explained.

“Mrs. ... Valissi,” Daniel said in relief.  “Oh, Mrs. Valissi.”  He nodded his agreement.  “You're right.  I'd feel better if she had a dog, especially after the robbery last week.”

“Ted, let's talk,” Jack suggested.

Ted led them to the recreation room where Alice joined the men to discuss Andie's future.

====

“Jack, warn me next time,” Daniel admonished anxiously as they drove home.

“I'm sorry, Love.  I wanted you to meet Andie first.”

“Yeah, but I thought ... I don't even know what I thought.”

“I'm sorry,” Jack said softly, reaching over to take Daniel's hand in his.

“It's okay,” Daniel said, squeezing Jack's hand in reassurance.  “Maybe we should call her first.”

“Nah, surprise is always the best tactic.  Don't you agree, Andie?”

“Woof!” came the bark from the back seat of the truck, causing both men to laugh.

====

“Bij, Katie, you have company,” Jack called out.  The two beagles came running.  “Girls, this is Andie.  She's just visiting.  With any luck, she'll be a new neighbor by the end of today.”

“Woof!” Bijou acknowledged.

Jack and Daniel watched for over thirty minutes, making sure the dogs got along, which it looked like they were, all running around and playing together.  The only close call was when Andie started to dig in Katie's play yard.  The youngest beagle barked, warning her off.  Other than that, the three seemed to be great pals.

“Okay.  They seem to be doing okay together.”

“I agree,” Daniel said.

“Let's go get Mrs. V,” Jack suggested.

====

“Boys, who is this?” Mrs. Valissi asked as she looked out the window and saw the new dog in the yard.

“That,” Jack said, moving to stand next to her, “... is Andie.  How'd you like to meet her?”

“I'd love to.”

Over the next hour, Jack and Daniel visited with their neighbor, all three dogs nearby or under foot, vying for attention.  Mrs. Valissi had known about the lovers for years, but hadn't told them she was aware of their relationship until a few months before their wedding, which she had attended.  She thought of the two as sons, and they loved her dearly.

Jack and Daniel often worried about Mrs. Valissi being on her own.  She was a very strong-willed and independent lady, in great shape for her age, but still, the lovers couldn't help but be concerned since her son lived in Europe, and she had no other family in the United States.

Mrs. Valissi laughed as Andie rested her head on her knee and commented, “She's just adorable.”

“And she needs a good home,” Jack said, going in for the sale.

“A home?”

“She's been raised by a friend who's just been transferred out of the country.  He can't take Andie with him.  She needs a home, Mrs. V.  Any idea where we could find one?” Jack asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“Colonel, you are positively devious.  You know that, don't you?” the woman questioned with bright eyes.

“We'd feel better, Mrs. Valissi,” Daniel said.  “She'll be a great friend, and a good protector.”

“You two are worse than my son,” Mrs. Valissi teased, getting shy but unapologetic smiles from both men.  “And I love you both for worrying so, though you don't need to.”  She looked down at the dog, a smile on her face.  How could she say no to all that love?  “Well, Girl, do you think we can make a go of this?”

“Woof!”

“And she can come play with Bij and Katie sometimes,” Jack said.

“And vice versa,” Mrs. Valissi responded.  “They seem to like each other.”

“That they do,” Jack replied.

“Um, we have some of her things in the truck:  bed, food, bowls, and her medical records.”

“Well, then, Andie, I think we should go and get you settled in.”

“Are you sure, Mrs. Valissi?  We don't want you to do this if you don't really want her,” Daniel pointed out.

On cue, Andie whimpered slightly.

“Now, Daniel, how can anyone resist a face like this?” Mrs. Valissi asked, holding Andie's head in her hand and leaning forward for a kiss, making them laugh.

Jack and Daniel spent the next hour or so helping their neighbor get Andie adjusted.  As they watched the dog interact with their surrogate mom, the two were confident they had done the right thing.  Then they went home and spent more time playing with Bijou and Katie, happy that these two very special dogs were part of their lives.

====
--October 30, 2006
====

“They are so beautiful, Jack.”

“They're perfect,” Jack replied, placing a kiss on Daniel's cheek as the two looked at their sleeping triplets.

The couple was tired, having endured a hectic month since the babies had come home from the hospital.  They moved downstairs to relax for a little while, something they didn't have much time to do lately.  Snuggling together on the sofa, they enjoyed simply being together.

Jack's hand began to roam a bit more freely about his lover's body.

“Gawd, Jack, too tired.  I'm sorry,” the younger man apologized with regret.

“Me, too, but that doesn't mean I can't ... touch.  Does it?”

“No,” Daniel answered softly, a smile on his face.  “Touch ... away.”

With his lover's permission, Jack continued to do just that until finally Daniel was lying on the sofa, Jack atop him, the two kissing with an urgency that was threatening to overtake both.  The lovers had only recently begun their Friday date nights, but they hadn't yet managed to get their schedule under control to the point where they could have spontaneous sex.  Jack was hoping to change that, regardless of how tired they were.  He reached deep into the sofa for one of the tubes of Astroglide that was affixed there.  He pulled it out and was about to take things to the next level when Daniel suddenly shot up like lightning.

“Jack, we have to find all the tubes of lube and put them away,” the archaeologist stated urgently.

“What?”

“Look, we had a close call a couple of years ago with Katie because we left a tube out, but the babies are even more at risk.  We have to make sure the babies don't find them,” the younger man explained.

“Daniel, the babies can barely do anything but eat, sleep, and mess up their diapers.  They're very good at that last one.”

Daniel ignored Jack's comment, staying on task as he replied, “I don't care.  Jack, we're responsible for them.  How would you feel if ...”

“All right!  I get the idea,” Jack sighed.

“We have to get them all, Jack -- every single one!”

“Daniel, do you have any idea how many tubes of lube we have around here?”

“Yes, and  if you ever want to use them again, you'll find them -- all of them, Jack!”

Spontaneous sex long forgotten, Jack and Daniel yawned their way through the house, searching for all the hidden tubes.  Their house until now was beagle proofed, but only partially childproof.

====

“Daniel?” Jack said two hours later as he looked at the large bowl of lube tubes.

“Yes, Jack,” Daniel responded dryly, staring at the big bowl himself.

“You don't think we've overdone it, do you?”

“Well, I ...”  Daniel blinked and cocked his head to one side, pondering the question.  It was a ridiculously large bowl they had filled with the used tubes.  Only a couple were new; all the others were anywhere from three-quarters full to down to their last drop.  The younger man looked up at his husband.  He studied the silver-gray hair and the chocolate brown eyes.  He saw the twinkling eyes and the charming Irish smile.  “Heck, no!”

Jack laughed, taking Daniel into his arms for a deep, lingering kiss.

“I wish I wasn't so tired,” Daniel lamented.

“Let's go to bed.”  Seeing Daniel's want but weariness, Jack added, “To sleep, Danny.”

“Oh.  Sleep is good,” Daniel said and then yawned yet again.

The couple emptied the tubes into a bag and headed upstairs.  Just when they got to the master bedroom, the crying began.

“Oh, gawd.  I love them.  I really do,” Daniel said and then let out a huge yawn.

“I know, Angel.  You get ready for bed.  I'll take care of them.  You get the middle of the night cry.”

Daniel smiled and kissed his husband and headed for the bed.  Jack watched, and somehow both knew Jack would handle middle of the night call, too.  Daniel would make it up to him later.

Thinking about how his husband would reward him placed a large grin on Jack's face as he headed for the nursery.

====
--June 11-12, 2007
====

Jack dropped by the office to check in with Megan.  The office was the house Daniel had purchased prior to their retirement, when they were still playing the awful game of hiding in plain sight.  Jack had wanted to sell it, but then Daniel had come up with the idea of using it as the home base for their business, J-O Enterprises.  It was close to their home and with the nature of their business, the zoning was appropriate for a home business.

“Thanks, Megan.  I'll let Daniel know about the survey,” Jack said as he walked out of her office and headed for the door.

Suddenly, Jack stopped.  Out of the corner of his eye, something caught his attention.  He smiled, remembering a special Valentine's Day when Daniel had played a special song he had composed for his lover.  It was the song of their lives, played out on the keys of the piano.

Jack sighed, wishing they had a place for the piano in their home, but even with their remodeling, there just wasn't any room that he could think of, especially not now with the triplets and Kayla pregnant again.  Sighing again, he went on with his day, running various errands.

When he finally returned home, Jack checked on Daniel and their children, and then turned his attention to some household chores he needed to do, and that's when inspiration struck.

~O'Neill, you've been an idiot.  This is perfect, absolutely ... perfect!~  Jack headed for the phone and placed a call.  “Lou, what's your schedule?  I need your help.”

====

The next day, Daniel walked up to his husband and spoke, “Jack, I'm scheduled to be at the shelter most of the afternoon.  I promised some of the older children I'd tell them more about Egypt after we finish the history lesson.”

“Have fun,” Jack said with a mischievous smile.

In fact, the smile told Daniel there was something up.  He didn't know what, but he was certain of it.

“Are you sure you'll be okay with the babies?” the archaeologist asked suspiciously.

“Daniel, out!  Go; have a good time talking about ... mummies and rocks and things.”

“You're up to something, Jack.”

“Me?  I'm just going to be puttering around the house,” Jack replied.

“Uh-uh.”

“I love you.”

“Love you, too.  Try not to get into trouble,” Daniel said, kissing Jack and then leaving for Molly O'Hanlon's shelter.

Jack and Daniel were donating as much time as they could to the children's shelter run by Molly O'Hanlon.  She'd lost her benefactor and had already let much of her staff go, so the Jackson-O'Neills and several of their friends were helping out.  Today was Daniel's turn.

Ten minutes after Daniel left, Jack placed another call to his good friend, Lou Ferretti, who was helping to coordinate things with friends like Jeff Cornell (Bijou and Katie's original owner) and Sergeant Siler, who had always proven to be there whenever needed, no matter what the task.

“Lou, are you ready?” Jack inquired.

“Just about.  Jeff's here, and Siler should be here any minute,” Lou responded.

“Great.  Carter hasn't shown up yet.  Where the heck is she?” Jack questioned, glancing at his watch.

“She'll be there, Jack.  Had a late night that just ended, *if* you know what I mean.”

“How do you know that?”

Lou laughed as he admitted, “Because I called her forty minutes ago, and she answered, out of breath.  Heard a man's voice in the background.  Didn't sound happy, Jack.”

“Well, it's the afternoon, for crying out loud.”

“You told her to get a life, Jack,” Lou reminded.

Jack laughed, “Yes, I did, but I need her to baby-sit.”  Just then, the door knocker banged against the front door.  “There she is.  See you in twenty-five.”

When Jack opened the door, Sam began, “Sorry, I'm late, Sir, but ...”

“In the afternoon, Carter?” Jack asked, giving the woman a funny look.

~Okay, he knows,~ Sam determined.  She decided to fight fire with fire and retorted, “And you and Daniel don't ... in the afternoon ... Sir?”

Jack coughed and answered smugly, “Twenty-four/seven, Colonel.”

The blonde gave him a knowing look and walked into the house with a smile on her face.

“How are the babies?”

“Beautiful as ever: you know the routine.  We'll be back with the merchandise shortly.  In the meantime, if you could start ...”

“You're wasting time.  I know the plan.”

“Sorry.  Thanks ... Sam.”

“You're welcome ... Jack.”

====

Jack's plan went off without a hitch.  By the time Daniel returned, his helpers were long gone.

“Hey, Babe,” Daniel greeted his husband as he walked into the nursery.

“Hey, yourself.”

The couple kissed, both sighing happily at the contact.

“How are our Munchkins?” Daniel inquired.

“See for yourself.  Aren't they perfect, Danny?”

Daniel rested his head against Jack's shoulder as he replied, “Well, even though I think every parent probably thinks this, and even though I'm sure others might disagree, I have to say they are the most perfect babies in the entire universe.”

Jack smiled, saying, “They don't have a care in the world right now.”

“We'll keep them safe, Jack.”

“Yes, we will,” the older man reaffirmed.  “Danny, I have something I want to show you.”

“What?”

“Well, I was thinking.  Our kids need to be exposed to all the good stuff, and I realized they were missing something.”

“And that would be?”

“Music.”

“We listen to music and sing to them,” Daniel responded.

“I know, but there's something else they need to see, to grow up with.  Come on.”

Jack took Daniel by the hand, picked up one of the portable baby monitors, and then walked down the stairs, leading his lover towards the entranceway.

“Jack, where are we going?”

“Right here.”

“Jack, have you ...”

Suddenly, Daniel saw what his lover had done.  He looked at his husband in surprise, and then, letting go of Jack's hand, he walked into Plant Central, only the room had changed.  The plants were still there, only rearranged.  Gone were the bookshelves and table that had adorned the tiny room.  In their place was Daniel's piano.

The archaeologist ran his hand along the smooth black finish as he walked to the front of the instrument.  Sitting on display was sheet music, the same music that had been on the piano when it was at the office.  Daniel looked around and saw the bin next to the piano that held an assortment of other sheet music in it.

Daniel was totally stunned and unprepared for this.  While he and Jack were playing the 'Hide in Plain Sight' game, the one thing they could never do was bring the piano to Jack's house.  It was one thing for the fish to be there, but the piano would have been too hard to explain.

Daniel had missed the cherished item.  He seldom played the piano since it was located at his old house, and prior to that in his apartment. He felt like he'd just been surprised with a visit from an old friend.

“Play for me, Angel.  Play our story,” Jack requested.

His hands running along the front of the piano, Daniel sat down.  He took a deep breath, and then he played, losing himself in the musical composition.  It was their song, the piece Daniel had written just for them, the composition bold and soft at the same time as it traced their history, alone and together.

It was a vibrant piece, sometimes stormy and moody, at other times peaceful; even tranquil.  Each section matched some part of their life, from the sadness of their tragic pasts to the happiness Daniel had finally found after five years together with Jack as lovers.

Jack recognized the ending.  It was happy and free.  He was about to say something, but Daniel hadn't stopped playing like he thought he was going to.  Instead, the talented musician continued on without missing a beat.  The song got even lighter and more uplifting.  It was cheerful and fuller in scope, with melodic chords and harmonies as it progressed.  Jack was swept away, as if floating through the clouds.

~Our children; my genius.~

When Daniel finished, he had a tear in his eye.  Jack moved to sit by him on the piano bench.  He raised his right hand to Daniel's face, caressing his cheek and wiping away the tear.

“I'm so happy, Jack.  I wake up now, and it's like I'm a stranger to who I used to be, and it's like our babies have just made everything even more ...”

Daniel gulped, his emotions taking control.

“Perfect,” Jack said, completing the sentence for his soulmate and wiping away yet another tear with his hand.  After Daniel nodded, he said, “I love you, Danny.  We need this: music.”

Daniel raised his hand to also caress Jack's cheek and spoke softly, “Thank you for thinking of this.”

“I should have thought of it a long time ago, but now, Angel, you can play for me, and for our kids.”

“I love you, Jack, so much.”

Then, much to their surprise, the couple's perfect babies slept for another hour, allowing the two lovers one of their rare spontaneous moments of love, in which they joined their bodies together in a perfect harmony of their own.

====
--September 22, 2007
====

The Jackson-O'Neill family had grown unexpectedly.  Along with the triplets, they now had the twins plus three older children.  Jennifer, David, and Chenoa Morgan were being adopted by Jack and Daniel who had fallen in love with them after meeting the three at Molly's shelter.

There were a lot of transitions being made, adjustments in lifestyle and in Jack and Daniel's long-term plans, but they were happy as the proverbial clams.  The one thing the couple really missed was the freedom they used to have with their lovemaking.  It was one thing to have to be guarded in front of their beagles, but with eight children, their physical nation of two had become even more limited.

Whereas the couple once gave in to their desire and want anytime and anywhere in the house, nowadays, it was limited to their bedroom and sometimes the roof deck, except, of course, for when they went out on their Friday night dates.

Gone were the days of making love in front of the fireplace, limited now to snuggling and kissing.  Gone were the hidden tubes of lube, placed under and in the furniture, behind books, and even in plants.  They didn't object.  They missed it, but they wouldn't trade their lives now for anything.  Jack and Daniel had eight wonderful children and were living their dream.

The couple's business, J-O Enterprises, was shaping up nicely; they lived in a fantastic neighborhood with friendly neighbors like the Iversons and Mrs. Valissi who had bonded beautifully with her dog, Andie; and Jack often enjoyed listening to Daniel play on the piano.  They had private sessions sometimes, and on other occasions, Daniel played for the entire family.  They hoped one or two of the children would show an interest and want to learn to play themselves, but they wouldn't push.

The threads of life, the various wonders that made up daily living, were not always smooth, but for the Jackson-O'Neills, they were always surrounded by love.

Life was good in Colorado Springs, but Jack and Daniel had also learned one thing: expect the unexpected.

As the lovers lay in bed on this night, snuggling together, they heard a knock on the door.  They sat up, and Jack turned on the light.

“Come in,” Daniel called out.

Nervously, Jennifer entered the master bedroom.  She looked around shyly and looked a little uneasy.

“Jen, what's wrong?” Jack asked.

“Nothing,” the girl responded as she smiled shyly.  “But, um, well ... I think this is yours!”  She tossed the item onto the bed and explained, “I went downstairs to get a drink, and Bijou wanted out, so I went outside with her.  I walked around and thought I saw something strange taped to the patio deck.  It was, uh, that,” she said, cringing as she pointed at the tube.  “Eww ... outside?  On the lawn?  Where *anyone* could see?  Honestly!” she exclaimed, shuddering.

“Well, we ...” Jack began, picking the item up and holding it in his hand.

“Oh, please, Dad, I *so* don't want to know.  Parents and sex ... ewww!” she said with a smile, hurrying out of the room, closing the door.

“Oh, gawd,” Daniel said, feeling very embarrassed and slinking down to a supine position on the bed.

Jack laughed loudly, tossing the Astroglide tube onto the nightstand and then moving down under the sheets and rolling onto his right side.  He reached over and took Daniel's left hand in his and kissed it.

“You know, Angel, I always wondered if we found all the lube.”

“Apparently not,” Daniel responded dryly.  “I hope there isn't any more out there.”

“You never know.”

“Jack!”

“Well, Danny, we weren't exactly abstinent, you know.”

“No, I guess not,” Daniel chuckled lightly.  “Um, Jack ...”  he smiled and arched his eyebrows.  As Jack grinned wantonly, the archaeologist spoke, “It would be a shame to have this sitting here and not put it to use, now wouldn't it?”

“Love the way you think,” Jack said as he moved to lay atop his husband.  “Do you have any idea how much I love you?”

His arms around Jack's neck, his fingers gently sliding against the back of Jack's hairline, Daniel nodded and answered, “I think maybe it's about as much as I love you.”

“That's a lot of love.”

“Lots and lots and lots of love, Jack.”

“My Angel,” Jack said.

“Love you, Jack.”

“Love you, Danny,” Jack said, and then proceeded to put the tube of lube to use.

After all, a tube of lube is a terrible thing to waste!

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