Through a Daughter's Eyes

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - April 2, 2011
Spoilers:  None
Size:  18kb, ficlet
Written:  August 18,20,24, 2005  Revised for consistency:  September 7, 2007
Summary:  It's a special father - daughter day for Jack and Brianna!
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 fic was inspired by a drawing by Marianne.  Thanks to this talented artist for sharing some of her work with the readers of this universe!  Her drawing can be found on the website with this fic.
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fics, “In Memoriam,” “A Christmas Miracle,” “The Burning,” “It's Raining ... Kids?”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem, Claudia, Linda!

Through a Daughter's Eyes
by Orrymain

~Wow!  I still can't believe this isn't a dream,~ ten-year-old Brianna thought as she woke up in her full-size bed.  She sat up and took a big breath.  Bringing her legs taut to her chest and wrapping her arms around her knees, the short-haired blonde rested her head against her legs.  ~Home.  This is really my home now.~

Brianna laughed, hearing the patter of little feet running down the long hallway.

~Must be Jonny and Little Danny, my brothers.  Gee, I have brothers and sisters, and they like me.  They ... love me.~

Taking a breath, the tomboy scooted out of bed and walked over to the window.  The family had slept in this Saturday morning, and it was just after eight when the girl had awakened.  Obviously, others had gotten up before her because outside, she could see Aislinn and Jenny playing with Bijou and Katie, the family's two beloved beagles.

~The girls are so funny.  I love their ears.  They always seem to know what's going on.  I have a home and siblings and pets, too!~

Brianna twirled around and around, doing a happy dance, her arms wrapping around her as if hugging herself.  She felt freer than she ever had in her young life.

A tap on the door stopped the young girl's movements.

“Yes?”

“Hey, Bri,” Jack greeted, walking into her room.  “Breakfast will be done in about twenty minutes, okay?”

“Okay, Dad,” Brianna responded, smiling.

“Ah, Bri, I was thinking,” Jack began as he stood in front of her with his hands in his pockets.

“That's dangerous,” Brianna smirked boldly.

“Good one, ole wise one,” Jack said, patting her head.  “Got that from Daddy, didn't you?”

Brianna shrugged, but was unable to hide her smile.  She felt so good inside.  Being a Jackson-O'Neill was something she never imagined was possible.

“How about we spend the day together?” Jack asked.

“All day?” Brianna asked, bright-eyed and wearing a gigantic smile.

“Yeah. I thought after breakfast, we'd take a ride in Jo, maybe go play some hockey, some ball, take a walk in the park -- talk.  Would you like that?”

“Oh, Dad, I'd love it,” Brianna said happily, lunging towards Jack for a hug.

“I love you, Bri.”  Patting her on the shoulder, Jack said, “So put on some good sporting shoes, not those thong things, and after breakfast, we'll head on out.”

“Okay, Dad,” the one-time orphan eagerly agreed.

When the door closed behind Jack, Brianna let out a squeal of delight.  She twirled around some more and laughed.

“And I used to think I'd be lucky if I got five minutes.  Gee, they've never given me just five minutes.”

Brianna grabbed a picture of her new family that sat on her dresser.  It was one taken in November of last year, just after she, Jeff, and Lulu had been taken in by Jack and Daniel.  All eleven children, two dogs, one bunny, one lizard, and two, well, technically, one-and-a-half cats since Calico was in motion, jumping from Aislinn to Lulu, were on the sofa in the living room.  It was their first family photograph, and taking it had been quite an adventure.  Smiling, she put that photo back on the dresser and picked up another photo, walking with it to the end of the bed and sitting down.

This photograph was one of Brianna with her two parents; it had been taken on Thanksgiving.

~Look at their smiles, for me, because of me.  Parents.  I ... I have ... parents.~  Brianna traced the image of one of her fathers.  She smiled.  ~He's so kind; never gets angry.  He listens to me.  I love you, Daddy.~  Then she traced the image of her other father.  ~He lets me be me.  I'm a tomboy.  I like sports.  He listens to me, too.  I love you, Dad.~

Kissing the photo, Brianna sat it on her bed and hurried to get dressed.  As she did so, her mind was a jumble of the emptiness of her past and the fullness of her present.

Brianna Michelle Davison was born on October 10, 2000.  Her life had never been easy.  Her mother was a drug addict, and it was a miracle that Brianna herself hadn't been born addicted to cocaine.  The woman had never been able to beat the habit and was in and out of jail on a variety of charges stemming from her need for drugs.  As a result, Brianna had spent life going back and forth between foster care and her mother, until one day, when she was seven, her mother died of a drug overdose.

Brianna had never known her father, and she was pretty sure that was a good thing.  Jack and Daniel had done some research and discovered her father was a character named Dean Longman who died during a brawl in a run down bar.  He wasn't a prize before that either, having been in jail more often than not on charges ranging from petty theft to drug dealing.  It was believed that Longman had been the one who hooked Brianna's mother on narcotics.

With the death of her mother, Brianna had become a ward of the state and been placed in an orphanage.  To survive her unpleasant childhood, she had learned to be tough, building solid walls around her heart to protect it from hurt.  Slowly, though, Jack and Daniel had chipped away at her walls, until finally, Brianna began to believe.

Jack and Daniel had asked the toughened youngster to give them a chance, to meet them halfway, and she had.  Since that day last October, Brianna's life had been on the upswing, even though initially she'd had fears of being nothing more than a mere number in the Jackson-O'Neill household of eleven children.  She'd been promised a minimum of five minutes quality time with her parents a day, but with few exceptions, she'd had more time with her parents than she'd ever expected.

~They really love me,~ Brianna thought as she threw on her new white sweater.

It was warm and had a giant letter 'A' on the front.  The 'A' was for the Colorado Avalanche hockey team.  It wasn't anything fancy, but the handmade sweater was a gift from older sister, Jennifer.

“I'm not all that good, Bri, but I wanted to try and personalize something for you.  I hope you like it,” the teen had told Brianna last month when gifting it to her.  “I think it's a little dorky, but I'm still learning.”

~I love it, Jen.  No one's ever made anything for me before.~  Indeed, despite the fact that the sweater was a little uneven in places, the right arm slightly longer than the left, it had become one of Brianna's favorite items of clothing.  The tomboy adjusted her baseball cap which did a good job of covering her short hair.  ~Thanks for not making me grow my hair, Dad and Daddy.  I like it short.~

Brianna did a check in the mirror and then reached over and put her wallet in her jeans' pocket.  Smiling, she said, “Wow, a whole day with Dad!”

====

“Okay, Bri, take her,” Jack instructed enthusiastically.

“Wow!” Brianna said, her hands tightly gripping the wheel of the family airplane referred to as Jo.  “This is awesome, Dad!  I'm ... wow, I'm flying Jo!”

Jack smiled, saying, “You sure are, Sweetcakes.”

“Sweetcakes!  Dad, Princess is bad enough, but not Sweetcakes,” Brianna whined.

“Hey, keep your eye on the road,” Jack admonished as Jo took a tiny dip after Brianna had turned to chastise him for the nickname.

“Dad, there is no road.”

“Sure, there is,” Jack maintained, a magical quality to his tone.  He looked out the front of the plane and spoke softly.  “See, right up ahead.  It's the road of our dreams and our desires.  It's a road of freedom and peace.  It's a great road, and it's only up here that you can see it, Bri.”

Brianna smiled as she pondered her father's words.  He was right because right now, she was full of dreams and felt totally at peace.  For a while, they just flew quietly in Jo.  The wonderful thing about flying was the calm and stillness of space, and oftentimes, words just weren't needed.  Finally, though, she spoke up, asking a question she'd been wanting to for a while and was reminded of when Jack had spoken about freedom and peace a few minutes earlier.

“Dad, did you always want to be in the military?”

“Pretty much,” Jack answered.  “I was influenced by my brother quite a bit.”

“Billy, right?” Bri asked.

“Yeah.  He was great, Bri.  One time we ...”

As Jack kept an eye on the instruments and his daughter's flying, he shared with her stories about her deceased Uncle Billy.

Brianna listened eagerly.  She couldn't believe Jack was letting her fly the plane; well, at least, she was holding the wheel.  More than that, he was telling her stories, about her uncle.

~My uncle.  I am his daughter.  Gee, this is fun!~

====

“Bri, try this.  Set down low.  Cross in front of me, passing the puck.  Then I'll hit the net.”

Brianna did as her father instructed, exclaiming as the puck went into the net, “Hey, that's cool, Dad.”

“Thanks.  Now let's reverse it.  I'll set low, go in front of you, and you make the score,” Jack encouraged.

“Ready, Dad,” Brianna said eagerly.

Jack moved the black puck along the ice, completed the move, and cheered as his daughter skillfully completed the shot.

“That's my girl!”

~His girl.  I'm his girl.~  Hearing the words, Brianna turned and grinned.  Finally, she belonged to someone, to Jack and Daniel, and she just couldn't describe how that made her feel.  She skated over to Jack and said, “This has been so much fun.  Thanks for helping me.”

“Hey, we hockey nuts have to stick together.  Let's work on some endurance skating, back and forth five times, no stopping.  Think you can handle that?”

“Piece of cake, Dad!” Brianna answered.  “Have you always liked hockey?” she asked as they headed for the goal line.

“Sure have,” Jack replied as happy memories instantly flooded his mind.  “My family were all hockey addicts.  I got hooked for good after spending time with my grandparents in Minnesota.”

“By the cabin?”

“Yeah.  When the lake iced over, we'd skate.  Skating led to hockey, or maybe hockey led to skating.  Geez, Bri, I was playing hockey when I was diapers.”  Hearing Brianna giggle, Jack winced slightly.  “What?”

“I'm trying to picture you in diapers, Dad.”

“Okay, let's go.  Skate!”

Laughing, the two began their exercise.

====

“Dad,” Brianna said tentatively just before taking a bite out of her Big Mac.

“What, Bri?” Jack asked as he opened his Happy Meal, immediately looking for the toy.

“Was it weird when you figured out that you were in love with Daddy?”

Jack fidgeted with the toy, a replica from the latest sci-fi movie that was all the rage.

“Weird's a good word for it,” Jack answered seriously.  Putting the toy down, he ate a French fry and then expounded, “Sara and I were happy, but when Charlie died, we couldn't help each other anymore.  It was my fault.”

“Why was it your fault?”

Jack looked straight into Brianna's onyx black eyes and explained, “I shut down. I blamed myself, and I wouldn't let Sara in.  I wouldn't share my grief, and I wouldn't let Sara share hers, either.  There was a lot of love there, Bri, love that I threw away.  After I met Daniel, I finally figured out that maybe there was something to live for.  I didn't know then that I was living for him, for us, but I knew if I gave it a chance, if I didn't turn and run, that maybe someday, I'd find something good.”

“How'd you know it was Daddy?”

“I thought he was dead,” Jack answered truthfully as he twisted a fry into two pieces.

“Like at Christmas,” Brianna said sadly, thinking about how Jack had been believed dead after falling into an abandoned mine shaft while skiing in December.

Jack reached over and tapped her hand; then he stole a French fry.

“Daaaad!” the blonde whined in jest.

Jack chuckled; then grew serious as he continued to chat with Brianna about falling in love with Daniel.  She'd heard some of the stories before, but this was really the first time that she'd felt free enough to ask all her questions.  Her heart beat more steadily when her father evaded none of her queries.

====

“Use your glove to shield your eyes, Bri.  Here she comes,” Jack said as he hit a ball to his daughter in left field.

Brianna squinted as she started to run forward, but then she backed up, catching the fly ball and falling down in the process.

“Want to quit?” Jack shouted.

“No way, Dad!  Hit another!” Brianna requested.  She screeched when the ball got by her, kicking the grass with her foot.  “Oh, fudge!”

Jack put the bat down, picked up his glove and a couple of balls, and jogged out to left field.

“Are you okay?” Jack asked as he reached the tomboy.

“I have so many problems reaching those fly balls.  I'm running as fast as I can, Dad.”

“That's okay.  Let's work on your lay out.”

“Lay out?” Brianna asked with surprise.  “You aren't going to tell me that I'm a girl, and I shouldn't be doing layouts?”

“Do you want me to?” Jack responded.

“Gee, no, Dad, but I ... I thought ...”  Brianna smiled and eagerly questioned, “How do we practice?”

“Get down on your knees,” Jack instructed.  “I'm going to throw the ball to your right, and then to your left.  We'll keep going back and forth, and the more you get used to the layout position, the more natural it will seem when catching a fly.”

Brianna smiled as she readied herself, thinking, ~He's letting me be me.  I love my dad!~

====

“So, any problems you want to tell me about, with your brothers and sisters, or Daddy and me?” Jack inquired as he and Brianna walked in the park during the late afternoon.

Jack was wearing a tan, pullover shirt, the buttons open at the collar.  Around his neck was his brown sweater.  His left hand was on Brianna's shoulder in support.

Brianna looked down and shook her head, answering, “No, Dad.  Everything's great.”

“Bri, no cover-ups.”

“Dad, you know sometimes we fight, I mean the brood, but you know what?  This morning I woke up, and I just felt so happy.  I'm a little scared it will go away, but ...”

“Bri, you're our daughter, and you're not going anywhere.  Daddy and I love you very much.”

“Dad, do you think my mother really hated me?”

Jack shook his head, answering, “I think from the day you were born, she was so strung out that she didn't know what a miracle you were.”  He smiled down at her as he stated, “She was your mother, Bri, and she did her best.”

“Her best wasn't very good, Dad.”

“I know, Sweetheart,” Jack acknowledged softly.  “She had a lot of problems, but she's in a better place now.”

“I shouldn't hate her, should I?” Brianna asked as she stared down at the grass.

“Do you hate her, Bri?” Jack asked tenderly.

“I want to, but ...”  The young girl sighed.  “Dad, I think I did hate her before, but now I have you and Daddy and the brood and ... I don't know if I hate her anymore.”

“Maybe that's a good thing, Bri.  As Daddy will tell you, more often than not, hate breeds hate, and in the end, it usually hurts us more than anyone else.”

The two continued to talk as they walked through the park.  Then, Brianna tugged on the end of her father's sweater.  She looked up at him, smiling brightly.

Drawing by I.M.Mueller

“What is it, Bri?”

“Dad, can we do this again sometime soon?” Brianna asked, her eyes sparkling with hope and her smile brighter than the sun.

“We sure can, and Daddy wants to spend a day alone with you, too.”

“I'd like that, Dad.  Dad?”

“What?” the silver-haired man asked.

“I'm glad you're my dad, and I love you,” Brianna declared with a broad smile.

Smiling, with his arm around his young tomboy, Jack said, “I love you, too, Bri.”

The father and daughter headed for home, each feeling happy and content, having spent a wonderful day together.

====

After dinner, studying her lessons, and joining her siblings for their nighttime ice cream ritual, Brianna said her prayers and then her goodnights to her fathers as they each leaned down to give her a kiss, tell her that they loved her, and make sure she was tucked in.

~Geez, I'm too old to be tucked in,~ Brianna thought as the lights turned off and her door closed.  Her mind went over the day she'd had with her father.  ~I hope I never forget how I feel right now.  Wow!  Daddy wants to spend a day with me, too.  Awesome!  I'm so lucky.  I hope it lasts.  I'm scared it won't, but I'm hoping it will because ... well, because I have the best family there ever was.  Dad and Daddy are both so tall and strong.  They make me feel safe.  Thank you both for loving me and letting me be myself.~

Brianna rolled over, a smile on her face, and said aloud, “Maybe I'm not too old to be tucked in.  No, I'm not too old.  I'm not too old at all.”

Moments later, Brianna Jackson-O'Neill closed her eyes, happy and grateful to be a loved and adored child of Jack and Daniel.

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