We Remember

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - September 10-11, 2013
Spoilers:  None
Size:  27kb, ficlet
Written:  September 10-11, 2014
Summary:  The Jackson-O'Neills remember 9/11 in their own unique way.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) 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.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~

We Remember
by Orrymain

“No homework,” Daniel advised the children who were seated quietly around the large table in the hospitality room.

“All we want you to do is think about everything we've discussed and remember the price of freedom,” Jack added.

“Class dismissed,” the younger father announced with a smile.

Instead of loud, chirpy voices, the children rose calmly and dispersed, leaving the parents alone.

As he closed his laptop, Daniel inquired of his lover, “What do you think?”

“They're soaking it in,” Jack answered, picking up a few note cards he'd used during his presentation to the kids.  “We hit them with a lot of reality today.”

“More than usual,” Daniel concurred.

“Too much?”

“No, they're old enough to hear it all.  Besides, tomorrow they're going to be scattered all over the city.  People will be talking about it.  At least now they won't be surprised by anything they might hear.”

The parents had conducted a schooling session of several hours where the children were educated on the tragic events of 9/11 when the world changed for millions across the globe and, on a personal front, when America learned what it felt like to be attacked on home soil.

Over the years, the subject had been discussed on lighter levels, but never with the intensity and level of knowledge as occurred during this session.  In fact, they felt so strongly about what they were doing that they allowed Jeff to skip his high school courses for most of the day so he could be aware of what the children were being told.  With the home classes done, he was now heading off to attend the last two periods at school.  Only college freshman Jennifer was unable to attend the entire session, though she was present for the first two hours before having to leave for class.

“Danny, we have one heck of a schedule tomorrow,” Jack noted.

“I know,” Daniel sighed.  “I was looking at it this morning, seeing if there wasn't something we could change to ease it up a bit, but we're just going to have to push.”

“How about asking Jen to handle breakfast?”

“She should have time before having to leave,” Daniel opined as he checked his daughter's college schedule for Wednesdays.

“We'll need to stay in touch.  The kids' schedules are worse than ours.”

“How'd that happen?”

“The same way it happens everywhere: we had kids,” Jack laughed.

The couple separated for a bit, each man having obligations to fulfill before dinnertime.

====

Upstairs, the younger children congregated in the boys' room.  No one was saying much, but they wanted to be together.

“I think we need to do something,” Jonny finally said, breaking the silence of the past ten minutes.

“Like what?” Jenny questioned.

“I don't know,” the oldest Munchkin sighed and shrugged.

“Maybe we could say a prayer tomorrow, right when everything happened,” Chenoa suggested.

“That's a great idea,” Lulu agreed.

“But we won't be here,” Ricky reminded.  “We won't even be together.”

The kids had all been eagerly looking forward to their widespread activities planned for the following day.  Most were going with friends or extended family members to special events or classes.  Their parents would be dropping some of them off, while others were being picked up.  It was going to be a very hectic morning that grew even busier as the day progressed.

“We have to stand up,” Jonny insisted as he actually stood up.  “Dad and Daddy told us it's important to remember 9/11 and what freedom means.  People died just because they went to work and to school.  We have to do this.  It's important.”

“Do what, Jonny?” Aislinn asked.

All of a sudden, all eyes went to the middle Munchkin, who had yet to say a word.  He was processing all the information he'd learned.  Inside, his heart was sad and his soul ached for the nastiness that occurred all those years before he was even born.

“We stand up like Jonny said,” Little Danny stated strongly.  “But it means maybe getting in trouble and not going to some of the fun stuff in the morning.”

“Let's vote,” Jonny suggested.  “Raise your hands if we remember?”  When every hand rose, the boy took charge and ordered, “Lulu, find Bri and tell her we need her.  Noa, you get David.  I'll go get JD.”

“What about Jen and Jeff?” Aislinn asked.

“First, we plan ourselves,” Jonny began.  “We'll have a brood meeting tonight when they're home.”

====

A few minutes later, the bulk of the Jackson-O'Neill kids were gathered.  They decided, however, to go outside into the backyard to make their plans.  Ultimately, they ended up by the swing set with Ricky, Jenny, and Aislinn swinging slightly, Jonny sitting at the top of the slide with Lulu at the bottom, Little Danny and Chenoa facing each other on the teeter-toter section, and Brianna and David, who was holding JD, standing on opposite ends of the set.

With the two older kids brought up to date, it was time to figure out their action plan.

“Okay, Little Danny, what's your idea?  How do we stand up?” Jonny asked to begin the meeting.

“We remember,” Little Danny answered, “by standing up.”

“Huh?” several of the kids responded.

“Here's my idea.”

Captivated, the children nodded and focused on every word the child prodigy spoke.  When he was done, they got down to the nuts and bolts of making it happen.  Once again, Jonny placed the orders.

“Ash, you're in charge of the music,” the little general stated.  “Ricky, you lead the banner team.  Bri, flag detail.”  As he wrote down the assignments, Jonny paused, making sure he didn't forget anything.  “David, you're on photos, and Lulu, we need you to update Jen and Jeff when they get home, covertly,” he added.

“What about me?” Little Danny asked.

“You do the timeline,” Jonny instructed.

“Team leaders use the rest of us to get everything done.  We have to work together.  We only have a few hours.”

“We can do it,” Aislinn insisted confidently.  “We're the brood!”

Smiles were ever present as the meeting ended and the children went about their tasks.

====

“Bri, who needs help?” Jennifer asked quietly once she'd returned home and been given the update by Lulu.

“Me!  I have an awesome idea, Jen, but I need money and transportation,” the tomboy admitted.

“Fill me in.”

--

“Jeff, I need your magic,” David stated a bit later to his older brother.

“The plan?”

“Yeah.  You're in, right?”

Laughing, the teenager returned, “Of course.  If I wasn't, I'd be expelled from the brood.”

“Probably,” David joked.

“What do you need?”

--

“Jonny, they're going to ask us why we're in here,” Ricky sighed.

“I'll handle it,” the Munchkin promised.  “There!”

When Jonny closed the door of the projects room, he locked it.  On the outside was a sign that said, “Brood Only Admited.”

Before the boy could sit down, there was a knock at the door.  Opening it, he saw Jenny.

As she walked in, the Spitfire whined, “You spelled it wrong.”

“Spelled what wrong?”

“Admitted.  It has two T's.  You only put one.”

The Munchkin growled as he took a pencil and added another T to the word, after which he shut the door.

====

“Should we be worried?” Jack asked as he stood next to his husband outside the projects room.

“Yes, but we don't have the time to dwell.”

“You know me and dwelling, Angel.  I don't like to dwell so let's not dwell.”

“Jack, sometimes.”

“Sometimes what?”

“Just ... sometimes,” Daniel sighed.  “Maybe it's for the Spitfires' birthdays.”

“We could ask.”

“Do you think we'd get an honest answer?”

“Do you?” Jack questioned.

“Yes, if we insisted on it, but ...”

“But?”

“But let's not make them, uh ...”

“Lie?”

“Yes.”

“I need to call Hank,” Jack stated about General Landry.

“And I have to review Ty's notes about Pennsylvania.  The truth is, Babe, we need to trust the children right now because we don't have time not to trust them.”

“Agreed.”

Jack gave his lover a kiss and headed for his study, while Daniel walked to his den.  Both figured they might find out some truth about the strange behavior during dinner which would be prepared within the next ninety minutes.

====

Totally focused, the kids managed to keep their plan a secret, in large part because they all gulped up their food and quickly asked to be excused.  Though the parents wanted to probe further, they each had their hands full with work obligations.  Timing was not on their side at the moment, so they let the children proceed with their private project until it was bed time.  In fact, Jack and Daniel even ignored the obvious brood meeting that was held behind closed doors in Brianna's room.

“Are we not supposed to notice that all twelve of our children are in Bri's room?” Jack had asked his husband at one point.

“I believe so,” Daniel had responded, turning around and heading for his den where he had more work to do.

Rounds were unusually short on this evening, further confusing Jack and Daniel who were used to spending more time with their goodnights.  Though suspicious, both men still had a lot to do in preparation for the next day's agenda, so once again, they didn't push the issue with any of the children.

====

Extremely early the next morning, the Jackson-O'Neill children were setting up.  They were following a schedule made by Jenny, based on the timeline Little Danny had created.  They moved quietly, not wanting to call attention to themselves.  While they figured their parents were probably up and getting ready, they also knew that Jennifer had been put in charge of breakfast, which meant the two men could focus on things they needed to get done before leaving the house that morning.

Sooner or later, the children knew they'd have to face the music, and it wasn't the music that Aislinn had arranged for, but the response from their parents upon discovering what was happening.  They could all be in big trouble.  Still, they felt like they had to follow through with their plans.

Right on schedule, the brood stood in front of their home, standing at the edge of the lawn by the street.  It was just 6:40 a.m.

“Time!” David announced as he pointed at Aislinn, who hit a button that started the first song.

At the same time, David turned on the projector that placed an image against a sheet backdrop.  Since it was fall and still somewhat dark out, the image shone brightly.  It was perfect for the song that began to play, “The Star Spangled Banner.”  All together, the children placed their hands over the hearts.  When the song was finished, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance in perfect unison. Then they took their positions.

====

Inside the house, Jack entered the kitchen, fully expecting to see his children. Instead, he saw a note that said, “We've eaten.  Breakfast is on the table.  We're outside.”

The general thought that was a bit odd, especially when he glanced back at the living room and saw that the panels to the sliding glass door used to access the backyard were still drawn.  Walking into the hospitality room, he grimaced.  While he loved Froot Loops, he was hoping for a hot meal to start off his day.  Before he could eat, though, he had to find out what was going on with the kids, so he headed for the front door.  Opening it, he was shocked by what he saw and heard.

“Danny!” Jack called out.  “*Daniel!*” he yelled, so loud that the children heard him although none of them budged an inch.

Hurrying down the stairs, Daniel warned in alarm, “Jack, JD isn't in the nursery.”

“He's outside.  Look,” Jack urged, pointing to the children who were all dressed in very patriotic red, white, and blue attire.

“What are they doing?”

The parents walked outside, but they didn't go far.  A car stopped, and two people emerged.  They stood silently, nodding only when Jennifer, with JD's help, handed each a small item to hold.  Another car drove by and honked.  Then a third car started to pass, but turned around, coming to a stop on the other side of the street.  This was the start of a pattern that would continue for a while.

Of note to the parents initially was the placement of their big American flag that they often placed in front of their home on holidays that honored veterans and the country.  They exchanged a look, their eyes communicating that they should have thought to have put out the flag themselves.

When Jack and Daniel finally walked to the street, they could see the full extent of what their children were doing.

Using large paper they normally used to draw murals and big pictures on, the kids had written out a message and several now held a part of it.

Chenoa held the word, “We” in her hands.  To her left was Jenny holding the letters “Re” while Ricky had “mem” and Lulu “ber!”  David was in possession of the big “9/11” ending paper.  A larger sign was in front of the kids, so that it was essentially read as a second sentence beneath the remembrance line.  The sign was tied down, flanked by Brianna and Little Danny, who made sure it stayed in place.  It asked, “Are you too busy to take a minute to remember?”

Finally, on the right of Chenoa, standing slightly apart to make it more noticeable, Jeff held the signs of the timeline, each printed in bold, large letters to make them easily readable.  His task was to switch the signs when indicated for passersby to read.  The first one would also be shown at the end.  It was the theme of the event for the children.

Jonny stood next to the signs, wearing his own dress blues uniform that Jack had gifted him with for his birthday.  He was at full attention and saluting.

Aislinn was at the end of the driveway, a bit behind everyone else, making sure the music played at the right times.  In addition, when Jeff was done with each sign, the youngest Munchkin took it and placed it on an easel.  When all was done, the complete timeline could be read in order along the driveway.

“America the Beautiful” was next on the play list.  It was followed by Alan Jackson's “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” hit song.

Using his watch that he had ensured was set to the exact time, David called out softly, “Now.”

“We remember!” the entire brood stated proudly.

On cue, Jeff removed the first sign for the next one that read, using eastern times, “8:46:30 - Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.”

The wireless Bluetooth system let music fill the cool of the outside air with songs from performers like The Eagles.  Each song dealt with some aspect of that fateful day.

Several minutes later, David again called out, “Now.”

Again, the children shouted out, “We remember!”

Jeff changed the signs, the new one saying, “9:03:02 - Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.”

--

“Danny?”

“I, uh ... Jack, we may lose that deal with Jeppson Myers.”

“Why?”

“I'm afraid I'm not going to make our meeting at eight,” Daniel answered, walking away and making a quick phone call to the offices of J-O Enterprises and leaving a message explaining that he wouldn't be in until later that morning.

With a nod, Jack looked over at the image being projected -- the American flag merged with a pristine image of the New York skyline -- and silently determined, ~Hank's going to have to deal with the Joint Chiefs on his own, too.~

Snapping to, the general now mimicked his namesake, standing at full attention, eyes forward, and saluting.

--

The cycle continued with music, David's call, and Jeff's signage now reading, “9:37:46 - Flight 77 crashed into the West Side of the Pentagon.”

Several cars honked as they drove by, but many more stopped.  A crowd was growing by the minute, each of them waving the small USA flags which Jennifer and JD were handing out.  Chenoa's good friend, Chloe Payne, and her mom arrived, anticipating picking up the Mouseketeer.  Instead, they joined the crowd, content to remember and change their plans somewhat.

When it was time, Jeff's sign changed to “9:58:59 - The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.”  At the same time, Aislinn cued the Bon Jovi song, “Undivided.”

Not quite five minutes later, the sign held read, “10:03:11 - Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, PA.”

Melissa Etheridge's song, “Tuesday Morning” played, followed by Ray Stevens self-composed tune, “Let's Roll.”  Another song by the same name but sung by Neil Young was next.

Few people who stopped moved on.  The various caregivers and friends of the children who had come to pick up the kids all stayed, unable to pull themselves away.  Several people were seen on their smartphones, but amazingly, the calls were short, the phones put away quickly in honor of the silent reverence of the occasion.

“We remember!” was shouted by the children as well as the crowd that now lined both sides of the street and threatened to become a bit dangerous as moving vehicles continued to pass the narrowing road between the lines of people.

Jeff handed the old sign to Aislinn and revealed the final one: “10:28:22 - The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.”  Aislinn cued the Tori Adams song, “I Can't See New York.”  It was followed by “This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag” by Charlie Daniels and “Freedom” from Paul McCartney.  Lastly was The Bellamy Brothers' “Let's Roll America.”

One by one the children, except for the little general, put down their signs and/or paper, walked one step forward, and declared, “I remember.”  JD was the last and then they all shouted one final, “We remember!”

At that point, Jonny lowered his salute and addressed the crowd, saying, “We had lots to do today, but we thought it was important to remember.  We have our parents.  Some kids don't because the towers collapsed.  Some kids don't because very brave men said 'no' to hijackers.  We remember them.  That's more important today.”  He took a big breath and belted out, “I remember.  I will *always* remember!”

“Thank you everyone,” Jennifer shouted out to the crowd.  “Please keep the flags.”

--

“Jack?” Daniel prompted quietly.  “Jack!”  He sighed, “At ease, General!”

“What?” Jack slowly lowered his hand.  “Daniel, the last time I held a salute that long, I was ... well, I don't remember, but it was a long, long, long time ago.”  He looked at his watch.  “I'd better call Hank.”

“I'm surprised he hasn't come looking for you,” Daniel replied.  Then he saw some men approaching in uniform.  “Spoke too soon.”

====

“Okay, kids, scoot and have a good day,” Jack instructed.

“Dad, are we going to be punished?” Jonny asked.

“For reminding us that no matter what we need to take time out to honor our fallen?  No way, Sport.”

With a smile, Jonny turned and ran to his ride.

“Kids!” Jack rationalized to his husband.

“Yeah.  Jack?”

“What?”

“The next time we're too busy for something like this, we need to not be,” Daniel put forth.

“You're right, Angel.  Like the first sign said.”

Daniel nodded and echoed, “The first sign.”

All of the signs had been moved to the lawn where they could be viewed for the rest of the day.  Jack groaned at the military detail who were still waiting for him to head to Cheyenne Mountain.  He entered his truck and drove off first. Then Daniel backed out of the drive way.  He paused, though, smiling at the words on the sign.

“There but for the grace of God ...”

“Amen,” Daniel said softly.

Having taken time to honor and remember the fallen from September 11, 2001, the Jackson-O'Neills now went about their day, all grateful for the love they shared and the miracle that all were healthy and happy.

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

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