THERE IS A SEASON: CHRISTMAS DAY BY DARCY
Story portraying the strong friendship between Jack
O'Neill and Daniel Jackson
AU, missing scene from "There Is a Season"
Jack and Daniel celebrate their first Christmas
Kid fic, smooshy, yadda yadda
The response to "There Is a Season" was both humbling
and overwhelming. We'd like to dedicate this missing scene to everyone
who waded through over 400 pages of the original fic and sent such
incredible, encouraging feedback. It is truly inspiring.
kiddo." Jack left everything in the truck and hurried around to the
passenger side door to help Daniel out.
Daniel huffed, waving him off, his actions belying his words as one
clutched his chest.
unlocked the front
door and held it open rather than waste time arguing with Daniel’s
on always being fine. He took a quick glance inside to make sure
in the order they'd left it. Nothing had changed. They'd barely been
ordered as soon as Daniel was inside the door.
Daniel was in
full agreement as he sleepwalked down the hall. Jack turned him around
him towards the bathroom for a quick pit stop before continuing on to
to flop down on his bed.
you situated. Up." When Daniel obediently stood up and raised his hands
Jack quickly pulled off his sweater, then his turtleneck, and with
efficiency slipped on his favorite sweatshirt.
"I can do
Jack," Daniel sighed.
protest, Daniel stood still and muffled a yawn as Jack quickly removed
jeans and settled him into his pajama bottoms before pulling down the
right, all set,
dive in." Jack checked his watch, 2:00 pm. Daniel had taken a nebulizer
treatment and his meds on the plane and should be good for at least a
wasted no time
complying, burrowing under the sheets, folding his hands under his head
pulling his knees clear up to his chin. If not for the raspy, wheezy
sounds rattling around in his chest, Jack would have described the pose
his eyes for a
few blissful moments, Jack collapsed in the chair he kept in Daniel's
days like this one when he needed to keep a close watch on Daniel's
When he was positive the boy was sound asleep he ruffled the blonde
hair sticking out from under the covers and planted a gentle kiss
hurrying downstairs to get busy. He had a lot of work to do before the
up, hopefully before midnight so it would still be Christmas Day but
regardless, Jack had already determined Daniel would be celebrating
no matter what the clock or the calendar read.
Jack went out to
the truck and brought in the luggage. He took the time to unpack and
the dirty clothes from the clean. Next, he delivered the still folded
clothes to their appropriate rooms, taking the opportunity to check in
Daniel, who was sleeping heavily.
Rose! The thought
struck him as he was tucking the blanket around Daniel's foot. He had
call her before she called him or there'd be hell to pay.
quietly went back
downstairs and dialed his mom.
me." He paused to gauge her reaction now that she had time to think
what had transpired between them.
She sounded fine. Worried, but fine.
already in bed
napping. I think he'll be okay. Look, ma, I'm sorry..."
Jackie," she interrupted.
in his throat. She hadn't called him that since he was five.
meddling where I don't belong. You have your own life to live and
just fine. You and Daniel both."
assured her. "Do you have somewhere to go for Christmas?" He guiltily
realized she probably hadn't made any plans thinking she'd be spending
and the week with him and Danny.
worry about me. Mabel next door invited me over for Christmas dinner.
fine. You take care of that little boy, Jack. He's special."
will," he promised.
sure to give
Daniel his present from me."
indulge him with some of those cookies I made special for him."
Jack," she said cheerfully. "And there's a present for you too; I
shoved it in your suitcase before you left."
have to," he sighed.
ma." He hung up the phone and wondered why they could talk so easily on
the phone, hundreds of miles apart, but always seemed to argue when
have time to
waste worrying about it. After removing the Christmas stockings and all
small gifts he had wrapped and packed away to give Daniel in Minnesota, he
made his way down to the
basement and dug around for the sled he had hidden there. It looked
so he figured Daniel hadn't discovered it. He was glad it would be a
especially since Daniel had found sledding so enjoyable. He frowned at
crappy, ugly, little artificial tree stored down there from last year.
Teal'c had given it to him but he’d never had the heart to set it up.
known they'd be home he would have taken Daniel out to cut down a
but now that experience would have to wait until next year. This little
Christmas tree would have to do; it was all he had.
took a few
minutes to set up the tree and throw on the few ornaments he'd found.
a step back to scrutinize his handiwork and wished he had some stray
lying about. At least the thing had those fiber optic lights that he
normally hate, but in this case, were better than nothing. Then he ran
to check on Daniel and sat down in the chair, taking a breather to
sleep. Despite Daniel's chest sounding like an old train whistle, he
calm and restful. Jack closed his eyes, amazed at how just a few days
been pacing the hospital floor on the verge of tearing his hair out.
definitely took some getting used to but watching the small,
rise and fall, Jack knew he wouldn't trade the wheezy kid lying on the
anyone or anything in the world.
his favorite leather chair, Jack waited impatiently for Daniel to make
appearance. He had woken the exhausted boy up a few hours earlier to
with medicine but Daniel had fallen right back to sleep. It was going
pm. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, the tree was as
it was going to get, and the presents looked a bit worse for wear from
been jammed into his luggage, but all in all, not bad for an impromptu
was probably on
the brink of being labeled a sentimental old fool, Jack made no attempt
quell his unexpected enthusiasm. He couldn't help it; he wanted Daniel
in all the excitement of the holidays that he remembered from his own
as a husband and father, too, but this Christmas was different enough
new traditions. Charlie had been Christmas savvy after the age of seven
and although it had been a blast to shop for hockey sticks and ice
BMX bikes and computer games, this Christmas with Daniel was different
to deaden some of the inevitable, painful memories. This Christmas was
about the little things...
Putty, a Slinky, an
Etch-A-Sketch, a Superball, and the big, honkin' box of crayons with
in the back... Jack had been determined to get Daniel all the favorites
the kid was too old to appreciate them. It had taken all of his
resist Mr. Potato Head. The spud was far too babyish for a ten year old
had been one of Jack's early favorites. Charlie's too... at four years
Jack had reluctantly put it back on the shelf and opted for the
and the Tinker Toys instead. He sighed, wishing Daniel was young enough
Legos and Lincoln Logs and Playdough but knew their time had long
the Tinker Toys were pushing the envelope, but what the hell, Jack
He was so
lost in thought
the kid snuck up on him.
happened?" Daniel blinked and rubbed his eyes in confused excitement.
"I think someone brought you presents!"
better get your
glasses checked, kiddo. I think someone brought YOU presents." Jack
up a small package and pretended to examine it closely. "Someone by the
name of Santa Claus from the looks of it."
Daniel drawled. "There's no such person as Santa Claus. The name Santa
Claus is an anglicized form of the Dutch, Sinterklass. After the
over New Amsterdam..."
raised a finger. "Don't ruin this for me, okay?"
agreed with a blush. He looked around in what seemed to be fuzzy
jaw dropping at what Jack had considered a fairly small pile of gifts.
Apparently, Daniel thought otherwise. He smiled at the crackling fire,
gravitating toward it automatically, and then, "We have stockings,
Jack!" The surprised, wide eyed, goofy, confused look, complete with
raised eyebrows was reward enough for Jack's efforts and Daniel had yet
see what old St. Nick brought ya." Jack helped take the stocking down
the hook for Daniel's perusal.
That St. Nick knows his stuff, huh?"
indulgently. "What did you get, Jack?"
here." Jack made a show of emptying out his stocking. "Peanuts, gummy
fish and... well, looky here, that new aero dynamic pen I've been
try out. What else you got?"
What's this?" Daniel's excitement level rose as he pulled out an odd
don't know how to play a kazoo, Jack."
knows how to
play a kazoo, Danny. It's just to make noise. Go ahead. Try it."
smile lit up the small face as Daniel blew into the kazoo for all he
which wasn't much given the current state of his chest. Still, the
kazoo gave a
shrill whistle while Daniel coughed a bit from the effort. "Wow, it
make a lot of noise, doesn't it, Jack?"
save it for when you're feeling better. Go ahead and open up some of
or we'll be here all night."
of the small
tree, and modest number of gifts beneath it caused Daniel's face to
brighter than the fiber optics. He shyly picked up the smallest package
pile and took his time, carefully pulling open the wrapping paper to
blue and red plastic egg. He slowly opened the egg and removed the
putty with a
puzzled look. "What do you do with it Jack? Hang pictures?"
Heck, no, you don't hang pictures with it. It's Silly Putty. Grab that
newspaper there and I'll show you what you can do with it." When Daniel
handed him the paper Jack flattened out the putty and pressed it to the
newsprint to transfer the words. "Pretty cool, huh?"
you need to
transfer the words?" Daniel wrinkled his nose and tilted his head in
reason. Just for
fun," Jack patiently explained. "Wait til you try it out on the
one," Jack ordered enthusiastically. "And not so slow. Just dig in
and rip it right open."
Daniel tore open the next package with more abandon and less care. He
off the cardboard and removed the jiggling, floppy spirals and held it
Jack's inspection with a perplexed frown. "What is it, Jack?"
slinky." Jack took the toy from a baffled Daniel and proceeded to move
slinky from hand to hand to produce the desired effect. "See," Jack
for?" Daniel asked, pushing his glasses up his nose in confusion.
doesn't have a
purpose, it's a Slinky. Just try it." Jack handed it over and chuckled
Daniel tried to get the rhythm of the silly toy.
doing it! Look,
Jack, it's working!"
natural," Jack encouraged. "Watch this, it can even go down the
stairs." Jack took the Slinky, and sure enough, to Daniel's delight,
thing went down three or four stairs before collapsing. "Pretty cool,
enthusiastically before moving on to the other gifts.
in shape and not very heavy. Jack had no idea what was in it. "I have
from Rose too, we might as well open them together. I'll race you. One,
Daniel's laughter warmed Jack to his toes until the chuckling turned
coughing then wheezing. Jack slowed down his unwrapping to let Daniel
breath and catch up.
airplane." Daniel held up the box while Jack finished unwrapping.
"Yours is an airplane too, Jack!"
Eagle USAF to be
exact. Building models was a hobby Jack had loved as a boy and
enjoying into adulthood. Working on models was one of his favorite
time spent with his dad and he had carried on the tradition with
pleasure he had given it up after his son's death. It hurt too much.
how to make the plane, Jack?" Daniel asked hopefully.
breathed out, wondering if he'd ever have the heart.
sighed happily. "I'll call Rose and thank her."
We'll call her tomorrow. Speaking of Rose, how about we break into the
she made for you."
nodded eagerly and
retrieved the tin of special cookies Rose had baked just for him. He
tin and handed one to Jack, munching on one himself. They both chewed
butter with chocolate chips... good call."
like them as
much as the oatmeal raisin?" Daniel flashed a bright, eager,
"I do. I
going to have two favorites from now on."
nibbled at cookies
in between the rest of the presents, and Jack plied Daniel with milk,
a little Hershey’s. It wasn’t exactly a healthy meal, but he figured if
couldn’t have cookies and chocolate milk for dinner on Christmas, then
Jack! This one is
from Sam and Teal’c, see?” Daniel was holding up a golden-wrapped
it, buddy,” Jack
said, grinning. “I got one from them, too.” Carter had gotten him an
for his telescope that added another, far stronger level of
a CD with coordinates, description, and a how-to-find manual for every
they had a gate address for that was visible from Earth. Her card had
way, he could always keep an eye on them, wherever they were. Teal’c
him an exquisite fishing pole, the exact thing he had mentioned wanting
their single, unfortunate fishing trip together. Jack was absurdly
Teal’c had remembered.
frowned at the
box, turning it side to side and listening to the faint rustle from
peered at the shiny red label with his name on it. “Jack?”
Jack was playing
with the Tinker Toys, and something vaguely boat-shaped was emerging.
this is a
looked up, startled.
“What? What are you talking about?”
Teal’c are your
friends,” Daniel said. “This is probably for you. Why would they get
opened his mouth,
then bit back his first, frustrated response. “Daniel. Sit by me a
snagging another cookie from the box on the table. Jack slipped an arm
his shoulders and gathered him in, pleased at the easy way Daniel
him. “They’re your friends too,” he said. “I’m sure they wanted to give
tilted his head to
one side, considering. “Because you’re their boss? Does that mean they
Jack sighed. “You
talked to them at Thanksgiving, didn’t you? Remember how Teal’c told
those stories about Egyptian stuff?”
grinning. “Yeah, that was great! He’s amazingly well versed in the
Egyptian gods and the hierarchy of rule. Also, he knew so much about
His pronunciation was a little weird, though; but I didn’t say
seemed so sure.” Daniel gave him a conspirator’s smile. “I thought it
mean to say he got it wrong.”
Jack said, trying
not to laugh. “How kind of you. But see, you two hit it off. He liked
Daniel, and Teal’c doesn’t like just anybody. Man’s got standards.”
I thought he was
just being polite.”
tried to fit
“Teal’c” and “polite” into the same space in his head. It didn’t go
he said, “that wasn’t it. And Carter liked you too, you know.”
likes everyone. She’s just really nice.”
countered. “I’ve seen her when she gets mad, Danny, and let me tell
not pretty. She’s scarier than Teal’c when she wants to be.”
gave him a very
dubious look, but nodded agreeably. “Okay. But I didn’t understand most
okay, she’s used to it. The important part is that you listened, and
fall asleep after five minutes.”
rolling his eyes. “Nobody actually falls asleep, do they? That would be
shrugged and didn’t
answer. It had only been the one time, and to be fair, the General had
pretty dazed, too. Carter had been very understanding. Sort of. She’d
Fraiser, who would probably make sly references to his energy and
the end of time, but she’d taken no further revenge. Jack thought
Fraiser was plenty, anyway.
is they like
you. Believe it or not, you happen to be a very likeable kid.” Jack
Daniel in the belly for emphasis, making him curl and grin.
said, but his reluctance was fleeting, and he pounced on the beribboned
with all the glee of any kid in the world. Once he had the wrapping
bounced on his heels and held up the box. “It’s the pyramids at Giza! Look, it’s
you can build it up and it even has texture like the stones and look,
two boxes, Jack! The Sphinx too! Can we build them?”
chuckling. “Sure we can. First thing in the morning, okay?” Because he
Daniel would be reluctant to stop once he got started, and it was
for a certain recovering little boy.
cheerfully, setting the boxes aside in a clear space. “Hey, look! I got
present from Doctor Fraiser, too!” He tilted the package, listening
suspiciously. “It’s not more medicine, is it?”
smiled and shook his
head. “No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Why don’t you unwrap it and find
nodded and fell to
it without further protest, tossing the shreds of wrapping paper onto
growing pile. “Oh, wow,” he murmured in tones of clear awe when he saw
asked, peering over his shoulder. Daniel was holding a large, hardcover
his chest, thumbs running over the worn binding. He took a deep, if
wheezy breath, inhaling the scent of the old paper. Jack shook his
had to be the only kid he knew who got excited about receiving an old
the original French,” Daniel said. He opened the cover, turning the
carefully, fingering the edges. “Not a first edition—well, of course
would cost thousands, but still. It’s in excellent condition for its
gave him a look
that suggested he’d just said something silly. “Of course. It’s an
language, Jack. Doctor Fraiser was teaching me some great Cajun dialect
last check-up. She’s very fluent, you know.”
course,” Jack echoed.
He’d known no such thing, but it was interesting. Cajun? So the Doc was
thereabouts. He’d always wondered where she got her faint southern
set the book
carefully on top of the puzzles, running his fingers down the cover
stroking the soft leather. The book was soon joined by a homemade solar
calendar from Dudley, all cardboard
construction paper and meticulously drawn out little notations. Daniel
it with the same reverence he’d shown the undoubtedly expensive book.
a box of fine chocolates from General Hammond (and an equally fine
scotch for Jack), and, half-hidden in shreds of wrapping paper, one
sounding a bit surprised as he lifted one corner of the wrapping.
had an odd,
bemused smile on his face as he uncovered his gift from Cassie—a box of
tissues. His smile got wider, and he shook his head a little, reading
scrawled on the side: So you don’t have to borrow mine.
“What does that mean?”
shrugged, and then laughed softly, spreading his hands. “It’s hard to
to be there, I
guess.” Jack was still puzzled, but Daniel seemed happy with the gift,
let it go.
Daniel was still
smiling as he set the box of tissues with his other treasures. “Okay,”
dusting his hands together briskly. “That has to be all of them, right?
Jack began slyly,
“I think there might be one more.”
around eagerly. “Where?”
down in the
basement. Aht!” Jack added, holding up a hand when Daniel immediately
toward the stairs. “Let me get it.”
Daniel said, bouncing on his toes again. His color was high, his eyes
but his breathing was still rough and Jack was pretty sure the seeming
was a result of too much sugar. The stairs were steep and the basement
clammy, not to mention full of dust.
here,” Jack said
looked ready to
protest, but he sighed and conceded, sinking back into the couch and
the puzzles again. He didn’t open them, just looked at the pictures of Giza on the
grinned, tracing the edges with his fingertips.
the sled out and
hauled it up the stairs, sneezing at the dust raised by displaced junk.
sighed in relief as his bare, and now freezing feet touched the warm
again. He stood with the sled propped against his hip and waited for
shake his enchantment with the pictures and notice him.
Daniel said softly
when he looked up. “That’s for later, isn’t it?”
nodded, patting the
sleek wood. “As soon as you’re feeling better. I know a great hill
you’re gonna love.”
Thank you, Jack!”
Daniel gave him a wide smile before succumbing to a yawn. He rubbed his
and picked up another cookie, considering it for a moment before
nose and putting it back down. “I think I’ve had enough cookies,” he
Jack replied, but he closed the cookie box anyway, grabbing one last
for himself. Those peanut butter and chocolate chip ones really were
could do the
Sphinx puzzle tonight?” Daniel asked, eyeing it hopefully. “It’s not
and I’m really not tired.”
Jack tried not
to sound openly skeptical, but it was hard when Daniel couldn’t seem to
minutes without yawning. "Not tonight. It's getting a little late for
agreed, picking up his new Superball with intent.
about bouncing that ball in the house," Jack said in an effort to cut
asked. "Superballs are very hard and... bouncy, it might break
That's why it's called super."
would you give
a kid a bouncy ball in the winter and tell him not to bounce it?"
asked logically. "There's no place to try it out."
Jack relented. The kid had an excellent point.
rubberized ball down on the hardwood floor and watched in startled awe
shot around the living room, narrowly missing lamps and pictures.
Jack laughed. "Does that answer your question about why we shouldn't
bounce it in the house?"
in your suitcase." Jack held up the clumsily wrapped gift with "JACK"
scrawled in Daniel's writing on the paper. "Is it for me?"
blushed and bowed
said when Daniel didn't answer. Daniel wasted no time plopping down on
couch beside him.
about?" Jack asked as he absently ran his hand threw the blond hair.
these presents, Jack, and I only got you one dumb thing."
you don't know very much about Christmas, Danny," Jack said gently,
combing his fingers through the already mussed hair.
know that Christmas is for kids. So, you see, you didn't need to get me
anything at all. With this one gift, you're actually ahead of the game.
I’m sure it's not dumb."
really. Have I
ever steered ya wrong?"
replied, perking up considerably.
"So, do I
open my one, totally unnecessary, unexpected gift?"
while Jack opened with gusto.
paper revealed a
navy blue coffee mug covered with stars and a half moon. "Nice!" Jack
like the one I broke but I couldn't find one like that but this one is
like it except it's a mug. It's for coffee, Jack. You like coffee, and
has stars on it." Daniel talked very fast gesturing as he spoke.
broke..." Jack thought hard about what Daniel had broken recently.
When I first came to live with you. I promised I wouldn't break
anything but I
did." He paused, slowing down to catch his breath and get a grip on the
wheezing that was setting in. "By accident," he finally added.
anyone ever tell you that you worry too much?"
Daniel scrunched his eyes and shrugged. "Do you like it, Jack?"
course, I like
it." Jack pulled the little body closer and kissed Daniel's forehead.
"You didn’t have to though. I forgot all about that silly glass."
smiled and then
tried to yawn but it turned into another coughing jag that set Jack in
I'll use this mug for tomorrow morning's coffee. And that's enough
for tonight, buddy. Time to get you to bed."
headed for the bathroom while Jack grabbed the prescribed asthma
and set up the nebulizer. When Daniel came back, he climbed into bed
and sat up
against the headboard and put the mask over of his face to breathe in
When the treatment ended he did sound slightly better.
a glass of water
within Daniel's reach. "Good night, buddy. Merry Christmas." He
tucked Daniel in and kissed his cheek.
voice rasped out before Jack had a chance to turn out the light. "We
opened all the presents, maybe we should have saved some. What will we
with all of them, silly. Actually..." Jack leaned in to whisper, "no
one knows we're home. We can play with the toys and games all day long
one will bug us."
you!" Daniel agreed happily. "We can start my puzzle. And play
Monopoly and I can practice my Slinky!" He paused to take a deep,
theatrical breath. “And I think my breathing is much better already. I
can go sledding, too.”
Jack said. “We’ll
means no,” Daniel
means we’ll see.”
Jack offered an apologetic smile. “But you’re probably right. It’s
snowy out there for a long time, buddy. I promise we’ll go sledding
snow melts, okay?”
reluctantly. “Can we go outside just for a couple minutes, to see Dudley’s solar calendar work?”
“Just for a couple minutes. And only if the sun is out.”
for a moment. “Can we have cookies for breakfast, too?”
you can have one
with breakfast, how’s that?”
sleepily. His eyes slipped shut, then opened again as another idea
you show me how that fishing pole works?”
raised his eyebrows,
surprised. “You like fishing?”
Lots of people
live on fishing, you know. In Egypt...”
Daniel interrupted himself with another yawn.
that thought, and
tell me tomorrow,” Jack said.
nodded and curled
deeper into the covers. “I want to do the puzzle first, though,” he
want, just me and you, kiddo." This time Jack did switch off the
whispered. "It's the best Christmas ever. I'm always going to remember
Forever," he mumbled sleepily. "Even when I'm big."
be lots of
Christmases, Danny," Jack promised firmly.
not, I'll always have this one to remember," Daniel said quietly.
what to say to
that, Jack decided on a simple, "Goodnight, Danny."
cleaned up the cookie crumbs and errant wrapping paper and then stacked
Daniel's new toys and games under the shabby tree. When the house was
liking, he grabbed a beer and sat down on the sofa to ponder the
changes in his
life. It was the first Christmas since his son's death he had
After Charlie died he had vowed never again to acknowledge any
less enjoy them. That first Christmas he worked for five straight days,
ignoring Christmas as if it didn't exist, and to his shame, leaving
fend for herself. The next year he drank himself into oblivion.
Christmas he wasn't working and he wasn't drinking, incredibly, he was
fun with Daniel Jackson.
wiped away a few
unexpected tears on his sleeve as he thought of Charlie and of how life
on whether you want it to or not.
better not to
the beer aside and
went upstairs to sit at Daniel's bedside and take comfort in the rusty
breathing of an orphaned ten year old.
difference between writing and posting; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org