Title: Blessings
Author: Marianne H. Stillie
Categories: Alternate Reality, Points of View - Janet & Daniel
Rating: PG
Series: If Wishes Were Horses
Season: Season 4
Summary: Year Four at Stargate Command has brought great changes to Daniel and Janet's lives.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment, not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks are intended. Previously unrecognized characters, places and this story are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. Archive: Please do not archive anywhere without the author's permission.
Copyright (c) 2005 Marianne H. Stillie

Author's Note: Thanks to an e-mail discussion with Mara about Heroes, I've decided to create a second alternate reality to the one I've been working on the last three years. This one will be a series of vignettes starting in Season 3 (to come) and going to an as yet unknown destination. It will create a life for our favorite couple far different from canon and from my first alternate reality, where Meridian happens differently and Heroes never happens at all. This year's Christmas Challenge gives me an especially perfect time and place to begin this series.


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Blessings


Janet took the palm-sized sterling silver angel out of its satin- lined jewelry case. She chose the most prominent center branch of the Christmas tree and carefully looped the thin blue ribbon around it. The random twinkle of the many strings of tree lights glittered off the shiny metal and drew the eye right to it.

Tears came to her eyes again as she read the delicate engraving, "Daniel Ballard Jackson, December 4, 2000, 8 pounds 15 ounces, 3:34 a.m." Jack O'Neill had proudly pointed out his name, Sam and Teal'c's on the back whe he'd given her and Daniel this gift the day after the baby had been born. The words 'Love always' preceding the names had been another of the many blessings she'd been given during the past year.

She noticed it had started to snow again as she looked out the bank of windows behind the tree. She was glad Teal'c had offered to chauffer Cassie to Cheyenne Mountain with the gifts of baked goods for all their friends and co-workers at the SGC. Cassie and Sam had done most of the work this year as she'd been primarily occupied with feeding and changing a very demanding infant, along with trying to get some sleep in between feedings.

As she turned away from the tree, her eyes were drawn to the heavily decorated mantel above the fireplace. Daniel had taken care of all the greenery and the wreath on the wall but she'd insisted on arranging her collection of angels herself. She'd started the collection when she was a girl growing up on the latest of many Army bases her NCO father had been stationed at. The grass-skirted angel from Hawaii that was the first of the collection all those years ago was a little out-of-place here in Colorado but it reminded her of the happier times of her childhood with her parents and two younger brothers, before the later bad times had started.

There had been a number of years when the collection had remained in its tissue-layered box. She didn't think of those dark times anymore. The first Christmas in Colorado Springs, when Cassie had joyfully come into her solitary life, had started a new cycle of additions to the collection. The angel figurine her adopted daughter had chosen to give Janet as the first Christmas gift to her new mother was a blond- haired girl with lavender wings holding out a bouquet of daisies.

Their second holiday together was their first in this comfortable older house. It had seen the first of their ceiling-hugging evergreen trees. The laughter and happiness she and Cassie had shared decorating each new tree with colorful lights and eclectic styles of ornaments that had struck their fancy as they'd shopped in various stores had become a precious tradition to both mother and daughter. A second and third flower-laden angel girl had been added to the mantel collection.

The flower theme had changed this year. The day she and Daniel had brought baby Daniel home from the Academy Hospital, Cassie had given her a delicate two-angel piece with another blond-haired girl holding a towheaded little boy with blue wings.

The love for her adopted child tugged at her heart as she recalled how Cassie had first come into her life. The world they lived in as part of the Stargate Program had given her so much in a relatively short four years. She thought her life had fallen into a stable routine as she entered her third year as CMO at Cheyenne Mountain. She had quickly learned that there was no such thing as routine in her job or in her life. The four members of SG-1 had become her closest friends and all of them had been through so much during that year. The most traumatic events had left Daniel with too much sadness and unresolved pain. The death of his beloved Sha're, the too brief reunion with his estranged grandfather Nick Ballard and the appendicitis that had kept him Earth-bound while his closest friends were on a life-or-death mission against their newest enemy had effected him so deeply, he had turned to her as more than his doctor and a platonic friend.

A year ago tonight, Daniel had asked her to marry him and she hadn't hesitated to say yes. Not unexpectedly, this new year had been fraught with an unusual series of complex adventures and too-close- for-comfort scares, starting with Daniel's experience as a human with super powers that he preferred to forget ever happened. Their wedding had almost been postponed because of that mission. Two missions of his being missing, either alone or with the rest of SG-1, had left her with more than just morning sickness to deal with for weeks. When he'd been forced to go to Egypt to track down his former colleague Steven Rayner, she had insisted on going as a medical consultant. Despite the good outcome of the trek, she had been ordered to confine her adventures to on-base activities for the rest of her pregnancy. The baby was too important a blessing to both of them and she had complied willingly.

Despite the usual chaos of SG-1's missions, Daniel had luckily been on a quiet research dig on the Unas planet instead of with the rest of SG-1 chasing after their android doubles when she'd gone into labor. After a frantic call and return trip through the Stargate, Daniel was by her side when their child had come into the world.

She looked down at the already overflowing pile of gifts under the tree. One very special package, her gift to Daniel, was off to the side for them to share in private. The custom made family album she had chosen months ago already had baby Daniel's first pictures on a beautifully decorated scrapbook page courtesy of his very artistic big sister.

Come next year they would be into the Santa mystique, so only a bare tree skirt would show for several Christmas Eves. She imagined the glowing eyes and excited screeches their child would show them on Christmas mornings. But before that was a whole year of growing and loving that she and Daniel were eagerly anticipating.

As more tears of joy welled up in her eyes, she heard Cassie's dog Boomer barking at the back door. She had been so lost in her memories she hadn't heard Teal'c pull into the driveway in Jack's truck. Just as she walked into the kitchen, the back door from the mudroom opened and a red-cheeked Cassie hurried in and dropped four overloaded shopping bags on the floor. Boomer jumped at her happily, barking even louder. Close behind her came Teal'c, with both arms full of colorfully wrapped packages.

Cassie enthusiastically hugged her mother and kissed her cheek. "What a party they're having at the mountain! Too bad you couldn't be there, Mom."

"Where would you like these, Janet?" Teal'c asked with a pleased smile. Now that she was married to one of his closest friends, he was delighted to be calling her something other than Dr. Fraiser.

"On the table will be fine, Teal'c."

"Everyone loved the cookies," Cassie said as she started unpacking the shopping bags and putting the food items in the refrigerator. "Aunt Sam said she'll be bringing the cooked turkey around noon tomorrow."

"O'Neill and I will be stopping at the bakery, then will be here to help prepare the rest of the feast. We do not want you overburdened with holiday chores. Your new status as a mother is far more important," Teal'c explained.

Janet reached up and kissed Teal'c on the cheek. "Thank you."

"We will be here with jingling bells and many gifts." Teal'c bowed his head and smiled at both women then went out to the waiting truck.

Taking a mug out of a cabinet, Cassie asked, "Where's Dad?"

Laughing softly, Janet answered, "Where do you think?"

Cassie noticed a fleeting pained expression cross her mother's face. "Are you okay, Mom?" the concerned sixteen-year old asked.

Janet ran her hand across her heavily engorged breasts. "It's time for the little prince to eat."

Kissing her mother again, Cassie said, "I'll start dinner. You go take care of the two men in your life."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Janet stood in the doorway of the nursery with its sky blue woodwork and nursery rhyme wallpapered walls. Fast asleep in the thickly padded rocker her mother had sent her as a baby shower gift were her genius linguist husband and her blanket-wrapped son who was just starting to stir awake.

She leaned over and kissed Daniel's cheek. "Wake up, Daddy. I'm hungry."

Daniel's eyes fluttered open in unison with his son's. He looked down at the baby who had begun his early-stage hunger cries, then up to his smiling wife. Stifling a yawn, he stood up and handed the baby to Janet.

Janet settled herself in the rocker and efficiently arranged the baby against her bare nipple. The three week old eagerly began suckling, his clenched hand resting on her skin.

Daniel sat cross-legged beside the rocker watching his wife and son as he had so often over the last three weeks. The love he felt for his new family was so overpowering, he marveled at every second that came his way each day. He had promised himself the day he and Janet had been married that he would never take any part of this second chance for granted.

He was looking forward to their first Christmas dinner as a family in this house with their three closest friends. But before that he wanted some quiet time with his wife to give her the special gift he'd chosen for her this very special year. He'd gone to the jewelry store the day Daniel Ballard had been born and ordered the family ring he'd seen in the store months ago when he'd picked up Janet's engagement ring. The four birthstones, red, pale green, amber and pale blue, blended perfectly in the heart-shaped slots of the antique gold band. He had put it under the tree this morning, on top of the package he knew was Janet's gift to him.

He hadn't let himself hope too strongly that he and Janet would be able to have a child. Too many years and too many negatives had passed through both their lives for him to fully believe they would be given that big a blessing. A few weeks after their wedding, when the time loop caused by the alien artifact on P4X-639 had been stopped, Janet was finally able to give him the news she'd planned on telling him that night in the privacy of their bedroom.

Daniel smiled at the soft, steady slurping sounds his son was making as he nursed. "Janet, can we open our gifts to each other tonight, just the two of us?"

Turning her body so that she faced her husband, Janet smiled back. "The anniversary of our first time." Holding the baby firmly against her, she leaned over the arm of the rocker.

Daniel met her lips with his own. "It's been quite a year, hasn't it?"

"Do you think you could spend a little less time in the infirmary next year? Dr. Carmichael is running out of space in your file."

Snickering softly, Daniel answered, "I'll do my best."

The silence and lack of pull on her breast made Janet realize that the baby had finished nursing and was sound asleep again. Getting up, she went to the dressing table. "Dinner should be almost ready. I'll be down as soon as I change Master Jackson."

Standing close beside his wife, Daniel leaned over and kissed his son's forehead. Pulling Janet against him, he nuzzled his mouth against her neck. "I am a very lucky man. I have the best family anyone could ask for."

"We have the blessings of the season, and they'll be ours all year round from now on," Janet whispered into his hair.

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