Summary: While her brother has big plans for his ten percent of her singing career, Aislinn debates the meaning of her ninety percent.
The Other Ninety Percent
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Feedback welcome)
Author Website: http://orrymain.com
Category: Slash, Drama, Holiday, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - November 8-10, 2017
Size: 24kb, short story
Written: March 9,11-14, 2015
Summary: While her brother has big plans for his ten percent of her singing career, Aislinn debates the meaning of her ninety percent.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
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?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): "Ten Percent"
The Other Ninety Percent
It was nighttime at the Jackson-O'Neill residence. Jack and Daniel had made their nightly rounds, relaxed a bit, and finally gone to sleep. Suddenly, Jack's eyelids flung open. He sensed another presence other than that of his husband, who was sound asleep across his chest.
"Danny," Jack called out softly, his hands gently shaking his Love. "Angel, wake up."
"We have company."
"You get it."
"Okay, I'll ..."
"Whoa! Daniel! Our *daughter* is watching."
In a flash, Daniel sprung up, instantly wide awake and thankful for two things. First, that both he and Jack had pajamas on and second, that at his husband's command to get up, he hadn't been more overt than he had.
"Ash, what are you doing in here?" Daniel asked, his heart beating twice as fast as normal from the internal scare he felt.
"I knocked, but you didn't answer," the eleven-year-old answered.
"Are you okay?" the archaeologist inquired with concern.
"Can I talk to you?" the little girl asked.
"I think that's what we're doing," Jack sighed, feeling Daniel shift until he was sitting up and had turned on the light on the nightstand.
Jack sat up as well and also turned on the light that was on his side of the bed.
"Have a seat," the general invited, patting the bed.
Aislinn chose to get completely on the bed and situated herself in between her fathers.
"What's on your mind?" Jack questioned.
"My ninety percent," Aislinn sighed.
"Ninety percent," Jack echoed as his mind raced.
"For your singing," Daniel correctly surmised.
"Uh-huh," Aislinn confirmed.
"Ash, if you don't want to sing, you don't have to," Daniel advised firmly, wondering if all the performing she'd been doing had taken some of the joy from the girl's vocalizing.
Since October of last year, the youngster had sung at multiple events across the country. Her new YouTube channel was a big success. The budding singer recorded at least one new song a week for her fans. It all began when Jonny accidentally posted a video intended for extended family to the public setting instead of private. Though Jack and Daniel were originally furious about the incident, they quickly calmed and subsequently agreed to allow their daughter to do a limited number of public recording and performances. The oldest Munchkin was now Aislinn's agent via a written Munchkin Rules of Living contract that gave him ten percent of whatever his sister earned.
"I want to sing, Daddy," Aislinn replied as she looked up at her younger father.
Daniel reached over and ran his hand down his daughter's long, silky hair and responded, "Are you sure?"
"Oh, yes, Daddy. Singing makes me happy."
"Then what's the problem?" Jack queried.
"I've made a lot of money, huh," Aislinn spoke, more as a statement of fact than a question.
The parents exchanged a look. Their little miracle's earnings per performance had run a wide range, from as little as thirty dollars for one or two songs to as much as six hundred for a full half-hour set. In addition, on her calendar was a gig for President Henry Hayes' Presidential Library dedication. Even though the library wouldn't be finished until 2018, Hayes had phoned to make the deal that first morning after Aislinn's YouTube video went public. The contract would award Aislinn with her most stunning fee yet, a whopping thousand dollars for six songs. The family had balked at such a high fee, but Hayes insisted, having told Jack and Daniel that the little girl was worth at least two hundred dollars per song in his view so if anything, he should be paying her more, not less.
"Do you want to know how much?" Daniel asked cautiously.
"No," came the contemplative response. "Dad, Daddy, it just feels like I should be doing something more."
"More?" Jack responded in a bit of shock. "Ash, we're not going to let you do much more than you are now. Your focus needs to be on your studies and ..."
"That's not what I mean," Aislinn interrupted. "Well, not exactly."
Putting his arm around the girl, Daniel questioned, "Okay, what do you mean?"
"Well, I like my ninety percent. I mean, someday I'll do something important with it, I guess, and I know Jonny wants to buy a sports car like Daddy's with his ten percent."
~Gonna be a long wait for Jonny,~ Jack thought silently. "Ninety plus ten is one hundred. What's the problem?"
"We're getting all the percentage," Aislinn answered.
"Ash, we're not understanding why you're upset," Daniel admitted. "Can you tell us some more about what you're thinking and then maybe we can find a solution."
Nodding, Aislinn thought for a moment and then she said, "Remember last weekend when I went to Grandpa's?"
"I seem to recall that," Jack returned with a smile.
"Well, when I was there, he had a phone call from an old friend. Grandpa said they fought in the war together, but ..."
Aislinn hesitated, not sure how to explain what her grandfather had told her. She sighed in frustration.
"Hey, Princess, it's okay," Jack comforted, his hand rubbing the base of her back, below where Daniel's arm was as he still held her. "Take your time. We're not going anywhere."
The girl nodded and after a few seconds continued, "Grandpa's friend sounded confused and very lonely. Grandpa said the man was in a home for old soldiers, or something like that. No one visits him. It reminded me of the nursing homes we go to sometimes. You know, where the people are sick or just need a place to stay. It's even like on our March First days."
**Danny, are you thinking what I'm thinking?**
**I think so.**
"Ash, what do you want to do?"
"I don't know how to do it, Dad."
"Tell us what you want and Daddy and I will see what we can do," Jack asserted.
"Well, Grandpa said people don't like to go to those places much because it reminds them of things they don't want to think about, so no one goes to see them. He said that his friend's daughter sends lots of money, but she doesn't give him what he really needs."
"What's that, Ash?" Daniel asked softly, though he had a solid idea what the answer would be.
"Time. She doesn't visit him," Aislinn responded. Suddenly, the girl sprung up and turned around so that she was facing her fathers. She sat on her knees and smiled. "Dad, Daddy, could I sing for them? Grandpa said he played one of my songs for his friend a while ago and that he liked it. Couldn't I sing, for free? I don't need ninety percent all the time. I don't need any percent. I just want to sing and make Grandpa's friend, and other people, as happy as I feel when I sing. Can I?"
"Absolutely!" Daniel answered.
"Yeahsureyabetcha!" Jack exclaimed at the very same time as Daniel's reply came, causing laughter all the way around.
"Veteran's Day is this week. Can we go to Grandpa's friend's place?"
"We'll need to check on that, Ash," Daniel replied realistically.
Seeing Aislinn's face sag, Jack immediately assured, "But if we can't go to him this week, we can soon. Princess, there are a lot of places and a lot of people you can sing for, all over the world."
"Can I sing for the homeless, too?"
"You can sing for everyone, Ash," Daniel promised.
Aislinn hugged Jack and then Daniel, the smile on her face proof of the joy she was feeling.
"Do you think Jonny will be mad at me? I mean, if I'm singing for all those people, you won't let me sing at places for money very often. He won't be able to get Fred for a long time."
"Fred?" Daniel questioned with raised eyebrows.
"Oh, that's what he calls his car, Flamin' Fred."
Jack couldn't hold back a chuckle, and Daniel had a hard time refraining from laughter himself.
"Will he be mad at me?"
"Ash, I'm sure we can find a way to satisfy both worlds," Daniel assured.
"Daddy means we can juggle the schedule sometimes and maybe you can sing a little bit more," Jack clarified.
"You mean I can do two performances a month now?" Aislinn asked with bright eyes.
"Depending upon our schedules," Daniel answered.
"Oh boy!" Aislinn hugged her fathers again and then settled back in between them as she declared, "I'm the luckiest little girl in the whole universe."
"Why is that?" Daniel asked curiously.
"Because I have the two best daddies in the whole universe," Aislinn responded, surprising her parents when she slid under the covers and closed her eyes. "I love you, Dad and Daddy."
**I guess we have company for the rest of the night,** Jack communicated.
**Looks that way,** Daniel noted as he turned off the light and scooted down to a supine position. "I love you, Ash."
"I love you, too," Jack quickly spoke as he copied his husband's previous actions.
Both men felt a hand slip through their arms. Instinctively, both looked at the young girl.
With a smile on her face and her arms wrapped around the two most important men in her life, Aislinn fell asleep.
**Gawd, I love this.**
**Can't beat it, Danny,** Jack agreed. "Love you, Angel," he spoke softly.
"I love you, too, Jack."
"Really, Grandpa?" Aislinn responded over the phone. "'Cause I really want to." The young girl waited, listening with pleasure to what General Hammond was telling her. "It'll be great, Grandpa." She waited again. "Dad and Daddy already said it's okay." She sighed, "I think we're gonna have to do homework about it, too."
The conversation continued for a few more minutes and then the Munchkin hung up and hurried to find her parents. It was in the garage where the girl located the two men.
"Dad, Daddy, Grandpa said it was okay. He talked to his friend and his friend asked the caregivers at the home. They said either right before lunch or in the middle of the afternoon would be good. Grandpa gave me their phone number so you can call them. I'm so excited. I'm going to go rehearse." Aislinn handed Daniel the piece of paper on which she'd written down the phone number and started back to the house. Then she stopped and looked back, calling out, "I love you."
"We love you, too, Ash," Daniel returned softly. He looked at his husband and, as the door closed behind Aislinn, observed, "I think she's happy."
"Ya think?" Jack laughed.
"How'd Jonny take the news that half of Ash's performances from now on are liable to be benefits?"
"He mumbled something about getting Fred when he was an old man, but he handled it pretty well," the general laughed.
"I'll go call and verify the plans," Daniel told his Love. "Uh, any preference on concert time?"
"Nah. Whatever you think works best."
Daniel nodded and left his husband to continue his work alone.
In the music room, Aislinn was playing piano as she sang "Climb Every Mountain," a favorite song of hers. Jonny walked in and listened until she was finished.
"That was great, Ash."
"Thanks, Jonny," Aislinn responded. "Jonny, you aren't really mad at me, are you?"
The simple answer resulted in a happy smile from the youngest Munchkin.
"Jonny, I have an idea, but I need you to make it work," Aislinn told her brother.
"Me? What can I do?"
"Play the drums."
Jonny cocked his head as he listened to his sister's idea. Then he smiled, a silent agreement to go along with the girl's plan.
Bright and early the next morning, the Jackson-O'Neills were in Betsy, their RV, headed for the town of Homeland which was just over a three-hour drive from Colorado Springs. Also on board was General Hammond, eager to venture out with his surrogate family on this one-day adventure to the place where his old war buddy lived in a VA home.
The family made a quick stop at Krispy Kremes for donuts and beverages, not having time for an actual breakfast.
As they traveled, Hammond told the children war stories and, with the permission of Jack and Daniel, didn't hold back much on the reality of battle. The kids were growing up and the parents were shielding them less on the cruelty of life, though for the younger children, the exposure to what was seen or heard was still done under their watch and/or guidance.
With Daniel driving the vehicle, Jack also shared some of his unclassified stories, most always focusing on the heroics of his teammates and the importance of being a responsible member of a team. At one point, he pulled out a DVD made by his brother Billy and played it for the brood. Billy's experiences had long been part of the lesson plan for Veteran's Day. Jack's older brother recorded his experiences and Daniel put the video onto a DVD for presentation.
After a couple of hours, the studies part of the trip was over for the morning and everyone was free to do as they pleased. Aislinn was happy for the opportunity to go over the act she'd prepared for the soldiers. With her brothers and sisters offering their support and assistance, she hoped all would go well, especially since they'd only had a few hours of rehearsal time the day before.
Just before half past ten in the morning, General Hammond and the Jackson-O'Neills headed into military care facility and sought out their contact. Introductions made, the group was told that the veterans able to attend the performance would be in the main hall in fifteen minutes.
"I'll get the equipment," David volunteered.
"I'll help," Little Danny piped up.
"Me, too," Lulu offered.
Daniel went with the volunteers to the RV to retrieve the equipment, while Jack stayed with Aislinn and the others.
"This is gonna be fun, Grandpa," Aislinn stated excitedly.
Aislinn was introduced to the aging military fighters and sang two well-known songs from musical theater before switching gears to a couple of patriotic tunes that caused the veterans to sit up straight. She noticed some had tears in their eyes, while others looked lost in memory. A few of the attendees stood up and saluted as she sang about America.
"I'm so excited to be here and that you like my music. I love to make people smile. That's my grandpa," Aislinn told the group, pointing over at Hammond. "He's a veteran and so's my dad. That's him, by my daddy."
A bit hesitantly, Jack nodded, not really eager to stand out in the crowd of heroes and he truly felt that everyone in the room were heroes.
"I don't like wars or thinking about them, but I know that sometimes for our freedoms we have to have them. Well, actually I think there are probably better ways, but I'm just a kid. Anyway, Grandpa has a friend and he says he loves music, but he gets tired of soft and smooth, so with the help of my brothers and sisters, we're gonna rock out!"
The old men smiled while the nurses' expressions were one of concern, but undaunted, Aislinn began to sing some of her favorite old style rock songs. With Jonny on drums, David and Lulu playing guitars, and Ricky going at it with the tambourine, the brood began to wake up the building.
"Sing it!" the little girl ordered as she wandered all around the room, going from soldier to soldier. "Help me out!" she beckoned of her siblings who weren't playing an instrument. "Let me hear you clap!" she instructed, urging the men to match the beat of the music with their hands.
Aislinn followed up with two more iconic rock songs, urging the listeners to "Shake it; c'mon, move your body, even if it's just your fingers!" as she sang. She looked over at her parents ordered, "Dad and Daddy, shake that booty!"
"Booty?" Jack called out. "Daniel, did you hear what your daughter just said?"
"Yeah, Babe, I did, so shake it," Daniel replied, doing as he was told, much to the pleasure of his husband.
"Fine. I'll shake it now and discuss it with her later!" Jack agreed as he danced opposite his lover.
Several minutes later, Aislinn was ready to conclude her show. She smiled as she addressed her audience one last time.
"Thank you so much." The Munchkin put her hand over her chest and continued, "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reminding me why I love to sing. This last song is for all of you, the heroes of America who keep us free, and my personal heroes, my dad and daddy."
Jack and Daniel both nodded at their daughter, neither expecting the praise Aislinn had just handed them. Both could feel the emotional lump growing in their throats.
The quiet song began with the girl's voice soothing the air as she sang the opening words to "You Raise Me Up."
Midway through, Aislinn walked over to the drums, grabbed Jonny's hand, and pulled him off his seat and to the center of the stage. She never missed a note. Leaving Jonny, she next went to David and then Little Danny, motioning for them to put away their guitars and join Jonny. Lulu was next.
The youngest Munchkin paused, reaching a very high note, yet one full of strength and passion. She sang a capella and yet no one missed the lack of instruments behind her. Pointing at her other siblings, she waved them over as well. Then she walked up to her parents, still singing and looking into their eyes. She reached out and took her older father's hand, pulling him to where the rest of the family was. She glanced back, bobbing her head to ensure her daddy followed.
Seeing Aislinn looking his way, Hammond shook his head, though he continued to smile. His eyes communicated his pride in his granddaughter. He was sitting next to his friend and didn't want to part from him. The emotions were high.
Aislinn sensed her grandfather's feelings and gave him a sweet smile before focusing on the dramatic end of the song. She waved her hand at her family, motioning for them to sing with her, which they did, serving as a chorus as they often did casually at home.
The song was powerful as Aislinn and her family sang and then there came a pause, a silence just before the final two lines. Aislinn started the final words by facing the veterans, singing of their impact on her young life. She smiled and turned around to face her family, her arm outstretched and moving from left to right, as she repeated the line, the last line, telling her loved ones that they'd raised her to be more than she could be.
"I love you. I love all of you so much," Aislinn expressed to her family upon completion of the song, wiping a tear that was falling from her right eye.
The family enjoyed a group hug while the veterans applauded with those that could standing.
"Our daughter," Daniel called out to the happy military personnel, prompting Aislinn to turn around and curtsey.
"That was lots of fun," Aislinn stated as she bounded aboard the RV for the trip home.
"Ash, you rocked it!" Jonny exclaimed.
"Jonny, you're really good on the drums now," Jenny praised.
"Ash, you were right."
"I know. Um, about what?" the girl laughed.
"Sometimes, it's better to get zero percent, because getting zero is really like getting two hundred percent, and nothing can ever beat that," Jonny answered.
"What did he just say?" Daniel whispered to his soulmate.
"Made perfect sense to me," Jack responded.
"That figures," the younger man chuckled.
The family continued to load the RV with their music equipment and prepare for the trip home.
"They really loved the concert," Chenoa told her younger sister.
"I think they enjoyed your rock as much as the show tunes, Ash," Brianna opined.
"They did indeed," General Hammond stated as he climbed up the steps to join the family. "My friend is very thankful."
"I'm so happy, Grandpa," Aislinn replied, going to the bald-headed man and hugging him. "Thank you for telling me about him."
"Thank you for honoring him and all the vets. You've made an old man proud, very proud," Hammond told his granddaughter, his arms around her still as he looked down into her eyes.
Looking up at the man, Aislinn beamed with delight and then put her head against his body for more love and support.
As he finished securing his drum set, Jonny interjected, "When we get home, Ash, I'm gonna make sure we schedule more of these, okay?"
"It's okay with me, Jonny," Aislinn agreed as she gently pulled away from Hammond. "I want to go sing for the homeless as soon as Dad and Daddy will let me," she added.
"Okie dokie," Jonny replied as he made a mental note of his sister's wishes.
"Settle down," Daniel called out to the excited family. He looked out, waiting for everyone to sit down and put on their seatbelts so they could get underway. Then he noticed a hint of sadness suddenly appear on his daughter's face. "Ash, what's wrong?"
"I just remembered something."
"What was that?"
"Didn't they say that there are others who couldn't come to the main hall?" Aislinn questioned.
Hammond looked over and responded, "Yes, Sweetheart, there are. Some of the residents here are too weak and frail to leave their rooms."
"They didn't get to hear the show."
"Daddy!" Little Danny called out expectantly.
Daniel turned around to face his lover, who was at the helm of Betsy for the return trip home.
"What do you think?"
Jack glanced back at the family, checked his watch, and replied, "Ash, can you a capella between rooms?"
Aislinn lit up, undoing her seatbelt, and leading the charge out of the RV.
"I guess that means we said we could check into it," Daniel spoke to his lover as the children practically flew by him to the exit.
"Dad, the door!" Little Danny exclaimed.
"Babe, the door," Daniel echoed dryly.
Thirty minutes later, Jack once again fastened his seatbelt, made a final check to ensure everyone else was secured, and then headed for the highway for the trip home.
"I'd call this a success," Daniel said to his husband as he thought about the formal show and the impromptu concert Aislinn had just given to the soldiers bound to their rooms.
"Big time, Angel," Jack agreed.
"She's a real star," the archaeologist opined from his passenger seat at the front of the RV.
"A star of the heart."
"There you go," Daniel sing-songed happily, grinning at his lover.
It was a successful day trip for the Jackson-O'Neills and a proud one for Jack and Daniel, who continued to be amazed by the goodness of their children. They may not be in Colorado Springs, but no matter where they were, life was good for the parents and their brood because they were together, in love and in spirit.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com