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I'm not surprised to glance around the room and find the birthday boy nowhere in sight. He does not do birthdays; only suffers through them for Carter and Teal'c.

There are no happy birthday memories for Daniel. His birthdays were orchestrated by foster parents who only knew his birthdate because they'd written it down specifically. No one who would wake and instantly think, "today's Daniel's birthday!"

So Daniel puts on a smile and guts it out until the clock hits midnight and he can put it away for another year.

A little snooping finds him sitting on the steps leading off the back deck. I sit behind him, spreading my legs on either side of his, putting my arms around his shoulders and gently moving him until he is firmly in the cradle of my body.

He doesn't acknowledge my presence unless you count the slow sigh. He finally relaxes in my arms, sure in the knowledge that when the house is dark and quiet, when it's down to just the two of us, he'll be getting the best present I can give him.

The absolute certainty that he is loved and cherished. My granny always said the best kinds of gifts can't be found in a store and can't be bought with money. I'm gonna do my best to convince Daniel of that, even if it takes all night. Especially if it takes all night.


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July 2017

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