Author's notes

Hey guys! Here is the one shot that I promised you. I read through your suggestions and this was submitted by myprivatejack on livejournal. A one shot in this universe was suggested and I chose to make it a Father's Day special because of Sunday. Happy reading!

Kathryn xxx

A Father's Love

June 20th, 1976

It should have been a peaceful morning. Ennis and Jack were still in bed, sound asleep as it was still early. As far as they were aware, the kids were also asleep. But this didn't last long. Jack opened his eyes when he heard a thud and realised that the kids were rising early. This didn't really surprise him; it was Father's Day today and he had a feeling that the kids were planning something, probably breakfast in bed for him and Ennis. He knew by now that Junior was old and mature enough to supervise the cooking, so he trusted that they would be okay.

But that didn't stop them from making a lot of noise as they got themselves ready and thundered down the stairs. He grimaced and felt Ennis stirring next to him, also having woken up.

"Ennis...I think the kids are awake," he murmured to his partner, resting a hand on Ennis's back. One of Ennis's brown eyes cracked open.

"At this hour, they're your kids," he replied, turning over to try and fall asleep again. Jack grinned, but then he remembered this day and how Ennis might feel about it.

"You remember what day it is, right?" he asked quietly, staring at Ennis's back. Ennis opened his eyes, knowing full well what day it was.

"Yeah," he said softly, wanting to let Jack in but still hesitant. Just four days ago, it had been a year since they had gotten together properly and started living together. He was a lot better now at sharing his feelings and thoughts, if only with Jack. "I...dunno how to feel 'bout it."

"Look..." Jack rose up onto his elbow and leaned over Ennis so that he could see his face. "I know yer dad wasn't no role model, an' I know mine won't be. But that don't matter now...we've got three kids down there who are dependin' on us to be there for 'em. We're their role models, Ennis, an' that's what we've gotta remember."

"You really think we're good for 'em?" Ennis asked, looking up into Jack's face as if he really was bothered by this. Jack nodded and kissed his cheek.

"I sure do. They're healthy, happy...they're doin' well an' they've got friends. Ain't that what we've always wanted for 'em? Thing an' me, that's stickin'. We're gonna be together an' that's a for sure kinda thing. We don't need to worry 'bout us so much 'cos we're stayin' together. So I reckon we can focus more on them instead of worryin' about somethin' happenin' with us. You know?"

Ennis smiled and squeezed Jack's hand. "How'd I end up with such a smart fella, huh?"

Jack looked down at him lovingly. "'Cos that fella was smart enough to see you for the wonderful man you are," he replied, leaning down for a real kiss. A crash from downstairs made them pull apart, still tasting each other. "Guess we better go save the kitchen."

They went downstairs and saw that despite the noise, their kids were doing a good job of making breakfast. There were no fires, anyway.

"Mornin', you three," Jack said to them, leaning in the doorway. Ennis stood next to him, marvelling at how the three of them looked like they were siblings.

"Daddy!" chorused three small voices, and they found themselves being engulfed in hugs. Shortly after they had swapped their rings, Ennis and Jack had asked the kids how they felt about calling their non-biological father "dad". To their relief, all three had been happy about having two fathers to take care of them and it was a done deal from then on. Sometimes the girls would call Jack by his given name, and Bobby would do the same with Ennis, but most of the time they would use this new term. "Happy Father's Day!" they said to their fathers, who had large smiles on their faces at the pure love shown to them by their children.

"Thank you," Jack said to them, kissing the tops of the girls' heads. "You been makin' breakfast? You sure made enough noise."

"We wanted it to be a surprise," Junior said as she led the way back over to the stove. Jack looked back to see Bobby holding onto Ennis, and the sight warmed his heart. They truly were a family now and this was how things were going to be from now on. They were raising their children in a loving home and there was nothing better .

"Well, it sure is. You need any help?" All three kids shook their heads, but then Junior pointed to the table.

"We got you presents," she said nervously. Ennis and Jack looked at each other knowingly, having helped in finding a present for each other. The kids had bought Ennis a new whittling knife, and Jack was given a new harmonica. He smirked at Ennis, wondering if he was behind this.

"I thought you hated the one on Brokeback," he said to Ennis, who shrugged.

"You ain't the best at it, but I know you love playin'. It makes you happy, an'...I like seein' you happy. They came up with the idea, but I was all for it when they told me."

Jack kissed him warmly on the cheek, very grateful to him for sacrificing the peace and quiet he so loved. He remembered just how lucky he was to have these people in his life, and he would never take this for granted.

"Hey, about we all go for a ride later?" he suggested, and he was met with enthusiastic responses. "Thought they'd like that."

Ennis put an arm around him. "You was right...we can't let our dads ruin this day for us. Let's just enjoy it with our kids." Jack nodded, knowing that it was probably the best thing to do. The past was in the past where it belonged; they had the future right here in front of them.

After breakfast, Ennis and Jack took the kids out to the stables so that they could go for a ride. They spotted their hands, Jamie and Sam as they passed. They did have other workers, but since most of them had kids they had been given the day off to celebrate it with their families.

Jack would be riding on his mare Sandy with Bobby, while Ennis would be taking Jenny on Thunder. Since they deemed Junior old enough to ride by herself, she was allowed to ride Ebony on her own. Jack caught the look of pride on Ennis's face as he watched his eldest up in the saddle.

"She's growin' up fast," he commented, and Ennis nodded.

"Sure is. I remember when she was born. That was...probably the happiest I'd been since Brokeback. Part of me wished that you coulda been there too."

Jack rubbed the back of his neck affectionately. "Don't think on all that. It don't matter now...we're together like we always wanted."

"Yeah," Ennis replied, steeling himself and turning to his own horse. The five of them left the stable and headed across the land, not aiming for anywhere in particular but just wanting to enjoy their day together. Ennis and Jack tried to spend as much time with their kids as they could, but this wasn't always easy with the increasing workload. The kids were in school every day for most of the year as well, so they only usually spent evenings and mornings together. It was good for them to spend an entire day together as a family.

Jack let his eyes wander at the perimeter of the land, where there was a fence running through the trees all around. He and Ennis had spent many private moments in those trees, taking a short break from work to just enjoy each other. He smiled fondly at how different things were now, compared with how they had been on Brokeback. Ennis was more open, more loving, and more willing to talk with him. Jack thought of Ennis not only as his partner and husband, but also as his best friend with whom he could talk about anything. They understood each other so well and were a good match; his mother had even said so.

He looked over at his cowboy, who was keeping a watchful eye on Junior. Every time he looked at Ennis, he felt his heart swell with love and knew that they were very lucky to be here as a couple living together. He would always be grateful to Ennis for finally saying yes, even though he wished it hadn't taken the deaths of their wives to get them here.

"Don't go too far ahead," Ennis called to Junior, still worrying even though she was clearly a natural. Jack laughed to himself and gently nudged his partner.

"She'll be fine. She's a real chip off the old block," he said to Ennis, who blushed slightly. He squeezed Jack's hand in thanks.

They spent a few hours riding and then the kids wanted to play outside for a while, so Ennis and Jack decided that they would all go out for dinner later. In the meantime, they retired to their bedroom for a little make out and to talk.

Jack was lying half on top of Ennis, kissing him slowly while they remained fully dressed. They couldn't go further, not when the kids might need them at any moment. The door was locked but they didn't want to be in the middle of something when someone knocked. But this was good; they did enjoy making out even if it didn't lead anywhere.

They broke apart and Jack looked down at Ennis, a soft smile on his face as he traced Ennis's jaw. "I love you," he murmured, and Ennis squeezed his waist.

"Love you too." He'd long since stopped asking Jack why he said those words seemingly out of the blue; he understood it now. They said those words to each other simply because they wanted to tell each other how they felt, even if there was no trigger. "Been a good day so far."

"Sure has," Jack agreed, leaning down to rest his head on Ennis's chest. "We've got great kids, ain't we?"

"Yep. Glad it's all come together now. I mean, last year...there was so much goin' on an' we thought we might hafta move..."

"I know," Jack said quietly, trying not to remember those dark days. "Ennis, I...I hated all of that as much as you did. But the thing that kept me goin' was knowin' that you love me an' that we were a family. I dunno how I woulda dealt with it if...we weren't sure about bein' together. If I didn't know for sure that you wanted to make it work, I woulda been worried about you leavin'."

Ennis kissed the top of Jack's head. "I know, darlin'." The endearment went straight to Jack's heart, making him feel relaxed like nothing else quite could. "Was kinda the same for me, to be honest. You an' the kids kept me goin', 'cos I knew I wanted to stick it out for you. I knew you'd never forgive me if I left, an' I didn't want that. Didn't wanna leave anyway, no matter how scared I got."

"I love you so much," Jack whispered, his breath hitching as he wrapped his arm around Ennis. His feelings for Ennis were so intense that sometimes he just didn't know what to do with them. Fortunately, Ennis loved him just as much so it was often easy to let his feelings out like this; Ennis wasn't about to be scared by such strong feelings.

"Right back at you, bud," Ennis replied, and he tilted Jack's face up for another deep kiss, one that encompassed everything they were feeling right now. They were soul mates and they very well knew it; plenty of people never met theirs but the pair of them had.

Around four, Ennis and Jack left the bedroom and got their kids ready for their evening out. They were accepted into the community now and had a great number of friends, more than they had hoped for. The restaurant owner who had once asked them to leave had apologised to them, but the sting of it was still fresh to Ennis and Jack so they hadn't been back there.

Instead, they went to the diner where they had been accepted right away and were shown to a booth. They saw a few of their hands there who were with their families for this day and said hello as they passed. They also spotted Katie and Joe who were there with their daughter; Ennis and Jack would always be grateful to them for being so accepting when they had first moved here.

"Good evenin'," the owner said to them when he approached their table. "What can I get you?"

They placed their order and were soon being greeted by their friends from town. Ennis and Jack knew that most of the residents were curious about how they lived and had been visibly surprised to learn how normal they were. Jack had reasoned that this was to be expected and no big deal was made about it afterwards; the others had all soon just accepted them as part of the community. Some others who they had previously suspected to be like them had indeed come forward and told them that they were an inspiration for living together so openly.

Ennis frequently thought about this and how different he was now. There was a time when he'd hated men like himself, something which Jack was aware of but that they had agreed to never talk about again. Now, when he saw other people like them he couldn't help but feel as if they were somehow all part of an extended family. They had this one very important thing in common and he liked that feeling of belonging. He owed it to Jack, who had gradually shown him that there was no shame in being this way because it was who they were born to be.

"You okay?" Jack asked when he caught the pensive look on his partner's face. He knew when Ennis was thinking deeply about something.

"Yeah, I just...things sure are different. Never thought that guys like us would be accepted, you know? Part of why I denied it for so long." Jack covered Ennis's hand with his own.

"I know, bud. That's over an' done with now. The world's changin', an' we're a part of it. Things are gonna get better for us, you'll see." He smiled encouragingly and Ennis nodded, knowing that he was right. Ennis still couldn't believe his luck at not only finding this man, but also at making him his and marrying him too. Jack was right; the world would get better for people like them and that was a good thought to hold on to.