Jack woke at the touch of lips on his forehead. "Hey, you're late," he mumbled, still half-asleep. "Everything okay?"
Daniel crawled under the comforter and into his arms. "I'm fine," he said around a yawn, stretching within Jack's embrace. "Had to shake off the entourage first."
"Ah," Jack replied knowingly. "Carter and Teal'c?"
"And Janet." Daniel snuggled his face into Jack's shoulder. "They all kept asking if I was sure I didn't want them to stay over for the night."
"Guess they wondered where I was," Jack said, rubbing a hand up and down Daniel's back.
"I told them you were really tired." Daniel yawned again. "They bought it. After all, we were both knocked out by that stun grenade."
"Yeah, but you were closer to it than I was, which explains," Jack leaned up on an elbow and bent to kiss the bruise on Daniel's cheek, "your entourage being more concerned about you."
"Yeah, well, finally I got Janet to admit that if I was still concussed she wouldn't have let me out of the infirmary, told them all I was exhausted and just needed a decent night's sleep and they left. I waited twenty minutes to be sure they'd really gone, then took the longest, most circuitous route over here to make sure I wasn't followed. You know," Daniel raised himself up on an elbow as well and looked into Jack's face, "being your lover can be very exhausting."
"Yeah?" Jack stared him down. "Wanna quit?"
Daniel stared back for a minute then broke the contest with a kiss. "Nope. Not getting rid of me that easily."
"Good," Jack murmured into his ear as he pushed him over onto his back and rolled on top of him. "I'd hunt you down if you did."
"Kidnap me, take me away somewhere where I could never escape?" Daniel murmured, wriggling pleasurably against him.
"Sure, why not?" Jack kissed him deeply, passionately. "So, wanna mess around?"
"Mess around?" Daniel laughed. "God, Jack, I haven't heard that expression since I was eighteen."
"Huh." Jack frowned. "You saying I'm old-fashioned, Daniel?"
"Well, yeeeah," Daniel drawled. "But," he looped an arm around Jack's neck and pulled him in for another kiss, "I like old-fashioned," he said as he released him, "and I'd love to mess around."
He gave another wriggle to prove his point and Jack sighed in pleasure as Daniel's hardness pressed against his own.
Jack rolled to his side and ran a hand down Daniel's chest, tracing the muscles, rubbing his nipples, feeling them harden beneath his touch. He kept his hand skimming down till he could palm Daniel's erection, sliding his hand up to brush his thumb over the already-weeping tip.
Daniel arched at the touch, his hips pumping up and down. "Oh God, Jack, slow, okay?"
Jack kissed his neck. "Whatever you want, Daniel," he whispered.
He firmed his grip but kept his strokes slow and steady till Daniel was writhing against his side, his head moving feverishly on the pillow. "Jack, I'm gonna-" he groaned and then he climaxed, semen pumping out over Jack's welcoming hand as Jack leaned forward and took his mouth in a deep kiss amid an explosion of flaring light.
"Jack?" Daniel mumbled against his mouth.
"Yeah?" Jack replied, unsealing his lips from Daniel's.
"I know we have mind-blowing sex but-"
Jack looked around the room then flopped over onto his back, an arm across his eyes. "Thor, buddy," he said, "you really need to do something about your timing."
"Greetings, O'Neill. Greetings, Doctor Jackson," the little grey alien said.
"Thor, I'm naked here. You could probably just call me Daniel."
"Very well. Greetings, Daniel," Thor replied equably.
"So buddy," Jack pulled the covers up to his waist and leaned up on his elbows, "what brings you to our neck of the woods?"
"If you are asking why I am here, O'Neill, it is to present you with a gift," Thor said.
"A gift?" Jack glanced quickly over at Daniel and grinned. "For what? Helping you guys out the last time we um, helped you out?"
"In a way. However, it is more than that," Thor replied, his large eyes regarding them unblinkingly. "We have observed your growing fondness for each other and were confused at first by your new relationship. We could not understand why you would choose to mate with someone who cannot give you offspring. However, on further research about your people, we discovered that such relationships are not uncommon. That humans do not choose their mates solely to procreate."
"And?" Jack prompted.
"Loki has been working on his cloning technology-"
"Wait a minute!" Jack sat bolt upright, feeling Daniel do the same next to him. "Loki? That useless little grey-"
"Jack, settle down. Let's hear what Thor has to say," Daniel advised, though Jack could hear the concern in his voice.
"During our research on human relationships, we discovered that most humans feel their mating is enriched by the bearing of a child," Thor went on. "We also discovered that two males in a relationship cannot fulfil this desire. In recognition of all that you, O'Neill, and Daniel have done for us, we have brought you the fruition of your relationship."
"Oh God, please tell me he's brought us a puppy," Jack muttered.
"Thor," Daniel said, "we don't believe in having children just because we're in a relationship with someone."
"I understand," Thor replied, a little ascerbically. "However, we wanted to gift you with what most human pairs desire when they mate." He passed his long grey fingers over a device he held in the palm of his outstretched hand.
There was another flash of light and then Daniel felt a small, squirming bundle fall into his lap. Looking down, he felt his jaw literally drop as he saw a naked male baby resting across his knees. Acting quickly as the child began to scream, he gathered it into his arms and held it cradled against his chest, rubbing the small back soothingly.
"Thor," Jack asked, almost calmly, "what the hell's going on?"
"This is your child, O'Neill, yours and Daniel's. He was cloned from Daniel's DNA. Loki felt, although his cloning technique is now without failure, that perhaps you would feel uncomfortable with another clone of yourself after the last " Thor stopped momentarily then continued, " problem. This child is perfectly healthy and will live a normal human life."
Jack turned to look at Daniel and the baby draped over his shoulder. "Thor, really, you shouldn't have I mean, you really shouldn't have." He watched as Daniel grabbed a t-shirt from beside the bed and wrapped the baby in it, then returned him to his shoulder and resumed patting his back.
"You do not wish to keep the clone?" Thor asked. "I apologize, O'Neill. The Asgard believed this would be some recompense for all you have done for us." He held out his skinny arms. "I will return the clone to Loki."
"Wait a minute," Daniel said, finally speaking up. "What will happen to him?"
Thor gave what Jack figured was the equivalent of an Asgard shrug. "I am not sure. We did not expect that you would not want it. Perhaps an Asgard can raise it."
"Jack, no." Daniel turned pleading eyes on his lover. "Hey, I know they're good guys and all but there's no way I'm letting this our baby be raised by the Asgard."
"Daniel, for crying out loud, do you know what you're asking? How the hell are we going to explain him? We're already having enough trouble keeping our relationship quiet. How do we explain how we suddenly ended up with a newborn? I don't think 'we're babysitting for a friend' is gonna cut it," Jack said, reaching out instinctively to stroke a hand down the crying baby's back.
Thor held out his arms again. "Return the clone to me. I will make sure it is cared for. I apologize for any discomfort I have caused you, O'Neill."
"No!" Jack's voice echoed Daniel's. He looked at his lover. "Jesus, you sure about this, Danny?"
"It'll affect you more than me, Jack. I'm not military," Daniel replied. He lifted the now quiet child away from his shoulder and handed him to Jack.
Jack cradled the infant gently in his arms. "Ah, to hell with it," he said. "Thor, the kid stays here. And thanks, I guess, for the thought. Hey, what's his name?"
"That is for his parents to decide," Thor replied, fading from view.
Jack looked over at Daniel. "So, any ideas?"
"Let's worry about a name later and organize essentials first," Daniel replied with a grin as the baby hit Jack full in the face with a perfectly aimed stream of urine.
Jack grabbed for a tissue from the box on the bedside table and wiped his face. "Diapers," he said firmly. "Definitely an essential. A name can wait."
Jack looked askance at the overflowing shopping cart then at his wallet. He pulled out a couple of twenties then shook his head and took out his credit card instead. "You sure a baby needs all this shi-stuff?" he amended as Daniel made a show of placing one hand over one of the baby's ears and pressing the other against his shoulder.
"Oh, babies need lots of things," interjected the bright, bubbly young thing behind the register. "He's just adorable," she added, and Jack had a momentary flash of jealousy till he realized she was talking about the baby, not Daniel. If the girl thought it odd that the infant was wrapped in nothing but an oversized camouflage t-shirt, she was polite enough not to say so. "Can I hold him?"
"No!" Jack and Daniel blurted out simultaneously.
Daniel smiled apologetically. "Sorry. We're just babysitting for a friend and he's a little jumpy around strangers."
"She didn't leave you any clothes for him or bottles or anything?" The girl looked shocked and Jack wondered if she'd call the authorities the minute they left the store and report them as kidnappers.
"It was a family emergency," he jumped in quickly, handing her his card in the hope it would distract her. He began piling the shopping up on the sliding belt. "Her husband was kidnapped by urban guerillas in Los Angeles. She had to leave in a hurry."
"Oh my," the girl said, scanning their purchases through. "You know, I could never live somewhere like that. It's just too dangerous. I hope he's okay."
"He'll be fine," Jack said, shuddering when he saw the total on the screen.
The girl bagged everything up except the portacrib and its mattress which was in a large packing box that Jack stowed under the cart. "So, what's his name?"
"George," Jack replied, glaring at Daniel and daring him to say any different.
"Oh that's nice," the girl replied. "Well, bye now. Hope everything goes okay."
Daniel shot her one of his most dazzling smiles, Jack noticed. He grabbed his archeologist by the arm and ushered him ahead of the shopping cart and out to the car.
Jack loaded up the trunk while Daniel rocked the baby in his arms then climbed up into the passenger seat, the child on his lap. "We should put the infant seat in before we drive home," he said.
Jack muttered imprecations under his breath but hauled out the seat and his toolbox. Ten minutes later, they were ready to head for home.
The baby lay in the seat, looking around calmly as if being deposited on an unknown planet with complete strangers was an everyday occurrence.
Jack climbed into the driver's seat and started the engine then tooled the car out of the parking lot, feeling Daniel's eyes on him. "What?" he asked as he stopped for the first set of traffic lights.
"You really want to call our son George?" Daniel asked innocently.
"Oh for crying out loud," Jack said, stamping his foot down on the gas pedal as the light went green. "He's bald, isn't he? Sounded like a perfectly good name to give the kid. Besides, we might need to make points with Hammond."
Daniel laughed and turned to address the baby. "Don't worry. I won't let him call you George."
The baby grinned back toothlessly at him and gurgled.
Daniel felt warm lips on the back of his neck and a soft voice in his ear.
"Let me try," Jack said. "You're exhausted. Go to bed."
Daniel looked up as Jack moved in front of him and took the squirming baby from his arms. "I've tried everything," he said apologetically. "I'm sorry if he kept you awake. I've fed him, burped him, changed his diaper, changed his clothes because I thought maybe he was too hot, then changed him back again in case he was cold-"
A finger on his lips shushed him.
"Sometimes babies just cry," Jack said, "for no reason. Sometimes they just want to be held or they just want to cry. Go to bed. We'll be fine."
Daniel stood up and relinquished his seat in the rocking chair to Jack. "You sure?" he asked hesitantly. "I know this must be a little uncomfortable for you. And I should be the one taking care of him. He's-"
Jack sat down in the rocker and cradled the infant on his shoulder, jiggling him gently. "He's your clone," he said. "but he's our son."
"I just thought it might bring back memories of Charlie," Daniel replied quietly.
"I wasn't really around much when Charlie was this age," Jack said, patting the crying baby's back rhythmically. "This is kinda nice. Have you decided what we're going to name him?"
Daniel settled himself on the coffee table across from the rocking chair. "There's a Jewish tradition," he said. He held up a hand. "I know neither of us are Jewish but I think it's a really nice tradition. I know you wouldn't want to name him Charlie but I'd like to honor your son in some way. The tradition is that you choose a name that begins with the first letter of the name of the person you're honoring."
Jack nodded. "So "
"Caiden," Daniel replied. "It was the name of my foster brother. He died when I was about 7 and he was 13. He was like a real big brother to me," Daniel explained softly.
"Caiden." Jack lifted the baby and held him up so he was looking into his face. "What do you think, Caiden? You like that?"
Caiden burped loudly then gave a slow, milk-drunk smile. Jack lowered him and cradled him across his lap, cuddling him close to his chest. "He likes it," he said. He held up a finger and beckoned Daniel close.
Daniel leaned in and Jack captured his mouth in a sweet, loving kiss. "Your work here is done, young Jackson," he said as he pulled back. "Caiden, it is. Now go to bed. You've got the early shift in the morning."
Daniel stood up and started to head for the bedroom, then stopped, turning back to Jack. "We've got the team and Janet and the General coming over for a barbecue tomorrow," he said flatly.
Jack placed a hand over Caiden's exposed ear. "Crap," he muttered. He gave Daniel a waggle of fingers. "Go. Get some sleep. We'll sort it out in the morning."