Raising Caiden

Part Two

By Annie

EMAIL: Annie

Jack stumbled from bed at the first plaintive wail and headed, still half-asleep, for the spare room that he and Daniel had begun to turn into Caiden's room the evening before.

Leaning over the side of the crib, he pulled the crying infant up into his arms, wrinkling his nose and closing his eyes at the smell that emanated from the drooping diaper beneath Caiden's sleepsuit. "Whew, buddy. Whatever you took in last night you sure put out this morning." He stumbled tiredly over to the changetable and put the infant down, turning to grab a fresh diaper, wipes and a clean suit from the stack piled up on the dresser.

Caiden stopped crying and Jack heard an unmistakable gurgle. He opened his eyes completely and leaned forward, despite the odor, to see the baby grinning gummily up at him. "I didn't know newborns smiled so much."

Something wasn't right, Jack realized belatedly as his half-sleep state fled and complete awareness took its place. He looked at the baby again. "Oh shit," he muttered as his eyes saw the sleepsuit riding halfway up the infant's legs and arms, the suit torn open at the waist and the diaper… Jack gagged as he realized the diaper had come loose of its adhesive bearings and was mostly open, the contents leaking messily over the baby's belly and chest. "This is not a good sign, kiddo." He dropped a quick kiss on Caiden's forehead, "It'll be okay though. Your daddy and I will take care of you." He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering his own clone, swallowed down a hard lump of emotion at the memory of being told the boy would die because of the cloning technique Loki had used. That had been bad enough, but this child was part of Daniel, was Daniel in a sense, and Jack knew he couldn't bear to lose him. "It'll be okay," he said again.

Quickly and efficiently he cleaned the child up, using up almost an entire box of wipes in his effort to ensure none of the mess was left on the delicate skin. He looked askance at the diapers. They'd only bought the newborn size. Sighing in resignation, he pulled his tshirt over his head and wrapped the baby in it. "This is starting to be a regular look for you," he told Caiden, who just batted at his face with his hands and snuffled. "New fashion trend maybe? Camowear for infants?" He shifted the baby more comfortably onto his hip. "Let's go see Daddy," he said. "Won't he be surprised?"

Daniel had his head buried under the pillows when Jack entered the bedroom and sat on the bed, Caiden perched on his knees. "Daniel?" Jack sing-songed.

"It's your turn to get up to him," Daniel mumbled. "I fed him last time."

"What did you feed him, Daniel?" Jack asked. "Similac Supagrow?"

"What?" Daniel tossed the pillows aside and sat up as Jack dangled the baby in front of his face.

"He made like Topsy and growed," Jack said.

Daniel reached out and placed both hands over Caiden's ears. "Oh shit," he whispered in a horrified voice. "They're not supposed to do this, are they? Grow this big overnight?"

"No, Daniel, they're not." Jack's voice was tense as he resettled Caiden on his knee.

"Jack, remember what happened with your clone. You don't think… Thor seemed so sure that there'd be no problems with Caiden but-"

"I know. We need to take him into the SGC, see Fraiser."

"Jack, if we do that we're going to have to tell her, and probably the General as well, about us," Daniel replied.

Jack shrugged. "C'est la vie," he responded. "I'm not taking any chances with Caiden," he said firmly.

"We could contact Thor," Daniel suggested, climbing out of bed and almost falling over in his haste to pull on his jeans.

Jack shook his head. "We'd still have to go into the SGC to do that and I'd have to come up with a reason why I need to contact him." He looked up at Daniel and smiled. "Maybe it's just time we came out of the closet anyway, Daniel. Don't you ever wish we didn't have to hide and sneak around?"

"Of course, but like I keep telling you, I'm not military, and my reputation in archeological circles wasn't exactly pristine before anyway. For you, it'd mean court martial-"

"C'est la vie," Jack repeated. He wasn't sure he wanted to share their secret. He'd always liked the fact that there was a part of him that was his alone, the part that loved Daniel, that he never had to have out there in the open to be discussed and criticized. He also knew that if anyone besides Thor could help Caiden, it was a diminutive, doe-eyed Napoleonic powermonger named Janet Fraiser. He'd do whatever it took to give him that chance.

Jack stood and handed Caiden to Daniel once his lover was dressed. "We'll need to stop for more diapers and clothes on the way," he said, heading to his own side of the bed to get dressed. "This time your credit card can take the beating. And we're going to a different store. God forbid that woman from last night sees us with what she thinks is a different kid."

"Good point," Daniel said. "Next thing you know we'll be on the FBI's most wanted list. I gotta hand it to Thor, he really knows how to give the gift that keeps on giving."

Part 3