Raising Caiden

Part 6

by Annie

EMAIL: Annie

Jack pushed through the curtains surrounding the bed he'd been directed to by one of the nurses. He just stood there for a moment, drinking in the evidence of Daniel's survival. Reaching out a hand, he traced a gentle finger over one of the bandaged cuts on Daniel's forehead, pulling his hand back hurriedly as he heard footsteps enter the cubicle behind him. Turning around, he saw Dr. Cooper standing there.

"Um, I just came to check his vitals," she said, moving around him to pick up the chart from the end of the bed.

"He's still unconscious?" Jack asked, looking back at Daniel, wanting nothing more than to see him open his eyes and hear him start aggravating about getting out of the infirmary and go home.

"He regained consciousness briefly," the doctor replied. She put the chart back in its holder and walked around the bed to stand on Daniel's other side. She pulled out her penlight, peeled back one of Daniel's eyelids and shone the torch into his eyes, the action getting a groan and a swat of the hand from Daniel in response. She grinned up at Jack. "I think he's just asleep now which is a good thing. We'll keep a close eye on him overnight but he's going to be fine, Colonel, so if you want to go check on Major Kovacek..."

Jack shook his head. "I asked the nurse how Stan was on my way in. They still can't give much of a prognosis yet. I'll look in on him once he's allowed visitors." He pulled over the chair and sat down in it. "Is it okay if I wait here for Daniel to wake up?"

The doctor shrugged. "Well, I guess. You're the colonel. Um, I'm still so new here I'm not sure what the visiting regs are yet." She smiled disarmingly at him. "Kinda got thrown in at the deep end."

"That tends to happen around here. As for the regs, we tend to make them up as we go along where Daniel's concerned. In fact, Teal'c and Carter will be hovering outside in the hallway till they can get in here to check on him too." He said it with a raised eyebrow, wanting to make it sound perfectly natural that he'd be sitting here till Daniel woke up instead of off with his team or in his office doing the paperwork about this.

She nodded, smoothed down the blankets over Daniel's chest, brushed away a stray lock of hair from the cut over his eye. "Dr. Fraiser said something about him being trouble on legs."

"He is that," Jack replied softly. He looked up at her quickly, wondering if she'd caught the note of fondness in his voice but she just walked back around the bed and picked up the chart again, wrote something in it and started to leave.

"Jack..."

"Now that's what I was waiting to hear," Jack said. He leaned forward, arms on the bedrail, watching as Daniel opened his eyes slowly then quickly shut them again with a groan. One hand came up, heading toward the bandage on Daniel's head and Jack waylaid it quickly, giving it a surreptitious squeeze as he pulled it down then released it.

"What happened?" Daniel asked, slitting his eyes open again and gazing blearily up at Jack.

"You don't remember?" Jack asked.

Daniel shook his head, wincing at the pain the movement obviously caused. "We were going to meet with the Athurians. Did we go?"

"Yeah, you went. There was an earthquake." Jack looked around at Dr. Cooper who just smiled reassuringly at him and motioned at him to go on.

"Jack?" Daniel pushed himself up so he was leaning on his elbows, his face suddenly pale. "Where's Caiden?"

"He's fine. He's with Major Ross," Jack rushed to say, pushing Daniel back flat against the pillow again. He wanted nothing more than to grip Daniel's hand and tell him everything was okay but he kept his team leader persona firmly in place.

A hand on his shoulder made him look up and he saw the doctor standing there at his side, a small frown of puzzlement on her face. "You bring Caiden here to the SGC with you?" she asked.

Jack shrugged then decided not to answer and diverted her attention back to Daniel. "Is it normal for him not to remember anything about what happened?"

"Pretty common for such a bad concussion," she replied. "His x-rays and scans were clear." She leaned over the bed and smiled down at Daniel. "Dr. Jackson? Hi, I'm Ali Cooper. I'm the doctor who's been taking care of you since you came back. Do you have much pain? I can give you something for it now you're more awake..."

Daniel nodded. "That'd be good, thanks." He glanced at Jack. "An earthquake? Shit, anyone else hurt or..." He swallowed, as if unable to voice the worst.

"Stan Kovacek's pretty badly hurt," Jack replied grimly, "but they think he'll make it and..." he added quickly as it looked as if Daniel would interrupt, "he'd be dead if you hadn't gotten to him and pulled him out as quickly as you did."

"I'll just go get some medication," the doctor said, moving away towards the curtained exit of the cubicle.

"Thanks," Jack said, his eyes still focused on Daniel's face.

"Can I see Caiden?" Daniel asked. "I know he's fine with Donna but I'd just feel better if I can see him... Unless you think he'd be too frightened by all the bandages..."

Jack heard the curtains rustle closed behind him and waited until he heard the doctor's heels tapping away, taking her out of earshot. He wondered momentarily how much she'd overheard then shrugged the worry off and finally took Daniel's hand in his. "I'll go get him and bring him in for a few minutes. Teal'c and Carter want to visit too. You up to that?"

"Yeah, just ask them to wait till the Doc brings something for my headache, will you?" Daniel closed his eyes.

Jack stood up then daringly bent forward and brushed a quick kiss across Daniel's lips. "Be right back," he whispered.

~oOo~

Ali drew up the required amount of morphine then took the injection back to Daniel's cubicle, surprised to see when she entered that the colonel wasn't there. "Hey there, Dr. Jackson, it's just me again. I brought some analgesia for you."

"Call me Daniel," her patient murmured, opening eyes that reflected how much pain he was in.

"Daniel, hi, I'm Ali." She looked him over as she injected the medication. Daniel was a handsome guy, she realized. Her personal taste tended more towards a certain gray-haired colonel but she imagined that Daniel probably had his own set of female admirers on the base too. "Head's pretty bad, huh?" she asked sympathetically as he frowned.

"Yeah. Haven't had a headache this bad in a while... Well, not since the last time I got knocked unconscious, that is. That time I was on the wrong end of a zat." He grinned up at her, obviously relaxing as the narcotic hit his system and his pain abated. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. So," Ali stood for a moment, unsure how much a breach of protocol it was to ask a patient more about his team leader. Throwing caution to the winds - Daniel was apparently a civilian anyway - she asked casually, "Colonel O'Neill left then? I thought he was going to hang around for a while."

Daniel's eyelids were at half-mast now, a small smile curving his lips. "He went to bring Caiden in to see me. I want to see him before I go back to sleep..." He yawned. "Jack said Sam and Teal'c wanted to come in. Would you mind getting them for me?" He gave her a charmingly sleepy smile. "I'd really like to see them and Caiden before I pass out completely."

"So, you're pretty close to Colonel O'Neill's family then?" Ali asked, still not moving away from his bedside.

Daniel's eyes narrowed and the smile left his face. "Yep," he said. "Look, Doc... um, Ali, would you mind? I'm not sure how much longer I can keep my eyes open."

"Sure thing. Of course." Ali gathered up the detritus from the injection and walked quickly out to the waiting area outside the infirmary. "You can come in now," she said to the blonde woman and the Jaffa waiting there. Smiling, she stepped aside for them to pass her then hurried to follow them inside.

"Ali!" She turned as she heard her name called and saw Dr. Fraiser motioning her over to her office. "Damn," she muttered sub-vocally. She's been hoping to follow Major Carter and Teal'c back into Daniel's cubicle on the pretext of making sure he wasn't too tired out by his visitors and do a little recon while she was there, hopefully pick up some information on Colonel O'Neill. She nodded over at Fraiser and headed towards her, her mind going over the myriad reasons why he'd bring a small child with him to a place like the SGC. She was guessing it meant he had no wife, that Caiden's mother was dead or they were divorced...

"You with me, Ali?" A gentle tap on her shoulder brought an abrupt halt to her thoughts and she grinned apologetically at the diminutive CMO. "Sorry, just mentally catching up," she said.

"No problem," Fraiser replied, holding her office door open. "Why don't we go through the rest of your induction in here, over a cup of coffee?" She smiled. "We're less likely to get interrupted that way."

"Sure thing. I'd kill for a coffee." Ali stood back, politely letting Fraiser precede her through the door. She looked up as the infirmary doors opened and Jack O'Neill hurried in, a small boy Ali recognized as Caiden, cradled on his hip.

Fraiser grabbed her arm and pulled her into the office, closing the door behind them on O'Neill's soft words to the child about going to see Daddy.

~oOo~

"Hey there."

Daniel opened sleepy eyes as the curtains around his bed rustled open. He smiled as Jack walked across and deposited Caiden on his knees, keeping one hand around the child's waist to hold him securely in place. "Caiden, hi!" Daniel stroked his son's hair gently. "How ya doing, buddy?"

"Owie," Caiden said solemnly, one tiny finger reaching out to poke at Daniel's bandages.

"Yep, Daddy's got some owies but he's gonna be fine," Jack said, grabbing the small hand and pulling it away. "Hey, guys." He grinned up at Teal'c and Carter.

"Sir." Sam reached across the bed and tickled Caiden's tummy, grinning as he giggled and squirmed. "Hi there, Caiden."

Teal'c contented himself with a fleeting touch to the child's blond head. "I am pleased to see you again, Caiden."

Caiden gave him a huge grin. "Teak," he said.

"You know, sir, I'd be happy to watch him for a while," Carter said. "I've still got that dvd player set up in my lab." She smiled at Caiden. "Would you like to come watch Teletubbies with Auntie Sam?"

"Nope," Caiden retorted and Jack hid a smile at his son's forthright honesty.

"Um, he doesn't really like them, Carter," Jack said apologetically. "Nothing against you. Right, Daniel?" He looked at Daniel pleadingly.

"No, no, Caiden loves *you*, Sam," Daniel said quickly. "Maybe after he's visited for a half hour or so, you could come back and get him, take him for a walk to see Sergeant Siler or something."

Carter obviously got the hint, Jack realized gratefully. She nodded and led Teal'c from the cubicle. "I'll come back in about thirty minutes, sir. Teal'c and I will take him to the mess and get him some dinner, okay?"

"Thanks. Say bye, Caiden," Daniel said.

Caiden dutifully waved his hand at them as they left then turned around and lay down on Daniel's chest, his small arms wrapping around as far as he could reach in a hug.

Daniel wrapped his own arms around Caiden's back and closed his eyes with a sigh as Jack placed a hand over his. Within minutes, both Daniel and Caiden were snoring quietly and Jack regretted not having a camera to photograph the sight for perpetuity. Instead he sat down in the chair and watched his family sleep.

~oOo~

"So, that about does it," Janet said as she stood up and offered Ali her hand to shake. "Welcome to the madness that is the SGC. I really hope we haven't scared you off."

Ali smiled back. "No way. I grew up in a family of four boys. I can handle anything the Air Force throws at me, Dr. Fraiser."

Janet looked at her watch. "Well, we're both off-duty now so feel free to call me Janet," she said. "Hey, you want to come have a drink or two at my place? My daughter's staying over with a friend tonight and I could use some serious downtime. We could order in pizza or Chinese."

"Sure, that'd be great. I'm on my own at home now the boys are all off at college. Dad's moved to Florida so I get a little lonely at times. I think I'm just used to the noise five guys make." Ali walked out into the infirmary and looked over at Daniel's cubicle. She could see a shadow outlined against the curtains. "Um, so I'll meet you in the parking garage," she threw back over her shoulder to Janet as she left.

~oOo~

Ali sipped on her bourbon and coke and looked speculatively across the top of the glass at Janet. She was itching to get the CMO to spill her guts about all things O'Neill but she was canny enough to know a frontal assault wouldn't do it. They were both women after all, and in Ali's experience there was nothing women liked doing more than dishing the dirt on the guys they worked with, as long as they could make it look like that *wasn't* what they were doing. So she asked about Stan Kovacek's condition first, offering insightful suggestions into his treatment then wheedled enough information out of Janet under the guise of wanting to know more about how the various SG teams were set up that it seemed perfectly natural, she hoped, when she broached the subject of SG1. "So, they have an Air Force colonel, an Air Force major who's also an astrophysicist, an alien warrior, and a civilian archeologist on their team?" she asked, trying to sound as disingenuous as possible.

"Mm-hmm," Janet said, nodding agreement.

"Oh, I just wondered because you said Major Kovacek's team was a diplomatic team so I assumed Dr. Jackson would be on an archeological team," Ali replied.

"Well, Daniel's been part of SG1 from the beginning," Janet said. "SG1 has always been Colonel O'Neill, Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c."

"Must be hard to maintain a family life when you're off-world so much," Ali mused. "I mean, I've met Colonel O'Neill's son, Caiden. I'm guessing he's not married." Janet arched an eyebrow at her and Ali jumped in with her explanation. "He told me he'd brought Caiden into the SGC with him today so I just thought... You know, it's not the kind of place most people would bring a child to if they had someone to leave them with..."

"Colonel O'Neill's divorced," Janet said. The doorbell rang and she jumped up, grabbing for her purse. "Let me just pay the delivery guy. I'll be right back."

"You sure? I should buy dinner," Ali said. "You bought the drinks after all."

"It's fine," Janet replied. "Why don't you grab the cutlery from the drawer there?"

"No problem." Ali moved over and opened the drawer, pulling out the cutlery, and then after a few seconds opening and closing of doors, the plates. She set them down on the table then walked across to the hutch in the corner of the kitchen, idly picking up and looking at the photos displayed there.

"Is this your daughter?" she asked casually as she heard Janet re-enter the kitchen. She turned around, holding out the photo of a smiling young girl surrounded by SG1 and General Hammond. The little girl held a small fox-like dog on her lap.

Janet put the take-out boxes on the table and walked over, taking the photo from Ali's hand. "Yeah, that's Cassie. That was taken just after I formally adopted her. The dog's Boomer. Colonel O'Neill gave him to Cassie, fed her some line about all kids having to have a dog." Janet smiled fondly as she placed the photo back in place.

"You must all be good friends," Ali observed wistfully, waving a hand at the other photos on the hutch. "You have a lot of pictures of them and you together."

"We've known each other a long time," Janet said quickly, her tone now sounding guarded. "So, let's eat, shall we? I'm starved."

"I'm sorry." Ali sat down at the table and spooned some food onto her plate. "I didn't mean to pry. I'm just interested in people. My dad always used to say that's why I'd be a good doctor..."

"It's fine. You are a good doctor, from what I saw today. Look, I'm sorry," Janet replied. "I'm so used to being careful with what I tell people who visit I tend to forget sometimes when I'm with someone who's signed the same non-disclosure agreement I did." She picked up her glass and took a sip. "You obviously know Teal'c's not from Earth. Neither is Cassie," she said.

TBC