Raising Caiden

Part 7

By Annie

EMAIL: Annie

If he'd been aching all over before, Daniel thought, rolling over to watch Jack sleep, he wasn't anymore. Now he just felt boneless, sated, and happier than he'd ever thought he would be in his life. Reaching out with one hand, he brushed his fingers across Jack's forehead, smiling to himself as Jack's brows drew down in a frown.

"I'm sleeping," Jack muttered.

"Sorry," Daniel said with a smile. He leaned forward and kissed the frown away.

"Why aren't you sleeping?" Jack asked. "Looks like Caiden's actually going to sleep all night and you're wasting time looking at my ugly mug."

"I like looking at your ugly mug," Daniel replied. He snuggled closer to Jack, sighing as Jack reached out an arm and pulled him in.

"You sure you're not in pain?" Jack asked.

"Nope, sex is great for pain. Endorphins and all that good stuff," Daniel said. "I was just thinking about how happy I am with you and Caiden. Life's good, you know?"

"Yeah, it is. Be even gooder if you went to sleep," Jack grunted.

"Gooder?" Daniel muffled his laughter in Jack's shoulder. "Okay, sleeping now."

He felt Jack kiss the top of his head as he fell asleep.

~oOo~

There was something damp on his ear and Daniel rolled over, opening his eyes.

"Wake up!" Caiden shouted.

Daniel recoiled, grasping his newly aching head. "Shi-"

Jack slapped a hand over his mouth and whispered, "Watch the language in front of the kid," into Daniel's dry ear. "Caiden, Daddy has a headache," he added as he climbed over Daniel to pick the child up.

"Owie not better?" Caiden asked. He held out his bandaided finger. "Taiden's owie all better."

"Yes, well, Daddy's not the tough guy you are," Jack said, ignoring the glare Daniel shot his way. "Let's go make breakfast."

"Yay! Pancakes!" Caiden hooted in glee.

Jack held him away from his chest a little. "How much did you drink last night?' he asked rhetorically. He glanced down at Daniel. "Time for toilet training, methinks."

Daniel sat bolt upright at that. "I don't know how to toilet train a kid. I've never even had a puppy to paper train. You do it."

"It's not exactly a one-off job, Daniel," Jack replied. "We both need to work together on it." He started carrying Caiden from the room, pausing at the doorway to shoot Daniel a grin. "It could take months of sitting next to him in the bathroom, running the faucet and singing water-related nursery songs."

"Oh for crying out loud," Daniel moaned. "You know, Thor could've at least given us a toilet trained one," he called after Jack.

Jack ignored him while Caiden waved a cheerful goodbye over Jack's shoulder.

"Shit," Daniel whispered.

"Heard that."

By the time Daniel had showered and dressed and made it out to the kitchen, he could smell that the pancakes were well underway. He leaned against the doorframe and watched Jack swooping "airplanes" of food into their son's mouth. There were times like this when he just knew they'd done the right thing, keeping Caiden, coming out about their relationship. He also wondered whether perhaps these everyday actions sometimes stabbed at Jack, made him remember Charlie and Sara-

"Whatchya thinking about?" Jack asked, wiping Caiden's chin with a damp facecloth and then taking the empty dish over to the sink. He detoured to the fridge to pour juice into a sipper cup and handed it to Caiden before walking over to stand in front of Daniel, loosely looping his arms around Daniel's waist.

"Nothing." Daniel shook his head and straightened up. "You leave any food for me?"

"Fortunately for you, you got here before the human vacuum could hoover it all up," Jack said. He planted a noisy smacker of a kiss on Daniel's mouth then walked back to the stove and pulled a stack of pancakes from the oven. "And the answer is yes," he added as he set the plate on the table then pulled Caiden up out of the highchair and set him on his feet.

"Yes what?" Daniel asked as he sat down and covered his pancakes with syrup.

"Yes, having him brings back memories but only the good ones," Jack replied.

"How did you know-" Daniel shook his head then shrugged. He and Jack had been so attuned almost from the day they'd met. Jack knowing what he'd been thinking really shouldn't surprise him anymore. "I'm glad," he said instead.

Jack took Caiden's small hand in his and began to lead him from the room. "We're making new memories, Daniel, for me, for you, for Caiden. That's what's important now. The others, the ones of Charlie and Sara will still be there. But these are the ones that matter most to me now."

Daniel nodded, his eyes burning with emotion.

"And now, my little munchkin," Jack said, scooping Caiden up onto his shoulders, "it's potty training time. Papa will get you settled and then when Daddy's eaten his breakfast, he's going to come and sing with you while Papa takes a shower."

"I just knew there was a reason that wasn't altogether altruistic to you letting me sleep in," Daniel called after them.

"The early bird catches the worm, Daniel," Jack yelled back, "or in this case avoids the singing next to the potty job."

~oOo~

By the fifteenth run through of Incy Wincy Spider Climbed Up The Water Spout and the occasional segue into Rain, Rain Go Away, Daniel wasn't sure who was more bored - he or Caiden. Despite his heartfelt emphasis on any lyrics that alluded to water and the fact that the faucet had been running for a good twenty five minutes, Daniel was sure there's been no tell-tale sounds that Caiden had done what he was supposed to do. Just in case the roaring of the faucet and his own out of tune singing had drowned out any tinkling noise, he lifted the boy off the potty and checked. Bone dry. Sighing, he plonked Caiden back in place and sat down again himself. Jack hadn't actually said how long they were supposed to sit here and Jack himself had been noticeably absent for some time. He rubbed at his still sore ribs and realized he could use his injuries to his advantage. "Jack!"

He smiled as Jack's face appeared at the door, his hair conspicuously dry which meant he'd been out of the shower for some time. "My ribs are killing me. I don't suppose you could bring me some Tylenol3?"

Jack blinked. "Why the hell didn't you say you were still in pain?" he growled, walking across to lever Daniel to his feet. "Do you need to go back to the infirmary?"

Daniel allowed himself to lean into Jack's side. "Nope. Just some painkillers will be fine. I just got a little stiff sitting on the floor for an hour singing nursery rhymes!"

"I was in the shower for exactly seventeen minutes," Jack stated. He looked at his watch. "You're only supposed to sit him there for a few minutes, you know."

"No, I didn't know, Jack. You didn't tell me that." Daniel straightened up and pulled away from Jack.

"'top fightin'," Caiden said peremptorily.

"Sorry, buddy," Jack said, patting the child's head.

"Tiss!" Caiden commanded and Jack gave Daniel a peck on the lips.

"See," he said, "Papa and Daddy aren't fighting anymore."

"Don't like potty," Caiden said flatly as he stood up and waddled to the door, his pants sagging around his ankles.

"You did this on purpose," Daniel hissed at Jack. "You knew I didn't know how long I was supposed to keep him there-"

"I tan heeear you!" Caiden called over his shoulder.

~oOo~

Daniel gratefully took the tablets Jack pushed into his hand and swallowed them down with a sip of juice.

Caiden had happily allowed himself to be rediapered and was now sitting in his beanbag on the floor of the living room, contentedly watching Dora the Explorer. Dora was a new passion and Daniel was rather glad for the respite from the repetitions of 'Wake Up Jeff' that had been Caiden's usual programming of choice till now.

Jack sat across from him. "Sorry," he murmured. "I shouldn't have made you sit there with him so long. I really did forget you were there."

"Riiight," Daniel replied. He rubbed at his ribs that really were aching now but waved away Jack's worried look. "No biggie. I'll go lie down for a while when Caiden has his nap."

Jack leered at him. "Want me to help you relax?"

"Somehow you and me in bed doesn't bring relaxation to mind," Daniel replied.

Jack lowered his voice. "You were the one who said sex was great for pain relief."

"I just knew that was gonna come back to bite me in the ass," Daniel said, laughing. "No, Jack, thanks for the offer but I really could use a nap. These meds really knock me out."

Jack looked over at Caiden who'd fallen asleep, chin resting on his chest. "Okay, how about I get both my favorite guys to bed and then I'll do some cleaning up?"

"Sounds good." Daniel got to his feet and walked across to the living room, waiting till Jack hoisted Caiden into his arms. Then he dropped a kiss on Caiden's head and another on Jack's mouth. "I'm gonna go crash. Don't let me sleep more than an hour though."

~oOo~

There was a buzzer sounding in his head. It was annoying and extremely persistent. Daniel groaned and stuck his head under the pillow. The buzzing stopped suddenly and then there was a low murmur of someone talking. "Jack?"

The couch dipped as Jack sat down next to him. "Sorry. I must have nodded off too."

Daniel lifted the pillow and glowered at him. "While you were cleaning?"

"Yeah, well, I didn't actually make it back to the kitchen. Caiden wouldn't go down unless I lay down with him and next thing I knew the phone was ringing out here."

Daniel lifted the pillow away from his face and tossed it onto the floor. "Jack, you can't just give in to him about everything. He has to have a routine."

"I know. Next time for sure. He was looking ready to pitch a fit and I didn't want him to wake you so…" Jack planted a gentle kiss on one of the bandaged cuts on Daniel's cheek.

"I love you," Daniel said, smiling. "So, who was on the phone?"

"Hammond. I have to go in for an hour or two, finish up some paperwork…"

"Get them to send someone out here with it."

"Okay, so it's not exactly paperwork per se. The Athurians want a sit rep on whether we'll go ahead with the treaty. Seems they think we're mad at them for the earthquake and will pull out of the deal."

Daniel sat up, a little too quickly. The room spun momentarily and he grabbed Jack's arm for support. "I should be the one going in-"

Jack shook his head. "You're still on sick leave."

"But I brokered the deal."

"Yeah, you're also one of the guys who got hurt. So, just leave it to me. I have brokered deals before, you know."

"Fine." Daniel flopped back, forgetting the pillow was on the floor and banged his head on the arm of the couch. "Ouch," he muttered sourly.

"I'll call Carter or Fraiser, see if one of them can come keep an eye on Caiden till I get back," Jack said, standing up and heading for the phone.

"I can look after him on my own," Daniel protested.

"Daniel, you can barely move without groaning and you almost passed out from that headspin just now. I know you can cope with him but would it hurt to have a little backup just till I get back?"

Daniel shook his head. "Guess not. Go, make your calls. I'll just lie here on the sofa and play Camille."

"And a lovely Camille you make," Jack said with a wink, picking up the phone.

~oOo~

"Janet can't make it either?" Daniel asked, swinging his legs over the side of the couch as Jack hung up the phone again.

"Nope, she's already on duty and Cassie's in school. Carter's working on those soil samples you guys managed to collect before the earthquake hit, and Hammond needs her report when we meet with the Athurians. Maybe I should just take him with me…"

"Jack, just go. We'll be fine. If he wakes up before you get back, Caiden and I will sit on the beanbag together and watch the Wiggles or something." Daniel shuddered at the thought but whatever it took to keep Caiden amused for an hour he could sit through.

"No Teletibbles," Jack warned with a grin.

"No Teletibbles. Now go, get out of here before the Athurians think we really don't want to go through with the deal."

Jack crossed the room to give him a kiss and Daniel waved him off.

~oOo~

Okay, Ali thought as she sat in her car at the end of the street, this hadn't perhaps been the brightest idea she'd ever had in her life. She'd always considered herself a sensible, steady person, mature beyond her years. She'd had to grow up fast and that had left little time for spur of the minute decisions or letting her heart rule her head. This was different, she told herself. This could be the real thing. She'd felt an instant attraction toward Colonel O'Neill and she was sure it had been reciprocated. There'd been a bond right from the first time they met. Hell, even the Colonel's son liked her and she knew guys liked women who got along with their kids. Finally she realized that she couldn't just sit there forever. It made her look like a stalker. Steeling her resolve she put the car in gear and drove up to the address she'd looked up on the personnel files. There was a car in the driveway. It looked a little sporty for the Colonel's taste but then she didn't really know all that much about the guy after all.

~oOo~

Daniel groaned as the doorbell rang. Great, just what he needed - Avon or Mormons calling. Sighing, he pushed himself off the couch and made his way to the door before the caller could ring again and wake Caiden up. "Um, hi," he said as he opened the door. "I didn't know the SGC docs made house calls."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Ali said. She looked around him. "I thought this was Colonel O'Neill's house. I guess personnel must have screwed up." She offered an apologetic smile.

"Nope, no mistake. This is Jack's house. Um… I'm just staying here for a few days R&R. Jack got called back to the SGC though so-"

"Hi, Daddy!"

Daniel groaned inwardly at Caiden's timing and turned from the door, smiling from the teeth out. "Hey, buddy. You awake already?"

"I'se hungry," Caiden said, running across to attach himself limpet-like to Daniel's leg. "Where's Papa? I want pancakes."

Daniel ran a hand over his hair then scooped Caiden up in his arms."Maybe you can catch up with the Colonel at the base…" He winced as Caiden's weight pulled at his sore ribs.

"You okay?" Ali asked, sounding concerned. "Look, why don't I come in and give you a hand getting Caiden something to eat then I'll give you a quick check up-"

"Oh no, I couldn't ask you to do that-" Daniel began.

Ali patted his hand reassuringly. "It's fine, Doctor Jackson. Really. I insist."

Daniel hesitated for a moment then took a step back and ushered her into the house.

TBC