Caiden sobbed broken-heartedly as the woman holding him put him onto a chair. Jumping off immediately he ran for the door, banging on it with his fists and kicking at it with his feet. Within seconds the door was pulled open and Jack stepped into the room, crouching down to pull his son into his arms. “Look at what you’re putting him through,” he said angrily even as his hands patted Caiden’s heaving back tenderly. “He’s not much more than a baby. He doesn’t understand why you’re keeping him away from us.”
“I’m sorry,” the social worker said helplessly. “My hands are tied in situations like this. If you could just organize a copy of his birth certificate-“
“We’re trying!” Jack yelled. “It’s complicated, all right?”
“Which just makes the whole situation seem more suspect.” The Administrator grabbed for his phone as it rang and listened, his eyes going wide. “Um, yes, sir,” he said, sounding stunned. He held the phone out to Jack. “It’s for you. It’s the President. Of the United States,” he added in answer to Jack’s raised eyebrows.
Jack stepped into the hallway. “Daniel, come take Caiden for me, will ya?”
As Daniel followed him back into the office and took Caiden from him, Jack grinned at him. “Seems like we have friends in high places.” He took the phone from the obviously stunned Administrator. “Hello, Jack O’Neill speaking. Sir, it’s nice to hear from you. How’s the wife? Good. Um,” Jack stopped for a moment and quirked an eyebrow at Daniel, “it’s a little difficult to explain but I’m sure General Hammond filled you in. Long story short, we want to take our son home and it seems that’s not going to happen.” He listened for a moment longer then handed the phone over to the social worker. “He wants to talk to you,” he said, trying not to smile as she went pale, took the phone and stammered a hello.
“I think you’re coming home, Caiden,” Daniel whispered against his son’s hair.
Caiden rolled his head and smiled sleepily. “Taiden tired,” he murmured as he closed his eyes.
“You go to sleep, buddy,” Jack said, patting his back as he walked up to stand beside them. “He’s going to wake up at home in his own bed,” he said firmly, “no matter what I have to do.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Jack gave her a broad smile.
“This is most irregular but apparently I’m to allow you to take your son home right away and a copy of his birth certificate will be forwarded to my office ASAP.”
“Sweet.” Jack turned and placed an arm around Daniel’s shoulder, ushering him from the office. “Thanks for looking out for my son,” he said as he reached the door. “Believe me, I know you were just doing your job.”
“And doing what you thought best for Caiden,” Daniel added with a relieved smile. “Thanks.”
“Why, you’re welcome.”
Jack closed the door and grinned at Daniel. “Remind me to buy Siler the best bottle of Scotch his little heart desires.”
“You mean that wasn’t the President?” Daniel asked.
“Of course not. President Hayes has got far more important things to worry about than being involved in our family problems, Daniel,” Jack replied.
“Then why were they so sure it was him?” Daniel asked suspiciously.
“You’ve never heard Siler’s party trick rendition of Hayes?” Jack asked, raising an eyebrow. “Brings the house down at the SGC Christmas party every year.”
“Of course I’ve heard it,” Daniel said, hurrying down the hallway, heading for the elevator as if afraid Caiden would be snatched from his arms any minute. “I just never thought he sounded that much like the President.”
Jack leaned around him to press the call button then stood back as the doors immediately opened and General Hammond stepped out.
“Ah, I see the President kept up his end of the bargain and made the call,” Hammond said, patting the back of Caiden’s head gently. “Let’s get you three back home.”
“Told ya,” Daniel whispered smugly as he entered the car.
Jack found himself speechless. He shook his head and pressed the button for the garage level without a word.
Caiden slept all the way home and barely stirred when Jack lifted him from the car seat and carried him into the house. “Hey, buddy, we’re home,” he whispered as he tucked him into his bed.
“’night, Papa,” Caiden said sleepily.
Jack kissed the top of his head and smiled as he felt Daniel’s arms wrap around him from behind.
“Wow, he looks like he’s out for the count,” Daniel murmured, nuzzling the back of Jack’s neck. “What do you say we head off to bed too?”
Jack turned and kissed Daniel passionately. “No time like the present. Poor little guy looks tuckered out. I’m guessing he’ll sleep all night.”
Daniel moved over to the bed and dropped a kiss on Caiden’s forehead. “Night, Caiden,” he whispered, turning to grab Jack’s hand and towing him from the room and up the hallway to their bedroom.
In the bedroom, Jack turned the tables and grabbed hold of Daniel’s shoulders, backing him toward the bed, pushing him down onto it when he reached it. “Uh uh, don’t move,” he warned, holding up one finger as Daniel moved to sit up. Then as Daniel’s eyes grew wide and dark with lust, Jack stripped off. When he was naked, he fell onto the bed and pulled Daniel close, kissing him deeply. “You’ve got too many clothes on,” he whispered when they broke apart.
Daniel blinked a little and ran a hand down the middle of Jack’s chest. “Do you think we should be doing this? I mean, with Caiden in the house?”
Jack propped himself up on one elbow and gave Daniel a puzzled look. “Why not? Other people have sex with their kids in the house, asleep. It’s how they end up having more kids… Not that we will… I hope… but you know what I mean. Don’t you?”
“Of course I know what you mean,” Daniel replied. “It’s just… I mean, we haven’t actually really been able to… you know… since we got him so it just feels a little weird, that’s all.”
“Just because we haven’t had a chance to since he got here, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t,” Jack argued reasonably. “It’s a normal part of our life together and I say we should grab the opportunity while we can.”
“You think?” Daniel asked, standing up and pulling off his shirt.
“Definitely,” Jack replied emphatically, leaning back to enjoy the show as Daniel toed off his shoes, pulled off his socks then peeled off his jeans and underwear. “Most definitely,” he murmured, beckoning a finger. “C’mere.”
Daniel grinned then threw himself on top of Jack. “I love you,” he whispered as his hand closed around Jack’s erection.
“Jack? Where’s Caiden?” Daniel poked his head around the shower screen.
“I thought he was still in bed,” Jack said. “He’s probably in the living room watching The Wiggles. You taught him how to turn the TV and DVD player on, remember?”
“Already checked. I thought you might have brought him up here for a shower,” Daniel said, sounding worried now.
“No. Shit!” Daniel spun on his heels and slammed the door shut. Jack could hear the frantic thud of his footsteps as he ran down the hallway to the front door.
“Jesus!” Jack almost fell out of the shower in his haste to get dried off and dressed. Within minutes he was standing in the front yard with Daniel, looking up and down the street. “You sure you checked everywhere inside?” he asked.
“Of course I did,” Daniel snapped. “I’ve called him and called him. Nothing. I knew we shouldn’t have-“
“Knock it off, Daniel. Don’t go playing that game. We’ll find him, all right?” Jack said firmly, leading the way out onto the street. “You go that way, I’ll go the opposite way. Knock on every door. Someone has to have seen him.”
“Right. I’ll just – Damn, Jack! Where the hell could he be?”
“Go!” Jack ordered, heading off down the other end of the street and stopping at his neighbor’s house. These people were new, the old owners having moved out some two months before. Jack had seen the moving trucks arriving but he’d yet to meet his new neighbors. He walked up the driveway and knocked firmly on the door.
“Yes, can I help you?” A tall man with silver-blond hair pushed open the screen door. “We’re kinda in the middle of a small emergency here so if you’re selling something, I don’t have time to buy.”
“I’m your neighbor, Jack O’Neill-“ was all Jack had time to get out before a small Caiden-shaped whirlwind launched itself at him, hugging him around the knees.
“Papa!” Caiden crowed. “Look, they got a baby!”
Jack bent and scooped Caiden into his arms then glowered at his neighbor. “What the hell are you doing with my kid in your house?”
“Whoa, slow down, buddy. I was out in the front yard trying to get my daughter to sleep around a half hour ago when this little guy showed up. I’ve been trying to get him to tell us where he lives ever since. I was just about to call my precinct when you showed up.
“You’re a cop?” Jack put Caiden down as an earsplitting shriek of ‘Daddy!’ almost punctured his ear drums and he turned to see Daniel running up the driveway towards them.
“Yeah,” the man replied, pulling a badge out of his pocket and showing it to Jack. “Lieutenant Steve Sloan. I was just transferred here from California.” He looked back into the house over his shoulder. “Hey, Jess honey, can you come here for a minute? I think it’s time we met the neighbors.”
Jack turned away to watch Daniel pick Caiden up and swing him through the air, seat him on his shoulders then run up the driveway to join Jack on the porch. When he turned back he felt his mouth drop open in surprise.
“Hi, I’m Dr. Jesse Travers. I see you’ve met my partner. And,” the short blond man indicated the sleeping baby in his arms, “this is Abby, our daughter.”
“It’s a baby, Papa! Look, it’s real small,” Caiden said, laughing as Daniel tipped him over his head and slid him down his shoulder to the ground.
“Yep, I can see that, buddy. Look, sorry if I came on a bit strong but this is the second day in a row Caiden’s given us a fright,” Jack said, holding out his hand to Steve and then to Jesse who both shook his firmly.
“Hey, no problem. I keep telling Steve, you think it’s simple now but just wait till Abby starts crawling and walking,” Jesse replied with a grin.
“Um, I’m Daniel Jackson, by the way,” Daniel said, giving Jack a light punch on the shoulder. “Seeing as Jack’s not going to introduce us. Hey, we live right next door. How about you guys and Abby come over for a barbecue tonight? What do you think, Jack?”
“Caiden’s your son?” Steve interjected.
“Yeah, surrogate mom, you know? How about Abby?” Daniel asked.
“Oh, adopted. Her mom was a patient of mine. I’m a doctor. She died when Abby was born, wanted us to care for her,” Jesse replied.
“Yeah, we were too but she left us a wonderful gift.” Jesse sat the baby up a little so Daniel could see her better.
“Can I have it, Daddy?” Caiden asked excitedly.
“It’s a she, Caiden, and no, Daddy and Papa aren’t really in the market for another baby, cute as she is,” Daniel said, laughing. “We have our hands full enough with you. So, dinner tonight then? Around 7?”
“Sure, why not?” Steve said. We’ll see you then.” He patted Caiden’s head. “Bye, little guy.”
“You think it’s a good idea to have them over?” Jack asked as they headed home with Caiden riding high on Daniel’s shoulders again.
“Look, I know we have to be careful but we can’t keep Caiden locked away. He’s going to need to meet other kids sometime,” Daniel said. “And Steve’s a cop, Jesse’s a doctor, and they seem nice.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Jack acceded. “If I’m cooking though you get to go shopping.”
“Fair enough.” Daniel swung Caiden down from his shoulders as they reached their front door. “I think I’ll leave Caiden here though. I’ve had enough near heart attacks to last me for quite a while.”
“You and me both.” Jack bent to pick up an envelope lodged under the door. “Looks official,” he said as opened the door and let Daniel carry Caiden through while he opened it. “Well, I’ll be damned,” he said.
“What is it?”
“Caiden’s mocked up birth certificate,” Jack replied, handing the certificate over to him. “Look at the parents’ names.”
“Father: Daniel Jackson. Mother: Alison Cooper. Wow!” Daniel gave Jack a small smile. “How do you feel about her agreeing to do that?”
Jack shrugged. “Fine, I guess.” He pulled out another sheet from the envelope. “Certificate of adoption,” he read then grinned broadly as he looked over at Daniel. “Adoptive parent: Jonathan O’Neill. There’s an affidavit here stating the mother has formally relinquished her parental rights to the birth father and the adoptive father.”
“Guess we owe her a thank you,” Daniel said. “I think this was her way of trying to make up for what happened yesterday.”
“Yeah, well, I’m still not happy with what she did but this goes a ways towards making up for it,” Jack said. He pulled Daniel in for a lingering kiss. “So, go, shop.”
“Huggle, Daddy,” Caiden yelled, wrapping his arms around Daniel’s knees till Daniel crouched down and embraced him.
“Okay, I’m going now. Be good for Papa,” Daniel said, grabbing his keys and wallet and heading for the door.
“Come watch Wiggles, Papa!” Caiden crowed, grasping Jack’s hand and trying to tug him into the living room.
“Um, Daniel, how about I go shop?”
Daniel shot him a grin and sketched a salute. “No way, Jack. I live to shop.”
“Oh for crying out loud,” he heard Jack mutter over the sound of Wake Up, Jeff as he closed the door behind him.
Life with Caiden was definitely going to be a challenge. Daniel wouldn’t have had it any other way.