Category: Slash, kidfic
Summary: Caiden's starting school and Jack's not sure he can do it all alone.
Raising Caiden Story 1 is here
The next morning Caiden went off to school willingly enough. He didn’t ask any more about Daniel and Jack decided not to mention him unless he did. He saw Caiden off on the bus then headed into the Mountain to see Daniel.
On arrival he forced himself to go to his office and do paperwork he was behind then at 12 he pushed it all aside and went to the infirmary.
He approached the cubicle that was currently Daniel’s home away from home, pushed aside the curtain and unobtrusively as possible, settled into the chair by Daniel’s bedside.
Daniel turned his head away from his blank eyed appraisal of the wall and cast a somewhat nervous look at Jack.
“Hey, Daniel, remember me?” Jack asked, mentally crossing his fingers that he’d get the answer he wanted so desperately.
Daniel gave a small shake of his head then asked, “Can I speak?” in a voice just above a whisper.
Jack sighed softly then nodded. “You never have to ask permission to speak, Daniel. You’re not a slave anymore. Didn’t Dr. Fraiser explain that to you?”
Daniel nodded then went on, “I still forget.” He stopped then added, “When you asked if I remember you, did you mean from before or from when I came back here?”
“Either/or,” Jack quipped with a smile. “Look, the doc said you were being given some drug that will eventually wear off. In fact, she thinks it’s already begun to. But you might not get all your memories back right away…”
“Or ever,” Daniel murmured.
“Or ever,” Jack agreed. “Doesn’t mean you can’t make new ones though.”
“With you?” Daniel asked. He gave a nervous half-smile. “The doctor said we were close before.”
Jack shrugged. “Yes, we were… are, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. The first thing is to get you well enough to go home. Maybe being someplace familiar will help jog things loose.”
“Being here has helped a little. I remember some faces. Not the names," Daniel paused as if he were trying to search for just the right words, "just that I knew some of the people here.”
“Yeah, well, the infirmary was unfortunately a very familiar place to you, more familiar than I wanted it to be,” Jack said with a wry grin. “So, you want to come eat lunch in the cafeteria?”
“I think I’d rather stay here…”
“Actually going to the cafeteria would be an excellent first step,” Janet Fraiser said, walking in on their conversation. She patted Daniel’s shoulder gently. “You have to start somewhere, Daniel. Colonel O’Neill will stay with you.”
“I’ll stick to him like glue, Doc,” Jack said, unable to stop the small thrill he felt as Daniel smiled up at him gratefully. He got Daniel’s slippers and robe out of the cupboard then waited for Janet to bring in a wheelchair. Once Daniel was settled in it, he steered him out of the infirmary to the elevator.
As he pushed the chair, Daniel didn’t speak but as the elevator doors opened and Jack maneuvered the wheelchair out and up the hallway towards the cafeteria he couldn't help but notice Daniel's white-fisted grip on the arms of the chair.
Jack leaned forward and patted his shoulder gently. “You know the main thing you need to remember?” he asked, making it rhetorical by answering himself. “These people are all your friends. They’re people who know you, who want to help you, who…” he swallowed hard to get his emotions under control, “… missed you.”
“I won’t know what to say to them,” Daniel murmured, one hand going up as if instinctively to clasp Jack’s.
“You just say ‘hi, it’s great to be back’,” Jack said then pushed the chair through the doors.
Heads turned the minute they entered but to Jack’s everlasting gratitude no one approached them. There were a few hurried huddles and whispered conversations, a couple of hands raised in waves of greeting but no one spoke to them as they lined up in front of the buffet counter.
“So what’s it going to be today, Colonel?” Corporal Monaghan asked as she placed two plates on the counter top. “Dr. Jackson, you’ll be wanting your usual, I suppose,” she added, as if people came back after being lost for a year all the time.
Jack supposed that wasn’t too far from the truth in the SGC, especially when it came to Daniel Jackson but he still could have kissed her anyway for her common sense approach.
“What’s my usual?” Daniel whispered, turning his head so he could look up at Jack.
“If it’s Tuesday it must be meatloaf,” Jack said. He nodded over at the corporal. “Make it two. Oh, and pie with ice cream. Two of those as well.”
“Do I like pie with ice cream?” Daniel asked.
“I like it,” Jack replied, taking the plates and balancing the tray across the wheelchair’s handles. “I figure this way, if you don’t, I get two helpings. It’s win/win for me.”
He got Daniel settled at the table with their plates then told him to wait while he went back for drinks. He eyed the coffee longingly then, knowing that caffeine probably wasn’t in Daniel’s best interests at the present time, grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge instead.
He’d just sat down when he saw Carter and Teal’c enter. Carter spotted them immediately, her mouth widening into a delighted grin. Teal’c glanced at them, acknowledged Jack’s miniscule shake of the head with a nod of his own then grabbed Carter’s arm and steered her across to the buffet and then to a table across the other side of the room. Jack watched them with wry amusement from the corner of his eye. Carter’s mouth was going a mile a minute and he thought if she swiveled her head around any further to catch a glimpse of Daniel, it might just fall off. He grinned as Teal’c reached out a hand and silenced her by the simple expedient of placing a finger across her lips then leaned in and said something softly to her. He saw the raise and fall of her shoulders as she sighed heavily but then she nodded, picked up her fork and got on with eating.
“I know them, don’t I?” Daniel said quietly. “Or at least they know me.”
“Yep, Carter and Teal’c. Carter’s the blonde, Teal’c’s the big guy. They’re on our team. SG1?” He made it a question but got only a shrug of Daniel’s shoulders in response. “I’ll explain it later. Eat up. You said you want out of the infirmary. If I tell the doc you’re eating, we might just be able to swing it.”
Daniel began to eat but it seemed mechanical as if more in response to Jack’s order than to any actual desire for or appreciation of the food. He did eat it all though, Jack was pleased to see, then he picked up the water and drank most of it in just a few gulps. “Will you tell me how I know you?” Daniel asked as he waited for Jack to finish.
“When the doc says I can,” Jack replied, putting down his fork then going around to unlock the brakes on the chair and turning it towards the exit. “You still don’t remember…”
“Flashes,” Daniel said. “Bits and pieces of memories that don’t make much sense.”
“They will. Give it time. Like I told you, the doc said the drug’s almost out of your system. There’s every chance you’ll get all your memories back.”
“Okay.” Daniel folded his hands in his lap and didn’t speak till he was back in the infirmary, tucked up in bed. “Are you staying with me?” he asked when Jack didn’t sit down.
Jack glanced at his watch. He had to be home when Caiden’s bus dropped him off from school. Not for the first time, he wondered if he should take Steve and Jesse up on their offer for Caiden to stay with them whenever Jack had to work late. “Not today. There’s something I need to get home for but tomorrow I’ll stay longer and we can talk, all right?”
Daniel nodded then lay back on his pillows and closed his eyes. “Bye,” he whispered, sounding so heartbreakingly like Caiden that Jack felt his heart lurch.
“Bye,” he said back, giving Daniel’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. ”Hang in there, Daniel.”
“How was school?” Jack asked as Caiden trotted up the driveway towards him.
“Just okay? Yesterday you thought it was the coolest,” Jack said, grabbing Caiden’s backpack off his shoulders and carrying it into the house.
“I guess it is.” Caiden leaned sideways to look past Jack. “Is Daddy home yet?”
“Not yet. Soon, I promise.” Jack crouched down and pulled Caiden into his arms. “Daddy’s getting better but he needs a little more rest. As soon as I can I’ll take you to see him, I promise.” He stood up. “Tell you what. After dinner, before bedtime, why don’t we get the photo albums out and we’ll make one up just for Daddy – pictures of you from when you were a baby and the ones I took yesterday. What do you say, Chief?”
“Okay. Can we put the picture in there from when Daddy fell in the mud when we went camping? He’ll like that. It will make him laugh.”
Jack wasn’t sure what Daniel’s reaction would be to any of the photos but he grinned and replied, “Sure. Laughter’s a good thing. Okay, skedaddle and change your clothes then you can go outside and play for a while.”
“I don’t feel like playing.”
“Why not?” Are you sick? Do you hurt anywhere?” Jack reached out and put his hand on Caiden’s forehead but he felt cool enough.
“I’m not sick. I just don’t feel like playing.” Caiden tipped his head and gave Jack a small smile. “Can I just go in my room and look at the pictures for Daddy now?”
“Sure. But we’ll make the album after dinner, okay?”
“Okay.” Caiden turned and went inside.
“What’s wrong with it?” Jack asked, watching as Caiden pushed his food around his plate without taking a bite.
“Nothing. I’m just not hungry.” Caiden pushed his plate to the side then climbed off the chair. “Can we make Daddy’s book now?”
“All right.” Jack took the plates over to the sink then grabbed the new photo album he’d picked up on the way home. “How about we go see Steve and Jesse when we’ve finished? I want Jesse to take a look at you, just to make sure you’re not coming down with something.”
Caiden shrugged. “I guess. If he says I’m sick can I stay home from school and go to work with you tomorrow?”
Jack had the feeling it wasn’t his office Caiden was interested in visiting but he kept his tone non committal. “We’ll see.”
“You could take me to see Dr. Janet instead,” Caiden suggested, eagerness creeping into his voice for the first time in days. “Jesse not a kid doctor.”
“Neither is Doctor Janet,” Jack reminded him. “Look, we’ll get Jesse to check youover then I’ll call Dr. Janet and see if you can come with me tomorrow and at least see for yourself Daddy’s okay. How’s that?”
Caiden nodded enthusiastically then ran out of the kitchen and pounded up the stairs to his room. “I’ll go get the photos, Papa.”
“He’s fine,” Jesse said as he watched Abby grab Caiden by the hand and drag him off to her playroom. “No fever.”
“He’s not eating and he doesn’t want to play or have friends over,” Jack said, worry still gnawing at him.
“Jack, he’s sad. He misses Daniel. He’s worried that even though you’ve told him his Daddy’s back, he’s still never going to see him again,” Jesse said. “What medical reason is there for Daniel not being able to see him? I could talk to his doctor, if it’d help.”
“No, it’s fine.” Jack took a breath then made a decision to let Jesse in on a small part of their secret. “He’s got amnesia but his memory’s slowly coming back. Doctor Fraiser’s just concerned that seeing Caiden could set him back, that’s all.”
“God, Jack, I’m so sorry. He doesn’t remember you or Caiden?”
“Like I said, he’s beginning to. We just need to be patient. In the meantime, what do I do about Caiden. I was thinking of taking him with me to the Mountain tomorrow. Let him at least see Daniel even if he can’t speak to him…”
Jesse nodded. “Good idea. At least he’ll know for sure where Daniel is and that he’s okay.”
Mind made up, Jack called out to Caiden. “Thanks, Jess,” he said, shaking his friend’s hand. “I’ll let you know how it goes.”
Daniel watched curiously from his bed in the infirmary as Jack entered Doctor Fraiser’s office with a small boy at his side. The boy was craning his neck as if trying to look for something but Jack grabbed hold of his hand and ushered him ahead of him through to the office. Daniel wondered who the child was. Jack hadn’t mentioned having any kids though he guessed it wouldn’t be surprising if he did. Daniel had wondered the same thing about himself since he’d been back here, wondered if there was a wife of kids out there somewhere, worrying about him. He’d asked Dr. Fraiser but she’d just said everyone who needed to know where he was knew and refused to be drawn any further than that. Daniel was beginning to get frustrated by her lack of answers. He knew she had his best interests in mind but his memory was coming back so slowly that he was beginning to think he’d never know exactly who he was, or at least who he used to be.
He sat up so he could see through the window into the doctor’s office and watched as Jack lifted the boy and sat him on the desk, facing Dr. Fraiser. The doctor was smiling at the child and talking animatedly to him. The boy was nodding and shaking his head then suddenly he put his chin down and hunched his shoulders. He looked upset.
Dr. Fraiser took Jack by the arm and walked him away from where the little boy was sitting. They turned so their faces were away from the child as if they didn’t want to him to hear what they were saying. Daniel felt a small pang of empathy for the kid. He’d had that happen to him more than once in the past few days. Suddenly the boy turned his head and looked directly at Daniel. A huge grin split his face and he waved. Not sure what else to do, Daniel waved back. He saw the boy say something then Jack was back at his side. He scooped the child into his arms then hurried out of the office without even looking in Daniel’s direction.
Daniel lay back against his pillows and rubbed at his suddenly burning eyes. He’d been anxious for Jack to come see him again. There was something about him that made Daniel feel safer and more hopeful. He worried away over their last meeting, wondering if he’d said something to make Jack angry at him. He shivered. His other Master had often taken out his anger on Daniel’s back with a whip. They’d told him he wasn’t a slave anymore and the people here had been nothing but kind to him but he couldn’t help a small thrill of fear from running through him. What would Jack do if he was angry with him? Would he send him back to his old Master?
“Colonel, please wait!” Janet Fraiser hurried after Jack and Caiden, her heels clicking on the floor as she determinedly pursued them. She caught up to them at the elevator and placed a gentle hand on Caiden’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Caiden. I know how hard it is to have to wait but at least now you’ve seen that your Daddy’s okay and I promise it won’t be long till you can talk to him.” She looked up at Jack. “This was a mistake,” she said firmly. “You should have called me first.”
Jack sighed and put Caiden down on the floor. “I know. I’m sorry. It’s just so hard to see him fretting for Daniel. I just thought if he saw him for himself…”
“And if you’d asked me first I would have set it up so he could see Daniel without Daniel seeing him,” Janet went on. She bent down to Caiden’s level. “Listen, tomorrow Papa can show Daddy the photo album and then we’ll see if it’s okay for you to come back and visit, all right?”
Caiden nodded reluctantly.
“Daniel asked me if he had a wife and family yesterday,” Janet said. “I told him everyone who needed to know where he was knew he was safe. He also said he had the feeling you and he were closer than just friends or colleagues. It is coming back to him, Colonel. Just be patient a little longer. Bring the photo album tomorrow. I’ll talk to him in a while and try to see if I can jog anything else loose. Maybe it is time we started being a little more proactive rather than just letting him try to remember on his own. I’ll check with his psychiatrist to make sure but I’m pretty sure he’ll let us at least try to help things along.”
“All right.” Jack hoisted Caiden onto his shoulders and punched the elevator button. “Let’s go home, Chief.”
Daniel pretended he was asleep when Dr. Fraiser came back to the infirmary. He knew she wouldn’t answer his questions about Jack. She’d just say he needed to remember on his own. He heard her come to stand beside his bed then the cool press of her hand on his forehead.
“Hang in there, Daniel,” she whispered. “I promise we’ll get you home.”
Daniel lay awake for a long time after that, pondering her words. He’d thought he was already home, here at the SGC. After a while he really did fell asleep. He dreamed vividly. In every dream Jack was there.
It was late afternoon when he woke up. Looking over at the doctor’s office he could see the door was open. Coming to a decision, he got up and pulled on his robe then made his way across to the door. Dr. Fraiser might not want to answer all his questions but maybe she’d at least tell him where home was. The office was empty but Daniel decided to wait for a while. He’d already slept for the most of the day, now he just wanted one answer.
He sat down at the desk and looked over the stuff on top of it curiously. A telephone sat just near the edge and he picked it up. He’d seen the medical staff using them from time to time and he knew instinctively what it was for. After a few seconds a voice spoke and asked what number he wanted to call.
“This is Daniel Jackson.”
“Doctor J! Hi, it’s Melinda here. Corporal Gordon. I’m so glad to hear you’re up and about again. You looking for the Colonel? I think he’s gone home for the day but I can put you through to his home number if you want.”
Daniel swallowed. “Um, sure, thanks, Melinda.” He held the phone away from his ear and looked at it nervously. Would Jack be even angrier at Daniel for calling him? he wondered. Before he could think it through and slam the phone down he heard the other end pick up and a small voice said, “Hello? Caiden speaking. Who’s this?”
Jack looked up from his paperwork as the phone rang and Caiden ran across the room to answer it. “If that’s Abby, tell her it’s too late to play now but you can go over tomorrow after school,” he said.
Caiden nodded then picked up the receiver. “Hello? Caiden speaking,” he said politely, just as Daniel had taught him to do so long ago. “Who’s this?”
Jack watched, puzzled, as Caiden’s eyes widened and a huge smile crossed his face. “Daddy!” he yelled into the phone. “It’s me, Caiden.”
Jack’s stomach felt as if it had lurched down to his boots. Standing up, he hurried across and held out his hand for the phone but Caiden hugged it to his chest tightly and glared mutinously up at him. “It’s Daddy,” he said. “He called me, not you!”
“Caiden, let me talk to him, please,” Jack said firmly.
Sighing, Caiden held the phone up to his ear again. “Papa wants to speak to you first, Daddy,” he said. He waited for a moment then looked up at Jack, puzzlement writ large in his expressive eyes. “He said he had the wrong number and hung up. It wasn’t the wrong number, Papa. Why didn’t he want to talk to us?” Tears filled Caiden’s eyes and Jack bent and pulled him into his arms. He put the phone back on the side table. “Remember I told you Daddy’s still sick. He just got a little confused, that’s all. Maybe he was trying to call Sam or Teal’c or General George.” He tipped Caiden’s sad face up with a finger under his chin. “Papa needs to go back into work for a little while. Do you mind going over to Steve and Jesse’s till I get back? I won’t be long.”
“Will you go and tell Daddy to call me again while you’re there?”
“Sure. Of course I will.”
Daniel placed the phone back in the cradle gently then all but collapsed into the chair. The boy had called him Daddy. Maybe he thought Daniel was someone else. That had to be it, he decided, though doubt gnawed at the edges of that thought. He was tired of getting his life back in bits and pieces. Picking up the phone again, he waited till it was answered then asked Melinda to call Dr. Fraiser for him. This time he was getting answers even if he had to camp out in the doctor’s office till she gave in.