Category: Humour, Fluff, Mpreg, Romance, Angst
Summary: Family comes first...
⋄ Part 1: Your Mother Told you there'd be days like these...
⋄ Part 2: Tales to Tell Your Grand Children
⋄ Part 3: Life Sure Ain't Ever Easy
⋄ Part 4: Take a Chance and Roll the Dice
Notes: Thanks to Oxoniensis for the thorough beta, to Carla for being there as the fic took shape and for the final beta of it. And thanks to you guys on LJ, who helped me along -- especially you, BB *g*
Jack finished his own cup of coffee and poured more of the black liquid into another mug, before he made his way back to his bedroom. *Their* bedroom, really, since he'd shared it with Daniel for the past four months. Shared his house, living and breathing with the other man, and best of all? Jack pushed the door open and stopped for a moment. Best of all was that Daniel was currently sprawled out, face down, across *their* bed. Jack didn't even bother hiding the huge grin on his face. On top of the covers and as naked as the day he'd been born, just the way Jack liked his linguist.
Setting the cup down on the bedside table, Jack sat down on the bed, careful to not awaken the other man. Not that it seemed to be possible, judging from the low snoring, muffled by the pillow in which Daniel's head was currently buried.
Jack reached out, rubbing Daniel's neck in slow, light circles, feeling him respond even in his sleep, moving into Jack's touch. With a wide smile, Jack scooted further onto the bed, turning to sit on his knees, straddling Daniel's lower back. It spoke volumes that he could get away with it without Daniel waking up. Over the last couple of months, Daniel's trust in him had grown far more than it had even through all the years they'd worked together.
The first morning Jack had attempted anything like this, Daniel had almost thrown him out of bed, before finally reaching a state where he was clearheaded enough to understand that it had been Jack touching him. Now? Jack could get away with most things before Daniel was awake, and as he'd discovered early on, once Daniel was relaxed enough about it, it mellowed the other man. Daniel wasn't a morning person, but touching and light making out in the morning did a hell of a lot to remedy that -- and coffee took care of the rest.
Leaning down, Jack whispered into Daniel's ear, "Got your java, Doctor Jackson, wakie-wakie." Staying where he was, Jack stretched and pulled out the bedside drawer, snatching up a little brown glass bottle of massage oil. Oh yeah, time to make sure that he had a nicely relaxed lover at his disposal for the rest of the day. As he sat back up, he couldn't help the chuckle at what people at the base would say if they could see the SGC's 2IC at that very moment. Then again, probably just as well they couldn't, since Jack wasn't too keen on seeing the inside of some stupid prison cell and nor was he interested in a dishonourable discharge from a job he loved.
Jack had to admit, as he opened the bottle and warmed the oily substance between his hands, that if push came to shove, there really wasn't a choice. As much as the USAF had been his life, he wasn't about to lose Daniel to it -- any match, anytime and Daniel would win. Dropping a dry kiss on Daniel's nape, Jack smiled. Oh yeah, he was definitely becoming an old sap.
Starting out with a light, gliding pressure, Jack worked out the knots he could find in Daniel's neck and shoulders, well aware that Daniel was awake, if still slightly dazed. No, no one could claim that the younger man was a morning person, but it said a lot that he indulged in Jack's small needs. As well as the not so small ones, Jack grinned.
"You're a dirty old man, Jack," mumbled Daniel into his pillow, "and you *play* dirty too."
Jack's hands stilled. "Want me to stop?"
Daniel groaned. "No, please carry on, Colonel."
"Yessir!" Jack dug his fingers into Daniel's muscles, enjoying the shivers running through the other man and the mumbled words of appreciation, barely audible.
A few minutes later, Jack let go of his prey and pulled back enough for Daniel to turn around. Sleepy blue eyes blinked up at him and a strong arm was draped over his thigh, hand possessively clamped down on his ass. "You mentioned coffee?"
Jack grinned and dumped down next to his friend. "Would I dare wake you up without?"
"Not now that you're housebroken, no."
"Once burned, twice shy?" Jack answered, deciding to let the 'housebroken' comment slip. Just this once.
Daniel looked at him over the edge of the cup. "Something like that," he grinned.
Daniel finished his cup slowly, eyes closed and small contented noises escaping him. Jack shifted a little. Did the man not know what he was doing to Jack?
Daniel's eyes slowly opened, shining with mischief. Oh he knew, alright, he definitely knew, and he didn't consider it too low to use. Much to Jack's delight, as a moment later he was pushed down into the mattress as Daniel tried to touch as much of Jack as possible, wriggling on top of him.
"I hope you're willing to finish this, Daniel..." mock-threatened Jack between kisses.
"Oh, don't worry, Jack, you'll get what you deserve." With that, Daniel began moving, slowly, skin slippery with massage oil. As their movements became more urgent, Jack rolled them over and pinned Daniel beneath him, catching the lightly parted lips with his own. Heat building in his body and the pleasant ice and fire feel curling around his spine, had Jack gasping for air a moment later, and he couldn't hold back his release as warm wetness hit his belly and he himself followed Daniel a moment later.
As they lay nicely snuggled up against each other, Daniel nuzzled Jack's ear and whispered, "I like your version of Saturday mornings, Jack."
Jack sniggered, "Me too, Daniel, me too."
A long, strong finger drew invisible patterns on Jack's chest. "I'm also thankful for being a man again."
"Oh, me too, definitely." Jack closed his eyes and remembered what had happened those fateful four months back. Clearly they'd been stupid, since it had taken Daniel's, short, but uncomfortable, transformation into a woman, to make them both realise that they wanted the same thing. Preferably both as men. Not that Jack hadn't liked Daniel as a woman, but the other man was clearly more comfortable in his own skin. And to tell the truth, so was Jack. A lazy, evil grin spread on his face.
"Dirty thoughts again, old man?"
"Are they ever clean when you're around?" Jack's hand strayed down over Daniel's abdomen, fingers spread to cover as much skin as possible. He opened an eye to check the other man. "Are you gaining weight, Daniel?"
"Not that I know of, why?" Daniel's voice was muffled as he buried his face in Jack's neck, tongue teasing the sensitive skin under Jack's ear.
"You're meeting me in the gym Monday morning, Daniel."
"Don't be an ass, Jack," Daniel grinned. "I'll cut back on the candy bars, okay?"
Jack grinned as he lost himself in the feel of Daniel exploring his neck. Half an hour later, Daniel finally pulled back, reluctantly.
"Hey, where' ya goin'?" Jack caressed the thigh draped over his own.
"Bathroom," Daniel answered with a puzzled frown before leaving Jack, who noticed the odd expression on the younger man's face, but didn't call him on it. Only God, or more likely, the Ancients, knew what was going on inside that thick skull of Daniel's. Jack definitely didn't.
Jack jumped out of the way, barely avoiding being run over by Daniel, who was obviously in a hurry to get out of the briefing room. With a worried frown Jack considered following him, but then again, he wasn't suicidal and if there was an explanation, Daniel would eventually share it -- hopefully. And hadn't the man looked a bit pale?
Shaking his head, Jack made his way towards the commissary. The briefing hadn't taken long and the mission seemed to promise lots of playground for both his kids and a nice calm watch for Jack and Teal'c. Uninhabited, ancient ruins and a possible naquada deposit. It really sounded good.
Joining the rest of his team, Jack noticed they were sans linguist, but that in itself wasn't much of a surprise. Only, after the man's hurried departure from the briefing room, Jack was beginning to feel a slight unease. And he wasn't the only one.
"Sir," Sam began, right after they'd sat down at their table, "is everything okay with Daniel?"
Jack shrugged, not really knowing what to say. She was voicing his own concerns and he wasn't sure what was going on with Daniel, only that something was definitely amiss.
"Indeed, O'Neill, I too have observed some rather strange behaviour and mood changes in DanielJackson." And if Teal'c was voicing his worries, it was bad. It wasn't as if any of them could pass off their behaviour as 100% normal even on a good day. They may be the SGC's flagship as a team, but they had a hell of a reputation.
"Yeah, I know, and if it continues I am *definitely* going to corner him about it."
"Corner who about what, Jack?" Daniel appeared at the table, setting down his plate next to Carter's, right across from Jack.
"Nothing import..." Jack trailed off as he looked at Daniel's plate. And he wasn't the only one. The other two members of the team were staring as well.
Daniel sat down and began eating, not noticing the stares he was getting from his friends.
"Daniel?" Jack felt his own appetite shrink a bit.
"Yes, Jack?" Daniel didn't look up, busy with his... meal.
"Daniel, that's just... disgusting," Sam said, staring as much as the others.
"What?" Daniel gave her a puzzled look, "I thought you liked jell-o."
"I... eh, I do, Daniel, it's just... not normally in connection with meatloaf." Sam looked very much as if her appetite was going the same way as Jack's. Even Teal'c looked as if he was contemplating skipping dinner.
Daniel looked down into his plate, a puzzled frown on his face. Then shrugged and ate his... treat.
The mission went smoother than Jack could've ever hoped for. With the exception of Daniel getting 'gate sick, but Jack contributed that to his disgusting choice of food earlier. And it wouldn't have caught his attention if not for Daniel's mood swings and the fact that the second morning of the mission, the day they were going home, he'd woken to an empty tent, hearing someone throwing up nearby.
Jack had stayed quiet, eyes closed, faking sleep when Daniel had returned to the tent, gingerly slipping into his sleeping bag next to Jack without saying anything.
Back at the Mountain, sitting around the table in the briefing room, Jack's eyes kept straying to Daniel, worried that something might be wrong. Nothing seemed to be, though Daniel looked a little annoyed, a small frown on his face.
Jack hadn't thought too much of it, still having reports to write when the briefing had finished, but when he'd gone to Daniel's office to pick up the younger man, to go home early in the evening, he came upon a rather strange scene.
His mild mannered friend was standing in the middle of the room, giving a marine a piece of his mind. And the marine looked like he was about to turn tail and run, an expression of hope crossing his face when he saw Jack enter the office.
"Daniel?" Jack wasn't entirely sure what to do or say. It seemed that the poor man had said something to Daniel that had pissed the man off beyond words. Jack had heard Daniel being snarky before. Normally the man was subtle about it. Hell, Jack had been at the receiving end more often than not in the past. But to actually be treated to the sight of a 6 foot 5, broad shouldered Marine cowering like that... priceless and a little worrying.
"Jack!" Daniel flashed him a quick smile before returning his attention to his prey. "And don't make the mistake of forgetting that."
"Yessir!" The marine fled the office, a look of relief on his face as he passed Jack and saluted him. Jack returned the salute and turned his attention back to Daniel.
"Something wrong, Daniel?" he asked.
"No, nothing to worry about, anyway," Daniel answered, grabbing his jacket. "Home?"
"Yep." Jack let his lover pass him before following him out and down the hallway to the elevator. He couldn't quite shake the feeling that something was obviously wrong and for a split second, a lot of Daniel's behaviour reminded him of Sara, back when... Shaking his head, Jack dismissed the idea. Daniel had been checked out by Janet, and she hadn't mentioned anything about being...
"Jack?" Daniel nudged his shoulder. "What's going through that thick skull of yours?"
"Nothing, Daniel, nothing important." Jack smiled at him. "Wanna cook tonight or just grab take-out?"
"Mmmm, cook, I think." Daniel leaned back against the wall. "Shop on the way home?" he asked.
Pulling into the parking lot of the supermarket, Jack turned to Daniel when he'd shut off the engine. "Daniel?"
"Yeah?" Daniel answered with a smile.
"Are you okay?"
"Why shouldn't I be?" Daniel frowned
"It's just... you're gonna think me crazy, but hear me out," Jack pleaded.
"You've been having mood swings, throwing up, odd eating habits lately, I'm worried about you." Jack paused for a moment, searching for the right words. "It's just that those are typical symptoms of pregnancy." There, he'd said it.
Daniel stared at him. "Jack..."
"Daniel, please, I know you went to see Janet, but still..."
Daniel didn't answer, biting his bottom lip and slipping down into the seat a little.
"You did tell Janet, didn't you?"
"She knows about you and me, Jack," was all Daniel would say.
"Daniel, did you tell her we had sex?" Jack drew a deep breath. "Unprotected sex?"
Daniel's lack of answer was enough to verify what Jack had feared. "Daniel, you know..."
"I know," came the whispered answer. "But I'm sure it's nothing, Jack, just a cold or flu of some kind."
A pleading look from Daniel was enough to silence him, but he nevertheless managed to sneak a pregnancy test below Daniel's radar. Just in case, somehow, he could convince Daniel to take it. Oh, he could always whine until Daniel gave in. It had worked before when there was something Jack wanted Daniel to do. He wasn't above using that tactic. Besides, this was for Daniel's best. And it would ease Jack's worries a lot. He'd just put it in the bathroom and find a way to tell Daniel about it.
Jack wasn't sure what had woken him. Turning his head to look at his clock radio, he realised it was only 2AM. Then he noticed the lack of a body next to him. Daniel.
It was amazing how quickly Jack had become used to sharing his bed with Daniel. Sure, they needed to be careful -- if they were found out, there'd be hell to pay. Thankfully, even before they'd started their relationship, Daniel had stayed over quite often, so no one really seemed to notice that now it was more the exception from the rule when they spent a night in their own beds, apart.
As Jack got out of bed and made his way down the hallway, he mused over the fact that what had woken him was the lack of arms holding him. No one would ever guess that Colonel Jack O'Neill slept best in the arms of another man. And not just any man. Sure, he held Daniel sometimes, but no matter how they went to sleep, he always woke with Daniel holding him. Not that Jack would ever admit to that outside the bedroom, but it was nice that way.
The bathroom was empty and dark, as was the kitchen. The living room had no illumination either, but Jack could just make out the figure sitting on the couch, the pale moonlight outlining the other man.
"Been up long?" Jack asked casually.
"A couple of hours," came the short reply.
"Something wrong?" Jack didn't move to join Daniel on the couch. The other man was radiating 'please, keep your distance'.
"I... I honestly don't know." Daniel didn't move away, his voice a little shaky.
"Daniel?" Jack finally just went and sat down next to him. As much as he respected the other' man's need for space, Jack *needed* the nearness, and on some level, so did Daniel.
"I've just set up the third test," Daniel admitted, sounding more than a little stressed.
Jack didn't have to ask what test he was talking about. So Daniel had found it on his own. Jack wasn't sure how to ask.
"It should be done right about now," Daniel finally said, before getting up and going for the bathroom.
Jack sat back on the couch, thoughts racing through his head. Third test... did that mean...? A few minutes passed before Jack simply stood and followed Daniel. He found him standing in front of the mirror, leaning heavily on the sink.
Jack knew better than trying to say anything, so he did what he always did, touched to reassure, to comfort. He slipped up behind Daniel and put his arms loosely around the other man.
For a moment Daniel tensed, but he relaxed again when Jack rested his chin on Daniel's shoulder, meeting his eyes in the bathroom mirror.
"I'm a freak," stated Daniel in a low voice.
"No, you're not," countered Jack, while he gently rubbed Daniel's hips with his thumbs, small soothing circles.
Daniel put his hands on his abs. "It's showing, isn't it?"
Jack folded his hands over Daniel's. "Not much."
With a sigh, Daniel leaned his head back on Jack's shoulder, eyes closed. "Yet," he finished for Jack.
They stood like that for a long time, rocking back and forth, gently, taking comfort in simple physical nearness.
"We need to talk to Janet... and the General," Jack finally stated.
"Jack..." Daniel begun, as he turned around to face Jack.
"You know I'm right, Daniel," said Jack, as he tugged at Daniel's hand, communicating that he'd really like to get back to their warm bed.
Daniel didn't answer, but he let Jack lead him back into the bedroom and under the covers. Unlike any other night, though, Daniel curled up in Jack's arms, needing for once to be the one who was held.
Jack came to a stop outside the door to Dr. Frasier's office, took a deep breath and knocked.
"Yes?" came the muffled reply.
Pushing the door just open enough to look inside, Jack caught sight of a very nervous looking Daniel, sitting opposite Janet at her desk.
"Colonel, just the man I wanted to see, do come in," Janet said, voice cold as ice.
Jack winced and exchanged a pained look with an equally miserable looking Daniel.
Janet pointed at a vacant chair next to Daniel's. "Sit!" she commanded.
Jack squashed the urge to come to attention and salute the petite woman. He outranked her, sure, towered *physically* over her, but when Doc Frasier told you to do something, in *that* voice... you obeyed.
"I swear, Colonel, Doctor Jackson, if this is some kind of stupid joke..."
"It's not, Janet," Daniel answered her, in a low voice.
"In that case, Colonel?" Janet's attention swung to Jack.
"Yes?" Jack hardly dared breathe.
"What the *hell* were you thinking?"
Jack opened his mouth to answer, but Daniel intercepted him.
"It's not his fault, Janet," Daniel said in a slightly higher voice.
"The hell it is, Jackson." Janet seemed furious with the both of them.
"I was an adult man, well, woman, at the time, and *I* made the choice," came the answer in a stronger voice.
"I should have tried harder to convince you, Daniel," Jack interjected.
Daniel turned his head to look at Jack, "Are you regretting what we did?"
"No!" Jack answered, shocked that Daniel would even think that, "I'm saying I should have fought you harder on ...that issue."
Janet sighed deeply. "Are the two of you still sexually intimate?" she asked while gesturing at them both.
Oh God, that was it, Jack thought, there went 'don't ask, don't tell.' "Eh..." was all he could get out, while he caught the panicked expression on Daniel's face.
Doctor Frasier seemed to catch on to it quickly. "I'm not asking as an officer in the USAF, but as your doctor."
Both Jack and Daniel sighed with relief before both nodding their answer.
Janet shook her head in surprise as if she still couldn't quite understand the concept of the current situation. Jack couldn't really blame her.
"Then you might want to cut back on penetrative sex," Janet said.
Jack stared at her, open-mouthed. That woman had far too short a recovery time, that was for sure.
Daniel however, was once again speaking without checking in with his brain first. Sometimes it was hard to tell that the man had the IQ of a genius. "That's okay, Janet, I mostly top anyway..." he said, then a look of pure horror crossed his face. "Oops?"
Jack stared at him in disbelief. "Ya *think*?" he finally sputtered.
Janet looked... stunned. "I think that, gentlemen, falls under the term TMI," she finally managed to say.
Jack knocked on his CO's office, knowing he needed to get it over with. He'd left Daniel with Janet, who had wanted to run a multitude of tests.
"Enter," came the answer. Hammond looked up. "Colonel?" he asked.
"Eh, no sir... Jack, I need to talk to... George for a little while," Jack finally got out, determined to see things through to the bitter end.
Hammond nodded, a worried frown flickering over his face for a moment. "Come in, Jack, close the door."
Having closed the door, Jack began pacing the floor in front of the man's desk.
"Jack?" Hammond said, patiently awaiting some kind of clarification.
"I... I'm not sure where or how to begin... George," Jack finally said, stopping for a moment. "I know USAF regulations... prohibit relationships between team members." He began pacing again.
Something seemed to dawn on Hammond. "Jack, if you and Major Carter..."
Jack stopped abruptly and looked up in surprise. "Carter?" he asked. "Oh! No, not Carter."
"Jack?" Hammond sounded slightly confused.
Jack titled his head back, stared at the concrete ceiling for a moment, drawing in a deep breath before facing Hammond. "I am, and have been, in a relationship for the past couple of months with..."
"Dr. Jackson," Hammond finished for him, slight smile of understanding on his face.
Jack smiled. "Yeah."
Hammond's lips thinned, but he didn't look as if he was about to call security to have Jack's sorry ass dragged to prison. "I should have guessed, since the two of you haven't been as much at each other's throats for the past few months."
Jack nodded. "There is that," he grinned.
"As your CO, I can not condone such actions, but... me, I... if you can assure me that it won't interfere with your judgement..."
"We've talked it through with the team," Jack quickly answered.
Hammond raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything.
"We told them right from the beginning. Besides, I already pay special attention to Daniel, because he's a civilian." Jack drew another deep breath. This was actually looking to be easier than he'd expected. Then again, he still had to tell the General about Daniel's... condition.
Hammond nodded in agreement. "True."
"We do, however, have a minor problem," Jack continued, dead set on finishing it in one go.
"What?" Hammond asked, straightening in his chair.
Here goes, Jack thought. "Daniel's pregnant." There, it was out.
Hammond stared at him, expression unreadable. "Pull the other one, Jack," he finally said.
"Seriously," Jack said, knowing exactly how ridiculous it sounded.
Eyes widening in sudden understanding, Hammond waved his hand in the air, "When Dr. Jackson was..."
"Yeah," Jack answered. At least the man was used to the unusual, so how far out was another man getting pregnant?
"You...?" Hammond started to ask.
"Ah... yeah," Jack flinched a little. He knew how protective the General was when it came to Daniel.
Hammond shook his head in disbelief. "Why don't you sit down and take it from the beginning?" he finally suggested.
Jack obliged with a deep sigh, sinking into the chair opposite the other man. "Well, you see, George..."
"God, Jack, I *hate* you, hate what you've done to me, hate what..." The rest was drowned out by loud retching, as Daniel once again leaned over the toilet.
Jack sighed as he slipped his arm around Daniel's chest, supporting the other man, while he pressed a cold, wet towel against Daniel's forehead. "I know," he simply said. Jack knew better than to argue with anyone pregnant. He may not have been there for the entire length of Sara's pregnancy, which he'd always regretted, but he'd learned a thing or two. Pampering would get you a long way, that was for sure. At least with Daniel, once he was in a more... receptive mood.
Daniel finally stood up straight, wiping his mouth. Jack let go and got him the glass of water he'd poured when Daniel had first run from their bedroom. The morning light was filtering through the frosted glass of the bathroom window, painting his lover with shades of soft sunlight and shadows. His very pregnant lover. Jack squashed the urge to reach out and run his hand over the protruding belly. He'd made that mistake *one* morning, and had sported a rather impressive black eye after that. Daniel knew how to throw a punch -- Jack ought to know, he'd taught him how to best use his weight. The previously loose sweatpants were now stretched over Daniel's waist and the large T-shirt didn't really cover much.
Daniel accepted the glass of water with a wordless grunt, before pushing past Jack to get to the kitchen.
With a sigh, Jack flushed the toilet and turned on the shower. He may as well get his own morning routine done now, while Daniel succumbed to the disgusting eating habits of pregnancy. Jack knew better than to join him in the kitchen *and* he wouldn't make the mistake of commenting on the choice of breakfast either. At least the other man had cut down on the coffee. A lot. All it had taken was one comment from Janet, about how the caffeine might damage the child. Especially considering the amount the archaeologist normally downed during a day.
Jack stripped off his sweats and shuddered at the thought of one morning where he'd joined Daniel for breakfast and been treated to the sight of a plate with macaroni 'n' cheese, Mayo and barbecue sauce and relish. Jack's stomach had told him in no small words that he should avoid Daniel at breakfast whenever possible.
A few minutes after Jack had slipped under the spray, the glass door of the shower stall was slowly pulled open. "Jack?", came the miserable question.
Jack turned his head a little and smiled. "Yeah?"
"Okay if I join you?" Daniel moved uneasy from one foot to the other and back.
Jack chuckled and took a step back. "You have to ask?"
"I wasn't... sure..." Daniel ducked a bit, not meeting Jack's eyes.
Jack reached out and pulled the other man inside the shower stall, closing the door behind him. "You shouldn't ever doubt that I want you with me wherever I am."
Daniel sniffled and let Jack pull him into a tight embrace, the older man awed and warmed by the feel of the protruding belly rubbing against his own. "It's okay, Daniel."
"I..." Daniel hiccuped, "I feel like such a freak."
"You're not," Jack scolded.
"I'm deformed beyond words," the younger man complained.
"You're seven months pregnant, you're beautiful, Daniel," Jack said before he could stop himself. Normally Daniel hated such endearments.
This time, however, Daniel buried his face in Jack's neck, silent sobs making his shoulders hitch.
Jack didn't say anything, simply held the other man. Janet had warned him of this. As much as pregnant women were often controlled by their hormones, it might affect Daniel even more, since he was a man and therefore not used to the kind of natural body chemicals that came with a pregnancy.
They had all the time in the world. Daniel hadn't been at the mountain for months now, to prevent anyone from knowing about it. Jack brought home any translations they needed done and it kept the man occupied. SG-1 hadn't gone off-world much either, only on ordinary re-con missions -- all of them taking their time -- Carter working in her lab and Teal'c and Jack training the new recruits. And Jack knew there wouldn't be too much 'Gate travel after the child was born. A few years ago he might have regretted such, but he had other obligations now. He just couldn't strut around the universe, risking his and Daniel's lives on a daily basis.
As he lathered up Daniel's body, his mind travelled back to their last conversation with Janet. She'd told them that she wasn't sure how the baby would be delivered, but that she didn't really see any other way than a c-section. Well, they'd have to see when that day came. He still hoped they might be able to contact one of their allies and maybe they could offer some other way. Hell, Janet had expressed worry about the water breaking, where it'd go if they didn't do it with a c-section... Jack banished the dark thoughts from his mind. No need to worry too much now. He'd only end up upsetting Daniel.
"Mmm," Daniel murmured, eyes closed, as Jack's hands slid over his body. In the beginning Daniel had cringed every time Jack touched his belly, but once Jack had told him that he really wanted to touch, the other man had finally relaxed, if only gradually.
Daniel's hands tightened on Jack's shoulders, digging into the muscles. He leaned forward and caught Jack's lips with his own, the older man tasting the minty flavour of toothpaste. He groaned and searched Daniel's mouth, looking for the real taste somewhere beneath it.
"Jack," Daniel panted, "I know we can't... but I need you, please..."
Jack nodded. They couldn't do anything elaborate. Janet had made that clear. While a pregnant woman could have sex safely, she'd told them that since male pregnancy wasn't exactly the norm, it might be safer to cut down on the penetrative sex. They'd hated the thought, but both Jack and Daniel had agreed. It was, literally, uncharted territory.
Hand slick with soap, Jack reached down, fingers curling around Daniel's straining erection, Daniel mirroring his movements. Pushing lightly against each other as they worked in unison to bring each other pleasure, their lips glued together in a long searching kiss.
Jack felt his own completion crashing down on him, as Daniel's strong fingers worked him hard. Drawing back, to catch his breath, he held the other man closer, hardly missing his own rhythm. For minute all he could hear was the laboured breathing and the moans escaping Daniel.
Daniel came with a cry on his lips, slumping into Jack's arms, body shaking with the strain of having held back for as long as possible.
Jack didn't want to break the easy, sated silence, so he busied himself with soaping them both up and moving under the spray to wash it off.
"Jack?" Daniel mumbled.
"Yeah?" Jack halted his hands on Daniel's hips for a moment before drawing him into a light embrace.
"When this is over?" Daniel let out a deep sigh.
"Yes?" Jack nuzzled his neck.
"I want you to promise me you'll treat me to a nice, long fuck."
"I thought you preferred topping, Dr. Jackson," Jack teased.
Daniel blushed furiously. He hadn't forgotten the slip of tongue in Janet's office. "I want it, Jack, please."
Jack chuckled and nodded, before shutting off the water, then he drew Daniel out of the shower stall, grabbed a towel and began rubbing him dry.
Daniel leaned heavily against Jack when they were both dry. "Are you going to the Mountain today?"
"Nope," Jack answered with a smile as he draped the towel over its hanger with one hand while slipping his free arm around Daniel's waist. "I've got three days of downtime coming, starting today."
"Mmmm, good," came Daniel's muffled answer, face buried in Jack's neck, tongue doing wicked things to the pulse below Jack's ear.
"Any plans for today," gasped Jack, steadying them.
"Bed?" came the husky reply.
"Daniel, you know we can't do anything..."
"I know, Jack," Daniel interrupted, pulling back to submit the older man to a piercing blue stare. "I just wanna lay around, kiss," Daniel trailed his fingers through the wiry grey hair on Jack's chest. "..."
"Comfort, touch?" Jack finished for him.
"No problem." Jack pulled the other man out of the bathroom, down the hallway and into their bedroom. Both momentarily sated, they simply lay down on top of the covers, cuddled up against each other, neither bothering with getting dressed. Clothes would simply get in the way.
"Jack?" Daniel's voice was full of wonder and surprise when he suddenly broke the silence.
"I'm sure this time..." Daniel trailed off, then took Jack's hand and put it on his belly.
Jack's eyes widened for a moment, then he couldn't hold back the smile on his face. "There's definitely movement," he agreed.
Daniel snuggled closer, putting his hand on top of Jack's, both men soaking in the rays of the sun coming through the window, bathing the bed in warmth. For the time being they forgot about morning sickness, strange pregnancies and mood swings and just enjoyed what they had.
"I feel like a stranded whale," huffed Daniel, as he struggled to get comfortable on the bed.
"It won't be for much longer, Daniel, besides," Jack leaned down to nuzzle Daniel's temple, "I think you're a cute whale, and anyway, you're mine."
"Jack O'Neill," Daniel began with a warning note to his voice.
That was the last thing Jack heard before the shimmering light embraced his body and the tingling feeling of the Asgard transporter left him flat on his face on a very cold floor.
"Thor, damn, your sense of timing..." Jack got to his feet, thankful to whatever deity was watching, that he was wearing at least PJ bottoms. The Tigger ones that Daniel had given him, claiming that they matched the old man since he was quite... bouncy, especially in bed.
Jack tore himself from his thoughts as he turned to give the little grey alien a murderous look. One he couldn't hold for long. There was something endearing about those large, black eyes. Though he'd never tell anyone about that. Besides, it was nice that out there was an advanced race who came to *him* for help when needed. Hell, they'd even named a ship after him. Okay, Thor and Carter had blown it up before Jack had ever had the chance of seeing it, but it was the thought that counted.
"Is the current time to your inconvenience, O'Neill?" The alien's voice was level and emotionless. Just the way it always was.
Jack had the odd feeling somewhere, deep down inside, that the little bugger did it on purpose just to get a laugh. Not that Jack was even sure that the Asgard could laugh. With a sigh, Jack shook his head. "It's okay," he said.
"I believe we may be of assistance in some way, O'Neill."
A thing that Jack really liked about Thor, yeah, definitely, the alien cut right to the chase. Most of the time anyway. "Yeah?"
"We, the Asgard, are not capable of lending you the help you need, but we know enough about our allies to know that you would benefit from assistance from the Nox."
Jack nodded. They had talked about that, and, as the time of the birth was coming ever nearer, Jack had already asked the General to help find a way to contact the Nox. "We don't really have the means of contacting the Nox..."
"They know already," Thor cut in. "I made sure that the relevant information was given to them, and I am sure they will contact you soon."
Jack let out a sigh of relief. This was better than he'd expected. "So that was all you wanted to say?" Jack was beginning to realise he would have a rather pissy linguist on his hands when he got back. Pregnant or not, the man didn't take kindly to having his morning nookie interrupted. "Not that I don't appreciate it, but you pulled me out of a rather... intimate situation and I am the one who'll have to handle the consequences of my sudden disappearing act."
Thor blinked for a moment, then agreed. "I will send you back, O'Neill, though I do have a question for you before you leave."
"Shoot," Jack said, holding out his hands.
If Thor had had eyebrows, Jack was pretty sure at least one of them would have crawled upwards, but the alien didn't ask Jack for a clarification on his choice of word.
"How did Dr. Jackson become pregnant?"
"Well, ya *know*... we had... sex," Jack answered, trying to fight the blush.
"But O'Neill, that should be impossible, seeing you are both male specimens and the human race is not meant to procreate in such ways."
"Ya think?" Jack muttered.
Thor gave him a rather puzzled look. "No, I know, O'Neill."
"Never mind, can we just drop this?" Jack tried not to glare at the little grey alien. "Okay, okay, still, thanks for the help, Thor."
Thor simply blinked in answer.
"Now, do you think you could..." Jack's voice trailed off as a moment later, he found himself flat on his back in the middle of his own bed, a very surprised Daniel staring at him from across the room.
"Where the hell did you go?" Daniel's voice was laced with anger and worry.
Jack pointed upwards. "Thor came by."
"No kidding?" Daniel seemed to be working up his pissyness for a moment.
"It's okay," Jack interrupted. "It's okay, the Asgard have contacted the Nox, and they will in turn contact us." 'I hope,' Jack added in silence.
Daniel stayed where he was, an unreadable expression on his face.
"Daniel?" Jack asked neutrally. He knew the other man well enough to tread carefully.
"I... I was a little worried," Daniel finally answered.
Jack frowned. Daniel admitting to having been a *little* worried, should always be translated to a *lot* worried. The other man didn't very often admit to such things as pain and worries, so when it did happen, it wasn't to be taken lightly.
Realising that he would never find the words to comfort Daniel the way he needed, Jack simply held out his arms, motioning for Daniel to join him. "It's okay, the Asgard aren't going to drag my sorry old ass off to do some good deed."
Daniel finally gave in and let Jack pull him into his arms. A deep sigh escaped the younger man. "I was worried that you might not be here when..." he finally admitted, gesturing at his belly.
"Wouldn't miss it for anything, Daniel, trust me."
Daniel rested his head on Jack's shoulder. "And your ass is nice, I like it just the way it is," he finally chuckled, when he'd composed himself a little.
Jack couldn't help joining in the laughter, as Daniel's hand sneaked down to pinch said asset rather lovingly. "Does anyone else know that that innocent facade is nothing *but* a facade?" Jack murmured.
"Why, whatever do you mean, Jack?" Daniel said, pulling back to give the older man the most innocent expression possible.
Jack growled deep in his throat as he pulled Daniel with him, down on the bed, carefully minding Daniel's physical condition.
They spent the rest of the day like that, on the bed, napping, making out, only occasionally broken by a trip to the bathroom, and once or twice a quick run to the kitchen for Jack to get them food and water.
The warm, quiet atmosphere wasn't broken until late in the evening when the phone rang.
"Jack O'Neill," Jack said, answering the phone while towelling his hair dry. The shower had done them good, loosening up a lot of slightly cramped muscles from a day in bed.
A few moments later, he put it down again and turned to his concerned friend. "You better get dressed, Daniel, we're going for a little trip.
"The mountain?" Daniel was already struggling with his large sweat pants, pulling them up over his protruding belly.
Jack nodded, then went on to get dressed, trying not to think about what was to come.
Thankfully someone had made sure no one was waiting for them at the entrance. The guard was a good few yards away, back turned. Well, someone *was* waiting for them, but it was Sam, so there was no need to try hiding Daniel's condition, as Jack put an arm around the other man and they walked through the check-in.
It felt as if it took forever for the elevator to arrive and then get to the lower levels of the Mountain.
"Jack?" Daniel sounded very... tired.
"Yeah?" Jack strengthened his hold around Daniel's waist as Sam slipped closer to his other side, without a word.
"Tell me this will be alright, tell me it will be over soon," Daniel drew in a deep breath of air, "tell me the baby will be okay..."
Jack dropped a quick kiss on Daniel's temple, before the elevator stopped, letting them out into a deserted corridor. "It'll be okay, Daniel," Jack whispered.
They walked down the hallway, towards the briefing room. "Carter?" Jack asked.
Sam turned to give him a quick smile. "It's okay, Colonel, we've made sure no one will be here, apart from the most necessary personnel."
Jack nodded. Wise decision. They entered the briefing room finding the General, Doctor Frasier and Teal'c already there.
"Sir?" Jack helped Daniel sit before he turned to his CO. "What's the word?"
Hammond gestured towards the chairs, giving Daniel a sideways glance. Jack realised the man hadn't seen Daniel in his current state. They had agreed to keep a minimum of contact with only visits from Carter, Teal'c and Janet.
"The Nox contacted us about an hour ago, requesting your presence," Hammond said, "both of you."
Jack took his seat next to Daniel, putting his hand comfortingly over the other man's. Daniel gave him a small, grateful smile.
Hammond looked at his watch and opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted as the 'gate suddenly began activating, and all eyes were glued to the scene on the other side of the glass.
The Stargate came to life and a slender figure stepped through, stood still for a moment and then looked up and treated them to a brilliant smile.
Daniel, who'd struggled to his feet and was leaning against Jack, looked down into the 'gate room and broke into a wide grin. "Lya!"
Jack couldn't help grinning either. Apart from resurrecting the entire SG-1 team without knowing them and aiding them on more than one occasion, the peaceful people had really grown on him. What wasn't there to like? Besides, they were a perfect picture of 'don't judge a book by its cover'... a bit like a certain man he knew...
Turning his head to look at Daniel, Jack's grin faded to a soft smile at the way Daniel's eyes shone at the moment. The Nox had definitely made a room for themselves in the hearts of the SGC's flagship. The mirrored smiles on Carter's, Teal'c's and Hammond's faces spoke volumes.
The 'gate deactivated and they waited patiently for one of the guards to lead Lya up into the briefing room. She entered alone, as everyone had been told to stay clear of the briefing room for the night.
It was as if a warmth flooded the concrete walled room as the woman stepped inside. She nodded at each in turn before walking over to Daniel, placing one hand on his cheek and the other on his belly.
"Daniel, friend of the Nox," she said with a smile. "I come to offer our aid." Her hand slid from Daniel's cheek to Jack's, eyes boring into his, as if she could read his soul. Jack wasn't entirely sure she couldn't.
"O'Neill, my heart sings for you." The brilliance of her smile seemed to light up the room.
Jack bowed his head, "Thank you, Lya."
Lya frowned a moment later, putting both her hands on Daniel's stomach. "We must hurry, my friends," her face softened into another smile, her head cocked to the side. "There is not much time."
"Are we going to your world, Lya?" Daniel asked, a little worry colouring his voice. "I mean, going through the 'gate like this...?" He gestured at himself.
Lya nodded. "True, but there is not that great a risk, and we will need more Nox and our natural environment to do this properly." She once again cupped his cheek, "Fear not, Daniel, we will take care of you."
Jack cleared his throat. No way in hell was he letting Daniel go on his own.
Chuckling, Lya turned her attention to the Colonel. "We would never ask Daniel to go without his Jack."
Feeling the heat rise in his face, Jack bit his lower lip. Okay, so sometimes he was a bit transparent at times.
Daniel nudged his ribs with an elbow and Jack was met with a mischievous smile. Ah well, it wasn't as if the people in the room didn't know how he felt about Daniel. Even the General tried to hide a grin of his own.
There was a knock on the door and frowning, the General opened it and slipped outside.
Jack wanted to follow, but he didn't feel like leaving Daniel's side either. Finally, leaving his friend to the gentle fussing of Lya, he followed his CO. Slipping unnoticed out of the door, Jack found the General and an SF in deep conversation.
Jack wisely held back until the General dismissed the SF and turned to Jack. "Trouble?" Jack asked in a low voice.
"I'm afraid so, Colonel." Taking a deep breath, Hammond continued, "It seems we have NID agents upstairs... asking for you and Doctor Jackson.
"Fuck," Jack muttered. Just what they *didn't* need.
"That pretty much sums it up, Colonel," Hammond agreed grimly.
"Any idea what they want with us?" Jack felt his stomach sink -- he had a fairly good idea himself.
"It seems that they want to question you about you *and* Doctor Jackson, and Doctor Jackson's ...sick-leave lately."
"That's just... swell," Jack muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose. Why wasn't life ever easy at the SGC? The two men walked back into the briefing room, the others going silent when they noticed their worried expressions.
"Jack?" Daniel asked, the first to break the silence.
"We'd better get going, Lya," Jack said, as he went back to Daniel's side, taking and squeezing the other man's hand tightly, asking him not to ask any more questions.
"Sir?" Carter came over to them, giving him a worried look.
With a sigh, Jack gave in. "The NID are here, asking questions."
Lya placed a hand on top of Jack's and Daniel's joined ones. "Time is of the essence, is it not?"
"It seems so, Lya, even if some of us have learned a lot, some still ...lack a little in that department," Daniel said before Jack could open his mouth.
"How... diplomatic, Daniel," Jack grinned, feeling a little lighter around his heart.
"Yeah, yeah, rub it in, Flyboy, I've been around you too much," Daniel answered with a loving smile.
"O'Neill, DanielJackson," Teal'c stepped forward. "You must leave now, let us ...take care of the problem."
Daniel threw the big man a suspicious look. "Teal'c, you don't have to hurt them."
"It won't be necessary, Dr. Jackson," Hammond interrupted. "Once you're gone, we'll just tell them the truth. The Nox requested your presence, and we obliged, though we do not know when you shall return."
Jack threw his CO a grateful smile. He had no doubt as to the man's abilities and was sure that he'd eventually find a way to cover for Jack and Daniel's relationship and bring them back to Earth and the SGC.
Carter gave them a big grin, hugged first Daniel, and then, after a little hesitation, she pulled Jack close. "Good luck, guys, come back soon," she said in a low voice.
Jack gave her a squeeze in return, nodding a quick farewell to his friends, accepting Teal'c greeting of a fellow warrior, as the Jaffa gripped Jack's wrist and Jack did the same. "Be careful, guys," he told them.
"We will, O'Neill, now go," Teal'c nodded towards the door.
Jack drew a deep breath and turned to Lya and Daniel, who were watching them all. "Jack," Daniel began, his hand tightening on Jack's.
"We'll be out of here before they reach this level, don't worry." Jack leaned in to plant a light kiss on Daniel's cheek before turning his attention to Lya. "We can go now, right?"
Lya nodded, and started towards the door.
"Catch you later, guys," Jack said as they passed their friends, "Sir," he said, nodding to the General.
Teal'c gave Daniel's shoulder a quick squeeze as they passed, but no more words were exchanged, there wasn't time for long good byes.
The three of them moved quickly to the 'gate room, casting one last glance up, the briefing room now empty. They all had things to take care of to ensure Jack and Daniel's escape.
"Are you ready to go?" Lya asked as she stepped up the ramp.
Jack and Daniel gave each other one last look before following her. They watched in silent awe as she raised her arms, stretching them over her head and the 'gate came to life. Not with the enormous outburst they were used to, but with a soft whisper, the light bathing the concrete room in shimmering blue light.
Lya stepped aside, waiting for Jack and Daniel to step through. The two men tightened their hold on each other's hands before stepping forward, the force of the wormhole pulling them in, throwing them towards their destination.
Setting foot on the other side of the 'gate, Jack caught Daniel as the other man stumbled. "Easy, Daniel," Jack said, arm around the other man's shoulder.
"Jack... I... I feel strange," Daniel ground out, shoulders hunched and leaning heavily on Jack.
Lya came through the shimmering surface behind them just before the energy dissolved and the 'gate deactivated. She moved to Daniel's other side, put her hand on his belly and frowned. "We must hurry, my friends," she said in a worried voice.
They were quickly joined by other Nox, and Jack watched, worrying as he saw how Daniel seemed to grow paler as they moved towards the small settlement of huts the Nox used.
"Please let us care for him, O'Neill, your... worried mind will upset him, make it difficult for us to help," Lya softly pleaded. "It would interfere with what we are to do, hamper our abilities to help, to deliver and heal, if we are submitted to negative thoughts... such as your worry for him and the child."
"But..." Jack felt anger and helplessness well up inside of him. "How can my presence harm...?" Jack threw up his hands in confusion.
Lya took his hands, pulling them down, holding them tight, her slender hands surprisingly strong. "You must trust us, O'Neill, please. Believe me when I say it is for the best." She paused as her eyes searched his. "For Daniel's best."
Jack nodded reluctantly. He felt a small pang of regret. He'd wanted to be there when the child was born, to give Daniel his support, but he wasn't foolish enough to disregard what Lya was saying. If his presence would do more damage than help, he would just swallow the regret.
Lya let her hand linger on his arm, before she left with Daniel and the others. "Trust us," were her parting words as they led the younger man inside one of the huts, leaving Jack on his own.
With a sigh Jack sat down, back to a huge rock, not far from the entrance. He bent his head, closed his eyes and forced himself to breathe evenly. He would be no help at all to Daniel if he lost his mind. A moment later, he looked up to find a child of the Nox standing in front of him. "Nafrayu?" he asked, recognising the features of the smiling face.
The child nodded, "It is, Jack."
Jack leaned back a little. "You've... grown older," he finally said. The child hadn't been that tall when they'd first come through the gate to the Nox homeworld. He couldn't help the smile forming on his face. He really liked this kid.
Nafrayu returned the smile, "So have you." He reached out to touch Jack's grey hair.
Jack chuckled, a sadness flickering through him; most of those grey hairs were Daniel's fault. Not that Jack would trade that for anything. It was a small price to pay for having the other man in his life. "You here to keep me occupied?" he asked the young Nox.
"I am, but I'm also... curious."
"Now there's a surprise," Jack muttered lovingly. "Curious about what?" he asked, as Nafrayu joined him, back to the rock.
"Tell me about your world," Nafrayu asked.
Jack shook his head. "I don't know what to tell you," he said absentmindedly, most of his thoughts still with Daniel.
Nafrayu put his hand on Jack's arm. "Good things," he said, "what children do."
"Play, live a carefree life, share their curiosity and findings with their parents, friends and their dogs, of course," Jack finally began.
"Dogs?" Nafrayu interrupted with a frown.
"Dogs... they come in all shapes and sizes, it's a four-legged animal with fur, we keep it as a pet, for companionship, to care for, to love." Jack trailed off, lost in the memories of his own childhood.
Nafrayu chuckled, eyes rapt on Jack's face.
Jack couldn't help but smile in reply. "I need to talk to Daniel about getting one, once the child's big enough." His smile faltered a little. "I hope his allergies will allow it..."
"Tell me about... Daniel," Nafrayu asked, as he cuddled up against Jack's side.
Chuckling Jack put his arm around the child. "Oh, I'll get really sappy," he said.
"Sappy?" Nafrayu queried.
"Yeah," Jack sighed, closing his eyes for a moment, "mushy, emotional..."
"Emotions are good, compassion, feelings..." Nafrayu interrupted.
Jack opened his eyes and stared off into the distance. "Compassion... That's Daniel. Curiosity, like yours," Jack turned his head to give the child a small smile.
"No matter what he's been through, he still has this... childlike awe of new things, knowledge, always sees the best in others..." Jack trailed off again. "He's as stubborn as a mule, but has the patience of a saint. He's an annoying know-it-all, who's saved our lives... my life, so often." Jack closed his eyes again, before continuing, "I remember the first time I lost Daniel, to a staff blast that killed him... a blast meant for me, which he took without thinking." Jack felt the pain clench his chest again, as his thoughts moved on.
"When he stayed on Abydos, when I had to leave him behind... How we... I thought we'd lost him to Nem, lost him when we blew up Klorell's ship..." Jack took a deep breath and felt how the pain lessened and was replaced by a growing warmth. "I'll never forget when we returned to Earth, and he stepped out to greet us in the 'gate room... unharmed." Jack swiped his free hand over his burning eyes.
"So often his curiosity has brought us trouble, but all the same, that same curiosity has saved us on so many occasions." For a moment Jack sank into silence, warmed by years of memories.
"It's amazing that he puts up with me... I wasn't... and still am not the easiest person to be around..." Jack pinched the bridge of his nose. "I've taken some of his innocence, so has the universe in general. It's been necessary to survive." With another smile, Jack turned his attention back to the entrance of the hut. "He's taught me how to think before I act, to feel instead of following protocol and orders... to interact instead of just acting and reacting... with other people. To not judge anyone until I know them. Allowed me to learn how to care again, to be cared about to... love and be loved."
Jack paused for a moment. "God knows he's got a temper that should clash with mine more often than it does." Jack chuckled. "Actually it does, but... our relationship seems to always come out stronger." Pausing, searching for words, Jack suddenly remembered... "Oh God, I just remembered that little temper tantrum he threw... The planet may have influenced us both, but I was so angry with myself, because I found it... endearing... cute," Jack shook his head, a soft smile playing on his lips.
Nafrayu finally broke the silence, "Angry with yourself?"
Jack nodded, a little sad, "Back then I didn't want to admit to us, least of all to myself, how I felt about Daniel." Jack's mood became sombre. "I was a fool and we both wasted so much time. He got hurt, I got hurt, and not just physically," Jack admitted.
"But why? If you both felt the same?" Nafrayu looked up at him with a frown.
"Foolishness, stubbornness, not thinking the other felt the same... the world we live in not making it any easier..." Jack pulled Nafrayu a little closer. "We humans have a lot to learn still, huh?" he asked.
Nafrayu didn't answer, simply smiled knowingly.
For every tale Jack shared with Nafrayu, the heaviness in his chest lessened, and his mind seemed to be filled with comfort. And the child let him ramble on, only rarely interrupting to get Jack to explain one thing or another.
Suddenly Lya stepped out from the hut, smiling at the two. "Come," she said, reaching out for Jack.
"Daniel? The child?" Jack felt his nervousness return.
"Daniel is asking for you," she said, her smile never faltering.
"He's okay? The baby's...?" Jack had to know.
"They are," Lya assured him, as she led him inside the hut.
Jack felt a moment's hesitation, then Nafrayu's hand slipped into his free one for a few seconds, reassuring him.
"Jack!" Laying on a soft bed of moss and leaves with a bundle in his arm was Daniel, looking a little tired, but happy nevertheless.
Jack finally let go of the two Nox to slowly move to Daniel's side. Kneeling by the bed, he leaned forward and captured Daniel's lips in a slow, sweet kiss. "Hi," he said, not knowing where or how to begin.
"Hi, yourself," Daniel grinned back. Tilting his head a little, he gestured to the bundle. "Say hi to our daughter."
Jack noticed with pride that his hand didn't shake as he pulled the blanket back a little. Okay, maybe it did shake... but not much. "So Frasier was right, it's a girl."
"Yeah," Daniel grinned up at him. Then the younger man's expression turned serious. "You okay, Jack?"
"I'm fine... now." Jack smiled softly. The baby was bundled up in the blanket, small hand raised to the mouth, thumb popped inside the mouth. "And you...?"
Daniel frowned. "I think they removed everything in there that wasn't meant to be part of my body, only... how do we feed her?"
Jack didn't know what to answer, but didn't have to, as Lya joined them, giving them both one of her radiant smiles. She handled Jack a bottle, "It will provide her with the right nourishment," the Nox said.
"We... we can't go back, can we?" Daniel finally asked, smile faltering.
"Not yet," Jack sighed. "The General will send word once it's safe to come back.
"And until then?"
"You are welcome to stay here, with the Nox," Nafrayu said, standing on his toes to get a look at the baby.
"You sure?" Jack asked. It wouldn't be the worst place to stay while they waited. Safe and surrounded by friends.
Lya came over, nodding her agreement. "You are free to stay for as long as it is necessary."
"It may take a while," Daniel warned her.
"It does not matter, Daniel, you are friends of the Nox." Lya gave him a brilliant smile.
"I thought you might not want us here, since we're still... a childish race," Daniel just couldn't let it lie.
"You are..." Lya began, "how do you say it?" She broke into a smile, "Ah yes, the 'exception to the rule."
Jack couldn't help laughing. "There is that, it seems," he grinned. He put down the bottle Lya had given him. "Is there room for me up there?" he asked with a tired smile. The last couple of hours had zapped the last of his energy.
Daniel chuckled sleepily. "There's always room for you, Jack."
Not really giving a damn about the Nox, Jack slipped into the bed next to Daniel. "Sorry I wasn't here for you, Daniel," he mumbled into Daniel's neck.
"You were," came the sleepy, if enigmatic answer.
"Huh?" Jack carefully pulled both Daniel and their child a little closer.
"The Nox... let me hear you, feel you... during the birth..." Daniel's sleep-filled voice drifted up to Jack. "It's all I remember from the actual delivery, Jack, you and then the baby in my arms."
"What are we gonna call her?" Jack forced himself to stay awake a little longer.
"I don't know," yawned Daniel, "though..."
"Aislinn, I think," Daniel shifted a little, both raising enough to look at the baby.
"Looks like an Aislinn to me," answered Jack in a soft voice.
"She does, doesn't she?" Daniel relaxed back down again, seeking the heat of Jack's body once again.
"Aislinn it is, then," Jack said, smiling as sleep claimed him and he felt the whisper of a child's hand run over his hair. He wondered if the Nox would ever cease to surprise him... wondered if he wanted them to.