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"Okay, Princess. Here's your sandwich," Daniel said, placing the peanut butter and jelly covered bread in front of her.
"Mommy cuts-ded it diffewent. She makes it wittle pieces," Emily announced, looking at the sandwich. Instead of triangles, Daniel had cut it into 'quarters'.
"Well, Mommy isn't here," Daniel replied. In fact, Casey wasn't even on the planet. She was on Langara. Shopping. It seemed that 'his children', as she had put it, refused to stop growing, and needed new clothes.
Nicholas began fussing in the high chair. Daniel picked him up. Yuck. Smelled bad. Okay, diaper change number seven for the day coming up. As usual, the baby decided that rolling around was the most fun he could have while his father tried to get him cleaned up.
"Do you give your mother and grandma this much trouble?" he muttered. He couldn't help but chuckle at the wide grin that his son gave him. "Okay, little man. Let's not do that again, okay?"
Emily was eating her sandwich, munching happily as she watched Sesame Street. She drank her milk from the sipper cup, careful not to spill it on the coffee table.
He heaved a sigh. Lunch time, and so far everything was going well. No tantrums. No coloring on the dresser. No grape juice on the sofa. Of course, he hadn't given her any grape juice. He put Nicholas into his walker. He had taken them to the park earlier, was hoping that they would both take a nice long nap so he could get the kitchen cleaned up. He had insisted that he could fix his children breakfast. He had, but he hadn't had a chance to clean up yet. He poured another cup of coffee, sat down on the couch and watched his daughter sing and dance with the children's show. Nicholas was watching the TV as well, bouncing up and down on his fat little legs.
Emily held her hands out to him. "'Ucky, Daddy!"
"Okay, Princess, let's get them cleaned up." He carried her into the bathroom, upside down, which always made her giggle and laugh. He washed her hands, helped her onto the toilet so she could potty, washed her hands again, and came out in time to see Nicholas grabbing for her sipper cup. "Oh, no you don't," he said, moving it out of his reach.
Nicholas looked up at him, squealed his displeasure.
"Tough. You can't always have everything you want," Daniel said. He went to the kitchen and fixed a bottle. He picked Nicholas up, sat down in the rocking chair and began to feed him. He had to smile. It just didn't get any better than this. Emily, still not completely happy about attention given to her little brother, laid her head against his knee. His son was happily holding his own bottle, so he held out his hand and let her climb up on his lap as well.
A A A A A A
The three of them were still asleep in the rocking chair when Casey came in thirty minutes later. She put the packages on the floor, and just stood looking at them for a few minutes. She went into the den and found the camera, took it out and caught the moment on disc.
A glance at the kitchen told her that he hadn't mastered caring for his children and doing anything else at the same time. She tried to be as quiet as possible as she loaded the dishwasher and scrubbed dried oatmeal off the cooktop and counter. The towels on the chair were folded and put away, and she was well on her way to having dinner planned when Nicholas woke up.
"Hi, my sweet baby boy," she whispered, picking him up and cuddling him. "Oh, you're wet! Let's get you changed!"
Daniel jerked awake. Something was wrong…Nicholas! He looked around. Saw the packages on the floor. The clean kitchen. The fact that the towels were missing. How long had he been asleep?
She came out of the baby's room, still talking to him, getting cooed responses. "Well, hello, handsome," she smiled, when she saw that Daniel was awake.
"Hey gorgeous. How long have you been home?"
"Not quite forty minutes."
"We had a good day. Spent the morning at the park," he said.
Emily was awake now, and demanding attention from her mother. "Daddy didn't cut-ded my sammich wight," she announced. "But it tasted-ded good."
Casey smiled. "Well, as long as it tasted good, that's all that matters. What number did you learn on Sesame Street today?"
"Five!" Emily replied. "One…two…fwee…fouw…five!"
"Very good, Baby! What letter?"
"'B'! 'B' is fow ball!"
"That's right, Emmie! Very good!" Casey praised. She turned to Daniel. "Anything special you want for dinner?"
He shook his head. "Nope. Whatever you feel like making." He stood up and stretched.
"Okay, I think we'll have some pork chops and apple salad."
"Sounds good babe. I'll start chopping the apples."
"Thanks, Sweetheart." She smiled as she put Nicholas in his walker. Things had been so good between them, life so full of happiness, that she was afraid that something was bound to come along and spoil it. For right now, however, she was going to enjoy the peace and happiness that once again filled her home.
A A A A A A
Daniel was sitting on the floor, after they had cleaned the kitchen, Emily beside him, Nicholas sitting in front of the entertainment center, when the infant pulled himself to his feet and began to toddle toward his father. "Casey! Come quick!"
She ran into the living room. Watched her son taking his first steps. Tears of joy filled her eyes. She sat down beside Daniel. Nicholas smiled at her, held out his little hands and walked into her outstretched arms. He was already saying 'mamama', and had even started saying 'dadadada'. It wouldn't be long before he was talking as well.
"Well, Angel, you got to see your son take his first steps," Daniel said quietly.
She put her head on his shoulder. "I'm so glad! Do you realize we were home when his first tooth popped through?"
"Yep. Jack called this morning. He left a message, I called him back."
"We've found Nergal."
"God of plagues and nanoviruses, right?"
"When do we leave?"
"Not for a couple more days. But it looks like he could be as bad as Anubis."
She sighed. "That figures. Well, we'll just have to make a stop at Geb's palace and paint his name on the wall, too. You know, I've been thinking-"
"Uh oh," he said, grinning broadly.
"Keep it up, and you won't see what I got for you!" she threatened, her eyes shining.
"Will I like it?"
She giggled. "Oh, yeah."
He shivered. "Okay. What were you thinking about?"
"Maybe we should have a wall where we put up hieroglyphs of all the bad guys we take out, along with their name written out in good old English."
He pursed his lips. "Not a bad idea, Angel. Sure would be fun to keep adding names. Great morale booster, too. I'll talk to Jack and Duncan."
A A A A A A
Four days later, Casey was working in the corridor that led from the 'gate room to the infirmary and armory, painting hieroglyphs on the wall. She was humming "Another One Bites the Dust" as she worked.
Daniel grinned when he walked off the elevator and saw her. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor, painting on a low section of wall. Her hair was pulled back, although a few strands had worked their way free, she had a spot of green on one cheek, and red by her nose. Her fingers were covered with a multitude of colors. "Hey, gorgeous," he said.
She looked up at him. "Hi, handsome. Finally here to help?"
He stood back and looked at her work. She had very carefully sketched out the spacing in pencil, and was now adding the color. "You did a good job of spacing, babe."
She smiled. "I learned from the best," she replied.
He blushed. "If you say so."
"I do. Did you get that paper finished?"
He nodded. "Yep, sent it off just a little bit ago."
"Are you going to do that conference?"
Daniel had been invited to be the main speaker for a conference on archaeological studies at UCLA. The university had even agreed that he could do it via satellite, which meant speaking from either the Phoenix, or the Prometheus. "I don't know. I haven't given a lecture in so many years I'm not sure I can remember how. The last one I gave was a complete disaster."
"But you've been proven right, your work is hailed as the most advanced thinking to hit the scientific community in decades, and you're the darling of the archaeological community. I'm sure there won't be an empty seat in the place."
He shrugged. "Whatever."
She smiled up at him. "And modest too."
He blushed again. "Jack says we're going to plan a mission tomorrow. It's time to find out what Nergal is up to."
She shivered. The peaceful days at home were coming to an end. Hopefully this mission wouldn't see one of them infested with an alien virus, drugged and drunk and doing things that they shouldn't, or some other such disaster. He reached out and caressed her, gently easing the worries that had started creeping into her mind. She smiled, reached out and caressed him in return.
"Why don't you get cleaned up, babe. Let's call it a day."
"Sounds good to me."
"Love you, Angel."
"Love you, Sweetheart."
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