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Heroes and Jellybeans"…And I need you now tonight
Daniel sat in the den and looked out the window. Casey was in the yard with the kids, playing with the hose. She was watering the rose bushes, squirting Emily’s feet when she got close enough. Emily was squealing and laughing, running back and forth; and Nicholas, who was in the walker, had decided that running over the hose was the most entertaining thing he had discovered to date. Each time he managed to get the wheels of the walker over the hose, he would squeal with delight, his little face wreathed in smiles. Daniel couldn’t help but grin as he watched them. He looked at the stack of photographs, and the pile of notes. This could wait. He had a family, and he wanted to be with them. He kicked off his sneakers, pulled off his socks.
Casey looked up when she heard the front door open. Daniel still hadn’t oiled that hinge. She smiled as he walked up to them. "I thought you had work to do."
He stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. The grass was wet and cold beneath his bare feet. "It’s not as important as being with you and the kids." He smiled when she turned her head and kissed his cheek, her quiet way of thanking him for putting them first.
Nicholas pushed himself to where his father stood, and held his arms up. Like Emily, Nicholas adored his father. He was also very fond of his mother. But right now Mommy was busy, and Daddy wasn't.
"Hey, son, what'cha doin'?" He bent down and picked the baby up, cuddled him close. He still couldn’t believe his good fortune. A daughter…and a son! Not to mention the most gorgeous wife a man could ask for. His life was absolutely perfect. And, as always when that thought crossed his mind, he shuddered. Just thinking it was tempting fate to prove otherwise.
"Daddy, up!" Emily demanded. She'd only recently become extremely jealous of any attention that Daniel gave Nicholas.
Daniel leaned over, let her wrap her little arms around his neck, then stood up. She settled on his hip, his arm around her. "Love you, Emmie," he said softly.
"Wuv you, Daddy," she replied.
He offered his cheek, and she blew a 'zerbert kiss' against it, giggling when she pulled away. His heart was about to burst. He wondered briefly how he had ever survived before Casey…and his children…filled his life.
Casey tugged on the hose, pulled it closer to where she stood. She continued to water her roses. Every one of the starts that Emma had sent her were doing well. She was pleased that several were even sporting colorful, fragrant blooms. She always thought about the vivacious senior citizen when she watered the the plants.
Jack was driving by, he stopped in front of the house. Daniel made his way to the sidewalk. "Hey, Jacksons!" Jack grinned. "Hi, Emily!"
"Hey, Jack," Daniel replied.
"Hi, Unka Jak," the toddler replied, just before she buried her face against Daniel’s neck, then peeked at her ‘uncle’, giggling every time he winked at her. It was a game that only she and her 'Unka Jak' played.
"Has Duncan called you yet?" the older man asked.
Daniel shook his head. "No. Why?"
"More reporters are showing up here. Four photographers in tow. Seems we’re going to be on the front of Time again."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "What for this time?"
"Guess they heard we took Balls out. Another bad guy down," Jack replied.
"Tomorrow. The reporters and photographers are going to follow us around for a couple of days. They want some posed shots of us with our families as well."
Now Daniel groaned. "Oh, crap. Casey always hates those. Getting the kids ready will only make it worse."
The general nodded. "I know. Sam is the same way."
"I hate when they follow us. They’re always in the way, ask too many stupid questions, and pry too damned much," Daniel complained. The last 'reporter' had upset Casey with questions about their love life, meddling things like her favorite position, what she liked having done to her during foreplay, how many times she orgasmed each time they made love. He was sure that the reporter was responsible for one of the websites dedicated to "The Sexiest Babe in the SGC"…where pictures of her…sans him, were everywhere, and where men posted messages to her. She had come into his office, her face flushed with embarrassment, and refused to speak to the man again. He'd come damned close to punching the slimy little bastard in the face when he had found out why she was so upset.
"Well, Duncan says it helps keep us popular back on Earth. Which is good for trade."
He shook his head, shifted Emily on his hip slightly, pulled Nicholas closer. "I can understand about the trade. Couldn’t care less about the popularity thing."
"I hear that. Would have been nice to have been this popular when we still lived there!"
"Yeah, it would. But I like living here. Better place to raise my kids," Daniel said.
"True. Well, I’d better get going. Sam sent me to the store, and if I don’t get this stuff home I’ll hear about it."
Daniel grinned. "I understand that. Wouldn’t want it any other way, though."
"Just don’t tell them that," Jack grinned. With a wave, he drove down the street to his home.
Casey had finished watering, and came back around the front of the house. "So what all did Jack have to say?"
"We get stuck with reporters and photographers for a few days," he said, watching her eyes carefully.
"Oh, lovely. Maybe I’ll get a bad strain of flu and stay home," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. Her eyes reflected her displeasure…and discomfort.
"They want posed family photos, too."
She cocked her head to one side. "Only if I can have copies of all the photos they take. Otherwise, I’m going to break their cameras. Preferably while they have them against their faces!"
He grinned. "That’s my Tiger."
"So, are you ever going to oil that hinge?"
"Is that a hint?"
He laughed. "I’ll do it right now, babe." He handed Nicholas to her, lowered Emily to the ground.
Daniel went to the shed and found the can of oil, Emily following him closely.
"I have to oil a hinge, Princess," he smiled down at his daughter.
"Why?" Emily opened his toolbox and found a screwdriver.
"Because it squeaks." Daniel pulled the screwdriver from the tot’s hand, put it back and closed the toolbox. He headed for the front porch.
"Why?" The little girl ran to keep up with the long strides of her father.
"Because it dried out, I guess."
"Princess, I have no idea." He carefully poured the oil onto the hinge, opened and closed the door several times to work it in, grabbed the door when Emily tried to swing it into him, nearly hitting him in the face.
"What’s Mommy doing?" Daniel wondered how Casey managed to get anything done on the afternoons she was home.
The tot turned to see where Casey was. "‘On’t know. Where Mommy is?"
"I think she went into the house, Princess." He turned to take the oil back to the shed. Emily’s terrified scream of pain brought him back to the porch in two steps. Casey was at the door just as quickly. The child had slipped her fingers between the door and the doorjamb, and the door had closed, effectively locking them in place.
"Oh, Baby, it’s okay," Casey crooned, holding the frightened child. "Let Daddy open the door, Baby, and we’ll get your fingers out."
"Hang on, Princess," Daniel said quietly. He carefully, slowly opened the door.
Casey pulled Emily’s fingers free. The skin was broken, and they were bleeding. Emily continued to scream. She looked up to see Jack running down the street toward them.
"What happened?" he asked as soon as he was close enough.
"She got her fingers caught in the door," Daniel answered. He was checking her fingers, making sure the tiny bones weren’t broken. "I can’t feel any breaks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t cracked."
Jack nodded. "Go, take her to the hospital. Nicholas inside?"
Casey nodded. "I just put him down for a nap…I don’t know if Emmie woke him or not."
"I think I can handle it," Jack said with a grin. "Go get those little fingers x-rayed."
She didn’t even bother to grab her purse. Daniel lifted Emily into her lap, and she held her daughter closely. The little girl was still sobbing, holding her hand stiffly in front of her.
When they arrived at the hospital - both of them still barefoot, and both of them horrified by the fact that their child had been injured - the doctor on duty carefully examined the tot’s fingers, then sent her in for x-rays. Daniel held her on his lap for that procedure, crooned softly to her while the technician took 'pictures' of her hand.
"Well, they’re not broken. Bruised and a bit battered, but not broken. At this age their bones have a bit more ‘give’ to them. They’ll be sore for the rest of the day, probably tender for another day or two. Baby aspirin every four hours today, then every six if she needs it tomorrow," he said. He carefully bandaged the little fingers, and smiled at the blonde child. "There we go, all better," he said.
Emily took a shaky breath, turned her blue eyes to look at Daniel.
"All better, Princess," he said softly.
"Aww better," she said, nodding her head.
"Thanks," Daniel said to the doctor as he picked his daughter up.
Casey cuddled Emily on the ride home. A quick stop at Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone and the incident was put to rest. For Emily.
Daniel fidgeted with the yard tools in the shed. He had put the oil away, rearranged the tools in his toolbox, but still couldn’t make himself go into the house to face his wife and daughter. It was his fault, he thought. He should have made sure that Emily was behind him, not still playing with the door!
Casey stood just outside the shed watching him. Her heart was aching for him. "Daniel?"
He glanced up at her. Here it comes, he thought, heaving a sigh. A well deserved lecture on taking better care of my daughter.
"Sweetheart, are you all right?"
"What?" The question surprised him.
She stepped into the shed. "Are you all right?"
"Me? All right? Why wouldn’t I be? Oh, yeah, let’s see, I let my daughter get her hand caught in the door. She had to go to the hospital for x-ray's. Her little fingers were bleeding! Yeah, I'm just freakin' fine!" He tossed the rake into the corner.
"Daniel, that was not your fault!" Casey insisted.
He looked at her. Her eyes were so full of love right now that it made him ache. How could she stand there and look at him like that? He had allowed their daughter, their precious baby girl, to be hurt!
She reached out and pulled him into her arms. "Sweetheart, it’s not your fault! It was an accident. Which is why they came up with that word. Covers all the stupid, awful things that happen that aren’t anybody’s fault…they just…happen. Like the day she cracked her head against the refrigerator door when I was cleaning it out. Or the night she fell against the coffee table and put a goose egg on her forehead. Or the morning she climbed up on the hearth and got her hand stuck in that vase."
Daniel pulled her close, held her tightly. "I forgot about that vase thing," he murmured. He had to grin remembering all of the cooking oil they'd used to get her hand out. Casey had groused for days about the mess she had been left with.
"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, my heart, but she’s going to be hurt again. I predict stitches and broken bones. She’ll live. It’s part of being a kid. If we’re very lucky, these will be the worst hurts she’ll ever have to deal with in life."
He buried his face against the fragrant skin of her neck. "Thank you, Angel."
"You’re welcome, my heart. And thanks for oiling that hinge. It was driving me crazy."
He grinned. "You’re welcome. Nicholas asleep?"
"Mmmhmm. Emily is too."
His hand made its way under her tee shirt. "So we have a little time to ourselves?"
Her hand was caressing him through his jeans. "Yep."
"Let’s go inside, Angel. I need to hold you."
Casey led him to their bedroom, and gently eased his guilt for Emily’s accident.
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