Short story. Might write a sequel if feedback wants it.

She was asleep. Finally. Silently, he prayed a thankful prayer to God. He had never known that the toils and troubles of parenting could be so... difficult.

//You learn something new everyday...// he said, repeating the age-old phrase in his head.

He gazed into the crib which was the bed for little Rachael. She slept peacefully, her gentle features at rest. He put his large hand in, rubbing her tiny one. She reached out in her sleep and tugged on it.

He felt a tremendous amount of love for this little girl. Her innocence called out to a part of him he had never known existed.

He drew his hand out of the crib, gave one last look at her and went to sit on his own bed. He lay back, his head resting on the pillow and he looked up at the ceiling.

All of his friends had told him how proud they were of him, for taking in Rachael as his own daughter. He just answered, "It's what They would have wanted."

They. His abbreviation for Rachael's dead parents. You see, he couldn't even say their names aloud for the pain they caused him. He realized that he couldn't go on forever not thinking of them, so he resolved to simply address them as They. All of his friends understood, after all, Rachael's parents had been his best friends. He was Rachael's godfather on top of that. But they silently worried for him, that he was scarred emotionally and mentally beyond repair. They were not afraid that he would mistreat Rachael, they were afraid that he would mistreat himself.

No matter. He ignored them, day by day. His life was now governed by a six month old girl. He lived for her, and the knowledge that his life had a point.

He got up from the bed and headed back over to the crib. He gazed down at her black hair, the oval eyes, the subtle Asiatic features. Rachael Anne Reed had a home with him now, and he would do his best to care for her.

For his sake. For Hoshi's sake. For Malcolm's sake.