No Regrets
By Isis

 

“Grandpa Jack?”

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“Were you really the first person to go through the stargate?”

He looked up from his crossword into the blue eyes of the eight-year-old standing in front of him.

“One of ‘em.” 

“Who else?” 

“Grandpa Daniel for one.”

“You went together?”  She asked questions like her Grandpa Daniel, even if there was no blood relationship.

“Sure did.”

“Were you scared?” 

He set the crossword aside and pulled her closer.  “Not a bit.”

“Jaaack.”

Jack glanced at Daniel, sitting in the chair next to his, staring at him over the top of his glasses.  Jack shrugged.  “Maybe a little,” he amended.

“Where did you go?”

“To a planet called Abydos.”

“Were there people there?”

“Yes, there were.  Some really nice people.”

“But you didn’t stay—you came home again.”  It was a statement of the obvious, an eight-year-old fishing for details of the story.

“Well, Grandpa Daniel stayed on Abydos—for a whole year.”

“Really?”  Her awe-filled gaze shifted to Daniel.

“Yes, I did.”

“Why?”

 Jack chuckled at the question, enjoying Daniel getting a dose of his own medicine.

Daniel ignored him as he answered the girl’s question.  “Well, I didn’t have any family on Earth then, like I do now,” he said, his eyes briefly glancing up to hold Jack’s before giving her his attention again.  “I met someone there and decided to stay with her and her family.”

“Did you get married?”

Daniel took hold of her hand and pulled her over to stand in front of him.  “Yes, I did.”

“Why did you come back, then?  Did she come with you?”

Looking uncomfortable, sadness briefly touched Daniel’s face before he forced it back.  “I, uh, she—“

“Janet, are you bothering Grandpa Daniel?”  The sound of her mother’s voice made the girl look up. 

“It’s okay, Cassie, she’s just curious,” Daniel placated as Cassie entered the room.

“She’s the most inquisitive child I’ve ever seen,” Cassie said, “which is both a good and a bad thing.”

“Takes after her Grandpa Daniel,” Jack said with a smirk.

Daniel let the comment slide as he pulled little Janet into a hug.  “You just keep asking questions all you want, Janet.  That’s how you learn,” he whispered to her.

“Well, Sam, Teal’c, and Cam should be here any minute and dinner’s ready,” Cassie announced.

Jack clapped his hands together.  “Now we’re talkin’.  Let’s eat!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sitting back in his chair in front of the fire, Jack surveyed the room.  This yearly gathering had been Cassie’s idea—a way of re-capturing the past, of keeping connected to all of her family.  She and her husband, Ryan, sat on the loveseat watching their children play with their ‘grandparents’.  Cassie had finished med school, started her own practice, married Ryan, and had three beautiful children.  The sole descendants of Hanka now resided on Earth. 

Jack watched as Teal’c played Hounds and Jackals with ten-year-old Adam, obviously pleased with how much the boy had improved since their last game.  Teal’c spent most of his time with Rya’c and Kar’yn and their children, returning to Earth every year for this special gathering.  Teal’c moved much slower now—how old was the big guy anyway?—and Jack wondered how many more times he would make this trip. 

Sam, looking far younger than she had a right to for her age, sat in a big chair with Janet, reading a book to the totally enthralled girl. 

Cam had six-year-old Tristan on the floor playing with toy soldiers.  Sam and Cam had never had kids of their own, but had always looked on Cassie as ‘theirs’.  Sam had stayed on in research at Area 51 for ten years before retiring, teaching an occasional class at the Academy.  Cam had stayed with it longer than any of them, only retiring five years ago.

Vala had left to find her fortune in the galaxy, once things had become settled—or boring as she described it—and she realized she would never have Daniel.  She had returned to visit several times over the years.

Sometimes Jack couldn’t believe it had been twenty years since his own retirement.  The gate had gone public the year before that and he had stayed long enough to help with the transition.    Daniel had stayed on for five years before following Jack into retirement.  They had bought a bigger cabin and it was where they spent most of their time.  Jack would fish, do some carpentry, or generally annoy Daniel as the younger man spent his time writing several books.

Jack looked across at Daniel sitting in the chair next to him, reading, occasionally looking up and smiling wistfully at one of the children. There were lines creasing the handsome face, but it still held a youthful air.  Jack was content with his life—couldn’t be happier—but sometimes he wondered about the younger man. 

“Do you ever regret it?”

“Hmm?”  Daniel looked up from his book, blue eyes illuminated by the firelight, and Jack’s breath caught just as it had so many years ago.  Sometimes he still couldn’t believe this man had chosen to spend his life with him.

“Do you ever regret it?”

“No, Jack.”  Daniel knew what he was asking without any clarification.

“You could have had kids of your own, Daniel.  You were still young.”

Daniel set his book on the end table, focusing his full attention on Jack.

“No regrets, Jack.  It wasn’t meant to be.”  Daniel reached out his hand towards Jack, who took it in his own.  “This was.”

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