A/N: I wrote this and sent it to my beta, AstraPerAspera, for whom it created a plot bunny for a second chapter. Which she wrote and which works so well with it we decided to put them both together. The link to the second chapter is at the bottom of this one. This story was written for the ficathon on the S/J thread at Gateworld using the Prompt: Fishing.

"Hey… time to get up."

He was gently shaking her shoulder, speaking softly so as not to wake the others sleeping in the cabin. Glancing out the window, she found only the dull grey of early morning. Not even the birds were awake and singing yet.

"Ihm… Uhn... Sleep…" she managed by way of explanation and tried to roll back over, pulling the thick down comforter back over her head in an attempt to shut him out.

He wasn't buying it. "Oh, no you don't. I promised to take you fishing this morning and you're not getting out of it that easily." He pulled the bedding back down off her face.

As she woke up fully, awareness returned and she remembered she really had been looking forward to finally getting to go fishing alone with him this morning. In fact, she'd gone to bed early the night before in expectation of it. So, without a trace of reluctance, she slipped out of bed, dressed in the clothes laid out the night before, and quietly followed him outside.

He paused on the front porch to carefully choose one of the fishing poles leaning against the wall of the cabin and hand it to her. Then, after grabbing his own pole and the tackle box sitting nearby, he led her around back to the pier. He set the box down on the edge of the pier and opened it.

"C'mere." He waved her over to the box and they leaned over it together, looking at the contents. He pointed to the bright red and white balls. "Those are the bobbers." He selected one and, reaching for her pole, hooked it onto her line. "And this," he explained, picking out a bright pink plastic worm and sticking it onto the hook, "is the best lure to use in this pond."

"I didn't think you ever caught anything."

He looked vaguely uncomfortable. "I don't. But that's not the point."

"I don't get it."

He sighed dramatically. "How many times do I have to explain this? It's not about the fish… it's about the fishing…"

She opened her mouth to demand a further explanation, but he cut her off before she could speak. "No. Don't ask. Trust me. You'll see."

"If you say so…." She tried not to let her doubt show.

He rolled his eyes. "Women." Then he reached for her pole and positioned it in front of her. "Now, hold it here and here," he said, pointing to the proper places. She did as directed. "Good." He got his own line ready and, standing next to her, demonstrated how to cast and reel the line back in. "Now, your turn."

She tried to do as asked, but she only managed to cast the line three feet in front of the pier. Glancing over at him, she could see him struggling not to smile. "Not bad," he observed.

"It was terrible."

Now he really did smile. "Nyah. Not too bad for a first timer. Try it again. Only try to cast forward more smoothly."

She did as requested, and this time her cast went significantly further. "Yes!"

"Nice!" She looked over at him and found her own proud smile echoed on his face. "Now, reel it in…." She did, and having caught nothing, cast again. "I think you've got it," he observed. "Now, just keep that up." And turning slightly away from her, he cast his own line forward.

"And this is fishing?"


"And we just keep doing this all morning?"


"I don't get it."

"You will."

So they stood together at the end of the pier, casting their lines and reeling them back in. At first, he had to keep stopping to help her untangle her line, or to get a particularly troublesome bit of weed off the hook. Eventually, though, as she grew better, such assistance became unnecessary and they soon lapsed into a comfortable silence. Then slowly, the hum of the reels and the whir of the line, the rustle of the wind through the leaves and the splashing of the pond against the shore created a timeless magic around them. The entire universe became just the two of them there at the pond together. Fishing.

And she understood. It wasn't about the fish.

She didn't want to break the mood, but she had to let him know. "Daddy?"

Jack glanced down at her. "Yeah?"

"Thanks for taking me fishing."

Continued in Chapter Two: Reeling, by AstraPerAspera found at ffnet at: /s/4967790/1/Learning_to_Fish_Chapter_Two_Reeling This isn't a copyable link cause it won't let me post one here.