He sat in front of the window, staring out into the darkness beyond the glass at the countryside outside, unable for once to forget how very close he still was even here to the chaos and insanity of Washington, D.C. But at least here he could find some peace and rest.

He gently kissed the blond head resting against his shoulder before beginning his soft speech, though he suspected sleep had robbed him of his audience some time ago. Which was fine. He was really only talking for himself, anyway. "I hate my job," he confessed. "I mean, I really hate my job. Ordering other people to do things I know are crazy dangerous ideas dreamt up by some politicians or - worse still - bureaucrats - simply because no one on the planet has the knowledge or the position to tell them off. Not even me. Which is ironic, cause you'd think, finally, now I'd have the power."

He glanced down at the still motionless form resting against his shoulder before continuing, "You'd be wrong, though. If I'd only known then what I know now, I'd never have taken that promotion. I'd have stayed in command of SG-1 - or maybe the SGC - and they could have found some other SOB to take over here. Hell knows, they don't need me."

At his vehemence, the figure finally stirred, reminding him to be gentle. He laid another kiss upon the blond brow, this time taking the time to nuzzle the soft hair, breathing in the so-familiar scents which lingered there. The scents which spoke of family. And home. And everything he was still fighting for.

And he had to admit the truth, once more.

Resignedly, he continued, "But, then.. You wouldn't be here, would you? And you're easily worth an eternity spent in D.C."

Not that that really made it any easier to bear. But at least it made it possible.

"Now, lets get you to bed." He stood up, scooping the toddler from his lap into his arms as he straightened. At least he felt a bit better after his private confession, yet he couldn't help adding, as he tucked the child securely into bed, "But, short stuff, man, do I miss your Mommy."

And the child, who was obviously not sleeping as soundly as he'd thought, answered back, "Me, too, Daddy." Then, through a wide yawn, he added, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, "But she'll be back soon. And then you'll be happy again."

At such simple wisdom, Jack couldn't help smiling despite himself. Leave it to her child.

Out of the mouth of babes.