"So how was Atlantis? We weren't expecting you home so soon," Jack said as he handed his son a beer and sat down beside him.
Charlie had finally managed to get Ava to bed, a whole three hours after her bedtime. She had eventually worn herself out and fallen asleep on his chest.
Charlie stared at the beer bottle in his hands, a slight smile on his face when he realised that his father - in both realities - drank the same brand.
"Destroyed," he answered quietly, his eyes never leaving the bottle in his hands.
"Destroyed? What do you mean destroyed?" Jack asked, sitting up straighter and looking at his son intently.
Charlie felt his mother stiffen on his other side. She rested a hand on his left knee.
"It's gone. It's under Wraith control. We destroyed everything we could before they could access any of our systems. They started to cull."
"How did you…" Jack trailed off.
"The mirror. We found another one."
"But…" Sam started before swallowing hard, instantly knowing which mirror he was on about. "Only one version of a person can be in a reality at one time."
"I know. But I didn't have a choice."
"Did you hop between realities for six weeks?"
"No," he shook his head. "I only went to one. Lucky guess," he shrugged.
"But…" Jack frowned.
"I died as a child in that reality. They let me stay," he paused. "Mom was the base commander in that reality. Full bird Colonel," he laughed to himself, still trying to wrap his head around his mother being in the military.
"Charlie," Jack began.
"I got to meet mom," he said, cutting his father off. "She's amazing. You had to fight to get her read into the program, but you did it. And I got to see her again."
"Sarah's alive in that reality?" Jack asked as he put his beer by his feet.
"Yeah. You got divorced after I died. You remarried though," he nodded to the mother sitting by his side. "She was you Second for eight years. You have a daughter there too. Danielle," he pulled the photo from his pocket and handed it to his dad.
"You made it home," Jack breathed shakily as he pulled his son into a tight hug. Charlie wrapped his arms around his father and felt his eyes burn.
Charlie felt his mother join the hug as well as her tears through his t-shirt.
"You're not leaving again," Sam told him.
"So what's been happening here?" Charlie asked after a few minutes silence, and pulling back slightly from the embrace of his parents. He took his mothers hand in his and squeezed gently.
"Ava had to change schools," Jack said.
"What? Why?" Charlie asked confused.
"She was being bullied. Had a black eye for a few weeks. She was stressing herself out. She collapsed. She was in hospital," Jack said, looking at his hands, ashamed that he hadn't noticed the strain his daughter was under.
"Who?" Charlie ground out.
"James Thompson," Sam said distastefully.
"Seriously? I hit his cousin once. Do you think maybe that's why he was picking on her?"
"I thought I recognised the name," Sam mused.
"Jayden took a swing for him," Jack laughed.
"No," Charlie laughed.
"Yeah, apparently only he's allowed to pick on her."
"Have… have you see Melissa?" Charlie asked hesitantly.
"Yeah. She comes by at least twice a week to see Ava," Sam smiled. "She can't wait to see you again. She's visiting family out of town this week. She won't be home until tomorrow night at the earliest."
"So… what? I'm not good enough anymore?" Charlie asked, his tone light as he watched his girlfriend sit down next to Ava in the garden.
Melissa's head snapped up and her jaw dropped before a full grin appeared on her face. Quickly she scrambled to her feet and ran into his waiting arms. Charlie picked her up and spun her around before placing her back on her feet.
"I've missed you," she whispered into his chest.
"I've missed you too," he replied before kissing her forehead and running his fingers through her long blonde hair.
Melissa pulled back and met his eyes. Charlie smiled lovingly at her before putting his finger under her chin and pulling her face towards his. His eyes closed as his lips met hers in a slow love filled kiss.
"I'm glad you're home," she whispered against his lips.
"Me too," he whispered back. "I'm glad you're still here."
"I told you I would be," she smiled at him.
"I know," he smiled. "I just thought…"
"You thought wrong. I'm not going anywhere."
Jack paced in front of the inactive mirror. It had been four weeks to the day since Charlie had went back to his own reality. Back to his family. He hoped that he would be able to find the reality which had taken him in again.
Danielle sat on the floor facing the mirror, a colouring book in her lap and coloured pencils scattered around her. Her tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth slightly as she concentrated on her artwork.
"Daddy," she said quietly. Jack looked towards her. "You're gonna go through the floor," she added, causing Jack to laugh.
"What are you doing anyway?" he asked as he slowly sat down beside her.
"A Princess," she smiled at him.
"You're my Princess," he smiled back.
"And mommy's your Queen."
"She sure is baby," Jack replied as the mirror in front of them activated.
They both looked up at the noise and saw Charlie standing before them. He grinned widely and waved.
Jack got to his feet as Charlie placed his hand on the mirror. He instantly appeared before them. Charlie turned around and held out his arms to Danielle, who jumped to her feet and ran into his arms.
"Did you find us okay?" Jack asked as Charlie gave his sister a kiss.
"Yeah, McKay said you were only five jumps away," Charlie nodded.
"Do your parents know you're here?"
"Yeah," Charlie nodded again and turned around to face the mirror and smiled.
Jack looked towards the mirror again and saw that another version of himself and his wife were smiling back at him. The other Jack nodded to him, which Jack instantly returned.
"I told them everything," he said as he watched Danielle wave to the two adults on the other side of the mirror.
"Daddy?" she asked innocently.
"Yeah baby?" he asked as he bent down and started picking up her book and pencils.
"Why do they look just like you and mommy?"
"Because they are us. Just a different version," he turned to Charlie. "Are you staying a little while?"
"Yeah. I've been cleared to stay for a few days if that's okay."
"You know it is. Just turn up on the door step any time. Hell, you can have a key if you want. Just let yourself in."
"Daddy, you swore!" Danielle gasped.
"What did I say?" he laughed. He caught sight of the alternate Jack and Sam O'Neill chuckling on the other side.
"The H word!" she whispered dramatically.
"Sorry!" he held up his hands in surrender. "I'll put money in the swear jar when we get home."
"Mommy never puts any money in the swear jar," Danielle told Charlie.
"Thanks Dani," he sighed. "We ready to go?"
"Yeah," Charlie nodded and turned to face the mirror again. He smiled at his parents. "I'll be back in a few days."
"Take care of yourself," his father told him.
"I will," he nodded and waved goodbye.
"Thank you, for taking him in," Sam said to Jack as she held onto her husbands arm.
"Any time," Jack smiled and nodded as he filled his pockets with coloured pencils.
"I'll see you soon," Charlie told his parents as he smiled.
"Bye," Danielle waved to them as Charlie began to turn and walk away from the mirror.
"So I was thinking of dinner and the game tonight. It'll just be the three of us. Sam's still on Atlantis. What do you think?" Jack asked his son as they walked out of the room.
"Perfect," Charlie smiled as the mirror deactivated behind them.