*****A Trio of Teddies*****
After her memorial night, she always felt drained. Physically, emotionally, mentally.
Truthfully, there were few days of the year that she disliked as much as Valentine's Day.
It wasn't to do with not being in a romantic relationship - Sam was old enough and experienced enough to know that having an 'other half' was not a cure for all ills. She was happy enough single, she had great friends - most of whom were also single, and there was no need for a man in her life.
Maybe it was just when you had lost so many people you cared about, sometimes it seemed pointless caring for others.
It was a depressing thought and one unworthy of her. But, once in a while, she thought it anyway, even if she knew she'd never close everyone else out. She needed the people around her too much to ever live like that.
Two steps into her office, Sam stopped and stared at her desk.
Then she began to laugh, helplessly.
Her laughter attracted the attention of a passing airman whose inquiry after her was waved away. He left, but gave lingering glances at the darkened office.
Sam turned the main lights on and looked at her 'Valentine's Day present' in delight and disbelief.
The trio of teddy-bears lined up on her desk regarded Sam with expressions that were respectively good-humoured, solemn, and jaunty.
A brown-furred teddy bear in a blue jacket peered cheerfully at her over his home-made foil glasses. In his paws was held a red cardboard heart edged with Stargate glyphs and bearing the greeting: 'You're the greatest!'
Next, was a 'Jaffa' teddy bear; dark-furred, and complete with a miniature staff weapon and a serpent brand on his head in carefully-shaped gold foil. His little cardboard heart bore the sincere and somewhat decorous inscription: 'You are highly thought of!'
The last bear was neat and formal in AirForce dress uniform with little silver cardboard eagles on his shoulders. He didn't hold a cardboard heart. Instead a medal dangled from a multi-coloured ribbon which was draped across his grey-furred paws, and the officer's cap he wore was tilted at a cocky angle over his grey-furred head.
Sam picked up the medal, on which was scrawled: 'For the best 2IC in the damn galaxy!'
She shook her head, smiling.
Daniel. It had to be Daniel. Teal'c would never put such detail into a gift, and the Colonel.well, the Colonel just wouldn't.
Of course, Daniel hadn't done it alone, but she would have bet he was the one to come up with the idea and orchestrate it.
She felt a little guilty, having gotten them nothing. There was nothing she could get them. Flowers were silly, cards were trite, and while Daniel would be glad of a hug, and probably Teal'c, too; but the Colonel.well, it wouldn't be appropriate.
She'd just have to tell them 'thanks'.
Thanks for being the best friends a girl could have.
And for thinking of her on Valentine's Day.
Patting Daniel's bear affectionately on the head, she turned all three bears around to face her, and settled down to her morning's tasks.
Mission reports, some of the results from tests on alien technologies, a note from one of the lab scientists regarding the reverse-engineering of one of the items SG-5 had brought back through the gate - the device they'd put together was emitting a low-level UV radiation when it was turned on and they weren't sure what it was doing was what the device was supposed do - would she come and check it out?
Sam applied herself to her work.
However the bears were distracting.
They sat there, staring at her; earnest, sober, and smug. Watching her with glass eyes that didn't see, but observed nevertheless.
She shook her head and ignored their candid gazes, working her way through her report on their last mission. Then Sam went through some of the test reports, making notes on variations that might clarify the details further. She'd take that over to the main labs later this morning and run a few permutations past the other SGC scientists.
About mid-morning, there was knock at the door, "Sam?"
"Yeah, Janet. Come in."
The Chief Medical Officer of the SGC set one foot in the door, beheld the ursine trio and laughed. "I note St. Valentine has already paid you a visit care of Dr. Jackson?"
"Yes. Very cheerful. Did you get anything?"
"A sunflower on my desk when I got in this morning," Janet grinned. "Care of Daniel, no doubt." She picked up Teal'c's bear and inspected the miniature staff weapon. "Anyway, I came down to tell you that some of the 'single girls' thought we'd do a group lunch today - to make up for hugging our water bottles tonight!" The CMO's expression was wry. "The call is going out to the single women on base - invitation only - unless you happen to have a hot date tonight?" Brown brows rose in expectation of a confession.
Sam's smile was half-grimace, "You know I haven't had a date - hot or otherwise - in years, Janet."
"That depends on what you consider a hot date, Sam."
"Going off-world with my team is *not* my idea of a hot date, Janet!"
"It is to some of the women around here," the petite brunette rolled her eyes, "I'm surprised Daniel doesn't have an official fan-club around here."
"As compared to an unofficial one?" Sam snorted, "They've never had to drag him back through a wormhole unconscious."
"Neither have you, Sam - it's usually Teal'c who gets that job." Janet pointed out, quite accurately. "So you'll be coming to lunch?"
"Yeah. What time and where?"
"Midday in the rec room on Level 8."
"See you there."
An hour before lunch, Sam went up to the main labs and ran a few test permutations past the scientists there. Once she was finished, it was time for lunch and she went directly to Level 8 without going back to her lab.
Lunch was with a dozen chattering women, laughter, gossip, and good humour. These women might be single, and tonight they might be clutching hot water bottles rather than men, but they were in good spirits among other kindred. Sam had a good time talking with various women who cheerfully vented about their friends, married and unmarried, and the ways they felt left out in the build-up to Valentine's Day.
"It shouldn't be about romantic love," one young Lieutenant observed. "Romance doesn't last in a relationship - it comes and goes. Practical, everyday, I'm-gonna-see-this-through-if-it-kills-me persistence and dedication to a relationship through thick and thin is what *really* constitutes love."
An older woman regarded her pityingly. "With an attitude like that, it's no wonder you don't have a boyfriend!"
The young woman shrugged, "I have my opinions. You have yours. We're both still single."
Sam smiled faintly at the astute comments of the Lieutenant. She understood what was being implied. Love was more than just nice feelings and it was never happily-ever-after. It was a combination of many things: persistence, loyalty, dedication, affection, laughter, grief, joy, humour, friendship, disagreements, comfort, anger, frustration, and a day-to-day struggle to be true to yourself and the person you cared about.
"Valentine's Day *doesn't* have to be about romantic love," Janet reminded them. "Sam got a set of teddy-bears from her team, and I don't think any of *them* are about to go down on their knees to her!"
Thanks, Janet! She glared at her friend who just smiled impishly as the attention of the room refocused on Sam.
"Ooh! Do tell, Major!"
Sam told them about the bears, and there was a great deal of laughter and several promises to come and see the trio.
"So what's the deal with you and those guys?"
Sam had learned how to manage such questions years ago. "We're team-mates and friends."
"Nothing more." She'd also taught herself to tell the lie without blushing. However blatant the lie, most people would never know the truth - no matter how hard they speculate.
Janet knew, but Janet would never tell.
The rest of the lunch hour was spent evading questions about 'her guys' as the other women persisted in referring to them. In the end, she was almost glad to escape the lunch and head back to her lab.
Seating herself at her desk, she poised her hands over the keyboard of her laptop about to start some of the calculations the upper levels scientists had suggested, and stopped in astonishment.
The bears were not alone on her desk.
In her absence, someone else had been and gone, leaving her a gift.
Not red roses. Nothing so obvious as that.
Instead, it was a tiny bouquet of pink rosebuds - small enough to fit in a glass tumbler and brighten up a colourless lab. Tied with a silver ribbon and accompanied by a card.
She read the words scrawled inside - a few lines of verse, unsigned.
"Quietly as rosebuds talk to the thin air,
Love came so lightly,
I knew not it was there."
End of Part Two
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