Story Notes: Spoiler for Season 8, Affinity
Author's Notes: My response to the SamandJack Christmas Challenge 2004. After skipping last year's I really wanted to do it this year, hoping I'll finish it in time. It had to contain: "Sam/Jack stuck on base @ christmas and a kiss.." Randomly set in Season 8, not knowing what will happen after the hiatus. Kinda weird narrator, don't know how my muse found that person....:-) And to make things worse...unbetaes...oi...

There comes a time in every man's life when he commits a sin without regrets. To many men those happens quite frequently, while others manage to control the impulse of actually committing rather successful. General O'Neill had managed the latter part to his astonishment quite well over the last eight years, whereas in younger years he wouldn't have done so. Out of principle and out of lack of strength. This very moment, however, as the base lay silent and the snow covered the world above with an innocent blanket, he sinned with all his heart. And various other body parts.

But let's go back and see how this all happened. Which circumstances contributed to his forgetting about promises and ethics, about good intentions and his boss?

Well first of all, it was Christmas.

Assuming the bad of the month would take the following days off, the staff on the base was reduced to a minimum, including Siler, Walter, some more who can be left unmentioned and the General himself. The latter wasn't so much his choice as a necessity because he was so way behind reports that he couldn't forward them all to Daniel that the younger man would give him a brief summary. So, while everyone enjoyed the falling snow, the blinking stars in the dark winter sky and sang happy Christmas carols around crackling fireplaces, Jack sat in his office and stared blankly at the folder in front of him.

In all those years he had worked here, he had never had to be on duty during Christmas. He had always gone to his cabin sitting with mulled wine before his fireplace or going for walks around his lake. Daniel had mostly stayed and worked, yet this year he left and, as Jack knew from Teal'c, spent Christmas with Sarah. As jealous as he was that the spacemonkey managed to get out of this place, he was happy for him. Teal'c had said something of visiting Ishtar and introducing her to mistletoes and Santa Claus. So he let him go, too.

Still, Jack was stuck on base. Which didn't make him very happy and didn't really increase his Christmas mood. (Yes, he was cranky and even the Christmas decoration which was stuck on the ramp, dangling from the food shelves in the canteen or the -and yes he hated him for that- dancing Santa which was stuck on his desk and which Siler had given to him with such a happy smile, after he had been electrocuted sticking said Christmas decoration to said ramp, that he couldn't turn him down and throw the thing away, because honestly it was creeping him out -none of that could lift this mood.) But one thing was worse. And that was Colonel Carter.

Because she also was on base. He had tried to get her out, ordered her, sent airmen over to escort her to the surface but somehow she had managed to come back again. Like one of those boomerangs, which, if you don't pay enough attention, smack you in the head instead of landing in your hand again.

And his thoughts kept coming back to her over and over again.

What the General didn't know was the Colonel had her reasons for staying on base. First, she also had been at home the previous years and she found it was only fair that someone else could go home. Second, there was hope that her father might actually visit her, and she wanted to greet him, when he did so. The Tok'ra said they had passed her invitation along and he would try to come. And last but not least, Pete, her fiance, who was still alive, was on duty. So she didn't want to spend the evening alone in their house, because it was no longer just *her* house, he also lived there now, staring at the Christmas tree which he had insisted on decorating alone, because that was tradition in his family and which had pissed her off but of course she had kept silent. In a relationship one had to make compromises and he had enjoyed himself so much, she couldn't say no. Colonel Carter was happy to stay on base and catch up with experiments she had neglected over the last weeks. Anything to keep her from thinking about the future...or the present.

The General, however, had more important reasons for wanting her off the base. The reasons were simple and actually they could be narrowed down to one: He was in love with her. He had avoided meeting his friends frequently off duty over the last years, so that he wouldn't have to face her in private. Facing the Colonel he got used to. But facing Sam was a whole different story. He knew she would wear a sweater, jeans and would soon start to get warm -he did avoid the word 'hot' - because of the fire crackling away in the fireplace. She'd probably get out of said sweater and just wear a shirt, she'd laugh and be relaxed. She would be beautiful. How was he supposed to stay away from her under such circumstances? Plus, he might have to buy her a present. Which would be disastrous because what do you give someone you love, and who somehow knows that you do, but you both have to pretend you were just friends? So he had successfully avoided that.

Until now. Though she wasn't in his office, she was here. He could feel her on base. And that was really making him angry. Because, closing the folder he had pretended to read, he wanted nothing more than to stroll down to the cafeteria and eat cake. But how to do that, if one has to pass her office? And then what? If she said "Hi Sir", what would he say? Would he wait and hope that she'd approach him and kiss him under the mistletoe which hang from the door frame?

Of course that didn't happen. The General passed her lab, and she called after him and said she'd join him to eat cake, but there was no mistletoe and therefore no kissing. Not yet.

So let's skip them having small talk over cake in the canteen and jump right ahead to the part, were the General thought about resigning quite seriously.


They sat in his office -he still didn't understand how they got here and why - and drank coffee. The lights were dimmed and the reflection of the Christmas lights shone through the star map into the little room. Faint Christmas songs made their way into the space that separated the couple and they listened to them quite subconsciously. None of them wondered where they came from, because they fitted and at the same time took away a bit of the tension. The General looked into his mug and fished for something with the tip of his index finger. The Colonel stared at him and then, as she predicted he would look up and snap the disturbing object away, she quickly directed her gaze ahead of her. It rested on the dancing Santa.

I can assure you that both of them were searching for the right words to say. Those kinds of words that would ease the tension and get their thoughts off the person sitting opposite. But not even the menacing little round-bellied Santa could provoke the right comment. It simply just stood there, waiting for someone to press its button so that it could start its ridiculing hip swaying Jingle Bells' dance. The situation was tense and they were stuck.

"So....," O'Neill offered, hoping Carter would get the hint and say something. But she merely just pointed to Santa and Jack murmured: "Siler."

The Colonel could have joked lamely: "Well, doesn't look like him at all." But she didn't, because she didn't want to joke. She wanted...other things. So she answered: "I see."


The General congratulated himself to this revealing conversation and looked about the room. He let his eyes wander over bookshelves and decorations, folders, more folders, his laptop on his desk and over the star map and then her. He expected to see her in profile, maybe staring longingly at the laptop or into her mug not at him. He stared back, puzzled and transfixed and could ask the only question that could be asked to stop him from doing something really stupid: "How's Pete?"

She blinked and then looked down briefly. "Working, he's fine," but what she meant was: Alive.

"Ah. Too bad, huh?" he sipped his coffee and whished for a beer.

"Yeah." Her thoughts kept racing uncontrollably around the real truth she was hiding from herself. And they threatened to come closer with every second.

"Soo... when's the wedding?" At this point, and he hadn't believed this was possible, he felt even less in Christmas mood than before. But you have to understand. The General had to push her away, keep at a safe distance or he would hurt even more. Asking the woman he loved when she was going to finally marry the guy he disliked wasn't really un-hurting, but at least he wasn't staring at her eyes which mentally undressed him. The Colonel touched the finger on which she usually wore the ring and realized again, how she didn't miss its presence.

"I don't know. There's so much to decide and so little time... ." She offered a smile. He took it and answered: "Yeah I know." The General looked back at her and their eyes met again. And this time she refused to let him go. "I missed you," she simply stated. Jack frowned and tried to joke: "Well, I was just on another floor, you could've just..." but of course she wasn't talking of his new office or the fact that he no longer went on missions with them.

"On Christmas....," she interrupted him and then paused. "But until today I never realized how much." The Colonel felt weak and open to be hurt. But she also felt so desperately in need for this man that she couldn't think of the consequences of this statement. The General looked down into his mug briefly and then muttered his agreement.

To his surprise, not like all the other times when they revealed a bit of the painful truth of their relationship, no one interrupted them, not even they themselves.

"I should be happy. I mean, I am. I just am not...he's a good guy and he loves me. And he makes me smile." The Colonel looked at O'Neill desperately. And he looked up at her, giving her his full attention, being all opened up and ready to be ripped apart if that was what she needed.

"But he's not you."

It came out as a whisper, but he would have heard her in a blizzard. Through the silence Chris Rea informed the couple he was "Driving Home for Christmas". Jack sat glued to his chair and waited. He didn't know what to say. Did she wait for him to stop her? Did she ask him to make the next step? And if so, why now? He was pure attention, saw Sam's eyes fill with just the hint of tears, tears that would never fall. Saw her mouth open just a little bit where it was pressed together firmly just a second ago, and breathe out air that had been held inside for too long. He saw her heart beat faster and her eyes talk louder to him. And then she continued.

"He loves me, but he doesn't .... he ... you look at me like this and it hurts. It hurts so much to be seen, really seen and still accepted and still ...," she searched for the right verb, not wanting to suggest anything that wasn't true.

"Loved?" he helped her.

She looked down and nodded.

He breathed in deeply. "Well, you know, that's the easy part." She looked up and he looked away. "Not doing so, is a bit harder...."

The Colonel grabbed her mug tighter. "But you never said a word, you never...."

"Because it's not about me. It never has been. All you have to say is one word and I.... I want you to be happy. You deserve a life and to love someone."

The Colonel closed her eyes and remembered the words her 'father' said to her while she had been stuck on the Prometheus. Could she speak of Pete like that? Like her father had spoken of her mother?

"I do... Jack."

There. She said it. And I'm aware that this is sappy and unrealistic but you know as well as I do, that those two love the other more than they love themselves. You've heard O'Neill confess it. You've seen it in her eyes. So it's not surprising that he reaches out, in the process knocks down the mug he has balanced on the armrest, and digs his hand into the back of her neck to drag her close for a passionate kiss. He then withdraws and looks at her. Both are breathing heavily and she slowly gets up and sits down again in his lap. Her hands come up to frame his face and her thumbs stroke over his lips. He brushes a strand of hair out of her face and tucks it behind her ear. "All I want for Christmas" (not by Mariah Carey but a cover version, we are after all in a military base) emphasized the meaning of their glances as she slowly bent down, her eyes looking into his and then, finally kissed him. Softly, their tongues slowly started exploring and caressing the other, increasing the tempo and finally giving in to the accumulated desire of eight years of unfulfilled love and lust.

This is the point in Jacks life I mentioned in the beginning. The point at which he no longer cared and at which his hands are pushing up her shirt. Nobody noticed that in the process of clearing the desk of unneeded items the dancing Santa -among other things - impacted on the floor with a protesting noise followed by a happy performance of the Jingle Bells' Dance. But none of the couple noticed.

And none of the expected catastrophes would the General and the Colonel actually indulge in hot, dirty, nasty sex on the Generals desk, happened. The snow fell undisturbed, the world kept turning and millions of miles away a former human now Tok'ra pressed the buttons of a DHD with the destination Earth. In his arm he held a somewhat wrapped little gift for his daughter. He couldn't wait to see her surprised face when he stepped through the wormhole to celebrate the first Christmas with her in years.

I am sure you can imagine her expression. Now go and get yourselves some cookies. You earned them.

The End.

Merry Christmas!

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