Daniel stared at the computer screen and shook his head. Whatever next? he asked himself gloomily. His musings were interrupted by Jack O'Neill entering his office.
"What's new, buddy?" the colonel asked cheerfully.
Daniel pointed at the computer. "I think they've hit a new low."
The archaeologist nodded. "AV's posting a work in progress."
Jack frowned. "What's bad about that? I've read some of her stuff. She's good."
"It's called 'Stealing Jackson's Underpants'.
The colonel tried hard to stifle a snigger. After a monumental struggle, he pulled himself together and managed an almost serious expression, one he hoped conveyed sympathy and solidarity with his friend. "So what's it about?" he asked innocently. Taking in Daniel's expression, he added, "Aside from the obvious, of course."
"Haven't a clue. I daren't read it."
Seeing the look of hurt indignity on his friend's face, Jack gave up the unequal struggle and burst out laughing. The idea of anyone trying to steal Daniel's underwear cracked him up. The archaeologist shot him a filthy look. "Oh come on Daniel," protested the colonel. "Remember the briefs and boxers debate? You saw the funny side of that."
"Wasn't my underwear," muttered Daniel petulantly.
"No, it was mine, but even I thought it was funny!"
"They were only discussing it, not trying to steal it!"
Jack let out a sigh. This was going nowhere. He decided to change the subject. "What have you bought Janet for Christmas?"
Daniel looked confused. "Janet? Nothing."
"I know she's got you something." Jack licked his lips and decided to tease his friend some more. Sometimes Daniel... well, sometimes Daniel just *asked* for it. "In any case, I thought you two were...." He left the sentence hanging and looked expectantly at the archaeologist. Just in case Daniel hadn't quite got his drift, he waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
The archaeologist frowned at Jack and pursed his lips. "No, we're not. But Janet would like us to be. I think getting her a present might give her the wrong impression. She might think I feel the same."
"And you don't?"
"No... well, I don't think so. Until the danandjan list started I'd never considered... not Janet... she's a friend, not...." His voice trailed off as he turned away from Jack to hide his reddening face.
"You should get her a present," persisted Jack. "It doesn't have to be an engagement ring."
"What do you suggest?" asked Daniel, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Jack shrugged. "New stethoscope?"
The archaeologist rolled his eyes. "What have you got Sam?"
"Haven't decided yet. I want to get her something really special, something personal. But I can't think of anything really... unusual."
Daniel absentmindedly hit the send and receive button on the computer and watched as several mails arrived in his inbox. Jack leant over his shoulder. "Anything interesting?" he asked.
"Umm... More speculation about an upcoming mission."
Jack grimaced. "Should I ask?"
"They seem to think we're going to run into the clones again."
"From Harlan's planet?"
"Kumbiyah," muttered Jack under his breath. "Do they ever get this speculation wrong?"
"Oh yeah!" said Daniel with feeling. "You know the mission where we had our memories altered? They'd been convinced that Sam and I were going to get involved."
"They couldn't have been more wrong," said Jack quietly.
Daniel smiled at the expression on his friend's face. 'Wistful' wasn't an emotion he usually associated with Jack O'Neill. "And they're expecting the general to resign sometime soon."
"Who gets the command?" Jack was horror struck.
"I don't think they know." The archaeologist clicked on another mail. He visibly brightened. "Hey! It's the Christmas Challenge!" He scrolled down and selected another mail. Letting out a deep breath, he mumbled, "Oh hell... another Christmas Challenge!"
Jack looked at his friend in confusion. "Why's Ness posted two?"
"One's for the danandjan list."
"If Janet's 'just a friend', why are you subbed to the danandjan list?" Jack asked mischievously.
"I wanted to find out what they were saying about me. They had me trapped in a broom closet with her the other week."
Jack considered the idea. Smiling to himself, he added, "You don't belong to any of those whumping lists though do you?"
"Of course I don't!"
"I understand they talk about you, and only you, all the time and in great detail."
"But their stories always involve pain, torture, agony, lots and lots of blood, monsters, getting shot and/or stabbed, falling down cliffs, getting kidnapped... did I mention the pain?"
"Okay, okay, I get the picture." He paused, then grinned. "But you do read the Daniel and Janet romances?"
"Sometimes," said Daniel carefully.
Jack laughed. "So what *are* the challenges?
Daniel turned back to the computer. "Right... the samandjack challenge. This is what Ness said...
It's time for the annual christmas challenge! :) So without further ado, here we go:
2000 Christmas Challenge
Your story must include the following:
1. A Sam&Jack Romance (can be mild like overt UST or a full-blown, raging romance).
2. Sam&Jack exchanging christmas presents.
3. A symbol of christmas: ie, an angel, santa claus, reindeer, a star, a snowman, etc.
4. An 'item' out of the song "The 12 Days Of Christmas" but not the song itself in any way. For those who can't remember, the 'items' are as follows:
"12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a leaping,
9 ladies dancing, 8 maids a milking, 7 swans a swimming,
6 geese a laying, 5 golden rings, 4 calling birds, 3 french hens,
2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree."
And that's it! Have fun everyone, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
and this is the danandjan challenge...
In the same tradition as the SJ list, I've agreed *waves to Sue* to create an annual christmas challenge for the DJ list as well! :) So without further ado, here we go for the first ever DJ christmas challenge:
2000 Christmas Challenge
Your story must include the following:
2. a Dan&Jan kiss
3. A symbol of christmas: ie, an angel, santa claus, reindeer, a star, a snowman, etc.
4. someone from the SGC seranading Dan&Jan with a christmas carol (bonus points if it's someone from SG1).
And that's it! Have fun everyone, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
"I've got it, Daniel! I'll write Sam a story for Christmas - I'll answer the Christmas challenge! It's perfect! Romantic, personal... Why don't you write Janet one?"
"I... I... no. I don't think so."
"Come on, Daniel. It doesn't have to be NC17." Jack slapped his friend heartily on the back. "Get into the Christmas spirit!"
"I'll think about it," said the archaeologist reluctantly.
Jack rubbed his hands together. "Well, I'm going to make a start. See you later!" With that, he turned and left Daniel's office, humming Jingle Bells as he went.
Daniel sighed, muttered 'Bah, humbug' to himself, then read the danandjan Christmas challenge again. He frowned, then smiled. Mistletoe, a kiss, Santa Claus and a Christmas carol? Yes, that might work....
"He's such a...." Janet paused, lost for words.
"Man?" suggested Sam, taking a sip of her coffee. The two women were in the commissary enjoying a break and the conversation had inevitably turned to the object of Janet's affection.
"Oh yeah! Six feet of muscular, blue-eyed, intelligent *man*," replied the Doctor, momentarily deflected from her tirade.
Sam smiled to herself. She still hadn't got used to the idea of Daniel being described as some kind of romantic hero. "Don't forget 'short-sighted', 'accident-prone' and 'over-talkative'," she said, trying to introduce some kind of perspective into the conversation.
"That just makes him more loveable," sighed Janet.
Sam groaned. What was she going to do with her friend?
Apparently remembering something, the doctor suddenly brightened. "I'm going to get him today though! I've got a secret weapon!" Janet began rummaging in her lab coat pockets. "I know it's here somewhere..." she muttered to herself.
Sam watched her friend with mounting dread. She had a vision of the doctor producing a hypodermic and sedating Daniel so he couldn't escape. The major shuddered. "Janet, you're not going to drug him, are you? It'd hardly be ethical, would it?"
Janet stopped going through her pockets and stared at her friend. "Drug him?" she said in horror. "No, I want him awake!" She resumed her search. "Got it!" she exclaimed and flourished a small sprig of mistletoe in the air.
"Yeah. Just what the doctor ordered!"
Sam laughed with relief. Even Janet couldn't do much damage with a sprig of mistletoe. "Which one?" she asked playfully.
"Jackson. Though he doesn't know it yet."
"Janet, how is mistletoe going to help?"
"He'll *have* to kiss me! You know what he's like about cultural traditions and stuff." The doctor was beaming with confidence. Taking in Sam's puzzled expression, she elaborated. "And I remembered you saying he kissed you under the mistletoe last year...."
"In a brotherly way," said Sam carefully. It was the kiss she'd shared with Jack that *really* stuck in her memory.
"That'll do for a start!" She drained her coffee and stood up. "I'm going to find my victim... sorry, I mean... I'm going to find Doctor Daniel Jackson." She grinned. "See you later!"
Daniel flexed his fingers, licked his lips and began to type. 'He watched her from across the crowded room....'
Daniel jumped a mile. He hadn't heard the approaching footsteps. "Yes, Lieutenant?"
"Sorry, sir. I didn't mean to startle you." Graham Simmons was apologetic. "You haven't seen Major Carter, have you?"
"Er, no." Daniel tried to position himself so the Lieutenant couldn't see the computer screen.
Simmons peered round him. "Are you writing something for the Christmas challenge, sir?"
"Mmm, kinda," said Daniel, noncommittally.
"I've started mine. In it, Major Carter gives Colonel O'Neill six geese a laying, they get out of control, causing the colonel's reindeer to stampede... killing him. Then I comfort the grieving major. What do you think?"
Daniel's mouth dropped open in horror. Character death in a Christmas story? It was certainly an original if somewhat depressing approach. He sighed and tried to smile at Simmons. Whatever happened to 'peace on Earth, goodwill to all men'? "I don't think Jack owns any reindeer," he said faintly.
"He does in my story," said Simmons happily. "What's yours about?"
"Nothing so violent."
"Oh I see. You want to keep it under wraps. I understand. Plagiarism is rife, sir. I shouldn't have told you what I was planning really, should I? You won't use any of my ideas will you, sir?"
"I think you can sleep easily on that subject," said Daniel.
"Well, I'd better be going. If you see Major Carter, will you tell her I was looking for her?"
Simmons span on his heel and left the room.
Daniel puffed out his cheeks. "Peace at last," he muttered under his breath and turned back to the computer.
'....her auburn hair shone in the reflected light from...'
Daniel jumped a mile... again. Was everyone wearing sneakers today? "What can I do for you, General?"
"I'm looking for Colonel O'Neill."
"I think he's gone to his office, General."
Hammond looked curiously at the computer screen. "Are you writing a story for the Christmas challenge, Doctor Jackson?"
"Ye-es," said Daniel carefully. "Are you?"
The General smiled. "Yes. I've come up with quite an original plot, even if I do say so myself."
"You have?" After Simmons' revelations, Daniel wasn't sure if he wanted to hear it.
Hammond puffed his chest out, obviously proud of his efforts. "The colonel gives the major a Partridge family CD, being as she was such a David Cassidy fan in her youth, the major gives the colonel a pear tree, because he's always wanted to plant an orchard, they climb up onto the colonel's roof to look through his telescope and see one particularly bright star. They kiss." He smiled triumphantly. "What do you think?"
"I think Sam's a bit young to have been a David Cassidy fan, and in any case, the partridge is supposed to be *in* the pear tree, General."
"It is? Oh dear." Hammond was crestfallen. "Well, I'd better have a rethink, then. I'll see you later, Doctor Jackson."
Daniel watched the general leave, then turned back to the computer and resumed typing.
'...from the Christmas tree...'
He stopped and looked over his shoulder. There was no-one there. Was he getting paranoid? Possibly. Or possibly they *were* out to get him. He began typing again.
'...her brown eyes glittered with...'
He stared at the words on the screen. When had he noticed what colour Janet's eyes were?
Meanwhile, a long, long way from Cheyenne Mountain....
"My lord." The jaffa bowed deeply.
"I wish for an objective opinion on this story."
"My lord." The jaffa bowed again.
"You are familiar with the samandjack list Christmas challenge?"
"Yes, my lord."
"Good. This is my idea. While O'Neill and Carter are in bed together, they are visited by the angel of death, who kills them by hitting them over the head with their Christmas presents. I haven't decided what they're going to be yet, but they will have to be heavy. Possibly something made of naquadah. Then eleven pipers play at their funeral." His eyes flashed as he paused. "What do you think, jaffa?"
The jaffa gulped. Joining the Tok'ra was suddenly looking very attractive....
'....love, when she saw him watching her.'
"Hell, I've used 'watching' twice. That sounds awful," Daniel muttered under his breath.
There was a tap on his open door.
Daniel raised his eyebrows at the apparition in red and white standing in the doorway. "Major Davis, why are you dressed as Santa Claus?"
"It's for the children's Christmas party later," he explained. "The general thought there'd be less chance of the kids recognising me, as I don't work on the base."
"Oh, I see." Daniel waved a hand vaguely in Davis' direction. "It suits you. I think you could use a little more padding though."
"Yeah, I thought that. I'm on my way to the infirmary to borrow a couple of pillows. Any messages for the good Doctor?" Davis grinned conspiratorially.
"No!" squeaked Daniel. Why did everyone assume there was something going on between him and Janet?
"Are you writing something for the Christmas challenge?" asked Davis.
"Yes, I'm trying to," hissed Daniel through gritted teeth. He looked wearily at the major. He might as well get this over with. Davis' plot couldn't be any worse than Simmons' or the general's.... could it? "Are you?" he asked tentatively.
"Yeah! In mine, Sam and Jack go to Disneyland for Christmas and see a marching band... twelve drummers drumming... get it?" Daniel nodded. "Then he gives her a toy reindeer and she gives him a night to remember. What do you think?"
"Good. Has potential." Daniel didn't know what else to say. At least it didn't involve 1970's music and no-one died.
He watched Davis leave and turned back to the computer. There was a gentle tap on the door. He swung round to be confronted with Janet Fraiser approaching him. He stood up quickly, not sure entirely what to do. Then he noticed she was waving a sprig of mistletoe in the air.
"Doctor Jackson," she purred. "I've come to wish you a Merry Christmas!"
Jack carefully closed the bomb shelter door behind him and set up the laptop on the table. Peace and quiet. No-one would find him in here. Opening the word processor, he started a new file, quietly said, "Merry Christmas Sam," under his breath and began to type.
A couple of hours later, Sam opened the door to the bomb shelter and stopped dead. Not only was there someone in there, which was unheard of, but she was confronted with the sight of the colonel, hunched over a laptop, typing furiously with two fingers. She cleared her throat. He didn't appear to hear her. "Sir?" she tried, to no avail. "I'm sorry," she continued, "I didn't know you were here. I come here when I don't want to be disturbed. I guess you do too. I had a report to write about the naquadah reactor. I'll go and find somewhere else. Sorry again about disturbing you, sir...." She stopped when she realised she was gabbling.
Finally, he turned to face her. Licking his lips, he glanced quickly at the computer and said, "It's okay, I've just finished."
He seemed a little uncomfortable at the question, then said quietly, "No. It's for you. A story."
"For me?" Sam was amazed and more than a little flattered.
"Christmas present," he said shyly. "Ness posted a challenge...."
"Oh." Sam didn't know what to say. There was a long pause in which she found her eyes drifting to the computer screen. "Can I read it?" she asked quietly.
"It was going to be your Christmas present...."
"Please." Blue eyes held brown. Brown gave in.
"Okay, but if it stinks, keep it to yourself. I don't handle criticism well."
"I'm sure it won't."
"The last one did."
Sam remembered the story he was referring to - jacksex.doc. How had she described it to Daniel? The most erotic thing she'd ever read, wasn't it? But of course, she hadn't told the colonel that. No, she'd made him squirm. Perhaps now was the time to own up. "No, it didn't," she blurted out.
He frowned. "But you said...."
"I lied," she admitted. "I was mad at you."
"Oh." Unusually, Jack was at a loss for words. He fiddled with the laptop, then stood up. "There you go. It shouldn't take you long, it's quite short."
Sam sat down and began to read.
Christmas - How I'd Like It To Be
by Jack O'Neill
dedication - For Major Samantha Carter
"It's beautiful, sir."
"Jack," he gently reminded her.
"Sorry, force of habit." She smiled as she turned round, taking in her surroundings. The cabin was warm and cosy, a log fire roared in the grate, throwing its heat to the furthest corners of the room. A sofa sat by the fire, a thick rug on the floor in front of it. Sam stepped forward to admire a picture on the wall above the hearth, an oil painting of swans on a lake in summer. "Is this near here?" she asked.
"Yeah, my granddad painted it. There's seven swans swimming on the lake - one for each grandkid."
Sam smiled mischievously. "Let me guess..." she said, taking a step nearer the painting to study it more closely. "You're the one facing the other way to the others."
Jack grinned. "No, that's cousin Al. He's got a rotten sense of direction. I'm the good looking one at the front." Sam raised an eyebrow doubtfully. He smiled self-consciously and nodded towards a door. "Come on, I'll show you. Looks different at this time of year." They walked through into the kitchen and he pointed at a huge picture window.
Sam's eyes were drawn instantly to the view. "Wow," she said quietly. The land fell away from the cabin, sweeping down across an empty field to a frozen lake. The trees, the grass, everything in sight, were covered in a thick coating of hoar frost that shone and sparkled in the weak winter sunshine.
"Nice view, don't you think, major?"
"Sam," she corrected.
He smiled. "Force of habit." Then he added quietly, "Thank you for coming."
"Thanks for inviting me." She didn't quite look at him when she spoke, her eyes drifting back to the view. She turned and flashed him a quick, almost nervous smile. Not wanting to admit her real reason for accepting, she said, "You'd invited me so many times I had to come to shut you up."
He laughed. "Let me guess.... you agreed to come in winter so you didn't have to go fishing?"
Sam decided to play along. "Whatever gave you that idea?"
He frowned at her. "Sam!"
"Okay.... Busted." She smiled weakly. "I really *hate* fishing. I used to go with Dad. It bored me to tears."
"I can assure you it would be different with me." Jack waggled his eyebrows.
"I can imagine that." Sam wasn't sure how much longer she could keep up the flirting, it was having an alarming effect on her heart rate.
Jack seemed to sense she was beginning to feel uncomfortable and suddenly grinned. "We could go ice fishing?"
"Sit by a hole in the ice, freezing my ass off for hours? That's worse than the fishing I remember!"
Jack laughed. "Not at first. We've have to make the hole. Good healthy exercise. That'd keep you warm." Sam opened her mouth to protest. "Okay, okay. No fishing. Snow's been forecast for later. Are you any good at building snowmen, ma- .... Sam?"
"Oh yeah. I'm an expert."
"Is there anything you're not good at?" he teased.
"Wouldn't you like to know!" She found her eyes drawn to his and she swallowed hard. What had she done, accepting his invitation to the remote cabin? Just the two of them, miles from anyone, all alone for Christmas. He'd used words like 'co-workers' and 'friends', not the words that kept popping into her head.... 'lovers', 'soul mates'. Sam knew they were playing with fire, they both knew how each other felt, they'd admitted their feelings in front of Freya, Janet and Teal'c but they'd been good soldiers and not acted on them. Not yet. Not until now. Not until she'd said 'yes' to his invitation. She remembered the look on his face. He'd expected another refusal, but she'd got tired of saying 'no'. Tired of being the good little soldier. Truth be known, it was a song that had finally made her think. She'd heard it on the radio and hadn't been able to get the lyrics out of her head.
"I want my love, my life, my laugh, my smile, my needs,
Not in the star signs,
Or the palm that she reads
I want my sun-drenched, wind-swept Ingrid Bergman kiss
Not in the next life
I want it in this, I want it in this."
Jack's voice broke the spell. "Look, it's snowing!" She turned back to the window and watched as flake after flake silently drifted down. Just a few at first, then more and more until their view of the lake was obscured by a snowy curtain. Sam stared with childlike wonder. She'd spent too many winters stationed in warm climates for the sight of falling snow to ever grow old. A rustling noise caught her attention. Jack had stepped over to the kitchen table and was investigating the contents of two shopping bags. "Mrs. Mulligan's done her stuff," he said. "Not only did she light the fire, but she's left supplies too. Want something to eat?"
Sam hadn't realised how hungry she was. "Yes, please."
They sat facing each other across the kitchen table. Sam pushed her plate away. "That was great, thanks."
Jack grinned. "I heat up a mean pizza."
"Much better than your usual cooking."
He frowned, then smiled when he realised what she meant. "I defy anyone to make freeze-dried, vacuum-packed gloop taste like anything other than chicken!"
"You have a point," she agreed, then looked out of the window. "It's almost stopped snowing. Want to build that snowman now?"
Muffled up in hats, coats, scarves, gloves and boots, they ventured outside. "Oh my," gasped Sam. "It's real cold, isn't it?"
Jack looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "It's Christmas Eve in Minnesota, Sam. What did you expect?"
She suddenly felt rather foolish. "I don't know," she mumbled, vowing to herself to get even with him for making her feel that way. Sam bent down, scooped up some snow and moulded it between her thick gloves, smiling at the satisfying crack it gave when it compressed.
She span round, only to get a snowball full in the face. She gasped at the shock as icy fingers spread across her cheeks and down her neck. "I'll get you!" she yelled, hurling her snowball at Jack. Just as she let go, he bobbed down and the snowball caught him a glancing blow on the shoulder as he crouched, gathering more ammunition. Sensing an advantage, she ran towards him, stopping quickly to scoop up more snow as she went. Almost on top of him, she raised her hand to throw only to find Jack grabbing her round the waist and pushing her backwards onto the snow. She landed with a soft whump and a split second later she grunted when Jack fell full length on top of her, knocking the breath out of her completely.
Staring into his rather bewildered face, she reflected that she'd had dreams about being in this kind of position with Jack, but all of them had included being able to breathe. She grunted and ineffectually tried to push him off. Bewilderment turned to worry. "Oh God, sorry, Sam. Are you all right?" he said, as he started to lever himself off her.
"Y-yes," she stuttered, taking a deep breath as the weight was removed from her chest. She tried to smile. "You winded me, that's all."
His brown eyes were full of concern as he pulled himself into a kneeling position and offered her a hand. "Sorry," he repeated quietly.
"There's no need to apologise," she said, accepting the offered hand. "Shall we build that snowman now?"
They stood back and admired their handiwork. "I think we should call it George," said Jack, patting the short, squat snowman gently on the head.
Sam laughed. "Do you think we could get court-martialled if he finds out?"
Jack looked down at her and smiled, his tone suddenly serious. "I can think of things I'd sooner be court-martialled for."
She stared sightlessly at the snowman. She knew what he meant. The regs. The ever present regs. The regs she'd every intention of breaking. "Jack?" she said, her voice little more than a whisper.
"I think you should know... I finally said 'yes' because... it wasn't anything to do with fishing..."
He cut her off. "I know."
"I'm tired of fighting it too." He stroked her cheek gently with his gloved hand. "Shall we go inside?"
She nodded, and taking his hand, went into the cabin. Once inside, they pulled off their boots and headed for the warmth of the fire. Standing facing Jack on the rug, she watched as he took off his gloves and smiled at her. "Let me help you," he said quietly, reaching up and gently pulling her hat upwards. Sam immediately yanked off her gloves and tried to smooth down her hair. He grabbed her hands and put them firmly by her sides. "I said, 'let me help you,'" he repeated.
Sam could feel her mouth going dry as he slowly unwound the scarf from her neck and dropped it on the floor, then unzipped her coat and gently eased it from her shoulders. Her heart pounded as he slipped off his coat and stepped closer, his hands finding the hem of her sweater. He gazed into her eyes, asking a silent question. She nodded. Slowly, he pulled the sweater up and off, revealing a blue shirt underneath. "Matches your eyes," he whispered. Jack licked his lips, then reached up and began to unbutton her shirt.
Needing to touch him, Sam looped her arms around his neck and pulled his head down to hers. Their lips met in a hungry, passionate kiss. Wanting to feel even closer, Sam pressed herself to him, their bodies moulding together. Realising how much he wanted her, she slid her hand down his back and under his sweater, and heard him suck in a sharp breath when she touched the smooth skin of his back. He broke off the kiss, and stared into her eyes, his hands still on the top button of her shirt. "Are you sure? There'll be no going back."
"I'm sure," she said softly, as she gently pushed his hands away and began unbuttoning her shirt. "I've never been so sure of anything."
Sam felt something brush the tip of her nose. She blinked her eyes open and tried to focus on the face looking down at her. He kissed her again, this time on the lips. "Merry Christmas to you too," she said sleepily.
Jack was propped up on one elbow, staring down at her, as if trying to commit every detail to memory. "No regrets?" he asked quietly.
She shook her head. "No."
He smiled. "I've got a present for you." Jack reached behind him and produced a small package wrapped in shiny gold paper. He handed it to her.
Sam tore away the paper to reveal a box. She opened it and gasped. "Oh Jack, it's beautiful. Thank you."
"Want to try it on?" She smiled and nodded as she sat up so Jack could put the simple gold chain around her neck. "Thank you," she said again, fingering the necklace, then she leant across and kissed him slowly and deliberately, the urgency of the night before gone. When they broke apart she said, "I've got a present for you too."
"You have?" he said, feigning surprise as she hopped out of bed and went over to her bag. She retrieved a large flat parcel and passed it to Jack. "It's heavy," he said, as she snuggled back under the covers. He shook his present experimentally. "I think it's a book."
"For crying out loud, open it!"
"Seeing as you put it so nicely, I will." He pulled off the wrapping paper. "I was right! A book about the Solar System! I've been trying to get hold of this for months. How can I ever thank you?"
Sam smiled and raised her eyebrows. "I can think of something...."
Sam stared at the final words on the screen. "The End" But it wasn't. It felt like something was just beginning. She could almost feel Jack's eyes boring into the back of her head. Swallowing hard, she turned to face him. He looked so nervous, so much like a little boy. She smiled. "That was wonderful. Thank you."
Not willing to believe her, he said, "Really? You liked it?"
She stood up and took a step towards him. "Yes."
"You're sure? You're not just saying that? I mean, I know what I said about criticism...."
"I liked it.... no, I *loved* it." She took another step.
"Really?" he asked again.
"Really." One more step. They were almost touching, their bodies inches apart.
"Really?" he said very quietly, as he bent down to kiss her.
~ The Next Day ~
Sam tapped on Janet's open office door, a huge grin splitting her face from ear to ear.
The doctor looked up from a file she was studying and grimaced at her friend. "I take it you had a better evening than I did?" she asked sarcastically.
Sam pulled a small sheaf of papers from her pocket. "Jack wrote me a story!"
"So it's 'Jack' now, is it?" muttered Janet unhappily.
Sam wasn't to be deflected and thrust the papers across the desk. "Read it! Jack said he wouldn't mind."
Janet reluctantly took the offered story and carefully placed it in her in tray. "Perhaps later. At the moment, I'm not really in the mood."
Finally sensing all was not well with her normally bubbly friend, Sam asked, "So I'm guessing the mistletoe didn't work?"
"Only if you count concussion and an overnight stay in the infirmary as success," Janet said gloomily.
Sam's eyebrows shot up. "What did you do to him? I thought you said you wanted him conscious?"
"Nothing.... Not *really*.... Though I guess it was my fault.... Oh, Sam, I've blown it big style.... He'll never want to speak to me again.... I daren't face him.... I got Doctor Warner to treat him.... How's that for cowardice?" She dropped her head into her hands in despair.
"Is he all right?" Sam was beginning to get a little worried. What had happened?
"Yeah, apart from the headache. He was only out for a few minutes. You know, he even looks cute when he's unconscious." She sighed, then gestured towards the infirmary. "He's in there."
Sam pursed her lips. Curiosity was getting the better of her. "Are you going to tell me how he got the concussion or am I going to have to guess?"
Janet rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. "Well, after I left you in the commissary, I finally caught up with him at his office. He was doing something on his computer. Anyway, when he saw me he stood up and smiled."
"Nothing to cause a concussion there." Sam was trying to be encouraging. Judging by the expression on the doctor's face, it wasn't working.
"Not yet," replied Janet darkly. "As I said, he stood up and smiled. Then he saw that I was holding the mistletoe and tried to back away from me." She frowned.
"And?" asked Sam.
"And he fell backwards over his chair, banged his head on his desk and knocked himself out."
"Oh." Sam couldn't think of anything else to say. She was wondering what Daniel's reaction to all this was going to be when one of the infirmary nurses tapped on the door and came in.
"Doctor Jackson would like to speak to you."
"Thanks. I'll be there in a moment." She watched the nurse leave, then turned to Sam. "Oh joy!" Janet muttered as she stood up. "Stick around will you? I need the moral support."
Sam really didn't want to get involved, but curiosity was rearing its ugly head again so she followed her friend into the infirmary, staying what she hoped was a tactful distance behind Janet.
The doctor walked up to Daniel's bed. Her patient was propped up on several pillows and although he still looked a little pale and the smile he greeted her with was a little strained, she was grateful that at least he didn't seem angry. "I'm sorry," she said quietly.
He looked genuinely puzzled. "What for?"
"For making you...." She waved vaguely towards his head.
"For making me accident prone? Sorry to burst your bubble, Doctor, but I've been doing that all on my own for years." He smiled gently. "It wasn't your fault."
"But if I hadn't...." she persisted.
"It wasn't your fault," he repeated more firmly. "You took me a little by surprise, that's all. My natural grace and sense of balance did the rest."
Janet turned away as she felt her face begin to redden. She wasn't sure why suddenly the floor seemed so interesting. She couldn't look him in the eye. Was it because he was being so nice to her, instead of trying to avoid her like he usually did?
"Janet," he said quietly. "You wouldn't still have that mistletoe, would you?"
Her mouth dropped open as she raised her eyes to look at him. "What?"
"The mistletoe?" Daniel smiled.
Did he have any idea what that smile did to her? Probably not. She rummaged in her pockets then held up the small sprig that had caused all the trouble. "What do you want me to do with it? Put it in the garbage?"
"No. Give it to me please."
She handed it over, wondering what Daniel could possibly want with it. He looked at it thoughtfully for a moment, then said, "I've been thinking...."
"So long as we take things slow...."
Janet's heart leapt. "Yes?"
He held the mistletoe over his head and grinned. She bent down and when their lips met, it wasn't a bit like she imagined. It was much, much better.
Sam watched her friends from the other side of the room. She knew she was grinning like an idiot, but she was so happy for them she couldn't help it.
"About time too," said a familiar voice in her ear.
She swung round to find the other two members of Sg1 standing behind her. "Jack! Teal'c!"
The jaffa inclined his head in greeting. "Major Carter." He frowned slightly. "I had come to demonstrate my new song to Daniel Jackson. I thought it might speed his recovery."
Sam and Jack exchanged a look, the colonel raising an eyebrow in a reasonable impersonation of Teal'c.
At the sound of voices, Daniel and Janet turned to face their friends.
"Feeling better, buddy?" asked Jack.
"Much, thanks," Daniel replied, stealing a quick glance at Janet. "What's the song, Teal'c?"
"It is a Christmas carol, Daniel Jackson. I believe it is known as Silent Night."
The archaeologist smiled. "Let's have it, then, Teal'c."
The jaffa began to sing, his deep voice filling the room. "Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright...."
When he'd finished the carol a sense of peace and tranquillity hung over the infirmary. "Merry Christmas," he said solemnly.
"Yeah, Merry Christmas everyone," echoed Daniel.
"Merry Christmas," agreed Janet, taking Daniel's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.
Jack smiled at Sam. "I think it's going to be a good one this year."
She smiled back. "So do I."
Vanessa Nichols Kree!
I have attached my response to the samandjack list Christmas Challenge. I have been told it is something only I could have conceived, that it is the product of a truly unique mind and that no-one else will have written anything remotely similar.
I am looking forward to your honest, unbiased, objective opinion (on pain of death).
I wish to meet you when I next visit Earth.