The CD continued to play, as Daniel worked diligently over the latest find brought back from PX3-423. Unaware that anyone had entered his office, until he heard the customary “Oh for crying out loud Daniel…. Blue Christmas! You seriously can’t like Elvis” said Colonel Jack O’Neill. He walked over to Daniel’s small CD player and picked up the now empty ‘Christmas in Hawaii’ case. Colonel O’Neill was sure Daniel had better taste than that. Dropping the case unceremoniously back on the table where he found it, he turned slowly to observe Dr. Daniel Jackson scowling at him from his still, seated position.
“Jack, you really should keep your opinions to yourself when it comes to music you know, I mean when was the last time you bought anything current?” Daniel waited a moment before continuing on. “Jack, and no the latest release of ‘A Simpson’s Christmas’ doesn’t count…” Daniel stopped his ranting as he noticed the hurt expression on the Colonel’s face. “Daniel, I’ll have you know nothing gets me into the swing of Christmas until I’ve heard Bart’s special version of ’12 days of Christmas’” Jack said rather sheepishly.
Eyeing each other suspiciously from across the short expanse that separated them, they both simultaneously grinned back to each other. That was how Major Sam Carter found her two teammates. As always they never seemed to surprise her with their childish antics.
“Okay gentlemen, Sir” with a nod towards her CO, Carter continued. “I’ve just had the most interesting conversation with our man Teal’c, seems he was watching the television again and had, and I quote “The most startling observation yet” regarding our culture thus far. Seems that there are children in our country, cities and towns, that don’t’ receive gifts from Santa” Sam looked at both men with one raised eyebrow as she continued on unabashed. “Teal’c said since he himself has received gifts from ‘Santa’ in the past, he feels other children should be as lucky as himself…. basically he wants to go shopping and buy toys for needy children!” Sam finished. Now looking at both men, who had continued to smirk at her, as if she had spouted three heads. Jack was the first to speak.
“See Carter, I told you he would eventually figure out that ‘Santa’ wasn’t real” Sam, not to be done in with his sarcastic remarks, simply looked at her Commanding Officer and replied. “Sir, with all due respect, I believe it was you, who had insisted on signing ‘Santa’ to all of the gifts we bought him last year, I’m hardly the one responsible for this…” The Major had a somewhat impish grim on her own face by the time she finished her comment.
“Besides that doesn’t change our situation now does it….?” Sam let her last comment hang as she surveyed the men in front of her. “We really need to take him to the Mall, you know how relentless he can be, no one will sleep till he has spent, not only his savings, but most likely ours as well. I personally have extra money saved for this situation… but I thought it was only fair to give you some fair warning.” Sam finished waiting for the nod of both men.
Daniel spoke first. “Sam I think that is a wonderful idea… unfortunately I’m not sure I can get away anytime soon, I’ve just been handed this ‘book’ to decipher and I’m not sure when I’ll be coming up for air again. I do have an extra $100.00 dollars, if you don’t mind picking some gifts up for me?” as he dug into his wallet to pulled the $100.00 dollars out, handing it over to Sam with a flourish. Looking over at the Colonel he raised his left eyebrow and asked. “Jack, your not letting Sam go alone with Teal’c to the Mall are you? That would be cruel…. you know how he gets in places like that.” Jack merely shrugged his shoulders. “Daniel, I think it’s a wonderful idea and like Carter, I too have money set aside to Christmas gifts for children less fortunate than Teal’c.” Jack said with an even larger grin on his face as he observed the shocked look on his Major’s face. “What?” he said, as he turned to Carter.
“Sir, nothing…. Just kinda surprised me that’s all, okay it’s all set. I’ll grab Teal’c on my way to my quarters and meet you at the elevators in say…. 20 minutes, Okay?” “Ahhh Carter one last thing how do we get our little Jaffa friend in and out of the Mall without a few hundred people noticing, he’s not quite human?” Jack asked. “Sir, got that one covered as well…. seems Teal’c had formulated his plan already. He will be wearing a brand new ‘Santa’ cap he borrowed from General Hammond.” Sam replied, with a grin to match that of her Colonel’s. “Oh” was all the Colonel had to say on the matter. With a wave of her hand, she was gone.
Jack waited patiently, well as patiently as was possible, for Teal’c and Carter to show, they were already 10 minutes late, by his own watch. Bouncing from foot to foot until he heard the tell tale signs of his missing two teammates coming down the corridor to his left. Eyeing his watch one more time, before commenting to Major Carter. “Do we need to synchronize our watches again Carter?” he said with a raised eyebrow and a smart assed grin plastered on his face. Sam smiled back and nodded yes but responded verbally with a “No, Sir” then chuckled herself at his faltering smile. “Okay kids, we’re off to do some shopping, Teal’c you got everything you need?” Jack asked his rather silly looking friend, who had already donned his ‘Santa’ cap. “Indeed, I am ready.”
The drive to the Mall was mostly uneventful, with only the occasional comment coming from the back seat where the Jaffa sat, milling through store flyers, randomly circling the items he found would make children happy come Christmas morning. Sam sat quietly, trying hard not to notice the man sitting next to her, glancing occasionally in his direction, when she thought he was too engrossed in traffic. She should have known better, after the first couple of times he caught her looking at him, and smiled briefly at her before turning his attention back to the traffic, which had become a bear at this hour of the day.
If they thought the traffic on the roads were bad, they should have considered the congestion in the Mall they chose. They picked the closest to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and only after the 20-minute hunt for a parking spot had they considered trying another Mall. It was Teal’c who spoke first. “We need to shop here, they have a ‘Foley’s and a ‘Discovery Store’ we must not venture elsewhere.” Jack, looking in his rearview mirror made the mistake, asking “What” The Jaffa only repeated his first comment accenting the fact that both ‘Foley’s’ and the ‘Discovery Store’ were available in this particular Mall. Sam only smiled brightly at the Colonel as he rolled his eyes upward. He should have known better than to query Teal’c.
10 minutes later Teal’c commented that he saw a spot opening up “just down the row”. Jack expertly careened his truck into a slightly smaller spot than required for his large Ford. Shrugging he merely said. “Hey I got us parked didn’t I?” after watching both Teal’c and Carter grab hold of there respective doors, expecting the sound of metal crunching and the jarring effect that usually accompanies a car accident. Jack had managed to leave enough room for Teal’c and Carter to exit the right side of the vehicle, however, didn’t left enough room for his own door to be opened. He watched as Sam and Teal’c tactfully turn their heads and snickered as he ungracefully climbed over the armrest between the drivers seat and the passengers, to slid out on to the ground, standing fully erect and as dignified as possible, adjusted his jacket which had crept upwards upon his exit. With the truck locked up tight, they made the long trek through the parking lot to there first stop, Foley’s.
Sam walked slowly as she let the Colonel catch up, both watching the very excited Jaffa bound along, with his silly ‘Santa’ cap placed upon his head. Both seemed preoccupied with the scene in front of them to realize their hands had brushed against each other on more than one occasion. Sam was the first to notice and attempted to side step the next brief contact. This didn’t go unnoticed by the Colonel as he turned to his Major and said. “Sam relax, we are off base and have a 137 year old ‘child’ we have to keep from breaking stuff inside this expensive store, we have bigger problems then our hands that might touch by accident… don’t you think?” He smiled the whole time while Sam stopped and gaped at him, only to blush slightly and nod in agreement as Jack turned slowly and looked at her. This might not be as easy as she first imagined, she figured with Teal’c with them, how much trouble could they possible get into, it’s not like they were alone with each other, they had a chaperone. Or did they? Sam noticed once Teal’c hit the entrance he was gone, Sam and Jack searched both left and right for the large man, he was nowhere in sight.
Jack spoke first, rather nervously. “It’s not like he could have just disappeared right? I mean he’s almost 6’5” tall and he’s wearing that ridiculous hat. Come on we have to get to the toy section…. Ahhhhh you don’t happen to know where that is in this place do you? He asked Sam. She hadn’t a clue and it was obvious as she looked at Jack. “Sir, I think we need to find a clerk or a directory map… there is usually one by the escalators. Over there Sir” Sam had pointed to the left of herself, as she noticed a large number of people advancing upwards.
It took both Sam and Jack almost 10 minutes to make their way to the escalators, where they both assumed the directory would be. They were not disappointed. The toy section was located on the third floor, they waited quietly until they reached the third floor and both scanned the entire section, tucked near the back of the right side of the toy area was Teal’c, as Jack had commented earlier, it was not hard to find the large Jaffa. He was completely engrossed in the latest ‘Barbie’ selections, to include little outfits and accessories. Jack slapped Teal’c on the back as he approached letting him know they had found him.
“O’Neill, I have found my first items, we need to pick up 10 of these ‘Barbie” type dolls, as I’m told they are a very big seller all the time.” Jack looked at Sam for confirmation, she could only smile and shrug. After loading up both Sam’s and Jack’s arms with not only dolls but accessories as well, they made there way over to the cashier area to wait their turn to pay, before heading out to find the ‘Discovery Store’ located somewhere down the large expanse of the mall. The Store in question was found rather quickly, unfortunately for both Jack and Sam they had to pass the Mall’s Santa Claus. They had the jolly fat man strategically placed in the middle of the huge mall, with easily 40 kids with parents in tow, lined up waiting as patiently as kids can.
Teal’c was insistent that the three, mark this special outing with a photo. Stating simply, Santa Claus was a man Teal’c has been meaning to speak with since he had first heard of him from Dr. Daniel Jackson. “Teal’c, please tell me your not serious…. You want us to wait inline with the rest of these ankle biters so you can sit on Santa’s lap and ask him a ‘few questions’…. Please tell me your kidding, Carter he is kidding right?” Jack was looking a bit nervous at this point, so Sam figured she let him off the hook for the moment. “Sir, don’t worry, how about you go over to the food court and grab us a hot chocolate or something, I’m sure by the time you get back, we will be pretty much at the head of this line. Deal?” Sam had raised her head to look directly into his laughing yet concerned eyes. Jack being a good sport
about the whole thing, nodded in the affirm, and headed out after taking a list of what they both wanted to drink. Hot chocolate for Sam and a decaf latte for Teal’c, at which point Jack made a mental note to, speak with Daniel about his ability to turn a perfectly good Jaffa fighting machine into a coffee junkie. Chuckling to himself, he slowly made his way through the large crowds gathering around “Santa Claus” to make the necessary purchases.
25 minutes later Jack showed up almost with perfect timing. Teal’s was standing stolic as usual with a slightly annoyed looking Carter next to him. He grinned at Carter and handed out the drinks. Jack hopped over the holly covered rope barricade and stopped directly behind Carter, he chuckled softly as she turned and gave him the ‘took you long enough’ glare, as she carefully sipped the now lukewarm hot chocolate. Jack spoke. “Well Teal’c we can scratch this one off your list of things to do eh?” Teal’c responded as expected. “O’Neill I have decided that I shall sit on Santa’s lap while you and Major Carter stand in the background…. Would this be acceptable to you?” He raised his eyebrow, in true Teal’c fashion. “Yeah sure buddy, whatever you want” Looking at Carter while he spoke. Teal’c looked rather please with himself.
Santa was a good sport about the whole thing, despite the weight of over 200 pounds on his bad knee. Jack couldn’t help but laugh, albeit as quietly as possible as the poor store Santa realized it wouldn’t be the pretty blonde sitting on his knee, but the large strange man with the red ‘Santa’ cap. Sam too tried in vain to withhold her laughter, as she knew this meant a lot to her friend. Sam was the first too speak after their picture had been taken by one of Santa’s elves. “Teal’c, you had a question for Mr. Claus… didn’t you?” Jack snickered, Teal’c just looked up and silenced Jack with a simple look. “Indeed I do Major Carter….” 10 minutes later they were off, Santa confirmed a few things that had been bothering Teal’c and he seemed more intent now, then ever about the purchases that needed to be made. They quickly worked their way to the ‘Discovery Store’. Sam smiled again as she looked once more at their photo with Santa. The elf had asked Jack to step closer to Sam and wrap his arm around her shoulder to make sure they would all fit into the shot, both smiling, they simply closed the required space between themselves and let the Jaffa have his memories recorded for prosperity. She made a mental note to confirm with Teal’c that this photo wouldn’t be pulled out anytime soon on base. She could just imagine the look on the General’s face as he got a look at this one. Tucking the photo back into her bag, they found the entrance to the store in question. It was packed as expected, but the shelves were still well stocked, she was sure they would find everything on Teal’c list.
“Okay Teal’c lets get a look at this list of yours” Jack said. “O’Neill these are the items I need you to find, Major Carter, these are your items” the Jaffa handed out sheets of paper containing a number of different items, while Sam and Jack scanned there lists. Breaking away from each other they proceeded to shop. Jack had the ‘Spy Gear’, which he found quickly enough, Sam had the astrological books to sift through, until she found the ones Teal’c had indicated. She then went to the ‘learning’ section and found Teal’c once again knee deep in thought over the perfect gift, he was undecided on the ‘Bug Kit’ or the ‘Skeleton Kit’ both looked very exciting, and after checking with Sam, whom could only shrug her shoulder, he decided to take them both. They caught up with Jack at the cashier as he had dumped his packages on the counter praying the sales person would take pity on him and ring him up as soon as possible. The total came up to well over $200.00, which was still in their price range with the thanks of Daniels
contribution. Teal’c looked about ready to smile, he understood the concept of Christmas after all. Santa helped a lot, He made a note to ask Santa about other things that might come up in the future, such as dating Earth women and what O’Neill had once referred to as ‘foreplay’. Oh yes, Teal’c thought ‘I shall have to keep a ongoing list, which I will bring next season when Santa is back’.
Jack and Sam were both happy to be leaving the store, as they had both been up at the crack of dawn, the Jaffa didn’t seem to tire at all. The walked along almost dragging the now full bags in tow, until Teal’c saw what he was looking for all afternoon. The Salvation Army sign hung from the post, the organization had managed to get their hands on a small space of the Mall not
rented out during the holiday season. Teal’c took off in the direction of the sign without so much as a word to either of his cohorts. Sam noticed first that the Jaffa was not with them, and turned to speak with Jack. “Ahhhh Sir, we lost him again…. No wait I see him, man that guy can really move… over there Sir, do you see him?” Sam was pointing to the small corridor off to the right. Jack nodded as he noticed the sign for the first time. They made there way over to the doorway. Smiling brightly he turned to Sam and said. “I knew it! He saw one of their ‘tear your heart out’ commercials on television and was lost…. He really has a big heart, I have to remember to thank him for taking us along, I’ve had fun today.” Jack finished with a grin on his face.
Sam looked up at his smiling face and without thought stood to her full height and kissed him firmly on the lips. It wasn’t the end all kisses they had both dreamed of, but it conveyed her feeling quite nicely. She was not at all embarrassed by her actions, in fact her smile grew at his shocked expression, as she stepped away and walked into the area marked “Gift Donation Drop Off Centre” Jack on the other hand was a tad bowled over, he mumbled to himself. “Now that… was unexpected” more to himself than to anyone in particular. Teal’c was grilling the women behind the counter when Sam arrived, leaving Jack to pick up his lower jaw in the Mall hallway, he’d be in soon enough she thought. After Teal’c got confirmation that all these toys would in fact make it too the children they had purchased them for, he deposited his bags as well as Sam’s two bags on the counter with a small shadow of a grin appearing on his face. Sam however, was the only one to notice, as the two women were busy rummaging through the bags. They had both
stopped long enough to look up at the smiling couple and thank them.
Jack approached the counter slowly as he was still trying to gain his bearing. He enjoyed the kiss, and would make a mental note to ask his Major just where the hell that came from… not that he was complaining mind you, he would have preferred to have his hands free at that particular moment, but hey he was definitely not complaining. With a shy smile to his Major he
deposited his two bags on the counter as well, sharing a bright smile for the women behind the counter. “Ladies, on behalf of a special unit located at Cheyenne Mountain, we like these donated to the children of Colorado Springs, that might not have the special Christmas that my friends here and myself, will have. Please make sure they get to the homes that need them… Oh and ladies…. You’re doing a wonderful job.” With that Jack O’Neill smiled and watched as the ladies in questions, blushed first and then quickly rummaged through the bags he had just deposited in front of them. “It will be our pleasure, and thanks for thinking of others at this time of year, as you know we can’t pull this off without the help of people like yourselves. Again thank you, you’ve made more than a few children realize their dreams this year” the women looked at the three strangers standing in front of them, and smiled warmly at each one.
With a small bow from Teal’c and a warm smile from both Sam and Jack, the three turned and exited out the same way they had come in, it wasn’t until Jack crested the doorway, that he noticed the mistletoe hanging directly above Sam’s head. ‘So that explains the kiss from Sam….Okay my turn, and amazingly enough my hands are free too’ Jack thought slyly to himself. With one swift movement Jack turned Sam towards him, and dipped her like he had done not so long ago, while looping. Sam, a bit confused at his quick actions, grabbed his jacket in an effort to keep her own balance. Jack made his move slowly, making sure Sam knew what was coming, watching for any change in her facial features that told him this was not a good idea.
Nothing changed on her smiling face as he brought his face closer to her own. The kiss was sweet, if not short, as both realized were they were, with Teal’c only feet away from them. He had only bowed slightly and turned to stand scanning the shoppers still milling around the Mall. He was happy for them both, even if he couldn’t show it. He couldn’t wait to get back to base and share his wonderful day with Daniel Jackson, thinking it was a shame to have to leave him behind.
Jack had righted Sam once again, and she quickly checked, first the Jaffa’s reaction then smoothed her hands down her jacket, which had managed to ride up her back a bit, before looking once again at the man before her. Sam smiled and she noticed the Colonel hadn’t taken his eyes off her since even before the kiss itself. Sam had to force her eyes away from him, and getting
Teal’c attention, said in a somewhat shaky voice. “Teal’c are we done here… anything else you need while we are out today?” Teal’c turned to his two friends before speaking. “Major Carter, No I believe I have accomplished everything I came here for, thank you for coming with me, both of you.” He nodded to both the Colonel and the Major before starting off in the direction of the truck.
Jack merely smiled, while Sam could be seen gently touching her recently kissed lips. It was going to be a very good Christmas after all. Those merry thoughts and more passed through the minds of both Colonel Jack O’Neill and Major Sam Carter.
Merry Christmas Everyone! Don’t forget without us, the Salvation Army would not exist. Please be generous.