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Merry Christmas, Carter

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Sam didn't know who's idea it was to do a Secret Santa. She thought it was probably Teal'c because he didn't have anything like this back when he used to live on Chulack. Sam smiled at the thought of Teal'c wearing a Santa hat and a giant grin on his face.

Yep. It was defiantly Teal'c. She thought as she pushed her trolley down another aisle at the department store. Sam had always loved the idea of Christmas but with her family moving around all the time as a kid and then joining the Air Force and later Stargate Command, she'd never really had the opportunity to celebrate it properly. This year, though, General Hammond had given everyone the day of so they could celebrate it properly. Seeing as Sam only had her brother and his family, and they lived too far away to go up for one day, she didn't really see much sense of spending the day any differently to how she normally does. Going to work, breaking for lunch and going home to sleep. Although she might stop in on Cassie and Janet...

Janet... damn. Sam was Janet's Secret Santa and despite knowing each other for seven years, she had no idea what her best friend would like! After spending another fifteen minutes walking up and down the aisles of the department store, Sam finally decided what Janet needed and she knew it would mean a lot to her.

Around three hours later, Sam finally arrived home with one roll of wrapping paper and two bags of presents. She knew she was only supposed to buy for Janet but SG-1 were like her family and in a way, she felt obliged to buy them all something. She'd leave them in her friends lockers when they weren't looking, it would be a nice surprise.
For Daniel, she'd found a newly published book on aliens in ancient mythologies and she knew he would have a ball correcting the stories as he read. She'd brought Teal'c a new hat to wear when they went out, it even had 'Star Wars' embroidered on the front so she knew he'd appreciate it. General Hammond had been hard to buy for because she didn't really know what he would like. In the end, she had gone for a gift voucher from the department store and a model plane, she didn't really know if he'd like it but he would appreciate it all the same. Maybe he could hang it in is office, she thought. She'd also brought Cassie a really nice make-up set. Since Cassie was dating now, she was always going on about how she didn't have any good make up so Sam thought it would be a nice idea.

Jack had been the easiest to buy for but finding the perfect present was hard. She wanted to get him something that he could use and let him know she thought about him but not something that screamed she was in love with. The only other person that knew of her 'crush' on her Commanding Officer was Janet and that was only because Janet was her best friend. She'd tried moving on but it had only ended in heart break. Her last boyfriend had her checked out by the FBI for goodness sakes. So she'd decided to buy Jack a book that was all about the different fish that were native to America and Canada. She presumed he probably knew all this but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

By the time Sam had finished wrapping her presents, it was well after nine o'clock and she was just about to crawl into bed when the phone rang. At first she was just confused at who would be calling her this late at night and then her mind began to fill with all the nasty things that could've happened. She hastened to pick up the phone, almost hitting the wrong button and hanging up.

"Hello?" She asked.

"Hey Carter!" The voice responded. It was Colonel O'Neill. Now Sam REALLY got some bad ideas in her head. Had someone been killed of world, was some one hurt, was it her Dad, was the SGC compromised...

"Sir, is everything okay?" She asked.

"I can almost hear your brain ticking over. Calm down. I just wanted to let you know someone has requested your presence at the SGC tomorrow morning at 0700 hours and not to eat breakfast in the morning."

"Okay... can I ask who I'm meeting?"
"Nope. Secret Santa. See you tomorrow, Carter" And he hung up the phone.

So the next morning, Sam went about her normal routine with the exception of breakfast. She checked her mail and discovered she had a Christmas card from her brother that was signed by his entire family which put a huge smile on her face. She put it on the mantel over the fire and jumped in her car. She decided against putting the radio on because she knew it would just be Christmas carols and seeing as she was in for a boring Christmas, she didn't really want to be reminded. When she arrived at the SGC, she was instructed by some SF she didn't know to report immediately to the canteen. Now, Sam was used to being told to report to some place or another but the canteen was a new one for the books.
After changing into her AF regulation uniform, she hurried to the canteen, when she got there, it was completely void of life. This confused Sam even more because she had been told to meet someone here by two different people. After looking around, she noticed a solitary table set up in the middle of the room. It had been covered in white pieces of paper and glitter, attempting to represent snow. Also on the table was a tiny lit up, plastic Christmas tree and a snowman. Sam couldn't remember the last time she'd smiled so hard. When she was seated, a try was brought to her with a large plate of bacon, eggs and toast, a steaming mug of cocoa and a small bowl of blue Jell-o - her favourite! Sam started to wonder who her Santa could be. He or she had clearly gone to a lot of trouble and just the thought of it made her feel a little giddy with joy, she felt like a little kid again.

When she lifted the bowl containing the Jell-o, she found a note. Unfolding it, she read;

Dear Sam,
Merry Christmas. I hope you are enjoying your breakfast.
One last thing, meet me outside your lab tonight at 6, more presents are on their way.
Your Secret Santa

Sam smiled and finished her bowl. This was going to keep her puzzled all day! At least it would give her something else to do. Once finished, Sam decided to go stash her friends presents in their lockers. Except Col. O'Neill's and General Hammond's. She put the Colonels in his car (he'd left the window open again) He never checks his locker anyway. Sam thought, and she put the Generals present in his office when he wasn't looking. The rest of the day was spent doing relatively pointless things in her lab, mostly cleaning so she could find the stuff she actually need. She really had no idea how it had gotten this messy. As usual, by the time Sam had found the stuff she needed and begun work, she'd forgotten to eat lunch and was ignoring when her stomach rumbled. She had to work out how to stop the Super Soldiers before her day off...

Or at least make a start. She sighed as she looked up at the clock. It was three thirty, and she had to send her present up to the debriefing room. All SG-1 members, Doc Fraiser and the General had given their presents to an SF who took them to the board room. If they did it themselves, everyone would know who their Secret Santa was and that would deplete the purpose. At four o'clock, Sam headed up to the debriefing room where the rest of her team, the General and her best friend were all ready sitting and drinking coffee.

"Major Carter! Thank you for joining us," General Hammond smiled and motioned for her to sit. Sam sat next to Teal'c, Janet and Col. O'Neill were across from her, Daniel was on her other side and the General, like always, sat at the head of the table. "Shall we begin opening the presents?" He asked. Everyone nodded and agreed and General Hammond picked up the first present.

"This one is for Dr. Jackson" He handed the present down the table until it reached the Doctor. Judging from the look on her good friend, Janet's face, Sam was almost positive she was Daniel's Santa. Subsequently Daniel's present was a one year subscription to an Archaeological magazine and some new tape for his camera. Daniel thanked the room and picked up the next present. Announcing that it belonged to Teal'c, he passed it to the Jaffa.

"Before I unwrap this present, I would like to thank you all. Not only for the present but for how you have all treated me this year." With a nod of the head, Teal'c smiled and began to unwrap his present. Sam loved how Teal'c was always so gracious for everything. Who ever his Secret Santa was knew him very well because they had brought him a gift voucher to a video store so he could buy a new copy of the Star Wars movies he had worn out and a box of Doughnuts. After thanking everyone again, Teal'c suggested that General Hammond open his present next. The older man thanked everyone for his present but Sam suspected it was Daniel who brought it. Who else would have brought the General a gift card to a camping supplies store and a subscription to some magazine both the General and Daniel liked?

Sam was super excited when the General handed down Janet's present. She knew that the present wasn't much but it was something. She'd also put Cassie's present in the box with Janet's because she'd run out of wrapping paper.

"I got a gift voucher for a hair dressers and the department store so I can get what ever I want, a Subscription for a year of free medical journals and ... a new make up set?" Janet looked confused.

"That's for Cassie, Janet. I ran out of paper" Sam smiled sheepishly. Janet laughed and thanked her best friend, explaining how this was exactly what she needed. Janet picked up the Colonels present and handed it to him. He smiled, looking curiously at the long and oddly shaped parcel. He poked and prodded it, taking his sweet time to undo the wrapping. He kept making comments about keeping everyone is suspense. Sam laughed and gave him one of those smiles that he found breath taking. However, the Colonel, his 2IC looked and nearly everyone else in the room looked confused when the present was open. Colonel O'Neill had received two fold out camping chairs, a picnic basket and a picnic blanket.

"What's this for?" he asked. Teal'c merely smiled.

"I was under the impression that Major Carter and yourself went stargazing frequently, I believe that these chairs will make it more comfortable and the basket easier to carry food and drink." The Jaffa explained with a smile. Sam ducked her head so no one could see her face redden. She knew everyone in the room was looking at them. Daniel and Janet would be giving them a look that was somewhere in-between "BUSTED", "Go for it, you two" and "That's inappropriate given your rank". As for General Hammond, he was probably laughing to himself. It was no secret that Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter were head over heels for each other, unfortunately it was also no secret that, given the way they worked and their rank, they were unable to peruse a romantic relationship and so the two often found themselves spending time together on base or somewhere in Colorado Springs stargazing. Sam had tried giving up on Jack but it hadn't worked. What was the point of chasing something you can't have? She told herself.

"Well, thanks T. These are great presents" The Colonel smiled at his friend, scrunching up the paper and throwing it in the bin. Teal'c nodded and pushed the last present towards Sam.

"It appears this one is for you, Major Carter"

"Thank you, Teal'c." She smiled at her friend and pulled at the bow. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to make this present look good, not to mention the breakfast this morning and the promise of a present later. This present was in a small box with a bow on top, the box its self looked relatively expensive. When Sam opened the box, her mouth dropped.

"Holy Hannah" Sam exclaimed. If she had been paying attention, she would have seen her Santa smirk a little at her reaction.

"What is it, Sam?" Daniel asked.

"Do you remember that Theoretical Astrophysics convention I wanted to go to in February because it was being hosted by the for-most expert on Deep Space Telemetry?" She asked, everyone nodded. How could they forget, it was all she'd really talked about in weeks. "I wasn't going to go because I couldn't really afford to ticket and the ticket to fly to DC but..." Sam held up the contents of the box. Inside was a VIP ticket to the convention. Everyone was happy for her but Sam couldn't believe her eyes, who had paid this much attention that they knew she wasn't going or that she wished she could sit front row and meet her fellow scientists?

"Thank you, so much" she said to no one in particular.

For the next few hours, SG-1, General Hammond and Doctor Fraiser had a few drinks and made jokes. Jack and Daniel left first and it wasn't until Janet mentioned she had to get home to Cassie that Sam noticed it was two minutes to six. Crap. Sam excused her self from the small get-together and practically ran to her lab. She was ten minutes late but when she got there, she found herself alone. Or so she thought.

"You're late, Carter" a familiar voice came from behind her. Sam spun on her heel to come face to face with her Commanding Officer.

"Sir! What are you doing here?" She asked.

"I'm your Santa" He smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. And suddenly it all made sense to Sam. Only the Colonel understood her love for blue Jell-o and only he (other than Janet) had really listened when she'd spoken about the convention. How had she not worked it out?!

"Follow me" he announced. He started walking and when he noticed she'd stopped dead in her tracks, he grabbed her hand and dragged her forward. They found themselves standing outside the girls locker room.

"Change" he demanded and pushed her inside. Why was he in such a big hurry to get her out of there, What, did he want to drive her home? Maybe he was going to take her ice skating or something. Sam pulled on her boring old cloths, wishing now that she had worn something a little nicer.

It occurred Sam, while pulling on her jeans, that the Colonel was taking her on a date which was why he was so nervous! But the Frat Regs forbid it and they had been so careful to hide their feelings. But now Sam realised that he never really did move on from her and all those little things over the last few years had been his way of being with her without really being with her and she felt like an idiot. After pulling on her jacket, Sam left the room to find her CO leaning against the wall opposite, hands in his pockets and humming.

"Serious enough to hum, Sir?" She asked, mirroring the time he'd asked about Pete.

"Well, I guess so, Carter" He winked at her and Sam felt the heat rise in her cheeks.

Should I still call him 'Sir' or something less formal... I can't really call him 'Sir' if this really is a date, can I? Sam asked herself. A few minutes of awkwardness passed between them before the Colonel motioned towards the lift. They said nothing in the lift and nothing on the walk to his car, either. God, I hope its not like this for the rest of the night Sam thought uncomfortably. Then she remembered the present she'd left in his car and mentally slapped herself. Why couldn't she have just left it in his locker. Damn. If Jack noticed it, he didn't say anything until the door was completely open.

"What's this?" He asked, picking it up and turning it over in his hands.

"It looks like a present, Sir" She said. He gave her a 'Well no shit' look

"I wonder who from?" He looked for a gift tag but there was none, Sam had forgotten to stick it on but figured she'd just call him later to ask him if he liked it.

"Me... actually." Sam pushed her hands deep in her pockets to stop fidgeting and dropped her head so he couldn't see her blush. Damn, she hadn't felt so much like a teenager in years! She'd never felt so young and stupid around a man before in her life! That was the thing about her Commanding Officer, he made her feel young, free and happy beyond all belief and no matter how many times she told herself he was just a safe bet, nothing ever changed, her feelings just grew stronger.

"Oh?" He asked, climbing in to the cab of his car, motioning for his 2IC to do the same.

"Merry Christmas, Sir" she mumbled, following suit.

Jack looked over at her. She was dressed simply in jeans and a T-shirt with her leather jacket but he loved her when she looked like this, so relaxed and happy. It was something he hadn't seen on her in a long time.

"Thank you" He began to unwrap the present and Sam sat there, hoping and praying he would actually like it. She did up the belt while she waited just so she didn't have to look at him.

"This is awesome, thanks Carter!" He said, flipping through the book. When Sam looked at him, she wondered if he knew he had a little childish grin on his face.

No, probably not

"You're welcome. I brought everyone a present and I thought it might be something you would enjoy it."

"Well, I love it!" he sat the book on the dashboard and buckled up himself. "All ready? Lets go" he announced and pulled the car out of the parking lot.

The next twenty minutes or so of driving was filled with conversation about anything they could think of. They talked about the Secret Santa and who they thought got who, Jack asked about Cassie and Sam told him about her new boyfriend. After the drove for a bit, Jack pulled over and pulled a black scarf out of the glove box.

"What's that for, Sir?" Sam asked. She had a few ideas of what she would like to do with it but none you could do in a car...

Sam, pull yourself together! She scolded herself.

"Well, I don't want you to see the surprise too early!" he said. He sounded like a kid in a candy store and it was starting to excite Sam too. For the rest of the drive, Sam had no idea where she was going and it was hard to keep up a conversation with the Colonel when she couldn't see him. About fifteen minutes later, Sam felt the car stop and heard the door open. She realised she must be at their destination and began looking for the buckle to no avail.

"Well hurry up, Carter!" he called from a far distance.

"I can't find the buckle" she called back, she felt like an idiot. She heard the crunching of gravel and the sound of her door being opened. The she felt the weight of his arm across her lap as he undid her belt. Sam swore she could almost feel his body heat through the thick material of her jeans.

Well, they used to feel thick... with him that close, her jeans suddenly felt like they were impossibly thin. When he was done, he held her hand to help her out of the car and Sam never wanted to let go. She knew it was an overused and totally cheesy statement but to say that her hand fit so perfectly into his, like they were meant to be, seemed to be the only way to describe the feeling of holding hands with her CO. A few seconds later, she could hear a door opening and the Colonel put his hand on her back to guide her though the door.

"Aaaand, OPEN!" Jack said, pulling the scarf off her head and stepping back to let her admire the view. He had driven her to his house and he had done the place up for Christmas. Sam had never seen anything like it before! In one corner of the lounge was a huge Christmas tree covered in multi coloured balls, lights and tinsel, the mantel above his fire was covered in little Christmas themed trinkets. He even went to the effort of covering the coffee table with a table cloth covered in snowmen! On top of the table was a lamp that represented Mickey Mouse, dressed as Santa, climbing out of a chimney. It must have been Charlie's. Sam thought as she stood looking at the scene in front of her with her mouth hanging open.

"You like?" Jack asked, stepping around her to start the fire.

"Sir, its, its beautiful, you did all this for me?" She asked, still looking blankly around the room.

"Yep, sure, you betcha." He replied, standing up and heading to the kitchen.

"I don't know what to say, thank you, Colonel"

"How about we start but not calling me 'sir' or 'Colonel'. We aren't at work, Carter, no need for formalities" He called, his back turned to her. She was instantly reminded of her time alone of the Prometheus when he had asked her not to call him 'Sir'

"Old habit, sorry" she replied. Now why did I say that? She watched as her CO pulled what appeared to be a ham out of the fridge and put it on the counter.

"What's that for, s-Jack?" she asked. He loved the way his name rolled of her lips, it felt so right. And so did this. Everything about standing here with her, in his house on Christmas eve felt so perfect, so right.

"This is for tomorrow," a look crossed over his face that Sam couldn't read. "That is, unless you don't want to stay here tonight because I'd totally get if this is too awkward for you what with the-" Sam shut him up with a finger to his lips. While he'd been babbling, she moved from the living room to the kitchen to stand in front of him.

"This is perfect, thank you" With out even thinking about it, Sam leant up and place a kiss on his cheek, his five o'clock shadow scratched her face but she didn't mind. The Frat Regs were a very thin line that begged to be crossed, they were like a broken bridge in one of those computer games that once you cross it, it falls down and there is no way back across. To Sam, that's what the Fraternisation Regulations were. Jack just smiled at her and the two stood together, far too close, in the middle of his kitchen. It was silent until Jack let out an awkward cough and spoke;

"I've got some soup if you're hungry... and beer?" He asked.

"Not really, Jack, thank you anyway" She said. He shrugged and closed the fridge door.

"How about a cocoa?" He asked. He was clearly in a festive spirit.

"Sounds great." Now where's he going? Sam wondered as Jack walked down the hall. He came back a few minutes later with an old pair of pyjamas and a toothbrush.

"If you want to stay, your going to need these and the guest room is just down the hall so you can change in there if you like. Its all set up for you to stay the night." Sam took the cloths and toothbrush, nodding at the instructions. "Are you sure you want to do this, Carter?" She knew he thought she'd be worried about the regs but she was only staying at his house, they weren't having sex... yet... So Sam went down the hall to the spare room to change while he started the cocoa.
While walking down the hall, Sam looked at all the pictures that adorned the walls. There was some of Charlie and his ex wife, Sara. There was even a couple of SG-1 and Janet. She remembered those times fondly, going to town and having drinks together, taking Cassie to lunch and gossiping with Janet. Sam was right, these people really were her family now.

About ten minutes later, Sam had changed and was sitting on the lounge with a steaming mug of cocoa in her hands. She was leaning against the arm of the chair with her legs lying on Jack's lap. They began talking about their lives, Cassie and their friends. Jack told Sam some amazing stories about Charlie and Sam told him about the first guy she ever liked;

"He was a total idiot tho. Like, he was really dumb and he thought that he'd look good by having a smart girlfriend to take to dinner and parties. Then I caught him sleeping with one of the cheerleaders and I left him." Sam's laugh was perhaps a little too bitter.

"He was an idiot to do that, I would never do that to you"

"Well, she was prettier than me" Sam shrugged. It wouldn't be the first time a guy would leave their partner for someone prettier and he won't be the last.

"I highly doubt that Sam. No one could be prettier than you." Jack seemed to regret his words because he shut up instantly. He really does love me, doesn't he? It was nearing ten o'clock and Sam new that it was now or never, she had to tell him. Looking down into her cocoa, Sam spoke;

"I love you Jack" Jack looked up at her with that confused look on his face that he wore when ever she spoke technobabble.

"Excuse me?"

"I love you. I guess I kind of always have but I didn't realise it, didn't put a name to it until about four years ago. I should have told you but there really wasn't an easy way. What with your Son and then Jolinar and Lantash and all the missions we went on and our ranks..." Sam trailed off. She brought her legs up underneath her and put her mug on the coffee table. "When I was stranded aboard the Prometheus, I kept seeing people, my Father was one of them. He told me to let go of what was stopping me from being happy and I could have sworn it was you. I swore you were just a safe bet so I couldn't get hurt by anyone else. And then that thing happened with Pete and every date he took me on, every time we kissed I wanted it to be you, I wanted you to be the one calling me in the morning and telling me you loved me. Everything I you did made me love you that little bit more and that's why I broke it off with Pete. I know I should've told you earlier but-" Sam was cut of by the feel of her CO's lips pressed against hers. She sat there, shocked for a few seconds before giving in and kissing back. The kiss heated up when Jack dragged her tongue over her lips, she parted them, her hands coming up to tangle in his hair, his hands soon following suit. When the kiss broke, Sam and Jack just sat there and looked at each other, their faces so close, his hands on her hip and leg, hers around his neck.

"I love you too, Sam"

"Sir..." Sam whispered.

"Sorry... I shouldn't have..." He was about to move back when Sam crushed their lips together again, she sat up a bit and swung one leg over his so she was straddling his waist. This was wrong. This was very wrong. They had just broken a million different rules and Sam didn't even care. Jack loved her. Jack opened his mouth to Sam and their tongues roamed each others mouths, tasting each other, loving each other. Jack pulled away for air, then began kissing her jaw and neck.

"Jack" She moaned throwing her head back. When Jack's hands began to roam and undo the first button of her pyjama top, she stopped him.


"Sam... are you sure you want to do this..." He looked her dead in the eye and to her surprise, she actually thought about it. It felt like hours for both of them before she spoke again.

"Jack, I have been in love you every moment of my life for nearly seven years and yes, we shouldn't be doing this because we could get our asses kicked by the powers-that-be but tonight, after all you've done today, this week, the last seven years-" She laughed "I just don't care anymore." She kissed him again, softer this time. He grabbed the backs of her legs and stood up, she wrapped her legs around his waist, never breaking the kiss as he carried her down to his bedroom. Jack carried her into the room and slammed the door behind them. As he threw her on the bed and crawled up to join her Sam thought the only thing to do now was set fire to the damned bridge, stand back and watch it burn.

Sam woke the next morning curled into Jack's side, the blankets pulled up enough to modestly cover her. She had her head and hand on his chest, their legs were intertwined and he was rubbing small circles in random places all over her back and hip. So this is what happiness feels like.

"Morning sleepy head" He smiled looking down at her. She leaned up and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

"Mmmm, what time is it?" She asked, snuggling back down to cuddle him. He chuckled at the sight of her, she looked so angelic with the sun coming through the window highlighting her perfect features.

"Nearly nine" he replied, her eyes flew open and he laughed at her again.

"That late!" She went to get up but he dragged her back down.

"Where are you going?" He asked, nuzzling his nose against her hair, softly kissing her temple.

"I was going to help you cook lunch! God, I'm so sorry, Jack"

"Don't worry about it, I've already put it on. I got out of be a couple of hours ago and when I came back, you turned over and began to cuddle me and I've been stuck like that for an hour" He laughed. Sam just looked embarrassed and ducked her head so he wouldn't see her face redden.

"Sorry" She mumbled. He just laughed at her again. She was so cute when she was embarrassed. Not that he'd ever tell her that mind you, she soon kick his arse.

"So, what do you want to do today, Sam?" He asked, moving his hand up and down her side, drawing random shapes with his fingers. Sam stretched before throwing her arm around him again.

"Well, if its alright with you, I'd like to pop in on Cassie and Janet to wish them a Merry Christmas" Sam said. Jack considered the Doctor and Cassie like family so he had no problem with it.

"Sure thing, I'd love that." Sam and Jack just lay there for a little while, just cuddling and kissing occasionally, enjoying each others body heat. Only a few minutes later, Jack looked out the window to see snow falling. He poked Sam in the ribs to get her attention.

"Hey, its snowing." He pointed out. Sam looked out the window and smiled widely at the snow. She was celebrating her favourite holiday with the man she loved more than anybody in the world and it was snowing. She leaned up and kissed him on the cheek and watched the snow fall. Jack pressed his lips to the top of her head and mumbled into her hair;

"Merry Christmas, Carter"