Yuletide Yearning

By Blue Topaz

blue-topaz@lycos.com

Answer to 2003 Christmas challenge from samandjack list:
1. Christmas off-world
2. A hand hold (between Sam/Jack, obviously)
3. The story summary is lyrics from a Christmas song (the song and/or lyrics do not have to feature IN the story itself - just in the summary)

Summary: "Make my wish come true. All I want for Christmas is ..." (taken from 'All I Want For Christmas')

AN: Thanks to Scully for the title. After like an hour of grueling brainstorming (and madness), we came out with four possible titles, and I thought this one is the most appropriate one ;). Thank you also to JayBee-Bug who beta-read the story.

***

Another year had gone by.

He was a year older.

A year wiser.

Shaking his head, Jack tried to concentrate on his surroundings. It was officially Christmas in Colorado by now, but he wasn't there to celebrate it. He was here, with his team, on a diplomatic mission. The inhabitants of the planet were friendly, not too technologically advanced, but they had their share of interesting toys for Carter to play with. And they sure knew how to throw a party.

As that was the reason SG-1 was here, not back on Earth, amongst their family and friends. The king had finally found a suitable match for his first born, Prince Spoilt. Well, Jack was sure that he had a very nice name, but he couldn't be bothered to change the nickname that he had thought of very carefully especially for that boy.

The king had sent his invitation a few weeks ago, insisting that the presence of SG-1 at the wedding would be a great honor. After all, they were the first Earthlings that he had encountered. And their absence would mean ... a great insult.

Thus, in the spirit of keeping those bureaucrats back in Washington happy, SG-1 was ordered to 'sacrifice' their Christmas holiday for the greater good.

Greater good, his ass.

The planet was rich with trinium, that's why.

"Are you still mad, Sir?" a gentle whisper came from his right hand side.

He turned around and looked straight at the slightly concerned face of his 2IC. "Aren't you?" he asked back. "We could be back at my house, unwrapping all the presents that are neatly arranged under my Christmas tree." He paused. "Instead, we're here. Listening to that man ... " He gestured at the king who was in the middle of giving his son advice about starting a family publicly. " ... blabbering about the art of putting up with your partner for the rest of your life."

She let out a sigh. "I'm not happy with it. But what else can I do?" Her eyes wandered back to the general direction of the podium. "But at least, you guys are here with me."

He smiled. Trust Carter to make the best out of their situation.

"I guess I can see your point. But there are other people that I want to be with, like Cassie," he expressed his regrets.

Her eyes were back on his, mirroring his qualms. "Janet too."

He couldn't help but grin. "Minus the needles, the Doc too," he agreed.

"What are you guys talking about?" Daniel whispered from his other side. SG-1 was seated at one table, the 'guests of honor' table.

"The Doc. And her needles," casually, Jack told the archaeologist.

Daniel was not impressed. "You better pay more attention to the ceremony. I don't think the king will appreciate it if we behave like ignorant little children."

Jack raised his eyebrows. "Then, I suggest you get back to it. Carter and I will behave. Promise."

Rolling his eyes in exasperation, Daniel did what the colonel told him. Teal'c, who sat on the other side of Daniel, watched the interaction with interest.

'What?' he mouthed to the big guy. Which was promptly replied by his trademark 'one-up-eyebrow' before finally directing his concentration back to the ceremony.

Suddenly, he heard something that sounded suspiciously like a giggle. Knowing by heart who the owner was, his head made a 180 degree turn. Mustering his best stern colonel look, he said in a low voice, "Is there something that you wish to share with the rest of us, Carter?"

The smile in her face had transformed into a grin. "No, Sir."

"Good." Pleased that she would not voice her amusement aloud, he relaxed his expression.

She bit her lower lip and shook her head slightly. And for a moment, he was awestruck by her hair. It was like he had just realized it for the first time.

"It's long."

Confused, she frowned. Her eyes were slightly wider than usual.

"Your hair," he explained while pointing vaguely at the soft blond strands on her head. "It's long."

The confusion transformed into hesitation. "You don't like it?" There was slight fear in her eyes.

"No, no," he quickly denied the assumption. The thought of Carter thinking that he hated her hair was just too much to bear. "I do like it. It's just that ... don't you have to spend some time in the morning to fix it?"

He always thought that the military hair cut was very convenient. He didn't have to dry or style it every time he washed his. But he liked her slightly longer hair. It suited her nicely. Not that she needed to have a great hair-do to be a sight for his sore eyes.

"I do," she answered somewhat relieved. "But I felt a little bored with my usual short hair. I thought I'd let it grow a bit." She looked dreamy for a moment. "It's good to be able to play around with your hair every once in a while."

His curiosity was easily piqued. "Why?"

She was silent for a while. Resting her elbows on the table, she propped her chin on her hands. Tilting her head slightly to the side so that she had a better view of him, she told him, "So that you don't forget that I'm a woman."

He was lost for words. "Huh?" was all he could produce in such a situation.

She picked up a stand of her hair and started to twirl her fingers around it. "Working with you guys sometimes makes me feel ... " she trailed of.

He waited patiently, but she never finished her sentence. Her eyes were far away, not focusing on the man in front of her. Feeling the need to break the silence, he tugged the end of her shirt to get her attention.

"I never forget," he started, "not even for a second, that you are ... a woman." A very beautiful one for that matter. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "I tried though. Maybe too hard. But I'm not blind. Or stupid."

She blushed under his intense gaze, but maintained their eye contact. He liked watching her like this, when she was within reach. He could get lost in her eyes more easily, see all the feelings that she had at that moment.

He didn't know why, but his mouth could not stop talking. "Do you mind me asking why you feel that way?"

She closed her eyes before answering. "I'm feeling broody, that's all."

"You? Broody?" Teasing her seemed like a natural thing to do.

She nodded. "I guess my age is catching up with me."

"There's nothing wrong with that then. It's a force of nature."

"It's just frustrating sometimes."

"What's frustrating?"

She averted her eyes to the crowd. "When you get compliments from everyone else but the person you want the compliments from the most."

Mixed emotions filled his heart. He was overjoyed at her revelation, angry with himself for not noticing it sooner, and confused at the same time.

"You want me to flatter you?" the question tumbled out of his mouth before his brain could even process it.

She lowered her gaze and found an invisible spot on the table. "Is it so hard to believe?" Her voice was even lower than a whisper, but he could hear it perfectly.

Before he could reply to that, he felt Daniel elbow him sharply in the rib.

"What?" he hissed at the linguist for interrupting, but not before cursing inwardly for the lost moment.

"Your turn to give the newlywed advice," informed Daniel.

Jack clenched his hand into a tight fist. First his Christmas, and now his little moment with Carter. This wedding was really getting on his nerves. The king had requested him to share his wisdom with his son and his new daughter-in-law earlier, insisting that it had to be Jack, not Daniel, not Carter, and not Teal'c. He's the leader after all.

Oh, the burden of command.

A piece of paper appeared in front of him. Looking to the right, he saw her smile sweetly. Too sweet for her own good. He recognized the paper immediately. That was the sheet containing his 'speech' that Daniel had happily typed up for him. It went missing this morning. He was not panicking because for all he cared, he could just say 'Congratulations' and that was it.

Actually, he could do much better. He could say, 'Congratulations on your wedding day' and that was it. But with the help of Daniel's sheet, he could make the king a happy man.

"Good luck, Sir. Don't forget your cheat sheet."

To strangle or not to strangle ... life had never given him an easy choice.

***

Sam watched the colonel walk briskly. She had learnt long ago that it was useless to fight the temptation of ogling at her CO's six. The only thing that she could do was to master the act of making it look less obvious.

She didn't know why she had said what she said earlier. Maybe she just felt tired of all this. Maybe because she just wanted him to notice that her feelings had not changed. Maybe because she wished to take their flirting to another level.

Who was she kidding?

She didn't know why. When it came to him, nothing that she did seemed to make sense. But one thing was for sure, she didn't regret letting him know what she wanted. And she would make sure that she got it. Make it into her Christmas wish, even.

The colonel was never good with words. And that was what made her want it more. Some part of her wanted to experience the enjoyment of seeing him try. She knew that she would find it endearing, no matter what he said. Just the fact that he recognized that her hair was longer had made her quite pleased with herself. Although she wondered why it took him so long.

"What did you and Jack talk about?" Daniel asked curiously as the colonel started his speech. He had slid closer to her, occupying the colonel's seat.

Suppressing a smile, she replied, "Nothing. Just about Christmas, that's all." Suddenly, she remembered something. "Oh yeah, Merry Christmas, Daniel." She gave him a hug. "Your present is under the colonel's tree."

He chuckled as he returned the embrace. "Merry Christmas to you too, Sam. And yours is under Jack's tree too." He let go of her. "Let's hope that no one is crazy enough to break into his house now."

She warned, "Don't tempt fate. I got the colonel a hockey shirt signed by a hockey player. I don't want things like that to happen now."

"Oh?"

"Yes, my friend got it for me. She works in a sport agency, she knows people."

"Jack will be very happy."

"I hope he will."

"He'll be ecstatic even if you only get him a new pair of socks."

"Yeah, he's a little bit easy to please, isn't he?"

"Sam," Daniel withered. "We both know the reason why."

"So there's no need for us to talk about it, is there?" she quipped. Daniel was fishing for information, or some kind of confession. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of succumbing to his wish easily.

"MajorCarter, DanielJackson, O'Neill does not appear pleased with you," Teal'c dutifully notified them.

The colonel was on the podium and true to what Teal'c said, he did not look like a happy camper. He glanced over to where the rest of his team were one time too many. Therefore, he knew that she and Daniel weren't paying much attention to him. Deciding that his wrath was not worth it, Sam made an effort to concentrate on him.

She watched him speak steadily, his eyes flickering back and forth to the audience and his cheat sheet. She had been seriously considering not giving the paper back, because she knew that he was capable of saying something profound on his own. The colonel was a good man, a great leader. He knew how to lift up his team's spirits with just a few words.

But the boredom and the annoyance on his features since the ceremony started had made her think twice. She didn't want to antagonize him further. Besides, she had her share of fun already. The king had given her quite a handsome amount of trinium as 'compensation' for making such a long journey to his son's wedding. In fact, it was the only thing that stopped the colonel from making his displeasure openly shown.

She only half-listened to what he was saying, a wicked smile decorating her face. She couldn't wait for him to come back to the table. Their conversation was far from over.

***

Another year had gone by.

He was a year older.

A year smarter.

When he saw that smile, he knew that there was no way out. She was definitely planning something inside that brilliant brain of hers. Sometimes he wished that that was all her brain was. Brilliant, and then full stop. But no, it had to be sly as well. He knew trouble when he saw it. And he was in it.

Very big trouble. Trouble the size of Kansas.

Crap.

How the Hell could he get out from this predicament? Planning an escape from Anubis' clutches seemed to be much easier than this. At least, he knew the territory. But with this, he was pretty much left in the dark about everything.

Well, maybe not everything.

He knew her attributes well. Too well. But it was one thing to acknowledge them, and it was another thing to say it. To her.

Jack deliberately stalled for time to think. He read Daniel's note slowly, adding a few breaks here and there. He was quite pleased with his ability to multitask. But it still didn't change the fact that he still had a major dilemma.

Should he just ignore her request and pretend that their conversation never happened?

Fat chance. Carter was not stupid. Damn it. Sometimes having feelings for an intelligent woman sucked. Big time. You could rarely outsmart them. And he had a hunch that she wouldn't just let this one go.

Should he tell her that due to a regulation that was better known as 'fraternization', he couldn't do it?

She would back down for sure, but it would hurt her. Deeply. And he could not, in his conscience mind, do that. Besides, what harm could a compliment do? And if he was being honest with himself, he wanted to do it too. He grew tired of watching other people admire her and letting her know about it. He envied them.

To think that she would blush when he whispered all those words in her ears. And how she would purse her lips closer together as she attempted not to blush more.

Damn, he was in a sappy mode.

Automatically, he glared at the culprit who had been tormenting his mind, who still had that smile on her face.

Why was she doing this to him? Didn't she know that it was extremely hard to not think about her in that manner? And she had easily undone whatever defenses he had built for years in just one conversation.

The day that he'd forget that she was a woman would be the day that Anubis (or Apophis, if he was still alive) decided to retire from his big bad guy job, donate all of his mother ships to the SGC, and go home to wherever he came from to become a gardener.

The innocent piece of paper in his hand was clutched with such a ferocity that it was slightly torn on both sides. He almost cursed when he saw that he had nearly finished all the lines there. However, he decided to take it like a man. Whether he liked it or not.

Reading the last line on the paper, he braced himself for the long overdue conversation. He bowed politely to the king once he finished his speech and walked back towards his team mates.

The heavens gave him a small favor. Daniel had moved over to his seat, which meant the only free chair at their table was between the linguist and Teal'c. That should buy him some time to think about what he was going to say. And if possible, make bullet points on it. He might not get the chance to do this again. He wanted to do it properly and make this one count.

He couldn't help but grin.

***

Sam frowned.

The colonel looked too confident for a man in his position. That had made her suspicious and yet excited at the same time. It confirmed that she would get what she wanted, although maybe not in the way that she imagined it would be.

She wouldn't take anything for granted though.

Watching the colonel take Daniel's previous seat, she knew that he had had his doubts about it. He was fidgeting and being tense while he was on the podium. And that glare was a dead give away. He blamed her for putting him in this position. But it wasn't her fault that her stomach always did a little back-flip when he glared that way, was it? He looked so cute (she really didn't give a damn anymore about the inappropriate use of the word to describe her CO) while doing it.

She scowled inwardly when she realized that Daniel was in her way. It was so foolish of her not to tell him to go back to his own seat. Now, she had to wait for the ceremony to finish and drag the colonel to some secluded place.

Wait. Did that sound as if she was trying to seduce him?

Oh well, it was not like it was totally wrong.

"Daniel, how long 'til the ceremony is over?" she asked the linguist.

Daniel just shrugged. "I have no idea."

Ah. This could be her chance.

"Could you find out?" she pressed. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the colonel glance at her curiously. His eyebrows raised a few notches. So did Daniel's.

"Why?" her friend was a bit puzzled by her questions. She was not known for her impatient nature.

She smiled tiredly, even though she wasn't tired at all. "It's been a long day. I want to have an early night," she lied flawlessly.

"Uhm ... I'm not sure. Would you like me to ask someone or something?" Daniel, good friend that he was, offered.

Not wanting to sound too eager, she forced herself to wait for a few seconds before replying, "If you don't mind."

"I'll be right back." Daniel got up from his seat and left their table. He was such a sweetheart. She'd buy him a few bags of his favorite coffee for his Christmas present on top of what she had already prepared for him.

With Daniel out of the way, she wasted no time sliding towards the colonel, taking Daniel's seat. She knew that his eyes were on her the whole time.

"That's cruel, Carter." There was amusement in his voice. "Getting rid of Daniel like that."

Heh. She'd show him what cruel was.

"I only want to be near you."

Take that!

Watching his brain catch up with his ears was a sight to remember. His fish impression lasted for at least five seconds before he finally shut his mouth. He didn't blush as she expected though. Shame.

He cleared his throat. "Hey, about what you said earlier ..." he trailed off.

"Yes?"

Taking a deep breath, he confessed, "I thought it over."

She was getting close. She knew it.

"And?"

"I think I might have a word or two to say to you, you know. Just to prove you wrong."

Huh? Prove her wrong? She wanted to argue. But she was not that stupid. Arguing meant waiting.

"Okay."

He leaned towards her, his mouth just a few millimeters away from her ear, his breath caressing her hair. And then he whispered, "I don't care if you wear a BDU or a dress, if you have long or short hair," he paused as if to consider his next words, "if you carry a P-90 or a handbag ..."

She giggled at that. Trust the colonel to make a witty remark in this kind of situation.

"... if you are smiling or crying. Because all I see is you ... "

She felt him smell her hair and instinctively she leaned towards him, the side of her hair touching his forehead.

"... and only you."

Her heart soared.

She knew that it would be good, but who knew that it would be this amazing? All she wanted now was for time to stop so that they could linger there forever. Cherish the moment. It wasn't too much to ask, was it?

One of his hands was resting on his side, tempting her to hold it. Finding no reason to refuse the invitation, she reached out for it, covering it with hers.

"Thank you," she said while squeezing his hand.

He was moving away from her, their close proximity was no longer. But their hands were still joined together. The smile on his face was warm and welcoming, engulfing her in peace.

"Anytime."

***

Another year had gone by.

They were a year older.

A year closer.

* The End *

Any feedback, comment, or reviews are greatly appreciated:). Merry Christmas everybody.