Category: Christmas Fantasy/Science Fiction

Content Level: T - Suitable for teens, 13 years and older, minor coarse language.

Content Warnings: None

Pairings: Jack & Sam

Season: Any season prior to Season 9.

Spoilers: None

Summary: A sudden storm, along with an alien virus puts Jack and Sam's lives in peril but also brings them a wonderful gift and makes them aware of a secret known to very few.

Sequel/Series Info: Stand Alone Story

Status: Complete

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. Copyright © 2005 Maggie Eaton

File Size: 77 KB

Archive: SJ-+17,FanFiction Net

Author's Note: The fic was written in response to the Christmas fic challenge for the SamJack 17 Plus list (December 2005). The challenge must include the following words: sleigh bells, tissue paper, green, holiday muzak, eggnog, Rudolph, rings and "not a creature was stirring. Whew! A bit of shippiness thrown in for good measure. As always any and all mistakes are mine.

Sleigh Bells – Part 1.

SG1 was running for the gate. Well, at least Daniel and Teal'c were running. Colonel O'Neill was barely jogging and Carter was lagging behind him. The cold rain was pouring down from the dark violet sky and they were all soaked to the skin as they hurried to the gate and home.

Daniel was dialing now and Jack could see the giant wheel starting to spin, he hoped the chevrons were locking in place but the only thing he could hear was the storm ragging around him. Mud splattered onto his legs as his feet pounded the earth, an occasional deep puddle sending splatters across his chest and face. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure Carter was still following and when he turned again the welcoming kawoosh of the wormhole was expanding towards him. Jack smiled as thoughts of warm food, hot showers and a nice, soft bed filled his mind, even the annoying holiday muzak of the mall seemed welcome at this point.

"Daniel!" Jack yelled loudly to force his voice through the noise of the storm and both Daniel and Teal'c turned towards him. He raised his arm and brought it down swiftly, signaling for them to go through the wormhole. "Go on! We're right behind you!"

Teal'c raised his staff in response and then followed Daniel through the gate, disappearing into the event horizon. A sudden loud crack of thunder filled the air and Jack could feel the hair on the back of his neck stand on end as the electrically charged air swirled around him.

He was within a few steps of the DHD when a powerful streak of lightening reached out for the Stargate. It struck with enough force to shake the ground beneath his feet and Jack instinctively ducked as the charge crackled and slivered along the gate then seemed to jump towards the ground.

Jack watched as the bolt danced through the air and barely brushed against the red domed surface of the DHD. There was another loud boom followed by an explosion and he threw up one hand in frustration as he watched the dome fall to the ground in a thousand shattered pieces.

He froze momentarily, focused on the DHD and then turned his eyes back to the blue shimmering pool. It hadn't shut down – home was just a few steps away. He stepped towards the gate then turned to yell at Carter to hurry but she wasn't behind him. Her name escaped his lips in a muffled scream, the storm drowning out his voice, as he saw her crumpled form lying motionless on the wet ground.

"Carter…Carter!" Mindless of the gate and the storm, Jack was running full tilt back towards her, all other thoughts suddenly pushed aside by his need to get to her. In a few seconds he was kneeling beside her and his large hands were rolling her onto her back, cursing as the rain splattered directly into her face. "Dammit!" He snarled the words as he moved closer and used his body to shield her from the rain. She was moving slightly now, the cold rain having triggered a response and he patted her cheeks gently. "Come on, Carter! Wake up!"

Her voice was weak and confused when she finally responded. "Sir?"

"That's it Carter, come on back!" He was rubbing her arms in an attempt to warm her up a bit and jostle her back to consciousness. "Come on we need to get out of here!"

Her eyes opened and stared up at him for a moment in obvious confusion and he watched as her head cleared and the situation registered in her eyes. "I'm ok, Sir."

"Good, let's go!" He grabbed her shoulders and she grabbed his in response as he pulled her to her feet and started back towards the Stargate, stopping suddenly as another bolt of lightening struck the DHD and the wormhole disappeared. In less than a heartbeat, he turned and was dragging her away.

"Sir, the Stargate…" He cut her off as she pointed behind them.

"It's no use, Carter. We need to find shelter...get out of this storm."

"But, Sir, maybe I can fix it!"

"Not this time, Major! Now move!"

They backtracked to a cave that Jack had scouted out earlier in the mission. It was about a mile from the Stargate and would lend them protection from the storm. By the time they reached the entrance, Jack was practically carrying her. Her feet were still on the ground but his arm was clasped firmly around her waist and he was supporting her weight with his own body. Her feet dragged against the ground and her head lolled back and forth as he pulled her along towards the cave. He reached for his flashlight as they entered the darkness, sweeping the beam of light quickly across the interior of the cave. It was cold and damp but it was their only choice at the moment, so he moved to the back wall before settling her against it, alarmed when she didn't respond to his voice.

"Carter? Carter!" He pushed the damp hair back from her face and felt the warmth escaping her skin. 'She's burning up!' "Dammit, Carter!" He mumbled as he laid her down flat on the cave floor and then dropped his pack so that he could get to his sleeping bag. He was about to wrap her in it when he realized she was soaked through and the sleeping bag would absorb the moisture from her clothing.

"Carter! Come on, Carter, wake up." He was squeezing her chin and patting her cheeks attempting to wake her. "Come on, Sam, look at me!"

"Wha…what?" She was mumbling but at least she was talking.

"You need to get out of those wet clothes! Come on, let's get you up."

Sam was only vaguely aware of strong hands and arms surrounding her, pulling her to her feet as her head fell backwards. "No, no…I'm ok…don't…" She protested weakly but Jack pulled her up until she was standing, leaning against him, but standing.

"Carter, why the hell didn't you tell me you were sick?"

"I'm not." Her eyes were closed and she sounded almost drunk as she attempted to answer him.

"No? Well, you could've fooled me, Carter. Now come on, help me!"

A short while later Jack eased her down onto the sleeping bag and pulled it over her. Then he moved away in search of wood to build a fire.

OoOoO

It was their second night inside the cave and the weather had turned colder. It was still raining but the thunder and lightening had almost stopped. Jack sat huddled close to the less than impressive fire with only the sleeping bag pulled over his shoulders, shivering as he waited for the fire to warm him. His clothes were spread out on the rocks and ground, also waiting to dry, while Sam slept quietly beside him.

He poked at the fire, stirring it to life and shifted so that the dim light fell across her face. He'd done everything his training had taught him but it didn't seem to be helping. She was getting worse. He had one more dose of the medicine and after that…well, he just had to get her back to the base. Doc would fix her right up and they'd be laughing about this whole mess over Christmas eggnog.

He saw no reason to wake her now she needed the rest. He'd wake her in the morning, before he went out to find more firewood. With any luck the rain would stop overnight and he could hike back to the Stargate just in case the SGC had managed to send a M.A.L.P. through. He had to get her back to the SGC.

Sam stirred slightly and he turned to look at her again. There was a light sheen of perspiration on her forehead and he didn't know if that was good or bad but he didn't dare move her away from the fire. He had dragged her inside the cave, almost unconscious and half frozen then crawled in with her, snuggling against her body for warmth. He'd dreamed of doing that so many times but not like this, not because he was trying to keep them alive.

Jack stood up and placed more wood on the fire, waiting to see if it was going to create too much smoke. When the flames were licking hungrily at the wood he moved close to Sam and spread out his sleeping bag, pulling it around him as he lay down beside her. He lay facing her, as close as he could get without actually touching her, watching her sleep. She was so still and her breathing was labored but at least she was breathing. He reached out and grasp her hand in his, holding on as he began to drift toward sleep. "Keep breathing, Sam." He whispered. "Just keep breathing. We're gonna get out of here somehow." Then he closed his eyes and let sleep take him.

OoOoO

A few hours later Jack was awakened by Sam's coughing. She was gasping for air in between the violent coughs that were pushing her against him. Quickly he reached his arms around her and pulled her against his chest sitting them upright in one awkward movement. Her head fell back against his shoulder as she gasped for breath and another fit of coughing overtook her. He leaned her forward slightly, holding her upright with one hand and pounding softly on her back with the other. As the coughing lessened and she began to breath easier, the pounding changed to large, soft circles, his hand willing the muscles beneath her naked flesh to relax.

After almost an hour, she relaxed against him and his arm slipped around her waist to support her. He was surprised as she moved her hand over his and her eyes fluttered, barely opening and then closing again.

"Sam?" For a long moment she was completely still against him and he held his breath, focusing on the area where her back pressed against his chest, making sure she was still breathing. "Sam?"

"Sir?" Her voice was weak, barely audible but at least she was conscious.

"Hey!" He smiled. "Welcome back. How do you feel?"

"Tired. Cold."

Jack pulled the sleeping bag back around her and pushed his body even closer to hers. "Want to try lying down again?"

Her head moved slightly forward in answer. "Ok, just take it easy. I'll help you." She didn't seem to move at all as Jack pulled her back to a prone position and pulled the sleeping bag over her. "Better?"

"Um."

Jack interpreted that as yes and started to move away form her. "Cold, Sss…r."

Jack glanced at the fire, which was almost out of fuel and would be completely dead soon. He glanced around them for more wood, even though he knew he'd placed the last of it on the fire before lying down. "I'll have to go outside for more wood."

Sam tried to turn towards him and he reached out to help her. "No. Don't…I don't want to be alone."

"Come 'er. We gotta get you warm." He wrapped his arms around her and was pulling her close, his fingers pressing into her bare skin. "Maybe we should get you dressed again. Your clothes are dry now."

"Too tired. Just sleep."

He rubbed one hand up and down her back, chastising himself for the pleasure he felt at touching her. She started to cough again, burying her face in his chest but he pulled her away so that he could see her face. "Easy, Sam, easy."

This spell wasn't as bad as the last time and in a few minutes she was quiet and snuggling close to him again. He brushed the hair away from her face and then allowed his fingers to wander along her cheeks, barely brushing her lips with his thumb. "Sam?" She opened her eyes and tilted her head slightly to look at him. "How bad is it?"

He was almost drowning in her eyes as she stared back at him and a single tear slid slowly down her cheek. Jack caught it and brushed it away quickly, his eyes never leaving hers. "You're gonna be ok." Sounding more confident than he felt, Jack swallowed the fear that rose in his throat as he watched her. She was dying. "Don't let go, Sam." He moved his left hand down her back and grasped her hip pulling her body against his until there was no space between them. Then he moved one leg over hers and pulled her leg between his. Wrapping her tightly in his embrace, surrounding her with his warmth, he pressed his lips against her bare shoulder while his hands continued to comfort her. "Just don't let go."

OoOoO

Jack awoke in the early morning hours, feverish and coughing. Sam was still snuggled against him and he pulled back, trying not to wake her. He was cold. Freezing would be a better description, he thought as the coughing subsided and he turned to look at the fire. It had burned itself out during the night and the cave was colder than ever. Slowly he crept out of the sleeping bag and then hurried to get dressed.

Something felt different but he didn't know what until he moved to the cave entrance. The rain had been replaced by snow and the green forest now resembled a greeting card winter wonderland. The birds and animal life had apparently taken refuge from the storm, not a creature was stirring as he looked out on the untouched landscape. He shrugged against the slight breeze, as it became a bone-chilling cold biting at his exposed skin and barely buffered by the regulation uniform. It wasn't supposed to be winter and they weren't supposed to be here.

He wandered out into the freshly fallen snow looking for anything that would burn. Finding nothing on the ground he finally cut a few green boughs from a nearby tree. There would be more smoke, if it even burned, but they needed the warmth.

He scavenged some tissue paper from Sam's pack using it as kindling to start the fire. When it was burning again and the flames had begun to push back the cold, he stood warming his hands and watching Sam sleep. Finally he made his way over to her and shook her shoulder gently. "Sam. Sam time to wake up."

Sad, dull eyes blinked and then looked up at him slowly. She made a noise but he didn't recognize any words. "I've got the fire going again. Think you can get dressed?"

She nodded her head slightly but didn't move so he reached down to help her sit up.

"Where…"

"They're here, warming by the fire. Can you manage?"

She looked at him with completely blank eyes, as if he was speaking a different language. He sighed loudly. She'd never be able to do this alone; he'd have to help her. He grabbed her tee shirt and slipped the warm material over her head. She sighed at the feel of it, wrapping her arms around herself to try and preserve the warmth. He tugged and pulled at her until she was completely dressed but then was overcome by his own coughing. Once it started he couldn't seem to stop and he fell to the cold ground coughing and gasping for air as Sam had done the night before.

When the spasm finally passed he was curled in a shivering ball at her feet. He was dizzy and his chest felt as if it was on fire. He was still breathing in ragged breaths when he heard Sam calling him.

"Sir?" Her voice was so soft and weak that it scared him and he struggled against his own discomfort to raise his head and look towards her. Her arm was extended towards him and as he met her eyes she whispered, "cold."

He took her hand and crawled alongside her pulling the cover over her and tucking it in close to help keep her warm. Then he sat down exhausted and shaking.

"You're sick." She stated quietly, her fingers squeezing his hand as she spoke.

"Just cold, Carter. I'm fine."

"Rest, Sir. Get warm."

He stared at her for a few moments, knowing that she was right. He was sick, too. The temperature was below freezing outside the cave and he didn't know if he could make it to the gate and back. If he didn't make it back, not only would he die but Sam probably would too.

"They'll be here soon, Carter. This weather is slowing them down, but they'll be here." And then he was coughing again as he lay down and pulled the sleeping bag around him. He was still mumbling when he fell into a deep sleep.

Sam listened to him mumbling and tried to shake off the fog that was controlling her brain. It was no use, she was much sicker than Jack and it was all she could manage to force her body to move. She lifted his hand, still clasped in hers and tugged it towards her. Thankfully, his mind understood her communication even in sleep and he moved closer to her, his arms wrapping around her as she slid hers around him, holding on tight. She turned her face towards his and closed her eyes. If she had to die, she decided, it might as well be here, in Jack's arms.

TBC