TITLE: Stille Nacht
DATE: July 13, 2006
ARCHIVE: Yes. I plan to archive at fanfictionDOTnet and also to submit to Heliopolis. Anyone else, if you would like to archive it, please drop me an emailand I'll almost definitely say yes.
CATEGORY: holiday, some angst, team, smarm, vignette (?)
SEASON: 3-5 (unspecific)
RATING: G (K). No warnings.
SUMMARY: Imprisoned far from home, SG1 spends a reflective hour together on a holiday only they remember.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Scifi/ Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Film Corp. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. Not to be archived without permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I don't know what possessed me to write a Christmas story in the middle of July. I guess I was just feeling sappy. This is my first completed Stargate fic though I have ideas and tentative opening chapters for a couple more. Your constructive feedback is greatly appreciated, especially in terms of characterization. I don't usually write such touchy-feely stories, and this one kind of took me by surprise. But without further ado...
Stille Nacht, by Deichtine
Jack staggered down the tunnel, automatically skirting the rocks, cracks and debris that threatened to trip him at every step. More than once he stumbled and almost fell, biting back his curses in deference to the silent guard beside him. His mission tonight was too important to risk pissing off a man who was doing him one heck of a favour, and taking a risk on his behalf.
With each stumble he reflexively clutched his little bundle protectively, closer to his chest. It had taken him months of stolen sleep, patient work, and painstaking bartering to have these three items ready for tonight, and he could not chance damaging them.
Finally they reached their destination, a small, circular cell, barren but for the dirty but indestructible domed light fixtures that protruded from the floor at intervals around the perimeter. At the guard's motion, he moved inside and turned around.
"I will bring them to you here," the guard said, then closed the heavy door, leaving Jack alone to wait.
It seemed to take forever, and Jack couldn't help think maybe, just maybe, the guard had lied, that he was going to leave Jack alone in here as a punishment for daring to ask for a favour. Or what if there was something wrong with his friends? He had seen Carter just last week, briefly, their eyes meeting across the crowded courtyard, but he hadn't been able to talk to her before they were swept off in different directions by their respective crowds. Daniel he saw once in awhile at work in the tunnels. His literacy had kept him from the hardest work, but even the scribes had to take their turns at the manual labor, though less often than the others. He seemed to be holding up okay - better than Jack might have expected, actually, and he never bothered trying to supress the surge of pride that thought brought up in him. Teal'c was the only one Jack had been able to talk to since their capture, as the big Jaffa had been relegated to work beside him and was quartered not far from him. The passing months had been hard, however, and usually they needed their breath for the work during the day, and were too exhausted to do more than exchange a few words of mutual support before sleep at night.
But then, just as he was getting to his feet to pound on the door in his frustration, it opened, to admit Daniel, followed immediately by Carter and Teal'c. All three looked dead tired, but happy to be in each other's company. Carter and Daniel especially were staying as close to each other as they could, looking at each other often. Jack knew they probably had not had opportunity to communicate since their sentencing. They were all leaner than they had been, their long hair tied back messily and their faces streaked with dirt, but they were his team, and he felt his heart fill just looking at them.
"Jack!" Daniel said, seeing his friend rising from a sitting position, a smile reaching across his face.
Moving slowly so as not to alarm the guard, Jack moved forward to take Daniel into a hug, followed by Carter and Teal'c.
"You have one hour," the guard said, after Jack had released his large Jaffa brother. "Then we must return or you will be missed." He opened the door, then turned back to give Jack a warning look. "Do not betray this kindness, O'Neill. If you do, I will personally see to your punishment."
Jack nodded and waved. "Sure thing. Got it. No funny stuff."
"I will be directly outside." With that, the guard left, closing the door behind him.
"My God, sir, how did you arrange this?" Carter exclaimed, after exchanging her own tight hugs with Daniel and Teal'c.
"Well, it took some planning, and some trading of favours, but what matters is we're here now. How are you guys holding up?"
They sat down, and Jack couldn't help but notice - in himself as much as his friends, the closeness in which they were sitting, the casual touches and physical contacts even Teal'c seemed to be making without conscious realization, reaffirming the others' presence. Every few seconds Carter would pat Daniel's arm or brush her knee against Teal'c's, and Daniel would reach out to gently touch her hair.
For awhile they just sat there, talking, telling each other about the work they had been assigned to, the people in their work gangs. Carter was itching to know just what the light fixtures were made of, as nothing she had yet been able to try was able to as much as scratch the stuff, and Daniel was intrigued by some of the work they had him doing - apparently, on one of his tours of duty in the tunnels they had opened up an older tunnel network that had been sealed off for years, and there was writing on the walls that Daniel had been able to convince the prison administration to let him begin to study, provided he take his manual labor shifts with the others. Jack found himself smiling despite the situation, comforted to see that, even stuck underground in a hideous alien prison, his friends had not lost their sense of wonder or curiosity. Teal'c was mostly quiet - though that was not new, of course - but he responded with gentle, patient smiles to Carter's and Daniel's gentle teasing about the mop of tightly curled black hair that had sprouted on his head and chin since their confinement began, and by pointing out the length of Daniel's now rather prodigious beard.
"He's right, you know," Jack said, his eyes twinkling. "You look like a hillbilly."
Daniel's eyebrows twitched. "Well, you've certainly got the Amish patriarch look down yourself," he said.
"Well, let's not say things we can't take back," Jack kidded, then pulled out his little bundle and cleared his throat. "Well, people, we don't have a lot of time here, and I got you all together for a purpose. Sam, do you know what day it is? On Earth, I mean?"
Sam closed her eyes and thought. "Not exactly, sir. It's hard to keep track, and I've kind of lost count. I think we'd be into December by now, though."
Jack nodded. "December twenty fifth, to be precise."
At first, they just stared blankly at him, not understanding the significance of the date, until finally Daniel nodded and smiled.
"Merry Christmas, everyone," he said softly.
"Oh!" Carter exclaimed. "Merry Christmas."
"Indeed," Teal'c said softly. Though he himself was not a Christian, he had, in the past few years, embraced the idea of an annual event based on giving of oneself and promoting peace. Teal'c's "Christmas spirit" was a perennial source of mirth around the base, and one that he was happy to go along with.
Jack smiled. "I, uh, brought you guys something. I cleared it with our friend out there," he nodded towards the door, "so you shouldn't have any problems with the guards taking them away from you."
"Sir, I..." Sam started, trailing off.
"I wish I had something for you," Daniel said.
"Not necessary," Jack said. "Just knowing you guys are alive and holding up okay out there is enough for me. Now, no laughing. I know I'm no sculptor, but I worked hard on these, okay?"
Daniel smiled. "Teal'c, will you do the honours?" he asked, as Jack dipped his hand into the bag.
"Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas," the Jaffa intoned, his tone deliberately devoid of expression, and the three humans laughed for the first time in months.
"That gets me every time," Jack said, still chuckling, and pulled from his bag three necklaces. The cord on each was woven of threads picked from his blanket, laced through a hole bored through a small piece of the soft black stone found throughout the tunnel system. Each was painstakingly carved and polished by hand. Each amulet bore in relief the triangle-with-a-circle that formed the symbol for Earth - for home - and underneath it, the letters SG1. On the back was a brief message in rough block letters: "We will get home".
"Jack, this is...wow," Daniel said, then quickly tied the cord around his neck.
Teal'c bowed his head deeply in formal acknowledgement, and Sam's eyes were full.
"Thank you, sir," she said softly, her fingers running gently across the letters.
"Merry Christmas, everyone," Jack said, seriously, sitting down again to complete the circle once more. "It's true. Don't forget it. When we get home, I want to see you wearing those."
Everyone nodded solemnly, and they sat there in silence for a moment, content just to look at and draw strength from one another.
Suddenly, Jack became aware of a low, melodious sound beginning, a deep voice softly humming, and his eyes flew open in surprise. It was Teal'c, his eyes closed as he hummed the simple melody he had learned his first Christmas on Earth. Then another voice joined in, higher - Sam. Daniel was next, his light tenor joining in a simple counterpoint, and Jack listened for a moment before finally adding his own voice, and when the verse came to an end, they began again, with the words, their minds thousands of light years away, under the stars of their own home.
Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and Child
Holy Infant, so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace.
The words to "Silent Night" are in the public domain. Original text by Josef Mohr, English translation by John F. Young.