Title: Christmas Shoes
Rating: G
Author: MacGateFan
Disclaimers: All characters of Stargate Atlantis are property of people who aren't me. The song, "Christmas Shoes" is property of Bob Carlisle.
Note from the Author: Happy Holidays to everyone and thank you for reading my fanfic! -Michelle


"Excuse me, Major Sheppard."

I turned around when my name was called. "Hi, Teyla. What can I do for you?"

"I was speaking with Lieutenant Ford and he mentioned a tradition of gift giving around this time of year. He seems to really love this holiday so I was thinking of getting him something."

My heart dropped into my stomach. No doubt Ford was talking about Christmas. I love Christmas, but I've only celebrated it once since I was seven years old. That was the worst one ever. It was the year I lost my Mom.

I must have been thinking too much because when I finally heard Teyla calling my name, I could see concern in her eyes. "Are you all right?" she asked.

"Yeah," I lied. "And I think Ford would appreciate that."

I didn't want to be rude, but I had to run away from this conversation as soon as possible. I knew Teyla. She was going to start asking questions that I won't want to answer.

"Um, I gotta go. I'm late for a meeting with Dr. Weir," I told her, zipping away. I inwardly winced. That had to be the worst excuse I have ever made up. I know Teyla's going to wonder what's going on, but at least I know she won't pester me for a while.

I quietly slip into my quarters and reached for the album in my nightstand. Taking a deep breath, I opened it and I smile. There she was, even more beautiful than I remembered.

It was the Christmas before she died. She was dressed in a velvet green skirt and a white sweater with green snowflakes. Oh, and she was not happy with me because I decided I wasn't going to church.

"Jonathan David Sheppard, if you don't come out of that bedroom fully dressed, all your Christmas presents are going back to Santa!"

When I did come out dressed in my blue suit, Mom's anger had melted and she smiled, giving me a hug. I grinned as I looked up at her. "Sorry Momma," I told her. "I didn't mean to make you mad. I guess I just got excited about my presents."

"It's all right, John, just remember that for the future."

My parents were great. They did everything with me and were always there for me until the Christmas I was seven. That year, my Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

She went through chemotherapy and lived much longer than the doctors had anticipated, but five months later, it was Christmas and my Dad told me she may not hold out for that day.

I was devastated to say the least. I mean, I had already learned to accept the fact that my Mom was sick, but I couldn't accept the fact that I would never see her again. Never hug her. Never hear her voice as she read stories to me.

There was something I had to do! I had saved up some money to buy her a present and couldn't figure out what to get when the thought occurred to me. Mom needed a beautiful pair of shoes.

At that time in our lives, we couldn't afford to live in a house so my parents had rented an apartment near a shopping center. There was a shoe store there that my Mom and I had visited and she had shown me a pair of shoes she loved.

Making up my mind, I grabbed my money (being sure to kiss Mom on the way out) and ran to the store. I remembered her size and quickly grabbed the box, not paying any attention to the price tag.

I proudly placed the shoes and the money on the counter, looking up at the cashier. "Sir, I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please. It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size. Could you hurry, Sir? Daddy says there's not much time. You see she's been sick for quite a while, and I know these shoes will make her smile and I want it to look beautiful if Momma meets Jesus tonight."

The cashier helped me count the pennies and said, "Son there's not enough here."

I looked frantically in my pockets, but couldn't find any. I took a deep breath and faced the man behind me. "Momma made Christmas good in our house. Most years she just did without. Tell me, Sir, what am I gonna do? Some how I gotta buy her these Christmas shoes."

I was so grateful when the man behind me helped me buy the shoes. I grinned at him and the cashier as I ran out the door. "Thank you so much!" I exclaimed.

When I arrived home, I rushed to my parent's room. My Dad was sitting on the edge of the bed, holding my Mom's hand and talking quietly to her. I suddenly had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

"John."

That was her. Her voice seemed so quiet, so weak, yet it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. I slowly walked over to her. "Momma, I got you a Christmas present," I said.

She smiled as she opened the box. "Oh, sweetheart, they're perfect. Thank you so much!"

"You're welcome."

Dad lifted me on the bed and looked at me seriously. The only other time he did that was when they told me Mom was sick. "John," Mom said, "I don't have much time left."

"What? No. I mean, how could you know that? That can't be right!" I was confused and I felt so sick. "Momma?"

She put her hand on my face and smiled. "John, be brave for me, okay? I'm sorry this is happening. Know that I love you and I always will."

"I love you too, Momma," I told her, giving her a kiss on the cheek. Dad did the same and before I knew it, she was gone.

I was suddenly back to reality when I heard someone calling my name. I opened my eyes to see Teyla watching me in concern. "Are you all right?" she asked.

"I..." It was then I realized that I had been crying and my hands were trembling. "I'm sorry, I was just thinking about my Mom."

"She must have been very special to you," Teyla replied, sitting next to me. "I have never seen you so emotional before."

I nodded, deciding that it was time to tell someone about this. "She was. She died when I was seven..."