Stargate SG1 is somebody else's, probably MGM/Gekko Corp/Sci-Fi, and I freely admit that whoever's it is, I'm borrowing their show and they retain all rights, etc.

Author's Note: This isn't particularly original but it is a belated fluffy Christmas gift for my regular readers. It is Sam/Jack so if you don't like the pairing turn away now, please. Set mid-Season 9 but mild spoilers only. Mild suggestive adult themes.

o-O-o

The Perfect Gift

It had to be the perfect gift. It was, Jack O'Neill mused as he pulled up in front of the shopping mall, his and Sam's first Christmas together after all. Well, OK, not technically their first Christmas; they had known each other for over eight years but it was their first Christmas together. Husband and wife. Jack's lips twitched into the wide smug smile that always accompanied that thought. He had finally asked Samantha Carter to marry him and she had finally agreed. Sure, it had turned their whole world upside down; leaving the SGC, leaving SG1, new jobs that the Air Force decreed were suitably non-combatant to allow an exemption from the frat regs for a couple whose chain of command still remained inextricably linked given their combined value to the Stargate programme. Not that the new jobs had lasted long with the Ori threat but in that short space of time, they had married. Sam was his wife and this was their first Christmas together; which brought him back to his original thought.

He wanted to get her something special. Unique. Perfect. Something that said everything in his heart but was also something that she would like – no, love. Something wonderful. He had looked in Washington to no avail and had finally determined that he needed help if he was going to accomplish his mission. He turned off the engine on the rental car and looked at the archaeologist fast asleep sat in the seat next to him.

'Daniel.'

Daniel Jackson blinked blearily. 'What?'

'We're here.' Jack said cheerfully.

Daniel raised his glasses, rubbed at his tired blue eyes and replaced the gold frames before he sighed. 'Are you really sure you need me for this?'

'What else have you got to do today anyway?' Jack asked.

'Oh I don't know. Find a way to stop the Ori taking over our galaxy maybe.' Daniel gave a little shrug, wrinkled his nose.

Jack slapped Daniel's chest. 'This is more important.'

'I believe General O'Neill is correct, Daniel Jackson.' Teal'c piped up from the back seat causing both men to turn and stare at the Jaffa. 'The first gift following marriage is often most hazardous.'

'I don't know, Teal'c.' Cameron Mitchell slapped his hands together enthusiastically beside his team-mate. 'How hard can it be?'

Jack's eyes slid to the young officer. 'You ever been married, Mitchell?'

Mitchell's blue eyes met the General's respectfully. 'Not exactly, sir, no.'

'You'll learn.' Jack said cryptically getting out of the car.

'Indeed.' Teal'c sent Mitchell a warning look as he exited the car.

'What?' Mitchell wondered out loud as he got out.

'OK.' Jack tugged on his woolly black hat and pointed at the mall. 'I suggest we split up. If you find something, call me.' He waved his cell phone at them.

'Uh, Jack?' Daniel tugged his coat closer around him. 'What are we looking for?'

'Something for Sam.' Jack repeated as though Daniel was dense.

'Yes but what?' Daniel gestured at him impatiently.

'I don't know, Daniel.' Jack said slowly gesturing at him. 'That's why you're here.'

'Well, don't you have an idea?' Daniel asked his breath creating a puff of steam in the cold crisp air.

'Something special.' Jack expanded. 'Something she'll love.'

'That helps.' Daniel said dryly shoving his hands in his pockets.

'Great. Let's move out.' Jack strode away quickly before any of them could argue.

o-O-o

Jack hovered in front of the fishing equipment. Maybe Sam would like a new deluxe fishing rod, he thought as he picked up the lightweight version just on the market. It might just have enough gadgets to keep her happy and it turned out she liked fishing just as much as he did. The grin was automatic and sappy. Plus she'd get the more subtle meaning behind it. Wouldn't she? He frowned. Maybe it was only him that equated their fishing together to finally being together as a couple.

His cell phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his jacket pocket impatiently. He glanced at the caller id before he snapped it open. 'T, what have you got?' He nodded. 'I know the store. I'm on my way.' He reluctantly let go of the fishing rod and sauntered back onto the main thoroughfare for the mall. Ten minutes of dodging arguing couples, frustrated mothers and maniacal fathers, Jack pushed open the door to a popular outdoors store. It housed the latest in camping, hiking, skiing, fishing and hunting gear; everything anyone ever needed if they got lost in the wilderness. Jack searched for Teal'c and wondered what the Jaffa could have found. Maybe he had the same idea on the fishing rod, Jack mused before discarding the thought as creepy. He found the Jaffa in the gun section.

'Teal'c.' Jack halted beside his friend.

'On Chulak, it is customary to buy a wife a weapon on the first anniversary of your marriage.' Teal'c began formally clasping his hands behind his back. 'I thought perhaps that custom might be applied for your Christmas gift to Colonel Carter.'

'OK.' Jack's eyebrows had disappeared under his hat but he gestured at the Jaffa. 'Why?'

'Such a gift recognises her ability to defend her home and children; it acknowledges her worth as a formidable warrior.' Teal'c said sagely. He picked up a long rifle. 'I believe this weapon would be appropriate.'

Jack took in the double-barrelled shotgun. 'Well, that is some weapon, Teal'c.'

'Indeed.' Teal'c said proudly.

'But I'm thinking, no.' Jack said firmly. He gave a gun to Carter for their first Christmas together and he figured she'd shoot him with it.

Teal'c's face fell.

'Sorry, buddy. I'm just thinking a gun is a little too…' Jack searched for an excuse, any excuse, '…too much like work.' He managed eventually. 'I mean she plays with better toys every time she goes on a mission and it just doesn't feel personal enough.'

'I see your point, O'Neill.' Teal'c said solemnly. He replaced the shotgun on the rack and turned back to Jack with renewed enthusiasm. 'Perhaps a knife?'

Jack rubbed the back of his neck. He had a feeling it was going to be a long day.

o-O-o

Any women's clothing store was a daunting task for a man but Jack had never deemed himself a coward and if he hovered momentarily outside the door of the store it was only to get his bearings, he assured himself. He looked furtively up and down the mall before he entered. The bright neon signs almost had him scuttling straight back out but he straightened his shoulders and moved forward, careful not to actually touch any of the racks of clothing that held strange soft and patterned fabrics in an array of bewildering designs. Jack gave himself a mental pat as he identified something as a blouse only to wonder a moment later whether it was more like a dress. He continued on into the depths of the store getting more nervous with each step as he neared his destination; the lingerie section.

He slowed and hovered at the edge of it. His panicked brown eyes took in the row after row of lacy material. His jaw firmed and he pressed his lips together as he set forth. Lingerie was a good present, he considered idly as his eyes skipped over one brassiere and then another. Sam would look fabulous in it and he would have a fabulous time taking it off her. It was personal, feminine and had nothing whatsoever to do with weapons of any kind unless someone counted Sam's own body, which he often did, a little voice in his head whispered. His brown eyes alighted on a sapphire blue silk set, the exact colour of Sam's eyes. It was perfect, Jack thought delighted. Red would be too suggestive, black too sombre and white too functional. The blue was sexy but stunning. He picked it up and backed up a step to get a better look at the size. He bumped into someone.

'Sorry.' He said automatically, glancing behind him to issue the person he'd stepped on an apologetic smile. His eyes widened at the sight of a startled Mitchell who all but snapped to attention.

'Sir.' Mitchell gestured with the bra in his hands, realised what he was holding and hid it behind his back.

'What are doing here, Mitchell?' Jack asked harshly. If the young Colonel had been thinking about Carter and lingerie he was going to so kick his butt…

'I'm not here for Colonel Carter's present, sir.' Mitchell assured him hurriedly. 'I came in to buy something for a friend. A girlfriend.' He corrected hastily waving the flimsy piece of black lace at Jack. 'But obviously not Carter. Sir.'

'Obviously not Carter.' Jack repeated softly. His eyes fell to the black lace and found his sense of humour returning. 'Nice bra, Mitchell.'

Mitchell flushed. 'Yes, sir.' His own eyes fell to the set Jack was holding. 'Same to you, sir. I'm sure Carter will look…' he stopped at the sharp look Jack levelled at him.

Jack swiftly stuffed the blue silk back on the rack. He couldn't buy it if Mitchell had seen it. The connotations didn't bear thinking about. 'Mitchell.'

'Yes, sir?' Mitchell asked nervously.

'I'm going to leave,' Jack said quietly, 'and we're going to pretend like this never happened. Is that understood?'

'Understood, sir.' Mitchell agreed quickly.

'Excellent. Carry on.' Jack gestured at Mitchell and began to walk away. It took more effort than Jack liked to think about for him to keep walking and not to break into a full retreat.

o-O-o

Jack stood outside the jewellery store and contemplated whether a necklace was too safe. It wasn't as though she would have very many places to wear it either, he thought taking in the diamond cluster that would clasp the pearls at the dip in Sam's creamy throat. He loved that dip. The buzz from his cell phone interrupted his pleasant day-dream and he answered it unthinkingly. 'O'Neill.'

'Jack.'

'Daniel.'

'I'm in the bookstore up on the second floor. You have to see this.' Daniel said excitedly.

'It doesn't involve any Abydonian Christmas traditions, does it?' Jack asked warily.

'Of course not.' Daniel said bewildered. 'They didn't have Christmas on Abydos.'

'I'm on my way.' Jack snapped the phone shut and made his way back to the escalators. He was at the bookstore in five minutes. It was a large fancy one with a coffee shop attached. Jack glanced at the cakes in the window longingly before he entered.

He was grabbed almost immediately by the enthusiastic archaeologist. 'Here.' Daniel said dragging him up an aisle of books. 'You have to see this.' He gestured at a shelf of books.

Jack looked at the piles of books and back to Daniel. 'What?' He asked impatiently. 'What am I looking at?'

Daniel sighed exasperatedly. 'This.' He pulled out a book and thrust it at Jack.

He frowned at the title. Wormhole Physics. OK, so he could see why Daniel might have picked it out for Sam but this was all old news to her…

Daniel sighed again and pointed at the author. 'Doctor S Carter.'

'Doctor S Carter.' Jack repeated. His eyebrows shot up. 'This is Sam's book?'

Daniel nodded happily. 'See. You can buy her this, write something nice on the inside and give it to her. She'll be thrilled.'

'I'm not sure.' Jack admitted. 'She already has a copy in her home office. She doesn't look at it.'

'But this one will be from you.' Daniel repeated. 'It'll have your message to her in it.' He stopped at Jack's blank expression. 'You hate the idea.'

'It's not that I hate the idea.' Jack said defensively. 'It's just that…'

'You hate it.' Daniel pulled the book out of Jack's hands and thrust it back into the bookshelf. 'You know I don't know why you brought us along if you're not…' he caught a flash of anxiety in Jack's eyes and his voice fell away. 'What's wrong?'

'Nothing's wrong.' Jack denied automatically.

'Something's wrong.'

'No it isn't.'

'Yes it is.'

'It isn't.'

'Is.' Daniel retorted. 'Come on.'

'Where are we going?' Jack asked as Daniel pulled him across the shop.

'Coffee. You're buying.' Daniel said irritably.

It didn't take long before both men were sat in one of the side tables in the window. Daniel picked up his café latte and blew on it before taking a large appreciative sip of the Columbian blend. His blue eyes travelled over a disgruntled looking Jack who was poking at a piece of chocolate cake without his usual enthusiasm.

'So are you going to tell me what's wrong?' Daniel asked deciding a frontal attack was needed.

'I told you nothing's wrong.'

'You're playing with your cake.' Daniel pointed out gesturing at the mound of brown cake crumbs Jack was pushing from one side of his plate to the other.

Jack threw down his fork and picked up his coffee.

'I've never seen you this nervous about buying Sam a Christmas present.' Daniel mused out loud. 'Not even the time after the za'tarc thing.'

'It's different this year.' Jack said defensively. There was an invisible shutter over his brown eyes hiding his churning emotions from the archaeologist who was intent on ferreting them out.

'Yes, it is. You guys are married.' Daniel replied. He took another gulp of his coffee. 'You're both so happy it's sickening.' He joked. His eyes narrowed on another flash of anxiety in Jack's. 'You're not happy?' His voice rose incredulous at his own thought.

'Of course I am.' Jack shot back. He squirmed in the wooden chair and played with the spoon by his cup as he avoided Daniel's eyes. 'I'm happy; happier than I've been in years.'

Daniel sighed registering Jack's words and what the other man had omitted. 'But you don't think Sam's happy.'

Jack looked down at the table and his finger traced an aimless pattern across the wood.

'She loves you, Jack.' Daniel said trying to reassure his friend.

'But she isn't happy.' Jack forced himself to say the words out loud, his eyes shooting to Daniel's challengingly. 'You know it and I know it.'

'And I know it has nothing to do with you.' Daniel retorted. He took a fortifying gulp of his drink. 'It hasn't been easy for her since she was recalled to the SGC.' He fiddled with his cup. He figured that was his fault; he had been the one to let the existence of their galaxy become known to the Ori and created the threat that had brought Sam back to SG1. Jack shifted in his chair and Daniel wrenched his attention back to his friend.

Daniel's face softened. 'Sam loves you, Jack, and I do know she's happy about being with you.' He held up a hand to prevent Jack from arguing. 'You should see her face when you call. The thing she's most unhappy about right now is being away from you so much just when you guys thought you'd be together.'

His sincerity touched Jack and the military man began a little foolish. 'Thanks.' He said gratefully to Daniel.

Daniel nodded. 'Any time.'

'You know,' Jack said thoughtfully, 'I think I know what to get her.'

'Is it the book?' Daniel asked. 'Because I thought if you're not going to get it then I…'

Jack waved at him magnanimously as he shoved his chair back and made for the door. 'Knock yourself out.'

o-O-o

Sam woke slowly. She stretched and frowned when she encountered space where her husband should have been. Her eyes flew open and confirmed he was absent. She sat up and took her bearings. The apartment she had rented in Colorado Springs was small; two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large open plan living space with kitchenette off to the side. She smiled as she heard a faint clinking sound coming from the kitchen followed by a muffled swear word. She scampered out of the bed and into the bathroom. Five short minutes later, her teeth were brushed and her shaggy bed-hair tamed into something resembling an actual style. She threw on a silk dressing robe over her pyjamas and made her way quietly into the living room. She leaned on a wall, crossed her arms and watched Jack unobserved for a long moment.

He was a good-looking man; hers, she thought possessively. His silver-grey hair was short and ruffled into disarray. He'd put some weight on in DC; the combination of suddenly doing a desk job and fancy meals he had to attend in his position as an advisor to the President. She didn't mind the extra pounds but she knew he was working at taking the weight back off; Teal'c had constructed an exercise programme for him. Still, to her eye, he filled out the jeans he was wearing very nicely and the USAF t-shirt he'd thrown on.

He was stood at the stove, impatiently poking at something with a spatula. French toast, she surmised, her nose wrinkling at the smell of cinnamon. Her eyes landed on the silver tray on the bench. It was set with her mother's fanciest china; a small vase held a single white rose. He was making her breakfast. She started smiling and crossed the room to slide her arms around his waist. He didn't react and she grinned.

'How long have you known I was standing watching you?' She asked.

'About a minute.' Jack turned around in the circle of her arms and kissed her. His brown eyes twinkled back at her. 'You get a good look?'

'Very.' Sam agreed happily as she reached up and kissed him again. 'Merry Christmas.'

'Merry Christmas.' Jack hugged her tightly. 'I was planning to surprise you.' He whispered in her ear.

'I'm surprised.' Sam assured him.

He reached behind him and handed her a box. Nerves gleamed for an instant in his eyes as she took it from him inquisitively.

'Is this my present?' She asked delighted.

'Might be.' Jack said leaning back against the kitchen counter and trying to act nonchalant.

She tore off the wrapping paper eagerly and picked out the watch inside. She examined the sturdy black leather strap and silver clock face intently.

'I know it's not pretty but I was thinking it was something that you could take with you on missions.' Jack admitted nervously.

It dawned on her slowly that it was something she could wear all the time. She gently turned the watch over and her eyes caught on something that glinted. There was an engraving on the back; Always, Jack. It was his way of being with her, she realised. She blinked back sudden tears.

'You like it?' Jack asked hopefully.

'I love it.' She assured him and leaned forward to kiss him fiercely. 'I love you.'

He helped fasten it around her wrist and kissed the inside of her hand where her palm met her wrist. She tugged gently on his hair and pulled him into a deep kiss.

'What time are we supposed to be at Daniel's?' She asked breathlessly. They were meeting the archaeologist there for Christmas lunch along with Teal'c and Cassie Fraiser.

'Twelve.' Jack reminded her.

'Wanna come back to bed and get your first present?' She waggled her eyebrows at him.

'And that would be…?' Jack asked as he turned off the stove and followed her across the room.

Sam turned in the bedroom doorway and offered him a cheeky smile. 'Me wearing nothing but the watch.'

A smug grin made its way across Jack's face as he followed her inside the room. 'Perfect.'