Okay, I wrote this about three years ago, and have only just rediscovered it. I know it's a little bit late, but I didn't want to have to wait nearly a year to post it.

This is just a bit of SGC at Christmas fun, set about Series 5 or 7. Daniel's in it, so not Series 6. But the series doesn't particularly matter.

Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate or anything to do with the Stargate franchise. Alas.

Enjoy, and please review! Merry Late Christmas:-)

Deck the Halls

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly faa la la la la la la la la. 'Tis the season to be jolly faa la la la la la la la la. Something something something something faa la la la la la la la la, something something yuletide carol faa la la la la la la la la."

Colonel Jack O'Neill paused from his carol rendition as he pulled out a chair and placed his tray on the table in front of it. His team members Dr Daniel Jackson, Major Samantha Carter and Teal'c all stared at him.

"What?" He asked innocently as he sat down.

"Getting into the Christmas spirit Jack?" Daniel asked. Jack shrugged and tucked into his shepherd's pie. "And what if I am?" He asked.

"Nothing," Daniel said, quickly going back to his food. Teal'c frowned. "What is the meaning of faa la la la la la la la la?" He asked.

Jack looked up. "Faa doesn't mean anything T," he said. "And la is a note to follow so."

Sam turned her face away to hide her laugh as Teal'c bowed his head and Daniel rolled his eyes. Jack grinned and resumed eating. "I'm just getting in the mood for the party," he said.

Daniel rolled his eyes. "I still don't understand why we're having a Christmas party this year. We've never had one before," he said. Jack waved his fork at him. "You're such a grinch," he accused, before continuing eating.

Daniel narrowed his eyes. "I'm not a grinch. You're just too Christmassy," he said.

Jack raised an eyebrow. "Look, I am not…"

"You just had to go and do it, didn't you Clover?"

SG-1, along with the entire commissary, turned to look in the direction of the voice, and several of them, including the Colonel, muttered under their breath. Major Freddy Terence, commander of SG-8, and his 2IC, Captain Jessica Clover, were standing in the queue, facing off for what promised to be a spectacular fight. The animosity between the two was well known throughout the SGC, and their frequent fights over the most trivial things were always fun to watch. However, every month or so they would have a fight that almost ended in a punch-up. This looked like one of those fights.

"What are you talking about?" Clover asked.

"That's Sir to you, Captain, and you know very well what I'm talking about," Terence spat out.

"No Sir, can't say I do actually."

"Greg, what were we talking about the moment before we joined the queue?" Terence barked at Dr Gregory West, another member of SG-8.

"No way Freddy," Greg said, backing away quickly. "I'm staying out of this."

Captain Clover and Major Terence went back to scowling at each other, before Terence spoke up again. "You know very well that the only reason I am even here is because we've just got back from P6V-785 and I want a piece of pie. And what do you do? You take the last piece!" Terence yelled.

Clover rolled her eyes. "Actually, it was P6V-789, and as for the pie, why don't you have me court martialled?"

"Well maybe I will!"

"Oh puh-lease," Clover scoffed. "You are so childish! It's pie for heaven's sake!"

"I'LL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS, CAPTAIN. IT'S INSURBORDINATION, THAT'S WHAT IT IS!" Terence bellowed.

"AND WHY SHOULD I SHOW ANY KIND OF RESPECT FOR YOU?"

"RIGHT, THAT'S IT!!! YOU'VE HAD IT!"

"Hey, Freddy, calm down man…" Major Will Thompson of SG-6 tried to calm his friend down. Freddy rounded on him so fiercely that everyone within a ten-foot radius of him apart from Clover shrank back.

"STAY OUT OF THIS WILL!" Terence yelled. He turned back to his 2IC. "AND AS FOR YOU-"

"AM I SUPPOSED TO BE SCARED OF YOU OR SOMETHING?" Clover bellowed at her CO.

"I WOULD BE!" Terence yelled right back.

"YEAH, WELL THAT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE JUST A LITTLE…"

Jack had had enough. "CLOVER! TERENCE!" He yelled, standing up. "SHUT THE HELL UP RIGHT NOW!"

No matter how angry they were, Clover and Terence knew the sound of Colonel O'Neill's voice, and it was enough to stop them going at each other's throats. There were two people on base they tried not to argue in front of, and the Colonel was one of them. No prizes for guessing the other.

"STAND TO! NOW GODAMNIT!" Jack yelled as he walked towards them. Everyone in the room flinched, (except for Teal'c). The only time Colonel O'Neill pulled his rank to this extent was when he was really, really mad. And that's why most of those present in the room had never seen him do it.

Terence and Clover snapped to attention, and both saluted sharply as the colonel drew nearer. He stopped in front of them, and treated them both to the special-forces-Colonel-stare that all Colonels get taught. To their credit, they both managed not to step back.

"What the hell is going on here?" He asked in a deadly calm voice.

Major Terence searched for the words to explain. It looked as though even he knew their fight had been for nothing. "Er…"

"Well, Sir," Clover said, "the Major here was disappointed that I had taken the last piece of pie, and I can only assume that's why he lashed out," she said, sounding like the good little soldier but also just a little too pleased with herself. Jack narrowed his eyes and looked at Major Terence, who was eyeing Clover with utter hatred.

"Major? What do you have to say for yourself?" He asked Terence, who opened his mouth to speak but obviously still couldn't find the words.

"It's what it looked like from where I was sitting, so I'd advise you to try and keep a check on your temper next time you want pie, OK?" Jack said sternly. "And you, Clover." Clover's smirk disappeared instantly.

"I wouldn't feel so happy about myself if I were you," he said. "If you hadn't antagonised him further and perhaps shown a little maturity, it might not have got this far, Captain."

Jack turned back to Terence. "Major Terence, I shouldn't have to remind you that you are the commander of a field unit and this planet's first line of defence, and perhaps you should behave as such."

Terence finally found his voice. "With all due respect Sir, I do just fine when she's not around. My Dad used to say that women make the worst possible second-in-commands, and I'm beginning to think he's right."

There was a silence in the room, as everyone digested this latest offering from the short-tempered Major. All the women, including Clover, were staring at Terence in shock. Most of the men were shaking their heads. SG-1 was grimacing silently, and the entire room knew that if you had to say something like that Colonel Jack O'Neill was the last person you wanted to hear. Terence seemed to be realising it too.

"Er, I…"

"You DID NOT just say what I think you just said, did you?" Jack said incredulously. Terence stammered. "I, er, Sir, I meant, um, I'm sorry Sir I didn't mean that…"

"Major, not only is that an incredibly stupid thing to say in a room with about a dozen military-trained women who have most probably been a 2IC at some point or may be now, but you also said it in front of a bunch of men who also won't take something like that lightly," Jack said dryly. "Now tell me," he added, "who's second in command of SG-11?"

Terence swallowed. "Captain Hilary Trump."

"SG-2?"

"Lieutenant Mary Foster."

"SG-14?"

"Captain Bianca Hughes."

"SG-7?"

"Captain Georgia Morris."

Jack's voice took on a steely edge. "SG-1?"

Terence looked anywhere but at Jack. "Major Samantha Carter."

Jack nodded. "Right. Now, do you know how many times Major Carter has saved not only my life but my team's as well?" He asked.

Terence shook his head. "No Sir," he said quietly.

"Well, I haven't kept count, but it's a hell of a lot!" Jack shouted. "If I ever hear you say anything as chauvinistic ever again, I will personally leave you in a room by yourself with every female on base, all of whom will be armed, do you understand me?"

Terence nodded the affirmative. Jack nodded back. "Good, now cut that pie in two, sit down, and perhaps we can all go back to having lunch in peace," he said, before turning on his heel and starting to walk back to his table. Every eye in the room followed him to his seat, where he sat down without looking back once. Everyone went back to their food, though all were sneaking peeks at Terence and Clover as they divided the pie between them and sat down with their team members, both looking absolutely furious.

Jack picked up his fork. "Anyway, I am not too Christmassy," he said to Daniel, as if nothing had happened. SG-1 stared at him until he dropped the fork again and sat back. "I had to do something," he said in his defence. "They drive me crazy."

"I don't understand it," Sam said. "They're fine in the field, and when they're not together they're nice people." She frowned as she looked across the room at them.

"If they stopped arguing for two seconds they'd get on," Daniel added, starting to demolish his sandwich again. "Well duh," Jack said. Daniel frowned. "I meant they're actually really alike. They could be good friends."

"I must agree with DanielJackson," Teal'c said. "I too have noticed their similarities."

Jack snorted. "I don't think it's a personality clash either. There has to be something else," he said.

"Like what?" Sam asked.

Jack shrugged. "If I didn't know any better I'd say that…" Jack stopped talking as the realisation hit him. "Oh, it can't be that simple," he said to himself, staring across the room at Terence and Clover, who sat stiffly next to each other.

"What?" Daniel and Sam asked, while Teal'c raised an eyebrow in question. Jack ignored them, obviously thinking hard. Suddenly he jumped up. "I've got to go off-base for a while. I'll be back in time for the party. See ya." And with that he practically sprinted out of the commissary.

Sam looked around the commissary, satisfied with the decorations. She and Sergeant Siler had spent the last two hours decking the room out in tinsel, streamers and even boughs of holly (faa la la la la la la la la). All the tables had been pushed to one end, and covered with a large white tablecloth and laid with plates of finger food donated by personnel. The idea was to give the commissary staff time off as well. Smaller tables set with jugs of fruit punch were at the other end of the room.

Sam glanced at the clock on the wall. "Hey Siler," she said, "the party starts in a half hour, we'd better go get ready." Sergeant Siler nodded and stood up from where he was adding the last touches to the Christmas tree in the corner. "OK Major. I'll see you later. Thanks for your help."

Sam nodded back as she left. "No problem," she said as she headed to the locker room to get changed.

"Sam. Sam!" Daniel came round a corner behind her and she stopped as he came closer.

"Hey Daniel, what's…… er, nice sweater," she said, struggling not to laugh as she took in what her friend was wearing. It was a green and red striped sweater, with a circle on it that, judging by the objects at the top that one could only assume were antlers, was meant to be a reindeer's face. It was obviously hand-knitted, but looked as though the maker suffered from severe arthritis and couldn't see all that well.

Daniel tugged at his sleeve, which was several inches too short. "Thank you," he said. "It was a present from Teal'c."

Sam's eyebrows went way, way up. "Teal'c?" She said incredulously. "Teal'c can knit?"

Daniel looked sceptical. "Well, kind of … I suppose. Yeah, he said he taught himself to 'get into the Christmas spirit'."

Sam tried to stifle her giggles. "It's, um, really nice," she said. Daniel gave her a scathing look. "Don't laugh too hard. He made you one as well," he said, looking quite satisfied. Sam managed not to groan out loud, but it was a close call. "Right," she said weakly. "Was there something you wanted Daniel?"

"Oh, yeah actually. Have you seen Jack? I can't find him anywhere," Daniel asked. Sam frowned and shook her head. "No, I haven't seen him since lunch. Didn't he say he needed to go off-base?" She replied.

Daniel nodded. "Yeah, but he's not back yet. At least I don't think he is. I need to talk to him about his paperwork – he keeps leaving it around my office."

Sam grinned. "He used to do that to me as well," she said as they started walking down the corridor.

"How did you make him stop?"

"I did the paperwork, but really badly, so he got in trouble for it. He stopped," Sam said.

Daniel snorted. "Well, I'd do that if I could be bothered. I was thinking more along the lines of blackmail. I'll see you at the party, OK?" He said, pausing next to his office.

"See ya," Sam said, carrying on down the corridor.

"MajorCarter."

"Oh, hey, Teal'c. Um, nice sweater."

Well, it could be worse. Compared to Daniel's and the one Teal'c had made for himself, her sweater wasn't too bad. But still, she didn't usually go for green with blue circles and assorted snowflakes and Christmas puddings all over. At least, Sam thought they were snowflakes.

"Er, Major?"

Sam turned around to see Major Freddy Terence standing behind her, wearing a green paper crown and a repentant expression on his face. Sam nodded to him. "Major. Nice hat. What can I do for you?"

"Well, I just wanted to apologise for what I said earlier. I seriously don't know what came over me- I really didn't mean it, and I'm really sorry if you were offended," he said.

Sam hadn't really thought much about what Terence had said earlier- he'd never struck her as particularly chauvinistic, so she'd already put it down as a spur-of-the-moment thing. She opened her mouth to say this but was cut off by Terence.

"Well, of course you were offended- it was an offensive thing to say. I just hope that I can make it up to you somehow."

"Freddy," Sam said loudly to stop him babbling on. "I forgive you. Really, don't worry about it." Terence grinned widely. "Thanks Sam. Merry Christmas."

He turned to walk away and then seemed to remember something. "Nice sweater by the way," he said, before slipping into the crowd. Sam glared at his retreating back as Daniel and Teal'c came up to her, holding enough food to keep all of SG-1 in business for the night. Though they were still one down.

"Still no sign of Jack?" Daniel asked as the three of them sat down on the chairs lining the makeshift dance floor. No one was dancing yet, but give the people time to get drunk at least. Lieutenant Colonel Sully of SG-6 and his 2IC Major Roberts were already well on the way.

"Nope," she replied, helping herself to a sausage roll. "It is most unlike O'Neill to be so late," Teal'c said, sounding quite annoyed. Sam had a feeling that his tone was a consequence not of his concern for the Colonel but of the fact that he wasn't here to collect his sweater from the Jaffa.

Teal'c's own sweater was by far the most exuberant. It was comprised of red, green, blue, yellow, orange and pink stripes, with holly sprig decorations all over it. Sparkly gold wool was, well, sparkling around the cuffs, neck and bottom of the sweater. However, at least his seemed to fit him properly. Sam tugged at her neckline, being sure that Teal'c didn't see. She had a feeling that she was going to have to cut the thing apart to get out of it later on.

"I'm sure the Colonel's just got caught in traffic or something," she said. "He wouldn't want to miss the first ever SGC Christmas party."

The present members of SG-1 looked around the room. Everyone did seem to be enjoying themselves at least. The hastily thrown-together bar, out of limits for those on duty, was doing steady business, and Captain Foster was having fun showing off his cocktail-making skills. General Hammond was mingling, getting to know his personnel a little better and laughing loudly at every joke he heard. Terence, who had seemingly apologised to everyone and was at peace once more, was standing with the rest of his team and some others, talking animatedly. Even the physicists, who generally stuck to their labs on base, were mingling and seemed to be having a good time.

General Hammond had really gone all out. Not only had he provided all the drink (attributed to some crafty paperwork), he had even hired a Santa Clause, who sat in corner, handing out presents after hearing what people wanted, and 'ho ho ho' ing loudly. It was quite a sight to see thirty and forty-something military officers queuing to see Father Christmas, like they were actually three or four.

Colonel O'Neill would love it, if he ever arrived.

Jack surveyed the room, trying not to laugh. He was having a great time just watching the other members of SG-1 wonder where he was. Honestly… like he was going to miss the first Christmas party, after all the grovelling he'd had to do to get the General to throw one in the first place. Of course, they didn't know that it had been his idea, and he wasn't about to let the Grinch, sorry slip of the tongue- Daniel, find out.

He was, on the other hand, going to avoid Teal'c at all costs. Those sweaters were plain alarming.

Jack looked up at the next person in the queue and just about managed not to flinch. So much for avoiding T.

"Good evening," Teal' said. "I have come to ask what the purpose of this tradition is."

Jack managed not to laugh. "Ho ho ho," he said instead. Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "So tell me, young man, what do you want for Christmas?" Jack said, enjoying the look of confusion on the Jaffa's face. Winding up Teal'c was almost as fun as winding up Daniel. Almost.

"I do not require anything," Teal'c said after a moment's silence. Jack tried not to roll his eyes, and succeeded, kind of. "Ho ho ho," he repeated. "But what do you want?"

Silence.

"That's a very interesting sweater young man," Jack said, struggling not to laugh. "Would you like another one? Or perhaps some wool?" Jack couldn't help it. He did laugh, but managed to keep it quite quiet.

Teal'c raised the eyebrow again and nodded his head. "I…"

"Teal'c. What you doing?"

Jack tried to hide but it was too late. Carter came up behind Teal'c before he could creep away. "I am conversing with the one you call SantaClause," Teal'c replied.

Carter saw Jack for the first time and smiled at him, nodding a hello. "Oh, sorry. So what have you asked for?"

"I have requested nothing MajorCarter," Teal'c said. "I do not understand this custom."

"Ho ho ho!" Jack said, unable to think of anything else to say. He hadn't seen Carter's sweater up close yet and it was almost as bad as Teal'c's. And it looked like it was choking her. He didn't trust himself to speak, coz he knew that Carter was probably the only one at the party who was smart enough or sober enough to recognise him, and he was enjoying being anonymous.

Uh-oh, it looked like he was already found out. Carter was looking at him funny, and then-yep, there it was. Now she looked surprised, and now she's trying not to laugh.

"So, friend, would you mind getting me a drink?"

Teal'c nodded his head and walked away. Jack looked at Carter. "I knew you'd recognise me."

Carter frowned. "How?"

"Teal'c thinks I'm a real person, Daniel will stay away at all costs coz he's a Grinch, and, well, everyone else is drunk."

Carter grinned. "Nice suit."

Jack tugged at the beard. "Cool, isn't it? Been in the family for years."

"So what did Teal'c ask for?"

"Wool. Love the sweater by the way."

Carter glared at him. "You have one too, you know."

Jack shrugged. "I have an excuse not to wear it though. I'm Santa."

"Hey Sam," Said Major Roberts in the queue behind her. "You're meant to sit down." He gave her a little shove towards Jack. Carter glared over her shoulder at the Major. "Yeah, thanks Keith," she said sarcastically. It was lost on the not-so-slightly tipsy Major.

Jack managed not to laugh as Carter turned back to him. He patted his knee. "So young lady, what do you want for Christmas?" He said, earning himself his own glare from his 2IC. "Er…" She said, obviously thinking of an excuse to get away. Unwilling to give her the chance, Jack grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him. She lost her balance and landed, sure enough, in his lap. Major Roberts laughed and raised his drink. "That's the way Santa!" He said.

Carter treated Jack to a death- stare and tried to stand up, but Jack kept her pinned down. "Answer the question young lady," he said. Carter seemed to realise that resistance was futile and stopped struggling. "I want a naquadria-powered motorbike that can generate a force shield and fitted with a hyper-space window generator so that I can ride across the universe," she said.

Jack grinned. Now, that sounded fun. "Well, they were all out of them at Walmart," he said, reaching into the sack on the floor next to him. His fingers gripped something round and furry. "How 'bout a teddy?" He said, presenting her with a blue bear with a pink ribbon around its neck.

Carter laughed and took the bear. "Thanks Santa. I'll name it after you. Nick the bear."

Jack grinned again and released her. "Ho ho ho!" He said loudly as she stood up. She looked back at Roberts and then Jack's lap. "Have fun Keith," she said, grinning at Jack before leaving.

Caught up as always in the mega-watt power of having that grin turned on him, Jack was brought back to Earth rudely by having a six-foot-five lump suddenly sitting on his lap. He looked up at Major Keith Roberts' grinning face and forced a smile.

"Ho ho ho!" He said weakly.

"Where is he?" Daniel demanded suddenly, looking towards the door. "I'm actually starting to get worried now."

Sam looked up from where she was sitting at a small table. Daniel, she could see, was genuinely concerned about Colonel O'Neill, and so was Teal'c, judging by the way he was circling the room enquiring about him. 'I'd be worried as well' Sam admitted to herself. But come on- it was so obvious- anyone could see Santa was the Colonel. Honestly. All you had to do was look at his eyes, and you could tell…

"Sam!" Daniel said indignantly. "Aren't you the slightest bit worried? He's two hours late!"

Sam tried to think of something to say that wouldn't make her sound like a callous uncaring cow. She came up empty. "Er…" She stated articulately. She was saved by the arrival of Teal'c, who had- you've guessed it- 'Santa' in tow.

"SantaClause claims that he has seen O'Neill," Teal'c said.

Daniel looked at the Colonel with interest. The Colonel, she noticed, was grinning widely. "You have?" Daniel asked. "When?"

"Well, he was the one who hired me- he met me at the door. I changed into my costume and haven't seen him since."

Sam struggled not laugh. Colonel O'Neill was actually telling the truth. "Shame really," the Colonel continued. "Good looking guy. Tall, ruggedly handsome, devilishly charming… if I wasn't married to the North Pole…"

Sam couldn't help it- she burst out laughing, earning herself a strange look from Daniel and a raised eyebrow from Teal'c. "Sorry," she giggled. She risked a glance at the Colonel and saw that he was struggling not to laugh along with her.

Daniel turned back to 'Santa' just as the Colonel began to hum 'Deck the Halls'. Daniel's eyes widened in shock and he turned red from what Sam assumed was a mixture of anger and embarrassment. "Jack!" He cried, or more accurately, accused.

The Colonel immediately looked the picture of innocence. He pointed at himself. "Nick," he said. "And you are?"

Sam lost it at this point, and buried her head in her arms as she burst out laughing again. When she'd composed herself slightly she looked up to see the Colonel explaining his suit to Teal'c while Daniel stood next to them glaring. He looked over at Sam and frowned. "You knew, didn't you?" He asked, sounding monumentally peed off. Sam rolled her eyes. "Of course I did," she said with a grin. "It's so obvious."

Daniel did not look at all pacified, and Sam was just about to change the subject when a sudden hush fell over the crowd. Sam and the rest of SG-1 looked for the source of interest and saw Major Terence and Captain Clover squaring off to each other AGAIN. Sam looked at the Colonel to see his reaction and to her surprise saw that he was grinning. "Just the moment I was waiting for," he said, reaching into his pocket for something.

"What?" Daniel asked, still looking annoyed. Jack grinned even more. "Time to put 'operation deck the halls' into effect. Excuse me."

Sam watched in confusion as the Colonel started to wind his way through the crowd towards the bickering pair, and couldn't help wondering what he was up to.

Jack felt like a little kid waking up on Christmas morning as he made his way across the room. This was going to be goooooooooooood.

"Alright, alright! Enough already. Let's just drop it, OK?" Terence was saying as Jack drew near.

"Fine," Clover practically spat. "Merry Christmas Sir," she said sarcastically.

Jack cut in before Terence could reply. "Ho ho ho!" He said loudly, stepping up to them. "Well now, what's all this about?" Jack prided himself on his Santa voice- hardly anyone could tell it was him when he was in full costume.

"Don't you know that this is the season of good will?" He said sternly. Terence and Clover looked at him and then glanced at each other.

"Apologise to Santa Freddy!" Major Roberts yelled from the bar, where he had set up camp. A few people in the crowd laughed and several called out similar things. Major Terence grinned. "Sorry Santa," he said. Clover tried not to grin as she apologised as well. Jack nodded.

"Ho ho ho!" Jack said loudly. "That's quite alright my dears." He pulled his hand out of his pocket and stretched his arm up. "Now kiss and make up."

Terence, Clover and the rest of the room stared at the mistletoe in 'Santa's' hand in shock. Then most of the rest of the room started to laugh.

Jack was starting to get pains in his side from holding in his own laughter as he watched both Terence and Clover go as red as his suit. "Er…" Terence said, looking really uncomfortable.

Oh yeah, this was good.

"Go on," Jack said, shaking the plant slightly. "It's tradition."

"Yeah, go on Freddy!" Shouted a drunken voice from the bar. Jack saw the look that Terence sent Major Roberts and knew that Keith was going to pay dearly the next day. At least it was against regs to assault a senior officer.

Now a lot of the crowd had joined in, egging on the two officers, who were both so red Jack could feel the heat radiating off of them.

"Go on Freddy!"

"It's tradition!"

"You can't say no to Santa!"

"Come on, Jess, what you afraid of?"

The shouting had reached a fever-pitch when both Terence and Clover stepped forward at the same time and, looking as though they'd rather be doing anything else, kissed each other.

And, just as Jack expected, the kiss lasted just a little longer than it should've. Jack immediately dropped his arm to his side as they stepped back away from each other, furiously staring at the ground. The crowd went wild, cheering madly.

"Ho ho ho!" Jack said, about to turn away. Freddy was treating him to the most evil glare he had ever seen, and he had been working with Daniel for six years. Jack saw that Clover had a similar expression on her face as well.

What happened next happened very quickly. Jack heard someone say 'yoink!' and the next thing he knew members of SG-2 were running off with his mistletoe, laughing loudly and already terrorising two members of the commissary staff.

He thought about going after them, but changed his mind and shrugged instead. He winked at Terence, whose glare visibly got more deep, and then turned away.

And found himself face to face with General Hammond.

Ah.

Jack tried a weak 'ho ho ho?', but it had absolutely no affect on the General's stony expression.

Damnit. Jack could now see a flaw in 'operation deck the halls'.

Jack followed the General over to a quiet corner, trying desperately to think of a way to get out of trouble. Under the influence of an alien device? No- he used that one too much. Temporary insanity? No, that wouldn't work. Who'd believe it was temporary?

The General turned around and Jack realised that his commanding officer wasn't impressed by the grin on his face brought about by his internal joke and so quickly arranged his face back to serious-and-sir-I'm-so-sorry.

"I suppose you thought that that was funny Colonel," said Hammond, making it clear from his tone of voice that he hadn't.

Jack shifted a bit. "No, I… well yeah. Sorry sir," he said contritely. He understood why the General was annoyed- it was his job to make sure that his officers didn't do things like that. But… it was Christmas, for crying out loud!

"Jack, if it was anyone else, I wouldn't have minded, but I've had my eye on those two for a while," General Hammond said wearily. Jack looked up at him with interest. What was he getting at?

"Sir?" He asked.

"Clover and Terence are two of my best officers, and SG-8 are a hell of a good team. But the tension between those two- well I'm sure you've noticed. I guess that's what prompted this little stunt."

Jack nodded his head. "Yeah, though I didn't figure it out until lunchtime today."

General Hammond sighed. "Don't do it again Jack. Think how you'd like it," Hammond said as he picked up a glass of punch and walked off.

Jack's brow furrowed as he thought over the General's words. What the hell did that mean? He shrugged and started to walk over to rejoin his team when his eyes fell on Carter, who was talking to Teal'c about something. He thought about it.

Oh God.

The embarrassment.

The tension.

Maybe 'operation deck the halls' hadn't been a good idea at all.

Sam couldn't believe the Colonel had done that. It was just so… so… well, brilliant. Cruel, yes, but inspired. She'd never seen Terence and Clover in that way, but now she saw it- that's what all the tension was about. What's that about only arguing with people you care about? Hopefully they'd now got it out of their systems. She'd been watching them closely, and after the initial embarrassment they had started joking with their friends and even with each other.

Well-done Colonel.

Speaking of whom…

"Hey Carter," the Colonel said as he pulled out the seat next to her. "Having fun?"

"Definitely," Sam replied with a nod. "I have to say, Sir, that though that was really really mean, it was a stroke of brilliance."

The Colonel grinned. "Why thank you Major," he said, as he poured himself some punch from the jug on the table. "I thought so."

"What did the General say?" Sam asked.

"That's classified."

"That bad?"

"Nah- he wasn't too mad."

Daniel sat down with them at that moment. "Hey. Jack, you're horrible," he said.

The Colonel shrugged. "So what's new?"

"You know that Major Terence is going to kill you?" Daniel stated.

The Colonel shrugged again. "You can't kill a senior officer," he replied.

Sam turned away to hide her grin from Daniel, but the Colonel saw and he grinned back at her. Sam looked down at the glass in her hand until her stomach stopped doing somersaults. She hated it when he grinned at her.

OK, that's a lie. She loved it.

Janet came stumbling over at that moment. Stumbling because she accidentally tripped on a chair leg on her way. Janet was a lightweight drinker if ever Sam knew one, and she had definitely had too much to drink tonight. The Colonel managed to catch her before she fell and helped her into a chair. She grinned at him. "Thanks Santa!" She said cheerfully. "Silly me, eh?"

Sam chuckled silently. "Hi Janet," she said to her best friend. "Having a good time?"

Janet hiccupped and then giggled loudly. She nodded enthusiastically. "Yep. Lots of fun!" She leant across the table towards Sam, almost knocking over her drink before Daniel managed to save it. "Lieutenant Foster made me kiss Teddy the Nurse with the mistletoe. I'm so gonna get her back."

Sam grinned. Not only was 'Teddy the Nurse' only about 20 at the most, he was also gay.

Janet sat back up and looked around. "I haven't seen Colonel O'Neill tonight. Where'she?" Janet's last few words came out slurred together, and Sam started to laugh, along with both Daniel and the Colonel. "He's around," she said cryptically when she could speak.

Janet waved a finger at her. "No he's not. I'm his doctor, there's not any fat on him!" She laughed uproariously at her own joke. The Colonel, who was obviously drawing great amusement from Janet's inebriated state, burst out laughing at this comment. He caught Sam's eye and she couldn't help laughing along with him.

"Well," Janet was saying. Sam pulled herself together to listen. "It's good he'snothere, I'spose. Couldn't do this if he was," she said, grinning from ear to ear.

Sam looked at Janet in suspicion. "Do what?" She asked.

Janet looked at Daniel. "Hmm, not you. Sam'd kill me," she said cryptically.

Sam was starting to get worried. "Janet? What are you talking about?"

Janet looked at the Colonel, as if sizing him up. "You'll do," she said. "I don't know you, so that's good."

"Er, Janet, what are…"

Janet was wagging her finger again. "You need some action my girl," she declared. Sam looked at her in alarm, but before she could say anything Janet pulled something out of her pocket.

Mistletoe.

Above her head.

Or, to put it more accurately, above her head and the Colonel's.

"Oh God," she heard the Colonel mutter under his breath. Sam was thinking along those lines herself, close to panic. What was she going to do?

Daniel burst out laughing, shaking with mirth. Sam glared at him, and knew that the Colonel was doing the same.

Janet wasn't paying attention. "Come on now," she said, shaking the mistletoe like the Colonel had done earlier.

Someone standing on the crowded dance floor noticed what was going on and added their voice. "Go on Santa!"

"Yeah, go on!"

"Kiss him Sam!"

"Go on Santa," a voice behind them said. Sam and the Colonel looked around to see General Hammond standing a few feet away, trying hard not smile. "It's tradition after all," he added, looking right at the Colonel.

Sam glanced at her CO and saw he was now glaring at the General, shaking his head slowly. General Hammond was full out grinning at this point. Sam barely had time to wonder what it was the Colonel had said to the General earlier to make him abandon her like this before she realised that the Colonel had shifted closer to her and was getting closer still.

He was actually going to do it. Sam tried hopelessly to hide the fact that this filled her with excited anticipation instead of indignation as he got closer…

Sam hadn't realised that she had leant forward, but she must have, because she was being kissed a lot quicker than she had expected. The kiss was soft, almost like a feather on her lips, but sparks seemed to shoot up and down her body immediately and she found herself wishing that she could deepen the kiss.

The Colonel was apparently thinking along the same lines, because she felt him lean into her for a moment before abruptly pulling back and ending the kiss. Sam could hear applauding and wolf whistling from the crowd but all she could focus on was the sense of loss now the kiss had ended.

'Oh get a grip Sam!' She chided herself. 'It only lasted all of two seconds'. Sam sat up straight and looked directly at the Colonel who, she saw, was glaring at the very smug-looking General. He looked back at her and gave her a small smile, which she returned.

"What're you laughing at, Daniel?" Janet suddenly demanded. In answer, and to Sam's everlasting and monumental embarrassment, Daniel reached forward and pulled down the Colonel's beard.

The people standing nearest to them, including Janet, gasped audibly, and then the braver ones, including Janet, started to laugh. Sam rubbed the side of her face with one hand and rested her chin on afore-mentioned hand, wearily surveying the excited crowd. She could almost see the news 'Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill kissed each other' spreading like a toxic gas throughout the room, except instead of choking people it made them laugh and spread the gossip.

Oh well, Sam had more important things to think about. Like what she was going to say right now. She was snapped out of her musings by none other than the Colonel.

"So Carter, are you drunk enough to dance yet?"

Sam smiled. At least he always knew what to say.

"I need at least ten more glasses of punch," Sam said.

The Colonel grinned and poured out two glasses, handing one to her. "Merry Christmas," he said, clinking their glasses together. Sam picked up her drink.

"Merry Christmas Sir."

Na na na na na na na na new year! Na na na na na na na na new year!" Jack sung quietly to himself as he wandered down the deserted corridor of level 16. It was the first New Year's Day that he didn't have a hangover in about thirty years, and that in his opinion was something to be celebrated. Unfortunately, unlike Christmas, there weren't any decent New Year's songs, so he had to improvise.

Jack had spent the previous evening in the company of his team, in Carter's lab because she refused to leave her doohickeys. Something about analysing a reaction. Whatever. Anyway, as alcohol wasn't allowed on base, they'd all stayed sober, had a great time still, and hey presto! No hangover!

"Na na na na na na na na new year!"

So now Jack was trying to track down a stack of papers that had to be handed in later today, and that had been hidden by the Spacemonkey due to a, well… 'spose you could call it a game… that he had lost the night before. And his clues had led him here, to level 16 storage room.

He had never been in this room in six years. Oh well.

Jack located the door, and, hoping to God that his papers were here so he wouldn't have to be court-martialled for killing Daniel, pushed it open.

And shut it again. Immediately.

Because seeing Major Freddy Terence and Captain Jessica Clover making out in a storeroom was not something he'd wanted to see. Ever.

Deciding his papers could wait, Jack made a very quick exit.