She'd agonized over it for days. Not because she wanted to get him the Best Present Ever (although she did), but because she had to work within carefully-defined limits. She couldn't afford to make herself too obvious, but she didn't want to not acknowledge the day. She didn't want to appear too desperate and yet she didn't want to appear like she didn't care... it was all so complicated.
And then she went past a bakery in the Springs, just down the road from the Mountain, and saw them in the window. Dozens of tiny marzipan animals. And they had fish. Perfect. He loved marzipan - he had, in fact, a surprisingly sweet tooth for someone so defensive of his tough-guy image. She chose a red one, and they wrapped it for her in a little white card box, with a little red ribbon, and a heart-shaped tag.
She drew a single 'x' on the tag, not willing to leave incriminating evidence lying around, and certain he'd know who it was from. Then she dropped by his office when she knew he, Daniel and Teal'c had already headed for the commissary, and left it half-concealed behind a photo frame on his desk.
She spent the entire lunch hour trying not to grin happily. They all teased each other about their complete lack of love lives, and agreed to meet at the Colonel's house that evening for takeout and movies - "something with no romance whatsoever." Feeling absurdly light, she tripped back up to her lab, plonked herself down in front of her laptop, went to type in her password - and froze.
There, on her keyboard, was a little white card box. It had a little red ribbon and a heart-shaped tag.
A couple of highly unappealing possibilities, and one that was all-too appealing, sprang into her head. Option one, the Colonel had found her gift, realised who it was from, and was rejecting it. Option two, someone else had found it, realised who it was from, and had brought it back to her as a warning. And option three...
She turned the tag over. In tiny, carefully unidentifiable print on the underside were the words, "To My Valentine." This wasn't her card. Option three it was. Ooh.
Heart in her throat, she pushed off the ribbon, and opened the box. There, nestled inside in a little brown cake case, was a little marzipan fish.
A blue one.
There were hurried steps, and she looked up as the Colonel appeared in her doorway, looking startled, his hands carefully holding a small white box. He blinked at her. She blinked at him. She opened her mouth to say something - but all that came out was a tiny squeak. The Colonel's eyebrows shot up, but then he grinned.
"Yeah," he agreed. "That's just what I was gonna say."