Softly

It wasn't often that she got to sit in his truck like this, only the two of them, without any real destination. Even this time, Daniel and Teal'c were supposed to have come along. Teal'c had unexpectedly left to meet with Bra'tac, and Daniel pleaded a headache at the last minute. Sam and the Colonel had lingered in her lab for some time after Daniel left, he perched atop a counter dangling his feet while she leaned against the side of her desk, neither one quite sure whether to call off Team Night or not. It seemed strange for only half of SG-1 to be going--especially at this time of year. Looking at Christmas lights together had become a team tradition.

Finally, they had decided to go and spent a pleasant hour and a half driving through the streets of Colorado Springs. A light snow was falling, but it nothing was actually sticking to the ground, which made for a pretty drive without really causing a hazard. The cab of his truck was warm and full of the mingled aromas of the coffee they'd stopped for earlier, the leather seats, and the familiar, faintly spicy scent she knew only as Colonel O'Neill.

Christmas carols played softly on the radio, though she wasn't really listening; at least until the first strains of a choral rendition of Silent Night began. She turned toward the sound, a nostalgic smile forming on her lips. It was the song that her mother used to sing to her on Christmas Eve, and if she closed her eyes…

"Sarah used to sing this one to Charlie sometimes," he said suddenly, his tone quiet but husky with emotion.

Her eyes popped open at the revelation, and a small shiver passed through her. He frowned, then lifted an eyebrow.

"Cold, Carter?"

She shook her head dismissively, but he was already slipping off his leather jacket. She opened her mouth to protest, then shut it again as he leaned over to wrap the coat around her shoulders. Their eyes met briefly, and they both smiled, then he moved away again, and she shifted to slip her arms inside the sleeves. She hadn't been cold, but having his jacket around her, being wrapped in his scent, was comforting in a way that she couldn't quite explain, even to herself.

"Thank you, sir," she said softly.

He nodded and turned to look out the window again, but she could tell by the set of his shoulders that his mind was no longer on the festively decorated houses around them. Drawing in a slow breath, she reached toward him, brushing her fingers along the well-defined shape of his forearm. He glanced back at her, then looked down at their hands, which were now very close to touching. Wordlessly, he turned his wrist to lace his fingers through hers.

"Merry Christmas, Carter."

"Merry Christmas, Sir."