We, the Sparky Army, decree 2008 to be the Year of the Spark. We pledge to post a new sparky story or chapter of a sparky story every day from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008. Though the Powers that Be have removed Elizabeth Weir from the regular cast of Stargate Atlantis, we feel that she remains an integral part of the show, and that the relationship between her and John Sheppard is too obvious to be ignored. We hope that you, and anyone might happen to read these works, agree.

And if that isn't official enough for you, we don't know what is. Seriously, guys, we're just trying to have some fun--and show TPTB that Sparky is the way to go. So sit back and enjoy the 366 stories coming your way!

Dear Readers,

The premise of this fic was mostly inspired by the below quote from Martin Luther, and the title from O. Henry's marvelous Christmas story of the same name (although the reason I picked it is different from why he picked such a title). Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little piece and enjoy your holiday. I've really enjoyed writing/reading the YotS fics this year. Here's to a new and better year to come. God Bless!

Best Regards from a bookworm (and SAVE SGA! advocate),

Miss Pookamonga ;-P (and her temporary muse, Santa Claus)

The Gift of the Magi

"God's light shines through the darkest night for everyone, but sometimes we have to look up to see it."

Martin Luther

He stood at the window, silently, motionlessly, gazing mournfully out at the snow.

In the five years since they had been on Atlantis, it had never once snowed, not even when they had found the new home planet over a year before. But nature had surprised the entire city that morning with an unexpected sprinkling of crystal white, which had drifted down from the sky throughout the day until it had grown dark.

Atlantis' first snowfall had sparked a flurry of excitement among the city's inhabitants—so much so that Mr. Woolsey himself decided to declare the day an unofficial holiday, despite the fact that Christmas itself was approaching in only a few days. He had assured the shocked expedition members that he had done so out of the assumption that no one would be able to focus properly due to the monumental event, but they eventually figured out that he was secretly as elated as everyone else and that he too wanted to get the chance to enjoy the winter surprise.

It seemed as if every single person in the city had flown into a jubilant frenzy after Woolsey's announcement, and to make matters even more interesting, Dr. Daniel Jackson and Colonel Samantha Carter, who were there to celebrate Christmas by invitation from none other than Rodney, were more than eager to join in the festivities.

Yes, every person was celebrating.

Everyone except John Sheppard, that is.

It wasn't that he didn't like snow, nor was it that he hadn't been excited when he'd first glanced out his window to see snow falling that morning.

It was because while he had been staring in awe at the beauty of the first snowflakes he'd seen away from Earth, he had suddenly thought of how much Elizabeth would have loved to see them too.

And so, amidst all the joyful hustle and bustle around him, John Sheppard had remained quiet, distant, and painfully stoic for the whole of what could have been a glorious day.

He looked on wistfully as a group of his friends ran past on the outside balcony, giggling madly and dodging snowballs coming from a most unlikely source, Ronon. He too was laughing, and he continued to do so even when he shielded his face to block the return barrage of snowballs from Jennifer and Colonel Carter. Then, Rodney appeared out of nowhere, launching yet another snowball that accidentally flew right into the back of Sam Carter's head, causing her to wheel around and childishly tackle the suddenly terrified and screaming Rodney to the ground. Zelenka and Lorne then appeared as well, joining Ronon and Jennifer in observing the spectacle while Rodney yelped frantically for help as he struggled to stand up and escape from Sam's playful rage.

Sam suddenly caught his eye as she was in the process of pinning Rodney back down on the snow-blanketed ground. She smiled and waved at him to come join the romp outside, but he gave her a half-hearted grin and shook his head. He saw her sigh and then re-direct her attention to her wailing prisoner.

He wished he could join them. He wished he could push aside the anger and guilt within him for just one day and allow himself to be fully happy. But he knew he couldn't. The moment he would step outside, he knew that he would only begin to imagine Elizabeth standing to the side, shaking her head and chuckling at her comrades' tomfoolery, as he knew she would be doing had she been there. His imagination would occupy his mind completely, and he would never be able to look at any of the enjoyment without seeing the empty hole left by her absence.

It was as his vision of "Kolya" had said. "You torture yourself every day, John," he repeated to himself mentally. The agonizing words had haunted him since the first day he had heard them, and even more so had their piercing truth.

He gulped grudgingly and laid his forehead against the cold windowpane. His imagination continued to tease him with fantasies of pulling her close in the cold, of holding her frozen hands to keep them warm, of stealing a kiss beneath mistletoe, of opening presents and cuddling together on Christmas day. He squeezed his eyes shut, leaned back on his heels, and tried to block it all out. It was no use wishing for what you couldn't have.

But it was when he opened his eyes again that he saw it. For some unknown reason it confused him at first, the sight of the now clear night sky, glittering with stars. It was as if he had forgotten that it was even there, having taken it for granted now that he was what one might deem an "intergalactic explorer." But now, as he gazed at it, he realized that it had never lost its initial ability to spark wonder within him. He remembered himself as a child on Christmas Eve the year he had turned ten, staring longingly up at the stars, wishing to find a way to touch them, to be led to find the treasure of that one star that had graced the top of his family's old Christmas tree and that of his church's Nativity scene. That odd breathtaking feeling with no name suddenly took a hold of him as it did then, and he was caught gazing upward for what seemed like eternity, taking in the simple glory before him.

And then, without knowing what had happened, he suddenly felt as if everything was going to be okay.

That he didn't need to torture himself anymore.

He let out a deep breath that before that moment he hadn't known he had been harboring inside him. With it, he could feel his sorrows drifting away to become mere droplets of condensation upon the windowpane.

His mouth slowly curled into a grin, and he took another look at his friends roughhousing in the snow. Oddly enough, the empty hole didn't seem to be there anymore. It had been filled by the vast promise of the multitude of stars, a promise that ran deep through his own heart and the hearts of many. Now all that was left to be filled was the space that was eagerly awaiting his arrival.

He waved at Sam, who had caught his eye yet again, and motioned that he was finally coming out to join them. She nodded and smiled before lying back down in the snow. He chuckled and began to turn away to head to his quarters to fetch his coat.

And as he did, he could've sworn that he saw one of the stars wink just for him.


Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!