Author's Note: In honour of Christmas, I thought I'd write a few snapshots of how love and friendship touch the lives of those on Atlantis. A small appearance by SG-1 as well, both past and present.
Merry Christmas to all.
Spoilers: Mild spoilers for season 4
Gestures of Love and Friendship
Gestures of Missing Friends
Samantha Carter sighed, her eyes straying to the Christmas decorations Chuck was putting up all over the gateroom. She couldn't believe it was that time of year already. Command of the Atlantis base had certainly made time fly. At least, for the moment, the Wraith seemed to be busy fighting the Replicators and no disasters had befallen either Atlantis or Sheppard and his team yet.
With a small smile, Sam wondered if she'd be able to celebrate Christmas in relative peace this year. Her smile grew a little wistful as her thoughts slid to the various Christmases of her past. One of her earliest memories had been of herself as a young girl and that sense of wonderment and excitement all young children had at Christmas.
After her mother had died, her father had always tried extra hard at Christmas, almost as if he were making up for her absence; even so, her Christmases had been filled with love and family. In more recent years, that family had grown to include her team mates from SG-1 – Daniel, Teal'c, Colonel O'Neill and then Vala and Cam.
Just thinking about her missing friends made her smile grow. About now the inevitable Christmas argument would be starting between Daniel and Teal'c. Teal'c had fallen in love with the idea of Christmas the first time he'd heard it and always went overboard with the decorations. Once, the big Jaffa had even managed to get Colonel O'Neill into a Santa hat that had sequins on it.
Daniel, of course, liked instead to regale people with the history associated with the practice of Christmas, but caved in about the time Teal'c started hanging up the mistletoe. Sam had noticed, however, that his protests were getting less and less as time went on, no doubt to the fact that he was beginning to realise that SG-1 was his family too, no matter what happened.
"Colonel?" Chuck asked from the door to her office, jolting Sam out of her thoughts. "Did you want any tinsel in your office?"
Sam smiled at the gate technician, who was holding masses of silvery tinsel and little baubles while grinning from ear to ear. A slightly wonky Santa hat also sat on his head. Looking at him, Sam felt it almost impossible not to be caught up in the Christmas spirit. "Sure," she said. "It wouldn't be Christmas without tinsel. Thanks, Chuck."
"No problem, Colonel," Chuck said cheerfully, beginning the process of decorating her office.
"Where'd all this come from?" she asked.
"It came over on the Daedalus," Chuck replied. "Oh, that reminds me..."
Blinking as Chuck disappeared for a second, Sam shook her head slightly when he came in with a large brown wrapped parcel. "This came for you, with the decorations, Colonel," he said.
Her eyebrows raised slightly in surprise, Sam stood and took the parcel from Chuck, before placing it on her desk. When Chuck was strangely silent behind her, she turned to him with a raised eyebrow. "Sorry, Colonel," Chuck said under her questioning gaze, blushing slightly. "It's just... there's a few bets going on what's in there."
Chuckling a little to herself, Sam shook her head as Chuck went back to his decorating, before turning her attention to the parcel. It was wrapped in plain brown paper and simply had her name written on it in big black letters. She didn't recognise the handwriting.
Giving into her curiosity, Sam began to open the parcel, discovering a box inside that had been completely covered in Christmas wrapping paper. Suddenly having an idea on who this had come from, Sam grinned and opened the box. Sitting on top was a CD, with a little yellow sticky note attached. The note read simply: Watch this. P.S. Teal'c sent the decorations.
Beneath the CD were several small presents, each with her name on them. Enough for one from each of SG-1, plus one extra, Sam noticed. Pulling out the first, she recognised the precise handwriting of Teal'c and when she opened it, she had to laugh. Sitting in the centre of the festive paper was the sequined red Santa hat she wore to Christmas lunch every year.
Cam's present was a tin of biscuits. Thankfully they weren't macaroons this time, or baked by him. He'd become a good friend to Sam over the two years they'd worked together, but as a friend, she could safely say that Cam was not or ever going to be, very good in the kitchen. Daniel had sent her a book on astrophysics by one of her favourite authors, somehow despite the galaxies between them that it was something she'd been looking forward to reading. In typical Vala-like fashion, Vala had sent Sam a pair of sparkling hair clips and a box of Godiva chocolates.
Smiling, Sam laid out each of her gifts on her desk, wondering just how she'd manage to send each of her friends something in return before Christmas. She knew she only had a couple of days before the Daedalus returned to Earth, but after everything she'd been through in her life, Sam was pretty sure she could rustle up a few Christmas presents, even in the Pegasus galaxy. Then she turned her curiosity to the last present as Chuck finished up decorating the office.
The final present didn't have her name written on it like the others, but Sam had a sneaking suspicion she knew who it was from. Glancing up to make sure no one was watching her, Sam carefully peeled away the wrapping paper to reveal the small jewellery box inside. Biting her lip, she opened it to find a beautiful diamond pendant on a small silver chain inside, along with a small note. Thinking of you always, Jack.
Giving a very un-Colonel like giggle, Sam carefully closed the box before hiding it one of the drawers of her desk. She'd take it out later and take it back to her quarters, but for now she had an appearance to uphold. To distract herself from the gift her up-until-very-recently commanding officer had sent her, Sam slipped the CD into her laptop to see what else her friends had decided to send her.
Sam felt her lips curve into another smile when she saw Daniel's slightly blurry face on the video as he clearly adjusted a camera for a Christmas message. In the background Teal'c sat stoically on a chair while Cam leant up against what could only be Daniel's desk, drinking his ever-present cup of coffee. Vala was sitting on Teal'c lap, her eye following Daniel's movements and a frown on her face.
"Daniel, will you hurry up," she said. "Surely it doesn't take that long to set up a video camera."
Daniel paused in whatever he was doing to glare at her, but before he could reply Cam jumped in, trying to forestall the coming argument. "Is it recording yet, Jackson?" he asked.
"Uh," Daniel said, turning back to the camera. "Yeah."
He moved until he was sitting on the other chair next to Teal'c as Cam moved to take the one beside him. As all four of them stared at the camera, Sam wished for a moment she was back on Earth with them like they used to be.
"Hey, Sam," Cam grinned, before a small frown crossed his face. "Uh, I mean Colonel. We all just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas."
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed. "Merry Christmas to you, Samantha Carter."
Vala nodded enthusiastically from his lap. "Yes. Christmas is one of those celebrations of your planet that I've come to love and I hope that you enjoy your presents, Samantha, particularly..."
"Vala," Daniel said. "You can't tell Sam what her presents are."
"Why not?" Vala asked him. "I mean, by now she's probably opened them already."
Cam looked a little confused at that. "They're sitting on the table," he said.
Vala rolled her eyes. "No, by the time she actually watches this," she replied.
Cam looked at Daniel. "She does have a point, Jackson."
Daniel scowled. "That's not the point," he began.
"What's not the point?" a new voice asked from off-screen and Sam felt her eyes widen as she recognised who it belonged to.
Sure enough, a few seconds later, the familiar figure of General Jack O'Neill appeared on the screen, looking curiously at the camera, dressed in his dress blues. Sam took a moment to take a good look at the man who was so much to her; friend, fellow mischief maker, lover and soul-mate.
"Jack!" Daniel greeted happily, as Cam straightened in his chair.
"O'Neill," Teal'c intoned.
Jack just gave another pointed look at the camera. "So what are you up to, Space Monkey?" he asked.
"We're just making a Christmas message for Sam," he said. "Because she's on Atlantis for the holiday."
"Ah," Jack said, nodding.
"So what brings you back to the SGC, General?" Cam asked, seeming to forget that the video camera was still on.
Jack shrugged, a small hint of a mischievous smile at the corner of his mouth. "Heard a rumour they'd be cake," he said.
Everyone smiled, Jack being well known for his love of cake. Daniel gestured to the camera. "Is there anything you wanted to say to Sam?" he asked.
Jack looked thoughtful for a minute, before nodding. "Merry Christmas, Colonel," he said. "Now, did I mention there was cake?"
There was a small chorus of laughter before someone turned the camera off. Sam shook her head at her friends' antics, touched that they'd go through all this effort to send her something at Christmas. When the camera blinked on again, Sam turned back to the computer screen to find Jack's face looking back at her.
"I've got to make this quick, Sammie, before Daniel and the others come back. Not sure I want them to hear this too," he said. "Just wanted to say that I miss you. I'll try and wrangle a trip out to see you, but no promises."
He paused for a second to glance over his shoulder. "And, you know... I love you."
When the screen went blank for a second time, Sam ignored it as she savoured Jack's words. After everything she and Jack had been through: the fighting, the waiting, the longing... it still felt strange to hear words like that said out loud and every time sent a little thrill through her. Out of all the presents she'd received, that had to be one of the best ever.
Sam was jolted out of her thoughts as Rodney made his usual rushed appearance in her office and she carefully closed the screen of her laptop just in case. There were some things, despite all the rumours, that she intended to keep private. "Sam, I've been going over the power readings from the last month," Rodney began, not even looking up from the tablet he was holding.
John Sheppard, who'd followed Rodney into her office, smiled and gave a nod in greeting as the other scientist rambled on. "Nice decorations," he said when he caught sight of all the tinsel.
"Thanks," Sam replied. "Chuck put them up."
"Decorations?" Rodney asked as John's comment stopped him mid-rant.
John dryly pointed to all the Christmas decorations around her office and the gateroom. "The Christmas decorations, Rodney," he said.
"It's Christmas?" Rodney asked, sounding shocked.
"In about a week, yes it is," John replied.
"It can't be Christmas," Rodney said, his eyes growing wide. "Oh no! Jeannie! What am I going to tell Jeannie?"
As he rushed out of Sam's office, she shook her head and turned to John. "You are going to tell him he has two weeks until Christmas, aren't you?" she asked.
"Probably," John said with a grin.
As he turned to follow Rodney out, he paused in the doorway and turned back to face Sam. "Merry Christmas, Colonel," he said.
Sam smiled. "Merry Christmas, John."
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