A/N: I was done with this story, honest. Just polishing bits and pieces to make it smoother. Satisfied with my efforts, I went to bed last night happy. Then Sam Carter poked me in the arm and said, "Nope. Not done yet." Here's what she had to say.
The halls of the SGC were quiet, the lights set to the standard night level, about fifty-percent lower than that of day. Sam juggled the package she was holding with her keys, jacket, and laptop case as she tapped the elevator button. She'd looked for Teal'c in his quarters on her way out and hadn't found him, so now she was headed back down to the gym. She knew that he, as she did occasionally, spent time there when the SGC was quietest. It was easiest to get in an uninterrupted workout when most of the base's staff was asleep.
As the elevator doors slid open on the next level, she heard the clank and metallic thump of weights being moved coming from the gym. Listening closely, Sam identified the steady sounds of him breathing–the sound loud in the abandoned hallways– as he worked, pushing the weights up and then slowly bringing them back down. She hesitated, unwilling to break his routine, to disturb his solitude. She needn't have worried, the minute she stepped into view he eased the heavy bar over his head and into the rack.
"Teal'c? I'm sorry to interrupt, but..."
Teal'c sat up, mopping his face with a towel. He slid to one side and patted the bench beside him, inviting he to sit down. She had only been released from the infirmary this morning and he could clearly see the fatigue on her face. "Are you returning home?"
Sam shook her head. "No, too tired. I'm gonna crash in my quarters upstairs. But first...." She held out a small, brightly wrapped package. "I wanted to give you this."
Teal'c tilted his head, clearly puzzled. "I do not understand. It is not yet the anniversary of my birth."
Smiling, Sam laid the package across his large palms. "I know. Sometimes we like to give presents...just because."
"I see." Teal'c looked down for a moment, then back up at Sam. "I was not expecting this, Major Carter. I have nothing to give you in return."
Sam sighed and leaned over, bumping his huge shoulder lightly with her own. "Teal'c, I'm not...I don't want anything in return. You've already.... Just open it, okay?"
She watched as he slowly and carefully undid the tape along the edges of the paper. She shook her head and laughed a little to herself. She'd forgotten that Teal'c was one of those 'save the wrapping paper' kind of people. His patient approach drove Cassie to distraction at Christmas. As he opened the gift she reflected on the last few days. Slowly her memories of their time on the planet had come back, and with them came the realization of just what he had done for her, and for Jack. How...personal...his care had been at times, and how through it all he had been so considerate. So gentle.
Teal'c withdrew the items from the wrapping, carefully setting the paper aside. He shook out the first piece and Sam was delighted to see a small hint of a smile cross his lips. The t-shirt sported a rather serious looking Yoda staring out from the center of the shirt. Floating above his head were the words, "Judge me by my size, do you?" Next came two pairs of black boxers, one with just the words, "Do or do not, there is no try," stamped across on leg. The other pair was more comical and Sam hoped Teal'c would find it as funny as she had when she'd ordered them. A pile of cookies sat surrounded by the words, "Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies."
Sam's jaw dropped open as Teal'c's low, rumbling laughter suddenly filled the otherwise empty room. She couldn't stop the giggle that escaped as he continued to stare at the shorts, his entire body shaking with laughter. He turned to her, his eyes bright and an incredibly large smile on his face, and enveloped her in a breathtaking hug. Sam blinked back tears at his unexpected display of emotion and just hugged him back, overwhelmed by his response.
When he released her she wiped her eyes and smiled. "I...well, I really wanted to thank you, Teal'c. You really had a lot to deal with and went...way above and beyond." Sam ducked her head for a second. "I wasn't sure what to get you, but then Ja–the Colonel–suggested that this might be a good idea. You know, considering." They exchanged smiles, already the discussion Jack had been forced to have with Hammond regarding Sam's arriving back at the SGC in Jack's boxers and Teal'c's t-shirt had quickly become a favorite among some of the staff.
"It was, indeed, a good gift."
"Anyway, Teal'c...thanks." Sam patted the large man's leg and rose, gathering up her laptop and jacket. Sam paused at the doorway and turned as Teal'c called her name.
"Major Carter." He stood, carefully placing his gifts on the bench beside him, then placed his right hand to his chest and bowed low. "It was and continues to be my honor to serve." He straightened, then stepped closer, adding softly. "It is also my honor and privilege to call O'Neill friend...and brother; as much as it is to call you friend. And...as you are his and he is yours, you are twice my sister."
Sam sucked in a surprised breath Teal'c bowed again and turned away. She caught his hand before he got too far and gave it a quick squeeze before letting go, her eyes sparkling with tears.
As she walked away, Sam realized that sometimes being sick, even being ill as she and Jack had been, wasn't always a bad thing.
Especially when you had family.
Afterword: Wow, thanks for hanging in with this, folks. This grew from a one-off to an 11 chapter (albeit short chapters!) piece, so thanks very much. This is the longest fanfic I've written that wasn't based on episode spoilers. Thanks to all who have faithfully reviewed, those who have read and recommended this to others, and to those who just read and enjoyed.
Lastly, thanks to MajorSal for her original prompt. Look what happens when Sally's bored!
Jack's boxers can be found here: http:double-slashwwwdot webundiesdot comslash simpsonsdothtm. Teal'c's you'd have to make yourself. I made 'em up.