A/N: Second Stanford-era fic, woo! I like these, even if they make me a bit sad in some ways.
"Ok, seriously?" Jess asked him, and Sam shrugged awkwardly, plucking a shiny Christmas ball out of the ornament box, hooking a little green wire through the loop to hang it on the tree.
"Yeah, I mean, not really a big deal," he answered casually, and Jess looked at him like he had three heads, "What?"
"Stockings are the best part!" she said, flabbergasted, "Novelty candy, stickers, gag gifts! I think I looked forward to them even more than the regular presents. Why didn't you guys ever do it?"
"We moved around a lot, didn't really have any place for them, I guess. We barely did presets, half the time," Sam shrugged again, and Jess made a sympathetic sound.
"Aw, Sam," she said quietly, standing up from amongst the box of Christmas decorations she had half-unpacked, crossing to Sam and sliding up behind him, wrapping her arms around his chest warmly.
Sam cleared his throat uncomfortably, changing the subject.
"It was really nice of your mom to send over her extra decorations and ornaments," he commented, leaning over to pluck another ornament from the box and hang it on the tree.
Jess let it slide, plucking out an ornament for herself and hanging it on a branch, "Oh gosh, my mother has more ornaments than she knows what to do with and more decorations than house to put them in. She packed that box when I got my acceptance letter, waiting for me to find a place big enough to use them."
Sam chuckled, giving a look around to what they had put up so far, the strings of tinsel and Santa knick-knacks. They certainly had enough to fill every corner.
Jess stood on her tip-toes to press a kiss to the corner of Sam's mouth sweetly, and Sam turned, leaning down to press a full kiss to her lips. She smiled and winked at him before returning to the box of decorations.
He watched, a little enviously, as Jess picked up her Christmas stocking, the spark for their conversation. It was clearly hand-sewn, with Jess's name in bold letters across the top and pretty embroidered snowflakes along the length of it. She hung it up on a thumb-tack above the sofa, smoothing out the wrinkles with her hand lovingly.
Another wistful glance, and he put it out of his mind. Wasn't much point lamenting things he never had.
Until a week later, when he came home from class to their apartment to find a second stocking hanging beside hers.
He paused in his tracks on the way to the kitchen, frowning before looking up at it.
SAM was sewn across the top, the same way Jess's was, but instead of snowflakes, his had simple, leaping reindeer embroidered along it. Out of the top was stuck a white folded paper, which Sam plucked out and opened.
My embroidery skills are a bit rusty, but I think you can still tell they're reindeer. Everyone needs a Christmas stocking, my love, oddballs like you included. :) I'll be home for dinner, you better have something ready, master chief! Love you.
Sam looked at the note for a moment more, before swallowing thickly and refolding it, stuffing it down into the stocking again. He gently reached out and traced one of the reindeer with his finger, then his name, the edges of them crisp and neat and perfect.
Then Sam turned around and went back out the door, a mental list already ordering in his mind of what he would need from the grocery store. He was making that girl the best chicken parm she had ever had in her life.