Stargate SG1 is somebody else's, probably MGM/Gekko Corp/Sci-Fi, and I freely admit that whoever's it is, I'm borrowing their show and they retain all rights, etc.

Author's Notes: Sam-centric, established Sam/Jack. Set post-Stargate franchise, spoilers may happen for SG1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe.

Please note this was written as a WIP writing exercise, writing and posting a chapter a day to help me with my Stargate writing mojo so it's not as polished as most of my usual fics.

Twelve Days

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

There were days, as her father had been inclined to say, when it didn't pay to get out of bed. Or beam up test pilots from a world on the edge of a beautiful nebula with unusual phenomena that a science team aboard her ship, the Hammond, was studying.

Sam Carter massaged her temple and stared at the two pilots stood in front of her. "Captain Peartree and Lieutenant Partridge?"

"Yes, ma'am." The Captain smiled at her. She was a typical flyboy in every respect except for the boy part of the term; cocky, self-assured and a touch arrogant. Her dark hair was in a style in contravention of the regs; her green eyes more than a little mischievous. But she was also more than competent to perform the official flight test of Sam's new baby; the X402. She had commendations up the wazoo and personal references from Cameron Mitchell and John Sheppard. She was the real deal.

She'd been assigned Partridge as her second chair as soon as the young blond had made the Daedalus F302 squad. Sam figured Caldwell had meant for it to be a joke; there was a very sneaky sense of humour lurking beneath the Colonel's stern exterior. However the assignment had happened, the two had become a dream team; saving the Daedalus from a Wraith attack by successfully managing to blow up a cruiser; saving Atlantis from a rogue Asgard ship intent on dive-bombing the city before it could raise shields during a crisis; and not least saving Earth from a Lucian Alliance attack some months before.

Their assignment to her on Christmas Day had Jack O'Neill's sticky fingers all over it. But then it would; he was still the Head of Homeworld Command despite several attempts at retiring.

"I was hoping we would have a chance to go over the design specifications with you before the flight, Colonel." Partridge smiled hopefully and Sam read nothing but eagerness and sincerity in his warm brown eyes. "I had some questions about the new Asgard based engines and the Ancient control mechanism for the naquadria instability…"

"You'll have to excuse Partridge, ma'am." The Captain cut in. "He's a geek."

Her tone was affectionate and fond; it reminded Sam of the way Jack had talked about her when they'd been in SG1.

"So am I, Captain." Sam replied dryly. "And I believe the geek saved your butt during the dogfight with a Jakrian glider last month when he rebooted your 302 in the fastest time ever recorded."

The Jakrian's were a new alien race – avian based – discovered by SG1 a few months before when Daniel Jackson had accidentally beamed onto their invisible flying city over P7Y309 during a transporter mishap. Unfortunately, they were very hostile, which was a real shame, Sam mused, because their flight technology was amazing. And might have somewhat prompted her tweaking of the X402 design.

"Yes, ma'am." Peartree said with a visible wince that Sam knew she intended for her to see since her green eyes were filled with good humour.

Partridge smirked at Peartree who rolled her eyes at him but stiffened immediately as she realised that Sam was watching the interaction avidly with a raised eyebrow.

Oh. Now she had an idea why Jack had sent her the pair – well, above and beyond their record for aerial awesomeness. Still, she could be wrong. She needed more data.

"Dinner," Sam ordered briskly, "we'll discuss the design specifications over Christmas dinner in the mess; twenty-hundred. Dismissed."

The pair came to attention in perfect synchronicity before leaving her on-board office, a tiny affair that Sam knew had been a storage cupboard in the original design. Before too long she made her way to the bridge and her command duty took up most of her shift, paperwork the early evening, and she was more than ready for an escape of dinner by the scheduled time.

Dinner went pretty much as Sam had predicted; dry turkey, suspect cranberry sauce and lumpy mashed potato, but the atmosphere in the mess was jovial. One of Partridge's degrees was in aerospace engineering and his comments were insightful. But Peartree was just as animated once the discussion got going, relating the tech speak back to practical flying and making useful insertions of her own. Sam was impressed with them, individually and as a team. She also knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were both head over heels for each other; the signs were too familiar.

Sam headed back to her quarters, thoughtful. She let her mind drift back as she walked, thinking back to fishing invitations and blue force-shields and za'tarc machines and…and Janet Fraiser asking her if there was a problem long before Sam had been ready to admit she'd fallen in love with her CO.

Sam immediately logged into the computer and as she had expected there was a personal email from Jack from the last transmission from Earth waiting for her. She smirked as she read through it.

"Re: Partridge & Peartree

Sam,

I know you're busy out there with your science projects and I am not officially recognising any problem but...I know if anyone can fix it, you can.

And Merry 1st Day of Christmas!

Always, Jack x"

She shook her head in fond exasperation and replied.

"Re: Partridge & Peartree,

Sir,

I believe Captain Peartree is perfect for the open test flight position reporting directly to me, and Lieutenant Partridge would be an excellent fit for my X402 design team on the Hammond, although I would advocate a field promotion to Captain – not out of line with the Lieutenant's past achievements, performance and time served. He would report to Major Hailey.

While this may in theory separate a high performing team into differing arms of the COC on The Hammond, I am certain that should the situation warrant it, in line with regulations, exceptions might be made as required at the discretion of myself as their overall CO.

If you agree please send your official approval for the transfers and field promotion in the next transmission.

Colonel Carter."

In other words, Sam thought with amusement as she sent the email, she'd keep them flying together if she could justify it from a mission perspective. Like the test flight of her X402 which would need the best pilot on the Hammond and a geek from the design team flying back-up in the second chair.

She'd talk with them in the morning, Sam decided. Maybe they wouldn't be ready to acknowledge there was a problem or maybe they would appreciate the manoeuvres that would allow them to pursue their feelings. She hoped it was the latter. They didn't dwell on it but she and Jack had wasted so much time before finally getting their acts together, although Sam sometimes wondered whether either of them would have accepted a resolution any earlier. Sometimes, Sam thought philosophically, things happened the way they happened for a reason.

Sam opened up a new email.

"Jack,

Merry Christmas.

I love you too.

Sam x"