Fourteen days till Christmas

Finally some free time! It was rare in these last weeks of the year. And when you finally found some, you spent it waiting forever in line at the supermarket check out.

Jack tried one of his exercises that actually had helped him to stay calm in more stressful situations. While an old lady searched for the right money at the beginning of the line and a child whined incessantly behind him, he began to seriously consider using an on-line grocery service and have it all delivered right to his house.

Trying to distract himself, he let his eyes wander. That was when he saw him. He sat on the top shelf utterly alone, and he seemed to ask, ‚Will you take me home with you?'

Jack shook his head and looked away but somehow his eyes were drawn towards him again. For five minutes the line did not advance one step. For the entire five minutes the brown eyes stared at him, silently begging, almost daring Jack to move along without him. Till Jack gave in and finally reached for him.

„Are you happy now?", he snarled quietly. He couldn't believe it, now he was even talking with this… Jack flinched when the man behind him nudged him with the cart.

„Hey, move up!"

Jack hurried to comply, completed the credit card transaction, grabbed his bags and then headed hastily for the exit. He did not hear the cashier calling after him, "I'm sure your kids will like it!"

Ten days till Christmas

Sam opened the door to her lab. She held a cup of coffee in one hand but put it down when she saw the package on the table. The new measuring instrument must have finally arrived. She had ordered it days ago and her patience had been tested as she waited for it. Now she'd be able to complete her work.

Carefully she started to remove the packing material. Suddenly two brown eyes were staring up at her. "What the…", she muttered, then she had to sit down. Curiously she eyed the thing that had come so very unexpectedly.

Who would have put it there? There wasn't a card attached to it. But even without it Sam immediately knew that there was only one person who would have given her such a thing. Well, she understood that perfume or a ring would be way too personal and would only make their relationship more complicated (apart from that, these weren't exactly the gifts she would want anyway), but had it really to be something like that?

Sam grinned. If his intent was to make her laugh then he had succeeded. But where should she now put the unexpected guest? He couldn't stay in her lab. No way. Just imagine if the general came to visit her and saw THIS. Her reputation as a serious scientist would be blown away forever. But she couldn't find it in her heart to simply throw him the garbage, especially with THOSE eyes looking at her.

No, he had to leave. Suddenly she knew the solution: Daniel. Among his dusty shelves filled with artefacts, surely one more thing would not be noticed. Who knows maybe a hundred years from now, some archaeologist would make it down to this level and then spend the rest of his life wondering about this particular object.

Sam laughed inwardly as she carefully wrapped him up again and left her lab. Daniel had been in the cafeteria when she had gotten herself the coffee so she found his office empty as she had expected.

Quickly she put the box on one of the shelves and then made a dash for the door.

Still ten days till Christmas

Daniel was coming around the corner when he saw Sam bolt out of his office. First he wanted to call after her but she left so quickly that he immediately became suspicious. Carefully he opened the door. It would not be the first time that something exploded or his desk drawers were suddenly filled with styrofoam peanuts.

Actually it was always Jack that perpetrated those practical „jokes" so Daniel wondered how he had managed to drag Sam into it. At first glance everything seemed to be in its place, though. He breathed a sigh of relief. He hated it when his things got messed up. Maybe it didn't look that way to others, but he still had some kind of order in his documents and always found what he was looking for. 'Only a genius is able to control the chaos' he thought triumphantly.

One hour later, when he already had forgotten about Sam's "visit", he suddenly found it. Daniel intended to take something out of his shelf, and there it was, though looking suspiciously ordinary.

He was sure something would jump out at him when he opened the lid. He shook his head and sighed. Why did it always have to be such silly things? Maybe he should turn the tables and think of some revenge?

With a „Let's get it over with"-expression on his face he finally opened the lid and then speechlessly stared down at the brown thing. Thoughts tumbled in his head.

‚Where-did-this-come-from-what-shall-I-do-with-him-just-you-wait-how-can-I-get-rid-of-him?'

Seven days till Christmas

Teal'c sat among hundreds of candles. He just had started his Kel'No'Reem when someone knocked at his door. He pulled himself to a standing position, walked to the door and opened it.

„Good morning, DanielJackson, how can I be of service to you?"

Daniel had seen the candles. Suddenly he wasn't at all sure that he was doing the right thing.

„I'm, ah, well, you obviously want to meditate and I don't want to disturb you. I'll come back later!"

He turned intending to leave. But Teal'c's "You do not disturb me in any way, DanielJackson" made him reconsider.

So he nodded to him in greeting and entered the room. He stood a while in the middle of the room uncertain what to do till Teal'c motioned him to sit. After a while Teal'c asked, "Is that meant for me?" and pointed at the package that Daniel still clutched tightly.

„This? Oh, this! Yes, it's for you!" As if he suddenly remembered why he was there, Daniel quickly gave it to him. "Merry Christmas, Teal'c! You want to get to know our culture. Giving presents at this time of the year is customary for us. You can unwrap it before Christmas since it might help you pass time till then. So that you are not alone."

It was a pretty mean trick but it worked. Teal'c eyed the contents of the box seemingly very interested.

„I understand. Many Thanks, DanielJackson!" And he slightly bent his head.

Daniel then showed him how to turn it on. Inwardly he felt terrible.

Three days till Christmas

Today marked the traditional Christmas party at the SGC. Well, you actually couldn't exactly call it a tradition after only three years. But everyone looked forward to it. At least to the part where they would have something to eat and drink and maybe after that even some music to dance. But the exchange of gifts caused some tension while waiting for it. Secret bets were made about who would receive the award for the craziest gift this time.

Teal'c solemnly came into the cafeteria and laid his package with the others on the big table. Later the gifts would be distributed. Teal'c had carefully written "O'Neill" onto the card. Some days ago everyone had drawn a name for the gift exchange and he had gotten Jack of all people.

It had been difficult for Teal'c to find something that he could give to Jack. He wasn't allowed to leave the mountain alone and when he made purchases Jack always had been with him. So finally he had wrapped the only thing in his room that Jack didn't know about.

Daniel, Sam and Jack were already seated at a table and Teal'c joined them. Exactly at 1800 General Hammond came into the room, did a short and humorous speech and then wished them happy holidays. Then he opened the buffet.

After some time the hubbub of voices in the room became louder and more cheerful. Soon everyone received his gift. Jack made a big show of opening his. First he shook it a little and tried to guess what it would be. The others watched him amused. Then he carefully undid the bow and set aside the ribbon. Finally the box was unwrapped.

Sam started to shift nervously in her seat. She threw an imploring glance towards Daniel, who chose to ignore her speechless plea. Jack seemed oblivious to the growing tension at the table. Dramatically he lifted the lid and then… he had to work hard to not let show his disappointment. With a forced smile he took the animal out of its box and proudly showed it to them. "See, what Santa brought me, campers. Isn't it cute?"

"Well, I'm sure you deserved it Jack," Daniel choked out, while Sam wasn't able to look her commanding officer in the face at all.She stared at the table-top ashamed. What would he think about her now?

She wasn't interested in her own gift anymore.

Christmas Eve

Jack set the big table in his living room. He guessed how the animal had finally come back to him and he couldn't help to find it really funny. Sam and Daniel who suddenly were very tight-lipped at breakfast seemed to confirm his theory. Only Teal'c remained as always.

Jack grinned and decided that they all would have fun with the cuddley fellow this evening after all. He placed him visibly at the entrance to the living room and turned on the motion detector. When Sam, Daniel and Teal'c finally arrived he explained that every time when the infernal machine got started everyone had to drink a cup of eggnog.

And the music was almost nonstop as someone was either going in or out of the kitchen for something, or down the hall to the facility to drain all the eggnog.

Since Jack had also spiked the eggnog a little the mood got very cheerful very fast. By the time Janet and Cassie arrived, the noise could be heard outside the door.

Jack flung open the door after hearing the doorbell, loudly invited them in, and admonished them to keep the cold outside, please. Janet was speechless at the scene while Cassie immediately rushed up to the center of attention, who started on another round of "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer." Sam quickly passed Janet a cup of eggnog and they clinked cups.

To prevent the whole evening from becoming a perpetual concert, they tried to give the guy with the brown eyes (no, not that one, the other one) a wide berth. But every now and then someone would forget. Finally, Sam put her hands over her ears and yelled ,"Mercy, please!"

Jack grinned his Jack-grin and turned off the toy. Suddenly it was very quiet, until Cassie asked, "Uncle Jack, may I take Rudolph home with me?"

Jack suddenly found the perfect solution to his problem and so he answered maybe with a bit too much enthusiasm, „Sure, Cassie, if you like him that much?" Deliberately he ignored the threatening glares Janet threw his way from behind her daughter. Janet did not know whether to laugh or cry. Oh, he'd suffer for this the next time in the infirmary. Not only had he presented Cassie with a dog without asking her permission, now this… this… she was completely at a loss for words.

Still it was a nice evening. It was late when Janet and Cassie finally left and SG1 was finally alone. When the silence became uncomfortable Jack said, „I believe it's better we don't exchange any presents next year, whaddayathink?" Laughter from all told him that everything was all right between his friends and him again.

And Cassie happily took Rudolph home, who in addition to having a fuzzy brown coat, soulful eyes, a shiny red nose, and flashing lights in his antlers, never tired of blaring out the song that was named after him.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history!
The End