December 4th, 2000
Colonel Jack O'Neill sat back in his chair with a sigh and rubbed at his eyes. He felt bone weary and had firmly convinced himself not to look in the mirror; the sight that greeted him would not be pretty.
With profound relief, he slammed shut the cover of his report - done! The most boring mission in the history of SG-1 had led to the dullest mission report to write - ever - and now he wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep for twenty-four hours straight. Grabbing the leather jacket hanging on the back of his chair, Jack prepared himself to head out. He opened the door to his office and stepped out into the corridor. He had gone about three steps when he saw two of his team wandering down the corridor in the opposite direction. Automatically, he gave an informal little wave, saying, "Carter, Teal'c, see you in a couple of days."
They waved in reply, not stopping their conversation and continued down the corridor. Jack took another two steps before he stopped dead in his tracks and whirled round in astonishment. Nope. It wasn't tired eyes playing tricks on him - Teal'c was wearing a Santa Claus hat and a T-shirt emblazoned with 'Xmas rocks my universe' on it. Jack shook his head in disbelief and muttered under his breath with a martyred tone, saying, "I'm not even gonna ask."
Two hours later, sprawled out on his couch and watching re-runs of M*A*S*H, Jack O'Neill was finally beginning to relax. He was smiling as he thought about two entirely unrelated topics. Janet Frasier's reaction when she had found out his favourite TV programme was M*A*S*H. "Colonel, how can you sit there and tell me that a man that has spent as much time in military hospitals as you have voluntarily watchs that show?!"
His other topic of thought was Teal'c. The Jaffa's earlier appearance had brought back to mind the conversation that he, Daniel and Carter had had with Teal'c almost four years previously as they tried to explain Christmas. Daniel had started waxing lyrical about everything from the Winter Solstice to Christianity to Wicca; Carter complained about over-commercialisation of the holiday, and the more they talked, the more confused Teal'c had become. Finally, he had growled and called a halt to the lecture, saying, "Teal'c, it's a festive celebration. Some people observe the holiday, some don't. It is an excuse for parties, presents and a chance to kick back. Carter's right, it is too commercial. Daniel's right too, all those different faiths have their own spin on the winter holiday. Basically, at this time of year we all try a little bit harder to adhere to the whole 'Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All' thing. That's all." Teal'c had been happy to leave it at that.
Jack finished his mug of cocoa - his secret vice - and headed off for some much needed sleep. Two days off to relax and do nothing...
December 14th, 2000
"Daniel! Daniel, I'm here! What's wrong?! Damn it, Daniel, open this door!"
Moving as fast as he could under the circumstances, Daniel Jackson limped over to the door of his apartment to let in his best friend and team leader - before he kicked the door in. Summoning a reassuring smile, Daniel said, "Hi, Jack. Thanks for stopping by. I take it you got the message."
Jack O'Neill stood and stared at the sheepish grin on Daniel's face and slowly counted to ten - twice. In a ominously calm tone that normally induced terror in everyone - except for oblivious multiple PhDs - Jack said, "All you have to say is thanks for stopping by?!"
Finally Jackson showed a minute amount of self-preservation as he shifted nervously in place and began a fascinated examination of his living room carpet, saying, "I..."
"You left a message on my machine - a muffled message that said, 'Jack, I need your help'. There was a loud crash and then the message cut off. I've broken about three-dozen traffic laws getting here and what do you do? You calmly answer the door and say, 'Thanks for stopping by!' Explain to me why I shouldn't just save myself future exasperation and shoot you myself?"
A cast-encased wrist waved towards the kitchen and his injured 'Space Monkey' limped towards a disaster area of almost biblical proportions, wearing his most effective puppy-dog expression, saying, "Cause I need your help or I'm never going to finish these in time. Not with this." Daniel held up his injured appendage for inspection.
Jack sighed and resigned himself to the inevitable. The Egyptologist had been injured pushing him out of the line of fire; the limp might be gone by Christmas, the cast wouldn't be. He owed his brave, foolhardy friend whatever help he wanted. Never mind the fact that Daniel's message had scared another thirty grey hairs into existence...
"What are we doing?" asked Jack.
Grinning in delight, Daniel said, "We're making chocolate-chip cookies and gingerbread men for the catering staff at the SGC. They deserve a treat."
Jack looked at Daniel with an unbelieving expression on his face, saying, "You're kidding! You're not kidding?"
Daniel Jackson just grinned.
Mumbling under his breath, Jack O'Neill walked over to a hook on the nearby wall and snagged the apron hanging on it. It was a 'regular' apron; Danny-boy was already wearing a festive one with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer decorating its front. Almost absently, Jack reached out and took Daniel's glasses, dusted off the excess flour off the lenses, and then returned them.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, USAF, stood at parade rest and scanned the mess in front of him. "Okay, Dr. Jackson. Clean up detail first. We're not making anything until I'm reasonably sure we can see the counters."
The rest of the afternoon passed in quiet companionship and occasional hilarity as the two men got creative in the kitchen. The gingerbread men became gingerbread Stargates and Jack O'Neill solemnly passed on his grandma's secret ingredient that made chocolate-chip cookies taste even better.
By the time they were done, they had several festive tins full of goodies for the unsung heroes of the SGC - the catering staff. Who else could cope with SG teams appearing at 4.30 a.m. demanding dinner of steak and fries or breakfast at 11.00 p.m. at night? Not to mention munchies for the scientific staff that wouldn't recognise a designated mealtime if it came up and bit them on the ass?
Jack was uncharacteristically silent by the time they were done and Daniel eyed him with concern. An idea suddenly dawned on him, and he said in a soft voice, "How long is it since you've made Christmas cookies, Jack?"
The pain-filled voice of his best friend said, "Not since Charlie..."
Instinctively, Daniel's uninjured hand reached out to grasp Jack's wrist. Softly, he said, "Jack, I'm sorry. I didn't think. I didn't mean to call up sad memories."
Jack's calloused hand covered the one Daniel had placed on his wrist. With a gentle smile, he said, "You haven't. You've reminded me of some good ones that I shouldn't have forgotten. Charlie loved to help his mom and me make cookies. He was an expert by the time he was five at stealing cookie dough. Christmas in the kitchen was always full of laughter.
"Today has reminded me of that. Thank you."
Later that day, much to the surprise of those personnel sitting and eating in the mess hall, Colonel Jack O'Neill carried in several tins of stuff and solemnly deposited them on an empty table. Dr. Daniel Jackson, appearing at his side, calmly started sticking bows on the tins with his good arm. When they were done, they turned to each other, gave a little bow, executed an about face and left again.
Feet and chairs made scrambled sounds against the floor as people rushed to see what the 'dynamic duo' of the SGC were up to now.
Each tin - besides the newly added bows - had a sticker on them that read: 'To the SGC catering staff, from the SG elves. Thank you for all your hard work.'
Knowing the sense of humour of the people involved, one tin was cautiously cracked open. Grins of delight and chuckles greeted the sight of the first gingerbread Stargate. One hand snaked out for a cookie, there was the sound of ecstatic munching and a female voice was heard to say, "Oh my God, those cookies are to die for!"
December 21st, 2000
General George Hammond stood and applauded with his granddaughter Kayla's cheering section at the end of her school's Winter Pageant.
A loud whistle from his side had him turning round to glance in exasperation at Colonel Jack O'Neill. The man made an innocent face - he had obviously been taking lessons from his partner in crime, namely one Dr. Daniel Jackson - because instead of scolding him, George Hammond found himself chuckling at O'Neill's enthusiasm.
A perfect evening... no disasters, and his 'unofficially adopted family' had had a great time coming out to see his granddaughter in the charity pageant. They'd eagerly bought the tickets when he had approached them. This was a good day.
December 25th, 2000
As neither of them had any family to speak of any more, Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson had volunteered to look after the skeleton crew on duty at the SGC, thereby allowing Carter to go visit her nephews, Hammond to spend time with his family, Dr. Frasier to stay with Cassandra and Teal'c a chance to go visit his family in the Land of Light.
The familiar sight of the defensive weapons in the Gate room and the soldiers on duty had been somewhat offset as a straight-faced pair of O'Neill and Jackson had wandered the corridors of the SGC liberally decorating anyone they saw with tinsel and streamers. Christmas songs played quietly and the skeleton crew that had been resigned to a fairly dull Christmas found themselves chuckling quietly as two very special men made sure that they were not overlooked in the festive fun department.
The pair pulled a sixteen-hour shift that day, and never flagged once. When they were relieved by the next shift, they had one more thing to say. Jack O'Neill smiled the smile that usually made the unattached women on the base go weak at the knees, saying, "Merry Christmas, everyone."
He looked at his best friend and Daniel Jackson gave the shy grin that usually made every woman on the base want to be the one to look after him. In a delightfully sweet voice, he quoted the famous Dickens tale and said, "And God bless us. Every one."
Laughing, O'Neill and Jackson sauntered down the corridors of the SGC, heading for Jack's house and a Christmas celebration of their own.