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Christmas Eve soon arrived.  SG-1 was joined this year by Janet and Cassie.  The six of them spent the evening eating, chatting, singing carols, and handing out gifts.  As in years past, it was decided that one gift to each person would be opened that night.  Jack opened the gift he got from Teal'c, which was a beautifully carved plaque showing a man fishing on a lake.  Janet's gift to Sam was an old and very rare book on astronomy written back in 1902.  Sam was fascinated by it and had to be dragged away from its pages.  Jack's gift to Cassie was a pretty little leather handbag that he'd once seen her admiring.  The gift from Cassie to her mother was a lovely dress that she knew Janet had been drooling over for weeks but had chosen not to purchase because of the cost.  To Teal'c, Daniel had given a book on the history and codes of honor that warriors of Earth throughout history followed.

The last present to be opened that evening was the one that Sam got for Daniel.  As he opened the box and pulled back the wrapping, a little gasp escaped his throat.

"What is it?" Cassie asked with eager curiosity.

Very carefully, Daniel lifted the object from the box.  It was an exquisite vase, obviously Egyptian, depicting what Daniel realized was the rebellion against the Goa'uld on Earth.  "Where did you get this?" he asked Sam in a hushed voice, knowing that it was not an imitation.

"SG-13 found it on the mission to P7M-662 a couple of weeks ago," she replied.

"So, why wasn't it given to the Archeology Department?"

"Because I saw it first.  Well, sort of.  Doctor Balinsky was the one who found it and the other artifacts that were brought back.  I happened to be passing by the Archeology Department, and the second I saw that vase, I knew that you'd love it.  You guys were gone on a mission, so I asked General Hammond if there was any way that the vase could be left off the list of artifacts found and be given to you as a gift.  The general didn't see any harm in it since it was just a vase.  All the guys in the Archeology Department liked the idea of you having it, so they agreed to keep their mouths shut.  The general said that, since anyone who didn't know about the rebellion wouldn't realize what the images were depicting, it would be okay for you to have it at home, though he'd prefer it remain at the SGC.  He did suggest, that, if you choose to keep it here at home, you put it in your bedroom so that fewer people will see it."

Daniel caressed the vase with gentle fingers, his eyes taking in the magnificently detailed artwork.  It was the most beautiful Egyptian vase he'd ever seen, utterly unique and absolutely priceless.

Drawing in a deep breath, he very carefully placed it back in the box, then set the box on the coffee table.  He turned to the woman who had given it to him.

"Thank you, Sam.  It's the most beautiful gift I've ever gotten."  He then pulled her into a tight hug, which she returned with equal emotion.

"Well you're definitely gonna have to get that alarm system now," Jack stated.  "You've gotta protect that vase, that is if you decide to keep it here."  He'd been bugging Daniel to get the alarm system for weeks.

Daniel smiled and laughed a little.  "Yes, I guess I do."

Cassie jumped up and grabbed her camera.  "Come on, everyone.  Picture time!"

There were several groans and sighs, but everybody obediently got to their feet.  The teenager guided them over to the staircase and arranged them with Jack, Janet and Teal'c on one step and Daniel and Sam on the next step down.  She then set the timer on the camera and quickly jumped into position on the other side of Sam.

"Everybody smile!" she said.  A moment later, the flash went off.

As everyone began moving off the stairs, Cassie stopped them.  "Ah, ah, ah!" she said, wagging her finger.  Then she pointed that finger upwards.  The gaze of the five other people lifted to see sprigs of mistletoe above their heads.

"Kissie, kissie," Cassie said, grinning from ear to ear.

"Cassandra Fraiser," Janet said scoldingly.  "Just what do you have in your mind?"

"Why nothing, Mom.  I just wanted to see all of you suck face.  Now, come on.  Jack, Teal'c, give each other a big smooch."

The two men looked at each other with a sour expression.

"I would rather be tortured with a pain stick," the Jaffa stated.

"While stark naked," Jack added.

"Aw.  Too bad," Cassie said with an exaggerated pout.  "Well, okay, no same sex kisses.  All the boys just kiss all the girls."

Daniel was staring at the teenager with narrowed eyes, his expression telling her he knew exactly what she had in her mind.

"Well then, you have to come over here, too, young lady," Cassie's mother said.

"That's right.  You were also under the mistletoe for a while," Sam agreed.

The teen looked at the three handsome men and sighed dramatically.  "Well, if I must."

She bounced over to them and was given the first three kisses, all on the cheek, of course.  Awkward kisses on the cheek were then shared between Teal'c and the two other women.  Daniel gave Janet a tender kiss on the cheek and a brief hug, while Jack, with a great deal of discomfort, kissed Sam's cheek.

"Two more to go," Cassie said, smiling mischievously.

Daniel met Sam's eyes and stepped forward.  He really did intend to kiss her on the cheek, but, at the last second, something inside him took over, and he laid his lips upon hers in a gentle caress.  The kiss lasted only a couple of seconds, but it left both Daniel and Sam wishing that they could keep right on kissing.  They drew away from each other self-consciously, a bit of a blush on their faces.

"Ooh.  On the lips," Cassie said.  "Okay, that means that Jack and Mom have to do it on the lips, too."

"According to whose rules?" Janet asked with a narrowed gaze.

"Mine.  Come on, you guys.  It won't kill you."

Jack and Janet stared at each other, really wishing they could be somewhere else right now.  They were both suddenly feeling extremely nervous.  Figuring that it would be best just to get it over and done with, they stepped up to each other.  Janet lifted her face as Jack lowered his head.

As their lips met, they felt that same electric spark they'd experienced all those weeks ago, only, this time, it was a whole lot stronger.  Stunned, they drew back from each other, eyes searching for an intense moment.  Remembering that they had an audience, they quickly put some distance between them and looked at the others.  Teal'c's eyebrow was cocked, Daniel looked pleased, and Sam looked surprised, but not in a bad way.  As for Cassie, she looked like she was just about ready to do a happy dance.  There was also a slight hint of smugness in her expression.

The party came to an end shortly after that.  Though Jack, Sam and Teal'c were going to be spending the night at Daniel's for Christmas breakfast and the unwrapping of the rest of the presents, Janet and Cassie needed to go home.  Each of them gave the archeologist a hug before they left.

"We really had a good time," Janet told him.  She gazed at him closely, her voice dropping.  "Those three people over there missed you an awful lot, Daniel.  I have never seen three sadder faces at Christmas time than what I saw on them a year ago."

Daniel glanced over at his teammates, who were in a conversation at the moment.  "I'm really sorry I put them through that pain, but. . . ."

"But it feels good to know they care about you that much."

Daniel smiled slightly.  "Yeah."

Janet gave him a pat on the arm.  "Just don't forget it, and don't forget that we all care about you a great deal."

"I won't, Janet.  I promise."

Janet and Cassie's drive home was made mostly in silence.  It wasn't until they were in the house that the teenager got hit with the question she had known was coming.

"Okay, Cassandra.  Would you like to tell me what that was all about?" Janet asked, her tone making it very clear that she wanted an answer.

"What what was all about?" Cassie responded, trying to act innocent.

"Don't play innocent with me, young lady.  You know what I'm talking about."

The girl sighed.  "I know that Daniel loves Sam."

That made Janet's eyebrows rise.  "You do?  How did you find out?"

"I kind of figured it out by seeing the way he kept looking at her.  So I asked him, and he admitted it.  He also told me that Sam doesn't feel the same way."

"So, you thought that if you got them under the mistletoe and they kissed that Sam would change her mind about Daniel?"

"Well, no, not exactly.  I'm not that naive.  I just wanted to give her a little push in that direction.  I figured that, if they kissed, she might feel something and, well, you know."

"Ah.  Well, for your information, they've already kissed."

"They have?"

"Yes.  In fact, that's what ended up making Daniel admit to Sam that he was in love with her."

"So, they've already kissed, and Sam still doesn't want him?  She's got to be nuts."

The remark almost made Janet laugh.  Of course, she was not going to tell her daughter that Sam did want Daniel physically, that it was only confusion about her deeper feelings that was causing a problem.

"Okay, tell me the rest of it," she demanded instead.

Cassie began to squirm.  "The . . . rest of it?"

"Yes, about me and Colonel O'Neill."

"Um, I just. . . ."  The teen's voice trailed off.  Then, all of a sudden, she found her courage.  "I just think it would be cool if you guys got together."

Janet's shocked gaze met hers.  "You do?"

"You're both single, Jack's a neat guy, and-and I always thought it would be really great to have him as my dad."

Janet's gaze softened and she came up to her daughter.  "Oh, Cassie.  I had no idea you felt that way, sweetheart.  Is that why you asked every now and then if the colonel had a girlfriend?"

"Uh huh."

Janet brushed a lock of hair back from Cassie's face.  "Honey, a relationship between Colonel O'Neill and I would cause a lot of problems," she told her daughter gently.

"Why?  Is there some dumb rule against it?"

"Well, no, not technically.  Because of my position as the C.M.O., the rules about fraternization with someone on base are different, that is unless it was with someone under my command in the medical staff."

"Well, then what's the problem?"

"It would just be a very bad idea, Cass."

"Is that what you think about Daniel and Sam?"

"Um, no, not at all.  I would be very happy to see them get together."

"So, what's the difference?"

"The difference is that's Daniel and Sam, not me and the colonel."  Janet's voice firmed.  "Now, I don't want you mentioning this any more, Cassie.  Understand?"

"But, Mom!"

The doctor lifted a finger.  "Not one word."

Cassie sighed explosively.  "Oh, all right."

"It's getting late.  I think we should head off to bed."  Janet gave her daughter a hug and a kiss good night, then went to her room.  As she turned off the light a little while later, Janet found her thoughts drifting back to that kiss she'd shared with Jack and the feelings it sparked inside her, feelings that she really didn't want to have but that made her wonder what it would be like to experience them again.

Christmas morning dawned crystal clear, the sunlight sparkling off the snow that had fallen the previous night.

Like last night's dinner, Christmas breakfast was a team effort, Sam cooking the eggs as Jack fried the bacon, Daniel made the toast and served the juice, and Teal'c set the table.

Once the meal had been eaten and the dishes rinsed, they all went into the living room for the unwrapping of the remaining gifts.  Though all of the gifts were good ones, it seemed that those given to Daniel were extra special, and he knew that it was because of the lack of his presence last Christmas.

As with Sam's gift to Daniel last night, his gift to her was the last one to be opened.  He handed it to her, looking more than a little nervous.  A gasp not unlike the one he uttered the previous night followed the opening of the box.

"Oh . . . my," Sam breathed.  The golden Egyptian amulet was delicately inlayed with amethyst, lapis lazuli, emeralds, garnets, and tiny beads of silver.  The figure of a leaping cat was on either side.  "Daniel, this is beautiful.  Where did you get it?"

There was a pause before the archeologist softly replied.  "I had it made for you."

"What?" she said, shocked.

"I still have some connections in Egypt, a few friends in the community.  One of them is a jeweler who specializes in custom orders.  I just thought that you might like to have something Egyptian since most of the artifacts of mine that you kept for yourself were from Egypt.  I had noticed that two of them had cats on them, and I remembered Schrodinger, so I decided on a cat motif."

Sam gazed at the beautiful piece of jewelry, thinking of the time, money and effort Daniel must have put into having it crafted for her.  "Daniel, I don't know what to say."

"You don't have to say a word, Sam, except maybe 'thank you'."

Sam suddenly threw her arms around Daniel's neck.  "Thank you," she whispered in his ear, holding him tightly.  "This is one of the most wonderful gifts I've ever been given," she added as they drew apart.

Daniel smiled at her.  "I just wanted to say thank you, Sam, for being here for me, for being a good friend."  He looked at the other members of his team.  "That goes for all of you.  These months since all this began haven't been easy for me, and, well . . . thanks for standing by me."

"Where else would we be, Daniel?" Jack asked.

"Indeed, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c added.  "We are your friends, and friends stand at each other's side regardless of what transpires."

Daniel smiled and nodded, grateful that he had friends like them.

Normally, if it was possible, Sam would have gone to spend some time with her brother and his family for Christmas, but she had decided not to this year, partly because she hadn't wanted to make up a story about her broken arm and partly because she wanted to spend all of this Christmas in Daniel's company.  She missed him desperately last Christmas, so much so that she hadn't wanted to go to the party at the SGC.  She finally decided to go because she'd been hoping that it would cheer her up, which it didn't.  When General Hammond stepped up and gave a toast to all the men and women who were no longer with them, it was necessary for Sam to excuse herself and seek privacy in the bathroom, where she sat and cried for the next ten minutes until Janet came in and they shared a few tears together.

As for the team dinner, there hadn't been one.  Jack hadn't even suggested it.  Each of them ended up spending that night alone, and, in Sam's case, doing nothing but think about Daniel.  She didn't know about Jack and Teal'c, though she suspected that the archeologist had been on their minds, too.  Judging by Jack's manner the day after Christmas, Sam suspected that he spent most of the holiday inside a bottle of beer.  This Christmas was so very different, and Sam had never felt happier.

The four teammates decided to spend the rest of the day together, watching old Christmas movies on TV, chatting and eating leftovers.  As Jack, Sam and Teal'c left that evening, there were smiles on their faces, all of them happy that they had been able to spend this Christmas with their friend.

"Well, everything is looking good, coming right along," Janet announced to Sam the following day after looking at the x-rays of her patient's arm.

"Then you can take the cast off?" Sam asked, not hiding the eager hopefulness in her voice.

"Actually, I'd like to give it a few more days, let that bone strengthen a little more."

"But it's been six weeks!" Sam whined.

Janet looked at her.  "Yes, it has, but, as you already know, breaks can take as long as eight weeks to heal, even longer in some cases."

"Janet, please!  I can't stand this thing any longer.  It makes it so awkward to do anything."

The doctor stared at the major.  "Sam, you've had broken bones before."

"Yes, but never my arm and not since I joined the SGC.  I've been lucky not to break any bones on our missions."

Janet's gaze intensified.  "Is this only to do with work or is there something more to your impatience?"

Sam started fidgeting with her cast, not saying anything.

"Sam?" Janet pressed.

"Oh, all right!" Sam said in a forceful, yet quietly pitched voice.  She looked around to see if anyone was within earshot.  Seeing no one, she stated, "I'm just getting a little . . . antsy about, um, asking Daniel out."  Clearly embarrassed about the admission, she didn't meet the other woman's eyes.

A slow smile spread over Janet's features.  "Ah, I see."

"Oh, God.  You're going to embarrass me now, aren't you," Sam groaned, wishing she hadn't confessed to the doctor.

"Well, I don't know, Sam.  After all, it was your idea to wait until after your arm was healed.  I told you weeks ago that you shouldn't wait."

"Yes, I am well aware of that, Janet," Sam told her, not happy about being reminded.

"So, you have no one but yourself to blame for this."

Sam just made a slight growling noise in the back of her throat.  Then she said, "Okay, so it was my idea, and I'm paying for it now, but I'm still glad that I didn't ask him out before.  I don't even want to think about the kind of nightmare doing my hair up while wearing this would have been.  And what would I have worn?  With the exception of my sleeveless dresses, nothing I have that's nice enough would have fit on over this cast, and, in case you didn't notice, it's cold out there.  And then there's the fact that—" She stopped abruptly.

"The fact that what?" Janet questioned curiously.

Sam shook her head.  "Nope, not gonna tell you."

"Oh, come on Sam.  You can't tease me like that."

Sam just crossed her arms as best as she could, looking stubborn.

"You know, I could make you tell me," Janet told her.


"Well, it's entirely up to me to decide how long that cast stays on.  I could decide to leave it there the full eight weeks, regardless of whether or not it needs to be."

Sam glared at her.  "You wouldn't."

"I might."

"That would be unethical, some kind of violation of your oaths as a doctor."

"I don't recall the oaths I took saying anything about leaving a cast on longer than it really needed to be."

Sam's glare hardened even more.  "You know, this is a side of you I've never seen before, Janet.  I'd never have equated you with cruel and unusual punishment."

The two women stared at each other.  Surprisingly, it was Janet who gave in first.

"Oh, all right, so I wouldn't do that to you," she admitted.  "Will you tell me if I ask nicely?"

Sam thought about it for a while.  "Okay, but don't you dare make any kind of remarks or give me any of your amused looks!"

Janet lifted her hands.  "Hey, I'll be nice.  I promise."

Sam glanced about again, lowering her voice even more.  "I also didn't want to ask him out while wearing the cast because of what might happen, uh, afterwards, when . . ." Sam began to blush, "when he took me home."

Janet just barely managed not to grin.  "Ah, I understand," she said in the most bland tone of voice she could manage.  She was fighting with all her might not to show her amusement.  Unfortunately, Sam saw it in her eyes.

"You see?!  I knew that's how you'd react!" she exclaimed, causing a couple of nurses to look over at her.  Seeing them, Janet touched Sam's arm.

"Let's go to my office."

The two women went to the privacy of the room and sat down.  On the way, Janet had decided that maybe she should treat this seriously.

"Sam, I want you to be honest with me.  Do you want that?"

"Want what?"

"What you just hinted at."

"You mean make wild, passionate love with Daniel on the first date?"

Janet nodded.

"I don't know.  Part of me does, a really big part, actually.  I can't get out of my head how great it was between us on M4A-826.  Daniel is . . . well, let's just say that he learned a thing or two while he was married to Sha're.  It's hard for me not to think about what I have yet to experience with him.  And, um, it's . . ." she blushed again, "it's been a long time for me since, well, you know."

Janet nodded.  "Yes, it has.  But is this just a libido thing?"

"Are you asking if it's just because I'm a little starved for intimacy with a man that I'm so eager to go out with Daniel?"

The doctor nodded again.

Sam thought about it for a while.  "No," she said with conviction

"No?  You sound so certain."

"Don't forget about Pete, Janet.  He's a typical guy.  Do you honestly believe that he dated me for all those weeks and never hinted that he wanted more than just kissing and touching?"

"Ah.  You're right.  I didn't think about that."

"He wanted to go further.  On our last date, he made it pretty clear that he wanted to go all the way."

"But you said no."

Sam gave a nod.


"Because it didn't feel right.  I wasn't ready.  I was having doubts about the whole thing, and I didn't want to take that step until I was certain I wanted to continue the relationship."

"Which was a very smart decision," Janet told her approvingly.

"The thing is, though, that, if I was to go on a date with Daniel tonight and he acted the same way . . . I really don't think I'd say no.  In fact, I'm almost certain that I wouldn't."

"Because you want it more?"

"Yes, I guess I do."

"And have you thought about what that means?" Janet asked gently.

Sam bit her lip.  "That I'm hot for Daniel's body?"

Janet laughed, then quickly put a lid on it.  "Well, there is that, but I'm talking about the deeper emotions.  You said that you didn't sleep with Pete because it didn't feel right.  So, sleeping with Daniel would feel right to you?"

A slightly startled expression crossed Sam's face.  "To be honest, I really didn't think about it like that."

"Well, maybe you should, Sam."

The astrophysicist was silent for a while.  "Obviously, the idea of us being intimate doesn't make me uncomfortable.  There aren't any feelings of guilt or shame about it anymore.  I'm pretty sure that, if we did sleep together, I wouldn't regret it in the morning."

"And?" Janet prompted.

"And . . . well, I . . . kind of like the idea of waking up with him, sharing that intimacy with him."

Janet almost had to bite out her tongue not to ask Sam if she was in love with Daniel.  She didn't want to scare the woman.  It was clear that Sam was still struggling with her feelings about the archeologist, still uncertain how deep they were.

"Okay," she said.  "Then, speaking woman to woman, just between the two of us," there was a long pause, "I say jump that man's bones the first opportunity you get."

"Janet!" Sam exclaimed in utter shock, staring at the doctor as if she had suddenly sprouted a third eye.  "I can't believe you said that!"

Janet shrugged.  "Just stating what I think."

"Jump his bones?" Sam quoted, now feeling more than a hint of amusement.

Janet had the good grace to look embarrassed.  "A remnant from my misspent youth."

Sam's amusement faded.  "So, no talk about taking things slow, easing into our relationship?"

"Sam, how long have you known Daniel?"

"Going on seven years."

"And how long has it been since you first started experiencing emotions toward him that had nothing to do with friendship?  Since your vacation, right?"

"Uh . . . actually, it's been longer," Sam admitted.

That took Janet by surprise.  "Longer? How much longer?"

"Um, there was an . . . earlier incident.  It was right after Daniel had the dream about me getting killed by that Al'Kesh.  It really shook him, and he came to my office.  We talked and hugged and, well, he sort of kissed me."

"Sort of kissed you?"

"Okay, so he did kiss me.  It was just some sudden, spur-of-the-moment thing.  He was surprised that he did it and apologized all over the place.  I told him it was okay and tried to put it out of my mind."

"But you couldn't."


"So, you've been experiencing a feeling of attraction to Daniel for quite a while now."

"Well, not every minute of the day.  Just now and then.  It's just that, the more that time has passed, the more often I get those feelings."

"And the stronger they become."

"Yeah.  These, uh, last six weeks have passed a whole lot more slowly than I thought they would."

A smile came to Janet's lips.  "Yes, I bet they have.  But to answer your earlier question, Sam, I think that you need to be the judge of how fast you want to take things in your relationship with Daniel.  You already know how he feels about you.  I'm guessing that he'd be more than willing to go all the way if you told him that's what you wanted."

"So, it's all up to me, then."

"As it has been since Daniel made known his feelings for you."

"Yeah."  Sam looked at her watch.  "I've got to get going.  So, how much longer do I have to put up with this thing?"  She pointed at the cast.

"I'd like to give it another five or six days."

"Five or six days?"  The whine was back in Sam's voice.

"Five or six days, Sam," Janet repeated firmly.  "I think you can survive that much longer."

The major heaved a loud sigh.  "Yeah, well, you don't have memories of Daniel in nothing but a very tight pair of swim trunks keeping you company at night."

Janet smirked.  "No, but don't forget, Sam.  I am his doctor.  There's nothing he has that I haven't seen."

A little glow lit in Sam's eyes.  "Hey, that's right."  The glow became recognizable as curiosity.  "Soooo, tell me, Janet—"

"No," the doctor quickly interrupted.

Sam blinked.  "No?"

"No, I'm not telling you.  That's entirely covered under doctor-patient confidentiality."

Sam pouted.  "But, Janet."

"Plead all you want to, Sam.  My mouth is sealed.  Besides, you'll be finding out for yourself in not all that long anyway."

Sam heaved another sigh.  "Fine."  She got up and headed for the door.  She was stopped by Janet's voice.

"I will say one thing.  The men who brag the most aren't always the ones who have the most to brag about."

Sam frowned.  "But Daniel never brags."

Janet's eyes twinkled ever so slightly.  "Exactly."

Sam's eyes widened as she understood.  "Oh!"  She left the office a moment later, feeling more than a bit warm.

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