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"Ho, Ho . . . Oh, for Cryin' Our Loud!": A Stargate Christmas Tale

Award Nomination

Categories: Humor, Fantasy
Rating: PG
Content Warning: Mild Profanity
Spoilers: The First Ones, The Curse
Author's Notes:
This story takes place near the end of Season 4.

Doctor Daniel Jackson pressed the button for the elevator.  SG-1's mission this morning was to a planet that showed signs of having once been home to a somewhat more advanced civilization than what they usually encountered, so everyone was hoping that something of value would be found there.  The archeologist was presently on his way to the briefing.

The elevator doors opened, revealing Major Samantha Carter.

"Hey, Sam," Daniel greeted with a smile as he got on the elevator.  Seeing that the button for the 28th floor had already been pushed, he hit the one to close the doors instead.  "So, you all ready for Christmas?"

Sam sighed.  "Actually, I've still got a ton of shopping to do.  I've have so little time for it, what with all the hours I've been spending here.  How about you?"

"Well, it's not that much of a problem for me.  I mean it's not like I have a lot of family and friends to get presents for."  Seeing the look of sadness that came to Sam's face, he quickly said, "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have said that.  I don't want you feeling sorry for me.  Before I got involved in the Stargate Program, I barely had anyone to give presents to, really just Professor Jordan and Sarah, plus a few other acquaintances, and that pretty much came to a halt after I started going public with my beliefs and severed my ties with everyone.  As for Abydos, they obviously don't celebrate Christmas, so it was a non-issue.  Since coming back to Earth and joining SG-1, I've gained some great friends here, so I really have people to shop for at Christmas time."

Sam gave him a smile, still wishing that Daniel had lots of family with whom he could enjoy Christmas.

The elevator stopped, the doors opening on the Level 28.  The two scientists got out and began slowly walking toward the briefing room.

"So, what are your plans for Christmas?" Sam asked.

"I think that Jack, Teal'c and I are going to go to Jack's house and spend the night drinking beer, eating takeout turkey dinners and, as Jack put it, shooting the breeze.  Thankfully, there are no hockey games being broadcast on the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth."

Sam smiled at the last comment.  "Um . . . would you mind if I tagged along?"

Daniel frowned in puzzlement.  "Aren't you going to spend Christmas with your brother and his family?"

"No, not this year.  They're all going to spend the holidays with Mark's wife's parents in Michigan.  They invited me to come along, but I decided to pass.  As for Dad, he's not going to be able to make it home."

Daniel gave her a sympathetic look.  "I'm sorry, Sam."  The expression became a smile.  "Well, since you have no other plans, you are very warmly invited to join us for the SG-1 Christmas party."

"Thanks.  That will be great.  And maybe we can do better than takeout turkey dinners.  Between the four of us, I should think that we could manage to cook a dinner that isn't toxic."  Sam looked at her watch.  "We'd better get to the briefing."

An hour later, SG-1 stepped through the gate onto yet another alien planet.  They made their way toward what looked like the remains of a city.

"So, Carter.  Daniel tells me that you'll be joining our little Christmas party," Jack said to his second-in-command.

"If you don't mind, sir."

"Of course I don't mind.  The more the merrier."

Just then, Teal'c abruptly halted, glancing about.

"Something up, Teal'c?" the colonel asked.

"I am certain that I heard a sound, O'Neill."

Jack instantly went on alert, his eyes scanning the area.

Daniel also looked around.  "What did you hear?"

"It sounded very much like bells."

Jack turned to him.  "Bells?  As in church bells going gong, gong?"

"I believe it would be more accurate to describe the sound as jingling."

The other three members of SG-1 stared at him.

"Jingling?" Sam repeated.


Jack smiled and patted the Jaffa on the shoulder.  "I think you've been listening to too much Christmas music, Teal'c."

Seconds later, all four of them heard the distinctive sound of jingling bells.  They turned and looked up to see something swooping down straight at them.

In the instant before Teal'c raised his staff weapon, he saw some kind of creature with long horns or antlers bearing down on them.  Instinct took over, and he fired his weapon.  There was a loud explosion.  Whatever the craft or creature was, it veered out of control, diving toward the ground.

"Look out!" Jack yelled.

Everyone ran and threw themselves out of the way.  They hit the dirt, their arms covering their heads.  A second later, there was the sound of something crashing into the ground.

Cautiously, the four teammates lifted their heads and looked in the direction of the crash.  What they saw made all of their mouths fall open, even Teal'c's.  Laying upon its side was a big red sleigh.  And if that wasn't shocking enough, harnessed to the sleigh were eight reindeer, who were floating sideways in the air, their legs moving as if they were running.

"Is everyone seeing what I think I'm seeing?" Jack asked as he picked himself up off the ground.  The others stood as well.

"I don't know, Jack," Daniel responded.  "Do you think you see a sleigh with eight reindeer?"

"That's what it looks like to me."

"Then I'm seeing the same thing."

Just then, the image before them began to distort and wink on and off.  It disappeared a moment later.  What was revealed was some kind of small spacecraft that still bore a surprising resemblance to a sleigh, though it was not powered by reindeer.

Cautiously, SG-1 approached the craft, weapons ready.  They were a few yards away when they caught sight of its pilot.  The heavyset, elderly man had white hair and a big, snowy white beard.  He was dressed in a red and white suit and looked shockingly familiar.

"Uhhhh . . . Jack?  That, um, looks like. . . ."  Daniel's voice trailed off.

Before Jack could answer, Sam cried out in horror, "Oh my God!  We killed Santa Claus!"

SG-1 all stared at the pilot.

"Now, Carter, don't jump to conclusions," Jack said.  "Okay, so he looks like Santa Claus, but he couldn't possibly really be him.  Santa isn't real.  He doesn't exist."

"How do we really know that, Jack?" Daniel asked.  "Before the Stargate was opened, we all thought that the gods of Egyptian, Greek, Norse and other mythologies weren't real.  Then we found out that aliens had been posing as them for thousands of years.  So who's to say that someone didn't do the same thing with Santa Claus?"

A faint moan stopped any further discussion.  Realizing that "Santa" was still alive, SG-1 hurried to the craft.  Sam figured out how to open the cockpit's canopy.  The pilot was clearly injured, but it was hard to tell how badly.  Jack sent Sam and Daniel back to the gate to get a medical team while he and Teal'c stayed with the craft.

Shortly after the two scientists left, Jack noticed that Teal'c was frowning severely.

"What's wrong?" the colonel asked.

"I am feeling greatly distressed, O'Neill.  If this man is, indeed, the one called Kris Kringle, then I have committed a grievous error."

"Hey, don't feel so bad, Teal'c.  You couldn't have known.  The, uh . . . sleigh came outta nowhere.  You reacted to what you believed was a threat.  I'd have done the same thing.  In fact, I was getting ready to open fire on the thing myself."

"That may be true, O'Neill, but I am still deeply troubled.  I can only hope that this man's injuries are not fatal."

When Daniel and Sam talked to the SGC and asked for a medical team, they didn't dare say it was for Santa Claus since they figured that, if they did, the medical team that came through would be one sent to take them back for a psychological evaluation.

Because they had not been warned ahead of time, the medical team was stunned when they saw who their patient was.

"How is he?" Daniel asked in a worried voice after the team had examined the pilot of the alien craft.

"There doesn't appear to be any broken bones," one of the medics replied, "but he does have a head injury, and there is some indication of internal bleeding.  We need to get him to the infirmary as soon as possible."

Needless to say, when "Santa Claus" was brought through the Stargate, there wasn't a single person whose jaw didn't drop at the sight.  As the man was taken to the infirmary, General Hammond turned to SG-1.

"Would any of you care to tell me what's going on here?  Who is that man?"

"Well, sir, he would appear to be old Saint Nick himself," Jack replied.

"Surely, that's impossible."

"Personally, I'd agree, but Daniel here doesn't think so.  He thinks this might be a case similar to the Goa'uld pretending to be gods from Earth's mythology."

Hammond looked at the archeologist.  "So, you believe that this man has been posing as Santa Claus?  For what purpose?"

"I have no idea, sir," Daniel admitted.  "But, if he has, then we just shot down the most beloved mythical character in Earth's history."

The mission debriefing was rather . . . interesting.  Hammond and SG-1 had learned that the man they were all calling Kris Kringle for the time being had been taken to surgery to repair some internal injuries.  Poor Teal'c was feeling worse by the minute, and Daniel and Sam weren't feeling all that great either.  Jack was the only one who didn't seem to be feeling guilty about what happened.  He told General Hammond that Teal'c had acted correctly when he shot the "sleigh" since, at the time, it appeared to be attacking them.

A team had been sent to examine the wreckage of the spacecraft and were expected to report back later that day.  Perhaps they would find something to explain everything.

After the debriefing was over, SG-1 went to the infirmary and waited for news of Mister Kringle.  Several people in the infirmary kept staring at them, especially at Teal'c, and it looked like more than one of them was mad.

"Oh, for cryin' out loud," Jack muttered.  "You'd think that we took a shotgun to Santa Claus, slaughtered all of his reindeer, and mounted their heads on our walls."

"Well, thank you so much for that lovely mental image, Jack," Daniel responded.

"I can't believe that you're not upset about this, sir," Sam said.  "We shot down Santa Claus!"

"He is not Santa Claus!" Jack insisted.  "Okay, so the guy was flying a spaceship that looks sort of like a sleigh and had some kind of holograph thingy that projected an image of reindeer.  And, okay, he does bear a resemblance to the pictures of Santa Claus.  But Santa is a myth!  He doesn't really exist."  He held up his hand when Daniel opened his mouth to speak.  "And don't you go telling me where the legend of Santa Claus came from and say that this could really be him.  He's just some wacko who heard about Santa and decided to pretend to be him."

Just then, Janet came up to them.  "Well, I think that Mister Kringle is going to be all right."

"Oh, thank God," Sam sighed.

"He sustained some serious internal injuries, but we were able to stop the bleeding and repair the damage.  He also has a concussion, but nothing to worry about.  To be honest, he was very lucky.  It could have been a great deal worse."

"Is it okay if we sit with him?" Sam asked.

Janet looked around at the serious faces on SG-1.  "Yes, that would be okay."

All four members of SG-1 gathered around the injured man.  Even wearing a hospital gown and with a bandage on his forehead, he still looked like Santa Claus, though his cheeks weren't all that rosy at the moment.

It was about an hour later that the man began to stir.  Everyone's attention focused intently upon him.  His eyes opened and looked at them all in surprise.

"Oh, dear.  I seem to be in a bit of a pickle," he said softly.

"Hi," Daniel said.  "Um, don't be afraid.  You're in the infirmary of a military base on Earth.  We, uh . . . accidentally shot down your . . . spacecraft.  Well, it wasn't exactly an accident, but, at the time, we thought that you were attacking us, and . . . and . . . and we're really sorry."  Daniel's voice came to a halt as he looked into the kindly blue eyes of the man.

Mister Kringle gave him a smile and patted his hand.  "Don't be feeling so bad, my boy.  I'm sure I was quite a startling sight when I came toward you like that.  I'm afraid that you startled me as well.  I wasn't expecting to see anyone on that world, much less people from Earth."  Seeing that Daniel was still upset, the man laid a gentle hand on his cheek.  "Ah, Daniel.  You were always such a kind-hearted child, and I can see that has not changed."

"How'd you know his name?" Jack asked suspiciously.

"The same way that I know yours, John O'Neill," the man replied.  "And I can see that you've not changed all that much either.  Never did believe in Santa Claus, did you, not even as a little tyke."  Mister Kringle turned to Sam and his smile softened again.  "Samantha Carter.  I see that you've grown up to be a lovely woman.  Such a pretty little girl you were."  He looked at Teal'c.  "But who is this?  A Jaffa?  I am afraid that I do not know you since there is no Christmas on Chulak."

"I am Teal'c, and it is I who fired the weapon that caused your craft to crash.  I deeply apologize for my actions."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Teal'c.  Please do not let your actions trouble you.  You did it believing that you were protecting yourself and your friends, right?"

"That is correct."

"Then you are forgiven."

At that moment, Janet came over.

"Janet Fraiser," the man greeted.  "I am delighted that you followed your dream of becoming a doctor."

Janet paused in surprise.  "Um . . . thank you, Mister . . . Kringle.  How are you feeling?"

"Oh, well enough, considering.  I'm afraid this old body doesn't heal as quickly as it used to."

"Well, you were very fortunate that you weren't injured more severely."

"I have always been blessed with good fortune."  Mister Kringle looked at SG-1.  "But what of my sleigh?"

"Uh, I'm afraid it was pretty badly damaged, sir," Sam told him.

"Oh, dear.  That is not good.  Christmas will soon be here, and I must be able to deliver gifts to the children."

"Oh, come on.  You can't expect us to believe that you're really Santa Claus," Jack said.

The man focused a piercing gaze upon him.  "And why is it so hard to believe that I am Santa Claus when, surely, you have seen far more amazing things in the universe?  Didn't you ever question how it is that you got that telescope for your twelfth Christmas when you had not said a word to your parents about wanting one?  And what of that ticket to the hockey game on your fourteenth Christmas when your father had said that the game was all sold out?"

Jack's mouth fell open in shock.  "How did you. . . ."  His eyes narrowed.  "You're reading my mind."

Mister Kringle laughed.  "No, but if that's what you want to believe, then go right ahead, my boy."  He looked at the others.  "Now, back to my sleigh.  Is it beyond all hope of repair?"

"I'm not sure, sir," Sam replied.  "I'd have to take a look at it and see if it could be fixed."

Mister Kringle smiled at her and patted her cheek.  "Always such a bright child you were.  I knew you'd do something important with your life."  He turned to Daniel.  "This I knew of you as well, young Daniel.  Such a thirst for knowledge you had, always seeking to learn.  I hope you made good use of that illustrated book on the dynasties of ancient Egypt that I gave you on your eleventh Christmas."

Daniel's eyes widened.  "It was you who gave me that?  I couldn't believe it when I got it.  I wanted it so badly, but it was such an expensive book that I didn't think my foster parents would get it for me.  They told me that they got it on sale."

Mister Kringle smiled.  "Yes, that is how I operate, you see.  Whenever I give a gift to a deserving child, I place in the mind of their parents the belief that they bought the gift.  If I didn't, there would be too many questions in the minds of adults, and my wife and I value our privacy too much to want to deal with people going out looking for us once they realized that we were real."  Mister Kringle looked at Jack.  "It suits us just fine for grown-ups to believe that we're only myths."  His gaze returned to Daniel, Sam and Janet.  "However, it appears that will no longer be the case, at least with some of you."

"Don't worry.  We're all good at keeping secrets here," Sam told him.  "Besides, since most of the world doesn't know about the Stargate, it wouldn't be possible to tell people about you anyway.  Only those who are involved with the Stargate Program will know about you."

"That is very good to know."

"Okay, everyone.  I want Mister Kringle to get some rest, so off you go," Janet said.

SG-1 filed out of the infirmary.

"Wow.  I can't believe I talked to the real Santa Claus," Sam said in wonder.

Daniel smiled.  "Yeah, isn't it amazing?  I'm not all that familiar with the origins of the Santa Claus legend, except that it is believed that the original roots go back to Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth century Christian bishop who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor."  Daniel's eyes lit up.  "Hey, do you think he could be the same Saint Nicholas?  If he was an alien living on Earth, he could have chosen to pretend to be human.  Then, as the centuries passed, he adopted the role of the various incarnations of Father Christmas throughout the world."

"Not that I believe this whole Santa Claus thing," Jack said, "but tell me this.  Why would he do it?"

"I don't know, Jack," Daniel replied.  "Maybe he's just a really nice guy who wanted to give something to the children of Earth."

"Well, I, for one, am willing to believe that he is Santa Claus," Sam said.  "I'm going to ask General Hammond if I can go back to P4K-931 to see if the sleigh can be repaired."

"And I'm going to go do some research on Santa Claus," Daniel stated.

The two scientists left.  Jack looked at Teal'c.  "So, big guy.  Do you believe he's really Santa?"

"It would appear that he knows things that the man who is Santa Claus would know.  Daniel Jackson's reasoning is sound.  The Goa'uld successfully pretended to be the gods of Egypt and other civilizations for many thousands of years.  It is possible that an alien could have taken on the role of Father Christmas."  Teal'c looked at him more closely.  "Do you still not believe that he is being truthful, O'Neill?"

"Well, I admit that he does know an awful lot of things that he shouldn't know, and there is the whole sleigh thing, but I'm still not ready to completely believe it."

"If he is, indeed, Santa Claus, then we must endeavor to do all that we can to aid him.  I would not wish to be responsible for the children of Earth not receiving the gifts they deserve this Christmas."

Sam was given permission to return to P4K-931.  Upon examining the sleigh, she came to the conclusion that it could be repaired, but it was going to take a while.  The greatest damage was to the hull, the navigation systems and the sub-light engine.

Once Hammond gave the okay, Sam assigned a team to work on repairing the hull damage, while she and another team got to work on the navigation unit and engine, which were both brought back through the gate since it would be easier to work on them in the lab.

Daniel had learned all he could about the various myths that were connected to the legend of Father Christmas.  As soon as Janet said it was okay, he went back to the infirmary to talk to Kris Kringle.

"Hello again, Daniel," the man said.  He was sitting up in bed and looked much better than he had on the previous visit.

"Hi.  Um . . . I'm not sure what to call you.  Kris Kringle?  Santa Claus?  Saint Nicholas?"

The man smiled.  "Kris will be fine, my boy.  Or Nick, whichever you prefer."

Daniel decided that he didn't want to call the man Nick since that was the name of the grandfather he had been estranged from for so many years.  "Okay, Kris.  I wanted to let you know that Sam and a team are working on fixing your sleigh.  Sam thinks they'll be able to get it fixed before Christmas."

"Ah, that is wonderful news."  He looked at Daniel more closely.  "But enough about that for now.  How have you been doing?  Once a child grows to adulthood, I no longer keep track of them.  That would be far too big a job, even for me.  I must admit, though, that you were one of the special ones I had a soft spot for.  So much sadness and hardship in your life, yet you remained such a good boy.  Every year, I made sure that you got at least one gift that you truly wanted or needed."

Daniel's gaze met his.  "I always wondered how it was that, every Christmas, I got at least one perfect present.  Thank you."

Kris nodded and smiled.  The smile did not last long, however.  "But I sense that there is still sadness in your life."

Daniel's eyes dropped to the floor.  "My . . . my wife died last year, and I lost two friends this year."

Kris' hand laid upon his.  "Oh, my boy.  I am so sorry to hear that.  What was your wife's name?"

"You wouldn't know her.  Her name was Sha're, and she lived on Abydos."

"Ah, Abydos.  Yes, I know that world.  A fine, strong people, the Abydonians."

Daniel nodded.  "Yes, they are."

"You must have loved your wife very much."

Daniel sighed.  "Yes, I did."

"And who are these friends you mentioned?"

"Robert Rothman and Sarah Gardner.  They were both taken as hosts by Goa'uld.  Robert . . . was killed, and Sarah's still out there somewhere, inhabited by Osiris."

"Oh, dear.  I am so sorry to hear that.  I remember them both."

Just then, Sam came in.  "Hey.  How are you feeling, Mister Kringle?" she asked.

"Please call me Kris, Samantha."

"Okay, and please call me Sam."


"I wanted to tell you that we're working on your ship.  I'm pretty sure we'll have it ready before Christmas."

"Daniel has already told me this.  Thank you very much for what you are doing.  It would break my heart if I had to disappoint the children this year."

"Well, I just wanted to stop in and tell you that.  I'd better get back to work.  See you later, Daniel."

"Bye, Sam," the archeologist said.  He watched her leave, then turned back to Kris.  There was a little smile on the man's face.

"You have found love again," he said.

Daniel's eyes widened.  "What?  Uh-uh, n-no.  Sam and I are just . . . just friends," he stammered.

Kris' smile widened.  "Now, Daniel.  You should know better than to try lying to Santa Claus.  Remember, I can look into the hearts of all and see what their greatest desires are.  I know that your feelings for Sam are more than that of a friend."

Daniel stared intently at his hands, saying nothing.

"I am assuming that she doesn't know."

The archeologist shook his head.  "Nobody knows."

"And why do you keep it a secret?"

"Because she doesn't feel the same way.  I'm just a friend to her.  She, uh . . . likes Jack, and he likes her, though the two of them can't do anything about it because they're in the same chain of command."

"And why do you think this?"

"Um, some things that I overheard, looks that they've given each other sometimes."

"Well, I wouldn't be so sure of it, if I were you, Daniel."

The archeologist stared at him.  "What do you mean?"

"I mean that appearances can be deceiving, and there could be more than one of you who is hiding feelings they fear to show."

Daniel's heart rate increased.  "Y-you mean that Sam might . . . might feel the same way about me?"

"That I cannot tell you, but you will never know if you don't do something to find out for yourself."

Daniel's gaze drifted off to stare at something in the distance.

"As much as I would love to continue talking with you, I am feeling a little weary," Kris said.  "Perhaps I should rest a bit."

"Oh!  Of course.  I'm sorry."

"No need to apologize, my boy.  It has been a pleasure talking with you.  Please come and see me again later."

"I will."

Daniel left the infirmary, his mind whirling with what Kris had said.  Could he dare to hope that Sam felt the same way about him?  Was he brave enough to ask her?

'I hope you're right, Kris.  If you are, this would be the best Christmas present I could ever get.'

The next day, all of SG-1 went to see Kris.  The man was in good spirits, though he seemed to be troubled about something.  Finally, Daniel asked him what was bothering him.

"I am concerned that I will not be healed in time to deliver the gifts to the children on Christmas.  Janet is a fine doctor, but there are limits to what she can do and what your medicines are capable of achieving."

"Is there anything we can do?" Sam asked.  "Can we get word to someone?  Do you have devices or medicines that will heal you faster?"

"I fear that I do not have any healing devices like the Goa'uld do.  It has never been necessary to have such a thing.  I have never once been ill, and I heal faster than humans.  But I have never been hurt this badly before."

"Then how can we help?" Daniel asked.

Kris looked at all of them closely.  "It would be possible for someone to go in my stead."

Sam's eyes widened.  "You mean pretend to be Santa Claus?"

"Ah, but they would not be pretending.  Though they would not be me, they would truly be Santa for that day."

"Okay, so let me get this straight," Jack said.  "You want one of us to dress up like you, hop in that sleigh, and go shooting all over the planet, delivering gifts to a gazillion kids?"

Kris nodded.

"The person would have to do the whole 'Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas' thing and climb up and down all those chimneys?"

Kris smiled.  "Now, Jack.  You don't honestly believe that I actually slide down chimneys, do you?  Look at me.  I'd never be able to fit, and it would take far too long.  That is pure myth.  I transport the gifts into houses using a device similar to the Asgards' beaming technology, except that it can deliver gifts to numerous houses at the same time.  After all, there are a great many children in the world.  There would never be enough time to give gifts to each of them one at a time in a single night, not even with the great speed that my sleigh can fly."

"Okay, so the person wouldn't have to slide down any chimneys, but they would have to do everything else?"


Jack looked at his teammates, who were all staring at him expectantly.

"Would you excuse us?" he asked Kris.


Jack and the rest of SG-1 left the infirmary.  They went to Daniel's office.

"Well, sir?" Sam asked.

"Look.  I know you all think we should help the guy, but I'm not prepared to let one of us go alone into a situation that we know so little about.  Even if the guy really is Santa Claus, how much do we know about him besides the fact that he delivers presents to kids every Christmas?  He's an alien!  We don't even know where he came from, why he came to Earth, or why he stays here.  What does he do all the rest of the year?  Tell me that."

"Jack, we have to do this!" Daniel exclaimed.  "We can't just turn our backs on him and ignore the importance of what he does.  The cultural significance of Santa Claus is immeasurable.  We can't let something so important be ruined."

"He's right, sir," Sam chipped in.  "I mean, how am I going to tell my niece and nephew that Santa won't be coming this year because we shot down his sleigh with a Goa'uld staff weapon?"

"And I am the one who fired upon and damaged the sleigh," Teal'c stated somberly.  "It is my responsibility to make restitution."

"Oh, for cryin' out loud!" Jack shouted.  "All right!  We'll help the guy out.  But I am not, repeat not, going to dress up in a Santa suit and yell, 'Ho, ho, ho.'  You give me a bunch of Jaffa to go shoot, and I'll do it.  You give me a mothership to blow up, sure thing.  But I draw the line at the fake Santa gig."

"I do not believe that you are sufficiently jolly to convincingly pose as Kris Kringle, O'Neill," Teal'c intoned.

"Boy, have you got that right," Daniel muttered, which earned him a glare from the colonel.

"Okay, so who is going to play Santa?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, whoever it is has to do the 'ho, ho, ho' thing for all those kids all across the planet," Jack pointed out.

Everyone immediately turned to Daniel.  The archeologist looked back at them.  "What?  Why are you all looking at me?"

"Well, you're the one who can speak a million languages and likes to talk to everyone," Jack replied.  "You're the best candidate for the job."

"Jack, I only know twenty-three Earth languages, which is a drop in the bucket when you count how many languages and various dialects there are on Earth.  I have doubts that Kris speaks the language of every country he goes to.  He probably has some kind of translator.  So, the fact that I'm multilingual makes no difference."

"Doesn't matter," Jack said.  "You're not getting out of this one, Danny Boy."  He smiled smugly.  "You get to play Santa."

"No way, Jack.  For one thing, I don't have a deep enough voice to do the 'ho, ho, ho' well enough.  Teal'c would be much better at that."

Everyone turned to Teal'c, who, for the first time in his life, felt true fear.  Masking it with his usual impassive expression, he responded, "I do not believe that I could perform such a duty properly.  Santa Claus is Caucasian, whereas I am not."

"He does have a point," Sam admitted.

"Yeah," Jack agreed.  "Besides, if any kid got a good look at him, he'd probably scare them half to death with that stone face of his."  He focused his gaze upon his second-in-command.

"What?  You can't expect me to do it!" she objected.  "In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a woman."

"Oh, now she's a woman!" Jack said sarcastically.  "What happened to that whole thing about you being able to handle anything a man can even though your reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside?"

"Sir, that's different!  You've never asked me to pose as a man before, especially not a big, fat man with a beard.  I mean, look at me?  Do you really think I could pull it off?"

All the male members of SG-1 ran their eyes over Sam's figure admiringly.

"She's right, Jack," Daniel said with a smile.  "She could never play Santa."

Jack gave a nod, agreeing with him.  "All right, since I'm the team leader, I get to pick who plays Santa, and that would be you, Daniel."

"But, Jaaack!"

The colonel held up a finger.  "Not a word, Daniel.  This time, you are going to follow my orders.  Got it?"

The archeologist gave him the puppy dog eyes in reply, which succeeded in melting Sam's heart, but failed to make a dent in Jack.  Then Daniel perked up.

"Maybe Kris is wrong, and he will be well enough by Christmas Eve to do it himself."

"I'm sorry, but that's not going to be possible," Janet informed SG-1 an hour later.  "Even though he is healing much faster than a human with the same injuries would, Kris simply will not be strong enough to do anything that physically strenuous by Christmas Eve."

Looking amused, Jack turned to Daniel.  "That means you're still it, Santa Boy.  We'll run right out and get you a suit, one of the good ones with all the padding built in."

Daniel glared at him.  "Don't expect to find anything in your stocking come Christmas morning except coal, Jack."

Teal'c looked at him.  "Why would you place coal in O'Neill's stocking?"

"Because that's what Santa puts in the stockings of bad children," the archeologist replied, angry eyes never leaving the colonel.

"Aw, come on, Daniel.  You wouldn't do that to me, would you?"  Jack gave the younger man his own version of the puppy dog look, which didn't seem to effect Daniel any more than Daniel's had affected Jack earlier.

The archeologist's eyes narrowed.  "Oh, you just wait and see, Jack.  You'd be surprised at what I'm capable of doing."  With that, he turned on his heels and marched out of the infirmary.

Jack turned to the others, looking a bit worried.  "He wouldn't really do that, would he?"

"I don't know, sir," Sam replied.  "He's pretty mad.  And Daniel is very smart.  If he put his mind to it, he could think up a lot of interesting ways to get revenge."

"Daniel?  Revenge?  Nah.  He's too nice.  He doesn't have a vindictive bone in his body."

"It may be unwise to make such an assumption, O'Neill," Teal'c said.  "It is true that Daniel Jackson has a great capacity for forgiveness, but he can also be a formidable opponent.  I recall several occasions when he went to great lengths to destroy the Goa'uld, and he displayed a genuine desire for revenge against Apophis."

"Yeah, but I'm not a Goa'uld," Jack objected.  "I'm his buddy, his pal, the guy he has pizza and beer with while we watch hockey."

"Daniel doesn't care for beer or hockey," Sam reminded him.

"Yeah, but that's not the point.  It's not the drinking of the beer and the watching of hockey that matters.  It's the whole . . . whole eating, drinking, and watching all put together."

"Is this like your statement that fish are not a requirement in the act of fishing, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.

"Yes!  Just like that."

No one else looked convinced.

"I think that Sam and Teal'c are right, Colonel," Janet told him.  "From my professional viewpoint as a medical doctor . . . I'd say you are definitely screwed."

Convinced that he was right and everyone else was wrong, Jack gave no further thought to the possibility of Daniel exacting revenge against him.  The archeologist had a very long, private conversation with Kris.  When he came out of the infirmary, he didn't look mad anymore.  In fact, he looked rather pleased.  He went around the rest of the day with this odd little half-smile on his face, which really made Sam wonder what her best friend had going on in his head.  She was taking a short break from the sleigh repairs when she decided to ask him.

"Daniel, I know you pretty well, and I can tell that you've got something up your sleeve.  What are you thinking about?"

The linguist gave her a smile.  "Oh, I just realized that being Santa for a day might have some distinct advantages.  There are a lot of things I could do that I wouldn't otherwise have the ability to."

"Such as?"

Daniel's smile widened, his eyes sparkling.  "Just wait and see, Sam.  I can guarantee that you'll love it."  To the major's complete surprise, he then planted a kiss on her cheek and walked off down the corridor, looking more pleased with himself than she had ever seen him.  Touching the place where he'd kissed her, Sam grew a big smile and got back to work.

It took a lot of all-nighters, but Sam and her teams managed to finish repairs on the sleigh in time.  Daniel had approached the general and asked if there was a possibility for a Christmas party to be held at the base on Christmas Day.  He had stressed that it was very important.  Hammond agreed to it, and the arrangements were made, word of the special party spreading throughout the base.  Daniel made another request that the commissary be made off limits – and hidden from view – to all personnel from midnight until the time of the party.  Since the number of personnel on the base would be significantly lower during that day, and Daniel had assured the general that coffee and other food essentials would still be available, Hammond agreed.

When the time came for Daniel to leave, his teammates went with him to P4K-931 to see him off.

"How come you're not wearing the suit?" Jack asked him.

"Because I don't need to yet.  There are lots of preparations to be made before I start delivering gifts."

"So, are the, uh, elves all ready for you?"

"Yeah, Kris somehow contacted them and explained everything."

"Just don't get lost on your way to the North Pole."

"That won't happen, sir," Sam told him.  "Kris told me that the coordinates to the workshop are in the navigational computer.  The autopilot will take Daniel right to it."

Daniel looked at everyone.  "Okay, I guess I'll see you in three days."

"Have fun," Sam said, giving him a hug, "and be careful."

They all watched the archeologist get into the sleigh.  The craft lifted off and shot away, soon disappearing from view.

Jack rubbed his hands together gleefully.  "I can't wait to see what's gonna be under the tree this year.  I'm thinking a big screen TV with the works."  He lost his smile.  "Damn.  I hope Daniel didn't lose my list."

Sam stared at him in disbelief.  "Your list?  You actually gave Daniel a Christmas wish list?"

"You bet I did.  Didn't want to take any chances that he'd screw up on my order."

Sam and Teal'c just stared at him, then shook their heads and headed back toward the Stargate.  Jack's brow knit with a frown.  "What?  What's wrong with that?  Hey, it was only two pages long!"

Christmas morning finally arrived.  Everyone had expected that, after speeding all over the face of the Earth at many times the speed of light, delivering millions of gifts, Daniel would have been exhausted.  Such was not the case.  Sam was the first to see him as he came walking down the hallway Christmas morning, and what she saw amazed her.  He looked positively radiant.  His eyes were fairly glowing, and he was wearing the biggest smile she had ever seen on his face.

"Wow.  You look . . . really happy, Daniel," Sam said with a surprised smile, pleased to see her friend in such a good mood.

She hadn't thought it was possible, but the archeologist's smile got even bigger.  He started bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet.  "I feel great, Sam!  Now I know why Santa's always so jolly.  It was so cool going around giving out all those presents.  It felt fantastic!  And you should have seen all the cookies the kids left me.  Some were even chocolate walnut!  Now, what were the odds on that?  I think maybe Kris had something to do with it."

Sam laughed.  "So, you had fun, then?"

"I sure did.  It felt good to do something like that.  It made me feel like I was really doing something that mattered, making a difference."

Sam gave him a hug.  "I'm so glad, Daniel."  She gave him an affectionate smile.  "It doesn't surprise me that you'd feel that way.  You're the kind of person who would get tremendous joy out of bringing happiness to others."

Daniel's smile turned shy.  "Well, I hope I'm going to bring you some happiness this Christmas."

Sam looked at him closely.  "What do you mean?"

"Oh, just that there are a lot of perks to go along with the job of being Santa Claus, and I took advantage of them.  Kris said I could, if only just this once."

"Just this once?  What do you mean?"

Daniel's smile got big again.  "Oh, I dropped in to say hi to him as soon as I got back.  He said that I did such a good job last night that he offered me a position as his occasional substitute.  He's been doing this a very long time, and he thought it was about time that he started training his replacement.  Besides, he'd like to start spending an occasional Christmas Eve with his wife."

Sam gaped at her friend.  "Daniel, are you saying that Kris wants you to eventually take over for him on a permanent basis?"

"Uh huh.  Oh, it wouldn't be for a long time.  I'm not old enough to become the real Santa yet.  But, once I am, the position is mine, if I want it."

Sam just stared at him, stunned.  "Wow.  That's . . . that's amazing, Daniel.  You'd be the real Santa?"

"Yep, though I'm not sure if I could get as chubby as he is.  I might have to keep wearing the padded suit.  But it would be fun.  And can you think of a better job than making millions and millions of kids all over the world happy every year?  The whole thing about spending most of my time at the North Pole isn't a thrilling idea.  You know how I don't like the cold.  But Kris said that he might consider moving the workshop to a warmer climate.  He admitted that the elves would enjoy hanging out at the beach during their time off.  Anyway, he told me to think about it and get back to him.  He gave me his email address so that we could talk."

"Email address?  Santa Claus has an email address?"

"Well, of course he does, Sam.  Kris is up on all the latest technology.  He has to be to keep in tune with what kids want for gifts.  And, considering the size of his production facility and the amount of elves working for him, it only makes sense to be networked and have email addresses."

The major nodded.  "Of course.  What was I thinking?  I have to admit that, even after having repaired that sleigh and seen the technology involved, I still have this image in my mind of an old-fashioned Santa with his elves making gifts by hand."

"They stopped doing that a very long time ago.  What with the world's population as big as it is now, they had to automate a lot of things.  They've got this huge factory that cranks out the toys and gifts by the thousands every day.  You should have seen it, Sam.  They've got gadgets in there that would amaze you.  Oh, but I shouldn't be talking about this.  It's kind of a secret."

Sam grinned.  "That's okay, Daniel.  The secret's safe with me."

"Hey!  Daniel!" called a voice from down the hall.  Jack came strolling up to them and draped an arm casually over the archeologist's shoulders.  "So, how did it go last night?  Have any problems with that sleigh doohickey?"

"No, it worked great, flies like a dream.  You really missed out on a treat, Jack.  You'd have loved taking the controls."

"Well, maybe the next time Santa needs a hand, I'll volunteer."

Daniel and Sam exchanged a look and a smile.

"What?  What's that look for?" Jack asked, knowing that something was up.

"Oh, nothing, Jack," Daniel replied innocently.  "It just might be a good idea to treat me nicely in the future if you want your Christmas wishes to come true."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Daniel gave him a mysterious smile.  "Maybe I'll tell you someday."

Jack stared at him more closely.  "Okay, I have a feeling that this is something I really should know about, but I'm in too good a mood to try getting you to talk.  So, you had fun, then?"

"Yes, I did.  It was wonderful being Santa."

"Yes!  I knew I made the right decision picking you for the job.  Everyone said that you'd want to get even with me for making you do it, but I know you, Daniel.  You're just too nice a guy, and you can never hold a grudge."

Though Jack missed it, Sam saw something positively wicked flash across the archeologist's face that made her wonder what "perks" of the job Daniel had taken advantage of for Jack.  She had a feeling that the colonel was going to regret having 'pulled rank' on Daniel in this situation.

"So, what time is the big party's starting?" Jack asked.

"Two o'clock," Sam replied.  "That was the best time for everyone.  Of course, there are quite a few of the personnel who won't be there because they didn't want to take time away from their families, but it should still be quite a crowd."

"Good," Daniel said, pleased, his eyes twinkling.

Jack studied him.  "Daniel, I can tell you've got something cooking.  You were so insistent on having this Christmas Day party for the SGC after you talked with the real Santa for all those hours.  What did you do?"

"You'll find out at two, Jack."

Unable to pry any more information out of the linguist, Jack finally gave up and wandered away.

"So, are you going to tell me what you did?" Sam asked Daniel.

"Nope, but I will tell you this.  Being Santa put me in the unique position of knowing certain things about people, and I took advantage of that knowledge in a big way."

"Um, okay.  I trust you, Daniel, so I know that, whatever it was that you did, it wasn't a bad thing.  I have a feeling that this party is really going to be something else."

Two o'clock arrived, and everyone gathered outside the commissary.  Daniel was already there waiting for them.  For the first time since the SGC was created, the big doors to the commissary were closed.   A guard had been placed outside to prevent anyone from sneaking a peek.  The security camera in the room was also mysteriously not working.  Jack knew that for a fact because he had gone to the monitoring station to take a look.  A storage room had been set up to serve as a temporary break room, coffee, tea, sandwiches, rolls and some other food items being made available there.

General Hammond was the last one to arrive.  All the personnel stepped aside so that he could get to the front of the crowd.  He looked at Daniel, who was wearing an expression between excitement and nervousness.

"So, Doctor Jackson.  Are you ready to show us your little surprise?"

The archeologist smiled at him.  "Yes, sir, I am."  He turned, opened the door and stepped aside.

"Holy Hannah!" Sam exclaimed, her jaw nearly hitting the floor, along with everyone else's.

The room was spectacular.  Sparkling silver, green and red tinsel hung from the high ceiling, along with hundreds of white Christmas tree lights.  "Icicle" lights dangled down all the walls, which were also adorned with wreaths and other Christmas decorations.  And in the far corner was the most beautiful Christmas tree any of them had ever seen.  The whole room looked like a Christmas fantasy land.  But what stunned everyone the most were the mounds of brightly wrapped packages that filled the floor under and around the tree.

Her mouth still hanging open, Sam turned to Daniel.  He smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"Like I said, Sam.  The job has perks."

The next hour was quite an event.  Sam found out what Daniel had meant when he said that being Santa had given him certain knowledge about people.  He had somehow known exactly what everyone at the SGC wanted most for Christmas and had done his best to fulfill their wishes.  Cassie, who came with Janet to the party, had already hugged and kissed Daniel half a dozen times over her gifts.  Janet was tickled pink with the gifts she received, promising that the next time Daniel ended up in the infirmary, she'd make sure he was treated like a king.  Hammond was delighted with the plane tickets for himself and his grandchildren to his home state of Texas and demanded to know how the archeologist had known that he wanted to take his grandkids to see his hometown.  Daniel had merely smiled and replied that it was classified.  He also assured everyone that those personnel who were not at the party hadn't been forgotten and would have found some extra special gifts under their own trees that morning.

Teal'c was very surprised when he opened his first gift and found it to be a Goa'uld long-range communications orb.  "What is the purpose of this, Daniel Jackson?" he asked.

"Turn it on and find out."

Teal'c did so and was immediately presented with the image of his son, Rya'c.

"Father!" the young man exclaimed happily.

"Rya'c!  How is this possible?"

"Daniel Jackson came last night and gave me an orb.  He said that it would allow us to talk to each other, no matter how far apart we are."

Teal'c smiled in joy.  "This is, indeed, a wonderful thing.  It is good to see you, my son."

"It is good to see you, too, my father.  Mother will be here later, and we can all talk."

A hint of tears filled Teal'c's eyes.  "I will look forward to it greatly.  For now, I wish to thank Daniel Jackson for his gift.  I will speak to you again shortly."

"I will be here, Father."  Rya'c's image disappeared.

Teal'c turned to Daniel.  "There are no words that I can speak to adequately thank you for this great gift, Daniel Jackson."

Daniel smiled at him.  "There's no need, Teal'c.  Knowing that you're happy is thanks enough.  Oh, and don't worry about security. That orb and the one I gave Rya'c have some special modifications that will make it impossible for anyone to intercept the transmissions or trace their source.  Oh, and don't worry about security.  That orb and the one I gave Rya'c have some special modifications that will make it impossible for anyone to intercept the transmissions or trace their source."

The big Jaffa suddenly engulfed Daniel in a hug.  The archeologist's breath whooshed out of him, but he managed to return the embrace.  They separated after a moment.

"Go on to your quarters and chat with your son, Teal'c," Daniel told the Jaffa.  "We'll be happy to excuse you from the rest of the party."

Teal'c bowed and went off to his quarters, taking his other gifts with him to be opened later.

"Wow, Daniel.  That was so wonderful of you to do that," Sam said, very proud of her best friend.  "But how did you—"

Daniel held up a hand, stopping her.  "No, questions, Sam.  I really can't tell you."

Sam smiled and nodded.  "Okay, I understand.  I can imagine Santa has lots of secrets that the rest of us can't be told."

"Yeah, a few."

Just then, Jack came up to them, looking rather perturbed.  "Daniel, I can't find my presents.  I've looked all over the place, and I can't find them."

"Really?  Well, that's strange.  I seem to recall getting some for you," Daniel said mildly.  "Let me take a look."  He headed for the tree, avoiding the clutter of wrapping paper that was strewn all over the floor.

"He said 'some', right?" Jack asked Sam.  "As in more than one?"  Another gleeful smile of anticipation lit his face.  "See?  I knew that Daniel wouldn't hold that whole Santa thing against me."

Daniel returned a few moments later with three packages in his arms.  He handed the first one to Jack, who wasted no time in ripping the wrapping off.  His excited smile died when he looked at what was revealed.

"Archeology Magazine?" he muttered.

"Yep.  A lifetime subscription," Daniel informed him, only the tiniest of smiles on his lips.  "I just knew that you'd find it fascinating.  It's true that many of their facts are all wrong since the authors of the articles don't know about the Goa'uld, but there is still a lot of interesting and valuable information.  I'm sure you'll have hours of enjoyable reading."

Jack stared at Daniel with narrowed eyes.  "Oh, you just had to have a little fun with me, didn't you.  Okay, I guess I deserved that after making you play Santa when you didn't want to.  Very funny, Daniel."

The linguist gazed at him innocently.  "You mean you don't like the gift?  I'm so disappointed."

"Ah, no, Daniel.  It's the perfect thing, just what I always wanted," the colonel responded sarcastically.

Daniel beamed at him.  "You see?  I knew you'd like it."

"Uh huh.  Okay, let's see what the real presents are."

During the whole exchange, Sam was trying very hard to keep the smile off her face.  Daniel was getting his revenge against the colonel, and she had a feeling it would not stop with the first gift.  She was right.  The second gift turned out to be another magazine, this one being Popular Science, which Daniel pleasantly informed Jack was also a lifetime subscription.

"I'm sure that, once you've read a few issues, you'll be able to keep up with Sam when she talks about the technology she works with," Daniel said, his voice honey sweet.  This time, Sam could not stop the laughter that bubbled up.  She quickly shut up when the colonel gave her an icy glare.

"Daniel, you are so pushing it," he said to the archeologist.

Daniel gazed at him, looking like the soul of innocence.  "Pushing what, Jack?  You should relish the opportunity to broaden your mind and learn new things, exercise that stuff you've got between your ears before it gets too flabby."

The colonel growled dangerously in reply, then focused on the final gift.  Almost afraid to see what was inside, he took the wrapping off slowly.  He stared in bewilderment at what was revealed.  It was a featureless black cube around eight inches square.  Jack turned the cube around and around, examining every side.

"What is it?"

"Oh, it's an artifact, Jack.  I thought you might like something to decorate your mantle."

The colonel's shoulders abruptly slumped.  "I'm not going to get any real presents, am I," he mumbled.  "You warned me about putting coal in my stocking, and I made you do the Santa thing anyway."  He looked at the archeologist.  "I'm sorry, Daniel.  I didn't have any right to force you into doing something you didn't want to.  This wasn't a mission, and our lives weren't on the line, yet I treated you more like a subordinate than a friend."  He sighed and held up his 'gifts'.  "I deserve this."

Daniel gazed into his eyes and gave him a gentle smile.  "Apology accepted, Jack.  Just don't ever do it again.  Next time, I might not be so nice."

Daniel took the cube out of Jack's hands and went across the room.  He set it on a clear area of the floor, away from the majority of the crowd, then returned to Jack and Sam.  He pulled out of his pocket a tiny device that looked a little like a television remote and aimed it at the cube.  All at once, a three-dimensional picture came out of the cube and spread to encompass an area around eight feet in diameter.  Everyone backed away from it, gaping in awe.

Jack stared opened-mouthed as two hockey teams squared off against each other in vivid three-dimensional detail, looking so real that it was as if he was actually sitting rinkside, watching the game.  He turned to Daniel.

"That's Saturday's game," he said, amazed.

"Uh huh.  One of them.  You'll find all the games that played that day recorded on the cube."

"Daniel, that is amazing!" Sam exclaimed.  "The technology involved in taking a regular television broadcast and converting it to a three-dimensional image, and one of such clarity, is incredible.  Where did you. . . .  Oh.  Sorry.  That's right.  No questions, huh."

Daniel smiled.  "Yeah.  Sorry."

"I understand.  But I'd sure like to take a look at what's inside that cube, see how it works."

"Don't you dare!" Jack exclaimed.  "I don't want you dissecting it and screwing it all up if you can't figure out how to put it back together.  This is one piece of technology that is going to stay that way – all in one piece.  I have no desire to know how it does what it does, except how to get it to record the games for me."

Daniel turned off the cube and handed the remote to Jack.  "I'll teach you," he said quietly.

Jack met Daniel's eyes.  A slow smile spread across his face.  He pulled the archeologist into a tight hug.  "Thanks, Daniel," he murmured.  "You're a good friend."  He cupped Daniel's cheek for a moment, then gave it a gentle pat.  Drawing away from his friend, he turned to Sam.  "So, where are your presents, Carter?"

"Um, I don't know, sir.  Daniel asked me to wait to open mine last."

Jack looked at Daniel, his eyebrows lifting.  "Oh, really.  Hmm.  This sounds interesting."

Daniel blushed faintly.  "I'll go get them."  He returned a moment later with three gifts.  He handed one of them to Sam.  It turned out to be another communications orb.

"Oh, Daniel.  Is it to Dad?" Sam asked, her voice trembling very slightly.

"Yeah.  Selmak wanted to know how I'd managed to find them since we didn't have the location of the present Tok'ra base.  I told Jacob to tell him about Santa Claus and that I was filling in for the big guy."

Sam wrapped her arms around him.  "Thank you so much, Daniel.  This is wonderful."

"I'm glad you like it, Sam.  I know you miss your dad and wish you could see him more often.  This isn't the same thing as actually being together, but it's the next best thing."

The second gift had Sam puzzled.  She stared at the unfamiliar item.  "What is it?"

"Ah, now that one was really hard to get.  I had to, um, special order it.  It's one of a kind.  I know that you usually like to figure things out for yourself, but I also know that there have been times when you couldn't figure out what some piece of technology was and how it worked, and you were really frustrated about it.  That is a kind of scanner.  It'll work on just about anything.  It will tell you what the device is and how to make it work.  It's small enough that you can take it with you on missions, but I'm not sure if you should since it can't be replaced if it gets broken."

Sam gazed at the object as if it was all the treasure in the world.

"Ooh, I think you came up with a winner there," Jack murmured in Daniel's ear.

"Daniel, this is . . . this is so fantastic," Sam raved.  "It will save me countless hours in the lab, leaving me so much more time for other things."  She turned shining eyes to him.  "How can I ever thank you?  Nothing I could say or do would ever be enough."

Daniel gazed at her.  In a very soft, almost scared voice he said, "You can open the last present and . . . and accept it in the spirit in which it was given."

Daniel handed her the final gift, his hands trembling.  Sam stared at it for several seconds, understanding that this one was of special significance.  At last, she opened it.  A small gasp issued from her throat.  The pendant was carved from a stone that had never existed on earth.  A thousand colors danced within its depths, whirling and flitting about as if they were alive.  The stone was cut into the shape of a heart.  It was mesmerizing, almost hypnotic.  As Sam stared at it, she felt this strange, soothing warmth permeate her body, making her feel totally relaxed and happy.

"What . . . what is it?" she asked breathlessly.

"You remember mood rings?  They'd change colors according to the mood you were in.  This is sort of like that, except in reverse.  It influences moods.  There are different types that generate different emotions.  This particular one makes people happy and peaceful.  Don't ask me where I got it, because I can't tell you.  There is no Stargate there, so chances are that we'll never visit that world on a mission, which is a shame since it's a really nice place, at least what I saw of it for the short time I was there."  He cleared his throat.  "There's, um, more, under the paper."

Sam lifted the tissue paper out of the box and saw that there was a greeting card underneath.  She opened the card and found a handwritten message inside. Silently, she read it.

Of all the gifts I could give you, Sam, there is one that is already yours.  You stole it from me many months ago, and I never asked for it back.  It will be yours forever.  That gift is my heart.


Slowly, Sam's gaze lifted to Daniel.  Within the brilliant blue depths of his eyes, she saw for the first time the love that he was professing for her.

"Daniel," she whispered.

"It's yours forever, Sam . . . if you want it," he told her softly.

A smile like sunshine lit Sam's face.  "I do want it, Daniel, more than anything in the world."  Then she was in his arms, her lips upon his, and the rest of the world disappeared.

Jack stared at them, slack-jawed, not even noticing the whistles and hoots that arose from the rest of the crowd.  Then a smile slowly spread over his face.

"Well, what do you know, Daniel.  You even managed to give yourself the present you wanted most.  Way to go, Spacemonkey.  Or maybe that should be Ho Ho Ho Boy."


And so ends our Stargate Christmas Tale.  But remember this, boys and girls, if, in the dark of Christmas night, you think you hear that jolly voice saying, "Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!", listen more carefully.  If it seems that the voice is not quite so deep as it usually is, it could be because this Santa is not so old, and not so fat, and is rather new at the job.  But he loves it all the same and is really quite good at it, even if he does spend quite a bit of the rest of the year on other planets.


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