Disclaimer: I don't own them. If I did, I would have to rewrite the show, and it's so good as it is - why would I want to mess up something that already works so well?

O'Neill's Gifts

by Linda Bindner

A/N: It came to me one night that if Jack and Sam truly loved each other, they would have found a way to tell the other, a way that seemed perfectly innocent if scrutinized. They were part of SG-1 after all: a more creative bunch of people have yet to inhabit the halls of the SGC.

A/N2: On second thought, telling each other 'I love you' in code means that both Jack and Sam would first have to acknowledge their love for the other to themselves before any telling could happen, and as this acknowledgment wasn't ever likely to happen, then this story would have to be an AU where it's assumed that both Jack and Sam have the potential to be the adults they're supposed to be and won't run screaming through the halls of the SGC the second that the word 'feelings' was mentioned. Since that's a big 'IF,' then this story is most definitely an AU - proceed with caution.

Christmas - the one time during the year that gifts are expected to be given and received. (The one day besides birthdays, that is... and ceremony days {like barmitzvahs} and promotion days {like the day Teal'c was promoted from former First Prime of Apophis to False God Killer Extraordinaire} and Daniel Day {which is rather self explanatory} and Favorite Scientist Day) Christmas gifts were considered by the SGC personnel to be practically obligatory to members of an SG team from members of that same team. So O'Neill was covered by tradition if he wanted his gifts to his team to mean anything more than the gifts they were - though, truth be told, it was getting harder and harder to be completely creative about those gifts.

But there was one person that Jack O' Neill positively relished the chance to give a gift to - Carter. It was the one time each year (besides all those other times each year) that Jack had the freedom to give Carter a gift, and at the same time to tell her he loved her - if he was creative enough to do it in such a way as to seem perfectly harmless to everybody else. So Jack let his imagination go wild for this one holiday (the other days he only sort of let his imagination go wild)

This year he already knew exactly what he was going to give Carter: she and he had become involved in a lively debate about male versus female musical artists. She maintained that male artists, and especially male singers, were not as romantic as female artists. Jack argued that male artists, and especially male singers, were very capable of being as romantic as their female compatriots... except that they often didn't need to be romantic - their music said it all for them. They were just better at getting the romantic message out.

The debate started off-world, but quickly infiltrated the SGC when they continued their discussion in the Infirmary during the post mission physicals. Soon everybody from the General to the guy who mopped the floors was weighing in on their favorite romantic musical artists, both male and female.

So no one thought twice when Carter opened her Christmas gift from the Colonel and saw that it was a five CD collection of his favorite romantic music, from Sinatra to John Denver to Chicago Love Songs to Cello masterpieces.

“See, men can do the love thing!” Jack insisted as Carter once again perused the wrapping paper that the Colonel had covered in red hearts.

“The 'love thing?'” Daniel echoed in amazement. “Jack, if not for that debate of yours, I would say that this is a very strange Valentines present gone AWOL.”

“Yeah, well, eat my heart out, Doctor Jackson,” Jack retorted while at the same time staring purposefully at Carter. “I thought you might especially like the John Denver CD - he's the romantic male singer, if you ask me.”

Unfamiliar with a singer not from the 1980s, Carter turned the CD over to note the song titles, only to find a picture of the singer himself gracing the back cover. With his folksy attitude and long hair and glasses, Carter drew a quick comparison. “He looks like Daniel.”

“But he sings better.”

“Hey!” Daniel retorted. “I sing just fine!”

Carter disposed of her wrapping paper in a large garbage bag set aside for just that purpose while Jack teased Daniel. “Says who?”

“Mrs. Walker!”

Teal'c stared in unabashed perplexity at Daniel. “You informed me that she was your first grade teacher.”

“So!” Daniel objected. “My Teapot song was the best in the class!”

“Getting off Danny's claim to fame...” Jack handed another present to Teal'c before Daniel could break into his embarrassingly warbly rendition of 'I'm a Little Teapot.'

“These are also CDs,” Teal'c announced as he regarded the small square gift in his hands.

“Ah!” Jack said while pointing his finger at the ceiling “But what kind of CDs?”

That was when Carter couldn't help piping up, “More romantic singers, female this time, just for Teal'c, the romantic Conqueror of the Universe?”

It was a question that had Teal'c replying, “Perhaps that will be of more help to DanielJackson, who has a girl on every planet.”

Jack roared with laughter while Daniel hotly denied the assertion.

“Teal'c, who told you that?” Jack next asked once his merriment had calmed.

“ColonelDixon did, last week.”

Jack appraised Daniel with a sense of appreciation. “You, Daniel, are officially called 'The Casanova of the SGC.'”

“That was Jonas, not me!” Daniel exclaimed.

Sam laughingly noted, “Can't there be two Casanovas?”

Teal'c's eyebrow rose. “What is a Casanova?”

“Something I'm not!” Daniel insisted, immediately following with the request, “Open your present, Teal'c! I have the perfect comment if it turns out to be a bunch of female romantic singers!”

Teal'c opened his gift to see that it was not singers, romantic of otherwise, but the radio dramas from all three Star Wars movies on CD.

“See, told you it wasn't anything to do with romance,” Jack stated. “Unless you count the romance between that smuggler dude and his princess.”

“Thank you, O'Neill.” Teal'c removed the three inside boxes from their outer box and quickly perused the cover for the drama to 'The Empire Strikes Back.'

Meanwhile, Daniel couldn't help laughing at Jack's comment. “It's a good thing Han Solo isn't real, or 'that smuggler dude' would be all set to smash your head in for what you just called him, then he'd simply disappear in that ship of his!”

Sam lazily noted, “This is Sci-fi we're talking about - Han Solo will be back, ship and all.”

Daniel added, “Then we'll be sure run into him somewhere off world!”

Carter grinned, picking up the story. “Where Solo and the Colonel can swap stories about flying while Daniel runs off with The Princess.”

“Another conquest for our conquering hero!”

“Very funny, Jack,” Daniel said in a voice that indicated he didn't think Jack or his joke was funny at all.

Jack didn't miss the ring of resignation in Daniel's voice. “Open your present from me - you'll see that I think you're so much more than just a Casanova.”

“Fine.” With a growl, Daniel pulled the fairly large package closer to him and began to rip it open. “What did you get me - a mask and a whip for my Casanova outfit?”

Hey,” Jack began, thoughtful. “That's not a bad idea. But no.”

Daniel pulled the paper aside to reveal a wooden decorative sign that Jack had to have made, for it proclaimed 'They're artifacts, not rocks!'

Jack explained, “That's to hang in your office, so you can point to it when lugs like me come by to visit and ask to play with your rocks.”

Daniel reverently held the sign. “This is perfect!” he gushed, thrilled. “This is going in the middle of my desk, and I'm going to surround it with my favorite rocks! Thanks, Jack!”

It wasn't until Daniel and Teal'c were busy at the front door putting on their coats and outdoor gear before Jack was able to sidle up beside Carter, catching her attention. He carefully took the John Denver CD from Carter and turned it over. In a voice that was so low it was almost a whisper, he said, “I like this one the best - it's the most romantic.”

Carter met his gaze again, her blue eyes boring into Jack's brown. “Then I'll be sure to listen to it right away tonight,” she promised, also in a whisper.

A silent minute passed filled with heartstopping understanding reflected in each of their eyes. Fireworks shivered through their veins in soft explosions of light and possibility. It felt like they'd shared a deep kiss of explosive proportions that promised nothing less than eternity.

Jack had to clear the sudden excitement that clogged his throat. “You do that.”

Carter tore her gaze away from him, and smiling, joined the two at the door. “Hey Daniel, all those years ago did you look at this picture of the singer guy and decide to grow your hair out?”

Without missing a beat, Daniel retorted, “Absolutely - the residents of Abydos definitely needed their own John Denver!” and he broke into his rendition of 'I'm a Little Teapot' without being asked.

The other three groaned and put their hands over their ears.

“I should have got them earmuffs,” Jack muttered.

The next day, Carter joined Jack on his walk into the SGC. “You're right - John Denver is the most romantic singer,” she stated. “I just love his music, too.”

Message delivered and received.

The End

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