Summary: Daniel’s having dinner on the base, wishing he had something else to do on Christmas Eve than sit, eat, and read.

NOTE: Consider this a season 12 time frame if there would’ve been one. Slash style of course.


. . .


Daniel rolled his stiff shoulder as he grabbed a tray for the buffet line in the cafeteria.

“Hey, Doc Jackson!”

Daniel looked around and spotted Sergeant Fields, a member of SG-13, sitting at the far side of the room, directly across the entrance.  Fields was one of only six people in the cafeteria, including Daniel.  “Sergeant Fields.  Not going home for Christmas?”

“Six hours and counting,” Fields said, tapping his watch.  “What about you?”

Daniel gave a faint smile.  “No family and Sam and Teal’c have gone elsewhere.  Might as well work.”

“Well, that sucks,” Fields said.  “You’re welcome to spend Christmas with me and the family.  Angie’d be thrilled.”  SG-13 was the latest team to be converted into an archaeological team and Angie, Field’s wife, was like Daniel, an actual archaeologist.

“That’s very thoughtful, thank you, Sergeant.  But I’ve got some reading to do.  Been saving it up, you might say.”  For the last twelve years, you might say, Daniel thought.  To add emphasis, he pulled a tech tablet from the side pocket of his cargo pants and waggled it at Fields.  “Got my holiday all mapped out.”

Fields snorted.  “I bet.  If you change your mind . . .”

“Thanks,” Daniel said, and meant it.  “But I’m good.”  He meant that too.  He grabbed coffee, butter cookies (the base Christmas treat), and a wrapped chef’s salad from one of the six refrigerated service units that were always rolled out and fully stocked during the holidays.

He headed to the table in the far corner and did so automatically.  It had always been SG-1’s table, and it was strategic.  Jack had ingrained it in him.  The far corner had the best view.  Your back was to the wall and in front of you was everything else, including the only entrance.  No blitz attacks possible.

After mixing the dressing into the salad, he set the tablet reader on the table in front of his tray and began to read, “The Details, Mysteries, and Theories of the Voynich Manuscript.”  It was a manuscript found in a small bookshop that no one had been able to decode and interpret—though there were many who say they have and up to now, Daniel was fairly sure all of them were wrong.  The language, in his opinion, was a codex, written in a combination of semitic languages with frequent borrowing of Arabic words and sounds.  It was like taking letters from the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets and creating a new language.

Tolkien, he was certain, had been inspired to create the Elven alphabet and language after studying the Voynich manuscript.  Almost two hours later, and only vaguely remembering the hellos from people passing in and out of the cafeteria, Daniel thought he had the Voynich cracked.  Almost.

He was so engrossed that he didn’t pay attention to the shadow cast over him until its owner pulled out a chair across from him.  Startled, Daniel looked up, blinked, then took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.  Before putting them back on, he eyed (no pun intended) the man now sitting across from him.  He’d been on assignment as the commander of the United States Space Force (USSF) Roosevelt.  Some supersecret shakedown mission involving the Tok’ra and Asgard.  Need-to-know.  But it was always need-to-know for something at Stargate Command.

“Hey there, Daniel.  Whatcha reading?”

Daniel had been staring with a shocked look on his face but at the sound of his voice, a brilliant smile replaced it, and he got up to hug the man, who slapped him on the back awkwardly.  “Jack.”


“How the hell are you?” he asked, as they both sat back down.  Daniel took in the black flight jumpsuit with the Stargate Program and US Air Force patches, plus the patch for the new space force.  There was just a bit of gray Air Force t-shirt poking up behind the jumpsuit’s collar.  “You look great.”

“Liar,” Jack grinned.  “I look like I haven’t slept in three months.”

Daniel shook his head.  “I wasn’t gonna say anything.  Even so, you still look good to me.”

Jack leaned back in his seat and smirked.  He rolled an irritated shoulder, making Daniel wince.  They both suffered from irritated shoulders.  The permanent side-effects of having been subjected to painstick torture.  “You need to put your glasses back on.”

“I can see you just fine,” Daniel said, but put his glasses back on.

Jack considered him a moment, shrugged, and repeated his question.  “Whatcha reading?”  Daniel told him.  Briefly.  Jack grunted.  “Crew is home for Christmas.  And I just knew you’d be here instead of home.  So, let’s go.”

Daniel’s brows climbed in surprise.  “Go . . . where?  My loft is small and my . . . kitchen is smaller.”  He’d almost said bed.  Best to never assume.  It was safer.  And less sad.  “Your house is fine but there’s no food.”  He studied Jack’s appearance and suddenly felt the frigid cold wafting off Jack’s clothing.  He waved his hand without raising his arm from the table.  “Cold outside?” he asked.

“It’s December 24th.  It’s Colorado.  And it’s snowing,” Jack said soberly but there was mischief in his eyes.

“Point.”  Daniel sensed Jack was dying to tell him something but whatever signals he was sending, Daniel was missing them.  “So where are we going?”

“To get decent food and sit in front of a fire while we watch our marathon.  Or did you think I forgot?”

“Not exactly.”  Their annual marathon of Christmas favorites.  “We missed our marathon last year.  And the year before that.”

Jack wrinkled his nose.  “Which is why my new contract with the Pentagon stipulates that I get birthdays and holidays off, no matter what I’m doing or how far from home I am.  Period, end of discussion.”

Daniel grinned.  “How’d they react to that?”

“They said no,” Jack said simply.

“And then you said . . .?” Daniel asked, though he knew already because he knew Jack.  And when Jack spoke, Daniel mouthed the words in stereo.  Well, letters.


Daniel smiled broadly, voice light with laughter.  “And they said?”

What does that mean?  And I said ask your kids.”

Daniel let loose his laughter, though softly.  He was never one for bellowing.  For one thing, you needed to have a voice that carried and his couldn’t.  Sobering only slightly, he said, “I’ve missed you.”

Jack’s face turned just a tiny bit accusatory.  A wee smidge.  “You wouldn’t if you’d only sign on to the ship’s tour.”  He sighed.  “I could call Reynolds and ask him to order you onboard.”

Daniel shrugged and said, “You can try.”  Reynolds was the new base C.O. after General Hammond passed away.  Daniel found the man competent and caring but just a little stand-offish where civilians were concerned.

Jack rolled his eyes.  “Pain in my ass.”  He reached into the upper part of his jumpsuit and withdrew something from the inner pocket.  It was small enough to fit into his palm.  “Here.  For you.”

He stretched out his hand, palm down, then turned it over.  It was a velvet jewelry gift box.

Daniel stared at it, shellshocked.  He couldn’t breathe.  Couldn’t talk.

Jack had told him a long time ago that he’d never ask.  He’d said that he didn’t want to get his heart broken again.

When he didn’t take the box, Jack opened it and showed him what sat inside.

Daniel inhaled sharply before he could stop himself.  His brow wrinkled slightly as he not-glanced at Jack, as if apologizing for being surprised.  Which he was.  Jack wasn’t a fan of overt emotionalism no matter how justified.  It was his Catholic side.  It didn’t mean Jack couldn’t express loving feelings.  But it was a strain sometimes.

Daniel couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that he was holding a betrothal-slash-wedding ring.  It was a beautiful black band–tungsten, going by the shine.  It was inset with what appeared to be blue opal or abalone laid out in three strips that circled the band.  It was beautiful.  Unique.  It took thought.



He gave Jack a direct look before removing the ring from the gift box.  He set the box aside and slid it onto his ring finger.  As it did, he imagined Jack putting it on his finger . . . and the image was erased immediately when he pictured it happening here in the cafeteria.  He then wondered . . .

With another glance at Jack, he removed the ring—which fit perfectly, because why wouldn’t it—and looked at the inner part of the band.  There was writing, in script form, and in Gaelig.


mo ghrá go deo


My Love Forever.  Daniel swallowed and tried to keep his eyes dry by blinking a lot.  He cleared his throat a few times and made himself meet Jack’s eyes.  “It’s, uh, perfect.  And . . . I do.”  His voice quavered.  So embarrassing.

A slow smile spread over Jack’s face.  “Perfect.  Now, you ready for our annual marathon that we’ve missed the last few years?”

“Yes,” Daniel said, swallowing again as he took off the ring.  “But where?  I’m not all that enthusiastic about watching it in one of those tiny rooms aboard the Roosevelt.”

“Daniel,” Jack said.


“Ye have little faith.”

Daniel narrowed his eyes.  So Jack had a place to go.  It only meant one thing.  “Which hotel?”

Jack sat back approvingly.  “Little place by the circle off Vale.”

Four Seasons.

Daniel smiled down at the ring he held.  His favorite hotel chain.  When he looked up, he found Jack’s brows rising in surprise.  “What?”

“Why’d you take it off?”

Daniel started to say he’d have to wait for the wedding . . . then realized that really wasn’t going to happen while Jack was still active duty.  “Right.”  He slipped it back on his left ring finger.

Jack reached over and squeezed his left hand briefly, gratefully.  “We’ll do it right when we’re done here.”

Daniel half-laughed.  “Like that’ll ever happen.”  He gave Jack a chiding look and the man sighed heavily and nodded.

“Maybe.”  He got to his feet.  “Ready to go?”

Daniel didn’t miss a beat.  “Always.”

“Hey,” Jack said, taking a quick look around and finding they were alone.  He took Daniel’s left hand again but held it firmly.  “Merry Christmas, Daniel.”

Daniel paused and smiled in wonder.  Jack, a romantic.  Who knew?

“Merry Christmas, Jack.”  He had a lump in his throat.  And was suddenly struck with a fear that Jack would violate regs and kiss him.  Right there in the cafeteria.  Mess Hall.  Whatever.  He could also see that Jack knew what he was thinking.

“I’d love to, but while it’s the right time it’s definitely not the right place.  And first times need to be done right.”

“Then let’s go, before I rebel and kiss you anyway.”

Jack smiled.  “Don’t tempt me to dare you.  You know how we do that shit at the drop of a hat.”

“Betting about something or other.  This time, it’s a whole different ballgame.  So to speak.  I’ll refrain.  Somehow,” Daniel said.  He resisted taking Jack’s hand.

“You used a sports metaphor,” Jack said as they left the cafeteria, filled with hyper-alert energy.

“I know.  Kinda surprised myself.  You’re rubbing off on me.”

Jack’s grin turned wolfish.  “Not yet.”

As they neared the elevator, Daniel said, “You stay on that side.  No standing close.  Or I won’t be responsible for what happens.”  Jack chuckled all the way off the base.


They headed for a future together, fittingly starting on Christmas Eve, a day Daniel always said was about Hope.

He would later say that it was also about damn time.



The End

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