Title: First Christmas
Author: Claire
Status: Complete
Category: Christmas Fic!
Pairings: Daniel/Janet, Daniel/Cassandra (friendship)
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Season Seven.
Season/Sequel: During/After Season Seven.
Summary: After decorating the Christmas tree, they finally open up to each other.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

First Christmas


We sit on the couch side by side admiring our handiwork. Which is pretty spectacular if I do say so myself

"Nice job on the lighting," I point in the general direction of the colourful fairy lights.

"Thanks. You didnít do too bad yourself."

I nod solemnly. "The placing of tinsel on a tree takes a great deal of time and skill."

He turns to look a t me, a smile on his face and twinkle of humour in his eyes. God those eyes! Theyíre so intense, sometimes when he looks at me I get this irrational panic running through my body as if his gaze can somehow pierce my body and see into my very soul. Hey, that was kinda poetic!

Still with eyes like those you can see why so many women seem to melt at his feet when first meeting him. He must have been a real chick magnet at college. If he ever took his nose out of the books that is.

He puts an arm around my shoulder and pulls me closer kissing my forehead, "We did a good job," he murmurs.

"Yeah," I sigh, "Itís hard to believe the yearís almost over."

"And thereís a new one just around the corner."

We sit in silence each lost in our own thoughts.

"So much has happened in the last twelve months," I eventually say quietly.

"Mmm. I bet you never thought this time last year that Iíd be helping you decorate your house for Christmas."

"Daniel, this time last year I thought you were floating around the universe like some sort of glowing white cloud! I thought Iíd never see you again, never mind you moving in and decorating a Christmas tree!"

He chuckles and I can feel him rumbling beneath my cheek.

"Have you come up with a New Yearís resolution yet?"

"Daniel! Itís not even Christmas yet. Iíll worry about making promises I wonít keep after Iíve stuffed myself like the turkey...Iíll be glad to see this year over though. Nothing good seems to have come from it."

"Ahem." He clears his throat and I grin up at him.

"Apart from your miraculous reappearance of course."

"Thatís more like it. For a second I thought my presence wasnít as welcome as it should be."

"You know it is. I donít know what Iíd do without you." I pull back and smile quietly at him. "You know itís funny but even though you moved in less then a year ago, it seems like a lifetime ago since it was just us two girls. But I like it. I like having a man about the house. Now thereís somebody to change the light bulbs and kill the spiders."

"Itís good to know Iím so useful." He says dryly.

"Iím glad youíre here. Home wouldnít be the same without you."

"Thank you." He squeezes my shoulder gratefully and we watch entranced by the lights.

"Oh I forgot to tell you. Tealíc invited us both around for Christmas dinner."

Immediately I sit up straighter. "Tealíc? Cooking?"

"Yeah."

"Huh. I never thought of Tealíc as the George Foreman type."

"He does have a strange obsessive relationship with food in general, ice cream specifically."

"Interesting." I curl up in the other corner of the couch, tucking my knees under my chin and wrap my arms around them.

"Jack and Sam will be there as well and I think Pete will be coming as well."

"Pete?" I ask sceptically, itís not that I have anything personal against Pete, but he could make Christmas a lot more interesting with both him and Jack in the same room.

"Yep."

"Oh. So theyíll *all* be there then."

"Yeah."

A sudden wave of melancholy washes over me as I realise that not *everyone* will be there this year. My mind immediately turns to think of all the things that happened that shouldnít have and all the things that should have but didnít.

"Daniel?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you...Do you think sheís...watching us."

"No," my heart lurches for a second until he smiles tenderly at me. "I know she is. Cassandra, all your Mom ever did down here was look out for us. Thereís no doubt in my mind sheís doing the same up there."

"I miss her." My voice shakes and I hate myself for it, but I refuse to cry anymore. Iíve cried enough as it is and Iím sick of it.

"Me too," he leans his head back on the cushion and looks up at the ceiling. "Everyday."

"This will be our first Christmas without her, but it wonít be the last."

"Cassie we are all here for you. I know," he sighed as he turned to look at me, "I know things havenít been easy for you and I know youíre trying to be strong but you donít," he reached out his hand and his fingers brushed with mine, "you donít have to pretend to us Cassie. Weíre your family. You donít have to pretend to be strong in front of us."

I regard him for a few moments. "Does the same apply to you?"

"Sorry?"

"You say I donít have to be strong in front of my family, does that include you? You still canít say her name. You always refer to her as ĎCassieís momí, or ĎSamís friendí, or even the ĎSGC Doctorí. But never once do you say who she was to you. You never say ĎJanet Fraiser, my fiancťeí."

"Cassandra." His voice as a note of warning and panic in it.

"Daniel, my Mom died this year, but I didnít just lose a mother. I lost a family, a future I thought was certain. I imagined going away to college and coming home at Christmas to a house filled with warmth and, and love. I pictured a house with children that I could spoil and excite just before bedtime and you and Mom giving out to me for getting them so riled up before bedtime but secretly being glad that I was there and getting on so well with the children."

"Cassandra." His voice is just as shaky as mine was and I wipe furiously at a tear I can feel running down my cheek. Daniel slid across the couch just in front of my feet and places his hands on my knees. "You have no idea, *no* idea, how much we wanted that too. Your Mom...Janet and I wanted nothing more then that but we knew it might never happen. In our job you know thereís a chance that every time you go through the Stargate it will be your last."

I look up at his eyes, bright with unshed tears, tears I know I wonít ever be allowed to see fall.

"I always thought it would be me. It, it always seems to be me," he gives an ironic smile, "Iíve lost count of the number of times Iíve ended up in the infirmary. I couldnít believe it when it was her. That she was the one to have left, and I know Iíve been...reluctant to talk about her and thatís, thatís because," he stalls and takes a breath. I know this is hard for him but Iím scared to say anything in case it breaks this moment when he finally speaks all. He clears his throat and continues.

"I was so angry with her Cassandra. I know it wasnít her fault, there was nothing she could have done but I was *so* angry with her for leaving me. For leaving you." The anger in his voice shocks me but still I cannot speak. "I always believed that I would be the first to go, and I took comfort in that because I didnít think I was strong enough to go on without her. I think Iím still angry with her Cassie," eventually his eyes meet mine again, "I know Iíve no right to be, I know she didnít choose this, but I canít help it."

"Iím sorry," I say eventually my voice sounding thick even to my own ears, "I didnít mean to..."

"Itís okay, I, I donít mean to tell you what to do or feel Cassandra. And Iím sorry if I seemed...detached or unsupportive."

"No, no Daniel, I didnít mean..." I frown at him, "do you think we can stop apologising to each other now and just admit weíre not really over her yet?"

He smiles at me, "I think thatís a great idea, but I donít think weíll ever get over her."

"I know, but itíll get easier. We both know that."

"Hmmm. Youíre far too mature for your age, you know that?"

"True, but that doesnít mean Iím too mature to enjoy Christmas or ask for lots of presents." I say, trying to lighten the mood.

"Really? Oh well, it was worth a try." He grins at me and relaxes against the back of the couch as we both look at the Christmas tree again.

"It is a very big Christmas tree Daniel."

"Yes it is," he looks at me slyly while I attempt to look innocently at it.

"It will need an awful lot of presents underneath it to look proper."

"Cassandra Fraiser is that why you chose this tree."

"Daniel Jackson, I am shocked that you would think that! Although...it may have had a little something to do with it." I grin at him.

"Weíll see."

We stay quiet for a long time content with each other and as I watch the tree shimmering and twinkling, I get a sudden warmth and knowledge rising through me. I am going to be alright and so is Daniel.

Eventually.

"Cassandra?"

"Yeah?" I turn to look at him and he smiled sadly, "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas Daniel."

~~Finis~~

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