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New Year’s Traditions
Stepping into the elegantly decorated restaurant, Sam was immediately met by the maître d' and led into the banquet room reserved for the base New Year's Eve party. She nervously smoothed down her dress pants and gazed around the room.
Streamers and balloons hung from the ceiling, and each table held a centerpiece displaying the year 2000 along with party hats and noise makers located at every seat.
"Carter, what are you doing in your dress uniform?" Jack asked, sipping from a glass looking to contain some sort of alcoholic beverage.
"Well, sir. General Hammond ordered us to be here so I thought it was only appropriate," the blonde answered as she glanced around to note that she was indeed the only person in the room not dressed in civilian clothes, but, at least, she'd opted for the pants instead of the skirt.
Reading between the lines, Jack replied, "Yeah, if he hadn't given the damn order, I wouldn't be here either."
Daniel walked over to greet his teammates, and ever the gentleman, asked, "Sam, can I get you something to drink?"
"Thanks, Daniel. I'd love some water," the blonde answered as Jack crinkled his nose.
"Water? Are you sure you don't want some bourbon with that? It's going to be a looong night, Carter," Jack interrupted, and Daniel paused in his departure to see if Sam would change her mind.
Shaking her head, Sam replied, "No, sir. No alcohol for me tonight. I've got to keep a clear head."
"Ah, got your eye on someone, Carter? I bet it's that young whippersnapper the general assigned to you last week to make sure that Y2K thingamajiggee didn't cause any problems with the computer system," Jack teased, grinning broadly.
"No, sir. There's no one. I just want to be sure I'm sharp if the computer system encounters any problems at midnight," the major answered, and Daniel decided that he may as well go and get Sam's water since she'd squashed his hope that his friend really did have a date for the evening.
Finding a table in the corner, the three left their drinks behind to save their places and headed for the buffet table. Since it was also stipulated by the general that they eat, drink, and be merry, and seeing as how they'd gotten the drinking out of the way, they'd figured the eating should be next.
Arriving at the food table, Sam almost ran into the back of her CO when he abruptly stopped and looked down at the choices of cuisine. "What the hell is this stuff?"
The major peered over Jack's shoulder while Daniel walked around and stood beside the confused colonel. Looking up and down the table, Daniel smiled when he recognized the different foods.
"It's a New Year's buffet," the archeologist explained as Jack turned and tilted his head in his classic 'duh' stance.
"Ya think, Daniel. I would've never guessed."
"Huh? Oh, no. I didn't mean it's a buffet served at New Year's. I meant every food has special meaning to the start of the year," Daniel stated, gesturing to the nearby cuisine.
"Quit babbling, Daniel, and get on with it, would you?" An impatient Jack demanded of the absent minded linguist.
"Oh, okay. Well, over there, is your typical southern foods. It's believed to be good luck if you ingest black-eyed peas and hog jowls at New Year's," Daniel explained, pointing at the food in question.
Looking disgusted, Jack replied, "Hog jowls? Why don't I like the sound of that?"
Sam took the opportunity to move to the other side of her CO and offered, "I've actually heard of this particular tradition, sir. The hog jowls are cooked with the black eyed peas to add flavor. The hog jowls themselves are actually...um, well, the cheeks of a hog, sir."
"Pig cheeks? Oh no, I don't need good luck that badly. What else is there, Daniel?"
Gesturing to the plates on the right, Daniel said, "The next grouping of foods is said to put a balance in your life. There's lobster with scrambled eggs, Huîtres aux Crepinettes, and Huîtres Froides, napées d'une crème d'huître."
"Okay, I can go with the lobster, but what the hell are in those other two?" Jack asked, scooping the lobster and eggs onto his plate.
Daniel pushed his glasses further onto the bridge of his nose and explained, "Huîtres aux Crepinettes are raw oysters with spiced sausages, and Huîtres Froides, napées d'une crème d'huître are oysters wrapped in spinach and served with cream sauce."
Jack shook his head and said, "Looks like its just lobster and eggs for me. What about you, Carter?"
"Um, I think I'm going to bypass both good luck and balance this year, sir."
Laughing, Jack asked, "Okay, Danny Boy. What's next?"
Daniel moved on to the foods purported to promote good things happening in the New Year consisting of Homard Henri Duvernois, Lobster in Sauternes, and Huîtres gratinées, sauce vin blanc.
Of course, Jack needed yet another interpretation, and he quickly placed the first two dishes on his plate, deciding lobster would be his only meal tonight. He visibly shuddered at the last dish, oysters with white wine butter sauce.
When the three returned to their table, Sam looked up and smiled when she saw Janet entering the room. Excusing herself, she made her way to the doctor and escorted her directly to the food table, describing the different cuisines to her friend.
"Why don't I get you a drink while you fix your plate?" Sam offered to the smiling doctor.
"Thanks, Sam. I'll have white wine if they've got it," Janet replied, picking up a spoon and dishing a bit of each item onto her plate, and by the time, she'd spooned out the last morsel, Sam had returned to her side, white wine in hand.
The two women made their way to join their friends and were pleased to find another new arrival, Teal'c. The Jaffa graciously bowed his head and moved to the next seat so that Janet could sit next to Sam.
"Hey, Doc. Nice dress," Jack offered, showing his agreement by nodding up and down.
"Thanks, Colonel. Mind if I join your group?" The diminutive doctor asked, having already placed her plate down on the table.
Jack smiled and replied, "Be my guest. Now, the whole gang's here."
Sam pulled the chair out for Janet and took her own seat as soon as the doctor was settled. Soon, the group was enjoying the food and drink and had begun to tell stories of the different missions of the past year.
Taking a swig of his drink, Jack related, "Well, General Hammond will be happy. It looks like we've followed his orders of eat, drink, and be merry. And speaking of eating, you ate quite a of few of those oysters, Doc. You do know what they say about oysters, don't you?"
Having just taken a drink of her water, Sam spewed the liquid all over the front of her uniform and immediately began to cough uncontrollably, and Janet quickly sprung to her feet to try to assist the choking major.
"Jeez, Carter. Was it something I said?" Jack asked with a grin as Janet leveled a glare at the colonel while gently rubbing Sam's back.
A few minutes later, a red faced Sam stood and attempted to brush the water from her jacket with only the occasional cough slowing her movements.
"Sam, why don't we go to the ladies room and see if they have one of those blow dryers? Maybe we can dry the wet spots," Janet suggested, moving next to her friend. Sam merely nodded her head, and the two women turned to leave but stopped at Jack's next words.
"Hurry back, ladies. There's only five more minutes until midnight, and I don't plan on kissing Daniel."
Daniel opened his mouth to protest, but he was cut off when Jack noted the big screen TV being wheeled into the room.
"Hey, look. They've brought in a television. Maybe there's a football game on," Jack said excitedly, but his hopes were soon dashed when a picture of Times Square appeared on the screen.
Smiling, Daniel noted, "They're going to show the dropping of the New Year's Ball. C'mon, Teal'c you've got to see this." The archeologist made his way across the room with the Jaffa following behind; however, Jack stayed at the table, shaking his head and refusing to leave his chair.
"Well, sir. At least, now you won't have to kiss Daniel," Sam said, turning and walking toward the door marked, 'Ladies,' as a snickering Janet joined her.
Sam stepped through the door first, and upon seeing the small couch, turned and headed straight for it. Flopping down in a very unladylike manner, she leaned her head back and closed her eyes.
Concerned, Janet asked, "Sam, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm just tired. Besides, we need to camp out in here until after the stroke of midnight, and knowing the colonel, it might not be a bad idea to stay here at least a half hour longer," Sam replied, not bothering to open her eyes.
Janet chuckled and moved to sit next to the slumping beauty. Turning toward Sam, she suggested, "Don't you think you should at least take off that wet jacket before it seeps through to your shirt?"
"Probably, but I don't want to move," the blonde answered, stubbornly refusing to move a muscle.
"C'mon. It'll just take a second. Sit up and I'll help you," the doctor offered as she scooted closer to her friend.
Rotating her head toward Janet, Sam said, "You're not going to let it go, are you?"
Shaking her head back and forth, Janet replied, "No, I'm not. Now, sit up."
Sam made a big production of straightening up so that she could remove her jacket, and Janet patiently waited until the major was in a seated position. Reaching over, she began to undo the gold buttons, and Sam was completely mesmerized watching the doctor's hand movements.
Janet slid the jacket off Sam's shoulders just as the loud countdown had begun outside, and the two women sat wordlessly looking at each other and listening as the numbers slowly ticked down to one.
With the sounds of 'Happy New Year' being shouted amid the high pitch tones of the noise makers, Janet slowly leaned closer and closer to Sam, and finally, she whispered, "Happy New Year, Sam," as her lips made contact with the blonde's. The New Year's kiss didn't end until the refrains of 'Auld Lang Syne' slowly filtered into the room as Sam was the first to pull back and a reluctant Janet let her go.
Sam was stunned by the feelings the kiss elicited, but Janet wasn't able to tell whether her friend was upset or elated with her bold move. Deciding an apology was in order, Janet babbled, "I'm sorry, Sam. It's just that it's New Year's, and we're friends, and I thought, well "
Leaning forward, Sam captured Janet's lips, silencing the attempted apology, and the doctor more than welcomed the pleasant interruption; however, this time it was Janet who ended the kiss, not wanting this precious moment to be spoiled by someone accidentally walking in on the two officers in a very compromising situation.
Grinning like the cat that ate the canary, Sam confessed, "I've been wanting to do that forever."
"Me, too," Janet concurred, but as Sam moved to kiss her once more, she whispered, "Wait, Sam. We've got to be careful."
Lowering her head, Sam agreed, "You're right. It's just that now that I finally know what it's like to kiss you, I can't seem to stop the urges."
"And just how many oysters did you have, Sam?" Janet teased, and the two broke out in laughter just as a knock sounded on the door.
"Carter? Doc? You two still in there?" Jack's voice filtered through the door, and both Sam and Janet immediately put their hands over their mouth to stifle their laughter.
There was a long pause before the shadow of the colonel's feet moved away from the door, and the pair sighed in relief that they'd managed to avoid Jack and his kiss.
"Hey, Sam. I noticed a door on the other end of the restroom. I think it's another exit," Janet related with a grin, and Sam immediately stood and offered her hand to the doctor.
Climbing into Sam's car, Janet asked, "Do you think we should at least call Daniel and let him know we've left."
Sam started the ignition and replied, "Nah, they'll figure it out eventually. Now, what do you say we go back to my house and start off the New Year with a bang?"
Taking Sam's hand, Janet smiled and said, "I've always liked fireworks on New Year's Eve."
Smiling, Sam put the car in gear and headed toward home. It looked like she wouldn't be bypassing good luck or balance for the New Year after all.
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