DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Bloody hell I wrote a Xmas Fic! The inspiration for this was a Tori Amos Song: "Winter" from the album "Little Earthquakes." This wasn't what I was expecting to write today but hey, what the muse says goes.
SPOILERS: Set 23 Dec 2003. So after Evolution.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

The Snow Queen
By Celievamp

Sam opened her eyes to darkness, aware that it was suddenly quiet. The storm had blown itself out. The parts of her body that were exposed to the night air were cold but Janet was tucked in beside her and as ever was the major heatsource in the room. Sam didn't know how her lover did it.

Through a chink in the curtains the moon's light penetrated the room. The sky was clearing fast. It had snowed pretty solidly for the last two days, at least a foot deep in their garden and yard, drifting higher still on the roads. It would be beautiful in the moonlight, a real winter wonderland.

Christmas was two short days away. Cassie would be home tomorrow and neither Sam nor Janet were expected back at the mountain until after New Year. General Hammond was only too aware of how hard his premier team had run themselves the last year and had given them all a generous allowance of down time. The Colonel had gone ice fishing along with Teal'c and a vacationing Jonas Quinn. Daniel had gone somewhere warm for the holiday season, somewhere with plenty of antiquities and no local rebel army with an eye for kidnapping tourists.

After some thought, Janet and Sam had elected to stay at home for the holidays. Sam half hoped her dad would drop by but the Tokra were playing elusive again. Still, they would keep a place for him on Christmas Day, just in case.

Janet murmured something and snuggled in closer, her arm sneaking across Sam's abdomen, their legs tangling together. Sam leaned in to drop a kiss on Janet's brow. "I love you so much," she whispered. The rhythm of Janet's breathing lulled her back into sleep.

This weekend they were getting the tree. Janet and Cassie had selected it after much deliberation and discussion about what made a `perfect' Christmas tree and then Sam chopped it down. It went through the bagger and then they had all carried it to O'Neill's truck, which Sam had borrowed for the occasion. Then Sam and Cassie made snow angels whilst Janet waited in the truck with the heater on. But they did manage to coax her out for a snowball fight especially when Sam agreed that Janet and Cassie could gang up on her.

It was fiercely fought and after both Cassie and Janet displayed hitherto unheralded strategic skills, Sam found herself flat on her back in a snow bank with Janet straddling her body and Cassie giving her a snow shampoo.

"Pax!" she shouted, spitting out a mouthful of snow. Cassie relented, but Janet did not move. Sam realised that Janet was laughing too hard to do anything and in a sudden movement managed to reverse their positions so that Janet was underneath her.

Her face delicately flushed from the cold and the exertion, her eyes sparkling with laughter, Sam was struck again as keenly as the first time by just how beautiful her companion was and how lucky she was to have Janet in her life. She lowered her head to kiss her, gently at first and then with more passion. Janet's gloved hands rested on her shoulders as keen to continue the experience as she was.

A snowball richoted off her shoulder showering them both with snow. "Oh Jeez, get a room you two!" Cassie groaned, stomping back towards the truck. Checking that they were otherwise unobserved, Sam kissed Janet again and then helped her to her feet.

As they turned to go Sam realised that they were being watched. "Who's there?" she called.

"Don't be scared, sweetie. It's only us." Her mother appeared from the shadows, holding hands with her father. "Do you remember when we used to do this?"

"Mama!" Her mother smiled at her and opened her arms and Sam buried herself in her mother's embrace. She looked up into her mother's laughing eyes and realised that she was a child again. Janet and Cassie were gone and so was the tree nursery. They were in the back yard of her childhood home. Her dad and brother were making a snowman, rolling and patting a huge ball of snow together for the body.

She remembered this. The winter before her mother died. Mark hadn't wanted to join in – he was too `big' for this kind of thing but a look from their mother had persuaded him and Mark wanted to keep on his dad's good side – he had hopes of getting one of the new computer games for Christmas this year.

There was an unofficial competition going on in their street for the biggest and best dressed snowman. The Carter's was a late entry. Her dad had managed to wangle leave at the last moment when a mission was postponed until the new year.

Her dad. For a man who spent most of his working life in the airforce either in the Gulf or the Far East he loved Christmas and snow. The adult dreamself looking on saw how the trend continued with the desert planets favoured by the Tokra. He really was in his element out there doing black ops amongst the stars.

Dad and Mark were making a traditional snowman. The ladies of the Carter household were trying something a little different. They had packed snow into a box, as hard as they could make it, and then turned out the box rather like a jellymould. With Sam's help, her mother had started to hollow out the snow box, creating a scene inside. It was Sam's job to polish the surfaces that they were creating until they shone like glass.

Oblivious to the cold the two women worked for hours, long after their menfolk had created their traditional snowman and retreated inside the house to drink hot chocolate and watch sports.

Sam was spellbound as the face of the Snow Queen took on shape and definition beneath her mother's deft fingers. Her mother let her carve some of the hair, guiding her, telling her how deeply to cut, the best angle to hold the knife.

At last it was done. Her mother lit candles at either side of the sculpture, positioning them so the light caught the facets making them sparkle but not too close that the heat would melt their creation.

"It's beautiful, mama," Sam breathed. "Who is she? I mean, who did you model it on?"

"You, Samantha, my love. As I think you'll look when you've finished growing." She reached for her daughter, hugged her. "I remember being your age, thinking that boys would never notice me, that I was too tall, too gawky. Being teased because I was more interested in books and science…" Sam opened her mouth to protest that she wasn't being teased. Her mother shushed her. "I'm not blind, Samantha. Just promise that if it gets too bad come and talk to me, please."

"I promise, momma," Sam said. "Can we do this every year, the ice sculpture I mean? Make it a family tradition?"

Her mother looked at her sadly and stepped away. She faded into the growing darkness…

The dream changed again: time moved on a year later. The same house and a very different scene. Her mother was dead. Mark had gone. Her dad was somewhere and Sam was alone. In memory of what had been she decided to make her own Snow Queen, as good and fine as last years had been.

But it couldn't be the same. The snow didn't want to co-operate. It was wetter than last year's and the air temperature was a degree or so higher. Nothing would hold together it seemed. Her wet gloves were discarded and her pinched fingers were almost blue with cold, her chest aching with the cold damp air and the grief that was getting harder and harder to hold in by the minute, her eyes scalded with tears when her Dad had come home to find her still trying to mould the rapidly melting snow into something, anything.

"Sam, are you trying to give yourself pneumonia!" her dad had barked at her. "Get yourself back in the house and into some dry clothes this instant."

"I have to do this, dad, I have to finish this for momma so she'll see it, so she'll know."

"Sam, your mother's gone and the sooner you accept that the better. She's not going to see this… whatever it's supposed to be. You're going to have to start taking care of yourself. I've got to go away again soon and I thought I could trust you to stay by yourself but maybe I was wrong about that. The house is a mess, you're a mess, Sam. Your grades are slipping, I've had complaints from your school about homework being late and about you falling asleep in class. I thought I taught you better than that."

"I'm sorry, dad. I'll try I promise. Don't hate me dad, please. Don't hate me, I'm sorry, I'm sorry…"

"I'm sorry…" Sam gasped, waking herself up. She held herself still, not wanting to disturb Janet. She hated those kinds of dreams even more than the ones caused by the leftover memories of Jolinar or the mission-based dreams. The dreams where she felt the full force of her father's disappointment. It had never been as bad as in her dreams. In truth Jacob had never been around enough to be disappointed in her.

It was somewhere on the borderline between late night and early morning. She could not leave it there. If that was the last dream she remembered it would blight her whole day, like the shard of ice from the Snow Queen working its way into her heart. Sam closed her eyes, snuggled closer to her lover. Happy thoughts, she told herself. Think happy thoughts. She triggered the almost self hypnotic state she had used in the past to lucid dream, to unlock her Tokra memories. Three quick breaths and she closed her eyes.

The sun was bright on the snow the young child's laughter gladdening her heart then Janet's gently chiding tone as someone was told not to get too excited. Sam worked on the sculpture wanting it to be ready, to be perfect. She could hear the two sets of footsteps approaching now, the squeak-crunch of new snow being compressed underfoot.

"Oh Sam, it's beautiful!" she heard Janet's voice. "Isn't it beautiful Catie!"

"Did you make it, Momma?" the young girl asked, standing next to Sam where she knelt in the snow. Their heads were level with each other and they exchanged Eskimo kisses, Sam delighting in the kitten face, the big blue eyes of her daughter.

"Your grandmomma Elizabeth showed me how to do it when I was a little girl," Sam said. "And when you're a little bit bigger, I'll show you how to do it as well. I…" A pair of thickly quilted arms wrapped round her neck and she felt herself pulled off balance as Catie's feet left the ground, her infectious giggling loud in her ear, Janet hastily reaching out to steady the pair of them but it was too late. Mother and daughter rolled in the thick snow, giggling.

"We made a snow angel!"

Janet examined the somewhat contorted shape. "It looks more like a camel to me," she smiled.

"Camels live in sand not snow. Uncle Daniel told me. He showed me pictures," Catie announced. "Camels and pyramids and sand."

"He'll make an archaeologist of her if we're not careful," Sam said, getting to her feet and dusting the powdery snow off her clothes.

"If her uncle Jack doesn't make her a pro hockey player first. Always supposing she can find the time between flying aeroplanes and being a doctor," Janet laughed. She reached up to brush snow out of Sam's hair. "You're frozen! Let's get you inside so I can warm you up."

"I so hope that means more than a mug of cocoa," Sam said. Janet smiled…

Sam opened her eyes. They had both moved a little in their sleep and were now facing each other, almost nose to nose. The same face as the little girl. Her daughter. Their daughter. Their future. The bad omens of the previous dream were completely chased away.

Sam knew what she had to do. Stealthily removing herself from Janet's embrace she got dressed and went downstairs, slipping into her boots, coat and gloves before collecting together some supplies she thought she might need and letting herself out into the yard. She set to work.

The darkness began to fade, dawn streaking the eastern skyline in rose and gold. The snow was perfect for sculpting. This would be perfect. For mum and for Janet and for everyone she loved. For all that was to come and all that had gone on before. Oblivious to the cold and the passage of time Sam worked on.

As she put the finishing touches to her creation she realised three things. She could no longer feel her fingers or toes, it was fully daylight and Janet was standing behind her holding a mug of hot chocolate.

Dark bright eyes regarded her from the gap between scarf and hat. "Got it out of your system?" she asked softly.

Sam accepted the mug gratefully. "I think so," she said, taking a judicious sip of the hot sweet liquid. It tasted like heaven. She watched as Janet walked carefully around the sculpture. "Well?"

"It's beautiful, Sam, just beautiful. I didn't know you could do anything like this," Janet looked at her, eyes shining.

"In truth, neither did I. It was something my mum used to do. She was like me, clever with her hands, but more artistic, less metal head," Sam smiled. "She let me help her. The year before she died… the snow was like this, perfect. There was a competition in our street for the best snowman. Dad and Mark made a snow man, Momma and I made the Snow Queen and we won hands down. It was pretty much the last time we were all together as a family, all happy…"

"I remember," another voice broke in. "Elizabeth was so proud of you, Sam. She told me she thought you had real talent, and she was right. It's beautiful."

"Dad?" Sam turned, the half drunk mug of chocolate falling from suddenly nerveless fingers staining the snow at her feet.

"Hey Sammie," her father smiled broadly. "Got room at the inn for your old man?"

"Of course," Sam hugged him tightly, and then stood back as Jacob went to embrace Janet as well, smiling at the heartfelt greeting her two favourite people gave each other.

"Good to see you, doc," he smiled. His face changed and Selmac bowed his head. "We thank you for your hospitality at this time, Dr Fraiser."

"It's a pleasure to have you," Janet smiled, at ease with the dual personality. "Both of you. I laid in a stock of pistachio nuts in case you dropped by." Selmac loved the taste and texture of the nuts: Jacob complained that they gave him gas but that was Selmac's job to regulate. "And Jacob there's still some of that scotch you appreciated so much on your last visit."

"You're a wonder, Janet," Jacob said. He paused again to look at the snow sculpture. "We need to take some pictures of that. It deserves a longer lifespan than the next thaw."

"Sam's digital camera is inside. I'll go get it," Janet volunteered.

Sam dropped to her knees to smooth the snow around the sculpture. The rounded block of snow was half hollowed out, the face with its crown of golden tinsel emerging from the hardpacked snow. It was and was not Elizabeth Carter. It was and was not Samantha Carter. It was and was not Janet Fraiser. And yet it was all three. Jacob Carter saw that the expression of quiet yet hopeful reflection was mirrored on his daughter's face. Some demons had been laid to rest here.

"You okay, kiddo?" he asked, dropping a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"I'm fine, dad." She reached up to lay her hand on top of his and gazed up at him, smiling. "Better than fine. You're right about the demons. I've hidden this side of myself away for so long…"

"Because you thought I wouldn't approve," Jacob said softly. "My god Sam, if I ever made you think I wasn't proud of you, of who you are, of what you've achieved. I can never say sorry enough times for that." He dropped a kiss into her hair, and stood back to admire again the memorial to her mother that Sam had created from the snow. "That you could create something this beautiful… you're an amazing woman, Samantha. One I'm so proud to know as my daughter."

Father and daughter embraced, the twenty years and more of misunderstandings and miscommunications dropping away as if they had never been, as ephemeral as the snowflakes that started to softly fall again.

The Snow Queen glistened in the early morning sunlight, watching and smiling.

TORI AMOS "Winter" from the album `Little Earthquakes'

Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father's glove
I run off
Where the drifts get deeper
Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice
"Your must learn to stand up for yourself
Cause I can't always be around"

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Boys get discovered as winter melts
Flowers competing for the sun
Years go by and I'm here still waiting Withering where some snowman

Mirror mirror where's the crystal palace
But I only can see the myself
Skating around the truth who I am
But I know dad the ice is getting thin

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Hair is grey
And the fires are burning
So many dreams
On the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change
My dear

The End

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