Lt. Col., Samantha Carter looked up at the overcast sky and tugged her cap down over her eyes. Water dripped off the bill, running down her clothes and her neck. In fact, water dripped everywhere. Three days they had been on this planet and the entire time it had rained. Not a downpour, just a steady, cold, and very very wet rain. She felt the water leaking under her collar and pulled her BDU jacket tighter.

Shaking herself, she plodded onward. Reflecting on this mission to Px2-743, she sighed. What a waste of time. She had been very, very bored. She had filled her soil sample tubes in the first 4 hours after arrival. The walk to Daniel's ruins had taken 6 hours. Daniel had been almost orgasmic over his finds and hadn't complained about the rain once. Teal'c was his usually stoic self. It took a lot to get him excited. They had seen no signs of life here. Well, nothing unless you count the animal droppings that Daniel and found in usual Daniel-style by stepping in them. She grinned as she remembered the disgusted look on his face after that!

The hike back was very quiet. Daniel had not wanted to leave his ruins, but Sam had insisted. The last thing she wanted was to have General O'Neill have to send someone looking for them. Although, the General was well aware of Daniel's ability to forget time and place when he was excited about something, Sam was adamant.

"Daniel, we have exactly 7 hours to get back to the gate before we are overdue. I will NOT be late today!" Sam had told him, holding up her hand as he opened his mouth to protest. "It is two days before Christmas and I have not finished my shopping. We are leaving NOW!"

Daniel had taken it well overall, she thought. He had simply nodded, closed his mouth and started to gather his equipment. Teal'c simply dipped his head and continued his perusal of the countryside.

So here they were, slogging through the wet grass and occasional muddy bog in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. Sam was feeling melancholy. Christmas was here again and she was still alone. Dad wouldn't be able to come this year. So what else was new? In fact, she hadn't heard from Dad since the Tok'ra departed earth. She had no idea where he was, or even if he was ok. Pete was no longer in the picture. He had decided he couldn't share her with the SGC. And she had decided she didn't love him enough to give up her world. And this would be the first Christmas without Janet, without her best friend, confidant, surrogate sister. What was there to look forward to?

"Another wonderful Christmas," Sam muttered sourly.

"Did you say something, Sam?" asked Daniel. He looked at her with concern in his eyes.

"No, just commenting on this lovely weather!" She replied with a little grin. "At least it's not snowing! We could have a white Christmas!"

Daniel returned her grin and turned back to his walk.

The cough caught Sam by surprise. One minute she was walking, deep in her own thoughts, the next she was bent over, hands on knees trying to catch her breath after the coughing spell. Daniel and Teal'c stopped and looked at her in concern.

"Sam, are you alright?" Daniel asked, coming over to her.

"Yeah, I guess so," she replied, standing back up. "This weather must be getting to me."

"That didn't sound good," Daniel persisted. "How are you feeling?"

Sam was quiet as she did a mental inventory. Now that she thought about it, her head did hurt a little and her nose seemed to be drippy. She felt a little achy, and wet. Did she mention wet?

"Guess I must be getting a cold. This weather has been miserable. Let's get home so I can finally dry out!" She gave Daniel and Teal'c a sickly grin and started forward towards the gate, still several hours away. Daniel reluctantly fell in beside her, followed by Teal'c. Out of the corner of her eye she saw both watching her.

Going back to her earlier thoughts she finally pinpointed why she was feeling blue. She was depressed. She felt miserable. That's what this whole trip had been, miserable. This was a miserable planet. This was a miserable day. Her whole life was miserable. That was the word she wanted. Why should she be depressed? Despite all that had happened in her life, she had the greatest job in the world, the best friends in the entire universe. All in all, her life was almost everything she wanted it to be. Almost. All she lacked right now was a blazing fire, a large bottle of wine and a certain General with silver hair….

"Don't go there!" She scolded herself. "That's never gonna' happen." Lately, her mind had been going in that direction more often and it had been harder to redirect it. "Think about physics", she told herself. "Think about anything else except for his hair and …"

"Suck it up, airman," she told herself. "He is off limits now, just like he has been for 8 years." Eight. Long. Years. And did she mention long? Oh well, at least she had him as a friend. He would always be there for her as a friend.

She marched onward, deep in thought, not noticing the rain, the uneven ground, the deep hole right in front of her until she found herself face down on the ground.

"How did that happen?" she wondered as she struggled to get herself upright. Daniel was immediately at her side, followed closely by Teal'c. A sharp pain radiated up her leg as she tried to pull herself up.

"Sam, are you alright?" Daniel asked, kneeling by her side. Teal'c was immediately at her other side.

"Guess I found the home of what left your animal droppings," Sam grimaced. Her leg hurt. Really. Hurt. Crap. Double Crap. "There goes Christmas", she thought. It figured!

"Let's get you up so we can take a look at that leg," Daniel said standing. He and Teal'c each took an arm and pulled her to her feet. The moment she tried to put weight on the foot, her leg started to collapse. "Easy, now. Sit over here so I can check you out."

With their help Sam hopped to a clump of grass and sat down. Teal'c helped to take her pack off while Daniel eased her boot and sock off so that he could see the damage. Already her ankle had started to swell. Swell, hell. It was huge! And don't get her started on the knee…

"Ah, Sam? This doesn't look good." Daniel stuttered. Before he could say anything else, another coughing fit wracked her body. Daniel just looked at her with concern. The coughing continued until she could barely catch her breath. "That doesn't sound good either! Teal'c let's get her back ASAP."

Teal'c nodded. "We must make haste, DanielJackson."

"Hey guys, I'm right here, remember? Oh, and I AM in charge of this mission," Sam gasped as she tried to breathe normally, only to erupt in a cough.

"Well, until you can give orders without coughing, I'm in charge," Daniel replied. He nodded to Teal'c who helped Sam up into a standing position and put his arm around her waist, looping her arm over his shoulders. Daniel did the same on her other side. She was too short of breath to argue.

"Let's move out. Christmas waits for no man er… or woman!" Daniel grinned, trying to mask his concern. They walked/limped in the direction of the gate.