By Enola Jones

Written for the 12 Days of Christmas, day 11: One of the team is away from home and may not make it back in time for Christmas.

"So how's it going?" John asked.

Teyla's smile shone through even on the videoscreen. "Very well. The Karnarians are a very pleasant people and they are most eager to build a relationship with Atlantis."

"So," John bounced on his tows. "When are you coming home?"

"Perhaps the day after tomorrow. Negotiations promise to be drawn out and we wish no misunderstanding."

John and Rodney looked at each other, then Rodney said, "Wait a second --- day after tomorrow?"

"You'll miss Christmas," John pointed out.

She nodded. "That is a possibility. I shall do my best."

"Do you need to get back?" Ronon asked.

"I do," she said. "Is Torren---"

"He behaves," Kanaan smiled. "He is trying to walk. I have told him to stop until your return, but I fear he does not listen."

Teyla blinked suspiciously bright eyes. "Give him my love."

"I shall," Kanaan promised.

"Be safe," Rodney said.

"Good luck," Ronon and John said in near unison, making Teyla laugh.

"I miss you," she said before she cut the signal and the wormhole winked out.

Rodney sighed. "Our first real Christmas after returning to Pegasus, and she's not here."

"Well," John pointed out, "we knew her diplomatic skills would be needed more than ever."

Kanaan squeezed his shoulder. "The three of you must spend your Christmas feast with Torren and I. I will hear no arguments. She would want us to be together."


Christmas Day arrived and each of the four men contributed to the feast. Rodney brought chicken and stuffing and rolls --- with butter! --- from the Mess Hall. John brought red wine from his personal stash, and a frozen chocolate cream pie for dessert. "It'll be thawed by then," he assured Kanaan. Ronon and Kanaan worked together to make traditional Satedan and Athosian feast dishes.

As they set the food out, the others teased Kanaan about his being a better cook than his wife. Kanaan merely smiled and said, "She is a diplomat. I am her support system, as you say. Is not part of support providing food?"

Laughter rang out, and Torren crawled over and slapped John's leg after he sat down. "Hey, buddy!" John lifted him up. "What's going on, huh?"

And Torren set a toy on the table.

Rodney grinned. "Is that his contribution?"

"I think it is," Kanaan chuckled. He moved the toy to the middle of the table, and they had an instant centrepiece.

As they sat down, the door opened and in walked Teyla, beaming at them.

"Teyla!" Everyone gasped, and swarmed her. She touched foreheads with them all and embraced them as well.

"Once I explained that our people have a feast today that celebrates family and togetherness," she explained as she sat in the chair Rodney pulled up and accepted Torren from John, "their attitude became 'What are you doing here? Go to your family and celebrate your feast!' So I did." Her smile grew. "I will be returning tomorrow, at their invitation."

"But you're here today," Ronon said with a smile.

"I have made it home for the Christmas feast," Teyla smiled as she kissed Torren's forehead.

And the celebration began in earnest.


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