Written for the 12 Days of Christmas challenge, day 4: "One of the non-earth natives is confused about something about Christmas. How does s/he get it explained?" This is set First Season.
Teyla looked up as John's hand closed over hers. She blinked at him, wondering why he was hindering her from finishing her meal.
"Talk to me," he urged softly.
She looked over to see Rodney and Radek already walking out of the mess hall doing that bizarre finishing of each other's sentences, and Ford going off with Bates, debating security.
She turned her eyes back to John. "About what?"
"You've been thoughtful and I'd like to know what's going on behind those eyes," he smiled charmingly.
She found herself smiling back, but then she allowed it to fade. "This – month of feasts that your people are in."
"Yes. I am afraid I do not fully understand it."
John's smile turned genuine. "It's a little hard for us to understand, even. There's a lot of rigamarole and stuff and it's a little much to take in."
"I believe what is confusing me most is the child."
His smile faded. "The child?"
"Yes. Corporal Martinez told me that Christmas is the birthday of the Christ Child. I do not understand why this birthday is different from others. Why is this child special?" At his silence, she went on, "To my people, the birth of any child is greeted with joy and feasting, because every child born is a victory over the Wraith. But your people have never faced the Wraith."
"No. We haven't. Many of our people," he began to try to explain, "see the Christ Child as Someone to worship. He was born to grow up and to die to rescue everyone who believes that He came back to life after He was dead."
"How is that possible?" she breathed.
John shrugged. "Nobody really knows. That's why it's called a miracle."
"Rescue, you said. Rescue your people from what?"
"Death. Failure. Sin. We don't have the Wraith or anything like them on Earth, so we find – other things – to be rescued from."
"And this Child.... did all this?"
"Many of our people believe so, yes."
She was thoughtful again. "So you honour His birth. Do you honour His death?"
"That's another holiday."
"I see." She took a bite and chewed it, still thoughtful. "I doubt I will fully understand your people's ways."
"Well, nobody's asking you to. Oh, here." He pulled out a small package and handed it to her. "I found this on PRX-325 and thought of you."
She frowned. "John – if you are celebrating the birthday of someone else, why are you giving the gift to me?"
And the smile grew. "Now that's another long story. See, when the Christ Child was born, a star that wasn't there before came into the sky. And there were wise men from another country...."
Two tables over, Corporal Johnson listened to the storyteller weave a spell around Teyla with the old familiar tales. It was rare that Major Sheppard allowed himself to relax and just tell stories, but whenever it happened, he loved to hear it.
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