Disclaimer: Not mine - no way, no how! No money, either, and definitely no regrets.
This story is unbetaed
For mmkbrook: Merry Christmas!
Santa Claus is coming to town! Santa Clause is cominggggg to town!
Every person in the Commissary vibrated with good will as the words echoed across the crowded room. Every person but one, that is.
There's that damned song again! Jack thought with a surge of annoyance. Maybe I should introduce Santa to the Goa'uld. The scowl on O'Neill's face nearly matched his Scroogish thoughts.
“I do not understand, O'Neill.”
Jack's Scrooge-fest was cut short by the words of the galaxy's one nice Jaffa. “What don't you get, Teal'c?”
Teal'c had a sampling of every dish being served for lunch that day, but now he ignored his food in order to give his attention to the man sitting across the table from him. “I am still uncertain as to who this Santa Claus is, and why he is coming to town.”
With a sigh, Jack repeated the same phrase he and the rest of SG-1 had been saying since the Holiday season had begun. “It's just a song, Teal'c; let it go.”
The look in Teal'c's gaze simply screamed doubt. “You are certain that my staff weapon is not required?”
And just like all the other times he'd heard that question, Jack grinned wickedly at the image of blasting Santa with a staff weapon. He eventually managed to choke, “No, I'm pretty sure everything's a-okay.”
Teal'c still didn't look convinced. “I do not understand why your God finds it acceptable to share this... this...”
“... holiday,” Jack filled in for him.
Satisfied with the correct word, Teal'c grunted. “Yes... share a... holiday, as you call it... with this man named Santa Claus.”
Jack morbidly perked at Teal'c's tone of disbelief. “You don't get this holiday thing, do you?”
“I do not.”
“Don't tell me - they don't have holidays on Chulak.”
“They do not.”
“No holidays in the Chulakian calendar... no days off, either?” Jack guessed.
Teal'c's brows lowered in puzzlement. “What is a 'day off?'”
Jack gave an exasperated sigh. “You know... when you've been working for a long time, and need some time off.” Teal'c remained puzzled. “What? You didn't get time off for lording it over all those Jaffa?”
“Lord Apophis would kill me for 'lording it.'”
Of course. “For being First Prime,” Jack corrected.
The forehead furrows cleared. “We did not.”
“No sick days?” Jack next guessed.
“What is this 'sick day?'”
“You know... for when you have the flu... or a cold.... or just want to stay in bed all day.”
“Jaffa are never sick. Their symbiote...”
“... heals them. That's right. Well, humans don't have symbiotes, so we get sick all the time.”
“That is when humans get sick days?”
“Do you get these sick days?”
Jack nodded. “The Air Force is her job, and law requires that she get a certain number of sick days every year. So, yeah.”
“MajorCarter is always working,” Teal'c protested. “If she gets a sick day, she would stay home in bed?”
Too late, Jack realized his error. The idea of Sam Carter actually using one of her sick days... “Okay - bad example.”
“You have also not stayed in bed all day,” came the Jaffa's second protest.
Jack considered. “Okay... another bad example. But most people are perfectly happy to take sick days every now and then. The other people at their work cover for them.”
Teal'c's puzzlement was back in full force. “What do covers have to do with sick days?” Then his face brightened. “Is it because one stays in bed all day?”
“Uhhhhh... no. It's just a phrase that...” Jack's voice trailed to silence as he realized the enormity of explaining what the word 'covers' meant in all it's differing situations. “Nevermind. My point is about holidays anyway, not sick days.”
“Holidays.” Teal'c's brow furrowed once more, which meant that O'Neill was no closer to eating his lunch than he had been ten minutes ago. “What does the word 'holiday' have to do with Santa Claus?”
Jack puffed out a breath as he thought. “'Holiday' is just a word that means a special day... like Thanksgiving that we had a few weeks ago. That was a holiday, too. So was Halloween.”
“How does one know which holiday is being referred to?”
Jack shrugged. “Whichever holiday is coming up next is most likely the right holiday.”
“And Santa Claus is the next holiday on Earth?”
Jack had to grin. “No, not Santa Claus. I thought Daniel already told you; the holiday is called 'Christmas.' Santa Claus is the person who is associated with Christmas.”
Confusion affixed itself to Teal'c's face. “That is not the name that DanielJackson just told me about this morning that is associated with this Christmas.”
Who else was associated with Christmas? “Oh, you mean 'Jesus Christ?'”
“Yes, that is the one. Is he your God, O'Neill?”
“Uhhhh... yes and no.”
Uh-oh; the forehead wrinkles were back. That meant Teal'c was about to say...
“I do not understand.”
Jack groaned the sigh of a beleaguered man. “What don't you get this time, Teal'c?”
“This man is either your God or he is not. How is he a part of Santa Claus?”
“Uhhhhh....” Jack really didn't want to get into a religious discussion with Teal'c in the middle of a crowded Commissary where just anybody could overhear him. The next thing he knew, he would be explaining the details of Catholicism versus Protestantism versus Hinduism versus... any number of 'isms.' Jack wasn't sure any of his explanations would even make sense to Teal'c. When faced with the impossible, Jack did what he always did. “Ask Daniel.”
“So Christmas is not about your God?”
“It is and it...”
“You just told me that Earth does not have a God.”
Before he had the chance to completely lose his admittedly short patience, Jack forced himself to look at this situation from a Jaffa's perspective. That was when he realized why Teal'c just could not understand this holiday. “Oh, you mean like the Goa'uld kind of God, not like God kind of God.”
“That is what I said... Earth's God.”
“Earth has many God... I mean Gods.”
Teal'c clearly did not understand this concept! “How do so many Gods work together to make one holiday?”
“Uhhhh... Well, I guess they don't work together... not exactly.” At Teal'c's continued furrowing, Jack simply said, “Okay, look at it this way: the two holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are just a few weeks apart, so together they're often called 'the holiday season.' Now, we've already had Thanksgiving...”
“... where we ate all that food.” Teal'c had been amazed to see the food from a typical Thanksgiving feast laid out all at the same time on Jack's dining room table three weeks ago. Jack remembered that he had wanted to save most of it for another day.
“Right. That was then. Now it's the Christmas season.”
“Christmas is for giving gifts to friends,” Teal'c recited.
Apparently he had learned something from his time spent with SG-1's resident geek. “Yes, for gifts. I've got a good one planned for you.”
The brows lowered again. “MajorCarter, DanielJackson, and you are my friends... should I not contribute to this Christmas as well?”
“You can if you want to, Teal'c. Nobody will stop you. But you shouldn't feel like you have to.”
Silence reigned for a moment, then Teal'c queried, “Will not this Santa Claus come to town for me if I do not?”
Jack smiled at such a simplification of the Santa Claus concept. “He doesn't 'come to town' just to get you, Teal'c. Santa's not that kind of a person.”
“So he is not Jesus Christ's Jaffa?”
Jack spluttered. “Uhhhh... no. Jesus has no Jaffa.”
“Then who fights his battles for him?”
“Uhhhh... priests do, I guess.”
“Are not these priests just Jaffa?”
“Huh.” Jack had never thought of priests in that light. “You can call them that.” Jack still didn't want to bring up the religious issue. “Ask Daniel. Just remember that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are two separate people. Jesus is the religious guy, and Santa is...” What was Santa? “... not.”
Teal'c leaned back in his chair. “I will sum up: Christmas is a holiday, and has to do with Gods; Earth has many. But it does not have to do with Santa Claus when he comes to town.”
Ech... Jack had never realized before just how confusing Christmas really was. “Sort of right. Just think of Christmas as both a religious holiday and a not-religious holiday at the same time. Jesus takes care of the religious part of it, and Santa Claus takes care of the not religious part.”
“But giving gifts is part of both parts?”
“What is this 'Secret Santa' that I overheard ColonelMakepeace talking about today?”
“Is Santa a secret because he is invisible?”
“Uhhhhhh... lunch is getting cold. How 'bout we eat, then we'll go ask Daniel.”
“Does DanielJackson know Santa Claus?”
“Oh, him and Santa go way back,” Jack assured. “He's your goto guy for all things Santa.”
“I will ask DanielJackson.” Teal'c turned his attention to his roast beef.
The Jaffa was quiet as he ate, enough for Jack to finally dig into his own mashed potatoes. But a moment later, Teal'c's forehead furrowed anew. Jack quickly stuffed as many potatoes as he could into his mouth before the second Jaffa salvo began.
“DanielJackson knows many things about Earth customs. How then is he not the leader of SG-1?”
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