Author's note : Corporal Henry, for those who don't know, is a character from Left Behind: Stargate Atlantis. He is the cook for the expedition and no one, at this point, knows he is also a pastor.
Christmas Stargate Atlantis Style
Dragonlots aka Dana Bell
"You're going to do what?" Teyla picked up the bright red coat with the white trim and stared at John.
"Play Santa for the children of your village." John grabbed the coat from her hand and hung it up in his closet.
"You have some very strange customs."
"No stranger than any of yours." Sheppard hooked his arm around hers and escorted her out into the hall. "Besides, it's Christmas and we want to make it special." He laughed. "You should see the tree in the cafeteria. How about lunch?"
"I am hungry."
The two walked into the vaulted room. Several expedition members were eating at the various tables and a large tree dominated the wall next to the window.
"It'll look better once we decorate it," John informed her, grabbing a sandwich and a cup of coffee.
Teyla shook her head and picked some fruit and a bottle of water. The two sat down and were soon joined by McKay and Zelenka who were arguing, as usual, about some discovery they'd made.
"Hey," Sheppard interrupted. "It's Christmas."
"And your point is?" Rodney shot back.
Zelenka moaned. "He's been like this all day."
"I just don't happen to like Christmas."
"What, you only got coal from Santa?" John grinned.
"Corporal Henry has promised us a wonderful Christmas dinner," Elizabeth stated as she joined them. She dumped a tea bag into her mug and took a bite of apple.
"And just how is he going to pull that off?" McKay wanted to know.
"Is not the Deadalus due at moment?" Teyla inquired.
"Oh, he'd never get the approval for such a meal." The scientist glanced around at the others. "Would he?"
Weir smiled as if she knew a secret. "You never know."
'Deck the Halls' began to play and the group at the table glanced up in surprise. Corporal Henry saw them and smiled, heading over to the tree carrying a big red box.
"Now I have go to see what that is." Sheppard jumped up and raced over.
"Hello, Colonel," the corporal greeted. He carefully lifted the lid and gently unwrapped a bright yellow star. With a fond look he placed it on top of the tree. "Now, we just need some other decorations."
"How'd you get that?" John pointed at the star.
"My sister managed to convince someone on the Deadalus to bring it to me."
"She must have very good connections."
"She does. If you'll excuse me." Henry hurried back into the kitchen.
John rejoined his friends.
"That star looks lonely," Elizabeth commented.
"I might a thing or two to add," Zelenka commented.
"And I'll come up with something," John said. "Wonder if there's any popcorn?"
"With all the silly movies you watch," McKay began.
Weir cleared her throat. "I'd like to get through one day without," she never got to finish her statement. 'Dr. Weir', sounded in her ear. She tapped her mic. "Yes."
'Sorry to disturb you, but we have an incoming message from Sora.'
"I'll be right there." She got up and hurried out.
"Could be trouble." John followed as did Teyla. They walked into the gate room as Weir spoke to the Genii woman.
"This is Dr. Weir."
"As I said," Sora's voice said through the open wormhole, "before your very rude tech informed me to wait."
The tech grimaced. "She was rude first," he mumbled.
"We were asked by someone there to provide food for some sort of feast."
Sheppard turned to see Corporal Henry behind him. "I apologize, Dr. Weir. I should have informed you I'd been negotiating for vegetables and fruit for Christmas dinner."
She crossed her arms over her red shirt. "How much C4 do they want for it?"
"Uh," his face turned an odd color. "They don't. That wasn't the agreement."
Weir stepped closer to the cook and lowered her voice. "You know as well as I do they can't be trusted. In all our dealings with them, they've double crossed us."
"I doubt she's forgotten we held her prisoner," John put in.
"How do you think I got to know her, Colonel?" Henry sounded defensive. "Please, may I talk with her?"
"You should have talked with me first." Elizabeth wasn't pleased.
"I'm sorry. I wanted to try and keep some secrets. If I may?"
She nodded. Henry swallowed and stepped up to the main desk. "Sorry about that, Sora."
"That's okay. Given our past together, I can't say I blame you." There was a brief silence. "I've put the agreed upon foods by the gate. You can collect them at any time."
"And you'll no doubt jump us when we come through," John replied sarcastically.
"Obviously, you don't know the facts as they now stand."
Sheppard made a face. "Huh?"
"I'll go," Henry volunteered. "It was my deal."
"Colonel Sheppard, take your team and go with him." Weir didn't wait for the Colonel to acknowledge her order. "Corporal Henry will there within the hour."
"Understood." The wormhole flickered off.
"Be careful," Weir emphasized.
"We will," John promised.
An hour later Sheppard, Teyla, McKay and Henry walked through the gate with a Malph. Several boxes were piled close by.
"Let's get these loaded and get out of here." The colonel glanced uneasily around. "I still think this is a trap."
Quickly they loaded the wooden crates. They were full of vegetables and fruits and it looked like maybe a couple of homemade pies.
"How'd you score these?" Sheppard wanted to know.
"You have to know how to talk to people," Henry responded.
Sora appeared out of the trees. John raised his gun. "Knew it."
Corporal Henry walked over and met her.
"It's good to see you again," Sora said.
"And to see you, Sora." Henry reached out and gently took her hand. "You look happy."
"I am." She smiled and her face seemed to glow. "There are many among us now who have come to believe."
"But you aren't part of the main group anymore."
"No. How did you know?"
"Just past history and a few things you said when we talked."
"I won't pretend to understand."
"Just keep studying. You will,"
Her head jerked up. "You need to go. Quickly."
"Thank you." He lightly kissed her cheek. "God Bless, sister." Henry raised his voice. "We need to go, Colonel!"
McKay needed no further urging and put in the dialing sequence for Atlantis. They went through the gate and safely arrived back. The two privates who also worked in the kitchen were on hand and between the three men and several other officers who'd volunteered to help, lugged the boxes out.
"That was weird," John commented.
"John?" Elizabeth asked quizzically.
"He called Sora 'sister'. Their whole conversation didn't make sense."
"I have noticed he often comes to speak to a group in my village," Teyla added.
"Well, at least the Genii didn't jump us," McKay reminded them.
"I'll speak to Corporal Henry later," Weir promised. "The Deadalus arrived just after you left."
"Good." John ran out. He'd been planning the surprise for the Athosian children for months. He just hoped Colonel Caldwell had been able to find everything he'd asked for.
Christmas day arrived and with it most of the Athosians from the mainland. Weir had invited them all to the dinner. John dressed in the Santa suit, using his pillow as stuffing. He pulled on the graybeard and the hat. He'd had to use his regular issue boots, but that was okay. Somehow, he doubted the children would even notice.
Grabbing the bag he'd hoped would be filled with toys, Sheppard picked up the bags of candy and stuffed them in. Caldwell had not been able to get the funding or approval for gifts. The Colonel had tried, but in the end, the idea had been vetoed.
"Oh, well," John muttered. "They'll never know." He left his quarters and went to join the others in the cafeteria. As he stepped through the door he stopped in amazement. The tree had been decorated with stings of popcorn and other homemade ornaments. Tables were set festively complete with green or red clothes, and the buffet was filled with the most wonderfully smelling food. "Wow!"
"Corporal Henry outdid himself," Elizabeth agreed. He wasn't sure when she'd come to stand beside him.
He glanced at her and decided she looked gorgeous in her ruby sweater and matching pants. She even wore a Santa pin.
"You play Santa. I'll be your elf."
Somehow, he couldn't really see her in the role, but what the heck. They circled the room greeting everyone. McKay teased him about the suit and John took it in stride. It was, after all, Christmas.
Teyla managed to get all the children in one spot and John opened the bag passing out candy. They shyly thanked him before rejoining their parents. The rest Sheppard handed out to various adults. He put the bag under the tree and took off the Santa suit. Taking a moment to straighten his uniform, he joined Elizabeth, McKay, Teyla, Beckett and Cadman at the head table.
Noise in the room slowly went up as people busied themselves talking and eating. There was more than enough food and several went through the line more than once.
"Hope I don't have a long line in the infirmary," Beckett said in his Scottish brogue.
"I hope so, too." Laura smiled. "I was hoping for a long walk on the pier."
"I think I can manage that."
"How's Katie?" The red head asked McKay.
"Uh, Okay, I guess."
"Don't tell me you haven't been on another date with her."
Rodney desperately glanced around looking for an escape. "What is Corporal Henry doing?"
Six pair of eyes shifted to where the Atlantis cook stood by the tree. He held some sort of book and started to read from it.
"I recognize that passage from Sunday School," John said.
"YOU went to Sunday School?" McKay couldn't believe it.
"My dad made me." He leaned forward. "I haven't heard the Christmas story in a long, long time."
"Henry sounds almost like a preacher." McKay turned to Weir. "Is he?"
"I have no idea."
Like the rest of the room Weir fell silent listening to the story of a shepherds in the fields, the angels appearing, and their visit to a baby in a lowly stable.
The corporal closed the book and smiled. "Now, I have a surprise. An old friend of mine agreed to come to visit." He stepped back as a rotund figure emerged from the kitchen.
"Ho, ho, ho,"
"Stole my idea," John grumbled.
"Merry Christmas!" Santa greeted. The red and white figure stopped in front of the tree. "Who has been a good little boy or girl?"
"Me!" came the answer from every child in the room.
Every child rushed forward. Out of the bag Santa carried where all sorts of gifts. One child received a hunting spear, another a new bowl for cooking, and all sorts of odd presents that John, in all his imaginings, would never have thought of.
"Wonder how a lowly corporal pulled that off," Rodney smirked.
"I have no idea." John glared at McKay.
The party began to wind down and people began to drift away. Beckett and Cadman disappeared and John guessed they'd gone for their walk on the pier. McKay and Zelenka were talking shop, Elizabeth had gone to get more pie to take back to her room and he supposed he should think of going to bed himself.
He turned to face Teyla. "Yes?"
"I wanted to thank you. I do not know when I have seen our children happier."
"I wasn't as much of a hit." He pointed to Santa. "As he was."
"It does not matter. As I have heard many say, it is the thought that counts."
Suddenly Santa stood beside them. "You're under the mistletoe."
"What mistletoe?" John retorted.
Over their heads the green leafy plant with white flowers appeared.
"How did you," he stared in disbelief.
"It's Christmas. A time for magic." Santa's eyes danced. "Well, go ahead and kiss her."
"I," John stammered.
"Is this part of the Christmas ritual?" Teyla inquired.
"It is," Santa confirmed.
Sheppard cleared his throat and leaned over to touch his lips to Teyla's. They were soft and warm and found himself wanting to kiss her again. Decorum dictated though and he pulled back.
The two stared at each other.
"Don't let her get away," Santa urged.
"Time to go, Santa," Corporal Henry said. "You have a long night ahead of you."
"Sleigh where I left it?"
"Yep. Even gave the reindeer carrots. Thanks for coming."
"Anytime. Oh, your sister sent a package. I left it in the kitchen for you."
"As I said, anytime." Santa ducked into the kitchen.
"If you hurry," Henry said. "You can see him fly through the Stargate."
"What?!" John ran to the gate room. Several others joined them. Sitting in the middle of the floor was a sleigh, eight reindeer and two grinning kids were sitting in the back seat.
"Let's go, Dad!" The boy had to be a teen.
"What took so long, Uncle Scott?" the little red head girl asked.
"Yeah. Mom and Neil will be worried."
"It'll be fine." Santa got into the sleigh. "I'm really loving traveling by the gate. Sure saves time."
The gate dialed up by itself and Santa shouted the names of the all the reindeer before they leaped through the center.
"They'll never believe this back on Earth," John marveled.
Teyla tilted her head to one side. "I do not understand."
Sheppard put his arm around her, "It's like this…."