AUTHOR'S NOTE: Every year, I seem to write a Stargate Atlantis or SG1 Christmas story. This year, I thought I'd be a bit different and pick on another holiday. Just to place it in my prequels to LB:SGA, this takes place after 'Christmas Stargate Atlantis Style' and before 'The Christmas Trip'. And yes, I'm posting this after Halloween since I've been busy finishing my original piece, 'Dragon Summer'. I hope to get this sent to a publisher soon.

WARNING: Strong Christian theme throughout.

HALLOWEEN DANCE

Chapter 1

Dragonlots aka Dana Bell

Katie closed the book she was reading and pushed it to the side on her desk, trying not to knock over the half dozen plants that lived there. The special cactus she intended to name after Rodney tottered dangerously and she grabbed it before it smashed to the floor.

After the cactus was secured, she fingers wandered to the book itching to open it again. Though the author had finished the series a couple years back, she'd managed to avoid finding out how it ended even though several others were reading it as well or already had finished it. Those who were done were keeping the ending to themselves.

The lab door swooshed open and she glanced up into Rodney McKay's eyes. She hadn't missed the fast flick to the book. "Finished it yet?"

"No. And I'd appreciate it if you DON'T telling me how it ends.'"

"Wouldn't dream of it." A shy goofy smile spread across his lips. "I came to ask you to the Halloween dance."

The botanist smiled. She'd been hoping he'd ask her and not just assume they'd be going together. "Yes."

"Great."

"I've already got an idea for a costume." She did, but she wasn't going to tell him. Better if she surprised him.

"Me, too." He headed for the door then stopped. "Want me to come by your quarters?"

"Sure."

"See you Friday." Rodney darted out almost like he was afraid she'd change her mind. Katie guessed that dating was still a bit new to him.

"Not letting you off that easy," she murmured under her breath, totally pleased with the situation.

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Madison squirmed while Jeanie tried to finish fitting the Disney Princess costume. This year her daughter wanted to be Cinderella, complete with a Trick or Treat bag shaped like a pumpkin coach and a sparkling tiara in her dark hair.

"Need help?" Kaleb asked from the doorway of the cluttered sewing room.

"Thanks. I've got it under control."

"Ouch," Madison complained.

"Well, be still and you won't get stuck by a pin."

"I still don't see why," her husband continued as he stepped inside, "you didn't just buy one at Walmart."

"Like mommy's better!"

Jeanie didn't bother to try and explain. She figured Madison's reaction was enough.

Kaleb put is hands up. "Okay, okay. I surrender."

With a giggle their daughter darted away and threw herself around her father's legs, hugging them. "Ouch!" She let go and rubbed her arm.

"Better come here and take that off so I can finish your dress."

"Okay." Madison looked pointedly at Kaleb. "Gentlemen leave the room when a lady takes off her dress."

Giving her a mock bow, Kaleb quickly left.

It didn't take long to take the dress off, nor get Madison back into her jeans and sweater. Jeanie carefully put the costume on her sewing table to finish later.

"How about some hot apple cider?"

Madison's face lit up with a huge grin. Together they went to the kitchen. Kaleb stuck his head in and teased, "Okay, for me to come in?"

Laughing Madison ran to him and he picked her up. Jeanie didn't miss the slight 'omff', her husband emitted. Their daughter was growing up fast.

"Cider smells good," her husband said as he sat down, Madison on his lap.

"Old family recipe." Jeanie flinched slightly at the unintentinal mention of her parents. They'd been gone for several years, but the pain sometimes surfaced.

"Your mom would be proud you're carrying on the tradition. You still want to go to your parents' cabin for Christmas?"

"I'd like to." She reached up into the light colored cupboard and removed three mugs. "Would you mind if I asked my brother to join us?"

"Do you think he'll be able to get away?"

"I have no idea." She placed the three mugs on the cupboard and lifted the lid of the crock pot. The mixed smell of cinnamon and apples tickled her nose. Quickly she filled the cups and placed them on the table.

"Yummy!" Madison slid off her dad's lap and claimed both a chair and a mug for herself.

Kaleb took another and Jeanie sat down with the third. She lifted the cup and sipped the cider. "Just like mom's," she murmured.

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"I hear you have a date for the Halloween dance," John teased McKay as he joined the scientist. Sheppard slipped into a chair as he settled his loaded tray and huge mug of coffee.

Rodney glanced over at the soldier's breakfast tray filled with sausage, bacon, eggs, and pancakes. "You look like you're trying to feed an army," he shot back.

"Gotta keep my energy up so I can outrun the Wraith." The other man gave the scientist a grin before forking a sausage and eating it.

"Good morning, Rodney," Elizabeth brightly greeted as she joined them. Her tray in contrast held oatmeal, and an orange, accompanied by her favorite beverage, tea.

"Morning," he grumbled back. Fact was, he'd decided to go to breakfast early, hoping to have a few minutes alone. Seemed his plan backfired on him. "What about you?" he angled his question at Sheppard. "You have a date yet?"

"Maybe."

"You must be talking about the Halloween dance." Dr. Weir glanced at the two men as she took the bag out of her steaming cup and placed it on the side of the saucer.

John grinned. "Rodney's got a date."

"From what I hear," Elizabeth sipped her tea, "so do you."

"Has to be Teyla," McKay smirked. He hadn't forgotten how Santa had gotten them to kiss under the mistletoe the previous Christmas. He'd also come across the two eating alone late at night or taking a walk on one of the balconies.

"Maybe," the soldier mumbled. "What about you, Elizabeth? Who's you're date?"

"I don't date anyone under my command."

"Can get lonely at the top and we don't know how long we'll be here."

"I'm fine, John."

"Any one seen Carson this morning?" Rodney sensed it was time to change the subject.

"I saw Dr. Beckett and Laura Cadman earlier." Weir began to peel her orange. "They were talking to Zelenka about something."

"Oh." Rodney concentrated on his pancakes wondering what the three had been talking about. Hopefully not him. He hated when people did that.

Cheerful whistling echoed through the nearly empty cafeteria. Rodney glanced up as Corporal Henry, a square white apron tied around his waist and over his plain green uniform, checked the breakfast buffet. With a nod the cook moved away and motioned to his two assistants who carried a large box in, setting it on the marble like floor.

"Wonder what's in the box?" John mused, taking a gulp of coffee.

McKay nibbled on his pancakes. "Probably some horrible monster that will devour a bunch of people and we'll have to chase down and kill."

"Rodney," Elizabeth gently chided. "My guess would be it's the decorations for the Halloween dance."

"I keep wondering," John said, pushing his nearly empty tray aside, "how the Corporal manages to get what he does. Like food from the Genii without them wanting C4 in exchange.'

"The food was good though." Rodney hadn't forgotten the marvelous Christmas feast nor the fact that most of it had been provided by the Genii.

"He seems to have a way with people," Weir said.

"What's the old saying?" John asked. "The way to man's heart is through his stomach."

"I heard a good one the other day," McKay chimed in. "The way to a man's heart is through his ribs and slightly downward."

"Ouch!"

"Not at breakfast, please." Their leader held her tea cup in her hands and took a drink.

"There's Carson and Cadman.' Glad to see his friend and the woman the doctor was dating, Rodney waved at them. Beckett waved back as they headed for the food.

Sheppard picked up his tray. "Think I'll go work on my costume."

"Good idea." Weir got up with her tray as well.

"You've actually got a costume, huh?" The soldier winked at her.

"I like to dress up now and then."

"Bet you've got a date, too."

"I wouldn't take that bet if I were you," McKay warned.

With a shared laugh, the two left him alone.

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"You have decided," the four foot, gray alien said.

"I have," Peter Thornton confirmed. "Dr. Jeanie Miller comes highly recommended by the SGC." He closed the file on his desk and met the calm gaze of Tiez. "It's the least I can do after your people fixed my eyesight."

He hadn't forgotten how the Asgard had volunteered to fix his eyes after they'd learned he was nearly blind because of cataracts. The aliens seemed to like working with the Phoenix Foundation, and with him, so they kept telling him their actions were logical. Inwardly he chuckled. Logical reminded him of a certain Vulcan on Star Trek.

"Do you think she will accept?" Tiez blinked her large black eyes.

"I really don't know." He tapped the file. "That paper she wrote is the first thing we've seen from her for years and that's what brought her to the attention of the Samantha Carter."

Thin fingers reached for the file. Peter allowed Tiez to take it and waited while she read the contents.

"The concept of choosing motherhood over scientific work is strange to me."

"A lot of women are making that choice."

"If it means the continuance of your people, then it is a good thing." She slid the file back onto his desk. "Contact her."

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She hummed while she worked on Madison's costume. Jeanie loved this time of night. Her daughter was safely tucked into bed and Kaleb sat ensconced in this favorite easy chair in front of the living room fireplace. She could almost see him with his feet up, one of the many afghans her grandmother had made draped over his legs, engrossed in the latest spy thriller. Every once in a while she heard him make a noise and assumed something interesting was happening in his book.

The phone rang and she heard Kaleb grumble as he got up to answer it. Jeanie had deliberately not put one in this room. She wanted at least one place that was a sanctuary from the outside world.

Lining up the final seam, she put down the pressure foot and pressed her foot on the pedal to complete her daughter's costume. After trimming the extra thread from the completed garment, she shook out the fabric.

"Sorry to interrupt," her husband apologized, "but it's for you."

"At least you waited until I was finished." She put the Cinderella dress on the table and took the phone from him.

"I know better." He kissed her on the cheek before retreating.

"Hello?" She couldn't imagine who would be calling her at this time of night.

"I'm sorry if I woke you," a pleasant male voice apologized.

"You didn't."

"I'm Peter Thornton and I'm the head of the Phoenix Foundation."

His name sounded vaguely familiar. "Yes?"

"I'd like to offer you a job."

"I'm sure you'll understand if I say no."

Peter chuckled. "Please, hear me out first. You'd only be working as a consultant and I understand you know about the Stargate program and Atlantis."

"Did my brother put you up to this?" If he had, she was going to give Rodney a piece of her mind in the next letter she sent to him.

"No, Dr. McKay knows nothing about this."

"Then why me?"

"May I have a few minutes to explain?"

Jeanie thought it for a moment before consenting. "Alright." She sat back down in her sewing chair.

"The Foundation holds a few military and government contracts, including one with Stargate Command. Most of my scientists working on the project don't have any idea that they're retro engineering alien technology. Recently," there was some noise in the background and from the few words she overheard, Jeanie assumed he was talking to someone in his office. "Sorry about that. Recently the Asgard have agreed to allow one of their own to aid us in our research. Because of security agreements, I'm unable to have Tiez work with my current team."

She was beginning to see where he was going and not really liking it. Although there was a small part of her that was thrilled at the prospect. "You understand that I chose to be mother and want to stay home with my daughter."

"That's why I'm offering you a consultant position. It doesn't require you to relocate to LA and a lot of your work could be done over the computer or phone. You might only have to travel here two to four times a year. At the Foundation's expense," he added as though it was an incentive.

His offer was tempting Jeanie had to admit to herself. Working beside her brother in Atlantis had reawakened her scientific desires and ambitions, just as the theoretical paper had that she'd wrote after watching Madison's train set.

"You'll understand if I say I need to think about it and discuss it with my husband."

"Of course. I'll FedEx the offer and all the details to you at your home in the morning. They'll include my phone number and anything else you might need to know."

"Do you have a lot of consultants working for you?" She was curious and had to ask.

"More than most agencies. Due to the variety of projects we handle, I've managed to secure consultants in just about every field around the world."

"I'm surprised the Stargate program hasn't asked you for referrals."

"Oh, they have. Most of the group currently on Atlantis came from a list prepared by my people."

"I'm impressed."

"Well," he sounded contrite, "we do have the reputation for having the best scientific think tank in the world, even better than most government ones."

"Of course," she snapped her fingers. "Now I remember where I'd heard your name before."

"Excuse me?"

"Several others I graduated with went to work for you."

"I'm sure they did. We offer a very good package."

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"She going to take it?" Mac asked, putting his muddy boots up on the corner of Pete's desk.

"Dr. Miller wants to think about it." He frowned at his friend's boots but chose not to say anything. Macgyver didn't visit the office very often. "Technically, you're not supposed to know about the Stargate program."

"I'm not supposed to know about a lot of things."

"Hasn't been the same around here without you." Thornton closed the file he'd had open, pushing it to the side of his desk.

"I wanted to retire before Murdock or something else put me six feet under."

Given the type of assignments Mac had done for the Foundation, Pete really couldn't blame him, not after the many times Thornton had sat beside his injured friend in some hospital somewhere wondering if Mac would live or die. "How's your son?"

"Fine, except," the other man paused. "Well, Sam got involved in this church in Colorado Springs, New Life, and met this girl named Jeanine Henry."

"So he has a girlfriend." Mac's luck with the ladies often hadn't led to any type of commitment and Pete knew his friend wanted to be a husband and father. A want that had been partially realized with the unexpected introduction of a full grown son.

"It's more than that." Mac pulled his feet down and started to pace. "Every time he calls me he urges me to accept Jesus Christ as my savior." His friend shook his head. "You know me science makes sense, but religion?"

"Maybe it's just a phase that will pass when he breaks up with his girlfriend."

Mac sat back down. "Somehow, Pete, I don't think so."

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Elizabeth stepped back and grinned at her handiwork. A pointed witch's hat sat on the head of each of the African masks on the wall in her office. She crossed her arms over her red uniform top and took a step back.

"Nice," a cheerful voice commented from the door. "Now all you need is a steaming cauldron on your desk."

"Very funny," she shot back. "Something I can do for you, Mike?" Weir hadn't seen him much since their lunch date a long while back. A date she'd pretty much regretted ever since.

"You can agree to go to the Halloween dance with me." The dark haired man gave her a charming smile. "I promise I won't try to kiss you again." He winked. "Unless you want me to."

"I told you, I don't date anyone under my command." She moved back to her chair and sat down, using her desk as a barrier between them.

"That's a silly policy." Mike pressed his palms on the desk top and leaned toward her. "You need to cut yourself some slack and have some fun, Elizabeth."

"Mike," she couldn't help the warning tone in her voice.

"It's only a dance."

"I only allowed the one lunch because,"

"Because why? You were tired of being lonely and wanted to be a woman and not a leader?"

"It was a mistake. It cost," she stopped, not wanting to remember.

"Dr. Beckett wasn't really dead, just stunned."

"That's not what McKay said."

"He was mistaken wasn't he and not for the first time."

"That's enough!" Elizabeth didn't remember getting to her feet. She glared at the man.

He grinned at her. "We fight like an old married couple. So, go to the dance with me?"

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Hey, Larry,

Susanna won't tell me where you're at, only that you're fulfilling a life long dream. Since you've had so many I'm not sure I could guess which one, except since Cheyenne Mountain is involved, I'm betting it's top secret.

Speaking of our sister, you should see her son. He's a cutie and growing fast. Too bad you weren't here when he was born, but we all understand. The whole duty first to your country thing. Are you even in the country?

I went to this massive Christian concert here in the Springs the other night. Casting Crowns, Jars of Clay, Toby Mac and Chris Tomlin were all there, plus some others. Kind of gave me a glimpse of what heaven's going to be like ya know. It was the strangest thing. Neat though. I could almost see Christ standing up on the stage with the bands and dancing.

Best thing was when they had the altar call hundreds of young people gave their lives to Christ. It was great yet kind of scary. From what they're saying on KLOVE this is happening all over the world and the word I'm hearing most is harvest. Like something big is about to come down and God is getting us ready for it.

I'd better dash, bro. Mom's calling us to dinner and you know how dad is if any of us are late. They send their love.

I pray for you every day.

Love you,

Jeanie

Larry refolded his youngest sister's letter and slipped it back into the envelope. Her comment about Harvest stuck in his mind. Maybe that explained all the newly saved in the Pegasus galaxy. He'd known when he'd become part of the Atlantis mission that he was one of maybe three Christians. That number had been growing over the past few years.

Even in the city itself. If he had to guess, he'd say maybe about a quarter of the mission believed now, including Carson Beckett and as of last week Laura Cadman.

"Glad I listened to you, Father, and raised Dr. Beckett from the dead."

Corporal Henry had read about such miracles in the Bible and studied them while he'd attended seminary. His teacher's had 'said' they believed in such things but seemed to think they were only for Biblical times and not today.

"Glad they were wrong," he muttered to himself and to God.

He rose from the chair and took in the balcony view from his quarters. The sun was beginning to set casting pink and orange shadows on the water. Tonight after dinner the Halloween Dance would take place. With a lot of help the cafeteria had been transformed into a suitable 'scary' hall over the past week.

Holidays and birthdays seemed to have more meaning out here, and Larry wondered if it was because they were so far from Earth they needed the reminders of their home world. He hoped the Deadalus arrived before Thanksgiving with the Frozen Turkeys he'd ordered. Colonel Caldwell, when he'd talked with the soldier, had promised to do his best.

"It sure would be a blessing to everyone if he can arrive beforehand, Dad."

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Katie rearranged the black robe and patted the patch on her left shoulder. Getting both had been tricky but well worth the trouble. She grabbed the homemade broom one of Teyla's people had made for her. The long crooked wooden stick with the wispy straw ends wasn't perfect, yet the idea was to create the image of the character, not necessarily be completely correct.

The buzzer sounded and she hurried to answer. Rodney was picking her up and they were going to have dinner together. The idea was to get their place early and keep it to stash their goodies. She took a deep breath and opened the door.

Her date started and then grinned sheepishly his face turning a bright red. "I guess great minds work alike."

She laughed hoping it put him at ease. "Well, since everyone has been reading the final book, maybe we shouldn't be surprised."

Rodney perked up. "Right. Maybe we can get a healthy rivalry going between the houses." He offered his black robed arm. "My fellow Gryffindor, shall we go to dinner together?"

"Certainly," she was about to take his arm when she snapped her fingers. "Almost forgot." Katie grabbed a simple wood stick off the table near the door. "No self respecting witch would leave without her wand." She tucked it into a pocket inside her robe.

"I should hope not." Rodney tapped his shoulder. "Mine's in my pocket."

Together the pair left for dinner, passing other pairs dressed in various costumes and soon arrived at the cafeteria. The lights had been dimmed and the tables lined up in long rows instead of being scattered about the room. There were orange clothes on each and a carved pumpkin with flickering candles inside.

"Looks like someone else is reading the book," her date commented with a knowing look.

"Well, you know how long it takes for us to get the new books and DVDs," she needlessly reminded him putting her broom against the wall next to the door.

"Better late than never. Shall we find a place?"

"Yes." She allowed him to lead her to a table and they sat down together. Paper plates with bats on them were set at each place, and a black or purple cup. "It amazes me that Corporal Henry manages to get stuff like this for us."

"Given space on the Deadalus is precious, I agree." Rodney spun his cup around a couple of times.

Several other couples entered with black robes as well and the tables began to fill up. The noise level in the room rose and Katie had to lean close to Rodney to hear what he said.

"Seems Elizabeth had a date after all."

She followed his gaze and noticed that their leader was on the arm of Mike Branton who wore the Slytherin patch. Weir had on a colorful caftan and a scarf tried around her head. "They make a good looking pair."

McKay gave her a strange expression. "I guess."

Sheppard and Teyla finally arrived and managed to snag the two places across from them. John also had on a black robe and a Hufflepuff patch. His date had put on one of her native dresses and if Katie remembered correctly, it was the one the Ethosian woman had worn to Charin's ring ceremony.

"Read the book, too, huh?" Rodney teased.

"I read." Sheppard sounded defensive.

"You look lovely, Teyla." Katie decided maybe a change of subject was in order before Rodney went off on some tangent.

Self consciously the other woman smoothed the fabric. "It seemed appropriate after John explained the origins of the holiday."

A clanging from the front of the room silenced any further conversation. Corporal Henry stood at the front and gave everyone a warm smile. "Welcome

to your Halloween party. In a few minutes I'll open the buffet and refreshment table," he paused. "After dinner if we could have some help pushing the tables next to the walls, we'll start the dance. Thank you and enjoy yourselves. Dr. Weir, if you'd start the buffet line?"

Elizabeth stood up heading for the table laden with food. Others got up and followed and before long the entire room had filled their plates and were eating. Katie couldn't remember when a meal tasted so good. However had their cook manage to pull it off this time?

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Jeanie had to admit Madison looked adorable in her Cinderella costume. The pale blue accented her daughter's fair completion and the tiara in her dark hair completed the princess look. Proudly Madison walked on the sidewalk before them and dashed up to a neighbor's house.

The pair waited as Madison rang the bell, said 'Trick or Treat', thanked the older woman in a witch's outfit, and retreated to her parents. "Can we go to the church now?" Two brown eyes pleaded.

"You don't want to go to more houses?" Jeanie was puzzled and a little hurt. She'd put so much work in on the outfit for Madison.

"All the kids will be in costume," Kaleb explained. "They'll be more trick and treating and games for the children to play." He hugged her. "It'll be fun."

"Well," it hadn't been the way she wanted to spend Halloween, but if her husband and daughter wanted to go, maybe it wouldn't be so bad. "If you really want to go, Madison."

"Yes!" The girl grabbed her parents' hands and dragged them toward home.

Twenty minutes later they were parking in the lot of a modest brick church, adorned with a simple cross. As she locked the car door, Jeanie wondered why her husband had developed a sudden interest in the Bible and God. It wasn't like they'd been regular attendees.

"It'll be fine," Kaleb told her softly. "The people here are very friendly."

"I'll be okay." After being on the Deadalus and Atlantis, a trip inside a church wouldn't be a big thing. Yet, why did a part of her tremble at the prospect?

They entered the brightly lit interior and left their coats on a rack. "Downstairs," her husband directed. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Jeanie was amazed at all the children running around the large room and the adults handing out candy or supervising games.

Madison dashed off tightly holding her pumpkin coach bag. Two other little girls joined her and the trio started to circle the room.

"Evening, Kaleb," a young man greeted.

"Reverend George, this is my wife Jeanie. Jeanie, this is the childrens' pastor, George Parker"

"Nice to meet you." Automatically she extended her hand. The man in jeans and plaid shirt shook hers in return. A few bits of straw were stuck in his various pockets. "I'm guessing you're supposed to be a scarecrow."

His round face lit up. "Good guess. We told the children and adults they could be in costumes but nothing scary.'

"Oh, I see." She really didn't.

Laughter echoed behind him and Jeanie turned to see where Madison was. Her daughter and friends were sitting on the floor comparing their treats.

"We do this every year," the pastor explained. "Provides a safe environment for the children and allows us to teach them some Bible stories at the same time." He smiled. "Madison had made a lot of friends and enjoys Sunday School."

"She tells me what she's learned." Jeanie hadn't stopped her husband from taking Madison to church with him. She just didn't go herself.

"We'd like to see you come as well."

"Thank you, but I don't believe in God." She felt Kaleb's arm tighten around her.

"We'll keep you in our prayers." Reverend George wandered off to talk to some other parents.

"I pray for you, too," Kaleb told her.

For some reason, that both pleased and irritated her.

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Halloween night found Mac at the Challenger club. The boys had made an attempt at decorating with orange and black streamers haphazardly strung across the main room. A lone carved pumpkin sat on the coffee table and a large plastic bowl sat next to it filled with candy. The boys themselves were draped on the furniture with the large screen TV loudly playing the screams and macabre music of a horror movie.

"Had any trick or treaters?" he asked hoping to break their concentration.

"Nah," one of the boys answered. "Most of the kids are either at the mall or their local churches."

The whole Halloween celebrations at the church was new to Mac and he couldn't understand why they'd sponsor something many publicly admitted they opposed.

"That why you're all hanging around here watching bad movies?"

Matt, one of the younger boys, glanced up at him from his place on the floor. "Beats being out on the street."

"Can't argue there." He took a seat on the couch and grabbed a couple pieces of candy. "What are you watching?" Horror movies wasn't his thing and he couldn't understand the mass appeal. The movie cut to a dark haired woman with a plunging neckline on her skin tight black dress who made several snide remarks about the film.

"Attack of the Killer Tomatoes with Elvira," Matt answered. "Regina wouldn't let us watch any of the really gory stuff."

Mac knew Regina Mills and her husband Gary ran the club. "Good for her," he muttered as the very bad movie ran on. He shook his head at some of the scenes wondering why people would be afraid of giant rolling tomatoes.

"Hey, Mac," Matt turned to face him. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"

Everyone in the room collectively groaned. "Don't let him get started," complained one of the older boys.

"Can't say I do, but my son Sam says he does." Something tickled at his core being and he tried to shove it away.

With a nod Matt said, "I'll pray you. If what's going on in the world is any indication, there isn't much time."

A plaid pillow sailed through the aid and smacked Matt in the back. "Shut up will ya?" another teen asked. "I want to see what happens."

"Okay." Matt shrugged and resettled on the floor.

Later that night after the boys were in bed and Mac had been settled in a guest room, he paced the floor not able to sleep. Matt's simple question coupled with his son's explanations and pleas haunted him. Not that he was ready to believe in God or anything, but he remembered his trip on the boat across the water to a land where his family waited for him. He remembered his grandfather and his willingness to keep Mac from crossing over.

"What did you know that I didn't?" he wanted to know of the quiet room and from the man who'd raised him after his parents' deaths.

I knew a lot, a quiet voice replied. Enough to keep you alive when you weren't ready.

"Harry?" Silence answered and Mac wondered if he'd imagined it.

Knocking at the door interrupted and he swung it open to see who would coming to see him at such a late hour.

"Hi, Mac." Matt gave him a smile even though he looked kind of silly standing there in his Star Wars robe and Yoda slippers. "God told me you needed somebody to talk to."

"He did?" Mac didn't really believe the boy.

"Yeah. Can I come in?"

"Sure." He waved Matt in who took a seat on the only chair in the room.

"God's been working on you and you know it. It tugs here." He pointed at his own heart.

"I don't need God."

"We all need God. Why do you think you didn't die on that ship?"

"What!" He stared at the boy. He'd never shared that with anyone, not even Pete his best friend.

"Your grandfather was right. It wasn't your time. God's been waiting."

"For me?"

"For you, me and lots of other people." Matt's earnestly stared at him. "Now is the time of Harvest, before, well, before whatever is about to happen."

"So you think something is about to happen." Mac sat down on the creaky bed.

"I know it."

"So what does God, who I'm not sure I believe in, want with me?"

"To save you through believing in Jesus."

"I don't need saving."

"Yeah, you do. We all do." He got up and came to stand before older man. "Don't wait too long. Your son wouldn't want you not to be beside him when the day comes."

Since he knew he'd told the boys about Sam, he wasn't thrown by the reference. "I don't know if I believe in God."

"Doesn't matter. He believes in you, loves you and wants you to be with Him for all eternity." Matt leaned forward. "He's waiting and has been for a very long time."

Mac squirmed. He'd had people, even teens, threaten him. Yet, never, in all his life had someone been so determined, was that even the right word? To tell him about God and want him to believe in a supernatural presence he thought of as a myth. "Right. Why don't you go back to bed and I'll think about it."

Grinning, the boy responded. "You're stalling, but I'm not worried. God has marked you for one of His own and when the time is right, you'll be His." Matt headed for the door. "Night Mac. I'll be seeing ya." With a wave the youngster left.

"Now how can he be so sure?"

Cause what he says is true, Harry's voice echoed in his mind. And you know it, Bud. We don't want to go through eternity without you.

"Harry?" Was he really hearing what he thought he heard? He shook himself and got up to get ready for bed. Matt had given him plenty to think about, even if he still had his doubts. On impulse he pulled out the Bible that Regina put in the desk drawer of every room. It couldn't hurt to do some research. Maybe Matt and Sam and even Harry, had found out something he needed to know. Besides, he'd forgotten to bring a book with him and reading always helped him relax.

After he'd washed up, he crawled into bed, propped up the pillow and opened the leather bound book. Dawn still found him reading, with tears streaming down his face. He closed the Bible and laid there, praying. Peace descended and he finally fell asleep, his hand curled around the Bible.

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"Madison had a good time last night," Kaleb reassured her as Jeanie entered the kitchen.

The smell of chocolate coffee reached her nose and she reached into the cupboard to pull down a mug. "I just didn't expect to spend most of the night at the church. Normally, Madison wants to go to every house on the street."

"Never hurts to alter tradition."

"I guess." Jeanie poured the coffee and sat down at the table.

Her husband closed his Bible. She'd noticed he'd begun to come down to the kitchen before she got up to read it. When she'd asked him about the new habit, he'd just told her he needed some quiet time with God before he started his day.

"I put some biscuits in the oven," Kaleb told her.

"Thanks." Taking a sip and savoring the chocolate flavor, Jeanie found herself glad it was Saturday. None of them had to be anywhere and it would nice to relax.

"Madison is already up. I gave her some hot chocolate and she's watching her Veggie Tales DVD." He reached over and squeezed her hand.

"I got a job offer." She hadn't meant to discuss it this way, but the timing seemed right.

"I wondered about the phone call."

"It came from Peter Thornton of the Phoenix Foundation. He wants me to work as a consultant and help with some discoveries from Atlantis."

"You want to take it."

"I'm not sure. I told him I wanted to think about it."

Kaleb smiled at her. "I'd never hold you back. If you want the job, go ahead and take it."

"Thornton said he'd Fedex the contract. I want to read it before I decide."

"I know you'll make the right decision." He released her hand and pushed his Bible to the side of the table. "Written your letter to your brother yet?"

"No. I thought I'd include it with a Christmas card."

"Think he'll get it in time?"

She gave her husband a sad smile. "I have no idea."