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18.

"Can we stay up until midnight?" Daniel asked, eagerly.

"Yes, tonight you can," Janet reassured him.

"Yay!" Freya squealed.

"Will we have fireworks?" Sam wondered.

"Yes, we need to have fireworks!" Martouf insisted.

Janet smiled. "Maybe. Depends on Jack, I guess. He and Teal'c talked about getting some fireworks. We'll see."


"Wow, nice decorations!" Sam exclaimed, as soon as she entered the living room in Janet and Rhiva's house.

"Streamers and balloons and serpentines everywhere!" Martouf smiled happily.

"And the table is so awesome!" Daniel said, looking at the large table covered with a dark blue paper tablecloth. The plates had matching blue napkins, and there were silver candlesticks. Metallic gold and silver confetti were strewn over the tablecloth, as were horns, noisemakers, and blowouts - and even more serpentines.

Bonnie ran into the room, barking happily and sniffing everything with interest.

"Get back here before you break something!" Anise ordered the dog, nervous. "The room is so pretty."

"I think it will be okay," Janet reassured her, smiling.

"Can we play with those extra balloons?" Martouf looked hopeful as he pointed at the large number of balloons that was lying in a corner.

"I guess you can take one each - we're going to use them tonight, for a party game." Janet smiled. "Come - I have funny hats for everyone." She gently pushed them towards the smaller table near the door, where a large box stood. She put it down on a chair, so the children could look through it.

"Can I have one of the top hats?" Martouf asked.

"You can pick just the one you want. There should be enough for everyone and then some - but note that some of them may be a bit too large for you," Janet said.

"Thank you!" Martouf was about to grab the black top hat, then changed his mind - urged by Lantash - and took the metallic blue one instead. He put it on his head and ran out to look at himself in the mirror in the hallway.

"I want the green cone hat with the bands hanging from it!" Daniel said, grabbing it and putting it on his head.

"I wanted that!" Anise complained.

"There's another one of them at the bottom, I think," Janet said, rummaging through the box. "Yes, here you go!"

"Thank you!" Anise squealed, putting it on.

Sam slowly went through the various hats in the box, uncertain which one she wanted. "There are so many to choose from..."

"Take your time, sweetie. There's no hurry," Janet said. The doorbell rang. "That will be Teal'c and Cam. I'll be back in a moment."

Martouf came running into the room. "The hat looks awesome!"

"It's nice," Sam agreed. She picked up a similar hat from the box, and looked at it. "But I don't think it will look good on me..." She put it back down.

"Come on!" Anise urged. "Pick something! I want to go play with my balloon!"

"I will! Relax!" Sam grumbled. She looked through all the remaining hats one more time, then finally picked up a blue fedora strewn with glitter, and put that on. "I think this will do!"

"Then let us go and pick out a balloon each!" Anise insisted, pulling at Sam.

They all ran to grab a balloon to play with.


"Is it time for dinner soon?" Sam asked, hopefully.

"Not quite. Soon. Dinner-time is a bit later today, since we're all staying up until after midnight," Janet told her.

"So we won't get anything to eat between dinner and after midnight?" Martouf looked horrified.

Janet grinned. "Don't worry, you will. We've arranged for a snack later on."

"Can't you stay here and play with us?" Sam wondered.

"No, I have to go help the others prepare the rest of the food," Janet said.

"Didn't Cam and Teal'c bring some stuff they had bought?" Daniel asked. "I saw them carrying lots of big boxes in!"

"You're very observant! Yes, they did, and some of the food was ready-made, but not all of it. Besides, even that needs to be arranged on platters and stuff."

"We can help," Martouf offered.

"Thanks, I appreciate it, but the kitchen is overfull as it is. Why don't you play a game while you wait?"

"Like what? We didn't bring a lot of stuff here," Daniel said.

"Well, what about spin the bottle? You don't need a lot of stuff for that."

"Uh..." Daniel blushed. "Isn't that where the one the bottle points at kiss the one sitting opposite?"

Janet laughed. "Right, that's the common version, but I was thinking of the version we played when I was a kid. It's different."

"Okay - what do we do, then?" Sam asked.

"The one that spins the bottle gets to choose what the one the bottle points at must do. And then that person gets to spin the bottle and make up something for the next to do."

"Um... like what?" Martouf asked, looking a little worried.

"Just nice, fun things - nothing unpleasant. Things like standing on one legs for a minute, jumping on one leg, singing a song, barking like a dog... things like that. I'm sure you'll think of something!"

"Okay. We'll try that." Sam looked at the others, who all nodded. "It actually sounds like fun!"

"Great! I'll go find a bottle, and then you can play!" Janet said.


"You need to jump ten more steps on one leg before you may sit down!" Daniel insisted.

Sam groaned where she stood, supporting herself against a table. "I've already jumped 40 steps!"

"You mean fifty is too much for you?" Daniel challenged.

"Janet said we were to be nice... well, suggest nice things," Martouf reminded them. "Maybe fifty jumps is too much."

"I can do it!" Sam insisted, then let go of the table and made another jump, and then another, and another. She faltered for a moment, then quickly made four more jumps.

"Three more!" Anise urged.

Sam made three more jumps, then tiredly put down her other foot and went over to sit down on the floor by the others.

"Your turn to spin the bottle!" Daniel reminded her.

"Yes... the one the bottle points to must... jump sixty jumps on one leg and sing 'row, row, row your boat'! All the time!" She gave the bottle a good spin.

It twirled around for a fairly long while, before ending up pointing to the cup sitting in the spot between Daniel and Freya/Anise, which indicated Freya's place. They had needed some way to give both Freya, Anise, Martouf, and Lantash a chance to play equally, so that was what they had come up with.

"Your turn, Freya!" Sam said. "Sorry!" she added.

Freya grumbled and got up.

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