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17.

"Can we go look at the rest of the gifts now?" William asked.

"Yes, let's do that - then the rest of us can check our stockings too," Mark said, smiling.

William and Lisa ran ahead of the others into the living room and to the decorated tree. They immediately began looking for presents for them - which were most of the gifts there.

*You should look in our stocking and see if we have gotten something interesting," Martouf suggested. *Since I am in control most of the time otherwise here, I think you should do this.*

*Thank you.* Lantash 'hugged' his host.

Martouf dipped his head and Lantash took control. He walked over to the stocking they had been assigned the day before, and took it down.

"What's in it?" Lisa asked, eagerly. "What did you get?"

Lantash looked down into the stocking. "There is some candy, I believe," he said, using Martouf's voice. "There is also a small, wrapped package." He slowly plucked the things out of the stocking, putting them on a nearby table, one at a time.

"You've got some of the same candy I did," Lisa told him. "What's in the package?"

"I don't know yet. I shall look," he told her. He unwrapped the present, and looked at the contents, a puzzled expression on his face. "I am still not completely sure."

"It's a firesteel. We often have them with us on missions," Sam said. "It should supposedly work for up to 12000 strikes, and be able to light a fire in all kinds of weather. In my experience they're quite good."

Lantash smiled. "That could be very useful. Thank you, Samantha."

"You're welcome." She smiled at him.

"I got a large box of crayons!" Lisa told them. "I love to draw!"

"That was nice of Santa to give you that," Sam said, smiling.

Lisa nodded. "Yes. I still wish he'd given me a car like William got."

"Why don't you look at some of the other gifts that are for you? Maybe there's a car among those?" Sam suggested. She knew there would be, since she and Martouf/Lantash had bought one.

"You think so?" Lisa exclaimed, excited. She spurted back to the tree, and started looking through the gifts until she found one that was for her and had a size and shape she deemed fitting for a box with a toy car in. "This maybe?" She eagerly showed it to Sam.

"I don't know." Sam smiled, mysteriously. "Open it!"

Lisa did, and found a box with a sturdy toy car inside. "Yes! It's a car! I'm so happy!" She ran over to show her car to Jacob. "See what I got, grandpa! A car!"

Sam smiled, glad that she was happy. "I think she liked it."

"Yes, it was a good choice," Lantash agreed.

"Are you sure that's a good gift for a little girl?" Marian asked, frowning.

"Why would it not be? She is happy, and I believe it is sturdy enough for her to play with at her current age," Lantash said.

"Yeah, but it's mostly boys that get cars," Marian said.

"So? Maybe it shouldn't be that way. I know I wanted a car like that when I was little," Sam told her.

Marian nodded slowly. "Okay. Well, I guess she seems happy." She went to look for a gift for herself.

"Martouf and I have brought some gifts for you, Samantha," Lantash whispered when Marian was outside hearing range. "They are also under the... Christmas tree."

"For me?" Sam asked. "You brought them from your, ah, country?"

"Yes." He grinned.

"Wow. Thank you!" She gave his arm a squeeze. "I got some gifts for you too. Let's go look for them, shall we?"

Lantash gave Martouf control, and they walked over to the Christmas tree together with Sam.

Martouf kneeled down and quickly found one of the gifts he and Lantash had brought for Sam. He handed it to her. "Here, Samantha."

"Thanks!" She smiled at him and let her gaze glide over the many gifts under the tree. She leaned down and grabbed one. "And this one is for you."

"Wait! Stay there!" Mark told them. He took a quick photograph. "I got this from Marian. She actually gave it to me yesterday evening." He smiled. "I really wanted a new camera, and this one is great! I'm going to take a lot of pictures of everyone!"

"Of course you are," Sam gave him a long-suffering expression.

"Don't worry. I'll send you all the pics. It's a digital camera, so I can get them to you almost immediately!" He smiled. "I'll probably have a few of them printed out, too, though."

He snapped a few more pictures, while Sam and Martouf/Lantash unwrapped their gifts, then went to take pictures of Jacob, Marian, and then lots of pictures of his children.

"Wow!" Sam exclaimed, when she opened the first package. It was wrapped in a piece of cloth, and inside it was a dress, made of soft, blue silk. She held it up before her. The dress looked like it would reach almost to her ankles. It had a fairly deep vee in front, and plunged in the back as well. It had a golden belt. "It's beautiful!"

"That's very nice!" Mark exclaimed, looking towards them.

"It is made of Sagittarian silk," Martouf explained, immediately realizing that was not the right thing to say. "It's... a type of silk very popular where I'm from."

"It's certainly... provocative," Marian said, carefully.

"It is quite a fashionable style," Martouf said.

"I have no doubt about that!" Mark grinned. "Why don't you try it on, Sam?"

"I will - later. Thank you, Martouf!" She gave him a hug. "It's wonderful!"

Martouf smiled, looking pleased.

"Good - it looks like it's made of too thin material to wear now anyway," Jacob decided.

*Do not be such a prude, Jacob! It really is a fairly modest style - compared to many that we have both seen.*

*Yes, but only because the Goa'uld likes showing off and dressing unreasonably... sexy.*

*Sexy? Most Goa'uld attire is more flashy than anything else, but I suppose some of it can be sexy also, yes.*

*I think I agree with Marian. Provocative is a good word for it. I think I need to talk to Martouf. He needs to explain himself. What did he think of when he got that dress for her?*

*That should be obvious!* Selmak was amused. *I believe your brother is correct in the observation he made yesterday - Martouf is quite interested in Sam, and I believe it is mutual.*

Meanwhile, Martouf had unwrapped the first of his gifts. "It is a book about American nature, and another book about 'life in the US'. Those will both be very educational and useful. Thank you, Samantha."

"A pocket knife!" Jacob smiled. "Thank you, Sam and Martouf." He opened the box and took out the knife, then started looking at the different tools. "Looks really useful!"

*I think it is meant for me,* Selmak observed, calling his attention to the nametag that had been on the gift. *Those symbols that are made to look like decorations among the border of the nametag gives my name in Goa'uld.*

*So they do, but I am going to assume you will let me borrow it?* Jacob asked.

*Of course I will! You are my beloved host!*

Jacob rolled his eyes and was about to pick up another present and check who it was for, when Lisa handed him one. "Look at this one now, grandpa!"

He happily accepted it and set to unwrapping.

Martouf had also picked up another gift and opened it - or rather, he had given Lantash control and let him open it.

"A long sleeved shirt of a soft, blue cloth. Thank you, Samantha," Lantash said, smiling at her.

"You're welcome." Her cheeks coloured a little. "I think it'll look good on you."

He smiled, clearly pleased she was thinking of that. He picked up one of the other gifts for him, and opened it.

*We got a pocket knife too! Just like Selmak's!* Lantash happily gave Martouf a 'hug'. He looked to Sam. "Samantha - thank you so much for this. We... I did not notice you bought one for me as well in that store."

Sam smiled, realizing Lantash was in control. "You're very welcome. I saw how much you liked it, so I thought it would be a good gift."

"It is. Very much so." Lantash picked up another present from the rapidly diminishing stash under the Christmas tree. "Open this now, Samantha."

"Thank you." She looked curiously at the box, which was made from some sort of dark wood. Opening it, she found that the inside of the box was padded with some sort of blue textile. It contained a necklace and a pair of earrings, both made of gold, and both wrought in the same style. The necklace had a large sapphire pendant, with the gemstone placed in a kind of spiral cage, made from gold. The earrings had smaller, similar pendants. "It is beautiful, Martouf!" She picked up the necklace and studied it closer. "Really beautiful!"

"Yes, I chose it because the colour of the stone is very similar to your eye colour, Samantha. I think it will look good on you - perhaps together with the dress I gave you."

Sam nodded, unable to say anything for a while. "You shouldn't have gotten me something so expensive!"

"Do you not like it?"

"Oh, I love it!"

"Then it is a good gift, is it not?"

"Well, yes. It is." She slowly shook her head. "Just... wow!"

"Is that thing real?" Marian asked. "The gemstone, I mean."

Lantash frowned. "Real? Of course it is. Why would it not be real?"

"She means, is it a real sapphire?" Jacob explained.

"It is," Lantash confirmed. "I actually found it myself, some months ago."

"You found it? Where?" Mark asked.

"In the mountains. In my home country," Lantash said.

"It's wonderful, Martouf. Thank you very much." Sam smiled at him and gave him a tight hug. "Thank you to you too, Lantash," she whispered into his ear.

"Let me help you put it on," Lantash said.

Sam handed him the necklace, and he stepped behind her and put it on her. She picked up the earrings, and put them on as well.

"I'll just go take a look in the mirror," she said, also picking up the dress on the way. "I'll be back in a moment!"

*Go with her!* Martouf urged.

*I intended to!* Lantash told his host, and followed Sam out of the room.


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