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When they had carried the luggage into the house, and upstairs to their rooms, they went down to the kitchen to eat.

The kitchen was fairly big, with part of it taken up by a large table. A bench ran along one side, with a chair at each end, and four more chairs opposite the bench. This meant it could easily seat 10 people.

"Sit down," Marian told them. "I hope you guys don't mind eating in the kitchen?" She put a steaming bowl of pasta on the table.

"Not at all," Sam assured her, smiling.

Marian placed another large bowl on the table, this time with Bolognese sauce. "Yeah, Spaghetti Bolognese is not the most Christmas-y food, I realize that, but it is only the 23rd, so..."

"It smells great," Jacob said, sitting down at the end of the table.

Sam sat down on the bench, nearest Jacob, and Martouf scooted in beside her.

"You eat a special..." Martouf began, but Lantash quickly took control of his vocal cords so he could not speak.

*No! Don't ask if they eat a special kind of food for this holiday! It's obvious from what she said that they do, and everyone from this world would probably know that. You'll just make them suspicious!* He let go of Martouf's vocal cords.

*Sorry.* Martouf coughed, hoping they would think he had broken off his sentence because of that. "I mean, I'm especially fond of Spaghetti Bolog...nese, so I certainly don't mind."

*Smooth recovery,* Lantash remarked.

*Thank you.*

Sam gave Martouf a strange look, clearly wondering what he had really intended to say.

"I'm happy to hear that," Marian said, smiling at Martouf. "I hope you don't mind that I cooked pasta instead of spaghetti, but I couldn't find the new package." She grinned. "Well, another type of pasta - since spaghetti is pasta too."

"I am certain it will be good," Martouf assured her.

"What do you guys want to drink? Beer? Coke?" Mark asked.

"Give me a beer," Jacob said.

"Do you have any diet coke?" Sam asked.

"Sorry, no. Not for Christmas," Marian said, apologetic. "I forgot you prefer it."

"I think we've got some Sprite - and also some orange juice, if you'd rather have that," Mark offered.

"Orange juice would be great," Sam said.

"Martouf?" Mark asked.

"Ah... orange juice sounds good," Martouf told him. "Please."

Sam began ladling up pasta on her plate while Mark went to get the juice. Martouf paid rapt attention, since he had no idea what 'pasta' was. He waited until she had also taken of the Bolognese sauce before adding anything to his plate.

He carefully scooped up the food on his plate, in exactly the same ratio of pasta to sauce as Sam had done.

"Here ya go!" Mark said, placing a large container filled with orange juice in front of Sam and Martouf/Lantash.

"Thank you," Martouf told him.

"Yeah, thanks!" Sam grabbed the container and poured some into her own glass, before filling Martouf's glass as well. "Try some - it's usually really good. Freshly squeezed juice, and not from concentrate like the stuff we get on the base!"

Martouf took a small drink from the juice. "It is quite good, I agree." He speared one of the pieces of pasta with his fork, and put it in his mouth, chewing slowly. *What do you think?*

*It resembles noodles - or perhaps even more the 'spaghetti' we got in the mess hall at Stargate Command once. Apparently 'pasta' is a collective term for this type of food.*

*Agreed. It is somewhat bland, but at least it is palatable.*

*Try dipping it in the sauce. That might help,* Lantash observed drily.

*I was going to. I just wanted to try the... pasta on its own first.*

*Now you have.*

Martouf groaned inaudibly and speared a couple more pieces of pasta and then swabbed them around in the sauce before eating it.

"The sauce is delicious and this kind of, ah, pasta is quite good for gathering it up for eating."

*Idiot! I am sure it is a common food staple here! Are you trying to compromise our position?* Lantash grumbled.

*I am a foreigner! They cannot know what I do and do not recognize!*

"It's called 'fusilli', and yes, I think it's good, even though that's not the traditional type of pasta for this dish," Marian said. "And thanks! I'm really glad you like it!"

"I guess I'll grab a small portion - even though I ate earlier." Jacob ladled up a few spoonfuls of both pasta and sauce on his plate.

"You're more than welcome to it, dad. I'd take some more myself, but I think I've already eaten too much this holiday season, and it's not even Christmas yet!" Mark said.

His wife sent him a smile, then turned to Martouf. "I know you said you weren't allowed to tell us much about your people and such, but you must be able to tell us something. You've clearly worked with both Jacob and Sam, even though I thought they weren't in the same section of the Air Force?"

"Ah..." Martouf hesitated and looked towards Sam, then Jacob.

"Martouf is helping me analyze some data which doesn't seem to fit in with previous measurements. I need it for my report which is due in early January," Sam lied smoothly.

"It's classified," Jacob added.

"Really, dad? Just like all the work you do, after suddenly recovering - and re-entering active service!" Mark said, sarcastically.

"We're not having this discussion," Jacob told him flatly.

"It's Christmas - let's not fight," Marian admonished.

"Okay. Sorry." Mark sighed.

"I have assisted in both scientific and diplomatic matters," Martouf said, hoping that would help explain why he had worked with both Sam and Jacob.

Marian nodded. "So, what do you think of how we celebrate Christmas here in the US, Martouf?"

"I have not yet had the opportunity to study it closely. I am very grateful for the opportunity to do so now."

"Let's let the man eat! We can talk more later," Mark said.

Relieved, Martouf focused on his food. *Perhaps it was a mistake for us to do this. Join Samantha for Christmas with her family, I mean. They have a great many questions I cannot answer without disclosing things I am not allowed to.*

*We will be fine. Jacob and Samantha will help divert any problematic questions. It was not a mistake going here. This will allow us to spend time with Samantha in a more relaxed environment and give us an excellent opportunity to get to know her better - and hopefully convince her to become our mate.*

*Our mate? We do not even know if she likes us!*

*Of course she likes us! Otherwise, why would she bring us home to meet her family?*

*I suppose that is true...* Martouf admitted.

*Of course it is! Now, as long as you do not babble out something stupid that compromise our cover - or the entire Tok'ra-Tau'ri alliance - then we will be fine.*

*I do not babble! Perhaps you want to take control instead, if you think you can do better?*

*Maybe later, but we should probably be careful. Our personalities are somewhat dissimilar.*

Martouf 'snorted' mentally. *Somewhat!*

*Besides, as you know, I do not enjoy impersonating my host!*

*I know,* Martouf answered, more softly. He sighed. *We will get through this, and as you say, we will at least get to spend some more time with Samantha.*

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