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19.

"How is this game played?" Martouf asked, looking at the box with the name 'Pictionary' on the front.

"Well, first we divide into two teams..." Sam began.

"I want to be on grandpa's team!" William exclaimed.

"Then I'll be on Sam's!" Lisa exclaimed. "We'll win!"

"Okay, let's split up in two teams first, then," Mark said.

"Mom and dad, won't you join our team?" William said.

"Um, then we'll be four and Sam and Martouf and Lisa will only be three. That's maybe not fair since Martouf hasn't played the game before," Marian said.

"It's okay." Sam shrugged. "It's not exactly a game that takes a lot of practise."

"I have no problem with these teams," Martouf said.

"Just as long as you know that I can't draw," Sam said, warningly.

"Neither can Jacob." Marian sent him a smile.


"Okay, that's how we do it, then," Mark decided. He handed a pad of paper and a pencil to each team, and then also a category card.

"This shows the categories," Sam explained, holding up the category card, then went on to explain how the game was played. "You get that?" she asked, when she had finished.

"Uh... okay. I think," Martouf said, hesitantly.

She smiled. "Don't worry, it'll make sense when we start. Lisa and William - will you pick the game pieces?"

"The red one is ours!" Lisa exclaimed, grabbing it.

"That's fine with me. I prefer blue," William said, sticking his tongue out at her.

"Be nice," Marian admonished him.

"I am!" William complained. He picked up the die and threw it. "Five! Beat that if you can!"

Martouf gave Lantash control, and he took the die and weighed it in his hand for a moment, then threw it. "Six," he announced, using Martouf's voice. He grinned.

"Looks like we go first," Sam said.

"Yay!" Lisa exclaimed, sending her brother a triumphant smile.

He looked less than pleased, but said nothing.

"We do have one rule that's a little different from normal rules - we take turns drawing, so everyone gets to draw," Marian told them.

"No problem," Sam said. "Other than that I can't draw, of course." She smiled.

"Okay, pick a card!" Mark said.

Lisa quickly did so, handing it to Sam without looking at it. "You draw first!"

"Uh, okay." Sam looked at the word on the card for a moment, then pulled the pad closer to her and picked up the pen.

"Ready? You have 60 seconds!" Mark exclaimed. "Go!"

The word on the card was 'horse', and Sam did her best to draw one.

At the other side of the table, Jacob was drawing for his team.

"Elephant!" Lisa suggested.

Sam shook her head and continued drawing, trying to make it clear it was a horse. She decided to draw a saddle.

"A watchtower," Martouf hesitantly said.

"Come on!" Sam exclaimed. "It can't be that bad!" She drew a stick-figure sitting on top of the horse.

"Horse!" Lisa and Martouf said at the same time.

"Right!" Sam said, relieved.

"Time's up!" Mark said. He looked at Jacob's drawing. "I have no idea what that is!"

*I told you that you should have let me draw! I am fantastic at it! I once had a host who was an artist, and she taught me!* Selmak told him.

*Yes, and how do you think people would react if I suddenly drew like that, after normally not being able to draw anything!*

*Maybe you could at least have made a shape that does not look like a box standing on two eggs!*

"It was supposed to be a car! How could you not tell?" Jacob asked, annoyed.

"Looks like Sam got her drawing skills from you!" Mark grinned, glancing at Sam's drawing.

Sam rolled her eyes. "We won the round, didn't we?" She handed the pad of paper and the pen to Martouf. "Your turn to draw."

"This is awesome!" Lisa squealed, throwing the die.

"Okay, I think that was enough drawings for the entire next year!" Jacob said, grabbing a handful of caramel corn and eating it.

"What do you want to play now?" Mark asked.

"Memory game!" William said, grabbing the box.

Lisa nodded. "That is fun!"

William started placing the cards on the table.

"We should wait for your mom to come back," Mark told him.

"I'm just putting out the cards," William said.

"I'm back," Marian said, sitting down. "The turkey is cooking as it should." She smiled.

"It smells wonderful!" Jacob said, sniffing.

"It does," Martouf agreed. He looked at the cards on the table. "What is the purpose of this game?"

"Don't you play any games in your country?" Lisa asked.

Martouf nodded. "Yes, but they are... different games."

"You turn over two of the cards. If they have the same picture, you take those two cards and go again," Sam explained. "It's no more difficult than that - just keep an eye on the cards when someone is flipping them."

"I understand," Martouf said.

"Can I go first?" William asked. "Since Lisa's team was first before."

Marian shrugged. "Yes, sure you can. Go ahead."

Martouf took one of the clementines from the fruit bowl and started peeling it.

*Pay attention! I don't want to lose this game because you're stuffing yourself instead of looking on when the cards are turned!*

Martouf 'snorted' mentally. *You wanted one of the fruits too - and besides, you can pay attention while I peel the fruit.*

*As long as you look at the cards.*

William turned two of the cards over. "Ugh! Different!"

*A cat and a bird of some kind!* Lantash told Martouf.

*Yes, I noticed.* Martouf put a piece of the fruit in the mouth and chewed it. *Quite sweet.*

*It does have a pleasant taste. Much less sour than many oranges, though it looks a lot like them, except for the size.*

*Striped cat and chair.*

*Tiger. It was a tiger - that's what they call those animals here.*

"Your turn, Martouf," Sam said.

He nodded and turned over a random card, since none of the four seen until now had been the same.

*Cat! Upper right corner. Number two from the right!* Lantash eagerly told Martouf.

He turned the card over. "Two identical cards. I take those, right?"

"Yes, and go again," Mark said.

Martouf put the rest of the clementine in his mouth and reached for one of the small square cards that had not been flipped over yet.


"Wow, I must admit you're good at this, Martouf!" Mark said. "You've won five rounds out of seven - and Dad and Sam have won the others." He shook his head. "The rest of us doesn't have a chance."

Lantash cheered in Martouf's head, reminding Martouf that his beloved symbiote was the reason he had won. Martouf ignored him.

"Well, it's time I go take care of some things in the kitchen, so I'm out for now," Marian said.

"I promised to assist you." Martouf got up.

"Yeah, I'm coming too," Sam said.

"Then it's just the four of us for the next round," Lisa insisted, looking at her father, grandfather, and brother.

Jacob shrugged. "Sure, I'm up for another game!"

He gathered the cards and mixed them before starting to place them on the table again.



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