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21.

They were all very full when the dinner was over. Even after they had all eaten as much of the turkey as they could, there were still plenty of leftovers for the next day.

"I'm so full I can barely move!" Mark complained. "What do you say we wait a little while before eating the plum pudding?"

"Well, it is certainly your own fault for stuffing yourself like that!" Marian told him.

"What can I do? Your food is delicious, as always!" Mark defended himself.

"Smooth recovery!" She gave him a fond smile. "I guess we're all pretty full, so yes, let's wait an hour or so."

"Can we play another round of memory game?" William asked.

"Let's play something else? What about Uno?" Mark suggested.

No one argued against that, and soon they were all sitting around the large table in the living room, playing and having fun.


"I am feeling slightly less full now," Mark said. "I think I can fit a small portion of plum pudding." He smiled at Marian.

"What about the rest of you guys?" she asked.

"It sounds good," Jacob said. "Do you have anything good to drink with it?"

"We've got some dessert wine that Marian got from her cousin. We could try that," Mark suggested.

"You can have orange juice, if you want," Marian told the children.

"Thank you!" Lisa said, smiling.

"Aren't you going to torch the cake, dad?" William asked, eagerly.

"Sure I am, son!" Mark grinned. "I'm not going to miss doing that!"

"Torch the cake?" Martouf asked Sam in a low voice.

"I think flamed is the more correct word." She smiled. "You pour brandy on this particular type of cake, and then set it afire. Not for long - and mostly just for show."

He nodded. "I see. Interesting."

The plum pudding was brought onto the table, and with the children looking on with delight, Mark poured brandy over it and set fire to it. Blue flames enveloped it, as the brandy burned.

*That was unexpected, though we have seen similar things done at Goa'uld courts,* Martouf observed.

*We have. I hope the cake is good. It looks... heavy.*

When the flames around the plum pudding had died down, Marian took a knife and began cutting slices of the cake. "Who wants the first piece?"

"Me!" William insisted.

"No, me!" Lisa quickly said.

"I thought you didn't want any?" Marian asked, smiling.

"I didn't know what it was." Lisa pouted. "It looks yummy!"

Marian gave William a slice, then put one on Lisa's plate too. "Here you go, sweetie."

"Thank you!" She smiled widely.

The others all got a slice too, and then Mark fetched the dessert wine, giving all the adults some of that, while the children got orange juice.

Martouf studied the plum pudding a bit suspiciously, then cut off a piece with his fork and ate it. *Interesting. There is a lot of different spices in it, as well as various kinds of fruit. The taste is quite acceptable.*

*I think it is more than just acceptable. It is good.*

"Here." Sam handed him a large tub of ice cream. "You should add some of this to it - it's much better then."

"Ice cream?" Martouf asked, accepting the tub. He smiled. "Ice cream is always good." He spooned out some on his plate beside the cake. He then gave Lantash control.

Lantash immediately tried some of the ice cream on its own. *Vanilla,* he concluded.

*Yes, it looked like that. I assume that would be the best type to accompany the cake.*

Lantash tried the combination of cake and ice cream. *It is.*

*I agree. Together it is delicious.*

"This dessert is truly exquisite," Lantash told Marian, keeping the distortion out of his voice. "Thank you for letting us experience it."

Marian smiled, very pleased. "Oh, I'm really happy you like it!"

"I most certainly do."

"It's a really good plum pudding," Sam agreed. She raised her glass of dessert wine. "Cheers, everyone!"

"Cheers!" Lantash said, raising his glass as well.

The others did the same, and drank.

"Cheers!" Lisa said, a bit after the others, taking a quick drink from her orange juice. She giggled. "I had my mouth full of ice cream before!"

"I'm not surprised! You've got as much ice cream as plum pudding on your plate!" Mark remarked.

"She got more ice cream than me! Can I have more?" William asked.

"Aren't you stuffed after all the turkey you ate?" Marian asked, smiling.

He shook his head. "No."

"Okay, you can have a little more ice cream, since it's Christmas," Marian decided. "As long as you don't get a tummy ache."

They sat at the table for a long time, slowly eating their cake and talking.

Even though they tried to stay awake, the children soon started yawning, and they were sent to bed - despite some protests.


"When are you leaving tomorrow?" Mark asked. "Not before lunch, I hope?" He looked into the pot of mulled cider standing on the table, and ladled some more into his cup.

"No, our plane leaves just after 2PM, so we can have an early lunch with you," Sam said.

"I suggest we make it a brunch, then," Marian said, looking at the clock. "It's near midnight, and it's been a very long day."

"Good idea," Jacob said. "Well, I think I'm heading to bed soon too. As you know, I promised the kids to take them to that Christmas play for children down in Balboa park. Tomorrow afternoon is the last time this year."

"Right. I've heard it's fun, so that's a great idea," Mark said.

"When are you back in Colorado Springs, dad?" Sam asked.

"I was planning on staying here until January 2nd. What about you, Martouf? How long do you stay at... before you have to return to your own country?"

"I will still be there when you return, then. Depending on how long it takes to help Samantha, I am not leaving until the 3rd of January, at least."

Sam yawned. "I'm getting tired too. I think I'll turn in. See you tomorrow, guys. Goodnight."

"I am coming as well, Samantha," Martouf said, emptying his cup of mulled cider. "Goodnight."


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