Tara sat down between Xander and Buffy as Daniel left to get her a plate of food at the party. Looking forward, not even glancing her way, Xander quietly remarked, “I didn’t know Daniel and you were so religious.”
“Huh?” asked Tara as she combed through her hair with her fingers. Even though she had cleaned up and combed her hair before leaving for the party, she was scared that there may tangles she missed from her and Daniel’s earlier activities.
Buffy tried not to crack a smile as Xander remarked in a breathy voice, “Oh God, Daniel!”
Tara blushed and hid her face in her hands. “You heard that?”
“Yeppers,” answered Buffy. “Xander, Faith and I reached your door just in time to hear you.”
From where she was standing next to the group, Faith added, “Damn, I had no idea that Dr. J was talented enough to elicit those types of noises from you. He must have some mad skills.”
“Skills that make you want to scream,” Xander supplied.
“Uhhhh…” Tara groaned into her hands.
“Hey, there were groans too. Not quite like that one. More deep and full of pleasure tinglies.”
“Pleasure tinglies?” asked Faith, a smile almost reaching her lips.
Buffy nodded. “You know what I’m talking about. Pleasure fills your whole body so much that you have that tingling feeling all over, to the point that your toes curl and you can’t help but moan.”
“Oh, the pleasure tinglies,” Faith voiced as if she was just figuring out what Buffy was talking about. “I got you. You’re talking about that ‘fuck-this-feels-so-good-all-damn-over’ feeling that you get, usually right before some mind blowin’ orgasm rips through you.”
“Anya loved those,” Xander reminisced quietly, staring ahead.
“Have a lot of those lately?” Buffy asked Faith. “Sure sounds like you know exactly what I’m talking about.”
“Not since Atlantis.”
Tara uncovered her face and looked up at Faith. She reached up around Buffy, her fingers brushing up against her slayer. “Don’t worry. You’ll have more.”
Daniel’s voice interrupted the groups conversation as he stepped up, handing a plate of food to Tara. “So, what are we all talking about?”
“Sex” answered Xander.
“Actually, we were talking about what we heard outside your quarters before coming to the party,” Buffy clarified. “It was very enlightening.”
Faith held out two thumbs up towards him. “Congrats Dr. J on earning my respect even more. Now we know the real reason Tara always has a smile on her face.”
“Oh Jeez! You know that is why the two of you are in this situation in the first place, right? Start taking cold showers, people!”
Tara tried not to smile as Dr. Rodney McKay joined the conversation. “Rodney,” her voice warned, even though her twinkling eyes and twitching mouth showed how happy she was to see the cranky scientist.
Rodney barely paused though before turning his ire on Faith, “And you, don’t get me started on you!” He reached into his pocket and brought out a flash drive. “My meek little scientists are now being corrupted by you! Miko wanted me to give this to you and told me exactly what is on it. All I can say is that what you get off on is just plain sick, and the fact my clueless scientist lackeys are recording this perversion is so wrong, that there is no way to even define exactly how wrong it is.”
“Buffy, Xander... Meet Dr. Rodney McKay.” Daniel introduced the newcomer, trying to keep his own smile in check after Rodney had gone off on Faith. While sometimes Rodney’s rants could be tiring, at other times they bordered on comical to Daniel. “He is in charge of the Science Department in Atlantis.”
Faith reached out and grabbed the flash drive from Rodney. Her eyes glared at him. “I’m not out to turn your entire department into sex-crazed lunatics, you know.”
“Well, you could have fooled me.”
“So, what is actually on the flash drive?” Xander asked.
“MP3 files of two individuals arguing.”
Buffy frowned and shook her head at Rodney’s answer. “I don’t understand. What is the big deal?”
“That Dr. McKay is one of the voices, and he isn’t the one that gets me all hot and bothered,” answered Faith.
“Sure. Whatever you think, Lehane.”
“You know I’m right, McKay.”
Before the two could continue, Tara stood up and stepped between Daniel and Rodney to meet another individual. The two stopped a few feet apart before bowing their heads to the point that they barely touched each other. The newcomer placed both of her hands on the sides of Tara’s face before bringing her head back up. The woman’s smile was genuinely pleased as she remarked, “Tara, it is so very nice to see you again. Dr. Keller informed me that you are expecting also. Twins, correct?” There was no talk of what could be wrong of the twins, and Tara knew that this was done purposefully.
“Teyla, it is also wonderful to see you again, and yes, we will be expecting twins later next year.”
With a nod towards Daniel, Teyla remarked, “Dr. Jackson, congratulations also.”
“Thank you, Teyla,” Daniel answered with a nod.
Faith moved past Rodney, shoving him a bit on the way, to stand beside Tara. She greeted Teyla the same way Tara had, by touching their foreheads, before leading Teyla directly in front of Buffy and Xander. “Teyla, I would like you to meet Buffy and Xander. Buffy is our senior slayer and Xander is helping Tara out with being my watcher until the babies are born. Buffy, Xander – this is Teyla.”
Teyla nodded her head towards Buffy and smiled, “Faith has told me much about you, Buffy. She informed me that you would be a good sparring partner.”
“Uh... is sparring a good idea in your... err... condition?” Xander motioned towards Teyla’s prominent stomach.
“Faith and I have sparred many times while I have been in this condition. We both know each others' limits and pull our hits where need be. She also considers where not to hit.”
“Did you bring sticks?” Faith asked.
“They are packed away in my room.”
“Sticks?” asked Buffy.
“Bantos rods,” explained Teyla. “They are used in an Athosian form of what I believe you would call martial arts. I would be happy to explain it to you in more depth.”
“Forget explaining.” Faith grinned at Teyla. “I say we make sure to have a sparring session while you’re here. Buffy can watch and even try it out.”
“Can I?” Buffy asked excitedly.
“Just as long as you remember I’m not a slayer,” Teyla replied with a smile. “I don’t have enhanced strength.”
Faith snorted. “Tell that to Ronan. I’ve seen you knock him onto his ass.”
“Ronan?” Xander asked.
“I’ve heard him referred to as Chewy,” Tara explained in a way Xander would understand.
Before Xander could remark, Doctor Lam walked over to the group and started to whisper frantically in Daniel’s ear. Without skipping a beat, she raced out of the room as soon as Daniel nodded that he understood. Tara looked up and frowned. “Something wrong?”
“Jonas called. There’s been an incident at the house.”
As soon as he finished work at the SGC, Jonas headed to Tara and Daniel’s house. He, along with Dawn, had agreed to stay with Malita while everyone else went to the welcoming party for Teyla. As soon as he arrived, he was sure that Jack had been by the house, as the driveway and sidewalks were clear of snow and ice. Jonas carefully got out of the car and made his way to the door using one crutch. His hand reached up to ring the doorbell when Dawn threw open the front door. “You’re down to one crutch!”
“If it looks good tomorrow, I get to go back to not using anything.” Jonas took in a deep breath and smiled as the scent of cookies reached his nose. “Do I smell cookies?”
“Sugar cookies. I worked on them earlier, before Jack dropped Malita off from school.”
“Looks like he was busy.” Jonas motioned over his shoulder at the cleared drive.
“You should see what he helped us with inside.” Dawn stepped to the side and yelled out over what sounded like Bing Crosby singing in the living room. “Malita, Jonas is here!”
Malita ran into the entryway as Jonas entered and went to hang up his coat. She had garland wrapped around her and was holding a Christmas ornament in once hand. “Jack got the tree out and set it up for us to decorate!”
“Are your parents going to be okay with not being involved?”
“They’re fine with it. I asked Dad about it last night. He said it was okay with everything going on lately. Would you like to help us?”
“Sure, but I don’t know how much help I can be. I’m still supposed to stay off my leg as much as possible.”
“That’s not a problem,” Dawn commented with a smile. “You can finish the string of popcorn and cranberry garland I was threading.”
Malita nodded. “We decided against the normal garland.”
“So you thought you’d wear it instead?”
With a grin, Malita made a face at him and ran back into the living room. Jonas shook his head at the girl’s behavior. She was generally very reserved, even if Daniel said she could talk a million miles an hour about the latest at school. There was just something about Christmas that turned her into a giddy young girl. For Jonas, it was like a breath of fresh air seeing her like this. He thought that she should be easy going more often, especially with her still being so young. Beside him, Dawn laughed. “She has been like this since Jack dropped her off an hour and half ago. You’d think the school had sugared her up before releasing her for the day.”
“Where Malita came from, they didn’t have a holiday like Christmas. It isn’t like anything she had experienced before coming to Earth, especially coming from a very dark age based society. Her people didn’t celebrate much when they spent most of their time trying to come up with what they needed just to survive in the caves. For someone like her, Christmas brings out a carefree, joyous nature that has been missing.”
“And what about you? Was there a Christmas type holiday on Kelowna?”
“We had holidays, but no, we didn’t have any holidays like Christmas. Our society was very science based, so we didn’t celebrate anything of a religious nature. I guess the closest would be our birthdays, which generally mirrored the customs here on Earth. We would celebrate with friends and family, while also receiving gifts.”
Jonas settled down on the couch beside Dawn, who then showed him how to properly string the popcorn and cranberries. After a while, when he had a rhythm down and didn’t seem to need her help anymore, Dawn got up started to help Malita with the decorating. They had already put the lights on the tree and were now working on placing the ornaments. Malita was being very thorough, stepping back after each ornament to make sure that they were properly balanced in their placement. Apparently she didn’t like one part of the tree having more than another. Dawn, on the other hand, haphazardly placed the ornaments. Jonas couldn’t help but smile and snicker when Malita would move one of Dawn’s ornaments to a new place that was more to her liking.
For a while, everyone quietly worked with a little bit of singing sounding during the process. Someone had turned on White Christmas before Jonas had arrived. Jonas figured everyone there had seen it at least once, because no one had problems joining in the music. It was a calming atmosphere, which Jonas liked compared to the strained feeling he sometimes had at work, especially lately with the IOA conducting all their interviews.
On screen Danny Kaye was scheming with Vera Ellen on a way to get Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney together when a yelp came from the Christmas tree. Dawn was standing on a stool, placing ornaments near the top, when she started to topple. Jonas moved to get up but wasn’t fast enough to get to her before Dawn was on the ground. Malita screeched out and pointed at Dawn’s hand, which had landed in a box of glass ornaments.
Jonas quickly glanced at Dawn’s hand. He could see blood already blossoming underneath it. His hand fell on Malita’s shoulder to calm her. With a quiet commanding tone, Jonas requested, “Malita, go to the kitchen and wet a towel for me that your mom won’t mind us getting blood on. Then get the phone and bring it to me.” With a nod, Malita was already out of the room. Jonas knelt down beside Dawn, ignoring the twinges in his knee as he did so. “Alright, Dawn, I want you to place your free arm around me so I can get us back into a standing position. I’m going to lift the box with us and hopefully not jar too much of the glass in your hand.”
Dawn took her free arm and looped it around Jonas’s neck. Then she used it to anchor herself so that she could move into a better position to slowly stand. Once she was ready, she groaned before saying, “Okay, I think I’m ready.”
Jonas felt her lean into him even more. He took the box with one hand and wrapped his other around her midsection, lifting so that they both moved into a standing position at the same time. “Can you bare weight fine?”
“Yeah. My ankles and legs are fine. It’s only the hand.” Dawn went ahead and kept leaning into him though. She was feeling a little woozy from the incident.
“Let’s go slow,” Jonas suggested. The two gradually made it into the kitchen to find Malita wringing out an old towel. The two moved towards the sink so that Dawn could hold her hand over it as Jonas looked at the damage. Dawn couldn’t help but hiss at the pain as Jonas pulled the box away and started to inspect her hand. There were shards of glass stuck in her palm in several places. Jonas gently rested her hand on the towel as he also worked on cleaning and removing some of the pieces that weren’t very deep.
“Here’s the phone.” Malita held the phone out, her own face ashen as she looked at Dawn’s hand.
“Thanks. Can you carefully pick up any stray pieces in the living room?”
“Sure.” It was like she couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Jonas dialed the phone with one hand and tucked it between his shoulder and ear while still working on Dawn’s hand. After a few rings, Dr. Lam answered, “This is Dr. Lam.”
“Doctor, this is Jonas Quinn. I’m at the Jackson’s house, and Dawn has cut her hand real bad. She has several shards from a Christmas ornament embedded in her palm, and it looks like she might need stitches.”
“Alright. I’ll let Daniel know and then head over there.”
“Oh, and Doctor Lam, this needs to be treated like how you would treat me.”
“I mean it,” Jonas interrupted. He hung up before Dr. Lam could continue and placed the phone down. His eyes met Dawn’s pained eyes. “Don’t worry. We’ll get you patched up soon.”
Dawn nodded. “After what we experienced on Kelowna, you would think a bit of glass in my hand would be nothing.”
“Dawn, no matter what the circumstances or how bad things are, you do know that I want to take care of you. Right?”
“Yes.” Dawn slowly smiled, the glass forgotten for a mere second. That one statement said so much that they had still left unsaid since she had made it back to Colorado Springs.