Storytime: Here Comes Santa Claus

Author's Notes: Merry Christmas, everyone! Hopefully, you'll enjoy this new entry in the "Storytime" series. As usual, nothing in this story should be taken for anything more than just a story. And I own no part of Stargate.

Many thanks to my wonderful (and very prompt) beta, Curuchamion!

"Bed time, sweetie pie," Jack O'Neill said from the doorway to the living room.

"But Daddy," whined Grace, "I want to stay up to see Santa!"

"You know the rules, honey. Bed time doesn't take a holiday," Sam O'Neill stated.

"How about this, Gracie-girl: you go get ready for bed and I'll tell you about the time your mom and I met Santa," Jack offered.

Grace's eyes went as wide as flying saucers. "You've met Santa?"

"We sure have, sweetie," Sam confirmed.

"What's he really like?" Grace inquired.

"Go get ready for bed and I'll tell you all about how we met him," Jack responded.

Before he could finish the statement, Grace took off like a shot for her bathroom.

"OK, Daddy. I'm ready!" a pajama-clad Grace shouted as she came charging out of the bathroom and took a flying leap onto her bed.

"Grace! No running in the house!" Sam reprimanded as she followed a couple steps behind her daughter. A gasp escaped her mouth as she took in the scene in front of her. She couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry in sympathy.

Jack was lying on the bed, writhing in agony. Grace was sprawled on top of him. A little knee had obviously connected with a rather sensitive area of his anatomy.

Grace was apologizing profusely. "Are you OK, Daddy? I'm sorry. I didn't see you there! I'm really sorry!"

Jack only groaned in response.

"Sweetie, why don't you climb off of your daddy," Sam asked.

"OK, Mommy," Grace replied. She rolled off of Jack, eliciting another groan.

"I'm going to help Daddy up and into our room and then come back and tell you your story, OK?" Sam declared.

"I'll help!" Grace cried with the enthusiasm only a small child can display.

"I think you've done enough," Jack wheezed.

Grace's face fell and she looked to be on the verge of crying.

"Grace, look at me," Jack ordered.

She looked up with her bottom lip quivering.

Jack sighed. He knelt down next to his little angel and wiped away her first tears. "Sweetheart, you know that I'm always going to love you, right?"

Grace nodded.

"Nothing you do can ever change that, honey. Even if I'm upset, I'll still love you," he added as he wrapped her in his arms. With that, the dam broke and Grace's tiny body was wracked with sobs.

Sam couldn't do anything but put a supporting hand on Jack's shoulder and rub her daughter's back.

After a few minutes of crying, Grace eventually calmed. Jack planted a kiss on her forehead before getting back to his feet. With a look, he told Sam to stay and start the story while he went and collected himself.

Sam picked Grace up and sat them both on the bed. Cuddling her daughter close on her lap, Sam began to rock slowly and started telling the story.

Seven years ago today, your father and I were at work, waiting for your grandpa to arrive so he could spend Christmas with us. We were waiting in the control room when the radio came to life.

"Stargate Command, this is the Odyssey. We're picking up an unidentified incoming vessel on the short-range sensors."

Your father and I looked at each other in surprise. "Odyssey, this is General O'Neill. We haven't picked anything up on our long-range scanners. Are you sure?"

"We're getting the reading on the Asgard sensors, General. It appears to be one of their ships in a previously unknown configuration. It looks like it's cloaked. After we were warned that it was inbound, we were able to identify an anomaly on the standard sensors."

"Roger that, Odyssey," your dad replied.

"The ship is hailing us now. Uh, Sir, you're gonna want to see this!"

Almost immediately, the message from the Asgard ship was forwarded to our computers. I was seated at the control console when the text of the message started streaming. A few seconds later, an Asgard holographic image also came up on the next monitor.

"Is that who I think it is?" your father asked.

"Well, the information transmitted to us says that this ship belongs to someone named Julenissen." I answered. "But that sure looks an awful lot like-"

"Santa Claus," we both said together.

A moment later, we heard a mechanical hum. A flash of white light surrounded us before we felt ourselves being dematerialized. We were reintegrated on the bridge of the Asgard ship. Since our new Asgard friend hadn't yet arrived, we took a quick look around. Instead of the cold metal walls we were used to seeing, we were inside a giant dome giving us a spectacular panoramic view of the Earth below us and the rest of the solar system around us. Behind us there appeared to be a large storage bay. Before your father could get bored and start pushing buttons, our host beamed in.

"Greetings, O'Neill and Colonel O'Neill. I am Julenissen," the alien said to us. "I believe in your country you know me better as Santa Claus. Welcome to my sleigh, the Rudolph."

Your father and I were unable to speak for several seconds. As usual, before I could stop him, your father made an inappropriate statement. "So, Saint Nicholas, if this is the Rudolph, what happened to the other eight ships?"

"Jack!" I hissed. Your father just looked at me and shrugged. Fortunately, our host didn't appear to be upset.

"I have had many sleighs over the years. As the population of your planet has expanded, I have had to change to ships with more storage capacity. When the most recent one was christened, I chose to name it after one of your more humorous Christmas carols," he explained.

"So, does that mean there's a blinking red light out front?" your Dad asked.

"It does not," he replied. "My sleigh is cloaked. There is no need for additional ornamentation."

"So, how do you deliver all of the presents without being discovered?" I blurted out.

Santa turned his large eyes in my direction. "To transport the presents to the surface of your world, I use an Asgard transport beam. In order to keep that from being noticed, I also enclose your world in a time-dilation field."

"Why haven't we noticed that before?" I wondered aloud to myself.

"I only leave the planet in the field for a few seconds. As soon as the field is activated, the computers on my ship determine where to beam all of the presents across the globe and then transmits them. It does not prevent your planet from moving in its orbit. It is also not long enough for your instruments to notice the difference," Santa informed us.

"So, Nick, why did you beam us up here?" your dad questioned.

"Supreme Commander Thor has made it known among the Asgard that Stargate Command is to be notified about all activities on and around your planet. I will be enclosing your world in the time dilation field in a few moments, if you wish to watch," Santa declared.

I looked expectantly at your dad. He rolled his eyes at me, but he nodded in acceptance. "All right. Thank you for letting us know. You can fire when ready."

Santa looked at your father and blinked twice. "My vessel is not equipped with weapons, O'Neill. Nor would I wish to harm your world."

"Why are all you guys so literal," your dad grumbled. "Just go ahead and do your time-stopping thingy."

"Very well," Santa said. He turned and took the two steps to the nearest console.

At the same time, our radio earpieces clicked on. "General O'Neill, this is the S-"

When the radio stopped in the middle of the transmission, your father and I looked at each other. He tapped his earpiece and said, "Repeat, SGC?"

"Your transmissions will be out for another 10 seconds until they are released from the time-dilation field," Santa said to elucidate us.

As suddenly as the message had cut out, it resumed.

"-GC. What is your status?"

"SGC, this is O'Neill. We'll be back in a minute," your dad replied.

Santa turned to look at us again. "I have delivered my packages and must be returning to my home. It is an honor to meet you, O'Neill and Colonel O'Neill."

Before we could say anything else, we were dematerialized again. When we appeared back in the control room, we were greeted by not just the staff but by your grandpa.

"Hey, Jake. Sorry we weren't here to greet you, but Santa wanted to talk to us," your dad said as a greeting.

To this day, I'm still not sure your grandfather believes us about where we were.

"Did all of that really happen, Mommy?" a half-sleeping Grace asked as Sam tucked her under the covers of the bed.

"Every word of it," Jack answered as he stepped into the room from where he had been leaning against the doorway. He bent down and kissed his daughter again.

"Now, go to sleep, and in the morning, we'll see what kind of fun alien toys your godfather Thor sent for you."

"OK, Daddy," Grace mumbled as the tug of slumber pulled her under.

Sam looked at her husband. "How are you feeling now?" she queried.

"Still sore, but I'll survive. I've had worse."

"Well, let's go to bed," Sam suggested. "Let's see if I can kiss it better."

Published 12-25-09