SGA: Fir Sprigs and Holly Leaves

Rating: PG – nothing to worry about in here
This one-shot was originally written for Christmas purposes but can be read at any time of the year – Features Kala and Rees, the OC protagonists of my fanfic “Wraith Games”- Even the most dedicated Wraith worshipper will never forget her human roots.

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When Rees opened the door to his quarters, a rich scent of fir trees tingled in his nostrils. Looking around the small, sparsely furnished room, it didn’t take him long to locate the origin of the intense smell that attacked his senses. A festoon hung from the gnarly hive ship wall, one end dangling limp and unfastened. It was made of fir sprigs and holly leaves with red berries. Now this is new, he thought. Whatever did she come up with this time?

 Though the Wraith had gotten used to to his worshipper’s tendency to redecorate his quarters while he was away, this time seemed different. Kala had replaced the strong human-made lanterns she normally used to illuminate the rooms, for several candles. Strategically placed, their soft glow made a pleasant change from the harsh brightness that usually greeted him. A noise made him turn towards the bathroom where Kala appeared in the doorway.

“Oh,” she blushed. “I didn’t expect you back so soon. I’m not finished yet.”

”I can see that,” he replied with a cautious smile as she walked up to him to welcome him back properly with a kiss. “What is it you are not finished with?”

Avoiding his question, she took his left hand and urged him gently to follow. “Please hold this while I attach it to the wall, will you?”

With mild amusement, he obliged and picked up the loose end of the chain of fir sprigs and held it to the wall, waiting for her to fix it when it happened – the closeness of the fragrant fir became unbearable and the persistent tickle in his sensitive nose erupted in a violent sneeze.

Startled, Kala dropped the length of string she was holding. “I’ve never seen a Wraith sneeze,” she stated with wonder in her voice.

”Well, there is a first time for everything,” he observed drily. “What is the meaning of this decoration?”

In the warm candle light, her eyes seemed to glow with an inner fire as she gestured towards the small table and its two chairs that adorned their quarters by Kala’s request. Humans liked to have a place where they could sit down and talk to each other, he’d found out. A plain china plate now sat on the table, filled with baked… things. Biscuits, his memory helped out. They are called biscuits.

With a solemnity that was unexpected in his usually cheerful servant, Kala sat down and took his hand once more. Gentle fingertips caressed his skin, lightly as if she feared she might hurt him. “On my homeworld we have… we had this tradition,” she began and swallowed. ”In the midst of winter, when snow was covering the lands and the lake was frozen, the families would gather to celebrate the eternal circle of life and death; summer and winter. It was a time when we all enjoyed the company of our loved ones and remembered those who were no longer with us.” A tiny spark glittered in the corner of her eye and he noted how bright her gaze was – too bright, as if she were on the verge of tears.

Those who are no longer with you… I see. On most days, she hid her sorrow under a mask of content indifference, but every now and then, when she thought he was asleep, he could sense her silent tears at night. Tears for her friends, her family, her homeworld… And he was very much aware that he was partly responsible for her grief. She never accused him of it, but she suffered and there was nothing he could do about that. It stood between them, and would always be there, unless they found a way to deal with it.

The little teardrop had freed itself and ran slowly down her cheek, leaving a glittering trail on her skin. In a meek voice, almost a whisper, she continued. ”The only family I have left is you. So, I’m asking you if you would like to celebrate the midwinter holiday with me.” Sorrow and dignity fought each other on her features as she struggled to keep a straight face.

If it means so much to her, how could I say no? He raised his hand to her face and gently wiped away the tear. “Of course I will. Kala, I cannot replace your people but I want you to know that you are not alone.”

More tears shimmered in her eyes as she squeezed his hands. “I know.” Suddenly she got up and rounded the table to hug him. And as he held her carefully, she cried openly for the first time, for all she had lost. What if her world had never been culled? What if she were still down there? Who would she be? Would we ever have met? Would she love me, then?

The Wraith was unable to feel remorse for what his hive had done, yet he understood her emotions of loss, and the need to belong somewhere… Despite her human common sense, she had accepted him, and he realised how precious her unconditional trust was to him. He purred gently at her, soothing her and stroking her back for a long while. When she finally straightened up and wiped her face with her hands, Rees lifted her chin with a clawed finger. “Are you all right?” he inquired.

She nodded, avoiding his eyes. “I will be. Sometime.”

Suddenly, the tickling sensation he’d suppressed all the time, returned with force. Another sneeze of earthquake-like dimensions almost knocked Kala to the floor. Shaking his head to get rid of the tickle in his nose, the Wraith looked at her, pleading.

“I will do whatever is required for your tradition but please remove those fir sprigs from the room or I will go insane.”

Blinking, Kala stared at him through red-rimmed eyes for a moment, and then a wonderful subtle movement transformed her features. A shy smile tugged at her lips and she began to shake with quiet laughter. Softly at first, then louder, she laughed at him – laughed until her tears of grief were replaced by tears of glee. It was infectuous, and Rees couldn’t hold back a chuckle, until they were both laughing loudly at the absurdity of life; Wraith and human alike glad they had found a family in each other.

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