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Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 09:50 pm
So here we finally have the last of the ten for the team ficlets, which I offered to write... oh, nearly twelve months ago. This is for [personal profile] aurora_novarum, who asked for the team introducing Teal'c to a new culture or food, or vice versa. This is not actually the fic I wanted to write, which is a Teal'c introspective post-1969 that refuses to settle on the right POV. But I wanted at the very least to finish the challenge in the same calendar year, so Aurora gets Teal'c pwnage of the team instead. That's always easy to do, anyway. :)

Summary: The team discovers that Chulakian customs aren't as alien as you might think. ~1,130 words. No spoilers, any season. Rated G.

At Least It's Not Poisonous

The table in the otherwise deserted commissary was set for three, with bowls, spoons, glasses, and a pitcher of water. Sam, Jack, and Daniel sat looking at each other with uneasy anticipation. Teal'c had insisted that they join him to observe a traditional Chulakian holiday, but the early hours of the morning didn't mesh with the formal clothing he'd asked them to wear or the discomfiting smells coming from the kitchens.

"Do you know what this is about, Daniel?" Sam yawned.

Daniel blinked and shrugged. "I know as much as the two of you."

"Which is nothing," Jack added gloomily.

"No, I meant culturally," Sam said. "What are Chulakian holidays like?"

"They probably involve edged weapons," Jack snorted. He was leaning back against the wall, chair propped precariously on two legs. "I'm surprised we're not supposed to personally hunt and kill whatever it is Teal'c is cooking in there."

"Maybe Teal'c did," Daniel suggested cheerfully, a certain glint in his eyes.

Jack wadded up a napkin and amiably bounced it off Daniel's forehead.

Sam, shifting uncomfortably in her stiff dress blues, drummed her fingers on the table. "Three a.m. isn't really my ideal time for a snack, though."

"Now, Sam," Daniel chided. "How bad it can be?"

Jack rolled his eyes at such naive optimism. "This is Teal'c, Daniel!"

"Okay, yes, it can be bad," he conceded. "But we'll just have a ceremonial mouthful of whatever it is and..."

His voice trailed off as the doors to the kitchen swung open and Teal'c emerged. Like them, he was dressed in his most formal clothing. They couldn't help but wrinkle their noses at the pungent smell of the steam wafting from the large platter he carried on a tray.

"O'Neill. Major Carter. Daniel Jackson." Teal'c nodded gravely at each of them in turn. "I am honored to have you join me in this celebration."

As Teal'c ceremoniously placed the tray in the middle of the table, Jack thumped his chair back into place and frowned at the contents of the platter. It seemed to be an indeterminate mass -- or possibly mess -- of identifiable chunks of brown and gray, with a few bits of lurid yellow.

"It, uh." Sam forced a smile. "It looks really interesting, Teal'c."

Teal'c lifted a ladle with an air of ritual, then formally served each person a generous portion of the stuff. "On this day," he announced solemnly, "we gather not just as friends, but as family of the spirit. The fad'gu'i marks the battle of our lives and represents our determination to always pursue victory."

Then he sat down, folded his hands on the table, and waited for them to eat.

"Fad'gu'i," Daniel stalled as he stared at the unappetizing gunk. "I don't recognize the word, Teal'c."

"It is of ancient origin, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said. "A recipe handed from one generation to the next. I was forced to substitute various Earth condiments to ensure that it would not be poisonous, but I trust that the flavor will not be adversely affected."

Jack picked up his spoon and prodded the fad'gu'i with a dubious air. "Not poisonous, you say? That's not exactly the same thing as appetizing."

Teal'c's expression did not change, yet he somehow looked hurt. "Are you refusing to join me in my observation of this custom, O'Neill?"

"Oh, no."

"Of course not, Teal'c."

"We'll be glad to try this. Definitely."

They simultaneously lifted their spoons, eyed one another, and sampled the fad'gu'i.

Identical looks of horror crossed three faces at once, and they all dived for the water. The frantic wrestling for the pitcher left Jack with water stains on his jacket and Daniel with spattered glasses. Sam prudently bolted for the kitchen and an entire faucet's worth of liquid to drown out the taste. Throughout the choking gasps and frantic gulps, Teal'c sat unmoving, his face completely still.

Sam came back a few minutes later with a forced pleasant expression and sat down again. Daniel was still guzzling water.

Jack chased his spoonful of yuck with a last healthy swallow, then set the glass down with a thump. "I can't help but notice, Teal'c, that you're not actually eating any of this stuff yourself."

"I regret, O'Neill, that I cannot. It is the custom for the host to present the fad'gu'i to his guests, but he must refrain from eating any of the delicacy himself."

Daniel narrowed his eyes. "You know, Teal'c, you never actually told us the name of this special day we're observing with this very... unique dish."

"That is correct, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c gave him a gracious nod. "I did not."

They all waited.

"Well?" Jack finally pressed. "What's it called?"

Teal'c reached for the steaming platter and added another dollop to Jack's plate, then sat back. "It is the Day of Shu'fer'ki, O'Neill."

Daniel suddenly choked and spluttered, reaching blindly for his napkin. Sam and Jack looked at him, then turned suspicious gazes on Teal'c.

"The Day of Shu'fer'ki?" Daniel finally managed to gasp.

"Indeed, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c arched an eyebrow at him. "In fact, I believe you have a similar day of observance here on Earth."

Sam pushed her chair back from the table. "All right, Daniel, give. You recognize the name, don't you?"

Still coughing, Daniel flapped a hand. "Not a name," he gasped. "Translation."

Teal'c raised both brows this time, and allowed a tiny twitch at the right corner of his mouth. "I regret that the calendars on Earth and on Chulak do not coincide," he said, his voice smooth and almost purring.

Jack dropped his spoon onto his plate, where it landed with a slightly squishy thump. "Bet there's no April either, huh, Teal'c?'

"There is not." With the perfectly straight face that meant that he was actually laughing at them, Teal'c rose to his feet. "There is, however, the month of Mekhir." He nodded at them and headed for the commissary doors, moving with impressive haste.

"April Fool's!" Sam groaned. "He made us get all dressed up at three o'clock in the morning so he could give us this disgusting--"

Jack snatched up his spoon again and tried to lob fad'gu'i goo in Teal'c's direction, but the Jaffa was already out of range. The loathsome stuff splattered on the floor instead.

"I'm going to get him for this," he promised savagely.

Daniel snorted. "Like you got him for the last time?"

Grinning despite the lingering taste in her mouth, Sam added, "And the time before that, sir?"

"And let's not forget the time when he --"

"All right! I get it." Jack crossed his arms sulkily. "I'll just add it to the list. I'll get him one of these days, and then it'll be payback for everything."

Sam and Daniel chose not to argue, but the rueful looks they exchanged clearly said, Yeah, right.

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Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
TEAL'C!!!!! ♥ ♥ This was fantastic.
Thursday, December 31st, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
Hahahaa!!! Teal'c wins all!
Sunday, January 10th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
That's absolutely brilliant. *dies laughing* Teal'c is awesome.