Title: She's My Everything
Pairings: Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran
Other SG personnel and Jaffa mentioned
Timeline: After Ark of Truth
Word Count: apprx 3000
Chapter Count: One
Synopsis: A sudden change of prospective on Daniel's part isn't really that sudden. Vala, though, doesn't seem quite prepared for it. A little Daniel and Vala romance.
Daniel turned with a broad smile as Jack entered the Gateroom. "Hey, you did show up."
With a look of utter boredom, Jack joined Sam, Daniel and Mitchell in front of the ramp, choosing to stand beside Daniel.
"You don't look happy." A hint of humor in his voice, Daniel turned away from his friend and grinned at Sam.
"Oh, I'm deliriously happy. I get to officiate. I just love officiating. It's what I was born to do."
"It's a warm planet, at least in the daytime. You were bitching about the snow in Washington the last time I talked to you. Besides, you promised Teal'c you'd be there."
Ignoring the insinuation that he'd let T down, Jack leaned forward and looked along the lineup as if searching. "Where's your shadow?" That got him a small glaring frown from Daniel, which lightened his mood somewhat.
Daniel rolled his eyes, sighed, pursed his lips and shifted his weight. "She's not my anything. She's probably doing her nails."
"It's not really that Vala is Jackson's shadow, sir," Cam kept his eyes straight ahead. "It's just that he can't get anything done without her. She's more like his sidekick."
"You don't say? Like Tonto?" Still leaning in front of Daniel, Jack asked in pretended seriousness.
With a snicker, Sam turned her head away from Daniel, her eyes twinkling and lips smashed together as she tried to affect reproach, failing miserably when she was meet with Cam's large grin.
"Enough!" Daniel spun around and looked up into the control room. "Walter! Give her a call… please."
The others laughed and Jack patted Daniel's shoulder. "Ya know, it's about time you settled down and quit your Casanova ways…."
Vala rushed in still straightening her jacket. "Sorry. I realized I'd lost a button on my other jacket, then my T-shirt was all wrong because it had long sleeves and I needed the three quarter length sleeves, or the sleeveless sleeve one and I was about out the door when I realized I had on a blue jacket and green pants, silly I know, so I had to start all over." She flashed a big grin and batted her eyes as she stepped into the small space between Jack and Daniel.
"Glad you could join us. What's with the …" Jack waggled his finger near the top of Vala's head.
"Lovely, isn't it? Daniel gave it to me this morning. It's a rhinestone dragonfly hair clippie. He bought it online."
Daniel closed his eyes and dropped his chin to his chest. The sound of the Stargate engaging accompanied the muffled laughter around him and he knew he would never hear the end of it. It had been an impulse buy while he was searching for something for Sam's birthday months ago. He'd kept it in a drawer and couldn't explain why he'd decided to give it to her this morning. Damn, she makes me nuts!, he thought.
When the kawoosh settled and General Landry said his piece, Jack and Sam moved forward with Mitchell close behind. Daniel gestured, his arm shooting outwards towards the Stargate as he tilted his head in Vala's direction. She punched him on the shoulder playfully, smiling, he smiled back and the two walked side-by-side through the 'Gate.
Teal'c stood waiting, wearing his finest Jaffa robes, hands locked behind his back, with Bra'tac and Ishta flanking him. He bowed deeply. "Welcome."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, T. Or should I call you Master Teal'c?"
With a slight smile Teal'c tilted his head. "Not until sunrise, O'Neill."
Unsure if Teal'c was being serious, Jack blinked, looked away and greeted Ishta with a warm smile and then Bra'tac. "So, Bra'tac, retiring, huh?"
"We do not 'retire' O'Neill, only begin in another direction. Teal'c will take over as the leader of the Free Jaffa. I will stand aside and continue in my efforts to bring all Jaffa into one nation."
"Ah, I think I saw that bumper sticker."
Bra'tac did not miss the humor in O'Neill's voice. "How is your retirement, O'Neill?"
Surprised, Jack blanched. "I'm not retired!"
Bra'tac gestured towards the main camp showing the way as he looked back at Jack. "With you one never knows."
Once in the midst of the camp SG-1 scattered to greet their Jaffa friends. After awhile Daniel wandered away towards the closest stone.
Bra'tac followed Daniel and SG1, Jack and Teal'c fell in line behind the Jaffa Master. "We chose to move the proceedings here due to the recent reconstruction efforts on Dakara. This planet was once a stronghold of the Goa'uld System Lord, Morrigan."
"Goddess of fertility, battle and strife. Celtic. That explains all the standing stones." The rest of SG1 caught up with Daniel when he stopped to examine the giant formation. "They're reminiscent of Stonehenge."
"I agree, Daniel Jackson, I have seen those on the Tau'ri home world, though Morrigan was long ago stripped of her power by Cronus, her legacy lives on. There are many such structures and old ruins I am sure you will find entertaining."
Looking from Sam to Jack, Cam shook his head. "Daniel'll be so happy he'll be jumpin' around like a one legged monkey."
Confused by Mitchell's outburst Bra'tac stared in silence a moment. Finally turning, he pointed across the field. "There. I will show you to your lodging."
Both Sam and Vala had already wandered off with Ishta in the general direction Bra'tac had just indicated.
Jack and Mitchell exchanged frowns while Daniel remained examining the standing stone.
Hands on hips, Cam squinted at the forest across the glen where Bra'tac was heading, and back to the village which was short on buildings and big on yurts and then back to the trees. "What do we get? The stables?" Cam hoisted his pack from where he'd set it on the ground.
Bra'tac didn't bother turning as he walked ahead. "There is a small castle just beyond the grove, not far from the main village. It is rarely used, so we have prepared it for all of you."
"Jackson!" Mitchell yelled back to where Daniel stood. "Come on, we're off to the castle, just follow your princess."
"She's not my ..." He shut up when the others burst out laughing.
Ishta turned to the two women and smiled at their delighted expressions.
The stone of the castle walls had weathered into a patchwork of browns and grays. The enormous dark arched double-doors thick as the stone walls gleamed as if recently polished and stood partially open and inviting.
Once inside the courtyard both Sam and Vala stopped, surprised. They scanned the area seeing that most of the buildings lay in ruin, charred and crumbled.
Ishta nodded in understanding of the women's quiet regard. "Sadly, more than two thirds of the castle has been destroyed. We do not know the history, though I can assure you that what remains, the kitchen, bakehouse, brewery and its accompanying staff quarters, are quite safe and most comfortable." Ishta pointed towards the line of stone buildings that sat back from the ruins.
Vala rubbed her hands together. "It is still quite lovely. And I'm sure you will know more than you ever cared to once Daniel gets through examining every little look and granny."
Silently laughing Sam started to correct Vala, but noting Ishta's acceptance of her explanation the colonel let it pass.
"Holy buckets!" Daniel exclaimed coming to a sudden stop inside the arched doorway. "This is great! We might need to stay an extra day or two!"
"See?" Vala said, tossing her hair and giving Ishta a conspiratorial wink.
"I will leave you all to settle in as you wish. There are many rooms to choose from. The festivities begin at sundown and end at sunrise. The dress is generally traditional festival dress of the Jaffa, whichever faction is represented, however, any clothing you choose will be acceptable. You may join in from start to finish or anytime you care to. There are fresh linens in each room, a waterhouse and the necessarium are out the back of the quarters." With the typical Jaffa bow, Ishta left.
Vala looked confused at Daniel.
"The bathing area and 'ladies room'," he answered her unasked question, then turned to Mitchell "How long until sunset?"
Cam frowned at Daniel. "I think the question is how long til sunrise."
"Where to begin?" Daniel mumbled as he ambled off toward what looked like it might have been the Great Hall. He stopped, turned and cocked a brow at Vala. "Ah...er... are you coming or not?"
"Oh!" Vala shot forward as if catapulted. "Yes, of course. Can't wait! Hope we find some amazing treasures and such. Oh and some interesting artifacts for you."
As the couple moved away, Cam sidled up beside Jack. "Told ya. Sidekick."
"Carter?" Jack stared confused at Daniel and Vala across the courtyard. "The Lone Ranger Archeologist is lone no more? I do believe the boy is quite smitten. When'd that happen?"
"Who knows, it's been a slow but steady process." Sam answered Jack then turned concerned to Cam. "You're sure you want them to wander off unchaperoned?"
"Let's settle in." Cocking his head toward the intact portion of the castle, Cam headed that way. "What's he gonna do? Once Jackson gets into discovery mode there's nothing else on his mind."
Jack looked back over his shoulder towards where he'd last seen Daniel and Vala and whispered to Sam, "Yeah, but what kinda 'discovery' do you think he's got his mind on?"
"Daniel?" Vala called out and it echoed right back. With a slow pirouette she searched the shadows for her missing Archeologist. "DANIEL!" she yelled and his head popped out from a gated nook to the side. "Ah, there you are, darling."
"Where did you go, I thought you... Oh, right, you went to change." He looked her up and down with appreciation. "Time for the big event?" Daniel paused, smiled and said, "You look beautiful." He admired the dark almost eggplant purple flowing gown.
"Oh. Ah, thank you." Taken aback by his comment Vala couldn't think straight. "You see, well, this is what the... the Hak'tyl wear to special events, and Ishta offered this because I'm an honored guest, and I like it, and, well, and..."
"Nice. And the dagger? And the breast-plate? Are they expecting trouble?" He laughed.
Vala grinned at his teasing. "Ceremonial, darling, you of all persons and other beings on this planet would know that."
"Yes, I would. Do I have time to wash up?" He asked.
"Oh. Ah, yes. I think. No. I mean yes, actually, plenty of time. Or not plenty but some. Lovely tub. Large and polished and, well, you have time to take a quick bath."
Nodding in acquiescence Daniel packed up his journal and wrapped up his tools. "Care to join me?" He stilled. Took a breath. Had he said that out loud?
"Did someone or some thing take my Daniel and leave you behind?" She blurted out in amazement.
"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have... I mean, I think things like that all the time, er, damn, sorry. Vala, I didn't mean, what I meant was join me to go, as in together... yes, that's it, that's what I mean, arrive together and stand together at the event, er, to... to be..."
"Oh, yes, yes of course. Because we all know I'm only your teammate. Assistant. Co-worker. Friend."
He watched closely as her expression ran a gambit from confusion to disillusionment. "Yes. I mean no. Yes we are friends and no I wasn't thinking, damn Vala, I don't know what I was thinking. Will you wait so we can go together?"
Late into the night festive fires burned as far as the eye could see. Sam, Mitchell, Daniel and Vala were honored to sit at the main table the Teal'c and Bratac, Jack and the Jaffa officiants. Many speeches were given. The team understood little of what was being said, with the exception of Jack's short offering, however the gathering of Jaffa and Hak'tyl burst into laughter at almost every other speech. Daniel and or Vala laughed occasionally, but the others were lost as to what could have possibly been so funny.
As the fires died down, wine was poured, the young sent off to bed and the merrymaking quieted to small talk as they moved with Teal'c and Ishta to gather around the main fire pit just as the horizon held the slightest sliver of the pink of dawn.
Often Vala would get very quiet and stare off into the distance in thought and Daniel would wonder if she was thinking about how comfortable their companionship felt. Here. Sitting on cushions, close together.
Looking across the dying fire Daniel noted that intermittently one of their friends would watch them closely, smile and look away. And he knew what they all thought. And he realized they were right. Placing an arm around Vala's shoulder Daniel tugged her closer and she laid her head on his shoulder.
He nudged her ear whispering, "Do you mind if I kiss you?"
She bolted up straighter and after a quick look around to ensure no one was paying them any attention she whispered gruffly, "Daniel! This is totally out of character for you! Not that I... well, anyway you would just think I was being... not that I... I mean..."
"Why? Why do you think that? You spent years flirting with me. Have you changed your mind or was it as I first thought, just..."
"NO!" She said a bit too loudly, grinned at those who turned and then lowered her voice. "No, it was... I was... From the minute I left you on the Prometheus I started thinking of some way to come back. To see you. I've been nothing but a nuisance, an unwanted flirt! I screwed every thing up. I didn't know how to be what you would want, how I'd get you to be attracted to me and the more you rejected me the more I upped my ridiculous game. How could you possibly want to kiss me now?"
Neither of them realized their voices had come clearly around the circle in the still of the night.
"Oh, I don't know, maybe I overreacted from the beginning. Maybe I thought you'd see through my veneer. Maybe I was doing the same thing. Afraid you were only taunting me and I'd fall in love... that I was falling in love and then you'd laugh, leave, you know..." He stopped. Hung his head. Sighed deeply.
Blinking back an unwanted sting of tears Vala turned her face away. Her heart beat wildly. She had no idea if she was angry or hurt or expectant or gods forbid, excited. More like scared and unsure. And why the hell did that make her all teary eyed? Because it sounded exactly like what she wanted?
His eyes lifted just in time to see her head turn back to him, her expression unguarded, interested. "Yes." she said quietly.
He nodded a few times. "Okay then, let's find that polished tub."
"What? I... Didn't you say kiss?"
"Well, yes. But I actually meant, earlier, if you wanted to join me in the tub."
"NOW?" She shot up to standing and stared down at him.
He stood so suddenly she had to take a step back. "Of course now, Vala. What are we waiting for?"
"Yes, Daniel! We have more important Teal'c related events. If we get into the polished tub... together... now... well, it will most likely last the rest of the night, or more correctly, morning and that's just rude. Not to mention what the others will think. So. I'm going to go put some cool cloths on my wrists, and think about it and think about maybe later, that is, if you don't change your mind... when we get back. Because it would be heavenly but, really, what will others say when we disappear? That is if you really mean now. I should leave as not to say more things that I have no idea what I'm saying."
Taking off his glasses, Daniel rubbed his face vigorously, pinched the bridge of his nose, sighed deeply and loudly before he reached for her hand and stopped her in her tracks. "Vala." Daniel said with authority, "No one is going to miss us."
"Ah, not true, Jackson." Mitchell said with a laugh that also echoed from the others around the fire.
Teal'c stood. "This, Bra'tac is what is meant by the Tau'ri expression 'The cat is out of the bag'."
"Who put the cat in the bag?" Bra'tac asked.
As Daniel and Vala walked away they heard the continued laughter ring out.
"You running off with your sidekick?" Mitchell called out.
"She's not my sidekick, she's my... my everything."
Leaning back against Daniel's chest, warm water surrounding them, Vala closed her eyes and sighed. They were sprawled in Daniel's tub after a night of lovemaking.
"You, know, I really wish we had stayed long enough to get into that big tub. I mean everyone there knew what we were up too anyway. But, then again, I'm glad we came home and here and haven't left here in three days."
"Me too." Daniel mumbled sleepily.
"Who did put the cat in the bag and why did they put it in there?"
"I put the cat in the bag because I was too afraid to tell you that I love you. I love you is the cat. My lack of expressing it is the bag. It's not an actual cat and an actual... Vala? Come on, wake up. Let's get into bed before we both drown."
"Alright, Daniel. I love you too. Do you think we might could get a real cat?"