needing poetry for a wedding
lc59
Working on the next vignette for "...Best..." and I'm wondering if anyone can supply a piece of poetry or verse that would be suitable as a reading for a wedding. I'm trying to avoid the overused "Love is" verses from the Bible.
thanks 

Life stinks
lc59
Well, so much for that hope that 2013 would be better than 2011 and 2012.
Not only is my SIL now likely to have to do chemo, BUT my husband just got laid-off this morning.
I'm pretty much done. If I could find a rock to live under.... 

Some thoughts on "Moebius Squared" by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott
lc59

So, as I’ve mentioned before, one of my favourite authors is Jo Graham. Her historical “Numinous World” series is fabulous. She writes historical just as I would by presenting the societies she’s using as they historically were, not just how our modern society sees them. She also happens to write SG for Fandemonium...specifically for Atlantis. I understand The Legacy series that she’s been a co-author on has been quite well received. So when she announced that she and Melissa Scott were collaborating on an SG1 novel I was thrilled. It was finally released back in December, but I only managed to get the e-book version downloaded at the end January. So now that I’ve finished it I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about it.

I’ve been eager to read it because...well...it was a time-travel piece involving the S8 team from Moebius and the post-Continuum team...and I love time travel and there are not enough Fandemonium books that include Cam and Vala.

Over the course of the last year she would occasionally share small snippets on her LJ. While they really didn’t give much away (obviously,lol) there were a couple of things that caused me some concern, but I was willing to let just wait and see. The one that bothered me the most was a timeline discrepancy...she had Daniel’s accident in Atlantis happening just before Continuum...and given that Sam had only just returned from Atlantis at the beginning of Continuum...that means that Daniel did the excursion to Atlantis while Sam was still in command...which she wasn’t. Plus...she had him recovering in a couple of weeks as opposed to the expected lengthy recovery time he alluded to at the end of Lost Tribe.

I was also concerned right from the start as to how she would present Daniel and Vala post-Continuum, because she’s also a fan of Farscape and I’ve usually found that fans of John and Aeryn have a hard time not letting that relationship bleed into SG. And once again I was correct. Right from the moment the post-Continuum team cross paths in ancient Egypt with the Moebius team Cam is shown as much more tolerant of Vala than Daniel is. As a matter of fact there is very little interaction between S10 Daniel and Vala in the whole book. I was amused by ‘Moebius’ Daniel’s (identified in the storyline as ‘Danyel’) reaction to the appearance of Vala on the S10 team though....something like “you’re definitely from a different reality if she’s part of the team.” lol

In fairness she did present Vala as a competent, trusted part of the team, so that was good.

I liked the backstory she gave “Moebius’ Sam (who is identified as Sam where as S10 Sam is identified as Carter) to explain the differences between AU Sam and S10 Sam. In AU Sam’s life her mother didn’t die, Jacob did, in combat...which is why AU Sam didn’t go into the military (after losing Jacob, her mother forbade her from joining the Air Force). Jo is a big fan of Sam so the story is very Sam-oriented.

The story itself was okay. I quite enjoyed the back and forth conflict sequences during the latter part of the book, they were really well co-ordinated and described. Cam’s reaction to the crocodile that he and Sam encountered was mildly amusing. I wasn’t too taken with the major plotpoint that pretty much the entire story hung on. I saw it coming about two or three pages before it was revealed and it made me roll my eyes when it was confirmed. Maybe it’s because I’m not too fond of the Tok’ra who are connected with that plotpoint.

Overall, I’d say “Moebius Squared” was okay. I still prefer “Roswell”. It didn’t have the laugh-out loud moments that “Roswell” did. And it obviously didn’t have any implied DV ‘ship’.

I do wonder though, if MGM has to approve of both the Fandemonium books and Big Finish’s audiobooks then why can’t the books have same level of DV ‘ship’ as the audiobooks?  


Writer's Block: Must see TV
lc59
If you were a TV producer, what would be the premise of your first TV series, and who would star in it?

Something along the lines of the recently cancelled 'Undercovers" only less cliched.
Didja notice that the climax of the story usually took place at some high class party where the characters had to be dressed to the nines?
And maybe it'd be Sci Fi since most of the writers for Primetime network TV don't seem to be capable of anything besides 'cliche'.
And it would star Michael Shanks and Claudia Black revisiting their 'Daniel and Vala' dynamic from Stargate SG-1...I didn't say revisiting the actual characters, just the snarky, sparky dynamic.

30 Day Stargate Sg-1 meme
lc59

30 Day Stargate Sg-1 meme(as seen at Pip's "Shanksopedia")

Day 03
-  Favourite episode?

Oooohhh....some many episodes to choose from....
Well it's gonna be Daniel-centric...those that showcase MS's talents...Holiday, Legacy, Lifeboat..
heavy duty angst...FIAD, Meridian..and of course just Heroes I and II for the over quality.
all the 'shippy' DV episodes...
but I think for sheer enjoyment I'd have to say Prometheus Unbound.
It's the beginning of our favourite couple, it's funny...and for the first time Jack doesn't need to come riding to Daniel's rescue.

Chap 3 , "The Best is yet to Be"
lc59
 A/N
So here's Chap 3.
Early March 2008 
 

The knock at the door took her by surprise.


“Hang on a minute, someone’s at my door.”


Vala got up and crossed the room, the phone still in her hand.  She pulled the door open and tried to ignore the way her heart flipped at the sight of her visitor.


“Daniel.”


“Hi…” he started only to be stopped by her raising a silencing finger at him.


She turned away as she put the phone to her ear.


“Sorry sweetie gotta go, one of my coworkers needs to talk to me,” she paused by the night table where the base for the phone was, “Yeah I know, me too. Okay bye.”


She slid the receiver back into the cradle and turned to him with a brilliant smile.


“So what’s up? What are you doing here?”


He unclenched the hand that had tightened around the doorknob while he listened to her side of the phone conversation and shoved it into a pocket of his jeans.


He shrugged, “Umm, nothing really,” he dropped his gaze to the floor for an instant then quickly shot a look up at her from under his lashes, a tiny teasing smile flickered over his mouth, “Uh, would you believe I was in the neighbourhood and thought I’d drop by.”


She crossed the room to him, a little unnerved. That particular smile when he teased her always made her breath catch.


“Knowing you that’s probably not far from the truth, but you don’t usually just drop by my quarters. ”


He shrugged again, shoving his other hand into his other pocket.


“Yeah well, I came in a couple of hours ago because that text I couldn’t get yesterday was bugging me, but it’s still eluding me and I’m going cross-eyed looking at it.  I thought a change of scenery might help, some fresh air maybe, do something different,” shrugging again he rocked back on his heels, “and I just wondered if you wanted to come with me,” he rocked back onto the flat of his feet and looked at her intently, “that is unless…unless you have other plans.”


Vala turned away, slightly flustered by how intensely focused on her he was.


“Umm, no I don’t, not anymore at least,” she pulled the red, glittery clip from her hair, “I did, but not now.  Stu’s daughter apparently has too much homework to finish to go anywhere today.”


Picking up a brush off the dresser, she focused all her attention on brushing her hair instead of the image in the mirror of the tall, broad-shouldered man standing behind her.  She missed how attentive he was to the brush moving through the ebony waves of her hair.


She clipped the red barrette back into place, “We were supposed to be going treasure hunting…”


“Treasure hunting Vala?”


Hearing the mild rebuke in his voice, she shot a look of annoyance at his reflection.
”Some credit please Daniel. It’s what Stu’s daughter called it when she suggested we wander around a fleece market.”


“Uh Vala, I think you mean ‘flea market’. ‘Fleece’ is the wool coat of a sheep. Although,” he cocked his head and raised his eyebrows slightly, “ ‘to fleece’ someone does mean to scam or con them and I know I’ve come across some flea market vendors that were definitely con artists,” he shrugged, “so okay calling it a ‘fleece’ market works too.”


His mouth twisted into a smirk, “I hope you were planning to use your expertise in that area to keep your…uhh,” he couldn’t say ‘boy’, “friend from getting conned.”


Now removing the second barrette she had clipped into place she stuck her tongue out at his reflection.


He laughed softly, the teasing smirk softening to an affectionate smile


“You know,” he offered, “we could do that if you want.”


“Do what?” she pulled the wand out of a tube of lip-gloss and applied it to her lips.


“Go wander around,” the corners of his mouth twitched in amusement making the dimple in one cheek flash, “that ‘fleece’ market. Although we’ll have to figure out where you were going since it’ll have to be an indoor fleece market at this time of year.”


The wand poised over her lips she stared at him in surprise.


“You’re joking?”


“Nope. I used to do it fairly regularly when I was in college. Great way for a student with no money to find interesting old books.”


She stared at him a moment longer and then grinned.


“I always suspected you were more of a treasure hunter that you let on Daniel.”


He shrugged. “There’s a bit of a treasure hunter in every archeologist Vala and I’m no exception.” he fixed a soft, focussed look on her, “it’s exciting to discover something that’s appealing and valuable to us. I’ve just never done it for profit like you have.” he straightened up from leaning against the doorframe. “So are we going?”


“Oh absolutely!”


She almost bounced over to him, scooping up her parka and shoulder bag off the bed before propelling him out the door in the direction of the elevator.


 

************************************************


 

Shaking his head Daniel watched Vala hand the vendor a $5 dollar bill.


“I can’t believe you’re buying that.”


She looked at him in mock offence. “Hey you should be relieved I’m not stealing it so I can could resell it for a tidy profit.”


He smirked. “Good point. Seriously though, what are you going to do with it?”


She pocketed her change and handed one of the ceramic containers to the vendor for wrapping.


“I have no idea. I’m not even sure what it is, but I like how they don’t look like they should belong together but then you discover that the jagged edges fit together to make a perfect whole.”


Daniel picked up the remaining white ceramic container to examine it.  Pushing his glasses up onto his forehead, he squinted at the flecks of barely discernible black script.


“I’d say they’re coffee mugs and ‘his’ and ‘hers’ used to be printed on them.


Vala gave the second mug to the vendor. “Oh well that’s perfect then for work isn’t it? We can get them repainted and we’ll know which one is yours and which one is mine.”


He grimaced. “Don’t even think about putting my good coffee in one of those scuzzy mugs.”


She pouted slightly as they turned away from the table. “Oh very well.  I suppose I could put a plant in them like Sam does.”


Daniel leaned down to her, his voice dropping to a whisper.


“Vala, you live and work 23 floors underground I don’t think a plant’s going to get much sun in your quarters.”


“Okay then, I could leave it at Sam’s place.”


“Or mine.”


Vala slanted a look of disbelief at up at him.


“No offense Daniel, but do you actually go home enough to keep a plant alive.”


He laughed softly. “Granted, but is Sam any better?”


She shrugged. “I suppose not, but why then do all her plants look so healthy?”


“Because Nancy, her cleaning lady looks after them and since Nancy also does my place, I’m sure if you left a plant on my kitchen counter she would keep it watered too.”


“Oh!” she blinked at him, “okay…thanks.”


“Yeah, no problem. Now can we get some food? I’m starving.”


His hand settled lightly in the small of her back, the increasingly familiar pool of protective warmth radiating from her spine out to every part of her as he guided her outside to the car.



  

Vala stared in stunned silence.  She turned to Daniel with a raised eyebrow.  His response was a sheepish smile.


“Yeah, I know it’s over-the-top, kinda reminds me of Ali Baba’s cave, but it’s comfortable and relaxing and the food’s as close to authentic as I’ve found in Colorado.”


“Yes well, I have no idea who the Ali guy is but it reminds me of Qetesh’s private quarters.”


He snorted a laugh. “That would figure given the cultural influences are from the same area of Earth.”


“Daniel, my friend!”


The enthusiastic greeting from the other side of the restaurant made them turn.  A small man with dusky skin and slicked back salt and pepper hair wound his way around other seating areas towards them. Daniel smiled and took a step forward to greet him. The other man grasped his outstretched hands.


“It is good to see you. How are you my friend?”


“I am well Kazeem and you?”


The small man moved his shoulders in a deprecating manner. “As well as I can be in this business.”


Daniel glanced around. “It does seem quiet, but is business poor?”


Kazeem waved his hands to negate the concern. “No, no, it is early yet, later we will be busy. I meant only that this business is always full of headaches,” he reached behind the reception table beside him to retrieve menus, “ but no matter, come I have seating for two further back that would be suitable for you and,” he looked directly at Vala, his deep brown eyes shining in the soft light, “this lovely lady.”


Daniel glanced down Vala and seemed to realize suddenly what he had forgotten to do. She thought a tinge of pink touched his cheeks but it was hard to tell in the muted light.


“Umm, that would be fine Kazeem and yeah sorry, this is Vala.”


The restaurateur flicked a glance at Daniel and Vala had the distinct impression that her name was known to Kazeem.


“Ah,” he nodded in understanding, took a small step to the side and gestured them forward, “it is a pleasure to have you both here this evening, this way please.”


 

The seating area he took them to was like the ones at the front, just smaller. It resembled a pit with a short, square pedestal table in the centre.  A thickly upholstered bench seat strewn with soft, plush cushions curved around three sides of the table, the fourth side was open to two steps down from regular floor level to allow the waitress to go down to table side so the food could be placed on the table safely.


 

Following Daniel’s example, Vala removed her shoes and moved to descend the steps.  Instantly his hand was at her back, guiding her, the other hand under her elbow to steady her.  She took the steps down, her sock feet sinking into thick carpet.  Sliding onto the heavily upholstered bench she found herself in luxuriant comfort.  It took a few moments of rearranging cushions to find her most relaxing position but once she had she looked across the table at Daniel.  He was watching her with a small indulgent smile.


“Comfortable?”


She grinned. “Oh yes.  I haven’t been anywhere this luxurious since Qe..”


Daniel’s finger on his lips shushed her.  His backward glance over her head told her there were others close by.  Kazeem, accompanied by a waitress carrying a tray that held a basin of steaming fragrant liquid and two hand towels appeared at the steps.


“Here you are my friends, warm water and towels to clean and refresh yourselves.  Sharon will return for the basin and your orders once you’ve had a look at the menus and I will bring whatever beverages you wish.   Sharbaat Daniel?”


“Please.”


“Very good and for your lady?”


The corners of Daniel’s mouth curved up. “Would your bartender be able to make a passion fruit martini?”


Vala stifled a tiny growl in her throat and watched the corners of Daniel’s mouth tilt upwards further.


“For this lovely lady I am certain he will. Anything else?”


“Yes sharbaat for Vala as well, and I don’t think we’ll need the menus; the lamb tagine and whatever else is good tonight that you think we’d enjoy with it would be fine, oh and the baba ghanoush.”


“Excellent.  And for dessert…your usual Daniel?


Vala watched a grin spread across Daniel’s face.


“Of course Kazeem, you know it’s mostly what I come here for.”


“And coffee for both?


Daniel considered Vala for a moment. “Ah no, just for myself, Vala’s not much of a coffee drinker and I’m not sure she’d like the version you serve here, I think just tea would be better.”


 

When the basin had been replaced with their beverages along with a small dish and a basket of flatbread, they regarded each other across the table.  Vala found herself unable to hold his gaze for very long without succumbing to the temptation to fall into his eyes.


She picked up her martini and sipped at it.


“So what’s the cultural influence here?”


“Uh, northern Africa mostly, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco.  So it’s not surprising that you recognize some elements here from your time with Qetesh, although she is technically more Syrian, but neighbouring countries will usually share some cultural elements,” a sudden look of speculation crossed his face, “hmm…I wonder how much heat you can handle.”


Her mouth twitched into a seductive smirk. “Whatever you can dish out Daniel.”


With bated breath she waited for the pucker of annoyance to appear between his eyebrows.  She was mildly surprised when it didn’t.


He shook his head. “I meant how much heat can you handle in your food Vala.”


She grinned at him, relieved that he didn’t actually seem annoyed. “Oh I knew that Daniel, but sometimes I just can’t resist teasing you.”


“Next time, try harder.”


She pouted slightly. “Daniel sometimes you are no fun.”


“Yes, so you’ve said before, but you haven’t answered my question; do you like food spicy?”


She shrugged. “I suppose so, I haven’t eaten anything on Earth yet that was too hot. Is this food hot?”


“Traditionally some of it is. It’s been toned down here to suit the blander American palette but we’ll be getting some condiments that’ll boost the heat level considerably, so go easy okay until you find what you can tolerate.”


“I take you like it hot.”


He paused and for a split second Vala thought he was going to return her previous suggestive remark, then the moment was gone and his answer was decidedly unsuggestive.


“Yeah I do, but then I’ve eaten this food for a large part of my life, some I even consider comfort food from my childhood, like the baba ghanoush,” he picked up the bowl containing an off-white creamy substance with dark flecks and dragged a piece of flatbread through it, “was an after school snack. And the lamb tagine here is a lot like my mothers’ version.”


She caught the tiny flicker in his voice at the word ‘mother’, she wondered if he even realized it was there, then bowls and platters food began to arrive and the mouth-watering aromas distracted her.


 

Conversation between them had never been so easy and ranged from a serious comparison between Earth politics and other planets to a story from Vala’s smuggling days. Six months earlier the tale would have made him frown in disapproval. Now it earned her laughter and the rare Jackson smile that slowly spread across his face and lit his eyes like sunshine on water. She was entranced. She even put up with his brief lapses into doctor of archeology mode just so she could see the same light in his eyes when he talked about subjects that he loved.


 

Most of the food was gone when Vala finally got up enough nerve to broach the subject she had been thinking about since his comment about his mother. She took the last mouthful of the sharbaa and cleared her throat.


“Can I ask you a question?”


He stopped, the piece of flatbread holding the last morsel of lamb from his plate halfway to his mouth.  He put it back on his plate and wiped his fingers on the gold damask napkin.


“That question always makes me nervous Vala, just say what’s on your mind.”


She fiddled with her napkin and shrugged.


“I…I was just wondering about your parents is all, I mean I’ve picked up little snippets at work but never the whole thing and never from you and I wondered if you would…unless you don’t want to, which is fine too because I understand you know,” she couldn’t look at him for fear the open warmth that had been in his eyes had been cooled by her request, “because sometimes talking about my mother is difficult even now.”


His hand on hers stopped her fidgeting with the napkin. She looked up. The warmth in his eyes hadn’t flickered.


“It’s fine Vala, really. I don’t mind talking about them.  I’m sorry though for putting you in the position of having to ask.  Frankly you seem to have been part of my life for so long now that until you just said so I didn’t actually realize that the topic hadn’t come up between us before.”


She shrugged. “Oh well you know it’s not one of those everyday topics and it would be kinda weird to say in the middle of a mission, ‘oh by the way, I should tell you how my parents died’.”


A small smile passed over his mouth and then was gone again. “Yeah it would be.”


He went quiet for a moment, his fingers curled around hers and his thumb began tracing small circles over the top of her hand.  She wanted to tell him to stop because the sensations the movement was sending up her arm were distracting, but he seemed to be doing it absentmindedly like a child stroking a blanket.


“It was a freak accident while they were setting up an exhibit at the Museum of Art in New York. They were recreating a tomb when the large stone being used as a ceiling for the tomb started to tip,” his fingers tightened around hers, “I was watching and tried to warn them but they weren’t listening. I think they were rather exasperated by my interruptions at that point.”


He huffed a harsh laugh, “ I remember being quite obnoxious that day.  Normally, I…I think I was a good kid; a little too inquisitive perhaps, my curiosity occasionally got me into scrapes that freaked my mother out, but I was usually easy-going.”


“That day though,” he shook his head, “I was so bored; we had already been in New York almost a month and I missed home; my friends, school, my cat.  I was hating New York more every day we were there. At first the whole trip was a big adventure of course, but New York in March is cold and damp and raw and all I wanted was to go home to Cairo.  I still hate New York in March, it just makes all the memories of that trip too vivid.”


He stopped, pushing his glasses to one side to rub his eyes. “So anyway I was quite sulky and whiny for the better part of that day and by the time they were wrestling with the stone I think they pretty much had enough of me, which was probably why I was sitting on the sidelines,” his glasses back in place he glanced at her, “you know, “sit here, be quiet and quit interrupting so we can concentrate’.”


He dropped his gaze back to his thumb smoothing over the skin of her hand, his voice went soft and distant, “I probably shouldn’t have been in New York at all, I should have been at home in Cairo, with our housekeeper, not being bored and not distracting them,” he sighed, ‘but one of the hazards of being a really smart kid is that adults tend to be indulgent and let you get away with more than you should, like going on their work-related trip, instead of staying in school, at home.”


Vala leaned towards him covering his hand with hers. “Daniel you don’t blame yourself for what happened, do you?”


He lifted sad eyes to her and shook his head. “No Vala, I don’t, not anymore, but as an eight year old it was logical to think that being whiny distracted my parents enough that they didn’t notice the chains around the stone were weak; which according to the report I read at the museum was the ultimate problem.  The stone becoming overbalanced had very little to do with it.  The chains broke, the stone came down, the corner columns followed…then,” his voice caught, “there was just dust and silence.”


Blinking rapidly he dropped his gaze back to their hands.  She slipped her fingertips between his and squeezed gently.


“Tough to convince the eight year to forgive himself though, isn’t it?” she whispered.


His head came up and he stared at her, startled by her unexpected insight.


Vala smiled tenderly in empathy. “My nine year old still thinks her behaviour might have made my mother sick.”


He looked at her curiously. “And did she?”


She shook her head. “Don’t think so. I remember hearing my stepmother discussing it with a neighbour once when I was about twelve. The neighbour seemed to think my mother had been sick for several months before the symptoms started to show.”


“So why did you think you had anything to do with it?”


“Because she only seemed to get sick about a week after she spent too long in a rainstorm looking for me because she thought I had run away,” she lifted on shoulder in a dismissive gesture, “I was kinda dramatic and a bit of a free spirit and sometimes if I got mad enough about something I would take off on my own.”


He shook his head at her. “You still do.”


She shrugged, dropping her gaze back to their intertwined hands. “I carried that vague guilt around with me for years.”


“And now?”


She looked up, the caring in his eyes and his voice brought the sting of sudden tears. She looked away quickly.


“Not so much anymore,” she glanced back to meet his eyes, “probably as much as you.”


 

The arrival of their waitress with dessert separated them.  Vala eyed the plate of golden, glistening cake-like rectangles set in front of her with interest. She shot a questioning glance at him. He smiled.


“It’s called basboosa. Another childhood favourite of mine.” he reached for one, “and if you don’t eat your portion I will.”


Vala took one and bit into the tangy, sweet cake.  She grinned at him.


“I may be trying to figure out how to get your portion away from you.”


He laughed, picking up the tiny cup that had arrived along with the dessert and sipped at the contents. “Not even with undomesticated equines Vala.”


Laughing she took another rectangle. Idly she licked the stickiness from the cake off her fingers as she threw a quick glance at Daniel.


“So what happened afterward?”


He put the cup carefully its’ saucer, as if giving himself time to collect his thoughts.


“I…I don’t remember much. Child Services took custody of me until my grandfather could be located. I remember being at a brief funeral for them with my grandfather. He took me to a restaurant afterward,” he paused as a wave of sadness passed over his face,  “then I went back to the orphanage because he decided he couldn’t take me.”


Vala stared at him, incredulous. “He couldn’t take you? You were just a little boy.”


Daniel shrugged. “He was a well-respected and much sought after archeologist Vala and he really wasn’t in a position to take custody of an eight year old. I kind of understand now.”


“Yes, but Daniel you were his grandson.”


“That was Nick.  At the time he was heading a long-term dig in South America, was thoroughly wrapped up in it and there was no place for an eight year old there.  I actually understand, I can get so caught up in my work sometimes I lose track of what people around me need too,” he paused to take another piece of basboosa licking his own fingers after.


“I’m sure he thought it was in my best interests for me to be adopted by regular parents. Except most people looking to adopt want a newborn or an infant. Very few want an older child and no one who wanted an older child who’d spent most of his life in a foreign country, who could speak Arabic almost better than English and who at eight was probably as smart as they were.”


Vala, her heart aching for a little boy suddenly unwanted, watched him lean back into the cushions, the tiny coffee cup cradled between his fingers.


He sighed. "So until I could legally be on my own at 16 I was placed with a foster family. Some of the time it was good”, he stared into what remained of his coffee, shadows passing over his face, “sometimes it wasn’t.”


Vala finished her last piece of basboosa, waiting quietly. He looked up a few moments later, catching her eyes with his in a steady gaze.


“Thanks.” he said suddenly.


“For what?” she responded in surprise.


“For coming out with me this afternoon. It’s…it’s been nice.”


“Hey don’t thank me, you’re the one who offered me something better than spending another exciting Sunday underground.”


His brow creased. “Yeah, I should try to get you off base more often shouldn’t I?”


“Oh don’t worry about it Daniel. I’ve been getting out to explore your world more since I started seeing Stuart.”


Daniel blinked at her.  “Yeah…right, of course.” he dropped his head forward and shook it slowly, “sorry, I should have realized that.”


He looked up again and gave her a tight smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Well that’s good isn’t it, at least you’re not bored anymore.”


He glanced away to pick up the check the waitress had left with their dessert.  Moving to the end of the bench he stood up.


“I’ll pay this and then we’ll go.”


“Okay.”


Vala watched him mount the steps and slip his shoes back on.  She followed slowly after him, reluctant to end the day and trying to ignore the little voice in her head that was reminding her yet again that she was in love with a man who didn’t feel the same way.




*******************************************************

Chapter 2, "The Best is Yet to Be"
lc59
A/N 
Yeah I'm an idiot. So numerous weeks after I posted Chapter 1...I figured that I should properly post Chap 2 and Chap 3 here...and with any luck I hope Chap 4 will posted early in January.
***********************************

Feb/2008 


Saturday

Vala wandered down the corridor lost in thought.  She was brought up short by two familiar male forms suddenly blocking her path.

“Oh hey,” she greeted them.

“Hey,” they responded in unison.

She looked at them for a moment, transfixed at a purely shallow level by their appearance.  Obviously fresh from some of sort of workout, perspiration streaked t-shirts clung to firm, toned torsos, the same perspiration lent a faint sheen to the exposed skin of well-defined biceps and made their almost identical thatches of brown hair spiky. They reeked of testosterone and no matter how hard she tried to deny it, ignore it or squelch it, the one with the crystal blue eyes made her pulse race.

He raised an eyebrow at her, “Umm Vala, something on your mind?”

She glanced down quickly at the items in her hand, “Ah yeah…Stuart has a family emergency that’s taken him out of town suddenly so I now have two tickets for a Beatles tribute band, but no one to go with.”

She looked up hopefully at them,“Either of you interested?”

Cam shook his head. “Sorry, Amy’s comin’ in tonight so I gotta get some stuff and clean up my place.”

Daniel swiped the corner of the towel hanging around his neck over his face.

“Uh…sure…I’ll go…I was looking for a change of pace anyway. What time?”

Vala looked down at the tickets, focusing on answering his question instead of the fleeting trace of his scent that drifted towards her as he wiped his face.

“Um…9.”

“Okay, give me an hour or so to get cleaned up and then we can decide if we want to eat in town too. Sound good?”

She nodded happily. “Sounds great. Thanks.”

He smiled. “Yup, no problem, see you in a while.”

*********************************************

Daniel tucked his shaving kit back onto the locker shelf and reached for the turtleneck sweater hanging on the hook.  He knew he was insane. Insane to torture himself.  That’s what spending the evening out with Vala as a friend would be.  He was a coward too.  He could face down inter-galactic bad guys with the best of them, but the idea of taking Vala out and acknowledging that it was a ‘date’ scared him in ways the galactic bad guys never could.  Galactic bad guys weren’t going to sidle up to him with a knowing smirk, seduce him into bed and then leave him once he was another notch on the bedpost.  Well okay, Adria had tried that as part of her galactic domination plan and he’d managed to survive, but only with the protection of a superior consciousness.  Without Merlin he wouldn’t have stood a chance against Adria.  Just like he wouldn’t stand a chance against Vala if she ever understood how he really felt about her.  Which she would begin to if he actually took her out on a real ‘date’.  No, much better for his own sanity that she think he was going with her just so she wouldn’t miss the concert.  That he wasn’t taking the opportunity to step into the spot where he belonged more than anyone else did.  That she not figure out that he hated her seeing someone else.  That he was going crazy thinking about her and some other guy…

Daniel pushed the locker door shut with a little too much force.  The resulting clang made Cam jump as he emerged from a shower stall. He eyed his teammate with annoyance.

“Geez Jackson, couldya make anymore noise?”

“Sorry, door slipped outta my hand.” Daniel mumbled.

He barely heard Cameron’s reply as he pulled on socks and shoes.  He stood to retrieve his wallet from the top shelf of the locker.

“Don’t suppose it’s occurred to you that since Thursday was February 14th , this concert was probably…what’s his name?”

Shrugging, Daniel took his glasses off to clean them.

“I dunno…Hubert or something.”

Cam snorted a laugh. “Isn’t ‘Hubert’ the name of that really annoying guy in those cat food commercials.

Daniel shrugged again. “I have no idea.”

He slid his glasses back, still hearing the faint amusement in Mitchell’s voice.

“Right yeah…anyway ‘Hubert’ probably meant this concert as their Valentine’s date.”

Daniel paused, his hand on the latch of the locker door.

“That might matter to me if this was a date, but it isn’t. This is my going with Vala to a part of our culture she’s never experienced before.”

“Uhunh. Just keep sayin’ that and mabbe somebody’ll believe ya.”

“Just so long as Vala does.” Daniel muttered under his breath, latching the door and clicking the lock shut.

He turned to scoop up the used towels and his duffle bag on the bench behind him, catching sight of his CO’s reflection in the mirror.  Cam was staring at him. Apparently the ‘under-his-breath’ comment hadn’t been completely inaudible.

“So Sam was right?”

Daniel cringed a little inside; sometimes he hated how well Sam understood him. He headed for the door.

“She probably knows me better than anyone.”

“So is this situation going to be a problem for the team?”

Daniel didn’t turn around. “Has it so far?”

“No, but what if Vala gets serious with this guy?’

Daniel reached for the door handle.

“Doubt that Vala’d get serious with any guy and if she does…I’ll cope.”

“Jackson…Daniel?”

The archeologist turned back to find his friend eyeing him seriously. Daniel folded his arms across his chest and waited.

Cam cleared his throat. “Umm...at the risk of sounding like I’m condoning two of my team fraternizing can I make a suggestion…ya know guy-to-guy?”

Daniel raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

Cam cleared his throat again. “Uhh…try little steps, see where it goes.”

Daniel considered him for a moment, then slowly unfolded his arms.

“You done?”

Cam shrugged. “Ah,yeah…guess so.”

Nodding, Daniel dropped his gaze to the floor for an instant. He looked back up at his CO with another nod.

“Thanks…I’ll…uh…keep that in mind,” he pulled the door open, “night.”

The door closed behind him with a gentle hiss of air.

 

**************************************************************

The hand suddenly clutching at his arm was unexpected.  He glanced down at her.  She gave him a brilliant smile that did nothing to belie the nervousness in her eyes.

“Sorry, it’s getting kinda crowded…wouldn’t want to get separated”

Daniel plucked her hand off his sleeve and wrapped his other hand around hers before she could finish the statement.

“Okay?” he asked lightly, betraying none of the private fear her words had triggered.

Losing her because he wasn’t paying attention was not a nightmare he wanted to repeat a fourth time.

Vala nodded with an even brighter smile. “Okay.”

He responded with a small nod, relieved that her smile was now reflected in her eyes. In the past he would have been exasperated that she couldn’t just admit to being uneasy in a crowd, but with time he had learned that she automatically hid fear and anxiety behind brilliant smiles and sarcastic words. It was from her eyes that he was learning he could read all her true feelings, beyond whether or not she was lying to him.

He looked up to the signs hanging overhead, found the one they needed and tugged her forward into the mass of people around them. It wasn’t until they arrived at the row their seats were in that he realized at some point during their walk from the lobby their fingers had become intertwined.  Sliding his hand away from hers he motioned her forward to their seats and immediately missed the warmth of her hand tucked into his. He took the seat beside her, reaching by instinct to help her shed the brilliant red parka she wore.  His fingers brushed over the soft, smooth curve where her neck and shoulder met. 

Yeah, this evening was going to be torture.

Sitting across from her at a table in the midst of O’Malley’s Saturday night crowd had resulted in the nights’ first torture inducing moment when she shrugged out of her parka.  The neck of her black sweater was not low-cut in the traditional sense. It didn’t reveal any cleavage, instead it sat at a point just below her collarbones and curved around her in an even line leaving her neck and the tops of her shoulders bare.  This was not her usual blatant style.  This was subtle and too intensely provocative for his sanity.  It also hadn’t helped his sanity to recognize that the lack of straps to mar the curve of her neck and shoulders probably meant she wasn’t wearing anything under the sweater.  Nor had it helped that the faint tinkle of her long earrings as she moved her head kept drawing his eyes back to her shoulders.  He spent too much time at dinner trying to not think about trailing kisses along the pale, gleaming column of her throat, pushing the sweater aside and continuing the kisses downward.

 Now shoulder to shoulder to her, he knew the torture wasn’t going to abate because he realized that every time he turned his head in her direction he was going to get an eyeful of delicate, creamy skin. Soon the little primal voice in the back of his head was going to start wondering if nipping and sucking on that surface would make her moan. Daniel pressed his mouth into a hard line almost biting the inside of his lip in an effort to deflect those thoughts before the tingle in his groin got serious.  For the next few minutes he distracted himself by shedding his own coat, tucking his hat and gloves into coat sleeves and perusing the program they had bought at the entrance.  He had reached the pages of concert sponsors at the end of the booklet when it occurred to him just how uncharacteristically silent Vala was. Closing the program he looked over at her.  She was leaning forward in her seat, taking in everything around her with rapt fascination. He leaned towards her and nudged her arm.

“Hey.”

She turned to him with the bright smile that usually lit up his mornings.

“Enjoying yourself?”

With an emphatic nod, she returned to watching the people on the stage adjusting equipment.

“Ever been to anything like this before?”

Her smile fading a bit, she shook her head without looking at him.

“Surviving at the edges of society doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for taking in cultural events. And Qetesh wasn’t one for music. She preferred the sound of people paying homage to her.”

Daniel watched her, his heart aching for all she had endured.  All he wanted for her was a life that made these memories distant and irrelevant.  She sat back in her seat, her smile now wistful.

“I do have vague memories though from before my mother died of musical events in my hometown, but not on this scale.  All the performers would have been local and,” she laughed softly her gaze sweeping over the venue, “I’m sure the entire population of my hometown would fit in here and then some.”

She turned to look directly at him.

“And have you been to lots of these?”

He shrugged. “ A few, but not lots. Sam and I have taken,” he stopped, suddenly aware that the seats around them were filling up, “Murray to a couple of jazz concerts.”

He grinned suddenly. “And Sarah dragged me to a Pink Floyd concert once.”

Vala’s squeak of surprise interrupted him. “Pink Floyd? Daniel, I’ve watched that Pink Floyd concert DVD of Cameron’s and that would’ve been….”

He glanced at her. “Loud, Vala…it was very loud. I couldn’t hear properly for a couple of days afterward.”

“Well no I wasn’t going to say loud, I was going to say amazing and so,” she smirked at him, “so completely out of character for you.”

“Yeah well, notice I said Sarah dragged me.  She didn’t tell me where we were going because she knew I would protest, which I did at first, but,” he ducked his head sheepishly, “in one of my rare moments of being less of an ass than usual I realized how much she was enjoying herself so I shut my mouth and put up with it.”

When Vala didn’t make an immediate response he looked back up to find her studying him with a frown.

“Sarah became Os…”

Noting the couple settling into the seats beside Vala he answered quickly before she could complete the name.

“Yeah, she did.”

“So you’ve known three,” Vala paused for a moment, glancing at the people around them, “of us?”

“Yup, guess so.”

She shook her head in amazement, “How is that possible?”

He lifted one shoulder in a brief, dismissive shrug. “Just the luck of my life apparently that I get to see three people I care about cope with the same thing.”

Daniel settled back in his seat as the announcer for the evening appeared on stage.  Vala’s hand sliding into his drew his attention back to her.  He looked over. She was favouring him with a bright, happy smile.

“Thank you Daniel, for coming tonight.  If you hadn’t I wouldn’t be getting to see this.”

He considered her for a moment, drinking her in. This was his girl.  Beautiful, unguarded, genuine, irresistible.

Smiling softly he squeezed her hand. “You’re welcome.”

The lights went out.  The announcer’s voice boomed ‘The Beatles” from the speakers and the heavy guitar opening riff of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” reverberated through the arena.

For the rest of the evening and unnoticed by either one, her hand stayed clasped in his.  

 
 
Sunday

Daniel propped his feet up on the chair opposite him, inhaling the aroma drifting from the mug cradled in his hands.  He was content and relaxed in his own place.  It was welcome after the night before.  Not that the concert had been that torturous; at least not to his ears.  Just torturous on other levels.  Pleasantly torturous.  Pleasant, to spend an evening with Vala on their own, doing something that resembled normal.  Torturous though to have to treat her like a friend.  He had almost given up the charade when she planted a quick, thank you kiss on his cheek as she got out of the car.  It had taken everything he had to not pull her back into the car and kiss her properly.  That would have been madness.  One proper kiss from him and his sweet, genuine Vala would have been replaced by the seductress and he wasn’t sure he would’ve been able to resist the temptation to spend a night making love to her any longer.  Which is what, he figured, it would have been. One night. Nothing more. Nothing close to the loving, supportive relationship he wanted with her. 

He got up to pour the last of the coffee into his cup.  Now restless, the quiet pressing in more like solitude than peace, he wandered into the living room, flipping on the stereo as he passed.  He stopped at the balcony doors, staring at the overcast February sky.

 He didn’t understand why this all had to be so hard.  He was done mourning.  The year with Shau’ri was the happiest he had ever been and he was grateful for the memories, but he was ready to move on.  He didn’t want to be alone anymore.  Somehow though it didn’t surprise him that with the screwy history of his life, the one woman he wanted to be with, the one who, in one fell swoop had brought his entire being roaring back to life, would be the wrong one. The one who just didn’t want him as anything more than a source of sexual amusement.  The one who could destroy him either because she would leave when she got bored with him or because she would die on the battlefield of their work 

Daniel sipped at his coffee, barely registering the music from the oldies station the stereo was tuned to.  The fear of losing her to the violence in their lives was almost as great as the fear that she’d never be serious about him. He had lost so many people to the enemies they battled.  The thought of watching her go down to enemy fire and not being able to save her was almost enough to make him break down on the spot.  He closed his eyes against the sudden moisture gathering in the corners.

Music from the previous night floated through his brain, triggering images.  Vala  radiant, excited and fascinated by the whole experience.  Vala, making him laugh, making him get up with the rest of the audience during “Twist and Shout”.  Her, not completely surprising, understanding of the mind-altered state in “Lucy”.  The discovery during the intermission that they shared an unhealthy taste for Pogos.  The revelation on the drive back to the base when she started her own rendition of  “Let it Be”, that she had a rich, throaty singing voice that make his insides shiver.

He opened his eyes and realized the music echoing in his head was faintly emanating from the stereo.  He went to it, boosting the volume. The caressing voice of George Harrison was instantly recognizable.

 
“…attracts me like no other lover…..” 

Shaking his head, he returned to the kitchen.  He couldn’t deny the truth of those words.  From the moment she took the helmet off, there’d been a deep down primal attraction between them.  He had even been open for a few moments to succumbing to her after that weird little physical tussle…or foreplay session…or whatever it was. They were complete strangers who weren’t likely to ever cross paths again and it had been so very long since he’d been with a woman and she kept offering herself.  Then it became obvious that her only intention was to put him in a vulnerable state so she could keep control of the ship.  After that he wouldn’t let himself believe that he’d ever be anything to her other than someone to use to get her way or an amusing diversion to relieve boredom.

Believing that made everything else much easier.  Easier to convince himself that he only brought her back from the Ori ship because sacrificing herself to destroy the Supergate proved that she could go beyond her own selfish needs and wants to work for the greater good.  Proved that she deserved a chance to find a place with them.

He wouldn’t let himself examine too closely why he wanted her to find a place with them.  That would have meant admitting things he didn’t want to.  Like his nearly passing out on the Promotheus after she disappeared through the Supergate had more to do with the sudden sense of loss that rippled through him than any residual effect of the bracelets.  Like why that same sense of loss had almost torn him apart when the Trust took her.  Like why that sense of loss felt almost the same as losing Shau’ri.  Like how he was falling a little harder and deeper in love with her as she showed him more and more of who she really was. That was who attracted him like no other lover; the real Vala.

Daniel added the small frying pan to the rest of his breakfast dishes already stacked in the rack and removed the stopper to let the water drain from the sink.  Wiping his hands on a towel he wandered down the hall to his study.   Originally the master bedroom, he took it as his study when he first moved in.  The other three thought he was nuts, but it just made more sense to him. A bedroom he only used to sleep in and keep his clothes in so it only needed to be big enough for his bed, a nightstand and a dresser. His study though was where he spent most of his time so it needed to be big enough for a full size desk, and shelves to hold all his books. That it was also bright and sunny with a small balcony that overlooked the park at the back of the building was just an added bonus.  He sat down at the desk and stared unfocused at the months’ worth of mail his cleaning lady had left piled in the middle. 

He was in love with Vala.  There was an admission that should have terrified him.  Funnily it didn’t.   Mostly what he felt was relief.  He was tired of fighting it.  He had to spend more and more mental energy telling himself that seeing her smile first thing in the morning didn’t really make the rest of his day better.  The constant internal arguments with himself were making him overly grumpy, with everyone. Especially Vala.  He knew there were times when he had been unnecessarily harsh with her.  Times when he had hurt her because he’d lashed out at her when he was having a particularly hard time convincing himself that he wasn’t in love with her.  Seeing the hurt flare her eyes just made it worse because then he had to work even harder to pretend that knowing he had hurt her wasn’t killing him.

Sighing, he pulled off his glasses and rubbed his hand over his face.  He didn’t want to do it anymore.  He couldn’t.  Didn’t want to be alone.  Couldn’t push her away. Couldn’t stand her being with someone else.  Daniel exhaled a harsh laugh as he put his glasses back on. Supposedly half the solution to a problem is admitting there is a problem.  So now that he’d admitted he was in love with her what was the rest of the solution?   

Small steps? Like Mitchell suggested?  Daniel began to pull pieces of junk mail out of the mess in front of him. Small, casual steps that would put just the two of them in circumstances outside of work so he could figure out if they had a chance together.  Any big declarations of his feelings at this point were more likely to make ‘his girl’ morph into the seductress who would turn her knowing smirk on him and seduce him into bed before he was ready for it.  Okay that wasn’t completely true.  He was more than ready.  He just didn’t think falling into bed instantly was the wise way for them to start.

He dropped the wad of junk mail into the recycling box.  Small steps? Yeah, he could do that.  


  
Monday

“Dr. Jackson to conference room two please. Dr. Jackson, conference room two.” the voice on the PA was tinged with amusement that the man being summoned was late.

Vala looked up from where she sat at the extra computer terminal as Daniel, agitated and muttering to himself in a language she didn’t understand came barreling into the room.

“Morning.” she offered gently.

He shot a testy glance at her. “Morning.”

“What…?” she started to ask

He cut her off with a wave of his hand. “Everything…overslept…couldn’t find my keys, …accident on the road from town.”

“And now,” he sorted through the books and papers on the worktable surface,” I can’t figure out where the notes are I needed for this briefing.”

He looked over at her. “Do you know what happened to them?”

“Yes Daniel, they’re on your desk.”

He followed her gaze to where the file folder, a fresh mug of coffee and a chocolate croissant waited for him.

He blinked in confusion. “Umm…thanks,” he focused on her, “but how’d…?”

She shrugged. “You’re pretty predictable Daniel. When you didn’t show up at your usual time and you still weren’t here 15 minutes before the briefing I figured when you did arrive you’d be hungry and needing coffee. Oh and your notes are in exactly the same place they were when we left on Saturday.”

He gave her a sheepish smile from where he now stood at his desk.

“Umm yeah…I remember now,” he took a swig of his morning elixir, closing his eyes in bliss as the liquid, prepared exactly the way he liked it, slid down his throat.  He opened his eyes again, with a brighter expression this time.

“Thanks.”

She smiled. “You’re welcome.  I believe keeping the head archeologist content and focused is part of my job.”

He looked at her intently. “Right. Umm..do you…” the PA speaker in the phone on his desk cut his sentence short.

“Dr. Jackson, since you’ve signed in topside any time now would good please.” the voice more than just faintly amused.

Daniel pushed the button to respond. “Yeah, I’m coming.” he picked up the items on his desk and started for the door.

“Daniel?”

He stopped in the doorway to look back at her. “Yeah?”

“You started to say…’do you’…do I what?”

Confusion flooded his face for a second. “Oh right…do you want to get lunch in town today?”

Vala smiled brightly. “Sure I’m always happy to eat somewhere other than the commissary. I’ll tell the others.”

He shook his head. “No I meant, just us,” he made a small shrug with one shoulder, “sorta like payback for the concert on Saturday.”

“Oh! Yeah, I’d like that.”

“Okay, see…”

The PA interrupted again.

“Jackson!” Lt. Col Mitchell’s sharp command made them both smirk.

“Well now that Mitchell’s made it a direct order I better go, huh?”

“Guess so.”

Daniel gave her small smile. “See ya for lunch.”

He was gone before she could reply.


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