Valentine's Day

Vala leaned back in Daniel's office chair and spun around several times before his glare stopped her.

"Is it possible for you to sit still for five minutes? Just five minutes? No talking, twirling, twiddling, twitching, touching… no nothing!" Daniel's icy blue eyes shot daggers at the sexy brunette. He lowered his head back to the tablet on his lab table and searched for the last glyph he had translated.

Vala sighed dramatically and stuck out her tongue at him.

"I saw that." Daniel didn't lift his head but just continued to work.

Making a face, Vala turned away from him and let her eyes pass over the books and objects on his shelves. There must be something interesting among all those dead authors and artifacts. She turned quickly back to Daniel, as if fearing that he had heard her thoughts. He was deeply engrossed in his work again.

Maybe if I draped a dead Egyptian over my shoulders he'd notice me. Recognizing a hopeless cause, she turned and her eye caught a brightly colored paper in the trash. Leaning quietly over, she lifted the one-page ad that had been an insert in the Sunday newspaper.

She smoothed out the wrinkles with her long fingers and scanned the page. Her curiosity aroused, she let her eyes slide back to Daniel and felt confident that he wouldn't notice if she left his office. After all, she had made her living as a thief for years and had learned how to be quiet – even if Daniel didn't believe it.

She strode quickly through the SGC's cement and metal hallways until she reached her goal – Teal'c's room. She knocked and waited to see if he was in his room.

The door opened slowly and Teal'c stood there. "ValaMalDoran. Enter."

She entered and turned quickly to face her Jaffa friend. She did think of him as her friend as he was the only other alien who lived at the SGC.

"I found this in Daniel's trash and wondered if you could help me understand what it's all about. You've been on Earth for, what, eight years now? Surely you've learned something about their customs." She held out the ad and let Teal'c take it from her to study.

"I believe the purpose of this advertisement is to entice the males who read it to purchase these items for their mate."

"Yes. I understood that. But what is Valentine's Day and why do Tau'ri males need a special day to show affection for their mates?" Vala chewed on her lower lip as she peered around Teal'c's massive bicep at the ad. She was hopping that this might give her some insight into Daniel.

"Indeed. It has long been a mystery to me how the Tau'ri court and engage in long-term relationships. However, some time ago when I made an attempt to live among the residents of this planet, I did some research into Earth's amorous customs. I do indeed remember what I learned of Valentine's Day."

Vala pulled the ad away from Teal'c and continued to look at the jewelry displayed on the red and pink flyer. "I understand that giving precious gems to one's lover could please her, but why a 'special day?' "

Teal'c gestured to Vala to sit in a chair next to his desk and he took only other chair in his room. "On Earth during the Empire of Rome about 1800 years ago the Emperor decided that too many strong, young men were foregoing their military obligations in favor of matrimony. Claudius outlawed marriage for young men believing that his army would grow in size. However, a priest of the young Christian faith – one faith of many here on Earth – decided to defy the Emperor and continued to perform marriages for young couples in secret. The legend says that this man's name was Valentinus and that the Emperor had him beheaded for his actions. Eventually, Christians began to honor his memory by sending love poems and gifts to their intended."

Vala stared at Teal'c. That was the longest speech she had ever heard him give. "So men give expensive items to their mates? It seems very unromantic to me to expect a gift on a certain day. I would much rather be completely surprised by my love."

"I believe that the giving of gifts can go either way. It is traditional to either write a poem of one's own, or to buy a card that already contains a poem that expresses one's feelings. Flowers and candy are also commonly acceptable gifts." Teal'c stood, believing his job to be over. He wondered how Ishta would respond to a dozen roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. He raised one eyebrow as he pictured her response.

"Teal'c. Could you take me to a store to buy one of these Valentine's Day cards?"

"I believe that you can also find ecards on the internet." Teal'c glanced sideways at the former Goa'uld host. He knew she was thinking of Daniel. "Do you wish for me to enter a search for such a site?"

"No. I have another idea." Vala turned and left, looking for Sam.

XXXXXXXXXX

Early on the morning of February 14th, an unsuspecting Dr. Daniel Jackson balanced a cup of coffee and several files in one had while attempting to unlock his office door with the other. He knew he'd only have an hour or so before Vala showed up, bored and looking for him to entertain her. He hoped he could finish translating that tablet first. SG-11 was expected to go back to PX1-873 and needed the translation.

Shoving the key back into his pocket, he took one step into his office and slid several feet, all the while trying to keep the hot liquid in his cup from sloshing onto either his files or his heat-sensitive skin. He wondered briefly how a liquid that could cause a burn on his hand could be consumed orally without blisters.

When he stopped sliding, files and coffee still intact, he looked down to see that he had stepped on an envelope and which had initiated his not-so-graceful foray into skating.

Dumping his stuff on his lab table, he reached down on picked up the envelope. Unbeknownst to him Vala was listening just outside his door – waiting to see his response.

He lifted the flap and pulled out the home-made card. On the front was a large red heart pierced by an arrow. Oh, god, one of the nurses again. Daniel groaned to himself and almost tossed the card into the trash, but his polite nature surfaced and he realized that someone had gone to some trouble to hand make this and the least he could do was to read it.

Squinting cautiously, he opened the card to find a beautifully written calligraphy poem, surrounded by several delicately sketched cherubs.

Whose gift this is you cannot know.
My heart is in your keeping though.
You will not mind my writing here
To tell you that I love you so.

I sometimes give my head a shake
And ask if there is some mistake.
It's lonely out here 'mid the sweep
Of bitter wind and icy flake.

My love for you is dark and deep,
But it's a promise I will keep
As from afar I watch and weep,
As from afar I watch and weep.

Daniel turned the card around looking for a signature, but there was nothing to indicate who the sender was. Thoughtfully, he slid the card back into the envelope and dropped in into a drawer in his desk, wondering who could have sent it.

Vala leaned against the cold wall outside Daniel's office, closed her eyes and began breathing deeply to calm the nervous pounding of her heart. When she was calm, she plastered a large smile on her face and bounced into his office. Passing behind him, she gave his firm tush and quick pinch and quickly fled to the safety of his desk chair.

Daniel closed his eyes and dropped his head with a jerk onto his chest. "Hello, Vala. I was hoping you'd sleep late today and give me at least an hour alone to work."

As a flash of pain skittered across her face, Vala rose gracefully from the black leather chair and faced Daniel. "Daniel, as a Valentine's Day present, I'll stay out of your hair today and let you work without me." She left quietly.

Daniel lifted his eyes upward, as if looking for a "higher power" to answer, "What just happened here?"

Daniel plopped down in his chair and his eyes drifted to his desk drawer. He was sure he'd closed it completely after he'd put the card into it. He slid the drawer the rest of the way open and saw a single candy heart sitting on the card. He knew it couldn't have been there before. There was just no way. He picked it up and read the message; U R HOT

It was her! She wrote the card and then slipped the candy in when she sat down. He leaned back to think and popped the candy into his mouth. She could be so over-the-top, ninety percent of the time, and then confuse the hell out of him by showing real concern and compassion for someone in need.

Several minutes later, he pushed himself out of the chair and headed for her room.

Knocking twice, he nudged the door open and found her lying quietly, face down, on her bed. Closing the door softly, he crossed over to her. "Vala. We need to talk."

"Daniel, you're being very rude."

God, she'd done it again. He was befuddled. "Um, excuse me?"

"I gave you a gift and you've rejected it."

Daniel's forehead smoothed out as he understood. "Well, as soon as we've talked, I'll take up on your gift and leave you for the rest of the day." He sat carefully on the edge of her bed as she turned on her back to face him.

"Vala, did you send me that card?"

She closed her eyes, trying to ignore the situation.

"I'll take that as a yes." He pulled his glasses off and carefully considered his next words. "Vala, I appreciate your feelings, but I don't return them. Frankly, I'm a bit bewildered as to why you would treat me the way you do if you have feelings for me." He carefully replaced his glasses and waited.

"Daniel, I've never been one to analyze myself. I just go with my feelings and impulses. I haven't cared for anyone since I was 'snaked' and it scared me to death. I know you don't feel the same way, so I act the way I do to push you away. That way I can make myself believe that because you don't really know me, you can't really reject me."

"Vala…"

"Daniel. Don't. Whatever you say won't help. Just know that from now on, I'll try to be less obnoxious." A grin grew on her face, "Of course I might occasionally forget myself and, oh, …"

Daniel stood quickly as she leaned toward him. "OK! Demonstration not needed!"

He moved back to the door as she followed him. She moved past him and stood in front of the door. "Seriously, Daniel, you've treated me much better than my treatment of you should allow." She leaned toward him and gently kissed his cheek as she opened the door.

Daniel stepped out and turned back to her. She stepped out of her room, pretending to be fastening her pants. "Thanks, Daniel. That was quick. Think you'll be 'up' for another visit by tomorrow? Wouldn't want to overtax you, now would I?"

She tossed a bedazzling smile at Daniel and winked at the guard, who was trying his best not to look at Dr. Jackson.

Daniel closed his eyes and moaned. She's done it again. With a small smile, he slipped his hands back into his pockets and whistled as he sauntered back to his office.


A/N: 1) The poem was one I found on a site for those of us who are unable to write poetry. I did shorten it a bit – it got waaay too mushy for Vala.

2) The "history lesson" is courtesy of The History Channel's web site.

3) I thought that I needed to soften Vala a bit since she'll be returning next year to work the SGC and there is simply no way she could stay as outrageous as she has been in the past. I also know that the writers have said that they have no plans for any "shipping" next year, so any amorous relationships shall have to remain in the world of fanfic.

4) This was quickly written over a couple of hours and only one quick review, so I apologize for errors, but there wasn't time to send it to my beta and still get it posted in time for Valentine's Day.