SUMMARY: Daniel's going on a hunch. Set season 9
PAIRINGS: Sam/Jack, Daniel/Vala
DISCLAIMER: Characters are property of MGM et al
NOTE: This was originally written for an sj100 challenge. It has since been beta'd by mega-beta, Allie. I thank her again for all her work.
Daniel was still in denial about the whole entire thing; this was merely a product of his subconscious mind – a nightmare. Because he couldn't be sitting here, he really couldn't.
Vala was telling them a story, an embarrassing story about him. And his friends were laughing at it, at him. He could tell that Jack was storing the information for later blackmail use, and Sam was using Jack's shoulder in order to muffle her hysterics.
The bar was unusually packed for a midweek night. Daniel hadn't wanted to go out but Jack had insisted, even though it meant Vala had to accompany them. The bracelet effect - as they'd called it - had worn off, but Landry wasn't allowing Daniel to go anywhere without Vala. It was, the General said, a way of keeping the woman out of trouble.
"Fine," Jack had said. "Invite Carter as well."
If Daniel didn't think he knew better, he'd swear he was really on a double-date. Sam and Jack had slid into the opposite booth side-by-side, leaving Daniel with no choice but to sit next to Vala. The witch had been within his comfort zone all evening. At one point, she'd actually lifted his arm and placed it around her shoulders. Jack's eyebrow had cocked: more blackmail material.
It was weird, therefore, to see Jack's arm slide around Sam's shoulders shortly thereafter. For so long, his friends had intentionally kept as much space as possible between them for propriety's sake. Something was definitely going on between them.
Vala was still telling her embarrassing stories. Daniel decided he'd had enough; it was time to take action. "So, Jack…"
"Sssh, Daniel," Jack replied, smirking. "It's rude to interrupt."
"She's used to it," Daniel observed. "But I do know she likes gossip as much as anyone else on the base."
Vala looked at him excitedly. "Gossip?" she asked gleefully. "Do tell."
Daniel leaned in, mentally choosing his words carefully so as to maximize the effect. "Rumor has it a number of bets are about to be paid out."
"Really?" asked Jack, seemingly disinterested.
"About two good friends of mine actually," Daniel continued. "And one of them has recently been reassigned to Washington."
Jack and Sam sobered up immediately. "To what are you referring, Daniel?" Jack asked in a tone that meant 'Danger Ahead.'
He turned to Vala. "You've heard of the frat regs, right?"
She nodded and then her face lit up. "Oooh, Teal'c told me about these two." Vala looked over at their companions. "Teal'c so does love a good piece of gossip," she confided.
"Well, apparently… they've eloped and she's pregnant."
"I am not," squawked Sam. She turned to Jack who was looking at her enquiringly. "I'm not. I'd have told you."
It had been a guess, but it appeared he was right. "I guess my invite got lost in the mail?" he asked.
Jack's eyes narrowed. "Say one word, Daniel," he threatened.
But Daniel was used to his threats. Instead, he sat back with a contented smile. His job was done.