Title: Not Scene
Timeline: Through Crusade in Season Nine.
Disclaimer: If I owned it, there would be more pie. And Jello. And Cameron without pants. Really, it's very sad that I don't own it.
Author's Note: Yes, the first part of this is just that comment ficlet I wrote you ages ago, woodface. But it's like…longer, and stuff. And controlfreak80, look! Ball of string! Never let it be said that I don't repay my fic debts. Even if months and months pass first.
Their new alien arrival had barely been on the base an hour, and already she was driving Cameron crazy. Granted, that seemed to be a common phenomenon as far as Vala was concerned, but he was pretty certain that his current level of frustration beat some kind of record. Daniel had somehow managed to make a cunning escape a few moments after her arrival, and because he was unavailable for harassment, it seemed that Vala had started to follow Cameron around the base, humming an annoyingly jaunty tune and refusing to leave him alone.
Plus, there was the other thing. But he was probably just imagining that. Or it had been an accident. A slight of the hand.
Because really, there was no way that Daniel's dominatrix was groping his ass.
Sure, maybe he was in denial. But denial was a happy place, where people paid attention to what he said and the SGC wasn't on the verge of shutting down when he had finally managed to make his way there.
Of course, when Vala's hand brushed up against his ass yet again and lingered long enough to, well, squeeze this time, the happy land of denial suddenly disappeared.
"Stop it," Cameron hissed at her.
Wide, not-at-all-innocent eyes looked back at him. "Stop what?"
Another pinch and he glared. "That."
"Oh, that! I thought you meant the humming. Men don't usually complain about where I choose to puts my hands."
Cameron could easily believe her on that account, but never the less... "I just think we should know each other for at least an hour before you start groping me."
After all, he reasoned to himself, there was the art of foreplay to be considered.
Vala, however, seemed to find this notion hilarious. "That was hardly what I'd call groping, Colonel Mitchell. Although," she added, gazing over him from head to toe thoughtfully, "I'm sure groping could be arranged."
He rolled his eyes and grabbed her wayward hand, pulling her down the hall towards Jackson's lab with renewed vigor—all the while trying valiantly to block out her resulting squeal.
"Oooo! So forceful!"
A few days later and Cameron had discovered that Merlin wasn't just a bedtime story. Besides that, Cameron had been forced to defend himself from a hologram with a broadsword, watched someone come back to life, and nearly been crushed flat.
Yes, it turned out that being on SG-1 really was all he had imagined it was going to be.
Now, if he could just manage to get everyone else as excited about it as he was, things would really start looking up.
Of course, Teal'c had gotten betrayed by his people, and Daniel had discovered a new and viable threat to the galaxy. So he supposed he could understand their lack of enthusiasm. Didn't make it suck any less, though.
Walking into the commissary, he tried to remember that things didn't always go according to plan. Sometimes, adjustment was necessary. He was adaptable. He could make this work.
"That's not a remotely attractive expression, you know," said an all-too familiar voice from beside him.
Sure enough, Vala was pushing a tray down the line next to his own, examining the frown on his face a little too closely for his liking.
"Sorry to disappoint sweetheart, but this is the only face I've got," he replied smacking away her hand as she tried to surreptitiously steal his Jell-O.
"And it's a perfectly attractive one when you don't insist on making that face," she reiterated.
"I don't suppose you could just not look at it."
Her head titled in thought. "Well, I considered it. But everyone else would still be subjected to it, so I've decided that the only altruistic thing to do is to convince you to stop scrunching up like that."
Funny, Cameron had been fairly certain that 'altruistic' wasn't a word in Vala Mal Doran's vocabulary. He was about to tell her so when behind the counter, one of the cooks sprayed something on the cook top. It was fairly commonplace in a cafeteria to see the inner workings of the kitchen staff, but the resulting flash of flame had Vala frozen, a visible flinch running through her.
He had read the mission reports and remembered watching that line flatten, the accompanying beep still ringing in his ears. For all her annoyances and little eccentricities, he figured that there were some things no one should have to remember. If he had ever thought it possible, burning to death would probably be on the top of that list.
So he smoothed a hand over her shoulder, catching her attention. "Hey. You all right?"
After a moment of wide-eyed fear, she managed to shake it off. "Yes, of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
Cameron grinned. "No reason." They had reached the bottom of the line, and picking up his tray and hers, he turned towards the tables. "Come on. You can keep telling me how ugly I am over dinner."
Sitting on the hood of a parked car somewhere in Minnesota, Cameron came to the abrupt realization that he had been set up.
Why it hadn't occurred to him earlier, he couldn't really say. But somehow in the rush to get out of Washington D.C. and as far away from the Appropriations Committee as possible, they had managed to just miss the last military transport going anywhere near Colorado for three days. And considering the fact that two of their group were of literally not of this earth, commercial flights weren't an option.
He shouldn't even have been in Washington at all – he hadn't made the first trip and after hearing tales about it, he had been hoping to put off the experience as long as possible. But after the whole mess with the bracelets had been cleared up, Landry had sent them one last time – a final effort in trying to convince the idiots in Washington that the SGC was as important as it had ever been.
Obviously, the meeting had been a disaster – although he was proud to say that any discussion of the Senator's…appendages…had been avoided.
But all this was how he had ended up in a rented compact car with an archeologist at his side and two aliens in the backseat. Two aliens who just happened to be currently plotting a course home that would, completely coincidentally, put them on the path of every cheesy Americana side show tourist trap in Middle America.
He couldn't believe he had been this easy to dupe. After all, he had figured that Vala would drag her feet in leaving the hotel. What he hadn't counted on was Teal'c's out of character poking around — stalling that had directly led to missing the transport. But he should have guessed – after all, aliens stick together.
The Mall of America had sucked up nearly eight hours and the entirety of Jackson's credit limit. The tour of a meat packing plant not far away had resulted in Cameron knowing more than he ever needed to about Spam – not to mention the two cases of it Teal'c had bought now weighing down their trunk. But none of that beat watching Teal'c and Vala press themselves against the plexiglass covering that housed the World's Largest Ball of Twine.
Once she seemed to gaze her fill, Vala pranced over to his haven, grinning widely, which prompted Cameron to ask the question he had been mulling over since their arrival.
"Okay, explain something to me. You and Teal'c have been to countless other pla…ces, seen things I can't imagine. Why was it absolutely necessary for us to stop here for a big ball of string?"
She glanced over her shoulder at it, looking satisfied. "So we would be able to say we've seen this too."
"And was it worth the bragging rights?"
Vala shrugged. "It doesn't matter. No alien I know would believe anyone would spend their free time making this." She turned back towards him, glancing around. "Where's Daniel?"
"Still lying down in the back of the car, trying to recover from sticker shock."
Her resulting grin was completely unrepentant. "Yes, one of the unfortunate universal truths is that clothing made of leather is expensive. I might consider giving up the luxury entirely, but it just looks so good on me."
Even Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn't have been able to disagree with that statement, and Cameron couldn't hold in his chuckle.
She somehow managed to shuffle between his legs, patting his cheek. "You're being a horribly good sport about all this."
"Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm annoyed on the inside," he clarified with a shake of his head. "Maybe not as much as Jackson, though. After all, the more people are busy being pissed at you, the less they're picking apart the new guy."
Her hand, still resting on his cheek, drew him closer. "You poor thing," she muttered insincerely before her lips came into contact with his own.
Kissing Vala was like kissing a good friend – except that good friends normally didn't use that much tongue. But it was easy and hot and when it stopped, he was smiling in spite of himself. "What was that?"
"A thank you?" she offered with yet another grin. "Teal'c and I know you didn't want to come and we appreciate it. He was going to nod his head in your direction or something, but I thought you might like this better."
"Mmm," Cameron intoned neutrally. "You know, there's a museum of barbed wire in Kansas if you're interested…."
By the time Vala wandered inside, Cam had managed to pull himself up from the cot – though standing was another matter entirely. Ori healing light aside, he still had a headache the size of Montana.
A headache that was not at all helped by the reverberation that shuddered through the cot as she flopped on it beside him. Rubbing his temples, he didn't look up. "We gotta leave?"
"That seems to be the general consensus of the newly converted, yes," she replied with an almost bitter tone in her voice. "Although in the spirit of Origin, they've decided to let me go as well."
"How touching," he intoned.
"Isn't it just?" she snorted.
They sat side by side in silence for awhile, wallowing in their own failure. "Thank you," he finally said by way of breaking the silence. "I don't remember much after the fever set in, but I remember you, trying to heal me with that…thing."
She shrugged. "It didn't work."
He reached out to her, squeezing her shoulders briefly. "Yeah well, that part doesn't matter so much."
Admittedly, when she disappeared saving them all, he had only been temporarily thrown. There had been no time to dwell on it – Jackson was sick and then there was just one thing after another. Between learning to fight Jaffa style and global pandemics and being framed for murder and intergalactic drug rings, wondering about Vala somehow got lost in the shuffle.
Until Jackson came up behind him in the locker room and ogled him in ways that were a little too disturbing to contemplate for long periods of time.
Now watching Daniel sit at that table, grinning exactly the way she had right before planting one on him in the middle of Podunk, Minnesota, Cameron had to wonder if you ever really got used to this kind of stuff.
"You're remembering the time we kissed you, aren't you?" she said. But it was Jackson's voice and yes, this situation was just all kinds of wrong.
"No," he lied.
She was unconvinced. "I could do it again if you like."
That caused a visible shudder. "No."
His response caused a pout – an expression on Daniel that seriously had him considering trying to track down a blindfold. "You're hurting my feelings."
"I doubt that," he muttered.
She/he laughed. "No, you're right. Although, if I do ever make it back to your galaxy, the idea of you, me, and Daniel does merit a thought or two."
At that he was forced to sit down, laughing at himself and the SGC and his life since he had gotten exactly what he wanted. "You know, I'm starting to understand why they keep a whole passel of shrinks on staff here."
Her eyes seemed genuinely alarmed. "Well goodness, don't go shrinking anything! There are much more entertaining ways to deal with that problem."
Desperate now, Cameron made a lunge for the door. "You know, I think I need some more coffee after all."
This prompted another pout, accompanied by a sigh. "I have no idea how long this is going to work, you know. And my story isn't finished yet!"
"I'll be right back!" Hopefully, with company so they could get back on topic.
He had his hand on the doorknob before he turned around, smiling at her. "Despite all this," he said, gesturing to Daniel, "it's nice to…see…you again."
There was that grin again. "I knew you wanted to kiss me!"