Daniel knocked on the door gently as he walked tentatively into the room.
"Vala?" he asked, voice quiet, unsure. The former space pirate was sitting on the edge of her bed, back to the linguist. After the briefing with General Landry, she had hurriedly run off to her quarters, not saying a single word to any of the team. After exchanging concerned looks with Mitchell, Daniel had followed her.
He stepped closer when she didn't reply, softly shutting the door behind him.
"Vala?" he asked again, sitting beside her and resting a hand on her shoulder. Quickly, she looked away, letting her hair conveniently make a curtain between her face and his worried eyes. He sighed, letting his hand fall off her shoulder and into his lap, watching his intertwined fingers.
"Is this about Adria?" he inquired softly. He felt Vala stiffen beside him and glanced at her to check if he could see her reaction any further. No such luck. She stayed silent, one of her hands reaching up to play with her curtain of hair. Daniel watched her fingers run through her black hair, frustrated.
"Can you at least act like I'm here?" he finally bit. She peered through her hair, staring into his blue eyes. He stared back, caught. After a moment, she flipped her hair back over her shoulder and propped her chin up with her fist, resting her elbow on her knee.
"All right," she said. "You're here." Then she let her hair fall into a curtain again, resuming her former position. "Now you're not."
"Vala…" Daniel grumbled, annoyed. He closed his eyes, composing himself. "I'm trying to help," he said more gently. "Could you please at least tell me what's wrong?"
"What makes you think anything's wrong?" she asked, sitting up and meeting his gaze. Daniel rolled his eyes.
"Oh, I don't know, maybe the fact that after the briefing you just ran off without saying a word to anyone and—"
"Maybe I had somewhere I needed to be or something I needed to do," Vala pointed out. Daniel's lips pressed into a thin line.
"Or that you're acting very strange and quiet…and we're alone in your room and you're not making any sort of comments about that," he suggested. She grinned at him slyly.
"Do you want me to make a comment about that?" she asked. Daniel grimaced.
"Not exactly, no," he admitted. "But at least it would prove you're…you still."
Vala sighed, looking away again. However, Daniel noted with satisfaction, she pushed her hair behind her hair so it wouldn't create a curtain.
"I guess…it's partially about Adria," she admitted after a while of silence, "and partially…well, I still have that memory of you guys betraying me. It's hard to…understand that it's a fake."
Daniel grimaced. "Yeah, I bet. Mitchell still has the memory of murdering Dr. Varrick. I'm sure it still hurts though he knows it wasn't actually him."
Vala nodded numbly. Daniel frowned, taking in the lost look in her eyes.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked. Vala's gaze jolted to him, confused.
"Huh? Oh…" She pursed her lips, considering the question. She shrugged. "I guess. Sure."
Daniel frowned. "Okay…"
Vala grinned at him before sighing. "I dunno. I know Adria…Adria may have been technically my blood but…and I know she wasn't really my daughter. If I ever have a kid, I swear, they will not be like that. But…"
"She was still your blood," Daniel finished for her, gently. Vala nodded.
"I still gave birth to her. I still named her. I still carried her in my womb for nine months. I still…I still feel somewhat responsible for her. And…now she's gone." Vala looked up Daniel, her mouth twisted in a very strange smile. "Well. Sorta."
Daniel smiled back. "Sorta," he agreed.
"And then the memory…" she continued. "I dunno. Do you know exactly what happened in the memory?" she asked.
"I know the basics…that's really all any of us needed to know. The specifics kinda played out on their own," he said. Vala nodded.
"I think…I think your betrayal hurt the most," she told him quietly. She paused, collecting her thoughts. Daniel waited, confused and impatient to know why. "I guess…well, you are the closest friend I have, Daniel, and I have no problem admitting to that." She looked up at him and grinned suggestively. Daniel rolled his eyes, motioning for her to move on. "And you…well, I didn't really see much of everyone else after the IOA got involved, you were the one who'd come and tell me what was going on…but you'd tell me almost in a tone to make it seem like you didn't care. You were cold and distant. Harsh, like ice." She stopped, seeing Daniel's eyes stare into hers in her memory, the blue color of them imitating the look and feel of ice so perfectly. She pulled out of it when a warm hand clutched hers. She opened her eyes to see Daniel's face close in front of hers, his eyes not icy, but warm and gentle…soothing and calm…like a river or the sky on a cloudless day.
"You know that if it ever came to that, I would care," he made sure, voice soft and quiet. Vala winced and shrugged.
"Yeah. I guess."
"Vala…" Daniel pushed, not convinced. She shook her head.
"No," she admitted. "No, I don't know that. I've got this memory in my head, Daniel and it's so real, so…so…there, and I can't ignore that. I know what the truth is, I have faith in that, but I don't…know it for myself. I don't…have the memory, the knowledge up there in my brain! I have the fake memory and your word."
"And do you trust my word?" Daniel asked, slightly frightened by the intensity in Vala's voice. Vala stopped and looked up to Daniel's gaze, meeting his eyes again as they stared deep into hers, asking…pleading. And she knew her answer.
Of course she trusted him. How could she not? He was Daniel. And, even though she was used to a life where she could never trust anyone, she trusted Daniel with complete and utter conviction. When he had been a Prior, she had trusted him, not a hundred percent, obviously, but pretty darn close. When she had lost her memory, she trusted him even though she couldn't remember him. This strange man knew her name and was trying to help. She didn't want to trust him, but, at the same time, she wanted to and she did. When she had been sentenced to be burned alive, she had trusted him to get her out of it even though there was no possible way he could save her. Even though he hadn't, it had been the Prior who had brought her back, she had still trusted him to be there. Throughout everything she had been through ever since she had met that very attractive man on Prometheus, she had trusted him, whether he was in a completely different galaxy or right at her side. She had trusted him.
And she always would.
She nodded enthusiastically. "Yes," she told him. "Yes, I trust you."
Daniel smiled, relieved. "Good," he said, standing up and holding out a hand for her. "Now let's go get some lunch. I heard they're having Jell-O today."
Vala grabbed his hand, jumping up. "Blue?" she asked. Daniel shrugged.
"Why don't we go find out," he suggested.
And that is precisely what they did.
A/N: I love reviewers and live for constructive criticism!