I've had this little idea in my head for a long time...it took a while to make it into a workable story-ish thing, but here it is. It may seem kinda...I don't know...for a while, but just keep reading, please. The good stuff is toward the end. :P I don't know how else to explain this, so please just read the whole thing; it's not that long, and I hope it's ok. You people know I'm a sucker for D/V. I also know that I've done a similar story to this, and I guess this could kinda be a companion for "Together in the End", another of my shorts. You can decide that for yourself. :) Please tell me what ya think of it. Happy reading!
"I'm writing this just because I can, I guess. Just in case. I'm not really sure. Vala's sleeping, but for some reason I can't right now. We've been here twenty years and three months, but today was our twenty-year anniversary. I love her so much, and somehow I want to put it on paper. I'll probably never show it to her; I'm still stubborn that way. But I have to get this out. Now how do I start?
"Before this unending togetherness, it's pretty safe to say hat out relationship was characterized by separation. It's almost hard to count the number of times we've been separated, even though it was really only a few. It feels like more, because often it hurt so much I either shut it out or it stretched on forever. I still remember that even after all this time.
"The first time she left, it didn't really hurt. Our encounter was brief, but interesting. She hijacked the ship, kidnapped me, beat me up…but the real kicker was that she kissed me when she was done.
"Nooo…that's not quite true. The kicker was that I liked it. Without thinking, I let her do it, just for a split second, before coming to my senses and pushing her away. Then there was the adventure with her 'buyers', our skins being saved by General Hammond and the Al'kesh the rest of the Prometheus crew had been stuck on, and then…she escaped.
"I must admit I was a little disappointed to see her go then. She was nothing if not interesting. After being trapped on the Prometheus for a day or so with no one but her, her absence left me feeling a little alone at first, even with the rest of the crew back on board. That was all.
"At the time, I brushed it off as nothing to be concerned about.
"It didn't hurt the second time she left either, really, though that was a bit worse. Before that, I had spent much more time with her than when we'd first met, thanks to those bracelets she slapped on us when I wasn't paying attention. She'd showed up on Earth claiming to have the map to an Ancient treasure supposedly buried on our planet. We found that, and as a result were shoved into another unplanned adventure together, in the end leading the Ori right to our galaxy. I even saw her die once.
"That, I can't deny, rattled me. I'd seen people I cared for die more times than I care to remember, and people I didn't know very well perish even more times than that. Thank God I haven't built up an immunity, but that was worse than I later thought it should have been, considering that the central word to describe Vala as I thought of her in my mind was simply annoyance at that point in time.
"It scared me. I can't hide that. She must have seen it on my face behind the shock, after that Prior revived her, but she never said anything. She didn't have to. I could see it on hers. Those two minutes… I think they're probably the worst two minutes I've ever had to endure. I saw her burned to death, I thought she was gone for good…I wasn't sure why I did it, but I knelt down and untied her body from the stone pedestal it had been bound to and held her in my arms. That was where she woke up when the Prior healed her.
"I think she read something into that, because the flirting and innuendos picked up a few notches after that incident, but never mind…
"In those two minutes, I felt more alone than I'd ever felt in my life. I've felt worse since, but not before that. I was the only person from my galaxy alive in the galaxy I was in, I was trapped in some other man's body, and the same angry villagers that had just killed her seemed intent on killing me the same way next. The only thing that prevented it was that Prior showing up.
"After that, she finally took off the bracelets, and we said goodbye in the 'gate room. Or some semblance of goodbye. Even then, she was still trying to swipe something. I only came to see her off because I was afraid she would.
"At least that's what I told her. I wasn't really sure why. I just felt I needed to, even though she was still the same old annoying, conning Vala. I think that was when the attachment started. I didn't want it, couldn't explain it…but it was there.
"And once she'd swaggered up the ramp and stepped through that 'gate backwards, I felt alone again. I went right back to work to ignore the feeling, but it was still there. A few hours later, when I woke up in the infirmary from passing out in the corridor because, apparently, the effects of the bracelets had not worn off yet, and I found that she was back, I chalked it up to the bracelets.
"We were stuck together for even longer that time. Until the effects wore off and we could go farther than a hundred yards from each other. Or that was what it was supposed to be, anyway. But we were separated again before that.
"The Ori were trying to breach our galaxy with a supergate, we had to stop it from being completed and connecting. She had an idea, but no one was paying attention to her. That was largely my fault. I'd treated her like crap that day, but I rationalized it because I was so sick of her antics, which I'd had to deal with every single day for weeks.
"Then she nabbed a Goa'uld cargo ship and flew into the ring, blocking the last piece and shorting it out when it tried to charge. It all but fried the ship, though thankfully she had enough power left to ring out, but the singularity the priors had been forming out of a planet behind the constructing supergate sent out a shockwave as the planet imploded and it came into existence, and she was gone.
"At first we thought she'd been killed, because I started feeling the effects immediately as if she wasn't there. Before I collapsed I got that feeling again…that feeling of being alone…But after I woke up in the infirmary again Sam told me that a beam of ring transporter energy had left the ship. She suspected it had been sucked into the singularity and that possibly Vala was alive somewhere on the other side, in the Ori galaxy.
"That time, it hurt. I hid it expertly, as I'd trained myself to do over the years of loss, but it hurt. The fear that she was dead stayed with me all the months she was gone. I felt alone again, and I wasn't even sure why, but I fiercely made myself believe that she was alive out there somewhere. I wouldn't give up on her.
"Over eight months later, I got my proof. Granted, I didn't know it until after she was done using the Ancient communication device to tell everyone what had been going on in the Ori galaxy through my body, but I found out immediately afterward. Unfortunately, I also found out along with everyone else that the Ori had built another supergate right under our noses.
"We didn't stop them that time, but we got Vala back. She came on one of the ships with the Ori warriors. In the battle after they came through I ended up ringing over to the same one to keep myself alive when the ship I was on was attacked and exploded, and that was how I found her.
"A mother. She'd had to marry one of the Ori worshipper human men over there in the village the rings had dropped her in, just to keep herself alive. It was a primitive culture, the humans in that galaxy. Medieval. Somehow the Ori had impregnated her, and if it had been discovered that she was pregnant out of wedlock she would have been stoned or something. She'd only been allowed on the ship over to our galaxy because of that pregnancy, so she could stay with her husband.
"Husband. It was scary then. Even now that thought, that she married…and someone else…what am I saying?
"Anyway, at least that was what she thought. By the time I found her, the baby had been born--a girl. A girl that already looked like a teenager by the time I saw her a few hours later. By then Vala had discovered that she was on the ship because of that girl. The Ori had impregnated her with the closest thing to an Ori that could exist in a human body. They were finding a way around the Ancients' rules. They couldn't come into our galaxy themselves, so they sent their warriors, and one of their own in disguise.
"I barely got the both of us off that ship alive, once we were discovered as unbelievers in the Ori and their supposed divinity. But the Odyssey found us, Sam beamed us out…and that was that. Vala was back again.
"We heard that, still with the Ori warriors, her daughter, Adria, grew, and lead the Ori armies. Vala stayed at the SGC. She wasn't sure she would at first, and we weren't sure the government would let her. But they let her stay. The road was bumpy though; not only politically, but relationally. The flirting numbed down, and somehow we became semi-comfortable with one another. Eventually she became a member of SG-1…and it left me wondering how we had gone from all but enemies at our first meeting, to friends and co-workers. That feeling…the one that I'd written off so many times…stayed dormant for a while.
"Then Athena got a hold on her. Had her kidnapped right from the restaurant I'd taken her to. And no, it wasn't a date. As I pointed out to her more than once, it was just two friends and co-workers out for dinner. Did she listen to me? No.
"She went to the bathroom, and never came back. A car screeched out of the parking lot, and all I found was the fake flower she'd had in her hair, laying on the pavement. Cliché I know, but that was what happened. We tracked down Athena's hideouts, found the one she was being held at…but it had a self-destruct. It looked like everyone inside had been killed, including the entire extraction team. We thought she was dead, and that feeling came back. The feeling of being alone, even though I had my other friends. I even got a sympathetic call from Jack, but…
"I told him what I told everyone else. I wasn't giving up on her. She had to be out there somewhere. I told myself I was only being so stubborn because she was a good friend, cared about her just like any other friend…and being stubborn was just who I was.
"But that wasn't the whole truth, though even I didn't quite know it at the time.
"For two weeks there was nothing. Then we got word that she'd been seen, but she had no memory. Later we figured out that some device Athena had been using on her had shorted out and…but that wasn't important. She didn't remember us; that was why she hadn't contacted us even though she escaped. We tracked her down, but she ran. It wasn't until she started having flashbacks that she listened to us…to me…and came back with us. She regained her memory in full over a few weeks, and SG-1 was back together.
"That was the most frightening of the incidents, from my point of view. I can't say for her. For a while I was even afraid she was really gone for good. And when we tracked her down in that old warehouse, and finally convinced her that we were friends, when she broke into tears and I held her…I think that was when I knew for sure that I loved her. But did I tell her? Of course not. That wouldn't be consistent with my usual stubbornness. I let our friendship continue how it was, went right on teasing her about her singular ways and getting annoyed when she flirted or fooled with things.
"Then we found Merlin's cave, Merlin--or Myrden--himself, and the secret to building the San Graal, the weapon we could use to defeat the Ori. When Merlin died from having been in stasis too long, and left all of his knowledge in my head…Vala wasn't happy.
"Maybe I was out of it for most of the rest of the time we spent in that cave, because I was trying to use the Ancient interface to build the device with what he'd given me, but I knew. I knew I was taking a big chance with my life, having all of that stuffed in my brain, even though I insisted to the others that I'd be fine. I knew the minute I made that water bottle come to my hand just by thinking about it that I was in deep. And I knew how worried she was. When I went back to the interface yet again, she thought I didn't see her cry while she was whispering fiercely to Mitchell, trying to get him to stop me.
"But I saw. That hurt, too. And it didn't help that, with another consciousness, for lack of a better word, in my head, I was already feeling a rift growing. Then Adria showed up with her Ori warriors. I was able to stop them with the telekinetic powers, but I couldn't keep them back long enough to let the rest of SG-1 get through the 'gate and get through myself, too. She overpowered me seconds after Vala disappeared through the event horizon of the wormhole, being dragged away from me unwillingly by Mitchell's firm grip on her jacket collar.
"I knew I had to make sure they got out of there, but watching her go that time was even harder. I felt alone immediately. I honestly didn't know if I would ever see her again. At the time, I didn't know what Adria had planned for me.
"Even though it made sense once she'd done it, I hadn't expected her to keep to me alive. But she kept me with her, tried to teach me the 'truth' about the Ori…and that was how Merlin and I formed our plan. So I let her think she'd turned me, and she made me a prior. I have to admit that was really strange at first. Once I sort of got used to it, it was kind of cool to have the powers, but I still wanted my normal skin back.
"So I was happy when the plan went down. It didn't happen flawlessly. In fact, it went pretty badly. But it happened. With SG-1's help we got the finished San Graal through the supergate, I reverted back to my normal self, Merlin's consciousness dispersed, and I was back. I was myself again.
"But even so, it hurt that, while I'd still been a prior, Vala hadn't completely believed that I was really still on their side. All of them had only been taking precautions, I knew, even though it was a little insulting, even painful…but that hit me the hardest. Her not believing me.
"At least she told me that she really wanted to. That helped some. But it still affected our relationship. For a while after that, we weren't as close. I still felt cut off from her. It wasn't until her estranged father suddenly showed up at the SGC that I felt closer to her again. Even though she wouldn't admit it, she needed someone then, and I was there as much as I could be. And I hurt for her when he ran off again.
"But that was nothing compared to when we finally captured Adria some weeks after that. By the time we got to her Ba'al had captured her first, neutralized her powers, and implanted her with a clone of his symbiote self. A Tok'ra doctor tried to remove that snake, but in the end couldn't save her. She ascended, so she wasn't completely gone, but still the pain on Vala's face was sharp enough to shred my heart to pieces. Again I was left wondering how I'd gotten to that point, to caring about her so much.
"But I still didn't tell her. I gave her hints, showed her in small actions, but she didn't fully understand, and at the time that was all right with me. She was still herself, still flirty, rambunctious, juvenile. Even though there had been times where it definitely seemed she did, there was no way to know for sure if, beyond friendship, her interest in me was anything except physical. If that was all she wanted, I wanted no part in it. I knew she had changed since I'd first met her, but I was still afraid of becoming one of her lured in, used, and thrown-away victims. From what I had heard, there had been too many of them in the past.
"It was almost an irrational fear, I know now, but even though I was to the point where I was even able to calmly tell Vala about Sha're, I…guess I still wasn't completely over it. I was still hurting, to some degree, and I had no desire to prompt her to do something that in the end would only cause more pain. Even when we all ended up trapped on the Odyssey, this stupid, now almost useless hunk of metal…I left it how it was. All of us--SG-1 plus General Landry--thought, hoped that we would only be there, frozen in time, for a few weeks. But it stretched into months, and still I did nothing but study the Asgard database they had installed on the ship.
"Then I made her cry.
"I hadn't meant to. I wasn't really sure what I was doing, really, but it all came out. I was in my room, and so was she, just there to be there, to talk, to whatever. We were bored. She tried to get my pants off. I stopped her, and I blew up at her.
"Everything came out, in one way or another. All the fears, everything. But it wasn't the usual way. I yelled at her. I only told her the parts about herself, told her she was too childish, should grow up, stop using things like flirtation and sex to keep herself distant from people, from me. Somehow I had been afraid that she didn't really care, only wanted to sleep with me, but I yelled it at her like it was a fact. I don't know what came over me.
"Maybe it was an involuntary preemptive strike. Strike out at her; warn her off before the person part of me was afraid she still was lured me in and I did something I would regret. Before she could hurt me.
"But she didn't get angry. She didn't become defensive. That was what I thought she would do, and it would have all but proved that my fears were true. Instead, she cried.
"I was mortified. It wasn't until then I fully realized what I'd done. I'd hurt her worse than she ever could have hurt me, and all because I was afraid. Because I couldn't bear the thought of being hurt again.
"I didn't know what else to do. I sat down beside her, but she wouldn't look at me at first. When she did, I knew I'd been wrong.
"So I kissed her.
"More than twenty years later, and we're still stuck here, on this ship. General Landry has been gone for a few years. It was just old age, really. Another twenty or thirty years and the rest of us will probably start going, but hopefully we won't be here that long. Though goodness knows when Sam will get this whole thing figured out. Already all of us but Teal'c have at least some gray. Well, that's Vala and Mitchell. Sam and I weren't so lucky; we've gone all the way already.
"But it'll be all right. Vala and I have been together since that day in my quarters. Though it may not seem like much could happen while trapped on a spaceship stuck in a time dilation field, we've been through a lot. She miscarried once, but we never had a child. Now it's too late. That's all right too, even though it was bad then. We still have each other, and that's all we need. I love her, and she loves me, and we both know it.
"Since that day twenty years ago, I've never been alone. Of course, the fact that I'm stuck in this relatively small place with five, now four other people might have something to do with it, but it's not just that. That feeling I used to get, when Vala was gone or distant…it's gone now. I haven't felt it since. And good riddance to it, because now I know that whether we get off this ship or die here, or whatever happens, I'll never be alone again. With her nearby, something in me that was left not quite whole for a long time is complete. It may sound lame to you--heck, it sounds lame to me--but it's true, and I don't mind telling anyone who asks.
"No matter how any of this turns out, Vala and I will still have each other in one way or another.
"That's what makes it all bearable. And Vala, if you ever read this…I love you more than I could ever say."
--Daniel Jackson, 2028 (Or that's what it feels like in here, though outside the field it's still 2007, but let's not get technical…)
--PS (added 2058ish, bubble time)--I'll never forget us. I don't know what's going to happen with this time reversal thing. I don't know if we'll die, or live, and technically we can't remember any of it, but somehow I'll remember. If this is me reading this, it's got to be in that thick head of yours somewhere, Daniel! You know it. But since you'll only ever get to read this unless you do realize what's right in front of you…just don't ever throw it away, okay? And life is too short to waste time. So don't. You're together now, so cherish every minute of it.
"Teal'c, wait up!"
Teal'c stopped and turned to see Daniel Jackson hurrying after him as quickly as his elderly human body would let him. "Is there a problem, Daniel Jackson?"
His friend caught up with him, shook his head, and took a few breaths before speaking. "No…nothing in particular, but I just…well, before we uh…before we try this I…can I ask you something?"
Daniel Jackson had always spoken quickly, and in his age it had served to make him seem even more--what was the human term? Oh yes, scatterbrained--than the rest of them.
"What is it?"
Daniel sighed and pulled something out of his pocket. It took a moment for Teal'c to realize that it was a folded-over stack of several pieces of heavily written-on paper. The words were inside, and at a glance he could not make any of them out, but that was not important. It was not his business.
"I uh, wrote this about thirty years ago. It's kind of hard to tell you what it is, because I'm not even entirely sure myself, but…well, it has to do with Vala. I know we all already agreed as a whole that you wouldn't tell our younger selves anything about what happened here, and I agree. I don't want you to break that or anything…"
Teal'c raised an eyebrow, but did not interrupt. He knew if he remained silent, that his friend would say what he wished to say.
"Just…would you take this? And when…if…Vala and I ever get together in that timeline, then give it to me. It doesn't tell a whole lot he…I won't already know, and if we don't…" He winced to himself seemingly at just the thought. "If we don't end up together in that timeline, then just keep it. But if we do, I want me him, whatever, to know something about how it happened here. And I guess it'll be up to that me whether or not to show it to her. I don't know how else to explain myself to you, but could you please just do that? Would that be all right?"
He thought about it only a moment before nodding. "I will do this, Daniel Jackson," he agreed.
Teal'c closed the papers on the memory, and tucked the packet back into the pocket inside his suit jacket.
"Whatcha got there, Teal'c?"
It was Daniel, coming over after finally pulling himself momentarily away from his new wife and their well-wishers at the reception of their wedding.
Teal'c smiled briefly. "It is nothing."
He waited until the reception was over before looking for a good time to hand the papers over to his friend. The circumstances for needing to do so had been met. It had taken longer in this timeline--three more years of working together instead of three months trapped on the Odyssey as before, but Daniel Jackson and Vala MalDoran were now undeniably 'together', as Daniel Jackson's older self had put it. Their wedding seemed the most appropriate day to give the papers to Daniel.
The right time came just outside the entrance to the mountain in which the SGC rested. The wedding had taken place in the 'gate room inside. There had been many more guests within, but here it was only SG-1 plus Jack O'Neill, all crowded together around Daniel's car to see the couple off on their honeymoon.
When it seemed as if the Jacksons were about to turn to get into the vehicle, Teal'c pulled out the papers.
Daniel turned to him, still smiling brightly as he had been for hours. "Yeah?"
He held out the papers. "I was instructed to give you these, were this to occur."
"What…?" Gingerly Daniel took the old paper in his hand and opened it along the single fold. "This is my handwriting," he frowned. Teal'c nodded. "But I don't remember writing…" His voice faded as his eyes scanned the first few lines and paragraphs, then he carefully flipped through the other pages and scanned the end. Vala was looking over his shoulder, reading everything he did, and after a moment her hand went to her mouth.
"Oh my god…" he breathed. He looked back up. "I wrote this? The other me? "
"Indeed," Teal'c smiled. "I was only to give that to you if you and Vala MalDoran were to become a couple…again."
"I-I…I don't know how to thank you for this…"
"Simply follow your own instructions, Daniel Jackson." He glanced at Vala. "Life is indeed too short. Do not waste your time together."
Vala's arms had slipped around her husband's waste, and his arms went around her in return. "No…we won't. Thank you so much."
"Here I am again. I suppose this is volume two of the Daniel and Vala Chronicles, if you want to call it that. Though technically I didn't even write the first one. But it's attached here. I'm typing this all up, and adding in this, my own letter, what happened in my timeline, where the two split off.
"There's not a whole lot more to tell but that instead of getting stuck in that time dilation field on the Odyssey, Teal'c, the older one, was suddenly there. He told us what to do, and we got away. After that my relationship with Vala stayed pretty much the same until, slowly, I figured it out: That she wasn't and could no longer be the person part of me was afraid she was, and that I was undeniably in love with her. I married her, Teal'c gave me the above letter written by my other self, and I decided to start this for the same basic reason he did the other one. Because I love her.
"Now we're here, halfway through our honeymoon, and I've never been happier in my life. I kind of feel connected to my other, older self now, because I'm writing this while Vala's asleep. The only different thing is that I won't hesitate to show her this. When we got here we both read the old letter in full, remembered the times that were the same for us, laughed and cried.
"I've learned something in these past few years, and that letter from another life only served to drive it home. Life is too short, and I'm not wasting my time.
"Oops. Vala's awake now, and she's not happy that I'm not in bed. She wants me back, and I'm going. This will end here for now, but no need to worry. This is only the beginning."
--Daniel Jackson, 2010