A Little Standing Time
They were standing outside General Landry's office, leaning on the walls opposite each other, waiting for him to finish up on the phone. To finish up with details of Jacek's sanctuary on Earth. Vala was determined to talk the man out of it, to convince him that he was making a mistake, that 'Earth' was making a mistake by letting the man even visit the planet, let alone stay. Sam had tried talking her out of it, tried telling her that it was too late, that the General would not be convinced, that Jacek was coming to stay on Earth, but Vala would not be convinced either.
Now they were just standing and waiting in the silence of the little hallway, listening to the faint murmurs of Landry through the door.
"This reminds me of school." Sam said, smiling.
"Standing outside the principle's office, waiting to be punished," she explained, smiling.
"I didn't behave very well in high school."
"You?" Vala repeated. Sam laughed.
"Yes me." A huge grin spread across Vala's face and she stood up straightened, leaning towards the blonde colonel.
"What did you do?" She asked, voice low and tone scandalous.
"Oh nothing really bad," she said, Vala shifted again, as Sam continued to stand still against the grey wall. "played truant, answered back, a lot, smoked."
"For a bit, not long."
"Broke a few windows, a lot of lab equipment, a lab," she paused, thinking about school, "made out with a few boys, a teacher." Vala raised an eyebrow.
"You?" Sam laughed again.
"I don't believe you."
"I was acting out, trying to get attention." She explained, "I changed schools a lot so I had to do something to get noticed and stop being the new girl."
"Oh," Vala digested that information, "I never went to school." She threw the comment out with a wave of her hand, like it wasn't important to her, but Sam knew better.
"Jacek didn't like to be tied down to one place, or woman." Vala spat the words out, "didn't see the point of school if I was just going to be moving around all the time."
"Did you have any education?"
"My mother taught me at home." Vala shrugged, "to the best of her abilities of course."
"I'm sure she did great," Sam said, unsure what to say without insulting the woman or sounding trite. The dark haired woman simply smiled.
"I leant more from my father than I realised, it turned out." She sighed, the very subject of Jacek causing her head to drop , her eyes on the floor. She was tapping her fingers against the wall behind her.
"He may be for real, you know, you should give him a chance at least." Sam said, trying to look her in the eye, trying to get her to lift her head up again. "It seemed like it had been a while since you'd seen him."
"I'm sure they do, but not Jacek."
"I know you don't want to believe it," Sam said, "and I know how you feel."
"Ha! From what I've head Jacob Carter was a hero, and you mother was a saint."
"My mother was no saint," Sam gritted her teeth, "and dad wasn't always such a great guy."
Vala lifted her head up them, the black curtain of hair falling back. She was smiling, a crooked twist of her lips.
"After my mom died he was a pretty lousy father."
"I don't know why you think everything about me is so perfect."
Vala shrugged, "I just assume you are, I rarely see you step out of line or smudge your make-up."
"Maybe I'm just really good at keeping my secrets."
"I'm sure you are." Vala said, "but you don't want to talk about that."
"Well I don't wan to talk about Jacek."
"He's the reason we're standing out here."
"You don't have to be standing out here."
"I'm your friend Vala, I want to help." Vala didn't reply and they were silent again, leaning back against the walls still, waiting, General Landry's voice still drifting thought the door.
"What made General Carter such a lousy father?" She asked Sam after a while. The blonde smiled, she'd been waiting for her to ask something like that.
"After my mom died he was never there." It was Sam's turned to drop her head, "I got into all that trouble at school and he didn't notice, I graduated top my class, or every class I took and he didn't notice," she looked up, eyes avoiding Vala's directly, frown on her face and tears in her eyes. "I didn't see him for months at a time, he would drift in and out of the house in the middle of the night."
"For good reason though, not like Jacek."
"Didn't make it any easier, and hundreds of thousands of officers all over the world see their families," she sighed, "no parents, no brother, I broke my heart over and over, smoked, hurt myself," she pulled her BDU trousers down and her black t-shirt up, exposing her left hip, "scarred myself." Vala crouched and ran her fingers over the thin red scar running around her side. When Sam let go of her clothes she stood up straight again.
"How did you get that?"
"No idea, I was drunk."
"You?" Sam smiled, nodding. Vala turned around and pulled her t-shirt up as far as it would go. "See that white mark?" Sam stepped forward and leaned over, there were a few white scars etched into Vala's already ivory skin but she could guess which she meant, "the round one." Sam put her finger on her back, the pad of her index finger fitting into the pock mark. Vala dropped her t-shirt, forcing Sam to let go and move away.
"Drunk?" Sam asked.
"Very." there was another wry twist of her lips. "I woke up with a spike in my back."
"Ouch." Sam grimaced.
"The last think I remember I was in a bar with Jacek, the next thing I know, there's a spike on my back!"
"The thing is Vala, is that Jacek can change, could've changed."
"Because your father did."
"What made him change?"
"He was going to die, and even then he was a pain in the ass, but he became a host for a Tok'ra and everything changed." She shifted, leaning forward. "He even patched things up with my brother."
"Do you miss him?"
"Yes." It was a whisper, she hadn't really spoken much about Jacob since he had died, and while yes, she had gotten another few years with him, she still wanted more time with him. "Yes." She repeated.
"Sorry." She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Sam, squeezing her tight, preventing her from moving her arms or pulling away for a long moment.
"It's okay Vala." She said, when she could breathe again, smiling. They were silent again as their minds worked hard to try and figure out what would be the right thing to say. They had spent the entire morning together, but had never touched on anything this close to themselves, to their lives. After a while, Sam pushed herself away from the wall.
"People change, I know." Vala pre-empted.
"Just consider the possibility okay?"
"No promises." Sam sighed, and looked at the door.
"He's going to be a while you know." She told her.
"I can wait." Sam didn't believe that she could be so patient all of a sudden, but didn't press on it, she just hoped she could wait for her father to change if he ever did. She considered hugging her friend, but decided against it, leaving her to lean against the wall and wait for the General.