A/N: The first in a group of fics that take place between Fire and Water and Rediscovered Hearts Two AU fic series' beginning in Season 9...if Vala hadn't gone to the Ori galaxy. In this story, Daniel and Vala have been married for about a year. Set a bit after Water but it basically stands alone.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Linger

She's like the sun to me, he mused as her bare feet slapped up the wet deck toward him. It came to him almost without thought, and a secretive smile played across his lips.

"Oh, you think it's funny, do you?" she demanded, the beach towel snapping out from around her waist to flutter down onto the sand beside him.

"Told you not to stay out so long," Daniel reminded her absently, not looking up from his book.

"I couldn't help it," Vala replied, wincing slightly as she lowered herself down on her stomach. "I just want to be on the beach every second…you can understand that, can't you?"

"No," he lied, flipping his page with a finger and still not looking up. "Not when you're already so red. Vala, if you've got to bring the aloe down to the beach with you, there's something wrong."

"I'm so tired of being in the mountain, Daniel!" she exclaimed. "Can't we stay another day?"

"You know we can't," Daniel sighed.

"Please?" she persisted. "Come on, Daniel, just one more day. You know you want to!"

"Doesn't matter if I want to," he said, pushing his bottom lip out thoughtfully as he read. Her fingers closed over the top of the book, and he finally looked up as she tore it from his grasp. "Give me that!"

"How can you be reading?" she demanded, stretching her arm to hold it away from him. "Just look at that beautiful blue water. You haven't been in all day!"

Daniel didn't bother to answer, making a quick lunge across her back for the book. His fingers brushed across the jacket, but their legs tangled as she tried to wriggle out of his reach again, and he landed with the weight of his chest on her burnt skin.

"Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!"

"Sorry, sorry," he fumbled, scrambling quickly away. "Are you all right?"

"Do I look all right?" Vala pushed herself up, blinking against the tears that sprang to her eyes. He knelt beside her, gingerly turning her back to face him, and she bit her lip. "I'm sorry."

"It's all right," Daniel murmured, already reaching back for the plastic bottle of aloe-vera they'd brought with them. She tensed when she heard the cap open, but his touch was soft as water now, sensitive fingertips smoothing over her skin. Vala sighed softly, letting out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding as he worked the slick gel first into her shoulders and then slowly down her back in tender, unconsciously sensuous circles.

"You know, there is an upside to a sunburn," she remarked teasingly.

Daniel rolled his eyes, but squeezed another handful of gel onto his palm. She jumped a little when the coolness touched her lower back, and he hid another smile.

"Better?" he asked as his hands began their gentle retracing, softly moving back up toward her shoulders.

"A little, maybe," she admitted, smiling herself when his hands came to rest on either side of her neck, and he leaned forward. She felt herself start to tense again, but held her so masterfully now that she could feel the warmth of his body though their skin never touched. His breath on her neck brought another, different kind of shiver as his lips fell briefly, feather-soft, behind her ear.

"One more day," he whispered.