Well, it seems like there've been 'little' stories for just about everybody else, or 'something', but I've never seen Vala, so this is the story I came up with. I couldn't resist, lol. I hope you like it; please do review if you do, so I know if I should go on or not, or whatever. Thanks so much for reading!

Lessons in Love

Well, the Ori were gone. Their followers were subdued…and somehow it felt strange to have nothing to do anymore but explore. Sure, Ba'al and a few of his clone were still out there somewhere, but it was hardly something worth worrying about too much. One annoying Goa'uld could destroy their galaxy, right?

Hopefully, anyway. Whatever.

There were plenty of translations he'd been behind on, what with the Ori crisis, to keep Daniel busy. And every now and then he knew there would be places for SG-1 to go, planets to see, new cultures to meet…but it wasn't as exciting as it used to be. All he really wanted to do was get back to what he'd gone to college for, back to his roots. For now, anyway. Though he did still want to be 'out there', of course, when he could.

But enough heavy thinking for now.

Daniel pushed open one of the two swinging doors into the commissary, and headed straight for the coffee table. It was a little passed breakfast time, and though he'd had a little something at home and wasn't hungry, he sure could use some more energy. He grabbed a mug, loaded it with plenty of sugar, then the coffee, and was about to head out when he caught a glimpse of Vala out of the corner of his eye. She was slumped at the nearby table, swirling a spoon in a bowl of soggy cereal that it didn't look like she'd touched once.

He sighed to himself and went over to her. "Hey…what's up?" he asked, sitting down across from her.

"Hmm?" She looked up a little drowsily. "Oh, nothing. Just not hungry, I guess."

Daniel took a gulp of his coffee. "Nothing's wrong?"

Vala shrugged. "No."

He looked at her. "Come on, don't give me that; you know I can tell."

She let the spoon drop into the bowl. "It just kind of seems sad that its all over, that's all."

"Sad?" He blinked at her. "We just got rid of the most dangerous enemy we've had yet, and you think it's sad? Are you feeling all right?"

"Yes, Daniel, I'm fine," she insisted. "But I mean…well, if the Ori had never existed, then neither would that communication device, and it wouldn't have screwed with the bracelets, we never would have been stuck together for so long, and I probably would have left then and we'd have never seen each other again. So it's not like it was all bad. Some good came out of it."

Daniel raised an eyebrow. "If you want to call it that," he teased.

"Oh, stop it."

"Okay…" He took another swig. "So…that isn't really what this is about, is it?"

She sighed, "No." She pushed her bowl out of the way and let her head drop into her arms on top of the table

"Then what is it?"

"I'm trying to make myself feel better," she mumbled without looking up.

"And….you're trying to make yourself feel better because you feel bad why?"

She groaned. "Nevermind."

Daniel waited, and when she didn't say anything else and didn't look up, he tried again. "Is it about Adria?" he asked gently.

She hesitated, but finally nodded just a little--and her face was still hidden in her arms. "She's gone for good now," she mumbled. "And I couldn't do anything about it."

"You did everything you could to change her mind. It's not your fault she wouldn't listen."

Vala dragged her head up and shrugged. "If you say so, Daniel."

He looked at her for a moment. "Do you miss her?"

"No," she answered too quickly. "Why should I miss her? She was a menace."

"But she was your daughter."

"How many times do I have to tell you she wasn't?"

Daniel rolled his eyes. "Yes, the whole 'I was a packing crate' excuse. I remember. I've heard it more than once."

She almost glared at him. "It's not an excuse, Daniel; it's the truth," she said evasively. But he'd known her long enough to know she was lying.

"All right, fine…" he stood up, deciding that it was time to let it go for now. There would be time later to really make her talk about it…but that time wasn't now. "Just don't forget that we leave right after lunch."

Vala sat up and grabbed her tray. "Yes, SG-1's second mission since the subduing of the ascended Orici and the Ori followers. Right. Don't worry about me, Daniel."

He shook his head and turned for the door. "I'll see you then." He caught her waving goodbye before he was out in the corridor, headed back to his office.


"Well, this is different," Mitchell stated needlessly.

"Indeed."

Surprisingly, there were no trees at all on the world SG-1 stepped out on that afternoon. Or at least none they could see. Instead, they seemed to be inside a building. The walls were a cream color, with accents of blue that reminded Daniel of Atlantis. Of course, that was probably because it was exactly the same color as much of the décor on Atlantis, and the designs were similar as well.

So was the Ancient writing on the wall.

Well, that explained that.

Sam must have seen his eyes go wide in excitement, because she smirked good-naturedly and skirted away from him. "Look around all you want; just don't knock anybody over," she teased.

"And remember that we have a time limit," vala pointed out, playfully pushing him forward into the room."

Daniel stumbled forward a step, not having expected that. When he stabilized again, he rolled his eyes at both of them before going off to look around anyway. Or he meant to. But that was when two little men in old robes that made him think of monks on Earth scuttled into the room.

"Visitors!" The second one piped up immediately.

Daniel, the closest to them, glanced back at the others for a moment. "Uhm…yeah. I guess so," said in answer.

The one in front grinned widely. "Wonderful! Come, come. Closer, all of you."

All of them looked at Mitchell, who shrugged in a 'they seem harmless' gesture and went closer. When all five of them were gathered in front of the two old men, who hadn't moved farther than the doorway, and didn't come any higher than Daniel's chest, the two natives looked at them expectantly.

"Well, where are you from? What brings you here?"

Mitchell nodded at Daniel, obviously urging him to continue to be the spokesperson, so he sighed and answered. "We're from a planet called Earth, and we're here because we are explorers. We're here to meet you."

"Then you are not here for help?" the second one asked curiously.

"No…why would we be?"

The first one smiled knowingly. "Because that is what we do. Many come here for help, when in distress--physically, or otherwise. We assist others. This is our purpose. We are not originally from this planet. It was a home of the Ancestors."

"Ancestors…that's what you call the people who built this place?" Daniel asked, motioning to the structure around them.

"Indeed! We do not know if we are directly related to them, but our kind have lived here for many generations, using our abilities to aid those who may need it. Devices left behind by the Ancestors also help us to help them."

Mitchell and Sam perked up at that one. "Devices?" she asked. "What kind of devices?"

"Oh many, many. But many will not activate. The few we can use we use in assisting those who come here."

"How so?" Mitchell questioned.

"The one that is the most useful is wonderful for helping to solve disputes between people. Often they do not really wish to be at odds, but they cannot understand each other. It helps them too. That is also the area in which we are most skilled, thanks to our own abilities, which our kind possess."

Daniel lifted a finger. "That's the second time you've mentioned 'abilities'; what kind of abilities might those be?"

"Ah; it is quite simply, actually." The first little man reached his hand one for Daniel's. "May I?"

Daniel glanced at his hand, at him, and shrugged and held it out. The little man wrapped both of his own hands around it, and immediately recent memories and old ones alike began whizzing through his mind's eyes at blinding speed. He jerked his hand away in surprise, resisting the urge to yelp.

"Touch telepaths," he said immediately, in wonder.

Sam looked at him quickly. "Really?"

The little man nodded and smiled. "Indeed. It is this way that we can discern the problems of those who come here ourselves, if they cannot quite tell us. It is quite convenient, often. It gives us the pleasure of being able to do more with our calling."

Daniel shook his head in amazement. "I guess so."

Vala interrupted. "Yes, that's nice and all; but do you have names at all?"

"Yes, yes, of course. I am Theras. This is Wkfar."

"All right then, Theras. Where are the doohickeys you use?"

Sam elbowed her. "Vala! Don't be rude."

"What? If they've got Ancient technology, then don't we want to see it?"

"If they want to show us, they will," Daniel chastised.

Theras straightened. "You wish to see the devices? Of course! This way, this way." He motioned down a long corridor, and headed off immediately, Wkfar not far behind. SG-1 looked at each other for a moment, and followed.

The two little men led them all down to the end of that hallway, then around a corner and almost down another, through a few smaller twists and turns off of that, and finally into a large, copiously lighted chamber. In the center sat two almost pod-like horizontal devices that reminded Daniel of the Asgard pod they'd beamed Jack into when they were trying to thaw him. Coincidently, that particular Asgard ship had been named after him.

That, then, reminded him that Thor and the rest of the Asgard were gone…and he had to stop that train of thought before he ended up upset.

But in any case, these exam-table-like open pods were a similar, except with a lot more machinery at the head, and he had no idea what that was for. The heads of the two tables were together, and beside them was an Ancient control panel.

"Well…that's interesting," Sam commented.

Theras grinned. "It is, is it not? Do any two of you wish to try it? Even if there is no prevalent problem, it would not hurt. I could understand from Daniel's mind that the five of your are friends. It should not be uncomfortable. I think it would be an educational experience, possibly. If you wish to try it."

"So you know our names now?" Mitchell asked.

"Yes. Basic information of who you are, what you do, and such. I promise that I delved no deeper; I would not do such a thing without express permission."

Vala crossed her arms. "All right then…what do these things do?"

"It connects the users' minds, to some extent. But only temporarily, on the surface. If there is a conflict between the individuals, it attempts to help them to understand each other, to rectify the problem. If there is no prevalent conflict, then it does not do much more than to…brush together the minds of the users, if you wish to perceive it that way. For those who already know each other, it can be quite the friendship strengthening experience. That is its purpose. We believe that the Ancestors were attempting to create a more closely-knit society."

Sam's eyebrows went up. "That's possible? To do things like that that way?"

Wkfar shrugged. "We are not certain how it works. We only use it."

"And we can only loosely translate the writings of the Ancestors. We do not know exactly what the inscriptions say," Theras explained, motioning to the control panel.

Daniel looked at the waist-high marble-like pedestal it was on, and saw the carved Ancient around its sides. "We have a fairly good understanding of the language of the Ancients--what we calls the Ancestors--or I do, anyway. Maybe I could help you out."

"That would be wonderful!"

He smiled at Theras and crossed to the control panel. Beside it, he knelt down to get closer, and ran a hand over the words. "'For unity…peace…to a better society'…Well, guess you were right about that part…" is eyes ran over some more of what was said, and he silently translated it in his mind. "I think this was an abandoned experiment."

Teal'c's voice came from behind him. "It was obviously abandoned, Daniel Jackson, or we would have seen this technology in other Ancient outposts."

He shook his head. "No, no that's not what I mean." His eyes scanned to the bottom of the pedestal. "I mean that the carvings just cut off. There's no conclusion…" He hiked up on his knees to look around the corner at the other sides, but as he thought, not much. "No. It's like they just couldn't finish. These writings act like they were at least almost done with this…whatever exactly it is. But they didn't finish carving this. I wonder why."

"Maybe they had to leave," Vala suggested.

"That's what I was gonna say," Mitchell chimed in immediately. Sam and Daniel gave him a 'yeah, sure' look, and Sam looked at Theras.

"Have you seen any evidence that might be true?"

He nodded slowly. "Yes…yes, we have. This facility is not so very large, and most of our people live more primitively on the outside in the forests--those whose abilities are not as pronounced as those of us chosen to serve. From outside, at least, it is very easy to see that forced damaged was cause to this place in some way. Yes…yes, perhaps they had leave."

"But it works fine?" Daniel asked, motioning to the devices. Or was it device singular? Whatever.

"Yes!"

"We have never had any problems with it," Wkfar added.

Theras brightened again. "So do you wish to try it?"

Daniel stood up and brushed his hands off on his pants. "I don't know about that."

"Oh, come now, it could not hurt. You must try. I promise that it is safe!"

He looked back and forth between the rest of his team and the two little men for a moment, and then shrugged in relent.

"Perfect! Which of you will join him?" When none of them volunteered, and started looking at each other in amusement, Theras pointed to Vala. "You. The difficult one. You will do it as well."

Sam and Mitchell smirked. Teal'c smiled just a bit. Daniel smothered a laugh. Vala's mouth fell open in protest.

"I'm not--"

"Deal with it, Vala. Just get over here so we can get this over with." She didn't move until Sam shoved her forward, grinning.

"Go on," she chuckled. "It'll be fine.
Vala just rolled her eyes. "All right, all right. What do I do?"

Theras smiled and led her to one of the two sides of the device, and Wkfar approached Daniel and brought him to the far side, where he instructed him to lay down on the exam-table-like part of the pod-ish thing. Daniel hiked a foot over the lip and climbed in. he saw vala doing the same on the other side. When he was laying down, though, he was facing away.

Wkfar pulled out a semi-circle shaped piece from the inside of the head of the pod, which he then pushed down close to Daniel's head. It fit right in place, just a fraction of an inch above his skin. Then Wkfar went back toward the control panel. He heard Theras go there too, and then a few clicks and beeps from the buttons. That was when some type of low current passed through the piece above his head, only tickling his skin at first.

Then, suddenly, he wasn't in the room anymore. He could feel himself lying there, knew that he was seeing the backs of his eyelids, but he wasn't there. He was everywhere at once. Or…not everywhere, but many places. Places he didn't recognize, at least at first. Then information to go with what he saw trickled into his mind, and he realized that this must be places from Vala's memory.

Something--probably the loose link they'd mentioned--told him that he was looking at Vala's childhood home. He saw her real mother, and that she was indeed a much better mother than her father was a father. He saw other places she'd scammed before coming to Earth, other places Ketesh had been Vala's body that she remembered enough herself…but nothing longer than a few seconds.

Okay…this is strange. Why did he hear her voice?

Vala?

Daniel? came the reply. Reply?

Yeah…Hey, I'm thinking that.

Me, too. Are we talking telepathically?

With help, yeah. I guess so, he chuckled inwardly. This is more than I thought.

Tell me about it. Hmm…so this is Egypt.

That goes both ways?
If you mean the seeing things from the other's brain, yes, if you are. A moment of silence. Your parents were nice, Daniel.

He felt himself sigh outwardly. So was your mother.

Yeah…Okay, I think that's enough of thi--She stopped abruptly.

What?

It stopped.

Oh…so did mine.

And then he was looking at the ceiling again, but the things above his forehead was still there. Wkfar was frowning down at him.

"It was not supposed to stop so soon…"

And then he heard her scream.

"Vala!" Daniel snapped into a sitting position immediately, scraping his head on the curved piece of metal above his head. He jumped out of the device as quickly as he could. The others were already closer, gathered around the control panel, where presumably they had been watching. Now Mitchell and teal'c were running for Vala's side of the device, and Sam was trying to help Theras make sense out of what the wildly beeping panel was trying to tell them.

"I…I believe it is saying that there is something…different about her," he frowned, obviously worried. He seemed quite disturbed that something was going wrong at all, more than what it was.

The naquidah in her blood! Daniel looked worriedly toward Vala, and saw that restraining straps had snapped around her wrists and ankles, and that Cameron and Teal'c were prying at them. Her eyes were closed, and she looked like she was being forcibly kept under by something. Quickly he got to the control panel and looked down at the new red words flashing up at them annoyingly.

It confirmed what he feared. It was some kind of defense mechanism that hadn't gone off until now. Wonderful.

Vala screamed again, and this time she didn't stop. In there somewhere, the only words he could make out were his name every now and then.

"Daniel! Do something!" Mitchell shouted over her screaming. He couldn't tell if they were from pain, fear, or something else, but it didn't matter. It needed to stop. NOW.

Frantically, he went at the control panel, following what instructions were there and trying to shut off the defense control. But it wouldn't cooperate with him. In front of him, Mitchell and Teal'c jumped back as the pod suddenly slid up around Vala and closed, the glass or whatever turning a dark shade of blue until they couldn't see her anymore.

But they could still hear her screaming.

And now it was definitely because of pain.

"No!" Daniel shouted, working the panel furiously.

"Oh dear oh dear!" Theras worried.

"You said it was safe!" Sam shouted.

"It has never done this! It has never done anything more than what we tell it!"

A bright light came from inside the pod. Vala stopped screaming.

Daniel stopped breathing, stopped moving, stared. If that meant--No!

The rest of them stared for too long--too long there was nothing. But finally, finally the panel calmed, and the pod slid open. All was quiet.

Sam gasped. The rest of them stared.

Only Daniel had seen before what they were looking at now--only moments ago in a mirror in a long-ago memory.

In the bed of the pod lay a small, black-haired, pig-tailed, unconscious girl of no more than two or three.