Sam squinted at the results, biting her lip as she tried to figure out exactly what they meant. Her hands were shaking so much, though, that she could barely keep from dropping the white stick in the sink. Vala, perched anxiously on the edge of the bathtub, hopped to her feet and quickly caught Sam's wrist before it fell.
"I don't know--I can't tell," Sam sighed, looking at her friend. "Can you read it?"
Vala took it and screwed her face up in an expression that any other time Sam might have found comical and studied the test for several seconds. Finally, though, she shook her head. "I think you're going to have to do it again."
"Great," Sam raised her eyes to the ceiling.
"Sam, why don't we just go see Carolyn?" Vala asked.
Sam shook her head. "I don't want to yet. Not until I'm sure--well. Kinda sure," she amended, turning to pick up the second pregnancy test kit from the side of the sink. "Guess you were right about buying two."
"Are you worried about Jack?" Vala asked.
Sam didn't respond for a minute, but finally pressed her lips together and nodded. "I just don't know how he's going to feel. He said he wanted to wait another year…"
Vala smiled, drawing the other woman into a hug. "I know exactly how Jack's going to feel," she promised.
"Everything all right with Sam?" Daniel asked absently. He didn't look up from his book, and Vala smiled fondly as she let her purse drop onto the table by the bed.
She lowered herself onto her side and lifted a foot to pull off her boot. "Mmm," she replied.
"So, what was the big emergency?" he asked, flipping a page.
Vala didn't reply for a few moments. She took off her other boot and slid under the covers, scooting closer as his arm curled around her. He still hadn't looked up, and she settled her head on his shoulder.
"She's pregnant," she replied, carefully keeping her tone casual.
The book dropped with a thud onto his chest. "She--she's what?" he stammered.
"Pregnant," Vala repeated with a grin.
"Oh, boy…" Daniel sucked in a breath.
"I think they'll be all right," Vala replied, her hand sliding downward to grip his. She bit her lip, suddenly feeling more nervous than she had while waiting for Sam's results. "Daniel…"
"Vala," he sighed, shifting onto his side. His free hand moved to her cheek. "C'mon. You--you remember how hard it was to get pregnant with Manda."
"I know," she replied huskily. "But I want another baby, Daniel. I know you do, too."
"I don't--want either of us…to have to go through that again," he said, shaking his head. "Carolyn told us it could be dangerous."
She felt warm tears begin to fill her eyes and closed them quickly. "If I'm willing, shouldn't you be?" she asked as she felt him release her fingers to cup her face in his hands. Despite her efforts, the tears slid out from the corners of her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.
"Yes," Daniel murmured as his lips gently brushed the moisture away.
Vala opened her eyes to look at him, blinking to clear her glistening vision. "Do you really mean that?"
Daniel held her gaze and nodded with absolute certainty. "Yes, Vala, I do. You're right. I'd--I'd love another child. But not if it meant risking you. If anything ever happened to you…well. Anything else. I just…" he trailed off, glancing hurriedly away.
Before he did, she caught the unmistakable flutter of his eyelashes and her hand moved to gently touch his cheek. "Oh, Daniel, look at me," she urged, but he didn't turn for several breaths. When he finally did, she slid her hand to the back of his neck and raised her head to meet his lips. "I've never known you to give up what you wanted because you were afraid of what might happen. And you know I wouldn't. Besides--don't you know that good things come to those who risk it?"
"Those who wait," Daniel laughed, shaking his head.
"Right," Vala nodded. "That's what I said."
Daniel laughed again and slid his arms around her, hugging her tight for a minute. When he released her again, though, his expression was serious. "You're really sure?"
"Positive. In fact, I think we should start right now," she said, flashing him a coy grin before pulling him toward her mouth again.. Both arms coiled around his neck before he could protest. To her surprise, Daniel pulled her closer in response, and as she felt him eagerly return the kiss, the last of her doubts slipped away. She might have been able to manipulate him into agreeing, but there was a warmth and security in the knowledge that she didn't have to--in the assurance that Daniel was as committed and determined to have this baby as she was--a security that Vala felt neither afraid nor ashamed to admit that she needed from him.
"How'd it go with Jack last night?" Vala asked as she popped her head into Sam's lab.
"It was all right," Sam grinned, glancing toward the door. "Did you talk to Daniel?"
Vala nodded and stepped inside. "We're going to try," she said as she crossed the room.
"See, I told you," Sam replied with a satisfied smirk, looking back at the computer in front of her.
"So, what did Jack say?" asked Vala, resting her arm lightly on Sam's shoulder.
"Well, once he stopped staring at me with his mouth open, he was happy," the corner of Sam's mouth turned up again.
Vala didn't reply for a second, then broke into a grin. "Can you imagine if we were pregnant together?"
Sam gave her a wide-eyed stare. "Jack and Daniel would go insane!"
"Yep," Vala's grin widened. "It'd be fun."
"Do you think we could?" Sam asked.
Vala glanced down, her brow creasing. "I don't know. We were never sure why we had such trouble conceiving Manda."
Sam's hand moved to her friend's cheek. "Either way," she said with a smile as Vala raised her eyes again. She nodded understanding to the unfinished statement, and Sam let her hand drop, returning her attention to the computer.
"What are you doing, anyway?" Vala asked as Sam maximized a hidden window.
"Mah Jong," Sam replied.
"Oooh, yes!" Vala squealed eagerly. "Did you beat the flat layout yet?"
"No," Sam shook her head. "Help me again?"
"You bet," Vala nodded.