Vala had been AWOL for almost 2 months. She gave no indication that she was leaving SGC or any message to any of her friends that she was leaving. Her internal locator was removed and left in her room bloody, as if she had to leave in a hurry. Even though they were all worried, Sam was affected the most. Vala had become a close friend and both shared their own stories and nightmares, when it came to finishing up a mission that was more dangerous to them as women, then as men. Sam instinctively knew something was wrong with Vala for days, but never pursued to speak to her friend, until she felt that Vala was comfortable to speak to her. Vala was uncharacteristically quiet for days. She ate alone in her room and ceased to go out with the group for meals or any fun. When Sam finally decided to see what was wrong, Vala had already left the base and disappeared.

Daniel was perplexed and hurt. He had argued with Vala about not paying attention to detail on missions and often found her wondering off by herself and lashing out at him, when she didn't want to be found. He thought that they were becoming close and pursued a more personal relationship that blossomed, he thought into something more that just team mates. For hours she would disappear on base and be found locked in her room, not wanting to see anyone, until initial meetings or on missions. Daniel noticed that sometimes she would be starring at the walls in the conference room, seemingly looking at nothing as if she was dazed by some unknown force. But their last time together, Daniel has asked Vala what was wrong with her and she just laughed and turned around and walked away. When he tried to go after her, she locked herself in her room.

FLASHBACK:

Come on Vala open the door. You know you can't stay mad at me. I'm sorry for whatever I said to make you mad.

Go away Daniel. I want to be left alone. If you need me to placate your emotions, then go find a dog.

What? What are you talking about?

I tire of you thinking I care about you Daniel. What's the point, were just friends and that's all it is. I wish you would quit pursuing me like some conquest. I'm tired and going to bed.

Vala let me in. You're not thinking right. I care about you. You know I don't play games, not with us, not now.

You thought there was an us? Please Daniel, how naive are you? Your credentials only impressed me and that's it. You're the great Dr. Daniel Jackson who can read and decipher almost any language, but can't tell when someone has no interest in him. Let's just quit playing this game and remember that this is all just one big mistake. I could never love you in that way. Your just too emotional, and I have enough baggage to carry with me, which does not include yours. Sometimes I just can't stand to be around you. You're way to smart for me and just good looking enough to make me tease the other women on base that I can flaunt you in front of them, because I'm bored.

Daniel stood stunned at what he was hearing. Vala had played him and he had trusted her with his heart. He felt betrayed and his anger took hold and he lashed out.

"You know you can rot in that room for all I care. I thought we had something special Vala, but you just dirtied it. I thought you were my friend too; but I guess I was naive in believing you could be more than just some common thief. Boy; what a fool I was to believe in you. Yeah, you played me Vala. From now on, why don't you just stick to knifing people in the back. I'm sure you're really good at that. From now on, we stick to the missions and that's all. You want to be left alone, then you got it. Don't expect anything from me but my discontent."

PRESENT:

Sam had noticed the cold exterior Daniel was representing, once he found out that Vala was missing. She had heard the gossip around base about Daniel and Vala's blow out, so she was worried about Daniel and a little disappointed in Vala. He had informed Mitchell and the rest that Vala was probably out stealing something and starting her own gang. Mitchell had reacted different than Daniel expected. Mitchell had admonished Daniel for usurping one of his team members without merit. Mitchell did not understand why Vala left and only wanted to find her safe and sound. He did not for one minute believe Vala would betray them or leave without a reason.

Teal'c had also observed Vala behaving strangely during briefings and on several missions. She often remained withdrawn and distant as if she did not care. When missions became dangerous and had to shoot their way out of trouble, often Vala would be in the center of the confrontations and dive right into the line of fire to protect her friends. Teal'c had never questioned Vala's bravery, but her zealness for danger, outweighed her common sense to also protect herself.

Gen Landry under IOA orders had no choice but to render Vala as a danger to National Security. Vala had a lot of Intel about SGC, alien technology and other secure faculties that Woosley deemed dangerous. She was to be immediately arrested and interrogated if found alive. Mitchell hated the order, but he too had no choice in this matter.

Two days later after Woosley issued Vala's arrest, she was found by Sam, in her house, asleep. Sam had notified Mitchell and he contacted Teal'c and Daniel to meet him at Sam's house without notifying Gen Landry until he had a chance to ask Vala where she had been. Sam had found it strange that Vala would show up at her house and be sound asleep. When Sam tried to wake her, she was sluggish and somewhat disoriented, but focused on Sam. Vala had sat up slowly in the bed and Sam was trying to keep her best not to become angry at Vala's actions.

"Vala why are you here?"

"Well hello to you too Sam. I was taking a nap."

"That's obvious. Do you know how much trouble you're in? You left without saying anything and especially to me." Sam was still hurt that Vala had not confided in her.

"I had my reasons Sam. I didn't spill any military secrets while I was gone."

"How do we know that Vala? You're going to have to convince the IOA and Woosley of that. They have ordered you arrested on sight. Mitchell and the rest are on their way."

"Well that's comforting. I won't put up a fight. I'll go quietly."

Now Sam knew something was wrong. Sam surmised that Vala knew if she came back, that she would be in serious trouble with Woosley and be locked up at Area 51. Woosley would interrogate Vala and he wouldn't hesitate to use violent force to gain what he wanted. Especially if he believed that Vala had any operatives involved and their precious secrets where revealed. But what disturbed Sam more than anything was Vala's willingness to just give herself up without a fight or options of escaping.

"Don't play coy with me Vala. Something's wrong and you wouldn't be here in my house just ready to give up, unless you were in trouble already before running off; so either let me help you or Woosley is going to come in here and arrest us all for disobeying a direct order."

"I didn't mean to scare you Sam or anyone else. I …………I just wanted to be alone for awhile."

"Well there's alone and there's alone with friends. I'm your friend Vala and I thought you were to Daniel. We already know that you and Daniel broke up. That I can understand and sympathize with you. But it's the way you ran off that pisses me off the most."

Sam didn't mean to show her anger, but she wanted to get to the bottom of Vala's disappearance before the men showed up. She always felt a spiritual connection to Vala and she sensed Vala was holding back something.

Vala smiled back and Sam's obvious concern and treasured that Sam cared enough to get mad at her.

"I'm dying Sam."

Vala had said the sentence with such nonchalance and clarity that Sam thought she heard wrong.

"Wha……….what?

"I'm dying Sam and there's nothing more. I just wanted to think and be alone to contemplate my fate."

Vala had sat up straighter in bed and looked down at the covers, as if to leave her finality of her life in that moment. Sam sat down beside Vala on the bed and looked at her friend to give her some solace for revealing something so personal. Vala looked up at Sam and her eyes could only convey the pain of not telling Sam sooner. Vala didn't want to cry, she had done that and she didn't want sympathy. She just wanted Sam to understand she came back because she had to. Sam pulled her into a hug, rather than ask Vala all kinds of questions. If Vala knew of a way to stop her death, then she was intelligent enough to realize that all hope for a cure had be exhausted already. After a long hug, Vala finally pulled them apart.

"Why didn't you tell me Vala sooner? I would have never revealed what was going on with you. You know that."

"Everyone would have looked at me different Sam. I didn't want to believe that I was dying, but after some test and some old friends to help me diagnose what was wrong with me. I……..I wanted to return to be among my only true friends."

"Oh…..Vala." Sam teared up, unwilling to hold in her depth of sadness at loosing another friend.

"Can………..

"No Sam; it's a rare disease among my family. My mother, I suspect had it and there was no cure. It's genetically transmuted to each generation. I guess I was the lucky one and Adria was skipped."

Sam could note the irony in Vala's voice on how she was trying to stop Adria and the Ori and now the opportunity will elude her.

"Vala, I need to ask you something?"

"You can ask anything you want Sam. There's not too many secrets I can take to my grave."

"That's not funny Vala."

"I know, I'm sorry. I was just………….it's about Daniel isn't it?"

"I think he was really hurt by you leaving and the argument you had was no secret. I understand you made Daniel look like and idiot for caring about you. You did that on purpose didn't you?"

"I could never put anything past you, huh?"

"No; but why Vala. Why hurt him like that. You know his background and the hurt and pain he's been thru. Why?"

Vala looked down, not wanting to really answer, but Sam was her friend and she deserved a honest answer.

"I…………I did it, because he's been thru so much pain and suffering. He didn't need to feel guilty about what would happen to me. If he felt like I used him, then break up, then I figured he would go on with his life and find someone else better."

"Vala he was only going to think you betrayed him. Don't you think this would be worse off?"

"He would blame himself Sam for losing me. He would think that what happened to his parents, Shar'e or Sara, was somehow his fault. This way he would be angry and forget me. He would be forced to find someone else that was worthy of his love and not fear that anyone he's close to would die."

"Vala…………

"Come on Sam, you know he would. He thinks he has this curse in his life that he could never love anyone. I could see if everytime we tried to be intimate or went on a dangerous mission. He would be overprotective and never allow me to be out of his sight. He doesn't need that………he doesn't need me, not like that."

"But if that were true Vala, why come back and put him, us thru the pain of losing you."

Vala turned her head away so Sam couldn't see her hold back her tears.

"I…….I had nowhere else to go Sam. I had no one who would carry out my last wishes but you. I want you to promise me Sam that I'll…………I'll be buried as a Tau'ri."

Sam felt like her stomach had dropped out. Vala was asking her to be buried on earth. Her only home that she had really had.

Vala started coughing and blood was running down her nose. Sam immediately ran to the bathroom to get a towel and some water. She gave the towel to Vala to wipe away her blood. Vala took a sip from the glass of water and was breathing hard, trying to breathe. It was scarring Sam and she had lost her father to Cancer when Salmak could no longer cure him. She had seen these similar symptoms.

"Vala let me call Dr. Lam. There's got to be some way to counter act this disease."

"No Sam, I spent all this time, putting my affairs in order. I can't heal myself with the Gou'ald device. It's too advanced and I didn't really know until I started coughing up blood. By then it was too late."

"So that's why you would go off by yourself while we where on missions. You didn't want us to see you."

Vala had finally started to breathe a little better, put she was starting to look pale.

"I think I need to lie down Sam. I'm kinda tired." Vala was trying to smile and Sam felt helpless.

"Vala, I………..I don't know if I can keep this from the guys. You mean too much to us and you need to tell Daniel."

"No Sam. I can't let him care. I can't ever let him carry another death with him he feels responsible for. It's better this way. He hates me and that's what I want."

"Vala please; he doesn't deserve to hate you, not like this. He's going to know that you kept this from him and feel even more guilt."

"No……….because I'm going to turn myself into Woosley. He'll take me away to Area 51 and Daniel will not give me a second thought. I only came back to let you know Sam. No one else can know. I'll disappear and no one will know what happened to me and then it will be all over. I die and Woosley will feel safe as a bug. No one gets hurt and I'm buried."

"God Vala; how could you do this to me? I'm your friend and you just throw your death at me like I would just forget you and live the rest of my life with a lie. Why are you cheapening your life, like it's yours to dish out and serve to the dogs?"

Sam turned from Vala angry and upset that her friend was making her keep a secret and make herself seem like a criminal and traitor. She had lost her father and Janet and so many other friends that she couldn't even count. She felt like she was the harborer of death with so many losses already. She valued Vala's friendship and camaraderie and just hanging out. Vala was the only one she ever confessed how much losing her father meant. Jack understood, from losing his son, but this was different. This was not about losing a child as a parent. This was about losing a close friend, a sister in arms. Close as a sister could ever be and now Sam was losing someone else she was close to.

Vala started coughing again and used another towel to stop the bleeding. Vala was becoming more and more tired, everytime she started going thru her coughing spells. After taking several sips of water, it was evident to Sam Vala was very weak.

"I'm sor………sorry Sam. I……..I'm really tired."

Sam hated the fact that she was thinking about herself, when this may be Vala's only haven to feel at peace.

"I…….I'm sorry Vala; just rest. I'll be here if you need anything." Sam pulled the covers up to Vala's neck, as she could see her shivering. Vala could only nod and fell asleep immediately.

Sam heard her doorbell and knew it was the guys. She had a lot to think about and most of all, what she was going to say about Vala to Daniel. She left the room, looking back once at Vala and closed her bedroom door. She answered the door and Mitchell, Teal'c and Daniel, looking somber, came in.

Sam could see the questions already forming in their faces, except Daniel. He sat down without even looking at Sam. Sam knew this was going to be even tougher to keep Vala's secret and convince them all that Vala wants to turn herself in.


This was roaming around my head and I wanted to go back and bring Sam and Vala's relationship into flight again. As usual, reviews and feedback are welcomed.