If there was one thing Vala had never before allowed herself to be it was vulnerable. She had seen so many lives destroyed because of the tiniest signs of weakness and she didn't want to become another statistic on that side of things.

She couldn't afford to be anything but strong and if that meant she had to disguise how she was really feeling even to her own mind then so be it. As long as she came out alive on the other end, she'd do whatever was necessary.

The cool, steel blue of Daniel's eyes told her otherwise; that she didn't have to hide anymore, that she wasn't alone.

Extracting herself from Daniel's embrace, to avoid the confronting look he was giving her, she shut her eyes and swallowed. She tried to ignore the burning in her heart and her soul and pushed it away to the depths of her mind where she stored all of the forbidden thoughts and memories that if left out for even just one other human being to see would bury her.

Daniel's arm snuck around her shoulders, pulling her to him once more, and his gentle whispering in her ear almost undid her.

She broke free of his grip on her for the second time and put her head in her hands.

She wasn't going to break. She wasn't going to break. She wasn't…

A tear slipped down her face and she sighed. It looked like the whole vulnerability had finally caught up with her. She should have expected no less.

It took her all of ten seconds to give in and return to Daniel's arms.

Daniel's eyes met hers, telling her all she needed to know.

"I'm here."