Here's the version without the J/S ship.

Quest of Roses: 2nd Edition

It was the excitement that woke her. This was going to be their first Valentine's together as a couple, and Vala couldn't wait to start the day off with him.

She had been hinting for a month that she'd wanted something over the top and cheesy - that's what the holiday was all about, after all. A day for one to show their significant other how much they really cared with expensive chocolates, and flowers, and champagne, and jewelry. How could she not like that?

Of course Daniel had insisted it was supposed to signify romance. Vala wanted that too - along with the showering of gifts. A woman had a right to want pampering and loving, via sweets and kisses. Vala was most certainly a woman in every sense of the word, and she wanted to be pampered and loved and bathed in deliciously sweet kisses by her Daniel.

So after fighting the excitement for several minutes, Vala simply couldn't stand to lay there anymore. She smiled and turned over in bed, reaching her arm out...

To find nothing but empty sheets and his pillow, both of which were cold enough to let her know he hadn't been there for a while. She pouted, feeling her excitement taper off.

The pout turned into a curious frown as her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room and something took shape a top the pillow. Leaning over, Vala flicked on the bedside lamp and looked down at what was there.

A single red rose with a note attached to it with a ribbon.

She picked up the flower, bringing it to her nose as her other hand pulled the note off its stem. Vala inhaled the fragrant scent as her grey eyes skimmed the red-lace trimmed card.

Commissary. Usual table. Don't take too long getting dressed.

D.

Vala smiled, throwing back the comforter and hopping out of bed. She placed the rose and note on the desk next to a stack of Daniel's books. Scurrying around the room, she hastily threw on her special-issue BDUs, tied on her boots and pulled her hair up into a high ponytail.

Stopping at her vanity, she quickly dabbed on some eye shadow and a little mascara. Checking her reflection in the mirror, she fiddled with her bangs a little but nodded in approval. Daniel liked her hair a little messy anyways. Feeling satisfied with how she looked, Vala snatched up her security clearance card and made for the door.

--

The excitement was back as she practically skipped her way down the hall towards the commissary. Her mind ran over all the possible reasons why he wouldn't take her there himself - it had to be something big. Vala bit her lip in an attempt to hide her megawatt smile as she passed personnel on her journey.

Pushing open the door, she let her smile loose as she stepped beyond the threshold. It fizzled out as her gaze fell on SG-1's usual table to find it shockingly empty. The arm that she'd kept on the door fell limply at her side. She slowly trudged her way to the table, ignoring the stares the others gave her as she passed.

Her pout returned when she reached the table, and on the surface in front of his normal seat was another rose and note. Dropping dramatically into the seat across from it, Vala snatched the flower up with a little bit of attitude.

Still, it was instinct to bring it to her nose and inhale the sweet scent again. And again, she scanned the writing on the card as she did it.

Eat something and enjoy it. When you're finished, head to the briefing room. There's something waiting for you.

D.

P.S. - Stop pouting.

Vala smiled a little as she read the last line. He knew her too well, which at one time she would have found unsettling. Now it only made her feel more at home, more loved. Sighing, she carefully set the rose and card down and moved to get some breakfast.

--

"There's something waiting for you." Vala read aloud as she leaned back against the elevator wall, holding the card up as if to see it better. Her other hand twirled the rose gently back and forth. "What could it be?"

She shifted her eyes back and forth between the two officers who had gotten in the car with her. "Well, what something do you think it is?" Vala sniffed the flower. "It's probably him." She said with a grin, not even waiting for either of them to reply.

"He's the something..." Her voice trailed off as the doors pulled open. "Oh, this is me." Vala bounced out of the elevator, waving to the officers as she went. "Thanks for the help boys."

Humming a wordless tune, she made her way to the briefing room. The doorway appeared before her in short time and she stopped. Vala pulled in a deep breath, preparing herself for her big Valentine's surprise that just had to be beyond the entrance. Of course the briefing room was a bit public for something like that, but Daniel was pretty high up in rank at the SGC. If he wanted to shower the room in rose petals and lay half-naked on the briefing room table just for her, Vala was sure he could make it happen.

She let the fantasy wash over her as she continued into the room...

And just like before, all the happiness she'd built up in anticipation of her surprise went away at what she saw. No rose petals. No half-naked archaeologists dangling pink furry handcuffs. Just the same old bland room with bland table and a rather boring view of the stargate.

Only now, Vala realized as she moved over to the table, there was no rose or note to appease her disappointment. She dropped the rose and note she already held on the table, picking her nail at the wooden surface.

Why would he do this? Mess with her when he knew she was so excited about this day?

Vala was so caught up in feeling slighted by someone she thought loved her unquestioningly that she almost didn't hear the gentle calling of her name.

"Ms. Mal Doran?"

She turned to find General Landry standing in the doorway to his office. Quickly she wiped at her face, just in case she had started crying, and put on a fake smile well perfected over the years.

"General." Vala put her back to the table, picking up the rose and note and keeping it hidden behind her.

Hank stepped away from his office, hands behind his back. "Was there something you needed?"

'Yes, I need to hit Daniel' was the first thought that came to her, but Vala quickly settled on something else. "No, sir." She shook her head. "I was told someone was meeting me here."

He nodded. "I see..." Landry continued his slow progress to her, his gaze drifting out the window. "Well, I don't know anything about 'someone', but I believe..." He looked back at Vala as he pulled a rose with a note on it from behind his back. Her eyes widened at the sight of it. "This something is for you."

Bringing the one she already held into view, Vala pulled in a shaky breath. "Did Daniel bring this here?"

Landry shrugged. "Why don't you just take it and read what it says."

She blinked and then took the offered flower. Vala didn't bother smelling this one, simply opting to pull the card from the stem and read it, like the General had pretty much ordered.

Don't feel cheated - feel curious. I know what you want, but it'll take some good ol' figuring out to get it. Just go with it all, and I promise you you'll get your something.

As long as you hit something else before you get to me.

D.

His psychic nature didn't spark a smile this time. Vala felt the urge to hit him become even stronger even as she read his plea for her not to.

"Figuring out?" She muttered. "There isn't even a clue as to where to go next!"

Landry cleared his throat, fighting a grin at the annoyed look Vala gave him.

"That's because the note isn't the clue - I am." As she quirked an eyebrow, he shrugged again. "I was told to tell you that the gym is a good place to work off some...urges."

Grey eyes rolled, then landed back on the General. "So Daniel did give you this." She shook the note accusingly, scared if she did the same with the rose it would fall apart. "Why is he doing all this?"

He shrugged for a third time. "I'm just a messenger."

With that, Landry turned around and headed back into his office, closing the door softly. Vala let out a huffy sigh, rolled her eyes again, then stomped out of the room. This was so totally not how she'd envisioned the day going.

--

Two roses and two matching notes in hand, the former space vixen flung open the doors with a flourish. She peered around the vacated room, letting out a growl of frustration.

Landry had said the gym - so that was where Vala had gone. And despite all the previous false hoping, she'd still expected her supposed special something to be easily in sight.

Thoughts of strangling her apparent lover sky-rocketed as she thought over the words the General had said.

'...good place to work off some...urges.'

Yeah, like her urge to severely harm one smug archaeologist. Slamming her fist into said smug smirk would surely help work off her anger. Vala backtracked her thinking - Slamming her fist, work off some urges... She brought the more recent of the two notes and read it over again, finally really looking at the words.

'As long as you hit something else...'

Her grey eyes flicked up to the punching bag across the room. He couldn't possibly be that sneaky... But then again, this was Daniel she was thinking about. As naive as he acted some times, the man did have a subtle slyness about him. Vala had learned that lesson quite quickly when he'd broken loose from her rather decent bonds on the Prometheus.

Of course she'd hit him not long after that...

"Damn bastard." She mumbled, stalking over to the punching bag. Placing her roses and notes on the mat not far from where she stood, Vala took up a defensive stance before the bag. Taking a deep breath, she pulled her right fist back and took a swing.

All that she was really rewarded with was a sting in her knuckles.

"Ow." Vala said petulantly, frowning in disappointment. Maybe she had figured all wrong - maybe she wouldn't figure it out at all and would never get whatever 'special' thing was waiting at the end of this ridiculous 'quest'. Daniel had obviously put too much faith in her.

Starting to depress herself, Vala reached out and placed her uninjured hand flat against the bag to stop its swinging. She frowned curiously as the material inside seemed to shift in a way that wasn't normal. Intrigued, she circled around the bag.

Sure enough, on the hidden side, the material had been cut in a 'X' shape. Suddenly more curious then ever, Vala reached in. Her fingers pushed through the stuffing to land on a cool glass cylinder. She retracted her hand quickly, wincing as the tender flesh brushed against the material.

The pain faded quickly as she looked at what was in her hand. Inside the glass tube was another rose and note. Vala couldn't help but smile at her accomplishment.

Moving over to the mat, she sat down next to her other prizes and quickly, yet carefully, extracted the flower from its glassy prison. Then she set to work unrolling the note from around the stem. Vala quickly scanned the writing.

And you say I shouldn't have faith in you! That's some pretty impressive thinking, kiddo. I could kiss you for all your smarts.

As for the next clue - well, you'll have to ask my wingman.

D.

P.S. - I wish I could see your smile now.

Vala licked her lips, trying to wipe away the smile. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of being right about her again. So instead of dwelling on his sweet praises and her own pride, she set to work trying to figure out how to keep moving forward.

'ask my wingman.'

Well, Daniel's wingman was Cameron. That much was obvious. The trouble was, Vala decided, in locating the dear Colonel. How was Daniel really expecting her to track down the man out of a bazillion possible places to search? No, that couldn't be right. He wouldn't put her through that much work unless he really wanted to find himself waking up in the infirmary several weeks later.

She returned her attention to the note. Maybe it was hidden in there like it was last time. Grey eyes read and reread the words. Nothing popped out, no matter how many times she thought it over. The only thing that caught her attention was 'wingman', but she'd already figured that out. Unless she was wrong about that?

No. Cameron was his wingman - she was certain about it. Vala knew she was because Cameron had said the same thing about Daniel that time they were playing basketball with her and Teal'c.

Her eyes widened. That was it!

Jumping up, Vala quickly collected her flowers and notes and hurried out of the gym.

--

She couldn't help herself from watching - Cameron, after all, was a very good looking man. Add to that the fact that he was sweating and running around the SGC basketball court, dribbling a ball, and how could anybody expect her not to look?

Finally, as he made his way back up towards the basket she stood by, he noticed he had an audience.

"Princess!" Cam said with an enthusiastic smile. He jogged to a stop before her, continuing to bounce the basketball.

Vala gave him a once-over, smiling in a flirty way. "Cameron."

His breathing was a little labored, but the smile never faltered. Blue eyes glanced at the small collection of roses in her hand. "Jackson's put you to work, I see."

Leaning against the doorframe, Vala tried to act like it wasn't a problem. "Oh, well, yes. Apparently you knew about it though, cause the last clue pointed straight to you."

Cam frowned, gazing at her curiously. "Did it?" He wiped at the sweat around his mouth with the bottom of his shirt to hide his smile.

"Yes..." Vala bit her lip as she pulled the last note from her hand. She eyed it with doubt now. "Or, well, I think it did." She held it out as the Colonel leaned in to read it. She tried to read his reaction, but all he did was merely read the words and look at her.

The feeling of doubt doubled. "I am right...right?"

Mitchell saw the nervous, uncertain look in her eyes. He could see she was really desperate to figure this out - just like Jackson had argued she would be. Obviously the man understood the former pirate in a way no one else could. Sighing in defeat of messing with her, Cam finally smiled at Vala.

"Yes, you're right." He was rewarded with her relieved smile. The Colonel turned on his heels and made for the bench where his towel and water bottle were. "Ya know, girl, you must really be worth it for all the trouble you've got your boy going through."

Vala shrugged, fiddling with her hair with the hand that held the notes. "I figured I was the one going through all the trouble." She smiled as he pulled a rose from under his towel and handed it to her. The note attached to the stem was folded, and she picked up on the purpose immediately.

She turned her back to Cameron, and carefully opened the paper just enough so she could read what it said.

You looked. Don't deny it - I know you.

But hey, it's the price I must pay for you figuring out the last clue. The next one won't be so hard to locate - it'll just take a little research.

D.

Oh, and if Mitchell gave you a hard time, I give you permission to hit him.

Oh again...Don't let him look.

"Don't I get a peek?"

Vala spun back around at the southern drawl. Her hands closed around the note. "No." She said simply, smirking as he snapped his fingers dramatically.

"Damn." Cam cursed with the action, smirking even as he did it. He looked at Vala as she stared intently at him, her own smile fading a little. It concerned him slightly. "What?"

She dropped her gaze to the roses in her hand. "Do you think I'm not worth it?"

Mitchell smiled softly and stepped up to her. "Nah..." He leaned in and placed a kiss in her hair. "You're plenty worth it."

Her grey eyes looked at him in appreciation.

"Even if you are more annoying then a little sister." Cam couldn't help getting one jab at her in. He paid for it as she punched him on the arm hard. He winced and stepped back, rubbing the now sore spot.

Vala refused childishly to look at him. "You smell."

He stepped back over to her. "Then why are you still here? Don't you have more sappy love notes to find?"

She pouted in annoyance and practically stamped off towards the exit.

Cam just shook his head. Jackson really was lucky to have nabbed that one.

--

The note had been right - the next clue wasn't hard to find at all. There was only one sure place she knew that she did 'a little research', and that was in Daniel's office.

Vala stepped into the cluttered space, wondering what she was going to do with all the stuff she was now holding in her hands. She didn't think she could handle any more roses and notes combinations without having scattered petals and papers flying everywhere.

As her attention came up to land on the desk, she stopped in her tracks. Vala shook her head, unable to fight the annoyed smile that came to her lips.

There on the desk sat another red rose, a note dutifully tied to its green stem. And beside it sat a crystal vase full of polished white pebbles.

She had to give him credit - he was good.

Taking a seat in his desk chair, Vala rid her hands of all her previously achieved roses and notes and picked up the new set.

See, easy. I thought about making this one out in Goa'uld, but I value breathing.

Speaking of breathing, I've found it's essential when it comes to meditation. Meditation is a good way to clear your thoughts when things get a little murky. There's a rumor that Jaffa are good at it.

Where's a Jaffa when you need one, eh?

D.

P.S. - Keep your prizes secret and safe - find them a nice watery home.

Vala nodded in understanding to the last part, quickly gathering up the growing collection of flowers and heading out of his office.

--

Roses properly watered and safely stored in their quarters, Vala practically dashed through the corridors on the same level to a certain Jaffa's room. She didn't even bother to knock as she reached the door.

"Where's my rose, Muscles?" She asked cheerily as she flung the door open.

Teal'c looked up from where he sat on the floor, surrounded by an insane amount of candles. "Take a seat, young Mal Doran." A smile fought to break free as he said the words.

She crossed her arms in a huff. "No, I don't want to go through all the meditation stuff. I just want my flower and my clue and I know you have it."

"Good things come to those who wait." Again that smile was trying to get out.

Vala rolled her eyes. "Oh, don't start on that again." She glared at Teal'c, who watched back with well-practiced patience. Finally, impatience got the better of her and Vala soon found herself moving to sit before him, leaving the door open as he requested.

Getting settled, she threw him a cheeky grin. "Muscles, how about you just hand me the rose and we'll just pretend we did all this silly meditating." She leaned her chest in a little bit for effect.

"Only those with clear mind can achieve their goals." Teal'c offered, his face now calm and unreadable. His eyes, however, betrayed his amusement.

She sighed in exasperation. "You really must stop reading all those Ancient proverbs Daniel translates." When her Jaffa friend simply continued to stare patiently, Vala let out a whimper. "Please, Muscles..."

Teal'c brought his finger to his lips in a very Daniel-like gesture. Vala stopped her mild tantrum and gazed at him in slight surprise. "Close your eyes and focus. What you seek will come to you."

Vala frowned. "But-"

"Silence." Teal'c whispered, closing his eyes.

Reluctantly, and only after she sighed again, Vala did what she was told and closed her eyes. She immediately pictured Daniel's face and the image of punching him came back. A smile flitted across her face.

"So Muscles..." Screw the silence...a little conversation never really hurt in meditation. "When will what I'm seeking, which you so obviously possess, come to me?" Vala shifted a little, straightening up some. "Is it going to take long? Because I'm not much one for sitting in silence, as you should know..."

Vala peaked open an eye, intending on seeing if he was in fact retrieving her prize. Immediately her other eye flew open, and her mouth fell slack. In the place where Teal'c had been was her rose and next clue.

She looked around the room, then leaned a little to look out the doorway and down the hall. The signature pout returned to her lips. Vala hadn't even heard him leave.

Still trying to figure out how such a big man could slip past her so quietly, she crawled over to the flower and picked it up. Vala rested her back against the bed and brought her knees to her chest as she read the next note.

How long did it take you to notice Teal'c wasn't there?

I've pretty much convinced myself he's a Jedi or something 'cause he's done it to me a few times, and I can never figure out how.

I know you're probably getting back to that 'I want to hit you' part again.

Maybe a little girl talk will help rid you of that feeling before you decide to act on it.

D.

Vala pouted and considered burning the note for a minute. It wasn't that the clue was hard - in fact, they were getting relatively easier as she went along.

It was the going along thing that was getting hard.

--

"So how much do you want to kill him?" Sam asked as a rather sulky Vala trudged into her lab.

Grey eyes looked up at blue. "Why didn't you tell me he was gonna do all this?"

Sam smiled and shrugged. "'Cause he asked me not to." She frowned slightly in sympathy as her friend threw herself dejectedly into the chair across from her. "He's just trying to be romantic."

"No, he's trying to be annoying." Vala huffed and crossed her arms. "He's trying to show me how the big over-the-top Valentine's thing isn't worth it." She looked at the rose in her hand. "I'm starting to get the point."

Setting the coffee mug she was holding down, Sam leaned towards Vala. "Or maybe Daniel's showing you how the over-the-top thing can be fun and worth it in the end. Come on, you know you're having fun figuring out the clues to that something."

Vala brightened a little. "You know what the something is?" She questioned, almost getting the excitement she'd felt when she'd first woken up back. "You know what it is and you're gonna tell me, right?"

Sam broke her gaze from Vala's. "I can't."

"But Sam!" Vala pleaded, bouncing in her seat.

The Colonel shook her head and Vala collapsed back in her seat like a deflated balloon.

She felt tears sting in her eyes. "I wanted our first Valentine's as a couple to be romantic and fun, and spent together." She emphasized, leaning close to Sam for a moment. "And all I get are stupid roses and notes and clues and pointless quests for some stupid nothing." Vala pouted the biggest pout Sam had ever seen on her. "I haven't seen him all day."

"I don't think it's stupid." Sam offered with a smile. "I would give anything to have a guy do for me what Daniel's doing for you,."

Vala sighed, feeling guilty. "So no special valentine then?"

Shaking her head, Sam opened the drawer in front of her. "No, but that's nothing new." She pulled out the item she'd kept concealed all day. "Daniel usually gets me something, like the dutiful not-brother he is, but..." Sam leaned over, smiling in understanding. "This year he's got himself a girlfriend to spoil."

Vala looked at her friend as the blonde placed the rose gently before her.

"Roses and notes and clues, and a something is quite romantic if you ask me." Sam said with a smile as the phone rang. "Let me just get that."

Sitting up, Vala reached for the flower as Sam answered the phone. She quickly read the contents, not really getting anything from the words.

I will never stop loving you.

D.

She felt like crying again. There was no clue, or it was too cryptic for her to decipher. It was obvious Sam wasn't going to be telling her anything, and despite her friend's sincere words, Vala wasn't sure she wanted another clue. She was sick of this.

"Vala?"

She looked up at the inquiry.

Sam held the phone out to her. "It's for you."

"Who would be calling me in here?" Vala asked as she brought the phone to her ear.

"Try Jack O'Neill." The familiar gruff voice on the line replied before she could say hello.

Vala sat up straighter. "Jack, why are you-"

"Think about it." He said, cutting her off. "Despite it being a big romantic holiday, I am still a General and really shouldn't be playing silly games for a rather annoying, persistant, too in love for his own good archaeologist."

Realization hit as Sam smiled at her and Jack's words sunk in.

"Oh." Was all Vala could say.

"Yeah, oh." Jack's tone was annoyed, but she could hear the amusement in it. "Spacemonkey loves you, kiddo. He wouldn't go through all this highly cheesy trouble if he didn't. And remember that he has never needed a map to find you amongst the stars."

Vala was too overwhelmed by the fact that Jack O'Neill was calling her, simply because Daniel had asked him to, to try and focus on the obviously rehearsed line serving as her clue. It took her a moment to realize Jack was still talking.

"And don't you dare forget what that note says." After that, the other line clicked and went dead.

Grey eyes met blue once more. "He hung up."

Sam shrugged. "That call wasn't meant for me anyway."

Handing the phone back to the Colonel, Vala quickly replaced it with a pen and a scrap piece of paper. She immediately jotted down the important words Jack had said.

'...he has never needed a map to find you amongst the stars.'

She read the line over. Map and star were the really significant words.

"Map...star." Vala repeated out loud, chewing on the end of the pen. "Map...star." After a long moment, her eyes widened and she looked up at Sam again. "Starmap! The control room!"

Sam grinned as Vala picked up her notes and roses and hightailed it out of her lab. "It's worth it!" She shouted to the sound of retreating footsteps.

--

She found it surprising that none of the personnel in the control room found it weird that a rose was taped directly to the middle of the starmap, a note hanging from the stem. Of course, Vala supposed, they had seen much weirder things in their line of work.

Pulling the rose down from the map, Vala leaned back against it as she opened the folded paper.

You were right - you are good at word games. It took Jack two hours to figure out what his clue meant. I guess it's a good thing I'm doing this for you and not him then, huh?

Where you stand now isn't very far from where your next prize is. You won't have to travel through the galaxy to find it, though you'll get pretty close.

D.

Vala giggled at the Jack comment, then sighed as she read over the actual clue again. How would she get close to traveling the galaxy without actually doing it? It was something close by, unless the 'isn't very far' was metaphorical rather then literal. She whined in frustration, feeling a headache start to form.

"Ma'am?"

She looked up as Walter called to her.

"Dr. Jackson asked me to give you this." He held out another folded note, and as Vala stepped over towards the controls the Sergeant always sat by to get it, she noticed something red out the window. Looking up fully, she practically sobbed in relief and joy.

On the ramp, just inches from being directly between the Gate, was her rose and the note that accompanied it. Still, before she moved to go retrieve it, Vala decided to read the note Walter had handed her first.

Do you see it?

D.

Shaking her head in affectionate annoyance, Vala threw a thank you over her shoulder to Walter as she rushed down the steps. The Sergeant opened the blast door for her, and she quickly made her way up the ramp and picked up the rose.

Standing directly in front of the Stargate, Vala read her next clue.

I felt it was only right to have a clue by the something that ultimately brought me to you.

As much pain and grief it's brought me, all the greatest things in my life have been given to me because of the Gate, Vala Mal Doran being the greatest of all.

I know you're tired of this, but you've almost come full circle. You're almost done, baby.

All you need to do is go back to the beginning. I think there's something you missed.

D.

Tears welled in her eyes as she reread the note. Vala sniffed and wiped her face, feeling no wetness even when she expected to.

Moving down the ramp, she quickly tried to figure out his new clue. Back to the beginning? Something she missed? Vala was sure she hadn't missed anything. All the clues fit when placed with one another. So what was Daniel talking about now?

Again she read the note. Her grey eyes stopped on 'full circle.' She smiled up at Walter as she figured it out.

She knew what Daniel was telling her.

--

Sliding her key through the lock, Vala moved into the room in a flurry of motion as the door beeped unlocked. Because of what the clue said, her first instinct was to check the bed. When she stepped over to it and found nothing, Vala turned to the rest of the room and searched for her next rose.

Her eyes couldn't help but come to the vase of previous roses on the desk. It was instinct to pick up the one thing that looked exactly like what she wanted, but wasn't her goal. Sighing, she went to drift her eyes elsewhere when she realized something was off.

Vala walked over to the desk, and a smile came to her face. Where Daniel's books had been that morning and when she'd brought the vase into the room that afternoon, there now sat a long white box with a rose and note.

She picked up the note, deciding it was wiser to read what it said before peaking in the box. After all, meditating with Teal'c had taught her patience.

Smirking at her own witty thought, she read the note.

Put the remaining roses in the vase. Open the box and put on what's inside. Make yourself beautiful in whatever way you see fit.

When you're done, head topside.

There's something waiting for you.

D.

The excitement from early that morning came back as Vala hastily put the roses in the vase. Her hands fumbled with the large ribbon holding the top to the box, but after a moment she had it free of its binds.

Tugging the top off, she giggled as she pulled aside the tissue paper.

--

Her black hair blew sideways in the breeze as she made her way to the spot she'd knew that something, whether it was a rose or clue or whatever, would be.

Vala looked down at the fire engine red halter dress under the necessary winter-wear she had to put on. It glimmered beautifully in the light as she walked, her knee high chocolate brown boots clicking on the asphalt. Her long leather jacket matched the boots. Of course the rainbow-colored scarf she had on really didn't mesh, but she didn't care. It was the dress that would catch anyone's attention.

Daniel really did know her better than anyone thought - the dress was perfect. It was tight enough to make her feel sexy yet loose enough to be comfortable. She ran her hands down the material as her legs carried her up the small incline in the parking area.

She was so caught up in the wonderful joy of the dress that it took her a moment to realized the ground had flattened out and she was on the top of the hill where SG-1 usually parked their vehicles. Vala looked up to make sure she wasn't about to get hit by anyone and that she was in fact going to the right spot. And she stopped dead in her tracks.

Just on the other end of the hill, where they had been known to come and watch the sunset on occasion, was her something.

Her something dressed in dark blue jeans, untucked button down shirt, and dark suit jacket. Her something leaning back against his truck, left hand in his pocket while the right twirled a red rose back and forth gently, the late afternoon sun casting him a beautiful orange glow.

Her something who was watching her with a soft smile on his lips, head tilted slightly to the side.

Vala finally found herself able to move again, and she slowly approached Daniel. When she was mere feet from him, his smile grew the slightest inch.

"Be my valentine?" He asked quietly, his blue eyes alight with love and affection.

It took a moment, but Vala finally nodded her head and threw her arms around his neck. Their lips met in a loving kiss, Daniel's arms wrapping around her and lifting her up a little. Tears burned in her eyes once more as the insanity of the day finally started to come into focus

"How did you know when I'd be here?" She asked as she pulled away from him and he placed her back down.

Daniel smiled and brushed his thumb over her cheek. "I didn't."

"How did you know I wouldn't give up?" Vala asked after kissing him again softly.

He shrugged and shook his head. "I didn't."

Vala stared up into his eyes. "How long would you have stood here?"

"As long as I had to." Daniel murmured before kissing her himself. "But I had a feeling you'd be here rather quickly. Had a feeling you could do it."

She fiddled with the unbuttoned part of his shirt. "You put too much faith in me."

Daniel placed a finger under her chin and brought her gaze back up. "No such thing as too much faith - all of which I do put in you." He brushed his nose against hers. "I love you, valentine."

Vala giggled in her usual way and kissed him passionately.

Daniel was the first to pull away. "You ready to go have some fun?"

"Wasn't I supposed to be having fun getting to you?" She asked curiously as he rocked her gently in his arms.

"Yes, well, now I mean fun with me." He said with a grin as she nodded eagerly. Daniel let her go and handed her the rose still in his hand. "This makes a dozen."

Vala took it, then gave him a significant look. "All this work for a dozen roses?"

Daniel shrugged and ushered her to the passenger door. "All this work for you, who wanted something over-the-top and cheesy for Valentine's Day."

"I also wanted dinner and champagne and chocolate, and...other things too." She said with a pout, gazing at him as he leaned on the door.

Daniel grinned. "Well, the night's just beginning." He closed the door.

Vala smiled and rested back against the seat. Daniel was soon climbing in the other side and starting the engine. As he pulled the truck out of the spot and down the parking lot, Vala reached up and took his right hand in her left.

His fingers immediately entwined with hers, and she sighed.

Maybe romance was more worth it then the gifts after all.

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