Title: Usual Unusual
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: "You'll find someone to love you quicker than you think."
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers/Warnings: Allusions to Gamekeeper, and a small reference to Unending. There's mention of Cam/Carolyn ship in this one. Also, warnings for language as well.
A/N: Written for mission-insane, table 02 - Sci-Fi, prompt 10: Parallel Universe.

--

Usual Unusual

Vala stormed out of the crumbling temple, trying to drown out the loud, ranting voice of the latest lunatic she'd landed herself with.

"Where the hell are you going?!" Daniel was hot on her heels, following her down the partially destroyed steps to the measly camp they'd been keeping for near two weeks. He was beginning to learn that being alone with Vala on a deserted planet for an extended period of time was a bad idea.

She shook her head as she raced down the stairs and into the little area they had been calling home. "Camp, Daniel…" Vala headed straight for the tent they'd been sleeping in together – not for much longer. "You told me to, and I quote…" She snatched her bag up from its spot at the back of the tent.

Her furious grey eyes turned back on the equally enraged blue, watching her from just outside the tent. "'Get the fuck' out of your temple. Well, look Daniel – not in your precious temple! And yet, there you are, looking all pissed off and disgusted with me."

Vala shot forward in frustration and shouted. "As usual!"

"Oh, don't even!" Daniel laughed harshly. "It's not my damn fault all you've done since we got here is bitch and complain about every. Single. Thing." He mocked her voice, accent and all. "Daniel, I'm bored. Daniel, it's too hot. Daniel, I broke another nail."

The mocking fizzled out, back into his irate, shouting voice. "Daniel, why do you have to do your job, which supports us, when I'm seeking attention, yet again, and feeling needy?" He slapped a hand against his leg and shook his head. "God forbid that pisses me off after hearing it for two weeks!"

Tossing the half-full bag on the floor, Vala trudged out of the tent, practically knocking Daniel over as she went. "You're the one who invited me to this hellhole of a planet!"

"Excuse me for thinking that requesting a research assistant would actually warrant the assistant doing research!" Daniel barked out another laugh, watching as she stopped on the other side of their fire pit.

Vala turned to face him, hurt mingling with the anger in her eyes. "That's where the problem is, Daniel! You seeing me as a damn assistant – like some silly little girl who doesn't have anything better to do than fawn over the great Dr. Jackson!"

He smiled like he was genuinely amused, and looked to the ground. "So you expect me to see you as…as what?" Laughing almost outright, Daniel looked back up at her. "As a partner?"

"Yes!" Vala cried, both in fury and pain at seeing him amused by the mere thought.

Still laughing, Daniel shrugged. "How can you expect me to do that when you show no interest in working?" The anger seeped back into his voice, the one-ended amusement fading as quickly as it has come.

She stamped her foot in frustration. "Because you don't give me a chance, Daniel!" Vala said, bouncing in place in her agitation. "Again, because you've stopped seeing me and all you see is the silly woman!"

"Girl…" Daniel corrected immediately, holding up his finger in that arrogant way of his. "Silly girl!" His voice rose and he took a few steps closer. "You are just a silly little girl because you don't know what it's like to really work! All you care about is fun, and excitement, and…and…" He waved his hand in the air absently. "Sex!"

It was Vala's turn to laugh. "You weren't complaining about that last night!"

Daniel scowled and shook his head. "God dammit! You're still the same!" He threw both hands up in the air in defeat and turned away from her. "The same ignorant, selfish, sex-driven…thing…" He ranted as he trudged his way back up the steps to the temple once more. "Who just doesn't get the importance of growing up, and of being serious and realistic!"

In a mirror image to how they'd come down from the temple, now they went up, Vala racing after Daniel.

"And you're still the arrogant, cynical asshole…" Vala shouted the derogatory name as loud as she possibly could as they passed out of the hot sun and into the lantern-lit antechamber of the temple. "Who works too much, and knows nothing about life, or love, or just being yourself!"

Daniel stopped just short of the tunnel that led into the darker, deeper parts of the temple. He slowly turned to look at her. "Tell me, Vala, what do you know about those things? What could a thief and a space

-whore know about life? What could a person who hides her true nature from the entire galaxy know about being herself?"

His blazing blue eyes followed her as she slowly moved around him. "Huh, sweetheart?" Daniel spit the name like it was a poison. "What do you know about love?"

Stopping in front of him, her back to the tunnel, Vala looked up into his heated gaze with one that matched, save for the slight glimmer of tears in her eyes. "About as much as an orphaned, laughing stock of his academic community archaeologist who couldn't save his own-"

The end of her hurtful retort was cut short by a stomach-churning rumble rising up from below their feet. Daniel and Vala both looked down, then back up at each other as the air around them fell eerily quiet. Seconds later, a deafening roar erupted around them, and the building began to shake violently.

Daniel's instinct to protect Vala immediately overrode all other thoughts, and he reached out and pulled her down into a crouch, shielding her with his own body as the temple started to fall apart around and on them.

But before the two even got a chance to question their last words to each other, the world went disorientingly quiet and still once more. Daniel asked the question at the foremost of his thoughts.

"You alright?" He whispered, and Vala nodded after a minute.

"You?" She asked back, and he nodded too. After several minutes, Daniel hadn't removed his still shaking arms from around her, or made any sign he was going to move from their crouched position. "Daniel?"

"Yeah?"

Vala shifted, in slight agitation, to make her purpose known. "You can let go now."

"Oh…" Daniel blinked and practically pried his arms from around her. He didn't know what disturbed him more – the way Vala angrily moved away from him or that he couldn't seem to stop shaking. She looked at him and he offered a faulty smile. "Sorry."

She gave a curt nod. "It's okay…" Her grey eyes scanned the antechamber, dust and dirt now raining all through it, as she adopted the calculating, emotionless look she'd learned from her friends at the SGC. "What do you think that was?"

When all she got in reply was silence, Vala looked at Daniel sitting across from her. Apart from still visibly trembling, she could see the sudden look of regret and something she couldn't quite define in his wide eyes. Oh no, she wasn't gonna listen to his post almost-death crap now. It was just incident induced anyway, and he wasn't going to really mean the 'sorrys' and 'I love yous' he was getting ready to lay on her.

"Daniel!" Vala snapped his name firmly.

He blinked as if brought from a trance. "Yeah?"

Vala pushed herself up and walked over to him. "I asked you what you thought that was." She repeated, the irritation from the argument seeping into her voice. Here he was again, not listening to her. Still, she reached out a hand to help pull him up.

Daniel blinked up at her for a moment, and then took the offered hand. "I don't know – maybe an earthquake…" He groaned as he came to a standing position. "But the MALP didn't pick up any readings of seismic activity on the planet." He added absently as he tried brushing the dust and dirt off himself.

"So not a quake then…" Vala replied in her own absent voice as she looked around again. Something was off – like it had changed. A tug on her hand had her once again meeting Daniel's self-recriminating gaze.

"Vala-"

She jerked her hand out of his and began to walk towards the exit. "Come on, darling." Vala said in her false cheery voice. "We need to head back to the SGC to see what this wonko planet is all about."

Daniel remained standing in the temple for a moment, watching her go. He tried to will his shaking hands into stillness, and force the image of her beautiful life crushed beneath a ton of ancient temple out of his head.

--

"Will you just talk to me?" Daniel had to jog to keep up with Vala, who was near sprinting back to the Stargate. "Vala…please!"

She shrugged, picking up her pace a little more. "What's there to talk about, Daniel?" Vala flipped her bangs back. "You made it perfectly clear, pre-unsure earthquake, how you felt about me, and I was most abundantly clear on my point of view…"

Daniel sighed in building frustration, the image of her mangled body being quickly taken over by the agitation from before. "I'm trying to make things better, Vala! I want us to understand one another, not be at odds all the damn time!"

"That's just it, Daniel!" Vala stopped and stared at him, willing him to understand. "We will always be at odds with one another! No matter what, we're never going to agree because we are so obviously opposite!"

He shook his head, not letting himself accept her words. "We can make things better – make things work!"

Vala shook her head as well. "When, Daniel? After we almost die time and again?"

"Yes!" Daniel answered immediately, the image returning with all its malignant detail. He quickly realized that was the wrong answer as Vala shook her head once more.

"No, Daniel. If it takes death to make us realize what we have over, and over, and over again…" Vala took a deep breath, and met his troubled gaze with her own calm one. "Then maybe it's time we realize this isn't meant to be." She was surprised at how easily the words had come out, and how gracefully she was able to start moving towards the Stargate once more.

Shell-shocked by her words, it took several minutes for Daniel to start following once more.

"You can't mean that…" He said it, but the conviction to fight her train of thought had all but left him. Now that he was thinking about it, maybe she was right. There was something wrong in a relationship if its strong points revolved around death and almost-losses. Maybe they were just too opposite to make it work.

Vala looked at him with the smile that said she'd read him like a book. "Looks like I can." She murmured with a regrettable tone, letting Daniel move to the DHD so he could dial home.

He gave her a reluctant nod, and silently began punching in the symbols that would take them back, and close the door on their failed relationship.

--

The instant his booted feet hit the ramp on the other side, Daniel knew something was wrong. So many years training under, learning from, and fighting alongside Jack O'Neill had taught him to be fully aware of all his instincts, including knowing when things weren't quite up to normal standards. That, and always have your weapon at the ready.

Hand hovering close to his Beretta, he cast a look at Vala. "Something's up…"

Her grey eyes found him. "Yes…I believe all those armed men at the other end of the ramp aiming their guns at us would indicate that, darling."

Daniel's eyes drifted down that direction, then back up to her. He lifted his eyebrows for a quick moment and tilted his head in agreement. "Yeah, that might be it."

"Who are you?" The unmistakable voice of General Landry filtered out through the microphone from the control room. The pair looked up at him through the observation window, Daniel immediately noting the man wasn't dressed in uniform. Throwing another look at Vala, she indicated she noticed the wardrobe difference as well – General Landry was never out of uniform while on base.

"Uh…" Daniel brought his gaze back to meet the hard glare and disapproving scowl of Landry's. At least that was a familiar sight. "I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson." Even from the distance, he saw the man blink in surprise. "And this is-"

Vala stepped forward a little, and then took half a step back as the guns seemed to train on her even more. Daniel's hand on her back was a comfort, even if the impact of her words not an hour before on the planet were still weighing heavy on her thoughts. "I'm Vala Mal Duran – Daniel's…teammate."

"We know who both of you are." Landry said after a very long, tense moment of silence.

"Then why did you-" Vala went to say, but he cut her off.

"Because I find it rather remarkable how you two are standing there, when we already have a Daniel and Vala already here, on this planet…" Landry finished in a tone that said this wasn't his first walk in the park with such circumstances.

Daniel groaned and dropped his head. He couldn't help the next words out of his mouth.

"For cryin' out loud…"

--

Sitting at the briefing room table, Daniel scanned the room, searching for some kind of variation to the briefing room he'd known for over a decade. He couldn't find any. It wasn't the base that was different – the layout, the colors, the placement of everything was identical to what was home.

It was the people, as it had always been in every other parallel or alternate universe they'd stumbled upon – or in some cases stumbled upon them, that were the drastic different. So far he and Vala had made acquaintance with gate technician Siler and base mechanic Walter Harriman – and most notably, Dr. Cameron Mitchell – head CMO of the base's infirmary. Vala had been pleasantly surprised with that one – Daniel, not so much.

Thinking of Vala, he brought his attention to the unusually quiet and tense woman in the chair next to him. Normally, she would be bugging him, or spinning in her chair, or popping a bright pink piece of bubble gum. Now, she just sat there, staring at her hands in her lap and chewing on her bottom lip.

Vala was tense, and Daniel had a feeling it wasn't because they were essentially stranded in a parallel universe with no knowledge of how they got there. That was an added factor, but not the main cause of her unusual behavior.

"Hey…" He reached out and placed a gentle hand on her wrist. She looked up at him with wide eyes, and he smiled a smile he'd only ever given her. "Things will work out."

She cocked her head to the side curiously. "Will they?"

Daniel breathed in deeply and took his hand off her. He brought his eyes up to look at the observation window. "Friendships are just as important as…relationships." He looked at her quickly and rushed on. "And when I say relationships, I mean-"

"I know what you mean, Daniel." Vala laughed softly, nodding her head. He watched her, realizing she did – she knew everything about him. And he felt like – like he knew almost nothing about her. Suddenly, just the thought of being anything but her friend felt like it would be an injustice to her.

"You're beautiful, ya know?" His words obviously caught her off-guard as her head shot up quickly, and she met his gaze with her own surprised one. "You'll find someone to love you quicker than you think." Daniel smiled wanly. "Someone more like you…"

Vala felt both a sense of sudden freedom, and loss, at his words. This was him letting her go, and she knew she should reciprocate – it's what he deserved. Then why did it feel so wrong?

Wrong or not, she nodded and offered a smile. "Maybe you'll find that perfect research," Vala looked down at her hands. "Partner," she emphasized the world. "For those alarmingly boring research missions."

Daniel felt sick to his stomach at her words. Though they'd just agreed that it was time to move on, the words they had spoken in the heat of the argument would weigh heavily on the future of any friendship they hoped to have. They needed to fix that.

"Vala, what I said-" He was interrupted by Landry's door opening and the man himself walking back into the room. Blue eyes found grey as Landry moved to take the seat at the head of the table. "We'll finish this talk later."

She nodded, and then looked up at Landry as he finally started speaking.

"Well, according to my son, you guys are in fact the people you claim to be, with a few variations in the blood work." The older man said with a tired tone, as if he'd done this a thousand times in the past month.

"Variations?" Vala asked

"I'm sorry, your son?" Daniel's question immediately followed hers. Brows furrowed, the pair shared a glance indicating they'd both been thinking each other's questions as well.

Landry frowned at Daniel and Vala, and then sighed. "Right, right – there's bound to be differences. Of course that much is obvious from just the sight of you two, but…" He trailed off, glancing over his shoulder towards the door like he was expecting more people to arrive.

"My son, or more correctly, my son-in-law, is Dr. Cameron Mitchell." Landry finished, filling in the gaps for them. He watched surprise flicker across Daniel's face, and slow understanding dawn on Vala's.

"He's married to Carolyn, Carolyn Lam, who is your daughter, right?" The raven-haired woman, looking so much like a tamed vixen that is was shocking to Landry, asked with slight excitement.

He nodded.

Daniel's eyes widened and he snapped his attention to Vala. "How did you?"

Smacking him on the arm, Vala rolled her eyes. "I told you – you work too much and never leave that silly office! Cameron and Carolyn have been dating steadily for going on two months now back in our…" She looked a Landry for a moment, then back at Daniel. "Back home."

Frowning, Daniel mimicked her act of looking at Landry before back at her. "Does the General know about this?"

"If base gossip is anything to go by…" Vala shrugged, and then shook her head in uncertainty. "Of course, gossip was you and I had been doing the dirty for years before I joined the program, and I only got on the team because we shagged so well…"

Daniel held up his hand. "Okay, let's leave anger-provoking base gossip back in our universe…" He returned his gaze to Landry. "Sorry about that, Sir."

Chuckling awkwardly, Landry leaned forward a little. "First of all, from what I got from that little discussion, I'm not a General like your Landry seems to be. Never served a day in my life, actually, if you don't count working for the Air Force to run this place. So it's just Hank, son – drop the Sir."

Looking slightly uncomfortable, Daniel nodded hesitantly. "Sorry S…Hank."

Landry accepted the apology with a nod. "And as for that little exchange between you two…" He shook his head and offered a curious smile, more directed towards Vala than anything else. "It's not really uncommon here, just a little strange to be hearing what's coming from your mouth…" A finger pointed to her. "And what's not coming from yours." The finger now pointed at Daniel.

Daniel opened his mouth to speak, but as interruptions seemed to be the theme of the day, an angry growl, similar in ways to one he and Vala knew well, came into the room from the down the hall. Except, it was noticeably feminine.

"Dammit, Daniel!" The woman bellowed, rich accent sounding all wrong for the tone she used. "Get your hands off me!"

"Oh, come on sweet cheeks." A male voice, distinctly and clearly Daniel's own followed. Vala bit down on a laugh at the look of shock the almost derogatory endearment produced on her Daniel's face. He turned a baffled look on her and mouthed 'sweet cheeks?' She just shrugged and tried not to laugh.

"I've told you not to call me that!" The other Vala snapped in frustration, and stormed into the room in a flurry of oversized green BDUs. "Hank, please let me kick this…man…back through the ring of hell…" She turned a glare on the Daniel who had sauntered into the room behind her. "He came through."

The other Daniel just bounced on the balls of his feet and smiled cheekily. "You'd miss me too much, sugar…"

"Ha!" The other Vala laughed sarcastically and moved to take a seat at the table. "Not likely."

"Admit it…" The other Daniel whispered cheerily. "You just wanna get in my pants." He leaned against the back of her chair and openly fondled her breasts. She gasped and smacked at his hands, shoving the chair back against him. He groaned painfully as it connected with a certain part of the anatomy.

"If you two are quite done!" Hank snapped. The two trouble makers looked at him. "We have some…visitors…as you failed to notice."

The other Vala and Daniel looked at the pair who had been watching the scene with shock, amusement, and bafflement.

"Holy hell!" The other Daniel laughed, carelessly throwing himself down into the chair next to the other Vala. He pointed across the table at Daniel. "That's me! But it's quite obviously…not…me?"

The other Vala sighed and pulled her Daniel's hand back. "They're obviously us from another…" Her grey eyes, partially hidden behind a pair of dark-framed glasses, eyed Vala with what looked like disapproval. Almost a Daniel-like disapproval, she noted. "Reality."

Daniel cleared his throat, tearing his eyes away from the not-version of himself, and looked at the alternate Vala. "Uh, yeah. We're from a parallel universe." He took in the oversized clothes, glasses, too-perfect hair, and lack of any sort of flair that was this reality's Vala. It was a weird look, but it was Vala – and he was instantly attracted to her beauty.

She smiled at him, and he smiled back.

"Wow, I look really weird with glasses!" The alternate Daniel announced randomly, his laughing voice seeming to fill the room that reminded Daniel of Vala.

"I was just thinking that!" Vala gasped in delight, for once thinking along the same lines as Daniel – even if it wasn't her…okay, not hers anymore, Daniel. This Daniel, the one across from her and not next to her, had spunk to him that she liked already. She could practically see the eternal 'get up and go have fun' energy pouring off him.

Alternate Daniel bounced in his seat, his hungry eyes raking up and down Vala's more exposed body than the one in the chair beside him. "Really? That's almost like we're…"

"Telepsychosis…" Both Alternate Daniel and Vala said with big grins at the same time.

Daniel leaned in towards Vala and whispered 'telepathic', while alternate Vala merely rolled her eyes and muttered 'more like psychotic'. Daniel blinked at her blatant refusal to help her Daniel correct his mistake. He turned a glance on Vala to see if she'd noticed, but she was too busy staring at the alternate Daniel's bare arms and flirting openly.

Looking at the Vala across from him, he noticed the frown she directed toward her Daniel. Then her focus turned on him, and she smiled that shy, intelligent smile he rarely saw on his own Vala's face.

"Well, now that we've introduced ourselves…" Hank said with barely-there patience, looking back and forth between the pairs. "Let's see if we can figure out how this happened, and how we can fix it."

--

"So, you're an archaeologist?" Daniel asked with piqued curiosity, eyes roaming around the office that was almost identical to his. If he counted out the fact that there was a rather larger number of artifacts scattered about, and the lack of a few choice pictures, it was his office.

The alternate Vala, Dr. Mal Duran as she'd introduced herself, nodded and barely glanced over her shoulder at him. Her nimble fingers ran over the rows and rows of books on the shelf, searching for a specific notebook.

Daniel couldn't help a small laugh. Dr. Mal Duran turned a slight frown on him at the sound.

"Oh, sorry – just the idea of my Vala holding a title like that…" He trailed off, shaking his head with a smile. "Not that she couldn't get one…she's quite capable…just research to an extent seems to…" His mind flashed back to the argument, and he sighed. "Bore her."

Dr. Mal Duran nodded, having already turned her attention back to the bookshelf. "Sounds a lot like this universe's Daniel…" Her grey eyes rolled for all the spines of the dusty books to see. "Though I'm not too sure of the capable thing on my end."

Brow furrowing, Daniel noted yet another instance where Dr. Mal Duran had put her Daniel down. Since they'd split up, for alternate Daniel refused to have anything to do with work, he'd heard no kind words come from the Doctor's lips concerning her own Daniel.

"Ah yes, here it is!" Dr. Mal Duran exclaimed, snatching up a tattered notebook from the shelf. She stepped over to her desk, and took a seat in the chair. Daniel stepped up to the desk himself, taking a gentle seat on the edge. "Oh, could you possibly use a chair?"

Eyebrows shot up above his glasses. "Oh…uh…" Daniel looked around and saw the chair opposite the desk. He stood, retrieved the chair, and placed it next to Dr. Mal Duran's. "Sorry about that."

She nodded absently, already reading the contents in the notebook.

Wow, really into her work… Daniel thought with a small smile.

"So you said you were in the temple on…the planet…" Dr. Mal Duran glanced up at him quickly, barely giving him a chance to nod. "When what happened exactly?"

Daniel shifted in the seat and shrugged. "Uh, the usual unusual – there was a rumble from beneath our feet. Then it got really quiet for about, oh, ten seconds. That was followed by lots of noise and shaking…"

Dr. Mal Duran looked up at him, blinking curiously. "Could it have been an earthquake…"

A playful smile graced Daniel's face. "Well, since we weren't on Earth, I'm not sure it could really be called an 'earth' quake…" Instead of a smile, a frown came over Dr. Mal Duran's face.

Daniel coughed. "Right, sorry – yeah, I don't think it was a…a quake." He shifted in the chair again. "The MALP never picked up on any seismic activity, and I've been in plenty of quakes before…that definitely wasn't one, now that I'm thinking about it."

"You've been in a lot of quakes?" Dr. Mal Duran questioned as she started jotting stuff down in an empty notebook next to the one she was still skimming.

Nodding, Daniel leaned forward to see what she was writing. She shot him a look that had him changing his mind and flopping back in the chair. "Uh, yeah… when you've been on plenty of planets trying to fall apart beneath your feet…" He smiled and shrugged again. "Just part of that long list of job description details that's covered in the 'etc.', as Jack would say…"

"Speaking of Jack…" Daniel realized he'd yet to learn about what his best friend's counterpart in this universe was up to.

Dr. Mal Duran turned a patient look on him – one that reminded him of how he looked at his Vala at times. "Dr. Jackson, maybe we should-"

"Daniel." He corrected with nod.

Carefully, Dr. Mal Duran put her pen down and rested her hands flat on the desktop. "Daniel, I think we should focus on the problem at hand first, than we can get into the details of the different universes."

Daniel blinked, taken aback a little by her tone of voice. It was like she was seeing him like some ignorant boy, who didn't understand the concept of work. His conscious snapped at 

him like a rabid dog, and it was all he could to look like her overly patient words hadn't hit him in such a way.

"Yeah, okay – let's figure this out." Daniel sat up straight and put on his best archaeologist face. He could do work – he did it all the time.

--

Grey eyes watched the tall sprite of a man sprint back and forth on the basketball court, shooting the ball from basket to basket. Vala was beginning to learn that this Daniel's energy capacity was definitely higher than hers. She'd been near collapsing when she'd gracefully thrown herself down on the bench, claiming she needed a breather. Alternate Daniel had just kept going.

"Daniel…" Vala smiled to him when she was sure she had his attention long enough. Of course the look he'd thrown her had been another admiring leer, but she couldn't deny she'd been throwing him some looks herself.

Throwing the ball up into the basket yet again, alternate Daniel laughed. "Oh, just call me Dan, sugar…"

Vala winced inwardly at the endearment. Her own Daniel had usually only ever referred to her by her name, an occasional 'baby' or 'babe' slipping out every once in a while. Sometimes he even called her 'sweetheart', but that was for her more emotional days. Never 'sugar' or 'sweet cheeks' – at least not when he was sober…

"Alright, Dan…" Vala finally said, smiling sweetly for him as he flashed another feral grin. "Maybe you should sit down, take a break with me."

"But where's the fun in that?" Dan asked, dribbling the ball back across the court.

She shrugged. "We can talk – talking is fun."

The running and dribbling stopped, and he looked at her like she'd gone wonko for a moment. Then he laughed again, for it seemed Dan never stopped laughing, and started moving again. "Nice, with the talking thing."

"I'm serious, Dan…" Vala breathed, trying to sound calm. His running was starting to give her a headache – much worse than the ones Daniel's lectures often gave her.

Dan laughed again. "Seriously hot, that's for sure."

Jumping up from the bench, Vala stamped her foot. "Dammit, Daniel! Stop playing around and come talk to me."

Again, he stopped, the ball dropping from his hands. He turned surprised blue eyes on her for a moment, and then he grinned. "You sounded just like my Vala right there!" He said on a laugh. It'd obviously been enough because he sauntered over to her.

Vala couldn't help eyeing him purposefully as his too-tight pants glided over certain parts of the anatomy. She swallowed, forcing her eyes to meet his. He gave her a naughty grin, letting her know he'd caught the look.

"Like what you see, hun?" He murmured, coming to stand in her personal space.

Taking a deep breath, Vala forced herself to act calm and collected – just like Daniel, her Daniel, would expect of her. "I will admit it's very nice, but that's not what I wanted to talk about…"

Dan wrapped an arm around her, and forced her against his chest. "Admit it, darling – you wanna fuck me."

"No, no I really don't…" Vala pushed against him. "I want to try and figure out what happened…"

He laughed again. "Who cares what happened? It doesn't concern me, so it's not my problem! Come on, sugar, lighten up! I know there's a wild thing in you – that Geek version of me just tamed you, and that's a damn shame – good thing you got stuck here. I can let that fierce little minx out again…and we can run and have all the fun we want – no work, no no one…"

Taken back by his words, Vala was caught off guard by the fierce, lustful kiss he gave her. Years of instinct acted first, and she returned the kiss at first. This…this is what she'd been missing in all those kisses from her Daniel. Full of power and sex, lust and greed…and...lies. Vala could practically taste the lies on his lips, the hollow pull of his mouth – there was no love here, no true passion. It was all sex driven, with no respect for the other.

Suddenly feeling sick to her stomach, Vala bodily shoved Dan off of her. She wiped her hand over her mouth to try and scrape the taste of him away as he stumbled back. Her angry grey eyes glared at him, and she felt even more disgusted at the turned-on look in his lust-filled blue.

"See, knew there was a fighter in there." He advanced on her again.

Vala was ready this time. Her fist connected with his jaw, sending him sprawling to the floor. Glaring down at him, Vala shook her head as he placed a hand to his face and coughed up a few droplets of blood.

"You really are an imbecile!" She snapped in disbelief. "I told you no, and I meant no! It's not all about sex, Dan!" Vala spat the name like he didn't deserve it. "It's about feeling wanted and respected and loved! But you're too damn horny to ever see past the lust!"

She walked a few steps away and then rushed back as he moved to get up. "Can't you see? I don't want to run anymore! What has running ever got people like us, huh? Bad 

reputations and no one to love us! So I stopped running when I knew I'd found the right person to love me!"

Vala stopped her rant there, the hand she'd been waving falling to her side. Something had struck her just then, and she blinked shameful tears from her eyes. Turning away from Dan, who was watching her like she'd lost her mind, she slowly left the basketball court.

--

A gentle, and achingly familiar, hand on the back of his neck brought Daniel from sleep with a soft intake of breath. He lifted his pounding head from his arms, squinting up to the beautiful figure of Vala – his Vala.

"You look like you need some coffee…" She whispered, her eyes and smile sympathetic.

Daniel sat up on the stool and rubbed his eyes underneath his glasses. He cast a glance at Dr. Mal Duran, who had effectively shot down all his suggestions for a break and had practically ignored him, unless it was on their current problem. Yawning, he looked back at Vala.

"Yeah, coffee…" He mumbled, clambering off the stool. Daniel tried to get his ass in gear, knowing Vala wasn't known for her slow pace – but his headachy, tired brain just wouldn't give him anything faster than an exhausted stumble.

She didn't say a word, keeping his slow pace as they headed for the elevator.

"I thought you were with…" Daniel yawned, flopping back against the elevator wall as they entered it. "The other me."

Vala gave him a slightly guilty look. "I was…but I figured I'd come and see if I could help."

Though it was tired, the smile he gave her was genuine. "Coffee break is the biggest, non-archaeological babbled, help I can think of right now."

--

Warm coffee cup between his hands, Daniel happily slurped the bitter liquid. Eyes closed against the bright lights of the commissary, he didn't notice all the stares he and Vala were getting.

"Headache?" She murmured softly, phrasing it like a question, though she already knew the answer.

Daniel nodded, putting the cup back on the table and letting his head drop. The soft scrape of the chair across from him filtered through his consciousness, quickly followed by the scrape of the chair next to him and the sound of a person taking the seat. Then the warm sensation of fingers kneading into the back of his neck.

"You know it's not gonna work if you don't relax…" Vala whispered gently in his ear. "Actually…" She tapped his shoulder. "Scoot." Daniel obeyed, scooting further down the chair. Vala easily squeezed into the space he'd created. Then her fingers began to rub into his neck once more.

Lifting his head up when Vala asked him to, Daniel gazed across the commissary. After a moment, he expressed the thoughts that had been plaguing him.

"I work too much."

Vala's fingers stopped their work for a moment. "Darling?" She questioned, her voice taking on a slightly concerned tone.

He nodded sadly, frowning down at his coffee. "I work too much, and I don't give you enough attention…" Daniel sighed, feeling the tears sting in his eyes. He'd really been such a delusional fool. "Spending all day in that office with Dr. Mal Duran, getting shot down and ignored, and treated like some…little kid made me realize it's exactly what I do to you… I don't listen; I'm always too busy working…"

He squeezed his eyes shut. "I didn't care for you like I should've, and now I've lost you."

"And I lost you because I play too much." Vala whispered back, her own demons learned from being with Dan coming to the surface. She rested her forehead against his back. "I don't care enough about the work that you do, and I don't respect the fact that your work is important and saves lives…"

"I am just a silly little girl who only cares about sex."

Daniel blinked at the tears in his eyes, looking to the ceiling. "Hell…" he laughed, getting up from the chair, the arms Vala had wrapped around his waist falling limply at her sides. He gently took one of her hands in his and tugged.

She looked up at him, self-disgust evident in her eyes. It reflected his own feelings.

"Come on…" He whispered, and Vala rose from her seat. Daniel quickly led them from the commissary, and watching eyes, to the elevator. They remained silent, though Daniel bounced anxiously, as the elevator took them to the lab level. He tugged her along gently, until he found a deserted one.

Leading her in, Daniel closed the door after stepping inside. Then he turned to her.

"You annoy the crap out of me." He blurted, causing her to frown and step back a little.

Vala shook her head – this wasn't what she was expecting. "What?"

He nodded. "You annoy the crap out of me – you are always complaining, always doing what you're not supposed to be doing, always playing…"

"Daniel, I don't…"

Daniel held up his finger. "Except…" He smiled and shook his head. "It doesn't annoy me…I love the silly little girl that you are because it's the part of me that I can't find unless you're with me."

Vala frowned at Daniel. "You're rambling…"

"I know, I know…" He shook his head. "And I annoy you, right?"

"What? No, Daniel..." Vala was having trouble keeping up with his train of thought.

Daniel nodded again. "I annoy you because I'm too serious, and I don't play enough, and I seem like I'm not paying attention…" He grinned like he was making absolutely perfect sense. "But that stuff doesn't annoy you, not really, because it's what you need to keep you grounded – in the now." He emphasized 'now' by pointing to the floor.

Stepping up to him, Vala took both his hands in hers and looked up into this shining eyes. "Daniel, you're making no sense!"

"Yes, baby, I am…" Daniel laughed. "Don't you see? We are so opposite and wrong for each other, it's not even funny – but that's why it works! It…it works because you're too much of a child, and I'm too much of an adult!"

Despite his words still not making sense to her, Vala laughed – his excitement was infectious. "I still don't understand…"

Daniel squeezed her hands and stepped closer to her. "That fight – that stupid fucking argument we had on the planet? You said we would never agree because we're so obviously opposite – well, you're right. You're absolutely right!" He laughed again.

And Vala was sure by now that he'd gone crazy. "And you're laughing about it?" She asked incredulously.

He nodded and swallowed. "In the commissary just now, when I was finally seeing what you were telling me on the planet – finally understanding, you were seeing what I had been talking about…" Daniel paused and looked at the floor. "Even if I had been a little wrong…but still," He looked back at Vala. "Opposites, again – even if it's a different kind of opposite than the first time, which is really neither here nor there…"

"Daniel!" Vala snapped, and he stopped suddenly, blinking at her. "What are you saying?!"

Taking a deep breath, calming himself, he let his grin soften to a gentle smile. "We are a paradox – two things that shouldn't work together, but do just because...well, they do. It doesn't make sense because it's not supposed to – Or if you want something more cliché," Daniel grinned and shrugged. "Opposites attract."

Biting down on her bottom lip, Vala tilted her head. "So you're saying when we try too hard to make sense of it, the less it works?"

Daniel nodded quickly. "Exactly."

"So I shouldn't try to make sense of this urge to kiss you, right here, right now?" She asked, a playful smile coming to her lips. Daniel shook his head, and Vala nodded. "Good."

Leaning up, her lips found his in a kiss that was just…right.

--

"I think I know what happened on the planet…" Daniel murmured into Vala's damp hair, hand running up and down an equally damp arm.

Vala lifted her head off his chest to gaze at him. "Yeah?"

He nodded. "I think the planet in our universe aligned exactly with the sun and the moon, the polar opposites, while we were in the temple..." Daniel breathed in deeply. "Arguing. The alignment triggered some kind of device that transports people to parallel universes, the temple serving as the focal point of the energy."

"I'm not sure I understand…" Vala admitted, laying her head back down on his chest.

Daniel brought his hand up to brush through her hair. "Okay, in many cultures, the aligning of celestial bodies opened up a doorway to another world – take the Stargate, for example. The aligning of six different points, added with the point of origin, opens up a doorway to different planets. The planet the temple is on is the point of origin, the sun and the moon being the other points."

Fingers stroking over his bare stomach, Vala shrugged. "But why would anyone make a device to transport to parallel universes?"

Daniel shrugged as well. "I don't know. Maybe to learn, understand, and appreciate the gifts of their own world? It's possible the device never worked properly, like the time-loop technology Malakai was so intent on using…" He sighed and pulled her closer to himself. "Though it probably comes down to extreme, unbridled curiosity."

"Mmmm…" Vala pushed herself up and looked down at him. Daniel reached a hand up and brushed a small portion of her hair behind her ear, smiling lovingly. "Want to know what I'm curious to know?"

He nodded.

Leaning down, Vala took his lips in a supple kiss. "I'm curious to know how long it'll take this universe's guards to figure out how to open this lab's doors…" The banging on the door, as well as the whirring of tools, continued much as it had for the past hour. They continued to ignore it.

"Which you so conveniently rigged to stay closed." Daniel added, kissing her and leaning up as she moved to straddle his lap.

Vala nodded and nipped at his bottom lip with her teeth. "And compare it to our universe's SF's time."

"Ah yes…" Daniel grinned, cupping her cheek and watching her with a needy gaze. "Seven hours last time, right?" She nodded smugly. He tilted his head thoughtfully. "So, more sex on a lab floor then?"

She brought her lips to hover close to his. "More sex."

--

Daniel found he couldn't keep his eyes off Vala…his hands or lips either, for that matter. Standing in the parallel universe's gate room, waiting for their alternate selves to arrive so they could head back to the planet that brought them here, he was practically devouring her.

And Vala loved every wide-eyed, stare inducing minute of it.

"Ow…" She gasped as Daniel sucked on an already sensitive spot on her neck. "Gentle, darling."

He stopped his kissing her a moment. "Sorry…"

Vala giggled as his hand came around her waist and pulled her closer. "Daniel, I don't think you're making a very good name for yourself amongst the people of this reality."

"A good friend once told me…" Daniel mumbled between kisses to her neck. "That our reality is the only one of consequence." He stopped kissing her and brought his lips close to her ear as the inner track on the gate began to turn. "Don't get too use to me ravishing you in the gate room."

She pouted, as was expected. "So you'll never make out with me in our gate room?"

Daniel laughed. "It's very unlikely."

"Not even to gross out dear Cameron?"

He laughed again. "Okay, maybe a little more likely…"

Vala nodded a little. "Good." She then turned so her lips met his.

They were mid kiss, Daniel's hand hiking Vala's leg up against his hip, when Dr. Mal Duran and Dan stepped in.

"Oh my…" Dr. Mal Duran gasped at the sight. Dan was effectively left speechless, mouth gaping. The gate burst open moments later, yet did nothing to separate the pair making out just a few steps back from the ramp.

"Doctor!" Hank's voice over the microphone finally did the trick, and Daniel separated his lips from Vala's, glancing over his shoulder. The older man was glaring at him from the control room, though there was a hint of amusement in his eyes. "Get the hell off my planet!"

Daniel grinned and looked at Vala.

"If I had a quarter for every time I've heard that." She said thoughtfully.

--

"Are you sure this is gonna work?" Vala asked with uncertainty, her grey eyes boring into Daniel.

He looked back at her, having been looking out the entrance to the temple. "No." He admitted. "I'm only marginally guessing that this planet's alignment is today in this universe. It would make no sense for the people who made this device to do it so a traveler couldn't get back, but it's very possible…"

"Oh, that's encouraging!" Vala grumbled.

"And let's not forget that I could be totally wrong on my hypothesis here…" Daniel checked his watch, noting they had about a minute to the guesstimated alignment. "Or if I'm right, that this temple can't withstand another transport. It did just about come down on us the last time…"

Vala stepped up to him and placed her fingers over his mouth. "Okay, stop."

He blinked at her, and that's when she saw it. An underlying fear in his gaze – one that he was trying to cover up with his usual rambling.

"What's wrong?" She asked, closing in the remaining space between them.

Daniel shook his head as she moved her hand away. "It's nothing."

Vala reached up and stroked her thumb just to the right of his right eye, underneath the arm of his glasses. "Looks like a whole bunch of nothing in those eyes."

Sighing, Daniel took her hand and kissed the fingertips. "The first time... I… pictured you…" He closed his eyes and squeezed her hand. "Crushed, just like my parents were, beneath this temple."

The sound of both their watches chirping, and the creepy familiar rumble from beneath their feet effectively cut off any comfort Vala could offer. Then, just as before, there was a short silence, quickly followed by the roar and shaking of the world around them.

They crouched into a huddled position, Daniel shielding Vala with his body like before. She clung tight to his arms, fingers stroking over the tense, trembling flesh. Now she understood his anxiety from before, and felt a pang of guilt at brushing it off because of her anger the first time.

Soon, the quaking temple stopped shaking and crumbling around them. The world went back to the calm it'd been before.

And still Daniel clung to Vala like the world was ending.

"Daniel…" Vala said softly. When he didn't reply, she tried again, this time more sternly. "Daniel."

"Just…give me a moment." He rasped in her ear.

She nodded, and after a long moment Daniel slowly released her. Vala turned around, still in her crouched position, and watched him sit down on the dust-covered temple floor. She shifted, sat down in his lap, and wrapped her arms around his neck. His head lowered, and she could see the track of tears sliding down his face.

"I thought I was prepared…" He shook his head, trying to erase the traitorous image from his mind.

Vala rested her forehead down against the side of his, and placed a kiss to his cheek. After letting the immediate fear of tragic loss pass, she kissed his cheek again.

"Come on, let's get back to-"

"Where the hell have you guys been?!" A very relieved and worried southern drawl pulled their attention to the doorway. Cam stood there, P90 in hand, staring wide-eyed at them. "We've been searching this damn planet for the pair of you for six days!"

He walked over to them as they were pushing themselves into standing positions. "And what the hell was all that damn shakin'?"

Daniel breathed in deeply, only slightly embarrassed as Vala wiped the tears from his face. His blue eyes found Cam's concerned and amazed ones, and he shrugged.

"The usual unusual."

--

Epilogue:

The stars blanketed the sky above her, giving a serene sense of peace to the normally hectic world. The sensation of the chest rising and falling below her head, and the strong heartbeat in her ear gave the peace an added sense of calm. It'd been two weeks since they'd returned from the parallel universe, and nearly three since the argument that would've ended their relationship had the 'usual unusual', as Daniel had been calling it, not occurred.

Since Cam had found them in the temple, Daniel and Vala had strived to learn the differences in each other, and appreciate them for what they were. There'd been a few heated talks, but those, they'd realized, were just a natural part of their relationship.

They'd also made time to learn about each other, the little things they'd found out they hadn't known despite having been 'together' for a decent amount of time. Such things like Vala's passion for roller skating, and Daniel's secret enjoyment of the world of Star Wars.

As well as his knack for getting good and drunk on a bottle of Jack Daniel's beneath a clear, summer sky.

"Baby…" Daniel pulled the endearment out in a sweet, childish way.

Vala smiled. "Yes, Daniel?"

"Whatcha think they're doing right now?" His eyes were closed, his smile dopey.

"Who, darling?" She asked, propping herself up on her elbow.

Daniel opened his eyes and looked up at her, shifting a little. "Them…the other us."

She shook her head, smiling still. "There was no other us. That Vala and Daniel weren't together…"

"I know that." Daniel mumbled indignantly, frowning as she stroked a hand through his hair. "But maybe…jus' maybe that little…talk…we had with 'em before we left sparked some…" He waved his hand in the air absently. "Thing."

Vala laughed outright. "Yeah, well, I don't think you punching Dan helped much."

A look of jealously flashed in Daniel's unfocused eyes and he awkwardly pushed himself up on his elbow, facing her. "Dan…" He closed his eyes and shook his head. "Was an asshole."

"Maybe he was just misunderstood."

"Misunderstood my ass." Daniel snipped playfully, opening his eyes to look at her again. "He kissed you, and that made me mad."

Vala nodded, fighting the grin trying to break free. "I know."

"And I hit him because I was mad. He called you sugar…which jus' seems so icky." Daniel pouted at her, noticing her amusement, but not understanding why. "What's so funny?"

Shaking her head, Vala leaned in and kissed him. He tasted of whiskey, and of love, and of her Daniel. Licking her lips to savor the taste as she pulled back, Vala stared into his pleased gaze.

"I've gotta surprise for you." He whispered, the conversation from before already slipping away.

"Yeah?" Vala asked curiously.

Daniel nodded and gracelessly flopped down directly in front of her, his half-lidded blue eyes looking up at her. "I put in a request to Landry…" He smiled. "For you to be my…partner…in the..." His hand came to tap against his chest. "My department."

"Really?" Surprise colored her words.

He nodded again. "See, I do listen to you…" Daniel reached up and tapped his hand against her cheek. "I love you, Vala, and I want you to be happy…"

Vala giggled in the way that was only hers, and leaned down to take his mouth in a happy kiss.

--

Reviews are definitely appreciated!