Title: A Promise Kept
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: "I can't promise you an entire galaxy, with all the stars in the universe, or even the entire world…"
A/N: Written for sg-15-fic, table 11, prompt 12: Sky.
A Promise Kept
She could feel him watching her, gauging her, from across the kitchen table. Vala could feel the concern radiating from his intense blue eyes. She could tell he wanted her to talk, but also knew he'd never push for answers.
Instead Daniel had always found a way to comfort her, even if he had no idea why she needed to be comforted. He just always knew, and that was a comfort in itself to Vala.
Of course, the homemade Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo and red wine were nice as well.
"This is really good." Vala murmured, forking her remaining pasta around the plate. She finally looked up at Daniel after what seemed like an eternity of quiet dining. "You really outdid yourself this time, darling."
He smiled as he brought his glass to his lips. After taking a hearty sip, Daniel set the glass down, smiling to his plate, then up at her. "Well, I try…"
Vala grinned, the first genuine one she'd felt all day, and took another bite of pasta. "And you succeeded."
"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to speak with your mouth full?" Daniel had only meant it as a mild joke, but at the way the small light in Vala's eyes flickered out as fast as it had come, he knew he'd misspoken. His playful smile fell, as did his gaze back to his plate.
"Vala, I'm sorry – I didn't mean…"
"I know…" She smiled reassuringly as his blue eyes came back up to gaze at her, though it did nothing to reassure him. Vala sighed and sat back in her chair, snatching up her glass and taking a long drink.
Daniel laid his fork down, crossing his arms over the table in front of his plate, and watched her drink. He knew her tolerance for wine was low – she hadn't had much experience with it in the more hard-liquor oriented bars she'd frequented in her previous occupation – , but he
didn't say anything. If she felt a need to drink for the evening, he wouldn't deny her that. Daniel wouldn't deny her the entire world's history if it would just get her smiling for more than a few minutes.
Contents half-drained, Vala set the glass down on the table. Her fingers twirled it by the stem, and her grey eyes slowly found blue once more.
"You finished?" He asked her, nodding toward her plate.
Vala looked down at the remaining contents on the ceramic-ware. She'd only eaten half of the delicious meal. "Yeah…sorry…"
Daniel shrugged. "That's alright…" He pushed his chair back and picked up his plate, just short of being licked clean – a stark contrast to Vala's own, stepping up next to her chair. "It'll be perfect leftovers for tomorrow." He smiled down at her for a moment, then reached down to pick up her plate.
"Here, let me-"
"Ah…" Daniel gently snatched the plate from her hand. "I got the dishes." He leaned in and placed a soft kiss to her lips. "Why don't you go enjoy the beautiful weather outside?"
A playful look flashed in her eyes for just a moment. "Are you kicking me out of my kitchen?"
Daniel laughed as he moved away. "Technically, since I made dinner…" He placed the dirty plates in the sink and turned the water on. "It's my kitchen for the night – and yes…" He turned back to her with a soft smile. "I'm kicking you out of it."
Rising from her seat slowly, Vala nodded. "Message well received then." She picked up her nearly empty glass and started for the door that led to the porch just beyond the kitchen.
"Wait." Daniel's voice had her stopping, hand hovering over the doorknob.
She turned amused grey eyes on him, the gentle buzz from the wine finally starting to loosen her up just a fraction. "Now darling, as fun as your split personalities can be at times…"
Again, Daniel laughed – though this one was more on the sarcastic side. Picking up the wine bottle on the counter, he walked over to her. "Just figured you'd want your glass topped off, ma'am." He said in his best waiter's imitation.
Vala smiled softly and leaned up on her tiptoes. She planted a kiss on his accepting lips as he filled her glass back up. "So thoughtful…"
"Even with all the split personalities…" He joked, then tilted his head towards the door. "Go on – I'll join you when I'm done."
Nodding Vala went to open the door once more. As she did and Daniel moved back towards the sink, she watched him for a moment. Watched the way the muscles on his back, hidden beneath a loose t-shirt, worked as he began cleaning the plates. Watched the way his bare feet, slightly covered by jeans just a bit too long, shifted on the tile floor.
She took comfort in the image, even as she stepped outside to have her thoughts return to the memories that had been plaguing her all day.
A short time later, Daniel stepped out onto the porch, wine glass in hand, and gazed upon the sight of her. Sitting on the bench that ran the outer length of the porch, arms resting a top the wooden railing, Vala was gazing up at the sky, her chin resting on her hands. She had her bare feet tucked up under her, her wine glass, half-full, sitting on the bench beside her.
Walking towards her, he could see the sad tension that plagued her beautiful form. It pained him in a way that he'd never known before.
Setting his glass down on the porch's surface, Daniel slowly eased himself down onto the bench. Vala inhaled softly as he encompassed her in his warmth, one leg stretching out behind her along the bench while the other dangled off the edge of the porch entirely.
"Your hands are cold." Daniel whispered simply, taking said hands into his own and rubbing them vigorously.
Vala let out a little laugh, and shifted so she was practically cradled in his lap, her legs draped over his one hanging off the porch. She rested her forehead against his neck. "Good thing you're warm…"
Daniel chuckled, placing a kiss in her messy hair. "Yeah, I guess it is…" He let his lips rest atop her head, gently rocking her as he continued to seep warmth back into her chilled fingertips.
After several long minutes, Daniel finally broached his inquiry.
"Now, if you don't wanna tell me, I'll be okay with that." He whispered into her dark locks. "But if you're willing, I'd like to know what's up."
Sighing, Vala looked down at her hands in his. She turned one hand upwards, and Daniel knowingly grasped it. "I've told you about my mother, right?"
Daniel nodded, moving his lips away from her head. "Yeah."
"She tried to give me the world, you know?" Vala smiled and lessened her grip on his hand. She lightly scraped her nails against his palm. "No, the entire galaxy…"
"I'm not surprised." Daniel replied, stilling her fingers by entwining them in his. "From what you've told me, she was a very wonderful woman."
Vala smiled again. "She was…quite wonderful." She rubbed her head against his neck. "A woman who promises her daughter an entire galaxy can be nothing but wonderful. But all wonderful things have to come to an end…" Her bottom lip began to quiver a little – damn the wine.
Kissing her hair again, Daniel tightened the arm he had around her. He said nothing, waiting to see if she would continue or not.
"It's been so long, darling… so long ago today."
His brow furrowed in curiosity. "How can you tell it's…today?"
Vala shrugged. "I don't know how I do…I just feel it. Have every year since that day."
"I'm sorry, sweetheart." Daniel whispered, not knowing what else to say.
She nodded. "Me too."
A silence settled over them once more, a sadness of lost parents alike taking them both for a long time. It was Vala's voice that broke the silence first.
"I can't see the stars, Daniel." She whispered, tilting her gaze skyward once more. "There are too many trees – too much light down here. The galaxy is hidden to me."
Daniel gazed at her while she gazed at the sky. He decided right in that spot what she needed – what both of them needed. Untangling his hands from hers, he gently patted her legs. "Let me up."
Worried grey eyes turned on him, but she complied anyway. "Daniel? Did I say something-"
He smiled and shook his head. "No…" Daniel took her hands again and pulled her up. Kissing her knuckles, he smiled. "Now I want you to go get some shoes on, and meet me out front at the truck, alright?"
"Daniel?" Vala questioned again as he bent to get their wine glasses. As his blue eyes found her grey, she gave him an unsure look.
"Go…" He insisted gently.
Vala stared at him for a moment, then nodded hesitantly and headed into the house.
It was an hour into the drive they'd started on when Vala decided now was as good a time as any to ask.
"Daniel, where are we going?"
He looked at her for a moment before looking back to the dark road. "You'll see."
Vala flopped back in her seat and sighed. "Can't you just tell me, darling?"
"You don't trust me?" Daniel asked playfully, looking at her again.
Her eyes widened, and she shook her head. "I didn't say that."
Daniel smirked. "Than just shush for a little bit longer…we're almost there anyways."
He wasn't wrong – not even twenty minutes later, he was pulling the truck out into a clearing amongst the trees they'd been driving through. There was no clear exit, save for the way they came in, seeing as the ground abruptly ended not far from where Daniel stopped.
"We're here…" Daniel smiled softly to her after pulling the truck around so the bed was facing the ridge. Snatching up the bag he'd brought with him, he turned and pushed open the windows leading to the truck bed. "Come on."
With a curious smile, Vala clamored out after him. The smile broke out into a full-blown grin as she watched him pull her favorite ratty blanket from his bag, as well as a bottle of wine – different from what they'd been drinking with dinner.
Daniel matched her smile, and spread the blanket out along the bed. After settling on top of it, he patted the spot between his legs. "Join me?"
Nodding, Vala gracefully moved and placed herself in his lap. Daniel's arms came to wrap instinctively around her shoulders, and the sudden rich scent of wine filled the air around them as he popped the cork.
"Want?" He asked, tilting the bottle in offer to her, while his head tilted to look at her.
Vala looked at him, then the bottle. "Right from the bottle?"
With a soft chuckle, Daniel placed a warm kiss to her neck. "No need to fall on trivial things like glasses out here…" He shook the bottle in indication for her to take it. Vala let a slow smile split her lips wide, and she reached out and took the wine.
Pressing the opening to her lips, Vala about choked as Daniel's teeth nibbled on her ear, but she managed to keep her composure. When she'd had her fill for the moment, Vala lowered the bottle and placed it in Daniel's waiting hand. He took a decent sip himself, and then wedged it down between her legs.
"So, my sweet Daniel…" Vala leaned back against his chest as he leaned back against the truck. She closed her eyes and tried to lose herself in the reawakened wine buzz and the feel and scent of him. "Why did we come all the way out here?"
She felt him smile close to her ear, his chin already resting on her shoulder. "Why don't you open your eyes and see?"
Vala slowly complied, and nearly gasped at the sight she'd failed to notice before that moment. Far above their heads, the black sky was speckled with thousands of shining orbs, seeming to stretch on beyond all reason.
"Can you see those stars?" His voice was soft in her ear, breath warm and smelling of the delicious wine.
She nodded minutely. "Yes." Her voice was just barely above a whisper.
Daniel took her hand in his, thumb stroking over the top of it. "I can't promise you an entire galaxy, with all the stars in the universe, or even the entire world…" He brought her hand up and gently laid a kiss upon it. "But…" He smiled and entwined their fingers like earlier. "I can promise you the sky, if only for tonight."
Vala turned watery grey eyes and a shaky smile his direction.
He softened his smile and leaned to give her an affectionate kiss. "I love you, fruitcake."
Nodding, Vala laughed through her sudden tears and gave him a kiss in return. She could taste the wine on his tongue, and feel the love in his touch as his hand came to brush along the side of her neck.
"A whole new kind of wonderful…" She murmured, pulling her lips from his. Daniel grinned, giving her a small peck on the lips with silent precision. His intense gaze shined in the starlight, and for a moment, Vala saw the sky he'd promised her for just that night reflected back from within his deep blue depths – his promised kept, for here the sky was hers to keep.
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