Title: Chance on Love: Moving Forward
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: Daniel, Vala, and Hayden are continuing to move forward.
Spoilers/Warnings: None that I can think of.
A/N: This is a filler story for what I'm now calling the 'Chance' Collection. It's set between Part II of the collection, Chance on Love, and the yet to be posted Part IV, Chance on Life. For all my returning readers, consider it a wetting of the appetites (since I know how much y'all love this AU). For anyone new to the 'Chance' Collection, I recommend you read Parts I and II to know what's going on. It's not entirely necessary, but if you want all the background info, it helps to read those first. Also, this was written as a birthday present for natalia5345 over on LJ - she quite literally is the biggest fan of the 'Chance' Collection, so I wrote one just for her! ;D
Chance on Love: Moving Forward
Vala threw herself down onto the plastic grating dramatically, her breath coming in labored giggling gasps.
It wasn't two seconds later that a gentle hand was rubbing her back. She looked up into smiling blue eyes.
"You okay?" Daniel asked through his own breathless laughter.
She nodded. "Yeah, just…" Vala waved her hand in the air. "A little out of breath." She shifted and settled back against the side paneling, watching as Daniel kneeled down in front of her.
A look of concern clouded his happy face for a moment.
Vala waved it off, hearing the unspoken message there. "I'm fine, really." She tossed her head in the direction the stacked levels continued down. "Go, before she gets too far ahead and you lose her." She smiled. "This is a big playground."
Daniel gave her one last critical glance. "You're sure?"
She nodded again. "Oh yeah – I just need a little break, get some water…"
"I don't hear you guys chasing me!" A taunting voice shouted from somewhere in their general vicinity. "Don't tell me you old people have given up already!"
The two adults shared a mildly surprised glance.
Then Vala gave Daniel's shoulder a gentle slap. "Well, what are you still here for?" She pointed. "That was a direct challenge!"
The grin was back on Daniel's face. He nodded, leaning in to give her a quick kiss. Then he stood and turned back the direction they had been heading. "Old people?!" He bellowed, and dashed off as a little girl giggle came in response.
"Get that little heathen, baby!" Vala laughed after him before closing her eyes and resting her head back. She took a moment to pull in a deep breath before standing up. Slower than when she'd come up, Vala carefully maneuvered her way through plastic, metal, and wood.
It was only a minute before she found the sand at the foot of the gigantic playground. Stepping onto it and heading in the direction of their stuff, Vala looked over her shoulder to see if she could get a glimpse of them. None of the scurrying shapes stood out, but she was sure she could hear Hayden's laughter over everything else.
Settling herself down in the warm sand, Vala rummaged through the haphazard pile until she felt the semi-cool surface of a water bottle. She pulled it out and looked over the huge structure while she took a sip.
There was still no sign of her charges, at least not that she could see. Every so often though, Vala was sure she caught the sound of both Hayden's and Daniel's laughter on the wind.
She couldn't help from smiling indulgently. This was her life. It wasn't a dream or some cheesy movie. This was what her life had become – sunny days spent at the gigantic playground that Hayden loved so much. Just her and her baby, and a man that had brought them so much happiness Vala felt it should almost be painful.
Her thoughts lingered on Daniel. He had been exactly what she hadn't been looking for just a few years before. Never once had she even imagined she would find someone she loved more than Hayden's father, let alone find him in a shopping center parking lot.
But that's how it'd happened. One flat tire and she'd landed herself someone to fall in love with. And damn, she'd fallen fast and hard. It almost made Vala wince thinking back on the trouble that had plagued the start of their relationship. An all out, albeit unnecessary, war of the families – right down the center of the gauntlet.
Yet there she sat, two years later, with her relationship just as strong as it had been from the start. Vala knew it wasn't a perfect relationship. Not when he was a recovered morphine addict, and she often judged his actions against those of Hayden's abandoning father. They had their arguments and shouting matches, and days of not talking to one another.
Vala knew, though, that the disagreements were always fixable. It was better than not arguing at all. She'd been down that road with Tomin, Hayden's father. She had allowed him to mold her and coddle her until it seemed impossible for her to think without him in the picture. That's how she'd ended up dependant on him, and been burned and lost upon his leaving.
Daniel wouldn't leave. Vala was sure of that. Even if they fell out of love, an idea that scared her to death, she knew he'd still be around. He would be there for Hayden.
That was where Daniel had surprised her the most, and where she felt she was happiest about how things had ended up. Through all the hassles and struggles, Hayden had gained a father. Daniel had taken up the role so amazingly. He loved her daughter completely, and the gesture was definitely returned. And Vala couldn't think of anything else more worth it.
As if they were reading her thoughts, the pair appeared from around a section of the playground. Vala laughed at the sight of her daughter hanging upside down as Daniel held her up by the legs and walked. It was made even more comical by Hayden glaring at her with her arms crossed.
"Captured again." Vala beamed, sending a wink to Daniel.
Hayden pouted. "He cheated." She muttered as Daniel came to a stop before her mother. He began to lower her, and the little girl instinctively held down her arms. When her hands touched the sand, Daniel grabbed her around the waist and helped her get the right way up. She proceeded to cross her arms again and plop down in the sand.
Daniel took a seat next to Vala. She wrapped an arm around his waist and looked at her little girl.
"Now Hayds…" Vala turned her attention to Daniel. A grin graced her lips. "You really think I'd marry a cheater?" In response, Daniel smiled and leaned in to kiss her.
The faux look of disgust that flashed across Hayden's face went unnoticed. "Obviously you did because he cheated!"
Daniel pulled away from the kiss to send a playful glare to his stepdaughter. "You're just a sore loser, little girl."
She huffed. "I'm not little! I'm seven now, you know!" Her grey eyes turned away from them dramatically.
Reaching out, Daniel brushed the back of his fingers over her cheek. "No matter how fast you grow up, to me you'll always be that little ball of attitude stomping into the kitchen in pigtails and red rimmed sunglasses."
Hayden giggled and looked back at him. He winked and she smiled brightly, getting up and throwing herself against him. Daniel let out a gust of air and wrapped an arm around her. He turned a look on Vala.
'Firecracker' he mouthed to her, and she grinned. It was what he'd called Hayden upon first meeting her.
She was pulling out of his embrace just as quickly. "Can we go play some more now?"
Vala leaned into Daniel. "Actually, I want some time with him now." She turned the sappiest look she could on her husband. He returned it equally.
Neither saw Hayden roll her eyes. "Yeah, fine…whatever. I'll go by myself."
"Good idea." Vala smiled at her, reaching out to capture her daughter's hand before she dashed off. "Be careful, okay?"
Hayden sighed. "I will, mommy."
Pulling her in, Vala gave Hayden a gentle kiss. "Alright, go."
Daniel patted her butt as she moved to leave. "Try and stay where we can see you please." He called after the girl. Hayden merely waved an absent hand over her shoulder back at him. He shook his head. "She's not gonna listen."
"Nope." Vala laughed, snuggling even deeper against Daniel's side. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders, laying a kiss in her hair. She yawned at the added comfort.
It earned her a glance from Daniel that she couldn't see. "What's up with you, huh?"
Her grey eyes closed. "What do you mean?"
"Vala, come on…" That certain tone of exasperation had crept into Daniel's voice, the one that always went with his concern for her. He pulled her away so he could look her in the eye. "Don't insult my intelligence here."
Vala couldn't help from laughing. "I'm not!"
Daniel squinted at her. "But there's something you're not telling me?" When the only response he got from Vala was her looking away, gazing out on playground equipment, he knew his theory was correct. "What is it?"
She pulled in a deep breath, and he rubbed a hand up and down her back.
"You can tell me, you know." Daniel whispered, leaning in close. Worry was starting to eat him from the inside out… he wasn't used to Vala being so secretive with him. It truly did scare him.
"How would you say you think of Hayden?" Vala asked softly, her head tilting a little in thought. Her attention was still focused outward.
Blinking at the question, Daniel sat back a fraction. "What do mean?"
Genuine curiosity filled her gaze as it found him once again. "When you look at her, what do you think?"
Now Daniel looked at her curiously, with a bit of confusion thrown in. "I think how lucky I am to have her accept me so easily." He paused while Vala nodded, seeing she wanted him to continue. "I look at her and think how beautiful and amazing and smart she is, and about how much I love her."
"Like a father would?" Vala asked.
Daniel nodded, smiling some. "Yeah, exactly."
"Even though she's not your real daughter?"
That made him frown. "Just because I'm not the one you conceived her with doesn't make any difference at all. You know that, Vala." Daniel looked at her with a wounded gaze. "I love your daughter like she was my own, and nothing is gonna change that."
Vala tilted her head again. "Nothing at all?"
Taking one of her hands in his, Daniel gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Not a thing."
She nodded once more. "That's good to know." Vala gave him a quick smile, and then looked back over the playground.
Daniel couldn't stop his mouth from falling open slightly. "That's it? You ask me a question like that, and then say 'it's good to know?' Are you deliberately trying to upset me?"
"No…" Vala drew it out as she looked back at him. "I just wanted to be sure you really, truly love Hayden like your daughter-"
"I just told you I do." He practically growled at her, agitation starting to take hold.
Vala ignored it, continuing on like he'd never spoken. "Before I told you you're gonna get to be the real deal."
The confusion was back in his eyes, completely trumping the agitation. "Real deal?"
"I hope nine months is enough time for you to get ready…" Vala said, her face looking mock-guilty. Already, she could see the wheels starting to turn in that quick mind of his. She couldn't fight a smile at the way his eyes widened and he pulled in a shallow breath.
Daniel had trouble getting the words out when he spoke. "N-nine months?" He stuttered, his heart and stomach both feeling like they were doing flips. When she nodded, her smile growing with each passing moment, Daniel leaned in and kissed her passionately.
They fell into the sand, Vala's hands on either side of Daniel's face as he lay above her. The kissing was interspersed with excited laughter.
"You're pregnant." Daniel grinned and laughed out at the same time, his breath still coming in little gasps.
Vala nodded with her face scrunched up in tearful joy. "I'm pregnant." She relaxed her expression, reaching up to stroke her fingers through his hair. "The doctor confirmed it a few days ago."
She was surprised when Daniel sat back abruptly, and Vala had to push up on her elbows to meet his gaze.
The hurt look was back. "You found out a few days ago and you're just telling me now?"
"Oh Daniel…" Vala sighed with affection. She maneuvered herself onto her knees and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Don't take it that way. I only waited because the last time I told a guy I was pregnant; I didn't see him for a week after."
Daniel's wounded look grew more pronounced. "I'm not him."
She smiled lovingly. "I know that." Vala placed a soothing kiss to his lips. "But I wanted to make sure that things between you and her wouldn't change because she adores you and it would kill her if you decided to love this baby more than her."
The look in Daniel's eyes softened considerably. "I already told you." He wrapped his arms around her waist. "Nothing is going to change how I feel about Hayden. She's my baby as much as any we'll have together."
"God, you are a dream come true for any single mother…" Vala muttered victoriously. "I am so lucky I snatched you up before anyone else could."
Daniel shook his head. "With a history like mine, no other single mother would've taken a chance on me. You are the dream come true, babe. You and Hayden have given me my life back and so much more."
"And you're modest too!" Vala joked gently. "Good genes for this little thing." She moved her hand to her stomach.
Shaking his head at her blatant attempt to avoid deep conversations in public, Daniel hauled her to her feet as he stood. "Its mama isn't so bad either."
She giggled smugly, moving to accept the kiss he was leaning in to give…
"Hey!" They spun around at the shout from the playground equipment. Hayden was glaring down at them, hands on her hips and all, from the tallest tower. "You tell me to stay where you can see me, and you're not even watching me!"
Daniel pointed his finger up at her while pulling Vala against his chest. "Go play!" He demanded good-naturedly.
"Stop making out!" Hayden demanded back before disappearing out of sight.
Letting out a big sigh, Daniel wrapped his arms around Vala's waist and rested his cheek against her hair. "She is nothing but attitude…"
"Yep." Vala let out a sigh of her own – a happy one.
"So how are we going to tell her?" He asked curiously.
The tilt was back. "I'm thinking…ice cream."
Daniel nodded. "Ah yes… ice cream is good."
Reviews are definitely appreciated! As for Part IV, I have it started... no telling when it will be posted, but I'm hoping sometime this year! XP