Title: The Napkin
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: It takes one napkin to get things into motion.
Spoilers/Warnings: Minor references to TPTB and Avalon P.2.
A/N: Written as a birthday present for taraleesg1 on LJ. That being the case, this fic is unbeta'd (she is my beta, after all!). So all mistakes are my own. I wrote this knowing they probably seemed out of character a little, but it was just for fun and it was what I knew my lovely recipient wanted. So if you don't like, I understand. And if you do, well yay! XD
The music was loud, the people were louder, and the air was filled with the stench of alcohol and was heavy with smoke. It was a bar in every sense of the word, the type of establishment Vala had spent the majority of her life, before and after Qetesh, in.
Except it was different this time, and she was hoping it would be that way for as long as she was around. It was different because Vala wasn't looking over her shoulder every five minutes for some kind of attack or ambush. Ironically, on a world she still knew very little about, she felt a kind of safety. Safety that only a close group of friends, people that could possibly be considered family, could provide.
And for the first time in her life, Vala finally had people like that. People she cared about more than her own life, another first, and who she felt thought the same of her. She was a part of something – part of a family.
That thought alone had her smiling to herself, hiding it fast behind her nearly empty margarita glass. It was a wasted effort since Sam's elbow gently nudging her side came a moment later. Lowering the glass, Vala looked at her best girl friend with raised eyebrows.
"What was that smile for?" Sam had to lean in, and so did Vala, so she could be heard. It was either that or shouting over the din of the mix of country and rock music. Of course, it was also an obvious sign that maybe they should hold off on more margaritas for the time being.
Not wanting to completely divulge her inner most thoughts – instinct was instinct, after all, and her instinct to protect herself was the most fierce -, Vala shrugged and looked around the crowded bar for some excuse. It wouldn't be hard to find some source of amusement in the kind of place they were in. She spotted the perfect candidate at the bar itself, and the smile returned.
"I just find it adorable the way Daniel," She paused and looked back at Sam. "Keeps flirting with our waitress." Sam grinned now, too. Vala decided to add a little more, especially since she really did find the whole thing amusing. "To any normal observer, it's like he's not even meaning to do it."
Sam nodded. "That," She held up her finger pointedly. "Is what makes him a master at it." Leaning back, the Colonel picked up her own drink. "And what helps us get drinks for a lot cheaper than most." The smirk she gave Vala before sipping was decidedly mischievous.
Picking her own glass back up, Vala held it out a little in Sam's direction. "Then throw dear Cameron into the mix, and it's a wonder how our drinks aren't free!" The two giggled and clinked glasses together in a salute to their inside knowledge. Then Vala brought the lip of her glass to her mouth, and drained the last dregs of it dry.
"Looks like I got here just in time." Daniel shout above the music came just as Vala was lowering her glass. He was smiling at her, and she didn't fail to notice that he looked even more attractive when relaxed. "Drinks, ladies?"
Vala happily accepted one from him. "Yes please!" She reached across the high top table, and their eyes met when her fingers brushed over his in the exchanging of hands. She smiled openly, the flirting game always on with Daniel. He simply licked his lips to hide the obvious grin and focused his attention on giving Sam her drink.
"So Daniel…" Sam tossed Vala a sly look before returning her attention to him as he took a seat at the table.
Daniel eyed her like a brother who knew his sister was messing with him. "Yes Sam?" He mumbled around the ice he was munching on, probably soaking up every last bit of Jack and Coke.
"Waitress nice?" It was hard for Sam to fight the giggle that wanted to accompany the loaded question. Vala, for her part, choked a laugh into her margarita.
Never missing a beat, Daniel stared into his glass like it held the meaning of life. "Very." He moved his drink in a slow, angled circle. "Sweet girl." It was obvious from the dramatic pauses that he was playing as dirty as they were. Vala waited for his ammunitions fire, what he was building up to.
She watched as he set his glass down and reached in one of his back pockets.
"Gave me her number actually." Daniel shrugged nonchalantly, tossing the bar napkin he'd extracted from his jeans into the middle of the table. Both women snatched for it, Vala getting her hand in there a split second before Sam. She smiled smugly at her friend's protest.
Then, in defeat of the whole race to grab the napkin, Vala leaned in and held it so Sam could see. They both whispered to each other and examined the very feminine handwriting, occasionally tossing glances to the man across from them. He watched with a patient smirk, sipping from his drink every so often.
Eventually, Vala settled back onto her stool and dangled the napkin over the table, close to Daniel. "Is this really her number?" She asked suspiciously, her eyes squinting in such a manner.
Daniel simply stared back, neither confirming nor denying it. Part of her was wishing he would say something so she could find more fodder for their banter, but the majority was hoping he would say nothing. If she was being honest with herself, Vala was hoping he'd say it wasn't authentic because jealousy was not an emotion she was all to use to. And she knew it would kill her good mood.
Suddenly frustrated by his stare, Vala tossed the napkin to the table. "Fine, say nothing." She huffily picked up her drink. "I'll just assume it's fake," The nod he gave her, with blue eyes alight with extreme amusement, only frustrated her more. Vala hastily sipped, and then added. "Which I'm pretty sure it is."
"Pretty sure, huh?" Daniel grinned, picking the napkin back up and putting it back in his pocket. "You're that confident in my inability to pick up a woman then?"
Vala blinked at the blatant remark. At first, it was a shock and slightly embarrassing that he would assume she thought that. Of course she didn't think that. He was an attractive man – a very attractive man, after all. And weren't she and Sam just discussing how he seemed to wield that knowledge flawlessly?
Then she noticed the smolder in his deep blue gaze, the playful grin toying at the edges of his mouth. The almost taunting way he wrapped his lips around the extremely slender straw in his glass. Daniel was flirting with her, shamelessly it seemed.
Oh, two could play that game. "Not so much inability as…" Vala paused, dramatically looking around the bar as she pretended to look for the right answer. "Lack of experience."
She grinned as Daniel laughed outright.
"Oh, I see!" He said through his laughter. "Lack of experience, you say?" Daniel repeated like he was already building up his case. Sam took this moment to make her escape, sensing the obvious sexual tension between them. Her mention of going to see if Teal'c was still kicking Cam's ass at pool fell on deaf ears. Her absence was barely noticed, for all Daniel and Vala saw were each other – saw a challenge to be won.
"That's what I said, isn't it?" Vala shook her head in a way an adult placated a child.
Daniel nodded. "It is what you said." He set his glass on the table, staring at his hand covering the top of it. "Yet, I'm wondering how you can back up such…" Blue eyes found grey. "Unsupported claims."
Her eyebrows rose at the remark. "Unsupported claims?" She echoed and Daniel nodded emphatically, picking his drink back up and sipping from its straw. "Alright, my dear Daniel, you want evidence?" He nodded again. "Fine."
Getting up from her seat, Vala made her way around to his side of the table. She plopped herself down onto a stool while he turned to face her, his legs parted slightly. He was watching her expectantly.
Vala didn't let him down, and jumped right into her 'evidence'. "I have yet to see you buy a single drink for any of the many beautiful women here tonight, several of whom are obviously part of the singles crowd." She watched Daniel's expression, but it was annoyingly unreadable. So she continued.
"You've, so far, only flirted with the waitress to lower the amount of our bill." This got a response. Daniel dropped his gaze and grinned to the floor. Vala felt a surge of triumph and forged ahead. She made sure to lean into the opening he'd created with his legs."And not once have you asked any of these poor lonely feminine souls for a dance, which of course is the most obvious way to show you're interested."
Daniel's attention returned to her, and he tilted his head slightly. It wasn't until he crossed his arms did Vala realize he was about to counteract her every word. Still, even in his usual 'lawyer' pose, he looked like he was flirting with her. He leaned in as well, not once bothering to remove the hand Vala had resting on his knee.
"Maybe I haven't bought any of these lovely ladies a drink because I don't want them to think they have a chance." His voice was so silky, it was almost impossible for Vala to focus on what he was actually saying. "Maybe I don't want to flirt with any of them because I know they won't hold even the smallest flame to someone I know."
"And maybe…" Daniel uncrossed his arms and rested his hands on her shoulders. "I don't need anyone to dance with because I've already got a partner of my own."
Caught up in his proximity and his voice, Vala didn't seem to understand who he meant. "And that would be?"
Standing up, Daniel pulled her up too, and brought her flush against his body. "And here I thought you were smart." The smoldering look was back in his eyes, and Vala laughed when she realized he'd been playing her all along. This was him dishing out a taste of her own medicine.
"You're asking me to dance?" She grinned.
"I thought that much was obvious." He grinned back.
Vala shook her head and brought one hand up to rest against his cheek. "You're drunk."
"A little, yeah." Daniel shrugged, looking like he couldn't understand how that mattered. "But what's that got to do with us dancing? I mean, we are allowed to dance together, yes?"
Nodding, Vala smiled for his sake. "Yes." Inside, though, she felt slightly troubled. Why had his obvious ruse swayed her so easily? Sure, she'd had a few drinks already, but that shouldn't have been an issue. And the whole ordeal with the napkin – why had she gotten so hostel? Suddenly, Vala found she was swimming in a depth far beyond her means. Feelings she'd been trying to bury were all coming back up, and she didn't know why.
Especially if Daniel was only acting on influenced impulse and playing the same game she played with him daily.
After several dances, Vala felt like she was enjoying herself again. The troubled thoughts that had plagued her as Daniel had led her out to the dance floor had washed away with the sweat and laughter.
This was just fun – no need to get worked up. Yes, she was plastered up against Daniel like their bodies were made to fit, and he was gripping her in ways that other men would get hurt for attempting, but she felt a sense of ease from it. It was based on the simple fact of trust. She trusted Daniel – he was her best friend and most proven protector. And he had been right – friends were allowed to dance together. And of course, alcohol was involved, and Vala had found that was a convenient explanation for their current behavior.
The steady flow of upbeat dancing music suddenly shifted to a much slower song, one that portrayed a very different tone and message. Vala pulled herself off Daniel and moved to head back to their table. She was in need of some serious liquids anyway. But a hand on hers halted her escape.
She placed her free hand flat against Daniel's chest as he spun her back around and pulled her back to him. "Daniel?" Vala questioned, immediately sensing a change in the air around him.
"Just one more." He said softly, his eyes boring into hers intently. The smoldering was gone. "Please?" This was a mere whisper, and it matched the desperate look in his gaze. Daniel didn't want this to end.
And Vala suddenly understood that neither did she. "Alright." She whispered back, practically melting into him. Her arms, on their own accord, found her way around his neck. Daniel's own wound around her waist and pulled her impossibly closer. This time, their closeness didn't feel like a friendly thing aided by a few drinks. This was something completely different – totally new.
"Can I ask you something?" Vala was hesitant, feeling heavy in the onslaught of emotions she thought were completely uncalled for just minutes before.
Daniel continued to sway them to the gentle music. "Sure."
From the way his voice waivered, Vala knew he was probably feeling just as out of his element as she did. She swallowed and tried to will the uncertainty and judgment out of her gaze as she looked up into his eyes. "Honestly, exactly how many women have you managed to… 'pick up'?"
His eyes searched hers for a moment, and then. "Honestly?" Daniel waited for her to nod. Vala did almost immediately, and he smiled softly as he confessed. "Just one."
"Oh, one." She couldn't keep the jealous tone out of the simple words. So Vala tried to cover it up with false curiosity. "And how did that go?" She could hear how forced it was, even to herself.
Daniel smiled a little more, and Vala almost pulled away at what it could mean. But she didn't. It probably had something to do with the way his embrace seemed to grow just a fraction tighter.
"I'll have to get back to you on that, actually." He told her, giving her a look of faux-guilt. "Because I'm not exactly sure how it turns out yet."
Understanding dawned then, but Vala found she didn't have the right words to respond with. So she opted with resting her cheek against his chest, letting him lead her around the dance floor. He let out a sigh at the action, and Vala couldn't stop the satisfied smile that lit up her face.
The reflection in the grimy Wafflehouse mirror swam before her eyes. Vala willed it to stay still, but it was a futile attempt. Between all the margaritas and the tears that had snuck up on her just a few moments before, her world was a hazy place.
It seemed to fit the rocky ground she was treading now. Who knew a simple joke could set her off like this? Cameron hadn't meant anything by it but good fun. In her coherent mind, Vala knew this. But the coherent was being severely overshadowed by the incoherence of booze and horrid emotions brought on by him.
So Cam's joking question of 'will Jackson be getting any tonight?' was getting at her. Of course, she'd made some sardonic remark, and they'd all laughed. And then laughed some more when Daniel added in some of his not so sober two cents. But the real question in the joking question had stung, and Vala had excused herself to the bathroom.
Was this night all just about sex? Had Daniel just planned it all out to just get her in his bed? Vala had joked so many times about it in the past, and at one time quite early in her relationship with Daniel she'd wanted nothing more than sex. But that was back when 'relationship' to her meant a person she knew, not a person who was Daniel.
She didn't want just his body now – she wanted him heart, mind and soul. Vala was drunk enough to admit to herself openly, rather than find excuses to bury such a want. She didn't just want Daniel for sex. Not now, not anymore.
And it upset her that it could be all it was. The whole evening, the dancing and the flirting, had been a sham. Maybe it was because he'd been drinking, or maybe as a friend he was indulging her – or thinking he was. Probably a mix of both…
Fresh tears came at the thought, followed by an immediate gentle knock on the bathroom door.
"Just a minute." Vala called out, willing her voice to sound cheery. She began to wipe away all evidence of her emotional struggle.
"Vala, you alright?" Daniel's voice came through the door, and Vala almost stopped at whipping the tears away. Could she even keep up the act in front of him? He was the cause of all her anguish at that moment, why she was confessing long buried thoughts to a disgusting diner bathroom…
His call came again, a little more urgent. "Vala?"
Biting the bullet, Vala stepped over to the door and merely unlocked it. He could take that any way he wanted. If he wanted to come in and see her in such a state, then she'd deal with that. If he took it as a sign that she was finished and would be coming out soon, she'd deal with that much better. It was easier to make an escape when one wasn't trapped in the bathroom.
Daniel decided on the former, however. Vala turned away from the door, feeling a sudden shock of panic, as it slowly pushed open.
"You okay?" The concern was slightly masked by the way he stumbled a little into the bathroom, but it was still pretty palpable. "You didn't get sick or anything did you?"
Silently, Vala shook her head. It made her world swim, but she resisted the urge to steady herself against the sink. In the reflection of the mirror, her eyes locked on Daniel's. It only took a moment for him to realize she was genuinely upset, crying even.
Daniel stepped up directly behind, placing a hand out against the wall just to their left. "What's wrong?" He asked desperately, his attention fix on her rather than her reflection. Through the mirror, she could see the concern furrowing his brow.
She turned to face him, leaning back against the sink seeing as he was so close. "This is just some drunken fling, isn't it?"
Blue eyes widened. "What?"
Vala waved her finger between them. "This, us tonight. It's just something that's happening because we've been drinking and people already expect it from us anyway, right?" The tears were welling up again. "You just did all this to have sex with me."
"Why would you think that?" Daniel looked bewildered and hurt that she would even imply something like that. Vala knew exactly why, but she shrugged. She didn't want to sound stupid and pathetic and…in love.
Reaching out with his free hand, Daniel placed it against her neck. "Vala…listen to me." He stepped closer, leaning into her. "I would never do all this just to get you in bed. I don't know what kind of impression I've given," He let out a soft, sarcastic laugh. "But I'm not that kind of guy, really. I wasn't lying when I said you're the only girl I've 'picked up.' I don't do that stuff."
"I don't want to have sex with you, Vala." Daniel finished.
She gave him a dubious look.
He laughed. "Okay, that's a lie. I do want to have sex with you." Vala frowned in utter disappointment, but Daniel was quick to rush on. "But that's not the only thing I want with you, sweetheart. Trust me."
"Trust you." Vala laughed lightly despite herself. Every time he seemed to say that… "If sex isn't the only thing you want," She questioned suspiciously. "Then what else do you want?"
Resting his forehead against hers, Daniel's eyes fluttered shut. "Everything." He breathed. "I want it all or nothing when it comes to you. No, no – not nothing. I just want it all." His eyes opened back up. "I want you, Vala." His thumb stroked against the flesh of her neck. "My Vala."
Vala smiled at that. "You're just saying all that because you're drunk."
"Doesn't mean it's not how I really feel." Daniel countered like he knew she was gonna say something like that. He gave her a small smile, letting his lips brush against hers in the softest of kisses. Like she had on the dance floor, Vala practically melted against him.
"So let's see if I understand this right…" Daniel ventured, propped up his elbow on the bed next to her. Vala continued to trail her finger in aimless patterns over his bared chest while she waited for him to continue. "You got all worked up because of Mitchell's bad joke?" His look was a mix between incredulity and amusement, eyebrows raised in true form.
She gave him a sort of nod and shrug in return, shifting a bit closer to him. True to his word, and much to Vala's surprising relief, they hadn't had sex. There had been a little bit of kissing and touching when they'd first found themselves alone at Daniel's place, but nothing too extreme. Vala had never really known much romancing from a guy before, and Daniel had admitted he was rusty and hadn't been too good at it to begin with…
But she had to admit, she could get used to this cuddling in bed thing.
"That's it." Daniel finally added after the long pause, sounding determined. "I'll hit him."
Vala laughed lightly. "Oh Daniel…"
He shook his head against the hand holding him up. "No, next time I see him; I'll just…punch him. You know," Daniel jabbed out dramatically with his free hand. "Bam, right in the face." The playful grin he gave her only made her giggle some more.
"You have the sweetest pillow talk, darling." Vala murmured when her giggles had died down. She reached up and threaded her fingers through his hair, tucking some stray tuffs behind his right ear. Daniel's grin softened and she knew she really could get used to this sort of thing. As much fun as going out with her friends, and the shameless flirting Daniel had been doing with her all night, this was far better.
She was seeing a whole new side of him – like he had finally decided she was worth it.
"Seriously, though…" Daniel once again broke the comfortable silence. "Mitchell shouldn't have asked you that." There was a whole new level to the protective gleam that came to his deep, albeit a little unfocused, blue eyes. Vala had to admit she liked that too.
Dropping her hand, she gave him her best placating look. "It was just a joke. I know that, and you know that – everyone knew it. It just hit me in an absurd way…" Vala dropped her tone to a loud whisper. "I think it might have something to do with the margaritas." They both grinned. "Besides, Cameron was way worse off than either of us. He couldn't help the lewd remarks."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I noticed." He practically growled before leaning down to take her mouth in a victorious kiss. Victorious because Cam wasn't the one lying in bed with Vala right then and he was.
"God, when did I get so possessive and…" He stopped and frowned good-naturedly down at her, laying fake blame on her.
Just more pillow talk, she knew. And so Vala nudged him along. "Jealous." She supplied with a smug grin.
He nodded. "Yeah, that. When did that happen?"
Vala shifted her head to the side some. "Daniel, you've been protective over me since the moment I walked through your Stargate." Even in the pitiful moonlight filtering in through partially opened curtains, she could see the blush creep up his neck. She grinned when he looked away from her. So there was some of the old Daniel still in there.
"Remember how you shielded me," She rolled her eyes dramatically. "From the hologram knight in the Glastonbury cavern?"
Daniel squinted at her. "You're teasing me." He said suspiciously.
She giggled again. "Yes."
Shaking his head and looking away again, Daniel sighed.
"And no." Vala added, and that drew his attention back to her. Her expression softened to one of gentle seriousness. "A girl, even one as independent as me, likes to feel protected."
Daniel's smile came slowly, and looked more than a little smug. He reached up and brushed a few of her errant bangs hanging in her eyes back. "Protective, huh?"
Vala nodded and the smile was back. "Mmm-hmm."
"I like it." He admitted, dropping his elbow and collapsing down onto the bed. Vala turned on her side so now they were lying face to face. "Better than jealous." Daniel finished before giving her another kiss.
It was in mid-kiss that the word triggered something in her memory. Vala made a slight sound in the back of her throat and pulled away quickly. "Jealous." She repeated like it was a brilliant discovery.
Daniel looked at her with confusion. "Yeah…jealous." He said slowly, definitely not comprehending what big breakthrough she'd had.
Vala sat up and tossed back the comforter that had been keeping her legs warm. She crawled out of the bed, ambling over to the pile of clothes by Daniel's dresser, while adjusting the shirt of his she was wearing into a more comfortable position.
"Vala, what are you doing?" Daniel laughed with curiosity as she dropped down on her knees practically on the pile.
"The napkin." She said like it would explain everything. Her hands dug through the fabrics, the intended target being Daniel's jeans. He'd taken them off, stripping down to just his boxers just before laying down. It was also how she'd ended up in his shirt. Cuddling required a certain level of comfort, Daniel had explained.
Her explanation obviously wasn't cutting it. "What?"
Vala sighed dramatically. "Oh, come on, you remember." She rolled her eyes at the 'obviously not' Daniel mumbled back loudly. "The one you brought to the table tonight with the- Ah ha!" She cheered as her hands found their sought after prize.
The crumpled white napkin extracted from the clothes mound, Vala stood up and practically skipped back to the bed. Daniel was on his stomach now; face snuggled into a pillow as he watched her come back his direction.
"The ah-ha napkin?" He mumbled against the fabric, looking up at her with obvious playfulness. Vala gave him a pout and then shoved him over. He protested, of course, but was quick to plaster himself against her side the moment she was sitting back against the headboard.
"Oh, that napkin." Daniel grinned, looking at the wrinkled paper napkin clutched between her hands. He looked from it to Vala and a small pang of uncertainly flared in his chest. She looked like she had something in mind for said napkin. "What are you thinking?" He asked warily.
Vala gave him a naughty grin. "I'm gonna call her."
He pushed back from her. "Oh, you're not…"
She beamed at him, smugly. "Oh, I most certainly am." Vala then reached over and snatched up the phone on the nightstand. Before she was even dialing the number, Daniel was lunging for the device.
"You most certainly aren't." Daniel was laughing, and so was she, as they wrestled one another for the phone. They grappled, neither one putting much effort in trying to get the upper hand. They both had their own unique ways of getting it – Vala had cunning to back her up, and Daniel had strength on his side, but it wasn't about the winning.
It was about the playing. But they knew someone had to be the winner of the game, and Vala relinquished the spoils to Daniel when he straddled her hips and pinned her down onto the mattress by her wrists. The phone fell from her grip onto the pillow
"Fine, I'm not." She panted, looking at him with a mock pout.
Daniel nodded through his own heavy breathing, and then without a word leaned down and kissed her deeply. He released his grip on her wrists, bringing his hands up to entwine his fingers in hers. Vala sighed into his mouth, admitting her defeat without any more qualms.
He was grinning when he pulled away. "So, the napkin makes you jealous, huh?"
Vala squinted at him, feeling the tables of teasing had turned. "Yes."
The smug look of satisfaction Daniel has adopted melted into one of pure affection. He said nothing as he released her hands, extracted the now balled napkin from the left one, and climbed off of her and the bed all together.
Curiously, probably in the same way Daniel had felt when she'd gotten up, Vala watched him make his way to the adjoining bathroom. She turned on her side, head resting on her arm, as Daniel flipped on the light and walked purposely to the toilet. Dramatically, he dangled the napkin high above the bowl and dropped it in.
There was no regret or hesitation when he flushed it a moment later.
Vala gave him a dopey smile as he headed back to her after shutting the light off. He still didn't say a single thing, only smiled right back. Daniel then climbed over her and snuggled in tight against her back.
She settled herself comfortably as his arm draped across her stomach. "What if you-"
"I won't." Daniel whispered reassuringly, nuzzling his nose into her neck.
"Are you sure you-"
He cut her off again. "I am."
Closing her eyes, Vala let out a sigh. But there was still one more thing…
"Does this mean we're-" This time, she stopped and waited to see if he would be wonderfully psychic one more time.
Daniel pulled in a deep breath, pulling her in tighter as well. "It does."
Vala smiled, feeling the long night finally calling her to sleep. "I think I like that."
"I think I do to." Daniel's lethargic response let her know he too was succumbing to the evening's exhaustion. She let silence settle then. As she drifted off in Daniel arms, Vala thought about safety and once again feeling like she was a part of something.
And she really did like the idea of this something, her Daniel, being the one who would protect her.
Reviews are definitely appreciated!