Title: The New Edition
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: The story of how the newest edition came to be a part of the household.
Spoilers/Warnings: None for any particular episode. Set before 'The Little Stalker'.
A/N: Written last minute for the 'Month of Love' back in February over at the dv comm on LJ.
The New Edition
Daniel was in the kitchen, already fixing dinner, when he heard the front door open. The sounds of the thunderstorm raging outside accompanied it.
"Hey, you've got good timing," he called out with a smile while he rinsed off some celery. The door slammed closed. "Dinner should be ready in about twenty minutes." Depositing the dripping celery on a cutting board, he grabbed a towel and wiped at his hands while making his way towards the front hall.
"Plenty of time to take a shower or whatever you need to do to get warmed up and dried off." Daniel kept the smile on his face as he passed through the doorway. It faded when he was nearly trampled over by his dripping girlfriend. "Whoa."
She didn't even bother to wave a hand as she rushed down the hall towards the bathroom. "Sorry, darling."
Daniel stood frozen for a minute and was only jolted from it when the bathroom door slammed shut. "Vala?" He finally trailed after her. "Hey, is everything-" He practically rammed himself into the closed door when the knob refused to turn. "Why is this door locked?"
"I'll be out in a minute." Vala's voice sounded strained.
Placing one hand flat against the door, Daniel brought is face close to the door jam. "Not good enough." He jiggled the handle, foolishly hoping it would open if he forced it enough.
There were sounds of splashing and Vala cursing under her breath.
"Vala, what is going on in there?" Daniel was getting both annoyed and concerned at being ignored and locked out. "Are you okay?"
"I said…" Vala stopped to let out a disgruntled noise, and then. "I'd be out in a minute, Daniel. Can't a girl get a little privacy?"
Daniel considered ramming the door in when she cursed again, this time rather loudly. "Not when she's locked herself in the bathroom and is scaring the hell out of her boyfriend." A thousand possible scenarios were running through his head about why she'd be in there and wouldn't let him in. "Dammit, Vala, open this door."
He heard her step towards the door and took a step back. The lock on the other side turned and a moment later Vala's damp face appeared through a crack. "Alright, the door is open. What do you want?" She looked and sounded annoyed.
The feeling was mutual. "What are you doing in there?" Daniel tried to push the door open farther.
"Something that doesn't concern you at this very moment." Vala held it firmly in place.
Daniel stared down at her incredulously. "The hell it doesn't. You come in, don't even offer me a hello and head straight for the bathroom, and then proceed to lock me out!" He softened his look to one of utter concern. "Is everything okay? Are you hurt?"
Vala's intense gaze also softened. "No, I'm not hurt, Daniel," she sighed reassuringly.
"Then why won't you let me in?" Daniel questioned in confusion, feeling slightly affronted by her actions. He'd thought they'd worked past all the barriers keeping them apart.
"I just need a little time to myself right now." Her grey eyes were pleading. "Just a few minutes, and I'll be out. I promise. Okay?"
Defeated and a little hurt, Daniel pouted some. "I guess."
Vala smiled and offered him a quick kiss. "You are wonderful, darling." And with that, the door was slammed in his face.
"Obviously not wonderful enough," Daniel muttered to the door before turning and moping back down the hall back to the kitchen.
He was almost ready to serve dinner when a pair of slender arms wrapped around his waist from behind.
"That smells positively delicious," Vala mumbled against his back before placing a kiss between his shirt-covered shoulder blades. Daniel turned with a spoon in his hand and offered her a taste of the stew. She happily accepted it.
A smile came as she swallowed. "Tastes delicious, too." She toned down the grin a notch, leaning up to place a loving kiss to his lips. Daniel rode out the kiss, blinding reaching his arm behind him to drop the spoon on the counter. Vala going from avoiding him to suddenly being all over him had Daniel confused, but he wasn't one to complain…always.
She pulled away slowly after a moment, the grin returning. "That tastes better."
Daniel could see the scheme in her eyes already. "What's up?"
Her grey gaze widened in complete innocence. "Daniel, why do you assume something's up?"
"Vala, don't." He held up his finger.
If possible, Vala's look became even more innocent and much more transparent. "Don't what?" She asked sweetly, taking his hand in his and placing a chaste kiss to the tip of his finger.
"Okay." Daniel took her by the shoulders and guided her over to the table. Ignoring her look of confusion, he pushed her into a chair and knelt down in front of her. "As much as I love when you flirt with me endlessly…" She smiled and played with her hair. Daniel reached up to take her fiddling hand. "I love it much more when you tell me what's going on."
Her innocent façade faded into a reluctant look. "You're going to get upset…"
Daniel took the empty chair next to him and gave her a curious look. "And why is that?"
"Because…" Vala mumbled, looking at the floor. "I did something rash, like always, and that always upsets you."
Reaching out, he took her hand again. "Not always, Vala." Daniel was growing more concerned by minute of what she could possibly say she'd done. If Vala was already certain he'd get angry, then he was certain it was something big. "Now what did you do?"
Now Vala's reluctance turned to almost desperate pleading. "Oh Daniel, it's so horrible outside and he was cowering up in this little hole near the entranceway to the grocery store, and he was soaking wet and scared and I just couldn't possibly leave him-"
Daniel was frowning, trying to wrap his mind around what she'd just said. "What he?" He asked, pulling his hand back so he could cross his arms. His brows furrowed together in preparation for the scowl of annoyance trying to break free.
Looking hopeful, Vala offered a small smile. "The kitten in the bathroom…"
He was pushing up from his chair and making his way up the hallway before she could say anymore. "A kitten?! You brought home a kitten?!"
"Yes, I did." Vala jumped in front of him as he reached for the bathroom door. "See, I knew you'd be upset!"
Daniel glared at her. "Of course I'm upset, Vala. You brought an animal into this house without discussing it with me!"
She tried one of her fleeting smiles. "I thought we could talk about it, and then you'd see why having a kitten could be a good thing."
"Oh, we are so not keeping it!" Daniel tried to push past her, but Vala once again refused to let him into the bathroom. "Let me in there."
Vala slammed her hand out to the doorframe, her wrist just inches from Daniel's nose. "No! With the mood you're in, you'll scare him for sure!"
"Good! The damn thing needs to know he can't stay here!"
"But, Daniel!" Vala whined, yet still holding her ground.
Softening his look, Daniel stared down at her and willed her to understand why it just wasn't going to happen. "With the lives we lead, having a pet is not conducive. It would be unfair to it considering we're not here enough of the time to give it the right amount of attention."
Vala was shaking her head. "See, that's the beauty of cats. Give them enough food to last and things to play with, and a place to go to the bathroom, and they're fine with being alone. And then when we come home, he'll be even more excited and loveable."
He watched her eyes begin to tear up a little.
"Daniel, he had nowhere to go and surely wouldn't have lasted the night in this storm." She shifted slightly, dropping her eyes to the floor. "I brought him home so he could be safe and warm and maybe even find a place to be loved…"
The significance of the situation hit Daniel then and he let out a sigh. Reaching for the doorknob, his blue eyes reassured Vala when she moved to stop him. "Vala, let me through." He told her calmly.
Pouting like she'd failed to do her part, Vala nodded slowly and stepped out of the way. Daniel opened the door and stepped into the rather small bathroom, illuminated by the nightlight over the sink. His blue eyes immediately fell on the dim brown shape huddled into a blanket at the foot of the tub.
Kneeling down, he examined the quivering feline. Terrified green eyes shined in what little light was thrown around the room.
"I gave him a bath to wash all the mud and gunk off…" Vala whispered, coming to kneel beside Daniel. "He was a mess, Daniel." She rested her chin on his shoulder, watching him while he watched the kitten. "He put up a little bit of a fight, but has been otherwise quiet."
Daniel nodded. "It's because he's scared."
She ran a hand up and down his back, her not so subtle way of persuading him. "Well, who could blame him? With all the things I'm sure he's been through, I'll bet he has plenty to be scared about…"
Sighing, Daniel shifted so he could see her better. The kitten backed further against the tub at his movement. "Vala…" Eyes regretful, he shook his head. "We can't keep this cat."
"But you're so good at giving hopeless cases new lives." She smiled like it didn't affect her personally. "Come on, Daniel. With a face like that…" Vala held her hand out to indicate the kitten, and they both looked at the trembling ball of fluff. "How could you possibly say no?"
Daniel let out another sigh. "It's not his face I can't say no to." With a defeated roll of his eyes, he returned his attention to her.
A grin began to break out across Vala's face. "So he can stay?"
Nodding, Daniel leaned in to give her a kiss. "He can stay." He agreed when they parted.
Vala laughed in the way that was only hers and threw her arms around his neck. Daniel felt the air fly out of his lungs as her momentum flung him back against the cabinets. He screwed up his face as she placed excited kisses all around it.
"Did you hear that, Indy?" Vala moved onto the kitten, scooping the cowering fur ball into her arms and cuddling it close to her chest. "Daddy said you could stay!"
Eyes wide, Daniel pushed himself up some. "Indy? You already named it? And Daddy?"
"Of course I named it already," Vala replied like it should've been obvious. "And of course you're daddy, if I'm Little Indy's mommy." She snuggled her nose into damp fur.
Already enjoying her childlike obsession with the cat, Daniel scooted closer to Vala. "But why Indy?"
She gave him that look again. "It's short for Indiana, silly." At Daniel's disbelieving frown, Vala shook her head. "I couldn't name him after you, Daniel. That would just get too confusing!"
"So Indiana works?" Daniel sighed, reaching out to gently pet the little cat's head. For his part, Indy sat in Vala's arms watching Daniel with wide eyes.
"Oh absolutely." Vala grinned, handing Indiana off to Daniel completely. Daniel awkwardly took the cat, cradling him in his arms. "Well don't just stare at him. Say hello!"
Daniel pulled in a deep breath, already considering the choice to be a regret. "Hello…Indiana," he mumbled reluctantly. For some reason, he got the urge to scratch at Indy's stomach. It seemed Indy was up to it too for the kitten's eyes finally closed in silent pleasure.
"See…" Vala snuggled up against Daniel. "You're a natural already."
"I can't believe I agreed to this." Daniel ultimately knew it was his faith in Vala that had brought him to the decision to keep the cat. If she said they could handle this, then he believed her.
Kissing his cheek, Vala nuzzled her nose into his shoulder. "I did." She sighed successfully, looking down at the quietly purring kitten.
Daniel glanced at her at the tone of her voice. He felt a rare surge of selfish pride because it was Vala's faith in him that had ultimately made her decide to bring the cat home. She looked at him after a moment and smiled happily. He smiled back because he'd done right by her enough to put that smile on her face.
And all the while, little Indiana's purring got louder as he settled into the warmth and comfort of Daniel's arms.
As a truly devoted cat owner, I find it fun to include personal experiences with my kittehs in my fics. That being said, I have a lot of possible scenarios and tons of trouble for Little Indy to get into if you guys are interested. Just let me know if you'd like to see more stories featuring him! Reviews are definitely appreciated, too.