Title: Different Paths
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: "Our lives are not in those pages of those books, okay?"
Rating: PG
Spoilers/Warnings: Big ones for the Quest P.2, though any episode that was heavy in the Arthurian legend stuff is also important.
A/N: Wrote this as my creative project for my Arthurian english class. I was allowed to write a SG-1 fic, as long as it involved some of the Arthurian legends incorporated in to the actual show. This is what I came up with.

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Different Paths

Daniel continued to watch her frantically leaf through book after book, which lay scattered around her in a messy circle. He knew he really should've stopped her the moment he'd found her on the floor of his home office, surrounded by his numerous Arthurian texts.

But the look on her face – that desperate need to find an ever elusive answer – had kept Daniel leaning in the doorway.

It wasn't until she tossed the book in her lap across the room in tear-filled frustration that he decided she'd been given enough leeway. Daniel moved to intercept before she could destroy his entire collection.

"Alright," he said in a gentle tone, stepping over books to reach her. "That's enough for today." Daniel knelt down, lightly placing his hands on her warm arms.

She shrugged out of the touch. "No."

"Yes," he argued, once more trying to get her to stand up.

"No!" Her tone became more insistent. She leaned away from him and reached for another book.

Daniel watched her flip through this one with the same fervor as before. "Vala." He ran his hand over her normally vibrant black hair.

Ducking away, Vala shook her head. "I'm not done, Daniel." The book clearly didn't hold that answer because it ended up being tossed like the ones previous.

She didn't see the sympathetic blue-eyed gaze Daniel was giving her. "Done doing what?" He asked softly, letting his hands dangle uselessly. She didn't seem to be in the mood for comfort.

"Finding it," Vala practically snapped, shifting the books on the floor before her around. When the search produced nothing she was looking for, she turned her feverish grey eyes on Daniel. His raised eyebrows, high over his glasses, let her know he hadn't caught on. "Finding me…"

Daniel tried not to look too condescending. "Vala, you won't be in these books." She didn't like his reply, shaking her head and going back to her searching. He continued, hoping to break this fevered delusion so she could get some rest. "Honey, these books are centuries old."

She batted away the hand he'd brought to her head again. "No… no." The tears were returning. "Everyone else is in here, so I have to be." Vala scoured text after text in a matter of minutes, her desperation growing. "You're here, and Cameron's here…Sam, Muscles…"

Now Daniel was determined to get her back to bed. "Okay, come on," he took her in his arms, refusing to budge on the matter. Still, Vala fought against him. The small struggle ended up with them both back on the floor, Vala remaining wrapped in Daniel's arms.

"I have to find it." She whispered into his chest.

She didn't resist the hand he brushed through her messy hair this time. "You have to get back to bed." Vala shook her head and Daniel nodded in contrast. "You're still sick and you're not gonna break this fever looking for things that aren't there."

Vala pushed away from Daniel a fraction, so she could look at him as she spoke. "But it has to be, Daniel." Her fingers twisted in the fabric of his shirt. "It has to be."

"Why?" Daniel asked her almost desperately. "Why would you think that?"

Diverting her gaze, Vala continued to toy with his shirt. "You were all something important to him."

Daniel's brow furrowed in confusion. "Who?"

Grey eyes found his blue. "Merlin."

Eyes going wide, Daniel licked his lips before giving an incredulous response. "Merlin?"

Vala nodded like it made perfect sense. "You," her finger poked his chest. "Were Galahad, Mitchell was Perceval, Sam – Guinevere…" Tears formed in her eyes again. "Even he had a counterpart." Daniel's face cleared in slow understanding, but Vala still rambled on.

"Yet I was just there – nothing." She used her free hand to fiddle with the ends of her hair. "And that can't be. I've got to be something because I'm a part of this too. I didn't run and I stayed to be a part of something." Vala was practically crying at this point. "I am a part of something, right Daniel?"

He nodded. "Of course you are." He took her hand still at his chest in one of his own. "You are a part of this, Vala."

Pointing at the books angrily, Vala stared at him in despair. "Then why am I not in there?" She grabbed the nearest book, holding it up and shaking it for emphasis. "Galahad was the greatest of Arthur's knights, but he had no one at his side," she explained. "If he had no one, what do you have? You are Galahad, and I'm at your side. That makes me nothing!"

Adopting a look of determination, Daniel took the book away from her and placed it back amongst the others. Then he returned his attention to her.

"Hey…" He soothed, shifting closer. Vala continued to cry silently and shook her head. So Daniel softly took her face in his hands and willed her to look at him.

"These are just stories, Vala." Daniel tightened his hold some when Vala went to deny the statement. "What goes on in them doesn't affect our lives like you think."

Vala stared at him, a picture of sadness. "But Merlin said…"

It was Daniel's turn to shake his head. "Those were his memories – ancient, unrelated memories." He released one side of her face, leaving the other hand in place to stroke his thumb over her flushed cheek. "Merlin was confused and dying."

"But you're him," Vala said. She went back to point at the books. "You are Galahad."

Again, Daniel was shaking his head. "No…" Moving his hand up, he combed his fingers through her hair. "I'm Daniel." He gave her the most certain look. "And you're Vala, and we are a part of something."

A look of hope flashed across Vala's face. "What?"

Daniel offered a small smile. "SG-1." He brought his free hand up to caress her lips with his thumb. "Something we've earned."

Pausing, Daniel leaned in to give her a light kiss. When he pulled back, tears were still sliding down Vala's face, but there was the hint of a smile where a frown had previously been.

"Our lives are not in those pages of those books, okay?"

Vala nodded, eyes closed. "Okay."

Daniel let out a relieved breath. "Now will you please get back in bed?" He pleaded.

Her eyes opened slowly. "I am feeling a little unwell." She flashed a tiny, guilty smile.

He rolled his eyes dramatically. "I can't imagine why." This time, when he moved to help her up, Vala made no attempt to resist. Daniel laid a kiss to the top of her head as she leaned heavily against him and finally got her to make her way out of his office.

He made sure to close the door behind them, leaving the books in their messy circle. They could wait until later. Their pages had already been written.

Daniel still had the rest of his and Vala's journey to write.

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