AN: The fic I posted yesterday got me thinking about Vala's mother. There's another small note at the end. Please let me know what you think.
A timid knock on the door to his quarters woke Teal'c from his sleep. He rolled out of bed and, grabbing a T-shirt, opened the door to reveal Vala standing on the other side. She was dressed in civilian clothes and had her arms wrapped protectively around her chest, an apprehensive look on her face.
"Is there something I can help you with Vala Mal Doran?" He questioned. It wasn't unusual for her to come to his door in the morning to go for breakfast but she was never this early and never this quiet.
"I need a favour Teal'c, I need to get off base for a few hours today." Her tone was quiet and subdued. The fact that she called him by his proper name didn't escape his notice either.
"Do you not wish the company of Col. Carter or Dr Jackson?" Usually if she went off base it was shopping with Sam or out for dinner with Daniel.
She shook her head, drawing her arms tighter around herself, "It's a… personal issue, if you don't want to help it's fine…" She turned to leave but he placed his hand on her shoulder.
"I will meet you at the surface check point in 20 minuets."
She gave him a weak smile and left him to get ready.
20 minuets later Teal'c was signing them both out and commandeering a car for them.
"Where do you wish to go?" He asked as they pulled out of the base and onto the road into town.
"I'm not sure, do you know…" She trailed off, unsure of herself, "Do you know some where I could… pray?"
He didn't comment on the unusual request, simply nodding his head. It took them another 10 minuets before they drew up outside a small church.
"Is this what you seek?" He asked gently.
Her brow crinkled for a moment before she nodded in the affirmative and got out of the car. She paused while shutting the door, "Would you come inside with me?"
Teal'c got out of the car and met her on the side walk. Together they walked up the steps to the church, Teal'c with a reassuring hand on the small of her back.
As they walked in Vala instantly felt herself relax slightly in the calm atmosphere. There was no one else present at this time in the morning save from a young priest. Teal'c led Vala to a pew in the middle of the church and together they sat in silence for a few minuets.
"The morning my mother died," She began abruptly, "I knew what was going to happen. I kissed her goodbye she sent be out to my lessons…. But while I was there all I could think about was her alone in that house." She spoke as if Teal'c wasn't even there, "After the first lesson I ran home, I sat with her for the rest of the day." She faltered for a moment and Teal'c placed a comforting hand over hers, giving her the strength to continue, "Before she died she made me make a promise to her. I promised that I would never tell my father that I had missed my lessons, that every year I would say a prayer for her for her on the day of her death, and that I would never forget."
"Never forget what?"
"Never forget the things people can do in the name of hate… and love." She told him softly.
"Did you keep your promise?"
She smiled gently, "To this day my father still doesn't know the truth, I never forget what people can do, and every year I find some place to say a prayer for her. This is the first time I've been on Earth on this day, I wasn't sure where I could go and I didn't want to… I know how the others feel about religion."
"It is my experience that religion and faith, or prayer, need not be connected." He told her.
She turned her small hand over under his and laced her fingers through his, "And that is why I asked for your help."
He squeezed her hand, "I am honoured, dear friend."
"Could you… could you give me a few minuets alone, I'll meet you out in the car."
Teal'c left her alone in the church with her thoughts. She bowed her head for a few moments as she remembered her mother and, in her mind, spoke silent words to her and any deity that may have been listening.
She lifted her head when she felt someone sit down beside her, looking up she noticed the young priest sitting beside her.
"I haven't seen you here before." He kept his voice low and gentle, when she didn't respond he continued "You pray for someone who you lost?"
She looked up at that, shock clear on her face, "My mother. How do you know that?"
He smiled at her, "It's my job to know these things, and to help."
They sat for a few more minuets before Vala broke the silence, "How do you help?"
"I listen, allow people to talk without judgment. I give advice when I can."
"And what advice would you give me?" A slight harshness crept into her voice. "That everything happens for a reason, that it's all part of God's plan for us."
"No." His voice softened in reaction to hers, "I would tell you that death is simply a natural part of life, it comes to us all and it's the manner with which we face it that matters."
Another few minuets of silence passed and once again it was Vala that broke it, "What are the candles for?" She motioned to the rows of small candles at the front of the church.
"People light them for those that are lost." He saw the hesitation in her face, "Would you like to light one?"
She nodded and together they walked to the front of the church and kneeled. The priest handed her a lighted taper and she lit a small candle. She raised the taper to blow it out but hesitated.
"You said lost, not dead?"
"There are many ways a person can be lost with out having passed on." He told her.
She nodded and lit another of the small lights, her hand shaking as she did so. She blew out the taper and rose to her feet, the priest joining her.
"May I ask who the second one was for?" He asked gently.
"My daughter." She told him softly.
He nodded but didn't question her further, escorting her to the doors. Teal'c was standing in the open doorway waiting on her. She said her thanks to the priest and got into the car with Teal'c, driving back to the base in silence.
Teal'c and Vala never told anyone where they went that morning.
From that day on Teal'c made sure that SG1 was always on Earth on that date, and every year he accompanied Vala to the small church.
AN2: This is for my Grandfather.I made the same promise to him when he died, my parents still don't know I cut school that day, I always say a prayer for him on his anniversary. He served in WW2 and was amoungst those that whitnessed the horror of the concentration camps, which is the reason for the last part of the promise. To never forget what love and hate can make us do.