AN: Take this what ever way you want to, it can be Daniel/Vala or Cam/Vala or even just Cam/Vala friendship.
Set just after The Quest part 2 when no one's really sure what has happened to Daniel.
Reviews make my day and will hopefully inspire some fic of a more fluffy nature.
Vala Mal Doran: Space pirate extraordinaire, member of SG1, lover of chocolate and glossy magazines.
Broken whiteness to the harshness of the universe.
Rain poured down around her, but on the horizon the sun had sunken below the clouds and streaked the sky in beautiful pinks and oranges. The sight was simply too much to pass up for someone who lived most of their life underground so Vala endured the pelting rain that had soaked her to the skin and the cold that penetrated to her core.
She had learned to appreciate the simple moments in life: a good movie or a dinner spent in comfortable companionship with her friends, the smell of fresh grass and the glowing embers of a fire, the small moments of safety and warmth that always came at the most unexpected times and in places she least expected.
It was these moments she would miss when she was gone, whenever that might be. But moments like the one she was living right now made her forget that the end of her life might come sooner rather than later because there was something serene about freezing in the pouring rain while the most beautiful gold and amber spilled out of the setting sun. There was something about it that loosened the tight knot that had resided in her chest for as long as she could remember and let her just be.
She gave in to her need to shed tears over the loss of her past, her future, her innocence and everything else she had lost on the long dark road that had brought her to this place. Daniel's eyes swam in front of her face and she now knew what Cameron's words had really meant; it hurt so much more to be left behind to sort everything out. She floundered as the realisation swept over her that this wasn't a game anymore, it was no longer only her own life that hung in the balance when she sought out an adventure, it was the people she cared for as well. The tears fell down her face, blending with the raindrops, and suddenly she felt young and lost.
She didn't hear the man approach her and sit at her side.
Cam could tell from the instant he saw her that something was wrong. The way she sat, legs crossed with her elbow resting on her kneecap to raise her small hand up to support her pale cheek, her shoulders hunched over in defeat, was such a contrast to her normal elegant and proud posture that he almost didn't think it was her.
When she finally turned her head to face him, he reeled back at the intensity that her grey eyes radiated and wondered, not for the first time, if his words to her had been to harsh. He hated that her eyes now lacked their usual sparkle and that he could see heartache and pain and something he couldn't quite identify in them. She turned away from him and continued to stare off into the horizon so he had no choice but to do the same.
He searched for what held her gaze but there was nothing that his own blue eyes could see. He was almost certain that there was something she could see but it eluded him. Her arm fell to lie listlessly in her lap and when he saw how her eyes had darkened he knew what that hidden emotion was. They weren't the closest of friends but as she leant her head onto his shoulder he knew it didn't matter anymore.
For a moment their eyes met as she tilted her face to look at him and he could see her soul and understand her pain. When he broke the connection and returned his gaze to the setting sun he could feel her heart beat in time with his.
"You're gonna get wet sitting out here, princess."
"So are you."
In the returning silence, Cam allowed his head to tilt over and rest itself against hers. He didn't know how much time passed before she pulled away from him and turned to face him once more, studying his face like he was the last person she might ever see.
His eyes where the blue of the clearest summer sky and instantly made her think of warmth and safety. For a moment she couldn't help but pause and wonder if Cam was the thing she had been so desperately needing or if he would become yet another person who would leave her before she was ready to let them go. She let her eyes travel over him and thought that maybe he would be different. Maybe he could do for her what he did for the team, maybe he could hold her together when she was close to splintering, pick her up when she fell, and when she lost hope maybe he could be the one to tell her to keep going, that she still had something to fight for.
It made her feel small to be sitting beside him, he was so much stronger than she was, sitting out in the rain crying because she was scared, and she was lost, and she didn't know any of the things she thought she knew; least of all who she was.
"It hurts less with time." He knew it was a lie.
"I know." She knew it too.
Her arms came up to rub her frozen limbs absently. She had never lost someone like this and couldn't imagine it hurting any less tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. She had always shied away from making deep connections with people because she never wanted to fell this way when they left.
But she had and she did.
Cam's eyes turned to search hers once more, blinking in the never ending rain that seemed to come from heaven itself.
"Vala?" he paused, "Are you crying?"
She tried to shake her head but she couldn't lie to him when his voice was laced with so much honest concern. She couldn't stop him from noticing, from tilting his head forward to look at her face, looking at her too pale skin and bloodshot eyes and the slight blue tint her lips had taken. Her body was starting to lose feeling, her toes and fingers and ears had long ago become numb and now the rest of her was following, she could feel the house of her heart beginning to slow down.
Maybe that was what scared her most, that she didn't care anymore, that dying didn't scare her anymore.
She wondered if it scared Daniel, he had died so many times before but who knew if he was really dead this time? Who knew what had happened after they had left him to Adria and a fate none of them had seen coming. Her heart and her head fought impassioned battles on both sides, her head saying he was dead but her heart begging her not to give up hope.
Suddenly the pain burst from her in a great wave of sobs as she buried her head in her frozen hands and was arrested by her own helplessness, no matter what Daniel's fate was out of her hands. She missed him.
Squeezing her eyes shut tightly Vala missed him with every inch of her frozen body. She missed him like no one else because Daniel was no one else. He was the first person to believe in her and her stomach twisted in pain because she didn't have the strength to believe in him now. He was the first true friend she had made in a long time and the pain in her stomach rose to her throat until she couldn't breathe when she remembered all those nights they would sit up and talk about everything and nothing. He was the first person to show her that she was capable of so much more than even she thought possible. He was the reason she was here, he was the reason she had gone to bed with hope in her heart every night. He was the reason she fought for the good in the world.
Now it felt like there wasn't any good left.
Everything around her began swim out of focus as she struggled to breathe through her pain. Wordlessly Cameron pulled her closer to his side and ran his hand soothingly through her long dark hair.
And just like that they sat out on the field for what felt like forever, Vala curled up in Cam's arms, holding onto him with all the strength she had left in the world. And his arms around her made her feel warm, even in her frozen state. She began to feel like she was safe, like she was going to be okay, and that he was right and it would hurt less with time. Like maybe she wasn't going to be lost forever, with a soft voice and two arms to keep her grounded on this planet.
"Vala?" His voice was no more than a whisper.
"Your lips are blue."
His legs were asleep, and his body was beginning to shake with the signs of hypothermia, but for some reason Cam couldn't bring himself to move. Maybe because it would mean moving the woman in his arms, who was so beyond the point of shaking that he was worried. Her lips were not the only things beginning to turn blue, he took her tiny hands into his own and rubbing them.
"What are you doing?"
"Holding your hands."
"Not on a first date, thank you!"
And for a second her gray eyes peered up at him with a slight twinkle in them but he must have looked sullen and annoyed because the flicker of joy faded from her features almost instantly.
"I'm sorry. It's not the time for jokes."
"No," Cam paused, "He would have wanted you to smile, you know?" He knew instantly it was the wrong thing to say because she turned away from him again and he saw her shut her eyes against more tears.
He mentally kicked himself and didn't speak again, content to stroke her hair softly and look out in the distance; the same distance where she had looked earlier.
"It's stopped raining."
She spoke after so long that he almost thought she had fallen asleep and turned to look at him. He knew she was younger than him but her eyes seemed so much older than his, they belonged to someone who had endured worse kinds of hell than he had.
"Do you want to go inside?"
"No." She shook her head, "Do you?"
"Not really. But I'll go in if you do."
"And if I say no?"
"Then we'll both sit here until we freeze our asses off."
She had to close her eyes and take a deep breath, gathering the little strength she had to pull away from him and attempt to move to a standing position. But he was right, and hypothermia had set in, and Vala could only look at Cam with a determined line set about her lips and a glitter in her eyes that told him that she was going to be all right.
He lifted her off the ground and she didn't complain when he didn't remove his hands from her waist but kept them there to support her as they walked back down the mountain. He knew she would be ok.
Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, but someday.