Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and all their characters belong to MGM. I just like to poke at them sometimes.
A/N: This begins as a tag to the end of The Lost Tribe Part 2, but is told through Daniel Jackson's eyes. It's Daniel/Vala with a teeny bit of Keller/McKay.
Daniel rested his head on the pillow and tried to will himself to sleep. The trouble was, it still felt like electricity was zinging through his limbs, making sleeping the very last thing his body wanted to do. On the numbness scale, it felt like his entire being was hovering just between tingles and pins and needles, which wasn't at all restful. With a sigh, he opened his eyes and concentrated on his surroundings. He may have been in the infirmary, but he was still on Atlantis, where everything in sight had been built by the Ancients. It sure beat the SGC infirmary's cement walls for visual interest.
A movement to his left caught his eye. After eating Daniel's lunch, McKay had wandered off, presumably to pester Dr. Keller, with whom he was approaching. They were still too far away for Daniel to hear, but he watched as McKay chattered at her, gesturing expansively, and Dr. Keller laughed in response. Really laughed, too, not the polite chuckle he'd gotten out of her earlier with a bad pun. Daniel felt his eyebrows rise. Interesting.
McKay trailed off as they neared his bed, and Dr. Keller flashed Daniel a smile. "How are you feeling, Dr. Jackson?"
"Oh, you know. Hungry."
Dr. Keller located the empty tray on a nearby bed and sent her companion a glare. "McKay!"
McKay had been looking sheepish, but he reacted to this with typical furor. "He gave it to me! He said it hurt to eat!" Then, with a glare at Daniel, "You said it hurt to eat."
Dr. Keller retrieved the tray. "Would you like me to get you something else? We have other fruit cups we keep hidden."
Daniel laughed weakly. Doing that hurt, too. "No, no. I'm fine. Keep the fruit cups safely locked away."
Just then, one of those strange surges zinged its way down his left leg, and his whole left side twitched. "Ow. That's still weird."
Dr. Keller shoved the tray she still held at McKay and hurried over. "Any pain?"
Daniel shook his head. "Not from the zing itself, just the movement."
"Zing?" This from McKay, voice thick with sarcasm.
Daniel could give as good in that arena. "For lack of a better word, Dr. McKay."
Dr. Keller ignored them both and focused on a nearby machine.
"Boys," came a vaguely reprimanding voice. McKay gave Mr. Woolsey a mulish look, but subsided.
"Mr. Woolsey, hello."
"How are you feeling, Dr. Jackson?"
"Still pretty zingy."
Mr. Woolsey looked perplexed. He turned to Dr. Keller for an explanation. She waved a hand at him vaguely without looking up from her monitor. "He got zapped pretty hard. It'll take some time to subside completely."
"Ah," his expression cleared. "Then I'm sure you're happy to be heading home for the recovery. Especially as, erm, well, I hear that congratulations are in order?"
The tone was one of polite inquiry, but Daniel could hear the thread of disbelief underneath it. He laid his head back on the pillow and smiled wryly. "So the gossip made it to Pegasus, did it?"
"Yes, well, you know how airmen talk."
Daniel chuckled, and McKay finally tired of not understanding what was being said and interjected "Why congratulations?"
When Daniel remained silent, Mr. Woolsey explained, "Dr. Jackson has gotten engaged."
That got Dr. Keller's attention. She looked up from the monitor with a wide smile. "But that's wonderful!" She glanced at the faces of the men around her. "Isn't it?"
Daniel, still holding onto his smile, replied placidly, "She used to be a space pirate."
McKay, who wasn't quite as good at keeping up with SG mission reports as some of his colleagues, caught up. "You mean…"
"Ms. Mal Doran," Mr. Woolsey supplied.
Dr. Keller, who hadn't the slightest idea who Vala Mal Doran was, scowled at McKay and Mr. Woolsey. "That's enough, you two. I'm sure she's lovely, Dr. Jackson."
"Thank you. She is."
"I only just got to that email from General O'Neill today. I was surprised she didn't accompany you out here," Mr. Woolsey said.
"She considered it. But in the end she decided that Atlantis didn't appeal to her."
"Not enough excitement?" McKay inquired wryly.
"Not enough sparkly things."
"Well, if she ever changes her mind, I'm sure we'd be happy to have her. Wouldn't we, Mr. Woolsey," Dr. Keller left it just short of a challenge.
He cleared his throat, chagrined. "Oh, certainly. Anytime."
Daniel chuckled. "I'll pass that along. But I think we'll both be sticking to the Milky Way for now."
"Have you set a date?" Dr. Keller asked.
"I understand that my participation in this process will be minimal." He didn't mention that he'd timed the proposal—he'd had the ring for months—so that she'd be so caught up in planning and excitement that he'd be able to slip off to Atlantis with only a small amount of grief. He'd feel guilt for that manipulation if Vala, Sam, and, perplexingly, Teal'c hadn't all immediately called him on it. There was something to be said for marrying a woman who appreciated a good con. He'd certainly never be bored.
"Well, good luck to you both. What we do can be pretty dangerous," she cast a stern glance at his pain-riddled body, "but it's nice to hear about the good things that can come of it."
Daniel grinned at her. She really was sweet. "Indeed." She grinned back at him. Her back was to the other men so she missed the look McKay sent her at her words, but Daniel didn't. It was surprised and sort of soft, and Daniel had to bite back a laugh. Oh yes, that was interesting.
"Is the wheelchair really necessary?" Daniel protested.
"I could probably spare a gurney, if you'd rather that." He knew Dr. Keller was kidding, but the thought made him shudder all the same. Which, in turn, hurt like a zat blast, essentially winning Dr. Keller's argument for her. Still, Daniel was nothing if not stubborn.
"I still don't see why I can't just walk. It's not as if I'll be sprinting the distance back to Earth. It's two steps, tops."
"Dr. Lam will be waiting with her team, you know she will."
"Nevertheless, you will borrow this wheelchair and avoid putting any undue strain on yourself. Yes?" Her voice was cheery, but there was a thread of steel beneath it. Daniel had no trouble understanding how Dr. Keller had ended up as Atlantis' Chief Medical Officer at such a young age.
"Yes, Doctor," he replied. And shuddered again to think of what would greet him on the other side of the gate. "Ow."
"Daniel!" He couldn't see her past the medical team that swarmed him as soon as he emerged in the SGC, but would know that lyrical, accented voice anywhere. A clatter of feet on the ramp, a hapless male nurse shoved aside, and suddenly all he could see was Vala. "Oh, Daniel, really. A wheelchair?"
"No. You stop that, you stop it right now." She turned her face, but he'd seen the tears swimming in her eyes. A loud sniff gave her away. "Damn it, Vala, cut it out. I'm fine."
"I'd say you're far from fine, Dr. Jackson," Carolyn Lam weighed in.
"You see?" That angry, teary gaze was back.
The nurse had recovered himself and began pushing Daniel towards the infirmary. Desperate to have the last word, he reached for an argument. "It was all McKay's fault!"
"From what Sheppard's told me, it usually is." Cameron Mitchell sidled up to Vala, who was watching her fiancé wheeled out of the gateroom and trying not to look pathetic. He slung an arm around her shoulder. "Come on, Princess, dry your eyes. Just think of all of the wedding magazines he'll have time to look at while he's recovering."
Her eyes took on a gleam that had nothing to do with tears. "Oh, and he will look at all of them." She left the room with a zealous step.
Cam nodded at a nearby marine and followed her out. "That's my girl."
"Does this hurt?"
"How about now?"
"Vala, I will tell you if something hurts."
"That's a lie."
She was right, but she didn't need to know that. Daniel was finally back in his own bed (albeit the one in his quarters on the base), and wasn't going to let a little pain keep him from finally sleeping next to his fiancée again. "The pain is minimal, I promise. Now will you just lie down and let me hold you?"
She gave him a gimlet look that said she knew exactly what he hadn't said, but settled down next to him. He pulled her closer and she rested her head on his shoulder. His arm jolted a bit at the addition of her weight, but he held her down when she would have jumped up again. "It's fine. Vala, it's fine. Trust me, this is worth any pain."
That coaxed a smile out of her. "Smooth talker."
They lay like that for some minutes, content to enjoy one another's familiar presence. "I missed you."
"Did you?" She was tracing her fingertips lightly along the underside of his chin.
"Hmm. I hope you get to see Atlantis someday. It's…something else."
"Does this hurt?" She said it softly, and he smiled down at her.
"Not at all." He leaned down to kiss her, keeping it light. He knew she would protest anything else, and it would probably be too much for him anyways. Still, it was tough to pull away. It always was. "Now that—" he started, and smiled into her eyes when they flew open in concern, "was zingy."
"I assume zingy is good?"
"In this context, zingy is very good."
"Well," she huffed, "you'll just have to fully recover and then you can have all the zingy you want."
He chuckled, pulled her close, and shut off the light.