Author's Note: I originally wrote this on 9/28/2008 after watching the SGA season 5 ep "First Contact." I really liked the ep, but it really, really, really woulda been nice if there was the barest hint of a mention of anyone else from SG-1, and I don't think it would've been difficult. Sheppard: "Hey, Jackson. How're Carter and Mitchell? Is that chick of yours staying out of trouble?" Daniel: *blushes a little* "Yeah, they're all good, and Vala hasn't once gotten us kicked off a planet in, like, a month. Hey, Ronon, Teal'c says 'hi'." yadda, yadda, yadda... Ok, maybe that wouldn't have flown very far, but the point is I think they could've given us 30 seconds. *sigh* Oh well.

Anyway, here's a pre-episode scene for all you Daniel/Vala shippers out there, finally posted today on ff for the "Where Are They Now?"-apaloosa challenge at the daniel_vala livejournal community. :)

Home

"I'm confused."

"About what, Daniel?" Vala didn't even look up from her magazine as she laid on her stomach on her bed, her legs swinging in the air.

Daniel stepped fully into her quarters and shut the door behind him. "About you. About your behavior these past few weeks."

"This doesn't surprise me." Vala didn't look up but simply flipped another page in her magazine. "You are often confused by me. It's rather amusing at times."

Frustrated, Daniel walked over to the bed and crouched down to look at her at eye level. "Vala, are you up to something?"

Apparently this got her attention as she finally looked at him. "What makes you think I'm up to something?"

"Why aren't you reading that in my office? For that matter why are you avoiding me? You're not getting into trouble on any of our off-world missions. You're not pestering me about taking you out to dinner or to the movies."

"We're in a relationship, Daniel. I thought I was giving you your space. I thought I was doing well at not smothering you."

"We've been in a relationship for two months and for six weeks you were your normal, bothersome, always-around, always-in-my-stuff self. But this recent behavior started two weeks ago when my research into Janus's experiments took an unexpected turn and I was approved for the next trip on the Daedalus to Atlantis."

Vala raised her eyebrows as if to ask 'What's your point?'

Unfortunately, he felt compelled to blurt out his obvious concern. "Why aren't you sabotaging it?"

"Is that what this is about? You think I'm going to ruin your chances of getting to Atlantis again?"

"Well, you've done it every other time."

She sighed. "Never on purpose, Daniel. Are you trying to pick a fight with me?" Vala picked up her magazine and held it up to him as some kind of evidence. "Because that's what they say happens to new couples. Men and women in a relationship try to test their limits or power or whatever. Is that what this is about?"

"No, it's not that, Vala." He took the magazine out of her hand and tossed it over the side of the bed. "I'm just wondering why you're not bothered by the fact that I'm going. Why you're not trying to stop me or keep me here or…"

"You want me to try to stop you?"

Daniel stood up and backed away from her a little. "No. No, of course not."

"Then what is it, Daniel?"

Daniel was losing control of the situation and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"Hey, look at me." Vala sat up on her knees to get his attention. "I honestly thought I was being helpful. I honestly thought that if I stayed out of trouble, as much as I possibly could," she caught his eye and winked, "and gave you some space and time to work, then you could have this, this Christmas time or whatever, this work that you enjoy. I was trying to be selfless." She smirked a little and he anticipated the joke coming next. "Believe me, it's been very difficult."

Daniel cocked his head, regarding her, judging her sincerity even though he knew he didn't have to. "So, I've been paranoid over nothing?"

She nodded back. "Appears that way."

He stepped toward her, looking her in the eyes, seeing the truth in them. He smiled then and kissed her forehead. "Thank you. For understanding what I needed."

"You're welcome," Vala replied with a genuine smile, then she leaned over the bed to pick up her magazine. "Though you may want to take a crack at why you were paranoid in the first place."

"Because something always happens when I try to go to Atlantis. And you're always the cause."

"Not true, but you just keep thinking that." She sat cross-legged on her bed and went back to flipping through the magazine, not looking up. "Why is it that you were expecting something to go wrong this time, when things are obviously going so well for us?"

Daniel took up a defensive position without realizing it, stuffing his hands in his pockets and stepping back from the bed again. "I don't know."

Vala looked up and cocked her head in his direction, possibly mocking the way he regarded her only moments ago. "Is it possible that you want me to make a fuss over you, beg you to stay? Is it possible you want to stay but don't want to admit it."

"No."

She raised her eyebrow, a la Teal'c.

"Maybe."

She continued to stare him down quietly.

"I suppose it's possible."

Then she smiled, that wide, bright smile he hated admitting he adored. "Well now that that's cleared up, then I think you'll be able to go to Daniel Disneyland, get your work done, and not be overly worried about me or us or anything else that might be upsetting you." She got up on her knees and crossed the bed toward him. "I do wish I were going with you. I didn't get to see enough of Atlantis last time and that Colonel Sheppard person had promised to teach me to play golf," she paused and smirked, "but you go do what you do, and I'll be here when you get back. Thief's honour." She wrapped her arms comfortably around his neck.

"Like scout's honor." He smirked back, visibly relaxing for the first time in days.

Vala tilted her head and shrugged her shoulders. "I modified it a little."

Daniel gave in and kissed her cheek. "Yes, you did." He touched his lips to hers and continued, "And I trust you. Things will be just fine. I'll find what I'm looking for—"

"Some other major discovery to devote your life to—" Vala rolled her eyes and let her arms drop to his waist.

"And I'll come back home." Daniel lifted a hand to rub across her jawline. "I have someone important to come home to."

Vala fought down a blush and smiled back at him as he kissed her. She deepened the kiss, melding their lips and tongues, running her hands over his chest, over his clothing. "So, there's no way I could possibly get you to change your mind and stay."

"No." His lips met hers. "Maybe." His hands and fingers itched along the hem of her shirt. "Possibly." His mouth found that spot just under her earlobe and she gave him the telltale answering sigh.

"Dr. Jackson to the gateroom. Dr. Jackson to the gateroom."

"Huh?" Daniel woke up with a jerk as the P.A. announcement blared from the corner of the ceiling. Groping for his glasses, he looked toward the clock on the nightstand. "Oh god!"

"What?" Vala woke up groggily next to him, seeing the clock as Daniel jumped from the bed in a rush. "Oh no! I swear this was not my fault."

"I know, I know," Daniel replied, pulling his pants on and trying to avoid tripping over his boots. "Where'd you toss my shirt?"

Vala had grabbed the phone on her side of the bed and was hurriedly dialing. "Forget it, you have some in the closet and socks in the top drawer. Hello. Walter?"

Daniel opened the closet and squinted his face in confusion. "Did I move these clothes in here?"

"Yes, he's here," she spoke into the receiver, then covering the mouthpiece, she replied to Daniel, "I took care of it, a month ago I think, just in case. Yes," she told Walter, "we heard the announcement. Tell Landry he's on his way." Vala hung up the phone and walked over to Daniel who was just finishing putting on his boots. "I swear I didn't have anything to do with this."

"It's okay, really." Daniel kissed her and happily smiled down at her. "This is all me. But I'm already packed, don't worry. I'm going to Atlantis to study some Ancient research and I'm gonna come home in two months to my beautiful girl. I'm on cloud nine, believe me." He made a step toward the door but came back to her an instant later and kissed her again. "Love you, Vala. See you when I get back," he called over his shoulder as he left her quarters.

"Love you too, Daniel." She smiled to herself, a little sadly. "This'll be the longest two months of my life."