Definition of a Date
Categories: Angst, Romance
Content Warning: Adult Situations
Spoilers: Meridian, Flesh and Bone, Morpheus, Memento Mori
Author's Notes: This is a tag for Memento Mori.
Daniel tossed the basketball, which neatly went into the basket. Cameron Mitchell, who had failed to block the shot, went after the ball and grabbed it.
"So, you had a date with Vala, huh?" Cameron remarked.
Daniel let out a frustrated growl. Ever since Vala referred to their dinner as a date in front of everyone, the archeologist had known that it was only a matter of time before somebody brought it up. It was no surprise that somebody turned out to be Cameron Mitchell.
"Look, it was not a date!" Daniel exclaimed. "Why doesn't anyone believe me? Vala has been working very hard to fit in here and behave herself, and I wanted to say thank you. That's all!"
"Whoa! Settle down, Jackson," Cameron said, seeing how upset Daniel was getting. "Okay, so it wasn't a date. I was just pulling your leg."
Daniel sighed. "Sorry." He walked over to the bench and grabbed his towel, wiping the sweat off his face.
Cameron came over, picking up his own towel to do the same. "If you don't mind me asking, why is this bothering you so much?"
"You mean people thinking I had a date with Vala? Because it's not true, because it implies that I have feelings for her that I don't. She is a friend, only a friend, and I don't want people to mistakenly believe otherwise."
"You do realize that there is more than one guy on this base who'd envy you if you were dating her. Her history notwithstanding, she is a very attractive woman."
"Who has flirted with three-quarters of the male personnel here. Yes, I know that Vala is an attractive woman, and, under other circumstances, I can't say that I wouldn't be interested in her – that is if she didn't drive me totally up the wall nearly every day of the week. I have absolutely no interest in her in that way."
"And have you told Vala that?"
"Yes . . . well, not in so many words. I mean, I told her at the restaurant that it wasn't a date, and I've never done anything to make her believe that I feel anything like that for her, just the opposite, in fact."
"Jackson, I may not have gotten to know Vala as well as you have, but I get the impression that she's a woman who is used to guys wanting her."
"So, you think that, because I'm a guy, she believes that I want her by default?"
"Well, I might not say that exactly, but I think she's going to have to hear it from you, in plain English, that you don't."
Daniel thought about that. "Maybe you're right."
"Just tread softly, okay? You may not feel that way about her, but that does not mean that she doesn't feel that way about you."
Surprised, Daniel stared at him. "What?"
"You haven't seen the way she looks at you sometimes?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm not saying that she's in love with you, but I'd definitely say that she feels more than friendship – and I'm not just talking about lust."
Leaving a stunned Daniel in his wake, Cameron left the court.
Ever since those parting words of Mitchell's, Daniel's thoughts had been dwelling on the issue with Vala. He refused to believe that she could actually be in love with him. Regardless, there was still the question of what he was going to do about her. He had to make it clear that he didn't feel anything more than friendship for her, but he didn't want to hurt her feelings. So, how was he going to do that? It may be cowardly, but this was a conversation he was going to try putting off as long as possible.
If Daniel believed in the Fates, he'd be throwing a few colorful curses at the trio right then, for the person who walked into his office at that moment was none other than Vala Mal Doran. She grinned at him.
"Hello, Daniel. I've been thinking that we could finish that date of ours this Saturday. That was such a lovely restaurant that I'd really like to have the chance to try the food."
Daniel sighed. "Vala, we need to talk."
The woman settled on the corner of his desk. "About what?"
"You and me. Vala, despite our . . . rocky beginning, I've come to like you. I care about you. I think of you as a good friend, and I hope that we can be friends for years to come, but I . . . I don't--"
A finger on his lips stopped him from saying anything more. He met Vala's eyes.
"I know, Daniel," she said softly. "That's not to say that I didn't hope otherwise, but I've been around long enough to know when a man isn't after me. If you really wanted me, you could have had me a long time ago."
Embarrassed by the remark, Daniel stared at his desk.
"Do you realize, Daniel, that you are the first man in my life who has been my friend, not wanting anything more than that?"
That made Daniel look at her.
"I've had lots of male admirers, plenty of men who, as your culture says, wanted to get into my pants, but never a friend. Even before Qetesh took me as a host, I couldn't say that I had friends of the male gender. Of course, after Qetesh, it was impossible to have friends of either gender . . . although there was this Korilian lizard woman I got quite chummy with . . . well, that is until her boyfriend hit on me." She pointed a finger at Daniel. "Remember. Don't ever make a Korilian lizard woman angry at you, and, if you do, stay at least twelve feet away from her to avoid the poison spit."
Daniel smiled slightly. "I'll remember that."
Vala smiled as well. "You know, you were quite a surprise to me, Daniel. I'd gotten used to getting what I wanted by using my not inconsiderable feminine wiles, but I couldn't make a dent in you, no matter how hard I tried. It was rather bruising to my ego, actually, and I have to admit that I wanted to believe you felt at least a little like that. I think I'd be a pretty lucky woman if you did."
"I'm sorry, Vala," Daniel said, genuinely sorry that he could not return her feelings.
"Don't be, Daniel. It's a nice feeling knowing that I have a friend who has no ulterior motives, who honestly cares about me as a person. I can have a hundred men in my bed, but I'd rather have one true friend."
Vala leaned over and pressed a kiss to Daniel's cheek. A gasp made them both turn around to see Sam standing in the doorway. There was a look in the woman's eyes that Vala instantly perceived as hurt and jealousy.
Daniel immediately stood up, almost causing Vala to topple off the desk. "Sam!"
"I-I was just stopping by to see if we were going to have lunch together," Sam stammered. "But I see you're busy, so never mind." She hurried away.
"Sam, wait!" Daniel called. He rushed to the door, but she'd already disappeared around the corner.
As he turned back to the room, Vala got a good look at the expression on his face. He was clearly deeply distressed, his eyes dark with pain.
Suddenly, Vala understood. "I'm sorry, Daniel. I didn't realize."
The archeologist sat back in his chair heavily. "Realize what?"
"That you're in love with Samantha."
Daniel's head shot up, wide eyes staring at her. "What? I-I'm not. . . . No. We're just friends."
Vala shook her head. "Daniel, I've spent years perfecting the art of deceiving people. I can spot a faker when I see one."
Daniel's gaze dropped back to the desk.
"How long have you felt this way?" Vala asked gently.
Daniel let out a long sigh. "A long time. The truth is that I really don't know when it began. As much as I'm ashamed to admit it, I think I felt something even before my wife died. I searched for Sha're for over two years, and, though I never wanted to give up hope that I'd someday get her back, in my heart, I knew that the odds weren't good. And Sam, we . . . connected, on a level that I've never connected with anyone before, including Sha're. I never consciously acknowledged the feelings, not for as long as Sha're was alive and not for a while after that. But then I became aware that Sam and Jack had feelings for each other, and I was shocked to realize that I was jealous."
"Jack? Do you mean General O'Neill?"
"Yes. He wasn't a general back then. He was SG-1's commander. He and Sam couldn't be together, so they never did anything about their feelings. I managed to push aside how I felt and was just her friend."
Vala stared at him. "Then she doesn't know."
"No. I never dared tell her."
"Well, considering that she's clearly in love with you, too, I think that you should."
Daniel shook his head. "Sam doesn't feel that way about me."
"Then why did she go running out of here like that? She looked pretty upset to me."
Daniel grimaced. "Because she's worried that I'm, uh. . . ."
"Getting involved with me and making a horrible, stupid mistake?"
"That's . . . that's not exactly how I'd have put it."
"Daniel, I know that Samantha isn't exactly a fan of mine. She's made no secret of that. I thought it was simply because she didn't trust me, but now I think it's also because she was jealous. She knew that I was after you and saw me as competition for your affections."
Daniel's head shook again. "You're wrong, Vala. Sam is just a really good friend who doesn't want to see me get hurt again."
"Well, if I were you, Daniel, I'd find out for sure, because, if you're wrong, you could be missing out on getting what you really want."
Looking up into the clear blue sky from her seat on a fallen log, Sam wiped the tears from her face. This hurt. God, this really hurt. It had felt bad enough seeing Daniel hugging Vala in the warehouse. Though she was jealous, she could tell herself that he was just comforting a friend who needed him. And then Vala had made that comment about a date. She and Daniel had gone on a date? Sam had known that they were having dinner when Vala was kidnapped, but, despite her initial jealousy, she'd convinced herself that it was just a friendly dinner at some family restaurant, like Denny's or something. But a date? Daniel denied it was that, but Sam's jealousy was skyrocketing, and she didn't want to hear his denials. After she'd cooled down, she admitted that he was probably telling the truth, and Vala was just being, well . . . Vala.
But now. . . . When Sam walked into Daniel's office and saw Vala kissing him, it was like somebody had shoved a knife in her heart, even though it had just been a kiss on the cheek.
Sam lowered her face into her hands. When had this begun? When had she fallen so hopelessly in love with Daniel? She'd felt the first stirring of attraction the day she met him, but she'd put it aside because he was married. By the time Sha're died, she had a lot of conflicting emotions about Martouf, Narim and, most of all, Jack, and her past feelings for Daniel got lost in the shuffle.
And then he was exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. He was going to die. She was going to lose him forever.
"I don't know why we wait to tell people how we really feel. I guess I hoped that you always knew."
Those words to Daniel on his deathbed had been wrenched from her heart. She had never told him how much she loved him, how much he meant to her. She had always hoped that he knew it without being told, that he was aware of how dear a friend he was to her.
It was after he was gone and Sam knew that she'd probably never see him again that she realized the true depth of her feelings for Daniel, that she had loved him as more than a friend. But she couldn't tell him, not even after he came back, for he did not feel the same.
The lieutenant colonel stiffened at the sound of Daniel's voice softly calling her. She quickly dried her face and straightened her slumped posture. A moment later, Daniel came into view. He paused upon seeing her, then slowly covered the distance between them. He took a seat on the log beside her. Sam kept her eyes on the ground, not trusting that her emotions wouldn't show through if she looked at him.
"You rushed off without letting me explain," he said.
"You don't owe me any explanations, Daniel. It's your life. You have the right to . . . to be involved with whomever you want."
"Yes, but Vala and I are not involved, not like that. Shall I tell you what was happening before you came in? I had just finished telling her that I didn't feel that way about her, that she was just a friend to me."
Sam felt a spark of hope, but quickly doused it. "It didn't look that way to me."
"No, I guess it probably didn't, not at that moment you walked in, but it's the truth. Vala opened herself up to me about some things, which I don't think was easy for her. That kiss was just her way of saying that she was okay with us just being friends."
Daniel gazed at Sam's profile. There were marks on her face that he was surprised to realize were the tracks of dried tears. Could Vala be right? Dare he believe?
"Sam, look at me."
Reluctantly, Sam turned to Daniel. He saw the redness in her eyes and something more that made his heart leap in his chest.
"I could never love, Vala, Sam. It wouldn't be possible."
Daniel searched her eyes, finally opening his heart. "Because I'm in love with you."
Sam gasped sharply. Before she could reply, Daniel bracketed her face with his hands and brought his lips to hers. For a few seconds, Sam was too stunned to respond, but then she melted against him, her lips parting. Daniel took the invitation eagerly and slid his tongue into her waiting mouth. Their arms went around each other as they kissed with slowly building passion.
Sam leaned back at the same time as Daniel leaned forward, and they soon found themselves on the ground, Daniel's body above Sam's. They began to caress each other, their lips never separating. They both found the bare skin beneath each other's T-shirts and shuddered at the touch.
Daniel separated his lips from Sam's, his body singing with ecstasy. He wanted to keep going, but that would be a mistake. What he felt for her was too important for a sudden, wild explosion of lovemaking on the top of Cheyenne Mountain. He wanted to make love to her for the first time in a bed, after a long evening of courting her and showing how much he loved her.
Sam looked up at him with an almost drugged expression, her blue eyes dilated with passion, which didn't help his self-control any.
"Do you believe me now?" he asked.
Sam gave a shaky laugh. "If I didn't, I'd have to be an idiot." She caressed his cheek. "I love you, Daniel."
Daniel smiled joyfully down at her and took her lips again. This kiss was softer, a sweet promise of things to come. He rose off her and helped her to her feet, where they both dusted themselves off, Sam plucking a few twigs from her hair.
"Will you go on a date with me?" Daniel asked.
Sam smiled brightly. "I'd love to."
Daniel grinned. "You know what Vala's definition of a date is?"
Sam hesitated. "Do I want to know?"
"A romantic event, typified by dinner, movie and/or karaoke, and usually culminating in a night of. . . ." He gave her a heated look. "I think you can fill in the rest of that sentence."
Sam felt her temperature rise. "And is that the kind of date you have in mind for us?"
"Could be . . . except for the karaoke, that is."
Sam stepped forward until their lips were barely an inch apart. "Too bad. I really like karaoke."
Daniel gave her a smile that made her legs turn to jelly. "Then we'll add that in," he murmured huskily before taking her mouth again with his.
Whistling a little tune, Cameron strolled down the corridor. He'd just seen Vala shamelessly flirting with one of the Marines, and the man had been eating it up. They were now going off to lunch together.
Cameron had to wonder if this meant that Daniel had his little talk with Vala, and the woman was putting aside her feelings for the archeologist. Cam didn't know how deep those feelings had run, but he was glad to see that she appeared to be letting them go. At least he hoped she was. Though he'd never have said so to Daniel, he had really been hoping that there wasn't something between the two, not when he knew that there was a certain other person who felt a lot more than just friendship for SG-1's archeologist.
That certain person was unaware that Cam had figured out how she felt. It had taken a while for him to realize it, to see the signs. There was that look of desperate hope in Sam's eyes when he revealed there was a small possibility that Daniel had ringed off the Korolev before it was destroyed. There was the fact that Daniel's name was the first word out of Sam's mouth when she regained consciousness after succumbing to those things on Vagonbrei that caused people to fall asleep and never wake up. The flashes of jealousy he'd noticed on the astrophysicist's face every now and then when Daniel and Vala interacted had been a big clue. And, most recently, there was the expression he'd seen in her eyes after Vala made that comment about her and Daniel being on a date. Those moments and earlier ones had all added up to Cam figuring out that Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, his friend and teammate, was in love with Doctor Daniel Jackson.
The thing he didn't know was how Daniel felt about her.
Cameron came to a sudden stop as he caught sight of Daniel and Sam walking toward him down the corridor. They were quite close to each other, soft smiles on their faces as they talked, their eyes on each other more than on where they were going.
Looking more closely, Cam noticed that there was a smudge of what looked like dirt on the knee of Daniel's pant leg. His T-shirt also didn't look like it was tucked in quite right. As for Sam, her hair appeared a little on the mussed side, more so than usual. More noticeable than that, however, was the glow on her face. He'd never seen her looking so happy before.
Daniel and Sam started going by him, apparently totally unaware that he was even there.
"Hello, you two," he greeted.
Startled, they looked at him.
"Oh. Hi, Cam," Sam greeted.
"Hey, if neither of you have any plans for tonight, I was thinking that we could all go to O'Malley's. I have a hankerin' for a big, juicy stake."
"Um, actually, I already have plans, Cam," Sam replied. "Sorry."
"So do I," Daniel then responded. "Maybe we could do it another night."
"Sure, no problem."
Just then, Cameron noticed something caught in Sam's hair. He reached out and plucked a tiny twig from it.
"Hmm. I wonder how that got there."
Both Sam and Daniel blushed scarlet.
"I-I was, um, outside," Sam stammered, "and I tripped on a root."
"Ah, and Jackson here helped you up?"
"W-what?" Daniel said, looking a bit flustered.
Cameron pointed down at Daniel's pant leg. The archeologist looked down and saw the dirt. His face got even redder.
"Uh . . . yes, I helped Sam up."
"Uh huh." Cameron nodded, keeping his face totally straight. "Well, I hope both of you have fun tonight, whatever it is that you're going to do."
He continued down the hall, resuming his whistling. After a moment, he glanced back and saw Sam and Daniel vanish around a corner. He let out a happy laugh.
"Now that's what I'm talkin' about!"