Five Purchases Vala Made with Daniel's Credit Card by Cowardly Lion
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Category: Jack/Daniel, Daniel/Vala
Genres: Pre-Relationship (het), Pre-Slash
Rated: Teen
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Vala keeps buying things and Daniel has to deal with it. The same five purchases are seen first from Vala's POV then from Daniel's

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Story Notes:
Daniel/Vala UST - deep in denial UST. Jack/Daniel pre-slash. Jack/Vala friendship.
VALA

* Shopping spree at the mall. Oddly enough, Teal'c is more fun to shop with than Sam. When the two of them escort her to the local market place, or "mall' as the Tau'ri say, it's Teal'c that patiently accompanies her through store after store, discussing style, feeling fabric, and suggesting outfits. Whereas Teal'c likes to browse, Sam is more inclined toward what she refers to as "targeted acquisition". Eventually they leave Sam happily ensconsed in a coffee shop with a newly purchased reference book on home repair and continue without her. Teal'c is familiar with every store at the mall including Yankee Candle, Victoria’s Secret and Brookstone Leathers and offers guidance on her choices. As she tries on the strange new clothes, Vala wonders which ones Daniel would like best.

* Magazine subscriptions. Vala knows that "People", "Us" and "Entertainment Weekly", with their glossy photos and fluff articles about fashion, celebrities and gossip, are perfect for learning the language and learning the culture. "Money" teaches her what the Tau'ri value and how they trade it. "House and Garden" and "Better Homes and Garden" show her how they live. "National Geographic" was recommended by General O'Neill as a great way to see the wonders of Earth since she isn't allowed to leave the base yet. Selected in the mistaken belief that the title is euphemistic and the magazine will be somewhat pornographic, "Hot Rods" is a complete disappointment not unlike many other "hot rods" that she has encountered prior to this. She doesn't need subscriptions to any archeology, anthropology or linguistics magazines since Daniel seems to have cornered the market on those. He doesn't know it, but she's read every one of the back issues archived in the base library. Though Daniel rolls his eyes in disdain over the gossip magazines, Teal'c is as fascinated by them as she is. They spend many a happy hour in his quarters poring over the pages and dishing the latest dirt. Sam and Mitchell are welcome to bicker over rights to the latest issue of "Hot Rod", neither realizing that Siler takes it when they aren't looking. The home and garden magazines leave Vala feeling wistful, as she imagines how it would feel to live the kind of life the homes imply and whether Daniel would like it too.

* Sex toys from an online retailer. Well, a girl’s got needs, doesn’t she? But Vala is stuck on base in quarters at the SGC and since Daniel has made it clear that everyone at the base, including the women, are out of bounds, well, she has no other choice than to take matters into her own hands, as it were. Especially since Daniel doesn't seem likely to lend a helping hand or any other bodily part any time soon. He doesn't even appreciate her thoughtfulness in not having the package delivered to the SGC where Landry or any one else would find out about it. Instead, Vala has to listen to a lecture before he lets her have the package.

Acting disinterested, he doesn't ask exactly what she purchased, but she swears there is a speculative gleam in his eyes. When she flirtatiously confides that some of the items were intended for him, he turns bright red, getting so flustered that it takes him three tries to open the door to her room and flee into the safety of the corridor. Although she is surprised by the severity of his reaction, the strength of her own disappointment is even more unexpected. She picks up the plain brown box from the floor where he’d dropped it in his panicked withdrawal and shoves it under the bed. Weeks pass before she finally opens it, trying one or two of the toys, leaving most of them in their packaging. Sometimes, as she masturbates, she amuses herself with a fantasy of a time when she and Daniel can look back at this day, sharing a laugh before pulling a toy from the box and sharing something more.

* Round trip airline tickets to Washington D.C. When Daniel is first abducted by Adria, the SGC is a flurry of activity. Within hours of the initial report, General Jack O'Neill himself has flown in to lead the Search & Rescue. Days pass with no leads, no where to look, so the IOA forces them to scale back. The third time the Pentagon orders him back to D.C. Jack reluctantly goes. Weeks go by with no news of Daniel. Fueled by worry, fear, frustration and an overwhelming need to do something, anything, Vala buys tickets on the first available flight to D.C. intending to give Jack, and through him the entire military establishment, a piece of her mind. Easily bypassing Pentagon security and his secretary, she confronts him in his office, battering him with words until she can find an excuse to use her fists. She hurls "useless" and "doddering" and "spineless" and "cowardly" like shock grenades. Instead of fighting back the way she wants him to, he stands impassive, letting the sound crash around him like waves breaking against a rocky shore.

When she finally runs out of breath, there is silence between them until Jack quietly says "I miss him, too". With a crook of his hand and a whispered "C'mere" he invites her into his arms. His gentle strength cradles her while she weeps as she has never wept before not even for herself. He soothes her with touch and murmurings. His words are full of hope and comfort, but the bleakness in his eyes matches her own. From then on, Jack flies out to Colorado whenever his schedule permits. There is nothing they can do but wait, but at least they no longer wait alone.

* One week stay for three at a resort in Hawaii. After the defeat of the Ori and with no new enemies in sight - yet - Vala knows everyone needs a vacation. Ever since "National Geograhic" did a special issue on the wonders of Hawaii, she has wanted to go there. How better to relax and celebrate than to spend a week in paradise with her two favorite people? Daniel makes a pretense of reluctance, but both Jack and Vala persist (nag) with their concerns (mother-henning) until he agrees to go (gives in). Hawaii is every bit as beautiful as Vala hopes. The moment they arrive they relax muscles they didn't know were clenched. Their days are spent in the drowsing in the sun, their nights at fabulous restaurants and shows.

Vala knows full well that there is no such thing as a happy ending, but here in paradise with Jack and Daniel bickering amicably around her, it's easy to pretend.





DANIEL

* Shopping spree at the mall. Sam and Teal'c are the ones who take Vala to the mall, yet neither of Daniel's friends notices she is using his credit card. When he opens the statement a month later, he literally staggers to a chair from the shock. He calls the credit card company convinced it is some sort of hideous error, a computer glitch, a system malfunction and demands a complete accounting of purchases. Instead of hearing "Sorry, our mistake!" he is provided with clear copies of charge slips from a variety of stores including Victoria’s Secret and Brookstone Leathers. He reviews them all. How could one woman need that many shoes? How could tiny scraps of satin, lace and underwire come to that ungodly total? Where does Vala expect to wear a green leather bustier in Colorado Springs?

Granted, he can refuse to pay on the grounds of fraud since she's not an authorized signer. If he does that, the credit card company will insist on pressing criminal charges which might risk exposing her as an alien, which the government won't allow. Besides, it's difficult enough as it is to get reinstated with the card companies each time he returns from the dead. A fraud claim such as this might get his privileges revoked for good. In the end, he takes the statement to a very sarcastic General Landry who works out a way to submit it as an expense.

Despite being reimbursed by the SGC, Daniel still feels as though he paid for Vala's wardrobe. Occasionally he finds himself speculating on whether she's wearing the racy intimates under her utilitarian BDU's or if she saves those for when she's in civilian clothes. He's still waiting for the leather bustier to make an appearance.

* Magazine subscriptions. Although he's dismayed at the number of magazines she signed up for, Daniel grudgingly accepts Vala's logical explanation. She is new to the planet, she really does need to learn about it and the magazines really are helpful research tools. He doesn't have any interest in the pop culture magazines, but he's glad that Teal'c has someone who shares his enthusiasm for them. Mitchell and Sam fight over the subscription to "Hot Rods" , which was an odd choice for Vala to make, but she insists it was an accident. When he complains about the purchases to Jack on the phone one evening, he starts with "You'll never guess what she bought now" and Jack immediately responds with "I've got dibs on the Nat Geo's." Daniel can hear the smirk all the way from D.C.

Sometimes when Daniel is alone in his office and needs a break from translation, he pulls out one of the house magazines Vala leaves lying around. He turns the pages slowly, examing the details of decoration, color and design of every pristine home displayed, every bright garden spread out before him. He becomes entranced with these furtive glimpses into lives he'll never live. He tries to conjure up what Vala sees when she looks at these photos. Something alien? Something familiar? It's easy to imagine her in each surrounding, with that regal air of confidence claiming that life as her right. If he sometimes envisions himself there with her, well, that's just coincidence.

* Sex toys from an online retailer. She uses his credit card, his email, his real name and his home address. Apparently, Vala also spent enough to get on a VIP list. He is inundated not only with spam mail but with racy junk mail and catalogs that have his letter carrier, a born-again Christian, looking askance at him. Changing email addresses takes care of one problem, but he may have to give the mail lady a big tip this Christmas. All of the unwanted solicitations go straight into the trash – at first.

There are a few late nights where, after a glass or three of wine, he roams through his darkened house until he finds himself drawn to the kitchen. Opening the door to the cabinet under the sink that hides the trash can, he fishes out a few of the more respectable looking catalogs. He doesn’t go sit somewhere comfortable, just stands in the kitchen feeling vaguely guilty and embarrassed as he flips through the slick pages. He peers at the pictures by the dim light of the tiny fluorescent bulb under the stove hood, sipping his wine and wondering which items she had purchased with him in mind. Turning a deaf ear to the whispers of his inner voice, he tells himself the impulse is nothing more than the prurient curiosity of the too-long-celibate.


* Round trip airline tickets to Washington D.C. After his return from his imprisonment by Adria, Daniel has a lot of catching up to do. Oh, everything is tidy, thanks to helpful friends. All of his bills are paid then neatly filed, but he pulls out the credit card statements to see what Vala was up to while he was gone. Oddly enough, there is little activity except for airline tickets. He mentions them to Teal'c who informs him of Vala's visit to Jack, adding "Vala Mal Doran was extremely distraught by your absence." Sam tells him the same story then hugs him and says "We were all worried about you, Daniel but Vala was beside herself." Mitchell shares his version of the confrontation then claps him on the shoulder and tells him "You picked one helluva girlfriend, Jackson. She'd go ten round with Old Scratch himself to get you back." Major Davis tells the story from the D.C. point of view during a visit to the SGC and adds "Ms. Mal Doran on the offense is a force to be reckoned with. She's the talk of the Pentagon." As Jack is leaving for the airport, he ruffles Daniel's hair and gives his stamp of approval - "Vala's pig-headed, tenacious, stubborn, and feisty. I like her. She's got moxie."

Daniel hears their comments, listens to their versions of events, but none of it seems real. He can't quite accept that anyone would fight so hard on his behalf. Except Jack, of course. Jack would spit in the eye of biggest baddest Goa'uld out there if the snake stood between him and Daniel. It's hard to believe that there's one person, much less two people who care that much about him. He notes the affectionate glow that warms him when he thinks of the lengths to which Jack or Vala will go for him, but dismisses it as maudlin sentimentality - yet another aftereffect of his captivity.

Vala never says a word about the incident, but then again, Daniel never asks her.

* One week stay for three at a resort in Hawaii. After the defeat of the Ori, Vala drops by his house one Saturday and presents him with tickets to Hawaii saying "You've earned this, darling" to which he replies "I paid for this, didn't I?" They both know the question is rhetorical. He raises an eyebrow when he counts three tickets instead of the expected two. Vala smiles and tells him Jack will be flying in from D.C. to join them. She no sooner stops speaking when he hears Jack's key in the door. Outwardly, he makes a show of fussing at their cajolery, rolling his eyes and countering with accusations of nagging, over-protective, and smothering. Inside, the relentless concern for his well-being is reassuring. Ultimately he lets himself be persuaded (as if there had been any doubt) and the trio leaves the next morning. Once there, Daniel spends half his time enjoying the splendors of the islands and the other half listening to Jack and Vala's good-natured squabbling over who gets to sit closest to him.

Daniel has seen too much, learned too much over the past more than a decade to believe in happy endings anymore. But lounging on the beach in the tropcal sunshine with the two people closest to him, it's easy to pretend.




FINIS
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