Summary: Vala takes a moment to settle her mind.
The rest of her teammates were helping the medics load the various Ba'al bodies onto gurneys and walk them to the Gate. What Earth could possibly want with them, she didn't know. They seemed to love to take in dangerous strays to see how they worked. Vala herself was a prime example of that. When she was certain she could slip away undetected, she rounded one of the tents and leaned against the wooden support beam.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she looked into the woods and chewed her lip thoughtfully. For the past few days, she had believed everyone had turned against her. That her friends - her first real friends in years - had betrayed her. Left her swinging in the breeze. Real or not, she had the memory of them walking out of the briefing room on her. She remembered the cold, solitary room they'd left her in for so long. How was she supposed to just ignore that?
She was chewing her thumbnail when she heard someone approaching from the far side of the tent. She gripped her zat, wondering if one of the Jaffa had managed to survive the symbiote poison, and relaxed only when Sam Carter's head poked around the corner. "Vala."
Sam didn't miss the coldness in her friend's voice. She walked up and said, "How are you?"
Vala rolled her eyes and shrugged.
"That's not an answer."
"I don't think I have an answer yet." She looked at Sam, allowing her eyes to moisten a bit. Who would have thought, Vala Mal Doran crying because she thought someone had betrayed her. How many people had she scammed in the past? How many feelings had she stomped all over just to get her way? She hung her head, hoping her pigtails hid her eyes. "I'm sure I'll be fine."
Sam put a hand on Vala's shoulder and squeezed.
"You know what is ironic?" Vala said with a weak smile. "Coming to Earth - this time, at least - was the first time I'd... I'd ever gone anywhere without thinking about what I could get out of the people I met. And the people I met there ended up giving me more than I ever could have dreamed. So... even if it was my idea, it's going to take a little getting used to, the memory of losing it all."
"Well," Sam said, leaving her hand on Vala's shoulder, "one thing you have to understand about us is that we don't lightly turn our backs on our friends."
Vala turned her head and rested her wet cheek on Sam's hand. Sam turned her hand around, cupping Vala's cheek and stepping closer. She brushed her thumb under Vala's eye and tilted her head up. "Hey," she said softly.
Vala parted her lips and Sam accepted the unspoken invitation. She stepped closer and pressed her body against Vala's, separated by two flak jackets and two P-90s and who knew how many layers of clothes. Vala turned her head and broke the kiss, moving her lips to the meaty part of Sam's palm.
"I was wondering if this was part of the dream, too," she said quietly.
Sam smiled and pressed her lips to Vala's temple. "No. Girls night in got a little rowdy."
Vala snickered and pulled back in time to see Sam's blush fading. She bit her lip and said, "When we get back to Earth, why don't we..."
They were interrupted by a sudden blast of zat fire. Someone began to shout in Goa'uld and Vala slipped out of Sam's grip. They both peered around the corner and saw a Jaffa kneeling behind a bit of cover, shooting at the medics and everything else that moved. Sam and Vala looked at their weapons as they heard Cam shouting. Sam had her P-90, but Vala's zat was out and ready. Sam nodded and Vala stepped forward.
Vala fired and the Jaffa went down. Teal'c investigated the man's armor and discovered a vial of tretonin concealed in the cuff of his armor.
"Cam, Daniel... why don't we get this guy comfortable for when he wakes up."
"The more comfortable he is, the looser with information he is," Cameron said. Sam nodded and the men lifted the man's dead weight between them.
Teal'c followed them away, eyeing the Jaffa's tretonin, and leaving Sam and Vala alone. Sam looked at Vala and said, "If you need some more time to adjust..."
"No," Vala said quietly. She looked at the zat in her hand, remembering the calm in Sam's eyes. Sam had let her take the lead. Sam had relied on her to take care of their situation. She smiled and looked Sam in the eye. "I don't need any more time to adjust. This is reality. I'm a member of this team."
"Yes, you are," Sam smiled.
Vala put her hand on Sam's shoulder and squeezed. Sam reached up and covered Vala's hand with her own before they turned and followed the guys to wait for the Jaffa to wake up.
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