holdouttrout: not your ordinary fish (sam_vala)
[personal profile] holdouttrout
Title: Keeping Secrets Doesn't Work if You Use Real Names
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Rating: PG
Category: Fluffy Angst
Pairing/Characters: Sam/Vala.
Summary: Vala's got a new hobby, but it could end up getting SG-1 in trouble.
Notes: Okay, so everyone and their mothers had vampires on the brain, and I have an entire AU in my head where the Goa'uld are literal, space-faring vampires. But then I realized that the story I really wanted to tell was a little different. So if you want the Vampiric Goa'uld AU, you're going to have to ask Vala instead. This is set before Don't Ask, Don't Tell bit the dust.





Vala took out her knife and drew it across her arm, holding it out in front of Sam.

The scent of blood wafted between them, and Sam's head turned toward it involuntarily. She opened her eyes and her mouth parted. At the sight of her teeth, Vala flinched, but she kept her arm steady.

"No," Sam croaked.

Vala drew in a breath with a hiss. "Don't be stupid."

"I won't," Sam said. "You--"

"Have already cut myself, and it stings like hell. One of us might as well enjoy it."

Sam shook her head, the ghost of a smile flickering around her lips. "I told you I'd die before taking your blood."

"I'm offering it," Vala said.

"And I told you. I can't take it." Sam struggled to sit up. "If I take it now, when I need it, I'm no better than the Goa'uld."

"You yourself are the result of need," Vala said. "If Jolinar hadn't bent the rules--"

"Exactly," Sam said. She looked Vala in the eye, and then lowered her head, closing her eyes as her head hit the ground. She sighed. "I never believed Jolinar did the right thing."

Vala slowly lowered her arm.

"Thank you," Sam said. "For offering."

Vala took her scarf and wound it around her wrist. "Yeah, well, you could have told me you'd refuse before I slashed my arm open."

Sam nearly smiled again. "I'll try to remember for next time."


******

Vala took the pen from the pad of paper in front of her and tapped it against her lips. She was obviously not concentrating on the briefing at all, and the only reason Cam hadn't called her on it was because it was one of the most boring briefings he could remember in a long, long time--something about soil composition and biology experiments, and Cam really couldn't care about what the science team needed to do on the planet they were going to.

So Cam was watching Vala be distracted. After a moment, Vala grinned and placed the pen back on the table, scribbling a few more lines as Nick Hart, one of the team of biologists who were incredibly excited about this planet's dirt, rambled on again about its unique properties.

Next to Cam, Teal'c was sitting completely still. He looked as if he was paying attention, but Cam knew better by now. Cam leaned over. "T. What is Vala doing?"

Teal'c glanced at Vala before looking stoically back at Nick. "I believe she is writing."

Cam watched as Vala repeated the pen-tapping process and then scribbled some more.

"What is she writing?"

Teal'c somehow managed to sigh without changing his breathing pattern or moving his body a millimeter. "It seems Vala has lately been interested in legends of vampires," he said.

"Vampires?" Cam said.

"Indeed."

Vala was bent over her paper, not even trying to look like she was taking notes, but Nick seemed to be wrapping up.

Cam debated whether or not to kick Vala to get her to pay attention to the end of the meeting, but just then, Vala came up with a triumphant grin and flipped the cover over her pages, settling back in her chair.

Nick finished talking and the General hurried to dismiss the briefing.

As they walked out of the room, Cam slid behind Vala and, in a deft move, took the pad of paper from her, flipping it open to the first page.

It was full of writing, but Cam didn't have time to try to decipher any of it before Vala had snatched it back.

"That's mine," she said, holding it protectively to her chest.

"Aw, I just wanted to see what had you so engrossed," Cam said.

"It's not... finished," Vala said, her eyes shifting.

Cam's eyes narrowed. "That's not why you don't want me to read it," he said.

Vala put on her best "I would never cheat a paying customer smile" and thrust out a hip. "Of course it is! I promise, when--if--I finish it, I'll let you read it."

Cam didn't buy it. He made a lunge, but Vala was too quick and brought the arm with the notepad behind her. Cam lunged again, only to find empty air. Vala looked equally as surprised to find her hand empty. She followed Cam's gaze and turned to find Sam holding the notepad, smugly fanning the open end.

Vala, Cam noted, turned an interesting shade of white.

"Let's see," Sam said, opening the cover, drawing the motion out melodramatically.

"Samantha," Vala said, sidling up to her. "You really shouldn't read that--I haven't had time to edit it--"

Sam was scanning the first page, focusing more deeply on the words the farther she read. She looked up, glancing sharply at Vala, who laughed nervously.

"One of the nurses loaned me these books, and they were just terrible--I mean, really terrible. I thought maybe I could write them better, and then someone said to write what you know, and I had this thought," she said, and she sounded like she was babbling.

"Sam," Cam drawled, beginning to enjoy himself. "You should read it out loud."

Vala shot him a panicked look--really terrified, and Cam immediately regretted making a big deal out of this. It was obviously not something just embarrassing, or Vala would have gotten over it by now with her usual saucy grin.

Cam wondered if maybe he should take the notepad back, but it was too late.

Sam turned the first page and read for a couple of seconds, and then she slammed the notepad shut, turning red by degrees. "I--"

Daniel, who had been reading as he meandered from the briefing room, chose that moment to walk right into Sam. He lost his grip on his stack of papers, and they went flying in all directions. In the confusion, Cam lost line of sight of the notebook, and when he thought about it next, it was only to shrug and guess that Vala had managed to get it back.

******

Sam, on the other hand, had a bit more of a dilemma. She had slipped the notebook into her own stack of papers as subtly as she could, but now she felt as though the innocuous-looking thing was shouting at her. She was tempted to throw it away, but she couldn't think of any safe way to dispose of the notebook permanently without hanging onto it longer than she liked. Besides, she should probably just give it back to Vala, but considering what was written in it... well, she wasn't sure Vala realized what kind of trouble her story could cause.

Sam carried the thing around with her the rest of the day, careful to never allow people to even see it, let alone touch it. She didn't catch even a glimpse of a pigtail for hours, and after she finished her last report, she had decided that in this case, retreat would only make things worse in the end.

Vala wasn't in her room, and Sam almost gave up and went home. Instead, she walked down one level. Because there were so many people now calling the SGC home, General Hammond had authorized a computer lab and library with a couple of comfortable reading chairs. It was a pretty small space, so most people didn't stay there, preferring the company of the commissary, but Sam thought Vala might be hiding. Tonight, Sam's hunch panned out, and she found Vala curled into one of the chairs with a large book in her lap.

"Any good?" Sam said.

Vala looked up, apparently unsurprised to see Sam there. She flipped the book closed and glanced at the cover. To Sam's surprise, it was a book she recognized from Daniel's lab, a thick, densely written treatise on ancient Mesopotamian cultures. She'd tried to read it once, and lost interest within a few pages. Vala was already halfway through.

Vala shrugged. "It's all right," she said. "Daniel's lectures are starting to make sense, though."

Sam laughed and sat in the chair opposite Vala. She took out the notebook and handed it to Vala, who took it with a considering look.

"I wasn't sure I'd get this back," she said.

"I wasn't sure I should give it back." Sam sighed. "Look, I probably shouldn't have read it, but--"

"Daniel told me," Vala said.

Sam had wondered about his collision. Daniel didn't normally run into things while reading. It was a skill she admired, and even if Sam hadn't known about his facility for deft maneuvering, his timing today had been convenient. She was relieved she wouldn't have to try to explain everything to Vala; she trusted Daniel had covered the salient points without raising anyone else's suspicion.

Vala continued, "He saw what I was writing earlier. I didn't know about..." Vala eyes flicked in the general direction of the camera in the corner of the ceiling, and then she said, "the rules."

Sam was silent for a long moment. She finally responded with a quiet, "Yeah." What else could she say? Even if they weren't being recorded, it was still too dangerous. She had been so careful, but all it would take was one more rumor, one person with a grudge, and she could lose everything.

"I'll... burn this," Vala said, indicating the notebook. "Or throw it through a wormhole or something."

Sam's look turned calculating. "I don't know," she said. "It was pretty... interesting."

Vala's head swung up in surprise.

Sam gave a small smile, and after a moment, Vala returned it. Sam continued, "I mean, you obviously can't name every character for someone on the team, but I don't think the story itself is half-bad."

Now Vala looked at her suspiciously. "It's vampires. In space."

"It's a coded commentary on our real-life situation," Sam said. "The Goa'uld as vampires. It could work. And the tension was quite... believable."

She met Vala's gaze, willing her to understand what she wasn't saying. After a long, long moment, Vala nodded, and a small smile curled back onto Vala's lips.

"Vampires are, from what I can tell from from my research, extremely popular."

"Exactly," Sam said. "Although your blonde character--does she always follow the rules?"

Vala's eyebrows shot up, and Sam's heart started pounding. What was she saying?

"You think she'd take the offer?" Vala asked.

Sam was frozen. She hadn't meant to leave an opening like this. She had never even considered--

That was a lie. From the very first moment she had seen Vala sashay into the room, she had considered. She had been saved by years of practice at pretending not to consider and by the definite impression Vala gave at being very interested in Daniel, but she had definitely thought once or twice about what might happen in a perfect, fair world.

"Well," Sam said, stalling. "No." Vala almost looked hurt, and Sam hurried to say, "Not then, anyway."

"But... later?" Vala said.

Sam wondered what she was getting into. "Maybe later. Maybe," she added, firmly.

Vala nodded, solemn. "Right. Maybe."

"Vala," Sam warned.

Vala held up her hands. "Someday. Maybe."

Sam just stared at her.

"What?" Vala said. Her innocent act was spoiled by a slight crinkling around her eyes.

Sam sighed, and Vala's careful expression dissolved into a grin. Sam rolled her eyes, and headed for the door. Vala tucked the notebook into a pocket, tossed Daniel's book onto a small table, and followed.

They were only a few steps into the hall before Vala said, "It's just that I-- that is, my other character is very attractive."

"Really," Sam said dryly.

"And smart."

"Uh huh."

"So, in fact, she's irresistible."

"I should have burned that notebook when I had the chance," Sam said.

"Probably," Vala said with a bright smile and a tiny little hop. She leaned around Sam and pushed the button for the elevator. "Did I mention she's very good at keeping secrets?"

Sam groaned.

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