Characters: John/Cam and Vala
Word Count: 2,167
Notes: For dizzydame, who won me in the qldfloodauction and wanted John/Cam with bff!Vala, possibly at an amusement park. This is set at a fair, but I figured it was sort of the same, so I hopy ou like it :)
Cam keeps his gaze firmly on the stack of mission reports in front of him. He picks the top one up and starts to read it carefully. It’s thick, thicker than it needs to be, because Volchek is new and nervous and writes things down in detail like it’s his life’s work.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Cam flips to the second page of the report, and honestly, he doesn’t need a blow-by-blow account of how Volchek’s scientist took a soil sample. He’s pretty sure it’s accurate enough that he’d be able to do it himself, now. Maybe he and Volchek should talk, because really, this is a little much.
Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump-
“What?” Cam finally snaps out, looking at the woman perched on the edge of his desk. Vala blinks at him innocently, eyes too wide to be believable, and smiles.
“No need to get antsy, darling,” she mock-pouts at him. “I have a question for you, that’s all.”
“What is it?” Cam sighs, because if she’s asking him and not Jackson, that means that Jackson has already told her no, so this should be a real doozy.
“Okay,” she grins, sliding off the desk and planting her hands shoulder-width apart as she leans over, still grinning, It’s a move that works wonders on Jackson, because it affords a nice view into her shirt, but Cam’s not tempted. It’s no struggle at all to lean back in his own chair and keep his gaze on her face, and she grins wider, because she knows that, of course. “Now, just hear me out before you say no, darling, that’s all I’m asking.”
“I’d be disappointed if that’s all you were asking,” Cam replies with a smile of his own, and it’s close enough to the truth. For all she can annoy the hell out of him, he’s actually pretty fond of the crazy space pirate chick. “Spit it out.”
“There’s a fair in town.” And now Cam knows why Jackson said no, and he opens his mouth to tell her that he doesn’t have a leash short enough to make taking her to a fair a good idea, but she pouts at him and he closes it obediently. “I thought you might want to take me, because I wouldn’t mind if you brought a friend along, you know, just to see the sights,” she continues. “Because that friend has been stationed pretty far away, light-years away, for a long, long time, and I’ve heard he likes those big wheels with the carts on them”
“I don’t think General Landry is gonna approve weekend leave for John because you want to go to a fair,” Cam points out mildly, which is where Vala’s grin gets impossibly wider and she laughs, and then Cam hears Harriman’s voice over the loudspeaker, incoming wormhole from Midway, and he’s out the door of his office so fast that he might have created a mini-tornado in his wake.
Vala’s laughter follows him down the hallway.
John’s home for a week, a week, and yeah there’s meetings and things to be accountable for and times he has to be in the Mountain, but he’s on Earth for a week and Cam’s over the moon. He hasn’t been Earthside in almost two years, and Cam’s been out to Pegasus a few times, but it’s not nearly enough. It’s never really enough, and a week isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s seven days with John no more than a phone call away, seven nights with John wrapped around him like the clingy octopus he tends to be at night, and Cam could not be happier if he tried.
He would know. He’s tried.
“So, darling,” Vala says from just behind him as he’s waiting for John to get done in the infirmary. Cam’s trying really hard to not look like he’s loitering, and he’s pretty sure he’s failing miserably, but nobody’s said anything yet. “Will you and your friend take me to the fair?” She bats her eyelashes at him outrageously, and Cam hears John finishing up his medical exam and getting off the table, and he picks Vala up and swings her around til she laughs and smacks him in the arm.
“Let me check the schedule for the next few days,” he tells her as he sets her back on the ground. “I’ll let you know when.”
Vala throws her arms around his neck and draws him to her like only she can do, down and in and around quick as you please, and plants a big fat kiss on his cheek. “You do that,” she says into his ear, and then she lets him go and flounces down the hallway, presumably off to tell Jackson that she’d finagled Cam into taking her to thefair.
“What did she talk you into?” John’s voice asks from behind him, and Cam can’t help the smile that slips across his face as he turns, can’t help the way his fingers itch to reach out and touch, can’t help the way he wants to lead John out of the Mountain and home and curl up with him til they’re forced apart again. He carefully keeps his hands by his sides so he isn’t tempted further, and instead just grins at John. “We’re taking her to the fair.”
“She needs two chaperones?” John smirks.
Cam just rolls his eyes. “Clearly you haven’t met her before, because yes. Yes, she does.”
They go on a Thursday. Vala hums the entire way there, and she’s practically bouncing by the time they get out of the car.
“Should we have brought a leash?” John stage-whispers to Cam, who just grins as Vala whirls around and points at him.
“You,” she says, poking him in the chest,” are not going to ruin my fun today. I’ve never been to one of these before, so just hush up and enjoy your date.” She pauses long enough to link her arm through John’s and begin a determined march towards the entrance booth. “And buy me cotton candy,” she adds as she spies a kid walking around with a big puffball on a stick just inside the gate.
“Yes’m,” John drawls with a grin, rolling his eyes at the ticket-taker, a middle-aged woman who giggles at him as she runs his credit card.
“Two, dear?” she asks him, and John jerks his thumb at Cam.
“Him, too,” he says casually, and the woman smiles as she hands him three wristbands and his card. John tucks his card away and grabs Vala’s wrist, making quick work of the adhesive strap, and then he reaches for Cam’s hand and does the same. It’s weirdly intimate, John brushing his fingers over the inside of Cam’s wrist, pressing his thumb against the rough paper, slipping two fingers between Cam’s wrist and the band to check its tightness. John glances up at Cam’s face when he finishes and Cam can see that it was entirely purposeful, every motion planned, because John’s got that quiet smile on his face and his eyes are a shade past intense as he lets Cam’s hand fall from his own.
“All set,” he says as he quickly wraps his own around his wrist, and Cam wants to protest that he hadn’t been allowed to return the favor, but they’re in public and he understands it for what it is.
They mostly just follow Vala around the fairgrounds, explaining this or that as she asks. There are more games than rides, which is fine; Vala finds a booth with a nervous kid working it, something that requires tossing weighted beanbags at stacked cans to win giant stuffed tigers, and she wins four before they’re able to drag her away. She gives two to nearby kids who stare at them, and the other two she drags around as they continue to walk around.
“One for me,” she says when she catches John looking at them yet again, “and one for Muscles. His quarters are dreadfully boring.”
Cam has to grin at the thought of Vala presenting Teal’c with a giant stuffed tiger, but their relationship is something he doesn’t want to contemplate too closely, so he lets it go. John’s got a smirk on his face that says he’s contemplating pretty much the same scenario.
They eat greasy food and buy Vala her cotton candy, making their way towards the Ferris wheel in the back of the fairgrounds. When they finally reach it, it’s just the light side of dark, and the floodlights are coming on as the sun disappears below the last stretch of horizon. Vala takes one looks at the ride and sits herself, her tigers, and a bag that she won’t show either man down at a nearby table.
“I promise to be right here when you get down,” she says solemnly, taking a sip from the oversized cup emblazoned with the fair’s logo and full of something sticky and sweet and purple. “Honestly, Cameron. I won’t even move.”
And that’s the thing about Vala, the thing that makes Cam like her more than anything else. It’s that she’s telling the absolute truth, and it suddenly clicks in his head that she’d really only ever sort-of-cared about the fair. This is Vala’s way of helping, of giving him and John the chance to sort of go out together without anyone raising an eyebrow, and it’s sweet and unexpected and makes Cam’s chest swell a little.
“Right here?” he repeats, and she smiles gently as she nods.
“Right here,” she promises, and so Cam turns and takes John’s arm in his hand and leads him to the Ferris wheel.
The line isn’t that long, so it’s really only a few minutes before he and John are climbing into a car. They’re quiet until about a quarter of the way up, when John finally asks, “You sure it was a good idea to leave her there by herself?”
And Cam doesn’t know how to explain Vala to him, so he just smiles and nods. “She’ll be there.”
And John grins and shifts and then he’s sitting next to Cam, and the car’s tipping a little on its, axis but John’s mouth is covering Cam’s and his hand is warm on Cam’s thigh, and Cam’s glad that it’s a pretty tall Ferris wheel, because he doesn’t want to move away from John, not ever.
The wheel goes around four times, and it takes a grand total of maybe half an hour. It’s long for a ride, probably twice what he’d been expecting, but he and John exit the car from separate sides and he’s pretty sure the ride operator doesn’t notice their slightly disheveled state as they make their way to Vala’s table. She’s still sitting there, a pleased little smile on her face.
“I moved a little,” she tells them before either man can say anything. “I talked to that nice man who makes the Ferris wheel go. He’s such an interesting person.” She smiles and wiggles her fingers in the direction of the operator’s booth, and Cam gets that too, her making it last for as long as she could, and he doesn’t even know how to be thankful for her and her strange brand of understanding and caring and giving.
“Thanks,” is all he can offer, and John grabs her wrist and gives her a little smile, and she stands and puts an arm around each of them.
“My silly boys,” she sighs dramatically. “You can carry my tigers for me,” is added almost as an afterthought, and Cam grins and grabs the pink one that he’s almost positive is the one she’s giving Teal’c as John picks the other up, and they make their way back to the parking lot in silence.
When Cam gets to the Mountain in the morning, there are two identical boxes on his desk. One has his name on it in Vala’s flourishing script, and the other has John’s. Cam slips both boxes into his pocket before settling back into his paperwork.
He meets John for lunch at 1300, between one meeting and the next, and he slips John’s box to him as they sit in the corner of the mess hall. He opens his own as John’s pulling the lid from his, and he smiles a slow smile as he looks down into the tissue paper. It’s a delicate-looking Christmas ornament, spun gold and silver wire, in the shape of a Ferris wheel. Cam looks across to where John’s pulling an identical one from its box, a smile on his face as it spins around and catches the light.
“Tell her thanks,” he says quietly to Cam as he nestles the ornament carefully back into the tissue. “For everything.”
“I will,” Cam promises, and he absolutely, absolutely will, because she didn’t have to do it, any of it, but that’s Vala for you. “I sure will.”