Cameron shrugs. "I'm taking Vala out on a date. You got a problem with that, Jackson?"
Daniel shakes his head emphatically. Possibly too emphatically. "No, no, why would I have a problem with it? I'm just wondering if you've lost your mind."
"She's fun," Cameron says. "And she's getting bored sitting around base all the time. No reason why we shouldn't go out."
"What about military protocol?" Daniel asks.
"She's a civilian."
"You're still her commanding officer!"
Cameron's eyebrow lifts a millimeter. "Technically, she reports to Landry. As do you. I'm in charge on the field missions."
Daniel huffs and wonders why he cares so much. "Fine. But if she steals your wallet or gives you some exotic alien disease, don't say I didn't warn you."
"So noted, Jackson." He slings his leather jacket over his shoulder in a casual move that Daniel knows he would never in a million years be able to master.
"How was your date with Mitchell?" Daniel asks before he can stop himself when he runs into Vala in the mess the next day.
Vala gives him one of her patented grins. "It was wonderful. I never knew Cameron was such a good dancer."
Daniel wonders what that gnawing feeling in his stomach is as he fills his tray. "Good for you."
"We're going out again this evening," she adds, picking up two jello cups.
"Wow, sounds like it's getting serious," Daniel says, his voice cracking.
Vala beams. "We're both in it for the fun."
That gives Daniel mental images that he could have definitely lived without. "Good for you." His voice couldn't be any flatter if he tried. "I hope you have fun."
"Oh, we will," she assures him.
Three days later, he can't take it anymore. The realization that he's jealous of Mitchell and Vala hit him out of nowhere in the shower the previous evening. It's hard to admit to himself, but he finally has to accept that he has developed fond feelings for Vala. He's not sure he trusts her, but he knows that he can't stand watching her with Mitchell any longer.
"Hey, Mitchell, you got a minute?"
"Sure, Jackson, what's up?" Cameron asks, looking up from the pile of folders in front of him.
Daniel hesitates, but enters the office, perching carefully on the edge of a chair. "You and Vala seem to be getting close," he begins.
Cameron shrugs. "We're having fun."
"I'm sure you are," Daniel says. "Aren't you worried that Vala is... using you?"
"How do you mean?"
Daniel closes his eyes for a moment, trying desperately to restore some sense of equilibrium to his brain. He hasn't felt this off balance since... well, since ever. "It's just... I don't think Vala is the relationship type. I'd hate to see you get hurt."
Cameron laughs. "Come on, Jackson. It's not like I'm giving her a ring and asking her to be the mother to my babies. We're just having some fun together."
"Fine, fine, maybe I'm crazy," Daniel concedes. In fact, he's rather certain he's crazy for even entertaining the notion that he might be interested in Vala.
"I've got work to do," Cameron says. "Why don't you worry about your own love life, instead of mine?"
There's an underlying tone of... amusement in Cameron's voice when he says it, but Daniel is too embarrassed to properly process its meaning. "Sorry. I won't keep you." He stands up and leaves, feeling even more confused than when he entered.
"Working late, Daniel?" Vala sticks her head in his office door, carrying two mugs of coffee.
He jumps at the sound of her voice, his pencil leaving a giant streak in the middle of his page of notes. "Yeah, just... trying to make sense of some of this Asgard technology."
She sets one of the cups of coffee down next to him and perches on the edge of his desk, sipping from the other.
"Vala, what are you doing?" he asks, afraid to pick up the coffee mug because his hands are suddenly shaking.
"Keeping you company," she replies.
"Don't you have a date with Mitchell tonight?" Daniel hopes she doesn't notice how funny his voice sounds.
Vala laughs. "No, Daniel. I do not have a date with Cameron."
His brows knit together in confusion. "What's so funny?"
"I am not!"
"Then why did your voice just get really high?"
"I... I don't know."
"Because you want me for yourself," she taunts. "And you think that Mitchell has me."
"I do not... wait, what do you mean I think Mitchell has you?" he asks.
Vala beams. "Cameron and I haven't gone on any dates."
Daniel tilts his head in confusion. "But... "
"But we told you we did because I couldn't seem to get you to admit you have feelings for me and Cameron got tired of listening to me whine about it," she explains. "So he agreed to help me."
"So you lied to me," he says.
"For your own good," Vala insists. She swings her legs around so they are on either side of Daniel's chair. "Admit it, Daniel. You want me."
It's hard to think with her sitting so close. Daniel swallows and closes his eyes, trying to get his bearings. "I'll admit that I may have... a slight crush."
Vala laughs again. And slides to the edge of the desk, leaning forward. "Just a slight crush."
"Well..." There are little beads of sweat popping out on his forehead. "Maybe more than a slight crush."
She doesn't say anything, just sits there and looks at him. It unnerves him and he finally snaps, reaching up and threading his fingers through her long hair, pulling her head forward so he can crush his lips against hers. Within moments, he finds himself with a lapful of Vala, her hands gripping the front of his shirt and he doesn't even remember that she left the door to his office ajar when she came in. He also doesn't notice when Cameron comes by and pulls it shut ten minutes later since clothes are flying and all he can focus on is the woman he's with.