Formal Attire Not Required
by Nel

Rating: PG-13
Category: First time, humor
Pairing: Daniel/Vala
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoilers: Vaguely for S10, I suppose
Summary: Wherein Daniel is *not* paranoid, Vala broadens her skill sets and Cameron is having way too much fun.
Author's Notes: Man. The kudos I owe The Suz and The Kylie. *bows* You guys always come through. Thank you!

Happy not-birthday, D! Good thing I didn't write you anything this year either, huh? I LOVE YOU!


"Daniel, I have a problem," Vala said as she walked into Daniel's office, making sure her hips were swaying to maximum capacity—not that it did her any good. Daniel didn't even lift his face from the dusty old book he was reading.


Vala leaned down. A little cleavage never hurt. She made her voice low and intense. "I'm in desperate need of sex, right this moment. With you."

"How nice," Daniel said absently, frowning at the text.

Her eyes narrowed. "I went to Teal'c, but while he's an excellent, muscle-bound man, it just didn't do it for me."

"Mmm," Daniel agreed.

"Colonel Mitchell wasn't bad either, but he cried out the wrong name at the important part."

"Mmmhmm," Daniel said with sympathy.

"And Colonel Carter was *extremely* talented, but I just got the feeling that her heart wasn't completely in it."

"That's good."

Vala sighed and stood, hands on hips. "Fine. Have it your way. Have books instead of mind-blowing sex with the sexy, nimble female alien."

"Okay," Daniel said, smiling and nodding and still not looking up.

Vala wanted to stomp her feet and throw the book against the wall, but she didn't think it would work. (She knew, because she'd tried, and it had taken a week for Daniel to start speaking with her again, and only after she'd taped up the book.)

This required some heavy thinking. Daniel was the first man she'd met who didn't want to sleep with her, and had she had a slightly less healthy self-image, she might have felt hurt. As it was, she wasn't adverse to a challenge. She needed a new approach, and she needed it now. Determined, she marched toward Daniel's door.

"Have a nice day," Daniel mumbled after her, and as she exited, slamming the door for emphasis, she fumed.

Nice day indeed.


Daniel vaguely noticed people stepping to the side as he walked to his office, reading the latest report from PX5-381, where SG-11 had made some fascinating finds. Looking up and smiling briefly at Siler, he pushed his fingers under his glasses and rubbed his eyes. Coffee would be good right about now. He wondered if he was getting old. While he’d always appreciated the effects of coffee, it had been for all-nighters, not for getting up in the morning after a night of perfectly fine sleep. Of course, last night he'd had some fairly intense dreams about—well, anyway, he’d slept perfectly well.

Stepping into his office, he stopped dead in his tracks and wondered if he wasn’t still sleeping after all.

Vala was seated in the chair in front of his desk, only...she didn't look like Vala. At all. Instead of her normal tight, black top, camo pants and pigtails, she was dressed a grey suit, with the A-line skirt modestly covering her knees and her hair pulled into a tight bun. Her lips were pursed thoughtfully as she read a file on her lap, one she'd clearly taken from Daniel's desk.

Noticing Daniel, she smiled (a small, polite smile as opposed to her normal outrageous grin). “Daniel. Good morning! Would you like some coffee?”

Cautiously, since he was a man who'd stood up against the Goa'uld, the Ancients and Jack O'Neill, he said, “I’d love some coffee,” while looking for something heavy, just in case this was a pod person.

Vala's smile widened and she handed him a mug off coffee that he hadn't spotted when coming into the office, probably the result of the distraction of Vala dressed as a human being—literally.

Apparently failing to sense Daniel's complete bewilderment with the situation, Vala smiled again. "I thought I might spend the day with you, help you out. I remember that you needed to catalog those artifacts you've been talking about all week." She tapped the folder she'd closed when he came in. "Fascinating stuff."

Daniel relaxed. Obviously, Vala wanted something. That was something he was more than accustomed to. "Great—I'd love your help," he said, seating himself across from her, behind his desk. He sipped his coffee and handed Vala his notebook. "It would be helpful if you could take notes for me."

"Of course," Vala said, without batting an eye.

He’d let her take notes while he waited for boredom to do his work for him. She’d spill what she wanted from him this time soon enough. He knew Vala. Give her something tedious and repetitive, and she'd throw a fit.

Only, once he started reading and dictating details that needed to be recorded, he was engrossed within a few minutes. He did kind of love his work, even when it involved jotting down how many shards of Ancient mug holders SG-11 found on PX5-381. It was only when his stomach started to grumble that he realized that Vala had been taking notes for four hours, without a word of complaint. She had even asked him pertinent questions about the mug holders and their respective mugs.

"What?" Vala said, pen poised. "Daniel? Do you need more coffee?"

Daniel realized he'd frozen. He'd probably been staring at her for a few long seconds. He stood abruptly, almost knocking his chair to the floor. "Okay, what is wrong with you?"

Vala looked up from her notepad, frowning a little. In her outfit, with her notepad and pen, she looked completely normal—as though she always came into his office without bugging him (which had happened exactly once before, when she'd fallen asleep three minutes after sitting down). "What do you mean?" she asked, a faint frown creasing her brow.

"This, what is this?" he gestured toward her suit, trying to encompass the weirdness of the situation, and somehow ended up pointing at her breasts. He quickly crossed his arms. Sighing internally, he waited for the immature and sexually loaded joke that would follow, but she only smiled a little again (that weird, strangely bland smile), saying that she'd just thought her wardrobe needed a change, and would Daniel care for some lunch?

Daniel's stomach would, but Daniel was far too bothered by this strange person sitting in front of him to think of eating. "Is it something serious?" he persisted. "Are you sick? We can have Doctor Lam check you out. I can call her right now." He reached for the phone.

She laughed a little. "Daniel, Daniel," she said, and it freaked Daniel out how she sounded like his old history professor, who'd kind of thought he was nuts, "I'm fine. Really, there's no need to call Doctor Lam. There's nothing wrong, except for the fact that I'm really very hungry."

Daniel withdrew his hand, staring at her hard. "Okay. Okay, yes, that's, that's good. You go ahead. I'll meet you at the elevator. I need the bathroom."

She smiled at him again, and he smiled back, widely, as though compensating for her narrow smirk, and the moment she was out the door, he pounced on the phone.

"Sam? Yeah, look, I need something."


"What exactly are we doing, ColonelMitchell?"

“Spying, Teal’c,” ColonelMitchell replied before grinning boyishly at Teal’c.

Teal'c felt that some days, it was as though O'Neill had never left. "I think perhaps you are taking DanielJackson's words too literally."

“He told us to keep an eye on her because she was acting like a pod person, so that’s what we’re doing.”

"Would it not be more inconspicuous to observe Vala from a closer distance—for instance, from the same table at which she is seated?"

“Ah,” ColonelMitchell said, pointing a finger at Teal’c, “but this way we won’t be taken by surprise when she breaks out of her Vala-suit and turns into a huge cockroach.”

Teal’c regarded ColonelMitchell. ColonelMitchell regarded him back, his eyes glittering.

“You are enjoying yourself,” Teal’c observed.

“Observing live what manages to freak out Doctor Daniel I’ve-Died-Forty-Nine-Times-Nothing-Surprises-Me Jackson? You bet your ass I am.”


“What is wrong with you?” Daniel hissed, trying not to bring the attention of the entire commissary on them.

Vala shook her head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Daniel.”

Daniel indicated her, carefully avoiding her breasts. "Besides the obvious bizarreness? You haven't tried to talk me into buying anything for you all day, and you haven't even tried to steal my credit card!"

"Why, Daniel," Vala frowned. "Your money is your own. You've worked hard to get it. If I want money, I need to do some work. After all, apparently I do draw a salary, small as it is."

Daniel squinted at her, pretty sure that he'd lectured her on that at some point. "So, is that what this morning was about? Are you trying to earn your keep? Because you don't have to help me catalog stuff to do that."

She smiled at him, and Daniel gritted his teeth. That smile was just so...wrong, so unlike her. "Oh, no, Daniel, it was my pleasure to help you."

Daniel was seriously considering calling the infirmary when Sam plopped down next to him.

“Hey, Daniel. Hey—“ Her eyes widened. “Vala?”

“Good day, Samantha!” Vala said cheerfully, delicately nibbling on the sandwich of the size that, normally, would take her about three bites to finish. She leaned forward a bit, clearly intensely interested. "How *are* you?"

Sam was staring at her. Daniel poked an elbow into her side, and Sam immediately took the hint and sat back. "I, uh, I'm good, thanks for asking."

Vala smiled sincerely. “It was my pleasure.” She leaned back and continued to nibble on the sandwich.

“Okay, I thought you were joking,” Sam mumbled quietly to Daniel, “but I brought…” With her eyes, she indicated a small scanner, which she held under the table. Daniel tried to look casual and not like they were trying to find out whether there was a foothold situation in motion.

He smiled at Vala, and she smiled back, and they sat there for a while in some weird, smiling, Mexican standoff. Then Sam’s eye twitched more or less subtly and he realized that she had her results.

“Vala,” he said. “Why don’t you take a few hours off—rest your eyes.”

Vala frowned. “Are you sure, Daniel? I’d be happy to continue assisting you.”

“No, no, you’ve earned it.”

“Really, it wouldn’t be a bother,” Vala said sincerely, and Daniel could *feel* the disbelieving expression on Sam’s face.

"Well, it would for me. It's just not right to overwork you," Daniel said, equally sincerely.

Vala nodded, looking disappointed. "Very well." She brightened. "But I'll join you again in a few hours. I'll just return to my quarters and...freshen up."

"Yes, good idea," Daniel agreed. "Freshen up. Absolutely."

"Well then." Vala stood. "I'll be back and ready to catalog more mugs in a few hours' time. Daniel. Sam."

As Vala left the mess hall, her walk strangely...boring, he turned to Sam. "Well?"

Sam stared after Vala in disbelief, then pulled herself back to the task at hand. “As far as my equipment can tell, she doesn’t seem to be some kind of alien. Well,” she added, frowning, “she doesn’t seem to be some *other* kind of alien, anyway. Maybe she’s inhaled some weird pollen or something.”

Daniel’s eyes narrowed. “Or maybe she’s just messing with my head.”

Sam nodded supportively, but she looked skeptical. “That does sound like her, but it’s an odd way of doing it.”

“No, no, it’s perfect,” Daniel insisted. “She’s trying to get me completely off balance, and then she’ll attack.”

Sam looked at him.


She made a face. “Nothin’. Just. You’re acting—“

“—a little paranoid?”

Sam nodded. “A little.”

“Trust me,” he said, “it’s just a matter of time before she makes her move.”


Rushing into the briefing room, he skidded to a halt in front of Mitchell, who was leaning against the edge of the table, arms folded as he grinned at Daniel.

"What?" Daniel gasped. "What's she doing now?"

Mitchell shot a look at Teal'c, who was gazing through the briefing room window. Teal'c inclined his head in invitation. "Perhaps you should see for yourself, DanielJackson."

“To be honest, I have no idea what she’s saying, Jackson.” Cameron scratched his neck as he pushed away from the table and followed Daniel to the window. “It just seems a little…off.”

Daniel looked at the scene unfolding through the briefing room window with a weird sense of dread—weird because all Vala was doing was sitting in front of General Landry's desk, hands folded demurely in her lap. But it was all wrong—her posture, her expression, the perky smile she kept sending the general's way. Landry was returning her smiles, nodding amiably. Daniel supposed this just further proof that he was the right man for the job: a general of the SGC had to be able to deal with the alien and the bizarre. This looked like it was both of those things.

The meeting seemed to be wrapping up; Vala stood and offered her hand to Landry. Landry shook it, all the while smiling genially.

"Come on," Daniel hissed, and without checking to see whether Mitchell and Teal'c followed him, he dashed into the hall.

"Daniel!" Vala exclaimed happily as Daniel walked up to meet them outside General Landry's door.

"Vala," Daniel replied brightly.

"I was just telling the general how delighted I'd be to volunteer for any duties he may have for me on base."

Landry smiled. "Yes, why don't you go to the briefing room while I rustle up some papers for you to sign?"

Vala beamed at them both and walked away toward the briefing room.

Landry tugged Daniel to the side. "Keep her occupied. I'll call the infirmary."


The infirmary visit was equally frustrating and unilluminating. Doctor Lam did the whole kitchen sink of tests, but she found nothing strange in the preliminaries. She did catch a strained muscle in Vala's neck, a bruise on her elbow, and a blister on her left big toe. Daniel stood unobtrusively in a corner. Somehow, seeing Vala in an examination gown was worse than seeing her dressed as a corporate executive. She kept sending Daniel patient looks that made him grit his teeth.

He was starting to get seriously worried. Vala messing with his head was one thing—god knew she'd take great pleasure in doing just that. He just wasn't sure she'd be able to play her part this flawlessly, mostly because unlike the parts she usually played, this role entailed so many things she loathed. Volunteering for work? Taking notes on dusty old artifacts (her words, not his, of course)? Not to mention the clothes, the clothes Daniel would have sworn she wouldn’t have been caught dead in. And where had she gotten them, anyway? It wasn’t as though she could go shopping at a moment’s whim.

But...maybe something else was going on. Maybe the Trust was involved. Maybe they were...were...blackmailing her into wearing normal clothes? Well, just because he didn't understand what was going on didn't make it impossible.

He needed to talk to her, get through to her. If she was in some sort of trouble (had she managed to get into a money scrape? She seemed very eager to make money), Daniel could help.

She wasn’t alone, after all. Not anymore.


Walking behind Daniel toward his office, Vala suppressed a yawn. How did people do this every day, this work thing? Of course, usually people didn't get stung by needles and forced to leave an absurd amount of blood for testing because *someone* had been around the galaxy one time too many. She glared at Daniel's back, then hastily put on a bland smile when Daniel glanced back at her. He always did that; being ascended had obviously given Daniel some kind of sixth sense of when people were making faces behind his back.

He held the door open for her, a gesture she found oddly sweet, the way he was when he didn't have his nose in a book. She went straight to the extra chair in front of desk again, sat down, and picked up the notebook. The notion of more mugs made her want to scream. The things she did

Instead of sitting down behind the desk and getting back to work, though, Daniel hitched his hip up on top of the desk, narrowly missing an old, ugly bowl that probably had some immensely important historical or cultural significance, since it was deigned to grace Daniel’s desk. Daniel didn’t spare it a glance, though. He just gave her an intense look. She'd known he thought she was up to something—it hadn't taken him long to get the others to track her—and now he was ready for a confrontation.

“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?” Daniel began.

Vala had no ethical problems with lying whatsoever. It was often necessary, and who was to say that the truth was always the best way to go, anyway? She always found it just a little harder when Daniel looked at her like that, though. He was just so *earnest*. He honestly looked troubled.

Vala said soothingly, “Nothing’s wrong, Daniel, I—“

He waved a hand, silencing her. "Enough with the 'I'm fine' spiel. Granted, this may just be an elaborate attempt to mess with my head..." She most definitely didn't feel guilty. "...Or maybe Sam's right, and you've managed to inhale some pollen or something that we haven't detected yet, but..." He trailed off and looked down.

Vala waited.

"Vala." He reached over and gently touched the hand holding the notebook. "You must admit that this isn't your usual behavior. Just...please." She looked up, and curse it, his eyes were doing that thing that she could never resist—that vulnerable I’m-showing-everything-up-my-sleeve-look. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

While he was right—she definitely enjoyed messing with his head—she didn't want to hurt Daniel. She never wanted to hurt Daniel. She just hadn't expected that Daniel could be hurt by something that was all about *her*. Sort of.

She released a loud breath, annoyed. Not only had she been made, but her ploy hadn't had the desired effect. Well, taking notes had been dull as hell, anyway. "The only thing wrong is how some people are completely oblivious what's right under their noses." She slammed down the cursed notebook. "No, not oblivious," she corrected, "just...uninterested."

Daniel’s eyes narrowed. “So, you did do all this to mess with my head?”

Vala threw up her hands. “Well, honestly, Daniel, what’s a girl to do? I would throw myself at you, except, wait, tried that!” Daniel blinked at her, obviously a little taken aback. “I think you’ve made it abundantly clear that I just don’t do it for you.”

He frowned. “So, what? This was all some sort of ruse to…make me happy?”

“Well, you’re the one who’s always going on about how I should act more responsibly, how I should try and do actual work rather than stealing everything…”

“And those things are all true, but…” He shook his head. “Vala, you can’t change everything you are to please someone else.”

“Please is such a strong word,” she objected. “I just…wanted your attention.”

He huffed out an amused noise. "Well, you got my attention, all right." He turned serious. "You shouldn't feel like you have to change the way you are around me. Though," he added, "the taking responsibility and not stealing—I like those things."

“Yes, well.” She looked away. “Maybe I don’t know what to do without those things.”

“What, without stealing?” She didn’t have to look up to know that he was frowning. Always so serious, her Daniel.

“Not stealing all the time, staying in one place, having—“ she gestured around the room, like Daniel’s dusty artifacts could explain the strange turn her life had taken.

“Having a family?” Daniel asked quietly.

She looked up at him sharply, searching for any sign of mockery, but Daniel just studied her, his eyes kind. She drew in a breath, feeling uncertain, off her game, like she always did when Daniel stopped rolling his eyes at her. "I wasn't sure I did. Have...that, I mean."

He smiled a little. "Well, it's an unusual family." He considered. “Though Colonel Mitchell fits the bill of a younger brother surprisingly well.”

Vala nodded. “A hot younger brother,” she agreed.

Daniel shot her a sharp look.

“What?” she said. “I’m not blind or anything.” She sent him a shrewd look. “Don’t tell me you’re jealous.”

“No!” he said in a tone of voice that suggested that the mere idea was preposterous. It didn’t make Vala feel any better.

“Thank you, Daniel,” she said coolly. “You do know how to make a girl feel special.”

He closed his eyes and sighed, like she was the one being completely unreasonable. She was an attractive woman, damn it! Why wouldn’t Daniel see that?

A thought struck her. “Are you a homosexual, Daniel?”

Daniel’s eyes sprung open again.

She raised her hands. “I’m just saying. If you’re mooning after that General O’Neill of yours…” The thought was marginally more bearable than Daniel going for girls and just not going for her.

“I am not mooning after Jack!” he said insistently. “He’d love that…” he added, muttering.

She made a rueful face. “So…not even a little bit homosexual?”

He shook his head. “Look, you’re attractive. Is that what you want to hear?”

It was, but the attitude needed work.

“You’re very,” he gestured with his hand up and down her body, “very attractive.”

Well. Maybe he wasn’t completely blind. “But…?” she prodded.

“But I don’t…” He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I don’t really do casual.”


"Well, once I...but that's beside the point. I'm just...let's just say that I'm at a point in my life where casual isn't very appealing."

She nodded sagely. “I see.”

He squinted at her. “You understand, right?”

“Of course.” She didn’t know why she felt so odd. Her throat hadn’t felt so itchy since…well, the last time Daniel had kicked her out of his bed.

“You okay?” He sounded concerned. The bastard.

“Of course!” she said brightly, standing up. “You’ve made yourself perfectly clear.”

He looked at her thoughtfully. “Because you did just want…”

She snorted and smiled. “Yes, what else would I want?” She smoothed down her skirt and wow, she really needed to leave right now. “So. I’ll see you later!” She gave him a tight smile and hurried out the door.

Well. Good thing that was cleared up. Vala Mal Doran was still considered attractive by every male in the galaxy.

Great. Wonderful.

She headed for her quarters. The sooner she could take these dreadful clothes off, the better.


She’d gotten as far as changing to her normal attire (and taken off those appallingly ugly flat shoes) when there was a knock on her door. While she normally welcomed any kind of company in this dull, grey place, she didn’t really feel like it right now. “I’m busy!” she yelled, tugging down the black top.

“Are you decent?”

Oh, perfect. She glared at the door. “No.” The door opened and Daniel warily peeked inside. She turned her glare at him instead of the door. “I said no.”

He shrugged and stepped inside, closing the door behind him. “I figured you were lying.”

Vala pulled out hairpins, strands of hair falling down onto her neck. “Oh, did you now?” She viciously slammed the pins down onto her desk.

“Uh huh,” he nodded. “Because if you’d been half-naked, you would have told me to come in.”

She crossed her arms over her chest, and gods, it was good to be able to move again. That suit jacket had been terribly tight over the shoulders. “I do think I’m able to recognize a rejection when I hear it.”

"I've rejected you for months," Daniel pointed out. "It hasn't stopped you before."

And wasn’t that a nice thing to say? She sighed. “What do you want, Daniel?”

"Well, I've had some time to think since you left my office—"

"What, all of five minutes ago?" she cut in.

He waved her off, ignoring her point. “There’s something I find a little puzzling.”

She pretended to study her fingernails. “Really?”

“Yes. You’re really not acting casually about this,” he said slowly, and Vala froze.

She smiled, frowning in confusion and shaking her head. “What do you mean?”

He walked up to her and raised his hand toward her face. Vala didn’t breathe. “Well.” His hand went to her head, grazing by her ear, and she shivered. “You usually put on fewer clothes, not more.” He found the clip holding up the remainder of her hair, and released it. “You might play a role, but only to the point that it serves your own purposes.” He threaded his fingers through her hair. Her breath caught as her it fell down her back and his fingers brushed against the back of her neck. "It just struck me. Conservative and...serious. Not casual."

Daniel’s face was so very close to hers now, and goodness, were those eyes blue or what?

“And…” He gave her a strange, secret smile. “You took notes for me. For four hours.”

The relief of Daniel's gentle teasing made her babble. "True. True. And I didn't even try to steal anything! I'll have you know that the Ankaran ceremonial goblets are quite valuable on the black market."

Daniel froze, his hand hovering close to her throat. "Say that again." She could feel the heat radiating from the palm of his hand. His sudden interest made her uneasy. Was he going to try to—to strangle her?

“I…didn’t even try to steal anything?” she said uncertainly.

“No.” He brushed his fingers against her neck, deliberately. She swallowed. Not strangling. Touching. Very nice touching. “The other thing.”

“The…the Ankaran ceremonial goblets?”

“Mmmhmm.” She watched his face moving closer, her eyes flickering between his eyes and his mouth.

She tried to concentrate, but it was surprisingly difficult. "The Ankaran ceremonial goblets, that...were used in ceremonies, obviously...ceremonies, such as those where the Ankarans celebrated the, the rainy season while, um." Daniel was staring at her mouth. “And, and a good time was had by all,” she finished weakly, just before his lips brushed hers. A good time was had by all indeed.

“Okay, ow,” she whispered. She pulled back and reached for his glasses. The corners of his eyes crinkled as she pulled them off. She fumbled behind her—her desk was there somewhere—and Daniel obligingly moved forward, forcing her to step back.

"You don't know, do you?" Daniel gasped. "About the goblets."

"Not really, no. But they are Ankaran."

The back of her thighs hit the desk, and she dropped the glasses somewhere on it, reaching for him. She slid her hand into his hair as he kissed her again, soft licks at her lips. Daniel’s lips were even softer than she’d imagined, and she opened her mouth, shuddering slightly as his tongue slid against hers. Moaning, she had a dazed thought that she was quite sure kissing hadn’t always been this exciting.

She hitched her butt up on the desk and pulled him in between her legs. Her entire body felt pleasantly warm and heavy, and she couldn’t help pushing her hips against his while giving his tongue a slow suck. He groaned into her mouth, then pulled away, burying his face against her neck.

“Daniel,” she sighed as his mouth slid down her throat.

“Hmm?” His voice rumbled deliciously against her skin, making her shiver. His hands slid down her arms and toward more interesting places, and she hated to interrupt his lovely attention, she really did, but…

"You don't really think that General Landry will think of anything for me to do for the SGC, do you?"

Daniel lifted his head from the hollow of her throat so he could look at her. Her skin felt cold without his warm lips covering it. Then he started to laugh, quietly but genuinely. “It’s good to have you back,” he murmured against her lips.

She decided she liked this Daniel a lot.


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