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Teenage Dream, part 1/3
8940 words
rated nc-17
cam/vala high school au

(also submitted for the [livejournal.com profile] scifiland big bang)



It's a Thursday when Cam works up the nerve to talk to Vala for the first time.

Years later, he'll admit that he spent two weeks beforehand doing all but stalking her. Years later, he'll say that the minute she walked into his classroom on the first day of school that year he'd looked at her and hasn't been able to look away since.

Years later, she'll roll her eyes and look pleased with herself and he'll have to stop and give her a kiss.

But right now, a kiss seems like a distant treasure, something he has to earn and he's not even sure what game they're playing. So he takes it one step at a time, the only way he knows how, and starts at the beginning: by saying hello.

*

"You're Vala, right?"

She turns and smiles at him, and his stomach flips. "So I've been told."

He jams a hand into his pocket. "You're new here?"

She closes her locker door and leans back against it. Her shirt is low cut, tight, and his eyes wander. "What gave it away?"

She hasn't walked away yet. That has to be a good sign, right? He decides to take it as one. "Your, uh... your accent. Where are you from, anyway?"

"Oh, a little bit of everywhere." She stands up like she's going to walk away and maybe he grasped to hope a little too soon. "I have to get to history."

"Okay," Cam says. She lingers, and because she hasn't left yet, so does he, but he doesn't know what to say. Dread settles in the pit of his stomach. "I guess I"ll see you around?"

She gives him a strange look, not quite a smile. "I guess you will."

*

He lays at home on his perfectly made bed that night, staring up at the ceiling. A poster of a fighter jet stares back down at him. He's replaying the scene from earlier in his head over and over, trying to make it make sense, to figure out where he went wrong.

There's a knock on his door.

"Yeah?" He calls out.

"Cameron, it's almost dinner time. You know you don't need to be late." His mother calls out.

He groans. Dinner is the last thing he wants right now. An hour of sitting with his parents and his little brother, being grilled on almost everything in his life. School, grades... girls. Family time becomes more awkward with every passing day.

And oh, he can't be late for dinner. Especially not when it's his turn to set the table. His father is kind, and fair, but somehow his mind has never quite left the military and lately it's driving Cam crazy. The frustration that wells in him is futile and pointless and he knows it, because Cam has said since he was practically old enough to say the word 'plane' that he wants to be a pilot just like his father. Cam's smart enough to do it; he'll never be applying to MENSA but he's got a knack for math and engineering and a passion for aeronautics that makes learning it fun and rewarding. Since he has the passion down, Frank Mitchell has taken it upon himself to make the perfect soldier, and according to him military men need to know their place and how to follow orders. That's why Cam's got to get used to a strictly regimented life right now. It'll put him ahead of the game, his father says, and Cam would hate it more if he didn't sound so damn proud.

Cam's brother is already in the kitchen when Cam walks in. Will is sitting at the table with a text book in front of him, but Cam can see that he's not studying. He's doodling on his notebook and he looks up at Cam. "Your turn to set the table."

"I know," Cam snaps. "That's why I'm here, stupid."

Will looks momentarily hurt and Cam knows he should feel bad for snapping at him. Will's only ten and he hasn't done anything to earn Cam's ire but right now life in general is pissing Cam off.

"Sorry," he mumbles, but Will is already calling out for their mother.

Cam winces. The last thing he needs is punishment duty on top of everything else he's had to deal with today.

"Cameron!" Wendy says, scowling. "You'd better be glad your father didn't hear that."

"Hear what?" Frank says, walking in.

*

He spends the rest of the evening cleaning out the garage, under instruction to think about how he treats others.

*

Of course, Cam's also been taught most of his life not to give up on the things that he wants. Competitiveness doesn't make him mean, but he doesn't like losing, either. He knows there's nothing wrong with some good hard work, persistance, and patience.

So he finds Vala again.

She seems a little surprised to see him there. "Cameron, was it?"

"Got it in one," he says, smiling. He's trying for more confident and cool now, and it'll probably end up backfiring but he doesn't have much to lose.

Besides his dignity.

And his pride.

And his reputation around the school as being not a total loser.

"You have history next, right? Mr. Hill? I had him last semester, he's killer with those pop quizzes but ir's not so bad once you catch on that he only does them every other Thursday."

"Pop quizzes?" Vala looks down at her textbook. "Every other Thursday? That would be... today. I guess I really should have read that assignment..."

Cam winces. "Sorry."

"Well, at least I know to prepare for the pain now." She brushes her hair over her shoulder. Cam's got sort of a fixation on her hair; it's long, and shining, and thick, and so black. He itches to run his fingers through it. He gets distracted watching her but thinks he manages to cover it before she notices.

"Yeah... uh, my class is that way too, if you want to walk?" Cam gives her what he hopes is his most charming smile.

She looks like she's going to make a comment and he's already preparing for the worst, and then she just sort of shrugs. "Lead the way."

*

He sits in his fifth period physics class and doesn't hear a word that Mr. Chavis says. All he can think about is how her arm touched his when someone bumped into her. It's pathetic how much that one little bit of contact impacts him; pathetic to the point where he has to think hard about the pain of getting his arm broken after a linebacker with a hundred pounds on him tackled him, before he can get up and leave class once the bell rings.

*

He's on his way to the cafeteria when he sees Vala in a very heated discussion with one of the other kids in school. He's not popular, not a jock, doesn't run in the same circles as Cam. Cam can't even really remember his name, but he wears glasses and has a permanent scowl on his face. Cam's never felt any particular desire to get to know him better and suddenly he's not regretting that decision.

The guy is standing in front of Vala, arms crossed, crowding her against the wall. She's clearly arguing back, but she looks more upset than angry.

He sees the guy reach out and arm and shove Vala a little. Not a lot, nothing harmful, more of a gesture of frustration than anything else, but Cam spots a chance - an opportunity to make an impression, maybe even a good one.

Besides, he likes Vala, and he doesn't want to see anyone pushing her around.

"Hey, man, leave her alone," Cam says.

The guy turns and squints at Cam. "Listen, Mitchell, I appreciate the concern but this is none of your-"

"I said leave her alone," Cam repeats.

He sneaks a glimpse at Vala's face and she's gaping at him, looking somewhat taken aback. She doesn't say anything, though.

"And I said this is none of your business." The kid - Daniel! Cam finally remembers his name, it's Daniel - turns toward Cam now. They're about the same height but Cam definitely has some weight and muscle on him. Daniel's scrawny, glasses taking up half of his face, hair flopping in his eyes.

"Yeah? Cause it looked an awful lot to me like you were pushing her around." Cam steps forward, trying to be intimidating, but Daniel just rolls his eyes.

That annoys Cam and he reaches without thinking, shoving Daniel. Now it's Daniel that looks shocked, jaw hanging open. "Did you just-"

"Mr. Mitchell," a voice behind him booms, and Cam shuts his eyes and counts to three before turning to face the teacher. "Come with me."

*

He isn't expecting to find her sitting on the steps outside of school waiting on him when he's finally released, two hours after the end of the school day.

"Why did you do that?" She asks.

He's also not expecting that from her; that attitude, that anger, that hostility. He actually takes a step back, feeling defensive. "He was being an asshole."

She glares at him. "I don't need you to defend my honor."

He looks at her. He's at a loss, not sure what to say. "Okay."

"That's it?" She looks even more annoyed, somehow. "That's all you have to say?"

"What do you want me to say?" He's suddenly annoyed with all of this. It's been a shitty day; detention, missing football practice, which means he'll have to sit out the game, and because of that he'll have to tell his father.

He looks at Vala and instead of the object of every fantasy, desire, and wishful thought he's had for the past month, all he sees is a girl. "You don't know anything about me," Vala says.

"No, I don't." Cam just stands there. "But I'd like to."

"What?"

He shakes his head and hikes his backpack further up on his shoulder. "Nothing. Forget it. Forget I said anything."

He walks away and she doesn't stop him.

*

His father is, predictably, unhappy with the situation.

But he's also fair about it. He sits Cam's down and listens to Cam's side of the story. He commends Cam's intentions and scolds his execution of those good intentions. Cam takes in the lecture, tamping down the unrest inside of him, because that's just what he does; he's a good kid, cursed with the maturity to understand that the world and his parents are not actually out to get him, and that makes it a lot harder to just blow everything off.

He thinks the lecture is over and he's already planning his getaway, but his father has one more question. "So, son. Who is she?"

"Uh..." Cam fumbles for an answer. "You don't know her."

"Should we?" Frank Mitchell gives Cam an appraising look.

"No, there's nothing going on. She doesn't even know I like her."

"Well," Frank laughs. "She might now. It's not Amy, is it?"

"No, not Amy." His interest on Amy Vandenburg is the worst secret he's ever tried to keep. He's known her since first grade and until a few months before had thought his crush on her incurable. All it had really taken was a date and a couple of very awkward kisses for him to realize that sometimes the fantasy doesn't live up to the reality.

Maybe that's a lesson he should keep in mind with Vala. But his maturity only exceeds so far and at the end of the day, he's still sixteen.

*

The next day is Wednesday.

Cam stays far away from Vala's locker.

*

On Thursday, he finds a note folded up and stuck through the grate on his locker.

He stands there, book balanced in the crook of one arm, and unfolds it to read.

Cameron- You wouldn't happen to still have copies of last semester's quizzes, would you?

It's written in pink pen that smells like bubble gum and she's signed her name with big swirls. He grins a little bit, despite himself, and stuffs the note into his pocket.

*

He doesn't see her again until Monday, which means he spends the entire weekend deliberating over whether or not he should talk to her. His feet end up making the decision for him and somehow he's just there, waiting on her. She smiles when she sees him and breaks off talking to another girl that's just come out of the same classroom.

"I don't have copies of the quizzes," he starts off by saying. "He changes them up every semester anyway. But I do still have my notes, so if you needed some help... I was pretty good in history."

She looks surprised and he tries not to be offended by that. "I hadn't pegged you for a history buff."

He shrugs. "I'm not, really. But I study a lot. I need good grades, I'm planning on going into the Air Force."

She looks him up and down in a way that makes him shiver a little. "Mm, yes, I can actually envision that. So, you'd be willing to help me study, now would you?"

"Yeah," he says, grinning back just a bit. "I mean, if you ask nicely."

She laughs and then leans in close to him. "Please?"

"Uh," he croaks out.

He can smell her shampoo.

Fuck.

"I'll take that as a yes." She winks at him and walks away.

*

"What do you look so happy about?" Darryl asks.

Darryl and Cam have been friends since Cam's family moved to Kansas in Cam's freshman year. He's probably the first best friend Cam has ever had, with his typical military brat upbringing that made making good friends difficult at the best of times. Cam hadn't had any issues making casual friends; he's always been smart, and friendly, polite enough to impress teachers and with a collection of cool stories to tell from traveling around the world that made him popular with his classmates. But those friends had come and gone with every move and it's only since they've settled in Auburn that Cam has learned what it feels like to have a friend he's not already planning on saying goodbye to before they've even really said hello.

Darryl's not the smartest, or the funniest, or the most popular, but he likes the same video games as Cam and somehow, they'd just clicked.

"Got a study date," Cam says.

He won't kiss and tell, but it's not like there's been any kissing yet... nothing wrong with bragging about studying, right? He figures not. Darryl clearly sees beyond that, though. "Aw, buddy! Holding out on me! Come on, spill, who is it?"

"Uh, this new girl, I don't know if you've noticed her-"

"Vala? Vala Mal Doran?" Darryl flops back onto the bed, groaning. "Noticed her? You'd have to be dead not to notice her. And even then that'd be awfully good incentive to come back from the dead, just to check out those legs. Man, how did you manage that?"

Cam laughs. "She asked me, actually."

"Please tell me study is a euphemism."

"Uh, I'm just gonna assume it really means she needs help in history," Cam says.

"Just, just, promise me, if you get to third base with her, you'll tell me what it's like?" Darryl begs.

"Nope," Cam says, easily. "No way."

"You're no fun!" Darryl gripes.

Cam just smirks and throws him a game controller.

*

"I'll be late for dinner tonight," Cam says, just before he's headed out the door.

He's hoping the comment will go unnoticed.

Of course, it doesn't.

"Not another detention, is it?" Wendy sounds disappointed and Cam hates that.

He leans over and gives her a kiss on the cheek. "No, Mom, it's not. I have a tutoring session."

"Are you having trouble in any of your classes?" She asks.

"Nah, I'm helping someone else."

"Well, isn't that nice of you." She smiles, getting Will's lunch ready. "Give us a call if you need someone to pick you up."

Cam makes a face. "You could just get me a truck..."

"Yeah, why don't you try asking your father again? That went well last time, didn't it?" She teases him.

Cam slings his backpack over his shoulder and heads for the door, turning to call out behind him. "You're no help!"

*

She's sitting outside the library when he walks up, scribbling furiously in a notebook. He stands in front of her and she looks up slowly, face breaking out into a wide smile.

"You're not late."

"Why would I be?" Cam asks.

"I don't know. Fashionable entrance?"

Cam laughs. "I'll leave that to you."

"Oh, does that mean you want me to leave, just so I can come back?" She closes her notebook and stands up, still speaking without waiting for a response from him. "Please tell me you didn't want to actually study in there."

"What's wrong with the library? That's where people usually study."

"It's so boring and quiet..." She pouts.

"Well, where else would you want to go study?"

"Somewhere we can get food."

"Food?"

"Yes," she says, looking around. "Do you have a vehicle?"

"Uh, no," he says, opting not to mention the bike he rides to school. "Not yet. I mean, my parents-"

"Well, we'll just walk somewhere. Are there any good places to eat around here? I'll let you buy me fries..."

*

Cam has no idea how this turned into something that involves more pizza, fries, and ice cream than actual studying but right now he doesn't really care.

They're sitting at a picnic table outside the ice cream place. She's licking an ice cream cone like it's the best thing he's ever seen and Cam gets so distracted watching her that his own drips over his fingers. "So how are you liking Colorado?"

Vala shrugs. "It's fine."

"Yeah? What part of town do you live in?" He asks.

She shrugs again. "I don't like your choice in small talk, Cameron. You don't really want to know about me-"

"I do," he says, interrupting her.

She looks a little surprised, and then smiles. "You're entirely too nice."

"Yeah? Is that a problem?"

"I don't know," she admits. "I haven't met very many nice people in my life."

"Like Daniel Jackson?" Cam asks, unable to stop himself.

She bites her bottom lip, then says, "You know, he had a reason for being so angry with me that day."

"Yeah?" Cam asks, hoping she'll go on.

She hesitates, then continues. "We have the same foster parents."

Cam hadn't been expecting that. "Wow... I didn't know..."

"Of course not, how would you?"

"So he's like... your brother?"

"Foster brother," she corrects him. "Let's not make it into more than it is. I've only known him a month."

"So why was he mad at you?"

Vala grins sheepishly. "I might have taken it upon myself to instill some sibling-like bonds to our relationship. Such as... assuming that he'd be open to sharing his monetary advantages..."

"Huh?" Cam's not dim by any means, but he's also never met anyone that words things quite like Vala.

"I stole fifty dollars from his room." She takes a big crunch out of her cone and then licks her lips, looking gleeful.

Cam laughs. "So he was mad at you for that?"

"Well, when you walked up, he was asking me if I'd taken it."

"What did you say?"

"What do you think I said?" Vala smirks. "I denied everything."

Cam laughs. "So do I owe him an apology now?"

"Of course not!" Vala looks horrified at the thought. "Cameron, I clearly have a lot to teach you. Never, never apologize."

"I thought I was supposed to be teaching you? We haven't done much tutoring here..."

She grins. "Aw, are you worried about my grades? And here I thought we were having fun."

"It is fun," he admits. "But I need to head home soon."

He thinks she actually looks disappointed, and that more than anything puts a smile on his face.

*

The next day at school Daniel Jackson corners him.

"She's trouble," he says.

Cam lets his mouth run off with him again, because something about this guy - about the way he talks to Vala - just gets under his skin, even knowing that he'd had a reason before. "Maybe I like trouble."

Jackson rolls his eyes. "No, Mitchell, you like getting straight A's and hearing cheerleaders scream out your name. You do not like trouble."

Cam's temper flares for real this time. "Maybe I like her."

"Now that I believe," Jackson says. "But somehow I doubt it's her sparkling wit and intellect you're into. I get it, she's hot, whatever - but she's also not worth it. Look, I'm just trying to give you a friendly warning. The folks that foster us? They like to take in last chance cases, apparently."

"So what does that say about you?" Cam shoots back."

"That I have a bad attitude but hey, I'm not the one that got sent back from their last four foster homes and spent six months in juvie for stealing anything I could get my hands on."

"I'm a big boy, Jackson, I can make decisions for myself," Cam says.

He has a hard time equating the girl he spent four hours with the night before, to the picture Daniel is painting. And, hell, maybe Jackson's right and Cam's blinded by something besides his brain, but right now it doesn't matter. He feels what he feels and this absurd need to stand up for, to protect Vala, as ill advised as it may be, doesn't feel like it's going away any time soon.

*

She's always alone.

Cam notices it - it's strange, at first it's hard to tell, because she smiles a lot, talks a lot, makes a lot of noise... and yet still, somehow, she's always alone. She's never in the place it would be most noticeable, the cafeteria - she never eats lunch there.

He catches her in the hallway and falls in step beside her without even asking her where she's going. "You want to sit with me at lunch?"

"Why, Cameron," she says, smiling widely though there's something missing in it, something that he'd seen a few days before, when they'd gone out... to study. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were asking to go steady. Isn't that what you folks do here in the states? Feed each other stale fish sticks and gaudy trade jackets with sewn on emblems?"

"That's a lot of venom directed at a meal," Cam says, trying to make light though he can't entirely hide his confusion. "Did one of the lunch ladies kick your puppy?"

"I just don't like eating with the other students," she says.

"I noticed. So where do you go?"

She glances around like she wants to escape but really there's nowhere for her to go. "I have places."

"Like...?" He gets a bit pushier and she looks annoyed.

"I value my privacy."

"You said you have places, more than one. So just show me one. Come on... I'll share my cupcakes. My mom makes the best..." He holds up the bag that they're in.

That sparks her interest. "What kind?"

"Strawberry, with chocolate cream on the inside and chocolate icing."

"It's really not fair, bribing me with chocolate," Vala says. "In fact, it's a rather dirty tactic... and I approve of those on principle, so... fine."

Cam grins, feeling triumphant. "I'll come find you when you're out of history class."

He walks away before she has a chance to rethink it.

*

"Cam, man, wrong way for the grub," Darryl says, walking up behind Cam.

"I'm having lunch with Vala today," Cam says, more than a little pride in his voice.

Darryl doesn't even have the decency not to look shocked. "Seriously?"

"What? You knew I was seeing her the other night."

"I figured she just wanted you to do her homework for her or something," Darryl admits. "I mean, don't get me wrong, you're not exactly a dog-"

"I'm touched."

"-but she is one serious smoking hottie, and I heard she turned down like six guys the first week she was here."

"Seriously?" Cam says, figuring it's exaggeration but... considering what Vala looks like...

Cam's ego grows about three sizes.


*

He's still grinning when he sees her walking out of her history class.

"How prompt," she comments.

"I try." He doesn't bother explaining how he asked his teacher if he could leave 10 minutes early to drop off some donations for the canned good drive. He figures the mystery is more impressive.

He's probably right.

"Well, come on." She wraps her arm around his, hand warm against his bicep. "Let's go discover one of my secrets..."

Cam tries to quiet the voice in his mind that is now keeping up a steady chant of she's touching me she's touching me she's touching me.

She leads him out behind the school, past the baseball field, to a small crop of trees. He's never been this far back behind the school and he's surprised no one catches them, calls them back, but Vala walks with purpose and the few teachers they see are distracted with other things.

She drops her backpack at a small clearing just past a row of trees and then spreads her arms with a flourish. "Here you go. Is it everything you imagined?"

He grins. "And more."

"So, I believe you mentioned cupcakes?" She sits down on the grass and looks up at him expectantly.

"Don't you want real food first?" He grabs his backpack, pulling out a couple of sandwich bags. "Here."

Vala doesn't ask what it is, just takes it. When she bites into the oozing peanut butter and jelly it gets everywhere. He digs through his bag again and pulls out a crumpled napkin. He almost hands it to her but at the last moment changes his mind and reaches up to wipe at the corner of her mouth instead. She smiles at him, soft and sort of surprised. "Thank you."

"No problem." He stares at that smile, kind of taken in, and then lets the hand holding the napkin drop down a bit, leaving it crumpled on the ground beside him.

Vala polishes her sandwich off in an impressive amount of time, and then just lays back. She breathes in deep and her eyes shut and Cam watches her. Her hair is in pigtails, ends curling against her shoulders, a sparkling barrette holding back her bangs.

"You're staring," she says, eyes still shut.

Cam jumps like he's been caught, but she's smiling, and she doesn't seem to mind. "You're pretty," he says, finding his courage somewhere between breaths.

"Well, of course I am." She opens one eye and smirks. He jumps when he feels a touch on his hand. Her fingers wrap around his wrist and she tugs. "Lay down with me."

"I have cupcakes." As soon as the words leave his mouth he has no idea why he said it. He feels his skin heat up and hopes he isn't blushing.

"We'll get to them." She tugs more insistently. "Don't you want to lay down with me?"

He feels awkward as he moves position, leaves crunching under him. Her grip on his wrist slackens but her hand doesn't move. It doesn't take much to make it so that her fingers are against his instead and then they're holding hands.

Now he's trying not to smile, heart starting to hammer in his chest. He turns his head to the side and looks at her. Her face is close to his.

"i'm glad you think I'm pretty," she whispers, and then leans in, their lips touching.

He kisses her softly once, chastely, finding his bearings before doing it again with more pressure, lips parting, a hint of wetness. He doesn't want to be too pushy or test his luck and he starts to pull away. Vala makes a small noise of protest so he kisses her again and then he's not really sure if he's leading this any more at all because it's her tongue he feels swiping over his lip and then inside his mouth and he has no idea how much time passes before they part.

She's the one that breaks the kiss and he's fine with that, used to ending makeout sessions with a hard on and a stupid grin that won't go away, but there's no polite distancing here. She pushes his shoulder until his back hits the ground again and then straddles him. His eyes go wide and there's a moment of utter panic because fuck, she's gonna feel how hard he is, and that's just not how he does things; that's not how girls do things.

Vala, once again, proves she isn't most girls. She puts her hands on his face and kisses him again, like she wants to eat him alive. Her breasts press to his chest and he tries not to think about that, tries not to think about anything, because thinking will lead to other potentially humiliating reactions. It's better if he just focuses on the kiss, her tongue hot and alive in his mouth, her hands... oh god, her hands moving through his hair, and her thumb passes over a spot that makes his cock jerk and there's no way she didn't feel that.

She doesn't even pretend like she didn't, either; she laughs low and that sound shoots right through him leaving warmth in its path. "Really?" She murmurs against his mouth, thumb finding that spot again and pressing, rubbing, massaging lightly. He groans because he can't not, it's like that spot is some sort of direct nerve connection to his balls, and he has to push her hand away to get himself under control.

"Uh. Yeah," he says after a few seconds of just breathing. "Really."

"I like that..." She sits back and rests her hands on his chest, sitting right on him. It's so hard not to thrust up against the delicious pressure of her body but he doesn't.

She's not entirely unaffected. He can see the flush high on her cheeks and the way she's breathing a little faster. He gets a charge thinking that she might be enjoying this just as much as him. He puts his hands on her hips, not sure what else to do with them, and asks, "What about you? Where... what do you like?"

She leans down and kisses him and he thinks she's not going to answer but then she moves her hips, grinding against him. She's breathing harder almost right away and wiggles her hips, making a frustrated noise. She does it again with more insistance. His fingers tighten on her hips and she reaches down and moves one of them, guides it up to cup her breast. He thrusts without even meaning to and Vala gasps, shuddering slightly. "That," she says.

"Um." Cam swallows hard. "Yeah."

Vala leans forward and drops another kiss on his mouth. "So... cupcakes?"

It takes him a minute to redirect enough blood flow to process what she's saying. "Um- oh. Yeah. Uh. In my bag."

She twists around, still sitting on him, and unzips his backpack. She pulls out the cupcakes and bites into one, moaning in delighted surprise when the sweetness hits her tongue. All Cam can think is that she's moaning while she sits on his dick.

"Want some?" She asks, offering it down to him. She waits a few seconds and then starts to giggle.

Cam sits up, one arm still around her, and makes a pretend annoyed face. "What are you laughing at?"

She ignores the question. "These cupcakes are delicious. Did you make them?"

"My mother did." He sticks his tongue out at her. She leans forward and licks it, catching him off guard.

She holds it out for him so he can take a bite. "Lunch period is almost over."

"That eager to get back to class?" He asks, reaching up and pushing a lock of hair that's escaped her barrette out of her face. She leans into the touch, just briefly, and then in a fluid motion she's off of his lap, up and standing and grabbing her backpack.

"Why of course, Cameron. I'm an absolutely model student, didn't you know?" She smirks, reaching down and snagging the other cupcake. "I'll see. you... soon, I'm sure."

*

The rest of the day passes in a daze. He can't concentrate on any of his classes and he's pretty sure that he sleepwalks through football practice but all he can think about is kissing Vala. He replays every moment in his mind and when he's not doing that he's thinking of the next time he could kiss her.

He tries to limit his mind to just kissing because otherwise he's really got a problem. At least he thinks he can avoid that problem but the thing is, even Vala's kisses make his blood pump faster, and it takes getting slammed from behind by a linebacker twice his weight knocking the wind out of him to take care of that little issue once it starts to rear its head.

*

His mother comments on it that night, of course.

Of course.

Cam loves his mother. He really does. But he can't help but wish once in a while she were a little less attentive, a little less observant.

"Ready to tell us yet?" She levels a gaze at him over the dinner table.

Cam shakes his head. "There's nothing to tell. Not really."

Something in that sentence gives away much more than he'd intended, but he manages to escape the meal with his secrets more or less in tact. He's not sure where the reluctance is born from but he just isn't sure that his parents would get Vala. He's not sure he gets Vala himself, honestly, but he wants to make sure if he can manage to make it far enough with her that she wants to meet his parents, that he can orchestrate it carefully.

*

Vala isn't in school the next day.

Cam finds Daniel Jackson between classes and corners him.

"Where's Vala?"

Daniel looks annoyed. "I'm not her keeper. How am I supposed to know?"

*

Football practice, dinner, homework... video games. Will's bedtime comes and goes. His dad goes to bed early, and it's usually just Cam and his mom for the last few hours of the night, until she tells him it's time to turn off the tv. He grumbles about having a bed time but not too much, because he's a good boy and listens to his mother, like good boys do.

Then he opens his bedroom door and sees Vala.

She's sitting on his bed crosslegged flipping through a notebook. When she hears the door open she looks up at him and gives him a great big smile that doesn't at all reach her eyes. "Cameron! There you are. I've been waiting forever."

"Uh. Next time I'll try and be more prompt... what are you doing here?" He asks, dumbfounded.

"What if I just wanted to see you?"

"Vala..."

"I'd rather not talk about it." She gets up and walks over to him, putting her arms around him. She's bare foot, shoes by his bed, and so is he. She's not much shorter than him.

She kisses him, mouth warm and wet on his, and he kisses because because what else is he supposed to do? And then he pushes her away gently, hands on her shoulders. "Vala?"

"I can leave, if you'd rather." Her voice is hard but something wavers underneath it.

"What? No... I just... hell. I'm kind of confused here," he says, looking at her.

"I need somewhere to stay." She pouts, so cutely.

"What about your foster home?"

"Cameron..." She steps forward against him, putting her head on his shoulder. "Please?"

He's such a sucker.

*

Vala's hungry, so he sneaks back downstairs and to the kitchen through darkened hallways, the rest of the house sleeping quietly. He gets her a glass of juice and an apple and a packet of cookies, and she eats them all sitting cross-legged on his bed.

He sits on the bed too, back against the headboard, just watching her. The overhead light is turned off, just the lamp by his bed on. It's enough that they can see without raising suspicion should one of his parents or Will get up in the middle of the night. The door is locked, too, but he still wants

She finishes the food and puts the empty glass and wrapper and apple core on the table beside his bed, then makes herself at home beside him like she does this every day. She puts her head on his shoulder and squirms until he wraps an arm around her, sighing contentedly. "So, I can stay here tonight?"

She's still all smiles and coy hotness but he knows there's something else going on. She looks exhausted, her hair in a ponytail, her face clean of makeup. There's a small bag by his bed that he assumes is hers but it isn't her backpack.

He's pretty sure both of his parents would have a heart attack.

He's pretty sure he's not going to tell Vala she has to leave.

"Yeah," he says, and she wraps her arms around him in a hug. It makes him smile. "You can have the bed, I'll get a blanket or something and sleep on the floor."

"What?" She seems surprised.

"I'm not gonna make you sleep on the floor..."

"Well, I'd hope not," she says, and doesn't let him get up. "You can't sleep in here with me?"

"I don't... I mean... it's a small bed." It's a twin, and even as tiny as Vala is, it'll be crowded. "Are you sure?"

She nods, almost shyly. "Please?"

"Okay." He looks at her and she tilts her head toward his and kisses him again, softly this time.

"I need something to wear to sleep in," she says, pulling away. "Can I have one of your shirts?"

"Uh... sure."

He's not sure what he expects but when he hands her the shirt she isn't shy about changing into it. He's too astounded to even do the polite thing and turn away; instead he watches while she lifts her own shirt over her head and then slips his on instead. She slithers out of her jeans and then in some sort of gravity defying motion reaches behind her and shrugs her shoulders and then her little pink bra lands on top of the pile of clothes.

He holds his breath to see if anything else will come off and isn't sure if he's relieved or disappointed when the panties stay on.

"Your turn," she says, definitely teasing him now. She sits on the bed and his shirt is big on her but not that big. He can see long, pale legs and thighs that make his mouth water.

He tries not to be too nervous when he takes off his own pants and then pulls his shirt over his head. Boxers briefs and t-shirt; it's what he sleeps in every night but somehow he feels so much more unclothed right now. He turns away to change and when he moves back around she's already under the covers. His heart nearly stops at the sight of her snug under his blanket looking back out at him.

He has no idea what he's doing right now but she smiles at him and he goes to join her.

*


*

Cam turns the light out and then there's nothing but darkness and Vala.

He might feel hesitant and awkward but she doesn't seem to. She curls herself against him, arms slipping around his midsection and leaving him no choice but to hold her.

"You really are too nice," she whispers, breaking the silence.

Her hair tickles his cheek and he smooths it down, then impulsively kisses the top of her head. "Why do you sound so surprised when you say that?"

"There aren't very many nice people in the world."

"You've just been around the wrong people," he says.

"Are you saying I need to be around you more?" She slides a hand under his shirt. His pulse starts to thrum a little faster. "Because I really wouldn't mind that."

"Me either." His fingers are playing in her hair now and every touch, every lack of an inch between them, suddenly feels so much more acute. Their bodies are so close under the covers and it's so dark. Her fingers play on his skin, nails tickling at the hair just under his belly button. He groans under his breath. "Vala..."

Of course, it causes the natural reaction to being a sixteen year old boy and being touched anywhere. But it's different because it's night and she's in his bed and... well, she's Vala and he wants her so much he can taste it.

"Yes?" Her breath is warm on his skin, through his shirt. "You smell good."

"You need to stop that." He isn't sure his voice is exactly brimming with conviction there but at least he's said it.

"Do I? Whatever for?" One fingertip slips beneath the band of his underwear. If he hadn't already been hard, that would have done it. However, her next words throw him. "I want to thank you..."

He reaches down and puts his hand over hers, stilling her fingers. "Vala, you don't have to thank me."

She pulls her hand back. "Do you not want..."

"Of course, but... not like... you make it sound like you have to." Vala doesn't say anything, but she pulls away from him - more than just her hand, her entire body - and rolls away, no longer facing him. Cam tries to quell his panic at having said the wrong thing. "Vala?"

"Yes?" She answers him quietly.

He rolls over onto his side too, pulling her back against him. She lets him. "I wanted you to. But you don't have to. You don't have to thank me. That's not how this works."

He feels like holding his breath while he waits for her to respond, not sure if that was the totally wrong thing to say again or not. But she grabs his hand and squeezes his fingers with a death grip. "I can't go back there."

"You don't have to." He realizes on some level that it's an empty promise, but at the time he says it he means it. Something hurt her and he'd do anything to keep her from being hurt again. "Stay here."

He can feel how her breathing goes funny and she doesn't answer. He lifts himself up more so he can look at her better in the thin light filtering in from street lamps outside.

She's crying.

"Vala..." He pulls her into him and hugs her tightly. Her hands clench into fists on his shirt and she shudders as she tries to contain her sobs. Whatever happened, it must have been bad.

He holds her for as long as it takes for her tears to subside and then uses his sleeve to wipe her face dry. She gasps slightly to get her breath back and doesn't let go of him. "Thank you."

"Anything," he says.

"Kiss me." She makes the request and, well, that one's pretty easy.

She doesn't even kiss back at first and that throws him but he figures if she needs it... he keep sit soft and gentle, lowers her down against the mattress again and deepens it slightly. That's when she starts to respond and he thinks he must have already learned how she kisses because this is different. She's looking for something and he wants to be the answer to that.

She reaches down and takes his hand, putting it on her breast. He can feel the stiffness of a nipple through the t-shirt - his t-shirt - and he makes a sound of want into her mouth. Somehow that noise kickstarts her into action and she arches her body up against his.

"Touch me," she says, tongue licking into his mouth. He moves his hand under her shirt. This is as far as he's ever gone with a girl; groping, a quick feel. But it hadn't been like this - not in his bed, not at night, not with nothing with stop them from any more. The idea thrills and terrifies him. Vala's breast is warm and soft in his hand and when he pinches the nipple just a little she sinks her teeth into his bottom lip and tugs. "More."

He does it again, a little harder, squeezes the handful of flesh and he can't remember ever being quite this hard before. They make out, hot and wet and frenzied, Vala mewling against him. She slides a thigh between his and presses against his erection.

"Vala..."

"Touch me," she says again, pushing her hips up. He knows what she means, there's no way to mistake it. He can feel her damp through her panties against his leg. "Please?"

He moves onto his side and keeps kissing her, putting a hand on her stomach. His stomach flips with anticipation; he's never done this before. "Are you sure?"

He's asking more for himself than her. She nods and stares at him with wide eyes and he feels like he could just stare at her forever. "I want you to. I want to feel good."

He slides his fingertips underneath her panties. They're both holding their breath but she releases hers in a long exhale when he doesn't stop, just keeps going until his fingertips encounter trimmed curls and then past that, to warm wet skin. It's not what he'd expected and he has no idea what feels good to her so he keeps his eyes on her face. Her own eyes shut and his finger swipes over a spot that makes her body jerk. He tries to find it again but he's on sensation overload, wants more, wants to keep going, so he does. His finger traces the delicate folds and goes between them, not quite inside of her, but getting closer. "Vala?"

"Stop asking," she says, cupping the back of his neck and kisses him. "Do it."

He pushes a finger inside of her and it's so wet and tight and, fuck, he's in her, his finger is in her, and he doesn't even know what to do besides just leave it there. His heart is pounding and he's pretty sure he's about ten seconds away from coming in his pants if he stops to think about what he's doing too closely, so he just thinks about her instead.

"Show me what you want." He says, not a question this time. "I don't know what feels good to you."

"You do." And then she squeezes herself around his finger. "Put another one in."

He does, and it's tighter this time, and she gasps a little in something that maybe isn't quite pleasure, turning her head to the side. He kisses her neck because it's there and long and pale and he doesn't move his fingers, giving her a minute to get used to it. She lets him know in her own way when she wants him to move them; she thrusts her body against him, making his fingers sink deeper into her.

He starts to thrust with them and Vala makes that mewling sound again. "Use your thumb... here..."

She reaches down and guides his thumb back to that spot that he'd found before. He's got the internet, sat through anatomy class, heard enough talk that he knows what it is but knowing in textbook terms and feeling what it does to her when he rubs against it are two completely different experiences. She shows him how to rub in circles while he fucks her with his fingers and then stretches out again, arms flung over her head, letting him work her body.

It feels like it takes forever because he keeps losing the right spot and his fingers and wrist are starting to ache but he'll keep doing this for as long as she lets him touch her. It's entirely worth it for the way she starts to whimper and her thighs tighten and she bites her lip. She doesn't give him any warning but he is mesmerized by the way he can tell all the same when she's about to come. Her eyes fly open and she looks right at him and whispers his name and then she's clenching, spasming around him, so much different than he sees in porn and so, so much hotter.

He really can't help it. He tries to, tries so hard, but Vala's coming and his fingers are buried inside her and he can't help it. His dick throbs and he rubs against her hip. She seems to realize and catches his mouth in a hard kiss, bucking against him. His mind whites out and he's coming inside of his underwear, humping helplessly against her until his balls have emptied.

He leaves his fingers inside of her until she relaxes. They're sticky and wet and he wipes them on his t-shirt. He pulls off his underwear and tries to discreetly clean himself up, balling up his shirt and underwear. Vala has her eyes shut again and he wonders if she's gone to sleep, but when he lays back down she immediately curls up against his side. "Thank you."

"Trust me. You really... really... do not have to thank me for that." His mind still feels blown and he doesn't imagine that'll change any time soon.

Vala giggles just a bit. "Yes, I did get the impression that you enjoyed yourself..."

"Hey, now." He lets himself laugh too. "Come on. I'm only human."

She lifts her head and kisses his jaw. "I hope I get to play more next time, too."

He wraps her in a huge hug, overwhelmed with affection and exhilaration suddenly. As the endorphins fade he's suddenly sleepy and he can tell Vala is, too.

*

He wakes up in the morning when his alarm goes off. His hand shoots out to slam down on the snooze button, but Vala's already waking up.

It's Friday, which means it's a school day, and he needs to get up and shower. Vala's fast asleep still, turns away from him and tangled in his sheets. Her hair is a mess and his shirt has ridden up on her. He wants to memorize how she looks right here and now in his bed.

He doesn't want to but he has to wake her. She comes to slowly, grumpily. Once she wakes up she's entirely alert though, and smiling deeply. "Cameron."

Oh. He loves the way she says his name.

"We have to get up. I have to get ready for school, and you have to..."

"Leave?" She gives him a wry smile.

"You've got school, too," he reminds her.

Vala makes a face at him. "I'm not going back there."

Cam isn't sure if it has something to do with what's wrong or not, but he doesn't ask because there's a knock on his door. "Mom says time to get up!" Will shouts.

"You've got a brother?" Vala asks.

He realizes that, despite as close as he feels to her, he and Vala really don't know each other that well at all. He should be working up the nerve to ask her on dates, not helping her hide out. "Yeah. His name is Will."

She slips out of bed and opens the bag. "I don't supposed you can sneak me in your shower, can you? We could conserve water..."

Well, there's a thought that will drive him to distraction all day long.

"Not right now," he says. He sits up in bed, not wanting to get up or out from under the cover because he's still naked and has a morning hard on. "But my mom gives music lessons all afternoon, and Will has Boy Scout's. House is empty from 3 to 5:30. You could come back then."

"Don't you have football practice?" She dresses in front of him without modesty, and he watches. When she's done she rakes her fingers through her hair and pulls it into a messy ponytail.

"I'll skip," he says.

She gives him a big smile and walks over, kissing him on the cheek. "In that case, I'll see you then."

*

In between periods Daniel Jackson walks up to him, gives him a pointed look, and then walks away.

Cam follows him, not because that's what Daniel seems to want him to do, but because he thinks Daniel might be able to give him some answers about Vala.

They walk into an empty classroom. "You know where she is?"

"What happened?"

"She didn't tell you?" Daniel sighs, and actually looks a little troubled. "So you're helping her hide out without even knowing why she needs to hide?"

"You must not think it's all that bad if you didn't tell anyone she'd be with me," Cam points out.

"No, I don't," Daniel admits. "Look, Vala's annoying as hell but she kind of gets under your skin and I don't think she actually does anything with malicious intent. What happened... wasn't her fault. But it's also not my place to say."

Frustration grows inside of Cam. "So that's it? Nothing?"

"Tell her..." Daniel sighs. "I don't know. Tell her that I'm not going to rat her out. And... good luck."

He walks away.

part 2

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December 2011

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