"…min!" shouted Vala. She lunged towards him, forgetting that her human joints could only provide her limited mobility in so small a time span. Vala was too late, for, as the bridge of the Odyssey materialized around her, the energy blast hit Tomin and knocked him to the ground.

Vala became deaf to the sounds around her: the crew of the Odyssey yelling at the Ori soldiers to drop their weapons became muffled in her ears. She was blind to all the action as well, all the weapons being aimed by Odyssey marines, Ori soldiers dropping to their knees, with their arms behind their heads. Vala shoved her way past the armed marines, but in the midst of the chaos, some of them tried to address her. Their mouths moved, but no sound made its way to her ears. By the time she got to Tomin, she saw that his armor had been perforated, and he was bleeding all over the floor.

"Vala?" said Tomin, grimacing with pain, and extending a trembling arm out towards her. Vala dropped next to him, and took his hand with hers. "It's alright Tomin. It's alright. I'm here." She cast a wary glance at his wound, and tried her best to prevent the nausea and worry that had melded together at the pit of her stomach from manifesting themselves in her facial expressions. The metal from Tomin's armor had melted from the heat of the blast, burning his skin. On the other side of the wound, Tomin's armor had become malleable enough to bend inwards and pierce his flesh, causing the blood to gush from a torn artery like a fountain. Vala was forced to free her hand from Tomin's tightening grip, and use both hands to apply pressure to his wound, in an attempt to quell the bleeding.

"I need a medic!" She yelled at Sam, who had arrived to her side. Sam nodded, and ran off to retrieve Dr. Peterson who was below on Deck 3, treating victims with serious injuries from the Ori attack. It wouldn't be fast enough. "I need a goa'uld healing device! Fast!" Vala yelled into the room, at anyone who could hear her. Her voice was somehow not hers anymore. It was desperate, frantic, on the verge of tears. Tomin hemorrhaging blood at an alarming rate, and he needed a miracle to save him. His face was drained of color and his eyelids began to flutter as his consciousness wavered. "Tomin! Please, stay with me." His blood was warm against her down-pressed palms, but the rest of his body was going cold. Hearing his name, Tomin's eyes focused upon her again. She needed to anchor him to reality. "That's it Tomin. Just hang on," Vala said, trying to infuse hope into her quivering voice. "Stay with me, and I'll take care of you. Just like old times. Please," she pleaded, "Let me take care of you like you did for me …" Her voice caught, and Vala realized that tears were streaming down her face, now completely unhindered. "I'll make you breakfast in bed everyday, and … and you can order me around …" She tasted her tears salty against her lips. Tomin's brow softened, his expression now completely serene. He smiled, as he wiped away a tear that had balanced itself upon the tip of Vala's nose with a clumsy thumb.

"Do not cry, Vala Mal Doran," Tomin whispered, his breaths short and shallow. "For I have betrayed my Gods for you. I have given up ascension … for you."

"I … I'm so sorry … I should have left you be …I didn't mean for this to … for you to …"

Tomin gently shushed her, and continued: "I have chosen wisely … and I am content. All that the Ori could have given me, they could not … give me … you."

His last breath extinguished, Tomin parted his lips in a final, bittersweet smile, and then he let death, absolute in its judgment, overpower him.

The silence that ensued pounded in Vala's ears. The bridge of the Odyssey was too quiet. Even the usual beeping of equipment seemed hushed and distant. Vala swallowed back a sob, and leaned forward to place a soft kiss upon Tomin's forehead. She let her lips linger, and then drew back to remove a stray strand of hair from his forehead. He would always be the better of the two of them, boyishly innocent in spite of everything that had transpired. She had betrayed him a countless number of times. She did not deserve him. And yet, he had forsaken everything he knew for her.

With the Ori soldiers aboard the Odyssey disarmed and contained, Mitchell managed to make his way towards Vala. He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder with a solemn expression on his face. She glanced up at him, her eyes still glistening with tears, and removed her hands that were still pressing down against Tomin's wound. She noted how her fingers were now dyed crimson as she wiped her tears away with the back of her palm. She let Mitchell help her up, his hand wrapped around her waist, as though he were afraid she would collapse. As Mitchell began leading Vala away, he suddenly felt her hand reaching for the firearm in his leg pocket. With surprising dexterity, he felt her twist around within his hold, so that she was facing the kneeling Ori soldiers. Then, the Odyssey echoed with the shrill, piercing sound of a gunshot.

Jaw gaping, Mitchell's eyes drifted from the smoking barrel held tight at the end of Vala's extended arm to the astonished Ori soldier who had suddenly found himself with a bullet at the center of his forehead. His body collapsed to the floor of the Odyssey with a loud thud. Looking around, Mitchell saw that each marine on deck mirrored his expression. All their eyes were on Vala.

Vala's arm fell to her side, still gripping the gun.

Some unfortunate sergeant had decided that this was the opportune moment to rush into the bridge, triumphantly brandishing a goa'uld healing device, too late to do anyone any good. The expression on Vala's face was murderous. But before she could do anything rash, Mitchell took the opportunity to reach out and reclaim his gun from Vala's grasp.

Mitchell let her stand next to the body, with her arms crossed, her brow furrowed, and her jaw set. There were no more tears in her eyes as she waiting for Sam to return with Peterson so that they could carry Tomin away. When Peterson finally arrived, she watched his team put Tomin onto a stretcher in silence, and did not even cringe when they draped a white sheet over his face. Keeping a cautious eye on Vala, Mitchell sent a team over to the Thalaquin, and monitored the repairs to the Odyssey's hyperdrive. In about twenty minutes, Cunningham declared the Odyssey fit to travel, and commanded both ships to enter hyperspace on route to earth.

When it was all over, Vala turned to Sam and Mitchell. Her cold tone was drenched in bitterness as she asked, in a manner so reminiscent of when they had first met her, yet so starkly different: "Where's my Daniel?"

THE END

A/N: Yikes! I'm seeing pitchforks and torches outside my door. But before you murder me, I've been planning this ending from the start. I really can't see how to end the story any other way, and to add an extra epilogue chapter would really kill its momentum. Nevertheless, if people feel the story should continue, I might be inclined to oblige ... I said might... Now that it's finally complete, would love to hear your input and comments. Liked it? Hated it? Please let me know.