Title: Under the Stars
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things SG1 belong to MGM, et al. All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al.
Notes: For Kei, who is okay with gen fic or Buffy/Daniel, and wanted: an unexpected/unintentional dance scene (whether it be demon or alien or some other contrived plot conveyance, give me dance!), humor, peeps
It was only supposed to be a quick trip off-world. Sight-seeing, almost.
“C’mon, Danny, just show the girls a good time,” Jack had said, narrowing his eyes. “You do
remember how to have a good time, right?” And then, like he’d agreed to it already. “Take Teal’c, too.”
Which was how he’d ended up traveling to MX5-392 with Teal’c at his side and Buffy and Dawn Summers looking wide-eyed and curious at their backs.
“They all look…human,” he heard the elder of the two whisper to her sister, and Daniel forced himself to take a breath before answering.
“That’s because –“
But Dawn had beat him to it. Again. She was off and running, explaining things to Buffy using little words that he probably wouldn’t have though to use. It was like the two of them spoke another language completely. Some dialect of Southern-Californian-Valley-Girl, with a good dollop of pop culture terminology mixed in for good measure. As a linguist, he had to admit it was fascinating, and sometimes frightening. He had even started taking notes. Maybe one day he’d have a chance to publish a paper on the phenomenon.
“So – who are these people we’re going to visit?”
That was directed at him. At least, Daniel was pretty sure it was. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure that Dawn wasn’t about to open her mouth, then started in on an explanation. “The Goombinis –“
“Sounds like a mob family,” Dawn snickered, and Daniel had to agree – even if it was done silently. Encouraging the two of them – or even one of them – only ever led to a headache for him.
“Like The Sopranos
?” Buffy whispered back.
Dawn laughed. “Can you imagine a little grey man living next to Tony –“
“Like I was saying,” Daniel said over the chatter. “We have peaceful relations with the Goombinis and tonight is a festival. Jack thought it would be a good first trip for the two of you. A chance to get off-world –“
“Without risking running into any of those Goold guys.”
“Goa’uld, Buff,” Dawn corrected her immediately, off handedly.
Daniel was pretty sure that Buffy got their names wrong on purpose, just to needle her sister and anyone else that was around to hear it. Which was why he didn’t plan on correcting her anymore. He’d lost track of how many times he’d already had to do it so far, and the game had gotten old, to put it mildly. Either she was really, really dim – which he didn’t believe for a second – or she did it on purpose.
As they neared the open area that had been sent aside for the festival, the magistrate of the town bustled up. Or, waddled was probably more of a correct term, Daniel noted absently, exchanging greetings with the man before introducing him to Buffy and Dawn. They were grinning, bouncing on their feet, looking at ease and excited.
Okay, so maybe this wasn’t going to turn out as badly as he’d assumed it would. Just because the Summers girls were known around base for causing more trouble than they were worth didn’t mean that they always
had danger following them around like a stray puppy. He might even get a chance to look through the translation he’d brought with him to wile away the long, dull hours of the latter parts of the festival.
Cushions were set up at low tables, creating a large, hollow square in the middle of the festival grounds. Everywhere he looked, there was color and light, an all-around feeling of happiness and well-being. Daniel had forgotten just how nice this planet was to visit. Not war-ravaged or afraid, these people embraced life and living with every breath they took. A real ‘carpe diem’ attitude, with a healthy dose of ‘eat, drink, and be merry’.
Oh, and dance. Eat, drink, dance
, and be merry.
Apparently the Goombinis had developed line dancing at some point in their cultural evolution, and they were very…ah… enthusiastic
Daniel leaned back in his pile of cushions, taking the glass of wine with him. He sipped at it, watching Buffy and Dawn over the rim. Some of the more courageous male villagers had lured them to the center of the cleared space and were trying to teach them a traditional line dance. Dawn was all elbows and legs. Sort of expected for someone her age. Buffy, on the other hand, had taken to the dance with a determined scowl of a grin on her face, and was picking her way through it, step by step. Her blonde hair caught in the firelight, and she seemed much younger than what she really was. She stumbled, caught herself on the arm of the man next to her, and laughed.
Right. He’d obviously had too much to drink if he was looking at Buffy
But he didn’t put down his wine. Just kept sipping and watching. Dawn fell down in a tangle of legs, taking the brave soul that had been trying to lead her through the steps with her, and Daniel’s lips quirked up in a smile.
“Are you thinking of joining them, DanielJackson?”
Daniel snorted softly and looked over at Teal’c. “Ah. No, I don’t think so.”
Teal’c nodded, maybe agreeing that the idea of Daniel line dancing wasn’t the greatest. Or maybe not. Either way, Daniel didn’t see the big guy getting up and joining in himself.
He drained the last of his wine, and had the cup halfway to the table before someone was there filling it again. His entire body was loose, relaxed, and he might would have to thank
Jack for this not-quite-mission when he got back to the SGC.
The last month had been hard on everyone. In-fighting in the Goa’uld ranks hadn’t made life any easier, despite what they’d all originally assumed. If anything, the situation was more volatile than it had ever been. Players that hadn’t even been blips on their radar before had sprung up, trying to grab a bigger share of the pie that was the universe. Mission after mission SG-1 had gone on, most ending badly.
Sitting here, watching everyone dance and laugh, was like a vacation away from all of that.
Daniel drank down half of the wine in his newly-filled cup, then put it aside. Lightly buzzed was one thing, but getting drunk wasn’t wise, no matter how friendly everyone seemed at the moment. It would be just his luck that something would go wrong if he indulged too much, leaving Teal’c as the only clear head.
When he looked up from his cup, Buffy was walking across the dance floor, smiling happily. She stopped in front of the table and held out her hand. “C’mon. Up and at em.”
“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, though he sort of got the feeling he already knew exactly what she wanted.
“Dancing. You know, moving,” she did a little wiggle in front of him that Daniel supposed could
be called ‘dancing’ somewhere on Earth. “You look bored.”
“I’m not,” he argued.
Placing her free hand on her hip, the other still held out to him, she gave him her sweetest smile. “Jack said he told you to show us a good time.”
Daniel nodded. “Yes, he did. That’s why we’re here
“Okay – so… doing the alien electric slide with you would definitely be a good time,” she pressed, fingers flicking in a ‘come on’ motion. “Don’t make me get Dawnie over here to help me drag you out there.”
From what Daniel could see, Dawn had abandoned the dance floor in favor of biting the heads off of the marshmallow-ish treats that she’d taken a shine to when the festivities had first begun. Almost like Peeps, she’d said, as she proceeded to devour them like they were going out of style.
He didn’t have the heart to tell her that the candy-like treats were actually made from one of the planet’s native vegetables and were quite healthy. Somehow he knew that might ruin her appreciation of them.
“Buffy –“ he began, making the mistake of holding up his hand to emphasize what he was about to say.
She grabbed hold and tugged, and Daniel found himself faced with the choice of making a scene and trying to get his hand back from her, or just doing what she wanted him to.
Discretion was the better part of valor, as the saying went.
The dance was still going strong by the time they reached the nearest empty space to insert themselves into. Daniel felt himself flush as he looked down at the feet of everyone around him. This was not
one of his strong suits, and he was tipsy on top of that, too.
“Just move,” Buffy called, over the instrumental music in the background and the cheering of the people around them as they called out in some sort of chanting response to the dance steps. “You don’t have to be perfect.”
That, he mused, was a good thing. There was no way that he was going to be anywhere close to perfect.
No one seemed to notice when he started stumbling around, Buffy at his side, urging him through the dance steps when he would have rather run off the floor at the first opportunity. She laughed and clapped, danced with him.
And before he knew it, he was having… fun.
He looked up from his feet, grinning at her, and ignored that fluttery feeling in his stomach when she smiled back. There was no way he could get involved with her, and she had to know that. He was too old for her, too damaged for her, and his heart had already been given out once, returned in pieces that he didn’t have a single clue how to put back together.
All that aside, he didn’t even try to leave when the music changed and a new dance began. He probably should have. This one was a flying tangle of arms and legs that ended up with everyone on the dance floor. Literally. On. The. Floor. Lying there, laughing. Which was how it was supposed to go, apparently. The cultural scientists of the SGC were going to be sorry they missed this.
Buffy was giggling, staring up unseeingly at the stars. She had her head on his arm, and it was far more comfortable than it should have been.
The smart thing for him to do would be to gently get up, help her to her feet, and go back to the table.
Smarter still would be to do all that, except instead of going back to the table, declare their off-world fun over, and get them hustled back to the SGC.
When Buffy turned to look at him, eyes sparkling, asking him some question about the planet that he only barely heard, Daniel did none of those things. Instead, he found himself smiling and answering her question, telling her about the first time he’d been to this planet, with Jack and the others.
And when he got up and held out a hand to help her up, maybe he held onto her hand just a little longer than he should have, and he didn’t even care
. He definitely ignored the carefully passive look that Teal’c gave him on the walk back to the ‘gate.
He did end up telling Dawn about the not-quite-Peeps, though, but only because she was trying to smuggle some home inside her shirt.
“You had fun.”
“Danny,” Jack said, mock-serious. “You. Had. Fun.”
After a moment, Daniel nodded. He even smiled when he said, “Yeah, I did.”
“Good. Glad to hear it,” Jack clapped his hands together, so proud of himself. “Now, what’s this Teal’c told me about you doing the Goombini Macarena?”