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A Strategic Plan

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Fish Climbing Trees". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Buffy believes it’s a dumb plan, Jim thinks it’s one of his best ever, and Bones is oblivious to the subtle.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Trek > Star Trek 2009(Past Donor)polgaraFR1512,0861133,26320 Jan 1320 Jan 13Yes
Title: A Strategic Plan
Fandom: BtVS/ST:XI (AOS)
Word count: 2027
Prompt: Head Games at the Tamingthemuse LJ comm
Warnings: None
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, settings, or fandoms. They are the property of their respective creators and companies.
Summary: Buffy believes it’s a dumb plan, Jim thinks it’s one of his best ever, and Bones is oblivious to the subtle.

 

 

 

 

 

Buffy closed her eyes to let the music flow through her and guide her movements on the dance floor. It was one of the few things that was the same from this century and her own. The thrumming beat caused her hips to sway sinuously and she found herself getting lost in it, easing the strain and tension from the last week.

Right up until she felt a pair of hands land on her waist and a decidedly male body press up against hers. She knew it was Jim without even seeing him by the scent of his spicy cologne.

"I still think this is a dumb plan," she said into his ear as she opened her eyes. Her body continued to move with the music and he effortlessly matched her.

"Nonsense, it‘s a well thought out, strategic plan of attack," he countered. "We've got him right where we want him."

"We?"

"Metaphorically speaking," he conceded easily. "And I've gotta say, your hips should be registered as deadly weapons. You should have seen his face when you started dancing. I seriously thought his eyes were going to pop out of his sockets they got so big."

She pulled back slightly to glare at him as his hand slid to rest on the small of her back. “And what part of the plan was this in?” She hissed, but didn’t move to adjust his hold on her.

“Just making sure we’re putting on a good show for Gerald and the boys,” Jim replied easily, his head nodding to a group of men at the bar. “The whole idea is that we’re ‘protecting you’ from the idiots.”

“Which brings me back to the dumb part of the plan,” Buffy said with an eye roll. “He knows I can take care of myself.”

Jim chuckled as he leaned in close to speak into her ear, “But that doesn’t stop him from wanting to take care of you. Trust me on this.”

Buffy felt her confidence deflate just a little as she asked, “And how sure are you that he’s into me?” She hated asking, but she was still struggling to come to grips with the possibility that Len might actually be attracted to her.

“Trust me,” he said, maneuvering them so she could see him through the crowd. “Look at how he’s working very hard to ignore the dance floor. You’ve been out with him, you’ve seen how he behaves. This is not the norm, ergo he’s avoiding looking at you and me. Plus, you’ve got no idea how many times I’ve caught him staring when you aren’t looking.”

She didn’t say anything as she watched Len scowl at his glass of bourbon and ignore the crowd around him. As much as she hated to admit it, Jim was right. This wasn’t typical behavior for Len. They had gone out to dance clubs before, but she had always had a group of girlfriends to dance with to help keep the men at bay, and never before had Jim joined her on the floor.

“Fine, I’ll follow your lead. For now. First sign it’s going downhill, I’m changing tactics.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said, stepping back and flashing her a confident grin. “Now, you keep dancing and I’ll work my magic.”

“Magic, ha,” she muttered before turning her back so she couldn’t witness the proceedings. “He wouldn’t know magic if it came up and bit him on the ass.”

With concentrated effort she forced herself back into the groove of the music, doing her level best to ignore the idiots from her self-defense class that were hovering nearby on barstools. This was her least favorite part of her plan. How Jim was able to discover which bar they’d be attending was beyond her. She only hoped he’d get Len moving before she ended up in yet another bar brawl.

Some days she truly missed the simple life of staking vampires in Sunnydale.

Another song ran its course signaling that Jim had failed to talk Len into joining her on the dance floor. A quick glance over her shoulder showed Jim distracting Gerald and his goons, which meant it was her turn. Working her way through the crowd she made it back to the table they had appropriated when they walked in.

She decided to go the daring route and wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders from behind. “Dance with me, Len,” she said cheerfully in his ear.

“Are you crazy?” He asked, twisting slightly in her embrace. “I can’t -”

“Yes, you can. I’ve seen you,” she said, cutting off his protest. Buffy’s arms released him so she could pull a chair up close and sit. “Please, dance with me.”

He grimaced and turned back to his bourbon. “Get Jim to dance with you. The two of you were cozy enough earlier.”

Buffy forced a cheerful smile on her face despite the pain the biting words had caused. “He was just letting me know that Gerald the Great Asshat was here with his buddies. C’mon, Len. I want to dance but I need a shield.”

“Then get Ji -”

“I don’t want to dance with Jim, I want to dance with you!” She practically shouted in frustration. She could feel the tips of her ears turning pink.

Len turned to look at her in surprise and she forced herself to hold steady under his piercing gaze. His expression was inscrutable as the moment seemed to drag on and she resisted the urge to fidget as he reached for a decision. This was it. If he said no, she wasn’t going to push further and would go back to the dance floor. Alone.

And never again would she follow Jim Kirk’s advice.

Then miraculously something softened in Len’s eyes and he set his drink on the table. “Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

Buffy beamed at him and reached for his hand as she gracefully stood up. “You’ll be fine,” she assured him. Then with his hand firmly in her own, she weaved them through the people dancing to the center of the floor.

With more bravado than she really felt, she stepped closer so their bodies were nearly touching and felt his body tense slightly with the proximity. “Relax, Len. It’s just dancing. There’s really no wrong way of doing it. Well, there is, but I don’t see you as a spasmodic flailer so you should be fine.”

“Spasmodic flailer?” He asked incredulously, one eyebrow raised at her phrasing.

“Trust me, not pretty. But you’re a bit too reserved to go that route,” she said with a grin as she felt him relax with the typical banter. “Just let the music tell you what to do.”

“Right, cause the music gives directions,” he muttered not realizing that Buffy’s keen hearing would pick up the words even over the music.

The music shifted pace to a slower tempo and in a reversal of positions, Buffy’s own body tensed in apprehension. While she wanted to dance with Len, she wasn’t positive she’d be able to convince him to stay on the floor with her for a slow number. Just when she was about to suggest they sit down to spare herself the embarrassment, his left hand slid around her waist to rest lightly at the small of her back while his right reached out to take hold of her left.

“Come here,” he said gruffly and pulled her close.



McCoy had seen fear and hope warring within Buffy’s eyes as the music switched tempos. It had been the same look that they had held at the table when she convinced him to join her on the dance floor. Hope blossomed in his chest that maybe, just maybe Jim had been on to something this whole time.

The entire week he had suffered through his best friend’s endless talk about how he needed to ask Buffy out before she lost interest and began looking elsewhere. At the time he had thought Jim was possibly hovering on the edge of insanity to believe that such a beautiful young woman would be interested in a cranky bastard like himself.

Goodness knew it wasn’t because he wasn’t interested that had held him back. She had captured his attention from the first time she had shown up in the ER and in his care. A bare slip of a woman who could not only hold her own in a fight, but dole out some serious damage on her opponent. She had a quick tongue to trade barbs with anyone who crossed her, and yet he’d laid witness to how gentle she could be with anyone who was injured.

No, it wasn’t his interest that held him back, but his own self-doubt. What did he have to offer? A nearly middle-aged divorcee who was continually the ignored voice of reason against the crazy schemes of his roommate.

Surely, he was not what she was looking for in a man.

However, once he got a good look at her that evening when she insisted on dancing with him rather than Jim, he dared to hope that there was true want shining in those hazel eyes. It made his head spin.

So he took his chance.

Only to have it nearly dashed away because of the music. He could detect the moment when she was about to suggest they head back to the table and reacted without thought. He quickly pulled her into his arms with a gruff, “Come here.”

She hesitated for a brief moment before resting her head against his shoulder. Until then, he hadn’t fully realized just how tiny she was compared to him. She barely reached the top of his shoulders and that was only because of the ridiculously high heels she was wearing that evening. Her hand slid up his arm until it rested on his shoulder blade, the hand splayed open.

An unbidden smile graced his lips as he reflected on how nice it was to hold a woman in his arms and be held in return. Perhaps Jim was right. It was time for him to move on from Jocelyn. His heart raced at the thought of making the first move.

Although that wasn’t quite right either. Looking back over the night and even over the last few weeks, Buffy had been subtly showing her interest in him. He had just been too blind to see it.

McCoy shifted his posture slightly and Buffy lifted her head to look up curiously at him. He gave her plenty of time to protest as his head dipped down towards hers and he was still slightly surprised when their lips met in a soft kiss.

He could taste the remnants of the fruity drink she had had earlier and something uniquely Buffy underneath it all. His head swam with the rush of realization that she hadn’t pulled away. That yes, she was interested.

Lips parted and he pulled her closer to dip his tongue into the hot cavern of her mouth. Strong fingers dug into his shoulder as her body arched to meet his. The press of bodies around them faded from awareness as he centered himself on her. Heat rushed through his veins and he very much wanted to ditch Jim and the bar to get Buffy alone.

So much wasted time.

The need for air forced them apart and he felt a flush of satisfaction as he took in her passion glazed expression and swollen lips. His thumb rubbed absently at the small of her back as he gently bumped his nose against hers.

“Whadd’ya say we head out and go somewhere less crowded?” He suggested softly, his voice still managing to carry over the music.

“I say Jim can take care of himself,” she replied with an impish grin. “Because I’m not letting him ruin this evening with his smugness.”

He wanted to question her but decided he really could care less at the moment. Regretfully his hand left her waist, but the other kept hers firmly in its grasp. No way was he letting go now.

 

 

 

 

 

The End

You have reached the end of "A Strategic Plan". This story is complete.

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