Wish You Were Here
Dedication: This was written for Kyria, who adores Dan and continues to encourage my errant muse.
Disclaimer: None of the characters or core concepts are mine… They all belong to Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, Mutant Enemy, Century Fox, UPN, WB, et al. I'm just borrowing them. Chapter title is taken from lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" which played as I wrote this installment. No infringement is intended and no profit is being made.
“Oh God, did I hurt your hand?” Genuinely concerned, the woman beside him grabbed his hand and gingerly inspected it for damage while he bit back a grin.
“Not my hand,” he reassured as he pulled it out of her grasp, “though that is quite a grip you’ve got there, Buffy. My pride is what’s battered.”
“Your pride?” she parroted skeptically, arching an eyebrow as she took another sip of her drink.
“Yes. My pride. A man’s gotta have his pride.”
“I’ve known you less than an hour and already I’ve wounded your pride?”
“You do work fast, I’ll give you that.”
“You’re just a delicate flower, aren’t ya, Dan?”
He snorted at that before downing some more of his Avalanche, “Delicate? Hardly. I’m what you’d call a man’s man.” Puffing out his chest in an exaggerated fashion, he winked at her, blue eyes sparkling with good humor.
God/dess had she missed a man with a sense of humor.
“Really? Not what I’d have gone with,” she shrugged mildly as she glanced around the crowded room. “Now my fey associate over there, the blonde,” she pointed to a lanky man in his mid twenties wearing a shirt with “Greedo Shot First” emblazoned across the front, “He’s what I’d call a man’s man. But you do have a pretty mouth.”
Swiveling his head from one blonde to the other, he arched an eyebrow at Buffy, shooting her a withering glance that died as soon as she aimed a brilliant, sheepish smile his way.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized, leaning into him as the doleful strains of Syd Barrett wafted through the air. “I’m gonna have to blame that on too much Faith, I think. I’m not usually so…”
“Insulting?” he ventured as she trailed off, searching again for just the right phrase.
Blushing slightly, she shook her head. “I was going to say ‘forward’ actually.”
“Forward?” Dan repeated incredulously, suddenly very glad he’d set his drink back down. “So… Wait! That was you trying to hit on me?”
“My technique needs a little work, huh?”
“Well…” Pretending to consider, he studied her again noting the faint flush that still tinged her cheeks prettily and the rhythmic tapping of her ring finger against the side of her glass. “The next time you probably want to hold off on insulting the guy’s taste in music until you’ve known him at least an hour.”
Laughing at herself good-naturedly, she nodded, “Fair enough.”
“And,” he added somberly, “It’s probably best to never, ever compare a guy to your misguided friend over there.”
“Because he’s gay?” Buffy’s hackles rose a little, ready to defend Andrew.
“No,” Dan stated emphatically, “because he’s a moron. Everyone knows Han shot first.”
Rolling her eyes as she relaxed again, Buffy chuckled lightly. “So, is there a time limit on how long before a girl can call a guy a dork? Because… Wow. Dork.”
“Well, actually…” locking eyes with her again, Dan felt a blush creep into his own face without knowing exactly why. “Um, I think there may be a sliding scale for that one.”
“I’ll have to remember that.”