End of the World, Charlie Parker, Time Bomb
a Las Vegas story
by dirty diana
for Kim Bauer in the Las Vegas ficathon. She asked for Sam, Danny, and romance. This is as close as I could get. Title is a reference to a novel by Haruki Murakami. Mad beta love to sf fan.
There's a jazz band in the Sunset Lounge on Monday and Wednesday nights.
"You should hear the trumpet player," Danny overhears Sam saying, to Erik at the front desk. "This guy's so smooth. Like Charlie Parker."
"Like Charlie Parker?" Danny repeats, and Sam just raises her eyebrows, to indicate she wasn't talking to him anyway.
"Yeah, Danny. Charlie Parker? Greatest jazz musician off all time?"
"I know," Danny says, watching her, as her fingers tap impatiently on her clipboard, her left hand curled around a cup of coffee. "I just didn't know you were a jazz fan."
"Everyone is full of surprises," she says.
"We should go sometime," he says.
"What, you and me?" she asks, and her fingers never stop moving. "You mean, together?"
Samantha just stares at him, and then brushes away her hair, eyes squinting as if she's thinking about it. "Why?"
"You're not getting a second chance, you know."
"Chance?" Danny asks. The bottle of champagne that sits between them is almost empty, the champagne flute between her fingers imprinted with dark red lipstick.
"Yeah. At getting me into bed?" Sam swallows her champagne. "You had your chance. You blew it."
"I wasn't..." Danny always feels lost with Sam, five minutes too late for the train. "You think that's why I bought you dinner?"
Sam shrugs, scooping up the last of her crème brulée with her fingers. "Why else?"
"You sure you don't want to come in?"
Danny isn't sure. Sam smells sweet, like expensive perfume and expensive champagne, as her breath strokes his lapel.
"I think we've done this before," he says. "It's time for you to go to bed."
"That's what I was thinking." The curve of her mouth suggests that she is laughing at him.
"You'd be drunk too, if you weren't such a stick-in-the-mud."
"I am not a stick-in-the-mud."
"You are," she says, and then she lets Danny put her to bed.
She falls, heavy and warm, into the soft king bed.
"Stick-in-the-mud," she whispers in his ear.
"Danny. Just the guy I was looking for."
She almost knocks him over, striding across the casino floor.
"Whatever it is," Danny says, "I'm busy."
"But I need your help."
"I really, really need your help." She smiles, and he's distracted for a second, by her eyes brushing his face.
"You and everybody else," he tells her. With a hand on her bare shoulder, he guides her out of the path of passing traffic. "Why don't you go bother Mike?"
She only smiles again, cool and confident. "I don't want to bother Mike. I'd rather bother you."
Nessa brings it up first. "What's up with you and Sam?"
"What? There's nothing up with me and Sam."
"Bollocks," Nessa answers, and then was quiet for a moment. "Every time I see you two these days, you're together. Giggling like schoolgirls."
"Like school..." Danny frowns. "I do not giggle."
"I'm just telling you what I see, Danny," Nessa responds, and deals out a hand to the table.
Mike is next.
"We're just friends," Danny protests.
"Friends?" Mike repeats in disbelief. "Danny, Samantha Jane Marquez does not have friends. She has prey."
"That's kind of an over-simplification, don't you think?"
"Over-simplification?" Mike repeats. "What is that, your word of the day?"
Danny grins. "You're not the only one around here who reads, man."
Mike smiles back at him. "Yeah, I am."
"You know that she's bad news, right?" Big Ed asks him, with his voice dropping low.
"Yeah," Danny answers.
"Okay." Ed gets up from his desk, standing up straight and slapping Danny warmly on the shoulder. "Just checking."
Sam couldn't stop laughing. "She said what?"
"It's not that funny."
"No, I'm sorry, it's just..." Sam started laughing again, and then had to take off her sunglasses and wipe her eyes. "She thinks we're dating?"
"Everybody does, apparently."
Sam almost dropped her Guccis. "Everybody?"
"It's not that ridiculous. We do spend a lot of time together."
"I know we do," Sam answers patiently. "But I would never date you, Danny. You're just not my type."
"Yeah." Danny thought about it. "You're not my type either."
"Wait." Sam twirled her sunglasses in one hand, between her thumb and index finger. Then she stopped abruptly, staring at him. "Why the hell not?"
"I was just agreeing..."
"It's cause I'm not like Mary, isn't it?" Her mouth tightens, a scowl that somehow always suits her face. "You want someone that's sweet, right? Innocent? I can do sweet."
"Sure," Danny says.
"I suppose I might date you," Sam adds, as she kisses him on the cheek and starts to walk away. "If it was the end of the world, or whatever. And we were the only people left. I bet you'd be useful at the end of the world. You've got all those survival skills, right?"
She comes out of the pool dripping wet, shaking water all across his end of the deck.
"Watch it," he says. "Shouldn't you be working?"
She pulls a towel across long, damp hair. "Shouldn't you be working?"
"Big Ed gave me the afternoon off.
"He did," Danny protests, pushing his shades up on his face.
"Calm down, McCoy. I'm not going to tell on you. Now, be a gentleman and move over."
She falls asleep stretched out beside him, warm and brown in the desert sun. Sprawled out, taking up too much room, snoring slightly. Danny orders another beer, and pulls his sunglasses back down over his eyes. He watches her sleeping.
"You better not tell anyone, you got that?"
"I would never do that."
Then Danny kisses her again, in the covered dark of the employee parking lot, pressed against the doors of her second-hand convertible.
She's tiny, feet slipping out of stiletto sandals as she reaches up to kiss him. His hand brushes the silk hem of her dress.
"If you tell anyone, Danny, I swear I'll make you cry," she whispers, and her mouth is soft. "You better promise."
"Cross my heart," Danny says.