Lee went to get fresh beers and get away from the weird vibe he was getting off Gunner as the crazy Swede kept sending Expendables out to dance with the crazy Spaniard who'd attached himself to the team. Seriously, who did the man think was going to judge? If Gunner wanted to dance with Galgo, he hardly needed to go through this rigmarole.
Frowning unseeing at the bar's counter as he waited for the drinks, he decided he was going to have to pull a Barney and have a 'talk' with Gunner when he got back to the table. Not right he should think he couldn't be himself with his teammates.
Then he'd have a talk with *Barney* for missing his cue to take care of the emotional needs of his team. Lee Christmas was *not* the team's counsellor, for fuck's sake!
Halfway back to the table, his eyes automatically took stock of the occupants. Locating both Gunner for his chat, and Barney's jacket. And Lee's chair next to it, still empty. Good. Damn kids had learned quick; Doc: not so much.
"Galgo, *no*. Hands *here*...... *Galgo*."
By the second repeat of the Spaniard's name, Lee's eyes had zoomed in on Barney's twitching shoulders in the crowd.
Barney was silently swearing, and debating where and how hard he could hit Galgo without doing *entirely* permanent damage; 'cause no fucking way was he was dealing with hands for more than 5. More. Sec-
"Hands *off*, Galgo, or I'll take 'em off *permanently*."
The ice-calm voice and throwing knife suddenly pointed at his dance partner from over his shoulder were unmistakably familiar and Barney would have shaken his head in amusement if that sharp blade wasn't quite so close. "Christmas-"
"Shut up, Galgo, just let him go and go convince Gunner to stop being a stupid fuck and just dance with you. Otherwise go find someone else who *wants* to 'dance'."
Between Lee's words and watching the weird mix of emotions crossing Galgo's face, Barney suddenly had an idea of just what the fuck the evening's nonsensical theatre had been about. And he was definitely going to have to have a talk with Gunner. Once that man got an idea in his head, he'd gnaw it like a fucking bone if it wasn't derailed.
He turned to meet Lee's curious look with a wry smirk, "Yeah?"
"Didn't think the guy could actually do damage, but you're reacting a bit slow."
Barney snorted at the implication in Lee's teasing grin, "Fuck off, Christmas. Was trying to figure what to do about Gunner."
He watched his old pal look around with a frown like he'd lost track of something, then look back at Barney with a shrug, "Just tell him none of us'll judge 'im for hooking up with a guy. Though you might want to have a chat with the kids to shut them up ahead of time. I'm more worried that it looks like our beers got stolen whole I rescued you from Handsy."
Barney didn't have time to catch his brief guffaw at the image, "*Handsy*??"
That got him one of Lee's full grins, "You looked like you were wrestling with a hydra rather than dancing."
Lee's smile softened, "Greek mythical creature with a shitload of snaky arms."
Barney shook his head, old familiar surge of affection sending his arm around Lee's shoulders in what already felt natural after just a few repeats. Most people, he couldn't care less what the crazy words they used meant. Lee, he actually enjoyed listening to the explanation. No matter how crazy. Made him feel like they were at his place, sitting back with snifters of something Scottish (and unpronounceable) and picking at each other over anything and everything.
"How'd he get you out here, anyway?"
He'd been about to aim them at the bar to replace the lost drinks, but the intimation nipped his pride a tiny bit. "Let me guess, you think I can't dance?" It was more rag than question; Lee must have seen him dance at some point over the years.
Trying to shove the bad idea poking at him back of his brain back in its box, he was only half aware of the frown Lee threw him, "No. I think you don't *like* to dance."
For some reason, that drew him up short and he stopped moving. There was a voice at the back of his head saying Lee was right, he *didn't*.. but there was another, closer by, that said that to ears that knew him as well as Barney did, Lee sounded very faintly wistful.
Lee was looking at him in surprise for jerking them to a stop halfway through the crowd to the barkeep, "What?"
Hell, what could it hurt? *Lee*'d been making statements about Gunner and Galgo.. "I don't like to dance alone in public and I certainly can't be bothered to invite a stranger to dance. And I won't be letting Galgo within reach this decade. I do *not*, as a matter of fact, mind dancing." He stared at Lee for a minute, thinking of the edge in his voice when he'd scared off Galgo. He was used to accepting the jealousy when people pulled Barney's attention at work, but that.. That had been personal. He kept his face as casual as he could and nodded at the half-full dance floor, "If you promise to keep your hands where they belong, you want to take a spin?"
Wasn't often he got to shock Lee.
Lee knew that self-satisfied grin was for making him gawk like a cadet, but there'd been no way he could help the surprise. He really didn't think Barney would willingly dance...
He finally got himself under control enough to grin back. "Who decides where they belong?" he was already sneaking his arm to Barney's back to guide him to the open area as he spoke, half an ear to catch the music playing and hoping it was something easy. *He* sure as fuck didn't enjoy dancing, but hell if he'd turn down a challenge.
Or turn down Barney if he actually enjoyed dancing. Man didn't do near enough shit just for the sake of enjoyment.
Other than the enjoyment of shooting shit up, of course. Or beating the crap of bastards. But the pain generally involved in those things kinda made him want Barney to have some more pleasant pastimes.
"I take it you're going to insist on leading?"
Barney blinked at him, "Yeah, leading. Picking target, direction, speed?"
Their discussion notwithstanding, Barney's hands finally landed in Lee's hand and on his shoulder and he took a step with the slow country song playing.
"Why exactly do you think that?"
"...Because you put your hands in lead position? And are," Barney's hand, held in his, waved. "Leading us?"
Lee just stared at him blankly, turning them to avoid another couple, then looking where Barney's hands were and thinking about it. "So for you to lead I'd have to move my hands?"
Barney chuckled low, smiling with clear affection that it made Lee's day to see. "You'd also have to *let* me lead."
Feeling oddly at ease, Lee tugged them closer with the next step, clumsy with his partner's eyes level with his; with staring at Barney's eyes so close. "When have I *not* let you lead?"
It was damned rare that he saw Barney actually laugh; and never from this close. Never saw the pleasure glow in his eyes before it pulled the rest of his face into a wide grin without a hint of sarcasm; just plain old joy. Even his voice sounded different so close: deeper, even rougher than usual, more uneven.
It was probably a good thing he wasn't usually so close. And a good thing his hands were currently busy. Because wanting to kiss him when he was like this, calm and cheerful and.. *happy*, this *wasn't* new. Was still as strong and unexpected as the first time he'd felt it. But was not new.
Instead, he kept staring and he kept smiling. And depended on familiarity keeping Barney from reading what he felt.
And they danced.
Barney's temple came to rest against Lee's when he was done with the last of the snickers that Lee didn't bother asking an explanation for. He just kept them stepping and swaying through a couple of quiet songs.
"You're not bad for someone who didn't even know he was leading."
Lee huffed, barely resisting the urge to raise his right hand an inch to a spot he knew he could pinch and get the man to *almost* squeal. It'd probably result in a *real* wrestling match. And he was kinda enjoying this weird, undemanding closeness. "I think you're better at this than anyone else that's dragged me to dance floors. You say I'm leading, but you're already moving before I have to make you."
He felt the choked laugh against his chest as well as heard it. "You're not supposed to have to *make* the person move. Your hands tell me where you want me without any manhandling required."
Uh. Out of curiosity, he deliberately focused on NOT doing *anything* with his hands.. and Barney tripped over Lee's feet, shaking his head without a word as Lee kept him from falling and stopped freezing his hands.
And they went back to stepping around the floor, Lee aware, this time, of how alike it was to the battlefield: step and step, hands instead of eyes exchanging unconscious signals, step and circle and meet again. If there weren't others around whose movements he couldn't predict, he could close his eyes and circle the room without ever worrying about hitting anything...
Keep feeling the warm body in his arms, flexing and moving with him. Let himself enjoy the way Barney's eyes had closed and their foreheads just leaned together; too intimate, really, but if Barney was good with it, no one else would really dare give the two of *them* trouble.
When another slow song started, Lee found himself curious enough to ask, "If you show me how, you can lead if you want."
He watched Barney's eyes slowly open and focus on him, looking faintly amused, "If you want." He rearranged their hands, Lee trying to make himself stay still and let himself be shifted.
Then Barney looked at him steadily, starting to sway, only slightly at first, Lee feeling himself stiff and out of the sync they'd had. "Close your eyes," once Lee did as ordered, still stiff, his voice softened, slowed to almost the beat of the music, "Come on Lee, trust me. That's it. Just shut your brain off. Feel my body and follow what it says. You already know how to dance and you know how I move. Just let your body put it together without your brain. And trust me."
Lee couldn't stop a grunt at that last, but Barney kept repeating himself, on and off, and Lee finally felt himself start to relax.
They managed to step slowly around for a bit, but then Lee frowned, "The hell's wrong with your leg?"
"You said feel your body. Well your body flinches every time you step back," his eyes opened to glare, "You didn't say you hurt your leg!"
The quiet ease on Barney's face shifted into exasperation as he grumbled, "It's just bruised."
Lee pulled back to run his eyes up and down the moron's body, knowing he wouldn't *see* anything, "If you got knifed-"
Barney's arms let go of Lee to jerk in defence, "I *didn't* get knifed!"
Ignoring the words, Lee grabbed one of the arms and started tugging him across the dance floor, muttering under his breath. Knowing he was overreacting. But he was still annoyed at Barney and his patience just wasn't up to its usual. And neither was his trust in the man's missing sense.
"Where the hell are we going, Christmas??"
He sent another glare at the man, "Restrooms. Since you didn't just admit to it when it happened."
Barney snorted, smirking at him, the lack of more resistance giving Lee hope he actually *wasn't* hurt bad, "Expecting a man to drop his pants after just a dance? Kinda rude, Christmas."
It took a couple heartbeats, but Lee finally felt his shoulders relax enough that he leered back, "That was more than *one* dance."