The Dancer


"I can't believe you got him to do this."  Trip's expression was a mix of astonishment and laughter.  "I mean, isn't it a little
-- elaborate?"

Jon smiled at him.  It was actually more of a smirk. "Oh, I have my ways of convincing him. It's all in how you ask."

The smirk was a little disconcerting.  "Yeah, but I've seen the costume.  I mean, veils are bad enough.  But a feather?  And a
little cymbals? How's he going to manage it all?"

"He'll hold the feather in his mouth.  It's part of the act.  As for the cymbals - well, he's very agile."

Trip nodded.  He'd seen the evidence for himself.  He'd never expected the guy could do backflips like that.  "I still can't
believe that you took on this bet."

"Well, you know how persuasive Malcolm can be.  He said he'd make it worth my while."  Jon winked at him.  References to his relationship with Malcolm were rare, and it said a lot that Jon was relaxed enough to say anything now, much less wink.   "I should damn well hope so, given the time it's taken up to prepare for this little performance."

Trip shrugged, thinking to himself that while Malcolm might be persuasive, this little escapade might make the crew less
respectful of their captain.  It was downright silly.  Then again, the idea of a ship talent contest was generally silly, but
the crew had latched onto it with unbelievable enthusiasm.  It had been a rough few months, so the chance to unwind was welcome for all.  Jon wouldn't be the only one involved with silliness tonight.

Looking around the mess hall, he saw that all available chairs in front of the makeshift stage were taken.  Several crew members were standing, talking quietly.  Everyone was waiting for the first show of the night.  The evening was being recorded for the benefit of the crew on duty.  They could watch it later.

"It looks like we should start.  People are getting a little restless."

He nodded his agreement.  "Well, go on up there, announce the first act."

Jon laughed a little.  "The joys of being Captain!"

It was nice to see him light-hearted for once.

Standing in front of the crowd, Jon welcomed them and thanked all the participants for their efforts.  He talked about the prizes, small tokens more than anything else.

Before he sat back down, Jon introduced the first act, explaining that it was a version of a harem dance.  On cue, a slow, slinky music started. Trip heard small cymbals clashing in seemingly random patterns before he saw anything.

Then he saw -- veils.  Silk and multiple colours, draped ridiculously.  Pants covered the performer's legs, ending with
elaborate cuffs.  Was that? He looked closer.  Yes, those were bangles around ankles, matched with a gold collar at the neck. 
Around his wrists tiny cymbals were attached.

The feather was indeed in his mouth.

The dance movements were erratic, and hardly elegant.  Still, the dancer seemed to be enjoying himself, leaping and turning and -- wiggling was the best way he could describe it -- , occasionally pausing to rip a scarf from his body and toss it at the audience.

It was amazing.  He was in awe.  "How did you get him to do this?"

Crossing his arms over his chest, Jon smugly grinned at him. "Cheese, Trip."  He looked back up at Porthos 'dancing' on the
stage. "Cheese."

Title:  The Dancer
Pairing: R/A
Spoilers:  Nope
Disclaimers: Not my characters.
Rating: PG

Notes:  Sillyfic inspired by the Harem Dance challenge.  No beta, written in about 15 minutes.  Thanks for the story idea! Summary:  A bet.  A talent contest.  A surprised Trip.  Who *is* that veiled dancer?


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