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Dr. Buffy Is In (Extra Augh at No Charge)

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Buffy Summers waited attentively at her desk until the sound of heels clicking on the concrete floor outside her office faded from hearing-- even her hearing, because you just never knew. Her cheeks hurt from maintaining a polite smile over tightly gritted teeth, and the tendons in her neck were drawn tight with tension.

When the last of the echoes died away, she finally let her shoulders slump forward, dropping her elbows on the surface of the desk and pressing the heels of her hands against her temples. It wouldn't do much more than temporarily relieve her headache, and the oil on her hands would probably give her zits tomorrow, but the pressure felt good in the moment, and she didn't have the energy to get up and look for aspirin just yet.

"Ugh. Tell me why we approved politicians to go off world again? And then ask them to talk to me about their experiences? And I thought the IOA were bad," she lamented to herself.

A chuckle sounded from the doorway; she didn't even bother to startle, because there weren't many people her instincts trusted enough to let them sneak up on her, and only a small handful of them were posted at the SGC. And only the former members of SG-1 regularly hunted her down to socialize.

"Rough day?" Dr. Daniel Jackson said sympathetically, taking a seat in the visitor's chair across from her.

"Like you would not believe," she sighed, reluctantly folding her arms down on the desk to look blearily up at him. He was in green BDUs that day, complementing rather than matching his eyes; which, wow, she really was exhausted if she was letting herself notice. He was the hottest scientist she'd ever met, Willow-level brains in a body more muscular than Riley's; but since he wouldn't talk to MacKenzie and hadn't endeared himself to the rest of the department, either, she was stuck as his counselor of record.

"Were they that bad when they were actually off-world?" she continued, plaintively. "I mean, as outraged as they sounded, you'd think it was like the time you took Shen Xiaoyi and company to the Gamma Site all over again, but they didn't look all that traumatized to me."

"No broken ankles, no swarms of carnivorous insects, not even any insults offered in languages the speaker didn't think the other parties understood," Daniel replied, wryly. "No, it just wasn't quite what they'd hoped when they heard they'd get to tour the Alpha Site, I don't think."

"Joy. You realize, I'm here to talk about off-world acclimatization and other adjustment issues that come with the unique challenges at the SGC, not discuss the lack of adequate luxuries on a world they won't ever see again unless things get much, much worse than simply being deprived of their sleep number mattress? Remind me why I can't keep a sword in my office?"

"I get away with one because it's a historical artefact; but unless you can come up with a compelling study suggesting that it has a positive effect on the mindset of the people that meet with you, I don't think General Landry will approve a similar exception for a psychologist," he shrugged apologetically.

"Not even if it'll have a positive effect on my mindset?" Buffy sighed. Then she sat up and rummaged in the top drawer of her desk for a hair-tie; if she couldn't massage the headache out, at least she could get all the loose hair out of her face. She didn't have any more appointments scheduled that afternoon; the least she could do was pull her hair back, kick her heels off, and try out that whole 'making fists with your toes' thing. Or did you have to have a carpet for that to work?

"I thought you did a year as high school counselor before you finished your degrees?" Daniel diverted the question, leaning forward and tilting his head.

"So surely it should have prepared me for this level of drama? You'd be surprised," she replied, dryly. "Sometimes it seems like the more power someone has, the more they dig in their heels about whatever they think their rights should be."

"Particularly power divorced from the realities of what we do here," he commiserated.

Buffy opened her mouth automatically to agree... then sat back and stared a minute as she reassessed. The SGC's single most stubborn civilian employee blinked back at her with every evidence of sincerity, and she had to quickly clear her throat.

"Seriously?" she scoffed, the minute she was sure her voice wouldn't break on a giggle.

His brows drew together in a puzzled frown. "What do you mean?"

"No, seriously," she said, bemusedly. "You sit there, the most willful, obstinate, determined, persistent human being in the entire mountain, TM General O'Neill; Opener of the Stargate, Defender of Earth, Twice Dead and Still Sciencing, BFF of the Director of Homeworld Security, He Who Stopped the Replicators With the Power of His Mind and Out-Faithed the Priors of the Ori; and tell me you don't throw your power around sometimes for things you think are important?"

Daniel opened his mouth to defend himself... then paused much as she had.

Which was the other problem she had with the idea of moving their friendship in any warmer direction; half their conversations seemed to turn into impromptu counseling sessions even off the clock, and she was so over fixer-upper boyfriends. Particularly she since doubted mixing his issues with hers was a good idea; she knew from the durability and unpredictability of traumatic grief. He really did make an excellent friend who happened to be a guy, though. And even better eye candy; Vala had been right about that.

"Can I take the fifth on that?" he winced. "And I'd like to think my definition of 'important' is a little closer to reality."

Buffy made a moue at him. "Isn't the Fifth Amendment about not incriminating yourself in a criminal case? I thought my office was off limits for that regardless?"

Daniel did a creditable job of giving her the eyebrow in return-- if you could call it that, since he raised both at once instead of just one, another thing she teased him about sometimes. "Do you really want a lecture on the evolution of idiom? Or can I treat you to coffee and then deliver you to a company of eager Marines to show the error of their ways? You've looked like you were on the verge of a bad tension headache all day."

"So that's why you really stopped by." At the thought of getting to at least spar a little, if not indulge her H's entirely, she perked up and abandoned the argument. "Hey, do you know whether you're supposed to make fists with your toes in a carpet, or not?"

Daniel blinked at her, then grinned ruefully. "Life lessons as per John McClane? In a carpet, I think; but you could probably requisition a rug, if you want."

Buffy snickered as she got up from the desk, picturing Walter's face if she tried to explain, and took his gallantly offered arm.

"Nah, that's all right. This'll do."