An Affair to Remember
Crossover: NCIS & BtVS (with a hint of Picket Fences.)
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Author's Notes: I haven't noticed anyone else bring this particular couple together but I think they fit perfectly. I'm curious to see if any readers agree with me.
Rated PG-13 for much innuendo with just a little description, and, in later chapters, violence.
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license
Summary: When two strangers wake up in bed together, but remember little of the night before; will they be able to trust each other anytime soon? Add Dawn, Faith, and Gibbs to the plot, and then throw in a few vampires. Now can they trust each other?
Las Vegas, Nevada
-- -- --
I could detect warm light on the other side of my eyelids. I wasn't particularly inclined to open my eyes because of my pounding headache, as well as the gummy crud that seemed to have my eyelids glued shut. My head was resting on something soft. But when I rocked my head a little I could feel, well well, it appeared that I was resting my head on someone's chest. Hello? This bears investigating.
I opened my eyes with some difficulty. I could feel the rasp of my right eyelashes brushing against – hmm, skin – as I forced an eye open, with much working back and forth of the eyelid. Bright sunlight filtered through sheets that were pulled over my head and the torso of the person I was resting on. I had trouble seeing anything at first, but when I finally got my eyes focused as well as I could without my glasses, my vision was filled with a lovely pair of rosy-tipped breasts. The light reflecting off this marvelous sight helped to make everything warm and inviting.
Well Ripper, I thought to myself, it looks like you had a very good night indeed.
I closed my eyes to rest a little more. But after a few moments, an urgent question bubbled up from the depths of my muzzy head. Whose breasts were these? Much depended on the answer. If the wrong woman were under me... I sidelined that thought when I realized that my left hand was nestled in an even more feminine environment than my head. As I moved my hand I was not surprised to get a startled reaction.
oo oo oo
Oh my god, I thought as I slowly woke up. Did I get hit in the head with a hammer? As I contemplated my hangover, I suddenly realized that I was not alone in my bed. In fact, when I snapped my eyes open, I discovered that I wasn't even in my bed nor even in my room. It was unquestionably someone else's bed and that someone was brushing his eyelashes against my boobs for some reason. I looked down as best I could and saw the top of someone's head brushing against my chin. The rest of him was under the sheet, snuggled up against me, and I was utterly certain he was a male because I could feel the evidence draped over my leg. I gazed at his hair which was mostly dark with a touch of gray; just enough to be distinguished, at least what I could see from this angle. I could tell already that I hadn't hopped in the sack with anyone I knew – this could be very uncomfortable, potentially very very bad. Even in the best case this couldn't be good.
Quite suddenly I felt his hand move from between my legs. I started in surprise – somehow I didn't notice where his hand was until he moved it away. Oh hell Jenny Maxine Shepherd, I thought, who did me last night and why can't I remember it? Would I be able to hold my head up when my unknown companion became known?
-- -- --
By now I was genuinely curious as to who it was that I had convinced to spend the night with me. So with some trepidation, I rolled off of her and came up from under the sheets to find a lovely forty-something redhead gazing at me with a studied expression. I gave silent thanks to the Powers-That-Be that she wasn't some random teenage Slayer. On the other hand, waking up naked with a stranger rarely leads to anything particularly wonderful, at least not in my experience. Especially when the evening before was so foggy and dim in memory. At least she didn't appear any more embarrassed than I. While I tried to think of something intelligent to say, I moved my right arm around to try and restart the blood flow. Apparently that arm had been trapped between us for a couple of hours.
"Ahh, hi, well, this is, uh, well isn't this awkward? I'm, I'm, Rupert Giles, and you are...?" I stuttered my way through an introduction of sorts. Not suave there Ripper.
"Ahh, hi, uh, Rupert. I'm Jenny Shepherd. So, uh, you're English?"
"Jenny?!" I fear the shock of hearing that name made me a little too vehement.
"Yes, Jenny. Although if you really don't like it you could call me Maxine or even Max," she replied, a little put out at me.
"Oh no no, Jenny is fine," I said, recovering what little savoir-faire I could. "It was just a momentary wiggins, as some of my younger colleagues would say. I knew someone, some years ago, with that name."
"So. You're from England," Jenny/Maxine/Max said, apparently not wishing to explore the previous Jenny.
"Yes, and you're a colonist," I said, but she retorted with a furious glare. I continued as smoothly as I could, "That was rude of me, wasn't it? An American I should have said, since USian has never taken off."
She laughed charmingly; that was encouraging. So I smiled back and continued, "Do you remember much of last night? I fear my memory is a bit spotty this morning."
"Not much," she replied cautiously, "it would appear that we, ah, well, apparently there were alcoholic beverages involved. As far as what we did – hmm – perhaps we shouldn't dwell on our drunken exploits."
"Uninhibited my dear, we both imbibed over our natural limits, probably because of the delightful company that we kept, and simply lost our natural inhibitions. We are, after all, a gentlemen and a lady, not beer-swilling louts."
"Do gentlemen and ladies cavort wantonly with strangers who have imbibed too much beer?"
"Certainly. We English are far too reserved to have procreated otherwise."
She laughed again, then stopped and held her head. "Oh stop, it hurts too much!"
She sat up, clutching the sheets to her chest, and searched for some aspirin in her purse, handed three to me and downed several herself. The she plumped up a couple of pillows and leaned back against the headboard with a long-suffering sigh. The sheet fell to her waist, but she quickly pulled it up and tucked it around her torso under her arms while studiously avoiding looking in my direction. I wished she hadn't been quite so quick to cover herself, but I could see that she was uncomfortable, understandably so. I sat up next to her. As I sat back against the headboard with two more pillows, I spied something ominous in the gaping top of her overlarge handbag.
"Is that a pistol in your purse?"
She glanced to her right then looked back at me, "No, that's a handgun."
"I most humbly apologize for misidentifying your weapon, wait, is it made of plastic?"
"Yes, it's 9mm Glock 40."
"I thought those were mostly used be people trying to sneak their handguns past airport security."
"You'd be wrong. Glocks are detectable by x-ray and other, more classified, means. It's also a seriously good weapon, as it's reliable, rugged, and accurate. Many police forces use them."
"So, you're a police officer?"
"No, I'm the Director of NCIS."
"NCIS," I mused out loud, "National Central Intelligence Service, perhaps?"
"You've managed to get only one word out of four: it's Naval Criminal Investigative Service."
"And you are the director of this agency? The head honcho, as you Americans say?"
"Are you investigating me?"
"No," she replied frostily. "Please do me the courtesy of believing that I don't sleep with suspects. And I don't remember coming across your name, so I am not aware of any investigation of you." She paused and then added carefully, "Do you know of any reason why you might be the subject of a Federal investigation?"
"None that I'm aware of at the moment. I was a legal resident of California for a number of years and now I live in London, but I often fly back on business. I am certain that the FBI has a file on me, but I think that even the most paranoid would believe that we're on the same side. And I even have a letter of commendation from your president—not the current one, but a predecessor – for an incident that ended, umm, not well, but better than it might have if it weren't for my, uh, group."
"And what would your file say?"
"I'm so sorry, but it's highly classified."
"I have the highest clearance possible in the US Government, you can tell me."
"Have you ever heard the term, 'Need to Know'? Some armed gentlemen and ladies from your government, but dressed rather more formally than you are at the moment, impressed upon me that I wasn't to bandy about the, uh, business in question, with anyone at all, who didn't have the need to know, regardless of their clearance. My civilian duties, on the other hand, I'm free to divulge." She glanced at her sheet covered body briefly, with the faintest of grins at my crack about clothing.
Then she frowned and said, "By all means, we shall honor the 'Need to Know' rule. Of course, since I've had intimate relations with you, by some interpretations I now have a need to know. But stop worrying Mr. Giles, I won't press you any further."
I looked at her – she looked back with a straightforward expression. I would become familiar with her direct way of looking at me. I finally said, "I believe my Victorian ancestors used formal honorifics when they addressed each other during the rare occasions that they shared the same bed. But I don't think we need to follow that particular stricture."
She laughed again, a little looser this time. Good, she was relaxing a little, finally. She had been holding herself as stiff as board until now.
"All right, I'll call you Rupert, and you can call me Jenny," she said.
"So Jenny," I said, "judging by the name of your organization, it would appear that you deal with wayward sailors. Actually, my work isn't so different, I spend a lot time dealing with wayward girls."
oo oo oo
"Wayward girls?" I repeated foolishly. I worried about him being involved in some sneaky, underhanded dealings with the CIA or Homeland Security. Both organizations existed seemingly to see how many ways they could frustrate other law enforcement agencies, especially mine. This development was dismaying, but maybe I was overreacting. And here I was flashing my tits to this foreign national – darn these silk sheets for being so slippery. But maybe he was legitimately employed. And maybe he did good work and merely supplied information to the proper authorities from having came across something criminal. I could only hope that was the case as I forced myself to sit back and relax.
"So ah," I asked uncertainly, "your organization runs an orphanage?"
"Not exactly. More like schools for gifted girls. My company is called Council Antiquities, Ltd., and we deal in very old things. Especially culturally important historical objects that have mythological overtones. We ended up opening schools for sss-, girls, sort of by accident. I dealt with your government when some of my people came across evidence of skulduggery some years ago."
"Well, that certainly sounds very noble. You say you run it?"
"Yes, my advancement to CEO was unforeseen due to most of the previous executives getting killed in a terrorist attack in London back in 2003. I was forced into the position simply because there was no one else available; not because I was particularly well suited for the job. I am sure you will be able to find out quite a lot of information about me once you get back to your office." He sounded a little bitter, as if my questions had taken the fun out of our time together. On the other hand, it was certainly convenient for his career that persons unknown had blown up all his rivals. This would bear investigating. But, I liked his looks, and I loved his accent. It didn't look like this would be too awful a morning. Although I'd certainly feel better if I could remember more of the night.
-- -- --
I had to smile at her as I said, "Although our private lives seem to be connected now, I believe our professional lives are worlds apart." She returned the smile but her stomach betrayed her with an unladylike rumble. We both laughed. Good, I thought, crisis passed.
She asked, "Shall we order room service? Breakfast in bed sounds wickedly delightful, even though I couldn't eat much besides Pepto-Bismol."
"Most mornings I would suggest we order up a large American breakfast for two. One of the bad habits I've picked up from spending time on this side of the pond, I fear. Unfortunately, my stomach is rebelling also. The very thought of food right now is quite sickening. Perhaps later."
"Yeah, but I could use some coffee and orange juice," she said as she turned to the bedside table to pick up a room-service menu. But something clicked loudly against the surface of the table as she reached under the menu. She put her hand up in front of her face and frowned in surprise. She looked at her ring it as if it were a UFO.
I said with barely disguised worry, "You're married?"
"Not for many years," she replied. "I've never seen this ring before." Then she yanked my hand up from where it had been resting comfortably on the sheets between us, "but you're a fine one to talk!"
I stammered in surprise, "Wha, where, what, but this is not mine!"
Both of us were shaken. We could read each other's thoughts at that moment. We looked around frantically and on my nightstand I found an official looking document. "Oh bugger!" I exclaimed, "we went and got married last night!"
We read the marriage certificate together. Then she hopped out of bed. She suddenly realized that she was completely starkers and grabbed the bed cover, wrapped it around herself with sharp angry motions, and stalked over to the dresser on the opposite wall. The exceeding quick glimpse of her body was rewarding, and I couldn't help but notice that she was as shapely below the waist as above. For a woman that was very near my age, she was extraordinary. She had an American home-town ex-cheerleader beauty and vitality that I found thoroughly bewitching; even if, or more likely, because, she was more mature than the hordes of young women that usually surround me since well before the collapse of the Hellmouth. I made a mental note to tell her how beautiful I found her as soon as circumstances allowed. But now seemed a bad time to make such a comment, what with her stalking angrily about the room within a few steps of her Glock. Besides, with my luck she's probably a master of some martial art or other. She picked up a large white album of some kind and asked, "Did you know about this?"
I shook my head no.
oo oo oo
I hopped out of bed and suddenly realized that I wasn't wearing a stitch. I was hardly a blushing bride, but I no desire to parade around naked in front of a stranger – even I had married him. So I grabbed the bedspread, hurriedly wrapped it around myself, and went over to the dresser where I had spotted an object of interest. As I suspected, it was a cheap kind of wedding album one might obtain from a cheap wedding chapel after a cheap and rushed wedding. I picked it up and turned to Rupert and asked him if he knew about it. He looked thoroughly baffled, so I walked back to the bed, barely able to contain my anger.
I sat next to Rupert—hmm, would I ever get used to his name? What sort of person would name their kid Rupert, anyway?—and pushed him over a bit. He noticed the cover of the album and frowned. I flipped it open and there was a large photograph of our wedding party. I could see my four-person security detail on one side of the room, watching everyone suspiciously, and a handful of young women on the other side who were warily eying my security agents. It was unusual for all four agents to be there, normally I only ever saw one at a time.
"Good god!" Rupert exclaimed, "What are those girls doing here? It would appear that our marriage is not a secret. May I assume that these people are friends of yours?"
"Yes. Well, not friends, they work for me. You see, I'm taking a week's vacation while I had the opportunity—there appeared to be a slow week on the crime front so I hopped a plane to Vegas. I've used so little vacation time over the years that I am in danger of losing it if I don't use some of it." I don't know why I felt it necessary to babble on, I guess I was feeling a little defensive about being a single woman vacationing alone.
Rupert said, "These young people shouldn't be here, some of them are too young to even be in Vegas, they should be in Cleveland."
I flipped pages and found a very well made photographic record of our drunken wedding. The photographer had caught the two of us stumbling around on a dance floor and staggering up the aisle together, in perfectly composed, sharply focused, correctly exposed, color 8x10 glossies. I groaned when I saw the life-size plastic Elvises on either side of the pulpit – the final tasteless touch of this unsought surprise wedding. It wasn't one of my finer moments, and glancing over at Rupert's expression of horror, not one of his either.
"So, what shall we do Rupert?" I asked.
"Ummm, ah, yes, well, I suppose we should get this annulled. The record in this volume should be ample proof that we were not sober at the time. On the other hand," he added with a twinkle in his eye, "I don't see any reason to rush down to the nearest judge, after all, we are both on vacation."
I laughed bleakly. Still, he was right. "Our uninhibited selves do have good taste, and while there's no rush, neither will we wait too long." My nose was suddenly assaulted with the unpleasant scent of dried sweat, whether mine or his I couldn't say. "I think I'll take a shower," I said. As he looked at me with hope in his eyes, I shook my head 'no'. I wasn't ready to take our relationship further, nor back to where we were during the night.
-- -- --
I would have liked to join her in the shower, but her body language didn't seem all that receptive so I didn't say anything. So I didn't use the shower until she was finished. It didn't bother her to pop back in the bathroom to get something while I was shaving though.
We then took turns dressing in the bathroom and I noticed that Jenny, (for the moment at least, my wife, I reminded myself with some amazement) had come to my room prepared. Her overlarge handbag disgorged – along with her gun and the usual feminine paraphernalia that all woman thought they needed – a change of clothing appropriate for casual morning wear. I dug through my luggage until I found a pair of jeans – some designer label that had been a present from Buffy but rarely worn – along with a brightly colored cotton shirt with stripes, and a tweed jacket. I felt that I just wouldn't be me without one of my favorite tweeds but the shirt made me feel rakish and extravagant.
Jen was dressed similarly, except she wore a tailored rough-leather jacket, with her gun holstered at her waist under her jacket, FBI style. I gestured to her weapon, "Are you expecting trouble?"
"No, it's regulation. Besides, I've been carrying a gun for so many years that I'd feel naked without it." She blushed slightly and prettily when she noticed her word choice. Although what she had to blush about was beyond my understanding. "Oh," she continued, "you should know that I travel with security agents. Light security, but there should be an agent hanging around in the hall outside your door. They probably already know everything about you that there is to know."
"Oh joy, am I to have no secrets from you, at all?"
"Not many, sorry Rupert. In my own small pond I'm a good-sized fish – there's always a lot of eyes on me, and now they will be gazing at you too."
I frowned at that. I thought about warning her about my world – it would likely be a shock to her – but that would have to wait until proof was at hand. "And I suppose your agents have already broadcast the news about our nuptials to your office. So there's yet another reason to not rush to annulment."
"My security detail would say nothing, but I'm certain they made inquiries about you, and that may have let the cat out of the bag."
oo oo oo
I finished dressing and affixed my badge, gun and holster on my belt under my jacket. Rupert reacted negatively to my gun, of course. Civilians could be so clueless when it came to seeing the world as it really was. So when I mentioned that I felt figuratively naked without a gun, I was suddenly reminded that I had just spent part of the night rolling around both under and on top of the sheets with Mr. Rupert Giles. A man I had somehow married while in a drunken stupor just hours after meeting him! How did I get into this? I didn't understand how it could have happened. The last time I drank enough to cause memory problems and sex with strangers I was still in college. Except for that time with Jethro – but no, I won't go there now.
"There is one thing Rupert. My behavior last night, and I believe yours too, was erratic and out of character. I don't drink to excess and my impression is that it's not your usual habit either."
"You're quite right," he agreed.
"So, I think I need to take blood samples from both of us. Just in case we are the victims of some byzantine plot."
He frowned at me and said, "You, you could be right. Yes, where do we go to get tested?"
"I'll get a kit from my security detail and send off the results to my own lab. They will be kept private, you needn't worry on that score. And if there is anything to find, then you may rest assured that Abbey will find it. But we need to hurry, some of the drugs that I'm worried about are undetectable within hours of ingestion."
I ducked out the door and had a brief conversation with Agent Smith. He came back several minutes later with a sample kit, and both of us gave blood, saliva, and urine samples. Rupert seemed a little stiff when he came out of the bathroom, but didn't make any fuss. Then we went to breakfast.
-- -- --
At the breakfast room we walked with exaggerated care to an out of the way booth, as far from the smells of food as possible, and sat opposite each other.
"This would be perfect if only I could get a decent cup of tea," I commented.
"This is Las Vegas," said Jenny, "you can get anything in Las Vegas. Surely it can't be that hard to get good tea. After all, it's not even illegal."
"We'll see," I said with a frown as a scantily clad waitress walked up to our booth. Good lord, I thought as I stared at her abbreviated costume, isn't this just a coffee shop?
We ordered coffee and tea, plus a few croissants. That would be about as much food as either of us could stomach.
"You know," said Jenny with a twinkle, "it's not generally considered smooth for a newly-wed husband to stare at half-naked women."
"Ah," I replied, "I was just surprised that a hotel coffee shop would dress their waitresses with such parsimony."
"This is Las Vegas, Rupert, not Salt Lake City. We should be grateful they're not topless. I gather this is your first visit here?"
"Yes, except for passing through. And if I didn't have business here, I wouldn't have stopped this time."
"What brought you here?"
"Oh, let's not talk business, I'm vacationing now so let's relax." This wasn't a good reply, but the fact was, I had no idea what I was doing Las Vegas. But from my – ahem – wedding pictures, I knew I was in the company of a pack of Slayers along with Faith and Dawn. There must have been an ulterior clandestine reason for this visit, but I was dammed if I could remember what it could have been.
I looked at Jenny and I could see by her expression and posture that she wasn't satisfied with my answer. And this was a woman used to getting answers, who had the power of the United States Government to back her up. I wasn't familiar with this NCIS, but I'm certain one couldn't advance to the directorship of such an agency by being a dull and incurious layabout. How the bloody hell did did I end up married to this woman?