Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Pairing: W/Sam Seaborn
Genre: BtVS/West Wing Crossover
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things West Wing belong to Aaron Sorkin, et al.
Distribution: WLS, WLF, NHA, BMP, Aislin, TTH, TQC.
Author’s Note: Pairing #143 at The Quickie Challenge – http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com
He saw her for the first time, standing next to the bar, sipping a drink he was pretty sure was nonalcoholic. Oh, sure, it had a cherry and one of those little paper umbrellas, but she just didn’t look like the type that drank. Her hair was red and looked to have been curled just for tonight, falling a little past her shoulders. The dress she was wearing was a forest green, with a bodice that was cut in the fashion of ballgowns, tapered at her waist; and a skirt that was flowing and to her ankles. It accentuated skin that was a porcelain pale, seemingly without blemish from that distance.
In Sam’s opinion, she was beautiful.
She also looked very, very bored.
He saw her a bit later, still lounging by the bar with either the same drink or one very similar to it, at her elbow. She hadn’t moved for the most part, turning every now and then to look at the dance floor.
And so he began to wonder who she could be.
Not a staffer – well not that he recognized anyway. It was quite possible that she was from a Senator’s office, though for some strange reason he didn’t get that vibe about her. She seemed out of place here, amongst the politicians and guests of the fundraiser; and the aura she gave off was one of insecurity. Like a child in a grownup’s world.
Though she was most definitely not a child.
Five minutes later he had extricated himself from his current dance partner and was making his way slowly to the bar, aiming to be as inconspicuous as possible.
He had come to a stop behind her and was preparing to introduce himself, when Josh walked up.
“Hey, Sam! You seen Donna?”
Sam sighed and turned to the Deputy Chief of Staff. “Not since earlier. I think she was dancing with Congressman Jarod.
“Congressman Jarod?” Josh’s brow furrowed in thought. “Isn’t he the one that –“
“Yeah, that’s him,” Sam cut him off before he could go into any of the sordid details of that particular Congressman’s life. That wasn’t the type of talk for a fundraising party.
“I’d better go make sure she’s okay, then.”
And just like that Josh was gone, leaving Sam standing at the bar, next to the beautiful red head who hadn’t yet given any indication that she noticed his presence.
“Excuse me? Miss?”
She turned, her eyes registering a certain shock that anyone was speaking to her before a smile crossed pink-tinged lips.
“I was just wondering if I could join you?” He indicated the empty seat next to hers.
She laughed. “I hardly control the bar seating, feel free.”
There, he had done it, opened up a prime chance to introduce himself to this mystery woman.
“I’m Sam,” he offered, holding out his hand to her.
“Willow,” she replied. Her grip was gentle, yet firm. A sign that she wasn’t nearly as delicate as she seemed to him.
“You here by yourself?”
There was a flash of pain over her face, and then a sigh from those full lips.
“Yeah. Just little old me.”
“Forgive me for being forward, but you don’t seem happy to be here.”
She shrugged, a smile toying with her mouth. “I’m not. My parents should have been the ones that came. They donated all that money. But they were too busy so I just –had- to come in their place.” She rolled her eyes. “I was supposed to meet someone here – but I guess he couldn’t make it.”
Ah – so she had had a date at one point and now she was dateless.
The evening was looking up.
“Who’s that woman Sam is sitting with?” CJ Cregg asked, pointing with the hand that held her wine glass towards the bar. The last thing she needed was to hear about something the next morning during her briefing.
Toby turned, raising his eyebrows in surprise before returning to his original position. He popped a piece of cracker in his mouth, chewing a moment before answering.
“That would be my niece and I feel like an ass for not greeting her when I came in.”
CJ smirked. “You were rushing after the President to give him the last minute speech revisions. I doubt she’d begrudge you that.”
He shrugged. “I should go over there. Her parents roped her into attending in their place. Poor kid’s probably lonely.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” the Press Secretary smirked, as Sam said something that made the red head’s face light up with laughter. “Sam seems to be doing a good job keeping her company.”
Toby turned again, his face clouding over.
“You’re not her father and Sam will not soil her virtue, Toby.”
The Communications Director looked down at the hand on his arm, thinking briefly on what she had just said. Sam was a good guy. He wouldn’t hurt Willow.
Well, he’d better not hurt Willow.
“Still – I should go over and at least say ‘hi’.”
All CJ could do was nod and follow along to make sure he didn’t end up saying something to make an even further ass of himself.
“. . . And then Toby said ‘the first paragraph is great – the other twenty-nine have to go’. . .”
Sam laughed along with Willow, glad that he was able to do something to cheer her up from the melancholy that had fallen over her before he arrived.
“So – you work for Toby Ziegler?” Willow asked, her eyes sparkling with something unreadable.
“Yep. I’m the Deputy Communications Director for the White House.”
She laughed, and it was music to his ears if not slightly disconcerting.
“What’s so funny?” He smiled.
“It’s just that –“ she waved her hand, searching for the words to explain her humor.
“Irony, Sam. Irony. Willow, dear, you look lovely tonight.”
Sam raised his eyebrows in surprise when his conversation companion jumped up to hug his director superior.
“Um. . . ?” He looked to CJ for help.
“You’ve been hitting on his niece for the last twenty minutes,” she murmured to him with a wicked gleam in her eye.
“I’ve been. . . Oh.” Sam snapped his mouth shut, forcing a smile on his face when Toby turned to him.
“I have to go back to the office to wrap up some work,” he began, though Sam got the impression that the words were both for him and Willow. “Try to stay out of trouble?”
“Yes, sir.” Sam smiled confidently, breathing a sigh of relief as Toby stalked off.
“I’ll leave you two kids alone.” CJ smirked, leaning in to whisper to Sam. “Don’t do anything I’ll hear about in the morning.”
Now it was time for a ‘yes ma’m’ and a rather shame-faced look at CJ as she turned back through the crowd.
“You could’ve told me Toby was your Uncle,” Sam laughed, trying to ease back into the rapport he had shared with her before being interrupted.
She giggled, shrugging. “Didn’t think it mattered until that last story came up.”
“So – you were supposed to meet him here, I assume.”
Willow nodded. “Uh huh. Guess work caught up with him. No big. It’s about time I got back to my hotel anyway.”
“Did you drive?”
She shook her head. “Cab.”
“If you can wait five minutes I’ll give you a ride back.” He offered helpfully, hoping she’d say yes just so that he could have a few more minutes in her delightful company.
”I don’t want to impose. . . “ she hesitated.
“You wouldn’t be. In fact, I think letting me drive you back would be a good thing. Toby might not forgive me if he found out I let you leave knowing you were getting in a cab.”
She laughed. “He *can* be sorta protective at times. If you insist, I’d be grateful for the ride. I’m not used to taking cabs. Those drivers can be intimidating.”
He grinned. “Just stay here while I go say goodnight to someone.”
Sam weaved through the crowd until he got to CJ’s table, waiting patiently until he caught her attention away from Danny.
“I’m going to drive Willow back to her hotel and then go home. It’s been a long day. Let Toby know for me?”
CJ looked at him for a long moment, her eyes meeting his in unspoken warning. Don’t mess with her, the look said. Do not screw around with Toby Ziegler’s niece.
He chose to ignore the look and instead concentrate on looking very pleading.
“Go on,” she waved him off. “I’ll let Toby know. Good night Samuel.”
“Night, CJ! And don’t worry!”
Danny turned to CJ, watching Sam scurry back towards a vivacious looking red head who greeted him with a warm smile.
”Don’t worry about what, CJ?” He queried, ever the reporter.
“No comment, Danny,” she sighed. “No comment.”
Willow could feel butterflies in her stomach. The last thing she had expected when she came to the fundraiser was to meet someone like Sam Seaborn. He was handsome, professional, very much the flirt.
And he worked with her Uncle.
Well, no one was perfect.
If it weren’t for that very same Uncle she would be thinking at that moment of inviting Sam up to her room, to continue the lively conversation they had been having earlier that evening.
But her Uncle was definitely a factor.
And so there would be no inviting the handsome Mister Seaborn to her hotel room.
“Thank you for driving me back,” she murmured, looking up at the hotel and thinking of another lonely night.
“You’re welcome –“ She heard him trail off, and waited patiently for whatever was to come next, prepared to shoot him down if he asked to come up. It wouldn’t be good for him, or her. Even if nothing happened between the two of them, her Uncle would never believe it. And Goddess forbid a reporter see them together, in a hotel.
She knew the games of politics, even if she chose not to play them herself.
“So – are you going home tomorrow. Back to. . . was it California?”
Willow nodded, smiling ever so slightly. “Yes, California – but no, not tomorrow. I’m here until Sunday.”
And seeing as how it was only Wednesday. . .
“Would you like to have dinner tomorrow? I can show you around. Unless you’ve seen it all before. Which, I guess you have since you’re Toby’s. . .”
She cut him off with a laugh. Dinner was fine, great even. There was nothing sordid her Uncle could find in dinner. “This is my first time in Washington and I’d love to go to dinner and some sightseeing.”
“Well. Good.” He smiled, and it was charming.
Time to get out of the car before they did something stupid like kiss within only an hour and a half of having met.
“Here,” she murmured, pulling a scrap of paper and pen from her purse. “This is my room number – call me tomorrow to let me know when you want to go?”
He took it within another dazzling smile and she could actually feel her insides turning to jelly.
“Until tomorrow, then,” he murmured.
“Tomorrow.” She nodded, flashing him a smile. “Thanks again.”
And then she was out of the car, walking into the hotel lobby with the biggest grin on her face, and a skip in her step.
She had a date.
With a White House senior staffer.
A handsome White House senior staffer.
She smothered a giggle.
Buffy was not going to believe this.