When the President Calls

Chapter 1

Saturday October 11th, 2003
Washington D.C.
U.S. Secret Service Headquarters
5:30 p.m. EST

“Alright ladies and gentlemen,” Ron Butterfield began as he entered the room that housed the agents assigned to Zoey Bartlet’s detail who were still living. “We have a new agent joining the group.”

“Who’s that?” Jack Douglas asked, looking up from the files they were going over, looking for possible people in connection to the kidnapping.

“This is Gina Toscano,” Ron explained as Sara appeared in the doorway behind him, looking vastly different than she had when she left Las Vegas hours before, she was now dressed in a black suit, simple in design, and her hair was back in a French twist.

“Gina Toscano? I remember you, you were one of the first on Zoey’s detail when Bartlet became President, and left after the assassination attempt,” Jack continued immediately.

“That would be correct Agent…”

“Douglas, Jack Douglas.”

“That would be correct Agent Douglas,” Sara replied with a nod.

“You haven’t been an agent in five years, what are you doing back now?” Jack countered.

“I was asked to come,” Sara replied evenly. “Look, I’m not here to take your job or anything else you might think. I was requested to come because of my relationship with Zoey. And from my point of view, this is about rescuing her, not who has been an agent longer, or when, or anything else about our own lives.”

“Good speech.” The only other woman in the room smiled as she joined Sara. “Jennifer Garrison, been with Zoey three years, before that was on Eagle. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she continued as she offered her hand.

“Nice to meet you, please, call me Gina,” Sara smiled back at the woman who was just over five-and-a-half-feet with shoulder length ash-blonde hair and jade-green eyes.

“Jen. Ignore Jack; he’s had a stick up his ass as long as I can remember.”

“He’s had one since he became an agent. But he’s a genius at computers,” Ron whispered before giving Sara a wink. “Nice to have you back Toscano.”

“Thanks.”


“Gina!” called Jen thirty minutes later after the meeting broke up.

Sara turned to see who was calling her before giving sort of a half smile. “Jen,” she greeted in response.

“Want to grab some coffee?” asked Jen. “There’s a Starbucks just around the corner.”

Sara frowned slightly, mentally debating the situation before shrugging. “Sure.”

A few minutes later found the two agents making their way into the Starbucks that was just around the corner from the office. “Welcome to Starbucks. What can I get for you today?” asked the girl behind the cash register.

“I’ll have a venti, non-fat, no-foam, no whip hot chocolate please,” replied Jen before turning to Sara. “What do you want Gina, it’s on me.”

“Umm...” Sara began as she looked at the menu. “I'll have a venti skinny mocha with whip and a shot of raspberry.”

“Coming right up ladies,” replied the cashier before calling the drinks down the counter. A few minutes later found Sara and Jen finding a table, one that was conveniently tucked away in a corner away from the windows.

“Welcome to D.C.” smiled Jen. “Or I guess I should say welcome back to D.C.” she laughed.

“Thanks,” Sara smiled slightly. “God, it seems like nothing’s really changed, and yet everything has.”

“Must be strange for you, I guess,” admitted Jen.

“More than a little,” Sara replied softly. “So, what made you join this little world of ours?”

“My grandfather,” replied Jen as she stirred her hot chocolate before taking a sip.

“Agent?” Sara asked with a smile, she knew more than one agent who was a second or even third generation.

“He was on Kennedy’s detail when Kennedy was assassinated,” replied Jen. “My parents hate that I’m on the ‘Presidential’ detail as they refer to it even though I haven’t been on Eagle for a few years now.”

“Joy. So you guarded the Eagle. Bet that was interesting. I only ever was with Bookbag, was one of the first to sign up for her detail,” Sara smiled in memory of a statement made by the President years before.

“It was definitely interesting. I moved to Bookbag at Eagle’s insistence. I didn’t want to leave him but he’s a hard man to deny anything to,” commented Jen with a smile. “My grandfather was so proud when he found out I made the Service, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that happy before. My parents on the other hand…” she trailed off with a shrug.

“Well, as long as you're happy,” Sara shrugged. “And trust me, I know how hard he is to deny. He called me just shy of thirty-six hours ago and somehow got me on a plane within two hours, everything there be damned,” Shaking her head Sara chuckled lightly. “I still can't believe he got me to do that in all honesty, but for Zoey...yeah, I'm here.”

“It’s nice to finally have another female agent on Bookbag’s detail. I need help keeping Jack in line. I swear the man can’t take no for an answer,” laughed Jen.

Sara laughed, “I can imagine that. He just gave the impression of a complete pain in the ass. I wonder when they got him, we never had anyone like him back in ninety-seven,” she continued shaking her head. “Although it seems one thing hasn't changed since then...” Sara sighed “Those guys behind the events in Rosslyn didn't seem to take no for an answer then, and now they're back...”

“I don’t know exactly when Jack came on. I’m guessing sometime after you left and before I joined Bookbag’s detail since he was already on it when I joined,” commented Jen. “They reappeared shortly after they got back together. Started with simple threats that escalated over time when they refused to bend to them. We lost Agent Smith when they took her and Agent Jones is still in hospital.”

“Damn,” Sara sighed once more. Glancing at her watch she sighed again. “I hate to do this, but I need to go. I haven't slept in...oh, four days now.”

“Do you have a place to stay? That isn’t a hotel?” asked Jen as they got up from the table.

“No...” Sara trailed off, unsure where she was going with this question.

“Well, if you’re interested, I have a spare room that’s free,” commented Jen. “You’re more than welcome to stay with me until you find a place.”

“Umm...” Sara began unsure. “I really wouldn't want to impose...”

“Gina, it’s no imposition, I promise,” replied Jen. “Besides I could so use the company.”

“You could?”

“Yes I could,” laughed Jen as she held the door open for Sara. “As you know it’s not easy making friends in this kind of work, unless they’re fellow agents and it gets lonely being the only one in my house day after day.”

“Not to be rude or anything, but what about your husband?” Sara asked glancing back at Jen.

“My husband Michael won’t be home for another six months at least. The Enterprise is on a six month tour of the Mediterranean. They’re due back just before Christmas,” replied Jen.

“Navy?” Sara asked with a smile. “I was Army before joining up with the Service.”

“Lieutenant First Class Jennifer Garrison,” replied Jen returning Sara’s smile. “I’m married to Commander Michael Garrison, navy pilot extraordinaire!”

Sara laughed out loud. “Lieutenant Second Class, was MP for my three and a half years. Should have had four since I was ROTC but...they let me off a half a year when I was accepted to the Service.”

“I was MP as well before joining the Service. Michael and John’s hearts were always in the clouds. John’s my brother, he’s RIO for Michael,” commented Jen. “Well, that settles it Gina, you can’t say no now so, it looks like you’re staying with me,” she laughed as she led Sara over to her car.

Sara just shook her head, “Let me guess, all three of you were ROTC too?” she asked with a smile as they climbed into the car.

“Ever since high school,” replied Jen as she started the car and pulled out onto the street.

“Ahh, finally a difference between our lives,” Sara chuckled. “Didn't do ROTC when I was in high school. Actually I really didn't do much in high school besides study...”

“Well, John and I are the epitome of ‘military brats’. Our grandfather and father were both military and we grew up on the base in Norfolk so it was never really a question for us, it was just something that we always knew would happen,” shrugged Jen. “I think my mother would have been happier if I’d followed in her footsteps rather than my father’s and grandfather’s.”

“Well, you can't always follow the path that your family would like you to do,” Sara shrugged. “So, where exactly are we going? I'm assuming it's not in D.C...” she continued as they drove onto the Beltway headed out of the city.

“Waldorf, Maryland,” replied Jen. “It’s kind of a halfway point between DC and Norfolk since I work in DC and Michael’s based out of Norfolk when he’s in town.”

“Umm, you do realize that Norfolk is a bit further from Waldorf than DC right?” Sara asked with a smile. “I mean, I can't be sure, considering not sure how far Waldorf is from DC, but it's about three-and-a-half hours...”

“I know,” laughed Jen. “I did say it was kind of a half way point. Michael and I agreed that it would be better to be closer to DC than Norfolk because the likelihood of him getting called in at anytime was far less than it was for me when I joined the Service. And then when I joined the President’s guard it was better if I had only a short drive home than a massively long one, given the hours I was working at the time.”

“Makes sense, when I was living here I was sharing an apartment with one of the interns in the West Wing, though wasn't there often since I had a room at the dorms with Zoey,” Sara shrugged. “So, what do you say to getting something to actually eat when we reach this town of yours?”

“Are you sure you’ve never met my husband?” laughed Jen. “Cause you sound like you don’t trust my cooking.”

Sara laughed while shaking her head. “Well, initially I was just thinking I owed you for covering my coffee, now I'm wondering if I should be questioning your cooking skills...though to be honest, I'm the last one to talk, my gourmet skills ended at picking up the phone and dialing one of the numbers on the many take-out menus I had at home on my fridge.”

“That’s about the extent of my cooking skills,” laughed Jen. “The one time I tried making dinner for Michael, I nearly burnt the house down. He’s forbidden me from cooking ever again, hell he barely lets me set foot in the kitchen when he’s home. He’s the chef in our family. I think it helps him relax actually.”

Sara laughed at the mental image. “I actually managed to burn water when I was a teenager. If you give me a recipe and leave me alone, I can make it, but don't even have me try something just to experiment, and to be honest I don't have the time or energy to cook with work.”

“I know the feeling,” commented Jen as she pulled off the Beltway. “So what do you feel like for dinner?”

“Well, I'm a vegetarian, so anything that serves at least one meal or two that doesn't include meat,” Sara shrugged. “Other than that, I'm not picky and you have a better idea of what's in this town so...”

“Vegetarian huh, okay well, that cuts out the steakhouses so Italian or Chinese?” asked Jen as she pulled to a stop at a red light.

“Chinese sounds good to me,” Sara smiled.

“Chinese it is then,” smiled Jen in return as she drove through Waldorf to her favorite Chinese place. “Well, here we are,” she said as she pulled in and parked.


Saturday November 29th, 2003
Washington D.C
1400 Pennsylvania Ave
10:21 a.m.

“Ron!” Sara called as she and Jen entered the building after going through security. “What's going on?”

“Local authorities found Zoey,” he explained as they joined him. Forty miles outside Cheyenne. We got a helo ready to go, were just waiting on you two to arrive. President insisted.”

“Anyone else noticing that we seem to get incredibly lucky at finding Zoey?” Sara asked softly, glancing between the supervisor and her new friend.

“Either that or those who take her are incredibly stupid,” Ron agreed with a smile. “I'm thankful for that, but at the same time, I'm tired of them coming after the girl. Twice in one Presidency is two times too many.”

“Here here,” Jen agreed as Sara nodded.

“So, let's get to this helo already and get on the road,” Sara grinned.

“Right this way ladies,” Ron nodded before leading them to where the helicopter was waiting, once again bearing the President and the First Lady, as well as Charlie this time.

“Mr. President, Mrs. Bartlet, Charlie,” greeted Jen as she climbed into the chopper.

“Mr. President, Mrs. Bartlet, Charlie,” Sara repeated as she joined them.

“Hello Gina, Jennifer,” President Jed Bartlet answered as they began their ascent.

“Gina, Jennifer,” The First Lady Abigail Bartlet nodded towards them before returning her attention to the discussion with her husband.

“Hey,” Charlie greeted with a slight smile.

“Gina, Jen,” the sixth person in the helicopter smiled slightly.

“Hey Kate,” Jen smiled. Caitlin Todd, Kate for short, had been on Bartlet’s detail for a few years, and was already in plans to transfer to Santos’ detail.

“Kate,” Sara nodded.

The rest of the journey was made in relative silence among the passengers, all worrying about the woman waiting at the end of their flight. When they did land, Sara, Jen and Kate stayed back as the family reunion took place then the reunion between the two lovers.

“Gina?” Zoey asked when she finally made her way towards the two women, Kate having gone off to talk to the locals. “What are you doing here?”

“Heard you been craving my chocolate chip cake,” Sara smiled.

And for the first time since she’d been found, Zoey laughed, not the happy laughter she had before she’d been taken, but it was a laugh just the same. And everyone breathed a sigh of relief to hear the sound. “Jen, you are going to love this cake of her’s,” Zoey smiled slightly. “I’m tired,” she continued a moment later.

Immediately everyone started moving and within moments the Bartlet family was on their way to the hospital in an ambulance, Secret Service following them. Charlie was in the vehicle with Sara and Jen, following the caravan of vehicles that headed towards the hospital.

“So, you make an amazing cake,” Jen began with a smile as she glanced over at Sara while she drove. “Thought you said you couldn’t cook, Gina.”

Sara smiled at the teasing from her new friend, “No, said I can cook if you give me a recipe to follow step for step. Can’t experiment if my life depended on it. This recipe was from my stepmom.”

“It is one great cake,” Charlie spoke up from the back seat, “Zoey used to fight me over ever crumb,” he continued before laughing softly. Sara smiled in the front seat at the memories he spoke of.

“When we get back I’ll have to make it,” Sara nodded.

“I’m not sure about letting you in my kitchen, I don’t even trust myself in my kitchen,” Jen glanced over at her.

“Hey! You’re kitchen is safer with me than you,” Sara countered with a laugh.

“Sure Gina, in what lifetime?”

“Any and all.”

“Hear hear, the woman can cook when she has a recipe,” Charlie smiled before returning to his own thoughts.

“You gonna stick around Toscano?” Jen asked after a few moments.

“I don’t know honestly,” Sara replied softly.

Would she go back to Vegas...was anything waiting for her in Vegas anymore...they were probably angry with her, if they had even cared in any way at all. Things weren’t that great with her and the people she had considered friends there. Grissom and her relationship being the most complex, but even then they had their issues. She and Catherine had been at each other’s throats since she’d failed to get Eddie’s killer. She and Warrick still had the history of her investigations. She hadn’t been able to help Greg in the explosion. She and Nick had been fighting over the promotion so to speak, though now it was probably his really... and as for Brass, well she wasn’t sure where they stood, though he’d been looking at her strange ever since the events the same day of the explosion...

All in all, she doubted they even cared that she was gone. Probably the only feelings they had in regards to her was that she left them high and dry and everyone had to work extra to cover for her until they found her replacement. Which by now they should have anyway, so technically even if she went back to Vegas, she wouldn’t have a job there, more than likely wouldn’t have any friends...there was nothing there for her, except her things.

“Gina?” Jen asked, pulling her from her thoughts, and Sara noticed they were at the hospital. Charlie was already gone, and Jen had been waiting on her heaven only knew how long.

“Sorry, ready to go in then?”

“Soon as you are. You okay?” Jen asked softly.

“Sure. I’m fine,” Sara nodded. “Come on, let’s go,” she continued before opening her door. She could hear Jen open her own, and waiting till she had joined her before heading into the hospital.


Monday December 1st, 2003
Bethesda, Maryland
National Naval Medical Center
4:58p.m.

“Hey you,” Sara greeted as she entered Zoey’s room at the hospital. “Hear you’re getting out of here tomorrow.”

“Yeah, I can’t wait,” Zoey smiled from her bed, “How are you?”

“Isn’t that a question I should be asking you?” Sara countered with a slight smirk as she took the seat next to Zoey’s bed.

“I’m okay, your turn.”

I’m fine Zo,” Sara chuckled.

“Hmm,” Zoey hummed before shaking her head. “Love the hair by the way, bit hard getting use to your blonde look though.

“Was looking for a change,” Sara shrugged.

“You planning on keeping it?”

“Probably not, not really sure I completely care for it. Thinking of trying something a bit more red in color.”

“You should give black a shot, I think it would look good with your skin tone,” Zoey shrugged before smiling. “I’ve always wanted to go platinum.”

Sara laughed with the younger woman, “Somehow I just can’t picture you as a Marilyn.”

“Me neither,” Zoey agreed, her nose wrinkled slightly. “Interesting image though, isn’t it?”

“Very.”

“So, what have you been up to the last few years?” Zoey asked after a few moments.

“Life,” Sara shrugged.

“Well, figured that,” Zoey countered, rolling her eyes for good measure. “Care being more specific?”

“I went back home so to speak, got my Masters.”

“Did you go back to police work?”

“Not exactly, went into forensics,” Sara answered honestly.

“And you’re back here...”

“You’re dad called,” she shrugged.

“I’m glad he did,” Zoey answered after a moment. “Gina...there’s something I want to ask you...but I want you to seriously consider this...”

“Shoot.”

Zoey smiled, “Haven’t heard anyone say that in years.”

“Haven’t used it that much in years,” Sara countered with a smile. “So, what’s the question Zo?”

“Take the lead on my detail.”

Sara sat back surprised. “Wouldn’t you want that to go to someone who’s been on your detail for a while?”

“You have been on my detail for a while, just not in the recent past,” Zoey countered.

“Okay, wouldn’t you want someone who’s been on your detail in the recent past then?” Sara shot back lightly.

“No, I want you. Gina...you were the last person I truly trusted. I’m honest enough to admit that. I don’t trust Jack, and I didn’t completely trust those that ended up giving their lives for me. Maybe I should have, maybe things would be different now....”

“What happened isn’t your fault Zo, you were on your way home from school, and no one expected they’d be stupid enough to try taking you in broad daylight.”

“I know you’re right...” Zoey began before sighing softly. “I also know it’s a lot to ask of you, but I’m honest, I want you here...if you’ll stay.”

“I need to think about it Zo...” Sara began after a beat

“I know, take you’re time, it’s a big decision. I know why you left, and understand that completely...I didn’t blame you for getting out, what happened that night...”

“We shouldn’t get into that now Zo...You need your rest,” Sara countered softly.


Monday December 1st, 2003
Waldorf, Maryland
Garrison Residence
7:09 p.m.

When Sara got back to Jen’s, she let herself into the house with the spare key Jen had given her, heading into the house she could hear the TV, and what sounded like a Disney movie. Sighing softly she turned and headed towards the kitchen, intent on getting a bottle of water then heading up to the guest room to contemplate. Her plans were waylaid when Jen saw her from the living room.

“Gina? Everything all right?” called Jen, pausing the movie.

“Oh, everything is fine,” replied Sara as she hunted in the fridge. “Zoey says hello.”

“Everything’s not fine, Gina,” commented Jen as she leant against the doorjamb for the kitchen. “Something’s on your mind. What, I don’t know though.”

Sara sighed before shutting the door and leaning against it as she opened her water bottle. “Zoey asked me to stay and take the lead on her detail.”

“And you don’t want to?” asked Jen as she took a seat at the kitchen table.

Sara joined her at the table before sighing once more. “I don't know. On one hand, how can I just expect everyone to accept that this person just showed up out of the blue and is now their new boss? I mean could you accept that? You've been on bookbag longer than I have at this point in time...”

“Gina, you’ve proven yourself quite capable in the time that you’ve been here. Plus Zoey trusts you and that is a huge thing. And as for me accepting you as the ‘new boss’, hey I’m all for it. I’ve been in charge of a detail before and it’s not really something I want to do again and besides, Michael would kill me if I took on that responsibility again,” countered Jen.

Sara smiled softly hearing the other woman's views, “Well, at least one person wouldn't care.” Taking a drink of water she put the bottle down before continuing picking at the paper. “On the other hand...I basically dropped everything back in Vegas, and...well, things weren't that great there when I left, but I'm not completely sure I'm ready to just write it all off yet...”

“Gina, you dropped everything you had in Vegas to come back to DC when POTUS called you, shouldn’t that tell you something?” questioned Jen.

Nibbling on her lower lip Sara mused over that, “I guess you're right...I've been trying to figure out if I wanted to go back or not...then I stop and consider what is here and what is there. There I have sadness, heartbreak, hurt...loneliness...here at least I will have a boss that I'm not having issues with...” Sara smiled.

“And I can guarantee you won’t be lonely here and forget sad. Just you wait until my husband and brother get home and the insanity that is our lives becomes yours,” laughed Jen.

Sara laughed softly, “I already have figured out your nuts there, Garrison. The Disney room was my first clue.”

“HEY!” cried Jen in mock outrage. “You leave the Disney room alone, Girl. That is the one thing that keeps me sane in this world.”

Sara laughed shaking her head, “You, Girl, are one of a kind.”

“Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment,” grinned Jen. “But if you think I’m nuts because I have a love of anything and everything Disney, just wait until Michael and John get home.”

“I'm assuming those Dragons belong to your husband,” Sara smirked.

“Michael loves anything having to do with King Arthur and Camelot, hence his call sign of Pendragon, and John loves anything having to do with magic and sorcery, hence his name of Merlin,” laughed Jen

“Interesting...you guys have a collectors bug, don't you? Never collected anything in my life...” Sara mused. “Well, unless you count books, though suppose that is a library.”

“Well being military brats our parents thought it would be best to have something that would always stay the same no matter where we were stationed. Something that was ours regardless of our address so they got us collecting things. Don’t worry, you stick around DC long enough and I’ll get you collecting something,” teased Jen.

Sara chuckled before shaking her head, “Well, what the hell...so, now it would appear that I have two options here...return to Vegas where I very likely have no job and all that other insanity to deal with, as compared to here where I have a job, and a possible chance at a better job. Avoid all those other feelings, and have a crazy chick who seems determined to become my new best friend...”

“You have a problem with that?” demanded Jen; a teasing twinkle could be seen in her eye.

“Give me a few months and ask me again,” Sara countered with a smirk.

“Deal,” agreed Jen with a smile.

“Well,” Sara began with a decisive nod. “I need to make a phone call and leave a message for Zoey, then I need to call back west and make arrangements for my apartment to be packed up,” she continued before rising from the chair.

“Well, have fun. I’m going to head back and finish my movie. She’s just about to lay eyes on the prince for the first time,” commented Jen.

Sara just shook her head before heading upstairs to make her calls.


Thursday December 18th, 2003
Waldorf, Maryland
St. Charles Towne Mall
11:21 a.m.

“Girl, I haven’t done this much shopping in years,” Jen groaned as they headed towards the car.

“I haven’t done this much shopping ever,” Sara laughed, “At least not all at once. God, I’m exhausted. But at least I have furniture, clothing and music!” she continued with a grin as she held up her hands loaded down with bags from various department stores, Suncoast Movies, and Sam Goody. Instead of moving all her stuff east, she had simply arranged to have it packed up and placed in storage there in Vegas. She wanted a clean break from the life of Sara Sidle. Although she was having her car shipped by train to her. She was going to get it exchanged for something here, not sure what just yet.

“Still say you could have stayed at my place Gina,” Jen countered as they approached her car.

“Jen, honestly it’s been great of you to let me stay with you. But if I’m staying here long term…I need to have my own space, you know?” Sara shrugged lightly. “Besides, just because I’m living across town now doesn’t mean we still can’t commute to work until I get a vehicle of my own,” Sara teased.

“Fair enough,” Jen grinned as they unloaded the bags into the trunk. “So, lunch?”

“Please,” Sara groaned before laughing. “Want to go to that place the guy at Suncoast was raving about?”

“Lonestar? Girl you realize that’s a steak house right?” Jen asked looking over at her out of the corner of her eyes as they climbed into the car.

“So, just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you don’t have to, and I’m sure they have fish of some sort.”

“True, they do have salmon and shrimp, not to mention salads,” Jen nodded. “Okay, Lonestar it is, aren’t you in luck that it’s right here?”

“Oh yeah, I can get a drink sooner,” Sara laughed as they drove around the parking lot to the restaurant.

“In desperate need?” Jen asked as they exited the car and entered the restaurant.

“You have no idea, I hate hunting for apartments, or a town house as the case applies this time. Then the insanity of having to purchase everything for it…” Sara shrugged.

“Why do you hate it so much?” Jen asked while they waited to be seated.

“I moved a lot as a kid, not that dissimilar I suppose to you, I learned to just despise moving I guess.”

“Ah, well know that feeling in a way,” Jen grinned. “So what are you going to get to fill that alcohol fix there, Girl? Last chance before we go back to the job of protecting the daughter of the President after our weekend off thanks to the new head of the detail.”

“Being supervisor does have its perks,” Sara laughed. “Though don’t get used to this, Girl, this was more because Zoey insisted I take time off and get someone to help me buy stuff for my new place, so I’m not sleeping in a sleeping bag cooking over a Coleman stove by lantern light. At least those were her exact words.”

“God, I can so see that girl saying that,” Jen laughed. “Well then, to shopping, furnishing, and moving into your new place. To new friends, old jobs, and insane President’s who always get what they want.”

“Here here,” Sara grinned before they clinked water glasses, only to burst out laughing when their waitress arrived and glanced between them.

“Someone’s birthday?”


Sunday December 21st, 2003
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk Naval Station
3:54 p.m.

“I cannot believe you dragged me along to meet your husband and brother when the ship came home,” Sara groaned as they leaned against the railing. “Couldn’t I meet them when they got back to Waldorf instead of imposing on your family reunion? Your parents are here for crying out loud, Jen.”

“And they’re coming back with fresh water from the car, and would probably help me smack you over the back of your head for that statement,” Jen shot back before returning her gaze to the ship that was making it’s way into dock. “Girl, you’re quickly becoming my best friend, and if someone was going to drive with me to Norfolk to make sure I didn’t crash along the way of course it would be you. As for ‘imposing’ as you put it, Chica, my parents have been wanting to meet you for weeks, my husband has been wanting to meet this woman I keep talking about, my brother has been wanting to meet this woman that he has to listen to both me and Michael talk about as Michael is trying to imagine just what this woman is like who has managed to get his wife so happy. If I didn’t have you here…I might not have made it back home in one piece.”

“God, just how much do you talk about me to your family?”

“Three-fourths of the conversation revolves around what the two of you have been doing,” Kevin Peters answered as he and his wife Patricia joined them.

“Oh God,” Sara groaned as she dropped her head between her arms that were resting on the rail. “I am so sorry,” she continued softly. “It must sound like I’ve brainwashed your daughter or something.”

“Are you kidding?” Patricia asked with a laugh. “Gina, we haven’t heard her this happy when Mike and Johnny aren’t around…well, since ever.”

“I am here too you know,” Jen spoke up with a laugh.

“So? We can talk about you all we want anyway, Sweetheart,” Patricia grinned. “It’s cause we love you,”

Mom!” whined Jen.

“What?” Patricia whined back as Sara turned her head to hide her smile, which would give away the fact she was trying desperately not to laugh.

Must you embarrass me in public? In front of my friend?” demanded Jen.

“If I can't embarrass you in public, where can I embarrass you?” Patricia countered with a smile.

“Fine. If I’m going to die of embarrassment then I’ll just go walk off the end of the dock and put an end to it,” commented Jen as she pushed off from the railing and started walking off along the dock.

“I'm so not explaining to your son and son-in-law why their beloved wife and sister just threw herself off a pier, Sweetheart,” Kevin told his wife as he leaned on the rail next to Sara. “You can laugh you know, won't bother any of us,” he told her conspiratorially.

“Well, I'm not going to explain it to them, guess we'll make Gina do that,” Patricia countered making sure she was loud enough so Jen could hear

“Hey!” Sara began looking between them, “Okay, so going to make sure the girl doesn't do it cause I don't want to have to explain to these people who I don't even know that she jumped off the pier because of her parents...” she continued shaking her head before chasing after Jen. “Your parents are nuts.”

“You think I don’t know that?” laughed Jen when Sara had caught up to her.

Sara laughed as well before shaking her head, “Girl, you got some crazy parents. Some great parents from what I can see, but they are definitely one of a kind. So, you really planning to go swimming in that water? Cause I wouldn't suggest it, would be a very interesting reunion with your husband if you did...”

“In this weather? Hell no!” replied Jen.

Sara laughed once more, “Good. So, what do you say we go back and pick on your parents? That and I believe we still have to finish that argument about who is paying for dinner tonight. Oh, which reminds me; you are so not going to believe what my idiot new doctor told me when I saw him yesterday,”

“Actually, we don’t have to worry about who’s paying for dinner tonight cause Mom and Dad said they were paying,” replied Jen as she and Sara turned and made their way back along the dock towards her parents. “So, what did your doctor say?”

“He's insisting that I start eating meat. My Iron and Protein levels are too low, blah blah blah. You know, he just didn't understand why it was I couldn't eat meat after watching a pig decompose for a few days...I think he's nuts,”

Jen stopped in her tracks. “A decomposing pig? Ewww!”

“Yeah, I know,” Sara chuckled, “Was for a case, we were proving a husband had killed his wife but the bug timeline didn't add up, then a theory arose about the blanket the wife was wrapped in, so it had to be tested...and thus the pig. And thus my desire to no longer eat meat...evil doctor doesn't care though,” she sighed. “Oh well, my theory is start with chicken and get something that isn't cooked by me. Maybe if I don't see it uncooked or anything that resembles pork, I can start again. Still would love to put the doctor through that particular experiment though...” she trailed off with an evil smile.

“Gina, you’re babbling. But I can see where you’re coming from. You are going to get along great with my mom since the two of you can talk forensics for hours,” Jen said as she caught back up with Sara and wrapped her arm around Sara’s shoulders as they continued on back towards her parents. “We’ll keep things simple and keep the pork away from you for a while. And since you’re going to start eating meat again, you are going to love Christmas dinner at my parents’ house.”

“I am? Wait...Christmas dinner at your parents?” Sara looked over at Jen confused.

“Gina, you don’t honestly think you’re spending Christmas alone do you?” asked Jen. “You do, don’t you?” she asked when she saw the look in Sara’s eyes.

“Normally I work during the holidays...” Sara shrugged, “Besides, someone needs to be on detail with Zo.”

“And I can tell you that Zoey will tell you to spend the holiday with family, just like she is and in case you haven’t figured it out yet Gina, you do have a family here in DC,” countered Jen.

“Jen...I don't want to impose on your family...” Sara argued softly.

“And who said you’d be imposing?” questioned Jen. “Gina, it was my parents that insisted you spend the holiday with us.”

“Something tells me this is an argument I'm not going to win,” Sara smiled slightly.

“You got that right,” agreed Jen as she nudged Sara with her shoulder.

“Alright, alright. I'll not argue, but I should warn you, I've never been big on Christmas. My parents weren't religious, hell my parents were hippies...we didn't do holidays...” Sara shrugged. That was putting her childhood in exceptionally light terms.

“Well then, get ready girl. My family may not be overly religious when it comes to Christmas but they love it just as much as I do and their house is always decked out for the holidays. And Christmas Dinner is to die for. Mom makes a killer turkey. Oh and the tree…I can’t even begin to describe what the tree looks like…”

Sara laughed at Jen's obvious excitement, “Okay Girl, I get it. Going to be great, and now you're the one who's babbling.”

“I can’t help it, Gina. I love Christmas and I’m getting the best gift ever.”

“Your husband home for the holidays,” Sara smiled.

“Yep,” replied Jen with a huge smile on her face before her gaze shifted to something off in the distance. “Excuse me a sec,” she said before taking off down the dock at a run.

Sara smiled and joined Kevin and Patricia as they watched Jen run. A few minutes later they saw her launch herself into the arms of one of the men getting off the boat before he started swinging her around as he held onto her tightly. Once he put her down another young man joined them as Jen gave him a quick hug before the three started making their way back along the dock.

“John! Michael!” Patricia greeted when the three joined her before she hugged first the second man, then the one with his arm firmly around Jen's waist. Sara stepped back to let the family reunion take place, smiling at the obvious joy in Jen's eyes and smile.

“And you must be the infamous Gina,” smiled Michael as he held out a hand towards Sara, his other arm still around Jen.

“Not so sure I deserve being famous, but that would be me,” Sara smiled as she shook his hand. Michael was taller than anyone present, six-four no doubt, with pitch black hair and bright blue eyes. She could see part of why Jen was so crazy about her husband, he was drop dead gorgeous.

“Well considering the way Jen here talks about you, you’re pretty famous to us. It’s nice to finally meet the woman that’s managed to win Jen over so totally,” commented Michael.

“I think it's more that she's won me over,” Sara countered with a smile. “And trust me; I think we're even considering how much I've heard about all of you.”

“You will be joining us for Christmas right?” asked Michael.

“I've been informed I don't have any choice in the matter, so yes,” Sara chuckled.

“Good,” smiled Michael before turning his attention to the others. “Hey John, quit pestering your sister and come and meet Gina, the girl you’ve been dying to meet since Jen first mentioned her,” he teased.

“Oh, shut up,” John countered as he joined them, “Don't listen to him, he likes to make up stories. I'm John, it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Gina,” he continued with a smile.

“Same here,” Sara smiled as she shook his hand. It was obvious that he and Jen were related; they had the same eyes, though John's hair was more of a sandy blonde compared to her ash blonde. Paternal twins instead of identical…well, that and he was a good five-inches taller than Jen, three taller than herself.

“Well, we need to go get our things,” Michael began after a moment.

“Then go get it and get your butts back here,” ordered Jen. “We’re frozen and starving and you guys have to help me get this girl eating meat again.”

“Now that is a comment that just begs to be explained,” John grinned before ducking as Michael went to smack the back of his head. “What? It does,” he continued as the two started towards the ship.

“He's right, it does,” Kevin smiled.

“Save me Jen, your father and brother really don't want to hear the story...” Sara said dramatically.

“It’s quite simple Dad. Gina worked as a Crime Scene Investigator before being called back to DC and there was this thing with a pig and since then she hasn’t eaten meat but now her doctor says she has to, so it’s our job to help our newest family member get back into the world of us carnivores,” smiled Jen. “How’s that?” she asked turning to Sara.

“Still trying to get used to being called the newest family member, but other than that...perfect,” Sara smiled.

“Oh no, she was a CSI?” Kevin sighed before glancing at his wife. “I think we're going to be losing her and your mother many times in the future.”

“Heck yes,” Patricia grinned. “So Gina, what was your specialty?” she asked as she linked arms with Sara and began to pull her away.

“And there they go,” Kevin laughed.

“Uh, silly question here but where are Pat and Gina?” asked Michael a few minutes later, wrapping his arms around Jen’s waist from behind when he and John returned with their things.

“We've lost them to the world of Criminalistics,” Kevin answered with a grin. “Come on, if we hurry we might be able to drag them back before they become so entangled in comparing stories that we don't hear from them again for weeks.”

When the four caught up with the two women, Sara was telling Patricia a story, “...so when they see the body of the guy in the tree, Nick immediately jumps to that Urban Legend...”

“Oh God,” Patricia laughed, “Tell me it wasn't that though...”

“You guys ready?” asked Jen interrupting. “We got two hungry sailors and a very hungry agent here that need food.”

“Oops,” Patricia laughed as she looked over at them. “To be continued then Gina, I so want to hear more about that story. But on to dinner it is.”

“Deal,” Sara grinned before looking at the others. “So, just what do you guys plan to do as my introduction to meat?”

“Italian?” asked Jen as she looked between everyone.

“Sounds good to me,” John grinned. “I've been seriously craving tortellini.”

“Spaghetti for me,” laughed Michael.

“Well then, let’s get going shall we?” asked Jen.

“La Galleria here we come,” Patricia laughed before everyone headed to the car.

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