Author's Note: I am not a lawyer. If any of you ARE lawyers and any of what I write is glaringly inaccurate, please accept my apologies. I'm not focusing on the law with this story, so hopefully that won't be a problem.
Verse/Setting: Post-Angel; Post-Harry Potter (but epilogue did not occur); Post-Numb3rs; Post-season-four-NCIS:LA
Lindsey McDonald is from the television series Angel. He was born in 1974. Information can be found here Lindsey's Wiki Page.
Ian Edgerton and Colby Granger are from the television series Numb3rs. Ian was born in 1962. Colby was born in 1972. Information on them can be found at Ian's Wiki Page and Colby's Wiki Page.
Hermione Granger is from Harry Potter. She was born in 1979. Information can be found here Hermione's Wiki Page.
Owen Granger is from NCIS:LA. He was born in 1955. Information can be found here Owen's Wiki Page.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these shows or movies and I'm not making any money from this fic
Warning(s): There will/may be spanking/discipline of adults. VERY AU (given that there is more than one crossover involved).
It's the End Of the World As We Know It
July 3, 2013
Owen ran a hand through his thinning hair in part irritation and part worry, looking at his watch. It was nine in the morning. Where was the girl? He'd promised her father- his brother- that he'd keep an eye on her and he'd thought he'd been doing just fine- until she decided to go out with her cousin and his FBI buddy.
He gave his other brother's child a stern and exasperated look and was gratified when not only Colby but also Ian gave him sheepish and remorseful looks back. Narrowing his eyes, he questioned again. "You went into Vegas to catch that show…."
Colby sighed but nodded. "Cirque du Soleil….. Runt was looking forward to seeing the acrobats…"
Ian smiled tentatively, not certain he should involve himself in a family issue- but since he had been present when they all decided to go get drunk, he felt he owed it to his friend not to let him take all the heat. He swallowed when Owen Granger's eyes moved onto him. "After the show, she wanted a drink…" he offered helpfully, if hesitantly.
Colby bit his lower lip then continued. "One drink led to two…and then three…and then…"
Owen sighed again. "And then she was putting the two of you in a cab headed back here and walking off with a complete stranger!" he growled the last three words, pleased at the looks of shame that crossed the younger men's faces.
"Yes, sir," Was answered softly, in tandem.
"I can't believe two accomplished and seasoned agents would let themselves be so careless. Hermione is not American and is unfamiliar with this area. It is hard enough to navigate your way around when you are sober. On top of that, she is … she just recently and very brutally became a widow. She hasn't been thinking clearly for weeks! It's one of the reasons her parents sent her on vacation to visit the rest of the family!" Owen kept his voice calm, but the look on his face and the disappointment in his tone left it all too clear how he felt about his nephew's and his nephew's friend's actions. He continued, "you got so drunk off your arses that you just let her wander off into Sin City without any care at all!"
Colby winced. "I know Uncle Owen. I don't have any excuses…if I hadn't been drinking, I wouldn't have let her go off like that. Even if she is a grown adult…."
"I KNOW you know the family rule on drinking. You've heard it from me enough times, let alone your father- who I barely kept from dragging you out of bed this morning!" Owen noted the nervous and slightly embarrassed look Colby had on his face as the younger man glanced toward the hallway that led to the bedrooms. He snorted before relieving the boy of one of his worries. "Your father took your mother and grandmother out to breakfast." Owen intoned.
Colby swallowed hard and glanced at Ian, chagrined that his friend would be witness to this family discussion. Colby was a private man by nature and having a friend witness him being scolded like a child was hard to take- even if said friend had become close as a brother the last couple of years.
"I'm sorry, Uncle Owen. I DO know better…," Colby winced again then asked hesitantly, "Daddy was that upset?"
"He left you with a choice…" Owen grinned slightly, knowing his nephew wasn't going to be happy at what he had to choose. "I can take care of it now or he can take care of it when he and your mother and grandmother return."
Colby's shoulders slumped in resignation. He flushed darkly as he glanced at Ian again. The man was smart and would likely figure things out quickly. Even so, he hated that the family dynamics that he lived with and accepted were about to be found out by someone not directly in the family.
Then again- he had let his cousin wander off with a stranger in a strange city. He'd worked in law enforcement long enough that he knew how inherently dangerous and foolish that was. He probably deserved to have his friend find out about and witness his shame. He cleared his throat nervously before he asked, "Can you take care of it now, Uncle Owen? I don't want Mamma and Nana to hear…and I'd like to go look for Mione as soon as possible…." His voice was soft and contrite.
Owen relaxed slightly, his anger at the younger man dissipating at the knowledge that the boy was genuinely regretful for his actions and was willing to take responsibility. He wasn't surprised that he would take responsibility. His nephew was a good man- he just had a tendency not to think things through sometimes. He was a bit surprised that the younger man hadn't attempted to have the conversation when his friend wasn't present. From what little Owen knew of Ian Edgerton, the man wasn't a fool.
Owen smiled at Colby sympathetically. "Yeah, son, we can take care of it now. Then you can call your daddy and let him know so your mamma won't worry when we aren't here when they return."
Ian had kept quiet through most of the exchange, but he finally couldn't keep quiet any longer. "Hold up a minute! What family rule on drinking? Take care of what? Hear what? If I didn't know better, I'd think you were going to give him a beating…." the dark haired man frowned.
Somehow, Colby turned an even darker shade of red than he already was. Ian felt slightly bad for increasing his embarrassment, but there was no way he was going to stand by and watch his friend take a beating for something they'd both done.
Colby seemed to realize Ian was preparing to fight for him. "It's OK, Ian. Our family has a rule that when we drink, there is always at least one person who does not drink so that they can make sure none of the other group does anything irrevocably stupid due to being drunk. When Mione started drinking- and when I realized you were going to drink- I should have stuck to one beer and then done cola for the rest of the night. Instead, all three of us ended up sloshed and with Mione being in a bad frame of mind to begin with…." He wrinkled his nose, but continued to explain. "And Uncle Owen isn't going to beat me…" Colby hesitated but then seemed to decide that this was something that had to be told, no matter how embarrassing to him. He sighed, "…but he will be giving me a whooping. He won't hurt me- much." Colby blushed and had to look away from his friend to hide his shame. He was surprised when Ian snorted out a laugh.
"Well, OK then. We never had a family rule like that, but my papa woulda skinned my backside for me if I'd let a distraught family member wander off in that state, so I understand. If he knew about Hermione, he'd do it anyway- even if she's not blood," Ian sighed, "so…guess I have the same thing coming to me. You weren't the only irresponsible one in this situation.…"
Both Owen and Colby stared at him, Colby in shock and Owen thoughtfully. Owen finally nodded. "Alright then, if both of you gentlemen would please assume the position, we can get this taken care of and then go look for my niece."
Ian waited a few seconds to see what Colby did- not entirely certain what the position was- and then copied his younger friend. Soon they were both in front of the kitchen table, hands braced on it so they were leaning forward onto it, their legs spread enough to brace them as they presented their backsides for admonishment. Owen wasted no time in removing his belt and doubling it over with the buckle secured in his fist. He then moved so he was standing behind and to the side of the two younger men. Raising the belt, he swung it downward. Colby let out a pained yelp as the worn leather connected to his butt. Another swish and Ian- who had thought he was prepared- let out his own yelp, to his embarrassment. Owen wasn't holding anything back and the two boys' jeans weren't any protection against the punishment.
It seemed like forever to the younger men, though Owen only gave them 25 strikes each; after all, Hermione was an adult, and she had been sober enough to get them into a cab before she wandered off- she was just as responsible for her own actions (and he'd be addressing that when he finally had her safe at home). When Owen finally landed the last lash, he stepped back and began to thread his belt back through his belt loops. He smiled crookedly when he noted that Colby and Ian stayed in position, waiting for his permission to stand. Yeah- it wasn't obvious at all that both of them had been in the military.
Shaking his head, he stood behind them and quietly placed one hand on each of their shoulders. "Let's not have to do this again, gentlemen." He waited until he heard the subdued yes sirs, and we won’ts from the two boys before patting them gently on their backs. "OK. You may stand. Let's go find Hermione."
He deliberately ignored the red-rimmed eyes and the quick furtive way Ian and Colby both rubbed at their faces. Instead he began walking toward the door and the Land Rover parked outside, Ian and Colby following right behind him.
# # #
Hermione groaned and slowly stretched before her senses- honed from years of battle and then being married to an auror- finally caught up with her. She froze in place. She was in a strange bed and she wasn't alone. Forcing the panic down, she carefully didn't move and regulated her breathing, hoping that whoever was next to her would not wake up just yet.
The last thing she remembered clearly was going into that bar with her cousin and his friend. She only vaguely remembered putting the two of them into a cab and following someone, but after that everything was a big blur. She swallowed thickly, the taste of stale alcohol making her wish she was at home so that she could brush her teeth. She couldn't help but groan again.
"You know, it might help if you drink some water…" a male voice mumbled from approximately one foot to her right. Turning her head slightly, she examined the man next to her. Dark brown hair with blondish highlights- natural from the sun, not from a bottle; very bright- if pained- blue eyes; full lips…her eyes scanned lower down…a body that was made to be loved- and the lack of clothes suggested she'd done just that; Hermione gulped and blushed, her eyes darting back up to look at her bed-mate's face. He grinned impishly, "Like what you see?"
"Yes?" she managed to squeak out, before more pressing needs pushed her embarrassment at lying naked in bed with a stranger to the background and she jumped out of the bed and headed for the nearby facilities.
The nameless man let out a throaty chuckle, before groaning himself and rubbing at his head. When Hermione returned from the bathroom five minutes later- a towel wrapped firmly around her torso so that she could look for her clothes with some modicum of modesty- she noted that he was staring at the hand he’d used to rub his head. There was a confused and slightly frantic worried look on his face.
"What's wrong?" she asked, her own worry rising at the look on the man's face. It was then that she finally noticed where on his hand he was staring. Blinking, she glanced down at her own hand and found the match to the ring he seemed to find so fascinating.
# # #
It had been a lousy week. It had been a lousy month. Hell- truth be told, he hadn't had very many good days at all for the last 9 years. Nine years spent running and hiding from Wolfram and Hart- not wanting to be drug back into their clutches; nine years of avoiding slayers who might just know Angel and let him know that Lindsey had survived his little betrayal; nine years of searching for a way out of that damn perpetuity clause. So of course the one thing that should have been good, would turn out lousy as well.
It had been the perpetuity clause that had led to his drinking binge- or more accurately, it had been his finally finding the spell necessary to free himself from that last tie to Wolfram and Hart- and performing it- that had led to the drinking binge. There weren't too many ways he could celebrate after all. He didn't remember much after he entered into that bar and ordered that beer- followed by several shots of whiskey.
He was regretting his 'celebration' now. Not only was his head killing him, but apparently he'd drug some woman back to his hotel room with him- and she was still here. With his luck, she'd be part demon and look like that guy Clem from Sunnydale. He nearly shuddered, but managed to keep control of his body. He knew the exact moment she realized she wasn't alone. The stiffening of her body kinda made it difficult to hide. Her panic was so intense, he could feel it suffocating him. He felt like snorting- panic was such a useless emotion. By the time you realized there was a reason to panic, nine times out of ten, you were so totally screwed the only thing panic could do was finish the job for whatever had caused your panic. He didn't snort, however. Instead he offered what he hoped would be taken as helpful advice. "You know, it might help if you drink some water…" he mumbled, frowning when it was more of an effort to talk than it should have been. He could probably use some water himself.
Feeling her eyes on him, he turned his face so he could look at her. If the look on her face was anything to go by, she liked what she saw. He couldn't help the bit of male pride he felt at that thought. She wasn't hard on the eyes either. At least she wasn't a demon. At least she didn't seem to be. The blush that graced her face when she saw his state of undress kinda indicated she wasn't. He couldn't help but tease her a bit, grinning impishly.
"Like what you see?" he asked playfully. Her positive answer seemed to startle her and then she was up and almost running to the bathroom of his suite. He couldn't help the amused chuckle- the action causing him to let out a slight groan and reach up to rub his head. She really was adorable. He let his own eyes peruse her naked form as much as possible before she disappeared and closed the door. "Definitely not a demon," he whispered to himself relieved and almost wishing they could spend more time together. He started to lower his hand again when the glint caught his eye.
He wracked his brain, frantically trying to recall what had happened the night before- but everything was coming up blank. He couldn't believe what he was seeing though- it wasn't fair! He'd finally severed the last tie binding him to Wolfram and Hart. He was finally a free man- and now…. It just wasn't possible!
The gold band encircling his left ring finger was very real however. He couldn't stop staring at it as it glinted in the early morning light- not hearing when she left the bathroom or understanding her question, although he could hear her mumbling in the background.
A plaintive "Well, crap." Finally broke him from his shock and he looked at her. She was looking at her own matching golden band, before she looked back up at him with her own worried and frantic gaze. "What did we do? And how do we undo it???"
"You're British?" was all he could think to say.
It was his turn to blush as she leveled a very unimpressed and irritated look at him.
Yeah. It was definitely a lousy week. He'd just managed to piss off his new wife.
# # #
Lindsey glanced at his 'wife' as the elevator finally opened to the lobby and they both stepped out into the foyer.
He had been impressed with how quickly the woman-Hermione- had seemed to rally from the shock that apparently the two of them had gotten married. (A search through both of their belongings had turned up the marriage certificate and license.) They'd quickly made plans to head to the courthouse and see about an annulment.
First though, he'd had to pack up all his belongings. He had planned to check out of the hotel and be on his way out of Vegas, this morning. His surprise marriage had put the brakes on those plans. Hopefully it would only delay him by a few hours- although he had a nagging feeling that wasn't going to be the case.
He smiled quickly at Hermione as she looked back up at him. "I know you probably would like to get things taken care of as soon as possible, but maybe we could have breakfast first?"
Lindsey quickly nodded, just then realizing how hungry he really was. "Sounds like a good plan, darlin'. Might help us think more clearly when we have to fill out all those forms…. Just let me turn in my key and pay for the room and we can go to the restaurant the hotel owns. They actually have a good buffet."
At her nod, he turned and went to the front desk.
Hermione watched him go, the smile she'd given him turning crooked. Sighing softly, she hitched her purse strap further up her shoulder then wrapped her arms around herself. She needed to call her family and let them know she was alright. Her cell phone had run out of battery, unfortunately. She could only imagine what Colby and Ian were thinking now. They'd been too drunk last night to argue with her, but in the light of day….
Biting her lip, she glanced around the lobby in an attempt to find a public phone. Her eyes widened slightly as she saw the trio walking through the door, getting ready to head for that restaurant Lindsey had mentioned. "Uncle Wendell! Aunt Monica! Nana!" she called out, waving frantically at them as they glanced in her direction. She managed to keep her wince internal as she noticed the look of relief cross her family member's faces before being replaced with a look only a parent who had been worried sick about an errant child could have.
Wendell marched over to his niece, keeping a firm control on his temper- although it was an effort to do so. His wife, Monica, put a calming hand on his arm and squeezed gently, as she spoke to the younger woman. "Hermione…we were so worried. I'll have to call Owen and let him know that you've been located…."
Hermione's grandmother quickly pulled her into a bone crushing hug, before swatting her gently on the backside. It wasn't hard in the least, and didn't draw anyone's attention- as it would seem like just the thing a grandmother would do to tease a granddaughter. But Hermione knew there was a promise of something more when she got home, if she didn't manage to talk her way out of it. The look in her uncle's eyes conveyed exactly how worried the family had been about her.
She swallowed and gave an apologetic smile. "Are Colby and Ian alright?" she attempted to take the attention off herself, noting out of the corner of her eye that Lindsey had finished paying and was heading back in her direction. He arrived just as her uncle finally decided to answer her.
"They'll live- though I doubt they will be inclined to drink so much in the future…considering they managed to misplace you due to drinking so much this time." Her uncle didn't elaborate, but Hermione was certain her cousin and his friend had been given an earful, if not more. She felt bad, knowing that it was partly her fault.
Lindsey could feel the tension in the air as he came to stop beside Hermione. Not understanding what was causing it, and not knowing who the three were that were facing her, he wasn't sure what to do- but his instinct to protect was kicking in and despite his intention to remain aloof and not become anymore attached to her than necessary, he found himself putting an arm around her waist and pulling her closer against his side. "I'm all checked out, darlin'…." he eyed Wendell curiously and with a very slight challenge. "Lindsey McDonald…" he nodded at the older man by way of introduction.
Hermione blinked at Lindsey's actions, blushing slightly at not only the fact that he was acting as if they meant more to each other than they actually did, but also the fact that she actually liked it. Her uncle, however, didn't like it if the thunderous expression that had formed on his face was any indication.
"Oh…I'm sorry!" She managed to squeak out. "Uncle Wendell, Aunt Monica, Nana- Lindsey is my… er ... friend." She started out weakly. The thunderous look on her uncle's face grew, while her aunt and nana both got amused expressions on their face. "Um…Lindsey. These are my Nana, Aunt Monica, and Uncle Wendell Granger…. Aunt Monica and Uncle Wendell are Colby's parents. I…uh…don't know if you remember him from last night. My cousin…."
Lindsey didn't really remember, however both aunt and uncle had brown hair- so there was a good chance Colby did also. "The one with light brown hair?" he asked with a smile.
"Yes!" Hermione, smiled back, realizing right away that it had been a guess but pleased that he was making an attempt.
Lindsey nodded at Hermione's relatives. "We were about to get something to eat…would you care to join us?"
"No that's…" Monica started.
"That's OK you…" Hermione's nana began at the same time.
"Yes. I think we will." Her uncle stated emphatically, over-riding the two females' comments before taking each one gently by the arm to lead them into the restaurant. The look he leveled on Lindsey gave the unspoken message- I'm watching you.
Lindsey swallowed before gently guiding Hermione into the restaurant as well. "I feel sorry for your cousin…" he muttered to her in a whisper before glancing down at his watch. It was nine in the morning and already he felt like he'd put in a full day at work. He hadn't felt this challenged in a long time. He grinned. He'd missed feeling challenged.
# # #
The three men had just gotten into the Land Rover and pulled out of the drive on their way back into Vegas when Owen's phone had rung. Colby answered it for him.
"Hello? Hi Nana….You did? Was she…? You're whe…? How long…? OK. I'll let him know. I love you too. Bye Nana." Colby blushed at the amused looks Ian and his Uncle Owen were giving him. "That was Nana…" he began.
"Figured that much, kid. What'd she have to say?" Owen prodded, as he stopped at a red light.
"They found Hermione. She turned up at the hotel where they were going to eat breakfast- with a guy named Lindsey McDonald. Nana says the guy is smooth…almost too smooth…but he seems rather protective of Hermione- which surprised her and is irritating Daddy." Colby couldn't help but grin at that last bit. "Anyway, she says we don't need to go back into town since they've found her and plan on bringing her home with them."
Owen grunted and quickly turned into the parking lot of a tiny mom and pop diner. "Glad to hear it. I don't know about you two but I didn't have breakfast and I'm starving. Since everyone else is apparently getting fed, let's just do the same…" he didn't wait for a response, parking and turning the car off and hopping out- fully expecting them both to follow. They did.
# # #
Hermione's grandmother was handing Wendell's phone back to him, having called her other son, when Hermione had made the announcement.
"What do you mean you aren't coming home with us? Of course you are coming home with us. In case you've forgotten, you don't have a car or a license to drive in the states…" Hermione’s uncle was calmer than she'd expected he would be when she had informed them all that she wasn't returning back to the ranch with them just yet.
"I have some business that I need to take care of…" she started out but wasn't able to finish her sentence because a passing waiter knocked her bag off the back of her chair and it spilled onto the floor. Quickly she leaned over to pick up her belongings. Her grandmother- who had leaned over to help her- gasped as she picked up the legal certificate before Hermione could grab it and hide it away again.
"Young lady! I have never been so ashamed in my life! Getting married to a complete stranger! And don't you dare try and tell me you knew him before last night!" her grandmother scolded.
Hermione felt herself flushing- but to her surprise, Lindsey was also flushing. The older woman's words- though soft- held censure and disappointment that only a beloved elder relative could get away with. Both the younger people found themselves fidgeting under the older woman's stern glare. Hermione could only be grateful that her uncle and aunt didn't say anything. While there was a hint of sympathy in her aunt's expression- her uncle's face indicated the struggle it was taking him not to blow up in public over her actions.
"It…it wasn't planned. But we are going to the court to get an annulment. As soon as we've arranged that, Lindsey said he would drop me off at the ranch- he was going to leave this morning and it turns out it is the same direction he was going to be going anyway…." Hermione bit her lip, noting that her words weren't helping.
Lindsey, wisely, chose not to say anything- sensing that anything he'd say to attempt to help Hermione would only make things worse.
It was Monica that finally broke the uncomfortable silence that had formed. "Unfortunately, the court isn't open today. I heard on the news… their air conditioning broke and with it being so hot they couldn't ask their workers to come in… and tomorrow is the 4th of July so everything would be closed anyway… and Friday- well unless they get the air conditioning fixed today, it won't be open then because they'll still be needing to fix it… and it's always closed Saturdays and Sundays." Hermione's aunt shrugged almost apologetically. "So unless they get it fixed today and they can open up on Friday, you won't be getting to the court till Monday at the earliest…."
Lindsey let out a whispered oath, under his breath- blushing when Nana gave him a stern look. "Sorry ma'am,” he smiled apologetically. "It's just I had planned to leave today- so I didn't arrange for any hotel room to stay in. Everything was already pretty much booked solid when I got the room I had before- I was lucky to get it and the only reason I could was because I was leaving this morning…" he sighed. "But it won't be the first time I lived out of my truck…. I'll be alright. Just not looking forward to it, is all. Sorry."
"Nonsense," Nana retorted. "You'll stay at the ranch with us until the court is open and you can get this mess taken care of. You may have brought it on yourself- but you did have help bringing it on yourself." She eyed her grand-daughter reproachfully. Hermione blushed again and looked at her hands. "Besides… It's too hot for you to be sleeping in your truck. I won't have you getting heat stroke because we were uncharitable enough to not give you a room when we have plenty of space." Her decisive nod was all it took for Lindsey and Wendell to close their mouths and not object.
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