Disclaimer: TNT, Dean Devlin, etc. created most of these characters. I don't claim to have, I just like for them to run around in my imagination and play.

"Grainy, come on it's not that bad. Is it?"

"I promise, Donal, being your plus one to these state affairs is just about the most boring thing I do." Grainne never moved and looked out the limousine window at the DC sky. She only slightly joked with her older brother about these events. Donal expected her to be his 'date' to all the dinners he was invited to as part of the British diplomatic contingent to the US.

She heard the feigned pain in her brother's voice, "Grainne, I know this isn't your 'thing'," as he did his air quotes on either side of her head, just in her peripheral vision, "and you just want your wine and books. But you need to get out more. We've been in the states for almost a year now. You need to meet people, see things … do things."

Grainne let out an audible sigh, "Yes, yes. But I don't want to meet people and do things as you say. I like my wine and my books." She smoothed the silk of her ice blue dress and adjusted the rhinestone pin at the shoulder. He was right, but she didn't know how to begin. Conversations were never easy for her, even in the Irish village they grew up in - let alone a new country.

Just then, the limo came to a slow stop just outside the White House doors and the flurry of movement began. Donal exited the car first, then held out his hand to help his sister out of the car. He knew how unsteady she was in high heels and nervous she was in general. Grainne took it and stepped into the wash of camera flashes. There weren't as many as there were for the Italian Prime Minister, but they blinded her all the same.

Once they were inside, Grainne felt better. They were escorted through the halls, up the stairs and to the Yellow Oval Room. The room was already permeated with activity. Fortunately for her the first thing she saw was a thin blonde server with a platter of filled wine glasses. The server approached and briskly said, "Merlot or grigio?" then half to herself, "Hey, that rhymed." with a snicker. Grainne took a pinot grigio and surveyed the room. It was like most of the other state dinners she had attended. Grainy, as her brother liked to call her, much preferred the simpler affairs; all of this protocol made her head hurt. She saw that Donal had already left her to shake the hands of whomever he needed to do his business of the evening. So she began to cross the room and stand by one of the windows until she caught one of her heels in the hem of her dress. Grainne saw the floor come at her quickly until …

It was the boots she saw first. They weren't the shiny leather shoes of the typical dinner attendee. These were well-worn boots that had seen their share of work. As she scanned up the sharp crease of the tuxedo pant, past the simple silver belt buckle and the white rose bud tucked in the lapel. Running her hand through her bright auburn hair, she soon looked into a face with eyes the same color as her dress. Then she finally realized she hadn't fallen and her wine glass was safely on the buffet in front of the window. Grainne suddenly straightened up and gasped, "I'm so sorry. I didn't see you."

The face smiled a gentle smile. Then his left hand pushed his shoulder-length deep brown hair, a vain attempt to move the one strand that insisted on falling across his right eye. "It's all right," came the soft drawl. "I'm just glad I was here to catch you. Shame a lovely gal should fall on her face in front of all these people." Her rescuer tossed his head about the room as he spoke then moved his left hand from her elbow and offered her his.

Grainne smiled also, from embarrassment and self-consciousness then accepted the gesture. She also looked across the room in search of her brother, but he was nowhere to be seen. "Snakey gimp."

"What did you say?"

"Nothing … well that's not true." What in her trusted this man with the gleaming blue eyes who escorted her to the window was beyond her. "I was just looking for my chancer of a brother."

Her companion nodded, "Ran out on you, huh? He'll regret that." Now his right hand extended, "Davis Gaines."

"Grainne O'Malley." She tried to shake Davis' hand like her brother told her to, strong yet not overpowering, instead he turned it over and placed a gentle kiss on the back. Davis' eyes widened for a split second as she continued, "My brother Donal and I are part of the British embassy."

"British embassy?" Davis seemed startled for a split second then cut his eyes to the right as he spoke, "I was under the impression no one from the British embassy was going to be here."

"We almost weren't. Donal had to spend extra time talking me into coming." She took her hand back, picked up her glass and sipped the wine, already wanting more.

Eliot found his bearings as quickly as he had lost them. He turned his smile back to Grainne. "You said your name was Grain?"

Grainne smiled a slightly exacerbated smile. Her name was all well and good in Ireland, but since coming to the states she has done nothing but correct people over it. "Almost," she said, "exaggerate the vowels a little more. I was named for the 16th century businesswoman … and pirate."

"She was also known as Grace." Davis quickly answered back. "It suits you." Again he gave her that soft smile, and scratched his right ear slightly.

"My brother, Donal, calls me Grainy. I hate it" What was it about this man that made her feel so comfortable, so willing to talk about herself? Her eyes searched the room again, Finally she found Donal, surrounded by men who listened to his every word. He always attracted a crowd, men for business and women for pleasure. Then a dark haired woman all but materialized behind him and immediately had him engrossed in a conversation.

Grainne turned back to her companion who now had the slim blonde server cornered and appeared to be berating her. She thought she heard him say, "Just tell Hardison he'd better be glad this commlink works in here." Just as Grainne was about to speak, Davis all but twirled around with a fresh glass of pinot grigio and a huge smile. He placed a hand on her bare shoulder and handed her the wine, "Thought you could use a top off."

Just then the announcement was made that dinner was ready to be served and the crowd started to move to the dining room. Grainne's push through the crowd to get to Donal proved futile. But again Davis was there to take her hand over his and led her to the dining room.