Spoilers: none really, AUish
Disclaimer: not mine, no infringement, just for fun etc.
Author’s notes: with many thanks to katekat1010 whose artwork inspired this and to xdawnfirex who prods and pokes me to be the best writer I can. For Summer of Giles 2013
Buffy Summers first died when she was sixteen years old.
It was only a technical death as she was very much alive, well and speeding her way to somewhere that was not Los Angeles, California. She smiled at herself in the review mirror as she left her old life behind, much richer and far happier than she thought she would be when she’d come up with the plan.
Her life had been dull until her thirteenth birthday when she discovered she had a talent for grifting. She charmed men out of their money, luring them into giving her gifts and showering her with money. Her mother’s job in the art world gave her access to some of the most wealthy and powerful men in Southern California. Buffy often added gullible to that list too.
They often thought they could be her step-dad, but she would use her charm and wide eyes and they’d fall for her too. Then when she bled them as much as she thought prudent, she’d make a production of hating them, Joyce would break up with them and Buffy’s bank account was significantly fatter.
Her last mark had been a state Senator on the fast track for the Governor’s mansion. She’d lifted a few things from his office but when an aide started asking questions Buffy knew she had to get out fast and quick. She came up with a scenario that meant burning down her school’s gym, but in the end it had been worth it. Buffy Anne Summers was going to be no more. She hadn’t thought of a new name yet, but she would. She’d be better at her game and she was looking forward to the thrill of the chase.
It hadn’t been hard to drop the sleeping powder into Robbie’s drink. Buffy led him to the bedroom, letting him think that he was going to sleep with her, but she tucked him into his bed and made her way to the library. A few days earlier, in a drunken stupor, the good Earl had told her where his safe was and what the combination was. She also knew this was where he stored sine if his family’s jewels. She was mostly interested in the diamonds. They were a girl’s best friend.
She found the safe behind a false panel in the bookshelf and opened it without a problem. The jewels were exquisite. She only worried about finding the right seller. For now, she tucked them into her purse, going back to the bedroom to check in on Robbie. He was snoring, oblivious to her crime. She went over, kissing his forehead.
“Thanks for good times, Robbie,” she whispered. “I don’t envy you the headache you’ll have in the morning.” And with that she left the house, smiling.
Inspector Rupert Giles looked at the small blonde girl through the two way mirror, unable to reconcile her seemingly innocent look with the crimes she was accused of committing. But then it was her look that probably helped her in her criminal endeavors.
At first glance Anna Wintour was what she claimed to be: an exchange student who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rupert was not one to rely on first impressions. He’d ordered a closer inspection, a run of her name, her face through every database available to him. Anna was linked to some very wealthy, slightly royal men all throughout Europe. They all demurred when questioned about her, but their banks, insurance agents and servants all told different stories.
He turned when someone came up behind him.
“Something just came in from the States, Inspector. I thought you’d want to see it right away.”
Rupert took the file and opened it. The photo was of Anna, though the accompanying news article claimed she was Buffy Summers and she was dead. A smile tugged at his lips and he closed the file.
“Reach out to our friends in California, see what you can find out about Buffy Summers,” he said.
Rupert gathered all the other information and entered the interrogation room. Anna looked up at him, her eyes wide and her body projecting helplessness. He was going to be immune to her charms, he told himself. He knew her kind.
“Miss Wintour, I’m Inspector Rupert Giles.”
“Oh, Inspector Giles, I’m so glad to see you,” she breathed, leaning forward and putting her hands on the table. “No one would tell me why I’m here.”
He put down all his files and sat across from her. She was good. “You’re here because you were trying to sell some items that were reported stolen from the Earl of Sandwich.” He opened the file to read the list even though he knew it by heart. “A diamond necklace, bracelet and earrings all valued at several million pounds.”
“Stolen?” she said, her voice quavering and her eyes filling with tears. “Robbie would never say they were stolen. He gave those to me.”
“It wasn’t Robert who reported them stolen, but his insurance company. The Earl had nothing but complimentary things to say about you. He even backs up your story about giving you the jewelry.” Rupert knew that the Earl had been lying but there was no way to press the man without arousing the ire of both his superiors and the royal family.
“Then what exactly is the problem, Inspector?”
“I have to follow up, it’s procedure. Can you tell me why you were trying to sell the items in question?”
She took a tissue from her purse and dabbed at her eyes, sniffing. “I hate to admit it, but I am low on funds. I made some bad investments and needed the money to pay off debts.”
There was a knock on the door and Jeffery entered. He passed some papers to Rupert. Rupert looked at them and waved Jeffery off.
“Just a few more questions, Miss Wintour.” He took the file on Buffy Summers out and opened it, pushing it towards Anna. “Can you explain your resemblance to this woman?”
She looked at the photo and pushed the file back towards him. “No, I can’t. They say everyone has a twin, Inspector, maybe she was mine. Poor thing, what a way to die.”
Anna betrayed nothing. The information Jeffery had brought in said Miss Summers was linked to several prominent Californians and their bank accounts. Charges would have been hard to prove as she was a minor. Rupert couldn’t really prove anything here either, which frustrated him to no end. He knew Anna, or Buffy, was guilty. It was the word of the Earl versus his instinct and the Earl would win out every time. It was a pity there had been no cameras in the house.
“Yes, it’s rather tragic.” He gathered up his files. “I’m sorry to have inconvenienced you Miss Wintour. The jewels will be returned to you and you are free to go. May I suggest returning to the States?”
She gathered up her purse and stood. “I’ll take that under advisement, Inspector. Is there anything I have to sign?”
“They can take care of you at the front desk. Have a good day.”
“Thank you,” she said, smiling and walking out of the room.
Rupert watched her. He would have to keep an eye out for her, think of possible pseudonyms she might come up with, and make sure her face and description were sent out to other law enforcement agencies. He had a feeling he’d not seen the last of Anna Wintour.
She was looking up at one of the most famous faces in the art world and contemplating the life of both the subject and the artist. She’d known the piece was small, but to be face to face with it was another thing altogether. Buffy was so absorbed in her thoughts she hadn’t heard someone approach her from behind.
“I certainly hope you aren’t contemplating stealing the Mona Lisa,” a familiar voice said.
Buffy smiled to herself, betraying no emotion as she glanced over her shoulder and saw Inspector Giles.
“Why would I want to do that when you and I both know the real painting is locked in the vault, Inspector?”
“Indeed it is, Miss Wintour.”
“Fields, actually. Autumn Fields.”
“How quaint,” he said dryly. “Why are you still in Europe, Miss Fields?”
“I love the atmosphere, the people. There are so many things to do and see, wouldn’t you agree, Inspector?”
They wandered away from the Da Vinci, walking past other masters.
“Yes, there are, Miss Fields.”
“You know one day I will catch you, Autumn.”
She smiled up at him, taking in his handsome face. He was about the same age as all the men she took in. Buffy knew he meant what he said and she found herself excited about the prospect of being followed by him. “I look forward to the chase, Inspector.”
“Rupert,” he said, smiling back at her. “As do I, Autumn.”
He took her hand in his and kissed the back of it, leaving her at the entrance to the museum, wondering when they would see each other again.
She led him around France for more than a week. She always smiled at him when she caught sight of him, giving him a quick way or blowing a kiss to him. There was a quick jaunt into Spain where he saw her sunbathing on a nude beach and had to retreat to his hotel to deal with….things. She moved over to Morocco for a few days, then Corsica and Sicily. He found himself more interested in her than her crimes. What was it about this woman that aroused his interest?
Buffy found herself looking for him wherever she went. Avoiding Rupert Giles became as invigorating as the cons she pulled. She led him on a merry chase, thinking of him at night. The day he’d found her on the nude beach had been a revelation. She’d left shortly after he had, wearing out the batteries in her favorite vibrator. The whole bad girl/good guy thing was appealing. Then she ran into trouble in Italy.
She should have known better than to try something in the Vatican. The curator of the small museum seemed interested at first. Giancarlo had shown her some very old relics that she knew she could sell to certain collectors for a very good price. But he’d caught her trying to slip a small figurine into her purse and shouted for the guards.
She dropped the figurine and bolted. The Swiss guards were on her immediately, she cursed her choice of footwear on the cobblestones. Then she’d seen the familiar tweed jacket and a plan formed in her head. She ran up to Rupert, pushing him towards the doorway of a nearby shop. His eyes widened in surprise as he recognized her, and he gasped as she pulled down to kiss him.
He took a minute to respond, and then he was gathering her in his arms, kissing her back passionately. Wow, could he kiss. She lost herself in the emotions that ran through her for just a moment, taking in his scent, the feel of his body against her and then she came back to the present. The sound of the guards running past registered and she pulled away, untangling herself from him.
“Thanks, Rupert,” she said, grinning and then disappeared down an alley. He didn’t find her again until Germany over a month later.
When they met again in Warsaw, he found her in the bedroom of a prominent politician during a New Year’s Eve party. She was just opening the safe and drawing out a pouch.
“I should shout for security,” he said.
“You and I know you won’t do that,” she said.
“You over estimate your charm, Autumn.”
She smiled, sauntering towards him. “Remember the Vatican?”
“I do, that was a rather clichéd distraction,” he said, watching her every move.
“It worked though, didn’t it?”
A noise outside the room caught their attention. She pressed herself against him, pulling at his shirt. He knew she was going for the kiss distraction again. He really shouldn’t let her do it. His brain warred with his body and heart. He grabbed her waist, pulling her closer and kissed her. She sighed into the kiss, wrapping one arm around his neck as she tucked the pouch she’d been holding in the opposite hand into his suit pocket.
Someone opened the door and asked what they were doing. They separated and Buffy gave the man her best unassuming smile. In perfect Polish she apologized and pulled him out of the room. Rupert let her lead him downstairs where they collected their coats. Once they got outside and far enough away from the house, he stopped her.
“I’m a law enforcement officer, why shouldn’t I just take this pouch and report you?” Rupert asked, drawing the pouch from his pocket.
“You have no authority here for one,” Buffy said. “Besides, what incentive would that be for you to catch me? Next time it might be more than a kiss.”
While he took a moment to process that, she grabbed the pouch and ran off.
It was in Belarus that he took charge. Buffy had been eyeing a very large ruby that was inset in a necklace belonging to a very distant relative of the Romanov family. Then she’d heard it had been taken and there was a large reward for its safe return. Her phone buzzed and there was a text from an unknown number.
‘Meet me, I have the ruby. RG’ there was also an address and time. How on earth had he gotten her number? Rupert Giles was altering their game. Now she had to catch him. The place was a small coffee shop. He smiled when she approached. She sat across from him, smiling.
“Stealing jewels on your own now, Rupert? What would Scotland Yard have to say?”
“They’d applaud my initiative. I am trying to catch a wanted criminal after all. Too bad I don’t work for them anymore.”
“Yes, something about an ‘obsession’.”
“Inspector Giles, you do have other cases you know. I’m sure that other agencies can handle the Wintour case,” the chief said.
“She’s wily, I’ve studied her movements. I know her aliases.”
“And you have a pile of files on your desk involving crimes here at home. People here need justice too.”
“I need to catch her,” he said.
“If you want to continue this obsession with the Wintour woman, Giles then you can tender your resignation immediately.”
“I’ll do that,” Rupert said, leaving with his head held high.
“Well that and the fact that you’ve had two opportunities to ‘catch’ me, and yet I got away.”
He shrugged. “I was enjoying the chase.”
“You have the ruby?”
“Of course. Are you going to come with me?”
She laughed. “I haven’t done anything that you can prove, Rupert.”
“That you haven’t, Autumn.”
She was started to hate that he was using her alias. “Then now what?”
He gave her a grin that made her shiver. He stood, came over to her and pulled her out of the chair. He brought her up against him, caressing her body with his strong hands. The kiss was heated, primal and dirty. Her hands wandered over his chest, his ass and then back up to tangle in his hair. He cupped her breasts and she arched into his touch. Then he was stepping away from her, dropping the necklace into her cleavage.
“Think of me,” he said walking away.
She pulled the chain out, fingering the jewel as her heart tried to get back into a normal rhythm. What was he playing at?
It wasn’t until Russia that they ended up in bed.
“I think I might finally let you catch me, Rupert,” she said, looking from his hand around her wrist to his eyes. “What are you going to do with me?”
“Take you,” he growled.
He dragged her off to his hotel room, kissing her against the door while fumbling with the key card. She’d laughed low as he picked her up, opened the door, took her in, kicked the door shut and the pressed her against the other side. The first time was there, quick and half violent, both of them slumping to the floor afterwards.
They didn’t make it to the bed until the fifth time.
He awoke to the smell of coffee. He opened her eyes and saw her wearing nothing but his shirt, two cups in her hand as she walked over to the bed.
“Good morning, stud muffin,” she said, handing him a cup.
“Please don’t call me that,” he said, sipping the hot brew. “We shouldn’t have done that.”
“Rupert, you silly man,” she smiled. “Don’t you know we’ve been leading up to this since Paris? Maybe since London. These past months have simply been foreplay.”
“It’s been almost a year since London, my dear…..I haven’t the foggiest what I should call you.”
“Really? Time really does fly when you’re having fun,” she said, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Call me Buffy. It is my real name after all.”
“I can’t very well bring you in, Buffy,” he said half-heartedly, his gaze falling on her cleavage.
She smirked, flicking open a button with one hand. “I don’t think you’d get your job back. Besides that’s boring and predictable, Rupert. So unlike the man I’ve come to know. I think I have a better idea.”
“Buffy, I believe we’re on the same page,” he said, placing his cup on the table beside the bed as she set hers on the floor.
The weather in Maine was very much what he was used to though Buffy complained often that it was too cold for her. He would just smile and return to the inventory of the small bookshop they now owned. He glanced up as she walked from the counter towards the bathroom in the back, rubbing her swollen stomach and speaking in low tones to their child.
Russia was three years behind them. To the citizens of Windham they were Elizabeth and Robert Springfield. They were Rupert and Buffy to each other. They lived modestly, her ‘earnings’ hidden safely and now marked for the child due any day. They’d married in Edinburgh, six months after Moscow. He thought she would be bored by the life he’d proposed, she surprised him and they were happy.
He ran towards her voice. She stood in front of the bathroom, her expression a mixture of terror and excitement.
“Buffy, what is it love?”
“My water broke,” she said softly. “Ready for the next adventure?”
“Always,” he replied, guiding towards the front of the store.