DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to NBC, Aaron Sorkin, John Wells and many many other people. I am not one of those people.
SPOILERS: Mr Frost specifically. 'The leak' story line implicity.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
CJ began to open the bedroom door softly. She knew if she applied just the right amount of pressure the door creaked softly. Cursing herself mentally, she gave up any intentions of an inconspicuous arrival. She knew that Kate was too well trained to stay asleep but she always felt compelled to try anyway. It never worked.
The light from the hallway cut into the darkened bedroom, providing an unnecessary path to the bathroom. CJ flicked the light off preferring temporary blindness over the thought of having to bypass her bed once more just to turn it off. She quickly made her way to the bathroom, unbuttoning her shirt on the way. As she walked it fell open, framing the lace edges of her bra. CJ started to remove her makeup and the stress and fatigue became visible in her reflection. She didn't understand how she could go from such a hyper caffeinated state to utter exhaustion over the course of one conversation. She didn't understand how Toby could
CJ exhaled heavily as she wiped the water from her face.
When Toby had
When Toby had
The only thing she could remember were his shaking hands. By now the scene had replayed in her mind at least a dozen times. Each time she looked for a way she could have stopped him, could have cut him off before he said it. But now, here, his shaking hands filled her mind. They, his hands, were the things that convinced her that this wasn't Toby's attempt at noble sacrifice. He wasn't falling on his sword for the President or Leo or the campaign, or even her. Because if he was
CJ unzipped her skirt and it was only muscle memory that prevented her from finding it in a wrinkled heap on the floor the next morning.
She had seen Toby angry, and she had seen Toby depressed; occasionally, she had even seen Toby happy. She had known Toby for what seemed like forever, and she had never seen him shake. Toby yelled. Toby raged. He paced and he stalked and he gave speeches and lectures and sometimes his words brought her to tears with their beauty. But tonight-tonight he sat, and he didn't move, and he wasn't eloquent. And now all she can see are his hands.
CJ slid her stockings off. Kate would find them a month later, balled up and thrown into a corner.
For the first time she was truly glad that her job was almost over. The isolation was creeping in, and she didn't know how to stop it. She was pretty sure that it was the reason that Kate was in her bed. Phone calls from Josh and Leo helped, but even they had become nothing more than quick chats about the issue of the day. Toby was the one that showed up in her office everyday making sure that she knew that she wasn't in it alone. Kate had taken up some kind of semi-permanent residence in her home, but the isolation was still there. An extra pair of shoes doesn't make a relationship; there's still no one that she can really talk to without bumping up against official boundaries. She tried to fight the despair, but the sneaking suspicion that it was winning wouldn't go away.
CJ heard the sheets rustle in the bedroom. Clad in only her bra and panties she walked in and took a seat on the edge of her bed. Kate was waking up.
Kate rolled over, and the distorted strip of light from the bathroom fell across her face. She mumbled something CJ couldn't quite understand.
"Hey," CJ brushed her hand over Kate's forehead. "Go back to sleep."
Kate blinked hard a couple of times before fully opening her eyes only to shield them from the little bit of light.
"You're actually here." Her voice was thick with sleep.
"Yeah. It was either here or a tiny padded room and frankly, the nearest institution is further away. Plus, I didn't think that would reflect well on the President. So," she shrugged, "here I am." She bent over and placed a light kiss on Kate's lips.
"It's about time." Kate murmured with a smile. She blinked away a little more sleep. "I missed you last night."
"Funny, I recall seeing you at some point. In a hallway somewhere, maybe?" CJ teased her lightly.
Kate sat up and put her arms around the brunette. "I thought you'd be back earlier."
"Yeah, a" CJ paused. "A thing came up." She looked away.
"Why didn't anyone call me?" Kate asked as she put her head on CJ's shoulder.
"It wasn't " She rubbed her forehead. "I got subpoenaed today."
After a moment Kate took a deep breath and said, "I know." She shifted to look into CJ's eyes. "Something's come up about the leak?"
"Yeah, but "
"But you can't talk about it." Kate sighed as she put her head back on CJ's shoulder.
"Yeah...I mean no. I'm..."
"Hey, don't worry about it." She turned slightly and placed a kiss on the side of CJ's neck.
"You look exhausted." Kate's hands massaged CJ's shoulders. CJ groaned and dropped her head.
"Come to bed." Kate shifted over as she pulled back the partially made covers. "Whatever it is, you can fix it in the morning."
CJ smiled as she went to turn the bathroom light off. When she climbed into the crisp sheets and Kate's waiting arms, she groaned again.
"You know, a girl could get used to this." CJ yawned, burrowing deeper into the bed.
"Mmmm, you might want to hold that thought until after the inauguration."
"If I were more awake I might have to take issue with that, but as it is, I'm much too tired to care."
Kate murmured in agreement as she arranged her arms more firmly around CJ. "Sleep. Now." Kate knew the words were unnecessary when she felt CJ relax into arms and heard her breathing deepen.
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