DISCLAIMER: Not mine. I promise I'm only borrowing them and will return them to their rightful owners whenever they ask for them back. My imagination took a flight of fancy.....my bank account stayed empty. (Seriously, the cast of The West Wing belong to Warner Bros. and I'm only borrowing them for some free daydreaming that I wrote down).
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The ninth in a series of stories introducing Kate Harper and establishing her as 'one of the gang'. Post ep missing scene for Episode s5 ep 20 'No Exit', but more relevantly, a continuation of 'Decorated Action', in which the morning after the night before is negotiated.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ncruuk[at]gmail.com

Negotiating Sunday
By ncruuk


Having satisfied herself that she was definitely awake and almost certainly unable and unwilling to go back to sleep, CJ turned onto her side to look at her still slumbering lover who was currently stretched out on her stomach, bed clothes pooled at her waist, face turned towards CJ. CJ found herself transfixed by the patterns of sunlight that were almost playfully dancing across Kate's exposed skin as the trees outside CJ's bedroom window helped the morning spring sun caress Kate as CJ wanted to but didn't dare.

"Mmmm," her voice thick with sleep, Kate roused, her eyes slowly opening, her body's only concession to morning sluggishness before she became fully awake and alert although she remained outwardly relaxed and still. "Hello…" she whispered, smiling when she caught CJ's gaze.

"Hi." Suddenly self-conscious, CJ became bashful, pulling the bedclothes closer to her, in stark contrast to Kate's exposure.

"You're a long way away," commented Kate gently, bringing her hand up so that it rested on the pillow near CJ – near enough for CJ to take it if she wanted to, but far enough away to be non-threatening.

"Out of practice," said CJ hoarsely, reaching out to link her fingers with Kate's, prompting a shy smile as she did so.

"I'm quite a territorial sleeper," admitted Kate self-consciously before wondering nervously, "I didn't, you know, defend my space did I?"

"Only from the bedclothes," said CJ before illuminating her point by leaning forwards just enough so that she could reach Kate and succumb to her newest guilty pleasure – touching Kate.

"That feels nice," sighed Kate, unconsciously shifting across the mattress slightly so as to make it easier for CJ to caress her back.

"I've wanted to do that since I woke up," admitted CJ shyly, wondering how Kate would respond, apart from seemingly purring like a contented cat.

"It would have been an even more wonderful way to wake up," decided Kate, opening eye that had involuntarily closed in order to study her obviously still nervy lover.

"I didn't dare," confessed CJ softly, deciding that she'd managed to get this far with Kate by being completely honest and now was almost certainly not the moment to try a different strategy.

"Why?" Not moving, Kate was content to provide encouragement by stroking CJ's upturned palm as it rested between them, recognising the emerging pattern that clearly indicated CJ did not like being crowded.


"Of me?" asked Kate, her tone completely non-judgmental.

"Yes…" CJ's confirmation was whispered tearfully as CJ mentally chastised herself for verbalising such a traitorous thought.

"Hey!" All previous thoughts of giving CJ space flew from Kate's mind when she saw the tears as she turned onto her side and reached to pull CJ to her, rubbing her back and murmuring reassuring noises even as she felt the dampness on her neck.

"I'm sorry," mumbled CJ, feeling foolish.

"For what?" asked Kate genuinely, releasing her hold on CJ enough so that the taller woman could settle herself back on the pillow so that they were now lying facing each other, faces only inches apart, hands clasped loosely together, resting on the bed between them.

"For being scared of you," said CJ slowly, studying the blonde for any hint of anger or hurt, amazed to see only concern.

"Scared of me specifically or the movie stereotype?" asked Kate lightly, unable to avoid grinning at the confused look CJ now sported, prompting Kate to try a more expansive explanation. "Were you actually scared of me, the woman whose bedroom you painted or were you scared of touching a sleeping CIA agent who, if this was a movie, would only know how to wake up and start fighting?"

"Umm, the CIA agent?" suggested CJ finally, having given Kate's revised question some serious consideration.

"Ah, that's ok then," said Kate simply, her grin returning.

"It is?" CJ was relieved but also very confused.

"I didn't go to sleep expecting to be roused by a would-be assassin; I went to sleep thoroughly worn out by a fabulous woman who'd just shared some incredible things with me." Kate's compliments caused CJ to blush deeply.

"So you're saying I was being silly?"

"No, I'm saying you were being sensibly cautious given what you knew," corrected Kate kindly, "but I would never confuse being woken by you with a threat," she promised, pressing a soft kiss on CJ's knuckles in reassurance.

"Do you mind that I'm not a clingy sleeper?" asked CJ, obviously still not entirely relaxed.

"Nope, see, neither am I," admitted Kate, pointedly glancing down to her hips where the covers were still pooled.

"Ah." Nervous still, CJ's gaze focussed on the bedding at Kate's waist.



"Look at me?" implored Kate quietly, her soft tone succeeding in getting CJ to raise her face, slowly.

"Hi," said CJ, attempting to sound at ease.

"Hello," greeting Kate warmly, studying CJ's face in fascination.

"Didn't we do this bit already?" asked CJ eventually.

"Almost, but we got distracted with too much policy analysis," joked Kate, referencing CJ's overthinking.

"Distracted from what?" Intrigue replaced nerves and concerns.

"Wishing each other good morning."

"Oh." Seeing where Kate's thoughts were heading, CJ's eyes also began to sparkle, mirroring Kate's, "good morning," said CJ, shifting her head so that she could reach Kate's lips for a kiss.

"Mmm, good morning," said Kate, moving her finders easily through CJ's hair and letting her hand rest on CJ's shoulder before adding, "we're not bad at that."

"But you're never too good to practice," suggested CJ sagely, inadvertently giving Kate the only invitation she needed to move forward, encouraging CJ onto her back as, in one smooth movement, Kate was hovering over CJ and initiating a deep, intense, passionate kiss that was most enjoyable to practice, even if they were already rather good at it.

"So…" began CJ eventually, when they'd been standing just inside her apartment door for several long moments just looking at each other.

"So…" repeated Kate, brushing an errant strand of hair back behind CJ's ear.

"I really don't like your bangs," said CJ suddenly, only to clap her hand over her mouth – that really wasn't something she'd intended to say, prompting Kate to laugh before reassuringly saying,

"Neither do I."

"But…" CJ wanted to ask why she had them if she didn't like them, but couldn't quite bring herself to.

"Why have I got them?" asked Kate rhetorically, verbalising CJ's unasked question, only to continue to provide an explanation by lifting their joined hands up so that CJ could feel Kate's head in the area where her bangs started.

"Is that a scar?" asked CJ, amazed – how had she not felt it last night in bed nor when she was shampooing Kate's hair in the shower earlier?

"Yes, from my last posting – it's basically healed, but it required stitches, and so the doctors shaved the front of my head," Kate admitted sheepishly, anticipating CJ's next questions by adding, "yes, I did look strange and no, you can't see the pictures," said Kate, knowing that the photographs taken during the debrief were classified beyond anything CJ could ever see, hopefully.

"So the bangs are temporary?" repeated CJ, running her fingers through them and lifting them away from Kate's eyes.

"Very temporary," confirmed Kate, wondering when she'd last grinned so much in a twenty-four hour period.

"Good to know," sighed CJ as she leaned in for another kiss, a kiss that saw her use her height to her advantage and 'persuade' Kate backwards until she was leaning against the door.

"As good as you are at that," began Kate quietly, making no attempt to break their embrace, "and as much as I'd like to stay here," she continued, pausing to reflect on how unexpectedly wonderful the weekend had been – certainly, the kisses and the sex had been spectacular but, perhaps more surprising and memorable had been now relaxed and 'easy' the weekend had been whether they had been painting, reading the stack of weekend papers CJ had delivered or just relaxing on the couch together. Irrespective of the deeper physical and emotional bond that had been forged, a close friendship had blossomed, a friendship that, were she to know it, was just as unusual and special for CJ as it was for Kate.

"When's your first meeting?" asked CJ, understanding that what Kate was reluctantly getting at.

"7am, in the Situation Room." At CJ's raised eyebrows, Kate smiled and added, "it's my equivalent of the Press Briefing Room."

"Have you ever been to the Press Briefing Room?" asked CJ pointedly.

"No. Have you ever been to the Sit Room?" asked Kate quickly, equally pointedly.


"So the analogy holds up!" declared Kate triumphantly, much to CJ's amusement.

"So, this is it then?" asked CJ sadly, stepping back from Kate, recognising that, realistically, with less than 12 hours until she had to be in the White House, Kate probably did need to go.

"For this weekend," agreed Kate, before adding, "can we do this again?"

"I'd like that," agreed CJ, suddenly wondering when as, for the next four nights she had evening receptions and commitments at the White House.

"We'll work it out, don't worry," said Kate gently, guessing what was making CJ's brain race at a million panicked thoughts a minute.

"We will?" asked CJ hesitantly before repeating it again, far more confidently as she realised quite how much she wanted this to work, but first, surely they had time for one more kiss…

The End

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