DISCLAIMER: As per all my work not mine, no money whatsoever, just some writing fun and hopefully reading pleasure
.they are all.
SPOILERS: If you know that in Season 7 CJ Cregg is made Chief of Staff, and that there was almost World War Three between China and Russia because of a combination of elections and oil in Kazakhstan, you're good to go
NOTE: Originally written for the FemSlash 2006: Dog Days of Summer calendar.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Who needs roses when you have
The lights of the West Wing corridors blazed 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. No matter what the hour or day, at strategic points, silent and still, but nevertheless hyper-aware, there stood sentries, be they Park Police, US Marine or Secret Service. All seeing, these guards were trained to watch and protect, but never react, no matter how unusual the sight or sound, but only as long as the source was 'friendly'. At seven minutes past eleven on a hot D.C. evening, the sight of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman, being hounded out of the Chief of Staff's office by a very irate CJ Cregg was certainly noisy, and rather messy, with briefing books flying into the corridor after Josh's retreating back. There was no reaction from the sentries though, not even when the heavy briefing book about the situation in Kazakhstan landed squarely in the Marine's chest, although there was a slight grunt of surprise, prompting CJ to appear in the doorway.
"Did I hit him Bill?" she asked, even though his name was actually Jake. The first Marine Guard CJ had met standing outside her new office had been called Bill. Unable to distinguish that well between all the twenty-something, 6 foot 6-plus men with the same close cut hair cut and peaked uniform hat, CJ had taken to calling whoever stood outside this door 'Bill'. If she was speaking to the guard outside her other door, he was called 'Jack', for exactly the same reason. None of the Marines minded, it was just nice to be noticed as living human beings, rather than statutes, although they did very good impressions.
"No Ma'am, the Ivory Coast just missed him," explained 'Bill', prompting CJ to look at the Ivory Coast briefing from State which was now lying in the middle of the hallway.
"So what did I hit, if it wasn't Josh?" asked CJ, having a fairly good idea now and not feeling particularly good about it.
"Me Ma'am, with Kazakhstan."
"I'm so sorry..." began CJ, only to stop when she saw a hint of a grin form on 'Bill's' face.
"Don't be Ma'am, Kazakhstan lost!" And he was right. The papers hadn't faired well against the broad muscled uniform chest of 'Bill' and, whilst there was nothing out of place on his uniform, the briefing book at his feet was very badly crumpled.
"Oh dear...Kate will kill me..." muttered CJ, stooping to gather up the messy heap that had been the State (so really NSA) briefing on the fall out from the elections in Kazakhstan.
"Why is the Ivory Coast in the hall?" asked Kate suddenly, having been en route to CJ's office when the sight of one the State Briefing Packs lying on the floor of the corridor prompted her to stop and announce her presence.
"Because I missed hitting Josh with Rwanda when he was still in my office...." explained CJ sarcastically, gathering up the last pages of Kazakhstan.
"Who did you get with that?" asked Kate, drawing on all her training to conceal her amusement. CJ was sweet when she was angry at Josh, but Kate knew better than to tell her lover that, at least, not in front of a Marine Guard!
"Kazakhstan caught Bill in the chest..." explained CJ, standing up and tilting her head towards the Marine, before continuing, "...fortunately, the Marines won."
"Score one for Semper Fi..." muttered Kate slightly sarcastically, warranting another miniscule twitch of a smirk. All the Marines in the White House knew that the blonde Deputy NSA, despite now being employed more because of her 'Company' CIA career rather than her Naval one, was nevertheless a proud member of the Navy, and as such, the long running, fundamentally good humoured rivalry between the Marines and the Navy was still to be acknowledged.
"You wanted me?" asked CJ, deciding that this slightly surreal three way conversation that was only involving two voices was probably best terminated.
"Yeah..." agreed Kate, suddenly remembering what she had been coming to find CJ for and continuing, with the Ivory Coast pack tucked securely under her arm, she continued into CJ's office, the Chief of Staff following. The monotony of his duty shift broken, 'Bill' resumed his silent vigil whilst tentatively testing how his ribs felt with some careful breathes. The Marines may have 'won', but the impact of the Briefing Book had definitely stung.
"What did Josh do?" asked Kate conversationally as she picked up Rwanda from the floor just inside CJ's office.
"You hear about the lunch yesterday?" asked CJ, dropping down onto her couch and hoping, as she so often did during these late night conversations they had when the building was quiet, that Kate would maybe join her. As always, Kate instead perched on the edge of CJ's desk.
"With the Congressman? Yeah...what did he lose?" asked Kate, recognizing the signs. Josh had obviously done something to offend someone, resulting in something that had been a political certainty now becoming a political uncertainty that would probably be very embarrassing to the White House if they lost it.
"It doesn't matter...he's just whining about having to fix it..." explained CJ abstractly, knowing that it would take quite a lot of explaining to bring Kate up to speed, when she didn't actually need to know the detail - domestic policy very rarely had much of an impact on the Deputy NSA's job.
"Ouch...he's still not forgiven Josh for the thing?" asked Kate, remembering the incident from just a little over a year ago, when Josh's inability to think before he spoke at times getting him once more in hot water.
"According to Josh, no..."
"Ok..." satisfied that she now understood why, on a hot, stuffy D.C. night, CJ was still at work and not at home sitting in front of her air conditioner, Kate lapsed into what for her was a comfortable silence. Small talk was not something she'd ever been particularly good at.
After a short, comfortable silence, CJ roused herself from her own silence to ask
"You looking for me for a reason?"
"Yeah...you eaten since this morning?" asked Kate, remembering the flaky croissants they'd eaten together in CJ's office at 6am. Kate wasn't surprised when CJ furrowed her brow in deep thought before finally looking sheepish.
"Come on then..." declared Kate firmly, standing up and holding out a hand to help CJ to her feet.
"Where are you taking me?" asked CJ, making a half hearted protest gesture towards the piles of papers on her desk.
"My office. Don't worry about those, they're not important..." explained Kate dismissively, recognizing CJ's heap of documents as mainly coming from State. She wasn't lying either - she'd read most of them earlier in the evening and, whilst it was important to pay attention to the world at large, none of those particular countries were currently so volatile that CJ would be disadvantaged if she didn't read them tonight.
"You have an office?" asked CJ finally, unable to conceal her surprise. How had she not known about Kate's office?
"Sure..." confirmed Kate, not at all surprised by CJ's surprise. In all the time Kate had been Deputy NSA, no one from the West Wing had visited her office, which was as it should be. If she needed them to know something, she was much more comfortable going to them.
"Where is it?" asked CJ, following Kate through the corridor, belatedly realizing that they were actually heading towards the Sit Room.
"You'll see...has the President gone for the night?"
"He's in the Residence with Abbey...why?"
"You can play hooky then," observed Kate, missing the shocked look on her lover's face at the unexpected statement, focusing instead on the security locks on the Sit Room door.
"With you? In your office?"
"You want to leave Josh alone in the building?" asked Kate pointedly, ignoring the fact that you could never be alone in the White House.
"No, I need to be able to yell at him..." conceded CJ, knowing that, as much as she'd love to go home, she wasn't going to be able to leave the West Wing until the situation with Congressman Tyler had been resolved, although she could quite happily avoid Josh for the next hour or so.
"So, play hooky in my office..." repeated Kate, leading CJ to the far corner of the Sit Room, right by the main screen which was currently turned off since there was no 'situation'.
"Can I eat something too?" asked CJ, deciding that she liked the idea of seeing what Kate meant by 'playing hooky', but was conscious that, now her brain had remembered that she hadn't eaten, her body was protesting painfully.
"Picnic?" asked Kate, opening a door and leading them from the Sit Room into a corridor, one that CJ was positive she'd never seen before, although the Marine Guards felt familiar.
"What's in it?" asked CJ, a hint of flirtation entering her tone, their seemingly out of the way location giving her some extra confidence.
"Summer stuff..." explained Kate, not actually sure. She'd ordered it from the Mess earlier, and hadn't thought to look to see what the Mess would regard as an appropriate indoor picnic for such a hot night. Any further comments from CJ were forestalled by Kate stopping outside her office door and beginning a quick, quiet conversation with the Marine Guard just across from her office door, before opening the door and ushering CJ inside.
Like all basement offices, it was devoid of natural light but, unlike most basement offices, it didn't feel dark or enclosed. Its layout was not dissimilar to CJ's offices had been, with a wall of television screens, a large desk, a comfortable looking couch and a low table. The main different was the televisions: where CJ's always showed channels like CNN and NBC news, Kate's were showing a range of international channels as well as US ones, some of which CJ guessed, judging by the footage, were military networks rather than civilian.
"What do you think?" asked Kate curiously, watching CJ's careful inspection from her position just inside the closed door.
"It's nice....you...." explained CJ, turning back to look at Kate, enjoying seeing the light color that always tinged Kate's cheeks whenever CJ surprised her with a personal compliment.
"I just work in it..." shrugged Kate dismissively, having never really given the decor much thought before. To her, an office was just another thing the government issued her with, just like her summer and winter naval uniforms.
"It's out of the way..." observed CJ, strolling back across the office to the door when it was apparent that Kate was not going to move from her vantage point, leaning against the firmly shut door.
"Only for the West Wing...makes perfect sense for me..." explained Kate, watching CJ's steady progress closely yet still not moving from the door.
"Oh?" CJ's circuitous route to the door, having walked all around the office, inspecting everything, was now completed, bringing her to a stop just a foot in front of Kate - close enough to feel her lover's presence but not actually touch her.
"CIA, Naval Intelligence...we're all along here..."
"Convenient..." murmured CJ, beginning to lean in to start a kiss, wondering how bold Kate would be - it wasn't that her lover was prudish or reluctant, but just very shy and nervous about making the first move. Whilst it was invariably CJ who initiated their moments of intimacy, it was Kate who took the lead once the moment had begun, her commitment and enthusiasm overriding her normal caution and control.
"Very...when you want to hide from Josh..." breathed Kate, before suddenly capturing CJ's nearby lips in a passionate kiss, which, once she'd recovered from the split second surprise of the contact, CJ having not really appreciated how close to her lover she'd managed to get without starting the kiss herself, became a mutual exploration and communication of emotions and desires.
"Mmmm...." hummed CJ finally when, slightly breathless, they mutually broke the kiss.
"Hey..." repeated Kate, smiling softly, her posture and body language now completely transformed - gone was the controlled, highly alert former spy. Leaning against the office door, cheeks flushed and lips slightly swollen from the intense kiss, was Kate, the woman who was completely swept up in the phenomenal woman who was right now standing in front of her, taking a moment to recover her breath and composure.
"I think I like playing hooky with you..." murmured CJ happily, before stepping right up against Kate's body, pressing her against the door and threading long fingers through loosely hanging blonde hair before starting another kiss which, whilst being no less passionate than the last, was slightly less frantic.
"Mmmm...." When, once again, necessity required they ended the kiss in order to breathe, it was Kate's turn to have been kissed speechless, her contented hum being the only sound she made, although CJ was left in no doubt about the blonde's delight if the warm hands caressing her back were any indication. Suddenly, CJ was regretting wearing the elegant yet simply tailored summer dress as, with the zipper running the full length of her spine, Kate was unable to find bare skin to caress. Just as CJ was about to lean in to steal another delightful kiss, she was stopped by Kate saying
"Hmm?" CJ wasn't easily deterred, although she did redirect her focus from kissing Kate's lips and instead concentrated on placing light kisses inside Kate's shirt collar, enabling the blonde to continue saying whatever she wanted to say.
"Don't you want to eat something?" she asked, only to regret her phrasing the moment the quick witted former Press Secretary countered with
"I thought I was..." before latching onto a particularly attractive bit of her lover's collar bone and leaving a light mark, although CJ was careful to ensure she was well inside Kate's shirt when she did so...neither woman was young enough to be able to get away with visible hickeys at work....
"Other than me...." corrected Kate, unable to stop the laugh bubbling from her when CJ resumed her light kisses. CJ's hair had managed to fall inside her shirt in such a fashion that it was now tickling her cleavage....
Before CJ could think of something clever to reply, her stomach answered for her, rumbling loudly, making Kate laugh properly and causing CJ to reluctantly stop her delicate assault on her lover.
"Come on..." encouraged Kate, using CJ's momentary surprise at her stomach's grumble to wriggle out from where she had been pleasantly trapped between her lover's body and the office door.
"What are you feeding me then?" asked CJ, following Kate to the coffee table where a picnic basket was sitting.
"Whatever the Mess made for me..." explained Kate, opening the basket before stepping back for the suddenly hungry CJ to start rummaging through. Seconds later, laid out across the coffee table were containers of strawberries, pineapple and mango, with two plates of cheese and a basket of crackers. The only thing missing from this perfect summer's evening picnic was the blanket, grassy location and something to drink....
"This looks great..." began CJ, unwilling to make any negative comments about the missing drink when there was such a sumptuous spread in front of her. Any further comments however, were interrupted by the gentle sound of wine glasses catching against each other, prompting CJ to look to see what Kate was up to...
"I put the wine and glasses in the fridge..." explained Kate in answer to CJ's questioning look, holding up two chilled glasses and a bottle of chardonnay.
"Mmmm....corkscrew?" asked CJ practically, seeing Kate's hands were currently full and wanting to help.
"My pants pocket...." admitted Kate, preparing to put the bottle down in order to juggle the glasses into her right hand so as to extract the corkscrew from her left pants pocket. Instead, she was surprised to feel CJ's hands shoot into her pants pockets and start feeling for the corkscrew which was actually on her pen knife.
"Corkscrew?" breathed CJ finally, her mouth a fraction from Kate's ear, her long body pressed up against her lover's back, fingertips lightly massaging Kate's thighs through the fabric of her pants pockets.
"Pen knife..." whispered Kate, having to concentrate very carefully on not dropping the wine and glasses and getting lost in the sensations which CJ's body was currently triggering in her own.
"Thanks..." said CJ airily, snagging the bulky tool from the left pocket and stepping away from Kate, prompting the blonde to comment
"Tease..." as she passed CJ the bottle to open.
"But you love me really..." countered CJ immediately, efficiently opening the bottle, relishing the feeling of the chilled bottle in her hands, a pleasant change from the clamminess she'd been feeling all day so hot was her office.
"Actually I do, yes," replied Kate, suddenly serious, her tone automatically making CJ stop her movements as she mentally reviewed what she'd just said. It was the first time either one of them had used the 'L' word and, whilst CJ hadn't deliberately meant to use it, she rarely, if ever misspoke. She may have been teasing when she'd said it the first time, but now, when she looked into Kate's serious brown eyes and said
"So do I, love you I mean..." she meant every word of it, earning another shy smile from Kate before the blonde broke eye contact and returned to laying out the now open containers on the coffee table so that they could reach them easily from the couch, before slipping off her jacket and settling down on the couch, waiting for CJ to join her.
"This is nice..." commented CJ a few moments later, when she was settled on the couch, wine glass in hand, snuggled up against Kate's body, her lover's hand gently caressing her stomach, the light summer fabric doing little to lessen the sensation.
"Mmmm..." agreed Kate, enjoying a sip of the cool wine run down her throat, which was in sharp contrast to the warm weight of CJ against her chest.
"Strawberry?" offered CJ, reaching up with a strawberry in her fingers, which Kate carefully snatched with her lips.
"Thanks...the food's actually all for you...I ate in the Mess earlier..." explained Kate, not hungry in the slightest, but happy just to enjoy a glass of wine whilst her lover ate.
"It is? Thank you...." A comfortable silence settled over them for a few minutes whilst CJ ate, now painfully aware how hungry she was. Kate was perfectly happy to just relax in silence and wait for her lover to have had her fill, although she did occasionally accept a piece of juicy fruit from her lover's fingers.
"That was wonderful, thank you...." repeated CJ happily, her hunger sated a few minutes later and their wine glasses refilled.
"You're welcome this is wonderful " agreed Kate, pressing a kiss to the nearest bit of accessible CJ, which happened to be the top of her shoulder.
"We should do it again some time " murmured CJ, just enjoying how 'normal' this felt, sitting on a warm summer's evening, enjoying a glass of wine with her lover. That they were sitting in the Deputy NSA's basement office of the White House, a rather abnormal location, was hardly an issue worth noticing
"How about in 3 months?" suggested Kate, finding her way through CJ's hair to press kisses on CJ's long neck just as CJ had done earlier.
"Why three months?" asked CJ, shifting her body slightly to make Kate's quest even easier for her
"Then it would be our six month anniversary " suggested Kate, waiting to see what CJ's reaction would be.
"Today? Three months?" CJ paused as she mentally reviewed their relationship and matched it to the date.
"I forgot ." Suddenly, she felt awful. The longest relationship she'd had since well before the White House and she'd forgotten about keeping track of time.
"So did I it was Nigel Samson who reminded me " explained Kate, coaxing CJ's tense shoulders back to a relaxed state with some soft kisses.
"The State guy?"
"Uh huh " agreed Kate, glad CJ knew who she was talking about.
"How does he know?" CJ tried to keep the fear from her voice, trusting Kate, who perhaps had even more at stake than CJ did as far as needing to keep her sexual preference quiet, given her military career.
"He doesn't, but he sent me a report today .the 3 month follow up report following the Kazakhstan elections " explained Kate, knowing CJ would make the connection. It was that fateful night, when they'd all sat up late, watching and waiting for the results of a tentative and ultimately futile exercising of democracy in the former Russian State that CJ and Kate had shared their first kiss and their relationship had begun.
"I should thank him .flowers?" teased CJ, relaxing completely as quickly as she'd tensed.
"How about you stop using his briefing books as weapons against Josh?" suggested Kate, recalling the scene she'd interrupted in the hallway outside CJ's office.
"Deal " agreed CJ, turning so that she could kiss Kate properly .but all too briefly, as the phone on Kate's desk rang.
"I have to answer that " admitted Kate reluctantly, recognizing the ring as that belonging to the secure line rather than her switchboard extension. Understanding her lover's tone, and appreciating that, by coming to Kate's office, they had actually had almost a whole hour of uninterrupted peace to just be together, CJ quickly stood up, enabling Kate to reach for the phone.
"He is? How long?"
"Fine, can you cope with him for another 30 minutes?" CJ, who was trying desperately not to listen in to the conversation, suddenly looked at Kate when she heard her lover trying to delay having to deal with something. For some reason, it made CJ feel very loved.
"How about you consider it as a request?" she asked of the person on the other end of the phone.
"Yes, of course. Thank you." As rapidly as the conversation had begun, it ended.
"You have to go?"
"No you have to go, but not for a while unless you want to?" asked Kate, her earlier confidence gone to be replaced with her shyness and nerves.
"I get a choice?" It was unusual for CJ normally, she was lurching from one crisis to another.
"That was the Marine desk Josh is back and looking for you .he's shouting 'Who da man' " annunciated Kate carefully, wondering if the Deputy Chief of Staff had finally lost his mind.
"Oh god ."
"You need to go?" asked Kate, surprised to find herself feeling reluctant to let their 'picnic' end, an unusual feeling for someone who had been so well trained to leave anyone and anything at a second's notice.
"He can't find me?" asked CJ nervously, surprised that she was so reluctant to rush back to her job, a feeling she hadn't had for a long time.
"No he can't get down here ." explained Kate, referring to the fact that her office was only accessible from the West Wing through the Situation Room, a room only CJ and the President could enter.
CJ's reply was one of the most eloquent responses she had ever given to a question put to her whilst serving at the pleasure of President Bartlett of the United States. It started with a hug, developed its theme with a tender caress of her lover's back and delicate kisses placed on wine covered, strawberry stained lips, before concluding with a passionate meeting of mouths, hearts and minds in a searing kiss between the lovers.
As Josh raced through the West Wing, high on the adrenaline of fixing one of his own screw ups, looking for his boss, two lovers affirmed their love and commitment to a relationship in a basement office it was an unusual anniversary celebration, but then, when the relationship was between two of the most powerful women on the planet, unusual was, well, perfectly normal ..
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