~Dream Catchers~

Disclaimer:  The show, the characters, the scenery are not mine.  Not sure I even want this story.

Pairing: Not telling, where would the fun be in that.

AN:  Woke up with this image.  Couldn't shake, had to share.  Honestly I have no idea why, but these two have been creeping into my world and mind.  BIG PROBLEM!!!!

Summary: "To my dream catcher."

~~~~~~~

She wakes to the sound of an alarm blaring and the body beneath her head moving to turn off the annoying sound.  She sighs slightly, pressing her face into his chest, knowing that she must get up, if she wants to get home to change before work.  He whispers that she could sleep another half-hour if she wears the suit from yesterday.  She reminds him that he dumped a piece of pizza on her lap last night.  He laughs promising to get the suit cleaned as she slips out of his arms and out of his bed.  He watches her stretch, and feels a nostalgic joy over her pajamas: a pair of cotton poplin drawstring pants with tiny Mickey and Minnie faces in shades of blue and pink paired with a pale blue v-neck t-shirt.  He's used to them now, but the first time he saw them he laughed so hard he cried.  Now they are as much a comfort as the woman wearing them.  She smiles as him once more before scurrying into the bathroom to shower.

When she emerges from the bath, she's wearing a pair of his sweats and her hair hangs in wet strains down her back.  He's sitting up in bed reading a report, which makes her shake her head.  Sitting next to him on the bed, she tosses the report from his hand and reminds him that he has a full hour to sleep before he has to get up.  He idly links her fingers through his, sighing that he can't sleep without her hair tickling his nose.  She smiles at the comment and places a chaste, gentle kiss on his lips.  She moves to get up, but he tugs her to his chest, loving the smell of his soap and her shampoo (she won't use his) mingling in his nose.  He hugs her thanking her for last night even as she insures him that it was her pleasure.  She smiles, slipping out of his arms and out of his bedroom, as she hears him call that he'll see her at work.

~~~~~~~

The rumors started at exactly 7:25 AM that morning, when her bubbly, blonde co-worker squealed in delight as she entered the office.  There was a beautiful single white rose bud, sitting serenely in the middle of the desk.  Her co-worker saw the rose, but she saw the meaning.  A white rose: purest love.  The thought made her smile; the rose made her the center of attention.  Every one was guessing who the mystery man may be, but she remained mute.  Even her boss got grumbling into the act, shooing everyone from her office, while he remained, his fingers tracing the soft petals.  It made her smile even more when she realized the hand was tinged with green jealousy.

The confusion started at exactly 1:32 PM, when his bubbly, blonde assistant found him eating a burnt hamburger in his office.  He hadn't left the office all day, a fact attested to by the mountain of paper work in his out box.  She questioned him as to how her got the burger, and he cryptically answered that a friend had gotten it for him.  She remained confused for the rest of the day, as she repeatedly found him humming off key as he worked.  She wondered madly if he had become escaroled with someone again.

~~~~~~~

He sighs when she crawls into bed late one night.  She's murmuring apologies for being so late, whispering something about her boss getting stuck in the Sit Room and he wonders for a moment what that will mean at work tomorrow.  Pushing those thoughts from his head, he pulls her onto his chest, holding her fiercely and thanking her for coming.  She can tell from the crimpled sheets and the sweat clinging to his t-shirt that he's already had a nightmare.  She feels guilty for not being there as she pushes her body down next to his.  He tangles his hand in her red hair, smelling that heady mixture that is her, her boss, the West Wing and just a tint of him.  She runs her hand over his chest, grazing that crooked scar that is his life, his minor legacy, and his tormentor.  Wrapped together they fall into a dreamless sleep.

~~~~~~~

The message spread like wild fire.  She had the biggest bouquet of Stargazer Lilies anyone had ever seen on her desk.  The assistants were bugging her to know who the mystery man was.  The card one of them snagged before she could was no clue to them.  It merely read, "To my dream catcher."  She had fought bursting into tears over that, but the others made snarky remarks about it.  Her boss again kicked everyone from her office, demanded her in his and treated her as gruffly as he had in his drinking days.  She was undisturbed.  It meant he cared, but couldn't show it.  Anyhow, she was deliriously happy.

The meeting was short and secretive.  He had slipped into the copy room behind her.  Their boss was being annoying and cold.  He wanted to make sure she was okay.  She told him the note had nearly made her cry and he apologized.   She explained it was a good cry and he laughed.  He slipped out of the room when he noticed his assistant coming.

~~~~~~~

She giggles when he tickles her crawling into bed.  He nuzzles her hair telling her of the fool Will made of himself and how good it was to see Sam.  She knows he had something to drink, but that he's sober.  He would never come here drunk.  He knows that those demons already haunt her.  She would be crushed if he brought them here.  He whispers that he wishes she could come with them on nights like this.  She laughs at the absurdity of the suggestion.  They both know that she's not part of that crowd.  She's the quirky extension of their boss, the human encyclopedia, the font of all knowledge, but not the girl invited to the party.  He promises to invite her to all his parties.  She only laughs harder.  They both know that outside these walls they will never be together.  Even in these walls they aren't together, merely comforts and security.  Only in the dark of night, the cover of sleep, do they find their connection: fear.  Fear of the dreams that haunt them, which they drive from one another.  They can hear each other's giggles as sleep over takes them.

~~~~~~~

The world came to an end on a Tuesday.  His assistant and her closest friend in the office threw her favorite yellow suit at her head.  He had forgotten that in with his dry cleaning was the suit she had worn the other day, the one he had spilled coffee all over.  He had it cleaned for her, then committed the ultimate sin asking the other woman in his life to pick it up.  She never picked up his dry cleaning, but today she made the exception and their world just crashed at their feet.  Not even bothering to pick up the crumbled suit the red head took off after the blonde.  She chased her, both crying and one cursing the other, to the lobby, but couldn't follow her out of the building since she didn't have her badge to get in again.  Tears streaming down her face, she fought her way back to him.  In the middle of his bullpen, she called his name.  He ran toward the anguished cry that was familiar in the dead of night, but seemed foreign in the day.  Catching her in his arms, he tangled his hand through her hair, he pressed her face softly to his chest, he rested his lips on her temple.  His lips moved in barely audible words.  The vibrations of the words and their meanings still carried through them, but to him they seemed hollow in the stark, artificial light.  She held him close, her sobs muted by his chest.  Over her hair, he saw the figure, worry etched on his lined face, a pale yellow suit in his hand.  Suddenly, he knew the reason for the tears.  With a sigh, he turned her body over to the older man.  She molded into him like she belonged, which she did.  He heard their words of love and sympathy as he sprinted from the building to find the woman whose body molded as perfectly into his body.

The heaven they each dreamed of started with tears and misunderstanding on a Tuesday.