Author's Note: This was originally the second part to 'Vote of Her Life' but then I thought better of it and posted it as a stand-alone. If you like this story though, you should give that one a shot.
Anyway, I hope you like it. It's set after the election (let's just assume Danny was back at the White House for the sake of argument, because I don't remember if he was or not). Hope you enjoy and please review to tell me what you think.
Summary: After Barlet is re-elected, CJ stops to speak with Danny.
Rating: PG (or whatever equivalent)
Pairings: Let's think on this one… CJ/Danny
Disclaimer: I do not own West Wing. Promise… if I did then Danny and CJ would have ended up together and Donna and Josh wouldn't be having issues right now.
Worth the Wait
It was Election Day. No, correction, it was very early the next day.
Music and celebrating could still be heard floating through the halls, echoing all around.
But Danny Concannon was nowhere in the festivities. Instead he was huddle in his office, working feverishly to finish his story. He just kept writing without any real idea of what he was saying.
He didn't care to celebrate, because to him, he had lost. He wanted Barlet in office, which only made it harder to understand.
He was happy for all those around him celebrating their victory. But he was in the middle of an internal crisis. He had been so close to having her… and then she had been torn away.
There was no knock or sound of footsteps that alerted him to his visitor. He just knew- he could feel the steady gaze directed at the back of his head. Looking over, he wasn't surprised to see CJ standing against the doorframe. There was no smile, no sign that she had been drinking with the rest.
Instead she looked as glum as he felt.
"Hey. Shouldn't you be up at the party?"
She shrugged, taking a few steps into his small office. "Don't feel much like celebrating."
"No?" She shook her head. He watched her as she moved around his office, as at ease in the place as he was in hers. She wouldn't meet his gaze, but instead looked at everything, including the paper holder she was holding in her hands.
"You still have a job," he said absently, leaning back in his chair. "And Bartlet's still in office. Still have four years to change the world."
She finally looked up at him. He had hoped his words would take her mind off what he knew was bothering her. But looking in her eyes, he knew his final words had stung more than he had thought they would.
"Yeah… four years."
They fell silent and after a moment, CJ finally sat on the edge of his desk. Danny smiled at the action, forcing himself not to chuckle at it.
He continued to watch her. He knew there was something she needed to say, wanted to get off her chest. A thought that had been weighing her down for days- he had noticed it. She had been avoiding him for the past two weeks, had been distant lately. She tried to hide it, but he could always see through her many masks.
"Don't wait," she said suddenly.
She took a breath, still watching her hands. He had noticed that she was a very confident person in the right crowd- when she needed to be. But when they were alone, she had a tendency to let that façade fall away. "Don't wait for me," she finally said after a few minutes. "You're a great guy. You deserve love and to be happy."
"And you don't?" He waited a moment, but she didn't answer. "You're worth the wait."
"No I'm not."
Danny put his hand over her hands. He could feel them shaking. Finally, she caught his eye. "Yes, you are."
His voice was soft, filled with the many unspoken feelings he held towards her. CJ knew, always had, that he didn't have a simple crush on her. She knew, as well, that she had never gotten over him with a few stolen kisses.
His light grey eyes were soft and caring. She could so easily loose herself in those eyes.
Pulling her thoughts away from that, CJ found herself looking back down at her hands, which were now hidden by his. His hand, like everything about Danny, was soft and gentle. It barely touched her and yet she felt the heat radiating from it in steady, comforting waves.
"I'm gonna wait for you. I am… I'll be here when you're ready."
CJ smiled at the words. She knew in her heart that they were true. She also knew that it would be some time before she was ready.
"I wish that day could be in two months… could be tomorrow…"
"Could be today," he added.
CJ gave a sad smile, looking back at him. "I wish it could have been years ago."
Silence fell over them again. He could feel it as if it were a dark cloud that had descended over his office, threatening to swallow them whole. There were so many things he wanted to tell her.
He wanted to tell her how stunning she had looked at just the perfect time when the sun would come through the blinds. It was made perfect by the way she looked up at him.
Or the days he had seen her in her gowns going to some function. How absolutely gorgeous she had looked.
Or how much those late night banter sessions over cold take out meant to him. How he treasured every memory.
He wanted to tell her about things he had never told anyone else about. His thoughts on life. Just things in general. About everything and nothing.
He wanted to tell her how much it hurt when she wasn't around. How lonely he was when he left. How he felt every time he had seen her with someone else. Or heard about some other guy. How it made his day just to see her smile.
But there were questions that plagued his mind as well. Things he needed to know. One in particular.
"I just need to know…" he found himself saying suddenly. She was looking at him, confused when he trailed off.
Taking a breath, he looked her in the eye. "It is just the job?"
Her face fell. Danny had the feeling that she had been waiting for the question for a while. She didn't seem hurt by it. She sighed, looking back at their hands. "They… mostly Leo… told me not to. They… didn't want to deal with it."
"They did? When?"
"Beginning of our second year." Her voice was quiet. Danny knew she didn't want to admit it.
"Three years ago?"
CJ shrugged. "Yeah."
"And this is the first I'm hearing about it?"
She looked back up at him. She seemed only slightly hurt by the anger in his voice. "I didn't want to tell you." Her voice was truthful; Danny could hear the hurt. Perhaps betrayal that her friends had forced her into this agreement.
"Why?" His voice was as quiet as hers had been. She looked up at him, a hauntingly sad smile growing over her face.
"I was afraid that if I did… you would stop." His brows creased in confusion even though a small smile had appeared. "I like flirting… with you," she added, "It's fun. I might say no… might call you a pain in the ass… but I've always liked it."
Danny smirked, hoping that the sarcasm came out at his next words, "Never would'of known." She smiled and the silence fell back over them.
CJ found herself staring at his hand once again. It hurt to admit that her colleagues- her friends- had kept her from Danny. She had to admit that, on the campaign trail, she had found herself immediately attracted to Danny. But, when she had learned who he was, she had labeled him 'off-limits'.
But then they were elected and Danny came with them to the White House. He would flash that damn smile at her. It was a couple months later that he had started to ask her out. She had played hard to get, only because she found it amusing. She knew it was wrong and unprofessional, but she could help but like him.
The day she had been called into Leo's office and specifically banned from dating Danny, she had been crushed but she understood. He teasingly asked her out later that day. Had that meeting with Leo never happened, CJ knew she probably would have agreed.
"I'm leaving in two days to go to Germany."
His voice broke off her thoughts. She looked up at him. "What's in Germany?" Danny just shrugged. "When will you be back?"
Danny looked at her. Somewhere in her mind, she already knew the answer. That look confirmed it, but her heart didn't want to listen. "I don't know."
"What? A couple of weeks? A month or two?" Danny looked away, eyes focusing on a spot on the floor. CJ sighed, eyes falling closed. It was then that she felt his thumb gently rubbing the back of her hand.
Biting her lip- she wasn't sure when that habit had started- she let out a breath. "Danny?" He didn't look up at him name. She pulled one of her hands out of her lap. He looked up then.
CJ grazed his hand with hers, bringing it to rest on his bearded cheek. She loved how soft it was; the intimate sensation she was forbidden to know. "I'm going to miss you, you know."
He smiled. "Just one thousand, five hundred, and eighteen days left."
He nodded, leaning into her hand at the same time. "I'll be here."
"I know you will."
CJ took a breath, catching his eye. Leaning forward, she captured his lips with hers. Tongues danced together for one final time. Welled up passion surged through them, mixing with the bitter taste of sorrow and regret. Hope embed into the kiss, mixing with the rare feeling of unconditional love.
CJ leaned back, but just far enough away from him to be able to look him in the eye. She ran her thumb under his lip absently. His eyes danced with his smile. She smiled back, but it was killed by the sorrow she could no longer hold back.
Then, with a finally gentle caress of his bearded cheek, she stood and walked away.
The end… Hope you like it! Thanks to everyone who read, and double thanks to those who review!