Sooo… I was going to write this super-thoughtful CJ/Danny fic, but then my grandmother made me drink red wine and watch Mamma Mia! with her, and this happened instead. It's basically one drabble for every song from Mamma Mia corresponding with one West Wing 'ship. First up: Josh/Amy, Zoey/Charlie, Josh/Donna, Sam/Mallory
i. Honey, Honey
Amy Gardiner had figured that she knew all that there was to know about Josh Lyman. Workaholic, power-dating, the kind of guy that only masochistic women really went for. A typical Washingtonian, really.
She was soon forced to admit she'd underestimated him. Something about that smile and those lips, and, god, the good use to which he put both drove her unashamedly crazy. And something else, too: the rapidity from which he went from typical Washington to the guy seventh grade who stuck gum in your hair because it was the only way he knew to show you he kind of liked you. She knew that there was something in the way her breath sometimes caught when he grinned her that was definitely no good, something in the way she was looking forward to seeing him during the day that would need to be reconsidered, but for now, she was happy to not dwell on it. For now, she was happy to focus on the more immediate side-effects of their relationship.
He'd come over late on most nights, earlier on some, bearing chinese food or a bottle of wine, but he'd look at her and the need for both would be entirely eradicated. Sooner rather than later he'd be pressing her against her fridge, sneaking a hand down her pajama pants and running a thumb over the boy shorts she now wears just so he can tease her about it at an agonizingly slow pace.
Half the time, they'd never even make it to the bedroom, or when they do, it's for round two, and sometimes three. Her kitchen table has seen so much in the past few weeks that it would be blushing if a solid oakwood table named Björkudden could; Josh lifting her up with a breathed, "God, you're sexy," before pulling up her skirt and showering her inner thighs with kisses; and a few times, his eyes widening in pleasurable shock as she's the one forcing him against the fridge, pulling down his boxers and moving to kneel on her kitchen tiles.
It's never about domination with him, or anything else that's messy and political and makes people think that you can either be a feminist or like sex, it's just the two of them, liking each other's bodies and maybe just liking each other's company, because it's not just about sex- they watch Jon Steward together and after two weeks, he starts staying the night in the true sense of the word and they fall asleep in a tangle of legs and sheets and misplaced kisses, and she'll wake him up with a ravenous kiss, and when they both leave to work, it'll be with a self-satisfied smile on their faces.
ii. Money, Money, Money
"I got it," Zoey'll say, frowning and rummaging through her bag for her wallet. "No, Charlie, really."
"I can pay it," he'll say, mutinously, his own wallet already at hand, because he does have enough money to take his girlfriend out to dinner, even if it means no lunch for the rest of the week.
"I know you can," she'll smile, "but I'd rather you'd buy Deanna some new shoes and let me spoil you."
He'll sigh and hem and haw and be sullen for the rest of the night, because he can't say no to her even on this, though god knows he'd like to sometimes.
Years later, when he thinks about proposing because she's the only one that's ever mattered and probably always will be, he thinks that he shouldn't, yet- he can't provide for her, not really, can't give her the life that he wants to give her, even though he knows she's never cared about that. He used to tease he about it, how she'd look into her wallet with an expression that clearly read, Huh, I thought there was another twenty in here, but I guess not.
"For an economist's daughter, you're pretty bad with numbers," he'll say, grinning, and she'll swat him playfully and he'll d try to pretend he's not burning with envy inside at how good it must feel to be okay with having twenty bucks less than you thought you did.
And she'll kiss him, and whisper "thanks for letting me buy you dinner," and that'll be that, for now.
iii. mamma mia
She's here, she's really here, his Donna, with a strange new haircut that doesn't really suit her and bags under her eyes and a serious, all-too-grown-up look on her face that tells him that when she says she's grown, what she means is she's lost her innocence, and that makes him feel sick.
She's right in front of him, but he still misses her. Her laugh and questions and the part of him that she brought out, and for a wild, wonderful moment, he entertains the notions of how great it would be to have her back, how less wrong all of this would feel, but then she accuses him of not being okay with her being in power, and that's such an unfair to thing to say, and he stares at her and all he sees is an unfamiliar young woman in an all-too low cut top and an ill-fitting beige suit, and he blurts out exactly what's going through his mind.
"And if you think I don't miss you every day...," Josh says, and suddenly, her world stops to turn, and the fragile balance she's built in the past few months, somewhere between "He never really cared about me" and "I never cared about him" comes spectacularly crashing down around her, and her heart, her shut-off, shut-up heart, wakes from sleep and starts beating again hungrily.
She looks at him and she swers he might be crying, and she can't do this, she can't possibly have been the one to reduce one Josh Lyman, a giant of American politics, to this. Scrambling with fear, missing her, and so beside himself, apparently, that he's past caring if she knows it. All of it's a novelty, and all of it is not at all a surprise: there's a part of her that knew, always knew, that he had this inside him, this capability to love without reason, this vulnerablity when stricken where it really hurts. To know that she was the one who dealt the blow just makes it worse.
She runs, because it's all she can do, and can feel his eyes following her all the way into the lobby of the building, and there she leans her head against the cool marble and tries to focus on breathing and not crying.
It doesn't go so well.
All she can focus on is Josh, Josh, missing her and needing her, shadows under his eyes, and the fact that she's missed him every day as well, that every day of this crusade of hers to hurt him as much as possible has really been all about hurting herself. Because of course, she's missed him. How could she not have? He's Josh, and he's missed her every day.
After the shock comes the realization, wry, bitter, that she's just as much in love with him as she always was, that she's just as much his as she always was and, no matter how brazenly she puts on make-up and wears expensive suits, most likely always will be. She's past coming scurrying when he bellows her name, but when it matters, she'll be there. She can't help herself.
These, after all, are the ties that bind.
iv. dancing queen
They're on their fifth 'not-date', and she's invited him to her place, which, apart from other enticing possibilities, means he gets to check out her music library while she's pretending she can cook and talking non-stop. She still insists that the times they've spent together after the Chinese Opera disaster are absolutely not dates, but when he kissed her goodnight last Friday, she had no visible objections, so he thinks they're on a pretty good track so far.
The talking he's going to have to get used to, because he really likes her, despite her being the boss's daughter and so totally off-limits -not to mention a little intimidating- that it's almost hilarious again.
Another thing he's going to have to get used to is her taste in music, apparently. It takes him half a monologue on how public school funding should work to finally locate something halfway decent in all the girly music, and when the disc tray finally slides open, it reveals another of Mallory O'Brien's many guilty pleasures: a well-worn golden disc. Smirking to himself, he hits the play button and ups the volume quite a bit.
"Oh no!" Mallory snaps, scandalized, holding an onion as she glares at him. "You do not get to mock my taste in music, not after the Time Life Sounds Of The Seventies in your car."
"This is way worse than time life," Sam mutters, approaching her with a grin. "Do you operate a gay disco in your free time or something?" He bypasses the kitchen counter teaming with badly-chopped vegetables and grins at her. "Put down that knife, I beg of you."
"Shut up," she grins at him, but complies, and as terribly cheesy, achingly familiar blares out of her stereo, s he gracefully takes in his arms and twirls her around in her kitchen. It's cheesy and straight out of a trashy romance novel, but Mallory feels surprisingly right in his arms, and Sam finds this comforting rather than terrifying, and all of this is a really good thing.
"You can dance," she says, amazed, as he effortlessly waltzes her through her kitchen, that looks like a small tornado just hit it. "You really can dance."
"Yeah," he shrugs, twirling her around again.
"You never cease to amaze me," she mutters, beaming. "You're such a klutz! And you can dance!"
"And you really can't cook," he mutters, which earns him a smack on the head, and then he pulls her a little closer and presses a kiss on her lips and she smiles and sighs and they stand there, surrounded by a food processor she's managed to break, and the stereo blaring "ooooh see that girl", but Sam notices very little of either.
v. our last summer
There were times when he he looked at his wife, and all he could see was what she looked like when he met her. She was eighteen, with a mane of red hair falling in waves over her shoulders, and had a tendency to wear turquoise linen skirts and heavy, wooden jewelry. He looks at her, in her expensive suit, a stranger in his kitchen, because all he wants to see is that idealistic girl with freckles all over her pale shoulders who argued and laughed and moaned into his mouth as they made clumsy attempts of love on her creaking bed in Columbia dorm.
It didn't last in college, but when they ran into each other again in Paris of all places -she was taking a semester abroad, him, working at the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation- a few years later, they both decided to make it last, because they'd seen enough of the world to know that this was as good as it was going to get.
He remembers how the snow fell on her hair on a lonely bridge, how he'd run to the bakery across the street of his tiny apartment where she moved in soon for croissants every morning, how she'd laugh at him and spew crumbs all over his sheets, and now the pastry would stick to her back when he pressed her back into the sheets, hands roaming over her body as the winter sun crept into their window.
He clings to memory now, because he hates what they've become. Distorted by time and space, they're divorced now, but far from separated.
Sometimes, when they sit in his apartment late at night, when either is in need for company and alcohol and a body intensely familiar but not their own, he wants to ask her if she remembers what it was like. If she still speaks her garbled version of French, still owns that picture she bought from a street artist a few days before they went back. If she remembers what it was like, deciding to make it last, make it stick. Sometimes he wants to ask her if she thinks they should have tried harder; even harder.
Most nights, though, he's just happy she's here. Happy she's here, and knowing she can lean rest her eyes between his shoulder and his neck where it fits so perfectly, and close her eyes for a second, if her day has been eating at her. And he'll drop a chaste kiss on her forehead, and that'll be that; unless they're both in need of more, and then it'll be just as it ever was, muscle memory taking over, two people exploring a body they know as well as their own, whispering names they've been saying and groaning and yelling for the past twenty years, two people moving in an effortless tandem so much more satisfying then those first attempts at love-making all those years ago, and yet so much less so.