Author: Francesca

Ficdom: The West Wing

E-mail address:
Title: ĎAcross the nightí

Genre: CJ Cregg/Sam Seaborn
Rating: U
Set: #207 The Portland Trip

Spoilers: Only if youíve never seen this episode.

Disclaimers: I donít own the characters (I wish) but am just borrowing them for a while. The poems are Robert Frost "Acquainted with the Night", "You Darkness" by Ranier Maria Rilke and the last is W.B Yeats "The Cloths of Heaven".

The idea for this is thereís a look that passes between Sam and C J during this scene in this episodeÖand this is my Ďreasoní for it. (Itís done from a Sam POV - for some reason it just wrote itís self this way)

Credits: Elizabeth and Karen for Beta reading and everyone at CJ_Sam_FanFic yahoo group for the feedback - especially Jen, Karen and Armani_Flamingo

"A long flight across the night. You know why late flights are good? Because we cease to be earth bound and burdened with practicality. Ask the impertinent question, talk about the ideas that nobody has thought about yet. Put it another way."
"Be poets."
Jed Bartlet & Sam Seaborn


†I looked at C J, and saw her looking at me, I wonder if sheís remembering. By the soft look around her eyes it may be.

It was maybe four days after the shooting; weíd gone to see Josh in hospital. Iíve lost count of how long we would sit around his bed, me, C J, Toby and Donna - if she wasnít at the office she was at the hospital. Half of the time Josh didnít know we were there we just used to sit and watch him breathe.

The nurses had just thrown us out for the night and we were standing in the lobby, Toby was going home and had offered Donna a lift. I was going back to the West Wing, so was C J.

"Do you want to call a cab?" *hey at least I get to sit next to you for a while*

"Iíd really like to walk". *I get to spend more time with you, I can live with that*

We walked for a while, not saying much. Sometimes the silence can be enough; you donít need to fill it. Josh is one of the few people I know Iím comfortable enough to be silent with, so are Toby and C J. I appreciate it.

She doesnít know why I threw her to the ground, she hasnít figured it out. I guess Iím lucky she hasnít had time to think about it because I donít know what Iíd say if she asked me. Maybe Iíd tell her the truth, maybe Iíd say something flippant and keep hiding. Iím good at that.

As we walk our hands brush together, I canít let her see how her touch affects me, but itís still a surprise when she slips her hand in mine as we keep walking. Her hand is warm, her skin is soft and her grip is gentle but thereís strength to it, the same way thereís strength to her.

We walk past the Washington Monument, the silence still companionable. Every so often we look at each other, and smile.

I donít know if itís just me but it feels like thereís something special about tonight, something different. I donít want to speak it might spoil things.

We reach The Ellipse and stop for a moment. Itís one of the few places in Washington where despite the lights you can see stars. And thereís an amazing view of the White House, with the night sky behind. Sometimes we spend so long running around inside it we forget how special it is.

"Sam" sheís looking at me. "What are you thinking right now?" That I love you to distraction, that itís good to be with you. Thereís so many things I could tell you right now. I open my mouth "I can see the Stars". Thatís it Seaborn, keep it safe. Youíre a coward, you really are.

She looks up, and I can see her watch them, her eyes scanning the sky. She lets go of my hand for a moment and walks away from the lamp glare. She walks with an unconscious grace. Damn Iíve got it bad, but maybe in this half light she canít tell Iím watching her. Now it feels like thereís something I want to sayÖ..and I canít complicate things, but how I want to.

"You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
That fence in the world,
For the fire makes
A circle of light for everyone,
And then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything:
Shapes and fires, animals and myself,
How easily it gathers them! -
Powers and people -
And it is possible a great energy
Is moving near me.
I have faith in nights."

I see her turn toward me, "Ranier Maria Rilke?" She sounds surprised.

"Yeh" *eloquent Seaborn, very eloquent*.

She looks towards the White House again and back towards me.

"I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have out walked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet.
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night."

Thereís something in her voice as she says it that speaks of too many sleepless nights, sleepless nights spent alone and staring at the ceiling. Sheís turned away from me now.

Greatly daring I walk up behind her and put my arms around her waist, I can rest my chin on her shoulder, sheís that tall. She must have heard me moving behind her but she doesnít say a word, doesnít protest, after a while she relaxes in my arms. Leaning against me, and it feels so good, I could stand like this all night. Itís hard not to tell her now; if she felt nothing for me would she let me hold her like this? I can smell her perfume, a hit of the soap she uses still on her skin.

Iím good with words, but now they fail me and we stand in the silence, looking at the White House beneath the stars.

Itís our mutual buzzing that makes us move, we reach for the pagers clipped to our waists in unison, still leaning together, and I still have one arm around her waist. Its Leo he wants us back for a meeting, like five minutes ago and I find myself wishing Leo McGarry was somewhere a LONG way from pagers, or mobiles. I let her go reluctantly and she takes my hand again as we walk back to the White House. Weíre still holding hands when we get to the West Wing, I donít know if sheís realised. I look at her and sheís watching me too, I canít read whatís in her eyes, I donít know what, if anything Iíve given away. Our fingers release slowly, reluctantly as though our hands belong to others. She smiles at me and we walk into Leoís office, and we never speak of it again. Itís on that long list of things I will speak to C J about one day, when itís time, when I can find the wordsÖ

She looks at me and I know, I know she remembers and it gives me hope.

The President gestures in the direction of the cabin window "Mao took a lot of long plane flights, Toby. Look out your window. Is there anything more romantic than that?"

C J turns from me slowly to look at him "And that's why we left at 9:05?"

"No, we left at 9:05 because they thought my budget meeting might run over. But wouldn't that have been great if that was the reason?"

I look at him too "Yes" I say slowly.

She slowly unfolds herself and goes to answer the question that brought her back here with us. I watch her leave and turn to see the President watching me, he sees more than he lets on and I wonder what he sees nowÖ

"Poetsí Sam" is all he says.††

I canít help it, I look at C Jís retreating figure, at her willowy elegance, at all the things I want and can never have and I find words, they arenít mine but they say everything I never can.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I feel a hand on my shoulder and look up at the wise eyes of Jed Bartlett and thereís nothing said, we just watch C J until she turns the corner out of sight.

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