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Kisses of Morning Dew

by: Lisa7417 (Send Feedback)
Pat Steiner (Send Feedback)

Series: Lisa and Pat Series 2 #7
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 13858
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Jed Bartlet, Abbey Bartlet, Toby Ziegler, CJ Cregg, Charlie Young, Zoey Bartlet, Sam Seaborn, Ainsley Hayes, Ensemble
Category(ies): Romance
Pairing(s): Josh/Donna, Toby/CJ, Sam/Ainsley, Jed/Abbey, Charlie/Zoey
Summary: Seventh installment in Series 2

Author Notes: Seventh installment in Series 2

Chapters: 1

Episode 7

Kisses of Morning Dew

 

By: Pat [SSbpMN@aol.com] and Lisa [LAB7417@aol.com]

 

 

 

"What the hell is going on," Jeff gasped.

 

"OK just everyone keep your places," Jed ordered.  "This is what the tax payers pay these people the big bucks to handle.  They'll tell us what we're to do."

 

And that word came a few seconds later.  "Mr. President I'm going to ask you and your family and guests to move quietly down to the safe room," Joe Reynolds ordered.  "I'm not sure what's going on here but there is a problem.  And-whoever it is-is going to be sorry he pulled this on my watch."

 

Everyone began to move towards the safe room slowly and carefully in the pitch black. Zoey was huddled against her mother and Charlie. CJ was curled against Toby and he could feel her trembling. Ainsley looked to Sam, "what if they start shooting?" she whispered terrified.

 

"At what--we can't even see each other," he whispered, nevertheless keeping her behind him.  "We've practiced this before.  Once we're in the safe room a bomb could go off out here and we'd never know it."

 

Outside Jeff looked carefully around with the rest of the detail.  That he could not see Casey worried him, and that he was worried about her worried him.  They had a job to do.

 

Casey continued to look around and was thankful when they recieved the radio message that everyone was secured in the safe room. Babies had been carefully retrieved and all were present and accounted for. She wished Jeff was at her side but she had a job to do. She did encounter Gina who was finally back from maternity leave. "Anything yet?" she whispered.

 

"All kinds of shadows and I want to shoot and I know we can't," she answered.  "I keep telling myself this is training but it's not working and I need Jeff. . .uh pretend you didn't hear that.  But you have Lucas."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Tucker, I'm so scared I don't feel good," Chloe whispered, "I think I'm going to hurl."

 

"Josh are you okay?" Donna asked carefully, "It's going to be okay alright. I want you to hold on to my hands and concentrate on rubbing all of my knuckles alright? Just keep doing that and talking to me."

 

"It's dark in here," Josh was able to get out, trying to hold Donna's hands with his own trembling.

 

"Chloe, just hold on.  There's a bathroom in the safe room, and I've got you.  It's not much further."

 

"Come on Josh, concentrate," Donna said desperately turning to see Sam's eyes with the same concern close to them in the dark.

 

"Why does it have to be like this," Zoey said softly but with great anger. "Why my family? Why my dad?"

 

CJ was curled tightly against Toby, for once drawing from his strength and letting him be strong for them both.

 

"We don't know what the situation is," Charlie whispered, "so save your energy there and hold on to me."

 

Sam reached back for Ainsley and forward for Josh's arm.  "Josh focus on Donna's voice.  Donna needs you now."

 

Josh exhaled loudly and nodded, only perceptible by the movement of his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile the shadows finally appeared and opened fire. There were eight of them. One took aim at Gina and Casey jumped in the way, taking the hit to the shoulder as she pushed Gina down to safety.

 

With the inception of the fire, floodlights lit the area and fire was returned.  Casey lay on the ground, holding her shoulder as the bullets whizzed overhead, moaning softly in pain.

 

"One down," Gina called in her mic worrying over the woman that had probably just saved her life and was now bleeding atop her, "agent down request help immediately."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Good God that's gunfire I hear of your radios, what's going on up there?" Jed demanded. "What's going on?"

 

The agent held up his hand for quiet.  "I can't tell.  They're returning fire, but we have no clue who or why yet.  They've asked for police help."

 

Jed put a worried hand to his brow and then taking Abbey's hands pressing her palms together between his they began to pray and were soon joined by Zoey and Charlie. CJ took notice and kneeled to join them as well. Donna meanwhile was watching closely Josh's fingers. "You're okay Josh. We're safe from the shooting. You know this right? I don't want you to relapse."

 

"I'm scared for you," he breathed.  "This is like my shooting nightmare--the one where you're there and I'm running to find you and I get shot and I can't find you and I'm yelling your name and no sound is coming out, just blood."

 

Donna's face took on a look of horror. "That's not happening tonight though. We're all here, all of our friends safe and sound in this room together."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Gina it's Lucas," his anxious voice came back.  "Who's hurt.  Are you OK?  Jeff and I can be there in two minutes.  Who's down?"

 

"It's Casey," Gina said. "She's bleeding badly and she's not...I'm not sure she's conscious. I think she's in shock."

 

Jeff fell back against the nearest tree.  "Lucas we have to get to them.  She could bleed to death."

 

Casey came to then. "Are you okay?" she asked Gina weakly.

 

"Uh…yeah, but this is about you now," Gina gasped, leaning over her protectively as the gunfire noise lessened.  Quickly she stripped her shirt and pressed it against the blood flow.  "You saved my life most likely.  A probie no less.  I'm going to request to be the one to pin the medal on you.  Well if I can get Jeff out of the way.  He loves you, you know."

 

"You're a mother," Casey said even more weakly. "You have a baby boy at home who needs his mother and a husband who loves you." She took a deep breath, her skin paling. "I love Jeff too you know. I just can't tell him that..."

 

"Oh by all means keep it a secret," Gina moaned sarcastically, pressing hard on the shirt.  "That's going to get him in your bed and a baby in the next room."

 

"Doesn't much...matter...now...." Casey barely managed and by that time the situation seemed to be getting under control and agents were rushing to those who had fallen, one dead and three wounded by the massive attack.

 

Lucas and Jeff appeared moments later, Lucas immediately going to Gina and Jeff dropped to his knees by Casey, taking in her wound and the blood that was everywhere.  "Honey you're going to be OK," was all he could get out as he lifted her into his arms, pressing her tightly to him and burying his face into her hair.  "Lucas she needs a chopper out of here.  I can't. . .can you?"

 

"Right now," Lucas assured him, getting onto the radio.

 

"Casey don't you do this to me," Jeff breathed.  "I love you.  Don't you even think about leaving me you got that.  I love you."

 

"I...love...you...too," Casey struggled to get the words out and he could see the fear in her eyes.

 

"OK honey just relax," he gasped, feeling tears coming to his eyes.  "Dammit Lucas we need a chopper here.  She's about to bleed to death."

 

"Five minutes," he called.  "The sky will be thick with them."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Come on Josh stay with me," Donna urged. "Sam..." she said softly to alert him to the situation.

 

"Sam is right here," he assured them both, keeping one hand on Ainsley and the other on Josh's shoulder.  "Hang tight man.  We're going to be OK.  You know nothing can get us in here.  Safe room."

 

"Babies," Josh mumbled.  "Going to be a father."

 

"That's right Josh," Donna said, "and for that matter you should be doing a better job of watching over me. I'm pregnant and fright is bad for me."

 

"Yeah I should be," he nodded, shaking his head hard.  "This is not good for any of us, but not for you pregnant women especially.  OK, I can do this.  Sam let go of me."

 

Donna nodded to Sam that she thought they were making progress and it would be okay to let go.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A chopper touched down and paramedics were at their side at once. Casey continued to hold tightly to Jeff's hand.

 

"This is Agent Casey Abrams and she needs a doctor badly," Jeff panted, terrified as the blood continued to flow.  "I'm Agent Jeffrey Stepford and I'm ordering you. . .OK sorry.  Please help her."

 

"I'm Paramedic Jean Francis," the curly blonde smiled.  "My partner is Randy and we're going to take good care of her.  Casey you stay with us now.  Help us to help you."

 

Casey looked at them with pain-filled eyes that were rapidly glazing over.

 

"Casey remember I love you," Jeff insisted, pushing his way close to her.  "And this is a conversation we're going to re-visit when you're better.  I love you and I don't care who knows it."

 

"Good for you," Lucas smiled, his arm around Gina, listening to his earpiece at the same time.  "OK Chopper ETA is three.  They'll take her straight into Manchester."

 

"I'm going with her," Jeff announced, looking up from her now shaking form, daring anyone to tell him different.  "Lucas tell Danforth I had to go please."

 

"Will do," Lucas said, thankful that his wife had been unharmed and knowing he owed it to the woman before him. He watched, Gina wrapped in his arms, as the helicopter took off and then they seperated to return to their posts and file reports.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"It's awful quiet...is anyone still alive out there?" Ainsley worried, listening to the eerie silence.

 

"We'll get an all clear," Sam told her.  "And then the agents will check ahead for us.  Josh how you doing?"

 

"I uh....I guess OK," he said hesitantly.  "We're still alive right?"

 

"At last check," Donna said. CJ was trembling hard against Toby. Zoey was latched tight to Charlie and their son.

 

"I need to get out of here," Josh announced after another minute of silence.  "The air, the walls...I need to get out of here.  Sam take care of Donna please.  I've got to have some air."

 

"Josh you can't go out there!" Donna objected, "they haven't given the all-clear yet. The service won't let you out of this room!"

 

"No I think they'll let me now," Josh told her, his voice strangely distant and he released her, making his way through the others back to the door.

 

"Mr. Lyman hold up.  We're not ready to unlock," the agent told him.  "I'm leaving," he announced calmly, trying the door, which of course did not open.  "I am leaving," he repeated in that same detached voice.  When the door did not open, he pounded on it with his fists, the noise of that belieing his calm voice.

 

Donna looked to Sam and Leo. She knew he was having an attack. The others looked up, they knew it too.

 

Leo stepped forward to the OIC of the detachment.  "Ken, see if we can get out of here please.  Or at least can we open up to take Josh out.  He doesn't do well with enclosed spaces and this tension."

 

The OIC radioed out to see what the status was. There was much discussion and then finally he told Leo, "this outter hallway is as far as you can go and at the first indication of anything I want you back in here." He looked to Leo, Josh, and Sam.

 

"I need to get out of here," Josh reiterated, looking back at Donna's scared face as best as he could see in the dim light.  "There's no air in here."

 

"Ken have an agent take Sam and Josh out," Leo ordered.  "Make sure they stay safe. "  He turned around and reached out to Donna with the hand that was not holding Caroline.  "He'll be OK sweetie--he just needs to get out of this hole."

 

"I hope so," Donna said, not quite believing Leo's assurances.

 

"Sam is Donna OK?" Josh asked anxiously once they were in the outer hallway.  "Maybe you should go stay with her while I stand here and feel foolish."

 

"I don't think she wants you out here alone. She's more worried about you than about herself or the situation. She loves you Josh, very much and she hates to see you like this, we all do," Sam replied.

 

"And I love her," he sighed, all the while looking around the room.  "And I know this is bad for her, bad for her and the babies and I hate when I do this, but honestly if I had stayed in there I was going to lose it even more.  And that would have been worse."

 

Sam laid a hand on his best friend's shoulder, letting him know that he was there.

 

"Thanks Sam," Josh breathed, lowering himself to the floor, his back against the wall.  "I was doing so well too.  Now Donna has even more reason to hate the thought of a future with me."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The helicopter raced towards the hospital and the paramedics fussed over Casey.  Jeff kept his hand around hers, their fingers knitted together.  "Just stay with us now honey," he whispered in her ear.  "I know it hurts, but they're going to fix you up right away."  He looked up frantically at the crew.  "Doesn't this bucket move any faster."

 

"Sir we're going as fast as we can. Our ETA is eight minutes," the pilot called back.

 

"Please," he breathed, leaning over her again.  "Casey remember I love you," he begged.  "And you're going to get better.  I sure as hell don't want a new partner."

 

They arrived at the hospital and Jeff was pried away from her as she was rushed into surgery.

 

"I'm not leaving this spot," Jeff yelled at them as they disappeared through the doors.  "Casey I'll be right here when you come out."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CJ was pacing back and forth, trying not to think about how badly she needed to use the ladies' room. Chloe had gone to sleep against Tucker and the twins had fallen asleep against her. Ellie seemed miffed and Zoey was huddled worriedly against her dad, one hand reached out to squeeze Charlie's tightly.

 

Colin finally got through the people to reach Ellie.  "I didn't know we were going to have this kind of excitement," he whispered.  "And it was from the same woods we were walking in earlier."

 

"That's what becomes of you when your father is the President. Never a moment's peace and you'd almost be better off dead for at least then they would stop hunting you. If it is not mad men it is reporters. All of them wish to rob you of your sanity."

 

"Then you and I will go away from it all--somewhere where it's just us," Colin hissed.  "Where your name is Mrs. Colin Parker, not Ellie Bartlet."

 

"Yes and we can carry my merry detail of service along behind us," Ellie quipped.

 

"They can go undercover as the aging hippies in the house next door for all I care," Colin told her, stroking her cheek.  "I just want you to be happy.  First of all.  Then I want us to be happy.  Happily married, with a baby on the way."

 

Ellie smiled and then kissed him, " and that's what I want."

 

"All clear," an agent finally announced.

 

Sam pulled Josh to his feet, and he looked anxiously for Donna, being helped out by Leo.  "Thanks Leo," he breathed, holding his arms to her.  "Honey?"

 

"I'm alright. It's you I'm worried about," Donna said.

 

"I think I'm OK," he nodded.  "What I could really use is some fresh air and you in my arms.  You think we could do that?"

 

"Set foot outside?" Donna's eyes became as large as a deer's. "No, oh no."

 

"Maybe just to the porch or something?  Hell I'll even take a window at this point.  I just need some air into my lungs.  Please."

 

"A window," Donna conceeded nervously.

CJ made her way to the bar, grabbed a six pack of beer and made her way to her room.

Chloe had to go be ill.

"I think I've apparently stayed long enough," Ellie said somewhat angrily.

 

"Ellie you're not going anywhere," Jed told her.  "Not until we find out who and why."

 

"Oh yes, I am sure this is just the absolute safest place for me to be," Ellie argued back. Zoey looked astonished at her older sister's behavior.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Meanwhile Toby was hot on CJ's heels, getting to the room just as she cracked the first can and took a long drink.  "I could use a drink myself," he said mildly.  "Let me ask you--you're planning to drink all that.  What if you're pregnant?"

 

"Not this month," CJ replied taking another long drink from the can and offering him one. She looked depressed and scared and worn.

 

Toby frowned in puzzlement and finally understood what she was saying.  "OK.  I'll join you.  Then this next week we're making appointments with a doctor to find out why we can't make a baby, or what we can do to improve our chances.  Maybe I'm wearing the wrong underwear or something."

 

CJ smiled and reached out to squeeze his hand. They sat there companionably drinking their beer.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Mr. Stepford, Ms. Abrams is out of surgery and in recovery, and should be coming around about any time now," the doctor explained to Jeff.  "You want to go sit with her? I'm sure she'd want to have you there when she wakes up."

 

Jeff wasted no time to slip behind him, hurrying to her bedside.  The pale woman attached to a dozen pieces of equipment was not the healthy woman he had walked with that afternoon and he shuddered as he picked up her hand.  "Casey honey I'm here."

 

It was only a short time later that with obvious effort her eyes opened a bit and a moment later he got a hint of a smile, with great effort as she recognized him. Then she looked frightened.

 

"Case, relax now I'm right here with you," Jeff told her, seeing her eyes flutter.  "Atta girl, open up.  It's me.  And you're in the hospital, OK and safe.  They're taking good care of you."

 

She fixed her eyes on him and calmed. She opened her mouth and then recognized how parched her throat was.

 

When only a hoarse croak came from her, he knew right away what she needed and quickly spooned up a few pieces of the crushed ice in the pitcher on the table.  "You're ok," he continued his reassurance.  "And no one inside the house was hurt either.  It's all over with."

 

"Gina?"

 

"You saved her life Angel," he whispered, stroking her forehead.  "And I'm going to personally write up the citation and then pin the medal on you myself.  I am so proud of you--and so scared I was going to lose you.  I love you Casey."

 

"She has a family. I couldn't let them lose her," she replied weakly.

 

"And you have someone who wants to make you family--me," he yelped.  "I just wish I had been there with you."

 

"When it comes down to it, it's very easy..."

 

"What's easy honey?" he asked gently.

 

"Getting shot."

 

"Oh god please don't say that," he gasped, "I'm going to relive holding you while I was sure you were bleeding to death every night for the rest of my life."

 

"I didn't know if I'd truly be able to do it...now I know I can," she replied.

 

"OK now I'm with you," he smiled.  "What we talked about earlier, can you take a bullet.  I'm just sick and sorry you had to find out.  I wanted to be with you if this ever happened.  How are you really?  Much pain?"

 

"It hurts like hell," she grunted.

 

Immediately he mashed the button for the nurse.   "Woman in pain in here," he screeched into the speaker when the desk answered.

 

"That's to be expected sir," the desk nurse replied.

 

"And controllable," he fired back.  "Is she being given enough medication to make her comfortable."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Mr. President, Agent Craig Donald and Ian Forrester were killed in the attack," Ron Butterfield came to report, "and agent-in-training Casey Abrams was shot in the shoulder when she apparently took a bullet that was predicted would kill agent Gina Toscano."

 

"Oh my god," Jed gasped.  "OK.  Is the threat totally neutralized now?  We've got women and kids down here."

 

"Reporting everything as clear sir. You could send for the marines for extra border control tonight sir, but we do not anticipate any further threat."

 

"I think I'll have the governor send up a few of the national guard boys," Jed said thoughtfully, "just for perimeter control.  IT will be good training for them.  And then my people are going to be out of here tomorrow night."

 

The agent nodded and left and Abbey entered the room a moment later. "How bad was it?"

 

"Two killed on the line, and then Casey Abrams, Ellie's agent, took one for Gina," Jed sighed shuddering hard for a moment.  "I don't understand any of this, and I don't know what the motivation was yet."

 

Abbey stepped over and wrapped her arms around her husband. She laid her head in her favorite spot against his chest. Then she looked up into his eyes. "Josiah Bartlet, I love you."

 

"And I love you," he replied softly, near tears, "I love you and I'm scared for you.  And for the rest of our big family here.  My god there's babies and kids and pregnant women here.  This could have been disaster."

============

"Donna, Donna can you and me go up to our room now?" Josh begged.  "I want to hold you."

 

"If you can get me back up those stairs," Donna tried to revive some humor. "Maybe we could share a movie with Sam and Ainsley or some cards."

 

"Yes please," he nodded, holding her to him.  "Thank you.  Thank you for not making me feel like a total fool."

 

"Josh you have a condition. That's nothing to be ashamed of," Donna said gently.

 

"I love you," he whispered.  "And I hate my so called condition, but I swear I'm not going to let it interfere with what you and I have.  Please let's just go upstairs.  I want you in my arms.  I want to close the door, turn on some music and forget everything but how much I love you."

 

Donna smiled and arm in arm they made their way upstairs.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Sir, we're doing everything we can," the nurse replied.

 

"You can't tell me that this is the best you can do in the form of pain relief," Jeff raged.  "She's scared and hurting and I swear if she doesn't get some relief I'm going to take out my gun and see that she does."

 

"Hey woah!" Gina said as she hurried in. "What's going on here?"

 

"She's not getting the pain reliever she needs,'' Jeff exploded.  "They're afraid she'll be an addict or something.  But right now she needs this pain to stop before she loses her mind.  Or I do."

 

Gina looked to the nurse for her side of the story.

 

"Why don't we all calm down.  First, a little pain is to be expected.  I'm going to be sure she's put on a pump so that she can regulate her own needs though.  Just let's take it easy.  Sir I understand you care. . ."

 

"I happen to love her," Jeff spoke up.

 

"Jeff watch it," Gina advised, seeing the sudden eratic steps on the heart monitor briefly and Casey's pale and alarmed face. Gina sat down beside Casey and then looked to the nurse. "Please do all that you can. This woman saved my life tonight and I would like to do all that I can for her, though I know it's little in the face of her sacrifice." Gina squeezed Casey's hand, "it's okay, you're going to be alright." She looked up to see the nurse leaving and Casey relaxed.

 

"Honey Gina and I are here," Jeff whispered, bending close to her ear.  "I know you're hurting and they're going to help you."  He stroked her hair back from her forehead as he spoke, kissing her cheek and temple.

 

She offered as much of a smile as she could manage. "You're a sweetheart you know?" she said softly.

 

Jeff pinkened at once.  "Could that be because you know I love you?"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"I'm okay Jed," Abbey reassured him softly before kissing his cheek.

 

"Of all of us, you I would think would be the most OK,'' Jed smiled.  "You have the most amazing ability to withstand adversity.  I mean look how many years you've put up with me."

 

"I love you," Abbey replied, "but I was worried about the babies...and I was worried about Donna and Ainsley. Everyone came through alright though."

 

"Now I plan to find out who and why we were attacked," Jed muttered.  "And I want us all to get back to DC soonest tomorrow.  I'm not sure we're safe here."

"They wouldn't try again," Abbey said wisely, "they know we're on our strongest guard now.  I am just sorry lives were lost in the process..."

 

"Yeah, well they won't go unavenged," he sighed.  "Let's inventory, make sure we're all accounted for if any one needs anything.  Is Josh OK?"

 

"He went upstairs with Donna..." was all Abbey could offer and she went with her husband to check on everyone. She knocked on Josh and Donna's door and waited with Jed.  "Josh it's Abbey and Jed, are you two okay?" she called through the door.

 

"Yeah we're OK. I think," Josh called.  "Donna is getting me through it.  I'm not going to freak on you...or her."

 

"That's good to hear," Jed replied and they moved along to CJ and Toby's door.

 

Just as they reached it, Toby flung it open, dressed in just boxers and a robe--a very untied robe.  "Excuse me," he gasped, attempting to clutch the robe around him.  "Heading for the kitchen Mr. President, Ma'am.  Intending to tie the robe at some point.   No excuse sir--ma'am."

 

Abbey looked to Jed a moment and then turned back to Toby. "How are you and CJ?"

 

"We're fine thanks, just having a little connection time here," he gasped, finally succeeding in getting the robe tied.  "Many times as we've drilled that, it doesn't prepare for the real thing.  "

 

Jed nodded and stood aside to let Toby pass him, whispering to Abbey when they were alone.  "OK don't lie.  You enjoyed the show."

 

"I'm a very horny woman when I'm pregnant," Abbey replied in her defense.

 

"Talk about something we could do to take our minds off this mess," he grinned, pulling her into his arms for a long kiss there in the hallway.

 

CJ could be heard opening another beer in the background, her third.

"I hardly think the hallway is a good venue..." Abbey purred before she kissed him again.

 

"How about the back of your dad's Packard?" he teased.  "The old Route 29 drive in?  Dusk to dawn horror-thon?  Stop me when this gets familiar."

 

"It's very familiar but no," Abbey said, "how about the good old fashioned master bedroom."

 

"Long as the door locks and I can turn off the phone," he murmured, kissing her firmly once again.  "In fact that's exactly what I can use right now.  To remind the woman I adore just how much I love her."

 

Abbey smiled and they walked quietly down the hall and secluded themselves in the master bedroom.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Sam do you know how to make tea?" Ainsley inquired from where she was curled up under several blankets on the bed though the day was warm and pleasant enough.

 

"Iced or hot?  Regular or Herbal?" he answered, barely looking up from his computer as he started to prepare the speech that would be needed.  "Lisa was a tea fanatic."

 

"Well I need some," Ainsley said in a voice that sounded very little like her typical one. "Then I want a laptop so I can write. There are things that must be said."

 

"Should I surprise you or you want to tell me what kind?" he smiled and came over to her, sitting down and cupping her cheek.  "And that may be, but there are also two babies growing in you and their welfare-and yours-is my primary concern."

 

"Your welfare is my primary concern and until I can get this feeling, these thoughts out of my head of what it must have been like, how I could have lost you before I knew you, how I could have lost you tonight then I cannot calm down. Herbal tea will be fine."

 

"I think I'll make it two, with a side of scotch," he sighed.  "Honestly the shooting that night was over before I even realized I could have died.  CJ and I ended up in each other's arms on the ground.  But of course you've seen the film.  I'll get that tea."

 

Ainsley waited until the door had closed and then she began to cry.

 

He heard her crying when he stopped at the door upon his return with the tea and it ripped his heart out.  "Ains I'm back," he called, making a lot of noise so she would know it was him in case she wanted to stop.

 

She had dried her eyes and composed herself when he returned. "Thank-you," she smiled as she received the tea. "You could...bring your laptop to your side of the bed and we could work together."

 

"Or I could let that go for a bit and sit behind you and wrap my arms around you while you work," he smiled.  "In fact that's sounding mighty good to me right now.  Resting my chin on your shoulder and holding our babies sounds wonderful to me."

 

Ainsley smiled, "yes, but you need to work..." She didn't argue with him though as he moved behind her. She simply opened her laptop and began to work through things furiously. She appeared to be returning information in response to inquiries.

 

Meanwhile he sat behind her and rubbed her back, moving to the baby belly now and then, feeling himself calm as he connected with her.  "Just what I needed," he finally said.  "And like the good little husband to be, I haven't been watching what you've been typing.  Been busy paying attention elsewhere."

 

"Not that it's secret or anything," Ainsley replied. "It's just some information on interpretations for a couple of bills that people asked for. I'm wrapping up some of the little work that I just don't seem to get to in the week."

 

"I guess we're going back to DC under armed escort," Sam sighed.  "Not that that's bad, but I liked how we came up here, just us."

 

Ainsley squeezed his hand silently.

================

Josh had made Donna comfortable on the bed and he lay down with her, having stripped out of his clothes and then climbed beneath the covers.  She was resting on her back and he on his side, pressed up against the baby mound, when he suddenly became aware of a strange sensation in his lower extremities.  "My god," he gasped, and when she looked at him he took her hand and placed it against the opening in his boxer shorts.  "See what you've done to me?  First time since the surgery."

 

Donna in turn looked rather shocked herself as her eyes met Josh's having come up from her hand on his boxers.

 

"And your hand is moving things right along," he whispered, feeling himself harden further.  "I didn't dare hope it was going to happen."

 

"Me either," Donna whispered as though the sound of her voice might make the moment disappear.

 

"I think I'd better be excused so I can take care of it," he whispered as well, still in awe of what his body had done.  "But I think here's your proof that these babies will at some point have a younger brother or sister."

 

Donna smiled with hope. Then she reached her hand inside his boxers and lovingly began to caress him.

 

"Oh god that's good," he gasped, remembering suddenly that they had not made these babies--that they had never actually made love.  "Is it OK?" he stammered.  "I mean I know we can't really, but how much can we. . ."

 

"Unfortunately not as much as I'd like," Donna said, "but I can certainly take care of this problem for you."

 

"Oh yeah you're doing excellently at it too," he murmured, capturing her mouth in a long and passionate kiss, his tongue gently sweeping over hers.

 

Donna kissed him back eagerly and doubled her efforts.

 

"Honey you don't know how that's making me feel," he gasped, leaning back to just enjoy.  "It's not going to take long here."

 

"Mmm..." Donna moaned and she closed her eyes enjoying the situation herself. "You're impressive," she purred.

 

"I was inspired by you," he replied.  "Just leaning up against you finally woke me up."  He gave out a long pleasurable moan and felt his lower body shudder.  "Do you want to take cover before it blows?"

 

"Not a chance," Donna said and she continued along with her caresses.

 

"I feel like months of tension is about to be released, and I want to be kissing you when it happens, " he gasped, pulling her mouth to his as he erupted.

 

Donna moaned softly as she felt his heat and her tongue danced with his.

 

"And in a year or so, this is going to put a baby inside you," he promised when they fell back from each other, panting hard.  "A baby we won't love any more than these three, but a baby we made the right way."

 

Donna smiled. "I think I might want to bargain for two, years that is."

 

"OK I can do that," he grinned, "but once you're healed from these, you're going to let me practice for the real deal right?"

 

"Of course," Donna smiled. "There's nothing I'd like better."

 

"Good," he smiled and kissed her once more.  "Now let me go clean up."  He started to rise and stopped.  "Thank you."

 

"I love you," Donna smiled.

 

"And I love you," he smiled as well, happy with her explanation and he whistled as he walked to the bathroom.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"Not a chance Zeigler, you're going down," CJ taunted as she stacked the balls in preparation for their first game.

 

"Poor deluded press secretary," he laughed.  "You want the break?"

 

"Nah...I'll give you a head start."

 

He gave her a long look and set down his drink, making an elaborate show of taking off his sports shirt, leaving him in his tank top undershirt.  "Rack 'em."

 

CJ took a quick glance at his pants and raised a brow in jest before quickly sorting the balls and then returning the triangle to its hiding spot she stood at the opposite end of the table to silently taunt him.

 

It was a well-muscled Toby who bent over the table, something not lost on Zoey or Ellie as they came to watch.  "Colin man you and I need to work out more," Charlie laughed.

 

"I think so..." Colin agreed, "we're losing our women...look at them gawking."

 

"If not panting and drooling," Charlie laughed.  "Soon as we get back, I'm on the weight machines."

 

"So what's it like?" Colin asked, "being married to the daughter of the President...living in the White House."

 

"Considering the man is my boss too, it kind of works out," Charlie grinned.  "And I love just having to walk down a flight of stairs to work.  Of course that goes both ways--I'm only as far away as a scream of 'Charlie get your butt in here'."

 

"I'm trying to convince Ellie she needs to be closer where it's safer," Colin sighed. "I don't think it will work though."

 

"No way," Ellie mouthed, overhearing him.

 

"I see what you mean," Charlie smiled.  "It's like a fortress that's for sure."

 

"But it would keep her safe," Colin said, "I love her and I don't want to see her hurt...or worse."

 

"Yeah I know," Charlie sighed.  "Today was scary--very scary.  And wait until you throw a baby into the mix."

 

Colin sighed. There conversation was presently interrupted by, "is that the best you can do Zeigler?!"

 

"Yes it's the best I can do Cregg soon to be Ziegler," he screeched, having scratched.  "OK get in there and show your stuff, but you won't strip your shirt like I did."

 

CJ unbuttoned her top button so he could see her white lace bra as she leaned over to send the red ball into the far corner pocket.

 

"No one likes a smart ass," Toby groaned.  "Even one who looks as good as you."

 

"Oh really?" CJ said as she placed the stick behind her back and landed the purple ball in the side pocket.

 

"What am I missing," Jed demanded, walking in with his arm around Abbey.  "CJ are you showing off again?"

 

"Yes sir," CJ answered with a smile. She sunk the yellow ball but the que ball went in after it and it was now Toby's turn.

 

"OK Ladies let me show you how it's done," Toby grinned, taking his cue and flexing his muscles at the same time.

 

"Are you seeing this?" Zoey whispered to Ellie.

 

"Yeah...I never really thought of him as hunky before but I think I'm changing my mind. Sam might get ousted from the number one hottie spot," Ellie whispered back.

 

"What about Josh," Zoey hissed.  "I mean I know he's not hot but he's just plain adorable."

 

"Totally adorable," Ellie agreed, "and a major sweetie to boot."

 

"Dimples," Zoey smiled.  "I'll bet he's got a matching set on his rear."

 

Ellie raised a brow.

"What do you think those two are up to?" Abbey asked Jed where she was curled in his arms across the room watching her daughters as well as the pool game.

 

"Just some simple girl talk," he grinned.  "Sister stuff.  They don't get together often enough.  I wish Ellie would come live with us while she's in school but you know she won't come stay at the white fort."

 

Jed sighed, "she's a little much like you at times. I would rather have her here where I know she's safe. Where I could see her more than once in a blue moon."

 

"I think she might if she knew she could be Ellie Bartlet and not one of the first daughters," Abbey smiled.  "And maybe if Colin had one of the guest rooms?"

 

"It would be nice to see her more often," Jed remarked, "you know it's not that I love her less than Elizabeth or Zoey...we just have a different relationship."

 

"I know that and so does she," Abbey sighed.  "And she and I have always had a special bond, and that's good too.  Now you've got two sons in here.  One of them could be a football player and the other a concert pianist."

 

Jed smiled, "I'll love them both dearly no matter what they are," Jed smiled and he caressed her small babymound feeling the tightness of her regular clothes. "Those designers had better be sending you some new clothing hmm?"

 

"Your sons are filling me out," she sighed.  "It's about time, and you know what, at first I was hating the thought of doing any curtailing of the schedule, but it's starting to sound like a good idea.   I think I'm going to cut back on travel, and spend a lot more time just writing and being first lady."

 

Jed smiled, "and my wife whom I love more than anything and the mother of all of our children, including the two inside you?"

 

"That was all part of being First Lady," she smiled.  "I just suddenly don't feel like I want to be apart from you hardly at all.  One thing I don't want to risk is going into labor in another city.  I want you right by my side."

 

"I plan on it," Jed affirmed seriously.

 

"Donna, tell Sam I look that good in a tank top," Josh ordered, gesturing to Toby.

 

"You don't look that good naked," Sam returned as he helped Ainsley to a nearby chair.

"And what the hell is Donna smiling about anyway.  I know you two didn't...."

 

"And how do you know that?" Donna seized the opportunity.

 

"Because it would have to be a foot long to get near you," Sam laughed.  "And we've shared the after work out shower and I know. . .why don't I shut up now."

 

Ainsley and Donna both glared at Sam.

 

"Josh, Sam--Ainsley and I need something cold to drink and maybe some cookies?" Donna begged.

 

"You want to talk don't you," Sam laughed.   "Just tell us to get lost."

 

"Get lost" Donna and Ainsley both said at once.

 

When they were alone, Donna leaned over to Ainsley, giggling excitedly.  "He did it Ainsley."

 

"Did what?" Ainsley totally missed the point.

 

"What I've been terrified he'd never be able to do," she laughed happily.  "We were just laying together and then all of a sudden he was...he had this need see."

 

"Ooh," Ainsley's eyes got wide and she blushed slightly. "Wow Donna. That's great. I'm so happy for both of you."  Then she whispered, "so what did you do about it?"

 

"I gave him a hand with it," she giggled, blushing furiously.  "I know you know what Sam is like.  I don't.  Josh I mean."

 

"Well just hang in there. I'm sure you'll both be really ready when you're healed post-baby. Sam is about ready to become a priest as we speak."

 

"Maybe Sam and Josh should...." Donna laughed and then made a gagging noise.  "OK no that's too gross even to tease about."

 

Ainsley made a face as well before turning to see what CJ's outcry was about.

"And she emerges victorious!" CJ called out as the eight ball slipped into the side pocket.

 

"And her opponent goes away defeated, dejected and unloved," Toby groaned and looked to Josh and Sam.  "And he could use his best friends buying him a beer right now."

 

"Sounds great," Sam agreed looking to Josh.

"So you're just going to leave me here?" CJ protested.

 

"Of course not.  You can come with us.  You deserve to gloat.  Help me on with my shirt will you?"

 

CJ smiled and helped him get his shirt on and the mighty four left for the nearest bar.

 

"We have been left," Ainsley groaned.

 

"Yeah but they're only going downstairs," Donna smiled.  "I wouldn't mind a sex on the beach myself right now."

 

"Yes, what a shame that we're pregnant and therefore can't have any," Ainsley teased.

 

"Even without the alcohol one would taste good," Donna smiled and looked toward Leo.  "Hey Leo how about a virgin sex on the beach for me and Ainsley."

 

It of course was at that exact second that conversation in the room happened to cease and the whole room heard every word.

 

"Sex with a virgin do what?!" Zoey blurted out in astonishment and soon everyone in the room was redfaced, Ainsley most of all.

 

"it's a drink," Donna murmured lamely.  "An alcohol free drink.  And it suddenly sounded good."

 

"Oh can I have one?" Zoey suddenly joined in.

 

"You've had sex on the beach," Charlie laughed.   "Remember our honeymoon."

 

"You mean the one I spent in the OR and the ER praying that I wouldn't lose baby Charles?" Zoey replied.

 

"Yep, and you were kind of out of it with the medication they were giving you so I was spinning fantasies for you.  Come to think of it, you probably don't remember any of that.  Well take my word for it, it was great."

 

"Appendicitis was not great," Zoey said with finality.

 

"I meant from my point of view," Charlie laughed.  "I was keeping your mind off how bad you felt, and then you were thanking me."

 

"Are we getting those drinks or what?  Leo, Charlie, please," Donna whined.  "Go down to the bar and order them before the guys down there are too drunk to make them."

 

Leo and Charlie went down to get the drinks and Charlie returned with the drinks. "It's wild down there," he said.

 

"Dancing girls on the pool table?" Jed asked.  "And if that's the case why am I up here?"

 

Abbey mock-glared at him. "No just the senior staff cutting up and having a good time sir.  ...it's been a while."

 

"Should we go join them...or would we be a wet blanket?" Jed asked, a sad note in his voice.

 

"By all means I think you should go sir and if you go I'm going," Charlie replied but he looked quickly to Zoey as if asking for her consent.

 

"Jed go," Abbey smiled.  "We women will be fine up here.  Play some cards--remember the first night campaign, all night poker while you talked platform.  Go and enjoy."

 

Jed and Charlie left the room and Ainsley asked the others, "so what do they do when they're all together?"

 

"Watch movies that they can hoot about, play cards, tell college boy stories, this type thing," Abbey smiled.  "Oh talk about their first time, the girl who got away. Then they move on to who's going to win the world series or the superbowl or something like that, and they start betting.  Speaking of betting, they usually bet who can eat the most pizza before they puke. Or sometimes it's sardines or hotdogs."

 

"Sardines..." Ainsley began to look queasy.

 

"Yeah they're little fish, packed in a can--look like big gold fish," Charlie offered, thinking she needed an explanation.

 

Ainsley threw her hand over her mouth and took off for the nearest bathroom as fast as she could go.

 

"Nice going Charlie," Donna groaned.

 

"You're a pip Charlie," Abbey laughed, hurrying to catch up to Ainsley.  She heard the retching as soon as she opened the door.  "Ainsley you OK?  Should I get Sam?"

 

"Well you might want to get someone that can get me out of this position," Ainsley said from where she was leaned over the toilet hands resting on the top of it.

 

"Understand."  Abbey walked to the door and yelled, "Charlie, Bathroom.  Now," as loud as she could.

 

Charlie frowned a moment but hurried along and then cautiously peaked around the door, hoping he wasn't going to see something he didn't want to.

 

"You remember that position from Zoey I know," Abbey pointed.  "Now help this woman up, and be thankful Sam isn't here to kill you."

 

With a quick sigh of relief Charlie hurried to Ainsley and then helped her carefully and slowly get back up. "Sorry Ainsley," he apologized.

 

"You couldn't have known the talk of little swimmy things would make me ill," she sighed.  "I haven't touched seafood since I got pregnant.  And I used to love calamari and oh god look out...."

 

Charlie sighed and dutifully held on to her, holding her hair back while she was ill again. Then he wiped her face and helped her from the bathroom to a settee where he brought her some ginger ale.

 

"Thanks Charlie.  You're a good husband," Ainsley smiled.  "Zoey's a lucky woman.  Not to mention she's survived her pregnancy.  I'm not sure I'm going to."

 

"You'll be fine," Donna grunted as she joined Ainsley on a nearby couch, "I'm the one that's going to pop in a couple of days I'm sure. I don't think I can possibly get any bigger!"

 

Charlie ran his hand over her stomach.  "Three in there.  That's so amazing, even Ainsley here with two.  I don't even see how that's possible when like our CJ took up all the room."

 

"They're smaller the more you have," Ainsley felt the need to mention. "Don't worry Donna, December is coming.  Halloween will be here soon and then Thanksgiving..."

 

"And every night that I go to bed with them still inside me is another day they're safe and warm," she sighed, feeling a sudden tearfulness.  "I want these babies more than I ever wanted anything--well all but one thing--in my whole life."

 

"All but what?" Ainsley asked, "...Josh?"

 

"The love of Joshua Lyman," she smiled through her tears.  "One thing I thought I would never call my own."

 

"And now you two are so in love with one another the rest of us need sunglasses just to look at you!  ...and I have Sam and CJ has Toby...I wonder how they're doing..."

 

"They're so good together," Donna smiled, blushing at her sunglasses comment.  "Maybe we could waddle over and see?"

 

"Yeah...we might make it there in a half hour if we start now," Ainsley agreed and the two made their way back towards the pool room.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"And she's three for three," CJ cheered to tease Toby as she sank the eight ball a third time for the win.

 

"You're sleeping on the sofa tonight," he pouted, then drew her to him for a long kiss.  "You're good but don't quit your day job.  Unless it's to stay home and keep house and have my babies."

 

"I'm so good I can do that and work at your side," CJ smiled before she kissed him again.

 

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Toby grinned, returning her kiss and adding one of his own, his hands sliding down her back to cup her backside.  It was at that moment that Ainsley and Donna arrived.

 

"Ains we're in time for the live show," Donna laughed.  "They're probably better than the Cinemax movies.

 

"Oh let's get popcorn," Ainsley smiled.

 

"Alright Zeigler, let's give them a show," CJ purred.

 

The two scotches Toby had drunk over the evening were just enough to make him take her seriously.  He dipped her low and planted a series of kisses along her jawbone and down onto her neck before raising her back up, though his hands continued to roam.

 

CJ's hands roamed over his chest and she kissed him deeply. "I love you Toby Ziegler..."

 

Forgetting everyone but the woman in his arms, he kissed along her throat and down across the exposed areas of her breasts.  "I love you more," he whispered.

 

They continued their hot and heavy kissing until CJ panted, "Toby...we can't...you know I'm...you know."

 

"Oh we're not doing the floorshow?" he teased.  "Sorry ladies.  We're going to move this to more private quarters."

 

Ainsley and Donna had been entranced.  "That was stunning," Ainsley finally breathed.  "So much love there."

 

"Yeah who would have thought, CJ Cregg and Toby Zeigler of all people," Donna agreed in the same tone of awe.

 

They watched as Toby scooped CJ into his arms and carried her from the room.

 

"I want to be carried too," Donna pouted.  "Bring me Joshua Lyman."  It was at that moment that both Josh and Sam appeared.  Obviously fresh from the party from the look of their hair and clothes.  "It's my white knight," she groaned at the sight.  "Yours too."

 

"Yeah, but they look a little worse for the wear," Ainsley remarked. "You two didn't enjoy the party downstairs as much as CJ and Toby?"

 

"It was great.  Stag films and bar girls," Josh teased before taking Donna in his arms.  "But we missed you two and when they said you had come down to see Toby's triumph we got concerned.  He pushed some of her hair out of her eyes.  "You're beautiful my love."

 

"Still?" Donna smiled and then she laid her head on his shoulder as much as she could and she simply held him and let him hold her.

 

"More every day," he sighed, pressing her head down into the crook of his neck.

 

"I should say something nice too," Sam teased, "Before Lyman makes me look bad."  He reached for Ainsley and instead of bringing her to him, held her at arm's length while he kissed her baby belly.  "You are wonderful," he whispered.

 

Ainsley smiled for him even if she did think Josh's approach was better.

 

He was not finished.  He then pulled her into his arms, dipping her just slightly while holding her carefully, then gave her a tonsil searing kiss.  "You can still turn me on you know."

 

Ainsley blinked. "Apparently," she gasped. "Wow, I'm, well...impressed."

 

"And we won't discuss what else is impressed," he grinned, shifting slightly with the tightness of his underwear.  "I love you Ainsley and I need you.  And I can't wait until these babies are born and they can watch their mom   walk down the aisle to their dad's arms."

 

Ainsley smiled, "that's not quite how it's supposed to happen..."

"Screw tradition," Donna butted in.

"Hey when are we leaving to go back? Has anyone heard from Leo?" Sam asked.

 

"I've decided we're all moving to a desert island," Josh murmured.  "Actually we're all going back on the plane.  They feel like it's going to be safer that way.  First thing in the morning."

 

Donna nodded.

"Hey has anyone seen CJ. Carol called, the phones are ringing off the hook," Leo said as he breezed through the room.

 

"CJ and Toby are indisposed," Caroline called with a small smile.  "I don't think she thought she was still on duty."

 

Leo came dead halt then. "She's with Toby?" He pauses a moment in thought and then turns to Sam. "Sam I want a short response for Carol and I want you to call it into her ASAP."

 

"I've got my hands full here," Sam groaned laughingly, releasing Ainsley with another quick but meaningful kiss.  "OK, give me ten to BS my way through something."

=================

Casey stirred restlessly in her hospital bed and Jeff leaned over her at once.  "You need something honey?  I'm right here."

 

"No," Casey said softly. "I'm as good as I can get right now. Eleanor?"

 

"Back at the farm and in good hands.  Well in Colin's arms I imagine," Jeff smiled.  "I have permission to stand down and be with you.  Good thing because I would have anyway.  Caplan and Katz are there if she needs anything, but you know she's with the family and that's the best place for her."

 

Casey nodded. Then she reached out and grabbed his hand. "Why? ...why do you love me?"

 

"Is there some reason I shouldn't?" he replied softly.  "Like you've got a secret husband?  Seriously, why do any two people fall in love.  They meet and suddenly it's like they can't imagine themselves spending eternity with anyone else."

 

"Yeah, but I'm not that type of person. That happens to everyone else all around me. I'm the person that everyone sees as the girl next door, fun, sweet, intelligent, outstanding but not girlfriend material. I'm the girl that cries herself to sleep most nights and wishes she had never been born."

 

"I saw you as so called girlfriend material the day we were introduced, and then I reminded myself you were my probie," he replied slowly.  "And that worked for a whole week or so.  Then I started falling in love with you.  You are more than girlfriend material.  You are the woman I'm in love with---the woman I want to spend my life with."

 

"You're just saying that because you thought I was going to die and your emotions are all jumbled up..."

 

"You're damn right I was afraid you were going to die," he yelped, "and not without good reason.  You were bleeding all over me missy.  As for my emotions, I'll thank you to let me be the judge of them.  My heart knows exactly what's happening here--it's deeply in love with you."

 

"Really? Really?" She began to cry soft, happy tears.

 

"Yes really, really," he laughed, taking her lips in a long kiss.  "You've known me for a long time now--in all kinds of circumstance.  You know I don't say things I don't mean.  Ever."  He brushed her cheeks with the back of his hand as he spoke.

 

She smiled at him then and squeezed his hand, "Yes."

 

"Yes you love me?" he chortled.

 

"Yes, I love you," she nodded.

 

"I love you," he answered automatically and then carefully lifted her against him for a gentle hug.  "My probie," he whispered.

 

"Don't I get a better title now that I took a bullet," she teased, "that's gotta count for something." She tried to laugh but winced instead.

 

"You get a commendation," he told her seriously, "for saving the life of a fellow agent with total disregard for your own.  I've already started working on the text in fact.  I'm going to read it myself and pin the ribbon on you."

 

She smiled, "then it will be an honor indeed."

 

"One that you much deserve.  Of course Lucas has already requested to be part of the ceremony, with their baby, and Gina will be there.  Colin and Ellie.  Probably The President and First Lady too."

 

"Oh my!" she gasped, "wow I don't know if I can handle all that..."

 

"You'll have me beside you every second," he promised.  "And it will be inside the White House so only a little press coverage.  You're a hero honey.  The service wants to express that to you."  "Of course you've always been my hero," he added slightly shyly.

 

"You've always been mine," she smiled.

 

"Hero enough to marry?" he asked softly.

 

"Yes."

 

"Then when they're not dripping a narcotic pain killer into you I'm going to ask you that," he whispered, his eyes locked with hers.  "Because I don't want you to ever look back and say--I wasn't of sound mind when I told this idiot I'd marry him."

 

"Very well...if you want to wait..."

 

"Unless you want to promise me you know what you're saying," he whispered in awe of what was happening.   "Maybe if I said--Casey Jean Abrams, I'm in love with you and I want you to be my wife?"

 

"I want to be your wife," she replied.

 

"Then you'll marry me?" he breathed, and not waiting for an answer his mouth covered hers in a long kiss.

 

She kissed him back with equal fervor. "Oh Jeff! Oh you don't know how scared I was tonight that you'd never know the truth..."

 

"That you'd die before you could tell me you loved me?" he asked gently.  "I was terrified of the same thing--that you'd die and I would never have told you seriously how much I love you."

 

"That moment brought us together and saved Gina for her family," she smiled, "I guess it has all been worth it."

 

"I could have lost you though," he whispered, feeling his eyes moisten and he carefully gathered her into his arms.  "Now I'm not ever wanting to let you go."

 

"Do you realize what you're saying?" her eyes teared. "You're dragging me in deep. I'm going to fall for you..."

 

"I hope so.  You just agreed to be my wife," he smiled and kissed her damp cheeks.  "I love you Angel.  I can't be any more clear.  I love you.  I want us to be married.  I want you to have my baby....when you're ready of course."

 

"Oh my gosh...I can't believe it's finally happened," she began to cry happy tears.

 

"Crying again?" he teased, moving to hold her even closer.  "Ssshhh, I love you.  Rest now.  You and your body have had a helluva day.  And me, I just want to hold you--something for a while today I was afraid I wasn't going to get to do ever."

 

She was silent then and just let him hold her.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CJ lay silently on the bed, solemn as she had been a great deal lately. She simply couldn't understand why she couldn't give Toby the baby they both wanted so badly.

 

"This has been a helluva day," Toby sighed, coming from the bathroom and smelling of mouthwash.  "You had to have been as scared as I was, and you didn't show it.  And then you came back and whipped my ass at pool.  Wow.  We almost had Rosslyn didn't we?  Hell we could have had Dallas."

 

CJ shut her eyes tightly a moment but that only brought memories of Rosslyn again and she thrust them back open. "Yeah," she said softly. It was all she could say and she began to shiver.

 

"I still have the nightmares of that night," he confessed drawing her tightly into his arms.  Nightmares of you going down.  I was so sure you had been hit."

 

"And I knew it had to be you, and you were alone and I couldn't get to you. I thought maybe you might even be scared and needing me...and you'd die alone.  That would be the worst." Tears were escaping her eyes now.

 

"And I couldn't leave Josh to come find you.  I thought he was going to die in my arms CJ.  There was so much blood.  And I've seen men look scared before, but never the expression on his face.  No wonder he can't handle it totally all the time.  He had to be feeling the life drain out of him."

 

That was all it took to make CJ break down totally and she began to cry. She buried herself against Toby.

 

"I think we both need this," Toby whispered before gathering her into a tight ball and pressing her to his body as best he could, then letting his own tears come.  "When we get back to DC," he whispered between sobs, "we're going to see about you and me and a baby.  What we have to do to enhance our chances.  I think we need that."

 

CJ nodded and cried harder. She cried for two hours until finally no more tears would come.

 

"Good, good for us," Toby whispered, wiping his face and beard of their shared tears.  "That has to help us heal.  And I'm serious.  I know the head of reproductive services at Georgetown--goes to my synogague.  I'm going to make an appointment for us soon as she'll see us.  This baby is too important to you--and to me--to screw around any longer."

 

CJ nodded and she took his hands, squeezing them tightly.

 

"This time next year we're sitting together and you're nursing our baby--that's a promise," Toby vowed.  "A healthy baby Claudia or Claude," he added teasingly, remembering they had had the name discussion before.

 

CJ just shook her head laughing lightly at his use of names. "I pray you're right Toby. I pray you're right..."

 

"I know Mora will help us," he told her.  "She's in the business of giving people babies.  It's probably me anyway.  I have dead guys or something."

 

"It could just as easily be me," she spoke up. "Whatever it is she will help us and then I'll be able to carry your baby."

 

"Maybe she can teach my guys to swim better or something," he laughed and kissed her long and hard.  "I love you Claudia Jean Ziegler.  How does that sound said aloud?"

 

"Better than something by Sinatra," CJ smiled. "It will be a reality in Feburary. All of the babies should be home by then and since it's early in the month hopefully the first lady will still be able to attend."

 

"Sounds perfect to me too.  All the things I never wanted with Andi, I'm desperate to have with you."

 

CJ smiled, "and I love you and want them too. Have you and Andi talked yet?"

 

"No I was leaving that to you," he teased.  "Actually I think she's seeing someone.  Maybe you've met him--Senator from Idaho of all places, Todd Delorian?  Last time I dropped by she was leaving for lunch with him."

 

"Ooohhh..." CJ sighed, "well then I guess she'll take the news well..."

 

"She's a really hard person to figure," Toby sighed.  "Never have we been on the same page, and of course in California she was sure you and I were having an affair."

 

"That's what I told you," CJ said gently.

 

"Well if we had the name why didn't we have the game," he demanded.  "Though we did come close that night after the Primary didn't we."

 

CJ turned away from him, her back to him, but it didn't help shut out the thoughts.

***********************************

"We did it! We're in!"  CJ cried out, "I'm standing in the same room as a winning Presidential candidate!"

 

"Do I look like chopped liver," Toby yelped, grabbing hold of her in a large hug.  "We won Claudia Jean.  We won.  And we owe that in large part to you."

 

"Oh yes, I kill big," CJ said in her sexy, taunting manner, "I can bring it. Of course you killed big too. You were great in that speech. He took the pie with that."

 

"He's a dynamic speaker.  Given the same speech but a far less well spoken man, it wouldn't have happened."  He took a long breath and looked at her closely.  "How about a midnight supper when all this calms down--just you and me."

 

"Mmm...kind of a celebratory thing?" CJ smiled, "sounds great. I could use one right about now even."

 

"You bet your ass celebratory," Toby laughed.  "To include champagne.  I know a little place where we can just have quiet and you and me.  OK?"

 

CJ smiled, "hey if that's what you want then I'm all for it," she said, her eyes sparkling.

 

"Make sure it's what you want," Toby said softly, twisting his wedding ring out of habit.  "I'm beginning to know what I want, and I'm not sure this is it any more."

 

CJ's look suddenly changed to one of deep seriousness. "Toby," she whispered his name. Her eyes were locked with his and she couldn't pry them away.

 

"CJ" he responded and looked around the room.  No one was paying them any attention but at the same time it was not the time or place.  "We'll talk later," he promised.  "Really talk OK?"

 

CJ nodded with the same seriousness and then they were parted by other people wanting to share the joy of success with them.

 

"What are you two so serious about?" Josh demanded.  "We won.  We really won.  White House here we come.  Well almost."

 

"This is great," CJ said patting Josh on the shoulder.  "We're going to make it."

 

"All the way to DC," Josh yelped and looked around for Donna, making a squealing noise when he saw her and pulling her into his arms to lift her from the floor.  "All the way to DC baby, you and me," he yelled, and planted a warm kiss on her lips.

 

Donna smiled. She was thankful this was a happier win than their last one. This time she had no bad news to bear to Josh. She laughed as he lifted her and returned his kiss as he gave it to her. He was unlike any boss she had ever had before and she was beginning to have dreams of working for him in the White House.

 

Josh set her down away from the crowd then, still holding on to her.  "I'm serious here you know.  I mean to work in the White House for President Josiah Bartlet--and I mean for you to be working with me.  Unless you have plans to return to Dr. Freeride that you haven't shared with me?"  His eyes searched her face carefully, holding his breath.

 

"No...no I don't think I'll be doing that," Donna said. "You really want me to work for you in the White House?"

 

"Yeah I do," he said solemnly.  "Looks like Leo would be chief of staff and I'd be working for him as deputy.  I need an assistant.  Someone I can trust with my life.  That's you.  If you want the job.  And of course assuming we get in, but I think that's a given."

 

"Wow...working in the White House. THE White House, me, Donnatella Moss," Donna gasped in awe. "Of course I want the job!"

 

"Good," he smiled.  "Then for the rest of the campaign you'll be assistant to me as assistant campaign manager, and then we'll move in together."

 

Donna blinked, "um, excuse me? move-in together? Josh I'm not that kind of girl..."

 

"Gotcha," he laughed.  "Of course you're not.  That's why you told Freeride to get lost too I'm guessing.  But it would be fun to live nearby and do things together wouldn't it?"

 

"Sure," Donna said looking confused for a moment.  "Wow, we're really going to win this thing."

 

"That's what the polls are telling us--if we can just avoid doing anything stupid," Josh nodded.  "You think you can stand four years of me yelling at you?"

============

"OK car's out front," Toby whispered to CJ and nodded to Leo.  "The lady and I are going to have a little dinner and do some talking.  Excuse us?"

 

Leo nodded and watched them leave. He hoped they knew what they were doing.   "Well it's just a dinner," he murmured finally, knowing that the Ziegler marriage was anything but on firm ground anyway.

 

"Hey if you're not OK with this, speak up," Toby told her as he helped her into the car.  "I mean it's just two people having dinner, but if you're worried because I'm wearing a wedding band, we can not."

 

"No," CJ said lightly, "no, no I'm not worried. People that are single and people that are married share meals together all the time right?"

 

"Especially business associates," Toby assured her.  "And we're going to a country inn, and we'll be paying cash, so it's not like it's going to come up.  Right now all I want is to spend a quiet evening with someone I care a great deal about."

 

"Well what are we waiting for then?" CJ replied and soon they were at the country inn and she smiled as she took in the scene before her. "Come here often?"

 

"I know it only by reputation," he smiled.  "OK now I need to tell you.  I've booked us a room.  Only because I wanted to eat by a fire, and talk, and not be disturbed.  After all that's happened, all the commotion we've lived through, I wanted this one chance for quiet and just us.  I hope that's OK."

 

CJ swallowed a little more pronounced than usual before, with a nod, replying, "yeah, that's great."

 

"I'm not planning a seduction," Toby assured her.  "If I was we would have gone to the No Tell Motel out on route seven."  He came around and helped her out, his hand to her back as they walked in.  A quick word to the receptionist and they were shown upstairs to a room with the fireplace he promised.  Two silk robes awaited them on the bed and toiletries were in a basket on the sink.  "This is what I call a place to relax," he smiled, closing the door and locking it.

 

"This is heaven," CJ smiled, "how many hours do we have it for?"

 

"Well we can stay until they come and pry our lifeless bodies from the bed," Toby teased.  "Since you put out with the victory speach that the candidate was under doctor's orders to rest for the next twenty four hours, and let his voice heal some and so forth--far as I'm concerned we have that same twenty four.  Until we head back to Manchester and regroup.  Just promise me you'll tell me if you're ready because this isn't comfortable for you."

 

CJ nodded. She slipped off her heels then and padded about in her socks. She curled into a chair near the fire and smiled. She was beginning to relax already.

 

Toby opened the champagne and poured her a flute.  "Can you believe this quiet?  I swear this is the first time in weeks you and I have been in a room that didn't have twenty yammering souls in it, and I love it.  I. . .I love being here with you in fact."

 

"It is absolutely blissful, peace and tranquility," CJ smiled. She took a sip of her champagne and then raised her glass to him. "Here's looking at you Zeigler."

 

"And looking back at you, which I plan to do a lot of for the next four years.  You're going to take the Press Secretary job he offered right?  He does want you to stay permanently."

 

"I don't know if I can serve him like he needs..." CJ hesitated and then paused, "but I'm sure going to try."

 

"He doesn't want anyone but you," Toby said firmly, "and that came from him to Leo to me to you.  He wants you on his staff.  You know, we're going to do this thing.  We are going to be part of the senior staff of the administration for the next four years."

 

CJ smiled, "What a thing to add to our resumes." She finished her champagne and heard a good song on the radio. She rose and offered her hand to him, "dance?"

 

"Yes ma'am--thought you'd never ask," he smiled and let her sweep into his arms onto the bare floor.  "You feel good in my arms woman," he growled playfully.

 

She moved closer then and laid her head on his chest. "It's kind of nice here," she smiled her thoughts loosened by the champagne.

 

"It's beautiful here," he sighed.  "Wonderful grounds to walk, a big pool, and an outdoor garden where they serve breakfast.  But the best part is this room and the beautiful woman who's sharing it with me."  He gently turned her head up to meet his eyes, and brushed his lips across hers.

 

"Toby," she whispered his name in a heady, husky tone.

 

"CJ," he echoed, his voice just as husky.  "CJ you feel so right.  This feels so right."  He took a long breath and lowered his head to her once more.

 

She kissed him eagerly. When next they parted she questioned, "Andy?"

 

"Over," he sighed.  "And not by my choice, but over for a long time, some months now.  We're just heading in two different directions and I don't care to follow her to congress and be the house husband while she wines and dines.  But that's only a small part of it.  Our idealogies are parting company as we age I guess.  And before you even think it, you are in no way any kind of solace, rebound or anything like that.  I care very much for you.  And you have nothing to do with our break up anyway."

 

"Are you sure she'll see it like that?" CJ asked gently where she was now pressed tightly against him as they danced.

 

"Actually it was more her that wanted it than me--at first.  I wasn't actually resisting, I was just ignoring I guess," he sighed.  "We were just so young when we got married and we tried to grow up together and we grew apart.  Not so hard to understand."  His hand slid down her back to her backside and he encouraged her to press her body as tightly as she could to his.

 

"Are you sure we should be doing this?" CJ whispered in between soft kisses to the side of his neck as they danced.

 

"No I'm not sure we should," he admitted, letting his mouth brush against her check as she worked her own magic.  "But you know what, for the past months since this craziness began I haven't been sure of much.  I mean I'm minding my own business when suddenly someone tells me a New Hampshire economist who got lucky and made governor is going to be the next US President.  And he was right.  So after that, I'm letting myself go with the flow.  And right now, I don't want to think.  I just want to feel."

 

CJ sighed and closed her eyes and followed Toby's lead and for a while all she did was feel. She let her feelings for Toby come close to the surface from where they had been locked away deep inside her.

 

They danced until that piece ended and he led her to the loveseat by the fire.  "I uh...I don't have any preconceived notions about tonight.  So why don't we just see what happens.  Right now I think another glass of champagne and have them get dinner up here would be good.  OK?"

 

"It sounds like a good plan to me so far," CJ smiled.

 

"Right now just to be away from the campaign is heaven.  Do you realize I'm going to sleep tonight and Leo is not going to call me once.  I've forgotten how to act."

 

"I'm glad my role isn't quite that bad yet. It's taking some getting used to though and it is gearing up," CJ admitted, "I think it's exciting."

 

"History being made," Toby confirmed, getting up to answer the door.  "Thanks I've got it."  He brought the cart in, the smell of beef tenderloin and garlic mash potatoes filling the room.  "And do you realize we're going to eat and not have Sam and Leo arguing over our heads about a speech."

 

CJ smiled, "About time too." She sat down and smiled as he uncovered the plates. Then they began to eat their dinner. "Wow, this is wonderful," she remarked, "so, what happens next?" she asked conversationally and as he jerked his head up she caught his meaning and she blushed, "I meant with the campaign."

 

"We go to the convention and he makes a speech that they'll never forget," he grinned, reaching over with his napkin wrapped finger to wipe a spot of sauce from the corner of her mouth.  "And for the rest of the night we can not talk about it maybe?  I'm campagned out.  This is about you and me tonight."

 

CJ's eyes darkened, "Okay...what about you and me?"

 

"About you and me and being together and maybe scratching an itch we've both had.  And I'm not talking sex here though I wouldn't turn it down if you offered," he added with his eyes twinkling.  "I think we complete each other."

 

"But Andy, Toby...you're still married in the eyes of God," CJ protested with sorrow.

 

"Yeah I know.  And that's adultery, and it's a sin," Toby nodded.  "You're right--thank you.  But we can still have tonight, just being together."

 

CJ smiled, "that I think my conscience can handle."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"She always thought we had slept together," CJ said, "she threw dishes at me."

 

"We should have.  I wanted to." Toby admitted.  "But I didn't want to pressure you when it didn't feel right for you.  I know she attacked you, and I'm sorry.  But you were in no way the cause of the break up.  It was there long before you were."

 

CJ returned a soft smile, "and now in Feburary we'll be married. I wanted to that night also, very much, but I knew I never would have felt right about it...and if you and Andy had worked things out..."

 

"Not a snowball's chance.  I didn't want to before I met you, and after I sure didn't" he declared.  "You and I are going to be married.  And we're going to have that baby--and I don't care what we have to do to make that happen.  Either thing."

 

CJ smiled and cuddled closely against him then.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Everyone said goodbye to Ellie and Colin who returned home with surrogate agents until Casey healed. Then they all took Air Force One back to DC.

 

"Good to be back," Josh said as they deplaned onto the tarmac. "Nice to get away and good to return." He helped Donna down the steps carefully and saw Sam behind him doing the same with Ainsley.

 

"Well what happens now?" Josh asked with his quick grin, still holding tightly to Donna and making sure Sam had Ainsley.  "Other than a re-election, weddings, and new babies?"

 

"Isn't that enough?" CJ called down from where she was still making her way down the stairs.

 

"More than," Josh declared, casting a worried eye to Donna and her enlarging baby mound.  "And now it's back to the Wing and a pile of work.  Goodie."

 

"Thanks for the reminder," Sam moaned.

 

CJ laughed and playfully thumped him in the arm as the group piled into the limos.

 

THE END

Chapters: 1

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