the west wing. cj/toby. 1100 words. this is for martyr4mylove4u. i'm not sure if it's in character and frankly, i'm nervous as all hell about it but let me know what you think. she’s known him longer than anyone else in her phone book. this is future! fic loosely following the canon ideas of where cj and toby ended up after the show finishes.
There’s a wedding.
She can’t remember whose, actually, (maybe Donna, maybe) but it’s enough years down the road that missing him seems acceptable. Of course, he didn’t leave the country and she still goes up to New York from time to time, so she still sees him; he still has a face and she still has eyes and occasionally the two will intersect.
All the same, it feels like it’s been years. She’s sitting alone at the table and drumming her fingers along the end of it and she isn’t wearing her wedding ring, then, she doesn’t know why and someone introduces them like they are strangers and Toby doesn’t bother to correct them just stands there with this grin on his mouth and says it’s nice to meet you.
“I’m sure it is.”
The woman looks between them and doesn’t see anything at all and in a minute she is gone. Toby raises his eyebrows.
“You look good.”
She wants to say he does too, but she’s never been one for niceties and truth be told: he looks like hell with the red lines across his eyes and half smile, chin tucked into his collar and he looks like a different kind of hell than he used to.
It’s unfamiliar; it’s new and it’s unfamiliar and they’re all too old for this, aren’t they, so she swallows and “Yeah, you too.”
Toby laughs like he doesn’t believe her.
It all started with him, even when it didn’t—
Her dress was wet and she was climbing out of the pool (and she knows he was looking, okay) and he offered her a job and that job became her career and that’s where it all started.
She’s known him longer than anyone else in her phone book.
“Want a drink?”
“Oh, I—“ She actually can’t remember. Must be the wine. “He’s on a job.”
“Ah. Oh, the life of a reporter’s wife. Married to his job, those men are.”
He looks pleased with himself as if he has just made a joke. She reaches forward and takes his drink. It goes down a little sharp.
“How’ve you been, Toby?”
“Oh, you know,” – she passes him the empty glasses and he turns over the stem in his fingers—“The same.”
“Do I really know anymore, Toby?”
Once in the office, it was late at night, sometime after the shooting and she needed papers on something, Asia Pacific, maybe and it wasn’t a good day for anyone on the job. So, after they sat on the couch with the lights low, there was takeout and neither of them felt like going home.
“You know, something, CJ?”
Her mouth was full so she nodded and maybe he saw that, maybe he didn’t. It was dark.
“You’re—“ the words twist around his mouth, “You’re a good friend.”
It’s not much with Toby. It never takes very much.
They are not friends because they both work for the president, they are friends because they are CJ and Toby and that’s got to carry over, somehow.
She’s not sure how it happens but sometime between the bar and an ill advised turn on the dance floor, they end up at a hotel room with her skirt pushed up around her hips and his fingers fitting into the creases of the fabric as he fucks her.
“We’re okay, aren’t we, CJ?”
His beard leaves red marks across the column of her throat. She realizes there is something of a history when you have sex with your best friend, even if it has never happened before.
After the leak, she went to his house. There was a fight and it was loud and she was angry at him and she was angry for him.
His eyes were lined with red then too, when he looked up at her.
“I fucked up, didn’t I?”
“Yeah. Yeah, you did.”
She serves it to him, straight always. Maybe that was always the appeal.
“You’re not a traitor, you know.”
This is probably the wrong kind of pillow talk. They never get anything right.
"I bet teaching agrees with you."
"You always kind of liked bossing people around."
He does a mock frown of disappointment. It's a little comical.
"No, really-- I'm sure you're good at it. You would be. The whole brooding professor thing."
He reaches over the bed and lights a lamp and they both looks older in the light, it plays across his face in a strange way. He’s not smiling but there’s no regret there either.
“I heard you have a kid, now.”
“Something like that.”
“Danny’s got to be happy.”
“Is he a good housewife, CJ?”
She’s not sure when the bitterness snuck in but it’s a kind of signal. Her legs swing over the side of the bed. She dresses very quietly.
He doesn’t ask her to stop or stay.
He tried to give her a talk after election, round one, Bartlett.
“There’s a lot of crap in this line of work, you know.”
She turned around her chair, set her elbows on the desk and gave him the very first pilot performance of the stare that’s been stopping reporters and diplomats in their tracks for years now.
“I know, kid.”
They might not be the same but they stand on the same footing. It’s not about job descriptions, it’s about respect.
He didn’t try to talk down to her again. She wouldn’t let him.
When she reaches the door, she turns around. He is lying supine on the bed with his eyes up to the ceiling and the white sheets up to his waist.
It is not anything like she ever thought it would be, nothing at all and she isn't sure what to say to him right now because it's Toby and a hotel room and she is married. She isn't that woman. Except that she is.
"You're an ass, you know."
It sounds more like I miss you than it was supposed to.