"Again"
Category: C.J./Josh
Rating: G
Spoilers: None
Disclaimers: Not mine. Please don't sue. Lyrics/title copyright Janet Jackson.
Feedback: samwest5@hotmail.com
Summary: "I heard from a friend today, & she said you were in town..."
Author's Note: This was just something I zipped off and wanted to publish. Kat,
this one's for you. Call it an atonement for my anti-D.S.S. thread visit today.
And for Rick Mercer. =)

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*
A wounded heart you gave
My soul you took away
Good intentions you had many
I know you did...
*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

Professor Josh Lyman stared idly out the window at the Georgetown rain. Two
long-ass years after the White House and he was still bored.

It wasn't like he wasn't busy. He had plenty of friends, plenty of social
engagements, and of course, Sam was still around. Thank God. Without anyone who
understood his malaise he'd have jumped off a bridge by now.

Even as he mused his telephone rang. "Josh Lyman."

It was someone he hadn't expected to hear from. "Josh, this is Ainsley Hayes."

He swallowed his surprise. "Ainsley. Hello. What's going on?" Ainsley was the
White House Counsel for the new Republican president.

"Not a lot, Josh." Ainsley got right to the point. "Um, I was asked to telephone
you and tell you of an appointment you have."

"Who made this appointment?" Josh asked. "Not my recalcitrant secretary, was
it?" Donna had gone back to school at U.C. Berkeley, and her replacement was
sadly short of the mark.

"No-oo." Ainsley stopped, thinking how to phrase it. "Actually, it was a mutual
friend. She asked Marie to set aside time in your schedule for a lunch date."

"O-kay." Josh couldn't think of anything else to say. "How long has it been
since I've seen this 'mutual friend?' "

"Probably a few years." Ainsley sounded way too pleased with herself, but Josh
couldn't do anything about it.

"Fine," he sighed. "When is the appointment?"

"One o'clock today."

"Okay." Josh hung up, trying to figure out who in hell it could be. Not that he
had a clue. But it was something to pass the time. He had nothing else, after
all.

He picked up the card lying on his desk. Mandy Hampton had invited him to her
wedding. Did it get much worse than that?

Well, maybe. Leo was off in Chicago rusticating. Toby was hard at work on his
latest lost-cause campaign. And C.J.... well, Josh preferred not to think about
that.

He couldn't believe it. C.J., in California, with... *Danny.* After the loss,
she'd said she needed closure. But she'd brought him with her. To work on the
L.A. Times, he'd said. Josh would bet his last dollar it was to work on C.J.

But why did that not sit well with him?

+

Josh arrived at the diner with five minutes to spare, and immediately recoiled
in shock. This was the diner where he'd met Mandy on her first day back on the
Beltway. Now what could that mean?

He would find out, he supposed. But he wasn't so sure it was worth it anymore.
It'd be raising his hopes. And as soon as whoever-it-was left, he'd be back in
the world of his own quotidien boredom.

Only if it was C.J. would any of it be worth it. But it would never be her. She
was off on the other side of the country, with her reporter, and her job. She
probably never gave a thought to her Josh, on the other side of the country,
missing her...

Whoa. Josh caught himself. *Her* Josh? Where had that come from? He had never
been hers. Why had he thought of it?

Oh, yeah. The night he'd wanted to kiss her.

The night they'd lost.

She'd been holed up in a corner, thinking no one could see her tears. He had
wandered in idly, after taking a pillow to task for all their pain and
heartache. He'd said nothing. She'd known he was there anyway. And for all her
pain she was woman enough to know she needed help. And he'd fallen asleep with
her in his arms.

It was that night he made the choice; that choice to give a piece of himself to
her. Josh knew she'd never acknowledge. But he contented himself with the fact
that it was there. And whenever she needed him, so would he be.

This would only be worth it if she walked through that door.

Josh immersed himself in melancholy, brooding of Donna, Leo, Toby, Sam, Bartlet
... her.

He is not unrewarded.

"Josh."

He vaults awake like a drunken man. "C.J...."

She is smiling. Saying nothing, but smiling.

He says it. "Where's Danny?"

She answers simply. "In LA. Where he's going to stay."

Josh's heart surged. "You mean..."

C.J.'s expression remembers that night as well. "I mean that maybe we can start
again."

"Start again." Josh smiles; his dream is here. "I'd like that."

They sit down to dinner and old times, talking of friends and lovers past. But
his hand will remain with hers. They will try to build. And that is a good first
step.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*
Kinda late in the game
And my heart is in your hands
Don't you stand there and then tell me you
love, me, then leave me again
Cause I'm falling in love with you again...
*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

 

 

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