"Champagne High"
Rating: PG
Standard disclaimers apply. None of these people are mine, except for Eleanor Cregg and even she's based on things that are not mine. Also not writing for copyright infringement/profit. Writing for *fun,* people.
Title/lyrics copyright whoever owns Sister Hazel's catalog.
Spoilers: Small ones for TSL, TLDC, IED
Author's Note: Danny POV.

I wasn't looking for a lifetime with you
And I never thought it would hurt just to hear
"I do" and "I do"
And I do a number on myself
And all that I thought to be...

It's night time, in the bar of the Madison Hotel. I've just ordered my third Guinness. And it's raining. If I didn't know better I'd say I was living a film noir.

But unfortunately, I'm not.

You see, I have every right to be drinking. There's really nothing else to do when the woman you've had a crush on for years gets hitched.

And she didn't even do it right! That's what burns me. I always envisioned, if I was ever in this situation, that I'd hate the man my crush was marrying. I also thought that I'd sigh, get really drunk and then move on with my life. Well, the drinking part is right.

It sounds obscene, but it doesn't, all at once. I'm completely over the waterfall, complete with barrel. Because I don't hate the man my crush is marrying. He's not my favourite person, but I can't say I hate him. Deep down, Sam Seaborn is a good man. He'll give C.J. what she needs. And he'll give her what I can't give her: idealism and heart. That's the problem. I gave up a lot of my idealism the day I became a White House reporter. I still have some, but Sam's is of a type I've honestly never seen. It's so completely resilient to any of the shit that comes through the White House. And I've seen more crap and heard more than anyone. Well, maybe except a garbage collector. All I can say is, I'm surprised *more* politicians don't take to drinking and/or drugs. Not like I'm disparaging Leo McGarry or anything. The man is a soldier. He's been through several hells. And jeez, what about his daughter? Mallory must be livid.

At any rate, I'm getting off subject. Sam is a good man, and he's good for C.J. But it still sucks, because I can't hate him. I try. I call him a homewrecker and a Casanova and a player, but none of those are true. And for the love of God, I've done him favors. I sat on the story about him and his friend Laurie. The man owes me. I'm feeling very screwed out of repayment. But still. He's not the asshole I sometimes wish he'd be. He's just your average brilliant, Princeton-educated guy with pretty-boy looks and a heart of gold. Damn him.

And for the million hours that we were
Well, I'll smile and remember it all
Then I'll turn and go...
While your story's completed,
Mine is a long way from done...

Also, though, I don't know if I can sigh and move on with my life at this stage. I just don't know. I've been through so much with C.J. I mean, what other woman would grab me in the hall and kiss me. 'Just to get past it.' Right. What other woman would sit back and accept a goldfish as a gift? She loves Gail like a child. And I can still call to mind what happened in her office that day. God, she has a great laugh. Even if she was laughing at me. And I've heard her laughing with Sam recently.


Sometimes I wonder whether I should have accepted the editor's position. It'd have made my life easier, maybe. But I still don't know whether my job should even get in the way of any relationship I might have with her. Oh, I know. Would she leak stories, would I get preferential treatment. Yadda yadda yadda. But I'd like to think that at the very least, the Senior Staff would trust me and C.J. enough to know that nothing of that sort would go on. The happiness of two people isn't worth a hill of beans in this crazy world, but nonetheless I like to fool myself a bit.

I guess I just feel hopeless more than anything. Lonely and hopeless. Like if I struck out on this one, why bother with anyone else? We just seemed so perfect. I meant what I told her a few Christmases ago. "Let's forget about your list, cause I think it's ridiculous. Also cause I've got a crush on you." That moment between us was so electrifying; I can't really do it justice. And the non sequiturs that went along with it... that made it sexier, if that's at all possible. "My secret service name is Flamingo." "I have to feed my fish." Does finding that sexy make me extremely abnormal?

And yet, we can go from that to our last real meeting in the Oval Office, in the span of a few months. It's enough to make you cry. She was so damn distant. And I couldn't do a damn thing.

Still, with the indications I've been getting from the White House, the excrement is about to hit the proverbial rotating oscillator. I don't know what it's about, but I'm getting whispers that something's up with the President. Where will she be then? Do I care? Should I care? I want to protect her, but I'm not sure that I can. I'm not sure I could to begin with. I've kind of stayed out of her way, cause I think the administration needs time to work this out. But maybe he can protect her better than I can. I never thought I'd feel completely inadequate next to *Sam Seaborn.*

Okay, the Guinness is starting to work now.

I'm on a champagne high
Where will I be when I stop wondering why?
On a champagne high
I'd toast to the future, but that'd be a lie...

Josh Lyman once asked me how I really felt about C.J. I know that I like her. She's important to me. But do I love her? How the hell should I know? It's such bullshit that love could ever really be pinned down. It can't be. All I know, clichéd as it sounds, is that I want her to be happy. And if she's happy with Sam, so be it. She'll walk to the figurative plane, and away from the Casablanca that is my life.

She invited me to the wedding, you know that? I know it was her. Sam, for all his sensibilities, is far too conscious of good manners to do it. I'll go, because she asked me to. I'll stand there and I'll toast her at her wedding.

I'll watch her marry him in a cloud of white roses.

And I'll go back to my film noir.



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