RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: I don't own West Wing or related characters. I own the one you
don't recognize.
NOTES: I just thought of this on a whim. Gotta give the love to Toby. Make no
mistake: This is Toby/Newbie and CJ/Danny, but I don't plan any sequels . . I
think. I guess it depends on reactions.
~~~~~~~~ denotes flashbacks
SUMMARY: A friend from CJ and Toby's past illustrates the connection they
share.
SPOILER: "What Kind of Day Has It Been" and "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen"

Julie couldn't breathe very well. She had to though. She was worried as
hell and they weren't letting her in. She paced in front of the security
desk, wringing her hands. Did they really think she was going to hurt
someone? She just wanted to see her friends, to make sure for herself that
they were alive and breathing. It had been so long since she'd seen them, she
needed to feel them in her arms. Of course, one of them wouldn't allow that,
but she could at least see him.
"What did you say your name was again?" The guard asked. Julie looked at
him.
"Juliet Hawthorne." She repeated eagerly, hoping this meant she could
finally get in. He checked a list and then talked into the phone again.
Finally he hung up and looked at her.
"Wait here a moment. Miss Cregg is on her way." He replied. Julie
breathed a sigh of relief and nodded. CJ was on her way. CJ was alive,
walking around, on her way. Julie started to pace again, thinking about the
days when the three of them used to hang out and have fun all the time. So
many things had changed since then. Julie had had to say good-bye to CJ and
then she truly messed things up with Toby. God, would he hate her for coming?
"Julie." A weak voice exclaimed. Julie turned and met CJ's gaze. Without
words, she moved forward and hugged her friend tightly. CJ hugged her back,
chuckling very weakly.
"Don't scare me like that, kiddo." Julie said softly before stepping back.
"It's okay. I'm okay. I hit my head, but I'm intact. What are you doing
here? Did you come all the way down here because of this?" CJ asked, actually
quite touched. She hadn't seen Julie in nearly twenty years, and now it was
as if nothing had ever changed.
"I was in Dover to talk to some guys about a prospect when I heard the
news. I didn't even stop to think. I got here as soon as I could. Are you
sure you're okay? I mean, this is... Such a thing, CJ." Julie exclaimed
weakly. CJ nodded and took Julie's hands in hers.
"I know. I'm glad you're here. I'm a little busy, so I can't talk long,
but I'm glad you're here." CJ replied with a weak smile. Julie nodded and
then hesitated. CJ already knew the question. "He's okay too. He'd probably
love to see you." She said softly. Julie smiled weakly and shook her head.
"It ended badly between us, CJ, a long time ago. I mean, I would love to
see him, to know that he's truly okay, but I'm going to have to live with
your word for it." She said softly.
"Or not." A soft male voice called out. Julie turned and saw Toby
standing in the hallway doorframe. He looked so good. He'd aged about sixteen
years, but he still looked like Toby. Julie looked at him with tears in her
eyes and nodded slowly.
"You're okay." She whispered. He nodded and moved towards her. CJ backed
away as he pulled their old friend into his arms. Julie hugged him tightly
and buried her face in his shoulder. "Thank God you're okay."
"One of my friends is hurt." He whispered.
"I know. I know, but..." Julie paused. "The way I hear it, Josh Lyman
is a tough guy."
"You're here." Toby stated softly. Julie pulled away to look him in the
eye.
"Of course." She replied. He hugged her again.
"I'm glad." He said softly. He needed someone, someone who understood
him, someone to hold him and tell him it was okay. CJ smiled and just waited.
"That means a lot to me." Julie whispered. "I just had to see you guys,
to know for myself that you were okay." Toby nodded and looked at CJ. The two
of them had been through so much in the past twenty-four hours. Now the
presence of their old friend helped them realize how much had brought them to
this point.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"You know, it occurs to me that you're an idiot." CJ teased. Toby rolled
his eyes and sat down opposite his tall friend at the table. Julie chuckled
and put her glass back on the table.
"He's a political operative. The two things are synonymous, aren't they?"
She asked with a grin. Toby glared at her, earning a small pout in return. He
rolled his eyes and chuckled.
"See, now why can't I do that?" CJ asked. The three twentysomethings
chuckled under the California sun and relaxed in each other's company.
"You can, but not with him. The thing about Toby Ziegler is that he's
only susceptible to the charm of whichever lucky girl gets to kiss him on the
cheek at the end of the day." Julie replied. Toby blushed a little and
flashed her a look. Julie smiled and kissed him on the cheek. He blushed even
more and looked at his hands. CJ laughed and shook her head.
"In the meantime..." Toby started, desperate to shift the attention
off of him. "What are we going to do? I mean, CJ, you're gonna do what?"
"I think I got a lineup for a job at this good PR firm. It's what I've
always aimed to do." CJ reminded him. Toby nodded.
"He's got a job working for a senatorial campaign." Julie said proudly.
Toby waved his hands and sighed.
"Which is amazing, considering my record." He muttered.
"You've worked on two campaigns so far, Tobe. Third time's the charm."
Julie assured him with a smile. He smiled weakly back and looked at CJ, who
nodded her agreement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"He was just sitting there, holding his chest, this eerie look on his
face." Toby said softly as he leaned back against the couch. Julie was
sitting next to him, her legs drawn up on to the couch as she listened to him
intently. He stared at the ceiling and sighed. "I thought my heart was
breaking. I thought... I thought he was dying. I couldn't breathe. I
called for a doctor and... but I couldn't breathe." He whispered. Julie
just nodded. He looked at her.
"I saw the news..." She started slowly. "I mean, it's been sixteen
years since we talked, but I had to see for myself. I thought... I thought
you wouldn't see me, because of all that happened, but I had to try. I had to
see that you were okay. Part of me just couldn't believe it without seeing
it. I'm so sorry your friend was hurt." She whispered finally. He nodded and
pulled her against his chest again.
"I hope... I mean, he'd better be okay." Toby said softly, not wanting
to talk of the past. Julie nodded and hugged him close.
"He will be." She whispered. Toby smiled weakly.
"You promise?" He asked. She chuckled.
"Yeah, I promise." She said, giving into the old inside joke.

"CJ?" A soft, familiar voice asked through the doorway. CJ looked up and
met Danny's gaze. "I know things have been so frenzied lately, and I'm sorry
for the way I've been acting."
"It's okay. You were doing your job." CJ said softly. Danny hesitated and
then moved inside her office.
"Yeah, I was, but I should have asked you. I should have been there for
you. I guess I was just thrown off course, and staying in this professional
state of mind helped me... I don't know, dissociate." He explained quickly
but CJ just smiled and waved her hands to silence him.
"It's okay. I mean, a lot has been going on. I understand, Danny. I do."
She assured him quietly. With that she stood up and walked to him. "It's a
hard thing, a tough thing, and we all just have to find our own way to deal
with it." She added. Danny smiled weakly and nodded.
"So how *are* you doing?" He whispered weakly. She smiled and just hugged
him.
"I'm not even sure." She replied.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"So this is it, you guys." CJ said with a smile as she stood in the
airport terminal. Julie smiled and hugged her six foot tall friend, coming
about three inches shorter. Then she stepped back while Toby followed suit
hesitantly. He was never really good with hugging people.
"This isn't it. It's just see you next time." Julie said with a weak
smile as she felt Toby's arm slip around her waist. "I mean, sure, a
continent separates us, but that doesn't matter. We'll see you in three
weeks, right?"
"That's right." Toby added. CJ smiled and looked at the terminal sign.
"You two do right, okay?" She said weakly. Julie smiled and leaned into
Toby. He smiled weakly and nodded.
"Three weeks." Julie said as Toby pulled her gently towards the plane.
"Three weeks." CJ repeated with a grin. Julie smiled and went with her
fiancÚ.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Toby opened his eyes and looked around. It was morning and he was still
in his office. He had made it to Wednesday. He looked at his couch and saw
Julie sleeping on the cushions. She'd always been a peaceful sleeper, but she
didn't look as much right now. She was frowning in her sleep, tossing a
little, her face contorted in worry. He glanced at the clock and saw that it
was near five thirty. So much for it being morning. He looked at her again
and found her eyes meeting his.
"Bad dreams?" He asked softly. She sat up and rubbed her eyes as she
nodded. He got up and moved to sit next to her. "Do you remember them?" He
asked as she leaned against his side without thinking.
"I dreamt I was there, but that I coiuldn't move." She said softly after
a pause. "I dreamt that you and CJ were both shot... I couldn't get to you
guys..." She trailed off with a shudder. He held her close and kissed her
head. She buried her face in his chest and let him hold her.
"I'm glad you're here, Julie. I'm glad you didn't let the past get in the
way. A lot of things happened sixteen years ago. I'm just...I'm glad to
have someone to talk to that I don't have to worry about as much as I do CJ
or Josh. I know you're okay. I know you're going to be okay. I'm just so
scared that none of the rest of us are." Toby said softly as he rested his
chin on her head. "I know that I hurt you, but I want you to know that right
now, this moment... You're my rock." He whispered. Julie closed her eyes
and nodded.
"I'll always be there for you, Toby. Whenever you need me. However you
need me." She whispered. Toby looked into her eyes.
"Don't say that unless you mean it." He whispered with a playful twinkle
in his eye. She smiled in recognition.
"I never say anything I don't mean." She whispered back. He smiled and
nodded. Silence passed between them for a moment. And then Toby leaned
forward and gently kissed her. A little surprised, Julie kissed him back
willingly as the kiss deepened and he pulled her closer.

CJ looked at the old picture. It was wrinkled and faded, but the faces
were still there. Two females and one male. The man, about twenty-five years
old, was looking off somewhere in the distance, a sort of annoyed look on his
face. The older of the two women was also the shorter of the two, hanging on
the man's shoulder with a playful smirk on her face. And then the third
woman, CJ knew all too well. Or she thought she did. She was never sure.
How had things changed so much? When they were in their twenties, the
world was ahead of them and they were going to seize the day. They were going
to rule the world. After Monday night, it seemed the world ruled them. What
would happen, now, she wasn't even sure. She hadn't slept in nearly three
days. The thoughts and memories kept flooding back in different forms. She
could remember the day that Toby had come to bring her on to the campaign.
She could remember when the three weeks had come and gone, and the three of
them had been together again. She could remember drifting apart. She could
remember winning the presidency. She could remember seeing Julie's name in
the bookstore and being proud of her writer friend.
But she had never known what had happened between Toby and Julie. She
just knew that one day, Julie had disappeared. And that's when the knots of
friendship had really become untied.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Toby!" CJ called through the crowd. It had been four months since she
last saw her friend and when he'd called to say that his candidate was coming
to California for a few days, she was more than happy to hear it. She was a
bit confused that he didn't say anything about Julie or the wedding date, but
still, she looked forward to seeing them again.
"Hey, CJ." He said solemnly. It was then she noticed he was alone.
"Where's Julie?" She asked, a bit confused.
"She's not here." Toby said almost coldly. "And she's not coming."
"I don't understand. What happened?" CJ asked weakly.
"We broke up, CJ, and she disappeared. I haven't heard from her in weeks,
okay? Don't ask, please. Just... talk to me. What's going on with you?" He
asked weakly. CJ paused.
"Toby..." She said hesitantly.
"I can't talk about it, CJ. I can't, okay? It's complicated and I'm
sorry." He replied before she could finish her thought. CJ hesitated and then
nodded.
"Okay. Come on. Let's get some lunch." She said softly and then led the
way while Toby just nodded and followed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Ginger, where's Toby?" CJ asked as she entered the communications
bullpen. "Is Julie still here?"
"He went home, and no, she's not. The First Lady dropped by and ordered
him to go home and sleep." Ginger replied. "And last I heard, she was on her
way to tell you the same thing."
"I must have just missed her." CJ said with a smirk. "Thank God."
"I heard that." Abbey's voice exclaimed. CJ smiled and faced her boss's
wife.
"Good morning, Mrs. Bartlet. How's the President doing?" CJ asked
hopefully, trying to avoid the order and find out how the President was doing
in the same move. Abbey paused.
"He's up and walking about. He's coming home in about an hour." She
replied finally. CJ hesitated.
"And Josh?" She asked uncertainly.
"He woke up last night. Said 'what's next'." Abbey said with a weak
smile, not realizing that this CJ already knew. "They've got him stabilized
for the moment and it looks good."
"That's really good news." CJ said, more to herself than anyone else.
Abbey nodded.
"And you still need your rest. Go home, CJ. There's nothing else you can
do today. Senior staff gets the day off today. If anything important happens,
you'll be called." She said sternly.
"With all due respect, Mrs. Bartlet. I'd prefer to stay here. I mean, if
I went home, I'd be alone, and I really would rather not be. I feel better
here, working and trying to--" CJ felt she had a leeway when Abbey
interrupted.
"There's no work to be done, CJ. Now we're just going to take a 24 hour
break. Leo and the President both agreed. I understand that you don't want to
be alone, but you seriously need sleep or you're no good to anyone." She
said, halfway between the caring mother mode and the doctor mode. CJ paused
and then nodded.
"You have a point, ma'am. I just..." She said weakly.
"Why don't you go up to the residence? You can sleep in one of our many
"guest" rooms and you'll still be here. Okay?" Abbey suggested. CJ smiled
weakly and nodded.
"That sounds good, Ma'am." She replied.
"Oh, please. Call me Abbey." The first lady replied before taking CJ's
arm and leading her towards the residence.

TBC...

 

Forgiven - 2

 

 

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