RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: I don't own West Wing or related characters. I own the one you
don't recognize.
NOTES: See Part 1 ~~~~~~~~ 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"

Toby opened his eyes and glanced at the clock. Well, six hours wasn't too
bad. His dreams weren't haunted as they were before. He felt like he'd
actually slept peacefully. He had dreamt of the past; of meeting CJ and Julie
back when he was still a young man.
They'd met out of college. He was working on a governor campaign as a
sort of lackey. CJ was in her last semester, working to become a PR
specialist. Julie had graduated with many different interests, and had come
into his office looking to interview the candidate. Toby didn't take much
notice of her then until later when he'd accidentally, and quite literally,
ran into CJ on a college campus. CJ had fallen down, bumping into Julie and
knocking *her* down.
Julie had been there for an alumni event. CJ was attending the place.
Toby was there for a speech that his boss was giving. He'd never made it to
the speech. It didn't matter. The guy lost anyway. Nothing could have made
him win. He was a prick and the world could see it. Instead of going, he'd
stopped to make sure they were both all right, recognized Julie and
introduced himself to CJ. Since then, they'd just been friends. That's just
the way it was. CJ was with a guy named Max back then, and was overjoyed when
he and Julie hooked up. When she broke up with Max, they were both there for
her, and the friendship endured.
Then... After four years, they moved away. He'd asked Julie to be his
wife and she went with him to New Jersey to help another prick run for
senator. CJ had stayed in California to become what she'd always wanted to
be. In New Jersey, he and Julie found an apartment. And then... Then. Toby
thought about that day... Everything changed that day. He looked down at
his side and kissed Julie's forehead. She murmured in her sleep and snuggled
closer to him. He smiled and rested his chin against her head.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Julie?" Toby called as he entered the apartment. Julie looked up and
smiled at him.
"Hey, babe. How was your day?" She asked as she got up and moved to greet
him. He shrugged and tossed his jacket on the couch. She frowned when she saw
the look on his face. "Hey, what's wrong? What happened?"
"Nothing. Grainer's a jerk. That's all." He muttered and collapsed on the
couch. Julie sat next to him and played with his ear, trying to be comforting.
"Then don't work for him." She suggested.
"It pays." Toby retorted.
"But what happens if he gets elected? I mean, do you really want to see
him in the Senate if he's such an asshole? You've been complaining about him
for a month now, Tobe." Julie pointed out. Toby sighed.
"It's my job to get elected. I can't quit. We need the money." He
exclaimed.
"Your sanity is more important to me than money, Toby." Julie said with a
weak smile. "You and I both know he's not going to get elected."
"I don't know that, no." Toby retorted a little harshly.
"Toby, he's a prick. You know it. You've got to find a candidate *worth*
working for." Julie replied, slightly phased by his tone.
"You know, I'm doing this for us. You could be a little more supportive."
Toby retorted.
"I thought that's what I *was* being. Toby, Grainer is driving you crazy.
You *know* he doesn't deserve to be a senator, so why not find something else
to do until a better candidate comes up. You could write for that radio
program that you listen to all along." Julie suggested.
"I'm a political operative, Julie, not some radio writer who hides behind
the scenes. I can't do anything on the radio. If Grainer gets elected, he'll
put me on his staff and then I can help him change the world, even if he's a
jerk when no one's looking." Toby replied, sitting up straight and looking at
her. "This is what I do. Politics is full of assholes, and part of working in
there is doing what I have to in order to get the job done."
"I understand that, Tobe, but if he drives you crazy, what good are you
gonna do this country? You're gonna be crazy." Julie pointed out with a weak
smirk. Toby rolled his eyes and got to his feet. Julie watched him as he
started to pace.
"You don't understand." He said as he crossed the room and turned back.
"Then help me understand." She pleaded softly. "Use your words, Toby, the
ones you use so well, and help me understand why you have to work for a guy
who should *not* represent this state or this country, and who drives you a
little bit more insane everyday. Help me understand why you can't do
something else until a better opportunity comes along."
"Because this is what I do!" Toby replied. "I get people elected!"
"Forgive me for saying so, Toby, but you haven't done it yet." Julie
retorted. He stopped and glared at her.
"You're not forgiven." He growled.
"Oh, Toby, this is stupid, okay? You wanna work for Grainer, and go
insane, fine, do that. Don't take it out on me." Julie exclaimed as she got
to her feet and headed out of the room.
"Where are you going?" Toby snapped.
"I've got a meeting." Julie replied calmly as she fished her jacket out
of the closet.
"With who?" He demanded.
"Bill Stackhouse." She replied.
"The candidate for governor?" Toby said as he stopped in his tracks.
"Yeah, the candidate for governor, Tobe. I told you about this last
night." She replied as she looked at him.
"What are you doing talking to Stackhouse?"
"We're talking about his campaign. He wants me to do a thing."
"I don't like Stackhouse." Toby declared as he sat down at the table.
"Good for you, Toby. I don't like Grainer." Julie replied as she gathered
her notebook and pens. He glared at her.
"Well, maybe you should just run off with Stackhouse then." He snapped.
She rolled her eyes.
"Whatever, Toby." She said softly and headed for the door. Toby looked at
the table as he heard the door open and close again. Ten minutes later, he
got up and went to the nearby bar to get drunk.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll please take your seats." CJ called as
she took her place at the podium. "We have to make this one short and sweet.
Things are starting to calm down a little, so can we please keep it that
way?" She said with a weak smile. The reporters took their seats and watched
the press secretary carefully. Danny watched her the most of all.
"First, the President is resting safely. He was released from the
hospital at eleven fifteen this morning and made it safely back to the White
House. He plans to return to work tomorrow. Yes, he is in full control." CJ
said before the question could be asked. "Second, Joshua Lyman has been
placed in a hospital room. His condition has been upgrade to stable. He has
woken up and spoken to the President. He's currently resting at GW hospital."
"CJ!"
"CJ!"
"CJ!"
"Quick question, CJ!"
"Oh, fine. Steve." CJ called.
"What about the suspect in secret service custody?" Steve asked. "Is
there any information you can give us?"
"No. Jack." CJ replied, moving quickly. Steve sighed and scribbled on his
notepad.
"What can you tell us about the canopy issue?" Jack called, addressing an
issue brought up by another reporter.
"Secret service doesn't comment on procedure. Danny." CJ called.
"What has been the general response from the field about the shooting?
Has the White House been receiving calls and visits whereas they haven't
before?" Danny asked, his question purposely vague.
"Yes, that goes without saying. We've been receiving the regards and good
wishes from people around the world." CJ said, a little confused.
"Is it true that political writer and critic Juliet Hawthorne has come to
the White house?" Danny asked. CJ paused. She'd forgotten how high-profile
Julie had become over the years.
"She is one of the many people who have dropped by, yes. Last question.
Katie." CJ called.
"What is going to be first on the President's agenda, now that he's back
at work?" Katie asked.
"We have mid term elections coming up and naturally we will be looking at
the aftermath of the events of this last Monday." CJ replied. "That's it for
right now. I'll talk to you later." She said quickly before moving out of the
room. She hoped Danny was on her trail so she ask him why he mentioned Julie.
Her hopes were answered.
"Hey, CJ, are you okay? You get some sleep?" Danny asked as he leaned in
through the door.
"Yes, and yes. Why did you ask about Hawthorne?" CJ asked.
"Because she's a prominent member of the political written world and I
wanted to know if she was really here or not. It makes a better image for her
and for the White house that so many people, so many *powerful* people are so
touched by this one thing. I wanted to verify a source." Danny replied as he
sat down on her couch. "Why, you know her?" CJ smiled weakly.
"Just make yourself comfortable, why don't you?" She teased and sat next
to him. He smiled and snuggled back into the couch.
"Thank you, I think I will." He replied playfully.

"Welcome back, Toby." Ginger exclaimed as her boss strolled in the door.
He grunted and went into his office. She smiled weakly and sat back down at
her desk. Toby leaned out the door again.
"How you doing, Ginger?" He asked absentmindedly as he thumbed through
his messages. She looked at him, a little surprised.
"I'm doing okay. How about you?" She asked. He looked at her and smiled a
little.
"Not too bad." He replied. "What do I have to do today?"
"You have a staff meeting in about twenty minutes. The President's back
and he wants to 'roll up his sleeves' apparently."
"He always wants to roll up his sleeves. As long as it's only his
sleeves, I'm fine with that. Ginger, I want you to block off an hour for me
at lunchtime and then everything else, I live to your caution." Toby ordered
before going back into his office while Ginger did as she was told.
Toby sat down at his desk and then looked around his office. He nearly
jumped when he saw that he had a visitor. "You're quiet, you know that?" He
declared. CJ shrugged and leaned forward.
"I just wanted to talk to you." She said finally. He nodded.
"About what?" He asked.
"The shooting. Josh. Us. Julie. This office. The past. The future.
Danny--" CJ started to ramble.
"Okay, so you want to talk about a lot of things, most of them personal.
And you wanna do this now?" Toby asked. CJ rolled her eyes and stood up.
"No, we don't have to do this now, but I want to remind you of several
things. One, Julie is fairly high-profile now, when she wasn't then. If
things happen,--" CJ started.
"CJ, I really don't need this talk." Toby said softly.
"Okay." CJ paused. "Second, Julie's my friend and I'd really like to
know, as a friend, if my friends, you know, decide --"
"CJ, I really don't need this talk." Toby repeated with a smirk. CJ
smiled weakly. "I honestly don't know if anything's going to happen. I know
that something has already, but... these things are fuzzy." CJ nodded.
"Don't I know it." She murmured.
"Danny?" Toby asked, raising an eyebrow. CJ shrugged, a little
embarrassed. Toby paused. "CJ, I know we were all a lot closer twenty years
ago, and I know that when Julie and I went through our . . thing, you were
hurt. I'm sorry about that. I am. I'm also sorry that things have gotten so
complicated."
"It's not your fault, Toby." CJ said softly.
"If only you knew... how much it was, CJ." Toby said softly. CJ
frowned and then nodded. "If people want to know about me and Julie, tell
them what you will. The fact is that we're... exploring."
"Exploring. Well, I'll have to come up with something more pressworthy,
but in the meantime, I'm glad." CJ said with a weak smile.
"And you can explore too, you know?" Toby added. "We'd both be very happy
if you did." He added with a smirk. CJ blushed a little.
"You just stick to your own exploring." She retorted. There was a pause.
"You doing okay?"
"I'm a bit sore, but I'm okay." He admitted. "I talked more than I've
ever talked before. She listened, and it was nice, and I guess I said a lot
more than I'm used to saying." Toby replied. "How about you? How's your head?"
"It's better than it was." CJ replied honestly. "Maybe I should use Julie
as a sounding board."
"She's good at that." Toby said softly.
"Toby." CJ asked.
"Yeah?"
"Did you screw it up?"
"Yeah."
"Okay." CJ said before leaving. Toby smiled weakly and leaned back in his
chair.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Toby, is that you?" Julie asked as she wiped the sleep from her eyes.
Toby blinked a few times and looked around the room.
"Possibly." He slurred.
"Oh, God. So that's where you went." She said as she got up and walked
towards him.
"I went out and had a good time." He exclaimed drunkenly and took a
tentative step forward. It was tentative enough to send him stumbling to the
floor. Julie grabbed her robe and moved to his side.
"Yeah, a good time, huh." She muttered.
"How was Stackhouse?" He asked in an accusitory tone.
"He was just fine." She retorted. "Let's get you up." She added as she
took his arm. He shook her off and climbed to his feet.
"Just fine." He slurred. "Fine."
"Toby, just get into bed. You'll feel better tomorrow." Julie said as she
tried to take off his jacket.
"I feel fine!" He retorted. "I feel better than I have in ages. For once,
I went out, on the town, just let myself go and didn't worry about a thing."
"That's good. I'm glad you did that." Julie said softly. "I wish you
could have done that without getting drunk."
"What, I'm not good enough for you, huh?" Toby asked drunkenly. "My
methods are my methods. If you loved me, you would accept me for who I am."
"I love you, Toby, but this is not who you are." Julie retorted. "You're
better than this. You're better than all of this."
"I'm not!" Toby exclaimed as he leaned against the wall. "This is what I
am. This is what I deserve to be."
"That's not true." Julie said softly, trying not to let the tears come to
her eyes.
"You're better than this." Toby said finally. "You're better than me.
You're better than this whole thing. You should leave." He added. "You should
leave and find the life that you deserve."
"But I don't want to leave, Toby. This is the life that we chose to
share, isn't it? Through thick and thin." Julie replied.
"It's too thin." Toby replied before stumbling out of the room. Julie sat
down on the bed and rubbed her eyes. What was she doing? Everyday, Toby just
drifted further and further away. This was the worst she'd ever seen him, and
she wasn't even sure why.
When Toby woke up the next morning, he was on the couch. He didn't
remember getting a blanket, but he had found one covering him, tucked around
him with a tender touch, he could tell. Julie... he'd yelled at her. He
had to talk to her. He started to get up when he saw the envelope on the
table. And he didn't have to read it. He didn't need to.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It's about time you got here." A friendly, authoritative voice exclaimed
as Toby and CJ moved through the doors. Toby smiled weakly.
"I'm tempted to say that it's good to see you back on your feet again,
sir, but then again, I wouldn't want to lie." He said as he closed the door
and moved further into the room. Jed chuckled.
"I know you don't mean that, Toby. It's good to see you guys too." Jed
replied as he put a hand on Toby's shoulder.
"It is good to see you up and about, Mr. President, and back to your
normal self." CJ exclaimed.
"I guess no one told you, I was never anyone other than myself." Jed said
with a grin.
"He was making jokes in the emergency room. Not good ones, but he was
doing it." Leo added.
"That's comforting. Maybe we'll get through this whole thing after all."
CJ replied.
"Of course we will." Sam said softly. Everyone looked at the young man
who had yet to say anything in a long while.
"Of course we will." Jed repeated. "Come on. Let's get down to business."
He said with a grin. "If we're all ready?"
"Yes, sir." Came the unianimous response.

TBC... .

 

Forgiven - 3

 

 

Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings