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 walked through the hallways, deep in thought. He was drowning in
memories of the past, the past of twenty years ago, and the past of three
days ago, the past of his entire life flashing through his mind. A life that
he'd done what with? For years, he was constantly pushing people away. He
pushed his family away. He pushed Julie away. He pushed Andy away. He pushed
everyone away. He was still doing it. He was tempted to do it now.
As he turned into the communications bullpen, he saw Julie talking to
Ginger. He saw her laugh. He felt the years disappear and the urge to push
her away went with it. He moved forward and joined the conversation.
"Now, Ginger, do we have a trespassing visitor?" He asked as he stepped
forward and absentmindedly slipped an arm around Julie's waist. It was as if
things had never changed. He was twenty-five years old again, the past
becoming the future, one in which he wouldn't screw up.
"Yes, but at least she's charming and she makes you a bit more
tolerable." Ginger retorted, noting the arm around the waist.
"Well, if that's not a compliment, I don't know what is." Julie replied
with a smile.
"Well, now I have to steal her, so Ginger, go back to whatever you're
doing." Toby ordered as he pulled Julie into his office and closed the door.
As soon as he heard the click of the latch, he pulled her against his body
and pressed his lips to hers. She responded quickly as he pressed her against
the door, kissing her rather deeply.
"Um, it's good to see you too." She whispered when they finally broke
apart.
"I just realized something." Toby said softly before kissing her gently.
"What's that?" She asked just as softly.
"I realized that I was a jerk to you. A long time ago." He said
seriously. She opened her mouth to say something but he stopped her with a
gentle finger pressed to her lips. "And I don't know what's happening now
except that I'm glad you're here and I honestly hope that you can stay here .
. . forever." He paused as his words hit home. "Years ago, I was struggling
to find out who I was, and in doing so, I screwed everything up. It became a
pattern, Julie, and I still do it today. But I don't want to. I don't want to
stay in this holding pattern, and I need someone to pull me out of it. Two
days ago, my life flashed before my eyes. You were there, Julie. Two things I
saw, caused me regret. One was David, and I'm going to take care of that. The
other was you, and then I saw you at the front desk, and I knew that it meant
that... It meant that it wasn't all lost."
"Toby..." Julie whispered, but stopped when he smiled and pressed her
a little closer to the door.
"Help me. Please. I moved away from happiness, I've been moving for
years. I can't do that anymore. I mean, I can still be the grouchy old guy
that I am, that I can do." He said with a weak smile. "But I want someone to
come home to. I want to talk to someone at the end of the day, to wake up
with someone in the morning. I don't want to be the *lonely* grouchy old guy
anymore."
"Toby, this means a lot. And it's happening very fast." Julie whispered.
"You've just gone through this incredibly stressful thing, and people tend to
make hasty decisions in times of stress, decisions that they later regret."
"Do you regret--" Toby started, frowning a little.
"No. The truth is that I want to believe every single word you've just
said, but I don't know if I can. Toby, are you still going to feel this way
next week, next month, next year? Can you promise me that you will?" Toby
paused and then smiled very weakly.
"I promise." He said softly. She smiled weakly back.
"I'm serious. This isn't about promises we can't keep." She whispered.
"You don't know."
"I do." He whispered.
"Do you?" She asked hopefully. He nodded and kissed her gently.
"Yeah, I do." He whispered. "And I promise you, every word I said is
true." He added before kissing her again. Julie closed her eyes and kissed
him back, slipping her arms around his neck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"You know what?" CJ asked as the three of them walked down the pier.
Julie had managed to convince Toby to take the afternoon off so that they
could go to the Santa Monica pier and have some fun.
"No, I honestly don't know, but I assume you're going to tell me." Toby
replied.
"Us. She's going to tell us, silly." Julie interjected. Toby rolled his
eyes playfully and looked at CJ who was chuckling.
"What I was going to say, is that we should do this more often. Toby, you
think you can stay here after your guy loses?" She asked.
"Oh, very funny." Toby growled. Julie laughed and tickled his ear, which
managed to placate him.
"I don't know, CJ. In the long run, we just take it as it comes." Julie
said finally. "I mean, to say anything right now would be to make a promise
we might not necessarily be able to keep."
"Why not? Let's make it our policy to always make promises we might not
necessarily be able to keep." Toby suggested.
"Oh, now there's an idea." CJ retorted.
"I agree with Toby. Let's make it the law." Julie chorused.
"You two are nuts." CJ interjected.
"Only one thing I'm nuts about." Toby retorted before kissing Julie's
neck. CJ smiled as she saw her friend blush.
"I'm just saying, sometimes the truth isn't the best thing to say.
Sometimes it's the most reassuring thing to hear someone make a promise, even
if we all know such a thing is impossible to promise." Julie said, trying to
regain her thoughts. "So what the hell?"
"Okay, so promise me the three of us will always be together." CJ
declared. Julie smiled.
"I promise." She said. Then they both looked at Toby.
"I promise." He said.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CJ looked at the clock and then looked at the wall.
"You know..." A weak voice said. "If you keep doing that... you're
gonna pull... a muscle in your neck..."
"Yes, I knew that." CJ said with a smile as Donna got to her feet behind
her.
"Hey, Josh." Leo exclaimed.
"I'm tired." The patient murmured.
"You should be." Leo replied.
"You've got quite a bit of people worried about you." CJ added as she
glanced over at Donna. Josh moved his eyes to meet his assistant's. She
smiled weakly. Josh smiled weakly back and then looked at CJ.
"How's it going?" He asked weakly.
"Things are going pretty well, especially now that you're back to the
land of the living." She replied.
"And you thought...you could get . . rid of me so easily." Josh said
with a weak smile. Everyone chuckled.
"Josh, I would never want to get rid of you." CJ replied.
"Okay. So things are okay?" He asked.
"Everything's fine." Leo interjected.
"You promise?" Josh asked. Everyone paused.
"We promise, Josh." CJ said finally. She paused. "I promise."

Toby stepped out into the cool air and looked around. He paid the taxi
driver and then walked to the pier. It was a cool night on the East coast,
and he wasn't honestly not sure why CJ had asked him to come here, but he had
a feeling Julie was in on it too. He stepped out on to the wooden dock and
looked around. Then he saw the two women that meant the most to him standing
together on the edge of the pier. He smiled and stepped forward.
"Somehow I think that this is not a good thing." He said softly as he
walked forward. Julie turned and looked at him with a chuckle.
"Since when is it ever?" She asked.
"I'd answer that question, but I don't think it's a proper sentence."
Toby retorted. "CJ, tell me why I'm freezing my ass off on the East coast
shoreline?"
"Because it's been twenty years since the three of us were together as
friends and for crying out loud, I miss it." CJ replied.
"But the thing is--" Julie started. "That things change, and that's a big
deal. She dragged me out here too, Tobe." She added.
"Yeah, well, her heart's in the right place, even if the sentiment puts
me in freezing temperatures." Toby replied. Julie smiled and pulled him into
a hug. CJ chuckled.
"There. I'll keep you warm." Julie teased and pulled his arms around her
waist. "And CJ, I was talking to this guy today, guy I know really well--"
"Hey, CJ." A familiar voice exclaimed. CJ closed her eyes.
"And the way I got it, seeing as how he's a nice good fan, I invited him
along. I mean, he had lots of good, true mind you, things to say about you."
Julie added. Toby poked her in the side.
"Danny, did you sucker in my friend?" CJ asked.
"Technically, she suckered me in." Danny pointed out.
"Come on. Let's have some fun, okay?" Julie suggested. Toby chuckled and
then nodded.
"Yeah, CJ. Let's go back to old times. Danny can tag along." He said
finally. Everyone stared at him in shock. "What?"
"Who are you and what did you do with Toby Ziegler?" Danny asked.
"I stole him." Julie replied. "Enjoy it while you can."
"What she said." Toby added. "Come on." He said and took Julie's hand.
"I'm hungry. Let's go eat something."
"The man was born to lead." Julie said as she pushed CJ into Danny and
followed the other man. Danny slipped his arms around CJ's waist with a grin
and nodded.
"So we going to get something to eat?" He asked softly.
"One of these days, that charm of yours is gonna get *me* killed." She
whispered before moving out of his arms. She grabbed his hand and followed
her two friends. Danny just grinned like an idiot.

THE END

 

 

 

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