DISCLAIMER: I Do not own any of these characters or *anything* related to the
West wing. "No Matter What" is property of Boyzone, Andrew Lloyd Webber and
the folks behind the film 'Notting Hill' which means it's not mine threefold.
NOTES: See Part 1
SUMMARY: The musical culture carries messages for its listeners, especially
those in the West Wing.

DATE: December 13th, 2000
TIME: 8:13am
LOCATION: The West Wing, The White House, Washington, DC

CJ stared at the newspaper in horror. Pictures of her... and Danny . .
. kissing... before she was ready for it. She'd told Toby about the
relationship, and Josh had guessed quite eagerly. A lot of people knew, but
she still wanted to be the one to tell her friends, not the New York Times.
Now she was staring at herself with her lover and the headlines... well,
at least the headlines didn't suggest any impropriety. 'Washington Press
Leaders Find Love?'
Oh, God.

Danny gulped as he stared at the edition that sat on his desk. He looked
around at the people around him, finding that each of them were either
staring at him with a goofy grin or a sympathetic 'I don't know what to say'
look. What was CJ thinking right now? Had she seen this? He dropped his case
and headed down the hallway. He wasn't sure if this was the best thing he
could be doing, but right now he really didn't care.
"Carol?" He asked weakly.
"I honestly don't know." CJ's assistant replied and gestured to the door.
"Be my guest." She added. He nodded and moved to the door. Knocking gently,
he leaned his head inside.
"CJ?" He asked softly.
"Come on in." She said in an alarmingly professional sounding voice.
Danny moved inside and closed the door behind him.
"You okay?" He asked.
"No, I'm really not. Danny, how did this happen?" She cried, looking at
him finally. "We were careful. We never went anywhere too public and no one
could have found us unless they knew what to look for."
"I don't know how it happened, but does it really matter? I mean, we can
still do this, right?" He asked.
"No! I mean, Danny, the impropriety of this relationship is going to be
so clear to everyone. The Press Secretary and a reporter? They're going to
think I give you tips, they're going to think that one of us took advantage
over the other..." CJ trailed off and hung her head into her hands.
"No one's going to think that, and even if they do, it's not true. Okay?
It's *not* *true* so it doesn't matter." Danny replied.
"It does matter, Danny. The truth means nothing on prime-time news. You
and I both know that. It's about perception, and right now, the easiest thing
to perceive is impropriety!" CJ replied.
"You know, we've been together for six months behind closed doors. You've
talked to Toby and Josh and Leo about our relationship, and they never had
any problems with it." Danny exclaimed. CJ looked at him.
"I never said anything to Leo." She informed him. He frowned.
"You didn't?" He asked.
"No. What made you think I did?" She asked.
"He talked to me about it the other day. Called me into his office to
talk about the appearances and repercussions and whether or not the two of us
were ready to deal with them." Danny explained, a little bewildered.
"I can't believe it." CJ muttered and thunked her head on the desk again.
"After six months, are you really willing to just drop it all because of
a newspaper feature in the New York Times?" Danny asked softly. "Shouldn't we
be able to say to hell with it all, let's be happy? Can't we do that?"
"I don't know." CJ said honestly. Danny sighed and sat down in one of her
"I just want to be with you, CJ. If you don't want to be with me, then
tell me so. I'll do whatever you want." He said softly. She sighed.
"That just makes it harder, like it's all my decision." She muttered.
"It is all your decision, CJ. I know what I want. I told you what I want.
Hell, if Toby and Leo are okay with it, that's got to mean that the President
is okay with it. I'm willing to fight whatever critics we get, and I'm sure
that Toby and the others will help us if it comes to that." Danny said. "In
the long run, you have to want to be with me and you have to want to fight
for our right to be together, no matter what our professions are."
"It's so much more complicated than that." CJ retorted.
"Only because you're making it so much more complicated than that." Danny
replied. Silence filled the room.
"I need to think." CJ said softly. Danny paused and then looked at his
"You want me to leave you alone?" He asked softly. She sighed.
"I don't know." She replied softly. He paused again and then stood up.
"I'll be back soon. I have to go do something." He said softly before
leaving. She watched him go and then leaned her head against the desk, not
knowing what the hell she was going to do.

DATE: December 13th, 2000
TIME: 9:47pm
LOCATION: The same

CJ looked up as Danny moved into her office again, closing the door
behind him. It had been more than an hour since he'd left, and she'd already
been having a hard day that was only going to get worse. Later today, the
staff meeting would most likely focus on her and Danny. The only person she'd
heard from so far today specifically about the feature was Sam, who had said
'way to go' and walked off down the hallway. Now Danny moved over to the
small stereo in her room and put a CD into it. She just watched him as he
worked, pressing a few keys before soft music began to play within the
confines of the room.

No matter what they tell us
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach us
What we believe is true

Danny turned and moved to CJ, taking her hands in his and pulling her
into his arms, still not saying a word. She closed her eyes and leaned her
head against his shoulder as she listened to the words.

No matter what they call us
However they attack
No matter where they take us
We'll find our own way back

"Danny, can we do this?" She asked softly.
"Yes, we can." He replied softly as he held her closer. "It's gonna be
rough, I won't lie to you, but we can do it."

I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
I know I'll love forever
I know no matter what

"I hate to admit it, but I'm almost scared." She admitted softly.
"It's okay to be scared. It's okay to be nervous, angry, happy, all those
things and more. It's what makes us human, CJ, and we need to be human,
especially here, where each day could tear us apart." Danny said softly.
"I don't want to be torn apart." She told him with tears in her eyes.

If only tears were laughter
If only night was day
If only prayers were answered
Then we would hear God say

"The past six months have only been the beginning of the future." Danny
whispered. "We've made it this far. We can make it further. I won't let them
take you away from me. I don't care what it takes. I'll quit my job or
something, but we'll find a way to stay together." CJ looked at him.
"You'd do that for me?" She croaked. Danny smiled weakly.
"I'd do anything for you." He replied softly.

No matter what they tell you
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach you
What you believe is true

CJ couldn't find words after that so she just rested her head against his
shoulder and closed her eyes. So many things were happening to her that she
didn't know what to do or how to feel. She felt safe with Danny but she
didn't know if the world outside of her office would accept that. Too many
things seemed wrong about it. She would never dream of asking him to quit his
job for her, but she was starting to feel like there were no possibilities
for them.
But she didn't want to believe that right now. She just wanted to be
where she was, believing that nothing would change.

And I will keep you safe and strong
And sheltered from the storm
No matter where it's barren
Our dream is being born

Danny felt CJ press into him a little more and readjusted to hold her
tighter. He knew what she was feeling, but he wasn't sure what he himself
was. He loved CJ, this he knew. He loved his job and he loved his life. Now
everything, he knew, was going to change. His boss had called him, telling
him to come to his office tomorrow morning. He hadn't seen Toby today, but
the felt that had something to do with the fact that he'd called in sick. Of
course, Toby wasn't really the one to call in sick, but Danny really didn't
want to think about Toby Ziegler at this point. There was someone else much
more important in his thoughts.
And she was leaning against his shoulder this very moment.

No matter who they follow
No matter where they lead
No matter how they judge us
I'll be everyone you need

And together they stood, listening to the music, music set with words of
valiant love. They would be able to get through this, as long as they had
each other. Their friends would be there for them, even though they didn't
know it now. And Danny was right. It would get hard.
But for right now, they could stand there and be together.

No matter if the sun don't shine
Or if the skies are blue
No matter what the end is
My life began with you

As all moments have to end, Danny grabbed his jacket and left CJ's office
around an hour later. Then she gathered her things and got ready for the
staff meeting that would occur within moments. She knew that it was the calm
before the storm, and that today would probably only get worse because
everything was going to be addressed, but she could still feel happy right
now, and she could still relax in the notion that Danny loved her.
And even though it had taken her a long time to realize it, she loved him
too. And she knew it now. She knew it before, but she'd never *realized* it.
Now she had, along with the rest of the world, and she felt all the better
for it.

I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
I know this love's forever
That's all that matters now
No matter what

TBC... .


My Message To You - 3



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