Disclaimers: They're not mine. Sometimes I ask them out to play, but they go home with Mr. Sorkin, et. al.
Spoilers: Not really
Archive: Sure, let me know where and keep my name attached.
Note: This is my first story. Thanks to Stacy for reading and encouragement.

Summary: CJ takes a fall and Toby gets roped in to picking up the pieces.

Flamingo Falling (Part 10/?)

(Previously: "MotherthinksthatyouandIarelivingtogether.")

Toby took a moment to separate out the words in his head. Once he had, he actually jumped up and was stopped only by the wall behind him. "WHAT!"

She cringed. "So embarrassed."

Toby leaned against the wall and put a hand over his eyes. "Why?"

She shook her head. Her eyes were dampening again.

"Okay, don't cry, CJ."

"Not going to."

"Liar," he muttered.

The nurse entered before CJ could respond. "Uh, Sir?" Toby straightened and looked at her. She motioned him towards her. "There are people out there. Now, I'm going to let them in, but I don't care who it is. I will not have Ms. Cregg upset."

"I understand. Ma'am, may I ask a question?"


"Are you by chance related to a Mrs. Landingham?"


"You're certain?"

"Yes. I'll let them in." She turned.

One of the Secret Service agents entered, nodded at Toby and scouted the room. He opened the door again. "Toby, a word," Abbey Bartlet said.

"Yes, Ma'am." He stepped into the hall.

"How is she doing?"

He gave her an edited version of Josh and Sam's visit, but didn't say anything about his most recent conversation with CJ. Abbey told him to go home. He said no. She pulled rank and had one of the agents retrieve his coat. "Go home. Take a shower. Take a nap. I'll stay until you get back. Don't rush."

"I should," he motioned towards the door.

"I'll explain to CJ. Just go." He knew when he was beaten. "And Toby, I'm calling my husband. If you go to the West Wing, his detail will kick your ass."

"Yes, Ma'am. Thank you, Ma'am."

When Toby returned, one of the First Lady's detail stopped him from entering the room and called her out.

"We need to talk, before you go in there," she said.

He was immediately concerned. "Has something happened? Is she okay? Let me see her." His stomach flipped.

"Whoa, cowboy," Abbey said, reaching out to stop him. "Calm down. She's fine. And I have the situation in hand."

"Just let me see her," he said.

Abbey smiled. "Okay, come on." They walked in together. "CJ, tell Toby you're okay so he'll agree to going for a walk with me."

"I'm fine," CJ said drowsily.

"They've given her something to help her sleep," Abbey explained. "Take your coat off and let's go."

A few minutes later they were seated in the lounge with vending machine coffee. "Okay, Toby. Here's what's going to happen. CJ's mom is going to be here tomorrow morning. This is causing great concern to CJ, and I understand you've been told why." Toby couldn't look at her. "So this is the way we're going to play it. You are going to go spend 15 minutes with CJ. During this 15 minutes you WILL assure her that everything will be fine. Then you are going to get in your car and start moving things in to CJ's."

"Excuse me?"

"Have you ever met CJ's mother?"


"I haven't either. But I can tell you that that wonderful woman, the woman who could face the press corps in the worst crisis you could come up with, can be reduced to Jell-o by her mother. And I don't blame her one bit."

Toby didn't respond so she continued.

"I have a mother."

"As do I, Ma'am."

"Yes, but you're not a woman. You don't understand how it can be—-not how it is always-—but how it can be. So, you're going to occupy CJ's apartment while her mother is in town."

"We will never pull this off," Toby said quietly.

"Watch us."

"Josh? Sam? Leo? The President?"

"Josh and Sam fear me. Leo will humor me...if forced. The President considers CJ a kid sister—or daughter, if he's feeling old. He'll do anything for her."

"Including lie?"

"I really don't think it will come to that. I'll get you CJ's keys."

"I already have a set," Toby said absently.

She clapped her hands. "See, we're already a step ahead. Think of this as a wonderful game."

"Played by the White House senior staff."

"Hey, we can be creative." Then she turned serious again. "Toby, you'll do this for CJ, won't you?" He was silent. "You've been here all day, Toby. I know you care."

"We all care about CJ, Ma'am."

"Yeah, but we haven't all been here all day. And we haven't all been holding Josh Lyman against walls, have we?" Toby shook his head. "It's okay, Toby. He understands. More than you think. Come on now. Every minute you spend arguing this losing battle is a minute you don't spend with CJ this evening. Yeah, I thought that'd get your attention."

"This will never work, Ma'am."

"This had better work, Toby. For CJ."

"For CJ," he agreed, but shook his head anyway.

"Okay, now you go in and explain to CJ how we're all going to pull off this fantastic charade," Abbey said, turning to leave.

"I'm not going to be the only one explaining," Toby muttered heading for CJ's room.

To be continued...

Flamingo Falling - 11




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