TITLE: May Day
Sam pretended to knock on the air, and walked into Josh's
office. "How's the
Josh waved a hand in the air. "I'm a little concerned
by some of the
"The Railroad Retirement Board," she told him,
slipping a file into his
"What about it?" Sam asked.
"Well, for one thing, I'm not sure how you retire a
railroad," Josh said.
"And yet, you won't give me a raise," Donna commented.
"Don't worry about the small-ticket stuff," Sam
said. "Worry about how
"I'm not going to justify it. You are. You're Communications."
Sam furrowed his brow. "So what are you doing here?"
"Lending moral support," Josh said innocently.
Sam scoffed. "We're going to have to go down to 850
billion on Education.
Donna approached them. "Can I ask a question, Sam?"
"Don't you think that in order to get our budget
through, we need all the
Josh groaned. "Don't encourage her."
Donna let this pass and looked at Sam hopefully.
"Don't you think if one of
Sam looked at Josh. "What'd you do?"
"I didn't! It was her. She mistook Tom Unger for a
coat-check girl or
"It was an honest mistake," Donna whimpered.
"A stupid mistake. But it was
"We haven't had enough trouble turning this place
into a festival of
"In all fairness," Sam said, "Tom Unger's
only been in the House for about
"Sure. Of course." Josh leaned back in his chair. "No."
"Here's what you do." Sam got to his feet.
"You write her the note, you
"I won't feel better," Josh said. "But I'll do it."
"Thank you!" Donna beamed at Sam. "And thank you."
"You owe me," Josh called after her as she started out.
"In your mind, maybe," she shot back, and left.
* * *
"Yes, sir," Bartlet said into the phone.
"And I have the same wishes for
"Considering they're in the most war-torn part of the globe, sir?"
"Yeah, they probably don't mind too much."
Charlie stepped back toward the door. "Admiral
Fitzwallace is waiting to see
"Send him in." Bartlet stood up as Charlie left
and Fitzwallace entered.
"Mr. President." He came to stand in front of the desk.
"What have you got for me?"
"From the information we have now, it looks like a
case of engine
"And the crew?"
Fitzwallace bowed his head. "Two of the three bodies have been recovered."
Bartlet nodded slowly. "Do we know why it took so
long for the rescue
"Not as of yet, sir. If the Chinese crew put out a
distress signal, the
The President frowned. "Fitz, if I find out that
these American soldiers let
"Sir, if that's the case, they're no longer American soldiers."
Bartlet met his gaze. "You can guarantee me that?"
"I'll see to it myself."
"Thank you, Admiral." He extended a hand.
Fitzwallace shook it. "Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
get back to you as
He turned smartly on his heel and left the room. The
President watched him
* * *
C.J. heaved a sigh as she walked into the lobby of the
White House. "Mr.
"Maury," he interrupted. "I told you already."
"You're forty-five minutes early."
"I'm not fashionably left-wing and I'm not
fashionably late," he said smugly,
"Actually, I wouldn't."
"Do you watch the news, Mr. Barth?" C.J. inquired.
"I find television news repellently biased."
"That's unfortunate. You might have heard something
about a plane crash in
"Read about it on the Internet," he interrupted.
"It's the medium of the
"Be that as it may, the President's schedule has
changed, and I'm afraid
Barth's eyebrows shot up. "You're backing out?"
"The President is otherwise occupied," C.J. said coolly.
"Whatever. You can rest assured that I'll be writing
about the lack of faith
"Actually, we are the representatives of the
people." C.J. ushered him
"You've given them plenty," he snapped.
"And you can tell Seaborn that
She stared at him. "Sam Seaborn is a lawyer, Mr. Barth."
He stormed out, scowling at the security guards he passed.
C.J. ran a hand
He'd lowered the blinds and left the door barely ajar, the
way he did
He kept his gaze on the screen of his laptop. "Why are you middle-naming me?"
"Why did you put me off this morning?"
"Toby Zachary Ziegler. T.Z.Z." She stepped into
the office a little way,
"Are you high?" he wondered, raising his eyes at last.
"Not remotely," she said sadly. "I've just
been having one of the worst days
"I think it crashed just because I didn't have enough problems."
"You have plenty of problems."
"You're telling me." Her voice turned serious.
"Why did you put me off this
"I didn't put you off," Toby said. He pushed his
chair back and stood up.
"You should have told me right away, and not just
because it would've gotten
"Wasn't it almost finished last night?"
"You want to write it?" He saved the file on his
laptop and walked around
She interrupted him by pressing her mouth to his.
His first instinct was to kiss her back, and he did. His
next instincts were
She was loosening the buckle of his belt when she made a
tiny sound deep in
She looked at him, her eyes bewildered and blurred. He
felt a surge of
"That," he said, catching his breath, "has
to never happen. Here. Again.
C.J. opened her mouth to say something sarcastic, but his
eyes caught hers,
Toby wrenched his gaze away and looked at the floor, the
window, anywhere but
"You're going to the thing at the high school,"
C.J. said, trying for a
He nodded and managed to speak again. "You should go."
She tried to fix the blouse, realized a button or two had
been lost, and
Toby muttered several curse words under his breath, and
straightened out his
* * *
"This motorcade thing's non-negotiable, huh?"
Jed said as he walked to the
"Kind of comes with the territory," Leo said.
"It's necessary. And it's nice not to get stuck in
traffic. I don't miss
Leo opened the door of the limo. "So what are you complaining about?"
"I do miss getting cut off and hitting every single
red light. I miss
"Yeah," Leo said sympathetically as they got
into the car. "You miss cursing
"Yeah, but now I can just curse at this guy."
Jed gestured to the driver.
"Fine, thank you, sir."
"Your name is Gary, isn't it?" the President continued.
"It's actually Phil, sir."
"Never gonna get that right, am I?"
Toby opened the door and slid into the seat next to Leo.
"Evening, Leo. Mr.
"Toby!" Jed folded his hands. "How much do
you know about the rites of
"If you're referring to baseball, I know quite a bit."
"I'm referring to the ancient customs of the
beginning of May," the President
Toby leaned back against the seat. "Then I'm sure I
know considerably less
Jed smiled. "The Celts and early Saxons celebrated
Beltane as a major rite
Toby looked at Leo. Leo looked at the President. The
President looked at
"The Puritans had it banned by an act of Parliament
in 1644," Jed added.
"So essentially, your ancestors screwed us all up," Leo said.
"Seems that way, doesn't it?"
Toby glanced out the window. "So we still don't know about the plane?"
"The Pacific's deep," Leo said. "It might
take them all night to sort
Bartlet nodded. "Also, my grandmother's rabbit thing
didn't work. You know
"Someone's pregnant?" Toby guessed.
Jed scowled at him. "It means I don't get an automatic month of good luck."
"Why should this month be different?" Leo asked.
The car pulled away.
* * *
Josh strode into his office, shuffling through messages.
He tossed a few
"Donna!" he shouted, between guffaws.
She appeared in his doorway, looking wary. "What's going on?"
He thrust a piece of paper into her hands. "This. From Congressman Unger."
Donna scanned the note, reading sporadic phrases aloud.
"'Mr. Lyman, in
Josh grinned. "You got to the good part."
"He thought I was a deranged tourist?"
"Or a stoned college student. You didn't get to 'stoned college student'?"
"Oh, my God." She slumped onto his couch.
"Come on. You have to see the humor."
"I don't think I do."
"Really? Because that note made me feel pretty good,
and when I feel good,
"Not even a little bit," she said, covering her
face with her hands. "Okay,
Josh crossed his arms and sat on the corner of his desk.
"I'm not writing
"I don't want you to write a note. I want you to crush him."
"You want me to crush Tom Unger?"
Donna nodded emphatically. "Whatever it takes."
"Whatever happened to protecting our relationship with members of Congress?"
"That was before one of them called me a deranged tourist."
"And a stoned college girl," he reminded her,
with a chuckle. "Why do you
"This is incredibly humiliating."
"A little bit," Josh said. "Donna, you're a
smart person who makes mistakes
"I guess." She stood up, hugging herself.
"Thanks for writing the note for
Donna started to leave. "So you're not going to crush him?"
"Not unless he gets in the way of our education package."
She considered this. "Fair enough."
* * *
"Did you spill something on yourself?"
C.J. looked up. "What?"
"You changed your shirt," Danny said, from the threshold of her door.
"Danny, you're starting to cross that thin line between observant and creepy."
"Sorry." He held up his hands. "This is me backing off."
She reached up to rub her neck. "What do you need?"
"What time's the President coming back?"
"The event's due to end at nine-thirty, which means
it'll probably be
"I miss our little evening chats. Remember? We used
to talk about things,
"We never did that."
"We could start. I like hard candy."
"Actually, I wanted to tell you I won't be in next
week. I'll be out of
"No assignment at all," he said.
"You're taking a vacation?" C.J. raised her
eyebrows in disbelief. "You
"A little bird told me it was time to start."
"Okay." She rested her chin in her hand. "You and Katie?"
"I don't tan," Danny said cryptically. "I burn."
He took a step backward. "So we'll hear from you about the plane?"
"When I know."
"See you later." Danny strolled away.
"Later," C.J. said absently. She shuffled some
papers on her desk.
* * *
It was much later when Toby returned to his office. He set
"Mmph," the couch said.
Toby turned on his desk lamp and saw C.J. pull herself
into a sitting
"I wasn't sleeping."
"I wasn't," she insisted, pushing his jacket away. "I was just thinking."
"Yes. We have to have this conversation, and since my
day is already shot, I
Toby shuffled his feet. "This is my office."
"I'm profoundly aware of that," C.J. said.
"I messed up. And I told you I
"We're not supposed to be this way," she said miserably.
She looked at him. "Could you do something for me?"
"Could you do anything but give me another
monosyllabic answer?" she pleaded.
Toby sighed quietly. "We've been pitiful lately.
This..." His hand made
"We weren't going to sleep together anymore," C.J. said.
"We weren't just sleeping together."
"I know." He paced toward her. "There is no
switch on this. There is no
"Well." In the lamplight, he could see her wry
smile. "I always knew you
"I am, in fact, both those things." Toby
hesitated a little longer, and sat
They were quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry," C.J. said.
"So what now?"
"Damned if I know."
She put her hands over her mouth and moaned into them. "I hate this."
"It will change, one way or the other," Toby told her.
"You sound unnervingly sure."
* * *
"You have to be really quiet," Donna cautioned
Bonnie and Ginger, leading
Ginger stifled a giggle. "I have to see this."
They clustered in the doorway. Josh and Sam were leaning
against each other
"Precious," Bonnie said.
"I'm thinking we need photos for posterity,"
Donna said. "Eight by ten
"Blown up to actual size," Ginger said, and couldn't help laughing out loud.
Sam started to stir at the sound, and his movement caused
Josh to wake up.
Donna and Bonnie started laughing, too, collapsing against each other.
Josh glanced down at the top of Sam's head. "Hey!"
"Huh?" Sam mumbled.
"What are you doing?" He shoved Sam lightly. "Get off!"
"Oof." Sam toppled over to the other side of the
couch. He buried his face
"That was all him," Josh told the women.
"Sure it was," Donna and Ginger replied in unison.
Josh reddened. "You're not gonna, like, spread this around, are you?"
"How much is this worth to you?" Donna asked.
"You're blackmailing me?"
"It's been a long day," Sam said into the arm of the couch.
"We'll negotiate our terms in the morning,"
Bonnie said matter-of-factly.
Donna wiped her eyes. "Do you two need to be left alone?"
"You're going to hell, Missy," Sam scolded her.
"Sorry." She grinned at them.
"No, you're not," Josh observed.
"Honestly, I am." Donna walked away. "I
can't believe I didn't grab a
* * *
Toby rested his head on the top of his couch, staring at
the wall opposite
Leo coughed as he came into the doorway. C.J. raised her
head a fraction of
Toby checked his watch and grimaced. "Ten after two."
"They found the thing from the plane," Leo said.
"What do we know?"
"The translators are still having at it, but first
C.J. rubbed her eyes. "They just went down?"
"They just went down," Leo confirmed.
"Fitz's guy is going to do a briefing.
"What time is it?" she asked again.
"Eleven after two."
"It's the morning now," C.J. pointed out.
"Yeah. So go home." Leo's gaze flickered back
and forth between the two of
With a great effort, she managed to get on her feet.
"So all they had to
"Yeah." Leo frowned to himself. "Mayday. Mayday."
"Go home." He turned his back on them and walked away down the hall.
C.J. began to follow him. She turned around shakily and
looked at Toby.
"I'll see you tomorrow," he said decidedly.
C.J. squinted at him and thought she saw the shadow of a smile. "Yeah?"
"Go." The smile was faint under his beard, but
it was definitely there.
She turned and left. Her walk was unsteady with exhaustion
at first, but
* * *
End. Feedback would be deeply appreciated.