SPOILERS: None.
DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Aaron Sorkin,
but if he wants to haggle, I'm quite willing to hand
over my cat.
SUMMARY: CJ gets a love bite.
THANKS: To Kote, my sweet, docile feline companion.
Take a wild, flippin' guess where I spent yesterday
evening.


Bast Bites Back
Ryo Sen


"You're late!" Carol greets me as I race into the
office.

Like I don't know that. "I overslept," I answer
curtly.

"I'm just--CJ!"

I don't spare her a glance. I know why she just
shrieked my name like that and I'd rather not think
about my knuckles right now. "What?" I ask anyway.

"What happened to you?" she gasps. Rather loudly.
Which, unfortunately, catches Josh's attention even
from across the bullpen.

"Nothing." I'm answering Carol, but I'm glaring at
Josh. He knows better than to mess with me when I use
that face.

Carol gives me a skeptical look. "That doesn't look
like--"

"Carol," I interrupt, gaining the refuge of my office.
"Not now."

"CJ, seriously--"

"I'm fine."

Carol has that "Do what you want, but you know I'm
right" thing going on. It's eerie how much she
reminds me of my father sometimes. "Fine."

She's pissed at me, but I figure I can live with that.
So I close my door and have no sooner plopped into my
chair than Josh pokes his head in. "You okay?"

"Go away."

"Claudia Jean--"

"Go away now."

"Carol said--"

"I'm fine. Now go away."

Josh opens the door further, leaning insolently
against the doorframe. "You're getting a bit
repetitive, there, CJ."

"Would you prefer I switch to 'No comment?'" I ask, my
tone caustic. "Because I assure you, once I get
started on that--"

"You can go on for hours," Josh finishes. "You know,
in another context--"

"Joshua," I warn.

And then Josh plays dirty. He gets that concerned
look--the one with the brow furrowed in consternation
and the lips on a crash course with his best pout--and
says, "CJ, what happened?"

I hate that I can't be snarky to him when he's like
this. I sigh and bury my head in my hands. Which, I
realize too late, draws his attention to my
battle-scarred knuckles.

"CJ!" Josh yelps. Then he's leaning over the desk to
gently pull my hand away from my head. He looks a bit
pale as he examines the gashes.

"It looks worse than it is," I mumble, leaning my chin
on my free hand. I'm so damn tired.

Josh carefully pushes my sleeve up my arm, revealing
more injuries. "CJ! What the hell happened to you?"

"Catfight," I answer glumly, "and if you make one
joke, I will kill you with my good hand."

"You mean an actual catfight? Like, with real cats?"
I don't deign to answer. Not aloud, anyway. Josh's
smirk fades and he nods hastily. "Okay. Your two
cats?"

"No. Gloria ran out when I got home last night, and
she tangled with the neighborhood bully. I sort of...
waded into the fray to save her." I wave my injured
limb around a bit. "Listen, don't worry about it."

"CJ," Josh protests, "you look like you were mauled by
a lion!"

I can't help it; I start laughing. "A lion?"

He grins. "Well, something more vicious than your
neighbor's pet tabby, anyway."

I shake my head at him, amused. "Have you ever seen a
catfight, Josh?"

He's smirking again. "Literally, or--"

"Joshua."

"No, I don't think so."

"Trust me," I say. "They're vicious."

"'Kay," Josh answers. "So what'd the doctor say? You
gonna keep the hand?"

I turn my attention to the mass of folders on my desk.
"I have all of this--"

"CJ! You didn't go to the doctor?"

"No." I give a careless shrug. "It's just a
scratch."

"Have I wandered into a Monty Python movie?" Josh
demands.

I give him a strange look.

Eyes wide, Josh aims a pointed glare at my injured
limb. "A scratch? What about those four big holes
that are approximately the size of not-so-little cat
teeth?"

"Any chance at all you'll leave me alone in the near
future?"

"Are you going to bring me a shrubbery?"

I stare at him. "What the hell are you--"

"Never mind."

"Josh--"

"I should mention that Donna already knows. Which
means she's told Ginger by now. Wouldn't you rather
deal with me than with Toby?"

When he's right, he's right. "Don't let Toby in here.
And do *not* let Sam suggest to Leo that the
President get Abbey down here."

"Mrs. Bartlet's in Greece."

"Lucky her," I mutter.

"Actually," Josh grins, unrepentant, "I hear they have
quite a lot of stray cats over there."

"Josh."

He turns serious again. "That doesn't hurt?"

"I wouldn't go that far," I admit. In fact, I think
we've moved past hurt to... something more painful.
The damn throbbing kept me up till all hours, and then
I slept through my alarm. I am not amused.

"Why don't you go see a doctor?" Josh asks reasonably.

"Because, Josh, a doctor will insist on, you know,
poking me with needles."

He gives me an odd look. "Didn't you already get
poked by really big teeth?"

I glare at him. "Leave now."

"CJ--"

"I have a briefing in an hour, Josh."

"So?"

"So, have you ever been to an emerg--" I stop short.
I could kick myself sometimes. Has Josh ever been to
an emergency room? Well, gee, I could have sworn
there was that one time with blood and the shouting
and the cutting him open right in front of me as he
struggled desperately to keep breathing. I still have
nightmares about blood welling up from the hole in his
chest.

Josh gives me a soft, understanding smile. "Yes, but
I got the VIP treatment, what with the collapsed lung
and all."

"Joshua," I hold his gaze for a moment, but I'm not
sure how to finish the sentence. We don't talk about
stuff like this. At least not directly.

Josh shrugs off the unspoken sentiments. "But I'm
told that you peons often have to wait quite a while
for attention."

"Exactly," I nod briskly. "I'll go later."

After a moment, Josh answers far too agreeably.
"Okay."

***

When I see Donna waiting for me after the briefing, I
understand why Josh backed off--he's sending in the
big guns.

"Donna," I say, attempting to breeze right on past.
"I have--"

"A love bite from Gloria?" she grins, tugging my hand
free from my notebook. "Let me see?"

"Donna, we're in the middle of--"

"The hallway," she finishes with an impish grin. "I
had noticed that. And you're right--a more
appropriate place to examine this would be an
emergency room. And instead of me--"

"I could get Doug Ross to give me a physical?" I try
to yank my arm away, but she's freakishly strong. "I
already promised your cohort that I'd go see a doctor
later."

Donna nods, still keeping up with my rapid pace. "But
you have no intention of actually going, right?"

Damn. How does she do that?

Donna gives me a sympathetic look. "Sometimes it's
easier to just agree with him to get him to shut up.
Believe me, I understand."

"Great," I say, reaching the sanctity of my office.
"Now--"

"Especially when he's wrong," Donna continues straight
into my office. "Like when he's badgering me to make
a Starbucks run. It's not like I don't have more
important things to do. In fact--"

"Donna!"

She glances over at me, an uncertain look on her face.
"Yeah?"

"Is there a point--Actually, you know what? Forget I
asked." I drop into my chair and rest my bad arm on
the desk. The cool wood feels good, since my arm is
kind of... throbbing. I'm hoping it's a healing pain
and not a here-comes-the-hellish-infection pain.

Donna eyes my injuries. "Looks pretty painful."

"It's fine."

She leans in to inspect the toothmarks. "That red,
swollen patch there? I bet that hurts."

"A little," I admit sharply. I mean, what does she
expect? I had a big, sharp piece of tooth enamel
jammed into my muscle; of course it hurts.

Donna nods solemnly. "And I'm sure it's probably not
infected or anything."

"Donna!" I yelp.

"Well," she shrugs, "animal bites are particularly
nasty. They're usually heavily contaminated with
bacteria, so even if you wash it properly--"

"Get out!"

Donna gives me a winning smile. "I'm just saying."

"Out," I repeat, pointing at the door with my good
hand.

"Okay," she nods. "Just give me a call if you see any
more swelling or red streaks--"

"Donna!"

"Going."

***

By noon, everyone I've ever so much as absently
acknowledged in the hallway has stopped by my office
to tell me about their cousin Edith who died of an
infected dog bite, or their great uncle Earl who, I
don't know, got lockjaw and had to eat through a straw
for the last ten years of his miserable, cat-bitten,
no-tetanus-shot-having life.

"Carol," I yell. It's kind of muffled, though, since
I'm slumped face down on my desk. "If you let one
more person in here--"

"I'll assume that I'm the exception," says a familiar,
grumpy voice.

"Go away, Toby." I don't bother to look up.

"I could do that," he says in that agreeable tone that
means he'll do no such thing. "But then Sam will call
Lily Mays in Athens--"

"Toby, I'm fine. Tell Sam if he so much as glances at
a phone--"

"Well, we made a deal of sorts."

I summon the strength to raise my head and glare at
him. "Excuse me?"

"A deal," Toby repeats. He's still hovering in the
doorway, hands buried in his pockets.

I try to cross my arms, but the pressure on the red,
swollen patch of skin quickly convinces me to
reconsider. Toby purses his lips, tilts his head
back, and does that annoying look-down-your-nose
thing. He rarely uses it on me; mostly because I'm
taller than he is.

I employ my best threatening look. "You made a deal
with Sam involving my--" I glance at my scarred arm,
"my slight injuries and the First Lady?"

Toby nods. "And Carol, Donna, Josh, and Leo. You're
going to the emergency room."

I glare at him. "Am not."

Toby rolls his eyes, one hand leaving his pocket to
flick impatiently about. "Are you twelve, CJ? You
need a doctor. You need a tetanus shot. You need--"

"Okay," I interrupt, shaking my head. "You might have
been able to convince me before you brought the
needles up, but now--"

Toby rocks impatiently on the balls of his feet.
"Would you prefer that I let Sam call Abbey, who will
certainly call the President, who will gleefully issue
a directive for the Secret Service to *drag* you to
the E.R.?"

"No," I answer after a moment's consideration, "I
can't say that I would prefer that. How about we open
up a third option?"

"CJ, get your ass out of that chair and let's go."

I give him an incredulous look. "You're going?"

"Yes."

"With me to the emergency room?"

"Yes."

I stare at him. "Why?"

"CJ, you're having trouble holding a pen."

"So?"

"So you can't possibly drive yourself to--"

"I'm capable of driving with one hand, Toby."

"You're barely capable of driving with both hands,
CJ."

I narrow my eyes. "Is that a sexist crack, Toby?"

"No, that is observation from personal experience.
You are not driving yourself."

"Fine." I watch him for a moment, then glance away.
"I don't like hospitals, Toby."

His voice is very quiet when he answers. "Me,
neither."

I nod, my gaze fixed to the desktop. "Can we go
somewhere that's not, you know, GW?"

"Sure."

***

"It's been two hours."

"I know," Toby answers tiredly.

I am about three seconds away from beating Toby over
the head with my cellphone, but I can't really fault
his impatience. I mean, it's been two hours! I've
had better service at the DMV.

Still, his fidgeting is annoying the hell out of me.

I clamp my good hand on his arm to still his
movements. "Remind me again why you're here?"

"Because," Toby answers mildly, "Sam would have
hovered, Josh would have been jumping around like a
grasshopper on crack, and Donna would have inundated
you with minutiae about animal bites."

I smirk at him. "A grasshopper on crack?"

He glowers in my general direction. "You know what I
mean."

I grant the point with a nod. "You're probably right.
But you've got nothing on Josh right now."

Toby raises an eyebrow. "I am not jumping around."

"Like a grasshopper on crack?" I repeat, still
grinning.

Toby glowers some more.

I shrug. "Fine, but you're fidgeting."

"Patience isn't my strong suit," he mutters.

I roll my eyes. Then I see a nurse heading for me
with a very big needle in her hand. "Toby?"

"Yeah," he asks, watching her too.

"I'm thinking I'm okay with having lockjaw."

Toby snorts and looks over at me. "CJ--"

"Seriously, how bad can it be? I can eat through a
straw. I'll take the antibiotics. But that shot is
just overkill. I'm sure--"

"CJ, you're having the shot."

"Fine," I say, reaching for his hand. "Then you're
going to experience this with me."

He rolls his eyes at me, but grips me tightly as the
nurse arrives with the hellishly large needle.

Ten minutes later, I have a PowerPuff Girls bandaid, a
prescription for some antibiotics the size of horse
pills, and we're free to go.

"I really hate needles," I tell Toby.

"I gathered," Toby says with a sideways glance at me.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Well, aside from the fact that you told me you hate
needles, I have four crescent-shaped welts in the palm
of my hand--my writing hand, no less--to prove it," he
answers, exasperated.

I grin slowly at him. "I'm glad I scarred you for
life and not Sam."

Toby rolls his eyes. "Remind me to return the favor
sometime."

"Oh, come on, Toby," I say as I get into his crappy
old car. "Be a good boy and I'll buy you a milkshake
on the way home."

Toby glances over at me. "You're a strange woman, you
know that?"

"Hey," I shrug, "I'm a bit feverish right now." Then
I grin at him. "Toby, I'm hot!"

Toby starts the car, rolls his eyes, and mumbles,
"It's going to be a long night."

"Yeah," I smirk. "And just think--it's only 3:45
right now! Hours of fun."

I don't quite catch what he mumbles, but I swear he
said something about "Bast."

I curl up in the passenger seat of his lame car and
close my eyes. Maybe now I can sleep.

***

THE END

 

Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings