Title: Waiting on a Moment That Never Came
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 18 December 2007
Fandom: The West Wing
Pairing: C.J. Cregg/Kate Harper. Mentions of C.J. and Joey Lucas and C.J. and Simon Donovan.
Word Count: 3920
Summary: C.J.'s stalker from Season 3 "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" onwards is back. Kate assures her that she will be protected.
Spoilers: Set during Season 6.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW07
Disclaimer: “The West Wing”, the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, John Wells Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site is in no way affiliated with "The West Wing", NBC, or any representatives of the actors. This site contains stories between two mature, consenting adult females.
WAITING ON A MOMENT THAT NEVER COMES
Her Secret Service detachment automatically trapped and filtered all her email these days. C.J. tried very hard to believe that this invasion of her privacy and her civil rights didn't rankle with her. But at the same time she had learnt the hard way that there were some things it was better not to know. She slept better at night these days. Though Kate Harper might also have something to do with that.
Being one of the most high profile women in the world just sat wrong with some people.
Enough that they wanted her to die.
"C.J., we need to talk to you about something," Kate Harper said. Ron Butterfield and Frank Tenney stood behind her. "Mason Teague passed his parole board. He's scheduled for release the day after tomorrow."
Mason Teague. She had tried very hard to forget that name. Several years before he had threatened her life, stalked her, hunted her. He had sent her photographs he had taken of her walking out of her house, eating lunch with her niece and standing talking on the phone, photo's that showed that this man who wanted to kill her could have snuffed her out at any time of his choosing over the last few days. He had even followed her whilst she went shopping with her niece.
"The Vera Wang looked great on you. I'm glad you bought it. You should wear it in the next couple of days because you're going to be dead soon."
He had been apprehended before he had chance to do anything of any lasting significance to herself or anyone else.
Frank Tenney and Ron Butterfield had been rocks through the whole experience. And Simon Donovan of course. Simon's presence in her life, however brief, had been one of the bright lights of the whole thing.
C.J. had argued fiercely against any kind of security detail and had been summarily overruled by the President. She hadn't wanted to appear fragile, or just another woman who couldn't hack it in a man's job. At least she had given the President a good laugh.
"We're talking about one bodyguard. I have twelve, and that's before I leave the house. You ever count the number of guns that come along with me when Abby and I take in a play at the Kennedy Centre? Do I seem fragile to you?"
Of course he didn't but that wasn't the point. She was family and he insisted that she be protected. She didn't like to feel fragile. But she didn't like to feel afraid either. And so Simon Donovan walked into her life.
He had assured her that she was the boss that he would interfere in her life and her routine as little as possible. But her life was not her own anymore.
"This is what you meant by I am the boss?" she has asked somewhat acerbically when he had informed her that she would need protection even in the Press Briefing Room, her domain more even than her office.
"Uh... yeah, I guess it's more of an honorary thing," he had tried to apologise. But he had not backed down.
"This guy isn't small-time, Ms. Cregg. You're being hunted. By the way, I can't guarantee anything except to say that if you're dead, chances are I am, too."
She'd tried very hard to make his life hell. After the Helsinki trip when he had been her shadow for six days. "You're quiet, you're polite and you're, you're there! You're always there, I can't shake you!"
"Don't give me the 'aw shucks' answer, "Well that's my job, Ma'am,'" she had stormed at him. "And don't call me 'ma'am', don't call me 'ma'am', don't call me 'Ms Cregg'. This isn't a western."
"I'm required to call you 'ma'am' or 'Ms Cregg'," Simon had replied in the same even imperturbable tone he had used with her all week. "There are rules and regulations."
She had lost it. Looking back, she wished she could have put it down to jet lag but truth was she had just enjoyed yanking his chain too much. "Okay, okay, secret agent man, here's my rules and regulations. I'm getting in my baby blue '65 mustang and I'm gonna feel the wind in my hair and any place else I want. You can look at my taillights."
"I think I'm not allowed to do that either," he said. There wasn't a trace of a smirk on his face.
"I will see you at home!" She flounced out.
He had acquiesced far far too easily she realised about ten steps down the corridor towards the secure parking facility. He had been so far ahead of her on this that he had a plan B in his pocket and probably a plan C, D and E as well. She retraced her steps to her office. He was still there, standing exactly where she had left him.
"There's no way you're letting me walk out of the door, so what is it we're doing?" she asked.
"I'm sorry?" Simon said looking profoundly innocent.
"What's your plan for me?"
"I don't have a plan."
"Are you going to let me drive myself home?"
"No." He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what looked suspiciously like something that should be attached to her car engine. "I've got your spark plug. Is that what you meant?"
"You've got my spark plug?" C.J. stared at him.
"And your battery. Fuel pump, starter relay, timing belt, the ignition fuse. And well also the engine, I guess." His delivery was deadpan. Even now, just thinking about it made her smile although at the time she had been furious.
"Did you leave me anything?" she asked.
"Wiper fluid. You can clean your windshield. No, actually, you need the battery..." He shrugged.
He was insane. Her personal safety was entrusted to a crazy person who took her car apart to stop her driving herself home.
"Sorry, Kate... I was just..." C.J. shook her head, bringing herself back to the present. "So, what's the plan?"
"Teague will be kept under surveillance. As a condition of his release he cannot come within a hundred yards of the White House or you personally wherever you happen to be," Frank said.
"He is forbidden from communicating with you in any form whatsoever," Frank continued. "And a current photograph has been circulated to all security agencies. He's on the watch list. He shows up any where near any White House event he'll be detained immediately."
"He won't get anywhere near you, C.J.," Kate assured her.
C.J. was sure of that, especially if her lover had anything to do with it. Even as Chief of Staff to the President, C.J.'s security classification still was not high enough to find out anything more than the broad details of Kate's C.V. and certainly not down to operational level but from the occasional conversational hints her partner had dropped over the last couple of years Mason Teague was in for a world of hurt if he made any kind of move against her. They would probably end up fishing bits of him up out of the Potomac for weeks.
"With the precautions we already have in place we don't see the need to make any changes to your security detail at present. If that changes you will be informed immediately, of course," Ron said. "Thank you, C.J."
"Thank you, gentlemen," C.J. said gravely. The two agents left. Kate lingered a moment or two. "I'm okay, Kate. He didn't get close to me last time when I only had a handful of agents protecting me. There's no way he could get close to me now."
"That I'm confident of," Kate said. "What I'm worried about is how you're handling it, C.J. This must bring back some bad memories for you. Simon Donovan..."
Simon... She had enjoyed teasing him so much, G-man, secret agent man, agent sunshine, agent 69. He had challenged her once to say something nice about him. And the best that she had come up with?
"I like that you're tall... it makes me feel more feminine."
She did. When she was with a man, she did like him to be as tall or taller than she was. Which at a shade under six foot herself was not always easy to accomplish. She didn't know who had originally given her the codename 'Flamingo' but it stuck with her through the whole administration. Smiling, she remembered the day the Sesame Street programme was filmed at the White House. How much money had changed hands to have Big Bird sit down next to her she didn't know. Strangely enough, when she was playing for the home team size was not a factor. Joey Lucas for example had been a good eight inches shorter than she was. And Kate... four inches shorter. Just the right height for kissing.
She remembered the first time she and Simon had almost kissed. He had still been her security detail then. He was walking her home and she had told him how much she liked to see him smile.
"I wouldn't mind seeing it more." She leant in for a kiss and he almost allowed it but pulled back.
"I can't... You know I can't."
"I was just, you're right. Can we drop it?"
"Sure... I'd just like to say..."
"I say can we drop it, you say sure and then we don't drop it."
He backed off, stiffening into his official shadow persona again, handing her off to his shift replacement with utter professionalism, but she knew how badly she had hurt his feelings. What he didn't know was how much she wanted to make it right. And at the same time how much she needed to avoid her growing feelings for him.
Why was it she couldn't make it easy on herself? Why was it always the most inappropriate...?
"I'm not allowed to date a protectee," he said.
Still she tried to deny it. "Who's trying to date you?"
"I'm not allowed to kiss a protectee," he went on as if she hadn't spoken, which she hadn't not really. It had just been reflex noise. And she did it again.
"Who's trying to kiss you?"
"You did," he said softly. This was it, the kind of let down speech she had heard since High School, yeah sure I really like you, you're a great girl, but...
Too skinny, too tall, too intelligent, too opinionated...
"No I didn't," she said weakly.
"C.J., I'm trusted with a serious job," Simon said.
"Aren't you not allowed to call a protectee by their first name?"
"I have spent my adult life protecting people. You're the first person who's got me seriously thinking about switching sides."
"Oh, I'm sorry you feel that way. I think I've been a treat," C.J. knew she was trying too hard to be charming. She had finally got under his skin.
"Oh, yes you have. A little Easter treat. Just for me," Simon said, his tone darkly sarcastic.
"You seem a little riled," C.J. tried to lighten things again.
"From the first day, you've acted like this is all my fault, when that's a pretty tough case to make."
"I don't think any of it's your fault, and I appreciate everything you've done," C.J. smiled.
"I got to say, there are times when it seems like you like me," Simon said.
"I do like you!"
"Then you just walk off to stick it to me, and forget the personalities. It's just stupid!" He was on a roll now.
"I said I do like you."
"I meant the other way!"
"So did I. I tried to kiss you."
"You said you didn't!" Simon was trying to suppress a smile.
"I was lying, you idiot!"
"All right, I'm switching sides now."
"I was embarrassed. I fumbled it." It was... it was every relationship she had ever tried. She overthought things, she made problems were there weren't any, she... After all just weeks ago she'd been ruminating on the pro's and con's of dating Joey Lucas (and was rightfully proud of herself that she hadn't quite been anal enough to actually write down a list of said pro's and con's. There was nothing like being an equal opportunities flirt, she supposed.
"You're like the girl in Driver's Ed. who won't watch the prom night movie because it's gross and so ends up missing an important lesson about drinking and driving."
C.J. started to laugh. "What in God's name are you talking about?"
Simon's phone rang at that point. It was one of those moments that could have changed her life. Only it didn't. Their relationship consisted of precisely one kiss. It had been worth the wait. She had molded herself to his body and he did not push her away. Not for a long wonderful moment. A moment that she still savoured.
But only a few hours later Simon Donovan was dead, shot by a kid robbing a convenience store on 98th and Broadway where Simon just happened to be buying roses for her.
And now she was in a relationship with Kate Harper. One which she had high hopes for. Talking of whom...
Kate rapped lightly on her door. "Can you free up an hour or two in your schedule this evening?"
"Sure... I'll get Margaret to work something. What do you need?"
"You need some firearms practice. Just in case."
"But you said..."
"Just covering all the bases, C.J.... C.J. – this guy threatened to kill you. I read Simon Donovan's report. At Barney's, he got close to you. He got really close to you. I can't let that happen again. I can't... I can't lose you."
"You won't," C.J. said steadily. "You got me, Kate. You got me for the long haul." Kate smiled. Her pager beeped.
"I gotta go. The situation room..."
"A situation, I know. I'll see you later."
Firearms practice. Another Simon Donovan moment. She had watched him at the range, once, asked him to let her shoot his gun. With her usual insanely goofy overconfidence she thought she could handle a .357 magnum. The recoil had put her on her ass. Then she had challenged him to hit the bullseye on the target.
"What you got... Marksmanship-wise?"
"Well I can fire a gun without falling down, if that's what you mean."
"Show me what you got. I'll tell you what. I'll make it interesting for you. Get five bullets. If you can't land any in the middle, then I get to drive my car."
"Well, I think that makes it interesting for you," Simon had pointed out.
"Come on. One dead centre, I never bother you about it again," she challenged him.
"You have to say something nice to me," he bargained back.
She could do that, she conceded. Then she thought about it a bit more. "Wait. That was a trick. You must know you can do it. Put three in the middle... three out of five. You want to back out?"
"No, I'm just worried about what I'm going to do with the other two. I'll be working against muscle memory," Simon said.
She could be gracious. "Look, if you want to back out..." Before she could finish the sentence he began shooting the noise a physical blow to her. Before the echoes had died away from the first shot he had finished and was bringing the target in to be examined. She could see that there were three holes next to each other stitched across the centre of the bullseye. It took her a moment to comprehend what he had done: put three bullets dead centre.
Kate had insisted that she learn to shoot and that she keep a personal weapon. Hours at the range with Kate had honed her skills somewhat. She would never approach Simon's or even Kate's skills but she could at least hit the target these days.
And practicing under Kate's expert guidance made her believe for the first time that guns really were sexy. Having Kate correct her stance by holding her arm, her shoulders, one arm around her waist as a reminder to keep her back straight, her hand flat against C.J.'s abdomen, her breasts pressed against C.J.'s back, whispering advice into C.J.'s ear, her breath hot against her skin. Oh yes. Target practice as foreplay. Couldn't be beaten.
The rest of the day was like most of her days at the White House, an eternal juggling game playing catch-up on world events, holding a dozen decisions, a thousand facts in her head at any one time. She met up with Kate in the Situation Room where she was brought up to date on a border skirmish between Pakistan and Indian forces in Kashmir and the latest attempt to derail the peace keeping process in the Middle East and a few hours later when they briefed the President together but on neither occasion was there time to do more than exchange a brief loving smile and look.
Though C.J. could have remembered the Israeli/Palestinian Summit at Camp David for many things, she looked back on it as the moment she realised that she was in love with Kate Harper. It was the first time she had seen Kate work, weeks into the job, in at the deep end and she was firing out ideas, plans and contingencies to end a war that had gone on for thousands of years in one form or another, ideas that set old heads shaking in horror and wonder and left C.J. breathless. She realised that she loved the way Kate Harper thought, the way she moved, the way...
She had the most beautiful dark brown eyes, that seemed to glow when she was on fire with something. No one could doubt her commitment to what they were doing and the first time C.J. saw that look directed at herself, the first time she realised that everything she did and might come to feel for Kate could just be mutual she felt humbled.
That moment would stay with her for a long time.
They had ended up being billeted together in the same cabin on the grounds at Camp David. The first night it had been... uncomfortable. And the second. Conversation and the flow of ideas that had been so easy between them during the day just became stilted and forced and in the end too embarrassing to continue. They really had no idea what to say to each other, and it seemed that every time C.J. looked up she would catch Kate just looking away.
The third night was after Kate's plan for the peacekeeping force had been agreed to in principal, when C.J. had been one of the first on the team to think it was a good idea and they should explore it further. It was the early hours of the morning when they finally got to bed and both women were still too keyed up to sleep. They were still hashing around ideas, sitting on the floor in front of the fire, their backs to the couch when suddenly Kate leant over and kissed her. She drew back immediately.
"I'm sorry... I have no idea why I did that. Please, forgive..."
"There's nothing to forgive," C.J. smiled, reaching out to touch a lock of the honeyblonde hair that tumbled around the younger woman's shoulders. "And you've been wanting to do that for a couple of days. I know. I have as well."
"I don't know if this is the place..."
"Probably not. And our timing could be improved, but do you know what? I've figured in my time in the White House that if you wait for the right time and the right place to do something then you wait for a hell of a long time because it never comes. You just have to... do it."
Kate laughed. "Well that's got to be the most... blunt offer I've had." She eased back up onto the couch and held out her hand to C.J. "And also one of the best. Shall we?"
They made out on the couch for a while and then in C.J's bed finally falling asleep just before dawn with Kate curled into C.J's side, one hand resting on C.J.'s abdomen. And C.J. got the best couple of hours sleep she'd had in a long while.
Almost three months passed before they had the chance to spend a night in each other's company again. First of all there was the crisis with Leo and then C.J. found herself working twenty seven hour days just to keep on top of things when she took over as Chief of Staff and the fallout from the staffing changes. Kate's presence helped to keep her sane as with Margaret's complicit approval she would turn up in C.J's office ostensibly to give her a security briefing but really just to make sure the other woman got to eat lunch and decompress for half an hour.
They had hopes to spend time together before the China trip but the furore over the President's accidental acceptance of the Tiawanese flag put paid to that until pretty much the last moment.
"So is this another waiting on a moment that never comes thing?" Kate asked, unbuttoning her shirt.
"You better believe it," C.J. said kicking off her heels and shimmying out of her skirt.
"We get on the plane in what... four hours. Shouldn't we be... sleeping?"
"We'll sleep when we're dead. I can think of a much better way of spending what may be the only free four hours we have this side of New Year. Everything's done that needs to be done, Charlie knows where to find me if he needs me."
"I hope he knows to knock first."
C.J. laughed, collapsing on the bed. Kate crawled after her, straddling her body leaning down to kiss her. "I can't get enough of you," Kate said. "You know that. I watch you in meetings and I just find myself thinking..."
C.J. put her fingers over Kate's lips. "For gods sake don't tell me you fantasise about me in the situation room. I'll never be able to look you in the face - or anywhere else - again."
Kate sucked in her fingers, swirling her tongue around the sensitive tips. C.J. melted. Kate moved her attention to C.J.'s torso kissing her way up from C.J.'s navel to the top of her breasts. C.J. ran her fingers up and down the sides of Kate's slim torso and round to trace the line of the strong spine, down to the dimple at the top of her buttocks. Kate had moved to take her left nipple into her mouth suckling and rolling her tongue around it, her fingers gently pinching and twisting at its opposite. C.J. brought up her thigh as Kate pushed her centre against it.
"Mm, you're so wet already," C.J. whispered.
"I told you what watching you did to me. And that's with all your clothes on. What do you think having you naked under me does to me?"
"I think I'm finding out," C.J. giggled.
Four hours of moments that would be theirs forever. Four hours of kisses and touches and being true to themselves and their feelings and the rest of the world, the politics and the spin could go to hell. It felt good. Damn good. Their moment had come.