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[personal profile] xylaria
Title: Years to Nowhere
Author: xylaria
Recipient: kats_blues
Fandom: West Wing
Pairing: CJ Craig/Kate Harper
Rating: G
Word count: ~1400
Disclaimer: Not mine, just playing
Warnings: none
Summary: CJ and Kate never expected things to end up where they did
A/N: Many thanks to summercloud for beta and many admonishments of “shouldn’t you be writing?”

December 2004

“I’m not gay,” CJ said as they exited the restaurant heading for the metro. “And I have forsworn office romances. Just to be clear.”

“That’s nice,” Kate replied, tightening her scarf around her neck. “Me too. Navy and all. You want to come over and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special next weekend? Provided, of course, that no one starts an international crisis between now and then.”

CJ considered for a moment as they squeezed past a group of 20-somthings on the escalator. It would give her a legitimate excuse to not answer calls from her mother asking if she was bringing anyone to Christmas dinner.

“Sure. I’ll bring pizza if you provide the beer.”

“It’s a date.” Kate gave CJ a cheeky grin over her shoulder, leaving CJ standing with her mouth open as the train doors closed behind Kate.

November 2005

“So,” CJ stared into the bottom of her wine glass as she twirled it, not looking at Kate. “If we’re ever not working together, you want to go on an actual date?”

Kate looked up from the briefing book she was reading on CJ’s couch. “You do know that is at least a year away, right? Unless there’s something you’re not telling me.”

“No, no.” CJ shook her head hurriedly, finally looking up at Kate. “And I don’t expect you to wait or anything if you meet someone. Just that, I think I’ve changed my mind. And maybe you might have too. And if we still feel that way when we’re not working together we might try a date. And I just made a complete muddle of that didn’t I.” CJ huffed in exasperation and downed the last of her wine before standing and pouring herself more.

Kate grinned. “I thought it was cute. I’m game. How does a week after the inauguration sound, provided we aren’t both working for the new administration?”

CJ grinned, part relief, part at the ridiculousness of the situation. “Sounds like a date.”

January 2006

“This is rather anticlimactic for a first date we’ve waited for for over a year,” Kate noted, pulling her knees up to make room for CJ to sit on the far end of the couch.

“I’ll have you know that this was carefully calculated on my part,” CJ responded, setting the pizza box on the coffee table in front of the couch. “You should be grateful. No decisions of whether to invite me back to your place after dinner, or to kiss at the door. Plus, this is hardly our first date, it’s just the first date we’ve called a date.”

Kate accepted the piece of pizza that CJ handed her and, taking the opportunity to slip her cold toes under CJ’s legs, nodded in concession to CJ’s point.

Then, carefully setting her piece of pizza on the lid of the box, Kate leaned forward and took CJ’s pizza from her as well.

“However, we haven’t done this before,” Kate said, and without any further warning she leaned forward and kissed CJ. With a small gasp of surprise CJ leaned into the kiss, wrapping her arms around Kate and pulling her closer.

The pizza was quite cold by the time they got back to eating it.

December 2009

“So, CJ, you want to get married?” Kate tried to keep her tone nonchalant as she showed CJ the front page of the Post.

CJ looked up from her coffee mug, which had been holding her full attention. “Where have I been that I didn’t know that happened?” She wondered out loud before what Kate asked fully penetrated.

“Married...” CJ trailed off, staring at some place past Kate’s ear. After a minute, she shook herself and looked Kate straight in the eye. “We’re waiting at least three months after the law goes into effect. And neither of us is wearing a tux or a white dress.”

Kate grinned in relief. “Right, no press and a small civil ceremony. Deal.”

October 2009

Kate stood before the arch in the courthouse chapel wearing a simple blue dress. CJ stood across from, her radiant in flowing green, as she slipped a matching ring onto Kate’s left hand.

“Kiss the bride already!” Kate’s brother shouted from the second row as they stood there just looking at each other. Laughing, they did just that.

June 2011

“Kate, have you thought about having kids?” CJ asked as they sat curled on the couch reading. Kate peeked around the edge of her book to see what CJ was reading, wondering what prompted the question. Getting no clues from the novel’sx cover, Kate responded with what had been her stock answer for years.

“Because being pregnant and attending PTA meetings while dealing with international espionage, nuclear threats and hostage crises would be such a happy and fulfilling experience.”

The response earned her a kick from CJ. “I’m serious. Haven’t you ever thought about it?”

Kate pushed herself more upright on the couch and set her book on the coffee table.

“Vaguely, from time to time,” she said, after some consideration. “But I’ve never been willing to give up any part of my career for a kid, and my ex certainly wasn’t going to. What brought this on?”

CJ waved her hand in the air. “I don’t know. Maybe my biological clock has decided to tick.” CJ made a face at the clichéd expression. “But I was walking by a school the other day and saw all the kids playing. And I thought it might be nice to raise kids with you,” she finished somewhat sheepishly.

Kate tilted her head to the side considering. And considered some more. CJ finally shrugged and went back to her book.

Almost an hour later they were still curled on the couch, CJ deep into her novel and Kate pretending to read.

Putting her book aside again, Kate nudged CJ with her foot to get her attention.

“OK,” Kate said.

“OK to what?”

“Kids. Did you have specific method of obtaining them in mind?” Kate was rewarded with a brilliant smile.

June 2012

CJ looked at the gauges in alarm as the engine began to sputter.

“No no no!” She shouted, slamming her hand against the dash.

“I told you we should have stopped for gas at the exit,” Kate said as CJ turned on the hazards and guided the car to the shoulder of the narrow rural road.

CJ just rolled her eyes as she turned off the car, set the parking break, and pulled out her cell to call The Better World Club. She scowled as she saw that there was no signal, tossing her useless phone on the dash.

“Kate, do you have any…” CJ’s words died as she turned and saw the tightness of Kate’s features and her purposefully even breathing. “How long have you been having contractions and why didn’t you tell me!” She demanded.

Kate waited until the contraction had passed before she answered.

“They started coming regularly this morning, about an hour after we left. But they were 20 minutes apart so I didn’t worry about it. It’s happened before, I’m not due for another 3 weeks, and there was no reason to worry you.” She kept her voice calm, despite her own growing panic.

“And you didn’t think to mention something when we were stuck in traffic, or when we decided to take a detour through BFE nowhere?” CJ demanded, caught between angry and panicked.

Kate managed to look sheepish while still defending her decision. “You’ve been to the birthing classes, this is my first, it takes a while; I figured we’d get back to DC and everything would be fine. If I’d told you you would have insisted on going to the closest hospital and I want to have this baby in DC, with my OB. I didn’t count on 4th of July traffic.”

CJ cursed as she started to scramble out of the car to try and flag down a passing car. Kate reached out and grabbed her hand. “I’d rather have this baby with you, right here, than alone at the best hospital in the world.”

With a squeeze she let CJ’s hand go just as a sheriff’s car came around the corner.


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