Title:              Lost & Found - Chapter 1
Author:          Rhonda
Characters:    CJ & Toby
Rating:           R
Summary:     Sequel to "Lost" - After CJ and Toby are rescued from
                     the plane crash in Peru they return to the White House 
                     and a new life.
Disclaimer:    Not mine and never will be.

Lost And Found
By: Rhonda
Chapter One

Air Force One
Somewhere over the Carribean Sea - Night

CJ had never been a "white-knuckled" flyer before this trip.  But this time,
starting from the takeoff in Lima, she had been assaulted with panic.  Mind
numbing panic that even the trappings and security of Air Force One weren't
enough to quell.  CJ Cregg was afraid of flying.  Grimacing, she thought,
"Great, just another souvenir from the Andes to take home with me."  She
tightened her seatbelt and tried to remember how to breathe.

Toby limped down the aisle and sat down in the seat next to hers.  After snapping
his own seatbelt, he pried one of her hands off the armrest and cradled it in his. 

"How are you doing?" he asked, sympathetically looking at her distressed countenance.

"Wonderful," she answered sarcastically.  "But when we land to refuel, I'm getting off."
She squeezed his hand as the plane encountered some minor turbulence and rocked from side
to side.

"You need to think about something else." Pausing, Toby asked, "How do you like my
new shoes?" He stretched his legs out in front of him, displaying his new hightop,
leather Reeboks.  

Looking at his purple and neon pink clad feet, she had to smile. "Toby, those are quite
a fashion statement, especially coming from you."

"Hey, these were a gift from the President of the United States, don't mock them,"
he commanded with a straight face.

"I wasn't mocking the shoes."  Leaning over she kissed his cheek.  "How's your foot? 
Does it hurt?"

Toby shook his head negatively.  "Nope, it's healed.  Of course the new skin is a
ittle sensitive, but these shoes feel great, even if they're a little bright for my

Sighing, she closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the seat's headrest.
"I will be so glad to get home.  It seems like we've been gone for months instead
of just two weeks."

Intertwining his fingers with hers, Toby asked, "Did Leo tell you that he's counting
these two weeks as our annual vacation time?"

Whipping her head towards his, she retorted, "No way am I letting him count this as
a vacation.  In fact, I'm putting in for overtime."

"We don't qualify for overtime, we're on salary," he argued, trying to keep her mind
off flying.

An exasperated CJ countered with, "Well, at least he owes us compensatory time. 
It's not like we came to Peru on a shopping spree.  He sent us down here as part
of an advance team or a Presidential trip."

At the mention of the advance team, they both fell silent, thinking about the caskets in
the cargo hold.

Hanging his head, Toby muttered, "It wasn't all bad, was it?"

Stroking his knuckles with her thumb, she softly answered, "No, it wasn't all bad.
I have a few fond memories."

"Such as?" he asked, looking into her eyes.

"Watching you do laundry was a lot of fun," she joked, deliberately avoiding giving him
the answer he desired.

Toby frowned and tried again.  "Actually I was thinking more along the lines of what
happened that night when we swam in the pool under that first waterfall."

Pretending to not know what he was alluding to, CJ said, "Well, I think our experience
with the last waterfall about wiped out any good memories I had associated with waterfalls.
Could you be more specific?"

Narrowing his eyes, he went along with her ruse although he knew she was well aware of what
he was talking about.  "I was referring to the night you took advantage of me."

"The night I took advantage of you?" she blustered.  "I'll have you know that anything that
might of happened that night was your idea."

"Might of happened?" He raised one eyebrow in disbelief.

"Sure, if anything did - not that I'm saying it did -  happen, that is," she babbled,
hiding a smile.

Shaking his head, Toby dryly stated, "If - if I understood what you just said, which I
don't, I'm sure I would disagree with you."

Josh walked up the plane's aisle just in time to hear Toby's last statement.
Missing the clasped hands, Josh plopped down on one of the two seats facing them.
He smirked and said, "Glad to see your little ordeal hasn't changed you two. 
What's the argument about this time?"

CJ calmly looked at Josh and replied, "Sex."

Toby and CJ silently watched Josh's face slowly turned crimson. He mumbled something
about needing to talk with Sam about a "thing" as he beat a hasty retreat to the front
of the plane.

"Well that's one way to get rid of him.  I'll have to remember it for future use.
With an inquiring look, Toby added, "I assume this means we're not going to be discrete
about our new relationship."

Reclaiming her hand and turning to stare out the window, CJ took a deep breath and replied,
"Discretion is not really a viable option."

"CJ?" Toby reached up and touched her chin with two fingers, gently turning her face
towards his.

"I'm pregnant."

Air Force One
Somewhere over the Carribean Sea - Night

CJ leaned against the outside of the bathroom door, listening to Toby retching inside.
Rubbing her neck, she thought that maybe she should have worked more on the delivery
of her announcement.  Of all the possible ways she had anticipated Toby reacting to
her news, tossing his cookies wasn't in her top ten.  Hell, it wasn't even on her list.

Just this morning one of the high priced Peruvian specialists the President drafted
into service gave her the news.  One of the standard tests had come back positive. 
Fully expecting to find that she had contracted malaria or some other exotic disease
during the time she and Toby had been lost, she was shocked to learn she had instead
contracted a slight case of pregnancy. 

"Toby?  Are you all right?" she asked noticing that the retching noises had stopped.

"Fantastic, we'll talk later.  Go away," he muttered through the fake wood door.

"Toby, if you're not careful, you could hurt my feelings," CJ joked.

At his continued silence, she added, "I'm the one who is supposed to get nauseous."

A deep voice over her shoulder asked, "What are you doing Claudia Jean?"

Whirling around CJ came face to face, or rather chest to face, with the President.

"Uh, I'm waiting in line for the bathroom."

"I'm sure I've seen more bathrooms on this plane." Looking around he spied Charlie
and motioned him over.  "Charlie, aren't there more bathrooms on this plane?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Let's find one for CJ, shall we?" the Commander-In-Chief boomed, linking his arm with hers.

"Uh, Mr. President, actually I . . . ," CJ broke off her statement as Toby opened the
bathroom door.

"All yours," a pale Toby said, looking at CJ.

"Is it?" she asked, referring to more than the bathroom.

"No, I intend to be there every step of the way," Toby stated, staring into her eyes.

"Hey, I know you two got close, but damn Toby, let her have some privacy.  As I was telling
CJ, we've got more bathrooms!" the President declared with not a little confusion evident
in his voice.

Charlie, picking up on the fact that neither Toby nor CJ was paying the slightest attention
to anyone else, decided that it might be prudent to redirect the President's attention. 
"Sir, why don't we go scout out those bathroom locations."

The President, looking first at Toby and then CJ, said, "No, Charlie you go on ahead. 
I sense there's more to this bathroom thing than I've been made aware."

Turning to Charlie, he whispered, "I have a finely honed sense concerning relationships,
undercurrents, and those unsaid things floating about in the air."  Pausing, he added,
"And, this air reeks with floating things."

Toby, glanced over at the President and said, "I'm afraid the reeking is due to my upset
stomach.  I've got a touch of airsickness.  Sir, have you ever heard of projectile vomiting?"

Turning a little green, the Leader of the Free World, said, "Uh, Charlie, let's go do some

"Sir, what about your finely honed senses?" Charlie asked in a somber tone.

"Shut up.  Let's get out of range.  This is a new suit."

The President took off down the aisle towards his private office.

Charlie, hiding his smile, followed close at his heels.

"You're not about to throw up again are you?" CJ prudently asked.

"No." Taking her arm, he pulled her into the bathroom, shutting the door and locking it.

"How do you feel?" Toby muttered, looking at his feet.

"About?" she asked, forcing him to say it.

Sighing, he replied,"About being pregnant?"


"Numb?" he questioned, his voice rising. "Just numb?"

Nodding her head, she answered, "That about sums it up.  Numb."

"I think you're supposed to feel more than that," he argued, the volume of his voice
increasing with each word. "That's our child you're talking about CJ."

She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him.  "You asked me how I felt and
I told you.  Sorry if my feelings don't meet your expectations.  But they  -  are  -
my feelings."

"Okay, I can't talk about this right now," Toby growled. "I'm going to walk around a
little and think."  With that he unlocked the door and left.

CJ slammed the door behind him and looked at her reflection in the mirror over the tiny
sink.  Hooking her hair behind her ears, she splashed water on her face.

Looking up into the mirror again, she pointed at her image, "Your life is over. 
You thought a plane crash was bad, just wait.  The next nine months is going to
make almost dying in the rainforest feel like a walk in the park." Closing her
eyes she leaned back against the door.

Almost immediately, the door vibrated against her head, as someone knocked. 
"What?" she shouted.

Sam meekly answered, "Uh, CJ are you going to be in there long?  I need to use the

Yanking open the door, an angry CJ shouted, "For God's sake find another bathroom. 
I have it on good authority that there's more of them on this damn plane."  She
punctuated her sentence by slamming the door shut in his face.

Frowning, Sam walked away from the door, complaining, "I really thought that
her gratitude over me saving her life would last longer, at least until we got

Air Force One
North of Miami   -   2:00 am


"CJ, are you awake?" Toby whispered in her ear.

He was kneeling on the floor in front of the two seats she was curled up on. 
She could feel his breath on her face.

Without opening her eyes or moving her head from its position against the adjacent
seat's armrest, she answered him. "No, Toby.  I'm asleep.  Go away."

He didn't respond to her other than to shift his position so that he was sitting
instead of kneeling.

A moment later, CJ realized that he was just going to sit there and wait until she
was ready to talk to him.   Desperately wanting to sleep but knowing she would never
be able to relax with him waiting there, she gave in.

"What do you want?" she wearily replied, opening her eyes and returning his gaze.

"I wanted to apologize for my earlier response towards your news."  He looked down at
his shoes, fiddling with the purple laces.

"Okay, go ahead," CJ responded, knowing exactly what his next word would be.

"What?" he asked, looking up and catching her mouthing the word he just spoke. 

"Apologize!" she demanded, experiencing a sense of deja vu.

"I'm sorry."   He smiled then, remembering the last time they had this exact conversation. 
"At least this time it wasn't about me keeping information from you."

"No, this time it was about whether I gave you more information than you could handle,"
CJ morosely reflected.

Rubbing the top of his head, he whispered, "I want to be able to handle it."

Leaning close he stroked her hair, pushing her bangs back.  "It's just that I can't seem
to gather my thoughts and then get the right words out, words which express all the things
I'm feeling."

Unconvinced, CJ continued to watch him, waiting for him to express some of those thoughts
or feelings.

Avoiding her gaze, he looked down and started retying one of his new shoes. 

Losing patience, she uttered his name,"Toby?"

"Okay, I'm just floundering here.  I don't know what to say or how to react,"
he grudgingly admitted, staring at his feet.

Sitting up, CJ sighed, "Toby, we have plenty of time to figure it out."  Pausing, she
started ticking off points on her fingers.  "One, we're not teenagers.  Two, money isn't
a problem. Uh, three, we care about each other. Four, well, - Toby tell me this doesn't
have to be a disaster," she pleaded as he sat unresponsive.

"CJ, I . . ."

He was interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat.

They both looked up and found the President standing nearby.  He had a slightly sheepish
expression on his face. "Sorry, I couldn't help overhearing this conversation.  But,
actually I'm glad I did.  I want to help."

The President sat down in one of the seats across from them.  Leaning his elbows on his
knees, the President clasped his hands together and declared, "God, Toby when I thought
you were dead, I had such regrets for all the times I didn't support you or confide in
you."  Taking a deep breath, the President sat up straight and pushed out his chest,
announcing, "But, no one can say Josiah Bartlet doesn't learn from his mistakes.
I'm going help you Toby, whether you want me to or not."

Stunned they both replayed their previous conversation in their minds, frantically trying
to figure out exactly what he had overheard.

In an intense tone, the President asked, "Toby, did something happen while you were lost
that you haven't told me about?  What did the doctors tell you that they didn't tell me? 
You're sick aren't you, and I don't mean airsick.  Are you in pain right now?  I can call
Abbey if you want."

Mistaking Toby's muteness for overwhelming emotion and gratitude, the President continued,
"Son, I promise we'll find a cure or some kind of treatment."

With his eyes tearing, the President slapped his hand on Toby's shoulder and reverently
avowed, "Buddy, I'm here for you, whatever you need."

"Sir," Toby started to speak but then looked at CJ for her permission.

At her affirmative nod, Toby faced the President and cleared his throat.  "Sir, I'm not
sick.  CJ's pregnant and I'm the father."

The President looked from Toby to CJ, and then back to Toby. "Well this changes everything,"
he declared, standing up.

Eyes flashing, he calmly said, "I going to kill you, you sorry son of a *****."

Air Force One
Over the Carolina Coast   -   3:00 am

Anticipating the President's next move, CJ jumped from her seat and managed to wedge herself
between the President and Toby.

Because Toby was sitting on the floor and the lunging President was standing, CJ's maneuver
ended up as more of a tackle than a block.  They all ended up rolling around on the floor
of the plane.  The President continued trying to ring Toby's neck and CJ kept trying to
stay between them.  The result was a lot of bruises and torn clothing.

Since Toby made no moves to protect himself, the swarming Secret Service agents concentrated
on extricating an uncooperative Commander-In-Chief from the mass of tangled arms and legs.

The shouting and confusion attracted Josh and Sam, who upon viewing the melee remained on
the sidelines, unable to decide which side of the fight to join.  It appeared that Toby was
on the losing side and their natural instincts were to assist the underdog.  But the President
had the Secret Service on his side and they had guns, so the intrepid duo decided that they
would be well served by remaining neutral and just enjoying the show.  In their hasty
calculations, they had forgotten CJ. 

Seeing Josh and Sam acting like spectators at a pro-wrestling match was too much for her.
Exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmingly angry with the male gender as a whole, she screamed
for them to go away and started throwing things. 

Josh was hit on the back of his head by a flying purse.  Sam was winged by a paperback novel.  
Momentarily stunned at being under attack, they failed to move.  They stood there wondering
why they were on the receiving end of her anger.  But after Josh took a size 11 purple Reebok
to the groin, they decided the "why" didn't matter. "Escape" was the optimal word.

They beat a hasty retreat towards Air Force One's situation room.  As they jogged, or in
Josh's case limped down the aisle,  Sam voiced a considered opinion. "Maybe we should have
left them where we found them.  I'm sure they would have survived the falls and managed to
walk out.  A few more weeks in the wilderness might have improved their dispositions." 

Josh croaked, "Are you kidding, a few more weeks by themselves and they would have been
meaner than junk yard dogs."

Sam looked down Josh's body to where Josh's hands were currently located, the hands that
were belatedly protecting his bruised pride and joy.  Sam raised one eyebrow inquiringly
and stared.

"Okay, maybe we should look into purchasing shock collars when we get back," Josh whimpered
as he slowly moved on down the aisle.

Meanwhile back at the scene of the crime, Toby and CJ were left sitting next to each other
on the floor, the President having been bodily removed to his office by two Secret Service

Breathing heavily, Toby groaned, "I'm beginning to get my thoughts together."

Leaning against the side of the plane, CJ frowned at her torn blouse.  At his statement
she crossed her arms and sighed, "Okay, let's hear them."

"Actually this whole situation boils down to two issues," Toby somberly professed.

At her encouraging nod, he proceeded, "First there is the issue of my new shoes and
why you threw one of them at Josh."

Holding up a hand, to forestall the biting comment he knew was coming, he continued,
"And second, I need to know if you'll marry me."

Air Force One
Nearing Andrews Air Force Base  -  4:00 am

Staring at him, CJ calmly replied, "I don't have an answer you'll like."

Looking down at the rip in the knee of his slacks, he fingered the jagged edge and
hesitantly asked, "Do you want to take some more time?  Maybe think about it a little."

"I don't think time will make any difference." With a deadpan expression, she explained,
"I just don't know why I threw your shoe.  It was there.  It was purple.  I threw it. 
It's that simple."

Jerking his head up when she mentioned the word "shoe," Toby narrowed his eyes and
pursed his lips.  "CJ," he warned, "I'm not in the mood to fully appreciate your
sense of humor."

Smiling, she defended herself. "Hey, you're the one who brought up the shoe."

Silently acknowledging her point with a shrug, Toby voiced the second part of his question.
"So what about the other thing?"

"Other thing?" she quipped.

In a brusk manner he replied, "You're going to make me say it again, aren't you?"

Scooting over so that she was sitting up against his side, she turned serious.
"Toby, please.  I've never been asked that question before.  I want to savor it
a little."

"No one has ever asked you to marry him before?" an incredulous Toby asked.

Embarrassed, CJ retorted, "Well, don't look so surprised.  I was almost engaged three
or four times."

"How could you be almost engaged if no one ever asked you the question?" Toby laughed,
failing to notice the storm clouds building in her eyes.

Angry now, CJ grasped the seat behind her and stood up.  "You know what?"  Without waiting
for a response she continued, "You're an insensitive jerk and I'd be crazy to consider for
one moment accepting your proposal, much less actually marrying you." 

Grabbing her ankle to halt her leaving, Toby realized he had made a wrong turn somewhere.
"CJ, I am all the things you called me and more.  But I love you and I'll love our child.
Please marry me."

"Not good enough, Toby.  You laughed at me.  I opened myself up to you and shared something
very private.  And, what did you do?  You laughed at me."

Trying to shake loose his hand from her ankle, CJ stumbled a little.  Taking advantage of
the situation, Toby pulled her down into his arms.

"I apologize for laughing." Suddenly he smiled, "That makes two apologies you've gotten
from me today.  Must be a record in there somewhere."

Before she could object, he gave her a quick, hard kiss on the lips.

"Toby," she started, her voice sharp. "Toby, I don't . . ."  She stopped and he could
almost see the anger draining out of her.  "If we got married you would have to learn
to apologize better than that."

"I'm always open to learning new things," he joked.

"Sure you are," a skeptical CJ replied. 

"I am," he protested.  "Go ahead.  Teach me something."

Giving him a little sideways smile, she reached down between their bodies.
Fingering his zipper, she watched his eyes dilate.  "Give me another reason
to marry you," she challenged.  "Give me one more  - big -  reason."

"Uh," he swallowed hard and searched for his voice which had moved southward along with
most of his blood supply.  "You should marry me because . . . uh, you should marry me
because I . . . uh . . . because I'm probably not going to have a job after today and
I'll need someone to support me."  As he rushed the last part of his answer out, he
placed his mouth on hers.

After several long moments he allowed her to breathe again.  "Uh, CJ, maybe you could
loosen your grip a little.  We might want to use that again."

"Sorry.  You shouldn't surprise me like that when I've got my hands full," she joked.

"Are you going to marry me or not?" Toby asked again, a little more confident in her answer.

Stalling, she joked, "No bended knee?"

Growling he kissed her neck, "I think you already bent enough of my parts."


Looking up he asked, "Okay what?"

"Okay, I'll marry you."

"Thank you," he groaned, exhausted.

Chapter Two

Andrews Air Force Base - 6:00 am

It was snowing.  Large white feathers of frozen moisture drifting down covering all the
imperfections, making everything seem better than it really was.

Looking out the window of Air Force One, CJ saw Leo standing in front of several black
limousines.  Just to side she spotted Donna and Carol bundled in coats and hats, shivering
against the cold.

Sitting next to her, Toby squeezed her hand.  Turning her head, she smiled at him. 
He didn't need to say anything, she knew what he was thinking.  Home.  Home, with all
its imperfections and problems, was still the best place in the world.

They were finally home.  For the first time she realized how frightened she had been that
they wouldn't make it back here.

The plane came to a full stop.  Standing, CJ gathered the few items she'd brought back
from Peru.  Neither she nor Toby had much luggage, just the bare necessitates that Josh
and Sam had purchased for them while they were in the hospital.  Remembering what those
two had done for her and Toby, she walked down the aisle to their seats. 

She wasn't sure but they might have looked a little alarmed at seeing her approach.
Gee, throw a few things and yell once or twice, and those two start cringing like
abused puppies. 

Smiling to allay their fears, she reached out and hugged first Josh and then Sam.
"Thanks guys, for everything," she whispered.  Josh, in a characteristic display
of emotion, punched her shoulder.  Sam, with tears in his eyes, kissed her cheek,
and said, "Welcome home."

Toby, standing behind her, shook their hands and gave his own thanks.  He thanked
Sam for not giving up on them and he thanked Josh for supporting Sam.  Toby made
it very clear to them that he knew their actions had saved his life and CJ's.

"Hey, is anyone getting off this plane?" Leo shouted from the doorway.  Smiling,
he walked forward with his arms outstretched.

Hugging Toby and then CJ, Leo ushered them out the door, grumbling something about
lots of work being piled up and people waiting to see them.

The ride back to the White House was a noisy mixture of sadness and joy.  CJ learned
all about the botched briefings done in her absence and the devastation the staff had
felt when it was thought she and Toby had died in the crash.

Donna and Carol cried copious amounts of tears and went through not only their supply of
Kleenex, but a great number of donated handkerchiefs.   Josh joked that he wished he
owned stock in Kleenex and Leo said he did.  Sam said that Leo owned stock in everything
that made money.

CJ smiled and laughed when expected, but she couldn't keep from worrying about Toby. 
He was riding with the President.

Just as they were leaving the plane, Charlie stopped them and informed Toby that the
President wanted his company on the limo ride.  CJ protested that she should go with
them, but a grim faced Charlie said the President had asked to see Toby alone.

Looking at the familiar landscapes as they drove past, CJ wondered what was going on in
the limo just ahead.

Presidential Limousine

Maybe the heater wasn't working properly, but the atmosphere inside the Presidential
limousine was definitely on the chilly side.

The President had been on the cell phone since getting in the vehicle, thus the
confrontation Toby sensed approaching had been slightly delayed.

Charlie sat beside the President and pretended to be absorbed in reading a text book. 
The two Secret Service Agents appeared alert but detached from anything not related to
the President's security.

Although, for a moment when he first got into the limo, Toby could have sworn that one of
the agents, winked at him.

The President finished his call much too soon for Toby's liking.  Then the staring began.
The President turned off the cell phone and tossed it to Charlie.  Then he crossed his
arms and glared at Toby.

Minutes passed and neither said a word.  Both continued to stare at the other.

Toby was just as stubborn a man as Jed Bartlet.  So when the staring match started, he
decided that the President would have to be the one to break the silence. 

Ten minutes, then fifteen passed.  Not a word was spoken by anyone in the car.

As the limo ate up the miles from Andrews to the White House, the tension level in the
vehicle increased.  Charlie began fidgeting in his seat and even the agents looked increasing

Finally the silence was broken by the ringing of the cell phone.  Charlie pulled it out of
his suit jacket and answered it.  Saying only the name "Leo," he passed it to the President
who reluctantly took it.  Pressing it to his ear, he barked, "Hello."   He listened for a
few minutes without saying anything and then hung up.

Looking at Toby, he suddenly smiled and said, "Why didn't you tell me you're getting married?
We've got plans to make."

Presidential Limousine - 6:45 am

The snow continued to fall causing the D.C. streets to narrow to two open lanes, slowing
most of the early morning traffic.  Cars were getting stuck and tow trucks were doing a
brisk business.

The heavy Presidential limo didn't seem to be affected by the worsening road conditions.
It continued to make steady progress towards the White House.

Like the weather outside, the conditions inside the limo were also worsening.  At least that
was Toby's considered opinion.

Toby wasn't sure which was worse, dealing with Jed Bartlet, the silent, angry defender of
CJ's virtue, or dealing with Jed Bartlet, giddy wedding planner.  Who knew, or cared, that
the President had connections with wedding dress designers?  And what the hell was a wedding
theme?  Rubbing his head for the nth time, he contemplated jumping out of the moving vehicle.
But with his luck he would survive the jump but get run over by the limo following them.

Turning his head, Toby looked out the rear window checking on the limo carrying the
Senior Staff, Donna, and Carol.  It wasn't in sight.  The snow must have slowed them down. 

Smiling, Toby thought that this was his chance.  He just had to remember to roll when he
hit the pavement. 

He actually put his hand on the door when the President started talking flowers.  He seemed
to be pushing peach roses, but Toby just wasn't listening carefully enough to keep up with
the details.

When the President said his name twice in a row, Toby realized that the President had
asked him a question.  Looking towards Charlie for a hint, Toby silently lipread "Rose
Garden wedding."

Facing the President, he said with little confidence, "Uh, Rose Garden wedding." 

Beaming, the President slapped him on the back and said, "Excellent choice, Toby. 
I'll have Nancy start making arrangements."

Staring out the side window, Toby knew he had waited too late to jump.  His roller coaster
life had picked up too much speed and all he could do now was hang on.

Limousine Carrying the Senior Staff - 6:45 am

"Leo, what did he say?" an anxious CJ murmured in his ear.

Earlier in the ride, she had whispered her engagement news to Leo and requested that he
call the President and tell him.

Confused over the strange timing and method of her announcement, Leo muttered something
about not wasting his breath arguing with her.  While she distracted the other occupants
of the limo with the "Anaconda" story, Leo made the call.

Josh and Sam's continuing laughter drowned out Leo's answer so she still didn't know what
the President's reaction to her engagement was.  "Leo, what did he say?" she asked again.

Exasperated, Leo raised his voice and said, "He didn't say anything!" Everyone reacted by
stopping their conversations and staring at him. 

The impact of a delivery truck broadsiding the limo saved him from having to explain his

From CJ's perspective everything that occurred after Leo's statement seemed to happen
at once.  Screeching metal sounds overlaid the sounds of blaring horns and screams.
She had the sensation of rolling, tumbling head over heels in the limo's interior.

Then she seemed to be flying.  She remembered that she was afraid of flying now.

The next thing she felt was snow on her face.

She was cold.  

She was so cold. 

Just like before. 

Presidential Limousine - 7:00 am

"I don't really have an opinion on butternut frosting, Sir," Toby replied, wondering what
level of Dante's hell he was in now.  Thank goodness, he could see the White House in the
distance.  Only a few more minutes until he could make his escape.  Turning his head, he
looked behind them for the other limo.  He still couldn't see it.

"Mr. President, do you think the other limo driver got lost?" Toby joked, interrupting a
lecture about the history of wedding cakes.

Glancing over his shoulder, the President searched for a glimpse of the limo carrying
his Senior Staff.  Frowning, he jerked his head at the Secret Service Agent sitting
beside Toby.

Pulling out a radio, the agent tried calling the other limo.  Impatiently, the President
asked Charlie to call Leo on his cell phone.  No one answered the radio or the cell phone

There was a moment of silence while everyone just looked at each other.  

"Turn this car around," the President suddenly ordered.

Reluctantly, the agent answered, "No  -  Sir, we have to get you to the White House first.
Then we'll find out what going on."

Looking at the faces around him, Toby felt a sinking sensation.  The roller coaster was
heading down.

Limousine Carrying the Senior Staff - 7:00 am

"CJ, can you hear me?  CJ?"

Josh's voice seemed to be coming from a long way off.  What was he doing in the airplane?
He wasn't supposed to be on the advance trip.

"Have to find Toby," she muttered. 

"CJ, open your eyes.  Look at me!"

Now Leo was shouting at her.  Leo?


"Yeah kid, it's me.  Open your eyes," he demanded.

Everything was white.  The sky, the ground, and even the people hovering over her.

"Angels?  Am I seeing angels?" she asked confused.

"Not hardly," Josh laughed, relieved that she was conscious.

Leo frowned at his deputy, who was busy brushing snow off his head.  

Kneeling down, Leo used his woolen scarf to wipe snow off of her face.  He asked, "How do
you feel?  What hurts?"

"I'm okay.  I don't hurt.  What happened?"  She started to sit up, but Leo held her down.

"Don't move.  An ambulance will be here soon."

Irritated, she asked again, "What happened?"

Sam suddenly came into view.  He was holding his right arm in a makeshift sling. 
There was blood on his head.

"Sam, are you hurt?" CJ asked, reaching out her hand towards him.

Bending down, he grabbed her hand and squeezed while Leo said something about a UPS truck
plowing into them.

"Where's Donna and Carol?  Are they hurt?"  She tried to get up again, but Leo was having
none of that.

"Lie still," Leo ordered.  "You went out one of the limo doors when it rolled.  You may
have some injuries you don't know about."

Sam finally took pity on her and answered her question.  "Donna and Carol are okay. 
Just some minor cuts and bruises.  They went to find a working phone.  Ours went up
in flames."

Puzzled, CJ repeated his last word, "Flames?"

Josh, sitting cross-legged in the snow beside her, explained in his usual sensitive manner.
"Yeah, you should of seen it.  Just like in the movies.  That limo blew like we had struck
dynamite in its gas tank.  I bet the flames went up 50 feet."

"That's ridiculous," Sam responded.  "Those flames didn't get any taller than 30 feet at
the most."

"How do you know?" Josh argued.  "You've got a head injury.  I think everyone would agree
I'm a better witness."

"Even with a head injury, I have more credibility than you.  50 feet, my ***.   See that
building over there?  How tall do you think it is?"

Josh turned to view the building in question, but Leo shut down the whole debate by sending
Sam to watch for the ambulance.

CJ, flat on her back in the snow, had a fleeting thought that nothing seemed to get those
two down for long.  They had looked death in the face only moments before and now they were
arguing about how high the fireball was.

Death, she'd seen too much of it in the last few weeks.

Shivering, CJ wondered how many times she could cheat death and what price she would have
to pay for doing so.

Leo laid his coat over her.

She didn't need the coat.

She needed Toby,

George Washington Hospital  -  8:00 am

"Ms. Cregg, how do you feel?"

How do I feel?  I'm lying on a hard narrow bed, wearing a thin cotton gown, waiting to
hear if I'm still carrying a life inside me.

How do I feel?  In the last two weeks I've survived a plane crash, a flood, a variety of
deadly creatures, a waterfall, a limo crash, and Toby.

How do I feel?  In the last hour I've been poked, prodded, X-rayed, and ultrasounded.
Is that a word - ultrasounded?  That's just one more thing I don't know.  I don't know
what I want.  I want  -  I need something.

How do I feel?  Numb.  I feel numb.  Of course Toby doesn't like that word.  He doesn't
think it's enough.  He's right.

How do I feel?  "Doctor, I feel like shit."

George Washington Hospital  -  8:00 am
Toby's POV

"Toby, how do you feel?"

How do I feel?  I'm sitting on a hard plastic chair, wearing purple Reeboks, waiting to
hear if my child is alive or dead.

How do I feel?  In the last two weeks I've survived a plane crash, a flood, a variety of
deadly creatures, a waterfall, a rumble with the President, and CJ.

How do I feel?  In the last hour I've been patronized, pitied, ignored, and humored.
Sometimes all at the same time by the same person.   I don't know how to accept their
concern.  It's too much to bear.  I'm already holding too many things.

How do I feel?  Nauseous.  I feel nauseous.  CJ says that she's the one who's supposed
to feel that.  I don't know.   Maybe subconsciously I'm just trying to do that for her.
I know I'm not giving her what she needs.  I'm not giving her the words she needs.

How do I feel?  "Leo, I don't feel anything.  I'm numb."

George Washington Hospital  - 9:00 am

Pacing he walked from the nurses station to the vending machines and back again.
Fifty-five steps, plus or minus two, he had counted them.  He wondered what the
variables were, the things that affected the length of his stride. 

Variables, life was full of them.  All those variables that changed how you got
from point A to point B.  Any little thing could cause a completely different

Today, the main variable was snow.

Snow made the UPS truck driver late to work.  He didn't have time for breakfast,
so he bought coffee in a drive-through.  The coffee was hot.  He spilled it on
his lap.  While pulling the hot fabric away from his body, he drove through the
red light.  The limo was going through the intersection at the same time.  Snow.
Snow was the variable.  No snow -  no coffee -  no burn -  no accident - no problem. 

But it snowed and here they were.

Sam was getting his head and arm X-rayed.

Josh wasn't really sure what tests they were running on CJ.

When he wasn't talking on the pay phone, Leo was busy with the admitting clerk,
getting all the paperwork started.  He had ordered Donna and Carol home.  They
were wet, cold, and bruised from the crash. 

Josh figured that in about an hour he would find out they were back in the
West Wing, holding things together.

Fifty-five steps from the nurses station to the vending machines.  Thirty-two steps
from the nurses station to the chair Toby was occupying. 

Josh made the trip one more time to Toby's chair.  Sitting beside him, he tried to
think of something to say that would help.  Nothing new came to mind. 

Toby wasn't listening anyway.

Everyone found out about the pregnancy when Toby asked the doctor about it.

Now everyone worried with him about a life that might not be.

The snow was still falling.

George Washington Hospital  - 10:30 am


"CJ, are you awake?" he whispered in her ear. 

She felt his breath on her face.

"No, I'm asleep.  What took you so long?"  She opened her eyes and stared into his.

Grimacing, he explained, "I was detained, first by agents with guns and then by doctors
with needles and paperwork."

"Yeah, I saw that paperwork.  You were wise to keep your distance."

"Leo got Margaret over here.  She's got the paperwork all under control.  The nurses are
scared of her and two doctors have tried to hire her."

Laughing he continued, "I think Leo's going to send her back to the office pretty soon.
The last salary the orthopedist offered her made even Leo blink.  He's afraid he'll lose
her if she stays here much longer."

"Orthopedist?  Was he seeing Sam?" a concerned CJ asked.

"Yeah, but he gave him good news.  No surgery, just a cast."

Wistfully, CJ said, "I wish we could get some good news."

Toby leaned over and gently kissed her forehead.  With his lips against her skin, he said,
"I know, but in this case no news is good news."

"Toby, I don't know if you've noticed but I'm not a patient person."

"Yeah, I picked up on that about 10 years ago."

"What did the doctors tell you?"

"Probably the same thing they told you.  The ultrasound didn't show anything, but they
really didn't expect it to."  Smiling he said, "You're just barely pregnant.  They can't
see him yet."

Narrowing her eyes, she asked, "Did you say him?"

"Uh, yeah."  His eyes twinkled, "We haven't talked about a name yet."

Pulling on his beard, she brought his face close to hers.  "Listen here,
Mr. Communications Director, this baby is a girl.  Understand?"

Tugging a little harder, she gained an affirmative response from him.

"Now would be a good time," she added when he just continued to lean over her,
his face just inches away from hers.

"Good time for what?" he asked with an innocent expression pasted on his face.

Loosening her grip on his facial hair, CJ stroked his face, "To do what you're thinking

Blinking once, he nodded again.  "Okay, do you want yours with fries or without?"

An orderly in the hall heard the yelp, but chalked it up to another doctor with a less
than adequate bedside manner.

George Washington Hospital  - 4:30 pm

Leaning back with only two legs of his chair on the floor, Josh had his stocking feet
propped upon CJ's hospital bed.  He was peeling an orange and whining to her about his
nonexistent love life.

"So anyway, Donna said that the water balloon meant something and I should think about
it," Josh related with a laugh.  "Water balloons  -  What do you think?  I mean, sometimes
a water balloon is just a water balloon, right?"

CJ regarded him with an amused expression.  "Josh, you really don't get it, do you?"

"Hey, I can get it.  I can get it most of the time.  In fact I probably get it more than
a lot of guys.  It's just that I spend a great deal of time around women who don't really
say what they mean!"

"You poor thing," she sarcastically commiserated with him.  "Okay, I'll tell you exactly
what I think."  CJ reached over and pushed his feet off her bed.  "Your feet stink. 
Don't you ever change your socks?"

Indignantly, trying to keep his balance on the chair, Josh yelled, "That's just plain
mean, Claudia Jean, and to think I bought you a fifty dollar fruit basket."

"And for your information, if I haven't changed my socks this week, it's because I been
a little busy rescuing you and Toby from the jaws of hell."

"Jaws of hell?" she asked with a skeptical expression on her face.

"Okay, maybe that's a little over the top.  Watery grave?"

"Josh, what are you trying to do?  Cheer CJ up?  If so, she'd be better off with a visit
from Mary Marsh," Sam joked from his position just inside her doorway.

"Sam."  CJ smiled genuinely relieved to see him up and walking around.  "How do you feel?"

"Not too bad now," he grimaced adjusting his sling.  "The drugs have kicked in."

Walking over to her bed, he smiled and said, "I heard about the baby.  Are you okay?"

Shrugging, CJ replied, "I feel pretty sore from all the bouncing around in the limo and
the flying through the air part of the crash.  And to top it off, now I keep getting back
spasms."  Moving the fruit basket to the bedside table, she made a place for him to sit
next to her. Continuing, she said, "But, really I guess I'm lucky not to have broken some
bones like you.  If nothing changes, they're going to discharge me tomorrow morning."

"So the baby's all right?" Sam gently inquired.

Letting out a deep sigh, she answered, "It's just too soon to know.  But the doctors said
if I'm going to miscarry, at this early stage they can't do anything to prevent it.  They
suggested I get back into my normal routine as soon as possible."

Sam smiled.  "I'm sure no one is going to be more relieved to hear that than Henry! 
All the staff's been praying for your return, but Henry's been leaving burnt offerings
in front of your desk.  Carol says it's the ashes of his briefing notes, but we've been
keeping a running head count of the Press Corps, just to be on the safe side."

"Speaking of Press Corps," Josh said, finishing tying his shoes, "You're going to need to
make a statement soon about the airplane crash, the rescue, and now the limo crash.  When
do you think you'll be up to it?"

Rubbing her forehead, CJ said, "Let's schedule it for late tomorrow afternoon. 
I need to speak to Carol first and maybe get Toby to write up some notes for me."

"Some notes about what?" Toby asked walking into the room. 

CJ smiled, saying, "I need a bell on that door."

"Notes on what?" Toby repeated, as he leaned over to kiss her cheek.

Sam answered his question.  "Notes for her briefing tomorrow.  You know details
about the plane crash, my heroism, stuff like that."

Toby glared at Sam and Josh.  "She's not doing any press briefing tomorrow. 
Tomorrow she's going to be home in bed, thinking happy thoughts, and reading
trashy novels."

"Toby," CJ said warningly, her eyes narrowing.  "Don't start doing that."

"Okay, Sam I think we need to go see someone about that thing," Josh suggested,
heading for the door.

"What thing?" Sam innocently asked, clueless as to the increasing tension in the room.

Grabbing Sam's good arm, Josh said, "Shock collars, remember?"

As the light went off in his head, Sam paled and beat Josh out the door.

"CJ, you're not doing any briefing tomorrow and that's not open for discussion,"
Toby declared.

Crossing her arms, CJ hissed, "Toby, are you pulling rank on me?  Because if you're
pulling rank and mixing your roles as boss and fiance, we've got big problems."

Frowning, he grumbled, "So what's new with that?  I don't remember a time we haven't
had big problems."

"Toby, the administration needs me to do this briefing.  I need to do this briefing. 
I need to get my life back," she explained, looking away from him towards the window.

"CJ don't you understand," he grimly stated. 

Pacing the room he said, "It's not just about you anymore.  It's about us and our child.
You -  we have to think about him."

With tears rolling down her face, she turned to face him.  "How dare you.  How dare
you accuse me of being selfish?  Of not thinking about this baby.  Get out of here,"
she angrily emphasized her request by throwing an orange from Josh's fruit basket at
him.  "Get out now and for your information, this baby is a girl."

Frowning and dodging a banana headed his way, Toby headed for the door, muttering, "I'm
going to ignore this outburst.  Abby warned me about hormone surges in pregnant women."

Managing to catch an apple as he opened the door, he joked, "Guess this means you don't
want to talk about wedding plans today."

At her look of rage, he added, "Don't blame me when the President picks out your dress
for you.  He's talking pink tulle."

Toby got through the opening just before the half-filled wicker basket hit the closing
wooden door.

West Wing - 2nd Day Back , 10:00 am

"CJ, you know I was happy to pick you up from the hospital, but, uh, just so I'm prepared
- Is Toby going to hurt me?" a grinning Josh asked.

CJ opened her office door and stepped inside.  Smiling, she whirled around, ecstatic to
be back in her space, her niche in the West Wing.

"Oh, Josh don't be such a wimp.  I'm sure a big, strong, master political operative like
you can handle a middle-aged, balding speech writer."

"I know you're joking, but he doesn't," Donna said as she entered the office to deliver
a large pile of briefing books to CJ's desk.  "Now all day long I'm going to have to
hear about his muscled physique coupled with his razor sharp political instincts."

Amused, CJ replied, "I don't think that's what I said, exactly."

Donna shrugged, "Sure, you know that and I know that, but after the word strong, I'm sure
his hearing shut down and he was off in a fantasy world."

"Don-na," Josh whined, "I am standing right here.  Don't you even care what you say in
front of me?"

"Don't be silly, of course I care."  Patting his shoulder, she walked out, saying,
"You'd know that if you ever heard what I say about you behind your back." 

Josh threw himself down on CJ's couch.  "I think she insulted me, right?"

Sitting down at her desk, CJ grabbed a pair of glasses and gave him a wry smile, "I take
it back Josh.  You do get it!"

"CJ," Toby shouted.  They couldn't see him but they could hear him roaring down the hall
towards her office.

Josh panicked and rolled to the floor staying below the office windows.

Before CJ could react, Josh had scooted the couch away from the wall and crawled behind it.

"Josh," she whispered.  "Get out of there!"

"Shush, you owe me," Josh pleaded.

"CJ," Toby shouted again, as he entered her office.

"Toby, darling, how are you today?"  CJ innocently smiled at him.

"Don't darling me.  I went to the hospital to pick you up and found out from some
candy-striper that you had already left.  Now I find you here.  Didn't we agree that
you were going to spend today at home in bed?"

Narrowing her eyes, CJ got up and walked around her desk.  "Let's keep our arguments
private, shall we?"

She proceeded to slam her door shut and turn the lock.  Closing the blinds, she started
doing a little shouting of her own.

"Toby,'we' did not agree to anything.  I do remember you 'ordering' me to do something.
But I think I made my intentions very plain."

Moving very close to him, she poked him in the shoulder with her index finger, saying,
"Didn't I?"

"CJ," he warned.  Almost apoplectic with anger, his face continued to redden.

"What are you going to do about it?" she taunted, poking him again.

"I - damn it, CJ someday you're going to push me too far," he said as he grabbed her
head with both hands, bringing her lips down to his.

Inserting his tongue in her mouth, he fought for and won the last word on the matter.

Toby maneuvered them over to the couch without breaking contact with her mouth.

They fell to the cushions, oblivious to their surroundings or the cringing, reluctant
voyeur lying behind their makeshift bed.

His groan when CJ's blouse came floating over the back of the couch, remained unheard.

Josh's  Office - 2nd Day Back, 11:30 am

"It was awful Sam, just awful," Josh groaned.  "I'm gonna need therapy because of this."

"You're already in therapy."  Sitting in Josh's chair, Sam looked down at him.  Josh was
lying flat on his back behind his desk.

"I'm gonna need more after this."  He groaned again and Donna walked in with a ice pack.

She dropped - no placed - it on his head.  Rolling her eyes at Sam, she left without

"So, let me get this straight.  You hid behind the couch and then watched them have sex?"
an amazed Sam asked.

"No.  No.  No.  No, jeez, Sam, I didn't - see - anything.  I had to listen to it."

"They had sex right there in her office on the couch and you heard it?" Sam asked,
still trying to clarify the situation.

"No they didn't actually have sex.  CJ got a telephone call, thank God."

Frowning, Sam said, "So, I don't understand.  What's the problem?"

"I don't know."  He lifted the ice pack and looked at Sam. "It's just the thought of it.
Kind of like finding out your parents have sex.  Yuck."  Josh banged his head against
the floor and replaced the ice pack.

Standing up, Sam shook his head in disbelief.  "You do know CJ's pregnant right?"

"Yeah, so?" Josh answered, keeping his eyes shut and the ice pack centered on his forehead.

"How did you think she got that way?"

Sam didn't wait for an answer, he just stepped over Josh and walked out the door.

"Some things are just better left to the imagination," Josh announced to the empty office.

Shuddering, he sat up.

"Don-na!  Don-na!  I need more ice," he shouted.

West Wing Press Room  -  2nd Day Back, 4:30 pm

The press conference had been in progress for about 20 minutes.

CJ was standing at the podium answering questions about the plane crash.

The reporters saw a calm, poised, professional at the top of her game, a much different
CJ than the bedraggled one the public had seen a week before in telecasts from Peru. 

Her clothing was a far cry from her last press conference, the one outside the hospital
in Lima, where she had been dressed in a man's nylon jogging suit hastily borrowed from
one of her doctors.  This time she was dressed in a black, raw silk jacket and matching
skirt, with her customary dark blue silk camisole underneath.

The professional clothing along with a recent visit from her hair stylist had bolstered
her confidence.  She had been fielding the reporters questions with ease.


"Yes, Sandy?" CJ pointed to the female reporter in the middle row of seats.

"Can you tell us how you felt when you were in the rapids headed for the waterfall?"

CJ pulled off her glasses and hooked them in the vee of her silk shirt.  Smiling, she answered,
"Well, Sandy, I have to admit I was frightened.  But my experiences with the White House Press
Corps had prepared me to deal with it.  I did what I do with you guys - held on tight and
screamed at the top of my lungs."

Laughter filled the Press Room.  Today, CJ was everyone's darling.  Most of the reporters
were genuinely glad to see her standing back behind "her" podium.  The somber mood of the
previous two weeks when the press and the nation had believed CJ and Toby were dead, had
been transformed to one of light hearted joy.

Watching from his office, Toby smiled.  She had them eating out of her hands.  He wondered
how long it would last.  Probably just until the next news cycle.

"Okay, one last question - uh, Mike?" she pointed to a new reporter in the back of the room.

"CJ, I have a copy of a medical report showing that you're pregnant?   Would you like to
comment on it?"  Seeing her stunned expression, he pressed his advantage, "Who's the
father?  What's the President say about having a pregnant, unwed Press Secretary on his

The press room erupted into noise.  Lights began flashing and the previous goodwill was
forgotten.  Reporters began shouting over each other, asking questions about the baby and
CJ's personal life.  Toby's name, along with a few other staffers' names, were thrown out
as possible candidates for the father of her baby.

CJ blinked twice and then attempted to regain control of the room.  Her voice was drowned
out by the melee.

Putting two fingers in her mouth, she let out a piercing whistle.

Instantly, the room quieted and the reporters looked at her with a mixture of surprise
and awe.  The calm professional had metamorphosed into an NFL referee in high heels.

In his office, watching, an enraged Toby started for the press room at a run. 
He wasn't alone.  Josh and Sam joined him before he had gotten past the bullpen.

"The White House usually doesn't comment on the personal lives of its staff, but in this
case I am going to make a brief - listen to me guys - brief statement.  I am not, not,
going to answer any followup questions."

Frowning at them, she continued, "Get your pencils ready, because I am not going to repeat

She paused and looked down at her notes for a minute, clearly not reading anything,
just using the time to gather her thoughts.

Looking up at the waiting crowd, CJ said, "I am in a relationship with a man I have loved
and respected for years.  He has asked me to marry him and I have accepted.  Yes, I am
pregnant.  Although, unplanned, I could not be happier with the thought of bringing a new
life into the world."

She paused and fumbled her words a little.  "But - but with  -  with the vehicle crash
two days ago, my - ability - to continue this pregnancy is unknown.  My doctors have
told me that there is a strong possibility that I may - miscarry.  Her voice broke a
little on the last word, her grief almost a palatable thing.

The crowd was absolutely silent, no longer just reporters but people who had experienced
their own losses. 

Gathering up her notes, she looked a Carol, who was standing next to the door with
tears running down her face.

Glancing to the back of the room she saw Toby, Josh, Sam, and even Leo behind the glass
partition.  Leo gave her a thumbs up.

Toby's face was unreadable.  It appeared that Josh and Sam had a lock on each of his arms,
restraining him. 

CJ smiled to reassure them and then faced the stunned crowd. 

Laughing at the looks on their faces, she quipped, "Hey, guys it's just like riding the

With that remark, she turned, left the podium and walked through the door Carol was
holding open.

In the back of the room, Josh smiled, humming the theme song from "Rocky."

Chapter Three
CJ's Office - 2nd Day Back, 5:30 pm

"Here you go, CJ.  Careful it's hot," Sam warned as he handed her a heat pack straight
from the microwave oven.

"Thanks, my back is killing me." CJ placed the plastic covered pad behind her, against
her lower back.  "These things are great.  What else do you have in that first aid treasure
chest of yours?"

Sitting down beside her on her office couch, he adjusted his sling and said, "Never can be
too prepared.  Do you want some aspirin or Ibuprofen?  I've got both."

CJ shook her head.  "The doctors gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant.  I took one
right after the press conference.   It should take effect anytime now."

Looking over at him, CJ patted his cast.  "How do you feel?  Are you in much pain with
your arm?"

"Well I certainly don't forget about it," he groaned, sliding one of her throw pillows
under his cast for support.  "So, where's Toby?  After the way he reacted at the press
conference, I figured he'd be in here hovering."

Readjusting the hot pack, CJ closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the top of
the couch.

"He was here alright.  Sometimes his concern can be a little overwhelming.  I felt the need
to breathe without his assistance, so I told him I was meeting with the President about
wedding invitations."

They lapsed into a companionable silence.  CJ was almost asleep when Sam cleared his throat,
and said, "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," she turned her head toward him, still resting it on the couch back.

He look at her intently and then asked, "Do you think it's possible to have a real home,
marriage - kids?"  He laughed,"Maybe even a dog, and work here too?"

"Sam, I just don't know.  I hope so," she solemnly answered.  "But, you have to realize that
having a dog is a major time investment."

"Seriously, CJ - can we have it all?"

"Maybe, if we are very, very lucky," she replied, holding up two crossed fingers.

For a few minutes, they sat in silence contemplating her words.

"This administration hasn't been all that lucky," Sam reflected.  "You haven't been all that

"Sure I have."

At his skeptical look, she elaborated.  "I could have died a dozen times in the last two
weeks.   Instead, I found someone who loves me.   I may get to be someone's mother.  And,
I found a friend who never gave up searching for me even in the face of overwhelming
evidence that I was dead."

Leaning over, she kissed his blushing cheek.

"I'm a very lucky person."

Sitting up a little straighter, she pushed her hair back behind her ears.  "We're getting
positively morose here.  Let's talk about something else."

Smiling, Sam said, "Okay, but I have to ask you one more question."


"Did you really forget Josh was hiding behind this couch or did you and Toby play him?"

Her eyes sparkling, she answered, "What do you think?"

"Oh, man.  He was so freaked out.  You have to let me tell him," Sam begged. 

Laughing, she nodded, "Consider it a gift."

Toby's  Office - 2nd Day Back, 5:30 pm

Josh timed his entrance through Toby's office door so that he could catch the pink rubber
ball zooming through the air.

"Yo, big guy.  What's going on?" Josh asked plopping down on Toby's couch and tossing the
ball back to him at his desk.

Throwing the ball against the wall, Toby responded, "I'm working.  What are you doing?"

"Hey, I'm working too," an indignant Josh retorted.  "I've got Donna researching at least
a half dozen issues."

Toby ignored him and continued bouncing the ball against the wall.

Slap.  Whop.

Slap.  Whop.

Slap.  Whop.

Since Josh wasn't a person to tolerate being ignored for long, he grabbed the ball
mid-flight again.

Toby glared at him.

Josh smiled, and said, "CJ did good today.  Don't you think?"

"Yes, of course I do," Toby responded, rubbing the top of his head and wondering if
he had given her enough "alone" time yet.

"She really made that press room her own again.  Who knew she could whistle like that!"

Sighing, Toby said, "Okay Josh, you've got my attention.  What do you want?"

Leaning forward, Josh nervously rubbed the palms of his hands on his thighs.

"Uh, Bruno wants to use your wedding as a campaign public relations event."  Josh cringed
and shut his eyes expecting a large explosion from Toby.

When silence continued to reign, he carefully opened his eyes, one at a time, and stared
at Toby.

Toby seemed unaffected by his statement.  He was busy with his red pen, editing a draft

"Uh, Toby - so you're okay with that?" an unbelieving Josh carefully inquired

Briefly glancing up at him and then continuing his reading, an expressionless Toby responded,
"I expected it."  Grudgingly, Toby added, "In Bruno's place I'd do the same thing."

"Uh, well - great.  I'll let him know," Josh said in a voice that indicated that he still
couldn't believe that he'd accomplished his mission without any fireworks.

Josh stood and walked towards the door, "Uh Toby?"

A now visibly annoyed Toby looked up and barked, "What?"

"I never got a chance to say congratulations on your wedding and the baby.  I'm happy for
you," Josh announced, his eyes misting over.

At a loss for words, an embarrassed Toby gruffly said, "Yes, well, thanks." Pausing, Toby
continued, looking everywhere but at Josh. "I should probably tell you how much I appreciate
you coming to Peru looking for us."

"Okay," Josh said grinning. "Go ahead, I can take it."

Frowning, Toby ordered, "Get out of here!"

As Josh went out the door, Toby yelled, "And give me my damn ball back!"

A pink rubber ball came flying into the room.  Toby caught it with one hand.

Hiding a smile, he looked down at the document in front of him.

Muttering, he picked up his red pen and started marking.

CJ's  Office - 2nd Day Back, 8:30 pm

"Can I talk you into dinner?" Toby asked as he walked into her darkened office

CJ was reclining on her couch, with a briefing binder propped up on her knees. 
The only sources of illumination in the room were the light from a small desk
lamp and the lamp turned on behind her.

Pulling off her amber framed reading glasses, she blinked and asked the time.

Surprised when he told her, she said, "I thought I'd have more done by now. 
I think I'm out of practice."

Setting his briefcase and coat down in the chair by the door, Toby walked over
to the couch. 

Lifting her nylon clad feet, he sat down and replaced them on his lap. 

Folding his hands over her insteps, he used his thumbs to massage the arches of
her feet.

Groaning with pleasure, she shut off the lamp behind her and leaned back.

"Uh, CJ?" Toby whispered.


"I should probably tell you about something Josh mentioned."

"Okay, just -  more on the left.  Yeah, right there.  Harder."

Complying with her request, he increased his efforts.

"Oh, Toby, that's wonderful.  You're a god."

"How about here?  Does that feel good?"

"Oh, yeah.  Harder, please," she groaned.

"I don't want to hurt you," Toby whispered.

"I can take it.  There, that's the spot.  Push."

"How's that?"

"You're incredible.  I've never had this done to me this way before."

"Do you want me to keep going?"

"Can you? You're not too tired?"

"Of course not, the muscles I'm using have been strengthened from all those
years of typing.  I could keep this up all night."

Just outside CJ's open doorway, Josh was standing, holding several file folders.
His face was beet red and his feet appeared to be rooted in place.

Sam walked by and looked at him curiously.  He took about a dozen steps down the
hall and then turned around. 

"Josh, are you alright?" Sam whispered, standing beside him.

"Oh God," he groaned. "I needed to give CJ these folders on the P.R. campaign."

"So?" Sam asked, not understanding what his problem was.

With a wild look in his eyes, Josh desperately whined, "They're at it again, Sam."

A loud moan came from CJ's office.

Sam turned his attention to the darkened office. 

CJ's voice could be heard.  "Toby don't stop, please don't stop."

Josh blanched and said, "I've got to learn to type."

Leo's  Office - 3rd Day Back, 8:30 am

"Sam, how's the State of the Union speech coming?" Leo asked, shuffling some papers on
the top of his desk and handing off files to Margaret.

The morning staff meeting was winding down and assistants were beginning to filter in
with messages.

CJ was standing to the side with Carol, flipping through phone messages and listening
to Leo with one ear.

Sam and Toby were still sitting at Leo's conference table.

Josh was lounging in the upholstered chair near the couch, one leg thrown over the arm.      

Donna was sitting on the couch taking notes of the meeting.

"I've gotten a good start on it.  I should have something for Toby to review by the first
part of next week," Sam replied, glancing towards Toby.

"Okay. Toby what can you tell me about our weekly polling numbers?"


Looking up from his desk, Leo whipped off his glasses, "What do you mean nothing?
Didn't they come back from the DNC yet?"

"They may have come back, but not to me.  I think Bruno hijacked them," Toby mumbled.

"What?" Leo barked.

"I said Bruno has them," Toby shouted.  "I can't do my job if I'm constantly being cut
out of the loop.  You want me to tell you about our polling numbers, then tell Bruno to
share information!"

Sam looked at him and sarcastically said, "Welcome to my world."

Toby glared at Sam and refrained from commenting.

Clenching his jaw, Leo yelled for Margaret to call Bruno and tell him to be in his office
with the polling numbers in an hour.

Looking at Toby, he growled, "Satisfied?"

"Hardly, but that's a good start."

Josh, a smirk on his face, said, "You're not satisfied?  Jeez, I pity CJ."

Both CJ and Toby looked at him like he had gone insane.  In fact the whole room stared
at him.

Toby, in a foul mood, grumbled, "What exactly do you mean by that?"

Sam started choking on his coffee and the moment was broken.

Leo got a telephone call and waved everyone out.

As they were filing down the hall, Josh playfully punched Toby in the shoulder.

"Josh what is your problem?" asked an exasperated Toby, continuing to walk towards
his office.

Josh laughed and said, "My problem seems to be that I don't know how to type. 
Think you could show me some of your moves?"

Toby shook his head and walked on, yelling over his shoulder, "There's something seriously
wrong with you.  If you want to learn to type, have Sam show you."

Walking further down towards the bullpen, he muttered, "I don't have time for this crap.
I don't know how they ever managed to get anything done while I was gone."

Oval Office, 3nd Day Back  - 9:30 pm

"Okay," Leo said, closing his file.  "I think that about covers all the issues I had."

The Senior Staff breathed a sigh of relief.  It had been a long day and a longer evening.
They were all tired, hungry, and short-tempered.

The conflicts between India and Pakistan had taken center stage all day.  For a couple of
hours, the world had been closer to nuclear war than anyone outside this room would ever

Leo was in a particularly bad mood, having spent most of his afternoon with Lord John Marbury,
the President's favorite "go-to" guy on India/Pakistan problems.

The British Ambassador managed to climb up onto a pedestal, patronize Leo, all the while
sucking up to the President.

The President found Marbury amusing, but Leo just found him a pain in the butt. 
Another hour in his company and Leo would have pushed the button himself, just
to get rid of him.

But when all was said and done, and as far as Leo could see Marbury had said a lot and done
little, the war was adverted.  Everyone's nuclear toys had been put back in their respective
boxes, thus ensuring that the world would wake up to another day tomorrow.

Standing up and stretching, Leo looked towards Josh, who was sitting on one of the
two striped couches in the Oval Office.

"Josh, what's happening with the campaign?" Leo asked.

"Josh?" Leo asked again when it appeared that Josh's body was there, but his mind was not.

Sam poked Josh in the ribs with his elbow in order to get his attention.

Flinching, Josh blinked his eyes a couple of times and looked around in a daze.

Noticing that everyone was staring at him, Josh said, "What?"

The President, wearily rubbing the back of his neck, said, "That's enough.  We're done here."
He nodded at Leo and added, "We'll pick it up here tomorrow at 7:00 am."

Everyone stood up and prepared to file out.

Sam jokingly asking Josh if he needed help finding his way back to his office.

The President called out to CJ requesting that she stay a minute.

Toby hesitated, but the President smiled and waved him on, saying, "I promise to give
her back to you in a few minutes."

Feeling like a football being handed off instead of a person with free will, CJ frowned
at both the President and Toby.

The President was oblivious to her pique.  Toby just shrugged and walked out.

The President walked over to her and indicated that she should sit back down on the couch.
He sat beside her and smiled.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, his voice full of concern.

"I'm fine, Sir," a surprised CJ answered.

"What do your doctors say about the baby?" he pressed.

"Nothing new.  I had another blood test this morning.  The relevant hormone levels are
continuing to rise.  So, the baby is still here," she replied, placing one hand on her

"Leo told me that you were having problems with your back."

CJ nodded.  "I've used up Sam's supply of chemical heat packs.  Toby's got me using organic
ones now."

At the President's questioning look, she explained.  "They're cloth bags filled with field
corn.  You put them in a microwave and presto, hot pack.  Smiling, she added, "They work
great.  Of course for some reason, I've developed a craving for popcorn."

"Interesting, I'll have to remember that for future use.  I've had my own back problems
if you'll remember."

Leaning close he added, "Personally, I like taking the drugs.  One little Vicodan and
I don't feel any pain at all."

"I remember," CJ smiled.  "The last time you had back problems, you told us you were
thinking of getting a dog."

"I did?" he asked, clearly not remembering the incident.

"Yeah, you even confused Sam with Toby."

"Oh, well," he smirked.  "I guess they knew who they were."

Rubbing his hands together, he brightened and said, "But, this dog idea I had? 
We should run that by Bruno.  A dog might be a good PR prop.  Of course, we would
have to get just the right breed."

Warming to the subject, the President asked CJ what she knew about dogs, in particular
Saint Bernards.

CJ's eyes started glazing over when he got to discussing the various breeds of
Saint Bernards and their history.

"Sir," she tiredly interrupted, "Don't you think you should get a smaller dog,
if you have to have one?"

"Why do you say that?"

"Well, sir, I think that photographs of you and your Saint Bernard would be a problem."

"CJ," his eyes narrowing, "Are you alluding to my stature verus a Saint Bernard's?"

Catching herself on the edge of that particular cliff, CJ pasted a sincere expression on
her face and said, "No, Sir.  I was referring to the drooling."

He got a funny look on his face and she hurriedly, continued, "I was talking about the
dog, not you, Sir.  You don't want to be in a photograph with a dog foaming at the mouth.
It would send mixed messages, especially in an election year."

"Okay, you have a point.  I think.  We'll get some polling done and see what's the best kind
of dog for me to get.  I'll see if Toby can arrange something."

With a wry smile CJ replied, "Begging your pardon, Sir, but Bruno's been handling all the
polling lately.  I'm sure he's the man you want for this job."

"Excellent, I'll have Leo get him right on it."  The President stood up and offered her his
hand.  "Have a good night, Claudia Jean.  It's good to have you back."

"Thank you, Sir."

Opening the outer door, CJ saw Toby glumly sitting at Charlie's desk waiting for her.

As she shut the Oval Office door behind her, she smiled and said, "Cheer up.  Bruno's
going to get to do some dog polling and we're out of here in time to go to dinner some
place nice."

He rolled his eyes, saying, "I think the whole place is going nuts."

Standing, he handed her coat to her, along with her briefcase.  Picking up his own
briefcase, he ushered her towards the exit, continuing his lament.

"If it's not Marbury, Sam, or Bruno driving me insane, it's Josh.  A half dozen times today
I've looked up from typing a speech and found him staring at me with this deranged look on
his face.  What's this fascination he has with typing all of a sudden?"

"Who knows?  Who cares?  It's Josh," CJ chuckled.  "It's easier not to question why."

Standing in the hall, she slipped her coat on.  Taking his arm, she leaned close and said,
"Enough about Josh, what are you going to feed me tonight?"

"I don't know.  What do you want?" Toby questioned.

"I want something hot and a lot of it," she smiled.  "Do you think you can come up with
something like that?"

They heard a groan behind them.  Josh was about 10 feet away from them and had a disgusted
look on his face. 

Walking past them at a brisk pace he whispered, "Enough already.  Take it home, please. 
Some of us have delicate systems you know."

Toby looked after him.  Shaking his head, he said, "I think it's time to call Stanley."

Oval Office, 3rd Week Back - 10:30 am

"Leo, what do you think?"  The President and his best friend were viewing a potential
new best friend for Jed, one of the four legged variety.

Leo frowned, mumbling, "He's gonna pee on your Presidential seal."

The President smirked, "I'm afraid of the same thing every time Hoynes visits."

"Jed! Remember that's the Vice-President you're talking about," Leo chided.

"Hey, he started it," the President whined.  "Just once I'd like to see him treat me
with the respect this office warrants."

"Sir, I know you don't want to hear this, but .  .  ."

The President raised his hand, interrupting Leo.  "Just stop right there.  I trust your
judgement.  If you think I don't want to hear something, you're probably right.  Do me a
favor and just keep it to yourself."

Squatting down in front of his desk, the President changed the subject.  "I have to admit
he's not what I had in mind."

This time Leo wore the smirk.  "Mr. President, I don't believe this is what anyone has
in mind when they think of a dog."

"I have a suspicion that maybe Bruno's having a little fun with me on this." 
Standing up again, the President, rubbed his chin, saying, "I want to actually
read those polling results."

Shaking his head, Leo walked around the small wicker basket and said, "I don't blame you.
But, Bruno swears this guy will increase our approval rating 5 points and get us the
Mexican American vote."

"That's really hard to believe."

The President sighed, "Well, I'm just test driving him.  The breeder's going to take him
back if I decide to go with something else."

Unable to resist, Leo bent over and touched the little body with one finger. 
"His skin is really warm.  Is he sick?"

"Nope, actually," the President moved into lecture mode, "that's what this breed was
developed for, body companions.  The Aztecs used them as bed warmers because of their
high body temperature.  They also thought that contact with their skin cured headaches,
insomnia, and . . ."

"Sir," Leo interrupted.  "I don't really care that much."

Frowning, the President crossed his arms and said, "Don't you have work to do? 
I need time alone to think about a name for him."

"I thought you were just test driving him.  What's he need a name for?"

"Get out of here," the President smiled, silently acknowledging that the puppy wasn't
going anywhere.

Standing and going over to the coffee table, Leo gathered up a couple of files.
As he walked, towards the connecting door to his own office, he grinned and asked,
"Has CJ seen him yet?"

"No, for some reason Bruno asked to be here when I introduced them.  I guess he wants
full credit for his achievement."

Rolling his eyes, Leo opened the door, saying, "I'm sure it's something like that."

As Leo walked out, Charlie entered, with a copy of the President's schedule.

"So Charlie, what do you think about my new dog?" a beaming Commander-In-Chief asked.

Unimpressed, Charlie replied, "That's a dog?  In my neighborhood we call them rats."

"Hey, you're going to hurt his feelings," the President joked, picking up the puppy.

Smiling, Charlie said, "A dog that looks like that, better toughen up.  He's gonna have
to learn to expect it."

"He's got plenty of time to toughen up.  He's just a baby."  The President actually cooed
to the little animal.

"At least with a baby, you can stick a diaper on them," Charlie remarked pointing to the
wet spot appearing on the President's shirt.

Bartlet glared at the little hairless Mexican Chihuahua who only shivered and started
licking the face of the Leader of the Free World.

Charlie smirked and said, "Just don't expect me to clean up after that little rat."

The dog seemed to understand Charlie's tone, if not his words.   He pulled his lips back
revealing a mouthful of tiny teeth, and let loose a growl which was bigger than his body.

The President patted the dog's head, saying, "Well said, well said."

3rd Week  Back - 3:30 pm

As CJ left the podium, Carol held the door open, saying, "Charlie called, the President
wants to see you in the Oval Office at 4:00 pm."

They continued down the hall at a brisk pace, CJ looking at the handful of messages
Carol had for her.

"Great, there goes the late lunch I was hoping to grab.  Did he say what it was about?"

Carol shook her head, "You know Charlie, he only gives out the bare minimum as far
as information about the President goes."

Reaching her office, CJ tossed her briefing book on the desk.

"Yeah, he's a real chatterbox alright," CJ mumbled, continuing her review of the pink
message slips.

Carol waited in the doorway with her note pad for the instructions she knew would start
flying when CJ finished reading.

"Call Larry King's office and tell them I'll come on sometime next month.  Work out a
date and time with them.  Oh, and tell Dan Rather that I'll see him in New York in two
weeks at that communication workshop, maybe we can do lunch after my lecture.  Get his
secretary to confirm if he wants to do that, otherwise book me a flight back that afternoon."

Tossing the rest of the messages into her round file, CJ said, "Decline all the rest of
the appearance requests, you know, blah, blah, blah, with my regrets, etc."

Carol nodded and turned to leave. 

CJ yelled after her, "Carol, call Toby for me.  See if he knows what's going on
at 4:00 pm. and tell him lunch is off."

"You got it," Carol yelled back.  "Do you want me to get you a salad from the
Mess sent up?"

Shouting, CJ answered, "Salad!  Carol, I'm pregnant now.  I want a meatball sub,
a side of fries, no, make that onion rings, a tub of raspberry yogurt, and a piece
of chocolate cake."

"Are you going to have time to eat all that?" an amused Carol yelled back.

"Forget it Carol," Toby interrupted.  "I've got her lunch right here."

Hearing his voice, CJ yelled, "Bring it in here, Ziegler.  I'm starving and
I've got a command performance with the President in 20 minutes."

Walking into her office, he tossed her a paper sack.  "I know.  Charlie delivered
an invitation to all the Senior Staff."

Smiling at her wolfing down her food, Toby asked, "Is the cheeseburger greasy enough
for you?"

Her mouth full, she smiled and nodded.  Swallowing, she said, "I think you saved
my life. I can't believe how hungry I get lately."

Finishing the cheeseburger and fries, she dug around in the sack.

"Toby -  Toby where's my dessert?"  Her smile was gone, replaced almost instantly
with an expression of utter despair.

"Dessert?" Toby asked, stalling for time.

"Yeah, dessert?" she asked, her eyes filling with tears.

"Uh, I left it in my office.  I'll be right back."  Toby took off at a run.

Carol passed him in the hall and panicked.  "What's wrong?  Is it the baby?"

"No, hormone surge.  I forget to get her dessert," Toby yelled over his shoulder
as he sprinted for the vending machines.

"Toby," Sam yelled.

"Can't talk now," Toby answered, continuing past the bullpen.

"Snickers Bars," Sam yelled.  "I got a big bag."

Skidding to a stop, Toby turned and ran back towards Sam.

Sam threw the bag towards him and Toby completed the catch.

Running back towards CJ's office, Carol blocked for him clearing a path
to the goal, uh CJ's hands.

Stopping just outside the door, Toby took a deep breath, pasted a smile
on his face and peaked around the doorframe.

CJ sat at her desk, sobbing.

"Hey, here it is.  See, chocolate.  Lots of it."

"Toby, I don't know what's wrong with me.  It just comes over me like a wave. 
I can't stand this."  She continued sobbing, her head on her desk.

Ripping open the bag, he unwrapped a candy bar and held it a couple of inches
in front of her face, close enough to smell.

Hiccuping a little, CJ raised her head as the chocolate aroma wafted past.

"What kind of candy?" she asked, eyeing the bar.

"Snickers," Toby replied, praying that was the right answer.

Sniffing, CJ sat up and took the proffered candy.  Breaking off a piece, she put
it in her mouth.

Toby held his breath, waiting to see if he had brought the antidote in time.

Wiping her eyes, CJ took another bite.  Giving him a watery smile, she said,
"Give me the bag."

3rd Week Back - 4:00 pm
Outer Office Area Adjacent to the Oval Office

Charlie sat at his desk, trying to read one of his college textbooks.

This was an almost impossible task since the Senior Staff was milling around the
area, waiting for the President to get off the telephone with the Prime Minister
of India. If they weren't arguing with each other, they were hounding him with
questions about the purpose of the Presidential summons.

Sam kept trying to read over Charlie's shoulder, much to Charlie's annoyance. 

"Sam, please.  I need to finish this chapter for a test tomorrow."

"Sorry," Sam replied sheepishly.  "It looks interesting."

"Sam, come over here and leave him alone," Toby ordered from his place by the
breeze-way doors.

Holding up some loose pages, Toby added, "If you want to read something,
you can read these notes I made on the second section of your State of
the Union draft.  You're going to have to rewrite most of it."

Frowning, Sam marched over and grabbed the pages, muttering about his talents going
to waste here.  Toby growled that if he wasn't up to it, maybe Bruno would loan him

Deciding to forego the floor show, CJ got up from her seat in one of the visitors'
chairs and told Charlie she was going to visit the ladies room just across the hall. 

Charlie nodded, saying he thought the President would be a few more minutes anyway.

Josh was pacing back and forth, talking on his cell phone to Donna, who had managed
to take a personal day much to Josh's disgust.  He was making sure she didn't enjoy
it too much. 

"Don-na, can't you come back for a little while.  I need you to help me prepare for
my meeting with Stackhouse tomorrow.  You've got all those autism statistics," Josh

Apparently, Donna was declining his request, because Josh whined, "I don't care
about your dinner date.  I can't find the folder!"

Sitting down on the edge of Mrs. Landingham's empty desk, Josh grumbled, "Donna,
we're in the middle of a campaign.  This is no time to slack off.  We've got work
to do.  You haven't been here at all today!"

He nodded his head a couple of times to her response.  "I know Leo approved your
leave, but he didn't check with me."

Grimacing at her response, he said, "Okay, yeah, technically he is my boss."
He paused, obviously trying to think of a loophole in her argument. 

Suddenly, he brightened and said, "Hey, a day off means 8 hours.  You've had 8 hours.
Now, come to work and help me with those statistics."

By jerking the phone away from his ear, Josh managed to save his hearing. 
But the rest of the room got to hear Donna tell Josh where he could stick
his statistics.

Embarrassed, Josh flipped his cell phone closed, cutting off Donna mid-rant. 
He smiled and said Donna would probably be in later.

They were all still staring at him in disbelief, when they heard CJ scream.

Everyone but Charlie rushed from the room, towards the restroom.

Charlie just groaned and lifted the flap on the cardboard box under his desk.  
"Damn, he's gone again.  That little rat's gonna get me fired, I know it."

Across the hall Toby was pounding on the locked restroom door.

"CJ, open the door!  What's wrong?" he nervously shouted.

"I saw an enormous rat," she screamed.  "Get me out of here."

"The door's locked.  Can you unlock it?" Josh yelled, rattling the knob.

"No, it's between me and the door," she whimpered. 

"Sorry, CJ, looks like you're a gonner," Josh joked.  "Any last words?"

Whatever she responded was muffled, but her tone came through loud and
clear - Josh was looking at a limited life span when she got out.

Glancing at Josh, Sam smirked, "First Donna, now CJ?  You're just a glutton
for abuse, aren't you?"

"Hey, I'm just the messenger.  I can't help it if people don't like the
message," a grinning Josh explained.

"Toby, do something," CJ screamed.  "He's looking at me."

"It's probably all that noise you're making CJ," Josh advised, bouncing on
the balls of his feet.  "Just shut up and give him your Ann Stark death glare,
probably scare him right off."

Toby turned to Josh and shoved him away from the door.  "You're not helping. 
Go find a key."

"I've got one," Charlie calmly said, as he joined the group crowding the
restroom door. "But I should probably tell . . ."

Toby interrupted him as CJ screamed again.  He grabbed the key and unlocked the door.
As Toby carefully edged the door open, Josh and Sam backed up. 

"Uh, guys," Charlie tried again, but was shushed by Toby.

The door swung open on the small powder room, to reveal CJ crouched on the vanity,
one high heel clutched in her hand for use as a weapon should hand-to-hand combat
be required.

"Where?" Toby asked, sticking his head in the room.

CJ pointed to the area near the toilet.

Not seeing anything, Toby gingerly stepped into the room and backed up to the vanity.
Motioning for CJ to get down, Toby put one arm around her waist, but kept his eyes on
the porcelain commode.

CJ put one hand on his shoulder and started to hop down when a growl came from behind
the toilet bowl.  Frozen in place, she raised the shoe she still had in other hand,
expecting a charge.

Just then Bruno stuck his head into the room.  Smiling broadly, he rubbed his hands
together. "Good, I'm not too late. I take it you've met the President's new dog."

Charlie pushed through the people lining the doorway, and walked over to the toilet.
Reaching down he snagged the puppy with one hand.

Holding him by the scruff of his neck, Charlie displayed the tiny pink skinned puppy
for all to see.  "This is . . ."

The President's voice boomed into the room, "Harry S. Truman."

Chapter 4

3rd Week Back - 5:30 pm
Oval Office

"Here," Toby handed a weary CJ a bottle of flavored water.

She was resting on one of the President's striped couches in the Oval Office. 

Josh and Sam were sitting on the opposite couch.  Bruno had one of the arm chairs and
the President the other.  Charlie was helping Nancy serve coffee to those that wanted it.

CJ looked longingly at a cup, but Toby shook his head and looked pointedly at the water
in her hand.

The President was showing off Harry S. Truman to a mostly fascinated audience. 
Well, actually the fascinated audience consisted of Josh and Sam.  The rest of
the audience was mostly something else, namely appalled.

"Bruno, how could you have believed for one minute that this particular, uh," CJ
hesitated to even say the word, "dog would be helpful in the campaign?  It's a
public relations nightmare!"

Bruno looked from CJ's angry face to the President's curious one, clearing his throat,
he explained, "The truth of the matter is that I never for one minute believed that
the President would keep him.  It was supposed to be a joke; payback for CJ getting
me involved in this dog thing."

Turning to CJ, Bruno frowned, "Bruno's your man on dog polling, I think that was the
quote I heard from Leo."

Toby angrily retorted, "Denying me access to the DNC polling?  What was that, Bruno?"

"Okay, that's enough," Leo interrupted, striding into the room.  "Everyone's even now."

"Not quite," CJ answered, looking at Harry S. Truman. Waving her arm towards the puppy
laying on the President's lap, she ranted, "The President now has a 'dog' that has the
size and general appearance of a skinned, deranged rat.  I can just see the photograph
captions: President and pet rodent boarding Air Force One; President and man's best friend?
Rats in the Administration, etc.  Don't we already have enough problems to deal with?"

While CJ was speaking, she had everyone's attention, including the puppy's. 
When she finished, the puppy sat up and let out several loud, high pitched barks
and growls.  It almost seemed like he was talking.  All the eyes in the room watched
in fascination, as the dog vocalized his displeasure with her.

When the dog finished, he licked the President's hand and laid back down, his head
on his paws.

The President looked towards a stunned CJ and said, "Well, do you have a counter

"Anyone?" the President asked, glancing at his staff who all appeared to have been
struck dumb.

"I guess that settles it.  Harry S. Truman is an official part of this administration!"
declared the President, clearly delighted with the little dog's star performance. "CJ,
you'll just have to deal with the press."

"Yes Sir," CJ said.  With a wry smile, she added, "But you might want to put an extra
dry cleaner on staff."   She pointedly looked down at the President's slacks where a
wet stain was spreading.  She sarcastically added, "I'm sure I'll be able to quell
most of the rumors concerning incontinence."

The President lifted up the dog in order to view his soiled pant legs.   Frowning, he
held the dog in front of his face and declared, "Remember you serve at the pleasure of
the President and that's me.  No more peeing on Democrats.  Is that understood?"

The pink skinned hairless puppy, stuck out his tongue.  He may have just been panting
but the room burst into laughter since it appeared Harry S. Truman had just expressed
his feeling on the matter.

3rd Week Back - 2:30 am
President's Bedroom

Carrying her shoes and an overnight case, she quietly slipped into the darkened bedroom.
Crossing the room, she entered the attached bathroom and shut the door.

Flipping on the overhead light, Abbey Bartlet set her shoes on the floor and the overnight
case on the vanity.  She glanced in the mirror and saw a middle-aged woman who had traveled
too many miles in the last 24 hours. 

Of course it was her own fault, she thought.  She was the one who at the last minute
insisted on returning from Australia a day early.  Even Jed wasn't expecting her until

After taking a quick shower and brushing her teeth, she pulled a silk nightshirt over
her head and flipped off the bathroom light.  Carefully making her way to the queen-sized
bed, Abbey climbed in under the down comforter next to her sleeping husband.

Home and her own bed at last - Abbey couldn't think of any greater pleasure.
Adjusting her pillow, she closed her eyes and slowly began to drift off to sleep.

3:45 am

She woke to feel his mouth against the back of her neck.  Soft little kisses and a lick
to her ear, induced her to murmur, "Honey, it's late.  I've missed you to but let's
wait until morning."

"What?" he growled, still half asleep. 

"Tomorrow," she murmured again.  "Wait until tomorrow."

She could feel his tongue again, this time on her ear lobe.  "Jed, stop, you know I
don't like that."

Reaching up to push his head away she felt something strange. 

Opening her eyes, she turned her head and came face to face with two beady little
eyes and a set of tiny white teeth.  A pink tongue snaked out and licked her mouth.

Abbey's screams woke not only her husband, but brought a half-dozen armed agents into
the bedroom.

The President woke to find his bedroom filled with people and every light turned
on bright.

"What the hell is going on?" the disgruntled Commander-In-Chief yelled, sitting up
in the bed.

Abbey, standing behind a Secret Service Agent, pointed to a lump under the comforter.
"Shoot!" she screamed.

"Hold your horses," the President quickly ordered.  "Abbey , if it's my snoring,
a simple 'Jed, roll over' would have sufficed.  What are you doing home anyway?"

"Jed, get up.  There's something in our bed!"

"What?"  Understanding suddenly flashed over his face.  "Oh, you mean Harry."
He raised up the comforter and reached his arm down towards his feet.  Pulling
up a squirming, hairless bundle, he smiled and petted its ugly little head.

The President's smile slipped as he saw the murderous expression on his wife's face.

The agents holstered their guns and shot the President sympathetic looks as they
exited the room.  The protection he needed, they weren't going to be able to provide.

3rd Month back - CJ's Apartment - 10:00 pm

"Toby, what do you think about this dress?   Does it make me look fat?"

Lowering the newspaper he was reading, Toby patiently looked her up and down.
This was the fourth dress she had shown him this evening. The first one was
a sleeveless black silk sheath with a low cut back.  It was very elegant and
looked great on her.

The second one was cream colored with long fitted sleeves, a low square neckline
and an empire waist.  He though her skin glowed in that one.

The third one he had seen before.  It was a two piece Armanti with a tapestry
patterned top and solid blue A-lined skirt.  She had worn it to the opera with
the President and Sam.  It had taken his breath away the first time he saw her
in it.  Now it looked even better.  Pregnancy was doing great things for her
bust line.

No matter how much he said he liked each dress, she had found something wrong with
all of them.  This time he was determined to say the right words to reassure her that
the extra 7 pounds she'd gained did not make her look like, to quote her, an "elephant
in spandex."

"Turn around," Toby directed, making a circular motion with his finger.

A very nervous CJ did a slow turn, giving him a look at gown candidate #4 for the
State Dinner coming up in two days. 

He really did like this one.  He liked this one a lot.  The tank style dark green satin,
floor length gown was double layered with a sheer green overlay.  A floral design using
beading and sequins could be seen on the skirt of the overlay. The gown was lose enough
that CJ's slightly rounded stomach was undetectable.

"It's okay," he mumbled.  Trying a different tack, he added, "Looks a little big on you."
He raised the newspaper back up in front of his face.

"You think it looks big?  Really?" she said, smoothing down the skirt over her hips. 

"Uh, huh," he answered.  "I like the color though."

Walking across the room, CJ viewed herself in the mirror hanging near the door, talking
out loud to herself, "Too big?  No, it's supposed to fit like this.  Okay, this is the
one."  Finally satisfied with her choice, she started unzipping the dress on her way
towards the bedroom.

Peeking around the edge of the newspaper, Toby smiled, proudly thinking to himself that
he wasn't the President's Director of Communications just because of his good looks.

"Toby," CJ called from the next room.

"Yes," he answered, folding up his newspaper.  He seemed to short on reading time since
he'd moved in with her two months ago.

"I've got new bubble bath," she volunteered.

Smiling, he got to his feet.  He was just going to have to get used to making sacrifices.

Turning off the living room light, he headed in the direction of the bedroom.

3rd Month back - State Dinner for British Prime Minister

"You're kidding.  He really got a tuxedo for Harry?" giggled CJ.

She and Abbey were sitting across from each other at a table, discussing the dinner that
had just ended.  For the first time ever, she had been able to actually sit down and eat
at one of these functions.  Usually, some crisis or another required her services elsewhere.
Tonight was an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise.

Nodding, Abbey, took another sip of champagne and said, "Right this very minute he is
showing that dog off to Tony Blair.  Believe me, that dog's appearance is not improved
by a tux."

"So can I ask you something personal," CJ whispered.

Leaning forward slightly, Abbey smiled and said, "You can ask, I might or might
not answer."

"Is Harry still sleeping with you and the President?" CJ giggled again.

Narrowing her eyes, the First Lady reached over and picked up CJ's glass and took a
little sip.  "I wasn't aware that you could get drunk on Ginger Ale."

"Abbey, I'm not drunk.  Just happy," CJ quipped.  "So from the expression on your face,
I guess Harry is spending his nights in the guest room."

Pouring herself another glass of champagne, Abbey replied, "Harry has a very nice velvet
doggie bed in the sun room.  He sleeps in there when I'm in town."  Taking another swallow
of her drink, Abbey continued, "I'm sure the damn dog is in our bed when I'm gone though."

Staring at CJ's smiling face, Abbey sarcastically asked, "What are you so happy about? 
You're still engaged to Toby aren't you?"

"Very funny.  Actually, we've finally set the date for the wedding."  Sighing, CJ added,
"I don't remember ever being this happy."

"Congratulations.  I'm sure Jed will be relieved about having a firm date to work with.
Now he can finalize all his wedding plans," Abbey joked.  "By the way, anytime you want
me to tell him to step down as head wedding planner just let me know."

"Are you kidding?  He's really good at it, and the best part is watching Toby deal with
him.  Toby's been forced to take an interest in the wedding details just in self defense."

"So when is the wedding?" Abbey asked, taking the last bite of her dessert.

"Four weeks from tomorrow," CJ replied.  "I hope I can still fit into the dress I ordered."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll look great.  I love that dress you're wearing now."

CJ started to reply but instead leaned back in her chair, placing her hands on her stomach.

Abbey stood up and walked around the small table.  Pulling up a chair next to CJ, she asked,
"What's wrong?"

"I don't know.  I just got a sharp pain in my abdomen," CJ answered, her face paling
with fear.  "What do you think that was?"

Taking CJ's pulse, Abbey didn't answer for a moment.

Finishing, Abbey said, "If I had to guess, I'd say that maybe the baby doesn't care for
tonight's menu."

Relaxing a little at Abbey's casual manner, CJ took a deep breath.  "It figures that
the first time I ever actually get to eat at one of these things, the food makes me sick."

"I think maybe I should call Toby so he can take you home.  It's time you got some rest,"
Abbey declared, standing up and motioning to a Secret Service Agent.

"Abbey, that's okay," CJ said, as she pushed back her chair and rose. "He's in his office.
I'll just walk . . ."

Abbey, who had stepped away a few feet to talk to the Agent, turned back to CJ when she
didn't finish her sentence.

CJ was staring at the chair she'd just been sitting in.  The seat was covered with blood.

3rd Month back - Night of the State Dinner, Toby's Office

Still in their black tuxedos, Sam and Toby were working in Toby's office on the up-
coming State of the Union speech. 

"Toby, I still think the B section needs work," Sam argued, pacing back and forth in
front of Toby's desk.  "The position on early childhood education is unclear."

"Okay, are we going to do this again?" Toby growled, standing up and loosening his
black bow tie.

Frowning, Sam replied, "I'm just saying that . . ."

Toby interrupted him, "We need to keep the ambiguity in case we can't get the funding to
implement the program.  We've been over this and over this.  Do you know something that
I don't about the money?"

"The studies show that educational programs for 4 and 5 year olds is vital if we ever
want . . ."

Taking off his jacket, Toby cut him off mid-sentence again.  "That's not what I asked
you.  Do you know anything more about the funding?"

Before Sam could respond, Toby's telephone rang.

Standing by his desk, an irritated Toby grabbed the receiver, "What?"

Sam watched Toby's face blanch as the caller responded

"When?" Toby demanded in an urgent voice.

Clenching his jaw, he softy asked the caller, "How bad is . . ."

"Right.  I'm leaving now," he slammed the phone down and ran towards the door,
ignoring a concerned Sam.

"Toby, what is it?  What's happened?" Sam shouted after him.

"CJ is on her way to G.W.," Toby barked as he took off down the hall.

Dropping the speech he was holding, Sam dashed after him.

The typed pages of the State of the Union speech floated downward like dead leaves,
scattering across the carpet.

George Washington Memorial Hospital - Emergency Room

"Ms. Cregg, I'm Dr. Carlson, your ob/gyn is on her way.  I'm going to start the
examination for her."

CJ looked up at the emergency room ceiling tiles as the ER nurses and doctor put her
legs in the hated metal stirrups.  She tried to concentrate on anything but the exam
and what was going on with the baby.  They wouldn't let Abbey come back with her. 

Shutting her eyes, the memory of the bloody chair flashed in her mind, then the images
of the Secret Service Agent carrying her to the car and Abbey calling Toby.

Oh, God please don't let this be happening, she silently prayed.  Toby, I am so sorry.

CJ sobbed and a nurse asked if she was in pain. 

"No, I'm not in pain," she whispered.

The nurse patted her hand and told her it would be over soon.

CJ wondered if the nurse meant the exam would be over soon or if the pregnancy would be
over soon.  She opened her mouth to ask, but then changed her mind.

She was afraid of the answer.

Toby, please get here soon.  I need you.

3rd Month back  - George Washington University Hospital

A disheveled Toby rushed through the automatic doors with Sam two steps behind him. 
A Secret Service Agent motioned the frantic Communications Director into a private
office adjacent to the emergency room waiting area.

Entering the room, Toby saw the First Lady and several other agents. 

"Abbey, how is she?" Toby urgently questioned.

Abbey stood when Toby came into the room.  He was still wearing the shirt and black
pants from his tuxedo, but the jacket and tie were long gone.  From the look in his
eyes, the First Lady guessed that reason was going to be the next thing Toby was apt
to lose.

"CJ's being examined by her own doctor now, but the E.R. attending who did a preliminary
exam told me that she was stable."

"Abbey, what the hell does that mean?" Toby asked, his eyes blazing.

"It means that whatever is wrong is not getting any worse," the First Lady explained,
putting her arm around him.

Jerking away, Toby demanded, "I - I need to see her.  I need to see her now."
He started towards the door, but Abbey grabbed his arm.

"Toby, wait.  Let's give her doctor a few more minutes and then, I swear, I'll get
you in to see her."  Pulling on his arm, she led him to a small leather couch.
Sitting down beside him, she rubbed his back and looked up.

Sam was pacing back and forth, tears in his eyes.

"Sam, why don't you find us some coffee?"  Abbey smiled and gave the younger man
something to do.

Looking like a GQ model dressed in full tux, an upset Sam nodded and strode out of
the room.

Sitting bent forward with his elbows on his knees, Toby put his face in his hands. 
"What happened, Abbey?"

"She was sitting at a table with me and got a sharp abdominal pain.  When she stood up,
there was blood on her dress and the chair.  I had the Secret Service bring us straight

Leaning closer, Abbey said, "She wasn't in any pain when I left her.  She was frightened
for the baby, but she was okay."

Toby turned his face towards Abbey.  His eyes were haunted, his worry written across his
features.  "Please do something.  I can't lose her."

Wrapping her arms around him, Abbey rocked back and forth.  You're not going to lose her.
I promise, Toby.  I promise."


Sam was standing by the vending machines in the emergency room waiting area when Josh and
Donna hurried through the outer doors.

"Sam, how is she?" Josh shouted across the crowded waiting room. 

Startled, Sam looked up in confusion.  He was standing with his wallet in his hands, a
lost look in his eyes.

Donna grabbed Josh's arm and shushed him.  They crossed the packed room, making their way
through the rows of chairs, and stood in front of Sam.

Sam, bit his lip and said, "Abbey said she was stable.  I don't know anything else."
Upset, he started to ramble, "I have to get this coffee for Abbey but I don't have any
change.  I can't get the coffee without change."  Sam nervously fingered the paper bills
in his wallet.

Donna touched his arm and smiled.  She took several of the bills from him, saying, 
"I'll handle it."

With his obvious relief at her taking over this task disproportionate to circumstances,
a worried Donna suggested that Josh and he sit down somewhere for a few minutes. 

As Donna got change from another visitor, she surmised that CJ wasn't the only one who
was going to need help making it though this long night.

3rd Month back  - George Washington University Hospital

The private office adjacent to the emergency room waiting area was getting crowded.

When Donna stepped into the room with a tray of vending machine coffee, she saw the
First Lady, Josh, Sam, Leo, Margaret, Carol, and three Secret Service Agents, besides
the two stationed outside the office door.

Carol jumped up from the chair she was sitting in and helped Donna pass out the coffee.
Luckily about half the people there weren't interested in drinking anything, so Donna
didn't have to make a second trip to the coffee machine.

Sitting down on a folding chair next to Josh, Donna asked where Toby was.

"He's gone to see CJ.  Her doctor was here a few minutes ago and asked him to come with
her," Josh explained.

At her inquiring look, Josh leaned closer and whispered, "The doctor didn't tell us
anything.  Just asked for Toby."

Frowning, Josh added, "I don't like it.  I don't think the First Lady likes it either."

Looking over at the First Lady, Donna noticed the grim expression
on her face. 


Toby tried getting information from the stern looking doctor as they walked back towards
the ER exam rooms, but she was adamant that they talk with CJ present.

Pulling back a curtain, the curt doctor motioned him forward.  CJ was reclining on a gurney,
wearing a blue hospital gown.  Her face was as pale as the sheets she was lying between. 
An I.V. was hooked up to one arm.

"Hey," she tearfully said when she saw him standing there.

"Hey, yourself," he answered walking over to the bed.  He leaned down and kissed her forehead,
grabbing her free hand. 

Before he could say more, the doctor cleared her throat to get their attention.

The brusque doctor started by saying that she had ordered a blood transfusion for CJ.
But since the bleeding had since stopped, she was cancelling the order.  She explained
that CJ's blood count was slightly lower than she would have liked, but she would have
CJ start taking an extra iron supplement which should raise the count.

"Doctor," Toby interrupted, not caring in the least that he was irritating the doctor
by not waiting for her to finish.  "What happened and how is the baby?"

"As I was about to explain," she tersely replied, looking over her reading glasses at him,
"Ms. Cregg's condition is called placenta previa.  The placenta has attached low in the
uterus, crossing part of the cervix.  I performed an ultrasound a few minutes ago and the
baby appears to be unaffected at this time although the prospects for Ms. Cregg carrying
the baby to full term are not good."

At Toby's continued uncomprehending expression, the doctor sighed, and said, "The baby
is okay for now.  Ms. Cregg is okay for now."

CJ looked up at Toby and squeezed his hand.  "Toby, did you hear her?  The baby's okay. 

CJ could only watch helplessly as Toby slumped to the tile floor, unconscious.

The doctor shook her head, muttering something under her breath about men.  She pushed
CJ's call button and leaned down to check Toby's pulse.

Looking up into CJ's concerned eyes, she dryly said, "Don't worry, he's just fainted."

3rd Month back  - George Washington University Hospital

It was 5:30 am in the morning when a  young nurse, barely out of her teens, stepped into
the private office full of weary White House staff and the First Lady.  All discussions
ceased at her entrance. 

It appeared that the young woman was looking for the someone who could be considered the
leader of the waiting group.  The First Lady, never shy about taking control, stepped
forward and offered her hand.

"I'm Abigail Bartlet.  Do you have news for us about CJ Cregg?"

"Uh, Mrs. Bartlet, yes.  I was to . . .uh, you look taller on television," the nervous
medical worker stared at the First Lady, obviously forgetting her mission.

Smiling, the First Lady, well experienced at putting people at ease, gently said, "What
did you want to tell us, dear?"

"Well, I . . . oh my," the nurse stammered having caught sight of Sam Seaborn in his tux. 

Seeing where the young woman was staring, the First Lady gave up.  Taking the nurse
by the arm, Abbey dragged her out of the room, demanding that she, "take her to see
Ms. Cregg."

Josh frowned and got up from his seat.  Walking over to Sam, he punched him in his
upper arm. 

Startled, Sam yelped and grabbed his shoulder.  "What was that for?"

"We could have found out something if you hadn't smiled at her," Josh angrily stated.

Sam smirked, saying, "It's my teeth.  I can help it if they're dazzling."

Before Josh could ask Sam if he wanted to keep all of his dazzling teeth, Leo intervened.
"Abbey will find out what's going on.  Both of you just sit down and shut up."


Abbey pulled the curtain open and stepped into the exam area.  CJ was lying on one
gurney asleep.  An IV was running.

Abbey quietly pulled CJ's medical chart off the hook at the end of the bed.  Scanning the
information, she checked the IV and CJ's pulse.  Satisfied with what she found, Abbey just
happened to glance at the patient on the adjacent gurney and did a double take. 

Concerned, she replaced CJ's chart and walked over to the other bed.  Pulling Toby's
chart, she quickly read the information and smiled.  Shaking his shoulder, she quietly
woke him up. 

"Toby, let's go get some breakfast," the First Lady whispered.

Groggy, Toby sat up and looked around, clearly disoriented. "What happened?" he asked. 

The First Lady gently smiled and pointed to the other bed.

Suddenly remembering where he was, Toby got off the gurney and went to CJ's side. 
He touched her hand and looked at her for a several moments.  Adjusting the blanket,
Toby turned back to Abbey.  With his eyes, he silently asked for her reassurance that
everything was all right.

Abbey smiled and motioned for him to follow her out of the room.

Reluctantly Toby complied, looking back once at the woman who held his heart and
carried his future.

Outside the room, Toby and Abbey silently walked down to the waiting room.

Just before opening the door to the office where everyone was waiting, Abbey hugged him.
"Don't worry.  CJ and the baby are going to get through this."

Toby just nodded, clearly exhausted, not only physically but emotionally.

Opening the office door they entered the room, ready to tell CJ's extended family that
a small celebration was in order.

3rd Month back - George Washington University Hospital

"Toby, will you check and see if I left anything in the closet?" CJ asked, trying to
zip her leather duffle bag closed.

Today was her last in this hospital room.  She had spent ten long days in bed, resting
and being monitored by the hospital staff.  The first few days after the State Dinner
she had been more than happy to stay, still frightened that she was going to miscarry
at any moment.

Now, with no more incidents of bleeding, she felt secure enough to go home and back
to work.  The doctor had warned her that the next few months would be critical. 
With any luck the placenta would move upward as the baby grew in size.  If it did,
most of the potential problems for her pregnancy would disappear.  Every two weeks,
she would be getting an ultrasound to check the status of the baby and the location
of the placenta.  Until further notice, she was restricted from lifting more than
ten pounds, no exercising, no standing on her feet for long periods of time, and
no sex.

That last restriction she had failed to mention to Toby yet.

"This is the last of it," Toby said, handing her a single white sock that had somehow
lost its mate.  "Do you want me to go ahead and take this bag down?  I'll need to make
a half dozen trips, if you're going to take all these flowers home with us."

"Yes, to the bag.  No, to all the flowers.  I want a couple of the live plants, but the
rest are going to the children's floor.  An orderly is going to come by with a cart and
pick them up."

Toby actually grinned at the news about the flowers.  Grabbing the bag and one of the
plants she pointed out, he took off for the car.

It was nice to see him smile. 

She thought her hospital stay had been harder on him than her.  At least she'd spent her
nights on a bed, he'd spent most of his sleeping in a chair next to her.  They would both
be glad to go home.

Her cell phone rang, just as Toby was coming back for another load.

"CJ Cregg," she answered.

"Hi, are you sprung yet?" Josh laughed.

"We're just going out the door, assuming that Toby's paid the bill." She looked over at Toby
who nodded and patted his jacket pocket.

"Any chance the both of you could come in?" Josh tentatively asked, not sure of her plans
or health.

"What's going on?"

"The Iraqis got lucky and hit one of our planes over the no-fly zone."

"The pilot?" CJ asked.

"Missing, presumed captured.  We need you here."

"We're leaving now," she promised.  "I'll let Toby know."

"Good, cause I don't think he's going to be too happy I called you first," Josh explained.
"I knew what he'd say about you working today."

Looking at a frowning Toby, who had deducted from her side of the conversation that she
planned to go the office instead of home, CJ chose her words carefully, "Josh, the doctor
said I could go back to work.  And, for future reference, I'm still in charge of me."

"Uh, right.  See you later," Josh hung up not wanting a piece of Toby's reaction.

With a stone face, Toby growled, "CJ, you are not going to work today.  Whatever is going
on, someone else can handle it."

"No, Toby.  Someone else can't handle it.  I have a job to do.  But I am going to follow
the doctor's recommendations to the letter."

Pulling on her coat, CJ grabbed her purse and pointed towards her briefcase, "That's too
heavy for me to carry.  Will you get it or should I call an orderly?"

Not waiting for his answer, she opened the door and took off at a brisk pace.

Picking up her briefcase, Toby caught the door before it closed and followed her down
the corridor, complaining, "I don't think the doctor knows what your job entails or she
never would have okayed you going back to work.  And, aren't you supposed to be in a
wheelchair when you leave the hospital?"

"Toby, I told her exactly what I do.  She just said to get 8 hours sleep a night,
eat three meals, and put my feet up as much as possible.  And, we're not waiting
for any damn wheelchair."  CJ punctuated her remarks by pushing the elevator call

As they got on the crowded elevator, Toby replied. "Sure, I just bet that was all
she said.  You just choose to ignore anything that doesn't suit you, like the damn
wheelchair rule."

"You're right, Toby.  There is something I've left out," CJ shouted, not really
caring if the other occupants of the elevator heard her or not.  "She said no sex
until further notice.  But somehow I don't think that's going to be much of a problem."

After CJ's announcement no one in the elevator said anything during the interminable
trip to the lobby.

3rd Month Back - West Wing

The silence from the elevator lasted through the car ride to the White House, through the
security desk check in, and through the walk down the winding corridors of the West Wing
to her office.

Toby handed Carol CJ's briefcase and a potted plant, then turned on his heel and left
without a word. 

Seeing the expression on CJ's face, Carol limited the welcome backs and instead handed
her a pile of telephone messages.

CJ's first press briefing was in the afternoon.  She deflected any personal questions
about her health and directed the press' attention to the Iraqis and the shoot down of
the U.S. plane.  She answered several general questions and then passed the podium to
the Secretary of Defense. 

The afternoon was a flurry of telephone calls and meetings with the military brass and
the Secretary of State's staff.  It wasn't until after 8:00 pm that the situation was
resolved with the successful recovery of the U.S. pilot.

CJ was working on some briefing notes for the next day when Josh knocked on her door.

"Hey, Mi Amour, what's the latest on the condition of the pilot?" CJ asked, slipping off
her reading glasses.

"Broken leg, but otherwise okay.  Except for losing a million dollar plane, we had a
good day," he joked. 

Walking in and sprawling on her couch, Josh asked, "How are you feeling?"

"Fine," was CJ's clipped response.  "I feel fine."

Never shy, Josh came out with it.  "So what's with you and Toby?"

Glaring at him, CJ continued flipping pages in the binder in front of her.  "He's over
protective, over bearing, . . ."

Josh interrupted saying, "over tired and over in Sam's office tearing up a perfectly good

At her frown, Josh added, "You need to go talk to him.  I don't know what happened
after my call this morning, and whatever it was I'm sure it wasn't actually my fault,
but I do feel somewhat responsible, so how about we flip a coin?"

Standing up he walked over in front of her and started tossing a quarter in the air.
"Heads you apologize, tails you forgive him for whatever he did or said?"

"Josh, stay out of it.  This is something Toby and I have to work out on our own," she said,
looking down and flipping pages at a faster rate.  "He just doesn't understand or respect
my work."

"CJ, he's scared.  Hell, you scared all of us."

Grabbing the binder away from her, Josh said, "Come with me and just talk to him.
If you won't do it for me, do it for Sam.  Toby's been on his back all day, except
for when he was on the phone with Carol checking up on how you were feeling."

At Josh's last words, CJ's resolve weakened a little.  "He called Carol?"

"Yep, at least a 100 times, Scout's honor!" Josh declared holding up a couple of fingers.
Pushing them into a vee shape, Josh said, "Is this right?  I can't remember?"

"You were never a Boy Scout," CJ declared.  "You told me you've never been camping."

"Hey, I may never have been camping, but I was too a Boy Scout.  I got lots of merit

At her skeptical look, he added, "Roller skating, basket weaving, bridge, and I don't
know what else.  But I had lots."

Laughing, she asked, "Bridge?  You got a merit badge for bridge?"

"Don't laugh, bridge is a hard game."

Sitting on the edge of her desk, he said, "But enough about me, let's go see Toby." 

When she didn't react, he added in a cajoling voice, "Sam's got new bag of candy in
his office.  I'm authorized to offer up to six 'Three Musketeers Bars' if I can get
you to rescue him."

Looking up at his pleading face, she smiled.  "Okay, I'll come and ask him if he wants
to get dinner."

"But I want the whole bag," she warned, standing up and walking out of her office.

Josh followed her out the door. 

As he passed Carol's desk, he whispered, "If CJ asks, Toby called about 100 times today
asking about her."

Carol, with a confused look on her face, just nodded her agreement.

Chapter Five
3rd Month Back, Sam's Office

A rubber ball was bouncing off the walls.

Paper was scattered everywhere.

Sam was at his desk, staring at a hand full of typed pages covered with red marks.

"What were you thinking when you wrote this?  Did you just decide that punctuation
was optional?"  We're going to be here all night doing rewrites!" Toby ranted,
throwing one of his pink rubber balls against Sam's wall.

Sam had long since given up trying to defend himself or reason with Toby.  He only
hoped help arrived soon, otherwise he might need the services of a good lawyer.

He wondered if a letter opener would actually get the job done?  Probably not. 
He'd always heard that when bears attack, you go for a clean kill or not at all. 
Nothing like a wounded bear to increase the danger.

The ball bouncing around his office was giving him a headache on top of the one
Toby's yelling had instigated. 

Slap, bang, slap, bang, Toby threw the ball without looking and it took an unexpected

Instead of landing in his hand, it ricocheted off the edge of a bookcase and hit
the person coming in the door.

Time seemed to stand still.

All the oxygen left the room as everyone gasped at once.

Then the noise began.

CJ yelled and dropped to the floor, her hands over her right eye.

By the time Toby managed to peel her hands back, her eye was swollen shut and turning
multiple colors.

Toby was yelling for someone to get ice.

CJ was screaming obscenities at Toby concerning his balls.

Josh and Sam discreetly slipped away.

As they walked towards the lobby, Josh calmly turned to Sam and said, "I don't think the
candy is going to do it."

"Doesn't matter," Sam naively replied.  "Argument's over, she won't be working with that

3rd Month Back - CJ's office - 6:50 am

Carol knocked on CJ's office door, then put the key in the lock.  Opening the door
she slipped into the darkened room and locked the door behind her.

"Do you need another cold pack?" Carol whispered.

"No, I think the swelling is going down," CJ said sitting up on her couch and swinging
her legs to the floor.

"Henry is preparing to do the morning briefing.  You've got Senior Staff in 10 minutes.
Do you want me to call Leo and tell him you're indisposed?"

Shaking her head, CJ tossed the cold pack in the trash and got to her feet.  "I can't
hide out in here forever."  Walking over to her desk, she opened a drawer and pulled
out her makeup case.  "Has Toby called?"

"No.  He's not here?  Should I try his cell phone or . . ."

CJ interrupted her, 'No, he's a grown man.  He can find his own way to work."

Setting up a small vanity mirror on her desk, CJ took stock of her problem.
The bruise covered the area around her right eye from her hair line to a point
midway down her cheek.

The good news was that the swelling had gone down enough that she could see out
of her eye now.  The bad news was she'd rather not see that well when her face
looked like a punching bag. 

Opening a bottle of foundation, she started patting on the flesh-toned liquid. 
Grimacing as she rubbed a little too hard, CJ wondered if you could buy this
stuff by the gallon.  She was going to need a lot of it over the next few days.

Ten minutes later, CJ took off down the hall towards Leo's office.  If anyone thought
it was strange that she was wearing sunglasses, no one had the nerve to mention it.

When she entered Leo's office, he glanced up at her from his desk and started to say
something, but changed his mind at the last minute. 

Nodding, CJ appreciated his discretion.  She was sure he had heard all about her
injury and the circumstances around it. 

What CJ didn't see was Margaret, like a major league umpire, standing behind her
making all kind of frantic signs to Leo to keep his mouth shut about CJ's eye. 

Deciding Margaret's advise might be of some worth in this situation, Leo ignored
the "elephant in the room" and just waved CJ towards a chair.

Josh and Sam were young and stupid, and didn't have Margaret. 
They had no such qualms.

"Hey slugger, how's the eye?" Josh asked as he fell into a chair next to her.

Sam took one of the other chairs at the table and asked, "Can you see out of it? 
Man, I never saw anything swell up that fast in my life."

The dark glasses might have hid her glare, but Leo, watching CJ's lips thin out
and her fingers start drumming on the table, decided to start the meeting before
a few more eyes got blackened.

"Okay, let's get this over with.  Josh, I need you to talk to some people about
Claypool.  He's starting to get his face in the news again, I want to know what
he's planning next."

"Sam, I want . . ."

"Hang on Leo, where's Toby?" Josh interrupted. 

Leo frowned and said, "I sent him to Iowa with Bruno to check out the state
campaign headquarters."

"Why would you send Toby to Iowa?" Josh asked.  "And more importantly why would
Bruno take him?"

"Hell, Josh, maybe Bruno took him because I told him to.  Some people around here
realize that I'm the Chief of Staff and get to make those decisions," Leo yelled,
throwing his glasses on his desk.

"Yeah, but why would Toby go now?  CJ just got out of the . . ."  There was a pause
as the wheels turned in his head.  "Oh," Josh said. "I guess you're doing him a favor,

At that remark CJ got up from the table and slammed out of the room.

"Was it something I said?" Josh innocently asked.

Sam winced and said, "Yeah, you sort of implied that Toby needed help getting away
from her.  Plus, I guess Toby left her out of the loop on this Iowa trip."

Leo rubbed the wrinkled spot between his eyes and yelled for Margaret.

"You bellowed," Margaret calmly stated from her position just outside the doorway.

"Call Toby and tell him to get his butt back here now," Leo grumbled.  "He has a
situation he needs to deal with."

"Can I just take this opportunity to tell you I told you so?" Margaret asked,
with a deadpan expression.

"No you may not.  Make the call," Leo barked.  "Everyone else get out of here and do

3rd Month Back - CJ's office - 11:30 am

There was a knock on her door and thinking it was Carol with her lunch, CJ yelled for
her to come in.

"Carol, just put it down on the coffee table, please.  I'll eat in a minute," CJ stated
without looking up.

"I'm not Carol, but I do have your lunch.  Can I still come in?" Toby stood in her
doorway with a large paper bag in his arms.

Glancing up at the sound of his voice, CJ stared at him.  He was quite a sight. 
He wasn't wearing a tie and it looked like he hadn't shaved.  The shadows under
his eyes attested to the fact that he probably hadn't slept more than a couple
of hours in days.

When she didn't say anything, Toby tentatively walked in and set the bag where
she had requested.  Sitting down on the couch he began unpacking the contents,
laying out sandwiches, chips, and two drink containers.

Standing up, CJ walked over to the door and shut it.  Awkwardly sitting down next
to him, she fumbled with a package of chips.

When Toby didn't say anything, CJ calmly said, "I thought you went to Iowa."

Playing with a straw, Toby pulled the paper covering off of it and stuck it in
one of the drink lids.  "I missed the bus."

CJ, unsuccessful at tearing open the chip bag, handed it to him.  "You missed the bus?"

Ripping open the bag for her, Toby answered, "Actually Bruno left early and accidently
failed to inform me of the new departure time.  Leo just 'thinks' Bruno does what he tells
him to."

"Yeah," CJ said, staring at the chips in her hand.

Neither said anything for a few long seconds.

CJ, taking a sip of her drink, asked, "So where did you sleep last night? 
From your appearance, I'd guess a ditch somewhere."

Glancing down at his shirt, Toby said, "My car.  I probably should have gone back to
the apartment to change but I didn't have time."

"You weren't going to talk to me before you left?" she asked, hurt seeping out in her voice.

"I figured you'd had enough of me for awhile," Toby muttered, unwrapping a sandwich.

Folding her arms across her chest, CJ replied, "Then why are you here now?  And I don't
want to hear about any bus."

"Margaret called.  She said you needed me," he explained, his voice cracking.

Looking at her directly for the first time, he winced at the bruise showing through
the heavy makeup.

Picking up one of his hands, CJ asked, "Toby why did someone have to tell you that?
Don't you know by now that I'm always going to need you?"

"After last night, I thought you might actually be safer with me in Iowa."

Sighing CJ remarked, "We haven't had a good week.  I think we need to do something to
break this chain of disasters that keep happening to us."

Toby chuckled, "Sounds good to me.  What do you suggest?  Lucky charms? 
A witch doctor?  Or maybe we need a priest?  See if he can get rid of the
demons plaguing us."

"No, I think maybe we need to elope," CJ said with a shy smile.

When he just looked at her in amazement, CJ asked, "Couldn't we just skip the
big Rose Garden Wedding?  I mean, I know you had your heart set on a huge event,
with lots of flowers, and bridesmaids, and . . ."

Toby interrupted her by putting his mouth over hers.

Clutching his shoulders, CJ deepened the kiss when he would have pulled back. 
In response he put his arms around her and held her close to him.

After a few minutes, Toby released her mouth and moved on to peppering kisses on
her throat and the skin exposed at the top of her camisole.  Running her fingers
through the curls at the base of his head, CJ sighed as Toby used one hand to untuck
her blouse from her slacks and the other to move her onto his lap.

The sound of someone loudly clearing their throat, caught their attention. 

Leo stood inside the doorway, frowning and holding a file folder in his hand. 
"Do you think that maybe we could get some work done around here today?"

Toby just glared at Leo, apparently unconcerned.  When CJ would have slid from Toby's lap,
he put his hands on her waist and held her firmly in place. 

After it became apparent that Toby wasn't going to say anything, CJ put her arms
back around him and quipped, "Leo, we're on a lunch break.  Can you come back in
a half hour?"

To their surprise, Leo nodded and left without another word.

Outside the closed office door, Leo gave the gathered crowd a thumbs up.
4th Month back - CJ's Apartment, 5:15 am

The alarm sounded with an irritating buzz.  But having spent three months living in
her apartment, Toby knew better than to do anything other than lie flat on the mattress
and wait for her to slap the button. 

Sure enough on the fifth buzz, CJ's long arm shot out from under the covers and hit
the clock with the palm of her hand.  A couple of times in the past, Toby had sat up
to turn off the alarm and gotten slapped on the top of his head for his trouble. 
Now he laid low and let the clock get slapped.

After her arm disappeared back under the covers, he checked the time and decided that
five more minutes in bed wouldn't be out of the question.  Sliding under the comforter,
Toby wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear, "Good morning, Mrs. Zeigler."

A uncharacteristic giggle was her only response until he pulled her closer and said,
"When are you seeing Dr. Gorden again?"

"This afternoon.  She's going to do another ultrasound," CJ said, stroking his beard.
"We can find out the sex of the baby if we want."

"I was actually thinking more about finding out when we can have sex again," Toby
admitted with a grin.  "Do you want to know if it's a girl or a boy?"

"Yes, I don't think I could stand not knowing, not once the doctor knows," she explained. 
"I think knowing will make it seem more real somehow."

Running his hand over her distinctly curved stomach, Toby joked, "This doesn't seem
real enough?"

Smiling, she put her hand on his.  "I know it's silly but it's still hard for me
to believe a real baby is in here.  I think when I can say 'he' or 'she', I'll feel

Kissing her forehead, Toby patted her stomach once more and got out of bed, saying,
"Then by all means, let's find out so we can start picking out boys' names."

The pillow hit him in the back of the head.  He smiled thinking pregnancy hadn't
dulled her aim one bit.

Leo's Office - 6:50 am

Toby and CJ were sitting at Leo's conference table waiting for the Senior Staff meeting
scheduled for 7:00 am.  CJ was marking newspapers with a highlighter and Toby was proofing
a speech Sam had finished the night before.

Even though they had stopped at Starbucks on the way to work, Toby was drinking coffee
from Leo's machine and CJ had a bottle of juice in front of her.  She had already stolen
two sips of coffee from Toby's cup, even though he glowered at her both times.  Giving up
caffeine totally was almost beyond her ability.  The couple of sips of Toby's coffee she
filched throughout the day kept her sane even though it sometimes make her nauseous.

Today was a particularly hard day to go without coffee.  They had decided that today was
the day that they were going to tell the President and the staff about their elopement
over the past weekend.  They had tried to make the announcement the day before, but one
crisis after another had intervened.

Toby looked up from Sam's speech when CJ went for his coffee cup again.  Grabbing her hand,
he picked up the cup in his other hand and drained the last of its contents. 

At her frown, he smiled and brought her still captured hand to his mouth.  Kissing her
knuckles, he also took the opportunity to admire the diamond wedding ring set she was
wearing to work for the first time.

"Nice ring, Mrs. Ziegler," he whispered. 

Reclaiming her hand, CJ felt herself blushing for some reason and said, "My husband
picked it out for me.  I really don't know how he managed to buy something this beautiful,
usually he has terrible taste.  Just look at his ties."

"Terrible taste?  That's hard to believe since he chose to marry you," Toby gushed,
causing her to smile and yank her newspaper up in front of her face.

"Just stop all right.  Too much more of this and I'll lose my breakfast," CJ demanded
from her position behind the 'New York Times'."

Toby laughed loudly and went in search of more coffee, decaf, this time since it
appeared they were going to be sharing.

Sam took his place at the conference table bringing along a box of Krispy Kremes.
Opening the box, he offered CJ one saying, "I'm sure the smell of these will get
Josh here in a few minutes."

Smiling, CJ took a bite of the still warm donut and sighed.  "Sam, you are da man!"

"Not too late to dump Toby and run off with me," Sam joked as he put another donut
on a napkin for her.

"As a matter of fact it is," Toby declared leaning over CJ's shoulder and taking
her second donut.

She frowned and grabbed another one out of the box.

"If you're referring to the baby," Sam replied, "I'd let you babysit when CJ and I
went out on my boat."

"Do I smell donuts?" Josh shouted as he rushed into the room.

Pulling out the remaining chair, Josh sat down and popped a donut into his mouth.

Whatever Josh said next was lost in a fit of coughing as he choked on the donut.
Everyone stared at him as he coughed and sputtered.  Then Josh's face started
getting blue.

Sam jumped up and got behind Josh, yanking him out of his chair.  Hugging Josh from
behind, Sam made a fist and pushed up on Josh's diaphragm. 

The partially chewed pastry flew out and hit CJ in the chest.

"Oh, yuck," she exclaimed, brushing it off and turning green.

Grabbing Leo's trash can she lost her breakfast.

At the exact moment that Josh started choking, the connecting door from the Oval Office
opened.  Leo and the President stood in shocked silence watching Sam's rescue and CJ's

Once Josh was breathing again and CJ was in mid-retch, Toby, who was bent over holding
CJ's hair back for her, decided that the moment was ripe for their wedding announcement.

"I'd like to take this opportunity while everyone is here, and unnaturally quiet,
to announce that CJ and I got married last weekend."

Josh continued gasping for air, as Sam continued to hug him from behind.

CJ clutched the trash can closer as her stomach rolled again. 

Leo yelled for Margaret.

The President asked if there were more donuts.

4th Month back - CJ's OBGYN's Office - 4:20 pm

"Okay, let's see what we have here," the ultrasound technician peered at the screen.
"Dr. Gorden said that you wanted to know the sex of the baby, it that right?"

Smiling, CJ grabbed Toby's hand and said, "Yes, we want to know."

CJ was lying on the exam table, in a hospital gown with her rounded stomach exposed
as the technician performed her 4th ultrasound.  CJ was used to the procedure by now,
but this was the first one Toby had been able to view.

"Well?" he impatiently asked, squinting his eyes at the monitor.  The swirling lines
and shapes didn't make any sense to him.

"This is the head and here's two arms, and two legs, and . . ."

"And, what?" CJ asked, getting a little worried at the delay.

"I'm just waiting for the baby to turn a little, so I can get a good look. Okay,
there we go . . ."

"And, what?" CJ asked again.

"Congratulations, it's a girl!"  the technician announced.

Toby smiled and leaned over to kiss CJ's cheek.  "We're having a girl."

"I heard," CJ laughed.  "Are you disappointed?"

"Never.  Either way I was going to be someone's father.  This baby is a miracle as
far as I'm concerned," Toby beamed and slapped the technician on the back.  "It's
a girl."

The technician just smiled and shook her head.

Toby's cell phone rang at that moment.  Stepping back towards the door, he flipped
the phone open.  "It's a girl," he answered before even saying hello.

"Uh, no," he mumbled.  Then he added, "Thanks."

"Toby?" CJ asked, looking at the phone.

"Kyle Walker says congratulations," Toby replied.

Frowning CJ asked, "Who's Kyle Walker?"

"Don't know.  It was a wrong number," he grinned.

The technician laughed and said that Dr. Gorden would be right in.  She left the room,
shutting the door behind her.

"How are you feeling?" Toby asked, stroking her hair as she sat up.

"Good.  The nausea from this morning is gone."  Looking at him, CJ said, "Do you think
the President was angry about all those wedding plans he made going to waste?"

"No, I reminded him that he has two unmarried daughters and one completely planned
wedding in the can," Toby joked.

A her continued worried expression, Toby added, "Seriously, he understood why we
elected to elope.  I think he was just relieved that we got it done before the baby
was born."

"Well I know Josh is upset.  He was counting on being my maid of honor."  CJ's smile
belayed her words.  "I had to promise him that he could still throw you a bachelor's

"Great.  That's something to look forward to," Toby sarcastically replied. "Strippers
and cheap beer, I can hardly wait."

Smiling, CJ patted his hand.  "Don't worry.  I'm coming with you."

Toby smirked, "Does Josh know this?"

Her expression was answer enough.

Just then, Dr. Gorden walked in the room.  She was reviewing a CJ's chart and
photographs of the ultrasound.

"Hello, CJ how are you feeling?" the brusk little doctor asked, peering at her
over her glasses.

"Good, I still have some morning sickness but no other problems."

"Doctor, this is Toby Zeigler, the baby's father and my new husband."

Looking him up and down, Dr. Gorden asked, "Where do I know you from? 
Have you been here with CJ before?"

Toby flushed and muttered something about the emergency room.

"Ah," she said.  "You're the one who fainted after I gave you good news. 
I must say no one's ever done that to me before."

Smiling, CJ came to his rescue.  "Dr. Gorden, how's the baby doing? 
The technician told us it's a girl."

"The baby is fine.  She is developing at a normal rate.  I put her at about
16 weeks."

At that point, the elderly doctor was paged.  Looking at the message on the tiny
electronic device, the doctor grumbled, "Got a delivery coming in.  I'm going to
have to cut this short.  CJ, I want you on another iron supplement.  I'll leave
the prescription for you at the desk.  Any questions?"

Toby nudged CJ's shoulder with his hand.  Looking at him, CJ smiled, saying,
"Doctor, my husband wants to know if we can have sex again?"

"Well, he looks capable," Dr. Gorden smirked.  "But are you sure you want to?"

CJ laughed at Toby's scowl.  "Yeah, it might be nice."

"The last two ultrasounds show that the placenta has moved up above the baby. 
So there shouldn't be any problems."  Looking at CJ, she said, "Just keep it
normal, no acrobatics." 

Shaking her finger at Toby, she added, "Nothing kinky young man."

Blushing, Toby stammered some affirmative reply.

Satisfied, the doctor nodded at CJ saying she wanted to see her in 3 weeks.

After the doctor left, Toby turned to CJ and said, "Damn, no kinky sex. 
There goes tonight's plans."

Chapter Six

The Ziegler Apartment, 11:30 pm

"CJ, is this kinky?"

"I'm not sure.  Do it again."


"Oh, yeah.  Oh, Toby, that's definitely normal."

"Are you sure?  Maybe we should stop?"



"Shut up and get to work."

"Now I know that's normal."

5th Month back - Ziegler Apartment - 7:00 am

"CJ, we're going to be very late," Toby yelled from the living room.

From the bedroom, she replied, "I can't help it.  Go on without me."

"I don't want you driving.  I'll wait, just hurry please."

"Toby, nothing fits.  I can't get into any of my clothes," CJ complained.

"Wear what you wore yesterday."

"Toby, I'm not wearing the same outfit two days in a row."

"I thought you were going shopping last week.  What happened?"

"The campaign trip to Texas happened, you know that."

"They don't have maternity clothes in Texas?"

"Sure, for people who actually have time to go into stores. 
I wasn't one of those people if you'll remember."

"Yeah, well maybe you should send Carol shopping for you."

"Like that's her job - to buy my clothes.  She's got a master's degree
for God's sake."

"So, she should be able to buy some clothes without taxing herself."

"Toby, just go to work."

"You'll never get a cab at this time of the day."

"I can drive Toby.  I'm not an invalid."

"I'll wait."

"Well, then be quiet about it."

"Maybe you could wear something of mine?" Toby yelled from the couch.

Only silence came from the bedroom.

"CJ?" Toby yelled, getting to his feet.

Continued silence was the only response he got.

"CJ?" Toby yelled, walking towards the bedroom.

Now the silence was just plain eery.

"CJ, are you all right?" Toby asked from the bedroom doorway.

Standing in her underwear, a very pregnant looking CJ held up a pair
of his pants.

Looking at him with barely disguised rage, CJ gritted her teeth and said,
"You think . . ."

Her face getting redder, "You think my . . ."

Stretching open the waistband of his pants, she yelled, "You think my
butt is big enough to wear your pants?"

Swallowing hard, Toby slowly backed from the room saying, "I'll just run
down to a department store and pick up a selection of maternity clothes
for you.  Be right back."

5th  Month back - CJ's office - 10:30 am

CJ rushed down the hall towards her office.  She was arriving at work a
little later than normal, well actually about 4 hours later than normal. 

Grabbing a handful of messages from Carol, she started unwinding her
woolen scarf. "How did the morning briefing go?"

"Simon did a good job.  He covered the trip plans for the summit in Paris
and answered some questions about the proposed energy bill.  No problems,"
Carol answered, reaching behind CJ to help her off with her coat.

"Oh, there was one question about . . .," Carol stopped talking in mid-sentence
and stared at her boss.

Looking over her shoulder, CJ frowned and warned, "Don't laugh.  Whatever you
do don't laugh."

Averting her eyes to a spot on the wall, Carol tried unsuccessfully to keep
a smile off her face.  "There was a question about the Majority Leader's . . .
I'm sorry, but why are you wearing that?"

Walking around her desk, CJ pulled out her chair and sat down before answering. 
"Toby picked it out.  I couldn't button anything this morning and he went shopping."

Laughing uncontrollably now, Carol managed to sputter, "But, CJ - a - a - jumper
with 'Baby on Board' plastered on the front.  It's just . . . really not you."

"I'm not sure which is worse, the fact it's a jumper or the superfluous commentary
splashed across my chest," CJ complained, flipping through her messages.

"Well," Carol smiled, "the fact that it's bright purple with little bunnies on
the hem can't help."

"What?" CJ yelped, putting on her glasses and looking closely at the bottom of the dress.
"Damn, I didn't see that.  Can you please get me something else to wear before my 3:00

"Sure, let me make some calls," she agreed.  "Give me your credit card and I'll get
you something that won't glow on the televison monitors."

"No bows, no pastels, and no small animals," CJ pleaded.

"Hey, CJ where have you been?" Josh asked as he walked in and plopped down on her couch.
"Decide to sleep in this morning?"

"Carol, why don't you start on that little project we talked about."  CJ ignored Josh
and waved Carol out. 

Picking up a briefing binder, CJ held it in front of her and said, "Good morning, Josh.
Don't you have work to do?" 

"Nope, I got here on time and I'm all done," he joked turning his head to the side
trying to read the writing on her dress.

"Well I didn't so I'm behind.  Be sure and close the door on your way out."

"Not so fast, Claudia Jean."  Getting up and walking around her desk, he took a closer
look at her clothes. 

Smirking, Josh said, "Trying out a new look there, CJ?"

"Get out.  I'm about this close . . . ," she held up her thumb and forefinger and rubbed
them together, ". . . to killing someone this morning."

Backing towards her door, Josh smiled, saying, "Okay, but that really is a good color
on you.  Reminds me of someone else."

"Josh," she hissed.

"I love you.  You love me.  We're a great big family . . ." he sang as he skipped
out the door.

5th Month back - Zeigler Apartment 2:45 am

"Toby, Toby wake up?" CJ shook his shoulder.

"What?" Toby mumbled, lying on his side with his back to her.

"Do you think I look like Barney?" she asked, her mouth close to his ear.

"Barney who?" he replied, still more than half asleep.

Hanging over his shoulder, CJ said, "The dinosaur, the purple one."

"You shouldn't have eaten that chocolate ice cream before we went to bed.  
No purple dinosaurs in here, CJ.  Go to sleep."  Closing his eyes, Toby rolled
over on his stomach.

"Toby, I didn't have a nightmare, I need to talk to you," she insisted. 
"This is important."

"Are you sick?" he mumbled into the pillow covering half his head.

"No. Josh said I looked like Barney.  Do you think I'm fat?"

"Josh is a stupid idiot," he muttered.  "I'll kill him tomorrow for you. 
Go to sleep."

"How can you sleep next to a woman that looks like a dinosaur?" she sighed,
turning her back on him and rolling over to the edge of the bed.

In her migration to the other side of the bed, she took all the covers with her.

"Apparently, I can't," Toby said, lying on the bare sheet.  He sat up and turned
on the bedside lamp.  "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, go to sleep," she answered, her back still turned to him.

Rolling his eyes, he pulled on the sheet and blanket and managed to slide in next
to her on the far side of the bed.

Putting his arm around her, Toby pushed up against her back and kissed the side
of her neck.  Rubbing her rounded stomach, he whispered, "What's really wrong?"

"You didn't notice," she said, laying her hand over his.

"Notice what?" he asked, nuzzling her neck.

"My nightgown," she answered.

"I did notice it," he claimed.  "It's blue silk and has a slit up the side."

Turning in his arms, she faced him.  "You didn't say anything."

Kissing her mouth and cheek, he started working his way down her bare throat and
chest.  "I was going to, but I got distracted."

"By what?" she asked, arching her back to give him better access to her upper body.

Pushing the straps of her gown off her shoulders, he bared her breasts.  "These," he
said, using his hands to explain his words.  "Pregnancy is doing wonderful things to
your body."

Sighing, she kissed the top of his head.  "You don't think I'm fat?"

"CJ you are the sexiest woman I know, now more than ever.  I adore every inch," he
murmured, reaching under her nightgown and removing her lace panties.  His hands began
to stroke and probe the areas he'd uncovered. 

"I love you, Toby Ziegler," she sighed as his touch began to distract her from her fears.

"Yeah," he answered as he positioned himself over her.

"Was there any ice cream left?"

8th Month back - CJ's office - 7:00 am

"Carol, do you know where my notes are on the agriculture bill?"
CJ stood next to her desk and shuffled through the mounds of paper
on her desk, looking for the missing pages.

"I've got them.  You left them in Toby's office.  Ginger brought them
by an hour ago," Carol yelled from the other room.

Straightening, CJ rubbed her lower back and grabbed her notepad and a pen. 
Ignoring the ringing phone, she walked out of her office grabbing the notes
Carol held out.  As she was heading down the hall, Josh caught up with her.

"Wonderful, I didn't think I was 'this' late," CJ sarcastically joked.

Josh smiled and took her arm.  "Yeah, I'm enjoying not being the last
to walk into Senior Staff anymore.  How's the baby today?"

"Practicing her kick boxing moves," she answered as they entered Leo's office.

"Glad the two of you could join us," Leo barked. "Everybody sit down."

"Is that coffee?" CJ asked picking up Toby's cup. 

"No coffee for you in my office," Leo yelled, motioning for Toby to reclaim his cup. 
At her confused look, he added, "I had to get a new trash can after your last cup in

Josh laughed and Leo turned his glare on him.  "Put the donut down.  You don't get
to eat in here.  I don't want any half-eaten pastries flying through the air today."

As they all settled into their seats, Leo sat on the edge of his desk and picked up
his notebook.

"All right, listen up.  The departure time for Air Force One tomorrow is 6:00 am.
The Press bus is leaving for the airport at 5:00 am.  CJ let the press know the
arrangements.  Bruno left a schedule of campaign appearances with Margaret. 
She's typing it up and will get a copy to you this morning.

Toby, you and Sam will need to have the Farm Bureau speech ready for me to review by
10:30 am at the latest.  I need a draft of the auto workers speech by this afternoon. 

Josh get with Bruno on the agricultural bill specifics.  I want to know what's in
there that's going to hurt us.  Questions?"

"Yeah, CJ when are you going on maternity leave?" Josh asked.

Peering over her reading glasses at him, CJ said, "Four weeks.  What?  Are you worried
about when to give me a baby shower?"

"I think Donna has that covered," Josh said, making a note just in case.  "I just want
to make sure the kid's born in D.C. and not in Detroit.  Wouldn't want the kid named
after a car."

"Forget it, Josh.  I've already had this discussion with her.  She refuses to listen,"
Toby warned.  "I'm taking a packed diaper bag with us anyway."

Shaking her head, CJ mumbled, "He's been carrying that thing around for the last two
months.  It'll be worn out long before the baby's born."

"CJ if you need Henry to take your place, just say so," Leo barked.  "Has your doctor
cleared you to fly?"

"I wish everyone would concentrate on something else.  I'm fine but I'm getting
tired of reassuring everyone else every two minutes," CJ loudly proclaimed to the
room at large, but with her eyes directed straight at Toby.

Slapping his notebook closed, Leo stood and walked back around his desk.

Sitting down in his high backed chair, he proclaimed, "That's it then. 
Everyone get out of here and do something."

8th Month back - Air Force One - 5:30 am

CJ stood in front of the press section of Air Force One going over the latest revised
schedule with them.

"Okay, the President is still attending a fundraising breakfast with UAW officials
in Detroit.  Then he's visiting a rubber factory and the GM plant.  Lunch is with
the city mayor and some prominent businessmen.  The President will have staff time
in the afternoon between 4 and 6 pm.  Dinner will be a black tie affair at the
Governor's Mansion.  We will be flying on to Dallas tonight."

Groans sounded throughout the press seating area.

"Hey, don't complain to me.  My schedule's the same as yours and I'm enduring it
carrying an eight pound baby on my bladder.  Which reminds me, I've got to check
out the ladies' room.  Carol will tell you about the hotel arrangements in Dallas."

With that statement and a nod to Carol, CJ walked down the carpeted airplane hallway
towards the staff conference room, stopping along the way for the promised bathroom

Taking her usual seat and preparing for take off, she rubbed her aching back. 
Secretly she would have loved to have stayed home, but she felt it necessary to
keep doing her job as long as possible.  It was hard enough getting her co-workers
to take her opinions seriously, she couldn't afford to lose any ground by giving
in to their preconceived assumptions about pregnant women.

Toby slid into the seat next to her and buckled his seat belt after checking the
position of hers.  She just rolled her eyes and let him do his thing.  She'd save
her protests for the more important battles.

"How do you feel," he whispered, his face worried.

"Fine," she answered, neglecting to mention her back pain.  Why give him anything else
to worry about?  "The baby's kicking."

Taking his hand she placed it on her swollen stomach, letting him feel his daughter's
antics.  She loved watching the smile come over his face when he felt the baby's movements.
This time was no exception.

Grinning, he said, "I think I should buy a couple of soccer balls for her."

"Yeah," CJ replied, shifting in her seat.  "But first we really need to pick out a name for
her.  Got any new ideas?"

Pursing his lips, Toby joked, "You've shot down my best suggestions.  We may have to go with
Josh's idea of naming her after a car.  What do you think about Mustang Sally or Chevrolet?"

"Not even a little bit funny, Ziegler," she answered.  "If you're not going to be amusing,
I going to take a nap.  Wake me when Leo decides to have Senior Staff."

"Sure," he said, rubbing her stomach and watching her almost immediately drift off when she
shut her eyes. 

She didn't get enough sleep and he worried about the shadows under her eyes.  He also
worried about the back pain she'd been experiencing over the last few days.  She didn't
think he knew about it, but he didn't miss much as far as she was concerned, especially

Leaning back in his seat, one hand on her rounded stomach, Toby remembered a plane trip
eight months earlier.  Shutting his eyes, he said a little prayer that this plane trip
went much smoother.

8th Month back - Air Force One 11:00 pm

He'd made his escape.  Now he just had to stay out of sight long enough to carry out his
mission.  He was on the move.  Air Force One was his.


"Where's CJ?" Josh shouted as he bounded down Air Force One's center aisle.

"Asleep," Toby said, closing the conference room door.  "Keep your voice down."

"We just got on the plane 10 minutes ago.  How can she be asleep already?" Josh whined. 
"I needed to talk with her about the press conference in Dallas tomorrow morning."
Moving to walk around Toby, Josh asked, "Do you think she'd mind if I just . . ."

Grabbing Josh's arm, Toby steered him down the hallway.  "No.  You can't wake her up. 
Even if she didn't mind, I would," Toby growled.  "I'll tell her you need to talk with
her in the morning.  Before we land," he added as Josh looked panicky.

"Excuse me."

The two turned to look at Charlie who had a worried expression on his face.

"Hey man, what going on?" Josh joked, trying to get a smile out of the always too
serious young man.

"The rat's on the loose again," Charlie said in a disgusted tone. "Have you seen him?"

Toby smirked, saying, "Are you referring to Harry S. Truman?"

Charlie rolled his eyes, "Yeah, the rat's slipped out of his pet carrier again and the
President's worried that we left him in Detroit, but I'm not that lucky."

"Haven't seen him," Josh said.  "Maybe I should go ask CJ if she's seen him?"

"Forget it, Josh.  Leave her alone," Toby frowned.  "Charlie, CJ's asleep in the
Conference Room.  I'd appreciate it if you didn't wake her up looking for that
damn dog."

Nodding, Charlie walked on down the hall, looking under seats for the missing First Dog.

Toby and Josh continued on down the aisle and sat down in their normal seats. 

Donna and Margaret were already there playing poker with Sam and Leo.  From the pile of
chips in front of her, Margaret was cleaning house.

"CJ okay?" Leo asked, laying down two cards.

"She's fine," Toby answered, pulling out a book from his jacket pocket.  "She's asleep
in the conference room."

"Good," Leo grunted, as he frowned and folded his hand.  "Margaret, you're killing me. 
Someone else deal."

"I'll take three cards," Donna announced.  "Toby have you picked out a name for the
baby yet?"

"Nope, we're still looking."  Waving the paperback book he was holding, he said,
"I'm going through this book of names again, hoping to find one I missed the first
three times."

Margaret anted three chips and said, "How about Stella or Tyson?"

"Tyson?" Sam asked, "Like the chicken company?  Who'd name their kid after a chicken

Frowning Margaret replied, "Tyson is a fine name.  It was my mother's."

"Sorry," a sheepish Sam replied.  "How about something fancy like Gabrielle or Michyella?"

Leo laid down three cards and growled, "Michyella?  The kid would always have to be
telling people how to spell it.  Go with something solid like Elisabeth or Katherine."
Rearranging his cards, he added, "Emily is a good name and most people can spell it."

Toby was busy making a few notes as the group continued giving their unsolicited advise.

Unseen by the group playing cards, he passed by like a ghost.  He had a job to do despite
the personal danger. 


Josh piped in with, "I always liked the name Rebekah or maybe Leah."

Donna smiled at him.  "You've thought about baby names?"

Blanching, he quickly said, "Just in the abstract."

Sam laughed, "You could always call her Claudia Junior."

"Another CJ?"  Josh howled with laughter.  "I don't think Toby could handle
another one."

"I think you should name her Brianna or Danielle," Donna said with a dreamy look on her
face.  "Don't you think those are beautiful names, Josh?"

"I'm sure Toby's going to agree to name her Danielle," Josh smirked.  "What do you say Toby?
Want to name your daughter Danielle?"

"Not a chance," Toby grumbled, still a little sensitive with the thought of a certain
red-headed reporter's feelings about CJ.

"I like Hannah, but CJ doesn't.  She thinks it's too old fashioned.  At least Sara is still
on our possible list," Toby mumbled, flipping through the baby name book.

"You'll figure something out," Leo said.  "Are we playing poker or not? 
Sam, it's your bet."

Peeking around the corner, he swiftly moved down the aisle.  Freedom, he loved it.
They didn't make a cage that could hold him.  Just had to keep an eye out for his


CJ just couldn't seem to get comfortable.  Her back ached and her feet were swollen. 
Rolling over on the upholstered bench style seat, she adjusted her pillows.  She had
one under her head and the other clutched to her side.  Just as she found a spot that
wasn't too bad, she realized she needed to visit the ladies room again.

Wearily she got to her feet and walked down the hall leaving the conference room door open. 

Here was his chance.  Timing was everything but he was fast.  Finding a hiding place in
the empty room, he waited.  He could be very patient when he had to be.


Air Force One 12:30 am

He knew it was going to happen tonight.  The baby had told him.


Tossing on her makeshift bed, CJ groaned in her sleep.  She couldn't get comfortable and
her back pain was getting worse.  Rolling onto her side, facing away from the padded seat
back, she settled down once more.

Crawling forward on his stomach, he neared the seat where she was sleeping. Listening for
any signs of intruders, he quietly climbed up on the top of the seat back.  Carefully putting
one paw in front of the other on the slick leather upholstery, he worked his way forward
until he was just above her.  Holding up his head, he looked first to the right and then
the left.  Assured that the coast was clear, he jumped.


The card game was breaking up and most of the Senior Staff and their assistants were finding
seats in which to get a few hours sleep.  They were scheduled to land in Dallas in about two
hours, barring any unforseen stops.

Toby grabbed a pillow and a blanket from a overhead cabinet and walked towards the conference
room.  He had been uneasy about CJ and the baby for most of the day and he knew he'd sleep
better if she was within sight. 

Toby knew she didn't like him hovering over her and he had purposefully left her alone for
the last hour and half.  Maybe she would be asleep and he could slip into the room without
her knowledge.  Either way, he was going to stay close to her tonight.

Pushing open the conference room door, Toby quietly entered and shut the door behind him.
Walking over to her sleeping form he set his blanket and pillow on the floor in front of
her.  Although he pulled her blanket higher on her shoulder, he resisted kissing her
goodnight for fear of disturbing her sleep.

Lying down on the carpeted floor, he tucked a pillow under his head and tossed a blanket
over himself.  Closing his eyes, he tried to sleep.  Almost unconsciously, he reached a
hand up and touched CJ's swollen abdomen, saying a silent goodnight to his unborn child.


Almost asleep, he still heard the man open the door and enter the room.  Lying very still,
Harry held his breath and worked on an escape plan if one became necessary.  His warm
hairless body was pushed up against her bare lower back.  Almost as soon as he'd got into
position under her blouse, she'd relaxed into a deep sleep.  He'd been holding conversations
the baby ever since.

Not conversations with sounds, but ones with thoughts.  He'd done this before, sneaking
into CJ's office when she was napping. The baby had so many questions about the outside
world and he'd been happy to fill her in with all he'd learned about the humans around him.
Harry enjoyed having someone who understood his thoughts.  He was the only animal in the
White House and it was lonely having no one he could communicate with.

The man pulled the blanket higher and Harry breathed a sigh of relief.  He wouldn't see
him now. 

"Hey, kid your old man is in the room."

"I know.  He just said goodnight to me."

"He can hear your thoughts too?"

"Sometimes when he's asleep.  But I can hear his whenever he thinks about me."

"I don't know how long I can avoid capture.  When are you planning to make your entrance?"

"Soon.  I wanted to let her sleep a little first.  That's why I sent for you."

"I heard you but it took me a while to get here.  Charlie is double wiring my cage now. 
Takes twice as long to breakout."

"Thank you for coming.  She feels much better now."

"I'll stay as long as I can."


Jerking awake, Toby looked around him.  He'd thought he heard someone call his name. 
Well, not his name exactly.

Smiling, Toby reached up and patted CJ's stomach again.  Scooting closer to her, he
pulled his blanket higher.  As he drifted off to sleep, he could swear he heard a small
voice say, "Goodnight Daddy."

8th Month back - Air Force One 2:15 am

There was a light knock on the conference room door.

A groggy Toby rolled to his feet and quietly opened the door a few inches, trying to
block the light from entering the room.  Leo stood on the other side, his clothes perfectly
pressed, his face clean shaved.

"How the hell do you do that?" a disheveled Toby asked, his wrinkled and stained clothing
looking exactly like he felt.

"What?" Leo growled, oblivious to Toby's complaint.

"Never mind."  Toby rubbed the top of his head, saying, "Are we landing?"

"Yeah.  Listen, I was thinking if CJ's still sleeping, maybe you should just stay on board
until later in the morning.  I can send a car for you about 6:00 am and you'd still have
time to get to the hotel and clean up before staff at 8:00 am."

Glancing over his shoulder at her sleeping form, Toby nodded.  "As much as I'd like to
spend a few hours in a real bed, I'm not sure she'd be able to get back to sleep if I
woke her up now.  We'll stay, just don't forget to send someone to pick us up."

"Right," Leo agreed.  "Oh, you haven't seen that dog have you?  The President's having a fit.
Charlie can't find him anywhere."

Toby just shook his head in a negative manner and Leo took off down the narrow hallway. 

Closing the door, he flipped the lock.  He wasn't sure who would be on the plane after it
landed but he preferred some warning before a vacuum cleaner started up in his ear. 

Setting the alarm on his watch, Toby walked back over to where CJ was sleeping.  The blanket
had slipped down in a tangle at her waist.  As he lifted the blanket, he noticed a lump near
her back, just under the hem of her shirt.  Lifting up the cotton shirt, he found the missing
First Dog.  He was asleep with his hot little body acting as a heating pad. 

Toby considered leaving him be, but he didn't think CJ would appreciate waking up and finding
the ugly little dog snuggled against her.  As Toby put his hand on him, the dog opened his
beady little eyes and bared his tiny teeth.  He didn't make a sound but his meaning was clear
to Toby.  He wasn't adverse to ripping a finger or two off the Communications Director.

"Okay," Toby whispered.  "But you're on your own if she finds you there."

Pulling up her blanket, Toby covered both CJ and the dog.  Lying back down on his own blanket,
he closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sounds of the plane landing.

"You wouldn't really have bitten him, would you?"

"Nah, but he doesn't know that."


"Aren't you ready yet?"

"Yes, I guess it's time."


The sudden pain ripping through her abdomen woke her instantly.  "Oh, God," CJ cried,
gripping her stomach and sitting up.

"CJ," Toby yelled, startled out of his dreams by her scream.  Rising up on his knees,
he grabbed her hand, his face blanching with fear.

"Toby, it's happening," she screamed.  In a panic she stood up and almost fainted as she
felt fluid running down her legs.

Harry scrambled under a nearby table.  He wanted to be close enough to see, but not get
stepped on.  His little body quivered with anticipation.  This was it.


"I forgot the energy speech," Sam declared.  "I left it on the plane."

Josh sighed and tapped the driver on the shoulder.  "We have to go back to the plane and
get something."

As the limo turned around, Josh decided to call Leo on his cell phone.  They were going
to be late. 

Punching in Leo's number, Josh noticed that he wasn't getting an antenna signal.

"Sam, try your cell phone.  I can't get out on mine."

While Sam was trying his, the driver informed them that several cell phone towers
were down as a result of a lighting strike the night before.  He explained that a
major storm had blown through Dallas during the early evening hours.  There was a
lot of wind damage.  Even some hard lines were down.

Josh just shrugged the information off.  Leo was used to him being late.  He probably
wouldn't even notice.

8th Month back - Air Force One 2:45 am

"Toby, don't leave me," she screamed as he opened the door to go and find help.

"CJ, I just need to call an ambulance.  The phones in here aren't working."

As she screamed again with the force of another contraction, Toby rushed back to her
side.  She was lying on the floor with all the pillows he could find under her head
and shoulders.  He had put one blanket under and the other over her.

At CJ's urging, he had removed her soaked slacks and panties.  His quick glimpse of
the top of his daughter's head during one of CJ's last contractions had sent him running
for the door. 

Now with another contraction right on top of the previous one, he was afraid to leave,
even if CJ let go of his hand long enough for him to find help.

"CJ," he yelled, "I think you're doing this too fast."

"You think?" she screamed.  "Like I can do anything about this."

"Honey, you're breaking my hand," Toby said, trying to loosen her grip.

"It's better than having your insides ripped out," she panted as another
contraction built up force.

Harry whined as she moaned again.

Toby glanced over at the dog, cowering under the conference table. 
"If you were any kind of a dog, you'd go get some help."

The dog growled at Toby's tone and started pacing back and forth under the table.

"I didn't think so," Toby sarcastically replied.  "Where's Lassie when you need her?"

"Toby will you forget the damn dog and do something," she yelled, as a full fledged
contraction overtook her.  "I need some drugs," she screamed at the top of her lungs.

"What's going on in here?" Sam shouted as he and Josh rushed in the door.

"Guess?" Toby answered, relieved that they weren't on their own anymore. 
"One of you look and see if you can see the baby's head.  The other one go
call an ambulance."

"Josh, I'll work on the phone situation.  You can play doctor," Sam suggested.

"Oh, no.  I'll find some help.  You look for the baby," Josh stuttered as he backed
towards the door.  As she screamed again, he took off at a run.

"Okay, I can do this," Sam said, talking to himself.  Sitting down at CJ's feet he
lifted up the blanket.

"Whoa," Sam yelled as he got a look at the top of the baby's head.  "She's coming now.
I think you should probably push," he added, frowning as the head disappeared again.

Shaking her head, CJ said, "I don't want to have her here.  I want to be in a hospital
with doctors and lots of drugs."

Annoyed Toby answered, "Then you should have stayed in D.C. like I asked you to at least
a hundred times."

"Toby, I really don't think this is the time for pointing out her error of judgment,"
Sam calmly said.  He was kneeling between her bare legs, holding out his hands as though
in fear the baby might come flying out.

"Shut up, Sam," CJ screamed.  "One of you do something."

"CJ, Sam's right.  Push, dammit.  You want this over?  Push," Toby demanded, lifting her
into a half-sitting position and kneeling behind her back.  "Push."

At this point Harry started barking, adding his own opinion to the mix.

Grimacing, CJ gave in to the inevitable and pushed.  Her scream was long and loud and
brought Josh running back into the room.

"An Air Force doctor is on his way back.  He said 5 minutes tops," Josh shouted,
as CJ screamed again.

Sam yelled, "Josh, get me a clean towel or shirt.  This baby's going to be here any second."

"Oh, God," Josh muttered, running out the door again.  A couple of seconds later he
returned with a half dozen dress shirts from the President's closet in his private bedroom.

"Take the hangers off," Sam said, as Josh handed them to him.  "Okay, yeah," Josh muttered,
ripping them out and holding the shirts out again.

As he knelt down to pass the shirts to Sam, Josh was just in time to see the baby slip
from CJ's body into Sam's waiting hands.

"Oh, God," Josh said again as he watched Sam clean her off and make sure the cord wasn't

"Sam?" Toby shouted from his place near CJ's head.

Wiping the baby's mouth, Sam turned her over and slapped her bottom.

"What the hell did you do that for?" Josh yelled, appalled that Sam had struck the tiny baby.

The noise in her ear startled the baby more than the light slap and she let out a scream
of her own.

Wrapping her in the President's monogrammed shirt, Sam smiled and laid the crying baby
on CJ's stomach.  "CJ, it's a girl and she sounds just like you."

Harry laid down under the table and put his head on his front paws.  He hoped Charlie
found him soon.  He was exhausted and a little food would be more than welcome.

"Didn't I tell you it was a circus out here?"

"Yeah, what's with that Josh guy anyway?"


8th Month back - Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas
10:00 am

All three occupants of Room 4126 were asleep when Ron Butterfield opened the
hospital room door.  Smiling he glanced at the baby sleeping peacefully in the
portable incubator.  Backing out of the room, he held the door open for President
Bartlet and his Chief of Staff.

Leo walked over and touched Toby's shoulder.  Toby immediately opened his eyes,
looking towards the baby. 

"She's fine," Leo whispered.  "Come have a cup of coffee with the President and me."

Toby glanced around the room and saw the President standing at the foot of CJ's bed,
holding a bear wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt in his arms.

Wearily getting to his feet, Toby tucked CJ's hospital blanket a little tighter around
her shoulders.  Walking over to the incubator, he opened the domed lid and carefully
lifted his daughter up into his arms.

"Do you want to hold her?" a smiling Toby asked the President.

His face brightening, the President quickly shoved the bear at Leo and held out his arms
for the baby.  Touching her tiny hands, the President said, "She's beautiful, absolutely

Beaming, Toby smiled, saying, "The doctors say she's well developed for being a little
premature.  She's a little over 5 pounds.  Of course, CJ says we have the wrong baby,"
Toby chuckled.  "She claims that our baby was at least 20 pounds when she popped out
on Air Force One."

"How is CJ?" the President whispered.

"Why don't you ask me?" a sleepy CJ said, sitting up in her bed.

Turning their heads, all three men stared in dismay at her.

"I didn't mean to wake you," the President apologized. "I just couldn't wait any
longer to see the baby."

"That's okay.  I'm expecting to see Donna and Margaret any minute.  Of course Sam and Josh
have been in and out all morning.  They're claiming doctor status and don't feel that visiting
hours apply to them."

Smiling, the Leader of the Free World, stared down at the newest member of his administration.
"Have you picked out a name for her yet?"

Leo leaned close and looked at the sleeping baby, touching her dark hair. 
He thought she really was the prettiest baby he'd ever seen outside of Mallory.

Toby glanced at CJ and she nodded.  He cleared his throat and said, "Mr. President,
please meet Samantha Delores Zeigler."

Leo looked up in surprise.  "You're naming her after Sam?"

The baby gurgled and opened her blue eyes. 

"Sam never gave up on us when we were lost in Peru.  Without him, none of us would
be here," Toby soberly explained, his voice breaking just a little.  "We owe him
our lives.  He also delivered Samantha."

"And Delores?" the President asked.

"I wanted her to have Mrs. Landingham's name since she was the strongest woman I've
ever met," CJ answered, her eyes filling with tears.  "I can only hope my daughter
is able to make the same kind of difference in this world and the people around her
as Mrs. Landingham did."

"Thank you," the President whispered, a tear rolling down his face.  "I'm sure Delores
would be honored."

Leo looking at all the wet faces around him, gruffly added, "Well Sam's going to be hell
to live with, not to mention Josh.  Have you told them yet?"

"Yeah," Toby answered.  "Sam was thrilled.  He's out shopping for stuff for his namesake
as we speak."  Rolling his eyes, Toby added, "Josh whined a little so I had to promise
him the opportunity to deliver our next child.  He said he was going to have Donna do
some research for him so he'd be better prepared."

"You notice Toby said that *he'd* promised Josh.  I didn't have anything to do with it.
As far as I'm concerned he can have his own kid if he wants someone named after him. 
I'm out of the baby making business," CJ firmly stated.  "Samantha is going to be an only

Toby coughed and covered his mouth with his hand.

"Get that smile off your face, Zeigler.  I mean it," CJ angrily exclaimed.

The President and Leo just grinned and wondered if the next one would be a boy or a girl.
CJ and Toby had almost lost their lives in that plane crash in Peru, but ended up finding
each other and a future.  The proof of that was resting in the President's arms.  They were
sure that Toby had no intention of stopping now.

The end.