AUTHOR: Suki (eek829@hotmail.com)
TITLE: Worlds Collide
DISCLAIMERS: For what it's worth....The West Wing and it's characters are the property of Aaron B. Sorkin, Warner Brothers, NBC et al. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is being made from this story.
PAIRING: CJ/OFC, CJ/Ellie-ish, but not really
RATING: I am really bad at ratings but let's say R (to be safe) for mature themes and sexual situations
FEEDBACK: Love feedback (who doesn't) and as this is my first foray into slash, please let me know what you think. Constructive feedback as well as what you may have liked is appreciated.
SPOILERS: None I can think of, but let's say end of Season Two to be safe.
ARCHIVE: I'd be honored, just please ask first and keep my name attached (suki). Thank you.
TEASER: "While I have been with way more women than men, your mom is an equal opportunity meddler. At least she is more discreet when she is pointing out the doctors in dresses."

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Worlds Collide by Suki

"What am I doing?" Ellie asks herself as she stares at her face in the bathroom mirror, mascara wand in hand. She never wears makeup, and as she inspects her handiwork, she can't decide if she looks good or like a caricature of herself. Sarah said the party would be low- key and she could really wear anything she wanted, but in the next breath she forbade Ellie from wearing jeans and a baggy sweater with her hair hanging in her face, and told her to put some makeup on for Christ's sake. Sometimes she feels like she has two mothers: one in Washington in power suits and pumps who sleeps with her father and wants her to stand up straight and study hard; and, one down the hall in serious leather boots and silk blouses who regularly sleeps with their physiology professor from last year and really wants her to come out of her shell and start living. If she's honest with herself, both her mothers probably want the later.

Ellie opens her eyes wider and leans in to apply the mascara to her lashes. After, she carefully slides a wash of sheer neutral gloss over her lips, touches her lips to each other and then grins at the effect, turning to stare at herself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. Her long hair, while still down around her shoulders, is pushed back slightly from her face. She fingers the buttons on the fitted blouse hanging out over black pants, the bottom edge of a close-fitting tank peeking out from underneath.

"Ellie! I'm back. Are you ready?" Sarah calls out as her footfalls thud up the steps and down the hall toward Ellie's room.

"Yeah," Ellie says, just loud enough to be heard as she steps into her room and turns and looks at her backside in the mirror there. The pants are a little more tailored than she normally wears and she stares at her rear wondering if it actually looks good like this. At least the shirt covers most of her chest, she thinks. With Sarah doing the dressing, you never know.

Sarah knocks once but enters before waiting for an answer. Ellie stands rigid under her friend's scrutiny and tenses as Sarah shakes her head and walks purposefully over to her. Sarah pushes her shoulder-length blond hair off her face, smiling as she reaches out and unbuttons the bottom two buttons of Ellie's black shirt, as well as one of the upper buttons and tugs the tank down an inch for good measure.

"That's better," Sarah says with a grin as she turns Ellie so she can look in the mirror again. "Your eyes look cool. Is that the new eyeshadow you got yesterday?" Sarah asks as she pulls Ellie's hair all onto her back and away from her face.

"I think it's a little bit of every light colored, opalescent or shimmery shadow either of us owns," Ellie says with a sigh. "Tell me the truth. Do I look ridiculous?" She asks in a small voice.

Sarah laughs out loud and shakes her head at her friend in the mirror. "Ellie, you do not look ridiculous. And if I thought it wouldn't freak you out, I'd tell you `you look hot' but alas..." Sarah's voice trails off into a dramatic sigh.

Ellie looks at herself again, trying to see what Sarah sees. Now that Sarah has opened all but one of the buttons on her shirt, she can see most of the tank underneath hugging her body like a second skin, accentuating her breasts and all of her own pale skin above the tank. She usually dresses to blend in, not to be noticed and it has been so long since she dressed to please that this little bit of daring scares her and makes her stomach tighten.

Sarah leans in and talks softly to her friend. "Ellie, we're not going to your execution, we're going to a party, and a totally cool one at that. We'll eat, have a few drinks, maybe dance if you are feeling comfortable, and then you can come back here and obsess over it."

Ellie grins at her friend's observations. "And you really think that it's ok if I tag along?" Ellie asks in a hesitant voice.

"It is totally ok. I even told Leah that you were going to come with. She said it was totally cool."

"Ok, let's go before I lose my nerve," Ellie says, reaching for her jacket.

As they head out of her room, Sarah chuckles. "Ellie, we really are going to have to take you shopping more often. If I knew all it took was a decadent shopping spree for pearly eyeshadow and glistening lipstick in clever pots to bring you out of your shell, I would have taken you to Sephora two years ago," Sarah says, tugging at Ellie's hair like a child. "You look great."

As they get out of the car, Ellie waves off her agents, directing them to stay in the car. Sarah looks at her and grabs her sleeve. "Will they actually stay in the car?"

"Yup. We made a deal. If they agreed to stay in the car I wouldn't call Ron and decline protection or sneak away without them. Considering that I have evaded them three times in the last month, they are now willing to play by my rules," Ellie says with a grin.

"Isn't your Dad going to go through the roof?" Sarah asks with a laugh, having been on the receiving end of more than one speech from Ellie's dad in the four years she has known Ellie.

"I told Ron if he tells my Dad I will refuse protection all together. After he ranted for a couple minutes, he agreed that we'll try it for a couple weeks and then, if it goes well, he'll tell my Dad and endorse the new procedures. I still have to carry the panic button, but..."

Ellie looks up and down the street nervously as they cross the street. Sarah smiles at her friend and holds the door to the building for her. "Don't worry Ellie, you can always say I brought you and you didn't know. Nobody cares who I sleep with," Sarah says kindly, without any irritation or anger.

"Sorry. I'm just nervous," Ellie says softly.

"I know, El, but it is really going to be fine. I'll stick with you unless you tell me to take off, ok?" Sarah asks, squeezing her friend's hand.

The door to the apartment opens, and Ellie is immediately overcome by the sounds of voices, talking and laughing, some familiar song about redemption playing in the background, and she glances nervously into the softly lit room, suddenly terrified. "Hey, Kira," Sarah says, hugging their hostess. Kira Lloyd is a professor at Johns Hopkins, a practicing physician of some repute, and Ellie read every article she has even written last year during a research project, and all she can think in facing her for the first time is that she has the most beautiful green eyes Ellie has even seen. "Kira, this is my friend, Ellie," Sarah says, moving aside to let Ellie enter and shake Kira's hand.

"Welcome, Ellie, it's a pleasure to meet you," Kira says, tossing her wavy auburn hair over her shoulder and closing the apartment door. "Can I take your coats and get either of you something to drink?" Kira asks, looking kindly at Ellie.

Ellie and Sarah both shrug out of their jackets and hand them to their hostess. "I see Leah in the kitchen. We'll make our way in there and get something," Sarah says with a warm smile.

Kira nods and chuckles, having obviously seen Leah and Sarah together before and knowing, as Ellie does, that they are big on hellos and goodbyes.

Ellie follows Sarah into the kitchen, looking around as she goes, taking in the clusters of women and smattering of men, of all ages, chatting and laughing. Once in the kitchen, Ellie smiles as her tough- as-nails best-friend ducks her head and blushes as she slides against her girlfriend and they share a very soft and almost innocent kiss. As Sarah nuzzles her face against Leah's shoulder, Leah chuckles and waves Ellie over.

"Hey, kiddo. Where are the scary ones with the guns?" Leah asks.

Ellie blushes and glances around to make sure they are alone in the kitchen. "Outside in the cars."

"They agreed to that?" Leah asks incredulous.

"Ellie can be rather persuasive when she wants to be," Sarah says, pulling away and reaching for a pitcher on the counter. After sniffing the contents she looks at Leah and grins. Leah nods and Sarah pours two glasses full. "Kira's famous white sangria," Sarah says as she hands one to Ellie.

Once seated in the livingroom, Ellie allows herself to zone out of the conversation and look around the room. She and Sarah are probably the youngest women here. There are two others who look to be grad students at Johns Hopkins, but most are older, and all seem so sure of themselves and comfortable in their own skin, something she is afraid she will never be. Leah introduced her to a woman named Katherine who was stunning and Ellie felt like such a child next to her, so much younger than her twenty-five years at least. There is a couple sitting against the far wall who are obviously expecting their first child. The younger of the two women is at least six months pregnant and her partner is touching her hair as they talk with a man and woman animatedly about genetic research. She has to remind herself not to stare and wants to ask Sarah about them. A friend of Leah's from the hospital named Steve asks Ellie about medical school and they get into a conversation about one of her professors.

Leah asks her about the shopping spree and Ellie begins to relax. She is used to Leah and Sarah, and can talk comfortably around them. As she is telling Leah about Sarah's running around the store testing all kinds of things on her hands and arms like a kid with finger paints, Kira answers the door again and a tall woman in a sleek black coat enters. Kira immediately hugs her and begins to take her coat, turning the woman away from Ellie. Ellie smiles as the woman laughs and shakes her head at something Kira has said, and Ellie admires her, warmed with the thrill of allowing herself to do so. The woman is wearing a slightly-cropped grey sweater over a short black skirt and black tights and Ellie can't help but stare at her legs.

As she turns to head into the kitchen with Kira, Ellie catches her profile and chokes on her drink, causing Sarah to reach over and pat her back as Ellie sputters. Ellie continues to watch the kitchen, and by shifting in her seat she can see into it and catch a glimpse of her and Kira talking. Kira reaches up and touches her hair, twisting the ends between her fingers, obviously commenting on the cut and Ellie smiles at the familiar smirk that Kira receives in return.

"So, rough week? You sounded kind of frayed when you called before," Kira says, handing CJ a glass of white sangria.

CJ smiles and shakes her hair off her face, crossing one leg over the other as she leans against the counter. "No one died. So you still get worst day, but, it was a still a pretty long week," CJ says, taking a deep sip of her drink, moaning appreciatively at the cool liquid sliding down her throat.

"Well, that sounds better," Kira laughs softly, leaning in closer. "Get a couple of these in you and you should start to forget."

CJ shakes her head and slides her hand against Kira's arm. "You wouldn't be trying to get me drunk, would you, Ace?"

"Is it working?" Kira laughs. "You need to not think for a night, Star. So, relax, drink, dance, and don't think."

"Sounds like a plan," CJ laughs, both at the teasing and the pet name, taking another sip of her drink. "Paula, come here and let me touch your belly," CJ says, calling the couple Ellie had been observing over to her. CJ puts her drink down on the counter and hugs her friend before reverently placing her hands on Paula's swollen stomach, laughing in delight when she feels the baby shift under her hands. "Oh, Paula, this is so great. I am so excited for you two," CJ says reaching over to hug Anna, Paula's partner. "How are your parents taking it?" CJ asks Paula.

"They're coming around," Paula nods as Anna wraps her arm around Paula's waist.

"Ever make you think about it?" Kira asks softly as CJ turns and reaches for her drink again.

"No," CJ says with a hard look. "You were the one who always talked about babies. I was the one saying we'll see and meaning not in this body," CJ laughs dryly.

"It had to be you. I was working through medical school and residency and besides, I wanted her to have your eyes and smile," Kira says leaning in and talking softly. "Billy was willing to donate, and his genes would have complimented your's so nicely."

CJ laughs and shakes her head at her former lover, glancing around the kitchen. "So, who is your latest mark?" CJ smiles at Kira's faux- innocent look. "I know you, you usually have someone at these things that you want to stay late, and then wake up with."

Kira smiles and slides her hand against CJ's hip, letting her fingers slide against her skin underneath the soft grey sweater. CJ looks at Kira for a moment and then laughs out loud, tossing her head back, causing Paula and Anna to look over and grin.

CJ and Kira turn as two new women wander into the kitchen. "CJ, have you met Leah Prescott yet?" Kira asks, motioning toward the older of the two.

"No, I don't think so," CJ says, shaking her head with a smile.

"I didn't know `Claudia' was CJ Cregg," Leah smirks. "I am so pleased to finally meet the `Star'," Leah says, shaking CJ's hand.

"Well, yes, it's me, by any name," CJ says with a self-deprecating smile.

"CJ!" A striking woman named Stacy with toffee-colored skin and dark brown eyes says, walking into the kitchen and moving toward Kira and CJ. "How have you been?" Stacy says after she has hugged CJ.

CJ nods her head and takes another sip of her drink. "Starting to relax a little," CJ says with a smile.

Stacy steps back and raises an eyebrow. "Didn't think you could make it tonight?" She asks with a chuckle.

"Yeah, well, I said screw it and left," CJ says taking a deep sip of her drink. "It'll all be there on Sunday."

CJ looks over Leah's shoulder and notices Ellie leaning in the doorway, an extremely nervous expression on her face. CJ pauses with her glass halfway to her mouth for a moment and then quickly drains the glass, putting it down on the counter and smoothing her skirt down with her palms as she holds Ellie's stare.

"CJ, this is Sarah," Leah says softly, noticing CJ's stare.

CJ glances at the young woman with pale bond hair and deep blue eyes standing next to Leah and nods her hello. "Nice to meet you, Sarah."

"It's nice to meet you, too, CJ. I've heard a lot about you," Sarah says with a nervous smile as she turns to look at Ellie.

CJ shakes her head and smiles, reaching up to push her hair out of her eyes. Leah and Sarah move out of the kitchen, noting that Ellie and CJ are once again just staring at each other. Sarah squeezes Ellie's hand as she passes her, and Ellie takes a deep breath as she steps further into the kitchen, leaning against the counter opposite from CJ.

Before CJ can do more than shake her head again and take a deep breath, the beautiful woman who Ellie felt so tongue-tied around earlier comes bounding up to CJ.

"CJ! Anna told me you were here. Come dance with me," Katherine says, tugging on CJ's hand.

"Hey, Katherine. Maybe later, ok?" CJ asks with a small smile, deliberately not looking to Ellie. Once Katherine has left the kitchen, CJ inclines her head toward Ellie and motions towards the room off the kitchen in the back. Ellie follows CJ wordlessly and looks around with a grin as they step into a glassed in sun room, full of plants and wicker furniture.

"Oh, wow," Ellie says, turning and looking around the room.

CJ smiles and nods. "Kira has a thing for wicker and green things," CJ says with a wave.

Once Ellie has turned serious again, CJ motions toward the couch against the wall. After they sit, CJ clears her throat and looks at Ellie, leaning forward in her chair so that her hair partially covers her face, her hands clasped in her lap. CJ actually smiles at how young and vulnerable Ellie looks and realizes that Ellie thinks she's about to get yelled at.

CJ wipes the smile off her face and clears her throat again, hoping to get Ellie to look up. "Where is your detail?" She asks softly.

"Outside in the cars," Ellie says, looking up to gage CJ's reaction.

"Outside in the cars?" CJ asks slowly, her voice rising on each word.

Ellie nods and smiles a small smile. "I made a deal with them to get a little more privacy."

"What kind of deal?" CJ asks, chewing on the inside of her cheek.

"I agreed not to decline protection if they agreed to give me some space," Ellie says, her stare steady but her body spoiling for a fight.

CJ looks at her hard and smiles, shaking her head. "Your dad is gonna flip," she says with a chuckle.

"Probably, but it won't be the first time, or the last time for that matter," Ellie says with a matching smile.

CJ laughs out loud and leans back. "So, this is fun," CJ says sarcastically with a wave of her hand between them, as Ellie starts picking at the cuticle on her left thumb. "Curiosity or more?" CJ asks softly.

Ellie leans forward and lets her hair fall into her face again. CJ takes a deep breath as she realizes that Ellie looks ready to cry, and leans forward, pushing Ellie's hair off her face. "It's ok to be confused. You don't have to have all the answers," CJ smiles tenderly tucking Ellie's hair behind her ear. As Ellie looks at her seriously, CJ sighs and leans back. " Hell, Ellie, I'm 37 and there are days when the world makes little sense to me," CJ says kindly, attempting at levity.

Ellie looks up and smiles a half smile at CJ. Before she can respond, Kira steps into the room and hands them each a tall glass of sangria. "I thought maybe you could both use a drink," Kira says warmly, allowing her hand to slide along the back of CJ's hair before turning and leaving the sun room, closing the door behind her with a smile.

"You and Kira?" Ellie asks cautiously as CJ turns back to Ellie after watching Kira leave.

"Ancient history," CJ says grimacing, "but we have stayed close." CJ rolls her eyes as Ellie raises her eyebrows at her. "And sometimes history repeats itself," CJ mutters with a blushing half smile.

Ellie smiles and nods, taking another sip of her drink. "I figured. You seem to know a lot of the people here," Ellie says, looking up at CJ for confirmation.

"I've known Kira since Berkley. She was in the joint medical program with UC San Francisco and doing research at Berkley when I was an undergrad," CJ says matter-of-factly. She takes a drink and watches Ellie. "You want to talk about it?" She asks, raising an eyebrow at Ellie.

Ellie nods and leans forward, hiding behind her hair once again. "I don't know where to begin," Ellie says softly, her voice tense.

"Who did you come to the party with?" CJ asks.

"Sarah, my roommate. She knows Kira through Leah. Leah is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins as well."

CJ smiles gently and waits for Ellie to look up at her. "And you and Sarah?"

Ellie shakes her head, laughing quietly. "Sarah and I have been best friends for four years, but we're just friends. Sarah and Leah have been together for a while. But she knows I have been thinking and thought maybe I'd like to come," Ellie says.

CJ smiles and swallows her laughter at Ellie's word choice, and Ellie blushes furiously when she realizes what she said. CJ laughs and leans forward. "Tough isn't it, talking about this? But it shouldn't be. You don't have to say anything. You can just let it be," CJ says.

She looks at CJ, clearly biting her own lip to decide whether to say whatever is on her mind. CJ smiles and closes eyes. "Go ahead and ask," CJ says with a sigh.

"Are you...?" Ellie trails off with a wave of her hand, clearly uncomfortable with her question. "Forget it, I shouldn't have asked," Ellie says, taking a large gulp of her drink.

CJ smiles and waves her hand. "A good first step would be being able to say the words, Ellie," CJ says. She then looks down at her hands for a moment before taking a deep breath and speaking once again. "I have been attracted to a few men and have had a couple of relationships with men, but I am generally attracted to women and almost all of my serious relationships have been with women," CJ says with a small smile. When Ellie continues to look at her, CJ closes her eyes and sighs. "I hate labels so I don't usually use them, but I am closer to bisexual than either of the extremes. For me it's about the people, they just usually tend to have breasts."

"Have you ever been in love?" Ellie asks softly.

CJ groans and rubs her eyes before looking at her and sighing. "Yes, once or twice," CJ says with a small smile before turning serious again. "I have been in love with one man and one woman in my life, and there were a couple of others that I thought I might be falling in love with until I got my heart broken."

Ellie nods and then looks up to notice CJ's one eyebrow raised, before taking a deep breath and opening her mouth to talk twice before actually saying anything. "I used to think I was just, I don't know...asexual, " Ellie says with a frown. "I dated guys, and it was fine, but I never really got all that into it. I figured I just hadn't met the right guy," she says, her voice barely above a whisper as her words end.

"And?" CJ prompts gently, shifting to lean a little closer to her.

Ellie shrugs and almost collapses in on herself as her body folds forward over her knees. "I had this best friend all through highschool, Heather, and I guess looking back I had a crush on her. Then during my third year of college, there was this grad-student TA for my molecular class. God, she was gorgeous, and funny, and smart and I thought it was about friendship, but now I'm not so sure."

"Why?" CJ asks softly.

Ellie blushes, shaking her head and looking down at her hands.

CJ smiles and touches her hand, waiting for her to look up at her. "You can't stop thinking about her, can you?"

Ellie nods and lets out her breath. "Not just her. I mean, all of a sudden," Ellie's voice trails off. After a moment she shrugs and sits back a little. "I dated this guy during my senior year of college, and I really wanted to just be happy, to let it be alright, but... I'm twenty-five years old and I've never even kissed someone who I actually wanted to kiss," Ellie says, looking at her hands again.

"And now?" CJ asks, leaning forward and tapping Ellie's arm to get her attention.

"CJ, sometimes it is so clear to me. I mean, I can completely see myself and I understand, and ...sometimes I am so scared," Ellie says, pushing her hair off her face.

"Worried about your parents?" CJ asks with a soft smile.

"In part," Ellie admits with a shrug. She takes a deep breath and rings her hands, looking up before continuing. "I don't want this to be what I am about now."

"Don't worry about your parents, at least for now. This is about you, about figuring out who you are and what you want," CJ says, taking Ellie's hand in her's and waiting until the younger woman looks up to continue. "Honey, I think you've already worked through a lot of this on your own, even if you aren't ready to deal with it all yet. And that's fine. But if you want someone to talk to, I'm here, and I know a really great therapist if you want to talk to someone entirely objective."

"Thanks, CJ," Ellie says softly, smiling up at the older woman. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," CJ says with a smile as her voice rises in trepidation.

"Do my parents know?" Ellie asks.

"That I prefer women?" CJ asks. When Ellie nods with a tense stare, CJ squeezes her hand. "Yeah, they've known for a while. Toby knew, and when I agreed to join on I made sure he told Leo. I told your dad during the campaign, and your mom shortly thereafter. I was seeing someone at the time, a woman, and it was important to me that they know. For what it's worth, they both took it fine," CJ says smiling.

"Then why does my mom keep trying to set you up with `handsome doctors' at every formal event?" Ellie asks loudly, clearly frustrated by proxy.

CJ laughs out loud. "While I have been with way more women than men, your mom is an equal opportunity meddler. At least she is more discreet when she is pointing out the doctors in dresses," CJ laughs, shaking her head. "She just really feels strongly that I should be with someone who will make sure I eat and sleep at regular intervals," CJ says with a shrug. "And besides, she has pointed out some really amazing women as well."

"My mother has tried to fix you up with women?" Ellie almost squeals.

CJ throws her head back and laughs loudly. "Ellie, your mother is really pretty open about these things, and you should know her well enough to know that she is far from a prude. Surely you know what a healthy relationship your parents have? I think you might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction. Sure, they may be surprised at first, but in the end... they love you, El."

Ellie turns CJ's hand over in her's and then runs her fingers over her palm. CJ looks down at her hand in Ellie's and catches her breath at the intensity with which Ellie is tracing her life line with gentle fingers. "Oh, honey, this is so not a good idea," CJ says softly.

Ellie grins up at her. "Why, because you're not attracted to me or because of the age difference?"

"My age, my position, the fact that I work for your dad and consider your parents friends...The fact that you are still figuring this out..." CJ says, waving around with her free hand but not pulling her other away. "Ellie, I want to be a friend, a safety zone, at least until you figure this out for yourself."

Ellie smiles and nods, letting CJ's hand go. "Was worth a shot," she shrugs.

"Hey, Ellie?" Sarah asks from the door. Things have quieted down out here and we were going to get going.

"I'll be there in a few minutes," Ellie says, smiling at her friend.

Ellie looks at CJ, leaning back in her seat and rubbing her forehead, and bites her lip. "CJ, I understand that I have put you in a tough-- "

"Forget it," CJ says, waving her hand. "This isn't anyone else's business. I won't be telling anyone." CJ laughs and shakes her head, covering her eyes. "It's actually better that I know, but no one else needs to. At least not until you are ready to tell them," CJ says, lifting her hand and looking pointedly at Ellie. "Ellie, as unfair as it is, you are the First Daughter. Be careful about where you go and who you trust. If you ever find yourself in over your head, you call me, ok?" CJ asks, sitting forward again. "Anytime, you call me and we'll talk and I'll do what I can to make it easier."

Ellie nods, taking CJ's hand for a moment again and smiling as CJ slides her fingers across her knuckles. "Anytime, you need to talk, or whatever, you call me."

Ellie smiles and stands up. "I should probably go. CJ, thanks. I almost passed out when you walked in, but I am really glad this happened," Ellie says, smiling and pushing her hair out of her face.

"Me, too, honey," CJ says, standing and pulling Ellie into a hug.

Ellie wraps her arms around CJ, allowing her hands to glide over CJ's back, holding on for a few seconds too long. CJ smiles and slides one hand along the back of Ellie's hair, the other around her waist.

When they pull back, CJ reaches down and tucks Ellies hair behind her ears again. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, CJ, and thanks again," Ellie says with a grin as she walks slowly toward the door.

CJ sits back down but then turns back toward the door again. "Hey, Ellie?"

Ellie turns at the door and looks back toward CJ, now seated on the couch once again. "Yes?"

"Whatever you decide, whomever you decide to tell or not tell, it's time to stop hiding from yourself. You've earned the right to just be whoever you are. Stop trying to make yourself disappear," CJ says with a kind smile. "This Ellie," CJ says motioning toward her standing in the doorway, "is way too interesting to be ignored."

Ellie nods and ducks her head as she steps back into the kitchen. CJ sits there for a moment, processing all that has happened in the last few hours and shaking her head. She is leaning forward with her hair partially in her face when she hears the door open again and assumes it is Kira until she hears the voice.

"I'm sorry, but I can't leave without doing this," Ellie says as she leans down and gently slides her hand into CJ's hair, leaning forward to capture her lips in a delicate but deliberate kiss. When CJ doesn't pull away, Ellie increases the pressure of her mouth and slides her tongue against CJ's slightly parted lips. CJ hesitates for a moment and then opens her mouth, accepting Ellie's tongue, leaning into the kiss. As Ellie explores her mouth, CJ tugs her down to her level, making it easier to wrap her arms loosely around Ellie's waist, accepting the kiss in all its depth. As Ellie moans softly in her throat, CJ slides her own tongue into Ellie's mouth and takes control of the kiss, forcing Ellie to pull her closer, accept more of her. When she breaks the kiss, Ellie is breathing hard and her eyes are closed, her skin flushed. CJ gently sucks Ellie's lower lip between her lips, nibbling softly, smiling as Ellie breathes deeply, trying to catch her breath.

Before Ellie can open her eyes, CJ disentangles their arms and sits back, putting some distance between them. "Ellie, look at me," CJ commands quietly.

Ellie's eyes flutter open and she grins, no semblance of shame or embarrassment. "I have wanted to do that since you walked in tonight, and probably longer if I am being completely honest," Ellie says with a satisfied sigh.

CJ shakes her head and tries not to grin at the prideful look on Ellie's face. "Ellie, I was serious when I said I want to be a safe place for you in this. And if I am going to act like your big sister, that means no more kissing."

Ellie smiles and ducks her head, her cheeks pink and her lips slightly kiss-swollen.

CJ leans in a little and her voice, when she speaks, causes Ellie to swallow hard. "And the next time you kiss someone like that, you better know where you stand and be prepared to back it up. Now go, I am sure Sarah and Leah are anxious to leave," CJ says, nodding toward the door.

Ellie stands and looks down at her, uncertain again, until CJ smiles and rolls her eyes. "We're fine, now go. And call me next week so we can talk. You have all my numbers."

After Ellie has left the sun porch, CJ touches her lips and shakes her head, realizing that Ellie has so much of more her mother's spunk in her than anyone thinks. A few minutes later she wanders back into the kitchen to find Kira loading the dishwasher.

CJ leans against the counter, rubbing her forehead. "Everyone else gone?"

"Yeah," Kira says, handing CJ a glass of water and a bottle of Advil. After CJ has smiled appreciatively and taken two of the sugar-coated pills, she hoists herself up onto the counter and watches Kira rinse glasses at the sink.

"Want to talk about it?" Kira asks, smiling softly and looking at CJ out of the corner of her eye.

"Not really, except...was I ever that young and confused?" CJ asks softly.

Kira wipes her hands and reaches for her own drink, stepping over to stand across from CJ. "More so, on both counts," Kira says with a smirk. "President's daughter, right?" She asks cautiously.

CJ smiles and shakes her head. "This could be so bad, on so many levels," CJ says, rubbing her forehead again. "Could be a whole world of hurt."

Kirs crosses to CJ and taps her knee, smiling as CJ spreads her legs and allows Kira to step between her thighs to pull CJ into a close hold. "I defrayed interest, and those who know will keep it. She's fine."

CJ leans back and smiles at her, allowing her hands to slide down to Kira's waist. She leans in and softly kisses her, allowing Kira to deepen the kiss and take control for several minutes. When they pull apart, CJ rests her forehead against Kira's and sighs. "I really miss you sometimes."

Kira laughs deep in her throat. "I miss you all the time, Star. Stay?"

CJ laughs and pulls her closer. "Was there any doubt?"

Later, her head cradled against Kira's shoulder, Kira's arm around her back, her hand on CJ's hip, CJ sighs and snuggles against her. Kira smiles in the semi-darkness and pulls her closer, reaching up to stroke CJ's hair.

"Worried about the kid?" Kira asks softly against CJ's temple.

"She seems so much younger than she is and she still has so much to figure out..." CJ says with a sigh, sliding her hand across Kira's abdomen to pull her tighter.

"We all go through this," Kira says with a soft, unseen smile. "She'll work through it."

"I know," CJ says, leaning back so she can see Kira's eyes in the darkness. "But still... She kissed me, " CJ admits in a breathy whisper.

Kira waits for a moment before responding. "I know."

CJ leans up and stares at her.

"Baby, she looked all lit up and five years older when she breezed back through the kitchen. I figured she kissed you and then you kissed her senseless as I know, so well, you can do," Kira says, sliding her hand down CJ's back, causing CJ to shiver and lean closer.

CJ brushes a soft kiss against Kira's shoulder and whispers her apology. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Kira laughs. "If you'd left with her, I'd be hurt. But a kiss I can deal with. No sense in smacking the girl back on her first attempt, and better you who isn't going to push her into anything else. How did you leave it with her?" Kira asks with deliberate nonchalance and a little barely concealed jealousy.

"That I want to be her friend, a safe place," CJ says grinning, sliding her hand up to stroke Kira's breast, her fingers trailing around her quickly hardening nipple.

"And?" Kira prompts.

CJ smiles at Kira's knowledge of her. "...and a warning that the next time she decides to stick her tongue in someone's mouth she better know what she's doing and be prepared to follow through."

Kira laughs hysterically. CJ smiles and rolls them over so Kira is lying partially on top of her.

"That's how I got you in my bed...for six years," Kira laughs once she catches her breath. "I let you kiss me and then I took over, knowing that you wouldn't be able to not kiss me again."

CJ smiles and shakes her head, brushing her lips against Kira's before responding. "Yeah, but I already wanted you so much my teeth hurt," CJ laughs. "And you *meant* to get me in bed with that. You kissed me back to wake me up and then took me to bed and kept me there until I no longer had any doubts."

"What a great weekend," Kira says with a sigh, stroking CJ's hip. "You were such an enthusiastic young thing."

"With Ellie, I really do think she needs a friend, someone to talk about this with before she dives into bed with the first pair of soft hands she falls for," CJ says softly, trying to ignore Kira's leg gliding between her thighs.

"Ok, well, let's talk about it some more tomorrow," Kira says, sliding her hands up CJ's body, over her breasts, pushing her hands above her head. "And remind me to keep Ellie away from Sharon. She would love to teach that sweet young thing everything she needs to know," Kira chuckles. "And Ellie probably needs a gentler hand."

CJ chuckles and kisses Kira. "Speaking of gentler hands..." She trails off as Kira eases her thighs apart and begins to stroke her gently once again.

"If we are going to be awake, we are certainly going to be doing more than talking about sex," Kira whispers as CJ arches into her touch, already breathless.

~finis~

suki eek829@hotmail.com

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