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WW: Signature Dissolving (CJ)

Inspired by BPAL's Embalming Fluid.

Title: Signature Dissolving
Author: voleuse
Fandom: West Wing
Character: CJ Cregg
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: It was an attempt to paint infinity.
Notes: Pre-S6, no spoilers

The restroom nearest CJ's office has special soap. The other public facilities in the building feature a pink, gooey substance that chastens more than it cleanses.

At one point, early in President Bartlet's tenure, CJ had complained to Carol about it. She had intended it to be simple, woman-to-woman venting.

The next week, however, the restroom nearest her office has new soap in its dispensers.

It's a clear, pale yellow. It smells like lemons and tea, and it has, quite possibly, magical, skin-silkening powers.

The other restrooms still have the same industrial-strength goop.

Margaret takes to scowling at her through the day, and Donna switches her breaks so she has time to walk the extra few yards to CJ's restroom.

In an odd, quiet moment, CJ leans over Carol's desk.

"Whatever you did to bribe Custodial, keep doing it."

Carol only smiles.


The months pass, and the soap stays the same. It's a constant that CJ appreciates, when her other touchstones are chaos and castigation.

She's never been one to hide from anything, but after she spars with the press corps, she finds herself seeking a few moments to herself.

The women's restroom, she's long known, is the one room considered sacrosanct. Pleasantries can be exchanged within, but nobody will ever talk business.

When she's lucky, she has the restroom to herself. She splashes water against her face, stares in the mirror until everything is aligned again.

She presses a dollop of soap into her hands, smoothes it over and around her fingers with ritual attention.

The trickle from the faucet is cold, and she lets the water trail over her hands.

After she dries her hands, she tosses the wad of paper towel into the wastebasket on the opposite wall.

She almost never misses the shot.

She brings her hands to her face, breathes in the faint scent of the soap.

And she walks back out into bedlam.


There are hours when CJ finds it hard to believe in anything at all.

Sometimes the hours stretch into days, and even longer.

She doesn't want to use the word disillusioned, not out loud. Not even to herself.

There are hours when CJ doesn't think she can do this anymore.

So she takes a moment to gather her strength, marshal her defenses.

She breathes in, and tells herself it's all temporary.

And sometimes it is.


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Allison Eastley's Yellow Soap Signature. Link courtey of breathe_poetry.

Originally linked here.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
Sep. 20th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Sep. 13th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
I never quite understood how people could say they'd read anything by *insertnamehere*--I mean of all the writers and all the fics, how can you find one writer who's not just a good writer and gets the characters' voices and motivations, but also actually likes the same shows you do?

But I get it now, thanks to you. I'm thrilled whenever you post new fic.

So that's just Yay!You! in general. This particular fic, I loved this: She doesn't want to use the word disillusioned, not out loud. Not even to herself. it's just so very perfect.
Sep. 20th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much!
Nov. 26th, 2005 07:52 am (UTC)
Wow! Just, freakin' wow! You just know how to make the most of a few words, don't you? Just wring that characterization out of stone, and make it look like blossoming roses.

*so fracking impressed with you*
Nov. 28th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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