Author's Notes:

Margaret and Carol work for CJ at the Hollis Foundation.

Timeline for this story is as follows:

June 2005: Leo has a heart attack and CJ becomes Chief of Staff.
July - October 2005:
Events in Tie a Yellow Ribbon.
8th November 2006:
CJ comes to Danny's apartment the day after Leo passes away and the relationship becomes established.
January 2007:
CJ and Danny move to California at the start of the Santos Administration.
May 2008:
Events in Return To Africa begin.


Santa Monica, California

Late May, 2008

Danny was sitting at the kitchen island when CJ came downstairs in search of him.

"Hey," she said as she dropped a kiss to the top of his head. "I didn't hear you get out of bed."

"You were dead to the world," Danny replied as he swivelled the stool and pulled her onto his lap. "I've been up for a few hours."

CJ eyed the clock on the wall.

"How early did you get up?"

"Two .."

"Couldn't sleep?"

"Something like that."

"You should have woken me. I would have worn you out," she said with a grin before she kissed him. "There's still time, you know. It's only five. I don't have to leave for the office for another three hours and we cou - .."

"CJ .."

She pulled back and looked at him intently.

"There's something on your mind .."

"Yeah." He ran his hands up and down her shoulder blades and gave her a quick peck on the lips. "I made coffee. Want some?"

"I'll get it."

"Okay."

"What's going on?" she asked as she returned with two steaming mugs and settled on the stool next to his.

"I got an email from Skye last night."

"Last night?"

She wracked her brain. Trying to think what time this might have been; pretty sure she hadn't seen him touch his computer once between dinner and bedtime.

"Yeah."

He angled his computer towards her and a precursory glance showed a time stamp of 2AM.

She had no need to ask how he knew to check for an email at that time of night. She'd seen the manifestation of the sustained connection between them so many times she'd lost count at this point.

Skye was still struggling with the fallout from the experience in Somalia, and Danny had been there for her every step of the way. He had been upfront about his involvement in her therapy and the help she was getting, and CJ had been able to take it in her stride.

Skye had become less of a physical presence in his life after they'd moved to California, but Danny's uncanny ability to sense incoming messages from her - no matter the time of day - was both unsettling and immeasurably touching.

They never discussed what he and Skye talked about, so the fact that he had lost sleep over what appeared to be just a few words was her first indication that this was making him anxious.

She took a sip of her coffee and read the words out loud.

"I've decided I want to do it! Are you in? Have you spoken to CJ?" She took another sip of her coffee before asking, "spoken to me about what?"

"She called two weeks ago to tell me that she'd been encouraged by her therapist to stage an exhibition. Using photos from our time in Somalia. Photos she took before the .."

CJ squeezed his hand as he trailed off.

Knowing the trail off was more for her benefit than his.

"She wanted to know if I would partner with her on it, if she decided to do it. Help her pick the photos. Write the verbiage for the big idea in the exhibition description, and then find a way to include that into each photo description so that there's an .. I don't know .. overall sense of purpose in the visual narrative."

"Okay .. that makes sense."

"I didn't say yes. I said I would think about it."

"Do you want to do it?"

"I think it would be good for her."

"Then you should do it."

He hesitated over another sip of his coffee.

"She also asked whether you would consider hosting the exhibition at the Foundation."

"Would you like that?"

"Yes. And it would be simpler in terms of logistics."

"Then yes. Absolutely."

"Thank you."

He raised her hand to his mouth and kissed the back of it - and pushed gently back against her when she stood behind him and rubbed his shoulders as he started to type his response.

"Wait till you see her work, CJ. It's going to blow your mind."

"How soon do you want to do this?"

"I'll ask. My feeling is soon, so that the stress about it doesn't overshadow the excitement."

"I'll have Margaret check what the calendar looks like when I get to the office, and I'll put Carol on press for it."

"Great, thanks. Done!"

He shut his laptop, glanced at the clock, turned sharply, and pulled her between his knees.

"So all that talk about wearing me out .."

"Yes?"

"Is that invitation still open?" he asked, as stood and brushed a hip against her centre.

"It is .." CJ sucked an earlobe into her mouth until he moaned, and then pressed a kiss to his mouth.

They were almost outside their bedroom door when she turned to him.

"She should stay with us."

She could feel the hesitation in his "really? "

"Yeah."