blue flamingos

Sea Breeze

Fandom: the West Wing

Category/Rated: Slash/PG

Year/Length: 2006 ~1641 Words

Pairing: Andy/Ellie

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: Two women walk into a bar...

Author's Notes: Written for the [info]tww_minis Andy round, for [info]alaira who requested Andy/Ellie in any context. Sea Breeze is Ellie's pretty red drink and it's lovely!

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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Andy found the bar not long after she got to Washington, when she'd had a day of banging her head against the wall of seasoned Congressmen and walked into the first half-decent place she found, really needing a drink. She keeps going back because it's quiet, the bar tender is friendly but knows how to take a hint and go away, and she never runs into anyone she knows, friend or not.

After all this time, it comes as more than a surprise to Andy when she looks up from her paper to see a man instantly recognisable as a Secret Service agent doing a sweep of the room from the door. No-one else in the bar more than glances up, but Andy keeps watching, curious to see who's both important enough to have a Service guard and dropping by her tiny bar.

The agent says something into his wrist and moves into the room, followed by a second agent. Andy feels her eyebrows go up when she sees the young woman walking next to her; if she expected anyone, she would have been her last guess.

Ellie sits at a table on the other side of the bar, nursing a tall glass of light red something that Andy can't identify, ignoring her agents at a table nearby. Her eyes flicker round the bar once, before she ducks her head, her hair falling over her face to obscure it from Andy's view.

Andy sips her vodka and considers going over to say hello. Ellie appears to be alone, not waiting for anyone to meet her, but she and Andy have only met twice. She's not even sure Ellie will remember her outside of the White House and political fund raisers. She flips a page in her paper, not really reading the articles. She wouldn't mind someone to talk to for a few minutes: her apartment feels more empty in the winter. Ellie's always seemed pleasant, if a little shy and awkward, lacking the social style of her two sisters. Pleasant, but guarded, the kind of guarded that Andy recognises, keeping secrets because she has to not because she wants to.

Decision made, Andy folds up her paper and leaves it neatly on the edge of her table for whoever comes in next. She takes her drink with her, even though there's barely a swallow left in the bottom of the glass, to have something to do with her hands. One of the agents looks up as she passes their table and nods his recognition.

"Hello, Ellie."

Ellie looks up sharply, her hand coming up to brush her hair back from her face just in time for Andy to watch recognition flash in her eyes. "Congresswoman Wyatt," she says softly.

"Andy, please." Andy smiles down at her, feeling looming in a way she hasn't since she was one of the taller women in her college. "I hope you don't mind me stopping to say hello."

"No. No, of course not." Ellie glances down at her drink then back up, her eyes solemn. "Do you want to sit down?"

"Thank you." Andy takes the other chair, wondering why she's doing so when she only meant to stop for a moment or two, to be polite to the President's daughter. When she looks over at Ellie, the other woman is looking down at her drink again, swirling the melting ice cubes with her straw. "Are you meeting someone?" Andy asks.

"No." Ellie's head comes back up quickly, like she forgot someone else was there. "I was –." She stops and shakes her head, dispelling whatever thought she was about to voice. Andy thinks suddenly of Toby groaning, calling Ellie the difficult daughter, and wonders if he isn't the only person in the White House to think so. "No, I'm not meeting anyone," Ellie says finally. "And you?"

"No, me either." Andy smiles warmly, moving over the momentary awkwardness as she would in an official capacity. "I just didn't want to go home yet," she confides, to make up for slipping into her congresswoman persona. "I was hoping to wait out the rain."

"I think it's stopped," Ellie says. "Or it had when I came in, but maybe you should wait, just in case."

If it was anyone else, Andy would know she was being flirted with. Ellie meets her gaze so solemnly, though, that she can't tell. "Maybe I should get another drink, then," she suggests, emptying her glass.

To her surprise, Ellie gestures to a waitress and orders her another vodka. She shrugs when she catches Andy's expression. "They know me here."

Andy tries to imagine Ellie frequenting any bar, particularly one in Washington, where, by all accounts, she doesn't spend much time. Even more curious is that they've never run into each other there before. "Thank you," she says finally, filling the silence before it goes on too long.

The waitress places a fresh glass in front of her, and disappears with the empty one and a quick smile to Ellie, who returns it, ducking back under her curtain of hair a moment later. Andy sips her drink, curious: it's one thing for a divorced congresswoman to occasionally take home women she meets in bars, another entirely for the President's single, college-aged daughter to possibly be doing the same. Although, made braver by the vodka, Andy acknowledges to herself that she may have intended much the same thing when she sat down at Ellie's table.

"How's school going?" she asks, aware that they've both once again allowed the pause for sipping drinks to go on too long.

Ellie's face lights up with enthusiasm. "It's great. We've got a new human anatomy professor, he's a great lecturer, really interesting."

"Mm-hmm?" Andy sips her drink and watches Ellie launch into a story about her new professor, amazed at the transformation that comes over the young woman. Within a few seconds of starting her story, she's tucked her hair back out of her face, her eyes bright, meeting Andy's over and over, checking that she's still interested and still following.

When she gestures with both hands to show the length of the bone she's talking about and almost knocks her glass over, Andy barely even thinks before leaving her hand where it lands on Ellie's wrist, steadying her and the glass. Ellie glances down, confusion playing momentarily over her face, then picks up her sentence again without pulling her hand away. Andy forces herself to concentrate harder on the story and not on the feel on Ellie's hand under her's, small and warm. Later, Ellie loosens that hand from her glass to drink from it with the other and turns her now free hand to lace her fingers through Andy's, and Andy lets her.

She finds it a little hard to believe she's doing this in public, even if they are in a shadowed corner that she wonders if Ellie chose for its privacy. Andy wouldn't normally give anyone this sort of opportunity to see her with another woman, a part of her life she accepted she had to keep quiet when she first considered running for Congress. With Ellie, though, it seems almost natural, like she can give the responsibility for their suddenly, unexpectedly charged encounter to the other woman and her Service agents, even as she acknowledges that it's probably a responsibility she'd usually take on herself, with age and experience. It's becoming clear that they'll be going back to Andy's place and, if Ellie's casual acceptance of her hand is anything to go by, her agents are good at making sure no-one finds out.

"Ellie?" They both startle when her female agent cuts in discreetly, her body turned so as to block Ellie from the rest of the bar, though neither of them move to pull their hands free. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but you're going to be late to meet your father if we don't go now."

Ellie glances down at her watch, the disappointment Andy feels mirrored on her face. "Oh," she says softly. "All right."

The agent steps away, leaving Andy facing a crestfallen young woman and the prospect of an evening alone for which she just started anticipating having company. "You should go," she tells Ellie, gently freeing her hand. "I'm sure the President doesn't like being kept waiting."

She's almost sure she imagines the shiver that runs through Ellie's body at the mention of her father. Almost, but not quite sure enough that she won't ask Toby or CJ about her next time she sees one of them.

"Sorry," Ellie says, her voice still soft, the way it was when Andy first sat down. "I wanted to –." She takes a deep breath and starts again, sounding more confident. "I'm in Washington for a few days. Could I see you again?"

Andy opens her mouth to say no, thinking about her constituents, and Ellie's father's; about Ellie's father and her own ex-husband; about the morning news and CJ's press corp. About a soft hand in her own, and the way Ellie's face lit up, and wanting to see that smile again, much closer.

"Yes," she says, not entirely expecting to hear that word, and watches Ellie's face brighten. She passes over one of her cards. "Call me tonight, if you like."

Ellie's fingers linger against her own as she takes the card and smiles. "I will."


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