blue flamingos

New Year's Resolutions

Fandom: The West Wing

Category/Rated: PG

Year/Length: 2007/ ~1140 words

Pairing: pre-slash Ellie/Gina

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

Summary: Ellie's always trusted Zoey to have her best interests at heart

Author's Notes:More the Dead of Winter Advent Calendar 2006

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

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It starts with Zoey saying, "we're going to a club on New Year's eve. You're not working, you should come with us."

Starts with that and goes rapidly through I might have plans, I'm fine by myself, and, I don't like clubs (Ellie) by way of mocking laughter, no, you're not, and, well pretend for once (Zoey) before ending up at Ellie sighing and saying fine and Zoey promising to take her shopping and force her into make-up.

Sitting on her bed, watching Zoey come at her with an eye pencil, Ellie's still not quite sure what made her say yes. She's developed a much better ability to say no to her sister than she'll ever have to say it to her father, and she really doesn't like clubs and crowds and security details, not to mention drunken men trying to pick her up and drunken members of both sexes spilling their drinks down the back of the slinky blue top Zoey somehow talked her into buying and wearing.

She's still trying to say no when Zoey shoves her into the back of the car, cutting Ellie off to say hi to the two agents sitting up front. They're meeting some of Zoey's friends at the club, and they've got three agents Ellie's never met as part of their group, plus an unspecified number around the building. Just in case, Zoey says, rolling her eyes and grinning, and Ellie feels slightly sick. It's no surprise that Zoey takes this in her stride, but Ellie wishes she hadn't caved so quickly after she got harassed in that one bar, so that Ellie wouldn't always seem so unreasonable when she says she doesn't want to be tripping over secret service agents while she's rushing round the ER.

"Cheer up, El, this is meant to be fun." Zoey hooks her arm through Ellie's, even though they're sitting down, and squeezes reassuringly. Ellie's always been grateful for Zoey, and maybe that's the real reason she agreed to go out.

"Do I even know any of the people there?" she asks, looking over Zoey's shoulder to the streets outside. It's at times like this that she really feels the age difference between the two of them – Zoey's just ready to go out at 10 at night, when Ellie's just starting to feel like going to bed. The groups of people they pass look drunk enough already that she's glad she's not working tonight. Damaged drunks are her least favourite patients.

"You know me," Zoey says, and grins. Ellie sighs, quietly enough that Zoey won't hear her.

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They stay in the car while the agents sweep the bar Zoey's chosen, Zoey fidgeting impatiently, Ellie half-hoping they'll come out and say it's not safe. She almost feels sorry for the agents, especially since they're Zoey's, and wonders if they ever wish they'd been assigned to one of the other Bartlett daughters, one of the ones who doesn't want a social life that involves crowded bars on New Year's Eve.

The agent in the driver's seat turns round and smiles at them both. "Bar's clear. Zoey, sure you won't change your mind?" she teases, not looking at all surprised when Zoey shakes her head. "Let's get it over with then."

My thoughts exactly, Ellie thinks as they climb out onto the sidewalk. Maybe she can sneak off home after midnight, get one of the agents to take her. Except half of Zoey's detail are more loyal to her than they are to the President, and Ellie's sure Zoey's warned them about her.

Nothing to do but grin and bear it, she decides, letting Zoey take her hand as they get their ID back and follow the agents into the bar. At least it's a good excuse not to spend New Year's with her father.

Zoey leads them through the crowded bar to a booth in the far corner, four women sitting on one side with several cocktail glasses on the table in front of them. It's not until they get close enough for Zoey to call a greeting they won't hear over the noise and wave that Ellie realises there are two other people sitting there as well.

They must have better hearing than Ellie would have expected, because they turn around at Zoey's shout, and that's when Ellie realises she's been well and truly out-witted, by none other than her ever loyal younger sister.

"Hi Gina," Zoey says, not looking at Ellie as she shoves her into the booth, and sits down on Ellie's other side, blocking her escape route. "You remember Ellie?"

"Sure," Gina Tocsano says, smiling warmly at Ellie. "The doctor."

Ellie ignores the way her stomach swoops at the other woman's smile, and pulls back slightly so that she won't brush against Gina by accident. "Still a medical student, actually," she corrects. "Hi."

"Ellie." Zoey nudges her. "I'll get you a drink, what do you want?"

She'd like to ask for something very strong, and a lot of it, if she's going to have to suffer through an evening of Zoey's match-making – and, God, see if she ever tells Zoey anything, ever again – but instead she says, "white wine, thanks."

Zoey makes a face like she can push Ellie towards Gina with her eyes, which Ellie ignores, then wanders off to the bar with one of the agents-in-disguise. When she turns back to the table, Gina's smiling at her.

"She talked you into this as well then?" Gina asks.

Ellie can't help smiling back. "Yeah. I'm not sure how."

"She can be very persuasive."

Ellie thinks of Zoey talking her way onto Senior Staff nights out, with people Ellie hardly dares say hello to, of her persuading their father that she can live in the dorm, and carry on living there even when Gina got reassigned after the shooting, of her relationship with Charlie, who has apparently been firmly informed that this is a girls' night out, and as such he can go bar crawling with Josh and Sam. "Yeah, when she wants to be."

"Who are we talking about?" Zoey slides back into the booth and puts a large glass of wine in front of Ellie, who ignores the cocktail glass Zoey has for herself. If she doesn't ask, she can carry on telling herself it's non-alcoholic.

"Nobody interesting." Gina catches Ellie's eye as she says this and grins again. Ellie lets herself relax, her thigh and her arm brushing against Gina's, and feels Gina press back.

It starts with Zoey saying, "we're going to a club on New Year's eve. You're not working, you should come with us."

It will end, hours later, with Ellie and Gina stumbling through the front door of Ellie's apartment, and falling onto her bed, fully-dressed, slightly drunk, exhausted and happy.

Together.


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