blue flamingos

Midnight Ballroom

Fandom: The West Wing

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2006/ ~1997 words

Pairing: Bonnie/Ginger


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


Summary: A little bit of the Inauguration Ball we never got to see, through Ginger's eyes.


Author's Notes: For [info]musesfool's It's Got A Good Beat and You Can Dance To It
challenge (Bubble Toes by Jack Johnson)


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


Bonnie was dancing with Sam Seaborn.

They were in the middle of the Inauguration Ball after actually managing to get the next President of the United States elected, surrounded by familiar political faces and the people who were taking over running the country from the next morning, and all Ginger could focus on was Bonnie dancing with Sam.

It was a good thing, she couldn't help thinking, that Bonnie was a good dancer, because Sam certainly wasn't. He was, however, still trying to lead, and Ginger winced as he stepped on Bonnie's foot for what had to be the third time in one dance.

In the middle of the dance floor, Bonnie said something and gestured down to the fragile black shoes she was wearing. Even from her distance, Ginger could see Sam flush and presumably apologise. Bonnie shook her head and grinned, stepping close to him again and pushing him gently in the right direction.

They looked good together, though Sam looked good with pretty much everyone. It wasn't fair that someone as young, successful and talented as he was should also look that good in a tuxedo. Of course, most of the campaign staff scrubbed up reasonably well, given half a chance, still flushed with their success and the tour round the White House they'd taken earlier in the day.

Ginger sipped her champagne and watched Bonnie twirl the two of them deftly away from Leo and Mrs Bartlett. He looked about as happy to be on the dance floor as Sam did, but Ginger couldn't imagine Mrs Bartlett taking no for an answer in very many circumstances. She was definitely more scary than her husband, even when he yelled and forgot all of their names.

The President.

She reached into the small bag she carried and felt the crisp edge of her pass again, reassured to find it hadn't disappeared like something out of a dream. It was still hard to believe that the guy they'd watched confuse people with higher level economics had just been sworn in as the President. That she would get up in the morning and go to work in the White House for the next four, maybe even eight years.

Hard to think that in eight years she'd have to find another job and she couldn't imagine finding anything as good as she knew this one was going to be.

She shook the thought firmly from her head. They had eight years before that to change the world.

Assuming they could put up with Toby that long, at any rate.

He was leaning against the bar, talking to someone she recognised vaguely from the campaign, sipping from a tumbler of whiskey and looking as though he'd rather be anywhere but there. If it wasn't for the tuxedo, and the bright light of the ballroom, she could believe she was looking across any bar on the campaign. She knew he'd grinned and cheered with the rest of them when they'd called the Presidential race for Bartlett, knew he'd hugged her and Bonnie and Cathy and thanked them for their hard work, but she couldn't remember it happening. The enduring image of Toby, for her, would always be that grumpy man leaning on the bar, or sticking his head out of his office and demanding a copy of some obscure ruling, along with a cup of coffee.

The band drew the piece to a close and Ginger scanned the dance floor again for Bonnie. There she was, Sam's hand on her elbow as they leant into each other. She glanced down into her glass, torn between watching them to see what they'd do and looking away so she wouldn't have to.

"He's probably apologising again for crushing her shoes," said a voice by her arm.

Ginger laughed a little, half-turning to Cathy. "Yeah, and she's telling him how much they cost, and that they're the only pair of shoes she has which go with that dress," she agreed.

"Exactly." Cathy sipped her champagne and laughed. "At least he hasn't spilled anything on her dress this time."

"Oh, give it time," Ginger said, remembering some dinner they'd all been invited to, not long after they'd been named the Democratic nominee for President. Sam'd stumbled over something, maybe his own feet, and sent a full cup of hot coffee down the back of Bonnie's dress.

She remembered Bonnie, in the tiny bathroom of their apartment, running the dress under the tap and sobbing that it was ruined.

Two days later, she'd come out of Sam's office with a beautiful, dark purple, shrink wrapped ball dress, grinning, and spent the rest of the day showing it off to everyone who'd look, telling them how sweet Sam was to replace the dress he'd spoiled.

Ginger never told her that she'd gone to Sam and explained that most of them only had one dress like that, because their campaign jobs weren't like his and they didn't pay enough to buy dresses. She'd just smiled back when Bonnie grinned at her, eyes shining, and asked, when they were alone at their desks for a minute, if she'd get to see it on that evening.

*On,* Bonnie had whispered, *but better off.*

"Hey, earth to Ginger..." Cathy nudged her arm and smiled. "You've got that dreamy look on your face again."

Ginger tried to pull her expression into something appropriately serious then gave up. "Why shouldn't I? We just started work at the White House."

"Great. Early mornings, late nights, no free weekends, and Toby yelling every five minutes. What more could a girl ask for?" Cathy rolled her eyes, but she smiled as she said it.

Ginger glanced out to the dance floor again. Sam had his hand on Carol's elbow, while she looked pleadingly at Donna, who she'd just been talking to. Donna just shook her head.

"Poor Carol," and Bonnie was suddenly right in front of her, looking over her shoulder at the three of them. "I'd love to meet whoever taught that man to dance, do to their feet what he's just done to mine."

The shirt of her purple dress swished against Ginger's own pale blue as she turned back, just for a moment. *Mum sent me some money, told me it was time I got a new dress, if I was going to work for the President,* she'd told Bonnie as she'd hung the dress in their closet, admiring the way the two colours complemented each other. She'd pushed her dark green dress to the back, away from the new ones, not regretting to credit card bill she knew she'd get the next month. It didn't go with Bonnie's new dress.

"I don't know why you keep agreeing to dance with him," Cathy said.

Bonnie shrugged. "He asks nicely. I keep thinking he can't get any worse."

"And?" Cathy asked.

"He does." Bonnie made an unhappy face and took a large swallow of the champagne Ginger had held onto for her. "Yuck, it's warm." She glanced around for a moment, looking for a waiter, then shrugged. "Never mind. I think I might go home, rest my poor, aching feet before I have to squeeze them into proper shoes tomorrow."

"You're just afraid Sam will ask you to dance again," Cathy said, grinning.

"Hell, yes." Bonnie grinned back. "You OK on your own?"

"Of course. I'll just go rescue Josh from Margaret, I think. Did you know she's convinced there's an underground tennis court in the West Wing?"

Ginger opened her mouth to ask why and quickly thought better of it. Margaret was lovely, had looked after her during her first few, disorienting days on the campaign, but she did get some strange ideas.

"Go on, go on." Cathy waved them away. "See you tomorrow."

Ginger couldn't help grinning at the thought. Even if it did mean no sleep for the next eight years.


She drew her wrap more tightly round her shoulders and sighed. "Why can't they hold this a bit nearer somewhere it's possible to get a taxi?" she asked, shivering.

Next to her, Bonnie linked their arms together and pressed in closer to her. "They don't expect anyone to turn up who doesn't have their own limo to bring them. I guess. It's a nice night for a walk anyway."

"It's five below, at least," Ginger corrected. It was nice though, stars just visible through the street lights, the full moon bright above them. She hummed a little of the piece the band had been playing when they'd left, the sound sharp and clear in the empty air. They'd already left the crowds around the Ball behind, and the last call crowds had mostly gone. "Do your feet really hurt?"

Bonnie shook her head. "Cold air's good, I can't even feel them anymore."

"I'll run you a bath when we get home," Ginger promised. "Give you a foot massage."

"Does that mean I get you in the bath with me?" Bonnie looked up at her from under her eyelashes, her dark eyes glittering in the street light. It never seemed to change, the way Ginger's insides turned to liquid at that look, no matter how many times Bonnie directed it at her.

"Well, of course. This is a full service massage, you know."

Bonnie grinned and wrapped her arm around Ginger's waist, pressing their bodies together and squeezing out the cold air between them. "How can I refuse?"

On the other side of the street, the door to one of the dark bars opened, letting out a brief beam of light, and a burst of smoky blues, the volume turned high. Ginger glanced across and caught a glimpse of two men pushing mops across the floor, and a girl stacking clean glasses behind the bar.

Bonnie, who'd turned to look as well, stopped and turned back to her. "Do you want to dance?"


"With me? Do you want to dance with me? I promise not to step on your feet. I'll even let you lead, if you want."

Just for a second, Ginger saw Bonnie in Sam Seaborn's arms, being half-led, half-followed round the dance floor. She pushed it away, letting other, better pictures take its place: impromptu parties, when they'd won another primary, dancing with Cathy and Donna and Bonnie and Carol, all together in one big, happy group; a couple of nights out clubbing, the two of them dancing so close together she could feel Bonnie's heart beating; in their apartment, with Nina Simone on the CD player, swaying and kissing their way into bed.

She took Bonnie's outstretched hand and let herself be pulled close. "You can lead," she said into Bonnie's hair.

Bonnie's arms closed round her, too close, she'd told Ginger once, for competitions. This kind of dancing, she'd said, looking at her dancing trophies over Ginger's shoulder, was just for them.

Bonnie hummed a few lines from the piece she'd danced to with Sam, then stopped, restarted with the blues that had fallen out of the bar, moving Ginger in a slow circle.

Ginger closed her eyes, let herself be led. Forgot about the street, forgot about the cold, forgot about the Inauguration Ball, and the Presidential campaign, and the new jobs they'd start together in the morning. Forgot about Sam stepping on Bonnie's toes, about Bonnie dancing with other partners in competitions until she wrenched her knee and couldn't do it anymore. Forgot about the cost of her dress, and not having the right colour eye shadow to wear with it.

Thought about, of all things, their tub at home, of sinking into warm water, Bonnie's body pressed against hers, Bonnie's scarred toes hidden under the bubble bath. Thought about snuggling into their bed, tired and satisfied, and falling asleep with Bonnie's arm round her waist.

Thought about everything she'd ever wanted, and danced on a Washington street in the middle of the night with it in her arms.

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