Without Her 

by AJ

 

Notes: This is a sequel to Come Back To Me. It was written because of a challenge presented to me by Jenn. So if you want to kill me, you can kill her too. 

Summary: Abbey is dead, and Jed has to get through her funeral. Disclaimer: A girl can dream, right?

 

"How is the President doing?" CJ asked as she sat down for a senior staff meeting.

"As bad as can be expected, and then some, CJ." Leo paused. "So what are we dealing with today?"

"Well, the mailroom is completely filled with letters in outcry of what happened to Abbey." Josh said.

"And outside the gates of the White House, exists a similar scene to when Princess Diana died, all the flowers..." Sam trailed off.

"What about-" Toby began, but was interrupted when the door creaked open.

"Mr. President?" Leo said. "What are you doing here?"

"I need to get my mind off of this. I need to work." Jed's quiet, tired voice came.

"Sir..." Leo was going to protest.

"I'm telling you, Leo ... I need to work ... So..." Jed's voice seemed lifeless.

All the staff members looked to each other, with unease, as they searched for the best way to convey the compassion they all shared for the President, in the midst of this dire situation.

"Sir, there is nothing for you to work on." Leo adopted a concerned tone.

"Then create something, Leo. I'll be in my office." Jed turned around, so he was facing the door. "Toby, if you could stop by sometime today, and help me write the ... her... her eulogy, I'd appreciate it." Jed said, as he concealed the tears dripping from his eyes.

After getting a nod from Leo, Toby said, "I can help you right now, sir."

Bringing a hand to wipe the tears from his eyes, Jed simply replied, "Okay." 

~~~ 

"What if you were to ..." Toby trailed off as he saw the far-off, frighteningly depressed countenance appearing across the face of the man he had never thought of as human, until now. "Sir?" His voice rang out. "Sir?" He repeated.

"That sounds good to me." Jed replied, as all of his bottled-up feelings began to bubble into a visual demonstration.

Jed began to violently sob all of the choked back tears that he held inside of him. Standing up, in an attempt to re-locate himself onto a couch in his office, Jed dropped to his knees, mid-way. Clutching on to the leg of the chair to his side, Jed's body aggressively refused him any possible window, in which he could use to transport him back into the vegetable state he desired to be in.

"LEO!!!" Toby's voice powerfully vibrated into the office right next door.

Overridden with panic and fear, Leo ran into the Oval Office and came to a halt, as he could not believe the sight before him. "Jed?" He called out, as his feet began to work with him again. "Jed?" He repeated, kneeling by the side of his best friend.

For a brief moment in time, Jed was able to raise his head, and look up, into Leo's mercifully sensitive eyes. But that moment only lasted for a fraction of a second.

As his eyes fell, so did he. Physically, emotionally. Physically, he fell into the arms of Leo. Emotionally, he fell into the tormented angst his heart was suffering...

Suffering would imply that he had a chance to return to some sort of normalcy. Truth is, without Abbey, that was not only an impossibility for him, it was absurd to put any measure of hope into the thought.

"Toby," Leo's voice picked up. "Call a doctor, tell them to bring the strongest sedative available down here, now." 

~~~ 

Waking up from the slumber he had been forced into, Jed's eyes snapped open, to find that it was the next morning.

"Charlie?" His voice hesitantly called out, as he tried to make out the figure before him.

"Mr. President, it's time for you to get ready for the funeral."

Crashing back into reality, Jed's eyes began to brim over with an excess supply of tears that he didn't believe were still left inside of him, to cry.

Not even having an inkling of an understanding as to what he should do, Charlie exited the room, leaving Jed, in his room. Alone...

Miraculously finding the strength to stand up, Jed slowly walked to his bathroom, to get ready for a day he wished would never come. The day he had to bury his wife...

'This day wasn't supposed to come.' Jed thought as he climbed out of the shower. 'It's a mistake. It has to be.'

But alas, it wasn't a mistake. Maybe it should be, but it wasn't.

Abbey was really dead.

And surely enough, Jed was coming to this realization. No matter how hard he tried to ward it off, it made it's appearance into his brain.

Quietly closing the door behind him, Jed exited his bedroom, to go to a place he never thought he'd have to go to, to do a thing, he never wanted to consider doing. 

~~~ 

The church was filled with hundreds of the closest friends and family members of Abigail Bartlet. Every one of them, having been greatly touched by the life Abbey chose to lead. But no one as much as the man that just stood up at the podium, on the altar.

"Ab..." Jed trailed off as he took a very deep breath. And another, and another. "Abigail Bartlet was my friend, my wife, my lover, my world. She was my reason for waking up every morning. She was the support I always needed. She was the..." Jed paused as he looked up, into the sea of wet eyes. "She..." Jed closed his eyes as he found it impossible to continue.

How is he supposed to say goodbye to the woman that completed him?

Leo began to stand up, to help Jed finish, but a hand on his leg put him back into his seat.

After helping Jed off of the altar, Toby filled the empty space behind the podium, and continued the summary of Abbey's life. When he finished, there wasn't a dry eye in to be found, anywhere.

 ~~~ 

As the graveyard began to empty, Jed refused to leave the side of the tombstone. He refused to leave Abbey.

Resting himself down on the ground... Jed finally found himself unable to shed tears...

He had cried so much in the past few days; he just had no more tears left to cry.

Shifting his gaze to the side of the tombstone, Jed caught his three daughters approaching him.

'God they look so much like you, Abbey.' Jed thought.

"Come on Dad, it's time to go." Elizabeth spoke.

"No. I can't leave her here. I can't. I need her with me. I need her, I can't leave her."

"Daddy..." Jennifer's voice cracked. "Daddy, we need you. We just lost Mommy, you can't leave us too." Jennifer said, as her arms flung around Jed.

"I've already lost myself, baby. I just buried myself in that grave. I'm no good for you anymore."

"Daddy, don't talk like this. You're scaring me." Zoey cried out as she and Elizabeth joined in the embrace. "Don't scare me Dad." Zoey begged.

"We love you Dad. We won't let you go. We can't." Elizabeth reasoned, as she shed tears of her own. "We refuse to loose both of our parents."

"I can't do it. Don't make me do it. God, don't make me go on without her. Don't ask that of me. Anything, anything but that." Jed's ability to shed tears returned to him in mass, as he propped himself against Abbey's tombstone, using it... her... to support him, he held their three daughters in his arms.

THE END

 

 

 

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