Coping

by Christine


Summary: Everyone has different ways of trying to cope.

Category: General

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: The West Wing and all related characters are Aaron Sorkin's. This is not part of the Fading Lines story!!

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

"Nobody was asked to lie." "He never lied." You tell yourself this over and over. It's a good man who made a stupid mistake. "He never lied." "Is that what you've been telling yourself for the past year?" You shake your head and turn back to your work. Damn him, he changed his mind at the last damn minute! He didn't even tell you- even though deep down you already knew what he'd say. "Nobody was asked to lie." Oh yeah, that'll sound great in front of a grand jury!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

You think they know about it. Actually, you know they know. It's not easy to hide the ever-present glass of whiskey on your desk; not that you put much effort into it. So it wouldn't surprise you in the least if they knew about the bottle you've got sitting in your desk drawer. You know Leo's worried, but he's wrapped up in his work and can't tell you to stop. Not that you would if he did. It just... it helps sometimes. All this goddamned work for the hearings and the campaign and every other goddamned piece of crap you have to deal with. You take a fast drink from your glass and open your laptop. Time to do the goddamned work.

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

You rub your forehead and stare through the television. It's awful; this waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it's all you can do. Pre-emptive strikes look bad, so you wait. The press is awful. They keep asking when you'll get the subpoenas, when the hearings will be, and you don't know. Or you can't tell them. Or some other excuse to keep them from getting too much information. You glance at your watch. Time to throw some tid bit of information to the lions that are the White House Press Corps.

~~~~~~~~~~~

You crumble up another piece of paper and throw it across the room. By now you've written down every possible scenario, from best to worst cases. Now you have to come up with a statement for each, with the hope that you'll find the right words to make the public, Congress, the damned Senate committees' realize what a silly mistake this all was. Maybe they'll cut you a break. You know it's a stupid and na´ve hope, but it's something to cling to. Something that you pray will get you through this.

~~~~~~~~~~~

You take a brief pause from your work to glance at the clock. God, has it really been another sixteen-hour day? You sigh and figure you can cram in another two hours. Your work is one of three things: working on defense strategies during the hearings; prelim work on the campaign; or bringing some of the goddamned bastards who are ripping your president apart down with you. Today you mostly worked on the latter. So what if the pres won't write about it. You've barely done anything in three years, and damn if you're gonna go out that way. You glance out the door of your office to see her still sitting there at her desk. God, she's beautiful. This has got to be hard on her. You know it's pointless to tell her to leave before you. You've already tried.

~~~~~~~~~~~

You sigh heavily and lean back in your chair, knowing with that radar we all have sometimes that he's watching you. These long days are killing you, but damn if you'll leave before him. He needs your help and support here. Work has turned into an obsession for him. You doubt he's sleeping much, considering the two of you rarely leave before midnight most days. He's dead set on trying to save the administration single handedly, and if he can't he's going to take someone down with him. You're one of the few people he'll let help. You just hope he lets someone else in before he destroys himself. Or you. Or both.

~~~~~~~~~~~

You quietly open the door and return to your desk. Be quiet, unobtrusive, do as much as you can to help without being too noticeable, and maybe you can do your small part to help. But these days, your small part doesn't seem to help much. You've talked with more lawyers than you can count, and the hearings haven't even started yet. He was right; you hate what's happening to him and the people who are making it happen. But you promised. You will not lie. You know you need someone like him- like a father- too much to risk it.

~~~~~~~~~~~

You sit alone in your office and wonder how your staff is coping. Some threw themselves into their work, some rationalize, some withdraw into themselves and at least one is being an idiot and trying to drink it away. You hope they make it through this all right. They have so much ahead of them. Not once do you wonder how you're holding up, cause asking that hurts too much.

Every damn thing hurts too much.

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

These are the people in order: Leo, Toby, CJ, Sam, Josh, Donna, Charlie, and Jed Bartlet.

 

 

 

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