"Raining In Baltimore"
Post-ep for "Gone Quiet"
Rating: I'll say PG, with one f-bomb.
Disclaimer: Neither these characters nor this gorgeous song are mine. The former = property of Aaron Sorkin, the latter ("Raining in Baltimore") = property of Adam Duritz/Counting Crows.
Additional Spoilers: "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail," "Ways & Means"
Feedback? Anyone? samwest5@hotmail.com?

*The circus has fallen down on its knees, the big top is crumbling down
It's raining in Baltimore, fifteen miles east - there should be no one around...*

I'm sitting in my office, moodily tapping a pencil and listening to my CD. I've had the same song on replay for about twenty minutes now, just to shore up my own ideals. They need the support.

Fucking Bruno.

I meant what I said, you know. I meant it when I said how sleazy this all feels to me. Because it is sleazy. Change one or two words and it's not a candidate ad? Come on. And of course, it was Toby who stepped in and fixed things, or at least patched them up. Like it should be. Toby and I, not Toby and some – stoppit, Sam.

No, I'm not *jealous* of Bruno. Why should I be?

I *was* rather proud of my self-control, though one slipped out. He said something like "Why am I not nervous about this?" And I had to fire it back: "Cause it's not amoral." Cause that's what Bruno is. He's completely amoral. Not immoral, just amoral. Morality and decency don't exist in his world.

*Strange conversations passing me by, and I don't have nothing to say
You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way...*

I like to think that I can stand up for myself. And God knows I've tried. But the reason I hate Bruno is that he's making strangers out of us. Half the time it feels like I don't know Toby anymore – I was so surprised when he worked out a compromise instead of siding with Bruno.

I listen as Adam Duritz's voice fills my gloomy little enclave. His words ring true. I've always loved the Counting Crows, but this song is somehow working on a higher plane. Everything he says relates to me.

"I need a phone call." Anything to get me out of this funk. "I need a plane ride." I need to campaign and write and do my job, instead of getting bogged down like I've been. I need to get the hell out of this quagmire. "I need a sunburn." Well, no shit. I need a vacation. We all do. "I need a raincoat ..." I think we're all going to need raincoats by the end of this. Because if we keep on Bruno's course we're going to walk right in the middle of a shitstorm.

I guess my objection to Bruno is very simple: we won without him the first time. I realize that we have jobs to do this time besides campaigning, but at least we won with morals last time.

I used to be the moral voice around here. Well, not that we didn't have morals; I was just the one to articulate them. Damn that idealism of mine, again.

*And I get no answers, don't get no change
It's raining in Baltimore, baby – everything else is the same...*

If I don't think of Bruno, Connie or Doug, I can maybe convince myself that everything is the same. We're campaigning again. And we're still *us,* despite what we've been through. Everything's got to be the same, or it isn't. It just isn't.

Oh, hell. Maybe I'm just a foolish optimist. Yet if I am I'm proud of that. After this past year, that I have any idealism is a victory. My father started the siege, and the President dropped the A-bomb. Negotiating deals with Victor Campos that make me feel like I'm not only an idiot – thanks, Connie – but like I'm whoring myself out as well.

I rise and head for the door; wanting to go home and *do* something. Something fair and above board, something normal and appropriate. Of course, it depends on whose definition you choose.

I'll choose anyone's but Bruno's.

I step into the hall to be greeted by my best friend. "Have a good night, Sam," Josh says.

"You too," I say.

Josh then gestures out the window. "You do know it's raining, right?"

I smile cryptically. "Sometimes I think I knew it before you did, Josh." Then I am gone, off down the hall.



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