NOTES: See Part One, Please enjoy. :)
ARCHIVE: Go ahead. Please do, if ye can.
DISCLAIMER: They're not mine, except for Levi McClane and Dante the dog.
SUMMARY: The White House prepares to send a comprehensive, best of the best
gun control package to the hill, and they're going to do everything they can
to make sure it passes.
Jed Bartlet muttered as he scribbled on his legal pad. He didn't do
this often but today, he needed to sit in his office and write. After all,
his wife was out of town and no wife, no special garment, nothing to do. So
he was sitting in his office, scribbling notes on a legal pad, notes about
random ideas and things that he needed to bring up or talk about with Leo and
"You've been hard at work the entire time that I've known you." A soft
voice exclaimed as Jed heard the sound of a door opening and closing. He
looked up and watched as Levi crossed the room to sit on the couch, Dante
trotting around the room. He paused and put the pen on his desk.
"Well, there's nothing much to do around here, as you can imagine." He
replied, watching her carefully as she nervously made herself comfortable on
the couch. She sighed and nodded.
"I think the press would have a field day with that sound byte." She
said with a weak smile.
"You going to give it to them?" Jed asked suspiciously.
"No. No, of course not." Levi said quickly and then sighed. "I'm
sorry. That's not what I meant. I mean I didn't come here to argue."
"You've never apologized to me before in your life." Jed said softly.
"What's going on?" Levi glanced at him and then at her hands, leaning forward
on the couch and staring at the couch across from her.
"A lot of things have changed in the last seven years. One thing
hasn't. I just came here because... Becuase I wanted to tell you that I'm
sorry. I'm sorry for what happened seven years ago and I'm sorry for the way
I've been acting ever since." Levi said softly. Jed paused, slightly
surprised. Out of all the things he'd ever expect from Levi McClane, this was
not one of them.
"I know you didn't want me to come here." She continued. "I know that
Leo had to convince you. I'm sorry. I just... I'm sorry." She said again.
Silence filled the room as Jed mulled over what she'd said.
"In seven years, I've spent a major amount of time thinking about what
went on between the two of us." He said finally. "I know that there was a lot
in that discussion, things that Leo heard, and things that he didn't. There's
so much that goes on everywhere." He said with a sigh. "I'm sorry too. You
can't realize how nice it is to hear you say that though." There was another
silence as Levi thought about what he had said.
"I've been told that I need to grow up, that I need to learn about
respect for others." She said softly.
"I think that's an astute evalutation." Jed replied slowly.
"No offense, but I didn't ask you. I'm having a hard enough time
trying to figure all this out." Levi replied.
"Figure all what out?" Jed asked.
"Where my life is headed, what I'm doing. I mean, I've spent the last
seven years locked away in my condo, writing from the internet, coming out
only when one politician or another needs a heavy hitter." Levi admitted.
"Dante is a good friend, but he's a dog, and he's not gonna be around for
much longer. He probably won't live to see you leave office in six years."
Jed smiled at that.
"Being pretty optimistic there, aren't you?" He asked. Levi glanced at
"Ann Stark played that move on you guys to make it clear her guy's
running. You know what that means, even if you're not gonna tell your staff
that you know what that means." She said softly. Jed paused.
"It's time to run again." He said softly. Levi nodded.
"And you've got to do it better than before. You kicked ass before.
Now you have to haul it." She replied. Jed paused and nodded.
"You wanna come help us out?" He asked suddenly. Levi stared at him in
some semblance of shock.
"You're asking me..." She started.
"You apologized. Whatever it was in the past is *in the past* and that
means it's water under the bridge. You're good, Levi. I hate to admit it, but
you're good. You think I should haul ass? Come and help me do it." He asked
sincerely. Levi paused and looked at her hands.
"I'd have to think about it." She said honestly. "It's a very tempting
offer, but I'm going through something of a mid-life crisis right now, and I
need to re-examine a lot of stuff. Can I get back to you?"
"Depends. You gonna call it in?" Jed said with a grin. Levi laughed
and shook her head.
"I'll fed-ex you." She replied. Jed laughed and nodded.
"Sounds fine. You know that the secret service is gonna scan the heck
out of that thing before I ever even see it, right?" He said with a chuckle.
"I'm sure you find that very comforting." She replied with a grin. He
"You bet." He said with a grin. Nothing more was said, and silence
slowly filled the room.
"Mr. President, it's getting late. You should head to bed." Levi said
as she got to her feet. Dante noticed and trotted to her.
"Where are you going?" He asked.
"I thought I'd go get drunk, grab a shotgun, hunt down some alley
cats, and beat the crap out of the Senate Majority Leader." She deadpanned.
Jed chuckled weakly and nodded.
"That doesn't really help our gun-control stance." He replied.
"You have a point there." Levi replied. "Sir, you really should--" She
"Get on out of here. I'm going." Jed interrupted as he headed for the
door. Levi smiled and nodded, heading for the hallway. Jed watched her
disappear, Dante trotting alongside her, staring up at her as he moved. The
sight made it so that he couldn't help but smile. With a big sigh, he grabbed
his jacket and headed back for the residence, taking his legal pad with him.
"Well, what's on the agenda for today?" Toby asked as Levi walked up
to him in the hallway. Dante had decided to stay in Leo's office and sleep on
the couch, so she was alone for the first time since Toby had met her.
"Senator Mathis is a history nut. He believes that everything is
founded in the history of this country and the constitution... when it
suits him. In the meantime, the other two that are here today are freshmen
senators and they don't know what they're doing. We go in there, heavy
hitting, and we'll have them converted in roughly two hours or less." Levi
replied smoothly as she fiddled with something that was inside her briefcase.
"I take it you're going to hit Mathis with some history?" Toby asked.
"You bet your butt." She said. "You ready?" He smiled weakly back and
then held the door open as they went in. The chipperness that she had before
was back now. The Levi he'd originally met and found vulgar, rude and oddly
anti-social was back, and he was happy to have her.
"Good morning, Senators. Congressman." Levi nodded to their guests as
Toby and Josh found their seats. Levi opened the briefcase and tossed
pictures of a very authentic looking musket. "What you're looking at is the
standard issue weapon of members of the American Military in 1787. It took
aproximately seven minutes to load, with a kick roughly equivilent to a
modern day black belt's karate kick." She added.
"What is the relevance of this?" Mathis asked.
"The closest any two houses were to each other was nearly six miles,
and these were giant homes. There were highway robbers, random burglars,
rapists, murderers and many other kinds of baaaad people out on the loose,
and they tended to come after the rich families." Levi continued as if he
hadn't spoken. "The United States was a fresh born country in this era, and
there was the paranoia that England would not give up so easily."
"I know all of this." Mathis said suddenly.
"It was because of these things that the second amendment existed in
the first place." Levi exclaimed as she sat down and glanced at Toby. Toby
nodded and leaned forward, ready to do his part.
"Today, more than two hundred years after it was written, homes are on
average two feet apart. There are police patrols constantly on duty.
High-security alarm systems are installed in nearly every home." He said in
his slow, soft voice. "The average victim of a gun crime is an accidental
victim, usually a member of the family." Levi tossed a picture of a standard
issue Glock on the table.
"Compared to the musket, this is today's standard issue handgun, the
gun most commonly carried by today's police officers, also on the market to
private citizens. It holds fourteen bullets, more or less, and it takes mere
seconds to load." She explained. "A far cry in technology in two hundred
years. There are millions of them out there today."
"When the need for them is far less and the use of them is far
easier." Toby added softly but sternly.
"Are you saying we should ignore the second amendment?" Mathis
"Not at all." Levi retorted.
"This bill is about stricter restrictions on bullets, not guns. It's
also about making sure that purchasers have the proper training in gun
handling, and that the family of the purchaser is profiled as well. We want
it to be a lot harder for people to get guns, but we defiinitely do not want
to make it impossible." Josh explained. There was silence as the senators
regarded their lecturers. Sitting before the three Republicans were three
victims of gun violence. It was enough to make each of them stop and think
when those victims declared their intentions as not to make getting a gun
"People are going to be able to get guns. We're not saying bypass the
second amendment." Levi finally said. "There are people who want to go out
and shoot targets in their backyard, that's fine. Personally, I think they
can have just as much fun using BBs, which are considerably less dangerous
than bullets. This is what we're trying to do here. We're trying to make guns
safer, as safe as we possibly can, while still allowing people to practice
their second amendment rights. Right here, right now, what we're asking you
is do you want to walk out on Capitol Hill and say that gun *safety* is not
something you want to improve on. Forget gun *control*; that's not what we've
got here. What about gun *safety*?"
There was a silence in the room again. It was obvious that Levi's
addendum had the senators thinking. Her final question gave them the PR
perspective along with the political one. What were the citizens going to
think? Levi just told them that part of the campaign for this bill was to
tell the public that there was an emphasis on safety as opposed to control;
what were the citizens going to say if their eleected representative stood up
publicly *against* gun *safety*?
"I'll take it back." One of the freshmen senators said. The other one
merely nodded. Mathis paused.
"McClane, I heard a story about you once. Something about making a
grown man cry with your arguments." He said. Levi smiled very weakly.
"He was convinced that guns were for his benefit only. I pulled out
his gun and asked him how good it was in someone else's hands." She replied.
"I was arrested for assault and battery, I think, but he never pressed
charges. That wouldn't happen for another year and a half with a different
"The one whose nose you broke." Mathis said.
"Fractured." Levi clarified.
"I'll take it back with me." Mathis exclaimed.
"Thank you, sir." Josh said quickly. Mathis shot Josh a look and then
nodded towards Levi before getting to his feet and leaving the room, the two
freshmen right behind him. Josh glanced at Levi. "Senator's pet."
"That's the first time I've ever been called that." Levi said with a
"Maybe I should go fracture a few noses." Josh muttered.
"I think you should stick to shoving legislative agendas up some
asses." Levi replied. "You've got your hands full with that one."
"We might actually win this thing." Toby murmured.
"It's a miracle, isn't it?" Levi said with a grin. The two men
"Something like." Toby said softly. Levi nodded and leaned back in her
chair. The day was done.
Bias - 9