RATING: PG-13 (in the last part, STRONG language)
ARCHIVE: Yeah, go ahead.
SUMMARY: The past comes back to haunt several key staff members when an
unexpected visitor comes along.
SERIES: The KD Brody Universe
DISCLAIMER: I do not own "The West Wing" or its characters, but I do own KD
Brody and David Beckwith, and a few other characters who are emerging in this
story, namely Carolyn Kent. Sammy belongs to Dallas. All hail Aaron Sorkin
for inventing these characters.
NOTES: Uh... . When it comes time ~~~~ denotes a flashback ~~~~ and
*denotes italics* for emphasis.

Carolyn Kent took a sip of her drink. The noise level in the coffee shop
was astoundingly low. She glanced around, looking at the faces of the various
patrons. She wilted a little as she saw a family of four laughing together in
a booth across the room. She looked down into the fizzy bubbles of her Coca
Cola and tried not to let it get to her. So many mistakes had been made, and
she had to pay for them. But wasn't Kathryn holding on to her anger for a
little too long? It was a new year, a new millennium. Shouldn't a mother be
allowed to start over with her daughter? Carolyn couldn't help but wonder
what had possessed her to come to Washington. But she was here now so
shouldn't she be welcome?
No. Yes. She didn't know. She glanced up at the ceiling and then looked
down at her left hand. The ring was still there. She'd never taken it off. No
matter how many mistakes she'd made, she wouldn't make that one. With a sigh,
she took another gulp of the soda and started to wonder where Robert was at
the moment. She hadn't talked to him in so long. Then she wondered if he was
even still alive. Hanover's had a funny way of killing the people it affected.
"Ma'am? Can I get you something else?" The young waitress asked as she
walked up to Carolyn's table. Carolyn looked up at the young woman and stared
at her face for a moment. She looked so much like Kathryn. Or like Kathryn
would have looked when she was 26, had Carolyn been there to see.
"Uh, the check." She replied softly. The young woman nodded and walked
off to take the order of the small family across the room. Carolyn sighed and
took another sip of the soda. She stared down at her hand and then fished out
her wallet. The check arrived, so she paid and left. The air was brisk for
the afternoon. It was around two o'clock, but the sun didn't seem to want to
shine.
The streets of DC were busy, busier than Carolyn was used to. She'd lived
in New Hampshire until she had left her family in search for some meaning.
She had felt so trapped in the family life back then, and then Rob started
getting sick and KD seemed so out of it all the time, Carolyn just didn't
think she could handle it. She didn't deserve the life she had so she left it
behind. Now, so many years later, she wondered if it was the right decision.
In her heart, she knew it wasn't, so she'd gone in search of her daughter.
Granted, her thoughts were severely provoked by the fact that three months
ago the headlines of the hour were that KD Brody of the White House had been
shot by a would-be assassin. That kind of news can make one think.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I'll see you later, Sammy. Mal, tell yer dad that he still owes me a
buck!" KD called with a grin before stepping into her house. It was darkly
silent, but she didn't notice. She'd gotten used to it. Mom was never home
and dad hadn't been home in years. KD moved to her room to deposit her school
stuff on the bed and then moved back out to the mailbox by the door. She took
out the letters and flipped through them. More bills, a few random pieces of
junk mail.
The fifteen year old girl dropped the mail on to the dining table and
moved into the small kitchen to get a glass of milk. She reached for the
refrigerator when she noticed a note on the door. She frowned and plucked it
off. As she read it, her face contorted in pained confusion. Then she put the
note on the counter, opened the door and grabbed the bottle. She closed the
door and sank to the ground, her hands shaking violently. The bottle crashed
to the ground as she ran her fingers through her hair and tried to think it
all over. She darted to her feet, grabbed the note and ran across the street
to the McGarry's house. She knocked on the door hurriedly, wondering how long
she could contain the rage and fear that was ripping through her.
"KD, honey?" Jenny exclaimed as she opened the door. Behind her, Leo and
Jed Bartlet looked to the front door and stood up in unison when seeing the
teenager shaking violently. Abbey stepped out of the kitchen and gasped. KD
couldn't speak, so instead she just tried to hand the note to Jenny. Her hand
was shaking so much that she could barely keep the note still. Jenny took it,
pulling the girl into the house. KD ran straight to Leo and grasped him in a
hug. Abbey moved over to make sure KD was physically all right while Jed got
up and walked over to Jenny to read the note over her shoulder.
"Oh, God." Jenny murmured.
"What?" Leo asked worriedly. Jed looked at his best friend with a pair of
very angry eyes.
"Carolyn left." He said quietly. Abbey suppressed a pained gasp as she
rested a hand on KD's back. Leo took the still shaking girl in his arms as
she sobbed into his shoulder. Jed glanced at his wife and then at Jenny. One
thing was for sure. The four adults in the room suddenly shared a mutual
hatred for the woman who had made this child's life so miserable.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Boo." Josh exclaimed as he flung a small bouquet of flowers around
Donna's shoulders a few inches from her face. She smiled weakly and took them.
"They're very nice, Josh." She said softly. Josh sighed and knelt down
next to her.
"I'm sorry, Donna." He whispered, an arm around her shoulder while his
other hand reached up to stroke her cheek. She nodded and looked him in the
eye, still smiling weakly.
"I know, Josh. I'm not just mad at you though. I shouldn't have let you
do it. I should have said what I thought and not helped you. Now KD is so
hurt, ya know?" She replied softly. Josh nodded and drew her forehead in
close to his.
"I'm gonna make it up her. I'm not sure how yet, but I'm going to. And
she doesn't know that you had anything to do with it." He added.
"But I know I did. Josh, it's her privacy." Donna murmured. Josh nodded
again and kissed her gently. She kissed him back, slipping her hand around
his neck. When they broke apart again, Josh smiled at her and nudged her nose
with his own.
"And we'll fix it. Don't worry." He assured her softly. Donna nodded and
nudged his shoulder.
"You've still got work to do. Sam should be getting back soon from his
meeting." She said with a grin.
"You just want to see the look on his face, don't you?" Josh teased.
"Yep." Donna admitted, laughing. Josh grinned and stood up.
"Then I'll try to veer him over here." He promised and disappeared into
the hallways. Donna shook her head and took a sniff of the flowers.

"You called me?" Danny asked as he leaned in the office door. KD looked
up, nodded and motioned him in.
"Yeah, close the door and give me a second." She replied as she glanced
back at the file on her screen. Danny shrugged, moved into the room, shut the
door and collapsed on her couch. KD smiled as he snuggled into the cushions
playfully and then tapped a few more keys before getting up to go sit next to
him.
"Happy birthday." She said with a kind smile. Danny laughed and nodded.
"Thank you." He replied. She nodded back.
"I know it's not for a few days, but I'm just having a hell of a time,
and I figured the first chance I get to give you a present in nearly ten
years. Had to make it special, you see?" She exclaimed as she produced a
small box about the size of her palm. He laughed and took it from her.
"You didn't have to get me anything, and you've been sending me cards
every year." He reminded her. She shrugged and nodded.
"I know, I know. But a card isn't a present, and I wanted to." She
replied. He smiled and slowly picked off the wrapping. KD laughed. "You
always were a paper picker, not a paper tearer." She remembered. Danny nodded
enthusiastically and finally pulled the fancy black box out of its wrapping.
He opened the lid and smiled warmly on the sight of the silver pocket watch
and chain.
"It's beautiful, Katy." He exclaimed and hugged her. She hugged him back
and leaned back as he took the watch out of its box and inspected it.
"I figured you were never on time anyway. Now you don't have any
excuses." She said with a soft smile. He looked back at her.
"There are still some I can use." He whispered. She sighed and hesitated.
"No, we're not gonna do this. It's your birthday. Happy thoughts!" KD
added suddenly as she playfully rapped Danny's head. He laughed and nodded,
trying to suppress the memories and emotions that were coming back to him. KD
watched him for a moment as they sat in silence. "You can tell her, you
know. I haven't said anything to Toby about it, but he's used to my secrecy.
If she wants to know what happened, and you want to tell her..." She
trailed off as Danny looked at her.
"CJ has been asking, but I'm not sure the time is right yet." He replied
softly. "This is a superb present, and I'm honored that you thought of me."
He added. She smiled and nodded, playfully poking his nose before standing up
and walking back towards her desk. She stopped and turned to face him as he
rose to his feet.
"Happy birthday, Danny." She said again. He smiled. She stepped forward
and hugged him tightly. He hugged her back. They stood there a moment,
remembering the times they had been in each other's arms before, and they
clutched each other a little tighter. "I love you, ya big lug." She whispered
before stepping away from him with a few tears in her eyes. He smiled and
reached up to wipe them away.
"I love you too. Thanks for the present, Katy." He exclaimed. She smiled
at him and then moved from his touch back to her seat.
"Go on, get out of here. I'm sure CJ is dying trying to find you." She
said playfully as she looked back at him. He nodded as he fastened the pocket
watch around his belt loop and dropped it into his pocket. She smiled as he
mock saluted her and walked out of her office. She sniffled gently and then
looked back at her computer. Outside, Danny patted David on the back, bade
him goodbye and disappeared into the hallways, walking back towards the
pressroom.

"Have you talked to her?" Abbey asked as she walked into the Oval office.
Jed looked up from the report at his wife and then back.
"Which one? There are about 3 billion hers on this planet, and that's not
including the non-human life-forms." He replied serenely.
"Carolyn had the nerve to show up here? Why didn't you have her shot or
something?" Abbey demanded.
"Because by the time I learned that she was even on the grounds, KD had
already had security taking care of it. She's a big girl, Abbey. Last time I
checked, she's doing okay, and she probably doesn't want me hovering over
her. Leo checked in on her and she told him that he didn't need to 'baby'
her, so I think she'll be okay." Jed replied as he placed the report on his
desk, got up and walked to his wife.
"The woman just makes me so mad." Abbey admitted. "Life is such a
beautiful gift, and Carolyn did so much destruction. She got the gift of
being a mother, and she squandered it, to KD's heartbreak. I can't believe
she came back."
"She tried. We sent her away again. If she comes back, KD will kick her
ass, like we all know she can." Jed said softly.
"Can she? We all know KD is a strong person, but you know as well as I do
that she has trouble dealing with these types of confrontations." Abbey
pointed out. Jed took his wife in his arms and nodded.
"But we don't. If KD needs help, we'll be there for her. Ready with
Carolyn in our gun sights." He added. Abbey laughed weakly and looked up into
her husband's eyes. He smiled at her and then kissed her very passionately.

Leo stared at the phone and then looked at the ceiling. He didn't like
remembering the things that were rushing to his mind. He didn't like
remembering the day that KD had come stumbling into his house, shaking like
she'd lost control. She'd cried in his shoulder for nearly an hour and then
she fainted out of exhaustion. Abbey had declared that she would be all right
physically, but none of them could be prepared for the person that KD would
become. From that day on, she never seem to let herself care about anyone
else. The only people she let close to her were the families Bartlet and
McGarry, but sometimes that wasn't enough. When she'd started school, she'd
found happiness with Danny Concanon, but then the accident split them apart
and she ran away. The incident with Jed was hectic, and it didn't help.
But now what was Carolyn doing back?
"Dad?" Mallory called as she stepped into her father's office. Leo
grinned and stood to greet his daughter with a hug.
"Hey you." He exclaimed with a grin. She hugged him back with a smile and
slipped her jacket off, placing it on the chair.
"You okay? We were supposed to have lunch today." She exclaimed in a soft
worried voice. "I wanted to check by sooner, but I had a school meeting after
lunch." She exclaimed. Leo groaned and then nodded.
"Yeah, I'm sorry, sweetie." He said. "I forgot. I had some stuff to deal
with." He admitted. She frowned.
"Like what?" She asked.
"Like, I got twenty phone calls from Republican senators with questions
about the President's Don't Ask, Don't Tell movement, twelve from people
objecting to various sections of the medical research bill, Carolyn Kent came
out of the blue and threw a tantrum in my office, KD nearly killed Senator
Shane today and-" He explained.
"Carolyn Kent?" Mallory interrupted angrily. Leo sighed and nodded.
"We took care of it." He assured her. Mal sighed and looked away.
"How did KD react to it?" She asked.
"Not as well as she pretended to, I think, but she'll be okay." Leo
replied honestly. Mal nodded and smiled.
"Have you seen Sam today? I have to talk to him about... something."
She finished ominously. Leo suppressed the urge to grimace and returned to
his chair. Mal laughed and grabbed her jacket. "I'll find him myself. I'll
talk to you later, Dad. You owe me lunch now." She exclaimed as she walked
out. Leo just smiled to himself and looked around the office. He had been
blessed with a daughter he loved and who loved him back. He never used to
stop and think how lucky he was that his family was halfway normal. It hurt
him that KD would never know that kind of bliss, but at least now she was
leading a somewhat stable life full of love and happiness. Leo couldn't help
but pray that Carolyn's reappearance would be viewed as a challenge to get by
rather than a painful memory to dwell on. With a sigh, he went back to work,
thoughts of a concerned parent still lingering in the back of his mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Carolyn stepped into the hallway and out on to the porch. She saw her
daughter reading a book as she leaned against the trunk of the tall oak tree.
The child was always reading. Carolyn didn't understand it, but she figured
that as long as the kid was happy, nothing else really mattered. In the long
run, the reading thing must have come from the kid's father. KD possessed
that certain flare of intellect that Carolyn also recognized in her own
husband. The woman looked around, but could not find her husband. Then she
remembered that he was gone. She never could seem to remember that he never
came home anymore. It had been nearly a year since he'd left a note saying
"I'm gone" and disappeared, but she still waited for him to walk in the door
every day, as if nothing had ever changed. She missed that.
Or did she? She didn't even know. She never knew what she wanted anymore.
Lord knows, she didn't deserve much. She had a beautiful home, a fantastic
daughter, a job that seemed to come out of the movies it felt so perfect, and
for a brief period in time, she was married to an intelligent, handsome,
caring man who had suffered too much in his life to have to deteriorate the
way he did. With a sigh, Carolyn sat down on the back porch swing and opened
the bottle. Dipping the liquid back into her mouth, she swallowed and sighed
with content.
Would things ever be normal? She didn't deserve the life she had, and for
some reason, she always felt the need to push her gifts away. It was all her
fault. It was a vicious cycle. She drank because she was pushing her life
away. She was pushing her life away because she drank.
KD looked up from the book and stared at her mother across the yard.
Carolyn looked up and stared back, meeting her child's gaze. They sat there
for a few moments, staring at each other, trying to read each other's
thoughts. Carolyn blinked first and looked away. KD seemed slightly
disappointed but she didn't say anything. Rather she blinked as well, but
kept her gaze tentatively on her mother. Carolyn sighed and got up to
approach the back door.
"Going out again, mom?" KD called weakly. Carolyn turned and met her
daughter's gaze again. The teenage girl's eyes seemed to be filled with hope,
and her voice seemed to be cracking in tension. What did the girl want? Was
she hoping Carolyn would say 'yes, I'm going out' or 'no, I'm just going
inside cause it's cold'. Carolyn looked around, not knowing which to say and
then looked back at the young girl that was her daughter. The girl's eyes
were almost wet as she waited for an answer.
"No, I was just going to go start dinner." Carolyn finally announced. To
her surprise, KD smiled. It was a warm smile, a happy smile, the type of
smile Carolyn hadn't seen in a long time. In fact she wondered if she'd ever
seen such a smile on the face of her daughter. KD nodded and glanced at the
sunrise, then back at her mother.
"Great." She exclaimed and then stood up. "Can I help?" Carolyn smiled
weakly.
"Sure. Come on, sweetie." She said softly. KD trotted indoors and headed
for the kitchen, eager to spend time with her mother. Carolyn glanced at the
bottle and then placed it on the porch before going inside after KD. "You
wanna play some cards later on, hon?" She asked.
"That'd be great." KD exclaimed. Carolyn smiled and proceeded to get out
some food for dinner.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Okay, I'll see you later." KD whispered before kissing Toby goodbye and
disappearing down the hall. She smirked as she saw Mallory walking out of
Sam's office with a smile on her face. "You've still got it, Mal." KD
exclaimed as she passed her old friend.
"Shut up." Mal retorted playfully and disappeared. KD glanced in Sam's
door to see him sitting at his desk with a goofy grin and trying very hard to
concentrate on the paper in front of him, and having quite a bit of
difficulty doing so. She smirked again and turned around another corner. She
walked for a bit, thinking seriously before turning into her own bullpen and
moving to her office. She looked over at Josh's office and then took a deep
breath and walked the path her gaze took.
"Hey, Donna." She said softly as she walked up to the assistant's desk.
Donna jumped up and faced KD with a half-guilty expression.
"Katy, I just want to say that I didn't think that-" Donna started a
little frantically.
"I know, Donna. Trust me, I don't blame you about anything, ya little
angel you." KD interrupted with a grin. "I overreacted a bit anyway. Is he in
there?" KD asked. Donna nodded and smiled weakly. "Good. Forget about it,
Donna. Trust me." She assured her friend before moving into Josh's office and
closing the door. Josh looked up and his expression became one of fear.
"Please don't yell at me again. I know I did something bad but I said I'm
sorry, and you really have to -" He stopped when he saw the grin on her face.
"Jolly, calm down. I'm all yelled out. I came to talk to you." She
assured him as she sat down on his couch. He nodded and moved around his desk
to rest on the edge. "You still want to know who Carolyn Kent is?" She asked.
He nodded, trying not to make the nod seem eager.
"If you want to tell me, yes, I would." He answered honestly.
"Have I ever told you about my father?" She asked suddenly.
"Uh, is that relevant to this?" He asked as he sat down next to her on
the couch. She smiled weakly and nodded. "In that case, some but not much.
When you had your little nervous breakdown a while back," Josh joked with a
grin. "You mentioned that he left when you were a teenager and died soon
after."
"He always used to say that my mother stopped loving him the day he told
her that he had Hanover's. He used to say she never really loved him in the
first place, but there were moments when they were happy, I suppose. I'll
never really know. I'm not sure anyone will." KD said absentmindedly.
"Sounds like your father was kind of insecure." Josh murmured.
"Normally, you'd think so. But in this case, he was right." KD retorted.
"Yo u're kidding." Josh exclaimed.
"Nope. After he told her, she started sleeping on the couch, staying out
later than usual, drinking more than usual, and going out more, things like
that. She was just becoming so much more distant that we rarely even saw her
anymore by the time he decided to leave." KD explained. Josh shook his head.
"I think I'm getting a pretty good idea who Carolyn Kent is." He
muttered. KD nodded.
"Carolyn Kent *Brody* left two years after my father. While her goodbye
note was lengthier than his, his being the two words "I'm gone", it was a
little more damaging to my consciousness. I nearly had a mental breakdown,
and it took me nearly a month to start acting normally again. By that time,
my uncle Travis had been given legal custody of me, but he was in the
military, so he let me live with the Bartlets and the McGarrys. I stayed at
whichever house whenever I wanted to." KD explained. "I haven't seen my
mother since I was fifteen. It had been two days between the last time I'd
seen her and the day I found the note on the fridge. She must have come back
while I was at school to put the damn thing there." She mused.
"Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood." Josh muttered dryly. KD
chuckled and stood up.
"You know who she is now, Jolly. Just remember, you asked for it." She
exclaimed. Josh nodded and stood as well.
"I'm glad you told me, Kody. Means you trust me." He replied with a grin.
She smiled weakly nodded.
"Don't forget it." She retorted and gave him a soft hug. He hugged back
with a warm smile. "I don't share that kind of stuff with many people. It's
just you're kind of like the brother I never had." She said softly.
"Oh, great. Pull me into your family. Mind if we get some new parents?"
He joked lightly. She laughed.
"My parents are the Bartlets and the McGarrys now. Is that satisfactory?"
She replied playfully. He mock groaned.
"With them, it's more like four hundred parents." He retorted. She
laughed and nodded.
"Should I be worried?" Toby asked as he leaned into the room and stared
at Josh suspiciously. KD laughed and moved to greet him as he moved into the
room.
"Hey you. I thought I said I'd see you later." She whispered as he slid
an arm around her waist. He nodded, still eyeing Josh.
"I came to drop something off for Josh." He informed her. "Should I be
worried here, Lyman?" He added. Josh smirked and shook his head.
"Not anymore." He exclaimed. "I've got to talk to Donna, so make good use
of my office. Lord knows, I don't." Josh smiled and then moved out of his
office to Donna's desk where he found her packing up for the day.
"What does he mean by 'not anymore'?" Toby asked as he looked into KD's
eyes.
"I think he means you got me first." She replied softly before kissing
him gently, then again a little stronger. Toby smiled and held her closer
while shutting Josh's door with his foot.
"Mmm. Nice." He whispered before pulling her closer and kissing her very
passionately. She smiled and kissed back as she wrapped her arms around his
neck. He just tightened his grip around her waist and forgot everything else.

"Hey. You wanna have dinner?" Josh asked with a smile.
"No, I thought I'd starve today." Donna quipped with a grin. He laughed
and nodded.
"Let me get my jacket and I'll take you out for a night on the town.
How's that?" He replied. Donna smiled and nodded.
"As long as you're paying." She replied. He laughed and turned to head
back into his office. He smiled as he saw KD depart, disappearing down the
hallway towards the parking garage and Toby moving off to his own office.
Shaking his head in amusement, Josh moved to grab his jacket.

To Be Continued.....

 

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