RATING: G
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. I'm borrowing them to extend on my personal abilities,
and hopefully succeed in doing that, so please don't sue. All you'll
get is a three year old laptop. You ain't getting my dog.
SHOUTOUT: First of all, to my beta AJ, who helps me out all the time
and she's truly great at what she does. To my critic/reviewer Dallas,
who encourages me and helps me get these stories written. Third of
all to the website 'Inside the Bartlet Website'
(http://www.jedbartlet.com, I know the webmaster is here somewhere
THANK YOU! WONDERFUL JOB!) which helped me research a lot of the
information on these characters in order to get the best accuracy I
could get. (Please note: There are a few things that have never been
mentioned on the show, so I had to improvise. Everything else is what
I've managed to get from the site)
NOTES: This is a new series of mine; one that does not feature a New
Character (gasp!) and looks like it's going to be pretty long. I'm
pretty sure you'll be able to figure the series out as you go. Hope
you enjoy it. ::Crosses fingers::
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
far.

One thing about me that no one ever seems to realize is that I
get nervous. Sure, I go out there, I make speeches, I laugh and share
and socialize, but when I wake up in the morning, I'll look at the
ceiling or my wife or some random thing and I'll shake. Yes, I said
shake.
I imagine my day, you see. I see Leo coming up to me and
saying "situation room" or he tells me I have to make a decision
that's going to change the lives of 280 million Americans and perhaps
countless others. This is what I was elected to do; I do realize
that. But it was only 55 years ago that I was born into this world,
and now I have the power to decide the future of it. That's enough to
make even me nervous. I'm the one they look to when we might need to
bomb someone or retaliate against a country that has "possibly" shot
one of our planes down.
Possibly, my ass.
Something happened between riding my bike to high school and
becoming President of the United States, but I'm not entirely sure
what it is. When did I become the eloquent politician that I
(supposedly) am today? Certainly not the day Leo walked into my house
and said "Hey, let's run for President"...
Right?
My life so far has been a good one. My parents were good people;
I got a good education; I've got the most beautiful, intelligent wife
in all the world and three beautiful daughters. Being President is
pretty nice too, but it's not at the top of my list. I think that
that honor goes to being the best father and friend that I can be.
God, I love my wife. I'm sitting here this morning, watching her
sleep. I don't want the day to start because then I would have to say
goodbye to her and then walk away.
But I know I have to.
It's funny; ever since I became President, there have been at
least two dozen books published that are supposedly about my life.
I've read a few of them. I don't know where I got the spare time, but
I did. Anyway, one of them listed an incident in high school where I
seemed to have made a speech to my 11th grade history teacher about
the Constitution. I checked with Leo and he confirmed what I thought:
it never happened. Writers are so strange.
Every day I can, I do this. I sit here and I think for a few
minutes about all that's ever happened to me in this life of mine. I
was born in New Hampshire, raised there. Forty years ago, if someone
had told me that I was going to be President, I wouldn't have
believed it. If I did, I'd probably jump for joy and then charge into
the White House and demand that the new national school uniform for
women consist of... well, nothing. That was then, mind you. I was
fifteen forty years ago. My hormones were raging. They're not now.
I heard that.
Yesterday, Leo came into my office and told me that for the first
time in what seems like forever, the day ended calmly and I can go to
sleep early. I got to bed around eleven, which seems almost like a
miracle these days. It's now about six thirty. Another miracle. I got
nearly seven hours sleep. Thank you, God.
This is what I do. I wake up and take a shower (hopefully with my
wife, wink). I get dressed in a suit and then I go to the Oval Office
and I say "What's Next?" Then someone calls me sir and starts
talking. There are only five people in the world that I talk to on a
regular basis that do not call me sir: My wife, my kids and my
granddaughter. Everyone else calls me `sir' and my God, that's a
power trip.
What will they say today? Will they tell me that India invaded
Pakistan again? Sam found another call girl to solicit? Toby bite
some senator's head off last night? (God, please say yes; we need
less senators.) What's CJ's problem today? Leo's? Josh's? Is Mrs.
Landingham going to cram some breakfast oats down my throat like I'm
some sort of horse?
I sincerely hope my day is so simple. Wouldn't want to bomb
something and start nuclear winter. Hell, maybe I would. The planet's
on its way to hell in a handcart. Might as well speed it on its way.
No, I don't really mean that.
I love this world, and for the most part, I love my life. I'm the
commander-in-chief of the United States, leader of the free world,
second most powerful person in the world (my wife rules me), and
probably the most tired... Right after Leo.
Leo. My best friend. It occurs to me now how lucky I am. I've got
a great best friend, great wife, great children, great staff...
I'm surrounded by greatness.
Maybe I can soak some of it in.
There's Sam. He's a good kid. I realize he's not a kid anymore,
but he's an innocent. He's the kind of guy who wakes up in the
morning and thinks about all the good he's going to (try to) do. Even
at his age, he knows that the world can be so much better and he
tries damn hard.
Then there's CJ. She's like a daughter to me but there's more
than that. She's a smart, sweet, sensitive, kind person and she makes
my life so much easier. I love her, and I try not to patronize her by
showing it too much, but she's damn good. She's priceless.
Especially when she does `the jackal'...
But I digress.
Toby, Toby, Toby... Great man destined for great things, I
think. If his great big mouth starts keeping a low profile, that is.
He's a wonderful writer; I don't think I've ever met a writer more
passionate and caring about this world and its politics. It's that
passion that lets me keep him around without a second thought.
There's nothing I can say about Leo. He in himself is ineffable.
He's my best friend and I love him. Somehow I know without a doubt
that he and I will always be there for each other, in this life and
beyond.
That leaves me with one person. Josh, the son I never had. I love
that boy about as much as I love Zoey and Leo and Abbey. He's been
through so much and yet he's still a bright and lively, humorous,
intelligent fellow. We've had our disagreements, even a fight or two,
but he... he means more to me than he'll ever know perhaps. When
he was shot I... I felt more guilty, more angry, more saddened
than I've ever known myself to be. That boy... that man is one of
the best I've ever known, that I ever will know.
I'd better stop thinking about this. Can't have Abbey wake up to
find me in tears.
Oh, Abbey. What a sweet, wonderful gal you are. What a lucky man
I am, especially when things with you and that Ron Erlich guy looked
so serious. But I was the one who won you. I was the lucky soul.
Seven years ago, when that doctor told us about the MS, you were
there for me. You're so loving and protective, dear woman. I hope you
know how much I adore you. I hope you realize that I live for you. I
live for you.
Charlie's here. That means that the day has to start. My
reflection on life is over for now. Maybe I'll find some time later
to continue it. Somehow I doubt it. We just have to take things one
day at a time, I suppose. Good ole Charlie. He's a good boy too. He
takes good care of me, and of Zoey. I'd be proud to have him as a son-
in-law.
He's saying it's time to get up and go. Long day ahead of us. One
day at a time, right?
What's next?

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