DISCLAIMER: Don't own em. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: What happened to Levi?
The West Wing felt silent again. Sam looked around the hallways and
felt disturbed by the lack of activity. Toby had gone to the Oval Office at
the President's insistence, Josh was still at the hospital, Leo was cooped up
in his office and CJ was dealing with the aftermath of the President's
statement. Apparently the press was just eating it up. He looked around and
then headed down the hallways, moving towards the stairs with a sense of
determination. He continued to move until he came to the door and then he
"Come in." was the soft reply. He moved inside and saw Ainsley sitting
behind her desk. She was staring at a vacant spot on the wall, a lost look in
her eyes. She was thinking about something, thinking hard.
"Ainsley." Sam said softly. She looked at him.
"It's ironic, isn't it?" She asked softly. He paused. "All I can think
is 'at least we made peace.' She argued with me, Sam. You did too. Since I
came to work here, I've gotten into at least two heated discussions about
gun-control, one from someone who was the best friend of someone who was shot
and nearly killed, and one from someone who was going to be shot and killed."
"Levi's not dead yet." Sam said quietly. "No one is--"
"I don't blame myself." Ainsley said suddenly. "I just wish we hadn't
had that conversation." She added quietly.
"Okay." Sam replied. "She's not dead yet, Ainsley. And she told you
that she likes you, that she's proud of you."
"I like her." Ainsley said weakly. "I just wish things hadn't... I
hate it when things like this happen, you know? I know everybody does but . .
. I mean, tonight of all nights, Sam. Today was supposed to be..."
"Her day of jubilee." Sam filled in.
"What?" Ainsley asked. Sam smiled weakly and sat down in the one chair
that Ainsley had in front of her desk.
"Day of jubilee, it's like, it's the day when everything you've worked
for is redeemed. When you can look at yourself and say I've accomplished
something today, and I did it right. It's the day when you can be proud of
yourself because the one thing that you've spent the past few months of your
life on has finally fallen through. It's...it's the day of jubilee." He
said softly. She smiled weakly and nodded.
"I've had those days." She murmured. "Today was supposed to be hers."
"The day's not over yet." Sam declared softly after a silent pause.
Ainsley smiled again and nodded slowly.
"No, I guess not." She agreed.
"You want to go get some coffee? Just to pass the time until we get
more news?" Sam asked suddenly. Ainsley paused and then nodded.
"Sure. Lead the way." She said as she got to her feet.
"I think the place on the corner has that Fresca stuff." Sam said as
they headed for the door. Ainsley laughed weakly.
"I think you're right."
"Mr. President?" Toby's soft voice murmured through the doorway. Jed
looked up and then waved his speechwriter into the room.
"Come on in, Toby." he said softly as he glanced down into a book that
he was thumbing through.
"You wanted to talk to me, sir?" Toby asked quietly.
"Yes." Jed agreed. Silence filled the room, so Toby prompted his boss
"About what, sir?" he asked. Jed moved towards Toby and handed him the
book. Toby glanced at his commander-in-chief and then at the pages. "'Free
for All' by Satchel Harris." He read.
"When Levi came back from the Gulf War, she was an angrier person. She
had joined the Air Force because she was a fiery individual, and then the man
this country elected to lead them sent them into war. There are many
different theories about why President Bush took us to war," Jed murmured.
"And the majority of them say that he was crooked."
"People also believe that the CIA played a large role in the whole
thing, sir." Toby added with a slight nod.
"Yeah, well. I'm not really into conspiracy theory, but I do believe
that it was a bad idea. Levi did too, and she comes from a stronger
standpoint than mine." Jed said softly.
"Was she injured in the war, sir?" Toby asked suddenly but softly. Jed
paused and then nodded.
"Her plane was shot down. She bailed and landed in a disputed
territory. She was taken as a prisoner of war and pretty badly beaten. She
was liberated four days later, which I suppose was lucky for her." He
"Has she ever been shot before?" Toby inquired in a murmur.
"No." Jed replied softly. "But the things she's seen in combat...
It's as if her brother wasn't enough."
"Who is Satchel Harris, sir?" Toby asked, desperate to change the
subject. Jed smiled weakly.
"None other than the topic of our conversation." He admitted. "She has
never been one to shout at the top of her lungs. Instead she goes behind
closed doors and argues as loud."
"This I know, sir." Toby agreed as he thumbed through the pages.
"What's it about, sir?"
"It's about what it's like to watch your country go down the drain."
Jed murmured softly. "That's what she told me when I asked. She loves this
country with so much fire, Toby, and yet she's disgusted and ashamed by it.
She'll fight for this country until the day she dies simply because she
believes it needs to be better than it is."
"Sounds familiar." Toby murmured.
"Who are you thinking of?" Jed asked.
"Leo, sir." Toby replied. "He's fought in wars. He's fought for this
country. He stands up everyday, doing all he can to do what he knows is
"Now you know why the two are best friends, despite the dispute
between her and me." Jed said with a smile.
"Did you ask me in here to talk about this book, sir? I haven't read
it." Toby added slowly.
"You should." Jed said and then paused. "You've gotten to know her
over the past few weeks, right?"
"We all have, sir." Toby agreed. Jed paused again.
"'Let this night be a testament.'" He said softly.
"Yes, sir." Toby murmured.
"A testament, Toby?" Jed asked softly.
"Tonight is a very important night, sir. The bill makes it important.
What happened to Levi makes it important. Where we stand here, now, that
makes it important." Toby replied softly.
"Levi would appreciate it. That's the kind of heart she looks for."
Jed said softly.
"In what, sir?" Toby asked.
"Hmm?" Jed murmured as he took the book back and looked through it.
"The kind of heart she looks for in what?" Toby clarified.
"In a human being, Toby. She's been hurt so many times, a guy like you
has got to be something that reminds her why life is worth living." Jed
replied with a weak smile. Toby paused.
"I know the feeling, sir." He said mysteriously. Jed raised an eyebrow.
"Oh?" He asked.
"Yes, sir." Toby replied simply. "May I borrow that, sir?" He asked,
pointing to the book. Jed smiled and handed it over.
"Enjoy." He said.
"If I may go, I'll be in my office." Toby said hesitantly. Jed nodded.
"Get out of here."
To Be Continued...
Of All Nights - 4