RATING: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of them, except RJ McIntyre is mine
NOTES: This may not be the last you hear of her, but it is how the road will
end. This is a sequel to "The One Who Argues Best". Because I wrote it before
the season premiere aired, in the universe of this story, Josh was not shot
at the Newsuem. The point of this story is not to glorify my self-created
character (though that may be a part of it :) ) but rather to demonstrate
that guns don't just have a one-time only affect on people's lives.
~~~~~~~~~ denotes flashback
SUMMARY: Josh gets a letter that reminds him that not all problems are so
easily solved, and some things can't ever be forgotten.

"Senator Lyman, your wife called. She said to remind you that the reunion
dinner that you guys have planned is tomorrow night, not tonight, and she
also said to check and make sure your watch corresponds with the clock in
your office, because she's fairly sure, and I quote, 'your watch sucks'."
Jack Crichton exclaimed as his boss walked into her office. Josh rolled his
eyes and checked his watch. He did a double take and shook it. He could have
sworn that it had said 4:22 an hour ago. He waved absentmindedly.
"Do I have anything else to do today?" He asked as he stepped into his
own office.
"Nope." Jack exclaimed. "Your watch does suck, by the way." He added.
"Leave me alone. I'm going home to my wife and daughter." Josh retorted
as he looked through the papers on his desk.
"You got an envelope from Danny Concannon." Jack called as he started to
pack up his desk. Josh nodded as he found it. He opened it and looked through
its contents. As he got further and further into the letter, he paled and was
forced to sit down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"How can you say that?" Josh asked as he walked down the hallway. RJ
shook her head with a goofy grin and shrugged.
"I'm saying that because that's what I believe. Everyone's allowed to
believe something." She retorted as she followed him. "Bartlet passed a guns
bill with a great deal of triumph but it was a piece of shit. It could have
been *so* much better, but you people were so eager to get the right number
of votes, so hard-assed on being the popular guys, that you let the piece
slide down to a lower level of effectiveness."
"That's not true. The bill wouldn't pass the way it was. It was better to
get what we got than nothing at all." Josh retorted.
"True, but that's the politics. The way politics works these days, we're
never gonna get guns off the street." RJ pointed out.
"So what do you suggest we do? Overthrow the government?" He asked
sarcastically.
"You *are* the government, Lyman." She replied smoothly.
"Exactly." Josh replied.
"The question is, are you a good one?"
"Yes."
"You sure?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Josh opened the door to his home and stepped inside. The hall was dark,
which told him that his wife and daughter were probably in the back room
watching TV. He put his briefcase down and hung up his jacket, the whole
while clutching the envelope in his hand. He stumbled down the hall.
"Josh, is that you?" Donna's voice called.
"Yeah." He called back weakly. Donna appeared in the doorway, her trim
figure illuminated by the lamp of their study.
"Gracie's already asleep." She said softly with a smile. The smile
quickly faded as she saw the look on her husband's face. He held out the
envelope to her, his hand trembling softly. She took the papers from his hand.
"She died." Josh said softly. "She's not supposed to die, Donna." Donna
frowned and looked at the paper. On the top of the pile rested an invitation:

"You are duly invited to the funeral of Robin Jakob McIntyre
Time: 1 p.m.
Date: October 11th, 2009
Location: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington D.C.
A reception will be held at the Concannon residence following the
funeral. Address listed below."

Donna stared at the paper and then looked at her husband. She stepped
forward and hugged him gently as he began to cry into her shoulder. In the
years since RJ had first walked into the White House and started causing
trouble, she and Josh had always managed to stay in touch. The contact had
waned out over the years, but it had always existed.
"I didn't... I didn't keep my promise." Josh whispered. "I told her
we'd get the guns. I haven't gotten them." Donna closed her eyes and hugged
her husband even tighter.

CJ stepped into the dark office that belonged to her husband. Nine years.
Nine years ago, RJ walked into her life and she found something that wouldn't
go away. RJ had kept things together. RJ graduated top of her class from
Harvard and went on to become quite the activist. She wrote for Danny's paper
as he moved up to an editorship and the Bartlet administration came to an
end. She argued with Josh, she talked to Toby on a regular basis, and she
spent a great deal of time with Danny and CJ and their children.
"Hey." She said softly. Danny looked up and smiled weakly. "How you
feeling?"
"Not wonderful." He replied. "32. The doctor told her 32. She was 26, CJ.
They were six years off."
"She was happy, Danny. She was leading the life she wanted to lead with
the people she wanted to be with. The past nine years she's been a great
person to you and to Josh and a wonderful worker with Toby. I mean, if she
had been on the White House staff, she could have been the Official Toby
Handler." CJ said softly as she leaned against Danny's desk. Danny stood up
and slipped his arms around her waist.
"I still miss her." He said. "I still will."
"I know." CJ replied and hugged him tightly. "God, I know."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I'm just saying is all." RJ exclaimed as she watched her neighbor sign
the paper that said she could enter the second most powerful office in the
country, after Bill Gates's office.
"I'm starting to regret agreeing to this." He said playfully. "Sign the
paper, RJ." He ordered. She smiled and did as she was told.
"I'm a very convincing soul." She replied.
"Unfortunately." Danny teased as he grabbed her brand new visitor's pass
and clipped to the front pocket of her overshirt.
"You know, as a writer, I'd think you'd be proud of me." She said after
thanking the guard and following Danny into the building.
"Whatever you do, don't talk to anyone you recognize." Danny warned.
"Okie doke." RJ replied then paused. "What does the President look like
again?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There's something about funerals that never changes. They're dark.and
they're dreary. Josh stepped out of the rental car in his black suit and took
Donna's hand. Their five-year-old daughter clung to his leg as they neared
the open grave. Josh saw Toby and Katy Ziegler, Danny and CJ, and even Jed
and Abbey Bartlet stood by. He looked at his wife and then moved forward.
Dozens of RJ's classmates were standing behind the others. Reporters and
members of her coworkers were also there. Even some politicians Josh never
even knew RJ had met stood by in black with their husbands and wives, looking
solemn. Josh stepped forward with his wife and his eyes connected with
Danny's.
"We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Robin Jakob McIntyre." A
strong voice exclaimed. Josh looked at the face of a man he once knew as
Rabbi Glassman. "RJ, as she was known by those close to her, was a vibrant
young soul who was always doing what she could to make the world a better
place. She fought for many issues in this crazy world of politics, a world
that became all she ever knew after time went on. She wrote editorials for
her newspaper that reportedly made this nation's sitting president do a spit
take." Many people chuckled. Jed Bartlet smiled weakly and squeezed his
wife's hand. John Hoynes was a good man and a good president, but even he
wasn't prepared for half the stuff RJ had to say. Hell, no one was prepared
for the bulk of her statements, except perhaps Danny. Speaking of the
redheaded reporter, he now took a step up to the coffin that held someone too
young to be held in such a manner.
"Ten years ago, I was walking out of my doorway and I literally ran into
a young woman, not barely seventeen. I didn't like her at first. She was
loudmouthed and opinionated. After a while, I came to realize, so is everyone
else, but she was just the one who made the most sense." Danny said with a
fond smile. People chuckled weakly. "I didn't know then that she was one
month out of a wheelchair and ecstatic to be hopping down the hallway. Months
later I learned that doctors slated her life expectancy to be 32." Danny
paused. "Which would have been six years from now. RJ died six years short of
her deadline, and that deadline was too soon in any case. It breaks my heart
to see her go. To see her go six years short of too soon." Danny whispered.
"A gun did this to her, made her spend the last few weeks of her life in
pain and misery." Danny started again, regaining some strength of voice and
mind. "The problem was that she didn't tell anyone. She didn't tell anyone
about her pain until it was too late. She didn't tell anyone because she knew
too many things. She knew that there was nothing we could do. She knew it.
She knew this was the time. And she knew she had to seize her remaining days
as a time to get one last message out to the world.
"Well, RJ, we heard ya. We're working on the promises we made you, as
well as the promises you made the world. I hope that wherever you are, you're
not in any pain. In fact, I know that wherever you are, you're not only
without pain, you're probably causing a deity some trouble." Danny said
softly. People chuckled as they realized how much they agreed with that
statement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"What's going on in here? A powwow?" An incredibly familiar voice
exclaimed. Danny rose to his feet as the President stepped into the room.
"Someone has gathered my entire senior staff in Josh's office as opposed to
mine where they're supposed to be right now."
"I'm sorry, Mr. President. We were dealing with a sort of...
situation." Leo said as he stood a little straighter. Jed nodded and looked
at RJ who had not climbed to her feet.
"I'd stand up but I really can't." She said weakly. He raised an eyebrow.
"Why not?" He probed.
"Undue pressure on my spinal cord?" She exclaimed softly.
"I'm sorry to hear that. By the way, we took the stock market crashes
into consideration in a completely different section. The criticizing
senators neglected to read that part." Jed said slowly with a smirk and a
twinkle in his eye.
"Actually, I think they were referring to the downsizing of market
revenue over the next ten years having more than a 35% repercussion on the
outcome limit of the nation's economy, but that could just be me." RJ said,
her voice still weak as she struggled to regain her energy. Jed looked at Leo
with a surprised smirk. Leo smiled weakly back.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hey, Toby. Kody." Josh said softly as he leaned forward and kissed his
old friend on the cheek. Katy smiled at him and nodded, squeezing his arm.
"Jolly. How you holding up?" She whispered.
"I have some things I need to do." Josh replied softly. "I gotta get 324
passed."
"Let's not talk politics. Not right now." Toby said softly.
"I got to pass it for her." Josh added. "I gotta get the guns, Toby. 324
is gonna do that."
"Josh, remember who you're talking to." Katy said with a weak smile. Josh
grinned.
"Of course." He said softly.
"I'm glad you guys could make it." Danny said, walking up to them with CJ
by his side.
"Of course we did, Danny." Josh replied.
"Madame Vice President." Danny said with a grin. Katy slapped him
playfully on the arm. After that, a sad silence filled the air as the three
couples glanced at each other.
"We're going to do right by her, damn it." Josh said suddenly.
"You bet." Danny replied softly.
"Guys, we have to promise this. We should have promised this to her, but
let's promise this now." Josh said softly. "Let's promise that this won't
happen to anyone else. That no one else will have to die the way she did."
"She had a pretty rare case. Josh." Katy started.
"I mean, let it be known that guns can't kill the way they used to." Josh
insisted. Everyone looked at each other uncertainly.
"It's a promise." Toby said softly. Katy looked at her husband and then
nodded.
"Agreed." She chorused. Danny nodded.
"All for it." He voiced.
"You bet." CJ said weakly. Donna smiled and nodded at her husband.
"Then let's do our job and make sure that no one else dies six years, or
any years, short of too soon." Josh said softly with a steel gaze.
"Hear hear." Came the soft murmurs of reply. Josh nodded and looked at
his friends. And then, one last memory came flooding to his head and he
smiled very weakly as he hugged his wife to his side.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"This conversation really starting to disturb me." Josh muttered.
"Hey, I'm doing a research project. Therefore, I do research. I know a
hell of a lot more about a hell of a lot more things than the average person,
and I'm willing to bet that I know a few things *you* don't know either." RJ
retorted.
"I seriously doubt that." Josh declared.
"Whatever you say." RJ said with a grin. Josh paused.
"Gimme an example." He demanded.
"No." RJ replied as she scribbled in her notebook again.
"What are you writing?" He asked.
"'Josh Lyman equals idiot.'" RJ replied slowly.
"Seriously?" He whined.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The End...

 

 

 

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