The Good Fight: Part 1/?
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing, NBC, and all of those other important corporate people. No infringement is made on any copyright, nor is any intended. No profit is being derived from this effort.
Dedication: This one’s for Amy, who is utterly confusing by alternately telling me not to avoid schoolwork and also telling me to write a West Wing story. So here goes.
Archive: Let me know in advance! Please!
Setting: The morning after CJ’s last briefing of the day in ITSOTG Part II.
Leo McGarry had the feeling it was not a good day to have a heavy staff meeting, which was why he had planned a light one. Everyone, especially the senior staff, was not mentally ready to tackle serious demands on themselves. Josh remained in the hospital, Sam was still crushed by the near loss of Josh, CJ was running on less than zero hours of sleep, Tobey was Tobey, and the President was…pissed as hell. And this last was the true source of Leo’s trouble, ever since their conversation on the ride home from the hospital last night. He hoped the staff wouldn’t have to deal with the same this morning.
"All right, let’s keep this short and sweet," Leo started. "CJ, terrific job with the press these last thirty hours. You did good. Tobey and Sam, the President’s address to the nation tonight needs to hit home. You’ve got all day today to help him make it resonate with the American people, and…"
"I’m gonna get the guns," Bartlet said. And Leo’s nightmare scenario began.
"Mr. President, I think we all share that sentiment right now, but…"
"I mean it, Leo, I’m going to get them. There is no better time than right now to force stricter gun control laws through the Congress. With the midterms coming up, we can get this done, and crucify any Member or Senator who opposes us," the President responded.
Maybe letting Bartlet be Bartlet wasn’t such a good idea after all, Leo winced, as a door to the Oval Office swung open.
"Well, all except those in Montana, Wyoming, the non-industrial Midwest, and the Deep South, who will proceed to bury their opponents," Mandy said, walking into the room and positioning herself behind Tobey.
"Ask me now if that matters!" the President shouted, snapping CJ from her almost-nap, and driving Sam to stop peering intently at his shoes. Bartlet rose, closing the distance between he and Mandy as he snapped, "And where the hell have you been?"
"She was on vacation," Leo replied, supplying a meek defense while placing his head in his left hand.
President Barlet waved his hand, dismissing the matter as he strode back toward the desk. "I am going to fight the good fight, and I am going to win it. Leo, I need to meet with the leadership today about this," he proclaimed.
"So, should I tell the morning press gaggle that we’ll be launching a new initiative to stop gun violence?" asked CJ.
"No, the press will not tell the nation; I will tell them, and I shall do so tonight," said the President.
"What?!" cried CJ and Sam in unison.
"It’s too late to rewrite the message of the address," Tobey stated calmly. "Sam and I also already have it programmed into the TelePromTer.
"Will I be able to read it this time?" asked the President with a slight smile.
"May I suggest that you deliver this message to the American people in a different tone than just now?" suggested Mandy.
"There was something wrong with my tone?" Bartlet responded, incredulous.
"It had an angry tone, Mr. President," Mandy diplomatically replied.
"It was indignant," said the President.
"No, there seemed to be a lot of rage behind it."
"Indignant, Mandy, I was indignant," said the President slipping into defense mode.
"Alright, I think we’ve accomplished enough," interrupted Leo, hoping to avoid bloodshed in the Oval Office. "Thank you, everyone."
After the rest of the staff left, Jed Bartlet turned to his best friend. "I sounded indignant, right?"
"No, Mr. President, you were furious," replied Leo.