Disclaimer—Characters belong to Aaron Sorkin save for my incarnation of Lisa. No copyright infringement is intended. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Author's notes—To the Admiral and Disney. I love both of you so much. You're the greatest pals a girl could ask for. You read my stuff, we chat about politics and Sam, we RP... You keep me sane (I know what you're thinking, Admiral: You are insane. Well, maybe.). Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

WARNING—Okay, I cried when I wrote it. I asked Dis and the Admiral if they thought that was a good thing or a bad thing... Well, they both cried when they read it. If you're prone to cry at fics (or even if you're not. I'm not, the Admiral said she's only cried at three—one of Red's, this one, and one in another fandom) make sure you've got tissues around for later, all right?

Spoilers—In the Shadow of Two Gunmen I & II and more than just that one line.

Archive—Go for it, just tell me where.

Feedback—Greatly appreciated.

House of Cards—Josh recruits Sam and Lisa for the Bartlet for America campaign.

Sam and Josh sat in the tiny apartment Sam shared with Lisa in lower Manhattan. Josh had called and talked to Leo McGarry, securing a position for both Sam and Lisa on the Bartlet for America campaign. "Lisa's going to be so surprised," Sam said. "She's going to love this."

"What's she been doing anyway?"

"Working for the UN," he said. "She says she likes it but I can tell she'd much rather be on the Hill. Can you imagine her at the White House? Running up and down the halls of the West Wing? Calling members of Congress and raising hell?"

"Just like old times," said Josh. Sam nodded.

"This is going to be so great." As Sam finished his sentence, he heard the familiar jingle of keys on the other side of the door. "Wait here," he whispered as he stood and quietly crossed to the door. Lisa entered the apartment and smiled at Sam. He pulled her into the apartment and pushed her against the wall by the door and kissed her passionately, like what she used to do every time he stopped by her old apartment when they had started seeing each other.

"What was that for?" she asked as the kiss ended. "Not that I don't like it or wouldn't mind seeing another one of those."

"I've got great news."

"Gage Whitney made you a partner already?"

"Better than that."

"Better?" she asked.

"I quit Gage Whitney."

Her eyes widened. "You did what? But I thought—"

"And I want you to quit the UN."

"Are you out of your mind?"

"Yes," he said.


"I want you to come with me."

"You know I'd follow you anywhere," touching his face lovingly.

"Then follow me to New Hampshire."

She looked at him quizzically. "What's in New Hampshire?"

"Josiah Bartlet," said Josh. She looked past Sam and noticed Josh for the first time.


"Hey, Lisa," he said with a chuckle as she hugged him.

"What're you... I don't understand... Josiah Bartlet... Isn't he a former Congressman?" asked Lisa.

"And former governor of New Hampshire," Josh said.

"He's running for President, Lisa."

She looked at her fiancÚ and asked, "For the democratic nomination?" Sam nodded. "But Hoynes has that sewn up. Speaking of which, I thought you were working for Hoynes, Josh."

"Not anymore," Josh said. "I'm working for Jed Bartlet now."

"And so am I," Sam said. "You've got a job if you just say yes."

"What kind of a man is he?" Lisa asked. "I'm not about to get back into American politics behind another sleazy former congressman. Been there, done that, won't ever do it again, unless... What are his stands on the issues? His morals, his credibility?"

"Lisa, I saw him talk in Nashua, New Hampshire yesterday. He was... My, God, Lisa, you've just got to see him speak." Lisa smiled.

"No I don't," she said.

"What?" asked Josh.

"You're onboard?" Sam asked. She nodded.

"Hon, you've *got* to work on your poker face," she told Josh. "What the hell are we doing here if we've got a man to elect president?" Sam picked her up while Josh cheered.

"This is going to be the best damn campaign this country has ever seen. Sam Seaborn writing speeches... Lisa Cole giving Leo McGarry a run for his money..."

"Leo McGarry?" she asked. "Leo McGarry!" Josh nodded as Sam put her back on solid ground.

"Is there a problem with Leo?" Josh asked.

"Are you kidding?" she asked. "To work for the great Leo McGarry? Let's get goin', guys!" There was a bright fire in her eyes that Sam hadn't seen in years.


Three days later, Sam and Lisa were settled into a hotel room in New Hampshire, only blocks away from the Bartlet for America headquarters, going to their first official meeting as campaign staffers. Josh, Sam, and Lisa sat together in front, looking at Leo McGarry, who was getting last minute information from his assistant, Margaret. "Okay, who all do we have here now... I see Toby and Josh... Let's do this," he said, slipping his glasses off. "When I say your name, stand up so I'll know what you look like for at least one meeting. I know we've got some new volunteers. Okay, Josh I know, but stand up anyway. Everybody, this is Josh Lyman, our senior political advisor." Josh stood and saluted before sitting down again. "Toby Ziegler, communications." Lisa and Sam noticed the balding gentleman on the far side of the room.

"Somebody you'll probably be seeing quite a bit of," Lisa whispered to him. Sam nodded.

"Mandy Hampton, public relations." Lisa noticed Josh seemed to be mesmerized by the PR expert. "Sam Seaborn, speechwriter." As Sam stood, Lisa smiled proudly. "Okay, I do know you," Leo said. "You wrote the—yeah. Okay." He looked back at his notes. "Lisa Cole, political advisor..." Lisa stood and glanced around at the faces looking at her. "The Lisa Cole?" Leo asked.

"Mr. Secretary?" she asked.

"Call me Leo," he said. "Aren't you the Lisa Cole who started her political career by running Congressman Rollins' office?" She nodded. Leo looked at Josh. "Sorry about that, Josh, but you just lost your senior position. You'll be working with Lisa." Josh's jaw dropped open.

"What?" Josh asked.

"Okay," said Lisa.

"We're looking for a press secretary still so if any of you have any suggestions, we're more than open to them. Toby, Sam, and Mandy, you'll be meeting with the governor in about an hour to discuss what he wants everybody to know. Josh, Lisa, you two are up first."


Lisa and Sam sat at an all-night diner after getting out of their first day working for Jed Bartlet. "So what do you think?" she asked, running her finger around the rim of her coffee mug.

"I think we made the right decision." She nodded.

"I don't think I've ever felt this young or idealistic my entire career," she said with a laugh.

"That's hard to believe."

"I know," she said, "but it's true. Okay, so he's a bit gruff and maybe a little rough around the edges but this guy Bartlet... I know we're going to get him to the White House. I can *feel* it, Sam."

"So can I."

"What Josh said, the answer about poverty..." Her voice trailed off.

"I know," Sam said, looking into her eyes. She didn't have to say a word. He knew her stand on poverty, especially children living under the poverty line. She had been one of those kids once upon a time. They fell into an easy silence, staring into each other's eyes.

"Thank you," she said finally.

"For what?"

"For everything," she said. "You really have been the reason I wake up in the morning, you know? Since I was twenty-one, you have been the reason I don't want to go to sleep. And then when I do, you're the reason I can't wait to get up and get going. Even before we started going out, back when we were just friends on the Hill, I still would rush to get to work in the hopes of running into you in the catacombs or in the House Chamber."

"Oh?" She nodded.

"You were the handsomest guy on the Hill and I had been there for a while when I met you. I had a lot to compare you to. But then you were beyond compare. And when you asked me to go to the fund-raiser... Oh, Sam, how my heart soared! I was so nervous when you came to pick me up. And then when I saw you, you positively took my breath away. I could have sworn I was living in a dream."

"You are living in a dream," Sam said, reaching out and placing a hand over hers. "The best dream you could ever imagine."

"You're right," she said. "I'm backing a man who I believe in. A man who won't let me down—not now, not ever. More importantly, a man who believes in me. A man who always seems to know the right thing to say at exactly the right moment."

"Bartlet?" Her smile grew and Sam hadn't thought that possible.

"You," she said with soft laughter in her voice and eyes. "You put up with me and my pigheadedness and have for years. You couldn't love me more because you love me for who I am and what I can do. All you ask for is my best because you know that's all I can give."

"I'm beginning to think you're the one who should be speech writing," Sam said, looking at the table.

"I might could say it but I sure can't write it." He looked up at her again.

"Can you show it?"

"I think so," she said. She slid out of the diner booth, leaving Sam to follow suit. "I love you, Sam Seaborn," she said before pulling him close to her and kissing him. The kiss could have continued but Sam ended it, hugging her tightly.

"Can I take you home so we can continue this there?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah," she said, holding onto him for dear life. "Sounds like a wonderful plan to me."


Mandy leaned against her desk, talking on the telephone to commercial producers. Josh stood on the other side of the room, watching her, completely ignoring Lisa, who was trying to talk to him. "Josh?" He didn't respond. "Josh Lyman," Lisa said, smacking his arm.

"Geez, Lisa, what?"

"Have you heard a *word* I've said?"

"Of course."

"Well, what do you think?"

"About what?"

"Gun control," she said with a sigh.

"Run with whatever it is you want."



"I asked if you'd watch the polls and be the point man for it."

"Gun control?"



"Josh," she said warningly.


"I will go to Secretary McGarry if you aren't careful."

"First off, his name is Leo. Secondly, why are you going to him?"

"Because you're supposed to be working *for* me!"

"I was the senior political operative *first*."

"For five days. I've had that position for two *weeks* now."

"Doesn't matter. And don't roll your eyes at me!"

"I'm remembering Washington D.C. several years ago. I'm remembering the House chamber. I'm remembering a brash floor manager and a veteran congressman."

"Must you bring that up at *every* opportunity?"



"To prove that you are securely held under my thumb."

"Under your thumb?"



"Until the day you *die* you are under my control."

"I hate you."

"I know."

"Gun control point man?" Josh asked, noticing Mandy was hanging up.


"Oh, very well."

"Thank you," grinned Lisa. With that done, Josh made a beeline for Mandy. Sam, unbeknownst to Lisa, walked up behind her.

"Hey, babe," he whispered, slipping his arms around her. She leaned against him.

"Hey, Sam."

"Ready for dinner?" She nodded. "Let's go then.

Mandy smiled at Sam and Lisa slipped out of the headquarters. "They're cute," she commented as Josh sat down in front of her desk.

"Who?" Josh followed Mandy's gaze to see Sam and Lisa holding hands and walking out the front door together. "Yeah, but it gets old."


"I mean, they've been together *forever*."


"Oh, yeah."

"They really seem like they were made for each other," she said as she sat down at her desk, picking up an ink pen and studying it. "You think they'll make it through the campaign? I mean, Lisa told me they put their wedding on indefinite hold for this campaign."

"Mandy, please. I've known both those kids since they started their political careers. They're dynamite together. Don't get me wrong, separate them and they're both exceptional political operatives but, put them together, on *one* campaign, they're unbeatable."

Mandy smiled slowly and leaned forward. "So somehow you get the credit for bringing them onto this campaign? This 'unbeatable' team of yours?"

"Well, considering I *did* bring them onto the campaign, yes, I guess I do get the credit for pulling them back into politics," he said, smirking.

"Lisa clerked for McCallum at the UN. That's not being in politics?"

"Ha!" Mandy sighed. "You hungry?"


"You want to grab some dinner... with me?"

"With you?"


"Like just dinner?"

"What are you implying, Madeline? That I would want to ask you on a date?" Josh asked, hoping to shrug it off just in case they weren't on the same wavelength.


"If it was a date, would you say yes?"

"See, that depends."

"On what?"

"On if it's a date."

"If I confirm that it's a date, would you go?"

"Ask me, Josh," she said with a hint of a smile.

"Would you go to dinner with me? A date?"

"Yes." Josh grinned broadly.


Leo glanced around the hectic campaign headquarters. Sam and Toby were arguing over some minor point on Bartlet's next speech while Mandy watched amusedly. Josh was trying to tell Lisa something though she wasn't about to back down on her position. C.J. Cregg, who Toby had recruited for press secretary, was fending off phone calls from reporters. Leo knew Sam and Toby's argument was probably going much more productively than Lisa and Josh's. "Lisa, Josh..." The two stopped and looked at the chief of staff. "I need one of you to do the governor a major favor."

"What's the favor?" Josh asked cautiously.

"Picking up his youngest daughter at the train station," Leo said. Josh shook his head.

"No way, no how, Leo. I'm not going to pick up the offspring of that... guy," Josh said. "Not happenin'."

"I'll do it, Leo," Lisa said. "What's her name? What does she look like? How old is she?" Leo smiled at Josh.

"And you wonder why Lisa has your job, Josh?" Josh sighed and threw his hands up in the air. "She's just turned sixteen, Lisa, and her name is Zoey. She's cute as a button, c'mon, I've got a picture. A troupe of state troopers is going, too, but the governor would like for a non-gun-carrying person to be there to get her."

"I understand, sir," Lisa said as she followed Leo to his desk.

"Drop the sir stuff, I mean it," Leo said.

"I'll be sure to make a note of that," she said.

"Do that."

"Yes, sir," Lisa said as Leo handed her the framed photograph of the Bartlets and the McGarrys. "This one here, I trust?" she asked, pointing to the youngest in the picture.

"That's Zoey; the governor's baby." She nodded.

"I'll bring her in in one piece, sir," Lisa said.

"All right. Her train should be arriving in about twenty minutes."

"I'm on the way," she said. "Where are the troopers?"

"All ready there," Leo said as Lisa grabbed her coat. "Take a cab. They know you're coming and to bring you back."


"She's a handful sometimes, Lisa." She smiled, stopped at her desk to rummage through her top drawer, slipped something into her coat pocket, then nodded.

"No problem." On her way out, she kissed Sam's cheek. "Get 'im, tiger," she whispered. "I'll be back," she said for the benefit of the group. With a grin from Sam burned into her memory, she headed out the door to catch a taxi.


Lisa stood on the platform, scanning the faces that passed her—something she had done for years on the campaign trail. When she saw Zoey, she smiled. "Miss Bartlet?" she asked as Zoey walked up to her.


"Lisa Cole," she said, holding her hand out to Zoey. "Your father sent me."

"I could tell," said Zoey, looking at the state troopers behind her before shaking Lisa's hand. "Normally my dad sends political old geezers." Lisa smiled as they started walking for the car.

"Political old geezers, huh?"

Zoey nodded. "How does Dad know you?"

"I'm his senior political advisor for his presidential campaign."

"Seriously," said Zoey. "Who are you?"

"My name is Lisa Cole and I'm the muse for the campaign."

"Muse, huh?"

"Yeah, I keep everybody entertained," Lisa said. Zoey looked at her skeptically, causing Lisa to stop moving. "Are you having trouble hearing me?" she asked, concerned. She looked in Zoey's ear. "Aha. Here's the trouble." Lisa pulled several "Bartlet for America" buttons from Zoey's ear. Zoey was not impressed.

"Muse, huh?" Lisa poured all of the buttons in Zoey's hand save for one that she kept.

"Count the pins you have," Lisa instructed. Zoey reluctantly counted them.

"Six." Lisa nodded as she started to rub the one button she had between her thumb and index finger. With Lisa's free hand, she closed Zoey's hand around the buttons. Lisa clasped her hand into a fist with the lone button she had and blew into her fist. Slowly opening her hand, the button was gone. Zoey looked quizzically at Lisa.

"Count them again," Lisa said. Zoey counted the buttons slowly.

"S-seven?" Not trusting her counting, Zoey double-checked. "How'd you do that?"

"Magic," Lisa said mysteriously.

"Can you teach me?"

"You want to be an apprentice muse?" Lisa asked. Zoey nodded. "I'll think about it."

"Miss Cole?"

"My name is Lisa," she said. "Even your father calls me that."

"But it isn't going to be 'Cole' for long, is it?" Zoey asked, noticing the diamond on her left hand. Lisa smiled at the ring.

"No, it'll be Seaborn before too long."

"Okay, Lisa," Zoey said as they started for the car again. "What do you do, really?"

"I'm the senior political advisor for your father's presidential campaign."

"You can't be his senior political advisor."

"I can't?" asked Lisa. "I guess I'll clean out my desk, then," she said dejectedly. "I can always go work for Senator Hoynes." Zoey sighed.

"You don't look old enough to be a senior political advisor. I know; I've met dozens."

"Would you like me to list my credentials?" asked Lisa.


"Chief of Staff for Congressman Richard Rollins for six years, senior political strategist for Daniel Wesley's bid for Maryland governor before packing it up and heading to New York, where I've worked for the past two years as the assistant to Stephen McCallum, who as you probably know is the US delegate to the United Nations," said Lisa.

"Nu-huh," Zoey said as they climbed into the back of a black sedan.

"You don't believe me?"

"That's almost ten years of political work," Zoey said, buckling up. "You don't look that old."

"Thanks. I'm not that old."

"How old are you?" Lisa leaned over to Zoey as the car started.

"You're not supposed to ask that question," she reminded quietly.

"I'm sorry—"

"I'm twenty-seven," Lisa said.

"Then... You can't be the senior political advisor."

"Why not?"

"And you couldn't have been all that you said you were because you would have started when you were seventeen."

"Actually, I was eighteen when I started running Congressman Rollins' office." Zoey looked at her with wide-eyes.

"You couldn't have been."

"Again, why not?"

"Because no eighteen year old runs a congressman's office."

"I did."

"No you didn't!"

"Okay, I didn't."

"Then what do you do for the campaign?"

"I pick up sixteen-year-old daughters of candidates with the protection detail."

"I'm going to ask my father about you when I get to the headquarters."

"By all means," Lisa said.

"He's going to tell me your Mrs. Landingham's new assistant, right?"

"Only if you tell him to lie," Lisa said, "but then I would have to suggest against that."


"Because I'm his senior political advisor and if that ever came out in the press, it wouldn't look good."

"You are *not* his senior political advisor."

"Do you like cards, Zoey?"

"Cards?" Lisa pulled a deck of playing cards out of her pocket. "Yeah, okay."

"Okay... If the card you pick is an ace, I'm telling you the truth. If it's a numbered or face card, I'm lying," Lisa said as she shuffled the deck. "Sound good to you?"

"Okay," Zoey said, watching Lisa shuffle and bridge the cards before fanning them out. Zoey took her time before choosing a card. Each time she reached for one, Lisa would clear her throat and shake her head subtly. "You said I could pick."

"Go for it." Zoey resolutely grabbed one and looked at it. "Well?" Zoey stared blankly at the card.

"I don't believe it."

"What don't you believe, dear?" she asked. Zoey turned her card so Lisa could see it: the ace of diamonds. "I love my lie-detector cards."

"Best out of three?" asked Zoey.

"Sure. Put the card anywhere in the deck." Zoey slipped it back into the center of the deck before Lisa shuffled them and fanned them out again. "Pick one." Zoey licked her lips nervously before pulling a card out of the deck.

"Same one," Zoey said, showing Lisa the ace of diamonds.

"I think the cards are telling you to believe me."

"Can I see the deck?" Lisa handed the deck over to Zoey, who quickly looked at all of them. "Hey! They're all the ace of diamonds!"

"Did I bring the wrong deck?" Lisa asked, looking at them. "Oh, drat. May I have them back?" Zoey returned the deck to Lisa and promptly crossed her arms. Lisa slipped them into their case and placed the box on her palm. "Tap the box three times." Zoey looked at her suspiciously. "Please?" Zoey tapped the box the requested number of times. Lisa opened the box and pulled out the cards and spread them out on the seat between them. Each card was different. Zoey looked up at Lisa.

"How'd you do that!"

Lisa grinned. "Magic."


Sam and Lisa were packing up to leave the campaign headquarters for the night when Leo caught them. "I've got a request."

"Okay," said Sam.

"Actually, it comes straight from the governor." Lisa and Sam glanced at each other.

"What is it, sir?" asked Lisa.

"Leo," he corrected.

"I'm still working on that."

"Right," Leo said. "Anyway, Jed Bartlet called from his estate and requests your presence for dinner in an hour."

"I'm sorry?" said Sam.

"Apparently," he said, looking at Lisa, "you thoroughly impressed an impressionable teenage girl. She talked to her dad and... He wants to see the two of you away from work." Lisa was taken aback. "Dinner starts promptly in an hour." Lisa had yet to find her voice.

"Leo, we're flattered," said Sam, "but—"

"Don't even think about trying to refuse this invitation. Wear what you've got; it'll take you that long to get down there."

"Wow," Lisa said finally.

"I'll take that as a yes," Leo said. "I'll call the governor."

"We're not really dressed for dinner—" Sam said.

"He's cooking his world-famous chili," Leo said. "Believe me, you're properly dressed." He looked at Lisa. "What did you do that made such an impression on Zoey?" Lisa smiled.


House of Cards - 2




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