Disclaimer: Not mine. Not one of them. Sigh.
Archive: If you please, just let me know where.
Spoilers: The Fall's Gonna Kill You.
Summary: Revenge and therapy. Sam gets told.

The Fall.
1/2

"Josh, do you know what George Washington and Larry
have in common?" Donna asked, storming into her boss'
office.

"They... both didn't live in the White House during
the administration?" attempted Josh.

"Nope, that's not it."

"They... both were 5'7" tall?"

"Not even close."

"Just tell me, Donna."

Donna's eyes glared with genuine anger.

"I intend to. The thing Washington and Larry have in
common is that they both cannot tell a lie."

Josh smiled with uncertainty.

"That's something they tell kids in grade school to
keep them from lying, you know."

"I do. I was very gullible in grade school, and I
believed it."

"Okay."

"Apparently, I'm still very gullible."

Josh thought for a moment, until her words sunk in.

"Oh."

"Yes."

"So you know."

"An ordinary thing, Josh? Satellites fall out of the
sky every day? We're practically living under a
satellite shower?"

"Yes. It no longer rains cats and dogs, Donna. It
rains satellites."

"I'm not sure it ever rained cats and dogs," said
Donna, and her eyes clouded. Soon, she collected
herself and shook her head in dismay.

"Charlie mentioned plutonium and I got so worried...
And you let me go on being scared all day without the
slightest hint of... how could you do that?"

"I don't know." Josh closed his eyes for a second. "I
guess I just didn't think about it. I spent the day
begging Leo for money and watching Sam mourn dead fish
and... well, other things. I didn't think about it."

"That's comforting." Donna stuffed the no longer
threatening fax copy into a wastebasket. "I should
have asked the President. He'd never lie to me."

A loud noise served as reply to that. Donna turned,
startled, to find Josh crouching on the floor picking
up the mug and pencils, scattered everywhere.

"What's the matter?" she asked.

"Knocked it over," explained Josh, suddenly hoarse.
"The... uh... the anti-tobacco group representative
was here earlier and he should be back again. I want
to talk to him again - there's something he said about
the lawsuit I'll need clarification on."

"Is there funding for it?"

"There will be. Go, I'll be around."

***

"Sam. Come in, please."

"How are you doing, Mr. President. The Chicago speech
is almost ready, and I'd like to warn you there might
be some crowd whispering in the back because I refused
to insert the monument to horrid writing I was offered
to insert."

"I see. Anything else I need to know about this?"

"No, sir, but you probably should know that I may
have, in the course of the day, offended high school
girls and with no compelling reason to do so."

"I imagine the consequences of that will be shocking."
The President pointed at the caramel-striped couch and
Sam sat carefully on its edge. "Sam. About ten years
ago I was diagnosed with an incurable disease called
multiple sclerosis and, while running for office, I
concealed this fact from the American people and my
closest friends."

Sam stood up. "I beg your pardon, sir?"

"I have MS. It's gonna be out in the open from now
on."

Sam shook his head in disbelief, then lowered himself
on the couch again.

"Are... are you okay, Mr. President? Is this
disease..."

"I'm not going to die any time soon, if that's what
you mean. And I'm fine for the moment. My wife has
been giving me injections of beta serum that reduces
the frequency of the attacks."

"I see."

"Sam, you're going to have to talk to Oliver Babish
today. He's in his office, why don't you go see him
right now."

"Yes, sir. Do the others know?"

"I've told everyone this week, and Leo's known for two
years."

Sam hesitated for a moment, as if struggling between
tears and words. Breathing deeply, he finally
managed, "May I ask when Toby was told?"

"He was the first one this week, why?"

"No reason... it just seemed a few times like he
wanted to tell me something but didn't. And before I
came here, he said he'd be in his office in case I
wanted to talk or something."

The President smiled. "I'll be in my office if you
want to talk, Sam."

"Thank you, sir."

"Sam, I'm very glad I get a chance to tell you myself.
It's important to me that the people I trust know they
can trust me as well."

Sam looked up with fear and question in his eyes.

"And I know what you think - it wasn't very
trustworthy of me to keep this from you for almost
three years, but there was no other choice."

"I know that. I'm just... I'm so sorry, sir. I wish
there was something I could do."

"There is. You've been doing it until now and I know
you'll continue doing it however long we remain in
this building. I can't wait to read the Chicago
speech."

"First thing in the morning. I'm going down to the
basement now."

"He's a good lawyer, Sam," Bartlet added as the young
man was leaving.

"So am I, sir. Thank you, Mr. President."

Sam walked out of the Oval Office and leaned on the
wall outside it. Glad neither Charlie nor Mrs.
Landingham were there to see him, he breathed deeply
and irregularly, clutching his chest. When the panic
attack subsided, he pulled down the sleeves of his
suit jacket, straightened his collar and walked
downstairs.
*************

TBC,

 

Part 2

 

 

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