TITLE: Hope

AUTHOR: Kasey

SERIES: Elements #10

RATING: PG-13, ESF, EMF, EJF, S/M, SamPoV

SUMMARY: Sometimes new challenges confront us...Sometimes we confront them.

DISCLAIMERS/NOTES/ETC: I still don't own them. Well – welcome to part 10, the final part in the series. Thanks to all of you who've read the whole thing, and thanks also to all of you who've sent me such wonderful feedback. Thanks to Flip for betaing...And for any of you who wanna know, I'm starting a Joshfic series (completely unrelated to this series) which should be posted the first part in a day or two.

"I got your blood work back."

Amazing how one sentence can make a person so nervous. Probably because, since the age of eight, blood work had been a bad sign the majority of the time.

Okay, not true. I've gone for blood work at least once a year (actually, usually exactly once a year) since I was ten and until a few months ago, things had always come back as normal. But the not-good results were fresher in my mind than the good results.

"And?" I asked a little nervously.

Dr. Carroll smiled broadly. "Congratulations."

"I'm sorry? What are you-?"

"Remission."

That one beautiful, shining beacon of a word was all I could focus on – it was a dream. It had to be..."But it's only been five months...before it was 2 and a half years..."

"See for yourself," he said, holding out the folder so I could see. "I wanna see you every month for a little while, got it? Just to be on the safe side."

I don't remember what I did next. The next thing I remember is showing up at the door of Mal's classroom at Clearlake. I knocked and she excused herself quickly, thinking it was some kind of emergency. "What's wrong?" she whispered as she closed the classroom door.

"Mallory, things couldn't be more right."

"What?"

"Dr. Carroll got my blood work back – I'm all clear."

Her eyes slowly grew as big as saucers. "Cured?"

"Not cured, really – but remission. Meaning things'll go back to normal pretty soon."

"Oh my God," she murmured, throwing her arms around me. When she pulled away, she had tears in her eyes.

"Get back to your class," I said with a little smile. "We'll celebrate tonight. I gotta go tell Josh."

"Yes." She nodded very quickly, beaming. Hastily, she dried her tears as she re-entered the room and, as I headed off down the hall, I heard one kid ask "Ms. O'Brian, who was that?"

Maybe one day, she'd answer that question "my husband" – I mean in the future, the fairly distant future. But she certainly has managed to deal with bad times without running away – a definite plus and a little unusual, or so I've found.

I practically ran through the halls of the West Wing – almost like Josh when he's drunk from his keg of glory. Josh was at Donna's desk, doing a lot of pestering, most likely, when I got there.

"Sam, what are ya doin' running like that?"

"I'm fine."

"Would ya stop with-...For five months you've been-"

"No, I mean I'm ACTUALLY fine...Better than fine – good. Great."

"What?"

"Got back my blood work today," I said, bouncing a very little on my feet.

"And if you're that happy..." I could see him mentally piecing it together in his mind. "...That means you're-...?"

"I am," I responded to his questioning eyes, smiling pretty broadly.

His face broke into a million-watt grin. "Dude!"

I had to laugh – only someone like Josh could answer news like that with "dude."

"Well, this calls for celebration – party tonight! My house, I'll invite – who knows?"

"Mallory."

"So tell people!"

"Yes, sir."

"Tonight, 8 o'clock, my house – massive celebration. And..." he lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "If you an' Mall wanna...y'know...in the spare bedroom...I'll distract Leo..."

"Josh!" I rolled my eyes. "I'm going now."

"Great day!"

"Damn straight!"

I headed to my office before going off to tell people. Bright light streamed in through the windows, and when I stood near them, I could feel the warm spring sunshine on my shoulders – like a John Denver song or something. It felt so warm and inviting... //Maybe,// I thought, //we'll sit out on Josh's stoop...Or maybe go over to CJ's and go up to the roof of her building and overlook the city.//

That always gave us a sense of perspective. A sense about the size of the world – for a group of people who rarely saw a world bigger than a television screen in a small office in the White House, sitting on CJ's rooftop had this sense of "Wow...there's all that out there, and that's just what we can SEE..." Which sounds childish, but it's true.

There was also a camaraderie about it – we didn't go up there individually...at least, none of us but CJ to be sure and probably not CJ because when would she have the time to sit up on the roof?

What could be better than sitting on a picnic blanket, overlooking a beautiful city, with the people you care most about in the world, celebrating such a joyous event?

 

 

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