TITLE: Of Love and Loss (Working Title)

PART: 1/?

AUTHOR: Kasey

RATING: ESF, PG-13

NOTES: I think I should be named EWWF, ‘cause I’m just an all ‘round evil person who loves TWW…And in this I seem to be partly ESF, partly Evil Mallory - who is tied for fave with Sam - Partly evil Leo…Anyway.  Oh, and eventually there will be a character named Kasey added - wonder where I got that name, eh? - And she belongs to me, wheras the rest of the chars belong to Sorkin et. Al…She’s based heavily upon me at that age, and I’m not entirely opposed with the idea of being buddies with Sam! ::Grins::  So here goes…oh, and feedback is always good, just keep the flames gentle and not burn my hair off with the Elvis Burner! (don’t ask…unless you’re from Mr. Davis’s chemistry class, you wouldn’t possibly get it!)

 

 

Of Love and Loss

 

"Sam? Toby?" Leo stuck his head in the door.

 

"It happened?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"President needs a speech?"

 

"Half hour?"

 

"Got it."

 

"Good." Leo started to leave.  "Oh, and stress the President’s sympathy to the families…Word is a couple are already dead and there’s more at the hospital."

 

"Got it, Leo."

 

"Just making sure.  Sheesh."

 

"Half hour, Leo, don’t worry."

 

~*~*~*~

 

The President hung up his phone, feeling as though he’d aged 10 years in the past ten minutes.  Less was more when it came to information on destruction and devastation and violence.  He considered a moment before walking the few yards to stick his head into Leo’s office.  "Leo, go get Sam then come back here, would you?"

 

"Yes, Sir."  Leo headed off and returned a few minutes later.  "You wanted to see us?"

 

"Sit, both of you," he instructed.  They did.  Leo was trying to read Jed’s expression, Sam looked vaguely worried but probably figured it was some foreign dispute.  "I found out which school it was."

 

"And…?"

 

"Clearlake Elementary," the President said quietly.  Leo stared at him as though he’d grown another head, his jaw hanging, mouth dry.  Sam squeezed his eyes shut and went rigid in his seat.  "I don’t know about Mal specifically…"

 

"Shots at 11:27…She was leading her class back from gym…" Sam whispered.  He’d memorized her schedule awhile back.  His jaw was clenched, his hand balled tightly in fists.  "They have Social Studies at 11:30…lunch at noon…" His knuckles were turning white, his fists shaking inadvertantly.

 

"Toby will finish the speech, there’s a car waiting downstairs to take you two over to the hopsital."

 

Leo looked as though he was gonna say something, then just nodded.  "Sam?" he asked gently.  The young man didn’t move.  "Sam, let’s go."  It took the President gently shaking Sam’s shoulder before Sam snapped out of his trance enough to stand and walk mutely with Leo down the hall to the elevator, then out to the car.

 

They reached the crowded emergency room waiting area and Leo immediately spotted Jenny pacing in an area of about four steps in size.  They made a beeline for her.  "Any news?" Leo asked.

 

"They brought her in…She was shot in the chest…as she told her kids to get down…" Leo hugged her tightly as she cried against his shoulder, and Sam suddenly felt out of place.

 

He found himself wandering down a hallway, and as he passed a trauma room, a flash of reddish hair caught his eye.  He stared in through the doors and had no doubts who it was.  The monitors had been turned off, meaning exactly one thing.

 

"Are you family?"

 

Sam turned to face the doctor who’d asked.  "What?"

 

"Are you family?" she asked again in a gentle voice.

 

"I…yeah," he answered without really thinking.

 

"Do you want to see her?" He nodded.  The doctor led him through the double-doors.  "Take as long as you need.  Does she have more family out in the waiting room?"

 

"Her parents.  Leo and Jenny McGarry."

 

"Okay," she said, starting to leave.  "I’m sorry."

 

Sam walked over to the gurney.  A white sheet had been drawn up to her chin, leaving only her head exposed.  Choking back tears, he whispered "I love you, Mallory," and realized with startling suddenness that it was the first time he’d ever said that to her.  Slowly, gently, he lowered his head and kissed her softly. "…Thy lips are warm," he whispered sadly, like Juliet after waking up to find her lover dead beside her.  He couldn’t stand to be there anymore with the shell of his love.  "Goodbye," he whispered, then turned and left.

 

He passed through the waiting area, where Leo and Jenny were trying to conole each other.  Leo saw him go by.  "Sam, listen -"

 

"I know."

 

"Mallory was -"

 

"I said I know, Leo!" He immediately felt remorseful.  "Leo, I’m sorry, but I…I’ve gotta get outta here."  He dashed out of the emergency room as though the hounds of Hades were at his heels, hailed a cab, and went back to the White House.

 

He walked into his office.  <<"Do you by any chance like opera?">>

 

He looked around.  He’d heard her voice, as clear as day, but it was impossible.  It…It was his office, that was it.  The memories from that room were haunting him.

 

But it was no better anywhere else.  In the communications bullpen, he saw her there in the doorway, her red hair done neatly, wearing the little red dress from when they’d gone to the opera.  And next to the Roosevelt Room, it was the first conversation they’d had.  <<"I’m sorry to be rude, but are you a moron?>>

 

He passed Leo’s door.  <<"You stood there and argued with me…">>  Even in his mind, she sounded slightly amazed.

 

Unable to take anymore, he slid to the floor, eyes squeezed shut, hands clapped over his ears to try and block out her voice, rocking back and forth as he sobbed quietly.

 

~*~*~*~

 

President Bartlet slumped in his chair.  Leo had called, saying he’d put Jenny to bed - she was so distraught.  Jed could only imagine how Sam was as well.  He left the Oval Office and heard a slight gasping sob.  He turned to see Sam huddled against the wall.

 

He sat down beside his young speech writer.  Didn’t speak, didn’t move to comfort him, just sat.  After a little bit, Sam looked up.  "Mr. President! I’m sorry -" He started to scramble to his feet, but the President’s hand on his arm stopped him.  "I’m sorry, sir," he said again, more quietly.

 

"It’s okay.  You should go home."

 

"I can’t, sir."

 

"Oh?  Why not?"

 

"Because I need to try to focus on something other than the…the… And I have a much better chance of doing that here.  So if you’re done with me, sir, I need to go help Toby so you’re not cursing out the shooters on the Press Conference."

 

"Not this time, Sam.  You’re too close to it, you need to go home."

 

"All due respect, Mr. President, but I would really rather stay."

 

The President sighed.  "All right.  But my door’s open any time.  And when you start to try to deal with it, I know of at least a few people around here who’d be willing to help."

 

~*~*~*~

 

Sam returned to his apartment later than usual that night. He’d planned it that way.  It wasn’t as if he’d be falling asleep any time soon.  He saw his answering machine’s flashing red light.  Pressing play, he froze.  "Hey, Sam, it’s me.  My class is at gym, I wasn’t sure if you’d have gone yet ‘cause I know how much your schedule goes haywire sometimes. I was wondering if maybe you’d like to go to dinner tomorrow?  Call me when you get in if I haven’t already talked to you.  Bye!"

 

Hearing the voice of the recently deceased was beyond bizarre and utterly heart-breaking for Sam.  He fell back onto his couch, shaking with a force that rivaled that of an epileptic seizure.

 

He awoke the next day at 2 in the afternoon to a repeated <THUD!> on the door.  Dragging himself from the couch - where he’d assumably passed out the night before from sheer emotional exhaustion - Sam answered the door to find Josh on the other side of it.  "Hey Sam…you look like shit," Josh said in his usual tactful way.  Sam didn’t say anything - he knew he looked horrible, like death warmed over maybe?  He was still wearing his suit from the previous day, and while it had looked nice the day before, it now just looked as though he’d slept in it - and rightfully so.  His hair fell in front of his face, his eyes were red and bloodshot, and his normally smiling, boyish face needed a shave.  "I was sent to come check on you."

 

"By whom?"

 

Josh nearly snickered at the fact that, bad as he was, Sam was still grammatically correct.  "The President, Toby, CJ, Cathy, Leo -"

 

"Leo’s back at work?"

 

"He insisted on coming in for a couple hours."

 

"How is he?"

 

"He looks a little better than you, but still not great."

 

"I should probably…go in there, right?"

 

Josh shrugged.  "If you want.  There’s a bunch of flowers on your desk, I think Leo wants to see you…"

 

"He wants to see me?" Sam looked puzzled.  "Why?"

 

"To be able to talk to someone who’s going through the same thing he is."

 

"Mallory made him strong," Sam blurted out.  "She didn’t even have to say anything, just the fact that she was there…He stopped drinking because he was so afraid of accidentally hurting…"

 

"He’s okay, Sam."

 

"Just…" He sighed.  "Give me fifteen minutes, I’ll head back with you.  C’min, make coffee, whatever, I’ll be back."  Sam headed to his bathroom and turned on the shower after shucking off his suit.  His own voice echoed in his mind this time.  <<"I went to the gym, rode the bike, showered and shaved.  Even got my shoes shined too!  Know why?  I’m going to the Beijing Opera tonight.  I expect it will be excrutiating, but I’m gonna do it anyway.">>

 

Great, he thought, Now it’s my own mind against me.  He thudded his head gently against the tile that covered the wall and silently willed the torturous voices of the past to die…anything so they’d leave him alone.

 

TBC

 

Of Love And Loss - 2

 

 

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