Title: Shoot You Down 

Author: Meghan Reilly 

Email: squirreilly@hotmail.com 

Category: First season finale resolution 

Disclaimer: The West Wing and all of its characters and storylines belong to Aaron Sorkin and NBC. They're not mine. They are lovingly borrowed here with no intent of copyright infringement. 

Summary: Josh visits his therapist after the shooting and opens up. 

Author's Note: Well, I finally took a crack at it. This is my first WW fiction. Even though I've written a lot of fanfic for other TV shows for a long time, I'm still nervous. I hope you like this, and feedback is so incredibly welcomed! ;)

--- Shoot You Down, 1/1 ---

Everyone died tonight.

Not really, no, they didn't. Oh god, I can't even think straight now, and I'm stuttering. How utterly appropriate. I get like this sometimes, when things are actually- I don't know- real. You know. So much of what I do is just so damn *fake*, covering this up, trying to get that out in the open, finding out about the other thing before anyone else in the country does. When I'm working I'm like some kind of machine, like I'm turned off, or something--

Has that ever happened to you? Your brain just shut down and you started working on autopilot? That's actually how I've lived my entire life. My whole life has been running away from things that I can't see but that I know are there. Oh, sorry. Yeah. I didn't mean to get all metaphoric and deep on you there, I know you must deal with that a lot. See, listen, now I'm rambling. God, I need to shut up.

I really shouldn't have called you, and woken you up...I guess I needed someone to try to help me sort this stuff out, and, well, the two people left at the office aren't really the kind of people I could go to for that. I was fine, really, after we got back to the White House, and things were a little calmer. That was, geez, that was only like five hours ago. It's only been five hours since this all happened. Sorry, I know, I'm not supposed to- sorry. Like I said, I really shouldn't have come here-

I just can't get them out of my head. The images of everyone just... falling. I mean, you work with these people every day, and you get close to them, really close to a few of them, and this is your life. You know, because my job doesn't allow me to have a life, and so I make a life at the job. My life was good. I had a good office, a pretty woman serving me coffee and making my appointments, and my best friend right through the door on my right. My life could've been printed on a Hallmark card, really... I mean, if that's how normal lives were and we all lived at our offices, which we don't... ugh, rambling again. What I'm trying to say is, I've never really had a real family before, and I finally had one, and all these people I loved were there. And then some son of a bitch shot them all.

I'm so angry...yeah, I guess it's anger I'm feeling right now. There's a woman I work with, CJ- the one I mentioned before as my best friend- and she's the strongest, smartest, toughest, best person I know. I love her. Tonight, I watched her get shot and fall down next to another one of my best friends, the guy who was trying to protect her. He got shot too. They were both just standing there doing nothing and now they might die.

I was behind a fence when it happened. I went back to get my cellphone, I, uh- I'd left it in the building. I said to her, "I'll be right back," and she said something to me, I don't know, I can't remember. I'm angry about that too, because that might have been the last time I talked to her, and I can't even remember what she said. I went back to get my cellphone.

There was someone screaming first, I think, an agent or someone. They yelled something and they agent next to where I was standing turned and started running. That's when I knew something was wrong, and I turned around to look, and these gunshots started going off. People strated screaming and running. Total chaos. I couldn't get back around the fence because the exit was blocked by all the people running away. I watched CJ and Sam stand there looking, I don't know, confused, I guess. They didn't know what was happening. They didn't know that someone was trying to kill them. Sam turned to CJ and I saw her scream as he got hit and fell back. She reached for him and then she got hit too, and they both just fell to the ground together. I couldn't do anything, I couldn't help them; they were totally alone and I was safe.

A second later someone recognized me standing there and they grabbed me and pushed me down. The shots went on for the longest time. My eyes were closed...all I could see was CJ's face when she saw Sam shot right in front of her. And them falling. You know how people saw that time goes slower in emergency situations? That was totally untrue here. Sam went down, wham, CJ followed, bam. It was all in the space of like a half a second that they got hit and that's what it felt like to me. It got slower only when I played it back in my head, though, and then it was just two people from my make-believe family dying right in front of me again and again and again.

When they finally let me up, I went straight to them. The shots had stopped but people were still running everywhere, and I got knocked around a lot before I got to them. They were just lying together with matching blood on their chests and glass all over them. They looked like they were sleeping. I went down next to Sam and he was awake, actually. He couldn't breathe and there was blood in his mouth, and I was just calling his name again and again, and he looked at me...he just looked at me and said one word. "President".

Dammit, they *died* out there for him-

...sorry. I didn't mean that.

They all died tonight. CJ and Sam and everyone else. I know they really didn't, that Sam's out of surgery and that CJ's vitals are up, and that the rest of the people who were there are fine and busy calming the nation right now. I guess- it wasn't their bodies that died. It was the trust that they held. The trust that they held...that made them not think twice of walking beside the President of the United States. The trust that they clung to that told them that if they did a good enough job, everyone would be happy.

The truth is, that'll never happen. Someone will always be upset. Someone will always disagree, no matter how very right you are. And someone will always be there to shoot you down when they think you're wrong.

That's what I'm having trouble with, I guess. Facing that truth. You see, I had that trust too, and it's the only thing that's kept me going. I know that when I walk back into that building, I'm going to stop stuttering and try to become that machine I told you about earlier, but it's not going to work. I'm afraid of that. They need that machine; the country does, the President does. CJ and Sam do.

But that trust that I had before is missing now. The machine won't run without it, and I think that it might never come back. And I'm afraid-

I'm afraid that the fear replacing it might never go away.

--------- end 1/1 

feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated at squirreilly@hotmail.com 



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