Demons: Part One By Red

Disclaimer: The West Wing, and all its characters belong to Sorkin and NaBisCo. I can wish on every lucky star, offer the best sacrifices of Twinkies and PEZ, and pray for the rest of my life - but Sam will never be mine.

Author's Note: BIG time warnings on this fic. There is a LOT of violence in it and while it's not in every part, I'm still rating this whole thing as a R. You don't like violence? Then don't read this. Consider yourself warned; I don't want anyone coming and whining to me about being offended.

The Potomac Friday, 4:14 AM

The dark before-dawn sky suited Sam Seaborn's mood perfectly as he ran along the paved path, desperately trying to get his mind off his worries and troubles. His breath puffed white in the cold air, blowing around his face and leaving a brief tail over his shoulder. He drove himself hard, challenging his limits in order to afford the peace and relaxation that he would never get from sleep.

Work had been hell. His writing had been off, everything he said came out wrong, and even Josh was fed up with him. Toby snapped at him more than usual, Leo glared and yelled at the slightest provocation and he was sure that if the president weren't so sick from the nasty flu bug he had caught, he too would be on his back. CJ wasn't actively cross with him, but she was avoiding him lest his disfavor rub off on her.

That wasn't the worst of it. Somehow at some point he had yet again said the wrong thing to Mallory, and so he was met with icy indifference in that area and at home only his worsening insomnia and the nightmares that plagued him when he *did* fall asleep kept him company.

So he ran. Each morning he picked a new location where he could run from all the stresses and demons hounding him, where he could push himself nearly to exhaustion until he could go to work and be sure that he wouldn't break down. After all, he was the energetic, upbeat one of the bunch. He couldn't take his problems to the White House. No one there would understand.

Lost in his thoughts, he hardly noticed the beauty of the scenery around him. Nor did he notice that he had picked up a tail. Another burst of speed came to him and he enjoyed the raw feel of cold air in his straining lungs as all thought vanished from his mind.

The birds still slept and very few runners were out this morning, so he had the public path to himself for the most part. The peace and solitude did a lot to ease his mind and relax his body. As he rounded a corner behind some trees, he didn't even notice that he was now completely alone.

A sudden sharp pain erupted into his shoulder and he staggered, his step jerky and his rhythm thrown off. He came to an abrupt stop. Dazedly, his head starting to feel fuzzy, he reached up and pulled a cold metal object from his flesh. Staring down at it, he slowly recognized it as a dart, and when he looked up in utter shock, he finally spotted the other jogger approaching him, a wicked smile on the heavily muscled man's face as he stowed a gun away in a fanny pack.

'Oh Christ' he thought frantically as he dropped to his knees, blinking his eyes hard, trying with all his strength to resist. 'No. This can't be happening. This sort of thing just doesn't happen. Not to me. Not to -'


The West Wing - the Communications Bullpen Monday, 6:45 AM

Pulling his head back out of his friend's office, Josh frowned to himself. Sam was in enough trouble with everyone already *without* adding being late to his rap sheet. Eyebrows bunched together, the Deputy Chief of Staff scanned the milling staffers in the area, searching for the dark-haired speechwriter.

"Looking for Sam?" asked a voice at his elbow. Josh turned his head to glance down at Cathy.

"Yeah. Any clue where the big idiot is now?" he replied somewhat frustrated. With Leo in such a bad mood lately, he wouldn't be surprised if his boss decided to shoot the messenger if he came bearing news of Sam's tardiness. There was a Staff Meeting that the truant Deputy Communication Director was needed at.

Sam's assistant shook her head, munching on a donut she had no doubt filched off of her boss' desk. Josh wondered idly if his friend ever got any of the treats left for him by Mrs. Landingham and the female population of the West Wing. "He hasn't come in yet and he hasn't called. Leo's going to blow his top over this one, isn't he?"

Josh nodded and they shot each other knowing looks. Of all the times for Sam to cut class. "Keep an ice pack around. I wouldn't be inclined to rule out the possibility of him getting his butt kicked for this one."

With a shake of his head, Josh headed back through the halls to the Roosevelt Room where the rest of the Senior Staff waited. Leo and Toby looked up expectantly - albeit sourly - when he entered, and their expressions quickly hardened when they noticed he was alone. CJ just sighed and looked back down at her papers, preparing herself for the coming storm.

"You can't find him?" Leo demanded.

Josh shrugged as he moved to his seat. "Cathy says he hasn't come in yet."

A snort came from Toby's direction. "Has he even bothered to call?" he asked somewhat snidely. Even considering the mood he had been in lately - which was almost worse than Leo's - it seemed he was starting early today.

"Nope." He kept his answers short and direct to fend off any anger that might head his way.

Toby shook his head in exasperation and turned to Leo. "Sometimes I can't help but think of him as one big screw up waiting to happen."

"Toby-" CJ admonished, finally rising to the younger man's defense.

"No. Think about it. Does he ever get anything right without messing things up terribly and making one of us bale him out of trouble?" Silence met his question. "I thought naught."

Josh pursed his lips to keep from retorting and glanced down at the reports in front of him. "Can we just get started now?" he asked.

"Good idea," agreed Mandy, who had up until now remained silent.

END Part One

Nothing more than a teaser I know. But I'm evil that way. And rest assured, favorites like Jed, Danny, Donna, and Mallory WILL be making appearances later on. Probably even Abbey too, because I can't help myself.


Demons - 2


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