Title: Becoming Known
Author: Toni Harrison
Rating: General
Summary: The thoughts of someone new.
Archive: Definitely...Just give me a yell. :)
Feedback: Yes please to tonibuffs@a... my first fic, would
love any comments!

Authors stuff and nonsense:My first fic this, I'm English so apologies for my appalling spelling and any useless wittering et al! This idea came to me this afternoon at 2.30pm when I was invigilating an assessment. Major thanks has to go to Charlotte for all the encouragement (some people might call it nagging!) :) she's given me in the last few weeks to get this my first ever fic done. And a massive thanks to Charlotte for the wonderful beta and for pointing out that I was talking nonsense with my original venue and lots of other gibberish! Thankyou!


Becoming Known

It had been a long time since she'd felt this sense of nervousness and anticipation. There had been so many phone calls, so much bargaining just for this one opportunity.

From the first time she'd watched an inaguaration and seen Ronald Reagan taking his oath of allegiance, she had worked for these days, she hated to admit and could never have foreseen it this way but every day she felt she was becoming one of *THEM*.

Even the sharp-witted, barbed and acerbic comments sometimes said to her face but more often said as she walked by and said loudly enough to leave her in no doubt of their feelings towards her all because of that decision seemed to be lessening these days. Maybe she was growing immune to it, maybe it was her imagination, maybe it was *that* man once again who was responsible for redeeming her faith in this place.

From the moment, she stood up in fifth grade at school to argue a point during a school debate regarding the second amendment, she had pledged her life to politics, always hoping but never imagining she would some day come to this place. Not for her were the Barbie dolls and worrying about whether brown mascara was more her colour than blue.

People who didn't know her ambition always thought she would be the first one to get married with sixteen children in that "Little House on the Prairie", Living the American dream kind of way. That was what everyone thought anyway but how on earth could they ever know? Never, though, would she have considered that, to her the easy option was never an option.

Sure she had her dalliances and brushes with romance throughout her life and as she laboured from one failed relationship to the next, her mother would phone her to tell her in no uncertain terms what she was doing wrong with her life and that if she wasn't so obsessed with the 'P' word then she would be a happily married woman by now.

It wasn't as though she didn't know the thrill of nervousness as she waited to meet a potential suitor. It could just never feel as good as the first time she had stepped into the shadow of Capitol Hill or get her first glimpse inside the White House. She would never admit to her friends how small it was inside and how it could just have easily been mistaken for any busy office from New York to Kentucky, except of course which other office in the world had *that* office and which other office made the hairs on the back of your neck rise as you told someone for the first time where you worked.

She would never admit to her friends the loneliness and resentment she felt in her first day at the White House. Sure, she expected some measure of hostility because of the one stupid debate admittedly wasn't exactly private and had probably been seen by everyone in Washington alone. But they were supposed to be on the same side.

The feeling of desolation when she got home that night faded to the resignation that she had to go back to that dingy office. Then to be faced with such warmth from the very people she had so resented just hours before, and to realise *that* man had been behind this gesture made her realise that perhaps 'the scum of the earth' as her father had so quaintly named them all those years before weren't too proud. Instead, they could be thoughtful, considerate and could learn to accept someone so different from them, someone with such conflicting views but who had the same goal as them. She admonishes herself again, the other man only the other day advised her not to talk in metaphors and cliches.

*That* man was a person initially she was determined not to try hard with, he seemed decent enough but he was too clever by half and as for that smile, it was obvious he'd used it a thousand times before, she'd seen the pictures and condemned him at the time. Surely she couldn't get along with this man, surely she couldn't work with him, laugh with him, argue with him, agree with him. She was sure *that* man was someone she could never like. But who else wlould have thought of those gestures, offered her a smile, defended her and in the end offered her the first hand of friendship.

Why on earth had she spent the last few days arguing, bargaining and selling her soulall for this one chance and all for *that* man? Why had she spent 5 minutes standing outside a life, ignoring the doors that opened and closed before her. Why now, when all her life she'd been a bright, level-headed person was she getting those butterflies again?

Get in the lift she tells herself and does, smiling at the people to her right who this time smile back when last week they had sniggered. The lift door opens and she steps out, standing stock still again. Her foot won't move even the way she tells them to, she finds herself laughing and moving towards *that* man's office.

She's finally here outside the office and despite herself, smiles as she looks at *that* man's face and *that* man's smile of recognition as he gestures for her to come into his office. *That* man finishes his phone call, standing up to look at her with concern, not disdain, as she remains silent and asks her if anything's wrong. She finally finds her voice.

"If you were not too busy, and I know you are, but in view of the few months past, I want to thank you, though I know it is not entirely you I have to thank in all entirety, and guess what I still can't stop talking in iambic pantameter". *That* man smirks and closes the doors as he asks what she needs.

"Okay, I'll try again, I have been arguing, haggling and selling my soul, which actually my family said I did the moment I stepped into this building but I actually don't think I've done as I'm here to serve my country and I feel I have to do my duty no matter which president I may be serving"

*That* man begins to look worried and asks me if I banged my head on the pipes I have in my office.

"That does it" she says "I have been arguing, haggling and selling my soul for this and to be quite honest with you, I don't know why". She hands over the envelope, crumpled in her nervousness to *that* man and looks with great interest at her shoes as he opens it.

*That* man's expression changes from one of besument as to what this strange and contradictory and yet exciting and attractive could be giving him to one of delight.

"Two box tickets for the D'oyley Cart production of HMS Pinafore at the Kennedy Center tonight!!!" He jumps around from his desk and moves to hug the woman in front of him but stops as she sees her expression change.

She watches as *that* man whom she has spent every waking moment thinking of since he first smiled at her, him, Recording Secretary of the Princeton Gilbert & Sullivan Society, *that* man who helps her to learn the politics of 'the scum of the earth' - The Democratic Party, she silently admonishes herself once again - *that* man who she cannot bring herself to name from fear of what the silent thought of this name would mean in terms of her discretion and determination to prove herself in *this* White House. She watches *that* man move to hug her. Then remembers his name. Him - Sam Seaborn, she mouths to herself and realises she hasn't keeled over and Josiah Bartlett hasn't stepped into this office and told her he realises she's a fraud who cannot talk in proper sentences.

She smiles to herself for the first time since she moved into this office.

TO BE CONTINUED......................



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