Title: Life Uncommon
Authors: Mackenzie and Jess Another Unofficial

Please direct feedback to:
ouiser@iland.net and anotherofficial@hotmail.com
Spoilers:     Let's say all, but with major emphasis on "He Shall, From Time to
                  Time" and "The Women of Qumar"
Disclaimers: We don't 'em, we don't claim to own 'em, don't sue, it'd be pointless.
Notes: We realize that a few events in this story would never happen, but we thought it'd make a hell of
            a story.  Also, this story will deal with several sensitive subject manners, so if you are easily
            offended, it'd probably be best if you just skipped this one.  Another note is that I (Mackenzie)
            had to sort of "rewrite" the Constitution, just so a specific part would work.  No offense is meant.
Props: Jewel for the title.

Part 1
By: Mackenzie and Jess Another Unofficial

Sixteen Hundred Pennsylvania Avenue was a buzz with activity oozing from every crack and crevice.  They were all working on the re-election campaign-commuting to and from Manchester where the campaign headquarters were located, while at the same time, some were working on getting bills passed, some were working on foreign trade policy, some were working on speeches and some, namely CJ, were working on getting the President's message out to the American people.

Ever since the incident with Qumar, CJ couldn't bring herself to utter more than a simple hello to Nancy McNally, Percy Fitzwallace and other National Security personnel.  Qumar has become a word that is not spoken around CJ.  To CJ, everybody treated Qumar like you would treat a certain member of the family that was an embarrassment-shove it out of the way, that way it didn't have to be thought about.

Stopping into her office after a brief meeting with the President, CJ stops when she sees Danny Concannon sitting on the edge of her desk, looking down at Gail.  She sighs softly. "Danny, how is it that my staff just allows you back here?"

"I guess I just have an effect on people."  Danny answered as he reached into adjust Gail's podium. "Listen...  I know this isn't like myself, but I'm reaching out on a limb and am about to disgrace the 'Reporter Hood'. There have been a few rumors floating around that the VP may be in a little trouble." He pulled his hand out of the bowl, satisfied with his work. "Well...  maybe more than a little trouble. It's been said the FBI are investigating his office. Now I don't know, maybe it isn't even him, but I'm just letting you know 'cause your probably going to get some questions about it in the next briefing."

CJ sighed softly as she pulled a tissue out of her tissue box and swipeed up the few drops of water on her desk and then looked at Danny.  "Why are the Feds investigating Hoynes? Come to think of it, why haven't we been informed?"

"Beats me. For all I know, or for all you know, they might not even be investigating Hoynes personally. It's just we both know the press is going to make it look like the Feds are investigating Hoynes. With re-election in the picture and Hoynes on the ticket no good can come from it." Danny slid off the desk heading towards the door. "All I know is that I don't want to lose my favorite Press Secretary."

CJ sighed softly and nodded.  "Okay, I'll look into it.  Thanks for the heads up, Danny."

"No worries CJ.  I'm here to keep the public informed, but I only go for fair game and you needed to know this. I'll see you around." Danny turned and walked out.

CJ sighed softly and ran a hand over her face.  She grabbed a notebook and headed over to Toby's office before her briefing.  She took a deep breath and knocked and poked her head in, "You got a minute?"

"No. Get out. You're wreaking my plan." Toby grumbled as he threw the ball that he'd been bouncing at CJ.

CJ reached up and caught the ball in the palm of her hand.  "There's going to be a thing."

"No..no..no. This isn't part of the plan. The plan that I have written in stone this morning. The plan that clearly states: 'CJ will not come in before her briefing and ask for a minute.' That plan that also states: 'And her request when granted, will not be followed by 'there's going to be a
thing'.' I loved that plan and now you come in here and blow all my work to hell." Toby sighed as he opened his desk drawer to find another
ball. "Okay, now that that's out. What's this 'thing' I'm so destined not to hear?"

CJ stepped further into the room and closed the door and went over and drew the blinds in his office, she sighed softly and as she sat down on the corner of his desk and reached over and took his ball into her hand and rolled it around in her hand.  "Danny Concannon was waiting in my
office for me today, Toby. He got some information from a source.  It seems that the FBI has been spending some time at his home and office."

Toby studied CJ for a second. "CJ, what the hell are you talking about? Whose home and office?"

She sighed and tossed the ball into the trash can as she pushed herself up off his desk.  "Hoynes."

"Hoynes! CJ I knew you where going to wreck my plan but I didn't know you were going to shoot a ICBM clean through it, then gather the ashes and do it again." Toby rolled over to the trash can and picked his ball out. "Did you talk to Leo yet? This is serious CJ. I mean why the hell would the Feds be interested in Hoynes to begin with."

"First of all, Tobias, what's an IBCM?  Secondly, no, I have not been to see Leo, Danny just left my office five minutes ago and lastly, I have no idea why he's being investigated."

"I don't know it's some missile Leo's always talki...That doesn't matter. What the hell? The FBI?" Toby hit his intercom button. "Tell Leo I want to see him in five minutes. I don't care where he is, five minutes." He released his finger from the button. "CJ, Leo's, five minutes."

CJ stood up and slapped her feet together, saluting him.  "Yes, Lord and Master, shall I kneel before you on a cushion?"

Toby pointed toward the door. "Get lost." He scratched out some words on his note pad before ripping the paper and throwing it out. "And it was a good plan Ms. Plan Wrecker."

CJ headed out of the bullpen towards Leo's office, running into Carol on the way over.  She handed her her notebooks.  "Put these on my desk and get Danny in my office, I don't care where he is or what he's working on and he'll stay there till I get back."  That said, she swung a left and headed to the Chief of Staff's office.

Stepping into the outer office, CJ spied Margaret hard at work.  "Margaret, can I go in?"

"Sure, he's doing some paperwork. It's been an easy day." Margaret looked CJ up and down. "You're going to destroy that right now aren't you?"

CJ took a deep breath as she walked in, mumbling, "That's me.  The Destroyer."  She stopped when she saw Leo working at his desk, lightly.  "Hey, Leo."

"Stop right there." Leo didn't even bother looking up. "Unless you're hear to tell me we have just been elected a second term don't continue." He placed his pen down, removed his glasses and looked up at her. "I'm sorry. It's just that you seem to be on a destroying rampage. Toby told
me you destroyed his plan that he has triumphed over this morning and I'm sure you're about to destroy the plan that I stole from him this morning."

CJ sighed in annoyance.  "You know, Leo, I'm getting pretty damn tired of being blamed for doing my job. You hired me to keep this administration on the smooth path and not to get TRASHED by the press.  And I have.  And I've done a pretty damn good job if I say so myself.  When one of my reporters comes to me with a piece of information that could DESTROY us, instead of getting pissed at me for relaying the information and screwing up the path of your day, a 'thank you, CJ' would be a whole hell of a lot better received.  Do you think I enjoy having to tell you this stuff??"

Leo sighed. "No. I apologize. Listen, everyone just letting off a little steam alright. Now, what is this joyous news you come bearing?"

"I'm going to quote your words back to you when it's my turn to let off some steam."  She sighed.  "Danny saw me this morning.  The Vice President is being investigated by the Feds."

Leo moved uncomfortably in his seat. "Close the door." He waited until CJ returned to his desk. "How did you find out?"

CJ went over and closed the door sat down in a visitor's chair across from Leo's desk, speaking softly, "Danny told me.  He says he likes reporting the news, but only when it's fair and he gave me heads up."

"That's good of him. Remind me to send him a fruit basket for Christmas." Leo sat up right in his chair. "I heard a little talk about a Federal Investigation in Hoynes office. But it's not that uncommon. Money is stolen, embezzled. Crimes happen and plenty of evidence comes back to the White House, especially when dealing with interns, press, congressman, pages, and lobbyists. Don't worry about it, if it's something big I will get briefed on it. In the meantime, thank Danny and answer no comment for now."

CJ stood up as she looked her boss in the eye.  "So I shouldn't worry about this then?"

Leo walked CJ to the door. "No. Like I said if it's something big the FBI Director would set up a meeting with me. If something progresses I'll let you know. In the meantime go destroy some more of Toby's Great Stone Plan."

She sighed softly and looked at him.  "It's not like that's the goal I set for myself when I wake up in the morning."

"It's a goal none of us set. Unfortunately it's this type of crap that keeps our world spinning." Leo laughed.

CJ nodded thoughtfully.  "Yeah.  Leo, I'm going to call someone at the FBI. It may be futile, but if we are going to be slammed, I'd rather put on the protective gear now.  Also, I'm going to talk to Hoynes.  Plus, I have Danny back in my office.  I'm going to see if I can juice him for more information"

"Sure. Whatever you want to do to keep your world spinning. Just be sure to keep me updated."

She nodded.  "Yeah, I will.  Thanks, Leo."  She turned and left, giving Margaret a small smile on her way out.  Once in her office, CJ stopped when she saw the redheaded reporter, once again, adjusting Gail's podium in her bowl.  CJ let out a muted sigh.

"You do realize that the more you put your fingers into her bowl, the more dirty her water gets, right?"

Danny looked up and dried his fingers on his pants.  "Yeah, but I don't have to change the water so. . ."
CJ shook her head as she closed her door and went to her desk.  "Thanks for being so considerate of my time, Danny.  I just left Toby and Leo's offices and they are pissed as hell, as am I.  I need to know everything you know and I need it now."

"CJ," Danny said as he sat down in a chair in front of her desk, "I told you everything I know.  I'm not lying here.  Someone told me that a couple of federal agents were seen talking to Hoynes and Hoynes left the OEOB and the Feds were trailing and it appeared they were going to Hoynes' place.  That's all my source gave me."

"Who is your source?"

Danny sighed softly.  "CJ, you know I don't give my sources out.  Come on now, I can lose my job if the paper found out I even gave you a heads up on what's going on.  My editor will be pissed as hell at me for not writing about it first anyway."

CJ nodded as she stood.  "Okay, you are right.  Thanks, Danny."

Danny nodded as he rose to his feet.  "You are welcome.  If I get any more information, I'll seek you out. I'm on your side on this one, CJ.  Keep your head in the game."

That said, Danny left CJ alone in her office to think.

Part 2

Vice President John Hoynes sighed as he watched the agents going through all of his personal affects.  His life had been turned upside down when Tanya Morgan was found dead in his bed and John struggled to figure out how she got that way.

As he watched the feds dig through his stuff, he sat down on a chair.  "This is ridiculous.  You guys won't find anything.  I did not kill that girl."

"I'm sorry sir, but I have my orders." The agent replied.

John stood up, throwing the glass he was holding against the wall, shattering it.  "Your orders are wrong! I am the Vice President of the United States and I am *not* a murderer. Yes, I fucked around on my wife. I'm a bastard in that sense, I take full responsibility for that.  But I *did not* murder that girl.  I have no idea how she ended up dead in my bed, but it was not by my hand!"

"Mr. Vice President, please sit down."

The voice came from out of nowhere.  John turned around and was soon face to face with Ron Butterfield. "It's part of the investigation and you are required by law to co-operate. Failure to do so, will end up with your arrest."

"Required by law?!  You'd better check the Constitution, Ron, because no where does it say that I am subject to invasions like this."

"No, but you, like every other citizen, are subject to a Court Order." Ron pulled a paper from his inside coat pocket and handed it to Hoynes. "Mr. Vice President, if you didn't do anything you have nothing to worry about. So quit interfering in my investigation!"

John took a deep breath and stalked out of the room and headed to his study. Once there, he paced nervously.


Ron Butterfield sighed softly as his eyes roamed the pictures on one wall of the living room of Vice President John Hoynes.  Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think he'd have to be on a team that was investigating the Vice President of the United States.  As his eyes scanned the room, finding the top detectives of the DC Police, he couldn't help but have a sickening feeling deep in the pit of his stomach.

"Excuse me, Agent Butterfield?"

Ron looked up at the officer in front of him and was momentarily shocked at her appearance.  She was young, not much older than 25-if that-and here she was on a major investigation.  They were getting younger every year.

He cleared his throat, "Yeah, what do you got?"

The young officer stepped forward, her hands clad in rubber gloves, holding a broken bottle.  "We found a broken empty bottle of scotch in the closet. There is a dent on the far wall, probably from when the bottle made contact."

Ron sighed softly.  "So it appears that there was a domestic spat as well. Okay, take the bottle to the lab, I want it dusted for fingerprints, hair fibers, any material fibers, everything.  I'm going to contact the President now."

The officer nodded.  "Yes, Sir."

Ron closed his eyes and emitted a soft sigh and took his phone out of his inner coat pocket and dialed some buttons.  "Yeah, Charlie, it's Ron Butterfield.  I need to see him."

Part 3

CJ sighed softly as she pulled the heavy glass door to the Old Executive Office Building open and stepped in.  Smiling wearily at the guard, she took her ID out and showed it to him and walked through the security check point.

Once in the wing which housed the offices of the Vice President, CJ walked straight for the man's private office, stopping when she comes into contact with his private secretary. "Hey, Rita, is he in?"

The middle-aged secretary looked up at the White House Press Secretary. "Good morning, Miss Cregg. No, I'm afraid the Vice President was called away for the afternoon, is there anything I can to do help? Maybe I can call his chief of staff?"

CJ sighs softly as she pinched the bridge of her nose.  "No, no thank you. But if you could leave him a message telling him that I need to speak with him the moment he gets back, I 'd really appreciate it."

Rita nodded helpfully.  "I'll leave it on his desk."

CJ gave her a small smile in thanks and left.


Charlie Young sat at his desk, quickly jotting down a message on a piece of paper. Standing up, he walks over to the doorway and looks down the hall to see if anyone is coming. Once he saw that nobody would be coming in in the next few minutes, Charlie walked into the Oval Office. "Excuse me, Mr. President?"

Jed Bartlet looked up and smiled softly at his aide.  "Yeah, Charlie, what do you need?"

Charlie crossed the room and handed him the message.  "Agent Butterfield is on his way to speak with you."

The President sighed softly and looked at the message and back at Charlie. "Charlie, do you think it's possible CJ has conspired with Ron to wreck such a beautiful day? I'm just asking because I've been informed by a rather humored Leo that she almost drove Toby off the deep end. So when I asked Leo what's going on, he shrugs me off." Bartlet removes the glasses from his face. "It's just that when CJ's on a rampage, Leo shrugs me off and Ron requests a visit, no good usually comes from it."

Charlie suppresses his grin.  "I think, Mr. President, that CJ is just trying to get through her day without doing any bodily harm to anyone."

"I know. I just love a women who stands up to any man, especially Toby. CJ is a member of a great organization called the Sisterhood and we all learned not to mess with it. So be a good aide and never mention to CJ this conversation. When Ron get's here, please send Leo in."

Charlie grins at him.  "Yes, Mr. President."

Charlie heads back to his desk and begins to work.  Within minutes, he hears the President's voice, "Screw it. Charlie, get Leo in here now!"

Charlie rises and walks into the doorway of the office and nods.  "Yes, Mr. President."  That said, he walks back to his desk and picks the phone up and punches a button.  Within minutes, he's connected to Margaret and she relays the message.  A few minutes later, Leo arrives at the Oval Office.  "You wanted to see me, Sir?"

"Is there anything you know that you should let the staff know about, or, more importantly, me? I have this feeling something big is about to come down. CJ's doing some major investigating which could only mean she got a big lead, and now Ron is coming to visit me. What's going on?"

Leo sighs softly.  He goes over and closes all the doors leading into the Oval Office and stands before the President, speaking softly, "I am coming to you as 3 men, Sir.  Your Chief of Staff, your top aide, and your best friend.  The Vice President is being investigated by the FBI.  CJ was told first by Danny Concannon. How he knew, I don't know.  But CJ went and told Toby and then she went and told me and now I'm telling you.  I contacted the head of the FBI to find out what's going on. The Vice President has been having an affair with a Tanya Morgan.  She's 28 years old and from Arlington.  Miss Morgan was found dead in the Vice President's bed by his maid this morning."

"And you didn't think this was something important and that maybe you should've informed me? God Leo, did you lose your memory and ability to speak! We are four weeks from elections and the Vice President may as well be indicted for murder!"

Leo looks him in the eye, his voice raising.  "I understand how you feel, Mr. President, but I wanted to be 100% sure what was going on.  I didn't want to bring you a hunch from Danny Concannon.  But I think that right now you need to start looking for a new candidate for your Vice President."

"Okay." The president walked over to his aide's door. "Charlie, get CJ, Sam, Toby, and Josh in here now." He turned and walked back in. "We aren't a 100% sure yet?"

Leo sighs.  "Not yet."

Charlie pops his head in.  "Mr. President, I've called everybody down, they will be here shortly.  Also, Ron Butterfield is here."

The President nods.  "Thank you, Charlie, go ahead and send Ron in and when everyone else gets here, send them in please."

Charlie nods.  "Yes, Sir."

Ron walks in a moment later.  "Mr. President, I have with me the results of the DNA tests as well as fingerprint analysis."

President Bartlet nods.  "Okay, Ron, I want to wait until everyone gets here.  No sense in having to repeat ourselves.  Have a seat.  Can I get Charlie to get you anything?"

The Secret Service agent sat down.  "No, Sir, thank you."

The President nods and for a few moments the room in silent until the senior staff starts to trickle in.  Once everyone is seated, the President sits down himself.  "Okay, Ron, you may proceed."

"Thank you, Sir." He pauses and sighs softly, "The Vice President's DNA was found on Miss Morgan. She had his skin under her nails and his sperm was found on and around her vaginal area.  Her pubic bone was also severely bruised as well as abnormal tearing indicating that she was raped before being killed."

CJ closes her eyes, softly, "Dear god."

Leo sighs softly.  "Who was the girl?"

Ron confers with his file before sighing softly.  "Her name was Tanya Morgan.  She was the secret mistress of the Vice President's.  We have knowledge that they were having a secret affair for the past 17 months. We have notified Mrs. Hoynes and brought all of this to her attention as well as questioned the Vice President.  He at first denied it all and when we brought up the DNA, he confessed.  Currently, Mr. President, your Vice President is sitting in a cell at the DCPD pending charges of rape and murder."

Jed stood in silence. "Okay. . . keep me posted.  Thanks, Ron." Ron nodded as he took his dismissal.  "I can't believe this. John Hoynes murdered a young girl, John Hoynes! Damn it! What the hell was he thinking?" He slammed his hand on his desk. "We are weeks from election, no Vice President and there is one more family who are a victim of crime. How am I suppose to stand in front of America talking about crime control when I can't even control the crime within my home?!"

Everyone remained quiet while the President vented.  After several minutes, Leo looks at Sam, speaking softly, "I want you to contact Ainsley Hayes.  Let her know what is going on so she can contact the family and help with a civil suit against Hoynes.  Make sure she knows to keep this as quiet as possible."  Sam nods and leaves and then Leo turns to Josh, still in a monotone voice, "I need you to get a copy of the Constitution and contact the Speaker of the House and let him know we are no longer with a Vice President but we are working on something at the moment.  Toby write out a briefing for CJ to give and then give it to me so I can read it first.  CJ, not a word to the press."

Everyone nods and leaves, Leo sighs softly and goes over to where the President stands and puts a hand on his shoulder, softly, "I am sorry, Sir."
Jed just nodded. "I'm going to call the parents and talk to them tonight. We have to win Leo. With the crime in this country I don't want to hear anyone utter the words 'crime...boy I don't know'. We have to stop it Leo. We have to."

Leo nods thoughtfully, after a few moments, he says, "I have no doubt that you can still win this, Sir, however, you need a Vice President.  There is no getting around it, and the last time I spoke with the Speaker, he didn't want to take on the task of the Presidency or Vice Presidency if needed."

Jed shakes his head and paces.  "I can't believe that Daniel Moore wouldn't want a chance at the Presidency or Vice Presidency.  It's his Constitutional right, he's got no choice.  Unless there is a loop hole somewhere."

"There is always a loop hole somewhere, Mr. President."

Jed turned and looked at his Chief of Staff.  "Leo, call the gang.  Get them in here.  We need to prepare ourselves and we need a method of attack if needed."

Leo nodded, "Yes, Sir."


Toby led the way into his office, with CJ, Josh and Sam in tow. The senior staff was silent until they heard the clicking of the door, indicating that they were all safe to, at the moment, speak their minds.

"I just don't believe it." Josh said. "How in the hell could Hoynes be this dumb?  It's bad enough that he screwed around on Mrs. Hoynes, but now this??  How are we ever going to recover from this?"

CJ sighs softly.  "If I were Linda Hoynes, I think I'd pull a Lorena Bobbitt."

The men collectively crossed their legs and Toby sighed softly.  "Okay, I agree.  Hoynes is a shit for doing this to this wife and family and to the President.  But sitting around bitching isn't going to do anything.  We need to figure out how to best address this without further harm to the Administration."

"The constitution will take care of the position for the Vice Presidency at the moment, but we need to think of someone who can replace Hoynes on the ticket this late in the game." Sam added. "We need someone who works well with the President. Someone who can handle the position. Someone who has a military background since Bartlet doesn't. Someone who has a clear record. And unless I'm mistaken I think we all know who could fill this job description." He looked up waiting for an answer.

Josh sits in the corner chair, softly, "He'd make a hell of a leader."

"Who are you guys talking about?" CJ asked looking at Toby to see if he had a clue.

Toby shifted in his seat. "They're talking about Leo."

Josh stands up quickly and paces.  "Think about it.  He's known the President longer than the President has known the First Lady.  He flew planes in Vietnam, got a purple heart. He knows the President inside and out."

Sam took over. "He knows a lot about politics. He could handle any situation if the President wasn't able to. We already cleared his record, by now when someone mentions McGarry and booze they all say who cares. He's proven himself already. Personally, I think he's our only chance."

Josh, softly, "Besides, with the exception of Abbey and the girls, he's the only one who knows the full extent of the President's medical history."

Toby nods, softly, "I think we found our vice President."

CJ agreed. "Now our problem is telling our new vice President."

Josh stops pacing and looks at his friends and colleagues.  "He's been a second father to me for as long as I can remember.  I'll tell him."

There was a knock at the door and everyone silenced as Toby stood up and answered it.  Mutely thanking his assistant, Toby walked back in and opened the folded piece of paper that was handed it him and scanned it before handing it to Josh.  "We'll all tell him.  Leo wants us all to meet with the President in the Oval at 8:00.  I suggest everyone grab a bite to eat now because I have a feeling that we won't have that option later."

Everyone nodded as they stood up and filed out of Toby's office.  Toby sighed softly as he put his head in his hands, wondering how, or worse, if, they will ever recover from this massive blow.

Part 4

By eight, everyone was assembled into the outer area of the Oval Office. They were all silent.  Nobody was quite sure what to say, so instead of saying the wrong thing, they all said nothing.  A few minutes after their arrival, Leo steps out of the Oval Office.

"Guys, you can come in now and take your seats."

Quickly casting glances at each other, the four members of the senior staff stepped into the Oval Office as if they were stepping on glass, careful not to shift the balance of the room.  After exchanging quiet pleasantries with the President, everyone but Josh assembled into their seats.  The President and Leo looked at each other before turning their eyes on the deputy chief of staff.

"Josh?  Is there something you'd like to say?"

Josh looked at his colleagues and back at the President and Leo.  "Mr. President, Leo, earlier today, Toby, Sam, CJ and myself all congregated into Toby's office to discuss the latest goings on.  It is no secret that Daniel Moore does not want the seat of the Vice President.  He's made that crystal clear on a number of occasions.  Being the hard assed lawyers that we are, Sam, Toby and I spent the better part of 3 hours pouring over the Constitution and other pertinent documents to see if there is any-big or small-loopholes that could be found."

The President and Leo glanced at each other and back at Josh.  "And?"

Toby stood up, taking a breath.  "And we found one.  There is a document that was written in 1947 that states if the Vice President or President were involved in a scandal that would result in impeachment, than the Speaker of the House would assume duties.  Now, that is in the Constitution.  The document Josh and I found gives it a clause that if the Speaker does not wish to accept the duty that is handed to him, than
instead of going down the line of succession, the President may hand pick his Vice President.  Incidentally, this document was written at Harvard University by a student who was majoring in law who had a keen interest in politics.  The document is legal, it can be used in court, however the dean of administrations at the time, would not allow the student to send it to Washington to be added into the Constitution.  Lawyers and Congressmen at the time, passed it in the house and it is Constitutional even though it is not a part of the Constitution."  He paused, "If that makes sense."

The President just looked at his Communications Director as if he had grown a second head.  "So, what you are saying, basically, is that I can choose my Vice President because Moore doesn't want it."

"Yes, Sir."

The President sat down, stunned.  "This is intriguing.  And you are sure that I can't get sued over this?"


Jed nodded.  "Okay, then, do you guys have any ideas who I can pick?"

"We have one or two."

"Who?" Leo asked.

CJ quietly hands Josh a hand mirror and Josh goes over to Leo and holds up the mirror to his face.  "What do you think about this guy?"

Leo rolled his eyes.  "What, are you guys drunk?"

Toby goes over to them.  "Leo, think about it.  You've known the President longer than he's known his wife.  You are a military man.  You know the staff.  You are familiar with the Situation Room.  You are a born politician."

"But I was a drunk!" Leo sat back down. "You can't possibly think that the country would elect the President with my name attached after Lillianfield."

Jed stood up and walked over to his staff.  "Leo, they are right. You know they are. It's time to stop hiding behind me, you are a good person and could get a lot done on your own."

CJ glances at the President and then back at Leo, speaking softly, "He's right.  All of your skeletons are out of the closet, Leo.  Everyone knows about your rehab, it is no longer an issue."

Leo sighed. "I don't know. It's just. . . I mean. . .  hell I just don't know." Leo smiled to himself. "Why the hell not? If everyone is comfortable with the fact we have nothing to lose, why not?"

Josh grins a little.  "Can I call the Speaker then and tell him we've got a new VP?"

"We have a new candidate Josh." Leo added.

Josh smiles and hugs him.  "You are going to do great things."

"I hope." Leo hugged him back.

Jed came over and hugged him, "You are going to be fine, my friend."

Leo pulled back and smiled at the rest of the group. "Alright, everyone listen we need to get into gear, we have damage control. Tomorrow the story's going to leak. Josh, have Joey set us up with some polls. Sam, Toby, get a statement prepared for me, I have a little speech to give."

Josh claps Leo on the back of his shoulder and heads to his office.  Sam grins at Toby who looks at Leo and smiles softly, he extends his hand, "It will be an honor, Mr. Vice President."

"Okay. Get to work."  Everyone left the room, each having a bounce to their step that represented that things were starting to get a little brighter.  Leo looked at his best friend. "Well Sir, what do you think?"

The President grins at him.  "I think we are going to kick some Republican ass."

A few weeks later after the public has been made aware of Hoynes, Toby and Sam draft a speech for Leo announcing his run.  Leo spends the time that the speech is being written pacing his office, snapping at Mallory and once making Margaret cry.  Finally the day arrives.

On the day that will change his life forever, Leo steps into the briefing room and looks at the faces of the White House press corps.  He takes a deep breath and is shocked when he sees his hands shaking.  He glances up at the back of the room and smiles softly when he sees the President, First Lady, CJ, Toby, Sam and Josh standing on the rim of the room. 
Clearing his throat, he begins, "Good morning.  As most of you, if not all of you, are aware of by now, John Hoynes has been arrested for the murder of Tanya Morgan. To say that this comes as a shock to this administration is a gross understatement.  Not only are we devastated with shock, we are sickened with humiliation.  After several meetings, several very long meetings I might add, I, along with the help of my nearest and dearest friends and family, have decided to accept the office of the Vice Presidency offered to me by incumbent Jed Bartlet, when or if he is re-elected to the office of the Presidency.  Our staffs assure me that this is the right step to take and I know in my heart that it is."  He pauses and then continues, "It is the worst kept secret in Washington that I am a recovering alcoholic.  But I want to assure the American people that I have not had a drink in 8 years, I will not have one today, nor will I have one tomorrow.  I am a very lucky man to have the support system that I do.  I want the American public to know that I will work my hardest with this President to further better this nation.  I believe in my heart that America is the greatest country on god's green earth, and my goal, as Vice President, is to ensure that it keeps getting better.  Thank you all very much."  That said, Leo smiles softly and nods his head once and turns and walks out of the room, his head held high.

CJ, Toby, Sam, Josh, Jed and Abbey met Leo as he round the corner. Before even having a chance to escape, Jed gave Leo a hug. The staff including the First Lady stood a respectable distance watching the scene unfold. They couldn't help but smile at the scene. They weren't watching the two most powerful men in the world but rather two good friends.

Jed stepped aside, signaling to the staff he had said what he wanted to say in private. Josh was the first to reach Leo, putting his hand out to shake Leo's hand. "We're going to do it." He whispered as he pulled Leo into a semi-hug. "We're going to do it." He repeated while pulling away.

Leo smiles softly as he hugs the man he's grown to love as a son, he pulls back and cups Josh's face with his hands and smiles at him, "Don't ever forget that you are like a son to me, Josh."

Josh blinked several times to hold the tears back. "Thanks Leo." He took a stand behind Leo with one hand on his back. "Okay. Let's get some Welch's's white grape juice, we have an occasion to celebrate. This time we get the Dooby Brothers." There was a collective groan from the group.

Leo shakes his head.  "No Dooby Brothers, Josh.  I had to live through Mallory's love of them, posters on every wall.  I won't go through it again."

"This from the man who was born at 55." Leo was the only one to laugh at Jed's remark, while the others stood dumbfound.  Jed cleared his throat and glanced at his watch. "It's 7:30 let's call it a day and head to the residence for a 'new vice President' party."

Leo can't help but laugh.  "Watch, we'll all get settled down and we'll be called to the Situation Room."

There was a collective shudder as the world's left Leo's mouth. "So help me Leo, if you jinx it, there will be hell to pay." Abbey was in his face.

Leo grins at the First Lady and one of his dearest friends.  "You know, Abbey, the President is right.  You are more beautiful when you are threatening."

"A woman is like a tea bag. You don't know how strong it is until it gets into hot water.  Or in your case when you get my husband in hot water. "

"Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt are we Abigail?" Jed smiled at the staff who where beginning to become antsy. "Come on. Let's head home."

Leo laughs and takes both the President and First Lady's hands, grateful for his friends.  The staff filters out and CJ lags behind.  She stops on the West portico and looks up at the constellations in the sky and lets out a cool stream of air between her lips.  As she studies Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, she closes her eyes and says a silent prayer for a smooth road ahead.

Lost in thought, CJ hears for Josh calling her to hurry up and she opens her eyes and quickly falls into step.

The trip to the residence was exhilarating for some. Few actually took the back route to the residence. It was there for the Presidents use and those who were lucky enough to travel with him. It was one of those awe-inspiring moments.

They passed several security check-points, and Secret Service agents, giving the staff a new perspective on how safe home has to be.

Jed opened the doors for the staff. Giving the agents a slight nod as they rose from there seats in respect for both Jed, Abbey and Leo. "Take a seat guys. I'll have some pizza's brought up. Take your shoes off, spread out, this is extremely informal." Jed picked up the phone as Abbey
led the group into the main room.

CJ reaches down and removes her pumps as she sits down, rubbing a hand over her calloused heel, groaning in satisfaction.

Josh heads over to the fireplace to observe the photographs that rest on the mantle--glimpses into the past involving his President, friends, moments in time that will only relive on paper.  Emitting a soft sigh, he allowed his mind to wander as he thought about what was yet to come.

"That was a well written statement." Toby said as he sat down next to Sam. "You did a good job. I was able to spot smiles forming on the reporter's faces."

"Toby's right. It was well written." Abbey agreed as she took a seat next to CJ. "It made us all proud, Sammy boy."

Sam looked at his mentor, sincerely, "Everything I learned when it comes to speech writing, Toby, I learned from you.  Thank you."

Toby laughed. "No need to kiss my ass. I'm never going to fire you. I sometimes am frustrated with you, what to pummel you with rubber balls, and I'll admit even jealous, but I'll never fire you. That is unless you accidentally sleep with another prostitute, then I will not only fire your ass but I'll probably kick it too." The room giggled at Toby's little speech, but mainly they laughed at Sam's pretend horror stricken face.

Sam looks down at his hands, softly, "A man tries to pay his boss a compliment and tell him that he respects him and he's made fun of."  Sighing softly, he pushes himself off the couch and heads over to the bookshelves.

CJ glares at Toby and smacks him upside his head.  "Fix that."

"I didn't know he was going to take it seriously. I was just having a little fun with his mind." Toby sighed. "I'll be right back." He walked over to Sam, slowly approaching him and placing a hand on his shoulder. "Hey what's the matter? Usually you don't mind my jocularity. Come on give. You've been rather quiet this evening."

Sam flinched involuntarily at Toby's touch and sighed softly.  "Leo's previous battles, and even Hoynes' problems, won't be the downfall of this administration."

"Sam, what are you talking about? We are going to be fine." Toby started to become concerned with Sam's behavior.

Sam shakes his head no and turns to face Toby, his voice deathly soft, "Toby.  I will be the downfall of this administration."

Toby was taken back by Sam's behavior. It wasn't Sam to show this kinda of fear, and nervousness. Sam was a self-determined, self-made man. "Sam? Should we go talk outside?"

Sam glances around the room and sees everyone is doing other things, he clears this throat and nods.

Toby put his hand on Sam's shoulder leading him out onto the portico. With the door safely clicking shut behind him what was said now would be shared between themselves, the sky and about a half dozen Secret Service agents sworn to secrecy. "Sam what's going on? Are you alright?
You're scaring me."

"Toby," Sam looked everywhere but at the man who was before him, in a voice that was inaudible, "I'm gay."

Toby at first didn't say anything. He didn't know what to say, and for the President's speech writer it almost seemed impossible. Toby had never be confronted with such a situation in his life. This was Sam, the man he thought of as a younger brother, a good friend, a colleague and he was telling him something no one else knows, a secret he found necessary to hide from the world. It puzzled Toby, why now? "Sam. I...I don't
know what to say really. I'm....kinda at a loss, why didn't you tell me before? Did you think I'd be upset? Sam, I could of been there for you. You know me better than that. It doesn't matter to me, and there is a room full of people in there who love you and think the same thing." Toby
stepped forward embracing Sam. He was proud of Sam, it just proved Sam's honest intentions and loyalty to his friends. "Excuse me if this
is inappropriate, I don't really know how to ask it, but....How long have you known?"

Sam stiffened in numbness as Toby's arms went around him.  As he stood there, numb with the shock of such an intimate gesture from a man who had a reputation for being a grouch, Sam blinked back the tears. Once Toby pulled away, Sam took a step back, his eyes still on his friend, his mind grappling with the words spoken to him only moments ago.  Swallowing a cry, Sam spoke, his voice just above a hoarse whisper, "I figured it out when I was 11.  I was away at summer camp in Northern California.  There were two boys there, my age, and everyone kind of knew."  He took a slow breath as he walked over to a bench pushed up against the House.  "I was walking through the redwoods one day, I had some time to myself, and I came upon the two boys and they were. . ." he looked up at Toby, "You know.  And a part of me screamed to run as far away as I could, but another part of me was intrigued.  It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion, Toby, you knew it was wrong and sick, but you couldn't help but watch the scene unfold.  And as I watched I felt things happen to my body, things I had never experienced before.  It was then that the camp counselor found me and called my name out to let me know I was needed at camp.  But Toby, I never forgot the feeling I had stumbling upon that scene.  The following summer, I had re-enacted that scene with a fellow camper.  We were lovers for fifteen years before Kevin died."

Toby winced as Sam said the last part. "It must have been hard. I mean...I can't relate...but I know it had to have been hard. What about Lisa and the...you know..uh...the prostitute." Toby stiffiled a laugh. "I'm sorry Sam, but I can't help but picture your scared face when you had to come and tell me. You must think I'm a real boar if your face is any indication of the level of fear you're experiencing."

"I loved Lisa, I did, and I suppose that a part of me will always love her, but I didn't love her the way a man should love a woman.  And she knew.  And I proposed to her because we both knew that Washington had a very hard time accepting gay politicians.  As for Laurie, well, she was, as much as I hate saying this, a product of too much alcohol."

"Is this something you wish to share with the rest of the group yet? I'm mean if you aren't ready don't sweat it. " Toby placed a hand on Sam's arm. "Don't worry about DC Sam. We aren't just here to protect the President, we are here for friends too."

Sam looked at the hand on his arm and looked up at the owner, softly, "Thank you for that."  He sighs as he rises to his feet.  "I don't know how to tell them yet.  I think I need some time."

Toby nodded. "What do you say we join the group with there glasses of fine grape juice in toasting our soon to be electees?"

Sam can't help but smile softly.  "Sounds good.  And Toby, thank you."

"That's what friends are for, and I was only joking before, I'd never fire you." Toby opened the door allowing Sam to pass through first.

He laughs, teasingly, "Oh good, then I think I just might call up Laurie." He winks at him.

Jed looks up and sees his Communications Director and his deputy enter the room.  "There you two are, I was beginning to get insulted."

"Mr. President, no one on this earth would purposely insult you. I must say you have an excellent home." Toby pointed out. "Excellent fixtures, beautiful use of paint, 8 inch baseboards and striking coping around the door frame. I must say the oak was a magnificent touch." The group seemed to stare at him as if his head exploded. "I enjoy Bob Vila and New Yankee Workshop." He returned to his seat adjacent to CJ and Abbey.

CJ just continued to look at him, amused, "You are a nerd, Pokey."

"I was an informed child Ms. Cregg." Toby accepted the last glass of grape juice that Josh handed out, turning the floor to the President.

CJ continues to smirk at him.  "Bob Vila, Julia Child, the New Yankee Workshop, Sesame Street.  Do you have any other secrets for us?"

Jed smiles softly at the site of his staff teasing each other.  "Okay, you two, cut it out."

"Yeah you guys are wrecking more havoc than I've caused the entire year." Josh spoke up opening himself up to flying pillows.

"Alright you guys knock it off. I'm actually going to say something here." Jed paused. "And I'm going to pretend I didn't see the sideway horrified glances.  But to put all this nonsense aside for a moment." He stopped to take a breath. "As you know some five years ago Leo hunted me down and somehow through ways unexplainable convinced me I'd make a good President. Within weeks I was on the democratic ticket and he began to look for staffers. Now, as you all know I can be a pain in the ass, and I know you all wanted to quit one time or another, but this insensible person thought it best to scream at me then continue with his work. And around and around we went, I needed Leo to keep things going. He was there for me time and time again, showing up, having faith in me, all the while getting me elected. I'll admit I didn't think there was a chance in hell for me to get here, but once again Leo proved me wrong by hiring the greatest staff a person could ask for. I love you guys, I really do, and I'm not saying it in a boss/employee relationship, but as a member of my family. And it seems to me, whether you like it or not, you have inherited some of Leo's traits. Now four years later we are about to embark on  another challenge, getting both myself and my chief of staff elected as President and vice President. In about one months time Leo is going to bang on one of your doors and want to pummel someone's ass with a baseball bat, and when the time comes you'll know why. So as I stand here today, truly surrounded by the greatest of country men and women I want to thank you, for what you've done for me and for what you'll do for Leo. And we will show the World a truly awe-inspiring White House."

Sam sits back, allowing the words to sink in.  After a few minutes of silence, he looks at Toby and then at the President, softly, "Mr. President, I would like to say something."

"Sure Sam." Jed took a few steps to the side, leaning against the wall as he allowed Sam the center of the room.

"I, um," he laughs softly to himself.  "This is ridiculous.  I'm a speech writer, yet I can't put my thoughts into words."  He takes a deep breath and decides to jump in with both feet. "I'm gay."

The room seemed to go quiet. Sam broke the silence, addressing Toby, "This seems to be a common reaction."

"You knew?" CJ asked Toby.

Before Toby had a chance to answer, Sam took it as his duty to answer questions. "No, CJ. I only told him about 20 minutes prior to this."

Josh looks at Sam stunned, his voice soft, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"It isn't something I'm good at talking about. As I'm sure the President can relate, it was private. I didn't want to many people to know. My family didn't except it too well, and I didn't want my friends to react the same."

Josh finishes his drink and sets it on the table.  "Sam," he walks over to his friend and puts a hand on his shoulder, "You are my best friend.  You are a hell of a friend,  a hell of a lawyer, a hell of a politician, and a hell of a man.  I don't give a rat's ass what your sexual preference is. That doesn't matter to me.  You are still my best friend."

"Sam, you know us, and we know you. It's Sam Seaborn we love and nothing would change that." Leo spoke up.

"I agree Sam we could've been there for you." Jed added. "You shouldn't have had to keep yourself a secret to us for what we might think."

Sam looks at all of them, tears in his eyes, he chokes back a lump.  "I love you all.  Thank you."

CJ got up and gave him a hug. Leading him back to the couch for him to sit between herself and Abbey.

There was a knock at the door. Being closest Jed answered to find Donnie, one of the members of his detail, behind it. There was some small exchange of conversation before Jed returned with three pizza boxes. "You guys hungry?"

Part 5

A few months after the Vice President's arrest and subsequent conviction of the murder of Tanya Morgan, Josh comes into the White House with large boxes under both his arms.  He sees Donna walking down the hall and gives her a whistle to get her to come over to him.  He opens one arm a little so she can get the box out from under it.  "Help me out here, will ya?"

"Josh what is all this? Did you finally decided to move in? Cause I was just joking when I suggest it." She grabbed one of the boxes before he dropped it.

Josh rolled his eyes.  "So funny, Norma Rae.  No, these are surprises for everyone to help them get into better spirits.  I have a meeting with the President,"  he checks his watch, dropping the other box.  He sighs as he squats down to pick it up.  "Now.  Help me take these to the Oval Office."

Donna uses her knee to shift the weight of the box as she runs after Josh. "Are you going to tell me what's up or are you going to keep me in suspense?"

Josh turns around, walking backwards, as he talks to her.  "I'm keeping you in suspense, Donnatella, because that's what I am. . . a suspenseful man.  I am a man of mystery. Nobody knows what is in these boxes until after I show the President and Leo first.  And also," he pauses for effect, "I rigged your box so you can't open it."

"Who are you Austin Powers?" She giggled. "Josh Lyman International Man of Mystery." She looks at the box. "I wouldn't call that rigging, looks to me like you just had fun with the tape dispenser. Oh Josh watch out!"

"Huh?"  Before he can turn back around, he runs smack dab into a column, dropping his box again.  He glared at her.  "You could have warned me sooner.  Just for that, you are fired."  He again squats to pick the box up and then looks up at her, a grin on his face.  "You just like seeing me down here like this.  Gives you an idea of Little Josh."

"Oh please." She rolled her eyes. "What is it with every guy thinking that's all we care about? I can tell you there is no way Little Josh is more impressive than Little Joe's or Little Randy's. They are all the same." She looks at the box he's carrying. "I hope your surprise isn't fragile."

He looks wounded as he stands up.  "That hurt, Donna.  That really hurt." He hikes his box back up under his arm.  "Come on, let's go."

They quickly head to the Oval Office and are allowed in and Josh sets the box on the meeting table in the Office and takes the one Donna is carrying and sets it on top of it and then looks at Donna, softly, "Ok, you can go back to your desk now, thanks."  Donna nodded quietly and left.

Josh turned his attention to Leo and the President.  "Good morning, Mr. President.  Good morning, Leo."

The President sips his coffee, eyeing the boxes.  "What do you have there, Josh?"

Josh grins at him.  "I'm waiting for Leo to greet me, Sir."

"Morning Josh." Leo grumbled. He was reading over a speech that Sam wrote for him.

"Don't worry about Mr. Grumpy Pants over there. He's finally understanding how hard preparing for a speech is." The president smiled.

Leo reached out and sipped his coffee, his eyes never leaving his paper. "It isn't hard to prepare for a speech.  That's not what I am doing.  The Times crossword is particularly difficult this morning.  I can give a speech with my eyes closed."

Jed rolled his eyes and gestured his coffee mug towards the box. "So, what's in the box?"

Josh takes a breath.  "Sir, I hope that I wasn't over stepping my boundaries here. . ."

Leo sighs softly, moaning, "Oh god."

Josh ignores him.  "As I was saying, I hope I wasn't overstepping my boundaries here, but I thought we could all use some mood adjustments lately given what happened with John Hoynes.  So, I enlisted the help of my friends who own their own publishing and printing firms, and had  these made up."  He lifts the lids of the boxes up to show Bartlet/McGarry campaign posters, buttons, flyers, pamphlets and t-shirts.  "These are a limited number here, 5 different designs.  You guys need to pick one and I'll get everything set up."

"Really?" Jed came closer slipping a hand into the box. "Oh I like these." He pulled out a campaign poster with "Bartlet/McGarry for America" written boldly across the poster. "Leo what do you think?"

Leo looked over his glasses. "They are very nice sir." He said seriously.

"Bet you though you'd never see the day. When both out names were together and we'd be running together." Bartlet continued to rummage through the box.

Leo set the speech down and walked over and looked though the box with him. He found a poster of an American flag with different landmarks that defined America with Bartlet/McGarry for America splayed across.  "I like this one."

Josh stood off to the side watching as the two men picked out a poster. It was a meaningless task, but for some reason Josh enjoyed watching it unfold. It was the first time McGarry showed a real, enthusiastic ambition towards the campaign.

McGarry's laugh broke his though. "Josh can your friends spell? 'Bartel'?"

Jed laughed along with him. "I like this one." It was a simple transparent American flag with the White House visible underneath it. It had both names written in bright white and 'four more years' added on the bottom.

Josh could feel his eyes roll about Leo's remark as Leo leaned over Jed's shoulder and looked at the poster and then he looked at his dear old friend, a crooked grin on his face.  "I believe we have found our design."

Jed grinned and clapped his shoulder.  "Josh, my man, print this off. Check with CJ to see how many copies we need of everything and we'll enlist in some aides to distribute them throughout the country." Bartlet handed the poster to Josh, looking up into the younger man's eyes. "Thank you, Josh."

It surprised Josh at how he felt his chest swell up in pride under the satisfied look of the most powerful man in the world.  He gave him a genuine smile, "You're more than welcome, Sir." Josh gathered the boxes and began to leave.

"By the way, " McGarry spoke up. "Thanks Josh, it did help."

Josh smiled softly and set the boxes down and walked over to Leo.  "We are all right you know, you will do great things.  You have done great things and you will do more.  There isn't a man more suited for the job of Vice Presidency than you.  Even when you came and pulled me off of Hoynes campaign, telling me that he," he cocked his head in the President's direction, "was the real thing, in the back of my mind and heart, I knew you belonged in the office of the Vice President."

Leo looked at the man he regarded as a son as he felt the tears well up in his eyes.  He reached out and gave Josh a healthy hug before pulling back and clearing his throat, turning his eyes elsewhere.  "Go check with CJ."

Josh nodded and smiled softly as he left.  The President watched the Deputy Chief of Staff leave and smiled softly as he put a hand on Leo's shoulder, his voice soft, "Leo, I may have to steal him for my chief of staff."

Part 6

It wasn't a coincidence that not long after McGarry's acceptance to the ticket that the polls began to climb in favor of  Bartlet. McGarry's acceptance to the Democratic party was smoother than the Senior Staff could've hoped for, and the acceptance from the country was even more gasifying. Now all they had to do was wait. The campaign was over with, and all their hard work would be graded in the next few hours as they waited for the results to pour in.

They were stationed in the residence, waiting. The president was making a few last calls in his study with Leo as the Senior Staff was pilled in the living room, voices chattering into and over cell phones.  Josh had an open line to Joey Lucas and Kenny Thurmond, giving them both the orders to call if anything happened out of their favor.   Security was high as assistants wandered in and about the room passing out information to the Senior Staff. Then the clock wound down and nothing could be done. Nothing but wait and listen. Most of the assistants have left to watch the results in the West Wing, while the Senior Staff grabbed a seat in anticipation.

In a corner of the room, Leo shushed Margaret out of the room, telling her the sight of her made him nervous.  Margaret only smiled softly, knowing full well that it wasn't the sight of her that made him nervous, but the reality of what was soon to happen finally settling in.  He sat nervously in his chair as his knee bounced, a nervous tick that he had never before noticed, but found it was soon starting to become annoying, trying his hardest to stop it, but failing miserably.

Jed watched him from across the room and made his way over, smiling at everyone who was in his way. He sat down next to him, handing him a non-alcoholic beverage, his voice soft, "Leo, you need to calm down."

Leo gratefully took the drink, taking a healthy swig of it, and then looked at him, "You're not nervous?"

"I'm way past that. I'm in denial that this is happening again. It's the only way I can get through this." Jed smiled.

"Josh! Sit down now!" CJ called from the couch. "I can't see the TV."

The President and Leo's attention quickly shifted to the large screened TV that was stationed in the middle of the room, both rising to their feet as the familiar music and graphics of breaking news appeared.

Josh quickly sat down, throwing CJ a glare.  Toby jumped up and turned the TV up loud enough for everyone to hear as Ashleigh Banfield sat at the anchor desk of MSNBC news.

Ashleigh adjusted her famed glasses and looked into the camera.  "Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. The polls have been closed throughout the country for roughly four hours now.  Please understand that isn't nearly enough time to count all the votes in every district in the country, but the votes we have counted, indicate this:

Bartlet/McGarry:  305,207 votes
Governor Patrick Ritchie of Florida:  27,330 votes.

We will keep you updated throughout the night."

The room erupted in cheers as Jed and Leo both jumped at the results, embracing each other as the news was heard.
Jed turned to his wife pulling her into a kiss. "Honey I love you."

"I love you too. I have to admit, I think you and Leo will do a good job." Abbey smiled.  She gave him another kiss.

On the other side of the room, the staff along with Leo, were busy literally dancing with joy. Bartlet laughed. "Yep honey, there the greatest people you could hope to work with."

Josh grins as he takes a CD out of his pocket and puts it on, within seconds The Doobey Brothers are playing.  "Now this is a real party!"

Toby groans as he refills his drink, muttering, "Kill me now."

"No Toby not until you right the President's and Leo's acceptance speech." Josh remarked with a smirk.

"Yeah Toby, you don't want to leave me with all the work." Sam joked.

Several hours later, after many calls to and from Joey Lucas throughout the night, and even a stunning call wishing good luck from John Hoynes, CJ's voice could be heard blasting through the room.  "Sshhhhh. There about to announce some more polls."

Toby turns the TV up again so they can hear Rick Sanchez on the news.  "This is Rick Sanchez for MSNBC news, reporting live from Los Angeles, California, where we are just getting word that the incumbent, President Bartlet and new Vice Presidential Candidate Leo Thomas McGarry, are still dominating the polls carrying well over 700,000 of the votes while Governor Ritchie of Florida owns a little
over 200,000.  We'll keep you updated through the night."

"Who the hell are these people??  Rick Sanchez?  Ashleigh Banfield?  John Elliott?  Alex Witt?  Get me some familiar faces.  I want to see Dan Rather, Connie Chung, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings."  Leo shouted at an aide.

The aide cowered under his loud voice, stammering, "I'm sorry, Sir, this is MSNBC, it's. . ."

"I don't care what channel this is, put it on NBC or CNN or something."

The aide nodded and quickly did as he was told as Leo looked about the room sucking in another deep breath, softly, "I can't believe this is really going to happen." Leo mumbled in disbelief, as he made his way towards the First Lady. "I mean this is really happening. Now."

"Relax Leo you're going to do an excellent job." Abbey gave him a reassuring hug.

"Yeah Leo, you're going to do an awesome job." Sam added.

The President, who had remained quiet up until this moment, cleared his throat.

"Ahh...You to sir." Sam added quickly.

The President rolled his eyes.  "Gee, Sam, you really think so?  I mean, I'm not all that sure."

Abbey rolled her eyes at her husband's remark.  "Oh put a sock in it, Jethro."

"I can't help it if they didn't recognize they are in the presence of greatness." Jed laughed.

"No we were quite aware Leo was in the room." Toby joked.

"I can fire you." Jed warned.

"Not before I write your speech you won't." Toby countered.

"Damn. Then I guess I'll have to keep you." Jed remarked.

Everyone laughed softly.  Ginger, in a rare moment of orneriness, casually sipped her wine.  "Oh I don't know, I think it would be a little comical to see the President write his own acceptance speech.  I would like to count all of the Notre Dame references."

Everyone stopped and looked at her in surprise and Ginger blushed as red as her wine, which Toby reached over and took out of her hand and set aside and looked at his assistant, a twinkle of amusement in his eyes.  "I think you've had enough of that, don't you?" Ginger nodded quietly.

Sam laughed softly and looked around, "Where's CJ?"

CJ spoke from behind Sam, causing him to jump, "Right here."

Sam sighed softly, "You should wear a bell around your neck."

Leo laughed hard from across the room, "That's what I've been telling her!"

The Press Secretary just rolled her eyes and looked at Sam, "What do you want, Sammy Boy?"

"Numbers.  Where were you anyway?"

CJ glared at him, her voice laced in annoyance, "I was in the bathroom, Sam, and by the way, did you know that toilets up here don't swirl but rather just suck it straight down like an airplane?" CJ asked Sam as she walked back into the room.

"I didn't care to know, but now that I do that's just gross that you watched it." Sam replied.

"Haha very funny. Anybody here thought to pay attention to the news? Cause I hear there's an election happening the same night as this party." CJ took her seat next to Josh.

Josh looked at CJ, teasingly, "You watched your. . ." he made a gesture with his hand, "go down the toilet? And you wonder why you can't get a man."

Donna reached over and smacked him upside the head as Toby picked his cellphone up and dialed a number.  After having a short conversation, he hung up and let out a shrill whistle to get attention.  "Just so everyone knows. . . We are still kicking ass."

"Excellent." Jed clasped his hands together. He slowly began to walk around the room.

"So we are still in the lead?" CJ asked.

"Yeah." Toby answered.

"Not just in California though." Josh stated.

"No, that's the present total."

"How about electoral votes?" Sam asked.

"No word yet. I don't think they've gotten that far." Toby answered.

"Mr. President what are you doing?" Leo asked next, interrupting the conversation.

"Huh?" The president stopped. "Oh, ah...I..ah..."

"You finally nervous?" Leo asked.

"Oh God yeah." He replied uneasily.

Abbey gazed at her husband a few minutes and noticed his hands shaking a little, she walked over and took his hand in hers and kissed it softly and led him out the room for a moment and looked at him, her voice soft, "Try not to get too nervous, Jed.  Nervousness brings on stress and we both know what stress leads to.  Tonight would not be a good night to have an attack.  Just relax and enjoy the night, sweetie.  You've got this thing in the bag."

"I know, but I'm getting that feeling again. The one I haven't gotten since the first year in office. I want to leave her having done something, and I may get the chance yet, but I don't want to blow it. Not to mention I'm nervous as hell for Leo. He's never done this before, I don't want him to be let down." Jed admitted.

"Jed, you have accomplished a hell of a lot in four years.  You got Mendoza on the bench, we aren't fighting a war, the economy is strong, you and your staff have passed countless bills, don't sell yourself short honey, and remember that Leo wouldn't have done this if he didn't think he couldn't do it."

Donna is sent out by Josh to get the President and First Lady, she timidly sticks her head out, her voice soft, "Excuse me, Sir, Ma'am, but Josh said the final numbers are coming in now."

Abbey smiled at Donna.  "Thank you, Donna, we'll be in in a moment."

Donna nodded and smiled softly and went back in while Abbey looked at her husband fondly and reached for his hand.  "Come on.  Let's go watch."

"They're coming. They're coming." Josh was practically jumping up and down.

"Don't break the President's furniture Josh." Sam said. "Take a seat."

Leo was standing near the back of the group, waiting anxiously. Each time he exhaled it seemed to shake his entire body, he'd never been so nervous. Jed spotted him and stood next to him putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Everybody shut up!" Toby yelled.

Zoey, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Annie and Mallory sneak in unnoticed, each finding a way to be here for her father's special night.

Abbey squeezes both Jed and Leo's hands as Dan Rather looks up into the camera.  "Good evening.  At this time, we are prepared to call the election to incumbent President Josiah Bartlet and his new Vice President, Leo Thomas McGarry.  This was an incredible feat for the President and Vice President Elect, and all of us here at CBS news wish them both the best of luck.  We can only imagine the happiness that is exploding at the Bartlet Headquarters."

Everyone jumped up and down screaming and Mallory took that opportunity to go to her father and hug him tight.

"Group hug!!!!!" Josh screamed as Sam, CJ, Donna, Ginger, the Bartlet girls and even Toby joined in. There screaming was loud enough to bring in the Secret Service to a higher alert of readiness. They broke up giving each other individual hugs.

Josh and CJ stopped as they watched the scene unfold in front of them. The President and Leo were embracing each other, and the tears were evident as they streamed down their faces. "Never made you prouder." Josh said softly.

"I can only imagine what good things will come for this country from such great minds." CJ replied.

Josh and CJ didn't even notice the entire room joined them. Jed gave Leo one more smack on the shoulder before the both stopped to look at the staff as they exploded with cheers.

"Oh daddy I'm so proud of you." Zoey gave her dad a hug. "You to Uncle Leo."

Jed hugged his youngest daughter tight and kissed her cheek.  "Sweetheart, you being here means a lot to us."  He reluctantly let go of her as Leo hugged her and kissed her other cheek.

Hugs, kisses and a lot of laughter was passed around that night.  Everyone knew only good would come from the Bartlet/McGarry Administration and everyone was eager to start another four years serving their President, while secretly grooming the Vice President for his own Presidency four years down the road.

As the night wore on, the energy levels started to slowly decrease and one by one, everyone started to trickle home so they could unwind and relax and try to sleep that night, even though they knew sleep would be lost to them all.

In the privacy of their bedroom, deep into the night, Jed looked over at his wife in bed and smiled softly as he took her hand and brought it to his lips, planting a soft kiss on her wedding band, looking deep into her eyes, "Last night, tonight, four years from now and beyond. . . you will
always be my first lady."  He kissed her softly as she reached over and turned the light off, enshrouding the room in darkness as the
President and First Lady began their own private celebration.