Title: We Should’ve Talked About It Sooner.
Author: Jess Another Unofficial
Spoilers: The War at Home.
Disclaimer: The Characters belong to the West Wing and it’s creators. Not copyright
infringement is intended. This is non-profit and for pure enjoyment.
Summary: will MS Stricken Josiah Bartlet be President for Four more years? This is written during the second season, before talks about running for president.
Rated: Probably mature a few made words but nothing not said at home.

Part 1
~Outside the Oval Office~
“Morning Charlie,” President Jed Bartlet said as he walked past Charlie and into the Oval office.

“Good Morning sir,” Replied Charlie Young as he followed into step behind  the President and walked into the Oval Office. “How was you night last night?”  he asked as he aided the President out of his coat.

“Not bad Charlie. It would’ve been better it Mrs. Bartlet was there, God I  miss her. When is she coming back?”

“Tonight sir.” Charlie handed the President the schedule for the day, “Mr. McGarry told me, to tell you, he wanted to tell you something, and if he  could speak with you as soon as you arrived this morning.”

“Okay Charlie I’m not sure I followed that but send him in.” The president  peered up over his glasses and added “Charlie, don’t start talking like Ms. Hayes it’s bad enough she talks like that and I have to  understand it.”

“Yes sir,” and with that Charlie left to go tell Leo that the President of  the United States is ready to speak with him.

When the door closed Jed sat down and his large desk and stared at the  shinny mahogany surface. He didn’t say a word or even blink as Leo McGarry entered he room. The White House Chief of Staff closed the door in anticipation that it would  wake the President but found no luck and he cleared his voice, “Sir? Sir.”

“Yeah Leo,” Jed straightened up set his tie straight and continued as if  nothing he did was questionable “What did you want?”

Leo continued, “I wanted to brief you on the hostage situation. The 5 DEA agents are on there way home,” he stopped and stared at the President hoping that  he would urge him on showing that he was paying attention. But he just sat there, “is  everything all right sir?”

“Is Abbey gone yet? I want to kiss her goodbye before she leaves. She is ever so pissed at me.” Jed got up and around his disk to sit on the couch. “When are
the DEA agents expected back I want to meet them when they get off the plane?”

“Sir I told you this last night, there are going to be to many people and  reporters there, it’s a security risk and if you want to see them step of the plane,  go and find one of the thousand TV’s in the building turn it on any channel and watch because  Ron won’t let you go.” Leo found a seat in front of the President and stared at him  waiting for a response.

~Meanwhile Just Out Side the Oval Office~

“Hi Charlie,” said Sam as he walked past Charlie in the corridor. “Is he in?”

“Hi Sam. He’s in with Leo, Leo is giving him a briefing just knock before  you go in.” Charlie stopped in front of the coffee machine and reached into his pocket for some change.

“Charlie, there is a fresh pot of coffee in my office help yourself.”

“Thanks Sam”

~The Oval Office~

Sam walked up to the doorway and knocked as he opened the door. Leo acknowledge him with a nod and Sam stopped just inside the doorway as they  finished.

“Okay.” he got up “I’m going to go find Abbey before she leaves.”

“No sir”

“And why the hell not?” Jed was furious.

“Because she left last night and isn’t expected back until tonight. You can see her then, she already shortened her trip for you,” Leo kept ignoring the fact
the Jed knew she was gone he saw her leave and yet he was going looking for her, but enough  was enough. “Sir what the hell is the matter? You know all about this you must’ve asked  her about her trip forty times before she left, you even saw her leave. Why are you  insisting she’s here?” Leo asked with a raised voice containing more concern and fear than anger.

“Don’t you speak to me with that tone Leo, I’m the goddamn President of the United States I have 92 things on my mind which Abbey pointed out to me. So sue me if I wasn’t paying attention to this issue because 5 guys are hostages and 9  guys are dead, as far as your concerned it isn’t any of your business about what goes on  between me and Abbey. You know she’s pissed at me and you should help me talk to her,” Jed  was on his  feet screaming at this point, “What do you think is going to happen when the  press finds out the governor and his wife are having problems? How do you think this is  going to look?” with that Jed sat down he face was full of rage.

“Sir?” Leo was differently concerned, he looked at Sam and back at Bartlet.  

Jed was still looking down thinking about what he said unaware that Sam was in  the room as well. “President, I mean President.” Bartlet look up at this point at with a smile added, “you know what was funny right then?” He stood up and quickly walked behind  his desk to try and hide how uneasy he was. “I said ‘governor’ when I clearly meet  ‘President’”

“Sir? Are you all right? Because what you said didn’t make any sense and I  sure as hell didn’t find that funny. I don’t think Sam thought that was funny either,” with that Bartlet looked around the room and found Sam standing in the corner with concern pretty much written across his forehead.

“I’m fine Leo, just stress I guess from the last few days and the fight  with Abbey.” Bartlet put on his glasses and said in his calmest voice, “what’s next?”

Sam sat listening to the conversation wishing desperately that he either  wasn’t there experiencing this or that he could help. He didn’t know what was going on either but he agreed with Leo he didn’t find this funny, it was the thing with Josh all over again but without Josh.

“Nothing sir, your going up to the residence I think you right it’s the stress so I will clear your schedule and your going to go rest. And to make sure you go and do just that, I’m sending Sam to be your watch dog for the next few hours until  Abbey returns and then she can handle you.” Leo turned to Sam.

“Leo, I have some stuff to take care of ----” stated Sam.

“Toby will take care of whatever it is that can’t be brought up with you to the residence.”  He finished.

“Okay, I will be right back I guess I’ll just go get my stuff then,” he  turned and left “be right back, I’m baby-sitting the President,” he mumbled.

The door clicked shut, “Leo” the president whined.

“Jed please I don’t want to see another flare up so please just go and  relax. If things keep on going today like they were you are bound to have one. So please Jed just go to the residence.”

Jed knew better than to argue with Leo on something like this, because Leo  would win and if he didn’t then he would call Abbey. Abbey was the last person who needed to know about the incident today. After all he was the President and he feared  his wife, everyone feared his wife. So he look at Leo and nodded “Okay but just until  Abbey gets back because then she is going to watch me because I know for sure your  going to tell her.”

“You got that right,” Leo looked at him at smiled.

“You ready Mr. President,” Leo and Jed looked at the door to see Sam  standing there with his coat in his arms and his briefcase in hand.

Jed got up from his chair and put his coat on “I can’t believe me, of all people President of the United States, is going to have Sam Seaborn a member of my senior
staff baby-sit me. Geez Leo imagine what high power countries like Russia  will think of me?” He grabbed his briefcase and headed to the door with Sam in tow.

Leo looked up and said “they’ll think your human” but the president had  already left. With that Leo turned around and walked into his office to call Abbey.

Part 2
~somewhere on the way to the residence~

Sam walked behind the President unsure of what he should say our do. This man after all was the President of the United States, he obviously wasn’t at his  best. Leo knew this and so did the President and although they don’t realize it Sam and the  rest of the staff know something’s up that they haven’t told them. Sam walked silently  behind the President but in front of his detail. He was in an unknown part of the White  House that very few people have seen and he sure didn’t want to get lost. Especially  when Leo told him to watch the President, a job very few people have been told to do. The President stopped outside the residence and turned. “All right guys at  ease. It’s going to be quiet Sam is going to stay with me, setup shop here I don’t  want any detail inside I think Sam is nervous enough.” He turned and smiled at Sam  who look relieved when the Agents stopped walking when they enter the residence.

“Do you want anything to drink Sam?” asked the president.

“No sir I’m fine I’m just going to sit and do some work.”

“Okay I’m going to get something,” he turned and walked into the room next to him. After A few minutes Sam looked at the door wondering what was keeping
the President. He got up and walked into the room to find the president standing  in the middle of the room with his arms crossed.

“Sir? Can I help you with something.”

“No I just need to sit down I’m thinking to much, I can’t even keep straight what I’m doing” he said with a smile but he didn’t get any farther than a step  before Sam jumped forward to catch the president.

“SIR? Sir?” He lowered him to the floor and grabbed the phone. “Leo come  on--” he said into the ringing phone. It picked up, “Leo come quick--- , I don’t  know he just fell---, He isn’t answering me--, okay hurry.” Sam crossed the room back to the President he rolled him on to his back and reached for a pulse that was thankfully  there.

Part 3

Leo came running into the room, he bent down next to Sam and glance at his friend.

“Sir? Come on you need to get up.”

“Leo we need a Doctor, obviously this isn’t working”

“No! This has happened before.”

“WHAT!? How--” Sam was interrupted when the president woke up and Leo waved for him to help get him up. Sam complied and grabbed onto one of the presidentsarm. They got him standing but it wasn’t long before he was back on the floor but they got him to at least sit.

“Sir don’t you think it’s time I have the Admiral come.” Leo said in a soft  gentle voice. Jed didn’t answer he just looked up and nodded. “Okay Jed were going
to help you onto the couch,” Jed just nodded. Leo was getting very concerned Jed would  usually argue and be bullheaded but this scared him to see Jed give in, he look at Sam who had the same worried expression across his face.

Part 4

~Back in the West Wing~

“I can’t believe this shit! Why the hell do I have to get stuck with all this work”

“Having a little trouble there Toby,” Toby looked up to see CJ standing in the doorway.

“Leo came in and gave me all of Sam’s work. He said Sam had something important to attend. What the hell could’ve been so important?”

“The President” CJ and Toby turned to see Josh standing in the doorway. “I seen Sam leave with the President, Leo came in and gave me his schedule he said
the President needed him.”

“Something’s wrong. I know it” CJ said.

“What makes you so sure CJ? He’s the President we don’t suspect anything  about his private life.” Toby said as he glared at the two.

“Well I’m going to find Charlie. Maybe he knows." CJ assured.

“CJ just leave this go let the man have privacy.” He went back to work and mumbled, “Besides I don’t want to know, it’s probably stupid and then I’m
going to kill him for giving me all this work because he rode his bike into a tree.” He looked up and no one was standing there. “Oh Great,” he got up and went to find Josh, CJ and Charlie.

Part 5
~back in the Residence~

“So is it bad Admiral?”

“No Mr. McGarry he's been under to much stress, trigged a small replapse.  Just get him to drink lots of  water and let him rest for at least a day. It's not at all like the last time. I'll be back in awhile to check on him. I gave him something to calm him down.”

“Okay” Leo watched as the admiral turned and disappeared down the hall. Then he turned at walked back in the room. Jed was on the couch still but at  least sitting and Sam was in the chair across from him, both were silent. “Jed the admiral said your fine it wasn’t a-” he looked at Sam who was watching at him, “it wasn’t a bad thing. You  should drink lots of water and rest.”

“Okay I’ve had enough of this game. Sir,” he glanced at the President “with all do respect, What the hell is going on? The senior staff have been worried about you the last two days with your outbursts and everything, now this. Please sir tell us what the hell is going on.” He looked at Leo, then the President turned to look at Leo who nodded. “Okay is someone going to tell us. I know you know Leo.” Sam questioned.

“Leo I want to tell them,” he looked at Leo who nodded with agreement. He turned back to Sam, “Sam go and get Josh, Charlie, CJ and Toby tell them to  meet me here at 7:00 that’s a one hour Mrs. Bartlet arrives at 6:30. That way she here to answer questions.”

Sam stood in awe at this, this had to be important he thought. For the president not to be able to handle it, that he need a doctor to explain it. It  definitely wasn’t simple like ‘I have the flu.’ It must be complicated and difficult for him that he needs his wife and after all this was Jed Bartlet a man who knew everything and could
explain everything like an encyclopedia. “Okay seven o’clock, Toby, Charlie, CJ and Josh. All right then.” And with a bit of hesitation he left leaving the President and Leo alone.

Part 6

“Oh Jed,” Abbey Bartlet looked her husband up and down, “I wish I was here, we should’ve talked about it earlier. Leo told me everything. At least it wasn’t that bad. You're feeling okay now?” He nodded as she sat down next to him on the couch and put her hand on his back. She sat the and rubbed his shoulder and pulled him into a hug. “I hear you decided to tell the  staff, I’m so proud of you. I hear it was pretty bad situation, but it wasn’t a flare up. You must’ve been scared.”

He looked at her with tears in his eyes, he President Jed Bartlet a man who was fearless, who took a bullet and joked about it. He turned into his wife and cried. It was true what she said earlier things are going to get worse, even though they  haven’t exactly gotten worse, he dreaded the worst.

Abbey turned him around and looked him dead in the eye, “honey don’t worry it’s good that it wasn’t a relapse you were under tremendous stress and for you to pull out of it without a relapse is amazing. I would be happy if I were you that you made it through that. This..” She bit her lip, now wasn't the time to say 'I told you so. You shouldn't run again.'

Jed looked at her with tear rimmed eyes “I was so scarred Abbey, I blew up at Leo I couldn’t remember anything or get anything straight. Then I collapsed
and you weren’t there to help. I missed you so much because I couldn’t talk to you,  then I missed you so much because you weren’t there to help me. Abbey I want to be  President and I know it’s a risk but please lets discuss it with the staff before you say ‘no.’”

Abbey turned away for a moment and then turned back to hug him “Okay, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to say ‘yes’ you understand.’”

He nodded as they sat there in quiet for awhile and then Jed glanced at his watch “They’ll be here in ten minutes.”

Part 7
~Outside the Oval Office~

“Charlie what’s going on?” Josh demanded.

“I don’t know what you mean Josh.”

“Come on Charlie something’s wrong with the president.” CJ urged a response from Charlie.

Toby stood in the doorway, “I told you guys to leave Charlie alone this isn’t our business. If he wants us to know he will tell us.” Everyone stopped and stood there. They weren’t going to argue with Toby. “Well,” Toby glance at them “back to work.”

“Guys,” Sam walked in. “Meeting in the Residence in ten minutes.”

“What’s going on?” Now Toby was concerned.

“I don’t know he wanted Mrs. Bartlet there before he told me and he wanted  me to come get you, Josh, CJ and Charlie. Something happened up there and there  is obviously something wrong.” He headed out the doorway. “Ten minutes.”

Everyone stood there no one moved or said anything. They were stunned because what they suspected was true, something was wrong.

Part 8
Toby, Charlie, Josh and CJ stood in silence along with Sam outside the  Residence as they awaited to be escorted in. They all stood in silence until Leo walked out “Guys,” they all looked up he nodded and they followed. They all looked at each  other and then at Sam who was more worried than any else because he experienced it.

“Good evening Sir, Leo, Abbey.” Toby glance at each one of them as he addressed them. He was the only one who was brave enough to speak. They stopped in front of the first couple. Leo stood next to the couch on the left of Jed,  he nodded and they all sat down in the chairs facing the first couple. CJ and Josh in the loveseat and Toby and Charlie flanked on each side in chairs and Sam sat on a sturdy end table next to the couch after seeing all the seats were taken. Jed looked at Leo who wasn’t able to look him in the eye he just stood  silently looking at the floor, then he looked at the staff he considered them his extended family they sat in silence waiting for him to talk but not wanting to look him in  the eye. Then his eyes fell on Abbey her eyes were filled with tears but she urged him to go  on.

“Everyone,” he began. “There is something I have been keeping from you and the world. To let you know Leo found out recently too but I asked him to keep it secret. As you know I haven’t been myself and this has happened a few times and the most recent before this was before the State of the Union when I collapsed.” He stopped  and took a second to gather himself. The room was silent and in shock because they all remember the scene before the State of the Union. He continued, “I don’t know how to  break this,” he drew in a deep breath and exhaled, “but I have Multiple Sclerosis.”

Everyone stopped at looked up with tear filled eyes. Jed looked at the floor not wanting to see the anguish in there eyes. “The kind of MS I have is called Relapsing/Remitting. I don’t suffer from it all the time. I have attacks that are brought on by stress and fever and the  stress from the last few days have caught up. I didn’t exactly have an attack but it was close to it. That’s why I have been a pain in the ass because an attack was coming and when it does I get confused and aggravated easy. Leo noticed this and Sam experienced it at that’s why I stayed in the residence today and Leo sent Sam to watch me even though he didn’t know
what happened or what was happening.” He stopped and looked up.

Abbey tightened her grip on his hand. CJ was crying and Josh was holding her hand, Charlie and Sam wouldn’t look Jed in the eye and Toby well Toby was Toby and was trying not to show emotion so he asked a question and swallowed his emotion.

“Sir if I may ask.? Why haven’t you told us before we could’ve helped?”

Leo chuckled for the first time in days, “That’s what I said and he told me ‘I wanted to be president’ and I told him ‘I still would’ve made him president.’"

“And we still can,” Toby replied everyone in the room fell silent and  looked at him.

“What do you mean?” The President asked.

“Many people in this country suffer from diseases such as MS and from disabilities. Many of them feel they are incapable of becoming ‘someone’ or ‘something’. But you  are ‘someone’ your the President of the United States and you have MS, you should show the world that you are capable of being the most  powerful person. You should show the world that you are human and that they shouldn’t  expect anything more. You should say ‘I am Josiah Bartlet and I am your president  and I am human like everyone else you have elected and like everyone else you shall further elect, and if you expect anything else then you shouldn’t vote and you shouldn’t  consider yourself American because all Americans are human.’” With that the room fell silent.

Abbey spoke up, “Your right he should be president, he’s a great president  but what well the great American public say when he has to leave office because his diseases has took him over. What are they going to think? What will they say? What will we say? Are they going to want to elect a president that might have to leave office?  I don’t know it is going to get better? or Worse?”

“The same thing I just said ‘he’s human’. There going to understand him because many of them already understand it, many people know someone who has MS that can prevent them from doing there job suddenly. Stuff  happens. I will put it to you differently. Everytime America elects a president they know there  is a possibility he won’t finish his term, he can suffer a heart attack, be diagnosed with cancer, get in a accident, become for some odd reason mentally unsound,  assassinated, or commit a crime because everyone is human. Believe me when I say having a president face his fear and do his job is an inspiration to those who think ‘I can  never do that because I have MS.’ People will be proud to know  he is like everyone else and it’s possible for anyone to have this job. They will not  feel let down if the day ever comes that the President isn’t capable to perform his job, it  is better that we let them know now, they well feel let down when a President leaves office  because of an offense or crime. And when they ask us what we think I know what I will say,” Toby stops and looks at the eyes watching him and responds quietly.

"I agree sir, you should be president." Josh spoke up.

Jed looks around the room at his staff with tears in his eyes. Then a hand  falls on his shoulder, Leo stood behind the President. “Well Mr. President are we running for a second term?”

Everyone looked at Jed as he looked everyone in the eye and then Abbey who nodded he turned to Leo, “You bet your Ass.” Laughter and congratulations filled the room. “And tomorrow I will tell the Public that I am Josiah Bartlet I am your President, I have MS, and I want to be here for four more years.”

~January 20th 2002~

“----My name was President Josiah Bartlet and is still President Josiah  Bartlet I accepted your nomination as President and I stand here today to tell you I  will fulfill my promise to make America better for four more years if you the public and  fellow humans stand by my side and cheer us on. I am Josiah Bartlet your President God  Bless you and God Bless the United States of America.” The crowed of thousands that  gathered cheered. President Josiah Bartlet turned to his senior staff once again. “you guys ready?”

They all looked at each other and back at the president and his wife “You bet your ass.”Josh said.  

The president chuckled then turned to his wife and kissed her. “See I was right when I said ‘we should’ve talked about’ because if I didn’t we wouldn’t be  here again.”

“Just Shut Up and kiss me.”