Should’ve Talked About It Sooner.
Author: Jess Another
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.
~Outside the Oval
“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
“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.”
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
“Yes sir,” and with that Charlie left to go tell Leo that the
President of the United States is ready to speak with him.
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?
“Yeah Leo,” Jed straightened up set his tie straight and continued
as if nothing he did was questionable “What did you want?”
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.
there is a fresh pot of coffee in my office help yourself.”
~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.”
“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
“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
“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
“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
“Leo, I have some stuff to take care of ----” stated
“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.”
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.
~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
“Do you want anything to drink Sam?” asked the
“No sir I’m fine I’m just going to sit and do some
“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
the President. He got up and walked into the room to find the
president standing in the middle of the room with his arms
“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
Leo came running into the room, he bent down
next to Sam and glance at his friend.
“Sir? Come on you need to get
“Leo we need a Doctor, obviously this isn’t working”
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.
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
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.
~Back in the West Wing~
believe this shit! Why the hell do I have to get stuck with all this
“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
“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
“Well I’m going to find Charlie. Maybe he knows." CJ
“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
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.
~back in the
“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
“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
“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.”
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.
“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
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
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
~Outside the Oval Office~
going on?” Josh demanded.
“I don’t know what you mean Josh.”
on Charlie something’s wrong with the president.” CJ urged a response from
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
“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
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
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
~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