Title: When They Throw Rocks At You
Author: The Artful Dodger
Pairing: T/S (sort-of)
Archive: List archive, anyone else who wants it, just drop me a line
Spoilers: Red Haven's On Fire
Summary: After Toby gets arrested, Sam wants to speak out in his defense.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to a bunch of people, and I am not one of them. I am in no way trying to compete with Aaron Sorkin, for that would be a mere mortal trying to compete with a GOD. This story, however, is all mine. I make no money off of this and probably should be working on something where I might actually make some money...but here ya' ; go.
Feedback: Feedback, baby. That's all I ask. TheArtofDodger@msn.com
Author's Notes: "The American Way" is not a real Republican newspaper. I just made that up. This is my first attempt at writing a serious-Toby. Many, many, many, many thanks to Erika for the beta!
When They Throw Rocks At You by The Artful Dodger
"Have you seen this?!" Sam pushed his way past CJ and into her hotel room.
"Please, Sam, come on in. No, you didn't disturb me at all." CJ said, closing the door and turning to face him.
He was pacing back and forth, a newspaper rolled up in his hand. "Have you seen this?!" Sam asked again, throwing the paper onto the small coffee table in the corner of the room.
"Sam," CJ replied cautiously, aware of the tension in Sam's body as he clenched his jaw. "I haven't seen anything yet. It's 6am. I'm not even dressed."
Sam stopped his pacing and turned to face CJ. Her hair was sticking up in every direction. Her bare feet were poking out of the bottom of her tightly tied robe. She looked tired and none to happy about the rude awakening.
"Oh. Geez, CJ, I'm sorry. I didn't...I just...…well, have you seen this yet?" Sam picked up the newspaper and handed it to her.
CJ rubbed her eyes and looked down at the front page. "It's 'The American Way'," she said, not really trying to hide the disdain in her voice. "Sam, it's a conservative, right-wing, Republican publication. What the hell do we care what is written in this piece of crap?"
"Just read the headline, CJ."
President's Top Advisor in Bar Fight
The Real Problem with The West Wing
My father once told me that America is only as good as the people who live here. I say only if these people are represented by true Americans. Today I'm wondering how good America can be with President Bartlet and his advisors running the country..
Last night, the President of the United States unveiled his new 'tax plan', while shaking hands with Sam Seaborn. Yes, I find it admirable, if not a bit narcissistic, that Seaborn would step up and fill the shoes of the late Congressman Wilde, in a race that he has absolutely no chance of winning. And how could he? In case the American people have forgotten, this is the man who consorted with a prostitute. The same man who helped conceal from the American voters that our President has multiple sclerosis. But let's not waste time on the trivial things.
The real problem with America today are those who are still working in the west wing of the White House. While President Bartlet and Mr. Seaborn were glad-handing the crowd, the President's body man, Charles Young, and his Director of Communications, Toby Ziegler, were arrested for starting a bar fight. And let us not forgot that this bar fight took place in front of Congress-woman Wyatt, who happens to be carrying not one, but two of Mr. Ziegler's illegitimate offspring. Were the voters aware of their Congress-woman's condition when they voted? No, of course they weren't. And after the President's whole MS cover-up, I am quite sure that Ms. Wyatt saw no reason why she should disclose her situation to anyone. After all, if the President of the United States can get away with it, why can't she?
Next time you go to the voting polls, will you be wondering what things the Democratic nominee is hiding from you? Should you vote for the candidate or for his staff? Should you wonder what sort of a family man his Director of Communications is? Who his Deputy Chief of Staff is dating? If his Chief of Staff has ever been in a rehab program for drug abuse?
And people ask why voter turn-out has dropped in the past decade. It seems to me we have all the answers right here in our White House.
-- Zachary Thomas
CJ let out a deep sigh and rubbed her hand across her eyes again. "Well, it could have been worse."
"How could it have been worse?" Sam asked, the bitterness in his voice very apparent.
"They could be talking about Danny's pilot."
"That's not funny, CJ. Someone should say something. *I* should say something."
CJ threw the paper down on the table and took a step towards Sam. "Don't you even think about it, Seaborn."
"Why not?" he asked, narrowing his eyes at her in a silent challenge.
"Because Toby will take you out back and beat you within an inch of your life," her voice was barely a whisper. "And when he's done with you, I'll step up for my turn."
CJ stepped a little closer, until their faces were mere inches apart. "Do I make myself clear, Samuel?"
Sam clenched his jaw muscle. "No, CJ. No, not this time. This isn't right and you know it. Toby deserves better from us."
CJ threw her hands up in exasperation. "This isn't about Toby, Sam! It's about you. They want you to come out swinging. They're egging you on."
"I don't care! I'm not going to win this thing, CJ. We both know that. I'm going down and I'd like to go down with a little dignity and self-respect. How can I just stand by and not come to the defense of a friend? How can I?"
CJ picked the paper up again and shoved it at Sam. "It's "The American Way", Sam. Most Republicans don't even take this thing seriously. The second you speak up about this, the second you rush to Toby's defense, you draw attention to it. It's not about pleasing your voters, it's about protecting Toby and Andi and The White House from this kind of media. You're not Josh and this isn't LemonLyman.com. You can't respond to this!"
"That's bullshit, CJ."
"Maybe," CJ sighed, her voice softening, "but in order for the rest of America to enjoy the right to free speech, we have to let these people say their piece. Let's just try not to let it end up on CNN."
Sam looked at his feet for a moment, before nodding his head in defeat. "This just sucks."
CJ smiled at him. "You always did know how to say it best."
Sam plopped down in a chair. "He's earned it, you know."
"A family. A life outside of politics. It's not as if Andi is some teenage girl dropping out of school and having kids that she can't support. She's worked hard her whole life. So has Toby. They paid their dues. They served their country. If they want to have kids before Andi's clock runs out, something that has been happening while she's busy being a public servant, then it's their right. They've earned this."
CJ reached over and brushed Sam's bangs off his forehead. "You're a good friend, Samuel Seaborn. But you're way too nice of a guy to be in politics."
Sam smiled a half-smile and sighed. "And anyways, it's Congress-
Woman Wyatt, not Ms. Wyatt. She hates when people do that."
"SEABORN!! You open this door right now!"
Toby's bellowing came from the hallway where he stood pounding on CJ's hotel room door. "I mean it, Sam. Open up!"
Sam looked confused. "How did he know I was in here?"
CJ shrugged and opened the door. "Good morning, Mr. Ziegler. Is anything the matter," she asked, putting on her best innocent look.
"I know he's in there, CJ. Step aside."
CJ pouted. 'You're no fun, Toby." She stepped aside and let Toby into the room. When he walked past, she noticed a rolled-up copy of 'The American Way' in his hand.
"What's up, Toby?" Sam asked.
"What are you thinking, Sam? Huh? This isn't going to be the last election you run in. Your career isn't over yet. You can't afford to start any fires. Not to mention the repercussions it would have on the White House. On the President."
'Whoa, Toby," Sam raised his hands in a peace gesture and jumped to his feet. "What are you talking about?"
"This." Toby shoved his copy of the paper at Sam. "You stood me up for breakfast. Did you think I wouldn't figure out that you were here, trying to plan a press statement behind my back? Huh? Did you even listen to CJ when she told you all the trouble it would cause if you brought this to the nation's attention? Did you?!"
"They were taking cheap shots!" Sam hollered, stepping right up to meet Toby. "They weren't just taking shots at you and Andi, as if that wasn't enough. They were firing at Josh and the President. At Leo! Leo! Like we didn't do this once all ready! And they referred to Andi as Ms. Wyatt. Not Congress-Woman Wyatt. For crying out loud, Toby!"
"Sam, I'd love to take Zachary Thomas in a bar fight any day, but we can't. You have to learn to pick your battles."
'Even if it means not standing up for your friends? For your family?" Sam asked, his voice dropping to a whisper.
"Yes, Sam. Even then."
Sam looked up and met Toby's eyes. And then suddenly a smile started spreading across his face, until he was grinning from ear to ear. "I know all that, Toby. CJ all ready had me convinced. I was just messing with you."
From behind them, CJ laughed. "All right, I'm going to take a shower. Someone go get coffee."
She headed into the bathroom, leaving Toby and Sam to stare at each other.
"Go get coffee, " Toby said, finally breaking the silence.
"Oh, no. You're not my boss here, Toby Ziegler. In fact, I believe you work for *me*." Sam smirked. "Now, go get me some coffee, on the double."
Toby stared hard at Sam.
"Coffee?" Sam asked.
Toby continued to stare.
"No? Fine, I'll go get the coffee." Sam headed to the door. With his hand on the door-knob, he stopped. "Hey, Toby?"
"Hmm?" Toby asked, not looking up from the paper he had picked up.
"If it had just been about me, I would've."
Toby looked up.
Sam met his eyes. "When they throw rocks at you, Toby."
"I know, Sam. I know."
Sam opened the door.
"CJ takes cream in her's."
Sam smiled. "I'll remember that."
"See that you do."
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