TITLE: How Fragile Is
AUTHOR: Julian Lee
EMAIL: thwarted1066@yahoo.com
URL: http://geocities.com/thwarted1066/index.html
CATEGORY: Sam/Will, "The Dogs of War" post-ep
SERIES: "The New Guy"
DISCLAIMER: "The West Wing" & its ilk are property of John Wells Productions & NBC. I make no money off of this.
ARCHIVE: Yes to list archives; others please ask.
SUMMARY: When everything's back to normal, but nothing *feels* normal anymore.
NOTES: Title from the speech Will wrote for the President in "The Dogs of War": "I know that I am not alone in thinking how fragile is the safety and security we take for granted."


How Fragile Is by Julian Lee

"Zoey's alive, Sam."

"She's alive."

"She looks pretty good. Physically, I mean. Psychologically..."

"She has a long road ahead of her. But she's alive, and she's home, and beyond that it's not up to us. You guys did good work, these last few days."

"So why don't I feel like anything's better?"

"You've just been through an international crisis, Will. Give it time."

"It was so quiet. No one knew how to talk about this. And the First Lady - this is the kind of thing a marriage doesn't survive."

"Their marriage has survived terrible things before."

"I think that's my point. How many times can she - how many times can *he* put her through this before she says, 'Enough'?"

"Well, it won't happen while he's in office."

"Probably not. Ow."

"Oh, sorry, didn't mean to--"

"No, I think I sat on...hang on...pen cap."

"The hazards of two writers living together."

"Yeah. Okay, that's better."

"You wrote the speech the President gave today."

"You recognized it?"

"Will, how many times do I have to tell you I recognize every word you put on paper?"

"It was...it was the other speech."

"The one you were up all night writing? The one for if Zoey turned up dead?"

"Modified, obviously."

"I would imagine so. I thought you guys were writing two speeches."

"We did. Toby wrote the one that was supposed to be for this, but..."

"The President liked yours better? Wow, Toby must be pissed."

"Toby is - his speech scared me, Sam. It was furious, and bloodthirsty, and vengeful. He barely took a sentence to show gratitude that Zoey had been returned - alive - before he started talking about bombing the crap out of the countries responsible."

"Toby's a father now, Will. His outlook's changing pretty drastically."

"Except that I don't think that had a lot to with it. I think it was because - Walken. It always comes back around to Walken."

"I think you just *want* it to come back to Walken. You like to blame him for things."

"Because he's to blame for things, Sam! And it changed - he looked so *Presidential,* so huge--"

"That couldn't have been hard for him."

"President Bartlet *thinks* about things. Too much sometimes, maybe. Walken didn't think at all. He just *did.*"

"And almost got the whole world dead in the process."

"Yeah. Still, I think people kind of responded to it. Here we were in this crisis, and our guy stood down while this other guy made things happen."

"And if his making things happen had gotten us into a war--"

"I'm not saying I agree with him, Sam. You know I don't agree with him. This is what I'm saying. I think Toby's speech was him trying to prove that Bartlet's just like Walken."

"Bartlet is as far from Walken as you can be."

"I *know.* That's why Toby's speech scared me. That he would even think we *want* to be seen as running the same kind of administration."

"He was scared, Will."

"We were all scared, Sam. I would've given just about anything to have had you there with us."

"I thought about it. About a dozen times."

"I don't know how to handle Toby yet. Not the way you do. I especially don't know how to deal with him when he's acting so...un-Tobylike. What if that doesn't go away, Sam? What if that's what Toby's going to be like for the rest of the term?"

"It won't be."

"How can you--"

"Because President Bartlet chose your speech. He chose quiet gratitude and reflection over fury and retribution. And when Toby thinks about that, he'll remember that that's because fury and retribution isn't what this President does. He'll remember the kind of man Josiah Bartlet is, and the kind of country he's trying to build, and he'll remember that that's why he signed on with Bartlet in the first place."

"Thank you, Sam."

"You're welcome. What are you laughing at?"

"You and I don't talk like normal people, do we? Even when we're just laying here on the couch, talking to each other, we talk like speechwriters."

"What's wrong with that?"

"Nothing. We're just geeks, is all."

"Geeks in love."

"Sounds good to me. Sam?"


"I'd never put you through what the President is putting Mrs. Bartlet through."

"I know you wouldn't. And, Will?"


"The speech was excellent today. You're not the new guy anymore."

"I'll always be the new guy, Sam. But, yeah. I think I may just survive this job. As long as I have you to make me stop panicking."

"That's one thing you'll never have to worry about."

"And as long as Toby stops going crazy."

"Dream on, Will."


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