Title: Meeting the First Family
Rating: PG –13 to R Some adult situations but nothing too graphic.
Spoilers: General spoilers for seasons 1-4
Summary: AU – Post Bartlet Administration.
Author's Notes: #1 Vicki as ever kindly allows me to take her characters out for a spin. Chris & John meet their charges for the first time. #2 This is for all my good friends Vicki, Coupdepam, Abigale, and Mrs J and to the growing list I must add Jesse, Susan C and Jen who are generous with their feedback and encouragement. A big thank you goes to Jen for kindly beta-ing this for me (and wading through very suspect punctuation!).
Disclaimer: The West Wing and its characters belong to Aaron Sorkin and NBC. Anyone else belongs to me.
Archive: All our stories can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/samnjosh/
Feedback: Please! I would love to know what you think, good or bad as long as it is constructive. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting the First Family by Mellyjane40
November 2016 - Takes place just before Handling Sam 1.
Air force Jet – En Route to Bartlet Farm Manchester – New Hampshire
"Who do you think we'll be assigned to?" Christopher Rawlins asked as he buckled up his seat belt as the plane began its descent.
Chris at twenty seven completed his military training at West Point and this was his fist big assignment. He was tall, dark and slim, with blue eyes and had a good natured temper, which made him a favourite amongst his colleagues.
"It won't be us, his colleague John Preston drawled in his Southern tones. At thirty he was of medium height, sandy haired with brown eyes. He was more worldly wise than his colleague. Whereas Chris's eyes had widened at the news that they'd be protecting the First Family, John had accepted the news with a secret smile of satisfaction.
"Andrew and Kevin will get that!" John tried to hide his jealousy "We'll most likely get the First Gentleman or his son or Mrs Seaborn. You'd like that Chris, semi residence in Italy," John teased.
"Well, I wouldn't mind that but I don't know what the Missus will think, she's just got James settled at school," Chris replied as the plane touched down on the runway.
"When you signed up for this, you knew what the job requirements were, I am surprised she's still complaining," John replied as they began descending the steps on to the tarmac where an official car waited.
Steve Hilton, the head of the secret service in the same regulation dark suite with white shirt and dark tie all agents where required to wear, stepped forward and shook hands with both the younger agents. He was of middle height, wiry features and greying hair.
"Thanks for flying out here. President Elect Lyman and his family are staying at President Bartlet's house whilst we make alterations to their Washington House. Tough the sooner we can get them in the White House the better!"
Chris and John settled themselves in the back of the limousine as it pulled out of the airport. Steve turned round from the front seat.
"Now, here's what's happening. Andrew and Kevin have been assigned to President Elect Lyman whose code name is Eagle. You have both been assigned to Mr Seaborn and his son Jamie. You will also have Alan and Peter on your team so you can provide cover for Jamie when he is on his own."
Chris and John exchanged knowing glances.
"The First Gentleman's code name will be Princeton, which he used when Deputy Communications Director. Jamie Seaborn will be known as Huckleberry," Steve continued.
"And Mrs Seaborn?" Chris asked.
"We'll assign temporary agents when she is in the United States, whilst she is in Italy arrangements are being made with the American Embassy for her safety."
Steve looked at his notes.
"You have both been long enough in the service to know that Mr Seaborn will be addressed either as Sir or Mr Seaborn which ever he prefers."
"Yes Sir," John affirmed.
"Now, I've been in long conversations with the President Elect about the arrangements for guarding his family. You need no reminding that this is a unique administration which is already the subject of considerable controversy and the target for every organisation that has a grudge against President Elect Lyman and his family."
The rest of the journey continued in silence and both agents stared out of the window at the surrounding countryside. After being checked by security men at a gatehouse a barrier was raised and they swept through and up a drive to the Manchester House of former President Bartlet.
Chris and John found themselves whisked inside through a large hallway and into a sitting room, with a tasteful selection of antique and modern furniture. At a large oak table, the First Gentleman sat in a pair of jeans and a black tee-shirt, studying a legal document. Toby Zeigler, Special Counsel to the President and Communications Director, in a brown pair of pants and brown shirt, sat in a armchair reading a speech and CJ Cregg sat in an opposite chair ticking off administration appointments.
All the occupants of the room looked up as Steve, with Chris and John trailing behind, hovered on the fringe of the room. CJ uncrossed her elegant legs, stood up and crossed over to Steve and shook his hand.
"Thank you for coming, Steve. The President…" John noticed that CJ slightly hesitated over the word. "I am sorry." She grinned "It's kinda hard to get used to! President Lyman's on his way, he's on the phone with President Bartlet."
As Steve was about to begin his introductions, Chris noticed that Toby stood up and the expression of concentration of the First Gentleman's face had softened. Chris turned round to find himself staring at President Elect Lyman. Dressed in a pair of faded jeans and Harvard sweatshirt, he looked slightly uneasy at the sight of his friends on their feet and motioned them to sit down.
"Hey, thanks for flying down, Steve." Josh shook hands with the Head of Security, "how are the alterations to the house going?"
Chris and John listened as Steve explained what had been accomplished so far and noticed that the President walked over to his partner and laid a hand on the new First Gentleman's shoulder.
"Sam, you've met Steve, haven't you?"
Chris noticed that as he spoke to his partner, the tone in the President's voice softened and became less self-satisfied.
"Yes." Sam got to his feet and shook hands with Steve and gave him a warm smile. "It's good to see you again. I'd like you to meet Jamie but he's out somewhere with Donna and her son."
"Mr President, Mr Seaborn." Steve turned to Chris and John "Can I present Chris Rawlins and John Preston who are assigned to protect Mr Seaborn and err…" Steve broke off.
"Call him Jamie, Steve," Sam offered.
"Jamie." Steve gave a grateful smile, "Mr Seaborn, I know you are familiar with your code name and Jamie's happy with his?"
Sam nodded and sat down next to Josh on the sofa as CJ and Toby quietly left the room. Chris and John found themselves seated in two leather chairs and offered coffee as two members of the Bartlet staff brought in coffee and cakes.
After small talk about children and families Sam turned with an earnest look to Chris and John.
"Steve tells me you were chosen to protect myself and Jamie because you have children of your own?"
"I have one son, Thomas, he's six, Sir," John replied.
"Mine's a daughter, Molly, she's five and is starting school soon," Chris chipped in feeling slightly more relaxed. He knew the golden rule; don't get over familiar with the first family but although it was an unusual presidential family, every thing seemed so normal.
"Well, Jamie is nine, sometimes going on 35! You'll…"
"Daddy! You're back! Sean fell in something nasty and Aunty Donna's giving him a bath! Did Grandpa Jed catch his flight?"
Chris turned round at the sight of Jamie Seaborn's voice and watched as the little boy scrambled on to his father's lap and gave Josh a beaming smile. It was clear that father and son adored each other by the looks they gave one another. Josh rolled his eyes as Sam pulled down a red jumper that Jamie had pulled up over his pants and tucked a tee-shirt in his pants.
"You can see where I'm in the pecking order of my family," Josh said in mock resigned tones.
"I love you too, JJ!"
Chris smiled as the little boy threw his arms around Josh then settled down in between them swinging his legs. He trained his blue eyes framed by long eyelashes on Steve, Chris and John.
"Jamie, you remember Mr Hilton when he visited us last week?"
Jamie nodded and Chris and John noted how he suddenly switched from being an exuberant to become shy as he shrank against his father.
"Yes," Jamie replied in a tiny voice.
"Hey!" Sam said softly, picking up his son and exchanging glances with Josh "Why so scared? Steve is here to introduce you to Chris and John who will be protecting you and me."
"I just don't like to think of you being hurt, Daddy." Jamie buried his head in his father's chest.
Josh leaned over to Jamie.
"Hey buddy! No one is gonna hurt your daddy or me. That's what Chris and John are there for and it's not like you haven't been surrounded by agents before, remember after I accepted the nomination? We had agents then."
"Yes, but I was told JJ might not win, then things could go back to normal!" Jamie replied in a tiny voice.
Sam & Josh exchanged glances not knowing whether to laugh or be angry at Jamie's honest response.
"Jamie, sometimes you are too honest for your own good," Sam replied with a sigh and exchanged sympathetic glances with Chris and John. He kissed his son's forehead and put him down on the ground and Jamie turned his attention to the sandwiches and cake.
Chris studied his young charge as Jamie helped himself to a sandwich and his eyes feasted on the biggest piece of cake and Chris smiled as Jamie cast sideways glance to see if Josh or Sam were watching as he put it on his plate. Jamie was a few years older than Molly but he had her crafty ways. Jamie caught his gaze and went to put the cake back but a crafty wink from Chris earned him a winning smile.
After half an hour of discussing the security arrangements for where Sam worked and discussing where the agents should be stationed at Jamie's school, Josh rose to his feet.
"I have to go and discuss with CJ further cabinet appointments, Steve, thanks for coming again, you'll keep Sam and I informed on improvements to the house? Friends have offered us more secure accommodation in Washington but…" Josh's gaze travelled to the far end of the living room where Jamie now sat on the floor watching TV, "we want Jamie's life to be as normal as far is possible."
Chris watched as Sam stood up and slipped his hand in to Josh's, a simple gesture, and very natural, just like him and Jan. He'd wondered what his reaction would be to two men in a homosexual relationship and the way John was trying hard not to stare he knew his colleague was thinking the same thing.
"Jamie, are you gonna come and say goodbye to Chris and John?" Sam called across the room.
Jamie dutifully got up ambled over and politely shook hands with Steve and the two agents.
"Chris and John are coming back tomorrow so you can get to know them better, show them around the farm," Sam explained as Jamie took his hand and the party walked out into the hallway.
As the goodbyes were said, Chris found his hand being grabbed and he was staring into blue trusting eyes.
"Daddy, I'll show Chris to his car," Jamie announced.
"Ok, but you better tie your sneaker laces up first, Tiger! Then come straight back," Sam instructed.
Jamie dutifully bent down to tie his laces and it gave Chris time to watch as the president and his partner, arms wrapped around each other, heads bent together, as they walked back to the house. Sam said something which caused the President Elect to throw back his head and laugh as they wandered out of sight into the living room. He smiled down at Jamie and listened intently as Jamie told him all about his school and how he liked being on Grandpa Jed's farm. Yes, they were just an ordinary family and already he was finding himself sucked into their world
The Next Day - 10AM
"You were quiet last night in the bar." John turned to his colleague as the limousine drove them to the Bartlet mansion.
"Sorry." Chris jolted himself out of his thoughts of his new appointment. He'd spoken to Jan last night and although she sounded pleased he could tell there was an underlying nervousness at who he was assigned to protect. "Did you speak to Angela last night? I spoke to Jan; she was pleased but kinda nervous at the same time."
"Angela's more used to it. She took out hefty life insurance when I joined the service," John joked but seeing Chris's worried features softened his tone of voice, "I gave her Jan's number if that's ok and she'll give Jan a call, perhaps meet up."
Chris's face returned to its sunny expression.
"Thanks, she'd like that. We've just moved to Washington and Jan hasn't many friends."
"So what did you make of the new first family? I saw Huckleberry take a shine to you."
"He's kinda cute but crafty as well, did you see the way he swiped the biggest bit of cake?"
"I did." John tone of voice was non-committal.
"He's so like Molly, she's got that angelic look then she'll be causing havoc he next moment," Chris said reflectively as the car swept through security and towards the Colonial style mansion.
"Look, Chris, if I was…good morning, Sir!" John smiled as they climbed out of the car to see Steve walking towards them.
"Morning, gentleman, trust the hotel was comfortable?"
"Yes Sir." John replied in his gentlemanly southern drawl.
"Ok," Steve clapped his hand on John's shoulder "You're going over the plans of the Office of Seaborn & Associates with me and Chris, Mr Seaborn would like to see you now, and he's in the formal living room."
"Me?" Chris's jaw dropped in surprise.
"Yes you. Why so surprised?"
"I…."Chris began, then realising he looked foolish, smiled "I'll be on my way."
Chris made his way up to the house and as he approached the living room paused as he heard the voices of the President in conversation.
"I'll see you later then, sweetheart?" The President Elect's was voice low and tender.
"You can count on it, Mr President!" the First Gentleman teased.
"I'm sorry about Steve and every thing; I wanted this to be kinda of a break before we get back to Washington and all the hoopla!"
"A break with all your staff decamped all over New Hampshire, it's not like we've been in this situation before, is it?"
"Yes…" Chris heard the sound of kissing then the President's voice "then you were Deputy Communications Director, you had a role to play in all of this!"
"I do! Who is it who sat up most of last night listening to your inaugural speech and Toby and I have…ah good morning Chris!"
Chris jumped as the President Elect and his partner emerged from round a corner of the room. The President was in more formal attire of a beige suit and cream shirt and chocolate coloured tie. The First Gentleman was dressed more casually in black pants and a purple polo-necked shirt. Chris noticed how Josh went to kiss his partner but looked embarrassed in front of Chris and instead squeezed Sam's hand.
"See you later." Josh smiled at Sam and gave Chris a "good morning" as he sauntered out of the room.
Sam sat down in one of the Victorian leather arm chairs and gestured for Chris to do the same.
"Thanks for coming to see me, I wanted to let you know that Jos…" Sam cleared his throat "the President and I noticed how well you got on with Jamie yesterday."
"He's a cute kid, Sir, very lively too," Chris offered.
"Yeah but don't let that wide eyed look fool you. He can run rings round the President and I but we saw how you handled him. We'd like it if you can be his agent when he's not with me or the President."
"I'd be honoured, Sir," Chris replied, knowing how pompous it sounded, but he'd taken to the little boy and secretly hoped it would be him.
"Chris, can I call you that?" Sam asked.
"I think it's best if we set down some rules where Jamie is concerned, but firstly I hate being called Sir. I'm usually Sam to everyone who knows me but I know you have rules so Mr Seaborn is ok."
Chris grinned in response and found himself being drawn into a warm crinkled eyed smile of the First Gentleman.
"Good. Ok, I'm having to get used to this situation, yesterday I went to drive Jamie into town and found the secret service agents jumping in the front seat."
"I understand, Mr Seaborn," Chris affirmed.
"Once Jamie learns to trust someone, he's yours for life. He lost his mom at an early age and although he hardly remembers her it made him…I wouldn't say clingy but he's, well, sensitive, and can be shy with strangers."
"He's Jamie to you and all the agents and the President and I have explained to him how important it is that he obeys your instructions."
"Daddy?" Jamie's head appeared round the doorway. He brushed a mop of hair that fell down over his eyes.
"Hey, Tiger! Come and say hello to Chris again."
Chris was struck by the energy that Jamie had as he charged across the living room and came to a shuddering halt.
"Hello, Mr Rawlins." The little boy stared up at him with a shy smile.
Chris and Sam exchanged glances and Chris bent down to Jamie's level.
"Call me Chris, I hate all this formality." He offered.
Jamie gave a wide smile.
"Jamie, Uncle Toby and I are gonna to go over the draft of JJ's inaugural speech; can you show Chris round the farm for a while?"
"Is this so I can get to know him?" Jamie asked with his head to one side in consideration at Chris.
Sam laughed and ruffled his head.
"Yeah, nothing escapes you, does it, Sherlock! Go on, I'll come and find you and later we all have to get dressed up for official photos."
Father and son both pulled faces at the thought and once again Chris noticed the striking similarity. The same delicately shaped eyebrows, the wide blue eyes and long eyelashes and determined chin. He let Jamie grab his hand and drag him out into the fresh morning air.
An Hour Later.
Chris felt exhausted, keeping fit was a requirement of his job but the fresh air of New Hampshire and Jamie's unrelenting energy left him panting slightly as they made their way back to the house.
"Are you tired, Chris?" Jamie stopped and sat down on the grass as Chris puffed behind him.
"Your father was right, you are energetic. Shall we sit over there?" Chris panted as he pointed to a tree stump. "Catch our breath for a few moments?"
As they settled themselves on the trunk, Chris found the blue eyes trained on him and he smiled down at Jamie.
"I like you." Jamie announced, "and daddy and JJ likes you, too."
"That's good because I like you, too and I'm gonna be guarding your father and the President for 4 years at least."
Jamie picked up a fallen leaf and stared at it thoughtfully.
"Is it true daddy may be shot at?" he said in a small voice. "He and JJ get serious when they discuss you and JJ gets kinda upset when they mention security."
Chris wanted to pick the little boy up and hug him.
"Well, there's a reason for that, Jamie, and I think you're old enough to have guessed why, aren't you?"
Chris felt pleased with himself, Jamie was a little boy but with a sense of maturity beyond his years. To talk down to him would be patronising and get their friendship off on a wrong footing
"It's about when JJ was shot but that was a long time ago!"
God, this kid is as cute as a wagon load of monkeys, nothing ever escapes him, Chris reflected as in an impulse gesture he picked Jamie up and sat him on his lap.
"Yes, but sometimes, Jamie, when something has happened to someone you love it's hard to forget things and now…J...Senator Lyman is president and loves your daddy and you, he wants the best protection for his family."
"Will you protect him, Chris?"
"I'll make you a promise, Jamie, I can't promise you that someone won't try to shoot at your daddy, but to the best of my ability I will try to take care of him, just as Kevin and Andrew will with the President."
Jamie considered that for a moment and pulled out an apple from his pocket.
"Ok!" he said brightly and took a bite of an apple. "Don't tell daddy about me eating between meals," he whispered.
"Ah, I think an apple is ok. Though I think with all the energy you have you burn off food pretty quickly." Chris put Jamie down on the ground. "Shall we go and find your daddy?"
"Daddy says I get my energy from my mom!" he confided. "Mommy was always on the move, she hardly ever sat still, so daddy says."
"You must show me a picture of her sometime and I'll show you a picture of my wife and Molly, my daughter."
"I'd like that. Hi JJ!"
Chris stood up as Josh strode towards them; he'd changed in to a pair of jeans, brown jumper borrowed from Sam with a white tee-shirt poking out.
"Hey Jamie! Have you given Chris a tour of the estate?"
"Yeah!" Jamie went to throw the apple core on the grass but with an aside glance at Josh wrapped it in a tissue from his pocket and stuffed it in the pocket of his pants.
"Good, well guess who's on the phone?"
"Nana!" Jamie shrieked and started to charge across the lawn towards the house, with a cheery "byeee" to Chris who waved back to him. Josh waved Chris to sit back down on the tree stump.
"I suppose that this is unusual, the President Elect, sitting here talking to you like this." Josh gave a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair, "I know there are lots of rules of protocol I'll have to get used to, but I wanna get to know all my agents."
"President Bartlet interviewed all the agents for his family and I watched you with Jamie. Now I know his father would like you to tell him if he behaves or misbehaves, but, you're not gonna do that, are you?"
Chris returned the President's smile.
"No Sir, that's not my duty. I promised Jamie I'd protect him and his father to the best of my abilities."
"It's quite normal for any President to receive hate mail but," Josh gave a shudder "I've seen letters more vicious in tone and directed against Jamie and my partner so you'll know that when you're out with my family what to be prepared for?"
"An agent will tell you, Sir, we know what we are looking out for in a crowd."
"Good." Josh stood up and smiled up as Sam strolled towards them.
"You're happy then?" Sam asked Josh slipping his arm around his partner. "You've given him the third degree?"
"I think Jamie did that already," Josh replied and shook Chris's hand. "You'll be starting when we fly back to Washington?"
"Yes Sir." Chris stood to attention his chest slightly puffed out and shook hands with Sam.
"Ok." Josh turned to Sam "Well, we've got three hours before the photographers arrive. Have we got time to go over the speech?"
"Yeah, and Toby and I have been over it this morning and…."
Chris stood back and let the President & First Gentleman walk on. As they reached the house, Steve who was with John, waved him over on the portico. As he went to join them, Sam turned round and Chris found himself staring in the trusting gaze of the First Gentleman. The gaze was intense and it was as father and son were both staring at him. Chris tried to concentrate on what Steve was saying about the security arrangements to the Lyman-Seaborn town house. But as he slowly regained his equilibrium, Chris felt a deep sense of purpose as out of the corner of his eye he watched as Sam & Josh engaged in some friendly banter with CJ Cregg and Toby Zeigler then disappeared in to the house.
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