Title: Joy to the World - Or Not?
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: This story comes soon after Handling Sam1 and Thoughts of a Secret Service Agent.
Author's Notes #2: As ever, to Vicki for letting me use her universe, but this is dedicated as a Christmas thank you to every one, who has through out this year given me wonderful feedback and spurred me on with my writing. My good friend Vicki has betered this for me but any spelling/gramma mistakes - please be kind to a dyslexic writer.
Disclaimer: The West Wing and its characters belong to Aaron Sorkin and NBC. Anyone else belongs to us.
Archive: Our website http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/samnjosh. You can find the previous stories there too.
Feedback: Please! We would love to know what you think, good or bad as long as it is constructive. Our addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Joy to the World...or Not? by mellyjane40
"Chris, do you know my Daddy faints?" Jamie announced as he stood waiting with Chris in the school yard. Chris's eyes were roaming around and he turned with a distracted air to Jamie who was rummaging through his biology book.
"We're doing biology in class today and were dissecting a chicken wing and Billy Hopkins went a funny colour and fell on the floor. I put my hand up and told Miss Hamilton it's ok because Daddy's done the same thing and gets up after a minute."
"Jamie! Could you stop distracting me for a moment! I'm…oh thank god!" Chris muttered under his breath as Suzie turned up in the car. He almost pushed Jamie towards the car as Suzie leaned out of the window and smiled at the good looking agent.
"Hi Chris! I'm so sorry there was an accident and we got diverted along the…"
"It's ok Suzie lets get him inside shall we?" Chris muttered under his breath as he opened the door and Jamie clambered in.
"Hiya Suzie!" Suzie turned with a smile.
"Hi there Jamie! Your Daddy wants you to come back to his office with him, he's gotta work late tonight but there's something he needs to talk to Chris about as well."
"Oh God! What have I done?" Chris thought as he stared out into the dusk and driving rain of the Washington streets as harassed mothers shepherded their children home in the driving rain.
"Suzie I was telling Chris about Billy Hopkins who fell down in school today. We were dissecting a chicken's wing and I told Miss Hamilton," Jamie paused to catch his breath, "that it's ok because Daddy faints and I know what to do." Jamie finished with a flourish and puffed his chest out.
"Jamie, I'm sure that Chris and the whole class don't want to know about what can be an embarrassing experience for your father." Suzie admonished Jamie as she navigated her way through the early evening rush hour traffic.
"Well I was only trying to help," Jamie mumbled as he poked around in his book bag and with a triumphant grin at Chris fished out a long forgotten boiled sweet. He offered it to Chris who shook his head and tried not to smile at the relived look Jamie gave in response. "Daddy doesn't like me eating too many sweets! Do you like my bag Chris? JJ gave it to me at the start of the new term!"
"Jamie you have a grasshopper mind!" Suzie was trying hard not to laugh as she drove into the underground car-park of Sam's law-firm.
"Suzie?" Jamie pressed his nose up against the window, "Are there more security men now? Daddy and JJ are not in the White House yet."
"Yes there are but simply because Jos…err the President is not in the White House doesn't mean that he and your Daddy aren't very important people."
"Oh." Jamie considered the question as Chris opened the door and he scrambled out he looked up at Chris. "Does that mean I'm important too?" Chris exchanged glances with Suzie and she gave him I'll speak to his father about this reply.
"Hi Terry." Suzie smiled as two of the security guards walked towards them. "Can you radio up to Mr Seaborn and say we're safe and sound and on our way up."
Chris smiled as Jamie trotted obediently along side Suzie talking about the project in biology class. "Well yes you can tell your dad about that Jamie. But I'd leave out that you mentioned him in class and I wouldn't mention personal details like that again." Suzie offered in response. "You see there are gonna be children who will go home and repeat to their parents what you said and there are some unkind parents who may report what's been said to the press."
Jamie put his head to one side in consideration.
"Ok!" He replied brightly as they stepped in to the elevator.
As the elevator doors opened Jamie was first out and halfway down the corridor that led to Sam's office. Suzie laid a hand on Chris's arm to stop him as his first instinct was to keep tabs on his young charge. "No he's safe!" she urged. "Listen about what Jamie said about being important, I'll speak to Mr Seaborn about it. But I don't know how much you know about his upbringing?" Chris should his head as they began to walk down the corridor. "Well he's cute that's for sure. But he's also grown up for his age it comes with having no mother and both sets of grandparents live abroad. So it's left to either Donna or I to be a mother to him."
"The First Gentleman and the President Elect…"
"The President loves him but he's not his biological or even adoptive son so has no real say in Jamie's upbringing. The First Gentleman tries to be strict with him but adores Jamie. He's strict about sweets, hygiene and homework; but he'll spoil him in other ways. Jamie doesn't want for nothing and as he's grown up in the company of adults he's wise for his years and a little precious sometimes!"
"Hey!" Sam's head appeared from the door to Suzie's office. "I haven't much time and I need to go to the Campaign Headquarters before I catch my flight."
Suzie and Chris hurried towards Sam and Chris watched as Suzie drew her boss to one side and whispered in his ear. Sam nodded and beckoned Chris to come forward; he smiled as Jamie was swinging around on his father's chair.
"Jamie, would you go with Suzie for a moment? I need to talk to Chris." Sam asked his son who'd now turned his attention to his father's computer.
"Yeah!" Jamie clambered off the chair and followed Suzie in to her room and she shut the door.
"Have a seat Chris." Sam indicated the seat next to him on the sofa and for a moment Chris had the ridiculous urge to laugh as he recalled what Jamie had told him earlier. The First Gentleman was the perfect picture of health, immaculate in a black pair of pants and grey sweater and an aubergine colour leather jacket was draped over the sofa and an overnight bag sat on the coffee table. He looked the type who would rarely have a day's illness in his life.
"Chris, John and Milo are accompanying me on a trip to Boston. I have to take lead chair in a case."
Chris tried not to look disappointed and managed to keep a steady gaze fixed on the Sam. "Yes Mr Seaborn." To his relief Chris heard not trace of disappointment in his voice but looked down in surprise as the First Gentleman briefly touched his arm.
"I'd like you with me Chris as you're the calmest one of the group and I haven't forgotten the driveway incident. But, I need you look after Jamie for me." The passionate sincerity in Sam's voice and the sincere gaze in the blue eyes made Chris's mouth grow dry and the room began to feel a lot smaller as he felt himself drawn into his intent look
"Sure." Chris's mouth felt dry and the room was uncomfortably warm. "It's my duty sir and a pleasure." Chris mentally kicked himself for sounding so pompous.
"Jamie wants to go shopping for Christmas presents this weekend with Ms Moss and her husband and their son. I'm away maybe till Tuesday and if my partner goes with him it will turn into a media circus. With you there Chris my mind will be at ease as you two really seem to have hit it off."
Chris felt his face colour with pleasure.
"The trip is on my tab," Sam continued smoothly as he consulted his electronic pocket organiser. "I'll book a table for you all at Garfunkels and I've booked tickets for the new Walt Disney film Jamie's been pestering me to take him to see." Sam ticked off his ask Chris note on his electronic organiser.
"Now" Sam said briskly. "As you have full responsibility for Jamie on a day to day basis, I'd like you to feel that you can rebuke him if he misbehaves himself on Saturday. He can run rings round Ms Moss but I've watched you too together and he's still not sure what he can get with in your company."
"Have you told Ms Moss, I mean she might object if she sees me taking on a parental role?"
"Yes I have, she's fine with it and besides her son Sean can be a bit of a handful and when he and Jamie get together they gee each other up! Hey Jamie come in here!" Sam called out as his son ambled back into Suzie's room with a can of Diet coke and a packet of potato chips in his hand.
"Jamie! I don't know were you pack all that food away." Sam exclaimed. "Did Suzie give you the money?" Jamie nodded as he put the drink and potato chips on the coffee table and scrambled on to his father's lap. Chris was rewarded with a beaming smile and an offer of some potato chips.
"Ok." Sam sighed, "I suppose that if we're stopping off at the transition headquarters it will be junk food again."
"Yay!" Jamie triumphantly punched his fist in the air. "McDonald's? Large fries and chocolate milkshake?" He asked hopefully.
"Yes well as I'm going away later tonight I don't see why not. Listen Jamie," Sam sat his son down on the seat opposite him. He looked up in surprise as Chris went to stand up and leave father and son together for a private chat.
"Where are you going? I want you in on this." Sam instructed and Chris sat back down.
"Jamie I've spoken to Donna and JJ and you can go shopping on Saturday…" Jamie grinned broadly but Chris noticed that a stern look from Sam the little boy decided it was best to listen to what his father had to say. "Tiger when you're normally out with Chris and John you know you have to stick with them at all times." Jamie nodded and gave a considered look.
"That's because I'm important!" He announced triumphantly. Sam sighed and drew his son close to him.
"No Jamie, you are the same as any other of your class mates. It's because a large amount of the population have decided that JJ should run the country, that we're seen to be important. However there are kids at school who will think you're special and it's cool to be friends with you."
Sam smiled at the look of consideration on his son's face as he rummaged around the bottom of the potato chip bag and fished out a few crumbs.
"Yes, Daddy I have my own friends already." He replied solemnly then in a woeful tone, "but you've told me before that I'm special. I'm not special any more?"
Chris smiled as Sam scooped his son up and sat him on his lap and wrapped him a bear hug. "Jamie you are always a very special boy, as you mean the world to JJ and I and you're part of mommy and I."
Jamie broke apart. "Dad we're doing biology and Miss Hamilton said we'll be talking soon about…"
Sam rolled his eyes and Chris shifted in his seat he was dreading the bird and the bees conversation with Molly. "Well we'll talk about that soon, but I want to tell Chris now that you'll be a good boy for him on Saturday and won't get up to your usual tricks of disappearing when we've been shopping."
Chris looked in to the earnest blue eyes. "I'll be a good boy Chris." Jamie promised then asked in hopefully "Are we going to McDonald's now?"
Saturday Morning 9:30AM
The scene that greeted Chris at the home of Sam and Josh was one of a normal family weekend. Jamie opened the door dressed from head to foot in Gap for children, cream pants, sneakers, a navy blue sweatshirt and white tee-shirt peaking out.
"Hiya Chris!" Jamie beamed up at him "We're waiting for Aunty Donna, Ryan and Sean. Nana's coming too." Jamie's tone turned slightly petulant as he gave an aside glance at the kitchen where the sounds of classical music could be heard and the smell of waffles wafted down the hallway. "She won't let me have the pop station on." Jamie said in whispered tones.
Chris laughed as he stepped into the hallway and remembered what Suzie had told him on Thursday. She was right every one to Jamie was "aunty or uncle," his family were those who worked around the President Elect and the First Gentleman.
"Chris!" Chris turned round to see Kevin and Andrew in what was obviously the informal living room enjoying a cup of coffee.
"They never seem to know where to put us do they?" Kevin a tall wiry ginger haired man commented. "We can't stand outside the front as it freaks the neighbours and I'm sure security men are lurking in Jamie's wooden house."
"They wouldn't fit in Kevin" Jamie remarked as he disappeared into the kitchen and came out with a waffle in hand and handed it to Chris who shook his head and watched as Jamie demolished it.
"Nana says do you want coffee and she's coming out to inspect you in a moment!"
Andrew slighter smaller build, with brown hair and a permanently apprehensive expression, rolled his eyes at Jamie's comment. "Oh you're in for the Francesca Seaborn grilling!"
"She doesn't bite!" Josh remarked as he came out of the kitchen dressed in a pair of grey pants and a blue shirt which Chris was sure he'd seen Sam wear on occasions.
"No JJ, but if someone hadn't blabbed to Nana that I was going shopping and forgot to tell them that Aunty Donna and Uncle Ryan was coming, there was no need for her to come."
"Jamie!" Chris watched in curiosity as the President Elect took Jamie firmly by the end and marched him into the formal living room. "What the heck is going on? You normally love…" The door was shut and Chris turned as he heard the tip tap of high heels on to the wooden floorboards. Francesca walked towards him dressed in a pair of grey pants, lilac twin-set and black high heels. The ensemble was completed with a pearl necklace and earrings.
"My grandson is sulking because when I take him shopping I put the breaks on his shopping habits. You must be Chris; Sam has told me so much about you." Francesca held her hand out and Chris smiled in to friendly gaze of the sliver haired, dignified older woman.
"It's good to meet you Mrs Seaborn." Chris replied aware he was blushing at what she'd just said.
"So you won't tell Daddy?" Jamie said as the door opened and he appeared with Josh.
"No I won't but you will apologise to your grandmother now!" Francesca held out her arms and Jamie ran into them.
"I love you Nana!" Jamie burrowed his head in her chest. "It's just you seem to be here when Daddy's away and I miss Daddy."
"I miss Daddy too especially at nig…." Josh began in sympathetic tones.
"Joshua!" Francesca warned as she put Jamie down. "We'll say no more about it Jamie so why don't you go upstairs and get ready." Jamie gave Chris "well I think I got away with that!" look as he thundered up the stairs.
There was something that made Chris feel vaguely uncomfortable, it was not the curious stares of the shoppers as he and Jamie climbed out the car and said hello to Donna, Ryan and Sean. Ryan a tall aristocratic build, with fair hair and blue eyes, was just as new to the hoopla that went with being associated with the new First Family and looked startled. Donna too pre-occupied with stopping Sean, similar to his parents with a slim frame, blond hair but bags of energy, from charging in to the shop gave Chris a distracted greeting. It was in fact Francesca Seaborn, Chris reflected as he watched her climb out of the car. She made him feel almost like he was back in the headmaster's office about to be told off for some misdemeanour. He'd sat beside her in the official car as Jamie scrambled into the front seat and chattered away to the driver through out the short journey to Georgetown shopping centre.
"Now you've been with my grandsons detail for approximately four weeks?" Francesca asked in low yet authoritve tones.
"Yes ma'am' I joined Jamie's detail soon after the election result was announced." Chris found the direct gaze of the china blue eyes equally uncomfortable.
"Don't be fooled by my grandson's little act of contrition before we left." Francesca said warily as she smoothed down her navy cashmere coat and straightened a silk scar. "He's going through an unsettling stage of his life, what with the election and the move to the White House. He's usually a loving, sensitive boy, but he can be a little brat when he decides to play those who look after him off against each other."
"He's very talkative ma'am, but he does what he's told, even though he's so hyperactive he can give me the slip in the school yard." Chris looked up as they approached the shop and had given a sigh of relief as Jamie obediently remained in his seat.
Chris felt the First Gentleman's mother's blue eyes trained on him as he climbed out of the car and went round to open the door for his charge. His eyes scanned the streets all the time his senses alert to any unusual sights or sounds. He could not afford to be distracted but felt the palms of his hands go moist under the extra scrutiny.
Ten minutes later with the newly opened F A O Swartz in Washington was filled to capacity with Christmas shoppers, Chris understood why he let his wife do the Christmas shopping over the internet. The babbling noise of excited children, the smell of "Christmas" of berries and faked mulled wine and insistent carols and "Rocking around the Christmas Tree" and other Christmas tunes piped through out the store.
"Now have you got your money?" Francesca asked Jamie who like Sean was straining on an invisible leash.
"Yes Nana. It's in my pocket." Jamie dutifully replied his eyes growing wider as a he spied a boy triumphantly carrying the latest computer game and stuffing it in his bag as he walked by. "Ohh Nana! I want one of those!"
"Well want will just have to be your master for a moment. Chris are you sure all the exits are safe?" Francesca asked as he kept a firm grip on her grandson's hand.
"Yes Mrs Seaborn. The manager has assured us of complete security and he'll try and assure some privacy for Jamie if…"
"No!" Francesca barked. "Jamie stand there for a moment!" She instructed as she drew Chris to one side. "My son is insistent this will never happen, no clearing out shops, obliviously I don't need to tell what your duty is?"
"Ok. If god forbid…" Francesca gave a shudder "any thing where to happen we'd review the security arrangements. But for now my son, the President and I are agreed Jamie should be able to live as normal life as possible. Now…" She gave a fond smile at Jamie. "I can see you're ready to go. Ryan and Chris will look after you whilst Donna and I will…" She bent down as Jamie ran over and whispered in her ear and then straightened up. "I'd forgotten that! Ok Jamie I'll meet you here at 12 noon then we'll have ice cream in the ice cream parlour."
"Byee!" Jamie and Sean waved and turned as they headed off towards the electronic games section. Chris was heartened at the thumbs up sign Francesca gave him as he was swallowed up in the crowd of babbling children and exasperated parents.
"I don't know how you manage it." Ryan whispered as he and Chris stood in the queue with Jamie and Sean and Ryan to pay for their purchases.
"I sometimes wonder." Chris agreed his eyes roaming around the store.
"I'm sorry I shouldn't distract you!" Ryan went to stand to one side.
"No, its ok." Chris moved to stand right behind Jamie as he approached the counter with his toys. One concession to Jamie's status for security issues was that all his purchases could be paid for at one counter rather than in the various departments. Jamie eagerly handed over a couple of computer games, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings action figures. Sean turned away with a big smile on his face holding up gift bag at Ryan; as he did an alarm sounded and several shoppers stopped in their tracks.
"This is a fire alarm would every one please evacuate the building" A recorded voice intoned.
"Security men are standing by to direct you to the nearest fire exits." One of the sales assistants announced stepping forward.
"Right." Chris spoke into his microphone and at the sound of "official car" and "back to base." Jamie's face puckered and he gazed longingly at his toys.
"It's ok." One of the sales assistants knelt down to Jamie's level. "We know what you've brought. I'm sure it will be ok if you take them home and your daddy pay's credit card over the phone." Jamie's face brightened as he scoped the precious cargo in his hands and beamed at the young assistant. He and Chris were guided almost towards the front of the crowd filing out of the door, by an anxious to please assistant to the sounds of disgruntled shoppers.
Chris tried to ignore the muttering of "All right for some!" and "breach of fire regulations." Instead he felt Jamie take his hand as his and Jamie's path were blocked by an angry red face.
"I didn't even vote for Lyman!" The voice was pure venom and Jamie shrank behind Chris, clinging tighter on to his hand. "Giving preferential treatment to a pervert's son!"
"What's a little boy ever done to you?" Ryan exclaimed as he went to tower over the offending parent. "It's your right to vote for whom ever you want but if you want to complain about the stores action don't take it out on him."
Chris's reactions where swift and with a grateful smile at Ryan, he scooped Jamie up in his arms and managed to weave his way through the crowds. Some like Ryan were ready to lynch the medium height, slightly plump man with a perspiring face.
"You ignore him Jamie!" One parent shouted.
"I guess I am special after all. What does pervert mean?" Jamie asked in a trembling voice as Chris put him in the official car as an anxious Francesca, who carried a pager with her at all times, hurried towards them.
"Here comes the cavalry." He murmured as he ushered her into the car and with Donna and Ryan and Sean in hot pursuit sped back home.
Garfunkels Restaurant 4:30pm.
Chris sat with Kevin on the President's detail, the same age as him with sandy hair and freckled nose. They were seated slight distance from the party gathered around a larger table studying the menu.
"So, Lilly managed to stop Princeton from flying home?" Kevin asked as he smiled as complementary hamburgers and cokes where placed in front of them.
"It wasn't Princeton it was Eagle I had to stop from charging out the door! You ought to have seen his face."
"Can I have a milkshake Nana?" Jamie's voice broke into their conversation and from his advantage point Chris could see him studying the menu intently.
"Jamie if your gonna have one of those big ice creams why don't you have a coke like Sean?" Donna suggested which earned her a grateful smile from Francesca.
"Other wise poppet your eyes will go pop with too much food." The older women added with a smile.
"So how did you stop Eagle from raising cane? I mean you didn't get the name of the guy and the store well perhaps they shouldn't have been so blatant but…" Kevin took a sip of his coke. "If the fire alarm hadn't gone off they'd have the First Gentleman's son purchasing goods in their store.
"Eagle got on the phone to Princeton dragged him out of a meeting and they spoke for about thirty minutes; then Eagle says its ok for Jamie to go to Garfunkels but he wants you with us."
John took a bite of his hamburger and nodded.
"I think Princeton is beginning to realise how much he needs us." He said in whispered tones and gave Jamie a wide smile as the little boy waved from his seat and caused other diners to smile and not to stare at the youngest member of the new First Family.
"Daddy's home!" Jamie shouted which caused a stern telling off from Francesca as the car pulled into the drive way and past the security guards. As soon as the car came to a halt he was scrambling out of the car and across the drive way to where Sam stood with open arms.
Chris heard an "I thought you weren't back till Tuesday," from an excited Jamie and as they walked towards the door. He turned in surprise as he felt himself being taken towards one side by Fransceca.
"My son was right about you." Her tone was warm and friendly. "Donna told me how you dealt with the situation." She smiled as Sam had scooped up Jamie and with Josh standing beside them stood waiting for Chris and Jamie.
"Thank you Ma'am." Chris answered.
"I hate ma'am I'm not royalty, if you must be formal call me Mrs Seaborn." Francesca offered.
Before Chris could stop himself the words were out. "Your son is so like you."
There was brief silence as Chris slightly paled in the darkness at his faux pax but he relaxed as Francesca laughed.
"Yes." She agreed "Yes we are and wait my grandson wanted to give you this…" Francesca pulled out a Christmas gift wrapped package. "He's insistent it's not to be opened before Christmas. There's one for John as well." Francesca added with a smile.
"I don't know what to say!" Chris stared at the present as he escorted the elderly lady towards Jamie and Sam.
"Just give Jamie a hug and say thank you. He just wants to be friends." Francesca replied. Chris stared at the gift then found himself drawn into the chaos that was a family in transition, packing boxes laid up against the wall, phones ringing and a couple of the Lyman for America staff holding an impromptu meeting in the living room.
The presents where opened in the Rawlins house and it was only 7:30 in the morning but Molly had dragged both parents out of bed and downstairs. Chris sat surrounded by wrapping paper, the sound of Christmas carols on the TV and the sound of mother and daughter chatting in the kitchen.
Chris stared at the unopened present in his hand. He'd saved it to last, as he glanced at his other presents. A couple of the latest thrillers, aftershave, socks and a brand new state of the art watch from Jan.
"This is Mike King from WKTO outside the Washington Cathedral, reporting on the Christmas festivities around the capitol. I can report that whilst President Routledge and the First Lady, prepare for what is their last Christmas in the White House. The stylish Francesca Seaborn accompanied by her grandson Jamie attended midnight mass.
Chris looked up at the screen as Jamie stared back at him impeccably dressed in a miniature suite and tie, with Francesca elegant in cashmere and a silk scarf and fake fur hat where escorted into Washington Cathedral.
"This is the first time that we've seen a member of the new First Family openly at a religious festival. Mike, can you comment on such a public display of religious belief all. President Elect Lyman said in his holiday statement that this is the holiday season."
"Well John I spoke to Alex Kingston the press secretary to President Elect Lyman who reminded us of the President's recent statement about his family. Mr Kingston also told us that Jamie often attends Jewish services with the President Elect, but its s family tradition that…"
"C'mon darling…" Jan his wife turned to face the TV. "Don't you want to escape from work for one day? Molly is…Oh I didn't know you had another present."
"Yes it's from Jamie." Chris replied his eyes still on the TV screen as the cameras went inside the Cathedral and focused on the magnificent jewelled coloured window.
"Isn't that sweet!" Jan exclaimed, "but Molly is calling for you and your scrambled eggs will get cold."
Chris opened the package and stared in surprise at his present, a pair of designer sun glasses. He opened a note in Jamie's handwriting. "John has a pair and I promise to be a good boy in the New Year. Happy Holidays. Love Jamie."
As he leaned forward to press the remote he found the screen misting over as Jamie disappeared from view. He wiped away a tear as he went to join his family for breakfast to accompanying Christmas carols blaring from the radio.
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