Title: Gravity
Author: elicesmithus
Rating: R for angst
Archive:this and landing are allowed at the big block of cheese, the rest lemme know S
Summary:Jed's reaction to Leo's heart attack
Disclaimer:I'm po'.Don't sue.
Notes:i wrote this as a sequel to landing. again, hope y'all like it.+

Gravity by elicesmithus

Jed looked at his secret service agent, his eyes pleading for Ron to take it back, to make it not true.

"I'm sorry, Mr. President. They found his body about an hour ago. Apparently, he suffered a massive heart attack. He was gone in minutes. There was nothing anybody could have done."

The President of the United States, the leader of the free world sank down on his couch as if he had no feeling in his legs.Tears pooled in his eyes, but, he did not allow them to fall. Not yet. He would cry later. First, he had to deal with the aftermath."Charlie! Summon the senior staff. Get Toby, get C.J., get Josh, get Margeret. Tell 'em it's an emergancy."

While he waited, Jed thought about his friend.He tried to think of only the good times. Their first meeting. The mouthy, shining headmaster's son and the surly, quiet scholarship kid. Their weddings, standing as best man for each other. At the births of their children. Handing each other pink cigars and laughing over the idea of them being fathers. The campaign. The election. All the times Leo had been his gravity, simultaniously, holding him up and keeping him on the ground. He tried to think of the good times, but, the bad memories came with them.

Leo's drunken rages. Jed's temper tantrums. The divorce. The backsliding. Tears threatened again as he thought of the final argument. How could he have said that? The look on Leo's face haunted him. There was no other way about it. He'd killed his best friend. He'd destroyed the only man who ever loved him.

Yes, he'd known how Leo felt about him. He'd always known. And, while he couldn't return Leo's love, he had at least afforded him the dignity of not revealing his knowledge. Leo had revealed his love in so many different ways. In the way he'd smile during a speech. Pride and affection in his eyes as if to say, 'Look what a friend I have.' The way he'd sacrificed everything for Jed. And the constant dread in his eyes. Jed thought of it as his waiting look. Waiting for Jed to figure it out. For the axe to fall. The dread that had been replaced with pain and resignation when Jed had walked away. It was the acceptance in his eyes that hurt most. When Jed had been seven, an old and half-dead dog had wandered into the yard. When Jed had reached out to help him, the dog had flinched as if expecting a blow. His mother had driven the old animal to the vet. He found out later that the dog had been beaten to death. Later, when his father would hit him, he'd seen that beaten dog look in his own eyes all too often. Seeing that look in another's eyes, and knowing he put it there was what hurt most.

What he had done was tantamount to murder in Jed's eyes. Now, he had to stand up and accept the blame. There was no penance for this. No forgiveness he could seek. He had always thought of himself as a basically good man. He had thought that God loved him. That God would forgive his sins and accept his repentance. Now, he knew. The Hell he feared was waiting for him. God would not forgive this and he didn't deserve forgiveness.

"Mr. President?"

Jed stood to accept his recriminations. He didn't know if the prayers of the damned were heard, but he prayed to Leo's soul anyway. He prayed for a forgiveness he did not deserve, and for the strength to accept the punishments to be meted out. As, he walked to his desk, he wasn't surprised to stumble. You can't walk a straight line when your gravity was gone. At that thought, his knees gave out. As he felt the darkness closing in, he thought, 'There's no gravity.'

'Who will keep me from spinning away now?'


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