Title: THE ONLY ONE
Pairing: Jed and Leo
Disclaimer: The television show The West Wing and all its characters and events are property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Sometimes a man just needs his best friend.....
The Only One by Sheri
It was two o’clock in the morning when the telephone next to Leo McGarry’s bed began to ring. Groggily raising one arm and plopping it in the general direction of the noise, he just barely managed to extract the offending handset without upending everything else on the nightstand. “What!?”
“Leo? It’s me.”
McGarry sat up, immediately awake as he recognized the voice. “Yes, Mr. President. What can I do for you?”
There was an extra long pause. “Mr. Pres?Jed?¦we’ve been over this a million times. We can’t.”
Leo sighed softly. Jed Bartlett was unquestionably the most powerful man in the world. There was a large, state-of-the-art military force ready to do his bidding. Leaders of entire countries got the jitters when they were in his presence. Reporters strained to hear and record every word he said for history. And yet this man, this in-charge, no-holds-barred, omnipotent man, became a scared little boy when the lights were out and no one was watching.
“You should be as well. It’s very late.”
“I can’t. Come talk to me.”
Very early in their friendship, Leo had become Bartlett’s unofficial sounding board. During the day they bounced things off each other on a continuous basis in an effort to see all sides of an obstacle and work out problems. After the election the process continued, albeit with far greater reaching ramifications riding on their decisions. McGarry always found himself in constant awe of his friend’s mental abilities and his quickness to grasp virtually any situation thrown in front of him. But even geniuses need some downtime and, for Jed Bartlett, it came after sundown. When the cameras were off and the rest of the world slept, Jed felt the enormous pressure on his shoulders and the doubt came rushing in. It was during those times that he needed Leo the most.
“If I do it will be just to talk. I mean it, Jed. I’m not taking you to bed.”
”Did I ask you to?”
“You never do. Yet, somehow, it always happens.”
Bartlett gave a short laugh. “Can I help it if I’m irresistible?”
McGarry knew it was meant as a joke but didn’t feel the urge to laugh. His friend was happily married and very much in love with his wife. They both understood that. Yet there were times, like now, when Leo was what he needed. No one else understood what the strain was like and no one else knew the complete realities of what was happening. Leo did. That’s why, in the middle of the night when Jed was at his most vulnerable, it was Leo who could hold him, and calm him, and stroke his hair, and assure him that he was doing a good job. When they made love it was not for physical exercise or relationship advancement, but for the simple sharing of mutual respect and heartfelt support.
“I could order you to come, you know.”
“But you won’t.”
Bartlett was silent, mentally weighing the commitments of his job against the great upheaval of emotions he was fighting. “Please, Leo?” he finally choked out. “I need you so much. Nobody else understands.”
It was McGarry’s turn to make a decision. “Tell the security detail that you’re moving to the spare bedroom down the hall because Abby’s snoring is keeping you awake,” he told his shattered friend. “I’m on my way.”
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