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Normal
by Liz Barr
September 2001
TWW, CJ, post TFGTKY, shower fic challenge
rated PG-13
summary: "This is normal, this is routine, the world isn't really falling apart."
notes: Sex-free shower fic, sort of. Based on The Bordello's challenge. TFGTKY-fic, because everyone else is doing it.
feedback: please. elizabeth_barr@yahoo.com.au
homepage: http://www.geocities.com/elizabeth_barr/
charactes: not mine. His.


This is her routine: grab takeout or something from the mess for dinner, finish work late, walk home, because this isn't LA, and cabs are for the weak, and her apartment is close by. Long, hot shower, a nightcap and CNN, and sleep. Early morning gym session, because one day she'll be living in LA again, and then it's back to the west wing, neat and not-exhausted.

This is how she was told: late at night, after the reporters had gone to their homes. Leo talking, the President silent, not-repentant, Toby waiting in his office. She remembers another late night, a hotel, the campaign, a glimpse of a syringe in Abbey Bartlet's hand.

This is what happened next: she walks home, because is isn't LA, and cabs are for the weak, and her apartment is close by. A long, hot shower, leaving skin blotched and tingling.

She stands under the water, thinking, this is normal, this is routine, the world isn't falling apart, this is just another evening.

A nightcap and CNN, and then an hour of staring at the ceiling, trying not to think anymore.

Another shower, telling herself that this is normal, this is routine, repeating it until the hot water runs out, leaving her with soap in her hair and white-blue, still-tingling skin.

Another drink, informercials, decaf herbal tea. Reruns from the '60s. She has another drink, alcoholic again, and thinks of JFK, doped up on painkillers, and no one knowing until he'd secured his place in myth.

She turns off the tv, wonders if the hot water supply has replenished itself by now. More alcohol. She stares, uncomprehending, at old issues of Time, and doesn't bother pretending that this is normal.

She goes back to bed, feels her pillow become sticky and shampoo scented under her still-damp hair. She stares at the ceiling, stares at the wall.

This is the morning after: no early morning gym session, just another short shower to wash the shampoo-stickiness out of her hair, and then it's off to the White House, and a meeting with Babish. Almost a normal day, almost routine. The world isn't falling apart, but it may as well be.

END


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