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empty cage, if you kill the bird, an

by Jennifer-Oksana

     Date: Thursday, June 05, 2003 6:42 PM
     an empty cage, if you kill the bird
     (the shattered glass remix)
     by Jennifer-Oksana (jenniferoksana@yahoo.com)
     Fandom: West Wing
     Website: http://jennyo.imjustsayin.net
     Rating: PG-13
     Distribution: lists, others by permission.
     Disclaimer: Sorkin and co, not me.
     Note: Remix of tahlia's fic for the Silverlake Remix.
     Summary: An infinity of possibility between one second and
     the next.

Glass shatters.

(the call had come at the worst possible moment, the woman calling Andi Toby's wife and Toby not bothering to correct her)

When metal crunches, it screams.

("call the hospital." "toby." "call them." "we're five minutes away, toby." "just do it.")

The shine of headlights is very blinding, something that does not quite compute. Not when they're coming at you fast, and thirty is fast on a street in DC.

(calling won't stop Andi's premature labor, but CJ is under the dashboard, looking for her phone, feeling the car jerk and rev, trying to go faster than traffic allows.)

The horn is deafening. It won't stop.

("toby...")

...won't stop...

Possibility lives in the second between shattering glass and crunching metal.

He can't be more than thirty-five. His wife's the candidate from Maryland, Anna says, he's Suzzie's one o'clock.

"I think I know him." "Do you want to take him?" "No. I'll let Suzzie handle him."

Thinning dark hair, couldn't be thirty-five yet, the one comparing Councilman Bloom to Macbeth. Toby.

"I'll let Suzzie--"

handle

it.

There are so many ways this could end with the sirens screaming arias.

Josh is covered in blood; twenty-four hours later and he's covered in blood.

CJ and Sam are the only ones who have changed their clothes. Breathe in, breathe out. Don't cry.

Andi's hand is in hers when the surgeon comes out, covered in Toby's blood.

"I'm..."

sorry.

sorry.

Blinding lights, flashing lights, and each one is full of possibility. Choices that flicker, become almost real, and disappear.

She is still known as CJ Cregg, the one who used to work for Bartlet.

He is sitting on the couch near the window. "You could come tonight."

"Or not."

And soon she is kissing him again, harder, deeper, more intensely.

Falling into old practices.

We all wanted out, CJ.

But we stayed.

Stay.

In the seconds between pain and silence, there is an infinity. Living, breathing, not just neurons firing madly. Time dilates...

The concession speech--not another concession speech, Toby--sits on the table, bleeding ink.

"The American people elected that man because he was not Jed Bartlet. I'm certainly comforted knowing that while the President of United States was fighting to save welfare and Social Security and protecting free speech and trying to stop the nation's children from taking up arms against each other, he was out reassuring people that he's not Jed Bartlet!" he says, watching the victory celebrations from the bar. "It should have been him up there."

"I know," CJ agrees.

They walk out of the bar, into the parking lot. "I'm not going to stay here."

"No."

It's November and CJ's forgotten her coat. She shivers, watching him leave, before getting in her car, silently, and driving.

...and slows down.

At four o'clock in the morning she writes him a note that includes her flight number.

It feels good to run. CJ knows Jed Bartlet is going to be president; but she can't do this.

Not anymore.

and finally? there is silence.

End


Jennifer
home to the madness: http://www.imjustsayin.net

"I keep my friends close, and all the rest of you bitches under my thumb."


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