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The Line Drawn

by Maidenjedi

[Story Headers]

TITLE: The Line Drawn
AUTHOR: Maidenjedi
RATING: PG
KEYWORDS: Toby, Toby/CJ, Toby/Andi
DISCLAIMER: Not mine and I'm not selling. SPOILERS: 'Here Today', general series spoilers SUMMARY: "Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace." - Oscar Wilde

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Huck and Molly were tucked away in bed when Toby had Alana call Andi.

He knew because Andi didn't yell into the phone, like she might have.

She would have. He scratched his beard and thought of what Andi would have said to him.

Was going to say to him.

Why was it that the ability to use the English language always left him in times like these?

Alana hung up the phone. "She saw the President's announcement, Toby." She sighed. "It may be awhile before you can see them. It will depend on Andi."

Toby nodded.

It would depend on him, too.


He did not do it to prove he was morally superior. He resented Jed for that.

He was thinking of him as 'Jed' because it made his stomach clench to remember that he used to work for the President of the United States.

He did not do it to prove anything.

Except maybe he did.

He had driven to David's grave, sat in front of it and thought for a long time. He had already called Greg Brock. He wanted to tell someone, anyone, that a story was going to break and there was going to be hell to pay.

He wanted to tell C.J. She still wasn't used to that office. He still walked in there looking for Leo. He imagined she did, too.

He wanted to tell her. It was only fair.

Except, when the buzzards came, it would be better that they only got a piece of him.


Toby sat in his living room, the television on but muted. He was staring at the phone, daring it to ring. When it rang, it would be Alana, with news about Huck and Molly.

It would not be C.J.

The phone rang.

"Hi."

It was C.J.

"You shouldn't call here."

"I'm on a pay phone. In Alexandria. They won't know."

"They'll know."

"I had to call you."

Silence.

"Why did you do it?"

"Did you see that Mets game the other night? How hard is it to hire a pitcher who can throw a curve ball?"

"Why, Toby?"

"How about some of that champagne sometime soon, C.J.? We could just come back here and it could be like old times, you know, before Danny and before even Andi..."

"Damn it, Toby!"

He lost it. "Because! Just because! I had to. Someone had to. How could we let people, our people, die when we had a way to save them, just so that...."

He paused for breath and she took advantage. She always took advantage of his lapses in concentration.

"Just so that what? It was almost me, Toby. It should have been...."

And he did it right back.

"No, it shouldn't have, and it wasn't. This was my thing."

His brilliant use of the English language.

Silence.

"C.J.?"

"Toby."

"He was right. He was right about me."

"Toby, what did he say?"

But Toby had already hung up the phone.


He did not think that Jed was right.

But he wondered.

He had crashed and burned many times in his career. Jed Bartlett was his first success.

Perhaps men like Toby Ziegler weren't meant for successes. Maybe they were meant to be the poets of destruction.

C.J. had said something like that, once, before there was a campaign and a win and the White House. He had just married Andi, and he was sleeping with C.J.

Doomed to failure, she'd said. You are always undoing what you have done, and you do it in a spectacular fashion.

I can't believe you just said "undoing what you have done," he said, and they went back to kissing and pretending that Andi did not know what was going on.

He crashed and burned. In a spectacular fashion.

So maybe he could not handle winning.

Or success.

But he told Greg Brock about the shuttle because....

And he was still at a loss for words.


Toby got to see his kids, but they were more interested in the sandbox at the park than in him.

Andi was not speaking to him. Or, she was speaking to him, just not about anything other than the kids and the weather.

She was wearing a beige shift dress and a matching jacket, and he wondered again why he let her go.

"Andi?"

"This week I have to take them to the doctor for their check-ups, thankfully this one will be shot-free..."

"Andi."

She looked him in the eye for the first time. "Toby, don't do it."

Now it was his turn to look away. "Don't do what." He knew, so he wasn't asking.

"Don't pick this apart and try to apply what you did here to everything you have ever done. Telling the world about military space shuttles is not the same as cheating on your wife."

"Maybe it is. Maybe it was always about everything being too good to be true, and me making it all come crashing down."

"Maybe. But so what? You did the right thing. The moral thing."

"He thinks I think I'm morally superior to him."

"Him?"

"Jed."

"Since when....?"

"Since I couldn't even think the words 'I was fired by the President of the United States.'"

"Did you think he would stick up for you?"

Huck and Molly ran back to the bench to give their mother messy, sand-covered hugs. Huck gave a rock to his father, and they ran back. The whole three or four feet, they ran like the wind.

"I thought he would fight me, not let me resign."

"Did you want him to?"

Toby shook his head slightly, a move only Andi would recognize for its petulance.

"Then leave it, Toby. Move on."

They watched the twins play in the sand, Molly giggling at her brother, Huck throwing sand at some imaginary foe, defending his sister's honor.

"Andi, I'm sorry."

She took his hand and squeezed it, and let go. "You weren't then, and you aren't now. It wasn't the moral thing to do. Or maybe it was, if by being with the woman you secretly wanted while you were married to the one who wanted you was moral. I don't know. But you and I are way past apologies."

He said nothing, and Huck ran over to show him another rock.


"Do you swear...."

His hand on a Bible.

He didn't read the Bible.

He felt like shouting that he was Jewish and he wasn't going to swear on this book, and they couldn't make him, and this was unconstitutional, and and and.

And.

There were days for such fights. He had tried not to squander them.

"I do."

He told the truth one more time, hopefully one last time. No, no one else had known he was going to leak the story. He only talked to Greg Brock. No, C.J. Cregg had no prior knowledge.

No one asked him why.

He thought about David. While counsel was called to approach the bench (one question was leading, and it was too much for defense counsel, and this was needlessly ugly, he'd confessed), he thought of David's white headstone, so perfect, so much like so many others. How many needless deaths? How many lives might have been saved if someone in the White House had just admitted that yes, there were things, ugly and terrible things, that were made and used and no one was supposed to know.

But that wasn't why.

David would have hated him for this.

He did it because someone should.

A line should be drawn in the sand, thought Toby.

The court went on and his trial, the sideshow, the useless waste of taxpayer money, went on.

A line should be drawn in the sand. Moral men should draw it and say, enough is enough.


In the last pages of Toby Ziegler's memoirs, there was a line cut out of the final draft.

"President Bartlett was a moral man. I never had the courage to come out and say that I did not think he was moral enough. I wanted him to be the one to draw the line in the sand."

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The end.

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Fandom:  West Wing
Title:  The Line Drawn
Author:  Maidenjedi   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  gen  |  7k  |  10/24/05
Characters:  Toby
Pairings:  Toby/CJ, Toby/Andi
Summary:  "Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace." - Oscar Wilde

Notes:  Here Today spoilers, general series spoilers

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