You're Forgetting To Fly, Darling
by Oro

President's daughter. Sentences coming out too long. Press asking more questions than it should and Toby watching her from behind the cameras, trying to figure out what goes through her mind.

(Never succeeding.)

Bright lights and noises and clutter and his eyes. She tries to sound assertive when she answers the next question, but it's closer to home today and she still flinches when a flash goes off. Still vulnerable, because she never did learn how not to be.

There isn't a word or a name for someone whose daughter has been kidnapped except Josiah Bartlet, and it's the last words she wants on her lips right now. Kidnapped. Unknown location. Possibly terrorists, but if you could refrain from asking, for the sake of those involved, please, and the press doesn't care about the things she needs the press to care about.

She's dizzy when she calls a full lid. It's been a long day and it'll never end.

He says, "You did fine, don't worry about it." He sounds sincere. Doubts arise every now and then at his tone of voice when he tries to stop her from doing something stupid like breaking down in front of him. She does her best not to. She hates how he says these things when she doesn't even ask to be comforted.

If only he would stop looking at her like that.

She walks away, and he follows her.

She walks quickly, briskly, automatically to her office, without noticing or caring who she passes by on the way there. Everyone's faces blur too quickly and she begins to feel too hot and too nauseated all at once. He follows her into the blissfully cool room. She doesn't bother turning the lights on but he does, anyway, and she can't think of anything except getting to the couch, and. And.


With a soft thud, her body redefines the shape of the couch's surface. Feeling the leather underneath her fingers, she notes to herself that she should've picked a softer material. Sigh, because everything is all messed up.

She forgot the last time it was okay to sleep. She closes her eyes for a moment and he watches her. She opens her eyes again and it feels like she should have something to say right now. There's nothing to be said. A small fly buzzes from a distant point in the room.

He sits next to her and she smiles. It feels like something she shouldn't be doing right now. Toby looks like he's about to say something for a moment there, but maybe it was just wishful thinking on her part.

(Cellphone rings.)

There's a moment of being uncomfortable as he retrieves the small, silvery phone. "Hello," and then it's one-word sentences and, "Andi. Babies." She quietly nods. The children's names play in her mind over and over and there's a new softness to his tone of voice when he's on the phone with their mother.

She's painfully out of place. "Toby, you shouldn't be here." She doesn't add that he should be at the hospital because he isn't listening to her anyway.

("No, there's nothing new on Zoey," he uncomfortably says into the phone.)

She listens to the most mundane sounds intermix into a blur of footsteps and mutters. Everyone talks about the same thing and no one says it flat out, that they're all scared and powerless and lacking idea as to what the hell is going on.

It's called chaos, but she's forgotten her words and it drives her crazy. It's so strange; the way there are these things that are taken for granted leave such a void when they're snatched away.

Toby is still on the phone. He crinkles his forehead and curses the damn reception. She stifles the old instinct to tease him about how he's a father now and he shouldn't say things like damn reception. And it hits her that this is exactly what he is now. He speaks softly now, because he and Andi reproduced and created a family together. He's a family now. They're a family.

Everything is so different than it used to be. There's a new president now and nothing's the same. No one is ever the same anymore.

CJ watches her own fingers, a mesmerized stare at just about the most familiar thing she can think of right now. They're pale and she can vaguely make out the blue veins. She feels transparent. She looks into his eyes when he says that he can't think of being anywhere else right now. She didn't notice when he hung up the phone. She stares at him, feeling numb to her ears.

It's awkwardly silent.


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