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The Second Term: A Drabble Collection

Chapter Text

Got a wish, got a wish that I
Can just get back to where we came
God I miss, God I miss you now
And I can't even say your name
-- ”While We're Young” by Marianas Trench

(2/6)

Josh slugged through the January snowfall as he walked from the debate towards his car.  Things were looking up in New Hampshire, and he couldn’t keep from smiling.  It seemed like maybe leaving the White House hadn’t been quite the bad decision he was fearing it was going to be.

His steps faltered as he spotted her through the crowd standing next to the car that was to take Russell back to his hotel.  She didn’t notice him, for which he was glad.  He had no intention of repeating their earlier meeting.  But he couldn’t stop himself from watching her for a moment.

She looked beautiful, but then she always had. She was leaning against the car, looking at something on her phone.  Probably rearranging future spots or something.  He might have been angry at her leaving and choosing Russell of all people, but he couldn’t help but be proud of how well she was doing.  

He could only wish that she was next to him, making this lonely journey a little less so.  She had been his right-hand woman for so long that it seemed almost wrong to turn and see Ronna instead.  He had almost called the woman Donna a few times too, thankfully the names sounded enough alike that he could pass the occasional slip up as a mumble.  Ronna didn’t deserve the baggage heaped on her unknowingly, and he was getting better at not searching for Donna.

But dear god did he miss her.  Not just as his partner, but as his friend.  He missed karoake over breakfast, her hugs when a bill passed or to commiserate when they lost.  Her ability to find the missing pieces he spent hours looking for just by a simple word or rant.  

He didn’t talk about it.  The only person who probably figured out how he was doing was Toby, who had basically told him to suck it up and call her but he couldn’t bring himself to.  She had left and who was he to demand she stay.  Leo might have some clue as to it but he was ignoring it as he usually did.  He could still hear his words from that Christmas.

Get it together, would you.

I’m trying.

 

 


 

All in all it's the perfect scene
And there's not anywhere that I would rather be
And it's now, now or never when we're chasing our dreams
And oh, it's getting close now don't turn away
-- ”The Perfect Scene” by Mercy Mercedes

(2/13)

She nuzzled closer, enjoying the warm on such a cold morning.  She certainly did not want to get out of bed though she knew she had to work.  Why couldn’t her talents led her to a occupation that had late mornings.  On the bright side, the other occupant of the bed also had to get up for work, as they worked together.  They could be miserable morning people together.

“We should get up,” he mumbled into her head, sounding equally as unenthused about getting out of the warm nest they had made on the bed.

“We should.”  she responded, but neither moved.  It was an important day for both of them.  It was one they had worked so hard to make happen, and today they would see the fruits of their efforts.  But at the moment that seemed a million miles away because all they wanted was a lazy morning in bed.

They snoozed a little,  half awake, half asleep, till the autoswitch on the coffeemaker turned on, and the smells of coffee filled the apartment.

“We really need to get up.”

“You first.”

“You are on top of me.”

“As if I’m too heavy for you to move.”  She rolled her eyes and turned onto her back,stretching her arms to help wake herself up.  She winced as her arms hit the cold air.  She hated winter.  “You make breakfast, I’ll take the first shower.”

“Mmmm.”

“Oh, no you don’t,” she said, amused.  She took her pillow and smacked him in the head with it.  “We have a big day today and I have to be there bright and early, so do you Mister.  Get your ass in gear.”

“I’m getting there.”  She humphed as she got out of bed, glad she had tossed her socks by the bed as the floor, was cold where the area rug stopped and the hardwood floors appeared.

“You better be up by the time I’m out,” she yelled back to the bedroom.  “I’m not making breakfast and you know how you get when you don’t eat.”

She bit back a laugh when she heard a mumble in reply.  She could guess what he had just said into his pillow.

 


 

 

Here’s my chance for a new beginning
I save the best for a better ending
And in the end I’ll make it up to you, you’ll see
You’ll get the very best of me
-- ”One Day Too Late” by Skillet

(2/15)

“Sam, I’m not sure what to do,”  Josh said in a moment of honesty.  Sam looked up from where he was refolding Josh’s shirts -the man didn’t know how to pack - and looked at him.  

“It hasn’t been that long has it,”  He joked, surprised when Josh didn’t roll his eyes.

“No, not that.  Donna.”

“When have you ever?”

“Not helpful.”

“What do you want me to say, Josh?”

“Out of the two of us, you’re the only one who's had a successful relationship.”

“Depends on your definition of successful. “  He paused.  “Josh, are you that serious about Donna?”  He knew the answer, but he needed Josh to say it outloud.  To not hide behind rhetoric.

“Of course I’m serious!”  Josh responded, glaring at him.

“Then tell her.”

“She gave me a timetable to figure things out.”  Sam wasn’t sure who to roll his eyes at first.  Josh for thinking he didn’t already know his decision or on Donna for not realising how jumpy Josh gets about these things.  So Sam decided to be blunt.

“Josh, you already know what you want.  You just have to go out and get it.  She knows what she wants and for god knows what reason it keeps coming back to you.”

“I always screw it up.”

“Then don’t.”

“Again, helpful.”

“Seriously, Josh, the reason why the others didn’t work is because they weren’t Donna, they knew they weren’t Donna and they knew before you did that Donna was the one who was your equal partner.  Its what you need.  Someone who will boast you up and also take you down a peg when you need it.  Amy and Mandy weren’t going to do that.  And you knew it too.  That's why you didn’t try that hard.  This time you have to try.”

He paused for a second.  “Do you know why Ainsley and I worked when Molly and I didn’t?  Its because Molly and I didn’t try enough.  We kept waiting for the pieces to fall into place, but it never did.  And neither of us regret it going the way it or the time we spent together.  But Ainsley I actually tried.  I make sure to tell her that I love her.  I make sure to let her know how much I respect her.  She does the same for me.  We tackle the issues as we go.  Sound familiar?”

Josh stared at him blankly.

“You and Donna, Josh.  The two of you used to do that all the time, except you were trying to hard to keep it platonic.  Now you don’t have to waste your energy on that, just keep trying with the other stuff.”   He strapped down the clothes in Josh’s luggage, now that they fit in there.  “Now let's finish packing so you can go off to Hawaii and tell your future wife how much she means to you.

 

Chapter Text

This is not what I intended
I always swore to you I'd never fall apart
You always thought that I was stronger
I may have failed but I have loved you from the start
-- ”Fall For You” by Secondhand Serenade

(2/17)

 

Jed stared out the window.  Somewhere behind him a TV was on, the noise of the news broadcast tuned out after the first five hours of reporting on Zoe’s disappearance with no news.  His hands were balled into fists, his nails leaving indents in his skin and tears leaving trails on his cheeks.

Someone had his daughter. And at the moment he could do shit-none to do about it.  He had the best of the FBI and Secret Service looking for her.  His staff was running the other day-to-day tasks because his mind was too filled with with what-ifs, each one getting more disparaging then the next.

He could do nothing, but fell he had failed his daughter.  Because of him she had been in the position to be taken.  If he hadn’t been President, he wouldn’t have put her in the limelight.  If he hadn’t run for a second term, his family would have been too important to hostage.  It was all his fault, Abbey was right.

He fell to his knees, doing the only thing he knew to do.  He couldn’t search for her, couldn’t protect her, but he sure as hell could pray.  He bent his head, praying out loud as he often did when he was praying by himself.  He was not surprised however when a few moments later he felt Abbey kneel beside him, take his hand and join in.

The only thing he had left was his faith in God to help him through this.  And the hope that Abbey, Zoe and God could forgive him.

 


 

 

Many roads to take, some to joy some to heartache, anyone can lose their way
And if I said that we could turn it back, right back to the start
Would you take the chance and make the change
Do you think how it would have been sometimes
Do you pray that I'd never left your side
-- ”What If” by Kate Winslet

(2/25)

He couldn’t think straight he was so tired.  But there was too much to do to take a full night’s sleep.  He took cat naps here and there, and kept going fueled on redbull and pepto.   He still wore yesterday’s suit, and half of the papers in front of him had rings from the multitude of coffees he had gotten on top of the red bull.

He could hear her voice in the back of her head chastising him.  Reminding him he needed to take better care of himself.  IT got easier to tune it out as time went on,  as his shock and broken heart scabbed over into anger.  He could delude himself for longer periods of time that he didn’t want her there.

But he couldn’t do it forever, and it was moments like this when he had gone too long on two hour naps and caffeine concoctions and he looked around him and saw no one he knew, all of them looking half his age.  That was when he couldn’t hold up the denial any longer.

He wished he could go back and fix whatever made her leave him.  Or go back and find a way to make her not so important to him.   He wasn’t sure either was likely even if he had time travel powers.  

But he wish she was there.  Both because he needed his best friend around and also because she always was able to help him make sense when his brain had too much running through it.

At these times, he even take the angry woman who said cutting barbs as she walked on by, because at least she be there.



Chapter Text

And I can’t count the times

I stayed awake pretending you were mine

Now I’m left here with this emptiness inside

Why can’t I make you mine

--”My Heart I Surrender” by I Prevail

(7/17)

He’d never admit this, but sometimes he forgot that Donna wasn’t actually his girlfriend.  Actually, in his head he never thought of her as the girlfriend, she just was something more.  He had heard the jokes about them being work-married. That she was his work-wife, and he supposed that was true, but sometimes he bought the joke.  

The problem was he never really realised he did until she left.  Until it became frightfully clear how much of his life had been involving her. He tried to treat it like it was on paper - a subordinate leaving to move on with her career, but inwardly he knew he had let things get to close to the line, too blurred. It had become more like a marriage separation then just two co-workers no longer working together.

He kept finding things that reminded him of her.  Of how their lives had meshed together before this. Found her toothpaste in his bathroom at home, that awful cinnamon flavored stuff that he couldn’t stand.  He would be going through notes on something in his office and find little post-it messages she had left whenever they had first gone over the information.  He’d go to call her, and stop with a Dah because he’d remember that she was not there to call for.  Just the scary temp lady who didn’t inspire him but made sure he made it to his meetings on time.

So he found himself hiding in his office till Temp Lady went home, realising that Donna had become more than just his work Wife.  She had infiltrated his entire life.  He had no idea what to do with that information either except allow it to make him feel even worse about the whole situation.

He wished she would come back, that he could tell her how he felt.  Hell, he’d take her being able to look at him and look like she could actually stand his presence.

 


 

Take care of yourself

But carry the whole world

Just forget that it hurts

From ankle to collarbone

And you think

And you bury your head away

And you sink

It’s just you, the room and the devil on your shoulder

--”You, The Room & The Devil on your Shoulder” by As It Is

(7/22)

It had been a year now, and she still had days where everything hurt. Where she could feel the pins used to mend her bones, and the phantom pain of scars long healed yet still pink.  Where she still woke up gasping for breath and reaching for people who weren’t there.

She hated the fact that there was no one left besides her.  People who made far more of an impact on the world had lost their lives in that car, yet somehow she had managed to survive with only a busted leg and some cosmetic scars.  The physiological pain was felt more deeply than the physical.  She could take Tylenol for the pain that the injuries still gave her.  She had nothing to take away the pain and guilt that came from surviving.

And as she lay curled up trying to rid the voices that said she hadn’t deserved to live, she didn’t even have the distraction of work.  She’d have a new job on MOnday, but for now she was alone.  And her best friend was no longer there.  She had to wonder if maybe he had felt she should have died too.  She usually talked herself out of that one, she had seen his face, had heard the stories.  It didn’t fit with the reality she knew, but she trusted the storytellers enough to believe at the very least Josh had been glad she had survived.

But that hadn’t lasted.  She had gone back to being invisible, only this time it was no longer comfortable.  It was confining, it hurt.  And she broke free, painfully and probably not the manner she should have but she was no longer locked in that monotonous life she could no longer keep herself living.  She had to do something with her life, something to make up for the loss of those other people, who had done so much.  She couldn’t let them down.



 

Chapter Text

I wanna see the sunset over me, catch up with an old friend

See a girl I used to like do cartwheels up and down my heart

Telling Secrets underwater, getting valentine flowers

I’ll wait by this mailbox for you or your letter

-- "Situations” by New Found Glory

(8/9)

He never pictured himself as the type to sit on a beach watching a sunset, but he found himself there.  Although to be fair, he wasn’t really watching the sunset as much as he was watching the woman beside him who was.  The beach was mostly cleared except for a few other tourists with the same idea.  Watching the sunset over the water.

They were sitting on a blanket, her in a swimsuit, him in more simply because he had already burnt, he didn’t need to become a lobster.  She had one of those flimsy cover-ups over her swimsuit.  

“You are going to miss it,” She said, not even looking at him.  He had to smile.  After the last few days they seemed to get back some of the simple knowing that they used to have.  That they had lost it over the last year, seeming like strangers with an odd amount of history.  This vacation proved to be the best he had ever chosen to do, both for himself, as well as for them.

He took her hand, curling his fingers through hers and turned to look at the sunset, confident that this was just the start.

 


 

 

You were everything I wanted

But I just can’t finish what I started

There’s no room left here on my back

It was damaged long ago

Though you swear that you are true

I’d still pick my friends over you

-- "My Friends Over You”

(8/1)

He was hurt that in the end he had to choose, but he was also surprised when he found out how easy it was to make the choice. He supposed it showed that his love for her wasn’t all that strong because it was very simple to choose his friends over this woman.

He wondered if they hadn’t worked for opposing sides if they would have made it.  If their occupations were the only flaw in their relationship.  He didn’t think about it too often, but on occasion when he would run into her again and wonder about how they broke up he would think about it.  He still felt the pull towards her, but it was easier to resist now, especially when the disappointment was felt as he remembered how she had made their jobs more personal.  He had always thought that the arguments had been a turn on, but the fact that she would push things so far had ended things.

And even when they did try things again, it just never felt right. He couldn’t help but wonder if she would push it again, and bring their job fights back home, make him choose between making her happy and following his beliefs and that of the people he worked for.  He couldn’t get over it, which made it impossible for them to move.

In the end she got to choose the second time around.  

Chapter Text

You’ve got the words to change a nation

But you’re biting your tongue

You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence

Afraid you’ll say something wrong

If no-one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?

--”Read All About It” by Emeli Sande

 

(9/16)

One of Jed's favorite things about being President was hanging out with children.  Be it during events at the white house, or meeting with teenage activists, he took great pleasure in interacting with the future of the country he loved.

He loved seeing children so invested in the government, knew these would be the people who showed up, the people who came to make the decisions so many took for granted.  They wouldn't be silent when others were.  They would show up, speak up and be heard.

He also liked to watch different point of views being discussed with less of the rhetoric that he heard from the people he worked with every day.  They hadn't been crushed down by life yet, didn't see helplessness.  They were optimistic and it showed in their discourse.

It gave him hope.


 

So here's another day I'll spend away from you

Another night I'm on another broken avenue

My bag is ripped and worn, then again then so am I

Take what you wanna, take what you wanna take

--”Cross My Heart” by Marianas Trench

(09/25)

 

He felt exhausted as he dropped his bag on the table inside the hotel room door.  He kicked off his shoes as he walked towards the bed, groaning as he fell ontop of it.  He wanted to sleep for the next dozen years after the past two weeks.

But there was something he wanted more.  Shifting back into a sitting position, he took out his phone and dialed a number he knew by heart.  An involuntary smile lit his face when she answered.

"Did you know that Senator Grayson wants to submit a bill to legislate Ugly fruit sales?"  There were no hellos for them, just jumping into a conversation like they had never ended the last one.  "It's actually quite interesting.  You wouldn't believe how much food gets wasted every year because people don't want to buy or sell fruit that doesn't seem perfect."  He could hear babble in the background, so knew she was home.  Looking at the clock he realised it was probably late.  Later then unusual for their son to still up.

"Joey's up late isn't he?"

"He misses his father," was her retort.  "As do I.  We were waiting for your phone call."  It was funny, how much he missed them.  He used to travel like this all the time. Sometimes with her, sometimes without.  Yet it seemed like he was gone longer now.  Realistic he probably wasn't.  He stayed behind quite a bit.  He just was more aware of what he had back home to miss.

"I miss you too." He said softly.  "I'll be back tomorrow."

"We'll be waiting."

"With ugly fruit?"

"With ugly fruit."