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FF: The Reluctant President (20/?)

Title: The Reluctant President (20/?)
Author: caitrin
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Genre: AU, romance, drama, mystery
Feedback: Much appreciated.
Timeline: Day two of the Lyman administration.

Toby and Andie returned to the Oval Office a few minutes later. Josh and Sam broke off their conversation and turned to look at the couple.

Andie took a deep breath. "I accept. I would be honored to serve, Mr. President. On a few conditions."

"And they are?" Josh asked.

"We - " Andie glanced at Toby. "We're not going to get remarried just for this."

Josh's eyebrows shot up. "Did anyone ask you to?"

"No, I suppose not," Andie conceded. "But how will it look . . ."

"It's not like there aren't other divorced politicians," Sam pointed out. "If anything, you should get extra points for the fact that Toby is still so involved with you and the kids."

"Women tend to be held to a different standard with these kinds of things," Andie said. "And a divorced woman who had her kids after she was divorced? Who still spends a lot of time with her ex-husband? People might think . . ."

"People might think the TRUTH," Toby finished. "So let them." He looked at Sam. "I'm sure Mr. 'I slept with a call girl' can spin 'The vice president's ex-husband might sleep over occasionally.'"

"Uh, thanks?" Sam said with a rueful smile. "I think?"

"And I don't want this to interfere with Toby's position in the administration," Andie continued.

"I don't think anyone can possibly argue that he's unqualified," Josh said. "And since you're not actually married . . ." The President looked at Toby for a long moment. "Look, I'm not going to give you any official spouse stuff to do, but you're getting Secret Service protection as though you were married. I don't care what they have to do to spin it."

"Sir . . ."

"You saved me once. Nothing's going to happen to you, not on my watch."

"Yes, sir," Toby conceded.

"Thank you," Andie said softly.

"The kids are here already, but we're going to have to get their permanent details set up," Sam mused.

As if on cue, baby Leo stirred in Josh's arms and the adults all turned to look at him.

"He really is adorable," Andie said.

"THAT's what you're going to be spinning," Toby muttered to Sam. "With that story going on, no one's going to care about us."

Sam shook his head in defeat. "I know."

"Something you'd like to share with the class?" Josh asked.

"No, sir," Sam and Toby said together.

"Were there other conditions, then, Senator Wyatt?"

"Just – if I do this, I'm in it for real," Andie said. "I know you picked me because I'm young and female and make you look presidential by comparison, and you know that I'm not trying to kill you, which is more than you can say about most of Congress. And I would be honored to serve. But I'm not going to sit here and look pretty for a few years and then take my ball and go home."

"I won't say that those things you said weren't factors," Josh said slowly. "But I wouldn't have chosen you if I didn't think you had it in you. And I'm going to need all the help I can get, so you'd damn well better not be just ornamental."

Andie smiled. "Good."

Josh glanced at Sam. "Anything else we need to ask right now?"

"What you said about not going home . . ." Sam frowned. "We need your word that you won't challenge the President for the nomination in a couple years."

"Oh, for God's sake, Sam, of course I won't."

"Even if you're replaced on the ticket?" Toby asked. "I'm not saying we're planning to, but . . ."

"Of course not," Andie repeated. "Toby . . ."

"You just said you didn't want this to interfere with my position. This is how that works. I ask you these questions like I'd ask anyone else, because God forbid I assume something about you because I know you so well and then it turns out to be wrong."

Andie nodded. "I know. I'm sorry."

"Wait, you guys are already thinking about reelection?" Josh asked.

"I'm not sure we can technically call it that, since you were never elected in the first place," Sam said. "But yes, of course. Someone has to."

"I don't even know if I want to . . ."

"We need to be ready," Toby said firmly.

"Okay, whatever. We'll talk about it later," Josh said. "Why don't you two go talk to the twins about what's going on, and we'll call up when we need you?"

"Sounds good," Andie said as she rose from her chair.

"Wait – one thing," Sam put in. "We need to vet you as quickly as possible here. We're all friends. Is there anything we should know?"

Andie shook her head slowly. "I don't think so. I've had a few boyfriends, but I don't think any of them will tell you anything particularly interesting . . ."

"The embryos," Toby said softly.

"What?" Andie asked.

Toby cleared his throat. "The embryos. That's going to come up."

"Oh, God."

"What embryos?" Sam asked in confusion.

"When we were doing fertility treatments, we wound up with some unused embryos," Toby explained. "We donated them for stem cell research."

"Well, that we can get behind," Josh said.

"We can," Sam agreed. "But you're right. They're going to hold it against you, and you need to be ready to hear some nasty stuff. The twins need to be ready to hear some nasty stuff."

Andie nodded. "I know."

Josh looked at her for a long moment. "You sure you want to do this?"

"Yes." Her voice was suddenly strong. "I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States."

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 14th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
Very interesting story premise!!
Just read all 20 chapters -- update soon!!! You've got a great hold on all the characters.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 7th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
The Reluctant President
Please don't make me threaten you with more of Lurkers Lament.
Antiqueviewer (Barney)
karenbynight
Nov. 7th, 2013 03:42 am (UTC)
This is really one of the best pieces of West Wing fanfic I've seen. I love the pacing, and how well you've thought through many of the implications of such a startling premise. Thanks!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )