Title: 'Certain Things'
Author: Anna Rousseau annadelamico@yahoo.co.uk
Fandom: The West Wing
Genre: General/Drama
Category: JL/SS/CJC/CY/MOB
Rating: U
Set: 'Mr Willis Of Ohio'
Spoilers: Up to 'In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen II'
Last Episode Seen: 'The Midterms'
Archive: Please, just tell me where.

Summary: On that night out at a Georgetown bar, Zoey recalls the things she knows about her present company...but there are still things she doesn't know about them.

Disclaimer: No, I know that I don't own them, but it's nice to think that I do sometimes.

Notes: Useless bits of trivia supplied by JedBartlet.com...what would I do without it?


'CERTAIN THINGS'
================

There were certain things that Zoey Bartlet knew about the five people sitting around the table in The Georgetowne Station. Certain professional things like where they went to college, how many degrees they had, what there latest triumph had been. There were certain personal things she knew about them, also. About their families, their friends, their annoying habits.

She knew more about some than others. She had known four of these people for a very long time, and one she had only just met recently. There were certain things she knew about these people that could make or break them if she opened her mouth. And, then again, there were certain things that she would never know about these people because they were things that had never been told.

Zoey had heard these things from word-of-mouth; she had seen these things with her very own eyes. These certain things were what made the people near her even closer to her heart.

There was Josh Lyman. He was less of a Deputy Chief of Staff to her father and more of an older brother to Zoey. She knew certain things about Josh.
She knew that whenever he saw her, Josh gave her a massive, warm, brotherly hug and a peck on the cheek.
She knew Josh had entered the room just by hearing his shoes on the floor, beating out that confident strut.
She knew that Josh always ordered burnt burgers when he was campaigning in Manchester, and still does according to Donna.
She knew that Josh had got used to suits after wearing plaid shirts and slacks during the Primaries.
She knew he sometimes flirted with the co-eds when he went out for drinks in these bars.
She knew he had a delicate system.
She knew about Josh's ex-girlfriends, and the prospective ones, and she disapproved of what Donna called his 'romantic strategy' of randomly bumping into women and then hoping they'll break up with him.
She knew that she hated Mandy Hampton, even back in New Hampshire.
She knew that Josh was Fulbright scholar, had been to Harvard and Yale, but sometimes he was surprisingly stupid and put his foot in his mouth better than anyone Zoey knew.
She knew that he used to work for Hoynes, but he believed in her father so much he had joined the Bartlet campaign only weeks before the Primaries.
She knew that Josh was like a son to Leo McGarry, more than just his deputy, though Josh would never really know that.
She knew that under all that bravado and the political facade, Josh was as vulnerable as all of them.
She knew that he believed her father was the real thing.
Zoey knew other things too, little trivial things, how he dragged out an 'okay' into something far more profound, how he and Donna walked down the halls of the West Wing with a synchronisation only known to ice-dancers, how he looked after he was drunk and how he looked when he was happy.
Little trivial things that no-one paid attention to but her.
Little trivial things that made Josh just Josh. Certain things that were unique to him.

Then there was Sam Seaborn. Josh's alter-ego, best friend... and something more than that. He was her older brother's friend. Someone you could talk to about things, and not be judged. He knew things about Zoey and she knew certain things about Sam.
She knew that his welcoming hugs were more restrained than Josh's, yet just as warm.
She knew that he could recite the Members of Congress off by heart, but he doesn't know a thing about the White House, ironically.
She knew he had been a Congressional Aide, that he'd been to Duke and Princeton, that he'd worked at Dewey-Ballantine and nearly made partner at Gage Whitney Pace.
She knew he had given up everything to help her father win the presidency.
She knew he was neat and his suits were always crease-free. Sam lived in suits, and during the campaign he would sometimes forget he wasn't a lawyer anymore: it took him a while to kick the habit.
She knew that he had 'accidentally' slept with a prostitute, a call girl rather, and now she was sworn to secrecy.
She knew that it could have well been accidentally because he was the clumsiest person she had ever met; he could trip over his own feet if he wasn't being careful.
She knew he was from Southern California and he longed for the sun and the sea.
She knew that he sometimes smoked cigars during card games and celebrations, but he had never been a smoker because he was far too health-conscious.
She knew that he and Josh had been best friends for years, and there really wasn't anything that they wouldn't do for each other.
She knew he felt very strongly about dental hygiene, and had once taken her to an orthodontist's appointment rather than let her skip it because her parents were too busy.
She knew that he liked sailing, but now he never had enough time to get away and do it.
Zoey knew Sam's quirks and his mannerisms. The way he spoke through clipped syllables. How he sometimes could say 'okay' and it was more of a sound than a word, the exact opposite to Josh's lengthy 'okays', as if they were so in tune that they compensated for one another. How he only very rarely raised his voice and how she'd never heard him shout. The way he walked around the White House, appearing to be confident but looking very much overwhelmed by his surroundings. She knew the way he smiled, the way he looked sheepish and the way he sometimes dug himself holes that Josh would be proud of.
The little quirks and mannerisms that made him Sam.

And there was the Press Secretary. Claudia Jean Cregg, but just CJ to anyone who wasn't her father. She was the life of the party and the spirit of the West Wing. The voice of the Bartlet administration and the woman with one of the hardest jobs in the White House. CJ was a role model, and though Zoey didn't want to think of herself slipping into clich├ęs, CJ was an aunt. The one who joked with you about men, the one who would sit down with you and talk you through problems when your mother was off being the First Lady, the one you could always rely on for an honest opinion. Out of her father's Senior Staff, CJ was the one that knew the most about Zoey, and of course, Zoey knew her fair share about CJ.
She knew that she always had an hour that was 'her time' in the morning, an hour where she could work out and try to pick up guys.
She knew that she never got flustered in the Press Room and could handle White House journalists so smoothly they didn't know that she was doing it.
She knew that CJ liked the little cheese crackers, the ones in the shape of goldfish and she was partial to beer. But on some nights, like tonight, she would order a Grasshopper and get grief for it.
She knew that now Sam was calling her CJ 'First Call' Cregg, and had been since one lunchtime about four weeks ago.
She knew the light that shone in CJ's eyes every time she had an opportunity to make fun of Josh, Sam or Toby.
She knew that CJ thought her neck was too large, and she knew that CJ had once been pushed into a swimming pool by Roberto Benigni in Malibu.
She knew that the fine equilibrium of banter and information that CJ kept in the Press Room was something that none of the other Senior Staffers could do.
She knew that CJ hated being left out of the loop.
She knew that CJ could lip-synch to 'The Jackal' in a way which capitivated her audience.
She knew that sometimes CJ felt out of place, because she was really not a political advisor, she was just the one who kept on message and gave the White House an amiable face to present to the American people.
She knew that even though it wasn't part of her job description, CJ did just as much advising as Josh, Sam or Toby.
Zoey knew and loved the way CJ talked to her father with a tone which was quietly respectful yet would not take any b.s. even though he was 'the leader of the free world'. She loved the way CJ walked down the halls of the West Wing with her long-legged strides, knowing that Toby was struggling to keep up with her. She loved the way she never put a step wrong with the Press Corps, and how she would make them feel valued.
Zoey loved CJ because she was CJ and because no-one else was quite as good as being CJ than CJ herself.

Then opposite Zoey was the person who was like a cousin to her. Well if Zoey was going to keep thinking of the Senior Staff as various family members, then Leo was her uncle. That made Mallory her cousin. She had known Mallory for years, for as long as she had known the Chief of Staff, since Leo had been 'Mr. McGarry' and before he had been 'Mr. Secretary'. Mallory and she had spent long nights on the porch of the Bartlet farm in New Hampshire, talking about music and TV programmes and what sort of things they wanted at their weddings. Of course, they knew certain things about one another, too.
She knew that Mallory had thick, rich browny-red hair that looked like New England in the fall, hair that she was still envious of when she looked at her mousy coloured bob in the mirror.
She knew Mallory taught at Clearwater Elementary School, and she loved it more than anything in the world.
She knew that she wanted about eight children when she got married, enough so they could play five-a-side soccer at the weekends.
She knew that Mallory loved classical music and her favourite composer was Chopin.
She knew that Mallory had wanted to be a professional pianist when she was eighteen, but she had gone to college instead, because she wanted to teach more than anything else.
She knew that she loved her father as an uncle, and even though he was the President, she wouldn't let him pull rank on her, because to Mallory he was still Uncle Jed.
She knew that when she was eight and Mallory was eighteen, she had run away from home and turned up on the Bartlet's doorstep, pleading with Zoey's parents to get her father some help.
She knew that night, when Mallory had slept in the spare room with the Bartlet's, she had cried herself to sleep.
She knew, even though Leo had put Mallory through so much pain, she still loved him more than anything in the world.
Zoey knew Mallory's hopes and dreams, and Mallory knew Zoey's. Zoey knew Mallory's 'talk to the hand' looks which she flung at her father when he started a lecture, and Zoey knew the amused expression Mallory put on her face when Zoey's own father started to give history lessons. She knew how Mallory's eyes sparkled when she was with people she liked, the look she had now when she and Sam are talking about the Roosevelt Room and something to do with cement. Zoey knew what Mallory did when she was flirting, and she was doing it right now.

With a small smile, Zoey glanced at Charlie Young. The things she knew about him were things judged on his appearance and things she had overheard from various staffers in the West Wing.
She knew that Charlie was quite young, but he had a sister at home that he had to look after like a daughter.
She knew he feared her father because he was the President, and that made her laugh.
She knew that he was dedicated and presentable.
She knew she loved the way he smiled and called her 'ma'am' when he was nervous, and she loved that he was nervous around her.
She knew that she wanted to get to know Charlie as well as the other four people around the table. She wanted to know him, not like a brother, or a friend's brother, or a cousin or an aunt. Zoey wanted to know him like something more than that. She wanted to learn his smile and the way he walked and his little mannerisms that made him Charlie.

Though there are certain things she knows, there are more things she will come to know and even more things that she will never know.

Later tonight she'll see how Charlie showed concern for her, and how Sam and Josh would leap in to defend her like she was their little sister. Because that's what friends do.

In a few weeks she come to know Charlie, she'll buy CJ an ornament for her new fish's bowl, she'll admire the shoes Sam got shined especially for Mallory, admonish her father for helping Leo stick a wedge between his daughter and the Deputy Communications Director, and she'll refuse to take sides in an argument between Donna and Josh.

A few months after that she'll become increasingly concerned about white supremacists and rouge journalists. She'll get used to having a Secret Service Agent living in the room across from her in the college dorm. She'll hear what Josh told the majority leader on the phone and her mother will tell her about Mallory's 'itch' for Sam. She'll fall out with Charlie but then reconcile after videos and ice-cream. She'll wince at Josh's press briefing and sympathise with CJ about her dental problems.

Then in the summer she'll visit Josh in hospital but never know the pain he's in or how often Sam and Donna come to the hospital and just sit with him even when he's sleeping.

Zoey will hear about Mallory kissing Sam for a statement that protected her father, and maybe she'll even know about their one dinner date. But she'll never know how they fell in love after that one kiss but never told each other, drifting apart after a photograph was published, both of them too proud to pick up the phone. She'll never know how Mallory and Sam will lie awake at night for months afterwards, wishing that the other lay next to them in bed.

She'll never know about Sam and CJ, about how though CJ says that him saving her life wasn't a big deal, she still thinks of him as her guardian angel that night at the Newseum. She'll never know how Sam regards CJ with the same respect as the President and how CJ thinks of Josh and Sam as more than colleagues.

She might come to know that Josh and Donna's relationship goes past the professional, but it's unlikely that she'll ever know how much they care for each other. They can't even admit that to themselves.

She, like everyone, will continue to presume that the bottle that accompanies Sam wherever he goes is filled to the brim with vitamin supplements, as he will never tell them about the bouts of depression he suffers from. His problems are always so much smaller than everyone else's, and honestly, who would believe he was ever anything other than happy. The Senior Staff will just presume Sam is health-conscious, and he religiously takes his vitamins. So Sam will continue popping the pills out of their foil packets so they don't look so much like medication, he will continue to take them casually at lunch meetings, he will continue to put the Presidency first. But one day, Sam will have to tell someone, or they will find out in a more tragic way.

She will continue to learn more about Charlie, every day regretting she was the President's daughter.

She will continue to receive brotherly hugs from Josh and never know that it causes him flashes of pain across his chest, because he doesn't complain. And, of course, Zoey will never know that Josh loves her so much because she is the sister that he lost.

She will continue to see Mallory in Leo's office but never know that she is secretly hoping that one day she'll be bumped into by Sam and they could laugh about his clumsiness.

She will continue to stop by CJ's office to feed Gail and never notice that CJ's favourite necklace, the broken one, is always laying on her desk. Just sitting there as a reminder, next to a photo of the Senior Staff at the chilli dinner Zoey had helped cook the previous year.

But now, Zoey is just sitting there at the table, listening to Josh tell Charlie to relax, and smiling as Mallory kicks Sam under the table for thinking that the Roosevelt Room was named after FDR.

They will continue knowing certain things and not knowing certain things, each day becoming more familiar and attached to one another, never once imagining that in nine months time things will be so much different than they are now.

***
THE END
***

Feedback, as always is devoured! All e-mails to annadelamico@yahoo.co.uk