"Number One, With a Bullet" (1/1)
by Marie-Claude Danis

EMAIL: mc@verticalcrawl.com
SITE: http://verticalcrawl.com/westwing
FEEDBACK: Would be delightful.
ARCHIVE: Sure, just ask first.
SPOILERS: "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen" and "Noël".
RATING: PG-13
PAIRING: Sam/Josh
THANKS: to Calligrafiti for excellent beta-reading as always.

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I can't stand the sight of it. But there it is, everyday, hovering like an ever-present extra in the bullpen, sometimes half hidden behind an opened door or a pile of documents, but always there, leering at me. I swear it's leering at me.

I get angry at it, randomly, when my head isn't in something else, or even when it is. I'm talking to Ginger and I happen to look over her shoulder and there it is. I don't know whose sick idea it was to put it there, but at least it's no longer hanging on Josh's wall.

It's not that big a deal. I like to believe that now, almost a year later, I can walk around and not think about it, not think about bullets hurtling toward anyone's head, not think about saving anyone's life or failing to do just that, not think about writing a brief saying he might not make it through the night, but the President's fine, so you can all rest easy and I'll just sit here and worry enough for all of you put together. Go home, I've got it.

I think it was Josh's idea to put it up in the first place. A politician's version of the trendy stop sign in a teenager's room? Well there you go. After Rosslyn, its painful irony wasn't lost on anyone, and the offensive decoration was quietly removed from his office before he came back. Why the hell they slapped it on a wall we all walk by everyday is beyond me, but again, there it is. Mocking me. It's hung there like a trophy, and I think it's sick. But no one asked me.

He's fine now, back kicking everyone's ass like it's going out of style, and we spend less and less time dwelling on it, to the point where whole days go by without us even thinking about it at all. He's good. He's fine. He's doing great. But he's not the only one to still hear the sirens.

He has Donna; me, I have this silhouette, this paper shadow lurking in the background like a has-been omen, now a mere scarecrow for the weak of heart. Weak of heart. Fuck you, he almost died. It's a scareSam.

"Ginger?"

"Yeah Sam."

"Do me a favour - take that poster down."

"What poster?"

"The poster, the, the THING, right there, the target, the person-shape you shoot at. Take it off the wall."

"Oh. Oh, okay. Sure, no problem."

"I'll be in my office. Just - take it off. Burn it. I don't care."

"You okay?"

"Yeah. M'fine. And I need the next few minutes Josh's got."

"'Kay."

"Call Josh, I need him."

"Yeah."



END