Title: Rebels and Republicans

Warnings: Spoilers for Noel, War Crimes, Bartlet for America, -17

Disclaimer: I don't own WW… And that is sad.

Notes: Story's mine, characters are Aaron Sorkin's... Hope I did Cliff some justice here... This one's for the screwball down the hall. Also, much thanks to Mel for helping me fill in the gaps of my WW knowledge!

"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." -Abraham Lincoln

Most guys, when they're teenagers, don't like following all the rules. They want to be James Dean or Bob Dylan- fight the mainstream, defy authority.

Not me.

I did everything that I was supposed to do. Had a 4.0 at Choate, played point guard on the varsity basketball team, sang in the choir. Hell, I even cleaned my room and washed my car without being told to.

Okay, there were a couple times I tried to be a rebel. Like in ninth grade when I tried smoking cigarettes, or two years later when I skipped physics to take Nina Comachi for a ride in my corvette.

Mostly, though, I did all I could to be the perfect son. I was trying to get my father's attention. After I accomplished something that I thought he'd be proud of, I would stay up until he came home from work- no matter how late that was- just to hear his brief, mumbled congratulations.

The day I received my acceptance letter from Brown, his alma mater, he smiled and shook my hand... and I'd never been happier.

Of course, once I was at the university, I became bitter. I followed the example of my peers and got angry that I'd spent my childhood trying to please my father rather than pursuing my own dream. But after a semester of "rebellious" frat parties and cheap thrills, the novelty of being deviant wore off, and I was left wondering what the hell I was doing.

A girl I dated sophomore year introduced me to politics. Her parents were big players in the Republican Party, and she took me to attend a few functions. Unfortunately for her, the political arena captivated me more than she did. We broke up, and I changed my major from business law to constitutional.

I graduated magna cum laude from Brown and went on to Harvard Law. I spent the first year building up a reputation- and an ego- as a hotshot. And then I met Ainsley Hayes.

She waltzed into my life on those long legs of hers and proceeded to serve me a big old slice of humble pie. Once I stopped fuming long enough to get to know her, though, I found I didn't mind the instances when she was my better. She was amazing.

We spent hours talking about politics. We were harsh critics of the Democratic Party, and celebrants every Republican success, and we'd excitedly tell each other what we intended to do to help ensure the future glory of the G.O.P. I spent a lot of nights sleeping on the couch in her apartment because I'd be too tired to drive home after our discussions. I think we kissed a few times, but we always reverted to friendship.

It wasn't until I came to D.C. that I ever fell in love with anyone, but I was crazy about Lizzie from the moment I met her. We were at a dinner party, and she was so smart and funny...

We were together for a long time before she had enough of my many hours at the office and inability to "leave work at work." She said I'd be too busy to care if she left, but I was crushed. I walked around like a zombie for days.

My colleagues took me out and got me extremely drunk in an attempt to snap me out of it. I appreciated the thought, but the resulting hangover only made me more miserable. But after a while- during which my friends and coworkers were extremely patient- I got back to normal. Things started going my way again. There were rumors I was going to be assigned to something big, and Ainsley was offering to help me regain my social life.

She set me up to meet Donna barely an hour after I was told of my transfer to Oversight. So, at that point, I thought I was having the perfect day. I was going be ensuring justice for America, and I was about to meet a beautiful woman.

And she is beautiful. Intoxicatingly so. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her. I was still nervous- because of how badly I'd gotten burned with Lizzie- but I risked it. And it was wonderful, at first, getting to know her. Then when she started talking about Josh and boxes... it was like getting kicked in the stomach.

I should have let her hate me for walking away like I did, but instead I went to apologize, and sent my life spiraling in directions I never intended it to go.

I couldn't keep my breakfast down the day Donna was deposed. And when she lied... there was another kick in the stomach. And I let myself get angry that time.

I threatened her with perjury and jail. I scared the hell out of her. And, at the time, it felt great.

I was stunned at first when Josh Lyman called me that night. I couldn't figure out why he'd risk his career to save Donna until I realized she'd lied for his sake. She couldn't allow the committee to ruin him with what her diary says regarding his mental health.

For what little it was worth, I didn't allow it either.

And I didn't allow Congressman Gibson to wreck Leo McGarry. Donna was right when she guessed that I'd stopped the hearings. I didn't become a lawyer to stand silently while good people are brought down.

This thing is about the President, not his staff.

I just got the call telling me that our offer of censorship will be accepted. I'd like to tell Donna I'm glad for all of them that this is over, but she's still Josh Lyman's assistant and I'm still a Republican on Oversight...

But I think I'll do it anyway.

Lately, I've become quite a rebel.

After I call Donna, I ought to call my dad.

I think he'd be proud of me.