Title: Five Ways Charlie Young Watched A Good Man Die
Disclaimer: West Wing isn’t mine.
Summary: Five ways Bartlet died in office and Charlie saw them all.
Notes: I usually don’t do these kind of stories but hey.
Feedback: ladygray99 at gmail dot com. Feedback makes me very happy and makes my fingers type faster.
Five Ways Charlie Young Watched A Good Man Die
By Lady Gray
Later, Charlie would wonder why he didn’t jump in the way. Why he didn’t take the bullet meant for him. He remembers the first pop, but he doesn’t remember moving. The President didn’t move. The sound of a bullet erupting from a gun had never haunted the President’s nightmares. The instinct to drop to the ground had never been hardwired into the man’s lower brain stem. The letter that was never signed became unimportant. He just held Zoe and hid her face from the cameras for as long as he could.
They heard the crash of glass. Leo was there first. Leo was always there first, but Charlie was there second.
“I broke the water pitcher, Leo.”
“Let’s get you to bed.”
Charlie remembers feeling the heat though he never touched the President.
“It’s just a little fever. He’ll be fine.” Charlie remembers CJ keeping the press at bay “Stress,” she said “flu, pneumonia.” Charlie just remembers watching Bartlet’s hand shake as he tried to bush his wife away. Everyone knew Leo and Abby were giving orders. Toby mumbled the word coupe-da-ta under his breath and Charlie was there when the fever just got to be too much.
“I still say you need four more speakers.”
“I have two ears Charlie. Two speakers will be sufficient.”
“Let’s take it for a spin Mrs. Landingham.”
“It’s rather late Mr. President.”
“Come on. Once around the block. I won’t even scratch it.”
“Isn’t that what you said about Leo’s bike?”
“That was before your time Charlie.”
“Leo’s still mourning for that bike.”
“Come on Mrs. Landingham, once around the block.”
“Fine but I’m coming with you to make sure you drive safely.”
“You two aren’t leaving me. Someone’s got to chaperone.”
The congressional enquiry into how the drunk got past the Secret Service road block was well underway even as Charlie found himself before a congregation speaking about Mrs. Landingham. Toby and Josh had helped him write it through the haze of pain killers. It was sad and sweet and a little funny at times. No one asked him to speak when they laid the President into the ground.
Charlie didn’t have to hear Leo’s words. No one did. Charlie could see Zoe’s ghost lurking behind Leo’s eyes. Charlie watched the President take a couple steps down the hall. He stumbled. An agent caught him. Charlie figures that’s when the President got the gun. It was hard to tell. It happened so fast. The Secret Service hasn’t trained for it. How could you. A flash; a bang. Charlie knew Zoe would never forgive her father but Charlie also knew men like Jed Bartlet didn’t seek forgiveness.
Charlie couldn’t figure out what he was doing in
“I’m going for a walk, breath some real air.” He said.
It was a Secret Service sniper who saw him fall. Charlie followed the sprinting agents. He knows he’ll always remember the agent who was doing CPR.
“Don’t you die. I voted for you.” The man chanted between compressions.
Three decades later Charlie found his way back to the spot and asked the universe if he should try for the job that killed the man who was briefly his father. When a passing hawk left a load of scat on his best suit he took it as a yes.