Set after "The Midterms" ~~ previous / next
Characters property of Aaron Sorkin and NBC. No infringement intended.

Seven Five

"Well, sir, you ended the honeymoon."

Jed Bartlet kept walking, unconcerned. "What honeymoon?"

"The approval rating. You pretty much ended that one."

"The aftermath? That one ended weeks ago, Leo. What are you babbling about?"

Leo nearly had to jog to keep up with the President. "I'm talking about you blew away the room, from what I'm hearing."

"Not the room. Just Dr. Jacobs."

"You ended the honeymoon."

"I did no such thing."

"You ended it with a divorce, a restraining order, and a jealous new husband with a gun!"

Jed turned to face Leo. "It ended months ago."

Leo shrugged, and the President continued on his path to the Oval Office. He stayed silent, waiting for it.

"Well," Leo said at last. "You made sure it was over."

Bartlet laughed and waved a hand. "What's next?"

"Next, you get mad at me."

"What'd you do?"

"I'm about to tell you what happened."

Bartlet turned on Leo again. "You know what happened and you haven't told me?"

"I found out five minutes ago."

"That's five minutes earlier than you told me."

"Mr. President."

The President turned and continued on his way. "What happened?"

"Seven five." Leo had to stop abruptly to keep from crashing into the President, who had skidded to a halt.

"Seven five?"

"Yes, sir."

"Seven Republicans, five Democrats?"

"Yes, sir."

"Four months and four hundred million dollars, and you come to me with seven five?"

"Well, to my credit, Mr. President, I wasn't the only one who voted."

Bartlet nodded and started walking again. "I guess you're right."

"Yes, sir."

"Just tell me this," Bartlet said, turning again.

"Oh, for the love of God, Mr. President, walk or don't!"

"Just tell me this."

"Yes, sir."

Bartlet peered at him. "Who'd you vote for?"

Leo rolled his eyes and kept walking. He left the President in favor of his office, and a moment later heard Bartlet shout, "Hey, Leo!"

"Yes, Mr. President!"

"Where's my staff?"

"My guess is getting drunk on Josh's front stoop!"

Bartlet stuck his head around the door. "Donna lifted the rules?"

"She changed them a little."

"He can entertain, but he has to do it outside?"

"I think that's accurate."

"Just out of curiosity, did they get married and just not invite me to the wedding?"


"I'm sorry." The President nodded. "And where's my daughter?"

"She's with Charlie."

"Did they take extra protection?"

"Can we please refer to their protection as the Secret Service?"

"I'm going to pretend I didn't understand your point."

"They took extra protection, Mr. President. Now, may I please ...?"

"Oh," Jed said. "Of course. Don't mind me. I just thought, being the leader of the free world, and all, that I could --"

"Yes, sir."

Bartlet waved. "Anyway," he said. "I'm done."

"You going to bed?"

"I'm going to the residence."

"You gonna listen to the radio?"

"You know, I think Dr. Jacobs would have given me permission to kill you myself if she --"

"Mr. President?"

"Good night, Leo."

"Good night, Mr. President."

Leo sat back at his desk and thought about picking up the phone. He had a few brief calls to make before he, too, would head home. It was well after midnight. His staff was off somewhere getting drunk over seven five, and the President was in bed. But Leo needed a moment more. Just one serious moment to reflect on these months past.

"Do you really think he was wearing the pajamas just for me?"

Slowly, Leo looked up from his reflecting. From his desk, he could only hear his staff, now returning to God knows what work they wanted to finish before going to bed.

"I'm not saying he didn't like them, CJ. I thought they looked fine on him," Sam assured her.

"And I'm just saying, I would hate it if he didn't like them."

"CJ." This was Toby.

"Am I doing it again?"

"You're doing it again," Sam confirmed.

"I didn't think I was doing it again."

"Well, you were."

"I tried not to do it again."

"CJ," Toby pleaded.

"I mean, I'm making an effort not to do it again. I'm just saying --"

"Go to bed, would you?" Leo shouted.

CJ's head suddenly appeared around the door. "Leo."

"Hi, CJ."

"You're still here?"

"Evidence would suggest."

"Do you think Josh would wear something I gave him even though he didn't like it, just to make me think he liked it?"

"I could honestly care less."

"Do you think I'm doing it again?"

Leo cocked his head. "Nah," he said.

"Thank you," CJ said, and disappeared.

"Of course, I really don't know what 'it' is," Leo called after her.

"Being crazy!" she shouted back.

"Oh." Leo paused. "Well, is it too late to change my answer?"

"You're doing it again," Sam called, his voice filtering from another part of the office. Toby responded from the opposite direction with, "Shut up!"

"Where's the President?" Sam asked.

"In bed," Leo said. "Which is where you all should be."

"You're here, too," CJ accused.

"I'm also your boss," Leo warned, and CJ retreated to her office.

At last it was silent. At last Leo could reflect on a seven five outcome in the House. And on the look on Zoey's face that had lingered from whatever nice thing was happening between herself and Charlie. And on President Bartlet's slaughter of the long-dead honeymoon. And on the passage of time since the --

"New England clam chowder is another one," said a familiar and Presidential voice from the door.

"Oh, dear God," Leo said, and put his head down on his desk. But a moment later he raised it again to meet Jed's eyes. Slowly, a smile lit his face.

"Yeah," the President said. "We have come through."

And quiet though his voice was, everyone heard it.

18 October 2000

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Set after "The Midterms" ~~ previous / next