Shakes and Quakes
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine. Whedon and Sorkin’s only.
Summary: The First Daughter is missing, California’s collapsing, the Slayers are having dreams, the First Family is falling apart in the mix... and CJ broke her favorite mug. Can the Sunnydale crew keep the Bartlet administration afloat?
A/N: As promised (threatened?) a crossover, the first internet-posted of my fanfiction career. Also, a first published foray into two favorite fandoms: West Wing and Buffy, of course! It’s still a work in process, with the master copy approaching 40 pages at this point (my major HP works generally push 150), though this promises to be a bit shorter. In other words... there’s worlds to go!
Note to readers: this story happens immediately following the Buffy series finale and the season four West Wing finale. In other words, this entire story hinges on MAJOR SPOILERS. Did you get that? SPOILERS AHEAD! All episodes of both series are considered fair play! If you haven’t seen the finales of either, I’ll quickly bring you up to date. SPOILERS, spoilers and more spoilers. With that out of the way:
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer... Buffy was kicked out of the house but saved the world anyway, Faith and Principal Wood made with the smoochies, Willow did a spell to make all Potentials into real live Slayers, Spike died to save the world and didn’t believe Buffy loved him, Anya kicked the bucket, and Giles played Dungeons and Dragons with Andrew.
Previously on The West Wing... Vice President Hoynes resigned to prevent a sex scandal, Drunken Amy asked Donna if she was in love with Josh, Will seemed unnerved as the Senior Staff learned of the truth behind Shareef’s assassination, Toby’s babies were born, Jean Paul slipped drugs into Zoey’s drink at her graduation party, Zoey was kidnapped, and the President invoked the 25th Amendment until she’s recovered, effectively putting scary Speaker of the House Glen Walken in charge of the United States.
Chapter One – Shakes and Quakes
Even a few hours in the White House with the Republican were enough to send most of the senior staff scurrying to hide – except for Toby, and he was still riding high on the adrenaline following the easy birth of his twins. Will and CJ had locked themselves into Josh’s office to put the Republican off the scent. Donna knew they were there, should anything happen, and Josh was too busy trying to calm Leo down to notice they’d taken shelter.
"He’ll need remarks for when he takes back power," Will muttered. He was trying hard not to cringe at every odd noise from the bullpen. "You don’t think he’ll come looking for us, do you?"
"You’re jumping subjects again," CJ whispered back, rubbing at her forehead – her headache had gotten worse over the past two hours or so, since she broke her mug. She opened up an internet browser on Josh’s computer. "And no, I don’t think the Republican will come after you. He’ll be after me, though. I’ll have to do a briefing, about something. He’s – he’s a sexist, sizist, overbearing, rightwing, Republican -"
"Shh! Someone will hear you!" Will smacked her shoulder. "Where’s the copy of the ransom note? Have there been any updates?"
CJ glared over her shoulder at him. "I think they’d tell us."
"Not with King Republican in there." Will glanced around at the walls of Josh’s office, covered with snapshots of Senators, Representatives, and Governors poised to be the next Vice President of the United States of America. "Just check CNN or something. People call in tips."
She grabbed up the remote and planted it into Will’s hand. "Do it yourself, hotshot. What do I look like, your mother?"
"No. My mother is five-two and blonde." He ducked CJ’s swipe and flicked on the television, flipping automatically to CNN. Unexpectedly, it wasn’t Zoey’s kidnapping making the news cycle. "Um, CJ?"
The Press Secretary had gone on checking her email and was griping about the new White House server being slow. "What is it, Will? The Republican sonofabitch has Debbie sending out memos!"
"CJ, look at this." He turned up the volume on the television, simultaneously calling out, "Hey, Donna, you want to get in here?"
CJ was staring at the screen with her jaw hanging open. "Holy shit... What’s going on? Does the President know about this? Does Leo know? Hell, I’ve probably got the press banging on my door -"
"What’s up?" Donna asked, sticking her head in the office.
Will beckoned her in and shushed her at the same time, gesturing to the monitor. Her response was much the same as CJ’s as she fully entered the office and closed the door. The watched in silence as a voice-over came on. "This is Nancy Rutherford reporting from Sunnydale, just south of LA – or, what used to be Sunnydale. About two hours ago, an earthquake registering an astonishing 8.3 on the Richter Scale tore the town to shreds and, as you can see out behind me, brought the entire town collapsing in on itself, into the underground fault line. Residents, over the past few weeks, have reported a number of odd occurences and have been leaving in droves, but our cameras caught the last bus of schoolchildren leaving with their principal, barely making it out alive. Principal Wood, could you describe your daring escape?"
The camera turned to show a yellow school bus surrounded by several dozen girls and accompanied by a few adults. The principal was leaning heavily on a young woman, presumably his significant other from the dirty looks she was throwing the reporter. "School was closed a few weeks ago, but these girls are a part of our winning martial arts team and refused to leave town. We headed out when the building started shaking – I think one of our supervisors was lost when it collapsed. The roads were shaking while I drove. I don’t know how many died when it fell in. Buffy – Miss Summers, our guidance councilor – almost didn’t make it onto the bus."
"We have to get to a hospital," the woman supporting the principal put in. "Robin was injured when the building started collapsing. They lifted the injured girls out on a helicopter a few minutes ago. But – Robin, let Buffy clean this up, okay?"
"Thank you for your time, Principal Wood," the reporter put in. "Rescue crews have been on the spot for the past hour and a half, but have found no survivors in the crater, thus far. We’ll keep you posted."
CJ ripped the remote from Will’s hand and flipped over to MSNBC. "Donna, I need you to find Leo and Josh. Let them know what’s happening in California. Will... Will, where’s Sunnydale? I should know this."
"California 48th," Will said softly, lowering himself into a chair. "Elsie spent a few years at Sunnydale High."
"Damn. Donna?" CJ crossed to the door and poked her head out. "Donna, once Leo and Josh are around, would you get Sam on the phone? Make sure he’s okay?"
Will ripped his glasses off and rubbed his face. "This is bad. Bad. Zoey and L.A. collapsing on itself. We can’t take this."
"The nation can’t take this," CJ replied. She grabbed Will’s shoulder so tightly that he winced. "We’re gonna get through it. Now get up and write me a summary of that to give to the press. Go find me information. Call those contacts of yours in the 47th. We might have an asshole Republican filling in for President, but this administration isn’t going to sit around on our butts."
"I wonder if I can collect insurance." Buffy poked at the bandage around her middle. "I can get insurance money, right? We had earthquake insurancy-stuff?"
Giles and Xander were at her bedside, while Dawn was perched on the windowsill of the hospital room and one of the new Slayers was tucked into the other bed, sleeping off her blood loss. "I’m afraid I can’t answer that," Giles replied, slipping off his glasses to clean them. "Anya did all the finances. We can’t really ask her."
Xander slumped and the door opened as Andrew came into the room. "Hey, there, cool people. I brought food." He showed the tray in his hands before setting it at Buffy’s beside. "I hope the nurse isn’t angry with me. Er... here’s some donuts. And some coffee, but it’s the icky hospital kind. And I brought tea for Mr. Giles, but it’s the hospital stuff too. Dawn, do you want the twinkee? They only had one in the machine."
"The twinkees are Xander’s thing," Dawn said.
Andrew tossed the package to Xander who, due to lack of depth perception, missed it by a mile. "Ooh. Sorry, forgot, eye thing. Uhh... Buffy, do you want chocolate cake or puffy glazed thingy?"
"If I don’t have insurance, I can’t pay for the donuts," Buffy muttered. "I had insurance when I worked for the school."
"Well, the school fell into the Hellmouth, too," Giles said. "It’s possible you were still on the payroll when it happened... you’d have automatic insurance coverage, then."
"I don’t want to move to Cleveland," Dawn said. "What if Dad wants us to come live with him in Spain with his secretary?"
"Dad doesn’t remember child support most of the time. I doubt he’ll remember what town we live in, if it ends up on the news in Madrid, or wherever he is. Is Madrid in Spain?" Buffy asked, pursing her lips.
Giles rolled his eyes and took a donut. "Ahh, the miseducation of today’s youth."
"We could head up to L.A. and see what Angel and co. are up to," Xander suggested over a bite of twinkee. "Faith was helping them."
"What about... Paris? I’ve always wanted to go to Paris," Andrew said. "Or there was an episode of Star Trek where – never mind, I’m supposed to be cool now -"
"We should find as many of the new Slayers as we can. And we should find out of Willow’s spell extends to Potentials who will be born, or if it only activated all Potentials alive today." Giles crossed to take a seat beside Dawn. "You may need to help Willow with a spell or two. Without the harmful Dark Magic of the Hellmouth, you should be able to harness your power more easily."
Dawn nodded. "Magic research girl. Got it. Say... does this mean I get the semester off of school?"
"We’ll apply for home-schooling status, once we’ve got a home," Buffy said. She glanced around. "Um... does anyone have a relative we can beg for lodging?"
"My brother William has a villa in the south of France," Giles offered.
There was a long pause as the others stared at him. "No takers, then?" Buffy put in. "Well, then... we’re off to see the wizard. Any ideas where to go? Any crises? And where the hell’s Faith?"
"Playing kissy with Principal Wood," Andrew said. "It’s kinda scary. Okay, it’s really icky, and I don’t like it."
"Cleveland," Giles said.
Xander shook his head. "No with the cold winters. Couldn’t we go fight demons in Hawaii?"
Faith banged into the room. "D.C. We’ve got to get to D.C. B, where’s the remote? Turn on CNN?" When no one moved fast enough for her, she pulled the remote out of Buffy’s hands and turned the monitor on herself. "The president’s daughter got kidnapped, at a nightclub. An agent got shot at the scene and they’ve got a ransom note, but nobody’s sayin’ if the picture on the thing’s really the kid."
"Uh uh. No way. That’s police stuff, not us. No demons involved?" Buffy shifted and tried to grab the remote, but Faith danced out of the way.
"I’d say that too, B, but I saw a picture of the girl. I’ve been having dreams about her every time I doze off. I don’t know what’s got her, but it’s in D.C." Faith tossed the remote to Andrew, who fumbled it and ended up shattering the plastic on the floor. No one was paying attention to him anyway. "Robin says we should go for it. Come back and pick up the sickies after we find the girl."
Andrew frowned while gathering together shards of plastic. "Since when do you listen to Principal Wood?"
Buffy cut him off. "Faith, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for the lot of us to go banging into D.C. After all, the place is crawling with politicians and press. If one of them gets a good look at a vampire, we’re done for!"
"Not if we’re careful." The other Slayer took to pacing. "Look, B, I’ve had dreams about them hurting her. There’s something about her bloodline that makes her special. This isn’t a bunch of terrorists, this is a bunch of cult groupies or demons meaning to offer her up. She’s our age, and I think it’s our job to find her."
Buffy and Giles exchanged a glance before she gave a nod. "Alright. Book the flight and the car. I’ll bet they’ve closed off the city – get us as close as you can. I’m going too."
Faith nodded. "You, me, Giles, and Willow. Any others?"
"Me!" Dawn called, but Buffy shot a glare in her direction. "Fine," she sulked, "I’ll fix that incantation."
"You can’t go, Faith," Giles put in. "You’ll be recognized. Plus, the girls need a leader. Stay here, in case something goes wrong."
She frowned, but ended up nodding. "As much as I hate to stay ‘round here, you’re right. You need more than three, though."
"Kennedy or Rona, one of the new Slayers – they could use on the job training," Buffy said. "Let’s get going. She probably doesn’t have much time."
"Yes, sir, I’ll chop myself off at the knees so as to be shorter than your bulkiness, sir," CJ muttered under her breath, taking care not to slam the Oval Office door behind her and show her displeasure with the Speaker of the House – she refused to call him the president. Debbie and Charlie offered her identical, tired looks as she went on her way toward the press area. Several aides and temps scurried away after one look at her face – red as a tomato, she supposed – and even Donna offered a quick wave instead of stopping her to chat.
Looming. The dumb Republican bastard accused her of looming over his shoulder and demanded that she wear only flats in his presence. What did he think he was, the King of the World? "Carol, I need you to send someone home to pick up a pair of gym shoes for me. The Acting
President has requested that I lose a few inches."
Carol cringed and CJ stormed past her. That would show the man – she’d change into gym shoes in the door of his office just to show him what she thought of his rules –
She slammed the door behind her, as she’d done more than once after meetings with Toby, Danny, or Leo. Usually, it resulted in a satisfying slam which let the offending party know, halfway across the building or not, that she was not a woman with whom one messed. This slam was beyond anything she’d created before. She heard wood creak and splinter, and the tinkle of glass shattering across the hallway, then utter silence.
Even the background hum of White House life had stopped. CJ slowly turned to assess the damage, and could only cringe as she saw Carol standing just outside the door and bleeding from nicks and cuts. "Carol?" The door had been utterly destroyed. The top half of the frame was ripped away from its hinge and snapped nearly in half by force, held together only by splinters of wood.
It was only moments before Toby and Donna came running, followed by half the junior staffers and several secret service agents. Carol’s face had paled into white as she raised a hand to cradle her bleeding cheek, and Ginger was at her side to help. "I- I didn’t mean -" She didn’t stutter often, but the destruction she’d just caused was beyond anything imaginable. "I didn’t shut it any harder than normal." She’d been feeling funny all day, since before the California quake information had come to light. Her favourite mug’s handle had snapped off while she argued with Leo over staffing the acting president. She’d bent a spoon in half while stirring cream into her new cup and listening to Josh’s reaction over the acting president’s first meeting with officers concerning Zoey’s disappearance. She snapped a stuck zipper and had been forced to change her skirt to the one she kept in her office in case of emergency. They’d all been explainable, really – until this.
Toby had negotiated the rubble and led her over to sit behind her desk, rubbing her arm soothingly. "Let’s just get you calmed down... Alright, everybody, get maintenance down here to clean up the glass. Stop standing around and go do something... like work, maybe? Bonnie, get Carol some help, and Donna – check on Josh for me?"
Donna let out an audible gasp and dashed off while the others slowly started to disperse. "Oh, God, Toby... what if I made Josh...?" CJ shook her head and stared at the goldfish swimming in a little bowl on her desk, carefree and clueless. She couldn’t bring herself to finish the thought aloud, as taboo as the subject had become.
"Just tell me what happened," Toby said. "Didn’t you break that mug of yours today, too?"
"And a zipper and a spoon," CJ said weakly, slumping back into her chair. "I swear I didn’t slam it any harder than usual. It’s just – that damned Republican told me I wasn’t allowed to wear heels in the room with him, because I was too tall and – God, is Carol alright? Please, let me go find Josh, make sure he’s -"
Toby shook his head solemnly. "You’re going to come over to my office. You’re going to have a cup of tea – no coffee, you don’t need that much more caffeine. And then we’re going to act like nothing’s happened, and I’ll talk a maintenance guy into claiming the door was structurally weak. We can’t have the press see you running around scared like this, and we can’t let the buzzards smell discord."
"You’re mixing your metaphors."
Even Toby’s signature glare was soothing as CJ let him pull her to her feet. He was right, though – the scent of dissent could prove disasterous for the lot of them. She’d just have to keep her temper firmly in check around King Republican and his band of merry (and sexist, sizist, elitist) men.