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Conversations in California (and one other place)

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Geography Lessons". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: A short sequel to "A Problem in the Carolinas"...probably a one off

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > West WingRichFR1812,2730111,8344 Feb 144 Feb 14Yes
Disclaimer : West wing & Buffyverse characters don't belong to me.

The press still didn't consider him a serious candidate, so he wasn't followed everywhere he went, which gave him some freedom of movement. That meant that he was free to move among the crowd at the unveiling of the small memorial.

She was probably the last person he'd expected to see here; or anywhere else, for that matter.

"Excuse me, Miss Lehane ?", he said. "I don't know if you remember, but we met a while back..."

"Sam Seaborn, right", she answered. "you're the speechwriter. And you're running for Congress now".

"Yes, I am", he responded. "I didn't realize that you were from this area; I assumed from your accent that you were from Boston".

"You got a good ear", she said. "I'm just in town to visit the Crater, and check out the monument. I have friends who used to live here, and I was here when it went down. Plus", she added, "I couldn't vote for you anyway, sorry".

"I'm sorry, that must have been a tragic experience. Not the not voting part, I mean, although that's kind of tragic too. The other part". For some reason, talking to this woman tended to send his conversational skills right out the window. And why wouldn't she be able to vote for him ? Remembering the circumstances of their last meeting, he suddenly got very nervous. "So...", he continued, "we don't need to evacuate the area ?".

Faith chuckled. "Nah, I ain't here for work", she said.

He knew he shouldn't ask about that. He was pretty sure that he didn't want to ask about her personal life either. He wasn't sure how to continue the conversation, and what he said next surprised even him.

"Do you follow international news, at all ?", Sam blurted out. "Besides for your job, I mean; not that I really know what your job is".

"Off and on I guess", Faith answered. "Why ?"

"What do you think of the intervention in Kunduu ?", he asked.

"That African country with the massacres, right ? that was some bad sh...some bad stuff", she replied. "I think somebody should have done something about it, and I guess maybe it had to be us. As long as we don't get in too deep, I'm cool with it".

"Now see", he said, "that's what I think".

"...But, she continued, "there's a good chance that we will get in too deep. Plus, that speech that the President gave ? It sounded like he was saying that other countries have a right to run their own business, as long as we approve of what they do. Like we get a veto over the whole world. I ain't so sure that that's a good idea".

"That's what she thinks", muttered Sam. Louder, he said, 'I wrote that speech, by the way".

"By she, you mean that miss Hayes, right", Faith asked. "That's why you're not together anymore ? Doesn't seem like much of a reason." He thought that he's said that part too low for her to hear.

"How did you know that ?", he asked.

"You probably don't want to hear the answer to that one", answered Faith. "Some people think it's a little gross".

"Try me", said Sam.

"Your funeral...", said Faith. "See, when people share a bed, or share clothes, then they also share their scents. When I met you before, the two of you sort of smelled like each other. And, now, you smell different".

"You can tell that ?", asked Sam.

"It's part of the package", replied Faith. "You knew that there's a package, right ?"

"Officially, I don't know anything about it", he replied. "But yeah, we sort of figured some of it out. We probably got most of it wrong".

"Good. Trust me, you're better off that way", said Faith.

Sam figured that she was probably right about that.

"As long as we're on the subject of foreign affairs...", he said.

"Which you brought up..", she pointed out.

"What's your opinion of the settlement in the Middle East ?", he continued.

Faith actually seemed to think about that one. "It's a good idea; I give you points for effort, but it most likely won't work. We're gonna stop a thousand year old war by just negotiating real hard ? Like nobody ever tried that before ?"

"That's a fair point", Sam conceded. "but we've done a little more than that. This time we've actually put forces on the scene".

"And do I need to count the ways that that could go wrong ?", replied Faith.

"No", said Sam. "It's definitely a risk. But sometimes, risks are worth taking".

He was getting a surprising feeling of deja vu. Surprising, because talking to this woman, who he knew was mostly self-educated, wasn't that different from talking to people in the White House, who were some of the best-educated people in the world. She had a way of getting to the meat of an argument that a lot of politicians could learn from. It was a little like talking to Ainsley.

Which he was going to have to do again, and soon. He had very mixed feelings about that.

"Well", he said, "I can see my assistant looking for me. It looks like there's somewhere I'm supposed to be, or someone I'm supposed to meet, or something".

"Hands to shake, babies to kiss ?", asked Faith.

"Or maybe pockets to pick", said Sam, and Faith laughed. "It's been a pleasure", he finished.

"Yeah, later", she replied, and he didn't see her again.

But she saw him. And when she saw who he was meeting with, she made a phone call.



She hesitated a little before entering his office. He knew she was there, but wasn't sure if he wanted to make the first move.

"Hey, Sam", she said.

"Hi, Ainsley", he replied, "How was your flight ?"

"Long, and I'd already seen the movie", she replied. "but it gave me time to go over some Josh's recommendations. Some of them might be workable. Do you mind if I take off my shoes ? My feet are killing me".

He'd always thought that it was interesting, how she had different ways of talking depending on the situation. Everybody did, of course, but it was especially noticeable with her; Ainsley in conversation sounded like a completely different person than Ainsley in a debate.

"Be my guest", he replied. "I've warned you about wearing heels on long flights". They were slipping easily into their old pattern.

She swung her legs up and propped her feet on his desk. Her skirt wasn't very long, and from here he had a very impressive view. Maybe a little too easily, he thought.

She saw his look and responded. "My feet really are sore, Sam", she said. "I'm not flirting, and I'm not trying to torment you".

"Okay", he replied, "I'll take your word for it". But his face still looked skeptical.

She laughed. "Okay, I lied", she said. "I guess I am doing that, a little".

"Which one ?", he asked.

"Ummm...is it possible to do both together ?", she answered.

"Apparently so. I'm glad we cleared that up", he said, and she laughed again.

She noted a stack of papers on his desk. and recognized a letterhead. "May I ?", she asked, and he nodded. She picked up the letter.

"They're offering to back you ?", she said. "I recognize the signature; we've never met, but I've heard some things. She's supposed to be very beautiful, and very...smart".

"Are you jealous ?", he asked. Not that he should have cared about that.

"I don't have that right any more", she replied. "But yes, I am, a little. But that's not the only thing...They recruited me, Sam, or at least tried to. When I left the White House, I was approached by several firms, and they made me the best offer of anybody".

"That's no surprise", said Sam. "You're a very good attorney. And I'm not just trying to flatter you".

"Thank you", she said, "and I'm not flattered, because I am a fantastically good attorney".

"...and so modest, too", he said.

"Yes, thank you", she answered, "that too".

"The problem is that their offer was a little too good. More money than I'd ever need, plus every kind of bonus or perk that you could think of. I'm pretty sure that some of those were illegal. I think there may have been a movie contract mentioned".

"Well, you have the looks for it", he said.

"Thank you again", she said.

"But not the height", he continued. "You'd have to stand on a box or something".

"Cute, Seaborn", she said. "Anyway...I wondered why they were so eager, and then I figured it out. As good as I am, they already have a lot of good litigators. What they don't have are litigators with my connections in Washington".

Sam nodded. "Yeah, that would make sense. There are probably a lot of firms that would want that kind of access".

"Oh, there are", she replied. "But very few with their...let's say questionable associations".

"Yeah...", he said. "You know, there was one thing she said. She made a point of mentioning that they had a lot of influence, with a lot of influential people, who could have a significant impact on the campaign".

"That's a tempting hint", she said.

"And it's also a veiled threat...", he said.

"As in, play along or we'll back the other guy", she finished.

"Right", he responded. "It was all very polite, of course, but it was kind of intimidating the way she said it. And I'm pretty sure that it was meant to be intimidating".

"So...what are you going to do ?", she asked.



The tall woman walked through the parking garage to her car, a very high-end European sedan. Not that she knew much about cars, or cared. It was the status that the car represented that mattered. She'd had a long day, and it hadn't gone as well as she'd hoped; although it had gone pretty much the way she'd expected.

The incumbent was a waste of space, from the firm's point of view; they needed somebody with more potential for higher office. The challenger had that, in spades, but hadn't been very receptive.

And he'd just called, and made it clear that he wasn't interested in their support.

If he couldn't be tempted, maybe he could be pressured. He had friends, and family, after all. And if that failed, he could be removed, and they'd pick someone to take his place. It wasn't perfect, but it was still manageable.

She opened her car door and tossed in her briefcase. As she began to step in, something strong seized her ankles and jerked her off of her feet. She hit the concrete hard. Before she could get back up, someone rolled out from under the car, grabbed the back of her neck, and lifted and shoved her against the car.

"Evening, Counselor", an all too familiar voice said, "You're looking pretty good for a dead woman, except for whatever you're covering with that scarf. Let's talk".



"Our hands are tied, I'm afraid", Racquel Sanchez said. "The DRI is an agency of the US government, and as such we can't interfere with the electoral process."

"So we just let them win ? That can't be right", the one-eyed man said.

"Maybe I'd better make things a little more clear", said the Captain. "I said that our hands are tied. I never said that yours were".

"You're a private organization, with no official connection to the government", she said. "If you choose to involve yourselves...well that's just democracy in action, isn't it ?"



"Here's the thing, Counselor", the other woman said. "Make that two things, really. The first thing is that your bosses are thinking that Sam Seaborn might take the place of the recently late and totally unlamented Senator Brucker. And usually, we wouldn't care about that. But since you guys do, we figure we might make an exception this one time".

"And the second thing ?", she asked.

"The second thing", the other woman replied, "is that it happens that I've met Seaborn, and I think he's a good guy. So, if anything was to happen to him, I just might take it personally. And you know bad stuff happens when I take stuff personally".

She did know that. She remembered a former associate, who'd made the mistake of annoying this woman. She remembered the way the woman had smashed his head into the desk, over and over, until she was tired just watching it, and she remembered the look of happiness on the woman's face as she'd done it.

"Right now", the woman continued, "You're probably thinking that we got rules about killing humans, and you're right. The bad news is that I don't care much about rules, which you already know; plus, you're not as human as you used to be; plus, being hard to kill just means that you can hurt that much longer - maybe a lot longer, and maybe I'd have fun finding out".

"Now, that won't happen now, 'cause we're just talking", the woman said. "But, if anything happens to Seaborn, or anybody close to him, I might come back, and if I have to come back I might be in a bad mood about it".

And then Faith leaped over the car, and by the time Lilah Morgan turned to look she was gone.

The Senior Partners weren't going to like this.



A/N: At the moment, I don't have anything to add to this. It's set after "Problem", and like that story, could be a prequel to "Code Ragnarok."

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