Ms. Rosenberg Goes to Washington
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and The West Wing
and all associated characters are property of their creators/corporate owners. I make no claim of ownership to that, or to any other, copyrighted material.
A/N: This is AU, but age wise probably 6th season. Willow is a junior in college. Tara and Willow broke up, but Tara never died. Willow never got addicted to magic. If your someone who hates AU turn away now. I loved Tara and Willow together, but I honestly felt it worked better for the story to just break then up then deal with the trama of of Tara's death. There's angst enough in the fic as it is.
A/N 2: I orginally wrote and posted this story a few years ago. I haven't been inspired to write lately, but I thought editing this might get my creative juices flowing again. But while I plan on fixing up grammar and sentence structure, the story will remain the same, flaws and all. 12/26/05
Willow hung up the phone, and just stared at it for a moment. She just couldn't believe it.
A job offer from the White House.
The White House!
When her political science professor had suggested that she apply for a summer internship, she had only done it to please him. Willow had never thought that she actually had a chance at getting it. Sure, she had great grades, but the competition for these kind of things were huge. Besides, she had responsibilities is Sunnydale. She didn't feel that she could just take off for the summer.
But, she had gotten an offer. And not just for an internship. Apparently, her application had really impressed someone. She had been offered a job in the Communications Department, on a trial basis.
Still, Willow didn't fell like she could abandon her friends. She was needed here. Besides, what did she know about working in Communications? She had heard President Bartlet’s speeches, and she had seen his main writers, Sam Seaborn and Toby Ziegler, on TV. They were amazing. There was no way she could write like that.
As cool as the offer was, Willow put it out of her mind. She knew that when they called her back at the end of the week to get her answer, she would have to turn them down. She should have done it in the first place. She bet it didn't happen very often, people turning down White House jobs. But she knew it would be for the best.
That evening Willow was walked home alone from the Magic Box. Xander had offered to walk with her, but Willow had insisted that she would be fine. After all, she did have her magic to protect her. And Willow kind of liked walking alone. It gave her time to think.
She made it home without any trouble and went to the kitchen to make some. She had just put the water on to boil when she heard a voice behind her.
Willow was startled and whirled around, "Oh, God. Spike. You scared the hell out of me." Willow was breathing deeply, trying to calm her racing pulse.
"Sorry about that."
"What are you doing here?" Willow asked.
Spike grinned lazily, and something about it made Willow worry. "I've got a real surprise. Thought you might like to help me celebrate." Spike grinned again and Willow felt her blood run cold.
One month later
Willow stood in the lobby of the White House. She was nervous, and wasn't exactly sure what she should do. She griped her briefcase tightly in her hand. She wondered for the hundredth time if she had done the right thing by coming here.
Willow turned to see a cute, albeit slightly nerdy, man headed her way. She recognized him as the Deputy Chief of Staff. He reached her and extended his hand.
"Miss Rosenberg, glad to finally meet you. I'm Josh Lyman, we've talked on the phone."
"Of course, Mr. Lyman. It's nice to meet you." Willow brushed her hair behind her ear self-consciously.
Josh had to stop himself from starring, when Willow's cheek was reveled. A crescent shaped scar ran from the corner of her eye to her mouth. He noticed a few more scars on her neck. Not wanting to pry, Josh tried to hide his shock.
"Please. Call me Josh. You'll find the staff is pretty informal when we're just with each other."
Willow was aware of Josh's reaction to her injuries, but chose to ignore it. It wasn't the first time this had happened, and it wouldn't be the last.
"Okay, call me Willow."
"Sure, Willow. Why don't you come with me? I'll show you around, and introduce you to the Senior Staff. You'll be working directly for Toby Ziegler and Sam Seaborn, but you'll find that we all work pretty closely together."
"That sounds great. I can't wait to meet every one. I worked with a close group a lot back in Sunnydale. I had a friend, who owned a store, and we, me and my other friends, use to help, and we also just hung out there. It was a really cool place. And I'm starting to ramble, so I'll just stop talking now." Willow felt her face turning red. She had mostly gotten over her rambling, but when she was nervous, it tended to rear its ugly head.
Josh smiled, "Don't worry about. A lot of people get shaken up when they're in the White House for the first time. Let's start the grand tour."
The two walked for a while, Josh pointing out all of the important places. Willow was excited. She still couldn't believe that this was all real. She was actually going to be working in the White House. She was also just glad to be out of Sunnydale. Especially after what had happened with Spike. After all he had done... But no, she wouldn't think about that now. Willow banished the memories from her mind.
Suddenly she realized that Josh had stopped in the middle of the hallway. She paused, and turned to look at him.
"Listen, Willow," Josh began. "There's something you need to know."
"What is it?" she asked, concerned.
"Well. The thing is...you see...the rest of the staff doesn't know how young you are." Josh finished quickly.
"What?" Willow couldn't believe it. "How could they not know?"
"Well, Leo and I knew that people probably wouldn't react well, and there's been a lot going on. So we thought it would be best to wait to tell them."
Willow could feel panic rising up in her. "Why, so they can go all freaky as soon as I meet them?"
Josh looked abashed. "Yeah, you might have a point there."
"Okay," Willow sighed deeply. "So the only people who know how young I am are you and the Chief of Staff."
"The President knows of course, but yeah, other than him it's just Leo and me."
"Only you and Leo know what?" a new voice asked.
Willow and Josh both turned to look at the questioner. Willow's eyes widened as she recognized the man. Josh sighed. He really wasn't looking forward to this.
"Willow, this is Toby Ziegler. Toby, I'd like you to meet Willow Rosenberg." Josh paused, awaiting the inevitable explosion. He didn't have to wait long.
"Willow Rosenberg. As in the Willow Rosenberg who is going to be my Assistant Deputy?" Toby asked, clenching his teeth.
Willow gulped. Mr. Ziegler looked, for all the world, like a really pissed off Teddy Bear. If would have been funny, if it weren't so frightening. *Get a grip, Rosenberg.* Willow thought. *It can't be that bad.* Willow held out her hand.
"Yeah, that would be me."
Toby looked at the girl before him, not even aware that she was waiting to shake his hand.
Josh grimaced, "Toby, you really don't have to shout. I'm right here."
"This is a joke right? Tell me this is a joke. She can't be more than 19 years old."
Willow began to get a little pissed off.
"I'm 22, actually."
Toby looked at her again for a moment, than continued as if she had said nothing.
"She's a kid! For God's sake, Josh. You hired a child!"
"Actually, Leo hired her." Josh too was getting a little annoyed. But he had to admit that he had expected this. The staff should have been told sooner. Willow, was after all, still in college. She was extremely young to have gotten a position as the Assistant Deputy Director of Communications. This woman would be part of the senior staff. But even though Josh could understand Toby's frustration, didn't mean that he would just sit back and take Toby's attitude.
"Look Toby, I'm sorry. I should have told you sooner that she was so young. But I assure you the girl is very qualified. She's talented, and she'll be a good addition to the staff."
"I don't care how qualified you think she is. She's a kid. There had to have been so many better qualified people out there."
Willow had reached her limit.
"Um, hi? I'm standing right here? I can totally hear you. And I'm sorry they didn't tell you that I'm young, but not really my fault there is it? And if seems to me, that Leo McGarry, your boss, is a pretty smart guy. He probably knows his job pretty well. So if he hired me, which, um, he did, he probably had a reason. I don't know what that reason was, cause, you see, I was really surprised to get hired. It's not like I'm all 'Hey I'm so awesome cause I got a job at the White House, and I'm only 22. Look at how cool I am, lalalala.' But I would like it if you weren't all Mr. Growly and mean to me before you know me."
Toby and Josh both starred at her for a moment.
"Did you breathe at all during that?" Josh asked, with a smile. Not many people stood up to Toby. Sure, the girl had done it in some weird, rambling way, but she had stood up to him. Maybe she would work out well here.
Toby sighed, "If I had understood more of that, I would most likely have some sort of retort. I pray to God, that you can write speeches better than that, because I'd rather the President not be committed to an insane asylum."
His words were less than friendly, but he said them with a smile. He still wasn't pleased, but he would talk to Leo later. Willow did actually seem like a nice girl, and she didn't really deserve the blame for this. Leo had been the one to hire her, after all. There was still plenty of people left to yell at.
"Why don't we take you to go meet the rest of the Communications staff?" Josh gave a sigh of relief as he and Toby led Willow on.
As the trio made their way to the Communications department, Toby looked at the young woman who would be joining his department. He couldn't believe that Leo had hired someone so young. What the hell was he supposed to do with a child in his department? It didn't help that she looked even younger than her 22 years. She looked really vulnerable. Though, Toby had caught a glimpse of fire inside of her, Willow would still have a hard time getting people to take her seriously. Hell, Toby didn't and he was her boss. Leo would definitely be getting an earful from the Director of Communications.
As Toby studied Willow, he noticed the scar on her face. He didn't know how he had missed it when he first saw her, he must have been too surprised to notice it. But, now that he saw it, he noticed other scars too. Her neck was marked up, and Toby was willing to bet that her jacket hide more scars. What the hell had happened to her?
Willow felt Toby's eyes on her and glanced up at him. He quickly looked away when he noticed.
"Is something wrong, Mr. Ziegler?" Willow asked.
"Nothing except the fact that you're freakishly young to be the Assistant Deputy Director of Communication." Toby quickly covered.
Josh rolled his eyes, "Toby, seriously. Drop it."
Toby smirked "Oh, I really don't think that is going to happen anytime soon."
Willow sighed. God, this was going to be hard. It hadn't really occurred to her that her age would be an issue. It should have. She was supposed to be the smart one. Maybe she shouldn't have taken this job. She couldn't expect every one to be as friendly as Josh Lyman was. Toby actually scared her a little.
Willow looked up and saw one of the handsomest men that she had ever seen. Sam Seaborn, she realized quickly. He looked even more amazing in person then he did on TV. She could feel blood rushing to her face, and hoped that no one else would notice her blush.
"Sam!" Toby called out when he noticed his Deputy. "Get over here!"
Deputy Director of Communications, Sam Seaborn, sighed when he heard his boss call him. He didn't sound happy. Then again, Toby rarely sounded happy. He slowly made his way over to where Toby stood with Josh, and some kid Sam didn't recognize.
"Hey, Josh. What's up, Toby?"
Toby grinned, rather frighteningly. He knew that Sam would be pissed about this too. Maybe if they went to Leo together, they could change the mind of the stubborn Chief of Staff.
"Sam, there's someone I'd like you to meet." Josh said, motioning to Willow.
"Sam. This is Willow Rosenberg." Toby interjected.
"Hi." Willow said, apprehensively.
Sam frowned for a moment, the name sounded familiar. Suddenly it clicked.
"Wait a minute. You mean Willow Rosenberg as in..."
Toby interrupted, "As in the newest member of the White House senior staff."
"You've gotta be kidding me."
Josh had had enough. He hadn't been surprised with Toby's reaction, but he had expected Sam to be a little more subtle. He saw how Willow's face had fallen at Sam's comment.
"Okay, that's it. Toby. Sam. I want to talk to you, now!" He pointed at Toby's office door. "Get in." He turned to Willow as Sam and Toby made their way into the office. "Willow, I'm really sorry about this. If you would just excuse us for a moment."
"Sure," Willow said, more than a little uncomfortable.
Josh smiled at her, and went into the office. Willow winced, as he slammed the door behind him.
Willow sat outside of the office, waiting for Josh, Toby, and Sam to return. Josh had seemed really pissed off. She had to admit, it did make her a little happy. It was nice to have someone who was willing to stick up for her. She did understand that it had to be a shock for people to see someone so young in an important position, but she didn't think it was fair that they yell at her about it. After all, she had been totally surprised to get this job, she hadn't asked for it. Hell, at first she wasn't even going to take it.
Willow stared at Toby's office door, as she heard someone's, she guessed it was Sam's, voice rise.
"Damnit, Josh. How the hell is she going to handle this job? She's only a kid!"
"Yes, she's young. But do you realize how good she must be, if Leo was so impressed that he hired a 22 year old?"
"Josh..." Toby started
"Guys, I'd be just as pissed off as you, usually. But I saw her internship application, and I saw her interview. She's amazing. Yell at Leo, if you want to. But back off of Willow, because she's a sweet girl"
Willow felt her throat go dry, as memories flooded her mind. The voices in Toby's office lowered, but Willow didn't notice. She was too stuck on Josh's last words. * A sweet girl. *
One Month earlier
"What are you doing here?" Willow asked.
Spike grinned lazily, and something about it made Willow worry.
"I've got a real surprise. Thought you might like to help me celebrate." Spike grinned again and Willow felt her blood run cold.
"Wh...What's there to celebrate?" Willow had really grown to like the bleach-blond vampire. He had helped them a lot the past few years, and Willow considered him part of the group. But something about him was scaring her.
"Oh, come on, Red. You're a smart one." Spike moved closer to Willow, backing her up against the wall. "I'll give you three guesses." He leaned forward, and breathed in deeply, inhaling her scent.
Willow felt herself begin to tremble. He was right; she was smart.
"You...you got the chip out didn't you?"
Spike smiled, "Got it in one. Good for you! Now...let's have some fun." Spike leaned forward again, then stopped.
"Oh, wait. I almost forgot." Spike reached into his coat and pulled out something. He brought his first to his mouth, opened his hand, and blew gently. A fine powered covered Willow's face, making her cough.
"Just a little something to make sure you don't go trying anything sneaky. It's Takra root. Suppresses magical ability."
Willow drew in a shaky breath. "Please, Spike. Please, let me go." She tried to push him away from her, but he was just too strong.
"Hmmm..." He pretended to consider it for a moment. "No, don't think so Pet." He grabbed her hair, and pulled her neck to the side, brushing his fangs against her skin.
Tears filled Willow's eyes. "Why are you doing this, Spike?"
Spike let go of her hair, and looked at her for a long while. "Because you're such a sweet girl, Luv."
Despite her terror, Willow was confused.
"What can I say? The Big Bad is back."
Willow snapped out of her daydream, to see Josh standing in front of her with Toby and Sam. Josh looked concerned. The others looked pissed off.
Willow felt herself blushing. "I'm sorry. I was just a little lost in thought."
Josh smiled. "That's okay. The White House can be a little overwhelming your first time around. Why don't you come see your office?"
"Sounds great." Willow said, standing up.
The group walked into the office beside Toby's.
"This is your office." The Director of Communications said gruffly. "Mine is right next door, and Sam's is beside mine. You report directly to Sam, who reports directly to me. Right now Sam and I have some work to do, but Josh is going to show you around the rest of the West Wing. Tomorrow you'll be starting an actual workday. Sam will take you through the basics then." Toby nodded at Josh and left, Sam trailing after him.
Willow looked at her new office, then at Josh. "They don't like me very much, do they?"
Josh smiled sympathetically. "They'll come around. Come on. There are some more people you should meet."
Willow sat on the floor of her new apartment, her back to the bed. It had been one hell of a day. She was still overwhelmed by everything that had happened. After leaving Sam and Toby, Josh had introduced Willow to some of the other important people in the White House. She had met C.J., the Press Secretary, Charlie Young, the President’s personal assistant, and Leo McGarry, the White House Chief of Staff. Leo had interviewed her over the phone, but she hadn't met him before today. Josh had also introduced her to Donna Moss, his assistant.
Despite her problems with Toby and Sam, Willow was happy with how things had gone. Everyone else she had met seemed really great. CJ had been a little surprised, but she hadn't made any disparaging comments on Willow's age, not to her face anyway, which was enough to make Willow happy. Charlie had been great. He was only a few years older than Willow. She liked him immediately. He just seemed like an incredibly sweet guy. Leo had been very friendly, but then again, he had been the one to hire her. But even though he was nice, he still intimidated the hell out of her.
Donna seemed really cool too. Willow could already pick up on the chemistry between Donna and Josh. Not that it took any real insight to pick up on it. She could have been deaf and blind and it still would have been obvious. Apparently the two weren't dating, but it was easy enough to see that the attraction was there. Donna had warmly welcomed Willow, and the two had agreed to meet for lunch the next day. Willow was excited. She had a feeling that she would become friends with Josh's pretty assistant. Which was great, as she knew making friends here would be more than a little difficult.
Tomorrow would be an even busier day. She would begin to actually start her job, as Sam would be showing her the ropes. That made her a little nervous. From what she had heard, Sam was actually a really nice guy; and God knows he was incredibly handsome; but he had been less then friendly to Willow so far, she hoped that would change. In addition to starting her job, Willow was supposed to be meeting the President. She was terrified.
She, Willow Rosenberg, was going to be meeting the President of the United States. Who would have thought? From shy little bookworm, to killer of vampires and demons, to Assistant Deputy Director of Communications for the White House.
Though she was nervous, and excited. Willow knew that she would need her rest. Soon she was asleep. Then the dreams came. And the night would be anything but restful.
Willow awoke to find that she couldn't move. She tried desperately to remember what had happened. She was tied to her bed. But how had she gotten like this? Then she heard something that made her blood turn to ice.
"Oh, the witch awakens. Goodie."
Spike. Willow remembered now. Spike. The kitchen. His chip. Apparently he had knocked her unconscious. She wished she were still out cold. She watched as Spike stood over her. He had a sadistic grin on his face and he held a very sharp looking knife in his hand.
"So, Luv, where should I start?" He slowly lowered the blade to her pale skin.
Willow sat bolt upright in bed. She was panting in fear, and drenched in sweat. She sat for a moment, trying to calm herself. It was only a dream. It was only a memory now. It was only a dream. She looked at the clock. 4:00 am. She had a few hours to kill before she would head to the White House. But Willow knew that she wouldn't be getting any more sleep that night.
A few hours later, Willow made her way to her new office. She carried with her a cardboard box, with office supplies, and a few personal effects. Lots of people said hi to her, but though she recognized many of their faces, she was at a loss for names. She had simply met too many people yesterday.
"Willow, Sam wants to see you first thing,” a woman said, as soon as Willow had put her box on her desk.
"Oh, hi. It's Ginger, right?" Willow asked.
"Yes, it is. Sam should be in his office." Ginger turned, and went back to her desk.
"Thanks” Willow called after her.
Willow took a deep breath. She was still a little nervous. She would be spending most of the day with Sam, and she knew that he didn't like her, or at least didn't want her working for him. It made her upset. She had done nothing to deserve his, or Toby's, anger. She couldn't help the fact that she was young. She braced herself, and went to go find her boss.
4 months later
Willow had been working at the White House for four months now. She was really enjoying her job. She was finally starting to feel like she was part of the team. She wasn't even having problems with Toby anymore. Sam, however, was a different matter. She wasn't even sure why, exactly. She just couldn't get along with him. It didn't matter what the issue was, the two of them always ended up fighting, even when they basically agreed with each other.
Willow sat at her desk, working. She glanced up, and her eyes rested on a picture of her with Xander, Buffy, Dawn, Giles, and Anya. They all had big smiles. She missed them a lot. Luckily Xander and Dawn would be visiting soon. She was very excited, but disappointed that the others wouldn't be coming too. Buffy couldn't leave Sunnydale unprotected, and Anya didn't want to have to close the Magic Shop and, as the ex-demon had put it, "miss out on all of the valuable money making opportunities." Giles was in England and didn't know when he'd next be back in the U.S. So Xander and Dawn would be coming by themselves. Willow was looking forward to seeing them, and giving them a tour of the White House. Dawn had sounded really excited about it the last time Willow had talked to her on the phone.
Willow sighed happily, then went back to going over the speech the President would be reading the next week. Most of the senior staff was in the conference room across the hall; they were talking about the speech. It would be an important one, as it covered many of the new policy initiatives that they would be putting into motion in the coming year. She paused, noticing something was wrong. She was on her feet and into the conference room in 10 seconds flat.
"Who the hell decided cut the fifth section?" Willow asked, the door slamming behind her.
The room fell completely silent, as everyone looked at her. Toby cleared his throat.
"Um, well. It was Sam's idea, but we all agreed that it would be for the best at this time." Toby could tell that the young redhead was angry, more angry then he had every seen her before, even during her worst fights with Sam. If they hadn't been so busy, he would have found it amusing.
Willow whirled around to look at the cute Deputy Communications Director.Sam glared right back at her; ready for the fight he was sure would come.
"Well?" Willow asked, wanting him to explain herself.
Sam sighed, "I'm sorry, but with all the other fights we have going right now, we can't launch an aggressive campaign for gay rights. It isn't a good time."
"Damnit, I've been working on the issue for the past three months, planning on the best way to work it into the speech. For God's sake you're the one who assigned me to work on it. It's an important issue. We can't just drop it!"
"We're not going to drop it. We just can't do it now. We can only fight for so many things at a time. Of course it's an important issue, one that we're going to keep working on. But if we introduce this right now, we won't get anywhere with it, and it will hurt us when we try to get other things through Congress."
"Oh, come on, Sam. This administration has been pushing back this issue for too long. We claim to fully support gay rights, but we don't do anything about it. When the hell are we going to get off our asses and actually stand up for what we believe in?"
Josh decided it was time to step in. "Willow, it wasn't just Sam. We all agreed that if was for the best. We didn't want to take it off the table, but for now we have to."
"But..." Willow began.
"Willow, drop it. It's not going to change anything. I'm sorry. We need to move on. Are there any other problems you see with the speech?"
Willow sighed and tried to pull herself together. She was pissed, but the last few months had taught her to move beyond her emotions when she had work that needed to be done.
"Yeah, umm... the language in the section on education is clunky. It needs to be more direct, and it lacks punch."
Toby nodded, glad that Willow had moved on "She's right. The entire section needs to be reworked. Sam, I want to see a new version of it before you go home tonight."
Suddenly the door opened, and Ginger stuck her head in, "Willow, security called. They say there is a gentleman claiming that he’s a friend of yours. Apparently he says there's an emergency, and he has to see you right away."
"Did they tell you the man's name?" Willow asked.
"Yeah, they said his name is Angel."