Acknowledgements: The West Wing is the creation of Aaron Sorkin. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon.
Changing the Guard
President-Elect Matt Santos felt like he was leading a parade as he entered the White House. His wife Helen walked beside him, and behind them trailed the entourage of their staff, assistants, Secret Service agents and others whom he had no idea what they did. He sometimes felt that he should have been issued a drum major’s baton, to keep all the people who followed him around properly in-step.
The parade shrank as they moved through the building. People broke off to go to their own individual meetings with their counterparts in the departing administration. Today had been set up to let everyone who would be taking up positions in the new administration pick the brains of the people they would be replacing, after the Inauguration.
When they reached the ante-room of the Oval Office the parade had been pared down to ‘just’ himself and his wife, Josh Lyman, Sam Seaborn and Donna Moss (and his and Helen’s personal agents.)
The President’s Executive Secretary, Deborah Fiderer, looked up from her desk. “You can go right in,” she told them.
The President’s personal aide knocked on the door, and pushed it open. “President-Elect Santos, Sir,” he announced. He held the door as Matt and the others entered the Oval Office. The Secret Service agents stayed outside.
President Bartlet was already on his feet, along with the First Lady and his chief of staff, C.J. Cregg. He stepped forward and extended his hand. “President-Elect Santos, a pleasure to see you again.”
Matt shook the President’s hand, and smiled warmly. “And you, Mr. President.”
“Mrs. Santos,” the President addressed his wife. “Welcome to the White House. I’m sure that you and Abby will have much to talk about.”
“I’m sure we will, Sir.”
The President next turned his attention to Matt’s new Deputy Chief of Staff. “Sam, it’s been too long.” He went to shake Sam Seaborn’s hand as well. There was an extra warmth in the greeting, as the President addressed an old friend.
Matt could see the affection reflected in Seaborn’s face. “Yes it has, Mr. President.”
“So, Josh roped you into his old job.”
“I’m afraid so, Sir.”
“Hopefully, you won’t screw up as many times as he did.”
“Hey!” said Josh. But Matt saw the smiles on their faces. There was no malice in what the President had said. It was the sort of kidding that could only take place between long time friends, and colleagues.
“Well, C.J. has got a lot to tell you, and Abby has much wisdom to impart to Helen, so why don’t we all get to work?” asked the President.
C.J. led Josh and Sam off into her office, and Abby took Helen and Donna away to the Residence, leaving Matt alone with the President in the Oval Office.
“You know why we’re here,” said the President.
“You are going to brief me on some of the things that are too sensitive to be handled by our staffs, Mr. President.”
“I think that we can dispense with the formalities. When it’s just us, you can call me ‘Jed,’ Mr. President-Elect.”
Matt smiled at that. “I’m still getting used to that. Please, call me Matt.”
“Okay, Matt.” The President waved his hand toward one of the sofas flanking the Presidential Seal in the carpet. “Please have a seat.” He sat himself down on the facing sofa.
Matt sat down across the seal from the President. “So, Jed, is this when you tell me that we really do
have some alien spaceships hidden away in Area 51?”
The President laughed. “Oh, don’t I wish!” He sobered up right away though. “No. This is when I tell you what really
happened to Sunnydale, California.”
Vogonguard has written a sequel to this story: Four Days in December.