Story [The West Wing] Outrun the Gun (Charlie and Sam - Far Future)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Briannakin , Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Outrun the Gun
    Author: Briannakin
    Fandom: The West Wing
    Timeframe: 17 Years After Season 7 (~2023)

    Notes: This was written for the Charts Hit Challenge. I got Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People. I don’t know if this story really fits the song, [I actually don’t like the song (for a very long reason)] but this popped into my brain and I had to write it.

    Disclaimer: this is ALL Mavjade’s fault. And I’m Canadian, so if I’ve messed something up, I’m sorry! Also, I think my brain was in script writing mode or something, so this doesn’t quite feel like normal prose.

    The spoiler tag below is for those who might not have seen the series so that you know, somewhat, what is going on (spoilers, ovbs, but also a fair bit of speculation on my part in the fic). This is set 17 years after the show ended.

    Charles “Charlie” Young was Personal Aide to President Josiah Bartlet, then later Special Aide to the Chief of Staff. Early on in the show, he began to date Zooey Bartlet, the then president’s daughter. He was then targeted by white supremacist shooters in an assassination attempt that he escaped, but which wounded the president and Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman. He and Zooey broke up, but it was later revealed that they had gotten back together. By the end of the series, their relationship was left ambiguous, but Charlie had been accepted into Georgetown University Law Centre.

    Sam Seaborn was Deputy White House Communications Director in President Josiah Bartlet first term. He left the White House to run for Congress, but returned under President Matthew Santos as Deputy Chief of Staff. It was said by President Bartlet “Sam, you're going to run for President one day. Don't be scared. You can do it. I believe in you.”

    Had he kissed Zooey that morning?

    Rain fell around his body. People rushed and shouted. Shining black dress shoes trampled around on the black pavement he was lying on. Yet he did not feel wet or cold, though he was soaked with more than just water. He heard sirens in the distance and someone was jostling him, but Charlie Young simply stared up at the grey sky, wondering if he had kissed his wife before he had left.

    For if he had, it would have been goodbye.

    His mother had been a cop and had died on duty from a gunshot wound. Now, his children would know the loss of a parent to a gun.

    His life had been threatened on several occasions. First, as a poor black kid growing up in Washington, DC. Gangs and violence had been the culture that he had blessedly escaped. Second, at Rosslyn, where he had been the target of hate, but that time the bullet had hit people that he had respected and loved.

    At least it was he this time.

    The bullet that he had fought so hard to ban had come back for revenge. He had not outrun it. He had failed How had the world not changed? How could one person’s hate ruin so many lives?

    Male and female voices blended together as he blinked away rain from his eyes.

    “Get him in the car!”

    “Where is the president?”


    “He’s refusing to leave without Mr. Young!”

    All these words meant something to Charlie, but he simply wasn’t paying attention. He was simply trying to remember the sequence of events before he had left his home. He had kissed his daughter, Josie, before she had left for her first day of middle school, and had scolded Jedidiah for not picking up his dirty underwear before ruffling his hair.

    But had he kissed Zooey?

    No. He hadn’t.

    She had been feeding their toddler, Jethro, dealing with the fussy infant, too preoccupied with dried Cheerioes and apple sauce to kiss him.

    The realization crushed him more than the secret service agent pressing down on the bullet wound on the right side of his chest. Red stained Charlie’s white dress-shirt and grey vest. He struggled to gasp as he was picked up by his armpits and dragged into a car, which he then felt speeding off. He looked up and into the eyes of the President of the United States.

    President Sam Seaborn’s eyes were full of concern and the blue of his suit was darkened by water. His normally neat grey hair was disheveled, and his thin pink lips opened, but Charlie spoke first.

    “Are you… okay, Mr. Pres -” his words faded as blood began to trickle from his mouth.

    “I’m fine, Charlie. Just stay with us,” the president’s voice was strong, commanding. But this was one command Charlie could not keep.

    “I… I failed you.”

    “Nope.” The president moved to hold Charlie’s head. “You didn’t fail me. Your only job requirement is to stay with me, so dammit, Charlie, don’t make me regret making you my Chief of Staff. It’s going to look really bad if you die. It’s going to make me look bad.”

    Charlie managed the energy to roll his eyes. “Tell… Zooey…”

    “You can shut up and save your strength. Because if you die, I can make something up, much better than whatever you have.”

    Charlie managed a single nod before violently coughing up blood.

    * * *

    Three Days Later.

    The Oval Office was dark, save for two desk lamps, and silent, save for the sound of a pen scrawling on paper. The single occupant stopped and murmured, “I can’t do this.”

    Suddenly, President Sam Seaborn threw a Holy Bible across the room and shouted. “Frig you! I’m supposed to honour a god in a eulogy for an innocent man? A good man? He was forty-three! He had a wife, three young kids. He never hurt anyone in his life! He was a big brother; taught so many troubled young boys, not related to him, the right path. His mother died from a gun. He spent his life tirelessly trying to keep guns and bullets out of the wrong hands. And how do you repay him? How dare you call yourself a loving god? He was loyal and good. He would have sat here one day. I believed in him.”

    Sam closed his eyes and he was reminded of the night that he asked Charlie to run the Sam Seaborn campaign. Charlie had said yes, simply because he had wanted to “return home.”

    Sam was then flooded with the memory of having to tell Zooey Bartlet Young that her husband had not made it. He had told her that Charlie’s last words had been of his love for her. Sam had held her in that hospital hallway knowing whom she would have to tell next. Sam had told the world Charles Young had died, but Zooey had told three small children: Charlie’s world.

    Sam looked up at the white ceiling. “You are one bastard. Damn me for blasphemy, because I want nothing to do with you.”

    * * *
    Two Days Later.

    Sam stood over a coffin overlaid with an American flag. He looked up, around the grand cathedral filled with crying eyes and people clad in black.

    “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them. Charles Aaron Young accomplished so much in his life. He was always there to help whoever needed help, even if they didn’t want it. I was proud to call him my Chief of Staff. A wise man, and Charlie’s late father-in-law, said, ‘you got a best friend? Is he smarter than you? Would you trust him with your life? That’s your chief of staff.’ That was Charlie.”
  2. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I just...

    and Sam did...


    I'm crying.

    Okay, now that I might have words...
    First off, I love that you have Charlie be Sam's CoS, which would be a perfect job for him.
    Then, for him to wonder if he kissed Zoe (He and Zoe are married and have 3 kids [face_love]) as he's laying there dying. And how he's thinking about how the bullet finally caught up with him. That killed me. KILLED. ME.

    And then for Sam to be yelling at God like Bartlet had all those years before for such similar reasons... :_|

    I'm going to need you to write more West Wing, need. :D

    (Also [face_devil] for dragging you into my TWW obsession... I'm not sorry! )
    Findswoman and Briannakin like this.
  3. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh my goodness, your guys' TWW kick is bringing all of the good things to our side of the boards. But, seriously, I don't think that my heart was ready for this. :_|:_| Ack, Charlie!!!. Happily-married-to-Zoey-Charlie and CoS to freaking President Sam Seaborn is all I want from the future of this fandom - and it's the only canon I keep, honestly - and for you to give us that and then just take it all away . . .

    You are a very cruel writer, but a very good writer. This was very touching and powerful, and the underlying gun-themes and Sam raving at God just like Bartlet did . . . yes, I was an emotional mess reading this, but I enjoyed every dip of the rollercoaster.

    Ack, I need to go read something with kittens now. Or maybe you should write something fluffier for this fandom. Whichever. ;) [face_mischief]

    mavjade and Findswoman like this.
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Even though I'm not familiar with these characters (thank you so much for providing their bios), I found this a very powerful exploration of both a man's last moments and the reaction of one of someone who is at once his superior, his closest colleague, and a good friend. Charlie's uncertainty in those final moments about whether or not he'd kissed his wife—whether or not he'd shown her love and appreciation—was pretty darn heartwrenching.

    I have to say, it was hard to know what to make of Sam's "Because if you die, I can make something up, much better than whatever you have." I guess if I knew more about the character I would be able to tell whether that's just a wry sense of humor, or awkwardness, or something else? It seems a very odd thing to say to someone who's about to die and who's telling you to give their love to their spouse—but it's also not out of character from the extremely irreverent side of him we see a little later on.

    You've got a real knack for these emotionally powerful vignettes—keep up the fab work! =D=
    Ewok Poet and mavjade like this.
  5. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    I'm sorry, but it is your fault.

    Ugh, seriously one of my favourite moments in TV. The whole speech is amazing! Anyways.

    Charlie/Zooey (Zoey? Zoë? I watched it with captions and they always said Zooey, so that's what I used, but I looked it up and Wiki says its Zoey) is what really dragged me into the show and will remain my canon. And I was going to have Charlie as VP, but somehow CoS just fit better.

    And, yeah, Sam's Bartlet moment was just for my own self-indulgence, but I can totally see Sam doing it.

    Don't worry! More West Wing is on it's way!

    The TWW kick is all Mav's doing, but I love her for it.

    But yeah. Charlie/Zoey with Sam as president is canon and my only canon for the far future and yeah, it killed me to destroy it, but it was so much 'fun'(?? not the right word, but I enjoyed writing it, even if I didn't want to).

    Thanks. That was what I was going for. I wanted it to make you sad and angry and generally just a mess (because I was so much of a mess writing it, I almost didn't do it).

    Don't worry! I have something much fluffier for this fandom in the works - almost ready to be posted.

    Thank YOU for reading and reviewing even though you aren't familiar with the fandom (it can be scary, I know). I have some other things planned for this fandom - some will be more for fans (my next vignette for this fandom is just something fluffy to make up for me killing Charlie), but some (like my plans for next year's DDC) I'm hoping non-fans will be able to enjoy as well (with the help from youtube clips, bios, etc.).

    Thanks, I'm glad I was able to subject you to my cruel heartlessness (and I hope I didn't scare you away from the fandom if you were looking into getting into it. It's not all tragedies - very few main characters actually die, but when they do, you ugly cry).

    I'm glad you asked. Sam was an amazing speech-writer (and very idealistic(?) - he was very positive). It was my way of him saying "shut up, because I know what you want to say and you know I will take care of it" and a sad attempt at humor in a difficult situation.
    You've got a real knack for these emotionally powerful vignettes—keep up the fab work! =D=[/quote]
  6. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    I am sorry for being slightly late.

    You're getting better and better by exploring the more undorthodox approaches to writing (a true iNtuitive, right there, I think!) and while this was exceptionally dark, it was a pleasure to read. Charlie is there, but he is not really there. He is aware that he is going to die, his vital functions are failing him, yet the picture of everything going around him is so vivid and, I have to say this, a much better last breath read than those who have pictures flashing before their eyes. This is different and it's all for the better.

    Of course, the whole idea of giving Charlie and Zoey a happy ending and then tearing it all apart is horrific in its own way, but I can totally get how it would be an interesting realm to explore.

    Great piece overall!
    Briannakin likes this.
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Wow. Okay.

    I can see why you (and by this I mean both @Briannakin and @mavjade) would suggest that readers get started in your TWW-verse with this story, because it's such an awesome, well-written, heartbreaking story... but now I just want to go hide in a corner and cry :_|

    I absolutely loved the references to events from the TV show throughout the viggie – someone shot lying down on the ground, someone shouting at god, Sam referencing self-deprecatingly his ability to say things better than anyone else – but also how you integrated these characters in a future-verse where they are still in politics, but they have also grown along the way and they are now filling much bigger shoes than the ones they used to when we first met them.

    The whole story is excellent, but I want to focus on the opening section because you've really outdone yourself here. The back-and-forth between Charlie trying to remember if he kissed his wife that morning, the memories of the long-ago shooting that he survived, and the practical reality of taking him away from the scene is just masterful. When I reached the end of that section I was hoping that Charlie, like Josh, would make it through against all odds... which proves that I was so deep in the TWW-verse that I'd forgotten it's you (i.e. Bri the Heartbreaker), and not the TWW writers, who wrote this story :p

    Awesome beginning for this new reader, and I'll continue tomorrow!
    Briannakin likes this.
  8. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Thank you. I actually went back and forth on whether or not to include this in the 'official' TWW-verse, because, while it is technically the first one in the verse, it wasn't meant to be the start of anything. It is such a depressing one to start on and it isn't exactly important to the stories of our OCs. Charlie's death is mentioned again in passing, but not in any huge way (and I still have to finish the vignette I have started that retcons a few minor details, like the two Josies issue and the fact that Charlie only serves as Chief of Staff for a short period; Mav and I have since established that Josh was Sam's CoS for the majority of Sam's terms). But, yeah, I am rather proud of how completely depressing this one is.

    Thank you. One of the things that really drew me into writing post-season 7 (which includes a lot of stuff like 50 years after the finale) was Mav's ability to show how these canon characters [mainly Josh and Donna, then I threw in Sam (well, I guess I kinda started it with Sam here), Ainsley, Matt and Helen] grew and matured with age and their roles in government, and also parenthood, but also remained themselves.

    Thank you. It was just one of those fics where the style wasn't exactly 'standard/normal' prose but it somehow just fit and worked. Charlie actually very nearly almost made it. I so wanted just a happy ending for Charlie. But, in the end, I knew, he had to die.

    I swear, killing Charlie is (probably) the meanest thing I do in this verse. Pretty sure the Darth Muse got it all out with this one event at the start. There's like 1 other mean(ish) thing I do (okay now that I think about it, I can count like 4 mean things), and I establish some facts which Mav took and ran with (I know you have read Mav's most recent OTP), but it isn't all depressing, I swear!

    Thank you! I am so glad you have decided to venture on this crazy journey!
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
    Chyntuck likes this.