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Across The Same Divide Chapter1
by: alison (Send Feedback)
Chapters: 002 Word Count: 4266
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss, Matt Santos, Helen Santos
Category(ies): Post Administration, Romance
Crossover Shows: Stargate SG1
Summary: West Wing Stargate crossover which explores the parallels between relationships.
Author Notes: Sam Carter goes to the West Wing.
Chapters: 1 | 2
Experiences in Common
Samantha Carter adjusted her dress uniform as she waited in the small ante room. While it was always an honour to see the President and she was keen to meet the man who had just taken office, she felt like Dorothy when she landed in Oz. It would have been nice to have had time to re-adjust after so long off-world rather than hurrying to gather her uniform in time for her flight. But Presidential schedules did not allow for such luxuries as catching up with the news and she was only thankful that she had paid enough attention during the campaign to have garnered some information about the winning candidate. Other snippets would have to wait until later.
Her musings were interrupted by the appearance of the young woman who had met her on her arrival.
‘I am really sorry, but the President has been delayed. However, the First Lady has asked if you would care to join her for afternoon tea.’
Sam was startled and stammered quickly, ‘Um, yes, um, I would be honoured.’
‘Her Chief of Staff will be over in a minute to collect you.’
‘Thank you’ Sam wondered why she felt like a parcel. What would she have to talk to the First Lady about? What was her security clearance? Presumably she knew about the SGC and the work they did or why else would Sam be invited to visit? How do you subtly ask someone if they are allowed to know what you know? Especially a civilian and not just any civilian. Maybe she should have fitted some etiquette classes in alongside all the astrophysics lectures she had attended. Not something she had anticipated needing before but…..
Another woman entered the room, but this one carried an air of self-assurance and her smile was warm.
‘Hi. I’m Donna Moss. Nice to meet you.’
They shook hands and Donna ushered Sam from the room.
‘We are in the East Wing. Not far but not easy to find in this maze. Did you have a good flight?’
‘Yes, thanks, although it was a bit of a rush.’
‘I believe you are just back from a mission, it must be quite a change to finish your day here.’
‘You could say that. I started the day in rather grubby combats and we have to have a medical after each mission so it was a bit of a rush to get clean and put on these.’ Sam glanced down at her immaculate uniform and was grateful that she was not wearing heels as high as her escort, given the pace being set down the busy corridors.
‘Then you end up having to wait around. A typical day here, I’m afraid. The schedule is constantly changing and never runs to time. Still, it gives us a chance to meet you.’
‘But why? I mean it’s not that I don’t want to meet Mrs Santos, but why would she want to meet me?’
‘To be honest I was initially the one who wanted to meet you as I think we have something in common.’
At that moment they arrived in a vast office which exuded a peace at odds with the noisy bustle in the corridors and offices they had passed.
Donna showed Sam to a sofa and poured tea then sat in a chair opposite her, while Sam pondered her last remark. Something in common?
‘What would we have in common?’
Donna looked uncertain briefly ‘We met a certain Jack O’Neill recently,’ she said watching Sam closely.
Sam kept her expression blank and tried not to think of Jack, but something must have shown through her rigid control as Donna relaxed and smiled gently.
‘Yes, we do have something in common,’ she mused. ‘We have both been in the same difficult situation, for slightly different reasons.’
‘We have?’ Sam’s mind whirred. How was this Donna linked to Jack? She was a very attractive woman but surely Jack would never…and who was this ‘we’ she spoke of? Was there someone else involved?
Donna laughed ‘Well, it is obvious you have been out of the loop for a while. I don’t wish to sound vain, but after all the recent publicity very few people are unaware of our history. Now, I am making some assumptions here, but is it possible that you have personal feelings for someone you are not meant to see in that way?’
Sam blushed and looked down as she considered her answer, but did not get the chance to say anything.
‘It’s OK you don’t have to answer that – at least not verbally. I have been in a similar situation – with feelings I could not voice.’ When Sam looked concerned she reassured quickly, ‘Don’t worry, I am not looking for a mutual commiseration session. My boss and I had feelings for each other when we worked for President Bartlet, which we could not act upon, but now I work for the First Lady and not for him so …..’
‘So they can go around sneaking kisses in my office’ added a voice from the door and in walked Mrs Santos. Sam recognised her from a campaign publicity shot, but it had failed to capture the warmth of the subject which was apparent in person.
As they both shot to their feet Sam was amused to see a faint blush stain Donna’s pale cheeks.
‘I, it, it was only the once’ she stuttered. ‘And he had been away for a few days.’
‘Donna, you don’t have to justify it. The President got a week worth’s of ribbing Josh out of it and I can still get you to bite, but I actually found it sweet.’
Donna grimaced ‘I am not sure I prefer sweet’
‘Well if you will get involved with the President’s Chief of Staff and trigger all those Joint Chiefs puns in the papers, you will have to put up with a lot worse than ‘sweet’ being said about the two of you.’
Sam stood quietly assembling all the information she was gathering. So that explained the odd comment about her visit to the White House she had overheard before she left. Some junior officer had muttered something about Joint Chiefs which had not made sense at the time. Obviously, there was a lot she had missed whilst she was away and not all of it was in the brief notes on the Santos administration she had been given. The Josh was presumably Josh Lyman, the President’s COS who she vaguely remembered as being involved in the previous administration. One of the problems with off-world missions was the feeling of having missed out on current events and the difficulties with keeping up on who’s who in the world. So Donna had worked for him here and Sam could understand the constrictions that placed on a relationship. But that meant that the situation in common that she referred to had to be Sam and…No, no-one knew about that – well quite a few people suspected she thought, but there was certainly nothing official.
The other two turned to Sam and Donna introduced her to Mrs Santos. When they were all sat down again the First Lady continued to rib Donna.
‘Does Josh know you are setting up as an agony aunt?’
‘Actually he does know about this meeting. In a way it was his idea.’
‘Josh Lyman’s advice to the lovelorn, I can see it now, a whole new career for when he leaves the White House.’
Donna laughed, ‘I don’t think I know anyone less capable of relationship advice than Josh.’ She turned to Sam and explained ‘For a highly intelligent man Josh can be remarkably dumb about relationships. If I hadn’t made the first move we would still be skirting around each other. What is your Jack like?’
Sam gulped. So much for hoping no-one knew. She could not believe she was sat in the White House, the home of the Commander-in-Chief, being quizzed about a relationship which was strictly taboo in the military. She debated briefly whether it was worth denying it, but caught a sympathetic look from Donna and decided that here was someone who understood and who was also presumably well versed in the term confidential. The pressure of denying her feelings for so long was starting to tell and so she finally gave way.
‘Jack likes to play dumb, especially around technical or scientific people, but he is a lot smarter than a lot of people suppose. He can seem oblivious to emotional things, but I think part of that is because he has lost people and so he protects himself by keeping aloof from colleagues.’
‘Does he know how you feel? Or, for that matter, how he feels himself? ‘
‘Oh, yes. We had an occasion when we had a kind of lie detector test and, well, basically we had to tell the truth or face some pretty awful consequences. He said, he said’ Sam paused as her emotions got the better of her for a minute. ‘Sorry, I don’t do the weepy woman bit, but I haven’t been able to talk about any of this before and I didn’t realise how much I had bottled up. During the test Jack said that he cared for me a lot more than he ought to, but we agreed afterwards not to talk about it as there is nothing we can do unless one of us resigns and I can’t see that happening at the moment.’
‘We have a plan.’
‘A plan? And who is ‘we’?
‘Not Josh, which if you knew him is a great relief’ replied Mrs Santos with a laugh. ‘Again, he is a great strategist politically, but totally lost when it comes to individual lives. Donna and I happened to be in the Oval Office when your Jack came for a meeting and then Donna overheard something he said about you and, I thought, put two and two together to make a lot more than four. But it looks like she was right.’
‘For some reason, something about Jack caught my attention and so I listened more carefully than I would normally to the conversation,’ added Donna.
‘Your fascination for older men, maybe?’
‘No ma’am, my ‘fascination’ is only for one older man, but maybe our experience made me more sensitive to undercurrents.’ Donna continued to address the First Lady but turned slightly to Sam with a wicked look. ‘But you have to admit that there is something rather sexy about a commanding man and older men often have it more.’
‘Donna, my husband has served for many years and is now Commander-in-Chief as well as President of the United States so I think I know a little about powerful men. Some of them just get caught a little younger’
‘With all due respect, ma’am, you were not working for your husband when you met. We had eight years in the Bartlet administration before we could be together and Sam here is still constrained by regulations. Like us one of them could quit, but it is not so easy to throw away a fantastic job like working here or travelling to other planets. It is not the same as changing to another company but doing the same job. There aren’t many opportunities to travel in the same way!’
Sam was amazed at the parallels between her situation and Donna’s. Both loved/had loved their boss, who was significantly older, both worked in unique environments which made a change to a similar job impossible and they even seemed to have the same sense of humour. But she could not see that there was any equivalent for her to working for the First Lady. As long as they were serving officers the regs would apply and a change of location would not solve that.
‘Well, we certainly do have a lot in common, but I don’t see my equivalent to working in this office.’
Mrs Santos leant forward ‘Well, this is where Josh comes in. Give him a clearly defined problem to solve and his lateral thinking is fantastic.’
‘Remind me to tell you about Blue Sky’ muttered Donna then continued, ‘Josh linked your situation to an issue which has been bugging the President and came up with a solution for both. Technology and science are becoming increasingly more complex, yet our key to the future of our prosperity. We need to keep up to date so as to benefit from new advances and it was felt that the President needed to be better informed about the issues and the possible applications of new technology. Add that to your situation and you have a solution.’
Sam frowned. She was highly intelligent and usually two steps ahead of people, but she felt lost here.
‘The President is going to appoint you as his special scientific adviser. You know all about the new technologies that are coming through the stargate and a certain military adviser tells us that you are good at explaining these things to others.’
‘You mean Jack knows about this.’
‘Not as such, it was something he said to Sam – Sam Seaborn, Josh’s deputy. Jack was explaining some device to them and it was obvious that he only had a sketchy knowledge of the science involved. When they commented on this, he said that you used to ‘interpret’ these things for him. Something about the way he said it made me sit up and take notice. Anyway, Sam made a joke about the problems they have with scientists trying to explain their work and asked Jack if his interpreter was free. I watched his face. Sam is a good looking guy and there had been a comment earlier about how the DCOS always seemed to have a fan club, but nobody had mentioned Sam’s fiancée. Jack was not happy with the idea of you meeting him and it reminded me of Josh’s reaction to what he was pleased to call my gomers. He was obviously jealous and it set me thinking. Whether you returned his feelings or not it looked like you could help out here.’
‘But I don’t see how that helps with, um, with’
‘With the personal side?’ suggested the First Lady.
‘This was Josh’s bright idea. The appointment to the President’s staff is a civilian appointment, but you will retain the option to return to the Air Force afterwards. It gives you a breathing space and assuming you and Jack are together when you return the relationship would come under a different section of the regs as a pre-existing association. He is already at the Pentagon and with you in DC life would be easier. You get to examine new technologies on the President’s behalf and stay up to date with the stargate programme, yet can pursue a personal life without the same obstacles. What do you think?’
Sam swallowed and tried to get her head around the suggestion.
‘I didn’t know about the different regs.’
‘It comes in a different section and, to be honest, is not really clear.’
‘So, it might not…’
‘No, it’s fine. We had the lawyers look through it and the Joint Chiefs suggested an amendment to clarify the issue.’
Sam swallowed again. She was used to people in command, but this was a whole new league. These women talked about the Joint Chiefs like other women talked about the window cleaner – ‘I had him do the insides as well this time’ became ‘I got the Joint Chiefs to change the regulations for me’. And all this for her – well, actually for her and Jack. She felt tears prick at the back of her eyes but blinked quickly. She was not going to cry twice in this office.
‘I don’t know what to say.’
‘How about you say ‘yes’ and then we will get the opportunity to get to know each other better,’ suggested Donna.
Chapters: 1 | 2