Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The West Wing - Things Toby Ziegler Doesn't Know (G)
Even writers aren't bulletproof [Castle]
fabala_fic
Title: Things Toby Ziegler Doesn't Know
Fandom: The West Wing
Rating: G
Word count: 2, 028
Spoilers: Tiny ones for In Excelsis Deo, and Abu El Banat.
Warning: Cute Adorable little babies, and a couple of silly in-jokes.
Disclaimer: Andrea, Toby, and Annie Bartlet-Westin belong to Aaron Sorkin. I'm just borrowing them, and I'll put them back when I'm done. (After I rumple Andy and Toby up a bit.)
Notes: This was written for raedbard's Rare Pairs ficathon. The pairing I chose was Toby and Annie Bartlet-Westin (not romantically, obviously), and the prompts I got were balloons, In Excelsis Deo, and some lyrics from Sarah McLachlan's song 'Building a Mystery' (which, sadly got tossed out in favour of more appropriate lyrics.) Immense thanks go to raedbard for hosting the 'thon (and for helping me find the symmetry...not to mention three more plot bunnies that were lurking in the corners *G*), thekatebeyond and capecodgirl for giving me some info, and, last but certainly not least, to soaked_in_stars for the beta. Any remaining spelling and/or grammatical errors are all my fault, not hers.




"Toby, it's me. Listen, you have to come get the kids."

"Andy? What's wrong?" Toby sets his pen down, and raises a hand to wave off the concerned look CJ gives him. He stands up and heads for the door, motioning for CJ and Sam not to stop talking.

"Nothing, Toby, everything's fine. It's just that some of the girls and I want to get drunk and strip for Congressman Skinner, and having the babies here will just be such a drag." Andy finishes with an imitation teenage girl whine, and Toby realizes that his daughter will, in fact, most likely inherit this ability. It frightens him a little. Andy sighs, and Toby can hear the impatience creeping in. "Toby, I have to leave for D.C. in about 20 minutes. Now, please, come and get your children before Dr. Bartlet decides that she wants to babysit while I'm gone."

Toby groans and rubs his temple with the heel of his left hand. "Oh, god, Andy, please, whatever you do, don't let her. Last time, she bought them so many books and stuffed animals, I had to make two trips to get it all home."

"So, you'll be at the main cabin in about 10 minutes, right, Pokey?"

"Absolutely." Toby shuts the phone and drops it back into his pocket. He goes back into the meeting, muttering an apology as he closes the door behind him. He can feel CJ's eyes on him as he begins to gather his papers from the table. He half-turns to Will. "You'll brief me on this later?"

Will nods, still taking notes on what CJ was saying a moment ago. "Yeah, sure. Is everything-"

"Andy got called back to the Hill."

~~~~~

Toby manages to set up the travel crib in a corner of the (surprisingly empty) living room without incident. The babies fall asleep almost immediately, and Toby sits down with a fresh pad of paper and begins to write. Halfway through his second draft of the President's speech, both Molly and Huck wake up and begin to cry. Loudly.

Toby puts down his pen and moves toward the crib set up at the end of the table. Huck has the edge of the sheet clenched in his tiny fists, and Molly has thrown her pacifier down near her feet. "Hey, come on, now. I thought we agreed that after I read to you, you'd be quiet for a little while."

Huck's cries quickly turn to a whimper, but Molly keeps going. Toby isn't sure which child he should pick up first; he only knows that he can't hold them both at the same time.

"I will never understand how Andrea can do this," he mutters to himself as he rests his arms on the edge of the crib. "I could really use extra arms right about now."

"I can hold one of them for you if you'd like, Mr. Ziegler," a voice says from behind him. Toby straightens, fully aware that he was talking to himself, and turns.

Annie Bartlet stands just inside the doorway of the room, a backpack slung over one shoulder. She hesitates, one hand fidgeting with a strap on her backpack. Her hair is pulled back into a braid, and it's wet; Toby vaguely remembers Jed mentioning a swim meet that Annie's competing in next week. Jed was angry he wouldn't be able to go, and he'd yelled at Toby when he'd asked about the upcoming Thanksgiving radio address.

Toby nods slightly. "Hello, Annie. Thank you, I could use the help."

Annie smiles and straightens her arm; the backpack drops off her shoulder, landing on the nearest chair with a dull thump. Toby watches, not without some amazement, as Annie leans into the crib and lifts Molly out with ease. She cradles the baby in one arm, and uses the other to rub her back in little circles. Molly's cries taper off almost immediately.

"Hi, Molly," she says. "What's going on?"

Molly looks up at Annie curiously, seeming to focus on the thin silver barbell through her left eyebrow, and Toby can't help but chuckle.

Annie turns to him, a questioning look on her face. "Something I said?"

"No, ah, I think she's looking at your, ah..." Toby scratches his eyebrow, and leans down to lift Huck out of the crib. Huck has stopped crying entirely, and fixes his gaze on Toby.

Annie sits down at the table, carefully holding Molly. She's perched on the edge of the table, and Annie has her hands around her, bracing Molly so she can't fall. Molly immediately begins to grab for one of Toby's rubber balls sitting nearby, and emits a triumphant cry when she manages to grasp it between both her hands. "Yeah, I've noticed that people do that a lot around me, now. I don't think anyone's particularly thrilled about it. Well, except a couple of my agents; they keep thinking of ways to fit one of my barbells with a tracking device."

"Your parents must have not have been pleased." Toby says.

Annie shrugs. "Dad went with me and signed the consent form. He figures that I'm old enough to do what I want to myself, and that if I don't like it, I can take it out, and it'll heal up fine. Which it will."

"That makes sense. It's less permanent than a tattoo, at least," Toby nods. "And your mom?"

Annie slouches in her chair, her face level with Molly's, and makes a funny face; Toby can see that Annie rolled her eyes. Molly laughs and pats Annie on the cheek with splayed fingers. "My mother still tries to get me to slap a bandage over it when we're in public. She thinks it's "unnatural". The last time she tried giving me that line, I told her if that was the case, she'd have to cover up her nose when we went out, 'cause it certainly wasn't natural."

Annie looks up then, embarrassed; she misses the surprised but amused look on Toby's face. "Don't tell anyone I said that, okay? Mom will absolutely freak if anyone knows about that."

"I didn't hear a thing," Toby says, holding up his pen solemnly. Huck reaches for it, and Toby places it on the far side of the table.

"Thank you," Annie says quietly. She starts to say something else, but Molly cuts her off when she begins to whimper and squirm. Annie picks her up, and grimaces a split second later. "She's soaked. Where's the diaper bag, Mr. Ziegler?"

Huck has worked his fingers into Toby's mouth, so it takes him a moment to respond. "It's over by the-Huck, you have to let me speak, son-it's next to the crib. Here, I'll take her."

Annie motions for Toby to stay seated, and kneels next to the bag. "It's okay, I don't mind."

"Really?"

Annie sets a clean diaper and a package of wipes on the carpet beside the crib. She pulls a small blanket from a side pocket of the bag and gets it spread out, laying Molly down on it carefully.

"Yeah. You and Congresswoman Wyatt are the only, um," Annie pauses, realizing that she's about to say the wrong thing, "What I mean is, Molly and Huck are really the only kids I'm allowed to babysit. Everyone else, my agents take three weeks vetting and running security drills on their houses."

Toby looks confused. "You've watched the kids before?"

"Only a few times. The last time was when you and Andrea-" Annie breaks off and glances up at Toby as she zips up Molly's sleeper, "Um, Congresswoman Wyatt told me I could call her by her first name."

Toby nods, mostly to himself. That sounds just like Andy, not wanting people to use her title unless they have to. "Of course. The last time you watched the kids?"

"Right. It was a couple weeks ago, when you both went to, I don't know, whatever thing it was that my Grampa asked you to be at."

It takes Toby a moment to realize that Annie means Jed. "Oh, that. That was about Christmas; apparently, he wants several of us to serve dinner at some shelters in D.C."

Annie nods slowly, thinking, as she picks up Molly and sits crosslegged on the floor. Toby can tell she wants to say something, but can't. He rubs Huck's back as he waits.

"My Grampa...he told me what you did for that Marine a few years ago." Annie doesn't look up as she speaks. In an unknowingly sweet gesture, Molly pats at Annie's knee. "I wish I could have been there."

Toby shifts in his chair. He didn't think President Bartlet would have said anything about that. He realizes, though, that Jed might have told his granddaughter. Toby isn't quite sure how to respond, so he doesn't try.

"Was it sad?" Annie asks as she put the wipes back into the diaper bag. She doesn't look at him while she does so.

Toby thinks for a moment, watching Huck pick at the buttons of his pajama top. They're shaped like tiny balloons, each one a different colour, and they fascinate him. Huck then reaches out to touch one of the buttons on Toby's own shirt.

"Yes," he says finally. It's the least complicated answer.

As Annie picks Molly up and gets to her feet, Molly points in the direction of the doorway behind Toby, and cries out happily. Annie follows her gaze and grins.

"Hey, baby girl," a voice says. "Are you having fun?"

Toby turns, still holding Huck. Andrea stands in the doorway, removing a dark blue scarf from around her neck. "Andy, I thought you left to hours ago. Why aren't you in D.C.?"

Andy crosses the room in long strides. She hasn't removed her coat, and it billows out slightly behind her. "It turns out that D.C. is snowed in, and half of the Beltway is in the middle of a blackout. They cancelled our meeting, and I didn't find out until we landed at Andrews."

"Oh." As she nears him, Toby can see the wet patches in her hair where snowflakes have melted. She hates wearing a hat, and as a result, the tips of her ears are pink from the cold.

"So," Andy says while taking Huck out of Toby's arms, "I flew back here. No sense staying alone in the dark eating runny ice cream when you guys are all here where it's warm and the fridge is full."

"Oh, and speaking of food, I saw Mrs. Bartlet as I was coming in, and she told me that dinner's going to be ready in about 15 minutes. I fed the kids right before I left, so they should be okay until we finish dinner. Let's put them down, see if they'll go for another nap." Andy says while already laying Huck on his back in the crib. She turns to Annie, holding her hands out. "Here, I'll take her. Do you still have that cd I lent you? The kids can listen to it as they fall asleep."

Annie nods and goes to her backpack. She rifles through it for a moment, then triumphantly hold up a slim cd case. "Got it."

"You took it to school with you, Annie?" Andy raises an eyebrow, but she's smiling.

Annie just shrugs and turns on the cd player, keeping the volume low. "I like it. It helps me concentrate when I'm doing homework and stuff."

Toby shakes his head slightly. He has no idea what the women are talking about. "I'm sorry, Andrea, but what exactly are you talking about? I don't exactly see what the big deal is over a cd."

Andy only smiles at him a little as she turns to leave the room. "I'm going to go wash up before dinner. Coming, Annie?"

"Yup." Annie picks up her backpack, slings it over her left shoulder, and follows Andy out into the hallway.

Toby stands near the center of the room, watching his children drift off to sleep, transfixed by the sound of piano keys and his ex-wife's voice emanating from the stereo speakers.


~end

  • 1
That is just a beautiful story. You nail the details and it makes the whole thing pop. I can just hear Toby telling Huck he needs to be able to talk and calling him son. Perfect.

Those little details are my favourite parts of this story, too. *g*

Thanks for commenting!

Awww wow. That's beautiful. I'm adding it to my memories. Yay for a bit of Bird York.

I'm so glad you liked it, especially the Bird York reference; that's one of my favourite bits.

Also. Is there any chance you could e-mail me the file? I keep a collection (on my computer) of my favorite fics.

That was adorable. Thanks.

I'm happy you liked it; I was really trying for adorable-ness, so I'm glad I got it right.

Also, your icon is awesome.

Thanks, its by mrsmfitzgerald. I tend to make wild hand motions so I thought it was appropriate for many reasons.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account