Pairing: (if applicable) No pairings
Warnings/Spoilers: No spoilers but warnings for mature themes and well, general dsytopic themes and violence.
Summary: There are many ways to win a victory and just as many ways to lose as you win.
A/N: A thousand thank you's to raedbard who encourage this fic in it's progression and helped me out in a betaing way. Any remaining mistakes are entirely my responsibility. Also a thank you to my friends list, who have put up with me blathering about this for a while. Finally, the West Wing and the characters are the creation of the wonderful mind of Aaron Sorkin, I'm just borrowing them for a while. Title taken from Walt Whitman poem.
Toby has long since stopped dreaming of anything. Once perhaps, he would have been composing defiant speeches in his head, articulating his rage in words and phrases. At this time, at this moment that is his last night on earth he finds he doesn’t care very much. There is a kind of peace in the reckless apathy of a death sentence to be carried out and he finds it, somehow in the night.
At least he thinks it is night, however hard it may be to verify for sure in a windowless cell. Toby has long since decided that it must be night because it is all he has anymore, the passing of the hours and the days as a mark of his life. Everything else is gone, swept away in fire, propaganda or simply filed away somewhere – a forgotten part of the former bureaucracy of state.
Toby tries not to remember the world beyond that of the prisoner he is, the man without a last name or a past or future. Instead he absorbs himself in nothing but the present reality of imprisonment and trial. He can recall vividly the scent of wood polish and dried flowers of the court room in which his life was given away, the absence of scuff marks in the dock and the strangeness of the absence of the scales of justice.
When what he thinks is morning comes, something happens. The door opens and he almost laughs at the guards’ smirks, their expectations of fear and terror. If they’d been smart, Toby thinks, they would have known that it is not death that terrifies him anymore but living on forever in a white painted box of nothing with only his mind for company. Death is something he has embraced and he lets them handcuff his hands, relishes the human contact as he is walked out the door and down towards the light.
There are so many colors, even in this grey corridor of cells and Toby finds himself marveling at the variety, at each imperfection of painting that marks an uneven surface or a crack in the plaster. Here at least he can find one small place that they have not erased the diversity, the cracks out of step with the glorious dreams of tyrants. Idly, the thought crosses his mind that perhaps his friends are walking or have walked down similar corridors and Toby hopes, that they too will find something in this to marvel in.
And then suddenly another door is opened in to the dawn, in to concrete laced with a touch of grass and Toby Ziegler smiles, feels something within him uncoil at the glimpse of green life in the place where he is to die. It is for that feeling of peace that he refuses a blindfold and it is for that glimpse of green, of life that means that even as the bullet thuds in to his body, Toby does not fear.
He is tired of colors, tired of the way they blend together carefully to enclose the rooms he haunts. Sam is so tired of the world, of being enclosed in memories and of the way his mind still reverts to dreams of what went before. There was no trial, not for him. No peace or finality of knowing that at least it would all end soon.
Sam has tried and failed, to not curse that he survived. Sometimes he thinks that it was the time before that was a dream, that golden time in which he could say the word “freedom” and mean it and that all that happened was that he woke up for good to the world of officers, hands and too many nights twined around an unwanted body.
And Sam dreams too much, always has. So he still does, still sees Jed Bartlet’s face before the day he had to leave the country in disgrace, a beaten standard bearer of democracy. Can still conjure up the safety that his presence bought, can still hear the pride in his voice at some new idea Sam had come up with. He can still see his friends, his brothers and sisters in his mind before the handcuffs and the cells.
It’s been a long time since new ideas, since any ideas at all bought anyone anything but death and that was if they were extraordinarily lucky. If you were unlucky, Sam often thought you ended up like him – dangling on the whims and pleasures of desperately frustrated storm troopers who suppressed and brutalized because they’d never found a new idea that didn’t terrify them in some way.
All Sam’s dreams now are of finding numbness, whether in death or otherwise.
It is so recorded that by Order of the Special Committee for the Preservation of the American Moral Standard one Tobias Zachary Ziegler has received the punishment appropriate to the serious nature of his crimes, being a proven danger to the Patriotism and Moral Fabric of the American State. This order is validated by the signature of the Chairman of the Committee and by the consent of the President of the United States…
When CJ hears of the warrant she does not cry, nor can she find it herself to get angry. She can only feel strangely glad that Toby at least, has gone beyond a world where he can be confined, his voice silenced and she fingers anew the carefully laced pill she carries with her always now.
CJ often thinks that she has used up all her emotions – whatever they may be. She wonders whether perhaps she has used up CJ Cregg and that there is nothing but the Leader left, nothing but a folk hero.
And then she can hear Danny and Maggie in her dreams and she wishes there was nothing left. CJ dreams of them, of the truck that took them away while she screamed and kicked against a guard. At least she thinks she did, thinks there were guards and a truck in a quiet little street that ran over the remains of the garden Maggie had been planting. But maybe that wasn’t what happened – after all CJ had never thought of herself as someone whose children would be at all interested in gardening.
It is this that terrifies CJ that she is forgetting or fictionalizing what she has lost. That perhaps Maggie wasn’t wearing those little overalls she loved, that perhaps Maggie looked nothing like the picture she has in mind at all and that by her very desperate efforts to recall her, she is forgetting her and that the last memorial to her husband and daughter will be worthlessly inaccurate.
So she hovers between remembering and forgetting and wonders which, in the end would be worse.