tangential exposure

g | no warnings apply

He didn't mind being named Percy. Most people assumed, probably because he was in the Navy, that he had some issue about it. It wasn't a family name; it hadn't been handed down for generations, but it was his name, and he was no more ashamed of it than he was of the color of his skin.

It was the other people who seemed uncomfortable, and chose to call him Fitz. And over the years, he had gotten used to it.

So he was a bit surprised when the man on the doorstep recited his full name.

Now, he was sitting on the couch (the apartment has only been his for six days; it doesn't feel like his couch yet), staring at the sheet of paper. Realization tumbled around in his head. The worst-case scenario played out, but he pushed it aside. The doorbell rang, and he groaned. What more could go wrong today?

At first, the sight of her made him smile. Until he saw her holding up a paper that looked just like his.

"I've been subpoenaed."

He let her in, and directed her attention to the sheet lying on the sofa.

"We've been subpoenaed, my dear."

The anger on her face turned to horror. "You got one, too?"

"Yeah. Not ten minutes ago."

"They know," she whispered.

"Not necessarily."

"Why else would they subpoena us? We weren't part of the campaign."

He dismissed her concern with a wave of his hand, portraying the calm he didn't feel. "They're calling in everybody. I think I saw someone from the mess getting one of these."

And as always, she saw right through him. "There's no way they could know? Your ... Gail doesn't know?"

"No. You didn't break up our marriage. It just fell apart. She doesn't know."

The reassurance didn't appear to relieve her anxiety. "Can they ask us ... ?"

"I don't think so. It'll probably just be about the President."

"They asked about Leo, about that hotel room during the debate."

"That was during the debate! They're not going to suddenly ask you if you had an affair with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs!"

She started to say something, but stopped, her eyes darting around the apartment. It looked more like a college dorm room than a home, sparsely furnished, with stark, empty, white walls.

"Your house was beautiful," she said, with more than just a twinge of guilt in her tone.

And Gail deserved it, he thought, but didn't dare say aloud. Years of putting up with a military life. She had earned that house, and he certainly wasn't going to fight her for it, just because they had fallen out of love.

He supposed the right thing to do here would be to assert that she was beautiful; instead, he took the paper from her, comparing it to his, wondering how he had managed to get himself into this mess.

"We don't have anything to worry about. This is routine."

"Right," she agreed, but her confidence was as empty as his.

(fin.)