Mad Season by AJ

Notes: There is NO WAY I could have written this without the very valuable and very appreciated help of Dallas.

"There's no way you could have known, man. It's not your fault. You know it's not your fault?" Josh asked a little uneasy.

"Is it cold in here?" Mason asked in a monotone soft voice.

Josh watched the younger man carefully, "Mase, are you okay, man?" He didn't like the tone his voice had taken, nor the far off look in his eyes. "Go away!" Josh yelled at his knocking door.

Ignoring Josh's yell, Donna moved in the office. "Josh, you need. . ." Donna looked up and saw that Josh had company. "Mason?" Donna said hesitantly. It was all over the West Wing that Jeremiah Bartlet had died.

"Donna. . ." Mason looked up at the intruder in Josh's office, then buried his face in his hands as he began to cry.

Donna stood in her place for a long moment looking up at Josh, then silently moved over to Mason, and placed a supportive hand on his back.

"It's all my fault, Donna. I killed him." Mason cried out before standing up and running out of the office.

Josh saw that Donna was going to go run after him, "Donna, let him go."

"Josh!" Donna whined in disbelief.

"He needs some time alone, Donna. Trust me, I know. I've been there."

Donna stared at Josh for a long moment, unsure if she should follow or take Josh's advice. Finally, she nodded slowly, "So have I," she whispered as she slowly walked back out to her desk. ~~~ "Jed?" Abbey called out after rolling over to her husband's side of the bed, finding it empty. When she heard no reply, she sat up and looked around the room, finding it just as empty as the bed. Getting up, she threw on her robe and slipped her slippers on and went out in search of her husband.

Jed sighed and made no effort to stop the tears that flowed freely down his cheeks. He stared out into the dark night and wished that Abbey was up. Hearing a noise behind him, he turned to see Abbey, standing on the balcony with him, in her nightgown.

He smiled weakly and turned back to gaze out at the lawn again, trying to hold back the sobs that threatened his composure. Abbey closed the gap between the two of them and rested her arms tightly around him.

Jed turned into her and buried his head in her neck as sobs overtook his body, "He was my big brother, Abbey. I loved him so much," was all he managed to choke out in between sobs.

Abbey felt her heart break, as she witnessed her husband's anguish. She held him tightly, hoping her arms could provide him a measure of comfort. "I know, sweetie. I know," She softly whispered into the night.

Jed prayed silently, not even realizing he was doing so. He prayed for his brother and his nephew and himself. Sobs wracked his body as he thought of his brother.

As his sobs kept growing with an intensity, the likes of which Abbey has rarely seen from her husband, she sank to the ground with him, when her arms could no longer support them. Holding him tightly, she rocked him back and forth slowly. "Shh, it's okay. We'll get through this, sweetie. Shhh." She rocked back and forth, oblivious to the sympathetic looks of the Secret Service agents who watched their President crumble with grief.

TBC. . .


Mad Season - 4


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