Disclaimers- see Part 1
If You Go I Go- Part 13
Josh awoke slowly, disoriented. As his eyes focused he realized he was in the hospital ICU waiting room. The sun was streaming brightly through the windows. He looked down and saw Donna curled next to him on the couch, her head nestled on his lap. He stroked her hair softly.
"Josh?" CJ called out to him softly. She was standing up from her position in a nearby chair.
"Any word?" Josh asked in a whisper.
"I don't know I fell asleep too. I'm going to have to brief the press though." She answered wearily.
Josh gently lifted Donna so he could slide out from under her, then placed her head back on the couch. "I'll go check on Caitlin. You'll check on Sam?"
"Yeah" CJ replied as they headed off towards the respective rooms. CJ reached out and squeezed Josh's hand as they stopped in front of Sam's door.
"Don't give up hope Josh." She said.
"We can't lose them Claudia Jean." He answered.
CJ just smiled understandingly and nodded before entering Sam's room.
"Any change?" she asked Toby and Leo who were in the room.
"No" Leo answered softly.
"That's better than him getting worse though, isn't it?" she asked.
Neither man answered her.
"Leo, I'm going to need to brief the press." CJ said.
"I know. Do it back at the White House. You, me and Toby are heading back over there." Leo said.
Toby's head snapped up. "Leo..." he began.
"Toby I don't want to leave either. But we have a country to run. The President isn't going to leave and Josh wouldn't be any good to us there. It's up to us." He replied, his voice emotionless.
Toby looked down at Sam, then back at Leo. He nodded curtly.
"Where is Josh?" Leo asked.
"Checking on Caitlin." CJ answered.
"She was the same last time I checked a few hours ago." Leo replied.
"Come in" the President replied as a soft knock came at the door.
Josh slowly entered, his eyes immediately falling on Caitlin. "How is she?"
"The same." The President answered, taking Caitlin's hand. He looked over at Abbey who was asleep on a chair, Zoey's head on her shoulder, also asleep. "The doctor checked on her an hour ago."
"What did he say?" Josh asked coming to stand on the other side of Caitlin's bed, reaching out to softly stroke her cheek.
"He said it was a good sign that she made it through the night, but that she needs to show some improvement soon." He answered, his voice catching. He looked down at Caitlin, watching her chest rise and fall with the help of machines. "My little girl" he whispered. Suddenly, the tears he had been holding back since he had heard about the accident overwhelmed him. He brought Caitlin's hand up to his mouth and kissed it gently as his body wracked with sobs.
Josh watched helplessly as his boss, the President of the United States, cried with heart wrenching anguish. He was the most powerful man in the world, yet there was nothing he could do to save his daughter.
Abbey awakened at the sounds of her husband's sobs. She got up, in the process waking Zoey, and walked over to Jed wrapping her arms around him. Jed turned in her arms and buried his face in her stomach as he cried. Abbey stroked his hair, her own tears falling down her face. Zoey walked over to her parents and wrapped her arms around Abbey's shoulders from behind, watching her sister intently through her tears.
Josh watched the scene, feeling like an intruder. He closed his eyes, trying to give the pained family some privacy as he fought his own fear and sadness. Josh opened his eyes and bent to gently kiss Caitlin's forehead. He prepared to make his way out, when Abbey's voice stopped him.
Josh turned around slowly.
"Can you...can you stay with her while Jed, Zoey and I go get something to eat." She asked.
"Of course." Josh answered.
"Abbey..." Bartlet began.
"Jed, please. My heart is sick over Caitlin. I don't have the energy to worry about your health as well." She said softly, imploringly.
Bartlet watched her closely, then nodded. He stroked Caitlin's hair and kissed her one more time. Then he stood up wrapping his arms around Abbey and Zoey. "Thank you Josh." He said softly as the trio left.
Josh watched them leave, then sat in the chair the President vacated. "Ok sis." Josh said, swallowing around the tears clumped in his throat. "It's time for you and I to have a little talk."
Sam woke up, reaching for Caitlin. He sat up in a panic when his hands encountered only air and grass.
He was about to call out her name when he saw her sitting on a rock at the edge of the brook.
He walked over to her, coming to a stop next to the rock she was sitting on. He stood in the brook, letting the water wash over his feet.
"We don't belong here." Caitlin said without looking up at him.
"I know" Sam answered softly. His sleep had been filled with voices and images that he couldn't place. Imploring words, vivid pictures, yet he still didn't know who or what they were. "The thing is I don't know where we do belong."
"I keep hearing voices. I can't really understand what they are saying but...when we first arrived this place seemed so wonderful, but now...where are we Sam? How did we get here? Where did we come from?" she asked almost desperately.
Sam turned to her, meeting her eyes. "I don't know. I don't have any answers. Just questions. I know that there is some place that we are supposed to be. I just don't remember where that is."
Caitlin watched him closely for a moment, then stood up and wrapped her arms around him.
"I wish I did." He said softly, holding her close.