Fading Lines

Summary: The Senior Staff deals with repercussions of the attack in Israel, personal problems, and relationships, all on top of normal work. Requested sequel to "Roll With The Punches". ;-)

Rating: PG

Category: Josh/Donna, Sam/somebody

Disclaimer: I don't own them. Aaron Sorkin, who is a golden god, does. Did anybody else just get the image of Aaron standing on somebody's roof hollering "I AM A GOLDEN GOD!"? -- Grasshoppergirl (Had to tack that quote on!!) Also, the energy crisis belongs to California.

Note: All events up to The Stackhouse Filibuster. No MS issues. Trust me, I'm keeping their hands full enough as it is!!

Dedication: And this is for our great webmistress, Dani!!! *applause*

12: 35 pm GW Hospital July 17, 2001

"I wish they hadn't brought him to GW," Josh grumbled as he and Donna walked through the halls. Donna sighed and said, "Yeah, but it's the best hospital for him. Besides, he'll be back to work soon." Josh shook his head. "When's soon?" Donna started to speak, then shrugged. They entered the hospital room where Sam was sitting in his wheelchair. "Hey, guys," he greeted them, flipping off the TV. Donna gave him a quick hug and sat down on the bed. "Hey, yourself. How're you doing?"

"Okay, I guess."

"They're lettin' you wear normal clothes now, I see," Josh added with a smirk, sitting down next to Donna. Sam glared at him then replied, "At least I got to go home two weeks before you did."

"Touchy."

"You two are acting like three year olds."

"So?" Both men replied, grinning. Donna gave a long-suffering sigh and looked heavenwards. "I'm outnumbered here! Josh, you're supposed to be on my side."

"Since when?" Donna shoved him backwards. "Shut up."

"You're not shutting me up like you normally do," Josh commented from his new position of laying flat on his back. "You don't deserve it," Donna shot back. "You shut up too!" she said to Sam, who was sniggering at them. Josh sat up quickly, then shook his head. "Donna-"

"Just kiss him so he'll shut up, would you please?" Sam begged. Donna sighed. "The things I do for-" was all she managed to get out before Josh cut her off. "Oh, like you really mind," Sam cracked when they broke apart. "I really do," Donna shot back. "You really do what?" CJ asked, entering the room. "Miss Sam at work," Donna said quickly. "Why?" CJ asked. "He keeps Josh out of my hair part of the time!"

"You can't just send Josh up here?"

"Like he'd listen to me?"

"Fair point. Anyway," CJ said, turning her attention to Sam, "I'm just stopping in to say hi, and to remind Josh we've got a staff meeting in fifteen minutes." Josh nodded. "Okay. I'll meet you there." CJ nodded, gave Sam a hug, and left the room. Sam looked at the pair sitting on the bed. "When're you gonna tell her?" he asked. Josh shrugged. "Eventually. We're debating whether or not she'd totally freak." A nurse entered. "Mr. Seaborn? You need to go down for your physical therapy." Sam sighed. "Yeah. I'll see you later." They said their good-byes, and Josh and Donna left for the White House.

1:03 pm Chief of Staff's Office July 17, 2001

"All right, we're done everybody," Leo said, dismissing the staff. They disappeared to their various offices, as Mallory entered the office. "Hey, baby," Leo said, looking up and smiling. "Hey, Dad," she said. "Are we still on for lunch, or..."

"We can go if we eat in the mess."

"All right. Can we go now?"

"I've got one meeting, which I promise I will keep under five minutes," Leo quickly added noting his daughter face. "Fine. I'll wait out here." Mallory walked out, and passed a familiar looking blond woman on her way. Four minutes and thirty seconds later, Leo and Ainsley walked out. "Let's-" a ringing phone cut Leo off. "Who is it?" he snapped at Margaret. "It's the President," she replied. Leo and Mal exchanged looks. "Two minutes," he said, holding up two fingers. Mal sighed. Leo shut the door. Mal turned to Ainsley. "Don't I know you from somewhere?"

"Ainsley Hayes. I was on Capitol Beat about nine months ago."

"With Sam?"

"Yeah."

"You kicked his butt?"

"That's my claim to fame." Mal chuckled. "He deserved it." Ainsley nodded. "And you are..."

"Mallory O'Brien. Leo's daughter." Ainsley nodded. "Sam's mentioned you once or twice. Did you two date?" Mal sighed and rolled her eyes. "We had one date, which didn't work all that well. He can be a total moron when he tries." Ainsley laughed. "Normally he doesn't have to try that hard, either." Mal nodded in agreement. Leo emerged from his office. "Two minutes, thirteen seconds," Mal said, looking at her watch. "Coulda been worse. Let's go," Leo said, steering her towards the door. Ainsley grinned and headed for her office.

8:30 am Deputy Chief of Staff's office July 19, 2001

"You've got a meeting with Hoynes at eleven, then you and Toby are working on the Blue Ribbon Commission until roughly two."

"When can I eat lunch?"

"At about two thirty."

"Who arranged this demented schedule?"

"Me. Deal with it." Josh sighed heavily. "Fine." Donna looked back the schedule, then at her watch. "You've got a thing."

"I know," Josh replied, standing and leaving the office. Donna followed him. "Five minutes ago."

"I know, you control freak!"

"I'm just being helpful-"

"Thank you, I appreciate it, now leave me alone!" Donna gave Josh a slightly hurt look. CJ walked up. "Josh, we've got a thing!" Josh looked slightly apologetic before being hauled away by CJ. They arrived in the Oval Office and sat down. "Where's the President?" Josh asked. "He's in a meeting with the Energy Secretary, I think," Toby replied. "At 8:30?"

"He likes to start early, I suppose." The whole Staff glanced at the portico doors as they heard Jed's voice. "They need to build more power plants, plain and simple! That's all there is to it!" The door opened and the Staff got to their feet, greeting the President and Leo as they walked in. "Sit down, everybody. You have no idea how paranoid a person can get when everybody leaps to their feet when I walk in." Everyone obediently sat. "California is suffering rolling blackouts because they refuse to build more power plants, cause they-"

"Uh, Mr. President..." Leo interrupted, trying to get Jed on track. "What's next?"

"Mr. President, Josh and I are going to be working with the Blue Ribbon Commission this afternoon, and we need to know if we should aggressively follow up on the Social Security reform or not. They're gonna want answers-"

"In fact, they have for the past three meetings-"

"We know." Jed and Leo exchanged looks. "We're still not sure where the leadership stands, so we're gonna have to wait." Josh sighed, and Toby muttered something about Gillette and plate glass windows. "The Teacher's College Initiative-"

"Is that what we're calling it?"

"Apparently. We're going to need approval from Appropriations on that."

"Yeah." The Senior Staff exchanged looks. "Who're we sending into meetings?" Leo briefly glanced at Jed, and said, "I was gonna send Ainsley." CJ looked a bit surprised. "Why Ainsley?" Leo shrugged. "Cause there are Republicans on Appropriations."

"And she speaks Republican."

"Yes." Jed stood suddenly, sending everyone scrambling to their feet. "We're done?" Leo nodded. "Yes sir."

"All, right. Go away everybody." The Staff exited, heading for their various offices.

 

TBC

 

 

 

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