DISCLAIMER: Don't own em. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: What happened to Levi?
"Leo." A soft voice exclaimed. The haggard chief of staff looked up
and met the gaze of his best friend. Jed Bartlet moved slowly into the room,
his hands shoved into his pockets.
"How are you doing?" Leo asked softly.
"About as well as you look." Jed retorted.
"Where's the dog?" Leo asked, ignoring the comment about his
"He's with Abbey. I'm heading back to the residence now, so I'll take
him when she leaves." Jed replied.
"Where's she going?" Leo asked.
"GW Hospital." Jed said somewhat calmly. Leo paused and then nodded.
"I guess I'm not surprised. She's always felt the need to take care of
everybody." He murmured.
"Dante had blood on his coat." Jed said softly. Leo looked at his
friend again and saw the distress in his eyes. "It was Levi's blood. When she
was shot, he had to have . . nudged her or something. God, that animal...
I'd never gotten along with that animal, and he came to me. Why, Leo?"
"Because you never got along." Leo replied. "He trusts you. He trusts
you because of all you two have been through together and because he knows
that Levi trusts you. Levi and Dante are of the same mind."
"I believe that." Jed murmured.
"I've never had a dog." Leo mused suddenly. Jed smiled weakly.
"There's a connection that a person can have with a dog that goes
beyond all other things." He admitted.
"I close my eyes and I can see it." Leo said. "There are too many guns
in this country, Jed." He whispered. The President paused as he noted the use
of his first name.
"I know. We're working on it." He replied. Leo nodded. Just then, the
phone rang. He leaned forward and grabbed the handle.
"McGarry." He exclaimed. "Yeah. Yeah? Okay. All right, I'll be there."
He finished before hanging up. "They've apprehended the suspect. The poor kid
had no idea who it was that he'd hit, and then he heard your speech."
"Turned himself in?" Jed asked in shock.
"Of course not." Leo retorted. "But a witness had a make on the
getaway car's license, so that's that. They managed to find him. When they
arrested him, he demanded to talk to a lawyer. Moments later, the lawyer was
coming out, ready to cut a deal."
"You're going over there?" Jed asked cautiously.
"I want to talk to that kid." Leo affirmed.
"Is that a good idea?" Jed asked.
"I honestly don't care." Leo retorted as he grabbed his jacket.
"Have fun." Jed said weakly before looking around the empty office.
"Go upstairs, Mr. President. I'll call you as soon as I know
anything." He said softly. Jed nodded and then headed for the residence.
"Margaret, I'm going down to the police station. If Josh calls, tell him to
get me on the cell phone. If anyone else calls, tell them I'm gone."
"Got it." Margaret replied as she watched her boss disappear down the
Josh paced the waiting room of the hospital, thinking about what could
possibly be going on in the world. He had to think that there was something
else going on in the world right now; that way he could believe that Levi's
injury was trivial, something he could move beyond, no matter what. His own
wounds felt like they were coming out of the woodwork. He felt a slight pain
in his chest and forced himself to take a seat, if only to make the pain stop.
"Mr. Lyman?" A voice exclaimed. Josh rose to his feet again and met
the sharp green eyes of a young nurse. "Miss McClane is out of surgery. They
put her in ICU and you can see her from the hallway if you'd like."
"Yes, please." He said softly before following her through the large
ominous doors. His thoughts were racing. He didn't really know what was going
on inside his head, nor his heart, but he also didn't know if there was any
way to find out. The nurse stopped and gestured towards a small window in the
wall. He walked forward and glanced into it.
"You can go inside in about ten minutes, when she's settled." The
nurse said before walking away. Josh stared silently through the window, his
eyes moving slowly over the still form on the other side. There were a pair
of nurses, or perhaps they were orderlies, putting around the bed, tending to
a pale looking mirage of what appeared to be Levi McClane. But the life had
left her complexion. She was just a pale shell of the Levi he knew.
"Levi." He said as he stepped into the room. "What the hell are you
doing here? You were never supposed to be a member of this club." He
murmured. He pulled a chair up close to her side and took a seat. He stared
at her intently and waited, as if she could respond. "You know, I've been
thinking about this, and I can't help but wonder if this is all some sort of
karma. So many people banded together to take care of me, now it's my turn to
take care of you. That's what I'm going to do, Levi. You're not giving up on
me. We're going to do this together, and you have to be here in order to do
it." He murmured. The only response he got was the sounds of various medical
machines beeping steadily.
Josh leaned back in his chair and shut his eyes. When he opened them
again, there was the bright morning light shining through the windows and a
blanket had been spread across his chest. He glanced at Levi and saw that
nothing about her appearance had changed. He murmured softly to himself and
glanced around the room. Toby was sitting in a chair against the back wall,
scribbling on a legal pad and murmuring to himself.
"Toby?" Josh muttered sleepily. Toby glanced at him and then started
to set the pad aside.
"Yeah. Leo called me and asked me to come check on you. I figured that
since you were asleep, and everyone's on edge at the House, I could finally
get some work done here and be able to keep an eye on the both of you." He
"Why would I need checking on?" Josh retorted.
"This is a tough thing, Josh. With your experience and all--" Toby
"I'm not a baby, Toby." Josh interrupted.
"Well, I tend to disagree, but that's not why I'm here." Toby
retorted. "You were shot, Josh. I know, I found you, and that still gives me
nightmares. I can only imagine what you dream about." There was silence as
Josh stared at Toby in surprise.
"You have nightmares too?" Josh asked softly. Toby sighed.
"Yeah, I do, Josh. It's not exactly an endearing thing to find your
best friend on the ground bleeding from the chest." He grunted. "In any case,
this is a major thing here and you're not the only one who's worried about
Levi. The problem is that we're not only worried about her, but we're worried
about you and any possible relapse her injury could cause you. We're not
trying to make you feel like a baby, Josh. We're trying to care about you.
You want to stop whining and just accept it?" Toby asked with a soft voice
and a gentle look. Josh paused and nodded.
"Yeah. Okay." He said with a weak smile. "You have nightmares, Toby?"
He asked again suddenly. Toby looked at him. There was a long silent pause as
he tried to think of an answer.
"Yeah, Josh." He murmured. Josh nodded.
"Okay." He replied. "Toby?"
"Yeah?" Toby grunted.
"I'm your best friend?" Josh asked.
"Shut up, Josh." Toby grunted again. Josh nodded.
"Okay." He said.
"Uhhh." A soft sound came from the other side of the room. Both men
looked abruptly at the patient in the room. Levi's eyelids slid slowly open
and then snapped shut again.
"Levi?" Josh whispered. Levi groaned and tried to open her eyes again,
but again, the lids snapped shut.
"Too bright." She murmured in a thick, groggy rasp of a voice. Toby
immediately sprang for the curtains to draw them shut as Josh moved to hit
the call button repeatedly before leaning down to get close to Levi.
"Hey. Talk to me. Listen to me, Levi. Do you hear me?" He asked almost
desperately. After closing the curtains, Toby moved slowly towards the bed,
eager to hear this conversation, if there was one.
"Tired." Levi murmured. Josh smiled very weakly.
"I know." He said softly.
"Can't move." She groaned and winced as she tried to anyway.
"Don't try. Just stay still." Josh replied.
"Tired." She murmured again.
"Just rest." He told her as a nurse came in the door behind him.
"Sore." She grunted in a whisper. Josh stepped back a little to let
the nurse do his job, but he smiled a little wider.
"You just rest, Levi. You're gonna be okay now." He said in a soft and
almost triumphant voice. Levi grunted softly.
"Where's Dante?" She murmured staggeringly.
"With the President. The little guy ran straight to him." Josh replied
as he noted that Toby was moving towards him.
"Good." Levi murmured before blinking once more and alowing her eyes
to close again. Josh looked at her and then at Toby and then back. The nurse
grabbed the phone and paged Levi's doctor before going back to checking her
vitals. Josh wondered if her eyes closing was a good thing or a bad one.
"Miss McClane, can you hear me?" The nurse asked. Levi opened one eye
a fraction of an inch.
"Unfortunately." She murmured softly. "I was trying to sleep though."
The nurse smiled weakly.
"Just stay awake for a few minutes for me and then we'll let you sleep
all you want." He said.
"Right." Levi muttered. "Josh."
"Did we win?" There was a very short silent pause.
"We kicked ass, Levi." Josh exclaimed. Another pause.
"Damn straight." Levi murmured.