"Mr. President!" Charlie exclaimed as he burst into the Oval office. Jed looked away from his conversation with Toby.
"Charlie, what is it? Where's the fire?" He asked quickly, sensing the worry in the young man's voice and face.
"There was a shooting at the Environment celebration ceremony." Charlie said gravely. Toby stepped forward, his face white all of a sudden.
"Shooting? What happened? Was anyone hit?" Jed asked. Charlie looked directly at Toby, a sorrowful look in his eyes. Toby gulped and shook his head, not wanting to believe.
"No." He said. Charlie looked at the President who had also paled and nodded. Jed looked at Toby, then back to Charlie.
"KD shoved Leo out of the way of the bullet, from what I hear. I can't get any other information." Charlie admitted. "There's not much information to get any hands on."
"Toby." Jed exclaimed as he looked at his communications director. Toby seemed to be in shock, frozen in his stance. Jed moved over to Toby's side and put a hand on his shoulder, then he turned back to Charlie. "Call everyone together. We need to be kept up to date. I want everyone in here, now." He ordered sharply. Charlie nodded, paused to flash Toby a sympathetic look and then moved quickly out the door.
"I have to get over there." Toby whispered.
"We have to find out where there is first." Jed reminded him.
"I don't care. I have to get over there." Toby retorted and started for the door. Jed kept a hold on Toby's shoulder, keeping him in the room. Toby spun to face his boss. "You can't keep me here. I have to go to her." He snapped.
"Toby, I'm sorry. You have no idea how much I want to let you go, or how much I want to go with you. But we have a security lockdown now, and we have to wait until we know exactly what's going on." Jed replied sharply. Toby stared at him incredulously.
"I..." He started.
"Sir, KD was sent to Bethesda. She went straight into the OR. Danny Canconnon went with her. He's there now and he'll keep us up to date." Charlie exclaimed as he burst into the room again. "Leo and Josh are in the limo. They should be arriving any minute and the others-"
"Are right here." CJ finished as she stepped in the door with Sam right behind her. Jed nodded.
"Someone get Donna, David and Margaret in here. This concerns them too." He ordered. Charlie nodded and moved.
"How are you doing, Toby?" Sam asked softly. Toby looked at his friend carefully and shook his head. Sam nodded and moved to his boss, a friendly hand flying to the other man's shoulder. Toby sat down on the couch and stared into space. He didn't flinch when the door flew open on the other side of the Oval office, revealing the entrance of Josh, Leo and David. David had no clue what was going on, but as soon as he saw the look on Toby's face, he knew it wasn't a good thing. He probably already knew it was a bad thing, for it was a rare event that he was ordered to the Oval office.
"Leo, are you all right?" Jed exclaimed. "Josh?"
"No, I'm actually not." Leo replied softly. Josh nodded, looking bedraggled. Behind them, the door opened as Margaret and Donna moved into the room.
"Josh!" Donna cried as she ran into his open arms and hugged him like she could never let him go. Leo was staring straight at Toby, who was still staring into space. David was staring into space himself.
"Sir?" Mrs. Landingham exclaimed as she leaned in the door. Everyone looked at her, save Toby and David who were gazing into space, trying to understand what the loss could mean.
"Yes?" Jed asked. Behind him, Abbey and Zoe moved into the room, worried looks on their faces.
"Danny's on the phone." The secretary replied. Jed looked at the phone and then nodded.
"Okay, I'll get it." He replied before walking over and grabbing the sleek black receiver, bringing it up to his ear. "Hello. Danny, hey. What can you tell us?" Jed asked. Silence filled the room as Jed listened quietly. It was not a good sign when he paled and forced himself to sit down in his large chair. All eyes were on him as he listened. "What do they say, Danny? Okay, you'll call us as soon as... Okay, thank you, Danny." He finally finished and slid the phone back into its place. He looked up to see all eyes still on him.
"What did he say?" Abbey asked softly.
"The doctors haven't told him much. The bullet went into her chest. She's still in OR, and they predict she will be for several more hours." Jed replied softly.
"Is that it?" Josh asked.
"There was a lot of internal bleeding. They don't know... if she's going to make it." The president replied quietly. Silence filled the room. Leo stared at his best friend as if someone had ripped his heart out. Abbey brought her hand to her lips, the tears already brimming. CJ looked around the room until her eyes settled on Toby who was staring at the phone with a vacant expression, obviously deeply hurt but not willing to let it show. Sam seemed confused, his face contorted as he processed the announcement. He glanced over at Josh to see that his friend was extremely distressed. Donna placed a hand on Josh's shoulder and squeezed gently, trying not to cry. He took her in his arms and looked back out at the faces of the people in the room. Charlie was by Zoe's side and was there when she turned to hug him and cry gently into his shoulder.
"With your permission, Mr. President, may I get the hell out of here?" Toby asked, rising to his feet. "Thank you." He added before Jed could respond. Everyone watched him walk out the door. The next thing they knew, David disappeared out after him.
Toby walked briskly down the hallway. He could feel the eyes on him as he made his way towards the parking garage. He heard footsteps running up behind him that managed to slow as David slowed to a stop by the communications director's side. Toby glanced at the young blonde man and looked him over with a dark glare.
"What the hell are you doing?" The older man asked sharply as he moved around a corner to the elevator.
"I may not be her boyfriend, but I care about her too." David insisted. Toby glanced at the young man once more and then nodded, moving into the elevator and hitting the right button with such a force that David actually jumped a few inches in the air. They rode down in silence and when the doors opened again, Toby moved to his car and then looked at David expectantly. The young man smiled and got into the car with his boss's boyfriend. Toby climbed into the driver's seat of his 1993 Dodge dart and started the engine.
To Be Continued... .
*(Lyrics from Something Happened On the Way To Heaven by Phil Collins)