RATING: PG-13 (revised from part one rating, I changed my mind)
They say you can't take it with you
Danny couldn't get over how dark the room was. There were plenty of lights, but at this time at night, things always seemed darker. CJ had gone to get some food for them. Josh and Donna had left to go home. Danny didn't know if they went home together. He also had no idea where Toby or David were. All he could think about at the moment was the still form of KD Brody, his ex-lover who was resting on the bed in front of his eyes, nearly a dozen machines running in and out of her system. The respirator was gone. When she had had her vomiting fit earlier, the doctor thought it was the best move to replace the damn thing with an O2 mask. She was breathing on her own now, but the breath was raspy and almost irregular.
"This has been going on for too long, Katy. You've got to pull out of this." Danny suddenly exclaimed softly, breaking the hospital room silence into pieces. "Too many good times for it all to end like this." He murmured softly, staring at her frame. "We both have found our happiness. Why are you trying to leave us behind? Fight, damn you." He added sharply and then sighed.
"I know you are fighting," He admitted and looked at the ceiling. "but you've always been one to beat the odds." He added softly and looked back at her face. His eyes were brimming as he watched her. "I always thought we'd have a wedding together. Now it seems we won't marry each other like we originally planned, but what do you say to a double wedding? You and that Ziegler guy, with me and CJ? Could it work?" He asked, attempting a childish grin, but the pain was too great and he couldn't work it out. The first tear finally fell as he sobbed once. "You have to pull through for us to find out." He whispered.
It's amazing how dark a city can seem when someone you know is on their potential deathbed. Toby pondered this as he walked down the slick wet sidewalk. The night air was crisp, biting at his face. He hadn't been to the hospital in nearly a day, and he didn't know when he would go back. He wasn't sure where to find the strength to be able to go back. He listened to the gentle sound of his shoes on the hard ground. He bit his lip as he walked, watched as his breath exploded into mist around him. He refused to cry.
Jed stared at his food absentmindedly. He was surrounded by silence. Across the table, Abbey slowly picked up her fork and put another piece of chicken into her mouth. Zoey and Charlie stared at each other across the table. Things hadn't been the same for days. Would they ever be the same again, Zoey wondered. She'd invited Charlie to dinner because she thought that maybe his presence would cheer up her parents a little, or better yet, cheer her up a little, but the plan wasn't working. She felt like she was going to cry. KD had babysat her years ago, and now she was dying. KD had been a part of Zoey's childhood, and now she could die. Suddenly, Zoey felt a soft touch on her hand. She looked at her father with watery eyes and smiled weakly. Jed smiled back as he held his youngest daughter's hand in his own. Silence still surrounded them.
Josh didn't know what to think. In only a few months, KD had become his colleague, his friend, his sister even. He'd lost a sister before, years ago. He couldn't stand the thought of losing another one, not like this. He stared at the small cup of coffee that sat in front of him. Under the table, he felt Donna's foot rubbing up against his leg absent mindedly as she stared at her own latté. Sam held Mallory against his shoulder in the small booth. The four of them sat in a small coffee shop that rested between the hospital and the White House, awkwardly so, but so. Mallory clung to Sam's side as she thought silently. The four of them just sat in silence, thinking about the past seven days.
Leo stared out his window in the dark office. Only one light was left on. He was alone. He wanted to be alone. He felt like his heart had broken. He didn't want to go home. Suddenly he heard a creak at the door. He turned and saw Margaret standing there, a solemn smile on her face. He wanted to return the smile, but for some reason he couldn't. His assistant moved into the room and walked to his coat rack. She grabbed his overcoat and brought it over to him. He looked at her with eyes that told her the truth. He didn't want to go anywhere. He couldn't stand to go home, to face Jenny with one more night of no information. Margaret smiled a little wider and forced the issue. He allowed her to place the jacket over his shoulders but then refused to move.
"Go home to your wife, Leo." She insisted softly before gently pushing him towards the door. He paused and then started to move on his own towards the parking garage. Behind him Margaret switched off the lamp and locked up his office.
CJ put the food on the passenger seat and then closed her car door behind her. She paused to stare forward into the night sky. What was happening to her, she wondered as she began to cry. She wanted everything to be okay. In the past week, her newest best friend had gotten shot. Since then, the only thing that had changed at work was that everyone was grieving. She'd still gotten up every morning and made her way to the office. She still got up in front of the cameras and kept the country updated with news from the White House. That was her job. But it felt wrong to walk away from the cameras and then walk by KD's office and see it empty. Nine months ago, CJ didn't even know KD existed. Now she couldn't imagine what life would be like without her.
David stared at the book in Ginger's hands. Another day had gone by, and he still wasn't sure that he wanted to go back out into the world. Ginger had convinced him to get a haircut, and he'd agreed to shave off the growth on his face. Now he sat on his couch, an arm stretched back along the edge as Ginger leaned against him. He'd told her about the book and she'd given him a gift. She'd given him a personalized photo of the President to send to his father. 'To David, never let one person stop you from trying, truly, Jed Barlet' it had said. Now, tonight, Ginger had brought over some Chinese and they talked together softly in the dim light of his apartment.
Toby leaned into the hospital room and watched KD with soft brimming eyes. He stood there for a moment, just leaning against the doorframe and watching her. He could of sworn his heart was broken, or at least breaking. Danny was napping in his chair. Toby glanced at him. God, what was their connection that Danny would be here so long, he wondered. Danny snorted in his sleep and then blinked his eyes open.
"Toby. Hi." Danny exclaimed and then paused. "Um, I have to... go to the bathroom." He added slowly, springing to his feet and moving out of the room. Toby smiled weakly and looked back at KD, moving into the room.
"So here you are." He whispered as he moved up close to her and took her IV'ed hand in his own. He gazed at her closed eyes as a tear dripped down the left side of his face. "Can you imagine how much it hurts to see you like this? If that's not enough, I have to deal with people who see me like this." He added with a weak chuckle as another tear fell. "You're not allowed to die on me, you know that? I've had one love of my life run out on me, and it's not going to happen again." He insisted softly but fiercely. "I'm not pretending to know what you and Danny have done together in the past, what your relationship was. But I can see he cares almost as much as I do." He added softly, wondering if she could hear him. He paused long enough to kiss her hand gently.
"You're not going to die on me." He insisted darkly. "You're not going to let that bastard win. You're not going to leave Leo, Jed, Josh, CJ, Sam, Danny, Abbey, all of us... me." He said finally, as if he didn't want to before. "You're not going to leave us behind." Behind him, Danny leaned in the door in time to hear the last comment.
"You wouldn't let her, even if she wanted to." He said softly. Toby glanced back halfway and tried to wipe away the tears.
"Yeah, well, she's strong." He retorted shakily. Danny frowned.
"You don't have to be, you know? This is hard." He said, trying to assure the other man.
"I don't need lessons about my own emotions from you, Canconnon." Toby retorted, still trying to put on a front.
"Maybe you don't." Danny agreed. "But maybe I do, you know? You going to go through all this all by yourself? Fine, then. Just realize that everyone else is hurting too. You're not the only one who loves her." He added sharply. Toby glanced back at the reporter and then at KD's face.
"No one else loves her in the same sense that I do." He whispered.
"I do." Danny retorted. Toby looked at him abruptly.
"What do you mean?" He asked softly. Danny sighed and sat down in one of the chairs by the door.
"She and I were together for a little over two years. We loved each other. We did things that I'm not about to tell you about. But first and foremost, we were friends." He explained softly. "Time went by, and something very serious happened, and we just couldn't be together anymore. KD moved to LA and I moved on."
"I didn't realize that you guys were that close." Toby admitted softly. Danny smiled weakly.
"She'll always have a place in my heart, but right now I love CJ more than I could her. I'll always love Katy, but CJ is the one I want now." He said softly, glancing at KD's face.
"Good." Toby exclaimed after a pause. Danny glanced at him in confusion. "If you love my girlfriend more than you love your own, I would have to take you out back and beat you up." Toby explained. Danny chuckled and nodded.
"Wouldn't you rather have the secret service do it? No blood on your hands." He retorted playfully.
"Probably, but in this case, I'd have to beat up the secret service too." Toby replied as he thought about the incident.
"Let me guess. They kept you in the House, but there was no danger." Danny suggested. Toby nodded.
"They kept us in for nearly three hours as a precaution." He said sardonically. Danny sighed and shook his head.
"Well, if it makes you feel any better, I was here taking care of her." He said with a playful smirk.
"No, that doesn't make me feel much better, thanks." Toby replied with a chuckle. Danny laughed too. The mood was starting to feel a little lighter, and the room seemed almost a little brighter.
"Who would believe you're actually such a great guy there, Ziegler?" Danny asked with a chuckle after a pause.
"Yeah, well, don't spread it around. I've got a reputation to protect." Toby retorted. Danny laughed.
"See... " A weak voice interrupted. "He has to... pay me... to keep that . . secret." The voice finished. Danny and Toby looked directly at the source and could barely contain their reactions.
"Katy?" Toby whispered weakly.
"God, was that you?" Danny added.
"I'm not God." KD replied very softly. "Toby gives me... twenty bucks and a kiss every month to keep it quiet how great he is." She said weakly before coughing a couple of times.
"You're with us." Toby proclaimed in almost disbelief and certain joy, his eyes starting to brim again.
"I'd better be. If this is heaven, I'm in trouble, and the scenery here is too good for me to be in hell." She whispered. Toby reached forward and stroked her forehead gently.
"Don't talk so much, you'll waste your strength." He whispered. She smiled weakly at him, barely able to move her head to see him.
"Funny how we wait around for you to wake up and talk to us, and then once you do, we tell you to shut up." Danny mused as he watched her with tearful eyes. KD smiled a little wider.
"Who let the stray dog in?" She murmured.
"Danny, get a doctor, somebody." Toby insisted. Danny nodded and moved out of the room to do so.
"Shouting orders as usual." KD whispered. Toby smiled and blinked back the extra tears. He reached forward and stroked her matted hair back with a gentle touch. She smiled under his fingers.
"Don't ever do that to me again." He whispered as he leaned his head in close to hers, close enough to feel her breath on his face, breath that assured him she was indeed still alive.