See disclaimer, notes and standard Stacy-blame in Part 1.

Falling from the Sky (4/4)

"Ladies and gentlemen. Please prepare for landing by returning your
seats and tray tables to their full upright and locked position."

"You okay?" CJ asked. Toby was looking paler than he had the past
couple of hours.

He rolled his head around, trying to loosen his neck muscles. "Well,
I'll know something soon enough. I don't know what I'll do if he's
dead. I can't believe I wasted so much time because I was jealous."

CJ patted his arm. "Not too much longer."

The tires squealed as the plane landed. CJ and Toby were the first
people off, each carrying one bag from the overhead compartment.
They were immediately approached by a familiar-looking man. "Ms.
Cregg. Mr. Ziegler. Have you checked luggage?"

"No, this is it," CJ said. "Do you have any information for us?"

He took both bags. "The limo's this way." He turned his back on
them.

"This can't be good," Toby said.

CJ put her hand through his arm. "Come on. Let's go." She had to
pull a little to get Toby moving, but soon they were sitting in the
limo.

"I haven't felt this way since Josh was in surgery," Toby said.

"I know."

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"Coop's going to take us wherever we're supposed to be."

"I want to go to the crash site."

"And if that's where we're supposed to be that's where we'll go." He
stared at her. She pressed the intercom. "Coop, where are we going?"

"Back to the House, Ma'am."

"I want to go to the crash site," Toby said.

"I have directions from the President to return you to the House."

"Thank you, Coop," CJ said.

They pulled up to the West Wing entrance. The aide opened the door
for them.

"Toby?" CJ asked.

"Hmmm?"

"We're here."

"Okay."

"You'll need to get out of the car."

"Okay."

She pushed him towards the door. "Now."

He shook his head. "Right." He climbed out of the limo and held out
his hand to help CJ.

"Thank you," she said. "Ready?"

"Not by a long shot. CJ, I know I made you uncomfortable on the
plane, but you've been the voice of reason I needed. And before we
go in there and my world caves in--"

"Or not."

"I just want to thank you."

"You're welcome. Let's go."

Another aide met them at the door. "You need to go to the Mural
Room, Mr. Ziegler."

"Okay, Toby." CJ brushed imaginary lint from his lapel and
straightened his tie. "The airline must have sent someone to talk to
you personally. Go get 'em."

He cleared his throat and took her hand. "Come with me?"

"I've come this far."

They walked in silence. It was obvious to both of them that people
they passed made a point of not staring. They stopped in front of
the closed door to the Mural Room.

"Ready?" CJ asked.

"Stop asking me that."

"Now there's the grumpy Toby we all know and love. Watch it, you
almost smiled."

"CJ."

"Okay, misplaced levity is how I deal with stress. This should not
come as a surprise to you."

"Now I'm ready to go in just so you'll stop babbling."

"Then my job here is done."

"Not quite," Toby said quietly, pushing the door open. He took a
deep breath, closed his eyes and stopped in to the room, taking CJ
with him. There was a man sitting in the armchair with his back to
the entrance. CJ closed the door behind them. As they approached
the figure, Toby cleared his throat.

The man stood and faced them. He had a brace on one leg and his
clothing had seen better days, but other than that...

"Toby."

"David."

"You look good," Toby said.

"Considering my plane just fell from the sky."

"Of course," Toby agreed.

CJ looked from one to the other. "Can I please have a little more
enthusiasm?" She let go of Toby's hand and gave him a push towards
his brother.

Toby enveloped David in a huge bear hug. "I was so scared."

"You think you were scared," David said with a laugh. "My God it's
good to see you."

"Excuse me, Ms. Cregg," the aide interrupted. "The President is on
the line." He pointed to the phone on the end table.

"Thank you."

"Good evening, Mr. President," she said.

"I hear we're in the midst of an emotional celebration."

"Yes, Sir." She smiled at the two brothers.

"Good. I'm sorry we didn't get the information to you and Toby
sooner. Once you'd landed, I thought the only way was to get them in
the same room."

"You wanted drama and are upset that you weren't here to see the
scene."

"That I am."

"It's not all good news, though, is it?"

"No it's not, CJ. There were 147 people on the plane. Only 32
survived. It's a tragedy. But don't let Toby feel conflicted over
his personal joy."

"I won't," she assured him.

"David's family is on the way. I'm having them picked up at the
airport and brought there. Actually, they should arrive any minute."

"Thank you, Sir."

"CJ, thank you for going with him. I hope he wasn't too much for you
to handle."

"Everything's fine, Sir."

"Great. Now I would like to speak to David Ziegler."

"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Mr. President." She turned back to the
brothers. "David, the President would like to have a word."

David looked at Toby, horrified. "Take the phone, David," Toby said.

"Mr. President?"

CJ went to Toby and hugged him. Surprisingly, he hugged her right
back. "God, CJ. I just don't know what to do next."

"Well, you've finally found time for that meeting with your brother.
You're scheduled to be in Paris for the next six days. I'm thinking
the President has no interest in having you back there right now. So
you've got all this time. His wife and kids are on their way."

"Thank you, Mr. President," David said and hung up, turning to
them. "How can you speak with him every day?" David asked. "He goes
a mile a minute. Toby, I'm so impressed with you! Look at this.
We're standing in the White House! I have to admit, I'm a little
jealous."

CJ laughed.

"And you would be CJ Cregg." David held out his hand and CJ shook it.

"I'm sorry I didn't introduced myself, David," she said. "You were a
little busy."

He smiled. "I've heard all about you," he said. "Toby's emails are
packed with stories of you."

CJ looked at Toby, who had taken a sudden interest in his
shoes. "You'll have to tell me about that. It'll be such fun to
hear what Toby thinks of me." She smiled.

"Oh, you're a keeper," David laughed.

There was another knock on the door. It opened to reveal a
beautiful, if terrified-looking woman with a boy who looked about six
and a girl a couple of years younger. "David?"

"Rebecca!" David limped toward his wife and children. She covered
much more of the space and launched herself into his arms,
sobbing. "It's okay. Shhh..."

The children wandered over to CJ and Toby, the little girl's hand
being firmly held by her protective big brother. "You look like my
Daddy," the boy said.

Toby looked down at him. "That's because I'm his brother. I haven't
seen you since you were a little baby so you won't remember me. I'm
your Uncle Toby."

The boy looked to CJ. "Are you my aunt?"

-END-

 

 

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