Disclaimers: They're not mine. Sometimes I ask them out to play, but they go home with Mr. Sorkin, et. al.
Summary: CJ takes a fall and Toby gets roped in to picking up the pieces.
Flamingo Falling (Part 8/?)
"CJ?" Toby hurried over. He was in blue jeans and a navy polo shirt. She tried to remember the last time she'd seen him without a tie. It had been months, at least. He looked so concerned. She held her IV-free hand out and he took it, squeezing gently. "You okay?"
He brushed her bangs back and gently rested a hand on her forehead. "Well you're here now. Everything will be fine," he said, hoping he sounded more convincing than he felt.
"Scared," she said, as the tears started.
"You're okay," Toby said. He rubbed her arm. "Just hang on. The doctor's coming back."
"Ms. Cregg, we believe you've had a pulmonary embolism-a blood clot. It's likely it broke off from the surgical site and got off the bus in your lungs. This would explain your troubled breathing and lack of oxygen. We're starting you on an IV anti-coagulant." He motioned to the nurse across the bed. "We need to take you for chest x-rays now. Then we'll settle you in a room. In a few hours we'll do a lung scan and ultrasound of your leg to see if there's anything more waiting."
"I feel-so silly." CJ said, breathing a little easier already. "Should have-waited-`til morning."
"Ms. Cregg, you've already waited nearly too long. It's likely you wouldn't have made it until morning."
She felt Toby's hand convulse, which was fine since hers was doing the same thing. "You'll be okay," Toby whispered. "I'm going to call Mrs. Bartlet."
"We'll be taking her to x-ray in a few minutes," the doctor said. "You can't go with her. You can make your call then. I'll be back in a second."
CJ was still crying. "Sorry," she apologized.
"It's okay. He wiped away her tears. "It's okay, CJ. You're going to be fine. I promise."
"Got no right-" Pause. "-to makepromises. Don't know."
He raised her hand and kissed it gently. "You're going to be fine," he said deliberately. "Now just stop."
Toby picked up the phone at the nurse's station once they'd rolled CJ away. Then he did something he'd never done before. He dialed the president's direct number
"Better be good," Jed Bartlet said.
"I'm sorry to disturb you Mr. President."
"Toby? Why are you calling me at...3:10 a.m.?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. President. I'm at GW Emergency."
The president was now fully awake. "You okay?"
"Not me, Mr. President. CJ. Evidently there were complications from surgery. Blood clots in her lungs, I think. I was hoping that the First Lady..."
"Toby?" Abbey Bartlet said. "What's this?"
"CJ, Ma'am. Blood clots in her lungs? Something about the surgery on her ankle." He ran a hand over his head, then held it in front of him and watched it shake. "I didn't get much."
"Toby, take a deep breath and hand the phone to the doctor."
He did as instructed. Once convinced that he was actually speaking to the First Lady of the United States at 3:13 a.m., the doctor was very forthcoming. He hung up the phone and turned to Toby.
"Mr. Ziegler, we'll take her right from x-ray to a private room in ICU. Please follow me."
CJ woke a short time later. Toby was sitting in a chair close to her bed, holding her outstretched hand. "Hey," she said. "You gotta-go
"I'm not going to work."
"I'm not leaving. Strict orders from the man himself."
"Be more-comfortable-in a tie."
He laughed. "Yes, well, last night a grabbed the first thing I found. I didn't think you'd want to wait on a tie."
He checked his watch. "About 7:30. Now stop talking."
"S'okay. Doesn't hurt. Just takes-a lot of-breath."
"Well, it hurts me," Toby said, standing.
The nurse came in. "Oh good. You're awake. Transport is going to be here in a few moments to take you down for your lung scan."
"Breakfast?" she asked.
"We didn't want to disturb you. You were both asleep. After you get back we can get you something to eat." A man walked through the door. "Here's transportation now. I'm sorry sir, you can't go with her."
"Oh," Toby said.
"Sir," the nurse said. "You're going to have to let go of her hand."
He dropped it. "Of course. Look, I'll be right here."
"It's going to take a while sir. And then she'll head right over to have an ultrasound to see if there are any more clots in her leg. You should go home and get some rest."
"Yes," CJ agreed.
"I'm actually on orders from President Bartlet to stay," Toby said. The nurse gave him a `yeah-right' look.
They started wheeling CJ away. "I'll be right here when you get back."
"I'll be right here."
And he was. He was sitting in the chair, dozing, with a Styrofoam box on his lap.
"Hey," CJ said, waking him.
He stood quickly and almost dropped the container. "You okay?"
"As long as-I have oxygen." She tried to smile. "Still kind of-shaky. Box?"
"Eloquent." She smiled.
He almost smiled. "One word sentences and you're picking on me."
"Not picking. Box?"
"They said you could have what you wanted. Egg white and cheddar omelet and toast." He held up the box. "There's a place just around the corner."
"Well, I thought you'd be hungry and didn't know what they'd come up with."
"Very succinct." He was trying hard not to laugh.
He opened the box, set it on the tray and pushed it to her, then raised her bed. She picked up the fork and stabbed the eggs. An alarm sounded almost immediately. Toby jumped, and CJ dropped the fork.
"What happened?" he asked.
CJ's eyes were wide. A nurse entered almost immediately.
"It's okay, Ms. Cregg," she said, punching buttons on the IV machine. "It's because the IV is in your wrist there. You can't bend, or really even move, it. If you'd like we could strap it to make it more stable." CJ nodded and a tear slid down her cheek. "I'll be right back."
"CJ, don't cry," Toby said, once again wiping her tear away. "Here." He climbed up and sat down on the bed next to her. He took the fork, stabbed some eggs and fed them to her. Another tear escaped.
Toby sighed. "CJ, I'm really much too tired to deal with tears."
"Don't apologize. Just don't cry."
"Yes I do."
"Me too. Girly."
"Last time I looked-and not that I've checked under the hood, mind you-you were a girl."
"Don't have toact like one."
He couldn't help but smile. "I won't tell anyone if you don't."
"And I won't-tell anyone-you can be nice."
"They wouldn't believe you anyway."
To be continued...