Disclaimers: They're not mine. Sometimes I ask them out to play, but they go home with Mr. Sorkin, et. al.
Spoilers: Not really
Archive: Sure, let me know where and keep my name attached.
Note: This is my first story. Thanks to Stacy for reading and encouragement.

Summary: CJ takes a fall and Toby gets roped in to picking up the pieces.

Flamingo Falling (Part 9/?)

Toby was sitting in the chair, reading CJ selections from the Washington Post when Josh and Sam showed up.

"I thought we might have a problem because we're not family," Sam said.

"I told him it's all in how you walk," Josh said. "We walked like we belong here. No problem." Then he turned to CJ and quieted his voice. "Hey, how you feeling?"

"Better," CJ said.

"Really?" Sam asked. "Because you look really pale."

"Which is a better tint than the blue she was turning when we got here," Toby said and patted her hand. "Why don't Sam and I take a walk so you can talk with Josh?"

Toby knew the two friends needed a moment alone. And it was likely CJ would cry again. He didn't know how much more of that he could take.

"Sam, do me a favor and just don't say anything when we get back to the room."

"But she did look pale, Toby."

"It's a good thing you write speeches and not sitcoms. You have no sense of timing," Toby rubbed his eyes. "She almost died last night, Sam."

"Leo didn't tell us that," Sam said quietly.

"Mrs. Barlet talked to the doctor last night. I assume she didn't want to worry the President. It is very serious and I will not have her upset. There will be no talk of work. And for God's sake, everybody keep Josh under control at the briefings."

"He's actually gotten pretty good at them," Sam said.

"I know, Sam." He looked at the younger man. "I'm sorry. I didn't get much sleep last night. I'm just tired."

"And worried."

"And worried," he agreed. They'd walked one lap of the floor. "Let's get back in there. She's still not breathing that well and I don't want..." He stopped speaking when he opened the door and saw CJ in tears, breathing worse than she had since they'd rolled in. He dove back out into the hallway. "Nurse! Nurse!"

She came running and pushed through the door. "Everybody out!" she yelled at them.

"CJ, I need you to slow down your breathing. You're going to hyperventilate. Next breath you take, hold it while I count to five."

Toby closed the door after them.

Toby grabbed Josh by the coat lapel and pulled him into the hallway, pushing him against the wall. "What did you do!" he yelled.


"You must have done something! She was fine when we left," Toby said. "What did you say!"

Josh started to stutter. "I...I...I just told her that I called her mother. I thought somebody should!"

"Uh, guys, we're in ICU here," Sam reminded them.

Toby immediately let go of Josh. "Sorry," he said quietly. He closed his eyes and rolled his neck. "I'm just tired."

"Go home," Sam said.

"Don't bother," Josh said, straightening his coat lapels. "He's not going anywhere."

The nurse came up to them. She put a hand on Toby's arm. "Sir, your wife would like to see you. I'm sorry, but the others can't come back in right now."

"I'll be right there," he said and she turned to leave.

"Wife?" Sam asked. "Toby, did you and CJ..."

"Of course not," Toby snapped. "They thought I was her husband when I brought her in. It's just easier not to correct them. After all, Sam, you've already pointed out that it's supposed to be family only."

"Toby, I'm really sorry about the thing." Josh motioned towards the room.

He sighed. "Come back tomorrow, Josh. I'm sure she'll want to see you. And she should be feeling better by then. Bye Sam."

"A moment, please?" the nurse was beside him again and motioned that they should stay in the hallway. "That can't happen again."

"It won't," Toby assured her.

"See that it doesn't." Suddenly the nurse reminded him a great deal of Mrs. Landingham and he almost smiled. "Now, she needs some rest. Go in and sit with her. I'm leaving the mask on for a little while longer to discourage her from talking. I'll come in a little while to change it back." And with that she was off.

He went back in. "Are you asleep?" he whispered. Her eyes opened and she shook her head, holding out her hand to him. He took it in both of his and held it to his chest. "God, CJ, you scared me. Stop doing that."

"Okay," she said from behind her mask.

"And don't talk or the nurse will throw me out."

She nodded.

"Finally doing what you're told."

The fact that she only nodded again scared Toby more than her gasping had.

"Any chance you'd be willing to take a nap?"

She nodded her head again. He started to turn to go to his chair, but she didn't let go of his hand. He looked at her, but she'd already closed her eyes. He reached over, pulled his chair closer to the bed, sat down, leaned back and closed his eyes.

He woke with a start when CJ's hand released his. "Huh?" He sat up abruptly.

"Sorry," CJ apologized. "Didn't mean to wake you." Her mask was gone and replaced again with the smaller oxygen tubing across her face.

"You're looking better," he said. "And that's
the longest sentence of the day."

"Can we talk?"

"Are you going to remain calm and breathing at all times?" he asked.

"I'll try."

He could tell it was already taking an effort on her part. "Okay. Tell me why you got so upset. Whatever it is, I'll take care of it."


"CJ, I'm still much too punchy to play right now. Spit it out."

"Josh called my mother."


"He says she's coming," she continued.


"We don't have the...best relationship."

"CJ, she's your mother. She loves you. She's worried about you. She wants to make sure you're okay."

CJ started to moan. Toby stood. "No," she said. "I'm okay. Just going to die."

"You're not going to die. But CJ, we're making no progress here."


Flamingo Falling - 10




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