See Part 1 for Disclaimer

 

Bermuda- Part 4

 

"Leo are you sure about this?"

"Sam, it's fine. We got the sails down."

Sam paced nervously. "Josh says he's just got a headache. But he called me 'Leo.' And the CIA thing bothers me because he can recite the directors even when he's too drunk to walk and slurring his speech. I'm not a doctor, but he's at least got a concussion, if not something worse."

Leo realized Sam was worried. He knew he couldn't fix it. "Should we rescue him from Donna?"

"Yeah."

Leo and Sam headed down the stairs. Donna's voice echoed in the small corridor.

"Honestly, Josh, only you would fall on the deck of a tiny little boat for no good reason and get a concussion. You know you're scaring Sam to death and--"

"--Donna, why don't you head up and help CJ and Toby," Leo ordered firmly.

Donna opened her mouth to argue, then saw Leo's face. She swatted Josh playfully on the arm and went away.

"How you doing, Josh?" Leo's stepped up to where Josh lay on the couch.

"Hey, Leo. What up?"

"There's a storm up, Josh. Answer my question."

Josh put an arm out and pulled himself up into a sitting position. He steadied himself carefully before he spoke again. "I'm better. There are only two of you now."

"Josh, I swear I will hurt you myself if you don't drop the sarcastic shit and tell me the truth." Leo's voice thundered in the small cabin.

Josh blinked. He must look better than he felt for Leo to yell like that.

"Okay, I have blurry vision, a hell of a headache, and I'm nauseated. If there was anything left for me to throw up I'd probably be doing just that."

Sam had watched the interchange initially, but decided to step in before it escalated.

"Leo is much better than you with the sails, Josh. You are officially fired as my deck crew."

"Yeah. Okay, Sam. What's up with the storm?"

"I'm waiting on more weather reports, but we'll try to miss the worst of it."

"That's good." Josh leaned into the arm of the couch and stood up.

Leo growled, "Josh, sit down."

Before he'd finished the statement, Josh had already fallen back into the couch. He was now a lovely shade of pale green. His hand went first to his head and then to his mouth. "Sam, I'm gonna be sick..."

Sam helped him up to the bathroom, supporting his weight the length of the small cabin. Leo sighed and went back upstairs.

Toby was yelling at someone via the cell phone.

"I could really care less about that right now! You need to understand that we are out here in the middle of the ocean trying to stay away from a storm when what we need to do is get an injured man, the Deputy Chief of Staff, none the less, to a hospital." Toby's voice rose to a menacing level with the last syllables. He paced the deck, clenching the phone in his hand so tightly his knuckles were bloodless.

Leo shook his head slowly. Toby was about to blow. He stepped quickly to his Communication Directors' side. He fixed Toby with a glare that made him aware that he'd heard how close he was to the edge. Toby took several slow deep breaths.

CJ appeared at his side without warning. They stepped a few paces away from Toby, now listening to someone intently on the line. "Leo. How's Josh?"

"He still looks bad. Anyone talk to Mrs. Bartlet yet?"

"Yeah. She told me what to check for." CJ's voice was uncharacteristically soft.

"CJ?" Leo searched her face for the rest of the answer. It wasn't there yet. He waited for her to continue.

"Leo, even if we can recognize that something bad is wrong, there's nothing we can do out here."

He saw it in her eyes then. It was a swirl of helplessness and fear.

"CJ, it's not that bad. He's conscious. He's pretty coherent. He's whining. I think he'll be fine."

"Leo--"

"--Please go rein Toby in before he alienates someone who could possibly help get us out of this mess."

CJ smiled at that. Even Leo knew few people could handle Toby effectively. She was one of them.

The sunset over the water with the storm clouds in the background was a beautiful sight that Sam paused to appreciate even under the current circumstances. The sails were down and the ship was as secure as they could make it.

The United States Naval advisors concurred with the plans they'd made hours ago. They were safest to simply wait the storm out in deep water. Sam and Leo were the last two on the deck. They stood shoulder to shoulder and looked out over the rail. The others were below, away from the early rain.

The trade conference would continue tonight without them. Leo kept his phone with him, ready to respond to any acute disasters that might arise in their absence. Thus far, only two worried calls from the President and the First Lady had broken the silence.

Sam glanced at Leo carefully. The older man held a grim smile on his face. Sam had no trouble imaging this man as an old-fashioned sea captain. Now, more than ever. Like all those who had earned power, he was accustomed to having orders obeyed. Sam's thoughts strayed further to imagine the entire experience as a somewhat warped take on the Pirates of Penzance world they'd all mocked so happily a few months ago with Tribbey and Ainsley Hayes.

Sam almost laughed out loud at the direction his thoughts took. Leo caught his look and questioned him. "Sam, what dumb-ass thing are you thinking about that's got that goofy grin on your face?"

"Believe me, Leo, if I told you, you'd think I was the one with the head injury. Let's head downstairs before we get wet." Sam shook his head softly, admitting to himself that he was more tired than he'd been in a very long time.

As they descended the stairs, the voices of their friends rose to meet them.

Toby, CJ and Donna debated the merits of the upcoming AMA speech. Toby, of course, had not stopped working on the project. The Secret Service agents had taken residence in a quiet corner of the room and pulled out a deck of cards.

Josh looked a bit better. He sprawled on the couch with his eyes closed, but Sam could tell from his amused expression that he was listening to the others argue. It was a familiar lullaby to Josh's ears.

Sam perched on the corner of a chair and watched a moment longer. Leo cleared his throat and gestured calmly with his hand at Josh. The group caught the quiet command to stop arguing, under the assumption that it kept Josh from resting.

The moment they shut up, however, Josh's eyes flipped open. He rolled onto his side and looked around. "What's wrong?" He questioned.

Sam smiled. "Nothing's wrong, Josh. Go back to sleep."

Josh looked at him carefully. He could tell Sam wasn't lying. He looked around the room briefly, then settled back into the cushions and fell asleep.

Josh woke up again several hours later. As he slowly rose through the fog of sleep, a sound familiar from his days in the hospital penetrated his consciousness. The gentle tapping was soothing. For a long time, he'd thought his memory was skewed, and that he'd misinterpreted the quiet noises of the hospital machinery. He'd understood later that the soft taping was really the sound of typing. That sound had lulled him every night in the intensive care unit, even through the drug induced sleep.

Sam sat at Josh's bedside quietly typing into his lap-top. The rest of the group was soundly asleep. Toby snored softly with his head down on the table, his fingers resting on the open edge of his lap-top. Leo and CJ sprawled on the other long couches. Donna was curled comfortably on the floor next to Josh's couch.

"Hey, Sam." Josh spoke just loudly enough for Sam to hear.

Sam's eyes flicked up to assess him quickly. "Hey. How are you, Josh?"

"The headache's still there, but the nausea is better. The water seems pretty calm. We must be missing the worst of the storm."

"Yes, it's mostly inland. Josh, are you really OK? Do I need to have you recite the CIA directors to be sure?"

"I'm really fine."

"Mrs. Bartlet made us promise to check on you every two hours. You've been asleep a little longer than that, but you seemed okay earlier, so I let you sleep."

"Thanks, Sam. I always need sleep. Is everyone else doing okay?"

"Yes."

"-kay. I'm going back to sleep then."

"Goodnight, Josh." Sam's eyes flicked down to his keyboard and then back up to Josh. "Hey, is the typing keeping you awake?"

"No. Not at all, Sam. Do what you need to do."

Sam continued to quietly finish the AMA speech.

Had any of them been so inclined, they would have seen the first pink rays of sunrise over the ocean that morning. But sleep was a precious thing to these people, and even now, it remained a rare luxury.

 

 Bermuda - 5

 

 

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