Thanks for the comments so far - this is part 2, I hope you keep enjoying it.
TITLE: Through This Dark Night
AUTHOR: Morgan email@example.com
SUMMARY: In the aftermath of the shooting, will CJ and Toby make it through the night?
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to NBC et al. I'm not quite sure why I'm doing this, I just am - but its for entertainment purposes only - no disrespect is intended.
Through This Dark Night - part 2
CJ couldn't remember how they had got into a car and were speeding back to the White House. Details of the negotiation process were distinctly hazy, although she was fairly sure they had been carried here by the force of Toby's argument. Whatever he had said had worked, suddenly they had a car, a driver and were having a rapid discussion about who they needed to call first.
In contrast to what she couldn't remember she knew that she would never forget the sound that Donna had made when she had told her that Josh had been one of those taken to hospital. It was somewhere between a gasp and a cry; strangled, anguished, fearful and she knew that it was a sound that would haunt her nightmares along with the sound of bullets exploding over her head.
Donna was hurrying to the hospital even now, she had promised, tearfully, that she would call CJ as soon as she knew anything. It wasn't enough, it wasn't the same as being there, as seeing for herself, but for now it would have to do. Her conversation with Mallory was just as difficult. How do you tell someone that both her father and the man she's been dating have been shot? There were no words and in actual fact she hadn't need to try to find them , because as soon as Mallory had heard her voice on the end of the line she had assumed the worse.
'Dad was hit, wasn't he?'
'Yes. He was conscious when they put him into the ambulance - I don't know how serious his condition is.' The knowledge that he'd been awake for a few fleeting seconds when she'd seen him was no comfort, it was nothing. She wanted to be able to offer words of confidence, promise that everything would be OK. CJ had rarely felt to completely helpless, she could lie to the press, had done so just a few hours ago, she knew how to manage a message, that was what she did; but not this time, this mesaage had spun out of control the moment someone had fired a trigger and who were she and Toby to wrest that control back?
'Oh God CJ.'
'Sam? Sam was hit.'
'Yes.' The silence was the sound of someone's life shattering, she couldn't do this, she didn't have the strength. Then she looked over at Toby who had paused in the middle of his conversation with Mandy and was just looking at her. 'Mallory, you need to get to the hospital; it will be confused, it won't be an easy experience.'
'Do you want me to try to reach your mother?'
'No, I'll do that.'
'Call me when you know something.'
'OK.' She ended the call and wrested her eyes away from his, he took a breath, almost as though he'd forgotten to while he'd been looking at her, and returned to his call.
'Mandy? You still there? Who's with you? OK. Send two people to the hospital to manage the press and to keep us up to date with the casualties. We're about ten minutes away, CJs going to do the briefing. Yes, that is what I said. We'll need to speak to the President before she goes on.'
'There's a window, tell her there's a window, we need to be in front of the press in thirty minutes to tell them the President is uninjured, otherwise all hell is going to break loose.'
'CJ says there's a window, its thirty minutes. I agree with her, Mandy we have to do this. We'll be there in eight minutes, send the people to the hospital, find Josh and Sam's next of kin. CJ spoke to Mallory just now, she's on her way to the hospital; Donna as well. We'll see you shortly.'
Toby put the phone away and collapsed back into the seat, talking with Mandy had been exhausting, he could tell she'd beeen torn between professionalism and her fears about her friends, about Josh, veering between control and fear with a speed he'd found alarming.
'Mandy's pretty upset.' He said, realising belatedly just how stupid that sounded, CJ wasn't going to call him on it though.
'We need to get the President on the morning news,' she said.
'I know, we'll handle the briefing first and then set that up.'
'I'll need estimates of casualties and details of any fatalities for the press.' It was chilling when she said it like that, but this was the deal they'd made, these were the people they were going to be for the next few hours.
'We'll talk to the Secret Service.' You're going to be asked about...'
'The assailants,' she finished the sentence for him.
'We need to have more information Toby.'
'We'll get it.'
'In twently minutes?'
'Yes.' She closed her eyes and exhaled a long breath before turning to look at him and asking,
'Has Mandy seen the President?' He nodded, 'did she say how he was?'
'She said he looked like his whole world had been blown apart.' Neither of them said anything for a long moment and then Toby added softly, 'and this is one of the times when I know exactly how he feels and I wish I didn't.'
To Be Continued