Disclaimer: These characters belong to Aaron Sorkin and the other people at NBC.

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 10

(The Hospital)

"What do you mean that there were some complications?" Jed asked in a hushed voice.

"The surgery is taking longer than expected because the internal injuries were more severe than first thought." The nurse replied gently.

"Is he going to survive the surgery?" Sam asked.

"I'm just the messenger, I wouldn't know." The nurse replied simply.

"Well, then send someone in who can tell us." Jed ordered.

"You should be ashamed of yourself yelling at a nurse like that." Abbey said as she walked into the room. "Ma'am I'm sure that you were only doing what you were told. If it wouldn't be too much trouble could you direct me to a doctor in charge?"

"Um..." The nurse stuttered.

"Relax, I'm a doctor myself and I promise to not get you in trouble." Abbey assured her.

"Follow me then." The nurse finally relented.

"I'll be right back." Abbey assured everyone.

"How did she get here so fast?" Toby asked.

"She was already on her way to Egypt." Charlie said as he and Zoey came into the room.

"So we landed here instead." Zoey said as she went over to give her father a hug.

"How's Josh?" Charlie asked hesitantly.

"Still in surgery." Toby commented softly.

"Daddy, why did Leo lie about Josh yesterday?" Zoey asked innocently.

"I used bad judgment." Leo replied slowly.

"We never meant for this to happen ZoŽ." Jed replied.

Sam couldn't stand being in the waiting room so he jumped up and ran out of the room.

Everyone watched this and looked at each other. Someone had to go after him and make sure that he was okay. He had been at the point of breaking since last night.

"I'll go after him." Charlie offered.

"You sure?" C.J. asked, as she had been ready to go herself.

"Yeah. I think I can help." Charlie said as he looked over at Zoey for her reassuring nod.

(Outside the hospital-ten minutes later)

"Sam, can I sit with you?" Charlie asked once he spied Sam on a bench.

"If you want." Sam replied in a gruff tone.

"You want to talk about it?" Charlie asked slowly.

"He's my best friend Charlie. And he could be dying in there. They aren't telling us anything but that there were some complications. What the hell does that mean?" Sam exploded.

"I'm sure that they are doing their best." Charlie soothed.

"I promised myself that once Josh recovered the last time I wouldn't ever take our friendship for granted. But I went into that bookstore and I didn't go with them." Sam said in a shaky voice.

"This wasn't your fault." Charlie assured him.

"It doesn't make it any easier. Charlie, it could be me lying there in surgery with him." Sam protested.

"But it's not." Charlie said gently.

"Why does all of the bad things have to happen to him?" Sam moaned.

"He knows that it's not your fault. He doesn't blame you Sam." Charlie replied slowly.

Sam noticed that Charlie hadn't said that Josh was going to be all right. The one little phrase that he really needed to hear right now, Charlie hadn't said. They said it often when Josh was in surgery after he had been shot. And they said it often after had had been diagnosed with PTSD. Why weren't they saying it now?

"But I blame me." Sam muttered.

"Sam, you have to believe that Josh is going to be okay." Charlie urged.

"I have to believe that he's going to be okay? How come you aren't assuring me that he is going to be okay?" Sam demanded.

"Because I just got here. I don't know what happened." Charlie replied.

"Josh was kidnapped and beaten by terrorists who weren't happy with the peace plan we were going to help out with. They beat him because he was Jewish and they weren't. They let Donna go without so much as a scratch on her, but by also sending along a burned body. A body that we had to wait for over an hour before we realized that it wasn't Josh." Sam exploded as tears began to flow down his cheeks.

"Let it all out." Charlie urged.

"Josh didn't deserve this. Josh was the only person who believed in this plan anyway. He was the only one who wanted to come on this trip. Hell, you wanted to go to Egypt with Zoey instead of coming with us." Sam screamed.

"Go on." Charlie whispered.

"If Josh dies I swear that I am going to rip those bastards apart with my bare hands. And when I'm finished with that, I'm going to burn what's left of them so that all that remains are ashes." Sam screamed.

"And then what?" Charlie asked.

"Then I'm going to...Charlie I don't know what I'm going to do." Sam admitted softly.

"Sam, it's okay to admit that you don't know what to do. All of you guys are so focused on running the country that sometimes you forget that you're human. You forget that you have feelings." Charlie told him.

"If this had happened to me..." Sam began.

"Josh would be going just as crazy." Charlie finished.

"He would, wouldn't he?" Sam asked softly.

"This isn't your fault. And Josh doesn't blame you. It was an act of madmen." Charlie stated.

(Inside the hospital-around the same time)

"Where did Charlie and Sam go?" Abbey asked when she came back into the room.

"Sam isn't dealing with this very well." Leo said gently.

"And I take it Donna wasn't handling it well either?" Abbey asked as she saw Donna's still form.

"She was held hostage by these people. She has an idea of how bad Josh's condition is. I

think..." C.J. began.

"Calm down I'm not saying that her reaction wasn't normal." Abbey assured her.

"I'm sorry, ma'am." C.J. apologized.

"Abbey, they're all a little wound up." Jed explained.

"I'm not mad." Abbey protested.

"Oh." Jed replied softly.

"Ma'am how is he?" Toby asked slowly.

"So where did Sam and Charlie go?" Abbey asked ignoring the question.

"Abbey..." Jed said in a warning tone.

"It's bad." Abbey admitted looking down at the ground.

"How bad?" Leo asked softly.

Abbey realized that everyone was staring at her intently. They all looked on edge. She knew that some of the edge was caused by the media storm in which Leo lied about Josh and was caught up in that lie. She also suspected that they wouldn't really want to hear that she didn't think Josh was going to make it.

"Abbey, tell us." Jed pleaded.

"There are times when I wish I wasn't a doctor. When I could sit here with my friends waiting for word on another friend." Abbey stated slowly.

"Really bad then?" Jed asked.

"I know this may be a bad time to ask this, but where exactly was Josh headed when he was taken?" Toby asked.

"I think Sam mentioned something about a wall." Jed recalled.

"The Wailing Wall?" Toby asked.

"Could be, why?" Jed asked.

"I have to go there." Toby said as he got up.

"Why?" C.J. asked.

"I need to pray." Toby replied.

"You need to pray?" Leo asked.

"It's a scared place." Toby defended.

"Okay go then and take protection." Jed urged.

"I'm going with him." C.J. said as she got up to follow him.

"What do you think?" Jed asked Abbey.

"I think it's a really good idea." She said as he embraced her in a hug.


Bargaining Chips - 11



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