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Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 16

US Embassy, Cairo, Egypt, (a few hours later)

"Mr. President what do you intend to do now? I mean you are safe now in Egypt and I don't know what else you should do, short of coming back to the United States." Director Harris's voice stated through the speaker phone.

" Henry, I don't know what to do. At the very least I have to make some kind of a statement. A hospital blew up and it looks like we just ran away." Jed protested into the phone.

"Well, basically you did, sir." Henry replied.

"Henry!" Jed barked.

"I'm sorry, sir. This isn't really my area of expertise." Henry apologized.

"I know." Jed replied.

There was a long silence on the phone. Jed desperately needed to respond to the message that was sent by the terrorists from when the hospital was bombed. He needed to tell them that kind of behavior wasn't acceptable, but then again he needed to do it without endangering any more of his staff members lives. Josh was hanging on by a thread and he wasn't sure what would happen to his staff if Josh died.

"How's Josh doing?" Henry asked quietly.

"He's still alive, but barely." Jed replied softly.

"Why do think that he has hung on this long despite everything that has happened to him?" Henry asked slowly.

"Because he's too stubborn to die." Jed laughed softly. "But then again the people in that region are too stubborn to give up their fight as well."

"The people in that region have been fighting each other for many years. But I don't think a majority of them want to keep fighting. You have to give them a reason to stop fighting." Henry theorized.

"How am I supposed to do that?" Jed asked.

"It was just a statement. You are the President, it's your job to come up with these things. How did your staff react to the news that you wanted to help in the peace process?" Henry asked.

"You know it's funny that you should ask that, because Josh was the only one who believed in my peace plan. Everyone else threw a fit but he was the only one who believed." Jed replied.

"Then make a statement. Make a statement from deep within your heart. Speak for Josh and speak for all of the other voices that can't be heard. Make a statement that means something." Henry urged.

"You know that you aren't going to get any credit for this right?" Jed joked.

"I don't need any credit for a pep talk Mr. President. I just need to keep you safe the best way I know how, sir." Henry replied.

Josh's Hospital Room (same time)

"Josh, I know that you still have some fight left in you. You could've let those racists kill you last August, but you fought to stay alive and you rose above them. Don't let these bastards win either." Toby said as he watched Josh's slumbering form.

Ever since they landed in Cairo, Josh wasn't doing very well. His breathing had become more labored and his heart rate had slowly started to drop. He hadn't woken back up since he was moved from the plane. Everyone was taking their turns saying good-bye because it appeared that Josh couldn't handle much more.

Toby felt so out of place in the hospital room. He wasn't very good at saying soothing words. And he especially wasn't good at telling people how he really felt about them. He had become hardened years ago, and he wasn't sure how to change, or even if he should start now.

"You know I'm supposed to be in here saying good-bye to you. But I don't know how to do that. After all, we have a history together. I was the one who found you on the steps. I wouldn't let you die that night. I wouldn't let you die then and I don't want to let you die now." Toby stated.

He looked at Josh and there still wasn't any response. Toby didn't really expect there to be. Every doctor was saying that Josh was dying. Every doctor was surprised that he wasn't already dead. But as Toby watched Josh struggle to hang on he knew that they didn't know Josh Lyman very well.

"You know that most of the time you annoy the hell out of me. For being such a bright guy, you sure can act like such a idiot. Let's take what you said to Mary Marsh or your attempt at a press conference for examples of your idiocy. But you held your head up high after both of those incidents even when you knew that you should've been fired for the one, and you should've been killed by C.J. for the other." Toby smiled at his lame attempt of a joke.

He took Josh's hand and he soothed rubbed his thumb in circles over the top of it. He recalled how Josh had kept his promise and had gone to that meeting with Mary Marsh. Toby also recalled how level-headed Josh was in that meeting, even though there were several opportunities to make things worse for himself. Josh had kept his promise that day, and in turn he got to keep his job.

"You know Josh I may not always show it, but I do like you. I like the fire in your eyes, and the passion in your voice when you are standing up for what you believe in. But the thing I like you most is that you have always strived to keep your promises. Not many politicians can say that, but you always have. You made me a promise while you were recovering from your gunshot wound that you wouldn't die until I said you could. Well, I say that your time is not up. You have to keep fighting." Toby urged.

Josh stirred on the bed a little. Toby watched as Josh's eyelids tried to open. He gently placed his hand on Josh's shoulder. Josh relaxed a little, but Toby could tell that he was still awake.

"You have to keep fighting because otherwise the terrorists will think they got away with killing another Jew. We can't let that happen can we? We can't let those bastards when can we?" Toby asked softly.

"No we can't let those bastards win." Was the very, very, weak and hoarse reply.

"That's the Josh we all know and love." Toby replied.

Waiting Room (same time)

"Okay guys here is the deal. Toby and Sam I need you to write the best damn heartfelt speech that the two of you have ever written." Jed said after he came back into the room.

"About what?" Sam asked.

"About stopping the terrorists. These people have been fighting for ages, and I need you to appeal to those who are sick of the fighting. I need you to appeal to those who could challenge the terrorists." Jed replied.

"You want us to do what?" Toby exclaimed.

"I need you..." Jed began but was interrupted by Leo.

"We have to stop the terrorism now. A hospital was blown up and I'm sure that people on both sides are sickened by that. Appeal to them and their since of duty to their fallen countrymen. Both Israelis and Palestinian's alike were killed in that bombing." Leo added.

"Be the voice of Josh who is still fighting despite the odds against him. Someone who's only crime was being involved in the peace process." C.J. stated.

"Be the voice of all of the others who have died in this senseless bloodshed." Zoey added.

"Hate and violence doesn't solve anything, make them understand that." Charlie stated quietly.

"Let them know that a house divided can not stand." Abbey interjected.

"First you want us to be the voice of people in a region where fighting has gone for on for centuries and now you want us to quote Abraham Lincoln?" Toby asked with mild annoyance.

"All of the good stuff was gone." Abbey replied sheepishly.

"Who's going to read the speech?" Sam asked.

"While I am of course." Jed replied.

"Okay, assuming we write the greatest speech of our lives, what's to say that it's going to work? I mean you are here safe in Egypt and they are fighting over in Israel." Toby pointed out.

"Then I guess I am just going to have to go back there and stand beside the two leaders and have the two of them help me read the speech." Jed stated.

"But you can't go back there, Mr. President." C.J. protested.

"Toby's right I won't be able to do any good for them here. I need to go back, and I need to go back alone. Well, not totally alone of course, but I need you guys to stay here with Josh." Jed urged.

"Sam, I guess we had better get to work then." Toby grumbled.

"This is going to work. We have to do this for Josh. It's the least we can do for him." Sam replied.

"Where's Donna?" Jed asked after Sam and Toby went elsewhere to write their great speech.

"She's in with Josh now." Abbey said quietly.

"I think I need to tell him about this." Jed replied.

"Are you sure that is a good idea?" Leo asked.

"Josh has to know that he is going to help make a difference. And I think it's high time I thanked him for being the only one to believe in me." Jed replied.

Bargaining Chips - 17



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