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

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 11

(The Wailing Wall-thirty minutes later)

Toby and C.J. were knelt by the wall in silent prayer. Toby had knelt down first and C.J. had faintly heard the beginnings of a Hebrew prayer, so she had knelt down to say a few prayers of her own. Once they had both finished C.J. noticed that Toby was holding a photograph in his hand.

"Toby, what's that?" She asked softly.

"It's a picture of Josh and his sister. I believe that he intended to leave it here earlier." Toby replied solemnly.

"Why would he want to leave a picture behind?" C.J. asked slowly, not totally grasping the concept behind the Wailing Wall.

"This is a place to come and pray and to make wishes come true. Josh told me once that if we ever came here that he would have to visit this wall." Toby replied.

"I still don't understand why he wanted to leave behind an old photograph. He obviously is very fond of that one." C.J. protested.

"Josh's sister died you know, and she never got to come here. I think that Josh made her some sort of promise." Toby replied softly.

"Oh." C.J. replied as she watched as Toby gently laid the picture near the base of the wall.

"We had better start getting back." Toby said after a moment of silence.

"Do you think that he is going to be alright?" C.J. asked once they began to walk away.

"Depends on your definition of alright." Toby muttered, just low enough so she couldn't hear it clearly.

"What did you say?" C.J. asked.

"I hope that he will." Toby replied slowly.

"Donna and Sam are already on edge. I don't know if they could handle it if..." C.J.'s voice trailed off.

"I know." Toby replied quietly.

"It's just so hard to believe that we came here for a stupid peace deal and Josh could lose his life over it." C.J. said angrily.

"Yeah." Toby nodded.

"I mean come on none of us agreed with this stupid plan. They've been fighting for years, why are we suddenly going to force them to change? Why are we stupid enough to think that we can change their ways? The terrorists aren't going to go along with it, and the deal would be broken soon anyway." C.J. screamed.

"It's okay." Toby said as he placed a calming hand on her shoulder.

"No it's not okay. Why did this happen? What the hell did Josh do to anyone? He was just sightseeing with his assistant. What could he have done to deserve this? What could he have done to deserve to die?" C.J. screamed.

"He didn't deserve this." Toby replied gently.

"So why did it happen? Why couldn't we protect him? Why couldn't we stop them?" C.J. cried out.

"Because we are human." Toby whispered.

They had almost reached the hospital when C.J. totally lost it. Toby just held her as she sobbed on to his shoulder. He tried to whisper soothing words, but he wasn't sure that even he believed in them.

(The Waiting Room-Same time)

"Mr. President, sir there is a situation that requires your attention." An agent named McDonald told him.

"Abbey, stay here with Zoey and Charlie." Jed said as he and Leo got up and left the room.

"What?" Leo said once they had gone into another room.

"The terrorists, sir..." Agent McDonald stuttered.

"Yes, the terrorists..." Jed said motioning with his hands for this to be sped up.

"They have escaped." Agent McDonald said quietly.

"They what!!!!" Jed screamed.

"This is a hospital." A nurse reprimanded as she walked by them.

"What happened?" Leo asked in a calmer voice.

"They escaped. We aren't quite sure how." Agent McDonald said sheepishly.

"Okay, so the terrorists that have Josh fighting for his life have broken out so they can do it again?" Jed asked angrily.

"Well..." Agent McDonald said shakily.

"I know I know it wasn't your fault. Hell, they weren't even our prisoners." Jed said as he waved his hands in the air dismissively.

"Director Harris wanted me to tell you that he thinks that they are planning to retaliate." Agent McDonald said slowly.

"Yeah, I'll bet that they want to retaliate. We aren't even in the peace process anymore." Jed protested.

"But it didn't stop like they planned it too." Leo said slowly.

"I know they never suspected that it would go on without our help." Jed commented.

"Director Harris says that we may need to move you to a safer location." Agent McDonald stated slowly.

"Once Josh is stable enough." Jed finished.

"I think he meant..." Agent McDonald protested.

"I know what he meant and you can tell him that I am not leaving without Josh. I'm already in enough trouble back home. If something were to happen and I left him behind...the American people would never forgive me. My own staff wouldn't be able to forgive me. I wouldn't be able to forgive me." Jed replied passionately.

"I'll tell him, sir." Agent McDonald assured and he left.

"I'm sorry." Leo said once the agent had left.

"This isn't your fault. Granted, most of America may hate me right now, but this part definitely isn't your fault. We aren't going to leave Josh behind. If our military doesn't even leave its wounded soldiers behind, why would I leave Josh?" Jed replied.

"I don't know, sir." Leo answered softly.

"Gather the staff up and alert them of this latest problem." Jed ordered.

"Yes, sir. But what am I supposed to tell them?" Leo asked.

"That we could be in for some major trouble." Jed replied slowly.

(Sam's Hotel Room-same time)

"I really wish that they would let me stay. I need to be with Josh. I need to be there for him." Donna sobbed from her position on Sam's bed.

"Mrs. Bartlet thinks it's best that you just rest now." Sam said soothingly.

"I don't want to rest. What if Josh dies..." Donna began before being totally overwhelmed with sobs.

"It's okay. Here take these and you'll feel better." Sam said as he held out a glass of water and some pills.

"Promise me he'll be okay while I'm asleep." Donna begged as she took the pills from him.

"He'll be okay." Sam said in a voice that didn't even convince himself.

She took the pills and Sam helped her get under the covers. Donna really was an emotional wreck. He could see the fear etched in her eyes. Fear that Josh might die, fear from actually knowing how bad he was. Sam watched her until she feel back into a drug induced sleep.

"What if Josh dies," echoed in his mind as he paced around the room. After C.J. and Toby had left on their expedition Donna had woken up and had been all hysterical. Mrs. Bartlet had asked him to take her back to the hotel and keep her calm. He guessed it was because she figured he needed something to do.

He was going crazy himself, and he knew that everyone else could see it. As he paced around the room he tried to will his best friend not to die. Other people would pray in situations like this, but he was beyond praying. They needed Josh and Sam was running out of ideas on how to keep him alive.

The phone rang and Sam stopped mid-pace. He looked at the phone as if it were going to come and attack him. Sam then remembered Donna being asleep, so he picked up the phone. He knew what they were going to say, and he just wasn't ready to hear it yet.

"Sam Seaborn." He answered glumly.

"Sam, I have some bad news to tell you." Leo began.

"I already know." Sam replied quietly.

"You already know? Good, that's one less person I have to explain it too." Leo replied.

"I can't believe you can talk about my best friend's death like that!" Sam exploded.

"Sam, um..." Leo began but was cut off.

"Did you go back to drinking again? You sound just as insensitive now as you did last night." Sam screamed.

"Samuel." Leo's tone threatened.

"What?" Sam yelled.

"Josh is still in surgery." Leo replied slowly.

"Huh? If Josh is still in surgery what is the bad news?" Sam asked.

"The terrorists escaped." Leo answered.

"Oh is that all. Leo, you really shouldn't scare a person like that." Sam replied.

"Sam," Leo tried to get his attention.

"I know you'll call me when you have news on him. I'd better get off before I wake Donna. Surprised I haven't woken her already." Sam said.

"Sam," Leo tried again.

"Later Leo." Sam said as he hung up the phone.

"I can't believe he's taking that so well." Leo muttered as he hung up the phone on his end.

Bargaining Chips - 12

 

 

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