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

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 3

(C.J.'s Hotel Room-the same time)

"Toby what happened to us?" C.J. asked as she laid sprawled out on a bed and Toby sat in a chair.

"What do you mean what happened to us?" Toby asked.

"Where did our sense of adventure go? Shouldn't we have gone with the three of them?" C.J. asked.

"I think that Josh was the one who wanted to go, Donna and Sam were just a long for the ride." Toby replied with a slight smile.

"Yeah Josh does seem a little eager. I wonder why?" C.J. asked.

"I think he believes in what we are trying to do here." Toby replied.

"Really? I figured he was against it for pretty much the same reasons we all are." C.J. responded with a sigh.

"He talked about it with me on the plane a little. He made the point that peace has to be established sometime." Toby remarked.

"Yeah. Do you really think we should have brought him with us?" C.J. asked quietly.

"Why shouldn't we have? Donna's here to help control his outbursts and his drinking." Toby replied.

"Because we are in a region where gunshots are quite common background noise." C.J. whispered.

"If you look at it that way, D.C. isn't really a safe place for him to be either. He's fine now." Toby assured her.

"We missed all the signs last time. What if he loses it again?" C.J. asked.

"C.J. what are you really scared of?" Toby asked softly.

"I just have a bad feeling that something is going to happen." C.J. replied.

"I think it's just your job. You're worried about something bad being leaked to the press. You've been blindsided so many times that your defenses are always up." Toby theorized.

"Toby, I don't mean that kind of feeling." C.J. protested.

"Everything will be fine. Now, if you'll excuse me I really should get some sleep before tonight." Toby said as he got up to leave.

"I hope you're right." C.J. whispered as she watched him walk away.

(Somewhere in the city)

Josh watched as Donna's eyes widened with fear. She shrank back on the couch as the door opened wider. Josh longed to hold her but his restrained hands prevented him from doing so. So he did the only thing he could do, and that was position himself so that his body was shielding hers.

"Get up!" A menacing looking man ordered Josh.

Before Josh could respond, the man grabbed a hold of his left arm and he yanked up to his feet. Josh could almost hear Donna trembling in fear. The man ignored her and he pulled Josh out of the room. Josh would've walked out by himself but the man was too strong and was walking too fast for him to keep up.

He took Josh down the hall and then he threw him down hard in a wooden chair. Josh landed on the chair with a loud thump. Pain shot through him, but Josh made no sound. He had become quite good at holding out how much pain he was in while he was recovering from being shot. Every grimace had caused Donna to hover over him, so he had perfected a method of hiding his pain until she was out of sight. A tactic that could help him now.

Two other men entered the room. Josh recognized one of them from earlier. The second man was holding Josh's necklace. Josh didn't like the way the man was rolling it in his fingers. He longed to jump up and scream at them all for what they were doing to Donna, but he stopped himself. He couldn't let them hurt her.

"Well, well, well. If it isn't Joshua Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bartlet?" The man with his necklace said in heavily accented English.

"We brought a girl too." Amir, the man from earlier added in Arabic.

Josh was a little lucky because he had studied Arabic at Harvard. One of his roommates had been Arabic so he had picked up a little bit of the language. But he doubted he should make them aware of this fact.

"So where is the welcoming dinner going to be held tonight?" Necklace man asked, catching Josh off guard.

"I don't know." Josh replied when he wanted to say, how the hell should I know?

"I sensed some hesitation in your answer. Rashad, will you show him how we respond to hesitation?" Necklace man asked.

The man that had Josh into the room came over and punched him in the chest. But this was more than a regular blow. Rashad had hit him right in his scar. That area was still extremely tender and Rashad must've figured it would be. It took all of Josh's will not to yelp in pain.

"Now, let me try again, where is the welcoming dinner going to be held?" Necklace man asked.

"I don't know." Josh said as he hid the pain from his voice.

"Rashad." Necklace man ordered.

Josh was hit a few more times in the same spot. But this time the pain was too much to hide. Rashad snickered as Josh gasped for air. Necklace man pulled Rashad away.

"I don't intend to hurt your friends if that is what you are worried about." Necklace man replied.

"Maybe he doesn't know." Amir said.

"Ha, you fooled my associate here but you didn't fool me. I know that your president is going to a welcoming banquet tonight and that the peace process will start tomorrow. I only want to tell him what will happen if his plan is allowed to continue." Necklace man replied.

"What do you intend to do?" Josh asked weakly.

"I intend to show him what it's like to lose what is important to him. Like losing some of our land will be to us." Necklace man replied.

"The United States doesn't negotiate with terrorists." Josh said quietly.

"Oh you had better hope for your sake that they change their minds. I didn't realize you were a Jew when we grabbed you, but I'm going to show them what we are capable of doing to them." Necklace man replied as he broke the chain of the necklace. "Punish him for me will you, Rashad? And Amir, make sure the Americans get the pictures before their dinner."

Rashad picked up a belt that they had confiscated from Josh and he began to alternate between punching with his fists and whipping him with the belt. Once Josh was good and bloody Amir snapped some pictures. Then Rashad took Josh back to the room where Donna was and he threw him on the floor.

(Leo's Hotel Room, an hour later)

Leo and Jed were sitting the beds looking at some photos that had just been delivered. The pictures of a bloodied Josh sickened them. They were trying to decide what to do about it when Sam knocked on Leo's door. Jed nodded slowly as Leo went to open the door. They both knew that everyone else had to be told sometime.

"Leo, look I don't mean to alarm you but Josh and Donna didn't meet me for lunch, and I haven't been able to find them." Sam said but then he realized that the president was there as well. "I don't mean to interrupt, I'm sure that they are just sightseeing."

"Sam, come in." Jed said slowly as Leo closed the door.

"I honestly didn't mean to interrupt, sir." Sam apologized but then noticed a picture on the floor. He bent down to pick it up.

"Sam, come in." Jed said slowly as Leo closed the door.

"I honestly didn't mean to interrupt, sir." Sam apologized but then noticed a picture on the floor. He bent down to pick it up.

"Sam" Leo said slowly as he waited for him to realize who was in the picture.

"Oh my god, this is Josh isn't it? They took him, didn't they?" Sam asked.

"We just received this picture a couple of minutes ago." Leo stated softly.

"What do they want with Josh?" Sam asked, his voice filled with fear.

"We don't know yet. But we think it has something to do with the peace plan we are here to discuss." Jed said slowly.

"Well, we are going to stop right? We aren't going to just let them hurt him further are we?" Sam asked searching both of their faces for answers.

"We have to continue with the plan. If we stop then they will know that they have won." Leo stated quietly.

"But if we don't stop then they will kill Josh." Sam protested.

"The United States does not give in to terrorists, Sam. If we start now then they will always try to get away with whatever they want." Leo stated.

"Mr. President you can't leave Josh hanging out to dry. We have to try and get him back, sir." Sam pleaded.

"We will try and get him back. But we have to continue on with the peace process as planned." Jed replied, even though it broke his heart to say those words.

"I can't believe this. Josh nearly died six months ago and you were all gung ho about punishing those guys, but he's kidnaped by terrorists and we are just going to pretend it never happened?" Sam exclaimed.

"They are trying to use Josh and Donna has bargaining chips to ruin a peace deal that will
benefit the whole country." Jed defended.

"With all due respect, sir none of us believe in your plan. None of us think it will work. And I'll be damned if you let Josh be the sacrificial lamb." Sam exploded then he stalked out of the room.

"I should..." Leo began.

"No, let him be. He's right you know." Jed stated as he hung his head.

"You know as well as I do that we want to get Josh back. But I don't know how we can do that and keep the peace plan going." Leo said solemnly.

"I have never hated my job as much as I do right now." Jed commented angrily. "I feel like I'm being forced to choose between two members of my staff, or peace for many."

"Shall we tell C.J. and Toby now?" Leo asked.

"Something tells me that Sam has already beat us to it." Jed replied softly.

"We'll figure out a way to get them back, sir." Leo assured.

"I don't think I could live with myself if we didn't." Jed replied as he looked down at one of the pictures. "I just hope we get to them before the terrorists get any worse."

Bargaining Chips - 4



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