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

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 4

(C.J.'s Hotel Room)

"Someone better have died for you to be banging on my door like that." C.J. grumbled aloud as she threw open the door.

"Someone might already have." Sam replied with a dejected look on his face.

"Sam, what happened?" C.J. asked as she let him in.

"Josh and Donna were kidnapped." Sam said slowly.

"Very funny, Sam. Now let me get some sleep." C.J. replied.

"I'm serious. Look at this if you don't believe me." Sam said as he thrust a photo in her face.

"What the hell is this?" C.J. asked but then gasped when she noticed what it was. "Why did they do this? Who did this?"

"I don't know." Sam replied angrily.

"Sam does Toby know about this? Does Leo and the president know about this?" C.J. asked.

"I don't know if Toby knows or not. But Leo knows, he's where I got the picture from." Sam spit out angrily.

"Whoa, calm down let me get Toby in here." C.J. suggested as she went to call Toby.

"What do you guys want? I had at least another hour left to sleep." Toby grumbled.

"Josh and Donna were kidnapped and you both are angry about losing sleep." Sam exploded.

"Would you remind repeating what you just said? What do you mean Josh and Donna were kidnapped, weren't they supposed to be sightseeing with you?" Toby countered.

"Gee Toby, way to make him feel better." C.J. commented as she saw Sam's face fall. "Here look at this."

"I don't understand how could this have happened?" Toby finally managed to say.

"I don't know." C.J. replied softly.

"What about Leo? Does he know?" Toby asked.

"Yes, and they want to keep this between us. They want to pretend that it never happened." Sam shouted.

"What do you mean they want to pretend that it never happened?" C.J. asked, her eyes flashing with anger.

"They don't want to interrupt the peace process because Josh was kidnapped. They don't want the damn terrorists to win. Instead, they want to let them kill my best friend." Sam shouted as tears began to streak down his cheeks.

"Sam, they didn't say that. I'm sure you misheard them or something." C.J. soothed.

"Leo said that the United States doesn't negotiate with terrorists." Sam said angrily.

"Sam, we will talk to them. They can't just not do anything." C.J. exclaimed.

"Actually..." Toby began but was even a harsh look from C.J. so he stopped.

"We won't let them do this." C.J. replied.

(Somewhere in the city)

Donna was getting worried. Josh had not moved since he was thrown in the room with her. Since they had freed her hands she had done her best to tend to his wounds. His left eye had swollen shut and ugly bruises had begun to form over the rest of his body. His breathing was somewhat labored and she knew that they had aggravated his previous injury. She had never seen it up close before and now was very shocked by it.

But she tried to push that out of her mind. Josh began to stir. Donna tried to keep him still.

"Just rest now." Donna pleaded with him.

"It's okay Donnatella." Josh whispered as though he sensed her fear.

"No Josh it is definitely not okay." Donna said as she ran her fingers through his hair.

"You aren't a target." Josh whispered.

"And that's supposed to make me feel better? Josh, why were we taken? What do they want from us?" Donna cried out.

"They want to stop the peace process. And they only wanted me, they had to grab you to protect themselves." Josh assured her.

"To protect themselves? What do I look like, Rambo?" Donna sobbed.

"Shhh, it's going to be okay." Josh soothed.

"How do they intend to stop the peace process?" Donna asked quietly.

Josh thought about that for a moment. He knew damn well what they were going to do. They were going to kill him in the hopes of getting the president to change his mind. And when that didn't work, they were going to kill innocent civilians.

"Well?" Donna demanded.

"By using me as a bargaining chip." Josh said softly as he tried to pull himself into a sitting position.

"Josh don't you'll hurt yourself even more." Donna said as she tried to force him to stay down.

"Need..." Josh started to say but he didn't have enough air too.

Donna realized this and she helped pull him up to a sitting position. Once he was sitting upright he began to cough like they had shown him to do after he was shot. Only this time he was coughing up a little blood. Josh could see through his one eye that Donna was mortified.

"It'll pass." He whispered.

"Josh, what if..." Donna's voice trembled.

"I won't let them hurt you. I won't let them hurt you." Josh soothed.

(Leo's Hotel Room)

"What do you mean you want me to tell the press that Josh is sick? Leo, he could be dead by now." C.J. exclaimed angrily.

"C.J. we don't know what the terrorist demands are yet. All we have gotten is a packet of photos." Leo replied calmly.
"So lying about where Josh is, is going to help how?" C.J. snapped.

"We can't give them any attention. That's all they want." Leo stated.

"And they want to kill Josh! Leo, I can't believe that you want me to do this! Josh is not a sacrificial lamb. We aren't going to just let them kill him!" C.J. shouted.

"C.J. calm down." Leo urged.

"Calm down? Josh has been kidnapped by terrorists, beaten to a bloody pulp too I might add, and you want me to calm down. Oh and God knows what they have done to Donna." C.J. exclaimed.

"C.J. we need to keep this quiet right now." Leo replied.

"How long do we have to keep this quiet? Huh? What if they kill him? Huh, what the hell are we supposed to tell the press? Are we supposed to tell them that he died of food poisoning?" C.J. shrieked.

"No of course not..." Leo stammered.

"I am not saying that Josh is sick. You know why don't you tell them. Why don't you do the whole freaking press conference all by yourself? And when they ask why you are doing it, tell them it's because I quit." C.J. yelled.

"You can't quit, C.J." Leo said slowly.

"And you can't hang Josh and Donna out to dry. Leo, I will not allow you guys to do this." C.J. said as her voice started to shake.

"C.J. we are doing everything we can to find them." Leo said softly.

"You know I think Josh was the only one who believed in this peace thing. And do you know why that is Leo?" C.J. asked through her tears.

"Why?" Leo asked quietly.

"Because he almost died once. He almost died and he's tired of other people dying for senseless reasons." C.J. sobbed.

"We'll find him." Leo soothed.

"I'm still not speaking at the press conference. I refuse to lie when Josh's life is on the line." C.J. exclaimed, and exited the room before Leo could respond.

"Was that C.J. I just saw tearing off down the hall?" Jed asked as he stood in the doorway.

"Yup." Leo said glumly.

"I take it she's pissed." Jed offered.

"She threatened to quit, sir." Leo replied without looking up.

"I was afraid of that. And I bet that at least Sam is at that point as well." Jed stated.

"Yeah, what are we going to do, sir?" Leo asked.

"There's nothing we can do now but wait. They haven't even made any demands yet. All they did was send us pictures of Josh." Jed replied quietly.

"But do you really think they will stop with him?" Leo asked suddenly.

"No." Jed finally admitted.


Bargaining Chips - 5




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