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

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 6

(The Presidential Suite-twenty minutes later)

"Leo what the hell was that about? How did the press find out so soon?" Jed asked once Leo came into his room.

"The terrorists, sir. They also sent a package to Sam." Leo said quietly.

"What are their demands?" Jed asked.

"Give up the peace or basically force us into a war with them." Leo replied slowly.

"So what am I supposed to do? Break a promise I made to the Israelis and Palestinians who want peace because of this nut group?" Jed asked in an annoyed voice.

"Sir, this nut group is also holding Josh hostage." Leo replied.

"You think I don't know that? Look at these pictures Leo? Do you think I can get them out of my mind? Hell, I still see the shooting, but you think I can forget these pictures?" Jed exploded.

"No, sir I was just trying to make a point." Leo replied slowly.

"Leo, I warned you that lying about Josh was a bad idea. C.J. thought it was a bad idea, which is why she refused to do it. Now the media thinks that we don't care about Josh and Donna. Have you seen some of the stuff they are saying about us?" Jed asked as he gestured to a TV.

"You're worried about approval ratings, sir?" Leo laughed.

"Leo, what has gotten in to you? No, I don't give a damn about my approval ratings right now. I just want Josh back. For god sakes Leo you are practically a second father to him. If Josh survives this he is never going to forgive you." Jed stated.

"I would much rather have a pissed off Josh than a dead one. And I don't even know why you are yelling at me. You were the one who wanted to help with this stupid peace deal in the first place even though everyone else told you it was a bad idea." Leo countered.

"So this is my fault? Don't you find it the least bit ironic that the only other person who believed in this, was the one who was kidnapped?" Jed asked.

"Oh and what that is my fault right?" Leo replied.

"I didn't mean it that way. Leo, we have to find a way to get Josh back and keep the peace deal going." Jed replied softly.

"I don't see how we can do that, sir. Josh knew the risks when he took this job." Leo answered, and for the first time Jed noticed the slight slur to Leo's words.

"Leo, what the hell was that? Don't you care about Josh at all?" Jed asked in a horrified voice.

"Yeah, that's why I'm extremely drunk right now. Feels really good. I won't have to face reality until tomorrow." Leo answered icily.

"Leo?" Jed asked as he inspected his friend.

"Yup, I believe we have a certifiable drunk here. You know what why don't you go play Rambo with Sam and C.J. for awhile, there is a bottle of scotch that is calling my name?" Leo said as he grabbed the bottle of scotch and took a huge swig.

"Leo, no." Jed said as he took the bottle away.

"It's too late now. I couldn't stop him from being taken, just like I couldn't stop him from being shot, and I didn't help him with PTSD until he broke a window with his fist. Just let me drink tonight and help you tomorrow." Leo said practically in tears.

"Leo, none of that stuff was your fault." Jed assured.

"Why aren't I dead yet? I was in Vietnam and I am a drunk. Why the hell haven't I died yet?" Leo asked.

"Because it's not your time yet." Jed soothed.

"Oh and Josh's time is up?" Leo asked in an enraged voice.

"You know what, have your stupid bottle of scotch, hell order another one on me if that'll make you feel better. But the truth is it won't un-kidnap Josh and Donna. It won't take away the images these pictures have put into your brain. And it sure as hell won't help our predicament out." Jed stated.

"Fine, I'll be passed out in my room when you need me." Leo said as he stumbled out of the room with his bottle of scotch.

"Sir, what happened to Leo?" Toby asked as he came to the door Jed was leaning against.

"He's drunk." Jed replied.

"I can see that but aren't you going to stop him from drinking?" Toby asked.

"No, you know right now I have to come up with a way that rescues two people and keeps a peace deal alive. And the American public probably thinks that I am an asshole." Jed replied.

"From what C.J. said earlier, sir..." Toby began.

"I know. I messed up big." Jed confessed.

(Somewhere in the city)

Josh still hadn't answered her, but Donna knew that he had passed out from the pain. At least that is what she kept telling herself. She had to tell herself that because everything else just seemed so unreal.

Josh's bruises were beginning to look really ugly. Especially the bruises on his face, Donna knew that they were probably infected. She touched his face gingerly and realized that he felt really warm. It took her a moment before she realized that he should be cold. She looked around the room and grabbed the closest thing that there was to a blanket.

Donna heard voices and her body began to tense up. She was afraid for Josh's life. He had been very careful not to say it, but she knew that they were going to kill him. And she also knew that she was probably going to be killed too. That thought scared her, but not as much as the bruised and broken Josh that lay in front of her. She tried to protect Josh but leaned back to try and hear what was being said.

"So did you deliver the second package?" Amir asked.

"Yeah and I made sure that it was delivered to Mr. Seaborn, personally. I wish I could've stayed to see the look on his face once he opened it." Armand laughed.

"So how is Mr. Lyman?" Amir asked.

"I don't know for sure. I think that Rashad roughed him up pretty bad the second time. They were going to let the girl go, but didn't." Armand answered.

"Why not?" Amir questioned.

"I guess it's not good p.r. to kill off your bargaining chip before you actually start to bargain." Armand replied.

"Yeah. I know. Was it true that he was wearing the Star of David?" Amir asked.

"Yes, he was. Abdul took it off of him and I think he broke part of it. I do know that Rashad struck him with it and it left a mark." Armand chuckled.

"Armand, do you think we are doing the right thing?" Amir asked.

"Amir, you of all people should be upset, your own brother was killed by a Jew." Armand practically yelled.

"My brother was also terribly stupid. I'm not sure we should start up a huge war that's all. Granted, I would like to have them all killed, but innocent people are going to die. Innocent people like your son or like my niece." Amir replied.

"They will die for Allah then." Armand replied proudly.

"Don't say stuff like that. This isn't right." Amir stated.

"So what you are going to back out now? Abdul will have you killed." Armand said.

"Like I care. They only want peace, how hard is peace really? I mean it can't be harder than wondering if you are going to die every time you walk outside. We need peace." Amir stated.

"We need peace huh?" Abdul (Necklace Man) said as he encountered the two of them.

"Yes." Amir stated firmly.

Abdul pulled out a gun. He shoved it in Amir's chest. Amir said nothing as Abdul slowly pulled the trigger.

"That'll give you some peace." He replied as Amir fell to the floor dead.

Donna jumped at the sound of the gun. She had been straining to hear the conversation that was going on in the hallway but they were only speaking in Arabic. The gunshot, however, definitely got her attention. It even startled Josh, who started to shake a little.

"Shhh, your okay." Donna soothed as she realized what Josh must be thinking.

Josh didn't say anything in response. She didn't know if it was because he couldn't or if it was because he had fallen back to sleep. She cradled his head in her hands. All she wanted to do was hold him but she didn't because of his injuries.

(U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, sometime later that evening)

"Mr. President, sir I don't really see how we can get the peace plan to work and rescue your staff without at least knowing who the terrorists are." CIA Director Henry Harris said via telephone.

"I realize this but the rest of my staff is falling apart. We have to do something. Have you seen the pictures I faxed you?" Jed asked.

"Not yet." Director Harris replied softly.

"Look at these pictures, if Josh is alive I suspect that it's only barely." Jed replied.

"Sir, what did Leo say?" Director Harris asked.

"Leo is incapacitated at the moment. The kidnapping hit too close to home with him." Jed replied without telling the man that Leo fell off the wagon.

"And what about you Mr. Seaborn, Mr. Ziegler what do you suggest we do?" Director Harris asked.

"We have to find Josh." Sam replied softly.

"We'd rather find him alive Henry." Jed added.

"I think that the peace is a secondary thing." Toby said quietly.

"I agree with Toby there, but I do believe these people are stupid enough to start a war." Director Harris said.

"But why?" Sam asked.

"They want vengeance for all the loved ones they've lost." Director Harris replied slowly.

"By messing with the United States!" Toby exclaimed.

"They want to pin the blame on someone else. They want to look like patriots, to be remembered as heroes and not as the cowards they are." Jed theorized.

"More than likely, yes." Director Harris replied.

"My best friend is being beaten to death because they want to look like patriots?" Sam exclaimed.

"Sam, we will find him." Jed reassured.

"Wait, these second set of pictures, who received them?" Director Harris asked interrupting them.

"I did. They delivered them to my hotel room." Sam replied slowly.

"What did the man look like?" Director Harris asked.

"Arabian why?" Sam said as he gave the phone a puzzled look, as if magically Director Harris was supposed to see in Washington.

"And what part of Jerusalem are you in?" Director Harris asked.

"What? We are at the embassy." Sam replied giving the phone an even more puzzled look.

"I think he means our hotel, it was in the predominantly Jewish section." Toby replied.

"Director what are you implying?" Jed asked.

"I'm saying that whoever delivered the second package was probably part of the terrorist group." Director Harris replied.

"And where do you get that conclusion from?" Jed asked.

"Look at the second envelope again." Director Harris ordered.

Toby picked up the envelope and he gave it to Jed. Sam looked away. He couldn't stand to see the sight of Josh's blood. Toby recognized this and he gave Sam a reassuring pat on the back.

"Okay where I am supposed to look?" Jed asked.

"Do you see a little marking on the left-hand corner? My copy is a little smudged from the fax." Director Harris asked.

"Yeah, there is a Star of David with the no sign over it." Jed answered, as he couldn't believe they hadn't noticed it earlier.

"It's a fairly new terrorist group. We aren't even sure what their official name is, but their leader is a man named Abdul." Director Harris replied.

"How powerful are they?" Toby asked.

"They are on the bottom of the terrorist totem pole. But it looks like they wanted to make waves by threatening the U.S." Director Harris answered.

"Do we know where they are located?" Jed asked.

"I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you." Director Harris replied with a smirk.

 

Bargaining Chips - 7

 

 

 

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