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

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 7

(Somewhere in the city-early the next morning)

"Get up." Rashad ordered Josh.

Donna awoke first and she saw Rashad. She knew that something bad was going to happen to Josh again. Rashad was very angry and she was afraid that he would get so mad that he'd actually kill Josh off. So she began to shake him.

"Josh you have to get up." Donna pleaded.

"Hmm..." Josh stirred and tried to open his eyes.

"You can't open them. But please get up." Donna begged.

Josh nodded his head even though it hurt like hell to. He tried to get up, but he found he didn't have any strength to. Donna noticed this before Rashad did and she helped him to his feet. He leaned heavily on her. Donna cringed when Rashad realized that Josh couldn't move on his own power.

He picked Josh up and swung him over his shoulder. The sheet that was Josh's blanket fell off and Donna realized he was shivering. Before she could protest Rashad had carried Josh out of the room.

He carried Josh to a different room than the one that Josh had been beaten in. And fortunately for Josh his eyes were swollen shut, because he couldn't see Amir's blood that still stained the hallway floor. Rashad set Josh down more gingerly in a chair this time. Josh had to rest his elbows on the table because he didn't really have the strength to sit up fully.

While he waited to figure out why he was there Josh began to cough a little. He didn't think he was coughing up blood, but it sure hurt to do so. His whole body ached really, but especially around the area where he had been shot. They had really beaten him good there. And in a way Josh was glad his eyes were swollen shut, he didn't really want to see their faces again anyway.

"Well, well looks like we survived the night after all." Abdul said as he came into the room.

"Don't mind him he's a little weak and blind." Rashad joked in Arabic.

"I can see that." Abdul responded in Arabic.

Josh wanted to smack off the smirks he knew they had on their faces. But he didn't have any energy too. Besides he couldn't see them. He wanted to scream at them to finish him off if they planned to kill him, but he knew it would break Donna's heart. So he decided to remain quiet for now.

"We need you to call your president. The dinner was cancelled last night but not before the press found out about you. And to think your friends tried to lie and say you were sick." Abdul said in English.

"Should we play him the tape or shall he just take our word on it?" Rashad asked in halting English.

Josh wondered what they were talking about. His mind was a cloud of pain. It was really hard to concentrate. But he did hear something about his friends lying. C.J. would never lie about him being kidnapped. Josh wanted to believe that they were playing a sick mind game with him. But then the Deputy Chief of Staff in him told him that they probably had lied, to keep the terrorists out of the limelight.

"Oh and you might be pleased to know that your friend Leo got very drunk last night. It was such a pity." Abdul mocked.

"What do you want from me?" Josh finally asked weakly.

"You need to call one of your friend's and assure them that both of you are still alive. And then you have to get their answer to our proposal." Abdul said as he handed Josh a phone.

Josh felt around on the phone for the numbers. He wasn't exactly sure he was hitting the right keys, but he was afraid to give them the number. Even though he knew they already knew where his friends were.

"Sam Seaborn" Sam said as he answered the phone, expecting it to be the president with an update.

"Sam" Josh said weakly.

"Josh is that you? I can barely hear you." Sam said.

"It's me." Josh tried to say louder, but the added air hurt too much to take in.

"Okay, Josh where are you? Are you alright?" Sam asked, even though he knew that his best friend sounded like death warmed over.

"I'm..." Josh began but the phone was wrenched away from him.
"Tell your president that he must give us an answer in an hour. A gesture of goodwill on his part will be to authorize the release of one of the prisoners on his list. We will do the same. But if he does not..." Abdul's angry voice trailed off, leaving Sam to figure out the rest on his own.

"How will we know you're telling the truth?" Sam asked.

"Don't do it, and test us." Abdul said as he slammed down the phone.

Josh winced at the noise. That did not go unnoticed by Abdul. He got right up beside Josh and he put his face near Josh's ear.

"Think your president's gonna let you live?" Abdul shouted into Josh's ear, causing him to startle.

"I'll make sure that Armand lets the girl go safely." Rashad said in Arabic.

"Make sure you keep a close eye on her. If they back out on their part of the deal, she's the first to die." Abdul said in English.

(Presidential Suite-five minutes later)

"Good news Sam, Henry said that they got the trace off of your phone. They know the vicinity that Josh is being held in." Jed said excitedly.

"I hope were not too late, sir." Sam mumbled.

"What do you mean by that? We are going to get Josh back." C.J. said mirroring the president's enthusiasm.

"You didn't hear Josh's voice." Sam said quietly.

"We found them, Sam." Toby stated gently.

"How did you know to bug my phone?" Sam asked.

"We didn't, Director Harris told me to have all of the phone's bugged so that in case they called any of us we would be ready." Jed replied.

"What about the peace process?" C.J. asked.

"It is going ahead as planned, although we are no longer involved in it. The Israelis and Palestinians agreed to work on it themselves. They understood what a tough position we were put in." Jed replied.

"That's good." Leo mumbled from his spot in the corner.
Jed glared over in Leo's direction but he didn't say anything. Leo was pretty hung over and he still wasn't ready for any action. But Jed had allowed him to attend this meeting as long as he didn't make any comments. None of his decisions were going to be considered until he had begun to sober up. The senior staff knew this, but they hadn't mentioned a word about it.

"They are even naming the peace summit after Josh." Jed replied softly.

"Oh great, add that to ego boy's list." C.J. mumbled but then she felt really bad about it.

"I think I would rather have ego boy." Toby said quietly.

"I wonder how Donna is holding up with this." Leo said softly, again getting a glare.

"I pray that they didn't hurt her." Sam said angrily.

"For Josh's sake." C.J. added.

"So are we going to release a political prisoner?" Leo asked, but was ignored.

"They should be calling us with news about Josh and Donna any minute now." Jed stated quickly as if to cover up Leo's words.

"Well are we?" Leo demanded.

"One." Toby finally answered to shut him up.

They waited for news and they did release one of the political prisoners. But he was the least dangerous one on the list. It seemed as if he had been hastily added at the last minute. Jed hoped that was enough to get Josh or Donna released. Whenever they released one, the CIA would be waiting to be lead back to the other.

The phone made a shrill ring and it broke the silence of the room. No one jumped to answer it. They were all afraid of bad news. Jed decided that he should answer it, so he picked it up.

"President Bartlet" Jed said into the phone.

"Mr. President, sir, they released one of the hostages. But we were unable to find their location. I'm sorry, sir." CIA Agent Jefferies said.

"It's all right. Which hostage did they release?" Jed asked.

"The woman sir, along with..." The agent's voice caught in his throat.

"Along with what?" Jed asked slowly.

"A body, sir." Agent Jefferies said slowly.

"A body?" Jed repeated.

"We haven't been able to get a good look at it yet, sir. I'm sorry. We will call you with my information as soon as we have it. Donna is on her way to the hotel." Agent Jefferies said.

"Thank you." Jed said as he hung up the phone.

"What is it?" C.J. asked as she saw the horrified look on the president's face.

"They released Donna, and a body." Jed said slowly.

"The bastards killed Josh?" Sam exploded.

"We don't know that yet." Jed said slowly.

"But it's a body." Sam protested.

C.J. and Toby were thinking the same thing that Sam was. C.J. went over and hugged Sam. Tears rolled down both of their cheeks as they prayed that it wasn't Josh. Toby and the president looked solemnly at each other and prayed silently without showing too much emotion. Leo just sat in the corner mumbling please let it be someone else.

Bargaining Chips - 8




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