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

Bargaining Chips

By Mer

Part 8

(Somewhere in the city)

"Rashad, how long do you think it will take for them to realize that it's not Mr. Lyman's burned body?" Abdul asked.

"I don't know." Rashad said with a hint of laughter in his voice.

"I bet you're happy that we let your friend go." Abdul said snidely to Josh.

"Thank you." Josh replied weakly.

Josh was slumped all the way forward on the table now. The pain was just too much to rest on his elbows. He felt hot and yet chilled at the same time. He knew that he had an infection, yet there was nothing he could do. He couldn't even open his eyes, much less try to fight his kidnapers.

But at least Donna was safe. Donna was safe now and that was all that mattered to him. Even if he if he happened to die in this horrible place he would be okay knowing that she had escaped.

His situation kind of reminded Josh of what his grandparents must have gone through in the concentration camp. Well, not every aspect, but the wondering when death will come. The pain, the religious persecution, and just the agony of it all. He definitely had more respect for them. Not that he didn't already, but he could definitely relate with them now.

"I bet your hungry huh?" Abdul asked, and for the first time Josh remembered he hadn't eaten in over twenty-four hours.

"Abdul, don't tease him." Rashad joked in Arabic.

Oh what Josh wouldn't give to pop both of them in the mouth. But he knew that he couldn't. He would not have even if he could see. Josh was smart enough to know when he was outnumbered and out muscled.

"Well, would you like some food?" Abdul asked.

"Yes." Josh said slowly.

"Sorry we don't feed people we are about to kill." Abdul said sweetly.

"Then just get it over with." Josh muttered in Hebrew.

"What did you just say?" Abdul asked angrily.

"A prayer." Josh answered slyly, getting some energy to fight with words.

"Well, not even your God can help you now." Abdul stated angrily.

"What will killing me accomplish?" Josh asked slowly.

"It will send a message that we aren't to be messed with." Abdul said angrily.

"If that were the case then I'd already be dead." Josh replied smugly, not quite knowing where this fight was coming from.

"Rashad, I think he needs to be taught another lesson." Abdul yelled.

(Presidential Suite-an hour later)

"Donna, how are you?" Jed asked as the young woman was brought back to the hotel.

"They didn't hurt me." Donna said as she tried to fight off the images of a battered Josh.

"Was he alive when you last saw him?" Leo asked from the banishment corner.

"Yes." Donna answered.

"And you left without him?" Leo asked.

"Yes." Donna began to sob, not realizing that she wasn't supposed to pay attention to Leo.

"I'm sure he's still alive." Jed comforted.

"How the hell can you even say that?" Sam asked his eyes still red from crying.

"Because we don't know yet." Jed soothed letting the outburst go.

"Look what this trip has done to your beloved staff." Leo muttered.

"Leo, that's enough from you." Jed warned.

C.J. began to hug Donna and she whispered in her ear that Leo had gotten really drunk the night before and to not listen to a word that he said. Donna only nodded. C.J. released her and she ran right for Sam's arms.

"He was trying to protect me." Donna sobbed.

"It because he knows how much you care about him." Sam said gently.

"He told me he loved me." Donna sobbed.

"He does love you Donna." Toby comforted from his spot next to Sam.

"Donna why don't we go back to my room and lie down." C.J. suggested.

"Okay. I want to take a shower first." Donna said as she looked down at herself, and for the first time noticed little blood spots on her clothes.

"It's okay. You don't have to change just yet, if you don't want too." Toby said as he realized why Donna had frozen in place. She didn't want to wash Josh off of her.

"Come on maybe we should get you a donut or something too." Sam offered.

Donna wasn't really hungry and she doubted that she would be able to sleep, but she appreciated what they were all trying to do. Jed came over and gave her a hug before she left with them.

"Tell me when you hear something okay." Donna begged.

"I will." Jed promised.

"I mean anything..." Donna's voice trailed.

"I know. You go and rest up with C.J., Sam, and Toby." Jed said softly.

After they left Jed turned to Leo. He had forgotten how nasty Leo could be when he had a hangover. Some of the things he had been saying in the past few hours had been down right cruel.

"Leo, what the hell is your problem? I mean I know that you have a hangover and your pissed because you need another drink, but did you really have to be so cruel to Donna?" Jed yelled.

"Not so loud, sir please." Leo begged.

"I don't care if you have a headache the size of Europe, where do you get off being so cruel? Don't you think that Donna feels bad enough about being alive and not knowing whether Josh is or not? Didn't you see the blood on her clothes?" Jed yelled.

"I failed Josh." Leo replied simply.

"Maybe not yesterday when he was kidnapped but you sure as hell failed him today. When his friends needed you all you did was point out how hopeless the situation was. You promised me last night that you would be okay by today." Jed screamed.

"So I lied. I mean isn't that my profession?" Leo asked.

Jed wanted nothing more than to beat the crap out of his best friend at the moment. Leo was being so awful that Jed would much rather have him drinking than like that. It then dawned on him that maybe that was what Leo was trying to do. Maybe he was trying to build a wall around him that everyone would assume was alcohol induced.

"Leo, it's me here. I am your best friend. Tell me what's really wrong." Jed begged.

"Josh was kidnapped and there was nothing I could do to stop it. He doesn't deserve this, Jed. I mean especially since he fought back from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I've been down that road before. And to have Josh violently pulled back their so soon, when he's still recovering from the first time." Leo stated quietly.

"Josh is a strong man." Jed said softly.

"But how strong can he be? Donna didn't tell us how he was holding up when she saw him, but I saw the look of horror she had in her eyes. That look of horror was the same look people had in Vietnam after they had been tortured. She may not have really experienced it first hand, but she saw what Josh was going through." Leo said quietly.

"So what does that mean?" Jed asked, confused.

"Josh's spirit is going to be shattered." Leo said softly.

(Somewhere in the city)

Josh had expected the blows to be harder. He really expected them to hurt more than they did. But for some reason they didn't seem to faze him. He felt them all right but maybe it was because he had detached himself from his body. Josh hoped that he didn't return until after the beatings were over.

He finally began to understand where the fighting words he said had come from; his body was ready to die. He could tell that with every weakened breath he took in. And his mouth figured that it would help speed the process along. And surprisingly he wasn't scared. He had been scared in Roslyn, but he wasn't scared now.
"Hands up Abdul, you and your group are so busted." Agent Jefferies said in Arabic.

"My, my they sent the cavalry in." Abdul remarked.

"Yeah you may have won the battle, but we won the war." Agent Jefferies said.

"Rashad..." Abdul said hoping that he could still kill Josh.

"I wouldn't even think about it." Another agent said.

"You haven't heard the last of us!" Abdul screamed as they began to cuff him and lead him down the hall.

"Maybe not your group, but we have definitely heard the last of you." Agent Jefferies replied.

"Jefferies we need an ambulance fast." The other agent said drawing his attention to Josh.

"Well, I guess he wasn't the body." Jefferies replied slowly.

"Looks pretty darn close. Though he's still faintly breathing." His partner replied as he listened to Josh's chest.

"I'll call the president." Jefferies replied softly.

 

Bargaining Chips - 9

 

 

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