Disclaimer: I don't own most of these characters but I wish I could.

How do I live

By Mer

Part 6

After what seemed like an eternity, but in actuality it was probably only twenty minutes a different doctor came in to the waiting room. He walked slowly over to me. I couldn't even look him in the eye. I didn't really want to know what he had to say. I mean I wanted to know but I was really scared. He sensed this and he tried to place a calming hand on my shoulder.


If you ever leave

Baby you would take away everything

Need you here with me

"Mr. Lyman, I presume?" He asked and as I nodded he continued. "My name is Dr. Schilling. You are the father of two boys and a girl."

"How are they?" C.J. asked for me because she could see I was too scared to open my mouth.

"They are all pretty small. Your first son is one pound six ounces, the second one is one pound five ounces, and your daughter is one pound two ounces." Dr. Schilling said.

"Are they supposed to be that small?" I murmured.

"They are premature and it is normal for them to be that tiny." Dr. Schilling replied softly.

"Are they okay?" I asked slowly.

"For the moment all three of them are holding their own." Dr. Schilling replied.

"What do you mean for the moment?" C.J. asked, taken back by his tone.

"The next few months will be a huge battle for them because their lungs and some of their other organs are underdeveloped." Dr. Schilling replied as gently as he could.

"How's Donna?" I asked quietly.

"She's doing well. She's still in a coma but she seems to have suffered no ill effects from the birth of her children." He replied softly.

"When can I see my children?" I asked slowly.

"A nurse will be by shortly to take you to them. I'm not going to lie they will be surrounded by tubes and machines. I know it may seem very overwhelming, but try to talk to them and comfort them." Dr. Schilling suggested.

"And when can we see Donna?" C.J. asked.

"You can see her as soon as you're finished in the nursery if you would like." Dr. Schilling replied before he left the room.

"Why do I get the feeling that he doesn't like us?" C.J. asked trying to lighten the somber mood.

"We work for the president." I replied with little emotion.

"Damn right you do." President Bartlet said as he entered the room with the first lady.

"Any news yet?" Abbey asked.

"They were born a few minutes ago, I have two sons and a daughter." I replied and I really tried to smile.

"Congratulations Josh!" President Bartlet said as he came and shook my hand.

I was speechless. I didn't know what to say to them. My children were born too early and even though Dr. Schilling didn't come out and say it directly, they could probably all die. They all weighed less than two pounds, which even I, knew couldn't be a good sign. The day they were supposed to be born was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, so why did I feel so sad?

"Josh, I know what day this is so it can't be a good thing..." Abbey began, but C.J. stopped her.

"What do you mean what day this is?" C.J. asked slowly.

"Last year on this date..." President Bartlet tried and then I realized what they were trying to say.

"We were both shot." I finished softly.

"I hadn't even thought about that." C.J. mumbled quietly.

"Neither had I." I replied quietly.

"I'm sure they have your fierce will to live." C.J. commented reassuringly.

"But I thought..." President Bartlet began because he knew that they were supposed to be Robbie's.

"She was only six months pregnant." I replied as a nurse came in.

"Mr. Lyman, you can see your children now." She said gently.

"Would you like me to go with you?" Abbey asked.

"Yes please." I replied like a little kid.

"Josh have you figured out what to name them? I have to get everyone up to speed." C.J. asked and was given a killer look by the president and Abbey both.

"It's okay." I assured the two of them. "Noah James, Nathaniel Jared, and Julia Nicole."

"C.J. why don't you wait until Abbey comes back at least and you can explain the situation better." President Bartlet asked slowly.

"I will, I just figured that I should get Toby and Sam back here." She replied softly, without meeting my eyes.

"Yes, please tell them for me, and Leo too." I replied and then I went with Abbey to the nursery.

We got to the nursery and the nurse explained all the special precautions that we had to take. We put the special gowns and masks on and then were escorted to three incubators that were side by side. The babies' inside of them looked like they could fit in the palm of my hand. Machines hissed and moaned all around them. It didn't look natural to me.

After a nurse told me the order that they were born in, I told her the names and she placed them on the incubators, They also gave me three bracelets that were identical to the ones my children were wearing. The only difference was that theirs looked like they could wear them around their waist.

While I was looking at my children Abbey was getting a better handle on their condition. My knee was starting to hurt from all of the pressure I was putting on it, so I decided it was best that I went to see Donna. I also couldn't stand to see my kids in pain any longer. Abbey noticed this and she helped to get me out of there.

"They're holding their own." Abbey whispered gently once we got out of the nursery.

"They just look so frail and so lifeless." I replied.

"Josh I know that this is hard on you, but you have to try and be positive." Abbey encouraged.

"My whole life is in this hospital. Donna is in a coma and they aren't sure if she'll ever wake up. And my sweet little children were born too early..." I said as a tear streaked down my cheek.

"Whatever happens just remember that we are all here to help you." She said as she gave me a hug.

"I know. I think I'm going to go see Donna now." I replied once I pulled away from her.

I walked back to Donna's room and it felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. When this day began I couldn't have even imagined this happening. All I had to do was live the area and my world fell apart. I know it wasn't my fault, but I was still scared that maybe I had missed some sign. Maybe I should've seen this coming and then I would've never left. I would've been there when Donna collapsed.

"Donna, sweetheart I am so sorry that I wasn't there this morning." I said as I entered her room and I took her still hand.

I looked at her face and saw she was sleeping peacefully. She looked like an angel. I stroked her cheek with my other hand. Her skin was still soft, but it was even paler than it normally was. I longed to see her open her pretty blue eyes, but I knew she wouldn't yet.

"We have two little boys and a little girl. I named them off of that sheet C.J. found in my office. I hope that's okay. Noah, Nathaniel, and Julia are all holding their own I guess. They are just really tiny. But they are beautiful. You should see how beautiful they are. I guess that means they take after you huh?" I joked.

I sat by her side for awhile just holding her hand and talking to her. I told her everything that I figured she might like to know. But most of all I told her that I loved her and that I needed her in my life. I told her that our children needed their mom. I even tried to give her a mental picture of what it would be like for me to be a single father. And still I got no response.


Baby 'cause you know

That you're everything

Good in my life

And tell me now

"Josh, do you want me to sit with her awhile so you can go back to the nursery?" C.J. asked once she came in.

"Would you?" I replied slowly.

"Yeah. Sam's here now if you need to talk to him." C.J. commented softly.

"Is everyone else here too?" I asked as I got up from my spot beside Donna's bed.

"Yeah, they are all in the waiting room." C.J. replied.

"Did you give a press briefing?" I asked slowly.

"Yes, I told them all about what happened today." C.J. replied gently.

"I guess today is just a bad day for me." I stated slowly and she gave me a hug.

"Josh, you survived what happened to you a year ago today. And I know you survived to for a reason. You are meant to be a father to those kids and a husband to Donna. Everything is going to turn out okay." C.J. assured me.

"I hope so." I whispered and I went out to the waiting room.

I didn't go in, but I looked in through a window. Leo, Sam, President Bartlet, Abbey, Zoey, Charlie, and yes, even Toby were waiting anxiously for word. I didn't really want to go in, because I wasn't ready for all the looks of sympathy that they were going to give me. I didn't want to hear their assurances that everything was going to be okay. Because I knew that they weren't ever going to be okay again, at least not in the way that they were going to promise.

"Hey Josh." Sam said as he came out to see me.

"Hi." I replied in a tired voice.

"Didn't want to come in huh? I guess I can't blame you. I know they all want to pounce on you." Sam stated with a tiny smile.

"Do you want to go and see them with me?" I asked slowly.

"I would love to see them, I mean if you're ready for me too." Sam commented softly.

"Yeah, I'm not ready to go alone yet." I replied and he patted me on the shoulder.

"I understand. How's your knee by the way?" Sam asked as we started down the hallway.

"Hurts like hell. I think it's probably swollen but I don't really care about it right now." I stated in an irritated voice.

"I didn't mean..." Sam apologized.

"I know, I'm sorry. C.J. has already grilled me about it. It'll be fine in a little while." I said softly.

"Toby..." Sam tried but I stopped him.

"Please Sam, don't even talk about him." I said as we reached the nursery.

"Okay." Sam replied as he followed me in.

How Do I Live - 7




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