Unwelcomed Changes

By Mer

Part 27

C.J.'s Office

C.J. ran straight from the press room to her office. She grabbed on to the door to slam it in frustration and sorrow, but Toby appeared before she could. Tears had already begun to streak down her cheeks and they fell even harder when she saw Toby's face.

"It's true isn't it?" C.J. asked as she allowed him to enter her office.

"I'm afraid so." Toby replied though he couldn't be 100% sure since he didn't take the time to check it out.

C.J. sunk down into her desk chair in response. She hated the fact that no one had thought to tell her these things before the press conference started. She needed to be totally brought up to speed before she entered the press room and everyone knew it.

"Toby, how did Steve know that Josh was dead before me?" C.J. sobbed.

"I don't know." Toby replied gently, letting her search his eyes so that she could see he was telling the truth.

There was an uncomfortable pause in the room. Grief and anger clung in the air, grief for Josh's death, anger about Sam's predicament, about not being told of Mandy's arrest beforehand. It seemed as if everything had chanced and there was nothing that neither one of them could do about it. C.J. broke the silence first.

"I can't believe it, now Casey is going to be his permanent replacement. We've lost both Josh and Sam in one fell swoop." C.J. sobbed harder.

"I know." Toby replied as he patted C.J.'s back.

"Why didn't anyone tell me? Why did they just let me get blindsided like that? Why didn't Leo tell me at least? He knows what happens when I go in there unprepared. Why did he let this happen?" C.J. asked.

"I wish I could give you an answer to that question but I am as lost as you are." Toby replied as he handed her a Kleenex.

"And what the hell was the whole Mandy situation about?" C.J. asked as she tried to dry her eyes.

"I'm still working on that one myself. I think Casey is tracking down that information as we speak." Toby replied.

"Good because I would really like to know." C.J. answered.

"Though Mandy's arrest makes sense." Toby replied.

"What do you mean by that?" C.J. asked.

"We all have wanted her arrested for a long time." Toby replied making his hatred of Mandy known.

"It's no secret that Mandy hadn't made a lot of friends here." C.J. replied.

"Aside from her, I have a question for you. Do you think that Sam really killed his doctor?" Toby asked.

"You know, Sam of a couple of months ago would have passed out at the sight of the doctor's dead body, so I don't think that Sam could have killed anyone. This new Sam, however, scares the beJesus out of me. I'm not sure, if he could or not Toby. I just don't know. What do you think?" C.J asked.

"I don't know. I'd like to believe that he is innocent but I'm not sure that I can. You saw what he did to Josh that one time. If he hadn't have been pulled off Josh, Josh could have been killed by his hands instead of in surgery." Toby said somberly.

"That doesn't me feel any better." C.J. admitted.

Leo's Office

"Leo, I need to talk to you." Casey said as he entered Leo's office without knocking.

"I'm a little busy here." Leo replied as he pointed to Donna who was still sobbing on his shoulder.

"It's very important." Casey stressed the word important.

"Go get Bonnie or Ginger first." Leo ordered, silently cursing that Margaret was at the dentist.

"Okay." Casey replied.

A minute or so later he came back with an upset Bonnie. She was trying to compose herself, but not doing a good job. Leo motioned to Donna, and although he didn't say a word to Bonnie, she understood what he meant. Leo wanted the two of them to console each other.

"What is so important?" Leo asked after he followed Casey into Josh's office.

"It's about Josh." Casey replied.

"Casey, this is not really the time or the appropriate place to be talking about him." Leo said as he gestured around the office.

"Leo, I know that everyone in this administration resents me for taking Josh's place. And I know that I didn't always make it easy on you to like me. But there is something of dire importance that I need to tell you. And right now, it is exactly the right time to tell you, especially now that Senator Herman has been arrested." Casey replied as he stopped Leo from leaving the room.

"What is it? And what the hell does Senator Herman have to do with this?" Leo asked.

"Leo, there is something shocking that I am about to tell you, I know. But you have to believe me." Casey said.

"What?" Leo asked.

"Leo, Josh didn't die this morning. His death was faked because they knew of the attempt on his life. The surgery today never happened. That's why Mrs. Bartlet and Josh's mom haven't come back from the hospital yet." Casey replied.

"What!" Leo exclaimed.

"Josh isn't dead." Casey repeated after he closed the door to the office.

"How the hell are you in the loop and not me?" Leo demanded as he sank down in a visitor chair.

"Josh figured out that Senator Herman and Mandy were connected, don't ask me how. The surgery was a scheme, though Mandy and Senator Herman didn't know that. They even went so far as to impair his doctor to ensure Josh's death." Casey replied.

"Why do I feel like I have entered a soap opera?" Leo mumbled.

"Leo, I know it seems far out but Josh is alive, trust me on this." Casey stated.

"Did he have the surgery today then or not?" Leo asked thoroughly confused.

 

"No, he didn't have surgery last night. The headaches and the mass were faked. His blindness however, was not faked, and unfortunately it appears to be permanent." Casey replied.

"I'll take a blind Josh over a dead Josh any day." Leo replied with a sigh of relief.

"I'm sorry but I couldn't tell you. If it looked like you weren't upset over Josh's death then it could spark alarm bells." Casey stated.

"What about Sam and the murder wrap he's facing?" Leo asked.

"He's innocent. And thankfully, it's all on tape that he didn't do it. A bug was hidden on Mandy's purse. When she met with the senator she had it with her, so Sam will be exonerated." Casey replied.

"When did all of this transpire?" Leo asked still not believing his ears.

"The other day, Josh got suspicious of Mandy. Once Senator Herman escaped he figured out that Mandy was working with him. After all, Josh and Sam were barely in comas when Mandy came begging for a job. So with the FBI he arranged his death to be faked. He even had a doctor come in and give him fake bad news a few times in case he ever had visitors." Casey replied.

"How long was he going to stay "dead"?" Leo asked.

"Josh was going to play dead as long as it took for Senator Herman and Mandy to be caught in the act. It was the FBI's idea, not his." Casey replied trying not to make Josh look guilty.

"Okay, and what were you going to do about the Press?" Leo asked.

"The briefing wasn't fed publicly like it usually was. Instead, any of the people who watch at home were given an error message. The FBI is briefing the press about the incident right now as we speak. The press are not going to even mention Josh's death." Casey assured him.

"How are they going to do that?" Leo asked.

"The press isn't going to be a problem because by explaining the Senator Herman, Mandy connection and the murder of the doctor and a few other details that they have been salivating over they won't have time to write Josh's story." Casey replied.

"Like a Friday briefing huh?" Leo asked.

"Exactly." Casey beamed.

"Casey, I must say that this administration hasn't given you enough credit." Leo replied.

"Don't worry about it." Casey replied.

"Is it okay if we tell the staff now?" Leo asked.

"Hang on just a second." Casey said as he made a phone call.

"Well, can we?" Leo asked.

"Have the staff gather in an hour, wherever you want them to." Casey asked.

"I have to tell President Bartlet about this first, why we all don't meet in the Roosevelt Room." Leo suggested.

"Deal." Casey replied as he saw a huge burden being lifted off of Leo's shoulders.