Unwelcomed Changes

By Mer

Part 19

C.J.'s Office

C.J. sat at her desk aimlessly reading a boring memo that she guessed she was going to have to include in her press briefing. But her mind wasn't on the memo her mind was on the mind of her two friends. Sam was hostile now and she wondered if her friend Sam was still in there somewhere. And Josh could be blind. The blindness aspect bothered her but not as much as the change in his demeanor. He seemed a bit withdrawn. It was like Josh was the complete opposite of Sam.

"Am I interrupting anything important?" Danny called from the doorway causing C.J. to jump.

"I thought I told you not to scare me like that anymore." C.J. muttered as she motioned for Danny to come in.

"Sorry." Danny replied with a sheepish grin.

"Can I help you with something?" C.J. asked with her eyebrows raised.

"I need to know about Sam." Danny stated slowly, as he carefully watched C.J. take a sharp breath.

"What do you want to know about Sam?" C.J. asked, her voice squeaking a little more than she would have liked.

"He's different right?" Danny asked slowly.

"He nearly lost his life in a horrible fire. I say he has every right to be different." C.J. defended.

"But he's worse than that isn't he?" Danny prodded.

"It depends on your definition." C.J. replied evasively.

"I'm asking because Katie is planning to go ahead with a story that basically states Sam is a danger to society." Danny replied knowing that C.J. would react badly to what he just said.

"What? Who the hell are her sources? Sam's condition is classified, and the hospital knows that!" C.J. exclaimed.
"The hospital didn't tell her." Danny replied slowly.

"Then who did?" C.J. demanded, her voice clearly raised to a shout.

"Mandy." Danny replied with a shrug.

"Mandy!!!! I'm going to kill her Danny. I swear to God." C.J. said as she jumped up from her desk.

"Whoa cowgirl, you can hold off on forming the posse for just a minute." Danny said as he grabbed her arm.

"I don't need a posse." C.J. replied through clinched teeth, and Danny had to admit, she was probably right.

"I defused Katie's story." Danny replied softly.

"What?" C.J. asked as she looked at him skeptically.

"I told her to hold off on it." Danny replied.

"How did you get her to do that?" C.J. asked with amazement.

"I told her that Mandy would say anything to keep her job." Danny replied.

"And she believed you?" C.J. asked slowly.

"For now." Danny replied with a smile.

"You know don't you?" C.J. asked suddenly, looking at Danny more closely.

"Yeah, I overheard Toby mentioning something to Charlie. But I swear that I am the only one who heard their conversation. Sam and Josh are my friend's too C.J. I don't want either one of them to get burned." Danny replied gently.

"Thank you. I don't know if I could diffuse a story like that." C.J. replied as she turned and looked at a photo that was on her desk.

"Hey everything's going to be okay. I promise you that." Danny stated gently.

"I wish I could believe you Danny, but right now, I'm not sure I can." C.J. sighed.

"Oh trust me, you will eventually." Danny said as he smiled and left the room.

"If you only knew." C.J. whispered as she wiped away a tear that had streaked down her cheek.
Rosslyn Long-Term Care Facility- Sam's Room

Leo had to duck as the water cup whizzed by him when he opened up the door to Sam's Room. Sam looked over at him, but he made no attempt to apologize. Leo noticed the cold look was etched on his face. What he wouldn't give to see one of Sam's smiles.

"What do you want?" Sam asked coldly.

"I came to see how you were doing." Leo replied.

"Don't you have a country to help run?" Sam asked.

"Yes, but nothing too earth shattering is happening right now and Margaret will call me if there is anything that I need to be alerted about." Leo replied.

"I see." Sam replied, as he crossed his arms over his chest.

"Sam, how can I help you?" Leo asked quietly.

"How can you help me?" Sam exclaimed, as he laughed angrily at the question.

"What can I do to help you?" Leo asked again.

"For starters you can take back the night of the fire." Sam replied.

"Sam you know that I can't do that." Leo replied.

"Well, then you can make Josh remember what happened." Sam replied with little emotion.

"I thought you told him what happened?" Leo asked.

"My telling him of the nights events doesn't make him feel the pain that I felt." Sam replied bitterly.

"You want him to feel the pain that you felt?" Leo asked.

"Hell yes I do. I do not want to be the only one with the memories. I don't want to be the only one who remembers what it was like to wonder if your next breath was going to be your last. I don't want to remember what it was like to be there at all." Sam replied.

"And you think that Josh should?" Leo asked.

"Someone should." Sam complained bitterly.

"Is that what this is all about? We weren't there so you are tying to punish us?" Leo asked.

"I don't know why I'm so angry all of the time. I just know that I think I kind of like being angry." Sam replied.

"Sam is this because of what happened with Josh?" Leo asked.

"What do you mean?" Sam asked.

"Is this because of how he acted when the first symptoms of PSTD were coming out?" Leo asked.

"No of course not, that was different. Josh was shot and he nearly died and no one really realized he was missing at first. He had every right to be angry." Sam replied.

"What about right now? Does he have the right to be angry because he was trapped in a fire?" Leo asked.

"Of course he does. I was the one who pissed the senator off and I was the one who made it so he had to attend the auction, which lead to him being there for the fire." Sam replied.

"And the fact that he nearly died a second time and is now blind as a result of the fire, gives him all the more reason to be pissed off right?" Leo asked.

"Of course it does. I would be angrier than hell if I were him." Sam replied.

"And what about yourself, I mean you pissed the senator off, you got your best friend in trouble with you, you both were trapped in the fire and now he is blind and you aren't. Does that give you any reason to be pissed of at everyone else?" Leo asked.

"No, it only gives me a reason to be mad at myself." Sam replied.

"You know I know that Josh doesn't remember the fire, but why do you think that his PSTD hasn't flared back up?" Leo asked.

"He doesn't have a reason for it to come back, because he wasn't alone this time." Sam replied.

"Sam, do you see what I am trying to say here?" Leo asked.

"I think so. You are trying to say that I really don't have a reason to be so upset." Sam replied and Leo could see a spark of the old Sam return.

"I can't take back that night, and I can't make it never happen. What happened to you was horrible Sam, and though you almost died it doesn't give you a reason to be mad at the world. Nor does it give you a reason to be mad at those who are trying to help you." Leo replied.

"You weren't there. You have no idea what it was like!" Sam protested bitterly, and the old Sam spark was immediately lost.

"Sam, as much as I hate to disagree with you there, I have to tell you something. I was in Vietnam and that was ten times worse than anything you experienced. I still think about the horror I saw some thirty years later." Leo said his voice raising a notch.

"Well, I guess it's too bad that you survived then huh?" Sam asked with a bitter smirk to which Leo had no reply to.



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