Unwelcomed Changes

By Mer

Part 5

Rosslyn Long-term Care-In the hallway outside Sam's Room

"Jed, please stop." Leo asked as he hurried after his friend, knowing that calling him by his first name would do the trick.

"Who was that impostor in there?" Jed asked angrily once Leo caught up to him.

"That wasn't an impostor, sir, that was Sam." Leo replied slowly.

"That was not Sam. That was an angry man who looks and sounds a lot like Sam, but that was not Sam. Sam gets worried if he raises his voice slightly when he's talking to me, that Sam screamed at the top of his lungs. Sam chooses his words carefully so that he doesn't offend me, where as that Sam couldn't have cared less." Jed protested.

"Abbey said that one of the side effects to the drug could be violent mood swings." Leo cautiously reminded him.

"I have seen violent mood swings and that wasn't a swing, that was more of a barrage. He's acting worse than Josh did when he was having those PTSD episodes, the difference being that Josh showed remorse. Even after that day in my office you said he immediately wanted to apologize, but Sam looked like he wanted to take you on as well. The Sam I've known for three years is not anywhere near like that." Jed pointed out.

"Well, that may have been true, but we should give him a little time. He just woke up today, maybe these symptoms will go away." Leo suggested.

"Leo you are way too optimistic on this one." Jed commented as he shook his head sadly.

"Hey Donna was the only one who still believed that they were ever going to wake up again and so far she is one for two." Leo pointed out softly.

"That may be true, but Leo that was a stranger. I don't care what you say but that wasn't Sam." Jed said in almost a pout.

"The Sam that we know may be gone for good. He went through hell Jed. I know that you don't know exactly what that feels like;" Leo began but was interrupted.

"What do you mean I don't know what hell feels like. I was there when we were shot at wasn't I? I am..." Jed protested but Leo interrupted him right back.

"You have not been somewhere where you wondered whether or not the breath you were exhaling was going to be your last. I experienced that in Vietnam and Sam experienced that in the fire. He may never be the same because of that. Sometimes once a person has faced death and lived they become reckless and fearless. That might just be Sam's problem. He's faced death and decided that maybe he wants to be someone different because he didn't like what he saw. He just needs a little medical attention and maybe he'll be okay." Leo replied.

"Well, then what do you suggest we do Florence Nightingale?" Jed asked sarcastically.

"I suggest that we not let this new Sam bug us." Leo stated calmly.

"That is your strategy, to not let Sam bug us? So what we just have to listen to his very loud screaming and pretend he is talking in his normal cheery voice? Leo, there are times I wonder how you ever got me elected." Jed sighed.

"You know I wonder that myself. But seriously, I have no idea how to fix this. If I could just tell you to veto this new Sam and then have the old Sam reappear I would." Leo apologized.

"I know. Leo, do you think that Josh will be the same way when he wakes up? Because I don't know if I can take both of them being like that." Jed warned.

"I hope not, but there is always that possibility. At least Sam is awake though, we have that in out favor" Leo replied looking down at the floor.

"I'm sorry Leo, I never meant..." Jed's voice trailed off softly.

"I know, but if this is the new Sam then we are just going to have to get used to it." Leo replied slowly.

"I just wish that night never happened." Jed stated quietly.

"Oh believe me I echo that sentiment in more ways than one." Leo replied.

"Leo, if Sam can wake up then I have renewed faith that Josh will wake up." Jed stated softly.

"I just hope that is enough." Leo replied gently.

"Me too. Leo, while we are here why don't we just go and visit Josh too." Jed suggested.

"I guess it couldn't hurt." Leo sighed.

Toby's Office

"Mandy!" Toby bellowed from his desk.

"Yes Toby?" Mandy replied innocently as she left her office and entered Toby's.

"What is this?" Toby asked as he waved a piece of paper in front of his face.

"It is the speech for tomorrow's..." Mandy began.

"I know what it is, but where this everything that I had in it?" Toby asked.

"I took it out because I figured that it would be way too long of a speech. No one likes a long-winded President." Mandy replied.

"You took it out because it was too long? You got rid of two weeks worth of work because it was too long? He's the President of the United States, he can go up there and read Gone with the Wind and everyone would just sit through it and be content." Toby replied.

"I really don't think they would. I think that the American people would much rather he talked about stuff that they actually cared about. I really don't think they would want a President to read an extremely long novel to them. I think they would much rather beat themselves over their heads than listen to him." Mandy replied.

"I really don't give a damn about what you think. I wish that the people would beat you over the heads. Anyway, where is the speech I wrote?" Toby asked.

"Oh that shoddy thing, I placed that right there, where it belongs." Mandy said as she pointed to a paper shredder.

"You shredded my work?" Toby asked in a very angry voice.

"I know you have another copy on your computer if you are that dissatisfied with my work. You can't have been that much of a dimwit not to have saved your work." Mandy pointed out.

"Actually, I didn't save my work." Toby replied getting even angrier than he already was.

"Well, then I guess my speech stands." Mandy smirked.

"Just for future reference you are just here to assist with writing speeches and to take meetings on issues for the President. You report to me, and you under no circumstances are to shred my speeches unless I give you permission otherwise. You report to me first!" Toby screamed.

"Is there anything else you need your majesty?" Mandy asked in a sarcastic voice.

"Yes, Sam is awake now so don't get too comfortable in this position because I'm sure they will be showing you to the door any day now." Toby warned icily.

"I heard that, but I also heard that he seems to be a few vegetables short of a salad. I think I might last just a little bit longer than you think." Mandy taunted.

"Sam will be fine and pretty soon you will be gone and life will be well." Toby replied.

"Well that's a pretty story Toby and it might just come true sometime. But until it does I am here and you had just better just get used to it." Mandy replied as she sauntered back into her office.

Rosslyn Long-term Care-Josh's Room

Jed entered Josh's room alone because Leo wasn't quite ready to visit his protégé. Jed sat down in the chair next to Josh's bed that had recently been vacated by Donna. He picked up the book that she had intended to read to him. He smoothed the cover with his finger and he placed the book in his lap.

"All Quiet on the Western Front huh? I guess that title is kind of appropriate in your case anyway. Well, Sam is awake now. But Josh he's not the same. Something in his head must have snapped, because he's a much angrier man now. Leo is scared that the same thing is going to happen to you." Jed said softly.

Josh heard a voice and he struggled to wake up. He tried again to open his eyes but the weights still seemed to remain. He knew the voice from somewhere but he couldn't quite place it. All he could hear was the deep sadness in the voice.

"Josh, everyone thinks that you aren't going to wake up, but I have faith in you. You have no idea how much we need you to wake up. Leo had to find a replacement for you. Casey Adams is a fine man but he's just not you. Leo can't get used to him and neither can Donna. You should see her Josh; she looks like her dog just died. She kind of mopes around the office now." Jed continued.

He took Josh's hand and he held it. He longed for Josh to open his eyes and whisper very softly, 'What's next?' like Josh did after he first woke up after the shooting. As he was longing for that to happen he too failed to notice the faint amount of pressure that Josh was squeezing his hand with.

"Josh everything is just too different in the West Wing. Nobody really laughs anymore. No one pulls any stupid stunts that make C.J. cringe anymore. I never really realized how much life you and Sam brought into the place, until it was gone. I know that is an old clique but you wouldn't believe how true that is." Jed commented, as the pressure in his hand got even stronger.

Jed recognized that Josh was squeezing his hand. A huge smile crossed his face. He got all excited and wondered if maybe if Leo should be in there. But he didn't want to get Leo's hopes up if he was imagining things.

"Josh are you trying to tell me something?" Jed asked.

"What's next?" Josh asked softly, as he willed his eyes open.



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