Unwelcomed Changes

By Mer

Part 6

Rosslyn Long-term Care-Josh's Room

"What's next?" Josh repeated softly after he got no answer because Jed had been to shocked to reply.

"Josh you have no idea how happy I am to hear you ask that." Jed replied finally.

Josh smiled as he turned his head in the direction of the President. He tried not to let on that he couldn't see the pure happiness that he was sure was plastered on the President's face. He felt the President reach in to give him a hug and he hugged him back with his good arm because he wasn't able to move his right arm that far. From Jed's embrace he could tell that he had so far been able to fool him.

"Oh thank God your back Josh. Everyone has been so worried. Hold on, let me go and get Leo. I'll send him back in because I'm sure that you are anxious to see him." Jed stated as he hurriedly left the room.

Josh leaned his head back against the pillow. He had so far been able to fool the President, but he doubted that he could fool the man who had known him all his life. He blinked his eyes a few times having the idea that maybe if he blinked hard enough that his sight would return. But he had no such luck, because darkness completely surrounded him.

"Josh?" Leo's voice tentatively called out.

"You don't have to act like I died or something." Josh replied with a soft laugh, turning his head in the direction of Leo's voice.

"If you only knew how close you had come." Leo murmured.

"What happened to me?" Josh asked his voice slowly losing its strength.

"You were in a horrible fire." Leo began slowly praying that Josh wouldn't immediately think about what happened to Joanie.

"Did everyone make it out okay?" Josh asked in that scared/guilty voice that Leo had been trying to avoid.

"Yeah, everyone made it out." Leo replied carefully omitting the word okay.

"What happened?" Josh asked quietly, and Leo knew he was hoping that it wasn't his fault.

"You were set up. I sent you and Sam to the hotel as a punishment and it was really an ambush. You both were supposed to die that night." Leo said angrily.

"How is Sam? He's okay right? Leo if something happened to him...he's okay right? Please say yes." Josh pleaded in a hurried voice.

"Sam was injured but he's out of the woods now." Leo replied.

"Leo." Josh warned because he could tell that Leo was holding something back.

"He's been in the hospital with you too and he only woke up a couple of hours ago. Right now it appears that Sam is a little bit different. He's not the same Sam." Leo admitted with a twinge of anger.

Josh wondered what he meant by that statement. He knew that his current state of blindness was putting him at a disadvantage because he wasn't able to read the look on Leo's face. He could always read Leo's face and figure out just how much was being withheld from him. He silently cursed his eyes.

"Josh, this wasn't your fault. Senator Herman tried to kill you. You and Sam were trapped in a stairwell while a fire raged through the hotel. It was by a miracle that you survived the fire." Leo stated gently, mistaking the look on Josh's face for guilt.

"How long have I been here?" Josh's failing voice asked.

"You've been in a hospital for nearly two months." Leo replied gently.

Josh was suddenly quiet. He had been in the hospital for two months. He wondered if he had horrific burns on his body. But he figured that Leo would have told him if he did. He hadn't even been in the hospital for that long after he had been shot. Donna must have been going out of her mind. He suddenly wondered where she was.

"How is..." Josh began but his voice finally gave out.

"Would you like some water? Maybe that will help?" Leo asked as Josh nodded slowly.

Leo poured him a cup of water and while he was doing that Josh wondered how in the world he could pull this one off. He would only be able to use one hand to drink with and he wouldn't be able to see the cup to grab it from Leo's hand. But his fears were short lived because he felt Leo place the cup in his good hand and he was able to bring it up to his mouth for a drink.

"How's Donna?" Josh asked very hoarsely after he had taken a sip.

"She has been coming here everyday. Josh we weren't sure how long it would be until you woke up so we had to at least temporarily replace you." Leo began in a hesitant voice as he recalled Sam's reaction.

"Who?" Josh asked quietly, using his failing voice carefully.

"Casey Adams. He has filled in quite nicely for you but Donna hasn't been able to get used to him." Leo admitted, fearing an angry reaction from Josh.

"Casey's good." Was all Josh said.

"Josh is everything okay?" Leo asked suddenly concerned.

"I'm just a little exhausted that's all." Josh managed to choke out.

"Just rest up. I'm sure you will have a ton of visitors later." Leo stated as he realized Josh had already gone back to sleep.

"So how is he?" Jed asked once Leo came out of the room.

"Something doesn't seem to be right. He is the exact opposite of Sam. He's quiet and subdued while Sam was angry and loud." Leo replied.

"He just woke up Leo, that might have something to do with it." Jed pointed out slowly.

"I guess, but I just can't help but shake the feeling that something isn't right with him. It's almost like he's withholding something from me." Leo replied.

"I think you are just getting paranoid." Jed replied as they began to walk out of the hospital together.

C.J.'s office-five minutes later

"C.J. Leo is on the phone for you." Carol called as C.J. pressed the speaker button on the phone.

"C.J. here." C.J. answered softly.

"You were right to warn us about Sam." Leo said and C.J. could detect some trouble in his voice.

"It's that bad huh?" C.J. asked.

"Yeah, he's not the same Sam." Leo replied quietly.

"Did he yell at the President?" C.J. asked with a slight groan.

"In a manner of speaking yes. But it was like the kind of yelling Josh did before Christmas." Leo answered.

"I see." C.J. replied gently.

"But in better news Josh woke up as well." Leo replied.

"Leo that's wonderful. How is he?" C.J. asked in an excited voice.

"As of right now, he has no memory of the fire. He seems a little off too, but his is more of a quiet way. I know that he was losing his voice but he didn't seem like the same outspoken person that he is." Leo answered.

"I'm sure that it is nothing Leo. He is probably just exhausted from being in a deep coma. I'm sure that he will be okay in a few days. And I'm sure that he will get a lot louder once his throat gets used to talking again. Oh I can't wait to tell everyone that Josh is awake. No one is going to believe that little piece of good news." C.J. replied.

"Fine. C.J. just please hold off about Sam and the mood changes. And make sure that you tell Donna before she sees that Josh is awake by watching it on the news. Josh asked about her so you might want to include that in your information." Leo stated.

"Of course." C.J. said as she hung up the phone.

The first genuine smile that she had had before the fire crossed her lips. Sam and Josh were both awake. They may both be a little different but they were both going to be okay. C.J. couldn't wait to give the press the news. They had stopped asking because they knew C.J. would tell them if there was anything worth writing about.

"Carol, do you know if Donna has come back yet?" C.J. called.

"Yeah she's in the Mural Room helping Bonnie and Ginger. Do you want me to go and get her?" Carol replied.

"No that's okay, I can get her myself." C.J. replied as she walked past Carol's desk.

C.J. walked to the Mural Room and she paused in the doorway. Donna was at a table hunched over a bunch of research materials. Bonnie and Ginger were there too, but they hadn't quite buried themselves in their work like Donna had. C.J. sighed Donna looked like a shell of her former self. She had obviously been more troubled by seeing Sam than C.J. had once thought.

"Donna, can I talk to you for a moment?" C.J. asked, breaking the calm of the room.

"I guess." Donna replied as she warily put down her highlighter and followed C.J. outside.

"Donna." C.J. began slowly but was interrupted by Donna.

"C.J. please if you are here to talk to me about my visit with Sam I really don't want to talk about it anymore." Donna replied as she started to turn away from C.J.

"I didn't come here..." C.J. began but it was obvious that Donna wasn't listening, because Donna whipped back around with a look of fury in her eyes.

"For these past two months I was the only one who held out hope that either one of them would ever wake up. I talked to them; I massaged their muscles like the doctors told me to do; I read to them, hell I would have even sang to them if I thought that would help. But all Sam did was yell at me. It was the cruelest that I have ever seen him. I wish that I hadn't have even gone into his room today." Donna replied as she tried to whip back around.

"Donna, I'm sorry about that, but that's not why I'm here." C.J. replied as she caught Donna by the arm.

"Then why are you here?" Donna asked in a frustrated voice.

"Because Josh is awake and I thought that you might like to know that he's ask about you." C.J. answered.

"C.J. I've had just about enough cruelty for one day." Donna replied as she abruptly broke out of C.J.'s grasp and went back into the Mural Room.

"What happened?" Toby asked as he came around the corner and caught the tail end of what happened.

"I just told Donna that Josh is awake and asking about her and she didn't believe me." C.J. replied.

"Is he really awake?" Toby asked.

"Yes, he woke up a few minutes ago." C.J. replied.

"Isn't that great news?" Toby asked.

"Apparently not." C.J. murmured.





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