Unwelcomed Changes

By Mer

Part 9

Rosslyn Long-Term Care-Sam's Room

"Your friend Josh is awake if you would like to see him." A nurse told Sam.

"Yes, I think I will." Sam replied with a sly smile.

"I will go and get a wheelchair for you." The nurse replied.

"Thanks." Sam replied.

Sam rubbed his hands together in anticipation. He couldn't wait to see how Josh was doing. He wondered if they had told Josh that he was acting a little bit different. Sam got a huge smile on his face. This was going to be payback for how Josh acted before Christmas.

"Do you want me to help you?" The nurse asked.

"No, just tell me what room he's in please." Sam replied.

"322, down the hall and to the left." The nurse replied.

"Thank you." Sam replied as he gingerly lowered himself into the wheelchair.

His leg hurt like hell and he figured that was because of the rehab that was being done on it. He cursed it anyway, thankful that the nurse wasn't there to scold him for using such vulgar language. The new Sam liked vulgar language a lot more than the old one did. So he cursed some more just to hear it roll off his tongue.

Then as he wheeled himself down the hallway he started humming the theme from Jaws. He had never liked that movie but somehow the theme just seemed appropriate. The new Sam was about to discover, an unsuspecting Josh. His best friend, well former best friend, the new Sam was too big for best friends.

Rosslyn Long-Term Care-Josh's Room

Josh sat up in bed wondering what the hell he was supposed to do. He had taken Joey's advice and he had told the doctor of his blindness. The doctor said that first thing in the morning he would be transported to Georgetown so that he could be given a CT Scan. Though from the tone in the doctor's voice, he wasn't holding out much hope that it would be a temporary problem. He said it was probably a side effect from the experimental drug that he had been given. And oh yeah the words irreversible were thrown in there too.

He wondered what everyone else would think. He was blind and he knew that they would treat him like glass. It was the same way that they had treated him after he got shot and it was the same way that they had treated him after he had been diagnosed with PTSD. He hated that feeling but what could he do, at least this time he couldn't see the stares.

Josh also wondered about that horrible fire. He couldn't remember a single thing about it. All he could remember was a few days before hand and Donna being mad at him for what he deemed the underwear incident. In fact, he couldn't even remember if he had made up with Donna about that. He hoped that he hadn't been that much of a jerk not to have.

"Well, well, well." Sam said as he entered Josh's room.

"Sam!" Josh said excitedly.

"Yeah it's me." Sam said coldly.

"Sam what's wrong?" Josh asked after he had sensed the ice in Sam's tone.

"You mean you don't remember?" Sam asked, deciding to toy with him a little.

"Remember what? Sam the last thing I remember doing with you is trying to help C.J. play spin doctor." Josh replied.

"You don't remember that you were the reason that we got trapped in the fire?" Sam asked harshly.

"What!" Josh exclaimed.

"You froze on the stairwell. Maybe you thought that the smoke alarm sounded too much like sirens or something. I was trying to get us to safety but you wouldn't budge." Sam lied.

"I had an episode?" Josh asked quietly.

"Yes, you were screaming about Rosslyn and how you had to call Donna, that she would be mad if you didn't call her. I tried to move you but you wouldn't move until the stairwell started to collapse." Sam lied, beginning to have fun watching the expression on Josh's face.

"I almost got us killed?" Josh asked.

"Hell yes you did. I thought that we were going to die." Sam replied.

"I never meant to almost get us killed, especially after what happened with..." Josh's voice trailed off.

"After what happened with who?" Sam asked banking that he was thinking about Joanie.

"Never mind it's not important." Josh said as he tried to wave off the thought.

"Killing your sister isn't important?" Sam asked.

"I never meant to kill Joanie!" Josh protested.

"That's why you snuck into the kitchen to make some popcorn after she had already gone to bed. She made you mad when she told you no didn't she? Well, you wanted to show her so you killed her!" Sam taunted.

"I never tried to kill my sister. It was a horrible accident. It was a horrible accident that wasn't my fault!" Josh protested.

"Oh really and who was the one who turned on the popcorn maker? Who was the one who left it on even after it wasn't working right? Who was the one who fell asleep waiting for it to pop on the couch? Who was the one who ran out of the house, never making sure that she was following you?" Sam taunted.

"I did." Josh replied with a quiver in his voice.

"You almost got me killed too. How the hell have you managed to survive this long? You should have died that night and at the very least you should have died in the fire. Joanie's death is in your hands." Sam taunted louder now, knowing that he had gotten Josh to believe him.

"I'm sorry Sam." Josh replied quietly.

"Your sorry? Sorry doesn't cut it Josh. We almost died and all you have to say is sorry?" Sam asked angrily.

"Well what else do you want me to do Sam? If I could turn back the clock and die either one of those two nights believe me I would." Josh replied.

"You'll do what?" Donna asked as she entered the room and caught the tale end of Josh's sentence.

Josh's Office

Casey sat at Josh's desk and he relished the Hate Crime Bill victory. Granted, it was an honor that he should share with Josh but for the moment he didn't give a damn about his predecessor. He needed some time to bask in the glow of the limelight.

Casey took a sip of his beer and he closed his eyes. He thought about what Mandy had told him. She said that he needed to blaze his own trail. He wondered how the hell he was supposed to do that since every time he turned around he tripped over Josh's shadow. And now the bastard had gone and woken back up, and Casey would soon be out of the job anyway.

He sipped some beer and he opened his eyes. The picture of everyone smiled back at him. Casey was irritated by Josh's smiling face. He took the picture and he slammed it hard against the wall. The sound of glass shattering was like music to his ears. He didn't even bother to see where it had landed; just the fact that it was broken was enough for him.

Broken seemed to fit the whole staff. He kept hearing that they weren't the same without either Josh or Sam. No one smiled, no one laughed; it was like working in a tomb. Especially, the way that Josh and Sam were regarded as immortals or something.

"Rough evening?" C.J. asked from the doorway.

"Oh god here it comes." Casey mumbled.

"Here comes what?" C.J. asked.

"Never mind. What can I do for you C.J?" Casey asked.

"The sound of breaking glass makes me wonder if something is wrong." C.J. replied, not adding that Josh punched his fist through a window once.

"The picture slipped out of my hand." Casey replied innocently.

"Right." C.J. replied as she surveyed the damage.

"So when do I get my official ship out papers?" Casey asked.

"I don't know if you will." C.J. replied evenly.

"Oh really and where am I going to go then? Josh is awake now and he will come back eventually. I mean the way you guys talk about him one might think that he were a saint or something. St. Josh will come back and take his job back and I will go back to whatever hole I crawled out of." Casey replied.

"Casey, it hasn't been decided yet." C.J. replied gently.

"Please." Casey said as he rolled his eyes.

"You know what, the reporters today were gonna tear me to shreds because I didn't know. They genuinely like you and it's good P.R. to keep you on in some kind of role." C.J. replied.

"I could give a damn if they like me or not. I can't even get my assistant to look me in the eye. How the hell am I going to keep my job when even Leo wishes someone else had my job?" Casey asked.

"I don't know Casey, but you are even worse of a drunk than Josh is." C.J. replied.

"Honestly C.J. if you think I give a damn about Josh than you are seriously mistaken. And I'm sorry if I'm not perfect like them." Casey shouted.

"You never had to be perfect." C.J. replied.

"No I just had to be Josh." Casey replied bitterly as he stalked out of the office.

"Oh guys where did we go wrong?" C.J. asked as she picked up the smiling picture and brushed off the glass.



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