Title: Sweet and Sour Parts 1-6/?
By: Nijijin
Rating: R - Mostly for strong language and possible adult situations.
Genre: General
Disclaimer: Nope...uh,uh...they're not mine.
Notes: Everyone has their moment of being sweet and sour. Feedback?
Always enjoy hearing from you. Archive? Yes, but I still shake my head
in disbelief, amazement and gratitude.
Spoilers: Yeah...mostly "Two Cathedrals"

*******************************
"Watch this," Leo whispered looking towards President Josiah Bartlet.

Jed rocked back on his feet. He stuffed his hand into his pockets and
surveyed the chaos before him. With a secret smile, he began...

********************

Toby was proud that the President proclaimed his intention to run for a
second term. He was equally relieved to see the Senior Staff once again
exhilarated and brilliant. He watched CJ, Josh and Sam's faces turn
from defeated resignation to stunned surprise and finally to cheering
triumph as each word out of Josiah Bartlet's mouth announced that he
had no intention of giving up on his commitment to the American people.
But for himself, there would be no jubilation. From behind Leo's back
Toby watched the Chief of Staff exchange a happy, knowing glance with
the three across the crowded room. Still smiling Leo turned to face
him. For a brief moment their eyes met. Slowly realization hit Leo as
his smile for Toby began to fade. Toby was happy for *them*. Leo
realized much too late it was a mistake to do it. His lifeboat had made
it all too clear to Toby that he was an outsider.

"Toby..." Leo began apologetically.

Toby stuck his hand out. Leo looked down at it and reached to shake it
hesitantly. Without another word and not looking to Leo again, Toby
moved through the shrill crowd towards Donna and Margaret. He smiled
slightly as they recognized and were relieved to see his familiar face.
With a gentle hand on their backs he guided them through the surging
crowd towards the comfort of a waiting limo.

"I was a little worried you two were going to get trampled," Toby
commented quietly once they were safely in the car.

"Oh Toby! Did you hear him? That was just so incredible!" Margaret
gushed happily. "I wish Mrs. Landingham were here to see her...her
wonderful President."

Tears began to stream down her face. Toby reached into his inside
breast pocket and handed Margaret his handkerchief. He squeezed her arm
gently and softly.

"I'm sure she did, Margaret."

Through her tears, Margaret quickly glanced into his face. Toby's
caring brown eyes and reassuring smile conveyed his own belief in that
statement. She was at once surprised and grateful that this normally
cynical man didn't consider her thought crazy.

Donna, for her part, was silent during the entire exchange. She
considered Toby carefully. She had always known that he was much more
than the gruff, obnoxious individual he outwardly presented. Right
before her eyes, he had proven it ten-fold. Protecting Josh from Mary
Marsh. Arranging an honorable funeral for a forgotten soldier. Worrying
and searching for her boss after the shooting. God, Toby had saved
Josh's life. And now, comforting Margaret.

After patting Margaret's arm one last time, Toby leaned back and
blankly stared out the window. Donna was puzzled. Why was Toby here
with them and not back with the President, Leo and rest of the Senior
Staff? He seemed pleased with the President's answer, but why did he
look so sad...so left out? Donna's eyebrows quirked up. She was in Josh's
office when Toby came barreling in, seething with anger. Leo had sent
someone named Summerhayes to offer Toby a job. It was a way out for
Toby and no one else. Of course...it had offended him...hurt him deeply to
know that Leo felt the need to test his loyalty. Donna could not
describe the rush of emotion she felt for Toby, but she had to somehow
let him know how much he meant to her.

It was Donna's turn to lean forward and squeeze Toby's arm. He inhaled
sharply and looked over at her. For a moment he had forgotten she and
Margaret were there with him. He looked into her eyes with concern that
was mirrored in hers for him. He frowned a little and reached his hand
up to touch hers where she squeezed his arm.

"Donna...what's wrong...are you alright?" He questioned her, his concern
growing.

Donna's blue eyes shone with unshed tears as she shook her head. Toby
waited patiently for her to speak. His lips curved in his beard slightly
to offer her encouragement.

"Toby, I...I just wanted to thank you for everything. Thank you for Josh."

Toby looked at Donna with a little surprise and confusion. Donna's
expression was so sincere and genuine that Toby could only nod and
mumble.

"Okay...it's okay Donna. It's all gonna work out for the best. There's
nothing to worry about, alright?" He tried to sound encouraging.

Donna smiled at him, unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned in to kiss his
cheek. Margaret, who long since had stopped crying, caught the
gesture...what a good idea. She unbuckled her own seatbelt and leaned
forward to kiss Toby's other cheek.

For his part, Toby's eyes went wide at the contact of their soft lips
on his skin. The three regarded each other a moment longer, before he
made a small amused noise and smirked. Both women grinned back and took
their seats again.

After the limo pulled up to the White House, Toby stepped out first in
order to help Donna and a still shaky Margaret out of the car. Huddled
together, they walked Margaret back to her desk. After making sure that
Donna would stay a bit longer with her, Toby walked back to his own
office. As he passed the outer room of the Oval Office, he stopped for
a moment to peer in at Mrs. Landingham's desk. Her crystal cookie jar
glistened and sparkled in refracted light. Toby sighed and continued
down the hall.

Part 2

As he rounded the corner into the Communications Bullpen, Toby saw that
Bonnie and Ginger were still there. Both were watching the after Press
Conference play-by-play.

"Where is he? I don't see him."

"He should be there somewhere. I mean...look Leo, Josh, Sam and CJ are
standing behind the President." Bonnie pointed at the screen. "Toby has
gotta be around."

Toby cleared his throat.

"Actually I'm closer than you think."

Ginger and Bonnie spun around to face their boss.

"Toby! Why are you back already? You should be there with the President.
What happened? What'd you do?"

Toby frowned and turned to go into his office. Why is the assumption
always that *he* had done something. As he was taking his coat off,
Toby yelled out.

"Nothing happened, I just wanted to make sure Donna and Margaret made
it back here safely."

Ginger and Bonnie looked at each other in disbelief. Toby stepped back
out into the bullpen.

"What? Can't an ogre make sure that those he likes to terrorize will be
available for another day's torture at his hands?"

His tone was particularly sharp and resentful. Toby knew exactly what
everyone thought of him. Both young women uttered a knowing "ah" and
returned to their work. Toby told them to go home before heading back
to his office. He closed the door and miniblinds. Bonnie and Ginger
heard the unfamiliar snick of the lock as his lights remained off.

After a moment, "Are you going to obey, our ogre and go home?" Ginger
asked as she absently shuffled files on her desk.

"Are you?" came Bonnie's cautious response.

"Well, actually I was thinking of taking a break. You know...walk around
a bit...maybe stop by and say hi to...Donna and Margaret...see how they're
doing."

Bonnie quirked an eyebrow at Ginger, "Well, that' really a very good
idea. Mind if I join you?"

Ginger grinned, "thought you'd never ask."

Quietly and cautiously the two assistants slipped out from behind their
desks and made their way to the Chief's and Deputy Chief's area. As
they stepped closer to Leo's office, Bonnie and Ginger could hear
hushed voices. Once inside the doorframe they could see Donna and
Margaret huddled in deep conversation.

"No, I can't believe Leo would do that. He knows Toby. He couldn't
think..."

Donna, who was kneeling in front of Margaret's chair, placed a
interrupting hand on the other women's arm.

"Margaret, I was there when he came ranting to Josh. It's true. What's
more, Toby was obviously pissed at Leo for even suggesting it."

Both women turned to the two assistants at the door as Ginger asked.

"Suggested what?"

Part 3

"Where is he, Leo?"

"Sir?"

His tone became harsher, "Toby...where the hell was he back there! It
didn't look good and he knows it. CJ's gonna have to field questions
from the press on his little disappearing act. They're gonna assume
that one of my trusted advisors doesn't support me. Leo, there's gonna
be hell to pay."

***Silence***

They were in the limo heading back to the White House. After making
the decision to run for second term, Jed Bartlet was on a high. He fed
off the adulation he saw in his staff after the announcement. It
reminded him of their first excited days on the campaign trail and in
office together.

But determination quickly became doubt when his Communications
Director, one of his better angels, was nowhere to be found. As much
as they tried, the remaining Senior Staff could not hide their worry
and confusion. They hadn't even started this fight yet and seemingly
had already suffered a defeat. Now, Leo made no comment in defense or
indignation of Toby Ziegler. Something was up.

"What'd you do, Leo?"

Leo found it difficult to begin. "Mr. President..."

"I think we'd better have this discussion as one friend to another.
It's probably the only safe way for me to get pissed at you. Am I
right?"

Leo looked down at the fidgeting hands in his lap. "Yeah, Jed, having
my best friend wanna kill me is so much easier to deal with than
having the President of the United States wanna rip me a new one."

Jed's eyebrows raised into his hairline. Leo, as Josh liked to put it,
must have said or done some stupid ass Irish thing to Toby. He smirked
and shook his head. Toby, so well known for his own "let it roll of
his back" attitude. Thinking back to the Josie McGarry thing, Jed
sometimes felt these two were harder to handle than Josh & Sam. Jed
turned slightly, crossed his arms and stared at Leo with anticipation.

Leo looked up into Jed's stony expression. "I may have inadvertently
implied to Toby that you needed proof that he was..." Leo couldn't
continue.

"What? Jewish? A curmudgeon? A smart assed son of a bitch? Help me
here, Leo."

"Loyal, Jed."

Jed was incredulous. With "Tobyesque" flair he scrubbed his hand over
his face. "Not that I ever needed proof, but what test did you exactly
set up for him to pass."

"I gave him a lifeboat. I sent Greg Summerhayes to see him and offer
him a job as news director for a new cable station."

Jed stared at him with continued expectation. "I can guess what Toby's
reaction was, but why don't you go ahead and give me every gory
detail. It's not like we don't have enough on our plate at this
particular moment." Jed was sarcastic.

Leo cringed and looked away out the car window. "Josh pulled me aside
after our afternoon session and warned that Toby was going to rip my
arms off and beat the crap outta me with them. Nothing I couldn't
fix."

"Did you and Toby have "words" after Josh's heads up?"

Leo was hesitant. "Not exactly...well, not yelling and screaming if
that's what you mean. I admitted to him that I sent Summerhayes. Toby
asked if I could think of any occasion when he would have used the
lifeboat. I said no."

"I'm not hearing the part where *I* needed proof of Toby's loyality."

"He asked why I did it. I told him to show you."

"Ah...so Toby assumed I asked you to set it up and you assumed that I
was doubting him. I gotta say, you don't seem to think very highly of
either of us do you?"

Jed's tone was sharp. Leo began to protest, but Jed held up a
dismissing hand.

"Have you noticed Leo, that at no time did I ask if Toby excepted the
offer. What I'm wondering is why he hasn't beaten the crap out of you
yet and if he would mind my help! What the hell were you thinking!"

Leo looked mortified and remorseful. "Alright, so this wasn't one of
my most stellar decisions. Jed, you're my best friend. We're still
talking to each other in those terms right?" Jed nodded sternly.

"Fine...we wouldn't be here right now if you hadn't made one of your
own fucking stellar decisions! So, don't go putting this whole thing
with Toby on me!"

Part 4

Jed blinked in shock and surprise. "You've been holding that in for a
long time, haven't you? Go ahead, keep going, let's clear the air once
and for all."

"Fine...let's talk about not thinking highly of others. Your so-called
great regard for us prompted you to hide the MS from your *trusted*
Staff. Need I remind you that these are people who would do anything
for you, including Toby? The difference with him is he'll tell you the
truth in all its glaring horror before stepping into the line of fire
and for that, you scream at him to shut up. To top that off, you
jeopardize what you have with Abbey by not telling us about your
promise to her and not telling her about running again.
Oh...yeah...right...let's not forget, Abbey damn well yells at Toby for
the State of the Union speech and he doesn't even fucking know why!
Remember...Toby and I once had wives...I'd hate to see you end up like
us."

"Leo..." Jed began to warn.

"No...no...Jed, I'm on a stupid ass Irish rant here...let me keep
going, cause God damn it feels so good! So, where was I before you
tried to shut me up? Yeah, Toby basically was screwed when he found out
he wasn't your first choice. How could he not think it, Jed? How could
he not think he'll never meet your expectations. How could *we* not
think we'd need to keep proving to you he was the right choice?
So...fucking excuse me for giving him a lifeboat and secretly praying
that he wouldn't take it and hoping that it would be enough proof for
you! Toby can beat the shit outta me...he has every right to. You, on
the other hand, don't get to say diddley. Give us the benefit of the
doubt already will ya? When are you going to accept the fact we're all
here because we wanna be? Regardless if you're a stupid idiot of an
asshole more often than not!" Leo was breathless after his tirade, but
finally, he had gotten a chance to vent some of his pent up frustration
to the person who deserved it.

For his part, Josiah Bartlet was stunned. It had been a long time since
he'd seen his best friend that pissed off at him. He'd also forgotten
how Leo was always right when he got this mad. Jed glared at Leo,
opened his mouth as if retort and burst into hysterical laughter
instead.

Leo blinked at him in disbelief and then frowned in disgust.

"You've got the image of Toby rippin my arms off and beaten me with
them dancin in your damn head, don't you?"

Jed was surprised and began to laugh harder. "Leo, you have to admit
it's pretty funny."

"I admit nothing Mr. President." Leo acted offended.

Jed quieted down a bit and tried to console. "Leo, I know you're right.
I haven't done anything to lead Toby or the others to believe I trust
them. Quite the opposite, in fact. That's my bad and I will fix it.
However, offering Toby a lifeboat and reinforcing that niggle of doubt
in his head is all on you and you're going to have to deal with him,
before I can."

Leo sighed in resignation. "I know...I can't believe I was that stupid.

"I've known you for close to forty years. I can believe it." That
should get him for the stupid idiot of an asshole comment.

"Thank you so much for that vote of confidence, Sir. I can now carry
on, secure in the knowledge that you are aware of the depth of my
stupidity."

Jed grinned, "Anytime, my good man, anytime."

"Are we okay now?"

"Yes...yes we are. Let's make sure we knock some sense into each other a
little sooner next time, agreed?"

Leo smirked, "Agreed. Hmphf...Toby rippin my arms off. As if I'd let him
near my handmade suits."

The limo pulled up to the White House and the two men stepped out in
companionable silence. Jed headed up to the residence to freshen up and
touch base with Abbey. Leo moved towards his own office.

Once he reached the outer office Leo could here several voices, but not
exactly what they were saying. Stepping inside, he was surprised to
find Donna, Ginger and Bonnie huddled conspiratorially with Margaret.
They were stunned and stiffened into silence at the sound of Leo's
voice.

"Aren't you all suppose to be helping run the country or some such
minor thing?"

Four sets of icy stares locked on to him. With pursed lips, they seemed
to offer their condolences to Margaret before marching past Leo in a
disdainful huff.

"What the hell was that all about?" he asked Margaret.

"I don't know what you're talking about," came the terse reply.

"Okay...do you maybe know if Toby's in his office?"

"Why!?" Her voice sounded slightly alarmed.

"Because I thought maybe he was trapped in another dimension. I need to
talk to him Margaret! What's with you?"

"Nothing!? I just thought maybe you've talked to him more than enough
for one day." She tried to protect Toby.

"What the hell are you saying?"

She ignored him, "I'll check with Ginger."

"FINE!" Leo stepped back into his office and slammed the door.

Margaret sighed and dialed Ginger's extension. "Hey, Leo wants to know
if Toby's there and if so, he needs to talk to him."

"Damn...he's here but locked in his office with the lights off. Can't we
give him a break?"

"Yes, we can. I'll tell Leo his door is locked, the lights are off and
there's no answer when you knock. So it appears that Toby left for the
day."

"Wait...his office door is opening."

Margaret could here the exchange. Toby was asking Ginger and Bonnie if
Leo was back yet. Ginger hesitantly confirmed that he was in his
office, but he seemed pretty busy. Toby brushed her off and told them
he was heading over.

"Margaret...tell Leo Toby's on his way and he's got that patented I'm
gonna kick your ass look plastered on his face. Maybe he's not quitting
after all."

"Good! I'm not going to warn Leo."

"Well maybe we should warn Dr. Bartlet of impending casualties."

"I have a feeling she'll find out soon enough. Hey, gotta go he's
here."

Margaret was greeted by Toby's determined glare. His expression
softened as he briefly smiled at her.

"Margaret, is he in?"

"Yeah, he actually just asked if you were still here."

"Really? Can I?" He motioned towards the door.

"By all means, do."

Toby lifted a questioning eyebrow at her before stepping to the door,
knocking and walking in.

Margaret closed her eyes for a moment to recite a silent prayer of
hope. In other areas of the West Wing, three other women did the same
thing.

Part 5

Toby coughed a little as he entered Leo's office, but didn't say a
word. Leo looked up from the paperwork on his desk. Standing up he
walked over to the small settee next to his desk, motioning for Toby to
join him.

"Hey, have a seat."

Toby shuffled nervously with hands shoved in his pockets but would not
move away from the door. Leo felt the edge of worry creeping into his
chest. Toby sighed before he began.

"No thanks, this shouldn't take very long." He hesitated again and
began to scratch his forehead."

"Toby?" Leo moved closer until he was standing in front of his desk.

"I wanted to apologize, Leo. I made an error in judgement leaving the
Press Conference like I did. If you and the President can't believe
anything else, at least know that it was not my intention to do
something that the press might construe as being non-supportive of this
Administration."

Leo felt slapped, "Wait a minute, the President and I believe in..."

"No disrespect Leo, but could you maybe shut up, let me finish and then
I can get outta your way?"

Toby began to wave his hand as his soft voice grew louder. Leo pressed
his lips together into a hard straight line, knowing full well what was
going to happen here. Toby began to pace as though he were caged
somewhere he didn't want to be.

"Now, I think maybe with a little help from Concannon CJ can spin this
into just a slight blip. I'm sure I saw camera flashes aimed at us when
we were...uh...shaking hands and when I escorted Donna and Margaret outta
there. If Danny can get a hold of those pictures the caption can read
you and I were elated with the President's news and because of your
concern for our co-workers' safety you asked me to escort them back to
the White House. Why their safety? Large thronging
crowd...blah...blah...blah. That sounds fine, doesn't it? And well, if
not...then that's really tough shit, Leo."

Leo dropped his head...here it comes.

"I think we need to talk about how to handle me until after the
election..."

Leo looked up with a slight glimmer of hope, "You're staying until at
least after the election?"

Toby's own expression remained carefully blank but his voice betrayed a
bitterness. "Well, I really don't have much choice, do I? How will it
appear if I should suddenly quit? Even if we make it, by some miracle,
through the hearings, what kind of field day are the Press and
Republicans gonna have when a Senior Staff member up and leaves before
elections? So, in answer to your question, yes Leo, I'm staying, in a
manner of speaking, until after *he's* re-elected.

Okay, it wasn't exactly the resounding commitment he had hoped for, but
at least it gave Leo some time to work on fixing this with Toby.

"So, I'm thinking we need to get Sam up to speed on my job. No one even
needs to know we're doing this thing. The more he takes on my
responsibilities, the more you can send me off...I don't know... all over
the country...away from here. I don't think anyone would question my
being out there looking for funding and campaigning on behalf of the
President. It'll be the perfect cover, Leo. Who knows...I might surprise
everyone and actually drum up some real support. It'll be good for Sam
too. He'll ease into being Communications Director...you'll have someone
you want...everybody's happy. So, do you want to talk to Sam or shall..."

For the second time today, Leo decided that a stupid assed Irish rant
was called for and would feel so damned good.

"Toby, I just told my best friend...you might know him...Josiah Bartlet...the
President...that he was a stupid idiot of an asshole. Now...until a moment
ago, I thought he and I were the only ones...but after listening to your
crap I think we have enough members to form a club. Stop feeling
fucking sorry for your self righteous ass. You know perfectly well that
we believe in your loyalty and that we need you *here* if he's going to
make it through an entire second term."

Toby blinked in surprise. "You called the President a stupid idiot of
an asshole?" Toby smirked a little into his beard. "How'd that go
over?"

"Well, like everything else I've done today," Leo eluded to the
lifeboat, "like shit."

Toby caught the reference and was in a small way satisfied that Leo
pissed the President off.

"Look...okay...you're right...I totally screwed up. Toby, I was just trying
my best to hold us together. I thought the lifeboat would clear up any
misunderstanding once and for all. Cause right now, I got to say, we
don't need anymore problems communicating with each other."

Toby seemed to be thinking over what Leo said. Leo hoped his speech
would sway Toby.

"Leo, I serve at the pleasure of the President."

"Yes." Leo let a little more hope creep in.

"That I serve at his pleasure has never meant that everything would be
pleasant. I'm not here to make this all hearts and flowers for him. And
if he, you and everyone else keeps jumping to the conclusion that I
don't support him and this administration just because I argue,
disagree or point out our failings then I simply don't belong here. You
need someone you have confidence in. I can't stay where I feel like
I've got to continually prove my loyalty. It takes too much out of me.
Is that really so hard to understand?" Toby turned and opened the door.

With defeated resignation Leo answered, "No...no it's not...I'm truly
sorry."

Toby shrugged, "I am happy for you guys and I wish you luck. Let's
forget about it and concentrate on getting through all this. I'll talk
to Sam and start working in some subtle changes. Maybe we should
discreetly look for a new Deputy Communications Director."

Toby turned to leave, abruptly looking straight into a pair of
startled, piercing blue eyes.

"Why do you need to look for a new Deputy Communications Director? Am I
being fired, Toby?" Before he could respond. "You know what...I don't
want to hear it."

Turning on his heal, the younger man strode off towards Josh's office.

Part 6

"Shit...SAM!" Toby called after the retreating back of Sam Seaborn. Toby
banged his head in frustration on the door. Damn, just as he thought
things couldn't possibly get any worse...he inadvertently screws Sam
again.

Leo watched the exchange and quietly stepped up to Toby, placing a
gentle hand on his shoulder. Toby stiffened at the touch, straightened,
but did not look over to Leo. No way in hell was he going to let Leo
see how much this hurt. Leo felt a gripping pain in his chest. He knew
exactly how much this was killing Toby.

"Toby, go after him and explain, he'll understand."

Toby hesitated, before looking at Leo. With a nod he quickly slipped
out the door and down the hall towards Josh's office. Leo watched for a
moment before moving quickly towards his desk and the phone. If anybody
could get Toby to stay, it would be those two.

"Hey, I just wanted to warn you. The lifeboat...well, it just blew up and
is heading in your direction. I'm ordering you to fix it. Yeah...take a
number and stand in line. I'll be bending over and pulling my pants
down so everyone can kick me later. Josh, if I knew how to fix it, do
you think the whole mess would come barreling into your office...oh...just
about now? Sam's there? Okay...well you have fun with that. Toby's gonna
be there in about uh...1 minute."

Leo slammed the phone down as he heard Josh screaming something about
Karen Cahill's ugly shoes. Leo flopped down in his chair. And this was
just the beginning of their extended stay in hell.

*************************

His blue eyes flashed in anger and disbelief. Striding purposefully
towards Josh's office he should have seen this coming. The Drop-In, the
contempt for his suggestion to release the Columbian drug lord, getting
shouted down by CJ, all added up to his being let go. Why should they
keep him? He didn't seem to be contributing to the running of this
country. He had been feeling out of the loop for quite awhile now. Of
course, now that the President had decided to run again, Toby would
want to regroup and put a stronger team together. Sam knew, without a
doubt, that Toby was disappointed in his ability to write,
contribute...breath. Sam reached Josh's office door, stepped inside with
a huff, and slammed it shut. Pacing, flushed and furious, Sam pointed an

excusing finger at Josh.

"THAT BASTARD IS WRONG! I KNOW WHAT THE HELL I'M DOING!"

Josh blinked at Sam, while holding the disconnected phone in his hand.
He took a moment to look at the phone and back to Sam. Josh cursed at
the receiver before putting it back into the cradle.

"I'm gonna be first in line, you shit." Of course, Leo was no longer
there to hear him.

"Sam...it's not what you think."

"How the hell do you know what I'm thinking? Who was that anyway? What,
Josh, they give you a warning? Get Seaborn to shut up and pack his
things quietly? Is that it? Josh..." Sam became more agitated and started
waving his arms as he paced.

"SAM! SHUT THE HELL UP! STAND STILL! AND FOR GOD'S SAKE STOP DOING THAT
TOBY IMITATION!"

Sam stopped in his tracks and blinked at Josh. Realizing after a moment
that Josh was looking passed him. Sam turned to see the Bastard himself
standing in the now open doorway, totally and utterly drained. Sam
sympathized for a moment before his eyes narrowed in renewed anger.

"I'm not talking to you!"

"Sam, stop..." Josh tried to get his friend to calm down.

Toby held up a hand. "It's okay Josh, I just want to say one thing and
you can explain the rest."

The younger men looked at him. One with determination, he wasn't going
to believe anything Toby said. The other with fear, he wasn't going to
like what Toby said."

"Sam, you're not getting fired."

Sam frowned in confusion, but he heard right, didn't he? Toby needed a
new Deputy Director of Communications. Before he could figure it out,
Toby continued.

"You're getting promoted."

Toby gave Josh one last long look and a small smile. They had a good
run together and Toby would always be proud of having worked with the
likes
of Josh Lyman. Toby gestured his head towards Sam. Josh understood and
nodded back. He would take care of Sam and help him make his way.
Satisfied, Toby turned, heading toward his own office, soon to be Sam's.

Sam was stunned. His mind still not catching on to what his ears just
heard. He was getting promoted. To what? The natural progression would
be Director of Communi...oh shit...NO! Josh rounded the desk once it was
obvious that Sam had figured out Toby's cryptic comment. Sam looked
positively ill as Josh eased him into a chair. He made a mental note to
kick Toby in the ass after Leo. This was not the way to let Sam or
himself, for that matter, know that he was leaving.

"Josh, what the hell happened?"

Sam went through every event in his head. Jesus, he just called Toby a
bastard. How could he have been so fucking wrong? Sam closed his eyes,
and covered his face with his hands.

"I'm so ashamed...Josh...you just can't believe what I've been thinking
about Toby, about being here..."

"Well, buddy judging by the way you slammed my door and started
screaming, I think I have a pretty good idea."

Sam looked up at Josh and groaned at the smirking face. Josh held the
reassuring smile for a moment longer before turning serious. Slowly he
began to tell his best friend about the lifeboat.

 

TBC

 

 

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