Demons: Part Nine

By Red

Disclaimer: Located in various parts…

Author's Note: Violence and bad language lurks around these here parts - beware!

The Hospital - Sam's room

Sunday, 8:44 AM

He couldn't decide which was worse. Sitting in the West Wing with no clue of how Sam was doing, or lying in bed with him knowing all too well how bad the situation was. Part of him wished that the President had never agreed to let him stay at the hospital as long as needed. But Sam needed him so there he was.

Toby could feel the heat radiating from the body blanketed over his and not for the first time, he cursed Cruz silently. It seemed that the mad man had known exactly what to do to make the situation worse. So instead of Sam coming back to them and recovering quickly with the help of antibiotics, sedatives, and painkillers, he was here laying in this bed, a fever burning through his mind and body from two major infections without the aid of the drugs he desperately needed.

It was strange; normally he would have considered Sam to be one of the most healthy and physically fit men he knew. But now as he held him while he slept fitfully, he reflected that Sam was anything but. He had lost a lot of weight during his ordeal, and Toby could feel his ribs with startling detail where his arms laid over them. His body had been severely dehydrated and what with the fever and infections, that was only bound to get worse. Toby shook his head. He had never even seen Sam with the sniffles. How ironic.

But as much as he normally found great amusement in irony such as this, he couldn't bring himself to laugh. There was nothing funny about the way the younger man shivered convulsively in his sleep, or the way he was so bone-tired when he was awake that he was nearly too weak to talk. His shallow, hoarse breathing was nothing to laugh at, nor was the way sweat seemed to pour off him.

'I'm becoming morbid,' he thought to himself with a self-effacing smirk. 'Wouldn't CJ have fun bothering me about that?' But CJ wasn't there. She was busy in the West Wing trying to handle her job as well as his, while Josh juggled his own along with Sam's. He knew things had to be hectic there, but he didn't think they could ever compare to the hell that was Sam's hospital room.

"Toby?" a weak voice asked quietly, the words a barely audible mumble. Toby lifted his head a little to gaze down at the part of Sam's face that he could see.

Stroking the damp locks of hair away from his forehead, Toby smiled down at the younger man. Even if it was difficult to see him so weak, it was ten times better than when he slept all the time, held in the grip of nightmares. "Yeah, kid, I'm here. You ok?"

He felt Sam nod a little against his shoulder, and he smiled when his hair brushed back and forth against him, tickling his neck.

"Wish it would stop hurting," Sam mumbled, frowning. "And I wish the nightmares would go away. I don't want to keep remembering what happened…" he began to shake a little, becoming distressed.

Toby closed his eyes for a minute and wished for strength. He tightened his hold around Sam and began to rock him gently having learned that the motion always soothed him. "Don't worry about it right now, ok? Don't let it haunt you." He paused and blinked his eyes rapidly. "You'll have to talk about it sometime to get it off your chest… but it doesn't have to be now. Just concentrate on getting better for now, all right?"

Sam heaved a great sigh and then winced when it hurt him to do so. Toby winced with him, practically feeling his pain. "You're wrong Toby," Sam whispered. "I can't get better when every time I shut my eyes I see… him… standing over me with a bat, or a needle, or a knife." He bit his lip.

Worried, Toby squeezed him a little tighter. "C'mon Sam. Don't say that. You're stronger than that." He scowled when Sam started shaking his head in disagreement.

"You don't understand Toby. You can't."

Toby groaned. "Sam -"

Sam jerked away from him, gritting his teeth, fighting against the arms around him. "No! I'm weak Toby! That's why he picked me. He told me so. I'm the weak link so he picked me because he knew I could be broken. And you know what? I _am_ broken! Ok?"

Sam's words shocked all reaction out of him and he froze. Sam took the opportunity to wrench free from him, landing hard against the side railing with a small cry of pain.

"Sam, stop this. You'll hurt yourself." Toby slid off the bed on the other side and reached forward to place his hand on his friend's shoulders to calm him down. But Sam flinched hard away from him.

Shaking even harder, Sam ducked his head and hunched his shoulders, keeping as far away as possible. "Just go away Toby. Please just go away," he pleaded brokenly.

His face a mask of regret and sadness, Toby backed away from the bed, sighing. "Ok kid. Just calm down." Bowing his head, Toby slowly exited the room.

The White House - Toby's Office Sunday, 11: 23 AM

Poking her head inside Toby's office, CJ arched her eyebrows when she found him inside, seated in one of the chairs in front of his desk. "Hey. Carol said she saw you coming in, but I didn't believe her. Why aren't you with Sam?" Without an invitation she entered the room the rest of the way and sat in the chair across from him.

Toby sat with his elbows on his knees, bent forward at the waist. He raised his head to scowl at her. "He kicked me out." She gave him a look of disbelief and he straightened up. "He freaked out and ordered me to leave. I don't know what's wrong with him but he's falling apart CJ. I wanted to help…" he breathed in deeply and slumped back, "but he wouldn't let me."

She leaned forward and took her hand in his, sitting on the edge of her chair. "Toby, Cruz didn't just beat him and slice him up. He played with his mind. Sam's scared right now. He doesn't know what's real anymore."

A breath hitched in his throat as Toby leaned his head back, staring blearily at the ceiling. "He thinks he's weak, CJ. That bastard told him that he's weak. Sam honestly believes that he's broken… and I'm afraid that he might be right. I'm afraid that we've lost him, even though he's still alive." He raised his free hand to cover his face.

CJ swallowed deeply and licked her lips. She knew this was where she was supposed to reassure him that he was wrong and that everything would be all right. But for once she wasn't too sure about that. She had seen how low Sam had sunken the last time she had broken away from her office to visit him.

"All we can do is be there for him, even if he pushes us away. He doesn't know what he needs right now so we need to take care of him." She stood and smoothed down the front of her skirt. "Come on Toby, why don't we go back to the hospital and see how he's doing? He's probably calmed down by now so he'll be missing having his Toby bear..." she teased with a smile.

But Toby just shook his head and stood to walk over behind his desk. He seated himself there and turned on his computer. "He doesn't need me, CJ. He made that quite clear. I may have been the only one available at first so he latched on. But he doesn't need me anymore." He studiously avoided meeting her gaze.

CJ barely kept from snapping at him. He was being ridiculous and she wanted nothing more to shake him. But long experience told her that if she confronted him, he would go on the defensive and then he wouldn't be budged.

"Ok Toby," she murmured. "I'll go see him myself then." Biting the inside of her cheek to say anything in anger, she left the room quietly. "Stubborn male pride," she muttered once she was outside.

Bonnie was standing nearby with Ginger and she gave her an odd look. "Um, CJ? Carol was looking for you. She said something about a meeting be pushed up."

Glaring, CJ stormed down the hall. She encountered Josh and pulled him aside. "When was the last time you went to see Sam?" she asked him point-blank, her gaze hard.

Josh looked around him for an escape before turning to face her when he didn't find any. "Um… that first time?" he ventured.

"Josh, I don't believe you," CJ scolded, disappointed. "I was about to go visit him but apparently my schedule has been changed and I have a meeting. He's alone right now, Josh. Go see him. He needs someone."

Without giving him a chance to agree or disagree, she stalked off, leaving Josh gaping open-mouthed in her wake.

The Hospital - Sam's room Sunday, 11: 56 AM

The silence of the room struck her still for a minute. Biting her lip, feeling uncertain, Mallory stepped up to the side of the bed and gazed down at the man that lay in it. She had been surprised to see that Toby wasn't there but she figured there had been some kind of emergency he couldn't get out of.

"Sam?" she asked quietly. If he was really asleep, she didn't want to rob him of his rest. She knew how tired he was.

Slowly his blue eyes opened and looked up at her. As usual, she found herself losing herself in their depths, her heart fluttering. Shaking herself, she smiled. "Hey Seaborn, you up for a fight? I got my hands on a few more position papers of yours." Her twinkling eyes let him know she was only joking.

Sam smiled up at her weakly and worked his throat. "I'll argue with you anytime, Mal. You know that. Just make an appointment first," he joked slowly.

Feeling lighter of heart, Mallory leaned down to him and kissed him tenderly. She began to straighten and stopped a few inches from his face, licking her lips with a coy smile. "Hmm," she murmured happily. "Someone had Jello for lunch!" she laughed.

Flushing slightly, Sam rolled his eyes. "They finally got their act together and brought me some watermelon-flavored. I told 'em I wouldn't eat that green stuff…"

"Not even the kids at my school eat the green kind," Mallory remarked wryly. "You have a good taste." She kissed him again, lingering longer this time. Having him back finally after a week of torturous worrying was such a relief. She wanted nothing more to throw herself in his arms right then.

Sam blinked tiredly and nodded. "I fell for you, didn't I?" he asked lazily, reaching up with one arm, careful of his IV, and trailing his hand down her arm. "Shouldn't you be in school?" he asked with a frown.

Mallory smiled and sat on the edge of his bed to be closer to him. "It was a half-day today. I'm not exactly sure why, but I wouldn't put it past the school board from making up some reason just so I could see you. I'm driving everyone crazy over there." She covered his hand on her arm with hers.

"More so than usual?" Sam cracked, his half-smile almost a grimace. "You know Mal, you really need to relax…"

She couldn't help but laugh at him, shaking her head in disbelief. "Look who's talking!" she exclaimed. "You're the one that fights your nurses at every turn. I've talked to them you know. And if it weren't for them all having crushes on you and that smile of yours, they would have given you a kick in the butt a long time ago!"

Sam sighed and rolled his eyes again. "All they let me do is sleep. I don't want to sleep. I tell them but they refuse to listen." She could see the tears in his red-rimmed eyes and she immediately felt like a troll for scolding him.

"I know baby." She softened almost instantly. "They are just trying to help. No one wants you to hurt." Feeling tears at her own eyes, Mallory let go of his hand and placed hers against his cheek, cupping it in her palm. "Sam, tell me what I can do. Let me help you."

As she watched the first tear fall down his other cheek, she felt a rush of emotion plow through her. Could it be love? She didn't know… but she was beginning to have her suspicions. There was something about Sam Seaborn.

"Stay with me," Sam whimpered. "Just stay please. I don't want to be alone." His eyes beseeched hers desperately, the blue orbs wide and pleading.

Nodding slowly, Mallory wiped the tears from his face with her thumb. "I know it may be inappropriate since the closest thing we've had to a date was going out to lunch, and I know I'm no substitute for Toby, but would you like me to hold you?"

Sam nodded, reminding her of a frightened child, a puppy-dog look in his eyes. With a gentle reassuring smile, she stood before climbing up beside him. She stretched onto her side, curling against him and resting her head against his chest as she wrapped her arms carefully around his waist. As she felt him wrap his arms around her back she sighed in pleasure. This was going to be as good for her as it would be for him.

End Part Nine.


Demons - 10


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