Title: Family

Author: Suze (padawan_20@yahoo.com)

Rating: PG 13 (little naughty words in there, bad Josh bad)

Summary: a bad Josh day...

Feedback: Sure, feed me!

Disclaimer: Well we all know they ain't mine. Damn shame to. Property of Sorkin, NBC blah blah blah. Sue me if you like lint balls :)

Warning: I took a few liberties, created a character and a condition... you will see :)

 

Part 1

~~

An arm shot out of the darkness and silenced the offending mechanical evil. Bleary eyes glared at the glowing display. 4:30 The foggy brain barley registered before drifting off when the previous performance was repeated. This pattern continued several times before the owner of the disembodied arm turned off the infernal alarm, threw back the covers,and rolled out of bed.

A short jaunt to the bathroom where the flick of a finger inflicted intense pain and momentary blindness. A splash of cold water revived some life in the groggy form. At this time in the morning no one was human. A shower was started, and a suit laid out. The shower was rejuvenating, and life was returning. Sleep was a commodity that was not afforded lately, and the effects were being felt.

Breakfast was a banana and a cup of coffee in the living room chair over the morning news. All the energy that had been induced by the frigid shower now ebbed from the prone form. The news ended, yet no move was made to turn off the television or get out of the chair. A beeper went ignored several times before the phone rang. The chair remained inhabited.

"Hey, I'm not here right now, you know what todo.... Beep."

"Josh? Josh are you there? Josh you had better be gone, and walking in the office right now...I don't see you. Josh you have senior staff if five. Oh pleasebe on your way. You know how pissy you get when the President lectures you. Pick up the phone Josh, at least I can make up some excuse for you if I know you aren't going to walk in any second. JOOOSH- Beep."

 

Part 2

~~

CJ joined the mad morning pre-senior staff meeting gossip that occurred every Monday morning in Leo's office. Sam and Toby were arguing over a one-word difference in the President's next speech. Leo was going over his agenda with Margaret. CJ went for some coffee. Monday mornings were always rough.

"Ok, people, lets calm down and get started." Leo stated taking in the room. He frowned and checked his watch, 5:25. "Where is Josh?"

"I don't know," CJ said over a mouthful of doughnut and coffee.

"I haven't seen him yet." Sam replied with a shrug.

"Anyone know what time he left last night?" Leo inquired, but to no avail. "Well lets get started, I'm sure he'll be right along, Sam you tell him anythinghe misses ok?"

"No problem." Sam said with nod. "Anyone know how the Redskins did this weekend? Josh will definitely want to know that." CJ snorted, Toby chuckled, and Leo grinned. A knock at the door drewtheir attention.

"Yeah." Leo stated, or more or less yelled at the door. This meeting was important to Leo. He wanted to know everything going into the senior staff meeting. The door opened a little, and Donna's head poked in. It helped Leo that she looked apologetic.

"I'm sorry- Sam can I see you a minute?" Sam shot Leo a questioning look, and got the go ahead. He returned a minute later. They all looked upexpectantly.

"Josh is on the phone with Senator Mathis."

They all nodded, and accepted the excuse without question. It was time to move into the Oval office for the briefing of the President.

 

Part 3

~~

Sam sighed in relief as they piled into the Oval Office. No one had questioned his excuse about Josh. He though of the most annoying and persistent person he could to save Josh. Now all he needed to know was what Josh needed saving from.

"Good morning, Mr. President." Leo announced as he stood to greet his friend.

"Good morning Leo, thank you. How was everyone's weekend?" He got a variety of positive responses when he noticed someone missing. "Where is Josh?" Sam took a deep breath to answer; he always had a hard time lying to anyone, and most especially the President of the United States. But Leo saved him, and Leo didn't know he was lying. Somehow that made it a little better, but not much. Josh owed him big time.

"Josh is being detained by Senator Mathis, but will join us as soon as possible, Mr. President."

"Wonder what we did this time?" The President quipped. "Alright, someone brief him on what he misses, and lets get started. CJ?"

"Mr. President, this weekend there were several incidents that we will have to address in the morningpress release..."

 

~~

The phone is ringing, or is it the alarm? The machine, Donna- being pissy. Wait, what time did she say it was? A quick glance at the clock confirmed that he was over three hours late.

"SHIT!" Josh exclaimed aloud to no one in particular. He jumped from the recliner facing the TV, raced around his apartment, gathered his briefcase, cell phone, pager, and keys in a whirlwind, all the time muttering his late mantra. "Shit, shit, shit!"

The door to his apartment slammed shut as he ran to his car; the television set still on, and the phone ringing.

 

Part 4

~~

"Good morning Mr. Lyman!" The security guard greeted jovially. Josh groaned as he signed in, he usually had some brilliant repartee to spout back to anyone so happy. But not this morning...this morning was a disaster already, and the storm was awaiting him yet. Josh slinked down the hall towards his office with one single objective, to get there unnoticed. Coffee, he needed another cup of coffee.

"Josh! There you are. I have been looking for you all morning." Leo paged him from behind. Josh braced himself and tried to come up with a plausible excuse,any excuse.

"Leo, I'm sorry I missed senior staff this morning, I will apologize to the President as soon as I put my jacket in my office. I was..." But Leo interrupted him with a raised hand.

"Placating Senator Mathis. I know, Sam told me." Josh recovered quickly from this factious news and nodded for Leo to continue. "Has Sam briefed you yet?" Josh blinked at him a few times, and Leo took the pause to mean Josh had no idea what he was talking about.

"The senior staff meeting you missed thismorning..." Leo explained slowly.

"Oh, uh, no not yet. I was on my way there now." Josh stammered, Leo's eyes narrowed in suspicion.

"Is there anything you want to tell me Josh?" Leo asked concerned.

"No, everything is fine. Just running a littlebit behind is all."

"Uh, huh." Brief contemplative pause, " Josh?"

"Yeah?"

"My office now."

"But-"

"Now," the tone in his voice brooked no argument, and Josh obediently followed Leo to his office. "Margaret! Call Donna and tell her to rearrange Josh's appointments for the next hour. He is with me." Josh winced, as Leo closed the door to his office.

"Have a seat Josh." Leo instructed as he moved behind his desk and sat down. Josh made a move towards the chair but didn't sit in it.

"Listen Leo, if this is about the senior staff meeting, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. But I have a lot of work to do. Can't I get the abbreviated version from Sam?" Leo snorted, and gestured towardsthe chair.

"Sit down Josh."

"Leo, I have a lot of work to do, so if this can wait-"

"SIT DOWN Josh!" Leo insisted, his stern face matching his voice perfectly. Slight annoyance could be detected to the trained ear, and Josh certainly had plenty of experience at this particular trade. Josh complied with his command, and slunk down into the chair.

"Why do I feel like the kid in the principles office?" Leo gave in to a slight crooked smile, but did not give a proper retort. They met each others gaze momentarily, and the annoyance melted into concern

"What time did you leave last night Josh?" Leo finally asked. Josh let out a pent up breath he hadn't realized he had been holding.

"Ghods above Leo! Is that all? You had me scared to hell!" Josh exclaimed as he shook his head in relief.

"This isn't a joking matter Josh! You haven't been sleeping, and you are going to get sick. I can't do without you right now. How many times have I lectured you on eating and sleeping? You get something into your head, and you forget about anything else."

"Leo-" Josh started off complaining, but was immediately interrupted by an irate chief of staff.

"Don't Leo me Josh. I know you." Josh looked away guiltily, and shook his head.

"Leo you know that there are time constraints, things have deadlines, I have to do my job-"

"If you get sick, what then? Who will do it for you when you can't get out of bed? Josh, I will personally see to it that you go home at 5 o'clock tonight if-"

"I don't need a babysitter Leo."

"Are you sick already?" Their eyes met, and although Josh could lie and Leo would believe him; Josh couldn't bring himself to do it. So he said nothing.

"Dammit Josh!" Leo exclaimed, loud enough to draw the attention of anyone within the vicinity of his office. Which happened to include the President in the adjoining office. The door opened to admit one President of the United States. Both Leo and Josh immediately climbed to their feet.

"Good Morning Mr. President." Josh greeted his boss with a characteristic smile.

"Good Morning Josh. Please sit back down gentlemen." Josiah Bartlett announced as he pulled a chair up next to Josh in front of Leo's desk. A glance at both men proved to show that he had interrupted something important. Leo was sulking, with barley-contained anger, and Josh was pale, with a sheen of perspiration on his brow. "How are we doing? I couldn't help but overhear a bit of your conversation. Want to tell me what's going on?"

"Leo is upset with me because I haven't been taking my vitamins." Josh said sarcastically. Leo's mouth dropped open in shock, and the President chuckled.

"He's just looking out for you." He paused and looked Josh over, " Josh you do not look so good. Haveyou seen a doctor?"

"No sir, I'm fine really. Just tired is all. I had a few long nights." Josh's eyebrows rose as he added, "As have we all." The President nodded; this past week had been devoted to an anti-drug law, among otherthings.

"Ok Josh, I know that it has been a long week. Go home early tonight, and rest up. You don't want to get sick. I don't want to have to sick the first lady on you." He added in jest. Josh feigned a horrified look.

"Anything but that!" Leo reached across his desk and swatted at Josh. Josh saw it coming, and maneuvered out of arms way. "So can I go now? I do have real work to do, I promise to be a good boy." Leo made a face, but released him from custody.

"Get out of here," he said pointing towards the door with a quirked smile on his face.

"Thank you!" Josh said graciously giving a mock half bow. He looked towards the President and nodded. "Mr. President." The President nodded in return giving the final permission for dismissal, and Josh took his leave.

 

Part 5

~~

After escaping from Leo, Josh headed towards Sam's office. He owed him a huge favor for covering for him. And what a cover it was. They all bought it, hook line and sinker! Josh shook his head in disbelief and smiled. If he had really been on the phone with Senator Mathis, he would be one grumpy bastard right now. Mathis was the number one most annoying hard ass in the entire Senate. Arriving at his destination, he knocked on the open door.

"Sam?" When he finished typing his thought, he glanced up. Josh took it as a sign to continue, "You got a minute?"

"Josh, where the hell have you been? Do you know what I had to do for you at the senior staff meeting this morning? I had to cover for your ass. If I get busted for this..." Sam started in on him irately. Josh interrupted before Sam could get too firmly ingrained on his soapbox.

"Sam, I know, Leo already laid into me. I really appreciate you covering for me. We are even now. " Josh laid out the bait, trying to salvage his day, Sam took it.

"Even? Even- I say you owe me, and a big one at that!" Sam cried in an accusatory tone. Josh laughed and conceded his point, both hands up in mock surrender.

"Ok, I owe you, a big favor. So are we cool? Josh asked taking a seat across from Sam.

"Yeah. You look horrible by the way. Everything okay?" Sam inquired concerned.

"I'm fine, don't worry. Are we going to do this?"

"Sure, Well you didn't miss all that much this morning. CJ ranting about the press conference, Toby about the Denver speech..." Josh sighed, another day at work in the White House. Sam's phone rang, and Josh took the opportunity to escape while he still had all of his teeth.

The trip to his office was mercifully uneventful, that is of course until he got within eyeshot of his staff. A swift murmur announced his arrival, quickly followed by a shrill exclamation of his doom.

"Josh! Where have you been? Do you know what you have missed? Do you know what I have had to reschedule? You try talking to...Josh you lookhorrible, are you alright?" Josh took a deep breath and looked heaven ward for divine strength.

"Why does everyone keep asking me that? Yes I am fine. Donna, I am going to go into my office right now, and drink this cup of coffee. Then you will calmly bring me the new draft of today's schedule. Then today will proceed normally." He raised his voice to include his entire staff. "I'm really sorry I was late. It's ok, just keep up the good work, and we will all go home on time." Donna opened her mouth to say more, but Josh held up his hand in her face. "Five minutes, I just want five minutes to myself." Turning into his office he mumbled, "If one more person lays into me today, I'm going back to bed." Entering his office, he immediately noticed he was not alone.

"Well hello there stranger!" announced the young brunette sitting cross-legged in the Deputy Chief of Staff's chair. She wore headphones around her neck, which were currently blaring some strange, odd, loud, music. "Fancy meeting you here." She continuedsarcastically.

"Julia? What are you doing here?" Josh asked in complete and utter confusion.

"Ah," she nodded pushing a stray curl behind her ear, "Yes, good question." She unfolded her legs, turned off the headphones and leaned towards Josh. " I do remember having a conversation with this brother of mine, about a week back. We made arrangements to have breakfast. I even had his assistant pencil me in. But for some odd reason he didn't show up." Josh drew in a deep breath, and flopped into a chair across fromhis desk.

"God Jule, I'm so sorry. I..." Josh tried to explain, but was immediately interrupted.

"I'm not a morning person Josh, and I was at that stupid cafe at 5 am. Around six, I called your apartment, no answer. I beeped you, I tried your cell phone. I called the office. You had about ten minutes before I started the hospitals." She was more upset then mad. "And you look like crap, everything okay?"

"Jules, I'm sorry, I'm the most horrid, evil, wretched brother on the face of the Earth. Forgive me?" Josh asked with his puppy dog face that he knew she couldn't resist. She made a sour face at him, and conceded.

"You didn't answer my question," She insisted," You sick?" Josh rolled his eyes, and groaned.

"I'm fine. Why does everyone keep asking methat?"

"Because you look like crap." Julia said insensitively, still a little sore for being stood up. Josh opened his mouth to thank her for her kind words when Donna came in with his schedule for the day. Once glance at it, and Josh knew he wasn't having any meal with his sister this day. He winced, and braced himself to give her the bad news.

"Thanks Donna," Josh managed before she departed.

"Don't worry, I already saw it." Julia spared him. "Give me your keys."

"What?" Josh asked in bewilderment.

"I was supposed to stay with my brother for the weekend. He was supposed to have met me for breakfast and dropped me off at his apartment so I could get settled in. But I have an interview to go to, and I have to change. I might like to at least have something to wear other then the clothes I've been wearing for the last two days." Josh winced, and threw her his keys.

"You have an interview? I thought you were going home?" Josh asked. Julia stood, and picked up her backpack.

"You know I can't live with mom and dad any more then I can live with you. But I would have told you about the interview this morning. Now you will have to wait until tonight. Right now I need a shower and something to eat. You should eat something too, you really don't look so good Josh."

"I'm fine, but I will eat something. Let me walk you to the car. You don't know where I parked." Julia smiled at her brother, and gave him a peck on his forehead.

"Thanks Josh. I did miss you believe it or not." She said as they walked down the hall. "See you later Donna!" She yelled as they passed. Josh made a suspicious look, which did not escape his sister.

"Donna and I had plenty of time to bond while we were waiting for you. But you don't want to know what was said, secret plans for your demise were made." She failed to keep a straight face, and a giggle escaped her. Her laugh was infectious, and Josh soon joinedher.

"Hey wait a sec, Jules, I need to tell Leo something real quick." Josh ducked into the Chief of Staff's office; Julia leaned against the wall andsmiled at Margaret.

"Hi," Julia said. Margaret smiled and nodded back, obviously absorbed in her task. There was a loud thud, and Leo calling to Josh in alarm. Leo's voice rang out into the hall. Margaret and Julia were already moving towards the door.

"Margaret! Call a doctor quick." Margaret scurried to her desk, and made a phone call. Julia stood frozen in the doorway. Josh had passed out, and was lying unconscious in a heap on the floor.

 

Part 6

~~

"Josh!" Julia exclaimed and ran immediately to his side. Leo pulled her away quickly and demanded to know who she was.

"Who are you? How did you get in here?" He glanced at her tag; she did have the proper clearance.

"I'm Josh's sister, Julia- did he hit his head?" She asked concerned. Leo shook his head.

"I don't think so. One minute we were standing here talking and the next his eyes were rolling into his head. I managed to catch him before he hit the ground. Something is wrong. MARGRET?" He yelled. Julia bent down and checked her brother's pulse and breathing. The President rushed in from the adjoining office, followed quickly at his heels was Charlie.

"Oh my God, Josh," The President said falling to his knees besides Julia and Leo. He looked at Charlie. "Get my wife, quickly." He demanded. "Leo," he stopped seeming to notice the young woman by his deputy chief of staff's side.

"It's ok, Mr. President, this is Julia Lyman. Josh's sister." She looked up at him, fear was ingrained in the depths of her eyes. The President hated to see such fear in one so young. She looked only a few years older the Zoe.

"It's ok, he's going to be ok." The President assured her, placing his hand on her forearm in support. The First Lady arrived and the President pulled the stricken sister back to make room for his wife. This scene was horrifying familiar to Leo.

"Does he have any medical conditions that we don't know about?" Julia met his eyes bravely, andshook her head.

"He's hypoglycemic," she answered quickly. "If he doesn't eat every few hours, and keep his blood sugar at a certain level...He missed have breakfast this morning, and if he skipped dinner last night..." She trailed off. The First Lady pulled a syringe from her bag, and gave Josh an injection.

"Abby?" Her husband asked concerned nothing moreneeded to be said.

"He'll be alright. This will hold him for a bit. Let's get him into that chair." As soon as they had him secured in the chair he began coming to. "Get me a glass of water please, Charlie." Josh opened his eyes, and blinked in confusion. Charlie handed the water to Mrs. Bartlett who in turn fed it to Josh who began to mildly protest. "Hush and drink this now." She demanded, even Josh knew not to fight that tone. Once the water was finished Josh noticed his little gathering.

"I'm fine." He said avoiding everyone's gaze by avidly staring at the carpet. He received a solid smack upside the head from the First Lady.

"Hypoglycemia? You didn't think that was something anyone should know about? And you are most certainly not fine." Josh winced and glanced to the President for support, but received none.

"Don't look at me young man. I'm as upset with you as she is." Bartlett declared sternly. The doctor arrived and interrupted anything else the President was going to say. Josh moaned in protest.

"Not another word Joshua. I don't want to hear it." Leo said as he grasped Josh by the arm and hauled him to his feet. "Up, come on, let's get moving. I'm sure there are some tests to run, and when that is finished we are going to have a nice long chat." Josh groaned, but didn't say a word.

 

Part 7

~~

The next night CJ, Sam, Julia and Josh were all crammed on the couch in Josh's apartment. CJ was

munching on some popcorn. Sam and Julia were arguing over the remote control. Josh finally got up, andtook it from them.

"It's my house, my TV, my VCR, my remote." Julia and Sam shrugged at each other and grabbed a handfulof popcorn.

"So what are we watching?" CJ asked Julia, whohad rented the movies.

"The American President," Julia answered with a straight face. Three groans and several handfuls of popcorn were tossed in her general direction. She snorted, "No really, it's The Big Chill." Drinks were gathered, and everyone settled in for the duration. About five minutes later the phone rang.

"Hello?" Josh answered, "I am feeling better, thank you. No, yes, yes, yes sir. Yes Sir. YES Sir, you can tell the President I will be there for senior staff in the morning. Yes Leo I ate dinner. Leo!" Josh rolled his eyes and sighed. "I had pasta, vegetables- green beans, and chicken." He glanced at the movie starting. " I know you are just making sure, all right. Yeah, I'll see you in the morning. Good Night Leo, and...Thanks...for everything. Night." He clicked off the phone.

Josh glanced up at his sister and two of his closest friends, all snuggled up on the couch arguing some finer point about the movie. He looked down at the phone in his hands and smiled, he had great friends. They had all visited him during his brief stay in the hospital where endless tests were done on him. Josh suspected that the President had ordered them just to punish him. Sam, Toby, CJ, Leo, they had all come at one point or another during his stay away, and Julia hardly ever left his side. They were the best friends anyone could ever hope to be blessed with. They were his family.

"Who was that?" Sam asked. Josh smiled and put the portable phone on the receiver.

"It was Leo," Josh said glancing at his watch with a smile. "Right on time."

~~ FIN~~


 

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