Title: All About Soul
Category: Josh/Donna
Rating: PG
Summary: Answer to challenge if Donna had been shot instead of Josh.
Author: StarGazr
E-Mail: StarGazr1152@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: All characters from The West Wing belong to Aaron Sorkin
and all of his buddies at NBC. The lyrics at then end belong to the
great Billy Joel. I'm taking dramatic license in my hospital scenes.
I know that if you have a concussion you should stay awake, but if I
did that, the story wouldn't work. :) If you want to archive or
forward this this somewhere... let me know where so I can go look. :)

Author's Note: This is my first West Wing piece, but I have been
writing X-Files stories for years. All though I loved the flashback
scenes in "Shadow" I have changed them. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

Dedication: Susan Proto- You are amazing. It doesn't matter what I
write, you always know were the commas go! Thank you for sticking
around all this time. All the gang in my AP US History class- the map
can't go that way?! Yes it can!! There's no "absolute reference!!"
Mom, without you, I would have never sat down and watched this amazing
show. I love you!

All About Soul

"Donna please! I have to finish this!" Josh Lyman yelled.

"Just say I can come along, and I'll help you finish," Donna Moss
continued to argue with her boss. She was perched on Josh's desk,
blocking access to his laptop.

"Donna, I swear if you don't get down right now, I'm going to pick you
up and bodily move you," Josh stood and made a move for her.

"All right, all right!" She hopped down. "Josh," she continued
calmly, "do you remember why I came on the campaign?"

"Yeah, Dr. Freeride dropped you like a bad habit," he answered, typing
away on his laptop.

Donna reached forward and snapped the laptop closed. He leaned back in
his chair, signaling for her to speak. "I came on the campaign because
I believed in what Bartlet was saying. What he said made sense," she
leaned over his desk, "I want to hear him speak at the town meeting
tonight, Josh. Take me with you, please?"

Josh knew he had lost this battle. "All right, we're leaving here with
the motorcade at 4:30. You can ride with me, CJ, Toby and Sam. Leo's
going with the President, Zoey, and Charlie.

"Thank you so much, Josh!" She said smiling, then she walked out into
the bullpen.

"Hey! You promised you'd help!" Josh whined from his office.

"It's 4:22. We gotta go!" Donna grabbed her coat and headed back into
his office. "You can finish in the morning, come on." Josh slid into
his jacket and overcoat as she straightened his sloppy tie.

"Josh," As the two were walking into the hall, they were stopped by
Sam Seaborn. He appeared to be out of breath, "have you seen Toby?"

"No, I thought he was with you," Josh pointed out.

"Yeah, but as you can see," Sam spread his arms in exaggeration, "he's
not. Think he might be with CJ?"

"Maybe, let's go check. We gotta light a candle under her butt
anyway," Josh turned and headed for the Press Secretary's office.

"You promised, Toby!" A loud scream came from CJ Cregg's office.
Josh, Donna, and Sam appeared in the doorway to witness Toby Ziegler in
a stand-off with CJ.

"Well even if I did, I'm taking it back. This won't kill you, CJ."
Toby turned away to see the small gather group. "I told her she's
gonna ride with the press, and she's pissed."

"Ah, I thought she was coming with us," Josh asked.

"I was, but now the press corps is coming and Toby wants me to brief
them!" She hurled her gloves at Toby's head.

He caught them and said, "We don't have time to do it here, just go
with them." He handed her the gloves and she stormed out of the
office, the small group in tow. They headed back down the hall to the
West Wing exit.

Leo McGarry, stood waiting for them. "Usually it's him we're waiting
for, not you stooges," he said, holding the door.

"Yes, sir," they all mumbled with heads lowered. They all piled into
their respectful vehicles and the motorcade pulled away, heading for
Rosslyn, Virginia.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Later that Evening

"Thank you, thank you very much. That was a joke about politicians,"
the audience laughed at their President's joke. "Two politicians are
having an argument. The first one yells, 'but you're lying!' and the
other one answers, 'yes, I know, but hear me out!'"

Zoey Bartlet's personal bodyguard, Gina, was on the catwalk doing a
grounds check. "We're moments away. I'm going to get the door," she
informed another agent.

"I don't think I answered the last one. Suzanne's got me telling
jokes. Here's an answer to your question that I don't think you're
going to like. A man once said this, 'decisions are made by those who
show up.' So are we failing you, or are you failing us?" Bartlet
smiled and shook a man's hand, "A little of both. There's a guy on my
staff named Charlie Young, he showed me a report from the Center of
Policy Alternatives--" Charlie looked at Zoey, who looked back at
Charlie, "--that says that 61% of you agree with the statement 'The
older generation has failed my generation.' When asked how the older
generation sees you, your top answers are 'lazy,' 'confused' and
'unfocused.'"

Danny Concannon asked Josh, who was standing in the lobby with Donna,
"What was that source again?"

"Center for Policy Alternatives," he answered, "CJ will have copies for
you on the bus ride back."

Back on the stage the President continued, "If I take my jacket off,
can I trust you all to read nothing more into it than I've been talking
for two hours and it's a little hot under these lights?" The audience
applauded as Bartlet took off his jacket.

CJ walked behind reporters at who were sitting at laptops. She hit
Danny in the back of the head. "Follow me."

"Why?" He asked as he followed her.

Outside, Agent Ron Butterfield called to Gina. "Gina! Straight to the
car."

"He's not going to work the rope line?" She inquired.

"There's a softball game the President wants to watch," he explained.

"They show softball on TV?"

"Well, yeah."

"And the President watches it?" Gina asked. Gina and Butterfield
walked past a menacing looking young man wearing cap, grey shirt, and
the biggest "Bartlet" button in the world. He watched them pass, and
then turned his attention to a office building window on the other side
of the alley.

Back on stage, Bartlet saw Toby and Sam waving their arms. "The
Signal" he remembered. "They're telling me that we're out of time. I
just want to mention that at several points during the evening, I was
referred to as both a liberal and a populist, and a fellow fourth from
the back called me a socialist, which is nice, I haven't heard that for
a while. Actually, I'm an economics professor. My great-grandfather's
great-grandfather was Dr. Josiah Bartlet, who was the New Hampshire
delegate to the second Continental Congress, the one that sat in
session in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776, and announced to the
world that we were no longer subjects of King George III, but rather a
self-governing people. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident,' they
said, 'that all men are created equal.' Strange as it may seem, that
was the first time in history that anyone had bothered to write that
down. Decisions are made by those who show up. Class dismissed."
Bartlet looked down at his smiling daughter, "Thank you everyone. God
bless you. And God bless America."

"Way to go," Josh whispered to the televisions he was watching. He
turned to see Donna smiling. "Come on, we gotta go."

"That was really long Josh," Donna said as the walked outside. The
crowd was cheering and yelling.

"Yeah, but it was really good," Donna nodded in agreement, wrapping her
arms around her. "You cold?" Josh asked, glancing over at her. She
shook her head and Josh directed them to follow the President.

"I'm gonna head back to the car at this next turn. You coming?"

"Yeah, I'll follow you. I gotta grab CJ first, and see Sam. You go
warm up in the car."

"Joshua, I'm not cold!" Donna yelled as he made his way to the other
members of the White House senior staff. She silently walked to the
second limo and climbed in, waiting for Josh. It was quiet and she had
time to think.

Donna leaned her head against the headrest thinking about the past two
years. Being in the White House was more than she ever imagined. Josh
could be arrogant sometime, but she loved him, that's why she'd stuck
around all this...

'Love him? Where did that come from?' Donna thought to herself. It
was possible thought, she couldn't leave his side sometimes. 'But
love?' She thought.

"Donna?" The driver called, shattering her thoughts.

"Yeah, Ryan?" Donna rolled down the window.

"Gina's asking for you."

"I'll get out, thanks." Donna rolled up the front window and got out
of the car. "What's going on, Gina?"

"Where's Josh?" She asked. Her eyes were raking the crowd. Zoey was
with her.

"He's with the senior staff. Hi, Zoey."

"Hey, Donna. Is Charlie with him?" She too was scanning the crowd.

"I'm not really sure. What's going on?" Donna followed Gina as she
headed for the gates. From there she could see Josh talking to CJ. CJ
didn't look happy, but Sam was laughing, so it couldn't be too bad.

"I don't know... damn! Zoey, stay with me," she turned back to Donna,
"stay here or go back in the car. I saw something." She headed the
other way, Zoey in tow.

"I'll wait here, for Josh," she turned back to the gate, watching Josh.
He looked over and saw her. She waved sheepishly.

"Josh?" CJ called. She then followed his line of sight in time to see
Donna redirect her staring at Josh to the President. "You're
pathetic!" She slapped Josh's arm and walked away.

"OW! I don't understand, CJ!" Josh cried innocently.

"CJ's right, Josh. Not only are you pathetic, Donna is too," Sam
informed him and trotted up behind Leo and Toby, leaving Josh alone.

"Thanks guys," he muttered. He began heading toward the President and
Chief of Staff. 'Damn CJ and Sam, I hate this feeling,' he silently
thought. Donna kept his life on track. 'I treat her bad sometimes
though. But she hasn't left me. I guess that's why I love her.' He
stopped dead in his tracks. 'What in the...' he thought.

"Josh," Leo called. "Come on, it's almost over," Leo walked beside
him. Josh turned to see Donna watching. He held up his fingers
indicating two more minutes. She nodded and he winked. "Did you just
wink at Donna?"

Josh turned around to Leo, "I-- uh--"

Leo shook his head, "You're pathetic," he turned back to the rest of
the staff.

Josh threw his arms up in the air, "I'm pathetic," he announced to
himself.

"He's pathetic," Zoey said to Donna.

"Who?" Donna turned to the President's daughter.

"I don't spend a lot of time in the White House, but when I'm there, I
notice a lot." Zoey explained. "You're boss digs you, Donna, and he's
really bad at hiding it."

"I-- uh-- there's Charlie," Donna told her, changing the subject. Zoey
called for him and headed his way. She turned back and smiled at
Donna.

The crowd was cheering and yelling congratulations to their President.
Gina looked around frantically, spotting the creepy looking boy looking
up at office building past her head.

"Gina?" Zoey called out. The boy turned to walk away and his cap is
knocked off - revealing a bald head. Gina turned around to see what he
was looking at, and Charlie turned with her.

Gina saw several men in an office building, raising their guns and just
as the first shot was about to go off, Gina yelled, "Gun!" She turned,
and knocked Zoey to the ground by the limo. The men continued shooting
into the crowd. Gina pulled Charlie down and shieled them from the
gunfire, yelling, "Get down, get down!"

Secret Service agents began firing up at shooters, several others
pulled Bartlet back and down to the ground. Gina shoved Zoey into the
limo as Donna watched from behind the gates in horror.

The Secret Service agents fired, with the crowd screaming and scurrying
around them. Snipers fired at the gunmen as the gunmen continued their
assault on the crowd. Bartlet was shoved head first into the limo.

Back in the crowd an agent slammed into CJ, who was standing next to
Sam. Sam tackled CJ, bringing them both to the ground as a police car
window shattered right in front of them. Toby was caught on the
ground, being trampled by the screaming crowd, at the bottom of the
gate. Leo and Josh were being held down to the ground by agents,
ordering them stay down.

"Oh, god," Agents were yelling, "we've got people down. People down,
people down! Who's been hit? Who's been hit?" They were yelling.

What felt like minutes later, the gunshots ceased. Josh's heart leapt
into his throat as he got to his feet. Sam stood up next to him,
helping CJ to her feet. CJ's legs wouldn't hold her up, so she leaned
into Sam, cradling her head. "Where--" Josh started for the gates.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Lyman. You need to get in the car. We need to get you
to the White House!" A Secret Service Agent pushed him and Leo toward
a car, another headed for Sam and CJ. Josh had no clue as to how long
they had been lying on the ground.

"Is the President dead?" Josh heard CJ ask in a frantic voice as she,
Sam, and a weary looking Toby were pushed into a car.

"Donna," Josh said. She wasn't with him or the others. "I have to
find Donna!" he shouted at the persistent Agent.

"Mr. Lyman, I have orders to put you and Mr. McGarry in the West Wing."
With that Josh was shoved into the car. The Agent climbed up front and
yelled for them to move. Josh couldn't breathe, he had forgotten how.

"Joshua, you need to focus. Donna will be OK. She's probably with
Gina and Zoey." Leo assured him.

"No, I saw her at the gate. She'd have stayed there if she'd seen..."
he couldn't just sit there any longer. He quickly unlocked the door
and leapt out.

"Josh!" Leo yelled. The car came to a halt.

"Mr. McGarry!" Another agent who was in the car stopped Leo from
running after Josh.

As Josh ran toward where he'd last seen Donna, the Secret Service agent
was in hot pursuit.

He rounded a sharp corner and came to the main gates of the Town Hall.
Josh stopped in his tracks when he saw Donna sitting against the wall;
her arms wrapped around her midsection. "Oh God, Donna. I thought I'd
lost you."

"Josh--" she said softly. Josh knelt down to hear her and that's when
he saw it: blood; a lot of blood; Donna's blood. She slumped over
into Josh's arms. His arms were shaking as he caught her pale form.

"NO... Oh, God. Help! Someone help us!" He cried. The agent who was
chasing Josh ran up. He took one look at the scene before him and
yelled for paramedics into the microphone that was hidden in his
sleeve. "Hang on, Donna. Please don't... I should have kept you with
me," he whispered. There was so much blood.

"Josh, I... it hurts," she choked out.

"Shhh, I know, I know," he kissed her forehead.

"I have to tell you..." She started.

"It's OK," he insisted. "Tell me later, OK?" Josh smoothed her hair.

Donna nodded and closed her eyes. Before he could panic, two medics
pulled up and came to their aid. As the took her from him, Josh looked
down at his bloodied hands. 'Why her?!' he demanded silently.

Josh was just about to board the ambulance when the agent ordered to
take him to the White House grabbed his shoulder. "Sir, I have my
orders."

"Look, my assistant-- my friend may--" he couldn't bring himself to say
it. He couldn't lose Donna. Instead he said, "I'm going to the
hospital to be checked for a concussion."

"Coming or staying?!" The paramedic asked.

Josh's eyes pleaded with the agent. "Mr. Lyman may have a concussion,
take him!" The agent then stalked away to the car with Leo in it.

Josh leapt into the ambulance and sat next to Donna. She had an IV in
her pale arm and the paramedics were trying to control the bleeding.
He took Donna's hand and held it gently fearful that he might break
her. His head really did hurt. Josh laid his head back as he held
onto Donna's hand. He felt the vehicle spinning. Josh could faintly
hear someone calling him as everything faded to black. His last
thoughts were of Donna and a miracle.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Flashback - 3 years earlier
Josiah Bartlet Campaign Headquarters

"Margaret, is Leo here?" Josh Lyman asked, leaning into the doorway.

"Do you see him here?" Margaret responded, not looking up from her
typing. She sighed when Josh wouldn't leave. "He left these papers
for you to go over for tonight's meeting. And he wants to see you in
his office in two hours."

"So, he'll be here in two hours," Josh asked, looking over the
highlighted papers.

"I just said that didn't I?" she said, and Josh nodded. He decided to
leave Leo's secretary alone for the time being. "Oh," she added, "I
left a gift for you in your office."

"I always knew you cared, Margaret," Josh called as she headed for his
office.

"You're right," she mumbled, "I really care."

Josh entered his office, looking over his desk. Something was
different. "I see no nicely wrapped gifts." Confused, he went back
into the hall. This time he saw a young woman sitting in a chair.
"Hi," he said.

"Hi," she responded, getting out of the chair. Neither one said
anything.

"Um, can I help you, Ms..."

"Moss. My name is Donna Moss and I'm here to volunteer." Josh made a
motion for her to join him in his office. "When I got her the woman
down the hall told me to wait out here."

Josh stopped midway into his chair. "Margaret sent you in here?"

"Yes. Are you Josh Lyman?"

"No nicely wrapped gifts," he muttered, sinking into his seat.

"Excuse me?" Donna set down her bag, and took a seat across from Josh.

"Never mind. Yes, I'm Josh Lyman. Why are you here again?"

"I'm your new assistant?" she asked.

"I didn't have an old one," he pointed out.

"OK-- well I drove here from Madison, Wisconsin to volunteer on the
campaign and where I got here-- Margaret sent me to you," Donna
explained.

"Of course she did," he mumbled. "Can you type?"

"Yes."

"Can you make schedules?"

"If you tell me what you need in them."

He rubbed the bridge of his nose. There had to be something he could
get her on. "Are you organized?"

"More so than you, Mr. Lyman," she replied with a smile.

"Are you implying that I'm unorganized, Ms. Moss?" He leaned over the
desk.

"Well, I did come in here and couldn't find you calendar," she told
him. Josh looked down at his surprisingly clean desk. "So, I found it
for you."

"Where's all my stuff?!" Josh launched out of his chair.

"I put your papers in the filing cabinet, your books alphabetically on
the shelf, and I put your pens, clips and other things in containers on
your desk," the young woman replied simply. "Margaret seemed impressed
that I made it through the papers. She said the last girl on the
campaign took one look and walked right back out the door. Are you
mad?"

Josh looked down at his desk; it was so neat. He could see his
calendar. Looking up at Donna, she could see his confused expression.
"I have a filing cabinet in here?"

Donna let out a laugh. "Yes, you do, over there," she pointed to the
right wall of his office. Suddenly the phone rang.

The two stared at each other. "Go ahead," he said. "Let's see what
you've got."

She picked up. "Bartlet for America, Josh Lyman's office. No, I'm
sorry, he's going into a meeting with the Governor at seven." She
moved around the desk glancing at his newly found calendar. "I can
schedule him in for next Tuesday... lunch would be fine. OK, I'll pass
it along. Have a nice afternoon... thank you." Donna hung up and
handed the message to Josh. "You have a lunch meeting with Congressman
Bergman Tuesday, Mr. Lyman."

Josh took his message. "You're good. That'll probably be my last
lunch in New Hampshire, too."

"I don't understand," Donna looked confused.

"We're packing up and going to North Caroling next week." Josh looked
at here, waiting to see her reaction.

"Wow, um..." Donna went to get her bag and coat, defeated.

"You wanna come along?" Josh offered. Donna turned around with bright
eyes. "I can't--"

"I'll pay my own way. I want to help. Mr. Lyman, I think I can be
good at this, I think you'll find me valuable."

Josh walked over and handed her his access pass. "You may need this if
you're going to be following me around everywhere. And you can call me
Josh. 'Mr. Lyman' makes me sound old."

Donna smiled and took his pass. "You can call me Donna. Thank you,
Josh. I'll make you the most organized man on this campaign."

"I want more than that," he helped Donna into her coat. "I want to be
the most organized man in the White House come January."

"I can do that too."

"So, Donna. I'll see you tomorrow morning at eight?" Josh headed back
to Leo's office. He turned back to his new assistant. "I'll introduce
you to the team."

"OK, I'll see you in the morning. Thank you again," she said as she
got on the elevator.

Josh smiled to himself as he entered Leo's outer office. "Margaret..."

"He's not back yet. You still have another," she looked at her watch
then up at Josh. "Hour and a half."

"Actually I came to see you. Thank you for the wonderful gift." He
smiled then turned and went to find his friend, Sam. He had to tell
him about the bright, new addition to the campaign.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

White House - West Wing
Monday Night

"Where is Leo?" Toby asked, joining CJ and Sam in the Roosevelt Room.
"And come to think of it, where's Josh?"

"No one's seen them?" CJ asked. She was massaging her sore neck.

Sam shook his head, futility trying to open a bottle of aspirin. "I
saw Josh get pushed into a car. I guess Leo's with him."

"Has there been any word on the President?" CJ inquired. She reached
over and took the aspirin bottle, popping it open. She grabbed two and
passed them to a frowning Sam.

"I'm getting vague reports," Toby said as he reached for the ringing
phone. "I think he was taken to George Washington. He's alive though.
Hello? This is Toby Ziegler... yes..." his face fell.

CJ leaned in closer. Sam took his pills and stood beside them. "We're
on our way." He hung up the phone and looked up at his two friends.
"The medics just arrived at GW. Donna's been shot," CJ gasped and
covered her mouth. "Josh went with her and lost consciousness in the
ambulance," Sam closed his eyes. "They feel we should come over right
away."

"I'll get our coats." CJ said. "Where's..."

"ER. Mrs. Bartlet wants him examined and Leo's with them. Let's get
going. We'll take my car," Toby yelled after CJ. She returned with
his keys and they left for the hospital.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

George Washington Memorial Hospital
Emergency Room
Monday Night

Jed Bartlet sat in awe as he watched his wife intimidate the doctors.
"Abbey..." The First Lady turned, "I'm fine. Where's Zoey?"

"She's with Leo and Charlie out in the hall. Lie still, Jed," she
ordered.

"I'm fine! I wanna see Leo. Leo!" He bellowed.

"Sir?" Leo entered with Zoey on his heals.

"Where is everyone?" Leo was silent. "Oh God. Please, Leo... no..."

"The medics from the site just arrived. Donna's been shot and Josh
passed out on the way over with her. The rest of the Senior Staff
is..."

"Right here, Mr. President," CJ announced as she, Toby and Sam entered
with three angry doctors following them.

"Thank God," Jed whispered. "It's OK, they're with me." The doctors
nodded and made a quick exit.

"We heard about Josh and Donna. How are you, sir?" Sam asked.

"I'm fine," Abbey shook her head in argument. "Yes, I want to go see
Josh." Jed got out of them bed.

"No! Please Jed. Let the doctors finish with the examination."

"Mrs. Bartlet," the ER doctor interrupted. "I've finished the tests
you've requested. Mr. President, you're going to be just fine."

Abbey sighed in relief. Jed got up, hunting for his clothes. "I'll go
with you, sir," Leo said. Turning to the others he said, "I want you
three to start working on a press release. I would like CJ on the air
in two hours." He laid a reassuring hand on CJ's arm and she nodded.

"I'll be with Zoey. Don't over-do yourself, Jed," Abbey said. Jed
nodded and kissed her cheek as she exited the room.

Leo got off the ER phone and came over to the President. "Josh is in
the ICU," he said. "He's awake and extremely alert."

"Oh, God."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Intensive Care Unit

"Mr. Lyman, please lie back. We cannot get an accurate EKG reading if
you don't stop moving," the night nurse was losing her patience. Josh
began pulling out his IV. "Mr. Lyman!"

"Look, the doctors told me I have a concussion and I should not hit my
head on anything for at least twenty four hours. They told me I have
to have my blood pressure checked ever six hours," he began pulling
wires and cords off of his chest. "At no time did they say anything
about EKGs and IVs! I'm going to see Donna," he went to the door,
pulling on his wrinkled shirt. There was a blood stain on front.

As Josh opened the door, he ran into the President and Leo. "Josh,
where are you headed?" The President inquired.

"I'm going to see Donna, sir."

"Well Leo and I were coming to see how you were doing. I can see he's
giving you a hard time, ma'am." Jed said, looking in at the nurse.

"Yes, Mr. President. He tore out his IV and the cords," the nurse
stated.

Jed pulled Josh aside. "Josh, I know you're worried about her. I've
spoken to the doctors and they are optimistic. I'm gonna make you a
deal."

"Mr. President..." Josh started.

"Shut up, Josh. Listen to what he has to say," Leo ordered.

"You, me, and Leo are going to go to the surgical observation room.
We'll talk to a few doctors, then," he continued. Josh didn't like his
'then,' "you'll come back here and let this very nice nurse check your
vitals and everything else she wants to do to you."

Josh nodded and turned to the nurse. "Go, but you had better come
back."

The three men left, followed by a half dozen secret service agents.
Jed laid a gentle hand on Josh's arm as he buttoned up his shirt.
"What happened, Josh? I thought Donna was with you, but Leo told me
you and he were thrown in a car without her."

"She wanted to go back to the limo. I saw her standing by the gates
with Gina and Zoey... Oh God! Is Zoey all right?"

"Yes, she's downstairs with Abbey. She's shaken up, and Abbey's
being... well Abbey. Did you find Donna?"

Josh nodded. "I leapt out of the car and ran. She was sitting
against... a wall," Josh was pale and looking at his hands, "her blood
was everywhere."

The elevator stopped and they were greeted by even more secret service
agents and a young doctor. He shook each man's hand and introduced
himself as Shane Truitt. "Ms. Moss is still in surgery, gentlemen. I
can take you to the observation room, but I must warn you that it's not
a pretty sight. She has extensive damage to..."

"I want to see her," Josh said with a glazed look.

"Josh, you can see her later. You don't have to do this," Leo said
gently.

"Yes I do," he whispered. The President nodded for Truitt to lead the
way. The window looked into a crowded operating room. Josh's
breathing showed as he watched the doctors work.

"We've been working on her for the past two hours. The surgeons are
very optimistic. The bullet has been removed, but not before doing
some damage to her stomach and abdominal area." Jed and Leo listened
closely.

Josh walked to the window. He laid his arm on the cool glass where he
rested his weary head. Donna looked so pale to him. She had a tube in
her throat, helping her to breathe. "Please God... Don't take her from
me," Josh whispered. He closed his eyes and listened to President
Bartlet ask several questions.

"Thank you doctor. We'll be in touch."

"Mr. President, gentlemen, page me if you have any more questions."
Dr. Truitt left.

"You OK, Josh?" Leo asked.

"I should have made her stay in DC, Leo. She wanted to go to the limo,
but I should have made her stay with me." Josh softly pounded his fist
into the glass. "There would have been other town meetings, Donna" he
whispered.

"Joshua," Jed said sternly but quietly, "you can't blame yourself.
This was a lynching and Donna was an innocent bystander."

Josh turned to his president. "If she'd have stayed in..." Josh
stumbled and held his head.

Leo took his arm, a look of concern on his face. "Josh, what's wrong?"

"My head... I think..." Josh's eyes rolled back as he began to fall.
Leo caught him and the secret service agents came running.

Jed knelt down beside them. "Josh! Come on, don't do this," Leo
yelled. "Josh!"

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Six hours later

Josh's head was spinning and it hurt, still. Slowly he attempted to
open his eyes. "Turn off... light," he moaned. The room dimmed as
someone turned the lights down. He slowly opened his eyes and saw CJ
sitting by the bed. "Hey."

"Don't try to do too much. That's what landed you here to begin with.
You in pain?" She asked, rubbing his shoulder.

"I've been better," he whispered. His mind was trying to process what
was going on. "My head is throbbing. Where am I?"

"You landed your ass back in the ICU," Toby said. Josh turned to see
him sitting in a chair near Leo. Sam was on the floor in a corner.
"We've been ordered to keep you in here for eight hours," he looked at
his watch, "you've got two to go."

"You gave us a scare, Josh," CJ said gently. Josh looked around the
room for...

"Donna..." he attempted to sit up. The spinning forced him back down.
"You have to get me back up there, please." The evening's events were
flashing back.

"No, you have a concussion, Josh. The doctors want you in this bed for
at least eight hours," Leo stood and walked to the bed.

"She just got out of surgery about fifteen minutes ago," Sam told his
friend. "So far she's stable and responsive to stimuli, but she hasn't
come out of the anesthesia."

"No, listen to me. This is my fault, I have to..."

"You listen to me," Leo said sternly. "I don't know how hard you hit
your head, but if you don't stop blaming yourself for this, I'm going
to make it hurt more. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There was nothing you could have done, Josh."

Josh sighed. "She takes such good care of me, Leo. I don't know what
I would do without her," Josh choked out.

"Josh," Toby said, "have faith. She's gonna be just fine. And so are
you."

He turned to Toby. The room was beginning to spin again. Softly Josh
said, "I just want to sit with her... let her know I'm here..." he
grabbed his head and moaned.

At that moment, Dr. Truitt came in. "Ah, Mr. Lyman. I see you're with
us again, and your friends have been doing their job. How's your
head?"

"It hurts and the room is spinning," Josh told him.

"I'll bet. Those agents pushed you down hard and fast. I'm going to
give you a morphine boost. That way, you'll sleep through the next few
hours. When you wake up," Truitt explained, shooting the morphine into
the IV, "you should feel a lot less pressure."

"When can he go up to see Donna?" CJ inquired.

"I see no problem, at this time, with him going up when he wakes up.
Donna is responsive but still unconscious. If you need anything, have
a nurse page me," Truitt said as he was leaving.

"I'm going to go inform the President on what's going on. CJ, are you
ready to give your press statement?" Leo asked.

"Toby and I have one prepared..." she started.

"But, with these new developments, we need to update it." Toby
finished. "We'll see you in a few hours, Josh," he said as he led CJ
from the room with Leo following.

"Are you feeling tired yet?" Sam asked.

"Yeah. Sam, you're my best friend. I need a favor," Josh said slowly.
The morphine was beginning to work.

"Sure, what can I do?" Sam sat in the chair next to the bed.

"Please, go see Donna. I don't want her to be alone."

"I understand. I'll go up right now."

"Remember when I was really sick last year?" Josh asked sleepily.

"Remember it? I'm trying to forget it," Sam told him with a smile.
"Were you trying to infect the whole White House?"

"Uh-huh," Josh's eyes were beginning to droop. "Donna came over every
night. She took... such good care of... me. I want to... be able to
do the same... for her," the last of his words were slurred as Josh
fell into a morphine induced sleep.

"You will, my friend," Sam told the sleeping figure, "you will." Then
he left and headed for Donna's room.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

=====
TBC

 

 

 

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