Title: Not Everything's Black and White (4/6)
Author: Sam Singing Wolf
Rated: PG-13 (violence, language)
Warnings: Heavy Angst
Characters: Mostly Jed, Leo and CJ from TWW, Steve Sloan from Diagnosis Murder
‚¶ the others from both shows are involved and present.
Spoilers: West Wing: In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, possibly a few minor ones
for third season. Diagnosis Murder: none
Archive: I'd be honored. Please just drop me a line so I can visit your
Summary: When President Bartlet and his staff visit Los Angeles during the
reelection campaign, terror strikes. Crossover of The West Wing and
Disclaimer: I can only wish they were mine. No infringement is intended.
Feedback: Is really very nice. I respond to all notes and letters.
Constructive criticism is also appreciated.
"Please‚¶ don't." Jed tried to sit up, but the pain and Leo's hand on his shoulder kept him down.
Tom cocked his head. "Consequences, Bartlet."
He pulled the trigger.
The door flew open, striking the wall. The sound echoed through the warehouse. Shouts of "Federal Agents!" followed hard behind.
Steve moved in directly behind Ron, gun drawn. Agents were pouring in every door and window, skylight and vent. There would be no escape for the kidnappers. They all swept inward, covering every foot of space, still calling out their warnings.
Steve stopped and looked at Ron as he lowered his gun. The bleakness in his eyes was echoed in those of every other man and woman there.
The warehouse was empty.
Leo's body jerked forward.
"No!" Jed shouted hoarsely. Fear and adrenaline overcame his pain and he sat up, his arms wrapping around his friend. "God, no‚¶"
In that second, Jed raised his eyes to stare at Tom. Fury, and something so fierce as to be indefinable, blazed in them so brightly that the terrorist took an involuntary step back and his arrogance dissipated. Momentary fear flashed in his eyes.
Jed became aware of a gentle pressure on his chest.
He pulled back to look at Leo, his anger forgotten. "Leo?" He stared at his dear friend. "Oh, God‚¶ Leo?"
Bright blue eyes looked back at him. "I'm all right." He drew a shaky breath. "I'm okay."
The terrorists left the cell. Tom called to them as he locked the door. "Next time, the gun will be loaded." The outer door clicked shut and then they were alone.
Jed didn't take his eyes off Leo. "Oh, God. I thought‚¶"
"Yeah, me too."
Jed pulled him back into his arms and Leo returned the embrace carefully. Neither spoke, but when they pulled away, both men's eyes were bright with unshed tears.
Leo cleared his throat, but didn't look away. He was long past the time when he would be ashamed of showing his emotions. Especially to this man. "Sir, you should lay back down."
The adrenaline that had kept him upright drained away and Jed sagged. He nodded wearily. Gently, Leo lowered him to the floor.
Jed gritted his teeth. "Damn. I feel like hell."
"Well, you look like hell, so that would about cover it."
"You know how to flatter a guy."
"Shh. Don't talk."
"That's a hell of a thing to say to a politician, Leo."
"Seriously, Mr. President. You need to rest."
Jed's eyes fluttered closed as he nodded. The silence held for a few moments as Leo rested his hand on the President's arm comfortingly.
"No, Leo‚¶ I can't breath like this." He tried to hold back a cough as he struggled to sit up. His eyes were wide with alarm.
Leo moved quickly, sliding his arm under Jed's shoulders and lifting him slightly. He maneuvered so that he was leaning against the wall once again and Jed's head and torso were resting in his lap.
Jed took a shallow breath. "Yeah."
Jed let his eyes drift closed again as Leo's hand resumed it's rhythmic stroking of his hair.
He turned from his conversation with Ron at the entrance to the office. The hope in CJ's voice was mirrored in her eyes. He didn't have to say a word. Their eyes met, and the hope in her eyes dimmed, and her jaw tightened with repressed emotion. She turned and went into her office.
"Ron, if there's nothing else?"
The agent shook his head. "I'm going to run that number you gave me. Maybe this kid can still lead us somewhere."
He walked away, still feeling the agents' anger and frustration behind him. He shared it. And though he knew it wasn't directed at him, he still felt responsible. He poked his head into CJ's office.
She looked up from her desk. "Hi."
He stuffed his hands in his pockets. "We'll keep trying."
"I know." She looked back down and shuffled some papers around.
Steve closed the door. He moved over to stand beside her desk and leaned against it. "CJ."
"Yeah." She didn't look up from the papers in front of her.
"It's me. I'm not one of your coworkers and I'm not the press. You don't have to be strong every second. Let me in."
"You're not. You're hurting and you're afraid. It's okay. I understand."
She finally looked up. "I know you do." She held out a hand to him.
He took it. In his own, her hand looked small and delicate. He almost smiled as he remembered how much she had liked that when they were dating. She said that at nearly six feet tall, she towered over most men. With him, she had felt womanly and protected. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. He wanted to make her feel safe again.
"It's late, CJ. I'm not even going to ask when the last time you slept was."
"Good, because I wouldn't tell you."
"Because you know I'd yell."
She managed a wan smile. "Somehow I doubt you've gotten anymore sleep than I have."
"Yeah well, I'm a man," he goaded. It was an old joke between them.
"Therefore you couldn't possibly know better," she immediately responded. They shared a smile. She sighed. "I'll go to the hotel and get some sleep. It's just across the street." She narrowed her eyes at him. "On one condition."
He cocked his head to one side. "And what's that?"
"Come with me?"
He gave her a long look then squeezed her hand. "All you had to do was ask."
Josh stood in Sam's doorway until the Deputy Communications Director looked up at him. When their eyes met, he just shook his head.
Sam's shoulders sagged. "Does Mrs. Bartlet know?" he asked in a tired voice.
"No. We didn't tell her. Just in case it turned out to be nothing."
"Good thing," Sam said bitterly. "Damn it! The two most powerful men in the country and nobody's seen them? How does this happen?"
Josh sighed. "Yeah."
"What do we do? We can't just sit here."
"I'm going to go get some coffee. Want to come?"
Sam shoved the legal pad on his desk away. "Yeah."
Steve snapped his cell phone closed. "Damn."
CJ looked over her shoulder at him. "What is it?" Her hair brushed his chin. The sofa in her hotel suite was just big enough for the two of them to stretch out if she leaned on his chest. Neither of them minded.
"The phone number the guy gave me was a fake."
"So now what?"
"The Secret Service is running some checks. And they're coordinating with the LAPD. Someone'll call if anything turns up."
"Okay." She sipped her tea, grimacing a little at the taste. "What did you put in here again?"
"Brandy. There was a bottle in your wet bar."
"Oh." She stared into the cup. "It's not bad."
"You needed something to help you relax."
She glanced at the brandy snifter in his hand. "How come mine has to be in tea?"
"Because you're a girl," he teased, leaning his head down, unthinking, to kiss the top of her head.
"Who could kick your butt."
"True." He smiled into her hair.
She leaned her head back suddenly, surprising him. She looked up at him. For the first time since the kidnapping, she allowed her guard to lower completely. Her eyes filled with tears she finally let fall.
He wrapped his arms around her and let her cry silently against his chest. Neither of them spoke. When he felt her push gently against him, he leaned back to look at her.
Without a word he raised a hand to gently wipe at the tears with his thumb. He set his glass down, then set hers beside it as well. With both hands free, he held her face between them and stared down at her. Slowly, he lowered his head to capture her lips in a soft, gentle kiss.
The moment ended before either of them wanted it to. CJ shifted so that she didn't have to twist her body to face him. "Stay," she said simply.
His eyes searched hers. "Are you sure? You're pretty upset‚¶"
She nodded. "I don't want to be alone. And‚¶" she trailed off.
"I know." Their old relationship, built on mutual respect, trust and love had evolved into a deep friendship. But the old feelings were there, and more so, they needed each other. They needed someone to hold, and be held in return. He stood, easily lifting her in his arms. CJ smiled in delight. Another thing she had always loved.
He strode into the bedroom and laid her on the bed, almost reverently. He stood there for a moment, admiring the beautiful woman before him, before joining her.
"You should be resting."
"It hurts too much. Talk to me."
Leo clenched his jaw. Jed sounded so disoriented. He wished he could take away his pain. "What do you want to talk about?"
"I don't know. Anything."
Leo thought for a moment. "Zoey's birthday is next week, isn't it? What did you get her?"
"A new laptop computer. Charlie said she wanted one with all this stuff on it. Pentium 64 or something."
"Yeah. Those computers are pretty amazing nowadays."
"Should've stuck with the abacus. Those Chinese really knew what they were doing."
"Yeah, Sam mentioned it to me on the plane. Something about impressing his date. I don't know."
"Your medication‚¶. How long has it been? Do we have to worry about, you know‚¶"
"Symptoms of the MS?"
Jed was quiet. Leo looked down at him, a cold feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. "It's happening already, isn't it?"
"Blurred, double vision. I thought that was just the concussion, but I'm having trouble moving my legs now too."
"You got hit in the back pretty hard‚¶"
Leo stared at the bars of their prison and leaned his head against the stone wall. He could feel the pained tension in Jed's body. More frightening, he could feel the slight trembling and heat radiating from his friend's form. Abby's words when he first found out about the MS echoed in his mind. *A fever could be life threatening.* As if they didn't have enough to worry about, or enough things that could kill them.
"I'm sorry, Jed. I wish‚¶" Leo's arms wrapped protectively more fully around him.
The President was silent for several minutes. When he spoke, his voice was quiet. "You don't think we're getting out of here, do you?"
Leo started. "Of course I do. We are not giving up."
"You called me Jed. You wouldn't have done that if‚¶"
Leo sighed. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." He swallowed. "Please, Leo. Call me Jed."
Leo closed his eyes and prayed.