Title: Not Everything's Black and White (5/6)
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.
"CJ‚¶" Steve tickled her ear with a strand of her hair. She
swatted at his
hand and burrowed her face deeper into her pillow. "Want some coffee?"
He trailed a finger along her spine and watched as goosebumps raised on her
"Mmmm‚¶" She jumped as he smacked her bottom lightly. "Hey!"
He grinned and climbed out of bed.
CJ sipped her coffee. "Much, thanks." She leaned her shoulder
arm. "I'm glad you stayed."
"Me too." He glanced at his watch.
"Steve, it's five am. What's your hurry?"
"I need to check in. I'm going to run home first to get a change of clothes.
Want to come with me? Dad would love to see you."
"Sure. I don't need to be in until 6:30." She hesitated.
"Steve, are you
He nodded, but didn't look at her.
"It wasn't your fault."
He took a breath. "I should have‚¶ I don't know. I just wish
there. I've got to find that guy today."
"We're almost out of time."
Jed looked up at Leo and smiled slightly. He had managed to sleep, or at
least be unconscious for a while, until his body had painfully awakened him.
But Leo, after staying awake to keep watch, was finally asleep. His head
rested against the wall, his left arm cradled Jed's shoulders protectively,
his right laid across the President's abdomen as he lay in his lap.
He stifled a cough. Not only would it hurt like hell, but it would almost
certainly wake Leo. The guy had been a mother hen his whole life and this
situation had really brought it out in him. Not that Jed could blame him.
They were both being more than a little over protective of each other.
He clenched his jaw and swallowed. It didn't help. He coughed, grimacing.
He tried to catch his breath. It was even harder to do than before. He
glanced up at Leo, but his friend hadn't moved.
Jed tensed. A moment before, he was worried about waking Leo, but now, when
he didn't wake, he was worried. The head injury, a concussion‚¶
"Leo?" he whispered.
Not even a flicker of an eyelid.
"Leo?" A little louder now, his voice rough and hoarse.
Leo's eyes opened slowly, and Jed was disturbed by the dazed look in them.
Then his expression sharpened as he seemed to remember where he was. He
blinked several times. "Jed?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry. I woke you. I was worried."
Leo cleared his throat. "I'm okay." He looked closer at Jed but didn't ask.
Jed sighed. "Okay." He was quiet for a long moment. "So,
what'd you get
"Zoey. For her birthday."
"Front row tickets to the Faith Hill concert."
"She'll like that."
"Yeah. Margaret heard her talking to Charlie about it. She said she
couldn't get tickets."
Jed looked surprised, the conversation finally getting his attention. "She
could have asked me. I think I probably could have gotten her a seat."
"I think she just wanted to be a girl at a concert."
Leo sighed and leaned his head back against the wall.
"She-" Jed broke off as another fit of coughing gripped him. Leo
a little higher against his chest. Finally, the cough subsided. "I'm okay,"
he whispered. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
He looked up at Leo, surprised at the pain in his voice. "What?" He
followed Leo's gaze to his hand. There was blood there. At first, it meant
nothing to him. The wounds on his wrists had left streaks of dried blood on
his hands and arms. And the cuts on his swollen lips from earlier‚¶ Then he
realized. This was fresh. It was there when he coughed. The broken rib,
the trouble breathing. He swallowed and closed his eyes briefly.
"Leo. Don't worry about it. It's probably just-" The look on Leo's
silenced him. He knew, all too well. Jed glanced at the tiny window near the
ceiling in the outer room. It was nearly dawn. They would be back soon, he
could feel it. "We should get some rest."
Leo nodded wordlessly. He helped Jed shift to try to find a slightly more
comfortable position, then closed his eyes.
Three days. It felt like a lifetime.
Sam jerked awake. His foot slid off his desk to the floor and the rest of
him nearly joined it. "What?" He looked around. "Oh, hi Josh." His brain
kicked in. "News?" he asked as he pushed himself to his feet.
Josh held up a videotape. "We got another one."
Sam closed his eyes. "Oh God."
"Get Toby. I'll find CJ."
"She left to get some sleep. She's at the hotel."
"I'll call her." His eyes looked haunted. "If this is‚¶
If‚¶" He cleared
his throat. "If CNN has it too, the public is gonna freak."
"Like they aren't already."
The President awoke to the feel of rough hands dragging him to his feet. He
tried to bite back a cry of pain and was only partially successful. He heard
Leo's protest cut off and twisted his neck to look over his shoulder to find
his friend. Another man had his forearm pressed against Leo's throat. Jed
was dragged out of the cell and again, the barred door slammed shut between
Jed struggled, determined to not give up. He knew, just as Leo did, how this
was going to end. But it didn't mean he had to give up.
They pulled him back to the center of the room and shoved him to the floor.
He fell heavily, every muscle crying out in agony.
He pushed himself to his hands and knees. A booted foot struck his ribs. He
nearly blacked out from the pain as he lay on his side, gasping for breath.
The same boot came down on his wrist and everyone in the room could hear the
bones snap. He cried out, his voice mingling with Leo's.
One blow blurred into another until he no longer even had the strength to
react in any way. He lie there, in too much pain to completely lose
consciousness, but too insentient to be considered aware.
Leo couldn't take his eyes off his best friend. He wanted to look away, but
just couldn't. Jed was dying, of that he was certain. And those bastards
were doing nothing but hurrying it along and making it more painful in the
He felt as if each blow was tearing a little piece out of his soul. He
remembered so clearly the horrors of the POW camp in Vietnam. He had watched
fellow servicemen be tortured and killed in front of him. He'd thought he
was going to rot in that place.
He hadn't had much in the way of close family ties. His mother was gone and
his father certainly had no love for his only son. His sister Josie hated
the war. When he received his commission in the Navy, they'd exchanged angry
words. But Jed Bartlet, the geeky economics major he'd become so close with,
he had written to him faithfully. Leo had so looked forward to those
letters, and wrote back frequently when he'd been on board Constellation.
Sometimes it seemed like his relationship with Jed had been the only thing
that kept him going. Duty and patriotism are strong motivators, but not much
in the way of comfort. With no real familial support, he had taken refuge in
his friendship. In a way, Jed had been a kindred spirit. He knew the pain
of an uncaring father and he was as passionate to change the world.
Now, to see him in this place, it was like seeing his worst nightmare come
Steve listened to the voice on his cell phone for a moment. He glanced at
CJ, then back at the street. "Man, if you're yanking my chain again‚¶ Okay.
Okay, I'll check it out. Give me your number. Stan? Hello?"
He snapped the phone shut. "Damn." He tossed it on the seat.
"What? Was that the guy? Where are we going?"
"I'm going to check out a location he gave me. You're going to your office."
"Are you going to call Ron?"
"Not yet. I want to take a look, first. This guy wasn't exactly reliable
"I want to go with you."
"Steve, I'll just wait in the truck while you look around. I promise not to
get in the way. Besides, we're almost to Malibu. Where ever you're going,
I'll bet it'd take too long to take me back first."
He sighed. "All right. But you stay in the truck."
"Those bastards. Those goddamn bastards."
Josh had his head in his hands. He'd never heard Sam sound so angry, yet
lost at the same time. Not even when he found out about his father. Not even
when he found out about the MS.
"They're not dead yet, Sam" Toby's rough voice cut in.
"Yeah, but that's only because these guys choose to torture the President
instead. It's not like we're anywhere with this. That," he waved a hand at
the VCR, "Probably happened yesterday. We don't know what might have
happened since then. We don't know what's happening now."
"Yes, we do. They said three days. We have until tonight."
"So they're not dead. They probably just wish they were."
"Sam!" Josh finally looked up.
"You think this is going to end well? Come on. Look at what they're doing
to him. He was hanging from the ceiling like‚¶" His voice broke. "And Leo.
God. The Secret Service, the FBI, they're nowhere. It's over." His coffee
mug shattered against the wall.
Neither Josh nor Toby tried to stop him as he strode out. Josh watched
coffee run in tiny brown rivulets down the wall, staining the paint.
"Where's CJ?" Toby asked.
"She'd already left the hotel when I called. She's on her way."
"You try her cell phone?"
"No. I didn't want to tell her over the phone. She'll be here any minute."
Steve shut the truck door and leaned in the window. "Remember, stay here."
CJ nodded. "Be careful. Good luck."
He gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile and walked toward the
building. It looked like many others in the area, built in the seventies for
the booming animal research business. Recent years had seen animal rights
activist shut down many of these facilities, and the rest moved out into
newer, more modern areas.
He walked around the edge of the building. It seemed quiet. He ground his
teeth together. What was it with this guy, Stan? Was he trying to slow the
search by distracting them until the three days were up? He found a window
that had been left open slightly. He raised his eyebrows. It was probably
He peeked in. It was indeed, nothing. It was too small for him to crawl in
through. He continued around the building.
A tiny basement window along the ground caught his eye. He crouched down
next to it, then leaned over to see in. To his surprise, the room was
brightly lit. What he saw made the experienced homicide detective's breath
catch in his throat and his heart to lurch. He shook off his shock and
pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.
"Steve? Where are you? What's going on?"
"They're here. I want you to get out of here, now. I'm going to call Ron
Bu-" He broke off and closed his eyes at a distinctive clicking sound. He
ground his teeth together.
"What was that noise?" CJ asked. "Steve?"
"Drop the gun or you're dead."
He lowered his gun and set it on the ground. At the same time, he dropped
the cell phone into his hand and turned it off.
The muzzle of the gun pressed against the back of his neck. "Let's go."
"Steve?" CJ was trying not to panic. She looked down at the screen on the
cell phone and saw she had lost the signal from Steve. Dropping the phone,
she looked around frantically for a weapon. She yanked open the glove box.
She leaned over and looked under the seat. Nothing. She looked up and saw
the keys still in the ignition.
With a quick glance around, she slid into the driver's seat and started the
engine. Then she froze. "Damn."
She grabbed up her cell phone and dialed a number.
"This is CJ. Put me through to Ron Butterfield. Now."
Steve stumbled slightly as he was pushed through the door. He took in the
ten or so men holding handguns but the still form on the floor held his gaze.
The President was bleeding from multiple cuts and abrasions on his head and
body and his right wrist was twisted at an unnatural angle. He took an
involuntary step toward him.
Two men grabbed his arms and held tight. Another searched him roughly. He
took his backup pistol and his badge. He passed off the wallet to another
man who glanced down at the badge.
"Lieutenant Steve Sloan," he said. He stared at him, then motioned toward
the unmoving figure at their feet. "This who you were looking for?"
"Where are the others?"
Steve smiled at him. "Third Ranger Division is right outside. I'd be
handing over my guns if I were you."
The leader snorted. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
One of the others spoke up. "Tom, what if he's telling the truth? He
be here alone. The feds are probably out there."
"Then we'll be martyrs."
He sounded supremely confident, but some of the others glanced at each other
"I don't think your men are quite as willing to die as you are," Steve said
Tom ignored him. "Put him in the cell. We need to finish this."
back at Steve. "I'm sure you'll enjoy watching."
He gestured and the other men pushed him forward. The man opened the cell
door where Leo McGarry was watching them intently. They shoved him inside.
CJ glanced around nervously. She really didn't want to do this. She wiped
sweaty palms on her slacks. Taking a deep breath, she put the truck into
She froze. "Damn." Reaching back, she grabbed the seat belt and
across her body, jammed it into the clip. Placing both hands firmly on the
steering wheel, she muttered, "God, you guys had better be out of the way."
She stomped her foot down on the accelerator. The huge Dodge hurled forward.
She resisted the urge to close her eyes. The front of the building loomed
in front of her, then disappeared as glass and wood frame shattered all
around her. Her head whipped forward but the seatbelt held her in place.
The airbag exploded outward and for a moment, she could see nothing at all.
Steve looked up along with everyone else. It sounded like the building was
crashing down above them.
"It's happening!" Tom shouted. "Get up there, now!"
The others rushed to obey. There was confusion tinged with panic in their
movements. Steve watched as they flooded out of the room, up the stairs. He
glanced around. They had left their leader alone.
Without hesitation, Steve attacked. He lowered his shoulder and barreled
into Tom, striking him just below the ribs. The other man doubled over in
pain and was pushed back against the wall. Steve grabbed his wrist and
twisted. The gun fell to the floor with a clatter on the concrete.
Tom swung, and Steve ducked. He struck back, hearing with satisfaction the
bones in the other man's face crunch under his fist. The terrorist leader
fell heavily to the floor and didn't move.
Steve stepped back, the pain in his hand barely felt. He turned his eyes to
the Chief of Staff. Scooping up a pistol, he held it out to the older man.
"You know how to use this?"
Leo took it confidently. "Yeah."
Steve nodded and hurried to the President. He knelt beside him, Leo standing
protectively at his back. Steve clenched his jaw. Jed was unmoving, but
barely hanging onto consciousness by will alone.
The detective nodded to him. "We're getting you out of here, Mr.
He slid his arms under the smaller man, lifting him as he rose to his feet.
Jed let out an involuntary moan as the pain flared. His head fell back over
Steve's arm and for a moment, their eyes met. Steve swallowed as he met the
President's pained, yet determined gaze. Then Jed's eyes rolled back then
fluttered shut. Steve looked at Leo and jerked his head toward the stairs.
Leo would have to lead. Steve didn't like it, but he had no choice.
Leo took a step forward. Steve started to follow, when a noise behind him
made him turn. Tom had struggled to his feet, blood masking his hate-twisted
features. The terrorist raised a gun.
Steve twisted his body, trying to shield the helpless man in his arms.
Gunfire, seemingly louder than usual, echoed in his ears. Sharp pain
radiating up his thighs surprised him and he realized distantly that he was
on his knees. Then the real pain made itself known.
His back felt on fire. He looked down and his eyes locked with the
President's. He opened his mouth, intending to say "I'm sorry," but nothing
came out. He fell forward, No longer aware of anything, not even the
President of the United States lying beneath him.
Leo felt the gun recoil in his hands. The acrid odor of gunpowder filled his
nostrils and he saw the bright red stain blossom on Tom's chest. He knew he
should feel something, some regret, as the man fell to the floor, but he felt
nothing. Except, if he was honest with himself, a grim satisfaction at
seeing such a monster die.
"Where are they?"
"I don't see anybody!"
CJ crouched behind a partition, trying to make herself as small as possible
while the men searched the area. They swarmed around Steve's rather battered
truck, and outside through the large hole she'd left in the front wall. She
prayed the calvary would show up soon. And hoped Steve wouldn't kill her
when he saw what she did to his truck.
A part of a wall crashed down in front of her and she stifled a cry. She
began to rethink her actions, wondering if crashing into the building had
really been the best choice. And what was happening downstairs? Where were
the President and Leo? Was Steve with them? She raged over not knowing.
God, were they even alive?
A gunshot, maybe two, they were so close together, sounded from downstairs.
She jumped, her eyes widening in sudden panic.
Several of the terrorists headed toward the stairs. They turned back when
A young man with a tattoo of a swastika in the middle of his forehead stared
down at CJ, his gun aimed directly at her. He smiled.
"Well, look what we have here." He laughed. "It's just you, is
don't look like-"
Whatever he was going to say was cut off abruptly as the room was flooded
with federal agents, guns drawn and looking for all the world like angels to
CJ. A few shots were exchanged, but most surrendered quickly, including the
one who had been threatening CJ. He had held his ground for a moment, until
he turned his head to see Ron staring him in the face, the agent's eyes
blazing with cold fury. The man lowered his gun without being told.
CJ jumped to her feet. "Ron! They're downstairs!"
He ran in that direction and CJ followed.
CJ froze in horror. Leo had his arm around Steve, who was on his knees,
struggling to rise, the President in his arms. The back of the detective's
shirt was stained with blood still pouring from a ragged hole in his back.
President Bartlet was pale and unmoving.
She heard shouts for paramedics as if from a great distance. Her entire
focus was on the three men before her. She ran to them, oblivious to the
Secret Service agents in the way. She didn't know who to turn to first.
Ron gently took the President from Steve. A look of understanding and
gratitude passed between the two men. He placed Jed on the floor and didn't
move from his side until the paramedics arrived. Leo didn't leave him even
CJ watched the EMTs work frantically, two of them finally coaxing Steve onto
a stretcher. She knelt beside him. When their eyes met, she nearly wept at
the pain she saw there.
"Hey," he rasped. "It's okay."
She nodded, not trusting her voice.
He touched his fingers to the back of her hand. "Thanks."
She squeezed his hand tightly. A medic laid his hand on her arm.
"We have to take him now."
She nodded again and stepped back, watching as they took the three men out of
this place that she knew would give her nightmares for the rest of her life.
To Be Concluded