Title: Not Everything's Black and White (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.
Notes: This was supposed to be the last part, but somehow it just kept getting longer. And since it was taking far too long to get this posted, I decided to post this section. It will probably be done in seven parts, but I don't want to say so, just in case! Thanks so much to everyone who sent such wonderful feedback, encouragement, get well cards, and threats. :)
Dedication: To Anne Callanan. Without her, this part would not have been half as angsty as it is. Also, it probably would have taken another month to complete. Anne, thank you. For everything.
Thanks to my wonderful beta readers, Rey and the aforementioned Anne. Any mistakes in here are strictly my own.
Mark stopped outside the trauma room door and took a deep breath. He let it out slowly, erasing any signs of fear or distress from his features. Another pause, then he opened the door.
He took in the scene quickly. Three nurses busied themselves setting up IVs and removing the patient's clothing. He swallowed his horror at the sight of the man's bruised body. He moved to stand beside the bed and put his hand on Jesse's shoulder. The young doctor looked up at him gratefully and stepped back.
"Has he been conscious?" Mark asked as he began his examination.
Jesse nodded. "Just for a minute. He seemed disoriented."
"What about-" He turned as a voice interrupted him.
"How is he?"
Mark turned. "Dr. Bartlet." He waved her over. "I've just begun my examination."
Abbey looked down at her husband and her professional mask cracked. "Oh, God."
Mark touched her arm, his eyes warm and compassionate. "Dr. Bartlet, I think it would probably be better if you waited outside. Dr. Travis or I will let you know as soon as we have any information for you."
Her eyes flashed and for a moment he thought she was going to argue. But it seemed her better judgement took over as she realized it was the sensible thing to do. She nodded and reached out to brush her fingertips over Jed's temple lightly. The tears that had been threatening since she entered the room fell, though she didn't seem to notice.
Their eyes met and she froze. There was no recognition in his gaze.
He blinked in confusion. He opened his mouth as if to speak, then his eyes fluttered closed.
Abbey choked back a sob.
Mark's hand settled on her shoulder and squeezed gently. For a moment, she stood there, gazing down at her husband and absorbed the silent comfort from the man behind her. Steeling herself, she nodded again, firmly, and stepped back. "I'll be right outside." Mark gave her a reassuring smile. When the door closed behind her, he returned to his physical examination of the President's injuries. After a minute, he stopped, his hands resting lightly on Jed's chest. He turned to Jesse. "You ordered x-rays?"
"They took them right before you came in. We should have them any second now."
The older doctor nodded. "I need to see them. Prep him for surgery and call Dr. Morris."
Jesse was already moving.
Mark looked back down at his patient. "Everything's going to be just fine, Mr. President. You're going to be all right."
Though the President's eyes were open again, Mark didn't think he heard him, or understood if he did. Because he only whispered one word.
Mark returned the chart to its slot and picked up another. He read it as he entered another exam room. The Secret Service agent standing outside opened it for him without hesitation.
He smiled at the man on the bed; not surprised to see he had a visitor. "Mr. McGarry, Dr. Bartlet," he greeted. "How are you feeling, sir?"
"I'm fine. How's the president?"
Mark nodded to himself. It was clear where this man's priorities were. "We've taken the President into surgery." He continued before the questions could be asked. "He suffered four broken ribs in addition to his other injuries. One rib separated and created a puncture in his right lung. Luckily, it appears that the bone itself held in place and kept air from escaping into his chest cavity. There is blood in the lung, but it could have been worse. If the wound hadn't sealed it could have caused enough pressure to collapse the lung. Dr. Morris is our best surgeon and Dr. Tate, our head of pulmonary respiration is assisting. We should know more in an hour or so."
Abbey had her hands clasped tightly in her lap. "What about the MS?"
"He's definitely had a relapse. We've given him IV Solumedrol. He'll likely have to have several infusions to hopefully induce remission again."
Abbey nodded. "What about Prednisone?"
"I'd like to see how he responds to the Solumedrol, first. I'd rather not put him on Prednisone if I can help it. It's a good drug that has its uses, but I don't like to use it if I don't have to. And in his condition, I'm afraid it could be dangerous if we needed to change the dose. I've been working closely with our head of the Neurology department."
Leo spoke up. "Wait a minute. You said 'hopefully' induce remission. I thought his type of MS always went into remission after a relapse."
Mark shook his head. "Not always. His chances are good, given his history, but it could take time. Longer than you're used to. This was not a minor relapse."
Abbey gripped Leo's hand. "Thank you, Dr‚¶" She tilted her head. "I don't think I got your name."
"Mark Sloan." He moved to stand closer to Leo. "And now, Mr. McGarry, I would really like to get a little more information than 'I'm fine.'" He smiled to soften the rebuke. "We've given you a saline IV for the dehydration, Motrin and Compazine. Are you still nauseous? Any pain?" He leaned over and shone a penlight in the other man's eyes.
"No." Leo tried not to wince away from the light. "The officer that found us. How is he?"
Mark pulled back, his blue eyes darkening. He looked away. "He's in surgery." He picked up Leo's chart and stared at it. He didn't see the look Abbey and Leo exchanged.
"Dr. Sloan?" Leo's voice was still rough and hoarse.
Mark looked up, his expression pleasant, his eyes haunted.
"What's the prognosis?"
"I-I don't know. I should have more information soon."
Leo narrowed his eyes. "Doctor‚¶" He paused. "Sloan. The detective said his name was Sloan."
Mark swallowed. "He's my son." The quiet words were heavy with pain.
Leo stared at him for a long moment. Then he cleared his throat. "Tom was trying to shoot the President. Your son saved him."
Mark nodded. "And I'm so proud of him. I just wish‚¶"
Abbey took his hand. "I know. I know exactly what you mean."
Mark looked at her. She smiled sadly. "I feel like Jed is risking his life every day, just by being who he is. Sometimes, I want to try to make him stop, to change him, but I know I can't. And at the same time, I love him for it. All of it."
"Even for the things that might take him away from you?"
She smiled sadly. "I guess those are the things I admire the most."
"Thank you." He squeezed her hand tightly, then let go. Taking a deep breath, he turned back to Leo. He gave him a stern look. "Now, Mr. McGarry, are you going to let me do my job, or do I have to turn your care over to Dr. Bartlet?"
Leo nodded agreeably, but his expression was distracted. His attention was back with his best friend.
"CJ?" Mark held a cup of coffee in each hand. He handed one to CJ and sat beside her. "How are you doing, honey?"
"Mark!" She put down the cup and put her arms around the older man, drawing him into a hug. He returned the embrace. She pulled back. "Is there any news?"
"You know the President's in surgery." She nodded. "He seems to be doing well, considering the extent of his injuries. All we can do is wait. The First Lady is in with Mr. McGarry. More than anything, he needs someone to talk to and for the President to be okay, I think."
"He's still in surgery. The bullet struck his left kidney and he's lost a lot of blood."
"Is he going to make it?"
Mark shook his head. "I hope so."
"God." She picked up her coffee cup and held it tightly, as if she could absorb its warmth into her soul. She sighed. "This week has been such a nightmare. I keep seeing the President in that room, what they were doing to him‚¶ and now Steve." Tears began to fall, but she didn't seem to notice.
Mark slipped an arm around her shoulders. "I know. CJ, I-"
Mark and CJ looked up. Mark stood. "Dr. Morris. Is there news?"
The other doctor nodded and looked at CJ questioningly. Mark quickly introduced them. "How is he?"
"The President made it through the surgery well. We've moved him into an observation unit in the ICU for now. I'm going to want to leave him there until we can be sure he is out of the woods. He should be awake by morning."
"Thank God," CJ breathed. Mark squeezed her hand. "Is the First Lady with him?"
"Yes. She wanted to sit with him until he woke."
"Donna, I can't." Josh resisted the urge to throw the cell phone into the wall of the quiet hospital lounge. "Tell him it's going to have to wait. If he doesn't like it, he can-"
"Josh, I said it's taken care of." Donna's voice was only slightly distorted by static. "Don't worry about it."
"Oh." He ran a hand through his hair and blew out a breath. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay." She was silent a moment. "How is he?"
"Still in surgery. We're waiting."
"I'll be down there as soon as I can." She sounded calm, but Josh could hear the tears in her voice.
"Okay." He glanced at the window into the hallway. "The surgeon just went by. I'm going to go see if there's news."
He nodded. "Hurry down here." He snapped the phone shut and rushed out into the hall. He rounded the corner quickly and narrowly missed running into Sam.
"Hey!" He stopped his momentum with his hands on the other man's shoulders. "You chase off the press?"
"No." Sam sighed. "I answered the questions I could but they wouldn't go away. So I called Ron. They're back a couple blocks now."
"Good. Have you seen Toby? I just saw the surgeon go by."
Sam shook his head. The two men hurried after the doctor. "He was pacing the halls when I left. I'm sure he's back with CJ by now." He glanced at Josh. "You think he's okay?"
"He'd better be."
"Jed? Jed, can you hear me?"
He slowly opened his eyes.
He blinked dry eyes. "Abbey?"
She leaned closer to put herself in his field of vision. "I'm right here, Jed."
"I'm in the hospital?"
She brushed a hand over his hair. "Yeah, honey. You're in the hospital."
"Leo?" His voice cracked.
"He's here. He's okay." She smiled. "He's pretty anxious to see you."
"When can I see him?"
"You just got out of surgery, Jed. Give it a while."
"Abbey-" He broke off in a painful, yet weak cough.
"Later. You can see him later. You need to rest."
He shook his head, trying to catch his breath.
"I'm calling the nurse." Abbey stood, ignoring Jed's negating wave. She pressed the call button and within moments a nurse appeared.
"The doctor's being paged." She removed the nasal canula and replaced it with a mask. "Take slow, even breaths, sir."
Dr. Morris entered and Abbey stepped back, her gaze fixed on her husband. It was going to be a long night.
She looked up to see Leo standing in the doorway. He leaned heavily on the IV pole beside him. "Leo," she said wearily. "Come sit down." She waved a hand at the seat on the other side of the bed.
"How is he?" He asked quietly as he settled into the chair.
She sighed. "He woke up a while ago, but they had to give him a sedative. He was in a lot of pain."
Leo grimaced. He looked down, his gaze taking in his best friend. He was so grateful to see him here, alive. But just looking at him made his heart lurch painfully. Even in sleep, Jed's face was tense with pain. The features so familiar to millions were barely recognizable through the swelling and bruises. His gaze drifted downward. Jed's hospital gown was pulled down around his shoulders and upper chest to allow for the wires and electrodes needed to monitor his heart; and pushed up at the bottom where a large tube entered his chest just below his ribs to drain fluid from his left lung. A blanket covered his lower body, but Leo knew that even his legs were covered with bruises made by steel-toed boots mercilessly striking unprotected flesh. He swallowed against the nausea that rose in his throat as the memories threatened to overwhelm him.
"Leo." Abbey reached across her husband to offer a comforting hand.
He grasped the fingers momentarily, then withdrew. "I'm okay."
She shook her head. "You're not. None of us are. But we will be. All of us." She looked back down at Jed.
Leo nodded and rubbed a hand over his face. "Yeah."
They sat in companionable silence, united in their love for the man between them, until they both drifted into uneasy sleep.
Leo jerked awake at the pain-filled whisper. Jed flailed weakly in the bed, his eyes still tightly closed.
"Oh, God‚¶ Don't‚¶"
Leo reached out, his left hand gently gripping Jed's fingers as his right brushed over the other man's forehead. He saw Abbey was doing the same, whispering softly comforting words.
He didn't seem to hear her. "No!" he cried out, his back arching off the bed. Abbey looked helplessly at Leo.
Leo leaned closer. "Jed, it's okay. You're safe." His fingers combed through the thick hair. "It's okay."
Jed's body slowly relaxed. "Leo‚¶" he whispered.
"I'm here. We're safe."
Jed sighed in his sleep. Abbey stared at Leo, her eyes wide with fear and worry.
He shook his head. "It was bad," he said simply.
Abbey's eyes filled with tears and she looked away.
Leo sat straighter in his chair, resolved to protect his friend from the memories of the reality that he hadn't protected him from.
"Mark." Jesse shook the other man's shoulder.
Mark's eyes snapped open. He sat up, wide-awake. "Steve?"
"He made it though the surgery. We're moving him to ICU."
He let out a breath. "Thank God. Were you able to save the kidney?"
Jesse sat down next to the older man. "We were able to repair it. That's mostly what took so long."
Mark placed his hand on the other man's arm. "Thanks, Jesse. How's he doing?"
"He lost a lot of blood. We're giving him one more transfusion tonight." He smiled encouragingly. "It looks good, Mark. Steve's strong and healthy. We'll know more when he wakes up, of course. But I think he's going to be all right."
Mark wiped a hand over his eyes. "I need to see him, Jess."
"ICU is going to page me as soon as he's settled in. We'll go down together." He rubbed his hand over his jaw. "How's the President?"
"He came out of surgery a couple of hours ago. He's doing better."
Jesse nodded. "That's good to hear." He paused. "When I saw what they did to him‚¶"
"I know." Mark shook his head. "It's a miracle he survived. He's going to have a long road ahead of him. He and his Chief of Staff. The physical wounds will heal, but the emotional ones‚¶ Those will take a lot longer."
Jed glanced at the clock beside his bed then stared at the wall. He wished the room had a window so he could see the sun rise.
He turned his head and smiled at the nurse who was busying herself adjusting his IV. She returned it, shyly. She headed for the door, then paused.
"Is there anything you need, Mr. President?"
"Is my wife out there?"
"Yes, sir. She was here while you were sleeping. She went to check on Mr. McGarry a little while ago. She's waiting to come back in."
"That's the only thing I need."
"Yes, sir." She hesitated again, her hand on the door. "Mr. President, I just want you to know, we're all very proud of you."
Jed gave her a self-depreciating look. "I didn't exactly do much."
The nurse flushed. "You were so brave, the way you‚¶" She trailed off. "We're all really proud." She ducked out the door before he could respond.
He puzzled over her remark, wondering what people could possibly be proud of. That he survived? That he was dumb enough to get caught? That he got five agents killed? Five good men and women. He sighed and rubbed his forehead with his left hand. IV lines caught on the bed rail and he swore, tugged at them gently before giving up and dropping his arm back to the bed.
"Abbey!" Jed tried to sit up straighter on the reclined bed, and froze as pain shot through him. He tried to cover it quickly by tugging at his IV lines again.
"Jed, don't." Abbey gently untangled the lines then slid into the chair beside him.
"I hate this." He waved vaguely to indicate all of the tubes and wires. "I had more mobility when I was being held prisoner."
Abbey winced. "It won't be for long."
"When are they going to take this thing out?" He touched the chest tube.
"In a day or two. When your lung stops draining fluid." She reached out and brushed his hair back from his forehead. "How do you feel?"
"Like I went fifteen rounds with Mike Tyson."
"You kind of look like it too." She smiled sympathetically. She let her hand drift down to his cheek gently touching the bruised, swollen flesh. She looked closer at the cut over his eye. "The stitches look good."
"He's doing good. I stayed with him while you were in surgery. He has a concussion and was pretty dehydrated. He's worried about you."
"I want to see him."
"Jed, you just got out of surgery. This isn't like Rosslyn. This is very serious. You could have died."
"Getting shot wasn't serious?"
"You know what I'm talking about."
He sighed. "I really want to see him."
"I know. Dr. Sloan is going to let him come here later today."
"He just wants him to rest a little longer. He was in here last night while you were sleeping and he needed to sleep in a bed. But I think he's getting tired of listening to him complain about not seeing you, too." She smiled.
"He was here?"
"You were asleep."
"Okay." He took a careful breath. He looked down, lifted the sheet on either side of him.
"What're you looking for?"
She pulled on a black cord and handed him the control button for his morphine IV. "Is the pain bad?"
"Nah‚¶" He pressed the button. And pressed it again. And again.
"It only works once every seven minutes, Jed."
He stared down at it. "Oh." He sighed again. "I hate it. It wears off when I fall asleep so the pain wakes me up."
She twined her fingers in his. "It's the only way to regulate it so you don't get too much. Morphine can be addictive."
"Right now, I don't really care."
"I know," she said sympathetically.
"He's here. I'm sure he'll be in later."
Her tone was too casual. He narrowed his eyes. "Abbey‚¶ What's wrong? Is he all right?"
"Jed, would you worry about yourself for a change?"
"What's wrong with Charlie?"
Abbey sighed. "He feels guilty. He saw the-"
She broke off. He narrowed his eyes. "What," he said flatly. Saw the what?"
"It's nothing, Jed." She fussed with his pillows, the IV lines. "That morphine should be working. You should try to rest."
She sighed again and slumped in her seat. "You're going to find out soon enough, I suppose." She looked around the room, drawing out the moment, before meeting his eyes. "There were videotapes. They sent one a day, to CNN and to us." She drew in a deep, shuddering breath.
"God, Abbey, I'm so sorry."
She stood. "You're sorry! Damn it, Jed! Like it's your fault! They tortured you. They almost killed you. If the price we had to pay was to sit and watch, it was nothing compared to what those bastards did to you!"
He reached out his hand and was surprised when she grabbed at it almost desperately. He pulled her into a gentle embrace.
"You're going to hurt yourself," she rebuked him, without conviction.
For a long moment, they just held each other, and it was enough. Finally, she pulled back. "You really should rest. You're exhausted."
He nodded. "Go see Charlie, would you? Talk to him. Tell him I want to see him."
"Okay." Her fingers brushed his cheek in the lightest of touches and she leaned over to kiss him. "I love you."
His eyes were shining with emotion as he looked up at her. "I love you, too." He watched her intently until the door closed behind her. He laid his head back with a sigh and closed his eyes.
A few moments later, they snapped open again. He looked around and shifted uncomfortably. He wished he were at home, in his own bed, with his wife beside him. He wished he could see Leo.
It was too quiet. Hospitals were supposed to be noisy. He wondered who was outside, in the hall. He opened his mouth to call the agent, then realized how ridiculous that would sound. He squirmed a little more and clicked the button again.
The door opened and Josh looked in. "Mr. President?"
Jed smiled. "Josh! Come in." He waved him in.
Josh returned his smile. "How are you feeling, sir?"
Josh stopped in mid-step. "I'm sorry," he said, half turning to go. "I should go."
"No!" Jed said a little more forcefully than he'd intended. Josh looked at him in surprise. "I mean, I could use the company. Sit down."
Josh nodded and sat slowly. He looked down, his eyes drawn to the tubes. Remembered pain made his chest ache. He looked back up. "Sir‚¶"
Jed swallowed. "I didn't feel like being alone."
"Yeah." They sat in silence. Josh nodded toward the button in Jed's hand. "Morphine?"
"Doesn't work long enough, does it?"
Jed snorted. "No. I can't sleep." He shook his head and scowled at himself. "How is everybody?"
"They're good. CJ's still a little shaky. She drove a truck into the building."
Jed stared at him, his quick mind dulled somewhat by the morphine. "She drove a truck‚¶ Oh. Really?"
"Yes sir. Ron told me. She called him then figured you guys needed a distraction until he got there."
"What was she doing there?"
"She was with Lt. Sloan. I think they know each other from when she lived out here."
"He was the officer that found us."
"I'd like to talk to him. To thank him."
Josh rubbed his forehead. "You don't know?"
"He was shot."
"Oh, man." Jed sighed. "Damn. I thought I remembered hearing shots. I saw him, for a moment. He‚¶ Damn." He stared at the wall. "How is he?"
"He's in ICU." He took a breath. "The bullet hit him in the back."
Josh stood. "I should go. I'm sure you need to rest."
Jed held out his right hand, heavy with the brace the orthopedic surgeon had put on it. "Josh‚¶ Stay. Please. You're right. I am tired. But‚¶"
For a long minute, Josh just stared down at the floor. He shuffled his feet. "Sir, you know all about my problems with PTSD from the shooting. What I went through was a picnic compared to what happened to you and Leo. You guys went through hell." He took a deep breath. "I don't know if I'm overstepping my bounds here, sir. But I care about you. I want to help."
"I don't know what I'm feeling right now." Jed stared down at his hands. Dark, ugly bruises radiated out from under the brace on his right hand. His left wrist was wrapped in a soft bandage, but he could still feel the cuff's bite. "I just-- I'm scared. I don't like feeling this way."
Josh sat back down beside him and leaned forward. "I know what you mean. I hated being in that hospital, I couldn't wait to get home. I felt so‚¶" he searched for the right word. He shrugged. "Vulnerable, I guess."
"Yeah." Jed's eyes were still locked on his hands.
Josh reached out and put his hand on the President's arm. "We're here for you, sir. Whatever you need."
Finally, Jed smiled, a little. "You guys always have been, even when I didn't deserve it."
"You always have, Mr. President." Josh swallowed hard. He leaned back in his chair but didn't move his hand. "I'll just hang out for a while. Zoey brought some good magazines."
Jed met his eyes. "Thanks."
Josh just smiled. He watched as Jed's eyes closed and his breathing evened. When he was sure the President was asleep, he slipped the control button out of his hand and watched as the timer reached the seven-minute mark, indicating another dose could be administered. He pressed the button and waited.