Title:  Not Everything's Black and White (7/7)
Author: Sam Singing Wolf
Email:  SngngWolf@aol.com
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 site.
Summary:  When President Bartlet and his staff visit Los Angeles during the
reelection campaign, terror strikes.  Crossover of The West Wing and Diagnosis Murder.
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:   Finally, it's done!  Thanks to everyone who encouraged, cajoled and/or threatened me to get this finished!  The feedback was very kind.

Thanks to my wonderful beta readers, Rey, Anne and Kathleen.  Any mistakes in here are strictly my own.

Part VII


"Steve?"

Mark leaned forward in his chair as Steve stirred restlessly.  "Steve?"   He touched his son's cheek.  Steve turned his face toward his father.   His face tightened in pain, but his eyes didn't open.

"Dad?"

Mark let out a breath.  "I'm right here, son." 

Steve's eyes opened slowly.  He struggled to focus.  "What's going on?"

"You were shot.  You're in the ICU."

He lay there a moment, staring at nothing.  He took a deep breath and grimaced before nodding.  "The President?"

"He'll be okay.  He's recovering."

"CJ?"  He frowned.  "I heard...  something from upstairs ... " 

"She's fine."  Mark smiled.  He thought it would be best to tell him what happened with his truck later.   "She's worried about you.  We'll move you out of the ICU in the morning if you keep improving.  She'll be in to see you then."

"Good."  Steve closed his eyes.

Mark placed his hand on his arm.  "You get some rest, you're exhausted.   I'll be right here."

Steve nodded sleepily.  "Thanks, Dad," he whispered. 

Mark swallowed hard.  It had been so close.  Again.  His heart clenched painfully at the thought.  He thanked God his son was still with him.  And prayed nothing like this would happen again.

"Dad?"

Mark started.  He though Steve had been asleep.  "I'm right here," he said softly.

"I love you." 

His voice was so quiet Mark barely heard him.  But he did, and tears sprang to his eyes.  "I love you too, son."  He leaned forward and brushed Steve's hair back, kissed his forehead.  "I love you, too."

***


"Mr. President?"

Jed looked away from the television program he hadn't been watching.  "Charlie!   Come in!"

Charlie entered slowly and closed the door behind him.  He glanced around and shoved his hands into his pockets.  "Can I get you anything, sir?"

"No, no.  Come on, sit down."  He waved a hand toward a chair.   "I've been hoping you'd stop by."

"Dr. Bartlet said you wanted to see me, sir."  He sat.  "How are you feeling?"

"Better, thanks."  Jed stared at the young man for a long moment, trying, unsucessfully, to get Charlie to meet his eyes.  "Are you okay?"

"Yes sir."

"Charlie."

He looked up.  Jed gazed back at him, his eyes soft.  "It wasn't your fault, Charlie."

"Sir, I heard what they said.  I know it was because I'm dating Zoey."

"Charlie, they did it because they hate.  They hate anyone not like them.   That's not your fault.  If you heard that, you heard all of the other justifications they made.  It didn't happen because of you."

Charlie just shook his head and stared at his hands.

Jed reached out and laid his hand over Charlie's and squeezed gently.  The young man looked back up, his eyes filled with tears.  "I thought I was going to lose you, too.  I couldn't stand that.  I never really knew my dad.  Mom's gone, Mrs. Landingham... "  He blinked several times.  "I just...    I was so scared when I saw... "

Jed squeezed his hand again.  "I know."

Charlie ducked his head, looking embarrassed.  "I'm sorry, sir.  I didn't mean to... "

"It's okay, Charlie.  I just wish to God none of you had to see that."   He shifted uncomfortably and slipped his hand out of Charlie's.  "I don't know how to make it better."

"You don't have to, sir.  We'll be okay.  We just want you to be okay, too."

Jed tried to smile reassuringly, but knew it was anything but.  He didn't know if any of them would ever be okay again.

***

CJ smiled as Steve's eyes fluttered open.  She placed her hand on his shoulder and rubbed gently.  "Hey gorgeous."

Steve turned his head toward her, wincing as he did so.  He looked at her, trying to focus.  He blinked several times. 

"CJ‚€¶"  His voice was rough.

"How're you feeling?"

He gave a breath of a laugh.

She winced in sympathy.  "I'm sorry.  That was a stupid question."   Then she scowled at him.  "Not that what you did was smart."

His eyes widened.  He was clearly struggling to keep up.  "What?   What'd I do?"

"Leo told me what you did.  He told me that guy Tom was going to shoot the President.  He said you put yourself between them.  That that's how you got shot."

"Oh."

"Oh?  That's all you have to say?"

"What was I supposed to do?"

CJ sighed.  "I know.  I just--  I thought you were going to die, Steve."

"Nah.  Not me."

"I hate your job."

"I noticed that."  He raised his hand weakly.  She grasped it and held tight.  Their eyes met and he smiled a little uncertainly.

CJ rubbed her thumb over the back of his hand.  Careful not to hurt him, she leaned over him and brushed her lips over his.

"Hey, you two.  This is a public place."

CJ pulled back and looked over her shoulder.  "Mr. President!"  She jumped to her feet.

Jed waved her back down as the nurse wheeled his chair into the room.  "Sit.   I just came to say hello."  He pointed a finger at Steve.  "And you, don't even think of moving an inch."

"Yes sir."  Steve slowly rested his head back on the pillow.  He glanced at CJ a little uncertainly.

CJ cleared her throat.  "It's good to see you up, Mr. President."

"It's good to be up."  He touched her arm.  "Thanks for your help.  What you did took a lot of guts."

She shook her head.  "I was scared to death."

He smiled.  "Me too."  He looked at Steve.  "You, on the other hand‚€¶"

"--was terrified." Steve finished.  "Mr. President, I'm so sorry I didn't get there sooner.  I wish-"

"Lieutenant Sloan--  Steve.  Listen to me.  You saved our lives.   Leo and I would be dead if it weren't for you and CJ.  And you lying there in that bed‚€¶"  His eyes darkened.  "God.  You were shot because of me.  I've had Secret Service agents surrounding me 24 hours a day for the past three years and I'll never get used to having people willing to risk their lives for me.  And I have no words to express the depths of my feelings.  There are no words."  He leaned forward carefully and grasped the younger man's hand.   "It's not enough, but thank you."  He squeezed his hand.   "Thank you."

Steve nodded, at a loss for words. 

Jed must have noticed his discomfort because he grinned.  "So.  I suppose I'll be getting a bill for your truck."  He leaned back in the wheelchair and folded his hands.  "That's okay, though.  I'll just take it out of CJ's pay."

Steve blinked.  "My truck?"  He looked at CJ. 

CJ looked at Jed.  He grinned and looked back at Steve.  "I've got to go back to my room now.  I'm sure we'll see each other again.  I expect you to come visit us at the White House."  He waved a hand at the nurse who turned his chair to wheel him out of the room before Steve could absorb the unexpected invitation. "You kids behave,"  he called behind him.

Steve, still a little groggy and more than a little confused, watched him go.  He looked back at CJ, his tired mind reeling.  But when he opened his mouth, the first question that came out was, "What happened to my truck?"

***

"Get in here, would you?  Quit lurking in my doorway."

Leo smiled, mildly chagrined.  "I was afraid you were sleeping."

Jed's answering smile faded.  "No.  I wasn't."  He was still tired from his visit with the police detective, but sleep wouldn't come.

Leo nodded.  "I know what you mean."  He sighed and sat next to the bed.  "Are you getting any sleep?"

"Some."  Jed looked down at his hands.  "Not so much now that they stopped the sedatives.  The dreams started after that."

"Yeah."

He looked back up.  "You too?"

"Yeah."

Jed drew in a shaky breath.  "When's it going to end?"

Leo just shook his head.  "Have you told anyone?"

"No."  Jed's voice was quiet.  "They'd just want to give me more sleeping pills.  I need to get past this."

"When we get back, you could talk to Stanley."

Jed rolled his eyes.  "Oh, god."

"Mr. President, this is the kind of thing he specializes in.  This is what he does.  What happened to us... "

"I know.  He's a trauma specialist.  Leo, I don't want to talk to a psychiatrist about this.  I don't want to talk to anyone about it!"

Leo's hand slipped inside Jed's.  "You're going to have to.  You know that."

Jed's intense blue eyes met Leo's.  "Will you?  Did you, when... "

"When I got home from 'Nam?  Yes.  I was a wreck. I slept too little, drank too much, and was no good to anyone."

"I remember you wouldn't talk to me."

"Yeah.  The Air Force finally sent me to a doctor.  It helped.  It really did."

Jed's eyes narrowed.  "Really?  Or are you just trying to convince me to see Keyworth?"

The corner of Leo's mouth quirked up in a small smile.  "Maybe.  But it did help a little."

"Okay."  Jed sighed.  "And you're going to talk to him too."

"Yes, sir."

Jed snorted.  "Okay."

The silence stretched out between them, both finding comfort in the mere presence of the other. 

"What's wrong with your eyes?" Leo finally spoke.

Jed looked at him, a surprised and innocent expression crossing his features.   "What?"

"You keep blinking hard.  And squinting."

"Am I?"

"Mr. President‚€¶"

"It's nothing."

"Are you having trouble seeing?"  Leo's voice was almost steady.

"No."

"Why don't I believe you?"

Jed ignored the question.  "I can go today, right?  That's what Dr. Sloan said."

"He said you could go if you're under the supervision of Admiral Hackett and Abbey.   And if he feels you're well enough to travel."

Jed slid to the edge of the bed and carefully swung his legs over the side.   "It's Air Force One, Leo.  It's not like I'm flying the plane."

"What are you doing?"

"What's it look like?"  He placed his feet on the floor and pulled his robe tighter around him.

"It looks like you're about to do something really stupid.  Stay in bed."

Jed pushed himself to his feet.  "Too late."

Leo stood quickly and stepped closer.  He reached out, but stopped just short of touching his friend.  "Sir‚€¶"

Jed stood still for a moment.  He looked up a Leo with a triumphant smile.   "See?  No problem."

Leo nodded uncertainly.  "You okay?"

"Sure.  I just want to walk around a little.  Get used to being up."

"I wish you wouldn't do this.  At least wait for Dr. Sloan or a nurse or something."

"To do what?  Come on, Leo."  He stepped forward, trying not to wince.   Another step.  He swayed and a tremor ran through his body.  "Leo‚€¶"

Leo wrapped his arms around Jed's chest just as the President fell sideways, his arms flailing in an effort to catch himself.  Leo staggered and barely kept his footing.   Jed grunted in pain at the pressure on his chest.

The door opened.  Mark hurried in, Abbey directly behind him. 

"What happened?" Abbey asked.  Mark moved to Jed's other side and grasped his upper arm gently.

Jed shook his head.  He couldn't answer.  He focused on trying to breathe.

"He got dizzy, I think," Leo answered.  He and Mark carefully maneuvered Jed over to the bed.

"You think?  What the hell was he doing out of bed?"  Her voice raised.  Jed recoiled from her tone and ducked his head involuntarily.  Abbey blanched when he pulled away from her.

Leo let go of Jed when he was sure he was stable, but kept his hand on his shoulder.   "Hey," he said softly.

Jed nodded and took a slow breath.  "It's okay."

Mark stepped back and looked into the President's eyes.  "You could have fallen, Mr. President.  You should have called for a nurse."

"I just wanted to walk around the room.  I wasn't planning on running a marathon."

Mark nodded.  "You're going to need a cane until you get your equilibrium back.   I've asked for one to be sent down for you before you leave."

"I don't want a cane."

"Jed," Abbey admonished, but kept her voice low and soothing.  She rubbed her hand lightly over his back, then brought it up to rest on his shoulder.   "It's better than a wheelchair."

He sighed.  "I know."  He placed his left hand over hers.

Mark cleared his throat.  "I'd rather not let you leave right now, Mr. President," he shook his head and held up a hand at the sharp look Jed gave him.   "-But, I understand the circumstances.  You're going to have to take it easy for a few weeks, keep to a restricted work schedule.  You're going to have to have daily checkups."  He glanced at Abbey, who nodded.  "Admiral Hackett will be continuing your Solumedrol infusions."  He picked up the chart he'd dropped when he'd entered the room.  "The brace on your wrist is going to need daily care.  We've got it wrapped now, but two of the traction pins holding the bones in place are attached to this bar here."  He touched a metal bar outside the bandages.  "The entry sites where the pins go in will have to be cleaned twice a day."

Jed grumbled and resisted the urge to scratch at the offensive device.  "How long does it have to stay in?"

"A few weeks.  I know it's irritating now, but when it's healed straight and you have full use of that hand, you'll be glad you had it."  He waited a moment until the President nodded, however grudgingly.  "Now, about getting around on your own‚€¶"  Jed glared at him.  "I know.  Mr. President, your body has been through an incredible trauma, even if you had been in perfect health before this.  We've got you on a blood thinner-"

"Why?"  Jed interrupted.

"The severity of the bruising creates a serious concern that blood clots could form."

"Oh." 

"So you see how a fall could be a problem."

"Only if I cut myself, right?"

Mark shook his head.  "No.  If internal bleeding occurred, it could be fatal all on it's own."

"Oh."  Jed felt, rather than saw, Leo flinch.  He didn't, couldn't quite look at him.  He glanced at Abbey.  "I'll behave." 

She smiled faintly.  "You'd better."

"So I can go?"

Mark glance down at the chart again, then back at his patient.  He shook his head.   "If you were anyone else, I'd say no.  But under the circumstances of your situation and the care you'll be receiving on your way home, I'll agree to it."

Jed nodded gratefully.  "Thank you, Doctor."

"It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.  I only wish it had been under better circumstances."

"Me too."  He let out a breath and looked at Mark with sorrow.    "I'm so sorry your son was hurt.  I talked to him earlier.   He's a good man.  You should be very proud."

Mark smiled.  "I am.  I wish he'd learn to duck a little better, but‚€¶"

Jed laughed and a genuine smile lit his eyes. 

"It was kind of you to visit him.  I know it meant a lot to him."

"It was absolutely the least I could do, Doctor.  That young man saved both our lives.  Please remind him that he's supposed to come visit us sometime.  You're included in that invitation, of course."

Mark raised his eyebrows in surprise.  "Thank you, Mr. President."

Jed gave him a conspiratorial look.  "We need to get him and CJ hooked up."

Mark laughed.  "I always hoped they'd make it permanent, but you know kids."

Jed sighed.  "Do I."  He looked up as the door opened and Charlie stepped in.

"Excuse me, Mr. President.  You asked me to let you know when the car was here.   Everything is ready when you are."  He had an aluminum cane hooked over his forearm and was pushing a wheelchair.

Jed sighed.  "Thanks, Charlie."  He looked at Mark.  "I guess it's time to let you get things back to normal around here."  He smiled. "Bring Steve to the White House.  Between the two of us, he and CJ won't have a chance."

Mark returned the smile.  "I'll do that."  He held out his left hand and Jed shook it firmly, despite his weakness.  "It was good to meet you, Mr. President.  I hope next time it will be under much better circumstances."

"Thank you again, Doctor.  I'm in your debt."

Mark waved his thanks away and stepped out the door.

"We'll be right out, Charlie.  Could you wait outside for a minute?"

Charlie nodded.  "Yes sir."  He placed the cane across the arms of the wheelchair and followed the doctor out the door.

Jed looked up, his gaze finding Leo and Abbey.  "This isn't going to be easy."

Abbey stepped closer to him and carded her fingers through the hair at his temple.   "It'll be okay, Jed.  Just remember that you're not alone.  We're here for you."

He nodded and unconsciously leaned into her touch.  Leo's hand settled back on his shoulder, it's heavy warmth offering as much comfort and security as Abbey's loving caress.  He closed his eyes with a deep sigh.  "I don't know what I do without you two."

Leo squeezed his shoulder.  "Let's just make sure none of us ever have to find out."  His eyes met Abbey's over Jed's head and she nodded.

Jed nodded, unknowingly echoing Abbey's gesture.  He opened his eyes and sat up straighter, ready to be the President again.

"Let's go home."

END