Title: Drawing Comparisons
Summary: Toby becomes worried about Josh's behavior.
Episode: Set during season 2, 'Noel'.
Rating: PG (angst)
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.
"This is only a draft," Sam protested.
"It still needs punctuation," Toby replied absently. He looked up and saw Josh walking past Sam's office, in the direction of Leo's. "I'll be back in a minute," he said.
"Toby, the speech?"
Toby ignored Sam and walked to Josh's bullpen, stopping at Donna's desk. "Where's Josh gone?" he asked her.
"He's meeting with Leo and Treasury. Why?" Donna asked.
"Have you got a minute?"
"Yeah, what's wrong?"
"In here." Toby walked into Josh's office and Donna followed him in.
"Toby, what's going on?"
"I was hoping you might be able to help me there."
Donna face fell, she'd been wondering how long it would be before someone else noticed.
"You can't keep covering for him, Donna."
"If this is about him yelling before. That was just Josh being Josh."
"No it wasn't. Josh doesn't yell at his staff, or anyone else, not like that."
"Josh yells all the time." She knew Toby was right though. Josh yelled her name, but not angrily. He snapped when he was tired, but not nastily, and he always apologized. Toby was right, this was different.
"Donna, he's not been himself for over a week now."
"Since the pilot," Donna interrupted.
"What's he been doing?"
Donna suddenly felt guilty discussing Josh like this. "He's just tired and stressed," she tried.
"I've seen Josh tired and stressed. He doesn't act like this." Toby decided that he was going to have to tell her. "He said he could hear sirens all over the building," he said quietly.
Donna looked suddenly scared. "When?"
"Yesterday." Toby knew they needed more help. "I think I should talk to Leo."
"We've got to do something, and Leo will want to know."
"I know," Donna replied. "We'll both talk to him. Josh is meeting Matt Skinner after Leo, we'll go then."
"Call me when he's left."
If Margaret was surprised when Toby and Donna asked to see Leo together, she didn't show it. "Go on in, but he's got a meeting in fifteen minutes."
Toby tapped gently on the door, "Leo do you have a minute?"
Leo looked up at Toby and Donna when they walked into his office and closed the door. He thought he'd never seen two more worried looking faces, and he had a good idea why. He'd heard that Josh had been a little stropy the last few days, which confused him, because he thought Josh had been withdrawn. "Is this about Josh?" he asked.
"Yeah," Toby confirmed, looking down at his feet.
"I heard he yelled at the bullpen again this morning. What's gotten into him?" Leo asked. Donna and Toby glanced at each other, each willing the other to go first. "Either one of you will do."
"It's hard to explain," Donna said.
"I know he isn't himself," Leo suggested. "Toby?"
Toby suddenly wasn't sure he wanted to do this, but Leo looked impatient and Josh needed help. "I think he's having problems dealing with the shooting," he began.
"The shooting?" Leo asked. "CJ seemed to think it was something to do with pilot."
"CJ's spoken to you?" Donna asked.
"Only in passing. I asked what Josh was ranting about and she said he wanted information about the pilot."
Ranting seemed an appropriate word to Donna. "He is obsessed with Robert Cano. He keeps drawing comparisons between the two of them," she said quietly.
Toby wasn't aware of that. "How?" he asked.
"They had the same birthday. Cano's plane caught on fire, he bailed out and he was shot." She left out what was really scaring her. Then he killed himself.
Leo could see exactly what Donna was thinking and what had suddenly occurred to Toby. "He wouldn't do that. Trust me, he wouldn't." Leo sounded so sure of himself that it reassured them both. "I'll talk to him, tell him to leave it alone now," he said, but he had a very bad feeling about this whole situation.
"It's not just that," Toby said. "You must have noticed how distracted he is. He may be in a meeting physically, but his mind's miles away. He gets an inward look.... I don't know," Toby trailed off.
Leo knew exactly what Toby meant. He'd seen that look before, in Josh's father's eyes thirty years ago. He looked at Toby, "Go on."
Toby glanced at Donna, who nodded. "He said he can hear sirens all over the building. He claimed he meant bagpipes, but he said sirens, Leo."
Leo went cold. "Leave it with me," he said.
"What are you going to do?" Toby asked.
"Leave it with me," Leo repeated. Donna and Toby stand up. "Donna, wait," Leo said. Once Toby had left and closed the door, Leo asked,"What else?"
"I don't think he's sleeping," she tried, though she knew very well what Lee was asking. "He's drinking more than usual," she said quietly.
"How'd you know?" Leo asked cautiously.
"Josh can't hold his drink. I can always tell if he's had more than three beers the night before. I know that's not much for most people, but Josh isn't a big drinker."
Leo knew that. It had always amused him, in a slightly perverse way, that Noah's son got drunk on three beers and add a couple of whiskeys and he'd be nearly unconscious. Now that didn't seem quite so funny. "Have you asked him?"
"He says it helps him sleep."
'Oh Christ,' Leo thought. "Leave it with me," he told Donna.
After Donna's left Leo walked to the door. "Margaret, can you cancel my meeting with Lloyd, see if he'll reschedule."
"Is everything alright, Leo?"
"Just cancel the meeting." He closed the door, walked back into his office and sat down.
Why the hell hadn't he noticed? Why had it taken Donna and Toby to point this out to him. It was no consolation that Sam didn't seem aware of any problem. Leo had known Josh since he was eight years old and had promised Noah he'd look out for him. 'God I'm sorry, Noah,' he thought, 'I'll fix this I promise. He'll be fine.'
He knew who he had to call, but he also knew that Josh was going to be resistant to say the least. Josh didn't discuss his feelings and fears, he bottled them up, filed them away to be dealt with in private. He was going to hate the idea of counseling. Leo was aware that Josh saw a therapist for years before they took office, but that was his decision, it wasn't forced on him.
"Leo," Margaret was stood in the doorway. "Are you alright, you're ignoring your phone."
Leo turned from the window to face Margaret. "Yeah, sorry. Did you need something?"
"Lloyd can come this evening at 6, if that's better for you."
"Yeah, thanks, Margaret."
Margaret gave Leo a concerned look and then left. Leo searched through his organizer for a number and dialed. He arranged for a therapist from ATVA to see Josh on Sunday, after having first spoken to his friends on Saturday. All he had to do now was tell Josh. They had a meeting with the president and Sam first, about the SPR, and then Leo would talk to Josh.
"Sam have you finished the draft yet?" Toby asked. Sam carried on staring out the window. "Sam?"
"He yelled at the president."
"Who?" Toby asked carefully, although he had a good idea who.
"Josh." Sam turned and looked at Toby. "I don't mean he disagreed or argued. He yelled at him, Toby. I swear if there'd been Secret Service in the room they'd have pinned him against the wall."
"What did Leo do?"
"Sent him next door to his office."
"Okay!" Sam asked incredulously. "What the hell do you mean, okay? How can it be okay? Did you not hear what I just said?"
"Yes, Sam. And Leo's dealing with it," Toby said firmly as he picked up Sam's phone and started to dial.
"Dealing with what?" CJ asked as she walked in behind them.
Toby though was on the phone and Sam was back staring out the window. "Donna, can you come to Sam's office," Toby said.
"Toby?" CJ asked.
"In a minute, wait for Donna."
They stood and waited until Donna arrived. She took one look at Sam's face and she knew. "What did he do?" she asked.
"He yelled at the president," Toby replied.
"Oh God. Where is he now?"
"Leo said he'd sort it, Toby."
"Give him time, Donna," Toby said.
"Sort what?" Sam asked. "What the hell is going on?"
CJ ignored him. "You spoke to Leo? Toby, Leo's his boss. You told him....."
"Leo's not just his boss, CJ," Donna pointed out.
"Will someone tell me what the hell is going on," Sam demanded.
Toby, Donna and CJ looked at each other. "Josh isn't handling things too well," Toby tried.
"He's been a bit bad tempered recently, but he's tired," Sam said, but he knew full well that Josh wasn't himself. Sam knew something was very wrong, he just hadn't wanted to admit it. "What's Leo going to do?"
"I don't know," Toby admitted.
"I should go, he'll be back soon," Donna said.
As Donna went to leave, Toby's pager went off. "Donna, wait, " he said, reading the message. "Leo wants us."
Sam, Toby, CJ and Donna all filed nervously into Leo's office, he closed the door behind them. "Sit down," he told them.
"Leo, what's happening?" CJ asked.
"Where's Josh?" Donna asked.
"In his office," Leo said, looking at the concerned faces before him. Suddenly his own frustration boiled over, "Will you all not look so worried. What do you think, I fired him?" he asked angrily.
"What's going to happen?" Sam asked, as the door to the Oval Office opened and Jed entered.
After a chorus of 'Mr Presidents' and after everyone had sat back down, Leo continued. "I've contacted ATVA. Josh is going to meet a guy on Sunday. We all have to talk with him on Saturday."
"Josh has agreed?" Sam asked.
"Yes," Leo replied, though he hadn't given Josh much choice other than to agree.
"Does he know that we're going to be talking to the guy?" CJ asked, voicing all of their discomfort with the idea.
"I know you're all worried about him. So am I," Jed said. "I don't know how long this has been going on for, Toby and Donna seem to think it's been a couple of weeks . It can't continue. He needs help and he's going to get it, whether he likes it or not. ATVA say they need to talk to his friends and colleagues. I'm not going to let them have free reign through the staff, the less people know about this, the better it'll be for Josh. But you all have to talk to the therapist and you have to be honest." He could see that they were all very uncomfortable with the idea. "He needs your help, but I'm not going to make this an order. Donna you should probably get back to work, before Josh wonders why Charlie is hovering in the bullpen."
"You sent Charlie to keep an eye on him?" Leo asked.
"I didn't think he'd be too happy if he came back here and found us all discussing him," Jed replied.
"Thank you, Mr President," Donna said as she left.
"So Charlie knows?" CJ asked.
"Charlie's going to have to talk to the ATVA guy," Leo pointed out.
"Who else?" CJ asked.
"You, me, Toby, Sam and Donna," Leo said. "No one else."
The Christmas party was still in full swing. Yo-Yo Ma's performance had been wonderful, and everyone was having a good time, with a few exceptions.
"Sam, have you seen Josh?" Toby asked.
"No isn't he with Donna?"
"Probably." Toby walked off and left Sam talking to Congressman Hunter.
"Toby," CJ called, "did you find him?"
"Does it look like I've found him," Toby snapped.
CJ didn't mind his tone, she was just as worried. "I'll try his office again," she said, walking quickly away.
"Hey," Charlie said. "Is Josh alright?"
"Why?" Toby asked.
"'Cos he went home about five minutes ago. Said he had an upset stomach, but I dunno....."
"Who went home," Leo interrupted.
"Josh," Toby and Charlie said together.
Leo nodded. "The President's looking for you," he told Charlie. When Charlie walked away, Leo turned to Toby, "Call him."
"I've been calling, I keep getting his voicemail."
"I'm going over, you'll have to cover for me."
"Wouldn't it be less conspicuous if I went?"
"Probably," Leo agreed unhappily, "but it should be me. Call me when you get there."
"Answer the damn phone," Toby muttered to himself. He could see lights on in Josh's apartment so he knew he was home. He hung up his cell phone and rang the buzzer again. This time the door was opened by Carl, Josh's superintendent.
"Mr Ziegler, you'd better come in."
"What's happened?" Toby asked.
"I don't know, but I heard breaking glass about five minutes ago. He said he was fine, but......"
Toby walked to Josh's door and banged on it. "Josh, open the damn door now," he shouted, turning to Carl, "Do you have a key?"
"Yeah, but I'm not suppose to......."
"Okay." Toby turned back to the apartment door. "JOSH!" he hammered on the door again. This time it opened.
"Could you make anymore noise?" Josh asked, as Carl walked back to his own apartment. Josh didn't open the door far.
"Are you alright?" Toby asked.
"Yeah," Josh lied.
"There's blood on your shirt, Josh, what the hell's happened?"
"I cut my hand," Josh supplied.
"Let me in"
Josh still blocked the doorway. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said, trying to shut the door.
Toby pushed the door open. "I'm coming in."
"Fine," Josh said and walked back into the apartment.
Toby took in the scene before him. The broken window, the glass on the floor, the blood on Josh's shirt, the crude bandage on his hand. "The window needs covering," he said, "don't lock me out." When he returned a few minutes later with some hardboard, nails and a hammer, Josh was sat on the couch staring down at the glass of whiskey in his hand. Toby nailed the wood over the break, "Your super's going to arrange a glazier to come and fix it." Josh didn't even look up, so Toby continued, "I told him you were carrying something and you tripped." Still Josh didn't respond. Toby went to the kitchen, returning a couple of minutes later, he took the whiskey tumbler out of Josh's hand and gave him a mug of coffee.
Josh finally looked up at Toby. "Thanks."
Toby was at a loss as to what to do next. "You want to talk?" he tried.
"You want me to stay?" This was very unfamiliar territory for Toby. He was fully aware that Donna, Sam or CJ, or even Leo would be handling this much better.
"I could call Donna."
"I just want to sleep," Josh said.
"Then go to bed," Toby suggested.
"That really won't help," Josh said. "I thought drinking would help, but I can't do it, I can't do that to my mom," he smiled a little, "or prove Leo right."
Toby had no idea what Josh was talking about, but he was starting to scare him. "Josh....."
"I can still hear the sirens, Toby," Josh said, looking back up at his friend.
Now Toby really was scared, and lost. "Is that why.....?" he nodded to the broken window.
"Yeah," Josh quietly replied.
"I'm staying on the couch." Toby picked up the phone.
"Who are you calling?" Josh asked.
"Because he was worried when you left early," Toby replied. "Leo, it's Toby...... He's fine, just tired.... I'll see you tomorrow." He hung up and noticed Josh watching him intently.
"He sent you to check on me?" Josh asked.
"You left in kind of a hurry there, Josh."
Josh knew what that meant. It meant that Leo, CJ, Sam, Donna and Toby, and probably the president, had all been so scared about what he was going to do and where he'd gone, that they'd had to find him and check he was okay. "What did you think I was going to do?"
"I don't know," Toby replied truthfully.
"I would never do that, Toby." Josh looked down at his hand. The thing that scared him the most tonight, was that slamming his hand through a window didn't hurt. It also didn't alleviate the pain deep inside him.
"You should try and sleep," Toby said
"Leo wants me to meet with a guy from ATVA."
Josh's head snapped back up. "How?"
"I have his office bugged," Toby replied. "How the hell do you think I know. He told me."
"He had no right......."
"For God's sake, Josh." Toby sat on the coffee table in front of Josh. "Do you not think that we're worried about you? Don't you think that Donna's scared half to death? We want to help you, but none of us know how." Toby stood and started pacing.
"It didn't hurt," Josh said.
Toby stopped pacing and looked at Josh. "What didn't hurt?" he asked.
Josh glanced back down at his hand, at the blood on his shirt. "Putting my hand through a window. It didn't hurt."
"It should have hurt, Toby. I should be in pain now. But I can't feel anything."
Toby suspected that Josh wasn't just talking about his hand, he walked back over to him. "Come on, you need to sleep." He steered Josh to the bathroom and then found a dustpan to clear away the broken glass. Josh walked back out of the bathroom and watched Toby, who expected some sort of sarcastic comment, but Josh said nothing. "I'll be on the couch," Toby told him.
After Josh has gone to bed, Toby poured himself a whiskey and sat on the couch. He'd spent most of the concert watching Josh. He couldn't believe that no one else noticed how distressed he was. Sam was sat right behind him for God's sake. Toby couldn't see Josh's face, but he could tell from his body language, from his breathing, from the way he wasn't looking at Yo-yo Ma, that he was ill. At first Toby thought it was physical, but then Josh had grabbed at his chest, just where Toby remembered him holding it back in August. He didn't need to see his friend's face to know that he was feeling the same pain, the same fear, he'd felt at Rosslyn, when he waited for someone to find him. That was the moment Toby wanted to go over to Josh, screw the concert and the congressmen, and the president. But CJ had noticed Josh by then, or more accurately she'd noticed that Toby couldn't take his eyes off Josh, and had stopped him standing. She'd been right of course. Josh would have been mortified if Toby had brought attention to him in that state. As soon as the concert ended, Josh had disappeared and Toby had been almost as scared as when he'd held Josh at Rosslyn.
"You don't need to stay, I'll be fine." Josh interrupted Toby's thoughts.
"It's late, I may as well stay here now," Toby said. "I'll see you in the morning."
Josh almost smiled. "Night then," he said, walking back into his bedroom. He lay on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. There was no way he was sleeping tonight. Toby already thought he was close to the edge. Had already guessed about the flashbacks, though he had no idea how bad they were. If he found out about the nightmares as well..... The first time he'd had the nightmare had been back in September, then it'd stopped. The last few weeks though it's returned. It's always the same, it's just like the flashbacks. He was running, someone ran into him and pushed him against the railings. Then he could feel the warm searing pain as the bullet entered his chest. He fell back against the wall and held his hands to his chest. Then there were sirens and the flashing lights and the pain, always the pain. Always the same dream. Josh smiled without a hint of humor. Always the same, until Robert Cano. Then it had got an added twist. That night it had joined forces with his other nightmare. The fire. Suddenly he was back dreaming of the night his sister had died, only now he didn't wake in a cold sweat once he'd run out of the house. Now he ran out of the house and into Rosslyn.
As Josh lay in the darkness he realized that he was more scared now than he ever was at Rosslyn. Then the pain and injuries were physical. Now, now he was terrified what his mind would do to him next. He knew that Leo was right. He had to get help. He had to talk to a therapist, because the alternative didn't bear thinking about.