Title: Imposing Rules
Author:
Willow
Summary: Leo's worried about Josh health.
Episode: Post season 2, 'The Portland Trip'.
Characters: Josh and Leo
Rating: G
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.


Leo walked through Josh's bullpen he saw the office light was still on. "I thought you'd gone home?"

"I'm just finishing off."

"Josh! The main condition to me letting you come back to work early, was that you took things easy."

"I am."

"What time did you get here this morning?"

"7.30."

"What time is it now?"

Josh looked at his watch, "10.50."

"That's not what a normal person would call taking it easy. I'll put you on back sick leave if you don't ease up."

"I'm fine."

"You look exhausted," Leo replied. "I shouldn't have let you meet with Matt Skinner tonight," he sighed. He knew that Josh was too stubborn to give in to illness, just like his father. "You still want to get that coffee?"

Josh was only still at his desk because he couldn't muster the energy to go home. Not that he was going to let Leo know that. "Yeah, that'd be good," he replied, collecting his coat and backpack and following Leo out of the building.

Leo quietly watched Josh as they walked to their cars. He really did look exhausted. "You sleeping alright?"

"Yeah," Josh lied, but he could see that Leo didn't believe him. "Where we going?" he asked.

"Your apartment, I'll drive." Leo wasn't happy at the thought of Josh driving when he was obviously so tired.

"How am I suppose to get in tomorrow?"

"It's Saturday, you're not suppose to get in at all. That was another condition if you recall, which you've already broken." Leo held the passenger door of his car open and Josh reluctantly climbed in.

As they drove through Washington Josh stared quietly out of the window. He was beginning to think that maybe he had returned to work too early. Some mornings it took all his strength just to get out of bed. He was finding this lack of energy a little alarming and it was starting to get him down. It would help if he could actually sleep all night, instead of being woken by the pain that was still there in his chest and back. Or even worse, by the nightmares. Although he had the first one after he came home from the hospital, Tuesday night was the first time he remembered it fully. Nightmares weren't unusual for him, he'd been having them since he was eight, but this one was new and different, and it scared him. He leant his head back on the head rest and closed his eyes.

Leo was now even more concerned. It wasn't like Josh to be so quiet. As long as he'd known him he'd been full of energy, hardly ever still. When he first came back to work he was his old self. Walking through the corridors with a swagger, full of life and enthusiasm. The last few days though he'd been different. Donna had noticed it too, Leo knew that was the real reason she'd come back tonight after her date, she'd wanted to check on Josh. Well Leo had had enough. He didn't care how angry Josh was going to be, he was going to insist he took the weekend off, no work at all. Then from Monday there were going to be some changes.


Josh walked to the kitchen to make coffee, but Leo stopped him. "You're ready to drop, now sit down," he instructed. Josh scowled, but he went and sat in the lounge, while Leo made the drinks and then sat across from him. "So what's going on?"

"What do you mean?" Josh asked.

"Josh," Leo sighed. "I don't know how else to put this. You look like crap."

"Thanks, I feel better all ready."

Leo ignored the sarcasm. "You need to take it easier."

"I'm fine."

"Oh for God's sake, Josh! You are not fine. Have you looked in a mirror recently?" Leo snapped. "You aren't sleeping are you? and don't lie."

Josh knew that there was little point in lying to Leo. Like he said, he could order him back on sick leave anyway, so he may as well be honest, except it wasn't quite that easy. "The last few nights have been a bit restless," he began.

"Why?"

"I dunno."

"Josh!"

Josh could feel himself getting angry, although he wasn't sure who it was directed at. "There's still some pain in my chest and back, especially at night," he admitted.

Leo hadn't realized that. "Have you told the doctor?"

"Yeah. They say it'll take time for everything to heal fully."

"I didn't know," Leo said. "But why's it been worse the last few nights?"

Josh looked a little sheepish. "I ran out of painkillers. I've not had chance to get anymore," he carried on quickly before Leo had chance to yell at him. "I know, I'm an idiot. You don't have to tell me."

"Yes you are," Leo agreed. "Get some tomorrow then."

"I need the prescription, the doctor's doesn't open weekends, except for emergencies."

Leo looked at Josh like he was slightly mad. "You don't think being in so much pain that you can't sleep, when the doctor specifically told you to rest, constitutes an emergency? When were you planning on going?" he asked. He saw the expression on Josh's face. "You weren't going to were you?"

"I'm sick of taking a handful of pills everyday," Josh said angrily.

Leo was alarmed now, Josh also took beta-blockers and blood pressure tablets. "Please tell me it's only the painkillers you've run out off."

"I'm not totally stupid."

"Really?" Leo asked, "'cos you're acting that way."

"You're hardly one to lecture on taking drugs are you," Josh shouted, the anger leaving as soon as he realized what he'd said. He dropped his head, "I'm sorry. That was uncalled for. I didn't mean it."

Leo was aware of that. "It's okay and you're right Except I took too many and you're not taking enough."

Josh looked at Leo, suddenly realizing that he had to admit just how bad he felt. "I know you're worried, so's Donna. You're right, I'm not feeling too good. It wasn't like this when I first came back, but this last week....."

"If you need some time off, it's not a problem," Leo offered, although it would be one massive problem. The three months Josh was off recovering, it wasn't just his personality that was missed enormously. No one, except maybe Donna, had appreciated quiet how much work Josh did and how much they rely on his opinion and advice. But there was no way Leo was going to let Josh work himself to death. If he needed more time off then they'd cope.

Josh was shaking his head though. "No," he said, "I just need a good nights sleep." He shouldn't have said anything to Leo. There was no way he was taking more sick leave. If he was going to beat this then he had to carry on as normal.

"You need more than that," Leo said. "It's alright I'm not going to order you to stay at home, stop looking so worried," he smiled slightly. "But you are going to start looking after yourself. First off, tomorrow morning you're going to the doctors. And I want to know what he says, okay?"

Josh looked sulkily at Leo, but he knew better than to argue, "Yeah."

"Secondly. I don't want to see you in the office before 8am or after 6pm for the next week at least. And thirdly, I want your work load reduced."

"Leo!"

Leo glared at Josh. "This isn't a negotiation, Josh," he said. "You're going delegate more of your work to your staff."

"They're busy enough," Josh interrupted.

"What did I just say?" Leo asked in a voice that Josh knew brokered no argument.

"Okay," Josh reluctantly agreed. "There isn't much more I pass to them anyway."

Leo was aware of that, he remembered how much he had to do while Josh was off ill. "I haven't finished. You can pass some stuff to me, Toby and Sam," he told Josh. "Don't look like that. I'll be talking to Donna about it. You know how she likes to make sure rules are followed," he smiled.

Josh can't help but smile at that, "Yes," he said.

"There's nothing new here by the way," Leo pointed out. "These were the original conditions for you coming back to work after the Midterms, rather than after Thanksgiving or Christmas. The only difference is that this time they're going to be followed."

Josh wasn't willing to give in completely. "I'll be fine by Thanksgiving," he tried.

"Take Thanksgiving off," Leo suggested. "Go visit your mom."

"You don't think the four hour drive might undo any good that your rules are going to do?" Josh smiled. "Anyway, I don't want to worry her. If I suddenly start turning up for holidays she'll know something's wrong."

Leo had forgotten that Josh wasn't allowed to fly yet, and he was right about his mother. "Yeah okay. But you're still taking things easy or I'll be setting Abbey on you."

"I'll be good," Josh smiled, he knew when he was beat. "Enough about me. Are you okay, I mean after today?"

"Don't you start, I've enough with Margaret," Leo smiled though. "I got the papers, I signed them and sent them back. It's not a big deal."

Josh wasn't convinced that the end of a forty year relationship wasn't a big deal. Him and Margaret both have a suspicion that Leo hoped this day would never come, he was still living in a hotel suite after all.

Leo read Josh's thoughts. "I've had over a year to come to terms with it. If I was going to drink I'd have done it when I moved out." he said, thinking, 'or when you nearly died,' but he wasn't about to share just how close he came to falling off the wagon during those nightmarish few days back in August. "Maybe I'm stronger than I thought," he smiled.

"I always said you were," Josh said. "As long as you know that if you ever need to talk there's plenty of people who'll listen."

"I do know that. And I still go to the meetings."

"Good." Josh hadn't been surprised that there was a secret AA meeting, somewhere in the West Wing or OEOB, attended by high profile people, although he had no idea who else went and he didn't want to know. "You want another?" he indicated the empty coffee cups.

"Nah. You need your sleep," Leo said, standing and putting his coat on. "I meant what I said. I'm phoning Donna tomorrow. And I want to know what your doctor says."

"I never doubted it for a minute," Josh smiled as he saw Leo to the door. "I'll see you on Monday, at 8." After Leo had gone, Josh stood looking out of the window for a while. It had been a rough few months, surely things can only improve from here. He closed the blinds and went to bed.

END.