Title: A Year Ago Today
Summary: Leo's worried about Josh on the first anniversary of Rosslyn.
Spoilers: Anything up to season 3
Characters: Josh, Leo, Toby and Donna
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.
"That's all, unless anyone has anything to add," Leo looked at the staff. "Okay then. Thank you, Mr President. Josh, Toby wait in my office."
"What do you think we did?" Josh asked Toby, as they entered Leo's office.
"Today? We turned up for work," Toby replied. "I suppose it's a bad few days, although I'd have thought...... " he trailed off and glanced at Josh, "anyway."
"Yeah," Josh sighed.
Leo walked in and sat down behind his desk. "Toby, I need you to meet with Rogerson and Hewitt, find out what the hell their problem is."
"Leo, we know what the problem is," Josh said. "Rogerson's a sheep, he'd follow Hewitt whatever he did. Hewitt needs Governor Bradley's support and he's the one with the problem."
"Talk to them," Leo told Toby. "If it can't be fixed here, you're going to Connecticut to talk to the Governor."
"Leo...." Toby began to argue.
"That's all," Leo said and Toby left.
"What did I do?" Josh asked.
"You feeling okay?" Leo's tone was suddenly concerned.
"I thought we'd stopped doing that?" Josh replied in a slightly irritated voice.
"I'm fine." Josh noticed Leo's skeptical look. "Honestly, Leo. Today I'm fine. Tomorrow, I don't know, I'll tell you then."
"Take the rest of the week off," Leo suggested.
"Just like that?" Josh asked. "And do what, sit at home and brood?"
Leo studied Josh. The younger man looked fine, but that didn't mean anything. "There's going to be press coverage all week, the president and I just thought you'd rather not be here."
"I have a TV at home, Leo, I'm hardly likely to miss the coverage," Josh replied. "You and the president worried what I might do, think I'll have some kind of episode?" The thing that Josh had been dreading about this week, even more than his own reaction, was other people. He hated people tip toeing around him, couldn't stand people being nice because they felt sorry for him. "Look, I'll be fine. At least here I'll have stuff to do," he smiled at Leo, "and people around who care. Thanks for the thought, but I'll be here all week."
Josh was trying hard to concentrate on a report, when Donna walked into his office. "What's that?" he asked, indicating the Far Side mug she was holding.
"Coffee," she replied. "I made too many, it seemed a shame to throw one away."
"Donna, please don't do that. I've enough with everyone else smiling at me, looking concerned and being nice. Its not even the 8th until tomorrow."
"You mean the 7th, which is today."
"For all of you it started on the 7th, but I don't really remember that. For me it started on the 8th." He looked at her. "Leo thinks I should take the rest of the week off. Apparently he and the president think I won't be able to cope, that I might do something stupid."
Donna knew very well what Leo and the president thought, Leo had spoken to her yesterday and he was worried about Josh. "That's not what they think. They're just concerned."
"The president was shot too, Donna, he's not going to go into hiding, and neither am I."
She was interrupted by Toby storming into the office. "That's it, I'm going to break heads."
"Coffee?" Josh asked, pointing to Donna.
"Donna bought you coffee? What did you do?"
"Fine," Donna said, "no more coffee, ever."
"Good," Josh replied, "things are back to normal then." But the look he gave her was full of gratitude, and she smiled as she left the office. "Hewitt and Rogerson?" Josh asked Toby.
"Won't talk to me about it. Hewitt says his hands are tied. That he has to do what the people want."
"By 'the people', he means Governor Bradley," Josh said. "You told Leo yet?" he asked.
"No, I'm on my way there now."
" 'K, but this isn't really on the way to Leo's office."
"He's gonna send me to Connecticut." Toby watched Josh, then looked down at his feet. "I don't mind going, just not today."
"There something on TV you don't want to miss? 'Cos we could probably tape it for you."
"I'm going to see Leo."
"Toby," Leo called, as Toby went to leave the office. "Take Josh with you."
"Because last time you drove through Connecticut you got lost."
"That was Sam, he can't read a map. Or the stars for that matter." However, Toby's main reason for not wanting to go was because of the anniversary. Taking Josh away for tonight and tomorrow might not be a bad idea. "Yeah okay," he smiled, slightly.
Toby walked through the West Wing to Josh's office. "Donna, is he in?"
"Gone to lunch with Sam. He should be back soon. Anything I can do?"
Toby looked at Donna thoughtfully. "Yeah, come with us to Connecticut. We're driving up this afternoon."
"Well, Toby, how can I resist. Five hours in a car with you and Josh," Donna replied. "He didn't say he was going anywhere, especially not today."
"I haven't told him yet."
"Ah," Donna said. "Do you need reservations making?"
"Yeah. You are going come?"
"Yes." There was no way that she was leaving Josh alone this week.
Ten minutes later Josh wandered quietly past Donna's desk. He'd been getting broodier all day and she was starting to worry. "Josh," nothing. "Josh," still no reply. "JOSH!" she shouted, following him into his office.
"Donnatella?" he said, sitting down.
She knew better than to ask if he was okay, but him using her full name was a good sign. "Toby wants to talk with you."
"Tomorrow, he wants you....."
Josh sighed. "Donna, if one more person tells me to take the rest of the week off I'm going throw something, probably them." He stood up and walked to Toby's office. He knocked on the door and walked in. "Toby, you wanted me?"
"Yeah. I've got to meet with Bradley tomorrow morning. I'm driving up this evening."
"Why are you driving?"
"I don't really like flying. Anyway its not that far. Leo wants you and Donna to come."
"You're from Connecticut, you speak the language," Toby replied sarcastically. "How the hell would I know. Would you rather be here?" he asked.
"No. If I get one more sympathetic look...." Josh replied. The thought of a trip to Connecticut was actually quite appealing, and at least he knew Toby wouldn't be walking on egg shells around him. "What time are we leaving?"
"About an hour, hopefully."
At 7.30 they drove into the hotel parking lot and found a space. "I'll check us in," Donna told them.
Toby and Josh climbed out of the car, collected their bags and followed Donna. "What's wrong with your leg?" Toby asked.
"You wouldn't pull the seat forward," Josh replied, hitching his backpack onto his shoulder.
"You were only in the back for an hour." Toby watched as Josh limped towards the entrance. "What've you done?"
Josh sighed, "Nothing."
"I got shot, Toby," Josh snapped and walked into hotel. He knew that it wasn't Toby's fault, but today was starting to get to him more than he wanted to admit. Donna handed them their keys, noticing the concern on Toby's face as he watched Josh.
After checking in they ate dinner and then returned to their rooms. Josh phoned Leo to check nothing's happened in the few hours they've been away and then went to look for Toby. He knocked on Toby's door and walked in. "You busy?"
"Have you seen some of the stuff that Bradley and Hewitt want?" Toby sighed, putting the report down.
"We'll probably end up giving them most of it," Josh replied. "Look, Toby, about before, I didn't mean to snap. It's just that, well today's getting to me and I didn't think it would."
"You didn't think today would bother you?" Toby asked.
"No," he paused. "Monday August 7th last year was a good day at work and the town hall meeting went well. For you all Monday night and Tuesday were a nightmare, I know that. For me the nightmare started on Tuesday evening," Josh replied.
Seeing as Josh brought the shooting up, Toby decided to ask about earlier in the parking lot. "Josh," he began.
Josh waited, "Yeah?" he asked when Toby didn't continue.
Toby looked awkwardly down at the floor and then muttered, "What's wrong with your leg?"
"It's fine now," Josh replied.
"That's not what I meant. What's you getting shot got to do with having a sore leg?"
"Its not particularly sore, just stiff," Josh replied.
"I still don't....... You were shot in the chest...... how does that.....?"
Josh was quiet for a moment before answering, "When I was shot, blood stopped flowing properly to the left side of my brain." He looked at Toby, who looked a little confused so Josh continued quietly. "The left side of your brain controls motor function for the right side of your body. Since the shooting my right leg and arm have been a little stiff."
"I didn't know," Toby said quietly.
"It's not that big a thing, Toby. It's mainly if I'm still for too long, which doesn't happen often," he smiled weakly, "or if I'm tired. Also flying makes it worse." He watched Toby for a reaction. He didn't tell people because he didn't want sympathy, he didn't want them opening doors and pulling out chairs, he'd never wanted any kind of special treatment -- it would drive him nuts. Donna knew of course, and Leo and his mother, but no one else.
Toby didn't say anything for a few seconds. Then he smiled slightly, "It's a good thing that your job doesn't require you to work long hours, sit in endless meetings or take long plane journeys then isn't it?"
"That's what I thought," Josh agreed.
The following morning, Toby and Josh's meeting with Governor Bradley went as they'd expected. By the time it was over they'd given away a few things, but nothing more than they'd wanted. They weren't due back at work until tomorrow. This was a Presidential order, Toby had been told to keep Josh away and they were planning on setting off back in the early afternoon. Toby had some calls to make and Josh wasn't surprised to find he had nothing to do.
"Can you make your calls from the car?" Josh asked Toby.
"I fancy a drive to the coast," Josh replied.
"It's raining," Toby pointed out, but he had to keep Josh out of Washington all day so why not. "Yeah, okay then."
Josh laughed. "Humoring me, Toby?"
Donna joined them at the car. "What we doing now?" she asked.
"Going to the coast, apparently," Toby moaned.
"Haven't been to Westport for a while," Josh replied.
"Okay," she smiled.
When they arrived in Westport the rain had eased off, so Josh and Donna went for a walk, while Toby stayed in the car and made his phone calls. Twenty minutes later Donna returned to the car without Josh.
"Where is he?" Toby asked.
"He wanted some time alone."
"To do what?"
"He'll be fine," Donna replied.
An hour later Josh still hadn't returned and Toby was getting worried. "Where was he going?"
"The cemetery," Donna replied. She got out of the car to see if she could spot him anywhere.
"Oh," Toby said. "You think we should go and find him, or leave him be?" He knew he was probably over-reacting, and on any other day of the year he'd just be angry with Josh for disappearing. Today though.....
Donna really wasn't sure what to do. She didn't want to intrude on Josh while he was at the cemetery, but, like Toby, she was getting worried. "I think we should look for him," she replied and got out of the car.
"Why can't we drive there?" Toby asked.
"Because if he comes back he won't know where we are."
"He's not eight years old, I'm sure he'll think to wait for us," Toby replied.
They drove to the cemetery and parked the car. "Maybe we should wait here," Toby said, but Donna had already walked away, so he followed. They saw Josh ahead of them and stopped, not wanted to intrude. He looked up, saw them and smiled, so they walked over.
"You okay?" Donna asked. Josh nodded and Donna put her arm through his.
Toby looked down at the gravestones. The first was for Rebecca Lyman, died 1976 and Isaac Lyman, died 1987 - Josh's grandparents, Toby assumed. The second was for Joanie Lyman, 1954 to 1970 and Noah Lyman 1935 to 1998. Both graves had two pebbles placed on them.
"Josh?" Donna broke the silence.
"I was just thinking how close it came last year to there being three names on that headstone," Josh said, causing Donna to shudder. "I'm fine," he smiled slightly, "we should go." As they walked back to the car, Josh looked at Donna and Toby and smiled again, the first smile all week that had actually looked like him, that had reached his eyes. "If we get something to eat and then set off back, you'll have succeeded in keeping me away all day," he grinned at Toby.