Title: Here Again
Author: Willow
Summary:
An invitation to speak at an award ceremony causes concern for the staff.
Spoilers/Episode: Anything up to season 4, specifically ITSOTG & Noel.
Characters: Ensemble
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.


Part I

Monday

Leo walked through the West Wing toward his deputy's office. It was 9.30pm and most people had gone home. He was pretty sure that Josh would still be there though. When he walked past Donna's desk he noticed her coat and bag were there but there was no sign of Donna. He knocked softly on Josh's door and walked in. "Have you got a minute?" he asked.

"Hey," Josh smiled looking up from note he was writing.

Leo closed the door and sat down. "Where's Donna?"

"She's with Zach. They're trying to hunt down the last ten years reports for the thing with Shaw on Wednesday," Josh replied. "What's up?"

"We've been invited to speak at a journalism award ceremony on Saturday."

"Okay." Josh watched Leo. "You don't think we should?" he asked.

"No," Leo stated.

Something in Leo's tone made Josh curious. "Why?" he asked.

Leo watched Josh. It had been two and a half years, he seemed fine, but still Leo hesitated before replying. "It's at the Newseum in Rosslyn."

"Ahh," Josh said.

"What do you think?"

Josh had no idea what to think, so he deflected the question. "Have you spoken to him?"

"No, not yet," Leo said. "He's not going to be happy."

"He's not the only one," Josh confided.

"Have you ever been back?" Leo asked.

"I've driven past, but I've never stopped," Josh confided. "When are you going to speak to him?"

"Now."

"Want me to come?"

"Please."


Jed looked at Leo in amazement. "Is this for real?" he asked.

"Yes," Leo replied.

"What do you think?" Jed asked Josh.

"I don't see how we can refuse," Josh reluctantly replied.

"Unless we have another engagement, one that we can't cancel," Leo suggested.

"Do we?" Jed asked hopefully.

"Not that I know of," Josh told him.

"Can't we find one?" Jed asked with a slight smile.

'I wish,' Josh thought, he sighed and said, "If we don't go then it's going to look like we're running scared."

"Isn't that understandable?" Leo asked.

"Only if you work here," Josh replied.

"Yeah," Leo sighed.

"This is ridiculous," Jed told them. "It isn't an invitation we'd normally accept and it's very short notice, so what's the problem?"

"Due respect, Sir," Josh said. "If it was the monthly meeting of, 'Fans Of The Far Side', and it was being held at Rosslyn, we'd have to attend."

"Is there such a group?" Jed asked with a smile.

Josh returned the smile. "I'd be a member."

Jed studied Josh for a moment. "Do you really want to do this?" he asked. "I don't mean politically, I mean personally."

"Sir, it doesn't matter what I want to do," Josh pointed out.

"It does if I'm asking you," Jed replied. When Josh shifted uneasily from foot to foot, but didn't reply, Jed continued, "If it's any comfort, you're not the only one who wishes we could stay well away from the place."

"But we can't," Josh finished.

"No," Jed agreed. "Leo," he said, suddenly remembering that Leo was still there, watching them quietly. "Tell CJ we'll be attending. Toby and Will will need to find some kind of a theme."

"Yes, Mr President," Leo replied unhappily.


Thursday

Josh walked into Will's office and looked around at the mess. "Are they still giving you a hard time?" he asked.

Will looked up, "No, why?"

"All this stuff," Josh indicated the boxes and assorted bags. "It's worse than the bikes. It looks like someone's left their life in here."

"It's all mine," Will told him.

"Why?" Josh asked.

"I'm just storing it in here for a couple of days. That's okay isn't it?"

"Yeah. But again, why?"

"I gave up my hotel room because I'd found an apartment."

"Okay."

"Turns out I can't move into the apartment until Tuesday."

"It's only Thursday."

"Yes," Will agreed.

"So you thought you'd move in here?"

"Yeah."

Josh looked at the mess, "Akay," he said. He turned his attention back to Will, "Do you know whether the language has been changed for the President's speech on Saturday?"

"At the Newseum?" Will asked.

"Yeah, something to do with incentives for students to study journalism."

"Is that something that's needed?" Will asked.

"I wouldn't have thought so, but who can say."

"I haven't heard of a change. Why do you ask?"

"It was something a reporter asked CJ."

"Well it's got nothing to do with me, and it doesn't sound like Toby."

"No," Josh suddenly smiled, "but it does sound like Danny Concanon. Never mind, thanks." He went to leave, but stopped and asked, "If your stuff's here, where are planning on sleeping?"

"Toby has a couch."

"Have you told Toby?"

"I didn't think he'd mind."

"Probably not, but I meant, you can't spend five nights on Toby's couch."

"There are no hotel rooms."

"Anywhere in Washington?"

"I was going to phone round."

"Akay. I'll see you later," Josh said as he left the office.


"Are you going on Saturday night?" Donna asked from Josh's doorway.

"Yeah," Josh replied absently without looking up from his computer screen.

"Then so am I."

"I thought you and Candi had some girls weekend planned?"

"I'm coming to the Newseum," Donna insisted.

Josh stopped typing and looked at her, "It'll be fine."

"Then there's no problem with me coming, is there," Donna replied as she walked back out of the office. Josh was still watching her when Will walked in through the other door.

"Danny was right," Will said.

"Sorry?" Josh asked, turning to face Will.

"About the incentives."

"You're kidding me?"

"It's not in the speech, don't worry. But a Senator from Wisconsin, Senator Hughes, has suggested it."

"I can't believe he got re-elected," Josh commented, as Donna walked in with another memo for him. He smiled, "Doesn't say much about the good folk of Wisconsin."

"Hey!" Donna protested, "I didn't vote for him."

"No, but your entire Republican family probably did," Josh grinned.

"Insult me and my family all you want, I'm still coming on Saturday," she smiled.

"Not if I leave you here you're not."

"Then I'll go with Will," she called as she left the office.

"What just happened?" Will asked.

"Donna insists on coming on Saturday," Josh replied. "So is Hughes serious about this?"

"Do we care?"

"Not really, no."


Once the Senior Staff had left the Oval Office, Jed walked outside and stood looking out at the Rose Garden for a few minutes, then he turned and walked to Leo's office. "Leo, do you have a moment?"

"Mr President."

Jed closed the door. "Is Josh alright?"

"He's fine, Sir," Leo replied.

"He's coming on Saturday night?"

"Yes."

"He doesn't have to, he knows that?"

"Yeah, I told him that."

"What did he say?"

"You're going," Leo smiled.

"There's a slight difference, Leo."

"He'd say that you were both shot," Leo pointed out.

"But I didn't nearly die," Jed replied. "And I don't have post traumatic stress disorder."

"He'll be fine," Leo assured Jed, although he was worried about how this was going to affect Josh.

"Is Donna coming?"

"She insists," Leo said.

"Good."


Friday

Josh was walking through the Communications bullpen when something caught his attention. "Will," he said, as he stood in Toby's office doorway, "What are you doing?"

"I thought everyone had gone home," Will said guiltily.

"They have. Toby and I were in a meeting, it ran late."

Will looked a worried, "Toby's still here?"

"Yeah," Josh replied. "Why are you lurking in his office at 10.30 on a Friday night?"

"Couldn't get a hotel room," Will admitted.

"You stayed here last night?"

"Yeah."

"You really can't sleep in the office all weekend," Josh told him.

"I'll be fine. It's warm and dry and the couch is comfortable."

"I've got a spare room," Josh told him.

"There's no need," Will protested a little half-heartedly.

"Come on," Josh said.

"Thanks," Will smiled. He collected his things and followed Josh out of the office.

They were walking through the parking lot when Toby caught them up. "Are you still going tomorrow night?" he asked Josh.

"You know I am."

"You don't have to, you know that."

"For God sake, Toby," Josh sighed. "I've had this all week from Donna, CJ, Leo, even the First Lady. It'll be fine."

"You're sure?"

"Lightning doesn't strike twice," Josh smiled slightly.

"I'll see you tomorrow then," Toby replied dejectedly.

"Yeah. Thanks for asking though."

Will watched Toby walk away and then looked at Josh. "They all annoying you?"

"You noticed," Josh smiled a little.

"They're just worried about you."

"I know," Josh replied.

Part Two .....


NOTE
I know that the Newseum in Rosslyn has been closed since March 2002, while they move to their new location. But by the time I'd found that out, I'd already written this - so please allow me some artistic license. Thank you :-)