Title: Lightning by Willow
Synopsis: Lightning never strike the same people twice, does it?
Spoilers: Anything up to S6, set around S4
Notes: I started this while waiting for season 5 to air over on these shores, but didn't finish it. I found it again when the B4A forum were discussing an amnesty for unfinished fics, I decided to finish it or at least add to it.
"They'll be fine without you," Leo told Toby. "Josh is going in your place."
"Josh isn't a speech writer," Toby replied.
"The speech is written," Leo pointed out and switched the phone to his other ear as he hunted through his desk for a file.
Toby was sitting on the sofa in his lounge with a box of tissues, a bottle of aspirin and a hot lemon drink. "It may need amending," Toby argued.
"You have the flu, Toby. You're not going anywhere, you're certainly not spending four hours on a plane where you can infect two hundred other people, one of whom happens to be the president. Stay at home, get some sleep, get better."
"I'd feel better if I was going with them."
"Oh for the love of God, Toby," Leo sighed. "If anything happens, Josh is there. If the speech needs amending you can email it to them. Give it up, you're not going."
"Yeah," Toby sighed. "I'll speak to you later."
Leo hung up the phone, "I can hardly wait," he muttered.
"Talking to yourself?" Josh asked. "First sign of madness."
"Nah," Leo replied. "First sign of madness is agreeing to work in the White House. MARGARET!" he shouted. "What's up?" he asked Josh.
Margaret appeared in the doorway. "You have an intercom," she told Leo.
"Yeah," he replied. "Where are the notes on the Highways Bill?"
"How would I..." she shook her head, walked to the coffee table and picked up a file. "Here," she handed the file to Leo and left the office.
"What did you need?" Leo asked.
"Is there any reason why tonight shouldn't go as planned?"
"Because you're sending me 'just in case'."
"Yeah," Leo agreed. "Actually, and don't take this the wrong way, but sending you was the only way to make Toby stay at home."
"Akay," Josh smiled. "You know he'll be watching from home."
"Oh yeah, I'm expecting a least a dozen phone calls," Leo smiled. "I'll see you when you get back."
The event went well, the speech had gone down a storm and for once everything had gone to plan, everything apart from CJ snapping a heal on her shoe as they entered the venue. They could hear the cheering crowd as they walked through the lobby. Now they were going to work the rope line, let the press take some pictures and it was back to Air Force One and the White House.
"That was Toby," CJ told Josh.
"Don't tell me," Josh smiled. "He messed up the C section?"
"B," CJ grinned.
"Even when he's ill he can't stop" Josh shook his head. "You realize we're actually on schedule," he said. "We should be back at the White House by midnight."
"Well now you've said that, the motorcade with get a flat, or Air Force One will be grounded by a squirrel in the engine."
"I saw it on a documentary. They climb into the engines because they're warm."
"What happens if they're not found?"
"It didn't say," CJ admitted, "but I shouldn't think they'd feel too well."
"No," Josh agreed as they left the conference center and walked out to the crowd.
All around them were chants of 'Bartlet, Bartlet', but above the chanting and the cheering, CJ heard the word she never wanted to hear again, 'Gun!'. Suddenly she was falling to the ground as someone pushed her down, the cheering had turned to screams and CJ could hear the unmistakable sound of gunfire. She looked up briefly, just in time to see the president's limo speeding away. She tried to stand but someone pulled her back down behind the car. More shots rang out and then there was silence.
CJ sat and leaned against the cold steel of the car as she tried to steady her breathing. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths to quell the nausea.
CJ turned her head to one side and saw Josh sat next to her. "You okay?"
"You're bleeding," she told him and wiped some blood from his forehead.
"I knocked my head. You're not hurt?" he asked.
"No." CJ stood up and held out her hand to Josh who took it and stood up next to her. "Now what?" she asked.
"I don't know." Josh desperately wanted to sit back down. His legs were shaking, his head was spinning and most worryingly, his chest hurt.