Keep Hope Aliveby Lia
Joshua Lyman looked up from the screen at which he had been staring most of the day and rubbed his eyes. He was tired. Had been most of the week. He stood up and walked into the bullpen, wanting to stretch his legs a while, and get a fresh cup of coffee if possible.
He saw Donna and Carol talking quietly over Donna's desk and smiled softly. At that time of the night, he had no intention of interrupting their gossip. And Donna would probably tell him later what they were talking about.
He filled his cup and leaned against the nearest cabinet, sighing tiredly. He brought the cup on his lips and closed his eyes, letting the caffeine hit his system and do the trick. It worked.
"Josh." A voice brought him back to the reality and he opened his eyes slowly.
"Leo," he straightened up.
The older man had a pained look in his eyes and his hands deep in his pockets. It was something that Josh, or anyone else, didn't expect from the White House Chief of Staff.
"What's wrong?" Josh asked, placing the cup on the nearest desk.
"Josh." Leo started again, not knowing how to break the news.
"Leo, what is it?"
"There has been a car accident."
"A car accident?"
"Josh, it's Sam."
"Sam? What the hell are you talking about..? Is it... is it serious?" He asked. "Leo, is it serious!"
Leo lowered his head closing his eyes. "Yeah."
Josh stared at him for a moment in shock. "I... we... we should... I need to go there and..."
"Yeah." Leo nodded. "Take Donna with you, Toby will meet you there."
"Yeah." He headed into his office to grab his coat and cell phone.
By the time he walked back into the bullpen, Donna stood there waiting for him, her eyes full of fear.
"Josh?" She whispered.
"Is he..?" She followed him through the almost empty bullpens and hallways.
"I don't know."
"Donna, I said I don't know." He snapped. Regretting his angry words he stopped and turned to face her. "I'm sorry."
She reached for his hand. "I'm sure he'll be fine." Her trembling voice betrayed the comforting words. "He has to."
"Let's go." He said, not letting go of her hand.
Toby Ziegler walked into the office and pushed the door close behind him.
"CJ," he said quietly.
She looked up from the computer.
"Toby, why are you still here?" She greeted, but the smile disappeared from her face quickly. "Toby? What is it?"
He rubbed his face with his hand and closed his eyes for a moment.
"Toby?" CJ stood up and walked around her desk, reaching for his hand. "You're scaring me." She said worriedly.
"Sam was in an accident."
"What..? What happened?"
"I don't know." Toby answered, squeezing her hand. "There's a car waiting for us."
She nodded, went around her desk to get her jacket and phone. And then stopped. "Is he alive?" She whispered the words.
"At the moment, yes." He answered truthfully.
"Oh god." CJ turned to look at him, fighting against the tears that threatened to fall.
He walked to her, wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. She didn't cry, but she needed him to hold her. To assure that everything would be fine again.
He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, trying to find a comfort from her embrace. The horrible events of the night in a year before came flashing in his mind. The night that had taken Joshua Lyman into the hospital, fighting for his life. The night when he had been more afraid than ever in his life before, not because of his own life, but because of the life of his colleagues and friends. And now, once again, one of those people was on the edge again.
Josh stood by the window, staring out as the rain hit the ground and thunder roared above fiercely. His eyes were bright with unshed tears and the worried look in his face was reflected back from the glass.
She watched him from the door, her own tears had dried a long time ago. The deserted room was silent, dim light from the hallway created lonely shadows on the walls. She walked to him, and slipped her arms around him, leaning against his back, giving him the support he needed.
He turned around in her arms and wrapped his own arms around her, hugging her closer. She lifted her hand to smooth the back of his head, and he lowered his chin on her shoulder, closing his eyes he let the tears fall.
"He's like a brother to me." He whispered.
"I know." Her voice cracked as she cried with him. "But we can't give up now."
"Don't leave me." Josh asked quietly.
"I won't." She promised.
"I mean, don't ever leave me, Donna." His eyes opened and he tightened his hold onto her. "I... I... Don't leave me."
"Never, Josh." She said softly. "I will never leave you."
He pulled back a little and lifted his hands to cup her face. "I need you." He whispered hoarsely.
She met his frightened eyes. "I'm here."
The first kiss was sweet and soft, but he soon dared to deepen it. She sighed with pleasure as his hands ran up and down on her body, and slipped under her shirt, caressing the bare skin of her back. His lips brushed across her cheeks and jaw before he placed soft kisses on her throat.
"I need you, Donna." He whispered again, his hands caressing her more boldly.
She bent her head back, encouraging him to continue his explorer. He lowered them on the hard floor, the darkness protecting them from the curious eyes of the few passing people. Another lighting flashed and the crash of thunder almost hurt her ears. Her eyes snapped open and the reality hit her.
"Josh, no." She pushed him away.
The burning need in his eyes frightened her and she pulled her shirt down. Her fingers were shaking slightly with the passion she had felt only seconds before, and she held her eyes down.
"Donna." He stared the woman in front of him. "I'm sorry."
His whisper made her look up into his now sad eyes. "I'm so sorry." He closed his eyes and let his head fell forward.
Again tears started to fall on her cheeks and she reached for him to wrap her arms around him. First he just let her hold him, but soon his arms wrapped around her waist, and this time it was only for comfort.
"You're not leaving me for what I did?" He asked quietly.
She pulled back and touched his cheek with her fingertips. "No."
He pulled her back in his arms. "I love you. I need you in my life forever."
"I love you, Josh. And I am not going anywhere." She whispered softly.
From the doorway, Toby Ziegler watched the couple knelt on the floor in each other's arms. He had come to look for them, and accidentally heard their declarations. Backing away silently, he decided to leave them alone. Nothing new had happened and it would probably take a few more hours before they would hear anything from the OR. He returned back to the waiting room where the rest of his friends waited.
In the waiting room, Leo McGarry glanced worriedly at the clock on the wall.
"He's gonna be fine." Jed Bartlet said quietly.
"I know." Leo nodded. "I know."
"The boy's a fighter." The President stood up and walked to the window. "Hang in there, son." He whispered, looking up to the dark sky.
"Should I... Has anyone called to his family?" CJ asked, lifting her eyes to look up Leo.
"They should be here in an hour or so." Leo said and stood up. "Don't worry about it."
She leaned against her knees, covering her face with her hands. Toby sat next to her and wrapped his arm around her, pulling her close. Her head rested on his shoulder, and he rubbed her back comfortably. "He'll be fine." He whispered, trying to assure her, and him both.
"He has to." She answered, a few tears escaping from her eyes.
"He will." He placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
They sat in silence, listening the raindrops as they hit against the window. Leo walked to the President, and they shared a worried look. Too much time has passed.
"Mr President." Leo started.
"This might take time..."
"I'm not leaving. He's one of us."
"I know, sir. But Ron and the other agents-"
"No, Leo." He said firmly, giving his friend a determined look.
They fell in silence again, knowing that there was nothing they could do but wait and pray. The three men and a woman sat still, almost as afraid to speak, or even breathe. Afraid that any moment, they would hear the news they were not ready to hear. Afraid that a man they all loved, would be gone
They heard her voice from the hallway before she reached the door, her worried words asking if he was okay. The door flung open, one of the agents looking worriedly at them as she rushed in.
"Where is he?" She asked, looking the people in the room.
"Ainsley." Leo took a step closer, offering his hand.
"Where is he?" She repeated, ignoring him and turning her eyes to meet the President's.
"Ainsley." Leo reached for her, pulling her gently toward the couch.
"Is he okay?"
"He's in surgery." Jed said quietly.
"But he's going to be fine?"
The other four exchanged worried and almost desperate look. "We don't know that yet." Toby met her eyes.
She sunk on the couch, staring into the nothingness. Her long hair fell on her face. Sometime during the night she had changed her suit to jeans and a sweater, and let her hair free.
"I wasn't home." She whispered, lowering her head. "I wasn't home."
"It's okay." Leo looked helpless as he sat next to her, wrapping his arm around her.
She swayed back and forth. "I got the message only now. I wasn't home." Her head snapped up and she looked Leo. "I was... I wasn't home."
"Shh." He whispered, pulling her close.
"No, you don't understand!"
"Ainsley." Jed kneeled in front of her, and captured her hands with his own.
She turned her desperate and tearful eyes to him. "This is my fault."
"No, sweetheart." Jed glanced at Leo. "This is nobody's fault."
"But it is. I called him." She cried. "I wanted to meet him. I wanted to tell him..."
"Tell him what?"
It was then when she stopped swaying, her eyes reflected the pain she felt in her heart. "Tell him that he's going to be a father."
They all stared at her, taking in the news she had told. Jed lowered his head, he had no courage to meet her eyes. He had no words to say. He knew he should comfort her, say he would be fine, but he stayed quiet.
CJ was first one to react, and she left the safety of Toby's arms and moved to sit next to Ainsley and gathered her in her arms. And she let her cry against her shoulder, her own tears falling on her cheeks, her own pain mixing with hers. And the three men looked at them, swallowing their own tears.
It was two hours later when the doctor walked in the room. He looked exhausted, but smiled at them tiredly.
"He's in a recovery room."
The relief flushed on Josh's face, and he turned to look at Donna, reaching for her hand. "Thank god."
"Can we see him?" Jed asked, glancing at Ainsley who sat still next to CJ, squeezing her hand.
"Yes, sir." The doctor looked at the President. "But I allow only one in a time."
She stood up and glanced at Josh who gave her a nod. "Go, I'll come later."
The nurse led her in a dim lighted room. "He'll be fine." She smiled encouraging. "The tube helps him breathe. Go on, you can talk to him."
She waited until the door was closed after the nurse before she took a few hesitant steps toward the bed. He laid still, sheet covering his lower body, leaving his bandaged chest and ribcages bare. A monitor next to the bed beeped steadily, but otherwise the room was silent.
"Sam." She said quietly and reached to take his hand.
She sat on the chair next to bed. "Sam, I believe you can hear me." Her voice was soft, almost inaudible. "I want you to wake up now. I need you to wake up."
Her hand smoothed his forehead, following the line of his face. "Come on, Sam." She pleaded.
An hour later Josh walked quietly in the room. Ainsley had fallen asleep, her head resting against Sam's leg. Not wanting to wake her, he pulled a free chair to the other side of the bed and sat down.
He sat in silence, not knowing what to say. Many times he tried to start, but no words came out. Finally, he leaned forward against his knees.
"You gave us a real scare there buddy."
He glanced at Ainsley and then turned his head back to Sam. "She's a great woman, Sam. We've been taking care of her, all of us. CJ, Toby and Leo. The President's here. And Donna. Lots of people has come to stop by, but we have a country to run here, so we need you to get up."
The sun was rising slowly, making the room lighter. Ainsley's sleep was restless, and she moaned quietly in her sleep.
"Come on, Sam." Josh spoke, reaching for his right hand. "Now would be a good time to wake up."
The opening door made him look up to see Donna standing in a doorway.
"How is he?" She asked softly.
She walked to him and placed her hand on his shoulder. "Give him some time."
He relaxed under her touch. "I want him to be okay."
"He will be." She leaned down to him to wrap her arm around him. "You need some rest." She whispered.
"I know you are, but humour me."
He covered her hand with his own and leaned back against her. "I want to be here if..."
She pulled back and stepped in front of him. "Josh, look at yourself. You haven't slept for 24 hours."
"I'll sleep when he wakes up."
He looked up to her worried face and sighed. "Okay, but only for a little while. And only because you look tired yourself and I know you won't rest if I stay here."
She took his hand and pulled him up. "They will find us if something changes."
"What time is it?" A voice asked tiredly behind them.
"Sam?" Ainsley stirred from her sleep.
"Hey baby." He turned his head to look at her.
Tears fell on her cheeks as she leaned to him and kissed his face. "I was so worried."
"It's about time." Josh breathed out relived.
"Hey." Sam smiled weakly, licking his dry lips. "What happened?"
"You were in a car accident." Ainsley smoothed his face with her hand. "But you're going to be okay now."
Sam closed his eyes. "I was coming home to see you... you had something you wanted to tell me... and the car came from nowhere."
The door was pushed open and the doctor walked in smiling. "Good to see you awake, Mr Seaborn." He turned to look at Josh and Donna. "Sam needs to rest now, and so do you two."
"No buts, Mr Lyman." The doctor said gently but firmly.
Josh looked at Sam and gave him a small smile. "I guess I'm leaving then."
"I'll see you later." Sam replied.
Donna reached to give Sam a quick kiss. "Good to have you back." She whispered.
She stopped next to Josh and whispered softly. "Come on, Josh."
He moved closer to the bed and leaned down to Sam. "I'm glad you're okay." He said quietly and kissed him on the forehead. "I was starting get worried."
Sam took his hand and squeezed it tightly. "Thanks for taking care of her."
Josh nodded and pulled back. "We're going to tell the President and everybody else." He took Donna's hand and led her out of the door.
Ten minutes later the doctor had left and Ainsley sat on the edge of the bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Tired." Sam answered. "But I'd like you to stay."
"I'm not going anywhere." She promised.
They sat in silence for a few moments, her hand gently stroking his face and chest.
"What did you want to tell me?"
"When you called me last night. What did you want to tell me?" Sam captured her hand in his own.
She looked at him for a while before answering. "What do you think about babies?"
"Well, I don't know any." He shrugged his shoulders. "I mean, I want children, but why... Ainsley?"
She nodded her head smiling. "Five weeks."
"That I'm going to be..."
"Father." She finished for him. "We're going to have a baby."
He leaned up to hug her. "I love you." He whispered in her ear.
"And I love you." She laughed softly through her tears.
"A baby? Wow." He sunk back against the pillows. "We need to tell the President, and Josh, and..."
She placed her hand on his chest, right above his heart. "I love you, Sam. More than anything. And I was so afraid..."
"Shh." He covered her hand with his own. "It's okay now."
"I know." She smiled.
He moved aside to make her room next to him. "Come." He pulled her down. "In a few hours this room will be full of people, I just want to enjoy this moment to be with you alone. To hold you in my arms."
"They were all so scared." She whispered, listening his steady heartbeats. "We all were."
"I'm fine now, and in no time I'll be back at work to drive you all crazy."
"But I love to have you there."
"You just say that because of the muffins I bring you."
"Yeah, but the muffins are only an excuse to have you down in my office."
"They better be." He laughed.
"You should rest a little."
"And so should you."
"I will." She promised. "Now when I know you're okay."
He placed a soft kiss on her forehead, and his hand run down on her still flat belly. "That's our son or daughter. Our bambino."
"Yes, it is." She placed her hand on his. "We made a baby, Sam. A little baby was created by our love. That's a miracle."
"Our miracle." He closed his eyes, knowing that when he would wake up, the woman he loved more than anything in the world would be there next to him, and all his friends, people he think as a family were going to be there. He fell in a peaceful sleep.