Title: Big Noises Author:
Perpetual Motion
Webpage: www.geocities.com/iwannabedonna
Category: Slash, Drama
Rating: PG
Pairing: Josh/Toby
Spoilers: WKODHIB
Series: No.
Summary: Big noises a second time are just as bad as the first.
Archive Instructions: Go for it.
Disclaimer: They're not mine. Aaron Sorkin owns them, and he wouldn't do this kind of shit to his characters. That's why there's fan fic writers.
Author's Notes: Wow, was I in a morbid mood.

Big Noises by Perpetual Motion

It had been five years. Three years longer than alcoholics and addicts used to see if they were, perhaps, really into recovery. Exactly the same amount of time cancer patients used to see if they really *were* beating the thing doing its damnedest to kill them.

Five years to the day of the first shooting. Of the first time any of them had witnessed horror like that first hand. Five years and the cancer that was brainwashed psychos with semi-automatics filed down to automatics hit again. This time the cancer struck at graduation. Charlie's graduation. The one had had worked so hard to get to, attending classes and serving his country. He worked so hard, and now his day of accomplishment was marred forever.

They all sat at the hospital, cramped in a private waiting room with agents at the doors. Donna was passing coffee. CJ was trying to calm the media frenzy. Charlie was sitting with Zoey, convincing her he was okay, and she was okay and that the baby was fine with her parents to across the room. Sam was typing frantically, trying to find a phrase better than 'the raving psychopaths will be mowed down and castrated' when describing how the Secret Service would react. Josh just sat, scared, trapped in flashbacks of when Toby had found him five years ago, blood leaking from his chest. The sirens had brought back his Post Traumatic Stress, and the Secret Service had ordered the hospital's front desk to shut off the music played over the speakers so that Josh could stay. Leo sat across from Josh with a four-year-old on his lap.

The four-year-old looked up at Leo. "Grandpa Leo?"

"Yeah, Joanie?" Leo looked down at her.

"Is Daddy okay?"

"He's scared."

"Cause of the big noises?"

Leo nodded. "That's right, because of the big noises at Uncle Charlie's graduation."

"They hurt my ears."

"Mine, too."

"I wasn't scared."

"You weren't?"

"Nope." Joanie shook her head. "Daddy and Pop were with me, and they were real calm-really calm." Joanie looked away from Leo. "Uncle Sam!"

Sam's head shot up as he zeroed in on the voice. "Yeah, Joanie?"

"Really calm. I said really calm."

Sam smiled, a minor fraction compared to his usual teeth-baring grin. "Good girl, Joanie."

She beamed and looked back up at Leo. "Daddy and Pop were really calm. The big noises didn't scare them at all."

Leo felt momentarily amazed at the trust of a four-year-old. "The noises didn't scare them?"

"I don't *think* they did., but when Daddy and Pop were lying on the ground with me Pop kept telling Daddy it wasn't happening again." Joanie cocked her head in thought "Have Daddy and Pop heard the big noises before, Grandpa Leo?"

~Damn, she's quick. Of course, she's Josh and Toby's kid, she'd have to be quick.~ "Yes, they have."

"When?"

"Back before you were born."

"Way back before?"

"Only about a year."

"A year is twelve months."

"Yes, it is." Leo smiled a little.

"What happened the last time they heard the big noises?"

~God, kid, don't make me tell you.~ "Did you ever see the scar on Daddy's chest?"

"Yup. He said it was from something bad."

"It was. Your daddy got that scar the last time he heard the big noises."

"The big noises were bad?"

"Yes."

"Are all big noises bad?"

"No, but the one's that hurt your daddy and the ones you heard today were."

"Somebody should spank the big noises."

~Somebody should ritualistically kill the twisted fucks who did this.~ "Yeah, somebody should spank them."

The door to the waiting room opened and a doctor in operating scrubs walked in followed by two Secret Service agents. "Mr. Ziegler is fine, folks. The bullet broke two of his ribs and lodged in some soft tissue, but all of his major organs are fine. He should recover with no problems, but we're going to keep him for a few days to be sure. Mr. Lyman, you can see him now."

At those words, Josh sank to the floor and kneeled there for one frozen moment. "Thank you. Joanie, come here."

Joanie slid off Leo's lap and walked to her dad. "Are you okay, Daddy?"

"I'm fine, sweetie. Let's go cheer up Pop now, okay?"

"Okay."

Josh picked up his daughter and left the room. Leo sighed in relief. Charlie and Zoey shared hugs with the President and Abby and held their baby close. CJ hung up her cell phone and turned to Sam to help him fit it in the brief he was working on. Donna left to go to Josh and Toby's to get clothes and files and toys. Josh wouldn't leave until Toby did.

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