Title: Comfort and Confidences
Author: Kerguelen
Email: ker@medrick.org

Archive: Yes to list archive
Code: L/H, S/T
Rating: CHILD
Disclaimer: I wish I owned them, but I don't. I just borrow them.
Summary: This is my version of who was shot and what happened at the hospital.

Comfort and Confidences by Kerguelen

Sam ignored the nurse patching up the scratches on his hand, impatient to get loose and find out what was going on with Toby. Since Sam had been at the hospital he'd seen everybody, but Toby and President Bartlett. When he asked anyone all they'd say was that the president was fine, but busy and absolutely nothing about Toby. Leo had originally been in the next bed while they set his broken wrist. C.J. had come in and thanked him for getting her down. After she'd gone, Charley and Zoey had come by just to make sure he was okay and Josh kept buzzing in and out. Evidently, he'd been far enough back that he hadn't been caught in the brunt of it and he was busy freaking out on them.

Caught up in his own thoughts, it took Sam a minute to realize that the nurse had finished and was leaving as President Bartlett came into the room. The president looked grim as he came over and stood directly in front of him. Sam swallowed hard when the president laid a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Sir?"

"Sam."

"Nobody's said anything. Is Toby--"

"He's in surgery, son."

"How bad is it?"

"We won't know anything for sure until they're done."

"Ah...," Sam said with a nod. "His brother --"

"I've already called and made arrangements for him to be flown out here. They're debriefing him on his flight out."

"Someone should call Andy. I --"

"Already taken care of. She's on her way."

"Thank you, sir."

"Are you going to be all right?"

"I -- yes, sir. I --," Sam stammered, unable to look the president in the face as he said it.

"I know about you and Toby, Sam," Bartlett said, causing Sam's head to jerk up to look at him.

"I --"

"I already knew about Toby. He admitted he was gay when he was getting his security clearance. Told them that it was none of their damn business who he wanted to sleep with, but if they were going to pry into every last detail of his life they might as well get it right," Bartlett told Sam in a fair approximation of Toby's strident tones and earning a small smile for his efforts. "As for the two of you being ... together, Abby is a very smart woman and very good at noticing things that might slip by me. Now you two have made a fool out of me with her because I was absolutely certain she was wrong. I told her she was seeing things. Do you have any idea what I'm going to have to face when she finds out she was right?"

"A little punishment?" Sam said with a chuckle.

"Oh no. For something like this it's gonna be a whole lot of punishment. I dared to doubt her," Bartlett said with a smile.

"How did you --"

"I have eyes and ears everywhere."

"Sir?"

"Leo told me."

"Leo?"

"He and Toby had a little chat the morning the news broke about your friend Laurie."

"What?!"

"Leo went in to get his take on the situation. According to Leo, Toby was ready to spit bullets."

"I'd told him I wouldn't see her."

"You were lucky that Toby was willing to stand up for you. After talking to Leo, I was ready to toss you out on your ear."

"I had my resignation all ready for you. Toby wouldn't let me turn it in."

"I'm not surprised. He cares a great deal for you, young man."

"Yes, sir."

"I just wanted to make sure you knew that. Now then, I have to get back to the White House, but Leo's going to be staying. The doctors have orders to keep him updated on Toby's condition so you won't have to worry about them not telling you anything, okay?" Bartlett said, waiting for Sam's answering nod. "All right then. I'll be going then. If you need anything, you just let someone know."

"Yes, sir."

With a quick nod, President Bartlett headed out of the room and told Leo he could go on in. Sam just sat there looking at him. Everything that had happened and everything that had been said that night had left him too stunned to say anything.

"How you doing?"

"I'm not sure."

"Well, don't worry. Toby's too stubborn for this to keep him down. He's a fighter."

"I didn't know you knew, about him and me I mean."

"He didn't want me to tell you. Said he didn't want to make you feel any worse than you already did."

"At the time I'd've said it wasn't possible."

"And now?"

"This is worse. Far worse. Leo? What if he doesn't make it?"

"He's gonna make it."

"But what if he doesn't?"

"He will. Look, Toby's in there doing his damndest to make it back to you, you gotta think positive."

"Right. -- Is Andy here yet?"

"Not yet. Does she know about --:"

"She knows there's somebody, she doesn't know it's me."

"Okay then."

"Leo?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you find this at all ... strange?"

"What? Being shot at?"

"No, well that too --"

"You and Toby? Nah. Mind you, it made me rest a lot easier about you seeing my daughter," Leo said with a smile even as Sam blushed.

"I like Mallory, I really do."

"But she's not Toby."

"No, she's not."

"That's okay. You might want to make sure she knows that though."

"I -- okay."

"Okay. You ready to move out to the waiting area? We can wait in here for a while yet if you aren't ready for being around people yet."

"I don't know."

"That's pretty understandable under the circumstances. You've had quite a night. You've got a lot to think about and, to be honest, it's a madhouse out there."

"Reporters?"

"Oh yeah."

"I-- I should be working. The president is going to need --"

"The president knows what's going on and doesn't expect a damn thing out of you. If you want your laptop later, fine, I'll have somebody bring it down, but for right now, you just worry about you and Toby. Okay?"

"Thanks, Leo."

"Your welcome. Look, Sam, I've got some idea what you're going through. Hell, John was shook up and I wasn't even shot," Leo said with a twinkle in his eye, waiting for Sam to pick up on what he said.

"John --?"

"Hoynes."

"So ... you and he are --"

"Have been for quite a while."

"Wow."

"Yeah. Sam, he wanted me to tell you that you could get in touch with him if you wanted, you know, someone to talk to about all this."

"I -- yeah, okay. Wow. Really?"

"Yeah, really," Leo said with a small laugh. "Does the president know?"

"He knows me well enough to know there's someone, he just doesn't know who. It's driving him crazy, but he knows I'm not telling him for his own good."

"Plausible deniability."

"Exactly. He's not happy about it, but he knows better than to push."

"You and the vice president?"

"Yes," Leo said, honest to god chuckling for the first time that night. "What you don't think I could get someone who looks like him?"

"No! Of course you -- I mean I just --"

"Relax. I don't get it myself, Sam, but then I don't get you and Toby either."

"We are kind of an odd couple, aren't we?"

"How'd you two end up together anyway?"

"One too many late night speech writing sessions in a row or just the right number depending on how you see it. One minute we were arguing about whether or not I could use the phrase `substantive seismic situation' without it sounding like we weren't being serious enough and the next minute ... well, I'm never going to see my desk quite the same way again."

"In the office?!"

"Right there."

"You could have been caught."

"The weird thing is I didn't think about that until afterwards. I think Toby was thinking about it the whole time though..." Sam said, trailing off with a smile. "Leo?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm scared."

"I know, kid, I know. Come on. Let's go see if there's any news," Leo murmured, wrapping an arm around Sam's shoulders.

"Okay," Sam said as he forced himself to stand up and head to the door.

Nothing was said as they made their way to the waiting area by the ICU. The night nurse shook her head at Leo as soon as she saw him. Evidently, he'd already made himself quite well known over here. Sam sighed and sat down on one of the couches. It was going to be a long night, but at least he knew he wasn't completely alone. He'd been sure that he'd be faced with dealing with his fears for Toby on his own. Somehow knowing that the president and Leo both knew and supported him was a big help. As for the vice-president knowing, that was just strange.

The End?