Title: Picking Up The Pieces
Author: Nomi
Archive: wherever, just let me know.
Codes: S/J
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Spoilers for "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" and "What Kind of Day Has it Been?

Picking Up the Pieces by Nomi

<Beep>

"Uh...Hi, it's me. Pick up if you're there....Well, I guess you're not. Um...if you get this message before tomorrow morning, please call me. No matter what time it is. I really want to talk to you. I'm afraid all Hell is about to break loose, and I'm about to call Leo and CJ, but I wanted to talk to you first. I guess you're not there. Please remember, no matter what you hear, that I love you. Call me if you get this, OK? Bye."

***

"You bastard! I thought you said you weren't going to see her again!"

Josh stormed into my office and slammed the door.

I'd never seen him this angry. Not even after his break-up with Mandy, which was pretty bad. He can get really passionate, which I usually like, but this time he was passionately mad, and I was the target. I knew what the cause was, and I had anticipated us hitting a rough patch over this, but I didn't anticipate _this_.

"Josh, calm down. It was much more innocent than the photographs make it look." I wanted to get him to see the truth, and not just what he was seeing through his haze of betrayal. After all, we've been together for a few months, and he knows how I feel about him, at least when he's thinking clearly. But, clearly, I had overstepped the line. I knew it. Leo and CJ were bending over backwards for me to clear this all up in the press and with the public. But there was no one other than me to go to bat with Josh.

I tried playing innocent, as much as I could. "Didn't you get my phone message last night? You never called."

"I never actually made it home last night. I was here. I didn't get your message until first thing this morning, when I called in to pick up my messages. And you think that calling ahead of the wave will make me feel better? Can you understand that people around this office are talking about us? They're saying that you left me for her, for a call girl, because I can't sastify you. They're saying that I must have seduced you and forced you to sleep with me, because at the first opportunity, you went back to _her_. They're saying..." He stopped, mostly because he was turning red from not breathing.

I didn't say anything for a minute. He was right - to some, it would look like I'd left him for Laurie, and there wasn't much we could do about that. Those pictures would be around for a while, and we'd been rather discreet about our relationship, but the staffers all knew about us. To the American people, I was just caught with a prostitute, but to my co-workers, I would be scum of the earth. But they weren't the ones who mattered - Josh was.

"I don't know how to convince you that it was all very innocent. I was just congratulating her on graduating law school. I got her a briefcase. The hug was innocent. It was her so-called friend who set us up by calling the press." Then I had an idea. It wasn't necessarily a _good_ idea, but it might help me both in the eyes of America and in the eyes of our co-workers. And it would show Josh just how serious I was about this relationship. "What if we do an interview with Danny Concannon?" I was grasping at straws, but if he and Danny went for it, maybe we could fix this whole mess.

"Danny? What the Hell are you talking about?"

Josh looked flummoxed. I could understand that - I had just come up with this harebrained scheme, and I'd probably need CJ's cooperation to get Danny to go along with it, but I was working it out in my mind as I explained to to Josh.

"Here's my idea," I said. "Why don't we do a story with Danny about the gay rights legislation that we're working on for next session, and let it slip in that interview that you and I are involved? Danny'll go for it - it's a great scoop on future legislation, and it's a great human interest story." I'm the wordsmith; I should be able to convince him that I had a good idea, but it was still touch-and-go.

"Please, Josh. Don't give up on us. Let's do this and get it all out in the open. Then, we can go together to events, we'll no longer need to bring other dates - and I'll tell you, Mal's getting a little tired of going out with me just for the sake of the press. We're friends and all, but she says I'm interfering in _her_ love life (as if Leo will let her have one)."

Finally he grudgingly agreed. We scheduled the meeting with Danny, with CJ's blessing, and came out to the American people. That was 3 weeks ago.

Now I sit here, waiting for any news. I don't know how anyone is. I am fine, just a little scratched from being knocked down, but no one is telling me anything. I don't know what I'll do if I lose him. I don't think I even realized how much of me is tied up in him until we got here - in separate ambulances. No one can tell me if he was even hit.

*Please, if there's any justice in the universe, let him be OK. I'll do anything!*

I hear a voice. "Mr. Seaborn? Mr. Lyman is asking for you."

END

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