Title: Tracks Of My Tears
Author: Suzette
Rating: PGish
Spoilers: Noel
Disclaimer: I own nothing, I am poor, please don't get upset.
Note: This is Toby and Josh, so if that upsets you, don't read it.

Tracks Of My Tears by Suzette

It was after midnight when Josh let himself into his
apartment. He was tired, emotionally as well as physically. Still,
underneath his exhaustion was the feeling that maybe, just maybe he
was really going to survive the shooting that had almost taken his
life. He had been healed physically for awhile, but emotionally he
finally admitted to himself, he had been walking a tight rope without
a net.

The meeting with Stanley today had proven just how on edge
that he had been. It also proved how much he had been lying to
everyone about his being okay. Hell, he had even lied to himself!
The whole time he had been telling Stanley that he had cut his hand
putting down a glass he had almost convinced himself.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, huh? He had always assumed
that you had to have went through a war to have PTSD. Then again,
isn't that pretty much what he had gone through? All he had to
do was close his eyes and he could replay the entire scene again . . .
and again and again. Isn't that what Stanley had been talking
about? He needed to reach the point where he could think about the
shooting without reliving all the feelings. He could really do
without remembering the feel of the bullet entering his chest . . .
the feeling of drawing in a breath and still feeling like he was
suffocating. God, who was playing music at this time of night?
Didn't they know . . . no of course they didn't know. No one
heard the sirens; no one else tasted the adrenaline, no one else . . .
Josh wasn't sure if he was happy that his memories were being
interrupted by the knock on the door. Oh, he was happy to escape
from the memories, but if that was Donna coming back to give him
another round of rules about how to handle the cut on his hand, he
wasn't sure if he could avoid strangling her! He really
all that she had done, but this was getting ridiculous!
"Toby?" Josh asked confused as he opened the door for the
White House's Communications Director. "What are you doing
Did something happen?"
"Well," Toby said shuffling the feet he was staring intently
at before he looked back up at Josh. "I was thinking that maybe
uhhh . . ."
"Toby?" Josh asked with a slight smile. "Are you
up on me?"
"So what if I am? You are the Deputy Chief of Staff and
therefore it is important that you be healthy emotionally as well
as . . ."
"Toby, would you like to come in?" Josh interrupted with a
wry grin. "I was about to pour myself a drink."
"A drink would be good." Toby said as he walked into the
"So," Josh asked as he handed Toby bourbon on the rocks,
was your day?" Josh motioned Toby to sit down and make himself
"It was a day." Toby answered. "How was yours?"
Looking up
to see if Josh would really answer the question.
"Well, I found out that I was crazy . . ."
"That's just because you're slow, we've all known
that for a
long time." Toby answered with his usual sarcasm.
"It must be catching then, cause I'm not real sure about any
of the senior staff's mental health . . ." Josh said trying
continue the vein of humor, but Toby was having none of that.
"Maybe that's because we were all shot at like targets in a
shooting gallery." Toby exploded and then looked repentant
that he had come to offer Josh support and not to make matters worse
with his frustration.
"Toby . . ."
"No Josh. We have all been stepping around the issue that
some men took loaded rifles and fired at all of us because Charlie
had the audacity to date the President's daughter who is white.
President was shot; you were shot because of their intolerance. I
cannot just ignore it any longer! You almost died Josh. You almost
died sitting there leaning against the cement; you almost died in my
arms . . ."
"Toby . . ." Josh didn't know what to say. He could
hear the
anguish in the other man's voice and he was at a loss as to what
do. He knew that he had been in pain since the shooting, but he
really didn't think that anything phased Toby. Yeah, he had
about Toby's ranting about the second amendment, but he
realize that it went this deep.
"No Josh. I need to say this. You can throw me out if you
want, but I need to say this." Toby said, his eyes examining his
drink like he had never seen anything like it before. "It was
the shooting happened in slow motion. I knew that they had gotten
the President away and I saw Leo get into a car. I checked on CJ and
Sam, but I didn't see you. I asked Charlie if he had seen you
and he
told me that you had gotten into the car with Leo, but I knew that
wasn't right. I called your name and then I saw you leaning
the cement. I thought that you were just being, I don't know
what I
was thinking, but it never occurred to me that you had been shot.
Then I stood in front of you and I said something about calling you
and then I saw you holding your chest. I remember calling for help
and you falling into my arms and I remember thinking that you could
die and I would never have told you . . ." Toby trailed off, lost
the memories of that horrible night.
"Never told me what Toby?" Josh asked amazed suddenly at
much Toby's answer meant to him. Josh had always thought that
other man was annoyed by him or at least that Toby didn't approve
the way that Josh had conducted his life and work. Suddenly Josh was
seeing that Toby did care about him.
"Never told you how much I care about you." Toby said still
talking into his drink. "Never told you that . . . that . . . I
Josh was dumbfounded. Yeah, he knew that Toby was bi-
sexual. It had never really been a secret during the election or
afterwards, but he never realized that Toby thought of him that way.
Josh had never allowed himself to think of Toby in that way. Okay,
that was sort of not the truth. When he had first joined the
campaign in New Hampshire he had looked and had a couple of
fantasies, but after getting to know Toby he didn't think he had
shot and had pushed the thoughts aside. Now Toby was here telling
him that not only did he have a shot, but that Toby was in love with
"Josh? Josh?" Toby asked worriedly. "Are you okay?
Do you
want me to leave? I realize that you have probably never thought of
me that way, but . . ." Anything else Toby had to say was stopped
Josh's fingers on his lips.
"Toby, I don't want you to leave. I am just a little blown-
away by this. I just never realized that you felt this way. Just
give me a minute to wrap my brain around the whole situation."
"Josh, it's okay if you don't feel the same way. I just
needed to tell you how I feel. I've been fighting with myself
the shooting and the past couple of weeks I've been worried about
and here I am, going on and on in your living room in the middle of
the night. Maybe you were right about the senior staff's mental
health." Toby finished very quietly, which Josh knew meant that
was a little embarrassed about what he had said.
"Toby, I haven't allowed myself to feel that way. I have
pushed aside any feelings that I might feel for you because I thought
that they had no chance. To hear that you love me, well that makes
me pretty happy. As for the last couple of weeks, well I guess you
could say that I am not dealing so well with everything that has been
happening to me lately. I started flashing back to the
shooting . . . remembering getting shot again."
"It happened at the concert didn't it?" Toby asked
"Yeah. According to Stanley, that's the shrink that Leo
brought in, when I hear music it is like sirens to me and I flash
back to that night."
"So," Toby says sarcastically, "of course I bring in
musicians to play everyday in the White House."
"Toby, you had no way of knowing what was going on."
"Well, I should have. I should have seen what was going on,
I should have known somehow."
"Toby. There is nothing that you could have done. This is
something that I have to work out for myself. Okay, there will be
psychiatrists involved as well, but that's beside the point."
says trying to get a small smile out of Toby.
"Josh; tell me what I can do. I need to do something to help
you . . ."

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