Jed and Abby stepped into Caitlin's room then and Josh instantly turned a pleading look toward them.
"Nothing yet, Josh." Bartlet replied grimly as he placed a reassuring hand on Lyman's shoulder. "Why don't you and Sam go down stairs? I think my daughter needs rest more than anything right now."
Caitlin stepped away from Sam as she shook her head firmly. "The last thing I need to do is rest, Dad. I'm the only one who saw anything."
Jed for the first time got a good look at his daughter. She was pale, shaky and had several bruises on her arms. The only thing on his mind right now outside of Donna's safety was protecting his daughter. Not only from the men
who had attacked her but from dealing with the horrible experience herself.
But Jed realized sadly that he had already failed on both counts. But he'd do what he could from now on to keep her safe.
"Caitlin.... your dispatch saw the caters too." Bartlet pointed out as he stepped toward her.
Caitlin reached over and drew her father into a hug. "I love you for trying to protect me. But Donna's my friend.....I need to do whatever I can to help her. Concussion or no concussion."
"It'd be better for a concussion for Caitlin to stay awake." Abby interjected softly as she met her husband's gaze. "Otherwise we'd have to wake her every hour."
"Alright." Jed relented as he glanced over at Sam. "I'm holding you responsible for looking out for my daughter. If you even see her blink sleepily I want you to tie her to a chair, understood?"
"Yes, Sir." Sam replied with a weak smile as he placed an arm around Caitlin's waist and walked her out of the room.
"You don't think Donna was the target do you?" Abby asked quietly after Josh had left the Residence.
Jed shook his head sadly. "No, and I don't want to think of what will happen when the kidnappers realize that they don't have who they thought they had."
By the time Josh reentered the Oval Office Caitlin had finished telling Leo and the directors of the CIA and FBI what had happened.
"We're going to get you with a sketch artist." Dan Nagy of the FBI replied grimly. "The sooner we can run a composite through the computer network the sooner we'll have some sort of idea who we're dealing with."
"You couldn't have done this earlier through fingerprints?" Josh snapped angrily as he began to pace.
"We're still sifting through those now, Mr. Lyman." CIA director Henry Watson replied as he stepped away from the desk. "There were literally hundreds of fingerprints lifted from the room used by Ms. Bartlet and Ms. Moss. It'll
take us awhile to dispose of those that are old."
"Rise and shine Miss Bartlet!" The woman's voice called out to Donna.
Donna had been fully awake for some time but she kept her eyes closed,trying desperately to evaluate her situation and not to panic beyond reason.
With the forcefulness of the woman's voice, Donna slowly opened her eyes and looked around the room for the first time. It was a small bedroom with about three windows and despite the situation, nice furniture. Looking out
the windows Donna saw nothing but grass and trees and a few scattered houses,a suburban area somewhere. She knew that she was no longer in DC, she just had to figure out where she was.
Donna slowly sat up and looked at the woman and the two men behind her.
They weren't armed and truthfully didn't look that dangerous, but her instinct told her better. "Who are you?" she asked.
"That's not important right now." The woman said, "what's important is that you realize the need to cooperate with us while you're our guest. We don't want to hurt you but we need your help."
"There were much better ways to ask for my help. Please would've done nicely Much better than stealing me away from my..." Donna stopped as she realized she had been about to say my wedding. 'I am Caitlin' she recited to herself. "from my best friend's wedding." She finished.
"A smart mouth. Figures knowing who your father is." One of the men said.
'Obviously not a fan of President Bartlet's' Donna thought. 'My father,well there's a switch.'
"Quiet Jake." The woman said. "Now listen Miss Bartlet, we need to take your picture so that your father knows we are serious and then you are going to give us his direct number so we can call him after he receives the picture. OK?"
"He's unlisted." Donna said trying to stall for time. 'For what?' she ridiculed herself. 'No one knows where you are. Not even Josh...Josh' tears threatened to spill from Donna's eyes as she thought of Josh.
"Watch it lady, Alice here may be in a benevolent mood but I definitely am not. Now hold this newspaper and smile." Jake said as he threw the newspaper at her and snapped the Polaroid.
"Now take this along with the note and throw it over the White House gates. Then about an hour after that we'll call and get the ball rolling." Alice said walking out of the room with the men.
After they had left Donna allowed her tears to fall. 'This can't be happening.' She thought. Donna quickly got up and looked around the room for any means of escape. 'I've waited too damn long to become Mrs. Joshua Lyman to let these...these inhospitable people ruin it!'
The scene in the Oval Office was somber as everyone sat waiting. The FBI was still trying to find a match from the composite that Caitlin helped create and as of yet they hadn't heard any word from the kidnappers.
Josh felt his insides trembling with each minute that Donna wasn't with him. He looked down at his watch: 3:15pm. They should be in their reception right now listening to Sam's best man speech. Which knowing Sam would probably have lots of big words that only half the guests would understand,
but the sentiment would be there.
"You realize Sam will probably take about 15 minutes to give his speech don't you?" Donna had said to him when Josh told her his choice.
"True, but it'll be fifteen minutes about us so I can live with it."Josh said pulling Donna into his arms. "Are you sure you want to marry me?"
Josh asked her seriously. He still couldn't believe it.
"If you keep asking me that, I'm going to think you are having second thoughts." Donna said smiling at him.
Josh looked at her smiling face and felt his heart nearly explode with all the love he felt. "Never" he whispered.
"Good because you are stuck with me, forever and ever." Donna had said.
Now Josh sat on the couch in the Oval Office without Donna. 'Remember your promise Donnatella, forever and ever.' He thought.
At that moment a secret service agent burst into the office. "Sir!" he called "This was just thrown over the gates. I think it is from the kidnappers."
With that he spilled the contents onto the table that had been set up.
Out fell the Polaroid picture of Donna and a letter.
Toby looked down at the picture then back at the Agent. "Whatever gave you that idea." He said.
Josh quickly snatched up the picture and looked at Donna's image. She looked unhurt, and from what he could see of where they were holding her, it seemed decent enough.
Leo picked up the letter and began reading it. "Oh no" he said.
"What?" Josh demanded.
Leo handed the letter to the President, who quickly read it. Then he grasped it tightly in his hand and bowed his head. "I knew it" he whispered.
"What!" Josh demanded for the second time.
The President looked at him and then began reading the letter:
"President Bartlet- we have your daughter. We do not wish to harm her,only make a trade. We will be in contact in one hour to discuss our terms."
"Daughter?" Josh said "What are they talking about?"
Caitlin gasped slightly and he turned to her. "They think she's you."He said. "How?" he asked harshly. "Our wedding has been highly publicized,they would've known that Donna was the bride not you."
Caitlin stared at him and everyone else for a few minutes, then looked at the picture again. "She wasn't wearing her dress." She said quietly. "She took it off so she could sneak out and see you. But I wouldn't let her. I threatened to put on her dress if she didn't. When she hesitated I took off my Maid of Honor dress and held hers up to me. When they came in the room,they...they must have gotten us confused." Caitlin finished looking at the picture again. 'I'm so sorry Donna.' Caitlin thought.
She looked up and found Josh glaring at her. "They were after you." He said oddly quiet. "But instead they took my Donna!" he shouted. "We are supposed to be married right now, but we're not because of some bungling idiot who...who..."
"Grabbed the wrong girl." Caitlin quietly finished for him.
The room fell silent, as everyone watched Josh and Caitlin. Sam placed his arm around Caitlin, knowing what she was feeling at this moment.
Caitlin squeezed his hand and looked up at Josh, "I can't take her place, but I can do my best to find who has her. I'm going to go check in with the FBI."She said then quickly left the room.
Sam followed her out, not wanting her to be alone. When he finally caught up with her he saw the tears rolling down her cheeks. "He didn't mean it." Sam said.
Caitlin turned and looked at him. "Yes he did and he's right."
"Caitlin..." Sam began.
"I'm not mad at him Sam, I'm not hurt, I'm..." she paused. "Once again an innocent person is being hurt because of me." She finished looking up at him.
Sam tried to think of something to say but he knew that nothing he could say right now would make her feel differently so he just held her in his arms.
Inside the Oval Office, Josh sat back down on the couch and held the picture in his hands, staring at Donna, trying to reach her somehow and send all his love to her.
"You don't look a thing like Bartlet." Jake commented as he leaned against the opposite wall his arms folded across his chest. "Or his wife."
Donna glared at the red haired young man. The others had left to check on the progress of the delivery of the ransom note. "I'm surprised you even know what state you're in let alone who the President of the United States is."
Jake moved away from the wall and approached her.
Donna kicked herself mentally. 'Oh good, Donna. Antagonize the one kidnapper who's shown he has a temper.'
Jake knelt down next to her and reached out and grasped a few strands of hair. "Such pretty blonde hair. I don't recall the First Lady having blonde hair."
Donna fought to control her fear but it was a losing battle. "Genetics can skip a generation. I'm told I look like my Grandmother."
Leo knelt next to Josh and gently touched the picture in Lyman's hands."Josh, we need to analyze the photo."
Josh stared at the older man blankly. Analyze? Why would they need to analyze the picture unless they thought it was tampered with. Cold fear swept over Josh as he snapped his gaze back to the picture......what if they had already
kill....hurt Donna and they had used some sort of fancy computer program to make the photo look the way they want?
"Josh?" McGarry prompted quietly not liking the fearful expression on the younger man's face. "It's just routine.....they need to make sure that picture is what it appears to be. If we can enlarge the background image we
might be able to get Donna back here that much faster."
Emma Lyman came and sat down next to her son, wrapping her arm around his shoulders. "Josh, it's OK." She said softly.
Lyman swallowed hard in a futile effort to get his emotions back under control. He nodded weakly and handed the picture over to Leo.
"It's time." Alice said coming into the room where Donna was being kept.
At Alice's entrance Jake backed away from Donna and she could finally breathe again. "Let's get started then." Jake said. He turned to Donna. "Give us the number."
Donna stared at both of them for a moment. Could she really give the Private number to the White House? What if they tried to use it at some later date? What if....what if she didn't give it to them? They might seriously hurt her, or kill her. She hesitated one more moment, then self preservation kicked in and Donna recited the number to them. 'The White House can always change it later.' She thought.
"It's been almost an hour" Ed Moss said from his position next to his wife on the couch across from Josh.
Josh looked at Donna's parents and was overcome with grief again. He missed her like crazy,but he never stopped to think what they were going through. Their only daughter was being held captive because of a case of mistaken identity.
'Mistaken identity' Josh thought. 'Where's Caitlin? She never came back from checking in with the FBI. Well after what I said to her I can't blame her.' Fresh tears came to Josh's eyes. 'My fiance has been kidnapped, her parents are in agony, and I've managed to alienate a woman I love as a sister. You're on a roll today Lyman.'
The ringing of the phone interrupted Josh's thoughts.
The FBI was ready and had tracing devices, voice recognition machines, and about ten other instruments hooked up to the phone. President Bartlet stared at the phone for a minute, having a horrible flashback to when Caitlin was held hostage. 'But that time Caitlin was returned unharmed and so will Donna.' He thought. At the encouragement of the FBI operative working the phone system, Bartlet hit the speaker button. "This is President Bartlet."
"I will keep this short, Mr. President." A woman's voice came over the line. "We have your daughter and we do not wish to harm her. We only want a trade. Her for Harry Boxton."
The President looked at Leo with a questioning eye. 'Harry Boxton?' he mouthed.
Leo shook his head, the name wasn't familiar to him either and he went off to try and find out who this man is.
"Once the release of Harry is secure," the woman continued "then we will release your daughter.It will all work out as long as you cooperate with us, Mr. President."
"How do I know that Do...my daughter is still alive?" the President asked, mentally reminding himself that these people thought they had Caitlin and they had to continue to think that. He only hoped Donna realized that too.
There was silence on the line and then..."Um, Dad." Donna's voice came through.
Josh slumped in his seat and squeezed his mother's hand, relief washing over him. He looked across from him and saw Mr. and Mrs. Moss holding hands, tears in their eyes. Donna's brother,Thomas stood staring harshly towards the door at...Caitlin. She stood there, leaning against
the doorframe, eyes closed, tears running down her cheeks, face even paler then before.
"Are you OK, sweetheart?" the President asked Donna.
"Yes, I'm fine." Donna began but was cut off.
"That's all for now, Mr. President. We'll call back in an hour to get an update." With that the connection was cut.
The President looked towards the FBI Agent. "Well?" he asked.
"I'm sorry sir, we didn't have enough time to get a trace."
Sam stood in the back of the room, watching the scene in the Oval Office almost as if he wasn't there. He turned and saw Caitlin standing in the doorway talking to two of the FBI Agents. Then he saw Josh, sitting on the couch, not moving, breathing rapidly. Suddenly it all became too much
for Sam as he was overwhelmed with memories. He discreetly made his way outside onto the patio area.
He stood out there, trying to catch his breath, trying not to remember,trying not to feel so...
"Sam?" Toby's voice came from behind him.
Sam turned slightly, not wanting to face anyone right now.
"Are you..." Toby continued softly, stumbling a little, "are you OK?"
Sam just nodded, still facing the lawns, too ashamed to look at Toby.
"It's OK, what you are feeling Sam."
Sam turned to look at Toby, disbelieving that he could have any idea what Sam was feeling right now.
Toby looked at the younger man for a moment, then said softly, "They were after Caitlin."
Hearing the words said out loud, Sam felt the pain in his heart return and he closed his eyes and nodded. "I am so sorry that Donna is going through this, that Josh is going through this." Sam said. "But I...I'm..."
"Relieved that it's NOT Caitlin who was kidnapped." Toby finished for him.
Sam just stared at him for a minute, finding it somewhat hard to believe that this compassion and understanding was coming from Toby.
"What kind of friend am I?" Sam asked.
"A friend, who happens to be madly in love with a woman who is constantly the target of such danger."
Sam felt tears spring to his eyes, remembering the fear he felt when Caitlin was held hostage, the panic that comes over him every time a threatening letter is received, or rumor is heard.
"But," Toby continued, "you are also the only friend Josh has right now who knows exactly what he's going through." Toby then squeezed Sam's shoulder and gave him a small, supportive smile.
Sam watched Toby for a moment and nodded his head, then he turned and headed back inside. He hesitated inside the door, then sat down next to Josh,determined to be there for him.
"What about a partial trace?" Bartlet asked as he sat down on the corner of the desk.
The black haired agent shook his head grimly. "Not enough to speculate on,Sir."
"What the hell are you guys doing?!" Tom demanded as he stormed across the room toward the agent heedless of the fact that he might be interrupting the President's conversation.
The agent looked up at the six-foot plus red haired furious Navy pilot and backed up slightly. "We're doing everything possi....."
Tom shook his head as he grabbed the younger man by the collar and slammed him against the nearest wall. "Don't even tell me you're doing everything possible because it's obvious that you're not! This is the White House! You
people are supposed to be able to move Heaven and Earth from here.....so why the hell doesn't anybody know where my sister is?!"
At the commotion three Secret Service agents instantly appeared in the doorway. Bartlet shook his head waving them off.
Julie Moss stood and walked over to her eldest son and placed a gentle hand on his left shoulder. "Thomas, please.....this isn't helping anything."
Bartlet stood and walked over to the pilot. "Son, I assure you we will do everything in our power to bring Donna home safely."
Tom glanced from his mother to the President and back again before he dropped the FBI agent.The agent slumped against the wall struggling to catch his breath.
Josh stood and approached his future brother-in-law but the glare on Tom's face caused whatever Josh was going to say to die in his throat.
"Don't say anything, Lyman!" Thomas shouted. "This is as much your fault as it is hers."
Caitlin winced but held Tom's angry gaze as Sam came to stand beside her.
"Don't you think I'd give my life if it'd mean that Donna would be back here safe?!" Josh shouted not caring that his voice seemed to tremble on every word. "Yes if she hadn't started working for me we never would've met. But
that day was the best day of my life and I wouldn't trade that for anything."
Caitlin instantly moved forward and placed a hesitant hand on Josh's right shoulder." Josh..."
Lyman met Caitlin's gaze for a long moment before he broke away from her and quickly left the room.
Josh left the Oval Office and just continued to walk, without any clear idea of where he was going until he found himself staring at Donna's desk.
Josh felt himself smiling as he remembered the look on Donna's face as she stood right here read the inscription he had written for her in the skiing book he got her for Christmas several years ago. He tried to pour all
of his heart and soul into that letter, everything he wanted to tell her but couldn't. From that moment on Donna just became more and more important to him- he didn't know what he'd do without her.
Caitlin stood watching Josh as he stared at Donna's desk. She wanted to go over to him that was her entire purpose of following him, but she couldn't move. She wasn't sure if he'd want her there, he blamed her for Donna's
kidnapping, she knew that, but she loved him. She couldn't just let him suffer alone. Not after what had happened in the Oval Office with Donna's brother.
"So are you going to stand there all day watching me or are you going to come over here and let me hold you for a moment?" Josh said without turning around.
Caitlin paused, unsure if she heard him correctly, or if he even knew who was there.
Josh was aware of her hesitation and he understood why. "I'm sorry Cait, for what I said, this isn't your fault." He said, then he turned around to face her. "I'm just so scared. I don't wish you were there instead of her, I
just wish that she wasn't there..." Josh's voice broke as tears of anger,sadness, and frustration overcame him.
Caitlin rushed over to him and he pulled her into his arms and held her tight. "Shh" Caitlin said stroking the back of his head. "It's OK Josh, I know. I know you didn't mean anything, I wish I could've stopped them,done something. I never should've joked about putting her dress on, if I
hadn't..."Caitlin stopped as Josh pulled away and placed his hands on her face forcing her to look at him.
"This is not your fault." He said, his eyes full of tears.
Caitlin nodded her head as much as she could and said softly, "It's not your fault either, no matter what Tom might say. He's just angry and scared."
"I know, but..." Josh began.
"No buts, Joshua. This isn't your fault- and it isn't mine either." She said finishing softly, trying to convince herself.
"Why are we always having this same type of conversation with each other?" Josh asked.
"Because that's what brothers and sisters do, point out the obvious and understand each other when no one else can." Caitlin said with a smile.
"Yeah" Josh answered softly and pulled her back into his arms.
"Hey you know something- Donna wouldn't be working for you, if you didn't work for my father. And I wouldn't have been born if it weren't for, at least partially, my father. You know what that means?" Caitlin asked.
"That it's all your father's fault." Josh said softly, smiling.
"Exactly" Caitlin said, slightly laughing and held him closer.
Sam cleared his throat as he approached them causing Josh and Caitlin to pull apart.
Caitlin instantly caught the look on his face. "What is it?"
Josh swallowed hard not sure if he wanted to hear Seaborn's response.
"Leo's found out who the guy is that they want to trade Donna for." Sam replied grimly as motioned for them to follow.
Donna glanced out the room's only window and saw that the sun had set. Tears started to form as she realized that she and Josh would be leaving on their honeymoon to Hawaii about now.
As she looked back toward the door Donna saw that only Jake remained leaning against the doorframe.
At her questioning look Jake grinned as he opened a can of soda. "This ain't a private suite, darlin'. Just think of me as your Secret Service agent."
Donna started at the mention of the Secret Service....she hadn't even thought of Caitlin. She hoped that her friend hadn't been hurt during the attack.
With a weary sigh Donna turned sideways and leaned against the arm of the sofa in a futile attempt to get some sleep.
Leo glanced up as Josh, Caitlin and Sam reentered the Oval Office. The office had been cleared except for The President, Leo, the CIA director and the FBI director.
"So who is this guy?" Josh demanded wearily. It was nearing ten o'clock and Josh wanted answers more importantly he wanted Donna back home no matter what it took.
FBI Director Travis Alberts stepped forward and handed one file to Josh and another to Sam. They were identical to the file in Leo's hands.
"Harry Boxton." Alberts replied as he walked into the center of the room."Thirty years old, leader of a militia group who call themselves Black Moon."
Sam raised an eyebrow as he looked up from the file. "Never heard of them."
"Neither have we." Alberts stated grimly as he glanced at the CIA director."We had to dig pretty deep to find any information."
"What has he done that got him into prison?" Jed asked quietly.
"Boxton ordered the bombing of two subway stations in Atlanta six months ago." Alberts replied as he glanced at the file.
"I remember that." Leo interjected grimly. "Killed five people and injured a lot of others. Had the whole subway system at a standstill for hours."
Josh felt his throat close up as he fought to keep his hands from shaking. He looked at the small black and white picture of the man attached to the file.
If this man was capable of such a crime what would his followers do to Donna when they discovered that she wasn't Caitlin?
"We've got to get Donna out of there, now." Josh exclaimed as he glanced at Alberts. "I don't care what we have to do."
"Mr. Lyman, I'm afraid we might not be able to meet their demands." Alberts replied stiffly.
Thomas paced the Roosevelt Room glancing back at the closed door every few minutes. Part of him understood why they were shut out of the meeting with the FBI and CIA but the other part was furious. Damn it.....it was his baby sister's life they were debating about.
Thomas glanced at his parents huddled together on a small sofa and sighed inwardly. This ordeal was clearly taking its toll on them. He stopped pacing and knelt in front of his mother.
"Mom? Why don't you go back to the hotel and rest for awhile." The pilot suggested softly. "I'll call you as soon as they let us know anything."
Julie Moss shook her head firmly. "No, Donna will need us when she's returned. I'm not going anywhere."
"What do you mean, you can't give into their demands?" Josh growled at Alberts. "These people are dangerous. They won't think twice about hurting Donna!"
"We understand this Mr. Lyman. We are not suggesting that we flat out deny the demands. We just need to stall for a little time, to figure out where they are and weigh our options. I promise you no decision has been made." Alberts said, trying to calm Josh down.
Josh just looked at Alberts, feeling his anger and frustration threaten to overtake him. He turned his back and walked away from the group stopping at the windows.
Caitlin watched Josh leave and when she was sure he was out of earshot she turned to Alberts. "Tell me something Agent Alberts" she said. "If that were really me in there, would there be a hesitation?"
Alberts looked at Caitlin for a moment. "You have to understand Miss Bartlet, that that would be an entirely different scenario. It is not the same."
"Why? My life is worth no more than hers."
"Caitlin..." the President began.
"You are the First Daughter- Miss Bartlet. Not only are you important to your father and his ability to do his job, but to the American people as well. I understand your concern for your friend, but let us do our job."
"You..." Caitlin began but the President put his hand on her shoulder stopping her. He understood Caitlin's anger, but he knew deep down that Alberts was right.
"What do you have in mind?" the President said.
"First we have to stall. They can't honestly be expecting you to just turn this guy over immediately. They are probably prepared for some sort of negotiation. So that's what we'll give them."
Josh Lyman stood staring out the glass doors of the Oval Office. The famed room was filled with people and a buzz with activity but Josh had shut all of it out. He had to if he was going to remain sane. It had been seven hours and
four tortuous minutes since Donna had been taken from him.
His mother, Caitlin, Sam, The Bartlets, CJ, Leo, hell even Toby had in the past seven hours tried to offer what comfort they could. But none of them could possibly know what he was feeling. Josh sighed as he leaned his head against the door....he felt like he was crawling out of his skin. Donna
needed him and he couldn't do a damn thing because the high and mighty Secret Service had clamped a lid down on everything. No one in or out of the White House unless expressly authorized. And he wasn't on that list to be let
out....no matter how much he begged and pleaded.
At least they now had the knowledge of who had taken Donna. But that in itself was a small comfort. Josh had to keep reminding himself that Donna sounded okay on the phone...scared but okay. His gaze drifted down to the
file he was still holding....listing all of Boxton's crimes.....all the innocent people he had hurt without a second thought.
go on to the next part