Disclaimer- see Part 1
"There's No Place Like Home" - Part 8
Caitlin spent the limo drive to the White House preparing her speech to her father, which soon became an argument in her head. She knew what he would say and she found herself becoming angrier the closer she got to the White House.
How dare he treat her like a child? Forbid her from coming home. He may be her father and the President of the United States, but she was an adult and as an adult had rights that not even HE could deny.
She walked through the halls of the White House with a determined step. She was going to give him a piece of her mind. Make it clear once and for all that he could not tell her what to do. With all of this resolve she burst through the doors to the Oval Office.
President Bartlet replaced his phone on the receiver. His stubborn, willful daughter had arrived. She was in the White House and on her way here. Well he had a few words for her. She may be an adult now but he was still her father and had a hell of a lot more experience in this world than she did. When he said something, it wasn't to hear himself talk. Well not this time at least. It was for her own good, her own safety,...his own piece of mind. She needed to understand this and know that she couldn't just disobey him like this ever again. He knew she would fight him, but he was ready for it. Dammit he was the parent in this situation.
His thoughts and plans were interrupted when his doors flew open and his stubborn, willful...and much loved daughter stalked into the middle of the room.
Caitlin stopped right over the seal of the President of the United States. There he sat, her father, looking tired and pale and a wonderful sight to her weary eyes. He was alive and he was ok and suddenly her resolve and her anger fled her body.
The President got up from behind his desk and walked quickly to his daughter and opened his arms just as she flew to him. He enclosed her in his warm embrace and held her tightly, tears in his eyes.
"Daddy" she sobbed quietly and hugged him fiercely, letting her tears fall, letting her fear and panic out.
"Shh" he whispered, stroking her hair. "It's ok sweetheart, everything is going to be ok."
She continued to cling to him for a few moments then pulled slightly away. "Does this mean you're not mad at me?" she asked smiling softly.
"No, I'm still mad at you. But I also haven't seen you in a year and a half and I've missed you terribly." He said wiping away her tears and kissing her forehead.
"I couldn't just stay there Dad. I was so far away and the only news I was getting was from the BBC. I couldn't take it. I should be here, I should've been here all along."
"And you will never know how thankful I am that you WEREN'T here. That you were an ocean away from what happened. You don't know what it was like Caitlin, and I hope you never do."
"It's over now though Dad."
"It's never over. I am going to be a target for as long as I hold this position, and that means my family" his voice broke slightly, "will be one too."
Caitlin heard the emotion in his voice and hugged him again. "I understand this Dad but we can't live our lives afraid of something that *might* happen."
"Caitlin..." the President began but was interrupted when Mrs. Landingham opened the door.
"I'm sorry sir." She said, "But Leo and Agent Butterfield are here for your meeting."
The President stroked his daughter's hair one more time. "Send them in." he said.
Mrs. Landingham nodded and left and a few seconds later Leo and Ron Butterfield entered.
The President released Caitlin and she walked over to Leo, who was waiting with outstretched arms.
Caitlin hugged him tight. "How's my favorite Godfather?" she asked, as she always did.
He smiled down at her, grateful for the normalcy of the comment. "Better now." He said.
"Ron" the President said, "This is my daughter Caitlin."
"Miss Bartlet" he acknowledged.
"How did this happen?" she asked him point blank, foregoing the niceties.
Butterfield looked taken back by her tenacity.
"Caitlin" The President and Leo said at the same time.
Caitlin looked at both of them briefly. "I think I'll go see Mom." Caitlin said, knowing she needed to leave this meeting to her father, but fighting the equally urgent need to know what had happened to put her family in danger.
"She's at the hospital with Zoey, checking on Charlie...and Sam" the President said finishing quietly.
Caitlin swallowed at the mention of Sam's name, but didn't say anything. She nodded, gave her father and Leo each a kiss on the cheek, gave Butterfield a look that said they weren't finished and exited the office.