Title: Hard Road 

Author: Christina Hansen 

Classification: POV/crisis 

Rating: PG 

Spoilers: In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Parts 1 & 2 

Summary: The night of the shooting through the eyes of John Hoynes.

Archive: yes, just let me know where

This is my first posted West Wing fic on these lists, so please, be kind.


Hard Road

    by Christina Hansen




"ÖI know you got four starsÖ"


The doors burst open. I turn around in surprise, and then I see them. A half dozen armed men bursting in through the doors. Headed right at me. They surround me. Drag me away from the crowd to God-only-knows where. A nightmare? Yes, but Iím awake. A kidnapping? In a way. Itís something thatís supposed to happen, only itís never supposed to happen. Iím supposed to be ready for this if it happens, but how the hell can I ever be ready for this?


Now more of them are clustering around me, closing in on me, creating a wall of bodies like some kind of living shield. Of course they are, thatís what theyíre here for. Before I even know it, Iím out of the building, and being pushed into a car. Where am I going? I donít know. Theyíre not supposed to tell me that.


Weíre in the car. Everyoneís tense. No oneís talking to me. I know whatís happened, but I donít really know. They wouldnít have reacted this way unless *it* had happened. Thereís no need to think itís anything else.


Finally, Iím tired of sitting in silence. I look around at the agents next to me, across from me. I want answers, and by God Iím going to get them.


"What happened?"


Kids. Itís unbelievable. A couple of kids can do this much damage? We donít know who they are yet. Or maybe we do but they donít want to tell me. Why? Are they afraid that Iíll go after the shooters if I know? No, theyíre not afraid of that. Theyíre afraid that Iíll go and do something that a man of my position shouldnít do. Be physical. Be emotional.


Be human.


Back to the White HouseÖ ĎSafest place in the world,í they call it. I donít believe that for a minute. Leaving my agents behind me, I walk into the Situation Room. I feel like Iím in a daze. I hardly ever come in here, even though I have the right to be in on everything that goes on here. Well, maybe not technically, but no one ever told me that I couldnít.


Leoís here. At least thatís something. He called me, when the news came back that Jed would be all right and out of surgery soon. Then he told me about Josh. About how he was still fighting. Damn it, Josh is too good a man to have this happenÖ


Oh, God... the officers are standing in my presence. They donít do that for me...they shouldnítí do that for me. "No, as you were, itís okay."  Old habits die hard. I look down to where Iím about to sit. No, not there. Not that chair. I sit opposite of Leo instead.


I donít care about the domestic situation. Who gives a damn about the Citibank computers?! Someone just shot the President of the United States.


So I blow up. Jack was right, they knew we were going to get them, but Iím not kidding about the Guard. Iíll do it, so help me God, I will.


A decision has to be made about Iraq. I canít make the decisions that Nancy wants me to make. I donít have the authority to. At least, I donít think I have the authority. I donít honestly know if I do. From the look on Leoís face, I donít.


The Iraqis are up to something, that much is clear. Getting Hotchkiss out was a great thing, but theyíre bound to be pissed as hell that we did it. Is Nancy right, or is she overreacting.


I donít know what to do.


I listen to Leo, look at the reconnaissance photos. I listen to Nancy, and then  to Leo again.


I have to do something.


"Nancy, weíre going to follow Leo for the moment."


I donít care how we deal with this. We will.


I hear Leoís voice. "Donít mess with us tonight."


I nod my agreement.


Josh is still in surgery. Leo says heíll let me know how it goes. I just nod. Lymanís a good kid.


Itís funny. Back during the campaign, when Jed Bartlet was just the ex-Governor of New Hampshire running on a grassroots effort, and Josh was working for me... He handed me the election. He told me everything I needed to do to win. I ignored him. I surrounded myself with yes-men like Mike, and that woman whoís name I canít even remember. Josh wanted to bring in new speechwriters. He said he had a good one, one he knew from Congress. I told him no. He wanted to work on Social Security, I told him to get off my ass.


I didnít know it at the time, but Josh was about to jump ship on me. He was fed up, I know. We werenít saying anything. I had the best around, or so I thought. Jed Bartlet had Leo McGarry. Then Josh left. Leo came to him, and he foundÖ somethingÖ in Bartlet.  Leo had Toby Zeigler, and Toby got CJ Cregg... and Josh managed to pull Sam Seaborn away from a partnership at the second largest firm in New York City...


Itís quite a group. Arrogant, cocky, but theyíre all good people. Theyíre good at what they do. We all chose to take this road, not knowing where weíd end up, just sure that we were right to take it. I just pray that tonight wonít destroy any chance any of us have of making to the end of that road.


I hear an agent outside the door. Then I hear Leoís voice.


We have ourselves a problem, and we have to solve itÖ now.


The End




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