DISCLAIMER: See Part 1, "With You In Your Dreams" is a song of ::mumbles::
Hanson, and is not mine. It's a good song and I have eclectic tastes. ::joins
Donna in the Sisterhood of Eclectic Tastes:: So there. Heh. Okay, so I'm a
little defensive. Sorry.
NOTES: See Part 1
SUMMARY: Rade finds herself in another bad situation and the West Wing is
left feeling helpless as they have to deal.

If I'm gone when you wake up, please don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up, it's not goodbye
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember, remember me, cause I'll be with you
In your dreams

Toby moved quickly down the hallway, too many thoughts running through
his head for his own comfort. She couldn't be. She wasn't. That gunshot had
to have been a bluff, shot through the roof or the wall. No one would kill an
innocent sixteen year old girl, no matter who her grandfather was. No one
could be that evil. Rade had to be alive, and they would find her and they
would bring her home. That had to be the truth.
No. No. This was denial. He knew it. As he breezed past his assistant, he
slammed the door to the office into her face and immediately closed the
blinds so that no one could see in. Then he sat on his couch and buried his
face in his hands. He couldn't deny it. He could pray that it wasn't true,
but he had nothing else to believe in. She was dead and he had to move on.
He had to move on.

Oh, I'll be with you
If I'm gone when you wake up, please don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up, don't ask why
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me, cause I'll be with you
In your dreams

Leo stared at the wall of his office and then at his desk. There was so
much going on inside his head, so many thoughts of worry, fear, anger...
That damn bastard had shot her. Or had he? Was it a bluff? Was he going to
let them believe Rade was dead and then just keep her in hell forever, doing
whatever he wanted? No. He shook his head. No one would be that cold, would
Leo sat down at his desk and looked around. He hadn't heard from anyone
since the shot. Toby had run away and locked himself in his office. CJ and
Sam went to the young man's office to talk and possibly write some sort of
statement. Josh had gone to his own office to think and deal with how the
news would be broken to the world. So far, if the press knew about Rade's
disappearance, they'd known not to ask about it. Now they would know, and so
would the world. The First granddaughter had died, killed by a kidnapper who
could not have what he wanted. What would be the message? How would people
perceive it? Did Bartlet "just let" his granddaugther die or did he "honor"
the country and its principles by standing up to terrorism? Leo felt that not
even Bartlet knew which was true, if not both.
But being his best friend, Leo knew that Jed blamed himself. He could see
that in the President's eyes, and part of him couldn't blame him for it. He
also saw the guilt in Josh's expression as they'd all stood in the Oval
office, panic written across their faces.
Ron Butterfield had left the office silently to go watch over the search
for Jonathon Richards. The manager of a hotel in Rome that Jonathon Richards
never checked in. No one knew where he was, which was a pretty big clue that
he was somehow involved in the whole thing. Ron had mentioned a few papers in
Richards's apartment that fingered a certain location, which they were going
to check out this very moment, to see if they couldn't find... a body.
A body. Rade's body. Rade's dead body. It didn't sound like it could be
true, Leo mused. The silence in his office was suddenly ripped apart by the
sound of his phone ringing. He stared at it for the period of three rings and
then grabbed the handle. "McGarry." He exclaimed.
"Sir. We're still not quite sure what happened, but apparently, Eric Knox
has been... well, he's either escaped or he's been kidnapped. In any case,
he's gone, sir." Ron's voice exclaimed. Leo sighed and rubbed his temples as
he listened to Ron explain how several agents had been killed in the
successful attempt to free Knox from custody.

Don't cry, I'm with you, don't cry, I'm by your side
Don't cry, I'm with you, don't cry, I'm by your side
And though my flesh is gone, ooh whoa
I'll still be with you, at all times
And though my body's gone, ooh whoa
I'll be there to comfort you at all times

Josh shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. It was too warm
in the office for his comfort and he was starting to believe that he was
descending into Hell itself. That had to be the only explanation. He'd buried
Rade, he'd stuck a fork in her and said 'she's done' and now she was dead. It
was his fault. Because he had to stand up for "american policy". Policy was
nothing in real life, so why did he have to stand up for it?
Because that was what she would have wanted. She would have screamed and
yelled 'you can't trade me for countless others'. Rade was that way. She
would die so that no one else would have to. But people died all the time.
People were killed or murdered, or their hearts would just stop working. But
Rade... She was going to be 17. She was going to get a car. She was going
to get a job, working in the White House on the "official" roster. She had a
friend, some guy named Kyle, who was helping her get beyond the death of her
other friend. She was growing up. She was going to live.
Not anymore, Josh thought as he pressed his fingers to his forehead and
began to cry. A moment later, he felt two slim arms wrap around his neck and
hug him tightly. He felt Donna lean her chin against his neck as she held him
close. He felt her tears drop against his shirt as he sat up and took her in
his arms, just hugging her tightly as they cried together softly.

If I'm gone when you wake up, please don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up, it's not goodbye
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember, remember me, cause I'll be with you
In your dreams

CJ stared at the wall as she listened to Sam's fingers hit random keys.
She was more than positive he wasn't writing anything coherent. He hadn't
said a word in five minutes, and she knew that he was thinking the same thing
she was. Someone had died. They were working to write a statement about a
16-year-old girl who had died simply because her grandfather was the
President of the United States and he would not negotiate with a terrorist.
Sam stopped typing and ran his fingers through his hair. He didn't want
to think about this. He wanted to be writing about Rade's triumphant return
so that the press would smile and laugh as CJ made random jokes, the way she
always did in her own charming way. No one could charm their way out of the
misery that this message would bring. He glanced to his right and saw CJ
staring at her hands. She looked at him and shook her head towards the door.
He nodded and watched as she left the room. What could he say now?
CJ stumbled down the hall towards her own office, wanting desperately to
be alone. As she neared her office, she saw Danny waiting for her with an
unkowning smile on his face. The smile quickly disappeared as he saw the
tears in her eyes. Carol saw them too, and then tears formed in her own eyes
as she realized the truth that CJ was bringing with her. CJ brushed past the
redheaded reporter into her office praying he wouldn't follow, but he
couldn't not. She looked at him, her tears falling down her face and no words
could come to her mouth. She couldn't tell him, not before the others...
Danny didn't need words. He just closed the doors and took CJ in his
arms, giving her a shoulder to cry into, which was all that she really needed.

I don't want you to cry and weep
I want you to go on, living your life
I'm not sleeping an endless sleep
Cause in your heart, you all have good times

Jed stared out the window at the rain. Behind him he could hear the
rhythmic breathing of his wife and daughter as they slept in each other's
arms on the bed. He couldn't sleep. He didn't want to sleep. He couldn't even
think of all the images that were threatening to flood into his mind.
Jed had never learned to deal with death. When his father died, he locked
himself away from the world and tried to hide within his home. He came out
only when he had to work, for he was the Governor of New Hampshire and the
state didn't stop running even when the governor's father died. At least the
man had lived to see his son take that office.
And Rade had lived to see the White House. Where was she now, Jed
wondered. Where was she? Was she looking down on them and telling them not to
cry? Was she happier than she'd ever been before? He couldn't help but pray
that she was. If she had to be gone, then maybe she could be happier wherever
she was. That was his biggest hope for her.
But he couldn't stop the pain. That wish couldn't wipe away the loss.
Rade was gone. And it was his fault.

If I'm gone when you wake up, please don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up, it's not goodbye
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember, remember me, cause I'll be with you
In your dreams
I'll be with you in your dreams

Ron Butterfield stared out the window of the car as he watched the trees
and clouds roll by. He was tired and stressed. He couldn't believe this was
all happening. He felt so out of it, so wrong... Because of him and his
incompetence, Rade Bartlet had died. An agent had died. Another agent was
shot in the shoulder. More agents were killed when Eric Knox was... well,
whatever was going on with him. But Rade... He'd let the President down,
Leo, the entire staff, everyone... He'd let them down and Rade was dead
because of it.
The car stopped in front of a gray suburb home and Ron could hear the
engine switch off. He climbed out of the car and reached for the set of keys
that had been confiscated from Richards's apartment. He stepped into the
house, seven agents behind him as they started the search into the silent
building. He walked around the living room, thoughts running through his
"Anything?" He called. He got negative responses all around. The house
was spotless. There was nothing there. It was as if no one had been there in
ages. He walked through the kitchen and stopped by a small brown door. He
wrapped his gloved hand around the handle and opened the door. Suddenly the
smell of dust and something else flooded into his senses. That smell. Blood.
Warm blood. Flowing blood. "ALERT!" Ron cried as he scrambled down the
stairs. He skidded to a halt at the bottom of the stairs. "SOMEONE CALL FOR
PARAMEDICS!" He screamed as he slid to Rade's side, frightened by the amazing
river of blood that surrounded her body. He ripped off his jacket and pressed
it hard against her gushing wound, as if it couldn't be too late.



Everything That Changes - 13



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