RATED: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
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.


There was a silence in the West Wing, a silence that is retrospective of
mourning, but also of a group of people who didn't know. No one knew yet of
what Ron Butterfield had found in the dark basement of a normal Washington
home. Ron had not yet had a chance to call. So inside the West Wing, people
sat silently at their desks, or on the couch of one of their friends,
mourning the death of a girl who was never given a chance to live.
Leo McGarry was one of these people, trapped inside of a world that was
swirling with his personal pain and his professional responsibilities. There
was going to be a press conference in six hours. The country was buzzing. The
word had gotten out. 'Bartlet Granddaughter Kidnapped' read the headlines. If
only they knew. There was so much more than that...
Leo sighed and looked at the clock. How could it be that so much time had
gone by? Nearly 42 hours since Rade was taken. 51 hours since he'd last seen
her and heard her voice. She was talking about a math teacher or an English
teacher with no personality. He missed her already.
When the phone rang, even the sound itself sounded more urgent than a
casual, everyday ring. Leo grabbed the handle and rubbed his eyes. "McGarry."
He said, as he always did.
"Sir." Ron's voice came through, shaky and hoarse. Leo frowned.
"Ron?" He asked softly.
"Sir, we searched the alternate location. We found . . Sir, we found Rade
in the basement." Ron said weakly. Leo sat in his seat, fearing some ghastly
description of a mutilated body.
"Ron, what's wrong?" He said softly.
"Sir, she's alive. Barely, but she's alive. I just sent the ambulance off
to GW Hospital. She lost a lot of blood, sir, but..." Ron trailed off.
"She's alive." Leo finished softly, amazement pouring through him. Rade
was alive. "Thank you, Ron. Keep me up to date." He said.
"Sir." Ron interrupted. "Sir, they don't know how long she'll survive.
She might make it, but we need to be prepared for the possibility that she
won't." Ron said softly. "After seeing the blood, I just don't think . . ."
Ron paused, his voice catching in his throat. Leo had never heard this man so
broken up before. "I advise you not to break out the champagne yet, sir." Ron
finished quietly.
"I won't, Ron. Thank you." Leo said softly.
"Yes, sir." Ron said before hanging up. Leo cut the line and then dialed
another extension.
"Josh Lyman." A haggard voice said.
"Josh, I just talked to Ron. They found Rade. She's alive." Leo said
quickly. There was silence on the other end.
"Alive?" Josh said weakly as he glanced at Donna with wide eyes. "Rade's
alive?"
"He found her in the basement of this old apartment of Jon Richards. She
was bleeding a lot, apparently she was indeed shot, but she's alive, Josh."
Leo said. "I mean, they don't know if she'll survive..."
"But she's alive." Josh whispered.
"I've got to call the hospital and then go talk to the President. Will
you tell the others?" Leo asked.
"Yes, sir." Josh exclaimed.
"Okay. Good." Leo said before hanging up. Josh slipped the handle into
its cradle and then looked at Donna. She had tears in her eyes.
"She's alive. It doesn't look good, but... she's alive." He whispered.
"She might still die..."
"But she's alive." Donna repeated. He nodded and then hugged her tightly.
"We've got to tell the others." Josh exclaimed as he darted out of the
room.

Jed looked at the door as he heard the soft, tentative knock. Who was it
now? Someone here to tell him how sorry they were. He looked at his wife and
daughter and then rose to his feet. "Come in." He called. Leo stepped into
the room with a dark look on his face.
"Leo." Abbey whispered her greeting. He nodded. Jed moved towards him.
"Sir, I just talked to Ron and --" Leo started.
"They found her?" Jed asked, his voice cracking.
"Yes, sir. Alive." Leo added. Suddenly he had everyone's attention. Liz
looked up at him, her face tearstained. Abbey did so as well. Zoey and
Charlie, who were standing together against the back wall, each took a step
forward. Jed moved towards his best friend.
"Alive?" Jed repeated shakily. Leo nodded.
"Yes, sir. She's at GW hospital right now, in surgery. They don't know if
she'll... well, they don't know what the outcome will be yet. It doesn't
look too great, but it's better than nothing, sir." Leo said softly.
"When will we know?" Jed asked.
"They predict she'll be out of surgery in about seven hours. She's lost a
lot of blood and has already had about three transfusions. She was shot in
the lower chest from a fair distance, not point blank, so they just don't
know yet. After the surgery is over, she'll be put in ICU. They'll call us as
soon as that happens." Leo reported everything he knew. Jed nodded and then
looked at his family. Rade was alive. Hope was not completely lost. She was
alive.

"Toby, you in there?" Josh called as he pounded on the door.
"Go away!" Toby growled.
"Toby, I've got to tell you something." Josh said as he felt CJ's breath
on his neck. He looked at her, an eyebrow raised, and then back at the closed
door as she took a step away.
"Forget it!" Toby called. Josh sighed and leaned as close against the
door as he could get.
"Toby, Rade's alive." He said as quietly as he could. Silence followed.
Then the door opened and Toby leaned out an inch.
"She's alive?" He asked in a hoarse voice. Josh nodded.
"I mean, she's in surgery and they don't know for sure if she'll make --"
Josh started.
"So they found her, but the best they can tell us right now is that she's
going to die anyway?" Toby interrupted harshly. "Thanks, Josh, so much." He
added before closing the door in Josh's stunned face.

TBC... .

 

Everything That Changes - 14

 

 

Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings