RATED: PG-13
DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
NOTES: See Part 1, final shout out to the wonderful Macheviellian sister who
betaed this stuff and gave me lots of evil ideas. Heheh. Everyone kill AJ.
SUMMARY: Rade finds herself in another bad situation and the West Wing is
left feeling helpless as they have to deal.

The room was silent and dark. Jed leaned his head in and looked around.
The only sounds he could hear were the sounds of the keys being clicked, the
computer humming and the soft, uneven breathing of his communications
director. Toby heard the door swing open and then click shut again, prompting
him to close his eyes. He could have sworn he locked it, but now he realized
that he'd forgotten to in his hurry to get away from the outside world.
"What do you want?" He asked softly, not knowing who his visitor was. "I
said that I was to be left alone."
"Well, I outrank you, so here I am." Jed replied smoothly as he made
himself comfortable in one of Toby's armchairs. Toby looked at him in a cross
of surprise and annoyance.
"What can I do for you, sir?" He asked softly.
"What are you doing here, Toby?" Jed asked, somewhat sharply.
"I'm working on a state--" Toby started.
"Why haven't you visited Rade? Everyone else has. But the thing is that
you haven't, and you mean more to her than anyone else, for some reason that
none of us can understand." Jed paused, taking a breath. "What are you doing
here? Why haven't you gone?" Toby sighed and looked at his hands.
"Wtih all due respect, that's my business and not yours." He said softly.
"Rade needs you, especially now." Jed exclaimed. Toby paused.
"Rade is dead, sir." He said finally. "She died when that bastard shot
her. She's not going to survive this, and hell, maybe it'd be better for her
if she didn't. When I heard that shot, part of me died with her. I have to
deal with *that* and even if she is still breathing, we've been told that
there's a major possibility that that won't last for long. I'm not going to
let this wound be reopened."
"Toby, she's not going --" Jed started, his tearfilled eyes wide in pain
and incredulous anger.
"The doctor says she's got much less than favorable odds. You and I both
know what that means. We see it all the time in polls and statistics. She's
going to die, sir, and that may be the better thing." Toby interrupted
softly. "Then she won't have to live with the pain this whole thing has
caused."
"She's not going to give up! She's survived this long and goddamn it, she
needs you!" Jed snapped, rising to his feet. "This is my granddaughter you're
talking about, and I would appreciate it if you didn't bury her before she's
gone! For the past few months, I've watched her with you, and goddamn it, I
admit, I've been jealous as hell. I've selfishly wished that she would bestow
on me the love she gives to you, but she hasn't, and she needs you. I'm not
going to stand here while you write her eulogy, Toby. That kid loves you and
if you *ever* loved her, you'll go to that hospital and at least say goodbye,
if that's what it ends up being." The President cried angrily. Toby could
hear the heartbreak in his leader's voice and forced himself to close his
eyes as the emotions began to rush through his veins.
Could he say good-bye?
"Toby, please." Jed started again, his voice soft and almost weak.
"Please, I love that kid. My granddaughter is facing death, and you're the
one person who means the most to her. Hell, I care about you too. Don't lock
yourself away. Go visit her. Just... do this right. Please." He pleaded.
Toby looked at his boss with tears in his eyes. Could he say good-bye?

Hospitals contain an eerie atmosphere. Unless one is there to celebrate
the birth of a new human being, that atmosphere is a dismal one. Excluding
that one incident, hospitals tend to resonate with a vibrant gloom that can
scare the life out of you, sometimes quite literally. The sound of heavy
footsteps filled the hallway at 4:52pm throughout the ICU area. Nurse Baker
looked up to see a man who looked like he felt older than he really was.
Toby walked slowly, feeling as if he had been drained by the walls. His
body felt like gravity was pushing it to the ground, making it hard to walk,
and the air seemed to get thicker with each step he took, until it felt like
he couldn't breathe anymore. His hand reached out and gripped the metal door
handle of room 214. He stared at the door for a moment, feeling a few eyes on
him. There were secret service agents in the hall, and Liz was sitting a
chair on the opposite of the hallway. He took a deep breath and moved inside,
closing the door after him. He leaned his forehead against the door, his eyes
tightly closed as he tried to gather himself enough to start breathing again.
Finally, he turned and faced the patient in the room.
Rade had never looked so pale as she did now. A heart monitor, a
respirator, a complicated looking IV, an oxygen mask and a few other medical
machines covered her, making faint noises as they worked to keep her body
functioning. He couldn't believe it. This girl, this young woman with whom
he'd argued with, agreed with, worked with, laughed with... this girl was
lying here buried within medical technology, her eyes snugly closed. How
could he say good-bye?
This was what he was afraid of. He was afraid that he would walk in, see
her, and never be able to leave again. He was afraid of his heart being
broken, after he spent so long trying to keep it sewn together. He took a
deep breath and moved toward the bed, moving closer until his fingertips ran
over the soft edge of the blanket that covered her.
"Hey, kid." He whispered. "You in there somewhere?" He asked as he moved
a little closer and sat on the edge of the bed. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I gave
up on you." He paused as the tears flooded to his eyes. It hurt so much to
see her like this, to know that she wouldn't wake up again. "You don't look
too bad." He said with a weak smile. "I shouldn't have given up on you. I'm
here now though. I'm here, kid. You gotta hang on. You gotta wake up and tell
me what an idiot I am." He paused again and tried to collect himself. He was
falling apart. "I love you kid. Don't leave me." He whispered finally, his
voice cracking. Silence filled the room as he watched her, tears falling down
his face. "I need you, kid. You make me human." He confessed hoarsely.
The silence was deafening, interrupted only by the sound of her
machinery, the sound of her life mechanically calculated to keep her alive
because her body could no longer do it on its own. Eternity seemed to be
flooding into the room and it held him in this moment, just sitting there and
watching her . . watching her die, watching her live, wondering which was the
true reality. toby closed his eyes and buried his face in his hands. The
machines continued to beep through the silence, reminding him constantly of
the world that Rade was trapped in. How could he let her come to this? How
could he...
"Dad..." A hoarse voice moaned. Toby looked up abruptly, tears still
in his eyes as he met the bloodshot gaze of a bewildered looking Rade. Her
eyes dashed around the room and then rested on him agaiin. "Tob..." She
struggled to murmur. Toby was almost frozen in shock.
Almost.
"Rade, I'm here." He whispered, moving closer to her as he searched for
the call buton. She blinked very slowly and tried to gather her drugged
senses.
"Dad..." She mumbled. Toby looked at her, barely able to understand.
"What?" He asked softly as he pressed the call button repeatedly.
"Dad... shot..." She mumbled. "Jon..."
"Jonathon? Jonathon Richards?" He asked. She nodded weakly.
"Shot..." She croaked.
"Hey, don't talk so much." He advised tenderly before turning his head to
the door and meeting the gaze of the nurse. Baker saw Rade's open eyes and
sprang into action.
"Tob..." Rade tried again. He looked at her as the nurse ran out to
get the doctor.
"Conserve your energy." He encouraged softly. "You got to save some for
the others." He added with a smile.
"Who . . ?" Rade asked as she blinked again, still very slowly.
"CJ, Josh, Leo, your mom, your grandparents..." Toby listed, a bit
alarmed by the confused look in Rade's eyes.
"Who...?" She asked again. Toby frowned at her as the nurse returned
with the doctor, who immediately moved to check Rade's vitals.
"Rade, what do you remember?" Toby asked before feeling the nurse's hands
on his shoulders, trying to pull him away.
"Sir, we need to help her." Baker whispered.
"Tob..." Rade called frantically as she tried to reach for him.
"Let him stay. She's getting upset." The doctor ordered. Baker let go of
Toby and watched as the man moved back to his previous position by Rade's
side. Behind them, Liz took a step in the door and saw what was going on. Her
daughter was awake... Awake... alive.
"Toby..." Rade whispered. Toby smiled weakly. Liz nearly gasped in joy
to hear her daughter's voice again.
"Rade?" She called shakily. Four sets of eyes fell on her. The doctor
looked back to the tests he was running and Rade just blinked slowly.
"Toby..." The teenager mumbled. He looked at her. "Who . . .these . .
." She stumbled as her question hit home with the people who were watching
her. "Who... these... people?" She asked weakly. Toby looked at the
doctor and then back at Rade.
"This is Dr. Manheim and Nurse Baker." He replied softly. Rade blinked
slowly.
"Who . . she?" She asked. Liz bit her lip. Toby blinked in surprise.
"What do you remember?" He asked softly. Rade paused, thinking.
"Dad... shot..." She mumbled. "Toby."
"Anything else?" Toby asked weakly.
"Toby." Rade repeated as her eyelids began to flutter.
"This is a huge ordeal for her. She needs her rest." The doctor said
softly. Toby nodded as he watched Rade fall asleep again. Then he looked at
the doctor and then at Liz.
"She doesn't remember." Liz whispered.

THE END

 

 

 

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