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.

"What's going on?" Josh asked as he moved into the Oval office. CJ and
Sam shrugged while Toby paced across the side of the room. The door opened
and an angry looking Jed Bartlet moved in with Leo and Ron right behind him.
"How the hell did this happen? *What* happened?" Jed snapped.
"Where's Rade?" Toby asked fitfully. Leo handed him the note written by
the secret service. After reading it, Toby paled visibly and sat down on the
couch. Ron took advantage of the silence.
"Rade's last class ended at 3:15pm. Last contact with Ellis was 3:22pm.
At 3:42pm, twenty minutes later, we got a call from her school principal.
Ellis was found with a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and Rade's driver
was discovered with a slit throat." He reported calmly. By now, all eyes in
the room had gone wide.
"Where's Rade?" Josh asked.
"We don't know." Ron replied honestly. "We're working on that, but until
we hear from the kidnapper or kidnappers, we don't really know where to
start. Rade's interview put her in the spotlight, so our list of suspects
isn't exactly short."
"So what do we do?" Toby asked softly. Everyone looked at him
uncertainly. Ron inhaled slowly and hesitated.
"We search and we wait." He said softly. Silence filled the room; an
ominous silence. There was a scuffle outside and then door opened as Ellis
showed himself in. "Ellis, what are you--" Ron started.
"I'm reporting in where I'm needed, sir." Ellis said weakly. Ron moved to
say something but Jed raised a silencing hand. Ellis stood where he was,
breathing unevenly as his right arm rested in a sling. The bulge of a bandage
was evident under his jacket, which was soaked in blood. His face and skin
seemed pale and clammy.
"Ellis, have a seat. You look like hell." Jed said softly. He wanted to
scream at the man, to cry for answers, but he knew Ellis cared a great deal
for Rade and the man looked more like death than a man with any answers.
Ellis nodded weakly and sat down tiredly. "Leo, call my wife. Ask her to come
down here please." Jed ordered. Leo moved to grab the phone. Jed flashed his
friend an important look and then looked at Ron. Everyone could see that
their President was quivering under his attempts to keep calm. Leo read the
sign he was given and asked Abbey to bring her bag. Jed inhaled slowly.
"Ron, where are my daughters and Annie? Are they safe?" He asked shakily.
"Yes. As soon as we got word of this, we made sure they were safe." Ron
replied as Leo hung up the phone.
"Do they know?
"No, sir, but they're on their way here."
"Okay. CJ?" Jed said weakly. "The Press does not know about this. Keep it
that way."
"Yes, sir. What if the question gets asked?" She asked uncertainly.
Silence filled the room again. No one knew what to say.
"If the press knows about this, it would be due to the fact that the
principal undoubtedly called the police and some members of the press corps
do have police scanners. If they ask about the incident at the school, we
have no information we're able to give at this time. It's probably safe to
assume that they know something's up, just not what." Toby said softly.
"Besides, we have nothing for them." He hadn't spoken in a while and his
businesslike words seemed a shock to everyone else
"He's right." Josh said finally. "That's all we can do. Whatever else we
know, everything we know in fact, can't be disclosed because we don't know
how her... uh, proprietor will react to it."
"Proprietor???" Toby snapped. "What the hell--"
"Let's keep it cool." Jed exclaimed before Toby could finish or Josh
could react. "Proprietor *is* the wrong word, but for god's sake, we need to
try and stay in control here. Losing it won't help." He added sternly before
looking to the door and seeing his wife move into the room. Their eyes
connected and Abbey could see that whatever was going on, it was bad.
"Abbey." Leo said softly and then jerked his head towards Ellis. Abbey
looked at the wounded agent and then paled.
"Where's Rade?" She asked immediately, her gaze snapping back to her
husband. Jed hesitated and then finally admitted the truth.
"We don't know."

Pain. The first concept she could fully grasp as consciousness flooded
back into her brain was most definitely pain. Rade blinked and looked around.
The room she was in was dark and dusty, dark gray in color with hardly any
light. She could see that it was some sort of basement. There was a small
table against the far wall, the only piece of evidence that she wasn't in
some dungeon; Only a basement could look like a dungeon and this did.
Rade tried to move her legs but found them bound together by something
she couldn't see. She saw handcuffs on her wrists in the dim light, but more
so she felt them, digging into her flesh and slightly irritating her scar.
She looked around again, her eyes adjusting to the darkness. She saw some
stairs leading up into what she assumed was the real world; the world she was
now being kept away from. She wasn't about to deny that she was frightened
out of her mind, but she felt that screaming or saying anything wouldn't do
any good. She reached up and gingerly touched the sore spot on her head. She
brought her hand back down and stared at the blood on her fingers in the dim
Suddenly the room was flood with bright light. Rade winced and closed her
eyes, blinking them to adjust. She saw a figure move down the stairs to the
table that was across the room. Her eyes burned as she struggled to see who
it was and eventually she had to close them. When she opened them again, the
figure was sitting on the table, staring at her intensely.
"Who are you?" She asked hoarsely, her mouth dry and voice weak.
"That's not important right now." He replied softly. "I'm the person
who's going to take care of you for a while. If your grandfather and mother
do as they're told, you'll be fine and back home in no time."
"My head is bleeding. My hands and feet are bound. You call that fine?"
She asked weakly as she struggled to wet her lips and mouth.
"No, I guess not." He admitted. "I brought a towel and a first aid kit.
Will you let me help you?" He asked. She paused, watching him in
bewilderment. He seemed familiar somehow.
"You want to help me now?" She asked.
"Yes. Will you let me?" He asked hesitantly.
"But you're the one who did this to me." She pointed out. He shrugged and
started approaching her. She paused and then moved so that he could tend to
the wound.
"Sorry." He murmured as she winced.
"Why are you doing this?" She asked softly.
"Assuming your family does as they're told, I want to return you with as
few scratches as possible." He replied calmly.
""I meant why are you doing *this*? Why am I even here?" Rade clarified
as she gestured weakly around the dank, makeshift prison.
"You don't have to worry about that." The man said darkly. "We'll let
Granddaddy think about it. In the meantime, just sit still and play nice. If
you're good, I'll take you to a much nicer room upstairs." He added as he
stood up and carried his things back to the table. Rade touched the bandage
gingerly and then saw what bounded her feet: many layers of duct tape. She
glanced over at the man. He was sitting cross-legged on the table, his
attention focused on the cell phone in his hand. He pressed some buttons and
then held the phone to his ear, his sharp green eyes glancing at her again.
Rade watched apprehensively.
"Hello." His deep voice exclaimed. "I'd like to speak to the President."
He paused. "Who am I? I'm the one who has his granddaughter." Another pause.
"Thank you. I'll wait." He said patiently. Rade inhaled slowly and watched
him in wide-eyed silence.

TBC... .


Everything That Changes - 4



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