RATING: G so far
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them, unfortunately. I'm just having some creative
fun with them. Rade is mine however.
NOTES: I still don't know if this is gonna become a series or not. Depends on
y'all react to it.
ALSO: "To the moon and Back" is a song of Savage Garden and it is not mine.

"Mrs. Landingham, am I doing anything now?" Jed called as he finished
signing the reports that Nancy was handing him. "What was that?" He asked as
she walked away.
"Nothing important, sir." Nancy assured him.
"I'm President of the United States. Isn't it all important?" He asked
"No, sir. This was just a declaration of war on Maui." Nancy replied just
as playfully as she stepped out of the room.
"I gotta flaunt my title to get some answers around here." Jed said with
a smirk. "Mrs. Landingham--" He started again but stopped as the elderly
woman appeared in his doorway.
"You are free for the next hour, Mr. President. I managed to keep your
schedule light while your family is in town." She assured him as she brought
him another report to sign. He nodded, signed in and took off for the door
faster than a freshman on the last day of high school. Mrs. Landingham smiled
and went back to her desk. "Charlie, your boss has left the building. Go take
a break or something." She said to the President's aide as she sat down.
Charlie looked up and and smiled brightly. "Get out of here, Charlie." She
"If you say so, ma'am." Charlie replied as he got up, grabbed his jacket
and then headed for the hallway in a much more leisured pace than the
President had. He walked for a bit until he reached the stairs up to the
residence level. He followed them up only to get tackled by a four foot nine
inch tall girl.
"Annie! Oh, my God, Charlie are you all right?" Zoey asked as she ran up
to her boyfriend who was on the floor with a girl on top of him. Annie smiled
at him and got up with a sheepish grin.
"Yeah, I'm okay." He assured them as he also got to his feet. Zoey was
struggling to contain her laughter as she moved to hug Charlie hello. "This
must be your niece." He exclaimed.
"Annie Knox, my sister's daughter, yes. Charlie, this is Annie. Annie,
this is Charlie." Zoey introduced.
"Your boyfriend." Annie stated. Zoey chuckled as Charlie definitely
blushed a little.
"Yes, this is my boyfriend." She replied. "But you knew that. Didn't I
tell you not to go running down the halls? There are a lot of people in this
building. You could have seriously hurt someone."
"Not him though. He's fine." Annie pointed out, gesturing to Charlie.
"Yeah, I'm fine. What were you two girls doing?" He asked as he
unconsciously put an arm around Zoey's waist. Zoey smiled and shrugged.
"We were just about to go check out the preparations for the picnic
tomorrow. Annie wants to see the bandstand." She explained. "Want to come
with us? I promise I won't let her tackle you again."
"Well, now that I'm on guard, I don't think she'll be able to." Charlie
retorted playfully. Zoey giggled and nodded.
"Okay. Let's go." Annie exclaimed happily and moved off to lead the way.
"You have to go downstairs first." Charlie pointed out as he gestured to
the stairs. Annie grinned sheepishly again and moved for the stairs, her aunt
and tackling dummy right behind her.

"Toby, will you stop ranting for ten minutes? Please? I'm getting a
headache and I'm resenting the hell out of your attitude." Sam exclaimed.
"I'm sorry about the barbecue thing, okay? Move past it. What are we going to
replace it with?" He said slowly. Toby sighed and nodded.
"You're right. Okay. Moving past it." He replied.
"You know, an apology would be nice." Sam said.
"Don't push your luck." Toby retorted.
"Fair enough." Sam replied with a sigh as he settled into Toby's couch.
"Okay, we have him start off talking about fourth of July, there's a lot of
history in this thing. He mentions his great-great-whatever, Dr. Josiah
Bartlet, signer of the declaration of Independence and the revolutionary war
and what July 4th means to him and this country. Then what? We have to fill
some time here, if only five minutes."
"For our precious schedule." Toby muttered as he grabbed a pen and
started scratching out the already mutilated four paragraphs about the
invention of the BBQ. Sam didn't *have* that information right.
"Yes, for our precious schedule." Sam repeated slowly. He was losing his
patience with his boss. Sam felt that he himself was a nice guy, with lots of
patience and understanding, but Toby was really beating him up over this and
he was tired of it. He just wanted to finish the damn thing and then take a
nap. He knew that if he took a nap, he'd wake up fresh and happy and ready to
take whatever Toby could give him.
"Why don't you have him talk about his family?" A voice suggested. Toby
and Sam looked to the door to see the teenager from the Oval office earlier
that morning leaning against the doorframe. "You have him talk about
great-great-whatever, but he's got his daughters and granddaughters right
next to him. He can blab about family values and the true nature of holidays,
or whatever." Rade continued. Toby and Sam looked at each other and than back
at her.
"What are you doing here?" Toby asked.
"Nice to see you too. Ziegler, right?" Rade retorted. "Look, it was just
a suggestion." She added before looking out into the hall. "Ooh, doughnuts."
She added and then moved away. Sam looked at Toby.
"Worth a shot." Toby muttered and grabbed his laptop, pulling it closer.
"It's gonna be great when word gets around we got writing advice from a
sixteen year old." Sam muttered.
"I didn't realize you cared so much about image, Mr.
I'm-Gonna-Reform-A-Call-Girl. Go back to your office. You're annoying me.
Work on the press release for 408." Toby ordered. Sam sighed, got to his feet
and returned to his office. He closed the door and collapsed on the couch for
his nap. Toby started typing, and started to really get into what he was
writing. Rade paused by his doorway with a glazed doughnut and watched him
for a second. She moved on just as he looked up, causing him to raise an
eyebrow before going back to work.

Leo sighed and tossed the brief away from him. It was going on six
o'clock and he was more than ready to go home. He stood and walked to his
coat rack to get his jacket when he noticed the President standing in the
doorway between his office and the Oval. He nodded to his boss before putting
on his jacket and returning to his desk to grab his briefcase and fill it up.
"I know you're coming tomorrow." Jed said softly.
"I told you I am." Leo replied.
"I'm sorry, Leo. I was wrong. I shouldn't have accused you like that."
Jed exclaimed. Leo looked at him and nodded.
"You were concerned. I appreciate that." He replied softly.
"I do trust you, Leo. With my life and everything else." Jed said after a
pause. Leo smiled and nodded a third time.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Mr. President." He assured his friend before
moving out the door.
"Tomorrow, Leo." Jed replied before moving out into the hallway and
moving towards the residence. He trotted up the stairs and headed for his
room, hoping to find his wife there. He did find her there, rummaging through
the papers on the desk in their room. He moved into the room slowly and
silently, endeavoring to sneak up on her.
"Do you know what I did with the envelope that I was going to give to
Rade?" Abbey asked without looking up.
"How do you do that?" He exclaimed before giving up on the stealth
mission to slip his arms around his wife and plant a kiss in her neck. She
smiled and leaned back against him.
"I'm psychic. Do you know where it is?" She asked again before leaning
forward and rifling around the papers some more.
"Check the drawers." He replied before moving to sit on the bed. "What
kind of name is Rade anyway?" He asked suddenly.
"Don't you start that again. Listen, Jed, she likes the name and a lot of
people had a hard enough time getting her to respond to Mary. It was like her
brain wouldn't accept the name or something." Abbey replied as she opened a
drawer and pulled out the evasive envelope.
"Mary is a very nice name." Jed pointed out.
"You know, she agrees." Abbey returned as she faced him. "But I think she
told me once that she had 'reservations about being named after the virgin
mother'. Teenagers have a lot of questions about life and religion and
identity, and I think this her way of trying to answer her own questions."
She said in the absent girl's defense. Jed sighed and nodded.
"Yeah, I guess so. I barely remember what being a teenager is like, but I
do remember." He muttered.
"I just wish it wasn't so hard to get through to her." Abbey admitted.
"She always seems so stiff around us, as if she's nervous or uneasy."
"I think she's uneasy around everyone." Jed pointed out.
"Maybe. Liz says that she's pretty loose with this guy named Jake
"Well, where is he?"
"Eric didn't want to invite him. Apparently he thinks that Rade needs to
interact with other people for a change."
"Did it occur to him that she'd never do that willingly?" Jed asked
dryly. Abbey chuckled and moved to sit next to him on the bed.
"I think we just have to be patient. She'll find a way to be everything
she needs to be and we'll find a way to accept her as she is." She said
"And if she becomes a mass murderer, will we support that? I suppose I
could always stay her execution, as long as she does it while I'm president."
Jed muttered. Abbey slapped him playfully on the shoulder.
"Jed! She's not going to kill anyone. She's not violent." Abbey added
softly. Jed slipped an arm around his wife and kissed her forehead.
"I know. I just worry sometimes. As for her not being violent, have you
forgotten about that Benjamin kid? He's the reason they sent her to Prescott
in the first place." Jed pointed out.
"She's changed since then, and neither Rade nor John Benjamin have
revealed the true circumstances of what happened that day, so we can't jump
to conclusions." Abbey retorted.
"All I know is that he had a few dozen injuries and so did she. I'm just
happy the press has found out about that yet. It's one of those things that's
hard to keep a secret." He muttered.
"Rade's past is worth more than your political career, isn't it, Jed? The
press can't report anything without having all the facts, and no one has all
the facts except Rade and JB." Abbey retorted.
"Okay, okay, okay." Jed relented.
"Just give her a break. She's a troubled kid and she needs us there for
her." Abbey whispered as she leaned into him. Jed held her close and nodded.
"Yeah, okay." He whispered before looking into her eyes and kissing her
passionately. She chuckled through the kiss as he leaned her down against the
bed and began to kiss her neck.
"Jed, it's almost time for dinner." She murmured.
"I got ten minutes." He replied softly before grasping her lips in his

Eric Knox closed the book and sighed. His wife was taking a short nap
before dinner, so he'd decided to try and get some reading done before he
went back to the University on Friday. He hated having to assign reading to
his students when he hadn't already done it himself. He squinted a little as
he heard familiar music drift through the walls. Rade must have gotten back.
He got to his feet and headed for her room.
*She's taking her time*
*Making up the reasons*
*To justify all the hurt inside*
*Guess she knows*
*From the smiles*
*And the look in their eyes*
*Everyone's got a feeling bout the bitter one*

Eric stopped as he saw Rade on her bed, staring at the wall with a blank,
almost somber look on her face. He crossed the room and switched off the
stereo, immediately getting his daughter's attention.
"Dad, I was listening to that." She said softly as she sat up and leaned
against the wall. He nodded.
"I assumed as such, as most people are listening to music when they play
it, but I need to talk to you." He replied. "Why didn't you come when I asked
you too?" He asked slowly.
"Because I wanted to see the White House and you didn't specify that
anything important was happening that required my presence." Rade replied
honestly as she watched her father from a short distance.
"We're going to be here three more days. You have plenty of time to see
the White House. In the meantime, I expect you to be obedient." Eric replied
softly but sharply.
"I may be your daughter, but I'm not your slave. We're gonna stay here
three more days, but I'm gonna be your daughter for sixty more years or the
like. You don't mind if I choose my priorities accordingly." She retorted.
"Don't get smart with me, young lady. You will not embarrass me during
this visit." Eric exclaimed, almost snapping.
"And what about you embarrassing me??" Rade retorted as she got to her
feet. "Why is it that I'm always the one who gets yelled at? I wanted to see
the White House. You wanted me to come along so that you could criticize me.
I'm sorry if I don't meet your standards."
"Watch it, Mary." Eric exclaimed as he got to his feet as well.
"Don't call me that. That's not my name." Rade said harshly.
"Well, it is on your birth certificate. Now we're having dinner with your
grand-parents at six-thirty, ten minutes from now. I want you to be polite
and stop being so sullen." He ordered.
"If I do, it'll be my own choice. I'll react to things the way they
should be reacted to." Rade retorted. "In the meantime, I'm almost seventeen
years old and you treat me worse than you treat Annie."
"Do not bring your sister into this. She has nothing to do with this
conversation." Eric snapped.
"She has a lot to do with it. I'm tired of being treated like I'm five
years old." Rade retorted.
"Then stop acting like you're five years old." Eric returned.
"Look who's talking!" Rade snapped and stormed out of the room. Eric ran
out after her but she was a young, limber teenager and was already halfway
down the hallway just as he reached the door. He watched her turn down the
stairs, her secret service agent right behind her. He cursed and kicked the
doorframe before looking back at his daughter's room. He walked to the stereo
and pressed play again, immediately starting the music.
*They're saying, momma never loved her much*
*And daddy never keeps in touch*
*That's why she shies away from human affection*
*But somewhere in a private place*
*She packs her bags for outer space*
*Now she's waiting for the right kind of pilot to come*
*(and she'll say to him) She's saying*
*I'm flying to the moon and back if you'll be*
*If you'll be my baby*
*Gotta ticket for a world where we belong*
*So would you be my baby*

Eric sighed and sat on the bed. He grabbed Rade's summer reading book and
flipped through it. It was a collection of essays by some woman he'd never
heard of before she'd gotten the assignment. He heard a soft click and looked
up to see his wife standing in the doorway with a tired but mournful look on
her face. He smiled weakly at her as she moved to sit next to him on the bed.
*She can't remember a time*
*When she felt needed*
*If love was red then she was colour-blind*
*All her friends they've been tried for treason*
*And crimes that were never defined*
*She's saying*
*Love is like a barren place*
*And reaching out for human faith is*
*Is like a journey I just don't have a map for*
*So baby gonna take a dive and push the shift to overdrive*
*Send a signal that she's hanging all her hopes on the stars*

Liz got up and walked to the stereo to switch off. Eric realized that the
song hurt her somehow, probably because the words somehow reflected the
emotional distance they had with their daughter. Would Annie be the same way?
Would she cross the bridge into teenagerhood and just become some alienated
rebellious individual? Rade used to be a playful, loving, energetic kid, just
like Annie. Now it felt like everything was a struggle with her and nobody
could win.
"Let's go. It's time for dinner." Liz said softly and led the way out of
the room. Eric put the book back on the bed and followed his wife.

TBC... .
Feedback? Comments? Plllleeeaassseeeee? It's like I'm a fairy... I need you
to clap for Batman!!!



Through The Cracks - 5



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