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
how y'all react to it.
ALSO: "Affirmation" belongs to Savage Garden and is not mine in any way.

The evening felt like a long one. Rade didn't talk hardly the whole time.
She was polite and had a smile on her face, but anyone who knew her knew that
something was still wrong. Jed's speech had touched her, but it had inspired
something in her things that she didn't understand, and the last thing she
needed was another thing that she didn't understand. The food was served and
eaten and then people got to their feet to mingle before the fireworks
started at ten. To Jed's dismay, Rade disappeared again, but Abbey patted him
on the back and told him everything would be okay. Jed didn't know how she
knew, but he trusted her to know everything, so he tried to relax.
Roughly thirty minutes later, the group of politicians and family members
and innocent workers were standing around the room as people talked and
laughed and chattered. It was nine o'clock and they had a half hour to kill
before they were whisked back out on the lawn. Music was being played for
those who dared to dance in front of watchful eyes. Charlie and Zoey were a
perfect match on the dance floor and even the President and the First Lady
showed they still knew how to cut a rug. A break was taken as they began to
chatter again and then a soft melody filled the room. The melody developed a
beat as a drummer joined in and all eyes in the room went back to the band on
stage as the music picked up tempo. Light applause filled the room as Rade
appeared. She smiled weakly and took the mike in her hand, her eyes blinking
across the room before meeting her father's. The look in his eyes gave her
the courage to say the first lines.
*I believe the sun should never set upon an argument*
She sang directly to her father.
*I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands*
*I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you*
*I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do*
A nod to her parents as her eyes brimmed.
*I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem(self-esteem)*
A smile as she wagged her finger playfully to her younger sister.
Annie giggled and nodded.
*I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone*
*I believe in karma, what you give is what you get returned*
Rade pointed to herself, a message to those she loved.
*I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned*
Leo looked across the room and saw Jenny standing next to the drink
table, watching the Bartlet granddaughter. He sighed and looked at his
daughter he was standing in the arms of Sam Seaborn, and he smiled.
*I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side*
*I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye*
As Leo looked away, Jenny's eyes floated across the room and rested
on him for only a second before following his gaze to their daughter.
*I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality*
*I believe that trust is more important than monagamy*
*I believe you're most attractive features are your heart and soul*
*I believe that family is worth more than money or gold*
Rade pointed to her grandfather. He smiled and hugged his wife
tighter as his heart swelled.
*I believe the struggle for financial freedom isn't fair*
*I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires*

Toby laughed quietly as Rade grinned with the last line and gestured
playfully to the people around the room. As Rade sang the chorus again, Jed
realized how much the song meant to his family. It was all about karma and
family and knowing what you've got while you had it. Rade was trying to tell
him something. She'd been trying to tell it to him all along. She still
wasn't happy. Not after the thoughts they'd exchanged at the picnic, or the
speech he made, and this song here now wasn't going to solve their problems
either. He snapped bac k to reality as the music seemed to swerve in tempo
and come back up.
*I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness*
Rade looked like she'd cry any minute, but she was holding her own.
*I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed*
She winked at Abbey who laughed.
*I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists*
She pointed to the sky as people chuckled.
*I believe in love surviving death into eternity*
She nodded to Jed as she finished the line and swung back into the
chorus with such energy the likes of which he'd never seen pour out of
her before.
*I believe in Karma, what you give is what you get returned*
*I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned*
*I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side*
*I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye*

The crowd broke out into applause as Rade finished the song. She
closed her mouth and took a deep breath. The applause continued as Rade shook
the hand of the band leader, thanked him softly and got off the stage. As she
got off, she walked up to her father and found herself being taken into a
bear hug. She hugged him back and tried not to cry. As her father let go, she
found herself being taken in by her mother, and the process repeated three
times more as Annie appeared to hug her sister, Abbey smiled at her before
grasping her tightly and then Rade found herself standing in front of her
grandfather who had tears in his eyes.
"Who taught you to sing like that?" He asked weakly. She smiled and
shrugged, caught up in her emotions. He pulled her to him and hugged tightly.
Looking around the room, he saw Toby smile and nod, Leo chuckle a little, his
wife grin and mouth the words 'I love you' and many politicians smiling
warm-heartedly. Jed chuckled as he thought of what an oxymoron that made.
"You're a good kid, Rade." He added softly as he looked her in the eye.
"It runs in the family, granddad." She replied softly. He nodded.
"Come on. Let's go see some fireworks." He announced loudly. The room
cheered and made way for the outdoors.

Leo stood in the background, several hundred yards away from the main
assembly. The stars were out tonight, and they could actually be seen because
everyone in the city had shut off their lights so they could see the
fireworks. Leo loved to look at the stars. So far the night had been
everything he'd expected it to be. It'd hurt him to see Jenny again and know
she didn't want to talk to him. But he'd enjoyed Rade's musical
entertainment, and the President's speech had been something of a surprise.
Still, Leo felt no happier than he probably would have if he'd stayed home to
stare at the sky.
"You know, I didn't want to come here." A voice exclaimed to his right.
He turned and looked at Rade as she approached him, trying to walk and look
at the stars at the same time. "My parents dragged me. I told them I wouldn't
get noticed and that I'd just slip through the cracks of a Presidential
holiday. In a way I was right, but in other ways, I was wrong." She added
before looking at him. "And you, sir, Uncle Leo, have been avoiding me, I
"Not intentionally, kiddo." Leo exclaimed as he hugged Rade gently. She
hugged him back and then pointed at the sky.
"Orion is looking particularly bold tonight." She said softly.
"Yeah. He's looking forward to the fireworks. He fears they're
competition for him." Leo replied softly.
"Why didn't you want to come here?" Rade asked. "Because of your troubles
with Jenny?" Leo looked at her, a little surprised. But then he remembered
that there were times when Rade had an uncanny sixth sense, one that only
seemed to work with him.
"Yeah." He admitted.
"You know, I was thinking, and I realize that the reason I get so hostile
with my grandfather is that I'm really angry at him for running for president
and even angrier that he won." Rade said softly as she looked at Leo. He
looked back. "I've never told anyone that before, but I'm telling you because
I know it was your idea that he run." She explained.
"Why does it make you angry? I should think you'd be happy for him." Leo
"Because no one talked it over with me first. No one made sure I was okay
with it. I've always been Governor Bartlet's granddaughter and that was hard
enough. Now I'm *President* Bartlet's granddaughter and my life is a living
hell. I wish someone had just sat down and said 'Rade, this is what could
happen; are you okay with that?' and maybe I would have said yes or maybe no,
but I would have known." Rade explained as she looked up at the stars again.
Leo listened carefully and started to realize that she was right. Not only
should someone have done that with her, but he should have done that with
Jenny. Maybe then they wouldn't have had the problems that split them apart.
"You're right. Someone should have." He said softly. "But I think that in
the long run, your granddad is going to do good. You heard him tonight. He
believes in you. You're not invisible."
"Anymore." Rade added before meeting his eyes. "All my life, Leo, I've
felt invisible. I've felt like the one who just slips through the cracks in
the sidewalk. Now you tell me. What am I?" She asked as a tear rolled down
her cheek. He reached up and wiped it away.
"You know, all *my* life I've been the second gunner. I put other people
before me. I put Jed before myself. I put this country before my marriage.
I'm not sorry with where I am now, but I'm not thrilled. Now *you* tell *me*:
What am *I*?" He asked softly. Rade chuckled.
"You're Leo McGarry, the kindest guy in the world. The guy who would
sacrifice his own happiness just to keep his best friend happy by coming to
some stupid picnic." She said softly with a smirk.
"And you are Rade Bartlet Knox, a good, strong kid with pure intentions
and a heart of gold. The kind of kid who would sacrifice her own happiness
just to make her grandfather look good on national television." Leo replied,
reciprocating the smirk. She laughed and nodded. He grinned and hugged her
again. As she hugged him back, fireworks shot into the air and exploded into
brilliant bursts of light and color. Rade looked up and pointed.
"Orion's got his competition." She said softly. Leo nodded and stood
there with her. Across the lawn, Jed pointed to the latest firework.
"That one's aliminum." He called out.
"Actually, sir, that was hydrogen." Toby corrected him.
"Sir, it was hydrogen!"
"Boys. Shut up and watch the fireworks."
"Yes, dear."
"Yes, Mrs. Bartlet."

TBC... ..
Feeeedback?? Comments? Pleeease?



Through The Cracks - 9



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