For disclaimer and notes, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Crys is overworked in India, especially when Pakistani troops are headed her direction. The Senior Staff is focused on the international crisis until Josh hears where the bombing is and puts two and two together and realizes Crys is in India. He and Sam demand an explanation.

~

Crystal and Rose watched the Pakistani soldiers chase off all the people venturing into the streets. Several of the soldiers had been killed when the CIA agents tried to flee the building. Crystal and Rose were the only two left, waiting in total silence and darkness for the four agents to return to the building. "Why did you stay?" Crystal asked her quietly.

"Why did you?"

"It's my job," said Crystal.

"That's not why."

"I'm responsible for everybody here right now. Truth be told, I'd rather stay here until all twenty-eight missing agents were found and risk dying than go home knowing those agents are gonna die. Of course my cousin is probably having a cow. Not to mention my boyfriend." Rose smiled.

"You have a boyfriend?" Crystal nodded.

"For a little over a year now." She removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes.

"You love him?"

"Very much so. He doesn't like what I do for a living, though."

"Why not?"

"He's afraid I'll die." She laughed lightly. "He was the one who convinced Robby to give me the White House liaison gig."

"How'd he manage that?"

"He's President Bartlet's deputy chief of staff." Even in the dark and with her glasses off, Crystal could see Rose's eyes bulge. "Now," Crystal said, slipping her glasses back on. "Why did you stay?"

"I don't know. You needed help."

"You could have been on an airplane by now, headed back for the States," Crystal said.

"And what's back there?" asked Rose. "Frozen TV dinners?"

"What about your family?"

"What family?"

"I'm sorry," Crystal said. Rose shrugged indifferently. Both of them turned their attention to the road below when they heard gunshots and yelling. Several Pakistani troops fell as three men came racing towards the building.

"Are they our guys?" Rose asked. Crystal shrugged.

"One way to find out," she said, checking her clip and racing to the front door. "Stay down," Crystal hissed. Rose found a hiding place behind a desk. A moment later, there was a pounding knock at the door. "Who is it?" she demanded.

"Jed Bartlet, lady, open up!" Crystal cracked a smile as she unlocked the door and opened it only wide enough to stick the barrel of her gun out.

"You don't sound like the President, buster."

"Agents Danvers, Austin, and Harmon." Crystal opened the door and pulled them inside.

"You guys okay?" Each nodded. "Where's Teddy?"

"On the way back. Ran into a couple scared American kids while looking for us," explained Austin.

"He was going to make sure they got out okay," Harmon added. Crystal glanced at Rose.

"All right, guys. Take off," Crystal said, handing them the keys to the last car they had. "You'll be met at the Chinese boarder and taken to safety. Rose, you go, too."

"I'm staying here."

"There are times to be uncooperative and there are times to follow orders like a good little CIA agent. Follow my order and get out of here."

"How are you going to get out of here?" Rose asked.

"Teddy and I may end up weathering the storm out here. No big deal. Get goin'."

"I'm staying." Crystal sighed. "If anybody should go, it should be you," Rose said. "You've got people waiting on you."

"Look, ma'am, I don't know if you know this or not, but you've got jets headed this way," said Danvers.

"What do you mean?" asked Crystal.

"The last thing we heard before leaving our post in the Indian Army," said Harmon, "was that Pakistan's jet fighters are about to start bombing."

"Go," Crystal told them. "Rose, this isn't optional."

"You can't hold off the Pakistan Army by yourself," Rose said. "If Teddy doesn't come back. You're going to need some help." Crystal sighed.

"Fine," she said. "Go," she told the three agents.

"Are you sure, ma'am?" asked Harmon.

"I'm the superior agent here, pal. You want to question me again?" Harmon glanced at Rose. "You wanna join the kamikazes, too?" Harmon started for the door. "Watch your backs, fellas," she said as they left. "And you, Rose," Crystal said, turning to her. "We're going to have us a *long* conversation about case protocol."

~~~

Sam sat in the Roosevelt Room trying not to go stir crazy. His worst fear was coming true. He was starting to change his tune, that perhaps ignorance really was bliss. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw Crystal as a little girl, looking up at him with her hoot owl glasses, asking him to read her a story or play a game with her. Over and over in his head, he heard Josh's words. "She is in India." He had been watching on the news all day, listening to the atrocities that were going on, accentuated by gunfire in the background. He wondered how he could tell his aunt and uncle.

Josh had been trying to get in touch with Rob Conrad for an hour. He was not willing to believe she was dead, not yet. "Give it a rest," Leo told him. "He's at the gate."

"He is?" asked Josh. Leo nodded.

"The President wants to speak with you, though."

~

Leo met Conrad as soon as he entered. "You've got to talk with Sam," Leo said. "I don't care what you tell him. He found out, though. I don't know how, but he found out."

"Found out what?"

"Where Crystal is."

"Where is he?"

"Roosevelt Room."

Sam didn't hear the door open. When he heard Conrad's voice, he got to his feet. "Sam?"

"Why?" Sam asked simply.

"I know you were at the compound earlier this week," Conrad said. "Is that when you found out?" Sam shook his head.

"Today."

"What do you want me to tell you?"

"I don't know."

~

Josh wandered into the Oval Office. C.J. and Toby were sitting on one couch, Bartlet the other. He slowly sat down next to C.J. Four days of skirmishes finally broke out into full-fledged war. The Indians were retreating into their country further, being chased back by the Pakistani ground troops and hounded from the air by bombing raids. U.S. military forces were still en route. "What kind of backlash are we looking at for sending in American troops?" Bartlet asked.

"Right now, none," C.J. said.

"Everybody's in shock that there's a war going on," Toby said. "This thing is only getting started, sir. I can almost guarantee you, though, that, in the next twenty-four hours, we'll be looking at some negative feedback."

"How much?" Bartlet asked.

"Moderate amount," said Toby.

"So long as C.J., here, plays up the fact that there have been some atrocities done before all this, we should be okay," said Josh.

"C.J., how has the media-" began Bartlet. Charlie and Leo entered the Oval Office.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, sir," Charlie said urgently.

"What's going on, Charlie?"

"Telephone call. It's Crystal."

"Crystal?" Josh asked eagerly.

"Get Rob Conrad. He'll want to hear this," Bartlet said to Charlie as he quickly crossed to the phone and answered it. "Crystal?"

"Mr. President," she said.

"Hold on; I'm going to put you on speaker phone," Bartlet said, noticing the hungry look in Josh's eyes. "You still there?"

"Yes, sir," she said.

"Crystal?"

"Josh!" she said.

"Are you okay?" asked Josh.

"For the moment, yeah, honey, I'm fine."

"What's going on; where you are?" asked Bartlet.

"It's. Where's Robby?"

~

Sam and Conrad were standing in the Roosevelt room, looking at each other, when Charlie came rushing up to them. "Excuse me, Sam, Director Conrad."

"What's up, Charlie?" asked Sam.

"Director Conrad, Crystal's on the telephone. President Bartlet is talking with her now."

"Thanks, Charlie," Conrad said as both he and Sam started for the Oval Office. C.J., Josh, Toby, and Leo were listening to Bartlet talk to Crystal.

"Sir, it's getting pretty bad." Crystal had to yell over the chaos in India. The reception was breaking in and out.

"Crystal?" asked Conrad.

"Robby!"

"What's going on?'

"Robby, it's awful. I've ordered everybody back. There's no point in staying; it's suicide." Josh felt his heart drop to his knees. "Most everyone is being smuggled across the boarder into China."

"Most everyone?" asked Conrad.

"There are three of us left."

"You're still in India?" Conrad asked in shock. Josh and Sam exchanged worried glances.

"I'm not about to leave anybody behind."

"They're *bombing* India right now."

"Yeah, we know," Crystal said. "They've been dive-bombing us for about an hour now."

"When are you three leaving?"

"We can't right now, Robby."

"Why not?" asked Sam. Crystal was silent for a moment.

"Sam?"

"Yeah, Crys."

"Why can't you leave, Crystal?" asked Conrad.

"Teddy Forsythe is out picking up some American citizens who missed the last plane out of here. Plus, I'm going to take down the HQ permanently."

"Forget the headquarters, Crystal. Get out of there!"

"We can't leave it behind, Robby. When India or Pakistan or whoever wins this thing happens to come through the city, they'll know we've been here."

"Crystal, do it. Just get out," said Josh.

"We'll get out, Josh, but not yet," she said. "Hold on," she said, noticing Rose motioning for her.

"Ma'am, the next flight group is headed this way." Everyone in the Oval Office could hear the conversation.

"Down to the basement, now!" she said. "Rose!"

"But, ma'am, the-"

"It's not worth it if we're all dead. C'mon!"

"Crys!" Sam said. C.J. placed a hand on his arm supportively.

"It's Teddy," said Rose.

"Get the door, then!" She lifted the phone back to her ear. "Robby, there's another wave of bombers this way. We've got to take cover."

"As soon as they're gone, Crystal, get out."

"What about the base?"

"Forget the damn base, Crystal!" ordered Bartlet.

"But, sir-"

"I mean it, Crystal," Conrad said.

"Do what he says, Crys. For once, follow an order without giving it a second thought!" said Sam. Everyone was silent after hearing a large explosion over the phone.

"Man alive, that was close," Crystal said.

"Crystal, take cover!" said Sam.

"Sam, Josh-" The line suddenly went dead.

"Crystal!" yelled Sam.

"What happened?" asked Bartlet.

"Something must've disrupted the connection on her end, sir," said Conrad.

"Get Fitz. See if there's been any buildings taken out," Leo said. Toby was already heading out to work on it. Sam was crushed, staring at the telephone. Josh's head was spinning. C.J. crossed herself before guiding Sam to the couch.

"Get her back," Bartlet told Conrad as he picked up the phone.

"I will, sir, if there's anything *to* get."

Stay tuned.

 

 

Come Back 2 Me - 8

 

 

 

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