See disclaimer, notes and standard Stacy-blame in Part 1.

Fall from the Sky (2/?)

CJ tried to reach Leo from the airport, but the call didn't go right
through and she and Toby had to board the plane. They sat quietly in
their assigned seats. There was only one other person in first class
and he put on his headphones and appeared to go to sleep immediately.

Toby exhaled loudly as they became airborne.

CJ looked at him. "Do you know anything more than what you've told

Toby ran his hand over his head. "There are unconfirmed reports of
survivors," he said quietly.

"That's good."

"Who knows?"

"Now is not the time for your trademark negativity. You've got to
hold on to the possibility."

"I don't know that I can."

"You have to."

"Is that an order?" She thought he almost smiled.

"*I* would never presume to order *you* to do anything," CJ said, and
this time Toby did smile for a nano-second.

"I don't think I ever apologized for that remark," he said, referring
to when he had ordered her--as her boss--to hold a press conference
outside of the briefing room. An event which had had disastrous

CJ waved her hand in the air. "You still haven't, but that's not
important right now."

"We were just starting over, CJ. David and me. We didn't really
speak for years--not about anything important. After the Shuttle and
the shooting... We still haven't managed to see each other."

"Wait, that was months ago."

He shrugged. "We're both busy. He was flying up for some conference
in DC and was going to stay a few days extra. We had plans for
dinner next Saturday. Now..." He dropped his head in to his hand.

CJ reached out and took his free hand in hers, squeezing it
tightly. "Survivors, Toby."

"Unconfirmed reports. I deal in facts."

She released his hand and retrieved her purse, taking a credit card
from her wallet and inserting it into the phone panel, causing the
phone to pop out. She dialed a number listed on a piece of
paper. "Leo?"



"Where are you?"

"Up in the air. In more ways than one."

"How's he doing?"

She looked at Toby. His lips were moving, but he wasn't making a
sound. "He's praying."

"Let him know we all are."

"I will. Just a sec." She unbuckled her seatbelt and moved to the
other side of the cabin. "You know, someone could have told me I
wasn't returning on official White House business," she hissed. "I
am totally unprepared for this. What..."

Leo cut her off. "CJ, we're not on a secured line. Do you
understand me?"

"Yes, Leo. What *can* you tell me?"

"There are survivors. It's unknown as to how many, and identities
haven't been completely established. They crashed at Dulles. It's
closed so your plane has been re-routed to National--Reagan--
whatever. Coop's going to be there with the President's limo to pick
you up. He'll have directions on where to take you. Don't let Toby
bully him in to doing something else."

CJ looked over to where Toby was sitting. "I don't think he could
bully a poodle right now, Leo. He doesn't seem much like our Toby."

"It's good you're with him, CJ. Take care of him. Call us when you
get to the West Wing."

"Thanks, Leo."

Toby looked up when he heard her return. "Leo?"

"Yes. He said to tell you they're all praying, but there's really
nothing new." She replaced the phone.

"Of course there's not. There's nothing you can do, CJ. I know
you're tired. Why don't you try to get some sleep?"

"I will if you will."

"I can't."

She put her hand on his arm. "Then we'll just sit here and do what
we can. You say your prayers and I'll say mine. We'll land about
4:00 p.m. We'll know more then. And you'll get through it no matter
what it is. Just hold on."

He took her hand in both of his. "Thanks for coming, CJ. The
President was right. I couldn't have taken this flight by myself."

To be continued...

Fall From the Sky - 3



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