Demons: Part Five
Disclaimer: Located in Part One
Warning: Violence. Turn back now.
The White House - The Oval Office Monday, 1: 31 PM
A stunned silence hung in the room, no one quite willing to break it, as if they remained quiet, none of them would have to face the sad reality that waited for them. But then a few agents shifted, and a few more began murmuring to each other about follow-up procedures and the failed signal tracing.
Leo had stopped his restless movements next to Toby's couch, and suddenly, as the room began to move again, it seemed that his legs could no longer support him and he dropped down to sit hunched over next to the Communications Director. His eyes were wide and he studiously avoided looking at either Josh or CJ, instead focusing his gaze on his hands as he wrung them together.
"How…" Jed finally mumbled in shock, his face ashen. "How did this happen?" he asked of no one. He turned slowly to Butterfield again. "How did we let this happen?"
The senior agent shook his head sadly and turned away from the imploring gaze to speak with his agents. Jed stood shakily, nervously smoothing down his old Notre Dame sweatshirt. "We don't know that he's dead."
"This could be one of Cruz's head games to make us think he killed him, to throw us off," he continued insistently.
Finished giving his men directions, the senior agent stepped up to the President's side. "Sir, I think it's best that we believe what we heard. I'd like to coordinate a search with the FBI for Mathew Cruz, and Mr. Seaborn's body - " He stopped when Josh made a strangled noise and fled the room.
CJ gave them all a weary look before she stood to chase after him, and as she exited the room, Toby was short to follow.
Turning to face Ron angrily, the President could feel his hands shaking with the need to lash out. "Believe what you want Agent Butterfield. But I'm not giving up on him. You don't know Sam Seaborn. You couldn't possibly. But I do. I know that wherever he is he's fighting. And as long as he keeps fighting, I won't stop searching for him if I have to go door to door personally. Do you understand me?"
The senior agent nodded reluctantly and directed his men to head back for their briefing room where they could begin to coordinate their search. Finally he too left, leaving the President and the Chief of Staff alone together.
"Do you want to go check on the others?" Jed asked quietly, his exhaustion seeping into his voice.
But Leo was shaking his head. "If it's all right with you, I'd like to stay here and watch over things, Mr. President," was his response. Jed gave him a grateful smile.
They fell into a deep silence, losing themselves in their thoughts. The fresh memory of Sam's haggard voice and his screams haunted both of their minds, tormenting them anew.
"I'm so tired of having nothing to do!" Jed suddenly shouted, banging a fist down on his desk, making some pens rattle in their cup. "I'm the most powerful man in the world! I have all the resources of the country at my fingertips yet I CAN'T SAVE ONE OF MY OWN MEN!" He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to calm down, but it wasn't working. The rage continued to heat his blood.
"They told me I was doing the right thing. Everyone said that as much as it hurt to do it, they would have done the same. And I let myself believe that. I told myself that allowing that man be put to death was the right thing to do. I convinced myself that no one else would be made to suffer because of him." He laughed mirthlessly, not even noticing the tears that now streaked down his face. "God how I was wrong. Everyone was. And now Sam's paying that price."
Wearily, he gazed at the seal in the middle of the floor. "I remember when I first met him. He seemed so young… so innocent, which was so odd in itself, him being a very well known lawyer. There was energy in him that never seemed to stop, and I remember thinking to myself 'Nothing can stop this kid'. Was I wrong?" He received silence as his answer. "God Leo," Jed whispered, his voice hitching slightly as he came to take a seat next to his Chief of Staff. "Tell me I'm dreaming. Tell me that'll I'll wake up soon and there Sam will be, right in the middle of an argument with Toby, or tripping over his own feet. Tell me everything will be normal again."
Hanging his head, Leo reached up and blindly lay an understanding hand on his friend's drooping shoulders. "I'm more sorry then you'll ever know, that I can't tell you any of those things. But I wish I could. Lord, I wish I could. Just as much as you I wish I could walk out there and see Sam trying to save face with my daughter…" he trailed off and his head rose.
Jed saw the look on his face. "Would you like me to be there when you tell Mal?" he asked gently. But Leo shook his head.
"No. I think I should do it alone. As much as she'd never admit it, I think she cared about him more than she ever let on. She'll take this hard."
They shared a sigh before Jed spoke again. "I'll have Mrs. Landingham call Abbey's staff and get them to arrange for an early return. She'll want to know and to be honest with you, I need her here with me."
The White House - Josh's Office Monday, the Same Time
Josh stormed into his office like a hurricane, almost ripping the door off its hinges, and sending it swinging back again to slam with a large 'boom'. He rushed towards his desk, and in one sweeping motion, he cleared the surface, sending everything crashing to the floor. Panting, he spun around looking for something else to break, and found himself staring face to face with CJ and a confused Donna.
"Get out," he growled menacingly. He wasn't mad at them, but he the man he was mad at wasn't within reach and he was afraid that he might take his anger out on the two women.
CJ just shook her head and stepped closer; he could see tears pooling in her eyes. "Josh. I won't let you be alone. Not now," she murmured faintly, stepping forward again. She was in touching distance and she reached forward to lay a warm hand on his elbow. "You're hurting. Let me help."
It was his turn to shake his head as he stepped away from her and moved to sink bonelessly onto his couch. "You can't help me CJ. You can't bring Sam back. You can't turn back time and stop that sick-"
"What happened to Sam?" Donna had entered the room as well, and had closed the door against prying eyes. She stood beside his desk quietly, her entire stance wary. He didn't blame her. His anger was like a low-lying cloud cover in the office, as was his grief.
He couldn't answer so he turned his head away from her to avoid her eyes. Facing her was something he couldn't do right now. He wasn't strong enough. But CJ covered him as usual. "Sam was abducted by a… a madman. We were on the phone with him when… when he… he might of killed him." Her voice started out strong, but it gradually became weaker until it choked on the word 'killed.'
Finally the tears fell from CJ's eyes and she too dropped down to sit on the couch. Her grief was finally made known.
Donna was in disbelief, shaking her head, her brow drawn together in horrific astonishment. "I don't believe you," she whispered. "You have to be lying." She didn't give them a chance to answer before she blew out of the office.
Unknown Location Monday, the Same Time
Smirking in satisfaction, Mathew Cruz stepped over the convulsing body of his prey, and entered the empty living room to retrieve what he had left gather. He lifted the medic kit in one hand and the bag of vials in another. Turning back, he re-entered the kitchen and continued on down the hall to the basement.
"It couldn't have gone better if I tried."
END Part Five.