AN: Hi all. So I'm on Christmas Break from work, so I plan to get some writing done! This is just my rambling for what may have happened after The Greater Good. Please let me know your thoughts on this, I wasn't sure where it was heading but I just had to get out something - their phone call was just so heartbreaking. Also I wanted to exlore a little of Henry & Conrads relationship - Henry seems to not be afraid of him...so this is the result. Enjoy.
His blood was boiling. He pleaded with Conrad, but it was too late. He knew it would be. But he was so close. If they had just gotten there one minute earlier, the Russians wouldn't have been able to grab him at all. All he could think of was Dmitri's face, pleasantly waiting for him, the one person he trusted. Then he got snatched up. Even if they ever did get him back, Dmitri would never trust him or anyone else again.
He hastily texted Elizabeth. "Going to the airport. I need some space. See you at home. Xo"
No matter how angry he was, he never ended a text without Xo.
Elizabeth sighed when she got the text as she laid awake, alone in their hotel bed. She felt terrible for Henry. She felt horrible they had to sacrifice Dmitri. But it wasn't her call and she had to fall in line. If it was up to her her, they would have come clean. Not only to save him, but because Americans deserved the truth. She understood his anger and frustration and also his need to be alone. He was doing a lot of that lately; keeping his feelings to himself. She knew he would come around, but she hated being unable to comfort him. Most of all she hated that he didn't seem to want her comfort.
"I understand. Love you xo."
Over the PA system of the airport came the final boarding call for the 9am to DC. Henry had plenty of time to think during his 10 hours at the airport. He did a lot of thinking while he waited. The sorrow in her voice was loud and clear as he replayed her voicemails. He had replayed them several times. He wasn't sure why. But it made him question why he was sitting at the airport, without her. Why was he being such a jerk? It was not her fault that Dmitri was captured. He knew it must have been difficult for her to agree with Conrad. He knew she didn't have a choice. It wasn't her choice. Her expression last night as he rambled on gave it away. She was powerless to stop it and she was riddled with guilt.
Suddenly so angry at himself for treating her badly, he got up and left the airport, hailing a cab. He hoped they hadn't left the hotel yet so he could catch her and ride home with her and apologize.
He tried dialing her. "Come on baby, pick up." he begged. But it went to voicemail.
Conrad offered Elizabeth reassuring smiled as she slid into the car. He knew she was calling Henry. He knew it was hard for her. He'd put her in a terrible position even offering Henry that DoD job. But he was the President, and Henry was good at his job - as was Elizabeth. He often put that over his personal relationship with them, he had to - it was part of his job.
"Henry will come around, Bess." Conrad told her. After all, they were friends and he knew Henry well. Henry never could manage being upset with Elizabeth long. He admired their marriage.
Elizabeth turned to him. "I know. It's just hard for him, you know."
Before another sentence could be completed a loud bang went off. Elizabeth turned in fright and saw a fire outside her car window. She froze as shots continued to be fired and security scrambled to get the leaders out.
"Get down!" Conrad yelled and pushed her down as he crouched down as low as possible as the driver screeched the tires on the way out of the chaos. Their security vehicles in front and behind them blared their sirens as they sped away from the exposure.
"Move, Move!" The agents shouted as they drove quickly. .
When the car had turned the corner one of the President's security guys turned and asked, "Everyone okay?"
Conrad scooted back to the seat, taking a deep breath and urged Elizabeth up. "Bess, you okay?" he asked, touching her back.
She remained crouched down her head covering her ears. "Bess?" his voice was concerned.
Conrad heard her mumbling, he couldn't make it out, but he heard her say "stay down".
"We should get the medic." Conrad said to his agent, after noticing blood on her hairline as he tried to get her to sit up. He reasoned she must have smacked her head on the door on her way down. He dabbed at her wound with his hankie. "Bess? Elizabeth?" he tried to no avail.
Agent Brooks spoke into his microphone. "POTUS secure. Madam Secretary is secure but needs the medic."
Frank immediately responded from his vehicle behind her. "Is she having a panic attack?" Frank had been with the secretary the longest and he knew about her PTSD.
"She also appears to have a head injury." Agent Brooks said.
"Try and calm her down. And call Dr. McCord." Frank ordered as the vehicles were secured at the private airport.
As Henry's cab pulled up to the hotel his breath caught in his throat as he saw the fire and smoke. "Oh God!. What the hell?" he said as he hopped out of the cab and tried pleading with anyone to see if Elizabeth was okay. Why did he leave?
He tried not to panic as he dialed her phone. It went to voicemail. "Elizabeth, please pick up." he begged. He held onto hope that they had left for the airport before this happened.
As he dialed her a second time his phone beeped in ear, signaling an incoming call. "Hello?" he said frantically, not recognizing the number.
"Dr. McCord. It's Frank."
"Oh Frank! Thank god. Are you - are you okay, is Elizabeth-"
"Where are you sir?"
"At the hotel. It looks like there was an explosion, tell me where you are….do you have….is…'
"Dr. McCord. Elizabeth is okay. We have her and President Dalton. We got out just after the explosion hit. We're on our way to the plane. Can you meet us there?"
"Yes, absolutely. Oh Thank God. Thank you Frank." Henry said in relief as he scurried down a nearby road to hail a new cab.
"Sir...I've been told your wife is having a panic attack. She's in the car with President Dalton. Do you know if she had her medication with her."
Henry's heart sank. She hadn't had a panic attack in a long while. She was doing so well. He wasn't sure if she had packed her medication. She'd only taken it once or twice since Iran. "Oh gosh….if she had it it should be in her purse. Honestly Frank, she may have left it at home."
"Thank you sir. I'll have them check her bag."
Meanwhile in the car Dalton had managed to get Elizabeth to sit up although she still gasped for breath. Her heart was racing. His agents had searched her purse and could not find her xantax, so Conrad patted her knee and tried to calm her until they arrived to the plane, where there was always a medic on board.
When they arrived, the medic had been waiting on board the aircraft. They laid Elizabeth on the sofa on Air Force One and immediately covered her face with an oxygen mask as they monitored her vitals. "Everything seems to be okay, but her heart is racing. Once she calms down it should return to normal."
Conrad felt terrible. Russell briefly told him about her PTSD, but this was the first time he'd seen her lose her cool.
The doctor gave her a shot to calm her, since she was too frantic to swallow down a pill.
"Bess, just try and calm down. It's over now. We're going home." Conrad tried to soothe her.
The security team below was giving Henry trouble as he ran toward Air Force One. "Sir! Sir!" they called.
But Frank ran to them. "Let him go, it's the Secretary's husband." The men stood down and Henry ran up the stairs two at a time.
"Elizabeth!" he called, frantically searching and saw her laying down a mask covering her face. Her eyes widened when he came into her view and she pulled the mask down tiredly.
"Henry…." she gasped, "What are you…"
"Shhh baby." he said gently, as Conrad moved aside and let Henry sit beside her. "It's okay. I'm here now." She reached for the mask again. "No baby. Keep it on and take deep breaths. You're okay. I'm here now." he said softly, stroking her hair.
He saw her eyes give in and she focused on her breaths. The doctor took notice of her heart rate slowing and smiled.
"I'm sorry I left. It wasn't your fault and I shouldn't have taken it out on you. I know you did your best."
Reaching for his hand, she squeezed it tightly and nodded, letting him know she understood and was forgiven. He smiled softly as he gazed down at her, squeezing her hand back and kissed her forehead.
Within a few minutes of Henry being there, she was calm again and she was able to pull the mask off her face and breathe normally on her own. Henry handed her a bottle of water immediately and she drank quickly, while the doctor cleaned the small cut on her hairline and bandaged it up. "You should be okay now M'am. But I'd like you to rest during the flight, since the oxygen levels are decreased up here. I suspect your head is pounding from the bump?"
"I can give you a pain pill. It's a high dosage, so it will help you sleep during the flight too. If you want?" The doctor offered.
Elizabeth opened her mouth to protest but Henry piped in. "Babe, just take it. You know you the importance of rest after you…" he pleaded with her. He was right. Dr. Sherman always insisted on rest following a panic attack to prevent another from happening the same day. Henry was sure the President would be receiving information on the explosion on their journey home, and he didn't want Elizabeth to hear and get worked up again. Especially when he knew it most likely meant a few late nights re-figuring the peace deal they just brokered. It dawned on him that Dmitri's life may have been sacrificed for nothing.
He quickly shook those feelings away as Elizabeth agreed to the pill. She swallowed it and rose to her seat as the doctor cleared her for travel and the plane was prepared for takeoff.
An awkward silence enveloped the cabin as the President sat across from Elizabeth and Henry on the plane, buckled in until the plane reached cruising altitude. Henry's face was a mixed bag of emotions; relief that Elizabeth was okay following whatever the hell happened at the hotel, sadness for Dmitri and disappointment in the President.
Elizabeth had just looked exhausted. Exhausted from the panic attack. Again, world peace had almost cost her her life and the explosion sent her right back to Iran.
Conrad stared at the couple before him with his best poker face. He knew they were not pleased with him. He knew Henry especially was angry for turning in Dmitri. He understood Henry's point of view, and until yesterday he would have never thought he'd ever go against an asset. But he was the President of the most powerful nation on earth, the choices he faced were never easy. He glanced down reading a few texts from Russell.
"We're getting reports Ostrev was killed in the blast. They think she was the target."
"FWD: From Jane Fellows: Henry McCord's resignation."
He watched as Henry covered Elizabeth's hand as she tried to relax into her seat, offering her as much comfort as he could.
As soon as the plane reached the proper altitude, Elizabeth stood and mentioned she was going to go lie down in the bedroom and Henry rose to follow her - wanting to hold her while she slept in case there was a nightmare.
"Feel better Bess." Conrad said kindly. "Henry, can I have a few minutes."
He swallowed, urging Elizabeth to go without him and get settled. "Sure. I'll be right in babe."
Henry walked back, his hands in his pocket.
"Henry, I got a copy of your resignation." Conrad said.
"What about it?"
"I told you I was sorry about Dmitri. I agreed with all of your points."
"It's not about that." Henry's tone was frustrated and Conrad gave him a look. "Okay, it's not entirely about that…"
"Henry we need you. What can I do to change your mind? Are you unhappy about Jane? I can get you another handler….."
"This isn't about Jane! It's about Elizabeth...it's about us." he said, his blood boiling again.
Conrad glared at him, waiting for an explanation.
"It's...look at me Conrad, I'm a mess. I can't keep secrets from Elizabeth. It's killing me and straining our marriage. We risked prison twice to foil two attempts at world war 3, once with Iran, and now with Russia. And you didn't listen to Elizabeth either time until it was too late. She almost died in Iran, and you wouldn't even back her up at the congressional hearing….and this Russia mess - if you had just listened to her before making that speech and cyber attacking, we wouldn't be in this mess! Dmitri wouldn't be god knows where and we wouldn't be having this peace summit where we were all almost blown to pieces... Conrad I don't know who you are anymore." he shouted
His raised voice made it into the next room and Elizabeth had snuck out, listening in shock with tears in her eyes as Henry chewed out the President. She couldn't disagree with his points, but she was shocked he was so emotional lately.
"I'm sorry Henry." Conrad said softly.
"You're sorry?" Henry repeated. "Sorry isn't going to fix PTSD. Sorry isn't going to help Dmitri….sorry isn't…." he continued unable to even finish his thought he was so upset.
"Henry you quit?" Elizabeth said softly and both men turned to notice her presence.
"Elizabeth, baby, go lay down. This doesn't concern you." Henry pleaded, not wanting to bring her into this. It was between him and Conrad.
"It most certainly does. And for the record I don't need you defending me to my boss. I am a big girl and I can defend myself." she said.
"I know sweetheart."
"Although I appreciate you doing so, and I can't disagree with anything you said, this is not the time or the place." Elizabeth said, trying to end the argument.
"No this might be the only time I can talk to him without Russell in his ear, or anyone else…."
Elizabeth sighed, giving up and sat down in the chair.
"Conrad - you hand picked Elizabeth for this job. She is doing amazing, she has been right about everything. She won't quit. But I will. You need to start listening to her...to us. If you want me to stay on with DoD, Elizabeth and I need to have full security clearance to discuss and share information."
"Deal." Conrad agreed
"And I need a break. No assignments for a while…."
"Fine. Anything else?"
Henry swallowed, he was shocked Conrad just agreed to his terms. He shook his head, unable to speak.
"Look. I agree with you both. And I'm sorry for causing you problems. You are right that I should have listened to Elizabeth the first time, especially about Russia. I can see now that you two sharing information is beneficial, so I'll make sure you have access to whatever you need. Now Bess, please go lay down."
"Yes sir." she said, getting up.
"You too." Conrad directed to Henry.
He nodded politely at him as he stood. "Thank you Conrad."
Elizabeth changed into one of Henry's comfortable sweaters and her pajama pants before laying on the bed, wrapped in her husband's arms. She took a deep breath and tried to close her eyes, willing sleep to come as a result of the drugs.
Henry brushed his lips on her forehead. "That's it, close your eyes my love."
"Henry…." she whispered. "I'm really sorry about Dmitri."
"I know sweetheart. I'm sorry I treated you the way I did. This job is just….it's making me crazy."
"I understand. I do. I'm just glad you recognize it and did something about it. I have to admit, it was kind of sexy - you being all macho defensive…."
He stifled a laugh. "Baby I'll always defend you - you know that. Even though, yes you are capable yourself and you don't like me raining on your strong woman routine."
She punched him playfully. "Sometimes I like it."
"I'll keep that in mind."
She looked up him seriously, "You are my hero, you know that right?"
He smiled at her, kissing her softly. His male pride always swelled when she said that. "I love you."
"I love you too." she promised, finally allowing herself to relax. She nodded. "I forgot how exhausting these panic attacks are…."
He stroked her hair. "Just rest darling. No nightmares okay?"
She soon fell into a light rest and Henry held her tight, so thankful she was okay and back in his arms. So thankful the secrets of their jobs would be behind them for good.