Huge thank you to Aviator39 for proofreading, brainstorming, and encouraging. Title is from "If the World Was Ending" by JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels. Enjoy!

"Mom! You have to wake up. Mom."

Elizabeth finally opened her eyes to see Alison hovering next to her bed, a hand gently shaking her shoulder.

"Hey, baby wha-what time is it?"

Alison smiled. "It's 11:00."

Elizabeth sat up quickly. "What?" She looked at her alarm clock. Sure enough, 11:07 to be exact. "I'm sorry baby, I must have been more exhausted than I thought. I was out late with friends last night."

"I know, spy reunion. But you have to get up, so we can get going."

"Right, we gotta go to...what are we doing today?" Elizabeth ran a hand over her face, trying to remember the plans they had made.

"You're taking me shopping for homecoming today. Remember?" Alison asked, a little mocking but good-natured.

"Right, right. Homecoming. Well why don't you make breakfast and I'll get ready to go. Is Jason up?"

"Yeah, he's playing video games or something. But I think the breakfast ship has sailed, Mom. How about I just make some coffee and we can grab lunch while we're out?"

Elizabeth nodded, pushing the covers off of her legs so she could get out of bed. "Sounds good."

Half an hour later, they were beginning to pull out of the garage, when Jason came out of the house, holding something up to the car window.

"Oh crap, my phone," said Elizabeth, realizing she had forgotten it in her rush. Alison rolled down her window to take it, but Jason didn't hand it over just yet.

"It wouldn't stop ringing, so I answered it," he said. "Some lady says it's the president."

Elizabeth reached for it. "PTA?"

Jason shook his head. "United States," he responded.

Alison rolled her eyes. "Well hang up. It's a prank."

"Just take it," he said to his mom. "She sounds serious."

Elizabeth sighed and was beginning to reach for it when, hearing police sirens, they all turned to look down the driveway. A presidential motorcade was heading for their house. They stayed completely frozen while the cars parked in a row and men and women in suits swiftly came out and opened a door. Elizabeth opened her door and stepped out of her SUV, while at the same time, President Dalton stepped out of his limousine. Somewhat stunned, she slowly walked toward him while her kids hung back.

"Bess!" He called, by way of greeting as she got close enough to hear him. "Is this a bad time?"

"You're joking," said Elizabeth in disbelief. She glanced around at the Secret Service agents who guarded every entrance to her small kitchen, and back at the president of the United States, her friend, who sat across the table from her. His face did not say that he was joking.

"I don't mean you're joking," she quickly backtracked. "But you can't be serious." His frown deepened. "Obviously you're serious," she said. "I just...why?"

"I recruited you for the CIA," he said. "I trained you as an analyst. I appointed you Station Chief at Baghdad. I know how you think. How you work. I trust you."

As the president stepped away to ask his agents for some privacy, Elizabeth breathed deeply. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"I wanted to nominate you right after I was elected," he continued. "I was talked out of my choice by...well-meaning advisors. Vincent Marsh was always running for office. You have no such ambition. You quit a profession you love for ethical reasons and for the sake of your family. That makes you the least political person I know." He smiled slightly. "You don't just think outside the box. You don't even know there is a box."

"Mr. President-" she started, but he cut her off.

"My advisors seem to think that's a problem, but I think it's just what the country needs."

"Mr. President," she said again. He finally paused to listen to her. "Due respect, I don't think my ethics and lack of political agenda are why your advisors talked you out of me. I was a divorced, single mother of two kids," she said bluntly. "And I'm still a divorced, single mother of two kids. That's what made me leave the Company, surely you understand that." It was a statement, but it sounded more like a question. She looked wide-eyed up at him, bewildered.

He sat down next to her, unfazed by her argument. "I believe I can effect real change in the world," he told her. "I want you to help me do that. I know you won't let me down.

She shook her head. "I'm sorry, sir. I have my family to think about. I have to say-"

He held up a hand before she could say the word. "I don't expect you to make a decision right now," he said. "Take the day. Talk to your kids. Think about it, and give me a call," he said, turning to leave the room. He paused, and looked at her one more time. "But I won't take no for an answer," he said with a smile.

Elizabeth stared after him as he left the kitchen. He wasn't just Director Dalton anymore. Her friend Conrad had just waltzed into her house and asked her to be Secretary of State. She watched him leave the house. He didn't shut the door behind him; he had agents to do that. She stared into her coffee mug until she heard the motorcade pull down the driveway, and the sirens faded away.

Alison and Jason must have been listening too, because as soon as the motorcade was gone they crept down the stairs. She had politely banished them to their rooms after they had both briefly greeted Conrad, but they must have decided it was safe to come back. They hovered in the doorway. Elizabeth smiled up at them. "Sorry about that, guys. Didn't really expect the president to drop by," she said, trying to seem casual.

The kids weren't fooled. "What was that about?" Jason asked.

Elizabeth stood, drank the rest of her coffee, and turned to put it in the sink. "Well, he wanted my opinion on a situation in Iraq," she said while she wasn't facing them. "Given my experience, he just wanted my perspective."

Alison and Jason shared a look. "Why didn't he call you?" asked Alison.

Elizabeth shrugged, walking past them into the living room. "Don't know. Guess it was a conversation he wanted to have in person."

"Okay," said Jason, "but he's the president of the United States. He doesn't go to you, you go to him. Why not summon you to the White House?"

"Mom, are you lying to us?" asked Alison. Elizabeth's heart sank.

"Oh my God," Jason said, staring intently at his mother. "You're working for the CIA again."

"Oh my God," Alison repeated.

"Jason," said Elizabeth firmly. "I'm not working for the CIA again."

"Then what's going on?" asked Alison. "Why did you look so freaked out when he was leaving?" She sat down on the couch, indicating she wasn't leaving without an answer. Jason quickly joined her.

"Okay," said Elizabeth, sitting on the chair opposite them. "I wasn't going to tell you, because I didn't want to freak you out. You probably heard that Vincent Marsh, the Secretary of State, died last night. The president asked me to be his new Secretary of State."

Her words hung in the air for a minute, but Alison broke the silence. "Mom! When were you going to tell us?"

"I don't know," Elizabeth replied. "Never?"

"Wait," said Jason, "so you're saying no?" He seemed a little relieved.

"You're not even going to consider it?" asked Alison, incredulous. "Mom, I know you. This is, like, your dream job. How can you say no?"

"Well, Ali-"

"Maybe she doesn't want to involve herself any further with a corrupt body of government," Jason suggested. "Just a thought."

"Well, that is definitely not the reason," Elizabeth said with half a smile. "But think about it for a second, guys. Do you really want to move to Washington, DC? Change schools? Leave the farm? And I would be working all day, staying late, I just- I can't justify doing that to guys."

Jason softened. "So, you're turning it down for us?"

"That's not very fair to you," said Alison.

"It's plenty fair. I'm a mom first. I did the serving-my-country thing." At the expense of my family, she thought to herself. "But right now," she said, smiling widely "I'm gonna do the driving-Alison-to-the-mall thing." She stood up, brushing away the tension of their conversation. "And you're going to do the modeling-homecoming-dresses thing. And tonight, maybe we can do the order-bad-Chinese-food thing."

Jason looked content, but Alison wasn't convinced. "Mom, are you sure?"

Elizabeth smiled. "He gave me a day to think about it, but I know my decision. I'll call the president tomorrow morning."

Later that day, when Alison and Elizabeth had returned home with, in Alison's words, "the absolute most perfect dress," Elizabeth went for a ride with Buttercup to clear her head. She still felt overwhelmed by what Conrad had offered her, but her choice remained clear. She had been putting her kids before herself for the past 8 years. This was another in a long line of situations where what she wanted wasn't important. She had to do what was right for her kids.

The sun was beginning to set when she got back to the house. "Hey, who's ready for dinner?" she asked as she made her way into the living room. Alison was sitting next to Jason, who was playing one of his video games. They both looked up when she entered, and Jason picked up the TV remote. Elizabeth watched in surprise as the screen went black.

"Well, that's never happened," she joked.

Her kids weren't smiling. "We need to talk," said Jason.

"Okay," she said, sitting. "I can't possibly guess what this is about."

Alison shifted in her seat. "Mom, we think you should take the job," she said simply.

"We think you should consider it," Jason amended.

"Fine," said Alison, "we don't necessarily want you to take it. We want you to do what you want to do.

Jason looked at his hands. He seemed a little reluctant to be a part of the conversation. "We talked about it. You're not really being fair to yourself."

Alison nodded. "It seemed like you dismissed the whole thing right off the bat. You just got like, the coolest job offer ever, and all you cared about was us."

Elizabeth smiled softly at her caring daughter. "Well, I have a job. And part of my job as your mom is to put you guys first. I can't always do what I want. I have to think about how my choices affect you guys."

"That's kinda depressing," said Jason.

Elizabeth chuckled. "Not to me."

Alison didn't seem convinced. "Mom, be honest. Do you want the job? Pretend we don't exist."

Elizabeth closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Pretending you don't stretch marks, I keep the money I spent on that dress today, and I probably have a dog."

Alison laughed, but pressed on. "Come on, I'm serious. I know it's complicated, and there's a lot to consider, but what does your heart say? Do you want to be Secretary of State?"

Elizabeth looked at Jason, and then back at Alison. "Yes."

Don't worry, Henry will show up in the next chapter. Let me know what you think my leaving a favorite, a review, or an ask on my tumblr: YesMadamePresident. Thanks for reading!