Prologue

November 2008

"So is it everything you dreamed of?" Cyrus muttered to Fitz.

"It's still a little surreal." Fitz answered as he gazed around the plane that would soon be dubbed Air Force One just for the fact he was riding in it. Olivia gave a small smile at his fascination with what they had seen so far on their private tour. The Navy pilot who flew the plane had shown them the different rooms and places on the plane that would become his headquarters in the sky. A bedroom, bathroom, situation room, and even a small surgery room were only a small part of the plane. They had underestimated the size of AF1 and were amazed at how big and how durable it was to any eventuality. Olivia paused at a set of seats that had a wide space between them and a door that lead to the outside of the plane.

"Emergency exit?" She asked the pilot.

"No ma'am. When a President…" He paused an uncomfortable moment as if he were thinking on what to say and then gazed at Fitz. "This is the area that carries a Commander in Chief's casket in case…well it is usually reserved for any former or sitting president…sir."

Olivia felt a chill go down her spine and could sense the awkward silence in both Cyrus and Fitz as they understood the meaning and the implication. It wasn't every day where you saw the place that would carry your body to its final resting place and they all took in the significance of the moment.

But then Fitz gave a grin to the pilot and patted him on the back.

"Not using that for a long time."

The pilot seemed to be at ease by his words and they continued on their tour but Olivia still felt a chill at that spot on the plane. Fitz met her eyes and gave her a comforting smile and Olivia smiled back and felt her worries melt some. This was supposed to be a trip of relaxation and she was going to enjoy it. She was going to Fitz's ranch for the first time for a break after the election. It was no time to worry about things that may never happen.

Vienen del Cielo was waiting for them and she hoped it lived up to its name.


June 2010

Olivia was unsure of how long she waited with Cyrus in the small room they had set up for them so that the President's staff could have privacy and a place to sleep while he was in surgery and during part of his recovery. Gail Bowers, the President's doctor, had told them before she had rushed into surgery with the Egyptian doctors that they could not transport him to Air Force One when his surgery was over as his injuries were too severe and the risk of infection of his burns was too great. So they would have to settle in over the long haul and hope that he hadn't over strained himself by giving the speech. She also reassured them that she would do the best she could to save his leg which was in bad shape from everything she had observed.

Olivia sat in stunned disbelief. It was the first time she felt she had lost. That no matter what her cunning, what her expertise was, what game plan she had brought to the table, she had failed. And now Fitz was on the operating table fighting for his life and his leg and she felt an overwhelming sense of dread at the thought of him hurt so badly that he could lose his limb.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! She put her head in her hands and felt frustrated tears come to her. She felt helpless. Out of control. Lost. She should have never let him make that speech. She should have demanded he get the surgery done immediately. She should have. She should have. What would happen if she lost him? What would she tell his children? Mellie?

She felt a person sit down beside her and knew it was Cyrus.

"Kiddo? You okay?"

She shook her head no, her hands still in her face, and felt Cyrus embrace her. She leaned into his chest and cried. She couldn't help but feel the emptiness in the gesture.

It wasn't Fitz's arms.


July 1, 2010

It had been a sleep that had eluded her for weeks, but being in her own bed and the silence of the moment, lulled her into a peace she hadn't had for a long time. She had seen him and that had made things better even if she denied it. She had seen that he was getting better. Stronger. She knew he was putting up a bit of a brave front for her when he had visited over a week ago, but Olivia let Fitz have that peace of mind. He needed some confidence. Some assurance that she believed in him and his ability to get better. And she had needed to see him to make sure he was recovering, and even though she had berated him for coming to her apartment, holding him, kissing him, and talking with him had made her feel better as well.

The case was finally over and she was giving herself time to just sleep.

Then the phone rang.

"Shit." Olivia said as she turned over in her bed. She rubbed her eyes and then reached over to turn on the light.

"Pope." She answered with the gruffness of sleep in her voice.

"You were actually asleep?"

"Cy? What is it? Is he in trouble? What's wrong?"

"Calm down. Fitz is…doing well."

She didn't like the pause in his speech. "Are you sure?"

"He's doing as well as can be expected. His mother and father are here and his mother is doting on him as usual. Mellie and the kids are keeping him company and dinnerware hasn't been broken, so that is always a good sign."

"Is he still having nightmares?"

"Liv, he's fine. Don't worry about him."

She could sense he wasn't telling everything but didn't want to push him on it. If it was an emergency she knew he'd tell her but the thought that Fitz possibly wasn't doing as well as she thought he was disturbed her. She had hoped a period of recovery at his ranch would do him good but Cyrus avoidance made it clear he wasn't.

"Cy…"

"Listen to me, Olivia. He's going to be okay. We have a counselor here for him. He's doing physical therapy every day and he's starting to walk again. I'm not going to let anything bad happen to him. I need you to trust me on that."

"Okay." Olivia let it go, though not completely. "So if the President is doing well, why are you calling me?"

"It's about his father."