When the President Calls

Chapter 10

Thursday April 19th, 2008
Waldorf, Maryland
Peters’ Residence
8:43 a.m.

When Sara finally woke up, she rolled over reaching over to John’s side of the bed only to find it empty. Sitting up she shrugged before figuring he was already up and threw the covers back. She checked on the boys, finding only Johnny she figured that Mikey was with John before continuing on her path to check on the girls, both still sound asleep. It wasn’t until she ran a hand down her shirt and realized the bump wasn’t there that the fear settled into her mind and heart. Rushing downstairs she looked and didn’t see John or Mikey anywhere, John’s guitar was where it always was…taking the back stairs to the private library next to her and John’s room, she finally collapsed when she saw the flag there in its case.

Curling up on herself she cried until she was nearly sick… It had all been a dream…


Monday May 12th, 2008
Waldorf, Maryland
Peters’ Residence
9:45 a.m.

A month later Jen was released from the hospital, under the condition that she stay with someone. Given the choice of staying with her parents in her house, or with Sara and the girls in theirs... she took Sara.

“Hey, you okay?” Sara asked once they were in the house and everyone else had been sent home.

“I’m fine, Gina,” Jen said as she eased herself down onto the sofa.

“You sure? Want something to drink?” Sara countered with a smile.

“Are you going to be like this for the next four months?” asked Jen.

“No, just wasn't sure just what one is suppose to say,” Sara chuckled. “But, I am in need of something with chocolate; you want some while I'm in there?”

“I would kill for some chocolate and a glass of juice if you don’t mind,” replied Jen as she laid her head on the back of the sofa, allowing herself to sink into the piece of furniture.

“Hershey kisses and juice it is,” Sara grinned before heading into the kitchen. Returning a few minutes later she dropped a bag of candy in her lap before handing her the glass. “Tired?”

“Exhausted,” admitted Jen. “It’s amazing how tiring sitting in a hospital bed for a month can be.”

“I bet,” Sara agreed. “Want to go get some sleep and I'll wake you for dinner?”

“I feel like I’ve been sleeping for a month, Gina, besides I’ve got my chocolate, I’m good for now,” Jen said popping a Hershey kiss in her mouth.

“Fair enough,” Sara chuckled. “So, how are you doing?”

“About as well as can be expected I guess,” replied Jen quietly. “I’ve kept myself busy for so long I don’t know what to do with myself.”

“Welcome to the insane life of having nothing to do,” Sara teased. “But hey, you're going to have tons to do soon.”

“Trust me, Gina, if I could I’d be back at work as we speak,” commented Jen.

“I know you would, Sis. But it's not good for you or the little ones,” Sara countered softly.

“You don’t understand, Gina. Ihaveto keep going, keep myself busy because if I don’t, if I stop, then…”

“Sis, you're going to have to deal with things. You know I'm going to be here but I can't walk you through every step of the way. You need to deal with some of this stuff now because in four months max you're going to not have time to think let alone deal with stuff...”

“I knowthat Gina, and believe it or not I was actually starting to deal with Mike’s death while we were in Vegas. Nick…he was helping me just by being there and holding me while I cried even though he had no idea why I was crying,” commented Jen quietly as she ran a hand through her hair in frustration.

“Oh Sis...” Sara whispered. “Speaking of Nick...” she prodded gently.

“What about him?”

“Jen...unless you have just found a way to disprove the entire basic belief of the Catholic church, then I think there's something you're going to have to tell him eventually, Sis,” Sara countered with a slight smile.

“I’m not going to ruin his life, Gina,” argued Jen.

“And how would this be ruining his life, Jen?”

“Instant family with a woman he knew barely a week and one that spent most of her time crying when she wasn’t in public? Gina can you honestly tell me he would want that? Besides, Detective Brass was right. I’m damaged goods. What man in their right mind would want me? I destroy everything I touch,” Jen said sadly.

“No, God damn it!” Sara hissed before sending Jen an apologetic look. “I'm going to kill that man...I want you to listen to me...you Jennifer Jacqueline Garrison, are not damaged goods. I used those same words with your brother and you know what he did? He told me the same thing I'm telling you now. And Girl, if I'm not damaged goods with my childhood...you're not even close to touching that pedestal with a 100 foot pole.”

“Gina, it doesn’t matter if I believe it or not, because Nick will. My God Gina, he was picking up pieces every night as I broke down and he never understood why. It won’t take Detective Brass much to convince him I’m damaged goods and just trying to trap Nick by claiming I’m carrying his children,” argued Jen.

“Listen to me,” Sara began shaking her head. “I knew Nick once, I mean really knew him. None of them knew me; even Grissom who had met me years before I met the others...but as little as they knew about me, I knew them. And the man I knew Nick to be, would not judge a person based on a few days, because he wouldn't want someone to judge him based on a few days acquaintance. I'll also admit that he may have changed in the last few years, but one thing I will be surprised to have seen change, would be how he feels about family. Nick is from this huge family, Girl, five sisters and a brother, and he's the youngest. Can you imagine growing up like that?” Sara asked with a smile.

Standing up she stood in front of the TV and rolled her eyes. “Now you know he's from Texas right and of course has this big family. I never got names but he grew up with horses and everything. Football, classic boy through and through,” Sara laughed as she first mimed throwing a football before twirling her finger in the air. “Can you just imagine growing up with five older sisters and an older brother? God, I hope they had more than one bathroom you know? I saw what it was like with two bathrooms in a foster home with five kids…but can you imagine five older sisters, all hitting puberty, probably around the same time, and here’s little Nick who’s going to have five sisters with PMS and chocolate cravings? What are the odds he did to them what the younger guys at my fourth foster home did? Used tampons and pads as the newest arsenal in the little wars those demons had.”

Jen couldn’t stop the giggle from escaping before sighing. “Gina, it still doesn’t mean he’ll want an instant family. We knew each other all of a week and we were together once. Besides he’s in Vegas and I’m here. He has a life out there and mine’s here.”

“Okay Sis,” Sara nodded as she sat back down. “Whatever you want to do in regards to Nick, I’ll support you…”

“I know I should tell him and that he has a right to know, but I just don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I can do that to him, destroy his life like that. I don’t want to be the cause of any rift that the knowledge might create between him and his friends. I know how they treated me and I saw how they treated you and I’m not about to subject two innocent children to that,” sighed Jen.

“Alright then,” Sara nodded intertwining her fingers with Jen's. “You and me, we'll take care of your little ones. But so help me girl, I'm not going to be the one to tell them about their dad when they start asking as teenagers,” Sara teased. “I'll take the sex talk.”

“Deal,” agreed Jen.

“Good,” Sara smiled. “And I'll make sure my lovely contact in Vegas knows he's going to have a long time job just keeping tabs on Nick for when they ask,” she gave Jen a wink before rising from the couch. “Cinderella?”

“Sounds good,” agreed Jen. “Anything’s better than that daytime TV crap I was forced to watch at the hospital.”

“Oh I know, I mean how many people actually know someone named Sue who is marrying Bob but she's carrying Steve's kid and Steve is marrying Sue's father's ex wife Mary Ellen, and Sue's father's current wife is the niece of Bob's cousin Joe...”

Jen couldn’t help the fit of giggles at Sara’s explanation of what daytime soap operas were like, falling over on the couch as Sara got up to put the movie in.

“That reminds me,” Sara rolled her eyes as she crawled onto the other couch perpendicular to the one Jen was on. She and John had chosen to get a couch that was actually more like three couches set up to form a square with a large foot stool - table thing made with matching fabric that they could put up against one corner and give more room to stretch out on. She didn't know the number of times she had fallen asleep on this thing... “Ellie and Vic got the new Cinderella movie for Erin for Easter. They told Abbey we could borrow it if we wanted...”

“I think I’ll stick to the original thanks,” replied Jen as she tried to control her giggles.

“Oh here here,” Sara agreed. “Something so very wrong about seeing what might have been if she didn't go to the ball. That's just evil to give someone two versions of how things could be with only one event done differently...” she trailed off, her mind going back to the dream she had just shy of four short weeks earlier. Shaking the thoughts away she looked back over at Jen. “Play? Or are you going to get a few more giggles out?”

“Play,” giggled Jen.

“Fair enough,” Sara shrugged before hitting the play button.


Friday August 15th, 2008
Waldorf, Maryland
Civista Hospital
5:21 p.m.

The next four months passed quickly in Sara’s mind and in some regards not quick enough in Jen’s. Plans were made, and Jen was spoiled by Pat and Abbey and all the other ladies. Even Josephine came out to attend the baby shower they had, bringing with her a special gift for Jen’s son. Mike’s crib. The other women had fought back their own tears when Jen opened it and choked back a cry, which only worked until Josephine told Jen that she and her husband considered these babies their grandchildren if she would let them. She was the love of Mike's life and the only daughter they had, just because Mike had gone ahead of them all didn't mean they wanted to give her up, or would stop considering her family. By the time she was done, every woman there was crying and passing around the tissues Sara had managed to locate.

By the time Jen had entered her thirty-fourth week, everything was ready for the two newcomers. One nursery was done much like Jackie and Shanti's, having all the Disney Princesses, but where their's was a winter scene, Jen's daughter had a summer scene. The other nursery was a Toy Story theme. Jen had yet to tell Sara what she planned to name the little ones, disregarding all of Sara and the rest of the family's attempts to trick her, beg her, and bribe her into telling them.

Sara had stayed up all night, wanting to finish her thesis when she was so close to completion, and had fallen into bed for a few hours nap just after four. Only to have her phone ring two hours later when Jen called her saying she was in labor. She had the fun of waking Alicia up on her day off to come get the kids, and nearly twelve hours later she was sitting in Jen's room enjoying the effects of vicodin for her very squished hand and watching a fairly exhausted Jen laying there next to her with a smile of total happiness, both of them found it funny that their children’s birthdays were now two days apart….

“I have a new found respect for you Gina,” commented Jen quietly, exhaustion evident in her voice.

“Thank you,” Sara smiled. “Can you imagine what the lady who had septuplets a few years ago felt like towards the end? I know she probably had a C-Section but still...” she trailed off shaking her head.

“I was ready to call it quits after the first one, how did you manage four?”

“I was seriously debating calling it quits after Mikey but the doctors, Shanti and Johnny didn't let me,” Sara chuckled. Before they had a chance to continue the conversation, a knock on the door alerted them to the presence of the nurse who entered with the two newest members of the family. For being a few weeks early, and all that happened, they were exceptionally healthy.

The nurse carefully picked up first one baby and handed it gently to Jen before turning and picking up the second and gently handing it to Sara. Once done the nurse silently left the women alone with the two newborns.

“Now then, sister of mine,” Sara smiled as she looked down at her niece. “What are the names for these two?”

“Well, this handsome little man is Nicholas Michael Garrison and the little angel in your arms in Virginia Sara-Lynn Garrison,” Jen said. “Even though Nick may be their father biologically, in my mind Mike will always be their father. I consider them a gift from heaven that he sent to me.”

“Sounds good to me,” Sara smiled at her niece before looking up at Jen. “You did good Sis, they’re beautiful.”

“Thanks,” replied Jen with a tired sigh. “Gina, can I ask you something?”

“Shoot.”

“Well it’s two things really,” Jen said as she worried her lip nervously. “First, would you be their Godmother?”

“Sis...you have to ask?” Sara teased lightly. “Of course, I'd be honored.”

“That’s great,” Jen sighed as some of the worry was taken away. “I was wondering what you would think about me asking Abbey and Jed to be Godparents also. I don’t want you to think that I don’t think you’d be a good Godmother, I wouldn’t have asked you if I didn’t, it’s just you have three of your own and Jed and Abbey have been like a second family to me for years and…”

“Breathe,” Sara giggled. “Sis, don't worry about it. After all, each of my babies had their own godmothers.”

“Do you think they’d agree to it?” asked Jen worriedly.

“Jen, this is Abbey and Jed,” Sara teased. “Of course they're going to agree, they're going to jump for joy probably.”

“Hey, why don't I let the nurse take these two back and you get some rest?” Sara asked after a few minutes when she noticed Jen trying not to fall asleep.

“You are a goddess,” laughed Jen as she handed her son over to Sara.

“Enjoy it now, in a few months you're going to get to enjoy the joy of feedings and such,” Sara teased as she put Nicholas back in his bed. “Sweet dreams Sis, I'll get everyone to head home then see you later,” she added as she opened the door and got the nurse's attention.

“Mmm…kay,” replied Jen sleepily.

“Night Jen,” Sara smiled as the nurse took the two out of the room, before she followed, leaving Jen to her rest.


Thursday December 25th, 2008
Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney World Resort
Wilderness Lodge
7:45 p.m.

The next four months passed rather happily for the residents of Lockbury Court and their families. The twins came home just before September began, and the two women settled into a routine. During the day more often or not Jen would come visit Sara while Sara was working on her classes before they would head back to spend part of the day at Jen's. Every weekend they had the parties of old once more, traveling between the three houses and enjoying time together. It wasn't the same without the boys, but they were able to enjoy them once more without it being as painful as it once was.

Jackie, Shanti, and Johnny turned two in October, and there was a big party at the Peters' house, all of the family coming, the term 'family' now covering those of blood relation and the members of the Bartlet family, and of course Alicia and Thomas. No one said anything when Sara disappeared for about an hour, just as Pat and Kevin never mentioned the birthday balloon and fresh flowers on Michael's grave when they stopped by on their way back to Norfolk.

Halloween came and went, Jen and Sara once more making an appearance at the Bartlet Party, taking the munchkins and all seven of them going as Mousketeers. Thanksgiving came, Sara making her usual visit to John and Mike on her anniversary, taking the girls and Johnny with her. Another moment the families never commented on. And less than a few weeks later they found themselves at Disney World for the first time since the Halloween they all went.

It had been suggested that the first Christmas for the twins would be at Disney like the Quads had spent their first Christmas. They couldn't remember who had been the one to suggest going back to the World, but Jen and Sara had sat and talked about it and realized it was time. And so they found themselves spending Christmas in Florida, with the godparents to each of their children, Jed and Abbey, Zoey and Charlie, Alicia and Thomas, and of course Kevin and Pat.

The day had dawned early, Jackie, Shanti, and Johnny now knowing just what those colorful boxes under the tree meant, and the day passed in a blur of gifts and laughter. Jed and Abbey, like their fellow godparents, has spoiled the five children, and Jen and Sara were even more so looking forward to the next day when they were going to take the kids to Animal Kingdom and the two of them could enjoy the parks on their own in nice peaceful togetherness.

By the time it was close to eight o'clock, the kids had all crashed, the sugar highs crashing for Jackie, Shanti and Johnny only an hour before. The adults found themselves in the main room of the suite Sara and Jen were sharing, enjoying a bit of relaxation, and thanks to room service a good deal of holiday munchies.

“Well, I think we had a good Christmas,” Abbey smiled while grabbing another cookie.

“I think you all spoiled our children rotten,” Sara teased.

“I second that!” piped up Jen as she swiped a cookie herself.

“Hey, you were the ones who decided to make us godparents. You should have expected this,” Jed countered.

“True,” admitted Jen with a smile as she collapsed on the couch next to Sara.

“On the other hand, they would have spoiled our children even if they didn't have the excuse of being godparents...” Sara shrugged. “And no denying it!”

“Like he would,” Zoey chuckled after Jed contently interlinked his hands and placed them in his lap, a self satisfied expression on his face.

“Your father is enjoying our grandchildren far too much now that the lot of you Bartlet girls have married,” Pat teased while she rose and headed for a refill on her coffee. “It's almost eight; you two better get going if you want to make the show.”

“Oh, you're right,” Sara agreed before she and Jen were off the couch. “You guys sure you don't want to join us?” they had decided they wanted to see the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom on Christmas night, so far though it had been only Jen and herself wanting to go.

“No, you two go enjoy one night of freedom, even if it is only a few hours,” Kevin smiled.


“You can go freeze your own butts, we're going to enjoy the nice warm hotel room,” Alicia continued.

“This is nothing compared to back home,” Sara shot back before Jen opened the door, she already having grabbed her coat and their tickets. “See you later,” she called over her shoulder before following Jen out into the hallway. “I say we hit the bakery for a bit of fudge to enjoy during the show. What do you say?”

“Need you ask?” countered Jen. “It’s chocolate,” she smiled as she punched the button for the elevator.

“Very true,” Sara grinned as they linked arms and entered the elevator.


Saturday February 14th, 2010
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda Naval Hospital
2:15 p.m.

She had been sitting enjoying a bit of peace and quiet after Nicky had joined his sister and cousins in naptime, taking a break before tackling the next section she was going to do for her studies. When the phone rang, she figured it was probably Jen calling to check up on her little ones. True it had been over a year since Jen had returned to work, and her babies weren’t exactly babies anymore…but she would still usually call once during the day just to see how they were doing and see how Sara herself was doing since she had made the offer a year ago of watching Nicky and Ginny during the day, along with having Jackie, Shanti, and Johnny who were in the midst of their terrible twos at the time. A year and counting though, things were good. Jen was happy with work, and Sara was happy with her studies and the kids. Even Fawkes had deemed himself the guardian of the children, and would bite anyone who came near them in a threatening manner, then turn around and be an angel with the kids themselves.

When it had been Pete on the other end, she initially threw the thought that something was wrong out the window and had stood up to head to her computer until he spoke again and she was back on the couch. After he finished telling her what happened, she had somehow had the sense of mind to call the neighbor and see if she could come watch the kids, get Fawkes locked up in his cage and then make the hour drive to Bethesda.

Surprisingly the same doctor that had treated Jen nearly a year ago was waiting when Sara got there and gave her the prognosis. They were able to remove the bullet, but even so they didn't hold out much hope for her survival. Sara had thanked them before she led her to Jen's room.

She had been able to enter the room and walk to the chair next to Jen's bed without breaking down, how she didn't know. Glancing around she looked at the familiar hospital equipment, her mind for some reason taking her back to Pamela Adler. It had been eight years since she'd first met Pamela, she didn't even know if the woman was still alive or not... “Damn it Jen, you're not supposed to do this to me,” she sighed. “We're supposed to live next to each other until we're old and gray and having our grandkids come visit. You're supposed to raise your children and I'm supposed to raise mine...God damn it, Jennifer! You just had to go back to work; you just had to stay in the Service...I can't take care of five children under the age of three by myself! Jesus fucking Christ! Isn't it enough you took my husband and hers? And Michael...you have to take her too? That's too damn selfish! I can't lose her damn it! But you don't give a shit, do you? You took my family, and when I finally find another family you just start taking them away one by one! Well, I'm not going to sit here and take it! I want her here. You owe me! You owe me and Kevin and Pat and our children! Don't fucking do this to me, God...Don't do this, Jen...” Sara whispered looking back at her sister. “God damn it, Jen...don't do this. Don't leave me. I know you miss Mike and John and Mikey...but don't do this...”

Grasping Jen's hand that rested on top of the covers, Sara linked her fingers with Jen's before just letting the tears fall. She still had to call Pat and Kevin, and all of the others...but that had to wait until she got control of her emotions again. She'd have to be strong for them, for now she was going to just be the terrified hurting sister that she was.


Saturday February 14th, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
LVPD Crime Lab
1:30 p.m. (local time)

“Hey Nick, you might want to see this,” Greg said sticking his head out of the break room door just as Nick was walking past.

“What is it Greg?” asked Nick distractedly.

“Someone tried to kill the Vice President, one of the agents guarding him is in the hospital,” replied Greg as he headed back into the break room and over to the TV, turning the volume up before stepping back just as Nick entered the room.

“Near tragedy in Washington today as terrorists hit the heart of American democracy. A Middle Eastern terrorist was taken into custody today shortly after his attempt to assassinate Vice President Leo McGarry as he left a lunch meeting at a local restaurant.”

“Oh God,” whispered Nick as a slew of horrible ideas flashed through his mind.

“Nick? What’s wrong?” asked Greg in confusion, growing concerned when he noticed how pale Nick had gone as the TV picture went from that of the news anchor to an image of Leo.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming on such short notice. I want to take this opportunity to send out my hopes and my prayers, along with those of President Santos and his wife, to my lead agent and her family. Agent Garrison put her life on the line for me today. If it wasn’t for her quick thinking and reflexes, I would not be standing here before you now. Agent Garrison is a credit to her profession and a close personal friend, I pray for her quick recovery.”

“Agent Garrison? Hey Nick wasn’t that…” Greg trailed off as Nick shushed him as it flipped back to the news anchor.

“The hopes and prayers of a grateful nation are with Agent Garrison tonight as she clings to life after her selfless act of bravery. Agent Garrison is in critical condition at the Bethesda Naval Hospital having taken a bullet in the back in the line of duty. Agent Garrison has fallen into a coma and the next twenty-four hours are critical to her survival.”

“Nick?” Greg asked turning around only to find himself alone in the break room.

“Hey Boss, Jim, sorry to interrupt but can I talk to you Griss?” Nick asked sticking his head into Grissom’s office.

“No problem. Jim, I'll talk to you later?” Grissom asked looking up at Jim.

“Of course,” agreed Jim as he made his way out of the office.

“I know this is short notice, Boss, but I need time off,” Nick said sitting down opposite Grissom.

“Any particular reason?” Grissom asked surprised at the request.

“It’s personal,” Nick replied hesitantly.

“Okay...” he answered slowly. “How long do you need?”

“Honestly…I have no idea,” Nick sighed.

“Nick... what's going on?” Grissom asked concerned. “Are you okay?”

“It’s Jen…Agent Garrison,” Nick said.

“Sara's sister?” Grissom clarified.

“Yeah. She went to work for the Vice President after she left here,” Nick told him.

“I think I'm missing something...”

“There was an attempt on Leo McGarry’s life this afternoon,” Nick said.

“What?” Grissom dropped his glasses on the top of the desk in his shock.

“It was on the news just now,” replied Nick. “It was a terrorist attack on the White House. Leo McGarry was the target and Jen’s now fighting for her life because of it.”

Grissom sucked in a quick breath before nodding. “I'll file the paperwork.”

“Thanks Boss,” Nick said as he got up from his seat and headed for the door.

“Nick...”

“Yeah?” Nick asked turning around, his hand on the door.

“Tell Sara I'll light a candle for them.” Seeing the confusion on Nick's face, no doubt because his lack of religious belief was well known, Grissom shrugged slightly. “It's a Catholic thing; she'll know what I mean behind it. I don't know when she started practicing, but I did notice the cross she was wearing when she was here,” he shrugged once more.

“No problem. Thanks, Grissom,” Nick said as he left the room, only to come face to face with Jim. “Hey Jim.”

“Nick,” Jim said, blocking Nick’s path as he tried to pass.

“Is there a problem, Jim?” asked Nick in annoyance.

“Don’t go there, Nicky,” replied Jim.

“Look Jim, I don’t have time for this,” Nick said as he pushed past Jim

“She’s damaged goods, Nicky,” Jim called out, stopping Nick in his tracks.

“What?” asked Nick turning around.

“You heard me. She’s damaged goods, Nick. She’s not the girl for you. She got her husband killed,” Jim said.

“You’ve got some nerve man,” Nick said, shaking his head. “Look Jim, I understand that ever since you shot Officer Bell, you’ve taken to looking out for those who you consider to be your people but this time you’ve gone too far. Is this what you used against Jen while she was here? Cause if it is, that’s really low man. You have no idea what she’s been dealing with, whereas I have because I was helping her through it and I know all about her husband’s accident because I researched it for myself. I can’t believe you of all people would use the tragedy of her husband’s death against her, instead of trying to help her. Whether you like it or not Jim, I’m going to see her and Sara,” Nick said turning and stalking off down the hall.


Sunday February 15th, 2010
Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda Naval Hospital
12:37 a.m.

The next ten hours passed by at a snail's pace in Sara's mind. She didn't get to tell the majority of the group herself, after she had emerged from Jen's room after her fifteen minutes of emotion, intent on making her phone calls. Instead when she did call her in-laws and the others, she learned they already knew. Leo had contacted them all. Within a few hours everyone was there at the hospital, taking a few moments to see Jen before they went back to Waldorf, she intending to stay the night with Jen. She had handed her keys off to Pat and from what she had heard in the last call to see how they were doing and give an update on Jen at nine, everyone was split between the two houses. The children, Kevin and Pat at her house with Charlie and Zoey using the downstairs apartment; while the rest of the members of the Bartlett family were over at Jen's place.

Shifting in her chair, Sara sighed when she glanced back at Jen. “Come on Jen, you need to wake up. Nicky and Ginny want you to wake up, Sis...open your eyes Jennifer, open your eyes!” she ordered softly before sighing as she slumped back in her chair. “Okay, so on the other hand, I know you're tired, heck, I'm tired, but come on girl it's time to wake up. Don't make me send Jed down to the World to see if Prince Phillip will come wake you up with a kiss...we both know I'll do it....”

Still getting no response, Sara reluctantly rose from the chair to stretch out the kinks in her back and neck, wincing when more than one of her vertebrae cracked. They needed better chairs in these places. Sinking back into her chair she interlinked her fingers with Jen's hand that didn't bear an IV once more, “Okay Sis, what do I do now...how about a song? Would that work? Course, now then it makes you wonder what I should sing...”

“I know...” Sara smiled, “Now don't kill me for not knowing all the lyrics and for putting the original to shame...”

“A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you’re fast asleep
In dreams you loose your heart ache
Whatever you wish for you see

“Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come shining through
No matter how your heart is weeping
If you keep on believing
The dreams that you wish will come true”

“Yeah, I think I just killed that,” Sara giggled. “Okay, so on to a song I actually know the lyrics of. Seeing as your dear brother used to sing them to me when I tended my roses...and it fits the theme after all being another Cinderella one...” Sara smiled.

“Ten minutes ago I saw you,
I looked up when you came through the door
My head started reeling, You gave me the feeling
The room had no ceiling or floor

“Ten minutes ago I met you
And we murmured our How-do-you-do’s,
I wanted to ring out the bells,
And fling out my arms, and to sing out the news

“I have found him – he’s the light of the stars in my eyes
We are dancing we are flying
And he’s taking me back to the sky
In the arms of my love I’m flying
Over Mountain and meadow and glen

“And I like it so well that for all I can tell
I may never come down again
I may never come down to earth again”

“Okay so you know that’s true for us too, Girl, but here’s the thing. You need to stay here and help me torture Nicky and Johnny with Cinderella movies while we teach the girls the joy of Disney princesses. Okay Jen? So, it’s time to open your eyes and wake up…”

Sighing once more Sara leaned forward to rest her free arm and hand on the bed and let her head rest on her arm, as the hand linked with Jen’s own rested lightly on Jen’s stomach. Just as she started to doze off, she heard the constant hum begin.

“No! Jen don’t do this!” she yelled as nurses came running in and she was pushed out of the room. Sara was pushed even further away from the room as more doctors and nurses came running down the hall at the call of a code blue, until she was finally by herself practically as she held a hand over her mouth, praying that Jen would be all right. “God damn it Jen, don't do this, don'tdo this...” she ordered, not caring that she was talking to air. She didn't even sense the presence next to her until it spoke.

“Gina?” Nick said quietly as he laid a hand on her shoulder gently, so as not to startle her.

Sara jumped before looking up at him, shocked to see Nick next to her. “What are you doing here?” she asked before glancing back at the room where the doctors were, “God damn you, Nick, what the hell are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here!” she growled as she turned on him and started hitting him in his chest. “You're not supposed to be here, you're not supposed to be here...she's not supposed to be here...” she trailed off as she started to sob.

“I had to come, Gina,” Nick said as he pulled Sara into his arms.

A few minutes later, Nick gently drew Sara's attention to the doctor who had joined them and Sara choked back her tears, before looking up at him. “We got her back,” the doctor began and Sara started to sink as her body completely relaxed from the relief. If it weren't for Nick holding her up, she might very well have ended up on the floor. “Mrs. Peters, I need you to consider something though,” he continued quickly. “Can I talk to you alone for a moment...”

“Sure...” Sara nodded before looking up at Nick.

“Go ahead,” Nick said as he rubbed her arms.

“Okay...” Sara nodded before shakily following the doctor across the hall. “What is it?” she asked when they were alone.

“We both know that Mrs. Garrison's chances were slim from the beginning... Her heart is holding steady, but to be honest we don't know if that is simply the machines or if it's Mrs. Garrison herself.”

“What are you saying, Dr. Gayle?” Sara interrupted, wanting the point out there.

“We want to know if you want to take her off the machines,” Dr. Gayle answered softly. “It may only speed up the inevitable, for you and your family especially.”

“So, you're asking me if I'll consent to turning off the machines and letting Jen just...go whichever way she may go?” Sara repeated before shaking her head. “I...“ she began before shaking her head once more. “What aren't you telling me?”

“This may have only deepened the coma she's in, Mrs. Peters at this point...I will be happily surprised for your sister to ever wake up,” Dr. Gayle answered honestly.

“Shit,” Sara whispered. “Jen...God, she wouldn't want to be in a coma forever...I uhh...ummm,” Sara sighed before glancing over at Nick. “If I turn them off, there's a chance she could wake up right?”

“There is, but honestly...it would be a miracle.”

“Then it's a good thing I believe in them, isn't it?” Sara asked softly. “Get the papers, I'll sign them. She wouldn't want to be in a coma forever and leave her family unable to let her go.”

“I'll have the forms for you right away. I'm so sorry, Mrs. Peters,” Dr. Gayle smiled sadly before turning and heading off to get things arranged.

“Jesus...how am I going to tell everyone?” Sara whispered before looking up when she heard footsteps, to find Nick approaching her. “What are you doing here, Nick?” she asked softly.

“I had to come,” Nick said.

Sara nodded before sighing. “I need to go call my family, and of course cell phones have to be outside...do you want to...” she nodded towards Jen's room. “I don't want to leave her alone...”

“I’ll stay,” he said quietly.

“Thank you,” Sara whispered before walking into Jen's room. Leaning over Jen she brushed a lock of hair before dropping a kiss to Jen's forehead. “Stay with us,” she whispered before rising and grabbing her purse. “I'll be back,” she told Nick before heading from the room.

After Sara made her way out of the room, Nick walked over to Jen’s bedside, sitting down on the chair next to the bed, taking her hand in his as he did so. “You can’t leave me again, Jen. Not after I’ve found you,” he said kissing her hand.

When Sara returned after breaking the news to Pat, who immediately got in the car with Kevin to come to the hospital, she sighed before leaning on the doorjamb, watching Nick for a few moments as he sat next to Jen. The doctors found her and without a word she took the paperwork and added her signature before handing it back to her. Pushing up from the doorjamb she entered the room, gathering Nick's attention. “Hey, my in-laws are going to be here soon, I'm being sent home for a shower and such. Have you found a place to stay or did you just grab a plane and come from Vegas?”

“I went from the lab straight to the airport only stopping at home long enough to grab some clothes. I came straight here after landing,” Nick said looking up at Sara.

Sara nodded, she had figured as much. “I know a good hotel in Waldorf. My place and Jen's is packed with family right now, but I can lead you into town so you can get a place. I'm assuming you aren't leaving tonight at least so...” she offered.

“Thanks,” Nick said, reluctant to let go of Jen’s hand.

Sara shook her head before going and grabbing a second chair and pulling it into the room. “So, as payment for me not taking my sister's hand back. What are you doing here Nick? And no repeating 'I had to come'. Real reason.”

“Greg had the news on in the break room. They were talking about the attack on the Vice President and how it was thanks to one of his Secret Service agents that he was still alive. They then cut to a press conference he was holding where he gave the name of the agent. The minute I heard it was Jen I knew I had to be here for her and for you. The minute I told Grissom that it was your sister that had been shot, he approved my leave of absence request immediately and told me to tell you he’d light a candle for both of you,” Nick said.

Sara shook her head lightly. “My husband would be in shock that I would actually know the meaning behind that statement. I can barely believe Grissom remembers the meaning behind it,” she sighed. “Then again my explanation would be that I've learned more about my husband's faith since his death than I did before he died. Assuming in Grissom's case it's something you never forget...” Leaning back in her chair Sara shook her head. “You really care about her, don't you?”

“Yes Gina, I do. Something happened while she was living with me…I can’t explain it but ever since she left it’s like part of me left with her,” Nick replied honestly.

Sara barely bit back the 'you have no idea' that wanted to spill out, instead she simply nodded. “Some things probably weren't meant to be though, Nick...” she offered softly. She knew that had he come sooner, there was a very good chance Jen would have turned him away.

“Don’t you think I know that, Sara?” snapped Nick in irritation. “Sorry, Gina. I have thought of nothing else since the two of you left but when I heard about what happened I had to at least come and…say goodbye if that’s what fate has in store.

Sara nodded once more before noticing the nurse. “Nick, we need to step out.”

“Gina, what’s going on?” asked Nick in concern when he noticed what the nurse was doing.

“They're turning off the machines,” Sara answered softly as she pulled him from the room.

“What in the world are they doing that for?” demanded Nick quietly, once they were in the hall.

“There's very little hope for Jen to wake up now,” Sara sighed as she leaned back against a wall. “I know my sister, Nick, she wouldn't want to live simply because machines are keeping her alive, she'd want to be able to rest in peace knowing her family is able to let her go. I'm not giving up hope, but I'm not going to leave her on the machines forever. Whatever happens now...it's in God's hands. And Jen's,” Sara sighed once more.

“Oh God,” sighed Nick sadly as he leant back against the wall, rubbing his face with his hands.

“Yeah,” Sara agreed softly. “So, how are things in Vegas?” she asked for a change of topic.

“Crane was caught about a month ago so I’m free of the FBI guy finally. This guy really made me appreciate how easy Jen made it for me while she was protecting me,” Nick said shaking his head. “Cath and Gris finally tied the knot. Warrick divorced his wife Tina, Greg’s engaged to Mia Dickerson, who took over for him in the DNA lab once he passed his proficiency and Hodges…well, let’s just say that Jen’s little demonstration with him as the dummy has done wonders for his personality,” he finished with a low chuckle.

“I didn't know about Hodges...” Sara smirked. “And I'm glad they got Nigel, about time that man was back in the system.”

“You and me both,” commented Nick. “He got life without parole.”

“Thank God,” Sara smiled. “I'm sorry for Warrick and Tina though...” she continued softer.

“Between you and me, I’m not really surprised they didn’t last,” admitted Nick. “Apparently he’d been seeing her for a few months before I was kidnapped. He married her the day before I returned to work. When Cath asked him about it he said it was thinking about what happened to me that made him do it.”

“Well, on one hand I suppose I can't talk about quick relationships. John and I were married less than a year after we met...but that isn't exactly the best start for a marriage just the same,” Sara shrugged.

“Yeah, but you didn’t marry John because your friend and coworker was buried alive, Gina,” replied Nick.

“Very true,” Sara nodded. “Did they ever find the second guy?” she asked after a moment, raising her eyes to look at him.

“Yeah, turns out he was working with Crane after Crane got out of jail. That’s how we got Crane in the end, found the partner, who gave us Crane’s whereabouts,” Nick explained.

“Well, if that isn't just damn scary,” Sara shook her head. “We need to go make sure your name is completely removed from the grab bag for the world's weirdos to get names from.”

“You’re telling me,” laughed Nick. “Why do they always pick me? Do I have a giant ‘pick me’ sign on my back or something?”

“I don’t know, perhaps we should research this and make sure it's removed,” Sara chuckled. “So, Greg and Mia are engaged...was starting to wonder if that boy would ever settle down,” she shook her head. “Ecklie hasn't tried to split you guys up again, has he?” she asked concerned after a few moments.

“No, thankfully he learned his lesson,” replied Nick. “Hang on, how did you know he split us up if you were living and working in D.C.?”

“Shit,” Sara whispered before shaking her head. “Let's just say I haven't exactly been out of the loop in regards to everything going on in Vegas all these years...” she offered softly.

“But why? I mean you started a new life here. You made yourself a family, why keep track of what was going on with us?” asked Nick in confusion.

“I cared about all of you,” Sara shrugged. “None of my family here understood really, but they didn't stop me. John once put it that even though we were never 'friends', you were my friends. As much as I had figured you all would be quite happy with me gone, didn't mean I didn't miss seeing you all at times, and not wonder how you were doing. But coming back wasn't exactly an option so...” she shrugged once more.

“I missed seeing you everyday,” Nick said quietly. “I never realized just how much until you showed back up in Vegas with Jen.”

“I missed you too, Nicky,” Sara smiled sadly.

“Mrs. Peters...” the nurse spoke up and Sara turned to look at her.

“Just a minute,” Sara began looking back at Nick before heading over to speak with the nurse. Joining Nick once more a few moments later she nodded towards the room. We can go back until Pat and Kevin arrive; it will be about twenty minutes until they're here.”

“Sounds good,” Nick agreed as he let Sara lead the way back into the room.

The rest of the time waiting for Kevin and Pat passed in a comfortable silence, both of them having enough on their minds. Eventually though, the two arrived and Sara did a brief introduction before she said goodbye to them. Within two hours she was home after having seen Nick checked into one of the hotels further into town from their little section of the world. After checking on the ‘triplets’, and then the twins, she settled down to talk with everyone who had come over knowing she would be back.

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