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Title: We Were Briefed on This
Rating/Warnings: PG
Characters/Pairing: Mrs Landingham, Margaret
Summary: Mrs Landingham tries to get the job done after she hears of the shooting at Roslyn. Missing moment from 2x01 In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part 1.
Word Count: 795
Author's Notes: Story written for the Awesome Ladies Ficathon and originally posted here. The prompt was 'Mrs Landingham, getting the job done'.


'Good evening, Mrs. Landingham.'

'Good evening, Margaret.'

She needs to drop some files in a few offices and then she'll go home.

'The President’s not back yet?' Margaret asks.

'I imagine he’s schmoozing the rope line.'

They both enter the Communications Office. Dolores notices gum wrappers on a few desks, near important reports. That won't do.

'You know, he said he’s coming straight back, but he can’t resist a rope line. Never has. Oh, he’ll complain, but he just can’t resist it. I remember a time in the Governor’s mansion. It was about ten years ago...'

She doesn't hear Margaret's voice calling for her the first time, so she continues.

'More. Maybe 12.'

But then Margaret's voice resonates and it's clear something's not as it should be. Margaret has never talked to her like that before.

'Mrs. Landingham!'

Margaret turns up the volume as Mrs. Landingham watches with her. A newscaster appears on the monitor.

'Good evening. We are getting reports that multiple gunshots were fired at President Bartlet as he was leaving a public event in Rosslyn, Virginia. The shots were fired approximately seven minutes ago...'

She freezes and can't feel her legs anymore. She hears Margaret's gasp and realizes she's still in the White House. They went through this when he took office. There are procedures. She can't let him down. So, Dolores runs.

She focuses on getting the job done to avoid thinking about what she just heard. Gun shots. They could all be dead. First, calling him. They could all be dead. First calling him and then Leo. They could all be dead. She hears Margaret behind her, she's running too.

They would receive faxes and phone calls, it's important she keeps it going, everything they do now is crucial in making sure they don't lose any name, any phone call, any paper. Are they under attack? They could all be dead.
They'll shut down the airports. Foolishly, Dolores thinks of those waiting to go on holiday and who don't know that the President may have been shot. That they could all be dead.

She'd been in this situation before. When the twins went to fight, but it had been months. This one took her by surprise. It's different. She's reminded of them and sees their faces clearly as she walks past the security guards.

Finally, she reaches her desk. She calls the President. The call goes straight to voicemail. Her hands are shaking. She calls Leo and gets the same result. She takes off her glasses and closes her eyes for a second to try and steady herself. She calls them all and each time, it's the ghost of their voice she hears.

She must get everything ready for the arrival of the Vice President. Yes, that was part of the procedure too.

Before she has time to stand up and go to the Oval Office to prepare the most urgent things, the phone rings. She picks it up.

'Mrs Landingham? It's Ellie.'
'Ellie?'

She can barely hear her. She must be outside, stuck in traffic. Ellie is crying and Dolores presses the receiver to her ear to hear her through the sobs.

'Mrs Landingham, I just... I just heard. Is he alive? Mrs Landingham?'

The sobs are uncontrollable and Dolores has to close her eyes once more.

'I don't know, Ellie. I can't reach any of them. Are you on your way to the hospital?'

'I thought maybe they'd call you. I'm going now. Oh god...'

Dolores is about to tell her there's no reason to believe anybody's been shot but Ellie has already hung up.

The fax machine keeps vomiting papers and she stares at them blankly before standing up to go see Margaret.

'Margaret?' she says as she enters.

Margaret is at her desk, her pen stuck in mid-air, lost in thought. When she turns her head to face Mrs Landingham, she sees her eyes are filled with tears.

'Yes?'

'We have a job to do. We were briefed on this when the President took office. First, calling them. I've done that and I couldn't reach them. Then take care of any phone call and paper and sort them into categories: the things that can wait and those that can't. The Vice-President will be here soon, that is if they don't throw us out of the building and take us to a safe place. We need to make sure he finds the important things first, do you hear me?'

Margaret nods.

'Then let's get to it. There's a job that needs to be done.'

She leaves and walks past the monitor without a glance.
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