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All the King's Men

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Washington, D.C. August 24, 2019

11:03 PM

The West colonnade is her preferred post of all her assignments at the White House. It overlooks the rose garden and the south lawn, and it's as close to peaceful as a secret service agent will ever get while on duty. And considering the last six months she's had, Malia Tate could use a little peace.

It's a warm summer night, and she's overlooking the well-lit grounds of the south lawn, immersed in the fragrance of the rose garden and watching the rise and fall of the south fountain. There is a black-tie gala being held in the East Room and orchestra music pours from the ballroom reverberating through the stately old halls of the mansion and spilling out into the garden.

She isn't sure if Argent assigned her to this post as a courtesy because of her injury, or if he'd just done it to keep her out of the limelight tonight. Whatever the reason she's grateful. She hates these big galas. And after everything that's happened, she thinks the whole event is an unnecessary risk. As a former Marine corps sniper Malia still can't quite wrap her head around the way these "Washington-types" think. But apparently in politics perception is everything, and the fact that the White House hasn't hosted a single function in the last six months was starting to reflect poorly on the president.

She smirks recalling the president's reaction when Adrian Harris, his chief of staff had informed him of that. The president had torn a strip off Harris the size of Manhattan. But his other advisors had managed to talk the president into it for the good of his reputation. Malia chuckles to herself as she recalls how he'd taken Harris apart. She genuinely likes President Stilinski. He's down to earth in a way that few politicians are. He's pragmatic, hardworking, funny and remarkably low-key for a president. He's very likeable, really...a lot like his son. 

Malia clears her throat, trying to ignore the flood of emotions that come with just letting herself thinking about the president's son for more than a few seconds. In her mind's eye, she sees a flash of his whiskey brown eyes and that crooked smile he used to give her, and she feels weak. Don't go there, Malia. You got pulled off that assignment for a good reason. She chastises herself. She squares her shoulders, and falls back on her sniper training, controlling her breathing and ignoring stray thoughts. 

She stays like that, her back ramrod straight, her back to the doorway guarding the way to the oval office. Clasping her wrist in front of herself, subtly shielding the bulge of her service weapon under her suit jacket. Her dark, caramel brown eyes were sweeping over the White House grounds methodically, searching for any irregularity.

Two hours later she subtly checks her watch; it's two minutes till the end of watch. Her injured shoulder has been throbbing for the last hour. But she hasn't let her posture drop in any way, the marine corps had drummed too much self-discipline into her for her to let that happen, injured or not. But the first thing she's doing when she gets home is having a long hot shower and downing some pain meds.

To her left one of the French doors swings open and her hand comes up, hovering just over her service weapon. If it were the agent due to relieve her post, they would have followed protocol and announce themselves over the comms before entering a her sector. Instead, it's a man in a dark tuxedo jacket who steps through the door. He's turned with his back to her as he steps out into the mezzanine.

Malia steps forward, announcing her presence. "Excuse me, sir, this area is unauthorized. Please make your way back to the ballroom."

When the man turns, his face is illuminated by the lights of the colonnade, and when their eyes lock she freezes.
She didn't recognize him at first because she too accustomed to seeing him dressed in a plaid shirt and jeans, wearing his nerdy, square-framed glasses, with his dark hair an unruly mess and a days worth of stubble darkening his jaw.

But he's standing before her now clean-shaven, with his hair perfectly gelled, filling out his sharp looking tuxedo in all the right ways. She thinks back to the time she first met him and how different it is seeing him now. Her first impression of the president's son hadn't been all that flattering. But that was back before she knew him. Now it was like his every attractive quality had been magnified ten-fold. He could be standing here now in his pyjamas and somehow he'd still find a way to be deplorably handsome to her.

She drops her eyes; if she spends too long gazing into those big whiskey brown eyes of his, she'll give in. And she can't. Not after what happened last time.

She tenses her jaw forcing a little more authority into her voice this time, "This is a restricted area."

He comes closer, undeterred. He runs his hand through his perfectly neat hair, mussing it up a bit at the back of his neck, as he approaches. He stops a few feet in front of her.

"I, uh, I really need to talk to you." He says giving her a head tilt, as he shoves his hands in his pockets, his eyes pleading with her.

Malia picks a spot on the wall and stares past him, "I'm sorry, sir, but whatever it is that you want, I'm sure that I can't help you with it."

The corner of his mouth quirks up, "Really, sir? That's what you're going with."

She blows out a breath, "I'm on duty," she grits out a with a little more of her aggravation bleeding into her voice than she would have liked.

He flashes her a quick, playful smirk at having ruffled her cool demeanour. But she glares at him, and he quickly schools his features. He glances down at her feet trying to appear contrite.

"I appreciate that," he says trying for the same detached tone she had perfected earlier. "But you won't exactly talk to me off duty, so I'm pushed to these lengths." He says as he tugs at his bow-tie with a small crooked grin. "All I'm asking for here, is five minutes, Agent Tate."

Malia looks him up and down. "No your not." She dismisses with a shake of her head.

"Excuse me?"

"You just think that if you can get me alone for five minutes, then you're gonna be able to change my mind."

"What's the matter, Tate?" He says flashing her a sexy grin. "You afraid it'll work?"

Malia sighs clasping her hands in front of herself and looking past him, "I'm not willing to find out."

His shoulders drop, and he sighs, "Mal, can we please just talk about this?"

His uses that voice, that sweet, raspy tone that always works on her. It makes her resolve waver, and she almost gives in and looks at him. But she knows that if she does, it'll be all over, so she lifts her hand to her earpiece and hits the receiver instead, "All operators, please be advised that, Houdini, has slipped his leash and is in sector four."

Static spits in her ear, "Copy that sector four," Agent Hale rasps through her earpiece, "I'm on my way to you."

Then she turned to look him, finally meeting him in the eyes. "You've got five minutes, before Agent Hale comes to collect you. So you can waste that time trying to convince me of something that isn't going to happen, or you can return to the ballroom, it's up to you...sir."

He rakes a hand through his hair, "You're the most stubborn, frustrating person I think I've ever met." He says with a exasperated huff, and then he shakes his head stepping into her, "But if you seriously think that I'd spend the next five minutes anywhere else, then you're kidding yourself."

His words hit her square in the chest and she has to swallow down the lump that forms in her throat.

Her eyes flick to his, and she gets pulled in deep by those big brown eyes of his and her breath hitches.

He reaches out and brushes a lock of hair behind her ear, and it's like she caught in an undertow, she reaches up with every intention to brush his hand off her cheek. But when she touches his hand, she just can't. Instead, she leans into his touch, covering his hand with hers.

Stiles leans in his lips brushing hers, and it's electric. And she rises up on her toes kissing him back. Her hands tangle in his hair as his hands slide along her back until he's got her wrapped up in his arms.

They stumble backward until he has her pressed up against the shadow of a pillar. It's a slow, deep kiss, and Malia pours everything she's felt for the last six weeks into it. But then there's a twinge of pain in her shoulder and gravity sets back in. She pulls away putting a hand on his chest.

"S-Stiles," she stutters with a shake of her head.

He smirks before pressing a kiss to the corner her mouth, "Better. But this time say it slower, and a little rougher." He says, teasingly as he nuzzles her nose, his hand sliding up to cradle the back of her neck, his big hand massaging the nape of her neck. Malia sinks into his touch. She can't help it. She never can with him, that’s the problem. This is why she left his security detail in the first place. Because those whiskey brown eyes of his are her weakness. And she can’t even be mad at him for it. She’s the one who crossed the line with him. And now that Stiles knows how she feels about him he’s like a dog with a bone. He won’t let it go. And Malia's tired of denying herself what she really wants. 

Malia grips him by the lapels of his jacket and drags him forward, Stiles dips his head kissing her hotly as his hands skim along the sides of her neck. His hands slide along her back before encircling her waist, his grip passionate, possessive. Malia moans into the kiss, one of her hands slipping along his tuxedo jacket, to grip at his shoulder, while the other reaches up to cradle his jaw as she slants her head kissing him with just as much fire. She nips at his bottom lip and he hums low in approval, pressing her more firmly up against the pillar. Malia's hand slips up the back of his neck and tangles in his hair.

Then static hisses in her ear and there is some urgent, garbled chatter. She manages to tear herself away from him long enough to press a firm hand to his chest and push him backward half a step. He stares at her, his eyes dark and deep and oh so focused on her. She can feel his heart thundering beneath her palm as she keeps her hand firm on his chest.

She clears her throat, trying to steady her voice as she reaches up touching her earpiece.

"Central, please say again?" She requests her voice still a little breathless, and Stiles looks very pleased by the rasp in her voice. She shakes her head reprovingly at him but his grin just broadens.


Malia snaps to attention pushing Stiles away from her and the pillar, hard. Stiles looks disgruntled but he goes from that to confused in two nanoseconds as he watches her draw her service weapon and check the chamber.

"Stiles, we need to get you inside right now."

"Whoa, Malia what is it? " He asks as she grabs him by the shoulder and starts to steer him toward the doors, her eyes darting back and forth for threats. She hears the roar of chopper blades overhead and raises her voice over them.

"It's a code blue you need to come with me right now, understand?"

His face pales, "Oh my God, is it my Dad? Please tell me he's okay?"

Malia presses on his shoulder, insistently, "Keep moving." The roar of chopper blades gets impossibly louder and the blinding searchlight flashes across the lawn, temporarily blinding them.

Malia covers her eyes and keeps guiding Stiles forward. It isn't right the helicopter is flying too low. Nothing is permitted to land during a code blue. The helicopter is getting louder and louder; Malia shields her eyes and forces herself and Stiles into a run. They make it to within ten feet of the doorway before a command booms through her earpiece. "ALL OPERATORS BRACE FOR IMPACT!"

The helicopter rotors collide with the arch of the west colonnade just as Malia and Stiles burst through the French doors. The explosion launches them in the air, and they land hard on the floor of the oval office. The ceiling whines and groans as plaster and marble crumples from the ceiling falling all around them. The wind is knocked out of her when she hits the floor hard. She claws in a breath as struggles up onto her knees.

She crawls to Stiles who was thrown; further, blood is dripping down the side of her face, from a cut above her eye. She crawls to Stiles who's laying prone on the White House floor.

Malia shakes Stiles' shoulder, "Stiles! Stiles! Can you hear me?" She asks desperately. She jams her fingers into the side of his neck and searches for a pulse, while she presses her earpiece and opens it channel wide "This is Tate, I'm in sector five, Houdini is down, I repeat, Houdini is down, requesting immediate medical assistance," Nothing but static buzzes in her ear. She chokes on plaster dust and smoke, hot embers rain from gaps in the ceiling.

"C'mon, Stiles." She says as she skims her hands along his head, neck, and shoulders searching for any bones out of place. If he has a neck injury, she won't be able to move him safely on her own. The ceiling shudders and groans loudly and Malia has just enough time to shove Stiles under the president's desk. She rolls on top of him, shielding him with her body just as the roof of the oval office comes crashing down, raining fire all around them.