This popped into my head and I couldn't resist... Happy groundhog day, y'all! And, for those of you who don't live in America, yes, we do actually celebrate groundhog day by having a bunch of people stand around in top hats in Pennsylvania with a groundhog to see if said groundhog sees his shadow. Don't ask me to explain, I don't get it either.

Also, TeamAllison, I made a few little edits and I hope that helps clear it up for you. : )


"Bess, I know this isn't necessarily in your wheelhouse, but I could really use your advice on this."

"Of course, Mr. President. I'll be right there."

Henry glanced over the instant Elizabeth hung up the phone. "I'm going to guess that wasn't a friendly check-in."

"Nope. Sorry."

"It's fine," he replied, kissing her soundly as she pulled on her shoes and coat. "Go save the world."

"Hmm, I'll try to keep it below 'totally imploding.'"

Henry laughed. "Bye, babe."

"Bye!"

The sun was just beginning to rise as Elizabeth's motorcade pulled away from her house, and so she took the time while they were driving to enjoy the beauty of the city, white monuments bathed in pale light and cherry blossoms. Sometimes she loved D.C.

"Oh good, you're here," Russel stated the moment she stepped out of the SUV and onto the steps of the White House, his eyes never leaving his phone.

"Good morning to you too, Russel."

"Is it? Hadn't noticed. Come on, the president's waiting to brief you in his office."

"This requires a briefing? I didn't think the situation was that complicated."

"Oh, believe me, it is. This is as bad as when China threatened to pull their pandas out of the national zoo!"

"Just to be clear, I am just here as an advisor, correct? There's nothing State actually needs to be working on?"

"Well, we've managed to keep it from becoming an international incident, as of yet. So with any luck, no."

"Great. Oh, Blake! Good morning!" she greeted as he assistant ran up behind them and handed her a cup of coffee and a bear claw. "And with food! You're my hero, you know that?"

"Anytime, ma'am. Anything else you need?"

"Come get me if anything blows up, but other than that, I don't think so. Thanks, Blake."

"Of course, Madam Secretary. And, if I may, good luck?"

"Can always use luck, Blake," she replied, stepping into the Oval Office.

"Bess, Russel," the president acknowledged. "I'm glad you're here."

"Any news, sir?"

"Director Ware is about to give us an update."

"Yes, sir. However, we have yet to retrieve Phil."

"You're telling me the top people at the FBI are on this case," Russel snapped, "and we don't have a single lead?"

"Well, actually, sir, we do, and that's the problem," the director of national intelligence said. "We were able to identify the car leaving the residence where Phil was last seen. It belongs to the Canadian embassy."

"The Canadian embassy? You're joking."

"No, sir, I'm afraid I'm not."

"That sure complicates things," Bess mused, locking eyes with the president. "And it begs the question as to why the Canadians would kidnap him."

"The thing is, Madam Secretary, I'm not sure they were. That car still has not returned to the embassy; instead, a traffic camera spotted it heading towards the French embassy."

"So you're saying the evidence points to either the Canadians or the French as the kidnappers."

"Yes, Mr. President."

"Just another day at the office," Elizabeth muttered, her eyes glittering with something between apprehension and amusement.

"Well, we better get this sorted out soon or we're going to have bigger problems."

"Russel's right," the president stated. "Do you have anything solid either way?"

"Not at this time, sir."

"Then Bess, if you could hold off contacting the Canadian and French ambassadors? I don't think we need to strain international relations over a wild goose chase."

"I think you mean a 'wild groundhog chase,' sir," Russel amended for the president, with something resembling a smirk.

"Yes, well, either way I want this resolved as soon as possible. Thank you all."

Elizabeth gave him a nod and strode out the door, heels clacking, and she pulled out her phone to call Blake.

"Bess!" Russel demanded from behind her. "Don't let us go to war over this."

The secretary ignored him as he stalked past her. Of course she was going to do everything in her power to keep them from going to war. Frankly, she hardly even saw that as a possibility at this point, but Russel always did take the "worst case scenario" side of things. That said, she still needed to brief her staff, and to do that, she needed to call Blake.

Only a few minutes later, she was seated beside her assistant in the motorcade on the way to the state department. He informed her that he had organized the meeting she requested, and she sighed. This was going to be a long day.

"Hello, ma'am," Nadine greeted, matching her pace to the secretary's as she stepped off the elevator.

"Morning, Nadine. It is still morning, right?"

"Unfortunately it is, ma'am. The staff is all waiting for you in the conference room."

"Great, thanks," she replied, handing her coat and briefcase off to Blake.

The secretary had hardly made it to the conference room and bid good morning to her staff before Blake burst in again.

"Ma'am, Russel Jackson just called-"

"What did he want?"

"Well, he only used three words but-"

"Got it. Let's go, Blake."

He looked at her quizzically.

"Really, what other three words does Russel use?"

Her assistant shrugged and nodded in a way that meant, "fair point."

"Guys, walk with me?" she asked, and the staff got up to follow. "We have a bit of a situation. Punxsutawney Phil has been kidnapped, and intel suggests either Canada or France is behind it."

"Punxsutawney Phil, ma'am? As in, the-"

"Yes."

"Okay then," Daisy said, perplexed.

"Daisy, I need you to try and keep the press from getting a hold of this. Matt, could you please draft a statement in case they do, however?"

"Sure, what do you want it to say?"

"As little as possible. And maybe throw in a non-denial-denial."

"Got it."

"Nadine? I need you and Jay to look into possible retaliation that would not involve destroying diplomatic relations or starting a war."

"Right away, ma'am."

"Great, thank you. I will let you know if and when I know more," she finished as the elevator doors closed and her staff scattered.

Before long, the Secretary of State's motorcade was pulling up at the White House for the second time that day. Also for the second time that day, a crabbier-than-usual Russel Jackson met her at the door.

"Took you long enough."

"Yeah, next time I'll ask my agents to teleport us past the D.C. traffic."

He glared at her. "Come on."

"This isn't about the-"

"It is. Come on."

"So we have news?"

"How many times do I have to tell you?! Come on!"

Elizabeth sighed and exchanged a rather amused glance with Blake before following Russel.

"The only news we've got is that we found the car and we're tracking it with a satellite. The president is waiting for us in the Sit Room," he snapped, but refrained from the wild gesticulations that accompanied his earlier statements. "Bess, you should know the president is prepared to go to war if he has to."

"What?! Russel, this can't be serious enough for that!"

"I know, and so does he. But if this escalates, it may be our best option."

"I have never seen a situation where all-out war with an ally was the best option."

"Worst-case scenario, the president is prepared to go to war, Bess. End of discussion."

She took a deep breath and held her tongue. This wasn't the moment to push Russel further. However, the instant she entered the rather-empty Sit Room, she strode straight over to the president. Ignoring Russel's angry gesture and belligerent huff, she asked quietly, "Mr. President, we're really going to war over this?"

"Not if I can help it. But, if it comes to it, yes. I can't let people keep thinking they can come into our country and do whatever the hell they want."

"Do we even have confirmation it was France?"

"That's why we're here," Russel interjected heatedly, gesturing to the television, which currently was showing a road. "We're tracking the car to see where it goes."

"Do we know Phil is inside?"

"Yes," the president stated, gesturing to Ephraim to zoom in on the back seat of the vehicle.

"That's him," Elizabeth confirmed, somewhat surprised. "Or at least it looks like him. I never have been able to tell him apart from the others. Why haven't we just moved on the car?"

"We have a team tailing him, but see that?" the national intelligence director said, zooming in to the passenger seat beside the driver. "That's an RPG. We'd like to keep him from using that in the middle of D.C."

"How did he even get ahold of that in the first place?"

"Black market, both the Canadian and French governments could have easily procured one for him, among other things," he shrugged. "Point is, ma'am, this guy is either well trained or has a death wish."

"Well, that's good," the secretary groaned.

"Ma'am?" Blake asked, sticking his head into the Sit Room.

The secretary excused herself and slipped into the hallway with him.

"I have the Canadian Ambassador for you on the phone."

"Does he know about the-" She gestured to the door of the Sit Room.

"He didn't say, ma'am, but we certainly didn't tell him."

Elizabeth nodded him her thanks as he handed her the phone.

"Ambassador Clark, what can I do for you?"

"Madam Secretary! So good to hear your lovely voice," the ambassador greeted. "I'm sorry to bother you, but we've had a little incident at the embassy this morning and we called your local law enforcement. Very thorough people, good at their jobs... anyway, I felt you should know so no one was blindsided by anything."

"Thank you for telling me, ambassador. Can we offer any other assistance in this matter?"

"I think we'll be quite alright, Madam Secretary. One of our vehicles simply went missing. No big issue, I just thought you should know."

"Well, thank you, ambassador. Let me know if there's anything else we can do for you."

"That is very gracious, Madam Secretary. You have a good day."

"You too," the secretary finished, hanging up the phone and handing it back to Blake before heading back into the Sit Room. "Blake?" she called at the doorway. "Could you please call the staff and tell them it wasn't Canada?"

"Right away, ma'am."

She nodded to him and returned to the room.

"Bess?"

"It wasn't the Canadians. That car was stolen from their embassy this morning, local law enforcement is handling it."

"How'd you find that out?" Russel asked.

"I just hung up with the ambassador. Any news on the car?"

"Nothing."

"He'll have to stop sometime."

"With any luck, at least."

A half-hour of watching later, the car finally rolled to a stop in the parking lot of an old apartment building.

"Mr. President?"

"Move in. Carefully. I'd rather not see anything blown up."

Director Ware raised his hand to his earpiece and relayed the order to his team; a moment later, they watched as the team approached the car, weapons raised.

Elizabeth held her breath. This could go wrong at any second. The Sit Room seemed to freeze, waiting for something, anything, to happen.

Then three things happened at nearly the same time: the driver reached for the RPG; a shot was fired; and the driver slumped back in his seat. A moment later, a voice echoed through the room.

"Package is secure, sir."

Finally, she exhaled.

"Nice work, Ephraim."

"Thank you, Mr. President."

A quick congratulations and goodbye later, Elizabeth was back in her motorcade on her way to the state department. Glancing at her watch, she realized it was only one o'clock. She groaned.

Henry met her at the door when she finally got home.

"How was your day?" she muttered between kisses.

"Better now. Yours?"

"Another day, another war averted," she sighed, collapsing into his arms.

"Who was it today?"

"France."

"France? Why?"

"Punxsutawney Phil."

Henry did a double-take. "Let me get this straight, you almost went to war with one of our oldest allies over a groundhog?"

"Yep. And now we know they didn't even have anything to do with it."

"Wow. Just exactly what happened?"

"Oh, well," Elizabeth started, her voice holding the slightest hint of laughter now that this whole thing was over, "someone decided kidnapping a specimen of America's charismatic megafauna was a good idea."

"I take it that went well."

"Just another normal day in the life of the Secretary of State."


Anyone mind reviewing? That'd be great. Even if it's just "this is so weird." : )

Also, just FYI, I hope I didn't offend anyone from any country. That was not my intent, I just needed someone from somewhere, preferably somewhere unlikely.