Fandom: politician RPF
Word count: 1,157
Summary: They can relax around each other now that it's over, now that everything between them has changed.
Notes: A sequel to Electioneering. I think I'll blame zulu for this. She betaed it too.
After the nomination's decided, truly once-and-for-all decided, he closes his eyes and breathes a sigh of relief, a moment of relaxation even as people are rushing in to thump his back, to shake his hand. It's done. It's his.
But then the phone rings, and it's her people talking to his people. They need to discuss what happens now.
When they meet again, a private meeting just between the two of them, she seems stripped naked without her campaign all around her. She seems smaller than she really is. He's never thought of her as anything but a giant.
"Senator Obama," she says, and she looks as though she's been bracing herself for this.
"Senator Clinton," he says.
They choose two chairs in the living room that face each other. They make small talk about their families, about the moves the McCain campaign has been making. It's not until that has all been wrapped up before she folds her hands into her lap and says, "I don't want to be your running mate, but I will help you win this election."
He watches her face as she says it, and her expression is calm, composed. He wants to reach out and touch her, to run a hand along the curve of her cheek, but this isn't the time or place for that. "I understand," he says, though he suspects he'll regret this later. They'd be formidable together, he knows. Unstoppable.
"Good," she says, and smiles.
They talk more specifics afterward. The tension between them fades. She laughs and smiles easily, eyes bright with a bit of relief, and he finds himself joining in. They can relax around each other now that it's over, now that everything between them has changed.
That night, he almost expects her to show up at his doorstep, like she's done many nights before. He stays up later than usual, hashing out ideas for his next speech in the dim light of his desk lamp, but she doesn't show. The rules have been rewritten, and he doesn't know these new ones yet.
He watches as she gives her concession speech, and it's a good one, full of sincere emotion and a ferocity that he's respected for quite a while now. He listens to her speak, and he believes every single word. They are on the cusp of something amazing, groundbreaking, a turning point in history. He forgets that, sometimes, when he's caught up in the details of his campaign. But he feels the full force of it as she talks, as she tells the story of women who remember a time when they did not have the right to vote, who are willing to vote now.
He's met a lot of people on the campaign trail, but the people he likes meeting best are the young black children who stare up at him with awe and say that they want to be president when they grow up. His candidacy means that it's possible for them, too. He thinks of all the girls who must have met her along the way, the ones who tell her that they want to be president when they grow up.
The thought puts a smile on his face for the rest of her speech, all the way up until the final "God bless America."
She goes out stumping for him, even though the media seems content to spin the angle that her support is lukewarm. They talk, from time to time, as she gives him reports on the people she's met, the states she's visited.
He likes listening to those reports the same way he likes hearing Michelle talk about how Malia and Sasha are doing. Late at night, when he's drained and exhausted, and the only thing he needs to focus on is the sound of her voice.
In Unity, New Hampshire, she stands at his side, laughing, smiling, applauding. They were at each other's throats, once, but now they stand together. The sky overhead is overcast, and the air all around them is cool for a Northeastern summer. They walk onstage together, and the crowd goes wild, echoing in his ears. He feels fiercely proud in that moment, that second.
She speaks first, pledging her support. He really believes they can do this. They can win.
He always gets a thrill at a rally like this, feeding off the energy of the crowd. The sound of cheering, the huge homemade signs, the goodwill, the attention. When it's his turn to speak, he praises her for all that she's done, all that she will do. As the crowd claps and cheers, he rides the outpouring of support and gives some of it back to them. Here, on this field, he can almost feel the way everything's coming together. They are one party, one America, one nation under God. We can do it. Yes, we can.
At the end of the speech, he wraps an arm around her shoulder, bringing their bodies close together as they wave to the crowd.
That night, she visits his hotel room. When he lets her in, he kisses her softly, a hand gentle on the back of her neck. She kisses him back, fiercely, but not with the anger of the primaries. And when they tumble into bed together, it's not familiar at all. This is something different, something new.
"I wish you'd reconsider," he whispers into her ear, running a hand up her leg. Up close like this, he can see the effects of age on her body. The lines of her face, the thickness of her thighs, but he finds it all beautiful anyway.
"You know I won't," she says, as she nips lightly at his neck. "Don't ask me again."
The weeks leading up to the Convention are hectic. He picks Joe Biden as his running mate, because he likes Biden, likes his ferocity and intelligence, and he's a good guy. His heart's in the right place.
Michelle and Hillary spend some time chatting about being high-profile mothers, getting ready for their own appearances. They're busy, too. He spends as much time as he can with his daughters, because he knows he'll have even less time for it after all this is over.
He barely has time to sleep, most days. But it'll be worth it, in the end.
Hours before he steps onstage, as he prepares his acceptance speech, she pulls him aside to speak to him.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want want to be the one out there tonight," she starts.
He nods, waiting for her to finish.
"Don't fuck this up," she says, and he knows she means more than just his acceptance speech.
"I won't," he promises, laughing, because he has no intention of losing this election either.
She smiles at that and kisses him on the cheek as she leaves.