kubis: (GK - Nate and Brad)
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#CNN: Sen. Nathaniel Fick is a Republican nominee for the president. #ficknominated

#Sen_JackWillis: We officially have our guy. N.Fick for the president of the United States! #ficknominated

#MarieH: #ficknominated I was too young to remember Obama's win, but maybe it felt just like this one.

#Pa_trick: I know he didn't win yet, but wow, it's still huge. #ficknominated

#mim: #ficknominated Well, I guess Republicans are ready to lose again. Another 8y for Democrats?

#teooo: Have you seen the empty chairs on the audience? No class. #ficknominated

#qwerty: @teooo Or maybe just doing what you believe in? #ficknominated

#teooo: @qwerty If you believe in being a jackass, sure. #ficknominated

#Stevaah: Didn't think I'd see the day. Though, sadly, it's probably as far as he'll go. #ficknominated


Brad got used to the Secret Service following him around. He acknowledged that he didn't have a choice, so he gritted his teeth and accepted the small team who was responsible for keeping him safe.

They were more respectful of his privacy that he initially assumed and after two weeks it stopped being a pain in his ass for the most part.

After the third time he didn't even try to escape Simmons following him when he wanted to take his Yamaha for a ride. They talked and negotiated the rules. Not too close, not too far, not during the night. They didn't agree on not too fast. After that, they talked shop and bonded over their mutual love of Japan engineering.

Brad could live with that.


He tried to draw a line when they told him he should have an assistant.

"I don't need anyone's help to get through the day," he argued.

They were eating lunch at the campaign office in San Francisco, Brad, Nate, Martha and Joe, along with Mark and Jessie, the speech writing duo, and Riley, Joe's assistant.

"If the senator wins, you'll have a whole team, you should get used to it," Joe said, shrugging.

That wasn't the best thing he could say.

"I won't..." Brad started.

"Yes, you will," Martha interrupted him. "Look, I'm sorry, Brad, I know you hate the idea, but you will need those people. The spouse of the president always has a staff. They are not there just to be around, they are useful. Your schedule will look more crazy than you're used to. You will have limited time at work, but there are other things..."

He tuned her out. His work. Fuck.

He wasn't hungry anymore.

"Guys, could you leave us for a moment?" Nate asked the staff, his staff.

"Hey," Nate started when they were alone, "what's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong," Brad said, putting the box of Chinese food on the table. "I just don't want any assistants."

"Is it about the retirement?" Nate asked quietly. He felt guilty about this, Brad knew it. And it wasn't that bad, really, it was just...

"I had to do it some day, right? It's just... weird."

"I know," Nate said, laying his forehead on Brad's shoulder for a moment. "I'm sorry."

Brad put his hand on the back of Nate's neck, thumb stroking his hair.

"We talked about this. And you didn't make this decision alone." They did. And Nate didn't. When they talked about Nate running for president, they covered the fact that if he would become the Commander in Chief, Brad couldn't be in the Marine Corps anymore. Brad agreed to retire and he talked with his boss. He didn't even have to lose his job, he would return as a civilian employee. With limited hours, because he would be the First Gentleman. "It just comes back sometimes, like this big... thing. It's a big change."

"I know," Nate repeated, looking at him with a sad smile. "You've been serving for over thirty years now. It would be strange if it wasn't a big thing."

"It would be much worse if I wasn't able to keep my job," Brad admitted. He would work less, but the Warfighting Laboratory agreed to accommodate him.

Nate kissed him. And then someone knocked on the door.

"Come in," Nate said, pulling back, but still leaving his arm on Brad's chair.

"I'm sorry, sir, but you have a meeting in twenty minutes and we need to go," Martha said, walking in. She had three people with her. "Brad," she turned to him, "these are your choices for the assistant. Please, pick someone."

And then Nate and Martha left, leaving him with people he didn't know who he had to interview for a job. Fuck his life.


"Commentators agree that Senator Fick was a winner of both debates. They say that Fick has better, much clearer vision for the country and that his plans for reforming military and intelligence are the best ideas we have had in terms of our national security for years. They also note that although the security is the topic closer to the Republicans, Fick's positive vision of politics involving cooperation and engagement of everyone speaks to the Democrats, especially young people. Will it swing some unlikely votes his way? And will it be enough to convince undecideds to vote for him? With not so small number of the Republicans refusing to vote for their own party's candidate, Fick needs the votes of undecideds to go majorly in his favor."


"You know what is the best part of this campaign?" asked Brad, sitting up and taking his coffee from Nate.

"Room service?" Nate smirked.


They weren't living in expensive hotels. Nate believed in spending their money on something more important, even if some people would prefer to have an actual room service and whatever else. In the end, there was always an intern who would bring people coffee each morning.

Like today.

"Morning sex?" Brad nudged Nate, who was sitting next to him, leaning against the headboard.

Nate laughed into his coffee.

"How romantic of you."

"That's me," he easily agreed, putting his mug on the nightstand. He lay down facing Nate and lifted his eyebrows expectantly.

"You're serious," Nate decided and gulped the rest of his coffee in couple of swallows. Brad nodded, staring at his neck. His hand was already on Nate's sweatpants, pushing them down.

"Of course I'm serious," he said, kissing Nate's collarbone and moving down to nip at Nate's left hip. "You know how cranky I can be, if I don't get any."

"Remember the time when you had to work for it?" Nate asked, putting his mug away, and took off his t-shirt.

"Not really." Brad's lips were moving towards Nate's navel.

"Fucker," Nate laughed. He was ticklish there.

"You know me so well." Brad moved on top of Nate, who spread his legs willingly and kissed him hard.

Nate's cell rang when Brad had two fingers inside of Nate and they both groaned. Brad got to the phone first.

"Hello, Martha, what can I do for you today?" he said, scissoring his fingers and grinning at Nate, who was biting his lip to keep quiet.

"Hello, Brad, is the senator there?"

"He just went to take a shower." Brad sat up and put third finger in. Nate arched up a little from the bed as his muscles tensed up.

"I know we were supposed to meet at nine, but I need to..."

"Give him ten minutes," Brad said quickly, moving his fingers in and out a little faster. Nate looked at him incredulously and kicked him in the ass. "Fifteen, maybe."

Martha laughed.

"I'm really disappointed, Brad. I thought better of you."

"I don't know what you're talking about." Nate shuddered under him. Brad leaned in a little to kiss his stomach and chest.

"I bet you don't. Tell the boss that I'll come in thirty minutes."

"There's so many things I could say to that."

"Three words: sexual harrassment policy. Also, I could come knocking in five minutes. With photoreporters."

"See you in thirty minutes," Brad said and disconnected the call.

"I hate you so much," Nate groaned. He wrapped his legs around Brad's waist to bring him closer. "Fuck me right now."

"Or lose you forever?" Brad felt laughter building somewhere inside him, threatening to explode out of him. He grabbed Nate's hips and positioned himself.

"Right the fuck..." Nate groaned again, when Brad pushed in. "...now."


Half an hour later they were both freshly showered and dressed, and Martha was briefing Nate on the new Israeli-Palestinian clusterfuck.

Brad's life was definitely interesting these days.

"Has the president already commented on this?" asked Nate, playing with his watch.

"Not yet. I think she's waiting for some kind of confirmation on what's going on there exactly," Martha said, only briefly looking back from CNN. "For now it's only a video someone put on the Internet and a couple of unconfirmed stories."

"There are some pretty convincing photos as well."

Martha shrugged.

"She's stalling. I would, too."

"She can. But it will be the first question I get as soon as I leave the room."

"But it could be a good thing," Martha pointed out. "Miller will stall, too, because he has to wait and see what the president’s going to say. It's your chance to speak up first."

"And they will compare whatever they say to whatever you said earlier," Brad added.

"I know," Nate said, checking the time. "Let's get this over with, we have to be at the town hall meeting in forty minutes."

"Do you know what you're going to say, Senator?"

"Nothing new, I'm afraid," Nate smiled self-deprecatingly and stood up. "I will say that we're waiting for more information, although it looks like it's serious. But nothing has changed in my view of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I'm not promising peace, because I don't have a magic wand," he said, putting on his jacket. Martha was nodding and writing his words down. "I can promise that an offer of assistance will always be open, if they wish to use our help. I can promise I will do my best. And I won't hesitate to say that either side is wrong, if they attack the other. But I'm not accusing anybody of anything before I know something more."

"That's very rational of you," Brad commented, smirking. "People will hate it. They got used to rather trigger-happy Republicans."

"And then they threw us out from the White House for sixteen years," Martha said. "It's good, Senator. I will give it to Joe, but if you say it to those guys downstairs, the story will run on its own."

Nate nodded.

"It will be the topic of the day, so keep me posted. And I need Felicia to ride with me to the meeting and catch me up on everything that was going on there." He looked at Brad and then turned back to Martha. "Meet me downstairs in five?"

After she left, Nate wrapped his arms around Brad's waist, pulling him in for a kiss.

"You're good?"

Brad pressed their foreheads together.

"I'm good. I got laid, remember?"

Nate laughed and ran his palms over Brad's back.

"I remember very well."

"Our lives are crazy," Brad murmured, kissing Nate's neck and stepping back. "Let's order pizza tonight."

They used to do it often, back when Nate was still in college or right after and when Brad had his leave. They would wake up early, go for a run and then go back, shower and spend the rest of the day in Nate's small apartment, having sex, reading, sharing stories, watching movies. They would order pizza and eat it on the floor, young and carefree like they never were in Iraq. Like they were only with each other and only then.

Nate usually didn't look much older than he was back then, but sometimes when he was laughing hard, with his head thrown back, or smiling his biggest, most honest smile, Brad remembered more clearly the times when there were no lines around Nate's eyes and no grey hair. And sometimes he missed it, that version of Nate, of them, sometimes he wanted to get it back for a while. Today was one of those days.

Nate kissed his jaw and smiled.

"It's a date."


"Remember, remember, the fifth of November";

"Last stop: California";

"Is it okay to be gay in the White House, America?";

"Miller already in his home town";

"The Rainbow House"

"Undecideds decided on Fick?";

"WWAD? What Will America Do?"


When their plane landed in Baltimore, they still had two hours before the voting would start.

Nate slept for more or less that long in the last forty-eight hours and Brad was almost ready to punch or fuck him unconscious, and well, that only left him with one option, really, because aside from the unwritten, but rather obvious rule of no physical violence in their relationship, they really couldn't afford to have Nate with a black eye, could they?

Brad was probably a little sleep deprived himself.

They were alone in the backseat and Nate put his head on Brad's shoulder for a moment.

"I need a shower so bad," he said, his hand running slowly up and down on Brad's thigh.

Brad stopped the movement, laying his hand on top of Nate's. Nate wasn't doing it on purpose, but it wasn't like Brad's body could tell the difference and Brad didn't want to start anything they couldn't finish in the car.

"Me too," he said, closing his eyes.

"Yeah," murmured Nate quietly, but still put his nose in Brad's neck.

"Fuck you," Brad laughed quietly.

"What?" Nate opened his eyes and looked at him with unfocused eyes. He blinked a couple of times. "Oh. I was thinking about sharing the shower with you, not that, you know."

"I smell?" Brad smirked and Nate kissed him.

"Shut up."


Whatever plans Brad might have had to induce Nate into a post-coital coma after the shower and mutual blowjobs, they failed under the joined forces of almost every member of the Fick family, who wanted to hear about the last days of the campaign and gave their opinion about Nate's chances in each and every state, Brad suspected. He was glad Diane stayed in California, because he might not have been able to be civil, if she was as rude as the last time they saw her.

Brad quickly escaped to the kitchen anyway, in time to get a fresh cup of coffee from Nate's dad.

"How are you, Brad?" he asked, handing him sugar.

"Tired, mostly," Brad admitted.

"And ready for this to be over?"

Fuck, yes.

"Yes, exactly. It was a long couple of months. Well, year and a half, but who's counting, right?"

They both smiled.

"He did an incredible thing," Nate's dad said, sitting down with his coffee.

Brad nodded.

"And he still can do much more than that," he said. He didn't get emotional over Nate, not really. He loved him, that was as simple as almost nothing else in Brad's life, and he didn't sit around and think about reasons for or against it. But the enormity of things that Nate could accomplish, the fact that he could be and do things other people dreamt about - all of this sometimes got to Brad. Sometimes it would stop him right where he was, like in the kitchen in the house of Nate's parents, drinking coffee on the presidential election day.

He would never talk with Nate's mom or sisters about how amazing Nate was or whatever. They knew and loved him longer than Brad did, they were aware of that. But sitting with Nate's dad in that moment gave him the feeling that Christopher understood. It wasn't about love, it was about respect and looking back, Brad respected Nate much longer than he loved him.


"Okay. That's not so bad. Well, yes, but... Okay, that's still not so bad. Well, I expected it to be worse, to be honest, so..."

"Hey," Brad kicked him, when Nate was walking past the couch. "Put her on speaker."

"Of course, sorry. Martha, I'm putting you on speaker," he said turning it on and sitting down next to Brad. "Go on."

"Okay, so one more time. For now we're up by one in Georgia and Louisiana, two in North Carolina and Virginia. We're down by one in New Jersey and two in New York. I'm a little worried about turnout in South Carolina, Alabama and Florida, but it's still early."

"Two out of three are swing states, so anything can happen," Brad said, looking at Nate, who shrugged.

"That's true. Wow, the last time Alabama was a swing state was what, 1980?"

"But Reagan still won," Martha countered. "So, the weather is supposed to be good on the West Coast and..."


"Okay, I'm blinded a little by all those camera flashes, what if I choose the wrong candidate?" Brad whispered to Nate just after they entered the polling place.

"Well, think of it this way: you're either voting for sex for the rest of your life or no sex ever again. Your eyesight should improve instantly," Nate whispered back, flashing a smile to the election judges and scrutineers.

"Nathaniel," his mother hissed quietly from behind.

"Or I could vote as you," Nate added quickly.

Brad laughed.

"So you're trying to make me vote for you using either a bribe involving sexual favours, which I approve of by the way, or a fraud?"

"Guys, seriously," Beth sighed. "There are microphones here. A lot of them."

In the end they would have probably gone on like this for a little longer, if not for Chloe, who left Emily's side and elbowed her way to Nate.

"Uncle Nate!" she shouted, reaching out for him to lift her, which he obediently did. "Can I vote with you?"

Cameras were rolling and the flashes went crazy again. Unscripted Kodak moment in their life.

Brad wanted a copy of that.



"Tell Chloe I'm buying her ice cream the next time I see her," was the first thing Martha said, when Nate called her.

"I knew you would love it," Brad said, stretching his legs as much as he could in the car.

"Don't pretend you didn't, I saw you smiling on national television," she laughed.

"If you were working for me, I'd fire you."

"Some people almost swooned here..."

"Maybe you should keep them hydrated until it's over, what do you think?"

"Guys, guys," Nate was laughing. "Please, stop. I wanted to hear about the exit polls, not about people who are swooning because of my husband, okay?"

"Don't worry, I'm sure there are people that are almost-swooning over you, too," Brad assured him, laughing.

"Well, there was that woman in South Dakota..."

"Focus! Focus, please," Nate said, kicking Brad. "Martha, just give me those numbers."

"Sorry, boss. So, we're down by three in Colorado and Illinois, one in Pennsylvania, four in Connecticut and two in South Carolina, but we're up by two in Maryland, three in North Carolina and we just moved to the front in California, we're up by two."

"That’s not bad," Nate was serious again, frown lines more visible than usual. He almost looked his age.

They knew for a long time that they had to win California or they would lose. With Texas going for a Democrat and some of the other red states suddenly becoming swing states, they had thrown a lot of time and money at California. In the worst case scenario, it would be all over before people even stopped voting in there, but in the best one Nate would win their fifty-five electoral votes and he and Miller would go neck-to-neck for the last states.

"When are you going to be here, Senator? It's madness in the whole building, obviously, but the podium is ready outside and there are more and more people coming."

"We have a late lunch with the mayor and short meeting with the students, but after that we're coming to you, so I'd say, around seven or eight."


"This is madness," Nate was standing in the door of the main office, looking at people running around and not noticing him, and he was smiling at it all. He seemed to lose the tension he was carrying around for the whole day (or week, or year in a half). Brad could feel himself relaxing as well.

There was really nothing they could do at this point and it was exhilarating.

A few seconds later Martha noticed them and the moment was broken, but the feeling didn't go away, not really.

"They've called Pennsylvania and Vermont for Miller and Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia for you, Senator," Martha said, fast. "We're still waiting for the rest."

"So it's twenty-six versus fifty-two," Brad counted. He could recite the electoral votes of all fifty states by now. He actually did that once when he couldn't sleep.

"That's not bad," Nate smiled at them, relaxed, looking odd in the room full of nervous tension. Martha looked like she wasn't sure if he wasn't having a nervous breakdown.

"Just tell us where there's a room with a couch and TV," Brad told her with a smile.

It was entirely possible she would have a heart attack before this night was over and Nate would have to find a new Chief of Staff.


This is what the eye of the storm feels like, Brad thought, standing with Nate in front of a dozen TV screens in the main office. When you're still in it, but it's moving fast.

They were losing by almost fifty votes and everyone was holding their breath for the results from California, Oregon and Nevada. Well, everyone except Nate, who looked like he was meditating in front of those screens, hypnotized by various maps, graphs and commentators on mute.

"Are you alright?" Brad asked, turning to stand in front of him, blocking out his view.

"I'm..." Nate blinked a couple of times and concentrated on Brad's chin. "Calm. I have this strange feeling of... disconnection, you know?" Nate looked him in the eyes and Brad nodded, his hands coming up on Nate's neck. "I hadn't had that feeling in years."

Not since Iraq's aftermath.

Brad went to kiss Nate, but they were interrupted. Someone turned the voice on CNN.

"And now, with the reports from eighty-seven percent of polling places in, we're ready to call the state of California for... Senator Nathaniel Fick!"

Two things Brad would later remember from that moment: the noise was incredibly loud and Nate's eyes were incredibly green.


"We haven't had a race this close in years. With Senator Fick winning California, it's still too close to call who will be the next president."

"You're right, Jon. It's been a long time. It was still in the Before Beard era."

"It was fourteen years ago, you really should let this go, Stephen."

"But I've only mentioned it a couple of times!"

"You've mentioned it on every election night since 2012."

"Well, we didn't have a lot of them, did we? And it's our thing, Jon! Our tradition, something we both enjoy and cherish..."

"Speak for yourself."

"I enjoy it immensely."

"I can tell. Shall we continue with the results or do you want to stay on the topic of my
long forgotten beard?"

"We can move on."

"Thank you. And right on time, I see. The results just came in from..."

"Let me, Jon, let me, I want to do it this time!"


"You always do it, you know. Now it's my turn..."


"You actually did this every time we were doing it together and we've been doing it together for a long, long time. And you always have to be on top!"

tell them, Stephen!"

"Thank you, Jon. Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States is Nathaniel Fick."


"Wake up, Fick, it's your graduation day," Brad says, running his fingers over Nate's back. Nate arches into the touch, but doesn't make any move to get up.

"Do I have to wear an ugly robe?" he asks with his face tucked into his arm.

"I'm not sure. But if you do, I'll happily disrobe you afterwards."

"It's nice of you," Nate mutters without lifting his head.

"I aim to please," Brad agrees and then gives Nate's hair a little tug. "Nate, come on."

"I'm awake," he says, turning to lie on his back. He had probably been up for hours already. "But I've decided I'm not getting up."

"I'm not sure the party can start without you, you know."

"We still have time, right?"

"I don't know, you're the popular one. Don't you have any meetings beforehand?"

"I'm meeting General Pears and General Matthew in about an hour, then breakfast and then we have a meeting with the president and her husband in the White House before the ceremony."

"It's as if you were someone important."

"As if," Nate smiles and turns to kiss him. "Five more minutes," he says with his lips against Brad's.


"How many?" he almost chokes on his coffee.

"Six, sir," Tony says and Brad sighs inwardly. He gave up on explaining that he didn't want to be called 'sir' all the damn time. Or at all. Apparently, when your husband is elected president, suddenly nobody but him and the rest of your family can call you by your name. Brad's managed to convince Martha at least, after she tried it one time. "It's how it's supposed to be," she said, but he told her he didn't care. Then there was her "What if I slip in public one day and the press will notice?" and his "What if I ignore you in public when you call me 'sir' and the press will notice?", and just like that he won.

"We have to go to six inaugural balls," Nate's voice brings him back to the conversation.

"Why?" he almost whines.

"Because there are six balls organized?" Tony replies and this is why Brad picked him to work with. Nate smiles.

"You have to show up for just about twenty, thirty minutes," Andrew, Nate's assistant, explains. "Shake some hands, make a toast..."

"We will be drunk before we go to our last one," Nate says.

"Maybe you will," Brad smirks and Nate kicks him. Martha rolls her eyes.

"You don't have to drink the whole champagne. The president makes the toast, you both take a sip and that's it."

She meant Nate, Brad thinks. He thought of President Wilkinson, but she meant Nate.

"Mark is writing those toasts for you, sir. You will get them in the car on the way."

"I can make a toast by myself, I've done it before," Nate tries.

"I'm sure you did, sir, but it's different."

"Let Mark do this," Brad says. "It will be a nice change after writing two hundred pages of inaugural speech. Which, by the way, I hope is great, because it's going to be cold out there."

"It will make you cry," Nate deadpans. "So, a toast that I won't write and champagne I won't drink. Something else?"

Andrew looks nervous.

"Well, usually there's a dance of the First Couple, but it was suggested by the committee that we may skip that part. So it will be..."

"Who suggested it?" asks Nate and Brad knows trouble when he sees it. Nate would want to dance only to show everybody that they can. They have never danced together, not even at their wedding. They aren't starting now.

"Whoever it is, he, or she, will be glad to hear that we're not going to dance," he says calmly, trying to downplay how serious he is about this. Only one person is supposed to hear it and he does.

"We're not," Nate agrees, looking at Andrew before turning to Brad. "I guess we will have a lot of hands to shake."

Brad smiles at him.

"Aren't you used to it by now?"


"At what point does this stop being surreal?" Brad wants to ask, but feels it's stupid, so he doesn't. At what point does it stop being surreal that your spouse is the president? At what point do you stop caring that you're living in the fucking White House? And when both of those happen, how do you stop yourself from going mad?

"It never really goes away," Wilkinson says, still standing in the patio door, smiling at him and pretending he isn't giving Brad time to get over himself. Nate and the president are already outside of the Oval Office, but Brad lingered a couple steps behind to have one more look at the room.

"Does it get better?" he asks, when they step outside.

"Yes," Wilkinson says. "You can get used to it after some time. At the beginning every time I came into the Oval Office, I was... intimidated. But one day I just went in, because Donna was horribly late, and I didn't even notice the room. After that, it was better. Of course, you can't just do it anytime you want, especially if your husband is in a meeting, but aside from that, you have more or less a free pass."

They join their spouses and the president leads them to the East Wing.

"It's a little difficult to make it look like home," she says, "but I'm sure you'll manage."

After the quick tour, Brad thinks that the only way to do that, would be to throw away almost everything and start again. But that's most likely not gonna happen.


After some time, Brad won't remember the morning conversation, because they've had and will have thousands of them over the years. He won't care about the inaugural balls. He will get used to the White House, the magnificent bed they will love and the scary living room they will almost never be in, the cooking staff and the cleaning staff, he will get used to everything and everyone.

He will get used to this life, similar and completely different than what they had before. He won't remember in details the novelty of it all.

But nothing will ever, ever feel like this:

It's so cold when they're standing up, the wind stronger than just moments before, when Brad was simply a part of the crowd (There were over one hundred and fifty thousand people there, Martha will tell him later). Brad has a copy of the Constitution in his hands (It's insulting, Nate said, when the committee proposed the Bible, when you swear on a symbol of something you don't believe in) and moves his icy-cold toes a little (I hope nobody's filming my shoes right now, he thinks).

Nate next to him is dressed in a black coat and the lines on his face are almost invisible now, his eyes shining, but calm, when he says:

"I do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States..."

[the end]
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