Author's note: I'm so sorry it took me this long to post a new chapter! I'm really sorry. I'm extremely thankful for all your support. Now there are only three more chapters left. This one is where things begin to settle down.

Just a little warning: this chapter has not been beta read. So I apologize sincerely for the mistakes I probably made.

Disclaimer: I don't own Commander In Chief. I don't own The West Wing. And also don't own the song "The power of love". That song was written and originally recorded by Jennifer Rush, then it was covered by the AMAZING Céline Dion,.

Summary: The ship of state just sails on, regardless. The rest of the inauguration day brings new beginnings and a few surprises for several members of the Allen administration and the first family.


Inauguration part 2: endings and new beginnings

Inauguration day, 2021.

4.30 PM

Reporter- we are now in front of the house of Nathan Templeton, where many people are gathered while others are expected to arrive soon. Everybody here looks very sad and in shock by the sudden death of the man who was the leader of the opposition and our President for 24 hours during Memorial Day of 2015.

News Anchor, on the studio- can they tell the causes of Mr. Templeton's death?

Reporter- Mrs. Templeton didn't want to make any statement yet. She was devastated, naturally. But we were able to talk to some close friends, including Janey Murray, and we know that Mr. Templeton passed away after suffering a stroke.

News Anchor, on the studio- who is on the house right now?

Reporter- some close friends and relatives from DC. The family friends and relatives from Florida are still on their way. Because the funerals will probably be held here in a week or so.

At that moment, the camera saw a couple of secret service agents securing the area and checking the people who arrived to the house.

Reporter- as you see, there is more secret service activity than usual around here. It seems that President Allen might make and appearance…. I think…

The reporter stopped talking as he saw something important. The camera panned and filmed black limousines, monocycles and an ambulance slowly coming in direction to the house.

Reporter- Indeed…. I'm seeing the presidential motorcade right now! Let's see if I can get the President to talk to us…

The motorcade arrived to the house, and Mac got down. The reporter got as closer as he could, but Agent Daniel Carter quickly forced him to stay back. Meanwhile, other Secret Service agents were desperately trying to control the other reporters, photographers and cameramen. The agents were cursing and swearing on the inside. Daniel Carter tried to reason with the President, but there was no way of convincing her that dropping by Templeton's wake like that was a terrible idea. She was such a stubborn woman.

Reporter- Madam President, do you wish to make any comment?

Mac didn't say anything. It wasn't the time. She was there only to give Sarah her condolences in person. It didn't feel right to just call and send something. It seemed too cold for her taste.

She felt terrible about what happened, and she could only imagine how crushed and devastated Sarah must be.

Once she was already inside, she went to talk directly to the widow.

Mac- Sarah, I'm so sorry.

Sarah- I just…. I can't believe it. He's gone.

A few tears flowed from Sarah's eyes. Mac was close to crying herself. She gave the poor woman a friendly hug and then they sat on a big couch. Everybody was closely watching them with curiosity. So they decided to go to the kitchen where they could have tea and talk privately.

Sarah- I really appreciate you came here, ma'am. It means a lot. I hope you can go next week to the…

She couldn't even say the word "funeral" yet. Her eyes began to cloud with tears again and her chest was hurting. She knew it was due to the angst and the emotional pain.

Mac knew what she was trying to say, so she nodded.

Mac- I'll be there.

Sarah- he was such a great man. The best one I have ever met. I was so lucky. Oh… if only I could have him a little bit longer.

Mac- I know this won't serve you as much consolation right now. But I truly believe the people we loved and lost always remain close to us in spirit. They always live because of everything they taught us, all the good they did and the love they gave us. Of course, it's still painful and tragic.

Sarah then remembered that the President had suffered a horrible lost two months ago. It was a different kind of lost, but a terrible lost nevertheless.

Sarah- yeah.

Sarah made an effort and tried not to cry again. She had already cried so much, and Nathan always hated it when she cried. Instead, she focused on Mac. She suddenly became aware that Nathan had been the President's enemy. But Sarah didn't want her to have the wrong impression of him just because of their political disputes. She wanted everybody to know what a great man Nathan had been.

Sarah- Ma'am, I know you and Nate didn't get along…. you were on opposites sides and you argued a lot…

Mac- nothing of that matters anymore. He and I always disagree on everything. But I respected him very much. He was incredibly strong and smart. It was an honor having such a rival. And it was even a greater honor when we were able to be friends for a while.

Sarah nodded, remembering that brief time when her husband and the President got along. She specially remembered that lovely thanksgiving dinner at the White House.

Sarah- thank you. He never showed it, but he thought you were brilliant and he admired you very much. I know he enjoyed having you as his rival, but he would have much rather having you as his ally. Sadly, that wasn't possible.

Mac- I know.

She and Nate were two people who wanted the same thing. And what they wanted was something only one of them could have. That inevitably had made them enemies, which Mac thought was a pity. Despite everything, Mac was sure she would miss Nate.

After visiting Sarah, Mac had to go back to the White House. After all, this was very far from being an ordinary day. There were plenty of commitments she simply couldn't blow off. Plus, lots of people were counting on her and her presence on the ten balls that would take place that night. "The ship of state just sails on, regardless", Mac couldn't help remembering those world as she entered the Oval Office.

A few hours later…

Vice Presidential mansion

Jim Gardner was getting ready for the Inaugural Ball. He had taken a shower and put her tux on. Now he was fixing his black bow-tie. There was a knock at the door. Then he opened it. Naturally, it was just one of his agents.

Agents- Mr. Vice President? A visitor is waiting for you in the living room.

Jim- a visitor?

Agent- it's Miss. Jane Murray, sir.

Jim- oh… ok.

Jim immediately walked downstairs where the living room was. He had heard about Nathan and immediately called Sarah. He had tried to call Jayne as well, but she never answered the phone. Now she was right in front of him, sitting in a couch, looking terrible.

A few of Jim's agents were carefully watching her every move, so the Vice President asked them to leave him and Jayne alone. The agents were gone, they stayed right outside the room.

Jayne felt the need to explain herself.

Jayne- I just… I just didn't want to be alone

Jim- I understand

Jayne- he died. Nathan died

Jim then hugged Jayne who simply began crying in his arms.

Jim- I know, hun. I know.

That didn't mean that he knew what happened. It meant that he knew exactly how Jayne was feeling. He had been on her shoes a few years ago, which was probably the reason why Jayne had come to him in this moment so terrible for her.

Jayne- He was like a father to me, Jim. What am I going to do now?

Jim knew very well that nothing he could say would make Jayne feel better. So he simply held her and kissed her forehead in support.

Jim- it's ok. You'll figure it out.

Jayne- may I…? May I stay here tonight?

Jim didn't know how to react. The two of them had barely talked to each other since they broke up. And back then, Jim thought Jayne was only using him to get information. But now it was clear that she needed him. What could he do?

Jim- of course…

But Jayne didn't fail to notice he was a little bit confused.

Jayne- this isn't about us… I…. I don't want to be alone tonight.

Jim hugged her without saying another word and Jayne continued to cry in his arms.

When it hit her that she was really crying in Jim's shoulder, she felt a little embarrassed


At the inaugural ball

Kelly was talking to a couple of reporters invited to the ball, including Steve. She tried to act normally, but inside of her a sea of doubts and fears was taking over her every thought. Steve had said he would give up his dream job for her. Would that make him happy? Did she really want to be the reason for his sacrifice? Were they ready to take their relationship to a whole new level of commitment? More importantly… could they? Was getting serious really an option for them? They weren't even supposed to sleep together.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Charlie's arrival. He greeted everybody and then shook Steve's hand.

Charlie- congratulations, man.

Steve looked puzzle.

Charlie- the job offer… I heard about it. It's great. You are so lucky.

Steve looked nervously at Kelly, then back at Charlie.

Steve- oh… I'm not gonna take it. I have to turn it down.

Charlie looked at his fellow reporter like he was crazy.

Charlie- what? That job is what you always wanted.

Steve- not anymore, okay?

Charlie gave Kelly a quick look, she was looking nervous and a bit uncomfortable. Charlie was aware of the rumors about Steve and the Press Secretary. He was beginning to suspect why his friend wanted to stay in Washington.

Kelly excused her self to go to the bathroom. Steve immediately went after her. He found her right outside the bathroom, very close to tears. She was trying to lit a cigarette, but couldn't because her hand was shaking.

Steve got closer to her and took the cigarette and the lighter from her hands.

Steve- Kelly….

She didn't let him say another word.

Kelly- you are going to Africa

There wasn't a hint of doubt in that statement. She had already made a decision for both of them. He could try, but he couldn't change her mind.

Steve- no, I'm going to stay here, with you…

Kelly- what you really want is to take the job

Steve- no. What I want is to be with you. I love you

Kelly shook her head sadly. If only things were that simple.

Kelly- you feel that way now. But what will happen in five years… or in ten years from now? You will look back and regret that you never went to Africa.

Steve- I won't! Because I'll have you

Kelly's heart was breaking. But she knew one of them had to be reasonable.

Kelly- I'm sorry, Steve, I want you to stay so badly. But I can't do this to you. If you stay I'll always be the reason why you didn't go to Africa. I'll hate my self for it and, deep down, you will forever resent me

Steve shook his head on denial. He was about to say that he would never resent her. But once again Kelly wouldn't let him speak.

Kelly- please, don't make things more difficult. We both know I have to let you go.

The President and the First Gentleman would arrive to the ball soon. Dickie was looking for the press secretary. She was nowhere to be seen and he was getting really worried. He eventually found her hiding in her office.

Dickie- Kelly? What are you doing here?

The last thing Kelly wanted was yet another lecture from Dickie. She automatically assumed he was there to argue over something. And she wasn't in the mood to fight him.

Kelly- Richard, can't it wait until tomorrow?

Dickie- I was just worried about you. What happened, doll?

Kelly- Steve and I broke up… he's moving to Africa.

She broke down in tears and Dickie held her as she cried.

Back at the east-room.

Horace Calloway was already in the ball. His sisters were there too. It was Amy's first inaugural ball, since she had been two little to attend the last one.

The youngest First Daughter, who had turned 13 on December 18th, was wearing a pretty long light-purple dress. She was incredibly exited about being in the ball that she had put some make up on, despite her parent's objection. She looked like a beautiful young lady. Her oldest siblings could hardly believe than when they moved to the White House she was the family's baby.

The oldest First Daughter had never looked so grown up. She had her hair up and a long black dress with silver sparks on the straps and around the waist. Her mother had lent her diamonds earrings and a beautiful silver necklace with a small diamond shaped as a heart.

Becca looked at agent Dolores Donovan, who was guarding one of the room's doors. The agent asked something to her cuff mic. Then the agent smiled and raised her thumb. That meant little Joanna, who was at the residence with a nanny, was already sleeping in her room. Becca smiled relieved.

Becca had invited her good friend, Stacey Craig. She was so happy that her friend could make it. Stacey was now working and living in Manhattan, where she had moved after getting a college degree in fashion design.

Horace took one look at Stacey and his heart began beating fast. She looked stunning in a blue dress. He always knew she was beautiful, but now she was simply taking his breath away. If only he hadn't been a dork.

Stacey greeted the three Calloway kids and gave Becca a friendly hug.

Stacey- thanks for inviting, Becca… I'm so glad to be here

Becca- you are welcome, I'm happy you came…

Stacey took a look around. She was incredibly impressed by the beauty of the White House east-room. It was breathtaking.

Stacey- everything looks amazing.

After chitchatting with her friend for a little while, Becca noticed that Horace wanted to talk alone with Stacey, so she made an excuse.

Becca- sorry, I need to talk to Alex. I catch up with you later.

Amy said an excuse to leave to,

Amy- hey, Tommy Bridges just came here with his mom. I better go greet them.

Just like that, Horace and Stacey were left alone and facing each other for the first time since their first and only night together, five years ago.

Horace- Stacey, I… I want to thank you for what you did. Your testimony saved me.

Stacey- you don't have to thank me. I just told the truth

To her doing the right thing and not getting involved in that other girl's silly game was the natural thing to do.

Horace- well, that meant a lot to me. Thank you.

Stacey- you are welcome.

There was a very awkward silence between them. Until Stacey decided to break the silence by saying something funny.

Stacey- by the way, I'm dieing to see the second Oval Office….

Both of them laughed hard. Stacey now couldn't believe she had been so silly. Becca had teased her for years because she had fallen for Horace joke's about the White House having two Oval offices.

Horace- oh, but it's not in this White House. It's at the secret second White House.

Stacey- right… for security reasons.

Both of them laughed hard again, remembering that fun night they had together. Then Horace got suddenly serious.

Horace- hey, Stacey… it just occurred to me that I never apologized to you for being such a jerk.

Stacey- Horace, you don't have to…

Horace- yes, I do. I'm really sorry I was such a jerk. I just ignored you after… what we did. And that was incredibly wrong. I should have called you. We should have dated for real.

Stacey- I wanted that really badly, you know. I wanted to be your girlfriend. And, yes, I was heartbroken when that didn't happen. But it wasn't completely your fault. Nobody forced me do anything. I knew what I was doing. Deep down, I knew what would happen, and I chose to… do what I did, anyway.

Horace- well, but still you should know that I'm sorry. And that I truly regret not dating you. I wish I had asked you out.

Stacey- I really don't know what to say about that….

Horace- you don't have to say anything. I just wanted you to know.

It was finally time for Mac and Rod's big entrance. They arrive at the ball, both looking great. Mac was wearing a long strapless white and black dress. Her hair was up and she was wearing high heels. Everybody clapped their hands and cheered when they arrived. She took Rod's arm and they made their way to the dance floor. On the way, she said to him,

Mac- remember our third date? The karaoke-bar?

Rod- how could I not?

He remembered like it was yesterday. He had said: "20 bucks you don't dare to go up in stage and sing". He knew that was the only way to make her sing, so he didn't care sacrificing 20 dollars. It was money well spent, as it turned out. She ended up on that stage singing, really out of key, a very romantic Celine Dion song. It only made him love her even more.

Suddenly, that same song began playing at the Inaugural Ball, over 20 years later.

They smiled lovingly to each other and began dancing to "The power of love".

The whispers in the morning of lovers sleeping tight
Are rolling like thunder now as I look in your eyes

I hold on to your body and feel each move you make
Your voice is warm and tender
A love that I could not forsake

Mac then sang softly in Rod's ear the chorus,

'Cause I am your lady… and you are my man
Whenever you reach for me I'll do all that I can

He held her tighter. Both of them were feeling happier and more in love than ever.

Even though there may be times it seems I'm far away
Never wonder where I am 'Cause I am always by your side

'Cause I am your lady and you are my man
Whenever you reach for me I'll do all that I can

Becca was dancing with Alex. They both had become best friends again since the night Joanna was born. Even though Alex wanted so much more, he didn't want to do anything that might scare Becca. They were back to being the great friends they were before the kidnapping. Alex didn't want to lose that. Becca, on the other hand, realized her feelings for Alex where growing and becoming stronger every day. She always felt so safe and so at ease around him. She suddenly couldn't resist it anymore. She kissed him softly on the lips.

We're heading for something
Somewhere I've never been
Sometimes I am frightened
But I'm ready to learn of the power of love

The sound of your heart beating made it clear
Suddenly the feeling that I can't go on is light years away

Horace and Stacey were dancing as well.

Horace- nothing would stop us from dating now…

Stacey- what?

Horace- we could date, for real now… not hit and running. Real dating.

Stacey looked at him surprised. She couldn't believe Horace Calloway was saying that to her. He then did something even more surprising… he kissed her on the lips. She responded to his kiss and they kissed for a few seconds. Then Horace whispered a very special question into her ears,

Horace- Stacey, do you still want to be my girlfriend?

Stacey- yes, I do…

They smiled at each other and kissed again.

'Cause I am your lady and you are my man
Whenever you reach for me I'll do all that I can

We're heading for something, somewhere I've never been
Sometimes I am frightened, but I'm ready to learn of the power of love

To be continued….

Next on "The fall…": A young couple gives a big step forward in their relationship. Mac and Rod remember when they got engaged. For Jim and Jayne their secret love seems to be going really smoothly... but what happens when certain little stick turns blue?

By the way… Celine Dion's version of "The power of love" was released in North America on November 1, 1993. In this story, Mac and Rod began dating on 1995. So that song already existed when they were on their third date. Just wanted you to know I did my research. )