Author's Note 6/21/2013: I'm adding a note to all my fics to tell my readers that yes, all fics will be finished and I am writing. As some of you know, I had a huge health scare, and between October and February was sidetracked with that, having to have gyn surgery in January as well as some extensive medical treatment with side effects. I am now two weeks post op from sinus and nasal surgery and have had complications. It is no party. I'm not even looking forward to vacation next week, but very glad we opted not to fly, as I could not comfortably, but now face a 14 hour drive each way. Oh well, I'm sure I'll feel better soon.

So this being said, my head and heart just isn't always in my writing, and I refuse to just post something for the sake of it, but there are bits and pieces completed, including much of the rest of Double Take and Domestic, so just hang in there for me. Thanks.

I realize this isn't getting read all that much – not that I've updated recently - but my BFF, sometimes editor, and fellow Hoosier fan Kat reminded me at lunch the other day that I promised I'd finish this before the election. Or, by the time we entered the Presbyterian Old Folks Home.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans. I do own the plot line.

Please note: When the body of a public official or other notable person is placed in its casket for mourners to pay their respects in a government building, they lie 'in state'; otherwise, they lie 'in repose'.

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Politics as Usual

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Chapter 34

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The evening before was a vague memory of food and something nonalcoholic to drink insisted upon and some snuggles. It was comforting and I wondered briefly if I was taking advantage of Richard doting on me. I was so bone tired. So drained. Where was all that adrenaline they promised me after a loved one dies? I could use it to get through. Maybe mine will kick in later. I will need it by the time the funeral itself gets here. All the pomp, circumstance, protocol, events. People to support, take care of.

I wonder if I can. I am failing on day, what? Day three is it? I cannot seem to take care of myself.

It was Tuesday and even though it was a relatively full day on TV for Richard and me, as well as the day that the publisher would announce of the release of my biography of President Hudson, it also turned out to be the last day I would be spending in the studio for a while. Vic had called just as we pulled into the studio. All the arrangements were finalized with the Military District of Washington concerning the activities and events related to the death of the President.

With President Hudson's body already prepared and in its casket, the President was to lay in repose at his home on the Potomac beginning that day before the first processional to the Capital Rotunda the very next day, Wednesday, where he would then lie in state for two days. During that time it was expected four to five thousand people an hour could come and pay their respects. Then on Friday there would be the funeral procession down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Washington National Cathedral for his State Funeral. After his funeral, President Hudson's casket would remain to lay in repose through Monday for there to be more opportunity for the public to pay their respects. They wanted to be sure to offer this additional time. The Military District had learned that lesson with Reagan. Hudson's casket would return to his home for a private wake on Monday evening and then be brought to Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, one week from today, for burial.

My mind was swimming. I'd be expected at the Hudson Compound tonight, tomorrow at the latest. At least I would be told exactly when I was wanted, and when I was needed. Thank Heaven for the straight shooters in our lives. Oh, and there was that little detail about giving the eulogy for the President, knowing that was Friday. On international TV. In the nation's largest church. Yeah, daunting.

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So not the best time when the publisher 911'd me a text message. I had seen a lot of emergencies over the past couple of weeks. A book tour is not an emergency.

It took a few minutes of convincing my publisher that the book tour was not my number one priority. Nor was it going to happen for at least another ten days. I was busy. I did not want to say it, but they needed me way, way more than I needed them at that moment.

What I needed was to get through the burial. Actually getting through the day was concerning me a bit.

While I was talking to said publisher, I asked their publicist to make the calls – their job, by the way – to reschedule the interviews they had set up without checking with me because I would be, I don't know, with the Hudson family, at the funeral, even giving the eulogy. And all I was getting was more and more share excuses.

Without an independent agent in my corner, or Lil, or a fairy god somebody, I wanted the sink to my knees and cry. I did not need anything more to deal with. Not the time to be weak, never my favorite option, I despise appearing let alone being weak, I couldn't ask Lilith to help; she was dealing with her own grief, although in actuality she had far less on her plate as far as I knew, so really, I could ask.

I was faltering on the phone, gathering my bravado to say something forceful or at least firm again when I felt a hand on my back. I jumped a bit. I relaxed when I realized it was Richard.

"Just a second."

"Ms. Anders, this is important. We have publicity to do as the book drops-"

"It is Doctor, and might I add that it offers the book more credibility when people realize that I am unavailable to promote the book because I am considered a member of the Hudson family. Excuse me, please hold on." I was at least able to muster an attitude. Go me. I pressed the hold button.

"I didn't mean to eavesdrop, Kory," he started, not eager, soothing, but as if I might bite his head off if he was overstepping his role. Not the Dick Grayson I was used to, but he was trying to win me back, an ongoing process apparently. He continued, "but if I can play secretary or booking agent or whatever you need, I'm happy to help out. Can I grab your calendar from Lil, I'm free until the three o'clock hour."

I stood looking at him. He was a bit skittish, but, yes eager to please. I bet it could have something to do with whatever odd dynamic there was between Babs and him. Oh, I should not go there. He was doing his best, trying to help. Odd he'd worked with the President and he was approaching me carefully? Well, we'd gone a few rounds lately...

Lil might help me herself if Richard checked with her on my calendar, but I actually thought I had my own one better updated. I would be back on air within ten minutes, I was shaken, the funeral was approaching so fast. Stop the world I want to get off... And here he was. Seriously, how wonderful. "Richard, you do not have to."

He gave me a lopsided grin, brushing off my half-hearted protest. "Let me help you. I've been a Chief of Staff, remember? I can do this."

"All right. Here it is." I handed off my iPad. I'd almost forgotten my call when he motioned to my hand. Okay, I had forgotten the call. "Ms. Davis," I still hate Ms., someday I'll join the Twenty-first century. "Mr. Grayson will work with you, he has my calendar. I will let you two work out if he needs to call you back about or can start scheduling me now. But I am firm here. I am not available until the end of next week, as in no sooner than next Friday-"

"Saturday," Richard interjected.

"Saturday. I need time after President Hudson's burial to get ready for travel."

I handed the phone to Richard, kissed his cheek, and went back into the studio.

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I hadn't realized that Richard had been nearby when I had taken the call. He had an hour or so free, although he was calling in to other shows on TV and radio. They were quite accommodating to him at Fox, which helped a lot. I was not sure if it was that we were coming in together in the morning – it was obvious too by our behavior that we were at least friends, although Mari might have told some people we were together – but he was a former Presidential Chief of Staff. That carries weight.

As for me, I really had lost sight of him, knowing we'd be on the air together later on. I was on air non-stop and in the zone, and Mari had taken it upon herself to see I was taken care of.

The producers were too overwhelmed with bookings and setting up remote shots, trying to gather all the reactions and commentaries from every politician, celebrity, world leader, and talking head they could to make sure I ate. Or left my chair. Or went to the bathroom.

I started to dissociate a bit would be the best way to describe it as the day dragged on, part of me readying myself for the days to come, the part of me that was in the studio was stoic, overly calm, and pretty much lacked the dynamic that was 'me'.

I guess the whole idea of returning to the Hudson compound and the family – Ken included – and President Hudson's casket, well, surreal is the word that first comes to mind. It is a perfect normal thing for a casket to lie in repose in a family's home, well, not today, but historically. It is certainly traditional to do so (again, when you read history) and it isn't as though the compound is not set up for such an event. Not that I'm judging. Getting psyched up. Don't want to get creeped out. I can do this, I can make it through. Glad I'm sleeping at my own house. I will be, won't I?

What's that phrase Kom always used? That's right: "You just have to fake it to make it." Yeah, we do not/did not/will not ever get along. But maybe I should try those words of wisdom.

My overly self-adsorbed state was then shattered.

"Kory, you have to perk up. People know you're sad, but don't check out sweetheart."

I looked up to see Richard. His words stung a bit because they were right, and I owed more of myself to the audience. I owed the President that. I was on the air because of my experiences with him, not as a historian or other scholar. This was not about punditry any more. I knew the story, the real one. What was private was private and I held that dear, but about the man and all his humanity, I wanted to tell the world that part of things.

In a time that there was so much animosity between the parties, Hudson had been moderate enough that many people on both sides of the aisle could see that he was simply a great man. I needed to say that, show the world that.

"Dick's right. I've got some hot chocolate for you, and I'll get you to the ladies room and back into the chair. I need to soften your look a bit."

"You're in good hands, Kory, but I'm close by if you need me."

Richard didn't hover. He was off somewhere again, but as he said, even if I couldn't see him I had a feeling he was nearby, certainly on the same floor if not in the studio. I sensed him, I could swear it. It gave me a sense of calm, I knew he was taking care of me, something I had mixed emotions about. Not that it was the fact that it was him doing it, but it was any man, or rather anyone doing it.

It's part of Lilith's job, and there's the best friend thing we have going, so she gets to help and I don't feel weak – well usually – when she does, but Richard? This is a huge step. Or am I too tired to deal, or stressed. Don't know, do not care. Much.

No sooner am I in and out of the bathroom, the chair, and the studio, and the segment is over. I'll look at the footage some day. Wonder what I said. I walked off the set given I had an eight minute break and with a preemptive wince Richard walks toward me. I brace a bit, and he gives me a small smile and touched my shoulder, using it to usher me to a corner behind a divider and a pillar.

He pulls me into a hug and his lips graze my temple. "Doing any better?"

"Yes," I lie.

"I'm on with you in Shepherd's A Block and Barbara joins us sometime during the hour."

"Crap."

"You are using better language than I expected."

"I was saying more foul language to myself."

He chuckled. "We'll be fine."

"I think I have a sudden case of... anything to get me off the air."

"Do you want me to talk to someone?"

"I am a big girl, I can handle the Congresswoman."

"I know."

"Can you?" I raised an eyebrow.

He groaned, pulled me into an embrace more intimate than I would have expected but it was certainly not unwanted. Actually I felt the best I had all day. Richard was not one for public displays but this was a hug. Mostly. He dropped his head on my shoulder. "This could go a few ways and I am not going to forgive her if... well, I am not ever going to forgive her anyway, but I will let her have it off air if she tries to embarrass you."

It was nice to hear that he was finally appropriately angry at Babs. Or at least sounding that way.

"One more thing; odd segue I know: how are you set for wardrobe the next few days?" His voice was so very gentle.

I had thought about this early on but Lil and I really hadn't followed up. I could piece it together, but I wasn't sure what was clean and what wasn't, but there would have to be a lot of improvising to pull together seven days of mourning clothing for December in Washington. "Not nearly as prepared as I had intended. I have had a few too many things on my mind."

I blushed, embarrassed by the oversight, wondering how the twenty-four hour Walmart was stocked in my size. I could sneak a black Danskin t shirt under a black suit, couldn't I? That would add an extra outfit. They might have a heathered gray one as well.

"I'll make arrangements. For Lil as well."

"Oh, you can?" I was too confused to ask questions. It was no secret Richard had money. His own, his father's (the Billionaire Bruce Wayne had adopted him), but it never effected us. So what was he going to make happen? As long as I wasn't going to the funeral in my Batman pajamas, I would be happy.

I was letting him take care of me. Wow. Big step. Scary, scary step. Or a quick fix for me to regret later because I didn't think things through. Hope I wasn't taking advantage of Richard and would hurt him later. No time to think about it, back to the studio, back on air, next to the anchor/host, Richard and on to the discussion of the passing of the President.

Oh, and yippee, time on the air with my bestie Babs.

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To be continued...

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There are a lot of great references on Presidential and other State funerals and they are all different. It is great reading and as with everything related to the Presidency, steeped in tradition and protocol. Each President is asked to plan his funeral himself as a contingency and upon his death either while in office or after he leaves the White House, the wishes of the President are followed but may be tempered by those of his family.