Title: Hail to the Chief
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not.
Rating: PG-13; slash
Spoilers: Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Summary: It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. 1100 words.
Notes: Another standalone interlude in the 'Duty 'verse: because a commenter asked for more about the sneaking around. For your edification, the altered lyrics of Hail to the Chief, as sung in the movie Dave: "Hail to the chief / He's the one we all say 'Hail' to. / We all say 'Hail' / 'Cause he keeps himself so clean! / He's got the power, / That's why he's in the shower..."
The shower was running as Mike let himself into the hotel room, the faint sound of Ben's voice carrying over the sounds of water and the bathroom fan. He smirked to himself, then soft-footed his way across to the inner door and eased that one open, too.
The marble-tiled bathroom almost deserved to be called a suite all in itself, centered around a massive bath with art on the walls, vases full of flowers on expansive counters, and an enormous glass-walled shower cubicle off to the side. It was impressive, or would have been if he hadn't already seen all too many like it during his years standing post or on advance screening teams, but tonight, Mike had eyes for none of the furnishings. He was a simple man himself, and the contents of the shower were much more interesting to him than the gold fittings, Egyptian cotton towels, and wall-mounted TV that surrounded it.
"He's got the power, that's why he's in the shower..." Ben's pleasant tenor rang out, and Mike grinned, approaching closer. The steam and spray were only doing a haphazard job at preserving the President's modesty, as the glass wasn't naturally opaque, and Mike had an excellent angle on the sight of Ben bending over to scrub at his hair, washing out the suds of his shampoo. The part of his brain that was always assessing risks told him that Ben's side must still be pulling a bit if he wasn't stretching his arms up overhead, but the rest of him was very much appreciating the view.
He whistled, then crossed his arms over his chest and adopted a sentry pose. "Do I need to have a word with Connor about his movie choices again?" he said, raising his voice to announce his presence.
The humming cut off, and Ben glanced over his shoulder at Mike, raising an eyebrow. "And what makes you think Connor's the one who chose it?" he replied, warmly amused, as he shut off the water. "He spent the whole time criticizing the lack of security and gagging over the romantic subplot, actually."
"That's my boy," Mike said, handing a towel to the President as the man stepped out of the shower.
Ben rolled his eyes. "It might be ridiculous- and not all that flattering to contemporary politicians- but it's full of 90s optimism and the idea that one man really can make a difference in this country. Something I've had reason to think about a lot, lately."
"Mmmm," Mike mused, watching in appreciation as Ben made a haphazard job of blotting the moisture off, leaving stray beads of water trickling down his abdomen. "If you were going to pick a movie about this job, I would have thought you'd choose something a little more... serious minded."
"I find action scenes and political crises a lot less entertaining now that I have experience to compare them to," Ben shrugged in reply, then smiled, fine lines crinkling around his eyes as they emerged from behind the towel again. "Besides. Isn't that what I keep you around for?"
"Them's fighting words, Mr. President," Mike replied, in an equally teasing tone.
"I think you're wearing a few too many clothes for that," Ben shot back, raising an eyebrow. "What excuse did you use this evening?"
"Private pre-briefing?" Mike replied, chuckling. Not that it would actually fool the other agents on close protection, but there were delicate lines in play; deniability was key to maintaining secrecy and goodwill among those who held Ben's life in their hands. The motto of the Secret Service was 'Worthy of Trust and Confidence', but there was no sense tempting fate.
"Can't stay long, though. Just wanted to check in before I go over the room plan again. I still don't like the look of those windows."
"Worrier," Ben accused, fondly.
"It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it," Mike agreed.
It would be nice to be able to actually share that shower, or test out the firmness of the mattress in the other room. But such luxuries were for private citizens, and Mike had known what he was signing up for since the first time he'd touched the man with more than friendly intent. He hadn't resisted the desire as long as he had just to risk triggering a scandal anyway; it only took one slip-up in front of the wrong person.
Much as he truly believed Ben had been born for the job- Mike was counting down the days until his term as President was over.
"Pre-briefing, though. Nice one," Ben said, dropping the towel to the floor. Then he reached out to tug at the lapels of Mike's suit, intent clear in his darkening blue eyes.
"I thought so," Mike smirked. Then he dropped out from under Ben's grasp, careful to cushion his knees on the conveniently placed fabric. "Since I intend to work in a health check-up while I'm here. Can't have the President out in public in anything less than full working order, now can we?"
Ben hissed at the skim of fingers over the fresh scar tissue under his ribs, then caught his breath as Mike's questing touch moved further south. "S-speaking of which; it wouldn't take you two months to notice I'd been replaced by an imposter, would it?"
Mike paused in said check-up- augmenting the analytical flexibility of touch with taste for, ah, good measure- to snort. "Not even if he was an identical twin," he replied, looking up the lean, familiar length of him. "Though, if you turned out to be the identical twin... I think that might be the only thing that could ever get me to commit treason."
Ben's expression at that was- complicated; but he laughed lowly in reply. "You say the sweetest things, Mike," he said, roughly.
"Isn't that the other thing you keep me around for? Sir," Mike replied lightly. Then he bent back to his task. There really wasn't much time- but he felt a need to feel his President come apart under his hands at the moment; to put him back together, smug and at the top of his game, on Mike's watch. He'd just have to take care of himself in his shower, later.
...After checking in with the rest of the Detail, and eyeballing the lines of sight from the conference room windows again. He'd really prefer the glass to be bulletproof; but, one had to make the best of what one was given.
And while it might not be perfect, their best was pretty much as good as it got.