|Erin Ptah (ptahrrific) wrote,|
@ 2009-02-26 11:39 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||genre: christmas special, genre: dramedy, pairing: jon/"stephen", series: fake news, story: senateverse|
Warnings: Mild swearing, gay stuff, violence against BlackBerries, inaccurate medical information*.
Characters/pairings: Jon/"Stephen", references to ensemble
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Summary: In spite of the increasing friction (of the non-steamy kind) between them, Senator Stewart and Senator Colbert manage to visit the result of Colbert's lone bipartisan effort.
Was supposed to be two parts, but it went and grew on me. Continuation of the Senateverse.
Have purloined the STEPHEN WRITES IN ALL CAPS trope, because it is delightful. Also, this part refers to tons of clips, which rissaofthesaiya was kind enough to hunt down.
*Object permanence is not actually a concern correlated with the autism spectrum. When that comes up in the story, "narrative convenience" takes precedence over "what is, technically, true". Don't use this as a source for your autism research, is what I'm saying.
The Great Divide - Part 2
|From: Senator Stephen T. Colbert, R-SC <email@example.com>|
To: Allison Silverman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: December 17, 2009, 12:19 AM
Subject: JON STEWART IS A TERRIBLE PERSON
AND I AM NO LONGER SPEAKING TO HIM.
INFORM THE BLOGOSPHERE.
(I COULD BE DOING THIS MYSELF IF YOU WOULD TELL ME WHAT YOU CHANGED THE PASSWORD TO.)
P.S. HAVE YOU HEARD OF KOREAN POP STAR RAIN? NEITHER HAVE I. BUT HE IS OFFICIALLY ON NOTICE.
|Bringing Truth to the Hill|
The Official Blog of Senator Stephen T. Colbert, Republican Senator from South Carolina
Over The Break, Exploring The Nation
Much as I love my home state of South Carolina, it's always important for a Senator to have a national vision. That's why, when Senator Jon Stewart (D-NY) generously offered me a place in his home over the Christmas holidays, I accepted it in the spirit of bipartisanship.
While of course it doesn't compare to the sunny streets of Charleston, I'm having a magnificent time in New York. Senator Stewart is a gracious host, and the city is a vibrant and delightful place to be.
I even ran into a celebrity yesterday: Korean pop artist Rain! After a good-natured contest of athletic prowess, I welcomed him to America, and wish him further success in his career.
Posted by Allison Silverman, December 17, 2009, 10:00 AM.
The table was set for two when Jon showed up for breakfast, but only one plate actually had food on it (a mushroom omelette and hot buttered toast). He nodded his thanks to Polly as she pulled out his chair, then said, "Not expecting Colbert this morning?"
The maid (whom Colbert had taken to calling Red) looked shyly away, her freckles nearly obscured by a blush. "No, Mr. Stewart. When Tasha went to fetch him this morning, Mr. Colbert, um, informed her that he was not to be disturbed."
Jon sighed. He had told the staff not to put up with any crap from this particular guest, but he still got the feeling they were shielding him from the worst of it. "Did this 'informing' involve a lot of shouting, by any chance?"
"A-as a matter of fact, sir, it did."
"Just tell me he didn't throw anything."
"If he did, Tasha didn't mention it."
"Well, that's something, anyway," muttered Jon, poking dejectedly at his omelette. "Thanks, Polly. That'll be all."
Stewart obviously hadn't trained his staff very well.
When Stephen had started yelling at Spunky, she had actually left. Shut the door behind her and everything! A few minutes later he poked his head out, slowly and cautiously in case there was someone lying in wait to surprise him. The hall was empty.
What was the point of being a United States Senator if you couldn't get people to stay around and listen while you shouted?
Stephen calmed himself down by sending angry texts to all the staffers in his address book. He briefly entertained the notion of prank-calling Anderson Cooper, then dismissed it. He less briefly entertained the notion of making the call serious ("Tonight on Anderson Cooper 360, an exclusive answer to the elusive question: What's Jon Stewart really like?"), but dismissed that too, on the grounds that his speechwriters didn't have anything prepared. (Stephen Colbert always spoke from the gut, of course, but frequently his gut told him to read whatever happened to be on the nearest prompter.)
None of his staffers responded within five minutes, so Stephen threw his BlackBerry at the wall. The screen turned black, which didn't worry him at first, because it usually did that after it slammed into one thing too many. But this time several minutes of button-mashing couldn't get it to come back on.
He was rapidly running out of things to lash out at.
Worse, with the BlackBerry broken, his connection to the outside world was severed. His staff, his constituents, his audience, his people: all of them were impossible to reach, hundreds of miles away. There were people in the house, yes—but they didn't listen to him, they could be rooms and rooms away. In a building this big, maybe he could scream at the top of his lungs and nobody would hear.
The only reason he had agreed to come here was because Stewart said he wouldn't be alone....
"Shake it off, Col-bert!" he barked out loud, trying to fill the silence, to chase away the nameless panic. "Don't just sit here; go find someone."
Emboldened by the sound of his own voice, he wrenched open the door and strode out of the room. He still hadn't quite figured out which direction to go, but he followed his gut and didn't look back.
It was Jon who found Colbert, turning a corner and nearly colliding with him.
"There you are!" they both exclaimed.
"Wait, you were looking for me?" stammered Colbert.
"I've got the whole staff searching. You're going to make us late! Have you even showered?"
Colbert looked down at his pajamas as if he had only just realized he was wearing them. He was kind of a mess overall, come to think of it. Bed-head, bare feet, and eyes a little red, as though he hadn't slept much. "I went looking for y—for someone, and got lost. This place is a maze! You should pass out maps to visitors!"
"I'll put it on my to-do list." Jon grabbed his hand and started walking. "Your room's this way. Come on."
He was half expecting Colbert to put up a fight; but the other man followed, obedient as a lamb, all the way back to the guest room. He didn't even try to shake off Jon's grip.
At last they reached the guest room, where Jon deposited Colbert and turned to call off the manhunt.
Jon turned. "Make it quick."
Colbert held out his BlackBerry, screen dark. "Can you have someone fix this?"
"I'll have Hans sort it out. What happened?"
"Your wall hit it," said Colbert matter-of-factly.
"Right." Jon looked past him for a second, trying to find out how badly the paint had been dented, then figured he would sort it out later. "Just get dressed," he ordered, taking the device. "I'll be right back."
Stephen didn't have time for a shower, so he spritzed himself in strategic areas with Axe Body Spray. A very nice lobbyist had given him a crate of the stuff, and he wouldn't want it to go to waste.
His hand was still tingling as he knotted his tie.
There was that...something...again. Stewart looked wishy-washy most of the time, but when he was really serious about a thing he just grabbed you and pulled, and there was nothing to do but follow.
And what if he were to grab Stephen's tie with that forceful hand? What if he used that kind of power to pull them together, to draw Stephen down...?
Shaking this image from his head, he stalked out of the room, and nearly crashed into Stewart for the second time that day. Worse, this time Stewart was just standing there, so Stephen couldn't even blame the man for walking into his path.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" he demanded. Loudly. "Let's go, already."
So saying, he set off purposefully down the hall. He was going to be in the lead this time.
"Front door's the other way," said Stewart from behind him.
"I knew that," snapped Stephen, as he whirled on his heel mid-stride.
Jon did his best to maintain a look of "professional appraisal", as opposed to "bored to tears".
Passionate as he was about the work the Manfred Steiner School was doing, he had heard Dr. Murray's quick-and-dirty rundown of ABA therapy several dozen times already. The only reason he was here was to make sure the cameras followed, with the secondary goal of having them on him for at least one use of the phrases "broad bipartisan support", "your tax dollars at work", and "our special needs children".
"Punishment is counterproductive with these kids," the professor explained, doing a remarkable job of not flinching at the flashbulbs going off in her face. "Most of the time they're doing the best they can. To punish them for getting it wrong anyway is like telling them they're inherently not good enough."
Although, if Jon were honest with himself, Colbert was the far bigger media draw. Jon was a witty guy, sure, but terribly straightlaced: the closest thing he had ever been in to a scandal was the time five years ago when he had used the word "dick" on national television. In the era of Rahm Emanuel, that might not even hit the radar anymore.
"So we use a system of positive reinforcement. That can mean small treats like candies and crackers, although those have to be used sparingly, especially when weight or nutrition is an issue. A few minutes playing with a favorite toy also works well."
Colbert, on the other hand, seemed to make the front page at least once a week. Whether he was insisting that the head of the NRA say hello to his loaded handgun, or inviting a couple of feminist icons to settle their differences with him by baking a pie, or demonstrating that torture "wasn't so bad" by allowing himself to get waterboarded, he was always doing something newsworthy, in the sense of "newsworthy" that meant "guaranteed to produce record-breaking ratings".
"What we have here," continued Dr. Murray, moving to kneel behind the table that had been set up for demonstration (though no actual kids had been dragged in front of the cameras), "is a can of bubbles—another excellent reward—and a typical task. The teacher will arrange some of these blocks, like so." She made a quick stack of three: red box, yellow cube, green cylinder. "The child then has to produce a matching arrangement. This helps them develop senses of colors, shapes, and spatial relations."
Standing up again, she returned to stand before the reporters. Next to Jon, Colbert took a step backwards and slipped out of his peripheral vision. Jon cursed inwardly, but decided not to react. Not yet, anyway.
"You can appreciate what a hard time these kids have when you realize how essential these senses are in dealing with the world. Take object permanence, for example. When an infant can't see a thing, they don't understand that the thing is still there. Now imagine if that continued until you were five, six, seven. A ball rolls behind the couch, and you can't be sure what's happened to it. You lose something, and it might no longer exist. You can see the anger and anxiety that would—"
She was cut off by a sharp clearing of the throat. All eyes (and lenses) turned to meet it.
Colbert was standing behind the table, arms folded, an expectant look on his face. Once he was the center of attention, he glanced meaningfully down at the blocks, then raised his eyebrows pointedly at the crowd.
Jon looked down at the blocks. They sat in two unassuming stacks on the tabletop: red box, yellow cube, green cylinder.
"You, ah, made them match," said Dr. Murray uncertainly.
"Exactly." Colbert stuck out one hand, made a grabbing gesture. "Bubbles, please!"
"That place was a ripoff," grumbled Stephen once the limo was in motion, shrugging out of his coat and tossing it on the floor.
From the seat opposite him, Stewart let out a wry laugh. "What are you talking about? You got your bubbles, didn't you?"
"I'm talking about that woman."
"You're just mad that Murray stomped on your foot when you tried to sidle up to her."
Stephen ignored him. "Pretending like she knew things she didn't," he huffed. "All that nonsense about balls and couches. If you can't see something, it might not exist! Where does she get off, acting like she knows better?"
"Stop right there, Colbert. Don't co-opt someone else's symptoms to get sympathy."
"Don't tell me you're in on this too!"
Stewart gave him a strange look. "...You're serious."
"I'm always serious."
"You really don't know if things stay around when you can't see them?"
"I'm not stupid, Stewart!" barked Stephen. "Of course they usually do. But you can't be sure. And if you say you can, you're just being an intellectual liberal elitist."
Stewart considered this, then leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, hands folded under his chin. "When nobody can see you," he said quietly, "do you still exist?"
A chill ran down Stephen's spine. "That's why I always carry mirrors," he snapped.
The strange look deepened. Stephen couldn't figure out what it meant, so he met it with a glare.
"Do me a favor," said Stewart, in a voice so calm that it was clear this was no request. "Turn around."
Once Colbert was facing the back of his seat, Jon watched his shoulders, mind racing.
That kind of bizarre uncertainty would sure explain the man's constant need for attention. On the other hand, no one could possibly be that insecure.
Or could he? Jon did at least have enough background to say for certain that Colbert wasn't on the spectrum. On the other hand, two-decade-old psych degree notwithstanding, he was by no means an expert in all the screwy things that could happen in the brain.
He thought back to Colbert's ill-fated waterboarding demonstration. Colbert had brought in one of his security guys (he was currently making Jon's, in the next car over, pull double duty), handed the man a water bottle, and tied an outrageous flag-patterned blindfold over his own eyes.
The water hadn't even been used. Unable to see what was going on around him, Colbert had panicked in about thirty seconds. The late-night comics had had a field day with it; Olbermann had gleefully run the footage every day for a week.
How long had it been now...?
"I know you're there, Stewart," said Colbert, right on cue.
Jon didn't answer.
"Don't just sit there. Say something."
Still Jon kept quiet.
"Because you said," insisted Colbert, a creak to his voice now. "You said I didn't have to be alone. That was the whole point of bringing me here, wasn't it? So neither of us would be alone."
Jon knew he was being cruel. Like a kid turning a magnifying glass on an ant. He could stop at any time, he should stop this minute, but there was a kind of horrifying fascination in watching the poor thing squirm.
"You promised!" contined Colbert, and, oh, geez, was he actually shaking? "You said I could slow down—"
"—and it would be all right, that you'd be there—"
Jon unbuckled his seatbelt (Colbert had never put his on) and crossed to the far seat.
"Colbert!" Jon slid a hand around his jaw and turned his head by force. "Stephen!"
The other man's expression morphed in seconds from panic to shock to pure unfiltered delight. "You're still here."
"Yeah," stammered Jon, flustered by the high-intensity beam of adoration now shining straight on him. "I said I would be, right?"
Still smiling like Jon had just invented sliced bread, Stephen brushed the back of Jon's hand with his fingertips.
"Sorry about that," Jon tried to say. He also tried to let go.
Before he could manage either, Stephen pressed his hand against Jon's, launched himself forward, and crushed their mouths together.