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[personal profile] bibliothekara
Disclaimer: All copyrighted materials referred to in this work are the property of their respective owners. References 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.
Pairing/Characters: Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Gene Robinson, mentions of Chris Matthews and Lawrence O'Donnell.
Rating: G
Genre: Gen/Friendship
Warnings: Alcohol consumption ahoy.
Note: My first attempt at pundit!fic. I have NO idea whether it works or not. :) Title obviously borrowed from the Harry Belafonte song.

Summary:
Chris and Lawrence are wreaking havoc, Gene's being mischievous, and Keith is using her shoulder as a pillow. Midterm Election Night has become Midterm Post-Election Morning, and Rachel  surveys the aftermath.

****************
Thank all possible deities for Paul the Bartender, Rachel thinks later. He may not be an actual human being, just a figment of all their fatigued imaginations. But he’s certainly manna from heaven when it comes to managing 5 exhausted, slightly drunk, and certainly over-intelligent pundits.

Especially on a night...scratch that, a morning like this one. Rachel looks over to the bar’s television, spotting Chris (girl!Chris),  working the early morning shift. It seems like another world right now, even if it was just a few hours ago and across the street. A world fueled by adrenaline and words and voices in her ear. A world that wasn’t quite real, which is slowly crashing down on her right now. But she can’t let it crash, can she? Because last night is now today, and today they have to do tonight’s show. The cycle goes on, and she wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Boy!Chris is well accounted for, currently playing darts over on the other side of the bar with Lawrence. “Playing darts” being far too broad a term for what they’re doing; spending 15 minutes arguing the shot and 1 minute actually taking it is probably not regulation procedure. But at least they’re occupied, and for now not attracting any attention from the NYPD. (And that...is certainly a story for another time.)

Rachel takes a long swig from her scotch and soda; it temporarily soothes her parched throat. She sneaks a look at her phone to verify the time, verify that last night  is now today. That reality has come to live in her world again.

Except that she can’t quite move as freely as she wants, because her phone is in her right trouser pocket. And her right shoulder is not so much *her* right shoulder, as a headrest for her very tired colleague.

“Keith?”

A non-verbal noise; at least he’s still partially conscious.

“Keith.”

Yes, Rachel?”

Still partially conscious enough to sound highly annoyed with her. This is a good sign.

“I need my arm back, Keith.”

“Okay.” He straightens up immediately, all 6 feet  and miscellaneous inches of him. Even in the dim light of the bar and the cramped wood of the booth, it’s still a rather impressive sight.

She scans over her phone; a few text messages she hasn’t looked at, and a voice mail from Susan. She’s not sure she’s ready to listen to it yet, but it gives her a warm feeling to know it’s there, all the same.

Rachel looks back up; Keith is staring out into space at nothing in particular.

“How much have you had to drink?”

This focuses his gaze, with that indignation that’s almost adorable. When it’s not combined with his fearsome righteous anger.

“I’ll have you know....” And then he trails off, looking down at the table. “Actually, I think it’s about a third of a half of this beer.”

Keith smiles sheepishly. For some reason that is what sets Rachel off, and she doesn’t even want to help herself as her laughter peals across the bar.

Amazingly,  it is her larger-than-life co-anchor and friend who thinks of appearances, as he attempts to shush her. Using what turns out to be more of a stage whisper than anything else.  This just makes Rachel laugh more.

But when she calms down again, her heart is touched, because Keith is looking for all the world like a tired little boy, who just wants to go home  and snuggle up in his New York Yankees sheets. (Rachel’s not sure if he still actually has New York Yankees sheets, but she’s certain he did at some point.)

Rachel Maddow is not a cruel woman, by any stretch of the imagination. She pats her shoulder, letting Keith nuzzle his somewhat pointy head there again. Heck,  after about midnight, she would have let him do it during the c-breaks, as much as he obviously needed to.

Except that he wouldn’t have, and that was the whole point. When they’re on the air, it’s another world, another set of people. Not these friends bickering over sports and throwing peanuts at each other.

Throwing peanuts at each other....wait a minute. Where did that projectile come from? Rachel uses her powers of deduction to trace its origin back to the other side of the bar. To one wily Gene Robinson, apparently bored with refereeing the Matthews vs. O’Donnell dart game.

She summons him, with a waggle of her finger and a glint in her eye. It doesn’t take much, and soon (after a stop off at the jukebox), Gene has slid into the chair across from her and Keith.

“That was an impressive throw, Mr. Robinson. You have a pretty good arm.”

Keith, without opening his eyes or raising his head, mumbles. “No, no he doesn’t.”

Rachel shushes Keith, but Gene beams nonetheless.  “He’s right. I *was* attempting to peg Keith in the head with that peanut. Pretty big target. Don’t see how I could have missed.”

“I resent that.” (This protest being somewhat muffled.)

Rachel smiles, and playfully swats the man currently using her as a pillow. “He’s right, you know; your head is impressively large and rectangular.”

“Rrrrrrrr.”

Now both Gene and Rachel smile; they’ve lost radio contact with Planet Olbermann, at least for now. They glance over at the dart game; the darts themselves lay forgotten on a table,  while both combatants debate heatedly, with many expansive hand gestures.

The song Gene chose on the jukebox comes up; it’s Stevie Wonder, “Signed, Sealed, Delievered.” Gene closes his eyes, trying to lose himself in the music, swaying along to its rhythm. He looks at her, questioningly, shyly pleading; she feigns a put upon sigh, and starts to dance a little bit in her seat along with him. Just subtly enough to not dislodge Keith.

Who seems actually to be humming along with the song, amazingly enough. The three of them groove quietly to Stevie’s ebullient music, recalling that time in a stadium in Denver when tens of thousands were grooving along with them.

After the song ends, Gene seems to gather his thoughts, and goes to ask a question.

“So, tonight, the next shows, are you guys...”

But Rachel can’t take this right now. “No, Gene. No shop talk. Or you have to put on the ears.”

His impressive eyebrows raise about a centimeter: “The ears? You seriously brought the ears.”

“Okay, now you’ve done it.” Rachel stretches with her free arm towards the bag, and retrieves the relevant item. “Put ‘em on.”

This seems to have woken Keith again, as he does a near-perfect imitation of the Nelson Muntz laugh from the Simpsons.

“HA-HA.”

Both Rachel and Gene in unison: “Quiet, you.”

“Oh all right.”

Quiet again. Gene turns around, looking not towards the dart board, but towards the bar’s plate glass window, facing 7th Avenue.

“We’ve gotta go back out there eventually.”

Rachel sighs. “Yeah, I guess we do.” She stares into the same  light-dotted black, seeing at some point of the horizon, the beginning of morning light creeping in. Rachel feels Keith fall asleep, his breathing slowing, becoming more regular.

They’ve got to go back out there, and face the world again. Get some sleep, and start the work all over again, from 2 feet deeper in the ditch then it seemed like they were yesterday.

A loud crash echoes from the other end of the bar. Now Paul the bartender is going over to politely explain the bar’s gaming policies to Chris and Lawrence. Rachel beams, as Keith stirs and rearranges the comfy position he had found between the booth and her shoulder.

“We gotta go?” He sounds so very quiet, and very exhausted, and very unlike him.

“Nah, not yet. Just rest a while longer.”

Rachel taps her fingers on the calloused surface of the table; Gene does too. The three of them sit, and wait for morning to come.

*fin*

Date: 2010-11-05 05:48 am (UTC)
sarken: leaves of mint against a worn wall (Default)
From: [personal profile] sarken
This was really cute, and I love the way it captures that post-up-all-night feeling.

Date: 2010-11-06 03:55 am (UTC)
willwrite_fortea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] willwrite_fortea
Love, love, love this. please to be writing more sleepy!Keith and playful, drunk pundits. <3

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bibliothekara

January 2012

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