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Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Oath of Office
Author: marinw
Rating: PG
Characters: Sherry Palmer/David Palmer/Nicole/Keith/
Summary: Set between Day 1 and Day 2. Sherry salvages what she can.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.
Notes: I wrote this for chipsnopotatoes who some time ago requested some Sherry and David fic. 24 has an unflattering take on first ladies: So far, the canon has offered up would-be-FLOTUS Sherry Palmer and Martha Logan. I am very interested in what the excellent Colm Foere does with the role of First Gentleman. One of the many, many reasons I want Day 7 NOW! Thanks to my beta reader, sardonicynic. Thanks as well to puritybrown for her insights into the politics of African-American hair.

To be so keen on global trend
To be so tight on how and when
To scratch and claw until the end
To work for each new day

And all around the hunting ground
The dead were on display
The queen of cans and jars will keep them safe

~ “Queen Of Cans And Jars” by Guided by Voices

“David, you’re making a mistake.”

“I am not making a mistake.”

Sherry clicked the top of the expensive pen. She regarded the papers spread out on the large mahogany desk. “Accepting a black president is going to be difficult enough, David. Expecting the people to accept a black divorced president is simply too much.”

“The people of this nation have already elected me. I never attempted to hide the fact that I was separated.”

“Separated, David, not divorced.” Sherry said ‘David’ at every available opportunity. She was working on stretching his name out to three syllables.

“Sherry, it’s over. Sign the papers so that we can both get on with our day.”

Sherry twisted her mouth. “I can still be useful to you.”

“I’m sure you believe that.”

“You’re going to regret this, David.”

“I won’t.”

Sherry did nothing.

“Security is going to escort you outside in a few minutes. I suggest you sign.”

Sherry took the paper. With a deliberately dramatic flourish, she signed the papers with her practiced signature. Her huge diamond ring stood out against her tightly clenched fingers.


Sherry wasn’t invited to the inauguration. She went anyway. She dressed carefully, in a tasteful, dark suit with a matching overcoat, sensible yet feminine pumps, a ruffled blouse, and a fedora. Her hair was freshly straightened. She looked exactly the way the First Lady should look.

Sherry knew David didn’t want her here. She wasn’t going to make it that easy. Sherry was annoyed that it was a beautiful winter day in Washington. She had wished for a snowstorm.

She knew that was petty so she pushed the thought aside. She didn’t require revenge. She was better than that. She was capable of seeing the Big Picture. David as president was good for the country. David with his wife by his side would have been even better.

Keith and Nicole were standing behind their father. Sherry disapproved of the way Nicole wore her hair, her daughter insisted on keeping the natural curls. Keith looked uncomfortable; he had never enjoyed the spotlight.

I should be there. I helped get David elected. I should be standing next to him. It’s my place.

Instead, Sherry was almost lost in the crowd. She knew she was in the sights of the newspaper photographers. She could see herself through their telephoto lenses. She stood up straight and smiled without showing her teeth. She could already see herself reproduced in tomorrow’s paper. She reminded herself to contact her publicist a final time once the inauguration was over.

David was now standing at the podium. He looked so…presidential, wearing a black suit and a red tie. Sherry always did like the way he looked with a red tie.

This was a proud moment for her. David was where he was because of her, whether he chose to acknowledge that or not.

David was now about the say the words. The words that Sherry had waited years for him to say. She forgot to breathe as she allowed the words to wash over her.

“I, David Palmer, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.”

You still need me, David. Someday you’ll realize that.