Title: Close To Perfect
Author: Baked Goldfish
Rated: PG-13
Spoilers: up to and including Bartlet For America
Disclaimer: TWW is owned by NBC et al. No money being made here, please don't sue me.
Archive: Sure
Pairing: Leo/Jed
Summary: "He was all I needed, right then, and it was as close to perfect that I'd felt for a long while."


Close To Perfect by Baked Goldfish

I could have stayed there forever.

It wasn't perfect; Abbey wasn't there. She was in New England, visiting family before she and the girls come back here for Christmas in the White House. My wife was not there. But, Leo was, and he was hanging on to me like I'm some sort of life preserver or something. It wasn't perfect, because Abbey wasn't there, but it was certainly close to perfect.

I could have stayed there forever, in that first minute of the last day before Christmas. I'd given Leo "The Napkin That Made History" earlier that night, framed no less; and later, lying there in bed, he had his arms wrapped around me, holding on to me as if I was the only thing that could save him. And, maybe, I am. It all came crashing down on him then, I think. Everything, from Toby blowing up in the Oval, to Mrs. Landingham's death, to the kick-off in Manchester, to . . . God, to whatever it was that Adamley had told him. He still hasn't been able to tell me what happened at that meeting, and why he'd put the tribunal on my desk. And then the hearings. I knew Gibson was gonna ask about that night in October; then, something stopped him. I don't know what happened to stop him, but I got down on my knees and thanked God that it had worked out.

Leo was ready to break, and that napkin was the breaking point.

I'd given him fifteen minutes, because I know him, and I know that it only takes ten minutes for him to compose himself, and another five minutes to look like he was working again. I walked in on him, and he had one hand in his lap, holding the frame, and the other propped up at the elbow on his desk, holding his head. I couldn't see his face for the shadows, but I could hear that he was still crying, which surprised me. I sat down at the edge of his desk, and pulled his head to my lap, stroking his hair while he cried.

It went on like that for damn near half an hour. Eventually, I made him leave the frame on his desk – he'd insisted on putting it up, next to a picture of Mallory – and I pulled him up to the Residence with me. I didn't want him to be alone tonight; I didn't want him to be alone any night, really, but there's not much I can usually do to remedy that. It always hurts when I watch him leave for the night, going "home" to some empty, dark room somewhere, every night that I couldn't think up some excuse to keep him here. I think that's why I was pushing him so hard to go out with Jordan. She would be good for him, I think, and she already knows about us, so the problem of telling her is nonexistent. And, she really would be good for him; I know he gets lonely, even though he tries to hide it, and I know that, even though we love each other very much, he wants to be in a relationship where he can actually *be* with the other person, in public. Jenny used to be that person, but the White House became too much for her; not us, just the White House. She'd made that very clear, the first time I'd talked to her after they separated.

He got so lonely after that, but he hid it. He hid it, and bottled it inside, and I knew he was gonna break sometime. Last night, with a napkin, he did. I took him to the Residence with me, and took off his coat, and washed his face, and we made love. It was fast, over too quickly, but I think that's what he needed. It was what he wanted, and I think it was what he needed. He just wanted to be with someone, me, and . . .

I had a dream, afterwards. We'd fallen asleep almost directly after, the sheets rolled up around us, still holding on to each other for dear life; what a dream it was that I'd had. I can't even remember most of what happened, just the feeling of being whole, complete. It was dark, and Leo, Abbey and I were walking, walking, nothing else, and that was all I needed right then. I'd drifted awake, half in that same dream world, and half in life, and I felt my eyes burning. Leo was next to me, sleeping with his arms around my waist and his head tucked under my chin, and our legs were twined together like rope. I rubbed his back as tears rolled down my cheeks and onto his hair, and he kept sleeping, his breath coming long and deep as he did not notice me. I kissed the crown of his head, once, before closing my wet eyes for the last time that night. He was all I needed, right then, and it was as close to perfect that I'd felt for a long while. I went to sleep, feeling as close to perfect as I thought I would ever feel.

I could've stayed there forever.