Title: Cut and Run
Author: Isabel
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Rating: PG (just one lousy kiss)
Spoilers: Big ones for "Midterms" and "ITSOTG"
Summary: The Tom Jordan fiasco forces Josh and Sam to look at the past and reevaluate the future
Disclaimers: They don't belong to me, I'm just taking them for a joyride
Notes: This is a post-ep to midterms. And, yes, I know, that aired nine months ago, but I had other projects to work on

Cut and Run by Isabel

Josh, Sam, Donna, CJ, and Toby clinked their respective beer bottles and relaxed further on Josh's front stoop.

"What time is it?" asked CJ

"Late," Donna said, yawning. She turned to her boss. "You okay here if I go?"

"Donna, I'm fine," Josh said exasperatedly

"I'll make sure he gets in okay," Sam volunteered

"Well, I'm going then," the blonde proclaimed, giving Josh a quick hug and then bounding down the steps to her car. Toby and CJ said their goodbyes as well, and Sam looked at his best friend in the ridiculously big pajamas

"You want to go inside? You probably shouldn't stay out in the cold for too long."

"I wish everyone would stop treating me like an invalid," the Deputy Chief of Staff complained. "I don't need twenty-four hour supervision."

"Josh, we just worry about you."

"Yeah."

The two Staffers gathered up the beer bottles and went into Josh's cluttered apartment

"So, Tom Jordan lost his campaign?" Josh asked, flopping down on the couch

"Of course," Sam said tightly. "We did a cut-and-run."

"You feel bad?"

"Yes. Do you?"

"I think he would have been a good Congressman, but misperception clouded his chances."

"Yeah, and your resentment didn't help."

"What are you talking about?"

"Josh, can you honestly say that your personal feelings in no way influenced your opinion on this?"

"Yes. If we had stood by him, it could have dragged down --"

"I know," Sam flashed. "But I think you were more frightened by the idea that you might have to do business with my ex-boyfriend."

Josh was silent for a moment. "Do you really think that after five years I still harbor any ill will towards him?"

"Towards the guy who broke us up? Yeah, I think you would."

"You broke us up, Sam; he was just there as an accessory."

"We weren't going to work as a couple, Josh; not when you started working for Hoynes in a high-profile position."

"Still, you didn't have to sleep with Tom Jordan to drive me away."

"I admit I was wrong on that, and I apologize for the millionth time. But that's no reason to cut off the man's funding."

"It was Leo's call, not mine, Sam."

"Okay."

The two men were silent for a few moments

"Our relationship could never have worked," Sam repeated

"Are you trying to convince me or yourself?" Josh asked, smiling. "I wanted to give it a try, but you thought otherwise."

"Do you know how hard it was this summer?" Sam whispered. "Just . . . knowing that I'd almost lost you, and at the same time knowing that I could never fully express my love and relief."

"When you came to see me after I woke up, I thought you were going to kiss me."

"I nearly did."

"Why didn't you?"

"Well, Leo was in the room, and I don't think he'd have been thrilled."

"Aw, screw that."

"Josh, we can't risk --"

"Sam, did you ever stop loving me?"

The younger man dropped his head and fought the tears that had sprung to his cerulean eyes. "No."

"So why can't we work as a couple?"

"We're nationally recognized politicians, Josh. At least, you are. I don't think most people would warm to the idea that two of the President's closest advisors are sleeping together, whether gay or straight."

"Sam, if you could have one wish -- any wish in the world -- what would it be?"

"To be with you," Sam admitted.

"Well, today's your lucky day."

"We can't, Josh."

"We can, Sam. We just have to be careful. I love you so much, and I wouldn't risk all of it for anyone else. But look me in the eyes and tell me it's not worth it."

Sam couldn't say anything as he looked into tht brown eyes of his best friend and former lover.

"Are you going to tell me it's a bad idea?" Josh asked, leaning closer to Sam

"It's the worst idea you've ever had," Sam said half-heartedly

"I agree," Josh breathed as their mouths moved closer towards each other

"But I'm not going to stop you."

"No?"

"No."

"Well then." They met in a tentative kiss, and their arms wrapped around one another. After a moment of reacquainting themselves with each other's kisses, Sam pulled back and smiled.

"This is the absolute worst idea you've ever had, Joshua. And I love it."

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