Title: It Was Bound To Happen
Author: Jae Kayelle
Fandom: The West Wing
Disclaimer: characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, and John Wells Productions. No copyright infringement intended.
Archive: yes to list archives; otherwise please ask.
Summary: some things are meant to be.
Thanks go to Pat for looking over the second half of this last fall when it was all I had written. The mistakes are mine.
It Was Bound To Happen by Jae Kayelle
"Hey, Sam?" Josh hurried across the Communications bullpen to catch up with his best friend.
Sam slowed his stride so Josh could catch up and they fell into step.
"What's up?" Sam asked.
"I've got meetings on the Hill all morning. They're gonna run long, so I can't meet you for lunch."
"How about tomorrow? No, that's no good. I have a luncheon meeting. What about the next day? Would that be good for you?"
Josh loved it that Sam was trying so hard. "How about dinner tonight?"
"Perfect." Sam put a hand on Josh's arm and squeezed briefly leaving a warm feeling that spread through Josh's body before Sam released him. As he started to head off toward his office, Josh stopped.
"Make sure you're ready by seven, 'kay?"
"You bet. See you tonight."
Josh called after him, "'Cause, y'know, we haven't seen each other outside of work all week."
"Tonight," Sam called over his shoulder and disappeared into his office, picking up his phone as soon as he got there.
Josh stood watching him a moment before turning and walking away.
Dinner turned out to be a leisurely meal at a restaurant a few miles from the White House. They'd been given an unexpected break when Leo had decided the Senior Staff needed some downtime, citing their hard work and long hours already put in that week. He told them to go away and not to come back for two hours. CJ and Toby made quick phone calls and then grabbed their coats and ran, not quite literally, out of the West Wing. Josh told Donna to get something to eat and meet him back at the office later, and then he collected Sam, made him shut down his laptop, and they headed out.
Sam closed his eyes briefly as he leaned heavily on his folded arms.
"Tired?" Josh asked quietly, looking across the table at him.
"The day just caught up with me all of a sudden," Sam replied with a grimace. Josh watched the blue eyes close again and the dark head bow. A lock of hair fell across Sam's forehead. Josh's hand was part way across the table, reaching out to brush it back, when Sam raised his head and shoved the errant strands away. Letting his hand fall beside his plate, Josh basked in the full wattage smile Sam dredged up for him.
"What about you?"
"Huh?" Josh struggled to remember what they had been talking about.
"How are you doing? You had a more hectic day than I did."
"Oh. I'm fine. I wouldn't mind going home now instead of back to work, but this was nice." His encompassing gesture meant he enjoyed spending the time with Sam.
"Yeah." Sam met his eyes, and Josh could tell Sam knew what he wasn't saying. Their friendship had always been an easy one. Even when one or the other was talking in circles, or their conversations turned into a game of verbal leapfrog, they always understood each other on a nearly subliminal level. "How did your meetings go?"
Josh shrugged. "They went. Let's not talk about them right now, 'kay? Leo will be calling a staff meeting later so we can go over everything."
"It's just that," he paused. "It's just that I want to enjoy this time here and now. With you."
"We don't spend any time together anymore, do we?"
"No, we don't."
"Do you ever find yourself missing the days campaigning?" Sam asked.
"You mean the eighteen hour days and the three hours of sleep on a bus?"
"A different hotel room every night," Sam offered.
"Waking up and trying to remember what town we were in."
"Staggering down for breakfast and planning the strategy for the next stop before you got your coffee fix. You're completely unintelligible before your coffee," Sam accused with a teasing smile.
"I'm not the only one. You weren't much better, CJ definitely not, and Toby was quite often hung over."
"Ah yes, the good old days," Sam grinned.
"I'll tell you what I really miss."
Josh looked down and fiddled with the flatware, shoving his knife around on the plate before answering. "I miss talking to you every night. We hadn't done that since just after we first met, until the campaign, and we haven't done it much since. I liked when we talked for hours."
Sam reached across the table and lightly grasped the back of Josh's wrist. "I did, too. We should schedule some time just for the two of us at least once a week."
"Sam, as much as I'd love to have a regular guys' night with you, it's impossible with our schedules and you know it. Maybe once a month," he trailed off, not willing to dash the hopes of either of them.
"Then we'll do it once a month and if we can pull it off more often, more power to us."
A grin forced its way out of Josh's tired facial muscles. "We run the country, how much more power are we gonna get?"
Sam laughed. "Come on. We need to get back to work."
It was three nights later before they were next able to spend five minutes alone together. Sitting shoulder to shoulder on Toby's couch, they wore twin expressions of exhaustion. Josh stretched his arms out in front of him, and twisted his neck, trying to work the kinks out. Sam lolled against the cushions with his eyes closed.
"Tell me again why we do this for a living?" Josh asked, his voice heavy with fatigue.
"I don't know," Sam said dully. "I'm only here because you told me I should be here."
"Not fair blaming me."
"You're right. I'm sorry."
"You don't sound sorry."
Neither of them had the energy to carry the discussion much further.
"Uh huh." His eyes started to close.
Sam asked, "I'm glad we're here...together."
When Toby and CJ arrived a few minutes later they found the two Deputies sound asleep.
Toby stopped in the doorway of the office and stared. Then he shook his head and went to sit down behind his desk. CJ looked at the young men and smiled. Sam had his head on Josh's shoulder; he was safely tucked in the circle of Josh's arm.
"They're cute like that."
"Adorable," Toby said dryly. "Why can't they sleep on someone else's couch?"
"They're not hurting anything."
"One of them might drool. I'd put money on it being Sam."
"If he does it will be on Josh's shirt," CJ pointed out.
"Then maybe Josh will drool and it'll be on the upholstery. I'd bet on it."
"Do you have a gambling problem I should know about?" she asked with a laugh. "Oh, look at them."
Sam squirmed around until his head was settled against Josh's chest, and wrapped his arms tightly around the waist of his friend. Josh reached out in his sleep to hold Sam closer, his chin resting on Sam's head.
"Are they gay?"
"It's a legitimate question."
"Just because they're holding each other? They're best friends. They've known each other for years."
"And they're both far too touchy feely for my liking. Always hugging and stuff."
CJ laughed outright at that. "That is pretty suspicious behaviour all right."
Toby shrugged and they both just looked at Sam and Josh for a minute or so.
"They do seem to be have an unusually close relationship," CJ said quietly. "Do you think they're sleeping together?"
"You mean other than right now in front of us?"
CJ shot him a look. "You know what I mean."
"No. I don't think they're lovers."
"Why not?" She was curious.
"Because despite the fact that they're both stupid enough to get involved that way, neither of them is stupid enough to get caught."
CJ mulled that over. "I'm not sure I understand that."
"It makes sense. Trust me."
She cocked her head to the side. "You'd protect them if you found out that they're in a sexual relationship." It wasn't a question.
Toby's eyes widened. "I would do no such thing."
"Yes, you would."
Toby shook his head and spun his chair a half turn so he wouldn't have to meet her eyes.
"You would because you care for them, especially Sam. He's like your little brother and sometimes you get all protective of him. You defend Josh because he's your friend, but mostly because Sam loves him."
"Shut up," Toby said in an even-handed tone.
"I'm right." CJ raised her hands to shoulder height and twirled around in a circle, shaking her backside.
"What the hell was that?"
"My victory dance."
"You'd have to win something to do a victory dance, and since you didn't win *anything* there's no legitimate reason to do that dopey dance."
"Could you guys keep the noise level to a dull roar?" Josh spoke without moving. One eye was open, otherwise he hadn't moved from Sam's embrace. Sam was still soundly asleep.
"How much did you hear?" CJ asked.
"Something about Sam being Toby's little brother and dancing?"
"What were you guys talking about?"
"It's not important," Toby said.
"Are you two going to sleep there all night?" Toby asked.
"Just catching a few winks."
CJ noted, "Sam looks like he caught more than a few."
Josh twisted his head so that he could take a closer look at the man sleeping in his arms. "Yeah," was all he said, but his soft expression told a lot more.
Toby and CJ exchanged glances.
"Touchy feely," Toby mouthed. CJ rolled her eyes.
The bar was half full, or maybe half empty. Sitting in the back in a corner booth, Sam and Josh indulged in a little break just for themselves. Josh sagged against the back of his chair, exhaling slowly. He stared vacantly into space for a moment, and then raised the beer bottle to his lips. As he drank he was aware of Sam sitting across the table from him. He was always aware of Sam.
"What?" Josh asked.
"I mean it, Josh. It's nothing."
"'Kay. If you're sure."
They both fell silent again, each lost in his thoughts.
"So what are we doing in a bar at nearly one a.m. in the morning?"
"You do realize that the phrase one..."
"Sam, yeah, I realize that."
"Well, in that case, we're here because we worked hard these past few weeks, and we deserve a chance to relax and indulge in a celebration of our immense talents as politicians."
"Pretty wild celebration. We've barely had one beer between us and I don't think I'm gonna finish mine."
Sam regarded his own drink suspiciously, as though suddenly unsure of its contents.
"Me either." He set the bottle down on the table. "I'm going home."
"Yeah. You coming?"
They stood, grabbed their jackets from the backs of their chairs, and headed for the door.
Once out on the street in air fresher than the smokiness of the bar, they wandered along the sidewalk in silence for a while.
"You ever think of doing something that could be wrong, but that you really want to do anyway?"
"Sure. Lots of times."
"You ever act on it?"
"Sam, was there something you were maybe thinking of doing that you shouldn't?"
Sam looked at him. Josh stared back uncertain what the expression on his best friend's face meant.
He suddenly reached out and grabbed Josh by the arm, pulling him into the shadows of a recessed doorway. Josh wound up with his back against a storefront window, and Sam pressed up against his front. Parting his legs to steady himself apparently gave Sam the invitation to step in between them. He nudged Josh's thigh with his knee. His breath was hot on Josh's face, the faint smell of mouthwash mingling with the more overpowering scent of beer. His long eyelashes flickered as he looked down the length of Josh's body, and then back up. Both of his hands came up to rest on Josh's shoulders, his fingertips brushing along the line of his neck.
Josh got over his surprise, and when he looked into Sam's eyes, he relaxed. Whatever Sam had in mind was okay with him.
Sam leaned in close. They were toe-to-toe with Josh standing with his knees slightly bent, braced against the window. Sam focused his gaze on Josh's mouth, causing excited flutters deep in Josh's stomach, and then he kissed him. Sam's lips were soft and curious. Josh let Sam have his way, enjoying the sensation of being kissed by someone he cared about.
The kiss ended. Josh opened his eyes. Sam hadn't pulled away, but merely removed his mouth from Josh's. They stood close, nearly breathing as one. The blue of Sam's eyes, which were inches away, fascinated Josh. He lifted a shaky hand and slid his fingers into Sam's glossy black hair, brushing it back a couple of times simply because he needed to touch Sam.
"You okay?" Sam asked, and Josh's heart stuttered at the genuine concern for his feelings.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Yeah. You know, I was always figured I would be the one to do that first," Josh confessed.
"Do what we just did, you mean?"
"Yeah, I kinda thought I'd do that to you first."
"You thought about it?"
"Uh huh. What about you?"
Sam grinned, one eyebrow raised. "I think what I was thinking is kind of obvious."
"I mean, did you think about it much?"
"Yeah. For a while."
Josh said, "It wasn't wrong."
"You asked if I ever thought of doing something that could be wrong, and then doing it anyway. What just happened wasn't wrong."
"I'm glad you feel that way."
"So now what?" Josh asked.
"If you were a woman I'd ask you if you wanted to go someplace, like back to my place or yours."
"I can be a woman," Josh said lightly. The situation they were in did not strike him as absurd, but it did make him a little light-headed. He felt the need for humour at this moment.
"I don't want you to be a woman," Sam said in all seriousness. "I want you to be you."
"So we should go to my place or maybe yours?"
"Yes, do you want to?"
"Go to my place or your place?"
Josh could tell Sam's patience was slipping. Those little lines appeared around his mouth when his lips got tighter.
"Sure," he shrugged like it was no big deal only it was a huge deal. Not that it mattered where they went but, rather, that they were even talking about going somewhere to be alone. Together. That was the huge part.
"Which place do you want to go to?"
"Your place is nicer."
Sam nodded jerkily, and that simple movement gave Josh a shot of courage. It told him that his friend, his best friend, was not as certain about this as he appeared to be. Or maybe it just meant that Sam was getting pissed off with him.
Sam turned to look at Josh in surprise. Must have been the strong, take-charge tone of voice he'd used.
He grinned at Sam. "Let's go," he said more softly, but no less certain.
They suffered a brief hesitation near their cars, during which Sam said, "Before we go another round of Who's On First, we should take both cars and meet at my place."
He went to his car, and then stopped and walked back around to join Josh beside his.
"You forget something?" Josh asked.
Sam kissed Josh again. Hard. His tongue got involved in it this time, curling around Josh's tongue for a moment before he tickled the roof of Josh's mouth. Then he stepped back and returned to his vehicle.
Josh simply stood where he was, speechless and horny.
"You're really good at that," he called to Sam when he found his voice.
Sam merely waved, started his car, and began to back out.
Josh unlocked his door, got in, and was soon following him down the street.
Once they got to Sam's apartment, they fell back into synch. While Sam tried to insert the key in the lock, Josh played with Sam's hair, thoroughly distracting the younger man. Not that Sam minded. As soon as he got the door open, he turned around in the doorway and wound his arms around Josh's neck and shoulders. He initiated another kiss, backing up as he led his friend inside the apartment. Josh kicked the door closed behind them never once breaking contact with Sam's mouth.
They bumped into a chair, the couch, and two walls, one twice, on their way to the bedroom. By the time they got there, shirts had been pulled out of waistbands and belts were unbuckled. Sam was determined to be the leader in their dance, so he attacked the zipper on Josh's pants and shoved them down his friend's hips. Josh stumbled when his trousers suddenly dropped past his knees, hobbling him. Off balance, he didn't have a chance when Sam gave him a gentle shove that sent him flailing backwards onto the bed.
He landed with a startled yelp in the middle of the mattress, and bounced once. Sam climbed up beside him, crawling forward until he leaned over him.
"Yeah?" Sam was preoccupied with unfastening the buttons on Josh's shirt.
"Hurry up?" His voice wasn't quite a whimper.
Sitting up, Sam regarded him intently. Then he swooped down on Josh, gathering handfuls of shirt and undershirt and shoving both up and over Josh's head. Josh freed himself from the sleeves, reached up and, grabbing double fistfuls of material, tore Sam's shirt off his body. One button pinged off the far wall of the bedroom; another disappeared into the open closet.
Slithering up Josh's body, Sam left a trail of kisses from navel to nipples where he lapped at the nubs until Josh cried out.
"You've done this before," Josh got out when Sam paused in his sweet torture.
"No." Sam bent his head to attack Josh's left ear, then looked up. "Well, technically yes, but not with a man. I've never wanted to do this with a man. Only with you."
Josh reached up and took Sam's face in both hands to get his attention. "Despite my earlier comment about how I could be a woman, I'm not, you know."
"I know. I meant you are the only man I've ever wanted."
"The only man you've ever wanted?" Josh paused in the middle of his question, realizing at last what Sam was telling him. "Oh. That's different. So, you want me?"
Sam kissed him again. "Yes. I want you. I love you. I'm in love with you. I wouldn't be doing this otherwise. And, you know what? We both talk too much. It could be why we've never done this before. We talk and talk, but we don't act on our feelings. That's what I want to do tonight, now."
"I love you, too. What you said, about this and us? Same here."
"Such a romantic."
"Shut up and kiss me again."
"I can do more than that."
"Uh, about that..." Josh hesitated.
"How does this work exactly?"
Sam rose up on his elbows, hovering over his would-be lover. "I'm sure we can figure out what goes where."
"That's not what I meant. Even I can figure out how tab A fits into slot B. Oh, that sounds bad."
"What then?" Sam asked.
"I meant what happens afterwards?"
"We fall asleep?"
"Sam! CJ keeps reminding us she's our first phone call if we get involved in something that could threaten the Presidency. Do we tell her?"
"Since when did you start thinking first and acting later?"
"I just started," Josh said quietly.
"Why'd you have to start with me?" Sam asked plaintively. He rolled off Josh and lay beside him, the back of his wrist pressed over his eyes.
Josh leaned over and trailed a tentative hand down Sam's chest. He wriggled down until his head rested on Sam's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, but you know we need to think of these things."
"You said it wasn't wrong."
"I know. I meant you and me. If we're together we could never be wrong."
Turning his head, Sam pursed his lips until Josh got the hint and kissed him lightly.
"So we're okay?"
Sam nodded. "Always."
They lay quietly in miserable silence for a moment or two. Sam ached to touch Josh. He craved Josh. Turning his head, he saw his unhappiness reflected in his would-be lover's eyes. Finally, he pushed himself up to a sitting position. Reaching across Josh, he picked up the phone.
"Making that call."
"What call...? Oh!" Josh bit his lip, and waited for the person on the other end to pick up.
Sam met his eyes, flashing him a loving, semi-confident smile, trying not to give in to his better sense and hang up before it was too late.
"Hello? CJ? It's Sam. Yeah, I need to tell you something." He nodded. "Uh huh. Yes. I know it's late. I'm sorry to disturb you. Were you sleeping? Re-really? That's great. Oh. I just wanted to tell you that Josh and I are about to become lovers." He held his breath in anticipation of the yelling that was about to begin, the yelling that did not happen. He listened for a moment. "Okay. Yes. Right. Have a good night. Yeah. We will, too." He hung up the phone and lay back down beside Josh.
"She said it was bound to happen, and that this is the perfect night for it. She sounded way too calm."
"That's it?" Josh was incredulous.
"Well, Toby said to shut up and not to disturb them again tonight."
They traded looks. "CJ and Toby? Together?" Josh asked.
Sam started to smile. Then he reached for Josh, pulling him back into his arms and began to kiss him silly.
"We have permission. Want to make the most of it?"
"Shut up and have your way with me."
"Okay," Sam agreed happily.
Much later, Josh murmured against Sam's neck, "CJ and Toby?"
"When you think about it, it was bound to happen."
"Yeah, you can't fight fate."
"Go to sleep Sam."
"Wait, put your hand there. That's better. Now I can sleep."
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