Title: Not So Lonely
Author:
Red
Disclaimer: The boys don't belong to me, though I've wished on countless stars and sent numerous letters to Santa.
Note: Implied relationship between Toby and Sam, really only cuddling and a few kisses - nothing to get hot and bothered over. But if this isn't your cup of tea, you can stop reading right now.

Not So Lonely by Red

Outside children scampered and skipped in the falling snow, carolers spread cheer door to door, and last minute shoppers hurried to their cars, arms heavily laden with sacks of gifts for loved-ones. Inside, Sam sat alone in his dark apartment, hating the cheer that he couldn't take part in, hating the snow, but hating most of the bill that had kept him DC this winter. He had wanted to escape again to Bermuda, or some other tropical paradise where he could pretend he was still in California with his family instead of here in DC, banned from ever going back.

He had never felt so lonely in his life. Sighing, he turned away from the large picture window and padded bare-foot back to the kitchen. Standing on the step between dining room and kitchen, he stared morosely at the cold tile and clean counters before him. In LA his mother would be cooking up a storm in their kitchen while the rest of the family gathered in the den to listen to his father and uncle tell old stories of their childhood. Here everything was silent and still.

Absent-mindedly, he reached over to his left and turned the thermostat up until it had reached a satisfying 85 degrees. At least he could feel warm, if not festive. He stepped into the kitchen, wincing as his feet connected with the chilled tile, and made a beeline for the coffeepot.

Mug filled to the top, he moved slowly back to the couch facing the window and settled down, curling his legs underneath him as he gazed gloomily out at the white fluff so many people loved. He hated it. What good was snow when you didn't have anyone to share it with? His family certainly didn't care that it was snowing where he lived, Josh was at his mother's in Connecticut, CJ was in California, Leo and Mallory were spending Christmas together, and Toby, his Toby was away in New York with family, thinking Sam was somewhere in the Caribbean.

Another Christmas spent alone, without the beaches and palm trees to find solace in - without Toby to find solace in. He drained his mug and let it drop to the hardwood floor before he lay his head down on the pillows and drifted off into an uneasy rest.

He didn't know how long he had been asleep when he felt two strong arms slide down his bare chest and wrap around his middle from behind. Startling awake, Sam blinked up at the grinning visage of his lover.

"Toby?" he croaked sleepily, frowning. "What are you doing here?"

The older man released him so that he could maneuver around the couch until he sat on its edge beside him. "The President called me," he explained softly, smoothing a hand over Sam's hair affectionately. "He told me about the bill and you missing your flight. Why didn't *you* call me?" he demanded.

Sam shrugged, unable to meet his eyes. "Just because I can't see my family doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to see yours Toby. We talked about this already."

"Hey," Toby murmured angrily, tilting Sam's chin with two fingers until blue eyes met brown. "That doesn't mean you should be sitting at home, alone during Christmas. Besides," he cut off Sam's protest "my family was getting on my nerves. I was about ready to murder David and bury him in the backyard. I'm sure the President thanks you for saving him from that scandal."

Sam smiled weakly and reached up to grasp Toby's hand. "Thank you," he murmured hoarsely.

Smiling back, Toby leaned down and captured Sam's lips with his own tenderly. He pulled back and beamed down at his lover. "Love you," he whispered.

"I love you too." Their lips met again, this kiss lingering and deep.

"Damn Sam," Toby growled as they separated again and he sat up. "Do you have to keep this place like a sauna?" he asked. Frowning, he stood and moved over to the thermostat, turning it down to a more decent 60.

Sam blushed and shrugged again as he scooted up so Toby could join him on the couch. "I was cold," he explained, abashed.

Snorting as he reclined behind Sam, Toby pulled the younger man against his chest so he lay between his legs with his chest as a pillow. "Next time put on a shirt if you get cold, you little stripper," he teased. Sam's habit of wearing as little as possible was a joke between them. There was never a day that Sam hadn't shed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves by the time he went home.

Sam rolled on his side, nuzzling his head into Toby's chest, smiling as the dark hair tickled his face. "Were they very upset that I made you leave?" he asked quietly, sounding for all the world like a little boy.

Toby sighed and wrapped his arms tightly around Sam, holding him close. "No, I think they might have been thankful. There's a reason I only go home every other year."

When their soft laughter faded away, they were left in a comfortable silence as they cuddled together, watching the snow fall against the backdrop of the capitol. Sam watched the frozen rain descend and smiled a little. It really wasn't all that bad, now that he had someone to share it with. And though he had lost his old family traditions when he had left New York to work for Jed Bartlet, a man hated by his family, perhaps he could make some new ones with the man curled protectively around him.

"Toby?" he asked quietly, blinking his eyes to keep from falling asleep in the warm embrace.

"Yeah?" came the equally drowsy reply.

"Remind me to thank the President when he gets back from New Hampshire," Sam murmured, his eyes drifting shut.

Toby smiled softly and planted a kiss on Sam's hair, before resting his cheek on the top of his head. "Remind me to, as well," he whispered. "Merry Christmas, Sam."

End.

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