Title: Scratches On A Spinning Record
Author: Baked Goldfish
Rated: R (language, some sexual situations, angst)
Spoilers: BfA & War Crimes
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. No money being made, please don't sue me.
Summary: Sometimes, they got lost.
Scratches On A Spinning Record by Baked Goldfish
He was on his stomach, pillows wedged between him and the bed, and, behind him, Jed was ramming into him; they were sweaty, hot, loud and straining. And when it was all over, Jed, quiet and smoking though he had been told time and time again that he shouldn't do that indoors, watched him dress and leave, and he wondered if there had ever been a time when they'd just stayed there and spoken afterwards.
"It doesn't make sense-"
"It does if you listen, sir-"
"It doesn't make sense to cut that!" he boomed across his desk. "That's the most important part of the bill-"
"The bill won't pass if you don't cut that," Leo countered. "Put it in a drawer, we'll take it out again when you get re-elected."
Bartlet sighed, and rubbed his eyes. "What ever happened to 'Let Bartlet Be Bartlet'?" he asked.
Leo didn't answer.
He kissed him, and he thought his lips felt cold. "Ask her out."
He sighed. "I can't."
He kissed him again, and pulled the sheets over them. "Why not?"
He threw the sheets back, and got up. "She's my lawyer, sir."
He got up, and walked, naked, to where Leo was putting on his clothes. "You just fucked me. Quit with the 'sir' crap."
He left, and Jed went back to bed.
"I don't like this."
Leo looked up, and saw Jed standing in the doorway to his office. He stood up. "Sir?"
He sat down, and put his hands on his desk, palms down. "What don't you like?"
"Us." He sat down across from Leo, and said, "We're strained."
Leo shook his head, either not comprehending, or in denial. "I'm not sure what you mean, sir."
"I mean-" He shook his head. He got up, and walked back to the Oval Office, and muttered, "I mean, quit calling me 'sir,' goddammit."
"I can't believe you did this."
"I told you to keep the war crimes stuff off my desk," Jed spat.
Leo swallowed hard and muttered, "I'm sorry."
Jed rubbed his eyes in the painfully dark room and said, "Just – go home, Leo. I'll see you in the morning."
His gut twisted; he stuttered, "I thought – tonight, we-"
"I'm too tired," Jed stated, and he sounded it. Stronger, though, he added, "I can't believe you put this on my desk." Leo nodded stiffly, and left, blinking more than normal, but Jed didn't notice. The more he thought about it, however, the more he thought that there must have been a reason for Leo to have slipped it in; he walked into Leo's office, to ask what had happened.
Leo was already gone, and Jed cursed and shook his head before going up to the Residence.
"You should go out with her."
"She'd be good for you."
"Why are you pushing me away?" He looked him directly in his eyes.
Jed blinked. "I'm not."
Leo looked away, and his eyes caught the corner of the historic desk. "We should talk about the education bill."
Jed nodded, either not comprehending, or in denial.
Jed was with Abbey that night, and had been with her the past few nights, and Leo was in his apartment, alone. Jed always had Abbey, because they loved each other, and tonight, and the past few nights, Jed was tired of Leo. He lay on his bed, and on the dark ceiling of his too quiet apartment, he could imagine he was seeing them fucking; he pretended he was in Abbey's place, pretended that Jed was saying, "I love you," to him and not her.
He reached down into his shorts, lost in a touch that he was pretending wasn't his own, and when he was done, shame and guilt overtook him and he dry-heaved into the toilet.
"I got a date with Jordan for tomorrow," he said, still in his coat and scarf, still holding on to the frame that Jed had given him ten minutes earlier. He smiled weakly, as if he wasn't sure what he should have been feeling at the moment.
Jed looked up from his desk, and saw Leo standing in the doorway of his office. It took him a moment to smile. "That's great," he said, and he wondered why he suddenly didn't feel too good.
"It was supposed to be tonight," he went on. Rambling. "I asked her to reschedule for tomorrow, though."
"It's Christmas Eve," he shrugged, "and I didn't want to be alone on Christmas Eve."
Jed almost told him that he wouldn't have had to be alone on Christmas Eve, but instead he said, "Oh."
Leo stared at him, and laughed nervously; it was just one gasp of air, choked and half-swallowed. "Well, thanks for this," he said, motioning to the frame, and then he left.
"Yeah," Jed replied, not knowing what else to say. He felt cold.
"I wanna talk."
Jed moved the phone closer to his ear, and his pillows scrunched up under his shoulders. "What time is it?"
"It's two – I – it's Christmas, sir." The shaking in his voice could have been attributed to the weakness of the phone line, and so that's what Jed attributed it to.
Jed glanced behind him, and saw that Abbey was still asleep. "What're you doing up so early? Go to bed, man."
There was a long pause, and then a click, and Jed put the phone back on the cradle. His eyes stayed open as he rolled back under the warm sheets, and he wondered why he hadn't listened.
It was the day that the hearings started up again, and Jed found Leo in the office in the early morning hours, trying to get some work done before having to go to the Hill.
He walked up behind him, silently, and put his hand on Leo's shoulder. The file that Leo had been putting into the filing cabinet dropped to the ground, and he turned, surprise mixing with the weariness and dullness that were already evident on his face.
"Sir," he stuttered quietly, the word sounding foreign to him; they had not spoken since the ablated phone call early Christmas morning, using Charlie and Margaret as go-betweens instead.
Jed did not look around before putting his hand on Leo's cheek and kissing him, open-mouthed and wet; when he broke the kiss, he brushed his lips to Leo's other cheek and whispered, "I love you." He walked back to the Oval.
Leo watched the door close behind Jed, and his breathing steadily got shakier before he bent down too quickly to pick up the folder with trembling fingers. His tears splattered hot and wide against the pale tan file, and he didn't quite know what to do about it except sit down and let it happen; he went to his couch, and sat there until it was time to leave.
Outside, it began to snow.
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