Author: Nat Carter
Fandom: The West Wing
Summary: Sam has a secret.
Archive: Yes to list archives, others please ask.
Web Page: http://www.skeeter63.org/nat
Disclaimer: Not mine. They took up residence in my head on their own free will. Warnings: None. Not even spoilers :)
Notes: JoshMuse was being vocal. This is what we came up with. And I apologise if you find any words stuck together. This isn't beta'd, and my space bar is being glitchy.
Tell by Nat Carter
His fingers were literally touching the doorknob, jacket slung over his arm, backpack balanced against his hip, when the phone rang with an urgency that commanded immediate attention. "Hello?" Balancing himself, now, leaning at a dangerous angle over his desk.
Half an instant of silence, just long enough to set his nerves on edge.
"Hello? Is anyone--"
"Josh." Quiet, quivery, and his nervousness multiplied tenfold.
"Sam? That you?" Backpack and jacket falling forgotten to the floor, hands going to clutch the edge of his desk, phone cradled between ear and shoulder. "Sam, are you okay?"
"I--I need you to come get me, Josh." Still that tiny, afraid voice, and Josh could hear other voices in the background for the first time.
"Are you okay? Where are you? What's wrong with your car?" He could hear his own voice getting shrill and panicked; he forced it down, breathing deeply, letting his eyes slide closed as he let his mind clear.
"I, uh . . . it's kind of a long story, Josh. I just . . . I'm at a bar. I'm kinda . . . I got in a fight, I'm a little drunk."
Josh shook his head. "Sam, you're--a *bar*, Sam?"
A small laugh. "Yeah. Just--Can you come get me, Josh? Please? I'm a little--a little, uh--vulnerable, here."
Josh nodded, realizing an instant too late that Sam couldn't see him. "Yeah, okay. Uh, Sam, where are you again?"
"A bar, Josh, I'm in a bar--"
"Yeah, Sam, which bar? There's a lot of them in the city, did you know that?"
Sam either didn't recognize his feeble attempt at humor, or decided to ignore it. "The one on the corner of Laurel and Vine, the stupid place with the neon lizard out front--"
"I know what you're talking about," Josh interrupted. "I'll be there in ten minutes, okay?"
"Okay." An incredible measure of relief in Sam's voice. "Thanks, Josh."
He smiled. "No problem. I'll see you soon."
Sam stumbled out of the bar, casting worried glances over his shoulder, and tossed himself through the door of Josh's car. "Drive," he said, looking not at Josh but at the doorway beneath the flickering neon lizard.
"Nice to see you too," Josh half-grumbled, shifting into drive and guiding the car away from the bar and toward home. It was a long drive, at least an hour by highway to Josh's place, a little farther to Sam's. Josh watched the tail lights of the cars in front of them reflect back on Sam's face.
"You wanna tell me why I'm picking you up at one in the morning at a bar an hour away from home with a neon lizard above the door?" Josh asked, shattering the silence in the car.
Sam didn't answer for a long minute, and Jush was about to snap at him.
"I was upset," Sam replied finally, still not looking at Josh. "I . . . had a rough day. I needed to go somewhere where nobody would recognize me, where I could just . . . God, Josh, I don't know."
"Leo said he talked to you."
An explosive sigh, and Sam let his head fall back. "What did he tell you?"
A pause. "Enough."
Sam groaned and bent over, resting his head in his hands. "I didn't . . ." he began after a minute. "I didn't mean for any of this to get back to you. I . . . I knew it was a mistake."
Josh didn't reply, guiding the car off the highway and down a small, dark street.
Sam looked up and frowned. "Josh, what the hell, this isn't the way--"
Josh parked the car next to the curb and turned it off. He turned to look at Sam. "Why didn't you tell me?" he asked. "The only person it involves besides you is me, Sam, I don't know why you decided to drag Leo into this instead of coming to me."
Sam looked at him like he had lost his mind. "Josh, I'd . . . I couldn't do that." His voice trailed off and he shook his head.
Josh leaned over and stroked the back of his index finger down Sam's cheek. "You should have just told me," he said quietly. Then he leaned over and kissed Sam.
He was stiff in astonishment for a moment, rigid against Josh's mouth.
But once he got past the initial shock of his best friend's mouth against his, Josh's tongue on his bottom lip, and felt Josh's hands, one cupping his cheek, the other resting casually high on his inner thigh, Sam whimpered and gave in, letting his entire body go limp and pliable under Josh's.
Josh pulled back, panting, gasping, his lips wet and soft. "Sam," he managed, "I'm too old for the back seat. Can we make it the rest of the way home?"
Sam nodded quickly, reluctantly letting Josh slide back into the driver's seat. "Yeah. Home."
Josh barely waited until Sam had closed the door of his apartment before falling on him, grabbing him by the lapels of his coat and pushing him back against the wall next to the door. And they were kissing again, not gentle this time, but raw and passionate, fast and hot and wet. Sam knew the score immediately. The night was going to be like this kiss, hot and wet and demanding. For just an instant, Sam was the tiniest bit afraid. Then--*Josh*, he thought. *It's Josh.* And he smiled against the other man's mouth.
Sometime between when they had fallen asleep, sweaty bodies tangled around each other in Sam's bed, and when Josh opened his eyes in the darkness, it had gotten cold. Not a gentle cold that you could shiver and ignore, but a malicious chill that wrapped itself around you and sucked until you forgot what it meant to be warm. Josh had woken up alone in bed to cold like this so many times that it felt almost like greeting an old friend--hey, how've you been, I haven't talked to you in a while. Even Sam wrapped around him wasn't quite enough to ward it off.
"Sam." He poked his sleeping lover gently. "Dammit, Sam, it's cold. Wake up." Josh bit his lip, then pulled back and squeezed one of Sam's nipples gently between two icy fingers.
He came awake with a yelp, jerking back. "Jesus, Josh . . ." he shivered, then smiled. "Sadist."
Josh grinned. "Whatever. Where do you keep the blankets? It's cold."
Sam disappeared for a minute, returning with a blanket. He tucked it carefully around Josh, then slipped beneath it himself, wrapping himself around his lover. "Better?" he asked, smiling. Josh nodded, smiling back, then tucked his face against Sam's shoulder and closed his eyes.
A long while later, when Josh seemed to be asleep, Sam kissed the top of his head gently. "Next time, I'll tell you. Not Leo. He didn't need to know that I love you."
And Josh smiled.
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