TITLE: Variations on Variations: Prayer for Reconciliation
AUTHOR: Julian Lee, thwarted1066@yahoo.com
CATEGORY: Josh/Sam (though they're not in it. How odd)
SPOILERS: "18th and Potomac;" "Two Cathedrals;" Joey and/or Mallory eps; Oliver's eps
DISCLAIMER: All standard disclaimers, as well as any you'd like to make up for your own amusement, apply
SUMMARY: "Damn those rabbits." (sequel to "Banter Shift")"


Variations on Variations: Prayer for Reconciliation by Julian Lee

**Heavenly father, hear my prayer for your children, Sam Seaborn and Josh Lyman, that they may...that they may...**

That they may what, exactly? I really haven't prayed since Delores's funeral, but I have to try. But what should I say? Catholic law - and Jewish law, for that matter - claim that what they are doing is an abomination. **Hear my prayer for your children, Sam Seaborn and Josh Lyman, that they may prosper in their abomination?**

I don't believe it's an abomination. But how presumptuous of me to rewrite God's laws, no matter how pissed I am at Him.

**I know you have declared their love to be a sin, but I don't agree, so bless them anyway?**

What am I praying for, really? I didn't pray for Josh when I noticed his crush on Joey Lucas. I didn't pray for Sam when Leo told me Sam was trying to date Mallory. Well, I may have asked that Leo not kill him, but that was different. All I know is that when I figured this out five minutes ago, I knew I had to pray. Damn those rabbits.

**Heavenly Father, please give these men better jokes.**

Josh makes this joke now and again, usually at completely inappropriate times. He'll say, "Well, you know rabbits. Always multiplying like rabbits." I was in my morning briefing with the senior staff, and I think Leo was about to say "That's it," but I remembered the fire in California, and that it might be near Sam's mother. Somewhere in the middle of Toby rant about the decline of civilization, Sam had received divine inspiration about the UAW speech and was scribbling away. When I asked, "Sam, is your mother in any danger from the fire?" he only half looked at me when he said, "No, Mr President." And when I asked, "How close are they to putting the thing out?" he didn't look at me at all when he said, "Well, you know wildfires. Always spreading like wildfire."

Now, Josh is Sam's best friend. They've known each other for years. If, when I looked at Sam, trying to decide if he'd plagiarized Josh intentionally, he had smiled his goofy, "It's Josh's fault" smile, or if he'd looked blank, like he didn't realize what he'd said, I never would have suspected. Instead, he looked like he'd kicked himself in the stomach. I looked at Josh then, and he looked even worse. CJ stifled a laugh, and that was all I needed. My brain shut down at that moment, which, believe me, is a terrifying thing when you have MS. But it wasn't an attack; it was garden-variety shock. What was I going to do? The answer came back immediately: ask everyone to leave, then say a prayer for these boys.

**Dear Lord, help Josh and Sam become better at hiding the truth from the world?**

Because, yeah, that's exactly what we need more of in this administration.

I've done one of the two things I said I would. I kicked the staff out of the Oval, the two of them clearly afraid they were leaving it for the last time. But I haven't been able to pray. I don't know what to ask for.

**Let them not break up until I'm out of office, because bitter exes will be disruptive**?

**Don't let the press find out, because that would be bad for my image**?

**Don't let the price of their intimacy be the exclusion of the other Senior Staff**?

**Don't let Leo or Toby kill them if they find out**?

Perhaps before I pray I'd best figure out what I think of the situation.

On a personal level, I'm happy for them. I've paid as much attention to their previous relationships as the business of running the country has allowed. None of their previous relationships made sense. This makes sense.

Now that I know, I've thought over the past few months and realized that while the rest of the staff has been uptight and irritable since I announced my intent to run again, Josh and Sam have seemed happier, more relaxed, more sure of themselves. I'm betting they got together around that time. If this is what their relationship does for them, I'm all for it.

But what do I think of it as the President? It would be an ugly scandal. A homosexual relationship in the senior staff. A *hidden* homosexual relationship in the senior staff. If it became public, the far right *and* the far left would want our heads; one for condoning it, the other for keeping it secret. Sam and Josh would probably resign, because so many people would expect me to fire them, and I wouldn't do it.

I wouldn't do it. Wow. That was easy.

This is what I'm going to tell Josh and Sam: as long as your personal relationship does't interfere with your work, I will support you. Please don't make a public pronouncement, but don't go out of your way to be secretive. Enjoy the fact that you're young and in love. If anyone asks about your relationship, tell the truth. We'll back you up.

That part will be easy. What am I going to tell God?

**Heavenly Father, You placed two great men, Josh Lyman and Sam Seaborn, upon Your Earth, and they have found each other. Please don't destroy that. I ask that You protect them, because the instant the public finds out, the stress is going to be enough to tear any couple apart, and especially these two, who would give their lives for me - and didn't one of them almost do that already? I ask that You give them the strength to stay together through the storm, and the wisdom to turn towards each other, and not away, when the darkness comes. Amen.**

"Charlie? Could you have Sam and Josh come back in here a minute, please?"


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