Title: "Where or When"
Author: Dafna G.
E-mail: beruria@eskimo.com
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Rating: PG-13? There's no sex, just references to it
Written: April 2001
Spoilers: "17 People," but nothing important
Archive: sure, just let me know
Summary: It seems we stood and talked like this, before.
Disclaimer: Characters borrowed from Aaron Sorkin. Some lines borrowed from Lorenz Hart. General mise en scene borrowed from many Sports Night fics.
Notes: A vignette only. (Sorry, Jae.) My first Josh/Sam, and a songfic at that. Clearly I'm losing my mind. <g>

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Where or When by Dafna G.

"Well." Josh put his drink down on the bar.

"Yeah."

"This has a familiar ring to it."

"Yeah." Sam smiled into his beer, trying to hide his twitching mouth from Josh. If Josh wanted to be glum about the familiar ring, he wasn't going to spoil his fun. Josh being glum was also part of the familiar ring. And Sam liked the familiar ring. He liked the ring. He liked the familiar. He liked, for lack of a better word, Josh.

"Why is it," Josh said, swirling his drink around, "that I spend my evening flirting with Donna, and you spend yours flirting with Ainsley Hayes,"

"I was NOT!"

Josh ignored him. "And yet, here we are again, alone at a bar at 2 in the morning."

Sam smiled at him a little. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes, trying to signal friendly acceptance and nothing more.

"Not *alone* alone," Josh granted. "But, you know" he gestured to the bar, "no women."

Well, maybe a little bit more. Sam held Josh's eyes as he took a long drink of his beer and nodded. "There are indeed, no women." He raised one eyebrow and his mouth twitched again.

"Just us,"Josh said, looking around as if two women with long blonde hair might suddenly appear.

"Just us. Standing and talking at a bar. Again." Sam grinned.

"Which is what I'm saying."

The two men sat in silence a minute longer, Josh faintly aggrieved, Sam faintly amused.

"You were so flirting with Ainsley Hayes."

"I was not!" Sam glared at Josh. "We were arguing about politics, arguing about basic philosophical principles, about the *fundamental* ideals of a civic society."

"In other words, foreplay." Josh grinned at Sam, suddenly friendly.

Sam grinned back. This was going so much faster than the last time. He made a mental note to flirt with Ainsley in front of Josh more often.

Or maybe it was just that Josh was feeling a little bit high after flirting with Donna. He frowned. Josh smiled at him again. Sam decided he didn't care.

"Want another beer?" Josh asked, catching the bartender's attention.

Much, anyway.

"Trying to get me drunk so I'll forget the lame 82nd Airborne joke?" Sam raised his eyebrow and smiled at Josh again.

Once, a long time ago, Josh had told him the thing with the eyebrow and the smile turned him on. Mostly, Sam suspected, it was because Josh thought it was a secret Sam Seaborn seduction weapon that he used to pick up women. And Josh always had a keen interest in Sam's sex life. Even before he was an occasional participant.

"Nah, I'll just tell Toby you wrote it." Josh was still smiling, and still swirling his drink around in that way that fooled people who didn't know him into thinking he was actually drinking it.

Once, a long time ago, Josh actually drank a lot. So did Sam.

It seemed to Sam that this might even have been the same bar as the first time, but he didn't really remember the before, only the during.

At any rate, there had been a bar and Sam was there and Josh was there, drinking. And they were standing and talking and looking at each other in the same way then. And then they left and stopped talking, but kept looking and what Sam really remembered was Josh's smile. Before and during.

After, Josh didn't smile. Just stammered and looked tense until Sam promised to forget all about it. Which he did.

Then there was another bar, and more talking and more looking and it just seemed to keep happening again. And again. Eventually, Sam stopped counting and Josh stopped drinking.

But every few months they played this little dance anyway, with the bar and the drinks, if not the drinking. And Josh complained each time about the familiar ring and his bad luck with women and then Sam took him home and screwed him breathless.

"You ready to go?" Josh said, his face bright, his eyes shining.

"Sure." Sam put a twenty on the bar. "Want to crash at my place?"

"OK," Josh smiled at him, a casual, friendly smile. Not at all the smile of someone who would be on his knees on Sam's bed in 20 minutes, complaining about how long it took Sam to get undressed. Not at all the smile of someone who would spend the night begging for more and say almost nothing the next morning, but "I told Leo I'd come in early."

But lots of things are seldom what they seem, particularly in Washington. So Sam lifted his eyebrow again and smiled at Josh as they left the bar.

Once, a long time ago, Sam thought he should mind. Should even be offended that Josh had to pretend to get drunk to sleep with him.

But then he'd wrap his arms around Josh and hold tight as Josh slipped away into sleep. And in that moment, Sam would decide he didn't care.

Much, anyway.

<end>

-- Dafna G. (beruria@eskimo.com)

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