TITLE: "Wolf at the Door"
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis - mc@verticalcrawl.com
SITE: http://verticalcrawl.com/fic
DISTRIB: My site, or just ask.
FEEDBACK: Devoured!
PAIRING: Ginger/Sam/Josh - first part is Ginger/Sam
SUMMARY: Ginger asks Josh to help her take care of Sam after the events of "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail". Ginger POV.
NOTE: Hooray for Ginger fic! In response to the threesome challenge on WestWingUncon. It's not all smut. I need plot. Just a hint, at least. Little angst. Hurt/comfort. Aw. Also, I do realise I have a few unfinished stories. I'm working on them, honest. I just like to multitask. Since, you know, I can. Power to the muses. Thanks to Ellen for beta-reading!

* * *

Wolf at the Door by Marie-Claude Danis

It was far past my bedtime, and I sat there at my desk, reclining and chewing on a pen nervously. My gaze shifted back and forth between the blinking cursor on my monitor and Sam's closed door. I'd been back here for a little over an hour now and he had yet to come out. I'd come back here after dinner hoping to finish up a few things I hadn't had the chance to work on during the day, and frankly I'd expected to be alone in the West Wing. Instead, here I was, fidgeting, worrying and not getting any work done at all, all because of Sam Seaborn. How fucking typical.

I got up, shook the wrinkles out of my skirt and headed carefully toward the closed door. It was quiet in there finally, the one-way phone conversation having ended mere minutes ago, and I wondered if he'd fallen asleep in his office again. I knew that by going in there I was doing more than the assistant's 'checking up on him' routine. It was a familiar kamikaze mission, and he would suck me in again, unknowingly. But ultimately, it was for the better. I kept telling myself that was the reason we did it, over and over again.

I knocked softly at the thick wooden door, hovering close to catch the answer. None came. My voice broke on the name, like it broke on everything. "Sam?" A few seconds ticked by uneventfully. I reached for the knob and swung the door open gently.

My eyes did a quick sweep of the small office, to finally find him sitting on the floor against his desk, next to his pulled out chair. Legs stretched out in front of him, he was looking out the window, his face taut and serious, oh so weary. Frankly, I had expected him to be crying. I wasn't sure if I was too late or too early for that.

Quietly I walked to where he was and stood by him for a moment, my gaze drawn to the anonymous darkness outside his window. After a while I felt the tip of his fingers brush against my calf, and my fingers reach out blindly to entangle in the thick, soft hair against my thigh.

Wordlessly he got up and packed up his things, while I went around and turned off the lights and our computers. We met again in the bullpen, where he held out my coat and I slipped into it easily. He smoothed out the material over my shoulders and we walked out of the West Wing, past security, and out into the parking lot. He went to his car and I went to mine, and we met again at his apartment. And there we went again, absurdly predictable, comforting in the familiarity of our movements.

In a matter of minutes he had me in his bedroom, topless except for my bra, and he kissed me hotly, his hands on each side of my face. He always felt like he needed to justify us, to call on the cliché of the assistant/boss affair, but he really didn't need to. The truth of the matter was that we were two unattached adults with an on-again, off-again relationship and who just happened to know how to lick each other's wounds until the burning stopped. If we cared to add things up I'd done more coddling than he had, but that came with the territory; Sam was in a position where he needed to be walked on regularly, and he always had trouble dealing with that, despite his understanding of the necessity of it. But it didn't matter, we didn't keep score. And once we found each other like this, it's not that all of it no longer mattered, but we stopped thinking about it for a little while and often times that was just enough to keep going by ourselves.

I kissed him back with similar fervour, hunched slightly forward. I was taller than him with my shoes on, but I don't think he noticed. His fingers caressed my skin along the waist of my skirt, hesitant. The air was cold, and my bare arms around his neck grew goosebumps. His breath was hot against my cheek and I waited, feeling his hands roam on my back, not yet going for the button of my skirt or the clasp of my bra. So easily distracted by what was tormenting him.

I kissed the skin I could reach the most easily, near his ear. My fingers raked through the short hair at his neck. The silence was deafening; I heard a few cars go by in the street on the wet pavement, and the ticks of the clock in the living room.

Finally he faced me again and kissed my lips again, this time much more chastely, and I heard that too, the sound of moist lips on moist lips, the mingling of breaths, the quiet whisper of cotton slipping down my arms, finally. My fingers worked themselves under the loose knot of his tie and popped out the first button, then the second, and so on until I could slip my hand inside and onto his warm chest. Soft hair tickled my palm and he sighed, the sound of it rippling over my tongue to the back of my throat. That always drove me out of my mind.

And then it was easy. His body crushed mine into the soft mattress, clothes slipping off smoothly from between heated flesh. Sam was the best lover I'd ever had, with a spotless record and a dedication not unlike the one he showed in his work. I was a slip of a girl, barely there with protruding ribs and small, shy breasts dusted with pale freckles I'd always resented. But Sam made me feel like I was the best girl in the world when I laid there next to him afterwards, heart racing, cheeks flushed. And I knew he felt good being wanted, and he was. That was the whole point. Tonight, anyway.

Later I watched him sleep, and he lost ten years right there, face relaxed into slumber, lashes impossibly dark against his skin. I was facing him, lying on my stomach, our faces mere inches apart. He was curled up on his side, and the sheet covered the lower parts of our bodies. The room had warmed up considerably. We weren't touching, but the closeness was just as intimate. I wondered how long it had been since he'd slept in his own bed.

A slight tremor shook him, so discreet I might have missed it had I not been watching for it. I looked at his face and blinked back emotion I didn't want to deal with right now. This wasn't working. Not enough. He was still broken up, I could tell. I needed help fixing him.

I needed to talk to his ex.

Donna wasn't at her desk, so I just popped my head in Josh's office, keeping my tone neutral until I could assess his mood.

"Hey, Josh."

He looked up briefly, looking a little lost as always, then dove right back into his paperwork. "Hey, Ginger."

His mood was fine, apparently. "Do you have a minute?"

He gestured me in without looking back up. "Sure, sure, come in."

I stepped in, closing the door behind me. He looked up at that. A worried frown creased his brow.

"You closed the door. You okay? Is Sam okay?"

I stood there for a minute, hands joined in front of me. I glanced idly at the cluttered surface of his desk. "He's... I just... I think I need help. With him." I looked back up, and Josh seemed about ready to fall apart at the seams. It always got to him that Sam didn't tell him about things anymore. He still wasn't used to it.

"He's not okay?"

I shook my head. "No."

"But he seemed..." He gestured toward the door helplessly, looking for something better than the first thing that popped into his head. He gave up. "Tired."

"He doesn't sleep well," I confirmed.

Josh nodded and his eyes went blank for a second, indicating that he'd vacated the room to retreat into his own head for a minute. When he came back he was all business, movements stifled by swallowed emotion. He busied himself stacking several little Post-Its into a neat pile.

"What's the plan?"

"Dinner? Tonight?"

"His place?"


"Okay." But it was muttered, barely said at all.

I tried again. "Josh? Okay?"

He looked at me this time, and smiled confidently. "Yes. Okay. Dinner's good."

I smiled back and opened the door, letting the sounds of the bullpen flood back in. "Bring the wine?" I asked before leaving.

"Sure. Hey Ginger..."


"Thanks for letting me know."

* * *

I piled up the three plates and discreetly made my way to the kitchen. Without much thought I dumped the utensils in the sink and the leftover pasta in the trash - but my mind was miles away. There was sauce on my fingers from handling the dishes, and I distractedly turned on the faucet to rince it off, leaning precariously to chance a peek into the livingroom. There was soft music playing in there, just low enough not too be noticed if you were otherwise preoccupied. And I believed those concerned weren't paying much attention.

The dining table had been abandoned and they stood there, halfway between the table and couch, in each other's arms. I could only see Josh's face; his eyes were closed as though in deep concentration, and his arms were wrapped around Sam's waist securely. Sam was crushed against him, arms tight around Josh's neck, and I could tell by the slant of his shoulders that he was hanging on for dear life. Josh's hands stroked comforting circles on Sam's back, in the wrinkled material of his shirt, and together they swayed gently. The soft music made it seem like it might have been dancing, but I knew otherwise. It was more of a comforting sway, a lulling motion. After a while Josh's face disappeared into Sam's neck.

I brought my attention back to the dishes and started loading the dishwasher, smiling idly to myself. Bringing Josh here had been a great idea. He was still so drawn to Sam, and Sam soaked it all up. Josh knew him like the back of his own hand; they'd been on-again off-again for the past decade or so, but the total amount of time they'd spent together added up to much longer than I could claim. Sam and I, we were just convenient. We fit. But those two, they were the real thing. They drove each other nuts, and they spent as much energy trying to stay apart than they did actually being together.

I wiped my hands on the dishcloth and poked around a little more, giving them more time alone. When I ran out of things to put away, I pushed my hair out of my eyes and walked out of the kitchen.

Josh's eyes, from over Sam's shoulder, followed me as I made my way to them. Beyond that twinkle he'd get in his eyes whenever Sam was involved, I could see the dismay churning restlessly in them too. His gaze inquired. Mine answered, wordlessly, and I stepped closer.

My hands slipped on Josh's, then into Sam's back. I felt the muscles there tense up then relax as Josh leaned in and kissed him. There was a muffled moan and the moist sound of needy mouths and tongues.

And suddenly I felt superfluous. Josh was, obviously, all Sam really needed. Who was I to impose myself here? To think I really made a difference in these circumstances? This had been my idea, granted, and we'd done it once before, but the "third-wheel" feeling was comfortably settling itself in the pit of my stomach now. I stumbled half a step back, but something held on to me.

Josh's fingers had hooked the waist of my skirt, and he pulled me back to them as the kiss broke. Josh looked at me, eyes still burning wildly from the kiss - and his lips, I had a thing for lips, and his were wet and swollen and - and Sam spoke, and he said, "Ginger, don't- don't leave." I couldn't see his face. I could see Josh's, however, and it said the same thing Sam's voice had implied.

We need you on this.