Title: Zephyr, bear it on the wing...
Author: Baked Goldfish
Rating: NC-17ish. Why not.
Summary: It started with a snowball. . .
Spoilers: Nothing whatsoever.
Note: I apologize in advance for the ending. It came to me in a dream (I kid you not) and that's what I left it as. This is semi-long, as far as post size goes. About six pages on MSWord, just so you know. Disclaimer: I own them not. Woe is me. Note, ver. 2.0: Okay, this is sort of a first for me, so please go easy. . . critiques are very, very welcome.
Pairing: Jed/Leo (awwwww.)

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Zephyr, bear it on the wing... by Baked Goldfish

I've always been amazed at the implications of that line. "Zephyr, bear it on the wing." The idea that a soft breath of air can 'bear' something. The imagery of it. Oh, I know Goethe was talking about the wind picking up a piece of ribbon when he wrote that line, but the sheer imagery. Like some translucent, magnificent bird carrying the universe itself upon its limbs. It's the idea of it. That something as wispy and weak as air can raise up a man's spirits; I am awestruck.

Outside, the wind is picking up slightly. It's blowing small amounts of snow away, just little flakes, little flakes. "Zephyr, bear it on the wing." Blowing round and round, here and there, until each individual snowflake settles somewhere far from whence it came.

God, but the snow's beautiful. The way it seems to clean the earth, make everything pure again. Crystaline beauty showered upon the unholy ground. Ever since I was a child, I've enjoyed the snow. The way it feels through your wool gloves when you first pick it up, the smile it brings as you dodge a well-aimed ball of it that'd just been lobbed at you by your best friend. The days off school. Especially the days off school.

And when you see snow, you just, somehow, forget all the bad things in life. All the boring things. All you can think about is how good it would feel to just fall backwards into a deep field of snow and wave your arms and legs up and down to make a snow angel.

But what I would give to be able to go out there and make a snow angel.

Unfortunately, I can't. Mostly because I just can't, but partially because someone's knocking on my door. Not the door to the hallway, or even Mrs. Landingham's door.

Leo? Why are you smiling like that? And what are you hiding behind your back?

Here's one thing I forgot. Snow, even in ball form, is cold. Very, very cold. Especially when it hits your face and drips down into your shirt. Leo is gonna get it. He's scampering away now, but he's gonna get it.

It's six fifty-two in the evening. Two days after Christmas. By official decree of the President of the United States of America, this workday is over.

Of course, Leo doesn't know that yet. And he won't, not until I return from the residence wearing the proper snowfighting clothes.

On my way back to the office, I tell Mrs. Landingham that she can take the rest of the night off. She looks at me disapprovingly and asks if I'm even going to give Leo a chance in hell. I can't even bear to look at her for fear that I'd be completely guilted out of my pleasures. Walking back into my office, I notice the door between mine and Leo's is closed. Good. I want to surprise the hell out of him.

Cracking open the door, I can see he's hard at work, poring over some document or another. I don't know what, exactly. I should, seeing as how I'm probably the one who gave it to him, but I really don't care right now.

Yeah, that'll get me re-elected.

Maybe I shouldn't disturb him. He looks so hard at work, like he's completely forgotten the fact that he somehow snuck a snowball into the west wing. I'm going to have to ask him about that later.

Hmm. . . Margaret looks ticked off at him. What on earth did he do to get her angry at him this time? She's being very short with him. I think I *will* disturb him. Yes. Avenge his wrongs against Margaret, at least.

Yes.

I enter his office quietly, as if swept in by a soft wind. Clamping a hand on his shoulder, I grin grimly. He looks up at me slowly, and takes off his glasses. A smile slowly grows on his face, and he slams his papers down on his desk with a sort of finality. With one hand on his shoulder, we walk out of his office. I toss Margaret a backward glance and she gives me this look as if to say, get him but good. I giver her a thumbs up.

My agents trail us as we walk into the Rose Garden. I tell them to post around it, making sure nobody wanders in with a camera or notepad or anything. We take up our old positions: twelve feet between us, backs turned, intent on being the first to make the requisite starter set of five snowballs. The snow feels just as good in split leather gloves as it did years ago in wool ones.

Something splats against my back. I turn and see him grinning like a Chestshire cat, looking as mischievous as the day I met him. I hurl one of my own snowballs at him, noting that he'd only made three (two of which were still on the ground) before attacking me. The impact with his cheek wipes that smug grin right off his face. Before I know it, we're in an all-out war with each other, ducking and dodging as best as two fifty-five year old politicians can.

I mean, come on. Young at heart, yeah, but. . .

One of my snowballs clocks him on the back of the head. He stumbles a bit and falls down. Leo? You okay? Leo?

Leo, get up. He's not moving. The snow is cold through my jeans as I kneel beside his still form. Leo, c'mon, get up. He's on his side, facing away from me. I try to turn him towards me, get him on his back. This is stupid. We shouldn't be out here like this. What on earth was I thinking? We're not fifteen anymore-

-and that just wasn't fair. He's lyinng on his back, laughing and grinning, and, for the second time today, I've got snow on my face. You faker, you! Cheater! Pretending to be knocked out so that I would come over and make an easy target out of myself. At least I can comfort myself that you're going to be miserable with a cold because of lying on the ground like that.

Well, that's just different. He's got snow on his face all of a sudden, and it didn't come from me. Both of us turn to face the phantom attacker. I smile broadly at the sight of Ron Butterfield trying to keep the smirk off his face.

Suddenly, Ron's head goes forward, as if he'd been hit from behind. He turns around, stunned, and sure enough, there's snow in his hair. Leo sits up and we both peer around Butterfield's form to see who the new addition to our war is.

Leo falls back into the snow, laughing loudly. I chuckle and shake my head. Ron turns all sorts of red, and, closer to the White House, so does Margaret. She's holding a snow-encrusted hand up to her mouth, a semi-shocked expression on her face.

Shouting something about she being the only other one who's allowed to bean her boss (I'm going to have to address that with Leo, later), she scurries back inside, almost falling down in her haste. Ron looks at her leave, and clenches his fists. From where we are, Leo and I can hear him making some angry-ish, gutteral noises; his shoulders fall as he sighs defeatedly, and he walks back to his post, almost pouting.

I look down at Leo. He's still laughing, and what snow on his face that hasn't already melted from the warmth of his skin is being kicked up by the gentle wind, dancing around his eyes and nose and mouth like faeries in a magical world. I smile at him and stand before reaching down to help him up.

Walking back inside, I notice that he's shivering a bit. So am I. We walk up to the residence at my bequest, covered in half-melting snow and wearing big stupid grins on our faces, teeth chattering and cheeks red. Once there, I pull out two sets of sweats for us to change into. He shoots me a surprised look, and I tell him that there's no way I'm letting him go home all cold and wet. He casts one more derogatory look at the Notre Dame sweatshirt before going into the bathroom to change.

I change quickly and order some hot cocoa and leave a note telling Leo to meet me at one of the only working fireplaces left in the White House. Regular heating is fine, and would warm us both very quickly, but there's something to be said about building your own fire. Something about creating such energy with your own hands.

When Leo enters, the blaze is burning strong. He's got this look on his face like he wants to toss that shirt he's wearing right in the fire. I laugh and hand him his mug of hot cocoa. The disgusted look melts away, slowly but surely, to be replaced by a smirk and merry eyes. We sit across each other, on two big, soft chairs, sip on the chocolate, and chat. Not about work, though. About snowfights of years past.

The last time we had a snowfight, we were seniors in high school. I don't know why we never had one after that. We'd always go out for walks in the freshly fallen snow, even in college, and beyond. I guess. . .

I guess things happened. That's all. We got swept up in things, and we didn't have time for snowfights anymore. Other things became more important to us, and snow just became the background, just like everything else.

But. . . I did enjoy snowfights. And I still do. Especially afterwards.

When I look back at Leo, I notice he's on the ground, sitting with his back up against the coffee table. At my questioning gaze, he tells me that front row seating is the best way to enjoy a fire. I chuckle and wonder why that man is always right before joining him.

The fire is warm, and the cocoa soon goes the way of the dinosaurs. I relax a little bit more, and watch Leo talk about something. I'm not really hearing the words he's saying, because the way he looks is entrancing. The shadows under his brows and nose, the way the light of the fire dances on his cheeks, the way every little line stands out in either light or darkness, nothing in between.

I think he finally realized I was staring, because now he's staring back, slightly confused. I smile and try to turn away, try to play it off, as they say. But he touches his hand to my face and makes me look at him. He explains to me quietly that I've got chocolate on my mouth. He moves in close to wipe it off. He's so close to me, I can smell him. I can practically feel the slight stubble on his cheek. He's warmer than the fire. He's so close to me.

I can feel his breathe on my lips as he moves in even closer to wipe off the cocoa. Suddenly, I can feel his mouth on mine. It tastes like chocolate. His tongue flicks out to get that bit of cocoa, and I'm dizzy from the touch of coolness it leaves behind. His hands feel so good in my hair and on my shoulder. They belong there.

It lasts for an eternity. Finally, it is Leo who breaks it. He slowly comes to rest his forehead on my shoulder, his hands still in place, and I can feel the hot tears through my shirt.

Leo, look at me.

He raises his head, ever so slowly, and the light of the fire glistens in his eyes. I pull him close to me and taste chocolate again. His hands move, and I can't help but let a small whimper escape as they leave. Then I feel them under my shirt, and they're searing me, branding me as his.

I gently guide him to the floor. He is quick to discard his sweatshirt, and I have to laugh at the slightly triumphant look on his face. But then he pulls me closer, and I want to get rid of my shirt too. He helps me, and now I am positive that he is much, much warmer than the fire. We are so close to the flames that little embers jump out and hit us. I don't notice them that much. Leo is much warmer beneath me, and I feel the need to leave a trail of cool marks from his neck to his stomach to keep him comfortable. He is tensed beneath me, as if ready to pounce. I try to look at his face. It is still half in shadows, but I can tell that his eyes are shut and that he's biting his lip, almost in anticipation.

Almost in anticipation.

He's stirring beneath me. I can feel him, ready, under my chest. My teeth hit the waistband before my hands do, and he makes a strange, gutteral noise in response. He feels hot in my mouth, and I must steady myself, feeling dizzy all of a sudden. His hips are tense beneath my touch, and he's trying to hold back. I need to be closer to him.

He needs to be closer to me. He sits up suddenly, and traces my jawline with his mouth. His fingers slide from my hair to my waist, lightly, but never lifting off my skin. I shudder when he stops, and close my eyes and lean back, waiting. He wastes no time, and I'm thankful. I firmly believe that, if something doesn't happen soon, I'm going to die.

He pulls me down, on top of him again. God, I never thought it could be so hot, so. . . so sweet. I can't breathe, so he breathes for me. He still tastes like chocolate. I can't take it anymore, and I collapse.

I am spent, and I savor the moment. When I look into his eyes, I can see that he is in the same state. He smiles up at me, wearily, and I settle down beside him, pulling a shirt over us like a blanket. We fall asleep quickly.

I wake up. The room looks different. It does not smell of burning wood, or chocolate, or Leo. I'm in my bedroom, not by the fireside. The blinds are pulled open at the window. Looking outside, I can see no sign of snow. I get up to touch the glass; it is warm.

I must lean heavily against the sill for fear that if I don't, I'll collapse to the ground. This isn't two days after Christmas. It's mid-August. I turn back to face the bed. Abbey's sound asleep, blissfully ignorant.

The sheets are still warm where I had lain. I pull the blanket closer to my chin, trying to hide from the world. My eyes clench shut, and, as I cry into my pillow, I try to force those thoughts of winter nights out of my mind. I want them to go away, because they're not real. I wish for them to leave me, those flitty little ideas, swept away by some soft summer breeze.

Zephyr, bear it on the wing.

Please.

-end-

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