Title: Of Overcoats, Laughter…and Love.
Authors: Vicki [Dizz] and Coupdepam
Email: pmrdgwll@aol.com
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Rated: NC-17
Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but having said that, I like to think that Sam belongs to us now ;-)
Summary: A man could tell another man he loved him, it was no big deal.

Of Overcoats, Laughter…and Love by Vicki [Dizz] and Coupdepam

"It's done?" Toby called from his office.

"For the sixteen-thousandth time it's done." Sam stalked from his office into that of his boss. "We're leaving for Andrew's in two minutes, are you going to let me go?"

"Go, get out, just promise me you won't tinker with the speech on the plane."

"Tinker?" Sam asked amused.

"Yes, don't do it. Aren't you slightly overdressed?" He asked looking at Sam's overcoat. "It's almost summer you know, they are in the middle of a heat wave in Florida and you're wearing an overcoat."

"That would be because it's cold outside. I promise you I'll leave the coat on the plane before we leave ok? I'm touched by your concern."

"You'd better go, don't want the motorcade to leave you behind." Toby told him, glaring.

Sam left the office smiling. He had annoyed Toby, he was looking forward to the trip and the speech was ready.

It wasn't until twenty minutes into the flight aboard Air force One that Sam removed his overcoat. He started to unwrap it and then quickly pulled it around him again.

"Sam?" CJ was sitting opposite him and noticed his startled-bunny expression.

"Yes,"

"Are you naked under there?"

"I forgot to put my jacket on. I've left my jacket at the White House."

"But you're wearing a shirt right?"

"My phone's in that jacket…my wallet…pager, plus I can't stand next to the President being welcomed by the Governor with no jacket."

"Sure you can-" CJ started.

"No I can't because the President will be wearing a jacket, you're wearing a jacket and I'm pretty sure the Governor will be wearing a jacket."

"Say jacket again," CJ asked.

"Why?"

"It sounds cute," CJ explained.

"I'll just have to keep my coat on that's all. It's only a short welcome and then straight to the hotel and then I need to find someone with a spare jacket," Sam muttered to himself.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The President stood at the top of the steps and waved before slowly beginning to walk down them and towards the waiting dignitaries.

"It's 95 degrees here Sam, you can take your overcoat off you know," The President called behind, raising his voice above the engines and welcoming band.

"I haven't got my jacket, Sir."

"I'm wearing my jacket. Do you know why?"

"Yes Sir,"

Bartlet continued anyway, "I'm wearing my jacket in 95 degrees because my advisors thought if I just wore my shirt, I would look like I'd just stepped off a plane," he stopped to wave again, "Do you know what I told them?"

"Yes Sir,"

"I told them the reason I would look like I had just stepped off a plane is because I actually would have just stepped off a plane," he started to walk down the stairs again.

"Yes Sir, and can I just say I think we also said that not wearing your jacket might make you look like you were treating this trip as a break and not taking it seriously?"

"I do remember that Sam, and that is exactly why I think you should keep that overcoat on," with that Bartlet reached the bottom step and walked towards the line of dignitaries eagerly waiting to be introduced to the President of the United States.

Sam followed with CJ, already sweltering in the heat of the Florida sunshine. He took his place on the stage set up for the speech and felt his heart swell as band struck up to play the familiar strains of `Hail to the Chief'.

Once the cheers had died down he turned his gaze to the President who was preparing to speak. Sam felt the same feeling he always did before a speech, anxious that it would be well received, apprehensive in case the President ad-libbed and pride at hearing his words spoken by the President.

In his office, Toby glanced up at the live coverage of the President's arrival in Florida.

"What's up?" Josh asked poking his head around the door.

"He's ad-libbing," Toby explained.

Josh went and sat on Toby's sofa, "Why is Sam wearing his overcoat?"

Toby looked behind the President's image and shook his head as he saw Sam standing next to CJ at the back of the platform, "God only knows."

As well as the feelings of anxiety, apprehension and pride, Sam was beginning to feel another sensation, hot. He took a deep breath and tried to ignore the fact that the beautiful blue skyline was beginning to turn black around the edges.

"For God's sake Sam, take off the damned coat," CJ hissed.

Sam shook his head. After what the President had said there was no way he was going to remove his coat now. It was now a matter of pride. Although he had to admit he was starting to feel a little more than uncomfortable. The President's voice droned on. Sam was aware that he had gone off the speech and he didn't seem likely to go back to it any time soon. If he had kept to the speech they would have been off this platform and in an air conditioned car five minutes ago. Sam took another deep breath as he realised that he couldn't take it off if he wanted to, he was standing directly behind the President and it would be far too distracting if he started struggling out of a coat on the tightly packed platform.

"Why is Sam wearing his overcoat?" Josh asked Toby again as if he would suddenly have the answer this time.

"Do I look like I've worked out Sam's freaky actions since you last asked me that? Now shut-up will you, I want to hear what he's saying."

Josh turned his attention back to the screen, but his focus was solely on Sam.

The President finished the last few lines of the speech and waited for the applause to die down. Sam placed his hand on CJ's back as if to be ready to get off the platform as soon as the President moved.

"You know yesterday afternoon…" the President began talking again.

"Oh God," Sam muttered.

"My advisors told me I should wear my jacket when I got off the plane so that I would give the image of being ready to work," he waited for the laughter to fade, "Well Florida, you have a beautiful climate here, and don't get me wrong, I'm here to work but I think I'll enjoy the sunshine at the same time," he turned to the Governor standing by his side as he started to remove his jacket, "How about it? Shall we roll up our sleeves and do some work here?"

The Governor beamed back at him, "That sounds like a mighty fine idea to me, Mr President."

Amidst the laughter and applause The President leaned towards the microphone to say one last word, "Sam, you can take off your coat now."

CJ shook her head as she joined in the laughter and applause. It was only a small groan from Sam that alerted her to the fact that something was wrong. She was too late to catch him though and watched in horror as he slumped down and then toppled backwards off the platform.

A collective gasp could be heard from the platform and that was more than enough for the secret service. The President was surrounded, removed from the stage and bundled into his car before anyone seemed to do anything at all to react to Sam. CJ leant down on the edge and frantically called his name.

"It's alright, I'm okay," Sam called up to her and he started to try to stand. He only made it halfway up before he screamed out in pain and collapsed back on the floor. With the President gone the remaining agents focused on Sam and soon scrambled down and around the platform towards him. CJ followed and soon found herself kneeling behind a very hot, hurting and embarrassed Sam.

"Did anyone see?" he asked hopefully.

"I don't think so…it wasn't obvious…only the people standing next to you…" CJ faltered.

"Oh God, it was beamed live across the nation wasn't it?" Sam groaned.

"I think that's a pretty safe bet," CJ answered as she tried not to look at the sight of Sam's misshapen leg, staring instead at his eyes which were now filling with tears.

"There's no cameras around now is there?" he asked and CJ noticed that the whiter his face became the bluer his eyes seemed to be.

"No," she replied as she put Sam's discarded overcoat under his head and ignored the tears that had started to roll down his cheek.

"Good…it's…bad enough …" an agent moved his leg slightly and CJ was relieved when Sam's sudden scream was followed by him falling unconscious.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

CJ stayed with Sam as they wheeled the trolley he was laying on through the emergency room.

"I'm sorry Ma'am, you can't go through there."

CJ nodded, "Sam, I'll call Josh ok. I'll be right out here." He nodded back drowsily. He'd come round in the ambulance but after being given some analgesia he was spaced out.

Once she couldn't see him anymore, CJ went back outside to call Josh. She knew he would be frantic. She got through to Donna who, after asking about Sam, put her through to Toby's office.

"Toby it's me, give Josh the phone before he rips it out of your hand."

"CJ, what happened? Where is he? How is he?" Josh fired off at her all at once.

"Whoa Josh, I don't know exactly what happened other than he slumped against me before falling off the stage, I can only assume that he was far too hot."

"Why did he have his overcoat on?"

"He left his jacket in his office…he wouldn't take his coat off. Anyway we're at the local hospital and the doctors are with him," At Josh's gasp she continued, "They think he's broken his leg."

"How long will he be there?"

"I don't know we only just got here Josh. Sam's ok, really, he was more concerned about it being broadcast across the nation than anything." CJ tried to reassure him.

Josh laughed anxiously, "Will you stay with him CJ? I don't want him to be on his own."

"Of course, I'll keep in touch. I'll go back in now to see what I can find out."

"Thanks CJ…" Josh was quiet for a moment. "CJ, tell him…tell him, just tell him I said hey."

CJ smiled to herself, "I will. When I can, I'll get him to call you."

"Thank you."

They hung up and Josh turned to Toby and filled him in. As he did Leo came into the office.

"What the hell happened?"

"Sam fell off the stage."

"Yes thank you Toby, I saw that for myself. How did he fall off the stage? And why in God's name was he wearing an overcoat? Doesn't he realise they're in the middle of a heat wave down there?"

Josh sank down in one of the chairs and ran his hands through his hair. "We don't know what happened but he's got a broken leg. CJ is with him."

"I know that. What was with the overcoat?"

"It's Sam, Leo, why does he do anything," Toby said in exasperation. "I've got panic-boy here to deal with."

"I sometimes wonder how we manage to keep the White House from falling down. Keep me updated." Leo said before leaving.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

CJ was allowed to sit with Sam once he returned from having x-rays on his leg. He had been given some pretty strong painkillers and was dozing when she sat down.

"Ceej?" Sam slurred after a few minutes.

"Hey Spanky, how do you feel?"

"Doesn't hurt now."

"Well that's good. You've been given some strong stuff though. What happened?"

"So hot. Didn't have my jacket."

"The President feels pretty bad you know," CJ said trying to comfort Sam.

"Oh God," Sam moaned.

CJ realised that wasn't the best thing to say and so changed the subject, "Hey shall I get the phone. Would you like to talk to Toby?"

"Josh…I'll phone Josh," Sam muttered before closing his eyes and waiting for CJ to come back with the portable phone. He opened them again when he heard her dialling and then speaking to Donna and waited for CJ to hand the phone to him.

"Hey Sam, CJ said you're pretty doped up so I won't talk for long," Josh paused before speaking in a quieter voice, "How are you holding up?"

"No pain now…feel good. Did Toby laugh?"

Josh pictured Toby's pale face as they saw Sam fall off the stage. The way that the secret service had swooped in had made both men fear the worse. Toby later confided to Josh that he thought Sam had been shot, "Nobody laughed Sam. But I think later, you know when you're back home…well I can't promise that there won't be a certain amount of laughter at your expense then."

Josh was smiling and Sam could picture it, "President pissed at me?"

"Sam just relax and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. Just…get yourself back here," Josh ignored the scribbled note Donna passed him telling him to ask Sam why he was wearing his overcoat.

"Doctor says lucky, could have broken back," Sam's speech was getting more slurred

"Sam, I'm going to go now, you need to rest. Pass me back to CJ I want to ask her what the doctor said."

"I'm going to sleep now,"

"Okay. Nobody laughed Sam," Josh felt the need to reassure Sam of that.

"I'm lucky man…I'm lucky…I'm love you Josh," Sam closed his eyes and fell asleep.

CJ sat by the bed, eyes wide open, completely stunned by Sam's words. On the other end of the line Josh stood with a similar expression on his face. CJ reached over and took the phone from Sam's hand, "Well I told you he was doped up," she said to a still frozen Josh.

"Yeah,"

"Donna said you needed to tell me about press release Toby was faxing over."

"Yeah," Josh repeated still in a daze.

"You know what, I'll phone you back later Josh when you've…I'll phone back," CJ but the phone down and looked back at Sam's peaceful face. A man could tell another man he loved him it was no big deal, CJ mused. It was no secret Josh and Sam were very close, like brothers really. But there was something in the way Sam had said it, something in the tone. CJ tried desperately to remember the exact words. Had he said `love you Josh' or `I'm in love with you'? The more she thought about the more she convinced herself that Sam had just told Josh that he was in love with him and it had nothing to do with brotherly love. She reached over and gently placed her hand on the side of his face.

"Well it's about time one of you did," she whispered to him, kissed him on the forehead and then left the room.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Meanwhile, back at the White House, Josh stood staring at the phone. Donna came back in to find out how Sam was and frowned. "Josh what's wrong? Is Sam ok?"

"He's fine…I think he just said he loved me." Josh was still staring at the phone as if it would correct him or agree with him.

"Do you love him?"

Josh snapped his head up to look at her, her matter of fact tone surprising him.

"Donna, Sam just said he loved me!"

"So you said. My question was, do you love him?"

Josh looked at her, his expression of that of a deer caught in car headlights. She just stood looking at him, hands on hips.

"What…why would you ask me that? What would make you think that I…I can't believe you would ask me that."

"Well are you?"

"Yeah…I am." He shook his head as if he had just realised it.

"I knew it!" She raised her hands above her head in victory. "CJ and I were right!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa wait a minute, you and CJ have discussed this?"

"Of course, what else do you think we talk about when we go for lunch together?"

"Well, girly things, you know. Certainly not Sam and me!"

"It's not like we spend all of our time talking about you, you're not the centre of the universe Josh despite what your ego tells you, but we'd both noticed things and well it came up in conversation."

"Donna, I may love Sam and he may love me but we can't do anything about it can we?"

"Why not?"

"We're both high profile, White House staffers, why do you think?"

"I don't see why it matters."

"Donna, can you imagine the publicity we'd get? No, it can't happen… not while we're in office."

"Joshua by then it could be too late. You should tell Sam how you feel."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sam was sitting up in bed when CJ was allowed back in to see him.

"Well you're looking much better." She told him.

"I feel better. Is everyone mad?"

"No Sam, they're all concerned about you."

"Anyone laughing?"

"No…don't you remember speaking to Josh? He told you no one had laughed."

"I spoke to Josh?" Sam looked at her puzzled.

"Yeah, you were pretty out of it though. Don't you remember what you said to him?" Sam shook his head. "Well…I think you may have left him in some kind of shock."

"What did I say?"

CJ was saved from answering by the doctor coming in. "Mr Seaborn, how are you feeling now?"

"Better thank you."

"Could your friend wait outside? I need to speak with you."

"I don't mind CJ staying." Sam looked at her almost pleading. She nodded.

"Ok, well we've taken another look at the x-rays and there's a slight anomaly with the your spine. It could be nothing but we'd like to investigate it further and do a few more tests."

"What kind of anomaly?"

"There could be a problem with your lower vertebrae, as I say it could be nothing but we have to rule it out." Sam nodded. "We want to keep you here for a few more days."

"But the President leaves tomorrow." Sam sounded bewildered. CJ took his hand.

"I'm sorry, but we can't let you leave without checking this out."

"No, I guess not."

"I'll come back later when you've had time to think."

When he'd gone, Sam looked at CJ, his eyes wider than usual. CJ patted his hand and smiled. "This is an extreme way to get a few days off you know."

"What do you think is wrong?"

"Probably nothing, Sam. You know they just have to make sure. Now we have to make arrangements for you to get home."

"I need to be going home with you. I have the speech for the-" Sam was cut off by CJ putting her hand over his mouth.

"Sam, the doctors say you have to stay so you will, don't make me get the President down here, or worse, Toby." She threatened. Sam looked suitably scared.

"You should go call…someone, anyone, let them know."

"I will, why don't you try and get some sleep?" Sam nodded, suddenly feeling very tired. He closed his eyes and felt CJ place a gentle kiss to his forehead before she left and sleep overcame him.

Sam slept on until late into the afternoon. By the time he woke CJ had gone and left a message that Toby said everything was under control, Josh had said to tell him nobody was laughing and that she would call and see him before she left tomorrow.

The doctor came to see him again and told him that he would definitely need to stay for at least another week while the tests were completed. Despite Sam's protests the doctor had insisted that he would be better to stay here and not be transferred back to Washington. Sam had stopped arguing when the doctor had told him that if they found that Sam had one of the conditions they were testing for it would be extremely unwise to travel any distance at all. He had said the words 'extremely unwise' in such a way that Sam decided he really didn't want to go into details about what the 'condition' might be and, as the doctor had hoped, stop arguing about being better off at home.

Nonetheless, the doctor's visit had depressed Sam. CJ would be leaving tomorrow and as well as losing a friendly face he was also losing his link to the White House. He knew Toby and Josh would call him but he also knew it wouldn't be the same as having CJ here to answer questions and relay his messages to the others. An irrational fear engulfed Sam that they would discover he was not really needed at all. Or worse, forget he even existed. Sam took a few deep breaths and told himself that he was still doped up on pain meds and blamed the paranoia on that. By the time evening came he had eaten, spoken to CJ and Josh by phone and was pleased to discover that his thought processes were a lot more rational. Lying in the warm hospital room and listening to the muffled conversations and various trolleys being wheeled past, Sam drifted off to sleep again.

The next time he woke it was to three men walking briskly into his room. One walked over to the window and pulled the curtains, another checked a door that was actually a store cupboard and the other stood by the door talking into his sleeve. Sam's befuddled mind tried to make sense of all this. He had seen this before, he knew who these men were and what they were doing but he couldn't quite remember why they were doing it. A loud voice from outside of his room pulled him from his thought and made him remember exactly what these men were doing in his room.

"Well, if I see a bedpan acting suspiciously Ron you'll be the first to know."

The President swept into the room and made a point of holding the door open for the three agents to leave before he pulled a chair up and sat by Sam's bed.

"I'm…did…I…you didn't…" Sam fumbled in greeting.

"Why don't you let me do the talking until you've woken up Sam," Bartlet suggested. Sam nodded and so he continued, "First of all, I apologise for making the flippant comment about leaving your coat on that led to all this," Sam tried to speak again but Bartlet continued, "CJ told me that you are worried that people are laughing at you almost as much as you are worried that everyone is annoyed with you. Well, yes Sam, everyone is annoyed. Toby is 'annoyed' that his deputy isn't there to enthuse and inspire him, CJ is 'annoyed' that you were in so much pain and she didn't react quickly enough when you started to fall and I am 'annoyed' that I have to go back to Washington with one less person than we came with. A person who would rather stand in unbearable discomfort to the point of collapse than disobey an order, even a flippant one, from me," The President reached over and took Sam's hand, "and if you apologise or even attempt o make me feel better about what happened, the next time I have a chilli evening it will commence with a screening of my arrival speech at Florida airport and we all know what the climax of that is."

Sam groaned in reply, "Put it on a double bill with Ainsley and me on capital beat and we can make an evening of it."

The President laughed and squeezed Sam's hand; "I have to go Sam before Ron has a nervous breakdown. All week everyone has been complaining that it is too hot to do anything during the day. You'd think they'd be glad that I'd arranged an excursion for them at…" Bartlet glanced at his watch, "Two am in the morning."

"Thank you, I didn't expect you to…you didn't need to…it means a lot that you came to visit me."

The President nodded and squeezed Sam's hand again before he stood. "Just get better and come home."

Sam watched as the President's figure became a silhouette on the other side of the door. Other shadows soon surrounded him and as the group began to move away from his room Sam heard the President call out to Ron, "You might want to check out those bedpans, I'm not saying they're planning a coup d'etat but they were looking pretty menacing to me."

The shadows disappeared from view and comforted by the President's words Sam fell back into a deep sleep.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

By lunchtime the next day Sam was convinced he was slowly going crazy. He'd had a fleeting visit from CJ before she had to leave and he'd had something unidentifiable for breakfast. His nurse, who was friendly enough, had informed him he was scheduled for a CT scan that afternoon. He was fed up with being in bed, having to lie as still as he was able in case there was any damage to his back. His leg itched under the cast and he was irritable.

He was reaching for a book one of the orderlies had found for him when it fell to the floor.

"Damn it!" He exclaimed banging his fist against the bed.

"Hey now, what's that bed ever done to you!" Came Josh's familiar and welcome voice.

"Josh…where…how'd you…"

"Yeah, I don't know what it is you're saying but it's good to see you too." Josh came over to the bed and picked up Sam's book. "Any good?" He asked.

"Not really. Josh, how have you…I mean shouldn't you be at work?"

"Leo, prompted by the President, ordered me to come here and be with you, not that I don't want to be. Sam, he feels bad about this."

"There's no need."

"Well he does. So, anyway," Josh shrugged off his jacket. "How're you feeling?"

"I'm fine." Sam answered automatically.

"Hey," Josh took Sam's hand. "This is me remember. How are you?"

"I feel fine…I broke my leg. Now they're saying I may have a problem and that one of the vertebrae may be unstable and could press onto my spinal cord…I have to have a CT scan this afternoon, which should tell them more. I mean…how could I have this and not know?"

"I know Sam. It's ok."

"Yeah, how's work?"

"No, no work. President's orders."

Sam sighed. "Ok, did I say anything embarrassing when I called you? CJ started to say something but she didn't finish and wouldn't tell me what I said?"

"I wouldn't say it was embarrassing…but it was probably something you wouldn't have said if you'd been fully aware."

Sam groaned and closed his eyes. "What did I say?" Josh ducked his head. "Josh, what…oh God, I didn't say something bad? It wasn't about Toby…tell me he wasn't listening if I did."

Josh chuckled, "No it wasn't about Toby and he wasn't listening. It was just me, it was about me." Sam looked at him, eyes wide.

"Tell me what I said?"

Just then the door opened and the nurse came in followed by two orderlies. "It's time for your scan Mr Seaborn."

"Later, Sam." Josh told him. Sam nodded. "Do you want me to come with you?" Sam nodded again. "Ok, I'll stay as long as they let me."

Josh walked beside Sam as he was wheeled down to the scanner on his bed. He was chatting to him all the way, trying to distract him. While he was having the scan done Josh stayed outside, trying to work out how to tell Sam what he'd said. He hoped Sam had meant it, even though he'd been dopey from the drugs he'd been given.

When Sam came back out they went back to his room and once he was settled and they were alone he turned to Josh.

"So where were we?" Josh said, stalling for a bit more time.

"You were about to tell me what I said to you on the phone. Actually, could you get me some water before you do?"

"Sure," Josh jumped up and hurried to pour Sam some water. In his haste to pass it to him he spilt it over Sam making him jump in surprise.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Did you hurt yourself?" Josh asked, picking up some paper towels to try and dry Sam.

"It's fine. Josh you're shaking." Sam looked up at him, taking his hand. "Sit down and tell me what's bothering you."

"When you called…you said…" Josh hesitated.

"Josh?"

"You said you loved me! And now I don't know if it was you or the medication talking."

"I did? I don't remember."

"Yeah you did. CJ heard you too."

"Oh."

Josh looked at him nervously. Obviously Sam hadn't meant it or hadn't meant it in that way. He tried not to show how he was feeling and he waited for the chance to get out of the room.

"Josh…you haven't asked me if I meant it. Come to think of it, you've not said whether you feel the same about me."

"I didn't want to make a fool of myself if you didn't mean it." Josh gave a mirthless laugh.

Sam suddenly reached out and grabbed Josh's shirt, pulling him down to face him. He lifted his head and briefly touched his lips to Josh's, before waiting for Josh to react. He didn't have to wait long. Josh leant further into him, kissing Sam more deeply causing him to moan before pulling back and looking down at him.

"Does that answer your question?" Sam asked, his eyes sparkling.

"Yeah, I guess it does."

"You know this could be difficult."

"No…I'll spoke to Leo and the President, we can work something out."

"That's not what I meant although it's good to know. I mean with my leg and all, this could be difficult."

"Sam I really don't see how-" Sam kissing him again, interrupted Josh.

"It does when all I want to do is pull you onto this bed and …"

"Sam!" Josh exclaimed smiling.

"Well, don't tell me you didn't think it."

"I didn't say that, but we can wait until you're out of here at least."

"We could give the staff a show if they walked in, yes you're right. You know some of the nurses here think I'm hot."

"And how do you know that?" Josh said, gently kissing Sam's fingers.

"I heard some of them talking as they walked past. Can I help it if I'm irresistible?"

"Well no, I guess you can't. You're irresistible to me."

"Hmm." Sam smiled lazily.

"You tired?" Josh asked him, gently moving the hair from his eyes. Sam nodded. "Sleep for a bit, I'll be here when you wake up."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Three days later and Josh hadn't left Sam's side except to sleep. Sam didn't know how he would have gotten through his stay in hospital without Josh being there. He'd made him laugh when he was grumpy and he'd kissed him when he was fed up. They'd called CJ and filled her in on the developments only to have her shout it across the room to Toby and Donna.

Now they were waiting for the doctor to come round and tell Sam if he was able to go home or not.

"Josh, what if there is something wrong?"

"Sam, don't worry about something you don't know is going to happen."

"Yeah but-"

"It'll be fine. Trust me." Josh reached over and kissed Sam to keep him quiet.

They broke apart when there was a knock at the door. "Come in." Sam's voice was strained. The doctor came in and closed the door.

"Mr Seaborn, would your friend like to wait outside?"

"No he'll stay with me."

"Of course, well we've done all the tests we needed to and I'm happy to say there's nothing wrong with your spine. When we did your original x-rays there was a slight concern as you know but it could have been a slight bruise from your fall. It's certainly nothing serious."

"So I can go home?" Sam asked.

"Certainly, we have some crutches for you and some pain medication in case you need it so you can leave this afternoon."

"Thank you."

"I'll get the nurse to come in and make sure you have everything you need."

"Yes, thank you." Sam smiled as he left the room.

As soon as the door was closed Josh wrapped his arms around Sam. "See I told you, nothing wrong."

"You did. I can move now Josh, I don't have to stay lying down."

"I kinda like it."

"I'll just bet you do, but once I'm out of here we can go home and be alone, all alone."

"I'll book us a flight." Josh quickly broke apart to Sam's laughter.

Josh left Sam to call the airline and when he came back Sam was dressed and ready to leave. He signed the necessary forms and the two of them made their way to the entrance and to Josh's hire car.

"It's good to be out of there." Sam said as they headed for the hotel Josh had been staying in to collect his things.

"I'll bet. A few more hours and you'll be home. I thought you could stay with me for a while, just until you're used to the crutches."

"Josh I'm fine," Sam looked over at his downcast face. "That'd be great, thank you."

Josh smiled and went back to concentrating on the road while Sam reached over and took hold of his hand.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Josh held the door wide for Sam to hobble through and then let go and helped him towards the sofa.

"I can manage Josh," Sam insisted but Josh didn't let go of his arm and Sam didn't carry on moving towards the sofa. Suddenly the two men broke apart. Josh mumbled about making some coffee and Sam decided he should unpack his bag.

The thought occurred to Josh at the same time as it hit Sam; what room was he going to unpack his bag in. Sam stood between Josh's bedroom and the spare room. He let his bag fall to the floor and waited, hoping that Josh would make the decision for them. He felt the air waft up against him as Josh rushed by, grabbed at the bag and headed straight for his bedroom. Sam followed him in and stood awkwardly by the door. He had been in Josh's bedroom a few times before. Josh lived closer to the White House and sometimes if there was a function after a day's work Josh and Sam would go to his place to get ready. But this time Sam felt completely out of place, almost as if he was intruding. Once Josh had made the decision he had felt completely at ease with the situation and to him, Sam standing in his bedroom was the most natural thing in the world. He walked over to Sam and placed his hands on Sam's hips.

"You can sleep in the spare room if you want but the bed's a lot smaller and I don't think we'd both fit."

Sam let the breath he had been holding escape in laughter and in turn placed his hands on Josh's, "I better unpack then."

Josh left him to it and Sam listened to the sounds coming from the kitchen as he carefully unpacked the few belongings that Ginger had collected for him. Josh had left a space in the wardrobe for his clothes and had emptied one of the drawers as well. He had even cleared one of the bedside cabinets and Sam placed his book and glasses on it. He suddenly felt very tired. It had been an uncomfortable flight and he knew that he should really go straight to bed. He had no idea what to do next and was relieved when Josh called to him that the coffee was in the living room.

Josh watched as Sam made his way carefully over to the sofa and sat opposite him. Josh immediately stood up and walked over to Sam and sat down beside him.

"Seriously Sam if you want to sleep in the spare bedroom tonight you can. I don't want to rush you," as he spoke Josh placed his arm around Sam's shoulders and realized how tense he was.

"It's not…please don't think that. It's just that I feel so clumsy in this thing," Sam gestured to his leg, "I don't want our first night to be a comedy of errors."

Josh couldn't help laughing, "Are you worried you'll fall out of the bed?"

Sam wasn't laughing, "I've wanted this, imagined this for so long. I want it to be…memorable."

Josh slowly leaned towards Sam and before kissing him gently on the forehead whispered, "Well then, make sure you remember this," he planted another soft kiss on his cheek, "And this," he moved closer and kissed Sam's jaw, "And this," he ducked down slightly, "And make sure you never forget this," he said as he planted a lingering kiss on Sam's throat. Sam's soft moan was muted as he felt Josh's lips on his. He let them linger there for a while, enjoying the sensation, before he opened his mouth and allowed Josh's tongue to meet his own.

He felt Josh's hand caressing his neck, easing away the tension and replacing it with feelings of a totally different kind. Josh's other hand slowly wandered to Sam's now heaving chest. He rested it there for a brief moment before moving it slowly down towards the edge of Sam's sweater. The sudden feeling of Josh's hand on his skin made him gasp and he could feel Josh smile against his lips.

Sam knew he should do something, he should be feeling Josh as Josh was feeling him, but he couldn't move. Josh seemed more than happy on his exploration of Sam's body and Sam was more than happy to let Josh explore him. Josh's hand startled Sam from his reverie, it was now playing with the few strands of hair on his chest. Sam gasped Josh's name and Josh continued. Carefully Josh rose up and, without his lips ever leaving Sam's, he lifted one leg and sat astride him. The cast ended just above Sam's knee and in order to avoid it Josh placed both his knees on the sofa and let that take most of his weight.

The first time they brushed against each other made both men cry out. It also made Josh end his leisurely exploration and increase the speed of his movements. He now placed both of his hands on Sam's waist and pulled him towards him, "Jesus Josh," Sam muttered and Josh smiled again. He locked eyes with Sam and couldn't for the life of him work out how he had gone so long before realising how deeply in love he was with him.

"Oh God, Josh, Josh," and clearly Sam felt the same way. Remembering the cast at the last moment Josh made an undignified descent to the floor from Sam's lap. He gently parted Sam's legs and settled between them. After that Sam had little recollection of what happened next only a scattering of images and sensations.

He remembered the feel of Josh's strong hands as they lifted him, pulling gently at his pants. He heard Josh telling him he loved him but could hardly hear him above the sound of his own moans and mumbled words. He remembered the shock of feeling Josh's mouth. He felt Josh's hand replace the corner of the cushion that he had been tightly gripping. He remembered Josh's surprised laugh as he realized that Sam's final cry had echoed his own. He heard Josh whisper soothing words as he crawled back onto the sofa and wrapped his arms around him. And he would always remember Josh's breathless laugh as Sam had muttered, "I don't think I'll forget this,"

The two men had stayed like that until sleep had claimed Sam. When he woke Josh was helping him to his feet and leading him towards the bedroom. The last thing he remembered was Josh kissing his forehead, cradling his head and telling him he loved him.

THE END

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