Title: Then One Foggy Christmas Eve
Author: Coupdepam
Genre: Angst
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: None
Characters: Sam/Josh
Summary: Josh isn't scared- he's nervous.
Written for Mellyjane x

One Foggy Christmas Eve by Coupdepam

Josh woke up to the sound of the radio playing in the kitchen. He stumbled out of bed and towards the noise.

"What ya doin?" he asked Sam as he scrubbed a hand across his still half-closed eyes.

"Writing some cards, I was writing some cards," Sam sighed as he put the cap back on the pen knowing that his early morning peace was now over. As if to prove a point, Josh pulled a plate from the cupboard and cursed as the rest of the pile toppled out after it. By the time Josh had caught them and shoved them back in an equally precarious pile, Sam had walked into the living room to finish his coffee. As Josh's sleep fuddled mind began to clear, he suddenly remembered the events of last night. He leant against the doorjamb and watched Sam folding the blanket that he had used for his night on the sofa.

"Are we talking?" he asked as Sam straightened the cushions.

"Well, I'm talking and you're talking and as we're the only people here I suppose we must be talking to each other."

Josh's forehead creased, it was too early in the morning for this, "Are we talking then?"

"Yes Josh, we're talking." Sam walked into the bedroom to put the pillows away. By the time Josh had made his coffee and eaten his toast, Sam was showered and dressed for work.

"I better head in. We wouldn't want to arrive at the same time. Someone might see us and tell your mother!" Sam snapped as he walked towards the door.

"Sam, wait!" Josh leapt up from his seat and rushed over to Sam.

"It's not that I don't want to spend Christmas with you, it's just that…just let me go to my mom's this year and I'll tell her about you and then next year we can spend it wherever you want."

"I'm not upset that you want to spend the holidays with your mother. I just wish that you'd admit…"

"Admit what?" Josh grabbed hold of Sam's arm.

"Admit that the reason you won't tell your mother about you, about us, is that it would make us real, out in the open and there would be no going back." Josh's hand loosened and fell to his side. "You're afraid of that, and I'm sick of being with someone who doesn't want his own mother to know me." Sam walked out of the room and left Josh standing in the doorway staring after him.

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

They didn't see each other at work. Sam was in Toby's office most of the day and Josh had to spend the morning on the Hill. When they did see each other again it was at a meeting in the Oval Office late in the afternoon.

"Did you get the welcome address done?" Josh asked Sam but Toby answered for him.

"I got it done, Sam contributed some doodles."

Josh stared at Sam until he looked up and slowly turned the folder he was holding towards Sam. Sam couldn't help but smile when he saw Josh's doodles on the White House headed paper and realized Josh had obviously not been able to concentrate today either.

"Get a bite to eat with me when we're done here?" Josh whispered as the door to the Oval opened and Toby led the way in. Sam nodded and smiled as Josh placed his hand surreptitiously on Sam's back as they entered the office.

The President was in a good mood. Abbey had been away for the past two weeks and in three days he would be heading off to New Hampshire to spend Christmas with her and the rest of the family. When the business had been dealt with he asked for some coffee to be sent in and sat down next to CJ, "So what are your plans for Christmas?" he asked no one in particular.

"I'm going to visit my brother," Toby answered first. Although they wouldn't be celebrating Christmas, the holidays allowed Toby and his family a chance to get together.

"I'm going to California," CJ said.

"Leo?" Jed asked enjoying the glare that Leo gave him in reply.

"You know where I'm going, Sir."

Jed leaned forward and whispered theatrically, "Leo is going to Jenny's with Mallory!"

Leo tried not to smile at the chorus of congratulations and accusations of being a dark horse.

Jed turned his attention to the two men sat opposite him, "Josh, Sam?"

Sam glanced at Josh but then looked quickly away again when Josh answered, "I'm visiting my mother."

Sam and Josh had been living together for almost a year. What had began as an arrangement to help Josh out while his place was being decorated had ended with Josh moving in with Sam and having a nicely decorated apartment which he then decided to let.

Everybody knew about them. They all knew that Josh and Sam were more than colleagues, more than friends and more than flat-mates. Josh and Sam knew that they knew. They had realized that Toby knew when he had invited them for dinner. CJ's invitation was for `plus guest'. Sam's invitation read `plus Josh' and Josh's read `plus Sam'. They had known that CJ knew when she had bought them a throw for the bed as a house-warming gift and put on the card `To Sam and Josh, I hope you'll be very happy together in your new home'.

When Josh announced he would be visiting his mother, CJ exchanged a look with Toby before asking, "What about you Sam?"

"I'll be in Washington," Sam replied and there was an awkward silence.

"You're not going to your mom's?" Jed asked and Sam shook his head, "Or your dad's?" Jed added awkwardly realizing that this would be the first Christmas since Sam's parents had split up.

"No, Sir," Sam replied, "I think I'll let this one slip by."

Jed clapped his hands and stood up, "I think I would win a lot of voters over if I cancelled Christmas. It's the most stressful time of the year for many people, suicide rates rocket and it costs a fortune."

"I think you might be on an unpopular train of thought there, Mr President," CJ humoured him, "Besides, isn't there some sort of religious aspect to it that the church might object to you cancelling?"

"Good point, CJ, someone's birthday if I remember rightly. When you were born?"

"August," CJ said.

"Well, it's not yours then," Jed replied and went back behind his desk. Everyone thanked him and started to leave the room. Toby noticed how Josh tried to get Sam's attention as they walked back along the corridor but Sam ignored him and returned to his office.

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

Toby and Sam spent the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening finishing the first draft of the address. It wasn't due to be delivered until the New Year but they both wanted it done before the holidays. At one point Sam's pager beeped and he glanced at the message, mumbled something and shoved it back in his pocket.

Toby put down his pencil and cleared his throat, "If you're having…do you want to…is there something that you want to…"

Sam put Toby out of his misery, "I'm fine, Toby. Don't worry about it, but thanks."

Toby's relief was palpable, "Good, let's get this done then." The two men worked late into the evening and by the time Sam had finished, Josh had been home for two hours. Josh was packing his suitcase when he heard the front door being opened and the sound of Sam's briefcase being dumped in the hallway. He could hear the sound of Sam's coat being thrown onto the sofa and then a mumbled curse. He could picture Sam pulling at his necktie and decided to stay in the bedroom. The next sound he heard was the chink of glass and he carried on packing, knowing that Sam would soon appear at the door cradling a glass of scotch. Josh had added three more items to the case before Sam finally appeared and leant against the doorjamb.

"When are you going?" Sam asked as he cradled the glass in his hands.

"Soon as I can get away on Christmas Eve, Donna's booking me a flight."

Sam downed the drink and put the glass down. He walked past Josh and started to take off his shirt and pants. He put on a pair of jeans and a jumper and then walked over to the bed, perched on the end and watched Josh finish his packing.

"Why are you staying here alone, Sam? You've got friends all over the place who are always asking you to visit them. What about Beth and Matt in Seattle, she phoned last night and invited you to stay?"

"If I can't spend Christmas with the person I spend every other day of the year with then I'm happy to spend it alone," Sam picked up a stray sock that had fallen forgotten behind the case and put it in.

"So you're doing this to make me feel bad?" Josh asked and slammed the lid of the case down.

"It's always about you isn't it! Does it occur to you that I might be spending Christmas here because that's what I want to do?"

"I just don't see why this is such a big problem. We didn't spend last Christmas together."

"We weren't in a relationship last Christmas!" Sam shouted back, "God, you can be so obtuse sometimes!" he stormed out of the room and over to the drinks cabinet and poured himself another scotch.

"Obtuse about what? You know my mother doesn't know about us. You know that I am going to tell her about us when the time's right, but I'm not going to do it just because you've decided to go all insecure on me!" Josh stood with hands on his hips and watched as Sam downed his second drink, slammed his glass down and took a deep breath before replying.

"When my mother rings she asks how you are. She asks when we're going to visit and it makes me feel good about us. When your mother phones I have to make up some stupid reason for being here and it makes me feel dirty, as if our life together is something to be ashamed of, as if you're ashamed of me." Sam picked up the empty glass again, "For the past few weeks you've listened to me going on about the holidays and what we are going to do and all the time you had no intention of doing anything." "I did…at first…but then I began to think about it, about what it meant and I got…"

"Scared?" Sam offered.

"Nervous," Josh replied.

Sam sighed deeply and filled his glass for the third time. He walked over to the sofa and sat down. Josh waited a few moments before sitting down next to him.

"Please don't read anything more into this than me being nervous about telling my mother about us. I'm not embarrassed by you and I am not," Josh took hold of Sam's chin and turned his face towards him, "I am not ashamed of you, Sam. I am not ashamed of us."

Sam took hold of Josh's hand that still cupped his face and kissed the back of it, "It's just that it feels like that…sometimes. I'm not going all insecure on you, by the way."

"I know," Josh pulled Sam towards him and tentatively kissed him. When Sam didn't pull away as he had feared, Josh deepened the kiss. He gently pushed Sam down onto the sofa and tried to prove to him that he had no need to feel insecure about how much he loved him.

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

Sam had showered and dressed by the time Josh could summon the energy to drag himself off the sofa and into the shower. When he finally emerged, Sam was preparing them some food. Josh threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt as he listened to the sounds coming from the kitchen. He stared at the packed suitcase and tried to work out what he could say to his mother. No matter what way he imagined telling her she always replied that his father would have been disappointed.

Josh walked into the kitchen and sat down and watched Sam set the table.

"You were right I am scared," Josh took two glasses from Sam and filled them with water, "I'm scared my mom will tell me that my dad wouldn't have approved."

Sam stood with his back to Josh. He turned around and leant against the sink, "I know you are."

"Please let me do this in my own time," Josh whispered.

Sam nodded slowly and turned back to the sink.

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

Sam stood and stared at the Christmas tree that Bonnie had placed in the corner of the communications bullpen. He slowly tilted his head to one side and then to the other.

"What?" Bonnie asked impatiently.

"No, it's fine…it's just…" Sam peered closer at one of the decorations, "Is that meant to be Rudolph?"

"It's not meant to be Rudolph, it is Rudolph. That is Prancer and that's Dixon and…" Bonnie turned the tree around slightly, "And that's Vixon, they're all there. And that one is Rudolph." She stood back proudly from the tree and crossed her arms.

"He hasn't got a nose. I'm not saying he hasn't got a nose so clear and bright, he hasn't got a nose at all."

Bonnie pushed Sam out of the way and pulled the hanging Rudolph from the tree, "How did this happen?" She demanded.

"I don't know but maybe it's a good thing," Sam tried to reassure her. "I mean, when he had a shiny nose all of the other reindeers-"

"Don't start!"

"Used to shout and call him names."

"Sam!"

"They wouldn't let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games-"

"Leave me alone," Bonnie warned.

"Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say," Sam took a deep breath and was about to start singing `Rudolph with your nose so bright' when Toby's shout boomed into the bullpen.

"Sam, stop playing with the decorations and get into this office!"

"I don't think Santa said that!" Sam mused and then gave Bonnie a consoling pat on the shoulder and quickly walked into Toby's office.

Sam spent the rest of the day with Toby finalising an address for the New Year and making preliminary notes for a few upcoming speeches. It was relatively quiet in the office and Bonnie managed to make Rudolph a nose out of cotton wool coloured by Donna's lipstick. Sam sent her an email from Rudolph thanking her for her efforts and then started to pack away ready for the holidays.

"Donna's got me a flight for eleven," Josh said after standing unnoticed for a few moments in Sam's doorway.

"Okay," Sam finished zipping up his laptop case and started to put his coat on, "Are you coming back first or going straight from here?"

"I'm going home first. I'm ready to go now. Are you?"

"Yeah, I just need to see CJ." Josh waited for Sam in Sam's office and then followed him out of the West Wing. They walked towards their cars in silence. Sam's put his hand into his pocket for his keys he felt himself pushed against his car. Josh pressed his body close against him and held Sam's head in his hands. Sam's mouth was already open in surprise but it opened wider when he felt Josh's tongue enter it. Sam closed his eyes and gave in to the onslaught as Josh pushed his hips against Sam and swallowed Sam's moan. As quickly as he had started, Josh pulled away. He took hold of Sam's necktie, pulled him close and whispered in his ear, "I'm not ashamed of us." By the time Sam had recovered from Josh's actions, Josh had got into his car and driven off.

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

Josh's case was by the door, his coat slung over it. He was sitting on the sofa opposite Sam who was working on his laptop.

"So are you going to Beth's tomorrow?"

Sam took off his glasses and looked up at Josh, "No, I'm going to stay here. I might pop over to Mike and Sally's in the evening but apart from that…" Sam put his glasses back on but he continued to look at Josh.

Josh wanted to say that he wished Sam wasn't going to be alone but he knew Sam would reply by pointing out that he didn't have to be. Before Josh could think of anything else to say the buzzer sounded, "That'll be my cab."

"Yeah," Sam stood up and walked over to the door, "Shall I come down?"

"No, I'll say goodbye here," Josh grabbed Sam's arm and kissed him, "I won't say Happy Christmas because I'll phone you tomorrow."

"I'll see you in a couple of days," Sam said and he watched Josh walk towards the elevator before he closed the door.

Sam went back to the sofa and switched on the TV. He flicked through the channels aimlessly and then switched it off. He walked over to the drinks cabinet and run his finger along the pattern on one of the decanters. He stood like that for a while until he suddenly turned away, picked up his coat and keys and walked out of the apartment.

Sam was surprised to find he had a choice of parking spaces. He walked into the building and towards the main desk.

"Good evening Mr Seaborn, I thought you'd already gone home?"

Sam scribbled his name in the book and handed the pen back, "Well you know me Frank, can't keep away from the White House."

Frank smiled and shook his head as he watched Sam walk towards the West Wing.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The man on the seat near to Josh was explaining to his wife, in very clear terms, why they were visiting his mother for Christmas and not hers. Josh was praying that they wouldn't be anywhere near him on the plane. He looked at the people milling around the airport lounge and wondered if their holiday trips were causing as much angst for them as his and the man's wife's were. He blew out a deep sigh and looked at his watch. Closing his eyes, he tried to picture what Sam would be doing now. Probably working, sitting hunched up on the sofa tapping away or scribbling on a jotter. He tried to remember if Sam had much to eat tonight, but he couldn't remember. He thought about what was on TV but knew Sam preferred to watch films or programmes he liked with him. Josh looked at his watch again, the flight was delayed and the delay was making him think more than he had wanted to.

There was now a gap between Josh and the man. His wife had stood up a few moments ago and hissed at him, "This will be the last Christmas I am spending with that woman!" Josh had turned towards the man and offered a small smile of support. He had thought that the man had made his case quite well to his wife. Josh decided that he must be more scared of his mother than his wife and after witnessing the wife's outburst he could only feel sorry for him. He wondered briefly if he was scared of his own mother but dismissed the thought immediately. He wished it was that simple. Josh threw his empty cup into the bin, "I get a lot of practice," he explained to the man who raised his eyebrows, impressed by the difficult shot.

When he only had another thirty minutes to wait Josh decided to phone his mother and tell her when he would be getting in. He walked away from the man but still in reach of his bag and coat which he had placed on his seat.

"Hi mom…thirty minutes now…no, I ate earlier…well, yeah, by then maybe I will…why haven't you eaten yet?...you're waiting for Daniel to what?…oh, I see…of course I don't mind if Daniel is there…or tomorrow, wait, is he staying there tonight and tomorrow!...okay…no, that's great…" It wasn't a total shock that Daniel was staying for a few days. Recently Josh's mother had mentioned him more frequently. As he listened to his mother explain that Daniel would have been on his own and how much they got on, Josh watched the woman who had stormed off earlier walk back over to her husband. She handed him a magazine and a can of drink and as he took the drink he pulled her down next to him and hugged her. Josh focused again on his mother's voice. She was still talking about Daniel but was quickly silenced when Josh blurted out, "Mom, I'm guy…I mean I'm gay…I'm a gay guy… shit…I mean…"

"Josh?"

"I'm going home, I'm going to get Sam, you see I'm gay and I'm in love with Sam and I want you to meet him…well you've already met him what I mean is I want you to meet us...I want…"

"Josh, if you're getting in any later than twelve you'll have to get a cab because I'm not driving out after midnight."

"Mom! Did you hear the part about me being gay?"

"Yes, sweet pie, did you hear the part about me not coming out after twelve?" Josh didn't answer; he couldn't believe what he had heard. His mother waited patiently, "This is…wow…I've just told you I'm gay and you're giving me sarcasm and being blasé. You're being sarcastically blasé. If I had to make a list of all the reactions I thought you'd have, sarcastically blasé would not have-"

"Josh, go and get Sam. Leaving that poor man all alone on Christmas Eve, I can't think what could have gotten into you!"

"Crap, this is freaking me out," Josh muttered and then more loudly said goodbye and hung up. He rushed over to the seat. "Have a good flight," he said to the now happy couple, "I'm getting the next flight, I'm going to go get Sam and take him to meet my mother who it turns out has been reading `ten reactions your son won't expect when he finally comes out to you'. Happy Holidays! God, I feel like Scrooge after the Ghost of Christmas future has been." With that, he ran out of the airport leaving the man and woman staring after him.

When Josh entered the apartment it took him a few moments to realise that Sam wasn't there but it didn't take him as long to work out where Sam would be. It was too late for Sam to go visiting and his car keys were gone. It was possible that Sam had nipped out to the shops but Josh decided it was more likely that Sam had returned to the White House. He rushed out of the apartment and down to his car.

The communications bullpen was almost in darkness when Josh arrived. The light from Sam's office lit it up enough for Josh to make out a figure sitting on the floor in front of the Christmas tree.

"He's making a list," the figure was singing and Josh recognised Sam's voice. He leant against the doorjamb and listened as Sam continued to sing. In between lines Sam cursed or muttered but Josh couldn't make out what he was saying, "Checking it twice…damn it… gonna find out…here goes Rudolph now hold still…who's naughty who's nice…we have the power to rebuild him…Santa Clause is coming to town." Sam stood up on wobbly legs and placed the Rudolph decoration back on the tree. He had replaced Bonnie's effort with a map pin with a large, round, red top which made a perfect nose.

Sam stood back and admired his handy work. The smile on Josh's face disappeared as he saw Sam bend down and reach for a bottle of bourbon from the floor. He made his way over to Bnnie's desk and found his glass. Luckily it was empty as the sound of Josh saying his name made Sam jump and in the process fling the glass over his shoulder.

"Sorry, Sam, it's me," Josh walked quickly over to Sam and stood beside him.

Sam took a deep breath, "You scared the crap-" Sam suddenly realised who was standing next to him, "Josh?"

"I came back."

"You came back," Sam smiled and then swayed. Josh caught him and held on, "You came back, you came and got me just like before." "Except this time you're drunk. Were you planning to spend all night here drinking Toby's bourbon and decorating the tree?"

"I was writing…things…and then I remembered," Sam put his finger to his lips, "Shush," he gestured for Josh to follow him. He led Josh to the tree and then leaned close towards him and whispered, "Rudolph was no-nosed Reindeer. Bonnie made him a girly nose," Sam pulled a disgusted face, "I made him a man's nose!" Sam reached forward and pulled at the decoration but lost his balance. The tree was swaying as precariously as Sam but Josh decided Sam would do more damage than the tree and so he reached out and grabbed him instead. The tree continued to sway until it slowly teetered over, landing at Josh and Sam's feet.

Sam was oblivious to the tree and decorations splayed at his feet, "You came and got me," he mumbled into Josh's neck, "You came and got me just like before," and then with barely a pause, "I'm gonna throw up."

Josh pulled away from Sam and grabbed at the bin by Ginger's desk. When Sam was done he lowered him to the floor and took the bin away to the men's room. When he came back Sam was standing and leaning heavily against the desk. "I would very much like to go home now," he announced and Josh had to hide the smile that Sam's attempt at looking dignified had prompted.

Sam managed a few steps before he started to slip slowly down towards the floor again, "Come on Sam, you need to help me out here."

"Okay, it's okay, I'm alright," Sam clung onto Josh and tried to pull himself up straighter, "I'm alright…" Sam mumbled again before he fell against Josh. Josh struggled to keep his balance as he lowered Sam to the floor. Josh tried to rouse Sam but he was dead to the world. Josh slumped to the floor beside Sam and pulled out his cell phone. He didn't think telling his mother that Sam was passed out in the White House would be a good idea so he blamed cancelled flights instead and promised that they would come on Boxing day.

Three hours later Sam was snoring loudly on Toby's sofa and Josh was busy putting the decorations back on the tree. He couldn't sleep and even if he had wanted to, Sam was moving around too much for him to be able to share the sofa. Josh went back into Toby's office and crouched by the sofa. He shook Sam gently but there was no response. Josh stared at Sam and couldn't help feeling annoyed; he had come out to his mother and rushed back to fetch Sam only to find himself sitting on the floor in Toby's office next to a comatose Sam. Josh reached up and pulled at Sam's jacket causing him to slip off the sofa and land in a heap on the floor. Sam stopped snoring but didn't wake up. Josh put a cushion under Sam's head, covered him with his overcoat and then curled up on the sofa.

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

Josh drove slowly back to the apartment. Sam seemed to have survived his night on the floor without any aches or pains but his head and stomach were rebelling strongly against the alcohol he had consumed. The window was wide open and each bump in the road caused Sam to moan and lean closer towards the rush of cool air. After an hour in a real bed, a shower and some food, Sam began to feel half-human again. He finished the washing up and went into the bedroom to find Josh taking some items out of his case.

Sam walked up beside him and pushed the lid of the case down and then shoved it off the bed pushing Josh down in its place. Josh inched back towards the pillows as Sam divested him of his clothes. Josh whispered that he would never leave Sam again but they were the only words spoken.

Later, when Josh collapsed beside Sam on the bed, Sam turned over and rested his head on Josh's chest. Josh pulled the comforter over them and they lay entwined listening to the sound of their breathing slowly returning to a less frenzied rhythm.

They lay like that as Josh told Sam about his phone call to his mother, the couple in the airport lounge and his mother's new friend.

They lay entwined, Josh and Sam, and Josh was glad Sam was holding on to him so tightly because he suddenly felt like running out into the street and telling everyone.

The End

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