Title: Talk Radio
Spoilers: The Midterms (from which one line of dialogue is stolen)
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: They're not mine.
Summary: Just why did Sam want Dr. Jenna Jacob's crab puff?
Author's Notes: Thanks again to Jesse Morgan and Sue C for their beta-work. Also thanks to those who sent feedback for my first story (Candy Hearts) – I really appreciate it.
Talk Radio by Hannah
Sam let himself into Josh's apartment one evening and was distressed to hear sobs coming from the living room. He rushed inside and saw Josh lying on the sofa, his hands covering his face.
Sam walked over, sat next to Josh, and pulled him into a tender embrace.
"Josh, love, what's wrong?" he asked, worriedly. "Are you in pain? Talk to me."
Josh continued to sob as he buried himself in Sam's arms and nestled his head against his partner's chest. Sam stroked Josh's hair gently as his tears gradually subsided.
Sam brought his hands up to frame Josh's face, brushed his thumbs over tear-streaked cheeks, and offered a gentle smile.
"Okay now?" Sam asked.
"Want to tell me what that was about?"
Josh's gaze shifted from Sam's eyes and darted around the room. They came to rest on the stereo that stood along the wall opposite the sofa. "I was... I was listening to the radio." He paused and shifted out of Sam's embrace.
Sam looked at Josh. "What were you listening to?" he asked, confused. "Did some station play 'Ave Maria'?"
"Sam, are we evil?"
"What?" asked Sam.
"I mean, are we going to burn in hell?"
"Josh, why would you ask such a thing?" Sam gasped. "What were you listening to? Tell me Mary Marsh hasn't been mouthing off again."
"No, not her. She's far from being alone in her beliefs, Sam. It seems certain members of the medical profession agree with her."
"The medical profession? Josh, you've really got me worried here." Sam reached across and grasped Josh's left hand in his right. He entwined their fingers and continued. "Just tell me what happened."
Josh took a deep breath. "I was flicking around the channels when I came across a call-in show on Talk Radio. It was an advice show hosted by someone called Dr. Jenna Jacobs. I started listening to it because the caller was a teenage boy who was worried about the feelings he had for one of his classmates - one of his male classmates." As he continued, Josh's voice started to crack. "The host let him get it all off his chest, then she told him that homosexuality is an abomination and that he needed therapy. She said that if he didn't get himself 'sorted out', he'd end up rotting in hell for eternity."
"Oh, sweetheart," breathed Sam. He tugged on Josh's hand until Josh was once again safe in Sam's arms. Sam rested his cheek against Josh's hair as he tried to work out how best to comfort the tearful man he held close to him.
"She's wrong. You know that, right? That was the opinion of a bunch of writers in the Middle East several thousand years ago. And they were wrong, too. Josh, I love you. You love me. How can love be evil?
"The people who say that homosexuality is an abomination are putting way too much emphasis on a very short passage in a very big book. They're ignoring the fact that a couple of pages earlier, that same book says that eating shellfish is an abomination. You don't see people getting kicked out of restaurants for ordering clam chowder as a starter, and you don't see people getting sacked for eating a crab puff at a party."
Josh smiled and turned to face Sam. He gazed into his partner's bright blue eyes and softly kissed him.
"You're right, I know. It's just hard to remember all that sometimes when I'm stuck here on my own with only that kind of nonsense for company."
Sam grinned and pulled Josh in for another kiss. "Well, now you've got me and my kind of nonsense for company all evening."
"Sounds good to me," mumbled Josh as the their lips met.
THE NEXT DAY
"Anything else?" asked Leo as the meeting drew to a close. When no one replied, he stood and dismissed the senior staff from the Oval Office.
"Sam, stay behind a moment, would you?" he called out. His tone made it clear that any other course of action was not an option.
When the others had left the office, Leo turned to Sam and asked, "How's Josh doing?"
"He's fine," came the reply. "When I saw him yesterday evening he didn't seem to be experiencing much pain in his chest at all. He's really on the mend," continued Sam with a smile.
Jed Bartlet looked over at the young man who stood across from him. He sounded happy but his eyes had dark circles around them, which hinted at a bad night's sleep.
"Sam, you don't seem your usual self today," the President commented. "I know this is a stressful time for you, but today you seem more tired than you have recently. Is anything up?"
The speechwriter paused for a moment. He knew Leo was aware of the history between himself and Josh, but was unsure how much the President had been told.
"Josh was a bit upset last night over something he'd heard on the radio. Some talk show host was voicing a less-than-tolerant opinion about some stuff and Josh took it to heart."
Jed nodded and exchanged a glance with Leo. Although he had never directly addressed the subject, over the course of the years he had formed suspicions about the nature of Josh and Sam's friendship that suggested to him the kind of 'stuff' that Sam was referring to.
"Who was this host?" he asked.
"I don't remember her name exactly. Dr. Jenna something... she was on Talk Radio late yesterday afternoon."
"I think we're having some kind of reception for Talk Radio next week," said Leo. "I'll see what I can find out about her. I'm not having some radio nobody upsetting my deputy when he's recovering from a gunshot wound."
"Find out what her qualifications are, for one thing," suggested Bartlet. "I mean, what the hell kind of doctor makes the kind of statement that can upset someone like Josh? Sam, send him my best when you see him next. Tell him I look forward to seeing him back here just as soon as he's fit enough to mow down the Republican party."
Sam grinned at the image. "Yes, sir."
ONE WEEK LATER
As the president's tirade against Jenna Jacobs continued, Sam exchanged a startled glance with CJ. He had seen the president angry before, but not in front of such a large audience. When he heard the radio host's admission that her doctorate was in English Literature, he felt a wave of anger course through his body.
He swallowed down a cry of indignation as he heard the young woman deny that her audience could be misled by her title - she had deceived Josh, one of the most astute people Sam had ever known.
As the woman reluctantly rose from her chair, under the President's forceful glare, Sam's attention was drawn to the food on the plate she held and he was struck with an idea.
As he followed the president out of the room, Sam stopped in front of the radio presenter and opened his mouth to speak.
"I'm just..." he stammered, trying very hard not to unleash his own rant against the woman's bigotry. "I'm just gonna take that crab puff," he finished, then swiped the food from her plate and walked off triumphantly.
>From his seat on the couch, Josh quirked an eyebrow and smirked at the man standing in front of him.
"Ta-da?" he repeated. "Ta-da what?"
"Joshua Lyman, the Seaborn catering service is proud to present for your delectation and delight, direct from the plate of Dr. Jenna Jacobs, one freshly-baked crab puff!" Sam brought his hand around from behind his back and presented Josh with a plate.
Josh beamed and a smile broke over his face as he took the plate and looked up at Sam. He placed the proffered plate on the coffee table next to the couch, stood, and wrapped his arms around the only person who could make him feel so happy.
"You stole her crab puff?" he asked with delight.
"Yup," replied Sam. "Aren't you proud of me? Anyway, you'd better eat up before the others get here - there's not enough to share."
Josh laughed, hugged his partner closer to him, and nuzzled his neck. "I can think of other things I'd rather do first," he replied in a soft voice.
Sam felt a warm glow of contentment spread through him as he nibbled at Josh's ear, and gently sucked the lobe into his mouth.
"I like the way your mind works," he murmured as he turned his head. He looked into Josh's warm brown eyes and smiled.
"You mean the world to me, Josh. I'd do anything to stop anyone from hurting you ever again."
Their lips met in a tender kiss and the two men held each other close.
"People can say what ever they want," said Josh softly, "but I'll never stop loving you. Or crab puffs." And with a wink, he turned and led Sam into the bedroom.
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