Title: Gratuitously Shirtless Games
Author: Hannah
Rating: R at most
Summary: Sam and Josh bicker, then play tennis. Erm, that's it really - Shakespeare can rest easy in his grave tonight.
Category: Well, I was aiming for humor.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Feedback: Ooh, please do.
Notes: Okay, there are a lot of them this time. Sorry about that. Beta'd by the ever-wonderful Jesse Morgan, this fic was inspired by Anne's comment on the MakeBelieve group about a slashy tennis match in this year's Olympics. The title is in part the result of a particularly delightful scene in a recent Lyon's Den episode, and so I dedicate this fic to Anne, to the LD writer who decided a shirtless Jack Turner formed an integral part of the show's storyline, and to Coup who posted the screen-caps of that wonderous vision so quickly. With many, many thanks :)

Gratuitously Shirtless Games by Hannah

"...load the dishwasher and turn on the washing machine. It's not fucking rocket science, Josh!" exclaimed Sam in a low voice.

"It's not exactly the end of the world either," came the exasperated reply.

Following a long morning spent rehearsing a speech President Bartlet was due to give the next day - a rehearsal which had been frequently interrupted by some particularly inventive sniping between Sam and Josh - the two men had retreated to the corner of the press room, where they had apparently been inspired to begin another round of bickering.

"Maybe, but when you can't be bothered to do little things like that, it makes it seem like you don't even care any more," said Sam.

Josh was saved from having to reply by the sudden appearance of CJ who, blithely ignoring the frosty atmosphere between the two men, grinned at him.

"Joshua! And your little friend Samuel!" The deputies shared a worried look then turned their attention back to CJ.

"How does the idea of a tennis match grab you?" she continued. "This evening. You two against me and Toby."

Sam shrugged, his mind still caught up in the injustices of unshared domestic chores, leaving Josh to respond.

"Well, that sounds kind of unfair."

"Unfair?" CJ raised her eyebrows.

"You know - a mixed pair versus two men."

CJ snorted. "Well, that's a generous description of you two given the schoolgirl bickering that's been going on between you all morning. You guys are, like, one step away from pulling each other's pigtails."

"Hey!" Josh was offended, but under the full force of CJ's I'm-right- and-you-know-it-so-don't-argue-with-me glare, he decided further protest would be futile. "It's just, you know, you'll be at a disadvantage. Being a woman and all."

The glare grew fiercer. "Are you suggesting you're taller than me?"

"Uh, no?"

"Stronger than me?" CJ grabbed Josh's wrist. Hard.

"Very much no," he gasped.

"Faster than me?"

"Sometimes he's faster than anyone alive," muttered Sam, a hint of not-particularly-playful bitterness tainting his voice.

Josh reddened and shot a glare in Sam's direction.

"What was that, Sam?" inquired CJ sweetly.

"Nothing. Okay. I have to go... somewhere. Now."

"I think that would be wise," fumed Josh as he finally managed to tear his wrist from CJ's vice-like grip.

"Seems like there's a little tension in you that needs working out, eh buddy? Come on. Tennis. Seven o'clock. Whaddya say?"

"What's the prize?"

"A prize? What is this - Wimbledon?"

"Aw, come on, CJ!"

"Winner gets to gloat?" she suggested.

"Well, I think that's pretty much a given, considering the personalities involved. But okay."

"Good choice, Josh. Get ready for me and Toby to own your ass."

Josh backed up, until he felt the security of a wall behind him. "Uhhh..."

CJ grinned wickedly. "It's okay. Someone else has a prior claim to it, hmm?"

"Uhhh..." More and more lately, Josh had been finding it hard to form complete sentences around CJ, whose powers of information- gathering he was beginning to feel verged on the paranormal.

"So we'll see you this evening?"

"Yeah. This evening."

***

Sam and Josh won the first set with a pretty resounding 6-2. Sadly, their lucky streak faded towards the middle of the second set, and they found themselves beaten 2-6.

The fourth set was going relatively well for them, the score currently standing at 5-3, with Sam and Josh to serve.

Thwack. 15-0.

Thwop. Thwack. Thwop. 30-0.

Thwack. Thwack. Thwop. Thwack. Thunk. 40-0.

"Come on, Sam," cried Josh. "We could actually win this!"

Sam whirled around to face Josh and shot his partner a glare. "We could have won a long time ago if you'd managed to notice the ball before it went sailing past you, like, a zillion times."

Josh returned the glare. "Well, I'd have been able to do that if you hadn't considered it necessary to take your shirt off half way through the second set," he said, as his glare transformed in to a lustful gaze directed at the drops of sweat running slowly down Sam's tanned chest and, Josh thought, depressingly well-toned abdomen.

Calling for a time out, which naturally led to Toby muttering about the differences between tennis and sports where such a concept actually existed, Sam stomped over to where Josh was standing at the back of the court.

"I was trying to distract CJ," hissed Sam indignantly.

"You really think she's that shallow?" asked Josh, causing Sam to smirk.

"It caught your attention. Are you admitting you're shallow?"

Josh thought for a moment. "No. See, it's different for me. As your boyfriend I'm allowed to ogle you. If CJ were to do it, *that* would be shallow."

Clearly unimpressed with Josh's caveman-like attitude to relationships, Sam rolled his eyes and wandered back towards the net, unintentionally giving Josh a great view of his sweaty shorts clinging just the way Josh liked to see them.

Toby served and the ball soared through the air towards Josh who returned it in the vague direction of CJ, who volleyed it back with an upward lob.

Sam leapt high, stretching his arm up and arching his back, hard muscles flexing under flawless, golden skin. Images of other activities that could cause Sam's back to arch flashed across Josh's mind and for a moment he was transported to their bedroom that morning, and the vision of Sam on his hands and knees, thrusting backwards, crying for Josh to go harder, faster.

Caught up in his fantasy, Josh never even noticed that Toby had returned Sam's volley in his direction and the ball bounced right next to him.

"40-15, 40-15," chanted CJ as Sam stormed over to Josh.

"What the fuck was that?" he demanded angrily.

"I was... distracted." hedged Josh.

"Distracted?"

"By you." Josh's tone voice turned soft as he rested a hand on Sam's forearm. "Look, I know that once we got out of bed this morning, today pretty much became the worst day of our relationship; and I'm sorry I forgot to do the laundry last night and load the dishwasher this morning, but it doesn't mean I don't care about you. Sam, I'm so head-over-heels blindingly in love with you that I can't even notice a tennis ball flying towards me because all my attention's focused on you."

Sam melted. The occasions when Josh's inner romantic managed to champion over his inner jackass were few and far between, but whenever they occurred, Sam was a goner. "Oh, Josh," he sighed, "I love you too. And I'm sorry I shouted..."

"Hey, guys! Do the words 'tennis match' and 'your serve' mean anything to either of you?" CJ was clearly raring to continue.

"Come on," said Josh. "Let's go win this game, then we can head home and, um..."

"Celebrate?" finished Sam, with a suggestive waggle of his eyebrows.

"Yeah, that," beamed Josh.

The way Josh double-faulted the next two serves suggested to Sam that his partner's mind had already skipped ahead to the next activity on their schedule and he turned to grin at him, receiving in return a sheepish shrug that confirmed his suspicions.

As the score had crept up towards deuce, CJ's gloating taunts had increased in both number and volume, and as the two couples drew equal, Toby found himself forced to silence her with an entirely accidental misjudgment of the force needed to throw a tennis ball the direction of her midsection.

Luckily for Sam and Josh, the subsequent pain prevented CJ from returning their next serve, taking the score to what Sam proclaimed to be Advantage Men - a phrase, he delightedly informed Josh, that could easily double up as the title for the new action-adventure series he was working on, in between speech-writing and his other more bedroom-focused activities.

Match point. The tension was palpable on CJ and Toby's side because they knew Josh would never let them live down a loss. On the other side of the net, the tension between Sam and Josh had a rather different origin.

Josh bounced the ball, preparing to serve.

"Come on, Josh! Let's get home!" cried Sam.

"What?" yelled CJ.

"Bring it home. Let's bring it home, Josh!" Sam quickly corrected himself, hoping the blow to CJ's stomach had somehow disabled her phenomenal powers of scandal-detection.

Throwing the ball high in the air, Josh brought his racquet up to meet it with a resounding thud. The ball sailed through the air towards Toby, who sent it back across the net where it was met with a volley from Sam. CJ stretched and met the ball with a backhand stroke that impressively sailed straight down the centerline.

Josh jogged backwards preparing to return the ball but to his joy, it overshot the back line and met the ground a foot outside the boundary. He and Sam and won!

CJ's shrieks of dismay filled the air as the two men ran towards each other, completely caught up in the joy of winning. As they collided, Sam flung his arms around Josh's shoulders and wrapped his legs around his partner's waist as he planted a smacker on the luscious lips in front of him.

In the months that followed, Sam would repeatedly insist that it was the surprise, rather than his weight, that had caused Josh to topple over and pull Sam down on top.

For the moment, though, the most pressing issue facing him was the need to extract himself from Josh's tight grip. To no avail. Josh held on tightly and grinned goofily up at him.

"Er, guys? Care to share?" CJ wandered over to them, and arrived just in time to catch Josh's slurred, "Not sharing. 'S all mine," before he passed out from the knock to his head.

***

Josh came round to find CJ peering down at him. As he floated back up to consciousness, he could hear raised voices in the background, indicating that Toby was less than impressed with his recent discovery.

"...Christian Right... Marriage Recognition Act... dumbass, jackass pair of idiots..." Josh could make out enough of the words to realize he needed to go and offer Sam some support. He tried to sit up and the movement caught Sam's attention.

He rushed over and knelt down next to Josh, brushing a hand across his forehead. "How are you feeling?"

Josh smiled. "We won, right?"

"Yeah."

"Winning's good," nodded Josh, then winced at the pain that caused. "Head injuries aren't."

Toby decided to join the conversation. "And the excessive display of affection you just shared?" he growled.

"Excessive? That wasn't excessive, Toby. If you want, Sam and I can show you what excessive really is," offered Josh with a leer.

Grinning at Josh, and at the looks on CJ and Toby's faces - amused interest and astoundedly freaked-out respectively - Sam took his boyfriend's hand in his own.

"Maybe not right now, hmm?"

"Yeah," agreed Josh in a slurred voice that suggested to his companions that he was on his way back to the land of the unconscious. "S'more an indoor sport, I guess. But you still get to be sweaty. And shirtless. I like that. S'good."

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