title: Relapses and Questions Raised
pairing: Sam/Toby and mild CJ/Danny
rating: NC-17
series: Believe
sequel to: Believe
spoilers: nothing specific
author: nancy
website: http://www.madbrilliant.com/thetenthmuse1/index.html
email: the_tenth_muse1@yahoo.com
feedback: yes, please!
archive: sure, just let me know where!
summary: Sam has a relapse and Danny starts asking questions.
warnings: language, m/m sex
notes: I'm not making any stereotypes about Mexican's in this (I have Mexican friends after all), and I don't even know who the Mexican ambassador to the US is, let alone if he's got a daughter. abuse happens in every country across the world and I just had to pick one. no offense intended to anyone. this is a fictional story with fictional characters. end sermon. *grin*

Relapses and Questions Raised by Nancy

Toby kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but there hadn't been any practical jokes as yet. He was expecting something to explode from two of the most devious minds in the world, CJ and Josh, but had so far lucked out. Maybe they were waiting for Sam to get back to the office to zap them both simultaneously. That definitely wasn't outside the realm of possibility.

Snorting to himself as he entered his office, Toby peered around the back of his door before carefully looking at his desk and chair. Seeing nothing amiss, he sat and pulled out some of the more recent speeches that he'd been working on, to attempt their finish. That was when he discovered a plain envelop on his desk, buried beneath the files. It looked like an ordinary hallmark card, but he hesitated to pick it up, let alone open it.

CJ and Josh were just that good.

Finally calling himself a coward, Toby gingerly picked it up and opened it, pulling out a card. It said, simply, `Congratulations' on the front. Inside, was a simple line that read, `May the love the two of you know, build you up and shelter you, the rest of your days.'

It was signed by CJ, Josh, Donna, Ginger, Bonnie, and Carol. Toby didn't miss the fact that neither the President's nor Mrs. Bartlett's signature was on it, but didn't take it to heart. He knew that things would be dicey at best, when he and Sam were found out, and having their John Hancocks on what amounted to an engagement card would not be good, if it was ever discovered.

Leo, though…

Toby sighed, wondering how he felt about the fact that Leo hadn't signed the card. He didn't know if Leo hadn't been given the option to sign it, hadn't wanted to sign it for personal reasons, or thought it was a bad idea from a political standpoint. He was really hoping for the first reason, though, because the thought that Leo might not support them hurt more than he'd expected.

>From the start, he and Leo had been of a mind. They might differ in policy, and could carve up a bloody path between them when it came to how to run things, but they were very similar men. Toby had always known that he could count on Leo no matter what. And now that there was uncertainty about that very thing…

Shaking off the foul mood he felt building, Toby replaced the card and immediately put it in his briefcase to take home. Sam would absolutely love it, though he'd be a little embarrassed by it. For all the fact that Sam wore his emotions on his sleeve, something that thankfully hadn't yet been ripped from him, the young man was a very private person.

It was just one of the reasons that Toby was so dreading the day that the public found out about them. He didn't want to have to see Sam go through all the crap that went with being out on the job, let alone in such a visible one. Everyone was going to go nuts. The right wing, the left wing, the moderates, the media…they were all going to be shouting from the rooftops, though the messages would be different.

"Toby? You got a minute?"

Looking up at Josh's question, Toby nodded and waved him in. "Sure."

"I just got a call from the daughter of the Mexican ambassador…"

* * * *

"She wants asylum to have an abortion?" Sam repeated incredulously.

Toby pinched the bridge of his nose. "Her father's strictly Catholic and she said that he's insisting that she marry the child's father. The problem being that she doesn't know who it is. She's covered so far by refusing to talk about it, but that's not going to last too long given the kind of pressure that she's under."

Sam questioned, "You don't think she's right?"

Arching an eyebrow at him, Toby countered, "You want to let her in based on her father's a jerk?"

"She's in for a bad beating at the very least."

Toby frowned at him. "How the hell would you know?"

"Oh come on, Toby. You've met the man!" Sam exclaimed. "He's a hard-nosed asshole who thinks of women as property. He's got sons to carry on the family name, so who cares if the girl accidentally breaks her neck falling down the stairs? She was probably always that clumsy and lucky to have lived so long anyhow, right?"

"Sam. There's a difference between being someone who thinks of women as property to someone who can kill them and not think twice," Toby protested, not sure why he was protesting.

Shaking his head, completely serious, Sam countered, "You haven't met his wife, Toby, and I have. That's a woman who hasn't slept well since she got married. I have no trouble believing that the daughter's in fear of her life."

Disturbed now, Toby sighed and rubbed his eyes.

After a long pause, Sam asked, "So what did you tell Josh?"

"To talk it over with Leo," Toby replied.

"He's not going to give the girl asylum."

"Probably not."

Sam fell silent, his eyes dropping as his fingers plucked at the blanket over him. Covering the restless hand with his own, Toby squeezed it lightly and said, "There won't be any decision for a few days. Why don't you call Leo and tell him what you just told me?"

"Think it'll make a difference?"

"It can't hurt."

Toby pulled Sam close, putting an arm over the other's shoulder and leaning his chin on Sam's shoulder. With Sam's leg stretched out on a pillow on the coffee table, there wasn't much room for maneuvering, but they managed to get comfortable on the sofa.

Sam asked abruptly, "You know what I want to know?"

Hiding a smile at the miffed tone, Toby questioned, "What?"

"Why does my desk get super-glued after one *tiny* little mistake involving a Senator's voting habits, but you drop this bombshell and absolutely nothing!?"

Chuckling, Toby replied, "Just lucky, I guess."

"Jerk."

"I know."

Sam nuzzled at his throat, his hand sliding down the front of Toby's pants as he asked, "Want to know something else?"

A shiver ran through Toby, but he managed to ask, "What?" in a relatively normal voice.

"I'm not on the pain meds anymore, so the spirit isn't the only thing that's willing anymore," Sam murmured in his ear.

Toby turned his head so their lips could meet in a hard, deep kiss, sliding his own hand over Sam's side to rub the small of his back. Sam groaned, his mouth opening further, and Toby pressed the advantage, guiding the other man back to lay against the cushions. The position gave him ample opportunity to feast on his lover's mouth, exploring the contours and ridges at his leisure.

When he pulled back, he smirked at Sam's dazed expression and said, "Let me close the blinds and lock up before we get too much more involved here."

That seemed to bring Sam out of it a little and he countered, "I'm being spontaneous here, Toby."

"So am I," Toby protested.

"Closing the blinds and locking up for the night is spontaneous?"

"It is for me, Sam, you should know that."

A fond smile surfaced and Sam pushed upright to claim a short kiss and order, "Go. Lock up. Then take me to bed. Might as well be comfortable."

"The stairs won't do you in?" Toby asked, concerned. Sam pushed him and gave him a pointed look, so he stood and exclaimed, "All right, all right, I'm going."

Sam's warm laughter followed him out of the living room and kept a grin on his face as he made sure they were secure for the night. It was a habit he'd gotten into while still married to Andi, and not one that he'd seen the need to change. When he got back to the living room, Sam was up and leaning on the couch, waiting for him.

After putting his arm around the younger man's waist, they started for the stairs, the silence as comfortable as it ever was. Halfway up the stairs, he said, "This is nice."

Sam shot him a curious look and asked, between pants, "Carting my ass up the stairs?"

"That too," Toby teased lightly. "But I meant us. I didn't expect…"

"What?"

"To be so comfortable with you."

Which sounded stupid when he said it out loud, but Sam just smiled at him and nodded, concentrating on the rest of the journey to the bedroom. He lowered Sam to the bed, watching with concern as Sam caught his breath. "You okay?"

Waving at him, Sam nodded, then waved again, towards the bathroom. Taking the hint, Toby started getting ready for bed, taking special care to clean up and glad that he took a shower earlier to get the day's grime off. By the time he returned to the bedroom, Sam was sitting up against the pillows, completely naked, and stroking himself.

Toby stopped in his tracks, staring in shock at the incredible sight.

A slow smile spread across Sam's face and he said, "I'll take that as a compliment."

Toby swallowed heavily against the desire that heated his body, hardening his cock beneath the pajama bottoms. He'd seen Sam shirtless before, covertly eyeing the lean, defined muscles of his chest, but the rest had remained a mystery. Not anymore. Licking his lips, his gaze dropped to where Sam's hand slowly moved up and down his cock, which was long and lean like the rest of his body.

"Come here," Sam ordered softly.

Eager to obey, Toby strode across the room and carefully climbed onto the bed, seizing Sam's mouth with hunger. Sam groaned into the kiss then gave a wordless protest when Toby pulled away to kiss his way down the long throat and suck on the collarbone.

"Toby! Oh, God, that's good," Sam gasped when Toby latched onto a nipple.

Grinning to himself, Toby worked the nipple over for a few minutes, then shifted to the other, keeping his hands planted on the mattress to either side of Sam. He was going to take his time and taste as much of his lover as he could. To that end, he pulled away and urged, "Lie flat, Sam."

Sam nodded and between them, they positioned him so that his leg was safe and he was supported by the bed, instead of pillows that could slip and slide.

Straddled over him, Toby said, "We can't do too much while you're still hurt."

"I know," Sam agreed, pale eyes vibrant with need.

Toby dipped down again, this time lower, and licked his way over the taut midriff to the belly button, where he lingered long enough to elicit a breathless laugh from his lover. He spent time kissing each bruise that he encountered, barely touching his lips to the damaged skin. Strong fingers moved over his head, combing through his hair and gently scratching a scalp massage that sent shivers through Toby's entire body.

There was one obvious place to go next and, though Toby never liked to be called obvious, he wanted it as bad as Sam clearly did. Running the flat of his tongue up the underside of Sam's cock provoked a loud groan. It occurred to him then, that he should hold Sam down because of the stitches and he did so, mindful of where he put his arm over the hips, below the bandage still in place.

It was difficult to ignore his own cock, pulsing with the urge to come just from doing Sam, but he did it. He knew that Sam wouldn't be long anyhow, not from the way he was shuddering and trying to thrust deeper into Toby's mouth. His tongue slid under the spongy head, tickling at the lip and that did it. Sam shouted hoarsely and came, spilling in Toby's mouth and over his face when Toby stopped swallowing to breathe.

When Sam was limp on the bed, Toby stretched out beside him and took his mouth again, sharing the taste of Sam that lingered on his tongue in a deep, wet kiss. Gripping his cock, Toby stroked himself, moaning into the kiss when Sam's hand joined his, then slid under to the heavy balls beneath. A few rolls in Sam's palm and Toby came, jerking hard in their combined grip and spilling across them both.

Panting heavily, Toby rested his forehead against Sam's damp shoulder and struggled to regain himself. Soft kisses dotted over his bare head and Sam murmured, "Need you so much, Toby."

Toby wiped his palm on the side of the bed, making a mental note to change the sheets before work, and shifted so he could slide his arm under Sam and hold him, even while his lover was constricted to sleeping on his back, because of the cast. Nuzzling just under Sam's throat, he murmured back, "You have me. Get some sleep, Sam."

Sighing deeply, Sam mumbled something unintelligible as he faded into sleep. Toby grinned at the other man's attempt at having the last word, even drugged out from orgasm, and closed his own eyes to drift into a peaceful darkness.

* * * *

Hands smothered him, held him down…something slammed repeatedly into his chest and ribs…and then pain blossomed in his lower abs, sharp and fiery. He struggled against the unseen opponents, fighting back as hard as he could to no avail. Everything was dark and it was difficult to make out how many of them there were…four, five? Masks on each, no details, though he tried to make them out…was that one taller than the others? Didn't one have an accent? Than the hand that kept hitting his face, there was…a tattoo…red…blood?

"Sam!"

They wouldn't stop, so he fought harder, thrashing and kicking.

"Sam! Son of a…stop it! Wake up! Damn it, Sam, wake up!"

And then they were gone and he was lying in bed with Toby flat on top of him, pinning him down. Breathing hard, though not for the same pleasant reason as before, Sam blinked at him in shock. The dim light from the hall showed a dark patch on Toby's cheek and he knew instinctively that his fist had caused it. "Oh God, Toby, I'm sorry!"

Relief swept across Toby's face at Sam's words, and he moved off, assuring him, "It's okay, don't worry about it."

"But your face," Sam protested.

Toby grimaced, touching his cheek, and answered lightly, "It might improve my look, don't worry about it."

A slightly hysterical laugh escaped, even though Sam tried not to let it out. The pain in his abs was difficult to ignore, as was the growing nausea and he frowned, closing his eyes to ride it out.

"Sam?"

"I'm fine, just…don't feel so good," Sam whispered, adding dizziness to the list.

There was movement and he felt the blanket lifted from him just before Toby exclaimed, "God damn it! Sam, you're bleeding! The stitches must've torn open!"

Sam groaned when something pressed hard into the wound and opened his eyes again. Toby was holding something, probably a t-shirt, against the bleeding, and it was already being soaked through. Toby took his hand and ordered, "Hold that there! I'm going to get you dressed and then we're going to the hospital."

Dutifully holding the shirt in place, Sam closed his eyes and tried not to groan when Toby lifted his legs and pulled sweats onto him. The jostling of his leg sent even more agony through him and he couldn't stop the tears from leaking, though he bit his lip not to cry out.

"Come on, Sam, stay with me here," Toby exclaimed a few minutes later.

Not having realized that he'd lost consciousness, Sam jerked in Toby's arms and almost overbalanced them. "Sorry! God, I'm sorry, Toby! I'm sorry!"

"It's okay, Sam," Toby soothed. "It's fine. Help me get you downstairs."

The walk downstairs was horrible agony, but over fairly quickly. Toby wasn't making any allowances for his leg, maybe thinking that faster was better than careful.

*No, that isn't right,* Sam thought vaguely as Toby gently helped him into the car outside. *Toby's always careful with me. Too careful, sometimes. Sure is nice, though, never had that with anyone.*

"Sam, come on, don't fade on me!" Toby ordered harshly.

Blinking in surprise, Sam discovered that they were on the road and Toby was driving much too fast. He summoned a smile from somewhere and pointed out, "Now's a bad time to get pulled over for speeding, Toby."

Toby only glanced at him briefly, but they slowed down a hair.

He must have faded out again, because the next he knew, Toby was shouting for help and trying to get him out of the car. Unfortunately, Sam had no strength left, feeling strangely removed from everything, especially his body. He was able to reach up and cup Toby's face, though, smiling as he said, "You're great, Toby, best thing that ever happened to me."

"God, Sam, don't say that, don't talk like that, please, Sammy!" Toby pleaded, panic visible in his eyes.

Then others were there and Toby was gone, pushed aside as nurses and doctors lifted him onto a gurney. Without Toby, he really had no reason to stick around, so he sighed and closed his eyes.

Sleeping sounded really good.

* * * *

Toby followed them into the ER, answering the rapid fire questions of nurses and doctors about what had happened, Sam's name, his age, any allergies to medications, how many times he'd lost consciousness, did he have any other injuries, how much blood did it look like he'd lost altogether?

A young nurse took him aside and the curtain was drawn around Sam, doctors and nurses still working on him with a frantic air. She moved him towards a less busy area of the ER and asked, "Sir, how many fingers do I have up?"

The question struck him as utterly ludicrous until he remembered that Sam had clocked him a good one in the face during his nightmare. Focusing on the situation at hand, instead of trying to look beyond the dark-haired nurse to Sam, Toby answered, "Three. And I'm fine. I wasn't injured, it wasn't like that. He was having a nightmare, I think it was about when he was attacked, and he got me by accident."

"Well he got you good," the young woman announced, blue eyes wincing sympathetically. "Let me get you a coldpak."

"Thanks," Toby said.

She nodded and headed off. Toby started to look for his cell phone when he remembered that he didn't have it. He'd grabbed the first thing handy to wear, which had been pajama bottoms, and hadn't even thought about needing his phone. He hadn't been thinking at all, and now maybe Sam was paying the price. If he'd called an ambulance and kept pressure on the wound, would things be this bad? But they were so close to the hospital, and ambulances could have been busy with other people in similar situations. It was impossible to know if he'd done the right thing.

Raising a shaky hand to his head, Toby stayed where he was, immobilized and trying not to think about how faint and distant Sam had sounded that last time. Fear clogged his throat at the thought that maybe he hadn't gotten Sam to the ER in time, that maybe he'd lost too much blood.

*There was so much blood,* he thought, remembering the sticky, soaked sheets.

Feeling the nausea rise uncontrolled, Toby ran for the men's room, barely making it before he threw up everything that he'd eaten in the last twenty-four hours, and then some. When he was done, shivering on the tiled floor and clutching the bowl, Toby spit several time to get the taste out of his mouth and flushed the toilet. He took a few moments to collect himself, then pushed to his feet and staggered to the sink.

The mirror showed blood drying on his skin and it aggravated him suddenly, to be outside without any kind of shirt or covering.

*So much for being cool under pressure,* he thought caustically, snarling silently at his reflection.

He hadn't grabbed a coat, he hadn't taken his cell phone, he hadn't done anything right. A tap at the door brought his recriminations to a screeching halt and fear rose again. He was irrationally certain that someone was there to tell him that Sam was dead. Finally, he crossed to the door and opened it.

The nurse from before stood there holding an icepak and a doctor's scrub outfit. "I thought you'd want to get yourself cleaned up a bit. They're still working on your partner over there, but it looks good. He should be fine, Mr. Ziegler."

Relief washed through him and it took all he had not to grab her in a bear hug. Instead, he smiled briefly and replied quietly, "Thank you."

She smiled back at him and held out the clothes, which he took. Toby shut the door and sagged against it, knees too shaky to do anything else. Several minutes later, he locked the door and walked back to the sink to get cleaned up.

The phone rang twice before CJ picked up with a sleepy, angry, "This better be good!"

"Sam's back in the hospital. He tore his stitches and lost a lot of blood," Toby announced into the phone without preamble. "He's gotten an infusion and is resting, but I'm here in doctor's scrubs and would appreciate if you could go to our house and get me some clothes."

"Oh my God! Toby, of course! You're sure he's going to be okay?"

Pressing the palm of his hand to his eye, Toby answered, "Yeah. I'm waiting to see him now. They stitched him back up and got the blood in him, so he's going to be fine."

"I'll be there in an hour."

"Thanks, CJ."

Toby wasn't surprised when she hung up without saying goodbye. CJ woke up fast, but she wasn't one for niceties under stress, and this definitely qualified.

"Mr. Ziegler? You can see him now."

Toby knew that he should be worried that the nurse knew exactly who he was, and who he was to Sam, but just couldn't summon the extra energy to care. She'd tell or not tell the press as she saw fit and all he wanted was to see Sam and make sure for himself that his lover was all right. Following her down the hall, Toby said, "A friend of mine is coming by with clothes, can you show her down? Her name's CJ Cregg."

"Sure," the woman promised.

Just outside the door that she stopped in front of, he looked at her and asked, "Not that it isn't part of your job description, but why are you being so nice to me, really?"

Smiling, the nurse petted his arm and answered, "It's the least I can do for family, Mr. Ziegler. And don't worry, I'm not going to say a word to anyone, but I can't guarantee that no one else will."

Toby shook his head, amazed. That a complete stranger would call him family just because he and Sam were together and that meant they shared an `orientation,' as people liked to say these days, boggled his mind. How the world changed over the years. All he could say was, "Thanks."

To which, she smiled again and opened the door, ushering him in. When she started to leave, Toby asked, "I'm sorry, what's your name?"

"Susan."

"Susan, could you let someone know that I probably banged Sam's leg pretty bad going down some stairs. It should probably be x-rayed to make sure I didn't make things worse," Toby said.

Susan nodded. "I'll let the doctor know, but I wouldn't worry about it. I didn't even see any marks on the cast, so he should be fine."

"Thanks," Toby repeated, then walked towards the bed.

Sam was again pale and fragile against the white of a hospital bed, as well as unconscious. He roused when Toby sat on the bed, though, his eyes fluttering open to look blearily at Toby. "Toby?"

"Yeah, Sam, it's me," Toby assured him. "How're you feeling?"

The blue eyes were dazed and unfocused as Sam smiled and reached out for him, missing him completely as he repeated, "Toby, Toby, Toby. My Toby. My best Toby."

Realizing that his lover was sky-high on drugs, Toby grinned and captured Sam's wandering hand. He brought it up to kiss the palm and said, "At least I know you're not in any pain."

"Nope," Sam agreed brightly. "No pain. Just love. Love for my Toby. So good, Toby, you made me fly tonight. Loved everything you did. Knew everything to do to me. You're so smart. How'd you get that smart?"

A little alarmed that Sam was talking like that in a hospital, Toby said hastily, "You should get some sleep, okay? Close your eyes, that's it, and just go to sleep."

"How'd you know to do that thing with your tongue on my…"

Toby put his hand over Sam's mouth. "Go to sleep now, Sam."

After mumbling something against his palm, Sam sighed deeply and relaxed against the pillows. When Toby was sure that he was asleep and not about to start talking again, he removed his hand and shook his head fondly. It just figured that the younger man got loquacious while under the influence.

He sat like that for a long time, running his fingers through the short, thick hair and occasionally bringing Sam's hand to his lips. The constant contact reassured him more than the steadily beeping monitors. It was a good long time after that, that the door opened and someone said, "Mr. Ziegler?"

Toby looked around and found a man in his late thirties and dressed in a doctor's coat waiting by the door. Standing up, he crossed over to the man and held out his hand, "You're Sam's doctor?"

"Dr. Kay, yes," the man answered. "Let's step outside."

Toby followed him out and asked, "Is everything okay? The nurse said he was going to be fine."

Dr. Kay nodded, assuring him, "Mr. Seaborn is going to be fine. I just wanted to talk to you to find out more about what his home care is like."

Nonplussed, Toby answered, "What home care? He stays at home and watches television or reads all day."

"That's what I thought. Mr. Ziegler, I have to be blunt in that I don't like the way his wounds are healing," Dr. Kay explained. "If he'd just had a nightmare, things shouldn't have come loose like they did."

"It was a violent nightmare," Toby replied quietly. "I think he was remembering when he was attacked a couple of weeks ago. He was thrashing around and shouting and he clipped me in the face."

Thoughtful, Dr. Kay asked, "And you're sure he's not doing anything strenuous?"

Heat flushed through Tony's face as he remembered what they'd been doing earlier that night. "There may have been…some strenuous activities earlier. He was feeling a lot better tonight, and I made sure that he didn't do too much when we, ah…"

Dr. Kay grinned at him briefly and said, "That's okay, I understand. But it sounds like it was a one time thing."

"I hope not," Toby muttered.

This time, the doctor laughed. "I meant, it sounds like it was just a recent, one time thing. You haven't been doing a lot of strenuous activities since his attack?"

"No, no we haven't," Toby confirmed.

"Well, in that case, I want to keep him here for a couple of days to make sure he isn't running any secondary infections that might have been missed when he was released, or maybe cropped up while he was at home," Dr. Kay informed him.

He wasn't sure he really wanted to know the answer, but Toby asked anyhow, "Doctor, can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"Did I…make things worse by bringing him in?" Toby questioned. "Should I have called an ambulance and waited?"

Dr. Kay smiled sympathetically and said, "It's difficult to say, to be honest, but I think…"

"Toby!"

Silently cursing the timing, Toby turned towards CJ's voice, forcing a brief smile as she stopped in front of them with, "How is he?"

"He's fine, CJ," Toby answered, taking the bag from her.

Relief made her sag a little. "Thank God."

"I'll leave you two alone. It was good to meet you, Mr. Ziegler."

Toby watched the doctor leave, wishing they had time to finish the conversation. At least he hadn't said outright that he'd made things worse for Sam, that was something to hold onto.

"What happened to you!?" CJ demanded, cupping his chin and tilting his face to the light.

Sighing, Toby explained, "Sam had a nightmare, that's what started all of this. He got me in the face while he was asleep and tore up his stitches."

"Did you put some ice on it?"

"Yeah. Look, I'm going to change. Sam's in there, if you want to check on him," Toby informed her.

When she nodded and headed for the door, Toby started dragging himself towards the bathroom again.

* * * *

Sam didn't need the beeping of hospital equipment to tell him where he was, he could feel the difference in the bed and the fact that Toby wasn't lying beside him. Not to mention the nasty taste in his mouth that was only left by anesthesia. Opening his eyes, Sam found his lover asleep in an uncomfortable looking chair by the bed and winced. Toby was not going to be happy when he woke up to a pulled neck muscle or three.

Movement on the other side of the room got his attention and Sam discovered CJ entering, looking almost as tired as Toby. A smile blossomed over her face when she saw that he was awake, and she exclaimed, "Sam!"

That, of course, roused Toby, who promptly groaned in pain and clutched his neck.

Grinning, Sam questioned mildly, "How many times have I warned you not to go to sleep like that?"

Toby snorted derisively, but the warmth and relief in his eyes were not to be missed as he replied, "All you do is nag."

"I see that we've skipped the honeymoon stage," CJ observed dryly, stopping beside the bed. "I think that's a record, isn't it?"

"You'd have to ask Andi," Sam quipped.

Toby growled, "Enough! I gather you're feeling all right, if you can insult me."

Sam accepted his hand, lacing their fingers together, and answered, "Other than a foul taste in my mouth and a lingering pain in my abs, I feel fine."

"Well, you can't go home for a couple of days," CJ announced.

Dismayed, Sam tore his eyes from Toby and demanded, "What!? Why not?"

"They think there's maybe a secondary infection you picked up somewhere," Toby explained, kissing Sam's palm. "They want to make sure you're okay before sending you home again."

Sam scowled. "I want to go home."

"Forget it," Toby replied. "The doc says you stay, then you stay."

"And I do."

They all glanced over at the door where an unfamiliar man in a doctor's coat stood. He came further into the room and introduced himself, "I'm Dr. Kay, Mr. Seaborn, it's good to meet you. As your partner was saying, I believe there's a secondary infection to take care of and am just waiting on the blood tests to return for confirmation. It's probably not serious, but it could become so."

Sighing, Sam nodded reluctantly and commented, "Not like Toby'll let me leave without permission anyhow."

"I'll be back to check on you this afternoon," Dr. Kay said, amused, taking his leave.

CJ kissed Sam's cheek and turned to Toby with, "And I will see you at the office later."

Sam gave him a curious look as CJ left the room, the door closing soft behind her. "Something happen?"

"Just that ambassador's daughter situation." Toby sighed. "I told Leo all about your point of view while you were sleeping off the anesthesia and he wasn't thrilled. Said he'd talk to the president and wanted to talk more about it later, after you woke up."

"Then you should get going," Sam replied.

"I don't want to…"

"I'm fine."

"Sam…"

"Seriously, Toby, I'm fine," Sam assured him firmly.

Toby sighed again, looking at him with the all-too-familiar hangdog expression, but finally nodded. "All right. Make sure you obey the docs and nurses, or I'll hear about it. I've got spies, you know. I'm an important man."

Grinning fondly, Sam agreed, "I know you do. And yes, you are."

Toby leaned in for a lingering, soft kiss. Sam's mouth opened automatically and he sighed into the gentle possession. When the older man pulled back, Sam licked his lips and said, "Go on. Get to work."

Toby kissed his forehead this time, his lips again lingering, then resolutely left the room.

With a sigh, Sam looked around the empty hospital room and picked up the remote. At least the hospital got CNN.

* * * *

CJ walked rapidly through the halls of the West Wing on her way to yet another briefing. Thankfully, she had actual news and nothing underhanded or devious to cover-up. And God, how she'd hoped to never say, or hear, those words in conjunction with this administration. The thing she kept telling herself was that nothing had really changed. That the people she worked with were all good people, and what they were doing was the right thing, because they were, and it was. Is. Whatever.

It was just too bad the public didn't always see things that way.

"CJ!"

Checking her step momentarily to let Danny catch up, she glanced over at him and grinned. "What happened to you?"

Danny grimaced, his hand going to the mostly shaved beard. There was just a little more than a goatee left of the usually thick reddish beard. "Don't even ask."

"I just did," CJ pointed out.

"It's a long story."

"I have time."

"No you don't."

Still grinning, CJ agreed, "No, I don't, but I think this is likely to be funny enough that I'll make time."

Waving it off, Danny put his hand on her waist and guided her into an empty office.

Surprised when he closed the door, CJ questioned, "What's wrong?"

"Tell me that Sam and Toby aren't sleeping together," Danny replied bluntly.

CJ paused a split second, then echoed, "Sam and Toby aren't sleeping together."

He squinted at her suspiciously. "Are they really not sleeping together, or did you just say that because I told you to?"

"Why are you even asking this?" CJ bluffed, adding the curious grin that she knew he just loved.

The grin slowed him down a few seconds as he returned it, distracted, but then Danny shook it off and said, "I got a call from a friend of a friend that said Toby and Sam showed up at George Washington at about three a.m. this morning because Sam had reopened his stitches."

"That doesn't mean…

"And that Toby wasn't wearing anything but pajama bottoms, not even shoes," Danny finished.

*Toby wasn't wearing shoes? What was he wearing?* CJ thought in surprise. Shaking the curious thought away, CJ stated, "I do know that Sam is recovering from his assault at Toby's. I can also say that Sam suffered from a terrible nightmare last night, which was actually probably a flashback from what Toby said about the hollering and thrashing around. It was about his assault and that's what tore open his stitches."

"Why Toby's?" Danny questioned, looking at her closely.

"Well, I couldn't say for sure, but I believe that snoring and/or sleepwalking became a kill-or-be-killed issue when Sam spent time at Josh's, while Josh was recovering from his injuries last year. And there was probably mention of indentured servitude while Sam was staying at Toby's, what with the unlimited access going on."

>From the suspicious look Danny continued to give her, CJ knew that she probably hadn't bought much time. She kept her face as innocent as possible until he sighed faintly and muttered, "I knew they were off their rockers."

Louder, he said, "Sorry, CJ."

CJ smiled, magnanimous, and answered, "No problem. Now, if you'll excuse me?"

"Sure," Danny agreed, stepping back to give her clear access to the door.

CJ grabbed him and yanked him forward for a long, lingering kiss, then pulled back and asked, "Incidentally, what was Toby wearing, if he didn't have shoes on? You know, just for information's sake."

Shaking his head to clear it of the dazed expression following the kiss, Danny grinned. "How much are you going to bribe him to keep quiet? Because I definitely want in on the action."

* * * *

Looking up at a tap on his door, Toby found CJ hovering outside and waved her in, setting aside the speech he was working on. "What is it?"

CJ closed the door behind her and said, "I just bought you and Sam some time by dodging a Danny bullet."

Toby froze for a moment, then sighed, picking up the rubber ball by his phone and squeezing it. "What did you tell him?"

"Just that I really couldn't say anything except that Sam was recovering at your house. And that there was trouble with Sam and Josh because of snoring and sleepwalking issues."

"Meaning that if there hadn't been, Sam would be staying at Josh's."

"Yeah."

"Warn Josh."

"I will."

Toby let the ball fly at the window, catching and holding it when it bounced back. "Anything else?"

"Just that you better get ready," CJ warned quietly. "You know that Danny will let it slide, but now that the question's been raised, someone else is going to be camped outside your townhouse with a telephoto lens."

Nodding, Toby threw and caught the ball again, relishing the hard slap of it into his hand, and said, "You better tell Leo, too."

"I will," she promised.

Toby could read the support and sympathy in her eyes, always so expressive to him, even when she was trying to lie, and a faint smile surfaced. "Thanks."

CJ turned to go, then glanced back at him and questioned, "So who wears the fuzzy slippers, you or Sam?"

Toby hiked the ball up in a silent but clear threat, and she laughed before hurrying out of the office, closing the door behind her. Scowling at the door, he muttered, "They are not fuzzy slippers. They're velour."

* * * *

Sitting quietly on the hospital bed while Sam slept, Toby stared at his lover. He already knew Sam's face by heart and he couldn't wait until he knew every part of his body that way, too. He was looking forward to all the years they had together, even if the next year or more was going to be hell, thanks to the press and politics of being in a gay relationship in the public sector.

Sam shifted, slowly waking, and yawned. Eyes blinking open, he jumped a little in surprise to find Toby on his bed, then smiled brilliantly. "Hey. How long have you been here?"

"Not too long," Toby lied. He took Sam's hand and continued, "Danny asked CJ about us today. She put him off and he bought it, but we'll probably have people watching when I take you home."

"Which is tomorrow, by the way," Sam reminded emphatically.

Toby smiled briefly. "I know. Dr. Kay is giving you a clean bill of health, along with a double dose of antibiotics to make sure it stays that way."

Grimacing at the mention of the medicine, Sam replied, "I know. Have you seen those things? Not even horses could swallow them."

"Then it's a good thing you're going to get practice with swallowing big things."

Sam gaped at him, then started laughing hard, holding his stomach as he did. Toby chuckled, glad that his impromptu joke had worked out better than his usual impromptu jokes tended to. The laughter died down to gasping and groaning, and then Sam squeezed his hand and said, "You really need to do that again when I can appreciate laughing so much."

"I'll give it a try," Toby promised, smiling.

Wiping his eyes, Sam said, "So. The press is on to us."

"Yeah."

"You want to give them an eyeful, or make them work for it?"

Toby's instinct was to give them an eyeful, just to spite the bastards who maintained that homosexuals were evil incarnate and couldn't be trusted with small children, but he tempered it. That wasn't the way to approach the situation and he knew it. Instead, he said, "Make them work for it."

"Okay. Sounds like a plan to me," Sam agreed, bringing Toby's hand up and holding it to his face.

Curving his palm to Sam's face, Toby's thumb brushed over his lover's cheek and whispered, "Whatever happens, Sam."

Sam nodded and confirmed, "No matter what."

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