Author: Anne Marsh
Title: Observant Second of the three short connected fics
Rating: Again, no way this story rates higher than PG-13. I doubt it could be considered that high, but that's my general safety range.
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Summary: Josh is not as discreet as he thinks he is.
Notes: Again, from Josh's POV. This time, I don't give you the name of the other person in the conversation-- I leave it to you to figure out who she is (there are hints, to thems what can spot 'em)
Archive: Yes.
Feedback: Please and thank you. It is the lifeblood.

Observant by Anne Marsh

There was a pause in the conversation, and she looked at me.

"Josh, I'm very observant." She said.

This was sounding way too much like the conversation I'd had with CJ for my tastes.

"Yeah?" I squeaked. Not, I reminded myself, that it really mattered right now if my voice squeaked.

"I know about you." She elaborated, her expression matter-of- fact.

"About-- What? I swear, it's something in the water..." I mumbled the latter part to myself.

"Josh?"

My head snapped back up. "I said, I swear it's something in the water." I grinned lamely. "You know, that people seem to be, um, knowing a lot. Lately. About me. I'm confused."

She laughed. "Perpetually."

"What?"

"You're perpetually confused, Joshua. It's okay."

"You... know about me?"

"And..." Her voice dropped out. S. A. M. Sam. About me and Sam. At least she had the delicacy to avoid the verbal communication of sensitive information. Not like CJ, who really should have, what with her job. "Your relationship."

"Relationship?" My voice, um, squeaked again, just a little bit. "You mean-- Friends. We're friends." I emphasized the word 'friends'-- at least, *I* was under the impression that I was emphasizing the word 'friends', but I could be wrong, apparently I've been wrong several times this week about just what I was and wasn't emphasizing.

She smiled and shook her head. S.A.M. "He's your boyfriend."

"Will you keep it quiet?" I hissed.

"Joshua?"

"Please don't say that out loud."

"I could mouth the words, but I doubt you could read my lips."

"What? I-- Look, it's not-- My head hurts."

Her brow knit. "Josh?"

"My head." I offered the lame smile again. "Hurts. This is-- a lot to take in, on top of today."

"Do you need an aspirin?"

"Huh? No." I shook my head. "I'll be fine. It's not an aspirin kind of headache. How do you-- I mean, why would you think-- Hang on, can you actually understand me right now?"

She nodded. "Why wouldn't I be able to understand you?"

"Because I don't understand myself." I shrugged.

"I'm very good at observing people, Joshua. It's something I have to do. I have very good observational skills."

"Yeah. Yeah, I-- I know."

"And I observe you sometimes..."

"I'm flattered." I grinned, preening.

She laughed. "The two of you are very close. You love him."

Well. I kind of just looked at her, pole-axed.

"I used to think-- that you and Donna... but I should have payed closer attention. This week, I saw you with Sam."

"What happened to not saying his name out loud? You were really good about that in the beginning, now you've regressed."

"We're alone, Joshua." She rolled her eyes.

"People might hear us!"

"In the last five minutes, did you learn how to lip-read? No? Then I have to talk."

"Could we-- write notes or something?" I fumbled. "Somewhere around here, I have a notepad..."

"You don't have to talk if you don't want to. I have to talk."

"Okay. Fine." I sighed.

"I thought it was cute."

"Beg pardon?"

"You. With--" She paused with a good-natured sigh. S. A. M. "It was very cute. You escorted him, with your hand on his back. And then he fixed your tie. And Josh,"

"Yeah?"

"Sometimes I have to be observant." She said apologetically. "I didn't try to pry, into your private life. I can't always help-- you said you loved him."

I was now officially flabbergasted. If my flabbergastation was at any point unofficial, it was now official. "When did I--"

"At the party. After he fixed your tie. You said 'I love you'."

"No I didn't." I shook my head. "I-- Wait. Maybe... No. I never would have said something like that out lou-- Oh."

She gave me the apologetic smile again.

"I mouthed it, then." Comprehension had dawned.

"I guess so. That's okay-- I wouldn't tell anyone."

"Thanks." I nodded, staring at the carpet with new fascination.

"Josh?"

"Thank you." I placed a hand over my chest, then swept it in a downward gesture. "I appreciate it-- We appreciate it."

"You are a very cute couple." She kissed my cheek. "I'm happy for you."

She wandered off, and I sat there a moment longer, wondering how many of the women I knew had better working gaydar than I did.

~FIN~

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