Author: Anne Marsh
Title: The Ballad of Sam and Josh - Beginnings Et Al, in fic the first of Balladverse
Pairing: Sam/Josh
Rating: PG to NC-17
Summary: An introduction, through Josh's eyes, to the long love story that is his life with Sam.
Notes: Josh POV. Takes place shortly after Josh catches up with the Bartlet campaign, after his father's funeral. This universe is alternate to reuniverse, and takes many totally different turns, 'cause I can't pick sometimes and I'm a little crazy (hopefully just in a good way).
Archive: Yes
Feedback: Please.

The Ballad of Sam and Josh- Beginnings Et Al by Anne Marsh

So, most anyone'll say, when you're telling a story, begin at the beginning. But, ah, I'm not gonna do that.

Besides, this is the Ballad of Sam and Josh, so not all the story is mine to tell. Some of it is his. Some of it has to reflect even more than just his perspective and mine.

Besides, everything in our lives has happened in such a rush and jumble... especially-- well, it'll all come out as we go on. I guess... I guess I'll start somewhere in the middle, nearer the beginning. The beginning of us as an 'us', to be something kind of more like precise.

---/-/---

I got back to the campaigne, after my father's funeral. Sam was waiting at the airport, rushing to greet me the moment our eyes met.

"Josh," He folded me into a hug, albeit one of those 'manly' ones. "How was your flight?"

"Good." I nodded, still lost in a kind of weird numbness.

"Your mom holding up okay?" He kept a hand on my arm as we walked.

"Yeah, yeah, Mom'll be fine... she's-- she's okay, she's a strong woman."

"Yeah, I know. How about you?" His eyes were huge, like concerned bits of ocean.

"Okay, thanks." I smiled-- really smiled-- for the first time since the funeral. "Better, now, I-- Thanks. For picking me up."

"Well, I-- I didn't get much chance to-- We haven't talked since the party, or before the party, really, and-- I just wanted to let you know--"

"Yeah." I swallowed an insistant lump. "No, I know. Thanks, Sam."

"I wish you'd stop thanking me. It's just-- well, it's only what I do, 'cause-- Well, you would, if I-- And--"

"I know." I patted his shoulder, offering him another smile.

The ride to the hotel was deafening with the roar of words unspoken. Sam and I had spoken barely two words between our first and only kiss and my hasty departure for Conneticut.

One of Sam's hands left the wheel to grip mine.

"We'll be okay." He said, and the silence was quieter, calmer. Companionable.

---/-/---

"This is your room." Sam gestured awkwardly.

"Yeah, okay. Thanks."

"Um... you'll get a wake-up call tomorrow, we're all meeting downstairs for breakfast, and Leo'll catch you up then, I guess."

"Sam?"

"Yes?"

"Come in for a minute?"

He nodded, following me. "I'm next door anyway-- we share our bathroom, actually."

"I know this is-- well, an awkward time at best, but-- can we talk? About-- that night?"

"Sure." Sam toed off his shoes and sat cross-legged on the end of the bed, earnestly awaiting my next move.

"We kissed. Okay, duh, you probably remember that part... um, what I mean is-- Well, we never did that before, and-- duh again... Why don't you start?"

"Did you enjoy it?"

"What?"

"When we kissed. It-- I thought I-- Well, just, it's been a while since we did, so-- did you enjoy it-- the kiss. Was it, um, okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah, Sam, it was-- perfect. I mean-- Sam, I-- I really wanted it to happen, and I was-- I was glad when it did, and scared, but it was--"

"Phenomenal." Sam's eyes took on that quality they'd had, just before The Kiss. "Even though it wasn't, you know, deep or wet, or, you know-- it was still... There was a passion to it, wasn't there? A rare sort of-- Well, did you feel it? You know what I'm talking about?"

"Yes..." I reached for him, leaned forward.

"No-- wait, Josh," He took my hand, holding me at bay. "I don't think it's such a good idea, to do this now. I mean-- your father just died, and you're confused, and--"

"Vulnerable? Give me some credit, Sam." I snorted. "I may not be all-- back in the swing of things, but I still know-- I've known-- Sam, I've felt like I do, for a long time now."

"Felt..." Sam let out a breath. "You mean-- For me?"

I held his hand. "Yeah. I, um... Look, I don't know if I-- I don't think I've ever said this to anyone, but for a long time, I wished I could, to you. I love you, Sam. I mean it, I'm in love with you, and-- I'm-- I may not be right in the head, but I know that for sure."

"Wow." Sam gulped. "I-- I don't thi-- Josh, I'm glad you have the confidence you've got, 'cause I never could've-- after everything-- laid my proverbial cards out on the table like that, but Josh, I think I loved you since I saw you."

"You mean the first time?" Oh, smooth, Lyman...

"Yeah." Sam smiled, half-chuckled, and tilted his chin downwards, looking at me through his eyelashes.

Okay, so I gotta interrupt my narrative flow for just a sec here-- Sam has gorgeous eyelashes, and that is something you'd really have to understand, to get the full effect here.

They're thick and dark and long and perfect, setting off the blue-blue of his eyes, framing them just right. His eyes look so wide-- huge, and just-- well, perfect, perfect like the rest of him, he's all perfect.

"Josh?"

I caught myself, releasing his hand. "Oh. Um. Yeah. Sorry, it's just-- you're really, um, you know... beautiful. In a man way. Totally, I mean, masculine, but just beautiful."

"Oh." He blushed softly, lids fluttering as he looked at the hotel bedspread.

"Sam," I moved from the chair facing him to sit beside him on the bed, scooting closer.

"Yes?" I caught a hitch in him-- his breath and pulse speeding just a tiny bit more with me closer.

"Can I kiss you again?" I reached over to stroke his hand with one forefinger.

He flashed a nervous grin at me, his eyes sparkling with anticipation. "Please."

I leaned in, moistening my suddenly-too-dry lips, as Sam leaned in towards me, eyes closing. I kept mine open until he started to blur-- I wanted to keep fresh the image of a Sam-to-be-kissed...

Our mouths fit together, like they were made to. I contented myself with a very slow and gently caress of his lips against mine. His fingertips brushed my cheek, and I felt myself tearing up. Talk about inopportune moments... When we finally released each other, I wrapped my arms around him and wept on his shoulder.

"Josh... are you-- was it something--"

"I'm sorry, Sam. It's not-- it's not your fault, okay? Don't freak on me, please, it's okay. I just-- I didn't have the chance to do this, you know? My mom, and-- I wanted to be-- for her, you know? So I just--"

"Oh, my baby..." He exhaled the words, ran his fingers through my hair, cradling me. "You never cried?"

"No, I-- not really." I sniffled.

"Cry." He whispered.

"I'm sorry. I-- I--"

"No, Josh, shh... cry. You've got nothing to be sorry for, and-- I'd be here for you, even if we weren't-- if I didn't love you like I do, if-- You're my best friend. This is-- it's what we do, you know?"

"Thanks." I mumbled, cuddling against him.

"You want to lie down?"

"Hold me...?"

"Of course I will... oh, Josh... it's okay, I-- I'll always be there for you, okay? Come on, let's get you comfortable. Here." Sam laid me out and removed my shoes. "I'll be right back, baby, okay?"

I managed a nod, and Sam disappeared into our joining bathroom. He came back with a damp washcloth and a glass of water. He wiped my face gently and got me to take a couple swallows.

"There. Feel better?"

I nodded again, still hiccoughing sobs. Sam stretched out on the bed, pulling me close to settle against him. He used the washcloth to soothe my brow, wipe at teartracks, even cool my neck and the spot just under my collar.

"Cry as much as you want, love." Sam whispered. "I'll be here."

---/-/---

"Good morning." Sam's voice was husky in the early morning, and he kissed my forehead warmly.

"Unh... you here all night?" I sat up, a little stiffly.

"Yeah. You still respect me, right?"

I snorted. "Yeah, Sam. Even though you're such a slut. Hey... thanks. For staying with me last night. I-- I really needed that."

"Anytime. And don't go bragging about how you got me into bed right off the bat."

"Yeah, yeah." I grabbed his chin gently, catching a moment of pure, unadulterated bliss in our eye-contact.

We skirted around each other getting ready-- Yeah, I know, but it was day one, remember? And we weren't as comfortable as normal then, when it came to everyday morning things like taking a leak, showering, and changing. So I kept my eyes politely averted, except to steal a glimpse of his naked back, and those shoulders, and I remembered that Sam used to row crew, and man am I going to have to keep myself in check today... because if I keep thinking about this... man, he is perfect.

---/-/---

I couldn't find my tie-- I mean, obviously it wasn't my only tie or anything, but it might as well have been. I could only find two-- yesterday's, with its mustard stain, and the one I'd worn to my father's funeral. And I know it's ridiculous, but looking at it kind of set me off, and I was standing there in the middle of my hotel room, sniffling and trying to get myself together before Sam opened the bathroom door and said 'ready to go?'...

"Hey, Jo-- Josh?"

Well, bugger me. It figures, you know, it really figures...

"Are you okay? Need a minute? Or, a hug?"

"I lost my tie." I said dumbly.

Sam looked at the severe strand of black hanging from my hands and left the room. A minute later, he was standing behind me.

"Here," A cascade of navy stripes rolled down over my shoulder, reaching my belt. "I've got one."

I was still sniffling when Sam tied his tie for me, and pressed a kiss to the nape of my neck.

"Go and splash some cold water on your face, then we'll go eat."

"'kay."

---/-/---

"So that's what I look like..." I groaned, lifting my head and patting my face dry. "Musta forgot."

"Yeah?" Sam came in after me. "What did you think you looked like?"

"Black."

He laughed, then stopped suddenly. "Sorry, I thought you were trying to be funny for a second. I didn't think-- You were talking about... crepe, right?"

"I feel like crepe."

"Now you're trying to be funny?"

"Yes, Sam, that was a joke." I gave him a small smile, which he returned, kissing my lips softly.

"Okay. Well, you don't look like crepe, black or otherwise. You look very handsome."

"Yeah?"

"Oh, yeah. I've always thought so..." He straightened my-- his-- tie, a gentle, quiet moment blossoming between us. "So... ready to go?"

"Yeah." I nodded, releasing his hand so that we could exit through our seperate bedroom doors. "See you on the other side."

---/-/---

Leo put an arm around my shoulders when we got downstairs. "How's your mother?"

"She'll be okay. She was happy to hear from you when you called..."

"You doin' okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm-- I'm coping, thanks."

"Good."

CJ and Donna both felt the need to hug me, and Toby just sort of-- nodded to me, in what was clearly meant as a gesture of sympathy.

"How was the funeral?" He asked, when the hugging ceased and desisted, and Donna left to join the other assistants and temporary volunteers.

"It was... nice. For a funeral."

"Will you be going back?"

"No, I-- I'll see it when I have the chance, I guess. I'll be too busy to make the trip out just for-- but Mom understands."

Toby just grunted and moved into the dining area after Leo and CJ.

"Go back?" Sam asked, voice nearly trembling. "Why-- Do they need you?"

"No, you need me. I mean, the campaign-- Nah, it's just a-- a thing, but-- I don't wanna go."

"A family thing?" I later learned that Sam had been just a little hurt thinking Toby knew something he didn't.

I shrugged evasively. "I just-- you know, they don't need me."

"Okay."

"It's-- for my dad. The-- It's Dad's Funeral: The Sequel. A tombstone, that's all. They're putting the tombstone up, but I don't have to be there, I don't wanna go."

Sam nodded, touching my arm briefly. We joined the others.

---/-/---

The next couple of nights were busy, but we made it-- even if we weere barely able to exchange a look throughout the days, we had the bathroom, and every night I could watch Sam's ridiculous dental hygeine routine.

Well, when I say every night, I mean the first two nights-- flash over to the third day, our last stumping in the area, and consequently our last in this hotel. Still busy, still no time during daylight hours to talk to Sam.

"So tomorrow morning at five, we head north, five days throughout Oregon, then we're back in the midwest for--" Leo detailed.

"All the arrangements are made?" I asked.

"Yeah... Yeah, everything's taken care of. Then we swing through the midwest a couple of days, back through New England and the northeast before coming back around down to DC for the election."

"Are Sam and I sharing another bathroom in Oregon?"

"No, we have everything taken care of, Josh. You'll have your own bathroom. Now, can you stop being four and be an adult again? Preferably a political strategist?"

"Yeah. Yeah."

---/-/---

That night--

"That's it?" Sam looked at me.

"Huh?"

"Floss? Mouthwash? You're not going to do any of that stuff tonight?"

"Oh. Yeah." Instead of telling him that I didn't do that stuff *any* night, I decided to pretend I was just being forgetful. "Guess I'm just a little preoccupied."

"We all are." He sighed. "I mean, and I hardly could've expected you to be all that focused on the little things the last couple of nights."

"Uh... can I-- borrow some? I-- let myself run out... you know, what with all the--"

"Josh..." He sighed, hands on hips. "You have to do this stuff. It's a proven combatant of plaque and gingivitis."

"I do! You know, when... Okay. I'll go to the drugstore tomorrow."

"We're on the road all day tomorrow."

"I'll find time. Besides, lots of hotels have mouthwash..." I picked up the tiny bottle.

"Take it with you tomorrow just in case, then. Use mine tonight, though-- it's better than that cut-rate stuff, and I have plenty."

Sam did indeed have 'plenty'. He had a very not-travel-sized bottle of Listerine sitting on the counter.

"We're not sharing a bathroom in Oregon." I said wistfully, mangling the length of floss Sam had given me. He just shook his head and handed me the mouthwash.

I heard the sigh of disappointment he couldn't quite suppress, when my stint with the Listerine lasted all of three seconds, but he put his arms around my waist anyway, as I furiously rinsed my mouth out with cool, non-burning water.

"Well... make the most of tonight, I guess..." He said softly. I straightened up and turned to kiss him. Beneath the fresh mintiness, Sam tastes like sex and sunshine, were I to assign flavours to those concepts.

"Mmm..." I held him close, until I could feel his heartbeat and mine hammer against each other. "Sam, come with me for a little while... Just a little while? Please,"

"Yeah." He nodded, voice rough.

We moved into my room like one person, eyes locked together, hands locked together... we sat on the edge of my bed, feeling frozen in time.

My arms went around his shoulders, half-pinning his to his sides, and he held me, around my waist, and I kissed him hard and searching.

With a tiny noise of assent, his mouth opened beneath mine, wet and warm and welcoming. Kisses coaxed moans from both of us, and when we parted, he fingered the top button of his shirt, eyes begging the question.

"If that's what you want," I breathed. "I want it."

"It could be a while before we have another chance..." He reasoned.

"Then let me," I took his hands away and unbuttoned his shirt, letting my touch linger.

I knew Sam was more-than-ordinarily attractive, but it's been a long time since I've had the concrete proof before me, of just how hot he is. A fine looking man, my Mr. Seaborn, esquire.

All attempts to articulate my reaction to this divine beauty were... Oh, okay, I think I managed a 'Wow'. Yeah. Admittedly not my finest moment.

Sam blushed and grinned. "I'm a 'wow'?"

"Big 'wow'." I confirmed, dropping a kiss to his bare shoulder. "Mm, very... big... wow..."

"You're overdressed." He gasped, as I sucked at his right nipple. He fumbled my shirt off as I nipped and lapped my way across his chest.

We got each other naked-- contorting into ridiculour positions to carry on the progressive exploration of our kisses over alien flesh-- and had to come to a pause.

"What... ah, what do we do now?" He asked nervously, eyeing my dick. Fair enough, as I was staring at his.

"Start slow, I guess." I shrugged, frozen in place.

"At this point, what does that mean?"

"Well..." Good point, Sam. Any slower now, we'd probably move backwards. "I dunno, let me try a little something..."

I stroked his erection, gently, with just two fingers, traced around the flushed head, down along one side, then up the vein underneath, to touch the very tip. Sam watched, breathless, and grinned, his cock jerking and twitching at the attention.

"Oh, that's good..."

"That's good?"

"That's good. Give me more?"

I wrapped my hand around him, lightly at first, then harder, stroking faster as I gripped him tighter. He threw his head back, panting and saying my name, just under his breath.

"That's it, baby... you're so gorgeous, such a turn on seeing you like this... been waiting so long to touch you, Sam, so long to feel you like this, wanted this so much, love you so bad..." I whispered the words in his ear, hearing his breathless replies, 'yes' over and over now. He was leaking precum, more than I expected, dripping down over my hand before his hips jerked once, twice, and he shot his load, hard.

I gave the back of my hand an experimental lick-- the taste was nothing I couldn't get used to, maybe even like-- and kissed Sam as his eyes fluttered open.

"I take it back-- that was *great*." He grinned, again.

I was still holding his now-limp dick-- or holding it again. Even soft that man's impressive.

"Looks like you're hot for me..." His smile widened, wickedly, as he ran teasing fingertips over my throbbing hard-on.

"Always..."

"You want a... hand with that?"

"Please... baby, please, baby, pleasepleaseplease..."

He sucked at my earlobe while he jacked me off, and it was the hottest thing I'd ever been a party to to that date, the strong, masculine feel of Sam's hand gripping me, lips and teeth setting fire to the skin of my ear, then down the side of my neck, back up to the lobe again... His breath was hot, his hand was hot, his body where I clung to him oh so hot...

I came sobbing his name out, and he took me for all I was worth, milked the last drop out of my shuddering, pleasure-wracked body as he kissed me, kissed me so deep and made me feel so good...

"How's that?"

I nodded, searching first for breath, then for the higher brain function necessary to form coherent whatsises.

"That good?"

"Yeah." I gasped, pulling him back down for another kiss. "Mmm, incredible... Man, Sam... I didn't know it could be so good. And I mean, that was just a hand job! If I don't get in shape, you could kill me!"

He laughed. "You look like you're in pretty good shape to me..."

"Not as good as I used to be, you know, like in college."

"So who is?"

"You are."

"I'm not." He blushed.

"No?" I let out a low whistle and swore under my breath. "I should've had sex with you in college."

"Definitely, but we'll make do with what we've got. Besides, once we're off the campaign trail, we can start taking better care of ourselves more regularly."

"Sure, sure."

"I do love you, Josh."

"I love you, Sam."

---/-/---

FIN

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