Title: I Forgot to Tell You
Author: Clarity / Karasu karasumouri (at) earthlink (dot) net
Archive? Yes to list/LJ archives. Anyone else, please ask me first. =)
Standard disclaimers apply.
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Warning: Angst
Summary: From a phrase challenge on the WWOMB site. No real spoilers, although this would be set late season four as Sam is leaving.
Notes: For those of you who read my rather fluff-filled holiday stories, this is often more my speed. ;;^^ I have the feeling this ended up as it is because I’m depressed about school tomorrow. *sigh*

I Forgot to Tell You by Clarity/Karasu

It was a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly over what appeared to be a perfect day for the city. But the light only cast deeper shadows. Sometimes even the brightest light could spotlight the most terrible thing of all. That day it did.

They stood roughly a foot and a half apart in the middle of the skywalk leading to the departure gates. Sam had one hand on the strap of his laptop bag and his other hand on the handle of his rolling carry-on. He had two checked bags; the rest of his stuff would be shipped to the opposite coast on a ground route. Josh stood with both hands tucked deeply in his pockets. His knees were bent slightly so that he leaned back a little rather than standing straight. His expression was void of any real emotion and his stare seemed hallow. Sam had stopped talking two minutes ago. Somewhere back down the hallway the others were waiting for Josh before returning to the office; no matter that a vital member of the White House staff was leaving and wouldn’t be coming back.

“Why are you doing it?” Josh asked.

Sam said, “I made a deal, and I want to try this. I could do some good.”

“You’re doing good now,” Josh responded. “And you won’t make it. The world isn’t ready for you.”

Frustrated, Sam argued, “We thought that about Bartlet. Josh, it’s two terms. The people asked for him again!”

There was a long silence. Then Josh said in a slightly softer voice, “You’re too good. You’re better than him.”

Sam laughed a bit, grinning. His smile began to fade when he realized Josh’s expression hadn’t changed.

“What happens if you fail, Sam?” Josh asked. “Have you thought about it? All this will have been for nothing if you don’t make it.”

Insulted, Sam shot back, “I need to try! I won’t know unless I try, right?”

Josh’s gaze spoke plainly what he thought, but he voiced his opinions aloud anyway. “You don’t need to go out there, I know what’s coming.”

Sam hurt. How could Josh offer no encouragement, no support? “Thanks for your vote of confidence!” he said sarcastically. “Excuse me if I think I need to try first.”

Josh rolled his eyes, his face finally contorting into an ugly mix of emotions. “Forget it.”

Exasperated, Sam demanded, “What the hell do you want from me Josh? What were you expecting?” He asked desperately, “What do you want?”

Josh’s lips pressed together tightly. He said nothing. A few moments later he said stiffly, “Forget it. I’m sorry, Sam. Good luck.”

Sam backed off, confused and tired. “Yeah,” he said wearily.

“So, this is goodbye.”

“Right. ‘Bye…”

Josh backed off and Sam took that as a sign to leave. He turned around and headed down the walkway to the security check point. As he took off his belt and watch to put in a basket, he glanced back down the hallway. He was surprised to see Josh still standing there. It was too far for Sam to see his expression. He shook his head in exasperation and decided to let it go.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The announcement came that soon they would be loading first class passengers. Sam was flying in coach. He watched the pilot and the other attendants for the flight get on the plane to prepare for passengers. He figured he had about ten minutes before his row would be called.

He reached into his pocket to pull out his cell phone. He would have to turn it off before they took off, he might as well do it now. After all, he wouldn’t get any business calls until he got settled in on the opposite side of the country. He paused, blankly staring at his phone for a few moments. It was strange to think of leaving this place that he had called home for so long. He was leaving the people who were friends and family.

The ringing of his cell phone broke his daze. Automatically he answered. “Hello. Sam Seaborn.”

There was a brief pause at the other end of the line. “You asked me what I wanted,” Josh said quietly, his voice further muted by waves of static. Sam waited in surprised silence. “I’m sorry, Sam.”

They were boarding the back rows of coach. He would have to leave soon.

Josh inhaled audibly and released a long sigh that revealed more emotion than he had offered only an hour earlier.

His row was called so Sam stood up. He waited to take a position near the end of the line.

“I shouldn’t have been mad at you. I kept waiting and putting things off. I kept telling myself that I would always have time for a chance…” A soft bitter sound that could have been a laugh hurt Sam’s ears. “Guess I was wrong. I was too proud to think of the other possibilities. Stupid. So, time’s up, you’re flying half a world away.”

The line had moved quicker than he expected. Distractedly, Sam fumbled for his ticket and ID with his free hand.

“You asked and you deserve to know. So I wanted to tell you—“

“Hello, sir. Your ticket?” Sam lifted the material so that the stewardess could take it.

“—I only wanted you to love me.”

“Here you go. Have a nice flight!”

The ticket and ID that she pressed back to him fell from numb fingers. Sam felt his mouth drop open in horror. He was vaguely aware of the stewardess giving him a worried look and reaching for his arm, but he couldn’t feel if she touched him.

“That’s all I ever wanted, Sam.” Josh said quietly. After a short pause, the call disconnected.

~ * Fin * ~

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