All speaking characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Productions, Warner Bros., & NBC. Standard disclaimers apply. Please send feedback. Three Hits To The Heart Cinnamon & Violet
The first time they slept together was when they were in Congress. The second time was in 1996, when Sam's mother tried to kill herself. The third time was last night.
The first time was very sloppy. They were watching a baseball game in the un-air-conditioned apartment they shared. Josh was trying to explain about runs and bases and innings, and Sam found myself staring at Josh's Adam's apple. Josh caught Sam looking, said Sam's name, furrowed his brow. It was hot as hell in that room, and the bottle of beer in Josh's hand was sweating, dripping tiny beads of water onto his leg. Sam stared at those, too, as they traveled in a lazy path along Josh's calf. Josh said Sam's name again, this time accompanied by a nervous chuckle. Without looking at him, Sam grasped the neck of the bottle and raised it from his hands, then placed it on the floor beside the couch. At some point, that bottle fell over, spilling the sour-smelling liquid into one of Josh's tennis shoes. Sam found that incredibly funny. Josh wasn't nearly as amused.
After Sam took away Josh's beer, he put his hand on Josh's shoulder. His fingers were still wet, and their dampness mixed with the dampness of the skin under the worn fabric. He moved his hand to Josh's hair, grasping the soggy curls tightly. The first kiss was violent, salty, bloody. Sam tasted the beer on Josh's tongue, and wondered briefly if Josh could taste the green peppers from the pizza on his own tongue. Josh resisted in the beginning, clamping his teeth together and pushing Sam away. The air around them was oppressive. Sam heard the crack of bat against ball on television, saw Josh blink slowly, felt unexpected tears sting his eyes. They sat, silent, and let their gazes fall back to the game.
"That's Cal Ripken. See him there? He's on third base."
Sam cleared his throat. "Yeah."
"I met him once."
"Yeah. Nice guy."
The second kiss caught Sam off-guard. Their hands brushed together, their bodies pressed together, their mouths fit together. Two weeks before, Sam met a woman in a bar, and after a dozen Buttery Nipples between them, he brought her home. They'd made it as far as the couch. The irony of that was not lost on Sam as he and Josh unzipped each other's pants. He wondered what her last name was, tried to remember her first name, moaned as Josh entered him. Josh moved against him twice before slipping out and cursing softly. He gripped the arm of the couch, letting it support him as he slid in for a second try. Josh pushed deeper into Sam this time, treating him as he'd treat a woman. Sam moaned painfully, squirming under Josh's body. Josh pulled out quickly and jumped up.
"Oh, God, I'm sorry."
"No, it's -- it's okay." Sam struggled to a sitting position. "Do you want to try again?"
Josh rubbed the back of his neck. "It's really hot in here."
"Yeah. Do you want another beer?"
Josh stepped into his shorts, zipping them as he walked to the kitchen. When he returned to the living room, they finished watching the game.
The second time began with an Amtrak ride from Penn Station to Union, and Josh came home drunk one night and found Sam sitting, sober, outside his door.
"Sammy!" Josh hailed him gleefully. "Thought you were in, y'know, in. That place. With all the tall buildings."
"New York?" Sam said helpfully, getting to his feet.
"That's the one. What're you--"
Sam shoved his hands into his pockets. "I lied to Lisa."
"I hate Lisa," Josh said, as if he was just remembering it.
"She's...." Josh wobbled a little as he noticed the suitcase leaning against the wall. "I've had some drinks."
"No kidding. Give me your keys."
Josh held his hands up defensively. "I'm not going to drive."
"I'm going to let us inside," Sam explained patiently. He took the keys and his suitcase and led the way into the apartment.
Josh followed him. "Did she throw you out?"
"My mother's in the hospital," Sam said, and once he started, the words came quickly. "You remember she has -- problems?"
"Yeah. She tried to jump out a window last night." Sam frowned. "Which is, I guess, still tonight. My sister -- you know Talia. Talia called me. I've got to fly out there in a few hours, but I wanted to... I came down here first. And I didn't tell Lisa. I lied to her. And...."
He stopped talking when Josh's hand grazed the back of his neck. "Thought you were in New York," Josh murmured. Sam nodded and let Josh play with his hair for a long moment, and felt tears beginning to burn his eyes.
Josh tried to kiss him, messily, almost falling over. Sam held onto his upper arms and kissed him back, and they were walking-stumbling-tumbling to the bed. Clothes, nicer shirts and khakis than they'd been wearing three years earlier, were shoved out of the way. Josh was drunk, and blurry around the edges, and finished and fell asleep too soon. Sam lay beside him, aching and unsatisfied, face still half-pressed into the pillow. He stayed awake, tasting their blended sweat and listening to Josh breathe.
When it got light out, he rolled out of the bed and stood under a cold shower. He left his discarded clothes on the floor, choosing fresh ones from his suitcase. In the kitchen, he put the coffee on, scribbled the phone number of his parents' house on a napkin, and left as quietly as he could. When Josh woke up three hours later, the fresh pot of coffee was already cold.
It was another year before they saw each other again, and Josh was on his way to Nashua. He came back smiling. And Sam went with him, on the strength of the smile. They ran a campaign on hope and possibility, and were secretly as shocked as anyone when the wish came true. Once they knew that they would be staying in Washington, that there were offices waiting for them in the White House -- "The White House, man!" Josh said, four or five hundred times -- they both did quite a bit of thinking. They both stopped eating pizza with green peppers. Sam cut his hair shorter, remembering fingers running through it. And Josh threw out the old shirt he'd stuffed into the top of his closet.
Eighteen months after that, they shot him.
Last night was different. Josh called Sam at nine o'clock, but didn't talk about work. Instead, with something between desperation and lust in his voice, he asked Sam to come over and bring dinner.
Sam let himself into the apartment with his own set of keys, placed them on top of the microwave like he used to do when they lived together, and turned on the kitchen lights.
"What'd you bring?"
Sam craned his neck and saw Josh sitting on the couch in the living room. "Chinese. What did Donna do to your kitchen?"
"You don't want to know. What are you looking for?"
Sam rustled through the drawers a moment longer before giving up and carrying the food into the living room.
"What'd you bring me?" Josh asked, struggling to sit up straight.
"White rice and egg-drop soup."
"Funny. Seriously, what'd you bring me?"
"White rice. Egg-drop soup."
"No curry shrimp?"
"No." Sam removed the cartons from the bag and placed them on the coffee table.
"No kung pao chicken?"
"Oh, I got kung pao chicken." He settled next to Josh, fiddling with a set of chopsticks. "Just not for you."
"You can't eat spicy foods!"
Josh picked up the remote and began flipping channels. "When did all of my friends turn into my grandmother?"
"Is that your way of telling me that I can eat your soup?"
"That's my way of telling you that I'm not made of eggshells and I'm not going to crack."
Sam bit into an egg roll. "Okay. If you can reach the carton, you can have it."
"Fine." Josh eased to the edge of the couch and made a move towards the food, then winced and leaned back against the cushions. "Give me the soup."
Sam did, then took the remote from Josh and tried to find something acceptable to watch. Josh pulled the lid off the soup bowl and blew on it, then said, after a few minutes, "I'm really not made of eggshells."
"I never said you were."
"I'm just saying, I haven't really been alone since I came home."
"Is that a hint?"
Josh set the bowl on the table. "I'm not this helpless little person who needs a babysitter."
"You can't even reach six inches in front of you, Josh. What are we supposed to do?"
"I don't need you to remind me of what I can and can't do, Sam."
"Do you want me to go leave you alone?"
Josh looked at Sam. "I didn't mean that."
After their Chinese food was finished, Sam reached for Josh because Josh couldn't reach for him. They walked, hand in hand, to the bedroom, where Sam eased Josh onto the bed. Josh moved slowly because he had to, and Sam moved slowly because he didn't want to hurt Josh.
"I can't--" Josh gestured to Sam's shirt.
Sam nodded. He shrugged quickly out of his black sweater and white t-shirt. Next, he lifted the hem of Josh's t-shirt, eased it up, and froze.
"It's okay," Josh said awkwardly. "Pretend I fell out of a tree when I was a kid, or something."
He stroked the back of Sam's hand lightly. "It's just a scar."
Sam exhaled slowly. "Okay." He leaned in and carefully brushed his lips against it, then lifted his mouth and slowly parted Josh's lips with his tongue. Josh rubbed Sam's neck before lifting his arms as best he could. Sam stood to face Josh, gathering the t-shirt up to Josh's armpits and lifting it carefully off him.
"You don't have to fold it," Josh laughed lightly.
Sam looked at the shirt in his hands. "I -- oh."
"Just toss it on the floor or something."
Sam let the shirt drop to the carpet, and his own slacks followed quickly. Getting Josh out of his jeans was more difficult. "Exactly how long have you had these on?" he wondered, as he tugged them over Josh's knees.
"Well, if I'd have known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake."
"And do I even want to know about these boxers?"
Josh looked down at the shamrocks. "I don't think so."
Sam pulled them off with ease, then slid out of his own. He sat next to Josh and placed a hand to his face, feeling Josh's stubble beneath his palm.
Josh scooted towards Sam so that their legs were touching. He wrapped his hand around Sam's, gripping Sam's thumb, and placed his free hand on the back of Sam's head. Their kisses were gentle and slow, but sure. The air-conditioning made the room too chilly, but neither of them noticed. Sweat made Sam's hand slippery against Josh's leg. He lifted it gently, watching for any sign of a wince.
There was some pain. But Josh decided it wasn't important.
They kissed again, Josh raising his head as much as he could. He did not try to bite back a groan as he felt Sam's teeth gently trap and release his lower lip. Josh rocked his hips. Sam grabbed at handfuls of bedsheets, then groped blindly for Josh's hand. Their fingers locked together, squeezing tightly at first and then relaxing. And they fell asleep exhausted, and when they woke up, it was thunderstorming.
"...Time is it?" Josh murmured.
Sam sat up, squinting at the red digits on the alarm clock. "Quarter of six."
"Yeah." Sam leaned back on his elbows. "It's early. Go back to sleep."
"Can't," Josh said, scrunching his eyes shut. "Happens every morning."
"You wake up?"
"I wake up in time to get to work."
"You'll get there," Sam assured him.
Josh sighed heavily. "I wish I was there now."
"Okay." Sam ran a hand through his hair. "Here's the thing. The thing is, you're my best friend. And you're also a big idiot."
"That's gratifying to hear."
"You shouldn't feel bad about needing people. You shouldn't feel bad that people worry about you. You shouldn't feel bad about needing us. Look, I'm sorry if I'm being your grandmother--" Josh frowned when Sam echoed his words back to him -- "But you need to hear this. I'm sure you've already heard it from Donna."
"Sure." Josh slowly eased into a sitting position, leaning back against the headboard. "But I wasn't in bed with her at the time."
"What, are you surprised?"
"A little," Sam admitted.
"We don't do that," Josh told him. "For no lack of trying on my part."
"She's good to you," Sam concluded. "And you'll make it back, Josh. But in the meantime, let your friends do the work, okay?"
Josh tensed, and Sam could feel it. "That's not how I am."
"Josh, you have to--"
"Not being able to go in to the office is killing--"
They both stopped and looked at each other. The silence was long and torturous, and dissolved into uneasy laughter.
"So I'm an idiot," Josh said finally.
Josh's eyes brightened. "Can you imagine if C.J. could see us now?"
"She'd have about six coronaries," Sam said, smiling.
"And then she'd set us on fire." Josh tilted his head back. "It's a good thing she's not going to know."
Lightning flickered in the window. "This must be one of those flash storms," Sam mused.
"That happens, in the summer."
Sam glanced at the clock again. "I should start getting my stuff together."
"Yeah." Sam pushed the covers aside and stood up. "Donna said she'd be back around noon. Are you going to be okay?"
"I told you I could handle it."
"Josh." Sam folded his arms and studied him critically. "Are you going to be okay?"
"Yes," Josh said firmly. "Go on."
Sam shook his head, gathered his clothes up from the floor and headed for the bathroom. Josh closed his eyes and listened to the rain, until sleep came back and pulled him out of his body as it healed.
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