Ripe

by: Abigale

Character(s): Josh, Sam
Pairing(s): Josh/Sam
Category(s): Angst, Slash
Rating: YTEEN
Summary: Sam, Josh, and a banana peel.

Done in by a banana peel.

It wasn't the long nights spent apart, not really. Though it could be spun that way. It might not have been the gradually disparate philosophies, a widening of differences there from before the start.

It was a banana peel.

Sam, snorting softly in his sleep, resigned to the fact that Josh was determined to micromanage every last detail of the vote. His legs sprawled across the bed, unconsciously seeking out the empty space in their communal nest. Completely oblivious of the shower running at four-thirty, or the whooshing sound the drawers made as they opened and closed.

He wouldn't have known that Josh had come home, and left again, even if he'd grabbed Josh's towel by mistake and felt it, heavy with dampness. Sam was on autopilot, stumbling through his morning routine, mind gearing up one cog at a time, remembering anything he'd forgotten in sleep; the only time the voice in his head didn't sound like an electric saw.

He wouldn't have known.

Until he stepped up to the kitchen counter, and was hit with the pungent, rotting smell of the fruit. The peel. And brown, gooey banana sitting soggy and wilted in the sink. His gag reflex kicking in suddenly, retching violently. Goddamn Josh.

Sam couldn't blame a lack of sleep. He didn't even try. He couldn't try to claim that he was irritated by the traffic that drew his ten minute commute out to twenty-five. He blamed the banana peel; and Josh.

And maybe, when Josh brushed an absent kiss across his cheek the moment he'd closed the door to Josh's office, sensory memory digging at the soft, vulnerable hollow at the base of his throat, he wouldn't have had to defend himself when he wrinkled his nose.

Their voices rising proportionally, seeping through the heavy oak door, first one word, then another becoming more distinct to the skittish crowd filtering past the office.

"I don't care that you don't sleep in our bed anymore, and I couldn't give a rat's ass that I do your laundry for you; but I'll be dammed if I clean up your trash, Josh! Just, throw away your own fucking garbage!"

There was more, drowned out by the three televisions Donna turned up the volume on, right before she grabbed her coat and mumbled something about having a dentist's appointment. And when she eventually came back, cheeks as white as paste, with slightly more eyeliner than she usually wore, she never asked what had happened when the door finally opened. Not that anyone would have been anxious to have that conversation with her.

Although, there were conversations being had. Between Josh and Leo, and Leo and Sam; Sam and Toby, and Toby and Leo. Leo and Bartlet. But never the President and Josh; or Sam.

And CJ. CJ became a railroad engineer, darting, dodging, switching tracks on a moment's notice to avoid a collision that would derail the train, killing everyone aboard. Keeping the casualties down to the two that they'd already lost.

She was left to talk to herself. Because talking to Toby always seemed to end with her leaning on Josh, and she couldn't bear that right now. And talking to Sam.... well that would only cause her to watch those eyes well up, and she sure as hell couldn't bear that, ever.

So instead, instead, they all just glided through the days; weeks of no pizza, because that was too communal, and no laughing, because that was too painful, and they didn't even realize it when the fog had thinned, and Josh had carried around Sam's cell phone by mistake for a morning, and Sam had stopped chewing on the end of his pen.

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