Storm Of The Century
Character(s): Josh, Sam
Summary: Missing scene from #5 Tangled Up In Blue series
Josh had made a grocery list. Which was absurd, because he never went grocery shopping. Not at a grocery store, anyway. He picked up this and that, here and there, and somehow he never starved. But tonight he was feeling domestic. Talking to his mother did that, and he'd begun to idly jot down a few things he needed. Like sugar. He'd run out weeks ago and had been grabbing a handful of packets every time he went to the Mess at work. So, he needed to buy sugar.
His mind still doing a mental inventory of his cupboards, Josh was startled by the sudden knock on his front door. Not knocking. One knock. Thinking it was someone at a neighbor's apartment, he glanced back down at his list. Sugar, real peanut butter.... There it was again. Two knocks in succession that time. Someone was at his door.
So, miracles did happen. There was Sam Seaborn, standing in the threshold, looking a little disheveled, maybe a little cautious. Honestly, he was just doing this to piss me off, Josh decided. Every week he had tried to get Sam to come over and hang out, still trying to rekindle a little of the old brotherhood they'd always shared. And every week Sam deflected the invitation with the flair of a genuine spin doctor.
"What's up?" Josh wondered.
Moving aside so Sam could pass, Josh got the first whiff of it. Danger. The door swung shut, and Josh was dead meat. Being kissed into the stratosphere by his best friend.
Before his body had time to begin reacting, Josh pushed Sam an arm's length away and took a step back. "Are you crazy?!" Josh howled. Sam certainly looked crazy, eyes glinting, chest heaving with exertion. Or excitement; jaw dusted with a light stubble. Oh god....
If Sam had said anything out loud, it might have been 'shut up'; but Josh was absolutely sure he hadn't. But he'd said it clearly enough with his eyes, and then he'd closed the distance and kissed Josh again. This time Josh didn't push.
But he didn't pull, either. In fact, he didn't do anything, even close his eyes. He just waited for it to pass, this hurricane Sam that had swept into his apartment.
Sam's hands captured Josh's face, holding it as dearly and gently as he would a kitten. But his mouth was not gentle. And Josh couldn't breathe. Really, really couldn't breathe.
"Sam!" Gasping for air, hands gripping wrists. Looking into Sam's eyes, Josh felt like he was staring at marbles. Shining clear blue glass. That cold. At first. But as their breathing began to slow, and Sam's hands dropped from Josh's face, there was a warming.
"I'm sorry." And then, "Josh." A voice so whisper thin Josh was afraid if he moved it would tear. Instead, Sam moved, leaned in and brushed his lips against Josh's neck, hands still at his sides.
It was Josh who reached up, Josh's hands that were moving now, touching Sam's arms, pressing into flesh. Josh's voice that sounded fragile, fractured. "What are you doing, Sam?" His head swam with all the possible answers. Because it was always so good. Because I still love you. Because you're who I want.
Instead, he got "I'm in trouble." And for Josh, the world simply cracked.
"Wait." Stepped away again, a hand on Sam's chest. Holding Sam back, or holding himself back? "Trouble? What kind of trouble?"
"My kind of trouble." And now there was nowhere for Josh to go. He was up against the wall, and Sam was right there, fiery eyes boring into his. "I came to you...."
There was more to say, a lot more, and Josh wasn't sure he wanted to hear it.
For months now Josh had been projecting this scene in the back of his mind. Only he wasn't the person with Sam. It was always a petite redhead, or an earnest young summer aid, or any one of a dozen men or women Sam could go home with if he wanted to. Josh had been waiting and watching for the signs, the signs that Sam was about to self-destruct the best way he knew. And here he was, blowing apart Josh's world right along with his own.
Sam's scent, the heat spilling off his body, the vibration of the space around him. Josh's mind was reeling. He wanted Sam, he always wanted Sam, but he was reluctant to allow himself to be used this way. Sam had never done that before.
When it had started, after Lisa, when Sam started looking to nameless, empty bodies to soothe him when he felt ready to combust, Josh had made the gesture. It had been an actual conversation, Sam weepily confessing to Josh his awful secret, Josh tearfully offering to be available for Sam.
Not like before, not like lovers.
But as a conduit to the solid world Sam seemed to stray from when the stress and the expectations grew too heavy. And Sam had demurred, said he could never use Josh that way. It had touched Josh deeply, and broken his heart.
And in the years since, he had tried to read the signs and tried to protect Sam. And Sam had grown stronger, and had told Josh that Laurie was the last time; he'd learned his lesson, even if he'd woken up the next morning thinking this was actually someone he wanted to see again. Well, so much for that.
But now Sam was telling him that he was heading for a fall, and he was asking Josh to catch him. There was nothing Josh wanted more.
"I'm here, Josh." And suddenly, Josh was there too, right there with Sam. Logic and sense smashed under the weight of his need. And Sam's lips, crushing Josh's.
It was a long time before Josh experienced anything close to clarity again. They were already in the bedroom, shirts and shoes littered behind them. It was when they'd misjudged the position of the bed, and slid to the floor with a thud that Josh's head cleared a little, and he sat back gulping tattered breaths.
Sam had scrambled to his feet, and was maintaining determined eye contact, while he reached for the button on his jeans. If Josh had caught a hint of longing there, he might have reached up to help. But the desperation he saw instead knocked him off guard, and he had to look away.
As much as Josh had responded to the frantic hands on the journey into the bedroom, he didn't think Sam was having any fun. In fact, Sam looked as if he was downright challenging Josh.
"Whoa. Slow down. Sam, come here." Josh reached a hand up, beckoning Sam to join him on the floor. Sam crouched in front of Josh, hands resting on his knees. The despondency softened.
Kissing Sam was one of the true wonders of the world to Josh. And he didn't think... he honestly thought it wouldn't do any harm. He didn't think it would the first time he'd ever done it, and he didn't think it now. Where could the peril be in joining their mouths together, sharing the same air, feeling the warmth flow between them?
And he loved Sam's tongue, as talented as a cat's.
Josh remembered what it felt like to be the object of that mouth's attention. It had been hard for him to give it up because for Josh, it was flawless. He didn't need anything more than having Sam in his arms at night, bumping around his bathroom in the mornings. His voice on the other end of the phone when Josh just had to share, right then and there, the astonishing remark some congressman had uttered.
But it wasn't enough for Sam. Young and idealistic, it had taken Sam the entire summer to realize that when Josh told him how happy he was, how perfect they were, he wasn't talking about just the moments. Josh meant the relationship, just as it stood.
If Josh thought 'private,' Sam thought 'conceal.' When Josh felt he was being discreet, Sam felt abandoned. Josh saw no problem. Sam saw no future.
So it had been easier for Sam, to go back to law school that autumn. And because Sam was generous and genuine, they had been able to maintain a friendship that grew stronger because of, not in spite of, their past intimacy.
But this. This didn't feel intimate. Or even very friendly, if Josh was to put a finer point on it. Just sexual and urgent, and it was Sam's turn to want only this moment, and Josh had realized that *he* was now the one who wanted something more.
"You're not allowed to do this, Sam." Felt mildly annoyed at having to be the one to say it. Because he really wanted to be kissing that mouth, not watching it draw tight and thin.
"I didn't know there were rules."
"There are rules. And they're there to protect you."
A snort, and Sam's knees creaked as he stood. "I'm supposed to come to you."
"To talk, Sam! When you feel this way you come to me, and tell me you're feeling out of control, and... we talk about it." Now, Josh was standing too, thinking that would be good, the two of them standing face to face, dealing with this like men.
But then Sam wasn't standing anymore. He'd lowered himself onto the bed, and he was pulling at Josh's hand and smiling, for the first time. And Josh was following him. And now it was Josh who was out of control, leaning over Sam, finding his mouth again.
There was still so much Josh wanted to say. To tell Sam. About the past, and the present, and how it all fit together and how it's coming apart. But at that moment, Sam was just being flat out sexy, running his hands along Josh's body, slipping out from under him to gain the upper position. Fingers finding zippers and mouths finding skin. And then there was nothing but slippery passion and grunted declarations, and Josh thought the world must have just clicked back into place.
"What were you thinking?" Josh was sitting tangled in the demolished linens, shaking his head at Sam. Who was pulling on his jeans, eyes darting around for his socks. "That really wasn't a rhetorical question, you know."
Sam's body went still, but he wasn't looking at Josh. Might never look at him again. He recognized the need to say something here, and a thousand different phrases came to mind. He was so distracted by all the disjointed things he wanted to express to Josh at this moment, that he didn't even realize he wasn't saying a word.
Until Josh was on his feet, whipping on his boxers, planting his hands on his hips. Staring him down.
"There's...." Sam's eyes were dry, but his voice was foggy with emotion. "There's only two ways I can do this, Josh. You can't do it the other way, I don't expect you to."
Josh understood. But he thought maybe Sam didn't. They'd never even discussed the possibility. And Josh was willing to concede that after all this time and all the distance they'd covered, there was a possibility.
Power and influence was currency in Washington. And Josh had achieved a good measure of both. If Sam asked him to, Josh was willing to use it to buy them a life together. He had no illusions about the obstacles they would face. But at this point in his life, Josh had come to understand that if it was all for anything, it was so they could do this. Together.
He wanted Sam to understand this, to believe it too. He wanted Sam to feel as safe and secure as Josh felt, when he was with him. But Josh could see that Sam wasn't anywhere near ready for that. He was barely holding onto the life he had. Josh couldn't ask him to start deconstructing what it had taken so much to build. Could he?
"You can Never. Do. This. Again," Josh declared. As much as he wanted him to, longed now to have Sam show up on his doorstep when he was hurting and frayed. "Or." Stared at Sam, standing there, running his hand through his hair, looking at Josh for the first time. "You can stay."
Tentative at first, Sam drew closer to Josh until he could smell the sweat drying on his skin. Chewing his bottom lip, Sam gazed into the warmth and steadiness of Josh's eyes.
"Okay," he breathed....
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