The Buffy Tribute Drabbles
Summary: Drabbles using titles from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
This will always be Sam for him. This body, twisted around to accommodate his lips; skin smooth, burnished golden by a sun it never sees anymore.
He can't bring himself to think of him as 'my Sam;' even his ego can't support that. But this vision of Sam is his, as surely as his hands stroking Sam's sides with graceful, flowing movements.
He told him not to talk. That's not what he wants to remember about tonight. The things they could end up saying to each other... really aren't necessary to say out loud. They both know where they stand.
Lie to Me
"No Sam, you're not. You're right here."
Sam's eyes narrowed, a breathy exhale seeping out from between his lips. "Please," he begged, reaching for Josh's hand. "Help me out; don't put me off with glibness." Sam brushed a thumb over the bristly hairs on the back of Josh's hand.
Josh spoke, his voice steeped in sincerity. "I'm not being glib. I just meant that if you want to talk, if you need a place to start, you're here. I'm here too, so... how can you be lost?"
Sam sighed his impotence. "So easily," he said, withdrawing his hand.
The book. Heavy; pages worn tissue soft. Dust settled into the microscopic cracks of hearty, burgundy leather, despite frequent handling.
The sound of it hitting the floor jolted Sam half awake from a bliss-less sleep. Brushing an errant hand over his face with a marionette-like jerky movement, he wriggled onto his side, curling into himself, one leg dangling loosely off the edge of the sofa.
With guarded eyes, Josh rose from his chair retrieving the book. He flipped off the lights and closed the door before walking away, the faint strains of music following him from Toby's office.
What's My Line?
"I can't talk to women."
"We haven't made that a hard and fast rule yet, Sam."
"No, no, I mean I can't talk to women."
"You can talk to me."
"I'm saying, I'm a woman, Sam. You talk to me everyday."
"CJ -- "
"Usually, I even listen to what you're saying."
"I'm referring to the gentler sex."
"In relation to, you know, me."
"You're absolutely right, Sam. You can't talk to women."
"Can I talk to you, Ainsley?"
"Sorry, Sam. Not now. Call my assistant later?"
"Yeah, no, that's okay. I was just... testing a theory."
Older and Far Away
"Big plans, Sam; sky high plans." Josh bounced annoyingly on the sofa, his knees pistons.
"Uh huh." Distracted beyond hearing, Sam agreed with everything Josh said: pizza; tax reform; relinquishing his beer.
His glasses swung from his mouth, forgotten, and Sam sucked ferociously on their slim arm. His pen dashed across the page, littering it with words and figures as he reconstructed from sharp memory the position paper lost to a dead laptop battery.
"Like starting fresh, only with the wisdom of our years," Josh said sagely.
Holding up four fingers, Sam chanted softly, "Four more years; four more years."
Welcome To The Hellmouth
"Fuck! Fuck!!" Sam railed, striding across his office and back.
Toby stood inside the doorway, arms folded across his chest.
"Hey!" Leo bellowed, coming to a rolling stop by Toby's side. "I can hear him clear down the -- !"
"Yeah, sorry about that," Toby said, leaning a hip against the jamb to allow Leo a better view. "Just lost Prop 12."
"Shit! Goddamn it all to shit and back!"
Toby looked at Leo and raised his eyebrows. "You ever hear anything like this from him?"
"Nope," Leo said, eyes wide, lips twisting into a grin.
"Welcome to the hellmouth."
Sex wasn't supposed to be this sad, was it? He didn't remember it being like this. Feeling so empty and drained only made Sam want to fill himself up more. But more felt like less, less and less every time.
So at 4 a.m. on a frosty fall morning, Sam came to the conclusion that Josh's need was draining his soul. It wasn't shocking or sudden or sad. It was a natural conclusion to an unnatural balancing act, and when the clock struck 4:30, Sam rolled out of bed, free of all doubt and ready to go for a run.
I sit here in the rain mixed with sea spray, and I can feel my skin draw tight with the salt. The rock is slick, and I may yet slip into the waves; god knows I came close as I scrambled out here. The wind sends the rain past my face at an angle, and it's cool and it's hard and it feels like the ocean itself is trying to slap some sense into me. It feels good to be chastised by someone other than myself. I'm nowhere but here, and it's a good place to be in the rain.
She took him to bed because for an hour, over two martinis and twelve olives, he never asked what Laurie did. He asked what she thought and what she read, and when he leaned into her and grazed his lips over her ear, he asked her what she liked. She liked him, and the way his mouth looked hungry but his eyes were timid, and how his hands kept drumming and slashing, but he was so still. When she'd given him her best, most brazen smile, he'd shocked her with one of equal sizzle, so she took him to bed.
Who Are You?
As Toby watched Sam briskly walk away, he realized that he now knew in nautical miles how far Camp David was from the White House; the number of lines on a legal pad; the evolution of the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act; how Sam had disposed of the battery from a Colman camping lamp he'd gotten when he was sixteen; and that Sam did not know how to compensate for the scale of the weight variables used by Statistics Canada.
Toby knew all this now, but he still didn't know the answer to his question: "Are you okay, Sam?"
The Killer in Me
He'd spent over a year on the answers, back when it wasn't his question. And now that it is, Sam lifts glasses in California with notebook-holding reporters, accepting squinty-eyed judgments for Bartlet's sins: past, present and imagined. They want to talk about a disease Sam's never had and decisions he's never made and always the question is when, when, when.
He says "last" when he meant to say "appropriate", and "lied" instead of "private", and when he falls on the bed that night fully clothed and full of Scotch, he smiles to himself and sighs a sound of pure relief.
Listening to Fear
The bullets sing to Sam as he drifts toward, then away from sleep. His tie's a limp and lifeless thing around his neck, and his hands smell like something he doesn't want to put a name to.
Toby sits on his left, eyes calculating the motives of every person who walks past the waiting room. "I know what you're feeling," he says to Sam eventually, and Sam waits to hear what he's feeling, because it seems impossible that there's a word for it. "I know you're scared. I know you feel guilty...."
But Sam knows what he feels now. Lucky.
She'd come to raise money and ended up converted; a disciple. Fully versed in Sam Seaborn and wearing her own little button proclaiming Sam! For Congress!
They didn't see the fatigue. She did. They didn't see the anxiety, either. They didn't see him at all, Amy realized, as they sat there together, talking around him. They all listened to the determination, but only she heard the doubt, so clear in the clipped words, the hesitation between thoughts.
Stiff embraces and lack of eye-contact, and he was losing more than an election, but only Amy recognized it for what it was.
"Which one is Sam again?" The woman arched an elegant eyebrow and held her head at a regal angle. "The one we want to take a bite out of?" Her tone was a purr, and Abbey's eyes went wide with alarm.
"You're wicked," she said admiringly.
Her companion shot a sideway glance at Abbey, and searched the crowd. "That ass," she sighed, pushing away from the bar.
"And if you get caught flirting?" Abbey asked, her voice intrigued.
"There's an art to these things. I'll tell Leo the boy was hitting on me, and they'll both believe it!" Jenny laughed.
Beer Bad (1)
Sam and his father used to like the margaritas here; not a smooth edge to them. But Sam isn't drinking margaritas today. His hand is curled around a Corona. He's flexing his thumb back and forth, tinging the glass with his nail while his father nurses his beer, which is on life-support.
Sam thinks that if they make it to the next round he'll offer to buy, and it will sound spontaneous and natural, and his dad will smile and think it's a Step In The Right Direction.
But Sam's not ready for that, so he lets his father pay.
The moment was broken when the song came to its inevitable end, another beginning with a harder beat. Fast music made Sam nervous, and there was a lot of fast music in New York.
Holding Lisa's delicate hand while weaving his way through the cramped restaurant still felt like dancing to Sam. His hip grazed a table. Glasses tinkled, and Lisa giggled and muttered; something suspiciously close to 'klutz.'
He chirped an apology to the couple seated at the table, and led Lisa on, throwing her a smile over his shoulder, anticipating showing her just how coordinated he could be.
No matter how much he drank he could never soothe the jagged, raw tear in his throat. But he tried. He started with water; tried scotch, which he hated, vodka which he liked, whisky, which he loved.
But the tear didn't heal over and Sam found himself swallowing down his words, like Josh; gulping around his objections and his silent recriminations. At night when the office lights dimmed like an exhausted flame, Sam would pull out a bottle and slowly sip at the smooth, warm elixir, letting the drops dry on his lips where he could lick them off later.
"Okay," Sam said, laying the file in front of Ainsley. "These are your copies. Notarized, pasteurized-- "
"I'm so not the person for this."
"You'll know what to do."
"And when to do it?"
"That is the most important thing." He'd wanted to leave on a breezier note, but she still looked hesitant. "Just remember: the first guys on the list? They need to know right away."
"Then they'll come get your... brain," Ainsley clarified.
Sam blinked. "I really don't know how it works. But they will, so... "
"So all I do is pull the plug?"
Sam smiled softly.
Beer Bad #2
Day over. Night hot.
Spirits high. Vote close. Fists pumped. Smiles wide. Future bright. Bar picked. Round ordered. Toast made. Beer good. Glances exchanged. Glances avoided. Music loud. Dancing rebuffed. Debate fought. Debate won. Laughter giddy. Teasing gentle. Eyes blue. Smile coy. Fingers brush. Cheeks blush. Song stupid. Lyrics mangled. Money combined. Change shiny. Goodnights said. Key cold. Car unlocked. Ride short. Step timid. Stare held. Sigh expelled. Regrets acknowledged. Caution ignored. Hands held. Knees weak. Line crossed. Lips meet. Air gone. Clothes off. Something hard. Cry soft. Arms strong. Words tender. Throat dry. Beer bad.
Day over. Night hot.
Seeing Red (100)
"The Bloody Marys here are inspiring," Sam said, opening his menu.
"You're sure about--"
"Leo said 'don't come to work today', Mallory, not 'go find a cave'. I'm having breakfast with a friend." Sam glanced up at her. "'Cause, we are friends, right?"
"Friends don't let friends drive exhausted, so yeah, I'd say we're friends."
Sam looked back at the menu. "Then, as a friend, can I tell you I miss the red?"
"The hair. I liked the red. Fiery. And if we're friends, and keep seeing each other -- as friends -- I thought I should tell you."
"I'm on a mission from god," Mandy drawled, reaching for and tasting Sam's drink. "...Josh, actually. During the kinkier moments he likes me to call him that."
Sam swung his gaze to her and said, "If I wanted to marry her, I should have cared about seating arrangements??"
"If you wanted to marry her, you should have cared about her. Now, we need to go. Blondie's staring at you with a predatory look."
"Really?" Sam said with interest. "'Cause, I can never tell."
"You? Always assume they're looking, Sam. That'll keep you out of trouble."
"I'll try to remember that."
"Would you like to take this one or shall I?"
"Why don't you get this one. I'll get... the next one."
In that moment Leo saw something in Sam, before his mind even arranged it into words. It was a flare of something future. A teasing and easy recognition of what was possible. A candidate.
As the president left the podium, Leo knew that he'd just witnessed something cyclical.
"You have this look on your face, Leo. Like you're falling in love with me aaall over again," Jed teased, and Leo blinked back to the present.
"No sir. Not you."
Into the Woods
Bouncing like a go-go girl, Josh searched Sam's face. "Man! It's the stuff of legends!" He wiped rainwater from his eyes and bounced again. "That was so fucking Man of LaMancha, Sam!"
Sam shivered and pulled up his jacket collar. "That was the most insane, seriously stupid thing I've ever done."
"It was dramatic! Noble, even!" Josh twitched all over.
"And when I have to go back and get my stuff? My laptop...." Sam patted his drenched jacket. "My keys. My Palm Pilot!"
"Uh, yeah." Josh stilled. "That part was dumb." He bounced again. "C'mon. We have places to go!"
This is so different, saying them instead of writing them. They don't taste the same, Toby.
Sam's watch says it's three minutes since he last checked. He tugs his sleeve down and brushes the hair from his face. Three minutes from seven leaves four minutes to find out if Toby actually flew out, offering unneeded but greatly appreciated advice like, don't pause before the fourth section; and make sure you look directly at the camera when you say 'for you'.
One minute from one minute leaves Sam, taking the stage with an audience of one less than he longed for.
They just don't know, do they? He likes his desk in order, his finances secure. They mock his fastidiousness and mime his horror at discovering an ounce of fat on his body. But they haven't a clue, have never bothered to figure it out. Can't see, have never looked.
There's always a 'more' he needs to get; a place to reach. Something is always snapping at his heels and making him go further, in directions he'd never thought of before.
They look at him in dismay. How can you just--?! Where will you--?!
Sam laughs. He's already gone.
Conversations with Dead People
His tie was straight. Sam stood before the mirror; glasses on, then the glasses came off.
"So, if it's a fallacy that inflation is tied to unemployment, how can I say... well, I don't have to say it myself, do I? I can just... like entering evidence into the record. I can reference the report.... But that would be a clear endorsement of... so, why can't I endorse it? I mean, I have the authority-- the power-- the right to-- This is all about letting people know where I stand on the issues so... this tie has got to go."
Nobody knew the fury. It coiled through Sam, licking at his good sense sometimes. To his ears, his sighs sounded like hisses, and his tongue tasted of venom.
He watches through a wavy windshield, rain heavy and hypnotic. The scurrying figures beyond it are muted and indistinguishable, but Sam has an extra set of eyes, like a pit viper, that causes his prey to glow.
The fury lurches in the center of him, throwing him from the car, toward his victim, where he strikes.
When he falls back into his car the rage is gone, and there's nothing left inside.
Beauty and the Beast
Sam had never thought of himself as a breast man due in large part, he always assumed, to an aunt who kept her son on the breast just past his 6th birthday.
So Sam preferred to lower his gaze to gently swelled hips, rounded, firm rear-ends, and long, unending legs. He also liked feet, though he never made a big deal out of it.
But he fell for her, because she laughed genuinely, and knew his writing from Toby's, and even though her breasts were the size of the federal budget, he'd managed to look past them; the mighty beasts.
A wall, shadows, and CJ thought she knew what she was seeing.
It could have been Josh, being overly critical or super-protective, as he sometimes was with Sam. It might have been a disagreement on the use of some dodgy statistics; a parting of opinion; a political rift. It was possible Sam was needing encouragement, or confidence, or coffee that had his back to the wall, and Josh leaning into him, mouth so close to Sam's ear.
And there was a chance the look on Sam's face reflected concentration, calculation.
A wall, shadows, and CJ knew what she was seeing.
He had a thing on his.... someplace. Once, his first year at college. That was humiliating. The thing turned out to be a no-thing, but they'd told him -- because he was technically underage -- that they'd need to tell his parents, so he'd called them. Sam wasn't one to shy from the tough stuff.
But this. He debated for three hours whether to call when his dad was sure to be home, or let his mom pass on the good news.
CJ said it would break in twenty, so he picked up the phone and swallowed hard.
"There was this woman...."
"Mr. Seaborn, Sam! Sam!" they yelled, voices crowding over each other. "Why'd ya do it?! Do you know the names of any of her other clients?"
He dropped his head and plowed through them, watching his own feet take the steps two at a time.
A denial was still an admission, Toby had warned him -- and CJ and Leo and then Josh said the same thing. The whirr of film advancing in cameras filled out the space between the shouts, and Sam fell through his building's door on a wave of sounds, propelled by a press of bodies and judgments.
Josh said, "Sam, I want to ask you something," but Sam only answered with a crush of lips and a sigh of certainty.
Sam said, "Can I talk to you about...?" but Josh answered "If it's important, tell Donna and she'll fill me in later."
Josh said, "We should talk about when this is over," and Sam snapped, "I'm not ready," and pushed aside the polling numbers.
Sam said, "Maybe I should have told you sooner," and Josh frowned and said, "I don't understand how you could think anything else," and watched the last box being sealed with sturdy tape.
Josh laid himself over Sam like a fog, finding all his small places. He traced his cheekbone; smoothed his fingertips over the hollows beneath Sam's eyes, sometimes shadowed by fatigue. He felt Sam sigh.
"We tried to be together. It didn't work."
"We tried it apart. That didn't work out either."
They explored the stages of intimacy, and found themselves right back where they started, awkward and unsure. The future seemed too far to reach, and the past made no sense anymore, so they settled into a present of seconds, minutes, and hours.
Over and over, this became their life.
"The closet's behind here, and in the summer you'll get a lovely cross-breeze to compensate for the --"
"There's no air-conditioning," Sam supplied wearily. Fourth floor walk-up above a bakery, air damp and yeasty, and Sam wasn't sweating from the heat. His life sat back in Durham, waiting for a friend to ship once Sam had found an apartment, and this was it; seventeenth on his list, and he just couldn't look any more.
"First place?" she asked. "You may want someone you trust to look over the paperwork. A lawyer, maybe?"
"I am a lawyer," Sam told her, grinning.
They may look good and cost a year's salary, but Sam's ass ached from its long acquaintance with the Oval Office sofa.
The president grinned that eerie, toothy grin that made Sam think of dentures in a glass, and continued. "The EM program has undergone significant programmatic restructuring, Sam. Including those planned for the INEEL site."
Sam looked up, incredulous. "Excuse me, sir?"
Sam's hands covered his face. "EM program. Programmatic restructuring," he moaned. "Mr President. Three hours and..." Sam checked his watch, "eighteen minutes ago I came to tell you that."
"And I've enjoyed our little chat."
When She Was Bad
His best friend or his best girl. Sam was more stunned that he'd stopped to think about that, than by their escalating argument.
Lisa and her need to be on, and Josh and his need to be right, and Sam and his desire for a simple, companionable dinner all converged to form a thunderous, dense cloud of discontent. If she would just, and if Josh would only, maybe Sam could finally....
The water hit him like an icy wet slap, and before he knew it Sam was doubled over, laughing at his doused best friend and his red-faced best girl.
Bring on the Night
His palms itched, and his head was throbbing. Sam walked cautiously through the West Wing, tossing out cheerful greetings with a too-bright smile that fell from his lips as soon as he'd passed. The results were in, the party was rocking, and with every step Sam felt himself pulled another foot out of alignment.
In his office, plates smeared with sweet white icing were scattered around, and his bowls of M&Ms and nuts were empty. He decided to watch the results next door, lying in state on Toby's sofa.
The administration's victory was assured, but Sam's battle was just beginning.
Bright, blipping lights danced across the face of the telephone. They hypnotized Donna.
One was a senate staffer, hoping for a nod of support from Josh. Another a reporter, deadline nipping at his heels, waiting for one killer quote from the always quotable DCOS.
It was the steady light in the upper right that she couldn't look away from. The one which, when lit, lit up Josh's eyes. The interoffice line that connected Josh to Sam, a connection she had never dared to try and understand.
The light burned steady and bright, and Donna waited for it to flicker out.
He saw a man, wired and wiry. He liked his smile: genuine, mischievous; his gait: slack and sure. He felt empowered in his presence. Smart, funny, admired and destined. There were dimples, like the crooks of arms embracing Sam. There was a look of shock, melting into admiration when Sam argued his way clear around Josh's stubborn ego. The glance, charged and dangerous. Sam knew full well the power of a bright mind, blue eyes, and a buff body. And then, a brush of lips, as far from sober and close to heaven as it got, and Josh was his.
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