Title: Hospital Walls and Airports Author: Briannakin Series: The West Wing Timeframe: Alternate Universe During Original Series - seasons 1 and 7 Characters: Josh/Sam, and other usual suspects. Notes: Okay, so this totally started out as a cute, fluffy AU and then the muse was like “you want to write about the Rosslyn shooting”, so the 2000 part is kinda angsty but the 2006 part is pure fluff. Because this is a complete AU, this isn’t a part of the ‘Bri and Mav verse’ (and thus not posted with that). I love Josh/Donna (and Sam/Ainsley) but I also love Josh/Sam so much. Short and kinda dialog heavy, and I’m not normally one for 1st person present tense POV (because I am so bad at proper grammar for the style), but my muse demanded I write this and I didn’t want it to turn into an epic (it could have, but I have diaries and vignettes I want to write) but knowing me, this might turn into a vignette series (@mavjade this is still somehow your fault). “The truth is, airports have seen more sincere kisses than wedding halls. The walls of hospitals have heard more sincere prayers than churches.” 2000 “Josh! Josh!” I am fully aware that panic begins to rise in my voice as I call for my boyfriend. We swore we wouldn’t think of each-other as such during work hours. It helps kept the truth quiet and hidden, not that either of us want to, but we are realists and we are professionals. Plus Josh is technically my superior and that is just going to lead to a HR nightmare, never-mind a political mess. But I feel my walls crumbing every second that Josh wasn’t accounted for in this mayhem and madness. People have been shot! CJ is convinced the President is dead. Josh might be dead. Oh… oh God. “Joshua!” I shout louder. I just want Josh to come up behind me and yell at me. My search is now joined by Toby. “Sam, he got in the car with Leo,” Charlie says as he rushes by. I am momentarily relieved, until…. “No, he didn’t,” Toby insists. “Shanahan got in with Leo. Josh didn’t get in the car.” Fear bubbles up in me. “Josh!” Desperation leaks into my voice. Toby and I search in different directions, then I hear Toby yell. “Doctor! I need help.” And I just know. It’s my Joshua. My black shoes pound the pavement; I rounded a corner and saw the love of my life lying limp in Toby’s arms. Josh’s hands are bloody and clutching at his lower chest. He’s been shot. His eyes are glazed over, but still there… still fighting. I instantly kneel at Josh’s side, my hands intertwining with his and pressing hard. They are wet and now mine are too. We are trying to keep him together. “I’m here. I’m here, Love. You’re going to be okay.” There is a flicker in his eyes of love and fear. * * * I don’t bother holding myself together. Josh is broken and I am too. My leg is bouncing and I am about ready to start rocking back and forth. We made it into an ambulance and to the hospital. He was murmuring something about meetings and it scared me so much. I’m still so scared. Josh is in his 4th hour of surgery. It doesn’t look good, but I’m just thankful I’m getting updates. I’m here in a relatively small waiting room with the First Lady, Zoey, Toby, and Donna. Everyone else is back at the White House. The President has been shot. He’s going to be okay but there’s probably a million things that need to be done. I should be helping but all I can think about is my Josh and us and how I have no rights. They are giving the First Lady updates on both her husband and Josh because she asked for them. Josh and I have been dating for two years now, and I know I have no rights to make decisions over Josh’s medical care and right now that is scaring me so much. Am I even going to be able to even see Josh after the surgery? I’m mad at the system which I work for. I’m mad that the First Lady got to talk to her stable husband before he got wheeled into surgery. Most of all I’m mad at Josh for getting shot. “Sam?” Toby repeats for the fifth time. I finally look up to see Toby framed by the waiting room. “I have to go back to the White House… help CJ with the press. You should go back to your apartment, get a change of clothes and some rest.” My suite is wrinkled and bloody. I shake my head as I bluntly say, “I live with Josh.” I can’t go back to our apartment. Just this morning he was running around with a towel around his waist, complaining that his bathrobe was dirty and he was cold. I kept reminding him that we do have a machine that would fix that called a washing machine. He growled at me for being sarcastic and I eventually gave him my bathrobe and walked away from him naked. He then discarded both and… well… we ended up both being late for work, but he got warmed up. The towel and bathrobe are probably still in the middle of the kitchen floor. Who am I kidding? I didn’t pick them up and I know Josh didn’t. “I know,” Toby gently says. “No, we aren’t roommates.” That was the stretched truth we told everyone. “We’re dating.” If Josh survives, Josh is going to kill me. “I love him.” The room is silent as I’m still shaking. I am going to lose my boyfriend and my job in the same night. But I’m not taking my words back. I love Josh and the whole world is going to know it. Mostly because Josh isn’t here to shut me up. After a moment, the First Lady gets up from her seat, her movements stiff and weary, and sits down on the chair next to me. She places her hand on mine. “We know.” I’m not a religious person, neither is Josh, but I ask her, “Can you help me pray?” She nodded. “Let’s pray for health and strength for our boyfriends.” I love that. Even after all these years married, she still thinks of her husband as her boyfriend. I want that. * * * I’m not sure how many hours - or days, probably days going by the stubble on both Josh and my faces - it is later. The doctors let me into Josh’s room right after his surgery. He was hooked up to so many machines. But he’s off the ventilator now, which means I can kiss him if I want. I am just sitting next to him, holding his hand and stroking his hair, because it is all I can bring myself to do. If he wants a kiss, he can wake up. Oh, who am I kidding? I lean forward and place a soft kiss on his lips. Donna brought me a change of clothes - she grabbed one of Josh’s sweatshirts, I know because the sleeves are too short, but I love it - and she keeps bringing me food and coffee. I eat, only because the First Lady tells me to. Mrs. Bartlet is now my boss and I owe her so much. Before I could get fired by Leo, she offered me a job as First Lady’s Chief of Staff (I may have scared off Lily Mays, but Leo told me to!), so I accepted. Mostly because I know I can’t work for Josh anymore (quite frankly, even after Josh gets better, I don’t think I’ll be able to be in the same room with him without having my hands on him, and I know - no matter what sexuality orientation - that isn’t appropriate for the work place). But she’s also going to want to take care of the President for the next few weeks so I am going to have time to take care of Josh. The door opens and breaks me out of my thoughts. I stand up. It’s just an automatic thing when the President enters a room. Leo is helping him, but he’s looking great. “Sam, I heard my wife stole you from me.” Both he and Leo smile warmly. I begin rambling, not totally sure what they know. “I’m sorry, Sir. I promise this won’t become public. This won’t be a headache. Just don’t fire Josh.” I still don’t care if Josh doesn’t want people to know we are a couple, but he’s the idiot who got shot, so he doesn’t get a say. I tightly hold onto his hand. “I hope you are apologizing for lying, because that is the only thing we are upset about.” Leo is so calm as he reaches and holds Josh’s other hand. “Might be the only thing your upset about, but I’m still pissed I got shot, my deputy chief of staff got shot, and my wife stole the best damn speechwriter before the first midterms.” I, for some reason, smile at the President’s words and not for the compliment. “Thank you, sir.” Josh’s doctors then enters and within a few minutes Josh is rousing. “Josh, I want you to wake up, Josh,” the doctor is saying. Josh grunts. It’s promising sign. “Love?” I gently cup his cheek. “Sammy… Sweetie?” I try not to laugh. He’s drugged out of his mind and I’m just relieved he’s okay and he’s talking. “I’m here. I’m here.” Josh finally opens his eyes, sees the President and Leo, hesitates for a moment, then just glares at me. He’s annoyed. But I just kiss him and ask Bartlet, “What’s next?” Part 2 - December 16th 2006 “Please, please, pick up Josh,” I murmur as I hold my cell-phone. My leg is bouncing as I sit on the edge of my office chair. I’m now a Washington DC city councilman, but I’m still with Josh and our lives have just changed forever. But of course Josh is in Texas with the President-Elect, something about Santos wanting to spend a last Christmas with his extended family, but of course Josh wanted to continue working on transition stuff, so he decided to head down to Texas as well. His cellphone is answered, but it is Donna and her tone is teasing. As his future deputy, Donna is probably plotting to hit Josh upside the head with a frying pan. “Sam! Come have sex with your boyfriend. He’s driving us all insane.” No surprise there. “Donna, this is important. Can I please talk to Josh.” I smile when I hear his voice. “What’s wrong, Sam?” “Nothing. Hannah just called me.” Hannah is our social service worker. “There was a baby girl abandoned at GW this morning. They think she might be only a few hours old and they want a family intending to foster to adopt. She’s been placed with us.” “Oh my God, Sam!” He’s crying and I’m having a hard time keeping it together. “A newborn?” “I know, I know they said not to expect a baby, so I know we have nothing for a baby, but we took those classes and I’m going to run out now and get a carseat and pick her up from the hospital.” I’m blabbing I’m so excited. “I’ve already said yes to taking her.” “Of course. Tell her that her Abba is on his way back to meet her. I’m going to get on the next flight.” I here clunking on the other end. He’s probably run into a desk or something. “Okay.” “Okay.” * * * I wait on a bench on the arrivals areas of the airport, just behind the baggage carriers. I tried to find a quieter spot, but a place where Josh would easily be able to find us. In my arms is a beautiful baby girl. Josie Joan. We named her when Josh was in a layover in Atlanta. In a few months we can add the Seaborn-Lyman part. But for now, she’s just content to sleep in my arms, wrapped in her purple blanket. A diaper bag, my briefcase, and her carrier is all at my feet. I am just captivated by her - her little chubby cheeks, little fingers clutching my thumb, pacifier clipped to her little green pyjamas. It’s now late afternoon and it has already been a long day, but I have a plan. I am going to drop my baby and my boyfriend off at our Georgetown town house and then I am going back to Target. Suddenly I hear Josh yelling. “Sam? Sam?” I look up. He’s searching for me with his backpack swung over his shoulder. He spots me and freezes. I smile at him. It takes him a few moments for him to move. He comes to us, leans down and kisses me. It is just so full of love and commitment. He then sits down, transfixed by Josie. “Hi. Hi, Josie,” he says softly. “Hi honey. I’m… I’m your Abba. I’m your Abba and I love you so much!” “You wanna hold her?” I ask. “I just want to go home.” I know him. I know him too well. He’s afraid he’s going to drop her, but he was so amazing in our classes. “You can do it.” I shift her, cradling her head, and put her in his arms. She wakes and starts to fuss. He tries to hand her back, but I just put her pacifier in her mouth. She instantly quiets down, but looks up at Josh with her huge blue eyes and I just known he has fallen in love. * * * A few hours later, I come back home, hauling bags, a box, and take-out (I left the huge box of diapers in the garage). I enter our home and just smile. The heat is blasted and Josh is lounging on the couch, feet up on the coffee table next to a bottle and a cup of coffee. He’s not wearing a shirt and she’s only in a diaper and socks. I knew he would love skin-to-skin cuddling. I got to do it for a few minutes with her in the hospital while all the paperwork was being processed. But Josie is just nuzzled in Josh’s light chest hair and it looks like she’s been there for awhile for how relaxed Josh is. “Hi.” He’s lightly rubbing her back with the tips of his fingers. Two years ago when I said we should look into having kids, he was unsure, so he did it all for me. But I new he would take to fatherhood instantly. I smile at him as I put down all the bags and huge box under my arm. “Hi. I bought everything I think we are going to need for the next few days. I bought a playpen that can also be a change table and a bassinet. I figured she can use that until we can get the nursery ready, she’ll be in our room anyways for the first few weeks. We can go furniture shopping after the holidays, but I figured between your mom and after the Bartlets and Leo find out we have a little one, we might not need to worry about furniture, or toys, or clothes for her… forever.” I sit down next to him, kiss him, then kiss our Josie. “Yeah. So about that. After I called my mom, Leo called me wondering why I suddenly left Texas. So I told him. And then I had to call the President and Mrs. Bartlet before Leo… or Donna… or the President-Elect, could tell them.” I glare. “You told them.” I wanted to tell Abbey. “You outed us! You got to tell them we were together!” “Yeah, because you got shot and were dying.” Josh frowns and begins talking to Josie. “Your Daddy is never going to let me live that down. It wasn’t even my fault and it wasn’t that bad.” I roll my eyes. “Josie, your Abba has a big mouth but I don’t blame him because you are just so cute!” I lay my head on Josh’s shoulder and just smile down on our little girl.