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Title: Anywhere But In Between
Author: inocciduous
Rating: PG13
Prompt: Sam helps Will through any of the events of any S7 episode. Although, I really kind of didn't follow it.
Summary: Transitions all around!
Notes: This kind of turned into a what-if - Sam actually says no to Josh in Transitions. Also, this is unbetaed (*shameface*) so feel to point out any errors or inconsistencies.


"Think about it."

Josh is brashly charming, laying out his case in front of Sam, everything he has right on the line, up front and in his face. He listens as Josh makes his case for Santos, like Sam hasn't been paying attention - like Santos and Vinick haven't been waging their battles right on his doorstep for months. He knows what Josh wants, knew it before he opened his mouth. Josh's poker face hasn't improved any over the course of the last decade, although Sam finally learned how to use one himself. He wonders, though, because under Josh's obvious enthusiasm there's a desperation that worries him. He almost interrupts to ask if he's ignoring Donna's rules again, but imagines that things have been rather fragile between them, if he reads the gossip going around the usual circles correctly.

Something in him wants to say yes; to fight the good fight Josh is calling him to, even if he's not sure he believes in it any more. There is a majesty to working in the White House that has settled deep in his bones, and no matter how long he spends warming himself in the California sun, no matter the good he is doing for real people, the tangible results he can see in the neighborhoods he passes on the way home, he can't shake the feeling that there's a lack of depth to it.

Sam brought it up to Will once, their fingers wound into a complicated knot and lost somewhere in the haphazard spread of pillows and blankets. The night was loud around them, summer storms letting loose against their small haven, but Sam couldn't feel anything but drowsy and satisfied, Will's arms anchoring him to this time, this place, in a way that he was starting to think he could get used to.

"D'you ever miss it? Washington, the White House ..." Sam wiggles fingers lazily in the air, encompassing the whole of the American dream realized with fingers turned slow and clumsy with relaxation.

"Mmm" Will says noncommittally. "Not really."

Sam turns over, casually dislodging Will's arm and props his head up with one hand. "Really?" He eyes Will suspiciously.

Will cracks one eye open and when he sees Sam's expression of disbelief, he opens the other and says, resigned, "Really."

He reaches out and knocks Sam's forearm out, his head falling abruptly onto the pillow and huffing out a breath of surprised laughter, but he gets the point. "Okay, okay, introspection later; afterglow now." He wiggles down and tucks himself neatly into the convenient holes Will's body leaves for him.

Sam thinks of Will, of the way he found his way to Sam's office, defeated and strung out. He'd been sick of himself, and sick of politics, in a way that Sam recognized in himself. He'd offered Will a beer and his guest room, happy to have a friend and companion in his rebuilding, or at least someone to split rent with. It had been comfortable, and he'd thought Will had felt the same. Sam wasn't willing to question the first truly effortless thing to happen to him in what had felt like ages and so it had come as a bit of a shock when, companionably sharing the Sunday paper over pancakes one warm morning, Will had unceremoniously reached across the counter, cupped his jaw carefully and kissed him.

He'd left Will this morning sprawled across their bed, sunlight just beginning to peek through the windows, the coffee pot set to stay warm long enough for Will to have a bit of a lie-in. It was nice, domestic, and entirely unexpected. Looking at Josh now, Sam isn't sure he's ready to give it up, trade in this hard-won peace for another eight years of take-out cartons and certain exhaustion. He certainly isn't ready to give up Will. He might not ever be ready for that.

Josh, expectant and impatient, is practically vibrating, either from caffeine or sheer pent-up energy. Sam effortlessly feeds him a line about an engagement - he wasn't kidding about the lying - and prepares to face a Lyman rant. He can practically see Josh gearing up for it, and then suddenly he ... deflates.

"Yeah, okay."

Sam smiles, a little surprised at how easily he won this round (and he's certain there will be many more rounds, although probably not conducted in person). "Can you stay for an actual lunch, or are you on a schedule?"

"Nah, I've got a thing in Sacramento in a few hours. The next time I'm in town, though ..." Josh trails off, looking around at the other tables.

Sam smiles, "Make sure to look me up."

Josh's returning smile is brilliant, if somewhat distant. He's already leaped on to the next thing, Sam is sure, planning out the details of whatever's waiting for him in Sacramento, no doubt.

They stand up and embrace, and as they let go Sam grabs Josh's sleeve and turns him back around. "Hey," he says, "do good out there."

Josh nods solemnly and goes. He doesn't look back, already wrestling his blackberry out of its clip.

That night, he finds Will standing at the window, looking out over the sea of lights and colors below them. He twines his arms around Will's waist, inter locking their fingers and hooking his chin over the other man's shoulder. "Thinking deep thoughts?"

Will doesn't answer, although he does lean back into Sam's embrace. After a while, Sam thinks he isn't' going to answer at all, and just when he's getting ready to extract himself, Will says, "I heard Josh Lyman came to see you today."

Sam nods, tilting his head to rest his forehead against Will's neck. "He offered me Deputy Chief of Staff. I turned him down."

Will makes a noise that Sam isn't sure how to interpret. He decides not to try and presses a kiss to Will's neck, drawing him towards the bedroom. "Come on, let's sleep."

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
pocky_slash
Mar. 2nd, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS!

I'm still finishing mine. I'm the worst mod ever.
inocciduous
Mar. 2nd, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
EEE! I'm so nervous. Please tell me if it's awful. *crosses fingers*

Also, you totally win the best mod ever award, because yay! No pressure! I ♥ it.
pocky_slash
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:08 am (UTC)
Jenna! Jenna! Jenna! Jenna! Jen! Oh my god. I read this with the biggest grin on my face, I can't even tell you. I really, really, need to go to bed, but this! Oh! It makes me so happy! I like this little world, with Will and Sam and California and no craziness and! Oh! Happy!

Better review in the morning. Sleep now. I ♥ you!
inocciduous
Mar. 2nd, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
:DDD YAY! I'm so happy you like it! Basically, that's all I wanted, so mission: accomplished! \o/

I hope you sleep lots! It sounds like you need it ♥
pocky_slash
Mar. 3rd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Oh, i want to quote it back at you, but there is too, too much. I've read the scene in bed so many times since you posted this, which is silly considering you posted it yesterday. It's just so them. (And I'm glad you also think Sam is the talky one in bed XD Is two people enough to make something a fandom trope if the fandom only has like, three people in it? I think it should be!)

But, oh, I want to know more! I want to know what Will was thinking when he kissed Sam and what Sam was doing and how they slid from being friends to more and all of it! Oh man! I love them and I love this and you need to write them more often, for serious.

Thank you thank you thank you! ♥
justdreaming88
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
Oh wow. Fantastic. Squeee. *incoherent babbling*
inocciduous
Mar. 2nd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
Aw yay! I'm so glad you liked it! :)
pocky_slash
Mar. 7th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
Okay, on my eighteith read through, I found two typos:
Vinick's name is only spelled with one 'n.'

Nah, I've got a thing in Sacramento in a few house.

I think that's supposed to be "hours." XD

I still love this! I still want more! ♥
inocciduous
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
Oooooooh, typos! *fixes* Also, I know there's a special meme entry on your journal, but I thought that it would be easier if I kept these together. So ...


It's the kind of Sunday morning Will's always dreamed about but never experienced; 9:30 am and he's still in bed, his glasses, pen and notepad next to him, nestled safely on top of the quilt that it's almost too warm to use. His room (not Sam's guest room, not with his books piled on the nightstand and his clothes peeking out of the dresser drawers) is bright with a sunshine that's particular to California.

This little apartment tucked into a busy, crowded city seems to have flipped his off-switch. Nothing can reach him here; his career is in shambles and his mental state ... doesn't bear thinking about, but he's coming back to himself a little more each day, and is thankful he's found somewhere to lick his wounds in relative safety. Down the hall he can hear Sam whisking - and really, what kind of self-respecting man owns a whisk anyways? - pancake batter. That deciding whether or not to risk Sam's attempts at breakfast will be his most important decision of the day is surprisingly relaxing. There was a time when Will thought he wouldn't like vacations, but spending his days writing when he's inspired, sleeping when he's tired and not worrying about whether or not the world's going to fall apart is refreshing in a way that he hadn't expected.

He stumbles out of his room and towards the kitchen, blinking into the unfiltered light, trying to both pull down his t-shirt and flatten his hair. And then, standing in the kitchen doorway, fingers still wound in the loose cotton at his waist, he has to stop. Because Sam Seaborn is standing in the kitchen in pajama pants and a worn Princeton t-shirt, bent over the Bisquick box like it holds the secrets to the universe, and Will thinks it's maybe the most breath-taking thing he's ever seen.
inocciduous
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
Sam looks up and smiles fondly at him, at him, and that means something different today than it did yesterday. Will doesn't know what, yet, but he wants to find out more than anything.

But one revelation on an empty stomach is one too many, so he slides into his seat at the table and picks up the Times, idly leafing through the front page while Sam continues cooking. He doesn't read it, though, merely uses it as a reason not to talk, afraid that he'll just throw everything out there, that he won't be able to hide what he's learned. They eat in what appears to be companionable silence, and if Sam notices that Will spaces out a little more than he usually does, well, it's Sunday.

By a mutual silent agreement, product of weeks of breakfasts together, they rise together to take their plates to the sink. Will stands next to Sam, sliding the eggs and milk back into the fridge as Sam loads the dishwasher. And Sam is there, four inches to his left, living and breathing and Will can't bear not knowing anymore.

He pushes the door shut with his hip, a last gasp of cool air rushing around his calves, and as Sam turns to say something to him, a clever smile tucking up one corner of his mouth, Will lays his hands on Sam's cheeks, cupping his face, and kisses him. Sam goes slack in surprise and Will almost jumps back (stupid, fucking stupid, to kiss a guy with no warning, in his own kitchen for Christ's sake, and oh god --), but Sam's hands come up to rest firmly on his hips, not a trace of doubt or uncertainty to be found and they curl and press possessive groves into his skin. And then he kisses Will back, and he didn't know, couldn't have dreamed, that it would be this good.

They break, foreheads resting gently together and broken egg shells still sitting on the counter top.

"I didn't know," Will says, helpless in the face of Sam's calm.

His smile is brilliant in return, brighter than the California sun that's cradling them in yellow warmth, "I know. But I did."
pocky_slash
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD THERE IS A PART TWO!
pocky_slash
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD. ::FLAILY HANDS::
inocciduous
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
YAY! Yes, LJ kept eating my comments when I tried to post the second part. It took FOREVER to work right (clearly, since you had time to read and comment!), but I got it!

AND YAY! XD There are parts of it that I think are awkward, and I think I'm a bit obsessed with the sunshine (GOD does it ever need to be summer - all I can think about is being WARM), but I do like most of it, and I'm happy you do toooooooooooooo!
pocky_slash
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
OKAY. Um, I have stopped freaking out.

Um. I love this. I really, truly do. Oh my god, Jen, I am going to have to convince you to write Sam/Will more often, because it's just plain cruel to keep stuff like this from fandom at large, okay? This is wonderful.

Sam looks up and smiles fondly at him, at him, and that means something different today than it did yesterday. Will doesn't know what, yet, but he wants to find out more than anything.

Oh, yes. Will. I just want to hold him. I love him reading the table to hide how much he suddenly wants Sam. And, oh my god, his whole inner monologue and my heart just breaks for that split second of fear that overtakes him when Sam doesn't kiss him back! And then Sam DOES kiss him back! He knew! Of course he knew, he's Sam and I love this so much, oh my god.

I'm almost embarrassed at how crazy these comments have been, especially because I just told everyone on my journal to come over and read this story, but I DON'T REALLY CARE because you deserve it XD

Please always write Sam/Will from now on. ♥
inocciduous
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:39 am (UTC)
Causing you to freak = excellent times!

Haha, also you are way too nice. Like really. *blushes* And oh god, you TOLD people about it?! I'm going to go hide now.

But also, your happiness is like, the best present ever. XD My joy over how much you like this is pretty unbounded because it makes me happy that it makes YOU happy - happyhappyhappy!! ♥

Please always write Sam/Will from now on.
They are fun, aren't they? :) You might be converting me to the tin-hatty side of this fandom!
justdreaming88
Mar. 7th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)
I think I just melted. *g*
inocciduous
Mar. 15th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
(So I'm really sorry that this comment is like, a week late. I think I accidentally deleted my email notification :( )

Thank you so much! :) I had lots of fun writing this and am happy that people other than myself thought it was good. ♥
pocky_slash
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD JENNA! JENNA! JENNA! ::flaily hands:: I need more! He needs to kiss Sam! Right now! And! oh! I love it! Will sleeping in for the first time ever! Relaxing and trying to get himself back together! Sam in the kitchen! Oh, I love it! :D :D :D You are the best! (I know I tell a lot of people that they are the best all the time, but you should know that, as far as people I like go, you are usually in the top ten, regardless of what I am saying about others XD)

Oh! I am going to read it again! ♥ ♥ ♥
scrollgirl
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
This fic, and the prequel in the comments, are both delightful! It was so nice to read Sam and Will again, and about their sweet, domestic life you've built for them.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )