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Title: Equal and Opposite Reactions
Fandom: The West Wing
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Josh/Sam
Summary: It’s no coincidence that two members of the senior staff are causing nightmares for C.J. Cregg at the start of the series. Pre-pilot episode, dialogue-only, one-shot.



Evening, two days ago

“I have exes.”

“Sure.”

“Like there’s Mandy.” 

“Right.”

“And you know what else? With me it doesn’t matter so much, because if anyone stopped to think about it, they’d just say, no wonder, that Joshua Lyman, he’s kind of a jerk.”

“This is true.”

“Whereas with you, you’re all handsome and sensitive, so it would be truly surprising for you not to have left a trail of discarded girlfriends in your wake.”

“Really, you think I’m handsome and sensitive?”

“I think that women find you handsome and sensitive. Until they get to know you.”

“You never told me that.”

“I didn’t want you to get a swelled head.”

“Don’t look now, but there seems to be some swelling. Jesus, Joshua, I said not to look, could you have been more obvious about that?”

“No one saw me.”

“I think we’d better cut you off.”

“That’s an ugly turn of phrase, I’ve always thought that.”

“I’m having the bartender call us a cab.”
 

Later, same evening

“Let me help you with that.”

“You’re a good guy, Sam.”

“Wow, you’ve got really great arms.”

“You just noticed that?”

“It’s been sort of hard to tell under your suit.”

“I have a fan club, you know.”

“I do know that.”

“Mmmm.”

 

Morning, yesterday

“Sam?”

“Good morning.”

“Are you…”

“Naked? Yes.”

“Oh, god.”

“Last night was-”

“This can’t happen again.”

“What? But it was-”

This can’t happen again. God, Sam, I don’t know how I let you talk me into this.”

“I don’t recall that much talking was involved-“

“I have a very delicate system.”

“You do have a very delicate system.”

“God, I can’t believe this.”

“It’s not like this was the first time.”

“The first time is lost in the mists of history, Sam.”

“I’m just saying, I think we’ve exercised remarkable restraint.”

“We were in college then. No one would have cared if we'd straddled each other against the statue of John Harvard. Now we work for the President of the United States!”

“President Bartlet wouldn’t care.”

“It’s not President Bartlet I’m worried about!”

“We haven’t done anything wrong.”

“We can’t afford to embarrass this administration! You know that our personal lives have to be above reproach!”

“We haven’t done anything wrong!”

“What time is it? Oh god, I’ve got to go. I’m going on Capitol Beat in two hours.”

“You want some talking points?”

“No, thank you, just… get out.”

“Are you sure? Because-“

“Get your clothes on and get out, Sam.”

 

This morning

“Josh-“

“Gah! Why are you lurking in my- Donna!

“Seriously, Josh-“

“Not now, Sam. Donna, how did you not notice that he was in my office?”

“I did notice; I just didn’t think that it was worth mentioning. Also, there was bribery.”

“Donna, don’t close the- You closed the door. Sam, I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Josh, they wouldn’t have cared if-“

“I said I don’t want to talk about this.”

“You could be fired, Josh.”

“The woman deserved it.”

“That’s not the point.”

“It’s not that big a deal!”

“Why do you do this?”

“Do what?”

“This, this thing, where instead of letting anyone see that you’re broken up about something, you act like nothing’s the matter and just go around with a big grin and end up saying something really stupid, on national television, to the wrong person entirely.”

“I don’t… I don’t know. It’s my thing. That I do.” Pause. “What about you, what did you do last night?”

“I… went to a bar.”

“Yeah, that’s a much healthier coping mechanism.”

“Bite me.”

“You went out to try to meet someone, didn’t you?”

“No, I-“

“And did it work?”

“No.”

“Sam, it really isn’t that hard. When a woman smiles at you in a bar, it means she wants you to go over there and buy her a drink.”

“But-“

“What?”

“It doesn’t bother you?”

“What?”

“The idea that the very same day I woke up in your bed, I went out and tried to sleep with another woman.”

“Okay, first of all, saying ‘another woman’ makes it sound like there was a woman before, which there wasn’t, unless you’re referring to me, which frankly wouldn’t be very flattering; second, please don’t ever use the words ‘I woke up in your bed’ anywhere in the White House again; and third...”

“Third?”

“Third… I’d be an asshole if I let it bother me after what happened.”

“Is that an apology?”

“No.”

“It sounded like an apology.”

“It wasn’t.”

“Well, you might want to work on that.”

“What?”

“Because, ironically, Mary Marsh and her pals from the Christian Right aren’t as forgiving as I am.”

“Go away, Sam.”

“I’m only trying to-“

“I know, Sam. I know.”

 

 

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
stenveny
Dec. 15th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure this really happened.

Fantastic dialogues.
flywoman
Dec. 15th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
Thank you :D - I've always been partial to Josh/Sam, and I can't tell you how thrilled I was to have these two talking in my head.
yarroway
Dec. 15th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Josh is wonderful, and he's even more wonderful paired up with Sam. You really captured their voices, the rapid pace of their dialogue--awesome! Thank you for reminding me how great that show was.
flywoman
Dec. 15th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I have to confess that it makes me ridiculously happy to be able to picture them having these conversations. The West Wing truly was an awesome show.
jezziejay
Dec. 15th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
Would you believe that I've never seen an ep of The West Wing?! Sigh - I really am going to have to branch out from Brit comedies. Still, this is just to say that you do humorous snark and banter very well - whatever the pairing - and even though the characters are unfamiliar to me, it still made me smile :)
flywoman
Dec. 15th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you hon :). If you even just see the pilot, you will get to enjoy Rob Lowe being picked up by Lisa Edelstein and the President of the United States riding his bicycle into a tree, AND this fic will be way funnier when you can recognize the characters.
britishparadox
Jan. 1st, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
D'awwww this is so cute. My favourite pairing in my favourite TV show. And the dialogue is spot on. Awesome!
flywoman
Jan. 2nd, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you very much! This was a lot of fun to write!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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