Summary: Sam and Josh get into a brawl.
Spoilers/Episode: Pre season 2, SGTE,SGTJ
Characters: Josh, Sam, Ainsley & Leo
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.
Josh wished he could think of a better way of cheering Sam up, though even if he could it probably wouldn't matter because all Sam appeared to want to do was get drunk. He'd told Josh about his father last night. He'd asked him to tell Leo but he'd been drunk and Josh wasn't sure he'd meant it, so he'd said nothing. Leo had certainly noticed Sam's mood though.
"Am I boring you?" Sam asked, laughing at Josh's blank look. "You're miles away, what's wrong?"
"Just looking forward to Cheese Day" Josh replied.
"Oh God it's this Friday isn't it? Do you think Margaret will forget to give me anything?"
"I asked her to go easy on you," Josh said tentatively. At the moment it was hard to tell what Sam's mood was going to be from one minute to the next.
Sam smiled though, "Thanks."
"Isn't that Ainsley?" Josh nodded toward the bar.
Sam followed Josh's gaze and smiled, "Ainsley," he shouted.
Ainsley waved and walked over. "Hey guys."
"Join us," Sam pulled up a chair from the next table and ignored Josh's knowing smile.
"Thanks," Ainsley said. "I'm suppose to meeting a couple of friends here but they're late, or I could be early, still I'm here before them. We're going for a meal."
"Special occasion?"Josh asked.
"Happy birthday," the boys replied.
"How old are you?" Sam asked.
"Sam!" Josh scolded.
Ainsley laughed, "28."
"Well that's just depressing," Josh grinned.
"You should have told me it was your birthday. I'd have bought you a cake or something," Sam said.
"Last of the big spenders," Josh laughed. "What did you get for your birthday?"
"My father bought me a watch. Unfortunately I forgot to put it on, which is why I don't know if I'm early or late."
"Well at least let me buy you a drink," Sam said.
"Just a Coke please."
"It's your birthday, have something stronger," Sam insisted.
"No really. I want to enjoy the meal and I get drunk on two glasses of wine," she smiled self-consciously.
"Just like Josh," Sam grinned as he stood up and walked to the bar.
Josh laughed. "He's kidding, it takes me at least three."
Just then a tall, and rather annoyed looking man walked up behind Ainsley and placed a hand possessively on her shoulder.
Ainsley looked behind her to see who it was. "Roger," she smiled.
"What are you doing?" Roger asked angrily.
"Waiting for you and Jules," Ainsley replied, a little confused by the question and it's tone.
"Isn't it enough that you work with these people, you don't have to spend your free time with them as well," Roger shouted, causing a few people to look their way.
"I'll spend my free time with whomever I please," Ainsley replied.
Josh had been amused, but as Ainsley goes to sit back down, Roger grabbed her arm. "Leave her alone," Josh told him and stood up.
"This has nothing to do with you." Roger again grabbed at Ainsley and Josh puts his hand on Roger's arm.
"I said leave her alone."
"Don't touch me," Roger shouted, shoving Josh in the chest.
That was the moment Sam chose to return from the bar. He saw Roger push Josh, though to him it looked more like a punch, he rushed over, grabbed hold of Roger, turned him round and hit him. Roger stumbled backward and Sam dived toward him. Luckily Josh had regained his balance, he pulled Sam away and held him back. The bartender had now come over and had a hold of Roger.
"Sam, calm down," Josh said.
"I am calm." Sam, still breathing heavily, shook free of Josh and glared at Roger.
"You hit me, you bastard." Roger wiped blood off his lip. "Did you see that, he hit me," he told the bartender.
"I saw you grabbing at the lady here. You're drunk and I think you should leave."
"So you side with them just because they work in White House?" Roger demanded.
"I don't give a damn where they work. They come in here every week and never cause any trouble. I haven't seen you before. Now leave, before I call the cops."
After promising that the press would hear about the incident, Roger left and Sam, Josh and Ainsley sat back down. "You okay?" Josh asked Ainsley, who was looking pretty angry.
"I can't believe he did that. I knew he was angry that I was working with you all, but I didn't realize he was that angry."
"He was drunk. It got out of hand," Josh said. "I don't think we helped," he added, glancing at Sam who was sat nursing his hand. "Hand hurt?" he asked.
"It's fine," Sam said. "I'm sorry I hit him, it's just, he was...... I'm sorry.".
"That's okay. You didn't start it." Ainsley said, though she wasn't sure whether Sam was apologizing to her or Josh. "I should probably go home."
"It's only 9 o'clock, you can't go home early on you birthday," Sam told her.
"I don't want to stay here, people are watching."
"Then let's go back to Josh's apartment, eat pizza and get drunk," Sam suggested.
"Yeah okay, I am starving," Ainsley nodded.
"Leo's going to be pissed," Sam told Josh, as they left the bar.
"Yeah," Josh agreed as he following them onto the street.
Sam glanced at Josh who he knew was mad at him. "I shouldn't have hit the guy."
Josh didn't reply and they walked along quietly for a while, until Ainsley broke the silence. "Roger won't go to the press, he's all talk," She tried to reassure them, "so Leo won't find out."
"Leo'll still find out," Josh told her. Then he grinned, "He's been known to have us followed."
"He's very devious," Sam agreed with a smile.
"Big Block Of Cheese Day?" Ainsley asked as she finished off the garlic bread. "Sorry, did anyone else want this?"
Josh and Sam both laughed and shook their heads. "It's Leo's tribute to Andrew Jackson," Sam informed her.
Ainsley looked puzzled. "Andrew Jackson? The President who had the enormous block of cheese and invited the public in to eat it? Surely that not what's going to happen on Friday?"
"You know that would be more fun," Josh smiled.
"I don't know why you're moaning, you never get an assignment," Sam pointed out.
Ainsley was still looking blank. "What assignment?"
Josh started to explain, "Leo thinks it's fun for the staff.........."
"Except for himself and Josh," Sam interrupted.
"You want to tell the story?"
"No carry on."
"Leo thinks the staff should meet with people who wouldn't normally get a hearing in the White House. CJ once got to meet with a group who think there should be a special road for wolves to migrate to Canada along. Sam usually gets the UFO nuts."
"Most of the staff and senior assistants get one, except Josh of course," Sam added.
"That really bugs you doesn't it?" Josh grinned, though he'd noticed Sam's mood had soured again. He turned to Ainsley and handed her the last of the potato wedges. "Just ignore him, I'm suppose to go to most of the meetings. It's Leo's punishment for me calling it Crackpots Day."
"I think it sounds fun," Ainsley said.
"You should talk to Margaret, I'm sure she could find you something," Josh told her.
They sat and talked while watching a film on TV for an hour or two, or at least Josh and Ainsley talked. Sam had lapsed into a brooding silence. When he went to the kitchen for more beer, Ainsley asked Josh, "Is he okay?"
"Yeah, he's got some family problems." Josh glanced toward the kitchen. "He'll be fine."
"You're out of beer again," Sam shouted from the kitchen.
"Strangely that only happens when you're here," Josh said.
"Well that's 'cos it takes more than two beers to get me drunk," Sam replied, a little more sharply than he intended.
Ainsley sensed the atmosphere change and, although she didn't understand what was going on, she knew they weren't going to sort whatever the problem was while she was there. "I should be going," she said. "Thanks for the pizza and I'm really sorry about Roger."
"That wasn't your fault, I'm sorry if it spoiled your birthday," Josh said, continuing quickly, before Sam had a chance to start. "We'll see you tomorrow."
After Ainsley had left Josh looked at Sam. "What's your problem?"
"I want to get drunk."
"I can see that, but that's not what I meant."
"This is 'cos I hit the guy isn't it? You afraid of what Leo'll say?" Sam was glaring at Josh again.
"You didn't have to hit him."
"He hit you."
"No, he pushed me. I'm not made of glass, I won't break," Josh snapped. As soon as Sam hit the guy Josh knew why he'd done it, and he knew it had nothing to do with Ainsley. That really pissed him off, he thought they'd got past the, 'Josh needs protecting', phase.
Sam suddenly looked upset. "He hit you in the chest," he said quietly.
Josh's anger died out as quickly as it flared up. "Yeah I know. But I'm fine."
"I shouldn't have hit him. I just saw red." Sam sighed, "You think Leo's going to be pissed?"
"Probably," Josh said, a grin spreading across his face. "But we've annoyed him far more than that and survived, so I wouldn't worry. You want to stay here tonight?"
"Good morning, Donna, is he alone?"
"Hey, Leo. Yes he is, you want me to......?"
"No that's fine, I'll surprise him," Leo said. He walked into Josh's office and slammed the door shut behind him.
Josh jumped and his head snapped up from the memo he was reading. "God, Leo, do you have to do that?" he asked.
Leo felt a momentary pang of guilt at the fear that flashed into Josh's eyes, and he calmed down, slightly. "Nice evening, Joshua?"
"Yes thanks, you?" Josh replied, still trying to steady his breathing.
"Not as interesting as yours. Brawling in bars really isn't the image we're going for here."
Josh was well aware that the only way to calm Leo was to be honest and admit he was wrong, even though he didn't actually do anything. "Yeah I know. He was hassling Ainsley and it got out of hand. I'm sorry."
Leo relented. "Don't make a habit of it," he said. "Why did Sam hit the guy?"
"He was pushing Ainsley around, Sam was just defending her."
"Very noble of him," Leo said dryly. "You'd better speak to CJ about it, just in case she gets the question."
"Already have," Josh replied.
"Good." Leo studied his deputy for a moment. "I'll speak to you later," he said as he left the office. It really wasn't like Josh to get into fights in bars, and Leo wanted to get to the bottom of it. He knew that Josh wasn't going to tell him what really happened. He walked down to the basement and Ainsley's office.
"Good morning, Ainsley."
"Good morning, Leo," Ainsley smiled nervously. She hadn't really believed Josh and Sam when they said that Leo would find out about the brawl, but it seems he had.
"Don't look so worried," Leo said. "I just want to know what happened last night in The Taps?" he asked.
"It was just a misunderstanding," Ainsley tried.
"Sam hit the guy, Ainsley," Leo pointed out. "Who is he?"
"A friend, Roger Johnson. We were suppose to be going for a meal. He wasn't too happy to see me sat with Josh. He's not a big fan of Democrats. "
"So Josh was right, Sam was defending you?" Leo asked.
Ainsley thought about how to answer that. While it would be nice to think that Sam was defending her honor, that wasn't what she thought happened. "I think he was defending Josh, not me."
"Josh told Roger to leave me alone. Roger turned and punched him. That was when Sam came back and hit Roger."
"Josh didn't say he'd been hit," Leo said.
"It was more of a push I suppose," Ainsley quickly amended.
"In The Taps," Ainsley replied, a little confused.
"On his body?" Leo clarified.
"In the chest."
Leo understood now. Ainsley was right, Sam was defending Josh. Leo would have thought that Josh would be annoyed by that, and he didn't seem to be. "Thanks, Ainsley."
CJ left the press room and walked back to her office, she was actually amazed that no one asked her about Sam and Josh. "CJ," a voice called from behind her.
CJ sighed, she knew it was too good to be true. "Danny," she says.
"Is it true that Sam and Josh were brawling in The Taps last night?"
"Sam and Josh may disagree sometimes, Danny, but brawling seems unlikely," CJ replied as she entered her office.
"CJ, I'm asking you out here rather than in there, so be straight with me."
"What have you heard?"
"A Republican lawyer named Roger Johnson claims that Sam hit him for no reason."
"Does he?" .
"Josh, Sam and Ainsley Hayes were having a quiet drink. Roger Johnson came over and started hassling Ainsley, Josh told him to leave her alone and Johnson punched him."
"So Sam leapt to Josh's defense," Danny said. "I bet Josh loved that."
"You can imagine," CJ replied.
"That not how Johnson's telling it."
"If you want corroboration, Danny, you can contact the barman at the Taps. He had to pull Johnson off Sam."
Danny smiled knowingly. "While Josh held Sam back.".
"There's no story here, Danny."
"Well there shouldn't be, but anything about those two will always make news somewhere, especially since Rosslyn. You know that."
"Yeah. It's not your normal kind of story though."
"I'm not writing it. I like Josh and Sam and I've had the dubious pleasure of meeting Roger Johnson. It may get mentioned in there later, but I wouldn't think any of them will take it too seriously. You should be aware that Johnson has friends who write columns in publications that don't like this administration." Danny smiled, "Mind you, Ainsley Hayes also use to write for the same publications, so her being who the brawl was over will probably shut him up. I just wanted to tease you," he grinned.
Leo walked up to Donna's desk. "Is he in?" he asked. "I promise not to slam the door this time."
"Yeah, go on in," Donna smiled.
"Josh," Leo said walking into Josh's office and closing the door, gently.
"Hey," Josh replied, with a worried expression.
"I want to talk to you about Sam, do you have a minute?"
"Sure, what's wrong?"
"You're not serious?" Leo asked. "Come on, Josh, the last couple of days his attitude has frankly stunk. Then last night's brawl."
"I thought I'd explained that."
"Yes, you and Sam worked your story out quite well there."
"It wasn't a story, that's what happened," Josh protested.
"We both know that the reason Sam hit Roger Johnson had nothing to do with Ainsley, and so does she." Leo looked at Josh, "Why didn't you tell me that he hit you?"
"Because he didn't, he pushed me."
"But that's not how Sam saw it?"
"Apparently," Josh sighed. He leaned back in his chair and ran his hands through his hair. "Sam's had a bad couple of days. He's just found out that his father's been having an affair. He's taken it pretty badly."
Sam's foul mood made sense now. "That's understandable," Leo said.
"Yeah, but getting drunk and yelling at me isn't going to help is it?" Josh said, more to himself than Leo.
"You two fight?"
"Nah. He just needs someone to take his frustration out on." Josh smiled suddenly, "I'd rather it was me than unsuspecting Republican lawyers."
"His parents going to be okay?"
"I wouldn't have thought so. Turns out his father's been keeping another woman in a condo in Santa Monica for twenty eight years."
Leo raised his eyebrows at that. "Well I can see why he's pissed."
"He'll be okay, he just needs to work through it."
"Has he spoken to his father?"
"No. He won't even stay in his apartment 'cos his father paid the bond." Although Josh had every intention of making sure that Sam at least called his father. No matter how betrayed Sam, quite rightly, felt about his father's actions, it didn't change the fact that he was still his father.
"That seems a little extreme," Leo commented. "Okay, I'll give him some leeway. Does he know you've told me?"
"He asked me to."
"He staying at your place then?"
"Last couple of nights. Says he's going home tonight, we'll see how drunk he gets." Josh smiled, "Don't worry I'll look after him."
"I'll see you tomorrow, don't forget it's big block of cheese day."
"If only I could," Josh complained with a smile.