Title: Home Again
Summary: Sam's welcomed back into the White House, but first there's a chilly problem to solve. Set immediately after chapter 9
Spoilers/Episode: Set in an a/u that leaves the show's timeline after season 5, Memorial Day. This chapter takes place immediately after chapter 9 .
Characters: Ensemble, Sam & Chloe (a little J/D, just for fun)
"Josh, tell me if I'm a little mad here, you know hallucinating or something," Will began.
"Okay," Josh replied
"I was driving past your building this morning and could have sworn I saw Donna walking down the stoop."
"Donna?" Josh asked, trying to think of a way out of this.
"Yeah, it was about 6."
"There are plenty of other blondes in Georgetown."
"Donna doesn't live in Georgetown," Will pointed out.
"So it wasn't Donna?"
"Leaving my apartment at 6 this morning?" Josh asked.
"Leaving your apartment at 6 this morning," Will agreed. "I know it was."
"She stays over sometimes."
"In the guest room?" Will asked with a smile.
"Yeah," Josh squirmed. "No, not in the guest room. You can't tell anyone, Will."
"Why. You make a great couple."
Josh smiled, "You think?" he asked, momentarily distracted."It doesn't matter. CJ will bounce me round the press room, Leo will replace me with an intern and those are nothing compared to what Toby will do."
"Yeah, I guess. What does Donna think about that though."
"She thinks we probably won't be able to keep it a secret for the rest of the term, but we should give it a shot."
"Could be fun," Will mused. "A secret relationship. Hey, I could help with alibis and secret rendezvous."
"You really need a hobby," Josh told him. "What the hell were you doing driving past my building at 6 in the morning?"
"I like the deli on the corner of your street."
"It doesn't open 'til 7."
"I know that now," Will sighed.
Josh looked over at Donna, "Stop what?"
"Glaring at Mark."
"Who the hell's Mark?" Josh asked.
"The intern you keep glaring at," Donna sighed.
"Did you see the way he looked at you?"
"Yes, he does that a lot."
"And it doesn't bother you?"
"It's flattering, Josh. A younger man finds me attractive." Donna glanced into the bullpen, "And it shouldn't bother you."
"It shouldn't bother me that an intern is leering at my girlfriend?"
"Not when no one knows I'm your girlfriend, no."
"Then there's another reason to tell everyone."
"We've had this discussion."
"Will knows about us."
"He saw you leave this the other morning. He's offered to give us alibis for our secret rendezvous," Josh grinned.
Donna raised her eyebrows, "Secret rendezvous?"
"His words not mine."
"He needs a hobby," Donna commented.
"Well done," Donna said as her and Josh entered his apartment.
"Thank you, what did I do?"
"You were behaved."
"Why wouldn't I behave?"
"Because you never like Sam's girlfriends, he was worried."
"One girlfriend, that's all. I admit I didn't like Lisa, she wasn't good for him."
"Wasn't good for him?" Donna asked.
"No. She was status mad, only cared what car someone drove, where they lived, where they worked, who their friends were, I can't stand that."
"I know you can't," Donna agreed. "He did mention that you didn't like someone called Julie he dated before Lisa."
"Yes," Josh agreed. "But she made a pass at me, in fact she made several passes at me."
"You weren't flattered, didn't find her attractive?" Donna teased.
"No, not when she was dating my best friend," Josh indignantly replied. "How can you even..."
"I was messing," Donna interrupted.
"Oh," Josh replied.
"So you like Chloe?"
"She's from Connecticut," Josh replied with a smile. "She seems nice, a little quiet at first, but once she relaxed she was good fun."
"She's only ever seen you, Toby and CJ on TV and you especially don't always come across as a nice person on Crossfire and Capital Beat. She was nervous of meeting us all."
"That makes sense I guess," Josh agreed and then gave her cheeky smile. "So, are we going to discuss Chloe, Sam and Sam's former girlfriends all night, or are you coming to bed?" Donna appeared to weigh up the options, so Josh pushed her gently. "Get in the bedroom now."
"And they say the romance fades after a while," Donna sighed.
Sam walked into the lobby at 7.15 on Monday morning and wondered why he felt so nervous, he hadn't felt like this since his first day at Dewey Ballantine. He walked into Josh's bullpen but neither Josh nor Donna were there, so he continued through the bullpen and to CJ's office, but she wasn't around either. He walked back across the lobby, past the Roosevelt Room and into Communications. The sight of his office bought a smile to his face and cured some of his nerves. He entered his office, placed the cardboard box he'd been carrying onto the desk and his briefcase onto the floor, he hung up his coat, sat down behind the desk and started reading through some files Toby had left for him.
"Hey," Josh leaned into the office five minutes later. "Come with me."
"Where are we going?" Sam asked.
"Come on," Josh insisted and led Sam through the west wing.
"Hang on," Sam said as they approached the Mural Room. "This isn't a thing is it?"
"You know, some kind of welcome back thing, 'cos I don't want a fuss."
"Ah," Josh smiled. "Bit late for that," he said as he opened the door to reveal a room full of people, including the president and Abbey.
"Surprise!" everyone shouted in unison.
Sam beamed and walked into the room. "Thank you," he smiled and took a drink off CJ. "Isn't it a bit early?" he asked her.
"It's OJ," she replied and kissed him on the cheek. "It's great to have you back."
"He didn't want a fuss," Josh told them.
"We misjudged that then," Jed smiled. "When I say we, I mean Toby."
Sam turned to face Toby and hugged him. "Thank you."
"This wasn't really my idea," Toby muttered.
"For taking me back," Sam clarified.
"You should probably reserve your thanks until the end of the week," CJ told him, "when you realize what you've done."
"Have you found an apartment?" Abbey asked.
"We did," Sam agreed as he took a slice of cake off the steward. "Near where I used to live on Capitol Hill. There was a nice one in Georgetown," he smiled toward Josh, "but there's some strange people live there."
"Will lives in Georgetown as well," Josh supplied.
"Well there you go then," Toby added.
"Where is he anyway?" Sam asked.
"He doesn't work for us," Toby sighed. "Why can't people understand that?"
"Don't start," Josh told him.
"I'm just saying, he sits in senior staff, he......"
"I know," Josh sighed. "But not now."
Sam grinned at the bickering; it felt good to be home again.
END OF CHAPTER 10