Title: Iambic Pentameter

Pairing: Annabeth Schott/ Ainsley Hayes The West Wing.

Rating: R

Archive: the usual suspects, everyone else ask.

Summary: Ainsley's never been very good at not talking, and the situation with Annabeth isn't helping. This is a sequel of sorts to "Vertically Challenged" and will make a great deal more sense is you read that first.

A/N: I was going to leave it be, I swear, and then muppetmanda gave me this image…so this one is her fault. I have never written Ainsley, and I'm not sure how true to her character this will but, but the muse demanded. So I answered.

Ainsley Hayes talked. When she was nervous or uncomfortable, she communicated...at length. It was an unfortunate habit that she had long striven to rid herself of. It had taken her years, and a position in That White House, but the young lawyer thought she had finally conquered the damnable trait of speaking in iambic pentameter when flustered. And then Leo died and she had awoken, back in That White House (which was forever in capitals in her mind) hungover, with a beautiful blonde press liaison sleeping on top of her, on said press liasion's couch. And once again she found herself giving Shakespeare a run for his money.

It hadn't started right away. In fact, That Morning, there had been few words at all.

Never one to black out or forget just because she had had a few drinks, it nevertheless took Ainsley a moment to come to terms with her situation when she opened her eyes in the early hours of the new day. And when she did, her first reaction – she sternly told herself – was panic. She had made a huge mistake. An understandable one – they had both been lonely and grieving and looking for some, any, small measure of comfort and understanding, and they were both short, which gave them a bond – but it was still a mistake.

That her body welcomed the feeling of Annabeth's slight weight and soft skin against her own was something Ainsley chose steadfastly to ignore.

Their leave taking had been nearly silent, filled with downcast eyes and too much awareness of the other's proximity. The only sounds were the rustling of cloth and strained queries about misplaced shoes.

Ainsley told herself she deserved it – that the tension she felt was her punishment for making such a potentially disastrous decision. Twitching her jacket into place and smoothing her hair back, however, she looked up and caught Annabeth's eyes. The smaller woman was standing next to her desk, fully dressed in her own tailored black suit. With her makeup gone, the severe color made the press liaison look younger, vulnerable, and Ainsley felt a fierce longing to simply wrap Annabeth back into her arms where she knew she would fit like they were made for each other.

Instead she opened her mouth, then closed it; for once totally at a loss for words. Finally, she nodded briefly, then turned and – checking to make sure no one was around – strode resolutely from That Office. That one second however, had made it abundantly clear that the tension she had felt was in no way the result of panic.

Despite the pall that Leo's death cast over the Capitol – even the Republicans couldn't find it in them to celebrate the death of a man who had truly given his entire life to his country – life, and politics, went on. Ainsley did her best to move forward but no matter how she tried to dive back into the swirling, rushing, often murky waters of the Nation's business, she was unable to forget That Night.

It was like a conspiracy.

If it wasn't seeing Annabeth on TV, poised and bright as a spokesperson for the Santos Campaign, it was her own wandering memory bringing back the nearly visceral sensation of delicate hands cupping her breasts; of a teasing tongue tracing her collarbone and wandering down her chest; of deep blue eyes filled with understanding; of being held while she cried and having her tears kissed sweetly away.

The images never failed to affect her, and more than one evening in the weeks following, Ainsley Hays found herself alone at her desk, on the verge of tears and deeply, achingly aroused as her vivid recollection of That Night replayed behind her eyes. As the weeks went by, it went from occasionally aggravating distraction to potential disaster as even her sleep was infiltrated, and her co-workers began to notice her exhausted state.

For a time, Ainsley was able to attribute it to Leo's death. After all, he had been her mentor and champion at That White House, and even the other Republicans understood that kind of loyalty.

When three weeks passed, however, and she found herself tuning out long winded tirades on Democratic spending in favor of reminiscing about the look on Annabeth's face when Ainsley had slid gently into her silky heat, she knew it had to stop. Now.

Which is how she discovered that her old nemesis of babbling in verse had not, in fact, been vanquished.

Ainsley had been quite proud of the way she had handled the situation. She had called the switchboard, spoken to the correct people, gone through the right channels, and scheduled a meeting with Deputy White House Communications Director/ Assistant to the Santos Campaign for one of the rare times Ms. Annabeth Schott would be back in That White House. All of course without actually speaking to Ms. Schott. That would have been impossible over the phone. Some things just had to be dealt with in person. Some nuances of communication could only be conveyed face to face.

Now she was here, in the room where they had spent That Night. The blinds were drawn, the door was locked, it was late evening and the halls were quiet outside the door, and Ainsley Hayes could not, for the life of her, find the eloquence she so desperately needed.

"This cannot, of course, happen. I am a Republican," she asserted as she paced back and forth, as if that explained everything. Maybe she was hoping it would, but one look at Annabeth, at those lambent, sparkling, knowing blue eyes and that sensuous mouth that had…No, she could not go there. She had to be rational about this and explain it to Annabeth, because obviously, this could. Not. Happen.

Annabeth was sitting primly on the edge of her desk, the desk that she had…No she could not go there either.

"I cannot do this!" Ainsley was horrified to hear her voice rise in such an unseemly manner. And still Annabeth didn't seem to understand. She simply sat quietly, her legs crossed at the ankle and her hands folded in her lap with her head cocked slightly and a mildly interested look on her face.

"We aren't doing anything," the press liaison pointed out calmly, one perfect eyebrow arched, and Ainsley had to repress the urge to scream, because deep down, she knew that the other woman was right. This wasn't a "them" problem, this was a "her" problem, and she was in so, so much trouble because deep down, Ainsley Hayes also knew that if she stopped talking, if she let go of that last, flimsy defense that she threw at the world, she would walk across this room in two strides, take Annabeth's face in her hands and kiss the smaller woman senseless.

"Currently no, you are correct. We are, in fact, not doing anything. That isn't what I was referring to," Ainsley was floundering. "I was referring to the situation, well the encounter really," if her tongue got any more tangled she was going to tear her hair out.

Spinning on her heel to continue her pacing, Ainsley was brought to a sudden stop by a new obstacle. Annabeth was suddenly directly in her path, hands on her slim hips and a very serious look on her delicate features.

Ainsley blinked.

Annabeth smiled, and the last thought that managed to make its way through the Republican's brain before Annabeth took her face in her hands and pressed impossibly soft lips against her own, was that the expression in the smaller woman's eyes was almost predatory.

And then she wasn't thinking at all, because Annabeth's tongue was parting her lips and sliding gently into her mouth and Ainsley was tangling her fingers in that satin fall of gold hair and she had to admit that the reality was so, so much better than all her memories these last weeks.

"Now, what, exactly is it that you think you can't do?" Annabeth murmured, her normally sharp voice gone soft and husky and sending chills up Ainsley's spine.

"I…have no idea," she sighed and then kissed Annabeth again.

They made love slowly, taking time to learn each other's bodies without the fog of alcohol and grief that had clouded their senses That Night. And they made love silently. Words, Ainsley instinctively understood, were not for this. Words were for denial or explanation, for all the reasons this was a bad idea and for all the people beyond the locked door. Their silence they gave to each other and let their bodies speak unhindered.

As Annabeth's lips and tongue traced meaningless, wonderful patterns on Ainsley's skin and her fingers drove the lawyer over the edge, Ainsley found Annabeth's eyes and understood, in the moment that her world dissolved, that some things could only be communicated perfectly without speaking.