For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Lisa has a particularly violent nightmare, details unknown, and meets Sam's friend Gary for the first time. Gary pumps Sam for information before taking him home for a promised conversation with Lisa.

Sam unlocked his door and stepped into a darkened apartment. "Lisa?" he asked frantically. Turning on the light and leaving his briefcase by the door, he started looking through the apartment, calling to her. She wasn't in any of the rooms though her clothes were still in the chest of drawers and Sam the Donkey was still on the bedside table. For her to have kept it for so long, he guessed she wouldn't leave without it. Just when he was ready to give up his search, he noticed movement outside the bedroom window. Lisa was sitting on the fire escape. "Hey," he said as he opened the window.

"Hey," she said quietly, looking down at the city.

"You want to come inside?" he asked, offering her his hand. With a shrug, she accepted his hand, allowing him to pull her inside. "You scared me."

"What'd I do?"

"You weren't in the apartment."

"Sorry."

"It's okay."

"You're home early, aren't you?"

"A little."

"Why?"

"You promised me we'd talk."

"I did, didn't I?" Sam nodded, hoping she hadn't changed her mind. "Well, where do you want me to start?"

"The dreams." He watched as she visibly shuddered. "Lisa?"

"They're bad, Sam. I mean, they're really, really bad."

"What happens in them?"

"Last night was the worst."

"Tell me," he said, guiding her to the bed and letting her sit down. He crouched in front of her, resting his hands on her knees.

"We were back in D.C.," she said slowly. "Josh was there. We were on the Hill, all three of us." Her eyes started to water. "We weren't staffers, though. Well, if we were, it wasn't for Congress. We were laughing about old times, joking... This guy outta nowhere, Sam, h-he comes up and splits us up. You and Josh go one way; I go the other. I wanted to go with you but you said... You said I should go the other way, that I'd be safer."

Sam started gently rubbing her knee. "You know I'd never do that—I'd protect you but I'd never send you out on your own like that."

"I... I hear you call out for me so I backtrack to get to you..." A tear slowly started to fall from her eye. "You and Josh had gotten on the subway under the Senate..." She covered her mouth with her hand, trying not to cry but failing miserably. "Oh, God, Sam," she breathed.

"What, Lisa? Tell me." She closed her eyes tightly for a moment, only to open them again, seeing the vivid images from her dream burned into the backs of her eyelids.

"God, Sam, you were dead. There was blood everywhere. Josh was gone; the guy, too." She broke down completely. Sam eased around to sit beside her, holding her as she cried. "Your face, oh, God, Sam, your face..."

"Shh," he said. "It was just a dream. I'm here; I'm right here."

"Y-you had a wedding band... And so did I... I flashed on our wedding... But it wasn't really our wedding... I mean, we were in a church. You were in a tux and I was in a gown but... When I looked at you, it was the same as under the Senate, bloody a-and beaten. Murdered."

"I'm not dead, Lisa. It was all just a nightmare."

"It was so realistic, Sam."

"I know, but it wasn't."

"So real," she cried.

"What else is there?" he asked gently. "These hellish dreams of yours?"

"They won't stop," she muttered.

"How long have you had them?"

"Since... Since I started Wesley's campaign."

"Before we broke up?"

"Yeah."

"Why didn't you ever tell me?"

"You were in New York."

"I would have come down to Maryland for a while."

"You wouldn't have."

"Lisa—"

"I wouldn't have let you. You've got this job, Sam. And it's no right of mine to come take it away from you. By being here, I know I'm distracting you. I should... I should go..."

"Forget it."

"What?"

"You haven't figured it out yet... I'm not letting you leave, understand? I'm not letting you go again. Ever."

"You were right and you should know just how much it takes for me to admit that. You were right in that letter. I couldn't keep up with a campaign schedule and love you at the same time..."

"We have before, Lisa. We did at least twice. On the Hill, remember?"

"That was different."

"How?"

"We both wound up in D.C. when it was all over and done with. We were only apart on the weekends if that. I remember going to New Jersey with you and you coming home to Tennessee with me. It was very different."

"Why didn't you call?"

"You stopped calling me!" she said, moving to where she could look at him. "You stopped calling me."

"I didn't think you needed me anymore. If I had known that you were having trouble, I would have been on the first plane down."

"Exactly!" she said. "I didn't want that."

"Lisa, I'm confused. You don't want my help unless we're in the same city? And even then you don't want it if you know it'll take away from my work?"

"Yes."

"I don't understand."

"You've never wanted to stand in my way career-wise and I've never wanted to stand in yours. And now you're taking days off and skipping out early, going in late and having your friend cover for you. This isn't what I wanted. This isn't what I wanted at all."

"Then why are you still here?"

"Because I've come to the conclusion that what I want isn't what I need."

"Lisa?"

"I can't face the world alone. I thought I could. I've become too dependent and I'm not sayin' that's necessarily a bad thing. This week has been... odd and yet very familiar. To wake up and see you, to fall asleep watching you work... I've been thinking a lot."

"I can see that," he said slowly.

"I need to be with you. You're more important to me than politics. You're important than anything else in this world. I don't care if I wind up working at McDonald's or Burger King so long as I can go to sleep in your arms and have you be the first thing I see when I wake up. I love you, Sam Seaborn. I love you *so* much. And I apologize for all the troubles I've caused you this week—"

"No apologies. No regrets," he said, holding her close. "I love you, Lisa Cole."

That night, when they went to sleep, it was together. Perhaps the miracle of miracles was that Lisa slept peacefully the entire night. Sam woke up several times during the night, expecting Lisa to sit up screaming at any moment. She never did. When his alarm went off, he was going to slip out of bed quietly, allowing Lisa to sleep. Lisa was already awake, watching him. "Good morning," he said. She smiled warmly.

"Yes it is." Grinning back at her, he leaned over and kissed her.

"No bad dreams?" he asked when the kiss ended.

"No bad dreams."

Sam and Lisa (oh, very well... And a couple cameo appearances by a few other favorites...) will return in 'Fins Up.'

 

 

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