This is a story I wrote for Jenn to make her post more of Don't Ask on the ESF list. But since I got such nice reactions to it over there, I thought I'd post it here too.
This deals with the question of what happened to Sam's fiance. It takes place probably only a month after winning the White House.
And please be kind - this is my first first-person story I've written EVER and Josh sort of just took control.
Disclaimer: Sam and the others aren't mine.
Author's Note: This one's for Lieutenant Jenn.
It felt wrong to feel so sad. In the face of what Sam was going through I really had no right to feel upset. At least that's how it felt. And as much as I wanted to appear untouched by the news, and as much as I wanted to be the strong supportive friend that he needed, I couldn't seem to stop the tears that flowed down my face.
"She's dead because of me, you know," he whispered, his shoulders hitching. I stood by his side as we stared out his office window and said nothing. What could I say? Even if my foggy mind were able to think up something appropriate, I'm not sure I could speak around the lump in my throat.
Behind us, Toby sighed. "Sam, don't be an idiot. You know that's not true." Even though I knew better than to expect anything other than his usual gruff manner, I still wanted to hit the older man for being so callous. I settled for glaring over my shoulder at him.
Sam was shaking his head when I turned back to him. "No, you're wrong Toby. This never would have happened if I hadn't dragged her out here with me. If I had just let her go…"
This time Toby snorted and not even a second glare from me could stop him from speaking his mind. I know we pay him for thinking up what to say, but sometimes I really wish he'd shut up. "Sam, you're being so cliché that I think Lisa would smack you upside the head if she knew you were doing it. Snap out of it. This wasn't your fault. It was an accident."
Before I could open my mouth to defend him, Sam whirled around and stalked over to where Toby stood, getting right up in his face like I'd never seen him do to anyone before, least of all a man like Toby Ziegler. "What the hell do you know about it Toby?" he hissed. "The woman you love is still alive. You didn't just lose everything that matters most to you so shut up!"
Stunned, I stood staring in shock at my best friend. I don’t think Toby was faring any better. Sam Seaborn is one of the most unthreatening, even-tempered, non-aggressive men I know. He didn't get in people's faces. He didn't hiss at them or tell them to shut up. Sam was too mild and polite for that. I finally began to understand what this was doing to him.
Toby stared unblinkingly, his gaze locked with Sam's red-rimmed, hollow eyes. I watched as something sparked in Toby's eyes. I think it was understanding, and respect. Up to that point Toby had always considered Sam a child needing to be babysat. I think he finally started to view him as a man just then - a man tempered and matured by his losses.
"I'm sorry Sam," Toby murmured lowly, his chin on his chest and his gaze still held by Sam's. "You're right, I don't understand. I'm sorry."
Sam seemed to wilt and sag in on himself. There was no triumph to be felt in winning that argument. I think he almost would have preferred to lose it just then. He nodded weakly and I noticed how his shoulders were beginning to tremble. "She… she was on her way to the hospital," he choked out.
Toby and I shot each other looks; neither of us had known that. "Sam? Why was Lisa going to the hospital?" I asked quietly, taking a step towards him.
If it were possible, I'd say that Sam shrunk even smaller just then. He bit his lip and turned away from Toby to sit on the couch against the wall. He sat bent at the waist, with his arms resting on top of his legs, his hands dangling between his thighs and his head hanging to his chest. "She was pregnant," he muttered.
I think the chaos that my world had become got even more chaotic. Lisa had been pregnant? I didn't know how Sam could still be alive. Hell, I don't think I could survive something like this.
Looking over at Toby, I noticed that he was just as knocked off his feet as me. Sam had never said anything about her being pregnant. And as I thought about it, I began to feel hurt. After all, Sam's been my best friend for years and Lisa one of my closest. For a while there we had even dated before everyone realized she and Sam were meant for each other. So why had neither of them ever told me they were having a baby?
"We wanted it to be a surprise," Sam whispered as if he had read my mind. Sam was always doing that and even with all my confusion and grief, I still managed to be creeped out about it as usual. He looked up at us with dead eyes and his mouth twitched into a grim little smile. "Surprise." His cold stare and the tone of his voice added even more weight to my already aching heart. He was losing his innocence - the innocence that we all loved about him - and there was nothing I could do - short of bringing Lisa back - which could put a stop to it.
He began chuckling darkly, lowly, letting his head drop back to his chest. Biting my lip to keep from adding a voice to my tears, I moved forward blindly to crouch down in front of him. I could feel Toby following and then he reappeared at my right to take a seat beside Sam. I briefly wondered where the others were.
My attention refocused on Sam when I noticed that he was looking at us again. "The bastard didn't have a scratch on him, Josh. Not a scratch. Neither did his damn girlfriend." His voice was so anguished that it tore at me. I knew I'd be hearing that voice in my dreams for weeks to come. "He should have been hurt. Dammit, if they hadn't been out joy-riding…"
"You don't mean that Sam," Toby interjected. "You don't wish that those kids were hurt."
Sam's shoulders really started to shake then; he was really starting to fall apart. I was at a loss for what to do; I had never seen Sam like this. He was always so sunny, and energetic, and untouched by the world. The thought began to occur to me that he might never be like that again after this. I couldn't let that happen; I wouldn't. Looking up at Toby and meeting his eyes, I knew he wouldn't either.
I placed a hand on Sam's knee while I took one of his with my other. Toby slid a hesitant arm around his shoulders as the younger man sobbed. "I was going to be a father," he whispered.
"I know, pal, I know," I choked, squeezing his hand. "And you would've been the best damn father any kid could hope for." And it was true. I knew that any kid who was lucky enough to have Sam as a father was truly blessed.
"Sam… this isn't the end. You'll make it through this because you're strong. And when you don't feel strong enough, you'll have us here to be strong for you. You're not alone Sam; I know you think you are, but you're not. You have us."
I stared at Toby in shock as the older man made his speech, tightening his grip on Sam's shoulders, as he became surer of his role as the comforting friend. I never would have thought Toby could *be* comforting, and especially not to Sam, who on a good day he could barely stand. But there he was.
Sam leaned into Toby a little and his boss held him as he let out his grief. It was a long time before Sam's tears stopped flowing. I know he didn't stop because the sadness was gone. He was just too tired to shed anymore tears.