Hey there. As stated in my note, this is the sequel to my story "Endings" that explained my version of why Lisa isn't around causing trouble today.
This is in Leo's POV.
Just the Beginning (Sequel to Endings)
Disclaimer: The WW gang doesn't belong to me so would you stop hassling me about it already? If they *were* mine, Toby would realize how much Sam means to him and poor Samuel would have a medical file thicker than Mulder's.
Author's Note: This one follows directly after "Endings" in which Sam's fiancÚ died. This story is written in Leo's POV.
I've seen a lot of horrible things in my life. Terrible, unspeakable things still haunt me in my sleep. But I don't think I've ever seen anything as bleak as this. Not even in my days during the war, and back then I used to think I'd never see anything more horrifying. I was wrong, oh so wrong. Nothing even compares to this.
I've been keeping a discrete eye on him these past few days and I've watched as his heart breaks a little more every day. I know that every night that he has to go back to that empty house in Georgetown, he dies a little more.
We've all tried to be there for him in any way that he'll let us. For such an open, caring man, he's surprisingly closed off and withdrawn. But none of us blame him. How could we? The love of his life and his unborn child were taken from him so cruelly, so suddenly.
It seems fitting that it would be overcast and near freezing for the funeral. As hard as it is for him now, I don't think he could have handled it if this happened in the spring when the air was fresh, the sun shining and the birds singing. It would have been too much for him. So even as I stand huddled in the thickest trench coat I own, my nose close to falling off, I thank god that the weather is fitting for the gloomy occasion.
They're all here, even Jed, trying their best to show him that he's not alone, that he still has someone to turn to. But I doubt he'll actually come to any of us - at least not now. He's still too caught up in his grief and shock. We'll be here though, for as long as it takes for him to come around and realize that he can't get through it all alone.
Josh and I talked the other day, when Sam's depression seemed to be an even heavier weight on all of our shoulders than usual. We talked about how we had never realized before how much we all depended on him to be the upbeat, carefree one. I guess it was always inconceivable to us all that the fairy tale life he's been leading could be stolen from him like this. And we're all at a loss now as to what to do - what to say. Wasn't always Sam, after all, the one who was the first to step forward with his compassion when something like this happened to someone else?
Warily, my eyes travel over to where Sam stands between Lisa's parents and her sister. Sam's own parents are long dead, so Josh just recently told me. I shake my head as I try to imagine how alone he must feel right now.
His face is drawn and pale, and his normally delicate, clean-shaven cheeks look rugged with a shadow of stubble. His eyes are haunted, the once happy blue darkened to something that makes me shudder every time our eyes meet. And the way his black suit hangs off his gaunt frame...
I begin to wonder if Sam will make it through this after all. Josh told me that he's one of the strongest men he's ever known, but standing here, as the rain slowly starts to fall, watching as whatever remains of Sam's heart shatters and freezes over, I have to consider the what-if.
What if this is all too much for him? What if he can't handle it, all alone now in the world? Will we be able to stop his downward spiral before it's too late, or will Josh lose another best friend? Will Toby lose a deputy?
It's unthinkable, but the thoughts are there. Blinking back the tears, even though I know they'd only mix with the rain and no one would be the wiser, I hug Jenny close, glad that I still have my family. Even Mallory graciously offered to come, but I turned her down. I don't think unfamiliar faces are what are best for Sam right now, even if they're there to support him.
It's really begun to rain hard now, as the priest's final words are spoken softly. The sister moves forward and begins the eulogy she's prepared. She talks of fond memories of growing up with Lisa and I watch as Sam's face crumbles. No one else seems to notice at first. Lisa's parents are too caught up in their grief, and no one else is really standing very close to the family. But suddenly Toby's there, emerging from the crowd. I watch, surprised as the gruff man stops close at Sam's side and slides an arm over his back, steadying the younger man just as his knees start to buckle.
There are no tears as the two men from Communications listen to Lisa's sister speak of days long past, of the love she knew her sister felt when she met Sam. I don't think Sam's shed a tear since that night in his office when I came upon him with Toby and Josh. It was then that I first found out about it. I remember the way Sam looked up to me, his eyes beseeching mine to make it all better. And I had to fight off the urge to run off and tear the young driver apart for doing this to my friend.
God I remember when Mallory used to get sick, or hurt, and she'd look up at me with those soulful eyes and beg silently for her daddy to make it all better. I swear, that night, Sam's eyes held that same plea, and it nearly rendered my soul into two knowing that I couldn't do anything to make it better. I couldn't bring Lisa or his baby back to life. They were gone, and so, I was afraid, was Sam's innocence. That cherished quality we all tried to keep intact in him was gone.
The sister's done now and I watch, my throat closing up and choking me, as Sam steps away from Toby. He approaches the casket with red-rimmed, dark eyes and stoops to take a handful of dirt. His fist clenches around the soil for a moment, trembling as he holds it over the casket and there's so much anguish on his face that for a moment I think that he might just collapse right there. But then he bites his lips hard, hard enough to make it bleed and as a terrible shudder rips through his body, his fingers loosen and he lets the dirt fall onto the coffin's surface.
I watch as he stands there for another minute, staring brokenly at his love's final resting-place. Then Toby's there again, taking his upper arms in his hands and pulling him back slowly. Lisa's parents, sobbing in each other's arms and the sister are next to step up but I only have eyes for my young friend and his turmoil.
Toby's having little luck pulling Sam any further from the grave. The younger man is still staring at the casket, his body shaking. He's drenched and I wonder why he's not wearing a trench coat. He'll get sick, but of course I doubt if he cares much. Toby's resigned himself to wait with Sam and they stand there together, two dark statues, as the rest of the mourners start to leave.
Soon it's only us. Even Lisa's family has left. Josh approaches the duo first, and CJ follows closely. I exchange a look with Jed and he nods before asking Abbey and Zoey to go on without him. We walk up to the group slowly, side by side in our sadness as we are in all other things.
Toby still has his arm around Sam, and Josh adds his. Then CJ's at Toby's side, slipping an arm around her old friend's waist I have to bite my lip hard to stop the tears now, even though I know everyone but Sam's crying too. I bring my arm around Josh's shoulders and I soon feel Jed's arm go around me. We form a sad, lonely circle against the rain as we let each other's presence ward off the worst of our grief. I can only hope this is helping Sam at all.
And then it occurs to me that this is the first time we've all been together outside of work, on our own time. Grimly, I reflect that had it not been for this tragedy, perhaps Sam's wedding would have been our first gathering. But instead here we are, shivering in the cold and the rain, clinging to each other for warmth and comfort. The world is a hard, dark place right now and I don't think it'll ever brighten until we see Sam's eyes sparkle again, or his lips twitch into that eager, irrepressible grin of his.
Later, in the warmth of my home, lying in bed with my wife in my arms, I can't quite recall who was the first to leave. Maybe it was Jed when Abbey got worried about him getting sick again, since he's just recovered from a bout of bronchitis. Or it could have been CJ, with some briefing to attend to, because I know that she did indeed head back to the White House afterward.
It wasn't long before I was leaving and it was only Sam and Toby there. I'm not sure if Toby stayed there with him until he could convince him to leave, or if he too left eventually, leaving Sam alone on his silent vigil.
And lying here, fighting off the slumber that I know will bring images of haunted blue eyes and innocence lost, I can't help but think that it will be a long time before the world brightens ever again. I think the sparkle in Sam's eyes was thoroughly drowned today by the rain and our tears. And the memory of the family he had had so briefly is too heavy for him to lift his lips and smile. It'll be a long time. But I don't think it won't happen. Not with us around to give him our strength. Not with us around to keep the demons and the hardships away. We were caught off guard with this, but we won't ever let something like this slip past us again.