fabala_fic1: (Fambly)
[personal profile] fabala_fic1
Title: Burning Daylight
Fandom: The West Wing
Paring Toby/Sam
Spoilers: None. This is set about 15 years post-admin.
Rating: PG-13 for language and implied, non-explicit sex
Word count: 1189
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: I apologize for any huge and glaring geographical errors. I’ve never been to New York, and Google Maps could only offer me so much help.

They don’t make it out of D.C. proper before Sam’s got his phone out, narrating to Toby about the map he’s looking at, and the best way to get out of the city.

"I’m telling you, Sam, I know where the hell I’m going." Toby makes a face that is just about equal parts annoyance and amusement.

Sam sighs and keeps tapping and sliding his thumb on the screen. "And I’m telling you that if you just get off of 95--"

"No, trust me, that would be the exact opposite of a good idea. If we leave I-95, we’ll be driven to suicide before we get near Philadelphia, and then who’s gonna drive up and help Molly get settled into her apartment, take her for lunch?"

"If you didn’t want to drive up, we could’ve called Andrea."

Toby gives Sam a withering look, and Sam immediately wants to apologize. It was a bonehead thing to say, given that Andy’s not even in the country; she’s in London with Huck for another week. "Look, would you just-okay, Toby, just-both hands on the wheel, please?"

Toby laughs. It’s loud and big and Sam hasn’t heard it in too long. "Sam, are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how many times I’ve driven D.C. to New York? If there wasn’t so much traffic right now, I could do it with my eyes closed."

"Please don’t," Sam says. 'I’m just trying to be helpful, okay, so you don’t have to get so defensive."

"I’m not defensive, Sam, I’m simply informing you that, as someone who lived in California for half your life, you don’t know shit about driving on the east Coast. And you certainly don’t know shit about driving in New York."

"You know that I worked for something like seven years in Manhattan, right?"

Toby waves his right hand around dismissively. "You may have worked there, yes, but how many times did you personally drive a vehicle? Tell me you didn’t just take cabs and car services."

"I...okay, fine, I never drove in New York, but a lot of those drivers are crazy, Toby." Half a second out of his mouth, and Sam knows he’s stepped in it.

Toby shoots him a sideways glance. "It’s only crazy to outsiders, Sam. Besides, if you’re freaking out this badly now, how will you be once we’re actually in the city? Or will I have to lace your coffee with a Valium the next time we stop for a break?"

"No, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you’d brought some along, just in case."

Toby smiles. "I didn’t, but we’re barely out of D.C., and I can always stop at a drugstore for an alternative if I have to."

Sam sighs. "Look, fine, you can drive however you want. Just please don’t get us killed. I want to get there."

Toby changes lanes, merging about half a second after putting his blinker on, and Sam closes his eyes and mutters something under his breath. "Oh, Sam, calm down. Read the paper or something, would you?"

"I didn’t bring the paper. I read it before we left, and there wasn’t anything good in it."

"And there was nothing bad for us to pick apart, either? I’m disappointed in you, Sam. I thought you loved debating with me in small, confined spaces."

"Yeah, actually, not so much."


Just before they cross into Pennsylvania, Sam falls asleep. The last turn in the road (which, yes, Toby took a little sharper than strictly necessary) caused Sam to shift, so now his head is resting on Toby’s shoulder. Toby glances over, and his first instinct is to carefully manoeuver his phone out of the console without moving his shoulder or waking Sam up.

Sam looks 10 years younger when he sleeps. There aren’t any lines on his forehead, and he usually always pulls his arms up over his chest, hands near his mouth. (The last time Toby made a joke about Sam still sucking his thumb, the results were...unexpected. Welcomed, but unexpected.)

Toby turns the radio up half a notch, and Sam barely stirs. This is Toby’s opportunity to take several quick photos. He can’t look to frame them, so he just holds the phone up and what he guesses is level with his shoulder, points, shoots, and then drops the phone in his lap, waiting to see if Sam will wake up. When Sam hasn’t woken up in four miles, Toby picks up the phone, thumbing carefully through the pictures between watching the road, the transport truck in the lane beside them, and the little hybrid in front of them.

Sam finally wakes up when Toby stops the car. Toby is in need of more coffee and a restroom, not necessarily in that order.

"Come on, Sam. Let’s take a break."

They’re barely in the door before Sam smiles crookedly, wiping sleep out of his eyes. "Toby, you know what this reminds me of?"

"What? No." Toby glances around for a waitress. It’s decently busy in this place, but there only seems to be one woman working. She catches Toby’s eye, nods to him, and calls over, "Have a seat hon, I’ll be right there," while pouring coffee with one hand and grabbing two menus with the other.

"During the first campaign. That little place in Louisiana, remember? The one with the Christmas lights and the really good fruit beer?"

Toby doesn’t say anything, but Sam knows he remembers. They had put up strings of lights, even in the bathroom, and after Toby's third or fourth beer, since everyone had been busy watching Margaret kick Josh’s ass at pool, he’d taken Sam into the bathroom, and Sam had just barely managed to lock the door behind them before dropping to his knees. Toby’s head had fallen back against the wall, and he’s looked up into a string of white twinkle lights. When he’d come, he’d knocked his head against the wall so hard that the lights rattled, and Toby’d seen black spots in his field of vision for the better part of twenty minutes when they gone back to the table.

"I hated that beer, you know. I mean, pumpkin should never be a flavouring in beer. Beer should taste like beer, and pie should taste like pie. You start mixing those things, and the universe is just...off-center."

Sam steps past Toby and slides into a booth. "No funny beer this time, I promise."

"We’re just going to eat something, get more coffee, and keep driving," Toby says. "We have to be in the city by 4. Molly's expecting us."

"Sure." Sam says. As Toby steps by, Sam’s hand brushes the side of Toby thigh. He speaks quietly, so only Toby can hear him. "But you’ll tell me if there’s twinkle lights in the men’s room, won’t you?"

Toby laughs. "If there’s twinkle lights in the men’s room, Sam, I’ll you navigate straight through to New Jersey."

Sam nods. An hour later, he’s climbing back into the passenger seat of the car. "So, Toby, like I was saying to earlier, if we get off I-95..."

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August 2011


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