The Right Thing

by Kass

Thanks to Kouredios for beta!

When Leo glances at his watch he's startled to realize that they've left two a.m. behind. He's about to say something about needing to get some shut-eye when Jed, apparently sensing his intention, sets down his snifter in a way that indicates he's about to say something important. Leo waits for it.

"Leo," Jed says, and it sounds as though he's tasting the word on his tongue. "Stay."

The word reverberates in the room like a gunshot. It's the middle of the night; Charlie wouldn't come in here at this hour without calling first; they're as safe as they're ever going to be. And no one would think twice about the Chief of Staff already being here first thing in the morning. They've worked all night before, or close enough to it. Everyone would assume he'd slept on the couch.

But that's not what Jed's asking. It's been years since they did this, but instantly Leo wants it again -- wants it right now, greedily. And he can't. They can't.

"Mr. President--" Leo begins, and lets the title hang in the air. Because that's one big reason why they can't do this.

Jed scowls and gulps what's left in his glass. "Don't do that to me."

"You should get some sleep," Leo says, playing it safe, though this isn't about sleep and they both know it.

Jed sets down his glass and scrubs one hand over his eyes. When he meets Leo's gaze, he looks tired. Worn. He's letting down his guard, and Leo's heart aches.

"With Abbey in New Hampshire," Jed says slowly, and Leo knows they're both thinking about why she's gone, "nobody here calls me by my name."

"Sir," Leo protests, because that isn't fair. Damn it, Jed knows he wants to stay, and Jed knows why he can't, and he can't believe Jed is making him feel like an asshole for doing the right thing.

Jed's gaze is steady and his voice is quiet. "Don't make me beg."

The words tear through his defenses and that's it, Leo can't stand it, he can't not do this. Not when Jed is looking at him like that. "You know I wouldn't--" he begins, and his throat is suspiciously tight. "Jed," he says, finally, and the word feels strange on his tongue. He doesn't let himself use that name. It's his job not to let them be Jed and Leo. Right now he can't bring himself to care.

Jed's shoulders drop and his eyes close as though he's finally letting go of an unbearable weight. "Say it again."

"Jed," Leo mumurs, crossing the two feet to sit beside him. They cling to each other and he's not sure which of them is drowning and which one's the life raft.

The kiss is slow and tender. Jed feels so good, tastes so good, and in some dim part of his mind he knows he's not supposed to let himself want this but right now he can't help it. When they break to breathe he nips at Jed's lip one more time, gently. He doesn't want to stop.

"Sorry," Jed murmurs, and Leo pulls back enough to look him in the eye.

"What for?"

Jed gestures with his head toward the empty snifter on the coffee table. "Should've brushed my teeth."

Leo almost laughs, because he hadn't even noticed the taste of the booze. That's not the addiction he's worried about feeding. "Don't worry about it," he says instead, and when Jed smiles at him he can see the boyish charm shining through again.

Jed turns down the lights. By the time Leo's loosened and removed his tie (his jacket came off hours ago) and toed off his dress shoes, Jed's stripped down to boxer shorts and an undershirt, and Leo follows him to bed without undressing further. He's hungry to touch Jed's skin.

But once they get there, Leo takes his time. If he's going to let himself do this, he's going to savor every instant. He presses his lips to Jed's jaw, to his throat (not biting, not even a little, not willing to risk making a mark -- with the First Lady out of state, they can't afford even a hint of visible impropriety), to his chest through the thin cotton of the undershirt, to one wrist and palm. And Jed lets him, sighing in appreciation as Leo meanders down his body.

They're not young anymore; arousal takes time. But sooner than Leo expected, Jed's pushing restlessly up, seeking more, and Leo tugs his boxers down and angles him up.

Jed groans and lets his thighs fall further apart, clenching his fists in the coverlet. Leo's drowning in the sensation (heavy cock against his tongue), the sounds (Jed's harsh breathing and little gasps), the yearning. He pulls back because he wants to go slow. He should have the willpower to say no next time Jed asks. He should make it good this time, in case it's the last.

"You magnificent bastard." Jed's voice is rich with appreciation. "You've been holding out on me."

"You know why," Leo reminds him, and bends to take him in again.

Jed doesn't dignify that with a verbal response.

After, Jed's eyes are closed and he's wearing a goofy smile. Leo permits himself a minute to store the mental image away, then pushes back and scrambles for the edge of the bed. His own erection aches, but he'll ignore it. It will subside. Or maybe he'll take himself in hand in the shower when he gets back to his room. He shouldn't let himsef think of Jed while he does it, but he knows himself well enough to know that he won't be able to resist that. Not right away.

"Where are you going?" Jed pushes himself up on his elbows. His hair is mussed. He looks happy. Leo's heart does somersaults even as he's fumbling for his shoes.

"Get some sleep," Leo says gently.

"You didn't answer my question."

"Back to my room, change my tie, probably head to the office," Leo says.

"Like hell you are." Jed sits up all the way.

"Sir--" Leo begins, and Jed glares.

"Oh, no you don't. Get back here."

"I don't need--"

"Are you punishing yourself?"

He must have blanched visibly, or flinched, because Jed keeps going with increasing certainty in his voice.

"You are, aren't you? Is it because we're committing adultery? Because let me tell you, the God that I worship doesn't begrudge two old men a moment of pleasure, and I'm perfectly prepared to discuss it with Him when I reach the pearly gates."

"That's not--"

"And my wife," Jed says, putting a little extra English on the word just to watch Leo squirm, "doesn't either. She's pissed at me, but that doesn't have anything to do with you. And even when she comes back, she's not going to be upset with you. She loves you, Leo."

The words penetrate like a knife: sharp and sudden, not quite pain.

"We both do," Jed says.

"I know." And Leo does.

"Besides," Jed says, pressing his advantage, "if you don't let me reciprocate, I'm liable to imagine that this is just one more form of faithful service."

The words are light, but Leo hears what's behind them.

"You know it isn't," Leo says. His shoes fall out of his hands and he's moving toward the bed again before he's wholly processed what he's doing. Who is he kidding? If Jed asks, he's there. He's always been there.

"You didn't even take off your clothes," Jed chides him, pushing him onto his back and going straight for the button and zipper on his trousers. And then, forestalling Leo's objection, adds "let me enjoy this."

"I thought you were enjoying it." Leo can feel his mouth taking on a happier version of his usual crooked smile.

"Smartass," Jed says, but he's grinning.

Leo can't help hissing a gasp as Jed releases the zipper.

"And you were going to just go," Jed chides, settling in alongside him. The kiss this time is slow and dirty and full of intent. When Jed grasps him, Leo groans helpless into his mouth. The twist of Jed's hand, the feel of his body alongside Leo's, the kiss -- it's all too good, and it's over too soon.

If there are tears at the corners of his eyes, they both ignore them.

Jed flops back on the pillow beside him and for a few minutes they both just lie there. Leo spares a glance; Jed's eyes are closed, but he's smiling up at the ceiling. Leo can't close his eyes -- can't risk the possibility of falling asleep, of being found there -- but he takes a few deep breaths, feeling his heartrate slowing again.

When he feels the press of Jed's hand, the tight clasp, he holds on tight. Just for this instant, he can imagine that he's never letting go.

The End