The Friday Night Club: 2. Leo


Seven fifty eight…seven fifty nine…


Leo McGarry glanced at his watch, and then at the door. It was Monday morning, and all the senior West Wing staff were gathered in his office for the usual weekly briefing; all except Josh.


Eight O Clock.


Precisely on time, to the second, Josh put his head around the door and then insinuated his entire body into the room as if he hoped nobody would notice he was actually there.


“Come in, Josh, we were waiting for you,” Leo said, gazing at his Deputy Chief of Staff dispassionately, his sharp gaze missing nothing. Josh was usually the first to arrive for their regular Monday briefing – and Leo knew for a fact that Josh had been in the West Wing at 6am this morning so it was hardly a case of him oversleeping.


“I’m not late am I?” Josh had a look very much like a startled rabbit – and his eyes made sweeping contact with every single person in the room except Leo. Leo was not surprised. He had wondered whether Josh would bounce in, bright and early as usual, and pretend that he had not spent Friday evening in a rather unorthodox situation with the President, or whether he’d do exactly this – creep in just on time, and try to avoid Leo’s eye. No, Leo was definitely not surprised that Josh had taken the latter course of action. His Deputy Chief of Staff was excellent at his job, and Leo was pleased to count him as one of his closest friends – but nobody ever pretended that Josh was remotely emotionally literate. Usually he wasn’t even sure of what he was feeling precisely because he was too caught up in his own emotions to understand them. Leo, on the other hand, had made an art form of practiced detachment – and he was an acute observer of those around him.


“You’re exactly on time, Josh,” Leo said, waving his hand to his Deputy. Josh nodded, fixing his gaze absently but determinedly on a spot somewhere over Leo’s right shoulder and took his place standing by the door in the crowded room, still not making eye contact with his boss. Leo gave an inner sigh – he had expected something like this to happen, but he needed Josh’s mind to be 100% on his job right now, and not on what had happened to him on Friday night. Leo knew that this was a situation he’d have to take care of sooner rather than later.


He turned his attention to the meeting, giving his usual quick, incisive briefing. CJ was on good form, playing around with a story that they knew would break later that day, trying to find a positive spin on what was clearly a defeat for this administration whichever way you looked at it. Josh stood with his shoulders hunched miserably throughout – the fact that this story was breaking at all was his fault and he knew it and everyone else in the room knew it, and all CJ’s amusing word plays didn’t change that.


Finally Leo brought the meeting to a close and the staff began to file out. Josh, closest to the door, turned to go with a look of relief, which Leo proceeded to wipe off his face with three terse words.


“Not you, Josh.”


Josh stiffened, swallowed hard, and turned back. CJ smiled at him and glanced at Leo.


“Is Josh being punished for the Crossley story getting out?” She asked. Out of the corner of his eye, Leo saw Josh wince – this was standard CJ talk, standard West Wing talk – CJ couldn’t possibly have had any idea how her choice of words would have impacted upon his hapless Deputy.


“No, Josh isn’t being punished. Josh was punished for that last week,” Leo told her with just a hint of a gleam in his eyes. This time Josh’s wince was pronounced and his face was painted a shade of deep red. “And as far as I’m concerned that’s an end to the matter,” Leo added. “We’re into damage limitation now.”


“Okay,” CJ said brightly, giving Josh another smile as she passed him on her way out – a smile that didn’t even register on his radar as he stood, glumly, gazing into space.


Leo waited. He didn’t say a word even when the door closed leaving the two of them alone together. Josh shifted uncomfortably and his gaze moved erratically from a spot over Leo’s right shoulder to a spot over his left shoulder. Leo tapped his finger on the desk, still waiting. Josh bit on his lip, and then, finally, reluctantly, his eyes slid downwards to meet Leo’s. That was Leo’s cue, and, having finally gained Josh’s full attention, he started to speak.


“So, I’ve been speaking to the President about what happened on Friday night,” Leo plunged straight in there, wanting to study Josh’s reaction – which, as it turned out, was quite dramatic. Josh took a sharp intake of breath, his dark eyes almost agonised. “What’s the matter, Josh? Did you think I was just going to ignore what happened?” Leo said, still gazing at him intently, pinning the younger man where he stood with the full force of his steely stare.


“No. Sorry…it’s just taking me some time to get used to this,” Josh said, his voice barely more than a whisper. He sat down on the chair in front of the desk with a heartfelt sigh.


“If you’ve changed your mind…” Leo began.


“I haven’t!” Josh said, too quickly.


“Okay then.” Leo nodded. “I told the President that I would talk to you and I intend to do just that.”


“Here?” Josh looked shocked.


“No, of course not.” Leo gave an impatient wave of his hand. “You’ll be having lunch with me at my hotel today.”


“I will?” Josh looked surprised. “Uh, sorry – it’s just that I already have a lunch appointment.”


“Then you’ll cancel it.” Leo shrugged. “I’ll see you at the hotel at one o clock.”


“Okay,” Josh said, getting up and hotfooting it eagerly to the door, clearly glad that the meeting was over.


“Not so fast, Josh. Come back here,” Leo said. Josh turned, and gave a weak smile. He returned and stood in front of the desk, looking for all the world like a naughty schoolboy which, Leo supposed must be pretty much how he was feeling. “Josh, you do an important job and you do it well. I need to know that you’re going to continue to do it well and that you’re able to keep your mind on your work,” Leo said gently but firmly. Josh relaxed and ran his hand through his hair, which was already starting to take on the appearance of a crazy professor.


“You can rely on me, Leo. You know that,” he said, a hint of the old Josh finally starting to shine through.


“I’m glad to hear it. Perhaps when this lunchtime meeting is out of the way you’ll feel that matters have been resolved more in your own mind,” Leo said, still studying the young man thoughtfully. Josh seemed aware of the scrutiny. He straightened up, trying to look purposeful and together, and nodded. “Yes, everything’s changed,” Leo said softly. “But at the same time, everything is still exactly the same. Do you understand that, Josh?”


Josh took a long, deep breath and then exhaled slowly. “I think so, Leo. It’s just taking some time getting used to it.”


Leo sat back in his chair and studied Josh intently. He tried to imagine this young man as Jed had seen him on Friday evening. The President had told him all about his session with Josh – in some detail, as Leo had requested a full briefing. It had been Leo’s suggestion that Jed approach Josh on Friday; Leo had an instinct for people, and his instinct had told him that Josh would welcome Jed’s help. At it turned out, he hadn’t been wrong.


At that moment there was a knock on the door and the President breezed into the room without waiting for a reply – something that Leo really hated, and which, moreover, Jed knew Leo hated – which was the source of many a bickering contest between the two of them, a contest that Leo always won – every Friday evening in fact.


“Good morning, Leo! Good morning, Josh!” The President said brightly, clearly in one of his better moods. “Leo, I need to see you – we’ve got that Ambassador coming and I want to go through the briefing notes with you as I can’t make head nor tail of them. Josh are you in on this meeting with the Ambassador or not?”


Josh jumped like a startled fawn. “Uh, no, sir,” he said.


“Okay.” The President turned back to Leo. “Is anyone in on this meeting except me?” He asked.


“I could arrange for Charlie to sit in on it if you feel you want some moral support,” Leo said. The President made a face at him and then turned to Josh with an expansive wave of his hand.


“Ambassador Farley was an appointment of the previous administration, Josh,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say that he stands for everything I do not and that even two minutes spent in the same room as him is two minutes too long.”


“You’ll do fine, sir,” Leo said. “Josh – you can go. I’ll see you later.”


“Yes, by all means go, Josh,” the President declared. “Everyone else seems to have deserted me in my hour of need.”


Josh gazed at both men for a split second, a look of utter incredulity on his face, and then fled, closing the door behind him.




“Was it something I said?” Jed asked, coming to perch on Leo’s desk – another habit Leo hated, as his old friend knew only too well.


“I think you just scared him, sir,” Leo pointed out.


“I scared him? His face was as white as a sheet when I walked through the door. You scared him, Leo. I was just putting him at his ease.”


“You’re in a fine mood today, sir,” Leo commented, not intending to get drawn on that topic.


Jed studied him for a moment, and then his entire persona changed, his mood shifting diametrically in the space of a few seconds in a way that Leo had come to be very familiar with.


“Did you speak to him yet, Leo?” Jed asked, his voice soft and full of concern.


“Not yet, sir, but then it is only 8am and I did only arrive back in Washington at 5.30 this morning,” Leo pointed out. “I have however invited him to lunch.”


“Invited or ordered?” Jed chuckled.


“It’s fair to say that I didn’t give him many options,” Leo replied with a slight smile, and an inclination of his head.


“Damn – I hope you can stop him looking so scared. He was fine on Friday.”


“He’s had two days to think about things since then, sir,” Leo pointed out.


“I guess. I really want this to work, Leo,” Jed sighed. Leo studied his old friend for several seconds, and then nodded.


“I know, sir. I’ll talk to him. If it’s right then it’ll happen.”


“And if it isn’t it won’t?”


“That’s right.” Leo shrugged. “Have you spoken to Abbey?” He said, changing the subject. He knew Jed’s heart was in the right place, but, as always, his enthusiasm could sometimes hamper more objective considerations. Leo knew he needed to have a very long talk with Josh before he could decide how best to proceed.


“Yeah.” Jed smiled. “I called her last night in Oregon or Tucson or wherever it is she is right now.”


“And?” Leo waited patiently.


“And what?”


Knowing Jed was being deliberately obtuse, Leo continued waiting, one eyebrow raised ever so slightly. Finally his recalcitrant friend gave in.


“And I mentioned Josh and…what happened on Friday.” Jed shrugged.


“And?” Leo prompted again.


“And she was fine about it!” Jed said in an exasperated tone. “In fact she didn’t seem remotely surprised when I broached the subject. I wonder why that is, Leo?” It was Jed’s turn to raise an eyebrow now.


“She’s a very perceptive woman, sir,” Leo commented neutrally.


“Yeah.” Jed gave him a knowing look. “Just how long had you been planning this, Leo – and when did you talk to Abbey about it?”


Leo gave a little grunt, and smiled. “Planning is probably too strong a word, sir. I just thought it might be something that would work out the way it did and I thought I ought to run it by Abbey first to see if she was okay with it. If she hadn’t been, then I wouldn’t have suggested it to you.”


“Are you telling me that you’ve been seeing Abbey behind my back, Leo?” Jed demanded.


“We have lunch together once a week, sir,” Leo informed him. “Schedules permitting of course. She’s a very busy lady and occasionally my diary can get a little full too,” he said with masterly understatement.


“You have lunch together?” Jed got up and threw his hands in the air. “Since when?”


“You knew about this, sir. She tells you, and I’ve certainly told you. Several times.”


Jed paced around the room while Leo sat back in his chair watching him calmly. This was not a serious Jed explosion. This was just his old friend letting off some of the steam he built up in his job by releasing it safely, over trivia, and with his best friend who he trusted with his life. Leo could take it – and it was better to blow up a storm with Leo than to lose his cool in a meeting with the UN security council or the joint chiefs of staff, or any of the other people he had to meet during the course of his working life. Leo knew that and he thought Jed probably knew that too. Leo also knew that Jed wasn’t remotely upset by the fact he had lunch with Abbey once a week, although he suspected that Jed was uncomfortable with the idea that the main topic of conversation during those chats was undoubtedly himself. No, all this current drama was about getting Leo to tell him what he talked about with Abbey and Leo had no intention of doing that as Jed well knew – it was a cat and mouse game between them which they both enjoyed, even if, on this occasion at least, Jed knew he wasn’t going to win. Jed stopped pacing and glanced at Leo, who was still sitting, patiently, in his chair, completely unmoved by his President’s sense of melodrama.


“Once a week?” Jed asked.


“Yes, sir.” Leo nodded.


“And what do you talk about during these lunches, Leo?” Jed demanded. Leo smiled – this was at the crux of the matter.


“Things.” He shrugged.


“Me?” Jed pressed.


“Sometimes.” Leo inclined his head. “And other things.”


“Once a week?” He asked again.


“Yes, sir.”




“Yes, sir.”


“Leo, are you having an affair with my wife?” Jed asked, the twinkle in his eye showing that he did not think for a second that that was the case.


“No, sir,” Leo replied. “I’m having lunch with your wife. I’m having an affair with you.”


That stopped Jed in his tracks. He thrust his hands into his pockets, and made a strangely endearing little face, his eyes soft and full of affection, his mouth pursed into a half smile. Leo knew all of his lover’s little gestures and expressions and this one never failed to melt him. He didn’t need Jed to say he loved him. Didn’t need him to give up his wife, or his job, or to openly declare that they were lovers. Didn’t need that or want it. He had everything he wanted right here, could see it in Jed’s eyes every day of their working life, and on Friday nights he got to feel and taste and revel in that love and that, for Leo, was enough. He had never been a greedy man; he was content to share Jed with his job, his country, his wife and his family. Leo was happy enough to be on the short list of those people who the President loved – and to know that a small corner of his lover’s heart belonged to him and him alone.


“Yeah,” Jed said, softly. “Yeah,” he said again. Then: “I missed you on Friday night, Leo. I missed us. Josh…” He hesitated, and shrugged.


“I know,” Leo said. “I do know. I understand perfectly, sir.” And he did, because he understood every single thing that went on in his old friend’s mercurial but steadfast heart. Jed didn’t pick people up and drop them again – but it took a hell of a long time for anyone to penetrate that protective field around his heart. He didn’t want to let anyone in there who would hurt him, the way he had been hurt as a child by a father who had been envious of his abilities and treated him with cruelty. Leo had often wished he could spend just five minutes with Jed’s father – he was not a violent man nor given to outbursts of explosive temper, but he sure as hell had a few words that he wanted to say, and which, if he only had the opportunity, he’d deliver in the coldest, most cutting way he could. So, Leo did indeed understand. He understood that he alone wasn’t enough for Jed, any more than Abbey was. He understood all the different parts of Jed’s complex psyche, and also knew that of all the other staff in the West Wing, it was Josh who had, slowly, over a period of some time, somehow penetrated Jed’s well fortified defences. Josh with his bright, inquisitive, questioning mind and that occasionally lost look in his eyes. Josh who had taken a bullet because of his job, and nearly died because of it; Josh who had struggled to cope with the aftermath of that bullet but kept that struggle to himself for fear both of what he might find out about himself and also for fear of losing his job – and with that, his access to Jed Bartlet, a man he clearly adored. Josh who was phenomenally smart but who still compared himself unfavourably with his colleagues and their abilities. Josh who liked nothing more than to be in the same room with Jed Bartlet, listening, learning, debating… Leo understood Josh Lyman almost as well as he understood Jed Bartlet. He wasn’t jealous of Josh any more than he was jealous of Abbey, or jealous of the White House itself for taking up so much of his lover’s time and energy. Leo’s love was inclusive – and if the addition of Josh to their Friday night arrangement helped Jed do the effective job he did, gave his lover pleasure, and was something that Josh wanted as badly as Jed did, then Leo would do his best to make it happen.


A knock on the door broke the mood between the two men and Jed glanced away, his expression changing back to an entirely presidential one in a split second. Leo did not have Jed’s facility for compartmentalising his emotions – so he had learned to control his own feelings and give away very little with his facial expressions.


“Come in,” he said, giving the President one last look and the faintest trace of a smile. Charlie put his head around the door.


“Ambassador Farley is here, sir,” he said, addressing himself to the President.


“Okay.” Jed smiled brightly, and began walking to the door. “Once more into the breach, dear friends…” he quoted dramatically as he went.


“You love your meetings with Ambassador Farley, sir,” Leo said softly. “He might stand for everything you do not, but you find his company exhilarating and you admire his mind and his conviction. You don’t need any briefing notes for this meeting and you’ll ignore them anyway. Farley keeps you on your toes; he keeps you sharp and makes you examine your own convictions. You don’t want anyone else in your meetings with him because you want his company to yourself and because nobody else would get a word in edgeways anyway. “


Jed turned a little on his way through the door, a slight smile playing on his mobile lips.


“Yeah,” was all he said as he left the room.






Josh was late. Leo glanced at the clock in his hotel room. Josh was definitely late. Leo frowned – this wasn’t like Josh, no matter how much he might be dreading this particular meeting.


A thought occurred to Leo and he reached for the hotel room phone and dialled Josh’s cell phone number.


“Lyman,” Josh answered promptly.


“Josh, you wouldn’t happen to be waiting in the hotel restaurant would you?” Leo asked in a dangerous tone.


“Uh, yes, Leo…I thought you said…” Josh began, his voice confused.


“I’m in my room, Josh,” Leo interrupted. “Get your ass up here,” he said, his mood fraying. Josh might well be dreading this meeting but Leo was feeling the strain himself – for entirely different reasons. Taking on the role of Jed Bartlet’s top was a responsibility that had come to permeate his entire life, and now there was an added complication, a new person to worry about – and Leo did worry. He was very sure of himself and his abilities, but he was equally very concerned that the people he cared about got the best of him and that he made their lives better, not worse. Josh was a new responsibility – and he cared about the young man far too much to screw up in this meeting. Just as Jed needed him to be a certain way, to fulfil a certain role in his life, so did Josh – and he intended to do just that. He would consider doing no less for someone who was not only the son of an old friend, but was also someone beloved of the President and someone who, he had to admit, he had a healthy affection for himself.


There was a knock on the door a few seconds later. Leo answered it to find Josh standing there, his hair sticking on end and that familiar bemused look in his eyes.


“I’m sorry. I was…” Josh made a vague gesture in the direction of the elevator.


“Honestly, Josh, did you really think I’d invite you to sit and talk about Friday night in the public restaurant of a busy hotel?” Leo snapped. Josh looked ridiculously sheepish and Leo sighed. “Sit down, Josh. I already ordered for you.” He gestured to the meal that was waiting for them at the table. “I figured you wouldn’t taste it anyway, so it wouldn’t matter if I went ahead and ordered,” he commented as Josh took his seat. Josh looked up, startled, and then realised that Leo had made a joke. He gave a grin, and the tension in the room dissipated a little.


“I’m sorry, Leo. I’m so freaked out by this,” Josh admitted. “I’m just not thinking straight. The restaurant thing was stupid.”


“And yet you’re sure you want to be a part of it?” Leo asked, taking his own seat, his gaze fixed firmly on Josh’s face.


“Yes.” It was just one word but there was no doubting the depth of feeling in it. Josh’s eyes were dark and his gaze absolutely unflinching under Leo’s scrutiny. Leo put a forkful of food in his mouth, chewed on it thoughtfully, his eyes never leaving Josh’s face, then dabbed his napkin over his lips, leaned back, and asked the $64,000 question.




Josh looked startled and he flushed again – Leo couldn’t remember ever having noticed Josh blush before but now it seemed as if his deputy had spent the entire day with a rosy glow on his face.


“Why?” Josh repeated blankly.


“Yes. Why?” Leo sat there calmly, just watching. Josh bit on his lip.


“I told the President…Friday night was…” he took a deep breath. “He kissed me, Leo.”


“Ah.” Leo nodded sagely. “And you liked that?”


“Yes. Don’t you?” Josh shot back, a challenge in his voice.


Leo’s gaze became dark and dangerous and he turned on Josh, slapping him down like an angry lion lashing out at a mischievous cub that’s gone too far. “You may think you know a good deal about me, Josh, and you may think you know a good deal about the President but you don’t,” he growled. “There are some things you don’t know anything about; and one of the things you clearly don’t know is that you don’t ask me that kind of question. I can ask you, but you can’t ask me. Is that understood, Josh?”


Josh was looking increasingly out of his depth. “I…no,” he said, the rebellion in his tone coming out as nothing more than petulance. “Why don’t I get to ask you?”


“Because we aren’t in the office,” Leo warned, continuing with his theme. “This isn’t an extension of our jobs. This is separate, and different. You will have different needs on a Friday night than you have on a Monday morning or a Tuesday afternoon or whenever in the office. There are lines drawn on a Friday night, Josh, and you don’t cross them. If you aren’t happy with that, then we don’t need to go any further. We can end this right now.” He put his napkin down and got to his feet.


“No,” Josh said quickly. “I’m sorry. I guess I hadn’t really understood…”


“No…clearly not,” Leo said, still standing. He turned his back on his deputy, walked over to the other side of the room, and poured himself a glass of water from the huge decanter on the sideboard. He drank the entire glass, aware that his hand was shaking slightly. He needed to compose himself, needed some time to think about what to do next –needed to be sure that he got this right. Only when he was in complete control of himself did he turn back to Josh.


“Tell me what happened on Friday night, Josh,” he requested.


Josh took a deep breath and nodded. “The President…he found me in the gym. He knew I was upset about the way the week had gone. He seemed to understand what I was feeling. He…” Josh hesitated, the flush on his cheeks becoming more pronounced. “You know what he did, Leo. He must have told you,” he whispered.


“Yes he told me but now I want to hear it from you,” Leo said implacably.


Josh took another deep breath and then, reluctantly, continued. “He asked me if I was punishing myself and I said I was. He asked if he could take care of that for me…it took me awhile to figure out what he meant, Leo, but when I did…” Josh gave a ghost of a smile. “I admitted to him that it was something I’d fantasised about, Leo and he made everything seem so okay. You know what I mean? He just made everything I was feeling seem okay. I knew I could trust him to take care of it, to make me feel better, and he did.”


“How?” Leo didn’t move. He had no intention of making this easy on Josh – if the younger man was going to join them on Friday nights then he needed to thoroughly understand his motivation and needs.


“He…” Josh swallowed hard but, to his credit, kept going. “He took off his belt and tie and said he was going to whip me. Then he fastened my hands over my head with his tie…but he didn’t use the belt at first. I was surprised – I wanted him to, but he wouldn’t. He said something about his father – about how his father had been a cruel man and he wasn’t? Some of that is hazy but I think that’s what he said. Then he spanked me with his hand, and after that with his belt, and when he was done, he took me up to the Residence and just held me – I think that was the part I liked best apart from when he kissed me, but I think I needed the whipping part in order to be able to get to the being held part. Does that make any sense at all?”


“Yes, it makes sense, Josh,” Leo said, nodding, thinking privately how much Jed Bartlet had learned at his own hands – not that he would have expected his old friend to give Josh anything less than what he needed. “And this was a good experience for you? Why?”


“Because I felt a part of him…because I could give up responsibility for my lousy week to him…because he was so kind to me.” Josh took a deep breath.


“And because it hurt?” Leo asked. Josh hesitated.


“You think I enjoy pain, Leo?” He asked back. Leo’s gaze didn’t falter.


“I think you might. Do you?”


“I…” Josh bit on his lip and then gazed at the floor. “I don’t know. Maybe,” he admitted. “I was glad I’d taken it. “


Leo studied him for a long time, wondering whether to push him on that, but in the end decided that Josh didn’t know the answer himself and pushing him would just cause him more confusion.


“So you liked the closeness, you liked the absolution – and you liked giving up control of yourself to someone else, someone you trusted?” Leo summarised. Josh nodded. “And do you trust me, Josh, or only the President?” Leo asked.


“I trust you too, Leo,” Josh replied promptly, without hesitation, but, to Leo’s mind at least, too glibly and easily. “The President asked me who I’d fantasised about doing this to me, and I told him I’d fantasised about him – and you. To be honest…” He flushed again and ducked his head slightly, then looked up. “To be honest I’d fantasised about you more than him – maybe because I work with you so much more, but also because I think I had a slight blockage about…well, he is the President.” Josh made a face. “But I figured my fantasises were my own – they weren’t anybody else’s business and nobody had to know. I had no idea something like this would happen. I’m still in a state of shock about the fact that it happened at all – and that you and he…that he lets you on a Friday evening…” Josh trailed off. “He said you were lovers,” he added finally, maybe deciding that was safer ground.


“We are.” Leo nodded, but he remained concerned about Josh’s inability to articulate the most basic aspects of his Friday night arrangement with the President. Josh was one of the most articulate men he knew after all. Leo decided to demonstrate the level of honesty and communication that he expected from his Deputy – maybe it would encourage Josh to really talk about his own experiences, honestly, and without any of this lowering of his head, flushing of his cheeks and trailing off in a haze of inarticulacy, endearing though those things were. “We’re a great many things to each other, Josh. We’re lovers, we’re best friends, we’re President and Chief of Staff, we’re boss and subordinate, and we’re top and sub. You do understand those last terms don’t you?”


Josh swallowed again. “Yes, sir. He told me he subbed to you. I’d be happy to do the same. I’d like to sub to both of you, Leo, if you’ll let me.”


Leo exhaled a deep breath. “Well I don’t know, Josh,” he said, holding the empty glass lightly between his fingers. “Why would you want to be part of such an…unorthodox arrangement?” he said with a slight smile. “Why not go out there, and find yourself a partner who’ll do these things for you, without it being the complication of people you work with?” Leo said.


“I don’t want it from anyone else,” Josh replied. “It wouldn’t be the same.”


“Or are you too scared of what it means?” Leo said.


“What do you mean?” Josh frowned.


“You’re holding out on me, Josh. You aren’t being completely honest with yourself or me.”


“I am!” Josh protested.


Leo put the glass down and walked slowly back over to the table where Josh sat, his meal virtually untouched, as Leo had predicted. Leo stood behind him, close enough to invade Josh’s body space but without touching him. Josh sat very still, and when, finally he could bear the silence no more, he looked up.


“Leo?” He whispered.


“Have you ever had anal sex, Josh?” Leo asked him softly. “Have you ever gone down on your knees and sucked another man’s cock? Have you ever knelt and allowed yourself to be penetrated?”


Now Josh was beyond flushing – all the colour drained away from his face instead. He was unable to meet Leo’s hard gaze and looked down. There was silence for a long time.


“Josh, if you can’t even talk about it, how the hell do you think you’ll be able to do it?” Leo said softly, taking pity on the younger man. He moved his hands and placed them gently on Josh’s shoulders for a split second and then went and poured another glass of water. He brought this one back to the table and handed it to Josh who took it gratefully while Leo sat back down in his chair. Josh swallowed the water in one gulp and then sat up straight in his chair but kept his eyes fixed firmly on the table in front of him.


“I had a male lover at college. I’ve had anal sex, and I sucked him off. I didn’t sub to him because he wasn’t interested, but I wanted to,” he said, in a voice barely above a whisper. “I’ve fantasised about it all my life, since I was a kid, but I could never tell anyone – it was always my own dark secret. When I told my lover…I thought he’d reject me but he didn’t – it just wasn’t something he wanted to do. I’ve had girlfriends too, Leo. I love women – but you’ve been married and the President is married so I figure this isn’t about that. This is different, this is about something else entirely.” He ducked his head, still too shy to actually look at Leo after what he had just shared. “I always remembered what I had with my room-mate and I’ve always wanted it again…I’ve wanted it and more,” he whispered hoarsely.


There was silence for a long time – Josh seemed to have run out of steam; either that or his courage had failed him. Leo allowed the silence to linger for at least two minutes before finally breaking it.


“Nice try, Josh,” Leo chuckled and Josh’s head shot up to gaze at him, “but I’m not convinced.” He sat back and watched Josh’s eyes turn dark.


“I’m not lying!”


“I know…but you aren’t convincing me that this is what you need either, Josh, and I’m not going into this, I’m not taking you into this, unless I’m sure that it’s right for you and right now I’m not,” Leo said firmly. “Josh, you’re the son of one of my oldest friends. I’m not going to screw up your life and I’m sure as hell not going to take advantage of you in a vulnerable moment.”


“Please, Leo…I don’t know what I can say to make you agree. Just tell me why you won’t let me be part of this?”


“Because I don’t think you really know what you’re agreeing to, Josh. I accept that you think you want this, but how much of that is just so that you can get close to the President? Maybe you have a little crush on him? I wouldn’t be surprised – hell, I’d be the last person to be surprised,” Leo said with a self-deprecating shrug. “But we’re not talking about a Friday night fuck here.” He used the crude choice of word deliberately. “We’re talking about something special, something that brings us close – something precious, something that isn’t easily or lightly shared – something that very few people would understand. Why the hell should we make you a part of that, Josh?”


Josh’s innate personal insecurity was evident in his eyes, but Leo steeled himself against it. If Josh wanted this, let him fight for it, let him make Leo believe it could work – but what Josh said next took him totally by surprise.


“Everything you do you do for him, don’t you, Leo?” Josh said in a shaky voice. “I didn’t understand that.” He looked as if he’d just been winded by a sucker punch to the gut. “I should have – I know the way you look at him, and I know what you do for him…I just didn’t figure it out. I’m not here because you want me to be part of what you have with him, am I? I thought I was…I thought because you were the one who suggested it that you liked me, that you wanted me too, but that isn’t true. I’m here because he wants me to be part of it, and you’d do anything to keep him happy.”


Leo sat there, silent as a statue, his face immobile – he had the best poker face in town and he knew it. Nobody – nobody – knew what Leo McGarry was thinking or feeling unless he wanted them to know or he told them, but it was hard keeping his composure in the face of this most astute of observations. Josh Lyman, he thought to himself, had his own knack for understanding what motivated people.


“I love the President, Josh,” he said finally, keeping firm control over his voice so that Josh wouldn’t get an inkling of just how much he loved Jed Bartlet, just how much he’d suffer, sacrifice and endure for the other man. “I’d do anything for him – including turning you down if I don’t think this could work.”


Leo got up, and walked towards the door.


“It was you I loved first,” Josh said. Leo stopped dead in his tracks. “Not right at the beginning but soon after – when I started working with you on the campaign. Him…I used to wonder why you wasted so much of your affection on him – not your time, I could see that he was a good man and that he’d make a good president so I could understand you putting so much of your time into him, but I didn’t like him. I didn’t know him then.”


“He doesn’t let people know him,” Leo said, turning. “He doesn’t let people know him until he knows them, and then only if he likes them. He doesn’t want them knowing about that big heart of his in case they take advantage of it.”


“At first I couldn’t figure out what it was about you,” Josh continued, talking too fast. “I just knew I wanted to do my best work for you, I wanted you to be proud of me. I wanted to protect you when those bastards were gunning for you over your alcoholism. And then when you helped me, when I was falling apart, when you called in Stanley, when you waited for me all through that long day…I figured it out then. What confused me was that I felt the same way about the President too. Those days when I was in the hospital after the shooting, when you and he would visit me together…I was happier then than I’ve ever been in my life despite what I’d been through. I love him too, Leo. Just like you. I love him but I loved you first. I’m not talking about romantic love, or the love I’ve felt for the women in my life – I’m talking about something else, a different kind of love, the kind of love I think you understand because I think you feel it for him. That’s how I feel about you, Leo. I loved you first.”


Leo stood very still for a long time. He hadn’t expected this. Hadn’t anticipated it or wanted it – no, hadn’t thought he wanted it but now that it was said, now it was out in the open, he found himself strangely touched. It had been a long time since his own emotions had taken him by surprise in this way and he struggled with it for a moment. His feelings for Jed Bartlet had never been in question – he knew that Jed was the love of his life despite the long years he’d been married. What he had with Jed was so unique, so special; it meant everything to Leo, although he would go to his grave rather than admit that to anyone, least of all Jed himself. Jed knew anyway. Now here was this young man, someone he’d worked with and mentored, speaking of love, and offering to bring a new dimension to the love he shared with Jed. He thought of Jed, his eyes bright with the fire of his experience with Josh on Friday night, thought how much Jed wanted this and knew, for the first time, that he wanted it too, not just because Jed wanted it, but for himself, for both of them, and for Josh too.


Finally, he spoke. “It’s just Friday night, Josh – you don’t get to have him, or me, for any longer than that. And it wouldn’t be every Friday night – he needs some time alone with me, so all I can offer is every other Friday – at least to begin with.”


“Just being a part of what you two have, even just once a fortnight, would be enough,” Josh said softly.


“I’ll need your total, unquestioning obedience, Josh,” Leo said coming back to sit down at the table again. “On those Friday nights you spend with us anyway – at the office you can argue with me all you like – if you must.” He gave a wry smile. “But on those nights you’re with us, you do what I say and what he says, and you do it without question, and you give us everything you’d prefer to keep hidden inside. You give it all up to us. That’s the only way it ever works. I can’t undertake it for less. I told him that, and I’m telling you the same.”


“I can do that,” Josh said.


“It’s easier said than done, Josh.” Leo gave a sigh. “Sometimes it isn’t easy getting there. Sometimes, with him, it can take a long time. I’m used to him and I know what he needs but sometimes…sometimes I have to be very hard on him to get him there. Could you watch that?”


For the first time, Josh faltered. He dropped his gaze again, thought about it for a long time, and then nodded.


“I think I could, Leo, because I’d understand why he wanted it because I feel the same way,” he said.


“We would never, ever harm you, Josh,” Leo said softly. “But do you trust that? That, also, is easier said than done.”


“Leo, please, I do trust you,” Josh pleaded, his eyes almost desperate.


“Why, Josh? I’m a recovering alcoholic; why the hell would you trust me to whip you, to tie you up and play with your body until you scream with pleasure, with pain, with something somewhere between the two?” Leo asked, in low, gravelly tones. “Why would you trust me to do that, Josh?”


Josh swallowed hard but his eyes never broke contact. “You said it yourself, Leo,” he replied. “You’d never harm me. I believe that.”


“Do you trust me – or him – to lead you into the dark and out the other side? Do you really trust either of us to do that?” Leo said softly.


Josh was silent for a long time, and then, without warning, he got up, and knelt in front of Leo. Leo looked down on the bent head in front of him with surprise.


“Leo, please. Let me show you how much I want this,” Josh whispered.


He looked beautiful kneeling there, utterly submissive, having laid himself bare for the man he wanted so desperately to be his top – and for the first time Leo understood what Jed had meant when he had told him of Josh’s willingness to please and his compliance. Josh wanted to be handled, wanted to surrender himself in a way that Jed wanted too but which he found so very hard. The two of them were like chalk and cheese, and Leo knew that he had his hands full with a very difficult – and yet ultimately very rewarding task.


“Oh goddamn it, Josh,” he sighed, and then, because he couldn’t resist, he leaned forward, wrapped his arms around the man kneeling in front of him, and pulled him close.






Leo was the first to arrive in the Blue Bedroom on Friday evening. He had seen Jed in the Oval Office a few minutes before and the President, who had been on the telephone, had waved at him to go on up. Leo doubted that Jed would be long and he always liked having a few minutes in the Blue Bedroom by himself before the evening’s activities got underway. Leo removed his jacket and hung it in the closet, then took off his tie, rolled it into a neat ball, and left it on the dresser. Finally he undid the top collar of his shirt, breathing a sigh of relief at the relaxation it afforded him. He rolled his shoulders experimentally, feeling the slight ache in them. He might, if Jed wasn’t in too truculent a state of mind, order his sub to give him a massage. However, it might take the best part of the evening to get Jed to wind down, in which case any hope of a massage was unlikely. Leo whistled to himself softly as he crossed the room, feeling some of the tension of the past couple of weeks slip away. He loved Friday nights as much as the President – it was a time for the two of them to really let go and play, without any of the strains and stresses of their jobs intruding on them. Leo enjoyed spending his few idle moments in the preceding week planning what he would do during his hours in control on Friday evening. This week, he had something very specific in mind.


Leo opened up the large trunk at the foot of the huge kingsize bed and removed some of the items he found within. He busied himself arranging them on one side of the bed and then wandered into the en suite bathroom. He washed his hands and splashed the deliberately cold water on his face, waking himself up and firing himself for the evening ahead. Then he opened the bathroom cabinet and removed some more items he thought he might need, before returning to the blue bedroom and placing them on the nightstand. He stood back, regarded his work thoughtfully, and decided that everything was exactly as he wanted it. In the space of ten minutes the Blue Bedroom had taken on a very new aspect. Leo couldn’t help chuckling as he wondered whether any of the rooms in the Residence had ever been used for this purpose, but then decided that with its long history and the number of guests it had entertained, it was likely that the place had a past colourful enough to compete with the Friday night activities of its current inhabitant.


A few seconds later there was a loud but brief knock on the door and then Jed breezed in without waiting for a reply. Leo sighed – it was one thing for the President to barge into the office of his Chief of Staff without waiting but another thing entirely for Josiah Bartlet to do the same to Leo McGarry on a Friday evening in the Blue Bedroom. They’d had this battle before and Leo didn’t think that Jed forgot on purpose – it was just that he was still in bright and breezy Presidential mode, and hadn’t gotten anywhere near the mindset he needed to be in for the night’s activities. This happened occasionally and Leo knew how to handle it.


“Hoynes seems to think that I have nothing better to do on a Friday evening than listen to one of his little tantrums. Did you know that Sam has a date with Ainsley tonight – not a date-date – well I don’t think so anyway – but are we paying the staff too much if they have time for a social life, Leo?” All this was said in one continuous sentence without stopping for breath. Leo looked at his old friend sternly. “Leo?” Jed repeated. Leo raised an eyebrow and glanced at the door.


“Go out and try coming in again properly, Josiah. Then we can have a conversation,” Leo said. In this room, Jed Bartlet was always Josiah. Not Sir and not Mr. President for obvious reasons, and not Jed because that was a name that Leo had used for his old friend before he’d been elected and would do so again when his term of office was over. No, in this room, Jed was Josiah – a name hardly anyone used for him, but which worked very well in the context of the role he played in this room on a Friday night.


“Leo, can’t we have a conversation first, before we begin?” Jed said with a grimace. “I’ve hardly spoken to you all week and I want to know what’s been going on – not least with Josh. Those mysterious hints you’ve been dropping all week have been so infuriating. Is he here?” Jed glanced around the room as if he expected Josh to emerge from under the bed or out of the closet. Leo didn’t move.


“Josiah, in this room you do as you’re told, without question and without arguing as we agreed. There is no ‘before’ – we’ve begun as soon as you step foot inside the room. Now go out and come back in again – and you can spend a couple of minutes outside the door thinking through your attitude before you knock again,” Leo told him in a warning tone. Finally, Jed started to take notice. He looked as if he was about to open his mouth again and protest but one even more pronounced raised eyebrow stopped him.


“You’re in a mean mood tonight, Leo. I can tell,” he grumbled.


“That’s Mr. McGarry or sir to you, Josiah,” Leo told him firmly. “And yes I am, so maybe you should think twice about what you say when you step through that door a second time.”


Jed paused just long enough for it to be a moment of rebellion, but Leo waited him out as usual. Patience always won the day with Jed Bartlet – he relied on Leo’s patience, no matter how much he tested it, and right now Leo could sense something more than just playfulness in Jed’s manner; no, the President was going through one of the usual struggles he had in checking his status and his ego at the door and coming down and back to being himself again – only this time there was an added dimension to that anxiety. Jed was worried about Josh, and how the younger man would fit into their Friday night sessions. Leo deliberately hadn’t told Jed much about his conversation with Josh – Friday nights were his responsibility and he decided how they were conducted. He didn’t think it would do Jed any harm to have that lesson drummed home and so he had been deliberately obtuse when Jed had asked him about it. He had also forbidden him to speak to Josh about it as well – and he knew that Jed would follow his orders on that, even though his old friend was itching to know what was going on. For a man who was kept constantly informed about every single thing of importance that was happening in his country and around the world, Leo thought it might do Jed good to know that there was one area where he not only had no control but also information was given to him on a need to know basis. And he hadn’t needed to know – not yet anyhow. Leo had every intention of filling him in on his conversation with Josh – but only when he’d spent a couple of hours working with his mouthy, opinionated sub and had him in the right frame of mind to listen.


Jed, in typical Jed fashion, spent a good five minutes outside the door before knocking again. Leo knew this wasn’t because he was psyching himself into the right mood for their session – no, it was an act of rebellion of and by itself, as Jed took a perverse delight in making Leo wait. Leo knew all of Jed’s little tricks for avoiding the one thing he wanted most on a Friday night. It was hard for Jed to give up control, and he needed to test Leo’s resolve, his strength and his ability to take charge and be the top that Jed needed him to be. Leo hadn’t failed any of these little tests yet and he didn’t intend to. Jed would settle, and come, eventually, to heel. It might take a little while but it would happen, and then his old friend would feel much more comfortable inside his own skin.


Leo sat down on the bed, making himself comfortable, with the pillows tucked up behind his back. He put his glasses on, picked up the book he had placed on the night-stand, opened it, and began reading. It was a novel – he had banned the President from talking shop during their Friday night sessions and any kind of official papers were banned for the same reason. If anyone needed to contact the President or his Chief of Staff on a matter of national importance, Leo had a cell phone switched on which he left on the nightstand along with the other items. It wasn’t his usual cell phone which might ring just if Mallory wanted a chat or Margaret needed to check something in his diary – he kept his personal cell phone switched off, and the other one had a number known to a select few people who could be trusted to call only in a genuine emergency. Leo figured that even the President of the United States deserved a few hours a week to himself, insulated from the pressures and demands of the constantly ringing phone and high level meetings. The trouble with top level politics was that it was sometimes hard distinguishing the genuine emergency from what might merely be a minor crisis; and Jed wasn’t always the best person at identifying the difference. Leo had insisted that Friday evenings were sacrosanct as much as was humanly possible – a time when Jed really got the opportunity to recharge his batteries in peace and quiet, away from all the hustle and bustle of his job.


A couple of minutes later there was a knock at the door.


“Come in, Josiah,” Leo said, lowering his glasses fractionally and glancing up from his book. Jed opened the door, and stepped into the room – this time more quietly. He stood there for a moment, his eyes crinkled up slightly with irritation when he saw Leo calmly reading and not at all put out by his sub’s attitude. Leo knew that sometimes Jed acted out because he wanted a response – Friday nights were when he could let go, and sometimes that meant behaving in a more extreme and petulant manner than President Bartlet ever would. Leo was used to it and more than knew how to handle this side of his lover’s personality.


“Reading anything good?” Jed ventured, filling what Leo knew was, to him, an unbearable silence. He needed to take Jed into that silence and calm, and let it work its usual magic on his frenetic lover’s overactive mind. Leo didn’t answer Jed’s question, just gazed at his sub thoughtfully. Jed stood there, uncertainly; Leo knew Jed wouldn’t move any further into the room until he was given permission, but Jed wasn’t anywhere near enough into his Josiah mindset to just stand still yet. Instead he shuffled uncomfortably, thrust his hands into his pockets, took them out again when Leo frowned at him, put them behind his back instead, gazed at the ceiling, then back at Leo again. Leo remained completely still, never taking his eyes off his lover. Not yet able to meet that firm gaze, Jed glanced around the bedroom and his eyes alighted on the items Leo had laid out on the bed. He gave an exclamation.


“Damnit, Leo, you must be really pissed off with me. What the hell have I done to deserve all this?” He whistled, gazing at the implements with incredulous eyes. Leo noted, with some satisfaction, that the layers were starting to peel away. Jed had a strange attitude towards spanking; he invariably wanted it, just as invariably hated it, fought Leo over its intensity, and yet at the same time did his best to egg his friend on to harsher levels than Leo would ever give him. Leo knew that ultimately the only kind of spanking that worked with Jed was to be totally, completely in control of it, to never allow his lover to dictate the terms, to not even give Jed an inkling that he could either provoke Leo into using more force, or wheedle him into stopping early either.


“Is this to do with Josh?” Jed asked plaintively. “Are you pissed off about your meeting with him? Did something happen that I should know about? Why isn’t he here? Is that why you’re pissed off?”


Leo sighed. “You’re doing way too much talking, Josiah. Don’t make me order you to stay silent. You know how hard you find that and how painful the consequences can be when you invariably forget.”


Jed made a clicking sound of impatience in the back of his throat. “You’re such a hard ass, Leo…” He hesitated, fought an almost visible battle with himself, and then finally wilted under Leo’s stern gaze. “Sir,” he amended with a sigh.


Leo inclined his head, removing his glasses as he did so and replacing them on the nightstand. “I think it’s time you undressed, Josiah,” he said.


Jed nodded, and quickly undid his tie and pulled it away from his collar. Leo watched, enjoying the moment – Jed never had a problem with nudity and was always completely matter of fact about his undressing, but for Leo one of the highlights of the evening was watching his lover strip away the trappings of their everyday life, until he was standing there butt naked as Josiah, his lover, and his much loved, if somewhat difficult, sub.


“Okay, so it’s been two weeks,” Jed said, pulling his shirt out of his pants and unbuttoning it. “I know you always like to make up for lost time when we miss a session, although I would like to point out that it’s your fault that we missed last week as you decided you’d prefer to be sunning yourself in Florida. Maybe you think my evening with Josh went to my head or something. Maybe that’s why you’ve brought out the full army over there.” He gestured with his head at the implements on the bed. “But it’s been a good week. It has been a good week, hasn’t it, Leo…uh, sir? I’m not especially tense this evening. Probably won’t take more than a couple of taps and then we could do something more…” He grinned at Leo, “recreational,” he finished. He removed his cufflinks and then glanced around the room for somewhere to put them. Leo got off the bed and held out his hand, and Jed gratefully deposited the cufflinks in it. Leo went over to the nightstand and found the little pot that he always used to house both Jed’s cufflinks and his own – when he removed his own cufflinks which wouldn’t be until later. In all the time that they’d been doing this he didn’t think Jed had even noticed that Leo always put their cufflinks in this little porcelain pot. At this stage of the proceedings Jed was always far too caught up in what was going on in his own head to notice this kind of minutiae.


“I thought it had been a good week anyway,” Jed said, somewhat plaintively, in the absence of any comment from Leo. He folded his shirt, put it on the armchair along with his tie and then perched on the edge of the chair to take off his shoes. “Not like last week, but I don’t have any lingering, you know, concerns or anything left over from last week. I think the way this week has gone has wiped out last week’s problems. Okay so we still have the fallout from the Crossley fiasco to deal with but…”


“Josiah, what is the number one rule in this room?” Leo interrupted. He didn’t raise his voice but his cool, crisp tones were enough to break through the stream of consciousness currently emerging from his lover.


“I call you sir?” Jed asked.


“No. That’s not the number one rule – it’s an important rule but it isn’t the number one rule,” Leo replied. He folded his arms and waited.


“Uh, okay – we don’t talk shop. That’s fine. Did I just talk about work? I didn’t mean to. Now you’re not going to punish me for that, Leo, sir, are you?”


Leo gazed at his friend thoughtfully for a moment. “You know,” he said eventually. “I think I am.”


“It was just…I’m nervous. You’re making me nervous, sir. One tiny slip up and…”


“Josiah – you don’t question my decisions,” Leo said firmly. “I decide how to punish you, for how long, how hard, and what for.”


Jed made a little face but Leo noticed that those words had an effect on him. He looked a bit more relaxed, as if he was finally starting to give up control and accept that Leo was the one in charge here tonight, and he therefore didn’t need to be.


“Hard ass, just like I said,” Jed muttered under his breath but Leo chose to ignore it.


Jed finished undressing, laid his pants carefully over the armchair and then stood up. Leo returned to the bed and sat down again, rearranging the pillows behind him.


“Come over here, Josiah,” he said, patting his knee.


There was a horrified silence. Jed looked at him in a way that was positively comical and it was all Leo could do not to laugh out loud.


“When you say, ‘come over here’…where exactly d’you mean?” Jed asked. “Sir,” he added for good measure.


“I mean come over here,” Leo replied pleasantly, patting his knee again.


“You didn’t mean over your knee though, right?” Jed questioned. “That was just a ‘come over here’ gesture wasn’t it? Not a ‘come over here and get over my knee’ gesture.”


“No, it’s definitely a come over here and get over my knee gesture,” Leo said, patting his knee again.


“Leo!” Jed protested. “You are not going to put me over your knee and spank me like I’m a little kid! You are NOT!”


Leo gazed at his sub with every ounce of steeliness he could muster. He had known this would be hard for Jed – spanking usually took place with Jed lying flat on the bed, bent over the armchair, or braced against the wall. He had never ordered Jed over his knee before and it was very interesting seeing the reaction. Still, he intended to insist.


“Josiah, you have ten seconds to get your ass over here, or, I can promise you, there will be trouble,” Leo predicted, with a good deal of certainty. Jed crossed his arms over his chest in a flat out refusal, but Leo wasn’t remotely worried. Jed had experienced the emotions of topping last week for the first time but he was still a novice in that field; Leo was a master. He had chosen the over the knee position deliberately. It hadn’t been something he had felt necessary before, but this week was different. Having witnessed at first hand Josh’s need for and enjoyment of the submissive role, and how sweetly and beautifully he surrendered and offered himself to him, Leo could well imagine how intoxicated Jed had been by his experience last Friday. Now, more than ever, Jed needed to know that there was someone who could take him down and remind him that he wasn’t superhuman – that he had needs too. Leo had decided that the over the knee position would serve two purposes – on the one hand, it would leave Jed in absolutely no doubt about the fact that he had no authority whatsoever over Leo during their Friday evening sessions, but in addition to that, it would also serve to bring them closer together after missing their usual Friday night session last week. Leo didn’t like the President to go too long without the pair of them re-establishing their unusual connection. Jed started to get antsy when that happened; he’d have trouble sleeping, and be more prone to illness. For someone with a serious medical condition like Multiple Sclerosis, it was important that as few strains as possible were placed on Jed’s health – and for some reason, his Friday night sessions with Leo helped keep Jed’s immune system healthy.


The ten seconds passed, with neither man budging but with both of them counting down the time limit that Leo had imposed. Then, on the precise second that Jed’s time was up, Leo got up and crossed the room towards his recalcitrant sub, every single movement of his body full of intent. Jed held up well until Leo was two steps away, and then his gaze faltered slightly. Leo knew that look all too well; Jed wanted so much to give in, to give everything up to Leo, but it was hard for him, and this battle of wills was all part of the necessary process involved in getting the President to where he needed and wanted to be. Leo reached out to put a firm hand on Jed’s shoulder and Jed flinched slightly, as if he expected that hand to punch him instead. Leo sighed inwardly – the shadow of Jed’s father could appear at the most unexpected and inopportune moments. Leo understood that during their Friday night sessions Jed, in many ways, returned to the status of the kid that he’d once been – the kid who couldn’t fight back when his father punched or hit him. He was also aware that on some level they recreated that relationship here but in a way that was good and felt healthy for Jed. Leo was aware of all his lover’s many demons; Jed still wanted his father’s love, and while Leo’s love was not a substitute for that, he did know that in some sense Jed’s longing for his good opinion came from his desire to be loved by his father. He didn’t play on that – their relationship was about a lot more than the pop psychology of Jed’s abusive childhood; a hell of a lot more.


“Hey. No. That doesn’t happen here,” Leo said firmly but gently, caressing Jed’s shoulder with his fingers. “Nobody gets punched, nobody gets hit. You might get your ass spanked here, Josiah, but nothing else. You know I wouldn’t let anything else happen to you.”


“I know that, Leo…I don’t know what that was…just an old instinct I guess.” Jed made a face. Leo put his other hand on Jed’s shoulder, slowly, so that his friend could see it coming, and he caressed the other man for a good few seconds, never taking his eyes off Jed’s face. Finally the muscles under his hands began to relax.


“Good,” Leo smiled. He leaned forward and gently kissed Jed’s mouth and his lover moved into the kiss eagerly, returning it with need. Leo pulled him close, enjoying the feel of Jed’s naked skin next to his own clothed body. His lover came willingly, and they kissed, hungrily, for a long time. Suddenly those two weeks without a Friday session seemed a very long time indeed and Leo’s hands dropped lower, wrapping around Jed’s back and then lower still, caressing his ass. Jed was completely compliant in his arms, much of the fight leaving him. Only when he was satisfied that his lover was completely reassured, did Leo pull back.


“You didn’t mean it about the over the knee thing, did you, Leo?” Jed said when he was released. “You were just teasing, right?”


“No, I wasn’t.” Leo smiled pleasantly, resumed his grip on Jed’s shoulders, and turned him abruptly to face the wall. He pushed Jed so that his face was pressed up close to the corner and then gave him a very hearty swat on the backside with his hand. “And it’s sir, Josiah. Please remember. There will be one stroke of the paddle for every time you forget from now on.”


“I’m not doing it on purpose!” Jed protested. “I just forget! It’s not easy remembering.”


“Sure it is. I remember to call you sir every day in the office – it’s very easy,” Leo told him. “You’re just not focussing, Josiah, and you’re not focussing because you haven’t really given in and accepted that in this room, on this evening, what I say goes. You’re a smart man – the sooner you get your head around that fact the sooner we can get onto the good stuff.”


“Ah, the good stuff.” Leo couldn’t see Jed’s face but he could tell by the tone of his voice that his lover was grinning. “Why don’t we skip this stuff and go straight onto the good stuff, sir?”


Leo shook his head, trying his best to keep his own grin from sounding in his voice. “Okay,” he said.


Jed spun around with an expression of amazement – combined with sheer anxiety – on his face. However much he protested, Leo knew that he needed this and Jed knew it too – hence the anxiety. He relied on Leo never to crumble, never to give in, to take everything he threw at him and still be there, steadfast, and in charge.


“Really?” Jed asked.


“No, of course not really,” Leo snapped. “Now turn your face to the wall, Josiah. You can stand there until you agree to get your ass over my knee for a spanking. I have plenty of time. I’m fully clothed and I have a novel to read. You just take as long as you need.”


And so saying he returned to the bed, sat down, made himself comfortable, put his glasses back on, picked up his novel, and began reading again. There was silence for a while, but Leo didn’t kid himself that it would last for long. When he glanced over at his sub, he found that Jed was quoting something to himself in what sounded suspiciously like Latin. Leo ignored him, both exasperated and amused by his lover’s behaviour. He had known it would take quite some time convincing Jed to do this, but time was something they had plenty of and he had no doubts whatsoever that his lover would finally give in. Jed needed this too much to hold out for long.


Jed clearly grew bored of the Latin and started to hum instead. Leo smiled. The very fact that Jed was standing, butt naked, facing a wall, told him that his lover would eventually come around to doing what he’d been told. Jed might not like the idea of an over the knee spanking but if he ever had any serious objections about what Leo told him to do then he knew he could call a time out or simply get dressed and leave.


“Have you come to a decision yet, Josiah?” Leo asked, breaking into the tuneless humming.


“I’m still thinking on it,” Jed replied, waving his hand in the air.


“Well don’t take too long,” Leo said. “Much as I’m enjoying the view, I should warn you that for each minute you delay you’ll get three whacks from the paddle.”


“Okay,” Jed said brightly. Then, a few seconds later. “Leo?”


Leo ignored him. Jed cleared his throat.


“Sir, could you perhaps explain to me why you want me in such a…well, humiliating position? If I could understand it then maybe it’d be easier for me to come to a decision.”


Leo raised his eyes to the heavens, an expression that was lost on his sub who couldn’t see it but which made Leo feel better. Now his hand was positively itching to spank some sense into his lover.


“Well, I’m sorry, Josiah, but no explanations are on offer. You do as I tell you because I’m in charge,” he said firmly. “This isn’t a process of negotiation.”


The important thing about being Jed Bartlet’s top was understanding that the spanking itself was only part of what Jed needed. First of all he needed to give up control, and submitting to a spanking was one way in which he did that. Jed Bartlet was the smartest man Leo knew and as a sub he put those brains to fiendishly good use if you let him. If he got Leo to explain, then that gave Jed a chance to argue and if he argued, he knew that as an expert debater he stood a reasonable chance of winning his argument. Leo had no intention of being drawn into that trap. Apart from anything else Jed needed to know that what Leo said went during these sessions and no amount of wheedling or smart talk would change that.


“So, that’s eight minutes. I make that 24 swats from the paddle,” Leo said, raising the stakes.


“That was never eight minutes!” Jed protested.


“I’m counting from when I first made you face the wall,” Leo replied implacably, waiting for the inevitable explosion.


“What? That’s not fair!” Jed protested, turning to face Leo.


“Who said I was fair?” Leo raised a malicious eyebrow. “Josiah, you’re my sub and I’ve decided under the rules we both agreed on that I want to spank your ass and I want you over my knee when I do it. There isn’t anything for you to consider except how quickly you can get said ass over here and over my knee.”


Jed was silent for a moment, and then turned back, pointedly, to face the wall. Leo flicked open his book again and pretended to read. In reality he hadn’t read any of the book since the session had begun but there was no way that Jed knew that. He kept one eye on his sub, and the other on the clock. After a further couple of minutes he broke the silence again.


“That’s 30 swats now, Josiah,” he said calmly.


There was silence for another few seconds and then:




He ignored it. Then, a few seconds later:


“Mr. McGarry, sir?”


“Yes, Josiah.” Leo shut his book and replaced it on the nightstand, judging that the time had come.


“I’m going to do as you say but I just want you to know I’m not happy about it,” Jed said.


“Noted.” Leo rolled his eyes again, and rearranged the pillows. Jed turned slowly, and, equally slowly, began walking towards the bed. Leo removed his cuff links, put them in the little pot on the nightstand, and then began, just as slowly, rolling up his shirt-sleeves – a performance that wasn’t lost on his sub, who eyed the action warily, clearly knowing what it presaged.


“I don’t know why this is necessary, Leo, unless you’re on some kind of power trip,” Jed grumbled as he came to a halt beside the bed.


“Over my knee please,” Leo ordered. Jed shot him a very hostile glare.


“I am way, way too old to be going over people’s knees,” he protested.


“You aren’t going over people’s knees, you’re going over my knee,” Leo replied imperturbably. Jed made a face and knelt on the bed.


“Leo,” he said softly, his face close enough to kiss. “You really don’t have to do this.”


“Josiah,” Leo replied, equally softly. “I really do.” And with that he took hold of Jed’s arm, and pulled him expertly over his knee.


Jed’s body was stiff and unresponsive at first so it took Leo quite a few seconds to get him into position and to get them both comfortable, piling pillows up around Jed so that he had something to rest on and could breathe easily. He knew that it wasn’t always easy for Jed to accept this kind of affection before he’d been spanked but he was in charge here and he liked giving affection throughout a scene, so he spent several minutes stroking the naked body that was lying over him like a blanket. Jed was heavy, but Leo was fit enough and wiry enough to be comfortable with the weight, and his lover was supported by the bed at both ends. Leo arranged him deliberately so that Jed’s nose was practically buried in the lined up row of disciplinary implements that had shocked him so much earlier – a fact that wasn’t lost on his sub.


“You aren’t really going to use all these on me are you, sir?” He said, his tone becoming much more deferential and relaxed now he had stopped having the internal battle with himself about whether or not this was going to happen.


“I don’t know, Josiah, but I thought it would be a good idea to have them to hand just in case,” Leo replied. He continued stroking his lover’s offered body. He hadn’t expected to be so affected by having Jed over his knee when he spanked him. He had never spanked him in this position before and there was something very intimate about it. He enjoyed having this naked body, lying like an offering in front of him. He stroked Jed for quite some time and then, without warning, he began tapping his lover harder. Jed made a little noise, acknowledging the change in pace. Leo smiled, and continued with the warm up. He loved being able to feel the noises Jed made as well as hear them, and particularly enjoyed being able to study the white imprints his hand made as it came into contact with Jed’s buttocks. The white faded in a second to be replaced by a glowing pink colour that fascinated Leo. He rarely had any opportunity to express the sensual side of his nature, and his Friday evening sessions with Jed had been an eye opener for showing him just how much he enjoyed playing with his lover; fondling, kissing, stroking and yes, even spanking him. The deeper they went into this kind of territory, the more fulfilling it had become for both of them.


Leo finished the warm up and began spanking in earnest now. Jed gave a low growl and bunched his fists into the pillows.


“I was right, Leo, you are on a power trip,” he complained between pants.


“I make that an extra 4 swats with the paddle for calling me Leo after I ordered you not to in addition to the 30 you’ll be getting for your disobedience,” Leo commented amiably, not stopping the spanking for even a second.


“You do know I could call the security guards in here and have you arrested for assaulting the president, don’t you?” Jed said, his voice sounding decidedly high pitched.


“Go ahead,” Leo replied. The president’s security detail were under strict orders not to disturb them during these Friday night sessions unless either Leo or the President went to the door and actually asked them to come in. They hadn’t been happy with that injunction but had, reluctantly, agreed to it. What they made of the noises that emerged from this room, Leo did not know, but at least their confidentiality was assured. One thing he had noticed was that they were all particularly deferential to him on Saturday mornings. “If you want your security guards to see you upturned over my knee getting your ass spanked then that’s your call, Josiah,” Leo commented.


“I’m not saying I will, I’m just saying I could,” Jed pointed out, and then he gave a surprised yelp as Leo stepped up the pace to the highest level and dropped a really hard spank on the top of Jed’s thighs.


“You know I think you have way too much breath left over for talking and not enough for breathing and yelling,” Leo told him, making sure that every hard spank counted from then on. He continued for several minutes during which time Jed’s body gradually started to unwind, like an uncoiling spring, until his movements stopped being considered and instead became entirely spontaneous. Leo smiled – this was good. This meant that Jed was at last starting to stop perceiving the world with his brain and starting to connect with it on an instinctive level instead. He waited until Jed was thoroughly loose limbed and making loud, growling noises in the back of his throat and then paused for a moment.


Jed looked up, startled – he had been so lost in the sensations of the spanking that it had taken him awhile to realise it had stopped. Leo stroked his lover’s hair gently and then rubbed warm circles on his back with his hand.


“I’m going to use the paddle in a moment, Josiah,” he said in low, deep tones. “Are you ready for that?”


“I’m fine,” Jed replied, his forehead sweaty from the exertion but his eyes curiously much calmer than they had been all evening. “You don’t need to worry about me, sir. I can take everything you can throw at me.”


“How does it feel being over my knee?” Leo asked. Jed made a face.


“Stupid, ridiculous and juvenile,” he muttered, and then, in a voice so low that Leo nearly didn’t hear it: “But I like your hand there.”


Leo gave a satisfied smile. “Pass me the paddle, Josiah,” he ordered. Jed glanced up and shot him a look – he hated being made to give Leo the implements that would soon make hard contact with his upturned ass. Leo understood that only too well; it made Jed complicit in his own punishment, but then again Jed was complicit and nothing happened here without not only his consent but his tacit approval and request, so Leo saw no reason why they should soft pedal around that fact. “Now please,” Leo said, giving Jed’s now glowing backside a firm swat.


Jed reached out for the paddle and handed it over his shoulder to Leo who thanked him for it and then rested the cool surface of the leather-bound item on his lover’s warm backside. He held it there for a moment, giving Jed time to adjust to what would be a harder tempo and more stinging swat, and then raised it and brought it back down sharply on Jed’s bottom.


“Oh hell,” Jed yelped, jumping slightly. Leo pressed his hand more firmly on the small of Jed’s back, where Jed had said he liked it, partly in order to hold his lover in position and partly to reassure him. He swung the paddle down expertly for the next few minutes, and was aware of Jed counting each swat after receiving it. This was always the danger with someone as articulate and addicted to being in control as Jed Bartlet. Instead of letting go, he was focussing on the number of swats he’d been promised, counting them off, trying to find a rational way of dealing with the tally, rather than just allowing the sensation to take over. Leo sighed – he had hoped to stop after using the paddle but now it was clear he’d have to use another implement as well. With that in mind he eased off the severity of the swats although kept up the tempo so he doubted that Jed would realise what he was doing.


“31…32…” Jed counted, his voice growing higher in triumph at his own feat of endurance. “33…34!” Leo stopped, and laid the paddle on one side and then gently brushed his hand over his lover’s now reddened backside. They were both silent for a moment, and he could see Jed thinking that it was now over, that he’d faced it out, hadn’t given in to it and had thus, in some small way, triumphed over the situation. Unfortunately, Leo knew from experience that if he left Jed like this there was always a corresponding low to match the current high. No, he had to finish this job and finish it well.


“Pass me the strap please, Josiah,” he said, breaking into his lover’s mood.


“What?” Jed looked up in surprise.


“We haven’t finished yet,” Leo said implacably.


“But you said 34! 30 for the disobedience and 4 for calling you Leo,” Jed objected. That decided Leo – his lover was still way too coherent – to say nothing of argumentative – for the spanking to be over.


“That was over and above the spanking I was going to give you anyway,” Leo told him firmly but calmly. “Hand me the strap, Josiah, or I’ll happily give you a few more swats with the paddle while I’m waiting.”


“No! That won’t…be necessary, sir,” Jed sighed, reaching for the strap. He handed it to Leo, and then straightened out his shoulders and rested his head on the pillow once more, a slight hitch in his breath – which Leo thought was a good sign.


Leo wielded that strap like the expert he was. He barely give his sub a chance to draw breath as he peppered his ass with stroke after stinging stroke. And finally, slowly, reluctantly, Jed gave in. It happened so gradually that it would have been easy to miss the first few signs but Leo was very practised at this and knew them well. First, Jed’s legs splayed out and his upper shoulders relaxed as he abandoned himself to his fate and stopped trying to control it or minimise it. Then he began to growl but harder this time, and harder still, until he was yelling out loud, screaming out what sounded like rage and acceptance both at the same time. Leo was never entirely sure what all the noise was about but it seemed to be a necessary part of Jed giving up control and in some way he felt honoured that his friend felt safe enough with him to shout out so uninhibitedly and unashamedly. He had an inkling that when his father had given Jed a more formal kind of punishment, rather than just clouting his son around the head when he annoyed him, that Jed had stayed quiet as his way of hanging on to some last vestige of self respect and not giving his father the opportunity to know that he’d gotten to him. With Leo, there was no need for Jed to hang on to anything – Leo always respected Jed, whether in the Oval Office or in the Blue Bedroom. With Leo he could just be himself, without having to guard against being known or harmed in an emotional way that hurt far more than anything that could be done to his body. Finally, Jed’s entire body seemed to become a jellified mass as he gave in totally and irrevocably to what was happening, and to Leo’s will. Leo continued for a good few seconds more and then, slowly, took the pace down, slowing until he stopped completely a minute or so later.


He put the strap on one side, and resumed stroking his lover’s body. Jed lay there, still too boneless to react to the end of the spanking. Leo smiled down on him, and slid a little bit further down the bed, taking Jed with him. Then he pulled Jed a little bit closer so that his lover’s head was resting on his chest. Jed opened his eyes and gazed, lazily at Leo.


“Thank you,” he whispered, his entire body totally relaxed.


“That’s okay.” Leo leaned down and deposited a kiss on his lover’s head and then stretched out as much as he could on the bed with Jed’s weight on him, and stroked his lover’s hair for a long time. Jed never stopped watching him the entire time, his eyes dreamy, completely blissed out.


“I love you Leo McGarry,” he murmured.


“I love you too, Josiah Bartlet,” Leo said softly, still stroking.


They lay there for a long time, both of them just enjoying the post spanking closeness, and then Leo decided it was time to get his now zoned out, compliant sub to give him some personal services.


“Josiah, undress me. I want a massage,” he ordered.


“Yes, sir,” Jed said dreamily. They disentangled themselves slowly, and Jed knelt beside Leo, his eyes bright with enjoyment. It took a lot to get to Jed to this state of tranquillity and acceptance but Leo knew that it left his lover feeling utterly at peace with himself and this world that he had so much responsibility for.


Jed reached out and unbuttoned Leo’s shirt, and Leo remained where he was lying, enjoying his sub’s adoring attention. Jed went slowly, pausing to drop frequent kisses on Leo’s face and chest. Leo continued to just lie there, accepting it all. Jed could be a difficult, mouthy and opinionated sub but, as in everything he did, once he committed to the role he gave it his total attention and performed it expertly. He finished undoing Leo’s shirt and then smoothed it away from his lover’s shoulders. Leo sat up a bit to facilitate complete removal and then allowed Jed to crouch over him and undo his pants. Jed spent quite some time undoing and removing Leo’s shoes, which gave Leo a great view of his lover’s reddened ass, and then Jed finally removed his pants and underwear, leaving him totally naked. He wasn’t as comfortable with his own nudity as Jed was, and it had taken him awhile to be happy with the two of them being naked with the lights on, but time had changed that and he was happier with it now than he used to be, although still a little shy – a fact he hoped Jed hadn’t picked up on.


“There’s lotion on the nightstand,” Leo instructed, sweeping all the implements from the bed and onto the floor before rolling onto his front, and resting his face on his hands on top of the pillow. A few seconds later he felt the mattress give as Jed straddled his back, and then two warm, capable hands descended on his back. He almost gave a shout of pure pleasure – god this felt good! The first time he had ordered his sub to give him a massage, Jed had looked at him blankly although he’d gone about his task with a good deal of enthusiasm if very little skill. That had been the first time. Since then, Leo knew that Jed had either invited someone in to give him classes or found a very good book on the subject, because, in typical Jed-like fashion, he had become a total expert at giving a good massage. His strong hands seemed to know exactly where to rub for best effect and he effortlessly rooted out all the little knots and tight areas in Leo’s muscles and released the tension. His attention was not entirely of the professional variety though – he frequently trailed a line of tender kisses along Leo’s spine as he worked, or licked his earlobe. It was utterly relaxing and made Leo feel very cherished – which meant so much when coming from this man who he loved with every single atom of his being.


Jed moved lower, concentrating on Leo’s buttocks, and then his legs, before finally coming to a finish.


“Would you like me to do anything else for you, sir?” He whispered in a low voice, kneeling beside Leo. It was all Leo could do to rouse himself from the splendid torpor of the massage but they were a long way from done yet – and the best part was yet to come.


“Yes you can, Josiah,” he said, his voice sounding low and gruff and strange to his own ears. “You can come here.” He turned onto his side, held out his arms, and Jed came willingly into them. “I think that I want to spend a good long time kissing my sub and then I’m going to make love to him. Do you think that sounds like a good idea, Josiah?” He asked. Jed smiled hazily.


“I think that sounds like a very good idea, sir,” he replied.


Leo grinned and lowered his head for a kiss. He loved the moment their lips first touched, and how Jed invariably opened up immediately, wanting Leo to kiss him thoroughly, sweetly, until neither of them had any breath left and they had to back off to get a second wind before beginning again. Leo was true to his word and kissed Jed for a very long time. He enjoyed kissing more than just about any other activity, and he could never resist tangling his hand in Jed’s thick hair while he plundered his lover’s mouth, his other arm wrapped around Jed’s body, keeping him close. This was how he best liked to demonstrate his mastery on Friday evenings – everything else, to Leo, was just preamble. Now that the initial rebellion was over, he had Jed still, calm, loving and at peace with himself, utterly surrendering himself to Leo’s embraces. This was when he truly enjoyed the feeling of dominance that Jed gave him on Friday nights. He loved taking charge of these long, deep kisses, keeping Jed still with the hand wrapped in his hair, pressing his lips firmly on those of his sub, demanding an entrance that was never denied. He rolled on top of Jed, keeping him down, and continued kissing him, often his lips, but now also straying to other parts of his body, tracing a tongue along his lover’s collarbone, or nibbling at his neck in a way that always drove Jed insane, at the same time as keeping him pinned down with the weight of his body and the force of his will. Jed’s eyes were now dark and heavy-lidded with arousal and total abandonment. Leo loved this sight best of all – he knew that Jed was lost in the moment and in the pleasure of being so thoroughly made love to, and he also knew how much Jed enjoyed being in this state. They had made love without the top and sub dynamics occasionally, usually when they were tired or in a hurry, had experienced sex just as two lovers enjoying each other’s bodies and it was always good – but Jed was much more jerky, much less lost in the moment, still too switched on to his political life to really lose himself in his personal life. Only when Leo took the role of dominant to Jed’s submissive did Jed ever truly relax and just enjoy himself.


They probably spent an hour just kissing and caressing – Jed never objected and Leo enjoyed it too much to want to bring it to an end. They were both old enough to be able to hold their climax for a good long time – Leo thought that as he had gotten older he enjoyed the foreplay at least as much as the actual culmination of making love. He spent a long time becoming reacquainted with his lover’s body, deeply regretting the fact that it had been two weeks since he had last been able to enjoy it. Very occasionally he wished they could extend their Friday night activities to other times but he had to concede that at least with their once a week arrangement he had all the joy of delayed gratification and anticipation – and it made their Friday night union all the more intense and beautiful because of that.


Leo kept Jed pinned down while he went lower, making love to every single part of Jed’s body. This was when he was able to truly unleash the sexual, sensual side of his personality and really revel in it. He knew that Jed had been surprised by how passionate he was in the bedroom – certainly he suspected that none of the people who knew him in his professional life had any inkling of how uninhibited and forceful he was in the bedroom. This was the apex of his enjoyment of being a top and when he truly came into his own in the role. After the first time they had made love, Jed had lain on the bed looking at him exhaustedly with something akin to amazement in his eyes.


“Well, Leo, I never suspected that,” he had commented, for once rendered almost speechless. “I guess I should have expected you to be as single minded and attentive to detail in the bedroom as you are in the office though,” he’d said with a grin.


Leo smiled to himself as he remembered that conversation. One of the reasons his marriage had lasted as long as it had was that his wife had always enjoyed their sex life so much. Even when the emotional side of their marriage had been breaking down irrevocably, they had still made love as passionately as ever. Leo wasn’t someone who could do things in half measures; if he was going to make love it was always passionate. Leo had a true enjoyment of his lover’s body. He loved the feel of skin on skin, loved the slightly salty taste of Jed’s flesh, enjoyed moving his lover this way and that, exploring every inch of him, while Jed turned willingly under his fingers and tongue, offering himself up to be conquered and explored, like a foreign country welcoming an unstoppable and secretly admired invader.


Leo reclaimed all those areas of territory that he had missed for the past two weeks, stamping his own mark on them, finding them again and enjoying the familiar scents and tastes. He found the nape of Jed’s neck, just where the hairline met the skin and nuzzled appreciatively. He loved Jed’s hair, and frequently paused just to bury his face in it and inhale the scent of it. He traced the hairline with his mouth, then dropped lower and found the slightly bumpy ridges of his lover’s spine. He traced his tongue down each ridge, massaging gently with his tongue, and then returned up again, pausing to suck on Jed’s neck and then lick behind his ear. Jed arched up into him, muttering something incoherent. Leo grinned to himself – it was always a matter of great pride to him that he could reduce Jed Bartlet to a state of complete inarticulacy – no mean feat of and by itself. Jed’s skin was a light golden tan colour, darker than his own pale flesh and he loved the colours it turned when he sucked or nibbled or, occasionally, bit. Jed liked being bitten and Leo liked biting him – not too hard, just enough so that his lover could feel Leo’s teeth and they could both enjoy the sense of Leo’s domination.


Leo snaked back down to Jed’s buttocks and lapped at the still tender flesh with his tongue. He often wondered what it felt like to have the glowing, sensitised flesh touched and licked in this way, but his curiosity did not extend to allowing Jed to top him. He had his reasons; firstly, the role of submissive did not hold any appeal to him. He thought he could endure it easily enough but doubted he’d actively enjoy it. Not because he didn’t think he could handle giving up control, but because his enjoyment of love making was predicated so much on being the active, initiating partner and on those occasions in his life where he had been more passive it had frustrated him and spoiled his enjoyment of the act to a certain degree. He would have taken the role if he had felt that Jed would have gotten something from it, but after giving the matter a good deal of thought he had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t a good idea for Jed to see him in that role; Jed needed Leo to be his certainty, his rock, and to know that Leo could always take him down when he needed it. Leo worried that certainty might falter if Jed topped him. He had realised that Jed’s curiosity on that subject wasn’t going to go away though – and when he had seen an expression in Josh’s eyes that he was all too familiar with seeing in Jed’s eyes, he had considered whether this might not be the solution to this particular problem. He thought Jed would make a very good top in the same way that he made a good president and a good father, and he was looking forward to seeing his lover in action with Josh in a week’s time. However, he also knew that Jed needed to sub as well – needed it on a fundamental level that went to the root of his entire being, and he was more than happy to fill this role for this man who he loved so completely.


Leo sank his teeth very gently into Jed’s buttocks and was rewarded by a low moan. He parted the flesh and explored within, taking his time, loving this as much as he loved all the aspects of being in charge of this particular body. He loved the noises Jed made as he drove his tongue inside, exploring gently but thoroughly and he worked for some time before moving on, down Jed’s legs, down to his feet, before working his way just as slowly back up again, right back to the nape of his neck where he had started.


Leo wrapped his hand in Jed’s hair again, and pulled his lover up, his other hand wrapped around Jed’s waist. Jed came willingly into a kneeling position, his every sense seemingly tuned to doing whatever Leo wanted and getting into whatever position Leo wanted him to be in. Leo covered Jed’s body with his own, moving as ceaselessly as ever, and reached underneath to touch his lover’s belly and chest, his tongue still claiming Jed’s neck. He enjoyed the sensation of covering his lover from behind – although they were both aroused he had no intention of entering Jed yet, but he knew that it excited his lover knowing he was so close and could bring their union to a climax whenever he chose. Instead he turned Jed onto his back, and worked on the front of his body, going in for another long kiss, sucking on Jed’s lower lip, then down to his collar bone and on to his nipples. He ignored his lover’s cock for most of the time, enjoying the sense of power that Jed’s moans and incoherent cries gave him. He returned over and over again to Jed’s lips for more kisses in between exploring his lover’s body and then finally, without warning, enveloped Jed’s needy cock with his mouth. His lover gave a startled shout and bucked up against him but, like the maestro he was, Leo took his time, pausing and starting in again and then pausing once more – over and over again until Jed was on the brink of total abandonment, begging for release, pleading with Leo to let him come. Leo loved driving his lover this wild with need and was utterly ruthless in keeping Jed balanced on the brink of ecstasy. This was another way he liked to exert his control and Jed always responded so well to it. He backed off again, chuckling at Jed’s cry of frustration, and reached for the condoms and lube on the nightstand. He leaned over his lover, and ran his free hand through Jed’s hair, smoothing it away from his face and looked into those much-loved eyes. Jed was ready – he had probably been ready for the past hour but Leo saw no need to rush. He kissed his lover again, firmly and authoritatively, and felt a tremor of total arousal and need course through Jed’s body.


Leo spread the lube on his fingers and spent several long minutes preparing his lover, gazing all the while into Jed’s heavy-lidded, totally aroused, and completely surrendered eyes. Jed’s submission always made his heart pound – although he had usually been the more active partner in sexual relationships prior to Jed, he’d never formally taken on the role of top, and it never ceased to surprise him how much he adored seeing his lover so naked, abandoned and submissive. He loved the way Jed responded to his touch and gave himself up so eagerly to his every caress. Finally, having prepared his lover thoroughly, Leo sank himself into Jed’s waiting body. Jed gave a heartfelt sigh, and Leo settled himself on top of his lover, taking a position where he could see into Jed’s eyes, and kiss him hard as the mood took him. He thrust gently, taking his time, just enjoying the closeness. Jed’s cock lay between them and he stimulated it with his own body with every forward stroke, occasionally stopping to fondle it, and suck on Jed’s nipples or go in again for another long, deep drink from Jed’s lips. Finally, when Leo judged that Jed couldn’t hold out for much longer and when he himself was on the brink, he brought them both expertly to climax, Jed first and himself a few seconds later. They lay there for a long time afterwards, Leo resting on Jed’s chest, and Jed breathing the long, deep breaths of a man totally relaxed and at peace with himself.


Finally Leo pulled himself together enough to withdraw and take Jed in his arms, spooning up with him and drawing a blanket over both of them to keep warm in the post-coital haze.


“So, you missed me last week then, huh?” Jed murmured a few minutes later. Leo chuckled.


“Nah. I was sunning myself in Florida like you said,” he replied. Jed gave a bark of laughter and turned in Leo’s arms so that he was facing him. Leo loved these moments, when they were closer than at any other time. He lived for these moments. “C’mere,” he said, drawing Jed even closer and kissing him again. “Yes, I missed you; you might be the most impossible, infuriating, disobedient and downright difficult sub in the entire world but I missed you like crazy, as you know all too well.”


Jed laughed out loud. “Well you do like a challenge, Leo,” he commented cheerfully. Then, a few seconds later: “I’m not too difficult am I?” There was a shade of anxiety in his voice; Leo knew that sometimes after the event Jed was embarrassed by his behaviour at the beginning of these sessions and he squeezed Jed’s butt affectionately.


“Oh, I can handle you, Jed Bartlet,” he commented. “I can handle you without any problem at all.”


“That over the knee thing,” Jed commented. “Were you planning on doing that again?”


“I expect so,” Leo replied with a slightly malicious grin. “I enjoyed it far too much not to.”


“I thought you’d say that,” Jed grunted.


“How much did you hate it?” Leo questioned thoughtfully.


“If I tell you that then you might do it even more often,” Jed replied. Leo squeezed his butt again, a little more firmly this time and Jed sighed. “Oh okay – I did find it hard, Leo, but you knew I would. It felt ridiculous…but I liked being that close to you and I liked you holding me in place – that’s nicer than being tied and makes it easier than when you just ask me to hold position.”


“Thank you. I thought that was the case.” Leo nodded, deciding that whether Jed liked it or not the over the knee spanking was definitely going to happen a lot more from now on. It had taken him a long time to convince Jed that spanking was a shared activity born out of and executed in an atmosphere of affection and love. At first Jed had just wanted punishment, and some sense of atonement for what he perceived as his sins. His only experience of that kind of absolution had been at his father’s none too tender hands and he didn’t have any other frame of reference by which to judge it. Leo hoped he’d provided a good alternative because he sure as hell could never give Jed the kind of treatment he’d received from his father. He could never be cold, clinical or angry in these sessions. He could be matter of fact and he could be every bit as strong and in command as Jed needed him to be but never without a good deal of affection underneath that.


He glanced down at Jed who had closed his eyes and was resting his chin on Leo’s shoulder. He could still vividly remember the first time they had done this. It had been after the State of the Union well over a year ago. Jed had been ill with the flu, and Leo had pressed Abbey about the President’s health, knowing that something else was going on. He had been deeply hurt to find out about Jed’s MS. He had thought they were close; Jed had been the first person he had turned to when he had realised he was losing his battle with alcoholism years ago. Now, it turned out that his best and oldest friend had a disease that he had kept secret from him for years. Leo had very nearly gone home and drowned his sorrows in drink, but only the look in Jed’s eyes as they spoke in his bedroom, Jed still recovering from the flu, had stopped him. Jed was abject with guilt; the last thing he had wanted to do was to hurt Leo, but he had been in denial about his MS for the longest time – almost as if, if he told anyone he had it, even Leo, it would become true, and he desperately hadn’t wanted it to be true. He had finally come to accept it, but by then he was on his way to being President, and he had feared that Leo would withdraw his support if he knew about the illness. Leo had no idea whether or not he would have – but he did understand his friend’s fear. A few days after the State of the Union speech, when Jed was fully recovered from the flu, he had asked Leo to come up to the Residence for a private dinner, just the two of them. Leo had understood right from the beginning that Jed wanted to make his amends, but he had been taken totally by surprise by what the President had suggested.


To ensure their privacy, the President had set up their dinner in the Blue Bedroom. Leo had been surprised by that too although the choice of room started to make sense later on. They had eaten, talking at length about Jed’s health, and Leo’s sense of betrayal, until the emotions of both men were running high. Jed barely touched his dinner and afterwards pushed his plate away, leaned over the table and spoke to his oldest and best friend in a low, intense tone of voice.


“Leo, I feel bad about this. I don’t like seeing that hurt look in your eyes and knowing I caused it. I only ever want you to look at me with trust and affection. I don’t want you to doubt me again. I want you to be proud of me.” It had taken him a lot to say that and Leo had valued every single word, but he wasn’t sure his emotions could be switched on and off that easily and had said so. Jed had nodded, almost impatiently, as if he accepted that.


“I’m not talking about me telling you to get over it and you doing so just like that,” he said, waving his hand in the air. “That wouldn’t be fair on you and it would hardly excuse the enormity of what I did to you. I’ve thought about this for some time, Leo and you can refuse if you want, but I think it would help us both if you’d punish me.”


“Punish you? I don’t understand.” Leo gazed at the other man, trying to figure out what he meant.


“I think you do, Leo. I want you to punish me. I deserve it and I’d feel a hell of a lot better if you did. My father had a cane – I doubt we’ve got one of those lying around here but my belt would do just as well.”


Leo had found himself speechless, and yet, curiously, although he knew the request to be completely extraordinary, it hadn’t felt unexpected. He remembered several occasions when he’d seen a similar look in his friend’s eyes and had felt some inkling of what Jed had wanted from him even then, although he’d never have been able to put it into words. Leo had considered Jed’s request, taking his time, needing to make the right decision. Jed had remained silent throughout, his eyes never leaving Leo’s as he pondered the possible consequences of what Jed was requesting. Leo wasn’t sure that his own hurt feelings could be relieved by whipping the President’s ass, but there was no doubt that the offer had been genuinely meant and that if it would help mend the rift between them, Jed Bartlet, President of the United States, would allow his Chief of Staff and best friend to whip him with his own belt.


Leo had agreed in the end not because he thought it would help him but because he recognised the real distress Jed was in and he thought it would help his friend more. That first occasion had been a revelation to Leo. Jed had clearly expected the cold, formal kind of punishment that his father had handed out to him as a kid, but when it came to it, Leo had been utterly unable to deliver that kind of punishment. While he had no problem with meting out the kind of thorough whipping Jed clearly needed, he wasn’t about to do it any way but his own. So, he had taken his time and followed his instincts. Jed had never experienced a warm up before a spanking, and equally had never been given any wind down time afterwards and both these things took him by surprise when Leo insisted upon them, even in the face of Jed’s objections. When Jed had braced himself over the armchair Leo had found himself curiously affected by the fact that his friend was prepared to let him do this to make amends. Suddenly he realised that he had been wrong, and that his hurt feelings were appeased, at least in part, by Jed’s willingness to submit to such an indignity to mend the wrong that he had done him. Instead of wanting to hurt his friend though, Leo had wanted instead, as usual, to be of some service to him. Yes, Jed deserved his whipping, but he also deserved Leo’s affection and admiration for submitting to it in the first place. Leo had taken his time, and although Jed had rebelled against the lightness of his touch at first, thinking maybe that Leo wasn’t going to be able to see this through, his old friend soon realised that this wasn’t going to be an easy whipping.


Leo had taken Jed right into himself and out the other side. Jed never once tried to break position but Leo tested him right to the limits of his endurance on that, needing to make sure that his contrition was genuine and needing Jed to know that he had performed his penance – if Leo had given him an easy ride Jed would have known it and the whole thing would have been rendered completely pointless. Afterwards, Jed had stood up and tried, in a matter of fact, even offhand way, to bring the evening to a close. Leo wasn’t going to stand for any of that – he had no intention of allowing his friend to slink off and lick his wounds in silence after they had both shared something so profound, and instead had pulled Jed into a hug. At first Jed had stood there stiffly, but then, as if a dam had broken inside, he had slumped against Leo, sobbing silently. Leo had half-walked, half-carried Jed to the bed and laid down with him on it, holding his friend for the next hour and a half while Jed dealt with the turbulent emotions that were raging inside. They had talked for another two hours solid after that, and that was how their unconventional Friday evening activities had first begun. It had been a short step after that to making love – but one that had felt very right. Leo was still amazed that something so very good could have come out of a situation that had been so very hurtful but he was eternally grateful that it had.


“You still with me, Leo?” Jed asked, bringing him back to the present day.


“Sure.” Leo smiled. “Just remembering the first time you invited me to this room.”


“Ah.” Jed smiled too. “Seems like a long time ago.”


“Yeah. And now we’ve asked someone else to join us,” Leo commented softly. Jed stiffened slightly in his arms.


“Josh?” He asked.


“Yeah. My meeting with him went very well. He’s going to be joining us next week, and every other Friday from now on, depending on how it goes the first time of course. I want you to be clear about this though – you can top Josh but you’re still my sub.”


“What does that make Josh? The sub’s sub?” Jed wrinkled up his face, considering that.


“Yeah,” Leo chuckled. “The lowest of the low although he doesn’t seem to mind that – in fact I think that’s pretty much the way he wants it. So, in this room you’re still Josiah and you’ll still do as I say. I won’t countermand anything you say to Josh unless I think you’re wrong – and if I do, you’ll accept my decision immediately. I have a lot more experience of this than you do and the way I see it you have a lot of learning to do.”


“Yes, Leo,” Jed said in a mock-meek voice. Leo slapped his ass.


“I mean it. We don’t screw around with Josh – this has to be as good and as right for him as it is for you.”


“Yes, Leo,” Jed said again, but this time his tone was completely serious. “Hell, we both care about that kid – there’s no way I’d do anything to hurt him.”


“I know.” Leo smiled. “It’s going to be mighty interesting seeing you top him,” he chuckled.


“What – you don’t think I can do it?” Jed asked. Leo shook his head.


“Oh I think you can do anything you set your mind to, Jed Bartlet – but it’s still going to be mighty interesting watching you!”


They talked for another half an hour and then finally fell into deep, peaceful sleep, limbs still entwined, Leo’s hand resting on his lover’s hair, Jed’s cheek on Leo’s chest.


Leo woke up just after 7 the next day, slipped out of the bed, took a shower, shaved, and cleaned his teeth. He got dressed silently, and then spent a couple of minutes clearing up the room and replacing all the implements in the trunk at the foot of the bed. When he was finished, he went over to the bed and looked down on his lover who was still fast asleep, utterly lost to the world, completely relaxed and at peace. Jed had a dreamy half-smile on his features and his hair was all awry. He didn’t look like the President of the United States; he looked like the tousled haired lover and wayward but charming sub of Leo McGarry.


Leo leaned over and dropped a kiss on his lover’s forehead.


“See you next Friday, Josiah,” he murmured and then, very quietly, he left the room.




End of Part Two



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