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The Valentine

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On his way through the circuitous hallways of the west wing, heading towards his office, Toby dodged between wily interns exchanging cheesy notes and gratuitous public displays of affection on the treacherous journey back to his own office, where he would be free from all things pink and red and plastic and in any way, shape, or form Valentines-y. 

But first, there was one stop; strictly business. Toby stuck his head into Sam’s office, only to find that the man in question was most certainly absent. The office had gained, however, one new detail. Toby stepped forward and plucked the deep pink, heart-shaped paper, complete with drug-store brand lace around the rim, from his employee’s desk. 

It was a Valentine’s card. 

It was a Valentine’s card and that would not have been nearly so disturbing to Toby had he not read the message it held:

“Work is hard,

so is my dick.

Let’s go home early.

so we can frick.”

Toby spluttered and sighed to himself, turning the card over. It was signed with “-Josh” and a crudely drawn heart.

He whirled around, offending Valentine raised between two fingers, when he heard a voice and the youthful timbre of the man in question’s feet.

“Toby!” Josh almost yelled with a cocky smile as he bounded to Toby, who only offered the lewd card to the air.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” He asked lowly.

Josh’s smile faded.

“That was, uh, meant for private eyes,” he answered more bashfully.

“Yeah, well,” Toby continued into his own office. “Do it on your private time, then.”

As the Toby settled in his seat and Josh settled in his skin, a third face appeared.

“Speak of the devil,” Toby’s eyes bugged out as his arms drifted from his sides in a vague shrug.

“Excuse me?” said the oh-so-annoyingly-chipper Sam.

Toby grabbed the card from his desk and fashioned a paper airplane out of it.

“The hell are you doing?” Josh asked. Like he had any room to talk.

“Gimme a second,” Toby’s head was bowed in concentration.

“If this is going to be-” Sam was ready to split before he was hit square in the chest with the world’s first inappropriately pink paper plane. Sam unfolded it with swift fingers. 

His face grew red to the tips of his ears as his eyes skirted across the message. His companions sat in waiting silence.

“What the hell, Josh!?”

“The devil speaks,” Toby grumbled. 

“I just wanted to surprise you!” Josh scrambled for a good explanation that would ensure his reputation as a completely mature and professional adult would remain unharmed.

“Surprise me, Josh?” Sam asked. “There are reporters crawling all around the west wing, I’m sure they’d be much more surprised than I.”

“Not to mention the American public,” Toby offered with a tone. “Imagine the headlines!”

“What headlines?” 

The three men turned to see CJ standing in the door of Toby’s office.

“Nothing,” Sam answered bashfully.

“Really?” 

“Nope,” Josh shook his head.

“Alright, then what’s that?” CJ grabbed the card from between Sam’s fingers faster than you could say “senior staff scandal”.

“Have mercy...” Toby said under his breath as CJ read the valentine.

“Josh!”

The Deputy Chief of Staff winced at CJ’s volume.

“Do you have any idea how stupid you are?” She stalked towards him.

“Yes...?” Josh offered.

CJ pushed the valentine into his chest with a pointed finger.

“Well, good! Then you realize that instead of our daily news story being “First Couple Has Romantic Dinner”, it could’ve been “Gays in the White House: Unbridled Sexuality Runs Wild.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Josh conceded.

CJ turned on Sam.

“And Sam, whatever you decide about breaking your relationship with that buffoon to the public, please don’t let me find it out from cable news.”

With that the room was silent, apart from Toby clicking his pen. 

“Toby,” CJ spoke after a few seconds.

“Yeah?”

“Leo wants us,” She said as she walked out the door, Toby trailing her.

Josh and Sam were left to stare at their shoes.

“So...” Josh looked up. “That’s a ‘no’ to the card?”

“Despite it’s absolutely breathtaking use of language, Josh,” Sam answered. “I’m pretty sure we’re gonna have to take a raincheck.”