The assembled crowd were looking at them with curious eyes, but Sam was unflustered.
"Could I have your attention, please?" he said again, though he already had it. He spotted CJ and Toby joining the back of the crowd, slightly bemused expressions in place.
Acting on a sudden impulse, Sam hopped up to stand on Donna's desk. It was an easy, lightly attempted motion, and one that would have ended in him falling painfully and embarrassingly a few hours earlier. But not the way he was now.
Right now, he was Sam the wolf. But he was also Sam the speechwriter. And here and now, perhaps for the first time, the confidence to speak flowed as easily as the words.
"It's come to my attention," he said, softly, "that certain rumours have been flying about." His eyes glided across the assembly, and a few people blushed. He met CJ's slightly worried gaze, and gave her a little flash of his newly discovered wolf-smile.
"Now, rumours are fun," he said, hopping down from the desk to walk amongst the crowd. "Rumours are great to listen to. Rumours are even better to spectulate on.
"But rumours are not
," he said pointedly, "harmless. I write for a living. I know the power of my words. But you have to ask yourself if you know the power of yours."
He turned his cool gaze on Bonnie, who looked away.
"Now, it might be the greatest bit of gossip that you've ever heard that the Deputy Chief of Staff is having an affair with his best friend. It might even be true; you're in no position to know." His heightened senses picked up the slightly strangled sound Josh made at that; he didn't have to turn to see Donna laying a restraining hand on his arm.
Sam spotted Cathy in the crowd, and wove his way over to her. He laid a casual arm over her shoulder, something he had never done before, and leaned in close to her ear to continue speaking. "The thing about rumours, see, is they have a way of spreading." He pulled away from her, and turned back to the crowd.
"First Cathy knows and Ginger knows, and that's okay. And then Bonnie knows and Donna knows, and that's okay. And then it's Margaret and it's Ainsley and it's CJ and it's that new girl who always gives you a smile when she brings the coffee, and you know what? That's still okay. But it keeps spreading, and it keeps moving out, and then sometime it's not okay."
He turned back, and started moving back towards Josh. "Is it fair that it should even matter
what you say? Of course it's not. Is it fair that even a gesture between good friends can be misinterpreted and used against them? Is it fair that even if it was
real, it would be called wrong? No, it isn't.
"Rumours are light and sweet and harmless. But rumours can be twisted into something harder, and darker, something that can bring good people down for no good reason."
Sam made it to Josh's side, and casually slipped his arm around his shoulders. "This is my friend Josh. Now, he's not my boyfriend. But if he was, should we be punished for that? No, of course not."
He ran his gaze over the crowd, who were by now looking decidedly chagrined. Donna, gazing at the two of them, seemed just about ready to burst into tears. "That's why we're here, people. We're here to make things better for the world, for everybody. That's why we came to this place
. We're here to change the world. And we're not gonna listen to rumours. Because we're better than that."
He gazed at Josh, who was smiling back at him; triumphant in the power of Sam's words, the way they were when the President delivered them. "We're better than that. And we're gonna make the world better than that."
And then, right there in front of God, CJ, the White House assistant corps and everybody, he leaned across and very gently kissed Josh on the lips. And then he turned around and silently walked out.Feeling like a wolf, hey. I could get used to this. The End