That's What Friends Are For

by Lisa Verson

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, etc.
Rating: PG
Category: Sam/Ainsley, Friendship
Spoilers: None that I know of
Archive: Sure, just let me know where
Feedback: I would really appreciate feedback :)

"Here you go Sam, here is your summarized memo." Sam looked at Ainsley as if he was about to say something, but she beat him to it. "And no, I did not reverse your position. Happy?"

"Thanks, but that was not was I was going to say." He motioned for her to sit down in the chair in front of his desk. She looked at him expectantly. "I was going to say that Leo has been very impressed with the way you summarize my memos. He would have said so himself, but he is tied up in a meeting."

Ainsley searched for the right words to say. "I...I can't believe it! She beamed.

"Furthermore, I must admit that I too, am very impressed by your work." Ainsley just stared at Sam, in utter shock that he would give her a compliment.

"You are impressed? I don't know what to say," she said, feeling quite proud of herself.

"Yes, I am impressed, you don't have a problem with that, do you?" She shook her head. "In fact--"

Sam was interruped by Kathy, who had entered his office. "Sam, I'm sorry to disturb you, but you have a phone call."

"Kathy, I'm sort of busy right now. Can't you take a message?"

"It's the Los Angeles police department, Sam. I think you had better take this call." With that, she left the office.

Ainsley began to get up to leave. He motioned for her to stay where she was. "This should only take a minute." She nodded. Sam picked up the receiver. "Sam Seaborn...yes, I am her brother...what?!...Is she okay?...How did it happen?...Yeah, thanks." Sam hung up the phone, his face completely pale.

"Sam, what happened?" Ainsley looked very concerned. It took a moment for him to say anything.

"My si..sister was in a car accident. The police...the police say that she was hit by a drunk driver. They don't know how she...she is." Sam just sat there, staring at his desk, unable to say anything more.

Ainsley quickly got up and walked to the other side of the desk so she was next to him. "Sam, I am so sorry. Is there anything I can do?" For a moment he just sat there, staring down at his desk.

He looked up at Ainsley for a second, then suddenly stood up, causing her to

jump back a bit. "I have to get to California," he said, picking the phone up to call the airline. "Yes, this is Sam Seaborn. I need one ticket to Los Angeles. When is the next flight out there? Thank you." With that, he hung up the phone and nearly ran out of his office and down the hall, leaving Ainsley in utter shock. She followed him down the hall.

Sam and Ainsley were nearly breathless when they reached Leo's office. "Margaret, I need to see Leo, now."

"He's on the phone with Senator Johnson right now." Margaret said without looking up from her typing.

"I don't care. I need to speak to him. It's very important."

"I'm sorry Sam, you're going to have to--" Sam stalked past Margaret and went into Leo's office, leaving a stunned Margaret. She looked at Ainsley who just shrugged her shoulders and waited outside the office for Sam.

"Yes Senator, I understand that, but--" Leo was interuped by Sam, who had walked into the office. "Sam, can't you see I'm a little busy here?" He said, covering the mouthpiece of the phone.

"I'm sorry Leo, but my sister was in a car accident. They don't know what kind of condition she's in, but it isn't looking good."

"Senator, I am going to have to call you back." He looked at Sam with concern written all over his face. "Sam, I am so sorry. Are you going to see her?"

"I have a 3:00 flight to Los Angeles. I'm not sure how long I'll be gone." He was still pale, his voice now monotone.

"Okay, Sam. Go see your sister. Call us when you know something." Sam nodded and left the office, now walking back to his own. Ainsley followed him back.

"Sam? When is your flight?" She asked when they got back to his office.

"3:00." He turned off his laptop and grabbed his coat and walked out of his office. "Kathy, I'm going to be gone for awhile." Kathy opened her mouth to ask why, but Sam beat her to it. "Leo will explain. I'll see you later." He walked away, leaving a stunned Kathy.

Ainsley followed him out of the Communications bullpen and into the front hall. "Do you want me to go with you, Sam?" He stopped walking and turned to face her. "I can arrange it with Mr.. Tribbey. I'm sure he'll understand."

He put his hand on her shoulder and smiled at her. "Thanks Ainsley, but I'll be fine." And with that, he walked out of the West Wing, leaving a concerned Ainsley behind.


Ainsley stood in the front lobby of the West Wing for a couple of minutes before she thought of something she could do to help Sam, even if he didn't want it. She went down to her office, grabbed her coat, left a message for Mr. Tribbey, and left the White House.


At the airport, Sam sat at the gate, waiting for his flight to be called, he

could not stop thinking about his sister. She was only thirty years old. It wasn't her time to go yet.

"Flight 284 to Los Angeles is now boarding through gate six," the voice on the loudspeaker announced.

Sam boarded the plane and found his seat. He wanted to get to LA as quickly as possible. If only the flight wasn't so long. He stared out the window praying for his sister.

A breathless Ainsley arrived at the gate. "Are there still tickets available for the flight to Los Angeles?" The woman behind the desk nodded. "Okay, I need to buy one ticket please."

As soon as she had her ticket, Ainsley boarded the plane. She found her seat--the one right next to Sam. She sat down and took a deep breath, now nervous if she was doing the right thing. Sam was still staring out the window, so she decided he had not noticed she was there. "Hi Sam," she said softly. He turned around, shock written all over his face.

"Ainsley, what are you doing here?"

"I'm here to support you. You look like you could use a friend to talk to right about now." Sam let a small smile creep onto his face. Seeing that he was smiling, sort of, she knew that she was doing the right thing. She could tell that Sam didn't feel like talking, so she just took his hand.

Realizing her hand was in his, Sam took hers as well. For three-fourths of the flight, the two were silent. The two held hands for the entire flight. Ainsley could tell that he was keeping his feelings inside. She knew they would come out eventually. She didn't want to push him.

When they landed, Sam and Ainsley went to rent a car.

"Thanks, for coming Ainsley," he said as they drove to the hospital. "I honestly don't know how together I would be if I were alone."

"What's your sister's name?" She asked, trying to make conversation.

Sam stared at the open road for a minute before answering, "Lindsay. Lindsay Seaborn-Grey. Or as I woul call her when we were kids, Linny." Sam smiled at that memory.

"So she's married, then?" He nodded. "Does she have children?"

"Yeah, a daughter, Ashley. She'll be two next month. She looks just like Lindsay."

When they arrived at the hospital, Sam was told that his sister was in ICU. The two went up to the third floor. Right as they stepped off out of the elevator, a little girl with very dark hair came running towards them. "Uncle Sam! Uncle Sam!"

"Hey munchkin," Sam said, picking up the girl. "Ashley, this is my friend, Ainsley. Can say hi?" Ashley hid her head in Sam's shoulder. "She's very shy," he whispered to Ainsley, "I'm surprised she came up to me in the first


As Sam set Ashley down, she ran towards a man about Sam's height, maybe a little taller. "Daddy! Uncle Sam here!" Ashley exclaimed excitedly.

"I can see that. Hey Sam, how are ya?"

"I'm doing alright, how are you Daniel?"

"Good, good. I see you brought some company with you," Daniel said, gesturing in Ainsley's direction. "Hi, nice to meet you. Daniel Grey." He extended his hand towards Ainsley, who shook it.

"Ainsley Hayes. It's nice to meet you, Mr. Grey." She said, a little nervously.

"Wait a minute, I recognize you now. You're the one who made Sam look like an idiot on national television." At this point, Ainsley wanted to crawl under a chair. She turned a crimson red. "Nice going! You wouldn't believe how many times Lindsay has wanted to do that to him, isn't that right, Sam?" This time it was Sam's turn to blush.

"Yeah, that would be me," Ainsley said, slowly regaining her self-esteem.

"So," Sam said, changing the topic, "how's Lindsay doing? Is she conscious? Do the doctors know if there will be any permanent damage?"

"Lindsay has been in and out of consciousness. They had to sedate her when the ambulance got to the scene. They don't think that there has been any permanent damage. She's got a concussion and a few bruises and whiplash from the airbag, but other than that, she's doing alright." Sam's look of complete distress was slowly turning to a look of relief.

"Am I allowed to go see her?"

"Yeah, she's in room 312. Right down that hall." Daniel pointed down the hall that was straight ahead of them.

"Thanks. Ainsley, why don't you stay here and I'll be back in a couple of minutes or so." Ainsley nodded. "Thanks again for coming with me." He squeezed her hand and then took off down the hall to find room 312.

When he found the room, he looked inside before going in. There she was, his little sister, an IV in her hand, and several machines around her. Sam took a deep breath and went in. He was surprised to find her awake. "Hey Linny, how ya doing?" He winced at the sight of the bruises and cuts on her face, neck and arms.

"Sam!" Lindsay said, her voice quite hoarse. "I'm so glad to see you. How are things at the White House? Obviously busy since you haven't visited us since the DNC."

"Things are great at the White House. I love working for President Bartlet. I love writing the speeches, I love it all." She looked up at him and smiled. "How are things in the second grade?"

"I can't complain, although I have twent-five kids who can and do almost everyday," she said, laughing a little. "I've only been teaching at the school for a year and I think I'm already getting gray hair."

"Well you are thirty." He said with a grin on his face.

"Shut up! Anyway, if anyone has gray hair, it's you. You're thirty-five." She stated matter-of-factly.

For the next twenty minutes the two talked as if they hadn't seen each other

in ten years. She told him about Ashley and how she was learning new things everyday, he talked to her about the White House. Inside, he was thanking God that she was okay. He was so scared, but having Ainsley with him helped to take away some of the fear.

Sam walked back into the waiting area only to find Ainsley reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to Ashley. Everytime Ainsley would turn the page, Ashley would point and sound out the word as best she could. Ainsley seemed very comfortable with children. Well, this one anyway.

"Uncle Sam!" Ashley exclaimed as Sam walked further into the room. She ran up to him and he picked her up.

"Hey there munchkin. Where did your daddy go?"

"He got food."

"I see. Has Ainsley been taking good care of you?" Ashley nodded and ran back over to Ainsley as soon as Sam set her down. "Read, please!" Ainsley smiled at Sam and continued to read to the little girl.

A few minutes later Daniel walked back into the room. "Hi Sam, when did you get back?"

"A couple of minutes ago. Lindsay seems to be doing better." Daniel nodded.

"I just talked to her doctor. He wants to keep her here overnight for observation, and if she's okay tomorrow, which I am sure she will be, she can go home."

"That's great," Sam said, breathing a sigh of relief. "It's getting late. I think Ainsley and I should probably get to the hotel." He said as Ainsley began to get up.

"Alright, then I guess we will be seeing you tomorrow?" Daniel asked hopeful that they would.

"Yeah, bright and early. I'll see you later, munchkin," Sam said to Ashley, bending down to give her a big bear hug.

"Bye Uncle Sam, bye Aisley!" Ashley said, and then added "tank you for reading to me."

"You are very welcome." Ainsley said as Ashley went to hug her. "Bye bye." She waved to Ashley, who immediately waved back.


In the car, Ainsley could tell Sam was feeling better. "So I take it that your sister is alright?"

"She's going to be fine. I never knew what good company you could be." Ainsley blushed. "I know I have already thanked you about a thousand times, but thanks again. Not only for coming, but for risking your job. Well, not your job, but for a good yelling from Tribbey."

"And I would have done it again, my friend. You know why?"


"Because that's what friends are for." Sam smiled and nodded in agreement.

"I would have probably done the same for you. After all, you said it, that's what friends are for." Ainsley looked at Sam and smiled. She could tell that the two of them were going to get along a lot easier at work from that point on.

The rest of the drive was mostly in silence. Not because they were tired, but because each one was thinking about the fact that they had formed a friendship. One that would probably last for a long, long time.

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