cypanache (cypanache) wrote,
cypanache
cypanache

ff: with moonlight in your hand

Title: with moonlight in your hand (part one)
Pairing: Sloan Sabbith/Don Keefer
Fandom: The Newsroom
Word Count: ~5,300 (this part)
Rating: PG-13 (think the show, with the accompanying language)
A/N:  So in a turn of events which should shock absolutely no one who follows me on tumblr, the thing that finally got me writing again was the intriguing chemistry between these two characters on The Newsroom.  I've shipped them since the moment Don yelled her name in "Bullies," but after the season finale I've become convinced that these two have known each other since before the series premiere.  Therefore in a stunning act of stupidity and self-aggravation, I am attempting a gap-fill fic for a Sorkin show.  Wish me luck!


-

with moonlight in your hand

yet if you build your life on dreams, it's prudent to recall

a man with moonlight in his hand, has nothing there at all

- 'To Each His Dulcinea,' Man of La Mancha

#

i.

Sloan Sabbith grows up believing in fairytales.

Not actual fairytales obviously. Not the kind with dragons or knights or magic induced comas that can be cured with a kiss. Her parents see to that from an early age. Practical, self-reliant academics both, they raise her in a world without an Easter Bunny, where Santa Claus is an out of work actor in a funny red suit and fake beard, and "Beauty and the Beast" has disturbing undertones of Stockholm Syndrome.

And maybe they do her a disservice. Maybe because she never has that typical childhood experience of finding out magic isn't real, of discovering her parents lied and having to separate simple fantasy from obvious reality, it's the bigger lies that elude her as an adult.

Because you see despite all empirical evidence to the contrary Sloan Sabbith still believes in all the naïve, old-fashioned things you're not supposed to anymore. The dangerous bill of goods sold by MGM musicals and her parents' example. Things like marriage and public service and stopping on the street to help a stranger find their way to the Empire State Building.

She believes most people are inherently good and every kid in the world should have an equal shot at the same education she got.

Sloan Sabbith still believes in heroes.

And Sloan Sabbith still believes in love.

(It's the last two that wind up getting her into trouble.)

#

ii.

Don Keefer figures out there's no such thing as Santa Claus the same year he figures out his dad is having an affair with the receptionist at his dealership.

He doesn't have that word in his arsenal of course, not at four years old. But he's bright enough that when he sneaks into his dad's office in search of quarters for the candy machine and catches them kissing, he can put together the salient details.

His mother strokes his hair and kisses his forehead and tells him he probably made a mistake, even though he didn't.

He's eleven when he figures out his mom knows, that she's always known—about that receptionist and the one before that, about the one that comes after and the babysitter he had a crush on—about all of them really.

Twenty-four years later his parents are still married, and he's still pretending he doesn't know.

So, you see, Don Keefer grows up believing exactly two things:

1. Everybody lies. To each other. To themselves.

2. There are worse crimes in the world.

#

iii.

If somebody ever psychoanalyzed him, which please god, no, they'd probably tell you he goes into journalism as a subconscious rebellion against his father. Eschews the family business and it's perception-as-reality world of sales for a career where truth is glorified as a way of saying 'screw you' to the old man.

At which point Don would tell you they don't know what the fuck they're talking about.

In reality, or at least the only version of reality he'll tell you, Don winds up in journalism because of a girl.

(Yes, he's aware of the parallels. Thanks.)

He meets Lauren Sullivan at a frat party his sophomore year at NYU. He's in the process of drinking his way through a business degree with a solid B-minus average and every intention of taking the well-mapped route back to Phillly and a job running one of his family's eight successful car-dealerships, when Lauren stumbles into his life.

A senior journalism major with nicotine stained fingers and a two-hundred dollar haircut, she's unlike anything he's ever seen in the Pennsylvania suburbs—all Upper-East side sophistication and confidence, wrapped in thick-soled Doc Marten's and a surplus army jacket. Rebel in search of a cause.

Needless to say, she finds him less than impressive. (There might be a thirty-minute drunken diatribe against the evils of fossil fuels in general, cars in particular, and by extension his entire family in specific, that only manages to make him want her more.)

Because he seems to have been born with his dad's weakness for the chase, for the thrill of making that sale, he sets out to change her mind. Subscribes to the Economist, starts to read the paper, and discovers his fraternity does in fact get ACN. Charms one of her friends into giving up her course schedule and registers for the Media and Society seminar intending to drop it as soon as he's convinced her to give him a chance.

Lauren laughs when he slides into the seat beside her the first day of class—a bright, pleased sound that somehow says 'you're an idiot but I'm going to let you take me out for coffee anyway.' She stops laughing the second week when he gets in a ten minute debate with the professor on the acceptable cross-over of 'community reporting' and small business promotion. By October he knows what she looks like reading the Sunday morning paper naked. By November they're having spectacular make-up sex fueled by knock-down drag-outs over op-eds in the New York Times.

Don falls in love twice that semester.

Only one lasts past the Christmas break.

The last time he checked, Lauren had kept the nicotine stains and two-hundred dollar haircut, but traded in the army jackets and Doc Martens for the Manolo Blahniks and sweater sets of her upbringing to run press relations for a lobbying firm on K-street. Which brings him to the third thing he believes in:

3. Whether it be a paper or a point of view, sooner or later everyone tries to sell you something

#

iv.

The first time Sloan talks to him, Don Keefer's an asshole.

In retrospect, she realizes she probably should have taken it as a warning, but she doesn't. She's met bigger assholes, worked with bigger assholes. She's studied under and admired professors, men and women both, who could teach him a master-class in assholery (and yes, she knows that's not a word, stop focusing on the grammar for a minute). Hell, she almost married—

Whatever, that's not the point.

The point is when it comes to being a first class prick, Don Keefer is a fucking amateur.

The point is she's the one who seeks him out. Appears before him in search of honest feedback after being told for the tenth time by her own EP (who obviously wants to be doing a different show) that she's "doing fine, just fine." And if that means sitting there while he deconstructs her entire broadcast with all the gentleness and delicacy of a battlefield surgeon doing his fifth amputation with a rusty hacksaw, well that's what she asked for, isn't it?

Okay, it's not actually. Actually, she doesn't know Don Keefer from the man in the moon. It's Elliot she goes to. Elliot who's the obvious up and comer at News Night. Elliot the father of two, with the wife and the townhouse, and the preschool art in his office, who spends half his time playing the humble, even-tempered counterpoint to the despotic indifference of Will MacAvoy.

Elliot lets her get through the whole speech, listens quietly and respectfully to her carefully prepared points about how she recognizes there's an art to being a journalist, and her commitment to doing this well, and how much she values his opinion.

When she's finished he looks at her for a long minute through narrowed eyes, then walks over to the balcony, points down and dispenses in two succinct sentences what will wind up being simultaneously the worst and best advice Sloan has ever received:

"Yeah, you don't want me. You want that guy."

'That guy' turns out to be a staff producer with broad shoulders and dark, curly hair that's fighting whatever product he uses every step of the way. When Elliot points him out Sloan's first thought is he's kidding, because the guy's young, within a few years of her own age one way or the other, and honestly looks more equipped to rewire her apartment than critique her broadcast. But Elliot reassures her that only a senior producer or not, "He's got the best media-mind on Will's staff hands down. He's the guy you want."

Sloan's still not sure she believes it, wonders if maybe there's a tradition of hazing she wasn't aware of or if maybe it's just her, maybe she's supposed to know this is a joke and just doesn't (to be honest it wouldn't be the first time).

The string of expletives the guy's yelling into the phone as she approaches his desk does nothing to dissuade her on this point. (Though she has to admit the display is impressive both for its vividness and demonstration of breath control.)

He slams the phone down so hard Sloan jumps. Then again, and again, and - Maybe this isn't a good idea . . .

No. No, she's committed to this. Abandoned a tenure-track position at Stanford, pulled up stakes and moved to the opposite coast to do this, to find a larger classroom. Chose the dangerous, impolite unknown over the familiar ivory towers of her childhood to gain her fresh start come hell or high water. She can take a little hazing to get it.

"Excuse me-"

"Yeah?" He doesn't look up from his computer screen.

"I'm-"

"Jesus fucking Christ! Can I get somebody to write me a script that doesn't sound like we're putting this guy up for sainthood? Natalie!" He stops attacking the delete key for a moment to gesture a plump brunette over into his sphere of discontent with a raised hand. Scrawls something on a sheet of notebook paper, tears it off, and shoves it at her. "Propofol. I need to know everything about it—legit and illegit uses, side-effects, what an overdoes look like, etc. Don't tell me what Wikipedia says about it, I want journal articles and narcotics bulletins and doctors. Get met doctors who can talk about this shit. Preferably ones who can string a sentence together and don't look like Boris Karlof on camera. We clear?"

Sloan waits patiently for the AP to scurry away, but he just keeps right on writing notes, either having forgotten she was standing there or not caring. She tries again.

"You know, if this is a bad time . . ."

He swivels around in his chair. "Yeah, did you need something?"

It's not exactly the greeting of someone who's just dying to help, but at least he's looking at her now. She'll count it as progress.

"I'm Sloan Sabbith," she says, thrusting out her hand in introduction. After a beat he takes it and she continues, "I do the mid-day financial report at-"

"Two and four. I know who you are."

"I'm new."

"Knew that, too."

He doesn't say anything else, and she winds up holding the handshake too long for social convention as she waits for him to introduce himself, only breaking it off when it finally sinks in he's not going to. That gets her a small bemused smile (humoring the crazy lady), and she clears her throat in embarrassment. "I um-, I don't who you are."

At that the smile gets a fraction bigger creeping up into his eyes. "You don't know who I am?"

And Sloan may not be well-versed in all the nuances of human emotion, but she's got a near perfect radar for when someone's laughing at her.

"Is there a particular reason why I should?" she snaps.

"You're standing at my desk."

Oh.

Right.

That.

"Elliot told me you're who I want-"

His eyebrows go up. "I'm being pimped out now?"

"To talk to!" She's shouting now, can hear herself doing it and can't seem to stop. "God knows why, but he said you're the one I wanted to talk to. I asked him for feedback about my broadcast and he said that you-" Oh screw it. "You know what? Forget it. You're obviously far too busy working on-" She glances down at the computer screen and reads off a line. "The King of Pop's tragic passing . . . I wouldn't want to keep you from that world changing event."

Sloan spins on her heel and stalks away, muttering "Fucking jackass" under her breath as she goes, just loud enough for him to hear.

By the time she makes it out into the hallway it all starts to sink in, what she just did, the scene she just made. Half of her is horrified she did it and the other half can't quite manage believe it she did it at all. Still there's a weird thrill running through her, vibrating under her skin, like an adrenaline high, like she's ever so slightly buzzed. And maybe that's not that far off, some kind of anxiety fueled neurochemical lowering of inhibitions to explain her behavior, because this is new, because she's never done anything like that.

Even with Jasper. Even with him standing there with that stupid dear in the headlights expression, clad in nothing but a sheet and lipstick smears, she hadn't yelled, hadn't thrown things or screamed invectives. Hadn't said anything at all. Just yanked off the engagement ring, placed it carefully on the kitchen counter, and left without a word.

("Oh Sloan, honey," Carrie will say later when she hears the story, her South Carolina accent gone thick on the two bourbons she's put away before Sloan's first martini. "You should have at least hocked the damn thing. Fucker owed you that much for not shooting him."

And Sloan loves her a little for that, thinks maybe this is what friendship looks like. At least she does before Will and the story in TMI, and well . . . all of that.)

But you see here's the thing about Sloan Sabbth . . . it never occurred to her to do anything else.

She was raised polite. She was raised respectful. Raised to be smart and determined and unrelenting, but never at the expense of civility, never at the cost of making a scene.

Now here she is in this city, this loud, crass, bare-knuckles city with too much attitude and too little decorum. This city where she could stand on the sidewalk and scream and scream until her throat's raw and barely garner notice. Sloan came to New York to find her voice and she did. She has.

But it's not until she meets Don Keefer that she discovers what it's like to shout with it.

It feels fucking amazing.

#

Her high is short lived.

#

"Hey!"

He catches up with her in the hallway three minutes later, calling after her in a dockworker's bellow loud enough to carry into the newsroom and probably a couple of floors either way.

Sloan closes her eyes. Fuck. She should ignore him and keep walking. She knows this, but she also somehow knows that he's only going to keep shouting if she does and she's really not sure she has another 'scene' in her this soon.

She turns. "What?!"

To her surprise, he's smiling, suddenly affable and easy, as if she hadn't just cursed him out in the middle of the bullpen. It might be the strangest thing she's ever seen. Like a pit bull gone cuddly.

"Sloan Sabbith, who does the financial news at two and four, what do you know about Michael Jackson?"

What the-? No seriously, what hell is wrong with him?

"Other than the fact he just died?"

"Yeah," he nods, coming down the hall towards her, "Other than that."

"Only the creepy stuff."

"Eh," he shrugs, "it was worth a shot." Stopping a few feet from her, he crosses his arms and leans a shoulder against the wall. "So maybe we can try this again?"

"Sure your story can wait?"

"My story-" He barks a sharp, abrasive laugh, shakes his head. "Sure, why not? I mean really, why not? The latest polling numbers say over forty-one percent of Americans believe 'death panels' are real, and South Carolina's about to lose its governor. Oh and by the way there are still protests in Iran. But we shouldn't worry about that too much right now because there's a celebrity who's overdosed in California, and we need to get started on cataloguing the inevitable postmortem resurrection of his reputation-" He breaks off, finally seeming to register what he's been saying, and drops his head back against the wall with a dull thud.

"So . . ." Sloan draws the word out, "what you're saying is you've got time?"

"Yeah." He gives her a wry, humorless smile. "Yeah, I've got plenty of time."

#

They go out onto the terrace for privacy (or as much as you can find in this place, which isn't that much), and Sloan tries to put her thoughts into some semblance of order, as he stops to feed a couple of dollar bills into the vending machine.

Holding up the bottled water, he raises his eyebrows in askance. A cheap peace offering she supposes. Sloan shakes her head no.

"Okay." He cracks the bottle and takes a swig before continuing. "So, you said Elliot told you to talk to me?"

In the minute or so it took him to get water, Sloan's managed hone her plan of attack. Carefully reshaping her earlier speech to Eliot into a less complimentary, more casual 'if you happen to have an opinion, I'd be willing to hear it,' approach that on-balance she thinks will work with this guy. That's not what comes out, however:

"Look, I know what I'm doing."

"All right . . ."

She begins to pace, on the attack now, words coming out in a rush. "I mean, I was a commentator for three years on the West Coast while I was a professor at Stanford. I have two PhDs in economic theory, over sixteen years' experience and a teaching position at Columbia-"

"Is there a reason you're giving me your resume?"

"I'm just saying I didn't get this job because of my legs. I'm a good financial reporter."

"You are."

The easy agreement cuts off her steam and she stops pacing. "Well, okay."

She doesn't seem to have a follow up here.

He takes another swig of water, then, "I'm Don, by the way."

"What?"

"Don Keefer. You said earlier that you didn't know who I was. I thought maybe we could start with me telling you my name and then you could tell me why I'm out here." He comes over to lean against one of the picnic tables. "I mean beyond acquiring a new crippling sense of intellectual inadequacy. Which, you know, thanks for that."

At the small jibe, Sloan flushes hotly. Dammit, she's always doing that, wearing her intelligence like armor, like well-cut Versace. Pulling it on for the confidence boost it gives her when she's at her most uncomfortable, and forgetting that even the best suit isn't good for all occasions. Suddenly fourteen and making a fool of herself in ballet class, she drops her eyes and fiddles with her glasses.

"Elliot, um Elliot thought you could help me."

"With what exactly?"

Oh to hell with it. "With the possibility I don't know what I'm doing."

Don chokes on his water.

Sloan tries to pretend it's not because he's laughing.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're a little-"

"Socially deficient? Yes. Frequently."

"Odd," he finishes.

"That too."

Don doesn't say anything else for a long moment, just stands there looking at her over the rim of the water bottle. And she wishes she was better at reading people, so she could know whether that look means he's formulating an opinion or an escape plan. But she doesn't, so she just settles for looking right back, holding the eye contact like a challenge. Finally he sets the bottle down behind him, and pushes off the table.

"I'm just the senior producer. You know that, right?"

"Yeah."

"Why didn't you go to Will with this?"

"Honestly?"

"No, I thought we could try bald faced lies first, go from there."

"I think he's an asshole."

Something flickers across Don's face at that. It's too quick for her to catch, not that she's likely to know what to do with it if she did. He braces the palms of his hands against the railing and bends forward, rocking back and forth a little on his toes like any moment he might push off into a sprint. Finally he asks, "What makes you think I'm any better?"

"So far? Not much."

That gets her another sharp, surprised laugh, and he drops his head in rueful acknowledgement of the shot. Then seeming to come to some kind of decision snaps back up, and turns to her. "Yeah, okay. Here's the thing, I've seen your show and you're right, you are a good financial reporter."

"Thank you."

"Don't. It's not a compliment. At least-" He takes a half-step forward. "Being good isn't good enough, you know that, right? Yes you're a solid financial reporter, but I can think of at least a dozen other solid financial reporters out there who can do the exact same show you're doing right now. In fact they are, on other networks, in your exact same time slot, and some are even doing it better. If someone's watching you they're doing it for one of two reasons, inertia or-" He gestures vaguely in her direction.

"Or?"

Don just stares at her. "Come on, please don't tell me I have to spell it out."

It takes her a moment and then it sinks in. "Oh! That is just-"

"The reality of the business we're in, professor. Look I bet you're a great teacher, but the news isn't a classroom. There aren't any prerequisites, and we don't take attendance. If someone tunes in it's because we've convinced them that we've got something to say that they want or need to hear. Every show you do is a sales pitch for the show you'll do tomorrow and the day after that. Like or notyou're the brand, and the sooner you get comfortable with that idea, the better off you'll be."

"I'm not going to stoop to doing some kind of gimmick-!"

"I'm not saying you should!"

"Well, what are you saying?!"

"That if you keep doing the show you're doing ACN will replace you in six months!"

Oh.

The words hang heavy in the air, and for a while all they can seem to do is stare at each other as the inadvertent prophecy he just made slowly sinks in. Don seems to recover himself first. "Shit," he rasps, half-turning away then back again, "Shit I- You said you wanted the truth."

It's half-apology, half-accusation, and no, she didn't say anything like that at all actually. But Sloan just nods dumbly, as she sinks down onto one of the chairs, mind racing to catch up with this hairpin turn of events.

After a moment he comes over and sits down next to her. "Has no one told you this before?" She shakes her head, and he leans back, blowing out a long unhappy breath. "I didn't, um- I just assumed your EP would have-"

She's only half listening to him, most of her mind still focused on the problem, parsing out the variables and evaluating the options. Finally, she finds her voice. "So what do I do?"

"Sorry?"

"To fix this. You've told me everything I'm doing wrong, do you have any actual advice for how to do it right?"

He smiles a little at that, a rueful, blink-and-miss-it, upturn to the corners of his mouth. "First. Try to get a new EP, one you can trust to tell you this kind of stuff . . ."

The next twenty-minutes are a crash course in the nuances of broadcast journalism, all the nitty-gritty you don't learn in a classroom, all the little finesses that are more art than science. He takes her through her show from top to bottom, dissecting everything from story placement, to word choice, to her body language when she sits at the news desk versus when she's standing. Encourages her to get comfortable being off prompter ('Because it will happen'), and to start reviewing her own broadcasts.

"I hate watching myself."

"That makes you exactly the only newscaster I know who feels that way. Come on, suck it up and develop an ego!"

She laughs a little at that, and he laughs with her, not the sharp, unhappy barks of earlier, but something quiet and warm and a little tentative. Like he's half-surprised himself by making her laugh and is afraid he'll pop the bubble of her happiness by joining in.

Sloan finds herself thinking it's a surprisingly nice sound.

Finds herself thinking he's a surprisingly nice guy.

Somewhere in the back of her head an alarm bell starts to go off, the one she's had ever since she was ten and tumbled head over heels in love with Joseph Chang two days before she beat him at the regional spelling bee and he never spoke to her again. The one that says 'inappropriate and totally uninformed crush dead ahead, it's only a matter of time before you're disappointed.'

She veers left. "So what else am I doing wrong?"

He hesitates, and she can practically see him choosing and discarding the words for what he wants to say next. Tact is obviously not his default setting.

After thirty seconds, she can't decide whether the effort is going to kill him first or her, but it's gonna be the death of one of them. "Oh just say it already."

"You should cut your hair."

Sloan blinks in surprise, one hand going up to the long ponytail she wears it pulled back in when she's not on camera. Her hair? Is that all?

"It's not that you don't- Because you do, obviously. But on camera, it makes you look less serious than you are. Sure it's stupid, but-"

He's rambling, obviously expecting her to be upset, but she's not. Not really. In truth she's never cut her hair because she's never thought about it one way or the other. Her hair has always been the one constantly beautiful thing about her. Even at thirteen with braces and acne and ten pounds of baby fat that won't redistribute for another five years, she got compliments on her hair. She's had the same basic length since college, since she grew into her looks and first understood that she was in fact pretty. She's gotten comfortable with it, with what she can make it do, how it makes her look. It's become a kind of security blanket she supposes.

But sometimes there's a fine line between safe and stifling.

Fresh start, she thinks, undoing the clip and combing her hair out with her fingers, flashing briefly as she does so on the way Jasper used to love to run his fingers through it.

That decides her.

"How much?"

It's Don's turn to blink as it takes him a moment that he will not in fact be slapped. "Oh, um-" He turns his chair to face her dead on and starts to reach around then pauses looking for permission. Sloan scoots forward towards him in silent consent, and he gathers up her hair in a loose ponytail, adjusting the position of his hand to approximate different lengths, pulling back a little to assess each option as he goes. "Somewhere between here-" he mimics a shoulder length style, then shifts his hand to replicate a chin length bob "and here."

His hands are warm and big and like this he's close enough that she can feel his breath on the curve of her cheek bone, and Sloan finds herself wishing for the first time that she believed in casual sex because she hasn't slept with a guy since Jasper and that's probably what she needs right now. A nice no strings attached relationship with a Mergers and Acquisitions lawyer or something. Anything other than focusing on the few positive qualities of a guy who practically has 'bad risk to reward ratio' stamped on his forehead.

She swallows, forces herself to find her voice. "Which do you like better?"

It only occurs to her after she's said it, that she might be flirting.

Maybe.

She's not sure.

Whether she is or not proves to be a moot point, because Don takes the question seriously. She can almost see him mentally evaluating how each will look on camera as he arranges and rearranges her hair. Finally he stops on the bob. "This one. Shoulder length has become sort of a uniform lately. This is serious, but still different. But really you should let a professional tell you what will look better."

She will, but she wanted his opinion too. He's brutal, but he's honest and after twenty minutes she can see what Elliot meant about him 'having the best media mind.' He thinks in a way that's utterly foreign to her and she values the perspective. Without it a stylist could very well talk her into something that looks great and winds up being totally inappropriate for what she's trying to accomplish.

"Do you have a pen?"

"Why?"

His hands are still in her hair. She closes her eyes and tries not to think about.

"I need you to mark the lengths on my neck."

He pulls back with a laugh, then catches sight of her expression. "You're serious?"

"I can't see what you did, and I like to go in with notes."

Don shakes his head, but humors her without further argument. Pulling a pen out of his pocket, he gathers up her hair again. Sloan starts to tilt her head to give him a better angle, but he stops her. "You'll throw me off."

Instead he moves off the chair to squat beside her, uses her hair as a guide as he marks off the length options on her skin in quick, carpenter's hashes.

When he's finished, he releases her hair and sits back on his haunches to survey his handiwork. Unconsciously, Sloan reaches up to touch the marks with her fingertips.

"Thanks."

"Promise me you'll get a professional opinion."

She nods. "I will."

"Okay." He stands up. "So this has been- A little weird actually. And probably not at all what you wanted-"

She stands too, cutting him off. "No it was fine. I mean it was good. I needed to hear it."

Don makes an absent gesture towards the building, takes a few backwards steps. "So, I've got to get back. Will's probably fired me twice by now."

"Right, because Michael Jackson-"

"Yeah, Michael Jackson." He picks up his water bottle and starts to head toward the door, then turns back around, "Do me a favor?"

"What?"

He pulls out a card and scrawls something on the back, holds it out. "Text me a picture tonight of the result of-" he gestures towards her hair. "Otherwise I'm just going to be up all night imagining horrific disasters and the ways you'll punish me."

Sloan takes it with a smile. "Sure."

This time he gets the door half open before stopping again.  "Do you really have two PhD's?"

"Yes."

"Do I even want to know your SAT scores?"

"You do not."

That gets her a breathless laugh and a rueful 'I asked for that' nod. "Okay then."  He slaps the flat of his hand on the door.  Adds a reminder: "Pictures."

"Pictures," she promises.

That night Sloan stands in front of her bathroom mirror and takes a picture of her new haircut—a slightly longer than chin length bob with a few soft layers that somehow does in fact make her look both professional and sexy. Then retakes it when she realizes there's a bra drying in the background.

Sends it over to him at midnight and finds herself holding her breath waiting on the response.

Ten seconds later her phone buzzes.

Perfect.

#

v.

For the next seven hundred, seventy eight days, Don will hear from Sloan one way or the other at least once a day. Sometimes it's his doing and sometimes its hers and sometimes its both of them. It's not big things. Usually it's not. It's everything from emails to texts to a quick hi as they pass each other in the hallway. From celebratory drinks at Hang Chews to maudlin conversations in hotel bars. From shouting matches in her office to unanticipated confessions in his. She will become part of his world, his daily routine.

Slowly, without him ever noticing, Sloan Sabbith becomes the most stable, constant relationship of his entire life.

And then it stops.

And everything changes.

But we'll get to that part.

-

(part 2)
Tags: don keefer, don/sloan, fic, newsroom, sloan sabbith
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