Story [The West Wing] All We Have (AU - Josh, Joanie, and rest of gang); Now a vignette series!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Briannakin , Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: All We Have
    Author: Briannakin
    Series: The West Wing
    Timeframe: During Original Series - season 2 (AU)
    Characters: Josh, Joanie, Donna, and the usual suspects.
    Notes: This AU kinda went in a completely different direction from what I had planned when I first conceived it (the original prologue I wrote months ago became the epilogue). But I still loved it. Thus far, this is more of a “short story” told in four “chapters”, but I might revisit and write more depending on the muse.

    I’m not posting these with the other “Mav and Bri’s verse” vignettes as this is a definite AU. But this is still all mavjade ’s fault. Pretty sure this all started with her WW fic request last holiday season. (Also, Dynasty holiday extravaganza is coming soon, I swear - I just had a few bad days and needed some angst and comedy. I’ll post this and then get posting that).

    “Be nice to your siblings
    they are the best link to your past
    and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.” - Baz Luhrmann - “Everybody’s Free”.

    Part 1

    She padded around her Manhattan apartment humming and bumming Chopin’s Spring Waltz, the only sound in the home along with the microwave. She had just gotten home from work and was tidying up as she waited for her dinner to heat up. She flicked on the TV, mostly for company, but then stopped in her tracks.

    The President had been shot. President Josiah Bartlet had been shot.

    She gently sat down on her grey couch, fidgeting with the hem of her black dress just below her knees.

    “We can now confirm,” the anchor was saying, “That the third victim was Deputy…”

    “No, no, no,” she murmured to no one.

    “… Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman.”

    She screamed and cried and never felt more alone.

    * * *

    The flowers were stupid, but Donna had no idea what to get a man who was in the hospital possibly fighting for his life. Josh had been shot two days ago and doctors hadn’t let her see him yesterday since he had undergone a 14-hour surgery. So she had gotten up today, bought flowers and a few magazines (she knew he would prefer the newspaper but she knew that wasn’t healthy for Josh), and charged into the hospital, planning on demanding to see Josh. She had worn slacks and a comfortable sweater and she was going to read to him. She had marched passed the Secret Service agents (Josh’s room had been placed next to the President’s for security reasons) and demanded to see Josh.

    Well, she didn’t have to demand because the nurses had told her to go ahead. But as she neared his room, Donna was caught off guard by the scene through the glass into Josh’s room. Donna only caught a glimpse, but what was happening was clear: a woman with thick, curly dark brown hair was leaning over Josh. This unknown woman was holding his hand as it rested on blue blankets on his stomach and her other hand was gently running through his hair.

    Josh wasn’t exactly open with his personal life - but though she thought if Josh did have a girlfriend, he wouldn’t have been able to shut up about her. All of this woman’s actions were full of tenderness and love.

    Donna backed away, confused. Why did she feel so betrayed? It wasn’t like she had claimed Josh as her own.

    She wasn’t paying attention, so much so that she nearly ran into the First Lady of the United States as she carried a tray of food.

    “Oh, god, Ma’am, I am so sorry.”

    “It’s fine,” Abbey Bartlet said with a reassuring smile as she jerked the tray to successfully keep the cup of juice from spilling. Donna thought it odd that the First Lady was bringing the President his breakfast, surely a task for an aide, but it was unsurprising that Dr. Bartlet was being overprotective and controlling of all aspects of her husband in light of recent events. “Donnatella, is everything alright?”

    “Yeah,” Donna hesitated but then the First Lady gave her a knowing look. “But there’s a woman in Josh’s room and I don’t know who it is.”

    Abbey craned her neck to look over Donna’s shoulder.

    “But it’s fine,” Donna said, trying to force a smile. “How’s the President?”

    “Crotchety. He’s mad that I won’t let him have coffee.” Abbey placed the tray down at the nurses’ station just behind them and took the vase of flowers and stack of magazines away from from Donna. “Why don’t you take the old man his breakfast. I think have someone I want to meet.”

    “Alright, ma’am,” Donna said with a smile, picking up the tray.

    * * *

    Abbey entered Josh’s room, trying to make as little noise as possible. Still, the woman looked up as soon as she did. The woman looked to be in her mid 40s, but it was difficult to tell due to the weathered scars that covered the right side of her face and neck, extending downward beneath her black sweater. The woman had been a burn victim many years ago. She wore thick rimmed glasses and her frizzy, curly hair was long. She hid her right hand entirely under the sleeve of her sweater. Her tired face confused for a moment before she stood, straightening her long black skirt. “Oh, so sorry, ma’am.”

    Abbey smiled and put down the vase of flowers and magazines on the bedside table. “It’s okay. How’s he doing?” she asked, picking up Josh’s other hand and holding it.

    She stuttered to get out an answer. “They… the doctors… took him off the ventilator a few hours ago.”

    “That’s good,” Abbey said, sounding encouraging. She had noticed and had been glad to see Josh off the ventilator. She softly brushed the stubble on his cheek with her thumb and noticed a worn stuffed dog, along with a small book at Josh’s side.

    “They said they are going to try to wake him in a few hours.”

    Abbey nodded. “Good. The President will want to be in here for that. Josh is like a son to us.”

    “He talks about you two a lot,” the woman said.

    Abbey took a more direct approach to find out the woman’s identity. “I’m sorry we haven’t been formally introduced. I’m Abbey Bartlet.”

    The woman looked at Josh and frowned. “Why am I not surprised? Turd-face.” She then looked up. “I’m sorry, I forgot how much he doesn’t like to talk about his family. I’m-.” She was then interrupted by the door opening. “Leo!” she gasped, breaking down into tears as Leo McGarry, Chief of Staff entered in a rumpled suit.

    Leo crossed the room and enveloped the woman in his arms. “When did you get here? Why didn’t you call me?”

    “I was here four hours after it happened - I got in my car and drove as soon as I heard. I heard from the news.”

    “Ah, kid,” Leo groaned. “I’m so dumb. I was so busy. I thought the hospital would call you before the news got out.”

    “It’s fine,” she said as he released her. She wiped her eyes in her sweater sleeve. “Took me a full day to convince the Secret Service that I was Josh’s next of kin.”

    “Kid,” Leo sighed, hugging her again. “You should have called me. Or Sam for goodness sake!”

    “It’s fine, I knew you guys were busy. I’m here now,” she said, returning to Josh, stroking his hair. She shut her eyes tightly. “He’s all I have, Leo.”

    Leo rubbed her back. “I know.”

    Abbey looked at Leo, still confused.

    “Abbey, this is Joanie Lyman.”

    The woman looked up at the First Lady, blinking away tears. “He’s a caveman, an oblivious idiot, and the most irritating, annoying human on the planet, but he’s my little brother.”

    * * *

    Abbey wiped away tears before even daring to enter her husband’s hospital room. She had learned so much about Joanie and Josh Lyman in just a few short moments. They lost their dad two years ago - Abbey had know that, but their mother died in a house fire when Josh was 7; Joanie had been 13 and had nearly died herself.

    Composed, Abbey entered the room to see her husband sitting up in bed, in his dark blue robe, frowning. Donna, Zoey, and Charlie were all across the room, arms crossed.

    “Donna told me there was a woman in Josh’s room and they,” Jed said, pointing at the other three. “Won’t let me go see.”

    Abbey softly kissed his cheek. “It’s his sister.”

    “What?” all four asked in disbelief.

    “Josh has a sister?” Donna asked.

    “There’s a female version of Josh?” Jed asked. “Oh, I’m meeting her.”

    She patted his arm. “Doctors are going to wake him up later today. If you are good, you can be there for it.”

    * * *

    Leo McGarry had always been a presence in Joanie’s life, being her late father’s close friend. She thought of Leo as an uncle and was always glad when he was around. After their mother had passed, Leo seemed to be the one person who could distract Noah Lyman from the sadness - even if it involved debating politics. But now Joanie was even more grateful for his friendly face.

    Leo had been in and out most of the day and had offered to get someone to her food, or a ride to Josh’s apartment so she could sleep - she knew she looked like hell - but Joanie had declined. She just wanted to be with Josh and Leo understood and had made sure she got to be alone with her brother.

    As unbearably corny as it was, she had missed Josh. Since growing up and graduating from Yale to go on to law school, Josh had always buried himself in his work, and she guessed she had too, especially since their father, who she had cared for in his last few months, had passed away. She hadn’t actually seen Josh since their father’s funeral, and that had been two years ago.

    She and Josh talked on the phone often, but they had their own lives and that was just kinda how it was.

    “Joshie, Joshie, we gotta fix that,” she muttered at him as she stroked his hair, mostly out of boredom. “We both really suck at relationships.” Maybe that was due to their mother dying when they were kids? Maybe it was just their personalities? Or maybe they had just become stuck in a comfortable, solitary rut.

    The door then opened and Joanie looked up, expecting to see Leo or Josh’s doctor - who were both entering. But behind them was the President of the United States. She fumbled to stand up. She had been sitting on one of her feet, which was now asleep. Leo, thankfully, rushed and caught her.

    “So she really is Josh’s sister!” the President exclaimed, looking way too well for a man who had just been shot. Why did he get to be joking around while her brother had been clinging to life? She knew none of this was the President’s fault and she was just being bitter and tired. “Jed Bartlet,” he introduced himself. “Joan, right?”

    She let Leo, who was still holding her, explain, “We all call her Joanie whether she likes it or not.”

    Meanwhile the doctor made himself busy at Josh’s side. There were a few minutes of pleasantries - similar to the exchanged she had with the First Lady. The doctor then patted Josh’s shoulder. “Josh? Josh, it’s okay, you can wake up.”

    Joanie, who had shuffled to the head of the bed with Leo, reached out to pat her brother’s head once again.

    “I want you to wake up,” the doctor continued.

    Her brother seemed to murmur something as his eyes fluttered but didn’t really open.

    The President leaned forward over him. “I couldn’t hear you, Josh.” Josh seemed to whisper something coherent as the President pulled back with a smile.

    “What did he say?” Leo asked.

    “He said, ‘What’s next?’”

    Leo seemed to pull Joanie closer as the whole room let out a collective breath of relief. “He’s okay. He’s okay,” Leo said, reassuring her.

    “Let him rest,” the doctor ordered before leaving.

    “Sir,” Leo said to the President, “You should be resting too. Let’s get you back to bed.”

    “Yeah,” the President said as he smiled at Joanie. “Let’s get out before we are we are witnesses to a siblicide.” Both men squeezed Josh’s arms one more time before leaving as Josh attempt to look around. He could barely open his eyes, let alone lift his head off the pillow.

    So Joanie slipped back into the chair at the side of his bed and covered his hand with her own. He finally realized she was there as she laid the side of her head next to his. “Hey,” he said. It was more of a breath than a word.

    “Hi,” she said, smiling through tears.

    “You’re here.” He returned her smile with his own goofy grin and Joanie internally groaned.

    Josh was drugged out of his mind.

    “Yeah. I’m here.”
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  2. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    I adored your story about Joanie living last year and I love the idea of her surviving and how it would change things. I'm was so, so happy to see this!

    :eek: I can't imagine learning something like that on TV. And I know it happens, we're so intent on getting news right now that we don't always think about how it affects other people. Poor Joanie!

    I love this, it's so Donna. She wasn't going to let anyone stand between her and Josh. I loved the thing about the flowers, it is kinda a strange thing. What do you take to someone who is fighting for their life.

    Poor confused Donna. (Confused in multiple ways, about her own feelings, and about someone who knows Josh so intimately.)You feel betrayed because you love him, Donna!! Why am I talking to the characters now? :p

    I kinda want to see this scene of Donna taking the President his breakfast. I'm sure she wouldn't let him get away with anything, but at the same time, she has a lot of reverence for him so it would probably make for a hilarious situation.

    [face_love] LOVE! I always loved it in the show when we got Josh and Abbey scenes, their relationship was great and I wished we got more. I love how tender she is here and says that they think of him like a son. We certainly see that in In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, and a few other times on the show.

    [face_laugh] Now there is the sibling love! The "I love you, and hate you, and love you." I saw where you said somewhere else that's something someone without siblings can't understand and I completely agree. There's something about siblings that is completely unique.

    And this is when I realized their mom wasn't alive. :_|. But I like that you did that, it still is someone very important dying when they were young, but it changes things. But Momma Lyman who never had a name!! :(
    I really liked Joanie's interaction with Leo throughout this, how he's taking care of her. It really goes to show the relationship between them all, and also how in over his head Leo was with the President and Josh being shot that he didn't call her.

    [face_laugh] I love how everyone, including the President, is so curious! It would be a wonder if you didn't know Josh had a sister. And of course how excited Jed was that there was a female version of Josh!

    Dawwww.... This was so sweet! I can't wait to see more of their relationship!!
    But drugged Josh?? Uh oh! :p

    I can't wait for part 2! :D

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  3. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    I love that gif. Just so Ainsley :p

    The idea probably would have never occurred to me if you hadn't requested it (speaking of which, I gotta remember to send you my request) but I loved writing that last year and knew I wanted to revisit it. I had a couple ideas but never really a plan, and then the chainsaw accident happened :p

    Yeah, I found out via a Facebook post that a friend of mine had died and that itself was horrible (just, ugh, I know you probably don't need this PSA but it drives me insane and brings back horrible memories when people post stuff like that right after it happens). But yeah, finding out via national news has to be so much worse.

    It is so Donna and we love her for it.

    Yeah, she is confused in so many ways. (and you are now talking to them because you have gone crazy... just like me :p).

    BAHAHAHA. Yeah, in that situation she'd probably think about what the First Lady would want, but at the same time also feel the obligation to listen to him as President.

    I LOVED their few scenes together and wished we would have gotten more. She just cared for him so much.

    Yeah. Of course all sibling relationships are different, but theres also just this fundamental base of loving people even though you stole their pants and locked them outside in -40 degree weather (I don't remember what my brother did to deserve it... but I can promise you that he did.... just like the time I covered him in birthday cake).

    Yeah, on the TWWW podcast they were interviewing Sorkin and he was talking about how victories need a sacrifice and bad deeds need to be punished: Bartlet's assassination of that middle east defence minister was paid for with Simon Donovan's death. As soon as I started writing this AU, I instantly thought, well, where is their mom? Well, I knew she had to die for Josh to still be Josh. Of course this is fanfic and you are allowed to write everyone happy and alive from time to time, but I didn't want that.

    But at least I give Momma Lyman a name (next chapter - it's Miriam unless you have a head-canon name already).

    I wanted Leo to be her rock, like he was for all the other characters, but he was still human and completely focused on the job that night, as he should have been.

    Thanks. I just love that bit. Even though they are a family, there is still things they don't know about each other.

    Thanks. Originally this was going to be more Josh/Donna, but Joanie just took over and I just had to let her baby her brother.

    And yeah, drugged Josh. I hope he doesn't disappoint.
  4. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Part 2

    Drugged out of his mind was an understatement. Josh knew what had happened - between Joanie’s endless blabbing and Leo’s visit last night, Josh knew that he had been shot in the chest and that things had been bad, and he also knew the President had been shot, but that he was already recovering fine.

    Josh knew what happened, but thanks to the drugs, he just didn’t care. It wasn’t that he wasn’t concerned for himself or his boss, but he wasn’t worried or anxious, because the drugs made everything okay.

    Thanks to the drugs, the early morning lights of DC in the rain didn’t remind Josh of all the work that was piling up on his desk. Instead they reminded him of bioluminescence at the lake where he and his sister spent their summers.

    Joanie had gone back to his apartment to have a shower, change, and grab something to eat. But she was going to come back. And when she did, he was going to throw Bullseye at her and she was going to laugh because she needed to laugh because she had been too sad last night.

    Bullseye was the stuffed dog Joanie had brought and placed at Josh’s side. Bullseye was now over 30 years old and his once brown, fluffy fur had clearly seen better days. The poor stuffy was threadbare and missing one of his floppy ears.

    Bullseye had a long history of making Joanie laugh. Josh had been a confused 7-year-old kid when his dad had given him Bullseye to give to his sister. 7-year-old Josh had been mad that his home and all his toys had burned, sad that his mom had died and that they had to bury her, and scared to enter the hospital room where his sister lay, so still, so quiet.

    Their home had caught fire when Joanie had been babysitting him. She had been making popcorn when the kitchen caught on fire. She had urged him out, but she stayed inside to try to put it out. Then their mom had come home from shopping and told Josh to run to the neighbours to get them to phone the fire department. Later, they figured Miriam Lyman had gone into the house to try to save her daughter. The firemen had been able to rescue Joanie, but not Miriam. Something in the kitchen must have combusted, badly burning Joanie’s right hand and up her arm, neck and face.

    Joanie had fought for her life for a week in the hospital - she hadn’t been able to attend her mother’s funeral. After she had been moved from the ICU, Noah Lyman, out of pure desperation to hold both his children at once, had taken Josh on a visit to the hospital. But, Josh, being stubborn, confused, mad, and sad had refuse to enter the room.

    “Don’t you want to give Joanie her present?” his father had asked, practically pushing Josh into the room.

    “She can have the stupid dog!” Josh had yelled and thrown the stuffed animal on the bed before running out. But as he got to the door, the dog hit him in the back of the head. Josh had spun on his heel to see his dad - his dad who had been so sad - try to stifle his laughs. Joanie, who had thrown the dog with her one good arm, was openly laughing.

    “Bullseye!” she had said.

    That was then when Josh learned how good it felt to make his sister and dad laugh.

    Months after that, after Joanie had come home to their new house, whenever Joanie was in pain, or sad, or when she was bullied for her appearance, Josh would run, get Bullseye the dog, give him to her, then run around the room yelling and waving his hands. Whenever she hit him with hit, he would fall to the floor and she would laugh at his innocent antics.

    The door of his room opened, bringing Josh out of his drugged induced memories. Without thinking to look who it was, Josh flung the stuffy by its tail.

    “Josh? What the hell?” Donna exclaimed, entering with a large purse. “And here I thought I might actually see you subdued for once in your life,” she said as she knelt down to pick the dog up. She gave it one look and picked it up as if it were radioactive material.

    Josh tried not to laugh, which was hard due to the drugs, but easy because laughing hurt too much. “I thought you were my sister. Give it here.” He was trying not to slur his words, but it was hard.

    Donna placed the dog back at his side with a look of confusion on her face. “I guess I shouldn’t be hopeful about personality changes.” She laid her bag down on the table. “Also, more importantly, you have a sister?”

    He looked at her with furrowed brows. “Or so our parents told us.”

    She shrugged and shook her head. “You’ve just never mentioned her.”

    Josh frowned, his bottom lip puffing out. “Sure I have.”

    “Pretty sure I would have remembered a sister.”

    “No. Her name is Joanie.”

    “Well neither the First Lady nor the President knew about her, and you don’t have any pictures of her on your desk.”

    “Because it’s my sister,” he said as though it was obvious. Joanie didn’t like any pictures of herself.

    “I have a picture of me, my brothers and parents. You are a pretty crappy brother.”

    Josh tried to sit up higher. “I’m a great brother. I’m the best.”

    The door then opened and he chucked the dog again, this time hitting Joanie as she entered in an oversized grey sweater, jeans, backpack, and coffee in a brown paper cup. “Josh!” She grunted and picked up Bullseye. “I liked you better when you were stoned out of your mind,” she said, throwing the dog back at him. He didn’t have the reaction time to catch it, so it landed on his shins.

    “I’m still fairly high,” he confirmed, looking down and trying to figure out how he was going to reach Bullseye.

    “Obviously,” she said before turning to Donna with a smile. “You must be Donna. I’ve heard so much about you,” she said extending her left hand.

    Donna shook Joanie’s hand. “You’re Joanie, right?”

    Josh then raised his hand and blurted, “She only knows that because I just told her.” He then let his hand fall to the bed. “Ouch,” he grumbled.

    Joanie rolled her eyes. “Don’t listen to him.”

    “I never do,” Donna looked down at Josh with a smug look before turning back to Joanie. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

    “Likewise. How do you put up with him?” Joanie asked as she gestured to a chair for Donna and both women sat on either side of Josh.

    Donna shook her head. “Somedays I really don’t know. The pay isn’t that good. How did you grow up with him?”

    “I stuffed him in an old trunk than sat on it.” That had happened on multiple occasions.

    “You’re both so mean to me,” Josh whined. “I want better visitors.”

    “Sam and Toby said that they would be by later today.”

    “Sam’s coming?” Joanie asked with a smile.

    Josh grinned. “I think you should be more excited for Toby.”

    “Why?” she asked. “I’ve never met him.”

    “Because he’s your age… single… Jewish… from Brooklyn. If I were a better brother and a better Jew, I’d set you two up.”

    “You are stoned and worse than the old ladies at my synagogue,” Joanie said, rolling her eyes. “Why did I tell my assistant conductors I was going to be out for a few weeks? Try to set me up, and I’ll go back to New York tonight.”

    He didn’t want to address that because he didn’t want her to leave, nor did he want it to look like he needed her. He was a grown man. A thought then hit Josh and he turned to Donna. “Who’s running my office?”

    “It’s all been farmed out.” Donna assured him, leaning to get the magazines she had brought yesterday. “Leo said I should come read to you to give your sister a break from trying to entertain you.” Donna looked at Joanie. “If that’s okay with you.”

    Joanie shrugged. “Go ahead. Maybe I can actually get some work done,” she said, digging in her backpack. She got out a spiral-bound manuscript notebook and a pencil and began making notations.

    “It’s not okay with me,” Josh grumbled. He looked at Donna. She looked so pretty with her blonde hair pulled back, wearing a more casual blue cardigan - the top two buttons of her light pink shirt undone. “I thought you were here for work. I wanna feel important.”

    Donna shook her head. “Nope. Your choices of reading material today are National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, or Reader’s Digest.”

    He let out a guttural grunt and his lips rose in disgust. “Can I watch TV instead? Joanie hid the remote.”

    Joanie looked up - her glasses now on the tip of her nose. “Because all the channels you get in here are news, and you are certainly not watching that.”

    “And you aren’t getting a newspaper either,” Donna added.

    “Do you want me go insane from boredom?” Josh ranted, feeling very tired suddenly.

    “Better than you dying on me.” Joanie gritted the words out, which told him she wasn’t in a joking mood.

    He guiltily looked away, at Donna. “You pick.”

    Donna began reading to him out of a National Geographic - something about Siberian Tigers - but Josh was instantly bored. He was also tired, but he didn’t want to go to sleep: Donna was here and she was pretty and he didn’t want to appear weak and make Joanie worry. So he reached down and flicked Joanie’s pencil.

    “Joshua!” Joanie snapped.

    “Laugh darn it! You are so grumpy now. You were happier when you were getting laid.” As the words were tumbling out of his mouth, he was regretting them - not something that normally happened.

    Tears began welling in her eyes and that hurt Josh’s chest more than the bullet did. It would have been so much easier if she just shouted something equally as hurtful. Instead, she tearfully explained, “I almost lost you, Josh. I lost Omar, then I lost Dad, and I almost lost you and it hurt.”

    She rushed out of the room.

    “Joanie!” Josh shouted, but she was already gone.
  5. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    So I read this on Friday on my way home from an infuriating day and it was just what I needed. :D

    Those must be some good drugs! I've never taken anything strong, so I don't have an personal experience, but I see people on the good stuff all the time, and I think this is an apt description. You just don't care. But I love that it also gives us a clue to Josh and Joanie's past.

    Awwww... Bullseye! I loved well loved stuffed animals! Ones you can tell have been through everything!

    I think this is a perfect description of how a kid his age would react to this trauma. Hospitals are scary, and seeing someone you love in one is even scarier. Little kids don't know how to deal with those emotions and a lot of times anger comes out. It's so heartbreaking.

    But then this is so cute! How Bullseye got his name! And it shows us how young Josh started taking care of people, that he learned to make his sister and dad laugh because it made them happier. It's so Josh!

    And then he's going to continue that to make her laugh when he's the one in the hospital. But I love that he throws it at Donna!

    This whole exchange was soooo great! I loved Donna and Joanie comparing how they deal with him. Josh is going to be in so much trouble now that they know each other because they can team up against him!! I can totally see Donna and Joanie being great friends!

    Oh my God...hahahaha.... Josh trying to set Toby up with his sister, that would be a hilarious disaster!

    Oh Josh. :( He's still trying to save everyone, but the old ways aren't working. He's so sweet, but so clueless.

    I so loved this! I can't wait to read Chapter 3!!
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  6. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    I'm sorry you had such a bad day, but I'm glad I could make it a bit less poopie.

    I've never been on anything quite that strong (though I figure they'd give Josh the really good stuff :p) but yeah from what milder experiences I've had, plus research from my friends who have been on the good stuff, you are aware but you just don't care.

    Oh, yeah, I figured any of Josh's toys would be well "loved".

    Thanks. I don't really have much personal experience with this kind of stuff (except for the confusion of emotions around a parent's death) but I figured Josh didn't deal well with emotions as an adult, let alone a scared kid.

    It's just so Josh and I love him!

    Josh just doesn't like to see the ones he loves in pain, even if it's his suffering causing the pain. But, yeah, he's still Josh :p

    Oh yes, I can totally see them bonding over their different love/hate relationship with Josh and ganging up on him.

    And of course it's Josh. Once he has an idea (even when it's a BAD, BAD, drug induced idea) he just can't let it go :p

    He is just so Josh, even when he's drugged out of his mind.

    Thanks! I had so much fun writing it. I'm posting chapter 3 and the final chapter at once (because the finale wasn't that long AND I WANT TO GET POSTING HOLIDAY FLURRRRFFFF). But thanks so much for reading. I may have to re-visit this AU again because Josh and his sister are just too much fun.
  7. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010

    Joanie tried her best to calm her breathing as she leaned forward against the row of sinks in the women’s bathroom. She knew her brother was just being himself and his lack of a filter was only made worse by the morphine. She splashed more cold water on her face with one hand.

    The door opened and in the reflection of the mirror, Joanie saw Donna enter. Joanie put her glasses on to see the frantic look on the other woman’s face. "What?” Joanie asked, heart already pumping hard as she strode towards the door.

    “He got ready upset after you left,” Donna explained as they hurried down the hall. “He tried to get up and ripped out a staple.”

    Joanie’s heart sank. “God, I am such an idiot.”

    * * *

    “Omar was my boyfriend,” Joanie explained quietly as she and Donna sat outside of Josh’s room, waiting to be let back inside. She was feeling horrible for upsetting her brother. Donna probably thought she was some cow for making Josh feel bad. “He was a librarian. We had been dating for 6 years and finally starting talking about getting married. He died in a car accident 10 months before my father died.”

    “I am so sorry,” Donna said. “I had no idea.”

    “I know, because Josh doesn’t talk about me, but that is just Josh, you know? If he talks about me, people will ask about me, then he’ll think about me at work and have to worry about me and that will consume him. Which is why I don’t like him seeing me cry.”

    Donna nodded. “I’m a big sister too, I get it. He feels like he’s supposed to protect you but really, you have to protect him.”

    Joanie nodded. “Yeah, pretty much.”

    The door to Josh’s room opened and both women looked up.

    “He’s okay,” the doctor assured them as he and a few nurses left the room. “He’s just really upset. We gave him something to help with his anxiety and to help him relax, but he’s still asking for both of you. You can both go back in, but do try to keep him calm. He needs to rest.”

    They nodded and Joanie was first back at his side. He was lying back now, murmuring and grunting. Donna lingered need the foot of the bed.

    Joanie placed one hand - the one covered by her sleeve - on his chest to hold him still and the other hand on his head. “Hey there.”

    “I’m a crappy brother,” he slurred, even worse than before.

    “Shhh, shhh. No. Just listen. I’m not mad or upset that you brought up Omar. It’s okay, I can talk about him now,” she said with a sigh. Josh wasn’t exactly around much after Omar died - dealing with the Hoynes and then Bartlet campaigns for President. Josh was really only with her after their father too passed - and even then it was only a few days of grief. Josh hadn’t seen her recover from their deaths, though she had. “I’m upset because you almost died and you aren’t taking my feelings about that seriously.” The hand she had placed on his head began stroking his hair. He gave her the faintest of smiles - Josh loved having his hair played with. “I am so scared to lose you too. And I feel horrible for not visiting because I’ve missed you.”

    “Missed you too.” He reached a shaking pointer finger up and poking her in the cheek. “Missed your laugh.”

    Joanie choked back a sob. All this because he wanted her to laugh. “You just aren’t that funny anymore.”

    “I’m funny,” he tried his hardest to sound defensive.

    “Maybe funny looking.” She smiled and he gave her the biggest drug-induced grin. She began to laugh. She rested her forehead on his. “Yeah, definitely funny looking.” She stood up. “Now, are you going to let me work?”


    “Even if Donna reads to you?” She winked at him and she saw just a hint of bashfulness cross his face.


    She ruffled his hair. “Good.”

    * * *

    Josh fell asleep shortly after Donna began reading again, but Joanie suggested Donna stay and she didn’t take much convincing. Joanie knew Josh liked his assistant - it was clear by the way he talked about her all the time whenever Joanie called her brother. And it was clear Donna cared for Josh by the way she fussed about him. So the two women just sat, idly chatting, while Josh slept. Joanie got lunch for the both of them, Josh woke for a couple minutes for his own small lunch, and in the mid-afternoon more visitors showed up.

    Sam Seaborn entered with a smile - Joanie knew him since he and Josh went way back to their college days. Behind him was another man, a bit older, balding: Toby Ziegler.

    “Is he up for some visitors?” Sam asked as he lingered at the door.

    Joanie and Donna both smiled. “Probably,” Joanie said. “Donna, wanna poke Sleeping Beauty? He’s probably less likely to hit you.”

    “Are we sure about that?” Donna asked, getting up.

    “No, no,” Sam said. “If he’s asleep we can go visit the President and come back.”

    Joanie shook her head. “No, it’s fine, he should get up for a few minutes - otherwise he’ll be up all night driving me insane. Besides,” she said, leaning back and extending an arm to Sam. “I want a hug from my Sammie.”

    Sam entered, Toby trailing behind him to stop at the foot of the bed. Sam enveloped Joanie in a hug. “It is so great to see you again. I just wish it were under better circumstances,” he said.

    “Me too, me too.” Joanie then deflected. “He’s pretty stoned, though, so that right there is worth the trip.”

    Josh began to grunt at all the noise and Donna laid a hand on his bicep. “Josh, you have visitors.”

    Josh gave her a sleepy grin. “Is it more beautiful women?”

    Sam snorted and leaned over Josh. “Not sure you can call Toby that.”

    “Toby? Toby?” Josh pressed a button so he could sit up a bit more “You saved my life, Toby.”

    “No, Josh. No,” Toby said, patting Josh’s foot under the blankets. “I just found you.”

    “No, you saved my life and for that, I give you my only sister.”

    Donna and Sam began laughing. Toby looked around awkwardly. Josh looked way too smug.

    Joanie rubbed her temple under her glasses. “Josh. I am going to get Sam to smother you.”

    Sam patted Josh’s arm. “Good to see you feeling like yourself.”

    “I feel like I did in college.”

    Sam gave him a look. “That high, huh? You know the bosses are just next door.”

    “Pretty sure President Bartlet understands, and Leo isn’t allowed to yell at me for this.”

    They all talked for a few minutes - and annoyed Josh when his mushy dinner was brought in. After eating Josh began to yawn again. “Toby. Toby,” Josh murmured. “Come here.”

    Josh began whispering and Toby had to lean over him.

    Sam leaned into Joanie. “I feel like we are in the Godfather.”

    “Yeah, of course, Josh,” Toby said, standing up and patting Josh’s shoulder.

    “What did he want?” Sam asked.

    Toby looked at Joanie. “He asked me to take you back to his apartment tonight, then to my synagogue tomorrow for service.”

    “Josh,” Joanie sighed, not letting her annoyance show.

    “Go,” Josh ordered. “Sleep. I don’t know how long you’ve been here.”

    She was extremely tired and knew she shouldn’t be driving.

    “I’ll stay with him tonight,” Sam offered. “Keep him out of trouble. You guys go.”

    Joanie nodded, packed her things, then leaned over her brother. “I swear I’m going to kill you,” she whispered in his ear.

    “Love you too.” He grinned.

    * * *

    Three weeks later.

    For a man who lived alone, Josh certainly had a lot of people to look after him. There was the home-nurse, who had come by every day for the past week since he had been released from the hospital. The home-nurse would help him bathe, redress his bandages, and make sure he was still going to live. Donna was pretty much in his apartment all day. Officially she was here to keep him up-to-date on work matters without stressing him out. Realistically she just filled him in for an half hour then monitored what phone-calls she allowed him allowed to have with other White House staff. She also brought him prepared meals. Sam, Toby, and Leo were all by throughout the day to help him go to the bathroom (though he could now do that by himself). He was getting sick of them all being around all the time. Even Charlie, CJ, and the First Lady had visited (Abbey had fussed over him like a mother).

    Josh knew he was going to be alright. He had people around and the superintendent of his building had offered to be around in case of an emergency.

    Still, he was going to miss Joanie. She had been at his side throughout this entire thing. She slept in his bed, which had been shoved into a corner to make room for a hospital-type bed for himself (as if Josh didn’t feel emasculated enough, now his room looked like something in an hospice house). She had been there to bring him his meals and drinks. Whenever he called, she came. Except for this evening.

    “Joanie! Joanie!” Josh continued to call from his bed, sounding insistent rather than actually in need of her. She was leaving tomorrow morning. As much as it pained them both, not that either one would admit it, she had to get back to her own life in New York.

    She appeared in the bedroom doorframe with a sigh, wearing a pair of pyjama pants and a t-shirt, her hair up. It was a sight that only Josh got to see, since only he didn’t gape at her scars. She was on her new cellphone, a pink Nokia (pink was her favourite colour), that Josh had bought her (it had been his idea and he paid for it, but he had gotten Donna to actually get it). “One sec, my brother needs me.” She covered the speaker and looked pointedly at him. “Are you dying?”

    “… No.”

    “Then shut up for like two minutes.” She sat on the foot of his bed and returned to her conversation. “I’m back. He’s fine, but can I please remind you that he got shot in the chest? I know I said I’d do the evening performance Christmas Eve - I always do - but I’d really like to see him in December. I never get to take Hanukah off and Christmas will be the only day he gets off so I would like to see him.” There was a pause. “Thank you.” Then she hung up.

    “There. I’m coming for Christmas,” she told him, letting the phone flop to the bed.

    “Wow, there’s something never said in our family.”

    She nodded. “Well, I just love you that much.” She leaned forward to pat his cheek. It was more of a smack.

    He swatted her back. “Well, you could just move here.” It came out before he really thought about the implications for her. She would have to give up an amazing career with the Philharmonic Orchestra. But if he asked her, she would do it, and he just did. “I mean… if you wanted to.”

    She sighed. “I really don’t know. That’s a big move.”

    “You can knock some sense into me. Sam and Leo too.”

    “Josh, no one could knock any sense into you. But if I ever have any hope of getting nieces and nephews I’d better try.”

    He deflected that comment. “Anyways, I called you in here because my movie ended and I’m not tired yet.”

    She got up and went to the stack of rented VHSs. “What do we want to watch?”

    Star Wars.”

    She rolled her eyes but put it on and climbed into the bed with him. He wrapped his arms around her, then farted.

    “Oh, my god Josh!” she screamed. “You’re disgusting.”

    Part VI

    Epilogue - ~4 years later

    Friday lunches were her time with her brother. Though Joanie now lived and worked in DC as one of the directors of the National Symphony Orchestra, both still had crazy busy work lives. Josh worked mainly weekdays and Joanie worked evenings and weekends. She knew there were times early on when Josh felt bad for completely uprooting her with that one suggestion (and he still swore to her that he was still high on painkillers when he had blurted it - though in reality he hadn’t been), but her, these lunches were the best 45 minutes of life some weeks, and she knew he felt the same. Which made him feel bad when had to cancel.

    “Joanie, I’m so sorry,” he said over the phone. He didn’t sound right.

    “It’s fine Josh,” she said, getting up from the table at the restaurant, glad she hadn’t ordered yet. “Is everything alright?”

    Something was very wrong. “I didn’t want worry you until I knew more, but the CODEL - the congressional delegation - we sent to the Gaza Strip hit a bomb.”

    Joanie knew to ask the important questions, perhaps she knew even more than her dense younger brother. “Donna? Is she okay?” It sounded like Joanie was asking about her friend - which she was - but she was also asking about the love of her brother’s life, even if he had yet to realize it.

    There was a moment of heavy breathing. “No. They are airlifting her to Germany.”

    “Joshua.” His sister rarely used his full name. “I’m coming to get you.”

    “Joanie, we don’t need to go to the synagogue to pray.”

    “No," she sighed, exasperated. “You need to go to Germany. I’m taking you to the airport. You love her. Even if you don’t realize it, you need to be with her now.”

    * * *

    Two days later, Joanie picked up the rigging phone, tucked it between her shoulder and cheek, and settled back into the rocking chair. “Josh?” His brother was in Germany and was supposed to be at Donna’s side.

    “Joanie, I think I did something stupid.”

    Joanie sighed and rolled her eyes. “Pray tell what?”

    “Donna had a pulmonary embolism. They rushed her into the OR. She wanted to see me before she was put under. She couldn’t speak but she was so scared. Then I told her I loved her and then I was rushed out.”

    “Okay, first, is she okay?”

    “The doctors told me she should be fine. I have no idea what to do. She’s going to have to stop working for me. She’s going to be out of a job because of my big mouth.”

    “Josh, calm down. First, I know you are freaking out about this because you are really freaking out about Donna. Just breathe. I know you don’t like hospitals. Second, I’m proud of you. I know you love her and she needed to hear that. Your relationship will change and I bet you it will be for the better. I know Donna well. Third, good! Because you were a horrible boss. Fourth, I know the First Lady. I’m pretty sure I can get Donna a new job with one phone call.”

    Josh let out a deep breath. “Okay… okay.” There were a few moments of silence. “What are you doing right now? I just need to be distracted for a minute.”

    Joanie understood her brother all too well. “Right now I am rocking your niece, trying to get her down for a nap so I can actually do some work. Her dad won’t be home for another four hours.” She looked down at her eight-month old daughter. Big brown eyes looked out of swathes of pink and grey blankets. She wasn’t crying, she just wanted to play for another 12 hours as evident by the shaking of the ring of plastic teething toys in the shape of keys. “She’s hyperactive like her uncle.”

    Josh laughed and it sounded like he needed it. “Put me on speaker.” Joanie did as he asked and he started cooing. “How’s my little tiny M&M. How’s my little sweet cutie? Are you tiring Mommy out?”

    The baby screeched in delight and laughed.

    “Do you like talking to Uncle Joshie? Is he the best uncle ever?”

    Joanie rolled her eyes but kissed the wispy brown hair of Micaiah Miriam as her brother continued to make a fool out of himself.
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  8. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Okay, let me try this AGAIN. The boards don't want me to comment because they crash every time I start to do it. The first time I lost my entire comment, I've learned I'll copy it before I hit post this time!

    I love how this shows the similarity between Josh and Joanie, they both just want what's best for each other. But they can also hurt each other so easily because they love each other and aren't the best at showing it.

    Oh, Joanie. :_| I was afraid it was something like this when she mentioned Omar. She's had the worst time, if she lost Josh too... I can't even imagine!

    I adore this whole scene! That Josh was so upset he had to be sedated, Joanie not wanting him to see her cry. The tenderness of how she plays with his hair, and him making her want to laugh. It's so beautiful, and a little heartbreaking at the same time.

    [face_laugh] It started so sweet and then turned so, Josh! I love it! I think I've said it before, but I love the interaction between Toby and Josh, (the whole scene with the two of them and Mary Marsh in the Pilot is what really hooked me.) and whole scene is perfect Toby and Josh! From the joking, to the serious where Josh wants him to take his sister home and to services the next day. [face_love]

    I loved this line. I don't really have any more to say, I just wanted to say I loved it. :)

    Hahah.. And there is brother/sister interaction if I've ever seen it!

    YAY! She moved to DC! :D But yeah, their schedules probably don't interact well. I swear I see my brother more now than I did when we were living in the same city. :p

    Yes! Go Joanie! Josh really does need a big sister, I think he'd have gotten it together a bit faster if she'd been around! She really takes charge when Josh is freaking out and wondering what he's going to do.

    Daaawwww.... good Uncle Joshie!! [face_love] And I'm so happy Joanie found love.

    I just adored this story! Joanie is fantastic and really good for Josh. I like how he's still Josh, but there are subtle differences because his life was different.
    I certainly wouldn't be opposed to seeing more in this 'verse if the muse should decide there is more! [face_batting]
  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: The Confidante
    2023(ish); 2049
    Characters: Joanie, Leo, Noah, Abi, Josh/Donna with mentions of other OCs
    A/N: This was written for @mavjade for our 2019 West Wing exchange - fic request in the spoiler tag! I decided to post it here in the “Joanie Lives” AU thread because I always did consider doing more Joanie Lives short stories/vignettes, but the muse just never bit (however, I have some more ‘our universe’ but Josh/Joey AUs in the works and I’m not sure where to post them). But as soon as this plot bunny bit, I loved it!

    I kinda had to fudge around with our timeline a bit, but I explain the changes in the second spoiler tag - plus given that this is an AU where Josh confessed his love for Donna while she was in the hospital in Gaza (see story post above for refresher), I think I have creative license to play around with the timeline. I didn’t really know how to finish the story, but then the ending came to me and I loved it (even though it’s a bit angsty, but you asked for angst so I gave you a healthy variety), but it got a bit long so I split the whole fic into 2 parts.

    Anyways! Hope you enjoy! I hope you had happy holidays!

    A story in the universe you wrote where Joanie lives
    But I want it to be an AU of our verse so we see Aunt Joanie with the Lyman kids
    Some kind of angsty situation (how angsty is up to you)
    Characters: Joanie and the Lyman kids, but anyone would be great!

    The plot with Josh kinda comes from my head-canon: he worked as Sam’s COS for 2-4 years, then a health scare made (Donna make) him retire so Charlie took over as COS until his assassination, so Josh came back.

    BUTTT I want Leo to be a bit older for this fic, so I figured if Josh/Donna got together in ~2004, they could have been married and have had Leo by 2007. Making him around 16 for this fic. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it’s how my brain is working. But I wanted Abi and Noah to be a bit younger for this so they are about 8, because this is an AU and I can do what I want (not that I don’t already do what I want in our universe :p ).

    Part 1

    Joanie sat down on the couch with a much needed glass of wine, a plate of leftover vegetable lasagne and turned on the latest episode of her favourite drama, very glad she wasn’t conducting or preforming this evening. She had just gotten off the phone with her 20-year-old daughter, Micaiah, who was at Princeton and going through her first bad break-up. Her 18-year-old son Ezekiel was at his part-time job - he’d be attending Juilliard in September. Joanie’s husband, Caleb, was in Europe on a work trip. It had been a hectic few weeks for her at work with a new program coming up for the National Symphony Orchestra.

    Both Joanie and her husband were nearing 70, though neither had a physically demanding job, she was still looking forward to retirement. She and Caleb were going to travel and spend much needed time together.

    But for tonight, she was looking forward to a quiet evening by herself. She had her greying hair up in a ponytail and she was wearing her favourite lounging sweater. Maybe she would have a nice bath, then call Caleb for maybe a bit of adult time.

    Before she could even take a sip of her wine, her phone rang. Looking at the caller ID, it was Donna - her best friend and brother’s wife. “Hey Donna.” Joanie answered. She grew concerned as she heard Donna taking deep breaths and struggle not to sob. “Donna? What’s wrong?”

    “Josh…” Donna managed to get out. “There was a situation after dinner and he wasn’t feeling well but he went back in to work anyway.” Josh was White House Chief of Staff for his second president. “He… he collapsed and Margret said they thought he was having a heart attack. They are taking him to GW….”

    Joanie tried to hold herself together. She knew her brother didn’t have the best cardiovascular health. “What do you need me to do?” she said as she began gathering her keys and purse.

    “Sam… sorry, the President - is sending a car so I don’t have to drive. Can you come be with the kids? I don’t know how long I’ll be. I… we are all pretty freaked out and I don’t want Leo alone overnight with the twins if something happens.”

    “Of course,” Joanie said, dashing up to her room to get a few things she would need overnight. “You, go be with Josh when the car gets there. I’ll be right there for the kids.”

    * * *

    Joanie entered her brother’s and sister-in-law’s home to a sullen scene. Donna had already left, but her three kids were in the living room, on the couch, watching a sit-com. They probably just wanted a mindless distraction. Leo, who was 16, was in the corner of the sectional, in a black hoodie, and scrolling on his phone. Abi and Noah - both 8 - were each under blankets. Abi was biting her thumbnail.

    “Hey guys,” Joanie said, putting down her backpack on a chair and hugging Abi, then Noah.

    “Have you heard anything from Mom, Auntie Joanie?” Noah asked nervously.

    “She called me right before I got here,” Joanie said, sitting between Abi and Noah and wrapping her arms around their shoulders. She sighed. “She’s with your dad now. The doctors said your dad had a heart attack and they are doing some tests to try to figure out how best to help him. They are going to keep your dad overnight at least, but your mom said he still wants to say goodnight to you guys so they are going to call when they can. In the mean time, why don’t you munchkins go put your pyjamas on and I’ll make us a nice snack.”

    Unusually obedient, the twins rushed up stairs.

    “You’re pretty quiet,” Joanie observed to her eldest nephew. “Your dad is going to be okay. They got him medical attention right away. It makes all the difference.” If Joanie was going to have a medical emergency, having one in the White House would probably not be so horrible. She knew her brother was currently with some of the top cardiologists in the country.

    Leo looked up as a tear rolled down his cheek. “This is all my fault.”

    Joanie was instantly beside Leo, holding him tight. “No! No. I know that isn’t true. Of all the stressful things - and horrible charred burgers - in your father’s life - you are one of the things he cares most about - but you, are one of the least stressful people. Your sister on the other hand…” Joanie’s attempt at a joke fell flat. “Why are you blaming yourself, Leo?”

    Leo sniffled. “Because, when he got home from work, I told him and mom I wanted to talk to them about something important. Dad asked if it could wait because he had a lot on his mind and there was a possibility he had to go back to work… and I just got so mad and frustrated with him and I yelled at him. I accused him of not caring about me or my life.”

    “Leo,” Joanie signed. “You’re a teenager. You are going to have moments of teenage angst and yell at your parents.”

    Leo mumbled in agreement.

    “Your dad loves you, and he knows you love him.” She ruffled his fluffy hair. “And I love you too.”

    The twins started clomping down the stairs.

    “I love you too,” Leo murmured. “Maybe, can we talk after Abi and Noah go to bed?” He seemed anxious. He reminded her so much of his father.

    “Of course, kid. Wanna help me see what snack we can make out of what’s in the fridge?”

    Together, joined by Abi and Noah, they made a tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit. They then all cuddled on the couch and watched another two episodes of the mindless sit-com before Joanie’s phone rang. It was Donna on FaceTime.

    “Hey. Hows it going?” Joanie asked as she held up the phone so all the kids could see her. She looked tired but not too worried.

    “Where’s Dad?” Abi burst.

    “He’s in bed, right beside me,” Donna answered, turning her phone.

    Josh was sitting up in bed. He was wearing a hospital gown, had an IV in his hand, electrodes on his chest, and was scruffing his white beard with his fingers. “Help me! I’m being kept prisoner!”

    Donna turned the phone back to her and rolled her eyes. “He’s being dramatic. The nurse is supposed to come back to give him more drugs, then they are going to take him into surgery to put little things in his heart called stints. It’s not going to take very long but he’ll be here for a couple nights.” She explained for the kids.

    “Unless I EXCAPE!” Josh yelled from out of view.

    Noah and Abi laughed.

    “I’m going to spend at least tonight here,” Donna said.

    Joanie nodded. “Yeah. Of course. I’ll spend the night and bring the kids to visit after school?”

    “Start planning the get-away routes kids! Leo can drive!” Josh yelled again. Joanie had seen this tactic before with her brother: trying so hard to make people laugh despite the serious circumstances.

    “Thank you so much, Joanie,” Donna sighed. “I’ll call you again once he’s out of surgery. Abi, Noah, Leo, please listen to your aunt. Abi, Noah, it’s bed-time; so I love you and goodnight. Josh, say goodnight to your children.” Donna turned her phone again.

    “Goodnight to your children,” Josh said with a laugh.

    Joanie rolled her eyes but Noah and Abi laughed. “Goodnight Daddy!” Abi exclaimed.

    “Goodnight Dad!” Noah said and Leo managed to slip his own goodnight in with his brother.

    “Goodnight guys. I love you.”

    * * *

    Leo tried not to think too much as he waited for his Aunt Joanie to finish putting his brother and sister to bed.

    He was going to come out to her.

    Aunt Joanie was the perfect first person to come out to.

    Of course, Josie already knew - he hadn’t said the exact words to her, but Josie knew he liked and was attracted to both girls and guys. But he hadn’t told an adult yet, nor a member of his family. Part of him wished the twins were a bit older, but they wouldn’t understand why he was so freaked out.

    Leo didn’t understand why he was so freaked out.

    His aunt - and his parents - were so liberal, and even if they weren’t, they were so loving.

    But, this was him, and his identity. He was tired of not being himself, of people assuming. He just wanted someone to know. But, he was worried that they’d misunderstand or misinterpret.

    His aunt came back with a plate of leftovers and sat beside him on the sectional. She set down the chicken, vegetables, and rice on the coffee, and rubbed his shoulder with her good hand. “Leo?” she asked, concerned. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing,” he said, firmly, mostly to himself than her. Nothing was wrong and he didn’t have to apologize for anything. He took a few deep breaths and she allowed him to gather his thoughts. “I… I need to tell my truth. I’m tired of people assuming….” He didn’t look at her, he just rubbed his fist on his pants. “Josie knows,” Josie was Leo’s best friend, “but I haven’t used the exact words or told, you know, anyone other than Josie.”

    “You know you can tell me anything,” she said.

    “I know… and I know I’m freaking out about nothing but… it’s a big deal to me and who I am.”

    “Leo, if it’s important to you, then it’s important to me.”

    “I’m bisexual!” he blurted. He didn’t intend for it to come out that way, but he didn’t know how else to get it out.

    Joanie simply hugged her nephew tight. “Leo,” she said with a smile. He was so much like his father. Years ago, Josh had come out to Joanie in much the same way. “Thank you for trusting me. I love you, and I love your courage to be yourself.” She kissed his cheek and ruffled his hair. “But it doesn’t change how I see you. As long as you love whoever is lucky enough to end up with you, and they love you too, that’s all I ask. And if you don’t find someone worthy of sharing your life with, promise me you’ll always love yourself.”

    Leo wiped away tears of relief. “Thank you. I promise.”

    “To me, you will always be the kid who broke my porch swing.”

    “That was Dad’s fault and you know it!” Leo laughed. He grew serious. “I wanted to tell my parents tonight because a guy I really like asked me out on a date.”

    “Ooooh!” Joanie gasped. “You’re going to have to tell me all about him.”

    “Okay. But… I want to tell my parents before I start dating or anything. But now I’m worried about Dad… I don’t want to stress him out or make him sicker.”

    “Leo, you’re not going to make your dad sicker by telling him you’re Bi. I know that for a fact.” Joanie wasn’t going to out her brother… but she wanted to assure Leo that his parents would be supportive.

    “I know, I know. Dad and Tío Matt legalized same-sex marriage and did a bunch of other really amazing things, but… I don’t know. Dad and I just haven’t talked about that kinda stuff lately. He’s been so busy. We used to be so close, but I don’t know what happened.”

    “I do,” Joanie said bluntly. “Your father went back to work for the White House and you became a teenager. But, do you want me to pick you up during your lunch break tomorrow? You can go visit your parents and spend some time with them alone?”

    Leo nodded. “I’d really like that.”
  10. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005

    Oh I love this so much!! :*:*

    I loved how you wrote this opening, it gave us such a look at Joanie's life and who she is.

    Haha... probably pretty true! Having one at a hospital is probably the best, but that's probably about as close as it gets to the best place!

    Oh Leo... :( But that's so him, because he's so much Josh. But Josh would be so upset to know Leo felt that way.

    And this is exactly what I was thinking! Being a teenager is hard, and I'm sure being the parent of a teenager is hard! But it's always better when it comes from someone else the teenager trusts than their parents. I love that they seem to have such a great relationship!

    [face_laugh][face_laugh] Josh was cracking me up! Though Donna might smother him with a pillow before he get discharged!

    :D I was wondering if that's what he was going to tell Josh before all of this. And I can't imagine how much more nervous it's going to make him. He already has this big thing to say and then his dad goes and has a heart attack and it feels like it was his fault. Poor Leo!

    I loved this part so much! In my mind this scene was overlayed with a younger Josh and Joanie and the same thing happening. And Joanie loving so much how much Josh and Leo are alike. And of course her reaction was so great! Just so supportive but letting Josh tell Leo in his own time. I'm sure Josh wouldn't mind Joanie telling Leo if it calmed him down, but it will be something they can talk about together.

    I love this so, so much!!! [:D]
  11. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    My muse has been taken over by Josh/Joey. I have one vignette done, one almost done, and one that has just gotten out of control! I'm not sure were to post them yet - either with the Joey diary, with the other Dynasty stuff, or on their own. I'm leaning towards with the diary but I'm not sure.
    I'm glad you loved it! I really loved this idea.
    Thanks. I unfortunately had to do quite a bit of a time skip and have Joanie in her 70s, but I got to establish much of her life.
    Yeah, hospital would probably be my first pick as to where to have a medical emergency, but somewhere like the White House would be close.
    Leo is so much like his dad :( But of course Josh would be so upset if he knew Leo blamed himself.
    Yeah. I love Joanie's relationship with Leo. She can be so honest with him in the way only Aunts can
    I love Josh just in full DAD mode! Thought, yeah, Donna might smother him!

    I know. Coming out is scary enough as it is, but when you add everything else, plus teenage angst and Lyman awkwardness, I feel sooooo bad for poor Leo!
    I really wanted to do some sort of flashback with Josh coming out to Joanie, but I couldn't figure out how to make it interesting but also awkward (as Josh is) and not basically just repeat Joanie's and Leo's interaction. But I'm really glad you had that going on in your mind because it's what was going on in my mind too! And I just LOVE what Joanie says to Leo.

    And yeah, I'm sure Josh would be fine with Joanie telling Leo, but I don't think Joanie wanted to traumatize the kid with "your dad dated your uncle Sam!"

    I'm really glad you enjoyed!
  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Part 2

    True to her word, Joanie picked Leo up from school over his lunch break. He had a ‘spare’ class afterwards which meant he was able to spend about two hours at the hospital with his parents.

    “Do you want me to stay?” she asked as they drove into the parking lot.

    “Yeah?” Leo was unsure of his answer.

    “Good,” Joanie said as she parked her car. “I want to beat my brother’s butt anyways.”

    They made their way into the hospital, stopped into the shop, and then to the cardiac ward. Leo adjusted the backpack slung over his shoulder. The rare times he had been to hospitals, he always felt so awkward and he felt awful knowing he was going to visit his dad.

    Aunt Joanie checked her phone for the room number Donna had texted her, but Josh made his where-abouts clear. “DONNA! IF I’M GOING TO EAT THIS GREEN MUCK, I WANT SALT!”

    Leo looked at his aunt and both stifled a giggle as they b-lined towards the room.

    “Josh, you are salty enough as it is,” Joanie said as she entered the room; Leo behind her.

    Josh was sitting up in bed, wearing a medical gown and a pair of grey sweatpants (thank god, because he was manspreading), and poking at a tray of food. He looked tired. He scowled when he saw his sister, but his expression softened when he saw Leo. “Leo… hey…. Come give me a hug.”

    But Donna got to their son first, hugging him and asking. “Were you and your siblings good for your aunt this morning?”

    “Yes, Mom,” he said, putting his backpack in a lightly padded blue chair.

    “Good, because I’m probably going to come home for a couple hours this evening but I’ll spend another night - someone has to keep your father out of trouble. Dad will probably be home sometime tomorrow,” Donna said.

    Josh had continued to wait with his arms open, so Joanie hugged him. “Thanks for looking after my ungrateful offspring…” Josh grumbled, “who won’t even hug his father who’s in the hospital. HUUGG MEE!”

    “Hey, I’m here on my lunch break,” Leo was clearly trying not to break down and cry. “I care…” he said as he hugged his father.

    Josh kissed Leo’s neck as they hugged. “I know. I love you, Leo.” Josh sighed as Leo sat on the edge of the bed. “Can we talk? I have some stuff I want to tell you.”

    Leo nodded. “I have some stuff I want to tell you and mom too. But you should go first.”

    Josh nodded. “Okay, well, I submitted my resignation this morning. I no longer work for Uncle Sam….” Josh laughed. “Get it? Uncle Sam… the government….”

    Leo rolled his eyes. “Yes, Dad, that joke is like four years old now.”

    Josh stuck out his tongue. “I retired so I could bug you more.” He poked his son in the arm. He had actually retired for health reasons; he wanted to be around for his kids as long as he could. “I’ll still be an adviser to Sam, and we are going to keep up Saturday dinners, and of course you’ll still be able to go hang-out with Josie whenever.”

    Leo nodded. “So no more 80 hour work weeks?”

    Josh smiled. “I’d be surprised if your mom and aunt let me work 8 hours.”

    “Definitely not in the first few weeks,” Aunt Joanie said, crossing her arms.

    “So what did you need to tell us, Leo?” Donna asked.

    Leo took a deep breaths and looked to his aunt for confidence. “I want to share something important to me.” He folded his hands in his lap. “Mom, Dad. I’m bisexual. I’ve know since I was 14.” He decided not to reveal that he was going to start dating someone. That anxiety attack could happen another day.

    His mom smiled and hugged him. “We love you.”

    Josh rubbed Leo’s thigh. “Is that what was upsetting you?” Josh asked, uncharacteristically gentle. “I thought something was wrong, like you were going to come out as a Republican or something.”

    “Josh,” Joanie admonished, flicking her brothers head.

    “Ouch!” Josh exclaimed, rubbing his head. He then turned back to Leo. “Wanna take a walk with me. I wanna tell you some stuff.”

    * * *


    Joan Lyman lived to the age of 94. She outlived her parents, brother, and husband. She had lived to see her children marry and have children, as well as see two of Josh’s children marry and have children. Her funeral was much more of a celebration of her life and her art, than a sad event.

    Afterwards, the family had gathered at Micaiah’s home for seudat havra'ah, the first meal after the funeral, prepared by Marc Lyman, Leo’s husband. Micaiah was trying to help clean up after the meal, though traditionally others were supposed to be helping her. Her brother, Ezekiel, was at the piano, playing a piece his mother had written, another thing that broke normal practices. Their collective four kids were around, quietly playing with each other and other family members. It was far from a traditional shiva.

    Leo was in a corner, tiredly bouncing his month-old son, who was wrapped in green blankets and being held to the black fabric of Leo’s dress-shirt. JJ was having a moment. “Do you miss your Auntie Joanie’s kisses?” Leo murmured to his son, kissing his wispy hair. “Or are you just hungry?” he asked, trying to make JJ take his pacifier.

    “Maybe it’s a bit of both?” Marc swooping in with a bottle he had made. He kissed his husband’s lips and the back of his son’s head.

    Leo took the bottle and popped it into JJ’s screaming mouth while Leo continued to bounce him. “Combined with the fact that he’s probably exhausted from being out all day.”

    “Well maybe that will mean he’ll actually sleep for a couple hours tonight,” Marc said with a hopeful laugh. “Kitchen is all cleaned up. Micaiah assures me nothing else needs to be done.”

    “Did you wanna head out?”

    Marc shrugged. “Whenever you want to, Dear. But I do think we should try to get the munchkin home soon. He is on his back-up, back-up outfit. We can’t have another upchuck or poo-explosion.” Marc was playing with JJ’s hair.

    “Can we really trust him to go an hour without a pooplosion?” Grandma Donna asked as she approached with Abi, who also started to play with her nephew’s hair.

    “Hey Mom. I think Marc and I are thinking about getting JJ home. Is there anything else we can do?”

    Donna looked around. “No. Abi and I were just going to put a load of laundry in for Micaiah and then stop off at Andi’s and Ezekiel’s place and do the same before going home. I just want some JJ cuddles before you guys leave.”

    Leo figured it was just easier to let his mom and sister feed JJ while they mushed over him along with Micaiah and Andi. Leo, Marc, and JJ then said their goodbyes, assuring everyone they’d be back throughout the week.

    JJ hated his car-seat, but he liked car-rides and he loved it when his daddy cranked the heat and his abba put on white noise on his phone. Leo placed his phone in the pocket of JJ’s carseat, then turned back to Marc and held his hand.

    “I know she lived a very long life… but I’m still going to miss my Aunt Joanie,” Leo signed. “She was my confidante…. She was the first person I came out to as Bi.”

    “Really?” Marc asked in mild shock. “I thought Josie….”

    “Well, Josie was the first to know I had crushes on both girls and guys…” Leo chuckled briefly at the memory. “But my Aunt Josie was the first adult I told straight out. And she was just so loving and supportive - of course all my family and friends were but I was so glad I had someone like her to tell everything to first. And she adored you from the moment she met you.” Leo kissed his husband’s cheek. “Just like me.”
  13. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Haha... I love how you write her, she's soooo Josh's sister. You can just tell they grew up together and have been doing this their entire lives, and they love each other so much!

    This is the truth! I've worked in hospitals for years, and when I go to visit someone I know, it's so awkward and uncomfortable.

    [face_laugh][face_laugh] And I totally had that moment from Brooklyn 99 in my head and I was laughing so hard!

    Josh making a joke but then quickly realizing Leo was upset and turning to comfort is everything. I love it so much. [face_love]

    It's okay, Josh, I laughed. Mostly at Josh telling a dad joke, but I still laughed harder than I probably should have.

    Love, love love!!!
    We see Josh and Donna's personalities so clearly here. I mean, I knew they'd be okay with it and Leo did too, but there's still that little fear in the back of your head. So for them to be so... them and loving and accepting was just perfect.

    I'm not crying, you're crying!
    This was such a lovely flash forward, to see the whole family and the life Josie lead is just beautiful!

    Thank you for this, I loved every word of it!! [:D]:*

    And I promise I am working on yours, it will get done!