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Story [The West Wing] Dynasty (Vignettes in the Mav-and-Bri-verse)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Briannakin , Jul 26, 2017.

  1. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I feel her, still to this day I'll suffer rather than take liquid anything. I can remember gagging every time I had to take something when I was little.

    Hahaha... that sas! I think her Aunt Abi has had a bit of influence in what is otherwise a boys club!

    And I love that she clearly knows that's the case. I love how he explains it and gets her to do it. I'm certainly not above bribery.

    This was such a cute mental image of them trading off saying goodnight.

    Oh JJ! He's so sweet!! He just wants to help!


    This is such a hard topic anyway, but to have this come from a kid is just so heart breaking. And of course Marc's answer was so good. He didn't lie and told JJ in a way that he could understand. That can be such a hard thing to do, but something I think is so important.

    Well if that doesn't sound perfect, I don't know what is! :D

    I know that Marc gets a little upset (more at the comparison), but this is still a good answer from Leo. He can't really separate his feelings for a father from his dad and since he'd give anything to see Josh again, it's hard for him to answer anything other than that way. But he also intellectually knows that's not what Marc's relationship is so he knows he really can't answer well.

    I really love this strong reaction because it shows us so much, the bad relationship he has with his bio-dad and the great relationship he had with Josh and how passionate he is on this subject.

    [face_rofl][face_rofl] Oh man, that made me laugh so hard!

    [face_love] =D= So true Leo, so true. And how this ties into "Look around, look around" is just so perfect! Marc is an amazing man, husband, and father despite the man who gave him half of his genetics and no matter what he does, that won't change.

  2. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Ugh. Me too. Give me a pill or let me suffer.
    She is soooo sassy and I love it! I WISH the muse would bite more for Aunt Abi and/or Uncle Noah.
    Marc is such a great Dad. And, hey, bribery works.
    Thanks. I think I just had to overload this kinda more serious topic with just a whole bunch of Miri cuteness.
    He is SUCH A SWEETIE. I don't know how realistic JJ's character is, but he's just so cute that I don't even care.
    We need to have an AU where Josh gets to live to see JJ.
    I like and really admire Marc's and Leo's parenting style, and I think that has come with the age that they were when they had their kids, plus Josh's and Donna's age when they had Leo. Marc and Leo aren't afraid to have those tough conversations, but can do it in a way where the kids will understand.
    [face_love] Lymans can still be romantic.
    Thanks. It's a hard subject matter but I do love this exchange between the two of them. I think this just shows how mature Leo is (as any good President should be). He's aware that he's bias and openly states it. Marc gets upset, but it really isn't at Leo, and Leo understands this.
    Thanks. I really love that Marc had such a great relationship with Josh, even if it was a short time. Again, I wish plot bunnies would bite for these two (I think I have an idea surrounding Josh and Marc and Marc/Leo's engagement, but I've already written their engagement but I haven't posted it because I'm not sure if I want to re-write it to include more Josh and Marc).
    I just love any sort of Hamilton reference with these guys. Though I'm not sure how Elvie would feel being compared to Burr.
    Exactly @};-
  3. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    AN: I played around with several ideas with the ending of this fic. My original plot bunny always had Marc visiting his father. I played around with Marc not going, because sometimes people don’t get an opportunity for atonement and victims should not be blamed for that; it is their choice. But I saw Marc as more willing to try to be a decent person, plus the plot bunny wanted it. I also played with the idea of getting an outright apology, but I know that rarely happens. So I went with something I thought was realistic, but that also gave the fic closure. Hopefully my next fic will be much fluffier (she says as she plots JJ angst).

    Part 3

    Marc had decided to go see his father, mostly because he loved and trusted Leo’s opinion more than his own. He didn’t go to please Leo or anything like that, but because Marc honestly didn’t know what to do, so he listened to the person who knew him best.

    Leo, again, had offered to go with him. Rose and Elvie had too. But, as much as Marc wanted love and support on this trip, he wanted this to be as low-key as possible. He didn’t want any extra attention. The media had respected Marc’s privacy when it came to his family (Leo’s family was far more interesting) but he didn’t want to push it by bringing someone with him. So, he and two members of the Secret Service had used one of the Gulfstreams - a small private jet he had at his disposal - to go to some inconsequential town in Maine, where - according to his aunt - his father now resided.

    A discrete SUV had taken him to a hospice house. It was fairly basic; yellow siding, lots of windows, rock accents. Marc carried a plain green gift bag. His two agents, Morris and Giovanni, led him inside. “It’s room 5, Sir,” Morris said. A team had come here a few days before, so they knew what room and where to go. Marc was thankful he didn’t have to interact with any staff. He didn’t feel like being cordial. He hoped none of the staff would go to the media. There seemed to be no-one around anyways. The Secret Service was good at arranging that.

    Marc waited in the hall outside a door with Morris while Giovanni did a scan inside. The door had a whiteboard with his father’s name and his nurse for the day.

    Giovanni came back out. “Clear, Sir.” He and Morris remained outside. Marc went in alone. He tried not to hold his breath too tight as he entered.

    The room was unremarkable, exactly what one would expect from a hospice room - somewhere between a bedroom and a hospital room, the walls were a warm beige, a few chairs, a TV on top of a dresser, a large widow overlooking a garden, and a single adjustable bed.

    On the bed was his father, looking 30 years older than Marc last saw him. Marc did the math - his father was now 71. He looked pale and frail, bald, familiar but not the man Marc had grown up fearing. A woman Marc did not recognize sat at his father’s side. She had greying brown hair, a grey sweater and blue jeans. Both looked at Marc as he entered.

    “Ah, so the prodigal son makes an appearance,” his father said as he looked over Marc.

    Marc had resist the urge to just roll his eyes and walk back out. Had he really just waisted an entire day coming to see his father, who hadn’t changed one bit? Did the old man have no regard for Marc’s time?

    The woman at the bedside softly slapped his father’s arm. “Be nice, Dev.” She turned to Marc and smiled softly. “I’m sorry. He hasn’t been able to keep a meal down for two days.” Marc’s aunt had said something about the cancer spreading to other organs.

    “Oh, Marc had seen me in much worse states than just hangry.”

    Well, at least his father was willing to admit that.

    The woman continued to softly berate him. “That doesn’t mean you can be rude to your son.” She then turned to Marc again. “We are so glad you could come,” she said, getting up and extending her hand. “I’m Lisa-Jane.”

    Marc came closer and shook her hand. “Marc,” he said. Marc turned to his father, pointing at Lisa-Jane. “I like her.”

    Devin smiled up at Lisa-Jane. “Yeah, me too. We’ve been together now… what… eight years.”

    “Yeah,” she said, holding his hand. “Please, sit, Marc… can I call you Marc?”

    Marc nodded as he sat on the other chair, across from Lisa-Jane. He awkwardly gave his father the gift bag he had brought. Marc had strategically thought ahead: a gift was a perfect way to cut through the awkwardness of seeing his father after 30 years. Marc would give his father the gift, they’d talk about the contents, then enough time would have past that would be socially appropriate for Marc to leave (it was actually a “First Lady Tip” given to him by Helen Santos). The gift wasn’t really for his father, it was for Marc’s sanity. “I put this together for you. I didn’t really know what you would like.”

    His father raised a brow. “Free stuff is free stuff.” First he pulled out some sports magazines and a biography on some hockey player Elvie had suggested. “Nice,” his father exclaimed. “Actual entertainment.” Next was a pair of slippers and a plaid throw-quilt. Finally was a picture frame with a recent photo of JJ and Miri. JJ was inside a tire swing and Miri was standing on top of it. Marc really didn’t know why he had included it. Marc wanted his kids to have nothing to do with his father and he would never regret that decision. But it just seemed like the thing to add his personal touch. His father remained quiet as he looked at the picture.

    Lisa-Jane smiled. “Cute kids.”

    “Beautiful,” his father murmured.

    “Your dad loves to see them when they come on the TV.”

    Marc didn’t like it when JJ or Miri were in the media eye, but the public did love their adorable antics. It just surprised Marc that his dad would be one of those people. Marc smiled. “They’re great kids. I love being a dad. Leo’s just amazing with them. I love them all so much. I’ll gush all day about them to anyone who will listen.”

    Lisa-Jane laughed lightly.

    His father was silent for a moment as he continued to stare at the photo. Finally he let out a deep breath ad he set it on his bedside table. He tried to defuse the tense feeling with a chuckle. “No one will believe those cuties are my grandkids.”

    Marc’s jaw tightened. Miri and JJ weren’t his grandchildren. Miri didn’t even know he existed. JJ thought he was dead when he first heard of him. Josh had done more as a grandfather by writing a letter about them, and Josh had been dead for almost 20 years. JJ and Miri had older gentlemen who served the role of doting grandfather: Papa Oliver and Uncle Sam.

    His father continued. “I don’t know how you do it, Marc. God knows I sucked as a father.”

    And somehow Marc knew that was as close of an apology that he was ever going to get. And he was okay with that. Through all of his own heartbreak, Marc had learned how (not) to be a father, which meant his kids, his Miri and JJ, would never know the pain of not being loved by a parent or grandparent. Marc had saved his kids from that pain. That photo was as close as his children would come to his father. And he was okay with that. No, his father wasn’t a monster anymore, but his father was no dad or grandpa.

    Marc nodded, moving past his revelation. He would not correct his father’s assumption of the role of “grandfather.” He would let a dying man have happy, harmless thoughts. “I have a lot of help,” Marc said. “Leo is truly amazing at giving them time and attention. We have Donna - Leo’s mom - living with us full-time. Our friends are always willing to give us a hand - Josie was our surrogate and she’s Leo best friend, they’ll have sleepovers at the Vice-President’s place, and Leo’s brother Noah, is willing to drop everything when he’s needed, plus they both adore their Auntie Abi. And, I mean, Leo and I always wanted to be dads and we went though so much to have them.” Marc realized he was blabbing about things his father and Lisa-Jane had no idea about. “But enough about me. How did you guys meet?”

    “Oh we would love to hear all about your kids and your life,” Lisa-Jane assured him. “I’ll be honest, it’s a honour to meet the First Gentleman.”

    “It’ll give me some joy and something interesting in my final days,” his father said. “Better than watching Daytime TV.”

    “Okay,” Marc said. If he was here, he might as well spend some time here. It wasn’t like his father or Lisa-Jane were going to write some tell all-book. If they were going to make up lies and go to the media, they would have done it during the campaign. “What would you like to know?”

    “I never imagined you marrying someone with such an ego,” his father said. “What is Leo like?”

    “Leo doesn’t have an ego. He’s confident in job because he trusts the decisions he has made and the people around him. At home he’s a dweeb!” Marc laughed. “He’s a sweetheart, and he’s so nerdy. The other day he got so excited because he was declaring a national park in Alaska and we got a full history of the National Park Service at dinner. I tease him a lot, he knows it’s because I love him.”

    “Are you happy?” Lisa-Jane asked.

    “I am so happy.”

    Marc visited with his father and Lisa-Jane a bit longer than anticipated, but his father grew tired and Marc had to get going anyways - he did have the Secret Service agents and Gulfstream pilot waiting on him.

    * * *

    It was after dinner by the time Marc returned to DC - he ate on the way home as the Gulfstream was nowhere near as fast as Air Force One. Once back in the Residence, he entered the sitting room attached to the Presidential suite. Leo was on the couch reading his briefing binder in his sweatpants and sweater. Miri was cuddled in a blanket at his side; she was mostly recovered from her cough, but was still milking her Abba for all the cuddles he could give. Donna was knitting in a chair and JJ was on the floor playing with Lego. They were all watching Empire Strikes Back. It was home for Marc.

    “Daddy!” JJ was the first to exclaim. “Look at the spaceship I built!” He held up a lego creation.

    “That’s great J!” Marc said, kneeling down to hug JJ. “I’m going to get changed into some comfier clothes, then I’ll come back out and we can build something together.”

    “Okay!” JJ looked so excited, it made Marc smile.

    Marc went into the next room - the presidential bedroom - then into the walk-in closet where he opened a drawer and found a pair of his plaid pyjama pants.

    “Hey.” Leo entered the closet. “How did it go?”

    Marc shrugged off his jacket. “Not… horribly. Kinda awkward as I expected. He remarried a nice enough woman named Lisa-Jane. She did most of the talking.” He unbuttoned his pants and slid them down. Leo was obvious as he stared at Marc’s butt. Even after so many years of marriage, Leo still checked Marc out. It made Marc feel good. “I got the feeling it was all her idea.”

    Leo’s shoulder slumped. “So you didn’t get an apology. I’m sorry, Marc.”

    “No, I kinda did. Not outright, but that wasn’t going to happen. Still, I think I got what I needed. And in a way, I think me going was me forgiving him.” He pulled on his pyjamas and began unbuttoning his shirt. “I don’t regret cutting him out and his passing isn’t going to affect my life. I think going, and being nice to him, proved to me that I’m not like him at all.” He shrugged. “I still don’t know really what forgiving him really means. I thought about it on the plane and I guess it means realizing not letting him be a part of my life wasn’t out of anger of what he did to me, but out of protection for the people I love the most.” Marc pulled on a sweatshirt, then smiled at Leo. “Yeah, it sucks that he was so mean to me and my mom, but it just makes the love I have with you, with our kids, and with our whole family, so much more precious to me.”

    Leo just held Marc close. “And you are so precious to us.”


    Marc got the news on a quiet Sunday morning, three weeks later. Marc was groggily fumbling around making coffee. Leo had already had his morning briefing and was at the table with a file, grumbling. He had one coffee already but Marc brought another cup (he didn’t like when Leo drank too much coffee, but it seemed like it was needed, along with a caressing of Leo’s back). The kids weren’t up yet.

    Marc’s cell rang and he picked it up and sighed as he looked at the ID.

    “Who is it?” Leo asked.

    “Lisa-Jane.” Before he answered, he knew what she was calling for. Though it wasn’t needed, it was appreciated when Leo reached out and held Marc’s hand as he answered the call. “Hello.”

    “Marc. It’s Lisa. I hope this isn’t too early.” Her voice was calm and quiet.

    “It’s okay.”

    “Well, you probably figured from me calling you. Your father passed sometime early this morning.”

    Marc nodded, only feeling sympathy for this woman who had just lost her husband. Sure his father had been cruel to his first wife, but he had (hopefully) changed for his third. “How are you holding up? Do you need anything?”

    “I’m fine,” she said even quieter. She cleared her throat. “I have my kids coming to town to be with me. Not like this was unexpected. Everything is pretty much taken care of. Will you be coming for the funeral? I can let you know tomorrow what day it will be.”

    “I’ll think about it; discuss it with Leo….” Marc looked down and frowned. Leo was crying, furiously wiping his eyes. He was probably remembering his own dad’s death. “I’ll let you know tomorrow.” Marc hung up. “What’s up?” Marc sighed, rubbing Leo’s back.

    Leo looked up. “Your father… the man who treated you horribly for 16 years… just died. And yet you are willing to do anything for his widow, a woman you met once for an hour. God, Marc,” he said, standing up and embracing his husband. Leo rubbed circles with his fingers at the nape of Marc’s neck. “I don’t know how you are so kind, but I love that about you. I know I said I couldn’t be unbiased in this whole situation because of my own dad. Truth is, part of me also wanted to punch your father in his face for making your childhood so miserable and for everytime you cried in my arms because of him.”

    “Well, then I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t bring you to the hospice.” Marc gave Leo a kiss. “You would have made a scene.”

    “You can bring me to the funeral if you are going.”

    Marc sighed. “I don’t know if I’m going.”

    “Hey, it would be a couple hours vacation for us. I can understand if you don’t want to go, but I think we could use him as an excuse to just be with each other for a few hours with no interruptions… minus the funeral.”

    Marc thought about it. On one hand, he was frankly indifferent about going to the funeral (though he didn’t want to snub anyone on in his father’s side of the family and have them go to the media with a juicy story, plus he could see his Aunt Holley, and Lisa-Jane had been so pleasant). But he really didn’t want to dignify his father by having the President of the United States at the funeral. Yet, a couple hours alone with Leo (with the exception of awkward mingling at the funeral) would be the best thing Marc’s father ever did for him. “Okay, we’ll see.”
  4. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Yeeesssss!!!! :D

    This was such a beautiful resolution to the story! It's heartbreaking in several ways, but also very beautiful.

    I love this. It can come across as controlling if you don't know the people, going with the other partners decision. But knowing them, neither of them would ever try and control a decision. They support and help guide a decision where it's too much for the other to make it on their own and that's beautiful.

    As annoying as I'm sure they are at times, this has to be one of the benefits.

    My first thought was "Oh no... this isn't going to go well." but then Lisa-Jane kinda broke the ice and made things a little better. She was lovely and a good way to keep the tension down.

    This is an amazing idea! If I didn't have such hangups around gift giving, I'd keep that one in my back pocket (and maybe still will), but coming up with what to put in it would probably make things even worse. But it's such a good idea.

    This was another moment that jumped out at me and I didn't really know how to feel. On the one hand, Marc and Leo are public figures and so their children are going to be somewhat public. But to hear Marc's bio-dad loves to see them kinda makes it more... intrusive since Marc cut him out of his life. So it was a little painful, but on the other hand there's a bit of sweet that he loves to see the children of his child. I don't know... it just caused a lot of mixed up feelings.

    Better and worse than he could ask for? But I like that he's content with this and I think this part makes it a good thing for Marc that he came. It gives him a bit of closure.

    Good point! That could have been ugly.

    [face_love][face_love] This made me smile so hard!

    Yes, Marc. YES!

    :* I love that this made Leo emotional, it did me too. I was almost in tears for the same reason. Marc is such a good person, no matter how much pain had been inflicted on him, he wants to help ease the pain of others.

    Such a great ending! And yes, a few hours alone probably would be a fantastic gift.
  5. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    So, I had an idea for this, but it turned more Josh-centric, which gave me an idea for something else I want to write. My muse has an ADD problem (I have like 9 stories started that I can't finish).

    Thanks. This was actually an idea I had for my Rose/Marc diary, so I've been tossing it around for awhile but I never wrote it because I had no idea how to finish it.

    Yeah, knowing these guys it isn't controlling at all. Sometimes it's just easier to have someone else make that decision for you. I know for me, I really didn't know if I was going to go to my grandfather's funeral (because I was, and still am, kinda estranged from my father's family), so I left it up to my sister.

    Agreed! No awkward conversations!

    Yeah, again, I've had this idea for awhile, and always wanted Marc to go see his father, but I had no idea how to "break the awkwardness", then I got the idea to give Marc's father a partner.

    I know! I don't have to use it often, but it's great for when I get invited to baby/wedding showers of my cousins' wives. Show up, give the gift, then leave!

    Oh yeah. It's definitely one of those moments where you aren't sure what you are supposed to feel - it's something I've experienced in my real life. Like, are you actually taking an interest in my life, or are just being manipulative? Of course JJ and Miri are freaking adorable, but is is Marc's dad showing regret, or just being intrusive?

    Yeah, it's definitely a bittersweet moment and a whole grey area, which was what I was going for. I think life and situations like these are rarely, if ever, wrapped up nicely. Marc still gets closure in a way.
    It could have been.
    I love Marc calling Leo a dweeb, because you know its out of love!
    Exactly. Sometimes facing people you've cut out shows you just how little impact they've had on you.
    I love Marc so much!!!! That's a perfect way to describe him.
    Thanks. I wasn't sure how to end it, but that seemed right.
  6. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: [Not-So] Secret Weapons

    Timeframe: 2056

    Characters: Leo/Marc, Elvie/Rose

    A/N: So I was in the library, reviewing some architectural journals (mistake 1) for my dissertation, when I decided to take a bit of a break (mistake 2, but I had already accomplished a decent amount of work for the day by that point) and go on facebook (honesty, mistake 3) where I saw a video on Chasten Buttigieg (THAT MAV POSTED SO THIS ISN’T COMPLETELY MY FAULT!)… and the plot bunnies bred and attacked from there. This is one of two ideas I had so hopefully the muse will cooperate for the other. This one got kinda long but I didn’t feel like breaking it up - it was cuter together. Its about 3k.

    References to Mav’s “Unplanned Visits” - I suck at coming up with actual political plot-lines and the Qumar terrorist cell gave me something to go off off.


    Being disabled sucked sometimes. It was the truth. Elvie didn’t think about his disability that much; it was just life. And sometimes life just sucked. Like when it was 3:27 in the morning and he still hadn’t gotten to sleep because his stupid shoulder was hurting so much. Pain was now radiating down his back and up his neck. He should have taken something for the pain and to help him sleep earlier; now it was pointless. He had to be up in less than three hours, and he had to be ‘with it’ and alert because he had a NSC meeting, followed by a meeting with the Joint Chiefs. After months of planning, tomorrow afternoon, an elite team of marines would be invading and liberating child labour camps in Qumar, marking the beginning of a military campaign onto Qumar to destroy the terrorist cell based in the country. It was going to be a long day. Fallout with the Qumari government was expected and Saudi Arabia was likely going to get up in arms. Leo was going to need help and, with Josie who also had 3 billon other things to do, Elvie was going to need to be there for it. Leo was already letting the whole situation with Qumar affect him too deeply. Anybody would and it was completely understandable, but Elvie was the only one who knew the whole picture, both professionally and privately.

    Elvie tried reaching up to the headboard so he could roll over onto his good side, but he winced and gasped in pain. He had no idea what he did to deserve this pain. It was probably something he didn’t do. Like physical therapy.

    “Elv?” Came Rose’s tired voice from his right. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing, nothing,” he assured her. “My shoulder is just bothering me for some reason.”

    She sighed. Seeing that his right arm was raised, she helped him roll onto his left side. “You need anything? Muscle relaxant? Ice pack? Warming gel?”

    “No, love, thank you,” he said, shifting his pillows as she began rubbing his back. He didn’t like it when she lost sleep because of him, but she did give great massages, which he could use right now. “I’m just stressed and have a lot to do tomorrow.”

    “Wanna talk about it?” she asked, beginning to rub a knot at the base of his neck. “I can tell you’ve been stressed.”

    Despite it being dark and not facing her, Elvie smiled. She could’ve just rolled over and went back to sleep, he would have been fine with it, but she was willing to try to ease his pain. They both knew, from experience, that if they shared their worries, that it would somehow share the burden and make life easier.

    It made the fact that he couldn’t open up to her so much harder. An impending military operation was code-word clearance only. His parents had gone through this, and now he was seeing it impact his own marriage, as well as Leo’s and Marc’s. “I could, but then I would have to kill you, and that would be a shame,” he said nuzzling her hand. He felt guilty reflecting such humour and lightness on the grave situation of Qumar, but there was no other way he knew to make sure this job… what he had seen… didn’t consume him. Leo had Elvie, and Elvie, while he didn’t have to make decisions of the president, he had to know everything. So Elvie had his humour. At times, it was uncomfortable, but it was how he stayed sane. “Because your fingers are amazing.”

    She chuckled. “See, if you were abled-bodied, I could just give you a hand-job and that would put you right to sleep. Both your brain and your body.”

    He laughed at her crassness. He sighed, “But I’m okay with cuddling.” If he couldn’t get to sleep, at least he could rest by being held by the person who could make it not suck. He still felt the pain, both of his shoulder and the knowledge of what was on the line with the military operation tomorrow. He could deal with it all: being the silent observer, only able to advise Leo - after all, Vice-President wasn’t a real job. “Because I have my secret weapon.”



    “What the hell does that mean?” she laughed and he could feel the vibration.

    “You give me everything I need.”

    * * *

    Elvie didn’t get any sleep. He had mostly been fine this morning through his first few meetings; he had drank his tea (his inability to drink coffee really sucked at times like these) and had an energizing morning exercise routine. But it was nearing lunch and his energy (and attention span) were plummeting. Which was bad because the operation in Qumar began at 1425 and sleeping in the sit room was probably frowned upon.

    His office door opened and Lee-Ann stuck her head in. Lee-Ann was mostly being nice to him today. “Elvie, your lunch date is here.”

    Elvie flopped forward and banged his head against his desk. “Lee-Ann, I thought I told you to decline any lunch meetings today. Did I just hallucinate that entire conversation?”

    “No,” she said, “but when your wife calls, I usually listen to her.”

    Elvie perked back up to see Rose entering with two take-out boxes. She was wearing black dress-pants, a purple blouse, and blazer. Her hair was up in a bun, which made sense since he knew she had likely come here from her work office or court. She had a leather tote bag over her shoulder. Elvie thought she was so sexy when she looked in charge. “Oh, it’s a date date!” Elvie examined, closing the briefing binder on his immaculately neat desk (his time in the Air Force had served him well… plus Lee-Ann was a stickler for organization).

    “Yeah, you seemed pretty stressed and I know you didn’t get a ton of sleep,” she as she closed the large door behind her. “I figure something is happen today and you could use a visit from your ‘secret weapon’,” she said with a laugh as she set the take-out on the table beside the sofa in his office.

    “I’m going to regret calling you that, aren’t I?” he groaned as he transferred from his office chair to his wheelchair. His stupid shoulder was still bothering him a bit. “I was sleep-deprived. I still am,” he grumbled.

    “Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. So, we are going to stuff our face with sushi and you are going to have a power nap in my lap, then you can go off and save the world… even though you don’t have a real job,” she teased.

    “And what makes you think I’m actually going to have a nap in the middle of the day?” Elvie rolled his eyes and then rolled to a wood filing cabinet and opened the bottom drawer: his “doomsday supplies”. In reality it was just a cozy quilt made by his mom, small memory-foam pillow, some water, and snacks; all the essentials he would need if the White House went into a lockdown for more than a few hours (it was known to happen) and he had to spend an evening in his office. Elvie got the blanket and pillow. He was going to shut his eyes for a few minutes because he need it, but he wasn’t going to be happy about it.

    “You are going to do it, you just aren’t going to be happy about it. You can either nap here, or I can push you up to the residence and we can nap in Leo’s and Marc’s bed. They won’t mind.”

    He laughed at her voicing his thoughts. He threw the pillow and folded blanket at her.

    The office door then opened again and Lee-Ann entered, unfazed by the pillow flying through the air. “Here’s the warm-pack you wanted heated up and the two cans of diet-Coke.” She set the items on the side table and left.

    Rose sat on the sofa and patted the space beside her. Elvie transferred and she draped the heated pack of gel beads over his shoulder, then gave him his container of sushi and chopsticks.

    They casually talked while eating lunch. When Elvie was finished eating, Rose helped him take off his suit jacket, tie, and dress shoes. She put the pillow in her lap and he laid down, covering himself up with the blanket. She began rubbing his shoulder, giving him a deep tissue massage.

    Elvie closed his eyes. “I love you,” he whispered.

    “Love you too.” She bent down and kissed his cheek.


    Being President was amazing sometimes. Leo knew when he decided to run for president that there would be tough days and long hours, and it would affect his family. A lot of times it was hard, but some nights, it was worth it. Like when three child labour camps in Qumar were successfully liberated. There was a long conflict ahead, but he had been able to address the nation and the world this evening from behind the Resolute Desk. He had to shed light on horrible events, but he was also able to give hope and good news that the American government would not stand for the mistreatment of children.

    It was late - passed 11 - and Leo was exhausted, having spent 17 straight hours in the West Wing, but he still held his head up. The Residence was quiet, all the main lights were off. He made his way to his kids’ room first, wanting to kiss them goodnight more than anything right now.

    Miri was going through a “princess phase”, where everything had to be pink and sparkly (Leo blamed it all on Abi). Leo and Marc didn’t encourage gender norms, but if their daughter wanted to be a girly-girl, they weren’t going to stop her just because she had two dads (but she also loved digging in the dirt). Lighted by the hallway light, a tea party in the corner of her room made her evening activities obvious. Miri slept peacefully in her bed, tucked in with a purple and pink quilt. Leo picked up her favourite green iguana stuffy off the floor beside her bed (clearly he had been dropped at some point post-bedtime) and tucked him back into bed beside Miri. She was a wild sleeper.

    He sat at her side and kissed her cheek, pulling a voice recorder from his pocket. During a quiet moment this evening (when he had escaped to the bathroom), he had recorded a short message for her, just telling her that he loved her and couldn’t wait to team up with her for family game night. It was probably going to be an early day for him again tomorrow, so he wanted to make sure she knew she was always in her Abba’s heart. He set the recording on her bedside table and kissed her again.

    Leo made his way to JJ’s room. He was (still) going through a “dinosaur phase” (it was more like an obsession and Uncle Noah wasn’t helping). By the light of the night-light, Leo smiled as he quickly checked the progress of the brontosaurus skeleton model on the desk. JJ was making great work. Leo went to his son’s side and kissed JJ’s cheek. The kid was bundled up tight in his green quilt. The kid slept in a cocoon (Marc insisted he got that from Leo). Under JJ’s glasses, Leo slipped a small note he had written for JJ.

    Leo then wearily made his way to the presidential suite. He frowned when he saw light coming from the private sitting room, so he used that entrance. He thought Marc would be in bed by this hour. But Marc was lounging on the couch, wearing an old hoodie with a blue quilt around his lower half. He was reading on his tablet, but looked up when Leo entered, shrugging off his grey suit jacket. “Hey, you’re still up.”

    Marc furrowed his brow as he stood up. “Of course I’m still up.” He struggled to find the right words. “I watched the press conference.”

    “You didn’t let the kids see, right?” The novelty of seeing Abba on TV had mostly worn off, but this was one topic he didn’t want JJ or Miri being exposed to. He wanted to save their innocence.

    Marc calmly nodded. “I watched on my tablet like you told me to. But I switched it off once the press briefing and news coverage began; I just couldn’t handle the details.” And the details released to the public were extremely toned down. Leo didn’t want to whitewash the horrors, but he also didn’t want anything to be sensationalized. Marc closed his eyes. “I couldn’t watch; I’m sorry.”

    Leo just took Marc and held him.

    “I don’t know how you do it,” Marc said, rubbing Leo’s back. “I know you have Josie and I know I got Elvie to talk to you. I know why you couldn’t talk to me, but now that I know, I wish I could support you more - but I can’t even watch the news coverage. All those kids…” he trailed off.

    Leo hushed him as they swayed slightly. “I don’t need you to know. I just need you to continue doing what you are doing: love me, hold me, make me forget when I need to, celebrate the victories.” Leo needed to forget everything for a few hours, to recharge his batteries. “I… I just want a normal pre-bed chill and snuggle with my best friend, love of my life, man of my dreams, and my secret weapon. That’s you, if you didn’t catch on.”

    Marc laughed. “Yeah, I think I caught on when you said yes when I asked you to marry me.” He kissed Leo’s lips. “Did you eat a decent dinner?”

    “No, Marc,” Leo deadpanned. “We ordered pizza to the Sit room. Yes, I had a decent dinner.”

    “I only ask as your secret weapon,” Marc teased.

    Leo blushed. “I had a black-bean burger thing and greek salad.”

    “Well that should be lovely to sleep next to,” Marc said, tapping Leo’s bum. “I ask because your mom made an apple pie and I wanted another piece before bed.”

    “Yum!” Leo exclaimed. “Let’s share a piece!”

    Together - hand-in-hand - they made their way to the kitchen. Marc got the pie and milk from the fridge while Leo got plates and glasses. “So how was your day?”

    “Good. The new issue of The International Journal of Architecture and Planning came out and there was this fascinating article on a reconstruction of a mosque in Turkey. It’s what I was re-reading when you came in.”

    “God, you’re a nerd!”

    Marc laughed as he popped the lid on the Tupperware container. “Are you calling me a nerd?”

    “Yeah,” he said, bumping Marc’s bum with his hip. “What’re going to do about it?” he asked, biting his lip.

    “Tell you what I’m not going to do since you had beans for dinner.” Marc wrinkled his nose. “But maybe I’ll feed you pie in bed.”

    “Okay!” Leo grinned. “Pie in bed!”

    * * *

    Leo woke early - even earlier than normal - so he could sit in bed and write a love letter to Marc. He and Marc weren’t the couple who wore each other a ton of letters - if they were apart they were usually too busy to sit down and write, and if they were together, they just enjoyed each other’s company. Often they’d write random things on Sticky Notes and stick them on the bathroom mirror; things like “I love you, you sexy thing,” and “Hey hot stuff! Love you!” and “Ohhh!!! Look at the cute man I married!” But they were often short and fun.

    But Leo wanted to do this for Marc, but he found himself struggling to write on his yellow legal pad. Leo was a decent writer, but there was so much he loved about Marc that Leo struggled use words to describe. Like right now: Marc was shirtless, tucked into the grey sheets, but his arms and shoulders were over top and the sight just made Leo feel safe; these were the arms that held him and the kids. When Leo saw Marc’s bare chest, it was something so intimate, not sexual (though Leo was turned on), about Marc being so comfortable being so exposed with Leo. Of course Marc was comfortable around Leo… they had been married for almost 20 years and together for almost 25. God, had it really been that long? On one hand, Leo felt so young, like he had still just fallen in love with Marc (the kids probably helped with that), but at the same time, Leo couldn’t remember his life without Marc.

    Maybe Leo was too sleep deprived to be writing a love letter.

    “Love? What’s wrong?” Marc groggily said from his pillow. “Hey!” he said with a bit more energy. “Leo! Are you working in bed?”

    “No.” Leo got defensive. “I’m writing a love letter”

    “Ohh!” Marc exclaimed, leaning up onto his elbow. “Can I read it?”

    “Not yet!” Leo held the notepad to his chest - he was wearing a old grey sweatshirt.

    “Why? It is for me, right?” Marc questioned. “You better not have another crush.” Marc flopped back down.

    “God, I barely have time for you. Of course this letter is for you. I’m just having problems; I can’t put how much I love you into words.”

    Marc kissed the exposed skin of Leo’s hip between his sweatshirt and pyjama pants. “I know you love me. But I also want to read how sappy you can get.”

    Leo blushed. “Okay.”

    “You can add something in about me basically saving the world, because I am your secret weapon,” Marc laughed.
  7. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Okay, read yesterday, but didn't have the chance to actually post my comments! LOVE IT!!!

    Yeeeeessssss!!!! :D :D
    Chasten is the best and I foresee a lot of fic inspiration from him, and Pete. :D

    It's entirely different, but I feel him on regretting not taking something sooner. Every time I wake up in the middle of the night with a headache and I think to myself, 'this is probably going to be a migraine' because it almost always is when that happens. And then I think 'no, maybe it won't be, go back to sleep'. And then I wake up with a full blown migraine, I regret my life choices. Why do we do these things to ourselves?!

    Case in point, from previous comment. We know things we should do, but we just don't do them. I'm starting to think that is the human condition. lol

    [face_love] It's so easy in the middle of the night to just go back to sleep. Your own body is like sllleeeeeeep. But I adore that she fights that pull!

    Hahah! First off, the I would tell you but then I'd have to kill you is the perfect way to say "I can't tell you" but to make it sound lighter. I'd think you'd get used to being told 'I can't tell you' when your spouse gets code word clearance information, but it's still nicer to hear it in a more fun way.
    But using dark humor to deflect serious situations is common, we do it in healthcare all the time. Everytime I do chest compressions during CPR I sing "Another One Bites the Dust" in my head. It's the perfect tempo, so it keeps the rhythm but also serves as a bit of a mental pull away while also keeps me going by constantly reminding me of what's at stake, if that makes any sense. I've been in serious tramas where someone will say something like "Their leg looks like ground beef" and someone else will say "Oh, who wants a burger for lunch!"
    No one forgets that the situation is serious or that there is a person's life on the line, it's self preservation.

    Yaaay!! :D [face_love]

    [face_laugh] Lee-Ann knows what's good for her! But also, this is so sweet! Rose knew Elvie was having a bad time so she comes to try and help make it better. *happy sigh*

    I love the doomsday supplies! That's such a good idea! It's also handy for regular old bad days!

    [face_laugh] I love that there are probably so many bedrooms in the Residence but she said they could take a nap in Leo and Marc's bed. And of course they wouldn't mind!! :D

    The mental image I got here was just so sweet! I could see it so clearly, like I was watching a TV show.

    Oh my heart.... [face_love]:*
    This is such a wonderful idea! She gets to hear from him and know that he's thinking about her even if he's very busy and doesn't get to see her as often as they would both like.

    The little details you put into this story were so perfect and made it feel so real! This was probably one of my favorites. I could see Noah in my mind encouraging this obsession and Leo jokingly being exasperated.

    Oh Marc! [:D]
    I don't think anyone could be blamed for not watching. But I understand his being upset that he couldn't, because Leo doesn't have the option to turn it off. But Leo would never begrudge Marc that, and wouldn't want him to be subjected to it in the first place. These two.. <3

    Marc's role is very important and I love that Leo points it out to him. He helps Leo get through the terrible things by just being him.

    Bahahaha... the mental image of all these people arguing over pizza toppings and then getting delivery to the Sit Room made me laugh so hard!

    :D I feel like this is probably a frequent argument. They are both so adorbs in their nerdiness!

    *happy sigh* It's so beautiful that Leo and Marc, and Rose and Elvie are still so in love after so long. It makes my heart happy!

    I loved this so much!!
  8. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Now that I'm following them on instagram, I am getting so much inspiration!
    I don't think it's that much different, because I get both situations and do the exact same thing. I lie awake with some sort of pain, think "Nah, I'm almost asleep... by the time I get up, take something I'll be more awake than if I just lay here for 5 more minutes." and I keep thinking that when I should have just gotten up and taken something. I have no idea why we do it.
    Yeah. And we know the likely consequences if we don't do them, and yet, we still don't do them.
    Yeah, that pull can be so strong but I love that she doesn't give into it.
    Not exactly similar, but my sister and share some very dark humour when it comes to being diabetic and orphans. Sometimes we say to each other after situations "should I have said that?" because it can make other people uncomfortable, but we find dead dad jokes hilarious.

    They are just so in love, it's so cute!

    Lee-Ann knows what's best for Elvie, even if he doesn't want to hear it. But I love the idea of Rose coming by unannounced for a lunch date. I can see Marc wanting to do the same for Leo but the practicality of that probably isn't exactly there.
    Being kids in the White house, he and Leo probably know all about lock-downs.
    But I used to have a blanket in my locker in high school because the building could be freezing in the winter. It was also nice to snuggle up in during just a bad day.

    Bahaha. This is so true, but of course they could take a nap in Leo and Marc's bed!
    Miri is just too adorable !!!

    Yeah, sometimes the smallest thing can make you feel so loved.
    Thanks, This came from a story I'm not sure I'll ever post because I can't think of an ending and I'm not super happy with any of it, which is disappointing because it's just Noah being a great uncle!
    Yeah, he wants to be there for Leo, but at the same time, theres only so much of that sort of thing a person can take.

    Yeah, and Marc is perfect for the role!
    Bahahaha! Plot bunny!
    This is so a frequent argument and it's so adorbs!
    Thanks. I just love writing them so in love and so supportive... *Looks at next post* Ummmm.... yeah?
  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Words and Actions
    2056 (shortly after [Not-So] Secret Weapons)
    Characters: Elvie/Rose, Leo/Marc
    A/N: This was written for the OTP “Misunderstanding” challenge. Initially I really didn’t want to write this plot bunny because I didn’t want to perpetuate some myth that “all problems in people with disabilities are due to their disability” because that is very far from true, but I also know having a disability can be a pain in the butt. So I wrote this plot bunny (… begrudgingly because it wouldn’t leave me alone). I’m going to try to write something else for Elvie/Rose for this challenge to clear my conscious.

    This fic is pretty self-contained and self-explanatory so I don’t think too much is needed for context. As Mav says “Just think of it as an AU of the United States”. I tried to keep it short by not having all the kids appear (but they really wanted to) and doing more telling and not showing… yet it still ended up being in 3 (short) parts!

    Part 1

    Vice President Elvie Santos and his wife, Second Lady Rosamie Santos, were fighting. President Leo Lyman didn’t need to be Elvie’s childhood friend to know Elvie and Rose were pissed off at each other.

    And it was making the flight extremely awkward.

    Leo shifted in his plush leather seat aboard Marine One - the specially designed helicopter meant to transport the president distances too long for a motorcade but too short for Air Force One. The trip to Camp David qualified as such. The President was sitting next to his husband in the small - but comfortable - beige compartment; First Gentleman Marc Lyman was across from Rose and next to her was Elvie. Everyone was still in their work clothes - Leo in navy suite; Marc in slacks and a dark green sports jacket; Elvie in a grey 3 piece, and Rose in a structured black office dress. The two couples, after some highly stressful few weeks, had decided a weekend get-away to Camp David was needed. Their collective five kids were already there, having been transported there by the Secret Service after school.

    So there was no kids, or anyone else, to break the awkward silence.

    After unintentionally holding his breath Elvie took another struggled gasp in. He did not do well with helicopters. Almost 25 years prior, the Vice President had been an Air Force pilot. There had been a horrific accident, ending his military career and paralyzing him from the waist down. He rarely showed signs of his PTSD now, but everyone in the cabin knew helicopters could trigger flashbacks. Elvie always claimed he didn’t remember much of the crash, but he did remember when he was med-evaced to Walter Reed military hospital; unable to move, barely able to breathe, in pain. Thankfully the cabin was sound-insulated, but the walls didn’t completely block out the worring of the blades.

    “Am I allowed to hold your hand to comfort you?” Rose asked, breaking the silence. It wasn’t cold, but it was matter-of-fact. She didn’t look up from her tablet she was reading. It was an odd request for a couple who had been married for 19 years. “Or would that be overstepping?”

    “Rose,” Elvie groaned. He now rocked slightly in his seat, pressing his thumb into the middle of the opposite palm - his calming technique. Leo hadn’t seen Elvie do this in many years.

    Leo looked to Marc who seemed as confused and conflicted as he was. Did they comfort Elvie? Did they just stay out of this marital disagreement?

    “I just thought I’d ask, you know, because I do love you,” Rose continued.

    “Can we please not argue now?” Elvie gritted, looking down at the floor, focusing on the seal of the president in the carpet.

    Thinking Elvie was referring to being with friends, Marc spoke. “You guys are allowed to air your grievances in front of us. Goodness knows we’ve done it several times in front of you,” he said, and it was true. The two couples were best of friends and all had very stressful jobs and high-pressure lives. Spats happened, but at the end of the day, they still loved each other, but the media often didn’t see it that way so often the only people see Leo and Marc have a disagreement or argument, were Elvie and Rose.

    “Yes, I want to know what the hell I did wrong,” Rose’s voice was on the cusp of anger as she now looked at her husband. Her long black hair was in a tight bun. “All I did was organize some time for you to take care of your health, then you call me up at my office this morning angry with me. Then you didn’t even tell me you had to go to the hospital.”

    Elvie closed his eyes and rested his forehead on his knees. His voice was weak as he gasped for air. “Can we please not argue?”

    After a few minutes of him fighting off a panic attack, he gently reached hand out and Rose took it, firmly rubbing her thumb over the back of his hand.

    Neither said a word but it was a motion of love and trust. Elvie’s breathing calmed. Actions spoke louder than words, and in this case they screamed the exact opposite.

    Elvie and Rose were very much still in love. They just were really pissed off.

    Leo exchange an excited look with Marc: they were going to fix this.

    Marc looked unsure. Should they really mettle in an argument? Rose and Elvie were logical adults who had probably had much worse arguments about the Lyman-Santos Presidential Campaign. Moving the kids half-way across the country in the middle of the year had been a huge one (especially since Elvie was only the Vice President).

    Leo just looked hopeful. He loved fixing things and making it all better.

    The helicopter landed. Leo and Marc waited with Rose and Elvie for Elvie to be helped off: it was just polite and no one was in a hurry. A body-man - Ian - came in with an aisle chair - a narrow transport wheelchair that was used to help Elvie on and off of aircraft vehicles; Elvie called it the “Hannibal Lector chair”. But what was surprising was when Elvie didn’t do his own transfers. Elvie was normally extremely independent and hated asking his body-men to help him - though they were paid for precisely this reason: to make his physical life easier so he could focus on more important matters. Ian lifted him and rolled him out. On the helipad (after being lifted down in the chair), Elvie’s normal manual wheelchair was there, already unloaded from the cargo. Again, Ian did the transfer for him.

    Elvie began rolling away. He gasped in pain and clutched at his right shoulder. He reluctantly looked at Ian and spoke to him quietly. The body-man began pushing Elvie - a very rare sight.

    Rose walked in the opposite direction.

    * * *

    After kids had been found and made sure they were still alive (the Santos sons along with JJ were setting up a tent way out by one of the remote cabins - the kids wanted to sleep in a tent in the woods this weekend and the only way the Secret Service would let them, was to do it by one of the Secret Service cabins - and Miri Lyman and Ella Santos were gathering blankets and pillows to keep them all warm at night), Marc and Leo changed into jeans and sweaters in Aspen Lodge, the President’s cabin at Camp David. They stood by their bed and shared a kiss and a private moment of Leo squeezing Marc’s butt.

    “You like objectifying me, don’t you?” Marc laughed.

    “Well,” Leo said, nuzzling into Marc’s neck. “I can’t help it if my husband has a cute butt. I do find you very sweet as well, and there’s no one I want more to be my partner in fixing things.

    Marc rolled his eyes. “Can’t we just lock Elvie and Rose in a closet somewhere? We can go for a walk and when we get back they’ll be making out.” Marc didn’t want to come off as lazy or like he didn’t want to help their friends, but wasn’t quite sure if they should be intervening just yet. By the sounds of it, the disagreement was pretty recent, and it couldn’t have been that bad if they still had decided to come out to Camp David together. Besides, both Rose and Elvie were hot personalities, but if they got it all out at each other they’d probably realize the misunderstanding and be holding hands within a few minutes.

    “That can be plan ‘B’,” Leo said.

    “You’re a compulsive fixer, you know that?” Marc remarked.

    “Yeah, I know.” Leo marched out of their bedroom and looked around. A number of Secret-Service agents were standing there. “Does anyone know where the Vice President and Second Lady are?”

    Of course the agents knew.

    Elvie was lounging by the pool and Rose was unpacking in Dogwood cabin - the cabin that had been renovated to be wheelchair accessible. Aspen Lodge had been made accessible in FDR’s time.

    “Who do you want?” Leo asked.

    Marc thought. “You would need sunscreen to sit by the pool. No, I’ll talk to Elvie, you can see if Rose will open up to you.”
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    This is off to an intriguing start, indeed! Many questions here: why is Elvie so mad at Rose after she arranged that time off for him (if I'm understanding things correctly)? Why is he suddenly feeling the need for help from Ian when he's been so independent about managing his own mobility before? I'm guessing there's a lot more than meets the eye here, and that this is where the misunderstanding will come in; being in the helicopter, with its triggering associations, certainly doesn't help matters fro Elvie. In terms of misunderstandings, it's notable that Marc has a moment of misunderstanding his friends' situation when he gives the Santoses the OK to air their grievances around him and his husband. It's got to be an awkward situation for the Lymans, too, even if the Santoses are some of their best friends, but I admire Leo's determination to help them mend things, in true "fixer" fashion, and I'm looking forward to seeing how his and Marc's conversations with each of them will go. Thanks so much for sharing this and bringing your vibrant universe and characters into this challenge! =D=
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  11. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Oh man, I love this so much! I mean, I don't love Elvie and Rose fighting, but since I know it will turn out okay in the end, my angst loving self is loving it!

    I was thinking 'oh no, this is always awkward no matter how good of friends you are' and then the Marine One part came and oh man...
    when no one can escape! Eep!

    This was such a great visual, and I couldn't help but think rarrrr.... at Elvie in his 3 piece! *fans self*

    Oh man, this is bad. This is very bad. [face_worried]
    I'm sure it's a misunderstanding or someone (Elvie! :p ) was just upset and said something they didn't mean, but there is a lot of pain in this argument.

    Marc [face_love] He's so sweet!
    I loved all the details with this, that Elvie and Rose are basically the only ones who see Leo and Marc's arguments because they have to project perfectness.

    And there is Josh Lyman influence! Oh Leo... :oops: But we love you!

    [face_laugh] It does look like that!! I'd never thought of it that way, but now I can never unsee it!

    [face_love] I remember wanting to do that when I was their age and having to stay in the back yard. Of course, my backyard wasn't Camp David. But it's fun that they get to get away from their parents and be near the Secret Service cabins. It probably feels a little more like camping than my back yard did!

    Hahah... that's a good idea Marc. Though generally I'd agree, I don't think that would work for this one.

    Ha! Yep, that is ALLLLLL Josh. (That's one of my favorite things that Leo says to Josh!)

    Not only is this funny from the Leo would burn up without sunscreen (I feel ya Leo!) but I love that it talks to the relationship between them all. Leo and Elvie have known each other their entire lives, it would be easy for Marc to leave him to Leo and he talk to Rose as spouses who can commiserate. But instead he chose to talk to Elvie. I LOVE that their relationships are at this point.

    I can't wait to read more!!
  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks. And yeah, you are understanding this correctly. The next part will explain the misunderstanding/argument better (this fic just got so long, it was just easier to split it up into 3 parts rather than 2 so this first part doesn't give much info). Elvie loves his independence, even at his own detriment.

    And yeah, I guess that is a moment of misunderstanding from Marc's POV. He misunderstood that Elvie just didn't want to argue in that moment. And Leo is just such a "fixer". Thanks for reading.

    I understand. I love me some angst too, because you know with these guys it leads to making up!
    Oh yes, it is awkward no matter what, but to be in Marine one with no escape or distractions is even worse!
    :p Yesss. I figure Leo had no hope in the fashion sense, Marc probably wouldn't need to be that formal in his average workday, Rose probably doesn't want to call too much attention to herself at work, which leaves Elvie to be the stylish one (raarrrr) because he totally would be. Here in Canada, Jagmeet Singh has a thing for 3 piece suits. It's something special.
    Yeah, I think this is more a "I said something stupid and that I didn't mean when I was tired and in pain" sorta situation, rather than a misunderstanding, but yeah, lots of pain.

    Leo's a fixer, but Marc is also a sweetheart who wants to put everyone at ease. And yes, exactly.

    I just love the idea of Leo so eager to fix EVERYTHING. It reminds me of that scene when Bartlet goes to negotiate with some trucking union because there was like 5 other things going on that he had no control over. Josh does this too of course.

    Yeah. I obviously didn't come up with this, but it looks (and feels) like it (especially when they insist on doing up all the belts ugh).

    Yeah, though we lived kinda right by woods on multiple occasions, we had to still sleep in the yard when we wanted tp camp out at that age. But at least the parents get a break!
    Yeah, I think Leo, for once, has the better idea. Though I do agree with Marc about generally not getting involved in marital issues unless asked, but I think with the stress of their lives, it might be needed.
    I love that scene and I wanted to put more of the dialogue in here but it didn't fit the situation, but it totally fits our Leo!

    Yeah, for some reason I just wanted Leo to talk to Rose. I think she and Marc vent a lot to each other, which might be helpful; and of course Leo and Elvie know each other so long, but I think Leo would be able to get Rose to see Elvie's motives better, and the same with Marc and Elvie. Plus it does say a lot about their friendships at this point. Sooo I used Leo's pasty white skin as a reason!

    Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed!
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  13. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Part 2

    Marc found Elvie laying in a padded chaise lounger by the pool. Marc walked across the veranda, past the hot tub, and by the pool, reflecting the sunlight as it began to set.

    Elvie’s wheelchair was right by the lounger. He had a tall glass of ice tea on the table beside him and he was wearing jeans, a burgundy zip-up hoody, and sunglasses. His right arm was now in a sling. Elvie’s eyes were closed and his breathing was even and purposeful. He was meditating.

    Marc scooted another lounger closer and sat.

    Elvie opened his eyes. “Did my wife send you?” his voice was cool.

    “Nope,” Marc said. “My husband did. It seems like he wants you and Rose to be made up and making out before the end of the day.”

    Elvie took off his sunglasses and rolled his eyes. “Why am I not surprised?”

    “Can I ask what happened?”

    Elvie sighed. “I guess it’s kinda my fault too. I kinda blew up at her. Basically, my shoulder has been bothering me a lot recently.” Elvie had an old shoulder injury from when we crashed an Air Force jet, exasperated by his use of a manual wheelchair and insistence on his independence. “I think it’s just been all the long hours with the whole Qumar situation, plus I haven’t been sleeping well, and I just haven’t had time for physical therapy or the energy for working out or my stretches.”

    “So generally not taking care of yourself.”

    Elvie nodded. “I’ve been meaning to be better, I swear. And this all could have been avoided if I had just stuck to my regular physical therapy regiment. Anyways, this morning, Lee-Ann,” Lee-Ann was Elvie’s very particular secretary, “Tells me my 10:30 meeting is actually a physical therapist Rose had hired and Lee-Ann had vetted, to come to my office and give me a therapy session and a massage. I guess Rose got tired of me complaining.”

    “Rose loves you. She doesn’t get tired of your complaining when you're in pain, she just doesn’t like to see you in pain.”

    Elvie sighed. “I guess. Anyways that isn’t even most of it. The appointment did not go well - I didn’t want to do it and I really didn’t like the the guy, but I did it just to make Rose happy. I ended up in more pain afterward and I was just crabby and mad. So, I called Rose up and yelled at her for conspiring with Lee-Ann and arranging something to do with my physical care without my knowledge. I shouldn’t have done that.”

    “Okay,” Marc said. He understood both sides of this argument. Elvie liked his independence and had been dealing with physical therapist longer than he knew Rose. But he could be hard-headed when it came to his health, and Rose didn’t enable him. If he needed to do something for his health, she made sure he did it, but her intentions were always out of love. “And what about this trip to the hospital?”

    Elvie sighed. “I was in just so much pain I couldn’t take it anymore so I decided to do something I know I should have done awhile ago. I made an appointment at Walter Reed and a orthopaedic surgeon was able to see me right away - perks of being VP I guess.” Walter Reed was DC’s Military medical centre and the place where Elvie had been taken after his plane crash. Between the trip to Walter Reed, the fight with his wife, the pain, and the lack of sleep, no-wonder the guy had a panic attack on Marine One. Elvie was just having a crap-day. “They did some x-rays and the surgeon is now pushing me towards a complete reverse shoulder replacement.”

    “Sounds serious.”

    Elvie nodded. “This isn’t a complete surprise. I’ve just put off thinking about it. The surgery she wants to do has very high success rates and sees functionality improvements. But there would be a lengthy recovery time. I’d be on some pretty strong drugs, using an electric wheelchair, and basically completely dependent on someone else for my daily care for two months. I’d basically need Rose to be my care-taker because we both know she wouldn’t trust someone else to look after me.” Elvie could be very good at convincing people that he didn’t need help when he actually did, but Rose never let him get away with that sort of behaviour. “And I don’t want to force that on my wife. Never mind I have to consider my job - your husband needs me.” Elvie was one of Leo’s closest advisers.

    “Elvie,” Marc said bluntly. “Leo isn’t planning on signing the 25th amendment anytime soon and I certainly hope he isn’t planning on dying anytime soon; I’d kill him. He’d be the first to tell you to take care of your own health first -.”

    “And ignore his own advice.”

    Marc nodded, but that was beside the point. “I can help when Rose needs a break. And Rose loves you. You both vowed to take care of each-other in sickness and in health.”

    “It just sucks when I’m the one who needs to be lifted and pushed around when I’m sick,” Elvie be muttered. “Anyways, the surgeon told me to rest over the weekend and think about it. She gave me this sling she wants me in and some pretty strong muscle relaxers - stronger than I normally take. But I don’t feel like taking them. While I was processing all this information - and still in pain from being examined by the surgeon - Rose called me. I was still kinda pissed off at her, so I calmly told her I was in the hospital and couldn’t speak with her.”

    Marc cuffed Elvie upside the head.


    “I was on your side, right until just before that last sentence.”

    * * *

    Leo found Rose in the main bedroom of Dogwood cabin. She had changed into a long blue skirt, white top, and a grey sweater and was unpacking a few things. Her long black hair was down from its tight bun it had been in earlier and was now in a loose braid.

    “Rose?” Leo asked, leaning against the doorframe.

    “What would you like, Mr. President?”

    “Mrs. Santos,” Leo said in a teasing tone, “You know you hate it when my friends call me Mr. President when we’re in a casual setting. We can’t talk about your jackass husband if you don’t call me Leo.”

    Rose turned away and wiped her eyes.

    “Rose, come for a walk with me, please.” Leo held out his hand. “Come for a walk with me.” She took his hand and he patted the back of her hand in a gently comforting gesture.

    Arm-in-arm, they walked to the garden on the property and sat on a bench among the bushes of flowers.

    “What happened?” Leo asked.

    “I don’t want to trouble you with my marital problems,” she murmured.

    “Nonsense,” Leo said, wrapping his arm around her. “After the past few weeks, I need an easy problem to solve. And I hate it when my friends fight.”

    She shook her head. “I did something stupid,” she sighed. “Elvie’s shoulder has been bothering him again for a few weeks now, and I’ve tried to not fuss over him. When he can’t sleep or when I know he’s struggling with something, I try to just ignore him unless he asks for help because I know that’s what he prefers. I’ve tried to hint to him about going to physical therapy or doing stretches but you know how hard-headed he can be, and he’s been tired from work. He lets me help him in other aspects of his life, but he won’t let me help him physically. So I decided to show him he could still fit physio into his busy life by looking up someone who would be able to go to his office and give him a short session. I even called Lee-Ann who did the back-ground check and fit the appointment into Elvie’s schedule. She seemed to think it was a great idea, and it put my mind at ease. We only booked one appointment with the therapist so that Elvie wasn’t committed. But I guess Elvie saw it as me overstepping.”

    Leo nodded. “I can see him thinking that, but sometimes he does need a kick in the butt when it comes to taking better care of himself. I think we all need that kick in the butt sometimes.”

    “Exactly! But I guess the appointment did not go well. He called me up and took his anger out on me. He told me I’m his wife and not his care-taker, which I get but it still hurt because I can do both. I let him cool off and I called him a few hours later to apologize because I know it was stupid of me, but then he tells me he’s at the hospital and can’t speak to me and I was just so worried.” Rose hid her face in her hands.

    Leo gently rubbed her back.

    “I don’t want to ‘fix’ him, Leo, I never have, but I hate it when he’s in pain. I know more pain is inevitable as Elvie ages, but a lot of what he’s experiencing can be prevented if he regularly does his physio and asks for help. It’s like his panic attack on the way here; if he had just told me he needed me to help him, he probably wouldn’t have had one. He just doesn’t get I worry about him, not out of a need to control him, but out of love.” She sighed. “Leo, I am so, so terrified that…” she trailed off.


    “Growing up,” she began. “I had an aunt and uncle - great-aunt and uncle actually - who still lived in the Philippines. Those two loved each-other dearly - like true relationship goals. He had Alzheimer’s and eventually it got so bad she was unable to care for him and he was put in a home in the city, but the family didn’t have the money for her to live there too, and they both were completely miserable their last two months before they both suddenly died a week apart.”

    “Oh,” Leo said, thinking about himself and Marc. If they ever were forced to live apart, he think he would want to die too. “That sounds devastating, but that’s not going to happen to you and Elvie.”

    “I know it’s unlikely, but I’m just so afraid that he’s going to do something to really hurt himself and he won’t let me take care of him because he thinks he’ll be a burden to me. I know we have the money to afford care-assistants for either short or long term, but I just want to take care of him. Is that such a sin?”

    “No,” Leo said. “God forbid, but if something were to happen to Marc, you know I’d be at his side every moment. I wouldn’t care what he wanted. But I can understand Elvie’s thinking. He loves you dearly and wants the best for you too.”

    “I know. And I know I shouldn’t have made the appointment without asking, but if I was in the hospital in last-minute appointment with a orthopaedic surgeon, I would call Elvie. I expect him to extend the same care and consideration to me. I just want to know what’s going on and how I can make him feel better.”

    Leo nodded. “Why don’t we go find your husband.” His stomach growled. “And maybe some dinner.”
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  14. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Okay, so maybe Marc's idea of locking them in a closet is for the best. LOL!

    I don't know why but this detail made me really happy. Well, okay, I know why ([face_tee_hee]) but I knew it was going to be a conversation they were going to have, but Marc getting closer to talk made me [face_love]

    Ha! And then Elvie's 'why am I not surprised'... because you know your friends! But it was a good way to disarm Elvie who clearly is struggling at the moment.

    That Elvie says that about Rose calling a PT tells me he's really mentally out of whack at the moment. I mean, I completely understand being upset, but they've been married long enough that he knows that's not the case. I feel like this might be a bit of projecting on Elvie's part.

    Oh no!! No wonder he's so upset. Being in pain and then getting that kind of news. I was immediately thinking about the things he mentions, that's he'd lose a lot of independence while he recovers.

    Loved this exchange! Of course Leo relies on him quite a bit, but before being President to the VP, he's a friend and he'd want Elvie to do what needs to be done.

    [face_laugh] Same, Marc. Same.

    Ouch. If that isn't a clear indication that Rose is upset, I don't know what is. Of course, I figure she's hiding behind formality. But I ADORE Leo saying they can't talk about her jackass husband if she's being formal. [face_laugh]

    Leo reaching out his hand and then them walking arm and arm was so beautiful! So much of this story really shows the rich friendship between them all, and this is one of those moment.

    This is one of those situations you can see from all sides and no one is wrong, but it's easy to get worked up in the emotion and hurt each other. As she says later, it's hard to watch someone you love in pain, and if there's something you can do about it, you want to do it. I'm sure Elvie would be the first to do so if it was Rose.

    That was so heartbreaking. :( But it's a testament to their love that she even thinks about that.

    I think maybe they need to have a big talk.

    Can't wait for the next part!!
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  15. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Lol. I mean, it wouldn't be the worst idea.
    Lol. You ;) Unfortunately my... more mature rated muse wasn't quite working when I wrote this (and... well doing all 4 is hard!) but I did love all these guys getting close.
    Well Leo might have had ulterior motives in getting Elvie and Rose all mushy :p
    Yeah. I think Elvie is clearly out of it, and kinda hurt and looking for a reason why Rose called the PT other than him causing her actual worry because he's in denial about how bad his shoulder is.
    Yeah, getting news like that, even if you do know it's eventually coming can be a hard hit of reality. Part of me wants to write his surgery and recovery just to explore those themes of losing independence when he's one of the most powerful person on the planet but IDK if you'd want to read more whiny, stubborn Elvie.
    Thanks. Of course Elvie has an important role as VP, but Leo cares for his friend's well being.
    Yeah, this is kinda one of those "both parties said and did things they regret".
    Yup. That single use of his formal title says everything. Yeah, she's pissed, upset, and worried and is hiding it. And I just adore Leo calling Elvie a jackass because it's normally the president being called names :p
    Thanks. I love this moment! There's just so much care in Leo's actions. He just wants to comfort Rose and make it all better.

    Yeah. No one is really in the wrong here and you can understand all sides and how both just got caught up in external factors like stress and tiredness. And yeah, Elvie would be the first to care for Rose (... plot bunny!).
    Thanks. Yeah, they need a big talk.
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  16. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Part 3

    Marc convinced Elvie to take a muscle relaxer. According to Marc, being in pain wasn’t going to help the situation; being in pain was the entire issue. Elvie then asked for help to get on the big, round daybed on the large deck of Aspen Lodge; it had a canopy and a dozen pillows. If he was going to spend the evening drugged, loopy, and unable to move on his own, he might as well be comfortable in a central location where he would get visitors and maybe someone to get him food. He used some of the pillows to prop himself upright. Between the sling taking the weight of his arm off his shoulder and the drugs, he was feeling much better.

    “Elvie?” he heard his wife call.

    “Right here!” he called back. He wasn’t mad at her anymore. Yeah she had annoyed him by not consulting him about the appointment, but she only did it out of frustration and love. Besides, he just wanted to cuddle with his wife.

    She appeared, carrying a tray of food she had gotten from the kitchen: two drinks, a few different salads, some cheeses, and meat, plus some fruit for dessert. Her eyes went right to the sling he had his arm in and look of guilt flooded over her.

    “I’m fine!” he rushed to assure her. “We should talk about it, but I need to apologize first. I should not have talked to you the way I did today. I was tired, frustrated, and in pain, but that’s no excuse for telling you to butt out of my care.” He moved some pillows, hoping she would come snuggle with him. “I love you and I love your butt in my life.”

    “I’m sorry too.” She handed him the tray and crawled onto the bed. “I should have just told you I was worried about how much pain you were in, and then worked with you, instead of just booking it for you and not telling you.” She repositioned some pillows so she could lean back and have him leaning on her. “I love you too.”

    He rested his head on her shoulder, looked up, and smiled. He puckered his lips and she kissed him.

    “I’m drugged, by the way,” he said.

    “Yeah, I got that,” she said with a gentle laugh as she reached for the spoon in the potato salad.

    Elvie got the macaroni salad and set it in his lap. He had to eat with one hand. “Marc convinced me to take the pills Dr. Halsom gave me today. Marc said if you don’t want to take care of me tonight, he would. I think he just wants to take advantage of me,” he laughed. Marc and Elvie had an ongoing joke about their long-standing “love affair”. It dated back to when they were in their 20s, a few months after Elvie’s crash, when he first met Marc and Marc volunteered to help him out with more intimate tasks. As they had gotten closer over the years - and particularly over the past few months - the jokes had gotten worse.

    She rolled her eyes at his joke. “Of course I’ll help you out,” she assured him. She took a bite of his macaroni salad. “So you saw Dr. Halsom?”

    “Yeah,” he sighed. “I should have called you to see if you wanted to come to the appointment. They did some X-Rays and she said I can’t put off the shoulder replacement any longer.” They wanted to wait as long as possible so the kids were a bit older, but ever since his crash, he knew this was coming. His shoulder had been badly injured in the crash and he had been relying on it more than an abled bodied person. He was lucky to make it to 45-years-old without the surgery, but he wasn’t making it to 50. “She said to rest as much as possible over the weekend, she gave me stuff to help with the pain, and we’ll discuss the options on Monday. The appointment is at 9 so you can come with me.”

    “I think you should have the surgery now. You’re in a lot of pain, you aren’t sleeping because of it.”

    “If Dr. Halsom is prescribing me rest instead of physio, then, yeah, it’s probably time.”

    She winced. “Did the physical therapy today cause that much pain?”

    “No, no,” he assured her. It was a bit of a lie, but he didn’t want her to feel worse. “And, hey, it got me to the doctor and I needed to go. It gave me the kick in the shoulder I needed to realize there’s no more putting this surgery off.”

    “Well, at least we were able to put it off until you got a job where you don’t actually do anything,” she teased.

    “Hey, this just means two months of me getting briefings from the CIA and the NSC in bed.” He then grew serious. “We should talk about the recovery time. Two - possibly more - months of me not having full function in my arm is going to be a lot. Heck, I’ve been in this sling for less than two hours and I’m already going crazy.”

    “Yeah, you are going to be unbearable, but,” she said. “We are just going to take it one day at a time. I promise you, when I need a break we will have people around. We can get your brother or your mother -.”

    He laughed. “No! I’m not having my mom take care of me! The woman is in her 80s. I think she deserves a break from putting up with my drugged butt.”

    “I know, but she can still yell at you when you’re being stupid and trying to recover too quickly. Plus she can take care of the kids.”

    “Where are our little gremlins?” Elvie asked.

    “Leo said he would make sure they got fed. They’ll probably be out in the tent all weekend.”

    “It’ll be good for them,” he said. “They won’t have to watch us make out all weekend.” They kissed again.

    “Is that what you want to do?” she asked. “Because I thinking, if your not in too much pain, we could go for a float in the pool after we finish our dinner, maybe relax in the hot-tub?”

    He grinned. “It’s going to take a lot to get me off of this bed, but I’m thinking you in a bathing-suit might do it.”

    * * *

    After dinner, Elvie floated in the pool. The water was warm, which allowed him to relax and feel weightless. He had a foam belt around his hips keeping him afloat and his head was on Rosamie’s shoulder. She was gently moving him in the water, her hand was holding the small of his back at the point of his spinal cord injury. He was particularly sensitive there, though not in a bad way: it was intimate and it frankly made Elvie randy. She gently rubbed the spot, as if her tankini wasn’t already driving him wild.

    “Should we move this to the bedroom?” he asked huskily. He turned his head and kissed her cheek.

    “Another few minutes,” she said. “Swimming is good for you. And I thought you wanted to get in the hot tub.”

    He did, the hot water would be nice for his muscles. “I do, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep my hands off my beautiful wife.” He tilted his head back to try to nibble on her ear.

    Suddenly, they heard arguing coming from up the path. “Dammit Leo! Stop trying to grab my butt! If you want to stick your hand in my back pocket then go ahead but it’s hard to walk with you groping me.” Marc and Leo came up the path and Leo had his hands all over Marc.

    “They are such a cute couple,” Elvie remarked, loud enough for Marc and Leo to hear. Leo’s ears started to go red.

    “Even when they’re fighting,” Rose finished Elvie’s thoughts. Leo now went flush red.

    “Maybe we should lock them in a closet! Have them fight it out until they just stark kissing each other!” Elvie howled.

    Marc just laughed as he and Leo stood beside the pool. “You know, for Vice President, you are extremely immature.”

    “Hey, you’re the one who drugged me. Speaking of which, would you like to join Rose and I in the hot-tub?” he asked with a wink.

    Rose playfully hit Elvie’s chest.

    “Why Elvie, my love,” Marc said over-dramatically. “We would love to.”
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  17. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    @mavjade I know you're very busy, I know your work's important, but I'm crossing the ocean and I just can't wait (sorry, not sorry, I was listening to Hamilton today). I know your life is busy but I just needed to clear my brain with our boys!

    Title: Our Future, Together (aka HE GAVE HIM THE RIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGG)
    Spring 2036
    Characters: Leo/Marc, Josh/Donna, Abi, Noah
    A/N: I wrote Leo’s and Marc’s proposal awhile back, but I was never quite happy with it, so I decided to try it again and I am so happy with the blend of mindless mush with some angst.

    Part 1

    Marc was pretty sure he was going to have a heart attack. His heart was beating so loud he could hear it and thought his boyfriend could hear it too. Maybe the entire restaurant could hear it.

    But Leo was across the table, wearing a blue button down shirt and tie, blabbing on about his work day, completely oblivious to Marc’s nerves.

    Marc picked up the wine glass and took a sip of the fine wine. It wasn’t normal for Leo and Marc to go out to such a fancy restaurant, but this was a special occasion - or it would be… hopefully. After dinner and dessert, Marc planned to drive Leo to the Boston Public Library and propose to him on the step where they had shared their first kiss (okay, where Leo had surprised Marc by kissing him on the mouth). Marc had considered taking Leo out for dinner to the karaoke bar (the Hong Kong) where they had technically had their first meeting, but, while funny, that might had been just a bit mean. But the library was just… perfect.

    Marc felt the ring box in his pants pocket. Everything was going to be perfect, he tried to assure himself. He and Leo had talked about marriage before and decided to wait until Marc was finished school. Marc had also needed more time to get used to the idea of spending the rest of his life with someone. Leo had given Marc all the time he needed. He decided that now that he was nearly finished school, they both were ready for marriage. Marc wanted to spend every day for the rest of his life with Leo Lyman.

    Leo’s phone started to ring. “Oh, sorry,” he said, fumbling around his jacket pocket for his cell. “I forgot to turn it on silent. I don’t want anyone interrupting our hot date.” He looked at the screen. “It’s just my mom anyways. Remind me to call her back.”

    Marc frowned. He hadn’t asked Leo’s parents for permission to marry Leo - Marc wasn’t that kind of traditional guy and he knew Donna and Josh approved of the relationship - but Marc had given them the ‘heads up’ that he would be proposing this evening. It seemed like the respectful thing to do (and both were so excited). But now Donna was calling? It didn’t make sense. Donna wasn’t that noisy and knew Marc wasn’t going to pop the question until later in the evening. Marc got a weird feeling in his gut. “Maybe you should answer it; I don’t mind.”

    “Okay, I’ll be quick.” Leo answered. “Hey Mom. Can I call—.”

    Leo listened, then went pale.

    Marc could hear sirens coming from the other end of the call and he knew it was bad news. He began waving the waiter over.

    “Is he going to be okay?” Leo asked in a soft, broken voice before clamping his hand over his mouth to stifle a sob.

    Marc reached over the table to rub Leo’s arm. The waiter came and Marc apologized and asked for the bill. “There’s a family emergency,” he said as a way of explaining. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but Leo was clearly upset.

    “Okay. Tell him I love him and we’re going to be there just as soon as we can. I love you, Mom.” Leo hung up but was instantly on his phone; his hands were shaking.

    Suddenly, all thoughts of the proposal was out of Marc’s head. “Leo, what’s wrong?” He saw the waiter coming back with the bill and he got out his wallet.

    “My mom and dad were in the grocery store. He was feeling tired so she went ahead and when she found him again…” Leo this time, did sob and reached out for Marc’s hand took it. “He was on the floor. He… was having problems breathing and he was clutching his chest. They were just in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. We… I have to go. I have to get a plane to DC tonight.”

    We’ll get there,” Marc assured him as he payed. He then got up and held Leo for a moment, not caring who stared at them.

    * * *

    Marc drove back to their apartment while Leo was on the phone talking to someone, getting tickets the old fashioned way. He got the next flight out. It was about a 90 minute flight but in total, they’d be in DC around 10PM.

    Once in their apartment, Marc got two duffle bags. He began packing for them both. They had to hurry if they wanted to get to the airport in time. “Leo?” Marc said softly. “Do you want to change quickly and order an Uber for us?”

    Leo nodded. He closed his eyes for a moment. “I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m glad you are here, Marc. I love you.” He was in shock and was so relieved when Marc just held him (again) for a moment. Leo melted into Marc.

    “I love you too. Here,” Marc said, he hesitated to let go, but he handed Leo a pair of jeans and one of Marc’s t-shirts and sweaters. Leo stealing Marc’s clothes had become a bit of point of contention between them (just because they were both men, didn’t mean they had to share a wardrobe). But Marc knew wearing his (bit) baggier clothes comforted Leo.

    Leo kissed Marc on the lips.

    * * *

    They made it onto their plane in time and were - thankfully - seated together. Marc worked on his thesis on his laptop while Leo sat against him, silently thinking. Leo loved that about Marc. When Leo just needed to think, Marc just let him. Leo felt Marc’s support and love, even if they weren’t speaking.

    In Leo head, it was taking far too long to reach his dad and he wasn’t happy about it. Leo realized he wasn’t happy living in Boston - he had a good job as legal counsel with the municipal government, but he longed for DC. He wanted to be at his dad’s side right now and to help his mom.

    But he loved Marc. Marc hadn’t even had changed out of his dress pants or dress shirt, though he had discarded his tie. He had taken care of Leo and packed everything. Marc hadn’t even thought twice about the price of the tickets or the time away.

    Leo felt like he was torn between his family and the love of his life. Marc’s family was in Boston and he was finishing up grad school. Leo couldn’t ask Marc to uproot his entire life simply because Leo wanted to be closer to his parents.

    Leo had no idea what to do. So he just sat, hanging onto Marc’s arm.

    * * *

    Upon their arrival in DC, Leo called his mom at the hospital while Marc got a taxi. Donna was sitting in the ICU waiting area by the time they got their. She was in jeans and a purple sweater. She looked completely exhausted.

    “Hey,” Leo said, rushing to her and holding her close. “How is he?”

    She rubbed her son’s back for a moment before letting go. “He was calling me ‘hot stuff’ a few minutes ago, saying he was fine and insisting he was well enough to go home tonight when he heard you two were on your way and that Abi and Noah will be here in the morning.” The twins were unable to get a flight from New Haven until later the following morning, so they were going to take the first Amtrak out at 6 AM. Abi was pissed they didn’t have a car. She shook her head. “So, yeah, he’s fairly drugged. They’ve given him some stuff to help his heart and to help him breathe. They’re going to do surgery first thing in the morning; they’re not quite sure what sort of implant he’ll be strong enough for, but it will likely be an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator along with more stints like last time. They want to do some sort of artificial valve replacement but that has a two to eight week recovery time and I thought there’s no freaking way.” She sighed and wiped her face. “I am so glad you two are here.” She then hugged Marc.

    “Anything you need, just ask,” Marc assured her, hugging her back.

    “He doesn’t want anyone to spend the night with him,” she said, rolling her eyes. “He’s allowed two visitors at a time and already made the nurse promise to let you guys in - something about having another heart attack if he doesn’t know you made it here safe. I just said goodnight to him so the three of us can all head home together. I’ll get the car in the morning. OH!” she exclaimed, then looked at Leo’s left hand.

    Subtle, Donna, Marc thought as he gently tapped his pocket where the ring was still in its box.

    She nodded, getting the message. Hopefully Leo’s obliviousness would keep him in the dark and that Josh would be too drugged to bring up the proposal.

    “What?” Leo asked.

    “Nothing,” she said, reaching for her phone. “Just thought of one more thing your dad wants from home.”

    They left their bags and Marc held Leo’s hand as they asked to be let into the ICU. They were pointed in right direction.

    The room was dark with the exception of the monitors. Josh Lyman lay in the bed. His skin, hair, and beard was the same colour as the white sheets and covers. His eyes were closed and he looked so old, so worn out. Every breath seemed so laboured and he had a nasal cannula across his face. He wore a thin hospital gown.

    It had been a few months - since Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years actually - since Leo and Marc had come to visit and Leo felt so guilty. He stood close to Marc.

    “I think he might be asleep already,” Marc said.

    “No,” came a groan from the bed. “Hug me.” It was a bit slurred, but very much a demand.

    Leo burst into a smile and went to hug his dad. “I love you so much, Dad,” he whispered, kissing his dad’s cheek.

    “Love you, too,” Josh breathed. "So happy... to see you." He took a few moments to catch his breath. “Hug me, Marc.”

    “Yes, Josh,” Marc said with a smile, leaning down to hug Josh. “We’re so glad we’re here for you. We’re going to stay as long as you need us.”

    “Call me Dad,” Josh said, looking into Marc’s eyes with clarity. “Been thinking about this for awhile.”

    At first, Marc was touched by this intimate - if completely random - request. Of course he considered Josh and Donna to be like parents to him. And pretty soon it was going to be official…. Wait. Did Josh think the proposal had already happened?

    Leo was furiously wiping away tears, but completely overwhelmed with emotions.

    Marc covered it up by hugging Josh again. “It would be my honour, Dad.” He then whispered in Josh’s ear so Leo couldn’t hear. “I think of you as a father and I love you as one. But I didn’t have the opportunity for the plan, so if you spoil anything I will smother you with a pillow, Dad.”

    Josh chuckled, then wheezed. “I love you too.”

    A nurse then appeared at the doorway and cleared his throat.

    Leo managed to get one last hug in before he and Marc were ushered out.
  18. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Okay... I'm here... I'm here! Sorry! I just can't get it together recently. *sigh*

    Oh and I have an amusing story. I was putting a coworkers phone number into my phone and spelled his name Marc and he was like "Um... it's MarK, with a K. You know, like Mark is spelled."

    I LOVED this conclusion!
    Dawww.... <3
    Those are the good drugs!

    Hahah... I adore how much Elvie talks/thinks about her butt in this. It's adorbs and show how much in love they still are.

    But of course Rose wants to do it! But this little section about Marc and Elvie's relationship is just soooo good. It makes me very happy!

    Ha! I love that she knows it's going to be hard but she give him crap about it, because that's just who they are. The whole 'at least you don't have a real job' thing and this part was just so cute! It's going to be hard, but they'll make it through.

    Bah hahaha... And I loved that Rose and Elvie brought it back to locking the fighting couple into a closet! That was a perfect full circle moment. And then the hot tub..... [face_batting]


    Our Future, Together
    Oh man, oh.... I love this soooooo much!!

    hahah... So Leo! Though I'm sure Marc wasn't as obvious as he probably felt, but it's still so Leo to be oblivious!

    [face_laugh] The idea is funny, and would be funny to tease Leo about later, but yeah... good call Marc!

    I love that he loves Josh and Donna enough to do this. I think it's one of those things that while permission is a very outdated idea, it's respectful to give the heads up.

    Oh no!! But I love Marc so much for thinking quickly and knowing that something was probably wrong. And for encouraging Leo to answer. Had he not and gone through with it, the proposal memory might have been tainted.

    :_| Just picturing this made me want to cry. But Marc taking charge and just doing what needs to be done. [face_love]

    This is when you know a relationship is a good one. Knowing what each other need and actually doing it. Sometimes it can be really hard to be the supporting person and not give platitudes. You feel like you have to say something, but that's making YOU feel better, not the other person.

    Oh Leo. :( And of course, this is the time that something like this really starts to come to the forefront in your mind.

    [face_laugh] Oh Josh, never change! And drugged Josh is the best Josh!

    This whole exchange was so great! From Donna realizing, to Marc trying to wave her off, and her coverup. So, so good!

    I could 100% hear this in Brad Whitford's voice and it made me smile so hard. Total Josh moment and I loved it!

    [face_love][face_love][face_love] *happy tears*
    Also "Hug me, Marc" made me giggle, but that was so sweet!

    [face_rofl] Literally laughing out loud. Like the dog gave me a look because I disturbed his sleep. As soon as we knew Josh was awake and drugged, him spilling the beans was my first thought, but this was so much better than that!

    I love this so much! I can't wait to read the next part!! Sorry my comments are mostly "I love it" and I totally do!! So much! But my brain doesn't have much ability to be more expressive at the moment.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  19. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    It's okay. I feel this sentence in my bones after these past two weeks.
    Bahaha! I have a similar story involving the Gospel of MarK (but, hey the Gospel of Marc would make a great story title!).
    Thanks! I love angst, but I also love the making up!
    Elvie is just so in love... and drugged up!
    Hey, Elvie's a butt guy :p I kid, they are so in love.
    Thanks. I adore Elvie's and Marc's relationship! I kinda want to write Elvie's surgery, just so I can have Marc not put up with his BS
    Thanks. She knows the reality and is willing to do it, but also annoy him. And the whole bit about him not having a real job is of course from Hamilton!!
    I knew how I wanted to end it but didn't know what Marc and Leo would be fighting about, but I thought it was cute.

    As for the hot tub..... I wanted to do a PM chapter but the muse was/is being a butt. Hopefully in the future I'll use this as a set up for one.

    thanks. Again, this was a re-write and I am so happy with how it turned out. It's one of my favourites!

    Oh yes. I'm sure Marc was acting totally normal, or close to it. But of course Leo is just oblivious anyways.

    Dont worry, their first meeting does get brought up again! I love it but I don't use it nearly as often as I would like.

    Yeah. I totally agree. Asking permission is really outdated, but it is respectful to give the heads up.
    Yeah, sometimes you just get that gut feeling that something isn't right.
    Me too. I felt so mean doing it. Leo is just so scared but Marc knows what needs to be done.

    Yeah, just being able to sit in silence is so powerful and really speaks to their love and how comfortable they are with each other.
    Yeah, and of course being Leo, he just feels the need to fix everyone, make everyone happy and just be everywhere.
    Drugged Josh is the best and so much fun! Poor Donna! (and now I want to write drugged Leo and poor, poor Marc!).
    Donna is in shock of course, but is still keenly aware and wants Leo to marry Marc!
    Bahahaha! Thanks, It totally is!
    I love all the Josh and Marc moments in this story! They just make me feel so warm and squishy!

    LOL! I love that Josh almost spills the beans, but Leo is so oblivious (and Josh is sooo drugged) that Leo doesn't catch on.
    Thanks! I love that you loved it! It's okay! I write these for my enjoyment but the fact that you love them too makes me soooo happy!
  20. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Part 2

    Marc wandered out of the basement bathroom, rubbing his wet hair with a towel. Having a shower before bed had become a bit of a routine for Marc - it was nice to be able to have semi-spontaneous sex, but tonight, the warm water was simply relaxing after an emotional evening and traveling from Boston to DC. Marc hated traveling, especially in a suit. But he was now in a comfy pair of pyjamas pants - thin but soft. He couldn’t believe he was actually wearing clothes to bed, and liking it. Leo was rubbing off on him.

    Marc made his way down the hall and into Leo’s bedroom he had a teen. Leo was in his bed (in his pyjamas and and Marc’s sweater) staring at the ceiling. When Marc entered, Leo rolled over on his side away from Marc. Marc knew this wasn’t a rejection; Leo wanted to be spooned. Marc knew Leo’s “hold me” body language. Leo looked over his shoulder, silent but expectant. Marc got into the double bed (they pretty much had to cuddle anyways when staying here) and Leo shuffled his bum even closer to Marc’s hips.

    Marc turned onto his side and held Leo close, stroking his brown hair. Leo seemed to relax, but not completely, not like he normal did; melting into Marc’s chest. Marc knew there was something on Leo’s mind. “My love?” Marc asked. “Is this a conversation you what to have now, so you can sleep; or do you want to sleep on it?” He then kissed the back of Leo’s neck.

    Leo hesitated. “Now?” he said, finding Marc’s hand and squeezing it. “Then I can get it off my mind and give you time to consider.” He let out a shaking breath, then began to blab. “I want to move, Marc. I want to be closer to my parents. I want to be here for my dad and to help my mom. I never planned on living in Boston after graduation, until…” He shifted in Marc’s arms until he was facing Marc. “I fell in love with you.” He then kissed Marc, deeply and passionately, feeling connected to Marc in every way. They finally pulled away to breathe. “I don’t want to have to chose between you and my parents, but I don’t think I’ll be happy in Boston… knowing I’m needed here.” He closed his eyes and rested his forehead against Marc’s chest.

    “Who said you had to pick?” Marc asked, completely confused at Leo words. “Who ever said I was tied to Boston? Yeah, I have to finish up my degree, but I’m just weeks from being done, and sure my mom, step-dad and sisters are there, but it’s not like we can’t visit them or they can’t visit us. Heck, we could even move now - I’d have to travel back and forth and to do my defence, but I can and will do that for you.”

    Leo looked up, so full of hope.

    Marc kissed Leo. “I mean, we should discuss the details of you quitting your job and getting an apartment or something here, but maybe when we aren’t starving from not having dinner and exhausted from flying 400 miles. But I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Your family is my family and I want to be closer to them too. Besides,” he said with a grin, looking into Leo’s eyes. “You’re a lawyer who doesn’t want to be a lawyer, and I’m going to be an architect. DC is the perfect place for us. I love it here and I love you.”

    Leo rolled onto Marc, kissing him, all while sobbing with so much emotion: happiness, relief, worry, and sadness.

    “Sweetheart,” Marc said gently. He knew his boyfriend so well. They didn’t get to each much on the airplane, only some crackers. Leo didn’t get angry when he was hungry… he got emotional. “Do you want to order some pizza or something?”

    Leo laughed and nodded.

    “Know any good pizza places that deliver this late? Might be a good thing for me to know when I’m living here,” Marc said, fumbling for his phone.

    * * *

    A few minutes later, Marc and Leo climbed the stairs and entered the kitchen. The light over the sink was still on and Donna was sitting at the table, eating some soup and reading. She, evidently, hadn’t had dinner either.

    “Hey,” she said. “Can I get you two something?”

    “No, Mom,” Leo said, hugging her from behind. “We just ordered a pizza. It should be here soon. What are you doing up?” he asked, sitting beside her.

    “Waiting for your brother and sister so I can kill them. Do you know what Abi did?”

    “Do I want to know?” Leo asked. He knew he was going to find out anyways.

    “She called your Uncle Sam!”

    “Oh god,” Leo said with a light laugh while Marc was getting them some glasses of water.

    Donna continued. “She was so upset about not being able to get her before your father’s surgery in the morning, she got Uncle Sam to send one of the private jets to go get them.”

    Marc’s eyes went huge. “What?”

    Leo just laughed again. “Wow. Surprised she didn’t call Tío Matt.”

    “That was apparently plan B.”

    “Does he still have his plane and pilot license?” Leo genuinely wondered. His Tío Matt was the same age as his dad, but in much better shape.

    “Do you think your Aunt Helen would let him after what happened to Elvie?” The reality was, Elvie’s crash had impacted Matt so deeply that he needed no pushing to give up flying.

    There was a knock at the door and Marc went to get it. He came back with a pizza box and set it in the middle of the table. Leo pulled off a piece of deluxe pizza and began shoving it into his mouth.

    “So,” Leo said, swallowing. “Marc and I have big news.”

    “Oh!” Donna said, perking up.

    Leo looked at Marc for permission, then when Marc nodded, Leo blurted. “We’re moving to DC!”

    She looked shocked. “Oh, that’s wonderful!” Donna exclaimed, hugging Leo then Marc. “Whatever you guys need, your dad and I will help.”

    “Well, we still need to figure out details,” Marc said. “But we are doing this because it’s the right move for Leo and I, and we want to be able to help you and Dad out.”

    “Dad asked him to call him that,” Leo said, shoving more pizza into his mouth to cover his emotions.

    Donna reached and held Marc’s hand. “And you already know you can call me Mom or Donna or whatever you want.”

    “I know, Mom,” Marc said with a smile.

    The front door then opened. Abi and Noah walked in, tired, in hoodies and jeans and bags over their shoulders. Abi’s hair was a shade of faded lavender.

    “I’m disowning you both!” Donna yelled. “And I’m replacing you with Marc!”

    “What did I do?” Noah asked as he set down his bag, hugged his mother, then stole a piece of pizza. “I’m only guilty by association.”

    “Story of your life?” Leo offered, hugging his brother with one arm. He didn’t care how they got here, he was just happy his entire family (including Marc) was in the same city.

    “Yeah,” Noah said. “Also, I love how Dad is in the hospital after a massive heart attack and we’re just here, eating pizza.”

    After Abi finished hugging her mom, she hugged Leo.

    “What did you blackmail Uncle Sam with?” he asked her.

    “Nothing!” she exclaimed. She hugged Marc as well and grabbed a slice. She glared at her mom with no real malice. “I just asked Uncle Sam if he had a solution to Noah and I being trapped in New Haven, because you and dad won’t let us have a car.

    Donna rubbed her temples. “Look, if you guys want a car, you guys can pay for it, but your dad and I just feel more comfortable with you two taking the train between here and there; its cheaper, faster, and safer.”

    Abi rolled her eyes. “I’m taking this up with Dad; he’ll agree with me.”

    * * *

    A few minutes later, after the kitchen was cleaned up and their teeth were brushed again, Leo and Marc were back in bed, cuddled up. Marc could feel that Leo was now relaxed. Leo was, after-all, practically on top of Marc.

    “Leo?” Marc asked, kissing his boyfriend’s cheek. “I do have one request for when we move.”

    "Anything,” Leo said with a yawn. They were both extremely close to falling asleep at this point.

    “You’re a bed hog! I want a king size bed.”

    “Of course,” Leo said, closing his eyes. “Anything you want. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to cuddle up to you every night.”
  21. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I swear one of these days soon I'm going to get my act together. But it looks like this week wasn't it.
    But I love this so, so much!!
    This is one of those lines that is so simple but says so much about the characters.

    Dawww... I love this! I feel like TV and movies always portray people turning over as 'I'm mad at you' but it can just as easily be 'hold me', or generally in my case, 'I'm too hot and uncomfortable.'

    [face_love][face_love] I love that Marc is immediately yeah, let's do it! But to offer to move right away, that takes someone special. I'm like Marc, every time dp brings up a job in another place I'm like sure! Let's go!

    [face_laugh] He's not wrong!

    [face_rofl] This cracked me up!! I'm not shocked at Abi at all, nor am I shocked at Donna's reaction, but it was so great! Of course Abi would call Uncle Sam! And of course Sam would do anything for them. But man I laughed so hard at Donna's reaction.

    Ha! But :( at Matt's not flying again after Elvie's accident. Perfectly understandable, but still sad. I'm sure he'd have done anything he could to get Abi and Noah there, though.

    Oh Leo, you have no idea what you are doing! I can just see Donna getting so excited and then trying not to let her face drop when they announce they are moving. Of course she'd be thrilled for that, but just not what she wanted in that moment.

    Bahahaahahaha..... Marc's the favorite! :D :p

    Weirdly, I find king size beds too big, dp is too far away! But I'm the bed hog in our relationship, so maybe he feels differently. Of course Leo would be the bed hog in theirs! I can just see him sprawled out and Marc hanging on for dear life!

    <3 <3
  22. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Don't worry, I relate to this so, so much!
    Thanks! This has been one of my favourites in awhile too! The "artistic" side of me thinks I should end this series on a high note here, but I still have so many ideas and I'm having so much fun writing these still. I have another story that is done, and more that are in varying stages of completion, but none that I love as much as this one. BUTTT I also still really want to do an angsty assassination attempt story that has been brewing but won't come out, a long with an "far future" old!Man Leo/Marc, Elvie/Rose "epilogueish" fic.

    But I'm also seriously considering "50 shades of grey"ing this fic and creating it into a original fiction and posting it on a blog or something for a wider audience to enjoy and for my continued enjoyment - with your permission of course since Leo and Marc and others are your creations. I also have a bit of an idea to create a more "simplified" and original backstory to Josh and Donna. I would change some names and other details to make it original fic, but many of the characters are OCs anyways. I also want to edit and add some more stuff to some of the earlier fics in this series. Anyways, yeah, that's kinda my plan for the future of this bit of entertainment.

    Of course, Marc likes it when Leo rubs off on him ;)

    Yes! or in my case "I just need to be in an introvert bubble!"
    I love Marc and his sense of adventure. I'm like you and him! And, at this point, Marc is kinda where I am now - finishing my masters in the SAME town I grew up in (mostly). I'm like "WHAT'S NEXT? GOOD GOD JUST PLEASE LET IT BE DIFFERENT!". So I think Marc might be thinking that too.
    its destiny!!
    I thought it was a bit of an extreme plot point at first, and yet, so realistically Abi! Abi probably totally blackmailed him though!

    Part of me seriously wants to do more Matt and Elvie father-son stuff, especially after the crash but my muse has been uncooperative (but maybe thats something I'll do if/when I originalify this).
    Oh, Leo is just pulling an unintentional Josh!Moment! He doesn't mean to be hurtful, he's just so oblivious!

    But yes, poor Donna! She's probably so excited but not expecting that news!

    as my mother would say "not much competition".

    Haha! I mean, when I'm sharing a bed I like my room to toss around and get comfortable and not disturb the other person, so if I ever get into a relationship, we are going to need a king size. My friends think I should get a king size when I move but that is just too much room for one person (and two cats).
  23. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Part 3

    Marc spent the next few days just hanging around the Lyman house, working on his thesis (frankly, something he would have spent all his time on if he was back in Boston anyway). He also cleaned the house from top to bottom, even scrubbing out the kitchen cabinets and making sure all the windows were washed. He just didn’t want Donna to have to worry about all this (he asked beforehand to make sure he wasn’t overstepping, and she, of course assured him he wasn’t but also told him not to worry about cleaning anything, which he ignored). Marc even made sure the main-level bathroom was bleached and as close to sterile as he could get it, as well as the ensuite bathroom in Josh and Donna’s master bedroom. Marc wasn’t sure how mobile Josh would be, but wanted to give him options as well as try to limit sources of infection after coming out of the hospital. Marc also washed all the linens and put fresh sheets on Josh and Donna’s bed. He also made up a basket of sheets, blankets and pillows for the living room, in case Josh wanted a bed made up for him in the living room on the couch. Marc knew Josh would want to be around his kids.

    Josh’s surgery had gone well - no complications but the surgeons weren’t able to do the extensive surgery they felt Josh needed. Josh was still in the ICU but they were expecting him to be moved soon. But as of right now, he was still only allowed two visitors at a time, so between Leo, Abi, Noah, and Donna, the four of them stayed with him in shifts. Right now, Leo and Donna were there and Abi and Noah were doing there final exams in the Georgetown library. Abi and Noah had arranged with their professors at Yale to do their last exams remotely (under the watch of former president Sam Seaborn… because who else better to trust to adjudicate two exams done remotely?). The two would still have to go back to New Haven to pack up their things from their dorms, but they had a few days to do so.

    Marc was currently tending Josh’s huge garden. Josh’s “retirement hobby” was a large garden that took up most of the back yard. Donna referred to the activity as Josh “playing in the dirt”, but Marc could see Josh was growing vegetables, some berries, and lots of flowers. It was actually very pretty. There was a simple bench under a tree. He could see himself sitting there with Leo after Sunday family dinners or something after they moved here.

    Marc’s cell rang. The called ID said it was Leo. “Hey, Leo,” Marc said as he answered, standing up and brushing a bit of dirt from his jeans.

    “Hey! Um, so, Dad wants Mom to take Noah and Abi out to dinner to celebrate being done exams. He told them we should go along too, but I have a feeling Dad would kinda feel left out so I thought you and I could hang out with him. They’re also pretty sure he’s going to be transferred to the normal cardiac ward this evening so we can help him with that.”

    Marc smiled. “Of course. Just let me get changed. Does he want anything from home?”

    “I’ll ask him once I go back in there and will text you.”

    * * *

    Josh wasn’t happy. That was clear by the way he grimaced at his tray of food: rice, peas, and bland tofu. He had already eaten his Jello cup. Marc and Leo had helped him with move from the ICU to the cardiac ward. At first he was happy to be moved - he could now have as many visitors as he wanted. But he now shared a room with three other patients: a woman who was at least 105, a snoring man who was a bit younger than Josh, and another woman who did not stop complaining. Josh kept the privacy curtains closed.

    “I want to go home,” Josh pouted, lip sticking out from his white beard.

    Leo looked up from his tablet - he was looking at job listings in DC, refusing to accept his dad’s offer of help. According to Josh, he could get Leo a job anywhere he wanted. Josh had been so excited at the news that Leo and Marc were moving to DC. “Dr. Shelle said just a few more days. Eat your dinner.”

    “No,” Josh refused.

    Marc now looked up from his laptop. He was supposed to be working on his thesis, but in reality he was looking at apartments and condos. “Dad, eat your peas and rice and then I’ll go get another Jello cup.”

    “You’re going to be the pushover when you and Leo have kids,” Josh grumbled, mixing his rice with his peas, hoping one would flavour the other.

    Marc snorted, going back to his search. “Nope, that will definitely be Leo.”

    Leo beamed. “Well, we’ll have to get married first.”

    Marc cast a short, yet severe, warning glance Josh, who just began shovelling his face with food. They fell into comfortable silence. Occasionally Marc would show Leo a place and Josh watched the news while he ate.

    “I’m done,” Josh eventually announced, pushing his tray away. Marc got up to gather it up, when Josh interrupted him. “Leo, can you get the Jello?”

    “Why?” Leo asked.

    Josh looked away. “I have to use the bathroom.”

    Marc nodded, knowingly, getting the walker. Doctors didn’t want Josh straining himself after heart surgery.

    “I can help you go pee, Dad,” Leo said.

    Marc sighed. “We know, but I think this might be a similar situation as with Elvie.” As with Elvie, Marc figured it was less embarrassing to get the person who you didn’t raise to help you with an intimate task.

    “No!” Josh said. He had misunderstood Marc’s reference. “Everything works down there. I just want someone to walk with me over-there and I don’t want to trip over Leo.”

    “Fine,” Leo said, getting up and grabbing a tray. “I get the better job anyways.” Leo strutted out.

    Josh huffed as he got up. “Are you still planning on asking him…?”

    “Yes,” Marc said. He wrapped an arm around Josh’s back and helped roll the walker towards the bathroom. Josh wore dark blue sweatpants and a grey hoodie. He looked so much like Leo. Marc saw himself helping a much, much older Leo and he was simply filled with love. Josh walked slowly and Marc just followed his speed. “Though now that we are moving, I want to plan to try to ask him again sooner rather than later. I was actually thinking about doing it in the garden in the back yard.”

    They were now in the bathroom and Marc situated Josh before looking away. “Can you wait until I’m out of here?”

    “Of course.”

    “It’s just that… I’m… I’m not likely to see much of my kids’ life. When you propose to Leo, he’s going to be so happy. I’d like to be there for it.”

    Marc considered it for only a moment, then smiled, even though Josh couldn’t see it. “He’ll love having you guys all there.” Marc really hoped Josh would be around for awhile yet, but he also knew how unrealistic that wish was, so he wanted to give this to Josh. Leo would too.

    Josh finished up, washed his hands, then lost his balance and grabbed for Marc, startling both himself and Marc. “Stupid drugs,” Josh cursed. He was simply tired and his bad hip was stiff from laying in bed.

    “It’s okay,” Marc said calmly. He held Josh up and grabbed the walker.

    Josh was heaving in breaths when Marc settled him back into bed, tucking him back in.

    * * *

    Three days later and Josh was home. He spent most of his time resting on the couch. He didn’t like to be cooped up in his and Donna’s bedroom and taking the stairs twice a day was a good way for him to become active again. It was his first evening home so he was on the couch, wrapped up in blankets on the couch, eating the dinner Marc had made: a green salad and grilled chicken. Josh, of course, was only allowed 1/4 a piece of chicken breast with no salt, but Marc had seasoned it nicely with herbs.

    Donna and the twins had gone back to New Haven to pick up their stuff and would be back later tonight. Marc and Leo were keeping Josh company, though they were going back to Boston next week to start packing up their life there. Josh put his plate on the coffee table. “That was good. So much better than hospital food.” He then looked down. “I want to have a bath. Still feel gross from the hospital.”

    Leo looked at Marc. “You want to wash dishes or Dad?”

    “I don’t need to be washed,” Josh sneered. “I just need help up the stairs.”

    “And someone to make sure you don’t pass out in the water,” Marc said, getting up. “I’ll get Dad, you get to clean up.”

    Marc helped Josh up the stairs - Josh gripped the banister with white knuckles the entire way up - and into the master bedroom. Josh was exhausted so Marc got him to sit on the bed while he headed for the ensuite bathroom.

    “Wait,” Josh gasped for air. “I want you to open the top left drawer of my dresser.”

    Marc did as he was told. The drawer was full of random things; jewelry, old photos, envelopes, birth certificates, passports.

    “There should be a black leather-covered ring box. Not the black velvet one.”

    Marc found the box. The box looked old. The stitching looked aged. “This one?” Marc said, holding it up.

    Josh nodded as Marc came and sat at his side. He handed it to Josh who opened it. Inside was a simple gold wedding band. Nothing fancy, just timeless. It was similar to the ring he had bought for Leo, only Leo’s was matte gold. “My grandfather, Elijah, bought this - and my grandmother a replacement wedding band - after working for years after they came to America.”

    Marc didn’t need more of an explanation. He knew Josh’s family history - how his grandparents had been in Birkenau during the Second World War. Marc had never realized that even their wedding bands had been taken from them for the gold. The thought weighed heavy on Marc. He knew, just a generation before, he and Leo would not have been able to be legally married.

    Josh continued. “I was going to give it to Leo when he decided to propose to you - and I’m saving my father’s for Noah - but since you’re asking him….” He trailed off. “You don’t have to use it, and Leo doesn’t have to wear it.…”

    “He’ll love it,” Marc said. He knew family meant everything to Leo. “It would be my honour to propose to Leo using this ring.” He then hugged Josh. “I’m going to ask your son to marry me tomorrow.”

    Josh hugged Marc back. “I’ll try not to interrupt this time.”

    Marc chuckled, pocketing the ring and getting up. “Let’s get you in the bath. I’ll go start the water.”

    “No! I don’t need a bath.” He just didn’t want to admit he needed help getting into and out of the bath tub.

    “Yes, you certainly do,” Marc said, going to the ensuite bathroom and turning the water on. “Leo’s going to get suspicious if he doesn’t hear you having a bath.”

    Josh snorted. “I love my son, but Leo’s the most oblivious person on the planet.”

    “I’m not disagreeing with you,” Marc laughed as he emerged from the bathroom, his sleeves now pushed up. “But you stink. You need a bath.”
  24. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Nope, no stopping! I forbid it!!

    Ha! I've been thinking about both of these things! I've not gotten either to any simblemce of a story, but I've been thinking.

    I've actually got a few almost stories I've written on planes recently. I'm hoping to get them from paper (I always write on paper on planes) and to the computer soon!

    That would be really cool!!

    That is just so Marc, so sweet and considerate! And I love that he feel comfortable enough to do it! He wants to be an actually help, not just moral support (not that it's not important!).

    Haha... true! And Sam wouldn't let them get away with anything!

    I just love the mental image of Josh the gardner! And of course that's what Donna would call it!

    Pouty, childish Josh is kinda adorbs!

    Bahahahaha.... I literally LOL'd. Dp was like "are you okay over there?" Just imagining Josh knowing he'd say something or give something away if he said anything and then shoveling food in his face is just so good!

    :_| I'm not crying, you're crying!

    [face_laugh][face_laugh] And I think if Marc wasn't so passionate about architecture, he'd be a great nurse. He's so good with helping people. He makes what could be a really awkward situation, not awkward at all.

    :_| Okay, it's me crying.
    This is just so perfect! And of course Leo would want to wear it, and Marc would want him to! I have dp's grandmother's engagement and wedding ring and even though I never met her, it feels so special. (I was so terrified I was going to lose them. Well, I still am, but I've been wearing them long enough now that I'm not worried they are just going to slip off)


    This just makes me so happy!
  25. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010

    HAHA! Yeah, the assassination attempt one is coming along, but I really have no idea for a plot for a distant future story (though old men Leo/Marc would be so adorable!).

    And yaaaay for more stories! I'm really looking forward to when you get time to work on them!

    Me too. I'm thinking if I ever get more time to write and if the muse ever dies down (ha! been saying that for years now), it will be something different to work on.
    Thanks. Plus, I've found, when working on a dissertation/thesis, you will do almost ANYTHING to procrastinate! Like cleaning other people's houses. But yeah, he wants to help too!
    No, especially not after he got a private plane to pick them up so they could see Josh!
    I had to give Josh SOME sort of old-man retirement hobby and nothing really fit (he'd so lose a limb if it involved anything sharp) so I decided to give him dirt to play in!
    LOL! Dp should know by now.
    Oh man, you might want to keep tissues ready for the next part!
    He would be! He loves helping people and is so good at making it not awkward. But I love Marc the architect!

    That's so special. I'd be SOOOOO terrified of losing an heirloom ring.
    That makes me so happy!