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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. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    I've only had a bit of difficulty once entering the UK (boarder person thought I should be in the EU line????) but I have friends with tales of them trying to enter Kenya.
    It's my canon and I am rolling with it.
    I love this plot device! The pay-off always cracks me up.
    Teenagers being only as teenagers can be ;p
    I think all teenagers (presidents' teenagers or no, but especially presidents' teenagers) need a safe space away from their parents where they can go and hang for several hours (or days, or weeks) where they can just get away from their parents but their parents know they are safe, and I love the idea of Uncle Marc and Uncle Leo being that place for Emilia. Plus, I like to think, since Elvie was president, Leo and Marc really took care of Emilia during the physical aspects of transitioning.
    Yeah, of course Emilia is only 16 here so not thinking totally right, but of course Elvie wouldn't see it that way.
    I can totally see Elvie practicing on Rose for this exact situation!

    I wanted Elvie to both listen to Emilia's troubles, but also be there to distract her with something fun and give her a reason to get all fancy. I think both can be important in making someone feel better.
    Yeah, I totally agree!

    This is SOOOOO my mom. She'll want to watch something with us but end up falling asleep halfway and say no when we tell her to just go to bed!
    Thanks. Yeah, I love these guys as dads!
  2. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Old Men and Grandchildren
    Timeframe: July 2, 2079
    Characters: Leo/Marc/Rose/Elvie, whole lotta kids
    A/N: I’ve been wanting to write these four as old married couples for A LONG TIME, but the muse never really hit… until now. Except not really because this is plotless. Also, originally this was going to be set right before Leo and Marc’s 50th wedding anniversary, but I didn’t want Leo and Marc to be in their late 70s for the events in this fic, so I made this their 42nd anniversary but I think they could still have a party for their 42nd/4th of July (however I kept playing around with the date as I was writing this so if theres any wrong math, that’s the reason). I kept dates of mentioned events vague juuust incase I want leeway to write any of the said events.

    Also, ages, because I did all this math: Leo 69; Marc 68; Elvie 70; Rose 69; Mattie 34; Emilia 32; JJ 30; Ella; 29; Miri - 28. Also, also, open polyamory. Because no one is reading this far into this fic who also hasn’t read the PM stories. ALSO, also, also, this takes place only 2 decades before the 22nd century; I was allowed to add in some future technology/medicine. ALSO, ALSO, ALSO, ALSO: cripple is a reclaimed word, and as Elvie’s lover, I think Marc is able to use it. Also X5, I wanted to get this posted because I think I have an idea for the OTP challenge I wanna write.

    Leo held Marc from behind; arms around Marc’s stomach, cheek resting against Marc’s shoulder. Even after over 45 years together, this was one of Leo’s favourite positions (well, a position that wasn’t Marc holding him). Both had a bit more chub around their mid-sections, and both their hair was going white - Leo had a beard and wild-man hair (hair everywhere) - but they were still both very much in love. Even after everything and all this time.

    “Leo, I love you too,” Marc murmured, as he tried to pour three cups of coffee and a cup of tea. Both were wearing slacks, but Leo had a white tee-shirt on and Marc had a grey polo. “But you are making this difficult. You can get the scones without hanging off of me; the kitchen is big enough. I designed it that way.” After Leo’s retirement, Marc had designed - and then they had contractors build - their dream home, just outside of DC. The kitchen, dining room, and living room was large and open - separated only by the kitchen island. There was the home office on the main floor, a big rec room and plenty of spare bedrooms downstairs so they could aways had all their extended family over for holidays. Upstairs were their kids rooms (sadly no-longer regularly occupied), the master-bedroom of their dreams, and another “spare” room with an adjustable bed (which was regularly occupied… the kids all knew about the polyamory now that they were adults). The house was - of course - completely wheelchair accessible.

    Leo quickly kissed Marc’s cheek and was getting a tray when they heard their front door open. Leo went to see who it was; it was Emilia, carrying in bags of groceries. She was wearing jeans and a blue tee-shirt and her black hair was tied up in a messy bun. “Hey, sorry, Uncle Leo,” she said. “I just wanted to drop all this off downstairs and get them in the fridge before I went to the liquor store and the party store.”

    Every year for their anniversary and Independence day, the Lymans had a BBQ and party for their family (and friends who counted as family). Over the years they had slowly let the kids take over the planning, but they still hosted to make sure the number invited never extended their intimate circle. Everyone would drink, play in the yard, and spend the night. Leo and Marc could think of no better way to celebrate their wedding. This year, like every year, Emilia had taken charge… mostly because she was the most organized.

    “Emilia!” he exclaimed, kissing her cheek. “Here, let me help,” he said, trying to take a few bags from her.

    “No, no, I got it,” she said, heading for the elevator.

    “You really didn’t need to buy this much food.”

    “I was talking to Miri and Ella last night as I was making my shopping list. Blame them. Also, we were discussing your 50th - we got big plans.”

    Leo rolled his eyes. “I don’t want to hear them.” Leo pushed the button and he elevator opened its doors. “Are you sure you don’t want help?”

    “No, I got it!” she insisted as the elevator doors shut. “Go kiss your husband and your boyfriend for me.”

    Leo shook his head and laughed and made his way back into the kitchen to see Marc carrying the tray of drinks and snacks, struggling to open the French doors. Leo hurried, kissed Marc on the cheek, “That was from Em,” he said, opening the door. He kissed Marc again - this time on the lips. “And that’s from me.”

    They exited out onto a large patio, covered with plants, overlooking a large green yard with a pool and a hot tub. Marc - since he was the one carrying food, got ‘greeted’ first by their rescue dogs, a 5-year-old husky mutt named Obi-Wan and a 2-year-old English Springer Spaniel named Amos. Their “sister” Luna Lovegood - an ancient, ornery black cat with three legs - was sleeping in an empty wheelchair.

    Unless it was beside his bed, Leo still hated seeing Elvie’s wheelchair empty. A few years ago, they had experienced their first ‘senior-citizen’ health scare, and of course it had been with Elvie; he had gotten bladder stones that had gotten so bad, he ended up in kidney failure and had required a kidney transplant while he had also waited for a stem-cell grown kidney. It had been months of rest and recovery for Elvie in Walter Reed. Leo and Marc had of course been by his and Rose’s sides the entire time.

    But Elvie looked as heathy as before now, having put back on most of the weight lost. His salt and pepper hair was tied back and his facial hair neatly groomed. He was relaxing in a padded gravity chair. Beside him was Rose, in a long skirt and blouse. They had just gotten back from a trip to Spain and would be spending a few weeks with the Lymans.

    Leo kissed them both before sitting down beside them. “The eldest daughter is here dropping off groceries.”

    Emilia came to kiss her parents and Marc. “I’d stay, but I gotta do some more running around for the party.”

    Her dad asked after they hugged, “Did you hear back from the doctor?”

    She blushed, smiled bashfully, and looked down. “Dad, I was hoping to get in and out of here before this came up. I was going to tell everyone at the party. You know I have a poker-face like Uncle Leo.”

    Rose gasped as she held her daughter’s hand. “Does that mean….”

    Emilia nodded. “All the tests came back great. I’m scheduled for an artificial uterus transplant August 29th. There’s the recovery and then the gamete splicing - that’s why I was talking to Ella and Miri last night. James and I just had to tell someone. Miri said that given Ella’s current condition, Miri said that she would donate the egg.” Em quickly became emotional, but it was the best emotions. “I’ll be pregnant by Christmas. James and I are going to be parents.” She wiped away a tear. “I’m going to be a mom!”

    Elvie got to be the first to give her a tight hug. Everyone else hugged afterwards.

    “Okay,” she said, wiping her face. “I really do have to go pick up more stuff though.”

    A few minutes after Emilia left, they heard the front door open and Obi-Wan and Amos began barking.

    “More guests?” Marc sighed.

    Elvie faked a scoff. “It’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re old. Don’t they know what they could be interrupting?”

    Leo rolled his eyes and gently slapped Elvie before Rose could put down her cup of coffee. “Yeah, they could be interrupt your afternoon nap.”

    JJ emerged from the French doors, looking very much like both of his fathers, except he had opted to keep his glasses rather than go for surgery - they suited him anyways - he had a PhD in History and was working on a biography of his grandfather, Joshua Lyman. JJ had his arm around the small of his wife’s back.

    Ella Santos-Lyman was 38 weeks pregnant; sweating, crying, and waddling. She was wearing a very flowing, loose, kaftan - very different than the power-suits she wore as Chief of Staff to Senator Williamson.

    Marc jumped up and helped her sit on a wicker love seat.

    “I’m fine, I’m fine,” she insisted as she leaned forward and tried to catch her breath.

    “We got almost no sleep last night,” JJ explained, rubbing Ella’s back. “She’s just kinda done.”

    “We came over so I could swim for a bit - maybe it would help with the back-pain, but I’m way too tired from just getting into and out of the car. And I realized I don’t even want to see myself in a bikini.” She glared at JJ. “Don’t even think about saying it.”

    He grinned. “I wouldn’t dare call you beautiful.” He kissed her cheek. “We also came to talk to our parents about the birth plan,” he gently reminded her.

    Rose handed her some tissues. “We are here to do whatever you need us to.”

    Marc nodded. “We are all extremely excited since this is the first grand-baby for any of us, but we are going to follow exactly what you want, even if it’s restraining ourselves from visiting until you want visitors.”

    Ella began crying again. “All the advice from the holonet and my friends say it should just be the JJ in the room for the birth, or maybe JJ and my mom, but I just want all of you in there.”

    “Ella,” Elvie said softly, sitting up. “If the hospital is okay with it, we will all be there for you: in the room; in the waiting room; whatever you want and need.”

    Leo got up and knelt in front of her. “And Ella, if you just want JJ and your parents in the delivery room, Marc and I will understand.”

    This only made her cry more. “But I want you and Marc too!”

    “Okay, then nothing would make us happier,” Leo said with a smile. She smiled back.

    JJ sighed. “Okay, now will you admit your in labor and not just having cramps and a bad back? Seriously, the blatant denial is reminding me who your father is.” He looked up at Elvie. “Sorry, Grandpa.”

    JJ never was quite sure what to call Elvie after JJ began dating Ella - calling them Aunt and Uncle or Tia and Teo like he did growing up just felt weird (not that dating, then marrying the daughter of your dads’ lovers wasn’t a little weird). Rose and Elvie insisted on Mom and Dad - which he was fine with, in principle - and he called Rose Mom. But calling both his dad and Elvie Dad - especially when they were in the same room, which they were half the time - got confusing. So now, JJ got to bug them all with their ‘grandparent’ names. Rose, of course, got Grandma; Elvie was going to be Grandpa; Marc got Granddad; and Leo just wanted to be Abba to his grandkids too.

    Ella glared and inhaled deeply. “I’m not in active labour or anything. I’m still in the early stages.”

    JJ was very calm as he pushed up his glasses. “I know, that’s why I humoured you in coming here. Every 10 minutes now you are taking very deep breaths. I know better than to argue with you. When you stop being able to argue with me through the contractions, then I’ll take you to the hospital, unless you wanna go sooner. I snuck our ‘go-bags’ in the car.” He rubbed her stomach. “So we can go right from here.”

    Both Marc and Leo stood up in a hurry. But Rose just rolled her eyes, “Calm down. It’s probably going to be another few hours before we really have to get going.”

    Elvie sat up and leaned forward. “What would you like to do while we wait?” he asked his daughter.

    Ella wiped her sweaty forehead and sighed. “I wanna cool shower. And I think I wanna nap in one of the gravity chairs. You guys should make some dinner and make JJ eat something.”

    * * *

    Two days later.

    Two days later, Leo was holding Marc from behind; arms around Marc’s stomach, chin on Marc’s shoulder. Leo was smiling in amazement as he looked over Marc and into the bundle Marc was holding. Leah Helena Santos-Lyman was two days old and the absolute delight of her grandparents. She was in the sweetest, ruffly blue gingham dress with a bow tied around her head. Leah was milk-drunk and dopey, having just nursed.

    JJ and Ella were lying in the round daybed on the patio, half asleep and exhausted; her head was on his chest. The family’s traditional 4th of July BBQ feast had been eaten, and the new parents were willing to let their siblings have the fun and their parents mush over the baby.

    Miri, her boyfriend (who Leo hated… Marc wasn’t too fond of him either), Mattie (who was single - he was pretty much married to his work trying to get colonizers on Mars), Emilia and James, were all playing bocce ball in the yard.

    Rose and Elvie came out of the house, Rose was carrying a tray of alcoholic ice cream (with a non-alcoholic ice-cream for Ella) she had made. “Dessert,” she announced.

    Everyone came up onto the deck. As Miri and her boyfriend, Derek, made their way up the stairs, Marc murmured under his breath to Leo, “Be nice.”

    Leo scowled. “I don’t have to be nice. He has a motorcycle. What the hell happened to Claire? I liked her.”

    Emilia was helping Elvie transfer back into one of the padded zero gravity lawn chairs when he began whispering in her ear. She approached Marc with a grin and sign. “Sorry. I’m on orders to kidnap Leah.”

    Marc willingly gave the bundle up. Emilia delivered Leah to Elvie’s waiting arms. Leah stayed fast asleep as she snuggled with her grandpa.

    Leo was the the only one who protested. “But I wanted to cuddle her!”

    Marc rolled his eyes as he turned around to hold Leo. “Chill out, he’s a 70-year-old cripple; I’m pretty sure we can steal her back.” Marc had one arm around Leo’s waist and he cupped Leo’s cheek. “Leo, let me hold you for a moment and remind you it’s our 42nd wedding anniversary.”

    Leo just beamed as he put his hands on Marc’s chest and allowed himself to be held close.

    “I’m going to keep this short and sweet before the peanut gallery starts gagging: 42 years ago I made a decision to love you for the rest of our lives. A day hasn’t gone by where I wouldn’t make those same vows again.”

    Leo nodded as he began to cry. “You’ve made me the happiest husband. I can’t imagine where my life would be without you, and I don’t want to. I have regrets, but only when I’ve hurt you. I love you so much Marc.”

    “I love you too.” Marc’s lips descended and they kissed as the first firework of the night was set off.
  3. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005

    [face_laugh] True! Though now I'm imagining someone who has been lurking being like, wait... what?! And it's cracking me up! But it makes me so happy to have it so open for them, that the kids know and are clearly fine with it!

    I don't know what it is about this position, it's so comforting. So I agree with Leo!

    Hehehe... I'm totally imagining him with Brad Whitford's hair now and it makes me so happy.

    The BEST thing about marring an architect, your own perfect house!! And it does sound perfect!

    What I love so much about this is that it's clear they are all very much a family because Emilia walks right in without knocking.

    Awww... yay!!! [face_love][face_love] I love all the names and that they've adopted several animals!

    [face_love] I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!! I was so happy for her I almost started crying!

    Haha... that's exactly what I was thinking here, what to interupt your nap?! :p I love how they clearly still all love each other very much and still tease and have fun together.

    Yay!! to all of these things!! Poor Ella, that's got to be miserable! I love the idea of JJ writing a biography on Josh!

    This whole scene was so sweet! I loved that they were all so willing to do whatever she wanted, no fuss! (I've read so many horror stories about people demanding to be in the birth and I can't even imagine.) But I love that she wants them all to be there, it's so sweet!!

    I literally LOL'd, it's true, it would be a little odd and hard to figure out what to call them.

    Dawww... that's perfect and makes me so happy!

    I loved getting these little details about all of the kids!!

    Haha... didn't Leo's first boyfriend have a motorcycle?! Usually I'd say that Leo and Marc wouldn't like anyone their baby girl dates, but I actually don't think that's true, so I'm not gonna like this guy either! :p

    I loved this so, so much! Sorry my comments are mostly saying that over and over, it just all made me so happy and I'm a bit incoherent about it.
  4. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    I'm so glad my muse FINALLY decided to cooperate with a far future fic!
    If someone is luring after 13 pages they deserve to be a bit confused :p

    The kids were all probably like... yeah, whatever, we figured. (though now I want to do a fic where they get caught... maybe by JJ/Ella who also get caught [face_devil])
    This was inspired by a pic of the Buttigiegs that I just love.
    Hehehe. That was totally my inspiration for old man Leo!
    I love that it just says so much. I like to think Emilia is the one who takes care of all these guys!

    Another Buttigieg inspiration :p
    This randomly came to me as I was writing (liiiike most of this fic, honestly this isn't what I set out to write but I loved it even more) and I almost started crying too.
    :p Elvie deserves all the teasing! And yeah, they all just have fun together!
    Oh, poor Ella. JJ/Ella has been something in my head cannon for awhile now, and then the poly stuff came up and I wasn't sure if this was weird, and then I realized i didn't care. But I'm so glad you love it all.

    JJ probably ends up writing books on all the past characters!
    Yeah, I've heard horror stories too but of course they'd listen to Ella's wishes and I think she just wanted all the support she could get... though half of them probably got kicked out of the delivery room at some point :p

    Yeah, see above.
    Their all grandparents and it makes me do happy. And yeah, I THINK I've mentioned this before, but I called one of my grandfathers "Baba" so it was so close to Abba I just had to leave it! Leo will always be Abba!

  5. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Man-Flu: Far Future
    Sometime between 2071 (end of Elvie’s second term) and 2079 (I don’t think I’ll be filling in this time period much, but then again I also didn’t think this vignette series would hit and go over 250,000 words so I’m leaving myself open). Also I do have a Man-Flu 4 in the works, but the muse has kinda left it, but I'm not giving up on it and some ideas for 5, so I'm not giving this an exact number in the series.
    Characters: Elvie/Rose

    A/N: Written for the OTP “Things You Said” challenge. I kinda took inspiration from two of the prompts:12. things you said when you thought I was asleep/38. Things you said when I was sick.

    Primer: this takes place after Elvie’s second term as President, during events mentioned in my last vignette (which you don’t have to read). Elvie (paralyzed from the waist down) has bladder stones so severe (and was unable to feel the initial symptoms and ignored others until things got really bad) that he ended up extremely ill and his wife is both concerned and annoyed. I kinda hint at autonomic dysreflexia, which you don’t need to know what that is, but if you do, you can understand more of the medical dialogue, but I took some futuristic creative liberties which may not make total medical sense; I just don’t care.

    “I… I always kinda regretted not knowing you when you had your accident. That’s dumb, I know, I was in Texas and you were on the East Coast, and we met at the right time for us, but I’ve always hated the idea of you being in the hospital for months and me not being with you. I am incredibly thankful we’ve been relatively fortunate with your health up until this point, don’t get me wrong. But now that we are here, and I don’t know what’s happening, I hate it. I hate being anxious and not able to do anything and being bored and not knowing you’re going to be okay.”

    “Sorry I’m boring you.”

    “Elvie? You’re awake.”

    “Am I? I can’t tell what’s a fever dream and what’s not. Do you normally yell at me when I’m sleeping?”

    “Only when I’m upset with you.”

    “Oh? You’re mad at me? What did I do now?”

    “The doctor was in here just a few minutes ago - I told her to just let you sleep. Your temperature is still 102 but your blood-pressure is down a little bit so we aren’t as concerned about you stroking out or having an aneurism. But you’re in full blown kidney failure. Blasting the stones worked but…”

    “We were too late catching it.”

    “Yeah, and who’s fault is that?”

    “So dialysis until they can grow a new pair for me?”

    “Actually they want to do a transplant until they can do the stem-cell printing. Mattie, Emilia, Ella, JJ, Miri, James, Marc, Leo, and I have all have done the testing to see who will be the best match - the doctors say probably one of the kids - and we’ll probably get the results in a few hours. You should get some rest.”

    “It feels like I’ve been sleeping for days.”

    “You have been. But at least one of us has gotten sleep.”

    “I’m sorry. Why don’t you go back to the house and get some sleep for a few hours?”

    “Are you sure?”

    “Yes, you are so grumpy when you are tired. Sleep in a real bed. Have a snack too.”

    “Okay, I just feel so horrible leaving-.”

    “Don’t, okay? I love you and I want you to get some rest. Let me take care of you.”

    “Okay. I love you too. I’ll send one of the kids to sit with you. Can I get you anything before I go?”

    “No. I think I’m almost about to fall back asleep.”

    “Okay. I’ll stay until you do.”

    “It’ll be pointless to argue with you, won’t it?”

    “I thought you would have learned that by now.”

    “Guess you’ll have to give me a refresher course once I’m out of here.”

    “Yeah, I plan to.”
  6. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I love this so much!! I mean, not that Elvie is so sick, but this conversation is so them!!

    I absolutely can see her feeling this, that things had to happen the way they did, but that she also wishes she'd been there with him. I love Rose so much!

    [face_laugh] I laughed so hard! Yes, Elvie, when you deserve it!

    I really love that they are so reasonable about her going home to get some sleep now that he's out of the woods. People don't know just how exhausting sitting the hospital with a loved one is. It sounds stupid because you aren't doing anything, but the mental strain is significant and takes a physical toll. And that person needs to be prepared to help out when the other comes home, so they can't be completed exhausted before that happens. I've so often seen people not be reasonable about it and it frustrates me. That was a long paragraph about basically nothing but to say, that spoke to me. :)
    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  7. Mira Grau

    Mira Grau Force Ghost star 5

    May 11, 2016
    Nice story, ignoring sympthoms so sickness is defenetly a dangerous thing so I can totally see why Rose is so upset over it. But staying at his side for so long also really underlines her comittment to her husband. great work. :)
    Kahara likes this.
  8. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Yeah she wouldn't have changed anything - not that she could have - but she also wishes she'd been there with him.
    Yeah he definitely deserves it!
    Yeah, I am definitely guilty of writing the trope of staying at a loved-one's side through the night, but it just isn't practical so I wanted to write a dose of realism: Elvie's going to be fine, she's not doing much there besides exhausting herself, and he's going to need her more when he gets home. Elvie and Rose are practical people and I love that about them.

    Thanks for reading. Yeah, Rose and Elvie are extremely committed to each other!
  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Luminous Beings Are We, Not this Crude Matter

    Timeframe: 2056

    Characters: Elvie/Rose

    A/N: I had like a bunch of half finished fics surrounding Elvie pre-shoulder replacement surgery but I could never think of an ending for them. Then I had the idea to combine them all but it still wasn’t quite what I wanted, and then I did the ‘old tactic’ of switching POVs and I LOVED the results. (Also note that Emilia identified as non-binary at this age).

    This was going to be 2 parts, but my muse kinda trailed off and left it unposted for awhile, but I’ve been down in the dumps as of late and bummed I can’t really write, and I just wanted to post something, so I decided to post this.

    Weekday mornings in the Santos house were hectic. The Vice President and Second Lady were up by 6 am to get ready for their days (which included Rose often tripping over Elvie as she tried to get into the shower), they got the kids up by 7, and everyone was out of the door by 8, or so in theory. But it never worked out that way (her mother-in-law referred to the phenomenon as genetic and chronic ‘Santos Mean Time’). Things had gone off the rails first thing this morning, so it was now 7:37 and Rose, alone, was attempting to get food into her children’s stomachs and get them off to school (transportation curtesy of the United States Secret Service).

    It was just over three weeks before summer holidays, so the kids were being particularly rambunctious. “Matthew, you and your dad spent eight hours on that diorama. Do you really think shoving it in your backpack is the best idea? Get another bag!” she scolded her oldest child as she wiped the egg and ketchup off of her middle child’s face. She was wearing a purple blouse and a black skirt with pantyhose. Her hair was up in a bun.

    “Maaaa?” Ella said, approaching her mother with her pink backpack wide open. “I need you to sign this permission slip so I can go on the year-end field trip. It’s due today.”

    “Okay, okay. Em! Go brush your teeth!” she yelled over her shoulder as she made her way into her office to find a pen, Ella on her heels. “So where are you guys going and why didn’t you give this to me to sign before this morning? Secret Service is going to have to be informed,” she murmured to herself.

    Ella giggled. “But Mom, we are going to The White House!”

    Rose burst out laughing. “You’re kidding, right?”

    “JJ’s class is coming too! We’re going to sneak off and go bug Uncle Leo! Dad too… if he’s not being a lazy-butt who won’t get out of bed!”

    This disaster of a chaotic morning had all began because Elvie had experienced a rough night with his shoulder pain (again); his shoulder replacement scheduled in four weeks could not come soon enough. When the alarm went off at 6, Elvie decided he just needed a half-an-hour more sleep, so Rose had eaten breakfast on her own, and was in the shower when she had heard the thud and string of curses.

    Elvie had failed at his transfer due to his shoulder giving out and had ended up on the floor. Rose had gotten him back into bed, but it had taken awhile and ended up having to leave him there while she alone got the kids off.

    Rose took a moment to lean on her knees to put the permission slip safely in the 6-year-old’s planner in the backpack. She knew Ella was just goofing around, but was unsure how Elvie might take it if he heard it. “Please don’t call your dad that. He’s in a lot of pain right now. When your sick, we give you a little more love and rest. Well, your dad just needs more love and rest with his surgery coming up. Now go to school. Have an awesome day and do good,” she said before kissing Ella’s forehead.

    It was 8:03 by the time Rose had all the kids off. She had already called her office and had let them know she’d be an hour late and to get a junior associate take her first meeting.

    She carried a tray of tea and toast upstairs and into the master bedroom… and was wholly unsurprised to be greeted by an empty bed. “Leo-Vincente!” she growled, setting the tray on the bed, and stocking into the bathroom. Elvie was on the toilet. “What the hell are you doing?”

    “My bowel routine,” he said as it was obvious. “Do I need to describe it in detail?”

    She sighed and looked down at the tile floor, “I can either yell at you now and we’ll both be miserable in addition to being late for work, or I can help you get ready and we can talk over lunch.”

    “Uh,” he stalled. “Can you wipe my butt?” he asked as an indicator of his decision of the second option. Rose had to do such a task before (rarely, thankfully; only if he was really sick or drunk), but he couldn’t recall ever having to explicitly ask her. “I don’t think I can lean and balance with my bad arm while I wipe,” he said, indicating his right arm, which he was holding to his body. ”And I don’t want you to have to pick me off the floor for a second time this morning.”

    She nodded. “Put your good arm around me.” He did as she asked, and she just hugged him, rubbing his back, lifting up his (hole-ridden) grey pyjama shirt and massaging the spot on his back, right where his spinal cord injury was. She leaned her cheek on top of his head. “I love you, my mushy-moo-Elvie-poo.”

    He chuckled. “I love you too.”

    She leaned him forward, grabbed the wipes, and began her task.

    “I guess this is why we took vows,” he said, just to say something.

    “Yeah, something like this.”

    * * *

    Rose made sure she had a light day (technically she actually only worked part-time so she could also take care of her children so shuffling her work wasn’t too much of an issue). She took off for lunch a bit early, stopped by a deli by her work (with her single secret service agent) and got two sandwiches and two berry smoothies. She carried them along with a quilt from “her” (Secret Service) car.

    As the Vice President’s wife, it was fairly easy for her to get in the West Wing. She made her way through the halls to Elvie’s office. “Hey, Phil, hey Lee-Ann,” she said, stopping at Elvie’s secretary’s desk. Lee-Ann was… weird, but efficient. Beside her was Philip, Elvie’s body-man, doing paperwork at his desk. “How grumpy was he this morning?”

    “Fairly,” Lee-Ann replied, pursing her lips. “The Vice President has been interviewing potential new body-men for the past two hours. The head of Secret Service heard he fell this morning and was alarmed by the idea of him hitting his head and having to go the hospital unplanned. So Agent Elwood decided he wanted a body-man on him at all times - at least until his shoulder heals after the surgery. So the Vice President has to hire another two so they can be rotated with Phillip and have someone on him 24/7. I heard him mutter something about not needing a nurse or babysitter.”

    Rose rolled her eyes. “He certainly does. Is he alone?”

    “He’s just in with the last interview for this morning, but he told me to tell you to knock.”

    Rose nodded and knocked.

    “Come in!” Elvie called. Rose entered the Vice President’s Office to see her husband smiling up at her from behind his desk - he was wearing a dark navy button down with a grey tie and grey slacks (they had forgone dressing him in his usual 3 piece suit for both ease of dressing him and for comfort); he had his right arm in a sling giving his shoulder a break. Across from him was a handsome, buff young man with flowing blonde hair. “Erik, this is my beautiful wife, Roseamie. Rose, this is Erik Nilsson. He was part of the US Olympic Gymnastic team that won bronze. He will be joining Philip as one of my body-men while I recover from my surgery.”

    Erik stood to shake her hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ma’am. I also worked as a nursing assistant and I hope to be able to help both your husband and you in this time both before the surgery and afterwards.”

    “Thank you,” Rose said. “It’s probably going to be a boring job, but you are going to be a great help to us.” She turned back to Elvie. “I thought we could go have a picnic in the Rose Garden and talk?”

    Elvie looked glumly at Erik. “And talk,” he mocked. “I’m in for it. Do you want to do your first transfer with me? Then I’ll let you go meet with payroll before you are harangued by the Secret Service? If you thought applying for this job was rough, wait till you are officially a new employee.” Elvie opened a drawer and pulled out a gait belt.

    Rose was shocked. She knew what a gait belt was - a simple belt that could quickly go around Elvie’s waist to give a handhold to whoever was helping Elvie with his transfers, but Elvie never used one. He didn’t like the extra step if it wasn’t needed; Rose just grabbed him by the butt and if the Secret Service was transferring him, they just kinda grabbed what limb was available.

    The transfer seemed to go okay, but Erik was clearly going very slow and Elvie was clearly trying to be patient. Elvie was explaining what he liked step by step and Erik was repeating it. Erik transferred Elvie from his office chair to his wheelchair and finished up by helping Elvie put his feet on the footplate.

    “Thank you, Erik. I will see you tomorrow morning.”

    When Erik left, Rose just stared at Elvie in his wheelchair. “He’s so hot!” she exclaimed under her breath. “Like Norse GOD HOT! Marc is going to approve SOOOO MUCH! I see why you hired him!”

    “I hired him because his resume was excellent, not so you and Marc could swoon over him,” Elvie said, rolling his eyes but not moving to greet her as he normally would have.

    “Yeah… I’d like to watch him eat a pie.” Momentarily, Rose thought her husband might be upset with her, but then she remembered his shoulder so she moved to him, leaning down and kiss him. “Fine. I guess I’ll settle for you. Wanna hold this while I push you?”

    He nodded and took the food from her. She pushed him out to the Rose Garden. Philip and their Secret Agents followed, but kept their distance.

    “Do you want to sit on the grass or would you rather sit at a bench?” she asked as a way to ask ‘do you feel like transferring to the ground or do you want to stay in your wheelchair?’

    “We can sit at that bench over there,” Elvie said, pointing to a bench in a grove of trees.

    Rose parked him, sat on the bench, and they divided the food.

    “So,” Rose said, unwrapping her sandwich. “I’ve been thinking about ways and things we can get to make your - and my - life easier during your recovery.”

    “Me too. The 24-hour body-men will be a start, but I think we should also get one of those bidet attachments for our toilet so no one has to wipe my butt; or more specifically, so I don’t have to ask anyone to wipe my butt.”

    Rose laughed and nodded. “Okay, but I’m ordering it because I want one of those fancy temperature control ones. I don’t care if you can’t feel temperature on your butt, I can.” She then sighed and took his hand. “I have a few ideas and I don’t think you’re going to like any of them.”

    “Well, I don’t like the idea of getting my shoulder replaced, but I have to do that so I’m going to be miserable anyway.” He leaned forward and kissed her. “But I’m going to try not to be too crabby. So I’m willing to do stuff - like hire more body-men and actually ask them to do things for me - to make your life easier.”

    “Okay, first I want you to get a power wheelchair - just to use around the house for when you are recovering. I think it will give you so much more independence.”

    He smiled at her. “I’ve already requested one for a loan from the VA. I figured it’s summer, I don’t want to be cooped in the bedroom. I’ll appreciate it when I wanna get outside with the kids or go on evening walks with you and actually have you beside me.”

    She grinned at him. “That sounds nice! You know what else sounds nice? An adjustable bed frame.”

    He glared at her.

    “I’ve given this a lot of thought,” she began to explain, “It will be so much easier for me if I can transfer you to and from a seated position. You’ll also be able to sit up and position yourself on your own and you can be sneaky and work from bed without me knowing.” She tried to sell it. “I also just really want an excuse to get one so I can put my feet up and read in bed.”

    “But what about…” he whispered. “Intimacy? I don’t want to basically have two separate beds.”

    “We can try to make it work: we can get a super stretchy bottom sheet - Lord knows your mom can probably make us something ; we can communicate and tell each other when we want me to join you on your half of the bed so I can jump your bones; and I doubt either one of us will want to sleep sitting up. I’ll give you control of both remotes during the day. Elv, I will always want to spoon you and give you a kiss goodnight. We can just try it for your recovery and if you truly hate it, we can switch back. It’s better than me forcing you to rent a hospital bed to put in our room.”

    “Fine,” Elvie muttered, “We can go look at our options one evening. Knowing you, I’m assuming you’ve already done so much research online and know exactly what you want to try out.”

    “I have a fair idea. The last thing… I just want to remind you is that Dr. Halsom disagreed with how far out we scheduled the surgery. She said the more strain you put on the muscles and ligaments, the harder the surgery will be and the longer the recovery time. If we call, I’m sure she can move it forward.”

    “Rose,” Elvie said, slightly annoyed. “We scheduled this surgery after the kids were out of school for a reason. They have so much coming up in the next few weeks that they’ll want me to be a part of. Ella’s and JJ’s classes are going to come to the White House and Leo and I were going to surprise them by being chaperones. Then we have Mattie’s final assembly. I wanna see him get his reward. And Em’s piano recital.”

    “You’re in pain,” she stated bluntly. “This could affect your health and long term abilities.”

    “Rose,” Elvie sighed. “You don’t get it. I still wanna be their dad. They miss out on so much stuff because of my disability and my job, I don’t want them to have to miss out on this stuff too, just because I’m in pain.”

    “The kids are old enough - and so compassionate - to know your hurting right now. I don’t think its helping anyone right now; you lying to them and telling them you’re okay when your not. We want to teach our kids to be open with their feelings. So, I’m calling a family meeting tonight.”

    Elvie narrowed his eyes.

    “Can you knock it off with the Alexander Hamilton?”

    He inhaled and began to sing, “There’s a million things I haven’t done, but-.”

    She - forcefully - poked his shoulder.


    They laughed together.

    * * *

    Rose was in the kitchen making dinner when Elvie returned home from work. He just glared at her as he parked next to a long side table (their “put stuff here to deal with later” place) and began to take off his jacket and tie.

    Three heads popped their heads in the doorframe. “Are we having the meeting now that Dad’s home?” Em asked.

    “I’m telling you,” Ella said, sauntering around the corner. “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it.”

    Rosamie chuckled. “We’re here because of your dad,” she said as she washed her hands.

    Elvie sighed as he looked at his kids. “Take a seat you three. We need to talk about something important.”

    “Uh, oh,” Em said, pulling out a chair and sitting beside their brother.

    “No one is in trouble,” Elvie assured his kids, rolling to his spot at the table and resting his arm on it. “It’s just about my shoulder surgery.” The entire family was now at the table - except for Rose, who was getting Elvie’s sling out of his suit pocket and putting it on him. “I know the original plan was for me to be around during all your end-of-school stuff, then ship you all off to Grandpa Angelo’s and Grandma Mary Joy’s so I can be a whiny baby alone. But the doctors want to do the surgery sooner. They can get me in on Monday so, if you guys are okay with me not being around for all your end of school stuff, I’m going to have the surgery now.”

    “Dad, have it now!” Em blurted. “You’re in pain, and you can fix your body now.”

    Mattie nodded. “We don’t care if you’re not at our end-of-year stuff. The sooner you get it done, the sooner we can all do fun things together. Can we start going for bike-rides and play tennis again once your shoulder heals?”

    “Absolutely,” Elvie said with a smile. He and Mattie hadn’t had played tennis in quite a few years. Elvie had always enjoyed wheelchair tennis and was looking forward to playing ‘mixed-abilities’ tennis with him again and maybe teaching Ella and Em how to play.

    But Ellie was frowning. “But what about my field trip to the White House? I wanted to show all friends how cool my dad is.”

    “Well,” Rose said, interrupting Elvie’s look of pure guilt - with a hint of ego at being called “cool” by his six-year-old daughter. “That’s not till your last week, three weeks from now. Your dad will probably be up and using his power wheelchair for a few hours every day. And he’s probably going to be going crazy so maybe - if he behaves during the first few days of his recovery -,” she said, glaring at him, “-then Dad can go into work for a few minutes and talk to all your friends about how pointless your dad’s job is.”

    Elvie didn’t roll his eyes at his wife’s joke. Ella was too busy climbing over the table to give her dad a hug.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  10. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I love this so, so much!!

    Man, I was feeling stressed just reading about it! LOL!

    Bahaha... I laughed so hard! And then when she talked about her and JJ sneaking off, man, that's so great! I think I need this story! ;)

    [face_love] You can feel so much love here. Of course Elvie doesn't want to need that kind of help, but he does, and we know Rose doesn't mind. But the love I got from this little end section of that scene.... it's beautiful!

    hahah... this made me chuckle! And then Lee-Ann's honesty about Elvie being grumpy!

    I loved this line because it said to me that Elvie was already feeling comfortable with Erik to joke about his wife in front of him. He'd never do that with someone he didn't think would understand or he didn't at least somewhat trust.

    Ahhhhh.... [face_laugh]
    I love how she held it together, completely professional (of course!) until he was gone and then lost it! I can just hear Rose and Marc talking about him now!

    Okay, so we totally got one of these and it's a game changer. Heated seat, temp control water. Sorry, that might have been TMI, but I'm a convert and will sing the praises to everyone! :p

    I love that she knows exactly how to sell it to him, with work and that she wants it too. Of course those things are absolutely true, but it's mostly to help them with his care. But sometimes you gotta just know how to sell it!

    Yep, totally need this story!! :D :D


    :( I love how the older kids are completely understanding and really want their dad to get better faster, even if it means he misses some things. I can completely understand why Elvie wants to put it off, but sometimes you gotta give your kids the responsibility to help choose as well. But poor Ellie isn't quite old enough to do it, all she hears is she's going to miss out on something she was looking forward to, and that's okay. But it makes me want to give her a big hug!

    I just loved this look at their family dynamics!=D=
  11. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I actually love the West Wing. I actually signed up to the streaming service just so I could watch it from the beginning as I'd only ever seen either clips or the odd show. I'm glad that the OC challenge lead me here. Now I just need to make some time this holidays to go back all the way to the beginning!
    Findswoman and Briannakin like this.
  12. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Lol, I know. I remember back to when my siblings and I were all in school and it was like "how did mom do it?"
    So, I REALLY wanna write this story and even had the beginning starting to form in my head... and then it vanished before I could write it down. I hope it comes back!
    Yeah, Elvie doesn't want to need her help, but he does and he loves that she doesn't mind giving it to him.
    Lee-Ann has probably dealt with Elvie on his worst days... that woman needs a raise!
    I think it also speaks to how "normal" Elvie's and Rose's relationship is and how open they are with the fact that they are a normal couple: is wife is pissed with him... perfectly normal!

    And, I think you gotta trust a person who you hire to be your body man, particularly when he might literally be carrying you during a nuclear evacuation.

    So I had this scene with Marc and Rose fawning over a Secret Service Agent (from a distance) and it just cracked me up because it was so them to keep themselves occupied during a boring state dinner by picking out all the hot secret service agents. Unfortunately I haven't been able to work it into a fic, but I just had to have a bit of that here.

    People have tried to convert me but I haven't pulled the trigger yet (I'm scared of shooting water!)
    Yeah, you gotta know your audience. But as a person with an adjustable bed, they are AWESOME!!
    I WANT MY MUSE TO COOPERATE SOO MUCH. Or, you know, you could write it :D
    Oh so many Ham references! I just watched the original cast recording and yup, it still fits!
    Thanks. Yeah they are just at the age when the older two get it, but Ella doesn't quite understand yet.

    Hopefully the muse will eventually let me write a part 2 to this!

    It's a really great show! This fic series kinda has a mind of its own, but it's fun. Thanks for reading!
    Kit' likes this.
  13. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Forever and Always
    2055 (with flashbacks)
    Characters: Elvie/Rose

    A/N: So my muse was plugging away on some fics I just kinda felt “meh” about, but I’m writing them because its just something relaxing and creative to do (and what else am I going to do?), AND THEN THIS RANDOMLY HIT ME AND I LOVED IT SO MUCH. “I Will Hold You Forever” (the fic I wrote for your wedding) is one of my favourite fluffy fics in this series. So, it hit me to do something similar for Elvie/Rose. Anyways, this sat unposted for awhile (I think because this is the last story I have finished and I normally have a bunch in various stages but this is it. I’m sure there will be more stories, whenever the muse and the body begin to work again), but I just watched Hamilton and, you know, Vice President jokes!

    The Vice President rolled into his new bedroom completely exhausted. He barely had the cognitive energy to take in the dramatic transformation of the decor over the past 12 hours. Gone were the red drapes and bulky wood furniture of the former residents of Number One Observatory Circle, replaced with cool blues and greys and rustic chic distressed white furniture set. Leo-Vincente Santos leaned forward to untie his dress shoes and tried not to fall asleep in the position.

    His wife, barefoot, rubbed his shoulders as she walked past him and dumped her heels in the corner. By the fact that she didn’t bother to keep things neat and tidy, Elvie could tell Rosamie was exhausted. That, and the fact that she flopped onto the bed on her back, still in her light blue lace gown. She had his black tuxedo jacket around her shoulders.

    Elvie discarded his shoes as well and rolled up next to her, smiling as he took her hand and looked down at her. “You looked so beautiful tonight.”

    “Even after eight inaugural balls?” she asked, her makeup faded and her curls now straight.

    “Yeah,” he beamed before leaning over her and kissing her.

    “Lord, I can’t believe Leo and Marc were going to try to get to two more balls.”

    “Well, in our defence, they didn’t have to go all day in heels or a wheelchair.”

    “You want a back-rub?” she asked.

    “You want a foot-rub?” he replied.

    She laughed. “I got an idea. But your going to have to help me take this dress off. I can’t reach the zipper!”

    Elvie made a sensual growling noise in the back of his throat. But it quickly turned into a tired laugh. “I think you’re going to have to help me change too.”

    “Always,” she said as he offered her a hand to help her get up. She pulled off his bow-tie and he growled again.

    As they made their way to the ensuite bathroom, Elvie paused at some photos the decorators had put on the wall. Most were of the kids, but the one that made him stop was of him and his dad when Elvie was just a toddler - just 3 years old. The picture had been taken in the Rose Garden. President Matt Santos had little Elvie on his shoulders. Elvie seemed to recall that the picture was taken during his dad’s infamous turkey pardon speech in 2012. The speech had been written as more as a conversation to take advantage of little Elvie’s tenancy to ask (non-stop) “what’s tat?” and “why?”.

    Rose leaned down to wrap her arms around his shoulders. “He’d be so proud of you.”

    “Yeah.” Elvie nodded and they just sat in silence for a moment. “Though he would have been cracking just as many Vice President jokes as you do. He loved you too, so much. That always meant so much to me. He’d give all credit to where we are right now to you, and he’d be right.”

    * * *

    Groggily, Elvie rolled into his parents’ kitchen. He had spent the night at his parents’ ranch with all his groomsmen and groomswomen after the rehearsal dinner. There had been drinking and boardgames . He reached and flicked on some kettle for some tea.

    “How are you feeling?” Elvie looked over to the breakfast table to see his dad drinking coffee with his two groomswomen, Miranda and Josie.

    “Tired,” Elvie grumbled, getting his favourite tea and an infuser. He narrowed his eyes at Josie. “Someone were making the drinks way too strong last night.”

    Josie shrugged. “You needed to relax.”

    “I need coffee to not make me poo my pants,” Elvie grumbled back.

    His dad got up and began taking over making Elvie’s tea. His dad was wearing jeans and an old white t-shirt. His grey and white hair was neatly combed and he was clean-shaven. He must have been up for at least an hour. “I’ve got banana waffle batter ready. Let me make you breakfast.”

    “Dad, I can make my own breakfast,” Elvie whined. “And I’m not that hungry anyways.” His stomach was in knots from the nerves.

    “I know, I know, but this has become a bit of a tradition for me. I made breakfast for your brother and sister on the morning of their weddings. Let me make you something to eat and some nice mint tea. It’ll help the flip-flops your stomach is doing.” His dad smiled. “Go sit out in the sunroom. Mom and I will join you in a minute.”

    Elvie went out to the sunroom to sit in the dreary December rain. Why did they decide to get married in December.

    And then he remembered.

    His mom and dad walked out. His dad was carrying a tray of three mugs and three plates of waffles. His mom had her hand in his dad’s back pocket.

    “Happy anniversary!” he exclaimed.

    Both his mom and dad smiled as they sat on a wicker love-seat. “Thank you, Honey,” his mom said, giving him his plate of waffles.

    “I really hope you don’t mind spending your 46th wedding anniversary getting my butt down the aisle.”

    “Elvie,” his dad sighed with a smile. “There’s no happier way I can think we can spend today then witnessing the happiest day of our baby’s life.” His dad leaned forward and hugged Elvie. “We are so proud of you. You and Rose are such a delight to see together. We see the love and commitment you guys have for each-other and it makes us so overjoyed to see you both so happy.”

    Elvie hugged his dad back. “Thanks Dad. I just hope your speech tonight won’t be that sappy,” he burst out in nervous laughter.

    His dad cuffed him upside the head.

    * * *

    After an intimate shower, Rose and Elvie snuggled on their bed under a handmade quilt. She was leaned against pillows and the headboard and he was leaned against her. She had her legs around his waist and he was rubbing her feet while she rubbed his shoulders.

    “God, that feels so nice,” she said as he rubbed her ankles. “I’m so glad I married you.”

    He leaned back so his head was on her shoulder. “So today wasn’t completely a nightmare.”

    She kissed him. “Not completely. I’m actually so proud of you. My handsome, intelligent husband.” A wicked grin crossed her face. “And we didn’t even have to deal with a code brown today.”

    Elvie laughed. “I hate you so much.

    * * *

    They were running late, but no one was really surprised. Thankfully all his grooms-people were being ushered into the SUVs by his mom. He was rolling down the walkway when he froze.

    No. No. No no no no!

    Not today.


    He was all dressed in his three piece tuxedo, his hair was slicked, and he had even allowed his sister to apply foundation.

    “Elvie, is everything okay?” his dad asked, putting his hand on Elvie’s shoulder. “Not getting cold feet are you?”

    Elvie didn’t take the bait. He just whispered. “Dad, we got a code brown.”

    And it was a code brown that required a shower. His dad got his mom and several of his grooms people and before he knew it, his best man - his brother - was helping him undress. He had heard Leo volunteer to go to the closest dry-cleaners.

    “Can I please just have my phone?” he asked after Peter, Miranda and Josie had showered him. He was in a towel, feeling so embarrassed. In the past few years, he had learned to roll with bowl slips, but he was mortified this was happening on his wedding day. “I just wanna text Rose myself.”

    Josie - who had taken his cellphone from him last night - nodded and handed it to him from her blazer pocket.

    Elvie texted his fiancée: “Hello my love. Happy wedding day. I am so sorry. I’m dealing with a code brown so I’m going to be like an hour late. I love you.”

    Her immediate response just confirmed she was the one for him: “BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. But seriously. Are you okay? Do you need anything from me?”

    “Just wait for me at the alter.”

    “Forever and always.”

    * * *

    Elvie grunted as he tried to position his pillows. Falling asleep in a new place was bad enough, but he was pretty sure the movers must have of vacuumed packed their pillows (to be fair they did have a lot of pillows). Plus today had been long and exhausting and his back hurt.

    “Elv? You want me to get you something?” she hadn’t even turned off the lamp yet.

    “Um,” he said, opening the bedside table. It was unsurprisingly empty. He sighed. He normally kept pain relief in his bedside table (Rose had all the fun stuff in her nightstand). “Can you get me a Robax?”

    “Yeah,” she said, rolling out of bed. She was wearing a baggie t-shirt and underwear. It was so cold in DC, she was going to need pyjama pants. “I know you hate it, but you should try laying on your stomach. Maybe it will help stretch those muscles.”

    He grumbled as she left. She knew him too well. He rolled onto his stomach. He hated it, but he did feel better. There were few surprises in this marriage… not that it was a bad thing. But of course they kept things fresh and there were the little surprises. The good surprises.

    * * *

    Elvie felt like he was going to be sick. He was sure he was going to have another incident. They were already running late so Peter transferred him and pushed him into the Cathedral as his groomspeople followed. All the guests were already seated, so as per Catholic tradition (and they had decided to go by the book just to limit some decisions), the groom, best man and priest were to first to enter and did so via the side door.

    As the procession began Peter took a black gait belt out of his pocket and wrapped it around Elvie’s waist. His grooms-people winked at him as they took their potions.

    Elvie’s parents entered with Rose’s mom.

    Then Roses’ Brides-people in deep red.

    Elvie’s niece and nephew were the flower-girl and ring bearer.

    And then the priest requested, “May we all stand for the bride and her father?”

    Everyone rose, including Elvie. His brother and sister grabbed him by the gait belt; Leo and Josie knelt at his feet to lock his knees. They had practiced this so Elvie could ‘stand’ with no medical devices.

    Rose appeared in the doorway, at the beginning of the aisle. She entered on the arm of her father to Canon in D.

    She took his breath away. If he could feel his legs, they’d be weak.

    She was so, so beautiful. Her dress was a delicate white lace with long sleeves and a high collar. Her veil framed her face.

    She paused when she saw him, and momentarily covered her mouth before continuing to walk, just a bit faster than what they had rehearsed.

    She reached him and before her father could give her away, Rose hugged Elvie. They were both crying and smiling.

    Rose took Elvie’s belt and sat him back down herself.

    * * *

    Rose gently rubbed Elvie’s ear. Both were too exhausted for anything else, but they had found a comfortable position for them both: he was in her arms facing her and she was just rubbing all the places he loved.

    “I love you,” she said softly with a smile.

    “I love you too.”
  14. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I finally got the time that I knew I'd be able to read and review. I'd started to the other day but then got pulled away.

    I hope so because I love it so, so much! (But I want your body to work again so that it works, not so I get more stories! )

    I love this image! This might sound weird but it feels very warm to me. Not in the literal sense where she's wearing his jacket but in a figurative sense because she's wearing his jacket. It just made me happy.

    [face_love][face_love] I love how much Elvie adores her, it comes through especially here. She probably feels like a wreck but we know he truly means it.


    This is so bittersweet, that neither Josh or Matt got to see this moment. But Rose is right, he'd be so proud and cracking jokes! And again with how much Elvie loves Rose and makes sure she knows it and that he appreciates her even after they've been married for awhile.

    Haha! I mean, it's not funny but just the idea of morning grumpy Elvie saying that to his dad and his friends cracked me up.

    OH NO!! I mean, I kinda thought something was coming from the above foreshadowing but I still was like "Noooo!!!" when I read it. What a terrible feeling anytime, but especially then. But I love all of his friends and family just doing what needs to be done to make it work! [face_love]

    HAHAHAHA!!! I of course already knew they were perfect for each other but if I didn't know, this would certainly confirm it! But also it was sweet because she immediately jumped to what can I do?

    I'm not crying, someone is cutting onions.

    Okay, I'm crying. That was so beautiful!

    What an amazing story for Elvie and Rose!!! @};-@};- I love it!!
  15. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    My muse is back and I got an ergonomic keyboard so life is just a bit better. But I seriously want to sing this keyboard's praises. I didn't think it would help any but oh god it does! I mean, I still cant type all day and I'll never be stupid and attempt NANO but I most days can still get in an hour or two of fanfic writing in after typing all day for work. Weekends are even better now that I don't have to rest my wrists.
    I totally understand. There's a pic of the Obamas right after the first inauguration balls and she's wearing his jacket it's just so sweet.
    Thanks. They obviously adore each other and Elvie probably looks at her with *that look* and sometimes that's hard to write
    Sometimes I wonder if I'm lazy for not being able to do everything abled bodied people do, and then someone reminds me I'm using sa wheelchair and I'm like "oh... yeah"
    I know. I hope a bunny one day bites for an AU EXTREMELY OLD MAN Josh and Matt fic but so far, noting. But of course Rose (and Marc) is still there to crack the jokes her father-in-law would have made. And I think after everything Elvie has put Rose through, she deserves to be appreciated.
    Morning grumpy Elvie is so much fun to write.
    Hahaha. I didn't even realize I had forshadowed it but I totally did!
    I just love that they can laugh together and she makes him laugh and feel better about the situation. It might seem callous but I think its beautiful!
    Damn ninjas!

    I'm so happy you enjoyed! I love writing these two so in love!!
  16. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Planes and Change
    Timeframe: November 2033 (with flashback)
    Characters: Matt and Elvie
    A/N: This was written for Autumn bingo. I chose the following word line: quilt+changing leaves+reap+sweater+bounty

    Normally I try to make my challenge fics at least somewhat accessible to people unfamiliar with The West Wing/“The Mav and Bri”-verse, but my muse has been a complete butt for pretty much the entire summer so I decided not to push my muse too far. I tried to explain a bit in-story, if only to jog my own memory (some of this was inspired by my 2017 diary and part is from a cut entry of that diary), but this might not be the best vignette to hop into.

    Medical details are glossed over because this probably isn’t very accurate. Also, I feel as though I didn’t the challenge or this story justice - it kinda feels like brain vomit, but sometimes you gotta vomit out all the gross stuff to get to writing good stuff I think. Near the end of writing this my muse started to get distracted by other ideas (get ready for some Leo/Marc angsty-mush!) and it was coming down to the challenge due date and this fic was getting long and drawn out for no real reason. I think my original ending was going to be Elvie on a plane as president-elect but I completely forgot about that part until I realized I had it in the “timeframe” section. Oh well. Maybe a part 2 is needed.

    Elvie never thought he had a favourite season… but he did. He loved autumn. There was something so comforting about wearing a favourite cosy sweater, cuddling up with a homemade quilt, just sitting, drinking warm tea and gazing out at the changing leaves (and leaf peeping jokes always made him think of his late-godfather). Though he was outgoing, he was a bit of an introvert. He liked time alone and the excuse of the cold weather to just sit by himself in peace.

    Elvie needed this moment: in his new Prussian Blue chunky knit “old man” sweater, with a worn quilt made by his mom when he was a little boy draped over his lap. He just sipped at his white tea as he looked over the hospital courtyard. The rows of oak trees seemed to almost be alight with reds, oranges and yellows. This summer had sucked, he had been on the Air-Force base nearly all summer… and then he had crashed an experimental fighter jet, got paralyzed from the waist down and spent the rest of the summer, and much of the autumn in this hospital room.

    And he was trying to be calm; embracing the zen of the moment. Which was easy because he was drugged out of his mind. His doctors had him on new pain medication after his most recent surgery (his shoulder reconstruction)… four days ago? The drugs were messing with his brain, putting him in such a fog that he could drift to and out of sleep without realizing it. The medication was somehow more effective (but less fun) than the cocktail of drugs he had been on when he was first injured. He was just stupid and he didn’t like it. He was going to ask to be taken off of them, just as soon as he survived today.

    Today he was being transferred from Walter Reed in DC to DeBakey medical centre in Houston. He was glad he was ’stable’ enough after two months to be moved, and he was looking forward to being closer to his family (he had a three-week-old niece he had yet to meet), but he was dreading how his brain was going to act during the flight. He was having panic attacks and nightmares. And he hated seeing his parents react to the deterioration of his mental health.

    So he tried not to think about anything, except people watching.

    “Elvie? Elvie?” It took Elvie a few moments to realize his dad was softly trying to wake him. He had drifted off without realizing it.

    “Oh, hi.” Elvie groggily placed his now cold tea on a table. “I really didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

    “It’s fine,” his dad said as he zipped up a back-pack. Elvie disagreed, he had been hoping to sleep for the entire flight. “Your brother just texted me. He’s on his way back from the grocery store, then we will be on our way.”

    Elvie nodded mutely. The past two weeks of his recovery had been a bit of a shuffle. His sister had given birth to her first kid, so Elvie had forced his parents to go back to Houston to visit her. They didn’t want to leave Elvie alone, so they had sent his brother to stay with him (like needed some babysitter). Then the arrangements for Elvie to be transferred to Houston had started so everyone figured it would be easier Peter stayed and just their dad came back to help.

    Elvie felt so guilty for breaking his family up - even if it was just temporary. But things would be better once he survived this plane trip.

    To think, he used to love flying, first with his dad in his tiny plane, then fighter jets. Now the idea made Elvie so queasy that he had struggled to eat for the past two days.

    “I’ve reaped a bounty of snacks,” Peter declared, coming into the hospital room with a tote bag full of junk food.

    Their father looked in disappointment. “It’s a three hour flight.”

    “Yeah, then someone needs to stock Elvie’s snack cupboard in his new hospital room.”

    “Technically its a rehab centre.” Elvie corrected. “And you better have gotten me Twizzlers.”

    There then was a knock at the door and two Air Force nurses entered - Lieutenant Kim and Lieutenant Nygun. He was going to need complete help for the trip. But thankfully the nurses came with (more) drugs.

    * * *

    Matt had seen his son fairly stoned over the past couple of months. It was hard to see Elvie so out of it because Matt new his son hated sleeping away hours, but Matt preferred it when Elvie just wasn’t in pain. But the anti-anxiety drugs had completely rewind the hands of time. Elvie was awake, but barely responsive. Like a baby, he just wanted to hold his dad’s hands. The nurses assured Matt that it was normal - they wanted Elvie to be awake for the transfers so he could help them by maintaining his centre of balance.

    It had been a delicate process getting Elvie in the SUV, to the airport hangar and into the plane. Thankfully they were taking a private gulf stream curtesy of First Gentleman Sam Seaborn. Elvie had been placed in a seat for take off, but there was was a bed in the back.

    After Elvie was leaned back and settled in with pillows and blankets, Matt sat beside him. “You comfortable?”

    Elvie just smiled.

    “I have your tablet and noise cancelling headphones. Do you want to -.”

    “Sir?” the pilot interrupted Matt. “I am Commander Peralta, this is Captain Santiago. We are going to be flying you and your sons back to Houston. Let us know if you need anything.”

    Matt smiled. “Thanks.”

    When the pilots made their way to the cockpit, he turned back to Elvie. His son had become pale and twitchy. Elvie was starting to freak out… but Matt had dealt with worse during a flight: a colicky Elvie. This flight was going to be easier.

    Matt adjusted Elvie’s pillow and tucked him in a bit more. “Do you want me hook both my headphones and yours up to your tablet? I think I can do that with bluetooth. Then we can watch a movie together? You said you downloaded Lord of the Rings for the trip?”

    Elvie nodded. He enjoyed Tolkien but that wasn’t the reason why he picked Fellowship of the Rings. Elvie could never stay awake through any of the Lord of the Rings movies no matter how hard he tried, even when he wasn’t drugged out of his mind. Plus at over 3 hours long, he wouldn’t have to worry about changing the movie if he did drift in and out of sleep.

    While Matt set the movie up, the plane’s engine started up. Elvie stayed surprisingly calm. He felt safe with his dad next to him, and especially when his dad propped the tablet up on the small table and snuggled with Elvie. Elvie - unashamed - pressed his head into his dad’s chest. Matt absentmindedly played with Elvie hair.

    Elvie was asleep before the prologue finished.

    Matt sighed. “I really wish I had known that trick 23 years ago.”

    * * *

    23 years earlier

    November 2010

    Helen Santos sat on the edge of the hospital bed. Approximately 12 hours ago, white supremacists had attempted to assassinate her, her husband, and their unborn child. Approximately six hours hours ago she had given birth to her son, Leo-Vincente Santos.

    It had been a rough few hours for the First Lady and her husband.

    “So what’s the plan again?” she asked, rubbing her temple. She felt like she looked: a mess. Her entire body hurt and her head throbbed. All she wanted to do was curl up and sleep. The thin military issue medical gown clung to her sweaty body. After the assassination attempt - but before the birth - she had been rushed to a military base.

    Her husband frowned. “‘Len? You feeling alright?” Matt was still wearing the same suit pants as he wore yesterday, his jacket and tie were long-gone, and his shirt was unbuttoned revealing his undershirt, now stained with baby-spit-up. He held his son to his chest. The newly named Leo-Vincente didn’t look much better than his parents (but at least he got to sleep) - someone had procured a pair of white footie pyjamas and a standard white receiving blanket. It made Helen so disappointed. At the White House she had a hospital bag packed with so many homemade colourful baby quilts and receiving blankets, cute pyjamas, baby hats, even an adorable suit for the baby to wear home (not to mention a very expensive nursing robe for herself). “Helen?”

    She tried to glare at him, but she realized his concern to her question was legitimate: She had been diagnosed with a mild concussion and Ron Butterfield - head of the Secret Service had just been in here explaining what the plan was to get them from this secure military base to the Bartlet Farm - the location where they would be spending a few days (it was as safe as the White House, but much quieter and much less germs for a newborn). “I mean, when are our families visiting and when do we have to be on the plane?” The First Couple were in Texas currently and figured they might as well let their family meet Leo-Vincente.

    “Sweetheart,” he leaned forward and kissed her forehead. “We have a private plane. It’s not taking off without us. And I think our parents are on their way. We saw them yesterday so I don’t think anyone will guilt you if we cut the visit short.”

    “Think they’ll mind if I just hand him to them for an hour while I have shower?” She sighed as she reached forward and ran her knuckles down Elvie’s back. “I need to get feeling somewhat human for the flight.” She paused. “You know what? I don’t care. I’m having a massive poo and a shower and both are going to be bloody and it’s going to make me feel so much better.” This had been her third child and knew what she needed.

    Matt nodded. “Mind if I join you?”

    * * *

    After their shower, Matt left Helen to dry off. When he returned he was wearing a green sweater and slacks. He carried a black dress.

    “So,” Matt began.

    “No,” she shut him down immediately. “Don’t care what stupid photo op the communications team wants.”

    “They think photographers might try to come onto the farm. It’ll help the agents - and Lou - if we just get a photo of you, me, and the baby walking to the plane.”

    “They can take all the photos they want… of me in a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie. I’m not doing some fake bull crap unrealistic postpartum photoshoot.”

    “I’m not even going to argue with that.”

    * * *

    Once aboard Airforce One, Helen (in her oversized sweater, white nursing shirt, and very loose fleece leggings) nursed Elvie during take off. Still, the newborn wasn’t happy with the air pressure change. He cried, screamed and wailed.

    “Helen,” Matt said quietly. Between the sleep deprivation, concussion, and post-delivery flood of emotions (not to mention processing everything that had happened), his wife was on the verge of crying (or demanding a divorce). “Have a nap. I got the kid.”

    “Did you get any sleep last night?” she asked, trying to bounce the baby in her arms. She placed him over her shoulder to burp him. Matt had been the one who had taken care of Leo-Vincente for the majority go his 8 hour life last night.

    “I got a few hours,” he lied. He took Elvie from her - with all his blankets - and took over the burping. “Look, we both know we’re going to have to be logical about Leo-Vincente. I’m going to need sleep tonight; you have a mild concussion and are going to have to be up tonight to feed him. I don’t think anything’s going to calm him on this plane ride, but you have the anatomy to calm him tonight.” Matt winked.

    Helen sighed, then kissed Leo-Vincente’s wispy black hair. He was still screaming, his tiny face was wrinkled, red, and his toothless mouth took up the majority of his face.

    “Besides,” Matt said, starting up. The green giraffe quilt Leo-Vincente was wrapped in hung down. Matt’s and Helen’s parents had brought some baby gifts including some quilts and receiving blankets made by Helen’s mom and a stocked baby bag for the ride to New Hampshire (even though the secret service and one of the aids had also prepared baby-bags this morning). Matt picked up the baby-bag. “I wanna go around, showing off how adorable my son is.”

    Helen rolled her eyes but crawled into the bed.

    Matt smiled as he babbled to his son while walking into the office. He had a few briefs he wanted to get through so that he could focus on Helen and all three kids (Peter and Miranda were on their way to the Bartlet farm as well). “Are you going to quiet down for daddy? Huh, little man?” he said, tickling Leo-Vincente’s tummy.

    The answer was obviously no.

    Matt tried every position he knew to hold a newborn (he was far from an expert, but knew a few tricks) - even on Leo-Vincente’s tummy across Matt’s arm, “Peter and Miranda both loved the sloth hold.” He sighed and closed the binder on the desk, then repositioned the baby and held him to his chest. “Come on, bud, lets see if you like walking.”

    Leo-Vincente tolerated it.

    Matt wandered through the plane and was stopped every five steps by aids who wanted to meet the baby. Thankfully there was no press aboard (given the assassination, security was even tighter than normal). Matt even showed the baby off to the officers up in the cockpit. He was trying not to lose his patience - and a cranky newborn was nothing compared to a presidential campaign - but between the wailing, the sleep deprivation and the pile of work he knew was stacking up, it was hard maintaining the facade of a happy father he felt he needed to keep, even with his staff.

    On their way back down to the lower level of the plane, a stench began to emerge from the bundle of blankets and Leo-Vincente only wailed louder.

    “Well, at least that’s one problem that’s easy to solve. I know you aren’t a fan of the plane, but Daddy loves you so much!”

    After a VERY long 3 hour flight, Matt took the newborn back to Helen so she could feed him during the landing (which would hopefully help Elvie’s ears during the pressure change). Matt swore his son gave him a stank-eye when he was placed back in his mommy’s arms.

    * * *


    Elvie felt so foggy. God he hoped he didn’t have an accident (of the poo type) on the plane. He had been so scared of his brain that he completely didn’t think about his bowels. “Dad?” Was he talking? He was too groggy to even open his eyes.

    “Hey,” his dad’s voice was soft. “Your bother and Lieutenant Kim are just getting the aisle chair.”

    Oh God he had. They were going to have to clean him up on the plane. This was going to be awful. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled finally opening his eyes.

    “Sorry? I thought it was the plan to try to sleep through the flight.”

    Elvie paused as he tried to take in more of his surroundings. He was trying to tell if the engines were on but his brain wasn’t connecting. Then he heard his father’s phone ping. “That’s your mom. She’s here to pick us up.” With her agent of course. His dad laughed as he held the phone. “She said she’s so happy I brought her baby back home and can’t wait to hug you.”

    “We’re in Houston already?”

    “Yeah. We landed like 15 minutes ago. We’re in the hanger and we’re just waiting for help to unload you. Are you feeling okay?”

    “Yeah,” Elvie reached up to rub his eyes. “Damn those drugs are good.”
  17. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I'm late again, I swear the time just gets away from me. Which is funny since a week feels like a month right now!
    But I loved this!! When I saw what prompts you went with, I could see Elvie I even read a word. They are perfect for him!

    You totally did and it was glorious! But I love it when that happens, you don't mean to but it's totally there.

    I agree! Sometimes that really helps. But I don't think it reads that way at all! And I always look forward to Leo/Marc angst-mush!

    I am 100% here with you Elvie! It is the best time of year for all of these reasons! And lol at the leaf peeping!

    This is something that I really hate about trauma, it can take away things that people love. :( And for someone who loved being a pilot to (understandably) be afraid of flying is just so heartbreaking.


    Hahah... he's probably right! At least you can talk to an adult and hopefully they aren't so far gone that they understand you. They also understand what's happening, even if it's not okay.

    [face_laugh][face_laugh] I love the movies but this is totally me when I've tried to watch the extended editions. That was a great plan! And I loved Matt watching with him!

    Bah hahahaha.... this is the best. I love her! And yeah, I can see that being the only thing you want!

    I always feel so bad for babies on planes. They don't understand and they can't do the thing to make it stop hurting. I also feel bad for the parents who are getting angry stares, like they can help that the baby is in pain.

    I really enjoyed this and it was a great response to the challenge!!
  18. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    It's okay. Time is acting weird these days. I swear I woke up this morning thinking it was the end of August, and yet I spent all of last week thinking this weekend was (Canadian) thanksgiving. it's not, that's next weekend.

    Thank you. I love Autumn and those prompts just screamed Elvie.
    I've felt a bit more regular in regards to my writing and my brain kinda wants me to tackle a Josh/Sam longer fic now. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I'm glad my muse is at least back.
    I totally agree! I love sweater weather!!
    Yeah. It's so heartbreaking for both Elvie and Matt since flying was something they shared and loved
    True. Plus adults understand the concept of time at "it will be over in X amount of time"
    Yup. Whenever I'm having issues sleeping, I put on LOTR. Great movies but they usually cure my insomnia (not lately but at least I'm finally watching the movies all the way through)!
    This was from a cut diary entry that was going to be a commentary on how new mothers are expected to be glowing and happy (IE the pics of Prince William and Kate Middleton of the steps of the hospital) when that is SOOOOOO far from the truth. It was just soooo Helen not to put up with that nonsense that it found it's way back to being written.
    I know. It's so hard and I feel so bad (and it also makes me thankful for noise canceling headphones which everyone should use on plane trips anyways).
    Thank you!
  19. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Never to Be
    Timeframe: AU, 2033
    Characters: Elvie, Leo, Marc, Rose
    A/N: I initially came up with this idea during the “One Sentence Challenge” but the idea (obviously) grew to be more than one sentence. But I decided to revisit it because I think I’m PMSing and needed a good cry. It’s super short. And super sad. And AU. Tissue warning (or maybe it’s the hormones). I’ve posted some Leo/Marc stuff below to make up for how mean and short this is.

    Lieutenant Leo-Vincente Santos was pronounced brain-dead 38 and a half minutes after the accident. He was kept alive on machines for 25 hours until his parents could lean over the tubes and kiss his broken body goodbye. He held on for 3 more hours, though his story had ended on a cold tarmac.

    Leo Lyman was asked to do the eulogy. He was at his desk, writing on a tear dotted legal-pad, when he he should have been drunkenly spilling his drink on a cute man.

    Marc Johnson enjoyed an uneventful night with his friends. A week later he passed by an empty table at the library.

    And in Houston, Texas, a young law student never knew the love of her life was buried in a grave in Arlington. Rose passed the candlelight vigil at his father’s library on her way to work, never to give him a second thought. History never gave her one either.
  20. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Dance Me To The End of Love
    late 2038 (after Josh’s death, L/M’s fight and make up)
    Characters: Leo Lyman/Marc Lyman
    A/N: Just some angsty mush. Written for the OTP Challenge #17: Our Song. I was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To the End of Love. I don’t think these two would have chosen this for their wedding song because it kinda has a very sad backstory dealing with the Holocaust, so I don’t imagine this would be the song they are dancing to, but this song does remind me of them. I didn’t know how to end this.

    It happened a week and a half after they “got back together” (Leo hated referring to their separation as anything, but he knew he had to acknowledge he and his husband had experienced a major disagreement… but they were working things out with a councillor). Leo was washing the pots after dinner when he felt Marc’s hand at his back.

    Leo jumped back out of a gut reaction… but instantly felt bad. A huge element of their disagreement was Leo’s fear of letting Marc in, both physically and emotionally, after his dad’s death. But he was working on it and felt as though he had come a long way. “Oh Marc, I’m so sorry,” Leo burst out in tears and pulled Marc close with his wet hands. He hugged his husband tightly. “I was just so lost in thought about Dad, Hanukah, how this will be the first holiday without him….” Leo rested his forehead on Marc’s crisp dress shirt. Their cheeks touched and the warmth calmed Leo.

    “It’s okay, Leo.” Marc said just holding Leo, not knowing what else to say. They were both still healing and Leo was going to have bad days, but that didn’t seem like the right thing to say. Instead he just said, “It sucks.”

    “It doesn’t suck so much when I know I have you to hold me.”

    Marc was kinda glad Leo wasn’t able to see his grin. “Forever. I’m sorry I left.”

    “And I’m sorry I was a big idiot.’’

    Marc pulled his phone out of his pocket. Sometimes they needed to talk about what happened, but other times they just needed to forget the bad and remember the love. Marc put on a playlist and set his phone on the counter.

    Leo looked into Marc’s eyes, fill of unwavering love. “It’s our wedding song.”

    “Dance with me?”


    They held each other as they swayed around the kitchen in their socks. They gazed into each other’s eyes. Marc rubbed Leo’s back. Leo cupped Marc’s face.

    “You know,” Marc said. He worried about breaching the kid topic - Leo had canceled their foster and adoption files without consulting Marc and that wound ran deep for both. “I know it wasn’t our plan, but I’m okay that it’s just going to me and you for a bit. And when we feel like we are ready to go ahead with surrogacy, I’m going to get to hold a little baby version of you and that’s just going to be so adorable!”

    “Your really okay with it?”

    Marc was about to say I’m getting used to the idea, but what came out of his mouth was, “Yes. And I need to stop looking at future plans and just be here, now, dancing with the man I love.” They continued to dance for a bit, nowhere close to the beat of the song.

    Leo laughed as Marc spun him around. “But it is nice to have something to look forward to. So, I was thinking, maybe we can save up? Plan a trip or something? A romantic vacation with the man I love? Work did kinda limit our first honeymoon to 4 days. A second one would be nice.”

    “Italy!” Marc exclaimed as they continued to dance.

    “Greece!” Leo now tried to spin Marc, but stepped on his foot. Both nearly tripped and fell.

    Marc just laughed. “You just wanna look at me half naked on a beach!”

    You just want to look at old buildings!”

    “Not true! I also wanna look at you half naked on beaches.” Marc wiggled his eyebrows. “And fully naked in our hotel room!” He reached down and squeezed Leo’s butt through his slacks. Leo giggled. “We could go practice if you’re feeling up for it?” Marc never wanted Leo to have sex if he wasn’t feeling it, but especially if he was in a moment of grief.

    Leo gave a grin. “Yes!” he said enthusiastically. And then his phone started to ring. “Oh, sorry Love.” He reached in his pocked and pulled it out. “It’s Abi,” he sighed.

    Marc leaned forward and gave Leo a gentle kiss on the lips. Marc knew Abi still wasn’t dealing with her father’s death well. She was calling her older brother and taking her anger out on him. Marc didn’t feel it was healthy for either of them, but at least the calls were becoming less frequent. “Talk with your sister. I’ll finish cleaning up.” Marc kissed Leo again and watched him pad into the living room and slump onto the couch.

    Leo sighed deeply before answering the phone. “Hey Abi, whats up?”

    Marc heard the yelling pretty much right away away. Leo tensed and Marc did too as well. Marc couldn’t make out what she was screaming but it was clearly upsetting Leo. She was hurting him and as his husband, Marc just wanted it to stop. He just wanted to protect Leo.

    But Marc knew better than to step in right away. So he finished the dishes while he heard Leo apologizing for something that probably had nothing to do with him. When Marc finished, he walked out to the living room to see Leo silently crying as Abi continued to yell at him. Marc sat on the ottoman in front of Leo. “Can I talk to her?”

    Leo nodded and leaned forward and put his forehead on Marc’s knees. "Abs?” he was trying to keep his voice steady. “Marc wants to talk to you.” Leo paused, then passed the phone to Marc.

    “Marc? Why the hell would you leave my brother? What are you, heartless?”

    Marc sighed, unsure of how to deal with this. Of course the last thing he wanted to was blame the situation on Leo (Leo’s mom knew the reason surrounding their separation but the rest of the family probably thought Marc was horrible), or really discuss their marital life with his sister when she was clearly going through something. “I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve put Leo through, but we are working on our relationship together,” he said as he rubbed Leo’s back. “But I would like to talk to you. How are you feeling?”

    “I’m just going through a lot of emotions right now and I need to vent to someone who cares.”

    “I care. I love you. You’re my sister, Abi. Talk to me.”

    Leo wiped his eyes and got up. He whispered to Marc, “Thank you. I’m going to have a shower.”

    * * *

    Leo breathed in the hot steam and let the hot water soothe his tired muscles. He felt bad for just handing Abi over to Marc when she was in so much pain, but Marc was so compassionate, it was probably better. Leo just wanted to take care of his sister, but Marc was his partner… in everything.

    Leo felt like such an idiot for pushing away such a comforting man. Marc was perfect. If Leo could go back in time, he’d do a lot go things differently, but most of all, he would have spent that night… that horrible first night, bawling in Marc’s arms. He had gone to Josie, but it should have been Marc.

    Leo finished washing, wiped his face, then climbed out of the shower. He dressed in his favourite pyjama pants and favourite sweatshirt. He padded downstairs to see Marc on the couch, in the light of one lamp, calmly talking on the phone.

    “Yeah, I know its hard. But so many people are here for you and we love you. It’s scary to open up to a stranger but I think it will be healthy for you.” Marc paused. “Yeah, I wish I could go with you too. I just want to hold your hand and give you a hug. I can’t wait till your back for the holidays.” Abi was on the West Coast working on her Master’s at Stanford. “I love you too, Abi. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Marc then hung up and looked at Leo, exhausted.

    Leo silently got onto the couch and laid his head on Marc’s lap. “I love you,” Leo breathed. Abi had kinda killed the mood… but maybe they could rekindle it. “I do believe we were in the middle of something.”

    Marc smiled down at his husband.
    Findswoman likes this.
  21. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I... no... just.... *sobs* =((
    But I love it too because it shows how one moment can change everything. I always a sucker for stories like that, that show how our lives are just a series of moments that add up. And sometimes you just need a good cry!

    Dance Me to the End of Love
    This was so beautiful and this is a great song for them! This was such a hard time for them all, I love to see these moments between them all, and especially how loving an compassionate Marc is!
    :( Sometimes you can't help it, you get lost in something and don't hear someone else. (I've 'snuck up' on dp so many times I've started purposely shuffling my feet when I walk. I guess I'm a ninja or something. ;) ) But I can understand how Leo would feel bad about it here, thankfully Marc is that understanding he knows the difference.

    [face_love] I love this image of them dancing together in their kitchen, both having apologized for their mistakes. It's so beautiful.

    Oh Marc! That's so hard, but he knows right now isn't the best time. It sucks, but saying anything other than what he did isn't going to help any and might hurt.

    [face_laugh][face_laugh] If this doesn't sum up their relationship, I don't know what does!!

    Oh Leo! :( Of course he's going to take on Abi's pain, that's just who he is and he's the big brother too. But that's just so hard to have your own anger and feelings and to take on someone else's as well.

    [face_love][face_love] Marc is the best. I love how this is two fold, he doesn't want Leo to be hurt any more than he already is, so he'd take care of it just from that. But he loves Abi too and wants to help her (and probably is better equipped than anyone else at the moment because even though he's grieving too, it's different) and he'd do it just because it's her.

    *Happy sigh* This was so lovely!! [face_love]
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  22. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    I tried to make that little ficlet longer by having a single President Lyman fall in love with a certain divorced architect of his presidential library ;) so it wasn't going to be all depressing but it was still super depressing for Rose (and I guess Elvie too because I killed him) so I just left it all sad because, yeah, sometimes you just need a good cry and get all the angst out in a 4 paragraph fic!!

    Thanks! I love this song and it just fits them for this bit of a 'low' point in their marriage(my poor boys! starting out with such hardships! why did we do this to them!) and how they make it through these moments.

    Yeah, I can totally see Marc being a bit of a ninja (Leo, not so much!) and Leo just being so lost in his grief that anything would startle him.
    I love it too and it shows how mature their love is!!
    Yeah, Marc's still a bit hurt but knows Leo doesn't need that too. He is just so kind and loving (I keep saying that and it's making me just want to write a mush-fest)
    I loved this banter! It's sooo them.
    Yup, because Leo is basically Josh in his need to fix EVERYTHING even if he's struggling to keep himself together :(

    Marc IS just the best and this totally is two fold. I think i need to go write more appreciation for Marc now!

  23. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Title: Inferno
    Timeframe: 1999ish AU
    Josh/Sam, Leo
    A/N: Written for the Monster challenge. I got:

    Infernal: Fire is a scary, unpredictable thing. Monsters that dwell within or have an affinity with this element are often among the most feared and deadly. No one wants to tangle with the infernal rage of a fire-breathing creature.

    So of course I had to write something Josh-adjacent. I suck at horror. And then this kinda melded with a Josh/Sam plot bunny that’s been bugging me. It’s a longer plot bunny (like multi-chapter “short story”) I might attempt for NANO, so I figured why not give a mini-scene a try here on it’s own and that way I can get a feel for this story before I commit to it, you know? If I do write it, it will be it’s own thread.

    Fire consumed everything. Joshua heard his mother’s sobs… felt his father hold him tightly… heard the sirens… felt the heat.

    Then heard his own quiet whimpering.

    * * *

    Joshua Lyman woke with a start. Just another bad dream. The lack of sleep seemed to be triggering those a lot these days… and everything else that was causing it the lack of sleep. Josh looked around the dark paediatric hospital room: the walls were a light blue with stickers of cartoon characters holding balloons. He rubbed his eyes and his gaze fell on the bed he sat beside.

    Two weeks ago, he and Sam had gotten a call about a two-year-old boy named Leo in the ICU who needed loving foster-parents and a supportive long-term home.

    Josh and Sam were already working on trying to adopt Leo. He was their son and they couldn’t imagine their lives without him.

    According to the police, Leo’s parents had a meth lab in their basement; there had been an explosion, killing both parents and their “associates”. Leo, who had been upstairs in his crib, had been badly hurt: broken ribs, a broken leg and burns across 55% of his body, mostly his legs and right side. The doctors were also worried about permanent hearing loss. There was also evidence of child abuse and neglect: Leo was small and underweight, he was timid, hardly interacted, and he never cried, it was more of a quiet whimpering.

    “Hey, Leo.” Josh was tired, but he smiled. Leo was at such a tender age where he knew something bad had happened, but didn’t understand Josh was there for him now. It was hard to convey to this small child how much he was loved now. “What’s wrong?” he played with Leo’s dark golden curls. Leo was often up in the middle of the night from pain or just general restlessness of being a toddler in a hospital.

    Leo’s little finger pointed to the empty chair Josh had his feet up on. “Da?”

    It made Josh’s heart soar to hear Leo talk. Josh was worried about Leo calling him and Sam “Abba” and “Daddy” already, but Sam had started it and Leo struggled with “Josh” and “Sam”. He only knew a few words (but were learning so many new ones every day) and “Da” and “Ab” were two.

    “Daddy Sam went home to sleep,” he explained. Josh and Sam had decided that Sam would take time off work until Leo got better and adjusted to life with them, so Sam was mostly the one to spend nights with Leo, but Josh had convinced Sam that he needed some sleep to survive. “But Abba Josh is here.”

    Josh turned on a lamp to see tears streaming down Leo’s face.

    “Oh, Leo,” Josh sighed, getting one of the flannel blankets his mom had sent as comfort items for Leo. Josh wiped Leo’s cheeks and nose, then got a fresh one for Leo to snuggle with (along with the stuffed dog Sam and Josh had brought for Leo that first night, which Leo practically refused to let go now). “You gotta wake me up if you wake up. Where does it hurt? Where’s the ouchie?” He couldn’t believe he was saying words like ouchie.

    Leo shook his head.

    “Okay…” Josh signed. If he was being frank with himself, when Sam first brought up fostering, Josh was pretty open to the idea of fostering and even adopting an older child or teen - a kid who needed a home but a kid who had a firm grasp on language skills and could tell Josh what they needed. Guessing with a toddler wasn’t something Josh ever expected to do. “Was it a bad dream?” Josh just blurted the idea based on his own experience. Did 2-year-olds even have nightmares? “A bad nigh-night?”

    Leo puffed out his bottom lip, nodded, and began to whimper again, this time sounding a bit more like a cry.

    “What can I do, Bub?” Josh asked, rubbing Leo’s hair. Sam was so much better at comforting Leo. Now that Leo was out of the ICU, he could be picked up and cuddled with, but Josh didn’t know if Leo wanted that. “Leo, when I had bad dream, my da— I mean my abba would cuddle with me and rub my back.” Josh held out his hands. “Snuggle with Abba?”

    Leo held out his little hands - one was wrapped and had an IV sticking out of it - then looked to the bedside table where there was a pile of story books (both Josh and Sam were guilty of starting to spoil Leo). “Boo?”

    Josh smiled. “Snuggle and a book.” He picked up the first book, which had a fire-breathing dragon own the cover, and swiftly put it down, instead selecting a picture book President Bartlet had given them about a lost baby penguin who finds his way home to his daddies. Josh gently picked Leo up, wary of all the tubes, wires, and bandages. Josh just looked down at Leo in his arms and was overcome with emotions as Leo placed his head on Josh’s chest.


    Josh kissed Leo’s forehead. “Yes, Leo,” he said before climbing into the hospital bed on his side and settling Leo at his side. Josh tucked them both in before beginning the story.

    Leo nuzzled into Josh’s armpit, which was kinda gross, yet endearing at the same time. Leo was asleep before Josh got half way through the book.
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  24. Findswoman

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

    Feb 27, 2014
    So glad to catch up with these! You’re really doing a whiz bang job on these recent challenges! :)

    “Dance Me to the End of Love”: What a tender moment for these two on the cusp of reconciliation—the love and caring is clearly still there, even though Marc and Leo still have some things to work out between the two of them. And ooh boy, Abi’s call does break in on the mood, doesn’t it—but the fact that Leo and especially Marc pick up and give her a compassionate, listening ear even then just shows how loving and caring they are. Marc really saves the day for both his husband and his sis-in-law, here, so I echo @mavjade in saying “he’s the best”! :D

    “Inferno”: Pretty darn amazing job translating this very monstrous prompt into some very tender bonding between a new dad and his new little boy! I get the feeling that both little Leo and his Abba had similar nightmares involving fire, both stemming from traumatic experiences early in life—and that is something that I’m sure will be a point of close understanding and bonding between them as Leo grows up. It probably won’t be the first time Leo has a bad dream like that, but now thankfully he has a loving ABBA to cuddle up to for a nice cozy story time—and there really is nothing like a nice cozy story time to dispel that kind of nightmare fear. [face_love] (Even when after one’s grown up, in a way!)

    Very nice work once again, and great to see you—and all generations of the Lymans—on board for these challenges! =D=
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  25. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    General AN: Uh… yeah so first @mavjade you did miss a vignette (above) but as your emotional support Canadian, I COMPLETELY understand and support if you don’t want to read either. I was going back and forth on when I should post this one and I figured now is right (also because my brain just isn’t focusing on grant projects right now). I want to post this now before I get completely disgusted and either way this mess turns out, I think I’m done with writing in American politics right now (and because Schitt’s Creek has taken over my brain and it has come at the right time). I don’t think I’m done wth these characters but either way this seems like a good story to post, both for right now and if this is the last one I end up finishing.

    Title: Serenity

    Timeframe: 2063

    Characters: Emelia, Ella, Mattie, Elvie/Rose

    A/N: This was written for the Pride Mini Challenge (requirements in spoiler tag). I wanted to write this for Pride Month… but life and muse. My brain got stuck on my original idea (Elvie coming out as bi, and I really wanted to write it because I think it’s important to have older bi characters who are still bisexual even when they are in heterosexual relationships, but I know I’m preaching to the choir here) so I decided to do something different and try to do an Emelia centred fic. I love her and I love her story. But I suck at 1st person POV (I ended up going back and forth on the tenses so I probably missed a few in editing). This was originally going to be ‘snapshots’ of her life as she finds serenity but the first snapshot got really long so I didn’t quite fit the theme, but maybe there will be a part 2 in the future.

    I wrote this in a way you don’t need to have read the other WW-verse fics and you don’t need to have seen the series. Just think of it as an AU of the USA where everything turns out to be fine.

    First, you must pick a number below and receive a colour (I got indigo/serenity) – and the meaning behind that colour on (one of) the original version of the Gay Pride flag. BOTH the colour and the meaning must be featured in the fic. Second, your fic must feature a LGBTQA+ character (or characters). Third, it must be told from a First Person POV.

    I remember I sat on my bedroom floor wanting to vomit my breakfast (and mom made really good French toast this morning). I stared up at the beautiful indigo dress on the back of my door. It was plain and professional with a belted waist and slightly puffy sleeves with cinched wrists. I loved the way I felt when I tried it on, but I can’t bring myself to get off the floor and get dressed. I was too afraid.

    My dad is fearless. He’d probably groan and roll his eyes if I ever said that out loud, but he is. He joined the Air Force right out High School, did both his undergrad and his law degree in hopes of becoming a war crimes lawyer… and then he crashed a fighter jet and became paralyzed from the waist down. But that didn’t stop him. I came into this world when my dad was the Governor of Texas. For the past 8 years he has been Vice President of the US. He decided he would then run for President. And what do you know? He won.

    It was the day of his inauguration. Of course I had done two of these before but it was more complicated for me. Sure, I was moving up from being the VPs kid to being the President’s kid but I knew it wasn’t that much of a change. If anyone was prepared to be ‘First Daughters and Sons’, it was me and my siblings (Dad was a President’s kid, Aunt Miranda, Uncle Peter, our friends JJ and Ella… the list actually does go on). It was more complicated for me because I’m transgender and at the time I had only been ‘out’ to my family for about year. I hadn’t really been public about it.

    Maybe I was just thinking too hard - I tend to do that. I came out as non-binary at 8, seven years before. The media still sucked at using my (former) preferred they/them pronouns but no one really cared. I hoped no-one will care that I’m transgender. I just wanted to fade into the background.

    And I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wore the dress. Which just sucked because it was so pretty and I just wanted to be brave and fearless as I stood next with my dad on that dias. And I just want to be myself.

    I got up and went to my closet, hating myself for tumult inside of me. Thankfully, being the VP’s daughter meant I had plenty of formalwear…. But I still I glanced back at the dress, my first fancy dress. I felt so much like myself when I picked it out and tried it out. Even the night before I was so excited as I put it on the back of my door.

    I breathed.

    Dr. Sidney - my therapist - would have asked me what would make me feel comfortable. I’m allowed to do my transition as I feel comfortable. This includes coming out to who I want to as I feel comfortable. “And I don’t feel comfortable coming out to millions of people today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today,” I told myself. “I am Emelia, even if I just know that.”

    I picked out a plain black suit with a white collared shirt. Boring and my usual non-binary formal look, but I justified the choice by reasoning that whatever I wore would just be covered by my big grey wool overcoat anyways. I started to feel calm even as I changed favourite nightgown. At least my legs will be warm anyway.

    I finished getting ready by brushing my shoulder-length black hair back and into a small bun at the nape of my neck.

    Then, shoes.

    I had picked out a cute set of grey low wedges to go with my dress… and they matched my suit. And my oxford flats were so boring. I needed SOMETHING cute to make me feel better and get me through the day.

    “Come on Emelia!” my mom shouted, knocking on my bedroom door. She stomped the hall to yell at my sister. “Donnaaaatellaaa! HURRY UP! WE GOT TO GET GOING.”

    I slipped on my wedges and emerged from my room. My mom was in the middle of the hallway, fixing my older brother Mattie’s tie. He’s 17 and still cant tie a tie.

    “Emelia, why aren’t you wearing your dress?” my mom asked, sounding stressed out. Her greying black hair was tied back into a tight bun and a dark purple structured dress I know will match her black coat so well.

    “I can’t today,” I replied quietly. “I can change if you want me to…”

    “No,” she said as she pulled me into a hug. “You look lovely… and at least you get to have warm legs. Do you want me to do your make-up?” At 15, I was still kinda learning the whole make-up thing, but I loved it when my mom helped me.

    “No, I’m not feeling like it today.”

    “Mom!” my younger sister, Ella (full name: Donnatella) burst from the bathroom in a dark green dress with her hair all in curls. “I’m not wearing pantyhose. They are stupid and I’d rather hang myself with them!”

    “Fine!” our mother shouted back, but with no anger. “But don’t complain to me when your legs are cold.”

    “Why can’t I wear pants like Emelia?”

    “Because we are all dressed now and your father wants to see you three before you head to the Capitol.” Our mom ushered us down the stairs. Weird to think we were actually moving houses and would probably never step foot up here again. The itinerary for today was drilled into our heads for weeks (and I memorized it because GOD knows neither Ella nor Mattie knew where the hell we need to be). From there, us ‘kids’ went to wait with our grandma Helen (she’s in her 90s), Uncle Peter and Aunt Miranda at the Capitol for the inauguration. Mom and Dad had to go to the White House first and “meet” Uncle Leo and Uncle Marc to go with them to the inauguration (Uncle Marc and Uncle Leo were jetting off to Fiji after the inauguration with Miri and JJ and everyone was so jealous! But they deserved it).

    Downstairs of our house looked like the movers started from where it was at breakfast. People were efficiently putting everything in boxes. I suddenly felt waves of even more anxiety. “Mom, where are my meds?”

    “I packed everything important - including your estrogen - in a box in my bedroom. You know David? Uncle Marc’s chief of staff? He’s staying on as mine for me, so he’s going to come by as soon as we leave and personally move that box from the bedroom here to the Presidential suite. Do you need anything from it now?”

    “Can I have my anxiety medication? I should have left some out for today.”

    My mom gave me a reassuring smile. “I’ll go get you them.”

    My brother and sister and I just kinda awkwardly sat on the couch. In a whirlwind of a day, it was weird to sit down.

    “Where is Dad anyways?” Ella asked.

    “Probably getting the nuclear launch codes,” I said with a laugh. “That’s not weird at all.”

    “You know what’s weirder?” Mattie asked. “Uncle Leo had them for the past 8 years.”

    We all laughed. “No,” I said, “What’s weirder is we are moving into Dad’s childhood home.”

    “Oh God,” Ella deadpanned. “We better not get a younger sibling out of this.”

    Mattie shoved Ella, who was between us.”Yeah, life sucked when you came along.”

    I piled on. “Yeah, Mattie is the scientific genius eldest and I’m the troubled trans daughter. You’re nothing but the cute baby. If they have another kid, I don’t know what’s going to happen to you.”

    “I’m the smart-mouth!” Ella proclaimed.

    “We’re all smart-mouths,” I countered.

    “And that’s how I know for sure you’re all our children.” Dad - holding Mom’s hand - emerged from the elevator. He just has a calming presence on me. He’s my dad and he’s always so in power but also focused on family. He was wearing the most dashing three-piece blue suit and looks so well-rested. They both gave us all hugs, and Mom slipped my anxiety pills into my pocket. “And now you have to put up me getting mushy,” Dad says.

    “Ella, get the popcorn,” Mattie groaned. “We need something to throw at him.”

    I snorted. “I just want a snack to get me through eight hours of dad blabbing on.”

    “Okay, shut up so I can give you guys some gifts,” Dad said as Mom got three small boxes off of a side table. “I know it’s been a crazy, weird, insane few months—”

    “—Months?” Mattie exclaimed.

    “Try years,” I offered.

    “Normal? I don’t even know what that is,” Ella added.

    I had to take the bait. “Of course you don’t. You’re Dad’s!”

    “Okay, okay, get your smart-ass remarks out now,” Dad laughed. “I just want to say I love you three so much. I have felt your support every moment. No matter what, I love you guys, and I will always be your dad. And to continue to buy your love, Mom and I got you some gifts.”

    Mom took over. “The big gifts will be waiting for you when you get to the White House. But these are smaller, more sentimental gifts.”

    Dad took the first box and rolled up to Mattie. “Matthew Vincente Santos II -”

    “If you use my full name, I get to use your full name, Father,” Mattie interrupted.

    “God!” Dad said, exasperated. “I buy my eldest a car and all I get is sass.”

    “YOU BOUGHT HIM A CAR?” both Ella and I yell.

    Dad smiled at Mattie. “You’ll have to talk to your agents about where and when you can drive it, but it’s in the White House garage. I also wanted to give you this.” He opened the box and presented an old watch. “It was your grandfather’s and he would have wanted you to have it.”

    “Oh, God, Dad, thank you.” They hugged again.

    “Donnatella,” Dad rolled up to her.

    “Did you get me a car?” she asked.

    “No, but you have a team of secret service who will take you anywhere you want to go, plus no driver’s license so I figured a car was useless. So your mom and I let your Uncle Marc go crazy with getting you new art supplies. I think he got you some fancy desk.”

    Ella squeezed him tight in a hug. “A backlight drawing table?”

    “Something like that,” Mom answered.

    Dad then opened the second box. “Your grandma wore these pearls to your grandpa’s first inauguration. I think they’ll look lovely on you.”

    Ella leaned forward so he could put the necklace on her. She then lunged at him, hugging him. Thank you so much! They are so pretty. I love you Dad.”

    “Love you too, Ella.” He then turned to me. “Emelia, I was hoping you would wear your dress.”

    I just look down and shake my head in shame at my fear. I felt his hand on my shoulder.

    “I hope you’ll still wear this. I picked it out of your grandmother’s collection to match your dress - she wore it to a huge gala where she raised a crazy amount of money.”

    He opened the box and set it on my lap. Inside was a beautiful sapphire tear-drop necklace. “Oh my God it’s so pretty!” I was so excited when Dad put it on me! I felt so grown up! I hugged him and he gave me the tightest hug back.

    “I didn’t even get to the best part! Grandma picked out some fancy new sewing machine for you and ton of fabric.”

    I got even more excited. I love sewing! I’m still learning but I love making dresses. I don’t want to be a fashion designer or anything, its more my creative outlet. “Do you know what brand?”

    Mom knew. “It’s a Bernina, Dear.”

    I hugged Dad again.

    One of Dad’s assistants came into the room and it was time to go.

    * * *

    The inauguration went off surprisingly smoothly and Ella, Mattie and I spent the afternoon and evening “meeting” all the White House Residence staff (though we knew them all already). I sat down with my now extended Secret Service detail and let them know my preferred name and pronouns (I’m keeping the code name “Pharaoh” because it’s so cool and there were female pharaohs too). One of the new guys “ma’am”ed me which felt really good. I’m going to ask Mom to sit down with me and the rest of the “regulars” around the Residence so they know too.

    My siblings and I weren’t allowed at the inaugural balls, but we had our own super secret party in the basement of the White House. Afterwards I played with my sewing machine in my new bedroom. JJ’s old bedroom (that book nerd) has been painted a pretty sage green and I’m already planning on replacing the blue curtains with something white… maybe I’ll even attempt something with lace.

    I changed into a nightgown. I know girls my age don’t normally wear nightgowns but I like wearing dresses just for myself. I know I don’t need to be super feminine and girly to be a girl, but I’m still trying to find myself and I find serenity in being my girly self around my family.

    But the White House is so cold in January. So I also put on a pair of pyjama pants and a hoodie. I need my medication. I make my way to my parents’ bedroom. It’s weird to have agents at every door. I mean I know it’s weird to have Secret Service Agents follow you everywhere in public but I’m used to it… but now they linger outside my bedroom.

    I feel so weird sneaking into the Presidential bedroom, but it’s my parents’ bedroom. And it looks like my parents’ bedroom with light woods, light blues and greys, their homemade quilt from my grandma on their adjustable king size bed, and pictures of us and other family members are all over the walls. Their bathroom is so big and grand, but there was a basket on the counter filled with my dad’s medical paraphernalia, with it is my purple case of drugs.

    I then hear my mom enter. “Emeila?”

    I poked my head out of the bathroom. My mom was wearing a breathtaking glittering blue gown. The off-the-shoulder neckline just flowed effortlessly into a sleek dress that went all the way down to the floor and pooled at her feet. She is just so glamorous. She pushed Dad in his wheelchair. He was pulling off his white bowtie and looked so tired, but he was still so dashing in his tuxedo. Both smiled at me.

    “I’m stealing drugs!” I announced, making my dad laugh.

    “Good to know you are my daughter,” Dad said, shaking his head. “You’re evening was okay?” he rolled up to me while Mom practically threw her shoes off.

    “Yeah we did the whole ‘president’s kids’ party thing and I hung out with grandma for a bit,” I said with a shrug. He pulled me down into his lap for a hug. My dad gives the BEST hugs when we take the time to sit on his lap or beside him. “How was your evening?”

    “Exhausting,” Dad sighed.

    “I hate to break it to you, old man,” he glared at me for that one. “But you now have to run a country.”

    He rolled his eyes. “People keep bringing that up. This old man had better go to bed.” He hugged me again. “I love you and I’m so proud you’re my daughter.”

    “I love you too and I’m proud you’re my dad.”
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