Title: Esher Fandom: The West Wing Timeline: Pre-show. Waayy… pre-show. Sometime 1967 Genre: Fluff, Mush. No plot to be found. Why don’t they have a mush version of PWP? Characters: Josh Lyman, OCs Word count: ~1,000 Notes: This is for the first challenge of the new Monday Mush Mania thread. This story takes place long before the show starts and has very little to do with anything we learn in the show so even if you know nothing about it, you’ll be fine. If you would like a few details from the show that might add a bit of experience of the story, see under the spoiler cut (no major plot spoilers), but it is in no way necessary to understand the story. Spoiler We learn at different times that Josh’s sister dies in a house fire when they are children, and that Josh’s grandfather was at Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp during the Holocaust. Both are mentioned in the show basically in passing, so we don’t know any details. - - - - - - - - “Zaydeeeeee!”six-year-old Josh yelled as his grandfather walked in the door. Josh ran and wrapped his little arms around his grandfather’s legs. He’d seen his grandfather just a few short weeks ago, but to his little mind it had been forever and his grandfather was one of his favorite people in the world. Josh was always extremely excited to see him. His grandfather, Elijah, laughed as he ruffled the hair of his youngest grandchild. “Hello, Joshua. How are you this fine morning?” Josh pulled back from the hug and began to jump up and down, “Zaydee, guess what, guess what?!” “What?” “It’s my birthday!” Josh answered as he continued to jump up and down. “It is?” Elijah asked feigning surprise. Josh nodded his head vigorously, “uh huh.” “I guess then these presents I brought must be for you!” he turned and pointed to the box he’d left just outside the door on the porch. “Yay!” Presents!” “Josh, let your grandfather in the door, please,” his father Noah says as he walks into the room. “Hi dad,” he says as he hugs his father. The two stand together for a few moments before Josh gets impatient at waiting. “Zaydee, come see my big boy room!” As part of his birthday, Josh had been allowed to pick out how he wanted his room changed now that he was a little older. “Josh, why don’t you let Zaydee come in and rest…” his dad started to say. “Non-sense,” Elijah interrupted. “I want to see what a big boy’s room looks like.” He reached down and took Josh’s hand. The two walked to the back of the house where Josh’s room was next to his parent’s room. Gone were the bright colors and cartoon drawings that had been in the room just a few weeks before, and in its place was a 1966 Mets pennant banner, blue walls, and a few autographed baseballs on a shelf. “Do you love it, Zaydee?” Josh asked as he showed his grandfather every detail of the room decoration, what he’d put in each drawer and even the places were a bit of blue paint had gotten on the baseboard. “Of course I love it!" Elijah said. " But the real question is, do you love it, Joshua?” "Yeeesssss! I love it!” “Well, that’s what’s important.” Elijah sat down on the bed. “Come here and let me give you your first present.” Josh jumped up on the bed, causing it to bounce just a small bit. Elijah laughed, Josh’s excitement for the day was infectious. “I wanted to give you something very special, Joshua.” He looked at his grandson’s bright and curious eyes and hoped this was the right time. If he thought he’d have the time, he would have waited a few more years before he gave this gift, but he wanted to make sure to give it himself, and not leave it for someone else to give after he died. He knew the full significance would be lost on the young boy until he was older. He hoped much older. He knew the timing may not be perfect, but it felt right to him. “This is something I’ve had a very long time, my grandfather gave it to me when I was a young boy and now I’m giving it to you.” Elijah pulled a small box out of his bag. It had simple brown paper wrapping, no bow, no decoration. As though he sensed this was not something to rip open like he usually did with wrapped presents, Josh carefully pulled away the paper and opened the box. Inside was a pocket watch, it was a simple gold cover and chain, the face of the watch showed the numbers in Roman Numerals and there was a small inscription on the inside of the cover. “To Elijah, Love Zaydee” Josh looked at the watch like it was the most precious thing he’d ever seen. He kept turning it over in his hand, gently opening the cover and looking at the face. “It’s so pretty,” he finally said. “Elijah. That’s your name.” “It is my name. This was given to me by my Zaydee.” “You had a Zaydee too?” Josh asked. “I did. That’s why I was so happy for you and Joanie to call me that, it reminded me of my grandfather. He gave me this watch when I was a young boy, a few years older than you. And now it’s yours.” Josh climbed into his grandfather’s lap and wrapped his arms around his grandfather’s neck and whispered, “Thank you.” Elijah held his grandson tightly and kissed the side of his head. He knew this wasn't a gift that a six-year-old would be thrilled about -and he did have other gifts- but this had been an important moment he wanted to share. He couldn't be happier that Josh seemed to be wise beyond his years and appreciated it. They’d stayed in Josh’s room for a little while Elijah listened to Josh read out loud his favorite book -The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge-, and told him all about his new school and how he'd made a new friend named Zachary. Soon, Joanie, Josh’s older sister came bounding into the room. “Come ooooon,” she whined at them. “I want some cake!” Josh jumped up and ran from the room, following his sister. “Caaaaakeeeee!” he yelled all the way to the kitchen. Elijah laughed again and placed the pocket watch on the table by his grandson’s bed. He’d make sure to tell Noah about the watch, despite Joshua being a smart young boy, he was still very much a child. He didn’t want it to get lost or broken. Elijah walked out of the room and toward the kitchen where he could see his son, his wife and his two grandchildren putting on silly hats and giggling about something, probably the hats. This is what life was all about. Birthdays and cake. Gifts that would grow in significance over time. Children laughing about wearing a silly hat. Family. No matter what the future held, this was what it was all for. It was life. It was love. It was happiness in its most pure form. ~fin - - - - Note: The story was originally a bit longer, but the other ending was a complete downer, and while this has some melancholy in it, I thought ending on a really sad note defeated the purpose of MMM.