Title: New York Mistake Author: Briannakin Fandom: The West Wing Timeframe: Early in the Seaborn Presidency Characters: Josh Lyman, Joanie Lyman, Leo Lyman (OC), Sam Seaborn, others. Notes: This is fic-gift is for @mavjade. Mav and I decided that all we really wanted for Christmas was more TWW fic, so we decided to have our own exchange. Technically this should be an AU (but if Sorkin can change Zoey’s age, I can bring Joanie back to life). I’m “borrowing” Mav’s OC Leo, because he’s just canon for me now. Spoiler: Request Okay, I want: 1. Joanie (Josh's sister) to not have died and being a stereotypical 'big sister' to Josh in front of the President (which one is up to you) 2. Someone getting left behind by the motorcade (what can I say, I loved that story line!) 3. A baby or child of one of the Bartlet gang I don't want: Anyone being really angry. (Their normal, I'm upset with you but we're still friends is fine. I just don't want something like the Toby and Josh in Toby's office type angry.) Characters: Josh, Joanie, anyone else Character I don't want: well, yeah, Mandy. “That was beautiful, Joanie,” the President of the United States, Sam Seaborn, said with a smile that lit the dark but grand concert hall, extending his hand to her. “It is truly an honour to see you conduct.” Most of the concert-attendees had filed out, but the most high-profile guest has remained to catch up with a friend. Joan Lyman smiled from behind thick rimmed glasses as she shook the president’s hand. “Thank you, Sa- I mean - Mr. President. I will extend the compliment to all my players,” she said, stumbling over Sam’s formal title. It was still hard to imagine that her little brother’s best friend was now president. Then again she also had not done badly herself, she was the music director and principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. “It was an honour to preform for you. I know you often do not find yourself in New York much.” “New York hates presidents,” he said with a chuckle. “But I hear you have an offer from the National Symphony Orchestra. I personally think you should make the move to DC.” “I would, but I think my younger brother lives there,” she said in a teasing tone, looking over the president’s shoulder at her brother, Joshua, dressed in a suit with his now greying hair brushed back. No one ever believed her these days that he was six years younger than her, except for when they interacted as typical siblings. Josh rolled his eyes. “Must you abuse me in front of this boss too?” Josh was now serving his third president. “Yes, Joshie. It’s my job and joy in life.” She then looked around all the Secret Service agents. “I thought you were bringing my nephew. Donna mentioned you were giving her a bit of a break and bringing Leo.” “I’m not sure being home with five-year-old twins counts as a break,” Josh pointed out. Joanie put her hands on her hips, which were clad in a reserved black dress with long sleeves. “You’re out of her hair, aren’t you?” The President laughed at this. “Leo just ran to the bathroom,” Josh explained “Hopefully he hurries, I want a hug from him before you all rush off, and I have to go get ready for this evening,” she said with a frown. Despite it being 1 PM, her work day had just begun, as she was sure was the case for her company as well. The president had come to the matinée performance with a number of ambassadors after some business at the UN, but was immediately headed back to Washington. “Joanie, you really need to consider moving to DC. I think you might be the only person meaner than Josh,” the president said, poking Josh with his elbow. “You’d fit right in.” “I’ll take that as a compliment - it comes from many years of keeping him in line. But why the pressure for me to move? Do you and Josh need help with laundry, again?” she asked with a laugh, brushing a strand of grey hair out of her face and tucking it back into her bun. Josh sighed. “You are never going to let us forget that, will you?” “Hey, I taught the 46th president and the guy who served as Deputy or Chief of Staff for a collective 14 years - thus far - how to do laundry back when they were in college. That’s going in my obituary.” There was more laughing until Josh looked at his cellphone. “Sorry, we have to get going. Situation in Montana. But you’re lucky, Joanie, Donna wanted me to try one last time to get you to visit. She said it has been too long and I told her to shut up.” “Shame. And I was this close to being convinced to take the offer, just so I could abuse you some more.” She then gave her brother a hug. “Give my love to Donna and the kids. Perhaps I’ll come down in the summer.” Joanie then watched as her brother, the president, and their Secret Service detail exited the hall. She was alone again, but that seemed to be her lot in life. Josh’s and her mother had passed away seven years ago. Joanie’s husband had died many years ago and they had never had children. She was used to being alone in this huge city with only her passion: music. Though, it did get lonely. * * * Ten-year-old Leo Lyman exited the public washroom feeling sick. He probably should not have come on this trip with his dad and Uncle Sam, but he had wanted to see his Aunt Joanie. Plus New York was just so big and so much fun. He made his way back to the main hall - to see no one. Leo was used to traveling with his dad and the president. With all the Secret Service agents, the crowd was hard to miss. Leo rushed to the main foyer to see the tail of the motorcade down the street and his heart dropped to his stomach. They had left him behind. This was like those old Home Alone movies! They had forgotten him and it didn’t look like they were coming back. He took a deep breath. This was why he needed to convince mom to get him a cellphone. Pushing back tears, he started to wander the hallways of David Geffen Hall. He eventually found someone behind a desk that looked like a secretary. “Um, where is Joanie - sorry, I mean - Ms. Lyman?” Leo asked the man in his mid-twenties behind the desk. The man checked the time on his phone. “She should be in her office. Just up those stairs,” he said, pointing to a staircase at the end of a corridor. “Take a left and it will be the last office down that hallway.” Leo stuffed his hands in his blue coat pocket. “Thank you, mister.” Following the man’s directions, he made his way up the stairs and past nondescript offices to a door that was ajar. He tentatively opened the door to see his aunt behind a desk, quickly typing on a keyboard. She looked up. “Leo? What are you doing? I think your dad and them are leaving.” “They already left,” Leo managed to get out before breaking down into tears. He had been so scared. What if this had happened on a different trip where he didn’t know any grown ups in the area. His aunt was at his side, giving him a hug and guiding him to the couch in his office. “It’s alright. I’m going to call your dad’s cell. I’m sure they are on their way back to get you.” She gave him a fist full of tissues before heading back to her desk to grab her cellphone. Leo heard his aunt dial once. Then twice. And then a third time. “Leo,” his aunt said gently. “I’m going to call your mom.” “No!” Leo gasped. “If Mom finds out Dad left me, he and Uncle Sam are going to be in so much trouble and I’ll never be able to go on trips with them again.” Joanie sighed. “I guess there probably isn’t much she can do. Why don’t we wait a few more minutes, maybe go for a walk and get a hot-dog, and if he hasn’t called me back, I’ll get on a train with you. I can get someone to cover my evening performance and some people have been bugging me for a meeting with them anyways.” “With the people at the National Symphony?” Leo asked curiously, suddenly forgetting his abandonment. She sighed and nodded. “You should take the job.” She gave him a look out of the corner of her eye. “Why?” “So you can see me more!” Leo exclaimed. “Mom says New York makes you cold and sad if you live here alone. If you move to DC I can keep you company!” She laughed. “Okay, but why does the president want me to move to DC?” Leo wasn’t supposed to know this, but it was hard not to overhear the grown ups sometimes. “Auntie Ainsley says she wants Mom as her Chief of Staff. Uncle Sam says Auntie Ainsley might be able to get a lot of good things done with the right help. But Mom doesn’t want to leave the twins with a nanny, even though they will be in school full time in a few months, but if you were there, you could help, right?” “You do make a good point there, kid.” * * * They were on the tarmac at Andrew’s before Josh noticed something was off. He had been so busy on the phone with the Governor of Montana, Premier of Saskatchewan, not to mention the Prime Minister of Canada to attempt to figure out the reasons for sudden, organized mass protests by aboriginal communities on both sides of the boarder. Okay, so it wasn’t Josh that noticed. It was Sam. “Where’s Leo, Josh?” Josh looked up from his two Blackberries. “He probably just fell asleep.” Josh looked to one of the secret service agents. “Can you check the plane for me, Mike?” Sam let the agent go before pointing out the obvious. “Josh, it’s an hour flight. Did Leo come back from the bathroom before we left?” “Of course he—.” Josh went suddenly pale. “Oh god. We left him.” His hands began to shake. “Calm down. Leo is a smart kid. He takes after his mother. He probably found Joanie.” He fumbled in his pocket for his third Blackberry. He had 14 missed calls from his sister. Nearly dropping his phone, Josh managed to hit “return call”. “Is Leo there? Do you have Leo?” Joanie’s reply was thick with sass. “Now, if I was a mean sister, I might not answer that.” “JOAN!” “Calm down, my god. Yes, I have your son. I am being a responsible adult and we are already on a train. We get to DC in about two and a half hours. Plenty of time for you to make up a story covering your butt as to why I am in DC, sleeping in your guest room tonight.” Josh let out a deep breath. “Okay. Okay. Can I talk to him?” “He was fairly upset. Plus creating a blackmail list to use against you tired him out. He’s asleep.” “Okay. Thank you so much.” Josh ended the call and all but collapsed to the ground in front of the waiting motorcade. “He’s fine. He’s fine. He’s with Joanie.” “Good,” Sam said, relief in his voice. “And here I was having flashbacks to when you, Donna, and Toby got left behind in Wisconsin and I had to do your job, Toby’s job, and my job. I had to deal with Bartlet after having not slept for two days.” “Oh, what a nightmare that must have been,” Josh replied sarcastically. “And it was Indiana by the way.” * * * Joanie and Leo arrived in front of the White House that evening in a taxi after a brief stop at Kennedy Centre, home of the National Symphony Orchestra. Leo had credentials to enter, plus they were expected. “Your dad said he would be waiting for us in the residence,” Joanie said, looking around at the grand entrance. She had been in the White House several times - she had preformed here for President Bartlet and President Santos - but it never ceased to amaze her that her. Leo nodded and lead his aunt by the hand. They were let into the residence where a clearly worried Josh was pacing around the Yellow Oval Room. Sam was seated on one of the couches. Josh turned as soon as the door and heaved a sigh as soon as he saw his sister and son. “Leo. I am so sorry. I got distracted. It will never happen again.” Leo, who had been fairly composed until now, ran into Josh’s arms. “It’s okay. I’m not mad.” “I’m mad.” Joanie had her arms crossed. Josh nodded as he put Leo down. “Why don’t you go play with Imogene? I’m sure she wants to hear about your adventure.” Joanie recognized the name of Sam’s daughter; Joanie knew Leo was good friends with the President’s eldest daughter. Leo nodded and slipped out of the room just as the first lady slipped in. Ainsley Seaborn crossed her arms. Her blonde hair up in a bun made her look menacing. “Don’t mind me. I just want to see Josh get his ass kicked by a girl.” Joanie had to smile. She and the first lady had not interacted much, but Joanie had known Ainsely since she had preformed at the Seaborn wedding back early in the Santos era, over 16 years ago. Sam rose. “Ains, perhaps we should give Josh and Joanie some privacy.” “No. You two should hear this too. Joshua,” she said, looking at her brother. “I love you dearly, and we all know I’m not qualified to comment on child rearing, and I know your work here is important. But you need to consider who is going to replace you in the short term and train them, or else this job will eventually kill you. And you should consider who might be in this room in thirty or forty years. Leo looks up to all you guys so much. Think about the long term, and raise them right and with love.” Josh nodded. “I know.” “And which is why you owe me one.” Her brother chucked. “I think I owe you a lot.” “Which is why you are going to help me move to DC.” “Really?” Sam exclaimed. Joanie shrugged. “The NSO is just as amazing as Philharmonic, and I think I need a change of scenery. Besides, someone has to be responsible able to drop everything at a moment and run after both Lyman and Seaborn children.” Josh smiled. “Of course. Thanks, Joan.” “Now, how are we going to explain to Donna why I’m here?” Spoiler: Author’s tidbits I really enjoyed writing for Joanie. I had so little to go on for her, but I decided to make her 6 year older than Josh since I am 6 years older than my Joshie (and I was kinda pissed at him when I wrote this). Spoiler: Author’s tidbits Also, I had to make reference to Sam in 20 Hours in America because it is one of my favourite Sam storylines and because sleep-deprived Sam is basically sleep-deprived me. I forgot how much I enjoy writing President Sam. I definitely have to write more President Sam (and Ainsley!).