West Wing Fanfic
Josh approached Mrs. Landingham's desk, his hand firmly clasping Noah's. "Good morning Mrs. Landingham," he said cheerily.
"Good morning indeed, Joshua," the President's assistant replied with a smile. "Would you and your friend like a cookie?"
"Cookie?" Noah's eyes widened again.
"Yes, a cookie," laughed Mrs. Landingham. "Would you like one?"
"Yes please, Ma'am."
"Such nice manners," she remarked to Josh.
"This is my son," he said.
Mrs. Landingham nodded, understanding that he couldn't explain at the moment. "Okay, well, hello," she said to the boy. "I'm Mrs. Landingham."
"Noah Lyman," said the boy with a shy smile.
"Well, hello, Noah." She turned to Josh. "You better get in there before Leo goes crazy."
"It's a little late for that." The adults laughed, and Noah furrowed his brow, trying to get the joke.
"Josh?" Mrs. Landingham asked. "Do you want me to at least give the President a warning? And then I'll watch Noah while you explain the situation."
"Oh, could you?" he asked gratefully.
"I'm just saying we don't want to alienate the California vote, Toby!"
"We won't alienate it, CJ, but we don't need to pander to it either," Toby yelled in frustration.
"Enough bickering," said President Bartlet. A knock came at the door. "Yes." Mrs. Landingham walked in and tried to take stock of her boss' mood.
"Sir, Josh is here."
"It's about damned time," grumbled Toby.
"Watch your language, Mr. Ziegler," Mrs. Landingham admonished.
"Mr. President, Josh has a visitor here and it's a sensitive matter. He's obviously dealing with something, and with everything he's been through in the last few months, try not to interrogate him too much."
"Okay." Bartlet trusted Mrs. Landingham's judgment completely, and knew that she was aware of his staff's states of mind as well. "Why don't you let him in?"
Josh entered, his eyes darting around the room nervously. "Good morning, Mr. President."
"Good morning, Josh. Mrs. Landingham tells me you have a visitor that's part of a sensitive issue. Could you translate that for me?" The President's words were lightened by a twinkle in his eyes.
"Well, Sir, um, about six years ago, I had a girlfriend named Kate O'Dell, and we had been together for a while -"
"Katie, yeah, sure," said Sam, remembering.
"Sam, please," said Bartlet.
"Continue, Josh," the President said.
Josh took a breath. "I had just started working for Hoynes, and I was really concentrating on my career. At one point, I told Kate how I didn't think I was ready for a family yet, and she got upset. A few months later, we broke up, and she stopped returning my calls. Last Wednesday, she was killed in a car accident."
"Josh, I'm so sorry," said Bartlet, meaning what he said.
"Thank you, Sir." He paused. "Kate's parents called me this weekend and had me visit them in Baltimore. Apparently, the reason Kate broke off our relationship was because she had, uh, gotten pregnant after I said what I did about children and she thought I'd be upset."
"Oh my God..." Toby began before a stern look from Leo silenced him.
"Stan and Phyllis, Kate's parents, said that she had given birth and raised her son - our son - and never gotten married. They're too old to take care of him, so they wanted to see if I could possibly raise him. If not, they'd have to put him in a foster home, but there was no way I could -"
"Of course not," the President finished. He then startled everyone by walking over and giving Josh a hug. "You're a good man, Joshua Lyman, and I support you completely."
Josh let out a huge sigh of relief. "CJ?"
"Does anyone else know? I mean will this come up at the briefing?"
"Mr. and Mrs. O'Dell know, and so does my mother, and Donna just found out. Plus my neighbor, Mrs. Bowman. But I don't think they've sold their stories to the Post yet."
CJ smiled. "Do you want me to set the record straight at the briefing?"
"Say that Ms. O'Dell hid the pregnancy from Josh and he is now taking full responsibility of his son," advised Toby.
"Fine with me," she said, writing it down.
Josh needed his agreement. "Toby? Any thoughts?"
"Well, putting aside the fact that you'll look about as comfortable at a toy store as at a proctologist's, best of luck, Josh!"
They all managed a chuckle.
"You'll make a fine father, Josh. I'm really very happy for you," said the Chief of Staff sincerely, clapping his deputy on the shoulder. "Just do a better job keeping Sam from dating your child than I did."
"Hey!" protested Sam. Another wave of laughter passed through the room.
"Sam, what about you?" Josh asked his best friend somewhat nervously.
"I'm happy for you," he replied, with a grin.
"Sam, I want you to be his godfather."
The younger man stood and embraced his friend. "I'd be honored, Josh," he said softly when the moment had ended.
"Do we get to meet this little man?" asked Bartlet jovially.
"He's probably stuffing himself with Mrs. Landingham's cookies," laughed Leo.
"Oh, no, he already had one! He can't ruin his lunch!" He looked at the bemused expressions on his friends' faces. "What?"
"I never thought I'd hear Josh say something like that," CJ managed to say through her laughter.
He glared at her and looked back at the President. "Noah really wants to meet you, Mr. President."
"His name is Noah?" asked Leo. "Like your father?"
"Yeah. Kate and my Dad really liked each other, so I guess she thought it'd be fitting. So he's Noah Alexander Lyman. Alexander was always my favorite name, and Kate knew that."
"He knows you work for me?" asked the President.
"Well, Sir, I think the big clue was when we pulled up to the big white building with all the columns," Josh joked.
"Very funny, Josh," chided Bartlet, although he had a smile on his face. "Well, I'd like to meet Noah Alexander Lyman if I could."
"Okay, yeah, let me rescue him from Mrs. Landingham's clutches."
"She's the President's assistant, not a harpy," Sam laughed.
"That's debatable," said the President with a grin. "Go get your son, Josh."
"Yes, Sir." Josh walked out the door and looked at his son drawing pictures on Post-It notes. "Hey, kiddo." He nodded at Mrs. Landingham as a gesture of thanks. She merely smiled.
"Daddy!" The Post-It note portraits were forgotten. "Mrs. Lavingsham is nice."
"Landingham, Noah," Josh corrected his son gently.
"Whatever," said the boy with a smile.
"Hey, Noah, do you want to meet President Bartlet?"
"Really?" The child had jumped to his feet and was practically bouncing.
"He'd like to meet you."
"Carry me!" the boy demanded.
"Man, you're stubborn," Josh groaned.
"An inherited trait, obviously," joked Mrs. Landingham.
"Obviously." He was thankful he had completely recovered from the shooting last year, and he could easily use one arm to support the Noah's legs while the boy's arms wrapped around his father's neck. Josh's free arm opened the door to the Oval Office and he walked in tentatively.
All the conversation in the room stopped as Josh and Noah entered the office. "Mr. President, may I present my son, Noah Lyman?" Josh asked with mock formality.
"You may, Josh." The child was placed on the ground and immediately ran to the President and gave his legs a hug. Josh clapped a hand over his eyes, pretending not to see his son's lack of respect, but Bartlet laughed and picked the boy up. "Hello, Noah, I'm Jed Bartlet."
"I know," the child laughed. "I've seen you on television before. I'm sorry you got hurt last year."
The President managed to smile. "Well thank you, Noah, I appreciate that. You know, your Daddy's a very good friend of mine. He's friends with everybody in here. Would you like to meet everyone?"
Noah nodded enthusiastically as he was returned to the floor. Looking around at the array of faces the Senior Staff presented, he chose to meet Leo first. "Hi, I'm Noah Lyman," said the child, extending his hand.
Leo had to laugh. "Yes, I know Noah. It's very nice to meet you. I'm Leo McGarry, and I've known your Daddy for a very, very long time."
"Do you work here, too?"
"Yes, I do."
"Noah, this is Toby Ziegler," Josh said, picking his son up and depositing him on the Communications Director's lap.
CJ laughed at Toby's discomfort. "Hi, Noah," Toby said with an attempt at a smile.
"I like your beard, Toby," the five-year-old said with a devilish grin.
Toby's smile this time was wide. "Thank you, Noah, that's very nice." He passed the boy to CJ.
"You're CJ," Noah stated matter-of-factly.
"Yes, I am."
"I saw a picture of you in Daddy's apartment."
"From the inaugural ball," Josh supplied. "It's on my mantle."
CJ nodded in understanding. "Well, Noah, it's very nice to meet you. Do you like fish?"
"I have a goldfish in my office; you can come visit her later if you want."
"Okay, yeah," the boy agreed.
Josh looked at his son. "You got one more to go, Noah."
"Hi, Sam," Noah said casually. "My Daddy told me a lot about you. You fall down a lot, don't you?"
Everyone laughed and Sam's face turned a lovely shade of bright red. "It's a good thing he's too young to understand the secret plan to fight inflation, Josh."
"Hey," Josh protested. "In context, I wasn't insulting you."
Noah slid of CJ's lap and sat next to Sam on the couch. "Daddy likes you," he assured the Deputy Communications Director. "He said you're the nicest person he knows."
Sam blushed again. "Well, that's very nice of him."
"Noah?" Josh asked gently. "I'm going to have someone take you back to my office, okay? Daddy has work to do. You can stay with Donna. Remember her?"
"Yeah, she's pretty."
"Uh-oh, Josh, you've got competition," CJ teased.
"What?" the flustered man asked. "CJ sometimes you don't make any sense."