Title: First Official Hard Question
Author: Perpetual Motion
Fandom: West Wing
Series: Nothing officially, but it's a Joanie story if you want to file it that way.
Summary: "You get a 10 for form, and an 11 for landing on your feet on rocky ground."
Archive Instructions: Go for it.
Disclaimer: They're not mine. I just do shit like this to them to entertain myself.
Author's Notes: Joanie has returned, and it's Toby's turn to parent.. Four-year-olds are annoying when they won't stay in the yard at the back of your mind.
First Official Hard Question By Perpetual Motion
Toby looked up from his paperwork to Joanie, who sat on the floor in front of his office coffee table holding a tea party for America the bear. "Yes, Joanie?"
"Are you a fairy?"
For a moment, Toby wasn't sure if he had heard right. "What did you say?"
Joanie poured invisible tea for America. "Are you a fairy?"
"Where did you hear that word?"
"Eric's mom said it at school today. She said it to Karen's mom."
~And to think I took the two weeks to convince Josh this *wouldn't* happen in preschool.~ "Joanie, come here a second."
She stood up from her tea party and walked over to Toby, who lifted her onto his lap. "Is fairy a bad word?"
"Why do you think it's a bad word?"
"You look mad." Joanie wriggled around on Toby's lap until she could wrap her arms around his neck. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Joanie. Daddy and I told you to ask questions." ~I just wasn't expecting this one for a while-if ever.~ Toby hugged her back and kissed the top of her head. "Do you remember when Daddy and I explained that some people don't like people who are different?"
"They use words like fairy to be mean to other people."
"Is Eric's mom bad?"
~Yes. Teaching ignorance can only lead to more ignorance.~ "No, she's just uncomfortable."
"Because some people aren't comfortable with your daddy and I loving each other."
Joanie pulled far enough away from Toby so she could look him in the face. "Can I still be Eric's friend?"
"Can he come to my tea parties?"
"Can I tell him you're not a fairy?"
"Okay." Joanie leaned against Toby and looked at his desk. "Your desk is messy."
She slid off his lap and walked back over to the tea party. She sat across from America the bear and started telling a story about the Three Little Pigs taking a spaceship to visit Little Red Riding Hood.
Toby stared at his desk and realized that his paperwork seemed pretty inconsequential compared to the question his daughter had just asked. He picked up the phone and dialed Josh's number.
"Hey. What's up?"
"Our daughter was introduced to prejudice today."
"Lydia Carver used it to describe us to Becky Potts."
"Damn. How'd Joanie take it?"
"She asked if I was a fairy."
Over the phone line, Josh choked. "What'd you say?"
"I told her it was a word people used when they were uncomfortable, and that's why Eric's mom used it. I told her Eric's mom wasn't bad."
"But you wanted to tell her to stay the hell away, didn't you?"
"You get a gold parenting star."
"I'd rather cause severe trauma to someone."
"Go yell at Ginger."
"I think I will."
"That was her first, official hard question. You get a 10 for form, and an 11 for landing on your feet on rocky ground."
"Love you, too." Toby hung up and turned back to his inconsequential paperwork.