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12 April 2008 @ 07:09 pm
Another Fic Post  
Here goes another one.........story #599.  I am working on 600 now, a CJ/Leo because they are my OTP.  Give this a read though I am sure the coupling is unconventional for most of you.  I dont get much love for them, some hold Josh to be a sacred character and only like him with Donna, and sometimes Sam.  But I dont mind taking a different path so I just started this out of the blue like two years ago.  If you read, tell me what you think........feedback is love at all times. 

Title: The Difference Between Mallards and Mandarins
Author: Montiese
Category: Romance
Pairing: Josh/Hogan
Rating: PG
Summary: Not that ducks had gods.
Author’s Note: This is #34 in My Boss’s Niece series. Written for thecolourclear's
                          prompt of an outdoor activity and the softer side of Josh.

“It is a beautiful day. Spring is my favorite season, I think.”
 
Josh Lyman lay back on the picnic blanket, letting the sunshine warm his skin. He had already ditched his jacket, tie, shoes, and socks. There was not more he could take off in public. Hogan rubbed his belly and he sighed.
 
“Autumn is mine.” She said. “I love the chill underneath the breeze, and the colors everywhere. I love the schizophrenia of the temperature.”
 
“Interesting choice of words.”
 
“Well DC is smack in the middle. We can have long Indian summers brought up from the South or bursts of cold from Canada. The unpredictability intrigues me. The cherry blossoms are beautiful today.”
 
“Yeah.” Josh opened his eyes. He would be asleep pretty soon though he needed to get back. The scent of the grass, the trees, and his companion’s perfume entranced him.
 
“Do you want to feed the ducks with me?”
 
“I don’t think we’re supposed to.”
 
“Oh c’mon Lyman, live a little. Everyone feeds the ducks…look how adorable the little ones are.”
 
She stood and for just a moment, he could see up her lavender dress. Josh wished he could have enjoyed that view for a little while longer. Hogan helped him to his feet. She grabbed some bread and they walked over to the pond. Some of the ducks were swimming but plenty were frolicking in the grass. They congregated around Hogan as if she was their goddess. Not that ducks had gods. At least Josh didn’t think they did; he didn’t know for sure.
 
“These are Mallards.” Josh said, throwing out some crust.
 
“Aren't all ducks Mallards?”
 
“No.”
 
“Really?”
 
“There are about nine different varieties of duck, both wild and domestic. Most of the domesticated ducks of the world, like these guys, are in the Mallard family. There is a group of domesticated ducks from the Muscovy family also; mostly found in Europe and Asia.”
 
“Wow. Who knew ducks could be so interesting? I just thought they were cute. You know, one of those animals that don’t do anything but are fun.”
 
“Well we eat duck too. All over the world, people use ducks for their meat and eggs. In Asia, they actually hunt the wild duck, like Mandarins.”
 
“What’s the difference between wild and domesticated ducks, Josh?”
 
Hogan threw out more bread, laughing as the smaller ducks jumped all over each other for the pieces.
 
“Their size mostly. The hull length of a domesticated adult Mallard is about 12 inches. Wild ducks can be anywhere from 16 to 20 inches.”
 
“Hull length?”
 
“The length from the base of their necks to the base of their tails.”
 
“Hmm.”
 
“I'm sorry Hogan. God, I must sound like a complete nut. Just tell me to shut up if I am boring you.”
 
“You're not.” she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “I'm just wondering how you know so much about ducks. Did they have that course at Harvard?”
 
“No.” Josh grinned. “My sister obsessed over things. Really strange things too, none of her interests had much in common. She loved Puccini, Catherine the Great, F. Scott Fitzgerald novels, and ducks to name a few. When Joanie caught an interest, she would find out everything about it. My Uncle Mike had a duck pond so when we went there for Sunday dinners she would tell me everything about them. She wanted me to respect them and stop chasing them around.”
 
“I can see you being that kind of kid who terrorized innocent ducks. Joanie was your older sister?”
 
“Yeah.”
 
“You told me on Election night that she passed away.” Hogan threw the rest of her bread out, going to stand by Josh’s side. He slipped his arm around her.
 
“She was 14 and I was 8. There was a fire at our house while she was babysitting me. I ran out of the side door when I saw it but Joanie stayed and tried to put it out. My parents told her not to make popcorn without adult supervision. I begged for it and she acquiesced…she had a soft spot for her baby brother. We would get in trouble if my parents found out so she wanted to put it out. I shouldn’t have left her alone.”
 
“You were only eight years old. You were doing what your parents taught you. She was doing the same thing; she was protecting you.”
 
“I don’t have much left of her Hogan, and its not really fair.” Josh bit back his tears, holding Hogan tighter as she held onto him.
 
She moved around to his front, Josh let a few tears fall but that was all. He never talked about Joanie anymore, not with anyone, not even his mother. Neither spoke for a long time. Josh knew he had to get back to the White House.
 
“We've been gone a while.” He said, pulling away from her.
 
“Alright. C’mon, you have to get presentable Mister.”
 
Josh smiled, though it was a sad one. She caressed his cheek before placing a gentle kiss there. Hogan gathered up their picnic lunch as the White House Chief of Staff redressed. He held out his hand for her and they walked across the Mall.
 
“Someone might see us holding hands.” Hogan said.
 
“I don’t care; not today.”
 
“Well I never care.” She kissed the hand she held.
 
“Can I see you tonight, Hogan?”
 
“Yes. Are you going to be alright this afternoon?”
 
“Sure.” Josh tried to remember what he’d done with his psychiatrist’s phone number.
 
“Are you sure?”
 
He pulled her close, kissing her temple. At the White House their hands came apart but he wanted to stay as close to her as he could. It wasn’t as if her Aunt could catch them…her office was not in the West Wing anymore.
 
“I'm fine. Lunch was great.”
 
“You work too hard.” She replied.
 
“Yes ma'am.”
 
“I mean it Lyman.”
 
“I know. I don’t know what time…”
 
“It’s alright. I’ll be nice and buzz you up anyway.”
 
They walked through the metal detectors, ran their IDs through, and Hogan waved as they went their separate ways. Josh stood in the same spot for some time. He was falling in love with her; he told her one of his deepest secrets and she comforted him. Taking a deep breath, Josh let go of the matters of his heart and got back to the matters of the country. He would be with her again tonight…that was enough to get him through the rest of the day.
 
***
 
 
I'm In....: the lair
I Feel....: hungryhungry
I Hear....: "Fall to Pieces" Patsy Cline