i’m watching this light mystery show with my family and in general it has a lot more rep than is typical of this genre (esp gay rep) but the one bisexual character who’s appeared so far ‘used her sexuality as a weapon - no one was safe’ or something and it’s just. reaaally rubbing me the wrong way it feels at best thoughtless and at worst viciously biphobic
Joey Lucas: If you polled 100 Donnas and asked them if they think we should go out, you’d get a high positive response. But, the poll wouldn’t tell you it’s because she likes you, and she knows it’s beginning to show. She needs to cover herself with misdirection.
Do you wonder if Barnes and Noble ever explores each other’s bodies
oh if anyone who i didn’t reach out to is interested in joining the joshtoby discord just dm me
Josh x Toby Headcannons
So *ahem* it’s been ages since I was inspired to do writing of any kind so a sincere thank you to @callixton for the inspiration. The head cannons are all kind of over the place so yea I guess lets jump right in?
✨ Josh LOVES to watch Toby write–the way he roots around for the right work is utterly fascinating to Josh. HOWEVER, Toby hates the feeling of being watched; he’ll tolerate Sam and other communications staffers sort of obsessing over the process with him but he can’t stand Josh being around which makes Josh slightly sad.
✨ Once Josh convinced Santos to run he heads straight to Toby’s apartment as if in autopilot. Toby lets him in which sets alarm bells in his head because Josh hasn’t knocked for entrance since *that Christmas* which no one (even all these years later) ever really explicitly talks about. Josh paces until he stops mid stride and tells Toby that he can’t stay in the White House anymore. He says that without Leo he doesn’t feel connected or wanted–that CJ deserves a deputy she trusts but he also can’t sit on the sidelines while the party coalesces around someone as unworthy as Bingo Bob. Josh whispers that he can’t imagine spending a year without Toby but he has to do this and he hopes Toby can understand that? In a small voice Toby says, “ask me Josh” and Josh knows what Toby wants him to ask but he can’t imagine roping anyone else into this half assed plan so Josh simply kisses Toby.
✨ Josh doesn’t ask Toby to come and in the morning Toby wakes up to a cold bed and it takes everything in Toby not to break down then and there.
✨ Six weeks before the Iowa caucus Toby shows up to some nondescript hotel and shoves his way into Josh’s room and he simply picks up the latest polling data that littered the hotel bed while shoving Josh down onto the bed and on top of him. Josh lets out the smallest of sighs because this *feels so right* and reminds him of all the nights this exact scene played out during the course of the Bartlet administration. Halfway through one polling top sheet Toby mutters “it’s not just you anymore you can’t shut me out” while he let’s his fingers fund purchase in Josh’s hair. At the action something within Josh breaks and he starts crying because he never wanted to do this without Toby and he’s never been so alone as he has been the past few months because all these people are depending on him and he doesn’t know who he could trust but he also thought he lost any right to this when he left at the crack of dawn like a coward.
✨ Toby and Josh’s wedding is surprisingly well attended–Jed Bartlet marries them and President Santos acts as a member of Josh’s wedding party. Josh and Toby had many fights over who could have Sam as their best man–Josh was convinced that he had a superior claim given his long history with Sam–but in the end Sam chooses Toby and he can’t convince himself to be mad at the slight crack of a smile that adorns Toby’s face when Sam breaks the news.
✨ Molly and Huck serves as ring bearers because Josh its adamant that they have a place in this wedding and the unconventional family they share with Andy. The wedding is short on fathers and even though Josh had made peace a long time ago that this was something his dad would miss he is surprisingly sad and angry at the absence on the day itself. Toby doesn’t say anything to take away the hurt because he knows there’s nothing he can say but he does hold Josh through his wave if grief that assaults him the moment he wakes up on the day of the wedding.
✨ Josh writes his own vows and while he is no speechwriter–and prefers to show his love in tiny gestures (like tugging Toby out of the office at the end of a long day and pushing him into bed; letting Toby take him to Temple on high holy days because being Jewish is such a huge part of what makes Toby-Toby and he wants to share that with Toby) rather than platitudes but his vows are surprisingly sappy and garner the most tears of the two.
✨Toby and Josh want to adopt–they want a family of their own. They run into a lot of trouble because of their hours, schedules, and nature of their relationship but after two years of rejections they finally get to take home a three year old daughter–Joanie. After Joanie joins their family Josh steps down as CoS and him and Toby move to Connecticut so they cab have a bigger house–with a yard for their little girl.
Well uh, welcome back to my headcannons 2.0 god only knows how many versions I’ll end up churning out.
✨ Josh has a praise kink which is pretty much stated if not heavily implied in canon and the kink extends to outside of the bedroom as well. Toby does his best to be mindful of this kink inside the west wing and inside their bedroom as well. Josh’s face fucking does that cute boyish smirk whenever someone compliments him and the dimples are always out in full force when someone congratulates him on a job well done and Toby makes it his mission to be the one to make Josh look like that more than anyone else. Toby won’t always come out and say the words “good job” but they are implied in the slap on the back after a vote goes their way, in the way his favorite pizza will show up on his desk after a key meeting on the hill goes off without a hitch etc. But Toby can’t resist praising Josh when they are in bed—the first time a “good boy Joshua slips out in bed Josh stops kissing Toby, preens, and tries really hard to like not cry but he’s sort of unsuccessful before he husks out “I wanna be good for you.” Toby simply states, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world “always good for me” and then they just go back to whatever they were doing before that.
✨ Both Toby and Josh are touch starved and are therefore so so so so tactile. While neither loves the idea of PDA when they are out and about in public they try and sneak little points of contact whenever they can. Fir example, when the senior staff make a night of it out at the Hawk and Dove Josh will hook his ankle around Toby’s and leave it there to serve as their own personal reminder that the other is there. Then, uh behind closed doors all bets are off. Toby’s favorite position is to have Josh laying on top of him because he loves the weight and how it serves as a means to ground him to the present and Josh likes it simply because Toby loves it. Also being on top allows Toby easier access to Josh’s hair and even though he’ll never admit it out loud Josh is kind of a slut for people playing with his hair. Toby finds out the whole hair thing by complete accident when they are in bed making out and he snakes his hands into Josh’s hair while he’s going down on him and Toby swears he can see and feel all the tension seep pit of Josh at the simple gesture. From then on Toby deploys the knowledge strategically whenever he wants to shut Josh up. Also it’s not uncommon during the rare occasions they have the opportunity to shower together, Toby washes Josh’s hair and Toby definitely melts a little at the look of utter peace on Josh’s face in those moments.
✨ Both of them love baseball so much but they can get a bit carried away sometimes when they are watching the Mets and Yankees play one another so they limit watching those matchups together. Toby has always been a Yankees fan and will tell anyone who’ll listen the exact number of times he’s been to yankee stadium. Josh, on the other hand, is a Mets fan but he hasn’t seen a a game at the stadium in years. Growing up, his dad would always bring him and joanie to a few games each summer. Him and his dad went to a game shortly after joanie died because Josh’s dad was at a loss of how to connect with this mew Josh who since the fire was less outgoing, less funny and more serious. Josh has a panic attack in the bathroom and faked being sick just so his dad would take him home. Josh doesn’t tell Toby ANY of this when the man produces two tickets to a July subway series showdown that coincides with a White House New York fundraising swing. Toby figured Josh would be happier because any chance he gets to talk, live, and breathe Mets he does but Josh seems oddly subdued on the subway ride over. After a couple of beers and a split thing of nachos later Josh whispers “this was always a me and joanie thing” and Toby stills because he can count on one hand the number of times Josh willingly talked about his sister in all the years he’d known him. Toby is kind of horrified and says “why didn’t you say anything,” while stealing a sip of Josh’s beer. Josh just sort of shrugs and squeezes Toby’s knee before swinging his attention black to the game before adding “I wanted to do this with you” and at that Toby throws his arm around Josh’s shoulder and goes back to the action.
Two updates in two days sounds about right. Uh, when I fall for something I fall hard. Sorry not sorry. Okay so where were we 😌
✨ The day Josh gets passed over for CoS he goes out to the shadiest bar and gets unbelievably plastered. The owner of the bar grabs his cellphone somewhere around about number 9 and calls up the first number in his recents section and that’s how an hour later Toby comes and picks Josh up and nestles him into his car it take him back to Josh’s place. They usually do whatever it is they are doing (both of these idiots is pining so hard for the other because they both refuse to be the first one to blink and spill it all out there) at Toby’s place but Josh’s place is closer and Toby would prefer Josh doesn’t vomit inside his car lmao. Toby is rewarded because Josh doesn’t make it three steps into his apartment before he bolts for the bathroom and barely makes it before he’s throwing up what little he’d been able to stomach eating earlier. Toby grabs a water bottle from the fridge before retreating back into the bathroom where he settles against Josh’s stand-alone tub and settles onto the tiled floor to simply wait for whatever this is to pass. Toby, never one to be particularly kind uncharacteristically doesn’t mention the fact that Josh’s shoulders are shaking that as more to do with his silent sobs than the vomiting. He figures he owes Josh that one modicum of dignity at the moment. A bit later, after Toby has deposited Josh into his bed he waits for the Chinese food he ordered.
✨ Because the universe clearly hates Toby, and by extension Josh, when Toby opens the door ready to pay the takeout guy he finds Donna. Because of course. “You aren’t the Chinese delivery guy,” Toby says sarcastically while sighing. Donna surprised—not only at Toby being here in the first place but also by the fact that he’s wearing Josh’s old Harvard hoodie—smirks before replying “and you aren’t Josh.” After a beat of silence Donna adds, “I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t alone but clearly I shouldn’t have worried.” Before Donna turns to leave she reaches out and squeezes Toby’s shoulder and Toby swears he’s been transported to some parallel universe because the next thing Donna says is, “don’t hurt him. But for what it’s worth you both deserve to be happy.” Toby doesn’t trust himself to speak beyond the lump in his throat so he simply nods and goes back to waiting for their takeout. Toby doesn’t mention seeing Donna when he wakes Josh up when their dinner arrives. After the Chinese food had been demolished Toby slipped back into bed and took to tracing lazy patterns across Josh’s chest. He thought Josh was asleep which was the only reason he says what he says next, “it should have been you,” and a few minutes later Toby feels Josh gently squeeze his hand and even in his sleepy, drunken haze Josh has never felt so loved and he thinks that even if his professional life is imploding around him at least Toby can still be his one good thing.
✨ Josh actually knows how, and enjoys, cooking. I know a lot of people in fandom have this idea that since he subsists on takeout that he doesn’t know how to cook but I think this has more to do with a convenience thing. Josh doesn’t have a lot of time to cook but he enjoys it when he can and only two people know this side of Josh. One being Sam because Josh would cook for the two of them when they were starting out on the Hill together and Toby because it’s easier to have hide their relationship if they have dinner dates in, as opposed to out at a restaurant where someone might recognize them. So anyways, Josh likes to cook capiche! And so a few weeks after Toby comes aboard the santos campaign Josh feels a bit more tethered and out together. Because words have never been his strong suit he spends an evening making stir fry and grabs a few Tupperware containers. He knows Toby will see this for what it is—a peace offering and his way of saying thank you for saving me again. Toby isn’t in his room when Josh goes around but he knows Toby will know and that’s all that matters. Josh also made enough to give some to congressman santos and Helen and Helen looks at him as if he had grown about four heads but takes the food nonetheless. The rest goes to Otto, Ronna, Bram, and Ned. After Otto finishes his portion he laughs, “whoever got Ziegler to come aboard deserves a raise because Josh is actually being nice-ish now which is scary but much appreciated.
✨ Josh goes beet red before hastily making his exit. Toby is of course waiting for him when he gets back to his room and he simply rolls his eyes before fondly muttering, “Joshua.”
So in an effort to cheer @callixton up during his season 7 rewatch welcome to another installment of my favorite guys headcannons.
✨ After Zoey’s kidnapping Josh’s anxiety amps up to a whole other stratosphere—he ends up adding meetings with his psychiatrist but all the coping mechanisms he’s amassed over the past few months don’t seem to do nearly enough to quiet how loud his head is on a near daily basis now. The worst is the fact that he can’t sleep and almost everyday he tries to ignore the whispers between Donna and Sam about how the pounds just seem to be dropping off of him. The thing is that now that Josh is in therapy and knows what this is he hates himself even more for not being able to do the the most basic of things to take care of himself—he’s routinely embarrassed by the fact that he can’t make his body eat, sleep, or shower with any sort of regularity but he can barely muster enough energy to put his feet on the ground in the morning.
✨ At Josh’s fourth emergency session, his therapist, Dr. Weeks broaches the idea of putting him on an anti anxiety and depression med but Josh blanches at the idea because the PTSD diagnosis makes him enough of a liability in his mind without adding a paper trail of meds to the mix. Dr. Weeks tables the discussion for the time being but she knows it can’t be ignored forever. Josh reluctantly agrees to the meds idea when he wakes up one morning and it’s just so loud in his head that he ends up in front of his townhouse window and he’s almost willed his hand forward into the window pane when he hears his doorbell ring. It scares Josh because he wants to badly to be better, to get better that when he opens the door and finds Toby he smiles a bit and quietly asks Toby if he’ll drop him off at Dr. Weeks’ office on their way into the White House and Josh does his best to ignore the sad look on Toby’s face as they drive over to his therapists practice.
✨ All day at work Josh avoids being alone with Toby and even goes so far as to bail on their long standing lunch date because he just isn’t ready to admit how fucked out he still feels all these months later and Josh hates himself a little bit more for good measure because he knows Toby won’t judge him and would want to know what’s going on but he isn’t ready for the world to know just yet. But he hates the fact that he’s the one who made the older mans face be lined with disappointment because he never wanted to be the one to put that look on his face. Josh finally tells Toby a few days later while they are over at Toby’s place eating pizza and wings while a meaningless baseball game plays in the background. Josh let’s the admission that he started taking Paxil for the anxiety and depression come out in a rush of words and it takes Toby a few seconds for his brain to register what Josh is saying. Josh won’t even catch Toby’s eye while he admits it and Toby means to say something he really does but he just needs a few minutes to process everything and by the time his mind has wrapped itself around what was said Toby looks to see that Josh is halfway across the room trying to struggle his way into his jacket and shoes. Toby can hear him mumbling something about how he fucked this up and that kicks Toby into overdrive.
✨ Toby, not unkindly, grabs ahold of Josh’s arms and uses his thumb to gently lift Josh’s face to his and Toby says what he should have said the first time, “you haven’t fucked anything up Josh; I’m just grateful you are here,” and Josh just drops.
✨ Toby loves the fact that Josh is an open canvas and is willing to try anything at least once. He knows that Josh has been with the occasional man here and there but because of how insular DC is, Josh told Toby he’d never ventured beyond one off hookups mostly because he didn’t trust anyone to protect any of his secrets. So Josh has never really allowed himself the luxury to relax or explore some of the less vanilla aspects of a relationship. Toby takes the implicit trust Josh has placed in him and nestled it between his ribs for safekeeping. Anyways, Josh is a blank slate and Toby enjoys the freedom of trying different things. So far, they’ve learned that most loves being restrained, enjoys blindfolds, hates hearing deprivation, has a humiliation and degradation kink that makes Toby uncomfortable at times, hates spankings (but will indulge Toby from time to time) and enjoys being told what to do.
✨ Toby takes the whole notion of aftercare super seriously. He always makes sure to have the blue Gatorade that Josh likes stocked and knows from experience that Josh turns into a limpet after a session and wants to attach himself to Toby in any way possible and Toby fucking loves it.
✨ It’s Toby’s idea to get their wedding rings engraved. Toby engraves Josh’s with “I’ll always come looking for you,” and Josh chose to enscribe Toby’s with “you’ll forever be my one good thing.” They show each other the engravings the night before the wedding and both will never reveal who cried more or harder. It’s no contest though Josh’s mom absolutely bawls when Josh shows her the rings enough to outdo both Toby and Josh combined.
Welcome back to another edition of JoshToby headcannons and I like to call this the “Josh Lyman’s mother” special.
✨ When Josh was shot, Toby sat with his mother and the two prayed together the first night while they were waiting for news on his surgery and then it just became a habit for them during the duration of Josh’s stay in the hospital. Every night Toby would be the last one to visit and most nights Josh would already be asleep but him and Ruth would sit on either side of the bed and just pray that Josh was still there, that he made it through another day.
✨ Ruth (yes my headcanon is that her name is Ruth so sue me,) has always been a bit hurt that Josh wasn’t more outwardly religious and outside of the first few years where he was a lower level staffer in DC he almost never makes it home for Hanukkah. Yes, she loved her son regardless but it still saddened her sometimes to think about how not religious Josh was because before Joanie died, Josh had loved Hanukkah and enjoyed going to synagogue but it seemed like after the fire it was just another thing the family lost. But while Josh wasn’t super religious Ruth still was so she made sure to hastily grab her Talit on her way out the door that evening she heard about her baby being shot.
✨ By the time Ruth got to the hospital that evening Josh was in hour six of his surgery. She was adamant about watching the surgery from the observation window and the only one who joined her was Toby. Ruth remembered Josh telling her that Toby was Jewish and very in tune with his faith so she wasn’t surprised to see him clutching his own Talit but it did send he into another round of hysterics. It was Toby’s idea to pray together and even as Ruth’s world was seemingly falling apart she was grateful for Toby.
✨ The moment Josh was moved from a recovery room into an ICU room Ruth took up residence on Josh’s injured side. Toby was one of the last people to visit that evening and she noticed how he hesitated as he got closer to the bed and saw him favoring the Talit in his hand reverently. He hesitated a bit before shooting a quick glance at Ruth before he threaded the Talit over Josh’s shoulders as best he could. Ruth didn’t say anything at the warm look Josh gave her the next morning as he quietly did the best he could to fold the Talit up and place it under his pillow. She also wisely didn’t say anything when that evening he threaded it over his shoulders and she didn’t mistake the look for fondness that passed over Toby’s features when he came in that evening to pray.
✨ Nightmares were a common occurrence the first few nights of Josh’s stay in the ICU especially as they began easing Josh off the painkillers and he became aware if just how injured he was. One night, Toby eased his way through the door after a long day at the White House and he was surprised that Josh was awake because more often than not these days he’s been asleep more than awake. An awake Josh Toby could deal with on most days but this isn’t most days and Toby also recognizes the rigid way he has contorted himself in bed. Everything in Toby’s body is telling him that he should ease back out the door because Josh’s eyes are screwed shut and he probably didn’t even hear him come in—dealing with emotions has never been his strong suit and for all the ways he can write masterpieces he can’t comfort anyone worth shit and so Toby was halfway to the door before he hears a choked “don’t go,” and Toby’s never been any good at denying Josh much of anything. So Toby makes his way towards the bed and notices that Josh has almost 20 minutes before the next round of painkillers and his face absolutely does pale. He does his best to uncurl Josh’s hand before curling it around his own and grabbing a small fistful of the Talit Toby covers Josh’s hand with both of his own. Josh’s grip is surprisingly weak still and he just keeps muttering phrases in Hebrew that Josh wouldn’t know even if he wasn’t trying to be hopped up on painkillers. Somewhere around the 10 minute mark Ruth comes back in and quietly busies herself with washing away the sweat on his face with a dampened rag. Just after the next dose of morphine hit the IV Josh simply grimaced in the general direction of Toby before whispering, “I’ll never be able to pay you back for this,” and Toby simply smoothed out the blanket and pushes Josh’s curls back. Toby wishes he could kiss Josh’s forehead but that seems like a step too far and he quietly tries to tramp down the feeling that he wants to kiss Josh in other areas as well. Has for a long time if he wants to be truthful about it.
✨ Ruth came down for the first Hanukkah after Roslyn and was surprised that Josh actually had a menorah out on his table and tried to struggle his way through making latkes before she banished him from the kitchen. She was even more surprised when he volunteered to go to synagogue with her on her last day visiting and she tries not to smile when they slide into the same row as Toby. And if Josh sits a little too close to Toby than is strictly necessary and grabs his pinky in a lose grip halfway through the service well Ruth has always been great at keeping other people’s secrets.
✨ Josh doesn’t come out to his mom until him and Toby have been together for a full year. Toby, unlike Josh, never really hid this part of himself. Sure he didn’t go around openly telling strangers that he was bisexual but it’s never been a hidden secret to those that mattered to him, nor was he ashamed of that part of himself. Whereas Josh kept the secret that he was gay wrapped up tighter than Fort Knox. It’s not that he was ashamed per se he just never really acknowledged the fact to himself until he was at Harvard. He didn’t know that many gay or lesbian people during his time at Harvard, Yale, or then up on capital hill so he just kept it to himself. He only hooked up with one night stands and he always made sure to pick up those guys at bars people wouldn’t think to recognize him too closely. Josh hated the fact that he kept this part of himself hidden from his mom for almost 20 years but well after his dad died he was a little short of family members and he was worried that his mom might not react that well and well Josh can admit to himself that he’d rather keep lying to himself and those around him than risk losing anyone else close to him.
✨ It was Toby that was adamant that he tell his mom. Toby was great in the sense that he never pushed Josh to be more open than he wanted to be—about himself and them—and Toby knew that Josh wasn’t ashamed of their relationship. It’s just more than twenty years in the closet well he gets how hard it can be to get out of the closet. Toby also knew he was lucky in that he had several gay friends and he was involved in various AIDS charities—he grew up supported by the community and Josh well he didn’t have that. But still Toby wanted to meet Josh’s mom properly and so one morning as he was watching Josh stuff clothes into a suitcase to take back to his place—the place he stopped living in 6 months ago—because his mom was coming to town which meant he had to stay there for the next week—and Toby blurted out “if you told your mom she could just stay here you know.” And Josh did know, and he was sad that he was going to have to spend a week away from Toby where he’d have to relearn how to sleep alone which just felt wrong but still Josh just smiled and shook his head.
✨ Halfway through Ruth’s stay Toby is putzing around in the kitchen late one night trying to figure out what to make for dinner when the doorbell rings. When he opens the door he sees Ruth and Josh on the other side each with an overnight bag slung over their shoulder. Ruth simply throws her arms out and says “I’d hoped it’d be you,” and Toby is rarely speechless but that just about does it. Josh brings up the rear and closes the door before escaping to their room (and it melts his heart that he can call this place and this man home). He quietly slips into a pair of faded Harvard sweatpants and digs through Toby’s drawers for his faded bartlet for America shirt from the first campaign that Josh has all but claimed as his own.
✨ Toby let’s himself into their bedroom. “Your mom is making some pasta dish, she seemed unimpressed by my food selection” he says laughing. Josh just smiles before slipping his hand into Toby’s and tracing a pattern in tune with the older mans pulse. “You were right she was fine with it,” he said shrugging before adding “you made quite the impression when I was shot I guess.” Josh brings up their clasped hands and kisses Toby’s hand, “I appreciate you waiting. I know this—I know I’m not—easy.” Toby simply shrugged “you’ll always be worth the wait.”
✨ That night Toby and Josh try their hardest to be quiet when they are making out but Ruth smirks over her coffee cup the next morning and Josh’s ears go bright fucking red. “Who knew my son could be so adventurous in bed” Ruth says cackling and Josh wishes the ground would swallow him whole but he feels more relaxed in a way he hasn’t been since his mom arrived earlier this week. The day she leaves though? Toby and Josh have their most enthusiastic sex to date on their kitchen table and Josh knows he wouldn’t have it any other way.
✨ When Josh and Toby get married it’s in the middle of election season and so there isn’t time for a honeymoon but Ruth slips a pair of keys into Josh’s hands the night before the wedding and simply says, “your dad would have wanted you to have this” and it’s the keys to their old summer cottage in Connecticut and Josh tries not to get visibly emotional and he simply nods his head. Connecticut in October is beautiful even if Josh and Toby don’t get out much because they are doing other more important things.
So, uh this head cannons post is pretty serious so please be mindful of the trigger warnings I included in the tags below. They relate to mental health, ptsd, and hospitalizations and the like. I know a lot of people may not potentially like or agree with this posts head cannons but I do think its real and it is something that, to me, fits with relation to what Josh deals with. As always my messages are open if anyone needs to vent, rant, discuss etc,
✨ Shortly after Santos wins re-election Josh enters an in patient treatment hospital in Virgina for his ptsd and depression. There’s no one defining moment that triggers Josh’s choice–in some ways that would have made it easier and would have given his mind something to attack–but he did spend a week discussing the choice with Dr. Weeks and Toby. Both agreed that the stay could be beneficial–could help him have a hard reset of sorts but they said that the final decision would be Josh’s.
✨ Josh ultimately decided to enter the program because he felt like the last year spent between flights to middle America and trying to balance the CoS job at home was just a lot. The hours, the stress all of it made Josh feel like he was back sliding into old habits of self hatred, the barely below the surface desires relating to self harm and the disassociating etc.
✨ Toby drove him to the hospital and put himself in charge of packing a bag for Josh because once he made the choice he kind of shut down. Leaving Josh after helping him fill out the admissions paperwork might have been the hardest thing Toby ever did–even if he did think Josh was brave to do this. Toby left him with a quick kiss to the side of his mouth and a whispered “everything will work out, do good.”
✨ The first night at the hospital Josh kind of regrets the choice as he’s trying to to put away some of the things Toby packed for him once he got his belongings back from intake. He half smiled as he took out the famous too big pajama bottoms and he paired it with his favorite CUNY college sweater that Toby refused, until now, to let Josh have. Once again Josh silently thanks anything and everything that Toby gets Josh and always knows what he needs even when he himself can’t figure it out.
✨Josh spends four weeks in the program and Toby visits every weekend and the first weekend he visited Josh can’t bring himself to be embarrassed by the fact that he cries the minute Toby his through the entrance where he was waiting. Josh simply shoves his face into the crook of Toby’s neck and throws his arms around the man’s midsection. Toby was just as emotional–and he would have visited sooner but Josh was adament that he wanted a little time to settle in and get used to everything. When the two break apart Toby gently pads his thumbs across Josh’s face to wipe away the dried tears. Josh chokes at Toby’s remark, “your face is too cute to cry,” and Josh knows Toby is trying to get him to laugh and he’s never been more grateful to have someone like Toby in his life, in his mess.
✨ The day Josh goes home he’s nervous as he slips on a new pair of jeans and the same CUNY sweatshirt he’s worn to bed for the last month and he’s a bit sad it smells more like him than Toby–but he has a session with Dr. Weeks scheduled for tomorrow and he feels a bit better prepared to face everything now.
✨ “Don’t be mad” Toby says crypitically as he shoulders open the door and Josh just squints at Toby trying to figure out what he meant. But then he hears, rather than sees, his mom.
✨ “You should have called” Ruth says as he envelops Josh in a hug and he just melts into it. They stay like that for awhile before Josh blindly throws his hand out and reels Toby into a weird three way hug.
✨ “Welcome home,” Toby whispers into his ear and Josh just squeezes the both of them a bit tighter.
✨ The three of them spend the night wound up in one another–Ruth makes Josh’s favorite pasta dish, Toby spends the time wating for dinner by reading a months worth of op-eds that he saved because it was their favorite part of the paper to read together and Josh just let Toby’s voice lull him into a small nap. The three of them put on a movie after dinner and Josh falls asleep tucked into Toby’s side as he listens to him and Ruth argue over whatever movie they’d chosen and once again Josh feels so loved. He knows the days and battles ahead will be tough and Toby and his mom alone can’t cure him but knowing they are constantly willing to get into his mess with him, to know that they aren’t tired of how fucked up he can still get well it just overwhelms Josh.
✨ To this day, the only people who know about his stay are his mom, Toby, Matt, Helen, the Bartlett’s, and Donna.
Welcome back? It’s been eons since I updated this I feel like so let’s change that k? Most of these are campaign eras related since I guess I like to theme my head cannons now lmao.
✨ Everyone was understandably a bit anxious and jumpy as the first trip post Roslyn neared. Donna cornered Toby as he was heading home the night before the three day trip was set to begin–one where Donna wasn’t going on. “He thinks I don’t know but Josh gets the occasional nightmare; he won’t talk about them but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a few this weekend.”
✨ Toby bends down to pick up the keys he’d dropped when Donna snuck up on him, “what am I supposed to do with this information Donna?”
✨ “You’re a smart man Toby, figure it out. All I’m saying is he better not come back looking worse than he does now.”
✨ Toby bristles at the implications of what Donna said because Toby does indeed have eyes and has watched the way Josh has gotten jumpier in recent weeks and how he’d spent more time with his door closed as the trip approached. The thing is, Toby’s wanted to say something to Josh before; he never wanted it to get this far in the first place but everytime Toby’s psyched himself up to have any sort of meaningful conversation Donna’s been at Josh’s door with ready made excuses for why he couldn’t see Josh at the moment.
✨ Which is why when Toby sees Josh show up at the motorcade with his eyes hidden behind his trademark sunglasses and suitcase rolling behind him he tries to not let out a long suffering sigh. Toby motions for Sam to get in first while Toby slips in behind Josh. Toby can feel the exact moment Josh tenses up when the motorcade starts rolling–sirens and lights on. So, Toby shifts a bit in his seat so his knee touches Josh and notices Sam shifts too to allow his shoulder to brush up against Josh. Toby reaches across Josh to grab a copy of the President’s speech from Sam.
✨ “Sam you did that thing again where you went whole paragraphs without punctuation again,” Toby mutters fondly trying to engage with Sam who takes the bait without missing a beat like Toby knew he would. For the next forty five minutes the pair argue about the semantics of the speech and he feels Josh settle into his seat somewhere around the ten minute mark but Toby keeps his knee near Josh’s for good measure the same way Sam keeps finding small ways to touch Josh.
✨As Toby readies for bed that night he can hear Josh pacing in the room next to his. He contemplates knocking on Josh’s door remembering Donna’s words and warning from the day prior. But Tony knows Josh; knows how much he likes to play things close to his chest and hated when anyone would see him at less than 100%.
✨ So, Toby rationalizes himself into laying down instead rather than checking in on Josh which is why he really isn’t surprised at the fact that the loudness of Josh’s television wakes him up in the middle of the night. Toby doesn’t even have to strain himself to hear Josh pacing next door.
✨Without even thinking Toby throws on his favorite sweater, grabs his room key, and a stack of speech revisions. Toby takes a chance on Josh’s door being unlocked and wipes the sleepiness from his eyes before entering Josh’s room. Toby tries not to wince at the state of Josh’s room–his clothes are haphazardly thrown across the chair in the corner, briefing memos litter the side table and bed and Toby notices the way Josh’s eyes flitter between Toby and the bottle of sleeping pills in his hand.
✨ “I, uh, can’t sleep,” Josh manages to get out after several stops and starts and Toby simply rolls his eyes before grabbing the pill bottle from Josh and rattles out one for Josh before he made quick work of dealing with the bed. “I’ll be here, Josh it’s fine,” Toby says noticing that Josh still hasn’t taken the pill. Josh simply nods before dry swallowing the pill and trying to get comfortable in the bed.
✨ After about fifteen minutes in bed, Josh swings his head over and clears his throat, “someday you’ll get tired of saving me,” and with that Josh grabs rage covers and throws them over himself. Sometime in the middle of the night Toby abandons the revisions and slides into the bed and tries, and fails, to suppress a smile at the fact that Josh stills at the sudden contact. Toby throws his arm over Josh’s shoulder and pulls him closer before drifting off himself.
✨ The next morning Josh is surprised at the fact that he slept through the night which is something he hasn’t done since returning to work. Before Toby makes his exit the next morning he throws over his shoulder, “I don’t care how many times Josh,” and Josh rides that feeling of warmth for the rest of the day.
✨When Toby joins the Santos campaign a few weeks before Iowa no one knows him and Josh are in a relationship they just figure the two share a room because the campaign is strapped for cash and try and spend as little money on hotels as possible. Both Josh and Toby find it funny that is isn’t until a few weeks before the general election that the Santoses find out. Toby and Josh are kissing after reading the latest polling data and neither hears the hotel room door open.
✨”Josh did you..” Matt yells before cutting himself off when he and Helen barge into the room. For their part, Toby and Josh jump apart and Tony watches the way Josh’s back stiffens and knows its the first of many defense mechanisms Josh armors himself with.
✨ “Sir….uh..it’s not what. Okay well no it is exactly what it looks like,” Josh finishes lamely. Toby steps forward so his knee is hitting the back of Josh’s.
✨”How long have you two been together?” Helen catches up first.
✨”We got together back when we were both in the White House. As you two can understand not many people actually know,” Toby says as he throws his arm around Josh’s shoulders.
✨ Josh swallows and tries to practice all the breathing exercises Dr. Weeks has taught him over the years before looking Matt in the eyes and with an amount off conviction he can’t believe he really has Josh says “I hope this won’t change anything but uh, I’ll understand if it’s a problem.”
✨ Matt laughs and Toby surpasses a smile at the way Helen jabs her husband in the ribs before Matt sobers up, “I meant it back in Texas I’m only in it with you at the top. This doesn’t change that and won’t change when we get to the White House.”
✨ Josh feels himself deflate a bit,”I uh, guess I know what it felt like when I barged in on you two without knocking.”
✨ “Try not to break any beds you two,” Helen says before reaching out and squeezing Josh’s shoulder which made Toby choke on air.
✨ The rest of the staff found out when the election was called for Santos and Josh enveloped Toby in a hug before kissing him roundly on the mouth. Both Josh and Toby laughed when they heard Bram yell. “everyone pay up I won the pot.”
i don’t really know how you look at a van gogh painting in person and not want to cry
happy father’s day to certified girl dads josh and toby lyman-ziegler
I hate when people use the phrase “what have I done” because then sweet jesus what have I done become a thief in the night become a dog on the run have I fallen so far and is the hour so late that nothing remains but the cry of my hate the cries in the dark that nobody hears here where I stand at the turning of the years if there’s another way to go I missed it twenty long years ago my life was a war that could never be won they gave me a number and murdered valjean when they chained me and left me for dead just for stealing a mouthful of bread yet why did I allow that man to touch my soul and teach me love he treated me like any other he gave m