Title: The National Parks Buff
Author: Willow
Summary:
Jed decides that a little team building is in order and that camping is the best way to achieve it.
Spoilers: Anything up to season 3
Characters: Ensemble
Rating: G
Disclaimer: They all belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, John Wells and many others who aren't me.


Part V

After breakfast the following morning, Donna found Josh sat on a bench with a guide book that he wasn't reading. "Hey," she said, "you alright?"

"I'm fine," he smiled. "You?"

she sat down next to him. "Yeah. It's a shame we're going home this afternoon."

"You think?" he asked.

"Yeah," Donna replied. "You sure you're alright?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Sam mentioned that you and Toby had a fight, and you seemed a little cranky at breakfast."

"Isn't cranky something that babies do?" he asked.

"Yes," she smiled.

"Thanks," he grinned. "Toby and I are fine, it wasn't a fight it was a discussion."

"okay," Donna replied indulgently. "So what's wrong?"

"Didn't I just say I was fine?"

"I know you."

Josh sighed. "The bike ride was a little too much."

Donna looks alarmed. "Josh?"

"What?" Josh looked confused for a second. "No, Donna, my chest's fine," he reassured her. "Honestly, you don't have to go and get Abbey," he smiled.

"Then what?"

"My leg," he said quietly.

Donna nods. "Stiff?"

"Yeah, and a bit sore," he admitted.

"I don't think you're the only one who's a little sore this morning," she smiled, having just seen Charlie limping past.

"Yeah I know," he said.

"Have you taken something?"

"Yeah."

"Not helped?"

"Only just taken it."

"We're suppose to be hiking up the back path in about an hour," Donna pointed out.

"Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that," Josh sighed.

"Don't go, tell him you're ill."

"No."

"Josh!"

"Donna!"

"Why?"

"'Cos I'll be fine."

"'Cos you won't admit that you're not fine."

"No I won't," he agreed. "Don't look at me like that. I know my limits. I know my leg and arm are always going to be a little weak. It's not normally a problem. Mountain biking isn't something I plan on doing again, it's not like I've ever done it before. It's just funny how it never bothers me when I'm running."

"Different muscles," Donna suggested.

"You could be right," he agreed.

"Did I just hear you agree with Donna?" Abbey asked from behind them.

"Ha," Donna grinned, "a witness."

"Leave me alone," Josh laughed at her.

Donna smiled and went to find CJ and Margaret, as Abbey sat down. "You weren't hoping for solitude were you?" she asked.

"No ma'am," he replied.

"We're away from the office, Josh," Abbey reminded him. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine."

"You know, for a politician, you're a terrible liar." Abbey gave him a searching look. "What's wrong?" When he didn't reply she guessed. "Your leg and back?"

"Yeah."

"Have you taken something?"

"Yeah."

"But it's not working?"

"No."

"You're allowed to use more than one word answers, Josh."

He sighed. "My leg's stiff and my back's sore. They'll be fine in an hour or two."

"Or at least it would if we weren't going on a hiking expedition?"

"Yeah," Josh smiled.

"Then tell him."

"No."

"Back to the one word answers I see," Abbey sighed. "He already knows about your arm and leg."

"I know," Josh replied quietly.

"But the others don't?" Abbey guessed.

"Leo, Donna and Toby do."

Abbey's surprised by that. "Not Sam?"

"No," Josh replied. "I told Leo at the hospital, Donna too. I had an argument with Toby about car seats and ended up telling him then," he smiled slightly. "But no, I've not told the others, what's the point?" he shrugged. "It doesn't normally affect me and no one's ever noticed. Anyway there's nothing they can do, except pull out chairs and open doors for me."

"Which is when you'd have to kill them." Abbey finished with a smile.

"Yeah," Josh smiled back.

"What did you take?"

"Ibuprofen."

"How many and when?"

"One, two hours ago." He saw Abbey's exasperated look. "I know, it was all I had. I was going to ask Donna if she had anything."

"Wait there," Abbey sighed. She returned with some co-codamol, "Take two."

"Thanks," Josh smiled. "Abbey, don't say anything to them, I'll be fine in a little while."

"okay," Abbey agreed, "but I'll be keeping an eye on you."


Twenty minutes later Donna and Josh were sheltering in his cabin from a sudden rain storm. "Just think of the things that you've learnt," Donna said.

"Like?" Josh asked.

"Well you know what a fire pit is now."

"True," Josh nodded, "now I can die happy."

Donna grinned. "You saying you haven't had fun?"

"You promise not to tell anyone?"

"I knew it! You did have fun."

"Yes I did," Josh grinned. "Even the mountain biking and the quizzes."

"Back to normal tomorrow though," Donna sighed.

"Which isn't necessarily a bad thing."

"Pity about the rain."

"Yeah that's a real shame, now we can't go hiking," he replied sarcastically.

"We could still go if you like, Josh," Jed said as he sat down across from him.

"That depends on what else you've got planned for us," Josh replied cautiously.

"I thought we'd have a short quiz."

"Really?" Toby asked, wishing he hadn't just joined them.

"Don't worry, Toby, we'll start with an easy one," Jed smiled, as the others entered the cabin and sat down. "Who knows when the park was founded?"

"December 1935," Sam replied, just beating Donna and Margaret.

"Yes, but it was authorized in May 1926," Margaret said.

"The idea was first suggested in 1901 at a meeting in Washington between the Virginia and Tennessee Congressmen, they even drafted a Bill to establish a park, but nothing came of it. Then after the formation was authorized in 1926 it was slowed down by the Great Depression," Donna added.

"Very good," Jed smiled. He glanced at Josh, who was watching Donna proudly. "Josh, what's the highest point of the park?"

"I have no idea," Josh admitted, and CJ laughed. "Hey," he grinned, "I didn't know there was homework."

"Hawksbill Mountain," CJ said.

"4050 feet," Sam added

"You're all freaks, you know that right?" Toby asked.


As they turn at an intersection, CJ nudged Josh. "Wake up."

"Are we home?" he asked sleepily.

"No."

"CJ, why do you always do this to me on road trips?"

"I like to torment you," she smiled.

"Yeh. I knew I should have sat at the back," Josh moaned, as Donna, Margaret and Sam slept in the seats behind.

"Sorry, I can't sleep."

"Why?" Josh asked.

"Looking forward to a new week at work, Joshua," CJ grinned. "Plus we still have to go running today."

"You don't think yesterday's mountain biking made up for that?"

"You weren't very fast were you?" CJ commented.

"I thought the idea was to enjoy the scenery and, I dunno, bond."

"Bond," CJ laughed. "We've worked together for four years, you don't think know each other well enough?"

"Obviously not," Josh grinned, "or I wouldn't have sat up here with you."

"I'm hurt, Joshua, and I will remember," CJ grinned. "So you don't want to go running then?"

"We're not going to be home 'til late, I'm tired and I ache, so on consideration, no. But thanks for asking."

"I'll have to go alone then."

"You can't running alone in Washington at night," Josh tells her.

"what are you my father?" CJ laughed. "Anyway I went running alone for years before you decided to tag along."

"Fair point. Still, why do you want to go running?"

"Because it's Sunday."

"You don't think you're becoming a little obsessed with the fitness thing?"

"No."

"CJ?"

"I'm 43 years old, Josh."

"And this bothers you?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"I'm older than you, Sam, Donna, Charlie and Margaret."

"okay. Hang on there, CJ. I'm only just over a year younger than you and you're way fitter than I am."

"Josh, I hate to break this to you but........"

"Yeah okay, bad example," he grinned. "But you are as fit as Sam. Besides, why do you care?"

"I don't really. And I guess I am fitter than Toby."

"Don't want to shoot you down in flames, CJ, but my mom's fitter than Toby," Josh laughed.

"Thanks," Toby muttered from the driver's seat.

Josh just grinned and carried on. "So no running at night on your own," he told CJ again.

"Yes, Josh," CJ smiled.

"Good. Can I go back to sleep now?" Josh asked, closing his eyes.

"Yeah," CJ nodded.

After a couple of minutes Josh opened his eyes again. "Hey, how come Charlie gets to go home in Marine One and we have to drive?" he asked.

"The president thought he'd enjoy it," Leo grinned.

"So why didn't you go with them?" Josh asked Leo.

"'Cos after spending two days in the woods with Jed Bartlet, a helicopter ride with him didn't really appeal," Leo grinned.

"So Charlie's being punished?" Josh smiled.

"He should have let him win at Monopoly," Leo laughed.

They're quiet for another ten minutes until Josh asked. "How much further is it?"

"Couple of hours," Toby replied.

"okay," Josh sighed.

"What's wrong?" Leo asked indulgently.

"CJ woke me and now I'm bored," he moaned.

"Read something then," CJ told him.

"No," Toby said. "You're not putting the light on, it's distracting."

"Toby," Josh whined.

"You want to drive?" Toby asked.

"No."

"Well be quiet then."

Leo laughed.

Toby glanced at him. "What?"

"I'm just trying to work out why parents take their kids on road trips," he grinned.

END