This is an AU fic where Joanie Lyman never died in a fire and Noah Lyman is still

living, battling cancer. Donna never came to New Hampshire for

reasons that will be revealed later in the story. Joanie teaches

graduate studies at Georgetown and we are at the end of season 1 in

the Bartlett administration.

Chapter 1

"Joshua Lyman, you owe me…."

"Just how do you figure that?"

"Do you really want to do this? Okay, let's start with the

decapitation of my Barbie's…"

"Barbie's? You can't go back 30 years and bring your Barbie dolls

into this! There is such a thing as a statute of limitation, you

know." Josh responded hotly.

"If you were a real lawyer, you would know that there is no statute

of limitation on murder." Joanie replied.

"One can not murder inanimate objects, and I am a real lawyer." Josh

argued.

"They were real people to me and there were multiple counts. Would

you like me to have Dad give you a call with some precedence?" Joanie

said without missing a beat.

Dad! Josh thought to himself, Dad is my ticket out of this.

"Yeah, give him a call. Hey, since you'll be talking to him about

this anyway, he would be the perfect person to guest lecture to your

grad students." Josh congratulated himself on the smooth segue.

"Nice try, little brother, but if you paid any attention to what I

tell you then you'd know that a) Dad already did a stint as a guest

lecturer and b) the topic for the class is collaboration in

Government. Dad is a fabulous lawyer, but he doesn't work in the

Government. Come on, Joshua, it's only 2 classes and think of all the

ego stroking you'll get out of it."

"I resent your implication that my ego needs stroking. I am the third

most powerful person in this administration and I am very busy

running this country. I simply don't have time to explain Government

101 to your students."

"They are grad students, Joshua, and you've been Deputy Chief of

Staff quite a while now. Surely, you've learned how to handle your

job well enough that the country can spare you for a couple of hours

for two nights." Joanie persisted.

"What two nights are we talking about? My speaking engagements are

usually booked months in advance as I am in high demand. Oh, and what

did you say the speakers fee was?"

"You're going to need to waive the fee. I'll take it as `in kind'

payment for the damage done to my property over the past 30 years,

starting with the Barbie's" she countered. "As for the dates, that

would be next Tuesday the 3rd, and the following Tuesday the 10th."

"Oh, I'm afraid I am completely booked on the 3rd. In fact, I have a

late meeting that night, and then a third date with the lovely

Kimberly Andrews from legislative affairs. Sorry, big sister, you

have to find another sucker. There is nothing you can say or do that

will persuade me to change my mind. Got it?" Josh put all his effort

into sounding resolute.

There was a long pause and Josh could smell victory. He hardly ever

won a fight with his sister, but maybe this time he could squeak one

out.

"Okay, I'm sorry I bothered you, Joshua. I just had to give it a

shot, you know…Hey, do you want me to give Mom a message for you? I

have to return her call in a few minutes." Joanie answered innocently.

"Mom?...No, no message. I'll talk to her soon I'm sure. You don't

have to mention me at all." Josh started to panic and Joanie smelled

blood in the water.

"It's no problem. She loves to hear about her only son. I know! I can

tell her about your third date with Kimberly Andrews. Sounds like it

might be getting serious. She will be so happy to hear you're ready

to settle down with someone. Hey, is Andrews a Jewish name? Mom will

probably want to know…"

And that's how they do it in the NFL ladies and gentlemen, thought

Josh.

"What time does the class start on Thursday?' he asked resignedly.

"It runs from 6 to 8, and remember, the topic is collaboration in

Government. Thanks, little brother. You're the best!" Joanie replied.

"I think you just proved who is best. Now I'm hanging up before you

have me grading papers or something." Josh groused.

"Don't be ridiculous. You aren't remotely qualified to grade grad

school papers. Love you!" Joanie hung up.

Josh blocked out the time on his PDA and slumped in his chair. One of

these days he was going to outsmart his sister…