Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1752
Character(s): Josh Lyman, Donna Moss
Episode(s): 6-22 2162 Votes
Crossover Shows: - No Show -
Summary: What happens after Josh comes in with the beers?
Sitting there with Josh and Will, Donna suddenly felt a sense of calm come over her. Her shoulders relaxed, and she allowed herself a small smile before looking back towards the television. Arms raised in victory, Matt Santos and Leo McGarry stood on the stage beaming.
Though she had known Leo for almost ten years, and felt little awe in his presence, she saw the giants on television as through the eyes of the girl she had been, walking in the door of the Bartlet for America campaign. These men could change the world. They were the past and the future; experience and revolution. They were her nominees.
Josh was also staring at the television, watching without really seeing. It had been a long year; a long three years, really. Since Sam left, the joy seemed to have gone from their little West Wing clique. The first campaign had been full of fun and life, and while the first term had been far from a simple time, he remembered more the laughter and camaraderie, and the shared problems. They were all so young in his memory: crystallised in their relative youth.
He thinks of this night eight years ago, when Jed Bartlet stood up to accept the Democratic Nomination for President. Shoulder to shoulder with Leo, Toby, CJ, Sam, Donna, Margaret and Ginger. Watching proudly as their candidate smiled and waved. Then, it had felt like the beginning. Eight years later, Josh wasn’t quite sure whether the Santos nomination was.
A new beginning in some ways, but also a continuation of the dreams and aspirations of 1998. His sense of hope had been given a new injection of life.
The random behind Donna got up to leave. Threw his jacket over his shoulder and tucked his chair neatly back in to the table. Will leaned forward, looked at Josh and Donna, then stood up.
“I’m off,” he said. “May as well sleep tonight. Not much in the mood for celebrating, and it’s back to the VP’s office in the morning.”
Josh turned as little of his body as was possible to actually face in Will’s direction.
“Back to Washington tomorrow? Russell sure doesn’t waste any time.”
“Ouch. I’m reasonably sure I’m going to collapse and not move so much as my pinky toe for 72 hours.”
At this, Donna looked over.
“Really? Not so much as a pinky toe?”
Josh smiled tiredly. “I can’t even remember the last time I slept in a proper bed. With pillows and sheets and everything.”
“We’ll just have to remedy that then, won’t we?” Donna said with a kind smile.
When Josh smirked and Will coughed slightly, Donna went bright red. “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant.. you know.. you can sleep in your bed tonight and I can sleep in mine and separately we will sleep in our separate beds.”
“Sure. Well, anyway, as I was saying, I’m off to find somewhere to crash. I’m sure I have a hotel room somewhere, but I haven’t seen it yet. I guess I’ll see you guys back in Washington.” Will turned to Donna. “I’m not sure what your plans are, but we’ll talk in a few days. No hurry. Enjoy your night. “
With a slight wink to Donna, Will sloped out of the room. He looked, from behind, thoroughly beaten, and even in his victory Josh had the compassion to feel sympathy for the man he had just beaten. Bingo Bob or not, Will had given the campaign his all.
Both Josh and Donna turned around again, and looked resolutely in the direction of the television. Silence was restored to the room, with the talking heads’ voices echoing only occasionally.
“And that brings us to the end of our coverage of the 2006 Democratic National Convention, live from San Diego, California. Thank you for joining us for this enthralling instalment of Decision America. Good night.”
In one fluid movement Josh stood and took strode towards the television. Clicking the off button firmly, he turned to face Donna.
“Well, what?” she replied. A quick flick of her hair suggested she was feeling a little more playful than her tone had suggested.
“Just ... well.” said Josh.
As Donna lifted an eyebrow, Josh decided that while she seemed at least a little amused, if he wanted to rekindle any kind of relationship with her, he had better find something a good deal better than “well” to say.
With its share of toe-scuffing and mumbling at the floor, “Would you care to join me for dinner?” finally came out.
As Donna let loose just the slightest hint of a smothered giggle at his formal language, she decided that she’d better not laugh at him for fear that he might give up altogether. With a broad white smile and gumption in her step, Donna sprang to her feet and across to his side.
Taking his arm in hers, she said cheerily, “I’d absolutely love to. Thought you’d never ask.”
Walking along the San Diego streets arm in arm in the dark, Josh felt slightly as though Donna were taking him to dinner. He didn’t mind at all, and was enjoying the warmth that came from the crook of her elbow to his. This slight pressure reminded him of all that he had missed: her compassion, companionship and her never ceasing ability to rescue him. She had been missed desperately in the private minutes when he occasionally allowed himself to grieve for those times.
Rather than getting too lost in the past, Josh turned his head to look at Donna’s profile. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but she’d changed. She’d matured. It wasn’t just her clear competence in the political arena, but also something about her appearance. Her hair was different; her smile not as free; her face frowned slightly now and then. Josh wasn’t really one to notice the clothes of his female friends and co-workers, but he had noticed that she’d sharpened up somewhat. Some classy new suits, he thought. Shirts, too.
Feeling his eyes on her, Donna turned to look at him and was startled by the intensity in his eyes. Rather than shifting his eyes away, he looked deep in to hers, considering. Donna felt his arm slip out of hers, his forearm running lightly down the inside of hers and his hand slip softly into hers. Lightly their hands sat there for a moment, then Donna tightened her grip just slightly. She smiled at the intimate gesture, and looked ahead once more.
Reassured that taking her hand had not been too forward, Josh looked back to the street ahead of him, and actually saw where they were walking for the first time. Though he had felt slightly frog-marched from the convention centre, it was now clear to him that Donna hadn’t had any idea where she was going. They were in the suburbs: tree lined streets with rows of houses. Nice houses, actually. But in his stomach, he felt the disquiet of hunger.
Quickly he tossed up his priorities: satisfying his appetite or continuing to walk along, holding Donna’s hand? While he was terribly reluctant to let go, he really was quite hungry.
Right at that moment, Donna’s stomach rumbled loudly.
“Oh-my-god-sorry,” came out in a rush. “I-can’t-believe-I-just...”
Josh began to laugh.
“Mine’s about to do the exact same thing!”
At that, she laughed with him. Happy laughter in the quiet street, followed by a comfortable pause.
“We better find out about getting ourselves some food, you think?”
“Where are we?”
“No idea. Never been to San Diego before.”
“Me neither... probably a little silly to go wandering late at night looking for food.”
“It’s not like you to be without a plan. I rely on you to have plans. Or at least to warn me about going off alone without one.”
Donna laughed lightly then took his hand in hers again.
“It didn’t bother me. I had you.”
Touched, and slightly embarrassed, at her words, Josh decided that they needed some food and a place to sit and talk. He tried to look surreptitiously at his watch, but as their hands were joined, it didn’t end up being quite as subtle as he had hoped.
“After 2,” he said. “Kind of unlikely we’re going to find something around here.”
“I think, seeing as we have no idea where we are, but we know where we came from, we’d be best just walking back the way we came.”
After another ten minutes back towards the centre, Josh began to get his bearings again. A number of cafes and restaurants began to appear here and there; all closed. Swearing softly, Josh turned to Donna with a questioning look.
“What do you think?”
“Room service? Might be easiest, considering. We know the kitchens will be open, and then we can eat in comfort.”
An image of himself and Donna stretched out on his bed eating toasted sandwiches and talking sprang into Josh’s head. Almost as quickly, an image of them doing more than eating on the bed sprang into his mind. Blushing furiously, he looked away.
“Sounds good to me,” he said, trying to appear casual.
“Great, let’s go.”
Thinking only of the food, Donna strode out, dragging Josh slightly behind her. Her arm stretched behind her, twisted not uncomfortably at the shoulder, she looked graceful and confident.
Josh stopped, forcing her to turn back towards him. His voice uncharacteristically small, he said, “You’re beautiful.”
Donna looked down at herself. Hair flat and unbrushed for since that morning, clothes rumpled and probably not smelling that great, and terrible purple smudges under her eyes from lack of sleep. She was going to make some disparaging comment about how awful she must look, when she realised just what the comment meant, and who had said it.
“That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. Ever.”
Their hands dropped to their owners again and Donna looked wonderingly at Josh.
“Thank you. You are too, you know.” When Josh looked slightly incredulous, Donna continued. “You’re tired, sure, but you’re actually rather handsome.”
Josh grinned, suddenly cheered.
“Let’s go find us some food.”