Title: Better vs. Nice
Author: Bramble
Rating: PG-13
Category: J/D
Summary: On a late night, Josh works through the mean thoughts in his head.
Spoilers: The State Dinner, The Fall's Gonna Kill You
Disclaimers: Aaron Sorkin still owns them all.
Notes: Post ep for TFGKY set in the Quiet Time Universe.

***

He sits staring at his wall, willing himself to feel anything other than what he does. He's mad at himself, mad at focusing on something so entirely trivial in light of the serious situation at hand. He shouldn't feel bad about this -- she's just his assistant, for god's sake -- his under-educated, subordinate *assistant*.

He wonders when his mood turned so mean...he figures about four days ago.

He tries to remember when keeping something from her began to feel dishonest and shifty instead of just a normal boss/assistant dynamic.

He knows she's out at her desk working on something. A year ago, Donna would have been in here a half a dozen times already bugging him about how late it was getting. Once, in one of her more entertaining moves, she had flown a paper airplane into his office before running for the door.

When he had gotten it unfolded it had the words:

"Leaving now, deal with it.. PS: That's okay right?" scribbled out in her near-illegible handwriting.

He stifles a smile at the memory.

He had called and left a message on her machine saying that is was fine but that he expected her early -- with coffee for him -- in the morning.

Tonight she just sits out there waiting for him to leave. He finally told her about the fax, about it's frequency and it's unimportance. Happens all the time -- no one ever gets hit. Instead of yelling at him or even glaring in that familiar way of hers she just said, "was I amusing?"

When he answered that she was, Donna had replied "good" quietly and turned on her heel.

That was two hours ago.

He gets up and walks quietly out to her. She has her back turned and is staring intently at her computer screen, he recognizes a memo on the tobacco suit. A year ago she would have been buying shorts at gap.com. He wants to joke about the satellite, to tug her into his office and run his fingers through her hair, to pull her back against him and loose himself in her as he's done so many times. He wants to make her moan softly against him and pretend that she wants him to do more.

He definitely wants to touch more than her hair tonight.

The last time he had sex was over a year ago and it was strangely parallel to his thoughts now. The idea that sex has become something so tightly bound to guilt, anger, and frustration in his world makes him want to cry.

That last time, he hadn't been the aggressor. Mandy had shown up at his place at 2:00 AM, after hearing that the FBI negotiator had taken a turn for the worse and wasn't expected to make it.

She had shown up at his place and fucked him -- no pleasantries and hardly any foreplay.

He had let it happen because he knew it wasn't about them, there was no longer any 'them' at that point. It was about Mandy and her pain and he had let her use him to forget about it for a while. When he woke up she wasn't there and they had never talked about it -- it was as if it had never happened.

It's not like it meant anything.

He's a guy, so he feels easily equipped to separate fucking from sex from making love but he's pretty sure the lines aren't so easy to categorize or interchange for Donna. He would be disappointed in her if she could accommodate him as easily as he accommodated Mandy that night. He knows she's better than that, better than him -- she has to be.

Besides, this time there's a 'them' in the equation and he knows pounding into her while he's trying to hold off 'the fall' is not an option. It would mean something even if he didn't want it to -- something that he doesn't have the energy or care to give right now -- two elements that he knows this thing starting between them deserves.

Instead, he walks quietly behind her and puts his hand gently on her head, runs it down the length of her hair. He feels something pull deep inside his chest at the fact she didn't jump at his touch -- she shouldn't be that trusting, the sudden feel of someone's hand should have made her jump.

"I saw your reflection in the monitor," Donna states quietly, not bothering to stop typing.

He sighs behind her and continues to touch her scalp lightly, amusing himself with the symbolism of this new position. Instead of Donna leaning back against his body, his hips are pressed into the hard, impervious back of her chair. He finds the luck of being able to weave the word impervious into his thoughts tonight even more amusing.

"I can't tell you.." he starts.

"It's okay.."

"You'll find out soon.."

"It's bad isn't it?" She asks, removing her hands from the keyboard, lacing them together, and resting them in her lap.

"It's definitely not good," he replies, running his fingertips along her temple.

"Can I do anything to help you?"

"No, just let me do this.." he responds, winding his hands in her hair so that he can't see them anymore.

"It feels nice," she says, leaning back slightly to his touch, glad for the conversation, so she doesn't have to dwell on how 'off' this really feels.

"That's ironic because I don't feel very nice right now.."

She doesn't say anything, just closes her eyes.

"I know I should be nice to you but instead I think about how I shouldn't feel guilty that I can't tell you everything. How you're just my assistant and I don't have to tell you the details if for no other reason than just because I don't have the time."

"I'm not very nice either.." she starts, trying in vain to lighten the mood.

He finds himself smiling ruefully, "you, Donnatella Moss, are nothing but nice."

"Today, I had them put soy mayonnaise on your sandwich, I do that a lot...is that nice?"

He laughs quietly before answering, "okay, so that's pretty mean.."

"Josh, the fact that you're even here talking to me proves that you're nice."

He leans down, suddenly needing to disprove her statement, to break her irrational, unconditional trust in him, and whispers in her ear, "would you let me fuck you if I told you it would make me feel better?"

He was going to say 'have sex with'; at the last minute he used the harsher phrasing, wanting to see how she'd react. Half hoping she'd turn around and take a swing at him.

She swallows hard before answering, "no," she replies softly.

"Good," he answers, trying to use extra gentle hands to buffer somewhat against his abrasive words.

"Would you let me?"

"Let you what?" he asks, taken aback by where he thinks she's going with this.

"Would you let me...fuck you if I was hurting?"

"Probably," he answers sadly, "that's why you're the better person."

"Better or nicer?"

"Both."

Neither speaks for a few minutes -- he thinks about how he can even begin to try to make this conversation up to her and she thinks about what could possibly be about to happen to make everyone this distraught.

"You should go home," he says, placing his hand on her shoulder and giving what he hopes is a reassuring, apologetic squeeze.

"Are you going home?" she asks, as he steps back so she can spin her chair around.

"Yes," he lies quickly, meeting her eyes.

"I know it's not..the other thing, but I could hug you.."

Not waiting for permission, she tentatively molds her body against his and wraps her arms around his waist. He hesitates for only a second before wrapping his arms around her tightly. He's afraid he won't be able to let go but he doesn't care anymore.

"I'm sorry.." he starts, his voice dangerously close to cracking.

"I know, it's okay.." she responds soothingly.

"It's not really, but it's going to have to be -- I can't do anything..."

She rubs her hands against his back in a comforting gesture, as he stops trying to explain and just breathes her in, attempting to drown all of the other thoughts in his head with her familiar scent.

"Donna?"

"Yeah?" She asks, muffled by his shoulder.

"This is better...than the other thing."

"Yeah," she agrees, as they both hang on tightly.

*** The End.

 

 

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