Summary: The Staffers return to the White House to a full work load, and some important questions are asked. (Sequel to 'Rumors and Volcanoes').
Notes: I'm not sure exactly how the government and bill-writing process works, so bear with me.
Disclaimer, Claimer, and Such: I don't own anybody except Brooke. Don't sue me. Don't use Brooke without my permission. Don't randomly jump off tall buildings. Don't make long, rambly disclaimers like this one.
On Monday, we were gathered in Leo's office. "Okay, Congress is in session, and we're going to get our bills out there. Everyone here is going to be assigned a bill to write or work on. Negotiations, talking with aides and Congressmen, that's gonna be you." CJ groaned. "On top of my normal work?"
"CJ is exempt from the bill writing rule." The rest of the Staff groaned. "Sam and Josh, you two get the partial birth abortion ban bill that was proposed late last session. It'll make peace with the Republicans, which is something we desperately need now. Toby and Brooke, you two are on education."
"Oh, God, really?" Brooke asked. Toby and her were almost polar opposites. Toby was very left wing, while Brooke was a conservative Democrat/Independent. "Yes. You two can spend some bonding time, get to know each other."
"Is it a federal crime if you accidentally kill someone when you hit them over the head with a copy of the 2001 budget?"
"Yes, I believe so."
"Damn." Brooke and Toby proceeded to glare at each other the rest of the meeting. We covered other matters, then headed back to our offices.
"Josh, I say we just dive in. Let's get the old bill out, read over it, make some changes, call some people, set up meetings. Let's get this passed."
"Even when it goes against many Democratic standards?"
"It'll help in getting us reelected."
"DONNA!" I came running and handed Josh a copy of the previous bill. "Here you go, I'm not getting either of you coffee, and I'm attuned to you, Josh." I fought back laughing at both men's confused expressions, and quickly left the office.
I rubbed my forehead and stared at the desk. I managed to find a spot that wasn't covered in papers and banged my head against it. "I hate Leo, I hate Congress, I hate Congressman Schafer, I hate this bill," I said. Sam sighed and nodded as I sat up. "This has been an exercise in futility. There's no way it'll pass, even with the changes." I nodded. "And we've been working on it for what, three days?" Sam nodded again. "It's ten thirty. I'm going home," he said standing. I stood and stretched. "Okay. I'm gonna go see how Brooke and Toby are doing. I haven't heard any shouting lately. That might be a bad sign." Sam laughed and headed out. I finished up a few things and walked towards Toby's office. As I got closer, I heard the appropriate shouting. I stopped at Ginger's desk. "They haven't killed each other yet?" I asked. She shook her head. "No, but we're keeping the tranquilizers ready," she said with a smile. I laughed and walked to the half open door. "There is no way your draft could pass through committee!" Toby said, tossing a sheaf of papers onto the desk. "It's a pointless battle."
"Sometimes you don't fight battles to win them. Sometimes you fight them to make your point."
"And what's the point?"
"That if a student in a public school that has received millions of government money and is still in poor condition wants to go to a private school where they can get a better education, that opportunity should be open to them!"
"But you want to cut off the funding! How are they supposed to improve without the money?"
"It's not cut off, it's relaxed, they don't get as much. When they cut down on the unnecessary administration, they'll discover a huge amount of money that could be used for books and teachers." I knocked on the door and came in. "Just making sure you two haven't killed each other yet," I said. Brooke gave Toby a look. "We're pretty damn close, I'd say," she said. The phone rang. Toby answered. "Toby Ziegler. Oh, okay. Thanks. Yeah." He hung up. "That was Leo, we're dismissed," he said to Brooke. She nodded and left. "I'm gonna go wrap up some things, then I'll go," I said as I left the office. Toby nodded, already absorbed in his work.
Josh passed by my desk and walked into his office. He had his 'I've-been-defeated' look on. I stood and followed him in. "What's wrong?" I asked. He sighed and sat down. "This bill... I know there's no way it'll pass. I'm fighting an uphill battle I can't win." He looked up at me. "Why am I doing this?" I walked around his desk and sat down on the edge. "There are probably a lot of really good reasons Josh. Just ask any conservative Republican about their stance on abortions, and you'll get a whole list." He gave me a small half smile. "Yeah, that's probably true." He sighed and stood. "You ready to go?" I nodded. "Yeah, I'm just gonna finish this thing then I'll go."
"No, no, really, go. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay. Bye, Donnatella." I smiled after Josh as he left. I returned to my computer and finished typing, then headed home.
A week later, Donna was at my house. The bill had been shot down in committee yesterday, and I was depressed. We sat in silence for a while, then I said, "Let's go for a walk." Donna shot me a look. "Why?"
"Because we can. There's a park about two blocks from here. Let's go." Donna sighed and looked at her watch. "Josh, do you realize it's quarter to midnight and it's probably about thirty degrees out there?"
"We'll wear our coats, and nobody'll be there. C'mon, where's your sense of fun and adventure?"
"It froze on the way over here." I just grinned and handed Donna her coat. She sighed and put it on, then followed me out the door.
Josh and I walked hand in hand down the sidewalk. After a few minutes of walking in silence, I glanced over at Josh. He was watching me with a slight smile on his face. I smiled back and squeezed his hand. We arrived at the park a couple minutes later. We found a bench and sat down. I rested my head on Josh's shoulder and closed my eyes. After a few moments, Josh moved over so he was facing me. "Donna?" he started. "What would you say if I... if I asked you to marry me?" I stared at him for a few seconds then replied, "I'd say yes."
"Okay. Donna, would you-"
"You don't have to ask again," I said, kissing him. He wrapped his arms around me and I buried my face in his coat. Donna Lyman, I thought. That's who I want to be.
Well, I'll have to finish telling this story. It's been three years since two of my best friends were married. Actually, I'm supposed to be watching the twins, Noah and Katilyn, now, but I managed to get them to sleep. Thank God; they're in the "Terrible Twos" and have unboundless energy. The midterm's for Bartlet's second term are coming up, so we'll see even less of Josh than normal. Donna hasn't officially quit; she's claiming she's "on leave for an indefinite amount of time". She still runs Josh's life from home though. I "volunteered" (was shamed into it by Donna and threatened by Josh) to watch the kids while they escaped for a date. We're not sure what we'll do in two years, but we'll just let the future take care of itself.