"A Little Night Music" (post-ep to B3SOTU)

Spoilers: "Bartlet's Third State of the Union," a teeny bit of "The War At Home"
None of these characters belong to me. They're Aaron Sorkin's. Please don't sue, I just said they're not mine.
"Miracle" copyright Vertical Horizon (or whoever owns the catalog).
"Baby Break It Down" copyright Rolling Stones (or whoever owns the catalog).
"I Go To Extremes" copyright Billy Joel (or whoever owns the catalog).
"Landslide" copyright Fleetwood Mac (or whoever owns the catalog).

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"Come *on,* Josh." Donna grumbled as she turned the radio back on. "It's too quiet here."

"And what's wrong with quiet?" Josh asked, pacing.

"Don't be such an old fart."

Josh sat up so quickly he almost fell over. "Who's an old fart?"

"You are."

"Donna!"

"Well, all we're doing is waiting for the results of some godforsaken poll results that, thanks to the wonderful generator, won't come in for hours. I want a little music."

Josh grumbled, but she knew he'd acquiesce. It was the way he operated. "So," he asked, teasing, "how much Britney Spears or something do I have to listen to?"

"Josh!" Donna spun around, hands on her hips. "I happen to listen to very mature music." Turning the dial, she found her favorite station and exclaimed. "I love this song!" The song had a funky guitar beat, with a pulsing drum track, and Donna found herself humming along with the singer.

"It's taken much too long
To get it right
Would it be so wrong
To maybe find someone
A miracle...

And all you really need
Is everything you could never be
And so you'd give it all
For a miracle...

Is there a trace inside her face of a lonely miracle
And so you wait and lie awake for a lonely miracle..."..."

Josh, in spite of himself, liked it. There was a plaintive sound to the lyrics that made him wonder if the writer had read his thoughts. "Who is this?" he asked his assistant, in a softer tone of voice.

"Vertical Horizon," Donna responded. "The song is called 'Miracle.'" The thought crossed her mind, and she began to giggle. "You like it, don't you?"

"I do not!"

"Come on, Josh."

Why couldn't he beat around the bush with her, even on such an unimportant matter as this? "Okay, I like it. The guitar speaks."

"Yeah, doesn't it?" Donna smiled. The two of them held each other's eyes for a fleeting moment before Josh had to turn away. Though he liked and appreciated her, there were moments where he felt them drawing a little *too* close. Especially since she kept hounding him about Joey Lucas. What was that about?

To stifle the tension Josh said with a wide grin, "Let me turn on *my* music." He rummaged in his briefcase and came up with a CD.

"And what would that be?" Donna said, eyebrows raised.

She was answered momentarily as the strains of the Rolling Stones emanated through the office. "Ahhhh, never leave home without it. Baby, Break It Down is one of their best songs." Josh closed his eyes in utter satisfaction. "Listen to that wah pedal."

"That what?"

Josh rolled his eyes. "Wah pedal, Donna! Don't you know anything about blues guitar?"

"The Rolling Stones aren't blues, they're rock," Donna retorted. Her voice turned mocking. "Bet you can't sing, Josh."

"What, not as well as you?" Josh grinned. He teased her constantly about her voice, which was good enough – she could carry a tune, but she wasn't star material.

"Yes, not as well as me!" Donna grinned evilly back. "Are you scared, Josh?"

Josh didn't answer. In a surprisingly well-tuned tenor, he sang:

"You're standing on your side
I'm standing on mine
It only needs one step
And you could be crossing the line
There's nothing between us
Or maybe too much
Whatever it is it's too fragile too touch...
Baby break it down
Baby break it down
We've got a long way to go
Baby break it down
Wrap your love around
Babe, you've got a long way to go..."

Donna stared, astonished. He'd never given her any indication that he could actually sing. The only crooning he'd ever done was outside her window at four am, after three Scotch and sodas.

She would have said something but the two of them heard a familiar voice outside the door. "Was that *Josh?*" Sam poked his head in the door. "It sure wasn't Mick Jagger."

"Shut up." Josh was pink now. "I was just showing Donna that I can carry a tune, contrary to what she thinks."

Sam said nothing, but endeavored to change the subject, a wicked smile on his face. "Just thought I'd swing by for a sec to see how things were going."

"Yeah, right." Josh grinned. "You want to avoid Ainsley."

"I am not."

"Right. After the whole 'blond, Republican sex kitten' thing, I'm sure she's just so happy to see you right now."

Sam felt himself getting defensive. "Hey, it's not my fault that she got tipsy and started singing 'Blame it on the Bossa Nova."

Josh had found another way to get Sam. "Donna, you should ask Sam to sing for you. He's got a great voice, or so I've been told."

Now it was Sam's turn to go red in the face. "Josh, I don't –"

"Come on, Sam." Donna smiled. "It can't be any worse than Josh."

"I don't know." Sam grinned self-consciously. "I like a little different type of music."

"What do you like?" Donna asked.

"I like the old stuff."

"Like...?"

"I don't know." Sam shrugged. "Pretty much everything light-rock. Motown R&B, Sinatra, Billy Joel, the Beatles, the Monkees, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James. Things like that."

"So mostly oldies and jazz, though."

"Yeah, I guess." A look sort of overcame Sam's tired features. "There's just something, especially about Billy, that's totally amazing. His lyrics are some of the few things that calm me down. Especially after all the crap that's been going on."

"And all the things you've inadvertantly done to Ainsley," Josh mumbled. It wasn't that it annoyed him or anything. He just thought that for all his protesting Sam had a strange fascination with the woman.

The other two ignored him. "Really?" Donna hadn't had much experience with jazz, and said so. "Is there a song you'd say is your favourite?"

"Definitely." Sam's eyes glowed as he talked about something that obviously interested him. "It's one of Billy Joel's standards, and I totally love it.'" Smiling, he sang in a sweet, untrained voice that brought a chill down Donna's spine.

"Call me a joker, call me a fool
Right at this moment I'm totally cool
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I'm in the prime of my life
Sometimes it feels like I'm going too fast
I don't know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it's only tonight

Darling I don't know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain't no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It's all or nothing at all
Darling I don't know why I go to extremes..."

Sam let the last note resonate. "It's called 'I Go To Extremes.' I've been told it's my theme song."

Josh was highly impressed, something that didn't happen. "Wow, Sam."
Donna looked at him with a new regard. "Sam, that's so great," she said, eyes shining. "I think it is your theme song. But it's a good thing. And besides," she added, "women are really impressed with guys who can sing."

"Not every woman," Sam murmured.

Donna shot him a quizzical look. What the hell did he mean by that? Was he still smarting over Mallory? Or was it Ainsley he was thinking of? She'd have to talk with him about that later. "Well, most women are," she reiterated. As the idea sprang into her head, she elaborated. "I'll bet Joey Lucas would be impressed with the lyrics."

Josh rolled his eyes and stood up. "Number one, Donna, she'll somehow find out you said that. Number two, leave it the hell alone."

Sam watched as their argument escalated. It was fun to watch. They were so deep in denial... he gave Joey Lucas some credit. From what she had told him, something would happen soon. Joey was good at those things.

He hoped what she'd told him would come true too. Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, she'd gotten into a long chat with him. Through Kenny, Joey had basically told him that she saw a lot. And she told him that everyone would give Ainsley the credit that they knew was due her. Eventually.

It was hard to take. Ainsley was maddening. She rambled too much. And she found fault with everything he did. But she was a very competent lawyer, and also obviously wanted to work in the White House badly. That sense of duty would serve her well.

He just hoped it didn't get him in trouble. The song on the radio as he'd driven over reminded him of her, and of Mallory, and of Laurie, and all his other mistakes.

"I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Til the landslide brought it down

Oh, mirror in the sky -what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I don't know...
I don't know..."

Fleetwood Mac always had the answers.

Sam hoped it would all work out. But for now he was content to sit in the darkened room and listen to his two best friends argue. If not for himself, he wanted love to come to others. And he knew between Joey and the implacable wills involved, it would come sooner or later.

FIN

 

 

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