Disclaimers: None of these characters or indeed plot points belong to me. They're property of Aaron Sorkin (aka God of Writing), John Wells, Tommy Schlamme, etc (NBC). Title is from an Aimee Mann song.
Spoilers: "Somebody's Going To Emergency, Somebody's Going To Jail"
Author's Note: This is from Donna's POV. Also NOT part of The Jukebox.
I was so afraid on the stairs. Not scared like he's-going-to-kill-me scared. But scared as in where-is-he scared. You see, he's my friend, and I couldn't get him back. He yelled back at me from his own personal hell. And he was screaming for a lifeline.
He looked at me differently than he ever has. I knew I hurt him when I told Steph to say all those things, about how he was 'the man.' Josh told me what had happened. But I guess I just didn't understand. Not having had something like that happen to me, I just didn't know how badly he was really bleeding.
He's so sunny usually. Even the worst day in the White House still won't bring him down to the depths I saw him today. Even today he tried so hard to make it seem like everything was okay. I think I gave him something to take his mind off the pain for a while. I can read his face like Cosmo magazine; he really believed Daniel Gault might be innocent. All the while it was more lies. He'd done part of his graduate thesis on the case, for God's sake. Something he'd believed since Princeton turned out not to be true. I can understand that it was almost more than he could take.
But when he told me he was telling Steph... it felt like he was going to our teacher. "I'm telling!" And I felt the same amount of horror as if I was back in third grade and I'd just pushed someone down.
What got me more than anything, though, was what he said at the end. "He committed high treason." It was then, and only then that I understood that he wasn't talking about Daniel Gault. And then afterwards when he said "I'm going to make sure she knows what her father was." That slight Freudian slip told me more than hours of talking would have. Still, I had to make him see that taking his pain out on Steph wouldn't solve anything.
He's has always had a highly developed sense of what's right, and that's what made him do it in the end, I think. Seeing the look on Steph's face when he was about to ruin her world pushed him back over, and unfortunately he kicked himself for it. I think he sometimes feels that he's too innocent, or too na´ve. He doesn't know that's not a bad thing. I don't think people should ever be ashamed of having good and generous natures. But I think he believes that's what got him into this in the first place. Still, in the end he couldn't destroy Steph because it would have been a betrayal of trust. She trusted him. And since all this has happened, he knows how truly serious that is. His highly developed sense of ethics is why betrayal is far worse than physical pain to him. It hurt me to watch it.
The strangest thing is that I was around when he chose to lose it. Not Josh, or Toby. Me. We've been friends, but never *that* close. In an absurd sort of way I feel honored. He just looked so lost... In all the time I've known him, he's looked happy, or confused, or even angry. Not lost. Like a missing child in a department store. I had to hug him. It wasn't anything remotely sexual or anything. It was just my way of saying that I was there for him. I still remember what he said, not really to me but to the room at large. "There are just some things you're sure of." That's true. I know what he's talking about. Like when you think you've got something under control, but... well, that's another story.
That was so touching afterwards. Josh knew something was wrong. Yet he didn't push him. Or me. I wouldn't have told anyway not even Josh. But the simple fact that he didn't ask meant a lot, I could tell. At least it did to me.
If anything good came out of all of this, it's that the two of us are closer. I feel very honored that he could come to me with this. Even in that split second that I had my arms around him I felt the psychic bond strengthen. That's important to me.
He and these other guys are like family, after all. Toby, Josh hell, even Leo sometimes. When they hurt, I hurt. When they're happy, I'm happy. When they go get drunk, I (sometimes) go get drunk. When they want to talk, I know how they feel. They understand me. I understand them.
And if anything at all good came out of this, it's that I understand one of them a bit better.