Disclaimer: I don't own them. I just like to have fun with them. Please don't sue me. I have no money.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Josh realizes the attempt on the President's life has negatively affected Donna.

Aftershocks (3/4)

 

The next day Leo returned to the office. Josh got in early, knowing that Leo would need him all day to help him.

On his way to his office though, he pulled a small potted violet out of his bag and placed it on Donna's desk. Underneath the ceramic pot, he placed a sealed card. In the card, he'd written to Donna his appreciation for all her help and also that whenever she wanted they were going out to dinner, his treat. He also put some subtle hints about her talking to him or calling him whenever she needed.

He grabbed several folders and headed to Leo's office for the transition meetings. He didn't even see Donna that day.

***

Josh didn't get home until late that night and he fell right into bed. The phone ringing woke him out of a deep sleep.

He groaned, rolled over and checked his clock. 2:45 a.m. "On a Friday night, no less," he thought. He picked up the phone. "Hello?"

There was silence on the line.

"Hello?"

"Josh?" said a very soft voice that sounded like Donna.

"Donna?" he asked immediately alert. "What's wrong?"

She sniffed. "Are you okay?"

"Donna, I'm fine. Are you okay?"

There was silence on the line.

"Donna? What's wrong?"

"You're really okay?" she asked, though Josh couldn't be sure that's what she asked, her voice was so quiet and tight.

"Donna, I'm fine."

She sighed, sniffed again.

"Donna?"

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have called so late. It's just...."

"Just what?" he asked sitting up in bed.

"I had the same...it's this nightmare...and you...and then I can't find you..." was all she got out before she started sobbing.

Josh was out of bed before she stopped talking. "Donna? I'm coming over, okay? I'm fine. I'll be right there, okay?"

All he heard was her breathing on the line, punctuated by soft cries.

"Donna, please tell me you're okay. You hang on for a few more minutes, okay? I'll be right there," he pleaded with her, pulling on jeans and a sweater, frantically searching for his car keys. "Donna?"

"Uh huh?"

"I'm coming over, okay?"

"Oh Josh...It's so late...you don't have to...I'll be fine..."

"No arguments Donnatella. I'll be there in 15 minutes. I'm hanging up now okay?"

"Okay." she whispered.

"And I'll see you in a bit, okay?"

"Josh, I don't think..."

"See you in a few minutes," he said, hanging up and heading out the door.

****

Fifteen minutes later, he was pulling up to Donna's apartment. He saw a faint light shining from her window as he rang her bell. She buzzed him in and he fairly bounded up the stairs to her apartment.

He heard her struggling with the locks on her door, before she opened the door to him. Her face was tearstained. Her hair was feathered around her face and she was wearing a long t-shirt and boxer shorts. She looked beautiful and the amazing thing was that Josh could read her expression. Her eyes weren't vacant. They were filled with tears and love and Josh realized he'd never seen anything so beautiful.

They didn't even say anything. They just came together, holding onto each other like a lifeline.

Though Josh tried to be a comfort to Donna, her tears started ones of his own and he held her to him just as tight as she was holding him to her.

After a few minutes, Josh realized they were standing in the hallway of her apartment and he quietly said her name. "Come on. Let's go inside. It's too cold to be standing out here."

This got him a small nod from Donna's head which was pressed into the crook of his shoulder and neck. Josh put his hands up against her the sides of her face, forcing her to look at him.

"Come on. Let's go inside," he said, wiping at her tears and placing a kiss at her temple.

Donna started to disentangle herself from Josh, but he grabbed her hand when she would have walked away.

He led her into the apartment, closing and locking the door behind him.

Donna started leading him to the couch.

"No, Donna," he said, tugging her in the direction of the bedroom.

Donna's eyes widened and she stopped walking. "Josh, I don't think…"

"Donna," Josh said, tugging on her arm again. "Come on. Come tell me what your nightmares are about."

The silent tears started falling as Josh pulled her into her room. He sat her on the edge of her bed and sat down next to her.

"Donna, tell me."

She tightened her grip on his hand. "I can't, Josh."

"Yes, you can," he said back, pushing her hair over her shoulder so he could see her profile.

She sighed. "It's not really a whole dream. It's just kind of images."

"Okay. Tell me about them."

She sighed again and swallowed. "It's… I'm…It's like I'm there, but I'm really not."

"At the Newseum?"

"Yeah."

"Okay, what do you see?"

"I kind of see everybody…and then I don't. It's like there's a fog." She paused. "And then I hear gunshots, but I can't see anything."

She started crying again.

"Okay, Donna. Shh," said Josh, pulling her into his chest.

"And then…and then…" she gulped in between sobs. "And then, I see you…and there's blood…and I can't get to you…and… and…"

"Donna, shh. It's okay. I'm right here. I'm fine."

"But…Josh…it's the same night after night. I try to get to you but I can't. Everytime I close my eyes, I see it over and over again…and I don't want to sleep because it's so awful."

Josh didn't have the words anymore. Her nightmares were very similar to his own, but he'd actually been there. For her subconscious to be basically "guessing" at what happened was horrible. And for him not to have talked to her at the beginning when he had a chance, made him feel guilty.

He tightened his hold on her. "I'm so sorry. I should have talked to you sooner Donna. Shh. Please don't cry. I'm so sorry."

He kept repeating the same phrases over and over again until she quieted.

"Donna?" he asked, holding her trembling form. "You're freezing. Let's get you under the covers, okay?"

"Okay," she whispered from somewhere near Josh's neck.

He pulled her up to a standing position and pulled the covers back off her bed where they'd been sitting. He waited for her to climb in. Then he bundled her up and kissed her forehead. "Go to sleep."

She looked up at him questioningly. "You're not staying?"

"Yeah, I'll be right outside on the couch."

Donna gave him a small smile. "Josh, you hate that couch. You complain when you have to sit on it. Now you're offering to sleep on it?"

"Shh. I do not hate your couch. Just the springs that dig into my back," he whispered, smiling as he leaned over and kissed her again. "Close your eyes. Go to sleep."

"Okay," she said, closing her eyes, her finger still threaded through Josh's.

He brushed the hair away from her face and waited until her breath was quiet and even and slid his hand out from hers. He slipped out of her room into the living room, heading for the kitchen. He opened her refridge, but there wasn't much food there. He sighed. She obviously wasn't eating either. He made a mental note to run out and get her some groceries in the morning. He noticed that the plants in her kitchen window needed a drink of water, so he filled up a glass and watered them, admiring the view outside her window which overlooked a fountain in her courtyard.

He wandered into her living room. There was a blue afghan thrown over the back of her couch and he pulled it off as he sat down on the couch. He put his feet up on the coffee table after taking off his shoes. He noticed a pile of unopened mail next to him on the couch and several magazines. He was flipping through the pile, separating them into bills and personal correspondence, when he heard Donna cry out.

Scattering the mail to the floor in his rush to get to her room, Josh ran to her room finding her thrashing on the bed calling out his name. He placed a quick hand to her forehead. "Donna…shhh…I'm right here…It's just a dream."

She stilled and her eyes opened. It took a few seconds before she clearly focused on his face and then the tears started rolling down her face. Josh sat on the bed, pulling her into his arms. He rocked her slowly, listening to her heart pound against his own.

A few minutes later, she'd stilled and Josh leaned her back into the bed. Her eyes were focused on his. "Stay with me," she whispered, already scooting out of his arms and moving over in the bed.

Josh couldn't have resisted her if he'd tried. He slid under the covers. She immediately wrapped her arms around his waist, tangled their legs together and placed her head in the crook of his neck. Josh sighed when he felt how exactly right they seemed to fit. He placed a gentle kiss to the top of her head, rubbing his hand up and down her back, putting them both to sleep.

***

 

Aftershocks - 4

 

 

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