Disclaimer: Damn it, I don't own them. I wish I did, but I don't. The Great
One (also known as Aaron Sorkin) does. I just like to play God with other
peoples lives sometimes, but I am receiving no prayers, alms, or any
monetary...well, stuff, for this. It's purely for enjoyment. And it's a good
writing exercise.

Rating: I don't know. There's some adult language and content, but it's not porn
or a Mortal Kombat thing.

Archive: Just let me know where.

Spoilers: Just watch the damn show.

Shelter from the Storm

"I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
'Come in,' she said, 'I'll give you shelter from the storm'

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
'Come in,' she said, 'I'll give you shelter from the storm'

Now there's a wall between us, somethin' there's been lost
I took too much for granted, got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn
'Come in,' she said, 'I'll give you shelter from the storm'"

-Bob Dylan

Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit...."

"You're late, Josh."
"Yeah. Y'know, Donna, despite your less than favorable evaluation of my
intelligence, I was aware of that fact." Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman swept
into his office, opening the door and shrugging out of his overcoat.
"Two hours late, Josh."
"The electricity in my apartment went out, Donna."
"Two hours, Josh."
He sighed and rounded on her. "How pissed is he?"
"You've been trying to track down Senator Kramer for most of the morning."
"Kramer? What the hell would I have to say to Kramer?!"
Donna shoved a brief in his face. "Well, you'd know exactly what you had to
say to Kramer if you'd been on time."
Josh scanned the brief. Donna always wondered if a person's eyes really could
just up and pop out of a person's head. She almost thought she was going to
find out.
"Tell me this is a joke."
"It's not."
"Please, Donnatella?"
"It's not."
"He can't be serious."
"He is."
"He can't possibly have the support for this."
"He does."
Josh ran a hand back through his hair. "Oh, this ought to be fun."
"Tell me about it."
"This came directly from Leo's office?"
"Yeah. And, just so you know, Toby doesn't even know about it yet."
Josh blinked. "How do you know?"
"Leo told me to tell you."
"Great, Donna. Did he say why?"
"No, but we all know it's so you can try to scare the shit out of them first
before the White House has to commit itself to an all-out legislative brawl."
Josh nearly choked on the coffee he'd grabbed on his way in.
"What?" She blinked at him.
He stared at her for a moment, and then, despite the absolute foul mood he'd
awakened in, actually smiled. "You know, sometimes I think you're better at
being Deputy Chief of Staff than I am."
"Of course I am. I'm a woman."
"Oh, god. This is going to have you all up and feminist until it's over, isn't
"Damn straight, Joshua. Senator Kramer has no right to try and pull federal
funding from any old program that at all features abortion counseling. It's
just not right. Who the hell do these kind of people think they are, trying to
impose their view of right and wrong on other countries? Since when is
displaying all the options a crime? Since when do they get to make these
decisions for other people? For other women? Josh, do you have any idea what
the general, day-to-day life is like for a woman in a third-world country?"
Josh stared at her again, only this time he was speaking with almost an
entirely different person. One he didn't see come out much within the
boundaries of the White House. Standing before him was Donna Moss, an
unintentionally self-made, strong-willed, sharp-tongued, extremely intelligent
woman who had all the men in the West Wing speaking to her and not just at her.
Not that he didn't already know that. It was simply that she usually didn't
make a big deal out of the fact that she was a woman. The displays of outright
feminism usually came from elsewhere.
He managed to keep his expression serious. "Have you been talking to C.J.
"Joshua." Okay, that was definitely not a nice expression.
He sat down behind his desk and held his hands up in a mock-surrender. "Okay,
Donna. I agree with you. Can you get –"
"Already did." She set the thicker file she'd been carrying on the desk before
He blinked at it, then looked back up at her.
Donna smiled. "Some of us have actually been here working for two hours."
He watched her leave the room, shook his head, and set down to work on the
brief. A sudden thought occurred to him.
She poked her head back through the doorway. "Senator Kramer usually eats
lunch at O'Leary's."
"I'm almost afraid to ask how you know that."
"None of your business."
"Okay. Thanks."
"Yep. You have a senior staff at two. Be back in time, and take your cell
with you."
"Right. I guess now would not be the best time to ask for a cup of coffee."
He smiled as she slammed the office door behind her.
Picking up the phone, he hit the speed dial. "Hey, Sam. Feel like lunch at

"Did you fix it?"
"Did you fix it?"
Josh ran a hand through his hair and raised an eyebrow. "I gave him a bit of a
"What kind of warning?" Leo McGarry had his glasses on and was reading over
his copy of the Kramer brief, along with his copy of the information Donna had
pulled up.
"I told him we'd put him in the time-out chair, Leo. What do you think?"
Leo gave him a look over the top of his glasses. Judging from that expression,
Josh felt that now would be a good time to watch his runaway tongue. He
couldn't help it; he was a little frustrated.
"I'll choose to ignore the tone of that last remark, Josh."
"I'd be grateful, Leo."
Leo took off his glasses, set down the brief, and placed his folded hands on
the desk before him. "How well did he respond to the reputation threat?"
Josh sighed, running through the conversation at O'Leary's. "He seems
concerned –"
"He damn well should be."
"-but I don't think that'll stop him from putting the bill on the table."
"I hid Sam in a corner booth at O'Leary's for some covert surveillance while
Kramer and I had our little chat, and he confirmed the impression I got." Josh
took a breath. "Kramer's concerned, Leo, but he's not overly concerned."
Leo paused. "He's got backing."
Josh nodded.
"The Senate Majority leader."
"Who else, Leo?"
"He's going to tackle abortion? That's not going to get him into the White
House easily." Leo let his doubts show in the tone of his voice.
"No, he's certainly not dumb enough to try and tackle Roe vs. Wade, but he can
gnaw on the edges a bit."
"Make it look like he's attacking abortion."
"When he knows he can't. Precisely. And he's smart enough to let someone else
pick the fight for him."
"So he can back out unnoticed if we give his goon a bloody nose."
"Yep. It's a classic move. I know. I've used it."
Leo stood. "That's what I was afraid of when I got the information this
morning. By the way, now is not the time to be two hours late for work."
Josh grimaced. "Yeah, I know. The electricity went out in-"
"Buy a wind-up alarm clock. I don't want excuses."
"Roosevelt Room, Josh."
"It's going to be a long one. We have lots of planning to do."
Leo paused. "And for the record, I would probably have believed Donna if she
hadn't been so obviously pissed off."
"Yeah. Better expect some edginess from C.J., too. This issue hits closer to
home with them than it does us."
"Oh, this is gonna be fun."


Shelter From the Storm - 2


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