Title: Coral Castle

Author: Kristen

Rating: PG

Summary:  "Gather ye rosebuds..." with quite a twist!

Genre: alternate universe: Josh/Donna

 Disclaimer: the two love birds are Aaron's and the song is "Coral Castle" by Andrew Peterson off of his "Carried Away" album.

Spoilers: none. this stuff would only happen in my sick, depraved little head



Josh sat on his stoop, racking his hands through his hair. He would have been crying, but he had no tears left.


"She said no," his voice cracking with emotion.


The realization hit him like a load of bricks.


"I told her I loved her and she said no. She denied that I loved her!"


'Josh, it's just the pain medication talking. You don't love me. Stop talking like a crazy man.'


Her voice echoed in his mind.


'Oh my dear Donatella, my thoughts haven't been clearer in my life! I love you, I love you, I love you. Marry me, Donna, marry me now.'


Ok, so maybe it was a little drunken sounding, but he was sincere.


With tears streaming down her face, Donna Moss had shook her head and walked out of his life.


Two Weeks ago.


Fourteen freaking days ago.


He needed to do something.


He needed to move on with his life.


As he finished his beer and tossed it into the curbside garbage can, an idea struck.


"That's it!" He exclaimed to no one in particular. "That's how I am going to win back my beloved."


Late one night I had a notion

An epiphany would be a better word

So I stumbled in the dark down to the ocean

And I pulled my broken heart out of the surf


I had told her I did not have much to offer

And I had told her I would treat her like a queen

But I guess I wasn't worth what I would cost her

So the night has brought me to this coral reef


So down to the water I will come

To raise for her this castle with my hands

And steal away before the morning sun

'Cause I don't need her love to love her all I can


Every morning, Josh rose at 5:30 and spent an hour on his declaration of love for Donna. Though she was gone from the West Wing and he didn't know where she was, he would find her.  He had to. If groveling was necessary, he would grovel. But hopefully, his creation would suffice.


So night on night and year on year

Well, I worked until my hands no longer bled

And I let the ocean bear away my tears

So that she would know that I could love her best


And a desert's just a sea without a shore

And a lonely man at worst is still a man

And I ain't gonna cry for her no more

'Cause I don't need her love to lover her all I can


Picking up the newspaper one morning, he saw it.


No. Please God, no.


Not Donna's engagement announcement.




He resolved to keep working on his gift. His dream had not died. He would work until he was finished.


***The following spring***


The garden was magnificent. The main features, of course, were the roses. The White House Rose Garden couldn't hold a candle to these. Gorgeous roses of all colors and sizes. There were other flowers, too. Other flowers that reminded him of his love. Daises and tulips and lilacs; the garden was a plethora of botanical loveliness.


It became the premier first date place in Washington. Romantic picnics, lit by the luminaries that Josh had so lovingly constructed, occurred nightly. Young couples came from miles around to visit the garden that had mysteriously appeared in Georgetown.


The Deputy Deputy Chief of Staff's Garden.


Donna's garden.


I often dreamed I saw her face among the people

Who'd come to see the coral fortress I had built

But it may as well have been another seagull

And the castle is there waiting for her still


So down to the water I will come

To wander through this castle on the sand

And steal away before the morning sun

'Cause I don't need her love to love her all I can


Years went by. The Bartlett Administration was long over when Donna Gates discovered the garden. Young widow, Donna Moss-Gates.


Josh took a year off after the end of his eight-year stint as Deputy Chief of Staff.  He spent most of his time in the garden. Tending to it, loving it, just being in it. Once, he'd even been to his friend CJ's wedding in it. It was well-accepted folklore around town that the great Josh Lyman had built that garden. No one however knew why.


He'd followed the papers every day. Searching for some mention of Donna's name. He saw the announcement for her wedding, the announcement of the birth of her daughter a few years later and the tragic announcement of the death of her husband and child in a car accident. He never stopped loving her, and he never stopped looking for her in the crowds of the garden.


Finally, he sat down and wrote the story of the garden. He mailed it to his friend, Danny, who made sure it found it's way into the newspaper.


Donna made her way through the gates, clutching her tear-stained copy of the article.


"Josh?" She called, "Josh Lyman?"


Not believing his ears, Josh wiped the dirt off of his hands and turned towards the voice.


"Donna?" Standing and walking towards his dream, Josh felt the tears well up in his eyes.


"Hi, Josh," Donna was crying now too, "I've missed you."


Walking slowly towards her, Josh said lamely, "I've missed you, too."


Waving the article, she whispered, "Is it true?"


Cupping his hand on her jaw, he replied, "Every word."


She placed her hand over his and closed her eyes. Opening them slowly, Josh's eyes met hers with a look of absolute adoration, acceptance and joy. "Josh," she said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was..."


"...exactly like I was so often? Donna, we both know how to be a jerk. You were always so good at forgiving me, how could I not return the favor?" They both smiled in understanding. "Donatella Moss, I love you. I've loved you since the first moment I saw you in New Hampshire and I will love you until my last moment on this earth."


"Oh, Joshua..."


"I built a garden for you, Donna, for you to gather your rosebuds while ye may. I'll build a house for you to keep them in if you want me to."






"Shh." Donna gently placed her lips to his.


Pulling away, she smiled. "A kiss is a lovely thing, Josh. It stops speech when words become superfluous."


Laughing, he pulled her into an embrace that would last for the rest of their lives.






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