Disclaimer: I own nothing, you've heard it all before :)
Spoilers: A few symbolic ones for Noel.
Author's note: this is spun off from a piece of material I edited out of my other fic In Love With the Other Party. (It would be great if I could get some feedback on it) Or both. Please.
This is Donna's POV
So this is politics. At least that's what you think when you step inside the West Wing and watch how it works for about five minutes. You think it's about closed doors, phone calls, and getting files. And you leave this place happy. That's what you want to see. Not the truth.
I've worked here since the campaign. I can tell you a little about politics. More than a little. I understand it better than the politicians because I'm not involved in it. I stand by and watch. And learn what you really don't want to know. But I'm here to tell you.
Politics is game. I know how that must sound to you but it's true. Let me explain.
When you start on the political scene you're green. New. Untested. You've read all the rules and learned all they could teach you. Now you're fresh from the rulebook with expectations and hopes. And you're forced to abandon all of them because the second you show a preference to anything on this vast gameboard known as a platform you are relegated to a section of the board that houses the fanatics, zealots, and angry protesters. It's not you're fault. But now you're a liability; you cannot be trusted not to reveal your hand and lose the advantage. If you learn fast and be cautious, you might, just might, make your way back to the middle of the board into the thick of things.
By then you've learned to hide your feelings and play whatever card you can to get what your boss wants. Not what you want, what your boss wants. You have no say in the matter because you're a lowly game piece. You are moved around by most politicians. And you work your way up. Slowly but surely. And people take shots at you the whole way up the ranks because you are told to do something by your politician or you are set up to take a fall.
And somehow you make it to the position of trusted advisor. But by the time you get there you are no longer listened to. You are no longer important. What do you do then? You defect to the other half of the camp. Where you are needed and, more importantly, wanted. After a few skirmishes the other camp is defeated and Josiah Bartlet has won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America. You are Joshua Lyman and if this good man becomes the President you will have a very good position and people who trust you. And by some miracle you win the Presidency.
You are now Joshua Lyman, Deputy Chief of Staff. You are important. But the mistakes of the past and the lost fights and the shattered dreams are starting to wear on you. You can't seem to remember who you are anymore. Are you a figurehead? A trusted advisor? Or someone who hasn't got a clue as to what you're doing with your life?
And then it hits you over the head. You know, but that identity seems just out of reach. Because blocking your path are Joshua the Debater, Joshua the Advisor, Joshua the Son and Joshua the Political Genius. And those men make it very hard to get to Joshua the Man. The one who was almost lost beneath those men and a bullet wound through the lung.
You finally get there, but you realize he wasn't in the same condition that you left him in. He's fragile, a feeble candle to the flames of your compatriots. But still you fight. Why? Because it is a duty. A duty that you took seriously when you took that bullet in the heart for your people. You thought you had shrugged it off and moved on. You had built a wall around Joshua the Man to keep him safe. But that wall has started to crumble and living nightmares have invaded your safehaven.
Someone comes to help you but you can't trust them because in this game trust can come with unforeseen consequences. But you finally, reluctantly, give your trust and you are the better for it. And you slowly start to rebuild Joshua the Man but he won't be exact because he was forever altered by the bullet. But he will be Joshua the Man. The only Joshua because all the other Joshuas are just masks you wear to trick and deceive.
New dreams are made and a new man is born because his battle has been won. There will always be the war but you have won the only important battle and claimed you freedom.
It may not have been possible in any other time but you have survived. Because Christmas is a time of miracles. And I am Donnatella Moss and I'm trying to tell you Joshua, that you are my miracle. You are the one who altered me forever. And I will be with you through whatever battles you choose fight.