TITLE: Our Two Consciences: Bast, a Bowler, and
Bucking for a Promotion (1/1)
AUTHOR: Laurel A. (lalden99@yahoo.com) -- I love
SPOILERS: Everything up to, and including, The
Stackhouse Filibuster.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own them; don't sue me.
ARCHIVE: Archive anyplace, just let me know.
SUMMARY: Donna is proud of catching the Stackhouse
thing. She ponders the wise and powerful Bast, thinks
about wearing leather pants, and contemplates a
AUTHORS NOTE: This one really should be read AFTER
Michelle's "Filibusters, Falls, and Feline Avengers."
But, it's okay the other way around too. Thanks to
Michelle for doing a bad, bad thing, which turned out
to be good thing, and for seeing me through my bout of
writer's block!

This is the next installment in the Josh/Donna POV
series Our Two Consciences by Michelle Hoffmann and

Roles by Laurel A.
Masks by Michelle H.
Donna Moss Talks About Sex and Joey Lucas by Laurel A.
Josh Lyman Talks About Strategy by Michelle H.
Late At Night In The Soft Warm Glow by Laurel A.
Perfect Clarity by Michelle H.
I Confess by Laurel A.
Static Electricity by Michelle H.
Change, Gratitude, and the Heartbreak Turtles by
Laurel A.
Transformation by Michelle H.

I did a good thing today. In spite of the fact that I
will likely forever be teased about raising my hand in
the Oval Office, I did a good thing.

Josh was right about what he told Charlie when he
hired him. There is no other feeling in the world
like the one you get when something you do or say in
the White House has an impact; and that feeling
doesn't go away.

I was so proud watching Senator Stackhouse yield for a
question after we'd rallied the Senatorial
grandfathers. Not only did I do a good thing for
Senator Stackhouse, for autistic children, and for the
President, I also did a good thing for myself.

I've worked past quiet, shy, and "nice," transitioning
quite well into Quirky-Assistant. And although I am
not sure when it happened, I've recently started to
get ideas about being promoted to a spot on the Senior
Staff after re-election. No more Deputy Deputy Chief
of Staff for me.
here I come.

With a promotion I could feel free to not raise my
hand in the Oval Office, I could influence policy, I
could actually sit down during Senior Staff meetings
instead of standing and taking notes for Josh and then
arguing with him later about what he thought he heard
and what my notes say. Some other poor soul will be
doing that for him.

And while I am discussing matters of national and
international import with the President, that person
will have the pleasure of knowing exactly how to order
Josh's burnt hamburger lunches and of knowing that if
it's a Tuesday he'll need a clean shirt for his
meeting on the Hill because he probably spent the
night here.

They will be anticipating his research needs, watching
out for his sensitive system, and instinctively
waiting for him in the rotunda entrance first thing in
the morning to hand off the notes for the policy
meeting he's already late for. Wait, I don't know if
I like the idea of someone else doing all that for
him. And there's no way they'd be in tune with him
the way I am. Maybe I like being the poor soul that
knows him better than anyone else; maybe I like being
intimately attuned to Josh Lyman.

I know Leo and the President were wondering what I was
doing in the Oval Office hanging back behind CJ. The
President even asked if I needed something; and we all
knew what he meant. He wanted to know if I was there
to relay some message from Josh or if I needed some
piece of information to carry back to Josh or one of
the other staffers. But, CJ spoke up for me.

Her explanation to the President that I was there
because I had picked up on the Stackhouse thing wasn't
just her giving me credit for my catch. I think it
was also an acknowledgement of how hard she had
discovered it is, as a woman, to break into the boys
club at the White House. She was sticking up for the

Citing our similar criminal minds, CJ told me today
that she'd thought of me first when she realized that
the curse of Bast was upon her. I took it as a
compliment because I have really started to enjoy this
conspiratorial Girl's Thing we've got going. Plus, I
think I like the idea of cultivating the image of
having an illicit side.

I was impressed that CJ had done all that research on
Bast and it made me think about how all of us in the
White House share a love of arcane knowledge. Okay,
maybe some of us more than others. And some of us
like to share that information a bit more than the
next guy as well – which is why I was raising my hand
in the Oval Office in the first place.

Josh is definitely one of those who derives a
considerable amount of pleasure in sharing his
understanding of the esoteric. And when he explains
things to me as if I am his pupil, I let him. I
protest a bit at first and pretend not to listen, just
to keep up appearances you understand, but darn if it
isn't cute how he goes on anyway. And I figure I can
learn a little something in the process.

I freely admit that can dish it out just as well, if
not better, than he can. Spouting the obscure and
trivial while loudly admonishing the other for doing
so is a tried and true part of our banter. Maybe it's
a pride thing we've got going, not wanting to admit to
the other one that we actually do listen.

So, while everyone was absorbed in their e-mails to
family members, TV monitors in the background showing
Stackhouse hoarsely reading David Copperfield, I went
in search of some arcane knowledge to add to my
collection. Being a bit of a cat person, and always
open to the mystical powers of the goddesses, I was
curious about Bast.

Turns out, Bast has alabaster skin too. Okay, so the
description really reads, "glowing skin" but it's
close enough. Bast is also sometimes shown as a
light-skinned European girl with long blonde hair and
bright blue eyes. And, one of her most ancient
monikers, "Pasch," is where the modern English word
"passion" comes from. That Bast is one cool goddess.

With Stackhouse yielding to Senator Grissom and the
rest of the grandfathers, Josh and I are now sitting
in his office sharing a beer. To cap off a pretty
amazing day, I decide to re-pay Josh for sharing the
details of Senatorial conduct by letting him in on
some of my recently gathered facts on the ancient and
powerful Bast.

"Bast was often portrayed as either a sitting cat or a
cat-headed goddess. In the latter portrayal, she held
either a sistrum, an ankh, or a papyrus wand in her

"You mean paw," Josh sarcastically counters.

"Josh, pay attention," I admonish, "Bast holds those
things when she's in her cat-headed goddess aspect.
Goddesses have hands, Josh. She was known as the
protector of the Pharaoh and as an avenger."

I unwisely take a swig of beer, allowing Josh to chime
in, "A what?"

"An avenger, Josh."

Josh replies with his typical 14-year-old boy
mentality, "Is that anything like a Caped Crusader?"

As much as I want to giggle at the thought of a cat in
tights and a cape, I decide to play along with him a
bit, "No, Josh, it's more like Steed and Mrs. Peel."

I grin at my own cleverness, as well as at the thought
of Josh in a black bowler hat telling me that we're
needed. And darn it if I wouldn't look good myself in
Mrs. Peel's black leather pants.

Breaking me out of my thoughts, Josh demands that I
give him the beer, so I continue on about Bast, lest
my Steed and Mrs. Peel fantasies get out of hand.

"Bast is connected with music, sensuality, fertility,
ecstasy, the arts, the moon, and hemp," I tell him,
handing over our beer.

Again Josh's 14-year-old mentality shines through as
he says, "Hemp?" And even though I am facing away
from him, I can tell he's raising his eyebrows,
wrinkling up his forehead, and I am sure the smirk is
starting to play about his lips.

I plow on, affirming that I did indeed say the word
hemp, and continue, "Her worship began around 3200
BCE, Josh."

I am pretty sure that whatever Josh's level of
interest in ancient goddesses was, it has deteriorated
over the last few minutes, but I continue to pelt him
with information anyway, until the phone rings.

Josh answers it, pauses for a second, hangs up the
receiver, turns to me and says, "Mrs. Peel, we're

Well, I'll be man from U.N.C.L.E. Wonder where I can
pick up a pair of those leather pants.

I recover quickly giving him my best
you-think-you-are-so-cute-but-you-really-aren't look
and say, "If you think I'm going to call you Steed,
you're out of your mind."

Out in the hall we see CJ and Carol, and Josh begins
to tease CJ about the curse of Bast, using the
information I just told him as ammunition.

He's got that mischievous smirk on his face and I
can't help smiling a bit myself, knowing that at the
end of the day, we really do listen to each other.



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