Title: Clear (1/1) 

Author: Michelle K. (CageyGrl@yahoo.com

Rating: PG 

Archive: If you want it, you may have it. Just tell me first, please. 

Summary: Donna visits Josh in the hospital.

Disclaimer: Characters from "The West Wing" don't belong to me. Instead, they are the sole property of Aaron Sorkin, Warner Brothers Television and NBC. No copyright infringement is intended and I am making no money from this story.

Notes: Written in Josh's POV. It follows 'The Thin Line,' but it's not necessary to read that in order to understand this.


I am beginning to hate hospitals.

O.K. That's not exactly true.

I've always hated hospitals. I've just never spent enough time in one to fully realize it.

But now I realize it.

I do.

Oh, I really do.

I really really do.

I really... You know, I think I've already made my point.

I'm not even sure why I hate it so much. After all, I would be dead if it weren't for this hospital. But still, I can't stand it.

Maybe it's the antiseptic mood that surrounds the whole hospital atmosphere. Everything is so sterile, from the clean white walls to the freakishly professional nurses. I mean, they can't even seem to take a joke. And none of the jokes are even at their expense. Just a friendly piece of humor to break the ice.

And all I get is a blank stare.

Not even an irritated stare. More of an 'I could care less' stare. An 'I'm not listening' stare. And, as most people will tell you, I can't stand it when people don't listen to me. It drives me crazy.

So, that's one thing.

Another thing I can't stand is the stillness. It's so quiet. One thing you can rely on, working at the West Wing, is that there will be noise. And running around. And the desperate drive to get everything done.

The job has taken away sleep, dating, and any chance of a personal life. But truth is, I need it.

I do.

I really do.

I really... Okay, I've made my point here, too.

Want to know something else that stinks? How people treat you when they come to visit. They act like you're fragile. If I were fragile, I wouldn't be alive. They tiptoe around you, trying to act overly cheerful. And they refuse to insult you.

I've purposely said some incredibly stupid things, but nobody will mock me for them. Even Toby isn't resorting to sarcasm.

Which is very weird. And somewhat creepy.

He hasn't smiled, though, which is comforting.

And he's glared at Sam a few times, which is always good to see. Just as a sign that the world is still turning, at least.

But still, I remain not glared upon. Not mocked, prodded, or treated with derision.

If I can't rely on these people to mock me, whom can I turn to?

On second thought, the world *has* stopped turning.

But there's something that I miss more than the excitement, the work, and the derision.

I miss Donnatella Moss.

I've been in this hospital for two weeks, and have yet to see Donna. I'm told she spent the first few nights after the shooting at my bedside. But I don't remember that. All I know is she hasn't been to see me since.

And I miss her.

"Joshua?" Donna's voice says, snapping out of my thoughts about...well, Donna.

"Donnatella," I reply.

She's standing apprehensively at the door. She has a worried expression on her face, and she looks like she hasn't slept much. A mix, I guess, of the trauma of the shooting and the stress of having to watch over my office.

"Should I come in? Because I can understand if you don't want me to. If you want to rest. I'm sure you need it," she rambles.

"No!" I say, a little too desperately. "No," I repeat, a little softer. "I feel fine."

She steps closer, takes a chair that's sitting in the corner, and puts it near my bed. She sits down. "So, how's it going? Dumb question," she scolds herself. "I just haven't had to go to the hospital much. I don't know how to act," she begins to ramble again.

"It's fine. The nurses tell me I don't know how to be a patient," I joke, trying to put her at ease. The last thing I need is Donna to be uncomfortable around me. I don't want her to treat me as fragile, too.

"Yeah," she says with a smile. "That sounds like you."

We're silent for a while. I'm not sure if it's a comfortable one or not. I just know I'm glad to see her again.

"Donna. Why haven't you come to see me before today?" I blurt out.

Donna looks surprised. "I thought the first thing you'd ask me was how things are going at work." She pauses. "They're fine, by the way." She pauses again, then looks away from me. "I guess..." her voice trails off. "When you were shot that night, Josh, I felt...terrible. You're...you're my friend. I saw you being operated on, I saw you laid up in this hospital bed, I felt what it was to think I'd never see you again. I thought if I came back here, it would all come back."

She pauses again, and I feel even more in love with her than I did before.

"But, I needed to see you, Josh. I had to come see you, even if it meant revisiting that," she concludes.

She's silent for a while, and I can't say anything. Donna has managed to make me speechless. It's a select few who can achieve this.

After a long while, she finally looks up at me. She has a small smile on her face. "And I thought I owed you the pleasure of my company."

"Well," I reply softly, "I'm glad you came."

"I'm glad, too," she says.

Then, she gently takes my hand in hers. I look into her eyes, and it all becomes clear to me. It becomes clear that my feelings for her are deeper than anything I've felt for anyone. And it's clear that she feels the same way. Even if we never say it.

"And you better get out of this hospital soon," she says with a sly smile. "Or I may just steal away your job."

Oh, she isn't going to treat me like glass.

I guess being in this hospital won't be all bad.





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