Title: Our Two Consciences: Deru
Author: Michelle H.
Feedback: yes please! Michelle@propertykey.com
Thanks: Laurel, of course!
Category: General J/D
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine. No profit.
Notes: Goes along with Laurel's Discretion.
Spoilers: Up to and Including 18th and Potomac

Did you know that truth and trust share the same Indo-European root?

It's true. The root is deru.

Apparently the meaning of deru is to be firm, solid, and steadfast.
There was also something in there about trees and druids, but I didn't
read that part.

The minutiae of fact and figure is comforting to me now; since I guess
I can't share this lovely experience with Donna, at least not yet, I
have to improvise. Sort of like at night, when I sleep with that
perfume insert from Vogue; you know, the one that smells like Donna.

It's like comfort food. Only better. I have the best dreams when I
sleep with that thing.

I'm going to have to get another one soon; the aroma is fading fast, it
mixes with my scent and by morning the room smells like both of us,
together. I wake up thinking she's with me, and it breaks my heart a
little to realize she's not there.

It's possible the line between fantasy and reality is getting a little
blurry in my world.

How I wish life was the beautiful fantasy in my dreams, and not this
hollow, empty chaos; I'm meeting with the congressmen about the tobacco
thing and all I'm doing is musing on the nature of truth and trust.

It's strange when you learn you've put your trust in someone who didn't
tell the truth. You realize that trust and truth really aren't always
the same thing, even though they should be.

It's beginning to become less than obvious what's truth and what's not.
Or whom I can trust and whom I can't.

I begin to wonder if I can believe in myself. I mean, I'm the third
most powerful man in the United States, but I'm also backing a man who
perpetuated a fraud.

Who the hell am I?

I can't even trust myself. I don't even know myself anymore. I used to
define my life by who I am, who I support, and who I banter with.

I can't even bring the banter anymore.

With all this betrayal and hurt and confusion, I realize there's only
one person in the world I can trust.


But can I trust her with the secret that could bring down the
administration? Not that I think she's going to tell anyone, it's not

I wonder if I can trust her to be strong through it all.

I don't trust myself to be strong through this.

But I fake it, I drink so much coffee my head spins and my stomach
gurgles and I can barely sleep at all.

And sleep brings such welcome respite; I can hold Donna's scent in my
arms and dream of her sweet alabaster soul.

And while I'm awake I feel a sick, queasy, black ache; it's fear.

All of this sick, queasy, black ache started with the password.
Sagittarius. The archer. The traveler. The free spirit. The truth
seeker. The idealist.

Is it just me, or is that the most inapt password you've ever heard,
given the situation? Someone call Alannis Morissette. I think we can
properly school her in the concept of irony.

And with that word, everything came together and fell apart and time
stopped, all at the same time:

"Sagittarius," she said, cautiously and recklessly and quiet.

With that one word, Donnatella Moss changes the timbre of my life

My God; she knows.

She rescues me; she knows I want to protect her, but that I want her to
know at the same time. She knows that I need her. She rescues me from
having to tell her myself.

I make it sound like that's a happy thing, but my world was shattered
when I found out. How must she be feeling? She says she's alright, but
she looked sick, and worried, and maybe something else, too.


"You alright," I ask, praying that she's okay. Praying that she'll
still speak to me. Praying that she forgives me for not telling her.

"Yeah," she says. Just like that. She moves on, then. Telling me
she's taken care of all that I could foresee, and even more. She is the
right hand to my left.

She's stronger than I am in most ways. She might not have my 760
verbal or my enormous ego, but she's stronger than I am.

She has more faith.

She is, after all, the white light. The angel of idealism.

So it's not hard to figure out who told her. I think of how he said
he'd be in his office when I got done with the President and Leo; Toby
can be compassionate and down right nice at times.

I hope he was compassionate and nice with Donna.

I hope he spoke to her in that quiet, calm voice of his, the one that
could soothe a nursery of colicky babies to sleep; I hope he took his
time and helped Donna to understand the implications and that the world
isn't over, the sky isn't falling.

It only feels that way.

I hope he was gentle with her.

So I go to Leo's office and I take Toby out into the hall and I think
about paddles and woodsheds and my mouth curls into a snarl.

I will hurt him if he hurt her.

"You told Donna," I try to restrain my voice but the words are a harsh

"Yeah," he says, in that tired, soft voice.

And then I realize that he didn't hurt her. He couldn't. Donna is
precious, everyone knows it. She's the baby, the white light; she's
everyone's Angel of Idealism.

"Why didn't you let me," I ask, but I know the answer. Because I was
too chicken to do it myself.

"You hadn't yet," he said, his voice soft and strained.

I'm afraid to ask the obvious follow-up. I swallow some pride and ask

"How'd she take it?"

"If everybody out there takes it the way she did, we may be okay," he

Thank God.

She didn't break down in front of Toby either. I think part of me was
scared that she really was upset and she didn't want me to know. I
couldn't stand the idea of her withholding something from me.

I know, I know.

Sing it, Alannis.

So then we meet with Leo and all head our separate ways for the evening.

It's only when we're all called back again, so soon after separating,
that I realize that the sky really is falling.

There will be no sleep tonight.



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