TITLE: Hearts Entwined
AUTHOR: Pat Steiner [firstname.lastname@example.org]
SUMMARY: Rated PG for mild violence. Post eposide for "What Kind of a
Has It Been." A Josh-Donna story with a bit of Toby-CJ.
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to CBS et al. No copyright infringement
is intended and the following is for entertainment only.
ARCHIVING: Yes, and thank you for wanting it.
"Hearts Entwined" 1/2
"You're sure I can't interest you in coming? You know watching the
President do this give and take routine is pretty entertaining." Josh
persisted, "How about if I threw in a burger first? I mean it's just over
Rosslyn for a couple hours."
"Not even for dinner at Jean Louis and a trip on the Concorde" Donna
returned. "Josh I told you. I'm tired. I was up past midnight the past
three nights on the grazing rights research and tonight I'm taking my
headache home to a Kevin Costner triple feature and a quart of double
chocolate rocky road brownie nut thank you very much."
Josh gave a short laugh. "Well good night then. Listen don't rush in in
the morning. We're all expecting to be fashionably late."
"That I can handle" Donna smiled. "Good night."
Joshua James Lyman was still two years away from being born that horrible
November 22nd, 1963, when a sniper took down President John F. Kennedy, and
he was but a small boy almost five years later, when a man with a handgun did
the same to John's brother; but those incidents were the first thing he
flashed on as he ran, finding himself up against the fence, hearing the hail
of gunfire behind him. "God save us all" he gasped. He had just enough
for another prayer, this one of thankfulness that Donna was not with him,
before the bullet tore into his back. There was a brief second of searing
pain and he heard a scream, realized it was his own, and then all was black.
"Ice cream time" Donna announced to the two white cats curled at
feet. She hit the stop button on the VCR and the TV itself came on, tuned in
to CBS and she was greeted by Dan Rather's hushed tones. It took only a half
minute for the full horror to sink in. A shooting in Rosslyn about fifteen
minutes ago, the Secret Service and police announcing the threat had been
contained and the worst news of all, that there were unconfirmed reports of
casualties among the presidential party, perhaps even the president himself.
"No, oh god this is not happening" she moaned, diving for the phone on
the coffee table. Instinctively she dialed Josh's cell phone with no
response. "Now of course he's just busy" she tried to rationalize,
to the mound of sleeping cat. Mulder opened one eye. Scully did not move.
Before she even knew what was happening, she was tearing off her long tee
shirt and cramming her legs into jeans. At the same time she grabbed her
yellow flowered address book and began to dial other cell phones. It was
Toby's steady voice that finally answered and his quiet tone calmed her
"Oh Toby I just heard" she managed to get out without stuttering.
you OK, is everyone one OK? How's the president?"
"Donna, slow--calm" Toby counseled. "I don't have a lot of
and I don't want to talk on this thing anyway. You know that. We're on our
way to Georgetown right now. That's all I can say; except Donna...you
uh....you probably should come."
"Josh oh god it's Josh isn't it" she shrieked into the phone, sobbing
"Donna he's..." Toby began and then stopped himself. "Just hurry
I can say." And the phone was dead.
For a long minute she stood in the center of her single room, willing
herself some rationality. Some small kernel of common sense told her if she
got onto the road in throes of the hysterics which threatened to claim her,
she would kill someone, or herself.
Finally the pounding in her chest slowed and her sobbing changed to just
light tears. Blessing that traffic was light at that late hour she made the
short drive from Connecticut Avenue over to Wisconsin and then down Wisconsin
to Georgetown. She pulled up to the Emergency entrance, disregarding the 'no
parking' signs and left the car.
Taking a deep breath, and uttering one more in the series of prayers she
had been saying since she left the apartment, she flew through the entrance
and into the arms of Toby Ziegler a moment later.
"I was watching for you" he said softly, quickly touching a finger to
lips and looking around at the people gathered. "This way" he
"they gave us a room to wait in and the press is being kept far away at the
"Toby I'm terrified" she whispered. "Please tell me. I kept the
off in the car. I didn't want to hear anything."
He took her arm and brought her into a small room, where she was relieved
to see Sam and CJ. "I'm glad you two are OK" she said softly, "Is
president all right?"
"Yes thank god" Toby nodded. Leo is with him and they're safe back at
the White House. "He's pretty shaken. Right now it looks like white
supremacists upset over the idea of Charlie and Zoey."
"You're not serious" Donna gasped, feeling tears threaten again.
glad he's OK."
"Yeah, the country doesn't need another Dallas" Sam sighed.
Donna opened and closed her mouth, trying to ask about Josh and afraid to
at the same time.
CJ came over and took her hands. "Donna, Josh was hit in the back.
They're trying to stabilize him now so they can do the surgery."
"No, no please" she whimpered and CJ pulled her head down to her
shoulder. "I'm sorry" CJ said softly, speaking into her ear. "I
you....well it's obvious....that you care for him."
Donna swallowed hard and lifted her head. "Yes I do" she said, wiping
her eyes. "And I have to see him."
"Oh Donna you can't" Sam shook his head. "There's ten people
around him and they won't let anyone anywhere near him."
"They have to" she said resolutely. "I can let him...I have to
him..." She did not finish and instead turned and fled the room.
"Tell him what?" Sam frowned and both CJ and Toby glared at him.
"She has to tell him she loves him, oh clueless one" CJ shook her head
Donna forced herself to casually walk through the ER, glimpsing the board
behind the admitting desk and seeing the entry for Lyman. Still walking
casually she strolled to the designated door and slipped inside, shrinking
back against the wall at once before she could be spotted and working her
away around to the other side.
Her resolve to be invisible vanished the second she saw Josh. He was
covered with blood, tubes and wires and surrounded by medical staff. She
gave a soft involuntary cry of horror, and her hand flew to her mouth. "I'm
here Josh" she said softly, pushing her way to the head of the table.
"Ma'am you can't be in here" one of the nurses said at once, reaching
"Don't touch me" she returned, surprising even herself with her
"I'm not going anywhere." Her eyes flashed at the nurse and then she
her attention back to Josh, bending low over his head, her mouth to his ear,
and her hand resting on his forehead. "Josh it's Donna. I'm here with
she said softly. "Now you listen to me. You're going to be all right.
Don't you dare try to leave me like this. I'm going to..."
"Ma'am please" the nurse interrupted again.
"No leave her be" the doctor said suddenly, studying the readouts on
monitors. "I can't explain it, but somehow he knows she's there and he's
responding. This is the best these numbers have looked. Let's get him
upstairs while the going's good." The doctor looked to Donna, "why
take his hand and walk along."
"Thank you" she breathed gratefully, immediately reaching for his
"Keep talking to him" the doctor encouraged. "I don't know how
hearing you since he's in shock but you're certainly getting through to
Moving quickly, the medical staff folded Josh into blankets and gathered
the equipment around him; then began to roll the bed. Donna locked her hands
around his, lifting it slightly from the bed and hurried to keep up with the
rapidly moving bed.
"I'm here with you Josh, you stay with me now" she repeated several
times. They parked outside the OR suites and the doctor turned to Donna.
"I'm afraid this is where you get off but believe me I'm more hopeful now
than I was before. It's almost like...well like he has something to live
for." He gave her an encouraging smile. "I'm going to set things
got about two minutes to say good bye; but I'll fix it so you can meet him in
"Thank you" she sniffled slightly and leaned over Josh once again. As
soon as they were alone she put her lips to his ear. "You listen to me
Joshua Lyman" she ordered sternly, "you're going to get this bullet
out and then you're going to be fine. I need you in my life and I'm not
letting you forget that." She stopped and took a deep breath for courage.
"I love you Josh" she said softly, "and when you wake up I'm
going to look
you in the eye and tell you the same thing, so you better be prepared for
that." She leaned in even closer and kissed the side of his mouth.
"Time's up" the doctor said. "You try to relax now. This is going
a while but we do quality work." He reached over and touched the back of
hand with which she was holding Josh's. "No promises, but I'll do my best
get him back for you."
"Thank you" she sniffled again and kissed Josh once more. "I'll
when you wake up." The doctor moved the bed through the double doors and
held fast to Josh's hand until it was pulled from her.
Resisting an urge to simply collapse in tears she took a moment to
compose herself and walked back downstairs to seek the others.
Toby and CJ were seated together on the sofa in the small lounge, she
leaning against him with her head on his shoulder and Sam had just brought
"Donna can I get you something?" he asked at once.
"No I'm already wired" she shook her head.
"Donna they told us they took Josh to surgery" CJ said softly, lifting
her head. "They said he was doing as well as can be expected whatever the
hell that means. Did you get to see him?"
"Yeah" she answered quietly, "the doctor said he was responding
She gave a small smile. "At least I have a little hope."
"Did you tell him?" CJ asked.
"Yes I did" Donna blushed and looked at the floor.
"Good" CJ nodded with a sidelong glance at Toby.
"What do you hear from the White House?" Donna asked.
"They've gone to bed" Sam spoke up. "Zoey's pretty upset. Uh
there's something we didn't think you needed added to your concerns about
Josh, but I don't want you to hear it from elsewhere. Gina and Charlie were
hit also, and two secret service agents were killed."
"Oh god" Donna sank weakly in to the nearest chair, feeling tears once
again. "How are they--Gina and Charlie?"
"Both going to be OK" Toby assured her quickly. "But Charlie fell
Zoey's arms and apparently stopped breathing momentarily. Gina tried to
cover them both and that's when she was hit. She still managed to return
fire though until the blood loss got too much."
"This is a nightmare" Donna sighed, and two tears rolled down her
"Yes it is" CJ nodded, on the verge of tears herself.
"You are being taken home right now" Toby told her. "There's not
blessed thing we can do here tonight."
CJ opened her mouth to speak and Toby put two fingers to her lips.
"Don't argue with me. You won't win. Good night Sam. Donna, he's going to
be all right. He has you to come back to."
Donna blushed heavily at those words and shot him a look of gratitude.
"Thank you. I'm staying of course."
"You need company?" Sam offered.
"No please" she shook her head. "I'd really rather be alone and
to get your rest. They'll need you at work in the morning."
"OK" Sam nodded. "But if you need me you call me, any time of the
you hear? Leo's staying up all night at the White House just in case so you
can call his line if anything comes up but you call me also if you need
"I will" she promised, fighting tears once again. She watched the
of them walk out, and noticed with a small smile that Toby slipped his arm
around CJ's waist to guide her outside.
Donna waited until they were gone and then fled up the back stairs to the
OR suite area.
"Ms. Moss, why don't you let me show you were you can lay down for a
little bit" the nurse urged. "It's going to be a good while yet and
come for you as soon as he's settled in recovery."
"I don't..." she hesitated.
"Go on now" the nurse repeated her motherly tone. "You don't want
waking up and seeing you all tired and maybe half sick from exhaustion.
That's not going to help him."
"All right thanks" Donna gave in and a few moments later found herself
a small room. Not bothering with the light, she collapsed on the bed and it
was then that her tears came in a flood of fear and regret. She cried until
there was nothing left and then fell into a sleep of exhaustion.
There was gunfire everywhere, and screaming, and blood, and most of all
there was Josh, reaching for her, covered with blood. His hand reached for
hers, hers for his and their fingertips almost touched. "I'm here
whispered and then suddenly his face began to fade--he was slipping away from
her. "NO" she screamed as loud as she could. "Josh come back to
voice echoed in the silent room. Josh's face swam back in to her vision and
a moment later the nurse flung open the door, flipping the light at the same
time. The room was bathed in bright light and Donna sat up straight in bed,
tears streaming down her face.
"Ms. Moss you were dreaming" the same nurse told her, shaking her
Donna sat up slowly, blinking against the light and her gaze fixing on
the clock, reading 3AM. It had been three hours since the surgery began she
realized in some distant corner of her mind and she looked hopefully to the
"Would you like me to bring you something mild to help you rest?" she
asked Donna kindly.
"No, no thanks" Donna shook her head vehemently. "I have to be
fully when Josh wakes up. How is he--do you know?"
"Well they're still in there, so that's a good sign" she assured her.
"I want to be up now" Donna insisted "I want to be ready to talk
doctor when he's finished and to see Josh the second he comes out even though
I know he won't be awake."
The nurse nodded and showed Donna into the surgical waiting room, now
deserted. It was another two hours before the doors opened and the nurse
pointed out Donna to a tall graying man in surgical garb. "Ms. Moss this is
Donna all but ran to him, her face begging his for information. The
doctor took her arm and helped her to sit down. "Mr. Lyman is doing as well
as we can reasonably expect" he said slowly. "He came through the
well, and that's the first hurdle. The first twenty-four hours are always
the hardest of course. After that we can pretty much consider him having
turned the corner."
"But right now he's OK?" she dared allow herself to hope.
"Yes he is" Caproletti smiled in his exhaustion. "The bullet
in the fleshy part of his back in the shoulder area. Some tissue damage and
it nicked an artery so we had the blood loss to deal with. But we removed
it, did some repair work and we're grateful no vital organs were hit. We did
almost lose him once though."
"Excuse me?" she gasped, her hand going to her mouth in alarm.
Caproletti nodded, "his blood pressure crashed and his heart stopped.
We shocked him back. It was kind of odd though because we weren't getting
anything and then all of a sudden it was like someone was....well bringing
him back. Happened just before 3AM."
TO BE CONTINUED