TITLE: "Hearts Torn and Reborn"
AUTHOR: Pat Steiner
SUMMARY: The sequel to "Hearts Entwined" [I can supply a copy if anyone
would like to read that first]. The aftermath of the shooting from the POV
of Josh and Donna as he recovers and they deal with the emotional trauma of
the nightmare at the Newseum, along with their newly declared personal
emotions.
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing and its wonderful characters belong to NBC et al;
no copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVE: Yes, and thank you for wanting it.

"Hearts Torn and Reborn" Part 1--
For the next four days Josh mainly slept and healed. He was gotten up
for short periods to begin to get his strength back into his legs and avoid
pneumonia setting in and now by morning of the fifth day he was awake, alert,
and......crabby.
"Good morning," Donna greeted him, walking over to the bed and leaning
down for the light kiss they gave each other as habit when she stopped to see
him before going to work; again at lunch, and then when she returned to spend
the evening with him.
"Mr. Lyman is not pleased," the nurse who followed her in informed her.
"Oh yeah?" Donna looked from him back to the nurse.
"No Mr. Lyman is not pleased," Josh mimicked. "I want to go home. I
don't know how I can be any more plain than that. If I spend another day in
this place I'm going to need to be moved to the fourth floor."
"Believe me psyche services doesn't want you there either," the nurse
assured him. "I'll be back in ten minutes and you're not going to argue with
me." She turned on her heel and left.
"Donna," he reached for her hand to emphasize his words, "I'm not kidding
here. You've got to get me out of here before I lose it. Being in this bed
is driving me up a tree. I'll be crazier than that old guy on the steam
grate on 16th street."
"OK OK," she said soothingly, "easy before you have a stroke and you
never get out of here." She sat on the edge of the bed, resting her hand on
his forehead, pushing back his wiry curls and then kissed his nose with a
quick smile. "Listen here Joshua Lyman," she said slowly, her voice not too
steady, "you need to do what you're being told here. My god you almost died
the other day. You did die in fact for a minute there. I can't go through
that again. I love you remember. And I need you. I need you in my life and
that means having you well and whole and if that means having you go through
a little misery while you're here so be it." She stopped talking and
sniffled hard, turning her face away so that he would not see the sudden
tears.
Josh listened to her tirade soberly and finally squeezed her hand before
bringing her back to look at him. "I know all that and I hate what this has
put you through," he said softly, "though it did make us confront our
feelings now didn't it?"
"Yeah it did," she smiled at that, sniffling away the last of her tears.
"Every cloud--silver lining" like my grandmother said.
"Yeah well getting shot was nothing compared to spending the day in this
bed," he murmured. "Donna you've got to get me out of here. I'm not kidding
here. I'm losing it."
The seriousness of his tone was enough to alarm her now. "Hey OK, stop,"
she said soothingly again. "If I promise I'll go see if Dr. Caproletti is
available will you do what the nurse wants for now?"
"Deal," he said quietly, with only a small grimace.
"Good," she smiled and stroked his cheek lightly before kissing him and
hurrying off in search of the doctor.
It was a long forty-five minutes later when she returned, resuming her
place on the bed.
"Well?" he asked expectantly, "can I get my pants on?"
Donna took a deep breath. "I can take you home with me tonight" she said
slowly. "You can't go back to your own place."
"Just why not?" he demanded, not even thinking that being in her home
could be pleasant.
"Because moron you can hardly walk and your arm is taped to your chest
remember?" she exploded. "Is being around me that objectionable?"
His mouth fell open. "No it's not that, not that at all. I was just
thinking in terms of normalcy, of getting my life back and...." He stopped
as he realized how his first words must have sounded. "I don't think
anything is going to be normal again" he went on more quietly, taking up her
hand. "And where it concerns us it doesn't bother me because those changes I
welcome. But I'm not sure I can ever look at a crowd the same way again for
instance."
She nodded sympathetically, patting her arm. "The President probably
feels the same way. I just wish I had been there. You tried to make me go.
I should have."
"No." he looked horrified at the thought. ''My god Donna that's one of
things I do remember--the last thing before I blacked out was a prayer of
thanksgiving that you weren't there." He hooked his arm around her neck and
pulled her head to him in a tight hug, feeling tears in his eyes as his mind
contemplated the vision of her presence in the carnage.
She felt his tears on her face and rubbed her cheek to his. "Look I'm
going on in now so you can do what you're supposed to," she said finally,
"much as I hate leaving you. Then I'll be back this evening to take you
home.''
"OK, I guess I can handle another day here," he said softly, "but I'm not
liking it."
"I don't like leaving you," she reminded him. "I've had a lot of
practice at it over the past five days and I haven't liked it once." She
forced herself up from him, running her fingertips lightly over his cheek and
then leaning down for a shared kiss.
"I love you," he sighed, holding her hand as long as he could. "Will you
be back at lunch?"
"And I love you," she responded. "No I'm going to work through lunch so
I can be here for you that much earlier and I'm really out of here now.
Behave yourself. It's almost over." They shared another quick kiss and she
hurried out, knowing it was only getting harder for each of them.

Shortly before noon Donna was attempting to work and at the same time
picking at a tuna sandwich.
"Good morning finally" CJ smiled at her from the doorway. "I swear I've
been in overdrive since 8AM. How is Josh, and how are you?"
"Coming home tonight and I don't know," Donna replied.
CJ sensed at once the turmoil she was feeling and without waiting to be
invited, sat herself on the chair next to Donna's desk.
"Something you want to share?" she asked gently.
"Oh CJ I don't know," she murmured softly. "He's so distraught by it
all. He can't wait to leave the hospital, which is understandable. But he's
balking at the idea of staying with me and he can't go to his place. He's
only just getting on his feet after being in bed for these days; his arm is
taped down so doing anything that requires two hands is out. He can't drive
so someone has to take him to therapy." She gave a short depreciating laugh.
"And besides me is going to put up with the jerk anyway?"
"Only someone who loves him," CJ smiled in understanding. "And if you
two can survive this, your future should be pretty much a lock."
"I don't even want to think that far ahead," Donna shook her head. "I
just want him well and whole and to be my Josh again."
"Your Josh?" Toby laughed from the door way and Donna blushed. "Sorry"
he went on and put a light hand on CJ's shoulder. "OK, and I was just
looking for my CJ. We have lunch plans."
"Yes we do," CJ nodded, reaching up to cover his hand with hers,
squeezing the fingers. "Would you pull the car around and I'll be right out."
Toby nodded and their fingers convulsed against each other before he
left.
"OK what's going on?" Donna's face was a study in gladness for her
friend. "I saw you two the night at the hospital. He seemed like he was
taking care of you."
"He stayed with me all that night," she said softly. "We watched the
news, and prayed and talked and talked. Basically we decided there's
something between us that's been just under the surface all the time...well
much like you and Josh."
"Yeah well I just hope what's between me and Josh is still there when
this is all over," Donna sighed.
"It's going to take some work," CJ warned, "and if I don't get out of
here I won't get back for the afternoon briefing and that would break my
heart."
"Later." Donna gave her a small smile. "Hey thanks for this. I may be
crying on your shoulder more before it's over."
"I have very strong shoulders," CJ told her. "But you are a very strong
woman. You love him and that's half the battle right there."
"I do," she sighed. "Have a good lunch." She looked up and gave CJ a
quick smile, at the same time rubbing her temple.
"Headache?" CJ frowned.
"I've been having a lot of them lately," she answered. "Just stress I'm
sure. First the job and then the shooting and Josh."
CJ nodded. "OK let me get out there before Toby gets a ticket."

"You do look like a man ready to travel," Donna greeted Josh at five
o'clock that afternoon.
"Packed and ready an hour ago," he grumbled, nevertheless turning his
head up for her kiss.
"And I'm ready to have you," she smiled, taking a deep breath.
Armed with three pages of post-discharge instructions and a bag of bloody
clothes which she vowed to dispose of immediately, they were soon on their
way back to her apartment.
"I'm glad we're not driving anywhere near Rosslyn," he said softly as the
city streets flew past.
"Nope, not crossing the river," she assured him, and her hand slid across
to squeeze his. "Whenever you want to talk about it, I'm a good listener you
know."
"Someday maybe," he nodded. "Right now it's all too new, too raw, and
when I close my eyes I can hear those shots and feel that one slam into me.
I was sure the president was dead and sure I was about to follow him."
"See you just did," she smiled.
"Huh?"
"Talked about it a little," she smiled again and squeezed his hand.

Donna parked by the front door of her building and helped him out,
feeling him lean heavily on her. "Walking is no longer my best thing," he
reminded her.
"And that's why I drop you off each morning at therapy," she returned.
With him bearing as much of his own weight as he could stand, they
succeeded in reaching her apartment.
"OK bed, recliner or sofa?" she offered. "I suggest the recliner,
support for your back and you can sit or lie as you want."
He nodded and she quickly fixed it with covers and pillows and helped him
to sit. Mulder and Scully wasted no time in landing in his lap and settling
themselves.
"And here's the remote, phone, pad and paper," she added. "What else?"
"You sitting here beside me," he answered. "I don't want you exhausting
yourself taking care of me. I'm still not sure this was a good idea. You
can't work all day and take care of me all night."
"Hey I don't plan to do too much of that," she pointed out. "You're
supposed to be getting back on your feet and learning to manage. And your
injury isn't permanent anyway. You have to teach your muscles how to work
again that's all." She reached over and closed her hand over his. "It's
going to be OK. Somehow it's all going to be all right. You want me to
remove the guys?"
"No they're OK. Though I never thought of myself as a cat person," he
sighed.
They fell into silence, her hand still wrapped around his, and watched a
movie. At its conclusion he stirred and stretched, tugging at her hand.
"You need something?" she asked, pulling herself from her half asleep
state and sitting up straight.
"Bathroom," he said so quietly she could not hear.
"Excuse me?" she frowned.
"I said I need to pee." His voice echoed in the apartment.
"Well you could be a little delicate," she laughed lightly, rising and
carefully helping him up.
"I don't think I have any delicacy left," he muttered as he let her
support him to the door.
"Need any help?" she asked lightly.
"Not since I was two," he muttered again.
She closed the door behind him and waited outside. "Donna I'm going to
take a quick bath," he called a few minutes later. "I smell of hospital and
I can't stand myself another minute. And no I don't need any help."
Donna swallowed a comeback about being careful. "OK, there's a clean
towel above your head and I'll get you some clean sweats from your bag."
She heard the water run and gathered the clothes which she had picked up
earlier in the day from his apartment. "Keep that dressing dry," she
reminded him. "I'll be in the front room if you need me."
"Yeah OK," he called back. "But you have no idea how good this feels."
"I could join you" she sighed softly.
"What?"
"Nothing" she shook her head and walked to the living room. She settled
back in front of the TV to await his finish. Mulder and Scully quickly
joined her and five minutes later were leaping from her as a giant crash
emanated from the bathroom.
"Josh what?!" she screamed, sprinting the few yards to the door and
pounding on it. "Josh you OK?" she demanded and when there was no answer
pounded again. "Josh if you don't answer me I'm coming in, naked or not."

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Hearts Torn And Reborn - 2

 

 

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