TITLE: "Where Pride Goeth"
AUTHOR: Pat Steiner [ssbpmn@aol.com]
SUMMARY: A relationship for Donna brings her and Josh closer together as
tragedy strikes. Rated PG for mild violence and language.
DISCLAIMER: The West Wing belongs to NBC et al. No copyright infringement
is intended and the following is for entertainment purposes only.

From Part 1--
They reached the car and a man who could have played football for the
Redskins unfolded himself. He was at least 6-4 and 250 Josh estimated.
Donna was not short, but this man towered over her, dwarfing her with his
size.
"Donna I told you I didn't want to have to park here" he hissed, and then
took a good look at Josh, his eyes going to where Josh's arm was around her.
"And who the hell are you?"

"Where Pride Goeth" Part 2--

"Josh Lyman" he held out his hand to this man, feeling cold all over as
he observed him, and he withdrew his hand quickly.
"Oh sorry" Donna recovered herself. "Brian Berger, this is Josh Lyman,
my boss. I've told you about him."
"Yeah all the time" Berger muttered, "but that doesn't tell me why his
arm is around you."
"She hurt her ankle and I was just helping her get out here to meet you
Mr. Berger" Josh kept his voice deceptively calm.
"Yeah well just be sure that's all it is" Berger warned, "get in the car
Donna we're late." With that Berger got in to the driver's side, making no
move to help her.
"Good night Josh" she smiled, "thanks for everything."
Ignoring Berger's glare, Josh tightened his hold of her and guided her
around to the passenger side, helping her in and fastening her belt.
"Now it's good night" he smiled. "Mr. Berger, pleasure to meet you."
"Right, we're out of here" was the reply and with a screech of tires the
big Buick took off, leaving Josh standing in puzzlement and concern.
He walked slowly back inside, nearly colliding with Toby in the hall.
"You look terrible" Toby greeted him, "there's not some new crisis I
haven't heard about yet is there?"
Josh shook his head and pushed past him, grateful to be inside his office
where he could think. He knew he had no right to interfere in Donna's
personal life, but this man she was seeing gave him a total feeling of
unease. "Donna I hope you know what you're doing" he sighed.

"How was your night?" Josh cornered her first thing at the coffee area,
not letting on that he had been watching the door for her for the past hour
and was infinitely relieved to see her.
"Good, good. We had a good time" she answered, her voice soft and
distant.
"It sounds totally...average" Josh teased. "How's your leg?"
"It's OK" she said hesitantly as she finished fixing her coffee.
"Oh yeah?" he frowned, stepping back so he could see her walk.
"Josh it's fine" she tried to assure him. She took a few hesitant steps
forward and he could see that she was not able to put any weight on it.
Before her could catch her, the leg gave out and she would have hit the floor
had he not moved quickly to her side.
"OK I've got you" he said quietly into her ear. "Did you have this
looked at, and I'm guessing no since it's not wrapped or anything."
"I took some tylenol" she said timidly.
"That's like me telling Leo I'll talk to him later--does about as much
good" he growled. "Now this is what's going to happen. I'm taking you over
to GW to be looked at and then I'm taking you home. And while we're on that
subject, why are you even in here?"
"Because I bailed on you yesterday" she sighed, "and honest when I first
got up it was OK. Walking around on it has made it worse."
"No doubt" he grumbled, hooking his arm around her waist. "Now don't put
any more weight on that than you have to."
"Josh I can get myself a few blocks to GW" she protested.
"No" he shook his head. "I let you go yesterday against my better
judgement and now look. This time I'm making sure you look after yourself."
He touched his thumb to her chin with his free hand. "In case you haven't
noticed, I happen to care what happens to you."
"OK" she sighed and for a long few seconds their eyes locked.
He moved her along with him, spotting Toby in the hall.
"Do you two want to be alone?" Toby teased before Josh could explain.
"As alone as an ER will provide" Josh retorted. "I can't have my
assistant walking around half crippled and if I don't deliver her personally
there I'm afraid she won't go. Please tell who ever is looking for me you
don't know me--you never knew me and you don't plan to know me. I'll be back
soonest I can."
"Not a problem" Toby smiled. "Donna take care of that. Martyrs we don't
need around here."

"Are you going to tell me your Mr. Berger didn't see you were hurting
last night?" Josh demanded when they had finally finished the sign-in
paperwork and were seated in the waiting area.
"He doesn't...he's not much on...." she stammered. "No he didn't--can we
just leave it at that?"
"For the moment OK" he agreed, his misgivings about this man going up
another degree. "But Donna, we've known each other a long time now, since
the campaign, and there's nothing you can't talk to me about. Don't ever
forget that."
"I won't Josh. You're a good friend and I thank you for that" she sighed.
He took a long breath, trying to marshal his courage. "Donna you know
that....well I've been thinking maybe we needn't confine ourselves...."
"Donnatella Moss" the strident voice of the receptionist cut off his
thoughts and he swore inwardly.
Josh helped her up and she leaned on him as they followed the hospital
staff member. After a long hour of Xrays and waiting, she was rewarded with
a light canvas cast and a verdict of severe sprain. She was also ordered to
alternate warm and cool packs the rest of the day, and to stay off of it as
much as possible, using the cane they gave her when she couldn't.
"We can go back to work now" she said as they walked out.
"What part of go home and take care of that foot didn't you understand"
he demanded as they walked out. "I don't want you in the office. I can't be
any plainer than that."
"I'll be bored and miserable" she warned, "and worried about what you're
getting in to."
"It will be a day without nagging" he teased and pulled the car onto busy
Connecticut Avenue to head for her apartment.
Even though she had the cane, he helped her carefully out of the car and
walked her to the apartment door. "You've never been in here" she realized
as she opened the door. "You've brought me home before but you've never come
in."
"I don't think you've ever asked me" he replied quietly.
"I guess not" she admitted just as quietly. "There was a loud meow and
two large white balls of fur hurtled at them.
"Mulder and Scully" she smiled, "who though they had breakfast three
hours ago, now think it's dinner time because I'm coming in from work."
"What did they do yesterday when you didn't come home?" he frowned,
seeing them wrap around his legs and little white hairs appear on his dark
gray suit pants.
"I would guess first panic and then pout" she smiled, "you don't fool
with their dinner hour and not pay for it. I'll be back in a second--I want
to put my robe on." "And no I don't need any help thanks" she added in
response to the raised eyebrows he gave her.
When she returned, she was leaning heavily on the cane and Mulder and
Scully were at home in his lap. "I hope Mrs. Landingham has a lint brush" he
sighed, standing up and sending two fur balls leaping for safety. He guided
her to the recliner without her objection, helping her to sit and then
tilting it back for her to place her feet on the rest. With satisfaction he
noted her phone with in reach, as well as the remote. "You rest" he ordered.
"I'll call you later." He paused a moment and then knelt by her chair. "If
we didn't have the meeting with Rausch and Kramer I'd stay."
"I'm fine" she assured him. "In fact the pain medicine is making me very
out of it so I think I'll turn on one of the soaps and fall asleep. You've
already ditched long enough. But I really appreciate it. You were right--it
was hurting a lot and I needed to take care of it."
"You're welcome" he smiled softly and lay his hand along her cheek.
"I'll call you later."
Surprised and touched by his tender gesture, she turned her head and
placed a small kiss in his palm. "Thank you."
He nodded and let himself out, and she settled down deeply into the
chair, the cats quickly joining her. For a long minute before closing her
eyes, she stared at the closed door and knew something was different between
herself and the man she had known, respected, and cared for as a friend.
Outside the door, Josh paused and took a long breath, implanting on his
memory the image of the woman he had just left. For months he had known her
as a colleague, and trusted her as a friend. Now he knew there was change in
the air.

"Mr. Lyman your order from...." the young intern stopped and looked at
the white bag, "Goldberg's Deli has arrived."
"Thank you Angie" Josh smiled. It was almost 6PM, and he planned to
surprise Donna with a bowl of their famous chicken soup and the pastrami
sandwich for two. Leaving her that morning had been hard, and he had been
looking forward to seeing her all day--and marveling at the strength of these
feelings.
Moving quickly before some crisis could stop him, he made his way to his
car, blessing the later hour bringing the lesser traffic.
"Donna, Josh" he said softly as he knocked, suddenly regretting that he
was going to make her move to the door.
"Josh" she called, undeniably pleased, "just a minute." Moving as
quickly as she could, she levered herself from the chair, stopping to run a
brush through her hair before hobbling to the door.
"Hey" he greeted her when she swung it open. "And where would your
crutch be?"
"Cane Joshua" she giggled, "and it's right there. I'm actually doing
much better and I'm glad you're..." Before she could get any more out, her
foot caught in the rug and she grabbed onto him.
"Hey easy" he yelped, glad he had a free hand to grab her with. Her hand
sank into his arm gratefully and he guided her to the table. "I brought
dinner OK?"
"Only if you share it with me" she smiled.
"I was hoping you'd ask" he responded, wanting to sound casual and not
quite succeeding. "I.....uh....I missed you this afternoon" he added in
that same tone and turned his steady gaze on her.
"And I you" she responded, "well when I was awake that is. Mostly I
slept. They said those pills would do that. What did I miss?"
"Nothing that I want to bore you with" he answered. "Really it was
pretty quiet."
"Well I'm going to be back in the morning" she vowed.
"Not if you're not a whole lot better" he chided her. "I don't want you
coming back too early and then needing a week because of it. I want you
around too badly....I mean I need you...I mean I think you..." his voice
trailed helplessly.
"I think I know what you mean" she smiled softly and pressed her hand
over his. "And it's very sweet that you think that."
He was helping her back to the living room, his arm across her back, when
there came the sound of a key in the lock and the door opened. "What the
hell?" The voice reverberated through the small apartment and Brian Berger
stood in the hallway, his look saying everything he was feeling.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Where Pride Goeth - 3

 

 

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