10 Months earlier
West Wing - Josh Lyman's office

"Oh my God, I'm dying," Josh moaned as he laid his head down on the

"Go home!" CJ yelled from outside.

"No! When you work in the White House, you can't take... take..." CJ
looked in just as Josh let out a sneeze, "take sick days," he grumbled.

CJ began to tell him how the President felt about spreading germs
around the office when Sam walked in. "Donna's in a bad mood," he
stated. "What did you do?"

"It's more like what he didn't do!" Donna shouted from her desk.

Josh growled, "I'm fine! I'm just going to die prematurely, that's
all." He sneezed again and grabbed a tissue for his red nose.
"Donna!" No reply. "Donna! Come here!"

Sam and CJ looked at his younger assistant. "I refuse to enter your
germ infested office, Joshua," she told him, not getting up from her
work. "You should be at home, and everyone knows it."

"I'm fine," he argued then turned to Sam and CJ. "I have a lunch
meeting in like, two hours. Either of you have an pills?"

"Cancel the lunch, Josh. You're in no condition to be here," CJ told

"Go away," he told her.

"I'm getting Leo."

"Claudia Jean Cregg! If you get Leo... I swear, when I'm better I'm

"You're going to what, Josh?" Leo appeared in the doorway.

Sam smiled and shook his head, walking out of the office. CJ pointed
at Josh then left. "You look like hell," Leo commented, "go home."


"As your superior, I'm telling you to go home. Plus, you're pissing
off the President by infecting everyone else. Just go home," Leo said
sternly, then he went to see Donna.

"He's not listening to anyone, Leo," she explained. A loud thud came
from Josh's office. Donna leapt up and ran in with Leo close behind.

"I started to stand up, got dizzy and missed the chair on my way back
down," Josh said looking up at them from the floor.

"Go home germ boy," Leo said and left the infected office.

Josh's entire body ached, his throat was on fire and his nose hurt.
He didn't have the energy to stand. Just as he was giving
consideration to curling up on the floor and sleeping, he felt a gentle
hand on his shoulder. "Come on. I'll drive you home," it, of course,
was Donna.

As she slowly helped him to his feet, Josh said, "You're going to catch

"Yes, that may be true, but my system is a lot stronger than yours,"
Donna told him.

Josh gave her a weak nod as she slipped his scarf around his neck and
helped him into his overcoat. "We'll stop by the deli and get you some
soup on the way," Donna turned off the lights and ushered him down the
hall. "Margaret?" Donna called. Leo's assistant appeared in the
doorway. Josh leaned against a wall to keep from falling.

"Good, you've finally decided to go home. What's up, Donna?" she

"Could you cancel Josh's lunch meeting. The numbers are in his
schedule. I'll be back in about an hour, if anyone needs me. I'm
gonna take him home."

"Sure thing, Donna. Hope you feel better soon, Josh. I'll be sure to
tell everyone you're gone," Margaret teased.

"Thank you, Margaret," Josh mumbled. "I'm sure the entire West Wing
will know I'm dead before I even get to Donna's car."

Margaret thought about his comment. "You're probably right."

"OK Josh, time to go," Donna told him. She ushered his sick boss to
the garage and into her car.

Josh curled up into the passenger seat as Donna pulled out into midday
traffic. His throat was raw, and he was beginning to find it difficult
to speak. "Thank you," he rasped.

"Try not to talk now. You can thank me all you want once your better."
Donna pulled up to the deli and opened the door. "I'll be right back,

"Mmmhmm," Josh told her. Through watery eyes, Josh watched her go in.
"Damn this cold," Josh groaned. He was so tired, but it hurt to close
his eyes. The aches in his body were growing worse and he couldn't get

The car door suddenly opened. Donna slid in and handed Josh a paper
bag and a Styrofoam bowl. "Let's get you home and drugged, germ boy."
Josh smiled weakly and held the hot bowl to warm his hands.

Soon, Donna was unlocking the door to Josh's home. She shrugged off
her coat and headed for the kitchen. "Go put on something comfortable
while I heat this back up."

"OK, Mom," Josh said as he shuffled into his bedroom. He changed into
a pair of sweats a quickly as his weary body could. He sat on the edge
of his bed. There was no way his legs were going to get him to the
kitchen. He decided to lay down instead of making the futile attempt.

Donna softly knocked on the door, "Are you decent?"

"Yeah," came his reply. She entered to find Josh spread across the
bed. His long legs were hanging over the side and she could hear his
raspy breathing. She carefully set the tray on the table beside his
bed and walked around to see his face. His eyes were closed and she
put her hand to his forehead. "You have a fever, Joshua. Get into bed
and I'll get you some aspirin. That should help with the fever and you

As soon as she left he missed the cool feeling of her hand. Moving
slowly, as to not get a head rush, Josh got under the covers and Donna
handed him two gel-tabs. "Take two more in four hours. I'll be back
around nine to check on you and to make sure you're still alive."

"Where are you going?" He asked, reaching over to take his bowl of

"I have a country to run for you, Joshua," she said with a smile.

"I'm your boss... I could give you the afternoon off," he replied,
sipping the hot broth.

"If we both cut, what would Leo do with himself? You get some rest and
I'll come by later, OK?" She slipped on her coat and handed him a box
of tissues. "Remember the aspirin every..."

"Four hours," Josh finished. "Thank you, Donna. I'm sorry for being
such a jerk about this all week."

"Don't worry about it. Just get better so you can get back to work.
The nation's going to be lost without you," Donna said sincerely. She
checked his forehead once more then left.

Josh waited until he had finished his soup before reaching for the
phone. He dialed the familar number and waited for an answer. "Sam
Seaborn's office," it was Cathy.

"It's Josh, is he in?"

"Yeah, I'll put you through. How are you feeling?" Sam's assistant

"Donna says I'll live, but I want a second opinion," Josh teased.

"Well, we're all pulling for you. Take care," Cathy told him, and
transferred the call to Sam.

Josh rested his head on the head board and waited for Sam. "I hate
you, and I'm never going to forgive you," Sam told him as he picked up.

"Gee, I really want to live now," Josh said dryly.

"You sound horrible... good! I hope you die... but not until after you

"Leo gave you resolution 863 didn't he?"

"You and Donna weren't even in the car when he dropped it on my desk.
You got sick on purpose didn't you?" Sam whined.

"Sam, I infected the White House for four days before being forced to
go home. The was definitely not planned. Listen, I do have a reason
for calling," Josh started.

"Sam!" Sam looked up to see Donna standing in the doorway to his

"Oh, hey," he said. "Someone just walked in," he informed Josh.

"Do not tell her it's me. She'll kill me," Josh warned.

"Um, Congressman Norman, I'm gonna put you on hold for a minute. Hang
on," Sam put down the phone and turned his attention to Donna. "How's

"I don't know. Why don't you ask him yourself," she told him pointing
to the phone. "Everyone knows that Congressman James Norman is some
stupid code you two use."

Sam's mouth dropped open. "Honestly," Donna said, reaching over to hit
the speaker phone, "couldn't you two have come up with something a
little more original than your middle names?"

"Uh, hey Donna," Josh croaked.

"Go to bed!" She commaded and hung up on him.

Sam scooted back. "What can I do for you, Donna?"

"I just did it for you. Have a good afternoon," Donna said sweetly
then turned and left.

Once gone, Sam leapt up and ran to the door. Seeing that Donna had
gone into Josh's office, he quickly punched in Josh's number.

"Sam, we've really got to get a new code."

"I know. So, what did you call for?"

"To tell you that Donna has some stuff on 863 that you might want to
see," Josh told him.

"Gee, thanks. Are you gonna die soon?"

"Sooner than you think. One more thing; could you do me a favor?"
Josh asked.

"I'm really pissed off at you and you want a favor?!" Sam exclaimed.
He heard Josh begin to cough and instantly felt bad for his friend.
"I'm sorry, what can I do?"

"Donna's gonna work her ass off then come over here and take care of
me. I know you have a lot to do, but could you make sure she doesn't
kill herself over my messes?"

"Yeah, I understand. I'll kick her out around 5:30, that OK?" Sam
walked over to the door, streching the phone cord. He could see Donna
busying herself in a filing cabinet.

"Thanks Sam. She works so hard. I know she's gonna get this thing I
have. I don't want her knocked on her ass like I am," Josh began
coughing again.

"OK, buddy, go sleep. She's coming this way. Get better fast," Sam
quicky hung up and smiled as Donna walked by.

"He's not going to get better if you don't let him rest, Sam," Donna
said as she walked by.

"I have no idea what you're talking..."

"Save it, Sam," Donna called, heading for Margaret's desk.

Sam went back into his office to work on this new research. Sometime
later, CJ and Toby walked by, argung about her afternoon press release.
"Hey, hey, hey!" Sam called to the pair.

CJ walked in with a clearly unhappy Toby. "What is it, Sam?" She

"I need help," Sam told her. Sam spread his arms over his desk. It
was covered with highlighted documents, textbooks, and a few
encyclopedias. "Please," he moaned.

"What is all this?" Toby inquired. "I know I didn't give it to you."

"No, Leo did. It's Josh's bill, he left it here. I'm gonna kill him,"
Same laid his head down.

"Sam?" Donna knocked on the doorframe.

"Yeah," he mumbled.

"Josh wanted you to have these. It's just some research."

"Thanks," he picked up his head, reading his watch through blurry eyes.
"Go home."

"Excuse me?" Donna said as she was leaving the room. CJ and Toby also
looked at Sam oddly. The clock on the wall read 5:45.

"You've been working hard all day. Josh isn't here, and I've got this
under control. Go on," he insisted.

"Um," Donna turned to CJ who shrugged. Toby frowned. "All right, I'll
see you guys tomorrow."

After Donna left Toby turned to Sam. "Since when did you start giving
orders to Josh's assistant?"

"Since Josh asked me to," Sam stated as he began to straighten up his
mess. "He just wanted to make sure that she didn't over work herself.
She's going over to make sure he's not dead."

"OK, well we have to go salvage the press briefing," Toby said, leading
CJ from the room.

"Toby! I didn't say anything wrong..." they continued to argue down
the hall.


Friday Night
Josh's Apartment

Donna tossed two goldfish into the growing pile. "Call," she

Josh sniffled and ran a hand through his curly hair. He stared at
Donna then asked, "What do ya got?"

"Queen high flush," she gloated.

Groaning, Josh threw down his pair of aces. "Six in a row? Donna how
could you..." he whined through a stuffed up nose.

She smiled and went into his kitchen to silence his tea kettle. Josh
pushed a pile of cheese crackers into her already impressive pile.
"Here, drink this," Donna told him, sitting back down at the table. "I
gotta tell you something. I like playing poker with you when you're
all doped up," she joked, sipping her tea.

"Yeah, yeah. You wait till I'm off this medication and I'll show you
how poker is really played," Josh threatened, dealing another hand.

Donna looked at the clock. "It's almost midnight, Josh. Don't you
think we should call it a night?"

Josh stopped dealing and sighed. "Donna..." he whined with a pout.
She shook her head and ate a goldfish. "I'm coming to work tomorrow,"
he insisted.

"No, you're not! You still have a low fever and you're all congested,"
Donna took the cards from him and shooed him from the table.

Josh slumped onto the couch while Donna cleaned up. "Leave it!"

"No, you don't need to be worrying about..."

"Leave it, come sit," he insisted. Donna quickly stashed the poker
cards in a drawer. She went into the living room and sat on the other
end of Josh's couch. Josh sat up starigher and tapped her foot.

She opened her sleepy eyes. "What do you want?"

"Your feet," he reached over and pulled her feet into his lap. "The
smell's not going to kill me is it?" He asked, sliding her shoes off.

"Joshua!" She tried to kick him, but he held tight. Donna relaxed and
let Josh massage the day from her sore feet. "I'm sorry," Josh told

"What are you sorry for?" Donna asked, looking up at him from her
relaxed position.

"You've taken such good care of me these last few days. All you're
going to get in return is a bad cold," Josh said through is congestion.

"Josh, I'm gonna be OK. I'm just glad that you're feeling so much

"Sam told me about all the hard work you've been doing these past few
days," Josh stopped. "Not that you don't always work hard," Josh
groaned and went back to his massage. "I just want to say thank you
for always taking care of me."

"You're welcome, Joshua," Donna sighed and looked at her watch. "I
should be going. You need to sleep and I have to go to work in the

Josh released her feet, and Donna slid her shoes back on. He walked to
the closet and retrieved her coat. "Here, let me," he said, as Donna
reached for it.

"OK," she whispered as he helped her slide into the jacket. She turned
back to Josh and he reached up to pull her long blonde hair from inside
the coat. He rested his hands on Donna's shoulders and they stared
into each other's eyes. Josh opened his mouth, but quickly turned and
sneezed. The moment was broken. "Bless you," Donna said.

"Thanks," Josh mumbled and opened his front door for her.

"Josh..." she started.

"Donna..." he said at the same time. They both smiled. "Go ahead,"
Josh said.

"I'll call you tomorrow, OK?" She said.

"Tomorrow's Friday... wanna come over again tomorrow night? We can
order Chinese, watch a movie," Josh suggested, "maybe we can even get a
rematch on the table."

"OK. Good night, Josh."

"Good night, Donna," Josh stood at the door until he saw Donna drive
away. He locked to door and wandered back to his bedrom. Two gel tabs
and a glass of water were sitting by the bed. He smiled and swallowed
the two pills before turning out the lights.

Josh stared at the ceiling with his fingers laced behind his head;
waiting for the cold medicine to help him sleep. His last thoughts
were of Donna, but before he could hurt his head over the situation,
his eyes closed in a drug induced sleep.


Washington Memorial Hospital
Tuesday mid-morning

"Did you get raspberry jelly?"

"How about boston cream?"

"I got everything you children asked for."

"Apple fritter?"

Josh could hear the familar voices, but couldn't bring himself to open
his eyes. "If you asked for it, I'm sure it's in there somewhere,"
that was Leo.

There was a shuffle of feet then an exicted cry, "Ooooh, there it is!"
that came from CJ.

"Is there one with sprinkles?" Josh asked groggily without opening his

"Well, well, well... someone's decided to join us, finally," CJ said as
Josh opened his eyes to see her sitting by the bed. Toby, Sam, and Leo
were sitting around a table that had a box of pasteries on it.

"I'm serious," Josh said, "I'm starving," he opened his eyes fully and
took in his surroundings. The pressure in his head was practically
gone and he was feeling surprisingly better. He pulled himself into a
sitting position.

"Easy man," Sam said with a mouthful of a jelly doughnut.

Josh turned to CJ who was happily eating. "How's Donna?"

"She's stable, and quickly making her way out of the woods. You slept
through the worst of it," CJ informed him.

"What happened?" Josh asked, his face paling.

"I had gone to see her," Sam said, "and her blood pressure kept
spiking. However, she's been stable for over six hours now."

"The President and First Lady are sitting with her now," Leo told him.

Josh nodded and ran a shaky hand through his hair. "When can I see

"Dr. Truitt wants to check you over, then you can go up," CJ told him
as she made her way to the door. "Speak of the devil," she said
opening the door.

"Good morning, everyone," Truitt said with a smile. "You're looking
much better, Josh. How are you feeling?"

"Pretty good. My head's not throbbingand the room stopped spinning."

"That's always good news," Truitt said, checking Josh's vitals. "I
gotta tell you something. That Donna Moss of yours is tough. She had
a rough couple of hours earlier and we thought we were going to lose

"She has to be tough to work for Josh," Toby said and everyone laughed.

"I'm sure," Truitt finshed making notes. "Josh, you're going to be
fine. I still want you to take it easy though. You've been though a
lot in a short time."

"Can I go see Donna?"

"Sure. Then you're free to go," Truitt told and turned to leave.

Leo stopped him in the hallway and shook the doctor's hand. "Thank
you, Dr. Truitt. Those two mean a lot to all of us."

"I don't know the relationship between Donna and Josh, but I think
there's something you should know."

Leo nodded for him to continue.

"Donna's blood pressure first spiked when Mr. Seaborn was with her. He
was encouraged to talk to her so he told her how everyone was doing.
When he told her that Josh had a concussion, her heartrate went up and
so did her BP. It happened again while the President was with her late
last night. We pulled in the crash cart, but he took her hand and told
her that all of you needed her to pull through. He said 'Josh isn't
going to pull through this without you'," Truitt and Leo nodded and he

Leo walked back into the room with a knowing smile on his face.
"Everything OK?" Toby asked.

"Yeah, everything's fine. Come on, Josh," Leo said.

CJ, Sam, and Toby stayed behind to clean up, while Josh and Leo headed
upstairs. "You know, if you hadn't jumped out of the car, we may have
lost her."

"She shouldn't have been there at all," Josh explained.

"This isn't you fault. If anything, you saved her life, Joshua.
Believe me," Leo insisted, laying a comforting hand on the younger
man's back, "she's not going to blame you."

Josh nodded and stepped off the opening elevator. There were men
guarding a room down the left hall. It was obviously where Bartlet

"Good to see you moving around, Mr. Lyman," an agent said, opening the

"Thanks," Josh said. He entered the room to find the President
standing by the window while Abbey Bartlet was sittin on the edge of
Donna's bed. Abbey looked up and smiled, "Josh, you look so much

"Yeah, much better than the last time we saw you," Jed Bartlet

"How is she?" Josh croaked out. Donna looked pale and small in the
bed. She was attached to several tubes and wires.

"Much better," Abbey assured him. She stood and walked over to Josh,
giving him a hug. "Come on, Jed," she called.

"She's a tough one," Jed said as he approached Josh, "but I think we
all know why she fought to stay." He looked back at Donna, then patted
Josh on the shoulder as he escourted his wife from the room, with Leo
close behind.

Still standing a few feet from the bed, Josh listened to the steady
beeping of the heart monitor. The sun, pouring in through the open
blinds, seemed to make her pale form glow. Josh forgot how to move.

Long moments had passed when a nurse entered. "Hello, Mr. Lyman.
You're looking healthy," she commented. Josh didn't recognize her, but
dismissed it. She began checking Donna over, and changed one of the IV
bags. She picked up her things and began to leave. "You should sit
with her," the nurse gently encouraged. "She needs to hear your

Josh slowly moved next to Donna's bed and slid into the chair. He
observed the various wires and noted that there was no longer a tube
down her throat like there had been when she was in surgery. "Hi," he
croaked. Clearing his throat, he tried again. "Hi, Donna," Josh said,
taking her hand.

"I caused a lot of trouble downstairs," he informed her. "They had to
sedate me and everything. I think a few nurses hate me," Josh's eyes
flooded with tears. "Oh, Donna," he said softly, "I should have never
let you talk me into bringing you along. There would have been other
town meetings."

He stroked her hair as silent tears fell down his cheeks. "I was a
fool to let you go back to the limo. I should have kept you with me,
where I could have protected you," he took a deep, shaky breath and
laid a gentle kiss on her hand.


Tuesday evening

Josh sat silently by the window, watching the stars appear. He was
lost in thought, and didn't hear Donna begin to move. She opened her
eyes and looked around to quiet room. Her stomach was on fire and her
body ached.

She turned to see Josh sitting on a window sill. The discomfort in her
arm made her look down to find an IV there. She looked back at Josh.
He was sitting sideways and she could see his profile, siloutted by the
setting sun. His shoulders were slumped, his hair was a mess, and he
appeared to be lost in his thoughts. "What are you thinking about?"
She whispered.

Josh jumped and turned to her. He smiled and walked over to the bed,
taking her hand. "Hey," he said.

"Hi," she whispered, "where are we?"

He sat on the edge of the bed, still holding her hand. "We're at
George Washington Memorial. You were shot in the abdomen. The doctors
say you're going to be just fine, though," he told her.

"You have 'a bump on the head,' as Sam put it," Josh looked confused.
"I can vaguely remember him saying that to me. I tried to talk, but I
couldn't open my eyes."

"I had been downstairs, doped up on morphine. I came here as soon as
they let me. Oh, and I was thinking about you when..." he pointed to
the window where he had been sitting. Donna smiled and squeezed his

They sat in a comfortable silence for a short while. "The doctor
probably wants to check you out," Josh said. He was rubbing his thumb
over the back of Donna's hand, but reluctantly let go and went to find
Dr. Truitt. Josh returned with Dr. Truitt along with Jed, Abbey, and

"Donna, I'm so glad you're OK," Abbey said as Truitt looked her over.

"Thank you, Mrs. Bartlet," Donna turned to Truitt. "Doctor, Josh said
I was shot in the abdomen. Did you have to remove my..." Donna was

"Oh, goodness no. That bullet went out of the way to avoid your uterus
and a few other things. There's no permanent damage," Truitt finished
his exam and addressed Donna and the small group. "Once you're out of
here, the best thing is rest. You should be off your feet for at least
six weeks."

"But her boss will give her more than that," Leo said.

"Of course," Josh said quietly.

"You're going to be just fine, Donna. You were very lucky. Good night
everyone." As Truitt left the room, Sam, CJ, and Toby entered the
room. CJ was carrying a bouquet of pink roses. Sam and Toby both had
colorful balloons.

"Donna, you look great," CJ said, placing the flowers by the bed.

Donna smiled. "She's right, you look good," Sam said. He looked
around the room. "Hey, this is the first time we've all been on the
same room since..." he drifted off.

"You're right Sam," the President said, holding his wife's hand. "And
everyone is going to be OK."

"How was the briefing?" Josh asked.

"The nation sends their best wishes," CJ said with a smile.

"We should let Donna rest," Toby said.

"Yes, come people," Jed ushed the group out the door. "Have I ever
told you about the time my girls and I were in a hostage situation?"

Everyone groaned in response. Josh stayed behind with Donna. "You

"Yeah, are you?" She asked. Josh answered with a small yawn and a
smile. "Why don't you go home?"

"When you fall asleep I'll go, OK?" They sat in silence. "Come stay
with me when you get out of here."


"No, now wait. I have a ton of vacation and sick days saved up. Let
me take care of you like you do for me everyday, Donna."

Donna sighed, "I don't want to be an inconvience to you."

"It would be nothing but a joy to have you stay with me."

"Well, when you put it that way..." she smiled and nodded.

"Good, because you owe me about 2300 goldfish," Josh teased.

"You're on," Donna said as she closed her eyes and drifted off into a
peaceful slumber.

Josh turned out the lights and sat in the chair. He took her hand and
laid his head down on the side of the bed. He, too, fell into a
peaceful sleep.


Eight weeks later

"I win! Again!" Donna said cheerfully.

"OK, it's official: I suck at poker," Josh pouted.

"No, I'm just really good. Can we move this into the living room?"
She asked. It had been her first day back to at the White House and
she was sore all over.

"Sure," Josh grabbed their beers and popcorn and moved to the couch.
Once Donna layed down, Josh plopped down beside her and captured her

"What am I going to do without you, Joshua Lyman?" Donna asked.
Saturday she was moving back into her apartment.

"Who says you have to be without me?" Josh rubber her feet as she
looked up at him. Josh let out a sigh, and pulled her into his lap,
her face to his. "Donna, stay with me. Don't go back to your
apartment on Saturday."

Donna was startled. "Josh... why..."

He gently stroked her cheek, "Donna, I've been crazy about you since
the day I met you and you told me you had gone and messed up my

"Hey! I fixed that office!" Donna protested.

"You fixed my life that day, and over the years, I've fallen in love
with you," Josh said. Donna felt tears in her eyes. "I knew I loved
you the night you came over when I was sick, and we were sitting just
like this. I just didn't know how to tell you. Then when you were
shot, I thought I had lost you and would never get to tell you and..."

Donna put her fingers to his mouth to silence him, "I didn't think I
was going to get to tell you either," she whispered. "You really love

He smiled and rubbed her cheek. "Come on, Donna. Why do you think I
put up with you not getting me coffee?"

She batted his hand away, "Joshua!"

"Donna... say yes. Say you'll stay," he prompted. Josh leaned in and
kissed her lips. "Say yes," he whispered.

"Yes.... yes!" He hugged him and laughed. "Yes, Josh, I'll stay," she
pulled back from their embrace and she held his face. "I love you,"
she told him. She kissed him lovingly, not wanting to let him go.

"So," he said when they finally broke apart, "does this mean you'll
bring me coffee?"

"No, but we can have coffee together every morning."

"I like the sound of that," he admitted. She laid her head on his
shoulder as he held her close. Soon, Donna was asleep and Josh pulled
a blanket over them. Before he fell asleep, his thoughts turned to the
miracle he had prayed for in the ambulance. 'This is my miracle.' he

He could the radio that was still playing in his kitchen. She still
believes in miracles, while others cry in vain. It's all about soul.
It's all about faith and a deeper devotion. It's all about soul.

"How true," he whispered and softly kissed Donna's head, "how very
true." Then Josh fell asleep with Donna in his arms.



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