WARNING: High Josh/Donna romance content. If this is not your thing, run, run away now! ;-) 
Tuning In 
by Vicki James, 2000 vicki_james98@h... 


Summary: Donna decides it's time to turn a new page in her relationship with Josh. 


The West Wing and its characters are the property of Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Productions and 
Warner Brothers. No copyright infringement is intended. 

Please do not post or distribute this story without the author's permission. 

Rain pounded the car's windshield in a staccato beat that blended with the synthesized pop pouring 
out from the radio. The monotony of the music was annoying, yet it was preferable to the gushing 
love songs that had been playing on the other station. 

Donna was not in the mood for love songs. Particularly not in the mood for the kind that told of the 
happily ever after a couple found when they finally recognized their feelings for each other. In love 
songs, people always had their hearts' desires fulfilled; they discovered their unrequited loves really 
did return those feelings. 

Such was the realm of love songs. Reality was another thing altogether. 

Pressing down on the accelerator as the light turned green, Donna tried not to cringe at the warbling 
of a trio of adolescent boys that was coming from the speakers. She tried humming along to the 
song but kept getting tripped up by the computer-enhanced repetition of the lyrics. This was just 
not her kind of station. 

Unfortunately, her musical choices were pretty much limited to the gushing love songs stations, this 
teeny bop pop, or country. Country would be even worse. It was a musical diet rife with songs of 
love and loss, loving and leaving, and loving from afar. 

Not the best music to be listening to when she was on her way home after begging, pleading with 
and otherwise cajoling Josh into coming over for dinner that night. She was having him over for the 
express purpose of telling him that he had somehow, somewhere along the line become much more 
to her than boss or even best friend. 

The thought of telling him made her nervous, as such declarations really were best left to gushing 
love songs. But she'd gotten to the point where she couldn't stand it anymore, having to work with 
him day in and day out, often socializing with him, just having to be with him all the time but not 
being able to be with him as she'd like to be. And as she was pretty sure he 'd like to be with her as 
well, if the night of Sam's birthday was any indication. 

As traffic slowed to a crawl as a result of the inclement weather, Donna let her mind return to the 
events of that night... 


They'd gathered early Thursday evening at the out-of-the-way little pub to celebrate Sam's 
birthday. They'd been there a long time. A very long time. 

Josh was drunk. But, then again, so was Sam and CJ seemed awfully giggly. Toby, Leo and Kathy 
had had the good sense to go home hours ago. Donna had stayed sober in order to take care of Josh. 
It was her job, after all. 

She waited until Sam and Josh had finished performing their rather unique rendition of a well-
known Irish drinking song and then she stood up and grabbed her coat. 

Josh noticed her actions and directed his somewhat bleary gaze at her. "Are you leaving?" 

"Yes," she said, "and it's time you did, too. Come on and I'll drive you home." 

Josh looked at his empty glass and then at Sam. "The party's over." 

"The party's over," Sam confirmed solemnly. 

Josh stood up, wavering slightly. On the third try he got his arm in the sleeve of his coat. Then he 
thrust his hand toward Sam. 

"Happy birthday, buddy," he said, shaking Sam's hand. "You are a great friend. You are my best 
friend. My best, best friend of all my friends." 

"Okay, let's go," Donna interjected, turning Josh toward the door and pushing him along by his 
shoulders as she walked behind him. "Night," she shot back to Sam and CJ at the table. 

They made it half way across the room before Josh stopped and drew Donna up beside him. 

"You are a great friend, too." He told her, pointing at her. She put a hand to his back to prod him 
into motion again. "You're also my best friend." 

When they reached the short flight of steps leading out of the pub Josh stumbled slightly, bumping 
into a man standing nearby. The man muttered something profane and unkind. 

Josh shook his head at Donna. "He's not my friend." 

Donna got Josh into the passenger seat of her car and ran around the vehicle to hop in the driver's 

"Where are we going?" Josh asked her as she started the ignition and put the car into drive. 

"I'm taking you home." 

"To my home, or to your home?" 

"To your home." 

"Can I go to your place?" 


"Why not?" 

"You hate my roommate's cats." 

"I'll be nice." 

"The cats hate you." 

"I don't want to go to my place," Josh frowned. "Please can I please go to your place?" 

"Why do you want to go to my place so badly?" asked Donna. 

"You have coffee and I don't. And I think I'll be needing it in the morning," Josh said in a moment 
of lucidity, pushing a hand through unruly hair. 

"You can go to a coffee shop," Donna advised. 

"No," Josh said, waving his hand in the air. "Besides," he continued, leaning his head back against 
the seat but turning to look at her with a baleful expression, "I can't deal with the child safety lid on 
the bottle of ibuprofen alone." 

Donna glanced over at him and the hangdog look did her in. "Fine," she said in defeat. "You can 
come home with me." 

Fortunately for Donna they were not far from her apartment building so she had only to endure 
three performances of the Irish drinking song interspersed by Josh offering observances about 
automatic transmissions, constitutional amendments, and beer, before making it home. 

The three tequila shooters Josh and Sam had opted to have as nightcaps must have caught up with 
Josh during the drive. When he got out of the car in the parking garage he was more than a little 
unsteady on his feet. Donna held onto him and helped him from the garage and up the elevator to 
her apartment. By the time they got in her door she was tired from having to bear a portion of his 
weight and they were wavering madly. Donna propelled Josh toward the sofa where they did a 
mimic of a two-step dance before Josh tripped on a cat toy and fell, pushing Donna onto the couch 
in a sitting position, himself sprawling along the length of it with his head pillowed on her lap. 

"Comfy," Josh professed. 

"For you, maybe," retorted Donna, at that moment too weary to move. 

Josh turned slightly so that he was on his back. He gazed up at Donna in speculation. 

After a moment of this scrutiny went by in silence Donna asked him, "What?" 

"You're beautiful," Josh announced. 

"So are you." Donna patted his head. 

"No, I mean it, you are really beautiful. You have beautiful hair." Josh reached up and pulled his 
fingers through some unbound strands. "I would love to see this hair lying against that creamy skin 
of yours. Naked." 

"I have alabaster skin," Donna reminded him. 

Josh ignored the interruption. 

"You have the best smile," he continued. "It really does light up a room. Like the sun. When I walk 
into work in the morning and see you there it's like seeing the sun. Did you know that, Donna? 
You're my sun." 

Donna flashed him the smile that lights up a room. "I know I'd like to get some sleep before we see 
the sun." She tried to wriggle out from under his head so she could go to her room. 

"Wait!" Josh cried. He grabbed her hand which had lain loosely on his chest. "Wait, I have to tell 
you something. I have to." 

"What is it?" 

"I love you," he declared in complete seriousness, but with a measure of surprise in his tone. 

"That's the second time you've said that to me tonight. You also said it to Sam and CJ and Toby," 
Donna informed him. 

"But I don't love them like I love you," explained Josh. "You're beautiful and I love you. Like a 
man loves a woman kind of love." 
Donna scooted away so abruptly that Josh's head flopped to the sofa. 

"Time for bed!" she said firmly. 

"Do you love me too, Donna?" Josh mumbled. 

"Yes. Now go to sleep." 

Josh's mouth curved up in a smile as his eyelids fluttered shut. 


The next morning Donna made Josh coffee, opened the jar of painkillers and talked very quietly. 
No mention was made of the previous night's declaration. Donna doubted Josh even remembered 
his words as his first comment in the morning was to ask what he was doing on her sofa. 


Donna tried a hard rock station. Naturally they were playing a ballad. Great. 

She wasn't so guileless as to think Josh was in love with her. That had been drunk talk. But the way 
he had said it and a couple of other things had led her to think her suspicions of how he felt about 
her were confirmed. She'd had her mind on Josh for months now, ever since she had started 
noticing a subtle shift in their relationship. Josh now seemed to study her an awful lot when he 
thought she wasn't looking. He was unusually solicitous of her opinion. The lighthearted 
endearments she threw his way gave him pause. Most incriminating of all was the carefully worded 
inscription in the book he had given her for Christmas, and what it had said between the lines. She 
was pretty sure Josh returned the feelings she had for him. Tonight she'd know for certain. 

She changed the radio to a classical station. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. 



Josh was sopping, soaking, dripping wet when Donna opened her apartment door to him. 

"It's still raining," she said needlessly. 

"Yes, it's still raining, and before you ask, no, there was no visitor parking available. I had to park 
down two blocks," Josh told her testily. 

"Don't you have an umbrella?" 


"I'll remember to get you one." She took his coat from him and hung it on a rack inside the door. 

Following her into the kitchen, Josh asked, "What's for dinner?" 

Donna turned from the counter and thrust a box into his hands. "Barbecue. It 's on the balcony." 

Josh eyed the package of frozen burgers. "Do I have to remind you that it's raining?" 

"I have an umbrella." 
Josh sighed. "I had an opportunity to go home early for once, get Chinese take-out, put my feet up 
and watch Monday Night Football. Instead you tell me you need me to come over here to help you 
with something you won't tell me about and I end up barbecuing in the rain." 

Donna pursed her lips. "Okay, nevermind the barbecue." She took the box back from him. "Just go 
sit down in the living room." She waved him away. 

A fire had been lit and Josh noted an inordinate amount of candles burning in the living room. 
There were no lights on but as it was still daylight the windows quelled the dimness. 

A moment after Josh sat down on the sofa Donna appeared and pressed a glass of wine into his 
hand. She knelt beside him and stretched her hands to his shoulders, kneading his tense muscles. 

Slowing exhaling a long breath, Josh let his eyes fall shut. "That...feels...good." 

He wasn't sure he'd spoken aloud until Donna answered him. "Does it?" 

Her voiced whispered close to his ear, sending a slight shiver through his body. It must have been 
the way she was positioned to give him the massage that caused her to be so close. 

Her thumbs moved to circle his spine. "Does that feel good, too?" She breathed in a hushed tone. 
That time he felt her lips move against his ear lobe. 

He was feeling too mellow to find anything odd about that. He murmured something in the 
affirmative in answer to her question. Right then he hoped she'd never stop. 

"Do you like this?" Donna asked huskily before pressing her lips to his neck. 

"Yaaaag!" Josh yelped, jerking upright. He set his wineglass down on the table. "What are you 

"Trying to seduce you," she answered. 

"Seduce me? What... Donna!" 

"Is it not working?" 

"Actually it is, but nevermind that! Why are you doing it?" 

Donna shifted so she could sit looking directly at Josh. Her eyes met his with a look of intensity. 

"Because we mean more to each other than friends and I thought it was time we moved our 
relationship forward." 

Josh sighed and reached out to brush his fingers along her cheek. 


"Am I wrong?" she asked, her eyes wide. 

"No," Josh admitted quietly. "But it wouldn't be right for us to act on these feelings." 

"Why not?" 

"Because I'm your boss." 

"You can transfer to another department." 

"*I* can transfer?" 

"Well, I don't want to transfer. I like my job." 

"Donna, I'm the deputy chief of staff." 

"Okay, okay, fine. I'll transfer." 

Josh had moved his hand to rest it loosely at the back of Donna's neck. She reached over and 
trailed her thumb along his lower lip. 

"We can't." Josh sounded a lot less convinced of his words. 

"We can," Donna proclaimed, smiling. She leaned toward him. 

"Donna, no." 

"Josh, yes." She touched her lips to the side of his mouth. 

"Oh hell," Josh groaned. "You're right." 

He kissed her. 


Much later, Donna relaxed in Josh's embrace with her head resting on his chest. 

"Joshua," she murmured drowsily in her contentment, "when will you learn that I'm always right." 


The End


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