"Love Conquers All"
By Amanda and Cindy
Josh Lyman stood in front of the full-length mirror adjusting his tie for what must have been the hundredth time. Frustrated he pulled the tie completely out, then stopped to take a few deep breaths. When he looked up again he saw Sam Seaborn laughing at him through the mirror.
"Glad to see you find this amusing." Josh growled.
"Josh, the tie was fine the first time you did it, and the third time, and the fourth time, and..."
"OK OK I get the idea. I just...I just want everything to be
perfect." Josh said quietly fixing his tie for what he swore would be the last time no matter how it looked.
Sam walked over and put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "It will be perfect. You're getting married. Although how you convinced a beautiful woman like Donna to take you as a husband is beyond me."
Josh gave him a dirty look then reached over and yanked Sam's bow tie, undoing it.
"Hey!" Sam yelped. "Is that anyway to treat your best man?" he said pushing Josh out of the way so he could try and fix his own bow tie now.
"I guess not. But it did make me feel better." Josh said smiling.
Sam glared at him slightly. "I rescued your Mom from one of the President's spontaneous trivia sessions at the rehearsal dinner, remember?"
Josh nodded. "Scary thing is I think she enjoyed it."
Sam fiddled with the tie then gave up, "This is why I have Caitlin do my ties."
Josh stopped his fidgeting ands stood straight up. "That's a good idea." he said. "Donna is always best at putting on my ties." And before Sam could stop him Josh rushed out of the room.
"That's not what I meant." Sam said then rushed after him.
"Donna Lyman. Donnatella Lyman. Donna Moss-Lyman." Donna recited to herself in her dressing area as Caitlin fiddled with her headpiece.
"Donna if you don't hold still, I'm going to stick you with these pins." Caitlin said smiling at her friend.
"I'm really doing this Cait. I'm really getting married. To Josh."
"Well I hope it's to Josh." Caitlin said jokingly.
"I still can't believe it." Donna said her bright smile spreading across her face.
"Believe it. In a little over one hour you will be Donna Lyman or Donnatella Lyman or Donna Moss-Lyman. How about Mrs. Joshua Lyman?"
"Mmm" Donna said closing her eyes. "I like that."
"I thought you would." Caitlin said then stopped and watched Donna intently in the mirror.
"What?" Donna asked her face showing worry. "Is my hair messed up, my make-up?"
"No, you look beautiful." Caitlin said, tears coming to her
eyes. "It's just...well I'm losing my roommate."
"Oh." Donna said quickly getting up and hugging Caitlin. "Don't make me cry!" she jokingly yelled. "I'm gonna miss you. Our late night talks, watching old movies together, gouging our face on ice cream..." Donna paused.
"Well we'll still do that" They said together, then laughed and hugged each other one more time.
"As long as you're leaving me for Josh, I'll be OK." Caitlin said smiling. "I'll try not to be too lonely."
"Oh I don't think you'll be lonely for long. Soon you'll be the one wearing the white dress getting ready to become Mrs. Sam Seaborn and I'll be *your* maid of honor."
"Matron of Honor." Caitlin corrected.
"Right" Donna said smiling to herself.
"And please don't rush me. Sam hasn't even proposed, we haven't even talked about marriage..." Caitlin was interrupted by a loud banging on the door.
"Josh, if you really want a woman to fix your tie we can have Caitlin do it when she comes out. Or I'm sure Margaret's around here somewhere." Sam stated as he
tried to usher his friend away from the closed door.
"Sam? Is that you?" Caitlin called through the door.
"Yeah, everything's fine." Seaborn replied as he placed a hand on Lyman's left shoulder.
"Doesn't sound fine." Caitlin replied as she opened the door a crack and peeked out. Her eyes widened when she spied Josh. "Josh, you know you can't be here. Do you really want to tempt fate?"
Josh shrugged out of Sam's grasp as he approached Bartlet's
daughter. "I just want to see her for a moment, Cait."
"Josh?" Donna called straining to see around Caitlin to find out what was going on.
"You'll be able to see her for the rest of your life, Joshua." Caitlin replied firmly trying to hide a smile as she closed the door. "Now go away and let us finish getting dressed."
Caitlin stepped away from the door and was just in time to snag Donna's arm as she reached for the door handle. "Same goes for you too, Donna. Less than an hour and you can see him."
"If I can't see him I at least want to talk to him." Donna replied as she placed a hand flat against the door. For some reason she knew that Josh hadn't left yet. "Josh?"
Lyman quickly retraced his steps to the door and leaned against it. "Donnatella." He replied softly. "I miss you."
Donna smiled as Caitlin moved to the other side of the room to give them some privacy. "I miss you too. Are you nervous?"
"I'll be over here." Sam said as he motioned toward the corner of the hallway where there was a small chair. Josh nodded in acknowledgment though Seaborn was almost certain Josh hadn't heard a word he'd said.
"A little." Josh replied as he absently touched his dangling bow tie. "I'm having a little trouble with my tie."
Donna shook her head slightly. She could just picture him fighting with it. "You never had very good luck with tying those."
Josh smiled softly. "I love you."
"I love you too, Joshua."
Navy pilot Thomas Moss wandered through the halls of the White House Residence still amazed that he was in the inner sanctum.
The red haired young man knocked lightly on the door of the small room where his sister was getting dressed.
"Hey Donnakins, you decent?" Thomas called with a smile.
Donna quickly opened the door and enveloped her older brother in a huge hug. "Tommy! I was beginning to think you weren't going to make it."
Thomas touched her face lightly as they backed into the room. "Miss my baby sister's wedding? Never."
Donna grinned as she plopped down on a small sofa glancing over at her wedding dress, which hung on a hanger from the open closet door.
"I still can't believe I'm getting married in the White House Rose Garden." Donna stated dreamily as she leaned her head back against the cushion.
Thomas sat in a chair near the sofa and studied his sister. With his crazy schedule he had missed the rehearsal dinner so he had only met Josh Lyman once.
"Are you happy?" Thomas asked quietly as he leaned forward.
Donna nodded a wide smile crossing her face. "Very. Josh is a good man, Tommy."
"He must be for you to have that glow." Thomas replied as he stood. "I'll let you get back to getting ready. Where is Caitlin anyway?"
"She went to talk to Sam about some last minute details." Moss replied as she stood giving her brother a quick hug.
"I'm going to go talk to that fiancé of yours." Thomas stated with a smile as he opened the door.
At Donna's anxious expression Thomas laughed. "Don't worry Donnakins, he'll be in one piece for the ceremony. I promise."
"Mom, the ceremony hasn't even started yet and you are already crying." Josh said pulling his mother to him.
"My little boy is getting married. I'm allowed to be emotional." Emma Lyman replied into Josh's chest.
"I love you Mom" Josh whispered.
"I love you too, Joshua." She pulled away from him slightly, placing her hand on his cheek. "Your father would be so proud of you. He always was."
Josh closed his eyes and placed his hand over his mother's. "I miss him." Josh said softly.
"Me too, sweetheart. But he's here with us today." She said with a smile. "He's here watching you marry that beautiful, wonderful Donna of yours."
"Thanks Mom" Josh said, bending down to give her a kiss on the cheek.
"So what are your intentions toward my sister?"
Josh jumped slightly not having heard anyone approach. He turned away from the window to see Donna's older brother framed in the doorway.
"To make her the happiest person in the world for the rest of her life." Josh replied sincerely as he crossed the room.
Thomas's face broke into a wide smile. "You better or I'll hunt you down."
Josh faltered slightly as the pilot slapped him on the back.
"Donna's my baby sister, Josh, never forget that."
Lyman nodded. "I'd rather lay down my life then hurt her in any way."
In the kitchen of the White House the catering crew was quickly getting ready for the reception that was to take place in the large stateroom immediately following the ceremony.
Everyone was bustling back and forth, arranging food trays for the cocktail hour, preparing the meals for the 200 guests, and putting the final touches on the 4 tiered Wedding Cake.
Away from all the activity, five men stood apart huddled amongst themselves and a catering cart.
"OK" One of the men spoke up "Miss Bartlet is upstairs now with the bride. Take this catering cart upstairs with the complimentary wine and cheese for the bride and her maid of honor." He then picked up a small bottle. "Here is the chloroform and a rag, once you have immobilized Bartlet- get her into the bottom of this cart" he lifted up the white table cloth to reveal an empty but large basin
beneath "and nonchalantly wheel back downstairs, out back to the truck. Then we will drive out of here and no one will be the wiser."
"What about the bride?" One of the men spoke up.
"Knock her out, but be quiet about it. We need plenty of time to escape and get our 'package' to its destination."
The men nodded their agreement but one of them looked at his leader confused. "How will we know which one is Bartlet?"
"She'll be the one NOT wearing a wedding dress idiot." the leader answered. "Now go"
"Donna! Why aren't you dressed?" Caitlin asked as she rushed into the room and found her friend standing in the middle of it wearing..."What are you wearing?" Caitlin asked with a laugh she couldn't suppress.
Donna stood there in jeans, a long flannel shirt and a big floppy hat. "Think anyone will recognize me?" she asked.
A look of panic washed over Caitlin's face, "Donna you're not running away are you? It's OK to be nervous, but Josh loves you, you've waited for this moment..."
"Caitlin! Of course I'm not running away. I just need to see Josh."
"Oh no you're not! Donna it's bad luck...."
"I know I know. That's why the disguise. I just want to see him Cait. See his face. He won't even know I'm there, neither will anyone else." Donna said looking at her friend imploringly.
"Donna...listen you'll see him in less than an hour now come on" Caitlin picked up the wedding dress and held it up against her own body. "See how beautiful this dress is. Let's put it on you now."
"Donna, if you don't put this dress on right now then I will." Caitlin said with a smile.
"You wouldn't?" Donna said shocked.
"Oh yeah" Caitlin quickly unzipped her Maid of Honor dress and let it fall to the floor. Then she picked up the wedding dress again and held it against her. "Last chance Donna" she said threateningly.
Donna started laughing at the lengths her friend would go to keep Donna on the right track.
Suddenly a knock came at the door.
"Yes?" Donna inquired at the knock.
"Catering, ma'am. We have a bottle of wine with the compliments and best wishes of the company." A voice came from outside the door.
"Wine? Perfect!" Donna said, then she looked at Caitlin. "I think you need it more than I do." she said with a smile. "Come in" Donna then said.
"Donna!" Caitlin exclaimed, realizing her state of undress. She gripped the dress closer to her body, covering herself up.
"That'll teach you." Donna said as the door opened and three men entered with a large catering cart and shut the door. On the cart was a bottle of wine and a delectable looking cheese tray.
"That does look wonderful" Caitlin said, still embarrassed about her condition.
Donna walked towards the tray. "Yes it does, thank..." Donna wasn't able to finish as one of the men grabbed her from behind and shoved a cloth on her mouth. Donna struggled but then slumped as the chloroform took effect.
Caitlin's eyes widened and she opened her mouth to scream but before she could, another of the men pickup the wine bottle and hit Caitlin over the head with it. With a painful groan Caitlin fell to the floor on top of both her dress and Donna's.
"Quick- get Bartlet into the cart and let's get out of here." One of the men said.
With that, they loaded Donna's body into the catering cart and made their way out into the hall, down the elevator, outside into the truck, and out of the gates and no one was the wiser. Not even the kidnappers.
Josh Lyman glanced at Sam as they stood to the left of the altar in the Rose Garden. Zoey and CJ had already walked down the aisle. The organist was on its second playing of the wedding march and there was no sign of Caitlin or Donna.
"Something's wrong, Sam." Josh whispered anxiously as he looked out at the restless guests. "Donna was dressed an hour ago."
"Want me to go check on them?" Zoey asked quietly as she approached them having overheard Josh.
Sam shook his head. "No, I'll go. Caitlin's probably just misplaced a shoe or something."
"I'm sure it's nothing, Josh." CJ Cregg commented with a reassuring smile." Donna's been looking forward to this for years. Nothing's going to ruin this day, Josh. You both deserve to be happy."
"I hope you're right, CJ." Lyman replied tightly as he watched Sam maneuver through the crowd of guests.
Sam reached the room where Donna was getting ready and found
Caitlin's Secret Service dispatch outside the door. "Are they in there?" Sam asked the Agents.
"Yes sir." The nearest one answered curtly.
Sam knocked on the door. "Donna? They're playing your song." He said.
No answer came.
"Caitlin" he called a little more urgently.
Still no answer.
Fear closed around Sam's heart and he opened the door. When he stepped into the room he found no sign of either Donna or Caitlin. He went to turn and call for the Agents. It was only then that he saw Caitlin's still form nestled on top of two dresses.
"Oh no." Seaborn whispered fearfully as he dropped to his knees next to her. As he frantically felt for a pulse Caitlin's state of undress entered into his thoughts. He shoved those away as soon as a strong pulse pounded against his fingers.
"Thank God." Sam said quietly as he gingerly turned Caitlin onto her back. As he did he noticed the bump starting to form on the back of her head. Not knowing what other injuries she might have Sam didn't want to risk moving her further.
Sam was about to go for help when Leo McGarry appeared in the doorway followed by Caitlin's two Agents. At the sight that greeted them, the Agents quickly sped around the room inspecting everything and urgently talking into their mouth pieces.
"What the hell happened?" Leo asked as he squatted down next to Caitlin's unconscious form.
"Looks like she was attacked." Sam replied angrily. "And there is no sign of Donna."
"I'll get Abby." McGarry replied knowing the First Lady was the closest doctor." And I'll alert the President to what happened. We'll make sure the White House is locked down in case..."
"You think Donna's been kidnapped?" Sam exclaimed in surprise knowing where Leo's thoughts were going.
"Think about it Sam." Leo replied grimly as he stood. "Whoever attacked Caitlin knew she was going to be here. Knew there was a wedding. Plus they got past the Secret Service. If they do all that they're not going to leave empty handed."
Sam ducked his head briefly as he gently reached down and touched Caitlin's left cheek.
"Who's going to tell Josh?" Seaborn asked quietly.
"I'll do it." McGarry replied as he quickly left the room.
Josh still stood at the altar shifting his weight from foot to foot unable to stay still. `Something is wrong. Something is very wrong.' He kept thinking over and over.
He looked up and saw Leo heading his way. Josh's heart stopped as he saw the grim expression on Leo's face.
"What's happened Leo?" Josh asked anxiously as he met the Chief of Staff half way. "Is she sick?"
Leo glanced around at the guests before returning his attention to the groom to be. "Josh, come in side."
Josh swallowed hard struggling to keep a reign on his emotions but it was a losing battle. "Just tell me, Leo. Did she get cold feet?"
Leo placed a steadying hand on Josh's left arm. "Donna's missing."
"Missing? What do you mean missing?" Josh asked his body going into full-blown panic.
"We don't know for sure yet, but we found Caitlin upstairs in the dressing room knocked unconscious and there was no sign of Donna." Leo said slowly pushing Josh towards the doors.
"Do...do you think someone has taken her? Taken my Donna?" Josh asked as they entered the White House.
Leo looked at the younger man wishing his instincts were wrong. "Yes" Leo answered.
A soft moan came from the bed and Sam rushed over to Caitlin's side from the window he was standing at. He sat down on the edge of the bed next to Caitlin taking her hand, the First Lady sat on Caitlin's other side taking her pulse.
"Mrs. Bartlet?" Sam asked.
"I think she is coming around. Honey," she said to Caitlin "it's Mama. Can you hear me open your eyes, sweetie."
Caitlin slowly opened her eyes, blinking several times, the light seemed so bright in the room. Her eyes took several seconds to focus but she could make out the forms of her mother and Sam sitting beside her. Her head hurt. `Why does it hurt so much? Where am I?' she thought. Then suddenly her last few seconds of consciousness came flooding back to her and she screamed "DONNA!"
"Donna, they've got Donna- we have to..." Caitlin said incoherently trying to get up out of bed.
Sam and Abby gently placed their hands on Caitlin, pushing her back towards the bed.
"Stay still, sweetie" Abby said softly. "It's going to be OK. Lie back down, please."
Caitlin still struggled against them. "No they've got Donna. Josh...I have to get to Josh." She made a move to get up but a searing pain in her head sent her back to the bed, hands gripping her head, tears springing to her eyes.
Sam leaned over her and gently placed his hand on her cheek, stroking her face trying to soothe her pain. "Lie still Caitlin, please. For me lie still."
Caitlin looked up into his blue eyes and let her body relax,
concentrating only on him.
"I'm going to get Jed." Abby said. "I'll be right back honey." She bent over and softly kissed Caitlin on the forehead. Then she quickly left the room.
Sam stayed by her side, continuing to caress her cheek. "Is the pain going away?" he asked.
Caitlin nodded her head slightly. She placed her hand on his chest feeling his warmth and his heartbeat. She closed her eyes allowing the familiar rhythm of his heart to calm her.
"Baby?" he said softly. Caitlin opened her eyes and looked at him. "Did they..." he continued. "Did they hurt you? Other than the bump on the head. I mean when I found you, you were wearing only well you weren't really dressed. Did they...touch you?" he asked softly with anger brimming in his voice.
Caitlin realized what he was asking and moved her hand up to his face.
"No" she whispered, smiling at him reassuringly. "I was like that when they came in, holding Donna's dress up to my body. Donna...it's her wedding day Sam." she said softly tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I know. We're going to find her." He said then he leaned down and gently brushed his lips against hers. "Thank God you're OK." He whispered.
Josh stalked into the Oval Office with Leo, Toby and CJ close at his heels.
The President entered the room from the side entrance, a grim expression on his face.
"Josh..." Bartlet began making a futile attempt to calm the younger man down.
"How the hell could this happen?" Josh demanded as he paced a frantic path in front of the desk. "We had a million secret service agents covering the grounds. Caitlin's own detail was outside the door! How could some maniac just waltz in and snatch her..."
CJ reached forward and placed a comforting hand on her friend's shoulder as his voice broke.
Before anyone could say anything the First Lady entered the Office and went to her husband. "She's awake." She said.
"Thank God." The President said. "How is she?"
"Upset. She remembers what happened."
Josh's head snapped up when he realized they were talking about Caitlin. "I want to talk to her." He said and made his way out of the room before anyone could object.
Josh walked into Caitlin's room in the Residence and stopped dead in his tracks. Caitlin looked pale and fragile in Sam's arms.....if Caitlin was affected like this what must Donna be..... Josh instantly broke off the last thought before it could go places he didn't, couldn't think about.
As soon as she saw Josh standing in the doorway Caitlin jumped to her feet breaking free of Sam's embrace. Sam rose to his feet also as Caitlin started toward Josh.
Caitlin reached forward toward Josh as if to give him a hug but suddenly a harsh wave of dizziness washed over her and her legs buckled.
Sam was instantly there....catching Caitlin before she hit the floor. He scooped her up in his arms with every intention of carrying her back to the bed but Caitlin's voice halted him halfway.
"No, Sam, put me down. I'm okay."
Sam shook his head. "You nearly collapsed."
"Just dizzy, please, I have to talk to him." Caitlin replied quietly.
Sam looked from Josh 's anguished face to Caitlin and back again. With tender moves he gently set Caitlin back on her feet but his arm remained around her shoulders.
"How's your head?" Josh asked quietly as he came to stand next to her.Kicking himself for not asking sooner.
"Hurts like hell." Bartlet replied with a sad smile. "I'm so sorry Josh....if there was any way I could've....."
"I know." Lyman replied grimly as he lightly touched her shoulder."Cait....I have to know...was she hurt the last time you saw her?"
A fresh wave of tears began to form but Caitlin shoved them aside. "No,they grabbed her from behind and pressed a cloth over her face....."
Caitlin recounted to Josh everything she could about what had happened.
She felt so frustrated and helpless. She was the only one that was there, the only one who had seen the men and she really didn't have any answers.
What she did have were so many questions: How could this happen, who were the men, why Donna? That last question kept repeating over and over in her mind and as she looked at Josh watching her intently she knew he was asking
himself the same question. Why Donna?
Donna began to stir from a very groggy sleep. Her eyes felt like they were sealed shut and she tried to use her hands to open them, but her arms felt like lead. Her whole body felt like lead.
'What happened?' she thought Donna tried to rememberâ¤|something, her last coherent memory. But she was still so groggy. Wine- she remembered wine and catering men. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard unfamiliar voices.
"And you boys thought it would be hard. We just walked right into the White House and snatched Caitlin Bartlet away without anyone knowing." A man said laughing.
'Caitlin' Donna thought. 'She's here too. But where is here?'
"Guess the Secret Service isn't so tough after all. Huh boss?" Another man said.
"Hmph" the First man replied.
"If you gentleman are done congratulating yourselves, we have to get our 'guest' here ready for company." A woman's voice sounded.
Donna felt someone approach and pretended to still be asleep. Which wasn't too hard considering she couldn't open her eyes and her head felt like it was filled with clouds.
"You know this must have been some wedding if the Maid of Honor is wearing jeans." The woman said again.
'Jeans?' Donna's hazy mind questioned. 'Caitlin wasn't wearing jeans-she had a lavender dress. Until she took it off and threatened to put on mine.'Suddenly more clouds evaporated from her mind. 'Wait. I was wearing jeans.'
And then the clouds were gone and her situation became crystal clear.'They think I'm Caitlin!'
go on to the next part