"Mistletoe and Twilight"
By Cindy Brewer firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's Notes: This is sort of an answer to the challenge of 'have Donna be shot at the Newseum instead of Josh'. Major tissue warning. Single '' quotation marks indicate a flashback
Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman flipped the collar of his coat up and huddled deeper as a stiff December wind came off the Potomac. He had meant to come here so much earlier but with the White House being the White House something had always come up that demanded his attention.
Now it was nearly midnight on Christmas Eve and Josh wrapped his arms closer around himself as the snow fell.
It had been nearly eight months but Josh still couldn't believe the turn of events. How could one simple summer town hall meeting change his whole world? Josh squeezed his eyes shut but it wasn't quick enough to keep the memories at bay.
She wasn't supposed to be there that night. He should've insisted more that she take the night off. But Donna had wanted to watch the speech.
'There'll be other town hall meetings, Donnatella.'Josh stated as he stepped out of his office and walked toward the bullpen.
'Yes,but I want to hear this one.'Donna replied as she matched his step.
'You can watch it on tv like everybody else.'Josh commented as he picked a file from the file cabinet. 'Haven't you been begging for a night off for days?'
Donna glared at him slightly. 'I don't beg, Joshua. I would just like to see my apartment for more than three hours of sleep. And a social life wouldn't hurt either.'
Josh grinned as he turned and headed back to his office. 'We work in the White House, Donna. None of us have a social life.'
Josh paused by his desk. 'Okay, okay. If you really want to spend your night off in a crowded stuffy room be my guest.'
Josh swallowed hard as he took an item out of his jacket pocket watching as the snow clung to the leaves. Donna loved this time of year....the snow, the caroling, the trees and decorations. It just wasn't fair that she couldn't celebrate it this year simply because she worked for the President of the United States.
Josh knelt on the cold ground just as the memories assaulted him again.
'Who's been hit?! Who's been hit?!'
'Bookbag....who has Bookbag?'
The frantic cries of the Secret Service agents barely registered on Josh Lyman's numbed mind as he caught the woman next to him as she fell.
'Donna!'Josh cried as he lowered her gently to the ground shocked to see the blood spread quickly across her chest.
'WE NEED SOME HELP HERE, NOW!!!'Josh thundered struggling to keep the tears at bay....this was not the time to lose it. Donna need him to keep a clear head.
'J-Josh....'Donna said weakly in such a soft voice that Josh barely heard her over the chaos.
Josh gently touched her face surprised at how cold her skin was in the warm summer night. 'Ssssh, Donnatella, don't try to talk. Help's comin'.'
Donna swallowed struggling to keep enough moisture in her mouth to allow her to talk. There were so many things she needed to say. But everything felt numb.....cold.....she couldn't gather her thoughts.
'I'm cold, Josh.'
Josh tore off his suit jacket and gently placed it across her. When he looked down at his hands all he saw was blood....Donnatella's blood....this wasn't happening....couldn't be happening.
'WHERE THE HELL ARE THE PARAMEDICS?!'Josh shouted just as Toby reached them having finally gotten out from under the terrified crowd.
'They're on their way, Josh.'Toby promised as he knelt next to the pair. As if on cue sirens filled the Virginia night seemingly coming at them from every possible direction.
Josh ignored his friend and looked down at Donna to find that her eyes had drifted closed.
'Don't you do this, Donnatella.'Josh ordered in a choked whisper. 'Don't you dare leave me....not like this....not now.....we still have so much to look forward to....'
Josh glanced at the headstone and felt tears stream down his cheeks. Gently he took the item he had taken out of his pocket and placed it on the grave. The mistletoe seemed to almost glimmer against the snow and moonlight.
He hoped that somehow Donna knew how he felt about her. The snipers at the Newseum had taken away his chance to tell her.
"I miss you, Donnatella."Josh whispered as he stared at the mistletoe. "And I love you.....I always will."
Fifteen long minutes passed before Josh started to feel his hands go numb from the cold. Reluctantly Josh stood and gently touched the headstone.
"Merry Christmas, Donnatella."Josh said tenderly before turning and making his way toward the cemetery's exit.