Title: Everything's Right with the World Tonight
Date Completed: March 21, 2005
Website: Dimples and Distinctive Penmanship Style
Spoilers: Anything through 6.19 -- "Ninety Miles Away" is fair game...
Rating: Young Teen (shmoop)
Disclaimer: I don't own this universe. Aaron Sorkin and others do. I'd really love to work out a time-share agreement on Josh, though. ;)
Author's Notes: Thanks to M. and Mama for helping me out with this one. This was originally my chapter of the March Challenge Chain Fan Fic on the JoshDonna FF Yahoo! List, but I've added more to it here so it can stand on its own. I'd like to thank Pamela for spearheading the challenge, and Anglstrmoon and Chickymica for the two chapters that came before mine.
Feedback: Rocks my world. Really.
Summary: On the last night of the convention, Donna reflects on the recent changes in her life.
As Donna stood on the floor of the Democratic National Convention, she was awed by the changes that had taken place in her life in such a short period of time. She had seen tragedy in Gaza, and woken up to Josh's face, twice, in Germany. And she had thought that she might just get the chance to keep on waking up to his face when they got home.
But things got sticky when she got back to work. Sure, he had been attentive until she could walk without the crutches. After that they had just put up the same old walls, the same damn professional distance that they both hid behind when things got to close.
After a couple of months of that, she'd had enough. She wanted more, personally and professionally, and since the personal wasn't going to happen without his help, she made the professional happen without his help, instead.
Quitting was the hardest thing she'd ever done, but looking back now, she knows that it was also the best thing she'd ever done. She had started to make a name for herself in the Democratic Party, one that didn't lurk within the wide shadow cast by Joshua Lyman. She secretly hoped that her leaving the job had been the catalyst that Josh needed to leave his as well. Cause he had. And he'd gone out and found the party "the real thing,"
Matthew Santos was by far the best man to replace Josiah Bartlet in the Oval Office. Donna knew this. She knew that Bob Russell was nothing more than a stuffed shirt. She knew it because for the last several months she'd help Will to stuff that shirt full of sound bites in an attempt to make him more than he was.
Donna also knew that Santos was the real thing because she had been watching him closely. Since the night before the Stem Cell vote, when he almost sat on her, she had started to realize that her own candidate might not be getting her vote. Santos had so many redeeming qualities, but the one she found herself drawn to again and again was that he inspired people. He inspired Josh. He inspired her. And that gift of inspiring others was something that she just hadn't been able to stuff into Russell's shirt.
After the vote, things had started to turn around on the Josh front. She sought him out. Told him he'd done good in finding Santos. He told her he was proud of her. The air started to clear, and when they could find the time, and were in the same place on the campaign trail, they spent it together. They didn't talk about politics, they talked about themselves and their hopes and their dreams and their feelings for each other. They knocked down the walls that they had always hid behind and built something stronger, something that would keep them together, rather than apart. It hadn't been easy, but now that the campaign was over, it all seemed worth it.
Donna had accompanied Russell and Will to the Congressman's suite to offer their concession and congratulations on winning the nomination earlier that evening. While they were there, she was surprised when Helen Santos asked her for a moment alone. She looked at Josh. He shrugged, smiled at her, and motioned for her to see what Mrs. Santos had to say. Apparently he had known that Mrs. Santos was going to offer her the position as her Chief of Staff.
Donna couldn't have been happier. As she stood there and watched Josh fly around the hall in hyper buzz of activity, she realized that they no longer had the problem they had feared. If she had of joined the Santos campaign in almost any other capacity, she would have been working for Josh again, and that would have made their decidedly non-professional relationship, extremely unprofessional.
However, as the Chief of Staff to Mrs. Santos during the upcoming campaign and then hopefully as First Lady, she would be able to continue to grow on her own professionally. She always wanted be involved with policy and heading the First Lady's agenda was just the place to continue to hone the skills she had started developing in her work on the Russell campaign.
Donna's was startled out of her reverie when she hear a familiar voice behind her.
"Donnatella Moss, you have done so well for yourself since you left Madison."
"She definitely has, Mrs. Morello. She's done exceptionally well for herself, even since leaving us. Isn't that right, C.J.?" said Abigail Bartlet.
"Yes, ma'am. And we are so very proud of her!" said C.J..
"Yes, we are," smiled Abby.
Donna had tears in her eyes as she turned around and took in the three women before her.
"Mrs. Morello, what are you doing here?"
"Well, now that I am retired I have more time to devote to my work with the Democratic Women's Caucas in Wisconsin. In fact, this year I'm actually attending the convention as a delegate from our great state. Plus, Dr. Bartlet and Ms. Cregg were nice enough to look me up and fill me in on all your recent achievements. I'm so proud of you and the work you've accomplished, Donnatella. I always knew you'd go far," she said as she embraced the young woman.
Molly Morello had been Donna's 12th grade English teacher and had helped to shape her love of all things beautiful, like literature and art, as well as her strong desire to help others. Mrs. Morello also held a proud since of civic duty, and Donna had aspired to the same. She felt she owed Mrs. Morello a great deal for helping her to become the strong and inspired woman she had always hoped to be.
"Well, Mrs. Morello, we have one more reason to be proud of her tonight. Helen Santos just told me that she has hired Donna as her Chief of Staff," beamed Abby.
Donna had always thought Abigail Bartlet was a phenomenal role model for women. She knew that it hadn't always been easy. Dr. Bartlet had paid the price more than once for being a devoted mother and the wife of a politician. Her professional life had suffered and she'd taken some hard shots from the press and the court of public opinion, but she continued to hold her head high and she continued to fight, to be a voice in the Bartlet administration for women and children everywhere. On a personal note, she'd always been extremely supportive of Donna and had, in fact, made her feel as though she was one of her own daughters. And for all of that, Donna would always be grateful to her.
In that moment, she couldn't be happier that her new job would be working for the woman who--God willing--would become the First Lady. Donna vowed to herself to do everything she could to help Mrs. Santos and to make Dr. Bartlet proud.
"Mrs. Santos is a smart woman. She couldn't have picked a more capable person to spearhead her agenda," smiled C.J..
Claudia Jean Cregg was the big sister that Donna had never had. She was strong, capable, independent, funny, sexy, and politically savvy. Quite simply, C.J. exuded one of those elusive qualities that Donna hoped she would develop in time--she was comfortable in her own skin. She wasn't invincible, that Donna knew, but she knew how to handle herself in so many different situations. She had come so far from the Hollywood public relations darling, unsure of how to handle the White House Press Corps, to become the face of the Bartlet administration. She was a formidable force that was their first line of defense (and always their first phone call) when it came to sex, drug, and health scandals or any other crisis. Her skill was one of the main reasons that this administration had endured.
And now, in the final days of this presidency, she had assumed a new role. As the White House Chief of Staff, C.J. Cregg had become the most powerful woman in U.S. political history. Oh, she was still saddled with the fights that all female politicians face. The press pursued her relentlessly. What designer's gown would she wear to the next State Dinner? Did she get a haircut? Was she a lesbian? She had faced staff shake-ups and was dealing with a lame-duck president that was weakened daily by multiple sclerosis.
Through it all, she continued to take care of business and to do her job to the absolute best of her ability. C.J. demanded to be taken seriously and she commanded an equality of respect and treatment for the Office of the Chief of Staff that didn't take into account her gender. It wasn't easy, but she was doing it. Donna only hoped that C.J.'s battles, and her sacrifices, would pave a smoother road for the women who would follow in her footsteps. It was in that achievement, her legacy for other female politicians, that she hoped she would one day follow. Yes, Donna was very proud of her friend and mentor.
A couple of weeks ago, when Donna had a rare weekend in DC, she had spent an evening with C.J., and over a bottle of wine the air had been cleared. She told her friend all about her new relationship with Josh, but had been worried how C.J. would react to the news, because of her prior admonishment to Donna to find a life apart from Josh.
Surprisingly, C.J. seemed not only happy but also relieved to find out that Josh and Donna had finally acted on their feelings for one another. She even apologized for her harsh words during the lockdown concerning Josh, and told Donna how terrible she had felt when Josh had gone crazy at the news that Donna had been hurt in Gaza. She realized how wrong she had been and how she had totally misjudged his feelings for Donna in that moment.
What C.J. was not apologetic for though was for telling Donna that she needed to get away from Josh professionally. She had gone to great lengths to praise Donna for having the courage to take the risk and strike out on her own, even if she was working for "Bingo Bob."
Now, as they embraced on the floor at the convention, Donna knew of C.J.'s pride in her political endeavors and it meant the world to her.
"Well, Donna. We know you're busy and we won't keep you a moment longer. Ladies, lets make our way to our seats. I think Senator Rafferty is about to start her speech," said Abby as she squeezed her arm and then lead Mrs. Morello and C.J. away.
As Donna watched them walk away, she felt a pair of eyes on her. She looked to her right and saw Toby standing in the shadows watching her, as if he was waiting to talk to her.
She walked up to him and smiled. "Hello, Toby. It's good to see you. How're you doing tonight?"
"I'm good, Donna. I didn't want to break up a gathering of the Sisterhood, but I understand that congratulations are in order. We're all very proud of you. You've done good," Toby said as he swirled the scotch in his glass and looked down at his shoes.
Donna was speechless. She knew that must have been hard for Toby to say. He wasn't much for congratulations or praise. But then again, Toby had always liked her. She struggled to keep her tears at bay so that she wouldn't embarrass him further.
"Thank you. That really means a lot to me."
"Yeah. Well, since I'm on a role here, I'm gonna go congratulate Josh now. I'll see you later, okay?"
"Sure, Toby. I'll see you later."
She watched him make his way through the crowd to where Josh was talking to the sound and lighting engineers at the back of the hall, no doubt driving them crazy with last minute instructions.
Almost everything was right with the world tonight. She and Josh were finally together, she and C.J. had worked out their problems, the best man for the job had won the nomination, and she had a new job that she was thrilled about. Now, if Toby and Josh could just work out their problems, everything would be perfect.
Donna went off to find C.J. so they could hover and make sure that Josh and Toby took care of business.
"You were right."
Josh finished talking to the technicians and turned around. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"You were right. I was wrong. Congratulations. Santos is the real thing. You were right," said Toby.
"Thanks. Listen, Toby, I'm really sorry about David--"
"Hey. It wasn't your fault. I'm sorry. Look, can we just be men here and never speak of this again?"
Josh smiled, reached to shake Toby's hand, and clapped him on the back. "Yeah. Sure."
They both chuckled and Toby took another sip of his scotch.
"Well, I guess I'm not needed after all. Looks like you two finally took your heads out of your asses without my help!"
"Sam! What are you doing here?"
"Officially, I am a delegate to the convention from the California 47th. Unofficially, I heard through the grapevine that you two hadn't talked since a fist fight broke out in the White House Communications Director's office several weeks ago. So, I thought maybe I could get the two of you together and get you both to see the error of your ways."
Josh's eyebrows rose. "Through the grapevine, huh. You mean C.J. and Donna called you."
"Well I "
"That's right, mi amor. Donna and I knew Spanky was the right man for the job. Looks like we did the right thing," said CJ as she and Donna approached the men with smiles in place.
"The Brotherhood had this one figured out all on it's own, without the Sisterhood's meddling," said Toby.
"Really," said Donna.
Josh moved to Donna's side, slipped an arm around her waist, and placed a kiss on her temple. "Really. Toby and I had just cleared the air before Sam surprised us with his presence."
"Well fellas, I'm glad you finally had it all out. It must have felt good to talk about it, right?" CJ said.
"Actually, we just agreed to be men about it," Toby said.
Everyone chuckled and C.J. rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Tobus." She linked one arm through Sam's and the other through Toby's and smiled at the group. "I'm just glad we're all here together. Come on. Josh's guy is about to start his victory speech and then we have a party to go to!"
As C.J., Toby, and Sam lead the way, Donna squeezed Josh's arm, leaned in closer to him and smiled to herself. Now that the family was back together, everything was definitely right with the world tonight.
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