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by Paula Z.

[Story Headers]


For some reason on the way to the Oval Office, I think about that arrogant little DNC prick. He can't even wait until the bodies are cold before asking me for options on their replacements.

Then, just to make everything really fun, Will then had to go on one of his little Vice-President kicks that make me want to kill him. Actually, I always wanted to strangle him. At that point, I was contemplating weapons.

God. Andi. Once again, I send up a prayer of thanks.

I quickly add one for Donna before we reach the Oval.

The conversation went nowhere; the same conundrum the Middle East has always provided. What shook me to the core, though, were Josh's words. "KILL THEM."

I suddenly flashed back to my own anger the weeks during Josh's recovery, when I singlehandedly tried to take down West Virginia White Pride and every organization even remotely affiliated with them.

I hope Donna pulls through. I doubt Josh could survive it.


I watched quietly as Leo led Josh away. Josh is many things. Arrogant, sarcastic, even pissy at times, but vengeful was nowhere near any adjectives that I would have ever used to describe him. During the conversation, I noticed him as he paced back and forth, back and forth. I never expected that outburst, that utter gush of agony. "We need to KILL them!" The way he said kill I knew he wanted to do it himself.

It shook me to the core. I wondered if I had misread their relationship. Josh was acting far more like a distraught husband, and less like a distraught boss. The door to the Oval opened, and I glanced back as Leo took Josh into the Mural Room. My heart went out to Josh. He looked like crap.

I turned toward the Oval and put on my professional face. Time to do your job, Claudia Jean.


I look at my deputy. Even now, his mind isn't in the game.

I unconsciously flashback to a conversation with Donna directly after Rosslyn. She had worn a similar look on her face.

So I let him off the hook. I feel myself grinning just a little, as Josh leaves the Mural Room as fast as decorum allowed.

Josh and Donna were going to cause me trouble someday.

"That is, if she survives," I thought somberly.


I put her on that meet and greet. I was the one who put her in danger. I put her in harm's way.

The irony of this situation doesn't escape me. Four years ago, she was the one sitting by my bedside.

I nod off for a few seconds. The jet lag is catching up to me.

Why did I feel the need to fly out? She's only my assistant.

Why did I sit on that goddamn airplane for hours just to be with her? I don't think it would be something most bosses would do.

Lyman, you dumb ass, think about it. You know. You know deep in your heart but you just don't want to admit it.

I wonder if the same thoughts went through Donna's head when she sat here with me...

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Fandom:  West Wing
Title:  Parallels
Author:  Paula Z.   [email]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  gen  |  2k  |  05/22/04
Characters:  Josh, Donna, Toby, CJ, Leo
Pairings:  Slight Josh/Donna
Summary:  The senior staff's innermost thoughts during the events of Gaza.
Notes:  Spoilers up to and for Gaza.
Disclaimer/Other:  Disclaimer: West Wing belongs to Aaron Sorkin, NBC and (unfortunately) John Wells. I'm just borrowing these wonderful characters and promise to put them back with only small scratches and fractures. Don't sue. All you'll get is my mongrel of a computer and college bills.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Christie for her awesome last minute beta and encouragement.

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