|Going into the Storm
Author: Cynthia Arrow PM
In the aftermath of the resignation, Josh needs rescuing. (This story is not nearly as melodramatic as my description sounds.)Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 1,319 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 05-07-03 - id: 1336420
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author: Cynthia Arrow
Disclaimer: Don't sue me, Aaron. I'm not making any money off this anyway.
Rating: PG-13 (for one big nasty curse word)
A/N: After "Life on Mars," and pertaining to it, but not really a post-ep per se. Probably set a few days after. This is my first serious, angsty bit of fan fiction—I usually write humor/fluff—so, no rotten tomatoes, please. Send constructive criticism via e-mail.
Going into the Storm
Donna pulled the heavy door open under the watchful eye of the guards who were working the late shift. She had already argued with them, already threatened them if they didn't let her go outside. Damn the threat of a tornado. Let me know if it goes to a warning, she had said.
The wind held the door open behind her. She never heard it close. The noise of the thunder and the wind was too loud. She might have stopped to marvel at the incessant lightning, but her mission was a figure walking away from the White House. He did not strut, and he did not amble. He walked purposefully, if not with a destination in mind, at least with strong need to be somewhere else. Or maybe, Donna considered, she was reading too much into things, considering what she knew about Josh's state of mind.
The rain was just a random smattering of drops, but with the wind taking her hair and lashing it over her face, lifting her coat and lifting her skirt, she didn't stop to watch the sky.
"Damn it, Josh," she said.
The guard opened the door and called out to her. "Miss Moss, the watch has been upgraded to a warning."
She called, "How long?"
"Ten minutes. You've got to come inside."
"Okay," she said. The rain was starting. She looked down at her open-toed shoes, then she looked back at the building. Josh was getting smaller in the distance. The sky was a copper-green. More rain pelted her, and the whole scene suddenly seemed as urgent as it was.
"Damn it, Josh," she repeated, slipping her shoes off. She picked them up and threw them under the overhang and started to walk as fast as she dared toward the street, hoping the guard wouldn't follow.
Part of her brain registered the exciting feeling of playing in the rain, the way everything seemed so important while at the same time carefree. Maybe it was the adrenaline. She made her way through the grass, feeling her feet squish into the cold, wet ground.
"What are you doing?" she said to Josh and to herself. "It's a damn tornado and I'm going out into the storm."
Her feet hit pavement as the rain picked up.
She knew his mind was in an upheaval. Everyone's was. But Josh had faced more serious things before, things that had the power to break a person. He had survived them all.
"He's not breaking," she said to herself. Then in his general direction: "You're too angry to know you're angry."
Her feet slapped against the warm, wet concrete as she got close enough to call his name.
"Donna?" He turned, wild-eyed by the storm and bewildered by her presence. "What the hell are you doing?"
"What the hell are you doing? There's a tornado coming. Five minutes out. You've got to come inside."
"I'm okay out here."
"What?" Unbelievable, she thought. The rain began to run down her face.
"I'm okay. I want to see the storm."
"You're a lunatic. Do you want to be decapitated by a street sign?"
"I'm telling you, a tornado will not hit the White House. You can go back inside if you're scared. I'm okay."
"The hell you are. And your logic sucks. Bad things do happen to the White House. The secret service can't stop nature." She managed to remember to breathe. The wind had picked up, and she had been almost screaming.
"Donna, just go back inside."
"Do you think I'm out here for my health? I'm not going in without you."
He threw his arms open wide. "What is this?"
"It's me saving your sorry ass. You're not dying because of your own self-pity. I won't let you."
"What self-pity?" he snapped. "I like storms. Since when does that qualify as self-pity?"
"Don't talk to me like I don't know you. You're pissed, and when you're pissed, you think you can take on the world."
"Who am I pissed at?"
"Come inside the damn building. This time I'm not asking. I'm telling."
"Who am I pissed at?"
"You're not this stupid. Damn it, Josh, you're not this fucking stupid. There's a tornado coming and you want to get into an argument. Unbelievable."
"You came out here and started this." He was pointing his whole hand at her. The rain began to soak through her clothes, and she was suddenly angry with him.
"The Vice President," she yelled.
"I'm not mad. I'm a lot of things. I'm disappointed, frustrated, confused, and sad. I'm not angry."
She walked toward him, never losing eye contact. She stopped a foot or two from him. "You lost your moral compass. He's more to you than the President and Leo. You feel like you've lost the one person you could trust to be a better man than you, and it made you angry."
"Donna, you don't want to do this with me right now," he said. He stared right through her, his eyes wild again.
"Fine. Fine. All I'm saying is it's okay to be mad, but it's not okay to be stupid. If you want to continue this, come inside with me. If not, I hope when you get thrown over the rainbow you find the Great and Powerful Oz."
She turned around and began the long ascent of the hill, relieved when she heard his heavy footsteps behind her. She picked up her shoes and stood under the overhang, waiting for him to catch up, feeling the wind again, the way it came in frenzied gusts. After smoothing her hair down, she used the inside of her jacket to wipe off her face. She was peeling off her pantyhose when Josh made it to the top of the drive.
He shook the raindrops off his hands and out of his hair. He dripped everywhere. "You're wrong, Donna. Okay. You're just wrong."
"If John Hoynes—"
"You," she said, putting her wet hands on either side of his face, "are a good man. So is he. Be angry if you want. Be hurt and disappointed and confused, but do it inside this building. If I catch you outside again tonight, I'm kicking your ass."
She grabbed his hand and pulled him through the door as it was held open for them. Still half-angry with him, she left him at the door and went toward the stairs. Everyone would be in the basement—if not now, soon. Her shoes and pantyhose were still in her hand as she reached the stairs.
She turned back to see him standing at the window by the doors, staring out. She pivoted on her grimy soles and walked back to where he was. Though she had the urge to wrap her arms around him, to cross her hands over his stomach, to touch her forehead to his back and hold him, she took her place beside him and tried not to look into his eyes. She looked instead at the continuing lightning, rolling back and forth like fireworks across the sky.