Title: First Footing
Summary: New Year brings changes for Josh and Donna, and for Sam.
Spoilers/Episode: Set in an a/u that leaves the show's timeline after season 5, Memorial Day. This chapter takes place straight after chapter 8.
Characters: Ensemble and Sam (also, finally some shipping).
"Josh," Andi called and caught up with him. "How you doing?"
"I'm good. You?"
"Yeah," Andi nodded. "How's Donna?"
"You had lunch with her yesterday."
"I know, so how is she?"
It had only been since Donna started staying over at his apartment, that Josh had realized he wasn't the only one who was good at hiding how he was feeling. Donna wasn't sleeping well and, no matter what she said, he knew her leg still bothered her. That wasn't what was keeping her awake at night though, she'd confessed that she still couldn't come to terms with surviving when the others had all died. Josh was certain that Donna didn't want anyone else knowing that though, so he lied, "She's fine."
"Good," Andi replied.
"Toby isn't though," Josh added.
"What's he said?"
"Nothing much, he worries about you."
"It could never work, it didn't before."
"I don't know what happened between you and I don't know what he expects now. I do know that he cares," Josh told her. "And so do you."
"He's the twins' father."
"After the bomb, who was the first person you thought of, who did you call?"
"I doesn't mean I want to spend the rest of my life with him."
"I does mean that you care," Josh said.
"Toby really doesn't need you fighting his corner."
"I'm not and he'd kill me if he thought I was, I'm just saying."
"It takes something like the bomb to make you realize your feelings?" Andi suggested.
"Yes," Josh agreed.
"So you should probably tell Donna."
"How did this become about me? And there's nothing to tell."
"Okay. But you flew out to Germany to be with her and you stayed until you knew she was going to be okay."
"If it had been you, Toby would have been there."
"That's my point," Andi replied.
"Did you find out what was wrong with Toby?" Donna asked on Saturday morning.
"Is it Andi?"
"I can't tell say."
"So that's a yes then."
"Possibly. She however thinks it's time I told you how I feel."
"Do you think everyone noticed apart from us?"
Josh smiled, "You mean we didn't notice."
"No," Donna smiled, "We just tried to hide it, not altogether successfully."
"Yeah," Josh agreed. "Donna, are you still seeing Frank?"
"You know I am."
"I know you tell me that's where you're going."
"I may have missed a couple. But I'm fine now."
"You woke up crying last night."
"I thought you were asleep."
"I don't sleep," Josh told her. "Which is why you should still be seeing Frank."
"Because you don't sleep?"
"Because I don't want you ending up as screwed up as me."
Josh leaned over and answered the ringing phone, but no one was there. He fumbled for his cell phone but that wasn't ringing either.
"It's the door buzzer," Donna muttered.
"Right." Josh climbed out of bed and staggered to the door. "Yeah?"
"Sam? Come in." Josh pressed the button and returned quickly to the bedroom. "It's Sam."
"Sam who?" Donna asked. "Sam?" she quickly realized. "What's he doing here?" she asked with a smile as she sat up.
Josh grinned, shrugged and went to let his friend in. He opened the apartment door and looked at Sam, before the two friends hugged. "What are you doing here?"
"My flight got in early."
Josh took Sam's bag from him, "What flight?" he asked, following Sam into the living room.
"It was kind of spare of the moment....." he shrugged, "I just wanted to see everyone. Did I wake you?" he laughed at Josh rumpled t-shirt.
"At 7 on a Sunday?" Josh asked, "No, why would you think that."
"I can go and come back later."
"Don't you dare. You want something to eat?"
"Coffee would be......." he trailed off at the sight of Donna standing in the kitchen in an oversized blue pajama top. "Hey," he smiled.
"Hey," Donna grinned and hugged him.
"There's something I've been meaning to tell you," Josh smiled.
"You two are dating?" Sam grinned. "It's about time. Nobody said anything."
"That's 'cos nobody knows," Josh replied.
"Oh, okay I guess, but why?"
"Work, Leo, the president, CJ, the press," Donna sighed.
"All good points," Sam agreed.
"Anyway, what are you doing here?" Donna asked.
"I wanted to ask something," he told Josh.
"The phone lines down?" Josh asked.
"You know, I thought you'd be pleased to see me, I thought it'd be a nice surprise," Sam tried to sound hurt, but failed miserably."I wanted to see you, to talk face to face."
"Sounds serious," Josh sounded worried.
"It is, but good serious, I think."
"Why don't you two sit down and start again, while I get dressed," Donna suggested, handing them their coffees.
Once they were sat in the living room, Sam wasn't sure where to begin. He'd been thinking about this since before Christmas, actually he first thought about it after the attack on the CODEL when he wanted to be there for Josh and Donna. That had been a gut reaction to his friends' need though, and it wasn't the right reason or the right time.
"Sam?" Josh prompted.
"Stop looking so worried," Sam smiled. "How's Will doing with Russell?"
"I think he's facing the realities of Washington, discovering who he can and can't trust, and he's still scared of Toby," Josh grinned. "Why?"
"Toby needs a deputy."
"He does," Josh agreed. "But he won't let any of the other writing staff be promoted, says none of them are good enough, he won't hear of bringing in anyone from outside again," Josh shrugged. "He's kind of stuck really, and yelling at everyone, well me mainly," he grinned. "State of the Union's going to be fun this year."
"He needs a deputy," Sam repeated.
"Well unless you're willing to....." Josh began and then looked like he'd been hit by a sudden revelation. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" he asked tentatively, because he didn't want to get his hopes up here.
"What do think?"
"I think it's a great idea," Josh grinned. "But I thought you never wanted to do that again."
"I needed a break, I've had a break, now I want to come back. If they'll, you'll, have me."
"God yes, of course we want you back, we never wanted you to leave. Wow. We've got to tell Toby."
Sam laughed, "I think we need a plan of attack first."
"Yeah. Why? He isn't going to say no."
END OF CHAPTER 9