He would save her


Set during the season 3 episode "War Crimes"
"Yah?"

Josh looked up only when he heard his door gently click closed, to see Donna standing awkwardly before him, clutching her purse.

"You bought it?"

She gave a small nod and reached inside her bag, pulling out a fairly thick black book which she rested carefully in her hands.

"Ok" Josh sighed, leaning back in his chair and looking intently at the papers on his desk.

"Josh…" Donna began, but was quickly cut off.

"…When did you start writing in it?"

She swallowed her words and let out a breath, "1998" she murmured, eyes downcast.

"Ok, and how regularly do you write in it?"

"Not religiously, only once or twice a month, if that… I only really write when something big happens…"

Josh sat up in his seat and let out a curt breath, "and by 'big' you mean…"

"I don't write about the day to day goings on of the Oval Office, Josh" she cut him off quickly.

He rubbed his eyes and tried to explain, "But you never…"

"…No, I never." She stopped him again. "I haven't written anything embarrassing about cabinet officials or revealed Government conspiracies. When I say I write about 'big' events I'm talking about things in my life which I consider being important but which are in fact, totally trivial."

"Ok then". Josh stood up and reached out a hand for the diary.

Donna looked up, but made no move to pass it to him.

"Donna…"

"You can't read this"

He let his outstretched hand fall to his side as he stared back at her. "Did you write about Clifford Calley?"

Without breaking her gaze Donna nodded.

"Then I think I should read…"

"You can't"

"Donna!"

"You can't, Josh!"

"Well too bad!" he yelled back, causing her to jump slightly. "This is the price you pay for lying during a grand jury investigation!" and he slammed a fist hard on his desk, causing photo frames to bounce. Tears began to prick at Donna's eyes.

It was late, there was nobody left in the building to hear Josh's lethal words, but still, once he'd said them he instantly quieted himself. He ran a hand through his hair and turned slightly away from her, towards his window he looked out at the dimming sky.

"If you were found in Contempt of Congress it'd be…" he began, without turning to look at her.

"…A thousand dollars and jail for about 12 months" Donna finished for him, her words barely audible.

He turned around quickly and stared at her.

"Clifford warned me" she explained, without even having to look up she could feel Josh's eyes on her.

She swiped at the tears which had escaped down her cheeks and Josh felt his insides crumple.

"October 4th and 5th" Donna murmured, looking up at him, her eyes glistening.

"Wh-what?"

"Those are the entries about Clifford" and she stepped forward, gently laying the diary on Josh's desk.

He looked down at the diary and then back at her. "Your not going to jail, Donna" – he hoped his voice had resolve, he hoped as much to comfort her as to make himself believe it. Truth be told, this possibility which scared Donna terrified him.

"Josh…" she started, but her voice snapped in half before anymore could be said. She hugged herself tight as the tears flowed and she whimpered, and then in a moment she felt his arms wrap around her and prop her up, holding her even tighter than she was holding herself. She leaned into him, tucking her head underneath his chin she cried hard and somewhere in between her shaking and his strong embrace, her crying and his soothing, she realized why she had come to him and not Sam.

"How do you know…" she choked out the words, but Josh didn't need her to explain.

"I won't let anything happen to you" he said simply.

This was it. He would save her. She knew it.

Taking deep breaths she pulled away from him, to look into his face. "Only read from October 4th and 5th" she whispered.

He gave a small nod but it wasn't enough.

"Don't read anymore, Josh, please"

"Donna…"

"I wrote about you"

Josh felt his face flush as his words stuck. He took a step back, his eyes still locked with Donna's. Sitting on his desk right now were all the words they didn't say to one another, all the secret underpinnings of their relationship neither of them could muster the courage to confront and bring out into the open.

Donna felt the red creep up her neck and fill her cheeks as Josh stared back at her, knowing exactly why she didn't want him to read her personal thoughts and feelings. It was a million other looks like the one he was giving her right now that made their way into the pages of her diary, full descriptions of minor incidents of hands accidentally touching and sarcastic remarks being taken as so much more.

"Okay…." Josh suddenly breathed.

"Okay?"

He nodded.

He didn't need to read and confirm what he already knew to be true.

It was the fact that Donna had come to him with this and not Sam.

It was the way she'd blushed and wouldn't meet his eye when she told him about Clifford.

It was the way she let her guard down sometimes, "If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for red lights".

That diary couldn't tell him anything he didn't know already.

"I promise" he nodded, and that was all she needed to believe him.