Title: lilacs or lilies or lady's slippers.

Summary: "Do you always have to be better than me?" she asks.

"Have we met?"

Gen. Info.: The West Wing, Josh/Donna, PG, post-season two finale, early season three.

Author's Note: So this is my first ever West Wing fic. I realize the show's been over for a really long time, but my mom got all the DVDs for Christmas, so I've been watching it. I hope you guys like it and I'd love it if you reviewed. Thanks for reading.

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Part of him wants to tell her. Part of him wants desperately to tell her. Because she's Donna, and really, what doesn't she know when it comes to him? He tells her everything, and if he doesn't, she finds out anyway. Sure, he can see classified things that she can't, but it rarely ever actually comes to that. Usually he gets to explain things to her, even things that go on behind the closed doors of the Oval Office. He trumpets every time he does something right that helps the nation, and Sam has taken to telling her every time he doesn't.

But part of him doesn't want to tell her. Because really, she's not going to be freakin' out about the Chinese satellite plummeting to Earth anymore, and that's funny. Honestly, that's all he's holding onto at the moment. He trusts Joey Lucas and he trusts Toby and CJ and Sam and he has Donna. He has Donna to tease and Donna to annoy and Donna to make him laugh.

"Josh! It could have plutonium!" she yells and he tries to hide his smile.

Toby tells her a couple of days later. When she says Sagittarius a wave of relief floods over him. But still, he should have been the one to tell her. She is his assistant after all, his Donna.

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He's not sitting by her at the funeral. She's just his assistant, he shouldn't sit by her. He should be with Toby and Sam, right where he is. But he wants to sit by her. Because there's an ache in his chest, there's been an ache in his chest for days, and she's the only one who eases it.

He doesn't get a chance to actually talk to her until long after the press conference. The president went with Answer A and senior staff had to scurry around and figure things out. She's there, as he absolutely needs her to be, saying things like "I'm pumped. I'm monumentally pumped" and making him grin, but he doesn't really get to talk to her until later.

"Josiah Bartlet is the best president America has seen in decades," she beams as she hands him his coat. He hasn't asked for it. In fact, he just walked into the room and he's not entirely sure how she knows Leo told them to go home. "And he's running again. God, Josh, this is amazing."

He grins. She really could be adorable sometimes. "Come home with me, have a beer."

"Josh, it's three a.m."

"You really going to be able to sleep?"

She shrugs. "I guess not."

"Then we're having a beer."

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"You know, I may not have come up with not stopping for red lights, but I would go in the president's motorcade so I could legally not stop for red lights," he says after the second beer.

"Do you always have to be better than me?" she asks.

"Have we met?"

She beams. Her face is a little more flushed than usual. She's still nursing her second beer, but it's the energy of the night. They were both drunk as soon as President Bartlet said, "And I'm gonna win."

She's sitting on his floor, leaning against his sofa where he is stretched out, his head next to hers. Her hair gets in his face a little but he doesn't mind. It smells good.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you he had MS."

"Josh," she sighs, "it's really not a big deal. I mean, Toby—"

"But you're my assistant. I mean, you're Donna. I buy you flowers in April and tell you things."

"I thought we agreed you weren't going to do that anymore."

"Tell you things?"

"Buy me flowers in April."

"Can I buy you flowers other times?"

"What for?"

"Do I need a reason?"

She smiles and blushes. He likes that he does that to her sometimes.

She leans back into the couch. His head is practically on her shoulder now and he's pretty sure she uses lilac shampoo. Or maybe lily. A flower with an L he's pretty sure. The world's swimming a little in front of him and his eyes are getting heavy and she smells like flowers.

He falls asleep like he does most nights she's drinking with him—too close to her and wondering why he hasn't kissed her yet, why he isn't kissing her right now. But then his eyes drop and when he wakes up he won't remember the last thing that happened before he fell asleep.

Instead he wakes up—still on the couch, but now there's a blanket over him. It's just before sunrise, still mostly dark. The beer bottles are gone but there's a note on the table: "You fell asleep, I was too tired/drunk/high on life to drive home and wasn't willing to move you to your bed, so I took it."

He sneaks quietly into his bedroom but she's already awake, sitting on his bed tying his shoes. She smiles at him.

"Sorry, my head was swimming too much to drive home, and thanks to your delicate system—"

"I do not have a delicate system."

"—you passed out on me. I'm going to shower and change and I'll see you in a while?" she asks, standing. He nods. "Oh, and there were crumbs all over your sheets. I changed them."

"You do the laundry, too?"

"Why yes of course, dear sir," she laughs and kisses his cheek. She does that sometimes. He likes it. "I'll see you in a couple of hours."

He doesn't change his sheets for over a month, long after the smell of lilacs or lilies or Lady's Slippers is just a figment of his imagination.