By Nomad
Dec 2001

Spoilers: Everything Josh-like between ITSOTG and Noel, I guess
Disclaimer: No, I'm not Aaron Sorkin. I disguise this fact by cleverly choosing plots for which I don't have to know anything about politics.
Author's Note: Hey, hey, what's going on here? The other day it was a Leo-muse, now it's Josh. I can't even pretend this is current, and I don't have a song to blame this one on. I just suddenly had this need to write Angsty!Josh shooting fic. Because hey, that's never been done before...

When I was a kid, I fractured my arm. Hurt like hell. That horrible, itchy pain that won't go away. My dad always told me that was the feeling of the healing. All the little pieces of you, stitching themselves back together.

I guess that means I'm getting stitched back together right now. Like Frankenstein's monster. All the little pieces sewn in the right places, but without the spark it's not alive, it isn't anything.

I wonder what happened to my spark?

Maybe I should ask Donna. Hey, can you go get the Andrews file, and while you're there, maybe you could have a look see what I did with my spark? I seem to have mislaid it.

If anyone could find my spark for me, Donna could.

But if I ask Donna, she'll get that look. The hamster look. The 'Joshua Lyman, you just killed my childhood pet' look. I can't give Donna that look. I won't give Donna that look.

Because what if Donna can't find my spark? What if nobody can? Worse, what if I suck the spark out of her? Maybe I didn't lose it at all, it just sucked out of me. I'm just a great big black hole sucking the spark out of everything. Sucking the life out of everything.

I don't want Donna to lose her spark. Donna's all spark. She's like electricity. If you took her spark away, you wouldn't have any Donna left.

Not like me. Look at me. I lost my spark, and I'm still here. Nobody's noticed. So I guess I didn't need it anyway.

I think I know where my spark went, anyway. See, there's a hole. In my chest, here. Right about where my heart was. They thought they stitched it up, but I think they were wrong, because I can still feel it.

There's a great big hole in the middle of me. That's where my spark went. And it's where all the fractures are coming from.

Sometimes, see, fractures spread. You've got this one little weakness in something that's whole and strong. One little weakness, and it grows and it spreads and suddenly nothing's whole anymore. No matter how huge something is, it only takes one little chip.

I won't be that one little chip. This place is whole, and strong, and great. I won't be the one little chip that brings it down.

There's a way to deal with little chips. You watch them carefully. You watch to see if they'll mend, and if they don't mend, then you watch to see if they'll spread. Because if they don't spread, it doesn't matter. If it's just one little piece that's broken, what does it matter? Nobody cares about one little piece. But you have to watch. That little piece might get bigger.

I'm watching.

Sometimes I swear I can feel it spreading out from me. Spreading like oil; spreading like a crack in glass.

I try to keep it all inside, see. All self-contained. Just this one little hole, no fractures. But sometimes, it leaks out. Sometimes I can't seem to stop it from spreading.

I remember what I said to Donna about her gomer boyfriend. Actually, I don't. There were words. They were nasty. I think they came from me. It's hard to tell, when you don't have a spark anymore. It's kind of dark in here without it, and sometimes I get a little bit confused about what's me.

I think other things have been coming in through the hole. That's the thing with fractures, see? Things that are inside leak out. Things that are supposed to be outside leak in.

All this stuff in here, I don't think it's supposed to be here. I don't think this is me. It's all so angry. Me and my spark, we didn't used to be so angry. Did we? Sometimes, I can't remember.

And it hurts. It hurts all the time. Does that mean I'm healing? What if I do? What if it all heals up the way it is now, with everything in the wrong place? With my spark still missing, and all the other stuff that shouldn't be here trapped inside?

So it's better that it doesn't heal. Better that I just stay this way, with this great big hole in the middle of me.

Except for the fractures.

I'm still watching for those. I think they're coming. I think they'll be here any day now. Fairly soon, it's gonna start spreading.

But that's okay. I know how to fix that. There's a way to deal with that.

Fractures come from jagged holes. Smooth holes don't get them. So when you've got a fracture, you just have to clip it out. Break it off with nice clean lines. If you've got a clean break, there won't be any more fractures.

So that's what I need. Just as soon as it starts to spread.

A nice, clean break.