DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
RATING: T for Teen
PAIRINGS: J/D (Josh/Donna)
WORD COUNT: 975
SUMMARY: Donna gets ready for her new life in Washington. Post Election Day

A/N: This is something that's been tickling me for a little while, and it's totally TyriaT's fault. She's the reason I've managed to get re-hooked on West Wing and it's also her birthday this week, so she gets all the blame. Happy Birthday!

REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.


Boxes. There were boxes everywhere. For a year she had been living out of suitcases in hotel and motel rooms across the country. Each one was just another box in which she contained her life. From condo, to dorm, to cubicle, to suitcase, to cardboard; Donna Moss knew all about living in boxes.

Packing everything she owned into boxes and sending it to her parents had been hard, but necessary. First working with Vice President Russell and then Matt Santos, it seemed silly to keep the big apartment. So, she subletted it and sent her things home to Wisconsin.

The campaign was won, and everything was changing. Now she was faced with the daunting task of putting her life back together in Washington, and that included going through boxes.

As she and her mother started sifting through the evidence of the life she had lived, Donna couldn't help thinking about the life waiting for her in Washington. Being the First Lady's Chief of Staff had never once entered her mind as she worked on the Santos campaign, but the more she considered it, the better it felt. And it felt right.

"Donna, what in the world do you do with so many books?" Her mother's question brought her back to the present.

"What, Mom?"

"Most of these boxes are filled with nothing but books." Her mother sat between several boxes, holding a fistful of books in each hand for effect. "What can you possibly need with all these books?"

"I read, Mom. I read a lot, and you end up with a lot of books when you do that." Donna's mother had never understood her thirst for knowledge or her ambition, but she supported her none the less.

Flipping through the various books, her mother shook her head. "I'm supposed to believe you've read all of these books."

"Yes, Mom. Each and every one." She was enjoying her mother's good-natured ribbing. "And a whole lot more besides."

"Right. Like I believe you really read 'The Art & Artistry of Alpine Skiing?' Donna, you don't even ski." Her mother held the book out to her as she spoke.

Gently, Donna took the book from her mother's hand and smiled. "Can you honestly tell me you've read that book, Donna?"

"No, Mom. I haven't." Donna stood up and turned out of the room as she softly said, "I've never been able to get past the inscription."

At her father's insistence, she took her coat down from the rack before walking outside. She just needed a few moments alone to try and put her thoughts together. A brisk walk seemed like the best way to achieve that.

Holding the book tightly to her chest, Donna thought about the Christmas Eve she received it from Josh. It was just another crazy day in the White House, and she had been more than hinting at him about how she wanted to learn how to ski. What she really wanted was a weekend ski trip, complete with someone to keep her warm at night. But she knew that was asking for the impossible, so a set of skis would be an acceptable alternative.

What Josh gave her was so much more. He gave her a glimpse of the future. A glimpse she wouldn't understand until much later. Whenever she wandered across the molted calf's skin cover she would stop to read the beautiful inscription. It got her through a lot of bad days.

When she and Josh last spoke, she had given him four weeks. Four weeks to figure out exactly where they stood. They had finally given in to the thing everyone else around them saw for years. It was everything she thought it could be, everything she ever hoped for in a relationship, and it was with her best friend. But there was still something in the way. And that something had to be resolved if they were ever going to make it work.

Donna didn't want to be an undue influence on Josh as he decided what to do next She knew it had to be his decision, if there was any hope of it working out. She made it perfectly clear to him how she felt, and now it was up to him. All she had left to do was wait. The trouble was…Donna hated waiting.

As the cold began to seep in through her coat and clothes, Donna started to think about turning around. Too much longer out there and her father would likely send out the National Guard to bring her back. The thought of her father commanding the local militia to hunt down his only daughter in the Madison cold was incredibly amusing and it made her chuckle.

A voice from behind her ended her amusement in a flash. "There can't possibly be anything funny when it's this flipping cold outside. How'd you ever survive the winters here?"

She turned to find Josh standing on the walk, bundled up in his lined topcoat, a heavy wool scarf wound around his neck and holding himself tight, with his hands buried in his armpits. "Seriously, Donna. The Antarctic can't be this cold."

"You're right…" Donna struggled to keep from smiling at the sight of him. "It's actually much colder in the Antarctic."

Josh rolled his eyes at her answer and took a cautious step forward before he was stopped. "What are you doing here, Josh?"

He shrugged as he took another step forward. "I haven't been getting enough calcium in my diet, and I figured some cheeseballs would do me good."

Before she had a chance to glare at him, he looked down coyly and followed up the joke. "Ya know, I'm a pretty reasonable guy, and very capable of making decisions in a logical and expedient manner. So, I gotta wonder…" Peering up at her with that boyish charm of his, he asked, "What's the deal with this four weeks business?"