Donna flitted toward Josh's desk, twisting her fingers around an elastic hair band. Josh raised his eyebrows and tracked her as she twitched along an oblong path from one side of the room to the other. He tried to imagine a hummingbird with a nervous condition as Donna rushed past him-past him again. Her quiet frenzy escalated with each lap, and Josh counted five of them before he straightened up in his chair and broke the silence. "Can I help you?"
Donna slammed to a stop-dead center in front of his desk-and looked down at him with huge, wide eyes. "I didn't want to bother you with this," she said, already speaking faster than usual. "Again. I didn't want to bother you with this again, but-"
"But you're going to anyway?" Josh asked, offering her a half-grin.
"Did you tell CJ about the thing?"
Josh stood, sifting through the papers and folders scattered across his desk. "The, uh, satellite?"
"Yes." He uncovered a maroon folder, stuffed full of single loose pages, and set it aside.
"And nothing. It's fine."
"Donna, there's really nothing to worry about."
"There's a Chinese satellite, an enormous"-Donna's hands cut through the air with an abrupt flourish-"Chinese satellite careening toward Earth, and you're telling me there's really nothing to worry about? NASA's not sure where it's going to land, but it will-it will, Josh-and it could fall into Mount Rushmore or the Golden Gate Bridge or Niagara Falls-"
"Well, as long as it's on the Canadian side, we're in the clear," Josh said, smirking at her.
"Stop it, Josh. This isn't funny. It could crash into the Statue of Liberty or-or the White House, and-"
"Come here," Josh said, waving his hand, beckoning her to come closer. "Donna, come here."
Donna tilted her head, squinting at him. "Why?"
"Because there's something you need to see."
"What?" she asked, her tone heavy with suspicion. "Will I be able to get a better view of it crashing into the south lawn from your window?"
"Yes. That's exactly what I wanted to show you. It'll come down with a tail of fire, and you can't miss that. It's really something."
"I'm serious, Josh," Donna said, rounding the corner of the desk to stand beside him.
"Me, too," he said, hoping that Donna could see the mischief in his eyes when he looked at her. "It's the brightest orange you'll ever see."
"I just hope it doesn't light the trees on fire."
"Okay," Donna said, raising her hands in a gesture of surrender as she spun on her heel. "I'm going. I'm going back to my desk and-"
"Donna. Wait, Donna," Josh said as he lunged for her, soft bursts of laughter sneaking out between words. He hooked his hand around her elbow and urged her to face him. Donna frowned at him, and Josh squeezed her arm before releasing her to retrieve the maroon folder from his desk. "I had Carol pull some files from the press office."
She stuffed her hair band into her pants pocket, took the folder, and opened it slowly. "What files?"
"Notifying the press office that a satellite was going to fall out of the sky," he clarified.
"Like the one I got."
"Like the one you got. The press office gets these faxes once a week. Satellites come down once every ten days. Seventeen thousand have come back to Earth. You've survived hundreds of crash landings, Donna," he said, gesturing toward the ceiling-the sky-and let his hand drop with a slap against his leg. "So has everyone else on the planet. Nobody's ever been hurt by one of these things. Nobody."
"Nobody?" she asked, her voice flat with disbelief.
"I'm not making it up, Donna. I swear I'm not making it up."
"So, because you know, apparently, that it hasn't happened yet, you're sure that it never will?"
"I-" Josh closed his eyes, silently berating himself for walking into that trap. "That's-a fair point, but, come on, Donna. It's highly unlikely. It's nothing to worry about."
"I don't believe you."
Josh blinked. "What?"
"I don't believe you."
"Donna, listen," he said, even and serious. He stepped close to her, nearly nudging the toes of her shoes, and met her eyes. "If this was-if there was a real possibility that a satellite might crush any one of the people I care about, I'd be worried about it. You'd know I was worried about it. And you'd know it was serious." He paused, drawing a deep breath. "And you can bet that I'd be doing everything I could to prevent it. But there's nothing to worry about."
Donna bowed her head and peered at the floor as she closed the folder. A blush crept over her cheekbones.
Josh fought the urge to tease her. "Now do you-"
Donna struck like a viper, smacking his shoulder with the closed file. "You-"
"Ow," Josh whined, smoothing his hand over his shoulder to soothe it. "Donna."
"You couldn't have told me this earlier?" she hissed and slapped the folder back onto his desk. "Who am I kidding? Of course you couldn't have. It's exactly like you to take sick delight in watching me curl into a ball of paranoid distress."
Josh grinned. "You're right. That's exactly like me. In fact, this was even better than listening to you harp on about missiles under the building."
She scowled fiercely at him. "Sicko."
His grin spread into a full smile as he snorted a laugh. "Come on, Donna, it's not-"
"No, you come on, Josh," she said, pointing a rigid finger at him. "Half of the staff thinks I'm crazy! They're going to snicker behind my back now. Snicker at Josh Lyman's crazy assistant who thinks we're all going to suffer death-by-satellite."
"Well, I don't know for sure, but I'd say it's more than half, Donna."
She pressed her lips together as she narrowed her eyes, silent for a moment before she about-faced and announced, "I'm going home."
Josh followed her to his door and angled his head, watching Donna stomp to her desk. "See you tomorrow," he said and paused briefly before he added, "as long as you don't get squashed by a falling satellite on your way home."
As she weaved out of the bullpen, Donna glanced over her shoulder. Josh noticed the curve at the corner of her mouth-the beginning of a smile-as her hand spread on the door, about to push. "Shut up," she said and headed for the exit, leaving Josh to stand in his doorway, unable to clear the smile off his face.