A potential cut-scene from 2x10 Noel. It's stupid but he tries to think of an excuse, gets some water, paces and stalls before he can't find another reason to not just answer the door. He doesn't want to face her, face what he's done, face what's happened.

For the Write For Relief Charity Fundraiser for pintsizeninja, who prompted: "Josh/Donna, season 2 or season 3."


It's horrific. There's no other word for it. Josh is sure that Sam could think of ten thousand words (all right, less than that but he's not in the state to be anything less than completely hyperbolic) that would fit the occasion of yelling at the president, but he's not exactly Mr Fucking Thesaurus at the moment.

He can't sit still. He's a mess, he's a damn mess and everything is white and red and blazing blue behind his eyes. It'd be better if he didn't know what was going on, but he knows, but he can't face it. He can't.

(At one point his hand hovers over the phone, like maybe he could call someone, anyone, try and talk, maybe the shrink he's abandoned, whose calls he screens, but what would he say?)

Help me. Fix me. Make it stop.

His mouth wants to form words, wants to curse, but it can't fit itself around the words and his mind isn't supplying anything. For once, he's speechless, and his hands are shaking.

He thinks about screaming, letting out the wordless scream that is his thoughts at the moment, when there's a knock on his door.

It stops him cold. His hands are shaking. He snaps them against his side.

"Josh?" It's Donna. Hesitant. Gentle. "It's me."

"Yeah." He should answer. "Be there in a second!"

It's stupid but he tries to think of an excuse, gets some water, paces and stalls before he can't find another reason to not just answer the door. He doesn't want to face her, face what he's done, face what's happened fuck his breath is caught in his throat again.

He pulls the door open.

She's startled. Probably at how he looks. His eyes are aching and his throat is dry even with the water he forced down his throat second before, and he can only imagine how he looks to her right now. "Not the best time, you know, I was watching the greatest infomercial," he cracks automatically.

"Josh," she chides him, and she knows. He can see it in her face, the look in her eyes.

"Can I come in?"

"Yeah. Yeah, of course."

He lets her in but rushes in ahead of her. "You want a drink?"

Donna doesn't sit or settle in, she's hovering, like a mother or a girlfriend or someone who cares (not many of them left). "Are you drinking?" she asks carefully.

"Are you calling me a drunk?"

"I'm just checking on you, it's been a rough couple of weeks, I know that - "

She's on one of her rambles but he can't let her finish. "You checked, I'm fine. Now relax, sit, let me get you a drink," he advises, and puts his hands on her shoulders, attempts to guide her to a chair.

She doesn't sit. She just touches his face.

"Josh," she says again; it's amazing how many different ways she can say his name, and how each way lilts a little differently, with shades of concern and annoyance and affection. This time she's worried, really worried, and he can't stop himself looking at her, the furrow in her brow, the tense way she's pulled back because she knows they shouldn't be so close -

He leans against her hand and towards her, closes the distance and kisses her. It feels like an instant and slow motion at once, and he's terrified she'll shove him back and he'll have to explain himself, but she doesn't, even though she has a chance.

Donna doesn't kiss him, but she doesn't not kiss him, and once his other hand rests on her side and pulls her closer, she breaks away. It's fury and impulse that drives him to kiss her again - it's not a decision, just an instinct, a need, a requirement like air - and she kisses him back, melts against him like she's been waiting for this and somewhere way in the back of his head a tiny voice is going WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

It's fucking cheap and it's fucking stupid, and he's pawing at Donna like she's Amy fucking Gardner. He's shoving her blouse off her shoulders like she's some girl he's picked up at a fundraiser, and he wants her but not like this but the thing that's driving him just wants anything, anything in Josh's life to come along so it can make him destroy it.

"Donna." Her name comes out of his mouth when his hips are against hers and her arms are wrapped around his neck and her hand tangled in his hair, and it reminds him of Hebrew school, of the words that mean a thousand things at once, that evoke images and tastes and scents as well as history. He repeats it, painful and reverent and broken. "Donna - "

"Don't. Don't," she says, and it's like the word is ripped from her lungs, each worse than the next, and she kisses him fiercely -

And he knows in that instant like they've meshed somehow, just in a flash of - something - that she would fix him if she could, that she came here to hold him and love him and give him whatever he needed. Not coffee or bagels or phone calls or memos, but Donna, just Donna.

"Oh my god," he breaks off, breathless and shaky and fucking awful, a fucking horrible, horrible person who does horrible things like try and fuck his assistant on the same day he almost loses his job. "You - you need to go."

Donna's staring at him. Josh can't stop looking at her either, but he backs up two, three more steps, so he can't be tempted by her mouth, her neck, the curve of her thigh. "Go," he repeats.

"No way," she says once she finds her voice. "No way I'm leaving you alone tonight."

"I don't want you," he lies, fluidly, and seizes her by the arm. "So - so go."

She reacts like he's slapped her, and fumbles to get her shirt back on. He paces and grabs the remote and before he can get the TV back on she finds her voice. "You - you - this isn't you, I know this isn't you because you wouldn't do this, any of it. And I wouldn't do it, and this? Was a mistake, so I'll see you tomorrow and... and we won't ever talk about this. Ever."

"Yeah, right," he says, in this horrible acidic tone that isn't him at all. "Whatever."

"Right," she shoots back, and he can hear the start of tears in her voice. "Whatever."

He turns away and rakes his hands through his hair, stares out the window as the door slams behind her.

Rosslyn. Joanie. Donna. It hurts too much to fucking stand and he has no idea how people like his grandfather survived concentration camps when his head is about to explode over one goddamn gunshot wound and a fire and a woman who shouldn't have shown up anyway.

He pours himself a drink. And when it finally becomes too much, it all goes white and red and flashing blue –

and then the glass breaks.