collusion

r | parody

She had an odd feeling, and it wasn't just because of that weird thing Josh was doing with his tongue. Albeit that was pretty odd. It felt as if he was trying to clean her teeth, as if he was searching for food particles in the crevices of her mouth, and the more she focused on it, the less erotic the make- out session became.

But never mind that; there was another odd feeling, as if someone was watching them. She opened her eyes, tilting her head until she could see around his yummy, mussed, puffed out hair. Sure enough, there was CJ, staring at the two of them with her arms crossed over her chest. Donna hastily expelled Josh's tongue from her mouth and pushed his hand off her thigh. He frowned at her until she pointed toward the door; he put on his best sheepish expression and turned around.

"I can explain," he said lamely.

"Oh, really? I'd love to hear this." CJ's tone was harsh, but Donna thought she could see the faintest hint of a smile curling her lips.

"Yeah, I was . . . I was . . ."

"Checking to see if I flossed," Donna finished. Because actually, really? Not so far from the truth. She was going to have to talk to Josh about his Frenching technique.

"Yeah!" He nodded enthusiastically until his brain processed what she had said. "Wait, what?"

"Don't worry, Josh. I'm not going to bite your head off. I'm actually quite glad for the two of you."

"Really?" Josh straightened his tie.

"Really." CJ flashed them a grin that Donna presumed was supposed to be reassuring, but it made her a bit uncomfortable instead. "We've all been waiting for you to pull your head out of your ass, Josh. And now that you finally have, believe me, everyone here will be very happy for you. Ah, as long as you don't make out in your office anymore."

And then she was gone as quickly as she had arrived. He turned towards her, shrugging once before resuming their previous activity. The awkward tongue thing. Maybe he'd been a dentist in another life.

"Mmm, Josh?" she mumbled as she pulled away.

"Yeah?"

"You do realize that she probably didn't come in here with the express purpose of interrupting our kissing, so once she remembers that, she's going to return, and then she'll be really pissed about the fact that we're still doing it, don't you?"

"Oh. Yeah. Uh . . . I should go find out what she wanted."

He stole one last kiss before he slipped out of the office. She hummed a random tune as she tidied up his desk, put his papers in order. The phone rang and she cleared her throat before answering.

"Josh Lyman's office."

"Donna!"

The voice on the other end was so cheerful that she had trouble placing it at first. "Toby? Josh just left to see CJ."

"Oh, that's fine. Great, in fact! I really wanted to talk to you."

"Okay," she said warily. "Did someone slip you some Prozac this morning?"

"CJ just told me about you and Josh."

Well, that explains it, she thought warily. He was setting her up for something. "Look -"

"We're just all so happy for you here, Donna."

"Happy?" Maybe when CJ told him, the shock gave him a stroke and killed his brain.

"We have been on pins and needles here, waiting for you and Josh to get together."

Then he squealed. Toby. Ziegler. Squealed. Like a schoolgirl.

The apocalypse was imminent.

"Really?"

"Oh, yes, Donna. This news has made us positively giddy!"

The cheer in his voice was disconcerting. Sickening, really. She decided she wasn't going to play anymore, so she just told him goodbye and hung up. She was absently rifling though papers, lost in thought when a hand clamped down on her shoulder. She yelped as she spun around.

"Oh, Mister - Sir, I -"

"Donnatella, I think we know each other well enough by now. Call me Jed. Or Father, even! I consider you the daughter I never had."

Just when she thought this day couldn't possibly get any weirder. "You, uh, you have . . . daughters. Sir."

"Yes. Well. Sam just told me the fabulous news about you and Josh."

"Don't people have anything better to do around her than talk about my love life?" she snapped.

"Remember who you're talking to, young lady." The smile on his face evaporated.

"Yes, sir." She silently cursed her pale skin as she felt the blush deepen.

"We're just happy for you. Since the first day of the campaign, I've been watching you two, hoping you foolish lovebirds would find your way to the nest."

"I wasn't . . . with the campaign on the first day. Sir."

He waved his hand dismissively. "As far as I'm concerned, the campaign didn't start until you joined up. You were instrumental in my victory. I couldn't have won without you. In fact, you single-handedly saved the party! The world, even!"

This had really gone too far. She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back against the desk. "Did CJ put you up to this? Or was it Josh?"

"Donnatella." He wagged his finger at her. "I'm just so excited for you; that's all."

"I'm really busy, sir."

"I do hope the sex is good. If it isn't, I'd be more than willing to take Josh aside and give him some pointers."

"Uh . . ."

"Does Josh even know that women come with clitorises?"

She almost choked on her own saliva. "Sir, we . . . I -"

"Have you thought about what you're going to name the kids?"

"S-s-sir, I . . . this isn't -"

"I think Josiah is a fabulous name, personally, but I'm sure you're going to want to name them Noah and Joanie."

That's a bit morbid, she thought. "I don't feel . . . comfortable talking about this with you."

"Okay, okay." He stepped back, pausing briefly in the doorway. "But just think about it: Josiah Noah Bartlet Joanie Lyman-Moss. Or Moss-Lyman. I can always make it an order."

Once he was gone, she managed to make her way to the door and lock it. Her hands were shaking and she felt nauseated. When CJ stumbled on them, Donna expected some level of grief from her co-workers, but this was just weird. Sex tips from . . . from . . . she couldn't even manage to think it. Everyone was really going too far.

A loud thump startled her and she accidentally knocked over his cup of coffee.

"Is there a good reason why the door to my office is locked?"

She let him in reluctantly. It was his office, but he might be duplicitous in this whole thing. As he stepped through the jamb, he craned his head and suspiciously looked around.

"What are you doing in here?"

"Hiding from our oh-so-helpful coworkers."

"They've been on you too?"

"You're really not in on it with them?"

He didn't even seem to have heard her question. "I got to CJ's office and Sam was there. They both started badgering me about not making you an honest woman. And then . . .."

"What?"

He grimaced at her. "Leo came in and asked me if I knew how to . . . satisfy your . . . needs."

"We're never having sex again, are we?" she muttered under her breath.

*

"Donna!"

Oh, hell, no. She turned around and prepared to run - all the way to Virginia, if need be - but Sam was blocking her path. She spun on her heel, but Ainsley was right there, grinning. It was no use; she was trapped, and it made her want to cry.

"Have some coffee, Donna," Ainsley chirped. "It's my special blend."

"No, thanks." Donna tried to slip out to her left, but Sam put his hands on her waist.

"It's great coffee," Sam said. "Very energizing. You and Josh will be able to go all night if you drink that."

Utterly defeated, she just went limp, burying her head in her hands. "Why won't everyone just leave us alone?" she sobbed.

"What's wrong?" Ainsley asked as she pulled Donna into an embrace. "Honey -"

"Three weeks! Everyone has been on me and Josh for three damn weeks! I can't go anywhere without someone asking me how it is with Josh or how our sex life is or when we're getting married or what we're going to name our children, and I can't take it anymore!"

She could hear Ainsley cooing in her ear, feel Sam's hands on her back. It should have been reassuring, but it only exacerbated her panic. When she pried herself loose, she heard Ainsley cry out, and she was quite sure she had drawn blood, but she didn't care. She had to get out.

She flung open the first door she came to, noting with relief that it was a storage closet. It didn't lock, but nobody should be looking for her in here, and she could easily hide among the stacks of files. She found a somewhat comfortable spot and sunk down onto the floor, resting her forehead against a cardboard box.

Maybe it would stop now. Maybe they would realize that their joking had gone too far. Alleged 'aphrodisiacs' left on her desk at lunch. Copies of pages from the Kama Sutra slipped into file folders. Repeated inquiries about how many orgasms she was having and when they were going to start a family. Maybe they really didn't know how cruel and invasive they were being.

"Donna?"

She swore under her breath as she ducked her head down, trying to make herself as small as possible. As if CJ knew exactly where she was hiding, her footsteps grew louder and louder, until finally, Donna felt a tap on her shoulder.

"I brought you some water."

She lifted her head and glared at CJ, but she still took the paper cup that was offered to her. After a sip, though, she spit it back out, coughing uncontrollably.

"Is our water contaminated somehow? The coffee tastes odd like this, too."

CJ shrugged. "DC water; what do you expect? I'm more interested in what's the matter with you."

"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me?!"

"Keep your voice down."

"Everyone in this building has spent almost a month butting into my personal life, going out of their way to humiliate Josh and me. I expected you all to be a bunch of jerks for a while, but this has gone too far."

It happened so quickly, she almost didn't see CJ's hand moving. The cup fell to the floor, water splashing on her shins as CJ gripped her wrist and hauled her up. Donna cried out in pain as CJ pinned her to the wall. For a moment, she thought she saw CJ's eyes flash red, but reasoned it must have been a trick of the lighting.

"Maybe you should have thought about that before you joined the campaign," she snarled.

"What are you talking about?"

"You weren't our first choice. And you can easily be replaced."

Donna squirmed, trying to retrieve her arm from CJ's grasp. "I don't understand."

"There was a reason why we chose Josh. If you can't take the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen, little girl."

She finally let go of her arm. Donna slumped back down to the floor, wincing as a jolt of pain shot up her back. She closed her eyes out of reflex, and when she reopened them, she was surprised to see that CJ was gone, leaving her no opportunity to ask what the hell that was all about.

*

"The hell?"

Josh gingerly took her hand, holding her wrist up to the light. A dark purplish band marked where CJ's hand had been.

"She went crazy."

"I can't believe that CJ attacked you."

"You think I'm lying?" She couldn't help it; she burst into tears..

"Donna, I . . . are you okay?"

"I'm quitting," she choked out. "I can't take it here anymore. Toby asking me if you can make me climax. Mrs. Bartlet offering to help pick out a wedding dress. Sam giving me books on naming babies. Everyone here is fucking crazy!"

His arms were around her in an instant. He stroked her back, let her cry into his shoulder.

"I know," he whispered into her hair. "Maybe they don't know - "

"They know, Josh. They know exactly what they're doing. They're heartless bastards."

"They've certainly brought out the potty mouth in you."

"This isn't fucking funny!"

"Sorry." He pulled back a bit and examined her wrist again. "It still hurts?"

"Yes. When I move it."

"Then don't move it," he joked weakly. "I'm taking you to the hospital."

"It's not that bad."

"It looks that bad." She met his gaze and found that his eyes were almost black. "I just want to make sure you're okay."

"Okay," she acquiesced. "Just let me get my bag."

He locked up his office as she went to her desk and retrieved her purse. When she stood up, CJ's face loomed into view, and she screamed.

"Where are you guys going?" CJ chirped. "Back to his place for a quickie? Have we mentioned lately how glad we are that you two are together?"

Donna felt Josh's hand on her hip, possessive and comforting all at once.

"She says you attacked her," he accused. "I'm taking her to the hospital. And then to my lawyer's office."

Toby joined them in the bullpen, then Sam and Ainsley and Charlie, and soon it seemed as if everyone in the building was crowded around them. Donna put her good arm around Josh's back and pulled him a bit closer.

"Hospital," CJ told Toby. "They'd want to take x-rays, wouldn't they?"

"Probably. But just of the arm. I don't see the harm in it."

"I don't think we oughtta let them take the chance," Ainsley said. "We can't afford to mess up the project."

"What project?" Josh asked indignantly.

"We should take it now," CJ said.

Sam shook his head as he pushed his way to the front. "It's too early!"

"We don't have any choice," she snapped at him. "We'll have to accelerate growth."

"What the hell are you all talking about?" Donna finally exploded.

"Harvesting, Donnatella," came a loud, booming voice from the back. "We are going to take what is ours."

Josh stepped in front of her, but it was no use. Hands were instantly on his body, pulling him away. When she reached for him, CJ yanked on her arm, twisting it until the bone cracked. Donna howled with pain as more hands brought her to the ground, holding her down. She could still hear Josh shouting, protesting, telling her to run. Then there were three loud shots and he fell silent.

"Did we really need to do that?"

"We didn't need him anymore, Sam," CJ said. "Now shut the fuck up and help me harvest the baby."

Donna had been struggling against her captors, desperately trying to get free - because maybe he wasn't dead; maybe he was just wounded and she could help him - but at CJ's words, she stilled.

"Baby? I . . . I'm on the Pill. There's no baby."

"Oh, no, Donna, there is," Ainsley said. "See, Josh matched a profile listed in the ancient texts. I don't know what it is exactly, as they don't let me play with the really unholy books, being an initiate and all, but I do know that they wanted him to have a baby with Mandy, as she has some evil gene that would have made everything easier. So they were disappointed when you joined the campaign and put a monkey wrench in their plans. But they decided to roll with it and they've been trying to get you together since -"

"Oh, for the love of -" Toby let go of Donna's arm long enough to wave his hands around in frustration. "We poisoned your coffee. It lessened the effectiveness of the Pill."

A sharp pain knocked her out of her horrified stupor. CJ had her hand on Donna's belly and was chanting in some strange language. Her stomach began to swell before her eyes. The pain was so horrible that she thought she was going to black out, and then -

"Donna!"

"Don't take my baby!" she screamed as she sat up in the bed. Her arms flung out to strike her attackers, but they were gone. It took her a minute to realize that Josh was the only one in the room with her. His bedroom. Her belly was flat, smooth, and there wasn't any pain. The skin on her wrist was pale, bruise-free.

He groaned as he rubbed his eyes and rolled onto his side.

"Should I be at all concerned about the fact that we've only been sleeping together for two weeks and you're already dreaming about babies?"

Tears welled up in her eyes as she rubbed her stomach. It was clear to her now that it had all been a dream, but the emotions - fear, sorrow, betrayal - were still coursing though her. He seemed to figure this out, as the semi-smirk disappeared from his face. He put his arm around her, pressing his lips to her cheek.

"Hey. Hey. You okay?"

She tried to smile reassuringly. "I just . . . bad dream, that's all."

"Should I be at all concerned about the fact that we've only been sleeping together for two weeks and you're having nightmares? About babies?"

"It's probably just indigestion."

"You know what this is? It's a sign." She frowned at him. "No, really. It's a sign that you shouldn't steal my fries anymore."

"Jerk," she whispered. And with that, she lost it; she blinked and tears spilled over, onto her cheeks.

"Hey, come on. No girly stuff." But his voice and his hands were gentle as he caressed her face. "Was it that bad?"

"Everyone knew about us," she choked out. "And they were all conspiring to get us together and then when they found out we were, they were obsessed with you getting me pregnant, so I could give birth to the devil's child and then they . . . they killed you and were stealing our baby."

"Did you watch Rosemary's Baby last night?"

"No." He gave her a disbelieving look as she wiped her nose. "Last week."

He sighed as he lay back, pulling her down with him. She felt her heart slow as he ran his hands up and down her bare back.

"No more horror movies for you."

"You like horror movies."

"I only like them because you make me hold you every time somebody's getting flayed."

She rubbed her belly once more, reassuring herself that it was empty. He tightened his hold on her, pressing a warm kiss to her forehead.

"Donna?"

"Yeah?"

"Nobody knows about us."

"Yeah."

"And nobody in the office gives a damn about our love life."

"Yeah."

"In fact, if they knew, they'd probably want to break us up."

"Yeah."

"And you know that . . . if anybody . . . did . . . try to -"

"I know." She tilted her head and brushed her lips over his. "Me too."

She focused on the warmth of his body next to hers, the feel of his strong arms around her, the way she could hear his heartbeat when she pressed her ear to his chest. He was here and he was safe and he was alive and he was hers. That knowledge allowed her to fall back into sleep.

(fin.)