Idiots And Axes Don't Mix
by wyoluvr


The silver axe blade sank into the hunk of wood held down by Donna's foot. Which, to Josh's way of thinking, seemed like a really bad place to have your foot. Especially when you'd already fought your way back from the brink of death and all that.

"Um, Donna?"

The ax swung again. Donna kicked the results off the stump and rested the ax on the ground, pushing loose strands of hair out of her face.

"Yes, Joshua?"

"Is this safe? Or necessary? I mean, it's only been…"

Donna finished the sentence for him. "…three months, yes, Josh, I'm aware of how long it's been since Gaza. I'm also aware that I told you I'd decide if I'd be coming back in my own time, and I'm even more aware that I have an ax in my hands and you're pissing me off."

Okay then. He backed off towards the porch, where Donna's grandfather, Arturo, rocked back and forth, his fingers tapping along the curved wooden arms of the chair.

Arturo Loria hadn't said much when Josh drove up in his gray rental car. The old guy had stared at him for a second, then said, "Joshua Lyman" like of course he was Joshua Lyman and wasn't that just the saddest thing? Arturo had yelled out, "Donnatella" and gone back to his rocking and looking, well, mean.

That was an hour ago.

Through a lot of suave complements and veiled hints, Josh had spectacularly failed to achieve his goal. Well, not 'failed', so much as 'forgotten everything he'd planned to say to convince Donna not to leave him because she looked healthy, sweaty, and really fucking hot.' He's just about convinced himself that he's a guy and he can't help it when Donna finishes the wood chopping by slamming the ax into the tree stump. She stretched a little bit and winced. Josh knew that the doctors have told her to exercise and be active. He knew that she still had open prescriptions to pain meds. And he knew that there's no good reason for her not to be here, out in the sunshine on a farm in Wisconsin.

Except that he missed her and needed her. It's sorta pathetic – there's a resounding chorus of 'sort of???' in his head – yet he felt like a limb was missing. Something's gotta give.

Donna sat on the steps, her legs stretched out in front of her. Her shorts revealed the marked whiteness of one leg, where a cast had been until recently.

"Sit down."

He's already sitting next to her before she finished telling him what to do. See, this was why she has to come back. They're like Tracey and Hepburn. No, the irony didn't escape him.

"Okay, Joshua, gimme your best shot." She braced herself on her elbows, throwing him a challenging glance.

Josh had about 80 speeches ready to roll. 800 ways to tell Donna to come back. 8000 plus ways to show that he needs her.

When he looked at her he couldn't remember his own name. So he improvised.

"Sam told me that if I didn't come tell you that you're the best thing that ever happened to me, he'd cut me up and feed me to the sharks. Oh, also, he called me a boob." He said it all so fast that his words slurred. Sweat trickled down his back and it itched. This was why he'd never told her that his adoration of her wasn't purely for her filing talents. He thought she knew and it made him sweat.


Oh no, not the eyebrow arch. Josh leaned forward and clasped his hand together as he looked away from her. He can't do this if he's looking at her.

"I don't want you to come back because you know what to get my Mom for Hanukah. I'm not here because the entire White House staff yelled at me and then threw a plane ticket at me. I won't drag you back kicking and screaming."

"Well, that's good to know."

He looked up and put his hand on her knee, tracing the scars from where they'd put in the pins. He tried to open his mouth, but he didn't have words. There's no magic way of making this all done and over with, not if didn't want to spend the rest of his life as a bitter, crotchety freak. Or more of one, anyway.

She's waiting for him to speak. Her lips were parted, the flush from chopping wood was beginning to fade, her eyes were wide open.

Now or never.

Josh carefully kissed her on the edge of her mouth, so lightly that he can't tell if it was real. So then he kissed the other side, tasting a little bit of strawberry lip balm. His final kiss landed on her mouth. He snatched his hand back from her knee.

"So, that's it."


And if this is really it, he can't be sitting next to her with grandpa sitting behind them, enjoying the show. Josh stood and shuffled towards the car, turning back to face Donna.

To his surprise, she's right there, taking his hands in hers. They stood for a second like that, silent but touching.

"Josh, I may not come back to work for you. I probably won't pick out our Christmas presents for you. I think that Sam's right."

He's either having problems breathing or he's having a heart attack. Or maybe both.

"But if you're very, very lucky, I will come back to D.C. And you can do more than kiss my mouth."

"Oh. Okay. If that's what you want."

They stared into each others eyes, something Josh might have sneered at, except he was too occupied with the way Donna's eyelashes swept against her cheeks.

A sudden burst of Italian broke them apart.

"Grandpa, are you okay?"

"Donnatella, bella, you're both idiots. Seven years you work for this man, how many years you make cow eyes at each other, and you can't even say 'I love you?' Never have I seen such idiots. In my day, you saw the woman, you told her you loved her and wanted to make babies. Simple. Dio!" Arturo finished his tirade, breaking off into mumbles as he shuffled back into the house.

"Your grandfather is a very smart man."

Donna grinned at Josh. It was like the sun had come out and angels were singing. God, he really was pathetic.

"Yeah. He is."

"So, can you just promise me one thing?"


"If you come back, you'll leave the ax here?"


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