Title: Radiant, Chapter 9
Disclaimer: Alas, these characters are not mine.
Rating: This chapter is PG-13. Later parts will probably get to R. This does deal with some adult themes, although it is not at all graphic.
Pairing: Josh/Donna
Category: Angst, romance, AU.
Feedback: Always appreciated.
Archiving: Please ask.
Timeline: November of the year before reelection.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Rick, Lauren, and Meg for all their help.

A/N: I've played with the timeline a bit, but it goes AU very quickly so it really doesn't matter. In my universe, Donna is Catholic, and has no close family, because it was easier for me to work things out the way I wanted that way. Also, Charlie and Zoey are still together.

Exactly fifteen minutes after the meeting had been scheduled to begin, Cathy showed Williams into Josh's office. The delay wasn't accidental. Might as well make the guy sweat. Josh glanced up from the briefing book open on his desk and tried to appear casual while getting a good look at the bastard. They did look alike. Josh couldn't decide if that was good or bad.

"Mr. Lyman?" the Senator started hesitantly.

"Williams," Josh responded coldly.

"I thought I was supposed to be meeting with Mr. Seaborn about the education bill." He sounded confused.

"Why on earth would Sam want to meet with you about the education bill?" Josh asked scathingly.

"Uh, I don't know. I thought it was odd."

"You really don't know why you're here?" Josh stared at him in shock.

"No idea."

"See if this jogs your memory." Josh tossed the day's Washington Post onto the desk; it was open to the gossip page, complete with a picture of Donna and the "White House Pregnancy Mystery" headline.

Williams looked down at the paper.

"What?" There was a pause as he processed what he was reading. "Oh. Oh, my God."

Josh waited, wondering what on earth the man would come up with to defend himself.

"I didn't know she worked for you," Williams finally managed. "She didn't tell me that!"

"She wasn't the one using a fake name, pal," Josh spat out. "And what – what you did would be okay if she DIDN'T work at the White House?"

"What I DID? I picked up a girl at a bar. Everyone does that." Before Josh could respond, Williams pulled out his checkbook. "How much does she need to take care of it?" Williams asked briskly.

Josh just stared at him in shock.

"How much, Lyman?"

Josh tried desperately to gather his thoughts into some kind of coherence.

"First of all, were you seriously going to just write me a check? From, what, the account you share with your wife? If you didn't immediately see what an awful idea that was, you're even stupider than I'd thought."

"But, but . . ." Williams spluttered.

"And more importantly, aren't you supposed to be PRO-LIFE?" Josh continued. "So, what, you think abortion is murder unless the child in question is your own, and then it's just – political expediency? You disgust me."

"I – I – I don't even have any proof that I'm the father."

Josh shrugged.

"She says you are, and you just admitted that you slept with her. And didn't think to use a condom, apparently?"

"I just assumed that a girl like that would be on the Pill."

"A girl like WHAT?" Josh roared.

"Oh, you know what I mean."

"I'm sure I don't," Josh said frostily.

"A girl who's easy like that . . ." Williams said.

"You mean a girl who is so committed to seeing the best in people that when a man pretends to be concerned for her safety and offers her somewhere to rest, she believes him instead of wondering whether he's actually just waiting to take advantage of her while she sleeps? That kind of girl?"

"Uh . . . whatever." Williams waved a hand dismissively. "I'm not saying that it's impossible that I'm the father, but how do you know she wasn't with someone else as well?"

"Because she told me she wasn't."

"And you just – believe her?"

"Yes," Josh said simply. "I trust Donna Moss implicitly. And so does the President, if you were wondering."

"Okay." Williams sighed. "So, you never answered. How much money does she need?"

"She's not getting an abortion," Josh said firmly.

"She's . . . but . . . I have a wife and children!"

"Maybe you should have thought about that at the time," Josh said unsympathetically. "But Donna's not going to release your name, if that's what you're worried about."

"She's not?"

"Why would she? Why would she want anything to do with you?"

"I don't know. She can't make much here. If she keeps the baby, isn't she going to need money?"

"Neither Donna nor her child will ever need your money," Josh stated.

"Shouldn't that be for her to decide?"

"She has."

"So . . . you're not going to expose me." Williams sounded like he didn't quite believe his luck.


"What do you want? Some sort of political tradeoff?"

"No. Once you leave this room, you can go back to pretending that none of this ever happened. We're not going to tell your wife or your constituents, and Donna doesn't want to go through the ordeal of prosecuting you for anything. We just have a few conditions."

"Of course you do. What are they?"

"You don't tell anyone. Ever. If Donna ever publicly claims that someone else is the father, you don't come forward and don't contradict her."

"Fine. But who would let her - "

"I didn't say she's planning to do that. I'm just leaving as many options open as possible."

"Whatever. She's pretty and all, but I doubt she's going to find some poor schmuck to claim her bastard just to get to sleep with her."

Josh felt his fury building, but decided to let this one go.

"When you interact with Donna here, you will deal with her professionally. You will not act as though you have any special relationship with her. And you will not approach her outside of work for any reason."

"Fine," Williams grumbled. "Do you want me to avoid her? Avoid your office?"

"No, that could look weird," Josh said. "Just treat her like you'd treat any other White House staffer. Well, I guess that's assuming that you know how to treat people in general, and I have absolutely no evidence of that so far. So maybe you should try to act toward her the way other senators act toward White House staff."

"I'm not a bad guy," Williams protested.

"Save it." Josh shot him a withering look. "There's really nothing you could say at this point that would convince me of that."

Williams sighed.

"What else, then?"

"You will never approach the child for any reason."

"Why would I want to?" Williams shot back.

"You're not doing very well at convincing me that you're a good guy," Josh said. "There may, at some point, be a notice in the paper looking for the child's father, to make sure that no one has a claim on the child before the child is allowed to be adopted. If that happens, you are not to come forward."

"Adopted? I thought you said she was keeping the baby." Williams looked confused.

"She is. But if she ever gets married, the husband might want to adopt the child," Josh explained.

"Oh. Sure. Basically, this all comes down to 'Leave them alone,' right?"

"Right. I think that about covers it."

"So are we done here?" Williams got up and began gathering his things.

"Yes . . . no. One more thing. I want a family medical history that's as extensive and detailed as you can possibly make it. Don't leave anything you. I don't want to have to come to you again about this."

"Okay." Williams thought for a moment. "Just give me a few days. I'll get it together. Should I send it to her?"

"Uh . . . no." Josh's mind raced, trying to figure out the safest way to do this. "Send it to me at home. And don't do anything stupid like writing what it is on the outside of the envelope." He scribbled his home address on a slip of paper and handed it to Williams.

"Okay. So. We have an understanding?" The senator was clearly still nervous about the whole thing.

"We have an understanding. But if you break any of these conditions, or if I hear any hint of you taking advantage of any other young women, all bets are off. I will personally call the Post, the Times, and the DC police."

Williams swallowed.

"Got it."

"And Senator?" Josh called as the other man turned to leave.


"Enjoy the rest of your term. You won't be getting another."

"You're going to convince the DNC to put resources into a race in Oklahoma just because you say so?"

"The President can be very convincing," Josh said mildly.

"Sure, but why would he care?"

"You really don't get it, do you?" Josh mused. "The President and First Lady think of Donna as a surrogate daughter. You raped her." When he saw that Williams was about to protest, he reluctantly qualified his statement. "Okay, I'll be generous and say that you date raped her. Do you really think President Bartlet would even hesitate before putting his full power behind burying you? I'd be watching my back if I were you, Senator."

"See you around, Lyman," Williams said bitterly as he left the office.

Josh sat at his desk for a few minutes, replaying the conversation in his head. He thought he had covered everything, but he still felt uneasy. Suddenly he realized why. He got up and made his way to Sam's office.

"I need to talk to you," Josh announced without preamble as he walked into Sam's office and shut the door behind him.

Sam looked up from his work and smiled.

"Yes, you do. That's why you're coming over tonight, remember?"

"No, not about that," Josh said impatiently. "I need to talk to you as a lawyer."

Sam's face turned serious.

"Are you sure you don't want to talk to White House Counsel? Or, you know, your actual lawyer?"

"No, it's not a Counsel sort of thing. And I'll get my lawyer to actually . . . do the stuff," Josh said vaguely. "I just wanted to run it by you first."

"Okay . . ." Sam had no idea where this was going.

"I need to make sure I didn't lie to a senator a minute ago."

"Josh, this sounds exactly like a White House Counsel sort of thing."

"No, not like that." Josh paused. "I told Williams that Donna would never need his money."

"And you want to make sure that's true?" Sam asked.

"Yeah. Would it look bad if I changed my will now?"

Sam thought for a minute.

"I don't think it would look any worse than any number of other things are looking," he said carefully. "So, you want to add Donna to your will, to make sure that she never needs money from Williams, even if you're not around."

"Well, sort of. I want to increase the amount of her inheritance."

Sam stared at him.

"Donna's already in your will?" he asked, dumbfounded.

"Of course!"

"Josh, please tell me you know that's not normal."

"It isn't?" Josh tried to look innocent.

"When did you put Donna in your will?"

"Originally, when my father died . . ." Josh started. "Well, I had to revise everything anyway, after I inherited from him. That was during the campaign, after Donna left and came back, remember?"

Sam nodded.

"So I was thinking that I knew what a great job she did, but if I wasn't around, other people might just see that she didn't have a degree, and might not recognize what she could do. So I figured I'd leave her a little money so that if her job with me ever – went away – she could go back to school if she wanted."

"Oh." Sam's expression softened. "That's actually kind of sweet."

"I try," Josh said defensively. "And then after Rosslyn . . . well, I increased the amount, and added some other little things."

"Other little things?" Sam asked skeptically. "Like what?"

"Some books, some mementos . . ." Josh looked away from Sam and started mumbling. "My grandmother's ring."

"Your grandmother's ring?" Sam repeated.

"Yes," Josh said, finally meeting his eyes.

"Josh . . ." Sam shook his head helplessly. "You realize that it would be more fun for everyone if you gave her the ring while you were still alive, right?"

"Yeah," Josh admitted. "I'm working on it."

"Well, we'll discuss that part tonight," Sam said. "So what do you want to add now?"

"Enough money so she could take a few years off to raise the baby if she wanted, for one thing."

"I thought she wanted to keep working."

"She does," Josh agreed. "But she might change her mind. She should have that option. And if something happened to me, she'd be out of a job anyway."

"Josh, seriously," Sam said, exasperated. "You don't think we'd find her another job here?"

"Oh." Josh was startled. "I hadn't really thought about that."

"Give us some credit. We're not going to turn Donna out onto the streets." Sam sounded annoyed. "But it's a good idea anyway. Anything else?"

"The house in DC," Josh said.

"Whoa." Sam whistled. "That's a big deal."

"Yeah, but . . . well, I can't imagine my mom would want it. And a kid should have a house with a back yard and stuff."

"Does she like it?"


"The house. Does she like it?"

"I don't think she's ever seen it." Josh frowned. "Do you think she'd rather have the house in Connecticut? I don't want to assume that she'd want to stay in DC. But she doesn't have any ties to Connecticut, either. Would that freak her out?"

Sam smiled a little sadly.

"First of all, I think it's more likely that she'd want to be in DC than Connecticut. But if she wanted to move back to Wisconsin or go somewhere else, she could sell the house and use the money to buy one somewhere else."

"Oh. Right. Okay." Josh looked relieved.

"And secondly . . ." Sam took a deep breath. "Josh, if something happened to you, a house wouldn't be the reason Donna would be freaking out."


"At the hospital, after Rosslyn . . . she didn't make a scene or anything, but I've never seen someone so upset. Dr. Bartlet was talking about having her sedated."

"I didn't know," Josh said.

"Well, no, you were unconscious. That's kind of the point." Sam realized that his attempt at a joke was pretty lame, but he had to do something to lighten the mood.

"Sam." Josh's voice was suddenly intense as he leaned across the desk and put his hand on Sam's shoulder. "If anything were to happen . . . promise me you'll take care of her. Of both of them."

"Of course. We all would, Josh."

"I know everyone would look out for her in general. But she's really good at pretending she's fine when she isn't. Promise me you'd be there for her, forever."

"I promise," Sam said seriously, realizing how important this was to his friend.

"Okay." Josh sat back in his seat, suddenly feeling drained.

Sam glanced at his watch.

"Don't you think you should call over to the East Wing and tell Donna it's safe to come back?" he asked. "I'm sure she's on pins and needles over there."

"Oh. Yes, of course." Josh jumped up and headed for the door. "Thanks, Sam."

"Any time. And Josh, you know there's no way you're getting out of that conversation tonight, right?"

"Yeah, yeah . . ." Josh called over his shoulder as he headed back to his office.

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