These days, Donna's morning activities had become a ritual.Get up. Curse Josh for demanding presence of faithful assistant so early.
Shower. Dress. Think discouraging thoughts about lack of social life and/or money to buy nice clothes.
Eat breakfast and drink coffee. Think warm fuzzy thoughts about Josh bringing coffee.
Chase away warm fuzzies with reminder that Josh is cruel, evil, unreasonable boss demanding early arrival.
Perform last minute check that all clothing present and in right place.
Get into car. Attempt to start. Curse ancient car. Remind self to bug stingy boss for raise.
Think warm fuzzy thoughts about stingy boss riding to rescue when stuck walking home.
Chase away warm fuzzies with chilling vampire memories.
Battle traffic. Indulge Slayer-type fantasies about throwing pushy truck driver through windscreen.
Arrive at work. Enter bullpen. Wait for yell.
Ah, routine.* * *
The first unexpected change in Donna's routine came at lunch break; or what would have been lunch break, had Josh considered either of those two words something that should be part of his assistant's vocabularly. 'Sandwich crammed in with minimal crumbs dropped on keyboard' might have been a more accurate term.
Donna came back from getting herself coffee - and conspiciously not
getting any for Josh - to find a familiar face by her desk.
The red-haired girl smiled at her shyly. "Hi, Donna."
Donna smiled back, but then the expression faded. "Why are you here? Did something-"
"Oh, no, nothing's wrong," Willow hastened to reassure her. "I just, um, I just kind of dropped in." She fumbled in her pocket, and produced what looked like a small, padded pouch. "I heard about your friend getting bit by a werewolf, and, um, I though maybe he could use a protective charm. It won't, uh, it won't stop him changing - 'cuz I don't know how to do that - but it'll mean that if he does, the wolf'll get really sleepy."
Donna remembered the last full moon, when Sam had first discovered he was a werewolf. Things had become complicated in an utterly unexpected way when Cathy and Ginger had found him standing close to Josh in a state of undress... and drawn conclusions. That had all been cleared up now, and Sam had managed to gain control of his werewolf side - even so, he'd be grateful for such a safety measure.
"Thanks, Willow," Donna said delightedly. "That's really thoughtful of you. Let's go see Sam." As they headed over to communications, a thought struck her. "Um, not to sound accusing, but... how did you get in?"
Willow grinned cutely. "Oh, I just kind of... wandered off the tour. Don't worry, they won't miss me," she hastened to add. "I did a spell."
"Oh." Donna marvelled at the casual way the Sunnydale girl referenced using any sort of magic. She wondered if Willow could do a spell to make her invisible to Josh when he was being unreasonable... but then, that would take away all the fun of hiding from him. And taunting him about his lack of coffee.
Cathy smiled at Donna as they arrived, and barely glanced at Willow. The halls were always full of nameless young girls.
"Sam in his office?"
"Yeah." She leaned in conspiratorially. "But watch out for Toby, huh?"
Donna frowned, trying to think of what might be bugging Toby. Then she remembered. "The Agricultural Secretary thing?"
Cathy nodded, and pulled a face. "Yeah. He's thrilled." Toby Ziegler didn't exactly have much patience for meetings he considered a waste of time.
Sam was delighted to see Willow, and pleased to receive his new protective charm. "Thank you. Thank you very much. I'll feel a lot safer knowing I have your magic to watch over me." Willow practically melted under the force of the Sam Seaborn grin.
Donna had to admit, it was a pretty dazzling smile... if not quite the equal of Josh showing off his dimples. Sam was a little too pretty for her tastes - although lately, a large number of the female staffers disagreed. On the final night of the full moon, Sam hadn't transformed into a wolf - but he had
changed. He had prowled around the corridors as if he was auditioning for a part as James Dean. As a finale to his big speech about rumours, friendship, and making a better world for gay people, he had given a rather surprised Josh a kiss on the lips.
Various staffers - Cathy, Bonnie, Ginger and Margaret as guilty as the rest - had been wandering around for days muttering "Oh my God
," at regular intervals. Donna's favourite memory from that intense little speech, however, was the wonderfully befuddled look on Josh's face immediately afterwards.
These affectionate musings as she half-listened to Sam and Willow chat were interrupted by the loud slam of Toby's office door. Toby exploded out into the bullpen, shouting continously at his largely impassive companion.
Willow's jaw had dropped. Sam saw, and smiled. "Oh, that's just Toby in one of his moods. Don't pay any attention."
"Not him," she gasped. "The other guy!"
"The other guy?" Sam frowned, utterly confused. "That's Roger Tribby, the Agricultural Secretary."
"Agricultural Secretary? No!" Willow exclaimed. "That's Mayor Wilkins!"