Started: April 20, 2001
Rough Draft Completed: August 13, 2001 (34,000 words)
Posted: August 19, 2001
Category: AU, Drama, Donna/Josh, Donna/Other. Crossover: Sports Night
Rating: PG-13 for *truly* excessive angst
Spoilers: Up to WKoDHIB and the first few acts of ItSoTG for The West Wing; AU after that. Through the end of Sports Night.
Disclaimers: Everyone from both shows belongs to Aaron and company, which normally I complain about a lot on the characters' behalf, but considering what I'm putting them through, I don't have a lot of room to do that this time. Adira Lyman was created by Jo March and Ryo Sen; she is cameo'd here with their kind permission. Darryl Ellington, along with anyone else you don't recognize, is mine, all mine! This universe was inspired by Background, by Ryo Sen and Jo March.

Okay, I would just like it stated for the record this is so *totally* Ryo's fault. I mean, in almost every way, shape and form. She started this back with her Sports Night crossover, A Phenomenally Bad Idea, which I loved except for the sneaking wish that she hadn't chosen to go J/D with the ending (not that I ever really object to J/D, but still...). Then, the Jo & Ryo Collective chose to depress the hell out of everyone with their AU first-season finale resolution, Background, which left Donna in a Very Bad Place. What to do, what to do...? And to top it all off, the pair of them had the gall to *encourage* me when I proposed this insanity!

Although it's not necessary (I hope), you should read Background before you read this; this is *not* a sequel to that story, but you can assume that events transpired in very much the same way that they did in Ryo and Jo's universe, before I took them off in my direction.

There's a whole boatload of people who contributed to this story in one way or another. Thanks to Ryo and Jo for lending me their bridge to jump off, and for yelling advice on the way down; I appreciate the faith, ladies. (I found the near-constant yelps of "JOSH!" and "DONNA!" in their comments to be particularly entertaining, considering you're the ones who killed him!) Kiki Kamnikar gets big thanks for allowing herself to be sucked in, being my sounding board, and doing most of the dirty work of editing (in addition to letting me steal some of her best lines, she is solely and completely responsible for figuring out The Kiss).

My second-round beta readers get major kudos as well: Christine (and Spot) for filling time waiting for Spot to arrive by reading; Pix, who gently nagged until she got to read it, then offered insightful and much-needed commentary; Tina Gilman, Valerie Kessler, Celli Lane and the rest of the Horsechicks, for details, reading, liking, and putting up with Obsessive Girl for the four months I was working on this. All of you collectively rock.

Major thank you's to Eric Lowen; he not only co-wrote a song that was amazingly perfect for this story, but he emailed me the lyrics when I asked (read: begged at two consecutive shows). You da man, Eric! (Paul is also da man, since he got me a recording; and Dan Navarro is most certainly da man, since he's the other half of Eric for the rest of the lyrics.)

"Some other beginning's end..."