Donna looked up instinctually as someone passed her desk. Toby nodded in greeting as he passed. Donna had always had an odd relationship with Toby; he was always there making sure she was keeping Josh in line.
"Morning, Toby," she said, a little wearily.
Toby didn't grunt his greeting and move on, as he usually did on Monday mornings.
"If you want a minute with Josh," she continued, "It'll have to be after his meeting with Scott Matthews, which isn't till after Staff."
"Actually, I was wondering if I could have a few minutes to talk to you?"
Donna didn't ask why. Toby was not a man of whom one asked such questions. If only because he might answer with that sentence structure. She simply nodded and said that she was free once she had sent Josh off to his meeting after staff.
"You okay, Donna?" Toby asked. His unusual display of concern didn't trouble Donna's clouded mind.
"I haven't been sleeping," Donna explained. "Nightmares."
"Not real, though," Toby said, dismissively.
Toby did leave then. And Donna wouldn't have told him the young woman who committed suicide in her dreams seemed very real.
She sighed and continued typing up the notes for Josh's meetings.
Josh arrived back from the staff meeting mid-rant. Donna let it wash over her; it wasn't really as if Josh wanted or needed an audience.
"Toby had gone to the zoo again. Leo was horrified, we still need that speech. No one could say anything, not Leo, or even C.J. I certainly wasn't going to. I try to avoid Toby as much as possible."
"Yes, Josh," Donna said automatically. But she had a strange premonition that Toby had been thinking about her.
After three and a half years in this office with this man, Donna was able to send Josh off to his meeting with the correct folders without having to think about it. She approached Toby's door cautiously. Last time he had asked to meet her like this it was to tell her that the President had MS. Barely a week ago.
Toby had been running in tighter and tighter circles since the announcement to run for re-election. He was on the phone when she arrived.
Ginger gave Donna a sympathetic glance as the other assistant opened the door.
"She's too old," Toby shouted into his phone.
Donna raised an eyebrow, but Ginger could only shrug.
"I don't think you understand me," Toby was saying, "or at least I don't understand you. I performed the rituals, Ripper. I have no doubt. And Quentin told me to call you."
Toby noticed her standing in the doorway. Donna made the gesture for 'I'll come back later.' But Toby made the gestures for 'come in' and 'close the door.' So she did, and perched on the arm of his couch.
"How old are you, Donna?"
"Almost thirty, Toby," Donna said. She answered before she realised that only a few people would get an instant response.
"Did you hear that?" Toby asked the phone, "She said almost thirty. That's at least, what, thirteen years too late? Hang on, I'll put you on speaker."
There was some protest from the man on the other end of the phone.
"I don't care what you think your problems are, Pokey," the phone said, in an English accent, "your problem is that you don't listen. Faith isn't dead. Buffy's death doesn't mean anything to the line. I don't care how many of what spells you did, it's not as if you've been practicing."
Donna waited for somebody to say something she could understand. Toby ignored the man on the phone and turned to her.
"Your dream, Donna, the nightmare."
"Tell him what happened in your nightmare. The one that wasn't 'not real'," Toby added.
Donna decided that she had a little leverage and could gain a measure of control.
"Who am I talking to?" she asked.
"Rupert Giles, of Sunydale, Donna Moss, senior assistance to the Deputy White Chief of Staff," Toby said.
The Englishman ignored any point Toby may have tried to make.
"A pleasure to speak with you, Ms Moss," Giles said pleasantly.
"Good morning, Mr Giles," Donna responded.
"Your dream, Ms Moss. Toby seems to feel it was important."
Toby's demeanour certainly said that.
Ignoring the oddity of the situation Donna answered the Englishman's request. The way one would answer a professor.
"I had it Saturday night, and again yesterday. There was a tall, rickety tower. And a ball of light in the air next to it. A young woman, maybe twenty, threw herself into the light. It wasn't nice, but there was something honourable in what she did."
"Can you describe her, or any other people there?" Giles asked.
"She was short, blonde. There was a girl, dark hair, she was crying, and there was an older man with glasses, I think they were family. A man with bleached hair and a woman, a friend, short, red hair."
Donna shook her head to clear the clouding images.
"I can't remember anymore," she apologised.
But she did remember some of what those people had been feeling. She wanted someone who cared for her the way the older man had cared for that woman. And she wanted to be able to do what the woman had done.
"Rupert?" Toby asked after a moment.
His tone was gentle and encouraging. Donna didn't think anyone would believe her if she told them.
"Yeah. It's the dream. But, Toby, you didn't hear me. I believe that you have a Slayer, but I don't know how. I agree that it's irregular, but Buffy's death should not have Called a new Slayer."
"Because she died, for a few minutes, about four years ago. That Called Kendra, when Kendra died, Faith was Called, and Faith is still alive."
"Are you sure?" Toby asked, clutching at the first question that came to mind, hoping the answer would lead them somewhere.
"Donna dreamed Buffy's death, Pokey, but yes, I'm sure."
"What happened to her, when she died the first time?" Donna asked.
"Her friend revived her, CPR and mouth to mouth."
"And she was still the Slayer?" Toby demanded.
"Yes. We didn't think that a new Slayer would have been called, until Kendra…"
"Holy—!" Toby stopped when he realised that he didn't have anything to join the expletive to.
"Donna, go, now, to C.J's office. Tell her the Watcher's Council have no idea what's just happened. She'll hide it, but if she knows at all what you're talking about, bring her here."
Donna left. Regardless of how out of depth or wierded out she felt, this was something she could do.