"Hell, I mean, just the law of large numbers says we gotta win one of these one day, right?" Josh Lyman
11:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, White House, Washington D.C. USA
"DONNA!" Joshua Lyman roared.
"What Josh?" Donna answered as she skittered into the Deputy Chief of Staff's office. Donna was a young petit blond. She was wearing a sharp gray suit and held a pile of folders in her right hand.
"Where's the memo from the defense secretary I asked you to dig up?" Josh continued, not looking up from the pile of folders on his desk. Donna rolled her eyes. He was in one of his moods, she thought.
Donna started to answer, but she almost seemed to switch gears mid thought. "The coffee's ready, want some?"
He attributed the random switch of topics to the natural flightiness of Donna. "Donna? You never make me coffee," he snorted. Then in a softer tone, he asked: "the defense memo. Where is it?"
Once again, Donna seemed to change thoughts mid gear. "Your shirt looks nice today Josh," she said. "I'll go get you your coffee." Donna spun around and walked out of the office into the Bullpen beyond. Josh watched her as she left, his mind pondering what was wrong with the wayward senior assistant.
Not only was she not that forgetful, she never got him coffee...ever. The one time she had gotten him coffee voluntarily was when he screwed up on capital beat and almost lost his job. She never complemented him on his shirt either. He glanced down; it was the same shirt as yesterday. He had been up late working on the anti-terrorism bill and hadn't gone home. Donna just wasn't acting like Donna.
Donna came in and distracted him from his thoughts "Here's the coffee," she chirped, "Leo needs to see you and CJ left me a note for you. It must be important, she sealed it in an envelope and threatened to break your kneecaps as usual if you didn't read it."
"Ha!" Josh crowed. "The Berkley feminista couldn't crack my kneecaps if her life depended on it." Josh grinned at Donna. He opened the note from CJ. "Donna make a window for me from three o'clock to about four o'clock please. Where is that defense memo by the way?"
"All-righty, a spot at three it is," Donna spun around and out of Josh's office. Josh shook his head as he wondered what was wrong with Donna. He had other things to do beside the defense bill; he picked up a memo from agriculture and began to read.
12:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, White House Washington D.C. USA.
"Hey Leo, have you seen the defense memo?" Josh asked as he strolled into Leo McGarry the Chief Of Staff's office. He sat down at one of the two chairs in front of his desk.
"What defense memo?" Leo asked, obviously puzzled. He absently watched the television monitor on the back wall.
"The huge defense memo that we need for the State of the Union and to keep the presidents version of the Anti-Terrorism bill afloat in the senate committee," Josh said. He was exasperated and now a little worried. Why was it that everyone forgot about one of the most important memos of the administration at this moment?
"Josh, we don't need a memo, we have enough votes to get it outta committee, get outta here. Go talk to Toby about the State of the Union. I need to brief the President for his meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada," Leo said. He waved Josh out of his office and had Margaret (his perky red headed assistant) shut the door behind him.
First Donna. Now Leo. Something was wrong in the White House today. Leo well knew that they didn't have enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill; it was going to be a squeaker even with the defense memo as evidence of the need for this bill in its current form. Something was very wrong, but Josh had no idea why.
He had to see CJ, now.
12:35 PM Eastern Standard Time, White House, Washington D.C. USA
Claudia Jean Cregg, better known, as CJ to her friends was the White House Press Secretary. CJ had a bit of a problem. She had just briefed the press and not one of the vultures seemed to know about this memo. Surely Danny had picked up her veiled references all yesterday. Despite being better at the spoken word than mathematics, this was not adding up in CJ's mind, she didn't like where it was leading either.
Josh walked into her office, he didn't look very happy. "Hey CJ," he announced. "We've got a problem." Josh dry-washed his face with his hands and looked at CJ.
"What's been leaked? Who knows?" CJ asked immediately standing behind her desk. Leaks were always a problem, sometimes they could be twisted to the White House's advantage but other times you had to ride them like a bucking bronco and try to control the damage they caused.
"No, no leaks luckily, this is much worse," Josh said. He walked over to the door and closed it. He fiddled with a few things in his coat. "Imperturbo," he mumbled under his breath.
CJ glared at Josh, "Our meeting with the MP isn't until three! Why the Imperturbable Charm?"
Josh leaned on CJ's dark wood desk. He watched her fish Gail swim lazy circles in its bowl before he spoke. "CJ have you noticed that people who should know about the Defense Memo don't? Have you seen a copy of it anywhere in the White House? Leo doesn't know about it; Donna doesn't know about it; I ran into Toby on the way here, even he doesn't know about it! Something doesn't smell right here CJ. That was agenda item number one at the staff meeting last night, now no one has even heard of it?"
CJ's eyes widened. "Please tell me this isn't going where I think it's going?" she said.
"We have a Wizard imposter in the White House casting Imperius curses and memory charms. For Gods sake CJ, Donna voluntarily got me coffee this morning."
CJ plopped down in her desk in shock. "Donna got you coffee?" she sputtered. "The world must be coming to an end. Now that press briefing makes so much more sense." CJ took a moment to collect her thoughts, "Remember when Leo told me to leak the memo to the press? I did everything I normally do. I sent anonymous notes to Danny and a few veterans of intentional leaks. No one picked up on it this morning, not even Danny."
"Well, we're royally screwed aren't we?" Josh said with his usual attitude
"Yep," CJ agreed.
London, England 5:30 PM GMT
Harry groaned as he piled some of the paperwork in the outbox on his desk. There were times when he absolutely loved his job as an Auror. Doing the required paperwork was not one of those times. Harry glanced about the Auror station where wizards and witches were scurrying back and forth between the twenty or so desks.
"Potter," Riggs called from about ten feet away, "We just got another death threat against you."
"Oh fun, Voldemort has been dead for five years," Harry called back. "You'd think the Death Eaters would get that through their heads," he quipped as he plopped the last of his paperwork in the outbox. "I'm going home," he finished
12:40 PM Eastern Standard Time, White House, Washington D.C USA
Both senior staffers stared at each other, at a loss for what to do. "Don't you have a friend in the MFBI?" said CJ.
"Yeah, but this isn't his territory. Spies and Imperius curses are more the MCIA's jurisdiction." Josh said thoughtfully.
"We have to keep this below the radar," CJ fumed, "can't you just see the headlines in the wizard papers? 'Muggle White House infiltrated by wizard with dubious intent,' It'd be chaos! Every wizard with a grudge against Muggles would be here shooting up the oval office!"
Josh broke eye contact with CJ and sighed.
"If we follow normal channels it will get out," CJ continued, "and then both of us will have our hands full. We'll be the first presidential magical operatives who completely dropped the ball." CJ winced at the mental images of Avada Kedavras and Cruciatus curses in office of the leader of the free world.
"Well there was that time during the Jackson administration,"
"JOSH!" CJ sputtered nearly splitting a vein.
Josh sighed in defeat. "I hate it when you're right CJ," he grumbled. "I'll call him."
Josh just prayed that his friend in the MFBI would help.
London, England 7:00 PM GMT Ron's flat
Harry Potter plopped down on a sofa in Ron's flat feeling every one of his twenty-three years. He dry wiped his face with his hands as he tried to stimulate his brain into doing something besides thinking about work.
"Hey mate, how are you doing?" Ron said bringing with him two beers. He handed one to Harry and sprawled out on the beaten up second hand sofa. He opened the cap of his beer with a quick spell and did the same to Harry's.
"Ron," Harry answered, "I need a holiday. If I have to chase one more former death eater trying to kill me I swear I'm going to crack and blow something up," Harry said as he took a swig of his beer.
"Feel free, just not in here. I like my flat without any holes in the wall," Ron snorted. "I doubt the Auror office is going to give you time off."
"You're right," Harry said, nodding. "I don't think they would. Life sucks." He took another sip of his beer. "So, how goes the private eye slash former Death Eater detective business? I've heard your name around the office," Harry said.
"Really? Good or bad things?" Ron sat up a little and looked intently at Harry.
"Eh, a mixture. Some of the old timers think you're just going to get in the way of the Auror office and get yourself killed. The younger people are wary but open to the idea. I, on the other hand, am going to milk you dry for contacts," Harry finished. He gave Ron an evil grin as he took another swig of his beer.
Ron sat back and seemed to stew over Harry's comments.
The meditative mood was broken when an owl came swooping through the open window. "Hmm, what's this?" Ron said as he caught the owl flying around in circles above their heads. He took off the note and let the owl go as he opened the letter to read. He paused for a moment and muttered a decoding spell.
"Wow, hey Harry, I just got something from one of my American contacts," Ron glanced over at Harry. "Not exactly a holiday, but it's right up our ally."
"Well, don't leave me in suspense Ron, hand it over!" Harry said as he got up from the couch and made a grab for the parchment. Ron held the parchment above his head as Harry scrambled to get it.
"What's the magic word Harry? I knew that one even before Hogwarts," Ron grinned as he continued to torture his best friend.
"Give me that you prat!" Harry demanded. both men fell to the ground as Harry jumped at Ron.
After some jostling and foul words Harry ripped the paper out of Ron's hand and sat down on the couch to read it.
Possible evil presence in upper echelons of muggle government. My contacts are worried, need back up. Keep quiet about this. Contact me in the normal fashion and I will give you the names of the US contacts.
Harry threaded his hand through his hair. "Wow, that was the last thing I expected. Last intel report that came in didn't say anything about infiltration in America. Who is this Fred guy anyway?"
"Fred is a member of the MFBI in the states. Let me scope the situation out, if it's worth going I'll owl you, " Ron said as he finished off his beer and began to gather various papers around the apartment. He sat down to his computer and hit the start button, "I hope this is just some crazy American jumping at his own shadow."
"So do I Ron," Harry answered. "So do I."
4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, White House, Washington D.C. USA
"DONNA!" Josh yelled as he walked past the operations bullpen into his office. Donna looked at Toby's assistant Bonnie and shrugged. She turned around and followed her erstwhile boss.
"Yes Josh," Donna whined. "What now?" Donna swept into Joshes office and waited for whatever strange thing her boss wanted her to do now.
"Get in here," Josh said as he shut the door behind her. He set his trademark backpack on the desk and turned around to talk to Donna.
"I want you to get the employment records for anyone who has had contact with the senior staff and press for the last year, everyone, from Will to the substitute for Carol, what's her name..."
"Kate, Josh," Donna informed him before he could go into a rant about his memory for names. For a man that had the names and affiliations of every Senate and House member memorized he certainly had a bad memory for White House personnel. "Why do you want the records anyway?"
"Something for Leo," Josh answered. "Keep it quiet," Josh paused and glanced down at his papers.
"Anything else mon capitaine?" Donna added with a bit of a grin.
"No, and don't call me that," he snapped. "It brings bad mental images of short guys with hands in their coats," he watched his assistant walk out of the office. "I want those records yesterday Donna"
"Oui, mon capitaine," she teased.
"Donna!" Josh barked. Josh's mood changed dramatically as he sat back at his desk and considered the multitude of problems on his plate.
His first problem was the escalating tension between Toby and Will. Toby had kicked Will out of the White House when he started to work for VP Bingo Bob. The Chief Justice was slowly dying and there was nothing the White House could do except pray that he'd pass on before the administration changed. Of course there was the impending Anti-Terrorist bill that would have been a fight to pass without congress tuning it into a witch hunt, and this was before the rampant memory loss had struck the White House staff and press core. Plus, there was a mole in the white house and Josh had no idea who it could be.
On top of this huge clusterfuck, there was the overriding fact that he had just been let out of the doghouse recently after Carrick's defection to the Republican Party. The White House was still weak; while they had wrestled public opinion back after the shutdown it was a precarious balance, and one that they couldn't afford to tip. Then just to make everything really interesting the State of the Union was coming up on January twentieth, and the senior staff was scurrying to get it ready. Josh sighed and let his head fall toward the desk. It hit the wood with a satisfying thunk.
Yet in the midst of his Muggle duties, he and CJ were the last line of defense between the President and the Wizarding World. Josh had permission if the situation called for it to brief the president on the Wizarding World and take whatever action necessary to keep the Wizarding World separate from the Muggle World.
Josh's rather morbid and distressing thoughts were thankfully interrupted by the musical jingle of his email service. Hoping it wasn't another odd message from the fan girls only known as the "Lyman Hoes," he lifted his head from the desktop and signed onto his email program.
It was an address he didn't recognize but it couldn't be spam since it made it through the White House's significant filters. As Josh read the email he had to suppress the growing mix of apprehension and curiosity. An English Wizard PI was coming to help out. Michael Casper recommended him but still...
Josh replied and printed out the email and his reply. Time to go see CJ, he thought.
CJ's Office about five minutes later...
"I'm just impressed that a European wizard is good enough with a Muggle object to actually send an e-mail," CJ quipped after reading the E-mail and his reply. Josh snorted at CJ's comment.
"Yeah, everyone knows that most of them are too busy getting into blood feuds to notice technology." Josh glanced back at the fish bowl on CJ's desk. "You know, this is probably a good thing. This guy isn't gonna be influenced by politics, nor does he have a boss to answer to. He won't have to cover his ass and he can get actual work done."
"Where are you meeting him?" CJ asked.
"He's Apparateing into Side Way later tonight, it'll be the crack of dawn for him but the jet lag should be easier to handle if it's dark."
CJ gave Josh a puzzled look "Wait, he's Apparateing in?" she queried. "I thought only wizards as powerful as Merlin could do that across the ocean?"
Josh shrugged. "You know that new shop opening up on Side Way? Wizard weezys or something?" he answered. "He's related to them, I've heard that they're pretty good at getting around established magical rules."
"I honestly don't care how the hell he gets here. I just don't want him splinching himself. He's going to have a mighty case of jet lag when he gets here anyway." CJ said as she sat down at her desk.
Josh cocked his head to one side as he seemed to consider something. "Well it's really not jet lag," he thought aloud. "It'd be Apparateing lag, but then that just sounds strange, perhaps travel lag would be a better..." Josh's brain spiraled into the realm of useless trivia.
"Josh, get outta here," CJ interrupted. "Call me when he gets in, we have to get the ball rolling as soon as possible."
"Yes madam," Josh saluted as he scuttled out.
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Paula Z.
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