Summary: Josh talks with Leo and Matt, post The Ticket
Spoilers/Episode: Season 7, The Ticket
Characters: Josh, Matt and Leo
Josh's last meeting of the afternoon finished only twenty minutes late, putting him two hours and fifteen minutes behind on the day, which by Washington standards wasn't too bad, he thought. So far the campaign was going well. Their numbers were good, things at the headquarters were settling down and Matt and Leo had even managed what almost looked like a bonding session.
Of course there were problems. They were still behind in the polls. The press were having a field day with Leo's history. The White House was looking likely to screw them on the education package. And he'd upset Donna, again. He returned to his office to find Matt had taken over the small space.
"How come Leo gets an office and I don't?" Matt asked Josh.
"You seem to have claimed my office as your own anyway," Josh replied.
Matt smiled, but stayed where he was, behind Josh's desk with his feet up. "Glad to be back in Washington?"
"Glad to be able to at least visit my apartment," Josh agreed.
"So I talked to Leo."
"Turns out I only get to govern for eighteen months."
"Yes," Josh agreed.
"You didn't think to tell me that? I mean I thought I'd get at least four years, hopefully eight."
"I didn't want to put you off?" Josh smiled.
"Sit down, your hovering's making me nervous and I have three hundred secret service agents ready to pounce on anyone who makes me nervous."
Josh grinned but did as he was told.
"Leo's gonna do a 20/20 interview, complete honesty, get it over with."
Matt watched Josh for a second. "You've known him a long time, right?"
"Is there anything I don't know?"
"Like?" Josh asked.
"Anything that isn't already public."
"Shouldn't you ask him that?"
"Josh," Matt sighed. "Is there anything I should know?"
"Okay," Matt nodded. "So how long have you known him?"
Josh shrugged. "I don't know. He was a friend of my father. I guess I was around five or six."
"So he knows pretty much all there is to know about you?"
"You gonna ask him some questions about me?" Josh smiled.
"You're not exactly forthcoming on personal information are you?" Matt replied, returning the smile.
"There's nothing you need to know. Well, nothing you don't already know." Josh had told Matt about his PTSD during the first weeks of the campaign.
"Good. You can have your office back now."
Josh watched Matt leave and felt a small measure of relief. He'd known the two candidates had different styles. He'd known they were bound to clash. What he hadn't banked on was being caught in the middle. So it was a relief that they appeared to be making inroads, at least on their working relationship.
Josh's train of thought was interrupted by Leo knocking on the door as he entered the office.
"Hey, s'up?" Josh asked.
"We may have a problem."
"Another," Josh sighed.
Leo sat down. "Don't you just love this job?"
"Frighteningly, yeah I do," Josh smiled. "So what's up?"
"The White House has closed it's investigation into the leak, the shuttle."
"Someone been arrested?"
"No. The FBI investigation is still up. They think it's someone in the West Wing, someone senior."
The shock was evident on Josh's face. "You're kidding me? Who?"
"I dunno. But whoever it is, if it's a White House leak instead of NASA, it's bad for us."
"Yeah," Josh agreed. "I can't imagine... Who the hell would be that stupid? I can't imagine Toby or CJ..."
Leo shook his head. "You don't want to, but you can."
"Yeah," Josh reluctantly agreed. "Great. As if the education crap wasn't bad enough," Josh sighed.
"It's gonna get tough, Kid," Leo agreed and then smiled. "I may have to stop calling you that when you're White House Chief Of Staff."
Josh smiled. "Me being deputy didn't stop you."
"This is true," Leo grinned and stood up. "I have a meeting about neck ties with Annabeth, I'll see you later."
"Yeah. Hey, Leo. What do you think about Donna?"
"Are you asking me personally or professionally?"
"Professionally, God, Leo," Josh hastily clarified.
"She's good. Needs more experience, but she's good. Why?"
"She asked me for a job, I told her no."
"And now you're having second thoughts?"
Josh shrugged. "I'm not sure we can hire someone who spent months bashing us over the head every time we stood up."
"She was doing her job."
"That's what she said," Josh agreed and then smiled, "You'd better go clothes shopping with Annabeth."
"This is your fault," Leo complained. "Make-up, shirts, now ties."
"As long as it's not me she's trying to style," Josh smiled.
"She's have her work cut out there," Leo grinned as he left the office.