Disclaimer: Party Animals does not belong to me.
Danny Foster scanned the page as quickly as possible, trying to find news on who their latest adversary was to be. James Northcott had announced his resignation an hour ago, although it had been expected since the affair between him and his researcher became public knowledge. It was shocking how long it had taken really, considering the scandal surrounding the researcher's quick rise to power, but it was obvious that James' party wanted to keep his talent on their side. It was only when his wife left him that rumours had shot around that the long-awaited resignation was finally going to happen.
Kristy, now elevated to the level of co-researcher with Danny, had announced it with great zeal that morning and the office had been buzzing ever since. It seemed that every news station wanted Jo's opinion on the matter; she was out of breath racing from interview to interview. This was, after all, her former adversary.
As always, the three had agreed on saying that James' personal business had nothing to do with politics. That had been Labour's position on the story ever since it broke, although Jo had been more willing to change it today. Danny wondered if it had anything to do with their talk last night, he had been too tired to remember much of what was said. Still, it was what was best for the party that mattered and not his personal feeling, and what was best for the party was to keep to their original lines. Divorce had to be kept less than scandalous at the moment because Jo had almost finished going through nasty one of her own.
"Danny!" Kirsty's voice broke his reflection, "Have you finished looking at that guy's profile yet?"
"S-sorry." He stuttered, barely stifling a yawn.
"Big night celebrating with Scott?" Kristy teased.
"Not really, he's - " Danny bit himself off as she peered at him curiously, "He's just really tired."
"So you did all the celebrating for him then?"
He grimaced, preparing to tell Kristy what had really happened. She would wheedle it out of him later anyway, best just get it over with now.
"Kirsty, Scott…" She eyed him curiously as Jo walked in, cutting him off.
"James Northcott has resigned, there's no clue who his replacement is and instead of researching the most likely candidates my researchers are discussing their latest exploits. There are times I despair of you two!" Something instinctively told Danny that the interview had gone badly.
"What happened?" Kirsty's brow furrowed.
"There's a rumour going around about the photo of James Northcott and his research assistant, which Sophie Montgomery had the nerve to imply!" Jo snapped, "So now, I'm off to do some damage control at the Whip's office, I trust you'll actually realise you are at work in the mean time!"
Jo disappeared into her office momentarily, before grabbing a paper that Danny offered to her and dashing out again.
Kirsty let out a low whistle, "What do you think the rumour was?"
Now it was Danny's turn to frown, "I'm not sure…"
"How long do you think she'll be?"
"I'm checking Village Vermin, everything inevitably starts there." Kirsty frantically typed in her username and password, silently begging the rumour wasn't what she dreaded it would be.
Danny tried to get back to work, biting back a critical comment on Kirsty's work ethic. The fact was, he wanted to know what the rumour was to. He wanted the comfort of knowing that it wasn't the truth, but as Kirsty looked up he could see he was deprived of any such comfort.
"What does it say?"
She swallowed and began nervously reading, "A reputable source leaking photos of dangerous liaisons? Surely one hoping to dig up the culprit should look no further than Jo Porter's office, home of shameless slanderer researchers. Perhaps it was hoped that the story would draw away reporters from Ms Porters own sticky divorce."
Danny breathed in sharply through his teeth. There were only three people that knew about the photos prior to their release: himself, Kirsty and Scott. Scott didn't have an account on Village Vermin, at least not one he knew about, and Kirsty had everything to lose as she had played a big role in sending them to the paper. Suspicion filled him.
"Danny?" Kirsty looked at him, her eyes wide.
"Erm, yeah," He avoided her gaze, "It's bad but they can't actually trace it back to us. We'll deny and deny and deny and another story will come along."
"They won't believe us."
His voice cracked with anger and pain, "Then we'll make them believe us! Get back to work! It's important for Jo to know the candidates."
"Whatever…" Kirsty muttered under her breath and turned back towards her computer.