Chapter 2

Author's Note: Slight change to the last bit. I introduced the character Thomas Adams as a civil servant. What I meant to do was introduce him as a junior policy advisor to Julia Naysmith. Anyway, on with the story!

Malcolm Tucker, ever efficient in his endeavours to spin and to bollock as much as his heart desired, found himself in his Downing Street office earlier than usual. Except that his office would be better described as a war room for the things Malcolm had planned. The television was set to Sky News and his internet explorer had all its tabs stuffed to the brim with the websites of the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent and every other newspaper Malcolm could think of at 7:30 in the morning. It would be a long day indeed and he had already made his way through his first cup of tea by his ever studious secretary Sam who seemed to always be in the office just that little bit earlier than Malcolm. That and the fact that she was hardly ruffled by the rages and profanity were the reasons she remained in his employ.

Jamie arrived shortly afterwards into Malcolm's office, one of the few members of staff who could get away with just walking into the Director of Communication's office unannounced. "Papers are all shit," Jamie muttered.

"What, all of them?" Malcolm asked in surprise.

"Well, shit as in nothing we didn't expect," Jamie explained. "Although some of the tabloids are making it look like a personal fucking, fight 'til your spleen gives out deathmatch between you and Matty Harper."

"For fuck's sake," Malcolm cursed. "So I'm the fucking story then?"

"In the Sun and of course the Mail," Jamie replied.

Malcolm shook his head and forced a smile on his face. "Trust the fucking Mail," he muttered. "Right, get some of those wankers that work for you and get them to tell the Sun and the Daily fucking Mail that this is in no way, shape or form, personal between Matt Harper and myself and if they try to run with that shite again, I'll dock a massive fucking cargo ship in right into their offices. Next, you and me will speak to Julia Naysmith and tell her to keep her mouth and her fucking husband's mouths shut, before we barge in on Matt Harper and make this fucking personal."

"You want to see Harper?" Jamie asked with some surprise.

"See, maim, fucking lacerate with an ice-pick, whatever," Malcolm snapped.

"Right-o," Jamie said before getting the Downing Street press team into action.

"This isn't good," Thomas Adams muttered at his desk. "Trust the time that Richard goes on a fact-finding mission for everything to kick up." Richard Hoddle was Julia Naysmith's senior policy advisor and Thomas was almost an understudy to him. However, Richard Hoddle found himself lodged firmly in a Newcastle immigration office and not due back until the next day. "Julia can still phone him you know," Gabby Williams pointed out halfway through a croissant.

"Yes, I know she can phone him but I'm still the one left manning the fort, cleaning up all the mess," Thomas continued.

"You're only the junior advisor so you really shouldn't worry that much," Gabby reasoned.

"Only the junior advisor? Fantastic motivational speaking there Gabby. Made me feel infinitely better," Thomas muttered.

"You know I didn't mean it like that. God, you're extra moany today," Gabby said.

"Anyway, it doesn't matter whether I'm junior or seniorest…is that right, seniorist?"

"Most senior," Gabby corrected.

"Right, the most senior. I still have piles of rubbish to clear off my desk with this Lord Harper fiasco."

"Don't call it a fiasco; you're making it sound worse than it is."

It was at that moment that Thomas noticed both Malcolm and Jamie storm into the office, immediately making the day a write off. There was no chance of anything good from their visit. "Speaking of worse, look who it is," Thomas said, turning in his seat to face the two Scots.

"I'm off to the loo," Gabby said before making her escape.

"What, no Gabby!" Thomas whispered loudly.

"Looks like mummy's fucking run off then," Jamie said. "What's wrong posh spice? Not got your fucking teet to suck on?"

"Hello Jamie, nice to see you too," Thomas said.

"Right, fuck you too," Malcolm interjected. "Where's Julia?"

"She's…she's not in yet. Traffic probably," Thomas said.

"For fuck's sake," Jamie said who was visibly agitated. "This is a disaster partly of her own making and she can't even fucking make it into the office on time!"

"Jamie, I'd rather you didn't call it a disaster just yet. It's hardly that," Thomas requested.

"What would you like me to fucking call it?" Jamie asked with a look in his eyes which spelled certain death if Thomas pushed the issue.

"Uh…never mind," Thomas said.

"Is Richard in?" Malcolm enquired after a moment of silence.

"Um…no. He's in Newcastle dealing with some immigration calamity they've had," Thomas replied.

"Jesus fuck," Malcolm said. "So you're standing in for the senior advisor then?"

"Well, not really…"

"You are, aren't you? Look at that, young and bright Oxbridge lad, climbing his way up the ladder," Malcolm said with a smile.

"All that responsibility too," Jamie added, glancing towards Malcolm. "Imagine, the senior advisor is out and the junior advisor's call could make or break it."

"Make or break it," Malcolm agreed, nodding his head.

"Imagine if he made the wrong call? What would happen?" Jamie then asked.

"What would happen?" Malcolm asked back, his eyes widening and his tone raised in a most mocking fashion.

Thomas gulped and shifted about uneasily in his seat. He did not like this one bit.

"Oh, I know," Jamie said. "His career would be, um, what are those two words starting with f and d?"

"I don't know, you tell me," Malcolm said.

"Oh yeah," Jamie said before slamming his hands on Thomas's table and moving right up to his face. "Fucking. Dead."

Jamie retreated from the area in front of Thomas's now considerably flustered face and adjusted his tie and suit. Julia then arrived, much to the relief of Thomas. "Ah, Julia! Just the lady I wanted to see!" Malcolm said, walking towards the minister with his arms outstretched. Jamie, on the other hand, pointed two fingers towards his eyes before pointing them at Thomas in a classic 'I'm watching you' style before following Malcolm and Julia to her office.

"What's the issue Malcolm?" Julia asked while placing her bag in her chair. She then started struggling with her coat before Jamie piped in. "Let me help you with that," he said, taking her coat off and propping it up on the hook on the door.

"That's awfully nice of you Jamie," Julia noted. "You're usually more…rough, shall we say?"

"Only when dealing with moronic arseholes," Jamie replied, before his tone dropped. "Like that fucking treacherous cunt of a friend your husband has."

"Well, that's one way to put it," Julia said with a sigh. "So I guess the plan is I shut up and carry on with helping keep this party in power?"

Malcolm pointed at Julia said, "Bravo, that's exactly what you do, love. Jamie and I will deal with Lord Harper while you keep wooing those voters. I expect a woman of your political pedigree to have understood."

"Fine, that's fine," Julia said. "So then…what's this sudden meeting about?"

"One thing, actually two things now," Malcolm said. "First off, your husband cannot say a word to the press. Not even a fucking fart. He has to stay out of this completely. If approached by reporters, he has to decline to comment. I think neutral is the best way to go."

"Well, I advised him to do that much this morning," Julia said.

"See that?" Malcolm said, looking toward Jamie. "She knew the fucking line before I even told her."

"That's why we love her," Jamie said with a smile.

"I work for the Home Office; I have to deal with other crises you know," Julia muttered.

"Yes we know, we're not patronising you or anything," Malcolm said.

"Just letting you know that you're fucking amazing at your job, hence why you hardly ever see me," Jamie said.

"Okay, thanks I guess," Julia said. "What's the other point?"

"Oh yeah," Malcolm said. "See your little door boy out front? Is he a bit of a Mr Dependable?"

"Who? You mean Thomas?" Julia asked.

"Well, the thing is," Jamie began, "Malcolm and I see Thomas as a bit of wet paper bag, said bag being wet because someone just pissed on it. We're just wondering whether he's old enough to man the shop by himself, you know, without seriously injuring himself on all those sharp objects."

"You don't trust him?" Julia enquired with a surprised tone. "He's got a good head on him, very intelligent, if a bit snarky but he's got great potential."

"You see, potential is all well and good," Malcolm pointed out, "but you took him on, what, two months ago? About three months since the Home Office had its last cock up that you and Richard Hoddle did a fine job in making go away, with a little of my help. Your boy though…"

"Thomas," Julia interjected.

"Yeah, yeah, he has a name that I'm not very interested in. Your boy, he doesn't look like he's up to the task," Malcolm explained.

"What makes you think that?" Julia asked.

"Malc and I gave him a bit of light ribbing before and he looked like he was about to have a fucking stroke," Jamie replied. "He'll most certainly, fantastically implode under pressure."

"So what do you propose I do? Call Richard back from Newcastle? Every bloody press knob with a notepad will be all over that," Julia pointed out.

"Yes, we understand that. Just…just have somebody babysit him. If you need to make a big call which we hope you won't have to, give Richard a call. By all means listen to Thomas's advice, but don't necessarily follow it," Malcolm said.

"How is Thomas going to learn about crisis management if you won't fucking let him manage a crisis?" Julia snapped.

"Not this close to the fucking election," Malcolm said. "If the polls are to be believed, then the Tories look set to shaft us. I don't need a junior advisor's cock-up providing lubrication."

"Jesus Malcolm, really?" Julia said, appalled by his choice of violent, sexual imagery.

"Just make sure that prick has someone on hand to change his nappies and clean up any shite he leaves around," Jamie said. "Otherwise, you've got things covered?"

"Quite," Julia replied.

"Good. We're off to castrate Lord Harper. Enjoy your day and I'll see you at the election victory party," Malcolm said with a smile.

"Goodbye," Julia said nervously as the two Scots left her office.

Just as Malcolm and Jamie were about to step into their car, another one pulled up and the passenger hastily made his way out. "Well, if it isn't the right honourable Lord Julius Nicholson himself?" Malcolm said with a wide grin.

"Hello Malcolm, hello James," greeted Lord Nicholson, who was the Business Secretary and Lord President of the Council. In many ways, he was the Prime Minister's number two yet at the same time, nowhere near that position. Famously soft spoken within the Labour Party, he was also famous for his distinct lack of hair.

"Morning Baldy," Jamie replied with what he called Julius every time he was called 'James' by him.

"A little birdie told me that you two would be here and I'm rather lucky to have caught you when I have," Julius said. "Right, so you two are about to see Lord Harper, right?"

"Who told you?" Jamie enquired in a tone not too dissimilar to a growl.

"Well, knowing the current situation, you are tying up loose ends so first you see Julia and then off to foul mouth Lord Harper. It's only logical," Julius replied.

"Yeah, but who told you?" Jamie asked, this time edging up to Nicholson's face.

"I won't reveal my sources Jamie, you know I wouldn't do that," Julius said, beginning to fold under Jamie's intimidation.

"For fuck's sake, is it someone in my department?" Jamie asked who was visibly outraged. "My fucking department?"

"Well, it's hardly a department, more a team…" Julius began unwisely.

"Yes! MY FUCKING DEPARTMENT, who make sure on a daily basis that all you twatbag, fucking, CUNT ministers look good in the fucking press. They can also, very fucking easily I might add, make you look like the biggest, fucking, shite in living history should the PM require it. So what shall it be, Julius? Shall I say to The Sun that you keep a picture of Andrew Flintoff to wank off to every night? Or that you keep a cricket stump to push up your arsehole to tickle your fucking prostate? What shall it be?" was Jamie's tirade in response to Julius's suggestion that Jamie was less than he made out to be.

"There's absolutely no need for threats, James. We're both on the same team trying to win an election, remember," Julius said, while perspiration became apparent on his hairless head.

"Yes, so tell me who it was, in my fucking department, who told you where we were, so I can fire the fucking cunt and make sure that Malcolm and I can do the job we do so fucking well without ministers not involved in press incidents to come and fucking interfere," Jamie said.

"It was Liam," Julius spurted without thought. "Wait… I didn't mean to…"

"Fucking Liam," Jamie muttered.

"Told you that cunt was a cunt," Malcolm said.

"Yes I know. I'll fire him when we get back," Jamie said, heading towards the car.

"Wait! There may be some things you need to know when you approach Lord Harper…"

"Did he just say he knows things?" Malcolm interjected, looking towards Jamie.

"I think he just did," Jamie said.

"Right Baldemort, you are coming with us," Malcolm said, grabbing Julius by the arm.

"Malcolm, you can't do this! I have a department to run, you can't just grab me away like this!" Julius protested.

"If you have information on Matthew Harper, then you've suddenly become an asset in press incident management so welcome aboard," Malcolm said, pushing him into their car.

"Maybe I won't have to fire Liam," Jamie mused.

"The cunt's a cunt, fucking fire him already," Malcolm said.

"All fucking right, I'll fire Liam," Jamie said.

"I don't want to be here," Julius whimpered.

"Well, you're here baldy. Enjoy the fucking ride," Malcolm said as the car pulled away.

The driver of the other car was left absolutely bemused by what he just saw. Not knowing what to do, he took his minister's abandonment as a cue to take the rest of the day off. Meanwhile, Malcolm, Jamie and a very scared Julius were formulating a plan to make Lord Harper back down, and back down for good.