The Usual Suspects

By Nomad
February 2002

Spoilers: Nary a one.
Disclaimer: Not mine, Aaron Sorkin's. Also? Apologies for the fluff.

CJ Cregg stormed into her office, in the usual foul mood that came with this particular special occasion. She dropped her bag on the chair, turned towards the desk... and froze.


Her assistant poked her head through the doorway, and followed her gaze to the desk. Her eyebrows rose. "You too?" she asked.

"You got one too?" asked CJ, with a frown. Just then, Bonnie appeared.

"Carol. Have you got the memo on-" Her eyes fell on CJ's desk. "Oh, hey! You two as well?"

"You too?" asked Carol.

"And Cathy. And Ginger. The notes are all the same."

"Notes?" CJ strode over to the desk, and spotted the small square of card. She picked it up, and read the two words written on it. "They all say this?" Bonnie and Carol nodded as she held it up.

CJ tapped the card thoughtfully against the palm of her hand. "Find Donna and Margaret. Oh, and Nancy. See if they all got these, and bring them all together in my office. We need to get to the bottom of this."

A few moments later, there were eight puzzled women crowded into CJ's office. "This is kinda... freaky," observed Margaret.

"I think it's sweet," said Bonnie.

"Thoughtful," Nancy agreed.

"Sweet. Thoughtful. And perpetrated by the men of this office." CJ gave that a moment to sink in.

"I'm scared," said Ginger.

"It's the end of the world," agreed Donna.

"Okay." CJ sat down, stretching out her long legs as she thought. "Okay, let's think about this. Who would do this?"

"Sam?" suggested Bonnie. They thought for a moment.

"Okay, Sam is sweet," CJ agreed. "However, this kind of planning-" Cathy was shaking her head. "Exactly. There's no way he'd pull off a sneak operation like this without being caught."

CJ thought of another member of their office who could startle people with unexpected sensitivity. "Josh?" she asked Donna. The blonde girl shook her head emphatically.

"I leaned on him as soon as I found mine. If it was him, he'd've cracked by now." They all nodded sagely. Josh couldn't keep anything from Donna, let alone something of this magnitude.

CJ pushed her glasses up thoughtfully. "Leo?" she suggested sceptically.

Margaret shook her head. "Leo's an old softie, really, but the odds of him knowing what day it is-"

"Yeah." CJ frowned. "Then who?"

"Ed and Larry?"

"It's a possible. Doesn't seem like their style, though."

"Charlie?" suggest Nancy.

"Charlie's a sweetheart," Bonnie agreed. "But it's not like he'd have the time."

"The President?" They all gave that thought some serious consideration.

"It is like something he might do..." CJ agreed slowly.

"But then again," pointed out Bonnie, "the odds of him sneaking around without being noticed..."

"Plus, the odds of him being out of bed that early-" chimed in Nancy.

"Yeah." The President would do many things for the people he cared about, but get up early wasn't one of them.

"Then who?" asked Margaret, honestly baffled.

"Maybe it was a group effort?" suggested Donna.

"It's just so... so not them," said Bonnie.

"Yeah," they all agreed in chorus.

They all looked again to CJ's desk. In the middle of it were placed eight single red roses. With each one was a simple rectangular card, emblasoned with the words 'You're Appreciated'.

All across the West Wing, the men of the government settled down to work, unaware that this particular Valentine's Day, they were in for a day of big smiles and thoughtful looks from their female co-workers.

And over in the communications department, Toby Ziegler smiled quietly into his beard, secure in the knowledge that he would never for one moment be suspected.