Warnings/Spoilers/Disclaimers: See Pt 1

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Donna was typing merrily at her desk when she heard the heavy footsteps. Wondering what the hell was going on and discounting any sort of terrorist attack, she got up and peered in that general direction, only to see a rare thing: a pissed-off Sam. *Wait a minute,* she thought. *That's not supposed to happen.*

He got to her desk fairly quickly. "Is your boss in?" Sam said icily.

"Unfortunately," Donna quipped. "No, seriously, he's in, and he's in a better mood."

"I bet I know why," Sam said caustically.

Donna raised her eyebrows. "Sam, I gotta tell you, you're scaring me."

"Don't worry, Donna," he answered, letting himself smile at her. "But I will tell you, you're going to hear a lot of yelling."

What could Donna say? She hit the intercom button. "Mr. Lyman, Sam's here to see you."

"'Mr. Lyman?'" Sam asked.

"It's a ploy," Donna answered. "And it seems to be working."

"Good." Sam pushed open the door, trying to marshal his anger. For once in his life, it wasn't difficult.

Josh reclined in his desk chair, writing furiously on a yellow legal pad. "Sam," he said warily. "Something I can help you with?"

"Yes, Josh, there is." Sam didn't even recognize his own voice, he sounded so pissed off. "Maybe you could explain why you showed C.J. the briefing on Congressman Kane's harassment suit?"

Josh leaped to his feet, already defensive. "Because I couldn't find Simon," he answered, eyes narrowing. "What's it to you?"

"I think you know damn well what it is to me!" Sam snapped.

"Um... okay..." Josh had to stall. He didn't know what to say for a myriad of reasons. Number one being that he couldn't refute that without lying. Also, Sam at this level of anger was an extremely rare thing. He decided to just let his friend talk.

He'd come to regret that decision. "Josh, you did this deliberately!" Sam let the accusation permeate the air. "You deliberately went and made C.J. nervous enough to break up with me."

Josh had a hard time keeping the self-satisfied smirk off his face. "Oh, she did that? Wow."

"Shut up, Josh." Sam's tone was hard and unforgiving. "And stop lying. You took that report to her with every intention of scaring her."

"You think that low of me?" Josh's tone was dangerously calm.

"Yes, quite frankly, I do!" Sam stared his friend in the eye, not backing down. Sarcastically he said, "When you don't get your way, Josh, you're awfully petty."

"Well, Sam, apparently when you don't get your way you look for someone to blame." Josh shot back.

Sam was literally at a loss for words. Finally, he just issued his retort, in a voice echoing with such plaintive melancholy that it made the hairs on the back of Josh's neck stand up. "You're an asshole, Josh. I want you to know that. And don't come near me again if it isn't for work." With that, he turned on his heel and left the office, the door hanging open.

Again, Josh was stunned. He couldn't remember the last time Sam had been that angry with him. Or with anyone. He gripped the hands of his chair as he felt the beginnings of a migraine form in his head. Could this day get any worse?

Oh, yes. Two of his problems assaulted him at the same time. Donna flounced in, and distantly he heard a loud, grumbling Chief of Staff approaching.

"Mr. Lyman, Leo is on his way." Donna grinned, as though all was right with the world.

"No shit," Josh grunted. "Donna, can you cancel my 3:00 appointment?"
"Certainly, Mr. Lyman." She turned away to do so just as Leo barged in, thoroughly annoyed.

"Josh, damn it!" Leo snapped. "Do you realize that you missed the meeting this morning on the budget redistribution?"

Josh frantically thought back to early that morning. When had there ever been a budget meeting?

His survival instinct kicked in. "Yes, I know, Leo. I'm really sorry. Donna informed me of it, but then Senator Walsh called, and I had to straighten all that out."

"Well you still should have come to the damn meeting!" Leo said irritably. "I don't enjoy making excuses for anyone, least of all you!"

Josh just kept agreeing with his angry boss. Whatever he said, Josh agreed. He figured it would get Leo out of his face a little quicker.

Still, he got thrown for a loop. "Josh, I have to punish you in some way," Leo said. "So I would like you to work with Sam on the EPA briefing."

Josh spoke before his brain told him to shut up. "Oh, God, Leo, please –"

"Leo what?" the Chief of Staff asked, voice deceptively calm.

Josh swallowed his words. "Nothing, Leo, I just don't –" He stopped as the headache attacked him again. "Leo," he said, rubbing his temples absently, "this day has gone from bad to worse. Just please, please, *please* don't make it a living hell by making me work with Sam."

As gruff as he appeared, Leo was a bit swayed. His deputy never begged. "What's wrong, Josh?"

"Sam's mad at me."

"Why?" Leo couldn't help the acerbic retort. "What'd you do this time?"

Josh halted, realizing what he could and couldn't say. Finally he answered, "Sam and I had an argument over something trivial. Apparently it wasn't trivial to him."

"Oh." Leo realized that being needlessly cruel wouldn't get the work done. At this point, if Sam was as angry as Josh said, all it would probably result in was a fist fight. "Fine," he said aloud. "Go work with Toby on the FBI procedure changes. Though I warn you he's in a foul mood."

Josh heaved a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Leo. I never thought I'd say this, but I look forward to working with Toby."

Leo shot him a strange look. "This must really be bad."

Josh said it with feeling. "You have *no* idea."

You're So Vain - 6

 

 

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