"Amal" by Jae Gecko and Minna Leigh (West Wing, Josh, 500 words)

"Can I see you for a minute?"

Josh looked up from his computer screen. Sam was standing in the doorway. "Sure."

Sam closed the door, his face grim. "The Israeli Foreign Minister's plane is missing. Over Lebanon."

"You think it was shot down?" Josh raised an eyebrow.

"I don't know what I think." Sam sat down across from Josh. "Yes. I think it was."

Josh felt his forehead crease. "Lebanon?" He leaned back in his chair, his eyes widening. "Qumar."

Sam pressed his lips together.

"Wow." Josh nodded slowly. "They think Israel was responsible for what happened to Shareef."

"Here's the thing, though. They weren't."

"They weren't what?"

"Responsible. We were."

Josh blinked. "Okay, I'm assuming you don't mean in some weird-ass mystical karmic sense." Sam didn't laugh. Josh's stomach twisted. He leaned forward. "How do you know?"

"I was talking to Leo--"

"Leo told you the President arranged for Shareef's plane to disappear over the Bermuda Triangle?"

"He didn't have to. He said Shareef was behind a terrorist plot to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge. When I asked him about it, he pretended he didn't hear me."

Josh swallowed. A political assassination. This would make the MS look like that joke about Texans and funny hats.

"So now another plane has disappeared. Next comes the retaliation. We've got to do something." Sam's eyes were blazing.

"Well, we can make sure not one word of this conversation leaves this office."

Sam's hand smacked against Josh's desk. "I mean we've got to *do* something, Josh. There has to be some way of fixing this without killing more people."

Josh cracked a smile. He was focused on damage control while Sam was resolving the whole Middle Eastern conflict from the extra chair in Josh's office. "If this gets out, we won't have the power to fix a parking ticket," Josh reminded him. Josh shifted in his chair. If the President was a murderer, then so was Leo. There was no way the idea hadn't come from the Chief of Staff. Josh wondered if he could have made that recommendation. And if Sam could have followed it.

"Leo says it could take the U.S. flag flying over Mecca to finally straighten this out." Sam gripped the arm of the chair. "That can't be the solution."

"We'll come up with something." As he said the words, he realized they were true. Neither of them could go this road alone.

Sam shook his head. "We've been at this for four years now, and this is the best the President has managed."

"I mean you and me." Josh rolled his chair closer. "We'll come up with something."

Sam's gaze swept over Josh, a quick once-over. Realization flickered across his eyes.

"I mean, it might take another twenty years." Josh's tone was light, but his expression was serious.

Sam's mouth quirked. "Well, they've waited about six thousand, so I guess there's no rush."