|In the Bleak Midwinter
Author: SerialStoryLover PM
Massive snow storms brought NYC to a standstill just after Christmas in 2010. The News Night team are desperate to get home before it gets worse. It's a Will/Mac fic obviously ...need I say anymore? :pRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 14 - Words: 29,873 - Reviews: 104 - Favs: 23 - Follows: 44 - Updated: 11-11-12 - Published: 08-30-12 - id: 8482147
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn Pt. II
Nervous about this one. It's a Moment - hope I got it right! EEEEEEEK!
"Because I..." he groaned, frustrated, gripping her hair more firmly as though he was trying to force something out from the bottom of his soul, "I – oh God, Mac you already know why…"
He looked helplessly at her as she held her breath, hanging on the edge, her eyes darting so fast between that it made him dizzy; it was like she was trying to have them tell her why instead of his mouth. After a moment she realised it was not going to happen, and she slumped back from him a little, smiling sadly. "I think I do, yeah."
His sigh was torn between showing his relief at her understanding and his frustration with his own insecurities. He loved her, but he couldn't tell her because he could not forgive her – that was their real tragedy. He knew it and so did she; so she did the only thing that seemed acceptable in the stalemate they now found themselves in: she snuggled into him again.
"Where do we go?" Will asked hollowly. She closed her eyes, wondering whether it was possible for emotional pain to manifest itself in physical aching. They had clearly reached an impasse and it was her move. How long could she do this? A three year contract? She didn't think so. She wasn't planning on giving up just yet, but an impasse meant she now had to consider the multiple possible outcomes:
Option a) Will and her manage to reconcile: they live happily ever after. (The best one; and the least likely.)
Option b) Will didn't manage to overcome his feelings: she punishes herself forever and accepts that she will never find love equal to it. (The one she did not want to think about.)
Option c) Will doesn't manage to overcome his feelings and she has to…urgh (The one which was most realistic…)
She screwed up her eyes again. She had been dreading telling him this since she had realised it; but she had known that she would have to do it someday.
"Will – you want to forgive me – I get that. And if you do then I'll come back to you in a heartbeat; but I need you to understand this: I'm nearly forty years old. For the last four years my life has been haunted by old regrets and roadside bombs, orphaned, homeless children, the worst kind of violence and inhumanity…I told you that I came home because I wanted to be in a newsroom again – and that's true, but I've also seen what it really means to be alive – to have something – someone – to live for. I grew up a lot, and I want that for myself." She stopped talking, realising that she was speaking very, very quickly, like word vomit; she looked at him sadly.
"I want what I only used to daydream that I'd maybe one day have with you – only now I don't know if that future is possible – though I know that it's my fault – and I'm getting older and I've started to see that I've screwed up and so I might just have to deal with second best."
She shrugged brusquely as she finished, looking back at Will, who to her complete unsurprise was looking the picture of stunned. She sympathised – it had taken her the better part of two years to sort all this out in her head, so for him to hear it all in the space of five minutes must be quite trying.
She gently moved off his lap and sat next to him, twisting so that she was facing him, subconsciously starting to fiddle with the fingers on his left hand.
"I think," She began slowly and carefully, not sure how much more she should say, "if we had still been together, things would be very different for us by now."
Will closed his eyes knowing that she was avoiding the word "family". He too had had dreams of mini Wills and Macs running, playing and laughing in a leafy suburban garden – had been starting to sneakily go around the jewellery stores of New York looking for The Ring. He looked back at her and saw that her eyes had become very watery once more, the regret etched onto her face like terrible graffiti.
"I completely understand if you can never forgive me. You've had a – a shit life in terms of betrayal Will, and I've only made it worse. And after I got to the Middle East I used to think that my one wish in the world would be to have you forgive me – but realistically – having been in a warzone for – having seen what happens to people who never stop being careerists – how lonely and – I mean if I have any hope of just being normal – of having a family –"
"Mac, stop." He stilled her fidgeting hand with his own, his own eyes stinging. She had lost her own battle to hold back the tears.
"I'm sorry Will, but that's the truth. I'm not going to lie to you – not anymore. Right now all anyone will ever remember me for is winning a couple of Peabody's and breaking the heart of the only man I ever loved." She looked up at him, a fierce, blazing look of determination that he had always adored suddenly staring back at him. "But I know I can do better than that. I know I can do something worth being remembered for…even if it's only by a few."
He had no idea what to say to that. Part of him was completely devastated that she was telling him this; the other half strangely proud to hear her say it. He shook his head, trying to unstick his throat.
"And you're thinking of doing this with Wade?" He said the man's name with distaste, staring hard at the coffee table, as though it was personally responsible for the birth of Wade. Mac shrugged, "I don't know. We've been dating for four months, I have no idea what he wants or where this will go." She glanced back at him, smiling sadly, wriggling her hand out from under his so that she could resume playing with his fingers, massaging them gently. She sniffed.
"I said that I wasn't going to lie, and I won't." She took a shaky breath, looking him right in the eye, "There is no one I'd rather be with – rather 'do this' – settle down with – than you." He stared back at her, transfixed and unable to look away.
"I love you Will. You're the only person I've ever truly loved – and I don't know how it would work, how it would be different; but…if I can't have you than I need to move on and start looking for the next best thing because I'm on a time limit here…and I don't want to end up as alone as some of the people out in that terrible –"
She took a great rattily breath as she tried to make sure she didn't start crying again. Squeezing his hand again, and keeping his gaze, she found that this time her smile wasn't forced or sad – she meant this: "I would wait for you forever…if I had forever. But…he'll never be you. Ever. You – you have to know that."
She lifted his hand and pressed a very watery but soft kiss there, before resting her head back against the sofa and allowing her eyes to flutter shut as she let out a deep breath. She knew that she had just sounded like she had given up…and she didn't want to…not just yet.
Mac felt, not happy, but as though a massive weight had been lifted off her chest. Between this and last night's little episode, they were finally clear on where each of them stood. They both knew that this push and pull between them was not healthy for either of them in the long run; and if nothing else came out of this then at least they had made the waters that they were treading a bit less muddy.
She felt Will's fingers begin to play with her hand, and she couldn't help the small smile which spread across her face as he did so.
"You're right." He said in a quiet, hoarse voice, "I don't know if I can forgive you – I want to Mac, I really do – but for some reason I – can't."
He sounded frustrated with himself as the smile on Mackenzie's face turned to a grimace. "I understand."
"I used to dream about us too, you know." That put the smile back on her face as she twisted her neck so that she could look at him, knowing the wistful look she would find on his face.
"I know. I used to see that look on your face in the morning when you woke me up." Will turned and smiled sadly back at her. "I always thought you'd make a great father, Will."
As she said this, another wave of anguish hit her like a wave knocking her into the swell and she whacked her head against the back of the sofa and brought her free hand up to pinch her nose. "Jesus, I was such an idiot!"
Will avoided her gaze, finding that actually seeing her berate herself for her mistake physically hurt. He wanted to hate her for it, and yet he hated to see her in pain. Surely that meant something?
Too confused to say anything else at this moment he looked instead at his watch, which to his shock informed him that it was after half past ten. He suddenly realised how hungry he was.
"Uh, Mac? Can I…get you something to eat?"
Mac was silent for a moment before she burst out laughing.
It's not a lame ending, there are slightly chirpier times to come now that they're on the same page. Have faith.
Slightly scared that I made Mac a little to girlie in this chapter…but I think being in a warzone would have given her a different perspective on what she wanted in life. As I think I've said before, I really hope Aaron puts in more about the impact her and Jim's experiences have had on them.