Love That Does Not Die
Walking into the ACN network offices, David Rossi sighed heavily. He hated publicity. Despised it, really. He recognized, however, begrudgingly and with negative feelings in his hardened heart, that it was a necessary part of his life. If he wanted to sell his books, he had to occasionally sit in front of an all-seeing camera and discuss them.
Usually, it was with brainless, blonde so-called anchors that wouldn't know an unsub from an Uzi. He was doomed to do fucking morning shows that were designed to grab mommies and retirees prone to watching the news in the morning. At least today he'd thankfully be working with a man that had half a brain.
He grinned as he thought of his old friend. Now that was a single thought that could keep him moving across the cobblestone sidewalk toward the nearby glass doors. College buddies that had actually worked together within the first Bush's administration, they'd formed a bond. Will had been a speech writer and Rossi had been a security consultant, each using the opposite side of the brains to protect the President. And they'd both liked scotch…and the bar located less than a block from the White House.
They'd never lost touch over the years, meeting for drinks any time he visited New York or Will visited DC on business. An unexpected phone call from a booking agent from the network's News Night's crew had requested his presence to talk about his newest book, "Terrorists inside America". Hearing that the interview would be done by his old buddy was icing on the cake. After quickly scheduling a leave from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rossi'd caught a plane the next day to the city.
Now, here he was.
Entering through the double doors, he made quick work of checking in at the front desk and was quickly ushered through security and to the elevator that took him up to Will's office.
"Wait! Hold that elevator!" he heard a familiar accented voice call desperately.
Quickly stopping the steel door from sliding closed, Dave's eyes widened on the woman scampering toward him, her toned legs closing the distance quickly. "Mackenzie?" he gaped, staring down at the petite woman now standing just beside him, breathing hard.
Blinking quickly as she adjusted from the manic to mere panic, Mac's eyes widened slightly. "David?"
Rossi wasn't who sure more surprised. Him or her. "What the hell are you doing here, Mac?" he asked, finally finding his voice as the woman beside him nervously tucked her hair behind her ear. "Does Will know you're here?" He'd been around for the great Will versus Mac debacle almost four years ago. It had been an ugly, ugly few months, and he couldn't deny that he had no desire to walk into the middle of World War Three. Will had never gotten past Mac's betrayal, and the fact the she was here…well, he wasn't a man that scared easily, but even he had enough sense to know that an explosion could be imminent. And he didn't wanna be anywhere near the epicenter of that disaster.
"Oh, he knows," Mac replied with a shy smile, crossing her arms over her chest as she looked up at the man that had been singlehandedly responsible for keeping her alive more than once. "I'm his executive producer."
"You?" Dave said dumbly, his eyes wide. Of all the gin joints in all the towns, he had to walk into this one. God obviously had a contract out on him, and he was doomed to be in the deity's crosshairs.
"Me," Mac replied calmly. Tilting her head in the manner that she still would deny that she did not do, she asked, "Are you all right, David? You look quite this side of pale."
What the hell had he walked in on here? Shrugging his shoulders, Dave cleared his throat as he growled, "I'm a little shocked. My last impression was that you and Will had agreed to actively dislike each other from opposite sides of the world. When did that change?"
"A few months ago," Mac revealed with a slight shrug. "And it was only Will that was intent on actively disliking me. I was begging his forgiveness if you recall correctly. Which of course he hasn't given," she added on a mumble, wrinkling her nose as she averted her eyes and glanced over at the reflective wall grimacing as she saw David Rossi's still confused countenance reflected there.
Blinking, Dave caught Mac's arm as the elevator door slid open and she would have escaped. He smelled a rat… a rat that wore a very becoming Chanel perfume. But, still a rat. "Wait a second. That booking agent that called me…that wasn't Will's idea at all, was it? That's why he never called me. This was your plan."
"You've written a wonderfully insightful book that deserves to get the exposure it needs in order to be successful," Mac replied with a sunny smile, valiantly trying to avoid his questions and accusations until she could get a more firm bearing on the situation escalating beyond her control. "You're a successful FBI agent that has had a career that would be the premise for a highly successful television series that the world would watch with glee, my friend. We here at ACN just want to jump on your coattails and catch a bit of the glory."
Oh, flattery was not her strong suit, and she only resorted to such a thing when she was clinging to the last shred of hope she possessed. He knew better. He knew her. Narrowing his eyes, Dave growled, "An empty office, Mac. Now."
Shoulders sagging dejectedly, Mac nodded. "This way," she directed, guiding him down a busy hallway and into a glassed walled office.
Following her inside, Dave closed the door behind him and flicked the blinds closed. Pointing a finger at the seemingly innocent woman, he shook his head. "You manipulated me."
"Not completely," Mac said quickly, her eyebrows rising as she waved a hand in the air between them. "It's a fantastic book that deserves the national attention our program can offer."
"Mackenzie," Dave warned, crossing his arms over his chest as he pinned her to the wall with his stare. "I don't like games."
"I know," she agreed softly, guilt creeping into her delicate features. "But I need help, David. As does Will. Things here are in a bit of flux and…"
Immediately shaking his head, Dave pressed his lips together. "Mac, you, Will and I came to an agreement several years ago. The only way I could stay friends with you both was to stay the hell out of whatever it was that wrecked you two. That hasn't changed."
"A lot has changed, Dave," Mac countered softly, shifting her weight and landing heavily on her spiked heel, sending a sharp spasm through her ankle.
"Okay, you got me there. Especially if you're back here working with Will every day. How in the hell did that happen anyway? I mean, no offense, but I'm pretty sure that Will would have rather lain down on the subway tracks and waited for oncoming death than…. Wait! Charlie. Charlie maneuvered this, didn't he?" Rossi asked, recalling the wily head of the news division. An ex-Marine, Charlie Skinner wasn't exactly known for his skills in diplomacy. He was more a "damn the torpedoes" kind of guy. Usually Rossi respected the hell out of it. Today, however, he wondered if the older man had finally gone senile.
"After my stint in Afghanistan, he offered me a job. Here."
Now that was new information. Dave gaped. "With Will? Has he finally lost what he had left of his limited marble collection?"
"Without Will's knowledge," Mac explained softly, wincing at the look of horror that was filling her old friend's eyes. "After a few minor skirmishes, he agreed to try it. It's working out quite well. Most days," she amended.
"Mac, you could have gone anywhere after your tour overseas. You did some of the best investigative reporting the business has ever seen," Dave pointed out gently, his eyes going soft. Hell, he'd always been fond of MacKenzie. He knew she'd cheated on Will during their relationship, but God, her deceit had torn her apart as much as it had the man she'd deceived. The truth was that he'd never seen Will as happy as he'd been with MacKenzie McHale. Before or since. "Why'd you come back here, Peanut?" he asked, dropping the pet name he'd bestowed on her years ago. "You had to know he'd go ape shit."
"You know why I came back to ACN, Dave," Mac whispered, her eyes filling with tears. "This was where he was."
"Jesus," Dave groaned, scrubbing a hand over his face as he shook his head in resignation. "You're still in love with him."
Author's Note: Hello, readers! Usually, I write Criminal Minds stories almost exclusively, but these unique characters of this brilliant show would not shut up in my head. So, hence, this is a Newsroom/Criminal Minds crossover of sorts. For those unaware, David Rossi is one of the profilers on the CBS program, "Criminal Minds", but even if you do not watch the show, this story should be relatively easy to follow.
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