A/N: Authors note at the end because *dramatic hand movements* spoilers
Will wakes around midday and instantly notices the cold – his feet are sticking out from beneath the blanket and he hadn't worn socks to bed the night before; but more importantly, Mackenzie is gone from his arms - sometime in the past few hours she must have slipped from his grasp.
He's rolled down the mattress and is now lying on his stomach, hugging his pillow to his chest with his head resting at the top. The bed is still warm, however, and when he reaches out a hand his fingers brush against soft, firm skin – Mackenzie's thigh, he realises – and she startles a little, sucking in a sharp breath.
Will lifts his head sleepily and blinks, willing the fuzziness away, and finds her sitting upright next to him, leant against the headboard and still only in her camisole and underwear, with a book balanced on her lap and a banana in hand.
She lifts it to her mouth and glances down at him in the same motion, biting into the flesh delicately and chewing slowly as he struggles to raise his head.
"Where'd you find a banana?" he asks, because it's the first thing that comes to mind. He's certain he didn't have any fruit earlier this morning, but Mackenzie merely crinkles her brow and lets her gaze slip back to her book, silent.
He studies her a moment, letting his head drift back to the pillow, and it's an odd angle to watch her from. She's quiet and delicate as she leafs through the pages, so at odds with her usual countenance.
He wasn't kidding when he asked her months ago if she was capable of silence – Mackenzie McHale is always in constant motion; moving and talking and bustling through life. She has a restless energy that exudes around her, and if he's honest it's half the reason he fell in love with her; why he loves her.
She so alive, he ponders. Alive and quixotic and loud and restless; she brings colour and energy to his otherwise monotonous existence, and he thinks that's what he's been missing the past three years – she's what makes his life interesting.
She's endlessly fascinating, and he finds himself drawn to her – her mind and her heart and her body.
Take for instance; now she has her legs curled up on the mattress, one tucked beneath her bottom and the other spread down the bed - the tips of her toes are tucked beneath the edge of a blanket and the smooth expanse of bare skin is pale all the way up to her thighs. She has one arm of her camisole pulled down around her fingertips, but the other is pushed up almost to her elbow, like she can't quite decide if she's hot or cold, and he finds that small detail utterly charming.
Her hair is messy, curled softly at the ends and it falls across her cheek and dances across her forehead whenever she moves her head. Her eyes flicker delicately as she reads and her lips are parted softly, cherry red and damp as her tongue peaks out to lick.
Will turns his head until his face is pressed into the pillow because she's gorgeous and in his bed and the last time she was here, she was exhausted and telling him she was pregnant – but the time before that, well.
The time before that she was lithe and long and tangled beneath him and above him; and her lips were bitten and her hair was a mess and he was as close to her as they've ever been.
He can feel the blood rush around his head and he's willing his mind and heart to stop competing, when a gentle, hesitant touch to the back of his neck sends tingles shooting down his spine.
Her fingers, delicate and cool, rub slowly at the nape of his neck and then tangle in his hair, running through the messy grey locks and he can't help it; he groans into the pillow, because surely she's going to be the death of him.
And he thinks fuck it, she's warm and oddly calm and her fingers are drifting through his fucking hair; and if that isn't the most innocuous, intimate gesture – so filled with familiarity and love – then he doesn't know what is.
He turns and presses his face into her hip and lets his lips seek bare skin, nipping softly before settling, and with her smell intoxicating and her touch gentle, he lets them both be.
They come to a mutual, unspoken agreement around one o'clock that they won't be moving from the bed in the foreseeable future, but Will is hungry and he suspects she is too, and he remembers seeing a flyer somewhere advertising free pizza delivery on Christmas Day from a place a few blocks down the road.
He thinks he should probably lift his head and find his phone, but Mackenzie's fingers are still resting at the nape of his neck, and at some point she'd started reading from her book aloud – Anne of Green Gables, he'd discovered, and he doesn't even remember owning that one. Her voice is gentle and husky and he's always loved her cadence – her accent lifts and falls like a melody, so unlike his own rumbling one – it's like a symphony that reflects her very nature.
He's lazy and drifting and his muscles are jelly against the soft mattress; he's steadfastly ignoring what ever is happening between them because it feels a lot like what they had once upon a time, but also completely different – because back then they'd wouldn't have shied from intimacy – but now there's a gentle hesitance that he finds intoxicating; it's like they're sidestepping around the other in a constant bid to not upset equilibrium, but at the same time utterly enamored with the other, and it shows in these small touches and glances.
It's a bit like those first, few moments of falling in love, and he doesn't know what's changed in the past few days that's allowed him to think like that.
But he thinks perhaps it was inevitable.
Whatever this child brings to their life – and he's positive it's going to throw the world upside down – it's put them in a position where he can no longer refuse to deal with what happened four years ago. Can't keep dancing his hand over the flame, nor bang his head up against brick walls.
He was right when he told – no yelled, at Charlie and Dr. Habib – what happened between he and Mackenzie isn't something he can just get over. But for so long, it was what defined their relationship. Every time he looked at her, spoke with her, worked with her – it was to the constant reminder that she'd destroyed what was real.
But he thinks perhaps this child is beginning to erode that.
Now when he thinks of Mackenzie he sees a possible future, as ridiculous as that sounds - not merely their past – and he could continue to ignore what happened, continue to refuse to deal with it – or, he could move on.
Start living his life as if he's actually a part of it, and stop kidding himself that that doesn't involve Mackenzie.
Because he's pretty sure what they share now has the potential to be everything.
When he peaks an eye open it's to find her leaning towards him; her smile is fond and her eyes are glazed and she looks beautiful – he thinks yes, this could definitely be my future – yes, I think I can trust you.
"What are you thinking?" she asks, because she likes to hear him speak. She prods and coddles, but he understands, because words hold meaning for her in a way they never have for him.
He's so introverted when it comes to his feelings – what he's thinking and what he wants are more important in his heart than through words – because words can be faked, twisted. He should know, he's a journalist and a lawyer – but the heart can't be faked, so he offers her a small smile in recompense.
"Just reaching some conclusions," he tells her, because it would be cruel to give her nothing.
They're silent a moment and she rolls her eyes at his reticence, but then she tips her head forward to lean against the back of his bare shoulder blade and all thoughts and epiphanies fly from his mind.
He freezes and then turns, and her head tumbles onto his chest – she presses her lips to the bare skin above his heart and he rumbles something intelligible, tugging her close. He thinks perhaps if they just stay silent and let everything exist through touch, then they'll be fine.
"Lunch?" he asks, as her stomach rumbles.
And she nods, laughing, and rests her ear to his chest. "Yes please."
Apparently turkey pizza is a Christmas Day delicacy, and Will is feeling brave, so he remains stoic as the deliveryman passes the box to him.
Mackenzie is less optimistic and hovers at the doorway of his bedroom, leant up against the frame, her legs twisted beneath her and still in only her camisole.
He really should find her some pants lest he do something stupid.
"Shall we?" he asks, and she wrinkles her nose. But she follows him on light feet towards the dining table and tucks her feet up underneath her as she sits. He passes her a plate and she pushes it back towards him, a clear sign that he is to cut the pizza, so he picks up a knife and delicately slices down the middle.
"Do you think this counts as Christmas lunch?" he asks softly, and she snorts through closed lips, giggling as he slides a slice of pizza onto her plate and pushes it back towards her.
"I think this is probably offensive, actually, having pizza instead of a proper cooked meal."
"Should have stayed with your family," he throws back, and there's an awkward pause that follows, because they haven't actually discussed why she returned two days after leaving.
Will takes a bite of his pizza to keep his hands and mouth occupied, but Mackenzie is watching him closely, and he can't help but meet her gaze. The room is silent and oddly oppressive and it astounds him that half an hour ago he was lying with her head practically in his lap, but now she's looking at him as if he's grown a third eye.
"I don't know why I came back," she offers, and he nods mutely.
"No, I do," she retracts – and that's so very Mackenzie like.
"I felt like I had to go there. To see my parents and to tell them in person. I wanted to feel my mother's arms around me when I told her she was going to be a grandparent again. And I'm glad I did."
There's a pause and Will can't help but wish he hadn't ordered pizza, because it's greasy and really no substitute for an actual meal and it means his hands are sticky and can't reach out towards her. He picks up a napkin from the middle of the table and wipes his fingers, but Mackenzie is watching the space over his left shoulder, staring into the distance as she speaks.
"But the whole time I was there I felt like I was missing something. I think I was missing you. Which is ridiculous, because I'm always missing you," and the last part is said softly, offhandedly – she brushes her fringe from her eyes, and her cheeks are flushed, and he can tell she's trying to convince him that it doesn't matter.
"I miss you too," he tells her, because it's Christmas and he's being brave and his hands are dry enough to reach towards her now. He brushes his fingertips to her camisole-covered arm and she shivers, smiling thankfully at him.
"The pizza is terrible. Don't eat it," he adds moments later, and she crinkles her forehead at him like he's insane.
"Did you honestly think I was going to eat any of it anyway?" she asks.
And he knows her well enough to know the answer.
"What movie were you watching that night?" she yells around the corner.
He's in the kitchen, washing the last of the pizza grim from their plates, and trying to find some bread or pasta so that he can make them a decent meal. He's still not sure where Mackenzie resurrected that banana from, but she always understood his kitchen better than he had – his cupboards are still organized the way she likes to sort everything and he's sure that if he asked her she'd have an easier time navigating it than he does.
"What are you talking about?" he yells back, pulling a tea towel from the top drawer.
Mackenzie's head pokes around the side of the doorway and he notices that she's pulled her hair back. It puzzles him a moment, because it's still cold in the apartment, no matter what he does, and she's not wearing socks, so surely she can't be too warm. Not to mention it reminds him of the moments before they go on air when she'll pull her hair back and clip it behind her ears. His only real regret over hiring her is that he never gets to sit back and watch her work. Sure, he hears her in his ear (and isn't that wonderful and tantalizing and terrible) but he's never been afforded the opportunity to see her control the broadcast.
He's sure it must be fascinating – he's been told time and time again that she's amazing at her job. Perhaps he should suggest she do some work for Elliott or one of the afternoon shows, just so he can sit back and watch her...
He files that thought away and tries to process what she's referring to.
"The night I was here, to tell you about," and she waves uncertainly to her stomach. He arches an eyebrow, because surely they've reached the point where they can say the word baby, but at the same time he understands, because it still feels ridiculous that they're having one. Really, they're the last two people on earth who should be entrusted with a human being to raise together.
"Rosalie," he tells her, and it's one of his old favorites simply because it's so insane. "I was watching Rosalie when you were here."
She nods quickly and leans more heavily against the doorway. "I've not seen that one before," she tells him, and then, "It's a pretty name," quietly, almost to herself.
He pauses drying the plate and sets it down on the counter, turning towards her, "No."
"What?" she asks quickly.
"We're not naming the child Rosalie."
She crinkles her brow as if he's crazy, but he can see the longing in her eyes, so he sets the tea towel down and walks towards her.
She leans backwards, surprised, but he merely grabs her shoulders and steers her towards the lounge, pushing her down gently once they reach it.
"My mothers name was Rosemary, and I'm not having a child that reminds me of my mother every damn minute."
Mackenzie snorts quickly and then brings a hand over her mouth, trying to hide her smile, but she nods in understanding and he deflates, pleased they've sorted that out.
"Eloise and Edward are out as well."
"And Claire, and Michael, and Annie."
"And James, Peter and Amelia."
"That still leaves us with a lot of names," he mutters, rubbing a hand to his forehead. "And when did you decide it was a girl?"
Mackenzie smiles and gives a half shrug. "I haven't, I keep switching. But we find out at my next appointment and that's less than two weeks away."
"Why did your parents name you Mackenzie," he asks, leaning back against the lounge with a hand thrown over the arm. He studies her as she ponders the question, the slope of her nose and the curve of her cheek. Her bright eyes and messy hair and the slender run down her neck.
He's always been fascinated by her parent's choice of name – it's such a strong name, Mackenzie, often used for males – whilst Julian is much softer, yet what they gave their son. He thinks it's a wonderful dichotomy, and so very like Edward and Eloise McHale.
"Honestly I've no idea. At one point my father wanted to name me Winston if I was a boy, but my mother refused. They were lucky I was a girl or it might have torn the family apart"
And Will nods, smiling. Of course he would. A conservative Brit would want to name their child after a politician.
"I always liked Samuel, however," she offers, and Will considers it. It's a nice name, a strong name.
"Why?" he asks, intrigued.
"My mother used to read me poetry when I was little, I spent so much time flying between countries with them, and it helped settle me. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was my favourite. My mother adored Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and I could recite Kubla Khan before I could even spell it."
And Will can just imagine her, small and fairy like, whispering the poets magic words into the night.
"It's a nice name," he offers, and Mackenzie sighs, nodding.
"We should keep it in mind. In honour of your childhood, and your mother."
Mackenzie looks at him oddly, her lips pursed, but then she smiles and nods and Will can sense something building.
"But we keep Rosalie in case it's a girl."
And he can't help but laugh, because of course she would demand that.
"If you insist."
Mackenzie tucks her feet closer to her body and brings her arms around her knees, hugging them tight. A few more months and she won't be able to do that any longer, he thinks. A few more months and it will be obvious to all that their child is there.
"Samuel McAvoy," she whispers, and it hits Will suddenly that they possibly just named their child.
Shit, he thinks. Shouldn't there be fireworks or something. Or Champagne?
Only he's not a big fan of champagne, so he thinks he might pour himself a glass of scotch.
He's halfway towards the small bar tray in the dining room before he realizes he's left Mackenzie sitting in the lounge. She's staring at him wide eyed and confused and he chuckles, glancing down at his shoes before up at her.
"I like it," he tells her quickly. "I like it a lot actually. But I need a drink."
And he's never said that he wasn't blunt.
Mackenzie merely rolls her eyes and settles back against the pillows, resting her chin on her hands and wriggling her toes.
She's sleepy by 6 o'clock, and that's ridiculous because they've spent most of the day sleeping.
Will isn't sure if he's spent Christmas this relaxed in years – usually he's by himself; very rarely in Nebraska – and then there had been those two years when they'd been together when they'd spent the entire day curled in bed.
"Sleep?" he asks her, jiggling his shoulder ever so slightly where her head is resting against him. She has an arm slung across his stomach and it's burning through his jumper, but the soft curl of her fingertips against his skin is delightful against the cold.
"Sleep, Mackenzie. You're exhausted."
"No I'm not," she grumbles, but yawns to the contrary.
She sighs regretfully and tips her forehead against the curve of his shoulder, rubbing her head there from side to side before finally pulling back. He's silent as she does so, refusing to believe that he's blushing (but he is, because she's sleepy and affectionate and adorable, dammit) and her wide brown eyes meet his in the dimmed light, blown open and deep.
"I need to ring my parents, actually," she mutters finally, shuffling away from him.
He takes a moment to breathe and then leans back to grab at the phone lying on the coffee table. He'd rung his sister Claire earlier and spoke to her briefly, promising to be in contact again soon – at some point he needs to tell his own family about the baby, but that will only lead to lots of raised eyebrows and punches to his shoulder, not to mention Annie will probably laugh, because that's the type of sister she is and always will be.
"Here," he mumbles, because the apartment is quiet and that seems to dictate whispers, and presses the phone into her palm.
She accepts it gratefully and as she slips from the lounge, Will stretches back out, feeling his muscles flex and joints pop. He's getting old, he thinks. How the hell is he supposed to chase after a child?
"Hi Dad," he hears Mackenzie all but whisper. Her voice is soft and warm – familiar, he thinks, in a way it only grows when she is completely unguarded.
"I'm fine. The flight was fine. I promise."
There's a pause, and Will wonders what it must be like. Having your daughter live on the other side of the world, only seeing and speaking to her on select occasions. And then one day she shows up, promising a long vacation, only to tell you she's pregnant and then leaving the next day.
That's probably grounds for a lot of worry, he thinks. He's pretty sure he'd be entirely pissed off.
"I'm at Will's," she says, and he glances up quickly to catch the deep blush in her cheeks as she ducks her head. She rolls her eyes – a patent McHale motion – and then pushes her fringe back behind her ears.
"No, dad," she sighs in amusement. "We've spent the day talking, that's all."
And Will doesn't want to know what Edward McHale supposed they were getting up to.
"It's been nice," she finally murmurs, and Will tips his head back on the lounge, thinking yes, it has been. Aside from the disastrous lunch.
"I have to go, but tell everyone I said hello, and Merry Christmas, and that I'll see them all in a few weeks, okay?"
Mackenzie laughs warmly, but Will is still caught on the in a few weeks, because when did she decide she was going back to London? He supposes she did promise her family a proper visit, and he really doesn't have the right to be annoyed – but he can't help the small lump rise in his throat when he thinks about it. It's not as bad as when she announced she was going away over Christmas – perhaps because since then they've talked; they've grown closer and set some rules, not to mention there was the whole returning on Christmas Eve situation.
It makes him hope that maybe she's in this just as much for them, as for the baby. Though if he's honest, ever since it was revealed she never received his first message, he's begun to suspect that she's been there for him from the start.
"How is everyone?" he asks as she walks back towards him.
She runs her hand along the curve of his shoulders as she walks around him back to the lounge, and it's small moments like that – touches and glances and smiles – that remind him why everything is worth it eventually.
"They're well. They had a nice Christmas and Santa was kind to the children. You should hear them, they're so wonderful, but so loud. We're really not prepared for this at all," she tells him, tongue in cheek and her hand sweeps low over her stomach – Will freezes and watches her, unable to look away – and eventually she grows self conscious and removes her hand.
He looks up immediately but his smile is so warm, so utterly unchanging, no matter how hard he might want to not look like an idiot, that she blushes and ducks her head, smiling too.
"Can I come with you?"
She tucks her head against the back of the lounge, but her mouth turns up in question. "When?" she asks.
"To the doctors, when you find out. Seeing as we've stumbled upon names. I'd like to be there when we have some idea."
She snorts and shakes her head, but nods at him quickly in agreement. "Yes, please."
There's a soft moment of quiet; warm smiles are shared, and then Mackenzie tips forward and burrows into his chest, wrapping her arms around his waist and squeezing tightly. He lets out a small grunt and then runs a hand down the length of her back.
"We'll be alright," she tells him, and it's the first time she's been the one assuring the other. Usually it's him whispering promises into her hair.
He digs his fingers into the firm flesh of her back and settles back on the lounge, kicking his feet up on the coffee table.
"Merry Christmas," he murmurs back, because it is.
A/N: To those who were wondering, no Thursday's Child is not a direct sequel to this ;) I'm just lazy and really couldn't imagine any other way for Mackenzie to fall pregnant, so that whole situation was kept the same, but this story is completely separate to that one. Ella's world is not this one. This child might be a little girl named Rosalie, or a little boy named Samuel...or they might think of completely different name all together! Time will tell.
Ella's world will continue, because I feel in love with that little girl long after I started this one. (I'm already completely in love with this child, so now I have two different McAvoy's running around in my head and I tell you, it's a but crazy) but it probably won't be updated until most of this is finished, only because this is my baby. And there's still so so much to explore in this world!
So those of you who were worried, or felt spoiled by Thursday's Child, fear not! I was just being a little minx and trying to confuse people by responding with winks when you asked. I apologise. It's late in Australia. *grin* *blush* But everything is still a mystery!
And my obvious obsession with Samuel Taylor Coleridge has started to creep in :P
Hope you all enjoyed! xxx
And to those who continue to review and analyse and critique, I adore every single message. I ADORE ALL OF YOU! and I love reading what you have to say and think :D x