"Remind me why we're doing this again?"
Will McAvoy murmurs the question to his EP from the corner of his mouth as he helps himself to a modest spoonful of the slightly singed microwave mashed potatoes before him. This is Thanksgiving afternoon at Newsnight 2.0, and this is the disastrous potluck that Mackenzie insisted upon. In the main office, the desks have been drawn together and cleared to make room for the food that each staff member was asked to bring. It is a pathetic display. Hummus and pita chips from one of the secretaries. An unopened can of cranberry sauce that Don dropped by on his way to lunch with his family. Homemade brownies that Neil's girlfriend provided. A deli turkey that Mac picked up last minute. Poptarts that Jim stole from the break room and had the nerve to call his contribution. A box of doughnuts from Kendra. Half a falafel because Will forgot this thing was happening today. The room is filled with food, just not anything to boast about.
"Because you love your staff and the news doesn't magically stop on the third Thursday every November."
Will does not even look up from the carton of French fries that he is picking through as he quips back at her.
"Are you sure about that?"
Mac brushes a stray hair from her face and picks up a pork wonton from a white take out box.
"Loving your staff? Well, I'm not sure."
Smirking, Will gives her a snarky look.
"No, I was talking about the news."
She narrows her eyebrows at her companion and looks around her. The staff doesn't seem as discontent as he. Instead, they seem fine. They all fill their plates with the odd assortment of food; they all talk in somewhat jovial tones about the game on the television or the disastrous new musical premiered on the parade this morning. Will seems to be the only one ill at ease.
"Oh, don't worry. I'm sure we'll find something to report. It's the holiday season. Some congressman is bound to be jingling his bells to some aide or another."
He sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose between two fingers exhaustedly.
"They know I'm thankful for them. I don't see the point in all this-" he mutters disgustedly as he picks through what looks like a poorly concocted pasta salad.
Mac stops and clears her throat, trying to catch everyone's attention.
"Everyone!" She shouts.
The room instantly gets silent. Mac's holiday rants are legend.
"Will seems to think that this is pointless and stupid," she punctuates the last three words with pauses and hand gestures, "Is this the general consensus?"
She looks around and watches as every member of her staff shuffles embarrassedly, trying to agree without actually agreeing. Abashed, Mac looks at the floor and thinks for a moment.
"Well. Then, I suppose there's only one thing left to do."
That's when Mac notices the instant gravy sitting in a red plastic cup from the break room. And that's when Will McAvoy gets covered in gravy.
The entire room stops for a moment as Mac smirks triumphantly and Will splutters in shocked awe. Thick, store bought brown gravy oozes down his features slowly, and the room holds their breath in anticipation.
The retort is almost instantaneous, but everyone is so wrapped in it, they would swear Will's reaction took hours. His right hand, the one that used to pitch eighty mile an hour fast balls, tosses his plate-covered with instant mashed potatoes, canned green beans, biscuits and cup jello- directly into Mac's face. It is a swift movement, one that almost looks lazy and obligatory as Will rolls his gravy sopped eyes.
And thus the war begins. When a stray stream of whipped cream from the plate slams Maggie, she fires back toward Will with a poorly aimed cluster of grapes which hit Tess by accident. The escalation is inevitable and lightning fast. Within moments, the food is cleared from the collection of desks huddled in the middle of the room and flying across the room.
Once the food is gone and the room filled with laughing accusations and declarations of revenge, Mac admires her handiwork. She smirks. Her Newsnight family may not have had the Thanksgiving Dinner she dreamed of, but they are closer now than ever. Even Will seems to be enjoying himself.
"Happy with yourself?" He asks, using a napkin to begin the painstaking process of wiping gravy from his face.
Mac smirks, ignoring the feast decorating her body. She is too pleased to bother.
She swings her eyes in his direction nonchalantly, letting the words fall from her lips easily and lightly. This is not the day she wanted, but this is as good as anything at ACN could ever go. Things are historically disastrous here. For once, things are going their way.
"So, this was your plan for team building?"
When she announced the Thanksgiving dinner, that is how she explained it. Team Building. And though the food fight certainly wasn't apart of that plan, she is not going to allow Will to know that.
"Aren't all of these brilliant things planned?"
She asks this question easily, in a show of mock arrogance as she chuckles to herself.
"I've just been operating under the assumption that you're the luckiest woman on the planet."
Mac leans back against the wall behind her, shrugging her shoulders triumphantly.
"I'll take it."
The next moment, Maggie walks, laughing, into the conference room to find paper towels. She drew the short straw on the napkin search, and she thinks she remembers seeing some from this morning.
"Jim," she says, stopping short as she sees the completely clean young man furiously engaged with something on his computer screen.
"Cease fire in Gaza," he mutters, motioning pathetically to his computer for an explanation as his eyes remain solely focused on the story before him.
Maggie folds her soaking wet arms over her chest and tosses her matted hair aside.
"Yeah. That story's three days old or something."
At least, she thinks that's right. She hopes that's right because she doesn't want Jim to think any less of her for not knowing the Israeli-Iranian timeline.
"Two days old, and I know. This is just a really nice shirt."
He says this earnestly and seriously, looking down at the keyboard and avoiding her gaze with a single breath from his lips.
"Oh, ho, ho. Real nice shirt."
She teases him in that voice that makes both parties equally uncomfortable. Instantly, she regrets her tone and ducks her head.
"I don't even know what you were going for there, so I won't respond to it," he quips.
He rises and crosses to look through some files Mac had drawn up the day before.
"I'm just saying that you're being a real Scrooge right now," she says, holding her hands out defensively.
Jim folds his arms and looks down at her in that distinctive Jim Harper manner.
"That's Christmas that you're thinking of, and no. I'm not being a Scrooge."
A thought pops into her head at his derisive, simply Jim tone. A smile slides across her features and she spreads her arms wide. Her eyes slide close and she nods.
"I think a hug might help you get some spirit."
Jim rolls his eyes upward for the briefest moment before responding.
"But I think you need it."
And there it is. Maggie pounces, and Jim becomes the last member of News Night to be covered in Thanksgiving Dinner. The hug lingers perhaps a little longer than it should, and Jim holds on a little tighter than he knows is proper.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Jim."