So, I found this show about a week ago. I pretty much devoured it. I have also completely fallen in love with it, in spite of its flaws. Particularly the relationship between Will and Mac. So I wrote fic. Still adjusting to the characters, but I think it turned out alright. I'd love to hear people's thoughts. I also have no idea what category to put this under. It really could fall under several. I settled on Drama.
She wasn't the only one disappointed when the lights came on. She was just the most vocal about it.
"Son of a bitch!"
Mac had always been vocal. Particularly when she was excited. And she'd been excited in the dark. For the first time in days, she'd actually been excited. She'd been happy. Even the darkness couldn't hide it.
Then the lights had come back on and Will watched the light in her eyes disappear. He knew the exact second it went out, unsurprising given that he'd been watching it grow in the darkness.
He hadn't been able to take his eyes off of her as she'd outlined her miracle, as she'd explained what this could be for them. And by "them," obviously he meant the newsroom, not them, not the two of...
Oh screw it.
This was exactly why being the arrogant jerk who didn't learn people's names had its advantages.
This was all her fault. Mackenzie McHale.
There was a reason he'd gotten more involved in the lives of his staff after she came along. She was petite, almost delicate looking sometimes, but looks could be deceptive. Mackenzie was his general, his right hand, marshalling and inspiring their troops. People responded to her. Everyone did (he had); they couldn't help it. Her idealism and enthusiasm could be infectious. She almost always had you convinced, no matter how crazy her idea sounded. It was part of what made her a good newswoman.
And the entire newsroom would follow her to the ends of the earth, which tonight ahd meant down 25 flights of stairs with parts of an anchor desk on their backs while she supervised the purchase and installation of generators. Two generators. Because one generator wouldn't be enough for Mac. One generator might fail, and then where would they be?
They'd all be standing around in the dark looking like fools (well, he'd be sitting), and she didn't do that.
She was going to produce her god damn show, and no one was going to stop her. Not even God himself.
For a few seconds, Will actually thought she might be able to pull it off.
He thought that she might have figured out a way to free them of the Casey Anthony tangle or the Congressman Weiner nonsense, and whatever else they were trying to pass off as news these days.
Not in Mac's world.
In Mac's world, they led with the debt ceiling, and talked about the stalled economy, and anything else that actually mattered to someone.
Yes, he'd admit it. He was man enough for that, at least in his own mind. She'd gotten him caught up in her dream world, even as he'd pretended not to be.
It had been easier to surrender to her in the dark. Easier to let her talk, to let her convince him. To let her words wash over them all.
After she'd conquered the hearts and minds of the newsroom, she'd turned to him. She'd expected him to be the last holdout. (He'd used sarcasm to keep her from suspecting the truth.) So Mac had turned to him, determined and eager and, god damn, she'd even been excited.
They both knew that if she got him, she had everyone.
Little did she know, she'd gotten him already.
Maybe she always would.
"I'm in your sight line the whole time, in your ear and standing next to camera," she promised, her voice oh so sweetly coaxing, urging surrender.
And just like that, he conceded the floor. At least in his own mind.
And he, Will McAvoy, became another spinner of dreams.
Because her dream was irresistible.
Just the two of them, doing the news. There'd be other people there, but they wouldn't matter. He wouldn't see them.
And he wouldn't be thinking about the audience either. Not tonight. Not the ones at home at least.
Tonight he'd have an audience of one.
She'd be in his sight line the whole time. Standing beside the camera, the only thing he could see besides the monitor. And she would talk to him, she'd be the voice in his head, prompting, and encouraging and helping him keep it all together. Just her.
And in the dark, with the studio lights on him and only him, and the camera beside her, she'd be standing just close enough that he could see her face. They'd have been in their own little bubble of light. Where everything would be okay.
Because she wouldn't allow it to be otherwise. And if ever he had doubts, he'd have her voice to reassure him.
Alright Will, this is it. It's just you and me. Let's do this.
Okay, we're going to switch to the economy now. You'll cut to Sloan and...
The generator's holding, but there's a slight delay transmitting some of the images, so I need you to fill for a few seconds...
That's it Billy, keep it together. We can do this. Look at me. I'm here.
And he would read the news to her. (He'd never stopped wanting to impress her.)
Their little bubble wouldn't have been real of course, not afterwards. It would have been an illusion, of her creation. One that he'd willingly entered into.
But for an hour it would have been real. For an hour it would have been all that mattered.
For an hour, it would have just been the two of them. Just them. And none of the other crap.
Even if it would have dissolved when the clock struck ten.
And reality would have been back.
And they would have been a group of crazy people standing in the street in the dark.
And he'd have to go home again.
What if these people who surrounded him now were only with him because she'd brought them? He'd be alone again. Alone with his cynicism. His previous staff had no trouble dropping him without looking back.
He couldn't let her wrap him up in her spell, her warmth.
Because what if one day she took it away again?
She'd done it once before.
He knew that wasn't fair. That wasn't fair, and the tests he was subjecting her to weren't either. He knew she hadn't meant to…
She was still here. She'd taken everything he'd dished out. She was still here. He was beginning to wonder if she always would be, if he let her. But he just couldn't seem to...
Maybe if they'd had their hour. Maybe it would have shifted something, maybe...
Will brought his attention back to the woman in front of him, instead of the version in his mind.
He watched her rage in the newsroom. Mackenzie McHale rarely lost it, but when she did, she didn't hold back. Then he watched as the anger seemed to just ebb out of her to replaced by resignation.
As he watched her, he saw how close she was to the edge, how much she was clinging to the hope of the blackout, and how it all fell apart when the lights came on. (It had fallen apart for him too; he was just better at hiding it. Cynicism had its advantages.) He knew just how much he was hurting her. He wished he really could be her Don Quixote, all of the time, and not just when the ratings were good. He wished he could create her ideal world, the world she always seemed to be working towards, even if she was the only one.
The world where politicians were held accountable for the things they said and forced to answer the tough questions. The world where informed debate was the norm and not the exception. The world where America really was making its way back to becoming the best country in the world.
The world where true love always won in the end.
The world that always seemed so clear to her, and that she always seemed to know the way to.
The world that he couldn't quite create because this was his reality. This was the reality he'd created.
And reality always intruded.
He blinked and all of a sudden she was standing in front of him, looking calm if a little dishevelled. She was opening her mouth to speak to him. Mac was talking again, but her voice was different.
"I meant to tell you, you should use the word bombshell more in the Casey Anthony coverage tonight."
Her voice was flat; she couldn't even bring herself to be sarcastic under the harsh overhead lights.
The power was back on now, and hers was gone. It was time for him to report the news, or the next best thing.
While he was doing that, she had to get to the control room, not to some kind of MacGuyvered set outside. And he had to do the Casey Anthony pre-record.
It was somehow appropriate.
He desperately wanted the dream back, even if it was just for a little while. The dream where anything was possible. Where Mac could make it right. Where working together, they could do anything, even shoot a news broadcast with no electricity. Where he didn't have to put his hand in the flame of the candle. Where he could...
He just wanted the dream.
He didn't want her in the control room. With Brian (who he had god damn put there).
And yet, even as he switched his quest from ideals and good news to the search of ratings and public approval, even as he prepared for her disappointment, her voice was still there. In his ear.
She was in the control room separated from him by a wall of monitors, and equipment and staff.
It wasn't just him and her and a camera in their own little bubble of light.
And she was quiet, but she was there. He hadn't quite broken her yet.
It wasn't the dream.
But maybe she'd been right.
Maybe one day it could be.