Author's Notes: Sitting here watching A Few Good Men for the twentieth time or so trying to let Sorkin dialogue inspire something new. Unfortunately, horrible writer's block has set in. Trying desperately to come up with something guys, but this little ficlet is all that happened. Not sure I ever intended to post it, but Millie says I must…so here it is. And yes, Millie and Tracy and Katy, I did re-write a couple of things just so you guys wouldn't be bored! In my mind this takes place about one month after the season one finale. Enjoy!
For the past few weeks, late at night when he couldn't sleep, Will McAvoy was tortured by the lyrics from The Sound of Music. Over and over a single song would play through his head and he was certain that soon he would be driven insane by it if he couldn't make it stop.
And yet here he was, at three in the morning singing in the darkness of his bedroom. "How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her, many a thing she ought to understand. But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say?"
"God damn it Mackenzie! What the hell have you done to me!" he roared into the empty room. But he had a sneaking suspicion that Mackenzie knew exactly what she was doing and she was enjoying every minute of it. Ever since he got out of the hospital the woman had been unyielding.
Her voice was beginning to remind him of the incessant buzzing of a fly near your head. A cute, charming fly, but a fly nonetheless. Mackenzie's constant pleas for information rang in his ears relentlessly.
She would whisper questions into his earpiece toward the end of every show. She would leave seemingly innocuous little emails that somehow always managed to end with 'what did the rest of the message say?'
She would barge into his office unannounced and proceed to drop into one of the chairs in front of his desk and look at him until he just couldn't take it anymore.
"What?!" he would shout.
"You know what" she would answer.
And on and on it would go. Mackenzie was like a dog with a bone when she wanted something. And right now what she wanted was him. Why was he being so difficult, he wondered? Beautiful, vivacious Mackenzie McHale was practically throwing herself at him every chance she got. Begging to be let back in…pleading to know what was on that voicemail. And for some reason he was swatting her away.
"When I'm with her I'm confused. Out of focus and bemused and I never know exactly where I am. Oh, how do you solve a problem like Mackenzie?" he sang out into the room and then stopped. Good Lord, had he just re-written the lyrics to The Sound of Music? What the hell was going on in his head these days?
He was confident Dr. Habib would try to tell him exactly what was going on in his head. He would lecture him on fear of commitment or being stuck in the past, but Will wasn't quite convinced any of that was actually the problem. He thought that maybe, just maybe, he was ready. He was fairly certain he had actually forgiven her both for cheating on him and for betraying him.
No, that wasn't the problem anymore. At least, he didn't think it was. These days he thought there was a whole new problem and didn't that just scream of all the fucked up things about him and Mackenzie and their relationship? Two people didn't make it to fifty-one and forty years old respectively, without a single successful long-term relationship between them, without some pretty sizable baggage.
She was flighty and independent and so commitment-phobic that there should be a whole different term to describe it. And he was morose, silent and the son of an abusive alcoholic. Really, the amount of therapy that would be needed for the two of them to have a happy life together would cost more than the national budgets of some small African countries. Will beat his pillow into submission and rolled over, trying to get at least a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep before heading in to work.
Early the next morning, sitting in his office and trying to think of anything but the lyrics to The Sound of Music, Will found himself running all these thoughts through his head and trying to figure out what the hell to do. He always thought a good Rodgers and Hammerstein musical held the solutions to all of life's problems but he sure as hell didn't have any answers to this problem. And if he didn't figure it out soon, where the hell did that leave them?
Together… his brain screamed as he looked across the newsroom to see Mackenzie pointing out some flaw in tonight's show to Jim. It left them together, because that was really the only way all this could play out.
But how? That's where he was stuck at the moment. Because, during all the sleepless nights of the past few weeks, he'd come to realize the problem now was how one starts a new relationship with the woman you had once nearly been married to and who you have known for the better part of ten years.
Do you even go on a first date? Wasn't that a little repetitive and pointless? What the hell would they talk about on a second first date? They already knew everything about each other.
And then, when the date ends, do you just give her a polite kiss on the cheek even though you know every inch of her body already? Well, except for that scar from the stabbing. That would be new.
These weren't the kinds of things you discussed in therapy. Fear of commitment, feelings of betrayal…those were the types of things you talked to your shrink about. Whether or not you sleep with your former almost fiancée on your second first date…those were the things you talked to your best friend about.
And there was his second problem. Mackenzie was his best friend. Sure, he and Charlie were close, but that was more of a surrogate father and son relationship. In all honesty, Mac had been the only person he had ever had real heart to heart discussions with. So, where did that leave him?
Standing here in his office, looking out through the glass at Mackenzie and wondering where to start. That's where it left him.
Just then, her head whipped up, as if somehow aware of the direction his thoughts had been going. She walked across the newsroom and slowly pushed his office door open and stood there looking at him.
"Are you ok Will?" she asked quietly.
"Huh? Oh yeah, sure, I'm fine" he told her. Except for the annoying musical theater lyrics swimming around in my head. Yeah, I'm just fine.
"Ok, was there some reason you've been staring at me for the last ten minutes?"
Shit, had it really been that long?
"I…um...well" he stuttered.
"Spit it out Will. We have a show to do in eight hours" she told him, smirking.
"Well, here's the thing Mac. There's this woman I'd like to ask out and I don't have the slightest clue how to do it. She's smart and she's beautiful and I'm pretty sure she's interested…at least she has been in the past and well…" he trailed off, looking up to find her standing perfectly still.
"Mac? Mackenzie?" he asked.
"Yes? Oh, right. How to ask this girl out? Well, you just do it Will. I'm sure you two will have a lovely time" Mackenzie trailed off.
What? Did she actually think he was talking about someone else? Shit! He really was awful at this.
"Wait Mackenzie…I didn't say that right."
"No really, you did Will. It sounds like you truly like this woman so you should ask her out" Mackenzie mumbled and made her way toward the door.
"Mac, stop!" he shouted and stilled her hand on the door handle. "Good God, we really are terrible at this Mackenzie."
"What? I was trying to be helpful" she told him. And yet she still hadn't turned to look at him. He pulled her back from the door and turned her around only to realize she was crying.
"Damn it Mac. This wasn't how I meant this to be at all" he said, wiping the tears from her cheeks.
"What are you talking about Will?" she asked him, moving to take a seat in one of the chairs across from his desk.
"That's just it Mac…I have no idea what I'm doing or what I'm talking about. I've been thinking a lot about this and I realized I needed to talk to my best friend about asking this woman out."
"Well then you should have done that Will. What the hell are you asking me for?"
"That's the whole problem Mac! You are my best friend and you're the woman I want to ask out. Now, how the hell did I mess this whole thing up so appallingly?!" he shouted, sinking into the seat next to her.
"Oh? That's all you have to say?" he replied, dropping his head into his hands.
"Oh…well that's great Will. Because I would have had to kill you if you took someone else out right now. I've been waiting four fucking weeks to hear what's on that damn voicemail and I've somehow managed not to strangle you while you keep the whole damn thing a secret. And if you thought you were going to take some other woman on a date right now I would likely be forced to dismember you and hide the body and…"
Before she could go any further he decided he should deal with the other issue he had been concerned about and just kiss her right now to shut her up. Apparently this was how you solved a problem like Mackenzie, because for the first time in days she wasn't pestering him and he wasn't secretly singing along with Julie Andrews inside his head.
A few moments later he pulled away from her and smiled at the utter look of contentment on her face. It wasn't often that he could say he left Mackenzie McHale speechless. Plus, he had handled that nasty predicament of whether or not to kiss her on the second first date.
"So, eight tomorrow night?" he asked.
"Yeah, that sounds good. As your best friend can I suggest Le Cirque? I think that ex-girlfriend of yours really liked it" she told him playfully.
"I'll take that under advisement" he replied and helped her out of her seat.
"Ok then. Tomorrow night?" she asked uncertainly as she stood by the door.
"Yeah Mac. Tomorrow night, but in the meantime I think Jim has been standing out there for a while wondering where you got off to with his Ipad" he told her.
She looked down only now realizing she had been grasping onto the object for dear life the entire time they had been talking.
"Oh, right. I'll just get this back to him then."
But still, she stood there uncertainly. So he leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and gave her behind a little tap to push her out the door. "See you tomorrow night Mackenzie" he called out. "Maybe we could catch a show too. Anything but a musical" he pleaded.
"Ok" she replied, walking out into the newsroom still looking a little shellshocked.
Just then, Will heard Sloan call out "Oh holy fuck! Who had Friday September ninth in the betting pool? Please tell me it was me. I've really had my eye on that new Prada bag."
"Maggie, you won!" Neal shouted as he and Sloan looked at the calendar together.
Maggie took one look at Sloan's face and walked the other direction.
"Good Lord! You two couldn't have waited three more days? I had September the twelfth!" Sloan screamed in defeat and stalked toward her office, pinning Will with a glare that could have killed.
Damn, now it looked like he had a whole new problem.