The doors to the elevator closed.
She slowly turned in place, dropped her bag to the floor and crossed her arms across her chest. "What?"
Will's eyes were wide and he swallowed before taking a deep breath, "I said, I love you too."
She pursed her lips and tilted her head, "You love me. Too." She repeated back to him.
He nodded his head, "Uhuh."
She gave him a single, slow nod, "Okay..."
He swallowed again, "I should have told you the other day."
She nodded again. "Yeah. But you didn't."
He shook his head, "I didn't. I'm an idiot."
She looked up at him, "When did you figure this out?"
"That I'm an idiot or that I'm in love with you?"
All he got in response was a pointed glare.
"Uh, yeah of course." He stammered, "Well, as you know I knew I loved you that very first day we met at that party when you were going off on Tim Russert about his interview with Bush."
She sighed, "Billy...I mean now. When did you realize it this time around?"
He shifted his weight and his eyes bounced around the room, "Do you remember that disastrous broadcast we had 4 days after you came back? Someone blew something with Jan Brewer's office and we had to go on air with 3 morons? It was the same day I had asked if we could keep what happened between you and I private and then after agreeing to that you sent the email sharing those details with the entirety of AWM and had a whole flip out scene in the middle of the newsroom? And then after all of that, I got a little cold feet and threw in a Palin SoT and then even after the shipwreck of the day you had had you still had the gall to get in my face and yell at me about integrity and leadership. Do you remember that?"
Mac shook her head, utterly confused, "Yes of course I remember that day, it was horrid. But I'm asking you when..."
He cut her off, "Then."
"When you were yelling at me that night." He stated simply. "I realized I could try all I want but I would never be able to not be in love with you and I had never stopped loving you. All that week I had been trying to convince myself that I didn't care that you were there, that I didn't love to hear your voice or to watch you work and that I really would be able to actually fire you at some point...but at that moment I realized it was a lost cause because I was, and am, hopelessly in love with you. Most of the time you were lecturing me that night I was debating the merits of dragging you into my office and kissing you quiet."
Mac's mouth hung open and she stared at him incredulously for a long moment before she exploded, "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? 4 Days after I came back?! That was 2 and a half years ago! What the hell have you been doing since then? Jesus Will! What about...the women and Brian and Nina and the fucking ring and all the...JESUS Will...is that what love looks like to you?! What the hell?!"
Will held up his hands, "Hey, Hey, Hey..." He took a few steps toward her, "It was 4 days after you came back and I was still hurt and angry at you. You understand that, right? It didn't make me happy to realize I still loved you; it was frustrating and made me mad as hell at myself. I did everything I could to convince myself I didn't still love you or that I could just make myself stop. The idea of giving into that love again meant risking that hurt again and that thought was scary as anything and if it's one thing we both know is that I'm a fucking coward."
She opened her mouth but he shook his head, silencing her, "Not to mention, I was convinced you had moved on long ago and certainly didn't love me so that didn't exactly motivate me to get over myself. So yes, I did all that. But it didn't work. I never stopped loving you and I'm never going to be able to make myself. It's a permanent condition. In my head, loving you is is as logical as breathing. I can't comprehend people who meet you and don't fall immediately in love...it baffles me."
He took another hesitant step forward, his hands finding her shoulders, "There were moments. Moments when it didn't seem so scary, that first Valentines Day? The Bin Laden broadcast? The tea party broadcast and the months after?
"There were times I found myself sitting at Hang Chews because I knew you would show up there. I don't know when or how or why but it built to a critical mass and something happened earlier this year, I think it may have been about the time my father died and you were the only person who understood...Whatever the reason I just stopped resenting that I loved you.
"I knew I was making a mistake trying to be with anyone else and the idea that you had ownership of my heart started to not be a bad thing. I knew I had been an absolute prick to you and didn't think it was possible that you could ever return my feelings and I was still scared about what that could mean if you ever did, but none of that mattered because I knew I where I stood and was okay with myself for the first time in years and even if I didn't have you, we had our show and we were okay because you were still there...my partner at work, my friend whom I could call at 4 am...and it was okay. I didn't need anything more as long as you were in my life somehow."
Her lip was between her teeth and her eyes were wide and unblinking. He squeezed her shoulders, "But then Tuesday...I hurt you again and I thought you hated me and I hated myself and I thought I was never going to see you again and...it was just awful Mackenzie. It was just awful..." He dropped his hands and looked away. He took a deep breath and when he looked back at Mackenzie his eyes were shuttered and unconsciously she took a deep breath as well.
"I have to tell you something." He pulled his lips tight across his teeth.
Mackenzie nodded shakily, "Something more?"
Will quirked his lips, "Yeah." He immediately sobered, "I lied."
She shook her head, "When?"
Will took a deep breath, "When I told you that I never read your emails; I read them all."
Mackenzie's brow furrowed and she looked up at him in confusion.
He stepped back and leaned against the arm of the chair, "Tuesday wasn't the first time I've thought about...you know...killing myself."
Mackenzie's hand covered her mouth but she didn't say anything, just waited for him to continue.
He ran a hand through his hair, "Back, then. We broke up and then you left and there was other stuff going on; my sister was pressuring me to reconcile with Dad and we got into a huge fight, there was some turn over here and I was working with no one I knew, everything became about ratings and it all sounds ridiculous now but I was in a bad place and was seriously thinking about it. I was at home one night actually looking at how different people had done it when your first email came in."
He paused and looked away again. Mackenzie had stepped close again and he looked back to her, "I drank half a bottle of scotch debating about whether or not I wanted to read it. I did though. I read it and even though I was still infuriated I held on to it like a lifeline. And then two days later you sent another; and another that weekend. I found myself looking forward to those emails. I'm a coward and a jerk and whatever else so I could never bring myself to respond or to answer your calls but I read them all and listened to every voicemail...There was one...it was right before you went to Afghanistan and you ended up spending 120 seconds rambling about what you were going to pack...I saved it and would listen to it from time to time just to hear your voice. I hated myself for it but you've always been my weakness. But you need to know, even when I thought I hated you I still loved you enough that the fear of missing a communication from you was enough to save my life. You're my weakness but you're also the source of my strength Mackenzie. Hell, you know that already just from the show...I'm only the person I want to be when you're around."
Tears were in Mackenzie's eyes and she reached out and rested her hand on his, stilling his fingers where they were twining themselves together.
He looked up and met her in the eye, "I'm sorry I couldn't tell you any of this before but I'm telling you now. I'm admittedly pretty messed up for more than a couple reasons and I understand if when you said it the other day that may be it wasn't necessarily true or ongoing or whatever but I don't want you to think I want you to go. I don't ever want you to go, not ever."
She steadily met his gaze with her eyes damp, visually scanning his face. "Oh." Is all she finally said.
He let out an awkward laugh and smiled at her, his breath shook but his hands turned over pulling her hands in to his, his thumbs beginning to slowly stroke her wrists.
She tilted her head and swallowed, "Why didn't you say any of this the other day when I told you I love you?"
He shrugged, "Maybe it was because I couldn't believe that it could be true?"
Her mouth dropped open, "Will!" She near shouted, "Of course it is! I do! I love you! How could you ever doubt...oh...right..." Her face fell and she blinked rapidly.
"Hey..." He hooked a finger under her chin, pulling her gaze to him and halting her train of thought. "I do believe you. I don't understand you, but I believe you." He offered what he hoped to be a comforting grin.
"You do?" She asked.
"I do." He nodded. "I told you, I'm messed up Mac. But this pesky woman I know forced me to talk with my therapist and he's helping me work through things, the most important of which was pulling my head out of my ass and forcing me to have faith in the woman I love. Even if I think she's a little crazy for being willing to love me back."
She half laughed, half cried, covering her mouth with her hand and smiling brightly.
"So why did you wait until the last minute? Why didn't you tell me any of this yesterday?" She pushed.
He shrugged, "I didn't want you to think I was only saying it because I was concussed."
"You're still concussed." She pointed out with an exaggerated roll of her eyes.
Will pouted, "But I'm less concussed."
She nodded, smiling gently at him, her arms finding their way to rest on his biceps, "So you love me?"
His hands fell to her waist and he nodded, "I do."
"And you don't want me to go?" She teased, stepping closer.
"Never." He emphasized, squeezing his hands on her hips.
"Never is an awfully long time Mr. McAvoy." She commented dryly.
"Good." He replied with a smile.
She shook her head at him, "Well?"
"What?" The smirk slid of his face and confusion shadowed his eyes.
She bit her lip and shook her head lightly at him, "Are you going to kiss me or not?"
The smile jumped back onto his face, "Oh, I'm definitely going to kiss you."
And he did.
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me on this! I honestly only had the first chapter in my head; when I put it up here and wasn't sure where it was going to end up and then I got strangled by the fluff bunnies of the finale and had to have everything resolve happily. ThIs was going to be the end but I may need to add a chapter or two to appease some of the reviewers! I was trying to wrap it up because there is another story bugging to get out but I guess there are still things to resolve here...This is such a fun universe to write in and such a great group of readers to write for! Thank you for all the commentary!