It's a Wednesday, and that has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but when she arrives in the courthouse that morning, it's her first thought. It's a Wednesday, and there's closing arguments for the case against Will's client, and it's at the exact same moment her phone begins to buzz that someone rams right into her shoulder and her bag's contents go flying everywhere.
Alicia quells the curse or two that bubbles to her lips, and bends down to retrieve as much as she can. No one stops to help her.
The phone goes unanswered, and by the time she's gathered her things and rose to her feet again, she spots the woman she's representing huddled in a corner. The call is temporarily forgotten. After popping a breath mint, Alicia goes over a few details with Sarah and pats her back to soothe her for good measure.
By the time the doors open, Will is standing within feet of her, but it's strange, how weeks of proximity and ignoring will temper the immediate synapses of energy that fires. They don't look at one another anymore. Not when they're outside the courtroom.
It's better, this way.
They take a ten minute break there, sometime in the middle. Her stomach grumbles, and she mentally chides herself for not eating breakfast. Sarah has to use the restroom, so she follows her in and freshens up her lipstick in the bathroom mirror.
They're going to win.
"Alicia," Sarah murmurs to her, as they're congregating for a moment amongst the stalls. "Alicia, thank you so much. I know how hard you've worked."
She thinks of the amount of work she took home last night and the hands on a clock and the first billing she has. She thinks of before that, of desks and police escorts, of secrecy and betrayal and death of something white and pure. "It was no problem," she tells Sarah.
She thinks to herself, you know nothing at all.
The chair's wood is soft beneath her fingers as she clenches it, and Will's voice is loud, loud even among the jury and the filled space and this is why she barely sleeps at night.
There's his voice, a thousand horse hooves on the ground and silk on skin, and then there's gunshots.
Alicia watches Judge Hemmingway's head explode.
One. Two. Three.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Here's the thing about absentia: it sucks. She's read about how when a trauma occurs time slows for some, dashes and divides like a million stars for others, and she knows the feeling. Alicia knows the silent swing of a sea of reporters as they pick her apart and blind her with flashes. It had drug for her, then.
For this, nothing has happened faster in her life.
In time with her heartbeats, the shots ring out, and the screaming sounds like the reporters- loud, so loud, louder than Will's voice, and suddenly she's on the ground, the chair flipped over. Sarah is shrieking, and her vision is blurred with the flurry of bodies moving to stampede out the exit, but then-
"Nobody fucking move!"
She's ducked underneath the table, though she cannot quite recall how she got there. From her vantage point, she can hear the man's trembling shout and Sarah's agonized sobbing. So many people are crying out.
The warden is bleeding, behind the bench. She can see the blood spreading farther out on the floor.
All Alicia can think of is Grace's smile and Zach's laugh.
Her chest feels tight.
"Nobody fucking move, and nobody gets hurt."
There's a sound of shifting of bodies against furniture, and she sees it then, as she dares to duck her head further out from her hiding place. There's more than one of them. Professional, from the looks of the ski masks and the plastic bag they're using to take everybody's phones.
Their guns look sleek, deadly.
Alicia's ears are ringing, and she thinks she might vomit.
Two of the men are herding the witness in the stand, herding the jury all out into the floor- together. "Just put your cell phones in the bag. We don't want no trouble, so don't try nothing. You can call me Wesley."
Her hands are shaking hard when she removes her cell from her purse, and she's thinking of birthday parties and spaghetti dinners and Zach graduating college and Grace having her first child, one day.
Alicia focuses on the man whose speaking's face; listens to every syllable that graces his hollow mouth. The warden is probably dead by now. Sarah isn't by her side anymore.
"Listen up, okay? We're going to have a little chat about why we're doing this. The bottom line is, you don't need to know."
Something cold grasps her arm, and Alicia nearly shouts.
Will's eyes are desperate, and she has to clasp a hand over her mouth to keep from making noise. His fingers are still curled and they're not talking, but it's ironic how she'd nearly forgotten him there, yet now she's choking on the worry, gaze searching for blood, searching for answers.
He hates her.
He hates her vehemently, hates her so much his fists shake like a promise every time they're near one another, but in that moment, when they're surrounded by bystanders and men with guns, all they are is human, all they are is his breath and her breath and their lips are inches apart and she's so scared.
Alicia buries her face in Will's neck, his body going the distance to brace against her own; he holds her tight, so smothering it feels like her ribs are going to bust. Will finally does do something, makes a sound in the back of his throat that's all broken and mangled and oh god, oh god, oh god. He's rocking her, and she cannot stop the onslaught of tears and the pressure in head, and they come thick and blurring, and she knows she's not alone, she knows, because she can feel her scalp growing damp too.
Someone who was a part of the jury stands suddenly, but they don't realize it until there's another sharp pop, so hot and sudden that Will jumps and they're bodies momentarily split apart. A new round of hysterics goes across the hostages before the body drops to the ground. Alicia lets out one good, open sob before Will holds her again.
Wesley's booming timbre makes her cringe. Will's got a hand splayed across her middle back, and she relishes in that, thinks only of that.
"Here's how this going to work. I am going to negotiate through those doors, and these guys are going to keep all of you nice and quiet. You don't have to play the quiet game, but no plotting either, yeah? Didn't work out so well for that guy."
About ten minutes in, the crowd has broken out into whispers, an entire spread of murmuring forming one solid mechanism of droning voice. Alicia hasn't moved from Will's arms, and finally, when he speaks, she doesn't think she can stop herself from starting to cry again.
"We're gonna get out of here," he tells her, in that way he does, where his eyebrows furrow and his lips draw tight, and all at once she thinks of Georgetown, thinks of too many glasses of scotch and too many missed chances. She's living her past because the reality is blood, is the warden's lifeless body and the judge's brain matter against the wall. Will strokes his thumb across her cheekbone.
"What then?" she asks Will, and she doesn't recognize her own voice.
You hate me, she wants to tell him. She doesn't.
Despite all of the animosity that's sizzled and brimmed between them the past few months, the tension that has been so thick her chest has ached and her stomach has turned at the mere thought of speaking to him, he caresses her like a wish, like something fragile and whole. Alicia has always known he sees her for more than she is.
She had thought, after she left the firm, he would see her as she is, not as she wants to be. See all the dark, twisted parts of her that divot into the ground like bruises in peaches; she doesn't always have red lipstick on, and she's never been the perfect wife by nature. She's flawed, and selfish, and sometimes when she looks in the mirror she doesn't know if she can be fixed.
He has to see that, by now.
But instead, he holds her.
She doesn't deserve this.
Will's back is against the first section of benches, and she's between his legs, against his chest. Alicia Florrick should be afraid of ridicule, of the people who will see a married woman in the lap of a man who is not her husband.
In that moment, Alicia forgets the people. Forgets herself.
Alicia leans back, just then, rests her ear against Will's chest and listens to the rhythm of his heart. "We're gonna get out of here," he repeats, and then, after a moment, "then you're gonna see your kids."
She shouldn't be surprised at how well he reads her, how well he knows her like a book he's studied too many times, always going back to the table of contents to seek out the parts he likes best. Alicia nearly laughs, and she desperately wants to kiss him.
"Peter and I renewed our wedding vows," Alicia whispers suddenly, because it comes to her mind as such.
It's spoken like a harsh truth, like the kind of dirty thing you keep for years and tuck into bed each night because it's something that is a part of you and living, something obsolete and honest. "We keep going in circles," Alicia tells him.
Will says nothing for a long, drawn moment.
"We keep making the throw, but no committing," he responds.
But not really- because-
Alicia twists around to lean into him again, to nuzzle his neck with her nose. They were strangers in lover's bodies, three hours ago. They were strangers and now they are them, now they are twenty years and a torrid affair and college sweethearts and too many forehead kisses that they passed off as target practice.
"Old habits die hard." Will presses his lips to her hairline. "But at least we keep managing to get this right."
Alicia thinks of a month and a half ago, thinks of:
The lights are laid low, and the offices are cold. Alicia hasn't seen the inside of this building in what feels like a lifetime, what feels like memories of sweaty palms and spilled desks, of police officers and cold eyes, and this place has changed.
Gardner and Walsh. Gardner and Walsh.
It's a change, at the very least. It's a change, like the heat in her veins is searing like a hot burner, like the words that bubble on her lips, and her nails clench into whatever she can find at the same time her stomach is twisting all harsh and wrong, because-
He'd used them against her.
He had started it, he really had.
He'd used the memory of something she wanted to keep tucked away into a box in the back of her mind, a box filled with good smells and good feelings and good things, not to be dragged back out and strewn all over a courtroom as if it was something to be exploited. Alicia had thought he believed them more, thought he would respect the memory of them more than that-
That is what has her striding, heels digging into the carpet to a lot for longer gait, has her tearing open his office door, the office she'd known he'd be in so late at night, and-
"Screw you," Alicia snaps, throwing down the piece of paper on his desk.
Will stands, chest already heaving. "How does it feel to have a taste of your own medicine, Alicia? Huh? Get over yourself."
She's making violent motions with her hands, and her fingertips are trembling. When she pushes her hands against his chest to shove him, he grabs her wrist so hard it hurts, and they hold so close they can talk in whispers. It hurts. It hurts so much.
"You used what I told you in confidence as something to hit me with. What's wrong with you? Are you that low, Will?" she hisses, nearly screams at the things that are uprooting in her chest.
He's moving them backward, and she knows, she knows he knows, what direction this is going before he even slams her into the desk. Alicia doesn't do much of anything besides allow herself to be manhandled, allow her back to arch against the wood and her skirt to ride up. "I hate you," he throws in her face, but in the same moment she's wrapping her legs around his waist instead of shoving away, moving back, like she should be.
Alicia kisses him, tongue and teeth and no decency.
It doesn't taste like it used to. Will has always had a certain hint of something, of nostalgia and peace, but this is harsh and unrelenting and it makes her insides squirm. She's reaching for his belt and he's tearing off her underwear and this is wrong, wrong, wrong.
It's wrong the way that first thrust feels like a gunshot.
It's wrong the way her nails dig into his ass to urge him faster, wrong the way her he's deep and he's so close to everything she's never wanted to show him, wrong the way he won't say her name when he comes.
But what's wrong, so wrong, is the way he keeps going, because she hasn't yet and he knows, wrong the way he won't stop until she's finally gone too, head thrown back and lips bitten from quieting moans and whimpers, that over sensitized nerve fresh from orgasm when he removes his fingers from between them, cleans himself up and doesn't look at her when she does the same.
They're wrong when they don't talk about it, she's wrong when she's sitting in her car later and her thighs are still sticky, he's wrong when he's sitting at home with beer and an old photograph. There is nothing right about them.
And yet: they keep coming back to this picture, to the moment when he'll give every inch he has left and she'll take what she wants. To the moment she guilts herself into not having what she wants, stops herself from saying words that will finally mean something.
Because she's sorry, she is. She's sorry about the cram sessions when they were twenty three and the bony elbows and the stolen kisses on flights of stairs at four in the morning. She's ruined everything by never saying anything out loud.
She's ruined it with the lies to herself, that maybe he didn't like her as much as she liked him, ruined it with making an affair an affair. She ruined it by marrying a man she was only partly in love with, of settling for PTA meetings and a big house and taking what was given to her and pretending it was something whole.
Alicia doesn't remember when she became such a skilled liar, but she thinks it must have started with Will, with twenty three, with the beginning.
They stay in that courtroom for an hour before anything happens. They don't pass the time by talking, and it's the longest moments of her life, but it happens in spurts, in the way Alicia memorizes every inch of his face and he does the same to her, because even though they are hostages they feel like they can finally take the time to look, to pay attention to things that made no difference before.
Will thinks that Alicia's right eye is a darker brown than her left, and that her skin is pale like snow, almost imagines himself leaning into kiss her before he rethinks and realizes they are in a room full of people who know them. Sitting together is friendship. Kissing her would be crossing a line. He cannot deny it.
But it's her, who eventually goes the distance.
It's not like when the gunshots first went off, when all he could think about was Alicia, Alicia, Alicia, and if she was alright, and all he could imagine was her body lifeless and bloody- and it's not like that. He'd found her with his eyes immediately, waited until he had the chance to move to her side.
It's abrupt, when she kisses him.
It's chaste, but it's solid, enough that her lips mold to his and he knows her lipstick has rubbed off. She wipes his mouth, and he goes to ask- but then, it's not abrupt, is it, because she says,
"We're gonna get out of here, and then I'm going to see my kids, and then we are going to talk."
Okay, he thinks when he's smiling at her, okay.
At that moment one of the men juts a hand out, grapples for Alicia's shoulder, and rips her up out of the floor.
It's quick, and it's painful for her throat, but her heart is beating too fast in her chest, and no, no, no-
"Please," she begs, and she can hear Will fighting with another one of the men, and please, please, "Will, stop!"
A gun doesn't go off, and she thanks whatever deities she's never believed in.
She thanks them willingly. Thank you, keep him alive, thank you.
Wesley is near her face, and his gun is cocked. His eyes are small, beady, and she's always thought the descriptions were victims being over dramatic, but this guy's eyes, beneath the ski mask, honest to God look like a snake's.
"You're Peter Florrick's wife?"
She says nothing.
She says nothing, and Wesley slaps her hard across the face.
She can hear Sarah, suddenly there again, make a strangled noise from among the group to her left. It stings, but then her skin goes blissfully numb.
If given the chance, she would go back in time and kiss Will every moment she felt the urge. She would hug Grace and Zach more often. She would tell Peter no. Although rekindling her relationship with her mother on a whim is a bit much, she'd do it.
Alicia would have stayed with Will, had he asked her. She would have done so much, had he simply asked.
Alicia takes a deep breath. Her eyes are trained on Will, and she wants to take everything she's ever done to hurt him back. She wants to close her eyes for a very long time, and when she opens them she wants to be back at twenty three, at that night when she'd sat beside him in a car and kissed him like her life depended on it, like she was discovering a new language and only he knew the conjugations.
Alicia pretends to faint.
This saves her life.
They leave her on the ground, attempt at leverage abandoned. Wesley scoffs out something about weak women. They let Will go, let him back by her side, and she doesn't open her eyes until she feels herself surrounded by his scent, eyelashes fluttering. Hoisting herself up on her elbows, head in his lap, Alicia waits. She thinks of Grace and Zach, and she thinks of a lifetime in the palm of her hand. It takes another hour until everything happens, until the doors bust open and help arrives.
They release one another, and she resists Will's urges for medical attention, but she never lets him out of her sight, not even when Peter is taking her in his arms and hugging her hard, not even then. It was over before it had even began.
Later, after the after, she takes him by the hand, holding there and tracing out the love line on his palm.
There's a line that runs through it.
She thinks that the answer was always her, was always simple.
Will loves her.
Will tells her so.
It's a Wednesday when her life changes, and that means absolutely nothing, and absolutely everything.