Prompt courtesy of awesome Tumblr TheNewsroomPrompts :: Mackenzie goes into labour during the show.
7:54pm. It was like someone up there had thought 'Y'know, she's had a pretty smooth run of things lately, let's fix that.' And lo, as she shuffled the papers together on her desk, her waters' broke.
She stared down in shock. The liquid had managed to miss her lovely (not lovely. Horrid.) maternity dress and puddle around her feet, which was possibly a good thing considering Jim chose that moment to swing the office door open. "Mac, c'mon, we're nearly on…" He followed her alarmed gaze to the floor. "Oh shit."
Her gaze remained on her feet before slowly rising up to meet Jim's. Her eyes were wide, her cheeks flushed, but then she looked at her watch, tucked the file under arm and took a breath. "Not a word, Harper."
"First labours can take days, this one has to take a least an hour."
"MacKenzie-!" He whisper-shouted, following her through the newsroom.
"I mean it, Jim. Don't say a word to Will. I'm fine; I'll tell you when I'm not."
He frowned but nodded his jaw set tight as he opened the control door for her. Will's voice was already sounding into the room. "MacKenzie?"
She quickly took the proffered headset and clicked the microphone on, "I'm here."
"Where were you?" He asked as Herb cued up to the title graphics for the East Coast feed.
"I'm not walking quite as fast as I used to, Billy."
He scowled into the camera, not quite convinced of her reason but without time to question her further. "Hello, I'm Will McAvoy, today is April 20th."
MacKenzie turned to Jim, feeling his concerned and disbelieving eyes boring into her. She offered him a small smile and headshake as her hand fell to her belly.
Thankfully, she was seated when the first contraction hit. She had long found that standing up for an hour whilst carrying a tiny human inside her was not a viable option, as loathed as she was to admit it (losing her heels had been more traumatic however).
Her hands curled around the seat arms, nails digging into the cushion while she tried as hard as hard as possibly could to not make a sound. Jim looked at the clock and noted the time, waiting for the next one. He didn't know a great deal about pregnancies, but he had a cousin who he had to drive to the hospital mid-labour once; he had never been more scared in his life (at that time) and just remembers her saying something about the contractions getting closer together and for him to step on it.
The first commercial break came and went, blessedly between contractions, so she could talk sense calmly into the microphone and not have to hold her breath and wonder what kind of sycophant thought child birth was some kind of beautiful experience. A man; it had to have been a fucking man.
During the second break, the contraction hit right before Will asked her a question. She was digging crescent shapes into the chair arms and making some kind of quiet wail when she randomly waved her arm in the air.
Jim hurriedly cut into the mic feed and cupped his hand around the mouth piece hoping to block out MacKenzie's voice. "Will, er, it's Jim. Mac's…in the bathroom. The Congressman's ready for you when we come back. Go straight into Colorado and bring him around to Ohio, okay?"
"Is everything alright in there?" Will asked. Though Mac had been letting Jim take over more of the operations in preparation for what maternity leave she was willing to take, a voice that wasn't hers in his ear just didn't sit right and made his back straighten, especially considering she was due any day now.
"Everything's fine, Will," Mac told him, flicking her microphone back on. "Your child is just doing a fandango on my bladder."
Will smiled into the camera, and she couldn't help a little smirk of her own. He was so excited about being a father. "With me now is Colorado Congressman-" he continued.
"What the hell's going on?" Herb questioned immediately after she switched her mic pack off, voicing the entire room's thought.
"Nothing's going on, everything's fine, I just went into labour that's all."
"What?" Echoed the entire control room.
"Shhh!" She flailed her hands. "Will doesn't know and doesn't need to. First labours can take days-"
"My sister's first labour lasted an hour and a half," Kendra announced from the back. "And what with your age, Mac…!"
"Thank you for that, Kendra," her eyes were wide, "but I am fine and I will see out this broadcast if it kills me."
"Thank you, Kendra!" She snapped as another contraction squeezed the breath from her and replaced it with a quiet, controlled wail.
They were into the D-block when Jim really began panicking. She had just muttered a long list of every swear word she knew - in a few languages he didn't know she knew - and so he wrote a note and passed it to Martin, who in turn opened it and scurried from the control room. "Mac," Jim whispered, "we're going to run long if Will doesn't send to the VT."
Her hands were cradling her bump, legs separated and pulling on the material of the dress with her hair sticking to her face. "Hmm? Right," she clicked on the microphone after clearing her throat and taking a deep breath during which to speak. "Will, send to VT and then wrap it up."
With no acknowledgment to her order, he did as told.
"Jim…!" She moaned, another contraction ripping through her body and Herb's hand grasped tightly in hers.
"Martin's calling an ambulance and Charlie. As soon as Will's out we'll get you to the hospital."
She managed a nod, her face contorted in pain. "James, never do this to someone you love!"
"God, no," he eeked out. It had been bad enough driving his cousin to the hospital (he couldn't sit in that passenger seat for the longest time) and he hadn't seen half of it! He swung out of the control room as MacKenzie grabbed onto Herb's reluctant hand again, the handle to the studio was depressed and ready to open as soon as Will signed off.
Jim watched through the little window as Will thanked the viewers for watching and handed the show over to Washington, and as soon as the lights dipped the door was open and he was calling: "Will! The baby's coming!"
Will wrenched the earpiece out and ran for the door as Herb and Jake were leading MacKenzie from the control room slowly and with fear etched across their faces. "What in the fuck happened?"
"My water broke before we went on air, I- Jesus fuck," she crumpled as a contraction began again. Will and Jim both instinctively rushed for her, Will taking over from Jake and Jim waving the newly-arrived paramedics over to them. "The contractions are barely a minute apart," he told them, a hand raking through his hair.
"Okay, where are we going?" One of the EMT's asked, taking over from Herb. "'Cos if you're right, we're too late for the hospital."
"My office," Will gestured. If he wasn't so absolutely shit scared he would have railroaded MacKenzie for waiting so long and not saying anything.
"But the hospital has drugs!" She moaned, being guided into Will's office. The entire staff were stood in the newsroom, huddled together with fear and surprise and a distinct feeling of uselessness.
"You should've thought of that an hour ago!"
"Oh believe me, it has crossed my mind!" She bit back as the door closed behind them and the other EMT closed all of the blinds.
"Okay," the first EMT said, looking around the room. "You're the dad? Sit down against that wall. It's Will right? And you're Mac? We're going to sit you against him and see what the situation is. I'm Phil and-"
"Mo," the other EMT announced with a cautious smile, guiding Mac down to sit between Will's legs.
"I'm sorry, Will. I didnt want-"
"Shh," he brushed the fallen hair from her face and placed a kiss there as he entwined their fingers around her knees. "Nothing matters anymore. I love you so much," he whispered against her temple.
"I love you too," she managed before her body clenched and a sound escaped her he had never heard her make before.
"Okay, yeah," Phil said, "Coupla pushes and this little one's gonna be out. Determined little guy…"
"Definitely ours," Will gave a watery laugh, kissing her head again.
"What the fuck happened?" Charlie bellowed into the newsroom, dashing from the elevators.
Jim explained everything. "You might want to give the cleaners some hazard pay for something for her office…"
Charlie's face contorted in disgust before a scream ripped out of Will's office. Quite a crowd had gathered in baited silence, each person deciding then and there that children were never an option in their future. A few of the women had taken to holding hands when another scream sounded from behind closed doors while the men had begun to slink backwards, save for Charlie and Jim who watched the door intently.
Eventually, an unfamiliar cry erupted from the room and the audience relaxed into applause, hugs and tears.
It wasn't long before Mo held the door open for a thoroughly exhausted MacKenzie to appear in a wheelchair, a blanket draped over her legs and a fatigued grin across her face. She was being pushed by Phil (something she would have normally refused but walking did not seem like it would be a pleasant experience right then) and was quickly followed by Will with a bundle of blankets cradled carefully in his arms.
Charlie stepped forwards, as Will - with a beaming, watery grin - announced, "Everyone, this is Charlotte Elizabeth McAvoy."
"Charlie for short," MacKenzie added, taking her daughter's namesake's hand in hers.
An amazed, dumbfounded and silent Charlie placed a kiss on MacKenzie's hand before stepping towards Will and peeking between the blankets. "She's magnificent."
"We thought we had more time to talk to you… but with Mac's family in London and my parents…well, we wondered if you and Nancy wouldn't mind being grandparents? Local ones?"
Charlie's chest puffed out, his head held an inch taller, "We would be honoured."
"We gotta get to the hospital, guys," Phil announced, beginning to push Mac's wheelchair through the newsroom as the people stepped forward to touch Mac and Will's arms and say their smiley congratulations.
Will stopped near Jim. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it," he smiled sheepishly; the panic, fear and adrenaline finally steadying to a state of nausea and disbelief.
"Go have a drink," Will laughed, as the younger man took a decidedly paler shade.
"Planning on it."
The applause began again as the new parents left the office, Will's eyes barely leaving the face of his daughter.