2.

The next day the Florrick scandal is all anyone at the office can talk about. An associate whose time at the state's attorney's office a few years back coincided with Peter's election has a crowd around his desk. Kalinda used to work there too, but no one expects her to be particularly forthcoming.

Will bangs a stapler against the wall to attract attention. "All right, people, back to work. We've had our little water cooler chit-chat. You all know that there's a cloud hanging over the SA's office. Well, that means the sun is shining here at Stern Lockhart Gardner. So," he dismisses them with a wave, "go make some hay."

At this everyone makes a show of dispersing and returning to their desks, though Will's pretty sure most of them have just gone to follow updates to the story online.

"'Go make some hay'?" Diane asks. "Have we been reading Little House on the Prairie this week?"

Will shrugs. "Hey, I thought it was a pretty impressive metaphor, off the cuff. You saw what I did with the cloud, and then the sun and the-"

"I did." Diane smiles. "Don't lie, though. You spent all morning thinking that one up."

No. He spent the morning pinning the front page of the Tribune up on his wall and firing a Nerf ball at Peter Florrick's lying, cheating bastard face.

"You caught me."

"We've got Jorgensen in ten."

"Yeah."

Around lunchtime Diane motions him into her office. Kalinda's there too, leaning against the doorframe. "The resignation's coming this afternoon," Diane says. "Kalinda's got it from someone in the SA's office. The press conference is at 3:30."

"It's gonna be Childs?" Will looks to Kalinda, who nods.

"So what do we know about him?" Diane asks.

"He hates Peter Florrick," replies Kalinda.

Will snorts. "No shit."

"No, I mean he really hates him," Kalinda says. "It's not just opportunism."

"I see," says Diane. "So if I were to posit that Saint Glen is involved in the takedown..."

"You'd be right."

"You're saying that we could exploit it," Will ventures. "That Childs is going to be so locked in on the Florrick thing that he might overlook things elsewhere."

"Maybe."

"He's going to have to define himself against the Florrick tenure," Diane muses. "Transparent. Squeaky clean. Above the law. There'll be some weakness there, too."

"Thanks, Kalinda," Diane says, and she heads out. Will has always marveled at Diane's ability to effortlessly kick people out of her office.

"Kalinda's been here what, eight or nine months?" Diane asks him. He nods. "That was a good hire, Will, really. I mean, I haven't got the faintest clue what's going on in her head, but she's sharp."

"She's right about Childs, too," he says. "It's personal with him and Peter Florrick."

"How do you know?"

"I don't. But Peter Florrick got the nod to run three years ago, not Glen Childs. Florrick got something that Childs wanted, something he thought should have been his."

"Right. And how could that not be personal?"

All of a sudden Will hates this conversation, hates himself. Is he really making some sort of parallel with that jackass Glen Childs? Something he thought should have been his? What the fuck is wrong with him?

"I've got a lunch," he says abruptly, getting up and walking toward the door.

"You'll be back for the press conference? Must-see TV..."

"I wouldn't miss it."

He has nowhere to go for his made-up lunch, so instead he buys a hot dog from a street vendor and walks several blocks before stopping to sit down on a wall bounding a neighborhood park. The rain has let up for a few hours, so there are some kids from the adjacent school playing baseball on a diamond patched variously with grass, weeds, gravelly sand and puddles.

Will can tell in less than five minutes that there's only one kid out there whose baseball talents amount to anything. He's skinny, with arms and legs awkwardly jutting in all directions, but his throwing motion is fluid and he holds the bat like it's an extension of his hand.

At Georgetown Will and a bunch of other law students used to get a game together Fridays after the afternoon seminar. It started out pretty casually but by the end of his time there it'd become something of an institution. Mostly it was guys who'd played baseball in high school, some intramurals in college. There were a couple girls, too, a softball player from UVa and another whose dad was a scout for the Atlanta Braves. He and an S.J.D. who'd caught for Florida State were generally the captains.

Most of the time Will had held back a bit, played loose and easy, tried to make it fun for everyone (while still pushing his team to win, of course. Why play otherwise?) There'd been occasions, though, when he didn't. Hold back, that is. Like if someone had pissed him off in class that week he might embarrass him with a change-up, or belt a line drive back at his face. Other times the game's seductive rhythms would lull him into a zone, and he'd forget where he was, when he was, everything, only realizing he'd struck out the side when the other team started shooting him dirty looks.

And then there'd been the times when he'd catch a glimpse of Alicia in the bleachers. Invariably there'd be a textbook propped between her legs, but more often than not her eyes were on him. And he'd try to impress her like it was high school, by bending in a tricky curveball or bare-handing a grounder or cracking one toward the fences.

If his life had been a movie one of the kids would've fouled off a ball toward him and he'd have caught it barehanded, hot dog be damned, and fired back a perfect one-hopper or something like that. But it's not, it's just his life, so Will just finishes his hot dog and heads back, pausing to shoot his wrapper into a nearby trash can like a basketball.

That's his sport now. He doesn't play baseball much anymore - it's too painful, and not just in the shoulder that wiped out his career (which, incidentally, is starting to do something weird on days before it rains in a way that makes him feel both ancient and like he ought to be writing the Farmer's Almanac). Whenever he plays baseball it's against the ghost of the player he used to be and he doesn't like the comparison. In basketball it doesn't matter - even when his high school talents were at their peak (one game he'd hit seven three-pointers) he'd still been slow and barely over six feet. So Will can enjoy the weekly games with the other lawyers and sometimes a few judges and politicos without feeling like he's lost something precious.

It starts raining again on his way back and Will didn't bring an umbrella so he grabs a cab. They're shooting some movie in the Loop and of course there's construction on Wacker so the cabbie drives a roundabout route through Chicago's one-way streets that takes him near the State's Attorney's office building. He can see news trucks already parked outside.

Peter used to come to those basketball games sometimes. He'd usually leave early with some quip about the wife or the family and Will would grit his teeth and turn around and brick a three-pointer.

By some twist of fate the basketball universe was a co-conspirator in their unspoken agreement to have as little to do with each other as possible, and so generally when they both played he and Peter would end up on alternate teams or something. They never guarded each other, which wasn't particularly unusual given that Will was mostly an outside shooter and Peter was...tall. He wasn't actually that great a player but he got a lot of rebounds and occasionally would break out this hook shot that inspired some lawyer suck-up to call him "Baby Kareem."

But Peter hasn't played lately - not for months. Clearly there've been enough...other things...going on in his life to keep him busy.

Will grits his teeth.


A/N: Thanks for reviewing!