So I've decided to run these two most recent stories together - despite my horrible experiences with doing multiple stories at a time, I think I'll be okay here, because these two are feeding and inspiring each other...you'll see why ;)
NB/ Contrary to what I'm sure must be waning hope and enthusiasm, all stories WILL be finished. (With the possible exception of the Real Don Quixote...I think that ship sailed.) I don't leave things unfinished. Stick with me if you can :) xxx
There was a dull bleeping noise coming from somewhere just above her. And it was annoying. But she didn't seem to be able to wake up to turn it off – why was that?
The First Night after...
The others all fell silent as Will walked into the conference room, and Charlie rolled his eyes in exasperation. Could they not just act normally for the man? He admonished himself for this a moment later , however, as he realised that although Will was probably the most upset, Mackenzie had touched each and every one of their lives, and Will McAvoy was not the only mourner here. No, grieving…no, worried – yes, that was the word.
Will sat down at the end of the table in his usual seat, and then just as quickly got up again. He seemed to just need to keep moving. Jim watched him for a moment before deciding that he should just begin. Charlie noticed that he had not taken the EP's seat, but had sat in the one to her right where he usually was. That made him smile a little. Yes, Mackenzie had definitely managed to worm her way into everyone's hearts, and when the call came – as Charlie was determined it would – to say that she was awake and already hounding the poor doctor to let her leave, they would all breathe a communal sigh of relief.
Jim had been speaking for less than five minutes and Will had hardly listened to a word he had said. Every time he closed his eyes all he could see were the images of Mackenzie falling back against him, pain etched into every facet of her face, red seeping across her light shirt, fingers feebly grasping at his shirt, her eyes rolling in every direction; blinking, trying to focus. Then there was her immobile body, sleeping so peacefully that she almost looked as if she was –
He sniffed, and had to bite back tears. He was trying to shake the images out of his head rather violently and it was only when he felt someone's hand on his arm that he spun around and opened his eyes again. It was a very worried Charlie looking up at him, and as he looked around he saw similar expression on the others' faces too.
"I'm really sorry guys," His voice sounded far more hoarse than it had in his office ten minutes ago, but he didn't really have an explanation why as he hadn't used it since, "I can't do this."
He stood frozen for a minute before he swept out of the room and headed straight for his office, trying to keep it together until he was safely away from all the sets of eyes which he could feel following him.
As soon as he heard the door swing shut behind him, he let out a very unmanly sob and finally broke down. He had known that it had been coming for a while; had known that there was only so long that he would manage to hold it all in, so he just let himself succumb to the avalanche of emotion which seemed to be forcing its way out of his throat and his eyes.
He somehow managed to find his way to one of the seats around his little meeting table and sunk into it, shaking.
So many questions which he had no answers to were swimming around his head, like he was being sucked into a giant whirlpool with them tormenting him as he sunk further and further into the abyss.
What if she didn't wake up? Was there any way he could have stopped it? Would the last thing they did forever be an argument? Or trying to make up an argument? What if he never got the chance to hold her again? What if he would now never get the chance to explain what he really felt? Never have the chance to apologise?
He didn't hear the door open again, too busy being curled into himself, trying to pull himself together but feeling that he actually couldn't.
"Will?" Charlie's voice was soft and gentle as he placed a careful but comforting hand on Will's shoulder, trying to get Will to look at him.
"What if she doesn't wake up?" He found himself saying quietly; the idea too horrific, yet he couldn't actually get it out of his mind. His eyes were wide, as if he was watching the whole scene unfold in front of them, two feet away – the doctor gently telling them that Mackenzie would never regain consciousness and that they needed to make a decision about when to let her go (something Will was sure he would never be able to do).
Charlie looked at him pitifully, wishing to God there was something he could say to Will, could say that it would be alright; because in truth, no one could promise him that. But he realised he could do the next best thing.
"William Duncan McAvoy, listen to me. Do you think there is any way in hell that Mackenzie – our Mackenzie – would let herself sleep for too long when she knows that everyone here is running without an EP? When there is work to do?"
It was a meek attempt to get him to brighten up and Charlie knew it. It made absolutely no difference to Will's expression – he still looked like someone was showing him home videos of someone beating up his pet. He sighed desperately, knowing that he needed something to get Will to snap out of it. It occurred to him seconds later. This would work, he knew it. He leaned in closer to Will and finally turned his head so that he was forced to look at him.
"Will, do you think she would ever leave you again? After we've all been watching her kick herself for the last two years, determined to make it up to you, do you really think she would leave you alone now?"
Will stared at him for a moment, hope seeming to flicker behind his eyes for a second before the flame died again, Will shook his head, "She may not have that option, Charlie."
"She'll fight though." Charlie shot back fiercely. "She will fight until she can't anymore. And what do you think she'll do to you if she wakes up to find that you have gone to pieces over her because you lost your faith in her, and the show - her show - is flopping because you're too busy moping over her to keep it going while she was out of the game?"
Will gulped, his tears finally drying up as he saw the intensity and fierceness in Charlie's eyes as he spoke about Mac.
Deep down he knew he was right. News Night was Mackenzie's baby – she had come into his office raving about reclaiming the Fourth Estate and Don Quixote after three years of radio silence from him, after the last thing she had said to him was that she had cheated on him…and she just comes in ranting about fixing the news? He let out a small laugh as he thought about it.
Damn you, Mackenzie. He just couldn't help it…
He glanced back up at Charlie and saw that the older man's expression had softened as he watched Will think. After a moment, Will nodded, and grasped the arm attached to the hand that was on his shoulder, in a weak thank you.
"You're right Charlie. She'd kick my ass to the other end of New York."
"Yes she would." Charlie smiled back at him, encouragingly. Will nodded, blinking and wiping his face, running his hands through his hair.
"Okay. Just…gimme a few minutes and I'll be back out."
"Good man." Charlie clapped on the shoulder as he stood up once more. "See you in a minute."
Left alone in the dark office with his thoughts, Will closed his eyes once more and determinately filled his head with every time he could remember when Mackenzie had been yelling at him, arguing with him, trying to make a point, being…just being the fierce, passionate Mackenzie that he loved so much.
"I'm not going to let you down Mackenzie."
So this is kind of the moon to Snap Shot's happy sun. Please review and let me know what you think :)