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In the meantime, if anyone needs to some angst to make up for that farce of an ending, read on:


Prologue


Well you only need the light when its burning low

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow

Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you've been high when you're feeling low

Only hate the road when you're missing home

Only know you love her when you let her go

And you let her go


It's been six weeks when Jim barges into the conference room, fury etched into the few lines and contours that the Middle East managed to mark on his youthful face.

Most of the staffers are already gathered, taking their seats for the eleven o'clock meeting and jump when the door bangs open.

Stupidly, Jim looks around like Will is going to be in a different seat than he usually is. When he finds him, his eyes seemed to calm for a moment as he acquires his target. Everyone is looking between them.

Will has the decency to look warily, clearly not intending to pretend to be ignorant as to why Jim is angry.

The younger man manages to walk surprisingly steadily around the tabe until he reaches Will's seat and slams something onto the table. There is fire in his eyes as they meet Will's.

"Does Mac know about this?"

Everyone ss looking confusedly at the object under Jim's palm, which appeares to be an upside down magazine cover. Will looks down at the magazine, a shade of guilt flickering across his face, before he sucks it up and meets Jim's eyes again.

"Yes she does." He answers in a quiet voice. Jim looks surprised, but this news only seems to anger him more.

"Well," He says, clearly trying to keep his cool, taking his hand off the magazine so fast that his colleagues might have thought it had burned him. "I hope you see the irony in this being leaked by a tabloid magazine."

If Jim could spit poison…

All of his colleagues are looking at him with a mixture of shock, horror, and undisguised interest as to what the hell could make Jim – loyal, dependable Jim – lose it with his boss - their leader.

There is a gasp from one of the interns in the corner of the room that ends the staring contest between the two men. The intern in question looks up, looking almost scared that he'd been caught. Jim smirks.

"Well, guess that's that secret out." He leers at Will, his disdain obvious. "Wonder why you wanted to keep that particular woman a secret? You never bothered with any of the oth-"

Will bolts to his feet, getting right in Jim's face. "You are way outa line." He says threateningly.

"Well you just screwed over my sister, so actually –"

"You have NO idea –"

"I KNOW A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAN YOU –"

"GUYS!"

They (and everyone else in the room) turn to find Mackenzie McHale standing in the doorway, one hand holding her usual stack of notes and research papers in her hands whilst her hip keeps the door open.

It would have been easy to miss the pain that was briefly revealed in her eyes when she looks at Will, but no one misses it. She twists to Jim instead.

"Jim, take a seat; Will has a meeting with Charlie that he needs to go to. "

Jim glares at her, now apparently angry with her too. He splutters, unable to decide who to yell at: her or Will.

He abruptly walks over to her, grabbing her forearm and pulling her back out the door, shielding her from the focused gazes of her staffers.

"Mac?" He speaks quietly, looking suddenly hurt as he tries to take her in. "Why am I only just finding out about this?"

Her throat seems to have glued together just above her voice box.

"You – can – God Mac, you can tell me –"

Her face softens as she realizes what he is trying to say. She trails her arm through his now loosened grip and squeezes it gently, thanking him for defending her.

"Are you really going to let him keep pushing you around like this?" He hisses in a pained voice before the anger works its way back in, "You. Deserve. Better."

She hadn't believed him the last time he'd told her this, but now he was going to force her to believe him. He is looking at her so fiercely that he's surprised that sentence has not burned itself onto her forehead.

"Jim!" She cuts him off firmly. He forces himself to shut up and control himself, but its a hell of a struggle. "I'm not. I'm not, okay? I promise."

His face turns to one of confusion, then relief, and then a slither of fear returns as an unthinkable thought occurs him. But she's two steps ahead of him, and can already guess at what is going through his mind, but she tightens her grip in a warning before dragging him back in after her, taking some small measure of comfort in the warmth of his skin under hers. She can't stand the pitiful looks she is getting from the others, all their laptops clearly open to google. She has to remain cool.

"Forget the dramatics everyone, lets get this meeting started." She places her things down on the table, acutely aware of Jim's efforts to control his breathing behind her. She realises as she sits down that Will still hasn't moved.

"Will, Charlie wants to see you. Get moving." She barely glances at him, certain that if she does then this whole façade will fracture in an instant. She's been avoiding him since Charlie had called them both into his office ninety minutes earlier.

"Can I have a word?"

"You have a meeting." She tells him firmly, eyes still fixed on the notepad in front of her, looking awfully like she'ss staring at the letter P at the beginning of Pennsylvania instead of reading. She is.

"Mac?" God, he's pleading. What exactly is he expecting her to do here?

He has finally managed what, admittedly a lesser man would have gone after months - years - ago maybe: good old fashioned revenge.

Yes, she has been nicer about Nina lately – she has always been one for forgivness and second chances (even if he isn't, she thinks bitterly), but the fact remains that that woman, has dragged Will's, her's and her teams' reputation through the mud several times this past year. And now Will is sleeping with her!

Well cocka-fucking-doodle-doo! Hooray! He's finally done what any red-blooded male would have already, and done to her what she did to him…which she kind of doesn't feel she has a right to be angry about. But then she does.

Oh, but she does.

Because this was not some, 'oh you just cheated at me, so now I'm going to respond in kind' jackass move. Oh no. This was a 'oh you cheated on me several years ago, went through a warzone to punish yourself, and then came back to me and took two years of my mediocre, yet ridiculously consistent bullshit, for me to finally cheat back at you just for one final twist of the knife.'

And God has he put her in a pickle.

They were about to get slammed over their Genoa broadcast, which meant she couldn't just leave without it making them look ten times worse, and ten times guiltier.

She was stuck here.

With him.

And the delightful Nina fucking Howard – who, by the way, has once more sunk drastically in her estimations.

Passing on the 911 anniversary story does not get her off a career's worth of crap she has written about strangers she has never met and shouldn't give a shit about.

She isn't aware of how it had happened, but she ends up on the other side of the door once more, this time with Will. Has she been so wrapped up in her thoughts that she had not even noticed herself agreeing to talk with this man whom she couldn't retain eye contact with for more than three seconds? In front of all their subordinates?

"What do you want Will?" She asks tiredly, sinking onto the desk that was at her back.

"I just –" He is looking helpessly at her like he has no clue as to why he has brought her out here. She suspected that was actually exactly what had happened. He looks around in frustration before sticking his hands in his pockets and trying to steady his breathing at her. "I just wanted to say I'm s –"

If he says the word 'sorry', there was a strong chance she would hit him with what could be dubbed 'excessive force'. So she heads him off instead.

"Look, I'm the idiot here. I'm the one who has been pining after you like a stupid lost puppy whilst completely missing the signs that you had moved on, so –" she runs her hands through each side of her parting, tucking the hair behind her ears whilst trying to ignore the fact that they have a very curious audience only five feet away. "Mixed signals, wires crossed…it happens all the time. My bad for berating you about that damn message. Nina told me Will, I –"

Will's completely gobsmacked at what he's hearing.

Sure, there have been tons of signs over the last couple of years that Mac still wanted a relationship with him, but she has never actually come out and said it until now. It is like the other shoe has dropped and his world is starting to narrow at the sides of his vision, zooming in on the utterly broken look on Mackenzie's face.

And now she was backing off? After all this had he left it too late? Or has he just forced her into this?

Probably the last one. Shit.

And yet...he's not stopping her. He feels no desire to stop her.

That vindictive, hurting part of him that brought Brian here, and bought an engagement ring just to fuck with her, and helped him take those pills just because part of him knew it would freak her out...that part is back. The part that says unrelentingly, she deserves this.

"I wouldn't have said – I mean – look, the whole 'still in love with you thing' – I – I just…"

But Mackenzie's head had snaps up like he has just cracked a whip at it. Her eyes are wide, and yet full of suspicion.

"What?" Will asks with a dry throat that feels like it might crack if he tries to move the muscles again.

"That's not what Nina told me the message said."


Only know you love her when you let her go

And you let her go


Dum dum duuuuuum! To be continued in short order. As it turns out anger is a great catalyst for writing.

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Music: Let Her Go - Passenger