I promised something more substantial and here it is.
This is for my ladies, who I have been unwillingly neglecting these past couple of weeks (you know who you are) and Shannon – I hope this is excellent ;)
The future Mrs McAvoy and the Director of Morale.
In just over six hours time, a highly embarrassing document containing detailed descriptions of both the most and slightly less ridiculous moments of ACN would be handed into the clerks office and be made public record. This made it all the more wondrous to Will that, as he looked around the room at his team, there was not one glum face to be found.
The only characters who looked remotely like they were not enjoying themselves were the Lansings and Charlie, who were gathered in one corner, phones glued to their ears. But they were far from unhappy. He had known Charlie and Leona long enough to know what their game faces looked like, and he would be willing to bet that whoever was on the other end of the line was having a worse night than they were.
His eyes flickered over Gary and Tess who were trying to make Kendra do shots of Champagne, God knew why – maybe just because they could. Jim was laughing with Neal and Jenny over something Neal was reading out from his computer screen. The whole team, researchers, producers, techs and the control room guys were all piled into the bullpen, merry and jovial, and he still couldn't quite bring himself to believe that he had been partly responsible for that.
His eyes were absolutely not stinging. He glared down at his own glass of champagne, determined to blame this on alcohol, but as he did a warmth trailed across his back and a soft head of brunette hair appeared at his shoulder as its owner tucked herself back into his chest.
He grinned and wrapped his arm around his future wife, still marveling at that thought. His future wife. Mackenzie McHale: his future wife! It was almost beyond belief. Maybe that was why everyone was drinking so much: to try and drink themselves out of the shock. He didn't think he would ever forget the stunned looks of his staffers when he had announced to them that he had asked Mac to marry him.
"Hey there." He smiled into her hair, pressing a long kiss just above her ear. She purred happily and snuggled further into him, wrapping her free hand around the one that had settled on her waist.
Her head turned to face him and something (not important he hoped) melted inside him at the wide smile on her face and the joyful light in her eyes.
"Hey you." She whispered back, up on her toes to press a warm kiss to his lips. He groaned in surprise. The feeling of Mackenzie's body against his was such a renaissance feeling to him now that he was still getting used to it. He couldn't believe his luck that she was kissing him, let alone kissing him in plain sight of over a hundred of their staffers. Not that he wanted her to stop. Not that she was.
It wasn't particularly passionate or heated given where they were, but it was so sweet and it was so Mac, that Will felt his heart beating faster the longer she kept herself attached to him.
"Are you trying to kill me?" He breathed deeply, pinching her hipbone as the last remaining oxygen left him. She smiled smugly.
"You have no idea what I'm going to do to you when we get home." At her low voice, a shot of heat went straight to his groin and he could feel his eyes darkening.
"When was the last time you slept?" He said in a slightly breathless voice.
"Let's just say I'm pretty used to a lack. Of . sleep." The last three words we punctuated with three ridiculously hot open-mouthed kisses along his neck.
"Mac!" He whined, trying to push her away before something embarrassing happened. She giggled – giggled! – into his shoulder before turning fully in his arms and wrapping her own around his back as she buried her face into his shoulder.
He held her to him tightly, taking a last sip of his bubbly before ditching the glass and using his remaining limb to hold her closer.
"God, Billy." She murmured against his collarbone.
He feels her smile against him and gently squeezes her hip in response. "This is just so not how I thought tonight would end."
He smiles at that. She's absolutely right. Neither had he.
He had been fairly sure that it would end in defeat and disgrace, commiseration and consolation from the staff and the Lansings. But more than that, he had been so sure that it would end with he and Mac separated forever. Thank God it was going to be exactly the opposite.
There was nothing in the world right now – not even Jerry fucking Dantana that could take these feelings of victory and success and happiness away from him right now. They had done a fine broadcast, they had held firm against the lawsuit, no one was resigning, and Mackenzie McHale had agreed to marry him.
He was fairly sure that it didn't get any better than this.
"Can I ask you something?" He falters slightly at the hesitation he hears in her voice.
Gently pushing her away from him enough that he can see her face, he notices that her bottom lip is worried between her teeth and her eyes are cautious – classic signs of a McHale Paranoia Flash coming up (Mac had always been a perfectionist).
"Go then." He teased her in a knowing voice. She frowns at his jest and tries to hit to him to convince him of her annoyance – he doesn't buy it.
Her fingers scrabble up to curl into his shirt, holding him there as she takes a breath. What on earth could she possibly be –
"What would you have done if I had said no?"
He didn't notice until their earlier fight in the dressing room just how good she had gotten at hiding her vulnerability. He's not sure whether that's a result of him, or Pakistan, or…maybe Wade or somebody…but she's damn good at it now. So good that it only flashes across her eyes for a second as she asks the question, but he's looking for it now. He's sworn never to hurt her again; he catches it.
He feels a slight twang of disappointment go through him at the knowledge that she obviously isn't absolutely secure in his love for her; but where earlier in his office it enraged him, now he just checks himself and reminds himself that he's given her more than good reason not to be.
He finds a smile, and is pleased to discover that it comes so much easier to him than he was expecting. He frames her face gently in his hands, running his thumbs softly across her cheek bones and rests his forehead against hers, enjoying the confidence that grows stronger behind her irises as he does so.
"What would I have done if you had said no?" He repeats lightly. She nods slowly, her lips still tangled in her teeth.
He can't help teasing her a little by withholding the answer. He knows she'll like it, can already imagine the smile that will spread across her face when he gives it. He allows himself a little moment to picture it a sharp pinch on his shoulder snaps his eyes open and into the anxious orbs of the woman in front of him.
"Billy?" She breathes. And that does it.
He lowers his mouth to hers until they are less than a hair's breadth apart. He hear her breath catch and he wants to sing.
"I'd have kissed you anyway."
Okay, so he was wrong. It's just as well he imagined that smile, because he never gets to see it. Her mouth is on him so fast and her hands are tangled in his hair making his eyes close instantly that it is all he can do to pull her closer and try not to stumble over and press her into a wall again in front of their colleagues.
As it is, he is more than satisfied by the way her curves press into him, the way her index finger strokes gently down the back of his neck of the way her lips dance with his, inviting him into her mouth, which he does without hesitation.
At some point, some when, he becomes aware of them of the cheers and wolf whistles that have started up, but he's glad that Mac wants to ignore them too. She just clings to him tighter and smiles mischievously against his lips as he chuckles.
"Oh piss off the lot of you!" She turns and shouts when they don't stop several seconds later. He bursts out laughing along with the rest of them as she turns back, flush-faced and looking sheepishly up at him. "What?" She challenges.
He simply grins at her, pressing a final kiss to her lips before dropping another one onto her forehead and pulling her back into his arms.
"I love you Mrs McAvoy." He whispers into her ear, trailing his fingers lazily through her hair as her hand travels along his bicep.
"I'm not Mrs McAvoy yet." She teases.
"You could be. As we are well aware, the clerk's office opens in a few hours, and we have our pick of witnesses. We just have to find a judge. It might distract the press?"
"My father would kill you." Comes the dry reply from somewhere near his pulse point – exactly near it, he discovers a second later when she presses a kiss there and he presses a retaliatory one against her hairline.
He feels a slight sense of loss when she unfurls herself from his embrace, even though she doesn't go far. Her beaming up at him, the picture of a happy woman and the total opposite of the pale, distressed creature that had yelled at him in his office only hours earlier.
"Well, in exchange for you answering my question, I have something to tell you." He raises his eyebrows expectantly, amused at the mischief on her face, and fully aware of the distracting patterns her fingers are making against his palms. "I meant to say it earlier, but in my defense I got a little sidetracked by a certain announcement."
"There was an announcement?" He asks bewilderedly, loving the playful, easy way she nudged back at him for interrupting her.
"I love you too Will."
Time stops and all joking and puns aside, she has never looked more beautiful to him; tired, sleep-deprived and stress induced hair and pallor included. He's forcing back the tears burning at the corner of his eyes again, which this time he absolutely cannot blame on the alcohol, but only on the woman in front of him.
He threads his fingers through hers and smiles back at her. "I know you do."
Her eyes crinkle, and he knows she's been waiting to hear that – waiting for that recognition for oh so long, and he feels like a dick for never giving it to her before now, but he can just about forget that with the way she is looking at him.
He knows this is the start of forever. That this time it is real and it is precious; far more precious than even he realized the last time. He leans around her and picks up the rest of the bottle of champagne that was resting on the workstation next to him and pours more into her glass, and then his.
Raising it in a toast whilst his other hand found hers again, he chinked their glasses together before winking at her, "Well, here's to true love always winning."
She gets it immediately, and he loves that. He loves all of her. And whatever happens in the morning is never going to change that.
I know I owe everyone about a hundred reviews, I'm slowly getting there, I promise! I have no internet at home right now, so I'm still trying to catch up reading all these new fics! An explosion of fics! How exciting :)
As always, I hope you enjoyed and if you have a minute to tell me what you thought, please do!