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Antes tarde do que nunca

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The thing about cable news is that you don't really get a break. They're not the fucking Daily Show: no three weeks off at Christmas after two weeks off at Thanksgiving, and a summer break on top of that.

News keeps going, keeps generating more news, and that's the origin of way too many pithy phrases for anyone's comfort. That summer, the summer after they secured their show, after they found some leverage, Will decides to take a vacation.

To his surprise, and to Mac's, he invites her to join him.

"What, you mean the both of us? At the same time?" she says, incredulity mapped across her face, along with pleasure at being asked.

"Well," Will temporizes, "not completely at the same time. I'm going to take two weeks and go down to Brazil. You can come a week in."

Mac's gaze narrows. "You've already bought the tickets, haven't you, you presumptuous ass?"

Will sticks his hands in his pockets and adopts what he thinks of as a rakish grin. "Were you planning on saying no?"

A thousand different emotions war on Mac's face, and he delights as always in her manic reactions to the simplest of things. Or, if not simple, at least straightforward.

"I booked two rooms," he adds, and turns back to his computer.

When he looks back, Mac's face has become slightly flushed; even her collarbone, visible beneath the sheer fabric of her blouse, is faintly pink. Will smiles.

"Of all the infuriating, overbearing, boorish things to do--" she mutters as she collects her papers into her usual armful and marches towards the door.

"Does that mean you'll go with me?" Will calls after her as the glass door to his office swings closed.

"Of course I'm bloody coming!" she yells back at him, and he smiles to himself.

***

Florianopolis is beautiful, of course; white sand beaches and the endless ocean. Even Lonny doesn't follow him down there--the insurance company gives him the vacation time too, after the threat assessment suggests that none of his would-be murderers likely have the wherewithal to follow Will down to South America.

He spends that first week blissfully disconnected, turning off his phone, setting his tablet to airplane mode. He left his laptop at his apartment, and never even considers turning on the television in his room. He left the number of his hotel with the news division's receptionist, and had given him strict instructions to only use it in case of emergencies. As in, nuclear warhead or aliens from outer space emergencies.

It was a trick, though, because he knows it would never even occur to his otherwise over-intelligent colleagues that he might've left his number with the receptionist at all. It gave him a warm glow in the cockles of his cantankerous heart to think on it.

He's sipping a mojito on the resort patio, reading the latest volume of Caro's LBJ biography, when Mac sits next to him.

"Billy," she sighs in pleasure, crossing her legs, "this certainly is no Iraqi desert."

She is a vision, though he would never tell her that. She wears white and cream effortlessly in ways other women would vie to emulate, and in her short caftan, large floppy straw hat, and raffia sandals, Will hopes he's the envy of every man within looking distance. Though he'd never tell her that either.

"You know, I considered a war zone," he says, "but it was easier to get reservations here than in Baghdad."

"Iraq is no longer a war zone," she chides. "It's a 'stability operation.'"

"Touche," he says, and feeds his bookmark into his book.

"LBJ? Really?" Mac says. "Honestly, couldn't you at least have picked someone with a little more joie de vivre for your holiday? Lincoln, perhaps, or Roosevelt?"

"He passed civil rights and was Commander in Chief of a major American war," Will says. "That's enough joie de vivre for any President."

"So you say," she says, and grasps the arm of the server as he goes by. "Desculpe-me, Inglês?"

"They all speak English, MacKenzie," Will says. "It was part of the attraction of this resort."

"What may I get you, miss?" the young man asks politely.

"I'll have a caipirinha," she says, "double strength. And some of those fried plantains I saw at the bar."

"Of course, miss, right away," he says.

"Miss!" she says delightedly. "Do you remember when you used to call me 'miss'?"

"No," Will says shortly. "You're making things up again."

"I forget nothing!" she protests.

A companionable silence falls over them both, and Will looks out at the ocean, thinking of the peace of the last week and the lack of peace he's in for in the week to come. Thank god they weren't out here for work; she'd be insufferable.

He is tugged out of his head by the feel of her hand on his own. He looks down, and she winds their fingers together. Her hand feels so small in his, delicate and fine. He tries not to think how his ring would look on her finger. That had been a dick move--he can admit it to himself fully now--but what he hasn't yet been able to tell his child of a psychologist was that he never returned it. He'd bought it to make a point, a mean, cruel point. But he kept it because...because, god damn him, he had hope.

And of course, here she was, where he'd asked her to be.

"Billy," she says seriously, drawing his attention to her lovely, expressive face.

"Yes?" he asks, a little wary. He has never let her know how he feels when she calls him by that name.

"I am so very happy you asked me here," she says. She bends her head over the table, and draws their linked hands to her lips. She places a sweet, careful kiss to his knuckles, and looked up at him and smiles.

"I'm glad you came," he says after a moment, and squeezes her hand in his just to know it's there.