Author: The Atomic Cafe PM
When Stella recieves her first complaint, Mac deals with Hillborne for her.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 1,248 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 06-25-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3008859
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Disclaimer: I do not own CSI:NY or affiliates.
"Son of a bitch!" Stella muttered, slamming the glass door closed as she reentered the building. "Son of a bitch!"
"You alright?" Danny asked, looking up from where he was taking his lunch break with Aiden. The two had only joined the lab that year, but they still had never seen Stella look so angry.
"Yes, I'm fine," she answered, still looking as though she could rip something apart, "if it weren't for that damn Hillborne!"
"What did he do?" Aiden asked, taking another bite from her lo mein.
"Trying to get me fired!" Stella stormed, crumpling a paper in her hand. "Said a damn civilian is filing a complaint against me!"
"He can get you fired for that?" Aiden asked.
Danny raised his eyebrows. "I don't think I'm going to last long here."
Stella heard the door open and close. "What happened?" asked a familiar voice.
Without turning to Mac, Stella explained it to him. "Hillborne wants me fired!"
Mac circled around the table, reaching one of the soda machines and putting in a folded dollar. Calmly, he explained, "He can't do that without reason. What did he say?"
Stella leaned over Danny and Aiden's table to pass him the crumpled piece of paper. "That. Not a single word - just this note."
Mac took the dollar that the machine rejected as well as the note, reading Hillborne's writing as he fed the money back into the machine, which spat it back out. When he finished reading it, he handed it back to Stella.
"I have an entire drawer's worth of those notes," Mac told her. "At least half of them are twice as bad as this one, and I still have my job." Mac fought to put the dollar bill back into the machine, finally hitting the side of it. The machine gave a beep, letting Mac press a button for a drink. "Just keep on his good side for a while and he'll forget about it."
Stella raised an eyebrow, calmed slightly. "I was expecting you to lecture me on the importance of being nice to the suspects."
"Did you kill any of them?" Mac asked, sounding almost amused as he opened the bottle of Diet Pepsi.
"No, of course not."
"Then I won't lecture you on being nice. It isn't our job to be nice to suspects." Mac took a sip of his drink and started to walk out of the room. "Keep in mind that I can always change my mind, so don't upset Hillborne anymore. He'll be in my office when I get back, trust me."
"Mac?" Stella called Mac turned back to her, twisting the lid on the bottle. "You seriously don't have a problem with this?"
"Why do you think I would?"
Stella watched Aiden and Danny's heads turn to her to see her response. "Well… you were being funny," she answered meekly.
Mac raised his eyebrows as he unscrewed the top from his bottle again.
"Well, you haven't been funny like that in a long time." Stella felt embarrassed and thanked her inability to blush. "It just seemed like you were waiting to tell me off later."
"A person being funny doesn't mean they're writing a lecture in their head," Mac said simply, leaving the break room.
Stella sat down at the table with the two investigators. Aiden passed one of the Chinese food cartons to her with a pair of chopsticks on top of it.
"Don't worry," Aiden said to her. "I doubt he's angry. He didn't sound angry at all."
"Even if that was weird," Danny added. "I've never seen him like that, personally." He paused. "Once, actually, and that was last July."
"Neither of you knew him well before September," Stella sighed, opening the carton and seeing orange chicken inside. She pulled out a piece. "He was funny sometimes before. Not all the time, but still funny." And now his humor is a time to doubt him, she mentally added, feeling guilty.
She could vaguely remember him before the incident just four months before. Only a few memories remained isolated in that time period, and none of them were large chunks of the Mac she knew.
It just made it seem as though he was slipping away twice as fast.
Once she finished her orange chicken, Stella left the break room for Mac's office. He was talking to an older black man. The two seemed to be arguing, so Stella kept her distance for a while, trying to avoid both of their eyes. Hillborne's back was to her, but she knew that Mac could look up and easily see her.
Within the next few minutes, Mac crossed his hands in the air as if to settle something. Hillborne stood up, obviously still talking, then left the office. Mac got out of his chair, pulling on his jacket as Stella started to walk up to his office.
"I saw you," Mac said, turning slightly to click something on his computer. "Apparently Hillborne is a bit more angry than I thought."
Stella felt rather ashamed of herself, but refused to let it show to Mac. "Yeah, I thought he would be." She put her hands on her hips. "Do you need any help sorting anything out?"
"No," Mac answered, though he sounded a bit angry. "I have everything completely under control."
"I don't think you do," Stella said. "What's happening?"
Mac turned away from the computer as he straightened his jacket and buttoned it. "Just a conversation with Hillborne. He told me to keep you in line, which I think you can do yourself."
"That's not what a meant," Stella told him quietly.
Spinning on his heel to leave the office, Mac answered, "Well, then, I don't know what you mean, Stella."
Thinking quickly and know that she would regret it, Stella snapped, "Stop being such a moody bastard." When Mac stopped in his tracks, she added, "Get back here right now and talk to me."
Mac didn't turn, but remained still. "I hardly doubt you have the right to control anything I do right now, Stella. Maybe in a while you'll understand that Hillborne tries to get rid of me when there's a problem with any of you because it's my fault when you deal with suspects as though they're animals."
"Like animals?" Stella repeated. She gritted her teeth for a second. "Mac, I think we need to have a long talk."
"We've already had it," Mac answered, then left his office. Stella was left alone, staring after his retreating figure, unable to form any words.