Hey all! This has been floating around for longer than I care to admit to, only just put down on interactive paper lol

Please keep in mind that I dont know anyone from the Armed Forces, just have great appreciation for them. Any inaccuracies are purely my own fault, and I apologise.

It will eventually be MacStella, but I have a lot in mind before that can happen.

Note: 'Semper Fidelis' stands for 'Always Faithful'. I found it whilst scooting around the US Marine Corps website. It was accompanied by: 'To the Nation,to eachother and the cause we Serve"

Thanks to all who kept badgering me to type it up ;) x mwah x

Hope y'all enjoy

"Stella, I found something interesting on the victim's clothes" Trisha, explained, thankful to finally find the detective wandering the halls. Stella urged the young lab-tech on with a head nod as she took the Mass Spec print-outs from her hands. "Just below the collar on the green shirt…"

Trisha's findings hadn't stemmed off, but Stella's attention had. The sight of two US Marine officials stalking the halls of New York's CSI building would have that effect, especially if watched ascending to Mac's office.

Stella tried to redirect her senses back to Trisha, but her peripheral vision caught Mac standing to attention, saluting the two Marines.

She watched as the men handed him an envelope, to which Mac seemed to thank them for, then turn on their heels and retrace their steps back to the doors.

"So what do you think?"

"Hmm? What? Oh, yeah…good find, erm, send the garment to trace and keep me posted" Stella stuttered, her mind racing in two directions: The case-breaking find Trisha talked of, and the extremely intriguing arrival of USA Marine's into Mac's office.

Trisha frowned slightly, wondering why Stella hadn't answered her questions, but did as she was told and headed off to Trace.

She fought with herself for all of 2 minutes as to whether to leave the perplexed-looking Mac standing over the Manila envelope in his hands, or feed her own fearful curiosity.

The latter won.

She took a furtive glance down the halls, checking for any impending interruptions: no Danny; no hyper Chad on another caffeine high; and no Flack looking pensive in his leather jacket, again. Something told her this talk warranted full attention.

"Mac?" She asked, popping her head around the glass doors. "Everything okay? I- I saw the Marines."

He didn't react at first, so Stella asked again, closing the door behind her, "Mac?"

"I've been reinstated." he uttered, still staring intently at the envelope. She'd only ever seen that kind of devoted stare with Danny and the latest Swimsuit Edition.

"What?" she breathed out.

"I've been reinstated to the US Marines" he looked at her this time. She couldn't quite read the look in his eyes; she thought she almost registered fear.

Her own eyes darted from corner to corner, desperate to focus on anything but this. "…when?"

He took a breath. "10am tomorrow"


He took another deep breath, collecting himself and his thoughts. "Right, are you okay to continue this case solo?"

Still taken aback, she managed to stutter "Yeah, of-of course, erm…"

"Good, I need to call Chief Highborne and…" he listed his affairs that needed to be in order before he shipped out, all the while shuffling pages and tidying his desk. When he grabbed his jacket from his chair and moved to pass her, she reached out and touched his arm. There was no way he'd let this sink in; there was no way he'd realised that he was leaving New York City, his home for near-on 12 years, to go to some God-forsaken war-torn corner of the world from where, Heaven forbid, he might not even return. No way.

She could barely manage a whisper as she said "Mac…"

His head drooped, noticing the unshed tears and sheer fear in her eyes. He wasn't sure who was supporting who when they hugged each other.