A/N: This is part of a trilogy… sort of. None of the stories have anything in common, except that the title is based on Ryan Cabrera's "On the Way Down".

I'm choosing to ignore the whole HIV arc for this one. Thanks!

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It started as a normal case. Well, "normal" considering they had found two bodies bludgeoned to death on the 16th floor of an industrial-lofts building. Stella quickly went over the scene and the ME's wrapped up the bodies on the stretchers and filled up the whole cargo lift with them. Adam looked at Stella with a worried look on his face.

"It's okay, Adam. Take my kit with you. Go down with the bodies and send the elevator up as soon s you're done. I'll wait here with Flack."

Adam agreed, feeling somewhat relieved that he wasn't leaving her all alone and closed the gate. A loud chirring noise could be heard once the elevator began going down, and Flack and Stella exchanges glances.

"This is one of the reasons why I don't like this yuppie places," said Flack. "Those elevators are a pain in the neck. I used to date an artist who lived in one of these and I never understood how she managed to get any sleep…"

Stella's snort made him realize how tongue-in-cheek his comment had been and he decided to correct himself. "I meant when I wasn't around. The whole building was occupied by weird artists and people came and went at odd hours all day long. There was a photographer who must have been sleeping with half of Brooklyn's aspiring models, and had the other half over for drinks, cause every night you saw a different girl leaving his place. If the chirring noise wasn't bad enough, the damn door had to be banged shut…"

"Poor woman. No sleep when you weren't there, and I'm assuming no sleep when you were… didn't peg you as a guy who'd flatter himself so blatantly"

"Hey… cut me some slack… this Yonkers stud has never had any complaints…"

Stella's eyebrow raised in amusement. "Have you ever seen "When Harry met Sally" Don?"

The detective nodded.

"I rest my case, then…"

Stella was interrupted by a horrible metal sound. They both looked at the elevator. Flack walked towards it to inspect it, while Stella took out her cell phone and hit Adam's number.

"Adam? Are you okay? Yes, we heard. Aha. I see. What?? How are you…? Well, Adam as fascinating as that is…. yes, I understand. No. No we can't. Okay. I'll see what can be done. Keep me posted."

She turned to Flack to deliver the news. "The elevator got stuck between the first and second floors. They managed to open the gates and to get out. The building manager tells them the whole hydraulic thing was shot to hell, so it might be a couple of DAYS before the elevator works again. They are going to try to pull it downwards enough as to get the bodies out."

"That's all nice and dandy, Stella, but how are we supposed to get out of here? Last time I checked, neither one of us had grown a set of wings."

Stella was once more at the phone. She held up her hand in a "hold on" gesture. "Yes, Mac? Oh, you've heard? Louie called Peyton and Peyton was just telling you? Oh. Well, yes. We're fine, except that we're 16 floors above street level. What? I'm not sure… let me check…" Removing the cell form her mouth, she called to Flack: "Are there any emergency stairs?" She went back to the phone: "Don's checking now, hold on."

Meanwhile, Flack was opening doors at random, until he found the exit to the stairs hidden halfway behind a pantry. "We got stairs here!" he called back.

"Affirmative on the stairs. OK. Will do. Thanks Mac. Bye,"

Putting away the phone, she joined Flack in the kitchen. "Mac is going to call in a favour from the air guys. All we have to do is climb up to the roof… 4 floors only."

Flack opened the door as wide as it would go and gallantly stepped aside. "After you, milady."

They were reaching the 17th floor when Flack's cell chirped to life. "Flack. Yeah. What? No shit. Are you fucking kidding me? And I suppose I have to be the one to do that? Yeah, right. You owe me big time for this one…"

Flack turned to Stella with a somber expression on his face, and she knew there was bad news before he even opened up his mouth.

"Mac says the favour was denied. Thank Gerrard for that one. Seems neither one of us is important enough to grant the use of the department's resources…"

"Son of a bitch!!! We have to climb down the stairs to get out of here??? Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck!"

Flack could understand that Stella didn't like the news. Hell, even Mac understood that, having cowardly called him instead of her to deliver the bad news. But Flack thought that Stella was perhaps overdoing it a bit…

"Stel… it ain't so bad… it's just 16 floors… we've done worse…"

In all answer, Stella raised her leg, in a pose more often seen on a Broadway stage than on the streets. "They're new. I'm breaking them in."

Understanding dawned on Flack. He grimaced at the thought. He had always wondered how his female coworkers managed to do their jobs on high heels. In fact, he had the uttermost respect for them for doing so. But even his dense male psyche understood that breaking in a set of new 3 inch heel boots whilst climbing down 6 floors of stairs, let alone 16, was going to be a murderous task.

Stella sighed. "The sooner we get over with this, the better. And tell Mac he'd better be waiting with a brand-new pouch of lavender bath salts and some massage oil for weary feet!" Having uttered her threat, Stella began walking down the stairs. Flack followed her, leaving a reasonable safe distance between them. He had once been struck by one of those heels while trying to make an arrest and it wasn't an experience he looked forward to repeating ever again.

They began their descent in silence, keeping up a good rhythm. But by the time they had reached the 10th floor, Stella was stopping on every landing, moving her feet around the boots, in an attempt to find a comfortable fit. And by the 8th floor, it was obvious from her pained expression that she had blistered her soles, but she remained silent. Flack, however, couldn't stand the idea of Stella being in any kind of pain or discomfort and decided to do something about it.

"Stop." He commanded. "Sit." He pointed towards a step three above where they were standing.

Stella began protesting, as expected. "I'm not tired, I can do this."

"Shh. Be a good girl now and sit." Seeing that arguing was not going to get her anywhere, Stella did as told.

Before she had a chance to protest, Flack got hold of her left ankle and slid out the offending boot.

"Don! What on earth…?"

"Shhhh." He shushed her again, removing the right boot just as quickly. Holding both feet up at the same time, he quickly inspected the damage.

"You got blisters on both feet. The left one is worse than the right one, it broke and it's bleeding a bit." Stella grimaced, and he continued with his report. "The hose sock or panty or whatever it was you were wearing is toast. And since this floor was last cleaned during the 80's from the looks of it, there's only one solution to our problem."

He put each boot inside each suit jacket pocket, and he turned his back to her. "Come on," he said, waving his hands in accompanying gesture, "Hop on."

"Don! Are you crazy? Do you have any idea when was the last time someone gave me a piggy ride? You're gonna get us both killed! It's still 8 floors down."

"Bonasera, time's a wasting. When we get down you're going to treat me to a huge dog and a large iced tea at Manolo's on Washington Square Park. Now get a-cracking, woman, cause the offer expires in 6…5… 4… "

Stella laughed despite herself. "You're certified crazy, Don, did you know that?"

"Can't say that's a first. Come-on, come-on. The sooner we do this, the sooner we leave this joint."

Stella stood up cautiously, wincing a bit. It did feel good to be out of those boots, she had to admit. As much as she loved her Nine West anklet babies, she cursed her bargainers soul: she had gotten them marked 60 off cause the fit was uneven. She tried them on, understood the concept of "uneven" but decided it was nothing a pair of cotton balls and a gel in-sole wouldn't cure and got them. Now, however, she was fighting the urge to throw them out the window at their present location.

She carefully rested herself on top of Don's back and had to suppress a yelp of surprise when he stood his full height. What she couldn't suppress, though, was the sharp intake of breath as his hands slid up her thighs. She grabbed unto his shoulders, holding for support whilst attempting to get a grip of herself, but it helped none: her first breathe in was full of him and she suddenly felt dizzy.

"What's wrong with you?" she chided herself, "this is DON… he's like your kid brother! You don't get all worked up over a brother, no matter how…how… MANLY he smells!!!"

"All set to go?" he asked, and she uh-hummed her answer, not trusting the words to come out right. "You can hold tight, just don't choke me, okay Bonasera?"

Don began walking down the stairs carrying her on his back. By the time he had hit the 6th's floor landing he was certain of a couple of thing. First, that this was the worst idea he had ever had. Second, that he was certain that somewhere up there God was having a great laugh at his expense. And third, that he was wondering if he was going to ever be able to look at Stella Bonasera in the face without getting a hard-on.

It wasn't bad enough that he was all too conscious of the way her breasts felt against his back. Or the fact that he was very aware that his hands were mere inches from her rear end… and other adjoining areas. What was actually killing him was her breath on the back of his neck. He had stopped communicating with her cause every word she said hit him right in the nape. He was sure the whole area was covered in goose bumps, and he prayed Stella either thought they were due to the exertion… or that she was kind enough as to pretend not to notice them.

By the 5th floor Flack had to concede that maybe he had taken a bite too big for him to swallow. He could feel the scars from the surgery burning deep in his muscles and he had to stop or else he was sure he was going to bust something somewhere painful.

"Stell… I'm going to set you down on the rail for a moment, okay? Then I'm going to turn around and carry you newlywed style the last 4 floors…"

"Am I hurting you? Are you okay? Put me down. Now! I want to check you…"

"Stella… I don't see any blood seeping on my shirt, so I'm fine. It's just not as comfortable as I remember it from being… perhaps cause I never actually piggy rode my sisters down the stairs of a building…"

Stella groaned at the lame joke. On the other hand, if he could joke, maybe he wasn't hurting that bad. But she was worried. She mentally slapped herself for not remembering. The surgery wasn't even a year old, dammit, what was she thinking? All the muscles over his ribcage must be screaming bloody murder… Stella kept fit, but she wasn't a size 0 teen waif by any means. She kept herself a healthy 118 given her age and height. But healthy or not, her 118 were pulling hard on the muscles of a man who had sustained major abdominal surgery less than a year ago.

"Funny, Don. Now stop and put me down."

"Not to play martyr here, but have you seen the floor? No way in hell I'm setting you down barefoot and with an open blister in there. Mac would kill me if you get blood poisoning for this…"

He backed her carefully unto the handrail, but he hadn't counted on how unstable the metal structure would be. The moment he let go off Stella, she began slipping backwards. He spun around just in time to grab her by the waist and used the momentum to spun back towards the safety of the wall. Stella threw her arms around his neck and held on for dear life, making an effort not to put her feet down. However, the same momentum that had saved them from a 5 floor fall made Don loose his footing.

They managed to regain their balance 3 steps below. Stella's weight was supported partly be the wall, where she had her back pressed to. Her arms were still around Flack's shoulders, and her legs were loosely wrapped around his hips and waist. Don, on the other hand, had one arm tightly wound around her midsection and the other one firmly securing her read end. He had one foot on one step and the other one in the next one, knee flexed, as he was also supporting her body on his right thigh.

She had her head on the crook of his neck, he was resting his forehead against the wall, and they were both trying to catch their breath.

"When we get back to the lab you're going to have to explain how cracking my skull is acceptable whereas getting my feet soles dirty is… not…."

Stella couldn't finish the sentence. She had just realized how close they were to one another and, kid brother be damned, it was getting her turned on. She wanted to blame the adrenaline rush. That had to be it, cause the alternative, Don looking at her mouth wantonly whilst licking his dry lips, was not an option. Adrenaline, then, shedecided, was sole responsible for her staring at his mouth in return, and furthermore, for her considering that tasting them was a good idea.

Don was also painfully aware of the situation. Painfully cause it vividly reminded him of one of his best sexual encounters. Painfully cause he was extremely close to Stella's body (he was cupping her ass, for crying out loud!) and he wanted her, had done so for a some time now. Painfully cause his sweltering erection was getting to a point where it was not only obvious, but pretty uncomfortable.

Painful because he couldn't stop looking at her mouth.

"Get a grip on yourself, Don. This is Stella, for heaven's sake, not one of them waitress you pick up at diners… this is such a bad idea in so many levels… think about Mac… think about the bodies you just picked up… don't think about the way she's looking at your mouth… don't… don't…"

Flack's resolve was completely blown to pieces when he realized Stella was openly staring at his mouth with a look of pure lust on her face. If he wanted her and she seemed to want him as well… aww, hell, the fuck with it!

He leaned forward the mere couple of inches that separated them, and Stella seemed to have had the same idea, as their lips met midway. It wasn't the passionate crashing of mouths hungrily devouring each other that Flack had envisioned their first kiss to be. This was more tentative… more cautious… more substantial. Don thought he could spend a lifetime kissing Stella Bonasera and still not get enough of her sweet taste. He felt her mouth opening under his and slowly let his tongue seek refuge inside her, seek her own to exchange all sort of promises they've yet to express out loud.

Stella had expected Don's kiss to be everything but the sweet gentle caress they were sharing, and she was quite pleased to be proven wrong. It was her experience that first kisses could give a pretty good insight as to how a man would behave between the sheets when the moment came. She had even turned down potential suitors based solely on how they had kissed her for the first time. But Flack… dear God, she trembled at the thought of making love with him! The man was an oral virtuoso and his hands… his hands… Stella moaned into the kiss just at the thought of feeling Don's hands all over her body.

Her moan reverberated all the way down his spine and right into his growing erection. Flack was a patient man when it came to arriving to the point where a comfortable intimacy was reached, but once it was achieved, he wasn't keen on denying himself. He had wondered about Stella for more than a year now and if that moan was any indicator, he could very well take her right then and there. The Don Flack used to casual flings with cute young things would probably have had both hands under her clothing by now and shifting her body so he could shamelessly rub his erection against her to get her in the right mood. However, the Don Flack that was carefully holding Stella in his arms right now was more than willing to suffer a mild case of blue balls if it meant he'd get a more less permanent position in her arms in the near future…

They finally broke apart and rested their foreheads together, waiting to catch their breaths.

"Don, I…"

"Shhh… it's okay Stel… later… we'll talk about this later, I promise."

They held unto each other for a long time. It wasn't until they heard voices coming from below calling out their names that they separated.

"Flack? Stella! Where are you?" came Mac's voice, the worry clear in his tone.

"Up here, Mac! In between 4th and 5th! Stella had a wardrobe malfunction…"

Stella considered slapping him for that one.

"Getting frisky already Flack?"

Danny Messer's quip got Don a hard slap on the shoulder. He looked at her with a hurt look on his face, pout included, and before she could try it again, he shifted her weight in his arms, raising her high enough in order to slide both arms underneath her knees.

He leaned in to murmur in her ear: "I have tomorrow off. Let me take you out to dinner. We'll talk then and decide what's next."

"What's next?"

"Yeah, next. My place or yours. Settling things out of court or going through with the sexual harassment trial. Moving in together before or after the wedding. Names of kids. Those kinds of next." His tone grew serious. "Don't know about you Ms. Bonasera, but this ain't just a casual fling for me. Either we do this right or we don't even try it. You got until tomorrow night to think it over. It's your call, Stella. I'm all in for trying, but you call the shots."

He kissed her lips softly one last time. "Tomorrow", he mouthed against her lips. And with that, Don began their way down.

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A/N: In case you're wondering, the other two ficlets are "On the way out" over at CSI and "On the way up" at Bones.