Title: Your Song
Category: CSI: NY
Disclaimer: Please. Me? Own anything? Hardly. It all belongs to Anthony Zuiker. I'm just playing.
Distribution: Ask please
Spoilers: Post Stealing Home
Notes: Love to Tastylilgifty for the beta.
Summary: Haven't you heard, I'm stuck on a face, I'm stuck on a boy who fills me with joy.
Feedback: Is loved and much appreciated :)
It was just a simple question, one he had been asking with almost irritating frequency since her return to work. It was an reminder, almost worse than seeing Frankie every time she closed her eyes, almost worse than everyone in the lab knowing what happened to her, almost worse than the scar on her cheek every time she checked the mirror, almost worse than being violated in her own apartment, was the memory of it whenever he said, "How're you holding up?" or "Are you okay?"
The only thing that made it better was that it was Mac saying it, with just enough care to straddle the line between boss and best friend, but enough times to let her see his true concern hidden behind a long practiced mask. It was the only thing keeping her from strangling him. Still, every time she answered him with "okay," or "I'm fine," she felt a little closer to breaking. Maybe it was because his was the first face she had seen after the shooting. Seeing him meant she was safe when she was most vulnerable, and there was something about that she couldn't quite shake.
And maybe all of this is why, when she walked into his office to get her finale case report signed, and he's looked up from his paperwork and asked her the same question he had asked her at least once day for the past week, her well practiced answer caught in her throat. And he looking at her with eyes that no longer attempt to hide anything, and she sees what she knew was there; his pain, his worry, his fear... for her.
Her name rolls off his tongue and it's soft, reassuring, so familiar that the sob that's been hiding in the back of her throat breaks free just before she can cover her mouth.
Suddenly, he's there, one hand combing through her massive curls while the other rubs circles on the small of her back and her arms are around his neck. And he's whispering soothing words and she thinks that this isn't the Mac Taylor she knows, the one she knows is awkward with affection and uncomfortable with comfort, whether he's giving it or receiving it. But there is nothing awkward or uncomfortable about this, he is sure as he holds her against him, whispering into her hair as she cries on his shoulder. He's breaking her fall, and the role-reversal is so obvious that she would have said something had she not been coming apart at the seams.
The thought makes her sob a little harder and tighten her arms around his neck. He makes no objection, just keeps his hold on her, rocking her every so slightly. "I've got you," he whispers, and having been alone for most of her life, that means more to her than he could possibly know, but then again, he probably does. Because he was left alone by a tragedy out of his control, and she refused to leave him no matter how hard he pushed her away, until he finally broke down in her arms.
She feels a drop soak through her shirt that she knows is not her own. She pulls back only far enough to see his face and finds his eyes full of tears and she knows that he hasn't cried for anything since Claire's death. Her hand goes to his face the way it always does, even though it's different now, it means something different now, and she brushes the tear from his cheek with her thumb.
"Mac?" she said, her voice is harsh and cracking from crying, her first word since entering the office. His expression is serious, even through the pain and the tears, the way Mac always is, and he looks at her for a moment, as if to gather his thoughts and himself before speaking.
"I...thought you were dead." His voices cracks on the last word, and for a spilt second his pain becomes worse than hers. She lived through Mac grieving and never would she wish it on him again. His eyes fall closed and she can't tell if he's trying to forget or remember. "I had to check for you pulse," he tells her, "and you wouldn't open you eyes..." His eyes open and she can see the changes that have slowly breaking through for the past months shine to the forefront, and she sees more of the Mac Taylor than she has since the day the towers fell. "I can't lose you, Stella."
It's the most honest he's been in years, and she knows that as she looks right through him, he's looking right back at her. His hand makes a slow, gentle journey from the small of her back, up her side and around her arm until it reaches her cheek. His fingers trace over it with affection and tentativeness as her eyes flutter close, before he leans in and touches his lips to it with reverence that she has never felt.
She turns her head slightly, so her lips can line up with his, and she brushes them with such a slight touch it can't even be called a kiss. He seems to understand, and doesn't try to deepen it, but instead takes her face in his hands and places barely-there kisses over her closed eyelids and the running his lips across her hairline. There is an almost silent gasp from her and two tears slip from beneath her lashes. These are not tears of pain or fear or Frankie, and although he knows this, he brushes them away all the same.
As his hands settle on her hips and his forehead gently rests against hers, she realizes she's standing here with him in an office of glass walls, where anyone could walk by and see her having the most intimate moment of her life, somehow makes it all the more real for her. Somewhere in the back her mind, she knows he's not hiding her or them, that he is done hiding.
Her eyes open and she finds him looking down at her, and she knows the time for running is gone. And that he had caught her years ago. "I've got you," he whispers again, and she knows, now more than ever, how true that is. And she knows that she's got him too.
Haven't you heard?
I'm stuck on a face.
I'm stuck on a boy who fills me with joy.
I knew it was wrong to,
Jump straight on into this picture so pretty
But he is so pretty to me. - Your Song by Kate Walsh