Title: Fallen In With You
Author: Rachel
Category: CSI: NY
Pairing: Mac/Stella
Disclaimer: Please. Me? Own anything? Hardly. It all belongs to Anthony Zuiker. I'm just playing. Distribution: Ask please
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Season 2. Somewhere between Zoo York, and say... Run Silent, Run Deep, although nothing in particular is spoiled.
Notes: The opening popped into my head one afternoon and it kinda snowballed from there. Thanks Fruitbat00 and Tastylilgifty for the betas. :)
Summary: Come with me to a place that we don't know
Feedback: Is loved and much appreciated :)

He watches her across the table as she suddenly stops twirling her fork in her pasta to laugh at some joke Danny made. Her head falls back and her hair sways over her shoulder as the laughter fades and a smile settles on her face. He is struck by the woman within, shining brightly to the surface undiminished by the daily stress, just a burst of pure, unfettered joy. The worries that weigh on his shoulders drift into the air and his face breaks into a smile, as the horrors and the ugliness of the world fade into the chilly winter night and her beautiful smile.

Suddenly, he is broken from his reverie as she directs her next question to him and raises her wine glass to her lips. He manages to catch her words, and deliver a response that sends the table into another round of laughter and brings that smile to her lips once again. He realizes he could live like this forever.

It had been a long time since he had taken enjoyment in just looking at a woman, not since Claire had died. When they used to go out he would just sit there and observe everything that was wonderful about her; her wit, her mannerisms, her smile and her bright, musical laugh. He was doing the same with Stella and he hadn't even fully realized that until now.

The night continues in the same light hearted manner as dinner winds down and the dessert orders are taken. She's feeling indulgent, she says, as she orders the deepest dark piece of chocolate cake he thinks he's ever seen. Still, he's happy to see her take in a little pleasure; he's seen to many worry lines on her face lately. A look of glee sparkles in her eyes as the dish is set down in front her, looking bigger and more chocolatey than the picture.

She twists the plate, examining it from every angle as though it was a piece of evidence collected from a scene. Flack says as much, making Lindsey laugh and Danny flash a look of envy before remembering himself. Mac only takes minor interest in all that's going on around him, because he's watching her; her lip bit in concentration, looking up only to glare at Flack for his comment. "It's too big," she determines with the finality of a seasoned crimialist who had just proven her theory, complete with the satisfied smile of knowing that the bad guy was caught.

Her comment brings on snickers from around the table, as many, he is sure, as when she offers him an extra spoon. "Share with me," she insists, a spark of... something in her eyes, "you didn't order anything." He hadn't, because watching her was sweet enough.

Before he can protest she asks Danny to switch seats, to which he readily agrees so he can have a seat next to Lindsey. A moment later, Danny and his Tiramisu are gone and in the seat next to him are Stella and her sinful chocolate cake. She offers the spoon again and he tries desperately to stop what was once a healthy and subconscious admiration from developing into something that is, quite frankly, dangerous.

"Come on, Mac," it comes out almost like a whine, except that Stella Bonasera doesn't whine, so the closest he can come up with is 'plea'; a slight pouting of the bottom lip that she had been biting just moments before. He gets the distinct feeling of being on foreign soil, of having new and uncertain terrain ahead and fights any obvious or outward signs of distress. He takes the spoon and is rewarded with another room-lighting smile... maybe this isn't as bad an idea as he thinks.

She digs into the dessert, making sure to steal a little whipped cream from the top. Her eyes flicker shut in pleasure the moment it touches her lips. She lets the chocolate melt in her mouth, savoring it. And she moans, so low and so quietly that he knows only he can hear. He wonders, just for a fleeting moment, if that's what she looks like during an orgasm.

Her eyes open and pleasure is still written on her face, and she licks the remaining fudge off the spoon. "Try it, it's good."

He does, it's as good as she says, but it's infinitely better watching her eat it. Seeing her eyes flutter, her tongue peeks out from between her lips to catch any fallen crumbs. He takes smaller bites, trying to listen attentively to the light, meaningless conversation that floats between them, but getting lost in idyl wondering how much better it would taste from her lips.

More and more he has been seeing Stella not just as his friend or his colleague, but as a woman, which presented him with the somewhere rare opportunity to think like a man; to notice a new blouse that's a little lower cut than the others, or how warm her hands always are when she fixes his collar. He's never as outspoken in his appreciation as Flack or Danny, but he does notice and makes it a point to, respectfully, tell her so on occasion. That is when he was properly introduced to her smile. It isn't like the smiles she's given him before, it's... sweeter and it fills him with more happiness than he's felt in years.

So he compliments her, especially when she's having a bad day or handling a rough case, he noticed it helps more on those days than others. That was when he started discovering her; as a woman, as Stella. And somewhere along the road of noticing her new green shirt or that she changed her scent from lavender to some winter spice he realized that he doesn't want to get rid of his less than gentlemanly thoughts. He likes being able to think about a woman without guilt. If he's completely honest with himself, the entire reason for the change is Stella, and not just because he's attracted to her, but because he isn't attracted to anyone else. Except now he's wondering if she's picked up on his feelings or if she always eats cake this way and it was just his new perception of her that's making it so damn tempting.

"Mac," she says, and he wonders if he's missed some important point in the conversion. "You've got chocolate..." she gestures to corner of his mouth. He tries to wipe it with his thumb, but she just shakes her head and smiles. "I got it."

He thinks she's going to do with the napkin, until her hands fall into his thigh, her lips press against the corner of his mouth and her tongue flicks out licking up the frosting. He shudders, blushing, an erotic pulse running through him. Words are lost on him, and the recognition that he hasn't been hiding his feelings as well as he's had hoped blows past him into the wind. He turns his head slightly, stealing the briefest touch of her lips on his before she pulls back and that beautiful, startling smile now looks like the cat who's gotten the cream.

However, at moment the other members of the table choose to make themselves heard. Flack lets out a low wolf whistle. Danny and Lindsey, who he is sure have been otherwise engrossed in shameless flirting, are about to say something, but seem to simultaneously remember that he's their boss and decline to comment. Hawkes looks uncomfortable for a moment, but does his best to keep eating his apple crumble as though nothing of interest has occurred.

Don's cat calls knock Stella from her cake induced euphoria, and her expression sobers instantly. The reality of what she's done hits her all at once, she flushes bright red, looking to Mac in apology, just barely keeping the tears of embarrassment at bay. He reaches out for her hand, but she is already excusing herself from the table and walking toward the exit with jacket and purse in hand. Unthinkingly, he grabs his wallet, tosses out enough bills to cover his dinner as well as Stella's and then runs towards the exit after her, scarcely taking the time to grab his coat or to hear Danny's stunned, "Whoa..."

She's out on the sidewalk trying to hail a cab when he comes up and touches her shoulder. She spins around, eyes shimmering and words tumbling from her mouth. "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me. I thought..." she pauses, swallowing hard, but he knows exactly what she thought, he's thinking it too. Hell, he still is thinking it, wanting it, craving it, longing for it. "I don't know what I thought, and it doesn't matter. It was completely out of line–"

"Stella... "

"It was unprofessional of me, especially in front everyone. More than that, it crossed the line of our friendship–"

"Stella..."

"Which means more to me than you know. I don't want to jeopardize that for some stupid thing I did because I had too much wine–"

He figures out that nothing he can say is going to slow her down, so he does the only other thing he can think of, the only thing he's been thinking of all night. He grabs her around the waist and brings his mouth down on hers, kissing her with all the pent-up love, lust and passion he can summon. She tastes like cream and chocolate, and Godyes, it tastes better from her. He hasn't felt this complete, this whole in so long. And it is so obvious, he doesn't know why he ever waited, why he hasn't spent everyday kissing her since he noticed her new green top.

He finally pulls back, to breathe, to watch her, to wonder if he just made the most monumental mistake of his life and how it could feel so damn right anyway. He holds her close, nuzzling her hair, breathing the winter spice from her skin and pressing kisses to her temple, hoping she understands.

Then she's pulling him closer, fingers combing his hair and standing on her toes as if it is the secret to getting more of him. He sighs in relief, kissing her earlobe and down her neck and she makes that little moan again and he decides that this one is better, if only because he is the cause of it. He presses a tiny kiss on her chin, along her jaw and finally over each eyelid. He feels a shudder run through her as she curls around him, her nose cold as she buries her face in the crook of his neck. His fingers weave through tangles of curly hair, and he feels her smile of happiness against his skin.

He's holding her in his arms on the streets of New York, like those couples in old black and white movies. And he doesn't care if it seems trite or cliche because it's all he wants.

Come with me to a place that we don't know
Come with me, I just want to say hello
If you need some inspiration before we go, just know
It's the way I have fallen in with you
It's the way I have fallen in with you - Bandstand In the Sky by Pete Yorn