That's Where It Is

"In the circles I've been running

I've covered many miles

And I could search forever for what's right before my eyes"

Stella grumbles as her alarm goes off. She can barely sit up she is so tired. Exhausted, she flops back down onto her bed to get some more sleep. Almost as soon as she falls back asleep, her cell phone starts ringing. "What do you want?"

"Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed," Mac teases.

"That someone never got out of bed."

"Well you need to get moving now. We've got a scene in Queens."

"I don't think I can make it, Mac."

"Why not?"

"I'm too weak to get out of bed. There's something wrong with me."

"Stel, you complain everyday when I wake you up that you don't want to get up."

"No, I physically don't have the strength to get up," she stares at the ceiling, a hand on her aching head.

"Take the day off. I'll call Lindsay to the scene. If I'm not busy during lunch, I'll come check on you. And if I think it's serious, you will go to a doctor."

"Whatever. Let me go back to sleep," she hangs up, pulling the blankets off her body and throwing them to the floor for she felt like she was burning up.

After she gets settled, her body starts itching, first her leg, then stomach, until everywhere need scratched. Restlessly she wiggles around the bed, trying to stop the itching. Finally she lies still, letting it pass.

Her eyes slip closed as she starts to sleep again; one spot on her back starts to tingle, taunting her. She scratches it as best she can, and she itches all over again.

"Just when I thought I'd found it

It was nothing like I planned

When I got my heart around it, it slipped right through my hands"

Mac unlocks her door before entering. "Stel," he calls. There is no answer. He heads to her bedroom, hoping she isn't seriously sick.

As he walks in, her eyes open. "Why're you here?"

"I came to check on you. Feeling any better?"

"Not really."

"When was the last time you ate?"

"Before seven last night."

"If you can sit up, I've got soup for you. And plenty of water." She sits up slowly, giving him a clear view of her. "Stella, did you have freckles before?"

"No."

"Do you itch at all?"

"Only everywhere."

"I think you have chicken pox."

"But I thought you only get that when you're a kid."

"Nope. And I've heard it gets worse the older you are."

"Great. Maybe you should leave then so you don't get them too."

He sits beside her on the bed, "I had them when I was six. The neighbor girl had them so my mother took me to play with her and not have to worry about getting them later on. Considering your childhood, I'm quite surprised you never had chicken pox when you were younger."

"How do you get rid of them?" she scratches her arm.

"Can't; you have to wait for them to go away."

"And how long will that be?"

"Around a week."

"But it itches so damn bad."

"If you don't scratch them, they'll stop itching."

"I hate being sick."

"Here with you, I feel it

I close my eyes and see it"

When he returns that evening after work, Stella is in the shower. Mac waits patiently for her to finish in the living room. As she comes out of her bedroom, she doesn't notice him. "I got us some dinner."

"Why are you here again?" she asks, jumping. Her wet curls are sticking to her skin.

"Because you're sick and need someone to care for you."

"I can manage. I just have these itchy dots all over me and a slight fever. And no energy."

"Therefore you need someone to take care of you."

"Mac, I can take care of myself. You don't have to do it."

"Always so independent. Well I'm no going to leave so deal with it."

She frowns before giving in. "Whatever. But if you insist on staying, make yourself useful and scratch my foot, would you?"

"I will do no such thing. Scratching will make it worse than it already is."

"You're no fun," Stella scratches it herself.

He shakes his head at her. "You can be so childish sometimes, Stel."

"And what's wrong with that?"

"Nothing. It just amuses me how you can change your personality. You're tough and serious at work; with me, you're caring, joking, gentle."

"Well you change too. At work you're dedicated, closed off. You are more open with me, not holding anything back."

Mac contemplates this. "I suppose so."

"It's like when you're a kid; you act properly at school so you don't get in trouble. While at home, you do whatever."

"That doesn't make sense. I always behaved. You, on the other hand, are a completely different story," he jokes.

"When you go to school, you're with strangers, and you don't want them to hate you so you behave. By the end of the year, you know the teachers and what you can get away with."

"In a midnight talk, in a morning kiss

When I'm in your arms, that's where it is

When we're tangled up and can't resist

When we feel that rush, that's where it is

That's where it is"

Mac joins her the next evening after work, bringing with him dinner and a scary movie, Stella's request. After finishing dinner and giving her a full description of the day at work, he puts the DVD in. "Where am I supposed to sit?" he asks, finding her stretched out across the couch.

She bends her knees, giving him a little room. "I'm the sick one."

He sits, then puts her legs in his lap. "Do you need anything else, Your Majesty?"

"No," Stella grins.

They quiet down as the movie comes on. A few minutes later, she gets an itch on her arm; after scratching it, there's another on her leg. Then another spot on her back which she can't quite reach.

"Stop wiggling, Stella. I can't concentrate."

"But it itches really bad," she whines, scratching her nose.

"Scratching them will only leave scars."

This stops her momentarily. Ten minutes later, however, she can't help but scratch all the itchy places she can reach.

Mac sighs, pausing the move and getting up. Moments later he returns. "Give me your hands."

"What are you going to do?"

"Give me your hands," he repeats. Timidly she holds one out. He places a pot holder, one of the glove-like ones, on her hand, putting the matching one on her other hand. "There. Now you can't scratch."

Sulking, she remains still, watching the movie. "Mac, it really, really, really itches," she complains when he glances her direction. "Will you please scratch it for me?"

"No."

"When I'm crashing through the madness

Not sure who I'm supposed to be

When I'm caught up in the darkness

It's your hand that's leading me"

"What are you putting in the water?" Stella watches him prepare a bath for her.

"Oatmeal."

"Oatmeal?"

"It'll help the itching. I also have some lotion for you to use, and Hawkes gave you a prescription for painkillers," he sets the containers on the counter. "He said he would like to have examined you first, but he's never had chicken pox."

"When can I go back to work?"

"It should be over seven to ten days after it started."

"Three more days of doing nothing?" she whines.

"I'll, uh, let you bathe," Mac leaves.

She undresses and slips into the warm water. Drowsy, the heat helps her fall asleep.

After giving her an hour to soak, he knocks on the door. She doesn't reply. Thinking she drowned, he goes in. "Stel, you okay?"

She opens her eyes, finding him leaning over her.

"Why are you in here?"

"I thought you drowned. But I guess you were sleeping. Well… you've been soaking for an hour; your fingers should be shriveled up."

She frowns, "What are you talking about?" She holds up a hand.

"You're never had that happen before? Like when you go swimming?"

"I've never been swimming before."

"Guess I'll have to take you sometime."

"Can you hand me my towel?" Stella starts to stand.

He quickly gives sit to her before turning around. "I'm sorry I… saw you…"

"Mac, you've seen me undressed before."

"You weren't completely naked," he blushes. "I guess you aren't… shy."

"You bring me back to solid ground

You life me up right here, right now"

"Somebody actually got dressed today," he comments as he comes in.

"I was running out of pajamas; actually, I kind of need you to wash them for me since I can't leave here."

"Sure. I'll bring them back for you tomorrow."

"And I have another favor to ask."

"Anything."

"Well I, um… couldn't reach my back earlier when I put the lotion on. Do you think you could…?" Stella trails off.

"Not a problem," Mac takes the bottle off her table. "How… can you… shirt?"

She pulls her shirt over her head, much to his surprise, and stands in front of him. As the cold lotion touches her skin, she tenses. "Sorry," he mutters, trying to keep his mind off the fact that she's half naked.

When he's finished, she turns to face him. "You do know that you don't have to come check on me every day, right?"

"Maybe I want to," he has a hard time keeping his eyes on hers instead of on her chest. "It's weird not having you at work. Plus I care about you and want you to get better."

"Thanks. For all of this," she puts her shirt back on.

"It's what we do," he smiles.

"You're a wonderful friend, Mac."

"I'm just returning the favor. You were there for me all hours of the day when the… when Claire passed away."

"That was a lot more tragic; you lost your wife. I just have the chicken pox."

"You're very fortunate, Stel. If you had ended up HIV positive, it wouldn't be just the chicken pox."

"Well I don't have any immune system problems. I'll be just fine as soon as these stupid, itchy blisters go away."

"In a midnight talk, in a morning kiss

When I'm in your arms, that's where it is

When we're tangled up and can't resist

When we feel that rush, that's where it is"

Mac gets off work late Saturday evening, Stella already sleeping when he goes to check on her. He pulls the blanket off the back of the couch and places it over her body.

"You're late," she mumble, turning over.

"We got caught up on a case," he adjusts the blanket so her feet are covered. "The couch can't be comfortable."

"I'll be fine."

He slides one arm behind her back and the other under her knees, then gently lifts her up. Her bright eyes open, and she twists around, trying to figure out what's happening to her. "I've got you."

"What are you doing?" she wraps her arms tightly around his neck, afraid of falling.

"I won't drop you, Stel. You can loosen your grip."

She eases up, letting go when she feels the bed underneath her. "Why'd you move me?"

"You'll be more comfortable here."

"Thanks. I hope you didn't hurt yourself."

"You weigh what, a hundred pounds? It was nothing."

"A hundred and twelve, actually."

"Oh, so you do eat… once in a while," Mac teases.

"I eat enough food to count for two meals a day."

He pulls the blankets over her, "See you bright and early tomorrow morning; I have the day off."

"Why… why don't you stay here tonight… with me?" she asks quietly.

"Okay… if you want me to."

"I don't mind."

"Well… I'll be on the couch if you need me."

"No."

"What?" he turns around to look at her.

"No, not on the couch. I… I want you in here… with me."

"Alright," he removes his shoes and jacket before lying down next to her. "Good night, Stel."

"Night, Mac."

"It's a lifetime thrill

When tiding braces

The biggest things in the smallest places"

An itch on her foot awakens Stella early the next morning. Her eyes slowly open, revealing someone underneath her. She lifts her head up, identifying Mac as the person under her. Slowly she tries to ease herself off of him, not wanting him to find her in this position. The arms around her waist, however, won't let her go.

"Is it morning already?" Mac's eyes blink open.

"Did I wake you?"

"No. Well, maybe, but don't worry about it." He looks down, surprised to find her lying on top of him, his arms wrapped around her.

"You can, uh… let go of me if you want," she keeps her head on his chest.

His arms quickly leave her body. "Sorry."

"It was my fault; I was on you, after all," Stella slides off him to her own side of the bed.

"I don't mind it."

"Maybe I shouldn't have suggested that you sleep here with me."

"I'm glad you did. Besides, it didn't hurt anything."

She doesn't hear him. "Let's just forget this happened."

"I don't want to forget it; I don't have any regrets about it. I just wish I was in more comfortable clothes."

"What?"

"Stella, you've been driving me insane all week."

"Oh. I'm sorry I've been a problem."

Mac rolls over to face her. "You're not a problem. You drive me insane because… I'm in love with you."

She's silent for a few moments, processing the information. "Do you really mean that?"

"Of course," he takes her hand and gently kisses it. "You're the most important thing in the world to me."

She blushes, not able to meet his eyes, "I love you too, Mac."

"In a midnight talk, in a morning kiss

When I'm in your arms, that's where it is

When we're tangled up and can't resist

When we feel that rush, that's where it is"

Stella wraps her arms around Mac from behind, "I'm starving. How much longer will it be?"

"A few minutes. Why don't you set the table?" he takes the chicken parmesan out of the oven.

"Okay."

When he puts her plate in front of her, he says, "You look good; the blisters are almost gone."

"When can I go back to work?"

"Two or three more days."

She groans. "I hate being stuck here all alone."

"I can't have you getting people at the lab or witness and suspect sick."

"If they commit the crime, they deserve to have chicken pox," she grumbles.

Mac smiles, "You have a unique justice system."

"Why do they call it chicken parmesan?" she frowns as she takes a bite. "There isn't any parmesan cheese in it."

"I'll gladly put some on it if you want some."

"It's okay; you don't have to. I didn't know you could cook."

"You thought I ate out every night?"

"No, I thought you didn't eat dinner."

"Thanks for the compliment. I learned how to when Claire passed away."

There are a few moments of silence before Stella asks, "Why is it called chicken pox?"

"I don't know. Hawkes might have an idea on that since he's a doctor."

"Americans have such stupid names for things."

He chuckles, "Don't you consider yourself American?"

"I suppose I do since I've lived here my whole life."

"In the sweetest smile, on a night like this

And a tender touch, that's where it is

When we're tangled up and can't resist

When we feel that rush, that's where it is"

"It's good to have you back," Mac wraps an arm around her waist, pulling her close to him.

She rests her head on his shoulder as they continue walking through the park. "You can't keep me out too late, or I'll be dead at work tomorrow."

"The boss can make exceptions to the rules."

"What are we doing anyway?"

"Just taking a little walk through the park. Are you cold?"

"No, I'm fine," Stella brushes the curls out of her face.

There are a few moments of silence before he speaks again. "You make me feel like I have a reason to live, Stel. When you're not around, I feel empty."

"I'm here now, Mac. And I'll be with you until the end of eternity."

He kisses the top of her head, "I won't leave you either."

She shivers involuntarily at his words, and he takes his jacket off and lays it over her shoulders. "Thanks. For everything this past week."

"Stop it, Stella," he says a little too harshly and immediately softens his voice. "You've thanked me a billion times this week. It's what we do." She pulls away from him, not letting him touch her. "I'm… I'm sorry I yelled at you. It was completely out of line."

She stops walking. "That's it?"

"What else do I need to apologize for?"

"You've never given in so easily."

"Well I made a mistake; I didn't mean to yell at you. I couldn't stand to fight with you." She continues walking, Mac following close beside her. "Stel, are you still mad?"

"No."

"Then what's bothering you?"

"Nothing really. It's just… we haven't kissed yet, have we?"

"No, but we've only been dating about a week. Isn't that a little soon?" He notices her looking a little disappointed. "I'll gladly kiss you, Stel, if you want me to."

"It's okay; I'd rather it come naturally between us, not plan to do it." Stella takes his hand in hers.

"It's getting late. I should take you home," he leads her back to the car. When they get to her building, he insists on walking her up. "Maybe we should say good night out here so I don't distract you from sleep longer than I should."

She leaves the key in the door and turns around. "I had fun with you, Mac."

"How about we go out again Friday?"

"Sure. I… guess I'll see you tomorrow."

"Night, Stel."

They stare at each other for a moment before he starts to lean forward. She closes her eyes as their lips meet and brings her hands to his shoulders.

All too soon he pulls away. Smiling to herself, she rests her head under his chin. "I love you."

Content, he kisses the top of her mop of curls. "I love you too."

"That's where it is"

A/N: I've had this typed for like a month and haven't posted it yet. I've been a bad person and not updated anything for you guys. But I have quite a bit written. There's one like twenty something chapter story about Stella gets stalked by this guy that ends up setting her apartment on fire. Not Drew though. Then I've got another one chapter thing done about the whole Drew thing; it's like an extra scene that I think should have happened at the end. Mac comes to check on her. And I'm currently writing a Christmas story for the CSI Santa thing. I really need to get that one done. Sadly it's not Mac and Stella though. Actually most of that stuff isn't typed. I've got a fourth maybe of the stalking one typed. Maybe I'll start that later this week. Oh, I read an interview with Melina and she said that there will be another man in Stella's future, a good guy that doesn't want to hurt her. They asked her whether she thought Stella and Mac would get together, and she said no. She thought their relationship was more brother/sisterish. So I'm mad about that. Although the writers, if they ever come back, could put them together. It's new the next two weeks I believe and I think they only have two more episodes done after that. She said they've finished filming all the episodes that are written. Well, I should get writing. Hope you liked this one. And I've never had chicken pox, so don't blame me if the info is wrong. Please review.