Hey everybody! Sorry to everybody who's reading A Demon's Desire. My muse has temporarily run away and now I'm in the middle of exams so it's not likely to return anytime soon. Sorry!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Appreciation: Thanks to Alex for beta-ing.
Dedication: This is for Dayna, Jodie, Alex and Mimi because they're my true friends and they bring the colour into my world. Love you guys! xx
"Life without love is like a rainbow in black and white."
Mac sat at his desk, looking out at the city. The city he'd dedicated so much of his life to protect. He'd given it everything he had and it had taken away just as much. His wife was the biggest and most important part of his life, and her life had been taken. He could put murderers behind bars, but he couldn't protect her. He had failed her. And since that day, his whole world had been in black and white.
It had been like that for a while. But every time he thought he had nothing left, there was one person who could always bring him back.
And she chose that moment to enter his office and check on him.
"Mac?" she said, concern already showing in her tone. He didn't reply, knowing that his silence would tell her more than his words ever could. He could hear her heels clicking on the floor as she walked towards him, then a rustle of fabric as she sat on his desk.
"Mac?" she said again, quieter this time. When he was again unresponsive, she leaned forward and placed her hands on his shoulders, kneading gently. She continued with the massage for a few minutes before her hands stilled and she turned him around to face her.
She didn't say anything, but she didn't need to. They needed no words for communication. She wanted to know what was wrong. He could see the questions in her beautiful green eyes.
He shook his head, silently asking her to leave it alone. But she never did. She placed one hand on his cheek and he surprised them both by leaning into her touch.
"What is it?" she asked softly.
He shook his head again. "I don't know Stell. I don't know what's wrong with me."
He didn't know how to explain it to her. It wasn't that he didn't want to. He just didn't know how. And he didn't know how to fix it.
"Just try and describe to me how you feel."
He searched for the words but remembered with a jolt that all he needed to do was look at her. Make eye contact, pull down the barriers and let her see it for herself. Slowly, he raised his eyes to hers and bared his emotions for her to see. Her eyes widened slightly as she read him. He felt empty, alone, helpless, and hopeless.
And she couldn't stand it for a second.
"Come on," she said, standing and pulling him up with her. "We're going to leave work early today. I have some things to show you."
He didn't bother to protest or ask her where they were going. She took him by the hand and led him to the locker room.
"Get your coat. We're going out."
It was springtime in New York, but today had been a particularly chilly day so he did as he'd been told and took his coat from his locker.
As she directed him to her car, he began to think again. She always knew what to do to make him feel better. He wondered for a moment how she knew, but then realised that she knew the same way he knew for her. They'd been best friends for so long. They were so close and knew each other so intimately that comforting each other had become almost instinctual. He suddenly found himself relieved to be in her presence – just because he knew she could soothe him.
She pulled out of the car park and he sat quietly as she navigated them through the streets. After a few minutes, he noticed she was looking at him strangely.
"What?" he asked, meeting her eyes for only the second time that afternoon.
"You haven't asked me where we're going."
He shrugged. "I trust you."
Her face lit up and her eyes sparkled as a beautiful smile went across her face. She didn't say anything, she simply turned back to the front and kept driving. The next thing he knew, she was parking the car outside Central Park.
She nodded. "Come on."
They got out of the car and he walked around to where she waited for him on the path. Taking his hand again, she led him along paths he knew well until they reached a playground. There were children running everywhere giggling, jumping and playing. She tugged his arm and pulled him down to sit on a bench next to her.
"Stell, what are we doing here?"
"You see that little girl over there, in the pink dress?"
"Her name is Amanda. She's the daughter of a woman named Cara. They were next on Steve Arelid's list."
Mac was stunned. They had put Steve Arelid away earlier in the week. He was a pedophile. He stalked women with small daughters, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When that moment came, he'd assault both mother and daughter. It was horrific.
"You found the case-breaker evidence remember?" Stella began. "We didn't have enough to arrest him until you walked in and found that last piece. If it weren't for you, he might've gotten them. But look at them now, happy and safe, thanks to you."
Mac looked at her, silently grateful to her for pointing out that which he couldn't see. She was right. They hadn't had enough to arrest him and he had found the last piece. He felt a little bit of the tension drain out of his body as they watched the children. But then suddenly, she was standing again.
"Come on, I have something else to show you."
As they walked away from the playground, he found himself calming a little. The warmth of Stella's hand in his, the breeze on his face and the sound of birds singing created the relaxing atmosphere he felt as they walked back to the car.
Stella drove again and he settled comfortably back in the passenger seat as they wound through the city.
"See all the people on the sidewalk Mac?"
"We've protected every one of them in some way. We've taken countless criminals off the streets, bringing justice for the victims and making the city safer for everyone. Murderers, rapists, pedophiles, robbers... we've gotten them away from the innocent. You play a major part in that Mac."
He was again silenced, wondering at her ability to soothe his every pain. He smiled at her and then closed his eyes, letting himself doze off until they arrived at ... wherever she was taking him.
He woke up again once he felt the car's momentum stop. He stirred and began to open his eyes when he heard her say quietly, "Keep your eyes closed. It's a surprise."
"Stella, what are you doing?"
"Do you trust me?"
"Okay then. Keep your eyes closed."
He could hear the laughter in her tone and he chuckled, obediently keeping his eyes closed. He heard her get out of the car and a few moments later he heard his own door open. She reached across him, undid his seatbelt and took both his hands, guiding him out of the car and closing the door behind him.
He could smell salt and there was a constant rumbling noise. It was familiar but he couldn't quite place it. There was a gentle tug on his hands and he began to walk as Stella positioned him where she wanted him. He could feel a breeze again and he wondered where they were. She stopped him from walking, making sure he was in a specific place.
"Okay are you ready?"
"Open your eyes."
His eyes opened to a blaze of brilliant colour. Red, pink, orange, yellow – a magnificent sunset was before him. She'd taken him to the beach, at sunset.
"This is where I go whenever I start to feel like there's no beauty left in the world," she said quietly.
He was stunned again. He couldn't even speak, trying to comprehend the beauty of the scene in front of him.
Stella grinned at the expression on his face, content in the knowledge that she had been able to soothe him ... even just for a little while. She took her shoes off, placed a hand on his shoulder and then let it slide off as she walked forward onto the sand. Her action snapped him out of his trance. He looked down at his shoes and saw hers where she'd left them on the path. Bending down, he removed his own and placed his shoes next to hers. Standing back up, he saw her looking out over the water, her back to him. Her curls were blowing back slightly in the breeze and her skin looked like porcelain in the waning light.
And then she looked back over her shoulder with twinkling eyes and a loving smile and he knew that she completed the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen in his life. She turned back to the water and he walked onto the sand, feeling it between his toes.
He approached her from behind and stood still for a moment, summoning his courage. He gently placed his hands at her waist, before sliding them slowly across her stomach until his arms were completely around her. She leaned against him as he pulled her back against his chest and rested his head on her shoulder. He could smell her hair and as the breeze came again the scent of her perfume was pushed in his direction. An incredible feeling of peace washed over him and he sighed. She turned her head and looked at him.
"Are you okay?"
He looked into her eyes and knew that with her by his side he would always be okay. So he leaned in, agonisingly slowly, and pressed his lips to hers. Her eyes fluttered closed and after a few moments he pulled away, grinning when he saw the smile that lit up her face.
No words were needed. All he knew was that she changed his world from black and white to colour.
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