Crestfallen

Author: Mònica

Pairing: Mac/Stella.

Rating: PG

Summary: Is it worthy to risk a lifetime friendship for love?

A/N: I just needed to start writing again. I hope you like it. "Crestfallen" is a song by the Smashing Pumpkins. Music inspires me. First lyrics are from "Unintended" by Muse and the last sentence is part of the song "Thank you" by Led Zeppelin. But this fic is not a songfic.

This one goes to my partners in crime in the Smacked thread of FanForum. You're great!.

This is not betaed so... all mistakes are mine.

You could be my unintended … Choice to live my life extended …. You could be the one Ill always love … You could be the one who listens to my deepest inquisitions …. You could be the one Ill always love

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

"Fill me in"

"I was just about to leave" she answered without looking at him.

"I know there's something that's bothering you... talk to me"

She closed her eyes and sighed.

"We haven't done that in a long time"

"What?"

"Talking" she simply said. "We don't know how to do it anymore"

He didn't say anything. She was right. They hadn't had a proper talk; like the ones they used to have after longs shifts nursing a cup of coffee, since the day he had rejected her. She had finally found the guts and the strength to tell him he was the love of his life. Hands shaking, voice trembling and knees going weak, she had looked at him straight in the eye and said: "I think I'm in love with you... no... I know I'm in love with you".

"Why?" he asked

"Why aren't we talking anymore?"

He nodded.

"Guess it's difficult when you are doing such a fine job avoiding me".

"I've come to you tonight".

"Yeah... but only because someone has told you i was crying before."

He rubbed his eyes as a sign of being tired, not from the long shift but from the situation with her. Of all the things done in his life, he only regretted not being completely honest with her. Her revelation had been a surprise, a great surprise. But his rational mind ruled over his heart and fear appeared at the same moment he was going to tell her he loved her too. Their friendship was too big, too important to him to risk it over a relationship.

"Stella…. I worry about you"

She turned to her locker, unable to see his face. She couldn't bear his eyes penetrating into her soul, knowing what she was feeling before she could tell him.

"I know" she said in a whisper.

"Then let me help you"

"You can't"

"Together we can face everything Stella. Just tell me what is worrying you"

That was enough. She laughed sarcastically.

"Haven't you heard me? You can't help me this time"

"Why?" he said desperately.

She turned again to him.

"Explain to me how you are going to help me get over you"

He felt a pain in his heart similar to being stabbed. He wanted to say something, he wanted to tell her everything would be alright but his mouth couldn't find his voice.

"I…"

"Don't say a thing. See you tomorrow"

She left and he didn't move. Through his mind ran all the memories he shared with Stella.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Stella left her keys on the kitchen counter, still reviewing her mail not finding anything interesting. Her eyes were still wet from her encounter with Mac. She wasn't in the mood for cooking so she made herself comfortable in her old couch waiting for her pizza.

TV was on but she wasn't really watching it as she couldn't stop thinking about Mac. It hadn't been a surprise to know he was worried about her. After all they had been best friends for a long time. Telling him he was the reason of her crying had been the hard part. She was supposed to be a strong, independent, smart woman but all she wanted was being held by him, go home after a long hard shift and find peace between his strong arms and not in her remote control and a bottle of beer.

She exactly didn't know when she realized she had feelings for him. It was not long after they had met for the first time but he was happily married and she wasn't going to destroy his marriage. Plus, Claire was an easy woman to be friends with and Stella really liked her. She buried her feelings deep inside and put all her efforts in pursuing a friendship with them. They had been great times.

After Claire's death, slowly but firmly, her feelings for him surfaced again. He needed help and she was there, trying to make his life less miserable as best friends would do. It had been difficult at first. Mac was very reserved about his feelings and hadn't allowed himself to cry until a whole year had gone by. He had thanked her more than once for just being there. But there was nothing to be thanked for. He had also been there for her too.

A knock in the door awoke her from her daydreaming.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Even as a little child, he had been secretive about his feelings and stubborn. His mother always told him she thought she would change when he'd grow up. But he didn't. On the contrary, he had become more and more reserved and closed himself totally after Claire's death. He didn't let anyone help him except Stella, who had found a way to break the walls around his heart.

Meeting someone like Stella had been a pleasant surprise. She was smart, beautiful and brave, very brave. She was strong though, as every person, had her moments of weakness. And when these moments happened, he had been there for her. In time, he had learnt how to help her, what to say to her and, at the same time, he had discovered all about her. She amazed him more than she would ever know.

But… was a friendship like that worth to risk for love? He knew they were past the point of being only friends. It was obvious there was something more. It hasn't been love at first sight but, without knowing how, he had grown to love her completely and madly.

The night she had revealed her feelings for him, his heart had screamed YES! But his mind had stopped the euphoria. Suddenly, he had felt himself scared to death. Was he ready to love again? Of course, he had been Peyton but …. It was nothing compared to Stella. Was he able to make a commitment again? … and most important was he prepared to face the fact of loosing someone again?

The question "What is better: to have loved and lost or not to have loved at all?" was cheap philosophy but it was perfect for that moment. He had loved and lost and, despite of the sad ending, it had been worth it. Why would this time be different? Yes… maybe he'd lose Stella's friendship if something went wrong but… what about waking up next to her every morning for the rest of his life?

His lips formed a smile. It was worth it. And… it was perfect.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

"Mac…" she said surprised.

"Can I come in?"

"I'm not sure I want your company at the moment"

He took her hand into his.

"Please… I have something important to tell you".

She freed her hand from him and went back to the living room. Mac followed her.

"Do you want something to drink? Beer?" she asked

He nodded. "Beer will be fine".

Moments later she reappeared with two bottles of beer. They sat on her couch, next to each other, their knees touching slightly.

"So…"

"That night….when you told me" he stopped and took a sip of his beer as if he was searching for strength "… when you told me your feelings me…."

"Please Mac…." She said trying to hold back her tears.

He left his beer on the coffee table and turn to face Stella. He looked at her amazed of her beauty and took her hands into his.

"I wasn't completely honest with you Stella… I do have feelings for you, strong feelings I must say but… "

"Mac…" she protested

"Please let me finish… I was so scared Stella… and I still am. You mean the world to me and I couldn't bear loosing you or your friendship. But I want to take the risk…. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

She looked at him surprised but smiling. He was smiling too. Their foreheads were touching. He finally closed the distance between them and kissed her lips slightly before giving themselves to a more passionate kiss.

Still with their foreheads touching and their hands intertwined, she asked him:

"What do we do now?"

"We take it slow…. We have the rest of our lives to figure it out"

And they kissed again.

Happiness, no more be sad, happiness ... I'm glad.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Well... this is it. Was it good to read?