Many thanks to Chrysalis escapist for helping with the grammar. If there are mistakes, they are mine.

If there are similarities with someone else's stories, it certainly hasn't been my purpose.

Mac and Stella.

I don't own them.

Prologue.

When life sometimes seems to veer so painfully it feels almost like trains of endless nightmares. Only it is the real life, not dreams. Living in a nightmare or should it be called the most darkest haze where you are able to wake up to notice again that the reality hasn't changed a bit. Not knowing how to run away from it, you are drowning in it, deeper and deeper. When it feels almost too unbearable, trying to rise and grab a drop of hope given, you fall and the shadows of the darkness will win you over.

xxx

Detective Mac Taylor stared at the view from his office without really seeing it. It was a hot summer day in New York City, one busy day of July and he desperately wanted to have a vacation. It had been a mistake to dress in a black shirt and trousers considering the time of the year. Working all morning on a crime scene, he had collected all the evidence they had found, he had felt for the first time how the muscles of his back ached. He had also a low hammering in his head. Mac had given the lead to Det. Danny Messer. His job as the superior included more and more meetings with the chief of detectives, Sinclair. And lately, there had been lots of them.

Trying to ease the pain in his back and his head, he sat down on his chair, leaned back and closed his eyes with a heavy sigh. His mind was overloaded and it rambled from one thing to another, back and forth. It wasn't his habit to do so. His thinking was rational. Now his mind had its own directions. Few pictures on his desk, one important one, and the person in the picture he missed the most. Claire. The last vacation had been with his wife. Two long years he had stared at the empty view. Two long years without vacation, without Claire. She had vanished from his life, not from his heart. The pain had loosened its grip, but he missed her.

He swallowed hard and opened his blue eyes, trying to focus on what was next. There was something he needed to think. It was the woman from his past, long before he had even met Claire. He reached over to his desk and took the file in his hands, opened it and read the information he knew so well already. The dark haired man picked up the attached photo among the papers, staring at the woman in the photo with a pensive look on his face. Mac had always been fascinated by her green sparkling eyes.

Macs life had changed directions a few times and the pain in his chest silently wrung his heart in its invisible grasp. He had tried to control it all once, a long time ago, his life, not succeeding. Fate, the inevitable sequence of events. He had to flow with it, for the first time he felt fear. He had no control. He remembered so well the one sentence, which he had said so many times, following him now with every breath and lived moment of his darkened life. Everything was connected.

--

Waking up in the new apartment when the sun rose, a curly haired woman kicked the blanket at her side, stood up and strolled into the kitchen to make coffee. Having an oversized t-shirt and pajamas on her, she waited for the caffeine-filled drink to be ready. One cup of it, black and hot, and she had collected her thoughts after sleeping, not seeing any dreams. After she had drunk the last drop of coffee, she headed to the balcony to see what the weather was like. Through the blinds it seemed promising. She loved summers as she felt to be almost twined together with the warmth which welcomed her home. After so many years she felt she was finally home. A bright smile spread over her tanned face and she stretched, with her hands up in the air she reached out to the bright blue sky. It was so blue she was on the edge of tears. Blinking, she quickly changed her clothes back in the bedroom, and was out of the apartment waving hello to the doorman of the building. He smiled politely.

She walked down slowly to the park and breathed deeply. With every inhale she absorbed the energy of the city, feeling the strength rising inside, giving her the power she was going to need. She heard noises of hasty traffic, smiling she saw the yellow cabs among the other cars as they filled the streets. She tied her curly hair at the back of her head, remembering how the nuns had hated it, because of the curls. It had always been tangled and almost devilish, they had said. Just to be rebellious she had always kept her hair open as an adult, hoping that one day the nuns could see her hair, so open and curly, a bit tangled. To show them she didn't have to obey anyone. One tough girl from the land of ancient gods, raised by the catholic nuns of the orphanage she had lived in until she was eighteen and ready to leave for good. She wanted to have her hair in control now, like her life. But her life wasn't just as easy as her hair. It needed more than just a tight hold.

The air was warm, almost hot when the sun gave its pressuring heat over the never sleeping city. July, the hottest month, but for her it felt familiar. She had been used to the warmth, a memory from her childhood and the time she had spent in Greece. Now as a New Yorker, the Greek-American goddess stood still before she took the first running step in the park. Somewhere he was. She kept staring right in front on her, as she made her way among the other pedestrians. She was unnoticed, she was one of them. She put on the iPod, fitting her steps along with the music which gave her the perfect opportunity to get free from all that haunted her.

Her breathing deepened as she ran, her every step bounded on the gritty path. Her heart beat wildly, blood ran through her veins and sweat ran down her back, a few curls had loosened onto her forehead. If only the nuns could see her hair now. A bit exhausted from the run, she stopped. She enjoyed the feeling, how the gleams of the sun played on her skin as her body lightened because of the exertion. Trying to catch her breath she continued her slower jogging down to the lake in the park. Admiring the view over the lake, water almost as blue as the sky, she smiled. She was home. In the city he protected.


Hope you enjoy reading this. Let me know what you think about it. Thanks for reading it:)