Mac/Stella One Shot.. I hope you like it! Please review.. Thank you. It inspires me to write more and I appreciate them no matter they are long or short.

Disclaimers : I don't own anything.

Partner For Life

Stella was walking along the corridor of the laboratory when she heard running footsteps and a familiar voice calling her name.

"Stella, wait!" Stella stopped walking and turned around to find Mac, sounding very exhausted and tired, probably had been chasing her after she passed by his office. "Relax, Mac. What do you need?" Stella asked with her eyebrow raised.

After he regained his normal breathe, he started to speak but Mac couldn't form the words he wanted to say. "Ring… like… partner-of-mine?" he said them all at once. "Huh? What are you saying, Mac?" Stella can barely understand a word.

"Uh, um… no… I wanted you to help me to process this." Mac handed over an evidence bag that he kept inside his pocket and left Stella standing there, wondering why was he acting so weird these days.

"He went into his office, shut the door and leaned against it, with his head thrown back. He took a deep breathe and looked up at the ceiling mumbling, "This is harder than it seems…"

Someone knocked on the door, snapping him out of his thoughts. Mac stepped aside and opened the door. Hawkes came in and conversed, "Hey, Mac. Have you asked Stella to be your partner for the Remembrance Day?" It was also known as Poppy Day, one of the events they used to celebrate at the end of every year. They would have a ceremony in the morning and a ball at the end of the day. It's a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in the times of war, especially since the First World War.

"Mac, are you okay?" Hawkes patted on his shoulder. "Oh, why… why you asked?" Mac replied after a while. He seemed to be very distracted by the question and he was not ready to answer it yet. "Err… If you're not going to ask her, then I would do so." Hawkes had been alone for the past few years without any partners accompanying him to the ball. Nevertheless, he would borrow either Lindsay or Stella for one or two dance from time to time. As for Mac, he asked Stella to be his partner every year but it seemed to be different right now. He had yet to find out what caused him so long to ask Stella.

Mac said nothing. He just smiled and shook his head. "I'll take that as a no." Hawkes rubbed his hands together and added on, "I'll ask her later. Hopefully she hasn't accepted anyone yet." After Hawkes left, Mac sighed and went back to his work, hoping that it would help to keep the questions off his mind by burying himself in the paper works.

Meanwhile, Stella was processing the evidence when Hawkes sneaked in through the door behind her. When Stella turned around, she saw Hawkes stoop down on one knee with a bouquet of red rose in his hands. "Hawkes!" She was surprised. "What are you doing here with those flowers?"

Stella did not expect this but, "Oh, Stella…" HE SANG! "Will you be my partner on Remembrance Day?" All the lab technicians were piled up outside the glass wall. Some were shouting, "Say yes… Say yes!" and some were saying, "Go with him!" Stella was speechless. That's when Mac came with a quizzical look. "What are you all doing here? Get back to work!" When all the lab technicians went back to work, Mac went in to find Hawkes in a proposing position with Stella standing in front of him. "I…I interrupted something didn't I? I…I'm sorry." He quickly left and turned right, straight to the locker room instead of his office.

Mac felt a pang of jealousy in him. He was tired and frustrated, took of all his clothes and went into the shower. The shower sprayed him and he felt so much relieved. As he leaned his head on the stall, "Mac Taylor, you're a gutless wonder!" a voice, deep inside of him said. "Now you're happy that someone you longed for has been taken, aren't you?"

"Shut up!" He told the voice angrily. With his fist, he punched into the stall with all his marine strength. A mark was left.

A moment later, he came out with only a towel wrapped around his waist; water dripping down from his hair. "Hey!" A voice called out to him. It was Stella. She was leaning against Mac's locker with a smile on her face. "What took you so long?" Stella asked. "You had been peeking didn't you?" Mac teased, trying to lighten up the atmosphere. Stella's cheek reddened and she replied, "No. I… I just wanted to ask how you've been doing."

"I'm fine". He tried his best to form a smile and he probably failed to convince Stella to buy his word. "No, Mac. You're not fine at all. You've been acting weird. Please Mac, tell me…" Stella looked into Mac's eyes. However, he avoided her gaze by looking down on his own bare feet.

"I said I'm fine, Stella. I need no concern. Just go home okay!" Mac retorted with a tone of anger. He had a sense of guilt in him.

Stella moved forward instead of backwards. She step towards Mac and stopped just a step away from him. They looked into each other's eyes; the blue orbs met the green orbs and conversely. Both were silent for a while. All that could be heard were their breathings.

It was at that moment when they felt everything changed and the heat, the tension between them, it was very strong. The surrounding atmosphere was forcing them to admit things they are not ready to. He wanted to speak. His mouth was moving but not a single word came out. Then, he felt Stella's hand on his cheeks, caressing it gently. It felt so warm. "Mac, I…. I just wanted to know what's fussing you." Oh! Why can't he get rid of her? Under all or any circumstances, no matter how many times he snapped at her, she would still stand by beside him, telling him that everything will be alright and she was going to make it right for him. She stood by helping him through all his ups and downs. She would be a rock for him to lean on, a shoulder for him to cry on. He knew, he knew in his heart that he will not be able to get rid of her and it was all because he can't even live a single day without her. Seeing all those pains and torments in her eyes shattered his heart into million pieces. He gave in. "Stella… I want you… to be my partner for… for the ball on Remembrance Day… but... Hawkes asked you first." Mac holds her hand and gave a gentle squeeze while explaining. "He never did." Stella pulled away. Before he realized what Stella had said, Mac sighed showing disappointment. "That's the problem…Wait! What!? You… you mean he did not succeed?" Mac asked with a bunch of confusion on his face.

Stella's mouth curled into a smile, "I declined him right after you left. I'm glad that he didn't take it seriously."

"Does that mean I still have a chance?" Stella nodded yes. Mac's face lightened up.

Without thinking twice, he drags Stella out of the locker room, his right grips onto her left hand tightly but gently. He is still half naked, only a towel wrapped around his waist. Not caring who was seeing or saying. The sun had set and most people had gone home. They went up to the department's rooftop by stairs.

Before Mac reached for the door's handle, he insisted Stella to shut her eyes. "No peeking". He smirked when he found Stella trying to open one of her eyes, "What are you up to, Mac?" Stella asked with curiosity. "Just keep your eyes close..."

Once again, Mac guided her outside as she felt the cool breeze touched her skin. They took a few steps to the left and a few steps right." You're not going to throw me down the street, aren't you? Mac laughed. Stella sure knows how to cheer up a person. She had been doing that since the first time they met.

After a while, they stopped walking and Mac demanded her to open her eyes. Stella slowly opens her eyes. "Mac?" She saw dozens of huge pots of bonsai surrounding the rooftops. The night made them looked more beautiful.

Her eyes went wide in amaze when she found a pot of bonsai which was placed in the middle of all the plants. It was trimmed nicely with three words and her name on it. "I love you, Stella Bonasera." It took so long for her to swallow those words in.

Tears started to form in her eyes; her head was spinning for a thousand miles. It's like the dreams she used to wish and fantasize about came true.

Suddenly, she felt Mac's arms wrapped around her waist, his chin was resting on her shoulder. "Stella… I'm not Hawkes, I don't have any rose with me and I don't sing well like Hawkes does, but would you like to be my partner not only for the ball but also for the rest of my life?" Mac whispered in her ears.

Tears began to roll down from her cheeks. It was impossible for her to stop the tears of joy from falling. She had never been this happy before, not even in foster care. She had too many painful memories in there. Never did anyone love or care about her this much like Mac did.

Mac took a step back when he heard Stella's soft cries. He turned her around so they were face to face. "Stella, what's wrong? Did I make a mistake? Don't you feel the same too?" Mac was worried. He couldn't help it from being worried sick each and every time watching tears forming in Stella's eyes.

"I'm so sorry, Stella. I shouldn't…" Before he finishes his sentence, he felt Stella's lip on his. He was tense at first. When the need came, he kissed her back, his hands resting on her waist while Stella wrapped her arms around Mac's neck. Stella opens her mouth to give him a better access and their tongues dueled in a great passion.

They settled down into a hug when air is needed. Both were gasping for air. "Mac?"

"Yeah?" Mac responded. "I'll be your partner for the rest of our life, no matter what happens. I love you too, Mac." Both were enjoying the closeness they had at the moment. Stella leans in closer to Mac's half naked body. He felt cold, totally shivering.

"Stella…" Mac shudders. "Maybe we should get inside?"

"That's a great idea! You're shivering, Mac."

Once they were inside, Mac teased, "If I catch a cold, it is all because of you, Stella Bonasera."

"Well, maybe I could make up for that?" Stella grinned evilly as she pinned Mac back onto the wall.

Even though there may be tons of consequences but they were willing to take the risk, not wanting to regret for not having the chance to spend their life with loved ones, as they had just reached the beginning of the long journey.

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My third story… I don't know if it's nice. Please tell me if you like it as I would reconsider to write a sequel. I've had the storylines in my head.