So I have a sorry to make. I am VERY sorry I haven't uploaded for 10 days. It won't happen again :P Again this is a filler chapter - just showing how some of the other characters react and interact with Stella as some people mentioned the lack of concern for her in their reviews. What do you think Mac's reaction will be?


Difficult to tarnish? Yes. Impossible? No. Being brought crashing down to earth is never fun; being brought crashing down by the perpetual need to vomit is perhaps the worst way. The nausea began when she was reviewing the case photos. The hacked up body of a baby girl could bring the hardiest CSI to tears – hell, Mac Taylor could've wept. Now Stella may have been a raging feminist, but she knew that, as a woman it would be harder for her. Mac, Flack, Hawkes, Adam, Danny. Their natural instinct was to defend – by the time their jobs started the defending had failed and they could separate feelings from the job in hand. Her, Lindsay, Angell, Kendall. Theirs was to protect, and protect they would, down to the last.

Alone in one of the quieter rooms, light spilling ironically up from the table, finding its way out of the cracks between the photos of the bloodied girl, waves of sickness started to pass over Stella. Shaking slightly, she allowed her head to drop, arm supporting her weight, resting heavily on the table. Suddenly she was poised over the bin, vomiting as quietly as possible, tears automatically streaming down her face. Just as suddenly there were hands on her forehead, pulling her hair back, allowing her to vomit again.

Having eaten an apple and half a sandwich in three days did not bode well for a 'chuck-up', as Stella had once heard Danny call it after a rough night. Her tea had promptly been brought up, and bile burned her throat as she retched again.

"Mac?" Her voice was merely a whisper, a breath she couldn't hold in.

"'Fraid not, Stel." The deep voice of Don Flack met her ears, and she relaxed in relief. This was a man who'd seen her in what were undoubtedly her worst moments. Frankie immediately shot to mind, and she allowed herself to relax, ever so slightly, into the touch of his hands on her back, remembering the comfort he'd been to her that day.

"Don't…Don't tell Mac, Don. Please?" Her voice was weak, and she hated herself as she met his own enormous blue eyes, reading only pity in them.

"I…Stella…You need help. Sometimes we do. And you need Mac." Flack let go of her gently, smoothing her hair back down, and severing all contact save an arm on her right shoulder.

"Please, Flack, please. I'll talk to him. I promise. But please, just, don't. I need to prove I can do this." There were tears in her voice that both would swear they couldn't hear.

"Shit, Stel. Okay. But you have to sort this out Stella. No-one's gonna think less of you." He backed off, and turned to leave the room."

"Thanks, Flack. You're a good friend." Her words echoed those she'd spoken three years earlier – just as broken, and just as truthful. The irony was not lost on him as he left the room, acknowledging her with a nod. Little did she know that his minds had been made up, and he was sure she'd have killed him if she could see him striding uncertainly towards Mac's office.


I'll try and upload again on Saturday or Sundayy :)