Title: Snapshot 109 – Sparkles in the Eyes
Author: Dragonflies Girl aka Ki Ki
Disclaimers: not mine. Straightly borrowing them to play. Will return them soon as possible. *pinky swear*
The camera flashed, the moment captured.
He was holding her hand. Tenderly, softly, heart-breakingly. He was holding her hand and his lips were pressed against her palm. He was watching her with eyes wide, as if afraid that she would disappear if he closed them for even a second. He looked tired, his suit wrinkled, but the spark was in his eyes.
It didn't matter how tired and run down he looked; the sparkles were back in his eyes. They were reflected in hers.
It's hard watching a strong man fall apart, you know. In the years that I've been here, I never knew someone could fall apart like that.
No, no, not just fall apart. Shattered.
It's like, one moment he was fine, then the next she got shot in that apartment, and boom, he broke into a million and one pieces and we aren't even sure if it's simply his strong will or that thread of hope that is still keeping him together.
His eyes are all hollowed up. His voice is flat. Even his shoulders are drooped.
Seriously, for all the years I have worked for this man, I have never seen Mac Taylor so broken.
Okay, maybe that isn't exactly true. It happened once, I think, all those years ago when his wife died with the thousands others when the Towers fell.
But then we weren't there to see it. You see, we know it must have been heart-wrenching and all that, but the team wasn't there up close to witness it. Stella Bonasera was there to buffer the world and to hold him together.
That woman is stubborn as a mule, you know. Sometimes I wonder what she's made of, how she can be so tough and so gentle at the same time. She refused to leave his side no matter how much he yelled and screamed and did all sorts of crazy things. At least that's what we heard. That he was giving her cold shoulders one moment and then shouting at her the next. But then she just took it and stuck by him, really, and you know, the thing is, she glued him back together.
It might have taken her a lot of time and almost-tears (because Stella Bonasera doesn't cry), but at the end she did glue him back together.
So what if it may not have been the same Mac Taylor before it happened, but really, she glued him back so nicely that he is actually living and smiling and laughing.
And the burning question now is who the hell is going to be the glue this time around? Because it sure ain't gonna be Stella. She's lying in that hospital bed, for crying out loud. I don't think there is much that she can do when she's barely hanging on, you know what I mean?
For the past 2 weeks now, actually.
It was totally a freak accident, a simple raid. I guess that's what happened when you trust a rookie to clear the apartment, eh?
Okay, that ain't totally fair and all, but he could have been a little more careful, you know what I mean? I mean, when you yell clear you better be sure you really mean it's all clear, right?
Well, anyway, both Stella and Mac had come with me to get that guy. We were expecting a messy scene to process, you know? But then, the rookie forgot to check the hall closet. It's as simple as that. The freaking hall closet.
And he was just standing there clueless as a kid when the perp came out and pointed a gun at his head. She saw it though, Stella. And she just sprung into action at the snap of the fingers.
And so the perp turned towards her naturally and bam. He was falling down; she was falling down.
The rookie actually ducked. Can you believe that? He ducked during this big ole mess he created. Stella wasn't aiming to kill, so the perp was only bleeding from a shoulder GSW and screaming like a lunatic. Mac got to that guy before I had even oriented myself as to what was happening. By the time I holstered my weapon, Mac had already wrestled the cuff on the perp and shoving him towards the uniforms.
And then he was down by her side and putting pressure on her wound, a ricochet off a bookshelf that had entered through her side.
Of all things, this perp didn't exactly know how to shoot and Stella got hit by a ricochet. Maybe we all ought to get a lottery ticket or something, with those odds.
And Mac has been obviously stressed, strained and wounded tighter than a coiled snake. There is a storm brewing, you can totally see it and feel it around him. Mac Taylor is on a mission since that day, and there is nothing to stop the boss-man when he's like that.
What is it people always say about dogs and their bones?
Anyway, that man keeps a rigid schedule. You don't need to ask to know where he is these days. He's at the hospital 12 hours a day, from 8 to 8. That's longer than the visiting hours, but he probably uses his badge to cajole the staff to compliance. But still, the staff won't let him stay overnight. They actually make sure that he's out every night by 8.
Good for them for making him leave, because he fore sure as hell is not listening to any of us.
For the hours that he's not at the hospital, he is at the lab, staring at the case files and signing the paperwork. Not that it ain't a good thing to see him out of the hospital, you know, but we're all worried. It can't be healthy for him to coop himself up in the lab and Stella's room, right? He hasn't been out to the field since that happened
It's like he's lost interest in doing anything but sitting with Stella and sitting in his office. I don't really know what he does during those 12 hours – Hawkes and Lindsay and I are trying to keep the lab running with Sinclair breathing down our necks. We aren't going to give him an excuse to make more trouble for Mac – but every time I've been here, he's just sitting there, holding her hand. He isn't even talking, for crying out loud.
And that's exactly what he's doing now, and we've been out here a good 30 minutes.
"We need to get him to get some rest," Lindsay says as we stand outside her room – their room – and I nod.
"Yea, but how?"
"I don't know," she pinches the bridge of her nose, a gesture of frustration and tiredness, pretty much what we're all feeling at the moment. "What would Stella do?"
Right, what would Stella do? Twist his arm? Threaten him? Take away his badge and gun? Bribe him? Too bad I can't remember the time when she forced him out of my hospital room after that whole thing with the drug lords.
"We can always try talking him into leaving," I suggest, and even then my words sound lame to my own ears. The look she gives me only confirms it. "I know, I know, but hey, unless you have another suggestion?"
She shakes her head, "I don't."
"Alright, let's go then," I move to open the door, and we both take deep breaths before we walk into the room. This is feeling more and more like walking into a lion's lair.
Stella's room smells like a blend of disinfectant and flowers. That is to be expected, because Mac brings her flowers every other day, without fail. Poor Hawkes is allergic. He needs to dose up on Reactine every time he visits now.
"Hey Mac," Lindsay steps closer to the boss, "How are you?"
The boss nods, "She looks like she has more colour in her face, don't you think?"
I sigh. That seems to be the way all conversations with Mac go these days. "The doctors are saying she's doing better."
"But she's not waking up yet."
"She will," Lindsay says softly, and I wonder if she knows it to be a fact.
"Yea, she will," Mac echoes, his eyes never once leaving the woman hooked up to all the machines, their hands still linked.
"Mac, why don't Lindsay and I stay here for a while so you can grab something to eat and maybe stretch your legs a bit?"
"I'm fine, Danny. There's no need."
"Come on, Mac, you know Stella's not gonna be happy if she finds out about this, right?"
"I will deal with her displeasure when she wakes up and confronts me about it."
"Mac," Lindsay, just as stubbornly, marches on, steel under her gentleness, "You need to take care of yourself. You need to sleep and let yourself recover from this all."
Mac whirls around at Lindsay's words, and storms are brewing in his eyes.
"Are you saying that I should go and relax while my partner is lying here, by herself, when she's fighting for her life? Are you telling me that I should just let her be and go eat and drink and let worries out the window?" his voice is raising by each syllable, and for the first time since it happened, some emotions are seeping out from Mac. "Are you telling me that I should just leave her here all by herself and go make sure I am okay when she's obviously not?"
"Mac, you know that's not – "
"Not what you meant? Then what do you mean, Lindsay?" he is almost shouting now, and I have to step in.
Boss or not, there's no way to treat a concerned colleague. My hands clench and I instinctively move in front of Lindsay, "Mac, we're only looking out for you. You don't have to get all defensive, you know?"
"I swear to God, Danny, if any of you suggest again that I should leave – "
"Then you will."
That voice is soft, but there is no mistaking its owner.
"Can't a girl rest in peace?" her eyes are still half close. Mac has reclaimed his seat by her bed and is busy brushing hair off her face.
"You've been resting for the past 2 weeks, Stell," his voice is soft, as if he just deflated from the anger just moments earlier.
Her face scrunches up. "2 weeks?"
Lindsay and I look at one another, and as quietly as we can, we slip out of the room.
"We need to get a doctor," she points out. Again, I agree.
We flag down a nurse passing by and let her know about Stella. She nods, and hurries away to get the doctor.
Lindsay and I stand near the door to look inside.
Stella is saying something, her lips moving so slightly that I can't read her lips.
Mac shakes his head, his eyes still holding hers. I will go if that's what you really want.
She looks deep into his eyes then, and after a long moment, she lets out a sigh and nods. Stay.
He's still holding her hand, in that tender way. He is cradling her hand in his and he brings it up to his lips to place a soft kiss there. I've never known Mac to be sentimental, but the emotions pouring out from both of them are so strong.
Mac is still watching her, as if afraid that she would disappear if he even blinks for a second.
Yea, the man is tired. He looks tired, his suit is all wrinkled up, but now, the sparks are finally back in his eyes.
And that's how we know everything will be fine.
Here's another one :)… Oh wow… I'm scaring myself… just counted how many fics I actually wrote and uploaded in the last 2 weeks :P. Seems like the Christmas break has been good for my over-active imagination!
This idea actually came about when I was writing for another fandom Flashpoint. It's my newest obsession, and I'm actually writing a LOT for that show now… but I wrote one where the girl got hit and her partner's guilt ridden at the bed side, and I started wondering… what if this happened to Mac and Stella? Would I have written Mac the same way? Anyway, if you wanna read the Flashpoint one, it's called Up Down Beep Breath… tell me if you think it's close enough :P.
And yes, I'm taking my "snapshot" style again and writing this in first person… haha, this one should be easy eh? I mean… last time it was Claire, but that wasn't a surprise to many of you… I just hope I got the voice right this time… you all know I haven't written much for anyone else on CSI NY other than Mac & Stella… so, leave me a note, will ya?
Anyway, hope you like this one… regular broadcast resumes next week! Yay!
Until next time!