"Damn it Stella what were you thinking? You deliberately disobeyed a direct order!" Mac Taylor bellowed at the curly haired Csi so loud the crowd assembled outside his office could swear the windows shook. "Add to that you not only endangered your own life but that of Detective Angell you have given me no choice but to suspend you pending an IA investigation" He glowered; "Suspend me for what? Doing my job properly?" She yelled back in sheer disbelief, "Diakos is a murderer he had to be stopped before he could hurt anybody else." "Yes but not at any cost" Mac seethed "The ends cannot justify the means I want your badge and weapon Detective Bonasera." "Fine if that's how it's gonna be" She slammed them both down on his desk hard enough to dislodge the paperwork covering it "Consider this my resignation Detective Taylor since obviously it's too much to expect any kind of support from you!"

"Well at least Stella hasn't left the building as yet that's something isn't it?" asked Danny, "Well no way this band is splitting up nobody is going anywhere period" Flack insisted; the two men, Lindsay, Angell, Sid, Hawkes and Adam were holding an impromptu council of war in the locker room. "So what do we do about the dynamic duo then?" Hawkes asked; "Bang their heads together?" Flack huffed "There's gotta be some way to make them see sense isn't there?" Lindsay wondered, "You heard them didn't you?" Angell sighed, "I think they heard them in Albuquerque" Hawkes piped up. "We can't let them go their separate ways Mac without Stella it's not natural like Laurel without Hardy…" Sid offered, "Romeo without Juliet" Adam nodded sadly.

"I could try talking to Stella" Lindsay suggested, "She might just listen to me……" "And what? You know how stubborn she can be, Mac made this mess and he's the only one who can fix it" Angell was adamant. "Just how do you work that one out?" Flack growled, "From where I'm standing if you and Stella hadn't decided to play at secret squirrels none of this would have happened ….." "To catch a multiple murderer which you and Mac seem to keep conveniently forgetting" Angell argued. "Knock it off the both of you don't we have enough problems as it is?" Danny stepped in, "Montana you and Angell see if you can knock some sense into Stella use blunt force if necessary; Flack me and you'll take Mac." "What about the rest of us?" Adam wanted to know, "I don't care how you do it; fight dirty but don't let Stella leave the lab till we get peace in our time" Danny told him.

Fifteen minutes later Flack and Danny arrived back in the locker room to find Adam waiting for them ""Hawkes, Sid and I have been sabotaging Stella's exit as much as we can but we got five minutes left tops so any luck?" He asked hopefully, "Plenty all bad" Flack grumbled. "Mac wouldn't budge one inch he's in fully fledged extremely pissed ex-marine mode and no way is he going to back down and apologize" Danny explained, "Maybe the others will have had better luck with Stella" Adam wondered. "Nope none at all" Angell said as she and Lindsay entered the room "Stella won't budge either she says she won't work with someone who hasn't got her back." "All it would take is for one of them to apologize to the other it's ridiculous" Lindsay rolled her eyes in despair. "Any ideas for a plan B?" Danny asked; "Let me try Mac again" Adam offered thoughtfully, Flack shrugged "Sure what do we have to lose? Knock your self out."

Mac paced around his office like a caged animal picking up Stella's badge his blood boiled how could she? Stella was the most precious thing on the planet to him: best friend, trusted confidant, shoulder to cry on and so very much more she had to know that didn't she? She damn well knew how much the honour and integrity of his Lab mean't to him how could she jeopardize everything he cared about so easily. How could she hurt him so badly? Once by disobeying him and again by walking out on him; from the moment she'd stormed out of his office he'd missed her so much that it hurt to breathe. The sound of somewhat timid knocking on his office door interrupted his thoughts "What" He barked out and instantly regretted it. Adam appeared in his doorway "Please can I speak to you Ma….er boss" he asked meekly "Actually Adam this is really a bad time….." Mac began to say. "It's about Stella I uh mean Detective Bonasera" Adam persisted, "Alright I've had just about enough of this; first Flack and Danny now you …..Detective Bonasera refuses to accept her actions were at the very least irresponsible and as a result she no longer works for this Department period" He fumed. "She doesn't want to go and you don't want her to…."Adam blurted out "So what I want to know is what are you gonna do about it?"

He'd done it, he'd actually done it! Found the nerve to face a furious Mac Taylor head on; Adam didn't know what affect Mac had on the criminals he arrested on a regular basis but he sure as hell scared the living daylights out of him. "Get in here and shut the door behind you" Mac ordered, "Yes sir right away sir" Adam (legs like jelly) was only vaguely aware of his surroundings as he made his way over to the boss or should that be ex-boss? One of the reasons Mac had employed Adam in his lab was because the younger man had an innate ability to spot even the smallest detail in any given situation and bring clarity where there was previously none. Here Adam had done just that again, pointing out what should have been obvious to Mac all along; Adam's unexpected outburst had felt like being struck by lightening regardless of who was right or wrong Adam was correct Mac didn't want Stella to leave simple as that. "Take a seat" He instructed Adam feeling much calmer now "Spit it out Adam do what you came to do." "You might not like hearing what I have to say" Adam said taking the proffered chair before his legs gave way under him. "I'm a big boy now Adam" Mac smiled hoping to ease the Tec's obvious discomfort "So ready?" "Ready" Adam nodded.

Swallowing hard (boy could he do with a shot of vodka right now actually make that a double) Adam began he knew if he didn't get it out now then he never would "I know that Stella disobeyed a direct order and that there needs to be an IA enquiry but be honest that isn't really what's bothering you is it? Problem is that she chose Angell to go to rather than you when she needed help; it must be a major bruise to your ego because probably for the first time in forever Stella felt she couldn't turn to you when she was in trouble. She was in danger could have been killed but she still wouldn't let you protect her and that's what's killing you because basically and you can fire me for this but the only way to say it is to say it…. you love the bones off of her." "I …. Is it so obvious" Mac asked softly, Adam chuckled "With you two it is yeah ….. After all you don't normally go around hugging Flack when he needs TLC. "

"It's a complicated situation" Mac said, "What's complicated about it? Just tell her how you feel" Adam told him on a roll now, "Nothing complicated about that; if she understands why you are so angry with her then she wont want to leave." "Stella means a lot to you doesn't she?" Mac asked "Nobody wants her to leave especially you" Adam replied. "Adam I've been aware for a while that you have ….." Mac struggled to find the correct words (a crush on Stella sounded too much like a love sick teenager) "Feelings of a romantic nature towards Stella yourself." Adam blanched "Is it so obvious?" He repeated Macs earlier words; Mac simply nodded in reply. "I think every guy she meets is a little in love with her aren't they? The difference is she never has and never will look at me or anyone else the way she looks at you" Adam sighed heavily, "When you had been kidnapped by Joe she was frantic nearly gave herself heart failure; if one bleeds you both hurt so she made an error of judgment …..I mean is it really worth losing her because of pride?" "No it's not" Mac agreed "Well what are you still doing here then? You've got some serious grovelling to do then haven't you?" Adam smiled "And I've got a locker to clearout now I'm unemployed." "Adam I'll say this once ok? We never had this conversation understand?" Mac assured him, "Absolutely! I'll just go and check some DNA profiles or something then shall I?" Adam asked, "Or something" Mac nodded "And thank you for the swift kick in the pants." The door to Mac's office burst open and Danny raced in covered in blood he panted "Mac you gotta come quick Stella's been shot."