Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I swear!

Mac Taylor loved St. Patrick's Day in New York City. Such a silly holiday had somehow become so much more over the years. New Yorkers streamed into the streets on this day every year, adorned with green clothing and accessories from head to foot. They celebrated with parades, music, green beer and whiskey from sun up until sundown, and then some.

Mac was, of course, working this year. And the residents of New York were, of course, getting into extra trouble today, probably due to the increased level of alcohol that was streaming through them already, at 3 pm.

Although he and his team would have to put their celebration on hold until their shift was over, that didn't mean Mac wasn't enjoying his day. In fact, when it came right down to it, he was having a great day, and although they had quite a few cases on their hands, his teammates were also sharing his mood. Perhaps it was the idea of Irish coffee and green beer at their favorite pub later, or perhaps it was the unseasonably beautiful weather. Either way, the mood in the lab was one that Mac was taking full advantage of.

He was walking down the hall, away from a brief meeting with Flack and Danny regarding a case they were close to wrapping up, when he glanced toward Stella's office. They had both been swamped since the moment they got off the elevator this morning, and he had barely had a chance to say hello. Now, Stella's office door was shut, and the blinds on her glass walls were all closed tightly.

Mac furrowed his brow in confusion and knocked softly before opening the door and stepping inside the dim office.

"Stella?" She was sitting at her desk working by the light of the one window behind her that she hadn't closed the blinds on.

"Hey, Mac," she sighed. She looked up from her forms with a sly smile. "Don't tell anyone I'm in here, please. I have to get through this pile today and if I get another case, I'm screwed." He laughed quietly at her confession.

She looked absolutely beautiful. In a pale pink blouse that gave him a torturously good view of her collarbone and neck, he had to bite his tongue to keep from looking at just how low the neckline dipped. Her hair fell around her face perfectly, curly and free. He thought to himself that he really could just stare at her all day if he was given the opportunity.

It was true that they were the best of friends. They had been that way for as long as he cared to remember. He couldn't think of anyone else in his life who had been there for him as much as Stella had been. And he liked to think that she thought the same of him. Since Claire died, he knew for certain that there was no one else on earth who knew him they way Stella did. And again, she would say the same about him– he just knew it.

Recently, however, Mac had been feeling like he simply couldn't get enough of Stella. He had spent a lot of time internalizing the new feelings he was experiencing and came to the ultimate conclusion that he wanted– no, he needed more with her. And since this realization, he couldn't look at her or think about her without feeling short of breath. Every time he saw an opportunity to ask her out, or to even hint at his feelings for her, he froze up out of sheer fear that she wouldn't feel the same.

"I think you're forgetting that I'm the boss," he chuckled. "I won't give you another assignment today if you don't want me to."

She gave him a soft look of gratitude and looked back toward her papers. "You spoil me," she laughed. "But thank you. I'm hoping to be able to go out tonight with the team. Is that a selfish reason for not wanting to solve crime?"

"Stella, you know I wish you'd be more selfish sometimes. You deserve it. Besides, it's St. Patrick's Day. You should go out and have fun tonight."

She nodded and stood up to stretch.

"Hey, that reminds me…" he walked over to her. Looking back, he should have just pinched her on the arm, but her arms were over her head as she stretched. Instead, his hand fell to her hip, and shoved her pants down slightly on that side. He pinched her there, on her hipbone, in a place he had never touched before.

"Ow!" she squealed. "What was that for?"

He removed his fingers, and placed his hand on her hip, massaging with his thumb the place he had just pinched. He worried he really had hurt her.

"You're not wearing any green, Stella." She didn't say anything for a moment. Two can play at this game, she though.

Stella lowered her arms from their stretch, let her hands fall to his shoulders and stepped up closer to him, eliminating the space between them. She watched his eyes widen as she dragged her right hand from his shoulder down to his chest. She grabbed his green and orange striped tie and pulled his face closer to whisper in his ear.

"Just because you can't see it doesn't mean I'm not wearing any green, Mac." She heard him gulp loudly as her breath hit his ear.

Then, as quickly as it had happened, she released him and sat back down at her desk, focusing once more on the form in front of her. She laughed her famous Stella laugh, and he realized she had been teasing him, trying to get to him. She was good.

He didn't leave. Instead he walked back around and sank down in the chair across from her.

"Uh, can I help you with some of your paperwork to make it go more quickly?"

"Don't you have a lab to run?" she teased. Mac watched her laugh and felt his heart physically grow.

"Probably… but this is where I want to be," was his calm and husky reply. Then he watched her blush. They looked at one another with raw emotion in their eyes for the briefest of moments. Then she handed him a small stack of forms.

As he got to work, Stella let her mind take in what had just happened. His admission had been so tender that she was sure he must have noticed the pink hue that spread over her face. He always had that effect on her, but especially recently. He was gentler around her, quieter and definitely more observant. Sometimes she would catch him just staring at her. It gave her goose bumps just thinking about it.

It had taken quite awhile for Stella to admit this to herself, and she was sure she would never admit it to anyone else: Stella was completely in love with Mac Taylor. She let her mind linger for a moment on the way his eyes had searched hers just a moment ago, and the way his voice had become deeper and rougher. She allowed the tingly feeling to take over her lower abdomen as she thought about how he didn't have the slightest clue about how much he had turned her on, his hands on her hip, under her pants, touching her skin.

"You okay, Stel?" he asked in the same husky voice. This snapped her back to reality and she nodded, focusing once again on the work in front of her.

An hour later, the stack of forms had been miraculously sorted through, initialed, signed and dated. Mac stood up as he finished the last one and walked around to her side of the desk. He placed his finished forms on top of her finished pile as she spun her chair to the side to face him.

"Thanks, Mac. I really appreciate this. I would've lost my mind if I had to do that all by myself."

"Don't mention it. You can have fun tonight now. You deserve a good night." He smiled at her, earnestly and sincerely.

"You better be there too. I'm buying you a drink or two for helping me."

"Yeah, I'll probably be there. But if anyone's buying drinks for the two of us, it'll be me." As he said this, his hand floated to her right shoulder, then to her collarbone, then up to her ear. He swooped the hair there off and to the other side of her neck. Mac didn't even realize he had done it until it was done. He bit his tongue again to keep his eyes from widening in horror.

Fuck, where the hell did that come from? He was sure she'd flinch, and they'd be left in the most awkward of situations just because he couldn't control his longing to touch her.

But Mac watched as Stella's eyes closed gently and she leaned slightly into his hand, still on her neck. He felt her heart beat. She wasn't punching him in the gut. This was heaven, he was sure.

Stella was entirely shocked by this. She was used to hugging Mac, or placing soft kisses on his cheek now and then after a hard case or a good conversation, but this was different. Mac was touching her. She shut her eyes to lock in the moment, hoping that he wouldn't suddenly realize what he was doing and stop. His thumb began rubbing small circles under her earlobe. This was when she remembered that Mac had already turned her on once today. This was dangerous.

Mac watched her react to his touch. He heard her let out a small whimper as he traced circles on her skin with his thumb and he felt himself react. "I'm in for it," he thought when the sound reached his ears, stirring up an excitement below his belt.

Stella's eyes opened slowly and Mac's hand drifted back down her neck, across her collarbone and over her shoulder before it fell back to his side. He tried to memorize the way her skin felt as he touched it, in case she slapped him and he never got the chance to feel it again.

Her eyes met his tentatively. She offered the shyest of smiles he had ever seen, and he knew at that instant, that he could never go back to the way things were a minute and a half ago. He was completely in love with her.

She stood up slowly to face him.

"So, you'll be there tonight?" she asked him once more, hoping to cut the awkward air between them.

"I'll be there."

And with that, he turned and left the office.