Ok, here's the multi chapter I promised! You guys were so amazing and encouraging in your "The Greatest of These" reviews you seriously scared me off writing for a few days!! I feel like I set the bar too high. Hope this one will live up to your expectations. I'm not sure where I'm going with this to be honest, the story I had in my head was not so good on paper. Right now it's fluff, but it might change.

Not mine. So sad.

XXX

Thursday, 8:30 am

*ding*

Mac Taylor did not pay too much attention to the arrival of the elevator until he heard who it brought.

*t-click t-click t-click*

Dammit! Busted. He should have expected it after ignoring that last phone call.

"Hey Mac!" Stella stuck her head into his office, a slightly annoyed look on her face, despite the smile she was wearing.

"Morning Stella. And what are you doing at the lab on your day off?"

"Oh, just thought I'd stop by. I tried to get a hold of a friend this morning to see if he wanted to do something seeing as it's his day off as well. But he's not at home nor is he answering his cell. The detective in me suspects that he went in to work." She raised her eyebrow at him.

Mac returned the look. "Really? Now who would work on their day off?"

"Someone with a serious problem." She came into his office arms akimbo. "You are coming with me. Now. This is not an option."

"Ste-"

"Nope. I've already spoken to Danny and Hawkes. Even though both of us have the day off I had them put us on call." She neglected to add that that she had made it clear to the younger men that "on call" meant "Only if the lab burns down or some similar emergency." Both had been more than willing to follow her orders.

"But I've got paperwork…" his voice trailed off as he gestured to the usually organized desk.

"When we're done with what I have planned I'm coming back here to help you."

"And what do you have planned?"

He was met with a grin which made her eyes light up in a way he could never refuse when it came to his best friend and partner.

"I should have known it was useless to ask."

"You have ten minutes to meet me downstairs. If you're not there I'm pulling the fire alarm." She turned and walked out. A few minutes later he heard the sound of the elevator again. Sighing, yet anticipating what she had up her sleeve, Mac straightened his desk and rose to leave.

Whilst waiting for the elevator he reflected on the woman waiting for him below. After some fifteen years of friendship something like this ought not surprise him, yet somehow it did. Maybe "surprise" was too strong a word though. He was taken aback. But in a good way. What did surprise him was that it had taken her fifteen years to do something like this. Why now? Determining not to dwell on it as it would not do him any good, and take him down a mental road he had gone great lengths to avoid, he stepped into the waiting elevator. As its doors closed he noticed Danny watching him with a knowing smirk.

Thirty-four floors later he stepped off the elevator and approached the mass of curls bent over the receptionists desk. When he was within arms length he had to resist the juvenile urge to pull one and watch it spring back into shape. Whenever he thought about the things he loved about Stella her hair was in the top ten of a very long list. Instead of the tug, he settled for a light touch on the shoulder (his hand still came into contact with her hair that way) to alert her of his presence. Stella looked up from her writing, grinned and looked at her watch.

"Seven minutes! I'm impressed! I was trying to think of a plausible reason for pulling the fire alarm when the time came."

"Experience has shown me that you are a woman of your word. I thought it wise not to be the reason you got called into see Whitford. So what's on the agenda?"

"First things first: breakfast! I found a new place I want to try."

"And what makes you think I haven't…" He stopped when she raised her eyebrow at him and finally confessed. "Ok, no, I haven't. You're right. So where is this place? What is this place?"

"Paris Baguette and it's about two blocks up. As you might surmise from the name, they primarily sell breads but they have a café in the back. Come on, it's too nice a day to drive. We're walking." She grabbed his arm and dragged him towards the door.

Ever courteous, Mac held the door for Stella as they left the building. She smiled her thanks as they walked through.

"You know I don't-"

"I know." He interrupted. "But I'm going to do it anyway."

"You probably take your hat off in the presence of a woman too."

"I don't wear hats, as you know. But if I did I would." He smiled at her eye-roll.

They walked in companionable silence until they reached the café. They ordered and despite Stella's protestations, which caused the girl at the register great amusement, Mac paid. "This is my plan! You can't be paying Mac!" He just smiled triumphantly at her as he received his change.

"I'm buying you a hat today." She muttered under her breath. But not quietly enough; Mac heard.

"Well, as it seems that I'll be in the presence of a woman for most of the day that would be pointless now would it?" He grinned at her sigh of exasperation.

"Fine." She said. "But don't think you're paying for everything today. You don't even know what I've got planned!"

He was still grinning as he picked up the tray of food. "We'll see."

XXX