All Characters appropriated (whether they like it or not) from the makers of CSI: NY and will be duly returned as good as new (almost) when the story is finished. This is how I would have resolved Pay up's cliff hanger ending Smacked forever Adam never!

It's not how he imagined this moment would be no not at all like he'd imagined and Mac Taylor had spent countless hours wondering what it would be really like to kiss Stella a proper kiss too the way he used to kiss Claire. A lover's kiss not the gentle peck she sometimes gave him on his cheek (even if he was still dreaming about those precious if fleeting moments when her lips touched his bare skin and time seemed to stand still for months afterwards.) He thought he'd come up with every possible scenario; a goodnight kiss bathed in moonlight or a romantic picnic for two in Central park or snuggling on the back row of the movies like a couple of teenagers even holding her close in the locker room back at the lab had entered his mind ….every possible scenario except this one but he supposed fate had it's own plan for us all and even though this probably wouldn't be how he'd have pictured this moment their first kiss he had no regrets except perhaps that he'd waited so long to do so he only hoped and prayed not too long.

It had been such a sad, terrible day by all accounts the day they lost Jess not only a valued colleague but a cherished friend as well and as for Flack well he'd cared about Jess really cared they all had known that and it was almost as if Flack had died along with her and in some ways Mac thought maybe he had. If anyone knew what Flack was going through at this precise moment it was Mac ….hell eight years ago he was Flack. He wanted to tell the younger man not to give in to the demons already creeping into his Psyche that he would in time learn to grieve for Jess and move on with his life but he also knew now was not the right time the pain was still far too raw and nothing anyone did or said could make it better. That brought his thoughts back to the woman he was currently cradling in his arms Stella Bonasera…. His Stella best friend, partner and soul mate because she was the reason Mac got up in the morning the only thing he'd lived for outside his work for the past eight years "Please don't leave me here alone Stella" He whispered softly into her curls.

It had happened so quickly and completely unexpectedly they had met in Sullivan's to toast Jess Angell…..say one final goodbye as a team all of them: Flack, Danny, Lindsay, Sid, Hawkes, Adam and of course his precious girl Stella they had all been there waiting for him to arrive. He'd barely entered the place when all hell had broken loose; bullets flying people screaming dodging the shattering glass all around them and Mac's team scattering for cover. That had been the trouble he'd been separated from her during the stampede Stella had vanished into the crowd completely and Mac had found himself staring at the empty space she'd occupied. He had no choice but to take cover himself as a piece of broken glass whizzed past his left hand nipping at him in the process. It stopped as abruptly as it began but mere seconds seemed like hours to him as he leapt out of hiding and he began to bellow out her name his whole team had been in danger he knew that but the only thing he cared about could think about was Stella.

"Stella….Stella Bonasera where are you?" He called out her name franticly pulling away debris to move around the room in search of her calling out her name again "Stella…please Stella answer me." All around him he was vaguely aware of movement people emerging from the places they had taken refuge during the melee his team among them …. Everyone but his Stella. "Flack" He yelled to his friend "Have you seen Stella?" "No" Flack shook his head "Messer, Hawkes anybody seen Stella?" "Over here" Sid Hammerback hollered back "She's been hurt she's bleeding out hurry……" Mac dashed over to Sid followed by the others. The ME was busy trying to stem the blood flowing from the hole in her left shoulder by applying his handkerchief as a tourniquet. "Stella oh god no …. Please no" Mac pleaded; "She needs to get to the ER now" Sid told him "I've done all I can here." "Where's the damn ambulance….." Flack yelled out loud for the second time in that day "It can't get through" Lindsay told him snapping her phone shut "Road's blocked because of the shooting."

Mac didn't even need to think once let alone twice; gently he scooped Stella up into his arms just like a bridegroom on his wedding night then as quickly as he could he tried to make his way to the exit. "I'm coming with you" Flack told him as he began to follow Mac out of the bar "You can't look after her and drive at the same time I've already danced this dance once to day remember….." "Flack…..thank you" He nodded knowing how much this must be killing his friend to relive this nightmare so soon after loosing Jess. Once outside the two men raced to Mac's SVU "Here Flack hurry" the ex-marine tossed his keys to Flack whilst he made Stella as comfortable as he could in the back seat. Slipping into the seat next to her Mac slammed the door shut while Flack started up the engine speeding off in haze of squealing rubber and gas fumes.

Stella had the oddest sensation that she was moving or rather she was being moved but her legs weren't responsible for her current state somehow she knew she was being carried…..Mac! She could hear his voice faintly calling her name he sounded scared then she felt arms around her protecting her lifting her up …..Mac's somehow she knew it was Mac and that made everything alright if he was close by. Her head struggled to make sense of everything that was going on around her; the last thing she remembered clearly was standing in the bar her friends in a semi-circle around her preparing to toast Jess. Mac had joined them (finally) and for a split second their eyes had locked and they had shared the briefest of smiles which had meant the world to her then she'd felt a sharp pain in her left shoulder and then the world had gone black.

She heard Mac's voice again calling her name telling her not to worry that everything would be ok then she heard another voice….Flack this time asking "How's our girl doing" and Mac replying that he needed to move quicker that they were running out of time he sounded terrified. Stella struggled to speak comfort Mac but she couldn't seemed to make her lips move; with every bit of strength she could muster she managed to get her eyes to cooperate at least and she found herself staring up into Mac's ocean blue's. She became aware that he was holding her and that her head was resting on his chest she could hear his heart hammering away like a jack hammer inside of him. "Stella?" He asked softly; "Flack she's awake" He called to him joyfully "ETA to the ER 2 mins" Flack called back. "Stay with me Stel" Mac whispered kissing her forehead but Stella felt her eyes slip shut again "No you don't no sleeping on the job Bonasera that's an order" Mac shook her awake once more and she managed a small smile for him "That's better…." He smiled back that's when he did it; Mac Taylor her boss her best friend the man she loved with all her heart kissed her full on the lips so Stella did the only thing she could and kissed him back.

Mac held his head in his hands here he was six hours later a dead man walking had to be and worse of all it was all his own doing; he still couldn't believe what he'd done kissed Stella and when she was semi-conscious to boot. Yep as soon as Stel was able he had no doubt she would thank him personally with a sledgehammer! They had arrived at the Hospital seconds after the kiss mere seconds and Stella had been rushed straight into surgery before he'd even been able to apologise. She'd begun slipping away from him again and he'd done the only thing he could think of to keep her awake and with him; the one thing he'd longed to do right from the very first day Stella had begun working at the lab and had exploded into his life he'd kissed her. Since then Mac had refused point blank too leave the Hospital till Stella was out of surgery and he could see her; Mac was determined to remain by Stella's side even if he ended up on a sexual assault charge. He had to admit though it had been amazing to touch Stella's lips with his own; she had tasted like heaven on earth and he longed to claim all her kisses as his own once more.

"Any news yet?" Flack asked handing Mac a luke warm cup of coffee as he sat down next to him; "Nothing" Mac shook his head miserably "Figures" Flack muttered sipping his own drink. "How are things back at the Lab" Mac asked absent mindedly he really should be there he knew but Stella had to come first; "Good news is Hawkes has some nasty lacerations to his chest but nobody else was hurt" Flack told him. "What's the bad news then?" Mac had the feeling he really didn't want to know. "Messer thinks she was the intended target Mac" Flack replied "You Ok?"; "Me? Sure I'm fine I didn't just get shot did I?" Mac scowled. "Aw c'mon Mac don't kid a kidder you know what I mean I saw you and Stella back there I nearly told you to get a room" Flack almost smiled to himself "I know how you feel about her." "Oh you do do you?" Mac raised an eyebrow; "Deny it all you like but I know why you really left Peyton in London it certainly aint Messer's tender charms you couldn't bear to give up and somehow I don't think you would follow me to Greenwich let alone Greece ……. Admit it Mac your head over heels about Stella always have been and it shows" Flack finished smugly.

"It does" Mac asked astonished all this time he'd thought he'd kept it hidden from everyone some Detective he was; "Oh god what if Stella knows" He blurted out; "She doesn't" Flack told him "That's your whole problem if you ask me it's way past time you told her." Mac shook his head "I ….it's not that simple Flack we work together and she's my best friend if she doesn't feel the same way about me….." "You're a Montague she's a Capulet…." Flack interrupted "Look the one thing I'm glad about is that Jess knew how I felt about her Mac she knew I loved her and I always will ……." His voice faltered and he brushed away the tears forming in his eyes with the back of his hand. "I wish I could tell you it gets better" Mac said quietly "That you'll wake up one morning and every thing will be sunshine and rainbows again but I'd be lying." "What did you do?" Flack asked quietly; "I survived till I found something……someone to live for again" Mac replied. "Tell her Mac" Flack repeated his earlier advice "Just tell her……"

"Detective Taylor?" A young blonde woman in green scrubs and a white coat with written across her left breast pocket approached the two men. "Yes that's me" Mac nodded and both men stood up; "Detective Bonasera is out of surgery and is stable……." She told them "Thank god" Mac almost kissed Flack in relief; "Her prognosis is good and she should make a full recovery but it will take time….." The Doctor told them "May I see her" Mac pleaded "Just for a minute." "She's under heavy sedation….." Callaghan told him "Please Doctor I just need to see she's Ok with my own eyes…." Mac tried again. "Are you her husband?" The Doctor asked; "Yes" A lie Mac knew but in a good cause all the same "You and only you the clock will be ticking one minute exactly" Doctor Callaghan sighed in defeat "Thank you" Mac beamed "Nurse Wellings will take you too her" Callaghan nodded to a brown haired young woman in pink scrubs standing across the hall. "Flack I want 24/7 protection for my wife no one gets near her without my say so understood?" Mac instructed the Detective as he walked away "Completely" Flack replied.

Stella was still unconscious when Mac entered her room "She's been heavily sedated" Nurse Wellings explained to him "But all things considered she's doing well so don't worry too much about the machinery she's attached too it can be a unsettling seeing a loved one hooked up first time out …. Your wife is one tough lady." "Yes she is that" Mac replied sitting down next to Stella's bed. "I'll leave you too alone for a moment" Wellings smiled and headed for the door "Thanks I….we appreciated it" Mac called after her. Stella looked so small and fragile lying there Mac thought; "Hey Stella it's me Mac" He told her reaching out to take her hand in his own he leant over till his lips almost brushed her cheek "I can't stay long but I needed to see you make sure you were Ok ….. You're going to have to stay here for a while till you get well. I will get who ever hurt you Stel I promise I'll take care of everything I'll take care of you….." Furtively Mac peeked around the room checking they were still alone then he tenderly kissed her forehead "I'll be back real soon ….I love you" with that he stood and turned to leave finding Flack sitting outside the room as he closed the door behind him "I'll stay with her till the uniforms get here" He told Mac "Good I've got work to do" Mac growled.