Thanks for all the support! I haven't replied to the reviews for 'Lucy,' yet, but I will do that soon. The following takes place after "Death House," my second favorite episode from the entire series. So many great moments. Who doesn't love a little mystery and romance? SMacked fluff ahead!

For Jenna and Julia, in homage to your epicness.

Enjoy!

VVVVV

"What a case, huh?" Stella sighed, watching the steam rise from the mug of hot chocolate on the table in front of her.

"Yeah…" Mac trailed off, absently stirring his own hot chocolate.

"What is it, Mac?" she asked, bending her head and trying to catch his eye.

"It's nothing," he muttered, refusing to meet her gaze. "Didn't happen so there's no reason to worry about it."

"This about the swinging bed of knives?" Stella guessed, raising an eyebrow as she leaned back in her chair.

Mac laughed wryly, one corner of his mouth slightly higher than the other. "Am I that transparent?"

"Only to me," she grinned and reached across the tiny café table to pat his hand, the gesture finally convincing him to look her in the eye. "I never got to thank you properly for saving my life," she continued, her hand still on his.

"You don't have to thank me, Stella. That's what I do. That's what we do. However," he continued, his voice taking on a lighter tone, "if we were to engage in activities of mutual appreciation…"

"Mac!" Stella exclaimed as she pulled her hand away, the slightest hint of a blush creeping up her neck. Still, she couldn't resist playing the game. "Are you suggesting a little 'Save-the-day sex?'"

Mac shrugged. "Isn't that the best kind?"

"You know," Stella gasped, "it's going to be your fault if we get busted."

"We haven't said anything out-of-line in here."

She crossed her arms and leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. "I'm not talking about here. At work."

"We're discreet, Stella."

She scrunched up her face, one eye completely squinted shut. "I can think of a few instances just today…"

"Like?"

"Like you blurting out to Sid about the Jets."

"Oh. That."

"Yeah, that," she repeated.

"I'm sure Sid didn't think anything of it."

"Just because Sid studies the dead, even in his free time, that doesn't mean he's oblivious to the living."

"Okay, point made. No more suggesting we take Sid to the Jets game. What?" he asked, noticing the smirk that appeared on her face.

"It's not that I don't want Sid to go, but there's this really handsome man who's always at the game, and if Sid's there, my time spent with said handsome man would be cut in half."

Mac chuckled and grinned at her. "Any man would be lucky to have you by his side, even if just for half a game."

"Then it's a good thing I don't want just any man."

"That it is. So you said 'instances.' What else did I supposedly do?"

She picked up her mug and took a sip of the hot chocolate, her eyes twinkling as she gazed at him over the rim. "Hand sex."

Mac, who had taken a drink from his own mug, spewed out a small amount of the liquid, nearly choking on what was left in his mouth. He coughed and cleared his throat. "Excuse me?"

"Hand sex," she told him again, enjoying his discomfort. "The book with the greenhouse riddle…I could've turned all the pages by myself," she smirked.

"I just wanted to get a better look at the book."

"Sure you did," she replied with a minor eye roll. "And then when we had to look at the picture on my phone to rearrange the furniture…there was major hand sex going on then."

"I don't know what you're talking about," he stated, sounding the tiniest bit hurt. "But even if there was hand sex, as you so eloquently put it, you and I were the only ones there."

"I know that, Mac," she uttered quietly, reaching across the table and again grasping one of his hands. "This time we were alone. What if it happens again and someone sees us?"

"So what if they do…"

Stella sighed and squeezed Mac's hand. "I just don't think now's the right time for us to announce that we're an us. For now, when we're on the clock, it's best we be Detectives Taylor and Bonasera."

"And when we're off the clock?" he asked, hoping to at least wrap up the conversation on a positive note.

"What did you call it? 'Activities of mutual appreciation?'" She grinned and stood up, pulling him up, too.

Mac chuckled as he helped Stella with her coat. "After the day we've had, I think we both could use some appreciation."

"I think that's just what we need," she replied, fixing the collar on her coat and flipping her hair out from the collar, her curls bouncing before finally coming to rest.

"Stella," he reached out and touched her sleeve. "Promise me that we will someday tell everyone?"

"When the time is right, yes, we'll tell them."

"Good, I just hope it doesn't take another death house…" he mused aloud.

"No more death houses!" she exclaimed. "One was enough."

Mac laughed as he followed her from the café, feeling that it wouldn't be too long before he could declare his love for her anytime he wanted.

VVVVV

Thanks for reading!