A/N: This is going to be a short story, and I will update regularly, though I'm not forgetting Darkness closing in, this one will be updated as well.
As always, this story will fit in diverse category, so I'll stick with the main romance/drama, though angst will be thoroughly present and comfort as well.
This story hasn't been beta-ed, so all mistakes are mine.
Summary: As Mac and Stella are thinking about taking a new step towards each other, an invisible enemy strikes their backs in a deadly game and left them stranded. SMacked, D/L, Team friendship...Angst/Hurt/Comfort/Romance.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, beside the characters I created for this story. CSI NY belongs to CBS and Jerry Bruckeimer.
A light smile grazed his lips as he watched his partner cracked an eye open as he pulled over on the 47th. With sleep still feeling her frail shape, she stirred in the passenger seat as if it was all too natural to wake up in her boss' car. Mac glanced at Stella, a small smile tugged at his lips at her childish move. Since he had come to know her, not a day had passed without her making him smile one way or another, and when she wasn't smiling, then he took seriously the charge of giving her back the good she made him feel.
"Let's get down to business, sleeping beauty," teased Mac as he watched with delight his partner shooting him a dark stare. She hated early morning, and he knew that, but even if he had never enjoyed waking her, he had to admit that he liked starting a day with her by his side. Maybe it was the fact that in other cases it would mean waking up alone in a cold bed, but somehow, he liked to think it was just because of her smile in the early hours of the day. His own smile widened. Her smile could erase all his worries in a matter of seconds, though this morning she was more inclined to grumble in her side, but he didn't mind anyway, as long as she was with him, it was a good day.
He jumped off the car, and circled the black SUV to stand beside her as she took her time to get out. A small grunt escaped her lips as the chilling early morning made her quiver.
"When are we going to have a decent morning? It's not like the vic could fly away anytime soon." Stella huffed as she raised the lapel of her black blazer to protect her neck from the cold, blowing wind, and tightened her purple scarf. "I hate those killers who can't have the decency to kill by day."
Mac smirked as he pulled out his kit from the trunk, and headed into the building in front of them.
Then, he turned with a small chuckle. "You comin'? Or should I wait for a more decent hour to have my partner by my side," he teased again, a big grin spread over his face.
Her eyes set quietly on her partner clad in his favorite, dark suit, his kit in hand, and wondered how, with all the lack of sleep he was currently keeping he was still able to make fun of this whole situation. Sure, he too, didn't like to be called at 3:30 in the morning, though she wondered sometimes if it wasn't all his life, and that small thought was enough to make her sad. No one should have to wait to be called early in the morning to have a meaning in his life, especially him. She tightened her lips, remembering that he wasn't like that before he lost Claire, not that he was leaving his job sooner. No. But yet, there was some morning when he happened to arrive late, though she had never tried to push to know why. She smirked, she already knew why, and as her friend, she was happy for him. But 9/11 happened, and with it, it's full pack of sorrow, grief and despair for a country and for her friend. The whole city of New York was still filled with those depressing feelings since that fateful day. No matter what you wanted to trick yourself into and make yourself believe that it was long gone, in the New Yorkers' mind, it would always remain like yesterday, and it was the same for Mac. She bit her lower lip, hoping that one day he would find that same happiness he had with Claire.
Following the line of the silver building to the rosy, morning sky far over her, she uttered a small ethnic curse as she grabbed her own kit and followed Mac inside the building. He greeted her with a guilty smile almost ashamed of being the reason why she was up so early.
"You know, if you need some time off, we can break the team, and you can take a shift later." He spoke softly as they entered the lift and he pressed on the roof button. Even though he liked to be with her, he didn't want her to drain herself too much. She had to go on, she had a life, not like him having only his work to go on, he cursed mentally.
What? She couldn't believe that he'd just proposed her to break their team. She glanced nervously at her partner and noticed for the first time this morning, a small crease appearing on his face. Was he worried about her and her sleeping time?
"Nah, I'm fine, Mac. Besides I wouldn't want you to run by yourself in those crime scenes without me for backup." She nudged his side playfully. Her mood improving by minutes with his constant, reassuring presence.
He shot her a boyish grin. "I'm quite capable of taking care of myself, thank you."
"Well, that I'm sure. Just don't forget your debt." She reminded him, her eyes glancing at the ceiling, getting ready for his reply.
He chuckled. "I'm not gonna pass on this one, right?"
"Never," she answered, her eyes sparkling in anticipation of her reward. "Well, you did promise me dinner in the nicest restaurant that this city can offer."
His eyes sparkled as he entered the game. "Yes I did," he admitted. "Though it was before I learned you already got the answer of that screening test we had bet on it." He paused watching her as she took an offended look but didn't reply. "What you did, is called cheating in my world." He finally struck with a wide grin. Mac 1, Stella 0.
She took a look as if she was hurt by his words. "What I did, was gathering data on a case, Mac. You came up with this bet, remember?"
He laughed. "Sure, just after you set the discussion for me to fall in your trap. Nice play by the way."
"See," he smirked, his hand pointing at her. "You're admitting you set me up."
"Haven't, Mac." She answered, her eyes sparkling at their childish argument. She, in fact, had planned their talk, but had never expected Mac to raise the stakes with a dinner. She cursed mentally. If only she had known that sooner, she would have made a move to get that dinner invitation sooner. Though her mind was restlessly reminding her that it was just a small bet between two friends, nothing else. It wasn't as if he had planned a romantic date with her on purpose, though she was still caressing the idea of a romantic evening with him. Suddenly, she stopped her trail of thoughts as she realized her face was starting to blush in anticipation and her partner was giving her a suspicious look.
"Planning another set up?" he asked as he watched with delight as she turned toward him agape. Checkmate.
As she let silence coming from her mouth, the elevator's doors opened on a small lobby full of police officers, Flack standing in the middle. She swallowed lightly as her partner stepped into the room, a boyish grin of victory displayed on his face. How did he manage to get in her mind so clearly sometimes was beyond her understanding. But she wasn't about to let him win, not like that, and not with a dinner with him as a prize, no way.
"What ya got?" asked Mac to Don as he felt his partner joining him. He hid a small smile as he composed a professional face to work on their crime scene, though he couldn't suppress a small glance towards Stella as to praise his victory. She had set him up since the beginning, though he didn't mind really. Since Greece his mind had struggled with the idea of inviting her in a non professional meeting, but then, Jess' death, the attack on the team, the compass killer, and even Flack going AWOL had kept him busy and hindered him from having more time with her. He sighed, remembering how he could have lost her in this dusty condo if she hadn't avoided that spike falling from the ceiling. Hopefully, she had heard his scream of terror and had reacted on it. Once again, it had been a close call, but then, how many times would the things get close until one day, it was lethal? He looked at Flack, his friend a painful reminder of what happened when things were becoming lethal. He sighed, he, himself had already known that once, with Claire. His lips tightened as the evocation of her name left a burning mark in his mind. No he wasn't ready to give up on Stella, not yet.
Flack raised his sight from his notepad to greet his friends. The small lobby was bathed in a soft, orange light as the sunrays pierced through a giant veranda facing east.
"Stella, Mac, sorry for getting you up so early, but the vic had this attached to her neck, and I thought you would like to see it right away," he added as he showed them a small evidence bag.
"What is it?" wondered Mac, his attention fully back to the case ahead, as Don handed him a piece of paper sealed in a plastic bag. Putting his kitnext to him, Mac slipped his right hand in a white glove and did the same with the other. Then, he delicately grabbed the plastic bag Don was still holding before him and Stella, and opened it. Carefully, he pulled out the paper, and stared at the white sheet smeared with blood. As he turned the paper between his gloved fingers, a name appeared carved in crimson letters: MAC TAYLOR. What the...
Stella quivered as her partner's face remained impassive although she knew that he was fighting with himself. His name on their DOA meant only one thing, the killer, who ever he was, was trying to get Mac's attention, and that only, was enough to make him feel guilty. So not only, the killer was taking lives, he was also trying to change Mac's life into hell. She clenched her fists by her side as her mind began to list all the possible suspects that wanted to take revenge on him, fear for her partner slowly creeping up in her mind.
"Where's the vic?" Mac's voice echoed in the room.
"DOA's on the roof, and it's not pretty, Mac." Don grimaced.
Mac's brows furrowed deeper as he silently asked Don to take the lead. Who ever wanted his full attention had it now. He followed Don to a narrow stairway, his kit back on his side, and Stella quietly on his tail. He sighed knowing the nature of her silence, she was worried, and he couldn't blame her. With this case, he doubted he would have the time to fulfill his promise to her once again. He glanced over his shoulder and caught a shy smile on her lips as she saw him looking at her. Whatever happened with this case, he promised himself that he would make it up to her, he was fed up of delaying the time he wanted to be with her. No, he would find a way this time.
As Stella and Mac exited on a narrow, concrete pathcircling the roof, they were greeted by the chilling wind stronger at thirty five story. Stella suppressed another shiver as she followed Mac on the ladder. Fifteen feet up and later, they were both standing on an empty roof in the middle of Manhattan. She sighed, if they hadn't been on a case she would have lingered on the beautiful view of the city waking up into the arms of a sweet, rosy dawn. But she was on the job, and this case was touching her closely as it was bearing the mark of death for her partner.
"This way," shouted Don as his voice tried to overcome the powerful wind and pointed at a small cabin at the far end of the roof. "He left the body on it."
"What?" questioned Stella. The body was on top of that little cabin. She widened her eyes. The thing was small and built in steel panel, probably an old exit for ventilation, she deduced as she hurried behind Mac who was already passing the yellow tape that Don was lifting for them. She bent too and followed her partner, her eyes never leaving the reassuring sight of his black suit cladding perfectly his back. As long as she would keep an eye on him, she would be able to help him, she had decided.
Mac took a deep breath as he reached the top of the cabin after climbing onto an improvised ladder. The wind was so strong that it was hard to keep his heart rate minimum, or was it his name in an evidence bag that was giving him the creep. Either way, his gut was twitching madly since he had set foot upon that roof, and the more he tried to ignore it, the more his mind was saying that something wasn't right, but what? He sighed, trying to relax his mind and focus on the vic, only his mind was still repeating the same two words: what next?
Giving up with his mental battle, he took a deep breath as he crouched near the victim and stared at the slashes carving the woman's body. Trails of blood had leaked from the body and had started to drip from the edge of the cabin like in a grotesque, horror movie. Mac's lips tightened as he pulled out his penlight from his pocket and examined the carved throat, his beam lighting the wounds. Sharp instrument. His beam continued to the woman's chest and belly. There too, the wounds are deep, done with hate and anger, Mac noted. Then, he felt his partner standing awkwardly on the other side of the victim. The cabin's roof was small, once the victim had been displayed arms open, there was small room for more than two other persons to stand, even him had his heels dangerously playing with the void behind him. Fortunately, the cabin wasn't set on the edge of the roof, though the three yards that separated him from a real fall were still too small when you were on the 35th floor.
"Found somethin'?" Stella's voice asked, her eyes observing closely her partner to check how he was coping with his name on the vic.
He nodded, avoiding her stare. He already knew what she was thinking. This case was going to get tough on both of them, especially him, and she was probably trying to evaluate how much sleep he was ready to give up to catch that guy. He smirked. Well, she was right. First his name on the paper, and then that cruel death administered to this woman. He shook his head, he wasn't going to let that guy run free in the street while he would be sleeping. So before she could start to scold him another time about his need to sleep, he led the conversation on the case, prepared to ignore other comments she was going to imply along the way. "She was stabbed several times. The deep wounds, their irregularities, and the amount would suggest, he or she, took pleasure at stabbing the vic before her wrist and throat were slashed open. Damn it! He probably watched her slowly die while she was struggling in her own blood."
"Whoever has done that, is a pig." She concluded, as she crouched to be at his eye level. She gave him a quick glance, evaluating if it was the right time to ask if he was okay. She knew he wasn't, who would be with something so evil displayed before your eyes. But then, Mac wasn't a man to open up like that, especially on a public place, and since he kept avoiding her eyes, she guessed she had to swallow back her query to know if he was okay, and kept examining the victim.
Yes, a pig, agreed Mac. Stella was right, whoever did this couldn't be called human. Then, his sight caught the sign of something weird with the display of the body. As the arms were spread apart the left hand was closed. Frowning, he carefully opened the clenched fingers and pulled another piece of folded paper from it. This time the piece had only the white from its origin as it was totally soaked in dark blood. Mac stood up, the evidence in hand, and an uneasy feeling running through his body.
His sight scanned the silver towers surrounding them, his jaw clenched as if he could feel the eyes of the killer upon him. He knew that they were being watched. The scene had been too neatly displayed in the middle of Manhanttan, surrounded by the most numerous towers and building that could have a good view on their crime scene. His gut twisted again, as he shot a glare at whoever could be observing them.
Then, his attention went back to the paper in his hand and he slowly unfolded the paper. It's with dread that he discovered what was written on it. His face lost its color as his sight crossed Stella's with fear sparkling his green, ocean eyes. No! Warning screamed in his head as he realized why the scene had been set right here.
"Everybody out," he yelled as his hand went to Stella's back, trying to get her quickly out of the cabin. If he was right, death was upon them and they had no time to ponder their move. "Get out of the roof, now!" he shouted as the police officers who were still staring at him.
But then, his second warning seemed to reach their brains, as they started slowly to head for the exit. Don stared at Mac, trying to comprehend why he was asking that. His friend was standing up on the top of the cabin, veins protruding dangerously near his temples from the flushing anger that seemed to submerge him while he was pressing Stella to the ladder, and shielding her somehow.
Stella felt Mac's strong hand on the small of her back as he led her to the edge. "What..." she began, but her words remained stuck in her throat as a deep shot echoed through Manhattan's towers. She turned to watch with horror as Mac's right shoulder was jerked away by an invisible force, making him spin on himself, before he fell head first from the cabin, his feet finding nothing but air. "No...Mac," she screamed, trying to reach for his hand but too late as he disappeared from her vision. "Mac," her lonely voice broke the silence as everybody had gone quiet after the shot.
In one giant step she was on the other side of the cabin where Mac had fallen. Hopefully, the cabin wasn't built on the edge of the tower, and he couldn't have fallen more than ten feet down. Though her heart pounded madly in her chest as she bent to see where he was. The scene that greeted her was one she would never forget. Her partner had fallen head first about ten feet, and he was now lying on his back unmoving, the right side of his head slightly open by a bloody gash, his eyes blinking as he tried to remain conscious.
"Mac," she voiced as she bent over the edge, her fingers clinging at the edge as she turned her back to the void and let herself fall, only slowing her fall as her body remained clung at the wall, then she let it go. She felt the hard concrete meeting her high heels in a dull shock send back along her spine. But she had no time to complain, Mac needed her right now. As she bent over her wounded partner, she heard Don's voice to take cover as another shot whizzed at her ears and bit the ground near Mac, sending bits of concrete flying into the air. "Mac?" she called frantically as her hand went instantly to his face. Then his eyes settled on her as he blinked.
"Stell," he mumbled. "Get out."
Groaning, he rolled on his side to face the ground, panting as his vision was blurred and fuzzy. The world span around him when he tried to stand on his legs and failed miserably as he remained on his knees and left hand, his strength strangely gone. Before him, the roof was spinning in chaos, cops running to the exit as Mac spotted the form of an officer down in the middle of the place. Then, to his horror, Don rushed towards him. No. His mind screamed in pain.
"Fall back," he yelled with his remaining force, his left hand shoved the air before him as to order Don to get the hell out of there. Then, he fell Stella's hands on his back, as his strength chose to abandon him, and he slanted forward, his vision greying.
"Stella, Mac," yelled Don as he ran towards them, the terrible image of Jess' death printing before his eyes. "Mac!" He called again as he witnessed in shock his friend crumbling on the ground, but was cut short by a round of several shots right before him obliging him to step back. Damn it! His anger burning he felt a pair of arms pulling him backwards. He yelled at them to let him go. But they were stronger and he realized as he glanced over his shoulder that it was two of his men that were pulling him back.
"Sir, let's go," shot one of his officers. Then Don's eyes settled on the body of one of his men, fallen ten feet from him, a puddle of blood staining the concrete around him as his head had been blown off by a single shot. "Bastard!" he cursed. "Fall back," he screamed to his men, realizing that there must be more than one shooter to aim at them like that. He glanced back with pain at Mac and Stella now alone near the cabin, as his men were still pulling back at him. He prayed that his friends make it out alive somehow.
"Stell," mumbled Mac as he gave her a weak look, his eyelids weighing more with each minute.
"Mac, stayed with me," she yelled as she grabbed his left arm and wrapped it around her neck, and pulled him up. He grunted from her rough pulling, and she immediately felt his weight pressing heavily on her shoulders as his legs seemed unable to support him. Then she tried to walk but even with Mac trying awkwardly to stand on his legs, she wasn't able to make it more than a few feet as the two quickly crumbled under his weight.
The shots continued to whistle around her as she scanned anxiously her surroundings to find a shelter. The roof was empty, even the cops were deserting the place, pulling with them their fallen comrades as the shots echoed through the towers. Glancing over her shoulder, she realized their only way was the small cabin. Without even thinking about what she was doing, she tugged at Mac's vest and dragged him towards the cabin. She let him rest his back against the wall next to the cabin's door, his head sagging limply to his chest.
"Get out," he slurred as his vision darkened; hot, flaring pain was wrenching his right shoulder, and his head was beating loudly as he tried to raise his left hand but failed and let it drop limply by his side.
"Hold on, Mac," Stella yelled as she tried to open the door but the handle resisted to her grip, so she opted for pure strength, and taking a step back, she bumped her right shoulder into the metallic door, bullets denting at the metal near her head. Hurry, Stella, her mind repeated, as her shoulder screamed in pain. After the third assaults the bolt broke and she stumbled on the ground, shots still ringing near her face. She bit her lips as one grazed at her right cheek, leaving a burning gash. Mac. Her mind yelled as she got up and went back to the entrance where she had left her wounded partner.
Then, as she grabbed his collar, he fell limply on his side, leaving a crimson mark on the wall. Oh, God. Her heart stopped in her chest as she bent over him. His eyes were opened, staring back at her with pain and covered with a thick haze. Then a new shot rang and this time she felt the burn exploded in her left arm as she was propulsed backward. Panting, she rolled on herself and kneeled next to Mac.
"...eave me here," she heard him mumbled as he raised an arm but then let it drop limply over his chest as if it was too much effort, his eyes almost closed.
"Never," she voiced in anger, more against the shooters than Mac as she took a tight hold on his jacket and dragged him inside the small cabin. His limp body left a trail of blood behind him as his boots scraped freely at the concrete. With a quick glance at his pale face, she headed for the door. Another shot passed an inch of her head as she tried to close it, though the hinges refused to move. But finally they gave up in a dying croak as she shut the door. Her energy spent, she crumbled on the floor, her eyes settling in fear on her partner's still form. "Mac?"
He watched with delight as the cops started to run in every direction, like ants after someone had kicked in their nest. Finally, after all those years, he was able to get his revenge. A wicked smile had spread over his lips as he had aimed at his enemy, choosing the best place to hurt him as the red cross had lingered over his head, then his gut, and had finally settled on his chest while he had pressed the trigger. No, surely he didn't want him to die too quickly. His enemy hadn't given that chances to his father, and he wasn't about to let Mac Taylor get away with a quick death. That's why he had opted for the chest. Wherever the bullet would end, it would be painful, and he would have time to see his partner's face calling him in vain before he dies. Though he hadn't planned on him taking a fall from the cabin. That went well, although it was unexpected. But hey, it was even better as his partner had managed to get them in that small shelter while he had played cat and mouse with her.
He smiled broadly. He had to admit that girl had some guts, rescuing her partner like that in the middle of a crossfire, well she had balls, that's for sure. He smiled, looking at his screens and typed a few commands.
Suddenly, several shots echoed on the quiet roof, like that he was sure the cops wouldn't forget him. He smiled wickedly, today was going to be his best day: his enemy was down and about to die in the next hours as he had no intention to let anyone rescue them. Yep, indeed, it was his best day ever.
Voices were shouting in the lobby as Sheldon entered the small room, Danny on his tail. It was like arriving in the middle of a battle field. Four police officers were lying on the ground while others were applying field dressings over simple wounds in arms or deep opened gut gushing blood. Seeing the mess, Sheldon ran immediately towards what appeared the most seriously wounded, while he heard Danny hurrying to Don.
"What the hell is goin' on?" the young CSI asked at the detective, his eyes scanning the place and noting with worries the cops moaning in pain.
Don shook his head in distress. "We got set up, Danny. And Mac and Stella are still up there."
"What?" voiced Danny as he rushed to the stairs to reach the roof. If his friends were up there then he had to go help them. But he was stopped in his course as he felt Don's strong hold gripped his arm. "What ya waitin' for?" screamed Danny as he pulled back to shove Don's, though his friend kept his hold on him.
"You can't go up there, Danny. Or you gonna get shot, and Mac wouldn't agree with that."
"I don't care I'm goin', they're my friends."
"They're mine too Danny," voiced Don, anger simmering through his words. "They're in a small shelter, and the path to reach them is through an open field. Can't go! Too dangerous! That's why we fell back." Don let go Danny's arm as he saw understanding dawning in the young CSI's eyes.
Danny shot his friend a furious stare. "Who ordered to fall back?" he growled in anger. "Who's that freakin' selfish bastard who left cops to die?" His hands closed into fists as he scanned the room, fuming about the one who had dared to abandon his friends.
"It was Mac, Danny," stated Don in a whisper. "He was the one to order us to get the hell outta there."
"And you let them? Alone?" Danny asked with more anger smoldering beneath his words as his eyes darted a scorn look at Don.
"I...I..." Don's voice trailed off as his eyes set on the floor in guilt, pain running through his mind at the thought of his friends left behind. "I..."
"We didn't give him the choice," voiced a police officer as he patted Don's shoulder. "The situation was hopeless. Shots were taken at everyone. It took us two men to pull that crazy Flack down," he said as he slapped gently Don's back.
Danny stared at Don with more respect. No, he hadn't abandoned his friends. How could he? He shook his head, realizing how quick he had been to judge his friend while two others were waiting for help.
"We lost one of our friends up there," continued the cop. "It was hell and your boss knew we had to get the hell outta there before we had too many losses, even if it meant his own death."
A tight knot formed in Danny's throat as he listened to the cop talking about Mac.
The cop shook his head. "I heard a bunch of things about the Crime Lab and its boss, some gruesome and sordid, and others I thought were kinda too fancy and heroic to be true, but now I know." His eyes connected with Danny's, and the young CSI could see respect sparkling inside them. "You're boss, he's a real piece of work," he said, his head nodding. "If he hadn't warned us we'd have lost more men up there, and by ordering us to fall back, he saved even more. My buddies and I will stick here until your friends are out and safe, no matter what it takes for us. He saved our lives by giving that order, and we ain't gonna forget that. Right guys?" he turned toward the other cops who had carefully listened to their conversation. Silence had replaced the chaotic rumble as he had started to speak.
Danny watched impressed as the surviving cops were all shaking their heads in approval.
"Yeah, we're your backup and we'll follow your lead," continued the cop. "But goin' upthere without a plan is foolish, even suicidal I'd say, and I don't think your boss would have you to act like that, not after what he did."
Danny thought for a moment. What the cop had said was true, and surely Mac would get his ass if he was rushing up there without at least an idea of what he could expect. He tightened his fists, his rage boiling inside at the thought of remaining here while Mac and Stella needed help. Blood was rushing behind his temples as he battled with himself. Then, he finally nodded quietly. What Mac will do? Danny asked himself. He huffed mentally, the hell, his boss would rush up there too, but the difference was that Mac had always a plan, even when it seemed that he was acting without preparing anything, he had a good idea of the situation, and right now, Danny had nothing. He sighed deeply, trying to contain his rage, as he realized that his only option was to wait for now. His eyes quickly scanned the cop's uniform, looking for a name tag to remember: Riley.
"So stay put, detective," continued Riley. "Cause your friends are gonna need you soon."
A deep sighed escaped Danny's lips. "Alright, I'm sorry, man," he said to Don. "And thanks for the help." He extended his hand and Riley squeezed it firmly.
"Like I said, detective, we all have friends up there." Then, Riley gave a small nod to Don and went back to take care of his wounded comrades.
Danny nodded silently, wondering how Mac and Stella were doing right now.
A deafening silence settled in the small cabin as Stella crouched near her unconscious partner. The shooting had stopped a few minutes ago, and it felt creepier since then as if they were preparing something else, though it was more likely that the best explanation was their lack of live targets to shoot at. But then, as if they had read her mind, a shot dented painfully at the small louver situated in the back of the cabin. She took a deep breath as she began to assess Mac's condition. He wasn't moving and his eyes were closed as if he was asleep, although the fresh blood oozing from the gash under his hairline painfully told her otherwise.
"Mac? Please, stay with me," she begged as she took her jacket off, quickly rolled it in a ball and delicately placed it under his head.
Taking her scarf off her neck, she swathed Mac's forehead with it, hoping to stop the bleeding from his profound gash. Then, with trembling hands, she began to unbutton his black suit. But her heart was beating too fast in fear of losing him, and it took her more than a minute to be able to open his vest and discovered the deep, wet hole going deep in his right shoulder. Blood had started to soak his dark, navy shirt, and she was sure that if he had chosen a light color today, she would have screamed in horror at the large, crimson stain soaking the fabric.
She took a deep breath as she unbuttoned his shirt too and watched in misery his white T-shirt clad to his chest, now a bloody red. "Mac? C'mon I know you can hear me." She called as her hand pressed on the wound to stop the bleeding, and a thin line of blood oozed from her fingers. Even if he was unconscious she couldn't resign herself at the worst. He had to be listening to her, and sooner or later he would regain consciousness, she prayed for it. Then, as her eyes quickly scanned the small cabin, she realized that besides repairing tools, buckets and several other stuff, there was nothing that could really help her stanch his wound. With a deep sigh, she resigned herself to hurt him a bit more. Better now, than when he's gonna wake up.
Trying to be careful, but quick, she pulled on his left sleeve to take his suit off. A small grunt escaped his lips as she gently rolled him on his right side to get his left arm out as his head drooped to her knees. "Good, Mac," she praised. "Keep grunting." As long as he was grunting it meant that he was alive and still feeling his body, two evidences that she would never be thankful enough to remind her that he was still alive, still hanging on. Then, as his second arm was freed from the suit, she quickly discarded the vest on the side. Standing up, she rummaged through the tools to find what she needed, and with satisfaction, she came back with a cutter.
"It's for your own good, Mac," she whispered to him, as she started to rip his shirt, careful that the blade was always far from his chest at anytime, one of her hands still pressing heavily to stop the blood flow. Then, when she was done, and Mac lay with only his bloody, soaked T-shirt, she cut a small opening over the bloody, burned fabric, revealing the dark, crimson hole left by the round. It was wet and warmed by his blood, and still gushing a lot of dark blood. She bit her lower lip, trying to focus only on her task and not on the possibility of losing Mac. Then, taking a deep breath, she looked at him with pain, hoping his partner would forgive her, and she stuffed a small piece of his shirt into the wound, careful not to dislodge the round in the process. Mac mumbled a few grunts as his body was run by small tremors before his voice faded completely, and became a whisper, his body completely still. "Hold on, Mac," she whispered with remorse.
As she finished, she watched with satisfaction as she had stanched the blood flow. Totally, drained she sat on her feet next to Mac, watching with comfort as his chest was rising slowly in rhythm of his breath. For the time being, he was going to be okay, though she wasn't sure how long he could hold on. With care, she grabbed his jacket she had tossed aside and covered him with it. The sun wasn't shining yet, and the cabin was still too cold for her pleasure. As she tucked him in with his vest, she stared at his pale face torn in deep pain, and without thinking her hand cupped his cheek trying to reassure herself that he was still here. That she hadn't lost him this time. For a moment her thumb stroke his tensed cheek and she lingered in the comfort of his skin under her fingers.
Then, she pulled her iphone from her pocket, and dialed the only person that could help her to make sure that Mac was going to stay alright.
"Sheldon," her drained voice spoke on the phone.
"Stella, thank God you're alive. Danny and I, just arrived, we're in the lobby right now," he dropped with relief, drawing several heads in his direction as they recognized Stella's name. But his relief was shortened as she began to explain why she was calling.
"Mac had been shot, Sheldon I need your help. I stopped the bleeding but I'm not sure it worked and Mac is unconscious." Her voice trailed off, praying for good news as she let her hand cuddling Mac's cheek again, before she brought it back to her forehead with worries, leaving a crimson stain painting her face.
"Okay Stella. I'm all yours. Can you tell me his injuries?"
"Huh," she sighed, checking Mac's body again for any other wound she could have missed. "He's... huh, he's been shot in the right shoulder, and..."she struggled to say as her eyes wandered over his frail shape.
"Where exactly, Stell?" asked quickly Sheldon, his doctor mode quickly kicking in.
"Just under his shoulder blade I think."
"Is it close to his trachea or more in the crook of his shoulder, near his arm."
"Huh, it's between," answered Stella as her eyes scanned again his limp body, a deep frown creasing her face.
"Okay." She heard Sheldon's voice whispering something and then quick thanks were said, before he spoke again. "Stell, what was the color of the blood before you stanched it."
"Dark, almost black, Sheldon. That's not a good news right?" Her heart started to beat faster in her chest, waiting in dread for Sheldon's answer.
"Well it means the round probably went deep," he paused, probably trying to find a good answer not to panic her, she realized. Too late for that. Mac was down and unconscious, frankly she was already in panic mode. "But I think it might have avoided any artery and that's good news, Stell." He added, trying to reassure her as she had planned, but her eyes rested on the paleness of Mac's face. The ashen color wasn't to reassure her, and she prayed mentally for Sheldon to be right.
"Good. Good," she repeated to convince herself as she caressed Mac's cheek again setting the phone on speaker mode near him. "You heard him, Mac? You gonna be okay." She softly spoke, her heart swelling in pain as he didn't answer. "No reason to give up yet?" she added, swallowing back her fear. No reason. She closed her eyes, hoping that when she would open them she would wake up and realized it was all a the acrid smell of copper remained in the air as a deep print sinking madly into her mind to mark her for life by the blood of the man she cared, she loved, her mind admitted in sorrow.
And when she finally opened her eyes, his were still sadly closed. Gently, she stroked his face, her eyes lovingly following the line of his eyebrows and curves of his face.
"Stella, if you stopped the bleeding, I think he should be okay for now," replied Sheldon after her long pause, not sure his first answer had really reassured her.
She swallowed the knot in her throat. "He banged his head too, Sheldon, and I think, maybe it's why he's not waking up."
Then a loud rumbling echoed near the cabin and Stella recognized the sound of the air being whipped by a rotor. A helicopter was flying over them.
"Who did you send in that chopper?" she asked, surprise.
"It's not us, Stella," answered a worried Hawkes. "All our forces are on the ground searching through the different buildings to find the shooters."
"But who then?" she questioned as the sound became louder.
"I don't know..." his voice trailed off, as he turned toward a cop which whispered something in his ear. "Okay, put it on." He answered to the cop. "Hold on Stell."
On the other side, Stella cursed. What else could she do otherwise than wait anyway. But then, she began to hear voices talking loudly and some kind of TV in the background. Then, Sheldon's voice was heard again on the phone.
"It's the TV, Stella."
"Yeah, I heard you have the TV on, Sheldon, I don't see why..."
"No," he cut her off, softly. "The helicopter, it's the news. It's channel 4. I don't know how they know, but they're broadcasting in live the cabin where you guys are."
"Great," she complained "Can't have any privacy in this world, even when we're about to die."
"You're not going to die, Stell," Sheldon stated to comfort her.
"Yeah I know, though I'm really worried about Mac though. He hasn't opened an eye yet."
"Can you check his pupils for me, and tell me what you see." He asked with a soft voice, his doctor side kicking in.
Stella searched through her pocket and cursed. Damn it! She had no light, all her tools had remained in her kit on the roof. Then, remembering Mac's suit, she rummaged through his pocket as she bent over him. The move sent a wave of his aftershave to her, and she felt a pinch at her heart when she expected him to tease her with a witty remark as she almost crouched on him, but his eyes remained desperately closed.
Then, she found his familiar penlight in the insight of his vest and quickly pressed on it. Gently, she left his eyelids, shaving the light in them. If she hadn't been in this predicament, searching for Mac's injuries, maybe she would have marveled at the sight of his eyes turning from a clear, ocean blue, into a crystal green depending of the angle of her light. She bit her bottom lip, a deep crease carving her forehead in worries as Mac hadn't even given her a grunt for what she had done on him, increasing her fears.
"Are they dilated?" asked Sheldon through the phone.
"Yes, they are," she finally whispered with pain. From the silence that followed her words, she knew that it wasn't good news.
"Listen, Stell, it might be nothing," began Sheldon. "But Mac might have a concussion, though I think he should wake up soon, but you're gonna have to watch for signs that clearly indicated head injury, okay. Like headache, nausea, numbness in the limbs or if he hears ringing."
Stella listened painfully as Sheldon was giving her the list of the troubles that could appear if or when Mac was waking up, and deeply, she prayed that none of those appeared, because it would only be signs of a worst scenario, and honestly she wasn't prepared for that. She wasn't ready to lose him.
"I want to know who's in charge of this mess?" growled the voice of Chief Sinclair as he stormed out of the elevator and tramped into the lobby. "Messer," his deep, baritone voice echoed as he had spotted Danny standing near a couple of officers. Their heads bent over a map automatically turned towards the voice and some of the men cringed when they realized who it was. "Where is Taylor? Why hadn't he called me yet to report about this?" he shaved the air with his arms, visibly pissed off, and ready to throw anybody to the lions, which in New York City meant to be lynched by a public mob.
Danny walked calmly toward the Chief, he had no time right now to deal with the Chief of the Detectives.
"Where is Taylor?" repeated angrily Sinclair. "I had to learn by the late report, damn it! By the press, that two of my detectives are stranded on the roof of this city. Where the hell is he?"
"Chief, it's Mac." Danny paused letting his words sank in the Chief's brain but as the man gave him a puzzled look, he spoke again. "Mac's on the roof," stated calmly Danny.
"What?... Mac?... How?" Sinclair asked, his voice lowering as he started to calm down. His eyes darted around him, and he finally noticed the blood covering the carpet under his feet. "Is that from the wounded officers?" He asked pointed at the dark, red stain on the fabric.
"Yes," answered Danny, his sight lost beyond the main window.
The Chief growled. "And where is Bonasera? If Mac is up there I bet she must be around." His sight circled around him, searching for golden hair shouting orders.
"With him," said sternly Danny as his eyes rolled to the ceiling pointing at the roof over them. "They're both trapped up there. And from what we know, Mac has been shot."
Anger vanished from the Chief's eyes as he took a serious look. Shot. This thing was even worse than what he had thought when his assistant had turned on his TV in his office, rambling about cops being shot and others stranded on a rooftop in the middle of Manhattan. Then, on the screen, the news reporter had clearly shown the images of the roof, the building he was right now. The Chief had then cursed at the images broadcast as even from high in the sky, his stomach had churned at the smear of blood and the deadly officer lay on the concrete.
How could they put that on TV when real people had died and others were on the verge of following the same path? His gut had twitched, disgusted as he had rushed out of his office, heading straight to this building. And to learn what? That he had lost one cop, had four wounded, well five with Mac now, and two stranded in the center of a crossfire. And it was only seven in the morning. He shook his head.
"What ya got Messer," he said as he took his jacket off. This was going to be a long day.
A/N: In the surge of all the last events in the SMacked world, I'd encourage every Smacked fans to have faith in our heroes. :)
As for this story I would enjoy to have your view of this first chapter. As I said, this is going to be a short story, so feel free to leave me a comment and as always I will get back to you.