Hey, I'm back already! Since you of theCSI:NY section are such nice readers, and because today I had an exam and went well, which means I've got the rest of the day free, I present you my own version of the infamous episode Grounds for Deception. Great episode, that one, but lacked a bit of… spark? Nope, that's not the word… err… human connection? That'll do.

This takes place after Stella has been attacked in her hotel room and Mac comes to her aid.

Enjoy and leave a little review while passing. I'll add other chapters according to my inspiration.

Stella watched in dismay as Professor P's brother escaped, turning the corner as he ran away and ultimately reached safety out of Mac's range. She barely registered her friend's concerned words, hoping her absent minded answer fitted his question well enough for him not to notice how out of it she really was. She felt suddenly drained, and the hot, polluted air of that part of the city constricted her throat almost painfully as she tried to get some oxygen for her tired limbs. She was on the very verge of fainting, she recognized the symptoms, and the heaviness in her legs was almost overwhelming.

-Stella? Stella?-

She turned her head in slow motion, following Mac's distant voice. She had not realized he was touching her.

-Stella, you're trembling, yet you're sweating… why don't you sit?-, he told her in a soft, conciliating tone, grasping her hand to lead her inside. She tried nodding her head, but that little movement caused a dizzy spell; she swayed beside Mac. Exhausted, her body shut down; her eyes rolled back and she fainted.

She came round slowly, panicking because she didn't recognize where she was. As soon as her sight cleared, she looked around. It was definitely a hotel room, but it wasn't hers, of that she was sure. The bedspread was the wrong color to begin with, and turning her head, she couldn't find a window. What was going on?

She heard footsteps quickly approaching, a man's footsteps. He stopped exactly in front of the door which separated him from her and inserted a key in the lock. Unconsciously, Stella retreated on the bed until her back hit the headboard, all the while reaching for her missing piece.

It was a familiar and decidedly friendly face which greeted her, though.

-Mac!-, she exclaimed, already feeling foolish for overreacting. His eyes widened at the realization that she was awake.

-Stella. How are you feeling?-, he asked, carefully closing the door behind his back. He approached the bed slowly, putting a bottle of cold water on the nightstand beside Stella and offering her a glass of warm milk.

-Here, drink this. It's honeyed, it'll give you some energy. -, he said gently, observing intently as his long time friend drowned his offering. He knew she liked honeyed milk to calm her nerves after a particularly tiring day, she had confided one night as he'd watched her prepare the concoction in his kitchen; since then, he'd always made it for her himself. That day would be no exception, only because they were an ocean away from home didn't mean he wouldn't take care of his partner as best as he could.

-Aren't I supposed to sleep now?-, Stella wondered once she was finished with her drink; at the first sign of her having to stretch in order to place the empty glass on the nightstand, Mac intercepted her hands, disentangling the glass from her long fingers to complete the task himself.

-I want you to feel better. -, he simply said, turning to look at her. Stella was desperate for something to break the tension, the dark haired man's intense stare was starting to give her, if not the creeps (there was no way Mac would spook her), massive goose-bumps, and she really didn't want to feel awkward in her best friend's presence, not then, when she was at her most vulnerable point.

-Why am I in your room?-, she blurted out, guessing that was where he had taken her.

-Because it has no windows. -, came his prompt reply, as if it was the most logical thing in the world. –No one will be able to enter, unless I let them, and I have no intention of letting anyone in till tomorrow morning. I want you to rest. -, he added, pushing her gently to a laying position. She just watched him, unable to come up with anything worthy to be said, struggling to come to terms with his words. Why was he babying her so? And why wasn't she protesting?

He raised, causing the bed to oscillate due to the loss of weight, moving away from the bed.

-Where are you going?-, Stella asked, suddenly alarmed at the concrete possibility of him leaving her.

-I'm not going anywhere, Stell. -, Mac quickly assured her, stepping into the adjacent bathroom. A rustle of clothes followed, before finally the dark haired man reemerged wearing only a thin black T-shirt and sweatpants. Strangely calm, the curly haired woman wondered idly whether he was going to lie beside her on the bed or not.

He wasn't, she realized as he sat down on the chair opposite the door, as if surveying it and readying himself to do that all night long.

-Don't be ridiculous, Mac!-, the woman exclaimed, bolting to a sitting position, surprised at the booming of her voice in the small enclosed room. –You can sleep on the bed as well, it's big enough for the two of us. -, she reasoned, patting the empty space at her side. She locked eyes with Mac; she didn't care about sounding, or rather looking, pleading, begging even, all she knew in that moment was that the thought of letting Mac sit all night in a uncomfortable looking chair when there was an inviting place on the bed available seemed preposterous. She didn't mind sharing. She wanted to share. She needed to.

-Are you sure?-, he wondered, cautiously raising from his position.

-Yes. Now come lie beside me. I want to sleep. -, she replied with an hint of humor, rolling onto her stomach to find a more comforting position as Mac's limbs stretched at her side.

-Goodnight. –

The following day, Stella woke up to the most intense feeling of warmth and protection she had ever experienced in her whole life.

Cracking one eye open, she was met by the sight of the stern looking face of Mac Taylor, and as she followed the profile of his neck to where it met his shoulder and became the one muscled arm draped over her body, she was struck by the realization that this amazing man was her own living and breathing shield, her guardian angel, who had followed her to another continent just to watch over her while she slept.

She willingly gave in to the impulse to reach out to him; she placed her palm flat on his back, then started massaging it, trying to ease the tension of the muscles tightened to the point of slightly trembling. It didn't take long for him to wake up. One of the many things Stella found fascinating about Mac Taylor was the fact that he could go from asleep to completely awake in the span of a second. When he opened his blue eyes, he had her face already in focus.

-Stella, what…?-, he raised his head from the cushion, already inspecting the room for intruders, but Stella forced him to lie back with her, their faces less than an inch from one another. He watched her silently, then, waiting for her to tell him why she'd woken him, not at all bothered by it. If she wanted to talk, fine, he would listen. If she wanted to be held, or comforted, he would do it. If she wanted to stare into his eyes, then he would keep them open for her.

-Mac, relax. You're too tense, no one is gonna hurt me now. -, she finally whispered, resuming her loving ministrations until she felt the muscles in his back yield under her fingertips. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, then, letting him embrace her at the waist.

-We'll have to get up soon. -, he mentioned after a while, having checked the time on the clock placed strategically upon the nightstand in front of him, by Stella's side. When she said nothing, he let his hand creep up to the back of head, where he started stroking her curls in a comforting manner.

-Right now I'm good where I am. -