Hi, my name is Becs, and I'm a wuss.

Let me explain- I'd set myself a challenge to write full on Mac/Stella smutification by Christmas, having always suffered some kind of phalangial block when it came to the couple. Mentally, oh it was there, but I just couldn't seem to write it. Other ships/fandoms? Sure. Mac/Stella? Pft. SO, during a particularly dull work shift, the fabulous Clandestinedly and I texted out the following plot.

So I got to writing, and it was going swimmingly...until it got to the smut. I knew what was going to happen, where and when; but I suddenly found other stories to work on, and cakes to bake and countless other general things to do that did not involved writing Mac and Stella getting it on. So, I have given up. I have thrown in the towel. I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot write them doing the nasty. I think I respect them too much. (insert smutty comment here).

So, here. This is the result of that revelation. The result that (hopefully) builds to an infuriating anti-climax as they continue what they started between a page break and in your minds eye. Enjoy. However, should you wish to read a beautifully in character foray into the bedroom of Mac and Stella, read 'The Numb' by Kat's in the Cradle. Really, go read that.

Okay, and with that, the longest A/N I have ever written, I will leave you to the story. I hope you enjoy and aren't too disappointed.

Happy impending Holidays! The Wuss x

EDIT***28Nov:: I've lowered the rating from M-T. I don't really think it constitutes 'M' rating. Compared to my other stories *nudgenudgewinkwink*. So yeah. This is now an even longer A/N. Sorry. x


She could not feel more awkward when she reached for the door handle. She'd covered countless scenes where a woman living alone had been assaulted after opening the door wearing next to nothing, but she was already running late. Very late.

She pulled the white terry-cloth bath robe tighter around herself, trying to attach it under her arm somehow considering she'd lost the belt to it years ago. She should just toss it out, invest in a new one that actually closed properly, but coming home after a long shift and after a nice hot bath, curling up in that robe was nothing short of heaven.

Right now, trying to hide her black bra and lace-top stockings, heaven be damned because she was going to the store tomorrow for a new one.

She edged up on her tip-toes to look through the peep-hole, a rush of warm embarrassment flushing her body as she saw Mac standing before her door in the hallway. She pulled the robe tighter again and twisted the handle, edging it open just as much as the chain would allow. "Mac?"

"Is this a bad time?"

"I'm - no, but – I'm getting ready for a date so..."

His eyes hit the floor and back up to her. "I won't keep you?"

She swallowed, nodding as she closed the door and slipped the chain off. Twisting the handle for him, she rushed to stand behind the couch so she didn't feel quite so awkward. "Everything okay?"

He closed the door behind himself. "I just wanted to update you tonight, in case you get any hassle while you're out."

"About Hawkins?" Her lips set into a tight line and it was only now that Mac realised she had lipstick on. Just a soft burgundy, probably a gloss more than a lipstick he decided, but more than he'd seen her wear before. The green eyeshadow dusted behind thick, dark eyelashes made her eyes pop and he found he had to snap himself back to reality.

He cleared his throat. "He got bail."

She rolled those enchanting green eyes and laid both hands on the back of the couch, before snapping them back to the robe just as it began to fall away from her body. "Unbelievable."

Jeffrey "Birdman" Hawkins was a delightful specimen of man who had risen through the hierarchy of one of New York's toughest drug rings. It wasn't exactly a hit, but after his arrest the rest of the ring were aware that Stella wasn't in Hawkins' good-books and history had proven that that wasn't a good place to be.

"His lawyer argued that he was charitable man in the community and –"

"-donates money accrued from selling meth to school kids? Or did that not come up?"

"There wasn't any outstanding evidence at this time to substantiate that. Their words, not mine," he relayed; his hands up in defence at the cold look shooting from her emerald eyes.

"No, because Hawkins put a hit out on the forensic accountant and we couldn't get another guy over here in time."

"Listen, don't let it ruin your night-"

"Shit!" she muttered, suddenly aware that her date was thankfully running late but that she was nowhere near ready. In her rush to the bathroom, telling Mac to keep talking, she'd bunched her robe in a fist and revealed a sizeable hint of black lace stocking top that had Mac swallowing down a dry throat.

He watched her disappear behind a door and caught the vertical lines travelling up the back of her toned legs. She didn't wear a skirt often, usually only court dates or days off as they didn't exactly prove helpful when chasing down suspects and crouching over a body, but it generally wasn't something that escaped him. He knew she danced in her youth, up until the Academy he thought she'd said once, and he had to admit that he was somewhat of a 'leg man'. Especially legs in stockings. Especially legs in stockings with the 1940s line up the back, accentuating the length and shape and tone. He had childhood Sunday film matinees with his Grandfather to thank for that little predilection.

"You still there?" came her voice.

He looked up to the door, noticing the frosted glass and hourglass silhouette moving behind. She looked to be bent over and pulling a dress over her legs, the concave of her stomach leading to ample breasts before she straightened up and shimmied the dress over her hips.

"Mac?"

He cleared his throat, "Don't let it ruin your night, but keep your wits about you, okay?" He moved to the window and stared out at the skyline, his eyes wide and questioning at just what he thought he was doing watching Stella dress and where the hell the arousal came from.

"When have you ever known me to be witless?" she asked, opening the door enough for her voice to be heard, but also alerting him to where the reflection of the bathroom was in the window.

He tried to avert his eyes to the twinkling lights of the City, to the passing of cars on the street below, but he kept finding them blurred as he brought the bathroom door to the forefront of his gaze. He couldn't make out a discernable shape at this angle, but he could see her moving around, her shadow travelling in the light. "First time for everything." He forced himself to follow the blinking lights of a passing plane. "So where are you going tonight?"

"That new place on 5th, I think?"

"Which guy is it again?"

"You make it sound like there's so many!" she laughed. "The guy from the DA's office."

"You know you can't talk to him about Hawkins, right?"

Her voice was suddenly loud as she walked into the room, announcing, "I'm not stupid, Mac." He saw her reflection walk around the living room. "And he's not exactly on my list of preferred topics of conversation."

He turned to her. She was stuffing something into a small patent clutch bag and trying to avoid his eyeline, which he was fine with him because it gave him a moment to drink in the sight.

She had a sparkling brooch pinning back the sides of her hair and a similar bauble hanging around her neck, sitting close to her clavicle as the top of her dress dipped modestly to her cleavage. The dress was black as night, a slight ruffle around the neckline and bandage detail around her waist. His eyes travelled down to the hemline that sat above the knee, a slice flashing - as she walked - a hint of the lace that he knew circled her thigh. The vertical lines down the stockings legs to black court shoes, a strap over her foot and a good four inch heel.

"...You like?" She asked, making him question how much of his blatant staring she had witnessed.

He caught her eyes. "You look beautiful."

She tried to swallow her smile, but the flush that suddenly rose from her chest to her cheeks gave her away. "Thank you." She looked to her watch, absently tracing her pinky finger. Her date was late. Not by much, but enough for the doubt to set in that he wouldn't show up and that she had bought a new dress and gotten dolled up for another night with her TiVo... Her jaw set, wishing that Mac wasn't there to see her get stood up.

He caught the subtle change in her demeanour; the way she checked her watch, then the wall clock, then her cell phone. "I'll leave you to your night," he announced, moving away from the window and passing her with a gentle squeeze to her arm. "Enjoy," he smiled as she watched him open the door. "Be careful. "

"I will. Thanks, Mac."

He gave her one last smile and closed the door behind him, heaving a deep breath. What the hell had just happened? He had always fought to only see Stella as a colleague; a very pretty colleague with a beautiful soul, but a close colleague nonetheless and therefore off limits. Of course he had noticed her beauty, some times more than others, but never allowed himself linger on the fact. She was too important for him to jeopardise their friendship. But today...those thirty minutes he spent in her presence as she dressed for a date with another man...they threw his whole being out of balance.

He checked his watch. Her date was late, there was no denying that from her body language, but he wondered how late he really was. It was now 21:35. She was too antsy for the guy to only be five minutes late, so Mac was beginning to think it was closer to 35 and that made anger ball inside his chest.

He punched the button for the elevator. She'd made herself breathtakingly beautiful for this guy and he doesn't even show, never mind at least letting her know he wasn't going to come. No, she was now going to be pacing the floors, checking she had everything in her purse for a date that probably wasn't going to happen.

After everything that she had gone on in her romantic life - Frankie, Drew, Brendon etc – Mac knew how hard it was for her to put herself out there again. Almost as hard as it was for himself.

When he stepped out on to the sidewalk, he fingered his car keys in his pocket before looking up to windows of Stella's floor.

Xx

She was angry with herself. She'd let herself get sucked in by some pathetic little prick who had paid her a compliment. Why?

What was it that meant she had such a monumentally poor taste in men? Did she have some twisted bad boy fetish because she grew up with priests as her only male influence? Was she so observant of other people's lives that she didn't have the energy for her own?

Or was it the men? Could every single one of them really be homicidal or just general douchebags?

No. She already knew the answer to that one. There was at least one man out there who was genuine. One man who would come over to her home to make sure she was safe, would be safe. One man who could look so apologetic after giving her a look over that sent a warm flush from toe-to-tip.

Why couldn't he not be Mac Taylor? Why couldn't that man not be her best friend for over fifteen years? Not be the man she'd watched break apart from the death of his wife, the mistreatment from girlfriends, the betrayal of colleagues? Not be the man who would step in front of a bullet for his city, his country and those he loved?

Wasn't she due a man like that? A man who would make her laugh, treat her well and, crucially, not try to kill her or those around her. Why was that so much to ask for?

She could feel the tears begin to well in her eyes as started to question why she was so stupid, why she thought she was owed happiness, why she thought that dress suited her in the first place, when there was a knock at her door.

Her head snapped to the sound, having already resigned herself to the fact that it would never come, and rushed to the mirror to check her makeup. Satisfied, she crossed to the door, smoothed the dress over her stomach and swung the door open.

Mac Taylor. Two bottles of wine.

She wanted to be upset that he knew she had been stood up, but honestly she'd never been more grateful to have him in her life. She stepped to the side as he entered the door he had left not fifteen minutes earlier.

He followed her to the kitchen, taking the corkscrew from her as she grabbed glasses, put music on and curled her legs beneath her on the couch. She was careful to position the split in her dress as she unfastened the shoes and dropped them to the floor.

"Thank you," she smiled as he handed her a glass and sat down. "I mean it."

He looked sheepishly to the ground and muttered, "Of course."

She placed a hand on his knee as she sipped the wine, a swell of gratitude in her chest.

xX

"I did not! I did not say that!" She laughed, edging past Mac's legs as she went for the second bottle of wine. "I just might have mentioned that the comb-over wasn't a great look for him."

"I heard it on good authority that you said 'Grow it or shave it but for God's sake pick one or the other'."

She smirked, twisting the corkscrew and pulling it out of the bottle with a satisfying pop.

"You did!"

"He pissed me off! And it's not like everyone wasn't thinking it!" She placed the bottle on the table as he brought his legs in tighter, allowing her room to pass.

"Your way with words never-" His statement was cut short by the small yelp of pain and uncertainty as she lost her footing, crashing to the couch with some force.

His hands flew to her waist as he tried to break her fall.

Her hand had found its way to his thigh. Fingers gripping the flesh as she attempted to steady herself.

She swallowed. Hard.

Maybe it was just the wine, but with his hands on her waist, his breath on her neck and her hand on his thigh, a heated sensation rushed over her skin. Her eyes closed. With her back was to him she hoped he didn't notice, but he could see her eyelashes flutter before she licked her lips, collected herself and giggled.

"I'm not even wearing those damn shoes and I'm falling. Imagine what I'm like when they're attached to my feet!"

He smiled, pulling his hands back as she shuffled away to face him. He leant over to the table and poured from the new bottle, taking a sizable gulp from his glass.

"So what else do you have on 'good authority' that you'd like me to clear up?"

He cleared his throat. "Did you or did you not cut the tie off an intern whilst he was still wearing it?"

She smirked, taking a drink. "In my defence he was contaminating a scene with that thing."

"So do you hate all ties or just the ones people are wearing?"

She let her fingers play over the open collar of his shirt. "Mainly just the ones you wear."

"I'll keep that in mind," he grinned, his head shaking as he took a sip, draping his arm over the back of the couch.

Stella shuffled in her seat, tugging at the bottom of her dress to hide the hint of lace it was exposing.

"DA guy was a fool to not show," he announced, her actions stilling. "But he didn't deserve to have you on his arm wearing that dress."

She swallowed, her heart racing faster as she straightened her back. "Well this is new."

"New?"

She licked her lips. "I'm used to 'Detective Mac Taylor', occasionally 'Off Duty Mac Taylor'. But this...this is 'Mac Taylor, Ladies Man'." She had a smirk on her lips as she brought her glass up. She curled an elbow onto the back of the couch, Mac's arm bending to give her room as she transferred her wine to that hand.

"Ladies man?" he laughed. "That is a new one." His fingers began to draw circles on her wrist.

"Mmhmm. With the coming to a girl's rescue. With wine," she smiled, beginning to play with his open collar again. "With the compliments...and the confidence..."

He didn't say anything, his eyes following the shapes his fingers were drawing.

She snaked her tongue out, licking her lips before dragging them between her teeth. The air had changed. Maybe it was that they were half way through their second bottle of wine on empty stomachs; maybe it was that she was kind of hoping to get laid tonight so already feeling frisky; maybe it was just that Mac Taylor was on her couch and looking more relaxed than she'd seen him in longer than she could remember. Whatever it was, the air had changed and she found herself mentally weighing desire against the consequences.

Desire won.

The hand on his collar slid up to his cheek, her fingers threading into his hair as she brought her lips to his.

She was painfully slow at first. He was completely still. She moved her lips against his again.

Where was the unleashing of unbridled passion? Where was the instant realisation that, yes, this is fate and why the hell had they waited so long? Where was Mac?

She pulled away, whispering his name apologetically, shame and embarrassment warming at her cheeks and stinging at her eyes.

His ministrations had disappeared from her skin and, for the second time that night, she wondered just how stupid she could be.

But then her glass was removed from her grasp and passed under her eyeline, being placed on the table next to his. His fingers curled under her chin and moved to face to his and then his lips were suddenly on hers.

She heard herself whimper as he crushed her body to his, his hand splayed across her back. She wrapped her arms around his neck, keeping him close as she kissed him with all her might. With fifteen years of history and two bottles of wine and a burning desire like she'd never known.

The hand from her chin travelled to her thigh, edging it closer and over his legs as he deepened the kiss, his thumb stroking over the lace of her stocking. He guided her down, her hair fanning across the couch seat as he settled on top of her, his kisses moving to her jaw, her neck, her collar.

He smoothed his fingers from the lace to the crook of her knee, pulling until it was straight up and he could follow the path back down to the soft, bare skin of her thigh. His lips suckled on the exposed skin of her chest, his tongue dipping below the fabric as his fingers kneaded at her buttock.

His name left her lips as she squirmed beneath him, her entire body on fire as her hands fisted the back of his shirt, rucking it from his trousers. She tried to get to the buttons but he'd brought the hand from her back around to massage her breast as his mouth kissed, licked, nipped the other through the fabric of her dress. Holy God.

She needed to get some kind of handle on this.

Against her body's screams for more, she pressed her hands to his shoulders and made him sit up; His face contorted to worry and fear, his eyes deliciously dark and dilated. She licked her swollen lips and smirked as she straddled his thighs, his hands instantly travelling to the stocking top that was well exposed by now.

With a steady breath and locked eyes, she reached behind herself and grasped at the zipper and slowly pulled.

Xxxx

He sat up, his heart finally calming, his breath finally levelling. And with it came the guilt. He swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Stella, when I came here-"

"I know."

"I didn't-"

She sat up, a hand clutching the bed sheet across her body. She still throbbed in post-orgasm bliss, tingled where his stubble had scratched her sensitised skin. "Mac, I know." She went to touch his shoulder but pulled her hand back, unsure of his reaction to the gesture. "We can...blame it on the wine. If you wanted to."

He looked down, his head nodding slightly. "And if I didn't?"

She swallowed the swell of hope. "Evolution?"

He looked to her. "Inevitability."

She smirked, "And just a little bit of alcoholic courage."

His hand snaked to her cheek, caressing her skin as he pulled her in for another kiss.