Heya guys! i 'm still busy with my other stories and will hopefully post them soon. i was playing with this idea for a long time so i decided to make it a one shot. please keep in mind that i am a South African and the way our medical people do things is somewhat different from other parts in the world. i also don't own them but wont mind if i can get Mac and the gang for Christmas (hint hint). i dont own the family mentioned in this story but they are mine or rather based on my own family. (thanks Mommy).

This story goes out to all the nurses (mom was one), paramedics (brother is one) and doctors (would like one) out there as well as the medical helpers all over the world. I salute you all.

Secondly this is also a tribute to my father (Andries in the story)! Miss you pappa!

Hope you all enjoy!

Thoughts flashed through his mind like the lights past the car window. Being the head of the New York crime lab was a lot of work, but it was still something he enjoyed and as the saying goes, 'you got to take the good with the bad'. He wasn't particularly lonely; he spent way too much time catching criminals to feel that emotion. It did creep in sometimes though. Especially times like these, days like today.

Mac glanced at the clock on the dashboard in front of him; he smiled in spite of himself. The smile however did not reach his eyes.

"Happy Birthday Mac." He said to himself.

It wasn't as though anybody was going to forget, Jo already made some comments about a party, he really wasn't the partying type of guy, but for them he would go and enjoy himself. Or try to. That was his thing, doing things for others. He liked doing it, it made him feel good. He already did something for Lucy today, bought her a teddy and played with her while Danny and Lindsey ran out for shopping. He liked spending time with little Lucy. It kept him from home and maybe that was his problem. He didn't want to go home instead he used his office as a home and crimes scenes as his excuse.

Mac gave himself a shake. This train of thinking was just way too morbid for his birthday. Yes, for today he will try to think only positive thoughts maybe that will put him in a better mood.

"I have been spending way too much time with Jo." He says to himself with a laugh.

What happened next, no one could have predicted. Even though things like this happens on a daily basis it seemed almost unfair that this would happen to Mac Taylor, who was finally on his way home from work after two consecutive doubles and to top it all off, it was his birthday.

Mac had stopped at a red light, patiently waiting for it to turn green and when it did, drove on towards his apartment. There was not too much traffic but still enough to remind you that you are in New York. A Blue Ford Ranger came flying down the road, jumped the red light and slammed into the Avalanche on the driver's side. This caused a car pile-up as the Avalanche was pushed into the car on the other side. The cars driving in the opposite direction also got pulled into the metallic tug-o-war as some cars managed better than others. The whole thing lasted about ten minutes but for the people involved it felt like hours. For some these ten minutes will haunt their lives for a very long time, for others their lives are forever changed and for some their lives ended in those ten minutes. In the deafening silence that followed people were getting over the shock of what just happened, then like a volcano erupting the noise picked up again. Car horns blaring, people screaming, metal creaking, friends calling friends, family members calling loved ones and in the middle, in the dark Avalanche one man was lying, pinned down, alone and very, very quiet.

Not too far from the massive accident a family was sitting down to enjoy their dinner. The father sat at the head of the table, he looked at his family. He was proud of his family, his two sons and his daughter as well as his wife. They weren't a very rich family with regards to finances but they were rich in the love of family. He looked at his wife, a nurse. She came from a family of care givers, and the love she grew up with was a solid foundation for her own family. The oldest son was a paramedic. The first in the family, he followed in his mother's footsteps and enjoyed his work. Bit on the workaholic side but it made him happy. His second son was into hotel management and worked at one of the biggest hotels in New York. He was different than his brother but still good with people. His mission in life was to make things slightly easier for travellers. Then there was his daughter. A couple of years ago, nobody would have guessed she would become a teacher. She was a bit on the weird side of life with a stubborn streak and a way too active imagination. Like her mother and brothers she was in the business of helping people and making their lives better.

Just before they started eating right after grace was said, the phone rang. Liza being the youngest got up to go and answer, calling for her brother Stefan a little while later.

"Marinett said that they have a multiple car pile-up and they are very short handed." She announced to the rest of the family as she came into the dining room. Stefan wasn't far behind making an excuse and then rushing to go change. The phone rang again, and Liza went for it a second time.

"If that is who I think it is I have to go and change as well," Edna said as she got up and sure enough her daughter called out not long after.

Andries smiled. He made peace with interrupted dinners and half-finished conversations a long time ago. The rest of the family got up and helped to put keys and jackets together for easy access. Unlocking the front door and holding out cell phones. Anything to help, they all knew that every second counts when it comes to saving people's lives. Barely five minutes later Stefan run out the door to meet Marinett on the street where she would probably be waiting.

"I'll drop mom off." Eddie said looking at his father who nodded his acceptance.

"Let's see if we can get their food packed and ready to go." Andries said to Liza as Edna and Eddie left. "You can take it to them later." She nodded; the next few hours will be too busy to eat for her family. As the two lifesavers went about their business, prayers went up to the biggest lifesaver of all.

When Stefan got to the scene he immediately started climbing over the cars to get to the Avalanche. Something caught his eye, someone was moving in there.

"Sir, can you hear me?" Stefan was calling out to the man in the car. He reached it and saw his face scrunched up in pain. He tapped him lightly on his cheek to wake him up. He checked him over quickly noticing that his legs were pinned under the dashboard, his arm hanging at an odd angle and multiple cuts and bruises all over his face and arms. The biggest worry was the gash above his ear where it connected with the window. He put on a C-collar trying to prevent further spinal injuries and continued to call out to the injured man.

"Sir, can you hear me?" he called again.

"Y..y…y..e..s" the man croaked out and Stefan breathed a sigh of relief.

"My name is Stefan. I'm a paramedic. I need you to stay awake for me. Can you do that?" he continued to work as he was talking.

"I'll try." Came the croak again.

"Can you tell me your name?" Stefan called out to the firemen to help him get his patient out.

"Mac. Mac Taylor." He gasped in pain as Stefan fastened a splint on his broken arm.

"Sorry about that. Pleased to meet you Mac." The firemen arrived and where starting to plan the best way of getting mac out.

"OK, we're going to try and get you out of here and to a hospital so you can get help."

"Kay," was all that Mac got out.

After a while and a little struggling they got Mac on a backboard and in the back of Stefan's bus on the way to Trinity. He called it in and listed the possible injuries. Just as he finished Mac's phone rang. Stefan looked at his patient and saw that he was unconscious again. He saw the caller id flashing 'Danny' and made a split second decision to answer and let someone know even if it wasn't in his job description.

"Hallo?" instead of someone answering a little girl started singing 'Happy Birthday' and Stefan's heart stopped in his throat. He waited for the girl to stop singing and gently asked to speak to her mom or dad. A laughing woman came on the line and surprise was clear in her voice,

"Mac, you alright?"

"No, my name is Stefan. I'm a paramedic." A gasp made him pause.

"Oh, no, please. Mac. What happened?"

"There was an accident. Mac got hurt but he is holding his own. We are on our way to Trinity if you want to meet us there?"

"Yeah, yeah, Thanks." He disconnected and took a deep breath. A hand grabbed his arm and he looked down at his patient.

"Thank you." It was muffled through the oxygen mask but the words came through.

"You should have told me it was your birthday. The little girl sang to you. That your daughter?"

Mac shook his head as much as he could, "Goddaughter."

"Well, happy birthday Mac. Just relax, everything will be fine." Mac closed his eyes and gave Stefan's arm a weak squeeze before falling into unconsciousness once again.

Several hours later a group of worried friends was sitting in the waiting room waiting for news of their friend. A doctor came in and gave them the good news that despite his injuries and the severity thereof, he was going to be fine. At the nurses' station Edna stood next to her son and watched as the friends hugged and shook hands after the news and they couldn't help but smile. Their job was really the most satisfying especially when they see scenes like this.

"Lizzy brought our food. Meet you in the nurses' room?"

"For Dad's mac n cheese? I'm there already." Then mother and son walked side by side to the private room to finish their dinner that became lunch.

A couple of weeks later, there was a knock on the door and Liza went to open. She had just come home and was busy getting something to eat. She loved her job but sometimes those kids made her wanting to climb out the walls. As she opened the door, she saw two men standing there, one were on crutches.

"Can I help you guys?"

"Is there a guy with the name of Stefan here?"

"Yeah, he is. Would you guys like to come in? It looks like you are about to fall." She said indicating the man on crutches. They nodded and moved passed her. She closed the door, motioned for them to sit down and called out for her brother.

"Can I get you guys something to drink?"

"No, thanks. We won't be here long." Just then Stefan came around the corner and took in the two men sitting on the sofa.

"Hi there. Can I help you folks?"

"I don't know if you remember me but you helped me a couple of weeks ago. In the pile-up?"

"Yeah, now I do. Mac Taylor, you looking better."

Mac smiled, "I feel better too. This is my friend Don Flack."

"Pleased to meet you."

"We came to say thanks. You saved a good man that day and also a very good friend." Don spoke up for the first time.

"I also wanted to thank you."

"It's my job and my pleasure. It wasn't necessary to come out all this way though."

"Yeah, it was. We also came to invite you and your family to my very belated birthday party."

"Sure, why not. Thanks."

The guys spoke for a little more and took their leave. Stefan turned to his sister as she came out of the kitchen,

"And that's why I do this job!" she looked at him in puzzlement.

"To see sick and injured people going on with their lives and being healthy again." His sister smiled at him. He turned around and went to get ready for work.

Not everybody says thanks, not everybody survives but this job is made worthwhile by just seeing people smile after being sick or injured.