a/n: This is my first CSI:NY fanfic, inspired by a plot bunny that I couldn't get out of my head. I'm still new to CSI:NY, so I'm hoping the characters aren't OOC or anything. If they are, please do let me know so I can fix it.

disclaimer: I do not own CSI:NY, I'm just borrowing the characters.

chapter one

All in all, it was a good day for a police chase. It was a crisp fall day, slightly sunny, and not too cool. The street was wide, fairly unobstructed, and low traffic. Mac Taylor had to give Robbie Cortland props for choosing a nice, low-risk place to be chased. Robbie was also slightly drunk, enough to be stumbling over his own feet as he blundered down the street, overturning trash cans and shopping carts in a frantic escape attempt.

Mac gave chase, feet pounding the pavement, gloved hands gripping his Glock firmly. He could hear Stella Bonasera's breath behind him, and smell her perfume in the breeze. He could see Don Flack running towards them from the other side, hoping to cut the suspect off. He was gaining ground rapidly, reaching out to grab the back of Robbie's hoodie and pull him down to the pavement.

There was a rumble of wheels on the pavement behind him, and Robbie twisted away. Mac scrambled for him again, regaining his balance.

"Mac!" screamed Stella, who was trailing behind him. Time slowed down, and she put on a burst of speed, struggling to reach him before the SUV barreling down the quiet street did. Her lungs burned with the effort, and her throat felt raw from shouting. "Look out!"

He looked up, giving Robbie the advantage he needed to stagger to his feet and throw himself to safety. Stella could only watch as his blue eyes widened in horror as he saw his reflection in the hood of the black SUV speeding towards him. There was a sickening crunch as the grille collided with his body, and he rolled up and over the hood, shattering the windshield.

Stella's hands flew to her mouth as she watched her boss spin off the windshield and crash to the pavement. His head bounced off the asphalt, and then he lay sprawled in the road, limp as a ragdoll.

The truck roared off down the street, coating them both in exhaust fumes.

His fingers twitched, and were still. A thin line of blood trickled from his temple, and bruises were already painting a dark watercolour across his cheekbones. She wanted to dry heave, but instead of finding a trashcan, she forced herself to stand shakily, and bolted over to him, fingers reaching for his neck instinctively, checking for a pulse. His heartbeat hummed weakly under her fingertips. "Flack! Call 911!" she gasped, as the dark-haired detective sprinted over to her, already dialing.

She wanted to loosen his tie, so he could breathe more easily, but knew she couldn't move him in case of a spinal cord injury. She wanted to dab the blood from his forehead, but knew that would be compromising evidence. Feeling dizzy, she settled for taking his hand gently in hers. "Mac, squeeze my hand if you can hear me," she said softly. "Please, Mac. Squeeze my hand. Please."

His fingers were lifeless in hers, squeezing her heart like a vise.

"Stell, the paramedics are on their way," Flack said, putting a soothing hand on her shoulder and pulling her back slightly.

Stella nodded, biting her lip as she looked up at him, tears gathering in her eyes and threatening to spill over. "He has to be okay, Flack. He just has to be."

"He's still breathing, Stella. He shouldn't be, after that, but he is. He's a tough guy. He'll pull through," he said, trying to convince himself just as much as her. He didn't want to admit that it didn't look good.

Sirens wailed in the cool autumn air, and Stella looked up hopefully, as an ambulance turned the corner and stopped, the back doors opening. Paramedics jumped out, carrying a stretcher, and the quickly lifted him onto it, checking his vitals.

"Stella, you can go with him; I'll call Jess to help me process the scene," said Flack, already unfastening the latches on the crime scene kit. He pulled out a pair of tweezers and began bagging shards of broken glass from the windshield and the headlights.

Stella paused, torn between wanting to go with Mac but knowing she could do nothing for him, and wanting to help Flack process the scene. "I'll stay here and help you. I can help Mac more if I'm here collecting evidence than waiting at the hospital," she replied determinedly, watching as Mac's inert body was loaded into the back of the ambulance. The doors shut with a kind of finality, and the sirens blared as the vehicle sped away. Her eyes followed it until the bright lights disappeared.

The next few hours passed in a blur, and Stella found herself stepping out of Flack's car in front of the hospital, the wind all of a sudden biting her exposed skin. Shivering, she adjusted her navy scarf, and tucked her hands into her coat pockets, as she stepped through the automatic front doors of Trinity General Hospital. The bright lights made her head pound as she headed for the front desk.

"May I help you, miss?" asked a sweet female voice, and Stella whipped around, trying to collect herself enough to speak. She leaned heavily on the desk, the room swirling around her.

"Can you tell me where Mac Taylor is?" she asked, voice trembling.

"Room 325, Trauma Ward," said the nurse on duty kindly. "That's on the third floor."

"Right. Thanks." Managing to toss a thin smile in the woman's direction, Stella turned and hurried towards the elevator. She hit the up button, and was just waiting for the doors to open, when she heard a familiar voice.

"Stella, wait up!" called Flack, rushing across the shiny floors towards his friend. He skidded to a stop and smacked the doors, holding them open so she could get in. "I called the rest of the team. They're on their way. Do you know how Mac's doing?"

Stella shook her head, dragging her teeth across her lower lip. "Nope. He's in Trauma, though."

"He's going to be alright," said Flack reassuringly, patting her shoulder.

The doors opened, and they stepped into a busy, well-lit hallway, bustling with doctors and nurses in neat scrubs. Stella paused for a second to figure out which direction they needed to go, and then began to walk towards his room, which was filled nurses. They were taking blood samples, adjusting the oxygen mask, and inserting a more permanent IV in the crook of his elbow.

She watched as they transferred him onto a gurney and wheeled him out of the room.

"Are you here for Mac Taylor?" asked a male nurse, straightening his stethoscope.

"Yeah, we're his friends," said Flack quickly. "Is he going to be okay?"

"Why don't you take a seat?" he suggested, ushering them to a row of chairs just outside Mac's room, and waiting until they had both dropped heavily into them before continuing, "Mr. Taylor is in rough shape. They're taking him for a CT scan right now. He's still unconscious and I think they're putting him in a medically-induced coma until they can determine the extent of the brain damage."

"Brain damage?" asked Stella, gripping the arms of the chair until her knuckles turned white.

"He has a severe concussion, whiplash, as well as a few hematomas, and broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder," he replied. "However, if he wakes up, he'll be able to make a recovery. Mr. Taylor's a tough guy. He won't likely be awake for a while, but if you want to wait, feel free. There's coffee and food in the cafeteria."

"Thank you, you've been very helpful," said Flack, patting Stella's arm again, as the nurse excused himself and headed off down the hallway.

Lindsay and Danny arrived first, flanked by Hawkes and Jess, who toted piping hot Starbucks coffees. Hawkes was carrying a kit for processing Mac and his clothes.

Lindsay pushed a cup of coffee into Stella's hands, while the rest of the team settled themselves in for a wait.

Flack accepted a steaming cup from Jess, barely managing a smile as she sat down next to him, squeezing his hand gently.

"How's he doing?" asked Danny, breaking the tense silence, and sipping his coffee.

"Not so good. They're talking severe concussion, possible brain damage, as well as broken ribs and a few hematomas. Prognosis is pretty good, though," Flack said, summarizing the nurse's conclusion.

"He's having a CT scan right now," Stella put in, wrapping trembling fingers around the warm cup, letting its heat seep into her skin and soothe her. "They're going to put him into a coma for a few days."

"Shit," Danny breathed softly. "I knew it was bad, but I didn't think it would be this bad."

"He'll be okay," said Lindsay calmly, as the nurses wheeled Mac back into the room, and transferred him back to his bed, attaching the IV to its port and switching his oxygen mask.

Stella waited until the medical staff cleared out, leaving Mac alone, hooked up to more tubes than she could count, and looking not at all like the Mac she knew. There were abrasions and bruises covering the entire right side of his face, and his nose had obviously been smashed and set. His skin was waxen and there was an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth.

"Oh, Mac," she murmured, moving a little closer to sit by his bed, and taking his hand. "We're going to find who did this to you, I promise."

With a final caress of his non-bruised temple, Stella stood reluctantly to let Sheldon into the room. She slipped out the door as he began to photograph Mac, gently peeling down his hospital gown to get a better look at the lacerations. The camera flashed and she dropped into her seat next to Flack, sitting back and getting as comfortable as possible in the hard plastic chairs.

Sheldon emerged an hour later, laden down with fingernail scrapings, paint traces, glass pieces, and hair samples. He gave the team a small smile. "He's still out, but he looks pretty good for a guy who just got hit by a car," he joked, trying to lighten the mood. "Where's Lindsay?"

"She's getting Mac's clothes so we can process them," replied Danny, crumpling his coffee cup in his hands, and getting up to toss it in the garbage. "There's probably going to be paint traces and glass and asphalt that can help us identify the vehicle. Did anybody get a license plate?"

"I got a partial. We can run it back at the lab," said Flack, pulling his memo book from the breast pocket of his suit jacket, and handing the page to Danny. "It was a black SUV, New York plates. The driver was a Caucasian male, brown hair and medium build from what I saw, which wasn't much."

"A black SUV in New York? Talk about a needle in a haystack," muttered Danny, scuffing the toe of his running shoe against the shiny tiled floor.

"Maybe not as much as you might think. When the SUV hit Mac, he shattered the windshield and headlights, as well as leaving a big dent in the hood. With that kind of damage, the car is going to need immediate repairs," Flack said, making a note in his memo book. "We can cross-reference black SUV with the partial we got, and see if anything pops. Then, we can see if it was taken anywhere to be repaired."

"We know Robbie Cortland had gang ties, and we tried to arrest him in his neighbourhood. If his knight in shining armour had gang ties too, then we can try looking up mechanics in the area," added Stella, draining her coffee.

"Sounds like a plan." Flack stood up, looking over at Mac's room, and shaking his head slowly. "I feel like I need to be doing something. I can't stay here and just watch him lie there. I'm going to run the partial. This case just got personal." He clenched his fists at his sides, and pivoted, preparing to head back to his car.

"We're pretty close to closing our case," said Danny, shuffling his feet. "As soon as we're done we'll come and help you get this son of a bitch who tried to kill Mac."

"Stella, are you going stay here?" asked Jess, putting down her coffee cup, and putting a gentle hand on the brunette's arm. "We can handle things back at the lab, if you want to stay here and see how Mac's doing."

Stella took a deep breath, considering it. It was tempting to stay here and just watch him, to make sure his chest continued to rise an fall, but she knew that wasn't going to help. Besides, with what the nurse had said, she knew he'd be out for at least a few days. She cast him a lingering look, and then stood up. "I'll come with you. We can start running the traces Sheldon got off Mac, see if we can match the paint."

"You want a drive?" offered Flack, twirling his car keys around his index fingers.

"Yeah, I'll go with you," said Stella, following him out of the hospital.

Stella showed up in Mac's room at 8:00 am the next morning, and settled in for the long haul. She brought her laptop and ran fingerprints and traces from her seat in the chair next to Mac's bed. The case had hit a dead end, but they were determined to work through it. She typed one-handed, the fingers of her other hand entwined with his limp fingers.

All the while, she was silently begging him to wake up, or move, or just give her some sign he was going to be okay.

Flack and the rest of the team alternated between sitting with Stella at Mac's bedside, and the lab. There were tense, hurried conversations in the cafeteria, over cups of acrid coffee. There were discussions of medical terms. They studiously avoided mentioning that Mac might never wake up, or that it might take days, or even weeks.

Five days after the accident, Stella was curled up in a chair next to his bed, trying to ignore her aching legs. She shifted, trying to get more comfortable, and put down her laptop. She pinched the bridge of her nose, and sighed. She was exhausted, and ready to drop. She was almost asleep, head drooping against the chair, when there was a small rustle of blankets next to her. Brushing it off as a figment of her overtired imagination combined with wishful thinking, Stella barely cracked an eye. Mac hadn't moved in five days.

It was the low moan that caught her attention. Then, his eyelids flickered lightly, and his fingers twitched ever so slightly against hers. His bright blue eyes opened slowly, and his gaze locked with hers.

"You're awake!" she exclaimed, resisting the urge to throw herself over the rails of her bed and wrap her arms around him. Relief flowed through her like a river of warmth.

Stella had seen and heard many disturbing things in her years as a homicide detective, but nothing could have prepared her for what came out of Mac Taylor's mouth next, accompanied by a vacant sapphire stare.

"Who are you?"

I hope you've enjoyed reading it so far. If you liked it, please drop me a review to let me know!