Mac tried to ignore the look of hurt that passed through Jo's eyes as his words came out in a harsher tone than he would ever think to use on anyone, let along Jo who he knew was only looking out for him, who had he told would have been nothing less than supportive. Without waiting for a reply he had left her there somewhat shell shocked and hurt.

With a heavy heart Jo packed up her desk relieved that their case was closed and it was the weekend.

Normally she had a tough skin when it came to confrontations, in her job and with her history, it came all part of the package. Coming from Mac, it was different. They were supposed to be friends and for the small amount of time they had known each other there was a respect, camaraderie and most of all genuine friendship between them, or at least she thought so, and now she wasn't so sure. With a deep sigh she picked up her bag and headed out. She gave a quick wave to Danny, Lindsay, Hawks, Sid and Flack who were all waiting for Mac to hit the pub. They gave her a questioning look as they realised she wasn't joining them.

"Ellie," she mouthed as a reply to which they all nodded in understanding giving her a friendly wave back. She smiled as she got in the lift. It wasn't until the elevator doors closed that she let her shoulders droop to match how she felt. She slipped her glasses on and headed out of the doors.

Mac who after his confrontation with Jo and pending one with Christine was in no mood for their usual 'one drink' after a closed case, but he knew his absence would only bring more questions he wasn't quite ready to answer.

Expecting that Jo wouldn't let up he got himself ready for round three. Much to his surprise she wasn't there. He felt regret tug at his gut, had he pushed back too hard this time?

"Where's Jo?" He asked casually,

"Ellie," Danny answered watching him closely. He had wondered if something had transpired between Mac and Jo who were usually so tight. He wondered if his voicing out his concern about Mac to her put her head in the lions mouth.

After Stella's transfer they weren't quite sure if anyone could ever take her place, and without trying to Jo just slipped in and was immediately one of them. She was playful and she never pulled any punches. They all admired her integrity and how much she cared.

She had a way of bringing Mac out of his shell that no one else could easily do, especially someone who was so recently added to their tight knit family.

Mac's mind was elsewhere all evening. He knew that he and Christine weren't finished with their discussion and to some degree he owed Jo and apology. After the one drink no one was surprised when he bid them all good night.

Before heading to Christine's he called Jo. Jo heard his ringtone from the kitchen and considered missing his call but she didn't play those games. Reluctantly she answered,

"Hey Mac, is there a case?" She asked wearily,
"Ah no. I just wanted to check in and make sure everything was okay with Ellie, you weren't at drinks." Jo held her breath and counted to three before replying, frustrated that he could ask all the questions but no one else could.
"Yeah everything's fine," she answered not offering any more than that which Mac knew was not like her. For the first time since he had met her there was a distance between them. One he knew he put there.
"I also wanted to say I'm sorry for how I came off today. I know that you're jut worried."
"It's okay. As you said I was way out of bounds. It's not my place. Won't happen again." For someone who was never at a loss for words, her sentence was short but filled with meaning and Mac knew her well enough to translate.
"You're right I assumed I was your friend. That we were friends and I guess we really aren't. My bad."
"It's okay Mac. I got it, loud and clear. Thanks for checking in. I'll see you Monday." Without waiting for his response she hung up. Mac stared at his phone and sighed.

Mac knew he owed it to Christine to tell her the truth and if they were to survive the downfalls of his job, less than honesty wasn't going to cut it. He apologized as he began to tell her everything. In the end Jo was right, his doctor was right, the mere confession released him and telling Christine made the burden weigh less on his shoulders and his confession brought another level of intimacy between them.

The following morning Mac stood in front of Jo's apartment door. He felt somewhat anxious as he heard her footsteps head towards the door. She sighed as she saw him standing there with coffee and her favorite pastries.

"I heard that so I know you're in there so you might as well open the door while the coffee is hot." Rolling her eyes up to the heavens she began to unhook the latch and unlock her door. The man sure knew her weakness for caffeine and pastries.
"Morning, I come bearing baked goods, caffeine and a massive apology."
"Though the gesture is appreciated, it's unnecessary. You apologized already if I remember correctly." He knew she wasn't going to cut him slack, nor did he really expect her to. She stared him down, all her defenses were up and she had closed the door to her soul that was always open to him from day one. There was no playfulness in her stature, no anger, nothing but politeness.

"I wanted to also thank you. For always looking out for me. I know you were only trying to be supportive."
"Sure, no problem." She answered with nonchalant shrug still not looking at him. Mac placed the coffee and pastries on the table and walked over to her closing the physical distance between them. He placed a hand on each of her shoulder, and looked right at her.
"I'm sorry! For what I said, how I said it and what it implied. You are my friend, one of my closest friends. I trust you with my life and your friendship means the world to me. I need you to hear that." In that instant he watched as her defenses slowly fell.
"Okay, okay. Message received." Mac watched her closely as if trying to read whether or not she was merely placating him. He let out a deep breath,
"After the accident I was finding a couple of things hard to do. Normal things, every day thingsā€¦" he began. Jo listened intently as he went through every detail, she knew it was fear that had kept him from telling those closest to him what was going on with him. Mac prided himself as their go to person, he took care and looked out for each and everyone of them and to feel as though he was less than who and what he was, was unfathomable to him.
"Firstly I'm here, I have your back, and I always will. We are all behind you. Secondly, you're the most infuriating man in the world Mac Taylor!" Taken by surprise he wasn't quite sure what to say, which gave her the opportunity to keep going,

"You are the first person in our world who would drop everything to cater to our needs. Being a family isn't about one person looking after everyone, it's about everyone taking care of each other. I understand why you didn't want to tell us, but that's just stupid Mac."
"Are you done?" he asked with a smirk, noting that she was back to the old Jo,
"I know, you're right. I'm still wrapping my head around this. You and Christine are the only two who know, I'd like to keep it that way till they can determine if this is permanent.
"For now, let me go with this my way." Jo hesitated but eventually nodded.
"Why are you telling me?" she asked,
"For one you're my friend, secondly Christine thinks I should have someone at work to confide in, and someone who could be on look out for signs that I may be getting worse, but above all else, I trust you."
"Okay, we do this on your terms, but promise you'll think about letting the others in on this too. They've been worried about you too."
"I know, I will."
"I'm in," she said making a grab for the pastries and coffee from the table.
"I'm about to go through my tivo'd list, you're welcome to hang if you're not already doing something," Mac chuckled as she had him his coffee but followed her to the couch knowing that things were back to normal.