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Fiesta by iluvrtoadrunner [ - ]
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Category: CSI: NY - Ship Ahoy! > CSI: NY Other Het Pairings
Characters: Don Flack, Stella Bonasera
Rating: PG-13
Genres: Angst, Character Study, Drama, Episode Related, Established Relationship, Friendship, Hurt Comfort, Romance, Vignette
Warnings: None

Summary: A group of short little Flack/Stella vignettes. My interpretation of the relationship. This one is post-"All Access" and mostly from Flack's POV although not written in first person. Spoilers for "All Access".

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Don heard that she was going back to her place. He really didn't think it was the best idea. He knew her better than that. She wanted to play the big girl card, and pretend that she could handle it, but in the place her head was in right then, there was no way in hell she could take reliving what had happened in that apartment over and over again.

Crime scene cleanup hadn't even gone through yet. What the hell was she thinking?

But then again, what the hell was he thinking? He was the one sitting outside her apartment building at two in the morning, waiting for her to come running out so he could be the hero. He knew that his behavior was bordering on stalker at the moment, but he didn't care. She needed him. He could feel it in his gut. He had felt in the hug at the hospital. But the words that had come out of her mouth previous to that had been evidence to the contrary.

"You're a really good friend."

Damn, if she only knew how much it killed him to hear that. Friend. Friend. They had been so much more than that, reduced to friends because she didn't want things to be uncomfortable at work. And there was the fact that she had years on him. But he hadn't cared about that, he wanted to take care of her. That was it. And then it almost happened. They were getting close again. Don could almost feel like he was with her again.

Then all this bullshit with Frankie started, and Don got pushed back to the nosebleeds. Frankie was more her age, he was more artsy, more sensitive, more thoughtful, more mature, seemingly more of everything Don was not. He also turned out to be more of a psycho as well. As the evidence came in, Don just kept praying that everything was going to be all right. Rape kit: negative. That was a huge load off his shoulders. If it hadn't been, Don would have had to find a way to resurrect Frankie, so he could kill him again. As he listened to her tell him of the horrors she had been through: scared shitless, dragged around her apartment, then having to shoot someone she loved and cared about? To be betrayed by someone she trusted so much.

And she called him Don. After they were over, anything and everything was Flack this, Flack that. She was reaching for something when she spoke to him, reaching for some kind of emotional connection to something that wasn't going to betray her. Wasn't going to stab her in the back. And he was all too willing to offer it.

Let alone having it all happen in her own home. He knew how she was about her space. She didn't have to reiterate how she felt about men in her home. All the times they had been together, it was always at his apartment. Always. The first time he had ever visited her apartment was when they had gotten the call from dispatch earlier that day. She was alone in a place where she could no longer feel safe. That, plus the trauma she had been through, was enough to make her loose her mind and he knew it.

Fuck being called a stalker. He was going in.

He took the long elevator ride up to her apartment, and as he was coming off the elevator, she was getting on. In fact, her mind was so far away from her right then, she ran right into him without even seeing him.

"Whoa, easy, Stella," he sighed as he caught her, steadying her in her frenzied state.

"Flack?" she frowned, looking up at him in surprise, "What are you doing here?"

"Heard you were going home, so I thought I'd see how you were doing," he replied, trying to make it sound as friendly and nonchalant as possible. But he knew that she knew him well enough to tell that he was lying. But at that point she didn't seem to care.

"Everything's a mess, and there's blood everywhere, and—"

"OK, OK," he sighed, pulling the scared woman into a hug she readily accepted, "Let me call crime scene cleanup, we'll go get something to eat, and when they're done, if you still want to go back, I'll take you home. If not, I'll get you a hotel or something. OK?"

She took a few deep breaths, steadied herself, then nodded, "OK. Sounds good."

***

Don watched her as she downed an entire slice of chocolate cheesecake. Previous to this, they had split an appetizer, she had had a salad, and an entire plate of the restaurant's famous chicken parmesan, which, in itself, was enough to feed a battalion. After all this time, he had forgotten how much she could eat. Half the time she gave him a run for his money. He glanced down at the half-eaten piece in front of him, and he glanced up again to see her finishing the last of her crust. She eyed the piece in front of him, and stuck out her fork in it's direction.

"You gonna eat that?"

He gave her a look of disbelief, and she grinned, "I'll take that as a no." He pushed the plate in her direction and she sighed, "C'mon Flack, you know we Greek girls can eat."

"Yeah, but I never thought they'd be able to inhale more than a healthy Italian boy, that's all."

He watched her as she laughed. He loved making her smile. She looked like she could use a good laugh after the day she had had. She began to dig into his cheesecake just as the phone started to ring.

"Crime scene cleanup?" she asked.

"Yeah," he replied, flipping open the phone. He watched her as she ate, only catching the select words he needed to hear, letting him know that they were finished cleaning up. He didn't want the time with her to end. He didn't want to have to take her home, and leave her there, alone. Where she was vulnerable. Where she wasn't safe.

"They're done," he sighed as he hung up the phone. He looked at her and she knew she had to make a decision. Home, or not home. That was the question.

"Take me home," she replied, "I really wanna go home."

"OK," he sighed, before signaling the waiter for the check.

The drive back to her apartment was a long one. Or, at least it felt long. He wanted to drag it out as long as possible, as long as he could. When they finally pulled up in front of her apartment, he walked her to the door. The evening had felt so familiar to him, so comfortable. Everything seemed to be as it should have been.

When they finally reached her front door, she slowly opened it. She stepped forward into the place that had been her sanctuary, her safe haven, and he was going to respect that. She turned back to look at him, and her light eyes flickered with something he had never seen in them before.

Fear.

"Would you mind staying?" she asked, the hardest thing in the world for her to do at that moment.

His heart jumped fifty feet in the air, but his head reacted first.

"Stell, are you sure your head's in the right place—" he began, but she cut him off.

"Don, I need someone here," she sighed, "I need someone I can trust here." She hesitated again, and that look was there again. The fear. The fear he hated to see. "Please?"

"Yeah," he nodded, taking a hesitant step into the threshold of her apartment. She took his hand in hers, and gave it a small squeeze.

"Thank you."