Professor Papakota, and especially some of his last words, had made Stella Bonasera, half Greek, half Italian, doubt where she actually came from more. She never could have been any more proud to say she herself had been born in Greece that day, as she had eyed the many amazing sides of it, and smelled the air for a first in years again, though. For one reason or another the Greek within her usually called louder than the Italian. She did know how to save herself in Italian, but not quite as good as her Greek.
Professor P. had loved her mother. An indescribable irrational feeling that had resided in a corner of Stella's head since he had lost life in her arms, told her the reason why their connection had been so steady, was that maybe he could have been her father physically, and not just emotionally. DNA said otherwise, but something irrational kept pushing that thought backward and forth when she no longer had the strength to push it into that corner, and occupy herself with something – rather anything – else. Maybe it only was the fact that he had known her. She still had so many questions to which only he had had the answer. She wouldn't know any.
Mac's embrace had dried her tears, like had become their custom. The line between colleagues, good companions or lovers between them was thin even without that piece of reasoning. These times when he only appeared to be able to give her the comfort she sought... that line, however, was especially thin, and made them both appear like lovers to anyone else who didn't really know about them, or the nature of their relationship. What, however, was their true nature; the reason for their unbreakable trust within one another? Stella couldn't rightly say, and she highly doubted if Mac could if he was being honest to himself. It wasn't of most importance, though. What was of most importance, was that whatever existed between them, was there.
"You know, I don't need coffee grounds to see how lucky I am to have you in my life, Mac." Stella's voice had sounded solid. Even though it wasn't quite what she actually had wanted to say, it couldn't be any more truthful.
"See, there you go. See that right there? That's an 'S'. That would be 'Stella', the woman in your life who sometimes you adore, and sometimes she drives you crazy."
Both of them chuckled at that, and Stella carefully put down the cup, and leaned into the other's embrace. "I know that you care about me," Stella began, getting serious once again. "I know, because I care a lot about you, too. I'm sorry for putting you through that again," she said, and sighed, mind running into all directions, dwelling on the fact that no more she would have coffee with Professor P., or hear him talk about her mother.
Mac, as if reading her mind, lifted her chin up for her to look at him. He fleetingly tapped her nose, and even though the silliness of the motion, Stella smiled, leaning her head onto his shoulder. "It is never easy," Mac said. "Though it is so much harder if someone you really care about is involved." Stella nodded against his shoulder in response, agreeing. Both of them had experience with it.
She sighed, whispering, "I love you." She could momentarily feel the tension building in Mac's muscles against her cheek, and underneath the palm that rested on his chest, but then he slowly became comfortable again. She knew that he wouldn't question the nature of her words, possible never even considering them in another way than collegial or companion-like. She sighed. What was the true nature, actually? At least she had said them.
Then, Mac sighed. "Me, too," he whispered, then kissed Stella's hair, and rested his chin on her head. Together, both CSIs watched the very last gleams of sunshine disappear; the world readying itself for another day, and so did Mac and Stella.
Summary: Set after 5.25 Grounds of Deception. Sometimes all that anyone really needs is some comfort, from someone that cares. SMackers