This is not my [info]yuletide fic. Oops? Also, serious sap warning! 🙂
Author's Note: Post-4x04 ("Time's Up"), during which Stella told Mac she wasn't any good with men and Mac got broken up with by Peyton. Stella then finds him playing bass with Will Dailey. I simply could not resist. 🙂

He was not surprised that she'd found him. Stella had been a rock in Mac's life for such a long time, there were probably very few things they had not shared with each other at some point or another. What did surprise him was the way even her lips against his felt familiar.

Comfortable, not as if they were breaking into unknown territory that they both had stayed away from for good reason. But here they were, after sharing a couple of drinks and not really talking about why they were in a bar on a work night, holding each other and kissing. Kissing with intent, lips and tongues sliding against one another, arms tightening their hold. Stella was warm in his embrace, her hands sliding purposefully down his shoulders, around his back, exploring him without hesitation, and Mac knew he should stop this, should get them back on safe ground. If only it did not feel so right, not like betrayal or second best, but like the only thing that made sense.

It was Stella who broke away, after five minutes or five hours Mac couldn't tell. However, she did not step out of his arms nor did she ease her own hold of him, she just looked at him, cheeks flushed, eyes warm, and said, calmly: "Stop worrying, Mac. It'll be okay, trust me." She inclined her head to the side, questioningly: "You do trust me, don't you?"

He could do nothing except tighten his grip fractionally and respond, surprised only by the fervour in his voice: "Of course. I trust you with my life, Stella."

"So trust me with this." She smiled at him, radiantly happy, as if this solved all problems - and maybe it did, Mac figured. "We both need this, Mac, and if we can't turn to each other..."

She trailed off, and Mac realized that she was right, that this was not just about the loss of Peyton (of Claire), but also about her regaining some more ground after what Frankie had done to her. So he did the only thing he could think of - he kissed her again, gently, afterwards resting his forehead against hers for a moment. Then he grinned and cocked his head invitingly, running his hands slowly over her back, feeling her move into his touch: "So. My place or yours?"

"Mine, of course. Yours is much too far." Stella laughed and took a step away, taking his hand in hers and pulling him to the cloakroom. Chuckling, Mac followed her, anticipation pooling pleasurably in his stomach.

At her place, they did not allow themselves second thoughts, instead Mac kissed Stella deeply the moment the door closed behind, enjoying the way she instantly responded. There was not a passive bone in Stella Bonasera's body, and Mac found himself being propelled towards her bedroom decisively. They stumbled, once, almost falling, and rested against each other for a minute, laughing somewhat breathlessly, before Stella slid her hands under Mac's t-shirt and Mac's breath caught for a different reason.

He quickly recovered and reciprocated, allowing himself to linger on Stella's exposed skin for a while before moving on to his own pants while she also shed the rest of her clothes. Then she lay back on her bed, illuminated only by the golden light from the streetlight outside the window, and pulled him down on top of her. Mac buried his face in her neck, teasing her with lips and teeth, moving downwards to pay proper respect to the beautiful breasts he had, on occasion, fantasized about in the small hours of the night. She arched a little beneath his touch, gasping his name, and slung a leg over his hip, her lean thigh sliding against his erection in a way that had Mac almost forgetting himself. But, as always, Stella was right there with him, pushing him away slightly, just enough so she could reach her bedside table.

Then he was on his back, Stella next to him, exploring his body with hands and mouth until she finally slid the condom onto his erection. Mac couldn't help the almost desperate way in which his hips pushed up into her gentle grip, but she just smiled and leaned over to kiss him, deeply. He grasped her around the middle and brought himself back on top, looking at her for reassurance once more. Seeing the answer he needed in her parted lips, the arc of her body against his, the insistence of her hands around his neck, he slid into her. He closed his eyes briefly, concentrating, then opened them to watch her watch him.

Stella wrapped her legs around him and set a pace that Mac did his best to match. They had always been good at wordless communication, and this seemed no exception. Soon Mac had to stop kissing Stella and slid a hand between their bodies, down to where they met. She gasped his name when he teased her, and he managed a counterpoint to the rhythm of their hips until she pushed up sharply and pulsed around him. Her head fell back onto the pillow limply, the elegant line of her throat exposed, and Mac stilled for a moment, just watching, until she opened her eyes again and smiled teasingly, moving against him demandingly. He complied, and it wasn't long that he followed her across the edge, almost collapsing on top of her.

Stella rolled them to their sides, her hands firm and gentle on his heated skin, enveloping him as their heartbeats slowly returned to normal. Then, with great regret, Mac pulled out of her and disposed of the condom. He did not get up, feeling too content to move much, just wrapped it in a tissue from her nightstand and went back to holding Stella against him. Her breath fanned against his cheek, and he took in her scent, mixed with the unmistakable aroma of sex. He fell asleep to the feeling of her fingers in his hair.

When he woke, he knew instantly where he was and what had happened. Stella was still beside him. They were not quite touching but their bodies were curved towards each other and Mac spent several minutes just watching Stella from up close, taking in the way her breath lifted her chest, seeing the smudges of last day's make-up around her eyes, feeling a stray curl brush against his hand. Then he gently stroked her side, her skin sleep-warm under his fingers, tiny goosebumps rising where he touched her, and he pressed a kiss to her shoulder just as she opened her eyes.

"Morning, Stella," Mac said half-apologetically, as if he'd been caught at something illicit.

"Good morning," she said with a small teasing grin. Propping herself up on one elbow she kissed him, and Mac almost lost himself again in the feel of her lips. But then her alarm rang and Stella pulled away, reluctantly, sitting up completely. "That's our wake-up call, I'm afraid. Shift starts in an hour. Time to go back to the real world..."

Mac sat up, too, and looked at the woman next to him, nodding in agreement. There would be no awkwardness from this, that much he knew. What he was not so sure of was whether he would be able to forget what they had found this night - or whether, once the wound Peyton had caused had healed, or at least scabbed over, he would want to return here. Time would tell, he reckoned. And until then there would always be Stella, by his side, where she belonged.

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