A sigh eschewed from Jo Danville's lips. She supported her head with a hand, gazing at the many post-its that framed the screen of her office desktop –– too much to do. Jo's forefinger toyed lightly with the edge of a yellow one that had been in the right upper corner for quite some days already and was supposed to remind her to buy Ellie more cornflakes next time she managed to get groceries done. She just hadn't had any time yet with this case... that had required her to be at the office while the stores were open. Ellie was on holidays with school for the week, so at least she still had some time to get there. Jo herself often didn't have any time to eat anything before leaving for work, even with 'normal cases'.
No one waited at home. As such, she didn't regret her decision to stay and see what resulted from the DNA sample which Adam was still running through CODIS. Their system had already been at it for a while. She often wished it worked like it was always shown in crime shows on the television, and that every search resulted in a person of relevance after minutes. The truth wasn't quite like that in any way. If only.
While she had been there, she really could have –– she should have done something more useful than stare into space without looking at anything at all, letting her heart and her many conflicting emotions lead her tired mind through a series of doubts and other. She wasn't physically tired per se, but... Mac. She was worried enough. She had a fair idea of what was going on; maybe she only wished Mac hadn't had her rely on her incredible perceptiveness but just... confided in her even though Jo knew he was a headstrong man. As such, she couldn't say that she had been surprised at his reaction. Still, Jo Danville hadn't expected him to be so harsh. She had never seen him like that. She had thought that at least a mutual confidence, a sort of wordless sympathy and empathy was part of their relationship no matter what. She didn't like to doubt its existence. She adored Mac Taylor, and it was hard to push past how she felt about it all especially when she was alone.
She shook her head, sighed and calmly pushed away from her desk. She stood as her eyes caught the nightly illuminated New York skyline and moved to sit upon the ledge by the window and just gaze at it all. Jo had only lived in New York for two –– nearly three –– years. As such, she could still often find it wondrous enough. Taken by the view from her office window, Jo didn't see her supervisor enter.
Truth told, Mac hadn't really expected to see her at the lab anymore. As such, he hadn't truly intended to do what he did. However, there was an entirely indescribable but powerful feeling that made him enter her office when he saw her through the clear, glass walls of it. Oh, it was an impulsive decision –– a rare one for Mac Taylor. It wasn't actually one he regretted, though.
She turned to the sound, not sure how to feel about Mac being there. A whole mixture of emotions had lately run through her every time she saw him, often followed by her wishing it would return to how they used to be before... Because something had shifted; something had irrevocably altered between the two of them.
Jo's smile wasn't forced entirely, though. She felt it was quite natural. "Any news?" she wondered.
"Eh, not that I know of..." Mac replied. "You're going to camp here?" he wondered.
"Well, Mac Taylor, I am not the only one who's still here," she teased. To Jo's actual surprise, a smile rose upon his lips. Jo hadn't seen one in response to her in a little while. She could see the man really ponder over his next words, though. Mac Taylor's eyes betrayed him sometimes. Jo could read a lot in them –– maybe a little bit too much at times. At least much more than warranted by him.
"True," Mac muttered under a sigh at last. He stepped closer to Jo's desk slowly, didn't seem bothered when she didn't move but continued to lean against the ledge. "Undoubtedly, it is one of the reasons why Christine chose not to pursue our relationship anymore. She couldn't quite deal with it, which is of course entirely understandable." He sighed. "Claire was an impossible exception, I reckon."
Jo was rather surprised to hear this; Mac hadn't said anything at all until now. Then again, what had he said about his life lately or at all? "I'm so sorry, Mac," she stated.
"I knew deep down it wasn't really meant to be, I guess," he said.
Jo could see regret within his eyes; a strange sort of acceptance, too. She felt that there was more to say than he had, though. She finally pushed away from the ledge and calmly moved to her desk again. She did not sit. "Mac...?" she whispered. She wanted him to speak already, tell her what was bothering him. Part of her told her not to, reminded her of how Mac had reacted that last time when she had noticed something was obviously on his mind and had chosen to ask him about it. It wasn't really in Jo Danville's nature to remain quiet, though –– especially in situations like those. Jo's love for him won always in the end. She loved him very much; she hadn't known how very much until that day when he got shot, though. She just... couldn't help it. "Mac, what's the matter?"
A small smile passed Mac's lips again, but it disappeared soon enough. "I can't really shake off what Christine said when we parted yesterday. It has bothered me." She tilted her head; giving him the time to weigh his words. "That I don't have a clue how very loved I am and lucky to have the team and in particular... you. That you care a great deal."
Jo's thoughts immediately returned to that day, the conversation Christine undoubtedly must have had in mind. She could basically feel the despair again, the need to know. She felt heartache and regret, and a great deal of love. With that, she said, "She's quite right." Jo felt tears in her eyes, but she laughed through them –– she really felt a Hell of a lot like then. If only she knew why it bothered him in any way. "When you were shot, I sort of... lost it," she admitted. "I asked after you but never got answers; no one wanted to tell me anything. Christine did a much better job of remaining calm..."
All of a sudden, Mac vaguely recalled Flack telling him that he had never seen Jo so upset as then. He realized, he remembered, how he had felt when Jo called that time with John Curtis, the relief when he saw her and held her against him at last. He remembered how the drive had seemed endless... Shit. Mac's eyes closed in realization. He sighed. "I'm sorry for behaving the way that I did, Jo."
"The message was very clear, Mac. You––"
Mac's eyes opened and kind, teary hazel immediately clashed with a darker, robuster brown. "No," he interrupted. "I don't, Jo. I am a foolish man." He paused. He needed to just say this. "It... scares me how well you know me even despite the fact that we've known each other for what, three years? How you read me so easily."
Jo barely managed to swallow her sob and the flood of tears that pricked in her eyes. It cost her a lot of effort to keep herself together. "I will always know you, Mac Taylor," she whispered. Jo's voice sounded rather strange, quite choked, even to her ears, but she couldn't do any better for now.
He doubted for maybe a second. Suddenly, it became quite clear. Indeed, he had met someone. If only he had thought to focus on the right person. Mac crossed to her side of the desk, nodding slightly. "Come here," he murmured, even when Jo had fallen into his embrace already and was holding onto him with all that she had. "I'm so sorry, Jo. I'm so sorry for not having given you a chance."
He could feel her shake her head in his shoulder. A hand quietly ran through Jo's soft hair, another stroked back and forth over her lower back soothingly. He pressed his lips gently into her hair. "I love you, too, Josephine," he whispered. Time for him to return those words, wasn't it?
He could feel her lift her head off of his shoulder so that their gazes met once more. Mac's right hand ghosted over her cheek, capturing a tiny wisp of soft hair and tucking it tenderly behind her ear. Mac's fingers didn't leave there, though. Instead, he lifted Jo's gaze with his forefinger in a way Jo had never experienced before by any man. She could feel her breath leave her lungs, saw the small smile upon his lips that made her heart beat faster than should be humanly possible.
When their lips touched at last, the last few weeks dissolved –– the doubts, the insecurities. The rest of the world maybe dissolved for that moment, too, because for that one moment, it truly was only Jo and Mac.
Summary: Mac's been less than nice to his co-workers lately, to Jo in particular –– it is about time to say sorry to her, and maybe more than 'sorry'. JAC