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Fandom: CSI: New York
Characters: Mac Taylor
Pairings: None
Rating: G
Summary: Two things get him through the night
Warnings: Grief, mentions of 9/11.
Challenges: For [ profile] csinychallenge challenge #2, "NYC Landmarks". My chosen location was the New York Public Library, the given prompt was "just before dawn".

Mac pulls off his latex gloves with a snap as he walks down the marble steps from the McGraw Rotunda on the third floor, glad he's going down instead of up at this hour. Even an insomniac gets tired when they pull an all-nighter. Stella had offered to stay, but he'd sent her home hours before, and she'd only put up a small fight.

Well, small for her.

She hadn't said anything, of course, but Mac has a pretty good idea that she knows exactly why he wasn't in a hurry to leave work. It's been their yearly routine for the last couple years, as the edge comes off the summer heat and the kids head back to school. He starts working longer hours, even for him, Stella mother-hens him a bit in her own brash way, culminating in a quiet offer to handle things if Mac wants to take a day off.

A day. The day.

Every year, he's refused and she hasn't argued. This is how he gets through it, when most days, memories of Claire don't carry the hurt they once did, except for those few weeks in September. When the documentaries and movies start coming on TV, and he has to avoid channel surfing if he doesn't want to see that footage again. When he puts his head down and shoulders his way through the week or two before the day, and waits for it to be over. Waits to wake up early on Sept. 12th and have it done for another year.

He's never been to the ceremonies, though some people would probably think he should, considering his dual connection to that day. He doesn't want to go; even if they'd never found any of her remains--he tries not to think about what that word entails, remains, even though he's a crime scene investigator and he knows about all the things that can happen to the human body in a situation like that--there's nothing of her left there. Going there on that day won't bring him any closer to her than his own, private visits, and being surrounded by mourners won't ease his own heartache.

He crosses the floor of Astor Hall, silent except for his footsteps and the squawk of a uniform's radio. Stepping out the doors, he's surrounded by the noise of Fifth Avenue, 40th and 42nd streets, already--still--crowded with traffic even at this early hour. He takes a deep breath of what counts for fresh air in midtown Manhattan, pausing for a moment and trying to wake up enough to get home and grab a couple hours' sleep.

The squad cars' lights paint the lions and their pedestals red and blue, the stone sentinels looking slightly inward, as though watching everyone who approaches the building. In a few hours, the steps will be crowded with New Yorkers having lunch, tourists taking pictures of the Beaux-Arts facade and the lions out front, tour guides giving the usual patter as they pass by on buses. Mac knows the lines, though he's never taken one of the tours, even when he first came here; the nicknames of the lions that eventually stuck, after Mayor LaGuardia named them as the two things he believe New Yorkers needed to survive the Depression. He couldn't have known they'd be needed to survive again, 70 years later.

The same things Mac knows he's going to need to get through this time of year, to pass through these next four days, through this dark night of the soul, and come out the other side. To get through those darkest moments, just before the dawn of another 365 days before the next night.

Walking down the steps, he can feel their marble gazes on him. To his right, Patience; to his left, Fortitude.

Date: 2009-12-02 06:12 pm (UTC)
ext_3736: (CSI:NY || Mac || Play with Fire)
From: [identity profile]
I remember reading this before! I can't believe I didn't comment then. I love this, so much. It's so incredibly poignant and just beautiful. <3


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