A.N./ I don't own the CSI:NY nor the poem. It's Wisława Szymborska's "Cat in an empty flat" translated by Norman Crane./

WARNING: major character's death

To die - one's don't do that to cat.

... nor a man. They are both lost after that. And he has just lose his companion, best friend, wife. For the second time.

For what's a cat to do
in an empty flat.

It's empty without her. The void is terryfing. He can't stand it. But he hardly ever goes out these days. He goes to the lab, and goes back. To an empty flat. Without her lefting clothes everywhere there's not much to do. It was usually she who motivated them to go out. On the weekends they would eat breakfast in Central Park, watch a random, cheesy musical in Broadway, or spend a whole day baking small biscuits for children in the orphanage. She was his source of energy. He has never been as creative as she was. Now he doesn't have a reason to go out. So he just sits and watch the walls.

Scale the walls.
Snuggle between furniture.

He has no energy to do anything. He can't cry. He wants to run and scream, but he just sits. Or lays. Or tosses-and-turns. Or walks around the flat that used to be theirs.

It seems nothing's changed here,
yet it's been rearranged.
Seems unmoved,
yet slid apart.
And in the evenings the lamp no longer flickers.

After her funeral his therapist, thank you, Danny, told him to try to slowly throw her things away. He hasn't visited him after that. Why don't they understand that she was a part of him!? So her mug is still on its place. Her toiletries are still untouched on her shelf in the shower. Her clothes still in the closed. And her pillow that smells like her. They all wait for her return. He knows it's just an illusion. But this illusion is what keeps him alive. Actually, he can lie to himself that she works on a different case and is too busy to meet him during day. That's how he survives his shifts in the lab. The illusion of normality shades away on evenings, she doesn't argue with him about reading in bed before sleeping, she was a night owl, while he's a morning bird.

Steps heard on the stairs,
but not those.

He doesn't take weekends off anymore. What for? He takes double shifts. There's always someone in the lab. And he's always alone a home. He can believe she's still alive when he's at work, it's much harder at home. But even he has to go home sometimes. And when he's at home, he still has an habit of listening to the steps on the corridor, hoping he will hear this steps, her steps. But they never come. So he just keeps listening.

A hand that puts fish on a plate,
Not that which put.

When she lived, they used to eat breakfasts together. She made an oatmeal for him, he prepared pancakes for her. She often joked about that habit of theirs. The first morning without her he made pancakes. And throwed them away. He understood he had forgotten how to make a proper oatmeal. That day he didn't have breakfast. Now he eats breakfast out. At the beginning the ordered oatmeals, but none tasted like hers. He became a saussages and toasts man.

Something doesn't begin
at its usual time.
Something doesn't happen
as it should.

His whole rutine has changed. It's totally new now. Shortly after her death he tried to live like he had lived before they had married and moved in together. After a few weeks he understood it isn't possible. Because he isn't the same Mac Taylor now. After Claire died, he had her. Now, he has no one. Of course, he team tri to be supportive. But most of the time, they fail. Lindsay brings him a home-cooked meal on the weekends. She doesn't know he hardly ever eats it. Jess makes two sandwiches instead of one and every morning Flack leaves one on his desks and, when asked, pretends he knows nothing about it. They probably do much more, but he doesn't notice. Mornings are worse then evenings. Because, for a few seconds, when he's still half asleep, he doesn't remember she's not there and that she lays beside. But it last only a few seconds. He quickly, too quickly, comes back to the reality. He still wakes up earlier than it's necessary, mostly because he used to spend this few extra minutes saying hello to Stella. Now he just watches ceiling. And asks God what the hell he did wrong.

Someone's been here and been
then suddenly vanished
and is tenaciously absent.

There are times, when he can't stand the photos of them she put on shelves. Usually, when he wants to take them down, he starts to look at them and remeber, and he ends falling asleep with a photo close to his chest. He throws away her shampoo when it started to smell, but buys a new one next day, he doesn't want to miss another part of her, and he likes the smell of the shampoo. The void she left behind is too big. Maybe, if she hadn't been so optimistic, so energetic, so full of life, so full of light, it wouldn't be so painful. He knows that what made him fall in love with her, what made him love her whole-heartly, what made his life better than it had ever been, now makes it so empty.

All closets have been peered into.
All shelves have been run.
Carpets squeezed under and checked.
Even broke the rule
and scattered papers.

Sometimes he breaks down. He never does it when anyone can see. Once, after patriculary hard case, he came home and started to throw her belongings away, but he gave up when he found the dress she had been wearing on their honeymoon. Too many memories. He has never done it again. When he comes back home after another double shift he likes to wander around his flat and touch every sourface in it. The carpet they chose together. Shelves she dusted every Saturday. In the lab his completly different. He doesn't show he's just a ghost. Never. The hardest thing he had to do after her funeral was to clean up her office. Lindsay offered to do it for him, but he refused. He did it as quickly as possible. It didn't take him more than half an hour. Half an hour to erase everything that made this office special. A week later his new partner took the office. He hasn't visited her there yet, he doesn't know if will every be able to.

What more is there to do.
Sleep and wait.

She helped him with her insomnia. Now, it's come back, stronger than before. He wish he could fall asleep and never wake up, but sleep hardly ever comes.

Just let him come back,
just let him show his face.
Oh, he'll find out,
that one can't do this to a cat.

On her last morning they had a minor argument, something about him lefting dirty mugs in the living room. They ate in silence. When Flack told him, he didn't call, he came to his office and faced him, that she wasn't coming back, that her body was in a morgue, his first tought was that they hadn't made up after that argument, that he hadn't kissed her that morning, that she had died being mad. Sid and his assistnats left him alone in the morgue, so he could see her face one more time. She looked as if she were asleep. He doesn't leave mugs in the living room anymore.

Take a walk in his direction,
as if one didn't care,
slowly,
on very offended paws.

When he's home alone, which is always when he's at home, the flat is always silent. He listents to the steps on the corridor. He hopes that he would hear the steps, her steps. That he would hear her fighting with a lock, giving up, and finally knocking. Than, he wouldopen the door, and she would be there, saying that she's late, but her phone died and she had to buy groceries. But no one ever knocks. He hears people living theit lives in his building, but none of them is Stella. No one buys him groceries.

And with no leaps, squeaks, in the beginning.

He visits her every morning, always alone, so early or so late that there's no one around. He leaves her a single carnation each time. She helped him to believe in God again and now he sees it's he most important thing she tought him. He knows he would commit suicide if it wasn't because of faith. He visits a nearby church often, she used to go there with him. The faith gives him hope. Hope, that he would meet her again.