As the title suggests, this is an AU of the storyline we all know and love. The year is 2019, our favorite characters are all here, in some way or another. Let's pretend the show has just begun from scratch, shall we? Details about whereabouts, ages, parentage and whatnot should become clear as the story progresses. Mac/Jo endgame.

Let me know what you think about this AU, comments are much appreciated.

DISCLAIMER: Characters are OBVIOUSLY not mine (not even one, yay!). I'm not making money out of this fic.

Jo Danville was bored. Bored out of her mind. She was so bored she couldn't even muster a tiny bit of apprehension for her upcoming presentation in front of the representatives of the other Crime Labs around the country. The man currently speaking, the Head of the Las Vegas Crime Lab, while moderately good looking, was droning on and on about the importance of bugs on a crime scene, and Jo couldn't be more disgusted. Judging from the way the mass of curls in front of her was moving, so was the woman in front of her. Her partner, however, seemed very engrossed in the discussion, to the extent that he was actively taking notes.

Jo inwardly sighed. While being in Miami for this kind of gathering was definitely nice, she didn't particularly care about attending the lectures. She felt as if she were back in college all over again. More bored by the second, she found herself studying the couple in front of her, the Detectives from the New Orleans Crime Lab. The woman was striking, with her bronzed skin and curly golden-brown locks, while her male companion had a distinct military look about him.

After Dr. Grissom's lecture, they were afforded a 15 minutes break. Jo was glad, for she really had to pee. When she returned from the facilities, she looked around the foyer where a small buffet had been arranged: small groups of investigators had formed besides the tables dispersed around the room, and Jo felt unsure of which one to try and approach. She went to get herself an orange juice, thinking about joining Lt. Caine's group, but in the end she decided she didn't fancy being another one of his groupies. On a spur of the moment decision, she headed outside to get some fresh air.

-… I'm glad the quiz went well. Are you going to practice this afternoon? Okay, good. Yeah, I'm enjoying myself. I took a lot of notes. I'll see you in a couple of days. Stay out of troubles. Love you too. Bye. –

Jo felt like an intruder for accidentally eavesdropping on the good-looking representative from the New Orleans Crime Lab, but he had spotted her as soon as she had stepped foot outside. There was no real point in going back, the woman mused, it would have only been more awkward later on, so she took some tentative steps outside, admiring the greenery around the modern conference center. When the man placed his phone back in the pocket of his dark slacks, he threw her a tentative smile, which Jo reciprocated.

-So you're having fun, Detective… Taylor?-, Jo drawled, stepping up to the man with the excuse to better read his nametag. The man looked embarrassed. –As a matter of fact, yes I am, Ma'am. It's always fascinating to learn something new, at least for me. -, he replied kindly, taking a step towards Jo. Up close, the woman admitted he looked rather handsome, positively hot: he was medium-height, well-built if the swell of his chest protruding under his crisp white shirt was any indication, with short cropped dark brown hair and sharp dark-blue eyes. He had an honest face. She judged him to be in his early to mid-forties.

-Jo Danville. I'm with the New York Crime Lab. -, Jo introduced herself on an impulse, shocking both herself and the man standing in front of her. –Mac Taylor, New Orleans. -, he replied, gently shaking Jo's right hand. –I… gather you're not enjoying yourself?-, he added, to lengthen the conversation. Jo shrugged her shoulders. –Let's just say bugs are not my thing. -, she deadpanned, causing Mac's lips to curl in a small smile. –Neither are Stella's. She's my partner, over there. She's the Head of the Crime Lab. -, he admitted, pointing to his curly-haired partner, who was chatting amicably with Dr. Grissom's second in command, Catherine Willows.

When it occurred to Jo that Mac was probably wondering about her position at the Crime Lab and who had accompanied her, she mentally slapped herself. –She seems nice. I'm actually here alone. I'm acting Supervisor of the Day-shift until we manage to fill the position. Our former boss resigned not a week ago and, well, we are a bit under-staffed at the moment. -, she explained with an embarrassed laugh. Mac seemed to ponder on this last bit of information a bit before smiling at Jo. –Feel free to tag along, then. I'll have you meet Stella and we'll take it from there, okay?-


Her presentation done, Jo made arrangements with Mac and Stella to meet for dinner in the foyer of the hotel the three of them were staying at. It was not surprising, considering the majority of the conference attendees had booked there upon suggestion of the Miami Dade Crime Lab representative. She had three hours to chill and relax. Undecided on what to do, she didn't notice Stella approaching until the other woman placed a hand on her arm.

-Hey, Jo, why don't you join me at the pool in let's say… fifteen minutes?-, the younger woman proposed, winking as she kept walking to her room. Jo was taken aback by the offer, but figured why not; she had taken her bikini in the off chance she could manage to sneak into the luxurious pool advertised by the hotel website.

Exactly fifteen minutes later, Jo pushed open the door to the hotel pool. A strong smell of chlorine filled her nostrils. She kept her bathrobe tightly to her chest, looking around for Stella. She spied her on a deck chair on her right. Returning her smile, she approached cautiously on the damp floor. Just as she was musing that the other woman looked to be at ease in the very informal setting, she became aware of someone doing laps. Stella winked.

-Is that…?-, she wondered, at which the younger woman nodded. –Yup. Mac gets antsy if he is not bale to exercise at least a bit each day. It's a legacy from his Marines days. -, she explained. Jo knew she had to look mildly impressed, because Stella's grin stretched. –Sit. -, she offered, patting the chair next to her. Jo nodded, shrugging off her bathrobe before gracefully plopping down on Stella's left.

-Okay, spill. -, Stella exclaimed. At Jo's quizzical look, she further elaborated: -How you caught Mac's attention. -, she added. Jo shrugged. –I think he basically felt sorry for me, being here alone and all that. -, she replied sincerely. Stella nodded seriously. –Our Mac sure is chivalrous. You did a good thing in playing the damsel in distress card. -, she nodded approvingly at Jo, who scrunched up her face in confusion. –I'm not playing cards here…!-, she rebuffed.

-I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself here. You have to know I feel very protective of Mac, there's little I wouldn't do for that man; I owe him a lot. -, Stella started to explain, and that was how Jo got a full summary of her new acquaintance's life.

Mac Taylor was a widower. Which was surprising, considering his time in the Marines during Desert Storm and Restore Hope. Claire Taylor, his wife, had perished during Kathrina, leaving Mac alone to raise their daughter, Ellie. After the ordeal, he had switched from the Polite to the CSI to be able to spend more time with his daughter. That was when he had met Stella, a recent transfer herself. They hit it off immediately, and formed a little dysfunctional family of their own; a real pity Stella didn't really fancy men, she had commented, for she was sure Mac was everything a woman could want in a man, and then some. They were together on the promotion grid when a supervising position came up; Mac gently handed the promotion down to Stella, claiming he couldn't afford the long hours with Ellie still being a teenager, and so Stella was promoted to Head of the Crime Lab instead of him.

-I wouldn't do this job half as well without him. -, Stella confessed in a small voice. –I love him and Ellie like family, and we decided it's time for him to come out of his shell, particularly when it comes to dating. Granted, our work doesn't afford much times, but the last couple of girls he has been out with were just… abysmal!-, she explained, getting a laugh from Jo when she pulled a face at the last word. –Look, Jo, whatever happens between you and Mac is your business; just remember you got a friend in me. -, Stella concluded with a small smile.

-Jeez, we exchanged a total of fifty words. Aren't you going a bit fast here?-, Jo replied with a laugh. Just then, both women became aware of the former Marine approaching, dripping water all around him. –Stella, stop flirting with Jo. Remember you are in a happy relationship. -, he joked, retrieving his towel from the deck chair on Stella's right side. She rolled her eyes good-naturedly. –I'm not cheating on Aiden. I didn't even ask Jo if she's single?-, she replied, turning to the raven haired woman. She definitely caught her staring at her partner. –Uh, yes. I'm divorced. -, Jo managed to choke out, unable to part her eyes from Mac's glistening form. She had guessed correctly, he was definitely well-built; his six pack was very well defined.

Mac and Stella exchanged some more pleasantries, bantering back and forth while Jo continued her not so subtle scrutiny of the former Marine. After a while, tired from the constant mocking on his partner's part, Mac sprang to his feet; he effortlessly picked Stella up bridal style and, before the woman could protest, dropped her in the pool with a big splash. –It gets old after a while. -, he told Jo by way of explanation. He then extended his right hand to her. –Join us. Water's nice and warm, I promise. -, he said softly. Jo heard the sincerity in his voice. She took his hand, suddenly self-conscious as she raised to her full height. Rationally, she knew she was in very good shape for her age, and her ample chest was an added bonus, but still the idea of having that stud of an ex-Marine look at her half-naked unnerved her.

-I could fire you for a stunt like this, Mac Taylor!-, Stella was shouting, still trying to fully regain her breath. –Oh, yeah? I'd like to see you try. Who's gonna help you check all the reports?-, Mac retorted cheekily, diving headfirst underwater. Jo couldn't help but follow him.

The three Detectives fooled around for a bit, before Mac announced he was getting back to his room to take a shower and call Ellie. –Mac, let her breathe! She's of age, for God's sake. -, Stella called to his retreating form. –Actually, she asked me to call her to make sure you hadn't killed me yet. See you later, Jo!-