Disclaimer: I don't own CSI:NY

Notes: This is a little collection of scenes and oneshots, written for fun and mostly with prompts from my friend Blue Shadowdancer while she was visiting me. They were written while sitting by the hearth, which was illuminated by candlelight, hence the title :) Thanks to LostinNewYork for sending me comments on this scene. I'll update both 'Midsummer' and 'Old West' very soon, I've had a few wrangles with the chapters. But, enough talking, I hope you enjoy these!

This first scene is an AU story, set on the high seas :D

Pieces of Silver

"Never," Mac snarled, shaking his soaked hair out of his eyes as the pirate opposite him sneered.

"Too bad you ain't got a choice about it, Captain Taylor..." He directed an evil smirk at Stella and Mac's rage increased. "I'm sure your pretty wife will agree."

"Take it easy, Mac," Stella murmured, her hand on his arm. "He's only trying to goad you."

"Better listen to her, Captain." The pirate smirked as he took another strutting step closer to Mac, who remained with his feet planted stolidly on the deck.

Below him, his crew watched in silence, defiance in all of them. He took comfort from that, knowing they would fight on even if he was wounded, or worse. As he glanced over his men and women, he caught his first mate's eye. Don dipped his head, his signal of reassurance almost imperceptible, but welcome nonetheless.

While the pirate watched him, rain dripping from the tiny black braids in his beard, Mac tightened his grip on his sword. The whole ship seemed still, hushed. He could no longer hear even the creak of the sails or the soft patter of rain that fell on the timbers.

"Well?" Blackbeard demanded and took another step closer. Mac felt his face tighten in scorn and even though the rain had soaked through every layer of clothing, turning his red shirt to a blood-coloured burgundy, he refused to shiver. Or to surrender.

"You'll never take this ship and you'll never take any of my crew." His voice rang out, plangent at the insult that had been done to his crew and to his ship. How dared this upstart, this lawless excuse for a seaman board his ship and threaten his crew; threaten Stella. Equally as uncaring of the rain, she stood beside him, her hair loose over her shoulders, keeping her hand on his arm. His stanchion in the midst of this chaos.

"We're getting out of this, all of us, alive." Her lips touched his ear as she whispered the words to him and he exhaled, hearing the dying away laughter from their enemy.

Now only a sword's length away, he eyed them with interest, leering at Stella, who hissed in anger as he pointed his cutlass at her.

"Maybe you'd like to see her killed first, Captain," he sneered and Mac felt the handle of his weapon cut into his fingers. When the tip of Blackbeard's cutlass inched closer to Stella, Mac reacted, his sword slicing through the rain. The blood from Blackbeard's severed ear splashed onto the deck, the scream of pain and rage from the pirate ringing out as he leaped forward. As he did, the leather pouch containing the 10 pieces of silver he had offered in jest for the ship 'Manhattan' tore from his belt, spilling over the timbers.

In an instant, Mac was upon him, lashing out with his sword at his enemy, who ducked and rolled, tripping Mac in the process. As he stumbled, crashing to his knees, he was aware of Stella flinging herself with a shriek of defiance at Blackbeard. Down below, the spell of stillness broken, his crew came to life and launched their attack on the rest of Blackbeard's crew surrounding them.

In moments, the ship was a boiling mass of figures leaping, shouting, screeches of rage and battle ricocheting from the masts of the vessel. Punches were exchanged, blows parried and thrust, foes brought down.

On the forecastle though, it was him and Stella alone. Despite the loss of his ear and subsequent bleeding, Blackbeard fought brutally with his cutlass and a knife. The blade of one of them, he was unsure which, whistled through the air and sliced through Mac's shirt. He barely blinked. Only one thought stayed in his mind, clear amongst the cacophony of fury, that he must protect his ship and Stella. When he saw the tear in the sleeve of her shirt, saw blood oozing through it as she winced in pain and clutched at it, his rage swallowed up all reason. A roar broke from him and he leaped for Blackbeard's throat, both of them crashing to the deck.

Underneath him, the pirate bucked and thrashed as Mac groped for his neck, knocking him sideways so his head slammed into the bulwark and a blinding darkness dropped over him.

The cries of battle died away, becoming a spindrift of stillness; mist swirled round him and in his head, a voice called, falling and rising like the ebbing tide. He lay somewhere; somewhere soft, comfortable, swaying in a soothing motion.

The voice became insistent, calling his name, over and over while something seemed to be tugging at his hand. With a groan, Mac tried to pull away, tried to tell whoever it was to leave him be, let him sleep, but they took no notice and he was forced to open his eyes...

And close them almost immediately when his heavy eyelids refused to cooperate. But that same voice, one he now recognised, spoke again and for her, he opened his eyes and kept them open.

Her hand holding his, smiling at him with sparkling eyes, Stella sat beside him.

"I knew you'd come back to me," she whispered, leaning forward and hugging him before drawing back and brushing with tender fingers the bandage he realised was round his head. Before either of them could say any more, the door to the cabin opened and Don stepped in with a tray of food, his face breaking into a smile as he looked at Mac.

"Welcome back to the world of the awake," he said, setting the tray down on the folding table by the wall. "Have a good sleep?"

At his familiar insouciance, Mac felt his mouth curving into a smile, but it didn't last as his gaze returned to Stella and he noticed the bandage on her arm and how stiffly she sat, with one arm wrapped round her ribcage. He saw then that he was bare-chested with a bandage wrapped round his middle and a dull ache in his torso. Don's forehead looked grazed and through the open neck of his shirt, Mac could see a dark bruise on the side of his neck.

"What happened?" he asked, his voice cracking a little at the edges.

Stella gripped his hand while Don watched them. "We won," she said simply. "Blackbeard is dead; his crew are defeated and have fled like the cowards they are. We're safe, all of us."

"Thanks mostly to you two risking your lives," Don broke in, resting a hand on the bedpost as he looked severe. "You were lucky to survive..." Catching the glare Stella threw at him, he stopped and sighed. "Anyhow, you're alive, we're all alive to sail another day. I guess that's what counts." Gesturing at the tray, he added, "Get something to eat and I'll come see you later, along with the Doc." His last sentence was spoken almost as a threat and Stella pulled a face at him which he shook his head at, mouth pursed, before he made his way to the door.

Mac's gaze, along with Stella's followed Don as he departed and then they turned to each other.

"I missed you," Stella said as she leaned forward to kiss him and he savoured the taste of her lips on his. "Don't ever scare me like that again..."

"I'll try," he murmured and returned her kiss, the ache in his head receding as he held her in his arms. Each other's presence being the only thing mattering to both of them.

Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you think, Lily x