Title: E is for Evolution
Author: stellaluna_
Rating: PG
Pairing: Mac/Danny
Summary: Change isn't always that easy.
Disclaimer: None of these are mine. Characters are the property of Anthony Zuiker, Jerry Bruckheimer Television, CBS, and Alliance Atlantis.


After they've processed the scene, Danny finds Mac in one of the Fossil Halls, staring up at the Apatosaurus on display. "We used to come here all the time on field trips when I was a kid," Danny says, coming up behind him. "Think my favorite's still the big whale."

"I like the dinosaurs," Mac says. "I was always interested in the mystery of it. All these years, all the studies in evolutionary theory, and still no one knows for sure what killed them."

Danny leans on the railing and peers up at the underside of the skeleton. "Some kinda catastrophic event, right?"

Mac nods. "A comet, widespread disease, who knows?"

"Well, we might not know the specifics, but when you get right down to it, same thing killed them that kills anything that dies out."

"What's that?"

"They couldn't keep up," Danny says. "It's called survival of the fittest for a reason, Mac. These guys couldn't change, and they were finished. You give up on change, you die. End of story."

"Change isn't always that easy, Danny," Mac says.

"Doesn't mean you get to stop trying." Danny doesn't think they're talking about dinosaurs anymore, but he doesn't want to get into it. He stands up straight. "I'll meet you back at the car."

"Danny." Mac's voice is quiet enough to make him pause. "Maybe sometimes change takes more time than you'd expect."

"Maybe," Danny says, and turns away.

He doesn't think about that conversation again until later that night, when he reaches into his desk drawer for a penlight and comes up with a plastic dinosaur instead, a little Apatosaurus with a note taped to its foot.

Danny pockets the note after he reads it, trying to bite back his smile. He sits the dinosaur on his desk in between his phone and the keyboard, then goes to find Mac.