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MacGyver: Home for the Holidays, Mac and Sam's first Christmas together.
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 15 December 2018 - 01:30 PM                                    
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MacGyver: Home for the Holidays
MacGyver anticipates spending his first Christmas with Sam on the road but things don’t go as planned.

MacGyver lie staring up at the ceiling as the blinking neon sign of the cheap motel lit the room in yellow and orange hues. Sam snored softly in the twin bed next to his. Earlier that day they had stopped for Thanksgiving dinner at a roadside diner outside of Flagstaff. Though they feasted on turkey and dressing, the restaurant, as well as the town, was already decorated for Christmas. Mac sighed softly. There was just something innately wrong with putting Christmas lights on a cactus. Or perhaps it was simply the time of year that had soured MacGyver’s mood. The month of December had claimed both his dad and grandma when he was a kid, and several years later his mother. Though the guilt and pain had lessened over time, it was never really gone, just hovering in the recesses of his mind until a holiday song or flash of memory caused it to take center stage like always.

Shaking his head in hopes of dispelling the dismal thoughts, MacGyver reflected on the past five or so months. He and Sam had left L.A. on their motorcycles as soon as his broken arm had healed and driven up the Pacific Coast Highway. The vista and climate ever changing but always appealing. As temperatures steadily declined, they decided to head back south, purposefully seeking out little used highways and long forgotten towns to explore. Initially, Mac had relished the freedom of the open road. No job to report to, no apartment to clean, no friends asking for favors at the most inconvenient times. Except for sending a monthly rent payment to Mel for the storage unit where he had quickly stashed all his worldly possessions, MacGyver was commitment-free and loving it. However, as time passed, subtle reminders of his former life wormed their way into Mac’s head and he found himself searching out payphones and sneaking calls to Pete to see how his friend was dealing with his progressing blindness or to ask how the Challengers Club was faring with ex-Marine Stine in charge. From time to time, he even found himself yearning for one of Mama Lorraine’s herbal potions to ease the aching muscles in his back that had begun to protest from sleeping on too many lumpy motel beds.

Lately, the day of their departure frequently slammed to the forefront of his brain and a familiar guilt roiled in his stomach. Excited, exhilarated, and looking forward to forging a relationship and future with his new-found son, he hadn’t so much as spared a backward glance at the now nearly sightless Pete who had come to see them off. In his haste for adventure, he had left the man who had been his boss, mentor, and dear friend for several years standing alone on the sidewalk.

MacGyver glanced over at Sam who was now curled up on his side, looking more like a boy than the young man he was, and quietly slipped from his own bed, careful not to wake his son. After pulling on a pair of jeans and the previous day’s t-shirt, he made his way to the small motel lobby and plunked a couple of coins into the payphone he had spotted while they were checking in.

“Hey Pete! It’s me! Mac!”

“Of course it is,” the older man grumbled on the other end of the line. “Who else would be calling at…” here there was a long pause and MacGyver knew Pete was trying to figure out what time it was with his new watch designed for people with eyesight impairments. A watch MacGyver had helped design before he left. “...three in the morning?! This had better be important!”

Now it was Mac’s turn to pause as he ran his splayed fingers through his shaggy hair. Even he had to admit he needed a haircut. His response sounded lame, even before he said it out loud.

“I wanted to wish you a happy Thanksgiving and see how things are going?”

“Now?!”

Before MacGyver could form a response, Pete’s voice came over the line, calmer this time.

“I’m sorry for jumping down your throat, Mac,” he apologized. “I should be grateful for your call, and I am.”

“What’s wrong, Pete?” MacGyver asked. He knew his friend too well not to pick up on the tension in his voice. Tension not caused by a phone call in the middle of the night.

“Nothing that concerns you anymore.”

This simple statement pierced Mac’s heart deeper than any blade ever could.

“C’mon Pete! Just because I’m not in L.A. doesn’t mean we’re not still friends. Tell me what’s goin’ on.”

“Really Mac, it’s nothing for you to worry about. Now tell me, where are you guys? How’s Sam?”

“Don’t go changin’ the subject,” MacGyver warned. “Tell me what’s goin’ on.”

Pete sighed and Mac waited. “Stine decided to close Challengers Club for a couple weeks over the holidays. Says he needs a vacation.”

“He can’t do that!” MacGyver uncharacteristically yelled into the phone drawing a suspicious look from the night desk clerk. “The kids’ll be on Christmas break, that’s when they need a safe place to hang out the most! Booker and Cynthia never closed Challengers and I highly doubt they ever took a vacation. Heck, I worked at Challengers as part of my vacations!”

“Then you of all people know how stressful running the center can be and Stine is doing it all on his own,” Pete reasoned when Mac had finished his rant.

“Yeah, I guess so,” MacGyver replied grudgingly. “But he’s gonna wait ‘til after the Christmas pageant, right?”

Heavy silence greeted him.

“Peeete?” he asked, unsure if he actually wanted to hear the answer.

“There’s not gonna be a pageant this year,” Pete said on a quick exhale of breath.

“What?!” Mac all but bellowed. “There has to be a pageant! It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year and all the kids and members of the community look forward to it. It’s tradition! Stine can’t cancel it!”

“Look, MacGyver, things are different now,” Pete soothed. “Cynthia’s no longer here and--”

“Stine kept the pageant going after she left,” Mac interrupted. “What makes this year so different?”

“C’mon Mac, who’s been the real driving force behind the pageant these last couple of years?” Pete’s asked softly.

“You’re not gonna put me on a guilt trip, Pete!”

“I’m not trying to, but you’re the one who asked! I was hoping you wouldn’t find out. You’re supposed to be relaxing and enjoying time with your son!”

“Yeah, right,” Mac replied gloomily, the former fire gone and replaced by a bone-deep weariness. “I’m sorry for yellin’ at ya. It’s just this time of year...ya know?”

“Yeah, I know Mac. But you have family now. Make the most of it.”

After a couple more minutes of inane conversation, MacGyver bid his friend farewell, hung up the phone, and trudged back to his motel room. He quietly opened the door to find Sam sitting up in bed, yawning and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“So, how’s Pete?” the young man asked.

“Huh?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Dad. I’m an investigative photojournalist. Do you really think I haven’t noticed how you always make a point of finding the nearest phone and sneak off when you think I’m not paying attention? I figured you’ve been touching base with Pete. From everything you’ve told me about him, he’s the closest thing you have to family. Well, besides me, that is,” Sam replied, grinning cheekily at his last statement.

“Pete’s fine, everything’s fine, end of story.”

“No it’s not. Whenever you say ‘everything’s fine’ it really isn’t. I may not have known you long, but like I said, I pick up on these things.”

“Stine canceled the Challengers Club Christmas pageant and he’s closing the center to go on vacation,” Mac mumbled before falling back into his bed and pulling the covers up to his ears hoping Sam would ‘pick up’ on the fact that he didn’t want to talk about it.

A bright ray of morning sunshine peeked through the narrow gap in the curtains and hit MacGyver square in the eye, causing him to squint. He rolled over to find Sam sitting at the small round table in the corner, a large map spread out before him.

“What’re ya doin’?” he asked his son.

“Tryin’ to figure out the quickest way back to L.A.,” Sam replied. “I figure if we drive straight through and take a couple shortcuts we could make it in about seven hours, maybe less.”

“What makes you think we’re going back to L.A.?”

Sam sighed the sigh of a man well beyond his years. “Look, Dad, you were really upset last night when Pete told you about Stine canceling the pageant. I figured you’d want to go back and help out.”

MacGyver didn’t want to admit that he had spent most of the rest of last night lying awake, his soul the object of a tug-of-war between his old life in Los Angeles and his new life with his son.

“It’s like I told Pete right before we left, things change.”

“And Pete said that the good things don’t change,” Sam countered. “And from everything you’ve told me about Challengers, it’s a very good thing.”

Mac scrubbed his face with his hands and moaned. When did his simple, carefree life get so complicated?

“It doesn’t have to be anything permanent,” Sam continued, his enthusiasm growing. “We just need to stay long enough to pull off the biggest fundraiser Challengers has ever scene and keep the club open until Stine gets back.”

“You sure about this?” Mac asked skeptically.

“Yeah! I mean, I’ve never been part of a Christmas pageant before. Besides, with my good looks and charming smile I’ll be the best...well...whatever you need me to be!”

MacGyver shook his head and laughed. “How about stage hand and all-around kid wrangler?”

Sam deflated like a punctured balloon before quickly rallying. “Well, I guess all the great actors had to start somewhere!”

XXXXX

MacGyver walked into the building that was the Phoenix Foundation, Sam trailing behind him. Already the lobby was decorated with glistening Christmas trees and carols played softly through the overhead speakers.

“Mac! I thought you had left for parts unknown!”

“Change of plans, Joe,” MacGyver responded as he shook hands with the security guard who had been a fixture at the Foundation ever since Mac could remember.

“Joe, this is my son, Sam.”

The two men shook hands.

“I heard a rumor there was another ‘MacGyver’ in the world. Not sure we’re ready for that!” Joe teased as Mac and Sam laughed good naturedly.

“Pete in his office?” MacGyver asked.

“Far as I know,” Joe shrugged. “Want me to call up?”

“Naw, I wanna surprise him.”

“Oh, I’m sure you will!”

Mac and Sam rode the elevator up to the proper floor and stepped out into another large, and decorated, lobby.

“What happened around here anyway? Santa Claus throw up or something?” Sam asked with a mischievous grin.

After pulling a face at his son, they quietly approached the receptionist desk. Mac cleared his throat to get the middle-aged woman’s attention. She swiveled in her chair to face them and then gasped before bolting upright and hurrying out from behind her small domain.

“MacGyver?! As I live and breathe is that you?!”

“It’s me, Helen,” Mac assured her with a bashful smile as she reached up, taking his face in her hands and pulling it down to give him a matronly kiss on the forehead.

“But I don’t understand. Pete said you and Sam had left for good.”

“Sudden change of plans,” Mac grinned.

Helen clasped her hands to her chest. “Oh, Pete is gonna be so tickled to see you two! Or is he expecting you?”

“No, it’s a surprise. Mind if we go in?”

Helen shook her head, her smile lighting up her whole face. “This is the best Christmas present ever!” she exclaimed.

MacGyver knocked on Pete’s office door and was greeted by nothing less than a growl.

“Helen, I told you I didn’t want to be disturbed.”

“You sure about that?” Mac asked.

“MacGyver?!”

In a few long strides Mac was embracing his longtime friend.

“Is Sam with you?”

“I’m right here, Mr. Thornton,” Sam replied, putting a hand on the older man’s shoulder.

“Why so formal?! Call me ‘Pete’!”

“Yessir, Pete.”

“Now, don’t get me wrong, but what in the world are you doing back here?!”

“Sam and I came to help with the Challengers pageant and cover for Stine while he’s away,” Mac declared.

Pete’s smile faded. “Oh MacGyver, when we spoke the other night I never meant for you to feel like you had to come back. After all, you’re two bachelors on the road living footloose and fancy free! Any obligations you had to me or Challengers or anyone else are behind you!”

“That’s not how I feel,” Mac stated.

“That’s not how we feel,” Sam amended, draping his arm around his father’s shoulders in a show of solidarity Pete could not see.

“So, where are you staying?” Pete asked, his smile returning wider than ever.

“A cheap motel not far from the marina,” Mac replied.

“Well, go pack your things. You’ll both stay with me and I don’t want to hear any arguments!” Pete proclaimed.

“You sure about that?” MacGyver asked, not wanting to intrude on the man’s privacy.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?! Now go get your stuff and get settled in. I’ll see you after work.”

XXXXX

The next morning, after Pete’s driver had picked him up to take him to Phoenix, Mac and Sam parked their motorcycles in front of the Challengers Club and walked into the recreation area. It didn’t take long for MacGyver’s eyes to find the muscular, African-American ex-Marine who now ran the club.

“Stine!” he called, a smile tugging at his lips.

“Do my eyes deceive me?! Is that you, Tourist?!”

“In the flesh!” Mac grunted as the large man enveloped him in a bear hug. “And this is my son, Sam,” he wheezed when Stine finally released him.

“Good to meet you, Sam,” Stine said as the two shook hands.

“What brings you here?” Stine asked, turning back to MacGyver. “Last I heard you were off galavanting around the country with this son of yours.”

“Word on the street is that you canceled the Challengers Christmas pageant and you’re shuttin’ the place down for the holidays.”

“And what street were you listening to?”

“Does it matter?”

Stine sighed, rubbing the back of his neck with his calloused hand. “You don’t know what it’s like, Mac. Runnin’ this place. A guy needs a break every now and again.”

“I get that, man, but you don’t need to shut it down, just ask for help!”

“Help?” Stine asked incredulously. “And where, exactly, is this ‘help’ gonna come from?”

“Right here,” MacGyver declared, Sam standing tall beside him.

“Now let me get this straight. You and this kid of yours are gonna put on the pageant and run the center while I’m on vacation?”

“You bet!” Mac replied with a victorious smile.

“You’re not gonna let this go, are you?”

“No sir.”

“If that’s the way you want it, you can start on Monday. I’ll see you next year.”

XXXXX

“Four weeks, huh?” Pete asked dismally staring sightlessly at his dinner plate that evening.

“Now Pete, I know what you’re thinkin’ and I don’t expect you to put me and Sam up until then. In fact, on our way back from Challengers we drove through my old neighborhood and my apartment is still vacant.”

“You mean after all this time Mel still hasn’t been able to find a renter?”

Here Mac grimaced. “Apparently my former neighbors started a pool to see how long it would take before I came back.”

“Ha! Who won?” Pete asked, clearly amused.

“Mama Lorraine. She said the spirits spoke to her.”

“So, whatcha gonna do?”

“I already paid Mel a month’s rent. Tomorrow Sam and I are going to get a few necessities from the storage unit and move in. Temporarily, of course.”

“Oh, of course,” Pete replied, unable to hide the mocking tone in his voice which caused MacGyver to frown.

“I mean it, Pete. I’m not stayin’,” Mac said firmly. “Remember when I left I told you it was bound to happen eventually. I’m just not the type of guy who can settle in one place too long.”

Pete slowly shook his head. “You may have been that guy when we met, but you’ve changed. Matured. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! For heaven’s sake, five years ago you wanted to resign and go home to Minnesota and have a normal life! More recently you’ve been passing up assignments and asking for time off in order to help out your friends! This doesn’t sound like a man who wants to go wherever the wind takes him!”

“Did you ever stop and think that maybe I burned out and this is exactly what I need to do?!”

“Keep telling yourself that, MacGyver, and maybe you’ll believe it eventually,” Pete retorted.

“Look, I know you want me to stay but--”

“Nevermind. Forget about what I said. You’re a grown man who knows his mind,” Pete interrupted gently. “I guess I’ll just have to enjoy the time I do have with you.”

“Thanks, Pete,” Mac replied softly.

XXXXX

MacGyver parked the small moving van in front of his apartment, noticing that his Jeep was already in the garage. He and Sam had barely gotten out of the cab and opened the sliding back door before being swarmed by neighbors all eager to lend a helping hand. Before he knew it, the truck was empty and his apartment was modestly furnished and his kitchen fully stocked, thanks to Mama Lorraine.

“Do you have everything you need?” Sam asked.

“Yep. Don’t really need much since we’re not staying,” Mac replied, dropping an oversized duffle of hockey gear on a bench near the door. Man, he didn’t realize how much he had missed the ice. He’d have to schedule in some serious rink time before they hit the road again.

The following days flew by in a blur of activity for MacGyver. As soon as word got out that he was back in town and running Challengers for the holidays the club was inundated with kids as well as adults eager to participate in the Christmas pageant and other services the center offered. Thankfully, Sam stood steadfastly by his side and several neighbors in the community volunteered their help as well. He was both awed and humbled by the welcome and support he received.

One mid-December afternoon Mac sat pouring over the program for the pageant as older club members worked on assembling set decorations. He felt, rather than saw, a small presence next to him and turned to see a young girl with dark blonde hair watching him intently.

“Hi Violet, how’re ya doin’?” he asked with a friendly smile.

“Alright,” the girl shrugged.

“I didn’t see your name on the pageant sign-up sheet,” Mac observed.

Again the child just shrugged.

MacGyver dipped his head closer to hers. “Ya know, we need someone to play Mary in the Nativity scene. I was wonderin’ if you could help me out?” he whispered conspiratorially.

Violet’s eyes grew wide. “Me?”

“Uh huh,” Mac confirmed. “You’ve been playing the lead angel for what...three years now? I think it’s time for a promotion.”

Violet chewed on her bottom lip, thinking this through. “Will you be there with our secret code in case I get scared or mess up?”

Her question hit MacGyver right in his solar plexus. “Is that why you didn’t sign up for the pageant? Because you didn’t think I’d be here?”

The girl nodded solemnly, staring at the floor. Mac put his index finger under her chin and gently urged her to look him in the eye.

“I will be right here,” he promised her. “Secret code and all.”

In an instant, the youngster’s arms were wrapped around his neck so tightly he could hardly breathe. When she pulled back her face was beaming.

“I’m gonna be the bestest Mary ever now that you’re here!” she exclaimed before running off to prepare for her newest role.

MacGyver’s heart stuttered. Would Violet really not have participated in the pageant if he hadn’t promised to be here?

“Who was that?” Sam asked, appearing at Mac’s side.

“Just an old friend,” Mac replied absently, his thoughts still on the girl.

“Well, I got the van all gassed up and picked up the Phoenix credit card from Pete. Shopping with someone else’s money is gonna be fun!”

“Just remember, the toys are for the kids, Sam. Not you!” MacGyver laughed. “Now let’s get going!”

Thankful for the opportunity to take a break from pageant planning, Mac slid behind the wheel of the van Phoenix had loaned them. As soon as he turned on the ignition, strains of I’ll Be Home for Christmas filled the vehicle.

“Sorry. I forgot to turn the radio off,” Sam apologized. “Pete told me you don’t really care for Christmas songs.” Sam reached over to silence the tune, but MacGyver thrust out his hand, blocking his attempt.

“Leave it,” Mac said, surprised as a small smile tugged at his lips.

Two hours later MacGyver and Sam jumped out of the back of the van which they had just loaded with gaily wrapped boxes in all shapes and sizes. Mac’s favorite part of the Challengers Christmas pageant was always the end when the children excitedly received the gifts purchased by the Phoenix Foundation. Sam was already headed to the passenger seat when MacGyver turned and saw a man in a Santa suit standing next to a red kettle and ringing a bell outside the store they had just left. Mac hadn’t remembered seeing him on the way in, but these days it was a normal sight in the city so perhaps he had just blocked it out. On a whim, he walked toward the man as he pulled out his wallet.

“Merry Christmas, Santa,” he said as he stuffed some bills into the pot and quickly turned on his heel to join Sam.

“Same to you, Bud!” the jolly man called causing Mac to stop in his tracks.

“What did you say?” MacGyver demanded.

“I said, ‘Same to you.’”

“Yeah. Right,” Mac mumbled, heading toward the driver’s side of the van.

XXXXX

A few days later, MacGyver was helping the kids decorate one of two live fir trees that a Christmas tree lot had donated. Holiday music blared from boomboxes as laughter and the sweet scent of hot chocolate filled the air. No one was more surprised than Mac, himself, to discover that he was truly enjoying participating in these time-honored traditions. He had just lifted Violet up on his shoulders so she could put the star on the top of the tree when he spotted Sam headed towards them, a frown marring his usually good-natured features.

“What’s wrong?” Mac asked his son once Violet was safely back on firm ground.

“We don’t have anyone to play Santa Claus,” Sam announced.

“I thought Mr. Willard from the hardware store was gonna do it.”

“He was,” Sam sighed. “Until this morning when he was stringing lights around his roof and ended up falling off the ladder and breaking his leg.”

“Ouch!” Mac commiserated, recalling the numerous limbs he had broken throughout his lifetime, his arm being the most recent.

“Hey! You could be Santa!” Sam exclaimed, his eyes twinkling with both hope and mischief.

“No way! I am not wearing that hot, itchy costume! Besides, I have a pageant to direct, remember? I can’t exactly disappear in the middle of it to change.”

“Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought about that,” Sam muttered. “Hey, what about Pete? You said he’s done it the past few years.”

Mac felt like he had just been doused by a bucket of ice water. “I don’t think Pete would be up for it this year,” he said softly. “He needed help reading the names on the packages last year and it really embarrassed him. I don’t want to put him in that position again.”

“Then what do you suggest?” Sam asked, frustration rising in his tone.

“We still have a few days. It’ll all work out somehow.”

Sam quirked a disbelieving eyebrow, causing his father to laugh.

“I’m tellin’ ya, Sam. Things have a way of working themselves out around here, especially at Christmastime.”

XXXXX
MacGyver groaned as he stretched his aching back which was protesting from spending the last eight hours on the couch. He had stayed late the night before at Challengers to make sure everything was ready for this evening’s festivities. Sam had gotten home before him and house rules said the first one in got the bed. He seriously needed to revise those rules. After gingerly pushing himself off the couch, he padded into the kitchen only to find an empty cereal bowl and some toast crumbs on the table next to a white piece of paper with a hastily scrawled message on it: “Out looking for Santa. See you tonight.”

Mac shook his head in dismay before dumping some fruit juice and protein powder into the blender. As the machine whirred to life he surveyed his cluttered apartment. He had made several trips to his storage unit over the past few weeks and with each expedition more ‘things’ took up residence. But a man had a right to be comfortable in his own home, he reasoned. The only problem was, this wasn’t his home. Not anymore. This was a temporary place to crash until Stine returned and he and Sam could hit the road again. Taking a sip of the health drink straight from the glass blender jar, he spied his hockey gear and stared at it ruefully. They were due to leave in a week and he still hadn’t gotten any rink time. Perhaps now that he wouldn’t have pageant duties hanging over his head he could sneak away later that week for a few hours and shoot some pucks.

That evening, Christmas Eve, Challengers Club swelled to capacity as family, friends, and supporters gathered for the annual Christmas pageant. Cookies and punch were served and a large fishbowl soon filled with checks and monetary donations. In all his years here, this might be the most successful one yet. People soon began to fill the chairs placed in front of the temporary stage and Mac smiled when he found Pete seated in the center of the front row with Helen seated on one side of him and Mr. Willard with his broken leg on the other. Unfortunately, Sam and Santa were nowhere to be seen. But he couldn’t worry about that now. The show was about to begin. After introducing himself and greeting the crowd, he took his place offstage behind the makeshift curtain so he could provide cues or script prompts to nervous or forgetful actors. Each song, narrative, or skit was rewarded with loud applause. Mac’s heart swelled with a satisfaction he didn’t know existed. Violet performed her role in the Nativity exquisitely. For one moment she had forgotten her lines and shot Mac a panicked look. He simply mouthed ‘ice cream’ and she smiled, easily resuming her role.

As the curtain closed for the final time, the jingle of sleigh bells rang out from the front entrance followed by a hearty ‘Ho, ho, ho!’

“Look who I found everyone!” Sam declared, smiling from ear to ear. “Santa’s here and he’s got presents!”

While the eager crowd gathered around the jolly old man whose red velvet sack was near to bursting with gifts, Mac grabbed Sam’s arm and pulled him into a corner.

“Who is that?” MacGyver asked.

Sam grinned wryly and rolled his eyes. “Gosh, Dad, if you don’t recognize Santa Clause--”

“I mean who did you find to play Santa on such short notice?”

“Remember the guy from in front of the department store?”

Mac nodded, remembering all too well.

“Well, when I couldn’t convince anyone from around here to play the part, I went back to the store to see if he was still there. He said his grandson used to spend a lot of time here and he wanted to help out. Isn’t that great?!”

“Yeah. Yeah it is, “ MacGyver mused as he watched club members of all ages happily opening their presents.

Soon Mac found himself surrounded by almost as many people as Santa. They thanked him for coming back and putting on the pageant and congratulated him on a successful evening. Many said they were already looking forward to seeing what he had planned for next year. He smiled and nodded and uttered all the appropriate replies. When he finally had room to breathe, he looked around to find Santa so he could thank the man, but he had seemingly disappeared. When the last guest had left the building, MacGyver locked the door and carried the bowl full of donations to Stine’s office where Sam, Pete, and Helen waited.

“Okay, let’s see how we did,” Mac instructed as he tipped the bowl and spilled its contents onto a long table set up for that purpose. Sam and Helen helped him separate checks from cash and then began adding up the money.

“Hey Dad, someone put this in here for you.”
MacGyver took the small white envelope Sam held out to him. It was similar to one a florist would attach to a bouquet. His name was scribbled in black across the front. Thoroughly befuddled, he opened the envelope and pulled out the card. Mac felt the blood drain from his face as he read it. His son must have noticed too.

“Dad? What is it?” Sam asked in a concerned voice.

“Ummm, nothing,” Mac said, trying to gather himself. “Just a thank you note for putting on the pageant. Now, how much did we collect?”

XXXXX

A few days later MacGyver trudged up the stairs to his apartment, an oversized duffle carrying his hockey gear slung over one shoulder and his long hair dripping with sweat plastered to his head. He had only intended to work off some extra energy at the rink, but he had run into some of his old hockey buddies and soon found himself in the middle of a pick-up game. Before he knew it, three hours had sped by. He had been checked into the boards hard a few times so he decided to stop by Mama Lorraine’s on his way home to pick up some of her special liniment. If his muscles didn’t ache yet, he knew they would soon enough. He opened his front door to find boxes of various sizes scattered about the living room.

“Sam?! You here?!”

“Hi Dad!” a disembodied voice called.

“What’s goin’ on?” Mac asked as he dropped the bag and wound his way through the cardboard maze.

“I decided to get a head start on packing. I think you managed to empty the entire storage unit in the last four weeks! We are still leaving the day after New Year’s, right?”

“Um, right,” Mac replied, his voice tinged with uncertainty. “I was thinking we could pick up Highway 10 this time and head east.”

He met Sam in the middle of the room, a frown on his son’s face.

“I was thinking we could head south to San Diego and maybe even down to Baja,” Sam said.

“That works, too,” Mac shrugged. “After all, we’re free to go wherever the road takes us, right?” MacGyver realized his hand had slipped into his jacket pocket and was even now stroking the smooth surface of the envelope that had been found in the donation bowl at Challengers on Christmas Eve. He should have tossed it in the trash then and there, but something held him back. The same something that kept him carrying it around these last few days.

“Great! Now help me pack up!”

XXXXX

The second day of January found MacGyver standing in the large recreation room at the Challengers Club surrounded by teens begging him to stay. Perhaps going to say good-bye hadn’t been such a great idea.

“Looks like you got yourself a fan club, Tourist,” Stine observed.

“Ya know, you were right. Running Challengers single-handedly is a pretty big job. I could stick around for a while and help out.”

“What?!” Stine barked out a laugh. “And get tied down with commitments and schedules and routines? I thought that’s what you and that kid of yours was tryin’ to get away from!”

“Hey, I was just jokin’,” Mac smiled, putting his arms up in a surrendering position. “I know you can run this place with one hand tied behind your back.”

The two men laughed, shook hands, and MacGyver walked out of the building to a chorus of plaintive farewells. Mac shook his head as he climbed into the Jeep and put on his sunglasses to protect against the harsh rays of the winter sun. He had one more stop to make before he put the vehicle up on blocks.

After securing a visitor’s pass from the guard and clipping it onto his jacket, MacGyver made his way to Pete’s office. The door was closed and Helen wasn’t at her desk, but he and Pete had never stood on ceremony anyway, so why should they start now? Mac tapped lightly on the door before turning the knob and crossing the threshold. Helen was seated across the desk from Pete whose brow was wrinkled with concern as she read from a file. Upon hearing him enter, however, she abruptly stopped.

“What is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” Pete asked, his concern growing deeper.

“Hi Pete! I’m sorry to interrupt but--”

“MacGyver! You can’t just come barging into my office like that!”

“Why not? It’s not like I’ve never done it before?” Mac teased.

“Things are different now,” Pete replied soberly and MacGyver knew he’d been put in his place.

“I suppose they are,” he agreed. “I’m sorry.”

“Well, now that you’re here, what do you want?” Pete blustered.

“Sam and I are heading out in a few hours and I wanted to come and say a proper goodbye. Maybe take you out to lunch one last time. I’m buyin’.”

“I appreciate the thought, MacGyver. I really do. But I just can’t get away right now. You know how it is.”

“What’s goin’ on, Pete? And don’t tell me nothing. Why did Helen clam up when I walked in and since when do you pass up a free lunch with an old friend?”

Pete sighed. “I can’t talk about it with you, Mac. It’s government stuff. Highly classified.”

“Sounds like something I might be able to help out with.”

“I’m sorry, Mac. But you’re no longer a Phoenix employee.”

“I guess not,” MacGyver replied, swallowing around the lump that had formed in his throat. “Then I guess this is goodbye.”

“Then you’re really leaving again,” Pete stated rather than asked, his sightless eyes somehow finding Mac’s.

“Yeah, I really am,” he replied flatly.
“In that case, be safe, give Sam my love, and call when you can.”

“You can count on it, Pete,” MacGyver promised before once again turning his back on his friend and walking away much like he had done several months ago.

In the lobby, Helen stood by her desk. “I couldn’t help overhearing,” she began, a sheen of tears in her eyes. “He’s really missed you.”

“I’ve missed him, but I have a new life now.”

“But is it a better life?” she asked, before giving him a quick hug and hurrying back into Pete’s office, closing the door firmly behind her.

Minutes later, Mac drove away from Phoenix knowing that Sam would be eagerly waiting to get back on the road to new adventures, but Helen’s parting words kept ringing in his ears. Traffic was light this day after a holiday so he decided to drive around the city and clear his head. However, when he thought about getting back on his motorcycle and riding off into the great unknown, the excitement and exhilaration he once felt was hard to be found...if it was even there at all. If he was truly honest with himself, those feelings had begun to dissipate mere weeks after he and Sam had originally left Los Angeles. Yes, he had had the freedom he claimed he yearned for, but had he also sacrificed his sense of purpose? Pete had been right. His priorities had changed over the years. He had changed. He had people who needed him, now. And he needed them as well. Knowing what he had to do, he turned the Jeep around and headed home.

When MacGyver arrived at his apartment it was to find Sam impatiently waiting next to their motorcycles which were washed and gassed up and ready to go.

“Mel just took the last load to the storage unit. Guess there’s nothing keepin’ us here any longer,” Sam proclaimed as Mac climbed out of the Jeep.

“Come upstairs. We need to talk,” he told his son.

Mac opened the front door and was greeted with sheer and utter emptiness. With no furniture, he lead Sam into the kitchen and leaned against the counter.

“What’s goin’ on, Dad? You’re acting pretty weird. Pete’s okay and everything, right?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine. Thing is…” here he paused and ran his splayed fingers through his hair which he never did get around to cutting. “I’m not leaving Sam. Not this time.”

“What?!”

“I’m sorry. You’re more than welcome to stay, but I can’t go with you.”

“Why not?” Sam sounded more curious that upset.

“Look, don’t get me wrong. These past months on the road with you have been great and I want to continue to get to know you and be a part of your life, but I’ve realized that my life is here. I’m not the same guy your mom knew. Heck, I’m not even the same guy who rolled outta here six months ago! I don’t know. Maybe I just needed some time away to put things back in perspective. I belong here now. Working with Pete at Phoenix, lending a hand at Challengers, being here for my friends. I have commitments and responsibilities and I’m finally okay with that. Do you think you can understand and forgive me?”

“Yeah, I understand. And there’s nothin’ to forgive. I betcha Mom would say that you finally grew up!”

“And she’d be right,” Mac acknowledged.

“Besides, I have a confession of my own to make,” Sam said quietly. “The reason I wanted to go to San Diego is because there’s a rumor that the feds are about to bring down a large Mexican drug cartel. I wanted to get the story.”

“You still plannin’ on goin’ down there?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“If you need someone to watch your back I’m available.”

“Dad, I’ve been doin’ this on my own a long time. I can handle it.”

“Sure,” Mac sighed. “But you know where I am if you need me.”

“I know. And I promise to keep in touch.”
“Take care of yourself, Sam,” MacGyver said as he pulled his son into a strong embrace.

“You do the same.”

“You can count on it,” Mac replied, his voice husky with emotion.

“Well, I better get goin’,” Sam said, pulling away from his dad.

MacGyver watched from the living room window as Sam pulled on his backpack, jammed on his helmet, and sped down the street and out of sight. Back in the kitchen, he picked up the cordless phone and dialed the number he knew so well.

“Hey Pete! Can you do me a favor?” he asked when the older man picked up his private line.

“In the daytime?! Gee, Mac, I’m not sure…”

When both men finished laughing, MacGyver put in his request. “Think you could get the board to draw me up a new contact?”

“You mean you decided to stay?” Pete asked, his voice both hopeful and wary.

“Didn’t think you could get rid of me that easy, did ya?”

Mac went on to explain what had transpired since he left Pete’s office earlier that day. By the time he disconnected the call, a sense of contentment and belonging like he had never known warmed his soul. Slipping his hand into his pocket, he removed the now-wrinkled envelope and pulled out the notecard, reading the words one last time: “Welcome home, Bud!”

“Thanks Harry. It’s good to be back.”












Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 15 December 2018 - 07:22 PM                                    
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Harry! surprise.gif

QUOTE
“Well, I got the van all gassed up and picked up the Phoenix credit card from Pete. Shopping with someone else’s money is gonna be fun!”

“Just remember, the toys are for the kids, Sam. Not you!” MacGyver laughed. “Now let’s get going!”


I love Sam roller.gif

Violet and Mac's relationship always melts my heart love.jpg



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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Jen85
Posted: 16 December 2018 - 03:58 AM                                    
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I love this, great job. Hope your gonna write some more?! thumbsup.gif



MacGyver: Two guys with bazookas blew up your cab.
Jack: They blew up my cab with a bazooka?
MacGyver: Two bazookas. But I can explain.
Jack: Bazookas? You can explain bazookas? YOU CANNOT EXPLAIN BAZOOKAS!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 16 December 2018 - 01:19 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 15 December 2018 - 07:22 PM)
Harry! surprise.gif

QUOTE
“Well, I got the van all gassed up and picked up the Phoenix credit card from Pete. Shopping with someone else’s money is gonna be fun!”

“Just remember, the toys are for the kids, Sam. Not you!” MacGyver laughed. “Now let’s get going!”


I love Sam roller.gif

Violet and Mac's relationship always melts my heart love.jpg

Well, Harry's ghost, anyway!! And Violet is just too darn precious to leave out!!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 16 December 2018 - 01:22 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Jen85 @ 16 December 2018 - 03:58 AM)
I love this, great job. Hope your gonna write some more?! thumbsup.gif

Thanks so much!! If you want to read more of my stuff I have my very first Mac fan fic posted here in the library called "Continuum".

You can also go to fanfiction.net and search by writer (I'm "uniquelyjas) and see all my stories so far!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Jen85
Posted: 19 December 2018 - 06:39 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 16 December 2018 - 01:22 PM)
QUOTE (Jen85 @ 16 December 2018 - 03:58 AM)
I love this, great job. Hope your gonna write some more?!  thumbsup.gif

Thanks so much!! If you want to read more of my stuff I have my very first Mac fan fic posted here in the library called "Continuum".

You can also go to fanfiction.net and search by writer (I'm "uniquelyjas) and see all my stories so far!

Just started reading it, Thanks biggrin.gif



MacGyver: Two guys with bazookas blew up your cab.
Jack: They blew up my cab with a bazooka?
MacGyver: Two bazookas. But I can explain.
Jack: Bazookas? You can explain bazookas? YOU CANNOT EXPLAIN BAZOOKAS!

 
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