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Continuum, Mac's story continues 2 1/2 yrs. later
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 22 February 2019 - 06:06 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 21 February 2019 - 05:39 PM)
Anyway it ought to be obvious that Mac would never wire a hockey puck to explode; he's figure that was sacrilegious.

Indeed. That's why in the story it says he had the means and opportunity but NOT a motive.

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: 27 February 2019 - 03:41 PM                                    
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Chapter 28: The Heart Knows

It had been three days since the episode at the hockey rink. Three uneventful, normal days, yet MacGyver kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Heavy January clouds promised more snow as he, Joanna, and Leroy Jackson gathered around Evelyn’s small kitchen table to go over the facts of the vandalism and sabotage one more time.

“OK, what do we know so far?” Evelyn asked, pen and paper at the ready. They had had this conversation so frequently that Mac could recite it by heart, but until they could figure out who was behind the crimes, this conversation would keep happening.

“Whoever is doing this has access to the school and is familiar with the layout and security system,” Joanna began recounting the information that was burned into all of their brains. “He has something against Challengers since he vandalized the building twice and then put the hockey team at risk. He also wants the police to think he’s MacGyver based on the disguise he wore and the set-up at the ice rink.”

“You know what I don’t get?” MacGyver asked, leaning forward. “The first two ‘incidents’ were simple, harmless, and straight forward. Some spray paint and a flooded gym. Not a huge deal. Then he ups the ante with the whole bomb-in-a-hockey-puck stunt. Why?”

“If he’s trying to scare us off, he could have gotten frustrated when we didn’t take the first two attempts more seriously,” Evelyn offered and everyone nodded their agreement.

“That’s certainly plausibly,” Leroy concurred. “I think we need to break down this last attempt at the ice rink. It’s by far the most sophisticated and complex. Unfortunately, we don’t have any surveillance tape of it.”

“So where do we start?” MacGyver was eager to have new ideas to roll around in his brain.

“The puck,” Leroy stated. “When did it get put into the equipment bag?”

“It had to be at the school,” MacGyver replied. “I make sure I keep it within arm’s reach whenever I’m at the rink.”

“What a minute,” Joanna declared. “I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before the bomb could be placed, it had to be made, right?”

“You’re right,” Mac told Jo before addressing the others as well. “Can we assume that someone who uses spray paint and turns on faucets to frighten people has the skill to make a hockey puck into a bomb?”

“If not, he must have gotten help from somebody. We could be looking at a team, here,” Leroy suggested.

“Let’s stay focused,” Evelyn instructed. “So someone puts the tampered puck in the equipment bag while it’s still at the school. He waits until Mac takes it and then follows him to the hockey rink.”

Joanna quickly picked up on Evelyn’s train of thought. “Then he calls the office and asks for MacGyver to separate him from the others so he doesn’t have an alibi and then detonates the puck!”

“Hold on,” Leroy held up a hand as a signal to stop. “According to the police report, the crime techs determined that the detonator was very short range, meaning whoever blew up the puck had to be nearby. How could the perp do that if he was on the phone somewhere?”

“There are pay phones in the lobby,” Mac recalled. “He could have placed the call, dropped the receiver, and returned to the rink with plenty of time to get in range.”

“But he could not have known a shot would go high at just the right moment,” Evelyn countered.

“That was just dumb luck on his part and he took advantage of the opportunity,” MacGyver explained. “He would have detonated it at some point regardless of where it was and the consequences could have been a lot worse.”
“But how could he have known it was the puck?” Joanna asked thoughtfully. “You use a bunch of them in practice at the same time. More dumb luck?”

“For now I’m afraid that’s the theory we’ll have to go with,” Leroy concluded.

“I still don’t get why it has to look like Mac is the one doing all of this? Anyone who knows him knows how dedicated he is to Challengers. He resigned from Phoenix so he could work here.”

“And that, young lady, is the million dollar question,” Leroy proclaimed. He glanced at his watch. “Unfortunately, we’re not going to answer it tonight. I have an early meeting in the morning, but I’ll let you know if I receive any new information.”

MacGyver slept restlessly that night as his mind recalled images of the events discussed earlier that evening. The graffiti, the gym, the hockey rink. Then he was back in Los Angeles, in Pete’s old office. Stern was there. His expression angry and lips moving but Mac couldn’t hear what he was saying.

“Dad! Dad!” Sam whispered loudly, shaking MacGyver’s shoulder.

Mac shot up, his body covered in sweat. “What the--?”

“You were having a bad dream, Dad,” Sam explained. “You were tossing around and murmuring something.”

MacGyver tried but could not remember the dream. “What was I saying?” he asked Sam.

“I don’t know. I couldn’t make it out. It was all garbled.”

Mac scrubbed his face with his hands then looked at the clock.

“Aw man, I’m gonna be late for work!”

MacGyver arrived at Challengers and parked his car next to Jo’s as usual. He was on his way to his office when he noticed Evelyn sitting in Joanna’s office, the two women speaking in hushed tones. Mac tapped lightly on the door.

“Can I come in or is this a private meeting?” he asked teasingly. Two serious faces set with frowns turned toward him.

“Please join us,” Evelyn requested. “This concerns you as well.”

That got his attention. He entered the room and sat down in the chair next to his boss.

“Has something else happened?” he asked urgently.

“I was just telling Joanna that I’ve been obligated to report our series of unfortunate events to the Phoenix Foundation. The anonymous donor who’s been financing our school is very concerned and threatening to cut off our funding to use elsewhere.”

Mac’s chest tightened. “Have you spoken to the board members? They’ll back us.”

Evelyn shook her head. “We’ve been on shaky ground with the board from the beginning. Pete was always able to smooth things over with them, but since he retired, the new director seems to be working against us.”

Images from MacGyver’s dream flared to life. His stomach burned. “Stern,” he said almost inaudibly.

Until now Joanna had been staring vacantly off into space, but Mac’s declaration caught her attention.

“You think Stern is behind all this?” she asked.

“In a twisted way it makes sense,” MacGyver answered. “He was none too happy when I resigned from Phoenix to work here, and he was even less happy when I refused to accept a bribe to go on a mission. That would give him a grudge against Challengers and me.”

“But how can he be doing this?” Evelyn queried. “He’s still in L.A., right?”

“A man like Stern knows how to make things happen without getting his own hands dirty,” Mac replied.

“So he’s paying off someone working here to cause these ‘incidents’,” Joanna concluded.

“It looks that way. Unfortunately, we can’t prove it,” MacGyver sighed.

“We need to go to the police with this. They can investigate and get hard evidence,” Evelyn insisted.

Mac shook his head. “If Stern is orchestrating this and already paying someone off, who’s to say there aren’t other locals on his payroll? There are still a couple people I trust at the Chicago office. I’ll drive down tomorrow and see if I can dig anything up.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna’s office phone rang late the next afternoon.

“Hello?”

“Hey, it’s me.” She immediately recognized MacGyver’s voice.

“How’d it go?” she asked.

Mac sighed, “Not well. I hit a dead end. Either nobody really doesn’t know anything or they’re too scared to talk.”

“Which one do you think it is?”

“I think they don’t know anything and that Stern is working on his own agenda with no one being the wiser.”

“Are you coming home now?”

“Yeah. That’s part of the reason I called. It’s starting to snow down here and the traffic is already jammed up. I’m gonna take some back roads to hopefully make better time. How about we grab a bite to eat when I get back?”

“Sounds good. Pick me up at the house.”

“Will do. See you in a bit.”

Three hours later Joanna stood staring out the living room window watching the snow fall.

“I’m sure he’s just caught in traffic,” Judy Fairfax said softly, trying to reassure her daughter. “You know how bad it gets and this weather is sure to make it ten times worse.”

“Yeah. I know.” But her gut was telling her something different.

An hour later Joanna sat on her parent’s couch absently watching the basketball game her dad had on the TV. Her stomach was upset and her temple was beginning to pound. Something was definitely wrong. Even on the worst of days it shouldn’t take four hours to drive from Chicago to Milwaukee. The shrill ring of the telephone jarred Jo out of her reverie. She lunged for the receiver and answered immediately.

“Jo? This is Sam. Can you come over? Dad’s been in an accident.”

Joanna felt as if someone had just punched all the air out of her lungs. “I’m on my way!”

A sheriff’s department car was parked in front of the duplex when she pulled up. When she entered the apartment, the deputy quickly rose from where he was sitting on the couch to greet her.

“What happened? How is he?” she asked the man urgently.

“Mr. MacGyver apparently lost control and slid off the road into a ravine. He was unconscious when the fire department extricated him from the vehicle. He’s been taken to County General.”

“Ma’am?” The deputy continued, “Where would you like his car towed?”

Joanna stood stunned, trying to process the information she had just received.

“Huh? Oh, I’m sorry. Could you please take it to Lou’s Auto Repair?”

“Sure thing. And try not to worry. Accidents like these often look worse than they are.”

Joanna closed the door behind the deputy, noticing Sam for the first time since arriving. His cheeks were flushed and his were shining with unshed tears. She opened her arms towards him and he walked into them, holding her tight as he sobbed on her shoulder.

“I can’t lose him, too, Jo! I just can’t!”

“We’re not gonna lose him, Sam,” Joanna promised as she pulled away to look him in the eye. “Your dad is too stubborn to let a little car accident slow him down.” She gave him a soft smile. “Now go grab your coat and we’ll go to the hospital. Your dad is probably already wondering why you’re not there!”

Joanna and Sam rushed through the doors of the emergency room at County General and quickly approached the reception desk.

“I’m looking for MacGyver,” Sam said anxiously.

“And you are?” the middle-aged nurse asked.

“I’m his son.”

The nurse glanced at Joanna, but before she could speak Sam cut in.

“She’s his wife.”

Joanna’s jaw went slack and she glared at Sam who glared back just as intently.

“Could I please see some ID?” the nurse asked.

Jo and Sam both pulled out their driver’s licenses. The nurse studied Joanna’s and raised a questioning eyebrow.

“Says here your name is Fairfax.”

“I, um, we just got married a few weeks ago. I haven’t gotten around to changing all my documents.”

The nurse nodded, glancing at Joanna’s ring finger. Thank goodness she hadn’t taken off her sapphire after work like she usually did. Satisfied, the nurse instructed them to have a seat in the empty waiting room.

“Why did you have to tell him I was your dad’s wife?” Joanna scolded Sam, mainly for something to do while they waited. “You could have said I was his sister or something!”

“I’m sorry. It slipped out. It just seemed…right.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Jo sighed. “Just hope your dad catches on and plays along when we see him.”

Thirty excruciating minutes later, a tall lanky doctor approached them. The embroidered name on his lab coat read Dr. Kennedy.

“You must be here for Mr. MacGyver.” He offered his hand and they both shook it.

“I’m his son, Sam, and this is his wife, Joanna.”

“Nice to meet you both. Please, have a seat.”

“How is he, doctor?” Jo asked bluntly as she sat back down next to Sam.

“Lucky. Very lucky,” the doctor replied with a smile. “He has a concussion, some facial lacerations, and a few cracked ribs, but other than that he’s fine. It could have been much, much worse.”

“When can we see him?” Sam asked eagerly.

“We’re moving him to a private room now. I’ll send someone to get you when he’s ready for visitors, though I must warn you, he’s quite groggy. You also need to know that he’s experiencing some temporary memory loss.”

“That happened once before,” Joanna offered. “He had trouble remembering the details of a hockey accident.”

The doctor sighed heavily. “I’m afraid it’s different this time. He doesn’t remember the accident, but he also doesn’t remember his own name. It’s only temporary, but he may not know who you are either. Everyone’s situation is different. I’d like to ask that, when you see him, don’t call each other by name. The more he recalls on his own the better.”

Jo and Sam exchanged concerned glances as Dr. Kennedy excused himself to see to other patients.

“Did the deputy say where the accident happened?” Joanna asked Sam, breaking the heavy silence that had fallen.

Sam described the place the deputy had given and Jo frowned.

“I used to drive that road all the time. I never considered it dangerous, even in winter.”

Sam shook his head. “Dad used to drive race cars. I can’t believe he would wipe out on a straight rural road, even in the snow.”

Just then, a pretty young nurse appeared and took them up to Mac’s room. They stood in the doorway as another nurse adjusted an IV and Dr. Kennedy checked his bandages.

“Ah, it looks like you have company, Mr. MacGyver,” the doctor said when he looked up and saw Jo and Sam. He motioned them to approach the bed. “Your wife and son are here.”

“I have a family?” Mac croaked, looking up at Dr. Kennedy.

Joanna studied the man lying on the bed and her heart clenched. He looked so pale and vulnerable. His hair was still matted with some blood and splayed across his pillow, except for some rebellious bangs that hung in his eyes. There was a white gauze pad taped to his left temple and butterfly bandages holding several other small cuts together. She hung back, allowing Sam to go to his father first.

“Hi Dad, remember me?”

Mac turned his head and looked vacantly at the young man. “You’re so…old.”

Everyone in the room laughed.

“Are you okay?” Sam asked.

“Yeah. At least that’s what they tell me,” Mac replied, his voice still gravely. He glanced at the cup of water on the bedside table and Sam quickly retrieved it and held it while his dad drank.

Sam slowly backed away, indicating that it was Joanna’s turn. Her stomach was queasy. It was bad enough to see this strong, handsome man lying flat in a hospital bed, but now she had the added burden of pretending to be his wife, and people were watching! She slowly approached the bed and reached out to take Mac’s hand. She felt his gaze lazily inspect her from head to toe, an action that made her extremely uncomfortable.

“You’re my wife?” he asked incredulously.

Joanna’s stomach turned over and she wished the floor would just swallow her now. She knew she wasn’t particularly pretty, but always felt as if she matched up to the average female. Obviously she disappointed MacGyver. Had the memory loss loosened his inhibitions? Was he finally saying what he really thought of her?

“That’s what they tell me,” she tried to tease as she held back tears.

“How did I get so lucky?” he mumbled, struggling to keep his eyelids open yet holding her hand tight.

Joanna was shocked by his response and didn’t know how to respond so she stayed silent.

He raised his head to look down at his left hand. “Why don’t I have a wedding ring?”

“You didn’t want one,” Jo responded as her mind scrambled for an explanation. “You work with your hands a lot and didn’t want to lose it.”

“Oh.” He let his head drop back to the pillow thankfully satisfied with her answer.

“How do you really feel?” Joanna asked.

“Like I got hit by a truck.”

“That’s to be expected,” Dr. Kennedy broke in. “Those ribs will take a while to heal. It’s lucky you have such a lovely wife to take care of you.”

“Yeah,” MacGyver mumbled, a sad look on his face.

“What’s wrong?” Jo asked.

“I wish I could remember you. You look like a stranger to me.”

“Just relax. It’ll all come back to you,” Jo said softly, leaning down as her free hand brushed the hair out of his eyes. Suddenly, the hand that she had been holding released its grip only to grab on to her upper arm and pull her closer until their faces were inches apart. She caught her breath as MacGyver raised his head slightly to brush a tender caress against her lips. Only this time it didn’t stop there. Joanna began to feel him deepen the kiss and she instinctively pulled back until she remembered that people were watching. People who needed to believe they were husband and wife. Allowing her defenses to fall, she succumbed to Mac’s urgent, probing kiss and suddenly it seemed as if they were the only two people in the room. After several seconds, MacGyver broke the connection, only to nuzzle his face gently against her neck.

“My brain may not remember you,” he whispered huskily in her ear, “but my heart does.”

Dr. Kennedy cleared his throat loudly, causing Joanna to jerk upright.

“I’m sorry to break this up, but visiting hours are over. Mr. MacGyver needs his beauty sleep,” he declared with a wink towards his patient.

Joanna was about to step away from the bed when Mac snagged her by the wrist.

“You’ll come back tomorrow?” he asked.

“I’ll be here,” She promised.

Standing next to Sam in the elevator, Joanna let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding.

“Wow, Dad really laid one on you!” Sam said happily, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. “And it looked like you enjoyed it.”

“Sam!” Joanna exclaimed, pinning him with a look she generally saved for her most disruptive students.

“What can I say?” Sam shrugged his shoulders. “Good kissers run in the family.”

“I guess I’ll just have to take your word for that,” Joanna replied tartly. “Besides, your dad doesn’t know who I really am. Heck, he doesn’t even know who he is. That kiss meant nothing.”

“You can’t believe that, Jo! He thinks you’re his wife and is obviously quite pleased about it. Besides, you’d think he’d kiss a stranger like that?” Sam shook his head. “Nope, there is definitely a connection between you two.”

By the time the time they reached the lobby, Sam was frowning again.

“Do you mind if we go check out the accident site?” he asked Joanna.

“It’s awful late,” she protested. “Besides, I’m sure the car has already been towed.”

“I know, but I need to see it.”

Jo sighed and soon she was parked next to the ravine where Mac had slid off the road. As she suspected, the car was gone leaving only the marks in the snow to indicate where it had come to rest. She grabbed a flashlight from her glove compartment and hopped out of the car to join Sam who was already crouched down, looking at something in the snow.

“Did you find something?” she asked, as the young man rubbed two fingers in the snow and cautiously raised them to his nose.

“Yeah. Brake fluid.”

“How can you tell?” Jo asked.

Sam grabbed her flashlight and aimed it at the slushy snow. “See the brownish-yellow color? It also has a very distinctive smell.”

“A result of the accident?”

He shook his head. “If the accident ruptured the line the fluid would all be in the ditch.”

Sam then got up and walked into the road, studying the pavement.

“Look,” he motioned Jo to his side. “More brake fluid. And no skid marks.”

“He never hit the brakes,” Joanna concluded.

“Or he didn’t have breaks to hit. We need to get a look at his car.”

“I’ll pick you up first thing in the morning and we’ll go to the garage,” Jo promised. “But now we need to go home and get some sleep.”

Sam glanced at his watch. “It’s really late. Why don’t you crash at our place?”

Joanna was about to decline when she realized this might be Sam’s way of saying he didn’t want to be alone tonight.

“I’ll even let you have the bed,” he offered.

“Well, how can I say ‘no’ to that?!” Jo smiled at him as they climbed back into the car.

The eastern sky was turning a lighter shade of gray as Joanna lay in bed wide awake. She hadn’t slept a wink all night. Since she had still been in her work clothes, Sam instructed her to find something of his dad’s to wear to bed. She found a pair of too-long sweatpants and an oversized hockey jersey that would have to do. And here she was, lying in MacGyver’s bed, wearing his clothes. It would have been romantic if the man himself wasn’t in the hospital with cracked ribs and amnesia. Instead, it was simply awkward.

After a quick breakfast, she and Sam drove to the garage. They met Lou as he was opening up for the day. When they asked to see the car, the mechanic just shook his head.

“She took quite a beating. There’s not much worth looking at,” he said sadly.

“We just want to check something out,” Sam pleaded.

Lou guided them around the back of the building where the Nomad sat at an odd angle, a mass of crumpled metal.

“I can’t believe Mac survived that,” Joanna said in a hushed tone.

Sam slowly circled the wreck, inspecting it closely until he found the brake lines he was looking for. He examined them carefully then looked at Jo.

“They were tampered with,” he told her flatly.

“Are you sure?”

“I know my way around cars. Yeah, I’m sure.”

Joanna massaged the back of her neck. Had the person wreaking all the havoc at Challengers gone from trying to frame Mac to attempting to kill him? It was just too surreal to believe.

“I’m gonna drop you off at your place,” Joanna told Sam. “Call the police and Leroy and tell them everything. I’ll be at the hospital with your dad. Hopefully he’ll remember something today.”

When Joanna arrived at the hospital, MacGyver was resting peacefully, the head of his bed raised slightly. Not wanting to disturb him, she quietly pulled a straight-backed chair next to the bed planning to rest her head on the edge of the mattress for a few minutes. Within seconds she was fast asleep.

Joanna awoke an hour later to something stroking her cheek. She opened her eyes to find MacGyver watching her, his finger caressing her face. He smiled crookedly as she raised her head.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” he apologized.

“No problem. I just didn’t get much sleep last night,” she explained.

“You came back.”

“I promised I would,” Jo replied.

“I know,” Mac said. “I just have this feeling that I’ve lost a lot of people I loved. I don’t want to lose you, too.”

“But you were in an accident and don’t even remember my name. I could be a perfect stranger for all you know.”

“I may not remember your name, but I can feel that you’re someone special to me.”

Joanna couldn’t take it anymore. She had been brave and strong for too long and she was ashamed of lying to Mac. Tears she had been holding back suddenly broke free, tumbling down her cheeks.

“Aw, come here, baby.” MacGyver opened his arms and she gently laid her head on his chest, mindful of his injuries. He closed his arms around her and she relished his embrace as silent tears continue to fall. When all her tears had been shed, she slowly raised her head and captured his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she said weakly. “I’m not normally one to cry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

Mac took her face in his hands, his gaze never wavering. “You have nothing to be sorry for and I am not scared of a crying woman.”

Joanna attempted a watery smile, but MacGyver’s face was already upon hers. He kissed her forehead and each tear-stained cheek before settling his lips on hers. Again the kiss started out gentle, as if asking her permission. When she leaned in, he deepened the kiss. Unlike last night, he took his time, tasting, exploring, comforting, and she was helpless to stop him. A part of her knew she should pull away, that this wasn’t real and she was taking advantage of his muddled mind, but a bigger part of her encouraged her to take what she could while she was still able. All too soon the kiss ended, but Mac continued to cradle her head, staring into her eyes as if he could see all the way to her soul.

“Thanks for hanging in there with me, Joanna,” MacGyver whispered huskily.

“You’re wel— You remember my name?!” Joanna’s eyes grew wide as she grabbed MacGyver’s hands and released herself from his touch.

“Yeah, I do,” he smiled mischievously.

“When did you remember?”

Mac’s smile turned tender. “When I was holding you while you cried. Everything started clicking into place.”

“You mean you remembered who you were, who I was, before you, before we—“

“Kissed? Yeah, I knew exactly who we were, who we are.” His smile fading, he reached out and cupped her cheek in his palm and began stroking it with his thumb. “And I’m not gonna apologize for it, either.”

Joanna shook her head. “I don’t want you to,” she declared, putting her hand over his, amazed at what had just happened between them.

A knock on the door startled them and Joanna turned to watch Dr. Kennedy enter the room.

“Sorry to interrupt, folks, but I need to borrow Mr. MacGyver for a few minutes. He has a date with a CT scan.”

“Doctor, he remembered me!”

“That’s wonderful! Do you remember anything about your accident?” the doctor asked hopefully.

“I was driving home from Chicago,” Mac began hesitantly. “I had just called Jo and it was snowing. I was almost home when…” He closed his eyes tight, struggling to remember.

“That’s good, Mr. MacGyver. Don’t force yourself,” the doctor warned.

“No, I need to remember,” Mac insisted. “I remember being so close to home when I saw something in the road. A deer. I pumped the brakes but nothing happened. I drove off the road so I wouldn’t hit it. Then everything went black.”

Joanna’s heart swelled at his selfless act. What kind of man risked personal injury, maybe even his life, to save a wild animal?

“Do you remember anything from the time you wrecked your car to just now?” Dr. Kennedy asked.

“No,” MacGyver frowned. “Will I get those memories back?”

The doctor sighed. “It’s hard to say. There’s so much we still don’t understand about the human brain, and different people respond differently to memory loss. I’d say you’re off to an excellent start, though. Now say goodbye to your wife so we can get you to radiology.”

MacGyver raised a questioning eyebrow and Joanna leaned down as if to kiss his cheek.

“Sounds like I missed a lot,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear.

“It was Sam’s idea…to make sure they’d let me see you.”

Mac smiled widely. “I knew I had a smart son.”

Joanna followed through on the kiss for the doctor’s sake. “I have to get to work, but I’ll call Sam and let him know you’re back with us. We’ll both see you later.”

She squared her shoulders and walked confidently from the room, feeling MacGyver’s eyes on her as she left. Alone in the elevator, she allowed her posture to relax and leaned against the wall. The first time Joanna laid eyes on MacGyver she knew he was no ordinary man. Little did she know that within a year he would turn her life, and her heart, upside down.









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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Posted: 27 February 2019 - 07:00 PM                                    
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....bad Sam. Bad.


 
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Posted: 27 February 2019 - 08:36 PM                                    
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QUOTE
Joanna closed the door behind the deputy, noticing Sam for the first time since arriving. His cheeks were flushed and his were shining with unshed tears. She opened her arms towards him and he walked into them, holding her tight as he sobbed on her shoulder.“I can’t lose him, too, Jo! I just can’t!”
Don't worry, I'm just fine. It's not like I needed my heart anyway DX

QUOTE
The nurse glanced at Joanna, but before she could speak Sam cut in.“She’s his wife.”Joanna’s jaw went slack and she glared at Sam who glared back just as intently.
Oh, Sam, you sly dog! roller.gif

QUOTE
“Why did you have to tell him I was your dad’s wife?” Joanna scolded Sam, mainly for something to do while they waited. “You could have said I was his sister or something!”

“I’m sorry. It slipped out. It just seemed…right.”
Glad to know Sam's still in there, grieving or not laugh.gif

QUOTE
“I’m afraid it’s different this time. He doesn’t remember the accident, but he also doesn’t remember his own name.
Of course he doesn't. It's his trademark wink.gif

QUOTE
“I used to drive that road all the time. I never considered it dangerous, even in winter.”
That totally wasn't an accident

QUOTE
“Your wife and son are here.”

“I have a family?” Mac croaked, looking up at Dr. Kennedy.
Okay, I know he's undergoing memory loss, but that's just so... emotional to read, considering he really did lose all of his family before Sam and then Jo came into his life (Yes, I think it's safe to consider Jo family).

QUOTE
“Hi Dad, remember me?”

Mac turned his head and looked vacantly at the young man. “You’re so…old.”
PFFT roller.gif

QUOTE
“How did I get so lucky?” he mumbled, struggling to keep his eyelids open yet holding her hand tight.
Aww! <3

QUOTE
“My brain may not remember you,” he whispered huskily in her ear, “but my heart does.”
AWWWWWW! w00t.gif wub.gif

QUOTE
“Wow, Dad really laid one on you!” Sam said happily, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. “And it looked like you enjoyed it.”
Sam, you little- XD

QUOTE
“Sam!” Joanna exclaimed, pinning him with a look she generally saved for her most disruptive students.
Why do I feel like Sam would be one of her most disruptive students? Probably one of the most loved too XD

QUOTE
“What can I say?” Sam shrugged his shoulders. “Good kissers run in the family.”
So modest... lol

QUOTE
Joanna was about to decline when she realized this might be Sam’s way of saying he didn’t want to be alone tonight.
Congratulations, Jas, thanks to this chapter, I am adding Sam onto my list of fictional characters I have adopted as my children (poor baby XD )

QUOTE
Since she had still been in her work clothes, Sam instructed her to find something of his dad’s to wear to bed. She found a pair of too-long sweatpants and an oversized hockey jersey that would have to do. And here she was, lying in MacGyver’s bed, wearing his clothes. It would have been romantic if the man himself wasn’t in the hospital with cracked ribs and amnesia. Instead, it was simply awkward.
Lol XD

QUOTE
“I know,” Mac said. “I just have this feeling that I’ve lost a lot of people I loved. I don’t want to lose you, too.”
That earns both a <3 and a </3 at the same time

QUOTE
“I may not remember your name, but I can feel that you’re someone special to me.”
This chapter is all feels <3

QUOTE
“Kissed? Yeah, I knew exactly who we were, who we are.” His smile fading, he reached out and cupped her cheek in his palm and began stroking it with his thumb. “And I’m not gonna apologize for it, either.”
Mac, you son of a- surprise.gif laugh.gif

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 28 February 2019 - 06:22 AM                                    
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LOL Dragondog! Love your comments as usual! I probably haven't read this chapter since I posted it on another on-line fan fic site. As I was proofreading it, I totally fell in love with it! I think it might be one of my favorites! I'm really trying to build Sam into a solid character. The series didn't leave me a whole lot to work with;) But never fear, you will see more of your (our) adopted son!!

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: 28 February 2019 - 07:32 PM                                    
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It's actually kinda nice that the series didn't give us much of Sam, because now we fanfic writers can basically do whatever we want with him laugh.gif

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 1 March 2019 - 06:06 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 28 February 2019 - 07:32 PM)
It's actually kinda nice that the series didn't give us much of Sam, because now we fanfic writers can basically do whatever we want with him laugh.gif

This is true!

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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Posted: 6 March 2019 - 02:56 PM                                    
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Chapter 29: Moving Forward

“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” Evelyn drawled sarcastically, leaning against the door to Joanna’s office.

“Sorry I’m late, but MacGyver was in an accident last night and…Oh! I forgot to call you!!”

“Yes, you did. But you had more important things on your mind.” Evelyn’s voice lost its edge. “Leroy called to tell me about it this morning. How is Mac doing?”

Joanna sighed, unlocked her office door and sank into her chair before answering. “He’s okay. He has some cracked ribs and cuts. He lost his memory for a few hours, but it’s pretty much back to normal now.”

“Well, that’s a relief. What exactly happened?”

Joanna relayed what Mac had just told her as well as Sam’s discovery about the brakes.

“Do you think it’s the same person who’s trying to shut down Challengers? That Stern fellow?”

“I guess…I don’t know,” Joanna yawned. “I don’t know who else it could be, but he sure upped the ante this time.”

“Why don’t you go home and get some rest,” Evelyn urged. “There’s nothing you can do today that can’t wait until tomorrow. Classes don’t resume until Monday and I assume you’ll want to spend some time with MacGyver.”

Joanna was about to protest on all counts until she looked down at the rumpled clothes she still wore from yesterday and remembered that she promised to pick up Sam and head back to the hospital in a few hours.

“Yeah, I think I’ll do that,” she agreed wearily.

Joanna grabbed her coat and locked her office before heading out of the building, completely unaware of the tall, quiet man lurking in the main corridor.

Approaching her car, Joanna dug in her pocket for her car keys. Keys that were not there. She had forgotten that she had tossed them on her desk earlier. She was making her way back to her office when she noticed a light shining from the open doorway of the maintenance room. That was odd since no teachers or staff members were expected back for a few more days. She quietly approached the room in time to hear a one-sided telephone conversation.

“Yeah, I’m sure. She said he’s gonna be fine and he remembered everything,” a male voice said shakily.

“I did everything you told me to,” the voice insisted. “I cut his brakes, put that fake deer in the road, everything!”

Joanna couldn’t believe what she was hearing! Unfortunately, she had no witnesses. Not wanting to get caught eavesdropping, she slowly turned to head toward her office when a door slammed behind her, causing her to stop and turn.

“Sorry if I startled you, Ms. Jo,” a man in beige coveralls apologized.

Joanna immediately recognized him as one of the school’s custodians. She glanced at the name embroidered on his breast pocket.

“No problem, Elliott,” she replied, making an effort to keep her voice steady. “I just wasn’t expecting anyone back until Monday.”

Elliott nervously shifted his weight from one foot to another but remained silent.

“Well, I was just coming to get something from my office,” Jo explained. “Enjoy the rest of the break.” She forced herself to smile at the man before hurrying to her office to make some important phone calls.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver slumped on his couch. His ribs ached and his head spun as Joanna, Sam, Leroy, Evelyn, and a police detective crowded into his living room to discuss the events of the past twenty-four hours. His mind scrambled to keep up with the conversation. Perhaps he should have taken the doctor’s advice and spent one more night in the hospital, but at the time he didn’t see the need. Now he was beginning to wonder if he had made a mistake.

“Wait a minute,” Mac spoke up. “You’re saying a custodian at Challengers was working for Stern to shut down the school and get me out of the picture?”

“Yes sir,” the detective replied. “Once Ms. Fairfax identified the phone Elliott Simms had used, the redial went directly to William Stern’s private line at the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. He has since been taken into custody.”

“What about Simms?” MacGyver asked.

“He was apprehended at his apartment. He’s scared to death of Stern and wants him locked up so he turned state’s evidence and is providing detailed information even as we speak.”

“So none of us will have to testify?” Joanna asked.

“Doesn’t look that way. However, Mr. MacGyver may have to answer some questions regarding his time at Phoenix while under Stern’s command.”

“Terrific,” Mac rolled his eyes and winced as pain shot through his temple.

“I still don’t understand how Simms knew Dad was going to be on that road at that time?”

“I can answer this one, detective,” MacGyver offered with a grunt, turning to Sam and the others. “I got the cell phones we’ve been using from Phoenix. They each have a prototype tracking device in them. The only way to activate and use it is with special equipment the Foundation developed. Stern was apparently using it and feeding the information to Simms.”

“But how did Simms get hooked up with Stern in the first place?” Joanna asked. “We did thorough background checks on everyone we hired and there were no red flags.”

“From what we can tell, Simms was having financial problems recently and needed money fast. Stern took advantage of that,” the detective explained.

“What happens next?” Evelyn asked the detective.

“Nothing as far as you all are concerned. It’s a police matter now. I have everyone’s contact information if questions arise, but I doubt that will happen. Feel free to go on with your lives and let us take it from here.”

Sam showed the detective to the door and the group let out a collective sigh of relief.

“I’ll keep tabs on the case and keep you posted,” Leroy promised. “I’m sure you’ll be interested in the outcome.”

“Thanks Mr. Jackson,” Joanna responded. “I think we’d all appreciate that.”

“You’re quite welcome, Joanna. Evelyn, can I give you a ride home?”

“That would be lovely,” Evelyn said. “And MacGyver, I don’t want to see you at Challengers until Monday, do you hear me?”

“Yes ma’am,” Mac answered dutifully, watching his room slowly clear out. The front door clicked shut leaving only himself, Sam, and Joanna.

“I should get going, too,” Joanna declared. “It’s been a long day.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay for a while?” MacGyver asked, catching her gaze.

“No,” she replied, her eyes unreadable. “You need your rest, too.” And with that she walked out the door.

Once everyone had left, exhaustion soon overtook MacGyver. He slowly climbed the stairs and gingerly settled into bed, mindful of his injuries. As his head hit the pillow, he briefly caught the sweet scent of coconut. Of Joanna. Of course, that was impossible, but it didn’t keep him from dreaming about the soulful kiss they had shared or how it would feel if she truly laid next to him, her head resting peacefully beside his.

The next few days MacGyver gave in to his doctor’s instructions and took it easy so he would be able to return to work when the new term started on Monday. He called Lou and arranged to rent space to work on reviving the Nomad. In the meantime, the mechanic gave him a deal on a Jeep much like the one he drove before leaving L.A. with Sam. Mac had also called Jo a number of times, trying to come up with excuses to see her, but she always rebuffed him. By Sunday evening he was as surly as a bear.

“What’s with you, anyway?” Sam asked as Mac lay on the couch watching on old Western for the third time that week.

“Nothin’,” MacGyver grumbled.

“Aw, c’mon Dad, you don’t expect me to believe that. You’ve been moping around here for days. You wanna talk about it?”

Mac swung his legs off the couch and sat up, pinning Sam with his gaze. “No. I do not want to talk about it,” he replied firmly.

“So there is something bothering you,” Sam grinned triumphantly.

MacGyver leaned forward and scrubbed his hands over his face. “It’s just something a guy doesn’t talk to his kid about.”

Sam sobered and sat down next to his dad. “I’m hardly a kid, ya know?”

Mac turned his head, assessing his son’s concerned face for several minutes before releasing a heavy sigh. “It’s Joanna. I think I scared her off.”

“What did you do now?” Sam asked, sounding more like an exasperated parent than MacGyver’s son.

“In the hospital. I kissed her. Like, really kissed her.”

“Yeah, tell me about it!” Sam exclaimed.

“She told you!” Mac rounded on his son.

“She didn’t have to,” Sam responded, confusion marring his features. “I was there. The doc and nurses too. We all saw it.”

MacGyver shook his head. “You couldn’t have. We were alone.”

“Wait. You’re talking about last night, right? When you thought she was your wife.”

“No. I’m talking about this morning after my memory came back. You mean I kissed her like that twice?!”

“Way to go, Dad!” Sam held up his hand for a high-five, but MacGyver left him hanging.

“No wonder she’s avoiding me,” Mac groaned.

“You say it like kissing her was a bad thing. From where I was standing, it looked like you both enjoyed it quite a bit.”

“She probably thinks I took advantage of the situation,” MacGyver continued as if he hadn’t heard a word Sam said.

“Dad,” Sam’s voice was serious now. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe you just both finally let your defenses down at the same time and showed each other how you really feel?”

MacGyver thought back to his time with Joanna in the hospital. Make that the time he remembered with her. She had been a willing participant. He wondered what would have happened if the doctor hadn’t walked in when he did.

“So what are you going to do about it?” Sam asked, breaking into Mac’s thoughts.

“Huh?”

Sam rolled his eyes, his impatience growing. “What are you going to do about you, Jo, the kiss? If you ask me, it’s time to take it to the next level.”

Mac shot a look of astonishment at his son. “’The next level’? I’m not even sure what that is?”

“Geez, Dad, if I gotta tell you you’re in worse shape than I thought!”

MacGyver lunged to his feet as his ribs protested. “It’s not like that with Jo,” he snapped at his son. “She’s different. Special. The kind of woman a man commits to.”

“And that’s the one thing you can’t do, isn’t it Dad?”

Mac remained silent.

“What’s wrong? Are you afraid you’ll get bored and want someone else?” Sam sneered.

“I could’ve had someone else,” Mac barked. “I chose not to!”

Sam’s jaw went slack as his eyes widened. MacGyver lowered his voice.

“When I went back to L.A. I ran into an old…friend. We were going to talk about commitment, but Phoenix sent her off on an assignment before we had the chance. I hadn’t seen her since. She wanted to pick up where we left off. I didn’t.”

“Why not? What changed?”

Mac quirked an eyebrow at Sam. “You’re a smart kid. Figure it out.”

MacGyver parked his Jeep next to Joanna’s Chevy Monday morning and made his way into the school. At some point during the long night he decided it was time to put away his fears and misgivings for good and tell Jo how he felt about her. They had been dancing around each other long enough. Just when he thought she felt as he did she pulled back. Something, or someone, had to give.

He tapped lightly on her open office door.

Startled, she quickly looked up, but as soon as their eyes met, she lowered hers to stare at his chin. Seriously? Were they back to that?!

“Hey, what happened this weekend? I thought we’d spend some time together.” MacGyver tried, but failed, to hide his annoyance.

“I wasn’t feeling well,” she murmured, looking down at some papers on her desk.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Stepping further into her office he noticed she did look a bit tired and pale. A pang of concern hit him.

Her gaze snapped up and caught his, fire in her eyes.

“I suppose you want a note from my doctor, too!” she retorted.

“And what would it have said?” MacGyver countered. “That you were trying to avoid me? That you were trying to run from what happened between us at the hospital?!”

“Nothing ‘happened’,” she spat, rising so quickly her chair rolled backward of its own accord.

“Not from where I was sitting!” Mac all but yelled, his patience stretched to the limit.

Joanna spun and stared silently out the window. Had he gone too far this time? He approached her from behind and put a calming hand on her shoulder which she immediately shrugged off.

MacGyver groaned and jammed his fingers through his hair.

“Look,” he continued, more subdued. “I’ve been here a year, now. I haven’t made it a secret that I care about you. I was hoping the feeling was mutual, but I guess that was dumb on my part. Or maybe it is, but you’re just too scared to admit it.”

She slowly turned to face him. Her voice was eerily calm and sure. “That’s ironic, coming from someone with self-professed commitment issues.”

“Is that what this is about?” he roared.

“Isn’t it?!” she yelled back.

A steady pounding registered with MacGyver. He turned to find Evelyn rapping her fist loudly against the door.

“Both of you, in my office, now!”

“I’m not even going to ask what all that ruckus was about. We have a more pressing issue to attend to,” Evelyn stated.

MacGyver chanced a peek at Joanna who was glancing sideways at him, her eyes full of concern.

“What is it?” Joanna asked, her voice barely audible.

“We’ve lost our funding,” Evelyn stated succinctly. “After the debacle with Stern, Phoenix refuses to assist us and our benefactor has already reallocated his or her donation for the summer term elsewhere.”

“There has to be something we can do,” MacGyver insisted. “Apply for grants, solicit donations…”

“That takes time and manpower, Mac. Two things we don’t have,” Joanna explained, her voice stronger now.

“She’s right, MacGyver,” Evelyn concurred. “And even if we did get some funds, they could never match what we need. You saw for yourself how much it’s going to cost just to repair the gym.”

“So we just give up?” Mac’s frustration was mounting.

“No,” Evelyn replied. “We move forward and make this the best semester these kids ever had. Their success will be our legacy.”

“Then what?” he pushed.

“Then we keep moving forward to wherever life takes us.”

MacGyver gave Joanna a wide berth the rest of the day. She hadn’t appeared as surprised or upset as he thought she would, but he figured it was only a matter of time before the situation hit her full force. He planned to catch up with her after school, but he got delayed cleaning up the remnants of an experiment he had demonstrated in the science lab and by the time he returned to his office she was gone.

He found her sitting on a park bench, looking out over the frozen lagoon. The same lagoon, the same bench where he had told her about Sam and Kate months earlier. He sat down next to her, not bothering to ask for an invitation in case she would send him away.

“How are you doing?” Mac asked gently.

Joanna shrugged her shoulders, still gazing over the water.

“Everything’s gonna work out, ya know,” he tried to assure her. This time she nodded and met his eyes.

“This is probably going to sound terrible, but I’m actually relieved,” she confessed, and MacGyver could see a peacefulness in her eyes that hadn’t been there before.

“I’m starting to burn out,” she continued. “I dread going to work and yet I give it everything I have. Lately I feel like I’ve been running on empty.”

“What’ll you do when the school closes?”

“Look for another job,” she grinned slightly at the obvious answer. “Hopefully something I enjoy. I’ll be okay. I learned that nothing is guaranteed when you work for a non-profit so I’ve been preparing for this.”

MacGyver was impressed with her calmness and foresight.

“What about you?” she asked him. “Will you move back to L.A.?”

“Nope,” he answered without hesitation. “My home is here, now. I might do a little traveling, maybe spend some time with Pete to keep him out of Connie’s hair.”

“What about work?”

“I’ll fall into something eventually.”

“I hope you mean that figuratively and not literally,” Jo responded, a full smile now on her face.

“I hope so, too,” he replied with the quirky grin he reserved just for her.

She laughed and his heart warmed. He shifted on the bench so he was facing her.

“I owe you an apology for this morning. I didn’t mean to come down on you like that,” he said solemnly.

Joanna slowly shook her head. “I need to apologize, too. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I got upset because you were right. I do care about you and that scares me. Even after what happened in the hospital, I refused to let myself believe you could feel anything more than friendship for me.”

“Why?” Mac whispered softly.

“Because that’s the way it’s always been for me. I’m always just the friend. Never anything more.”

Her eyes turned glassy with unshed tears, ripping up MacGyver’s heart. He draped his arm across the back of the bench, his thumb caressing her cheek and ready to catch her tears if they should fall.

“It doesn’t have to be like that between us,” he urged gently. “I guess neither of us has a great track record when it comes to relationships, but I’d like to try and change that.”

“And how do you plan to do that?” she asked.

“By taking Evelyn’s advice and moving forward in life…with you.”

Mac couldn’t hold himself back any longer. He lifted his hand from her face and moved it to cup the back of her head before brushing her lips with his. When he didn’t meet with any resistance, he pulled her closer and let his kiss express the feelings he couldn’t put into words. When Joanna snaked her arms around his neck, he deepened the kiss and reveled in the connection they shared. When they were mutually satisfied, he relinquished her lips, but kept her close, resting his forehead against hers.

“I promise not to run away if you don’t,” he pledged breathlessly.

“Now that’s an offer I can’t refuse,” Joanna agreed. He felt her fingers playing with the hair that brushed the nape of his neck causing a shiver to run down his spine and lowered his head to kiss her one more time.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

With the school closing its doors in a few months, Joanna felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She had a lot less administrative work to wade through and spent more time with the students in the learning center or recreation room. In addition, the assurance that MacGyver was willing to try and build a relationship with her buoyed her spirits. After they had given voice to their feelings for one another, Joanna was secretly concerned that the dynamics of their relationship would change. She soon learned the only thing that had changed was her fear of MacGyver rejecting her. He had made it clear that he would never simply walk out on her and she believed him, knowing him to be a man of his word. For the first time in a long time, Joanna felt hopeful and, dare she say, happy. There was more to her life now than work. A different reason to get up in the morning. She was on her way back to her office for lunch when MacGyver caught up with her.

“Got a sec?” he asked.

“Yeah, come on in. What’s up?”

“Sam pointed out that Valentine’s Day is next week. He wants to take us out to dinner this weekend to celebrate.”

Before Joanna could respond, Mac held up his hand to stop her.

“I already explained to Sam that you and I are taking things slow, so I don’t think it’s as much about the holiday as it is about him.”

“What do you mean?”

MacGyver sighed. “I think he wants to tell us he’s leaving.”

“How do you feel about that?” Jo asked softly.

“I knew it would happen sooner or later. At least I’m more prepared for it this time,” he smiled ruefully.

Saturday evening Joanna met MacGyver and Sam at an upscale restaurant in downtown Milwaukee. Both men were dressed in suits and collarless shirts and Jo could have sworn that Mac’s hair looked shorter…his bangs no longer meeting his eyebrows and the back of his hair only slightly brushing the collar of his coat. He looked good. But, then again, when didn’t he? It still awed her that a man as kind and attractive as Mac would choose to be with her and her alone. Once they had been seated and the server took their order, MacGyver leaned back in his chair and addressed his son.

“Okay, to what do we owe the pleasure of this expensive meal? And don’t tell me it’s for Valentine’s Day.”

“You think you know me so well?” Sam scoffed playfully.

MacGyver quirked a brow and Sam flushed.

“Okay, you’re right. That was just an excuse. I asked you both here because I have something to tell you and I want to do it right this time.”

Mac and Jo exchanged knowing glances as Sam continued.

“I’ve been hired by a British news agency. I’ll be based in England but will still do a lot of extensive travelling. I would have told you sooner, but I just found out for sure a few days ago.”

“Congratulations, Sam. I’m really proud of you,” MacGyver praised his son. “And your mom would be proud of you too.”

“Congratulations,” Joanna echoed. “You must be really excited.”

“I am,” Sam agreed enthusiastically. “And I’m glad I got to see you guys wake up and get together before I have to leave.”

“When do you have to go?” Mac asked.

“They didn’t give me much notice, Dad. I have to be there the first week of March, but this could really be a big break for my career.”

“I know that, Sam, and I understand. Just make sure you do a better job of keeping in touch this time!”

“I promise,” Sam laughed.

The next hour passed quickly, filled with happy conversation and playful teasing. Joanna had been afraid of feeling like a third wheel, but Sam and Mac made her feel as if she belonged. And maybe she did.

After the trio finished dessert, Sam dug in his coat pocket and produced a small box wrapped in silver paper tied with a light blue ribbon.

“I have a present for you,” Sam announced, pushing the gift so it sat between his dad and Joanna. “Actually, it’s for all three of us, but I want you to open it.”

MacGyver indicated that Joanna should do the honors, so she carefully unwrapped and opened the box. Inside lay a gold engraved coin cut into three distinct pieces, each with a bale so it could be worn on a chain. Joanna turned the package towards Mac so he could see it as she read the inscription.

“’The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another’”.

“That’s the Mizpah. From the Book of Genesis in the Bible,” Mac explained.

“I know,” Jo responded, a look of confusion on her face as she turned to Sam. “This is usually only cut in half for two people to exchange to signify a bond between them. You and your dad should share this.”

“No,” Sam shook his head adamantly. “I had it specially made because you’re the closest thing to family Dad and I have. Besides, since neither one of you is in a hurry to make it official, I figured this was the next best thing.”

“Oh Sam, that was so thoughtful. I’ll wear it every day,” Joanna promised, her heart swelling with affection for the young man and his father who had encouraged her to open her heart to them as they all moved forward in their lives.

*****Keep an eye out for the next chapter which features a very special guest!!!

















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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Gosh! I love going back to these old chapters!! I started proofreading it at work but then got busy and could hardly wait to get home to find out what happened! I remembered bits and pieces, but honestly forgot some stuff!!

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: 6 March 2019 - 07:35 PM                                    
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Nooo Challengers is closing? sad.gif Oh well, it'll be interesting to see where this goes happy.gif

QUOTE
As his head hit the pillow, he briefly caught the sweet scent of coconut. Of Joanna. Of course, that was impossible
Is that from when Joanna slept in his bed?

Okay, I gotta get this of my chest. It says that MacGyver spent "the next few days" taking it easy, but then he talks to Sam like it's the same day he got out of the hospital? huh.gif

QUOTE
"What did you do now?” Sam asked, sounding more like an exasperated parent than MacGyver’s son.
I half-expected Mac to turn and be like, "I don't make a habit of messing up my relationships you know!" roller.gif

QUOTE
“Way to go, Dad!” Sam held up his hand for a high-five, but MacGyver left him hanging.
The only thing more entertaining than watching JoGyver is watching Sam watch JoGyver laugh.gif

QUOTE
“So what are you going to do about it?” Sam asked, breaking into Mac’s thoughts.
Sorry, but being a How to Train Your Dragon fan, I cannot read that without hearing it is Astrid's voice XD

QUOTE
The kind of woman a man commits to.”“And that’s the one thing you can’t do, isn’t it Dad?”
Ow blink.gif

QUOTE
“What’s wrong? Are you afraid you’ll get bored and want someone else?” Sam sneered.
I feel like Sam still has that pain hidden underneath his surface, and it may never go away completely sad.gif

QUOTE
They had been dancing around each other long enough. Just when he thought she felt as he did she pulled back. Something, or someone, had to give.
No kidding!

QUOTE
“That’s ironic, coming from someone with self-professed commitment issues.”
Alternate name for this chapter: "In Which Everyone Slams Mac For His Commitment Issues".

QUOTE
A steady pounding registered with MacGyver. He turned to find Evelyn rapping her fist loudly against the door.“Both of you, in my office, now!”
Oh, hi Evelyn. That got awkward fast... unsure.gif

QUOTE
“Because that’s the way it’s always been for me. I’m always just the friend. Never anything more.”Her eyes turned glassy with unshed tears, ripping up MacGyver’s heart. He draped his arm across the back of the bench, his thumb caressing her cheek and ready to catch her tears if they should fall.
Welp, there goes my heart again...

QUOTE
When Joanna snaked her arms around his neck,
My dumb self misread that as "smacked" and I was gonna say, "That went south fast" XD

QUOTE
“And I’m glad I got to see you guys wake up and get together before I have to leave.”
This is comical, but I can't help but wonder if that's a big part of the reason Sam was shipping them so aggressively hmm.bmp

QUOTE
Inside lay a gold engraved coin cut into three distinct pieces
Aw, I can tell where this is going w00t.gif

QUOTE
I had it specially made because you’re the closest thing to family Dad and I have.
*tears of joy*

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 7 March 2019 - 06:28 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 6 March 2019 - 07:35 PM)

QUOTE
As his head hit the pillow, he briefly caught the sweet scent of coconut. Of Joanna. Of course, that was impossible
Is that from when Joanna slept in his bed?

Okay, I gotta get this of my chest. It says that MacGyver spent "the next few days" taking it easy, but then he talks to Sam like it's the same day he got out of the hospital? huh.gif


Aha...You're right! No matter how many times I proofread these chapters I find typos/continuity errors:( I think there might be one in the next chapter too:( If I ever decide to stop writing new chapters I hope I will still be motivated to come back and really clean up the whole thing!!

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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Posted: 13 March 2019 - 08:02 AM                                    
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Chapter 30: Into the Past

MacGyver glanced at the calendar hanging on his office wall as he prepared to leave for the day. He couldn’t believe Sam had been gone for a month already and that Challengers Academy would be closing its doors for good in another sixty days. As promised, Joanna wore her third of the Mizpah coin on a dainty gold chain every day. Mac had put his on a long, thin leather cord and wore it tucked into his shirt. He rarely removed it as well. On his way out, he peeked into Jo’s empty office. Ironically, since they had decided to give a more-than-just-friends relationship between them a try they had seen less and less of each other. At least now he could take comfort in the fact that Joanna wasn’t purposely avoiding him, she was just busy, as was he. With the closing of the school imminent, they both wanted to spend as much time with the students as possible. In the evenings, Mac still coached the hockey team. Even though it would dissolve at the end of the school year, the kids had asked that he keep working with them. He figured this kept them off the streets and out of trouble. Joanna had stopped by a few times to watch from the stands, but there was no chance for any quality time with her in front of several pairs of curious, teenage eyes.

Mac was unlocking the door to his duplex when he saw Charlie, his landlord and neighbor, heading toward him.

“Hey Charlie, how’s it goin’?” MacGyver greeted him with a friendly smile.

“Oh, I can’t complain, son. Can’t complain,” Charlie replied in his usual jovial tone. “A registered letter came for you in the mail today. Hope you don’t mind, but I signed for it. Figured it had to be pretty important.”

“Thanks, Charlie,” Mac said as he opened his door and took the letter from his landlord. The front of the envelope was scribbled with crossed out addresses and forwarding requests. He saw it had originally been sent to the marina in L.A. where he had kept his houseboat. That had been ages ago.

MacGyver tossed his keys on the kitchen counter, tore into the envelope, and quickly scanned the neatly typed missive. It was a note regarding his late grandpa’s will. There had been an unforeseen development that required Mac’s attention. His brow furrowed as he wondered what it could be. Harry had died several years ago and MacGyver assumed everything had been settled.

Shrugging out of his leather bomber jacket, Mac grabbed the phone and punched in the numbers for Wilton Newberry, attorney at law. The receptionist informed him that Mr. Newberry was gone for the day but had left explicit instructions to schedule a meeting with MacGyver. The following week was spring break so Mac could make the trip home and not miss any work. He set a day and time to meet with the lawyer and clicked off the call. He hadn’t planned on going anywhere over spring break, hoping instead to spend some one-on-one time with Joanna. Just as his disappointment started to build he got an idea.

The next morning MacGyver got to work extra early and was already at his computer when he heard Joanna arrive. He gave her a few minutes to get settled before he went and tapped on her office door.

“Hi Mac,” she greeted him with a happy, unguarded smile. She shuffled through papers on her desk as he sat in a chair across from her.

“I was wondering if you had any plans for next week.”

“Nope,” she replied without missing a beat. “Not unless you count sleeping as ‘plans.’”

“Oh,” MacGyver responded, unable to hide his disappointment.

“Why?”

“I need to go back to my home town next week to take care of something and I thought you might like to come along.” What he didn’t say was that he had been living in Joanna’s world for over a year now and really wanted her to see what had once been his world, his friends, his hangouts. Would she feel as comfortable there as he felt in Milwaukee, or would she be out of place in the northern Minnesota town? It really didn’t matter since he never planned to return there permanently, but it was suddenly important for him to share this part of his life with her.

Mac could practically see the wheels in her head spin as she weighed the pros and cons of his invitation before making a decision.

“I’d love to go,” she finally answered with conviction. “I wanna see where you grew up.” She smiled slyly and MacGyver already had visions of her huddled with his long-time friends as they spun stories about the past…and him. Perhaps he should have thought this through a bit more, but there was no going back now.

It was mid-afternoon on Monday when MacGyver guided his Jeep through the clean, tree-lined streets of Mission City, Minnesota and parked in front of the converted home that served as the law offices of Wilton Newberry. He was reminded of five years ago or so when he came to the same building to receive the codicil to his grandfather’s will that bequeathed him the Nomad. He felt a pang of guilt that he had not had the time to begin restoring the classic car, but that could wait until school let out.

MacGyver looked over at Joanna. It had been a long drive and she had eventually dozed off. He gently shook her shoulder to rouse her.

“Are we there?” she asked, a bit disoriented from sleep.

“Yep,” Mac replied. “And just in time for my appointment with the lawyer.”

Together they entered the building and were shown into Mr. Newberry’s office. The dark-haired, bow-tie-wearing man was shorter than MacGyver and appeared slightly nervous. His office was neat and well-kept. After exchanging greetings they all took a seat.

“Am I to assume we have a Mrs. MacGyver here?” Newberry asked, folding his hands on top of his desk.

“Um, no. She’s just a friend,” Mac responded, hating to down-play their relationship yet not knowing quite how to explain it.

“And do we have a first name for you yet?”

“Nope. Still just ‘MacGyver’,” he said with a crooked smile.
“Well, then. Let’s get down to business, shall we?” Mr. Newberry opened a file, skimming its contents as Joanna and MacGyver exchanged curiously amused glances.

“You may or may not be aware,” the attorney began, “that Harry Jackson, you’re grandfather, owned a small cabin up on Bell Lake that he willed to his friend Stanley Hubbard.”

MacGyver had forgotten about that cabin but nodded his head in response.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Hubbard passed away a few months back. According to Harry’s will, the cabin and property now revert back to you, Mr. MacGyver.”

Newberry then pulled out several legal documents and began instructing Mac where to sign and date each form. MacGyver complied though he was still processing the fact that he was now a landowner…no matter how small the piece of land. As he signed his name here, and put the current date there, Mac began to remember images of the cabin from when he was young and soon became eager to get out and explore the old place. Once the paperwork was satisfactorily completed, Mr. Newberry held out a key to MacGyver.

“Here you are, Mr. MacGyver. You are now the official owner to do with the land and property as you see fit.”

“Thank you,” Mac nodded with a smile as he took the key. “Do you mind me asking how Stanley Hubbard died?”

Mr. Newberry leaned back in his chair with a sigh. “It was a sad thing, really. It appears he went out in a snowstorm to gather more logs for the fireplace when he had a heart attack and collapsed. By the time he was found, the authorities could not determine whether he died from the attack or frost bite.”

“I’m sorry,” Mac offered, not knowing what else to say.

“Yes, well,” Mr. Newberry glanced at the clock. “I do not wish to be inhospitable, but it is two minutes past closing time. You’re Grandpa Harry valued punctuality and he would not want me keeping you from getting settled in, so if you don’t have any questions I’ll let you be on your way.”

“Mr. Newberry is quite an interesting fella,” Joanna observed when the couple returned to the Jeep. “I’m guessing your grandfather was, too.”

“You could say that,” Mac replied as fond memories of Harry surfaced in his mind’s eye. He glanced at the sky and then at his watch. “It’s getting late. How about we grab a bite to eat and then check into the motel?”

“Aren’t you anxious to see the cabin?” Jo asked, unable to mask the eagerness in her own voice. “We could stay there instead of waste money on two motel rooms,” she suggested.

MacGyver’s eyebrows shot up at her proposal. “I have to warn you, the cabin is a lot more rustic than what you’re used to.”

“How rustic is it?” she asked warily.

“If I remember correctly it has indoor plumbing and electricity, but that’s about the extent of its luxuries.”

“Sounds good to me,” she smiled back at him as if issuing a dare.

After supper at a local café, MacGyver drove north to the cabin. He turned off the paved highway onto a narrow, rutted dirt road that had turned to mud with the spring thaw. A couple miles later he pulled up to a dilapidated log home and turned off the engine.

“Here we are,” he announced, as Jo stared out the windshield studying the structure.

“There’s still time to go back,” he told her.

“No.” She set her chin and climbed out of the vehicle. Mac shrugged and followed after her.

“The place is probably pretty dirty,” he warned as he slid the key into the lock. The door swung inward and Mac felt along the wall until he found the light switch connected to a dim bulb. MacGyver’s jaw dropped and he felt Joanna push past him to get a better view.

“This is your idea of dirty?” she asked him.

The pair stood and took in the large room that made up Harry’s cabin. Though the furnishings were decades old, tattered and worn, there was not a speck of dust or hint of cobweb to be found.

“I guess someone’s been looking after the place,” MacGyver muttered as he made his way around the room, turning on lights. Long-forgotten memories slammed to the forefront of his mind as he took in the space. Next to the door was a small kitchen area with a table, sink, refrigerator, and electric stove top. In the middle of the room sat a pair of threadbare recliners, a crooked coffee table and an old television behind which was an old stone fireplace. The far wall was occupied with a well-worn wood desk with a double bed on one side and a narrow cot on the other. A door at the foot of the cot led to the bathroom.

“Are you sure you want to stay here?” Mac asked Jo one last time. He was trying to give her an out.

“Would you stay here if you had come alone?” she caught and held his gaze.

“Yeah, sure,” he admitted. “But—“

“’But’ nothing! If it’s good enough for you it’s good enough for me. I’m not some prissy city girl who’s afraid of breaking a nail you know?”

“I never said that,” MacGyver defended himself.

“You didn’t have to.”

“I don’t suppose you brought any hiking boots with you?”

Joanna looked down at her feet with a frown. Mac’s heart twisted. She was doing her best to fit into his world and he had pushed too far. He crossed the room, tucked a finger under her chin and raised her head so he could once again see her eyes.

“No problem,” he assured her. “We’ll go into town tomorrow and pick up supplies,” he promised.

That night, MacGyver insisted that Joanna take the bed and he would sleep on the cot. He offered to rig up a line and hang a blanket over for some privacy, but he had already decided to sleep in his clothes and Joanna contended that flannel lounge pants and an oversized sweatshirt were less attractive than jeans and a t-shirt so there was no need for him to bother with a ‘wall’. How could she still not realize that it was her he found attractive? That she could entice him wearing a burlap sack! Mac watched as she crawled under the covers and curled into a ball. He groaned and rolled on his side to face the wall vowing that tomorrow the blanket would go up.

They drove into town early the next morning to grab a bite to eat before heading to the sporting goods store that was owned by Chuck, MacGyver’s childhood friend. As luck would have it, his other long-time friend and police sergeant Neil Ryder was also there. The men embraced upon seeing each other before Mac introduced them to Joanna. They all shook hands and exchanged pleasant greetings.

“I never thought I’d see the day when MacGyver settled down,” Chuck quipped.

“So, what brings you to town?” Neil asked, saving Mac from having to respond to Chuck.

“My Grandpa Harry, actually. I sorta just inherited his old cabin up on the lake. We’re staying up there for a few days and need some supplies.”

“That place must be a mess,” Neil said. “Can’t believe you guys are actually staying there.”

“Actually it was surprising clean,” Mac replied. “Any idea who might be looking after it?”

Both men shook their heads and let the subject drop.

Chuck helped Joanna pick out a pair of hiking boots, a couple flannel shirts and an all-weather jacket. Once Mac was satisfied she had everything she needed they headed to the grocery store and stocked up on convenient foods that could be easily prepared in the cabin’s basic kitchen.

“Do you mind if we drive around a little before we head back?” MacGyver asked.

“Of course not!” she exclaimed. “That’s what I came for. Give me the grand tour of Mission City!”

The first place Mac showed her was his old neighborhood and the house he grew up in. For the first time, he noticed how similar it was to the area of Milwaukee where he now lived: The middle-class homes, neat lawns, and tree-lined streets. No wonder he chose to move there instead of returning to Los Angeles. They proceeded to drive by the large high school he had attended, the ice rink where he had played hockey, and several other places that held fond memories for him before returning to the downtown street that housed Chuck’s store as well as many others.

“Well, what do you think of my hometown?”

“I’m impressed,” she told him. “The way you always talk about it I was expecting something a lot smaller and backward. This is a nice little city. I can see why you liked growing up here.”

“Thanks,” Mac said, delighted by her response. “What do you say we head back and try out those new hiking boots of yours?”

MacGyver unlocked the cabin door, crossed the threshold and tossed his keys on the kitchen table. It was then that he saw a blank white envelope next to where his keys had landed. He stopped so abruptly that Joanna bumped into his back.

“Mac…” she began to whine until her gaze followed his.

“Please tell me you put that there,” he said quietly.

“I’d love to, but I didn’t,” she responded softly. “Was it there when we left this morning?”

“Nope,” Mac answered as he slowly approached the table.

“That means someone broke in here after we left?” she asked, a couple paces behind him.

“Yep,” He responded.

MacGyver reached for the envelope and opened it carefully. His pulse kicked into overdrive as he read the short, handwritten note.

Welcome Home, MacGyver

I knew you couldn’t stay away. I do hope you are enjoying your late grandfather’s cabin. I fixed it up especially for you and your lovely guest. Please don’t plan on leaving anytime soon…if ever.

M~

The blood drained from MacGyver’s face. Murdoc.

“Mac, what is it? What does it say?” Joanna asked anxiously. “You look as if you’ve just seen a ghost.”

“I think I have,” he replied ominously.

Joanna. He had to keep her safe and away from this madman.

“Stand against the wall and don’t move until I tell you,” he commanded. She arched an eyebrow in displeasure at being told what to do but quietly obeyed.

MacGyver spent the next several minutes combing the cabin for any sign of a booby trap, bomb, or some other device Murdoc may have cooked up. He found nothing.

“Okay, it’s all clear,” he announced, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Do you mind telling me what’s going on?” Joanna asked indignantly.

Mac motioned for her to have a seat at the kitchen table as he sat down across from her, stabbing his fingers through his hair before beginning the story he had hoped to never tell again.

“There’s this guy named Murdoc. He’s tried to kill me on several occasions. Sometimes as an assignment, sometimes for revenge. He always makes some sort of game out of it, and he uses people I care about to get to me. I can’t believe he’s back.” At this point MacGyver looked into Joanna’s eyes, willing her to understand the danger he had unwittingly put her in.

“And no one’s ever caught him?” she asked.

“No. What’s worse is that he should have died several times over, but he somehow always survives even the most horrific events. He’s like a cat with nine lives.”

“So how many lives has he used up?”

“At last count I think it was five, but I could be wrong,” Mac replied.

“This is crazy, Mac. I think you’re jumping to conclusions. How do you know for sure it was Murdoc who wrote that note?”

“It was him,” MacGyver growled, his jaw clenched.

“But you’re two thousand miles from Los Angeles! How on earth did he find you? Do you think he tracked your cell phone like Stern?”

Mac shook his head. “No. That would be too easy. Murdoc likes a challenge.”

“Well, if he is here, what do we do next?” Joanna asked.

“We don’t do anything. You are going home and I’ll stay and deal with Murdoc.”

“No way,” Jo rebutted. “I’m not leaving you alone out here. We can at least go tell Neil what’s going on and let the police handle this.”

“No! This is between me and Murdoc. I don’t want anyone else getting involved,” MacGyver insisted gruffly.

“You’re being irrational,” Joanna huffed.

Mac reached across the table and took her hand in his. “Maybe I am, that’s all the more reason for you to leave. Now. Please at least go back to town. I’ll meet you there as soon as I can.”

After what seemed like an eternity, Joanna finally relented.

“Fine. I’ll go back to town.” She squeezed his hand before releasing it and heading for the door. Mac tossed her the car keys and followed her outside.

“Just stay on the dirt road until you run into the highway and then head south. And don’t stop for anyone or anything, do you hear me? Do. Not. Stop.”

“I hear you,” she mumbled as she got into the Jeep and reached out to put the key in the ignition.

“Don’t move!” Mac suddenly commanded.

“Why?”

“Didn’t you hear that ‘click’ when you sat down?”

Jo shook her head. “What’s going on Mac? You’re scaring me!”

“It’s about time,” he muttered, as he lowered himself to the ground and cautiously looked under the driver’s seat. Just what he thought. A bomb. Murdoc had rigged the Jeep while they were inside. His nemesis had been yards away, but Mac had been too distracted by Joanna to notice. All the more reason she had to leave once he kept them from getting blown to smithereens.

“Mac, what’s going on?” Joanna moved and the seat wiggled.

“Don’t move,” he said again, trying to stay calm. “There’s a bomb under your seat. Your body weight activated it. If you move or get up it’ll blow. Just sit still.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Diffuse it.” What choice did he have?

MacGyver pulled out his Swiss army knife and moved closer for a better look. The bomb was simple. All he had to do was snip a couple of wires and they were home free. Or were they? Was the bomb only meant to look simple, forcing him to cut the wrong wires? Did Murdoc plan on him overthinking this? Or not thinking enough?

“How’s it goin’ down there,” Joanna called. He admired her bravado, but he also heard the crack in her voice.

“Fine. Just stay put.” Perspiration beaded on his forehead. He had to make a decision. Trust his gut. Ever so slowly he reached out and snipped one wire and then another. He waited for a deafening explosion that didn’t come. Instead, the little red light that indicated the bomb had been activated went dark. He let go of the breath he’d been holding and stood up.

“You can get out now,” he offered his hand to Jo and she grasped it as she tumbled out of the Jeep and into his waiting arms. He hugged her tightly and kissed the top of her head, never wanting to let her go. Suddenly he was aware of pressure on his chest as Joanna pushed away from him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“You’re squishing me!”

Mac’s lips turned up in half a smile as he released his hold on her.

“You gonna be okay?” he asked, not trying to hide the concern.

“Yeah, I’m good,” Jo replied, though her voice shook a bit.

“Go in the cabin and relax while I take care of this,” Mac replied, gesturing toward the Jeep with his chin.

Once Joanna had gone inside, MacGyver went about removing the bomb from the seat of the car before dismantling it and destroying its components. When he entered he cabin, he found Joanna sitting at the kitchen table, a glass of water in front of her. He sat down across from her once more.

“Will you please pack some things and stay at a motel in town tonight?”

Joanna nodded wearily and got up to gather some necessities.

The sun was setting as MacGyver slid the key into the lock that opened the door of the motel room he had rented for Joanna. He ushered her into the room and did a quick walk-through to be on the safe side.

“I wish you’d stay in town, too.”

Mac sighed. “I’m not gonna run from Murdoc.”

“What do you plan to do?”

“I don’t know yet, but I’ll think of something. I always do,” he grinned. After kissing her forehead and making her promise to stay locked in the room and not open the door for anyone but him, he drove back to the cabin.

Darkness had fallen as MacGyver pulled out various pots and pans from the kitchen cabinets and tied them to lengths of fishing line. He then went outside and strung the lines between the trees surrounding the cabin, covering the pots with twigs and brush. It was probably the world’s oldest burglar alarm, but it could still be effective. Once he secured the perimeter, he went inside, plopped down in one of the old recliners, turned on the TV, keeping the volume low, and waited.

Mac awoke with a start. He instinctively listened for the clatter of his booby trap but heard nothing. It took him a minute to notice that the TV was blank and the room dark. The power had gone out…or someone had cut it. After giving his eyes time to adjust to the blackness that surrounded him, Mac did a slow visual survey of the room to ensure he was alone. Once convinced there was no one else in the cabin, he felt his way to the kitchen drawer and grabbed a flashlight but did not turn it on. Not yet. He stepped outside and made his way around the cabin, keeping his back against the roughhewn logs. After finding nothing suspicious, he inspected his ‘burglar alarms’ which appeared to be undisturbed. Perhaps he had just blown a fuse and the sudden silence from the TV had woken him. Feeling more confident, he flicked on the flashlight to check his Jeep, just to be sure. His stomach dropped to his boots when he saw a plain white envelope tucked under one of the windshield wipers. MacGyver gingerly removed and opened the envelope. There was no note this time. Only a small, gold charm. The middle third of a Mizpah coin. Joanna’s!

MacGyver forced himself to take slow, calming breaths. He needed to stay rational. Think this through. Otherwise he could get both of them killed. He hurried back into the cabin and put the charm on the kitchen table as he tugged his own piece from around his neck. He laid them side-by-side. They didn’t fit. Mac sighed with relief. He remembered Sam saying he had the charms specially made. There was no way Murdoc could exactly replicate the zig-zag cut. Nevertheless, he had to get to Jo and see with his own eyes that she was safe. He grabbed his keys and approached the Jeep only to find that all four tires had been slashed. Terrific. Back inside the cabin he pulled out his cell phone and called Joanna’s motel room. The phone rang several times, his heart rate increasing with each one, before he heard a clang, a thud, and finally a mild curse.

“Hello?” Joanna muttered, clearly annoyed.

“It’s me. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“By calling in the middle of the night and scaring me half to death?”

“Sorry,” he apologized.

“Mac, did something happen?”

If he told her the truth she would only worry and possibly try to come to him. He had to keep her calm and safe.

“No. Everything’s fine. I just…missed you,” he pinched the bridge his noise as he offered the lame excuse.

“You could have waited and told me that in the morning.”

“Yeah. I didn’t mean to scare you. Go back to sleep and I’ll see you soon.” He clicked off the call and returned to the old recliner, but sleep was no longer an option.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna awoke to bright sunlight seeping in around the window shade. She had been unable to go back to sleep after MacGyver’s phone call, but she must have dozed off before sunrise. She pushed back the bedcovers and started toward the bathroom when she noticed an envelope that must have been slipped under her door during the night. Her entire body tingled with fear as she gingerly picked up and opened the envelope. She was unprepared to catch the gold charm that fell out and landed silently on the carpet at her feet. She searched the envelope for a note but found none before picking up the charm. She knew what it was even before she looked at it. MacGyver’s piece of the Mizpah. This had to have come from Murdoc. He had Mac!

As Joanna’s panic rose, she unwittingly grasped the charm that hung around her neck. She had to stay calm if she was going to be of any help to MacGyver. She had to let go of the fear, take a step back, and think like Mac. With shaking hands she unclasped the gold chain and laid her pendant on the nightstand, placing the one from the envelope next to it. Her pent up breath came out in a rush when she realized the pieces did not fit. She reached for the phone and punched in the numbers she had memorized long ago. Her heart fell when a recording stated that the cellular customer was out of range. Not knowing what else to do, she disobeyed Mac’s instructions and dialed 911. When the operated answered, Joanna asked to be connected with Sgt. Ryder. He agreed to meet her at the motel in twenty minutes.

Neil Ryder knocked on her motel room door just as she finished tying the laces on her new hiking boots. She peeked around the window shade to see his squad car parked nearby and checked the peep hole to make sure it was, indeed, Mac’s old friend before she opened the door and invited him to have a seat at a small, round table.

“I know how insane this sounds,” Joanna assured the sergeant after she told him everything she knew about MacGyver and Murdoc. “But I wouldn’t have called if I didn’t believe it was true.”

Ryder studied his hands before responding. “Mac always did have a way of finding trouble. Or should I say trouble had a way of finding him? I’ll take a couple officers up to the cabin and check things out.” He rose and headed for the door.

“I’m coming with you,” Joanna announced determinedly.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from a friend of Mac’s,” Neil smiled as they exited the motel room.

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This was going to end, and it was going to end today. Murdoc was on MacGyver’s turf now. The tables had turned. Mac had the advantage and he needed to put it to use. As soon as the sun had cleared the horizon, MacGyver set out on a systematic search. If Murdoc was hiding in the woods that surrounded the cabin, Mac would find him. Ground still wet from the melting snow made it easy for MacGyver to pick up and follow boot tracks that were not his own. Tracks that had stepped over the fishing lines he had rigged. Every now and then he stopped to examine the bent or broken twigs of bushes and trees. He listened carefully to the forest life around him. Silence. That was a bad sign. No whistling birds or chattering squirrels meant something, or someone, had disturbed their habitat.

As MacGyver went further into the woods, he found an area of depressed weeds and grass along with a stone ring and burnt logs indicating a recent campfire. Careful to avoid the poison ivy that grew in the area, Mac searched carefully for further evidence and soon found tire tracks that looked as if they belonged to an ATV. He followed those tracks and soon found a pile of dead tree limbs and shrubs covering the vehicle. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Murdoc. MacGyver began to carefully retrace his steps back to the cabin when he felt a tingle crawl up his spine. No sooner had he stopped to look for an intruder than he heard the cock of a gun hammer behind him.

“Good morning, MacGyver,” a menacing voice greeted him. “I see you are out enjoying the day.”

Mac slowly raised his hands in surrender before turning to look down the barrel of the handgun Murdoc had pointed at his chest.

“Finally, after all these years, you are going to die today.”

“Aw, c’mon Murdoc, this isn’t your style. Shooting an unarmed man in cold blood? Where’s the challenge in that? Have you lost your edge?”

After a moment’s consideration, Murdoc reached behind his back and pulled a second handgun from his waistband and tossed it at MacGyver’s feet.

“There you go. Now we’re even.”

Mac stared down at the weapon.

“Go ahead, pick it up MacGyver,” Murdoc teased.

“You know that’s not my way,” Mac said evenly as he kicked the gun under a bush.

“In that case, any last words?”

“Yeah. How did you find me?”

“I didn’t find you, MacGyver. You found me,” Murdoc explained slowly as if speaking to a child. “You see, I know how much you value family and knew you would come back to your grandfather’s cabin if given the chance. It didn’t take much to lure old Stanley outside. Poor fellow had a weak heart. I’m afraid I gave him a bit of a scare and well, the rest is history as they say. I just had to wait for you to walk into my trap. I must admit I wasn’t counting on you bringing a friend, but no matter. It’s you I want. Not her.”

Relief washed over MacGyver knowing that Joanna would be safe from this mad man. If nothing else, Murdoc was a man of his word.

“Now, are you ready to die, MacGyver? Just think, I will be the last person you ever see!” Murdoc let go with an evil laugh and began to slowly squeeze the trigger when he suddenly began wheezing and gasping for breath. Murdoc dropped the gun, causing it to discharge a bullet harmlessly into a nearby tree as he grasped his throat, struggling for air. His face, which had been flushed, turned a deathly shade of pale as he dropped to his knees, his eyes wide with fear.

MacGyver rushed over to the man who had now toppled to the ground. Mac felt for a pulse, finding it weak and rapid. Murdoc’s arms were covered with welts.

“Help,” Murdoc rasped. “Allergic.”

Mac knelt close to his would-be foe. “Stay with me, Murdoc,” he commanded as he loosened the buttons of the man’s shirt. “What are you allergic to?”

“Ivy.” Murdoc’s whisper was barely audible.

“You’re allergic to poison ivy? Do you have an Epi-pen?”

The distressed man slowly turned his head from side to side. “No ivy in L.A.”

“Stay calm. I’m calling for help. You’re gonna be okay.” Mac pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911 giving them directions to their position the best he could.

“The paramedics are on their way. Stay with me,” he told Murdoc as he watched the life slip from the man who had escaped the most unimaginable, life-threatening situations time and again but was now felled by something as mundane as a wild plant.


Joanna, Neil and two of his officers were examining Mac’s Jeep when they heard the echo of a gunshot in the woods behind them. The men took off running with Joanna close on their heels. MacGyver never used a gun. That had to be Murdoc! The group slowed up when they neared the area where the shot had sounded. Sergeant Ryder silently motioned for his men to spread out and for Joanna to stay hidden behind a tree. The officers finally came upon a clearing and found MacGyver kneeling next to a prone figure, his head bowed.

“Mac!” Neil called to him.

MacGyver turned his head toward the voice and locked eyes with Joanna.

“He’s dead,” Mac said flatly, turning back to body.

“I’ll radio for help,” Neil said.

“I already called. They’re on the way,” MacGyver said as lifeless as the man that lay on the ground.

“What happened?” Neil asked, bending down on one knee next to Mac.

“He’s been camping out here and got into some poison ivy. He’s allergic and went into anaphylactic shock. He didn’t have an Epi-pen. I couldn’t save him.” His voice was monotone. He was grieving because he had failed to save the life of a man who had lived to take his.

Soon the quiet area swarmed with paramedics and more police officers. Evidence was collected and Murdoc was pronounced dead at the scene after life-saving treatment failed. Back at the cabin, his body, now in a black bag, was hoisted into the back of an ambulance. After Mac patiently described the events of the last twelve hours and answered numerous questions from a police officer, Neil ushered him and Jo into his vehicle and headed toward town.

“My Jeep,” Mac said weakly.

“I’ve already called for a tow,” Ryder told him. “Should be able to drive it back by the time we’re done at the station.”

Once at the precinct, Joanna and MacGyver were led to separate interrogation rooms to retell their stories and sign off on their statements. After the paperwork had been taken care of, they were reunited in the lobby.

“You guys on your way out?” Neil asked, slapping Mac on the back.

They both nodded before MacGyver turned to his friend.

“Could I ask you for a favor?”

“Sure thing. What do you need?”

“I need to see Murdoc one last time.”

“C’mon Mac,” Neil scolded. “Don’t do this to yourself.”

MacGyver stared at the sergeant until he gave in. Joanna followed them to the morgue where the coroner was in the process of examining the corpse. Neil and Jo stood in the doorway as Mac entered and approached the doctor who glanced up at him in surprise.

“Sorry,” Mac offered. “I just had to see for myself that he is really dead.”

“Oh, he’s dead all right. X-rays look like this guy’s been through a trash compactor more than once. Hard to believe someone could survive these injuries and then die of an allergic reaction to a weed.”

“Yeah,” MacGyver mumbled.

“Did he have a family?”

Mac shook his head. “Just a sister in Los Angeles. But she died in an avalanche several years ago.”

“You tell the cops?”

“Yeah. I gave them all the information I had.”

“Well, I guess that’s it. Unless you want to hang around and help me load him into the cooler.”

“Thanks for your time, doc,” Mac said as he turned to leave the room.

Joanna and MacGyver left the building to find Mac’s Jeep waiting for him with four brand new tires.

“Want me to drive?” Jo asked, taking in MacGyver’s pale face and weary eyes.

“I’m good,” Mac replied. He started the Jeep and put it in gear, but he took one last look at the building that housed Murdoc’s dead body before pulling away from the curb.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The following morning found MacGyver sitting on the hood of his Jeep, watching the sunrise through the budding trees. Upon returning to the cabin yesterday, he found the electric company had already repaired the cut lines. Joanna fixed a light meal for them while he collected the booby traps he had set so no animal or unsuspecting hiker would get caught in them. They both went to bed soon after, neither one feeling much like making conversation or watching some insipid television program. Mac slept well and awoke early. Hearing the soft snores of a still-sleeping Joanna coming from the other side of the blanket barrier, he took care to sneak out of the cabin and not wake her. He now heard the squeak of the door opening and her soft footsteps heading in his direction. She scooted unto the hood of the Jeep and sat next to him, staring out at the brand new day.

“You wanna talk about it?” she asked gently.

“I still can’t believe he’s dead. That it’s all over,” Mac replied around a lump in his throat.

“How does it feel?”

“I’m not sure. I can’t remember a time when a part of me wasn’t looking over my shoulder, waiting for Murdoc to show up. I guess I feel relieved. Like a weight has been lifted off of me.”

“But?”

Mac stayed silent for several minutes before answering. “No matter how sadistic or evil Murdoc was, he also had a very human side.” He finally turned to look at Jo. “I didn’t see it a lot, but it was there.”

“And you’re grieving for that part of him.”

MacGyver nodded. “I guess I am. No matter how much we hated each other…no matter how many times we tried to kill each other, there was always a level of respect, maybe even admiration, between us. Don’t get me wrong. I despise the despicable things he’s done and I’m glad to be free of him. I guess it’ll just take some getting used to.”

He felt Joanna put her hand on his knee and give it a gentle squeeze that made him smile.

“Why don’t you get your things together so we can get outta here,” he suggested.

“What are you going to do about the cabin?”

Mac sighed and wiped his face with his hands. “Keep it, I guess. It’s the only link to family I have.”

“You should bring Sam up here sometime,” Jo suggested.

“Yeah. Sounds like a plan,” MacGyver agreed.

He took Joanna’s hand from his knee and wrapped it in his own before they both slid off the hood of the Jeep and headed back to the cabin to pack, still hand-in-hand.

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: 13 March 2019 - 02:52 PM                                    
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QUOTE
She smiled slyly and MacGyver already had visions of her huddled with his long-time friends as they spun stories about the past…and him. Perhaps he should have thought this through a bit more, but there was no going back now.
Lol, this sounds like me laugh.gif

QUOTE
“Am I to assume we have a Mrs. MacGyver here?” Newberry asked, folding his hands on top of his desk.
Literally. Everyone. XD

QUOTE
“Um, no. She’s just a friend,” Mac responded,
dry.gif Maaaacccccc...

QUOTE
hating to down-play their relationship yet not knowing quite how to explain it.
Oh, I guess that's okay then...

QUOTE
“Thank you,” Mac nodded with a smile as he took the key. “Do you mind me asking how Stanley Hubbard died?”

Mr. Newberry leaned back in his chair with a sigh. “It was a sad thing, really. It appears he went out in a snowstorm to gather more logs for the fireplace when he had a heart attack and collapsed. By the time he was found, the authorities could not determine whether he died from the attack or frost bite.”
Yeah, that totally wasn't an accident

QUOTE
“I guess someone’s been looking after the place,” MacGyver muttered as he made his way around the room, turning on lights.
Because that's totally not creepy at all

QUOTE
He stopped so abruptly that Joanna bumped into his back.“Mac…” she began to whine until her gaze followed his
I am Joanna, and Mac is my mom roller.gif

QUOTE
“You look as if you’ve just seen a ghost.”

“I think I have,” he replied ominously.
Oh yeah, because Murdoc is totally dead, right? rolleyes.gif

QUOTE
She arched an eyebrow in displeasure at being told what to do but quietly obeyed.
Joanna is my spirit animal

QUOTE
“At last count I think it was five, but I could be wrong,” Mac replied.
Seven, Mac, it was seven

QUOTE
Mac tossed her the car keys and followed her outside.
And you're totally not going to check the jeep for bombs or traps, are you?

QUOTE
“Didn’t you hear that ‘click’ when you sat down?”
Called it

QUOTE
Jo shook her head. “What’s going on Mac? You’re scaring me!”

“It’s about time,” he muttered,
Ooh, burn laugh.gif

QUOTE
Suddenly he was aware of pressure on his chest as Joanna pushed away from him.“What’s wrong?” he asked.“You’re squishing me!”
Aw tongue.gif

QUOTE
“You gonna be okay?” he asked, not trying to hide the concern.“Yeah, I’m good,” Jo replied, though her voice shook a bit.
That girl is a trooper

QUOTE
“Go in the cabin and relax while I take care of this,” Mac replied, gesturing toward the Jeep with his chin.
Again, this sounds like a bad idea. Why is everyone making stupid decisions today? XD

QUOTE
“I wish you’d stay in town, too.”Mac sighed. “I’m not gonna run from Murdoc.”
So leave her alone. Great idea XD

QUOTE
Back inside the cabin he pulled out his cell phone and called Joanna’s motel room.
I feel like Murdoc is going to trace this somehow and find her

QUOTE

“Now, are you ready to die, MacGyver? Just think, I will be the last person you ever see!”
I read ahead, so I know that it's actually the other way around, Murdoc. Ironic, huh?

QUOTE
I must admit I wasn’t counting on you bringing a friend, but no matter.
I feel like this is the first time someone hasn't instantly shipped them upon seeing them together XD

QUOTE
It’s you I want. Not her.”

Relief washed over MacGyver knowing that Joanna would be safe from this mad man. If nothing else, Murdoc was a man of his word.
That's actually really nice, for Murdoc smile.gif XD

QUOTE
His face, which had been flushed, turned a deathly shade of pale as he dropped to his knees, his eyes wide with fear.
Poor guy sad.gif

QUOTE
Mac knelt close to his would-be foe. “Stay with me, Murdoc,” he commanded as he loosened the buttons of the man’s shirt. “What are you allergic to?”
I love how Mac's immediate response is to try to help him love.jpg

QUOTE
The distressed man slowly turned his head from side to side. “No ivy in L.A.”
Yeah, you didn't think this all the way through, did you?

QUOTE
“Stay calm. I’m calling for help. You’re gonna be okay.” Mac pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911 giving them directions to their position the best he could
There's something really sweet about Mac's comforting words as his murderous enemy slowly dies.

Okay, that sounded way more morbid than I intended XD

QUOTE
“The paramedics are on their way. Stay with me,”
I repeat...

QUOTE
he watched the life slip from the man who had escaped the most unimaginable, life-threatening situations time and again but was now felled by something as mundane as a wild plant.
This is definitely ironic. I kinda headcanon that at some point before he died, Murdoc was lying there thinking, "This is so humiliating" XD

QUOTE
He was grieving because he had failed to save the life of a man who had lived to take his.
This is why we love Mac love.jpg

QUOTE
Evidence was collected and Murdoc was pronounced dead at the scene after life-saving treatment failed. Back at the cabin, his body, now in a black bag, was hoisted into the back of an ambulance
If Murdoc somehow comes back later, I'm leaving XD

QUOTE
Mac stayed silent for several minutes before answering. “No matter how sadistic or evil Murdoc was, he also had a very human side.” He finally turned to look at Jo. “I didn’t see it a lot, but it was there.”

“And you’re grieving for that part of him.”
This. This is the fandom. At least the Murdoc stans

QUOTE
Mac sighed and wiped his face with his hands. “Keep it, I guess. It’s the only link to family I have.”
Joanna: "I. Am. Right. Here." XD

QUOTE
He took Joanna’s hand from his knee and wrapped it in his own before they both slid off the hood of the Jeep and headed back to the cabin to pack, still hand-in-hand.
And that's the story of how Murdoc once again accidentally made something go right XD

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 13 March 2019 - 06:03 PM                                    
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I love all your responses, Dragondog! I look forward to reading them every time I post! It's so cool that you relate to Joanna because she's basically me so I guess you and I have a lot in common...when it comes to Mac, anyway!

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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Posted: 13 March 2019 - 06:14 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 13 March 2019 - 08:03 PM)
I love all your responses, Dragondog! I look forward to reading them every time I post! It's so cool that you relate to Joanna because she's basically me so I guess you and I have a lot in common...when it comes to Mac, anyway!

Thank you. And you're welcome XD

Plot twist: we're the same person... unsure.gif laugh.gif

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 14 March 2019 - 05:23 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 13 March 2019 - 06:14 PM)
QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 13 March 2019 - 08:03 PM)
I love all your responses, Dragondog!  I look forward to reading them every time I post!  It's so cool that you relate to Joanna because she's basically me so I guess you and I have a lot in common...when it comes to Mac, anyway!

Thank you. And you're welcome XD

Plot twist: we're the same person... unsure.gif laugh.gif

LOL...could be!!!

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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Posted: 14 March 2019 - 12:56 PM                                    
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"“I promise not to run away if you don’t..."

okay, that *is* Mac.


 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 20 March 2019 - 05:57 AM                                    
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Chapter 31: A Night to Remember

MacGyver turned the corner and headed down the long corridor of Challengers Academy one late April afternoon. He had heard a ruckus in the cafeteria and decided to check it out himself although his thoughts were miles away. He still had trouble wrapping his head around the fact that Murdoc was finally, truly dead and would never return to terrorize him or those he cared about. Joanna had been extremely intuitive over the last few weeks, knowing exactly when he needed time and space to himself yet always there for him when he needed to talk or just be with her. He slowed as he approached the cafeteria and took in the scene. There, in the middle of the room, stood Joanna surrounded by a gaggle of teenage girls whining and pleading their case. A few of their male counterparts stood on the periphery. His mind snapped back to the present as he casually leaned against the doorjamb, crossed his arms, and watched the scene play out before him.

“Please Ms. Jo! We’ll do all the work ourselves. You won’t have to do a thing. We promise,” a high-pitched female voice insisted as others joined in, making the same pledge.

Mac caught the attention of one of the boys and motioned him over.

“What’s going on?”

The teen grimaced. “Since the school is closing for good, the girls wanted to do something special. Ya know, kinda go out with a bang. They’re trying to convince Ms. Jo to let them have an all-school prom.”

MacGyver smirked. This ought to be interesting. He repositioned himself so he could see Joanna better. Unlike a few months ago when some students had approached her about a New Year’s Eve party, there was a partial grin on her lips and a playful twinkle in her eyes.

“Okay, okay, calm down,” Jo’s voice rose above the crowd. “I have to get Ms. Evelyn’s permission first. But if she agrees, we’ll see what we can do.”
A round of cheers went up before the teens scattered, chattering about the upcoming dance. Mac was wearing an amused grin when Jo met him in the doorway.

“What?!” she asked defensively.

“Nothing. I’m just surprised you agreed so easily.”

“I’ve actually been wanting to do something special for the kids,” Jo confessed. “I was thinking along the lines of a formal graduation, but their idea is better since it includes all the students, regardless of grade level.”

“You think Evelyn will go for it?” MacGyver asked as they walked down the hall together.

“There’s only one way to find out.”

“It’ll take a lot of work and money,” Evelyn pointed out to Mac and Jo who sat across the desk from her.

“I’m aware of that,” Joanna responded quickly. “I plan to approach the faculty for assistance. I’m sure they’d be willing to help out with things like decorating and chaperoning.”

“And since we scrapped plans to fix the gym now that the school is closing, we can tap into those funds to cover some of the cost,” Mac added.

“Well, don’t let me stand in your way,” Evelyn proclaimed.

“Really?!” Jo asked excitedly.

“Really. What’s the worst that could happen? They already closed us down!”

“Don’t worry about a thing,” Mac instructed his boss. “Jo and I will make sure the kids have a night to remember.”



“That’s it!” Joanna exclaimed causing MacGyver to almost fall out of his chair.

“What’s ‘it’? What’d I say?”

“’A Night to Remember.’ That can be our theme!” Mac had never seen Jo this excited over anything so he promised himself he would do whatever it took to give her a night to remember as well.

Two weeks later, Joanna sat on a stool at MacGyver’s breakfast bar carefully studying the to-do list she had created to make sure the dance went off without a hitch. She had been spending more and more time at his place, and he was amazed at how “right” it felt to have her there and how much he missed her when she went home.

“I think we have all the major stuff covered,” Jo announced as Mac finished washing the supper dishes. “I talked with the pastor of my church and he agreed to rent us the basement hall for a modest fee and a caterer I’ve done business with in the past has agreed to provide hors de oeuvre and desserts at half price. Some of the teachers got together and are working on the decorations, and I gave all the girls a list of thrift and resale shops where they can find nice, affordable dresses. How are you doing with the boys?”

“We’re good,” Mac replied. “I’ve talked to some tuxedo rental places and cut some deals with a couple of them. The kids are a different story. Most of the older boys are happy to have something nice to wear to impress the girls, if only for a night, but some of the younger ones think putting on a suit is the equivalent of going to the dentist, but they still want to come to the dance.”

“Well, I did tell everyone they didn’t have to dress up if they didn’t want to mainly because I know some can’t afford it, even with some help. Tell them they can wear whatever they feel most comfortable in, but it has to be decent. Like school clothes,” Joanna instructed him.

“Will do. What about chaperones?”

“What about them?” She looked confused.

“Is formal dress required?”

“Of course! You don’t think I’d pass up a chance to see you in a tux, do you?!”

“That’s what I thought,” Mac muttered in pretend disappointment. Granted, he wasn’t looking forward to spending the evening trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, but if he had done it for Pete at various Phoenix fundraisers, he would definitely do it for Joanna.

“Have I forgotten anything?” Jo asked as MacGyver took a seat on the stool next to her.

“What about music?”

“Already covered. I just have to ask my friend, Chris, to do it. He used to have a DJ business.”

“How can you be so sure he’ll agree?”

Joanna caught and held Mac’s gaze. “If I asked something of you that was totally within your ability to provide, would you deny me?”

“Of course not!”

“Then neither will he!” Joanna hopped down from the stool and began to collect her things before heading out.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

When prom night arrived, Joanna was both nervous and excited. She had asked Mac to pick her up at 6pm, an hour before the students would begin to arrive, so she could make sure everything was in place. She had chosen to wear a classically styled maroon sheath dress with a black lace overlay. Her accessories included black jet jewelry, strappy black heels, and a black shawl. She was aiming for a dressy yet understated look and believed she had achieved it.

The doorbell rang and she let out a sigh of relief. MacGyver was right on time. She opened the door and caught her breath. For the past two weeks she had been imagining what he would look like in a tuxedo, but reality far outweighed her expectations.

“Wow!” she whispered hoarsely.

“Ditto,” he replied as she watched him study her from head to toe.

“Too much?” she frowned, suddenly unsure of herself.

“Perfect,” he assured her, his appreciative gaze warming her entire body.

“Aren’t you going to invite him in?” Judy Fairfax called from across the living room.

“We need to get going, Mom,” Joanna replied.

“But I wanted a picture of the two of you,” her mother said.

“We’re just chaperones, Ma,” Jo tried to explain.

Just then, Joe Fairfax lowered the footrest of his recliner with a clunk. “The sooner you quit arguing and let her take the picture the sooner you can leave.”

“I’m sorry about this,” Joanna muttered to MacGyver as she led him into the room to stand in front of the fireplace.

“I think it’s sweet,” he murmured in her ear before putting an arm around her waist and pulling her close to his side.

Relishing the feel of his body against hers, Jo hoped the camera didn’t capture the flush which was surely evident on her cheeks. Much too soon MacGyver released his grasp on her and escorted her out the door and into his Jeep.

Upon arriving at the church, Joanna quickly made her way downstairs to the hall. MacGyver caught up with her just as she was about to open the door to the large room.

“Whoa, hold on a minute,” he said, walking up behind her and putting his hands over her eyes.

“What are you doing?” Jo complained, turning her head to try and get loose.

“I’m under strict instructions from the decorating committee to make sure your eyes stay closed until you’re inside.”

Joanna huffed in mock frustration to hide her excitement as she allowed MacGyver to guide her into the room. When Mac uncovered her eyes and took a step back, Jo’s mouth fell open as she took in the scene. Black and silver crepe paper had been wrapped around the support pillars, matching streamers and glittering silver stars made out of cardboard hung from the ceiling, while balloon bouquets were scattered about. Long tables were already laden with food and punch while smaller tables, littered with confetti for the party-goers, had been set up on the perimeter of what had been designated as the dance floor. Chris was already setting up on the stage, mirrored balls and multi-colored lights aglow as music pulsed from large speakers.

“It looks amazing!” Joanna declared.

“I couldn’t agree more!” a jovial voice from behind her concurred. She turned to find her pastor admiring the decorations.

“Father Mike! Thank you so much for allowing us to rent the hall. We really appreciate it,” Joanna said gratefully.

“I’m glad for the opportunity to put it to good use,” the pastor replied. “I may just have to crash this party,” he laughed.

“Oh, please feel welcome to stay,” Jo invited, embarrassed that she hadn’t said something sooner.

“I might just do that,” Father Mike replied with a smile.

Behind her, MacGyver cleared his throat. Goodness, where had her manners gone!

“Father Mike, I’d like you to meet my colleague, MacGyver.”

“Pleased to meet you Mr. MacGyver,” the priest said as they shook hands.

“Same here, and it’s ‘Mac.’”

After Father Mike excused himself, Joanna introduced Mac to her DJ friend.

“We really appreciate you doing this on such short notice,” MacGyver thanked Chris.

“No problem. I’d do anything for Jo. She’s family.” Chris pinned Mac with a steely gaze.

“I’d do anything for her as well,” MacGyver countered, meeting the DJ’s eyes for several moments as they exchanged assessing glares.

“Okay boys,” Joanna interrupted their silent battle. “That’s enough testosterone for one night.” She grabbed Mac’s arm to keep him near and at the same time she gave Chris a pointed look that sent him back to the stage.

“Is there something I need to know about him?” Mac asked, tilting his head toward Chris.

Joanna sighed. “I already told you, we’re just good friends. He’s like a big brother to me.”

“An overprotective big brother,” MacGyver mumbled, allowing Jo to lead him away just as the Challengers students began pouring into the hall.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Most of the older teens had come as couples while the majority of the underclassmen had come in groups of the same gender. All of the students had dressed up for the event and after the obligatory oooh’s and aaah’s over the décor they all headed directly to the food tables. Before long, many of the kids took to the dance floor as contemporary pop music blared. However, when a slow song came on, the couples moved closer together while the younger students quickly became wallflowers. MacGyver noticed the frown on Joanna’s face as she surveyed the room.

“Let’s show ‘em how it’s done,” Mac said to Jo as he held out his hand to her. She took it without hesitation.

Once on the dance floor, MacGyver held her modestly as together they swayed rhythmically to the music. Unfortunately, instead of more students joining in, they had become the center of attention.

“This isn’t working,” Joanna pointed out, hissing in his ear.

“I got an idea.”

Mac reluctantly released Jo and approached a shy girl he remembered from science lab. Encouraged by her friends, she cautiously put her small hand in Mac’s and followed his simple steps in time with the music. He glanced up to find that Joanna had already caught onto his plan and was encouraging a young boy to dance with her. MacGyver had hoped that this would incite the others to pair off, but by the end of the song he found himself surrounded by teenage girls begging for a turn with him, teenage boys glowering at him, and Joanna nowhere to be found.

Mac caught the eye of the grinning DJ and sent him a pleading gaze. Moments later an upbeat track started and guys who had previously been super-glued to the floor quickly singled out partners. MacGyver nodded a thank you to Chris who gave him a thumbs-up. After a quick but thorough search for Joanna, a fellow chaperone informed Mac that she had seen Jo go outside.

MacGyver sprinted up the stairs and out the door. Dusk had fallen, making it difficult to see. Finding the parking lot empty, Mac headed to the front of the church building. As he got closer, he heard the low murmur of female voices. He slowed his steps and peeked around the corner. Joanna sat on the concrete steps in front of the church wrapped in her shawl to keep the chill of the spring air at bay. She was talking with a blonde girl, her voice calm and sure.

“But I do understand how you feel,” Joanna insisted. “When I was your age, my neighbor’s nephew came to stay with them for the summer. He was in college and working nearby. I had such a huge crush on him! I spent a lot of time trying to get him to notice me. Sometimes his friends would come over to play basketball and I was always outside watching.”

“So what happened?” the girl asked. “Did he notice you?”

“Oh yeah,” Joanna replied drily. “He was very nice to me, as was one of his friends. And me, being sixteen, totally misinterpreted his friendliness for something more. In the process, I ignored his friend’s overtures. I was left brokenhearted when he returned to school in the fall and completely forgot about me. When I finally got over him, I started to wonder what would have happened if I wouldn’t have been so narrow-minded and been nicer to his friend. I might have missed out on something more special than I thought.”

“So you’re saying that instead of spending all my time waiting for Tom I should spend time with other guys too?”

“I’m saying you should keep yourself open to other possibilities.”

“Thanks Ms. Jo! You’re the best!” The girl hugged Joanna before scurrying back to the hall, unaware of MacGyver lurking in the shadows. He hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but when Jo had started talking about a piece from her past he found it impossible to leave. He began to walk toward her, pretending to cough so he wouldn’t startle her.

“Nice story. Is it true?” he asked, sitting next to her on the step.

“Thanks. And yes it is,” she replied, looking out into the night instead of at him.

“But there’s more,” he prompted.

Joanna nodded.

“I’m a good listener.”

Jo was silent for so long that MacGyver debated whether or not to just leave her alone with her thoughts.

“It felt so real at the time, you know?” she finally said, raising sad eyes to his. “I really thought I had fallen in love and that he was my future. Looking back now it seems completely ridiculous considering we only exchanged neighborly greetings and generic conversations.” Joanna shook her head as MacGyver willed himself to stay quiet and allow her to continue her story. “I was so foolish! I could say he led me on, but he had no idea how I felt. I lost control of my emotions and my good senses. That was the worst part and it really scared me. I promised myself that I would never lose control like that again. That I would never be that vulnerable, that weak, again.”

“And did you keep that promise?”

“Yeah, I did,” she replied certainly.

“Are you still keeping that promise?”

Jo’s eyes turned hard.

“I knew it!” Mac exclaimed. “Every time we’re together, every time we get close, you always hold a part of yourself back. Don’t you think it’s time to break that promise?”

Joanna’s gaze dropped to the ground at her feet, but MacGyver wasn’t going to back down this time. Not when all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit.

“I can’t lose control like that again,” she spat.

“Then don’t!” Mac countered. “Take control, but don’t do it by running away!”

Jo flinched and he gentled his tone. “Answer me this. Do I scare you? Do I make you feel weak?”

Joanna shook her head and looked up. “I like how I feel when I’m with you,” she confessed softly. “You make me feel strong, worthy, happy.”

“So what’s the problem?” Mac asked, tamping down his frustration. He felt like they were talking in circles.

“I’m afraid it’s not real. That one day I’ll realize it was just my imagination.”

“Trust me when I say this is very real.” MacGyver’s voice had grown husky and his hands moved to touch her face of their own accord. “And I really want to kiss you right now.”

Joanna’s eyes glimmered with unshed tears. “So what’s stopping you?”

“Maybe I need some reassurance, too,” he replied. “Maybe I need to know that you want to be with me. That you want to kiss me, too.”

MacGyver sensed her confidence and determination blossom at his words. He forced himself to be still as Jo slowly moved her face closer to his. She leaned in. Her lips touched his with the softness of a feather. He longed to kiss her back and hold her tight, but he knew she had to do this herself. She had to be the one to take control. Just as he felt her kiss become more sure and her body strain to close the gap between them a high-pitched voice rent the air. They jumped apart like two kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar as a girl he recognized called to them.

“Ms. Jo! Mr. Mac! Come quick!”

Joanna recovered first. “Candice, what’s wrong?!”

“Father Mike is gonna teach us all how to do a dance called the bunny hop and he said he needs your help! Come on!” With that the girl hurried back to the hall.

MacGyver and Joanna exchanged stunned looks.

“What do you want to do?” Mac asked her.

Joanna shrugged. “What can we do? A higher power beckons. We go do the bunny hop!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Once Father Mike had schooled the students in the finer points of the bunny hop, conga line, and the twist, he fixed a plate of food for himself and joined MacGyver and Joanna at a small table away from the dance floor.

“That’s a great group of kids you got there,” he proclaimed.

“Thanks, Father,” Mac replied. “And thank you for your hospitality. We really appreciate it.”

“Think nothing of it,” the priest replied, patting MacGyver on the shoulder. “I’m glad I could help. Now, if you both will excuse me, I’ll head back to the rectory.”

Father Mike picked up his plate and handed Joanna a set of keys before heading off.

“See you tomorrow,” Joanna said as they parted.

“You lockin’ up tonight?” Mac asked Jo, nodding toward the keys.

“Yeah,” she answered. “And I’m coming back in the morning to tear down the decorations.”

“I’ll give you a lift if you want since I’m coming back too.”

Joanna raised her eyebrows in question.

“Somewhere between the conga and twist I promised Father that I’d look at the church’s air conditioning unit and see if I could fix it.”

Joanna rolled her eyes. “Mac, the Good Lord Himself couldn’t fix that dinosaur! What makes you think you can?”

“I’m not Him,” MacGyver shrugged innocently.

The music stopped before Joanna could reply and the DJ picked up the microphone to remind the teens they only had thirty more minutes to cast their vote for prom king and queen.

“I can’t wait to see the crowns you bought,” Mac spoke in her ear as the music began to blare once again.

“I forgot all about this tradition!” Jo exclaimed. “I didn’t buy any crowns!”

The couple split up and questioned the adults in the room. All of them denied obtaining any royal headwear.

“Any luck?” Joanna asked Mac hopefully when they reunited.

“Nope. You?”

“No,” she moaned. “What are we gonna do?”

“What’s through that door,” MacGyver asked.

“The kitchen. Why?”

“C’mon, I got an idea.” Mac grabbed her by the hand and pulled her into the kitchen. He looked around and found some cardboard delivery boxes.

“Perfect,” he muttered as he pulled out his Swiss army knife from the inside pocket of his tuxedo jacket.

Joanna pulled a face. “Do you carry that thing everywhere?” she asked.

“Of course, doesn’t everyone?” he grinned. “Could you find some tin foil?” he asked her as he began to saw through the boxes.

“Sure,” Jo replied, understanding what he meant to do. She rummaged through drawers and cabinets until she found a roll of the shiny silver foil.

“What’d you think?” Mac asked as they stepped back to admire the shimmering cardboard crowns.

“They look great,” Jo assured him.

“No,” MacGyver shook his head. “They’re too plain.”

“They’re better than nothing,” Joanna rationalized.

“Can we get into the school from here?”

“Yeah, there’s a tunnel that connects the buildings. Why?”

“I need to get to the art room.”

“But all the doors are locked,” Jo protested. “Let me get Father Mike.”

MacGyver glanced at his watch. “No time. Besides, a locked door has never stopped me before.”

Together they hurried down the short underground hallway that brought them to the heavy wood and glass doors separating the school from the church. Mac took out his knife and began to work at the lock. Jo quirked her eyebrow but stayed quiet. In less than a minute, MacGyver was leading her through the doorway and up the stairs to a long corridor.

“Where to now?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Joanna moaned. “It’s been ages since I’ve been in here. So much has changed.”

Mac grabbed her arm and led her down the hallway, stopping at each door until he found the kindergarten classroom. “We should be able to find something in here,” he told her as he easily picked the lock and they went in search of anything that glittered or shined.

They found a box full of baubles and quickly set to gluing the ornaments on the tin foil, blowing on them to hurry the drying process as they rushed back to the dance. They arrived just as Chris stuck his hand in the box to draw the name of the prom king.

Two hours later the large group of tired but happy teenagers began to leave. The last student had barely cleared the threshold before Mac reached up to undo his bow tie and loosen the top two buttons of his shirt. Joanna and the rest of the chaperones were tossing paper plates, cups, and other trash into large containers while Chris started to break down his equipment. After a couple words with the DJ and a brief announcement to the clean-up crew, MacGyver had cleared the hall of people save for Joanna.

“What’d you do that for?” Jo looked up at him, confused and slightly irritated. “Where’s Chris?”

“Doing me a favor,” Mac replied evasively as he pushed a button on the CD console and hopped off the stage. A slow, old-time song began to play as he approached Joanna, his hand outstretched.

“I believe we have a dance to finish,” he said softly.

Joanna smiled as he led her onto the dance floor and put her hands on his shoulders as he held her at arm’s length, hands on her hips. His heart skittered as she slid her arms around his neck. That was all the encouragement he needed to encircle her waist and pull her close as they swayed to the music. When she looked up at him, her brown eyes warm and trusting, he lowered his mouth to hers and gently grazed her lips. She moaned softly when he pulled away.

“Was tonight everything you hoped it would be?” he asked.

“No,” she replied dreamily. “It was more than I could have ever hoped for.” Her hands urged his head lower to meet hers and they kissed deeply, still swaying to the song that had ended long ago.















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: 20 March 2019 - 08:08 PM                                    
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QUOTE
What’s the worst that could happen?
Stop jinxing stuff Evelyn!

QUOTE
She had been spending more and more time at his place, and he was amazed at how “right” it felt to have her there and how much he missed her when she went home.
Just get married already tongue.gif

QUOTE
“Of course! You don’t think I’d pass up a chance to see you in a tux, do you?!”
Smooth, Joanna tongue.gif

QUOTE
“Aren’t you going to invite him in?” Judy Fairfax called from across the living room.
Look, Jo shares my social skills XD

QUOTE
“But I wanted a picture of the two of you,” her mother said.
Sure she's not my mom? laugh.gif

QUOTE
Just then, Joe Fairfax lowered the footrest of his recliner with a clunk. “The sooner you quit arguing and let her take the picture the sooner you can leave.”
I like Joe... Jo's dad... Jo's dad Joe... You know what I mean roller.gif

QUOTE
“Oh, please feel welcome to stay,” Jo invited, embarrassed that she hadn’t said something sooner.
Yep, definitely my social skills XD

QUOTE
Behind her, MacGyver cleared his throat. Goodness, where had her manners gone!
They're with mine XD

QUOTE
“No problem. I’d do anything for Jo. She’s family.” Chris pinned Mac with a steely gaze.
Ooh, protective!

QUOTE
“I’d do anything for her as well,” MacGyver countered, meeting the DJ’s eyes for several moments as they exchanged assessing glares.
Ooh, defensive!

QUOTE
“Okay boys,” Joanna interrupted their silent battle. “That’s enough testosterone for one night.”
Hey, that's my line, Jo! XD

QUOTE
“An overprotective big brother,” MacGyver mumbled, allowing Jo to lead him away just as the Challengers students began pouring into the hall.
This kinda makes me feel like they're gonna have another confrontation at some point...

QUOTE
after the obligatory oooh’s and aaah’s over the décor they all headed directly to the food tables.
Now that's my kind of party laugh.gif

QUOTE
Unfortunately, instead of more students joining in, they had become the center of attention.“This isn’t working,” Joanna pointed out, hissing in his ear.
I'd say it's working just fine wink.gif

QUOTE
Mac reluctantly released Jo and approached a shy girl he remembered from science lab. Encouraged by her friends, she cautiously put her small hand in Mac’s and followed his simple steps in time with the music.
Why does this never happen to me? I've sat out on so many dances, and NO ONE offers to help me out dry.gif

QUOTE
MacGyver had hoped that this would incite the others to pair off, but by the end of the song he found himself surrounded by teenage girls begging for a turn with him, teenage boys glowering at him, and Joanna nowhere to be found.
roller.gif roller.gif roller.gif

QUOTE
Mac caught the eye of the grinning DJ and sent him a pleading gaze. Moments later an upbeat track started and guys who had previously been super-glued to the floor quickly singled out partners. MacGyver nodded a thank you to Chris who gave him a thumbs-up.
They seem to be getting along better now :]

QUOTE
“Nice story. Is it true?” he asked, sitting next to her on the step.

“Thanks. And yes it is,” she replied, looking out into the night instead of at him.
I remember when he could barely talk to her without her shutting him out, but she seems so reasonably comfortable with him asking her such personal questions <3

QUOTE
They jumped apart like two kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar as a girl he recognized called to them.
WHYYYYY? :'(

QUOTE
Joanna shrugged. “What can we do? A higher power beckons. We go do the bunny hop!”
Of all the ways they could've gotten interrupted, that was not what I would've expected XD

QUOTE
“I forgot all about this tradition!” Jo exclaimed. “I didn’t buy any crowns!”

The couple split up and questioned the adults in the room. All of them denied obtaining any royal headwear.
Hey Mac, time to do your thing

QUOTE
“Doing me a favor,” Mac replied evasively as he pushed a button on the CD console and hopped off the stage. A slow, old-time song began to play as he approached Joanna, his hand outstretched.
I think Chris trusts Mac with Jo now XD

QUOTE
“I believe we have a dance to finish,” he said softly.
While you're at it, finish the kiss, too XD

QUOTE
Her hands urged his head lower to meet hers and they kissed deeply, still swaying to the song that had ended long ago.
Good XD

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 21 March 2019 - 05:37 AM                                    
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Thanks again for the great comments, Dragondog! I know this was kinda a fluff piece, but I wanted a chance to delve into Joanna's character a bit more to show that she, too, has some relationship baggage to overcome. As for her folks, they are TOTALLY based on mine...I didn't even bother to change their first names because how generic can you get (nothing against my family!). And there is also a Chris in my life who would probably act just the same way!

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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Posted: 21 March 2019 - 02:30 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 21 March 2019 - 08:37 AM)
Thanks again for the great comments, Dragondog! I know this was kinda a fluff piece, but I wanted a chance to delve into Joanna's character a bit more to show that she, too, has some relationship baggage to overcome. As for her folks, they are TOTALLY based on mine...I didn't even bother to change their first names because how generic can you get (nothing against my family!). And there is also a Chris in my life who would probably act just the same way!

Self-insertion, I like it wink.gif laugh.gif

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 27 March 2019 - 12:10 PM                                    
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Chapter 32: Independence Day

MacGyver didn’t have to peek out from under the hood of the Nomad to know that Joanna was glaring at his back, a mix of frustration and annoyance in her eyes. If looks could kill, he’d probably be dead ten times over by now.

It had been close to a month since Challengers Academy closed its doors, and Joanna’s anxiety and discomfiture rose with each passing day of unemployment. She had sent out numerous resumes and applications for teaching positions, yet heard nothing back, even though the summer was still young. The question was, why was she taking it out on him?

“Could you give me that socket wrench?” Mac asked, reaching out without looking up. The solid metal tool struck his hand with more force than necessary. Ow! This was getting ridiculous!

“What is wrong with you?!” he rounded on Joanna.

“Me?! I should be asking you the same thing!”

MacGyver’s eyes widened in astonishment. “What?!”

Joanna took a deep breath and Mac braced himself for the tirade to come.

“I’ve spent the last three weeks turning over every stone I can find looking for a job, quite unsuccessfully I might add, while you’ve spent all your waking hours putting your precious little car back together! That takes money, Mac! A lot of it! And you’re just as unemployed as I am!”

“This is about how I’m spending my money?! The last time I checked that was my business!”

His harsh tone took some of the wind out of Joanna’s sails, but he wasn’t going to back down. Not this time. He’d hardly seen her since the last day of school, and when he did, he played the role of supportive friend and confidant as Jo struggled to find her way now that she was no longer tethered to Challengers, but he had finally had enough.

“I’m sorry. You’re right,” Jo replied, surprisingly calmer now.

Mac put his greasy hands on her shoulders and bent his head to look in her eyes.

“Wanna tell me what’s really been bothering you?” he asked softly.

“I don’t want to do this,” she mumbled, eyes falling to the cement floor of the garage.

“Do what?” Mac asked around the lump forming in his throat. What didn’t she want to do? Be with him? He thought their relationship was finally on firm, if not well-defined, footing. Had he been fooled yet again?

“Teach,” she whispered.

“But I thought you loved teaching?” Mac was bewildered. “At Challengers, you always seemed happiest when you were working with the kids.”

“I mean be a regular classroom teacher,” Jo clarified, glancing at him. “If you would have read my dossier you would have seen that before I worked at the correctional facility where I met Evelyn, I spent many years at a private tutoring agency. I’ve always had a sort of flexibility in my jobs allowing me to work one-on-one or with small groups of students. That’s what I’m good at.”

“Then why are you applying for jobs you don’t want?”

“Because the type of position I want doesn’t exist anymore. Times have changed. What else am I supposed to do?” she asked plaintively.

“Look, you said yourself that you were starting to burn out at Challengers. Why don’t you take a break from the job search and relax for a while? Explore other options.” Joanna’s muscles, which had initially tensed at his touch, now loosened. “Besides, I’ve kinda missed having you around.”

Jo let out a little laugh. “Don’t go gettin’ all mushy on me, Mac,” she teased sarcastically.

“Me? Never!” he exclaimed before dropping a quick kiss on the tip of her nose and turning back to his car.

“Hey, you know the Fourth of July is coming up,” MacGyver called as Joanna turned to leave. “How about we invite Pete and Connie to come up and have a cookout at my place?”

“That’d be great,” Joanna agreed. “We should also invite Evelyn. They haven’t seen each other since the wedding last year. What about Charlie?”

“What about him?” MacGyver mumbled, once again beneath the hood of the old car.

“Shouldn’t we invite him, too? After all, he is your landlord and he shares your duplex.”

“Charlie’s out of town visiting his grandkids until Labor Day. Took almost a year for him to trust me to keep an eye on his place while he’s gone,” Mac snorted. “I’ve been in charge of top secret government projects, yet Charlie doesn’t trust me to water his plants.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Independence Day was sunny and warm as Joanna parked her Chevy in front of Mac’s place. She had matched navy shorts with a red and white striped top in the spirit of the holiday. However, since Wisconsin weather could turn on a dime, she had also thrown a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt in the trunk. It was from a box in that trunk that she now hefted a large bowl of her mother’s potato salad and another bowl of fresh fruit salad into her arms. She expected MacGyver to be waiting at the front door to help her, but he was nowhere to be found. Frustrated, she banged on the bottom of the door with the toe of her shoe.

“It’s open, c’mon in!” Mac called from the living room.

“I can’t!”

“What’s the problem?” he moaned, heading to the door.

Joanna saw the moment the situation dawned in his eyes. “Sorry. Didn’t realize you had your hands full,” he apologized as he turned the knob to let her in.

Jo stopped short, taking in his khaki pants and tropical print shirt with a frown.

“What?” he asked, looking down at his outfit.

“You could have at least tried to dress for the occasion,” Jo scolded.

Mac plucked at the offending material. “I’m sure there’s red, white and blue in here somewhere.”

Joanna huffed and ducked past him just as he leaned in to kiss her.

“Hey! Don’t I get a kiss hello?”

“Not until you get the grocery bag and veggie tray from my car. And close the trunk.”

“If you’re gonna be like that, we might as well be married!” Mac complained to her retreating back.

Jo suppressed her laughter until she was sure MacGyver was out of earshot. She readily admitted she enjoyed giving him a hard time. And she knew he secretly liked it. There weren’t many people she allowed herself to be this playful with and it felt good.

It wasn’t long before Joanna heard familiar voices coming from the front yard. She hurried outside to meet their guests and was immediately embraced by Connie and then Pete. Evelyn stood at the edge of the small group, a large, African-American man by her side.

“Everyone, you all remember Leroy Jackson,” the shorter woman said by way of introduction. To Joanna she whispered, “I hope you don’t mind that I invited him.”

“Is there something I should know?” Jo whispered back, but her question went unanswered.

“It’s good to see you again, Leroy,” Mac greeted the lawyer and shook his meaty hand. “How’s the case going?”

Leroy let out a hefty sigh. “It’s bogged down in the court system. Should have been over and done with by now, but with the vandalism committed here and ordered by Stern in Los Angeles it’s taking a while for the states to cut through the red tape. By the way, did your friend from Phoenix ever contact you?”

Joanna threw a surprised look at MacGyver. No one had mentioned the Foundation since that whole debacle over winter break.

“Um, yeah,” Mac replied quickly, refusing to meet Jo’s gaze. “It’s all good.”

Stunned, Jo’s mind raced about what Mac and Leroy could possibly be alluding to. The conversation quickly shifted and she had no choice but to follow it. However, she was going to have a talk with MacGyver before the day was over.

“So, rumor has it you’ve been resurrecting the Nomad,” Pete said in the general direction of MacGyver.

“Yeah,” he replied, his eyes twinkling like a kid at Christmas. “I’ve gotten pretty far. C’mon, she’s in the garage. Pete, wait ‘til you feel her! Smooth as a baby’s bottom!”

As the men headed to check out the car, Joanna led the women into the duplex.

“Can I get you ladies something to drink before we go out on the patio?” Joanna asked politely.

“What do you have to offer?” Evelyn asked as she browsed through MacGyver’s home.

Joanna stuck her head in the refrigerator. “We’ve got orange juice, carrot juice, apple juice, milk, and lemonade.”

“Lemonade!” her two friends replied in unison.

Jo chuckled and poured three glass of lemonade before they made their way out back and settled into patio chairs surrounding an outdoor table. The afternoon passed quickly as the small group engaged in light-hearted conversation. It wasn’t long until hamburgers, bratwursts, and Mac’s veggie-burgers were grilled and consumed along with a pineapple refrigerator torte that had become Joanna’s specialty. She and MacGyver were clearing the table when Leroy followed them inside, closing the patio door behind him. The couple looked at him questioningly as he motioned them to have a seat on the sofa as he sat across from them in a matching chair.

“What’s goin’ on, Leroy?” Mac asked, cutting right to the chase as Joanna shot a worried glance at her unattended guests still outside.

“Don’t worry, Joanna, they know what this is about,” Leroy answered her before she had a chance to voice her concern.

“Because of the case involving Challengers, I’ve been following the events at the school quite closely, with the help of Evelyn, of course,” Leroy went on to explain. “I was very sorry to hear that the Academy was forced to close and cause you two to lose your jobs.”

“Thanks, but we’ll be fine,” Mac assured the lawyer, refusing to accept anything sounding remotely like pity.

“I’m sure you will,” Leroy agreed. “You are both young, intelligent, hardworking professionals. That is why I would like to extend a job offer to each of you to come work with my firm.”

MacGyver turned to look at Joanna who met his eyes, raised an eyebrow and shrugged before they both turned back to the lawyer.

“What, exactly, did you have in mind?” Mac was now leaning forward, elbows resting on his knees.

Leroy smiled and settled back in his chair. “You each have very interesting and versatile skill sets so we can talk about the details during business hours. Basically, I was hoping that you, MacGyver, would assist with field investigations, witness protection, and other security details. Joanna, I would like you to come aboard as a sort of paralegal and research assistant. I’d like to take advantage of your strong analytical and writing skills. You two make a great team and I can see you working well together on cases, but please understand that these are individual offers. If either one of you is interested, call my office and we’ll schedule a time to talk about this more in depth.”

Joanna felt as if she had the air knocked out of her, but in a good way. How often did a job simply fall in one’s lap? Of course there were things to consider. Did she want to forfeit any chance of teaching? And what about working with, or without, MacGyver? However, in her heart of hearts she knew she would take the position. Gainful employment was too hard to come by these days. She glanced at Mac, but his face was unreadable.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“What do you mean you’re not gonna stay for the fireworks? The night’s still young!” MacGyver scolded his guests as they prepared to leave.

“Unfortunately we are not,” Connie chided as she embraced him in a motherly hug. “Now you kids go have fun.”

“Don’t argue with her Mac,” Pete advised. “You’ll never win!” The two men chuckled and said their good-byes.

“Are you sure you can’t stay?” Joanna asked Evelyn as they walked out the door arm in arm.

“I’m sure, dear,” the red-headed woman replied. “You and MacGyver have been wonderful hosts, but you need some time to yourselves as well.”

Mac put his arm around Joanna’s shoulders as the two couples got in the car and drove off with a wave.

“I hope you’re not going to bail on me, too,” MacGyver leaned down and whispered, purposely allowing his breath to tickle Jo’s ear.

“Of course not! I haven’t watched fireworks in years.”

“Why so long?” He turned and guided her back inside.

“It’s no fun to watch them alone. At least that’s what I’ve always thought,” she replied, a hint of sadness in her voice.

“Well you don’t have to worry about that tonight,” he promised. Or any other night if he had anything to say about it.

The July sun was sinking below the horizon in a fiery glow as MacGyver guided his Jeep along the narrow, two-lane country road.

“Where are we going again?” Joanna asked, breaking the silence that had accompanied them.

“Charlie showed me this hill. There’s not a tree in sight and he said you can see fireworks from almost everywhere in the city.”

“A place like that should be pretty crowded tonight,” Jo observed.

“Not according to Charlie.”

Mac finally slowed the Jeep and parked on the gravel shoulder of the deserted road, not a soul around.

“Are you sure this is the place?” Jo asked skeptically.

“I’m sure,” MacGyver replied confidently as he stepped out of the Jeep and grabbed a blanket from the backseat.

He snatched Joanna’s hand and led her to the spot his landlord had shown him before bending down to spread out the blanket. A gentle breeze ruffled his hair as he sat down.

“You gonna stand there all night?” he asked Jo who stood with her back to him.

“No,” she replied, gingerly lowering herself beside him. “I was just admiring the view.”

“Me too,” he replied as he watched her, his voice huskier than he would have liked. Was that a blush or one last ray of sunlight kissing her cheek? He had forgotten the power a certain look or simple word held when shared with the right person.

“Mac, can I ask you something?”

“You know you can ask me anything.”

She finally turned her gaze toward him and he saw a mixture of curiosity and fear in her eyes.

“What was Leroy talking about when he asked if you’d been contacted by Phoenix?”

MacGyver sighed and jammed his fingers through his hair. He knew it was only a matter of time before she questioned him about this.

“It was after we got back from Harry’s cabin,” he began. “The board wanted to ‘make up’ for all the trouble Stern had caused.”

“How?”

“They offered me a job. Any job I wanted,” he replied flatly.

“Wow,” Joanna exhaled beside him. “And you turned them down? Even knowing you were going to be unemployed?”

“Of course!” Mac whipped his head around to look at her. “I cut ties with Phoenix long ago and for a lot of reasons. I belong here, now.” With you. But he didn’t say that last part out loud.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“To be honest, I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time. We had just gotten done dealing with Murdoc and I wanted to get on with my life.”

“But?”

“When I turned down the job offer, they still insisted on making restitution. They wired me a rather large sum of money and made sure I couldn’t return it. Hush money, basically. Can’t have me giving Phoenix a bad name,” Mac sneered.

“The Nomad,” Jo proclaimed with dawning clarity.

“I decided to use the money to restore the car. Harry would have wanted that.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this when I went off on you the other day?”

Mac scrubbed his face with his hands. “I guess I was ashamed. I really didn’t want the money, but I still took it.”

“You said yourself they gave you no choice. Besides, you deserve a whole lot more considering everything that happened.”

“Then you’re not mad at me?”

“No, not anymore,” Jo assured him.

“And you hate that you can’t stay mad at me, don’t you?” he teased.

“More than you know,” she replied with a mock frown.

Just then a single firework exploded above them signaling the start of the show. Mac reclined on the ground, pulling Jo down with him and together they watched the night sky come alive with color and sound.

“So, you gonna take the job?” MacGyver glanced sideways at Joanna as he guided the Jeep back home after the fireworks display.

“I don’t know yet,” she responded.

“C’mon, how can you turn down an offer like that?”

“What about you?” she countered. “Are you gonna take the job?”

Mac shrugged. “Maybe.”

Joanna snorted and turned to look out the passenger side window. They drove in silence for several minutes.

“You still wanna teach. Is that it?” Mac asked.

“Actually, I’ve always kinda thought legal work would be interesting. I like gathering information and watching it all fall into place. Sort of like a puzzle, ya know?”

“Yeah. I know.” MacGyver smiled because he knew the feeling all too well. “So, what’s holding you back?”

Joanna was quiet for so long Mac feared she wasn’t going to answer his question.

“You. Us.” Her voice was soft and unsure. “I know Leroy isn’t hiring us as a package deal, but he did say we could be working together.”

“So? We did it before and it didn’t turn out too badly.”

“I know. But things are different now.”

“Afraid you’ll get tired of me?” Mac teased, trying to lighten the tension that had formed between them.

“Like that’ll ever happen,” Joanna mumbled, causing MacGyver to grin.

“Then I think you just made your decision,” he declared.

“What about you?”

“We’re a good team. If something works, I don’t mess with it,” he responded as he parked the Jeep in his driveway.

Joanna glanced toward her car, but MacGyver wasn’t ready for the evening to end.

“Wanna come in?” Mac nodded toward his side of the house. “And don’t say ‘no’ because I know you do.”

Jo laughed and fell into step behind him as he headed to the front door. MacGyver turned the key in the lock, but he didn’t hear the familiar click of the deadbolt sliding open. A tingle went up his spine as he remembered securing it earlier. He turned the knob and the door slowly inched open. Something was very wrong.

Mac turned to Joanna and pressed a different key into her hand.

“Go to Charlie’s. Lock the door behind you and call the police. Do not move until I come for you,” he commanded and, to his relief, Jo obeyed without question.

He proceeded to silently cross the threshold of his own apartment. He stood just inside the doorway and allowed his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Reaching out for the nearest weapon, he wrapped his hand around his favorite hockey stick. Man, he hoped it didn’t end up broken. He took a few cautious steps forward and stopped when he heard a noise coming from the lofted bedroom. It sounded oddly familiar. A few seconds later it came again. Someone had sneezed. Mac knew that sneeze!

“Frank Colton, is that you?!” MacGyver called out.

“Oh, uh, hiya Mac!”

“What the heck are you doing here?” MacGyver asked as he replaced the hockey stick and switched on the lights to find the dapper, African-American man looking down at him over the railing.

“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d—“ Frank sneezed again, unable to finish his reply.

Just then, Mac caught site of a hefty, white and tan, bowlegged bull dog lumbering down the spiral staircase.

“Frog!” he exclaimed, bending down to greet his canine friend with a hearty ear rub. “How’ve you been, baby? I’ve missed you!”

After being satisfactorily welcomed, Frog grunted and trundled off into the living room leaving Frank and MacGyver staring at each other. Sirens pealed in the distance. Oh no…Mac turned on his heel and ran next door to get Joanna. Just as he was leading her back to his side of the duplex, two squads skidded to a stop on the quiet street.

“Terrific,” he muttered under his breath. He waited for the officers to approach him, Jo still at his side.

“Good evening, sir,” the older officer said. “We received a call about a break in?”

“Um, yeah,” Mac shoved his hands in the front pocket of his khakis. “I have to apologize for that. It was all a mistake.”

“Friend of yours?” the younger policeman asked, looking over MacGyver’s shoulder.

Frank was now standing in the doorway, Frog at his feet. “Yeah,” Mac sighed. “He just got into town and wanted to surprise me. It worked,” he added drily.

“You’re sure there’s no problem here?” It was the elder officer again.

“I’m sure. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

The policemen nodded and headed back to their patrol car. MacGyver pinned Frank with a steely gaze.

“You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, Colton.”

Just then Joanna let out a gasp. “He’s adorable!” she exclaimed.

Frank puffed out his chest and straightened his tie. MacGyver’s jaw dropped in disbelief.

“And who do we have here?” Frank crooned, reaching out to Joanna, who deftly side-stepped him before falling to her knees and taking Frog’s face in her hands. She was immediately rewarded with slobbery doggie kisses.

Colton’s face fell and MacGyver smirked as he watched Jo make fast friends with the pup.

“Joanna, meet Frog. And his human, Frank Colton.”

After giving the dog one final pat, Joanna stood up and greeted Frank.

“How about we take this inside,” Mac suggested as he herded his friends back into his apartment.

“How did you find me, Colton?” MacGyver demanded, closing the door firmly behind him.

“I’m a bounty hunter and a private investigator. It’s what I do.”

“And what about breaking and entering? You do that, too?” Mac challenged.

“If the situation warrants,” his friend replied with a shrug.

“What are ya doin’ here, Frank?” MacGyver asked as he leaned against the kitchen counter, defeat in his voice.

“I have some business to take care of in Chi-Town and thought I’d drop by.”

“Oh, really?” Mac asked suspiciously. “I don’t suppose you need my help with this ‘business’ of yours?”

“Of course not!” Frank replied, obviously offended by the suggestion. “But I do have a favor to ask of you.”

“What do you need?”

“It’s about Frog,” Frank whispered.

“What about Frog?” Mac whispered back, unsure of why they had lowered their voices.

“Why are you guys whispering?” Joanna broke in as if reading his thoughts.

Frank sighed. “Frog is a very sensitive dog. I don’t want him to hear this.”

“Hear what?” MacGyver asked, keeping his voice low but no longer whispering.

“He’s getting old, Mac. He can’t keep up with us on cases and Mama’s gettin’ frustrated with him under foot all the time. I was thinking, now that you’ve settled down, you could—“

“No way, Frank. I’m not taking Frog!”

“C’mon Mac! He likes you and I know you like him. I don’t want to hand him off to some stranger.”

“But I’ll be starting a new job that’ll keep me away all day. It wouldn’t be fair to Frog.”

“What about Charlie?” Joanna asked MacGyver. “Couldn’t he look after Frog if you get tied up at work? And I’d love to help, too. He’s such a sweetheart! How can you say no?”

Mac looked into her liquid brown eyes, his resolve wavering. Then Frog came waddling into the kitchen and plopped down next to his foot, drool pooling on his shoe. It was all over.

“All right,” MacGyver sighed. “Frog can live with me.”











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: 27 March 2019 - 06:00 PM                                    
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QUOTE
“I’ve spent the last three weeks turning over every stone I can find looking for a job, quite unsuccessfully I might add, while you’ve spent all your waking hours putting your precious little car back together! That takes money, Mac! A lot of it! And you’re just as unemployed as I am!”
This sounds like a future talk my mom may be giving me, considering I've been out of school and unemployed for almost a year laugh.gif

QUOTE
“Besides, I’ve kinda missed having you around.”
Flirt XD

QUOTE
“Me? Never!” he exclaimed before dropping a quick kiss on the tip of her nose and turning back to his car.
Just get married already!

QUOTE
However, since Wisconsin weather could turn on a dime
*looks at your profile under "location"* Ahh, I see what you did there tongue.gif

QUOTE
Joanna saw the moment the situation dawned in his eyes. “Sorry. Didn’t realize you had your hands full,” he apologized as he turned the knob to let her in.
Men XD

QUOTE
Mac plucked at the offending material. “I’m sure there’s red, white and blue in here somewhere.”
Mac shares my fashion sense, who knew? XD

QUOTE
“If you’re gonna be like that, we might as well be married!” Mac complained to her retreating back.
Well you know, it's not too late XD

QUOTE
Stunned, Jo’s mind raced about what Mac and Leroy could possibly be alluding to.
I know we'll be coming back to this wink.gif

QUOTE
“What do you mean you’re not gonna stay for the fireworks? The night’s still young!” MacGyver scolded his guests as they prepared to leave.
Yeah, come on, guys! XD

QUOTE
“I’m sure, dear,” the red-headed woman replied. “You and MacGyver have been wonderful hosts, but you need some time to yourselves as well.”
Oh, that's why everyone's leaving XD

QUOTE
“I hope you’re not going to bail on me, too,” MacGyver leaned down and whispered, purposely allowing his breath to tickle Jo’s ear.
Flirt XD

QUOTE
“Me too,” he replied as he watched her, his voice huskier than he would have liked
My gosh, Mac's such a flirt today, isn't he? XD

QUOTE
“I cut ties with Phoenix long ago and for a lot of reasons. I belong here, now.” With you. But he didn’t say that last part out loud.
Dangit Mac! It's not like that would've been any bolder than anything else you've said today XD

QUOTE
“And you hate that you can’t stay mad at me, don’t you?” he teased.
GET MARRIED ALREADY! laugh.gif

QUOTE
Just then a single firework exploded above them signaling the start of the show.
...And it was shaped like a heart XD

QUOTE
“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d—“ Frank sneezed again, unable to finish his reply.
...Scare the crap out of you and your girlfriend.

QUOTE
Just then, Mac caught site of a hefty, white and tan, bowlegged bull dog lumbering down the spiral staircase.

“Frog!” he exclaimed, bending down to greet his canine friend with a hearty ear rub. “How’ve you been, baby? I’ve missed you!”
So have I love.jpg

QUOTE
Sirens pealed in the distance. Oh no…
I was gonna say...

QUOTE
“He just got into town and wanted to surprise me. It worked,” he added drily.
laugh.gif You could say that...

QUOTE
Just then Joanna let out a gasp. “He’s adorable!” she exclaimed.

Frank puffed out his chest and straightened his tie. MacGyver’s jaw dropped in disbelief.
Yeah, I really don't think she's talking about Frank here roller.gif roller.gif roller.gif

QUOTE
“He’s getting old, Mac. He can’t keep up with us on cases and Mama’s gettin’ frustrated with him under foot all the time. I was thinking, now that you’ve settled down, you could—“
TBH, I have a hard time picturing Mama getting too frustrated with Frog. Also, why do I feel like Joanna's going to accept before Mac can get a word in edgewise? XD

QUOTE
“What about Charlie?” Joanna asked MacGyver. “Couldn’t he look after Frog if you get tied up at work? And I’d love to help, too. He’s such a sweetheart! How can you say no?
Called it. Sort of tongue.gif

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 28 March 2019 - 05:22 AM                                    
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Thanks for the great and entertaining comments, Dragondog! I just *had* to bring Frog back...I love him so much, as you can tell by my avatar!! He's almost as cute as Mac!! So, I take it you're not opposed to Jo and Mac getting married? LOL!!

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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Posted: 28 March 2019 - 02:28 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 28 March 2019 - 08:22 AM)
Thanks for the great and entertaining comments, Dragondog! I just *had* to bring Frog back...I love him so much, as you can tell by my avatar!! He's almost as cute as Mac!! So, I take it you're not opposed to Jo and Mac getting married? LOL!!

Frog is the best! love.jpg

And if they get married, I certainly will not complain XD

"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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Dragondog
Posted: 29 March 2019 - 06:30 PM                                    
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I don't know if it shows in my comments, but I've been watching a lot of CinemaSins lately laugh.gif

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 3 April 2019 - 05:29 AM                                    
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Chapter 33: First Assignment

MacGyver stood in his living room, hands on hips, shaking his head in dismay. It had been two weeks since Frog had come to live with him. There was now a plush dog bed in a corner, various fur-covered and vinyl squeaky toys strewn about the apartment, and a doggie doorbell Mac had installed next to the patio doors and taught Frog to push with his paw when he needed to go out and do his business. The perpetrator of these changes was currently tethered to a long lead MacGyver had rigged up in the back yard napping in the late afternoon sun.

“Do you wanna eat in here or out there?” Joanna called from the kitchen, interrupting MacGyver’s thoughts.

“In there is good,” he replied, walking over to the breakfast bar where Jo was placing a plate full of Chinese take-out in front of him.

It was Friday and the couple had decided to celebrate their first week of work at the law firm with dinner and a movie at home. The corners of Mac’s mouth turned upward as he remembered Joanna entering her new office for the first time. Her jaw had literally dropped upon seeing the spacious, well-appointed work space with a large window overlooking the park across the street. MacGyver’s office was once again next door to hers, but the walls were much thicker than at Challengers providing them both with more privacy.

“What are you smiling about?” Jo asked as she dug in to her chicken Lo Mein.

“Just remembering the look on your face when you first saw your new office.”

Jo swallowed quickly and laughed. “Hey, I’m just excited to have file drawers that open on the first try!”

Mac chuckled before taking a bite of his food. It had been a long, busy week. Leroy did his best to make Jo and MacGyver feel at home and provided as much assistance as they needed to settle into their new jobs and surroundings. Unfortunately, the demands of the workplace had already taken their toll on spending time with each other. Mac planned on rectifying that this weekend, beginning with tonight.

After the remains of their meal had been cleared away, MacGyver let Frog in the house who immediately crawled under the coffee table to continue his nap. Joanna curled up in an overstuffed chair while Mac loaded a classic Western movie into the VCR before sprawling on the couch. It didn’t take long before Joanna became restless and started shifting positions in her chair. Then the questions started.

“How can they tell they’re shooting at the bad guys and not each other? They all look the same. Why does it only take one bullet to kill a bad guy yet the good guys just get grazed? How come none of the horses ever get shot by accident?”

“Are you getting bored?” Mac asked, already knowing the answer. Joanna just shrugged. He knew from the start she didn’t care for Westerns, but he admired the fact that she would watch one to make him happy.

MacGyver swung his legs off the couch and sat up, patting the cushion beside him.

“Come over here and let me see if I can fix that,” he invited her.

Joanna rolled her eyes playfully but obeyed. As soon as she was seated, Mac grabbed her legs and pulled them unto his lap before leaning in to steal a kiss.

“What about your movie?” she asked.

“You’ve seen one gun fight, you’ve seen ‘em all,” he replied and was pleased when Jo leaned forward and met his lips half way. He knew her fear of rejection prevented her from initiating most physical contact, but he took this as a sign that her heart was learning to trust him. To trust that he would never reject her.

After several minutes of exchanging kisses that ranged from languid to passionate, Mac moved his attention to her neck. Blood roared in his ears from the thrilling sensation and he almost didn’t hear her whispered question.

“Mac, are you happy?” she asked, pressing her hand against his chest to create separation.

“Mmmm, I guarantee you I am very happy,” he murmured contentedly. He took her face in his hands and was about to kiss her again when he saw the fear and sadness in her eyes.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, concern washing over him.

“The way you’re looking at me. Like you want, need, something more.”

MacGyver sighed and pulled away from her to rest his back on the couch.

“I thought we already had this conversation?”

“We did. I just need to be sure.” Joanna lowered her eyes and Mac’s heart softened.

“Look,” he said calmly as he stroked her cheek, “we both agreed to go slow and wait on certain things. I understand your feelings about love and marriage and I respect them.”

“But I don’t want you doing it just for me. Eventually you’ll get bored or resentful,” Jo protested.

“Then you need to understand that I’m also doing it for me,” he continued. “When I was working on your church’s air conditioner, Father Mike and I got to talking. I realized that some of my past relationships may have failed because I assumed intimacy would bring about commitment, but now I’m beginning to understand that it might be the other way around. That commitment leads to intimacy. Does that make sense?”

Joanna nodded and Mac cradled the back of her head in his hands, eager to pick up where they had left off when both the shrill ring of the phone and the ding of the doorbell startled them apart.

“I’ll get the phone. You get the dog,” MacGyver groaned, reluctantly pushing Jo’s legs off his lap. He watched her attach the outdoor lead to Frog’s collar, drinking in the easy, loving way she had with the pooch before clicking on the call.

“Hello?

“Hi Mac.” It was Leroy Jackson. “Sorry to call you late on a Friday, but I have an assignment for you. Could you meet me at the office first thing in the morning?”

“Yeah, sure,” MacGyver responded. “See you then.” There went the weekend.

XXXXX

“You’re defending a drug dealer?” Mac looked up from the file he had been given to read and stared accusingly at his new boss. Next to guns, drugs was the next worst thing MacGyver could think of.

“I’m not defending him, I’m merely representing him,” Leroy explained.

“What’s the difference?” Mac asked gruffly, not satisfied with the response.

“If I were defending him, I would be pushing for a jury trial and not guilty verdict. However, I know he’s guilty and I don’t make a practice of putting dealers back on the street. I am, however, acting as his representative when he goes to court to agree to the plea deal the judge and I arranged. He’ll get a lighter sentence in exchange for testifying against his supplier whom we’ve been trying to get behind bars for years.”

“So where do I come in?”

“Jorge is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning, but he’s getting nervous. Worried they might come after him. He’s refused protective custody but has agreed to a safe house.”

“Let me guess. You want me to babysit Jorge for the weekend and make sure he gets to his hearing.”

Leroy nodded. “My firm rents a motel room for these situations. It’s small, quiet, and out-of-the-way.”

“What about security?”

“I’m looking at it,” Leroy replied with a grin.

Terrific. “With all due respect, it doesn’t sound as if you’re taking Jorge’s fears very seriously.”

The lawyer sighed. “This happens more often than not. It’s usually a sign that they’re gonna run.”

“So what you really want me to do is make sure he doesn’t jump bail.”

“Basically. And of course be prepared to neutralize any security issues that may actually arise. Now, if you don’t have any further questions, go home and pack a bag. I want you checked into the motel by 1pm. I’ll arrange to have Jorge arrive a couple hours later and I’ll see you both at the courthouse on Monday.”

After receiving his assignment, MacGyver stopped home just long enough to throw some clothes in his duffel bag and call Joanna to let her know what was going on and have her look in on Frog. He arrived at the motel earlier than planned so he could scout out the area. The nineteen unit, one-story structure was located on the outskirts of town next to a truck stop. The land was flat and barren, the population transient. Only a handful of rooms appeared to be occupied.

Mac stopped at the office to pick up his key and proceeded to the room Leroy had reserved. Upon entering, he did a quick security survey. One large room with a plate glass picture window, two double beds, a dresser and TV. The bathroom was small with only a ceiling fan for ventilation. One way in. One way out. Good to keep the bad guys at bay, bad if they needed an alternative exit. The place wasn’t ideal and, though MacGyver liked Leroy, he was having trouble respecting the man’s judgement, or lack thereof, at the present time. They hadn’t even set up a communication system. Mac pulled the heavy drapes across the front window and parked his Jeep a few doors away. No need to advertise which room they were in.

A couple hours later there was a knock on the door. MacGyver looked through the peep hole at a man in a suit standing next to a lanky teenage boy. Recognizing the man from Leroy’s office, Mac opened the door and invited them in.

“You must be Jorge,” Mac said in greeting, putting out his hand. “Name’s MacGyver.”

“Whatever,” the dark-haired boy mumbled as he slunk past, dropped his backpack on the floor, and tossed himself on one of the beds.

“Not much of a talker, hey?” Mac asked the man in the suit.

“Nope. Didn’t say two words the whole drive over. Good luck with this one.” He patted MacGyver on the shoulder and headed out the door, no doubt relieved to be free of his young charge.

“Just so you know, this wasn’t my idea,” Jorge blurted out as soon as they were alone. “I don’t need no babysitter.”

“Ah,” Mac replied simply, choosing to pretend he didn’t know what the boy had told Leroy. He took a seat on the bed across from the young man.

“So, how old are you? Fifteen? Sixteen?”

“What’s it to you?!”

“Nothin’,” Mac shrugged. “Got any brothers or sisters? Any family?”

“They hire you to give me the third degree or somethin’?” Jorge shot off the bed and into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him for good measure. MacGyver glanced at his watch. This was going to be a long forty-two hours and eight minutes.

Later that evening, Mac and Jorge walked over to the truck stop for a quick supper. The boy scarfed down his meal before inhaling a piece of pie for dessert making MacGyver wonder if he was the boy’s bodyguard or meal ticket.

When they returned to their room, Jorge pulled out a Walkman and pair of head phones from his backpack, laid back down on the bed, closed his eyes and shut out the world. MacGyver clicked on the TV, leaned back against the headboard of his own bed, and dozed off watching reruns of that year’s Stanley Cup finals.

Sunday morning MacGyver awoke to the sound of rain pounding on the roof and thunder rumbling in the distance. He glanced at the empty bed next to him and then to the closed bathroom door. Mac got up and tapped on the doorframe.

“Everything okay in there?” he asked.

“Geez, can’t a guy do his business in private?” came the aggravated reply.

“Sorry,” Mac muttered as he turned away and headed back toward his bed.

When Jorge emerged from the bathroom several minutes later, MacGyver tossed him an apple. “Breakfast,” he explained. Jorge grunted.

“Wanna tell me about the guys that are after you?”

“Nope,” Jorge replied curtly, tossing the apple core in the waste basket before reaching for his Walkman and resuming his position from the day before.

MacGyver spent his time channel surfing and pacing the room, stopping occasionally to peek out the front window to ensure they were still alone. By mid-afternoon, Jorge was complaining that he as hungry and MacGyver was glad for the opportunity to get out of the claustrophobic room. Since it was still raining, they drove the Jeep the short distance to the truck stop restaurant where they indulged in a hearty, homemade meal. On the way back to their room, Mac stopped at the motel office to pick up a newspaper to help pass the time.

“Did you meet up with your friends okay?” the clerk asked as MacGyver paid for the paper.

“Friends?”

“Yeah, two guys. Said they knew you and the kid so I gave them your room number.”

“Thanks,” MacGyver said as he tucked the newspaper inside his jacket and hurried out the door.

“What are we doing?” Jorge asked as Mac slowly guided the Jeep behind the long, low motel building.

“Just checking something out,” MacGyver replied, coming to a stop.

A dark, late-model sedan was parked outside their room.

“Looks like we got company,” Mac observed.

“That’s them!” Jorge exclaimed. “That’s the guys who are tryin’ to kill me!”

MacGyver put the Jeep in gear and made a quick turn out of the parking lot. Unfortunately, the driver of the sedan must have heard the squealing tires and was now behind them and closing fast. MacGyver pushed the accelerator as far as he dared just as a head popped out the passenger side window of the sedan.

“Get down!” Mac yelled, reaching over to push Jorge’s head down to his knees just as the sound of bullets exploded behind them. MacGyver swerved to avoid the deadly projectiles and sped out of the parking lot and onto the interstate.

“They’re still behind us!” Jorge cried, his cool veneer crumbling into panic.

“Hang on and stay down,” Mac instructed the teen as he expertly guided the Jeep in between lanes of traffic in hopes of losing, or at least delaying, their pursuers.

“Where are we going?”

“There’s a state park not far from here. You like camping?” MacGyver chuckled at Jorge’s stare which had now turned from panic to disgust.

With each passing mile, Mac put more distance and traffic between them and the sedan. When he saw the sign for the state park, he veered onto the rain-slicked off-ramp a little too fast causing the Jeep to slip onto the muddy shoulder of the narrow road before once again gaining control. Confident they were no longer being followed, MacGyver followed the signs to the state park and soon pulled up to the entrance.

“Whatcha doin’ man?” Jorge asked, calmer now. “We can’t just walk in the front door!”

“Sometimes the best way to hide is in plain sight,” Mac responded confidently.

After registering and paying for a campsite at the property office, MacGyver drove into a wooded area and parked the Jeep in their assigned spot.

“We gonna sit here all night?” Jorge asked, defiant once again.

“No way! We can go hiking, catch some fish, whatever we want. There are over four thousand acres out there just waiting for us to explore.”

MacGyver chuckled as Jorge crossed his arms over his chest and slouched down in his seat as if sitting in the Jeep for the next twelve hours wasn’t that bad after all.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The driver of the sedan slammed his hand against the wheel. “We lost ‘em!” he shouted.

“Take it easy man,” his partner tried to calm him down. “They can’t disappear into thin air. Take the next off ramp.”

“Why?” the driver shot back.

“The boss said this MacGyver is a real nature lover. There’s a sign for a state park. Probably thinks he and that punk can hide out in there.”

The driver suddenly slowed the car. “Look. Tire tracks in the mud. Could be him.”

Determined and gaining confidence, the driver headed toward the entrance to the park and stopped at the registration booth.

“Afternoon, gentleman. What can I help you with today?” the park ranger asked.

“We’re looking for a friend of ours,” the driver replied with a friendly smile. “Should have come through in a Jeep a short while ago. Had a teenager with him. Name’s MacGyver. Could you tell us which site he’s at?”

“I’m sorry, sir,” the ranger responded. “I’m not authorized to give out that information.”

“No problem. We understand,” the driver replied. “But before we go any further, I think one of my tires is going flat. Mind if we get out and have a look?”

“Sure, go right ahead.” The ranger returned to the booth, his back to the men.

The driver quietly got out of the car, reached into his waistband to grab his pistol, and hit the ranger on the back of his head with the butt of the gun, knocking the uniformed man unconscious. He then located the registration log and found MacGyver’s name.

“They’re at campsite 31,” he told his partner.

“What about him?” the passenger asked. “He can ID us.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll go in, off the kid and MacGyver, take the Jeep and find us another way outta here.” The driver resumed his place behind the wheel and drove slowly down the narrow, winding road. “Keep your eyes peeled,” he instructed the man next to him.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna awoke from a fitful slumber Monday morning. Disturbing dreams had haunted her sleep the night before, but she couldn’t recall any details. She quickly performed her morning routine before going over to Mac’s to let Frog out to do his business before she went to work. Upon arriving at the townhouse, she heard the dog whining through the closed door. She made quick work of letting herself in and found the chubby canine looking mournfully up the winding staircase.

“Aw sweetie,” she bent down to pet the bull dog. “I know you’ve missed him, but he’ll be back today. Now let’s go do your business.” Jo hurried to open the patio door, but Frog refused to move.

“C’mon baby,” she urged. Frog glanced between her and the stairs before slowly waddling out into the back yard. Joanna clamped his lead onto his collar and waited for him to get done. After watering a small bush and snuffling the grass, he lumbered towards her. But instead of returning to the house, he went over to the garage, whining and scratching at the utility door.

“You know he’s not in there,” Jo said sternly, tugging at the leash. “You’ve been so good all weekend, now get inside before I’m late for work.”

Frog worried the door for a couple more minutes before following Joanna into the apartment. He stayed at her feet, almost tripping her up more than once while she prepared fresh food and water bowls for him.

“Honestly, what has gotten into you?” she asked, wishing that he could answer. But all he did was whine and gaze at her with pleading eyes. It was all she could do to tear herself away from the sad pup. She crouched down, kissed his snout, and promised to check back during lunch.

Joanna was out of breath by the time she reached the suite of offices belonging to Leroy Jackson’s firm. “Sorry I’m late,” she greeted the receptionist.

“Mr. Jackson wants to see you in his office immediately.”

Jo glanced at her watch. Granted it was just her second week of work, but she was only five minutes late. She squared her shoulders and knocked on her boss’s door. Leroy called for her to enter, and as she crossed the threshold she saw him sitting at his desk, a worried expression on his face.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” she began to explain, “but Frog was being exceptionally difficult—“

The lawyer held up a hand, effectively cutting her off. “That’s not why I called you in here,” he told her soberly.

Joanna instinctively knew this was about MacGyver, and it wasn’t good. Suddenly, her restlessness and Frog’s odd behavior began to make sense. “Tell me,” she demanded.

Leroy sighed and rubbed his forehead before beginning. “Late last night I received a call that there had been an incident in the parking lot of the motel where MacGyver and Jorge are staying. The desk clerk said that two guys were looking for them. MacGyver sped away followed by a sedan. A man in the car was shooting at them. A few hours later a ranger at the state park was found unconscious in the registration booth and MacGyver’s name was listed as a new arrival. Authorities have been searching the park since dawn, but there are literally thousands of acres to cover.”

“So Jorge was right. Someone is after him.”

“I’m afraid so,” Leroy shook his head in dismay. “This is all my fault. I didn’t believe Jorge and now I put him and MacGyver in danger.”

“Mac is in his element. If anyone can get them out of this, it’s him,” Joanna said, not certain if she was trying to reassure Leroy or herself.

“Why don’t you go home,” the lawyer suggested. “Everyone is doing everything they can to bring Mac and Jorge home safely. I promise to call you immediately with any news.”

“What about the hearing? Jorge was supposed to be in court this morning?”

“I’ve already requested a continuance. Now just go home and try not to worry.”

“Fine,” Joanna relented. “I’ll be at Mac’s if you need me.”

She numbly retraced her steps and drove to the apartment as if on autopilot. She opened the door to find Frog once again lying at the foot of the stairs. He looked up at her beseechingly.

“I’m sorry,” she patted his head. “You knew Mac was in trouble and I ignored you.”

The pudgy dog stood up and licked her hand as if in forgiveness before turning his attention back to the stairs.

“Okay,” she sighed. “I’m sure Mac won’t mind if you use his bed just this once.” She followed Frog up the spiral stairs, her hands patting his butt encouragingly as he struggled to the top. Joanna awkwardly lifted the heavy dog up onto the bed. After sniffing every inch of the comforter, he finally settled himself on a pillow with a huff and closed his eyes. Soon he drifted off to sleep, snoring lightly.

Joanna felt a chill run up her spine as exhaustion settled around her shoulders. It was still morning, but the news from earlier and lack of sleep was already taking its toll. Slipping off her heels, she climbed onto the bed beside Frog, curled into a ball, and let her tears fall silently as she waited for sleep to overtake her.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver and Jorge lay flat on the forest floor as the summer sun continued its ascent above the horizon. It had been hours since the two goons had flushed them from their campsite. Either Frick and Frack were smarter than Mac had given them credit for or someone was feeding them information. All had been quiet for a while now so Mac sat up, leaning his back against a tree trunk. He had to think of a way to get out of here. His surroundings offered a plethora of opportunities, but he daren’t take a chance on setting any kind of trap. Tourist season was in full swing and curious hikers and campers were everywhere. The way he saw it they had two choices: Circle back to the campsite or draw the thugs deeper into the wilderness and take them on alone. MacGyver’s sense of self-preservation voted for the former, but his overriding concern of hurting innocent people voted for the latter.

“Jorge,” Mac called in a loud whisper, “ready to move?”

“You got a plan?”

“No. But I’m workin’ on it. Come on!”

The two took off deeper into the woods. MacGyver began breaking tree branches and shuffling his feet to scatter the brush.

“Whatcha doin’?” Jorge asked.

“Making an easy trail for our friends to follow.”

“What?!” the teen shrieked.

“Sometimes, in order to survive, the hunted need to become the hunters,” Mac explained.

Jorge frowned but followed MacGyver, helping to mark the trail as well. They had hiked for a couple miles before Mac heard a cry behind him. He turned to find the teen sitting on the ground by a rotten log holding his ankle.

“What happened?”

“I wasn’t paying attention and tripped on that log,” Jorge replied disgustedly.

“Can you walk?”

“Sure man, no problem.”

But when the boy went to put weight on his ankle, his leg buckled and he fell into MacGyver who lowered the injured teen to the ground.

“Wait here, I’ll be right back,” MacGyver promised.

Within minutes, Mac returned with a handful of twigs and one long, thick tree branch. He got out his Swiss Army knife and cut the twigs to the same length. He then took a roll of flattened duct tape from his back pocket.

“I’m gonna splint that ankle,” Mac explained upon seeing the questioning look in Jorge’s eyes. “And you’re gonna use that branch as a crutch.”

Soon the two were on the move again, albeit a bit slower to compensate for Jorge’s injury. It wasn’t long until the trees gave way to open land by the bank of a small river. An idea clicked into place. It wasn’t much, but with any luck it would give Mac and Jorge the element of surprise.

“Stay back and watch me,” MacGyver instructed. The shoreline was muddy from last night’s rain. Mac stepped into the wet dirt, putting one foot firmly in front of the other until he reached the edge of the water. He then walked backwards, matching his steps to the imprints he had made.

“Okay, your turn,” he told Jorge. “This way it will look like we crossed the river.”

Once that task was completed, MacGyver went about collecting baseball sized rocks and heavy, solid tree branches which he shared with Jorge.

“Ammunition,” Mac stated as they each stepped behind a large tree for cover. And then they waited.

MacGyver was beginning to think the thugs had given up tracking them when he heard a rustling in the forest behind him. He listened intently. There were two voices. One was stern and commanding, the other hesitant and unsure.

“You go that way, I’ll go over there,” the stern voice instructed.

Good. They were splitting up. Maybe this plan would work after all.

Mac watched as an average looking man in a suit emerged from the woods and spotted the footprints in the mud.
“Over here!” the man called to his partner just as MacGyver hurled a heavy rock at the back of the man’s head. The projectile found its mark and the man fell over head-first into the muddy riverside.

Mac leapt from his hiding spot and ran towards the unconscious man, pulling his arms behind his back and wrapping his wrists and ankles together with duct tape. One down, one to go.

“Mac, look out!” Jorge yelled.

MacGyver turned around and found himself looking down the barrel of a small but potentially deadly hand gun held by thug number two. As Mac quickly processed the situation, Jorge tossed a rock towards the threatening man, hitting him in the shoulder. It wasn’t a hard blow, but enough to be a distraction. MacGyver grabbed the tree branch, planted his feet and swung, knocking the gun from the man’s hand. The man quickly recovered and lunged toward Mac who swung again, this time hitting the man square in the stomach. He grunted but did not go down. Apparently he was stronger than he looked. MacGyver went to swing the branch again, but this time the man was ready for him and grabbed the end of the make-shift weapon and wrenched it from Mac’s grip. Adrenaline flowing in full force now, MacGyver deftly ducked and avoided several of the man’s attempted swings at him until his foot slipped on the mud. The man landed a sound blow to Mac’s ribs and he went down writhing in pain. The man stood over him, raised the heavy branch and prepared to deliver one last blow just as MacGyver tossed a handful of mud in the thug’s face and rolled away. But the fight was not over.

The thug dropped the branch to wipe the mud from his eyes before lowering his head and barreling into Mac’s mid-section which sent both men to the ground before righting themselves and exchanging a volley of hits to the face and kicks to the gut. After several rounds, both men were on all fours, exhausted, bleeding, and breathing heavily. MacGyver wondered how much more he could take, but he didn’t have a choice. He had to keep fighting. He had to protect Jorge. Just then he caught movement from the corner of his eye. Jorge was limping quickly toward the thug, heavy tree branch in hand. The boy slammed the branch down hard on the man’s back, knocking the wind out of him. Mac quickly crawled onto the man’s back, pinning him to the ground as he once again secured hands and feet with duct tape.

“Thanks for the help, kid,” Mac said to Jorge just as a pair of park rangers emerged from the tree line.

“Looks like we missed the fun,” the elder ranger quipped. He headed straight to MacGyver to assess his injuries while his partner did the same for the incapacitated thugs. More rescue personnel arrived and soon the small, battered group was headed back to the campsite where they would be questioned, examined, and some taken into custody.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The ringing of the telephone startled Joanna awake. She glanced at the clock, surprised to see it was already late afternoon. Frog groaned his displeasure at the offending noise before tumbling off the bed and following Jo downstairs.

“Hello?” Jo knew this had to be about Mac, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to hear the news.

“Hey, it’s me,” a masculine voice she had grown to love replied.

“Mac! Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just a few bumps and bruises. The usual.”

“Where are you? What happened?”

“That is a really long story. I’ll tell you about it when I get home. I just wanted to let you know everything’s okay. See ya soon.”

Joanna paced the apartment anxiously, waiting for MacGyver to arrive while Frog chowed down on kibble, much calmer now that he sensed his beloved master was safe. After what seemed like an eternity, a police cruiser pulled into the driveway and Mac stepped out from the passenger side. Jo flew out the front door to greet him.

“What’s going on?” she asked, frowning at the car.

“He’s just dropping me off. I need to pick up my Jeep in the morning.”

Joanna had a ton of questions all wanting immediate answers until she saw the bright white gauze pad taped to Mac’s temple. She also noticed how gingerly he was walking beside her.

“You’re hurt,” she stated.

“Just a scratch,” he smiled crookedly at her, but this time her concern made her immune to his charm.

Once they got inside, Mac seated himself carefully at the breakfast bar.

“You must be starving,” Joanna observed. “Can I make something for you?”

“I’m not that hungry. Don’t worry about it.”

“I’ll decide what I worry about, MacGyver. How about scrambled eggs and toast?”

“That sounds good,” Mac agreed. “Make enough for yourself, too. Leroy told me you spent the day here.”

“Well somebody had to take care of that dog of yours.” Jo hoped she could mask her concern with annoyance.

As if he knew they were talking about him, Frog raised his head from his dish and ambled over to MacGyver, pawing his leg. Mac bent over to greet the dog, but winced in pain which did not go unnoticed by Joanna.

“Hurt your ribs again?” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant as she poured them each a glass of milk.

“Just a bruise,” he answered, slowly straightening.

In the bright light of the kitchen, Jo could see the fatigue in his eyes and the strain on his face even though he tried to pretend he was fine.

Over the next couple of hours, MacGyver explained, in detail, the events that had taken place since he had last spoken to Joanna on Saturday, taking time to answer her questions and reassure her as needed.

“So as of a few hours ago, everyone is in custody. Jorge’s hearing has been rescheduled and his ankle will be fine in a few weeks,” Mac concluded.

Joanna was sitting on the couch next to him, still trying to mentally digest everything he had told her. Mac had spoken as if this was just an ordinary assignment, and she supposed that to him it was, given his previous adventures at the DXS and Phoenix. Now she could understand how difficult it must have been for the women in his life. But what she couldn’t understand was why they all left. How could they not want to be there for him? To welcome him home and take care of him? Granted, she had been a nervous wreck when she had learned of his situation, but being with him now was worth all the worry in the world, and the fact that she could have lost him today made this time together that much more special.

“Hey, you okay?” Mac broke into her thoughts. He put his hand on her knee and squeezed it gently.

“Yeah, I was just thinking.”

“About whether or not you want to hang around and risk going through this again?” MacGyver asked soberly. “’Cause I can’t promise you it won’t happen.”

“I know that,” she replied softly, turning so she could look into his eyes and cup his cheek in her hand. “But quite honestly, I can’t see myself anywhere else but here. With you. I can’t be scared off that easily.”

To prove her point, she leaned in gingerly and grazed his lips with hers.

“Stay here tonight,” Mac whispered huskily.

Jo glanced at the couch they were sitting on. Well, she had slept on it before and if Mac wanted—

“Not on the couch,” he amended. “In my bed. With me.”

Joanna’s heart fell to the floor and she wanted to cry. “But Mac, we agreed—“

“I don’t mean like that. I’m not going to break our agreement. I just want you near me.” He reached to brush the bangs out of her eyes. “After an assignment, I always came home to an empty house, and I was fine with that. But having you here tonight to make me dinner and listen to me talk about…well, it just felt good. I’m not ready for you to leave yet.”

And Joanna wasn’t ready to go. She clearly saw the pain and loneliness in MacGyver’s eyes and longed to comfort him in any way she could. Jo knew he seldom, if ever, reached out for help. Now that he was asking, how could she turn her back?

Jo emerged from the bathroom, the hem of the Calgary Flames jersey brushing the middle of her thigh. She tugged at it self-consciously. Facing away from her, Mac had already changed into sweatpants and was pulling a white tank top over his head as he turned toward her. She gasped when she saw his torso covered in black, blue, and purple bruises. His eyes followed hers and he quickly covered himself with the shirt.

“It looks worse than it is.”

“Really?”

“Really. Now let’s get some sleep.”

MacGyver turned out the light and crawled into bed a bit more carefully than usual due to his injuries. Joanna was also mindful of them as she gingerly curled up on the other side of the bed. She felt incredibly awkward at first, but as she tuned into Mac’s strong, solid presence beside her she felt her muscles relax and her heart warm with a sense of rightness. She was relishing this feeling when she heard a thunk and a snuffle coming from the foot of the bed. Jo turned her head and met Mac’s gaze.

“There’s no way,” Mac whispered.

Jo slipped out from under the comforter to investigate. There on the floor at the end of the bed sat Frog looking wistfully up at the mattress. Without asking MacGyver’s permission, she hefted the dog onto the bed while threatening to put him on a diet.

“You’re spoiling him,” Mac complained as she slipped back under the covers.

“He’s had a hard day,” she said in the dog’s defense. “If he goes, I go.”

“Alright, he can stay,” MacGyver replied sleepily.

That was all the encouragement Frog needed to wiggle his way between his two humans and grace them with slobbery doggie kisses before lying down and falling fast asleep.









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: 3 April 2019 - 08:21 PM                                    
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QUOTE
and a doggie doorbell Mac had installed next to the patio doors and taught Frog to push with his paw when he needed to go out and do his business.
So is this some kind of doorbell Mac bought and installed specifically for pets, or did he make it himself?

QUOTE
It was Friday and the couple had decided to celebrate their first week of work at the law firm with dinner and a movie at home.
I notice you called them a couple wink.gif

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After the remains of their meal had been cleared away, MacGyver let Frog in the house who immediately crawled under the coffee table to continue his nap.
Frog is me laugh.gif

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“How can they tell they’re shooting at the bad guys and not each other? They all look the same. Why does it only take one bullet to kill a bad guy yet the good guys just get grazed? How come none of the horses ever get shot by accident?”
Joanna is me watching literally anything. Even shows I love laugh.gif

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“Come over here and let me see if I can fix that,” he invited her.
Flirty Mac XD

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“I’ll get the phone. You get the dog,”
For a moment I forgot it was Frog's doorbell. Nice job, Frog laugh.gif

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“Nope. Didn’t say two words the whole drive over. Good luck with this one.” He patted MacGyver on the shoulder and headed out the door, no doubt relieved to be free of his young charge.
Idk, having someone not speak at all sounds pretty easy to deal with to me tongue.gif

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When Jorge emerged from the bathroom several minutes later, MacGyver tossed him an apple. “Breakfast,” he explained. Jorge grunted.“Wanna tell me about the guys that are after you?”

“Nope,” Jorge replied curtly, tossing the apple core in the waste basket before reaching for his Walkman and resuming his position from the day before.
Wow, he ate that apple fast XD

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“Yeah, two guys. Said they knew you and the kid so I gave them your room number.”
Well, I wouldn't mark that as good professional behavior dry.gif

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“That’s them!” Jorge exclaimed. “That’s the guys who are tryin’ to kill me!”
No kidding Sherlock

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“They’re still behind us!” Jorge cried, his cool veneer crumbling into panic.
I can't help but feel a bit bad for him at this point

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“There’s a state park not far from here. You like camping?” MacGyver chuckled at Jorge’s stare which had now turned from panic to disgust.
Teenagers tongue.gif (I say this even though I am one)

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“No way! We can go hiking, catch some fish, whatever we want. There are over four thousand acres out there just waiting for us to explore.”
Or lose your charge

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“The boss said this MacGyver is a real nature lover. There’s a sign for a state park. Probably thinks he and that punk can hide out in there.”
Hmph, that didn't last long. Who's the boss?

Also, I can't help but wonder why Mac didn't just call for help. I mean, he still could've run off into some camp site until help arrived.

At least the park ranger is smart enough to keep Mac's location confidential.

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Joanna awoke from a fitful slumber Monday morning. Disturbing dreams had haunted her sleep the night before, but she couldn’t recall any details.
What a coincidence XD

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Suddenly, her restlessness and Frog’s odd behavior began to make sense.
Yeah, you're totally meant to be together. Psychic connections and all that tongue.gif

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“I’m afraid so,” Leroy shook his head in dismay. “This is all my fault. I didn’t believe Jorge and now I put him and MacGyver in danger.”
Yes Leroy, it is your fault. You're terrible at your job and a son of a-

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“Why don’t you go home,” the lawyer suggested. “Everyone is doing everything they can to bring Mac and Jorge home safely. I promise to call you immediately with any news.”
Wow, you brought her into your office to tell her terrible news, and then sent her straight back home. Productive tongue.gif

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Either Frick and Frack were smarter than Mac had given them credit for or someone was feeding them information.
Sorry, but calling them Frick and Frack amuses me way more than it should tongue.gif

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After several rounds, both men were on all fours, exhausted, bleeding, and breathing heavily.
Jorge, what happened to you?!

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“Thanks for the help, kid,” Mac said to Jorge just as a pair of park rangers emerged from the tree line.
Yeah, 'bout time you showed up XD

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But what she couldn’t understand was why they all left. How could they not want to be there for him? To welcome him home and take care of him? Granted, she had been a nervous wreck when she had learned of his situation, but being with him now was worth all the worry in the world, and the fact that she could have lost him today made this time together that much more special.
Soulmates XD

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“Stay here tonight,” Mac whispered huskily.
Oof, Mac XD

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“Not on the couch,” he amended. “In my bed. With me.”
MAC! 8O

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She was relishing this feeling when she heard a thunk and a snuffle coming from the foot of the bed. Jo turned her head and met Mac’s gaze.
I know where this is going XD

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“He’s had a hard day,” she said in the dog’s defense. “If he goes, I go.”
Oh Joanna XD

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That was all the encouragement Frog needed to wiggle his way between his two humans and grace them with slobbery doggie kisses before lying down and falling fast asleep.
I feel like Frog is being a watch dog of sorts, making sure they don't "go too far" if you get my drift XD

"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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 4 April 2019 - 05:00 AM                                    
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Thanks for the comments Dragondog....Yeah, Frog is the best chaperone ever!!!!

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: 4 April 2019 - 05:58 PM                                    
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Phoenix Field Agent
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Posts: 2,785
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Country: U.S.A.
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Season: ---
Episode:Halloween Knights
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House:  House boat



QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 4 April 2019 - 08:00 AM)
Thanks for the comments Dragondog....Yeah, Frog is the best chaperone ever!!!!

Chaperone, THAT'S the word I was looking for laugh.gif

"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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