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|Posted by: Bandersnatch 18 March 2010 - 12:27 PM|
| Here's another piece. It's a little longer then the previous chapters -- I didn't think cutting it off at the second scene break would go over well with those who are following it.
Feedback is always appreciated.
MacGyver fumbled his keys as he worked to open his front door. He was still half asleep, having dozed of during the long ride home. The presentation had run late thanks to several long-winded speakers. Being the last to present, Pete smartly chose to make the awarding of the Phoenix grant short and sweet, much to the relief of the audience.
Mac located his house key at last and slid it into the lock. His whole body felt numb and his movements were sluggish. All he wanted was shed his tuxedo, take a hot shower, and crawl into bed.
The sooner this day ends, the better… he thought, pushing open the door and hitting the lights as he went.
Pete shambled in behind him. “You know, I’d still like to display this at the Foundation.” He was holding a wooden plaque with a shiny brass plate on the front. Engraved on the inlay was a highly detailed depiction of the school’s new pond with the words “Mac’s Pond – Certified Wildlife Habitat and Living Classroom” printed beneath. Despite his request, MacGyver found himself herded up on stage to accept the award and Lori’s lavish praise. The audience of proud parents and sponsors showed their appreciation as well, with a heartfelt standing ovation that seemed to go on forever. When it was finally over, he left the stage in complete shock, his face flushed with embarrassment.
“You can if you want,” Mac replied, already stripping off the outer layers of his tux. “Maybe it’ll keep those stuffed suits in charge of the budget from cutting our donation funds too much.”
“You think they’ll dock us there?”
He shrugged, callously dropping his jacket to the floor. “Discretionary accounts are easy targets. I guess it depends how they feel about charity work.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to keep them away from it. They can make their cuts elsewhere – we’ve helped a lot of people with those funds.” Pete looked at the clock on the counter. It was almost midnight. “Well, I suppose I should head out – tomorrow’s a busy day. Are you sure you don’t want me to stay tonight? I don’t mind.”
“Pete, the last time you slept on my couch, all I heard for the next week was how uncomfortable it was.” MacGyver tossed his vest on the growing pile of clothes.
“You could use a new couch.”
Mac grinned. “I think I’m good for tonight. We can save the “couch of nails” torture for another day.”
“All right – thought I’d ask.” He turned for the door but stopped, the night’s events still weighing heavy on his mind. “Just do me a favor and put some more thought into Ferris’s offer, okay?”
“Pete…” Mac warned.
He held up his hands as if to surrender. “That’s all I’m going to say,” he said, and turned to leave in earnest.
The troubleshooter sighed and hurried to open the door for his friend. “Thanks for the ride and the other…stuff.”
“No problem. You still coming in tomorrow?”
“Can you stop by my office before you get started just so I know you’re all right?”
“I think I can manage that.”
“Good. Now go get some rest – you look dead on your feet.” Pete left, pausing to wave as he climbed into the backseat of the waiting car.
Mac waved back and waited until the car started moving before closing the front door and locking it. The houseboat fell silent, save for the muted tick of several clocks. He was glad to be alone, especially after such a hectic night.
He finished stripping down to his undershirt as he made his way to the fridge, kicking off his shoes as he went. He retrieved a carton of juice and took a few mouthfuls, the cold liquid making the dull ache in his head flare. Cringing, he wandered over to the center island and sat down with a grunt. He regarded the bottle of aspirin on the counter for a moment before shaking several of the bitter tablets into his hand.
Maybe Pete’s right. Maybe I should take Dr Harper up on her offer…
He swallowed the pills, but didn’t anticipate much relief.
Why bother? She’s just going to tell you what you already know… he thought, his cynical side coming through. You’re tired. You’re overworked. You need a break -- a long, ‘forget about the world’ break.
A clock on the other side of the room chimed midnight. It was a new day. He could put the events of the previous one behind him and move on.
MacGyver cracked a wide yawn as he stood. A shower could wait -- it was time for bed. He returned the carton of juice to the fridge and headed for the stairs.
“Ah!” he cried, a sharp pain shooting through his skull. Grabbing his head, Mac lowered himself to the bottom step and leaned against the railing. It was the same pain he’d out at the school, except now his ears were starting to ring. His vision blurred and he closed his eyes, the wobbly images causing his nausea and dizziness to worsen. All at once he wished he’d let Pete stay, realizing that being alone was the last thing he wanted.
You need to lie down… His inner voice said as his consciousness began to wane. You need to lie down, but not here. The couch… Mac groaned at the thought. His couch was only a few feet away, but at the moment it seemed like miles. He had no choice.
Mac hauled himself to his feet using the banister for balance. He opened his eyes and immediately regretted it, his distorted, warping vision making his stomach forcefully reject its contents.
“Oh, god…” he uttered, spitting and wiping his mouth on the front of his shirt. He sank to the floor, holding his head in one hand and his cramping belly with the other. It was tempting to stay put and let whatever was going to happen happen, but something within his subconscious wouldn’t let him. Time seemed to slow as he half staggered, half crawled the short distance to the den. Disoriented in his own home, he located his couch almost completely by touch, his vision rapidly fading into a gray haze.
Out of breath and shaking with pain, MacGyver took a moment to gather up the last of his strength. With considerable effort, he barely managed to get himself onto the old sofa before collapsing against the cushions and blacking out.
“…I’m just rechecking some of the numbers…No, no, I’m confident they’re correct, but I want to make sure I have them straight in my head.” Pete shifted the phone from one ear to the other and reached for a pen. “Oh, last night? It went fine. We had a nice dinner and a great turnout. I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about the strides the Hillenburg School is making in the near future.”
He swiveled around in his chair and spotted MacGyver coming down the hall. Even at a distance, he could tell something wasn’t right.
“Listen, Mark, I’ve got a few things left to do before zero hour…right…I’ll see you there. Bye now.” Pete hung up the phone just as his friend came through the door. “You look terrible,” he said, troubled by the younger man’s pale, pained appearance.
Mac dropped stiffly into one of the straight-backed chairs. “Morning to you too, Pete,” he replied, his voice flat.
“Good morning, MacGyver – I’m sorry. You just…you don’t look like you feel well.”
“It was a late night,” Mac said with a shrug. “I’m still kinda tired.”
Pete began sorting through the seemingly random piles of paper on his desk. “Did you sleep okay?”
“I thought so.”
He stopped mid-sort. “What do you mean?”
“I passed out on the couch shortly after you left and woke up about an hour ago under my coffee table.”
“Under your coffee table?” Pete exclaimed. “Huh! That must have been some wave. Are you all right?”
“Yeah. A few bruises, but I’m fine.” Mac absently rubbed his aching temple. “You all set for the meeting?”
Pete sighed and looked at the small forest worth of paper on his deck. “I think so. I just got off the phone with Mark Cooper – you’ve met him. He’s the new assistant down in Environmental. Anyway, he seems fairly confident we’ll get what we’re asking for this year. Maybe even a little more.”
Mac cocked an eyebrow. “More? This is his first budget meeting, isn’t it?”
“It is,” Pete replied with a chuckle. “Poor kid doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s in for. I just hope he doesn’t have his heart set on anything just yet.”
“Company politics, they’ll either make or break you.”
“That they will. So are you and Willis about ready to get started?”
“Yeah, he’s just finishing up assigning computers to their software registry numbers,” Mac explained. “With any luck, we should have the rest of the machines upgraded by the end of the day. Then all we have to do is test the system.”
“Have you thought about seeing Ferris Harper by any chance?”
“Uh, a little, but…” Mac stammered, caught off guard by the sudden topic change. “I thought we agreed…”
“I agreed not to nag you about it insistently. And after last night’s little incident, I had hoped you’d decided to take her up on the offer.”
Especially after it happened again… Mac thought, choosing not to mention it to his friend. “Last night was a…”
The phone rang, an interruption he was grateful for.
“Now what?” Pete muttered, putting the receiver to his ear. “Thornton. Hey, Willis. We were just talking about you. Yeah, he’s here – sure, I can send him your way. He’ll be right down.”
Pete hung up the phone. “Ready and eager.”
“Great.” Mac stood to leave. “If I don’t see you before the meeting starts, good luck.”
“MacGyver, I’m serious,” Pete said, not about to let his friend off so easily. “I really want you to think about seeing Ferris.”
He turned back to his boss, ready to assert himself for the umpteenth time when the familiar feelings of dizziness and pain began to cloud his senses.
Not again… he thought, shutting his eyes to keep from seeing the sickening spin of the room. He reached out to grab the back of a chair, but his clammy, shakings hands had little strength.
“Mac?” Pete had seen the color drain from his colleague’s face. He stood from his desk. “Mac? What’s wrong? Are you all right?”
The younger man brought a hand to his forehead, the pain peaking sharply.
“MacGyver? Talk to me. What’s going on?”
Mac opened his eyes for a split second, finding three Petes where there should have only been one. He groaned. “Pete, I think I might…” His words faded as he crumpled to the floor, taking the chair he had been hanging onto with him.
“MacGyver!” The director pushed the toppled chair out of the way and knelt beside the fallen man. “Mac? Can you hear me? Mac?!” He quickly made sure the troubleshooter was breathing before giving his arm a shake. There was no response.
“Peter, what was that god-awful crash – oh!” Helen stood in the doorway, her eyes wide with surprise. “What happened?”
“I don’t know, he just collapsed. Get Ferris Harper down here – her office is on the tenth floor.”
The older woman hesitated. “But, Pet…”
“Helen, please!” He didn’t like to yell, but his best friend was lying unconscious at his feet. “Just call.”
Flustered, she went to make the call.
“Come on, Mac,” Pete muttered, trying to rouse him again to no avail. Distraught, he sat down beside him on the floor. “Just hang on, kiddo,” he said, taking his hand to let him know he wasn’t alone.
Help arrived in the form of Ferris Harper. Highly revered for her kind manner and aptitude for medicine, the young neurologist had come as soon as she’d gotten the call. After her initial evaluation determined MacGyver to be stable, she’d looked to Pete for answers to some of her questions.
“He seemed fine when I left his place last night. Maybe a little tired. I offered to stay with him, but he declined,” Pete explained, recalling the events from the previous night.
“How long would you say this has been going on?” Ferris asked, periodically taking notes as he spoke. She was a petite woman with a pretty face, refined features, and short auburn hair. Both intelligent and charming, she had forged a name for herself in the field of pharmaceuticals research and development, and partnered with several of the country’s leading neurologists.
“I started noticing a change in his behavior about a month and half ago. He seemed to be run down and tired all the time – neither of which is normal for Mac. I learned about the headaches when he abruptly excused himself from a meeting we were attending together.” Pete looked anxiously over at his friend. They had moved him from the hard floor to the couch to recover; however he had yet to show any signs of waking.
“Are you aware of any head injuries he’s sustained?”
“He’s had several concussions in the last year alone.”
Ferris raised an elegant eyebrow.
“He’s a field agent. His work is routinely dangerous and he often goes into unknown situations without backup. He also plays hockey.”
Her pen scratched quietly on her notepad. “Anything recent?”
“No, not that I’m aware of anyway. But we’ve all been going in so many different directions at once lately that I…” Pete paused, replaying the last month in his mind. “I could have missed something.”
A low groan from the direction of the couch had them both turning to find Mac starting to come around. Ferris was on her feet and at his side even before Pete had a chance to stand up. “Take it easy, MacGyver. You're all right.”
He held his throbbing forehead. “What happened?”
“You fainted,” the doctor replied.
“And you scared me half to death.”
Mac cautiously cracked open an eye to find his boss standing above him. “Sorry, Pete.
“How are you feeling now?”
The troubleshooter’s bleary gaze shifted toward the unfamiliar voice. He’d seen the young woman in passing before, but his befuddled mind refused to provide a name. Thankfully the white lab coat and stethoscope she wore around her neck gave him another option. “Doctor.”
“Call me Ferris. I must say, it’s nice to finally meet the man that carries such legendary reputation around this place.” She smiled when she saw a slight blush coloring his cheeks. “How do you feel?”
“Pete says you’ve been having them for quite awhile. Have they always been this bad?” she asked, easily gauging its severity by his pained expression.
“Not at first. The past few weeks have been the worst.” He spoke quietly, the sound of his own voice reverberating painfully in his head.
“I’d say the past few days have been the worst, Mac,” Pete said.
Ferris retrieved her notes from the desk. “Any other symptoms besides pain and the recent fainting spells? Any dizziness, blurred vision, nausea…?”
Mac nodded slowly as she continued down her list.
“He keeps saying this is all from being overtired and stressed.”
“And it may very well be. Fatigue and stress can manifest themselves in many of ways, but based on what I’ve been hearing, there are a few things I’d like to rule out before…”
Ferris continued to converse with Pete, but MacGyver tuned them out. It wasn’t intentional; his head was starting to demand his full attention again. It felt like someone was trying to bore a hole through his skull using an old hand drill, like the one his grandfather used to have in the barn. With each imaginary turn of the handle, he could literally feel the cold, rusty bit carving its way through his brain. It was a full-blown migraine; its intensity was making even his worst concussion seem tame.
The doctor’s quiet voice broke through his thoughts. He opened his eyes briefly, but the room’s bright lights made keeping them open impossible. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening.”
“It’s all right. I’d like to try giving you something for the pain. It’s an injection, is that okay?” He consented with a nod, and she went to retrieve the bag she’d stashed beside the desk.
Surprised by his response, Pete reached out and gave his friend’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze. He knew how Mac felt about using medication, preferring old home remedies to manufactured pharmaceuticals. That he had agreed so readily to Ferris’s offer was a testament to how awful he was feeling.
“What is that?” Pete asked, watching as Ferris loaded a syringe with a cloudy liquid.
“Proto-3. It’s the most promising of the three drugs we’re developing to treat migraines,” she explained, recapping the hypodermic. “It provides the most relief with minimal side effects, and has been well tolerated by the majority of people in our study.” She returned to the couch and extended MacGyver’s arm into her lap. “It’ll make you pretty tired, but…oh, ouch, where’d this come from?” She’d been pushing up his sleeve when she discovered a large, angry bruise on his right forearm.
“I don’t know,” Mac replied in all honesty. “I woke up with it this morning.”
“You don’t remember getting this at all?”
He shook his head, flinching as she pressed along the bone with her thumb.
“Maybe it happened when you feel off your couch?” Pete offered.
“When did that happen?”
“Sometime last night. I woke up under my coffee table.”
His vague recollection gave her another piece of information to work with. “We may want to consider getting an x-ray of this later,” she said, pushing up his sleeve and looping a rubber tourniquet around his bicep. “There could be a minor fracture underneath.” A suitable vein surfaced in the bend of his arm and she cleaned it with alcohol.
Mac tensed when he heard the hollow pop as the cap was pulled off the syringe. The potential for relief or not, he still didn’t like being stuck.
“I’ll be quick,” Ferris promised, and administered the drug.
The sting of the needle quickly faded, replaced by the dull warmth of the drug as it slowly entered his system. Mere seconds passed before he started feeling its effects, the pain in his head being extinguished like a fire.
“You okay?” she asked, watching as some of the hurt melted from his face.
“Yeah – wow,” Mac uttered, appreciating the numbness that was overcoming his senses.
Ferris smiled. “We’ll give it a few minutes to fully work and than move you up to my office so you can rest.” She adjusted the blanket covering him and turned to Pete. “Can I see you outside for a minute?”
Pete followed her out of his office and into the hall. “What is it?”
“You’ve known MacGyver a long time, right?”
“We’ve been good friends for years. Why?”
“Do you know if he’s ever had a seizure?”
“A seizure?” Pete echoed, surprised by her question. “No…no, not that I’m aware of. You think he had one?”
“It would certainly explain a few things. Like how he fell off his couch and got such a nasty bruise without any memory of it happening.”
“My god, if he did – what does it mean?”
“Any number of things,” Ferris said, trying not to give the older man more reason for concern. “But I need to run some tests before I can say for sure. I’m going to start by scheduling him for an MRI to rule out anything physical.”
Pete’s face blanched at this. “Ferris…”
She held up her hands to stop him. “It’s standard practice, Pete. All my patients and study participants go through it.”
“I wish he’d asked for help sooner, or at least said something. If he wasn’t so damn stubborn...”
Ferris had to chuckle at the adamant look on his face.
“He’s just so fiercely independent, so…” Pete’s expression went solemn again as he considered what the near future could hold for his friend. “I guess I never let myself think about what this could really turn out to be.”
“I know it’s difficult, but try not to see this as a worst case scenario,” she said, putting a sympathetic hand on his arm. “Let me find out what’s going on, and than we’ll decide how best to fix it. Okay?”
Pete frowned. It was hard not to see Mac’s situation as dire, especially after she’d popped the seizure question on him only moments before. While her offer hadn’t turned out to be the simple fix he’d expected, it was at least something to work with. “I guess it sounds like a plan.”
She smiled. “Great. Listen, I know you have a meeting coming right up, but do you have time to help me get him upstairs? The Proto-3 won’t put him down completely, but I think he’d appreciate some help staying on his feet.”
They returned to his office, finding Mac dozing comfortably on the couch.
“MacGyver?” Ferris called, giving his arm a light squeeze.
The troubleshooter’s eyes slowly slid open, blurry from sleep instead of pain. “Hmm?”
“Hi, sweetie. You ready to head upstairs? I think Pete needs his office back.” The young man nodded drowsily and she slipped an arm around his shoulders to help him sit up.
The room gave a couple of slow spins, but it was nothing like the dizziness he’d had before. Looking around the office to get his bearings, his gaze fell on Pete’s chaotic desk.
Computer… He thought, his cloudy mind struggling to make a connection. Computer… that means something…something important…something…
Pete’s hand appeared in front of his face, breaking his concentration.
“Think you can stand?”
Mac reached out and accepted his boss’s hand, his attention returning to the computer even as he was pulled to his feet.
“What is it?” he asked, noticing the preoccupied look on the younger man’s face.
“Nothing. I’m just…” Mac spotted the floppy disk holder sitting on a pile of books. Disks…disk drive… hardware…software…software! “Willis!”
“It’s already been taken care of. I had Helen call down. He said to take it easy and promised to save the complete system test for when you’re feeling better.”
A slight grin touched the corners of Mac’s lips. “Nice,” he uttered, having been looking forward to personally testing the new anti-breach software.
Ferris collected her gear and appeared at his side. “You ready to go crash for awhile?” she asked, slipping her arm around Mac’s waist. He stood nearly a foot taller than her, but she was still able to provide him with some support.
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, practically asleep on his feet. Shifting some of his weight onto Pete, he allowed himself to be herded toward the door and into the hall, the promise of a long, pain free nap becoming more tantalizing with every step.
|Posted by: Sairalinde 19 March 2010 - 06:43 AM|
| Finally he is going to get the help that he needs.
Great chapter, Bander.
Keep up the great work.
|Posted by: Bandersnatch 19 March 2010 - 08:47 AM|
Ferris Harper is based on a character from another show. I hope people like her -- and perhaps even recognize her...
|Posted by: Geekgirl 19 March 2010 - 12:37 PM|
| Okay - Read the last two chapters and I can't wait to see what the tests find for Mac. I have my suspicions, but.....
Great writing, lots of suspense with the blackouts. Keep the chapters coming.
|Posted by: Bandersnatch 20 March 2010 - 11:44 AM|
Suspicions are good
Thanks for your interest and more to come in a few days
(Sorry of this is a double post -- didn't realize you could post without logging in now...d'oh)
|Posted by: Lothithil 20 March 2010 - 12:45 PM|
| Ah HA! That's who I thought it might be!
A certain Napoleonic AF CMO we might know, perhaps...?
|Posted by: Bandersnatch 20 March 2010 - 12:56 PM|
LOL You're good
The chemistry between the two actors was just so good on SG-1 that I wanted to "try them out " in the Mac Universe. Hopefully it'll work.
Nothing gets past the Lothi-Pop
|Posted by: InVader 20 March 2010 - 07:02 PM|
|You do a great job of capturing their characters and describing their actions etc..Good Job!|
|Posted by: Bandersnatch 22 March 2010 - 11:25 AM|
I try to be as real to the show and characters as I can. It can be difficult in some situations, but it's worth the challenge!
|Posted by: jaebird 25 May 2010 - 11:55 AM|
|Great job on this chapter! I knew that doctor reminded me of someone....|
|Posted by: Karenskatz 12 June 2021 - 07:35 PM|
Based on a doctor in another show? I've read this story about 5 or 6 times (or more?) because I like it so much, and this time I thought; "petit" "female" "efficient" Sounds a lot like Dr. Frasier on SG SG1. THEN I noticed your message! Am I right?