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Point Of View, a summer´s adventure - rated 'R'
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bluegirl
Posted: 24 November 2021 - 09:38 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 123
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 24 November 2021 - 05:29 PM)
Hurry up with more chapters!  It's so hard for me to wait.  I'm used to having MacGyver fan-fiction that was posted years ago, and I can read the whole story in one go.  I usually skim through the story to see what's happening and how it ends, then go back and read it slowly several times to get all the little nuances.  This waiting for chapters is driving me crazy! ohmy.gif

A-ha, someone impatient... wink.gif

Think of the waiting period as if it was the 'commercial break' we´re all used to when watching TV... whistle.gif I know, commercial breaks usually aren´t a few days long... but there´ll be a new part every Thursday and Sunday - until we´re through with 21 chapters... So, watch out for tomorrow morning - I just finished the last corrections of part 8 a minute ago.



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 25 November 2021 - 12:27 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
***

Posts: 123
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

Favorites
Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Commercial break is over... let´s go with a new chapter!

But consider yourselves warned! I´m going to add another important layer to this story...

Part 8


The doctor returned for another check-up on Mac´s condition only a few hours later, on the morning of day three, and was also pleased with his improvement. He told MacGyver that with his fever now gone and no infections present to his wounds anymore, he was over the hill, but still needed to take it slow and be patient. The doctor ordered Mac to stay at least for a week of recovery before he should even think about driving back to Vienna or even flying back to the U.S.A.

Much to Nikki´s surprise, MacGyver was willing to obey these orders. But she mused that a reason for it might be that she´d had told him that she´d reached Pete Thornton over the phone back in L.A. last night. He and Pavel Dubcek had boarded their plane as planned once Nikki had informed him that she´d found Mac, and that he was safe and under medical care since soon after they had arrived at Starkoss´ house.

Since his first phone call with Nikki Pete had pulled several strings to get his local contacts from former DXS days to have an eye out for Zorkin and Baranov. This night he had told her that the GRU agents must have left the area already as his old friends had found no more trace of them. Pete had also been relieved to hear that Mac was recovering well and the documents were still safe with them.

Pavel´s immigration formalities had been no problem, and he was already happily united with his brother Anton. As they had no idea on the whereabouts of the GRU agents, Pete kept both of them under security surveillance by Phoenix operatives, just to be sure, and had warned Nikki to still be very cautious. They had agreed to stay in touch, so Pete could get them flights back home as soon as MacGyver´s condition was stable enough to get on the long flight.

Mac had been relieved to hear the news. As the doc had allowed him to get up – even if only for short periods – and as he had started to get hungry around midday, Mac had headed for the kitchen at the other end of the corridor once more. Under Nikki´s watchful eyes and with a little support, Mac had successfully reached it this time and settled down at the table. Starkoss had prepared a light lunch for him, and Mac had felt at the same time refreshed by the food and exhausted by the physical activity after he´d finished the meal. Starkoss had roughly related his story about how he had found his way to this northern part of Austria and decided to live here.

After resting in his bed during the afternoon, Mac had returned to the kitchen in the evening. Nikki had also taken the opportunity to get some much-needed sleep on the couch, and MacGyver had been very careful not to disturb her when he had gotten up again. Even though she had done her best to hide her tiredness and exhaustion from him, Mac had noticed it. He felt, he owed her any chance to rest after how she had taken care of him during the last days.

MacGyver had used his time in the kitchen with Starkoss to ask some questions about the region, Starkoss had answered them to the best of his knowledge, and had given him a short tour of the old farmhouse and told him a bit about its history. They had just settled on a wooden bench outside the house in the evening sun, when Nikki found them and pinned MacGyver with a reproachful stare.

“You´re supposed to take it easy!” she scolded.

Mac looked up at her with a sheepish grin.

“I am.” he countered. “Sitting in the evening sun isn´t all too exhausting.”

“You could have told me.” Nikki snorted. “I woke up and you were gone.”

“I´m sorry.” Mac´s smile switched to apologetic when he realized his mistake. “I didn´t want to wake you. I´m sure you missed out on a lot of sleep over the last days.”

Nikki´s annoyed face softened. Of course, she thought. I should have known that he would be worried about me as soon as he would be capable of.

“Starkoss kept an eye on me.” Mac continued to reassure Nikki that he had been careful.

Now Starkoss straightened himself on the bench.

“We´ve only been talking.” he backed MacGyver up and rose from his seat. “And I was just about to return inside and ready dinner for us.”

Nikki eyed them both doubtful and silent for several moments and then nodded.

“All right.” she said with a much friendlier tone than before. “I´ll help you… Are you also coming inside, Mac?”

MacGyver leaned back on the bench and looked up to the setting sun.

“Not yet.” he replied with a relaxed smile. “I´d like to get a little more fresh air and natural light after being holed up inside for three days.”

A short sideways glance at Nikki´s face told him that she wasn´t too happy with his answer but would accept his decision. After all, they were safe here.

“Fine… I´ll get you when we´re ready.”

“Thanks.”

MacGyver leaned his head back against the wall of the house and closed his eyes. He listened to his friends entering the house and closing the door, and how everything fell silent afterward. He heard only a few occasional birdcalls and a soft wind rustling through the trees. That same wind played with his unruly hair while Mac sensed the warmth of the evening sun´s rays on his skin. He felt comfortingly alive again, but the pleasant warmth also reminded him of how easily he was still tiring.

In the silence, his thoughts wandered back to his last evening in Vienna. The scenario, Pete had drawn up, had sounded simple.

Mac slowly opened his eyes and watched the clouds that towered up on a faraway part of the sky he could see above the trees around the clearing. They reminded him of the cloud formations during his hike that had all too quickly turned into an electrical storm. And it reminded him that he should have known how quickly any ‘simple’ assignment or any plan could go sideways.

MacGyver sighed deeply and calmed down with the reassuring thought that once more, he had been lucky enough to survive. He owed part of it to his resourcefulness in tight situations, but this time he acknowledged he owed a big part of his survival to Nikki. She had saved him by finding him in those woods. And he also owed a huge part of the success of their mission to her. She had followed his instructions – which had meant leaving him behind without knowing if he was safe and sound. She had blindly relied on his judgment, but she had returned earlier than she would have had to – acting on a hunch. Which was unusual for her.

As unusual as her behavior toward him during the last few days. The distance at which she had kept him over the last year seemed to be gone. Her sharp, sometimes icy, and snappy edge seemed to be gone. Mac knew that she cared about him, but it had felt different for those last days. He wasn´t yet sure what to make of it. He wasn´t sure how to interpret her signals. He wasn´t even sure how to interpret his own feelings toward her at the moment. Something had probably changed, but what?

Subconsciously he felt for the golden ring that was still on his left hand. Almost a year ago he had laughed at Starkoss´s remark about growing to love her. He had never told Nikki about that little conversation in the balloon. Right now, even with the comforting safety that surrounded him, he didn´t feel too much like laughing at the thought at all. And could it be just a wild coincidence that Starkoss had so unexpectedly reappeared in their lives? Mac also wasn´t sure yet what to make of him, but for now, had chosen to trust him. With another quiet sigh, Mac let go of his thoughts, gave in to the silence and his tiredness, and allowed his eyes to close.

*****

It took a while until Nikki returned outside.

“Mac?”

The constant concern for MacGyver that had accompanied her for the past days intensified when he didn´t react to her call and she found him sleeping. Nikki forced herself not to rush it, but to slowly sit down next to him and observe him for a moment. She saw him breathing slow and regular, yet his face was pale and gave away what he´d been through.

“MacGyver?” she addressed him once more and with a gentle gesture felt for the temperature on his forehead.

Mac flinched at her touch, his eyes snapped open, and he stared at her tense for a second before his face relaxed into a smile. Inwardly, he managed to push the pictures of the explosion on the boat, he had just dreamed about, to the back of his mind.

“Hey… you all right?” Nikki asked while she lowered her hand to his shoulder. Much to her relief, she had sensed no fever.

MacGyver took a deep breath and cleared his throat before he answered.

“Yeah… fine… only a little tired.”

Gingerly he straightened himself on the bench and held his breath for a moment as the movement sent a sting across the wound on his chest. Nikki eyed him probing but she didn´t mention it.

“Dinner´s ready.” she said after a couple of seconds, got up from the bench, and offered her hands to help him do the same. “You coming now?”

MacGyver looked up at her, nodded, and accepted her assistance.

“Yep. Let´s get something to eat.” he agreed with a boyish grin.

*****

They sat at the large kitchen table for quite a while after they were done with their meal. The wooden fire in the cast-iron stove provided cozy warmth that spread through the whole room. MacGyver´s appetite had not yet returned to normal, but his eagerness to learn more about their surroundings had. He had started asking questions again while Starkoss stowed away the remains of their meal and cleaned the dishes.

Starkoss had answered them to the best of his knowledge of the region and the people, but some of his explanations had been kind of vague. Especially the ones concerning how and from whom he´d learned about the new ways to use his gift. Mac´s curious and scientific mind wasn´t really satisfied with his answers. After today´s visit of the doctor in the morning, Mac was quite sure that man had to have some connection to it, but it had done nothing to help him understand the whole thing. It just added to the odd and outlandish feeling that the house and its surroundings gave him since he´d woken up here and been attentive enough to notice. Thinking back he realized he´d also felt something similar out in the forest before he´d collapsed, but had credited it to his fever then.

But the longer they sat and talked the more critically Nikki watched MacGyver. She saw him getting tired and strained while he was too engrossed in and too distracted by his conversation with Starkoss to notice it by himself. At some point, she interrupted them by laying a hand on Mac´s arm.

“MacGyver, you look exhausted.” she said with a soft and protective tone. “How about continuing this tomorrow? For your own good?”

Mac looked at her stunned silent for a moment, wanted to object on the first impulse, but in the next second noticed that she was right. He had been too caught up in his wish to learn and to understand to feel the slow return of his headache and his weariness. He nodded with a small sigh and then shot Starkoss a quick, apologetic smile.

“I´d better get back to bed.” he agreed with Nikki´s suggestion. “Thanks for the dinner. Have a good night.”

He cautiously got up, left the kitchen, and returned to his room at the other end of the corridor. Nikki didn´t follow him instantly. She came to the room with the teapot and mug in her hands when MacGyver was already sitting on his bed, had taken off his sneakers, and lowered his head, with his right hand covering his eyes.

“Overdone it a little?” she asked as she set down the pot and the mug on the table. Her voice had a bit of a chiding edge, but mostly gave away how much she was concerned about him.

“Probably.” Mac muttered without raising his head.

He heard Nikki close in on him, felt her pull the blanket out of the way, and then lay her hand on his forehead.

“At least your fever isn´t back.” Nikki stated after a few seconds.

“Well, the headache and a bit of dizziness are…” Mac admitted as he looked up at her with a lopsided grin and then turned to lie down. He rolled onto his back and let his head and his left hand drop onto the pillow. MacGyver moved slow and careful, nevertheless felt a sudden sting race across his chest. He drew in a sharp breath and closed his eyes. After a moment he sensed how Nikki covered him with the blanket and sat down on his bedside.

Nikki smiled down sympathetically on him when Mac blinked his eyes open again. He was still breathing heavy, striving to push back the pain and vertigo, and at the same time braced himself for some caustic remark from her. But it didn´t come. Neither did any know-it-all comment about staying up for too long. She looked down on him with a softness that he wasn´t used to from her, that surprised him. He couldn´t interpret her expression as anything else but worried, caring, warm… loving.

That last word, the thought, the feeling abruptly popped into his mind and caught him unprepared mentally and truly surprised, although he had mused about it only a few hours ago. Well, thinking about it was one thing, but seeing it, experiencing it was something entirely different, he noticed suddenly. Time seemed to slow down as he realized that what he saw was way beyond friendship. And that it was real. It hadn´t been some feverish hallucination of him.

MacGyver felt a sudden wave of warmth spread through his body when the fact hit home that he was relieved by what he felt from her. That he felt comfortable with it. That he probably felt the same for her. At that second he was caught totally off guard by his own feelings. Mac held his breath for a moment. All these thoughts and emotions had whirled through his head in the blink of an eye. Despite his exhaustion and tiredness, his mind stayed in high gear but also relaxed as he decided to give in to that feeling. Love…?

The single word echoed in his head as he gazed up at Nikki´s face. Still taken aback, his eyes were glued on her, his body somewhat frozen when she reached out with one hand, brushed back some strands of his hair, and once more laid that hand on his forehead. All of a sudden he was electrified by that touch. He was much more aware of her slender fingers, of the softness of her skin, of her gentleness than he had ever been.

“Now get some rest.” Nikki suggested with the protective tone that he´d heard before during the last days. Of course, she was oblivious to the thoughts running wild within Mac´s head.

Her words pulled MacGyver away from his thoughts, but at the same second, he realized that neither of them had mentioned anything about what was going on under the surface so far. Careful, MacGyver, he warned himself. Don´t rush anything. Don´t ruin it. Don´t say anything. Not now. Not tonight. Not yet.

“Yes, ma’am.” he replied with a small sigh, while Nikki´s hand slid down to cup his cheek. “I will.”

Mac allowed his eyes to close as he leaned a little into her touch and secretly savored the sensation. His breath got slow and regular. A few moments later MacGyver first felt Nikki bend forward, and then her lips touched his forehead with a kiss that from his point of view not only equaled but exceeded the softness and gentleness of her hand. It practically snapped a spark within him thanks to all the musings still swirling in his head.

He couldn´t help but half-open his eyes and look up at her when he sensed her rise up again. MacGyver tried his best to let his dark eyes tell her about the emotions that he didn´t dare to put into words yet. But he instantly noticed that something was wrong. Nikki´s expression turned rapidly from soft and warm to caught off guard when she saw him looking at her.

Following the feel that he had to reassure her that it was okay with him, that she hadn´t crossed any unspoken border, MacGyver swiftly covered her hand on his face with his left one. He turned his head a little towards that hand, closed his eyes again, and placed a soft and tender kiss on the palm of Nikki´s hand. But in spite of his best intentions, it didn´t have the desired effect.

In fact, it backfired.

Nikki´s hand stiffened, and when he broke the kiss to look up at her, he felt her pull it back a bit. Mac instinctively held on to it, even as he felt the stitches on his palm tug painfully in his skin.

“Nikki…? What´s wrong?” he asked with a husky voice, but fell silent when he saw her face.

Her expression switched from caught in the act to unreadable and then froze in the blink of an eye. Mac hadn´t even had the time to think about it when she suddenly and very resolutely twisted and pulled her hand out of his hold. In the same movement, she stood up and stepped back from the bed, still staring at him. MacGyver flinched and gasped with the hurt it caused to his hand, but quickly forced himself to concentrate back on Nikki. He had no clue to what had caused this intense reaction, what he had done wrong, what he had done to blow the moment.

“Please… talk to me!” he urged through painfully clenched teeth.

But Nikki didn´t answer. She only took another step back from the bed, then turned and rushed out of the room.

“Nikki!” MacGyver called after her and pushed himself up from his lying position at the same time.

He had to follow her. Quickly. He had seen something in her eyes, in the last split second before she had turned around, that truly had him worried. His stomach had tightened into a knot; he had felt a stab to his heart at the very moment he had seen it. Fear. He had been prepared to get scolded, to earn any annoyed remark, but… fear? What on earth had he done that made her afraid of him?

MacGyver tried to ignore his weakness, the headache, and the vertigo he felt, while he slipped on his sneakers and urged himself on his feet afterward. He hurried after her although his body protested wildly, and had only just reached the corridor when his legs gave up on him. He fell to his knees with a groan and had to steady himself with his hands against the floor and the wall as an intense wave of dizziness rolled over him. Mac needed several moments to regain a little control over his body and to avoid passing out.

MacGyver felt himself trembling with the strain of staying upright, and at the same time, he heard someone come closer. Heavy steps and big hands on his shoulders only a moment later told him it was Starkoss crouching opposite to him, before he was able to raise his head and look up at the Russian. Starkoss held him patiently, while Mac slowly calmed down his ragged breathing, and silently held Mac´s gaze with a kind, somehow fatherly protective and knowing expression. He didn´t let Mac get up on his first impulse though.

“Shh. Take your time.” he said quietly. “She ran outside, but she won´t run away. She isn´t afraid of you…”

“What?” MacGyver stared at him confused. “Have you two been talking about me while I was sick?” he asked a little upset.

Starkoss shook his head with a little smile.

“We didn´t. You do know she´s very guarded about confessing her inner feelings… She didn´t open up her defenses to me.” he assured Mac slowly. “But she will to you… You still do remember what I told you last year?”

Mac was stunned silent and nodded.

Of course, I do, he admitted inwardly.

The memory flashed into his mind and right now, after what had happened minutes ago, he didn´t feel a bit like laughing at Starkoss anymore. His eyes were still fixed on Starkoss´s face, still trying to urge him to explain further, when Starkoss let go of his shoulders a minute later.

“It´ll be all right.” he added and held out his hands for Mac to grab on.

Carefully he helped Mac to get up on his feet and let go of him only when he sensed that Mac had steadied. MacGyver´s look was still questioning, still unsure what to make of the older man and his words.

“Just follow your intentions and your instinct.” Starkoss added. “Talk to her… You´ll be fine… both.”

With that he turned away and went to his kitchen, leaving back a baffled MacGyver that just now realized that his headache was gone, and he wasn´t shaking from exhaustion and dizziness anymore.

What the…, he thought for a second but quickly pushed the thought aside. Figuring out how Starkoss does whatever he does is not my priority now. I´ve got something much more important on my hands…

MacGyver drew in a deep breath and swallowed hard as he remembered the fearful look he had seen on Nikki´s face. Then he determinedly followed Starkoss´s advice and went outside to look for her.

*****

MacGyver´s eyes needed several moments to adjust to the darkness outside. The moon cast long shadows over the clearing and only very little light filtered out through the windows of the house. He had to scan his surroundings with his gaze for at least a minute before Mac spotted Nikki standing at some distance to the house. She stood stiff and motionless, her arms crossed in front of her, her head tilted a little upwards, probably looking up to the sky.

The sight of her seemingly so lonely and lost sent another sting to Mac´s heart as he watched her for a couple of seconds. The nightly coolness of the air on Mac´s skin only added to the tense and eerie atmosphere he sensed on the clearing. Starkoss´s encouraging words echoed within his head, but they couldn´t ease up his deeply worried mood. Slow and careful not to spook her, MacGyver took a few steps closer to Nikki, while he nervously licked his lips.

“Nikki?” he addressed her with a low voice, as calm as he could manage.

She didn´t react until he was only three or four yards behind her.

“You ought to be in bed.” Nikki said flat and emotionless. “You´re supposed to rest.”

MacGyver froze on the spot. He didn´t want to put her under pressure by being too close to her. Especially since he still had no idea what had triggered her fear.

“I can´t.” he replied quietly, but resolute. “Not before you´ve told me what´s wrong…”

Mac´s words trailed off when he saw her lower her head and take a deep breath.

“There´s nothing wrong.” she shot back with an icy edge.

MacGyver sighed. Nikki´s defensive walls he was used to, but had been gone for the last few days, were back up.

“Please…” he tried again, with a soft voice. “Talk to me… What just happened that…?”

“Nothing… I´m fine.” she cut him off annoyed. “Just get back inside.”

“No.” Mac countered instantly. “No way. You´re not okay… Listen, I´m sorry… please, tell me what I did wrong that frightens you.”

Nikki remained silent for a few seconds. Her gaze dropped to the ground.

“Stop it, Mac.” she whispered then. “Please, leave me alone.”

“Nikki, this is my fault.” Mac insisted and went a step closer to her. “At least give me a chance to…”

“It is not your fault.” Nikki cut him off, her words now sharp again. “You did nothing wrong.” Her voice went soft and a little sad to the end.

Now confusion added to MacGyver´s worries about her.

“But … I don´t understand… The moment felt so genuine… And then I blew it.”

A tense silence hung between them before Nikki slowly raised her head to stare up into the sky once more.

“No, you didn´t.” she replied slowly with a trembling voice. “I did.”

“What?” MacGyver couldn´t believe and understand what he heard. His confusion grew.

“This is my fault… I let you get too close.” Nikki continued. “After all this time… but I´m sorry… I can´t…”

MacGyver was stunned silent. Even after a few moments, he couldn´t comprehend what she had told him. Too close? All this time?

“Nikki… I don´t get it…” His words trailed off as she abruptly turned around to face him, and he saw her eyes glistening with unshed tears when she looked up at him.

“Let go of it, Mac.” she pleaded. “Please, let me be.”

Suddenly all of the pieces fell into place in his head. He remembered the confrontation they´d had on his houseboat a few months ago. Right after those terrorists had tried to kill her. A lump formed in his throat and Mac´s heart skipped a beat as the realization hit home and at the fear, he noticed back in her eyes.

“Wait a minute…” he said slow and hoarse. “Are you telling me… that all our bickering and squabbling… You did that on purpose? … To keep me at a distance? … So you wouldn´t risk feeling attracted to me? … So you wouldn´t have to be afraid of losing me? … Like you lost your husband?”

MacGyver saw Nikki flinch at his last words. He could almost physically feel her pain when her gaze dropped to the ground again. Nikki wanted to step back and turn away from him, but Mac caught her at her upper arm. She tried to pull free, but despite the hurt her abrupt struggle caused to the wound on his chest, Mac´s grip with his right hand held tight.

“So it is true? … I really didn´t imagine it?”

Nikki still didn´t answer him, however, the way she looked up at him told him what he hadn´t been sure about.

“Since when do you know?” Mac probed further.

“Does that matter?” Nikki asked back with a breaking voice.

“Yes… No...” Mac sighed indecisively. “Not at the moment.”

Slowly he let go of Nikki´s arm and watched her turn away from him.

“I almost couldn´t cope with the grief when Adam died.” she told him with a low voice. “I can´t go through that anguish for a second time… Can´t you understand that?”

Mac bowed his head for a moment.

“You know very well, that I do know the feeling.” he reminded her softly. “You´ve been there for me after Mike´s death.” He stepped up to her from behind and gently laid his hands on her shoulders, trying to comfort her. “But I don´t believe that you´re jinxed. You won´t lose me.”

MacGyver felt a shiver running through her with his last sentence. Nikki whirled around and pinned him with an accusing stare.

“How can you say that?... After what you´ve just been through? You could just as well have died out there!”

Now some tears were trailing down her face. It hurt Mac to see her distraught like this. He had to clear his throat before he could speak again.

“But you did everything you could and saved me. I am grateful for it, Nikki.”

He raised one hand and wanted to wipe the tears off her face, but she pulled back and stepped out of his reach.

“Let go of it, Mac.” she asked once more. “You´ve got an answer to your questions; now leave me alone, please.”

“I can´t.” Mac replied huskily while he managed to smile reassuringly. He took a deep breath to fight his inner turmoil. He didn´t dare to use the word ‘love’ yet. Not in this tense situation. It would have increased the pressure on both of them even more. “You mean so much to me.”

He watched how Nikki´s conflicting feelings fought for the upper hand inside of her with the surprise about his admission. “Are you too afraid to give it a try?” he continued after a few seconds, his words now choking with his own emotions. “Are you really too anxious to even allow us a chance?”

MacGyver reached out again, and this time, she stood still as he gently dried the tears off her face, ran his long fingers down to her neck and her shoulders, and then stepped closer and softly wrapped his arms around her in a comforting embrace. After a moment of hesitation, she held on to him, mindful of his injuries, and buried her face at his chest, sobbing softly.

A wave of relief washed through Mac, when he felt her body relax into his arms, and her trembling slowly cease. With a sigh, he closed his eyes, placed a soft kiss on Nikki´s dark, wavy hair, and then leaned his cheek gently against her head. Both of them needed several minutes to calm down due to the intensity of their feelings. Then Nikki eased herself away from MacGyver, just enough so she could comfortably look up at him. Her tears had dried up.

“Now what?” she asked a bit uncertain.

“Don´t know.” Mac shrugged with an emotion-filled, yet serious smile. His right hand traveled up to her head and his long fingers caressed her face and her hair. “Our friendship should be a solid foundation to build on… I wasn´t counting on anything like this happening a few days ago. I guess, we´ll just have to see where it takes us…”

MacGyver stroked back some of Nikki´s hair and took a few seconds to look at her face in the moonlight. His soft, warm smile slowly turned into a boyish grin. He bent down, closed his eyes, found her lips, and kissed her. Mac started soft and gentle at first, probing, feeling for her, smelling her, tasting her, but when he sensed her respond and her body snuggle up to him, he allowed the hunger for reassurance and the power of his emotions to deepen the kiss.

Both of them ended up out of breath when their lips parted several very long and passionate moments later. Mac smiled with relief as he saw that some of the light he was used to had returned to Nikki´s eyes.

“Sorry for the stubble and the chapped skin on my lips.” he apologized grinning.

Nikki shot him a measuring look, but then returned the smile.

“Well, I think, maybe I could agree to that kind of foundation…” she teased him.

MacGyver´s smile broadened, he brushed another tender kiss on her forehead, and then loosened up his embrace around her. Even though the emotionally charged-up kiss had left him electrified inside, with the tension and the worries about Nikki now gone, his tiredness and exhaustion caught up with him all of a sudden. Nikki also noticed how Mac´s body grew unsteady and weaker. She reached up and felt the skin on his face cool but covered with a little sweat.

“You still belong in bed, MacGyver.” she stated protectively as the concern returned to her face and she pulled back from him. The tired smile she saw on his face turned into a more serious expression.

“Yes, ma’am.”




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 27 November 2021 - 11:20 AM                                    
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Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Gender:  Female
Country: USA
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



First of all, it's good to know that everything, mission-wise, is going well. Very nice summary at the beginning...thank you for that! Of course the GRU agents are still out there and I'm pretty sure we haven't seen the last of them, but at least we get a break!! Hmmm...Mac, stay put for a week??? Good luck with that! Unless he has something to distract him which brings me to my next point:

Is Mac REALLY in love with Nikki??? And she with him??? They certainly do have a firm foundation to build on, but there are so many extenuating circumstances: They are both exhausted, fearful, relieved and a ton of other emotions from what they've both been through: Mac being so sick, Nikki fearing for his life even as just a friend/colleague. And they are in this "special" place where reality seems to be suspended a bit. Along with the fact that Starkoss keeps reminding Mac that he and Nikki would come to love each other. Finally, despite the horrible experience he had with her, Mac could still be on the rebound from Deborah. I do really like the way you write Nikki in this chapter. Her mood changes, the walls going up. Very true to her character. And of course the fear. Makes perfect sense. So right now they are giving into their feelings? What's going to happen when they have more time to think and get back to the "real" world?



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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bluegirl
Posted: 28 November 2021 - 09:42 AM                                    
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Episode:Do I have to decide?
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House:  House boat



QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 27 November 2021 - 08:20 PM)
Is Mac REALLY in love with Nikki???  And she with him???  They certainly do have a firm foundation to build on, but there are so many extenuating circumstances:  They are both exhausted, fearful, relieved and a ton of other emotions from what they've both been through:  Mac being so sick, Nikki fearing for his life even as just a friend/colleague.  And they are in this "special" place where reality seems to be suspended a bit.  Along with the fact that Starkoss keeps reminding Mac that he and Nikki would come to love each other.  Finally, despite the horrible experience he had with her, Mac could still be on the rebound from Deborah.  I do really like the way you write Nikki in this chapter.  Her mood changes, the walls going up.  Very true to her character.  And of course the fear.  Makes perfect sense.  So right now they are giving into their feelings?  What's going to happen when they have more time to think and get back to the "real" world?

Well, maybe those 'circumstances' are bringing out what´s been there under the surface, but they´ve both been denying so far?

Maybe it´s high time for both to realize and give in to those feelings? Sometimes 'special places and circumstances' kind of catalyze the spark that makes the difference between 'close friendship love' and 'romantic love'...

As for Starkoss 'keeps reminding him' - he reminded Mac just once. After Nikki ran outside... whistle.gif

And concerning the 'real world' - wait for the next chapters...

I´m glad you like it!



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 28 November 2021 - 10:40 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 123
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
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Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Let me first thank you for all your comments and feedback!! I really look forward to reading it! It´s so interesting and gives me an insight of what you as readers think about what took me more than a year to finish.

So, it seems the relationship between Mac and Nikki has changed... But with MacGyver involved... Is it really going to be that easy? Aren´t we better off expecting some complications? hmm.bmp

Another Sunday evening - here´s for you:

Part 9


MacGyver slowly woke in complete silence on the next morning. He took a few moments to internally assess his condition while his eyes were still closed and noticed he felt rested, with his headache gone again. Only a twinge in his side disturbed his relaxed and calm mood. When he blinked his eyes open, he realized it had to be early morning, judging by the light filtering in through the windows. It came in at a low angle; its color was reddish. Carefully MacGyver pushed himself up on his elbows and looked around the room. Waking up with no one by his side didn´t trouble him anymore as it had one and a half days ago.

His gaze soon found Nikki, snuggled up into the blankets on the couch and soundly asleep. The memories of the past days came back to the forefront of his mind at her sight, and MacGyver sensed a wave of comfortable warmth flooding through his body. A lot had happened in those last days. Especially on the last evening.

But only a moment later a sudden pang of guilt and doubt clenched his heart. He had pushed her quite far in his stubborn need for an answer yesterday. He had done that before. On his houseboat, right after the murderous attack on her life, right after he had dug into her past and her private life without her permission. She had been mad at him then, had tried to get away from him, but he had held her back and forced her to admit her lie about being divorced. He had accused her of being afraid of losing anyone who got too close to her. She had ended up crying in his arms on that evening.

And yesterday? He had once more forced her back to the painful memory of losing her husband. And she had been crying again.

MacGyver sat up, swung his long legs out of the bed, and tore his gaze off Nikki´s sleeping form. Suddenly he didn´t feel all too comfortable with how he had acted yesterday anymore. With a sigh, Mac slipped on his shoes, reached for his sweatshirt, and left the room. He needed some time to think. Alone. He needed to figure out if he had made a terrible mistake last evening.

The sun had just risen over the trees when he stepped outside. The morning light felt comfortably warm on his skin and the clearing was absolutely still. MacGyver slowly walked away from the house, toward the other end of the clearing, toward the rising sun. The quietness of his natural surroundings let his thoughts wander back to yesterday.

Why had he, once again, believed he had the right to tear down Nikki´s defenses? What had given him the right to push her beyond her borders? A few months ago he had justified it with the imminent threat to her life, but yesterday? It had only been his selfish and egoistic need for clarity, for the truth. But how true had it really been?

She hadn´t directly answered any of his questions about her feelings toward him. And how sure could he be of his own emotions?

He had told her, he hadn´t counted on anything like this happening, and his emotional situation was, truth to be told, special at the moment. Deborah´s betrayal continued to hurt him deep inside, and Nikki had saved his life and taken care of him over the past days. Was it possible that he was mistaking his gratitude toward her for love because he was still emotionally vulnerable? Was he that susceptible and off-center inside that he couldn´t trust his own feelings anymore? That he wasn´t able to tell the difference between one emotion and another?

MacGyver looked up to the morning sun, ran his hands through his unruly hair and over his face, and sighed deeply. Now what? He was known to be able to fix almost everything, but how could he fix that? How could he fix a friendship that he had set at risk? The last thought, this last question made his stomach turn into a tight knot. A lump formed in his throat. Mac lowered his head.

Well, If it isn´t love that I´m feeling, why does the mere thought of losing Nikki, the mere thought that I might have blown our close friendship scare me that much?

“You still focus on your guilt and your worries.”

Starkoss´s words from behind made Mac whirl around startled. Although the clearing was still quiet, he hadn´t heard the older man coming closer. MacGyver stared at him bewildered and nervously licked his lips.

“You don´t need to.” Starkoss continued. “And you shouldn´t doubt yourself and your actions.”

Mac had to swallow hard before he could answer.

“But…” he tried to argue. “The last months were…” He broke off as he saw Starkoss´s kind and knowing smile.

“Hard… and trying.” Starkoss finished his sentence. “You´re still hurting inside because of that other woman, but you´ll be all right… both of you.” he assured Mac. “Just have a little faith in what happens.”

His smile widened as he saw MacGyver´s perplexed look. Then he turned and walked back into the house. Mac gazed after him frozen in place, once more puzzled by the older man and his ‘abilities’. Some part of Mac´s logical and scientific mind was still trying to figure out an explanation for what he did, for how he did it. He was still not sure what to make of him. As MacGyver stood in the middle of the clearing, looking at the old house in the morning sun, it occurred to him that Starkoss and his gift seemed to fit perfectly into the outlandish feeling of this place.

*****

Nikki felt comfortably at ease when she stepped outside into the morning sun. She felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted off her shoulders and especially her heart after last evening. Starkoss had told her, that MacGyver had gotten up and gone outside real early, and she looked forward to seeing him again, rested and after a good night´s sleep. She needed a moment to spot him in the distance, halfway across the clearing. She saw him sitting at the roots and leaning against a high-grown, old tree, staring into the woods. Her heartbeat quickened a little at the sight of his boyish appearance, she felt butterflies dancing in her stomach, and she instantly chided herself inwardly for behaving like a teenager.

“There you are!” she called out to him, while she approached him across the clearing. “Good morning!”

But MacGyver barely moved his eyes to briefly look at her and then continued to stare at something far away. A small concern rose in Nikki and she went a bit faster toward him.

“Breakfast´s ready.” she tried again with a cheerful voice when she was only a few yards away. “Aren´t you hungry?”

But she froze on the spot in the next moment, when he turned his head and looked up at her. Mac´s face was somber and pensive, and his dark brown eyes showed unease and sadness. Nikki´s lighthearted smile died. Her heart skipped a beat as a sudden chill ran down her spine. She was caught totally off guard by his expression. How could he look at her like that after last evening? Why?

“MacGyver? … What´s the matter?” she asked cautiously, standing still a few feet away from him.

Mac´s eyes left her and drifted off to the distance once more.

“How long have you been keeping me at a distance?” he asked with a low voice after a seemingly endless moment of silence. “When did you notice that there´s more to it?”

Nikki drew in a deep breath with his question. She had evaded answering that one last night.

“Well, I did notice that you´re a handsome and attractive man when I saw you in that grey suit in the consulate… right after we´d bumped into each other for the first time… right after I had gotten a good look at you.” she admitted slowly. “But more than two years after Adam had died I had already established a habit of snapping at every man I might truly be interested in. I didn´t allow any guy close then. I didn´t even consider giving you a chance… I guess, I first noticed a change when I tried to draw you back to the living after Mike´s death and you ended up saving me from Murdoc… and you urged yourself even closer after those terrorists had tried to kill me… when you just happened to be there in the right moment to save my life.”

Mac nodded barely noticeable, but remained silent with his eyes still glued to something far away. Nikki slowly closed in on Mac and knelt down opposite to him.

“MacGyver, please… tell me, what´s eating at you…” she asked softly.

MacGyver drew in a deep breath and then sighed.

“I´m sorry.” he said with a husky and apologetic voice. “I pushed you too hard… I went too far yesterday.”

Nikki suddenly felt like choking. Her heart seemed to stop. She couldn´t feel the sun´s warmth anymore. Was he about to end something precious that had only just begun?

“What?” she breathed shocked. Then she was speechless for moments.

“Do you regret what happened yesterday?” she managed to ask after she had cleared her throat. Her voice was breaking.

“Yes… No.” Mac replied hastily and focused on her. The troubled expression on his face grew even worse as he saw shock, some fear, and a lot of worry on her face.

“I don´t know…” he added hesitant and a little helpless.

Nikki´s sudden shock eased up a little.

“Do you doubt what happened yesterday?” she continued to probe.

MacGyver stared at her silently for several seconds. His dark eyes showed a mixture of shyness, sadness, and pain.

“How can I be sure? … So soon after my last misjudgment almost got me killed…” he stated low and tonelessly. His gaze dropped to the ground. “How can I trust my feelings after I didn´t sense such a betrayal…? How can I be sure that it´s not just gratitude after you saved my life…?”

Now Nikki understood at once. Deborah. She had broken his heart and he was still hurting and full of doubt about his own reactions inside. Nikki softly, but reassuringly laid a hand on his thigh.

“Deborah is a professional.” she reminded him. “Do you really allow her to shake your self-confidence? What you felt for her was real, as far as I could tell…”

MacGyver kept staring at his hands and didn´t react to her words.

“And how you acted yesterday evening felt true to me as well.” Nikki continued. “You cared about me. I am thankful that you didn´t allow me to hide my feelings from myself and you any longer. You didn´t leave me alone with those feelings.”

But Mac was still absorbed in his conflicting thoughts and emotions.

“Now at least look at me!” Nikki urged him impatient after another couple of silent moments.

Like in slow motion MacGyver turned his head and raised his gaze to her face. His inside was even now a troubled mess, but he felt a little certainty when he looked into her dark eyes.

“I hurt you, Nikki… in my selfish need for the truth…although I never wanted to and still don´t.” he sighed bitterly, disappointed with himself. “As I said, you do mean a lot to me.”

A relieved and warm smile widened on Nikki´s face with his answer.

“You didn´t hurt me.” she reassured him. “Your demand for the truth lead me through my fear and enabled me to acknowledge the feelings for you I pushed back for so long. I am grateful for it… Mac, do you really regret asking me to give us a chance?”

Her words were now choking with her being afraid of what he might answer. She was fighting back some tears that welled up with the intensity of her emotions. MacGyver saw it. It touched him deep inside. Her words loosened up the vise clenched around his heart. He instantly reached out for her hand on his thigh and invited her into an embrace.

“Come here.”

Nikki didn´t hesitate this time, but slid closer, and cuddled up to him, careful about all his injuries. Mac softly wrapped her into a hug, while she rested her head on the front of his shoulder. She felt MacGyver brushing a tender kiss on her hair, while she listened to his heartbeat and sensed the tension leave him.

MacGyver drew in a deep breath, slowly let it out in a long sigh, and pulled her a little tighter into his hold. He leaned his cheek against her head and lowered his eyes. When Nikki looked up at him after a couple of moments, the tears in her eyes were gone.

“Sorry.” he said. “I didn´t mean to scare you.”

Mac smiled at her for the first time today, bent down, and let his mouth find hers. He kissed her, soft, sensual, and let all the bottled-up emotions flow into it. Their kiss wasn´t as hungry and passionate as the one last evening, but rather gentle, caring, and intense, both sensing the need to reassure their opposite of the true nature of their feelings.

Nikki buried her face at MacGyver´s neck when their lips parted after several long moments and held on to him.

“Better?” Mac asked softly and leaned his head against hers again.

“Yes.” she sighed.

MacGyver felt her warm breath trickle on his skin. He was suddenly very aware of her presence. The smell of her hair and her skin… the softness of her slender body snuggled up against his own. It felt good. It felt right.

“How about yourself?” she added after a moment. “Still doubting it?”

MacGyver puffed out a deep relieved breath and squeezed his arms even closer around her.

“Nope.” he whispered, just loud enough that he was sure she would hear him.

*****

Starkoss hadn´t mentioned anything when they had returned into the house quite a while later. He had only smiled at them. In fact, he hadn´t said anything about it to MacGyver over the following days either.

MacGyver´s health had improved slowly, but steadily during those next days. He had taken daily walks through the woods as soon as he had felt up to it, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by Nikki. They had spent a lot of time patiently exploring their newly discovered feelings for each other, and also allowed themselves the time to get used to them.

After ten days at Starkoss´ house, the doctor had been satisfied with Mac´s progress, agreed to remove the stitches from his hand and chest, and allowed him to travel home. But of course, he had asked him to still take it easy for some time.

MacGyver had called Pete late at night and told him that he was cleared to come home to Los Angeles. Pete had been truly relieved to hear the good news that Mac´s health was mostly restored. He had asked Mac and Nikki to drive back to the hotel in Vienna and spend one night there; he would have arranged flights home for them by the next day and have the tickets waiting for them at the hotel´s reception.

But he had warned Mac to still watch out for Zorkin and Baranov as none of his intelligence contacts knew anything about their location or their intentions. They seemed to have vanished into thin air.

On the morning of the following day, both Nikki and MacGyver packed their stuff into their bags right after they had finished their breakfast. Starkoss was already waiting for them in the sun next to his VW minibus, when they left the house with their baggage in their hands. He would drive them to their rental car that was still parked in the village. After they had placed their bags behind the front seats, and Nikki had thanked Starkoss, Mac helped her onto the passenger seat.

“I´ll take the back floor again.” he grinned at her. “I´m kinda used to it… and I can stay out of sight.”

Nikki only rolled her eyes at his remark but kept silent.

Then MacGyver turned to Starkoss.

“We´ll have to leave quickly once we´re back with our car, so… I wanted to thank you for everything you´ve done.” he told the older man with an earnest expression. “I really appreciate it.” He reached out and shook the Russian´s hand.

“Consider it a down-payment for your help last year.” Starkoss answered evenly sincere. “I´m glad I was able to be at the right place at the right time.”

“So am I.” Mac nodded. He looked probing at the Russian for a moment and then continued. “I was going to ask you if you wanna come with us this time… but it seems, you´ve found ‘your’ right place.”

Starkoss shot him one of his kind and knowing smiles.

“For now, yes. … I have.”

Then he walked around the bus and got into the driver´s seat. He waited for MacGyver to close the sliding door and get seated in the back, and then headed off to the village close by. Nikki stayed alert for any signs of the GRU agents during the several minutes it took to reach their rental car. Mac on the other hand kept his head down and out of sight until Starkoss parked his minibus behind their sedan. Then he quickly moved their baggage into the sedan while checking their surroundings for the whole time with his eyes.

As they had voiced their thanks earlier, MacGyver and Nikki only said a quick, yet heartfelt goodbye to Starkoss before they took off toward Vienna. Nikki was driving this time as Mac´s left hand was still protected by a bandage, and the only recently healed tears ached with too much use and strain.

MacGyver settled down comfortably in the passenger´s seat and used the time to watch the countryside passing by and observe Nikki in the driver´s seat. Nikki shot him a sheepish smile every time he looked at her longer than a few moments. She wasn´t fully used to admitting her feelings for MacGyver yet.

They traveled mostly silent and reached their inner-city hotel in good time. It was only around midday when they had checked in, returned their rental car, picked up the already waiting plane tickets, and were back in their neighboring rooms. Pete had, before his departure with Pavel, made sure those would stay reserved for MacGyver and Nikki.

Mac found his hiking backpack, his left-behind clothes, and his torn rain jacket untouched and waiting for him. It took his thoughts back almost two weeks, to where his adventure had started off. A mountain hike, recurring thoughts about a love gone wrong, an electrical storm, and the vow to himself to take it easy on the following day.

Then Pete had turned up on his doorstep and everything had turned upside down.

His bruised left shoulder and arm had recovered quite well in the meantime, Mac assessed internally while he stood silently picking at the tears of his raincoat. So had his lungs. Yet the gash across his ribs and his left palm still hurt when he moved them too much. And he still tired easily. But he had survived, thanks to Nikki.

He even now couldn´t wrap his head around what had happened between them. How their relationship had grown beyond friendship… Nikki, of all people…

As little as thinking about her made him smile to himself and a comfortable warmth settled in his stomach. Knowing that she was in the room next door. Mac caught himself subconsciously feeling for the fake wedding ring he still wore. And Nikki still wore hers… They were keeping up this part of their cover story until they would be safely back in the U.S. and heading home. Their flight was due tomorrow morning; they had half of today ahead of them.

MacGyver raised his head and looked out of the window. Once more it was a warm and sunny day. A boyish grin grew on his face as he remembered the plans he had had two weeks ago. He picked up the brown leather jacket, Pavel had returned to him through Nikki, and turned back to the door.

I can gather all my belongings later in the evening, he thought. I could spend the afternoon with at least part of that plan. Right now, I might even have someone to share it with…

He purposefully strode out to the corridor, locked his room, and knocked on Nikki´s door. Mac had left her only a couple of minutes ago, but when she answered the door a moment later, he felt the comfortable warmth from his stomach spread and travel up his back. His grin widened.

“MacGyver?” Nikki asked surprised. “I thought, you might want to rest. What´s wrong?”

“Nothing. I´m fine.” he assured her. “I just remembered the idea I had for my next day in Vienna… before you and Pete interrupted my vacation.”

“Well, I didn´t come up with this assignment.” Nikki shot back annoyed. “I was summoned on short notice by Pete just as you…” She broke off as soon as she saw Mac smiling at her. “Sorry…” she added sheepishly in a much softer tone. “Some habit, I´ve got, hm?”

“I´m kinda used to it…” Mac shrugged with a teasing grin and then reached out one hand for her. “I wanted to take a walk and visit some of the historic inner city of Vienna… wanna accompany me?”

Nikki eyed him surprised for a second but then nodded with a smile.

“Sure. Just let me get my purse.”

She was back after a few moments and locked her door. MacGyver was waiting for her leaning against the corridor´s wall. She looked up critically at him when she turned to face him and saw the hallway empty. His face turned serious in an instant.

“What?”

“I suppose, you´ve hidden the film safely, as we´ll be leaving the hotel for the afternoon?” Nikki inquired with a low voice.

Mac´s beaming, boyish grin was back on within a second.

“Who says, I´m leaving it behind?” he asked back with an air of innocence, knowing very well that the film can was in the inner pocket of his jacket. Then he pushed himself off the wall, took one of her hands with his right one, and lifted it up to kiss the back of her hand.

“I prefer to keep important things real close to me.”

He saw Nikki blush a little bit with his words. She managed to smile up at him and entwined her fingers with his while he slowly lowered her hand.

“I like that approach.” she answered huskily, following along with his double meaning.

MacGyver gently pulled her closer to him, brushed a soft kiss on her forehead, and took a deep breath, once more taking in the smell of her hair. Then he straightened himself.

“Then let´s go. We oughta go to sleep early tonight. We´ve got a plane to catch in the morning.”

*****

It was already early evening when MacGyver and Nikki got off their plane at the Los Angeles airport on the next day. Despite the fact that Mac had managed to sleep several hours, it had been two long, tiring flights. Even though Pete had been able to get them comfortable business class seats with plenty of room for Mac´s long legs, Mac felt worn out. The jet lag only added to it. He still sensed the after-effects of his cold and his injuries clearly.

Nikki´s head had been resting against his shoulder when he had woken up about one hour prior to their landing in L.A. She had been soundly asleep, and he had spent some time just watching her. It had taken his thoughts back to the day before. They had spent a light-hearted afternoon strolling through Vienna's inner city, taking in the historic sights and buildings that dated back several hundreds of years, and enjoying the parks that brought a lot of green to the city´s core. The memory had made him smile to himself.

After almost one year of bickering with her, it had felt comfortably natural to have her close. To share time like this with her.

After several minutes of looking at her, Mac had tried to adjust his position a little, to take some pressure off his wounded chest without disturbing Nikki, but he hadn´t been successful. She had stirred, blinked her eyes open, and when she had noticed that she was leaning on Mac, she had quickly sat up and straightened herself in her seat.

“I´m sorry.” she had told him with a sleepy and apologetic smile. “I didn´t want to…”

“Don´t worry.” Mac had cut her off, smiling back and taking a deep breath. “I´m fine.”

*****

Part of his thoughts still circled around yesterday and their flights when MacGyver and Nikki were waiting at the baggage conveyor belt for their bags. Pete would pick them up outside together with a driver and the other part of Mac´s thoughts dealt with him. MacGyver looked forward to seeing his closest friend again, to being able to finally complete his mission objective by handing the film over to Pete, and to returning home. Although he had been able to doze during the flights, Mac really longed for some rest and relaxation at home, on his houseboat.

He and Nikki had just retrieved their bags and turned to the exits when Nikki suddenly grabbed Mac´s arm and stopped him in his stride. MacGyver winced with the sting the unexpected break caused and turned to her surprised.

“What?” he asked a little impatient. “I´d really like to get home.”

“So do I.” Nikki countered reflexively, but only a second later she seemed hesitant and unsure.

“So?” Mac pressed on.

“MacGyver… have you told Pete?” she wanted to know.

“Told him what?” Mac, still focused mainly on returning home, didn´t get what she was talking about.

“Well, you know… about us…” Nikki added while she slowly let go of his arm and looked up at him with an almost shy smile.

MacGyver´s impatience evaporated. He drew in a deep breath and raised his eyebrows in understanding.

“Oh, you mean that you and I…”

His words trailed off to a moment of silence. He raised his still bandaged left hand to gently caress her cheek with his long fingers.

“Not yet.” he continued. “Haven´t you? You´ve talked to him right before we got on the first flight.”

Nikki shook her head.

“You and Pete are as close as family.” she explained. “I felt, you should be the one to…”

Mac silenced her with a tender kiss on her forehead.

“Thanks.” he said softly. “I will.” Then he grinned at her. “I´ll just have to find the right moment to confront him with a surprise like that…” he added with a chuckle. “But now, let´s get out of here.”

It took only a moment to spot Pete Thornton once they had left the airport building. He was waiting next to one of the pool cars Phoenix kept. A relieved smile widened on his face as soon as he saw MacGyver and Nikki coming towards him. He shook hands with Nikki and hugged Mac while the driver loaded their bags into the trunk. Nikki chose the passenger seat to allow Mac and Pete to both sit in the back seats of the car.

“Boy, am I glad to see both of you.” Pete said with a sigh when they had closed the doors and their driver had taken off from the parking lot. “Especially after all I´ve heard so far.”

He pinned MacGyver with a probing stare, but Mac only smiled back innocently at him.

“Retrieving the documents was a bit tricky…” he admitted. “But it all worked out, thanks to some help.”

He shot Nikki a quick smile and reached into the inner pocket of his jacket. He handed the plastic film can and its important contents over to Pete. Pete´s face turned serious in an instant while he took it from him. He opened the film can, pulled out the 35mm roll, and quickly checked the positives against the light falling in through the car´s window. Then he turned back to MacGyver and rolled up the film to place it back into the can.

“I´ll immediately have prints made from these.” he stated. “Together with all that Dubcek has told us, we should be able to put some pressure on the GRU now. They certainly won´t be happy with this.”

“Nice to hear that our work is appreciated.” Mac smiled at him and leaned back relaxed.

“We still have no lead on Zorkin and Baranov, so we´re keeping the Dubcek brothers under protection.” Pete added. “You should also be careful… Their next move could be on you, MacGyver.”

“Yes, Pete.” Mac nodded. “I will.” He briefly closed his eyes. He was used to those well-meaning, protective words of advice from Pete very well. But right now, he was just glad to be heading home.

“I am truly curious about hearing all the details…” Pete continued after a silent moment. “But I suppose you´re both tired. How about I´ll just take you home, and we´ll meet tomorrow morning in my office for a debriefing? Is 10 a.m. all right with you?”

MacGyver and Nikki were both relieved by his offer and silently nodded their agreement.

They reached the marina first and Mac shot Nikki a boyish grin when she turned around in her seat to face him.

“Shall I call you later?” she asked when he prepared to open the door of the sedan. “Just to check if you´re all right?”

“If you like…” Mac answered, still smiling.

Pete watched their exchange with a little surprise but didn´t say a word. It was obvious to him that Nikki was concerned about Mac´s wellbeing, nothing to wonder about after how she had been worried about him and had taken care of him over nearly the last two weeks. Pete was only bewildered by how they got along so easily. The tension between them that he was used to seemed to have lessened a lot.

“I´ll see you tomorrow.” MacGyver added to Pete and got out of the car. He took his bags from the driver who already had retrieved them from the trunk, and after a small wave of his hand to Pete and Nikki, Mac walked off toward his houseboat.




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 29 November 2021 - 04:16 PM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Gender:  Female
Country: USA
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Favorites
Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



Mac thinks too much! Now he gets all worried about the reality of his feelings when Nikki is finally accepting and happy about them! I am impressed that Mac managed to actually relax for 10 whole days and it's sweet that he and Nikki agreed to use that time, as well as their day in Vienna, to explore their growing feelings. I do like how Nikki can still fall back in her pattern of snapping at him, though! That's so much a part of her character. It was bittersweet leaving Starkoss behind, but now that they're back in L.A. it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops...or doesn't. But it sounds like we probably haven't seen the last of the GRU agents. Poor Pete, LOL! He should be HAPPY Mac and Nikki aren't bickering anymore!! I wonder if he'll catch on before Mac gets a chance to explain??



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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bluegirl
Posted: 30 November 2021 - 03:20 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 30 November 2021 - 01:16 AM)
It was bittersweet leaving Starkoss behind, but now that they're back in L.A. it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops...or doesn't.    Poor Pete, LOL!  He should be HAPPY Mac and Nikki aren't bickering anymore!!  I wonder if he'll catch on before Mac gets a chance to explain??

How their relationship develops ... or doesn´t? - I wouldn´t have started this off, if I hadn´t thought it could develop ... to something... over the next chapters... and who said Mac and Nikki won´t be bickering anymore?? whistle.gif laugh.gif



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
  Posted: 30 November 2021 - 06:59 AM                                    
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It suprised me that they didn't run into the GRU agents at the cabin. The agents are probably assuming that Mac is mobile, so they would be re-checking areas for any sign of him. The cabin is away from the village, surounded by woods. They would have ample cover in the woods to watch the cabin if they thought he was there. What gets me is that Mac knows he's still in "enemy territory" yet he goes outdoors in the daylight, sits in the sun for a while without constantly watching for danger, and later goes for walks through the woods! Where is his common sense? Nikki is unknown to them, and so far they haven't gotten a good look at her and Mac togeather, so she could go out, but Mac should stay holed up inside. Nikki would have gotten things like this in her agent training, and Mac would have been taught this by the DXS if he didn't already learn it else where. They are being very lax with the security precautions, and I'm suprised they weren't discovered. Or are the the agents waiting for Mac at his houseboat (which is rediculously easy to break into)?



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If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 30 November 2021 - 08:56 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 30 November 2021 - 03:59 PM)
It suprised me that they didn't run into the GRU agents at the cabin.  The agents are probably assuming that Mac is mobile, so they would be re-checking areas for any sign of him.  The cabin is away from the village, surounded by woods.  They would have ample cover in the woods to watch the cabin if they thought he was there.  What gets me is that Mac knows he's still in "enemy territory" yet he goes outdoors in the daylight, sits in the sun for a while without constantly watching for danger, and later goes for walks through the woods!

Austria isn´t exactly 'enemy territory' - it´s been a sovereign, neutral state since WW2, so it oughta be 'safe soil' for a western agent. See 'The Thief of Budapest', for example... GRU agents couldn´t just search every house as they would probably have liked to.

Yes, Zorkin and Baranov think he is mobile - but more mobile than he actually is. As they find no sign of him for a day or so, they assume to have lost his trail and that he left the area quicker than they could have found him. They don´t know he is in such a bad shape, or even how badly he is wounded.

The only ones chasing him from the fence on were the Czech border guards. Mac only suspected that would he have stayed close to the Thaya the border guards would have alarmed the GRU agents and these would possibly have shot him. He wasn´t keen on waiting for them.

And to suspect him to be at the farmhouse, they would have needed to know that the house is in fact there and that he got picked up and brought there. So they would have needed to know about Nikki...

The area (the 'Waldviertel') where all this takes place has been and still is a truly quiet and secluded region of Austria. There are a few small villages and towns, rather remote and sleepy at the time. You could drive through it without seeing people for quite a while. The region is a undulating mix of old woods, meadows and a bit of farmland. It is common for the region to have solitary houses (it is more than a 'cabin') especially where no one would expect a house to be, hidden perfectly in some old forest. Don´t you think Starkoss would choose a place like this to live in?

user posted image

I imagined something like this... really way off the villages... the 'Waldviertel' is still an area in Austria where you can easily 'get lost', but it is hard to explain to someone who hasn´t eperienced it. So, since Starkoss has told him about the region and as Pete tells them the agents seem to have left the area - where´s the harm in taking a walk in the woods? Or sitting in the sun? When you know, that nobody is going to 'drive by' because you´re way off everything? Alone in the middle of nowhere?

user posted image



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 30 November 2021 - 06:50 PM                                    
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Lovely pics, bluegirl!! I'd sure like to spend some time there!



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: 2 December 2021 - 12:37 AM                                    
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Good morning! At least on my end of the globe, for now... time for a new chapter! This one took quite a bit of work to get it right. This one is also a little 'different'... Hope you´ll enjoy reading as much as I did writing it!

So, let´s recall... they got back home, without complications, are safe, exploring their newly found feelings for each other... haven´t told Pete yet...

Wait a minute! Without complications? Safe? This is MacGyver we´re talking about!

Part 10


MacGyver dropped his bags next to the spiral staircase after he had closed the main door behind himself and flipped on the lights. He let out a deep sigh as he soaked up the comfortable silence that surrounded him in his familiar home. According to the plans he had had when he had left for a week of vacation he should have returned several days ago.

He slowly shrugged out of his jacket and placed it on one of the coat hangers next to the door. MacGyver shot the answering machine on his desk a quick glance and noticed the flashing red light that indicated a couple of messages waiting for him. He sighed again.

Later, he thought. I´d rather get settled first. Whoever has left a message, it will have to wait a little longer.

He turned to the kitchen, filled up a glass with water, and took a few large gulps. Mac really looked forward to doing nothing but relax until he had to meet Pete Thornton tomorrow. He had had a lot of rest and doing nothing in particular during his recovery at Starkoss´s house, but now… here… it was different. He was back home. At his own house. He´d probably watch some old western movie, wait for Nikki´s phone call and then go to bed early. The long flights had exhausted him.

MacGyver allowed his gaze to wander around the houseboat, emptied the glass, and then set it down. Until tomorrow he also had to figure out a way to gently break the news about the change in the relationship between himself and Nikki with Pete. The Phoenix Foundation had no anti-fraternization rules, and Mac was freelance after all, so it shouldn´t cause any problems, but… well, Mac was sure Pete would be a little more than surprised.

Maybe I should be there earlier tomorrow and talk to him before the three of us meet at 10 a.m., Mac thought. Then he shot his bags an unwilling look. I´ll better get those unpacked right now, he mused. If I´ll sit down on the couch first, I won´t get anything done any time soon.

MacGyver took a deep breath while he walked over, bent down to pick up his bags, and took them upstairs. He made quick work of emptying them as most of his clothes went directly to his dirty laundry basket, save for the torn rain jacket.

Getting a new one is still on my to-do list, he thought while he eyed it critically once more. Then he retrieved a fresh sweatshirt, t-shirt, underwear, and sweatpants from the closet, took a quick shower, wrapped a fresh bandage around his left hand and changed into the much more comfortable outfit before he went back downstairs.

Mac strolled to the kitchen and took a look into the refrigerator. To his surprise, all his favorite basics were there, so Pete must have done some grocery shopping for him in advance. With a little smile and grateful for having a friend like him, MacGyver grabbed the orange juice and filled up the glass he had used earlier. Thanks to the meal he´d gotten on the plane, he wasn´t all too hungry. He took the glass with him as he went to the couch and set it down on the coffee table.

His eyes scanned the row of VHS cassettes in the shelf for a moment before he picked one of his favorite black and white westerns and loaded it into the VCR. He picked up the remote control and took a few large gulps of the orange juice before he flopped himself on the sofa. This should keep me awake until Nikki will call, MacGyver thought, while he adjusted himself to a more comfortable lying position on the couch and turned on the TV and the VCR. His eyes were glued to the screen when the movie started.

*****

Nikki Carpenter was truly worried when she let her sedan roll onto the parking lot of the marina. Her eyes found MacGyver´s jeep; she pulled up her car next to it and cut the engine. After Pete Thornton had dropped her off at her apartment, she had unpacked her baggage, grabbed a quick dinner, and then phoned MacGyver as she had promised to. But her call had gone directly to the answering machine.

Nikki had told herself, that he was probably taking a shower, done the same, and tried again half an hour later. A small concern had risen in her when she, once more, hadn´t gotten through to him. She had tried to convince herself that with MacGyver, there could be a couple of perfectly logical reasons for that, but her worries had grown when even several tries later she hadn´t been able to reach him.

At some point in the late evening, she had chosen to drive over to him and check personally that everything was okay. She had come here late and unannounced before, after those terrorists had tried to get rid of her, but this time was different. Right now, she had to make sure that MacGyver was all right.

Nikki shot the jeep a sideways glance when she got out of her car and then turned to the houseboat. She saw lights turned on inside the houseboat through its windows as she hurriedly walked toward it. Nikki knocked on the main door, saw no sign of Mac through the glass, and tried the handle when she didn´t get an answer. She found the door unlocked and entered the houseboat cautiously.

“MacGyver?” she asked into the silence that greeted her.

Nothing. Nikki felt the knot that had formed in her stomach some time ago tighten. She stepped further into the room and looked around. The red blinking light of the answering machine caught her eye, and when she had walked around the spiral staircase, she spotted the white noise showing on the TV and the half-empty glass of orange juice on the coffee table.

Nikki closed in on the couch and puffed out the breath she hadn´t realized she had been holding when she found MacGyver sprawled out there, soundly asleep. Mac lay sunken into the pillows, breathing slow and calm, yet his face seemed a little pale to her. Nikki bent down, reached for the remote control, and turned off the TV. Then she crouched down next to the sofa and observed Mac closely and probingly for a few moments.

She had seen Mac sleeping a lot of times during the past two weeks and was still tuned into watching out for any signs of illness. But what she saw allowed her stomach to relax a little. MacGyver´s chest rose and fell regularly and there was nothing to wonder about the fact that he was tired and exhausted after the ordeal he´d been through.

Somehow out of habit, Nikki reached up with one hand and cautiously felt for his temperature first on his forehead and then with the back of her fingers on his cheek. She sensed no fever, however, after a couple of seconds, MacGyver stirred because of her touch. Confused by his weariness, but remembering that he was home and should be safe, Mac turned his head a bit towards the touch.

“What? … Who?” he asked dazed as his body tensed a bit and he half-opened his eyes, blinking against the light.

“Shh… It´s all right.” Nikki quickly answered him and gently held the contact to his cheek. “It´s just me, Nikki.”

MacGyver´s sleepy eyes found her face and his body relaxed again.

“Nikki?” he mumbled bewildered and still only half awake. “Why…”

“You didn´t answer the phone.” Nikki cut him off again. “I came over to check if you´re okay.”

A faint apologetic smile grew on Mac´s drowsy face while he nodded.

“Sorry… I´m fine… must have dozed off.” he murmured.

“I didn´t mean to wake you.” Nikki returned the smile. “I am sorry… just go back to sleep, MacGyver.”

She smoothed back some of his tousled hair and brushed very soft kisses first on his forehead and then on his lips. MacGyver slowly closed his eyes when he felt Nikki´s tender lips on his skin. He was still too dazed to adequately react to her kisses and sensed himself being carried away into the comfortable darkness again with her soothing words and her gentle touch. With a contented smile on his face and a small sigh, Mac gave in to that feeling.

Nikki watched relieved how MacGyver drifted off to sleep once more. She would have been happier if he had chosen to fall asleep in his bed rather than on his couch, but most of her worries evaporated. As he is fully clothed, he probably hasn´t planned on nodding off, she told herself.

She took a deep breath while she slowly pulled back her hand and got up. For a moment she was unsure what to do. Thanks to her dinner, the quick shower, and her jet lag she didn´t feel tired at all. For now. She looked around in the houseboat, took in the familiar surroundings, but tonight it felt different than on all the other occasions she had been here before.

She noticed details that she hadn´t paid any attention to earlier. The MacGyver coat of arms on the wall, the strung longbow that stood in the corner next to the fireplace, the photos and mementos between the lots of books in the shelves. Nikki slowly walked around the sofa and along the shelves on the wall behind it to take a closer look at some of the items.

MacGyver had seemed comfortable with her being here a couple of minutes ago, so she didn´t feel she had to leave at once. Probably he would be pleased with having her around when he woke up in maybe one or two hours. Nikki sat down on the stuffed chair next to the couch when she was through with the shelf and allowed her thoughts to wander while she observed MacGyver sleeping. She´d spent a lot of time like that lately.

Since that particular evening in Starkoss´s house, or rather on the clearing next to it, thinking about him, being close to him felt a lot less complicated to her. Maybe Mac would really be able to break the jinx sticking to her since Adam´s death. Only now she realized how deep inside he´d touched her right from the beginning. She had denied it so far.

Together they had caught the murderer of her brother, but she had almost instantly categorized him as a smart-aleck after they had first met, handsome and attractive, but annoying. She hadn´t allowed him even the slightest chance. Dating Matt Webber a few months ago hadn´t been more than a simple and convenient distraction, she understood now. She had never truly considered him a possible partner. Nevertheless, she had defended him and hadn´t believed MacGyver when he had accused him of being responsible for the sabotage that had driven Pete out of the Phoenix Foundation. Out of the habit of disagreeing with Mac… But once again he had been right, and once again he had been there to save her life.

Nikki sighed quietly while she watched him. Even if they had spent a lot of time arguing, disagreeing, and quarreling, she felt lucky to have met him. His warm and compassionate personality, the way he always put the well-being and interests of people he cared about before his own, his unique approach to doing things and viewing the world made him a truly special person. He had become a very special friend during the last year. And now…?

Nikki pulled up her legs onto the chair, wrapped her arms around her knees, and cuddled comfortably into the armchair. She looked at MacGyver with a relieved smile on her face. She was truly glad about the new turn their relationship had taken. By now she chided herself a little inwardly for denying it so long. And even if the feelings were still new and unfamiliar to her after those few days, she cherished them.

*****

She´d been sitting next to the sofa for quite a while before Nikki looked up and noticed with a glance at the clock how late it had gotten. Past 11 p.m. She hadn´t kept track of time while she´d been lost in her thoughts and also just now realized how tired she had gotten. She stifled a yawn while she straightened herself and slowly got up. After a long, probing look at MacGyver´s sleeping form, she reached for the blanket lying over the backrest of the couch and unfolded it.

It´s going to take longer for him to wake up than I expected, she thought while she cautiously covered him with the blanket. Better keep him warm.

Mac didn´t react to her touch this time and she stood a little indecisive afterward. Suddenly Nikki felt too tired to be able to safely drive home. Would he mind if she stayed and slept in his bed? She had already done that once, a few months ago, after the murderous attack on her life. He´d slept on the couch then as well… and had acted like a gentleman the whole time.

No, he wouldn´t mind, Nikki convinced herself internally. He´d rather ask me to stay if he would sense how tired I am, and would be unsure if I could still drive.

She shot MacGyver another long look and then strode off toward the main door. Nikki locked it, turned off the lights in the houseboat, and went upstairs.

*****

MacGyver noticed a sting on the right side of his chest when he slowly woke up. He moaned lightly with his eyes still closed and tried to straighten himself a little. Inwardly he scolded himself for crashing on his couch once again.

Bad habit, he thought drowsily. The bed would have been a better choice.

Then he remembered that Nikki had promised to call and he truly hadn´t planned on falling asleep. A sudden pang of guilt clenched his throat at the idea that he´d possibly missed that call, until he realized that he couldn´t sense any light through his still closed eyelids. Confusion added to his half-awake thoughts when in the next moment he felt the warm blanket he was wrapped into. His body tensed up with alarm.

Wait a minute, I didn´t turn off the lights and I didn´t…

MacGyver quickly opened his eyes, rose to his elbows, and looked around. Much to his relief, he saw that he was still safe in his now dark houseboat. In the next second, a faint memory surfaced in his mind.

Nikki. She´d been here. Right next to him. Checking on him. Because he had missed her calls. He´d been too dazed by his exhaustion to react appropriately.

Aw man, he thought. I´ve got to apologize to her before we meet with Pete in the morning.

A glance at the clock on the TV told him that it was well past midnight.

Nikki must have turned off the TV as well as the lights, Mac mused.

Slowly he pushed back the blanket and sat up, swinging his long legs off the couch. He saw the glass half-filled with orange juice on the coffee table and, without thinking too much about it, he picked it up and emptied it. MacGyver took a deep breath and stretched a little, but instantly covered his right side, where the bullet had grazed him, with his hand. It ached again, thanks to his curled-up position on the sofa.

I´d better continue the night upstairs, Mac sighed inwardly. The bed will be much more comfortable.

Gingerly he got up, took his now empty glass to the sink, and checked the door. To his surprise, he found it locked.

I didn´t lock the door… and I haven´t given Nikki a spare key… only Pete has got one… but would he hand it over? … Has she been able to persuade him while he has taken her home? ... Because she wanted to check on me? MacGyver shook his head confused. More things to sort out as soon as I meet them in the morning…

He pushed the thoughts aside, turned and climbed the spiral staircase toward his bedroom, determined to get more sleep. This time in his bed. But as soon as he came around the corner to his bedroom he stopped dead in his tracks, surprised by what he found. In the dim moonlight that filtered in through the windows, he saw someone lying in his bed, cuddled under the sheets. The next thing he noticed were clothes on one of his cupboards and sneakers next to it when he took a cautious step closer. MacGyver´s eyes had already adjusted to the twilight when he got a good look at the sleeping person.

Nikki.

He recognized the neatly folded clothes as her jeans, her blouse, and her jacket as he went closer and saw that the blanket had slipped off her shoulder, giving away that she had commandeered one of his hockey shirts to sleep in. Had she chosen to watch over him because he´d been that exhausted and out of it? Had she been too tired to drive home at some point? Obviously, she hadn´t planned on staying…

MacGyver´s sudden surprise changed into gratitude and contented warmth that spread in his stomach. His first impulse was to return downstairs, to his sofa, but a twinge in his side reminded him why he had come upstairs. To rest comfortably in his bed. He eyed the bed and Nikki uncertain for a few moments.

She was lying on her side, on the left side of his bed, facing the edge. There was plenty of room behind her back. Could he…? After all, they had shared a sleeping bag with a lot less room last year. But at least he had to make sure if it was okay with her. He wasn´t about to force physical closeness onto her she wasn´t ready for.

MacGyver took off his sneakers, cautiously closed in on the bed on his socks, and crouched down next to the bed, in front of her. The moonlight cast long, soft shadows on Nikki´s face and her dark hair. Mac couldn´t help but raise one of his hands and gently caress the silky waves of her hair and the smooth skin of her face with his long fingers. It took only a couple of seconds until Nikki stirred because of his slight touch. She rolled a little more onto her back, turned her head toward the touch, and blinked her eyes open with a bit of alarm.

“Shh…” Mac addressed her softly, but quickly when he felt her body tense up. “It´s me, it´s Mac.”

An apologetic smile widened on Nikki´s drowsy face as her body relaxed.

“I was too tired to drive home.” she answered sleepily. “I thought, it would be okay if…”

“Shh.” Mac cut her off. “It´s all right.” He smiled back at her. “It´s just that I´d like to sleep in my bed as well…”

Nikki tried to push herself up instantly with a guilty look on her face.

“I can take the couch.” she offered, still only half-awake, but MacGyver gently held her down at her shoulder.

“You´ll stay right where you are and sleep on.” he ordered softly. “There´s plenty of room for me on the other side of the bed.” he continued after a quiet moment. “A lot more than we had in the sleeping bag… if it is okay with you…” His words trailed off as he felt Nikki relax in his hold, but look up at him probing and silent.

“I just wanna sleep.” Mac added reassuringly. “Nothing else… I promise.”

His hand returned to caressing her hair but she reached for it and placed a gentle kiss on the back of his fingers. A tired smile grew on her face as she let go of his hand and nodded.

“I wouldn´t have expected anything else from you.” she replied slowly as she rolled back to her side. “I know, you can act like a perfect gentleman.”

MacGyver pulled the blanket up over her shoulders with a slightly amused smile at her comment while Nikki cuddled herself back into the pillow and closed her eyes again. He brushed a tender kiss on her cheek.

“Thanks.” he whispered barely audible close to her ear before he gingerly rose to his feet.

MacGyver walked around the bed and took off his sweater and his socks before he sat down on his side of the bed. He slid under the blanket and lay down on his back, cautious not to get too close to Nikki and at the same time trying to find a comfortable position for his aching chest. He pulled the blanket up to his shoulders and lay silently staring at the ceiling for several moments.

Although he was tired and worn out by the long flights, he could clearly sense Nikki´s presence that near. He heard her calm breath, felt her slender body rest on the mattress close to him without having to touch her. MacGyver sighed deeply and allowed his eyes to close. He treasured moments like this. A growing relationship. Being with and close to someone special. Like Nikki had come to be. A contented smile played around his lips with the pleasant feeling of warmth and peace that flooded his body, heart, and soul while he slowly drifted off into a quiet sleep.

*****

The soothing quietness of his home surrounded by the well-known sounds of the marina welcomed MacGyver when he slowly woke up. He sensed the morning light through his closed eyelids, and felt comfortably warm and rested while lying on his back. No pain in his side anymore… The next thing he noticed was a soft, yet strong female body snuggled up to his own, with one arm lying across his chest and his arms.

Out of the blue, a memory surfaced in his still sleep-dazed mind – the last woman he had woken up together with up here. It sent a sting to his heart. Deborah…

In the next second, he saw the burning fire of the explosion on the boat flash before his mental eye. MacGyver drew in a sharp breath, but felt that breath catch in his throat. The arm lying across his chest at once seemed to bind both of his arms, thus effectively immobilizing him. His body stiffened instantly with the frightening realization that he couldn´t move and escape the threat of being blinded again. MacGyver´s eyes flew open in sudden panic and darted around the room. He was wide awake at once.

After only a few seconds of reorientation, his eyes recognized Nikki lying next to himself. MacGyver held his breath.

Nikki…, he reminded himself inwardly. Not Deborah… Nikki… She must have turned around and cuddled up to me while we were sleeping…

He pressed his eyes shut for a moment, then forced himself to take a deep breath and stared up at the ceiling. The panic attack ebbed away, he calmed down his pounding heart and urged his body to relax, while he fervently hoped, that Nikki was still soundly asleep and hadn´t noticed anything. After all, he had barely moved… But only a few seconds later MacGyver sensed her hand travel from his arm up to his shoulder and her head turn a little.

“MacGyver?” she asked slowly and sleepily. “What´s the matter? You okay?”

Mac closed his eyes and sighed deeply. That was one of the problems of being with a smart woman. It was truly hard to hide anything from her. He cleared his throat.

“It´s nothing… I´m fine.” he answered, trying to sound firm and keeping his eyes on the ceiling again. He didn´t have to look at Nikki to know that she was now staring at him.

“Nothing?” she echoed after a brief pause. “You´re fine?”

“Yeah, sure.” Mac told her once more.

Only a moment later he sensed Nikki push herself up to one elbow and her hand slide to the middle of his chest, close to his heart. He still avoided her gaze. That was another problem when being with a smart woman. It was really hard to deceive her.

“Don´t do that, Mac… please.” Nikki demanded after she had eyed him probing for some time. “Don´t lie to me.”

MacGyver closed his eyes with the sting her words caused to his heart. He had intended to protect her from this very dark corner in his mind and heart, but never wanted to hurt her by giving her the feeling of lying to her.

“I´m sorry.” he sighed with a low voice. “I didn´t mean to lie to you. I just…”

He broke off and opened his eyes once more but still kept his gaze directed to the ceiling. MacGyver felt Nikki take a deep breath and her slender hand travel up to his cheek. With gentle force, she urged him to turn his head and look at her. Their eyes locked and Nikki noticed the remains of sudden fright and pain in Mac´s dark brown eyes.

“Talk to me…” she asked soft and worried.

A lump formed in MacGyver´s throat. He hated telling Nikki about his memory of Deborah. She didn´t deserve to share that pain. He still hesitated and searched for the right words, when Nikki addressed him again.

“It´s her, right? … Deborah?”

MacGyver instantly felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end with Nikki mentioning her name. He wanted to turn away from Nikki, but she wouldn´t let him. Her hand stayed firmly on his cheek. MacGyver saw the sorrow she felt for him in her eyes.

“You woke up with her up here as well?” Nikki continued to probe.

MacGyver felt himself blush guiltily and caught. There was no point in denying it to her. He nodded and took a deep breath.

“About two hours before the bomb on the boat went off.” he admitted with a hoarse voice. “The memory flashed into my head when I woke up. I´m sorry… I didn´t want to…”

Nikki silenced him with a soft kiss.

“You´ve got nothing to be sorry for.” she said with deep sympathy and kissed him again. Then she looked down on him with a teasing smile. “But you do know, that I won´t try to kill you, do you?”

MacGyver couldn´t help but return a lopsided grin. He nodded.

“Yeah… I do.”

The tense atmosphere between them eased up a little. MacGyver raised his right hand and gently caressed her hair while he looked up at her and took in the caring expression on her face silently for a few moments. Nikki´s hand slid down to his neck and she squared her shoulders a little.

“I love you.” she told him huskily with an earnest and warm smile. “I don´t want to lose you.”

MacGyver knew he should have sensed gratitude for her words and her openness, but he instantly froze. An icy chill ran down his spine and his body stiffened. Once again, he felt his breath catch in his throat and bit his lower lip to fight the abrupt returning terror. The mixture of confusion and shock he saw on Nikki´s face only worsened things. Nikki pushed herself a little up and away from Mac when she felt a shiver running through him. She pulled her hand back until it was lying on his chest right next to her. His reaction caught her totally unprepared.

“MacGyver?” she asked worriedly. “What on earth…?”

Nikki broke off when she saw him close his eyes and take a deep breath. Nikki addressing him had drawn MacGyver back to the present at once. He slowly let out the deep breath, forced himself to look at Nikki´s concerned face, and pushed back the memory that had burst back into his mind.

“Sorry.” He swallowed hard and slowly ran his hand over her wavy hair. “I´m grateful for what you told me… really… But Deborah said the exact same words to me before I took off with the boat.” he continued with a low voice after another deep breath. “And then she blew it…”

Nikki´s face fell with his explanation. She held her breath briefly before she sighed with deep sympathy.

“Oh, dear… MacGyver, I had no idea…” she started to apologize, but MacGyver cut her off by laying one finger across her lips.

“It is not your fault.” he said softly. A small smile grew on his face. “I´m all right… but it may take some time to get that memory out of my head.” MacGyver soothingly stroked her cheek with his long fingers and threaded his left arm through the gap between Nikki´s upper body and her arm, where she had pushed herself up to her elbow. “Must have also been hard for you to pretend being married.” he continued after a few silent seconds. “For the second time…”

Nikki´s face was still somber when she nodded, but a bit of a smile played around her lips a moment later.

“It got easier a little more than one week ago…” she admitted.

“We´ve both got some haunting memories concerning relationships.” MacGyver stated. “Being together won´t be easy…”

A warm wave of relief washed through him when he wrapped his left arm around her back and felt the tension leave her body. Nikki bent down to place a soft and comforting kiss on his cheek and then cuddled herself close to him, her head buried at his shoulder, holding on to him with one arm around his chest. MacGyver turned a little towards Nikki, pulled her even tighter into an embrace, and placed a tender kiss on her forehead.

“Until we manage to focus on the here and now…” Mac continued low with a sigh.

He felt Nikki nod next to his shoulder and his own body relax, finally.

“We´ll be okay.” he whispered reassuringly while he squeezed her closer to himself, shut his eyes, and leaned his head against hers.

They held on to each other for minutes; until they had both calmed down, felt comfortable again after their unsettling awakening, and had pushed back the disturbing memories. They kept up their embrace, as both were savoring the comforting physical closeness of the other. MacGyver took in the smell of Nikki´s hair and skin, sensed the softness of her slender body snuggled up against his own, and felt her breathe. He felt her warmth through the fabrics of the shirts that separated them, and her bare legs resting close to his own that were clad in the sweatpants.

Despite his best intentions in the middle of the night, and even now when he was rested after several hours of sleep, Mac suddenly felt his body react strongly to her presence. MacGyver tried to shift his position without acting too obvious, so she wouldn´t notice, but when he felt Nikki´s muscles tense up a bit, he knew he was busted. He sighed inwardly.

Yes… it is truly hard to hide anything from a smart woman…

He felt Nikki raise her head and opened his eyes with a shy smile on his face.

“Didn´t you say something like ‘just sleep’?” Nikki pinned him with an accusing gaze, but didn´t move away from him or loosen her embrace. “Where´s this supposed to lead?”

“I did.” MacGyver shrugged apologetically. “But you´ve been married, do I really have to explain it?” He tried to joke at the tense situation, but Nikki just stared him down silently for a few moments.

“It won´t lead anywhere if it is not okay with you.” Mac added quickly, released his hold around her, and reattempted to pull back from her. But Nikki slightly moved with him while she eyed him probing.

“It won´t?” she asked sternly as she once more pushed herself up to one elbow and rested her hand on the middle of his chest. Right above his beating heart.

“Of course not.” he reassured. His heartbeat sped up. “Nikki, I meant no offense… I´m sorry if…”

Nikki silenced him by crossing his lips with her fingers and observed him for another long moment. MacGyver had to concentrate on breathing when she slowly bent down and kissed him. Tender, soft, unhurried, and very sensual. Mac couldn´t help but close his eyes and respond to her while he managed to keep his hands pressed on the mattress.

He licked his lips nervously and opened his eyes with surprisedly raised eyebrows, when she broke the kiss seemingly endless seconds later. He could still taste her while she once again looked down on him critically, measuring him.

“I stayed on my side of the bed.” MacGyver tried to defend himself further. “You did come over and…”

“I know.” Nikki cut him off with a very low voice.

Her face stayed somber before she kissed him once more, even more intense, passionate and sensuous this time. Her hand caressed his tousled hair and traveled down to his shoulder when she rose up to scrutinize him afterward. MacGyver had to take a deep breath to stay in control of his thoughts due to the electrifying sensation he felt his body tingle with because of her kisses. But her mixed signals and her serious expression confused him.

“Nikki, you´d better stop this if you´re not…” he started hoarsely, inwardly still determined to respect her limits and back off if she wanted him to, but his words trailed off when he sensed her fingers draw a thrilling line along his collarbone through the t-shirt. By now, he was glad about the shirts and the sweatpants still being there and separating them. But then her body softened and melted even closer toward his own.

“It is okay with me.”

She smiled amused at how embarrassed he had been and how she now saw surprise and relief showing in his eyes and on his face with her consent. MacGyver at once felt himself blushing and a wave of heat rush up his spine as he understood. She had been teasing him! She had misled him! On purpose! But he wasn´t able to scowl at her for more than a few seconds because of her flirtatious smile.

He couldn´t take his eyes off her when she shot the clock on his nightstand a quick look. At that moment MacGyver didn´t care what time it was. The intensity of the emotions he sensed made his heart pound. The heat and the tingling spread through his whole body. At that moment he was done with consciously thinking about any of his feelings toward Nikki. He looked up at her with deep affection and wrapped his arms around her. Right now, the only thing MacGyver desired was to be close to her, to hold her, to feel her, to give her even more bliss and pleasure than he already felt thanks to the thrill of anticipation. But Nikki stopped him when he tried to pull her down for another kiss.

“You do remember that we both have an appointment with Pete Thornton?” she asked suddenly and firmly, but with a playful smile.

MacGyver´s hands gently traveled up to the back of her shoulders; the fingers of his right one started tenderly caressing the back of her neck while the left one slid back to her waist along her spine. He nodded. His dark brown eyes seemed to sparkle when Nikki held his gaze. His romantic expression slowly turned into an impish grin.

“I guess, he´ll have to wait… we might both be late.”




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 4 December 2021 - 07:17 PM                                    
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DXS Agent
*****

Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
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Country: USA
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



Very nice chapter. The beginning is typical Mac with the TV western and couch-sleeping. Good job getting him into his actual bed, by the way!! I like how you provide us with insight into Nikki as she stays and looks around Mac's apartment (good details, here) and then muses in the chair. Darn that Deborah! She really did a number on Mac! I really like the conversation between Mac and Nikki the next morning, and I like Nikki calling him out for lying. Her straight-forwardness and tenacity is something I liked about her and also something I think Mac needs in a woman. As you made comments about how it's hard to be in a relationship with a smart woman, I'm thinking that's what Mac needs! Oh, and you mentioned Nikki dating Matt Webber. I didn't like him from the start! Finally, I think it's cute how Mac becomes shy when their interaction becomes more intimate. Though never actually shown on the series, comments about his relationships made me believe he wouldn't tend to be shy in that particular area. I think it shows how truly special Nikki is to him. He really doesn't want to do or say anything to mess this up. And yes! By all means, be late for the meeting! It took so long to get this far, don't stop just to go to meet with Pete! I have a feeling he'll forgive you:))



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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bluegirl
Posted: 5 December 2021 - 08:51 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 123
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
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So, has everybody had enough time to imagine why they would be late...? biggrin.gif tongue.gif biggrin.gif

So, let´s get them settled back at home, get used to the changes, and let everyday life catch up with them...
It´s 'halftime'! Remember, there are ten more parts to come! And all of you enjoying the 'lovestory', remember that I set out to explain why Nikki is NOT there anymore from season 4 on...

Here we go:

Part 11


It was well past 10 a.m. when MacGyver and Nikki stepped into the elevator at the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters. Nikki had taken her own car and stopped at her apartment to change into a more business-like outfit after she´d left the houseboat. They had met again in the lobby by coincidence; Nikki had arrived just as MacGyver had been signing himself in. She had shown her usual behavior toward the securities and the colleagues that had entered the elevator with them and only shot Mac a quick smile.

MacGyver had been a little confused at first, but quickly picked up on her intention to keep their relationship concealed and, of course, respected it. He had greeted her along with the others, nevertheless, while they stood silently in the elevator car, he couldn´t keep his eyes off her for all too long.

The physical and emotional echo of their morning together had him being more aware of everything and more sensitive to his surroundings, but at the same time more relaxed and contented. His torn and broken heart felt whole again. Somehow it felt like being more alive, more energetic once again after the trying time he had been through. Mac silently smiled to himself when he forced himself to tear his gaze off her and lowered his eyes to look at his shoes.

Two floors later all the other Phoenix employees had left the elevator and they were alone. MacGyver looked up at her with a boyish grin while he still leaned against the back wall of the elevator car.

“Hey there…”

Nikki turned her head toward him and smiled back, but didn´t move.

“I take it, you wanna keep this between us?” Mac asked.

Nikki nodded and turned back to the elevator´s doors.

“Some discretion would be nice… At least until you´ve made it kind of ‘official’ with Pete Thornton.” she answered quietly. “I´m not keen on any more gossip since my mistake with Matt Webber.”

Mac nodded and pushed himself off the wall. He stepped closer to her and raised one hand to caress her hair and her neck.

“I can understand that… I´ll talk to him. As soon as possible.”

He brushed a soft kiss on the side of her head with a playful smile.

“Thanks again for this morning.” he whispered huskily while he breathed in the smell of her hair. “It was amazing.”

Nikki eased herself out of his reach but returned the smile for a brief moment.

“You do remember that the elevators have video surveillance?” she reminded him with a chiding edge.

MacGyver slowly lowered his hand and his smile turned into a mischievous grin.

“I know, where the security footage is kept…” he replied low while he retreated back to the wall.

Nikki shot him a silent warning look, and Mac quickly raised both hands in a defensive gesture.

“Hey… just kidding!” he added hurriedly.

Nikki kept staring him down, and only a moment later the elevator doors opened for them. MacGyver observed how Nikki instantly switched back to her business-like attitude when she left the car and followed her toward Pete´s office. Helen shot the clock on the wall a glance when they passed through the front office, yet greeted them heartily.

“He´s already waiting for you.” she said with a slightly accusing look towards Mac. “Go right in.”

MacGyver stopped with Nikki beside him to knock on the frame of the half-open door. Pete Thornton quickly looked up from the files he had been reading and waved them in.

“Good morning!” he greeted them smiling, but his expression went serious only a moment later. “I know that you´re not always the one to be on time, MacGyver… but you, Nikki?” he scolded them. “Don´t tell me some of his habits are rubbing off on you?”

MacGyver grinned and shrugged apologetically.

“Kind of… sorry, Pete… it´s my fault.” he took the blame and Pete´s attention off Nikki while they walked up to Pete´s desk and sat down opposite to him.

Pete shot his friend a puzzled glance but concentrated back on his files when MacGyver gestured toward them.

“Are those the prints made from the film we brought with us?” MacGyver swiftly changed the topic and Pete nodded and handed the folder over to him.

“Our analysts are already working on the documents.” Pete stated. “But a first look confirmed that it is hot stuff. It seems the GRU has more problems than just Zorkin and Baranov. I´ll wait to pass it on until the full report is ready, but I guess the DXS will also be very interested.”

MacGyver flipped through the prints silently. His Russian was a little rusted but he got the main points the documents were about. It seemed as if a group of agents had built a ‘shadow organization’ within the GRU and had followed their own agenda.

“So it was worth the effort… glad to hear that.” he nodded after he was done and offered the manila folder to Nikki. She shot MacGyver a quick deprecating stare as she took the prints from him but said nothing. Pete, on the other hand, picked up on Mac´s comment and pinned him with an expectant gaze.

“Speaking of your effort… care to share the details with me?”

MacGyver drew in a deep breath while he recalled the evening in Znojmo and the night and the days afterward. Being forced to flee through the forest. Falling ill with the cold and getting injured while crossing the border. Being weakened by and delirious due to the high fever. He straightened himself in his chair and nodded.

“Sure.”

It took several minutes until he was through with telling his side of the events and Nikki had related her point of view. They both deliberately spared out the part about how their relationship had changed during the days at Starkoss´s house. Pete Thornton sat silently and seriously looking at them for a few moments after they were done.

“Starkoss?” he asked baffled then. “You mentioned him on the phone, Nikki, but… him turning up must have been quite a surprise.”

Mac nodded and shot Nikki a thankful sideways glance.

“I´m definitely glad about that surprise.” he said to Pete. And you don´t even know about the other one yet, Mac added mentally.

“So am I.” Nikki agreed. “I didn´t have any clue how to find you until he turned up.”

“Your special kind of luck, Mac?” Pete asked as he leaned back behind his desk.

MacGyver shrugged nonchalantly and opened his mouth to reply but Nikki cut him off.

“Well, you certainly can´t claim him to be part of your improvisation.”

Mac was stunned silent for a moment.

“I don´t.” he then countered reflexively and threw her a quick sideways look. “I´m thankful that you chose to improvise along with him”

“I didn´t have much of a choice if I wanted to help you.” Nikki shot back.

“All right, people, save it.” Pete stopped them. “Why don´t you both get out of here and get to work on your written reports? I need them as soon as possible. And I also need those rings back from you.”

MacGyver and Nikki fell silent and concentrated back on their boss. Then Nikki took off her ring, got up, and handed the ring and the folder back to Pete.

“I´ll be in my office.”

“The promised money should arrive until the late afternoon.” Pete added. “I´ll let you both know in time.”

Nikki nodded, turned and left the office, but MacGyver stayed in his seat and gazed down at the ring on his bandaged left hand. Why not break the news with Pete right away, he thought.

“What will you be doing with your share this time?” Pete asked him with an amused smile and turned back to the files on his desk. “A new roll of duct tape again?”

“Nope.” Mac replied absentmindedly. “A new rain jacket.”

Pete first grinned at his answer, but quickly noticed his friend´s changed mood and focused on him.

“MacGyver? … What´s the matter?”

Mac sighed and looked up at him with a serious and pensive expression. Pete´s face turned concerned in an instant.

“What´s wrong?”

“Nothing.” MacGyver now assured quickly. “But what I´ve got to tell you might be quite a surprise to you…”

Pete frowned at Mac worried, but he waited silently for him to find the right words.

“Nikki and I left out something while we told our story… something important.” MacGyver started out hesitatingly and gazed at Pete with a shy smile. As comfortable as he felt with Nikki close, admitting his feelings for her felt unaccustomed to him. Even to Pete. His closest friend.

“Our relationship has changed during the last two weeks.” Mac finally said.

“I didn´t mention it yesterday, but I noticed that the two of you get along with less tension.” Pete answered as his expression eased up a little. “Your friendship must have grown closer while she took care of you… I guess you must be grateful.”

MacGyver lowered his eyes to his hands and licked his lips nervously. He slowly took off the golden ring and rolled it between his fingers.

“It´s more than just gratitude.” he stated with a low, but firm voice after a small pause. “It grew way beyond friendship.”

Pete gaped at him silently when Mac raised his head with a more confident smile.

“What?” Pete stammered baffled after a couple of seconds. “Are you telling me…?”

MacGyver nodded quietly.

“You and Nikki?” Pete continued, still puzzled, while he leaned back in his chair. “Well, that ‘is’ quite a surprise… the two of you always were like fire and ice…”

“We´re working on that…” MacGyver´s smile widened and relaxed.

“I´m happy for both of you.” Pete sighed with relief. “But why are you telling me this alone? You both know that the Phoenix Foundation has no restrictions concerning…”

“We do.” Mac cut him off and leaned forward. “Nikki asked me to talk to you… to tell you… with respect to our close friendship.”

Pete nodded and smiled with understanding.

“Let her know that I appreciate it… and that I´m grateful that she brought you back alive.”

“I will.” MacGyver promised with an earnest smile.

“And now get out of here and get to work.” Pete ordered. “You do remember that I need your mission report?”

MacGyver quickly got to his feet, laid the ring on Pete´s desk next to the one Nikki had worn, and gave his friend and boss a lopsided salute.

“Yes, sir.”

*****

MacGyver had directly gone to Nikki´s office to tell her about his conversation with Pete after she´d left them. She had been relieved to hear that Pete Thornton had taken the news well, but had soon afterward shooed Mac out of her office, so she could continue to work on her report undistracted. The three of them had met again later in the afternoon when Pete had called Mac and Nikki back to his office to pick up the money that had been offered by wealthy U.S. supporters of the organization the Dubcek brothers were leading. Like last year, MacGyver had chosen to anonymously donate most of his share to the brothers´ fight for human rights and Nikki had followed his example.

They had met Anton and Pavel Dubcek on the next day in their guarded house, as Pete Thornton still kept the brothers under protection by Phoenix operatives. Anton and Pavel had expressed their gratitude to MacGyver and Nikki and, like last year, Anton had been completely baffled and overwhelmed by the amount of money that had been contributed to their cause.

Pete had joined them and had shared all the news concerning the documents, as not only Mac and Nikki but also the analysts had finished their reports and had confirmed their first assumptions. Pete had already passed on the information about the shadow organization within the GRU to the DXS as well. Unfortunately, there were no news whatsoever regarding the whereabouts of Zorkin and Baranov.

Nevertheless, Pete had told MacGyver to take several days off for further recovery and had told Nikki to take care of all the paperwork that had piled up on her desk during the last two weeks. However, it had taken only three days until Mac had turned up in Pete´s office unannounced and bored. He had tried to persuade his friend to allow him back to his regular work, but Pete had been cautious.

“Only light duty for some time.” he had told MacGyver.

*****

A little more than a week later MacGyver was roused briskly and real early from his sleep by the alarm clock on his nightstand. Still half asleep and somewhat automatically he reached out with one hand and pushed the button on top of the clock to silence it. His still sleep-dazed mind noticed the half-light of daybreak through his closed eyelids, and then he felt movement next to his back. A female body turned and snuggled up to his, a slender arm wrapped itself around his bare upper body.

“Do you really have to get up that early?” He heard Nikki ask drowsily and softly.

Her warm breath tickled pleasantly on the skin of his neck. Slowly the memory of last evening and last night crept back into his head. Nikki. She had come over to his houseboat for dinner and they had enjoyed a cozy evening. Everyday life had caught up with both of them soon after their return from Austria, and yesterday had been their first opportunity to spend some time together, apart from their work at the Phoenix Foundation.

Planned and deliberately this time, unlike their first night back home.

He remembered the conversations they´d had; he remembered cuddling with her on the couch before she had chosen to stay for the night as well. It had been a very special night. Slow, tender, exploring each other's feelings and desires, but also passionate and filled with deep affection. The physical and emotional echo of the memory returned as he felt Nikki´s lips gently kiss the side of his neck. Slowly Mac rolled onto his back, turned his head toward her, and let his mouth find hers.

“You know, I do.” MacGyver answered low when their lips parted after a couple of sensual moments and he finally opened his eyes with an apologetic smile. “I have to keep up the schedule on recording the data.”

Nikki pushed herself up to one elbow and scrutinized him while her fingertips traced a line first along his collarbone and then down the middle of his chest. MacGyver let her do as she liked and savored the tingling sensation for a few moments before he caught her hand with his own and held it in place.

“Don´t tempt me.” he asked as he wrapped his other arm around Nikki´s waist, looked up at her adoringly, and pulled her into a close embrace. “I´d like to stay with you… you know that as well.”

At that moment Mac was truly relieved that she once again had commandeered one of his hockey shirts for sleeping, and he could only feel her body pressed against his through the fabric. Sensing her warm, silky skin directly on his own, like last night, might have shaken his resolve.

“So?” Nikki replied with a seductive smile and gently pulled her hand free. Her fingers traveled upward, caressing MacGyver´s neck and hair, and then followed his eyebrows and cheekbones before Mac caught her hand again. He brushed a soft kiss on her palm and looked up with a now serious expression at her.

“It is important, Nikki.” he answered.

“They´re all important.” Nikki shot back and rolled her eyes, but Mac quickly cut her off.

“Hey! … We´ve been through that.” he countered. “With Steven Knapp behind bars, his associates have aborted their plans to build the marina, but the state environmental agency is still asking for our long-term study. They´re thinking about turning the beach and its surroundings into a natural preserve. I´ve been involved in the research from the beginning. I can´t withdraw from it now. Not with an opportunity like this.”

Nikki stared down at him silently for a moment. She had always admired his dedication to his environmental work. But with this particular project… she was apprehensive. She sighed deeply and nodded.

“You know that Phoenix has several scientists on their regular payroll that could run the study.” she tried to argue.

“Many of them are already working on it.” MacGyver stated resolutely. “But I´ve been supervising this from the start… and Pete won´t assign me anywhere else for now. He´s still concerned about my recovery.”

“So am I.” Nikki snapped at him.

MacGyver flinched back a little with her harsh reply and frowned at her surprised and baffled.

“The work isn´t all too physically demanding. It is only ‘light duty’ according to Pete´s standards.” he told her, but after a beat, she suddenly avoided his gaze. Mac watched her for a moment and then reached up to stroke over her dark, wavy hair. His long fingers found her chin and urged her to look at him with gentle force.

“Nikki?” he asked her softly. “What´s really going on?”

Her face showed a lot of concern and Nikki hesitated to answer, but Mac´s deep brown eyes bore into her and held her captive. She cleared her throat.

“I don´t like the idea of you going back to that beach… alone… and by boat.” She said with a low voice.

MacGyver puffed out a deep breath.

“That boat is new… and I´ve checked it myself… nothing is gonna…” he started to assure her quickly, but his words trailed off when she lowered her eyes again.

“I´m not worried about the boat.” Nikki continued sharply after a small pause. “I´m worried about the memories it might bring back to you… I´ve seen how they still affect you, remember? I can´t get those moments out of my head.” She stared at him silently after those sentences.

MacGyver drew in a long, deep breath. He hadn´t been aware that his abrupt frightened reaction more than a week ago when they had woken up in his bed for the first time together still bothered her that much. Neither had he been aware that she was still thinking about it. He let out a long sigh, let go of her chin, and caressed her hair in a comforting gesture.

“That´s part of why I have to go.” he answered slow and husky. “I have to face those memories to know that I´ll be able to stand up to them. I´ll be all right.”

He forced his serious expression to turn into a reassuring smile when Nikki didn´t reply. After a few moments, he gave her his best disarming and boyish grin.

“And I didn´t panic last night or today, did I?”

Nikki couldn´t help but return a smile at his cheeky remark while her hand traveled back to the middle of MacGyver´s chest. Close to his beating heart. She soaked up the feeling of it silently for a moment. She liked his special kind of sarcastic humor when he tried to ease up tense situations.

“No, you didn´t.” she admitted with a widening and earnest smile. “You made last evening and night truly awesome.”

MacGyver´s grin turned into a look of pure adoration for her. Her openness touched him deep inside, and he was speechless and overwhelmed for seconds as a wave of comfortable warmth washed through him.

“Come here.” he asked hoarsely when he turned to her, pulled her down for a kiss, and then wrapped her into a tight embrace.

Nikki buried her face at his neck and held on to MacGyver. That is just another part of Mac´s character that makes him so special, she thought. No matter what difficulties he faced, he always tried his best to be a bastion of calm and solid as a rock for the people he cared about. She felt safe in his arms.

After a few moments, Nikki felt him turn her onto her back and ease himself a little away from her. Mac rested his body on his elbows just above her, so his weight wouldn´t crush her. He grinned down at her when she opened her eyes.

“You could come with me.” he offered. “You could help me recording the data.”

“Pete wouldn´t be happy about that.” Nikki shook her head. “There´s still a pile of paperwork waiting on my desk.”

“Too bad.” MacGyver´s expression turned serious when he shot his alarm clock a glance and then he brushed a quick kiss on her forehead. “But I do have to get up and get ready now.”

When Mac felt Nikki reluctantly loosen up her hold on him, he quickly pushed himself up, turned away, and sat up on the edge of the bed. He fished for his sweatpants on the floor and pulled them on over his boxer shorts as he stood up. Then he slipped into his sweatshirt with a little hurry because he sensed that inside he was in close danger of changing his mind. She looked too gorgeous lying in his bed with only his hockey shirt on and her dark, wavy hair still tousled from sleep. But he also knew he couldn´t leave Nikki like this.

MacGyver went around the bed to her side and crouched down next to her. He reached out for Nikki´s hand and she entwined her fingers with his. She smiled at him, but Mac could see a bit of remaining worry in her eyes. Silently he tried to smile away her sorrows for a couple of moments.

“I know it is real early.” he then said softly. “You can stay here as long as you like.”

Nikki nodded quietly while he kissed the back of her hand and then gently freed his fingers. MacGyver got up again, slipped into his socks and sneakers, and went downstairs to the kitchen.

*****

MacGyver had already finished preparing his breakfast shake and was consuming it while he checked the contents of the bags for his trip for the last time when Nikki came down the spiral staircase. She had used the time to take a quick shower and was now fully dressed and seemed ready for the day. Mac looked up at her and shot her a warm smile.

“I’ve set up coffee for you.” he told her with a nod toward the kitchen.

“Thanks.” she answered quietly, poured herself a cup and sat down at the kitchen table.

Nikki silently watched him while Mac finished making sure that every piece of his gear was there and ready, waited while he went upstairs to shower and get dressed, and helped him carry the bags outside and load them onto the boat.

Like last week, MacGyver felt more energetic and somewhat renewed after the time he and Nikki had spent together. But he had been so concentrated on getting ready for his day of research on that beach that it took some time for him to notice Nikki´s still pensive mood. He only became aware of the serious expression on her face when she handed him the last of his bags. Mac stowed the equipment away and then stepped back onto the pier next to her. He smiled down at her and softly caressed her hair in a comforting gesture.

“Hey… still thinking back?” he asked with a low voice.

Nikki looked up at him, seemingly lost in reflection, and then lowered her eyes to the boat.

“I was with Pete in his office when the call came in.” she said flatly. “They only told us about some explosion and that you were being taken to a hospital via emergency transport… that dreadful time until we had found you in that hospital and the doctor had told us that you were fine… for the most part. The memory came back to me while I watched you check your gear.”

MacGyver´s face froze while he drew in a deep breath.

“The explosion caught me completely unprepared.” he admitted. “I didn´t even have time to be scared before everything went dark… well, I was when I woke up blinded.” He sighed deeply and kissed her forehead. “But that is behind us, it all worked out well… We agreed to focus on the present, right?”

His long fingers found her chin and gently urged her to look at him. Mac forced himself to smile when he saw the sorrow in Nikki´s eyes.

“Nobody´s gonna get hurt.” he tried to convince her. “Trust me on that.”

“You know that I trust you.” Nikki replied resolutely, but her expression stayed serious.

MacGyver´s smile widened a little while he let go of her chin and reached down for her hand.

“So do I.”

His second hand went into his jeans´ pocket for the spare key to his houseboat that he´d stuffed into it earlier and now fished it out. He placed the key on her palm, softly wrapped her fingers around it, and held on to her closed hand with both of his for a moment.

“I´ll be back in the evening.” he said with a low voice. “Please, lock up before you leave.”

Nikki was speechless with surprise. She stared down at their hands. That man was known for his fear of commitment. She had heard enough gossip around the Phoenix Foundation about that fact over the last year. But there he was, handing her the key to his home, to the center of his life. Just like that.

His hands left hers, returned to her neck, and gently raised her head. She was still too overwhelmed to know how to respond when he bent down to kiss her. Soft. Warm. Tender. She couldn´t help smiling back and looking into his dark brown eyes only a second later.

“I gotta cast off.” Mac told her. “Can you help me with the lines?”

Nikki nodded silently as he let go of her and then turned to the stern of the boat to loosen the rope, while Mac did the same at the bow. MacGyver then stepped into the boat with a fluid motion and started the engine.

“Be careful, Mac, will you?” Nikki called out to him over the noise.

MacGyver shot her a beaming boyish grin over his shoulder.

“Yes, ma’am.”

In the next moment, he pushed the throttle control forward and steered the boat toward the open water of the ocean.

Nikki stood on the pier next to MacGyver´s houseboat and observed him drive off in the small boat until he was out of sight. Then she looked down at the key for a couple of seconds, still a bit baffled. She felt like looking at a gemstone… precious, but delicate. Slowly Nikki closed her fingers around the key and shot the direction Mac had disappeared to a glance while a blissful smile widened on her face. She took a deep breath and went back into the houseboat.

*****

MacGyver puffed out a relieved breath when he had tied the boat to the pier. He retrieved his bags and slowly took the few steps over to his houseboat. Mac unlocked the door, went inside, and dropped the bags next to the spiral staircase. With a deep sigh, he shrugged out of his jacket, hung it up on one of the coat hangers, and strode to the kitchen.

He was truly glad that one of his colleagues had offered to take the soil and water samples with him in his car. Otherwise, Mac would have been obliged to deliver those samples to the Phoenix labs right now. He had happily accepted that offer, as it spared him from having to drive to the lab complex after a long day of research. They had gotten through their planned workload well and without problems, and MacGyver had been relieved to see that the environmental study was perfectly on track. He hadn´t been involved in the daily work for some time as he only supervised the project, and it was way too early to predict its final results, but the initial findings pointed in the right direction. He hadn´t expected anything else after the earlier preliminary study.

MacGyver saw the evening sun already nearing the horizon through the window when he tiredly leaned against the kitchen island.

That day of research has been more exhausting than I thought, Mac mused while he filled up a glass with water. I hadn´t counted on the aftereffects of my illness and injuries still being that present.

He took a few large gulps and noticed that Nikki had taken the time to straighten up the kitchen in the morning. Mac silently smiled to himself. I´ve cleaned up the mixer after preparing my shake, but the rest of it… Thanks, when I asked you to lock up I didn´t have that in the back of my mind.

He emptied the glass, went over to his well-worn couch, and wearily dropped onto it. MacGyver allowed his thoughts to wander back to the morning.

Nikki has been right, he admitted internally. Apart from the research, the day has brought back a lot of haunting memories. But they don´t scare me like before. Thanks to her.

Mac turned and shot his guitar that was resting against the bookshelf a probing look. He had played on it for Deborah. But never since then. It hadn´t felt right. What about now?

Another thought from this morning surfaced in his mind. His decision to hand Nikki a key to his home had been kind of spontaneous. As he now reflected on this decision he had to swallow hard. He knew way too well about Nikki´s fear of letting anybody come real close. Mac´s own fear of committing himself completely to a relationship was quite similar. He had also lost so many dear people, friends, people he had loved.

MacGyver suddenly felt as if he had blindsided himself by handing her the key. It was truly a leap of faith for him. Even more so after Deborah´s betrayal. He had handed her a key to his home way too soon. Mac took several deep breaths to calm his abrupt doubts and urged himself to remember how he had felt… last evening, last night, this morning. He leaned back on the couch, ran his hands through his hair, and rubbed his face nervously.

Was it too soon? he asked himself. For her or myself? But we know each other for about one year now… I told her, that I do trust her… so? How can I not trust her after all we´ve been through?

MacGyver stared down at the freshly healed scar on his left palm. The memory of holding her in his arms last night popped into his head. The emotions returned. Sudden warmth spread from his stomach through his worn-out body.

Come on, MacGyver, he chided himself mentally. By now, you should have figured out what she means to you, what you feel for her. You can´t be seriously still doubting that…

Mac shook his head to clear it and sighed deeply.

No, he assured himself after a few moments. I´m not. Not anymore.

A contented smile widened on his face while he stood up to pick up his guitar. He then perched himself more comfortably on his sofa, before he checked the tuning of the instrument and started to play his favorite tunes.




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 5 December 2021 - 02:13 PM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 610
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
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Good for them!! They were late...with a very good reason!!!! I love the little bantering between them in Pete' office...it's so much a part of both their characters it needs to stay even in this 'new' relationship. Well, we all know Mac won't take Pete's advice about taking it easy. Wonder how Mac interprets 'light duty'? Probably not the way Pete wants him to!! You do a very nice job transitioning back into real life and day-to-day work. So, Mac is still working on the project where he encountered Deborah. We know Mac is having trouble dealing with those memories, but I like how you added Nikki's point of view and her worry about him. When Mac gave Nikki the key to his houseboat, it seemed logical since she would be the one to lock up, but you load it with symbolism of commitment which makes the action that much more important. You also show that both of them still have issues to work through if their relationship is going to work. Since you pointed out that it's only "half time" I have a feeling things will get more 'interesting'. And the GRU agents are still out there somewhere. That unsettles me. Should I be unsettled?? The ending is terrific!! I LOVE that you have Mac playing his guitar. I wish he had done it more often on the series, especially since it's a part of RDA in real life. Another well written chapter!!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 9 December 2021 - 12:16 AM                                    
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Episode:Do I have to decide?
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Hi there, another Thursday has arrived...

Should you be unsettled with the GRU agents still being out there? ... Well, you might be, but isn´t there always someone out there hunting MacGyver?? hmm.bmp whistle.gif nasty.gif

I told all of you there´s ten more parts to come - kind of like 'the second half' of this story. Let´s get started with this one:

Part 12


The summer has passed real quickly, MacGyver thought while he loosened his tie and strode back to his jeep in the dimness of the street lights. The nights are getting cool already, even here in Los Angeles, and it´s only the beginning of September. But it´ll be a few weeks until I´ll have to get the hardtop and the doors back on.

Mac smiled to himself as he opened his suit jacket and climbed into the car. He fastened his seatbelt and turned for a moment to look back at the apartment building he´d just left before he turned the key to start the engine. It had been a very special evening. Not quite like the ones he was used to. Suit and tie. A high-class restaurant. Well out of his regular comfort zone.

MacGyver had taken Nikki out, had invited her on something like a date. He had felt, he had to do it as nothing like it had happened in their relationship yet. Nikki had been surprised when he had asked her. She had been even more surprised at his looks when he had turned up earlier this evening to pick her up. Especially because he´d chosen one of his best suits only for her. Without being pressed to do it. Simply because he´d known that she would appreciate it. She had teased him for his formal outfit, but he had noticed that she´d felt flattered by it.

Even though he had asked her to dress up as well in advance, MacGyver had been too baffled to counter her teasing for several minutes after she´d opened the apartment door. He had seen her in all kinds of outfits over the past year and he´d always seen her as an attractive woman, but this time… She had changed from her business outfit to a black dress, close-fitting, length just below her knees with high-heels and just the right touch of make-up and jewelry. The way the dress had hugged her curves at all the right places had blown him away at first sight. Mac had needed a few moments until he´d been able to tell her how beautiful she had looked.

Having had Nikki at his side in the car, during dinner and the walk they had taken afterward, had him feeling as if he had been taking care of a treasure. His treasure. Although MacGyver didn´t feel the least bit possessive toward her. He was very well aware that this treasure had been handed, had been gifted to him. That fact made it even more valuable to him.

He had just returned that precious home, had escorted Nikki to the door of her apartment only a few moments ago. Their last tender kiss still echoed within him as he put the jeep into gear and drove off. With the dark night sky above him, his thoughts wandered back even further on his way home. The last two months had passed quickly; however, they had been full of special days and special experiences.

After their return from Austria, their common, everyday life had soon caught up with Mac and Nikki. They had both been engrossed in their work for the Phoenix Foundation, yet had found ways to work together, they wouldn´t have thought about before, or even thought possible. The environmental study on the beach had been a good example. MacGyver had been able to concentrate on his work in the field and the lab thanks to Nikki taking the load of paperwork and red tape off his back as soon as she had been done with the overhang of files left on her desk after their return. Pete had been quite surprised when they had presented their idea of cooperating to him but had allowed them to follow through with it.

MacGyver and Nikki had worked together on a few other cases as well during the summer, and thinking back it amused MacGyver, how Pete had been almost relieved to see that sometimes he and Nikki had still been bantering about how to proceed in a complicated situation. But Pete had also assigned them solo on some missions if necessary.

He and Nikki had spent a lot of time with each other off work too, but been careful not to stick together all of the time. Nikki had been aware of Mac´s need to keep the balance between their relationship and his independence and he was truly grateful for it. Sometimes he longed for solitude and she´d granted it to him. Without questioning it.

On a few weekends, MacGyver and Nikki had been traveling up to Widow Canyon to help Pete rebuild the cabin that Murdoc had burned down. They both didn´t have the best memories about being there thanks to Mike´s accident and thanks to Murdoc, but had gradually overcome them. MacGyver had sensed the guilt and the sadness he had felt during his days after Mike´s death pull him down again on their first stay up there, but rebuilding the cabin and focusing on the work together with Nikki and Pete had helped him fill the place with positive memories once more. The last of those weekends, about two weeks ago, had been unique, Mac remembered while driving home. Pete had been forced to return to Los Angeles earlier because of some emergency at the Foundation, and they had had the last day for themselves.

Nikki´s manual skills had improved during all the days she´d been working up there, and they had been able to finish the roof and the boarding of the walls on that last day. Nevertheless, Mac had suggested staying in the tent they had pitched close to the fireplace that he had built near the shore of the small lake. He had fixed dinner using that fire but somehow, after consuming their meal, they had ended up sitting and talking on the pier behind the cabin, first watching the sunset and later gazing up to the stars.

At some point, Nikki had leaned against him; Mac had noticed her getting cold and had wrapped her into his jacket and his arms. He had felt her breathe, had taken in the smell of her hair, and had felt so deeply contented at those moments. Contented with how his life had once again taken an unexpected, but awesome turn. They had remained on the pier for quite a while, mutely cuddled up to each other, with no need for words anymore. MacGyver´s smile widened at the memory of those minutes, of that evening. He had just quietly held her, she had just silently lain in his arms, but it had felt so close, so intimate, and so profound.

*****

Nikki Carpenter hung up her coat after she had closed the door of her apartment behind herself. MacGyver had just chivalrously walked her up to her door, had wished her a good night, and had left after a tender and affectionate goodbye kiss. She stood thinking for a few moments, feeling the emotional resonance of that kiss, before she turned, walked to the window front, and looked down toward the street.

After a couple of seconds, she spotted MacGyver´s silhouette in the dim light of the street lamps and watched him head to his jeep. Nikki knew he cleaned up nicely; she had seen him in a suit before, yet on this evening MacGyver had looked incredibly handsome in the dark grey, double-breasted suit, with the dark red shirt and matching tie. She hadn´t been able to withstand teasing him for his formal attire, but secretly she had felt honored and special because he had chosen to dress up like that and leave his comfort zone… for her alone.

For this special occasion. The expensive restaurant. The walk they had taken after their exquisite dinner. She´d been astounded, when he´d asked her out. On kind of a date. It was something she hadn´t expected him to do. After all the time they knew each other already. Nikki hadn´t expected Mac to be that romantic up until tonight.

And she had noticed how he had been stunned silent at her sight. Although Nikki had been careful not to dress up too fancy or too sexy. He had needed some moments until he had told her how beautiful she was, and she knew that his compliment had been genuine and heartfelt by the way his dark brown eyes had been watching her during the whole evening. As if he had been fascinated by a unique gem. MacGyver had acted like a perfect gentleman all the time, had given her the feeling of being precious and dear to him.

Nikki sighed as she watched MacGyver climb into his Jeep, look back to her windows for a moment, and then drive off. Her eyes stayed glued to the spot where the jeep had been parked after he was gone. The last summer had been nothing like she´d expected it to be after she had moved to California more than one year ago. She had done her best to avoid working together with MacGyver after they had teamed up to catch the murderer of her brother Danny, but during the last two months…

Even though Nikki still couldn´t really bear with Mac´s spontaneous and at times slightly chaotic way of handling certain situations, they had found a way of collaborating that combined their individual abilities, had found a way to complement each other. They had spent a lot of time working together closely during the summer. And off work…

She was glad that Mac had respected her need to be alone when she felt like it, as well as she had given in to his urge for solitude at times. After all he had been through in the past year she could very well understand that sometimes Mac needed to be with just himself and his thoughts. Of course, she had let him have his own way.

But the weekends they had spent together… They had been wonderful, close, funny, and sometimes challenging for her. Nikki considered herself well-trained; yet keeping up with MacGyver during the hiking tour the athletic man had invited her to earlier this summer had caused some difficulties to her.

The same had been true for her manual abilities while they had helped Pete rebuild his cabin. She had witnessed MacGyver concocting all kinds of ‘solutions’ out of virtually nothing in a squeeze, but seeing and assisting him building a wooden cabin in a workmanlike manner had added another facet to her image of him. Seeing Mac and Pete interact on those weekends, away from the Foundation, away from their work, had shown her just how close those two men were, how much their friendship was like family.

And there had been this last day at Widow Canyon, two weeks ago…

Pete had had to leave early, and she and MacGyver had been alone up there… Mac had prepared a mouth-watering dinner out of some vegetables they had brought with them from Ellard´s store and fresh fish he had caught in the lake. The fire-grilled fish had been delicious. A smile widened on Nikki´s face as she thought back to that evening.

They had moved to the pier after their meal, had watched the gorgeous scenery during sunset, and had talked about everything and anything. When it had gotten dark and the air cool, she had snuggled up to MacGyver. At some point, they had stopped talking, and Mac had taken off his jacket and wrapped it around her as soon as he had sensed her freezing. He had encircled her in his arms without saying a word, had just held her close to himself. She had felt his heartbeat close to her, had sensed his warm breath in her hair.

And for the first time since Adam had died, she had felt whole again. She´d felt as if they were the only ones on this planet. She had felt the bond, the strong affection between them. She had felt as if she was the only person that mattered to MacGyver at those moments. Nikki had never thought that it would be possible again. Especially with MacGyver, of all people…

It has started out a little rough, she remembered. That evening in Austria, the morning on the day after, all the doubts and fears that had surfaced because of their previous relationship experiences. Nikki looked up at the dark sky through her window although she could barely see any stars due to the street lights here in the middle of the city. I´m still waiting for him to say those three special words, but I guess, we´ve overcome those initial doubts, she thought. Mac was right about asking me to give us a chance…

*****

Back at the marina, MacGyver parked his jeep at his usual spot and headed directly toward his houseboat. Despite all the pleasant memories whirling through his head, by now he was tired and truly looked forward to getting out of the suit and tie. He unlocked the door and went inside and directly upstairs to change into more comfortable clothes before he came back down and flopped himself on the couch. Mac sat silently thinking for a few moments and then reached out for his guitar. He was physically weary, but due to the lingering memories his date with Nikki had brought up on his way home, his mind was still in high gear. Usually, playing a few tunes helped him calm down his thoughts.

Tonight, however, it took quite some time until his mind relaxed with the music and he got sleepy. Still with a little smile on his face and the picture of Nikki in her black dress in his head, MacGyver turned off the lights and climbed the stairs to his bedroom. They both had an appointment with Pete tomorrow morning concerning the environmental study, and a meeting with the State Environmental Agency later on. It was high time to get some rest.

Mac locked his door from the inside before going to bed and had never noticed the dark car that had followed him during the whole evening. Neither had he seen the driver that had observed him and Nikki closely, nor the second man that had left the shadows next to his houseboat only moments after Mac had entered it. That second man hurried up to the parking lot and slipped into the passenger seat of the dark vehicle.

“Have you been able to place the devices?” the driver asked without preamble.

“Yes.” the man answered quickly. “Been no problem. One upstairs, one in the kitchen, one close to his sofa. We can listen to him, wherever he is in there, whatever he´s doing, to whomever he´s talking.”

“Good.” the driver sighed. “And he won´t notice them?”

“No way.” The man shook his head. “I´ve been careful. He shouldn´t even notice that I´ve been in there… what have you been able to find out?”

“He took the woman out for dinner.” the driver replied. “Got to be his sweetheart, judging by the way he treated her.”

“The one that also works for the Phoenix Foundation? This Nicole Carpenter?” the second man wanted to know. “The one we found in the border entry records?”

“She must have been his cover then.” the driver nodded. “We need to place some bugs in her apartment as well… but there´s nothing more we can do tonight. We can only keep MacGyver under observation. And be patient. Sooner or later he´ll tell us… or show us.”

*****

MacGyver was roused briskly by his alarm clock on the next morning. Automatically he reached out to silence it and then let his arm drop back on the bed while he rolled onto his back with a sigh. He´d set the alarm as a precaution, as he still had to prepare all the documents and records he would need for his meeting with Pete and Nikki. With all the pictures of the summer his date with Nikki had brought up in his mind, Mac hadn´t been able to concentrate on the files after his return home last evening but instead had chosen to get up earlier today.

He took a deep breath, got out of his bed, and slipped into sweatpants, a t-shirt, and shoes before he went downstairs. MacGyver made quick work of preparing his breakfast shake and booted up his computer while he started sorting through the manila folders on his desk. He checked the files against his records on the hard drive and made a few more print-outs to complete his reports.

When he had finished consuming his shake, he gathered all the folders into a stack and moved them to the kitchen island. He placed the empty glass in the sink and climbed the spiral staircase toward his bed- and bathroom. After a shower, MacGyver changed into black jeans, a banded collar shirt, and picked one of his not too formal suit jackets.

Suit again, he sighed inwardly but smiled with the memory of last evening. Well, since we´ve got this appointment with the State Environmental Agency in the afternoon, I guess I do have to.

He hung the suit jacket over the rope that formed the handrail of the staircase after he had descended downward again and grabbed his well-worn messenger bag. MacGyver was just done with straightening up the kitchen and stuffing all the files into his canvas bag when the phone rang. He shot his watch a glance, noticed that it was high time for him to get going, mused about letting the machine answer the call, but in the next split second, some gut feeling made him choose against it. With a few quick strides, Mac was at his desk and picked up the receiver.

“Hello?”

“MacGyver, you´re still at home… good… it´s Nikki.”

Mac instantly noticed that Nikki´s voice sounded hurried and a little stressed.

“Yeah.” he replied while trying not to pick up on her tension. “I was just about to leave so I won´t be late when the phone rang. Just finished gathering all the reports.”

“That´s good to hear.” Nikki answered with audible relief. “Listen, could you do me a favor?”

MacGyver was speechless with surprise for a moment and raised his eyebrows. Nikki… asking me for a favor?

“Sure… name it.” he offered. “What´s the matter?” He heard Nikki take a deep breath.

“Well, I´m already in my office at the Phoenix headquarters.” she said. “And we do have this meeting concerning your environmental study today.”

“Yes…” Mac agreed expectantly when she took a little break. “So?”

“Could you take a little detour and drive by my apartment?” Nikki asked. “And pick up something…?”

“Of course.” Mac assured. “But what´s that important?”

“When I left home this morning I took my briefcase with me…” Nikki explained a little hesitantly. “But I´ve got that folder with all the official application forms… we do need it in the afternoon… and I just realized that I forgot that one at home.”

Her words were trailing off; Mac could hear that she had a hard time admitting her mistake concerning the bureaucracy to him. Nevertheless, he couldn´t help but chuckle briefly when the initial tension he had felt at the beginning of the call left him.

“You…?” he teased her. “You forgot something?”

Nikki snorted at the other end of the line.

“Yes, I did.” she replied sharply. “I´d go home and get it myself, but I´m in the middle of getting all the print-outs ready for our meeting with the committee and I thought…”

“I´ll get it… no problem.” MacGyver stopped her with clearly audible amusement in his voice. “Sorry… it´s just… I´m not used to you forgetting…”

“MacGyver.” The now cutting tone of her voice silenced him. “Stop it.”

Mac drew in a deep breath, still smiling to himself but doing his best to sound serious again.

“Yes, ma’am.” he answered. “Where´s the folder supposed to be and what does it look like?”

“It should be on my desk next to the bookshelf.” Nikki told him. “It´s bright blue, with the Phoenix Foundation´s logo on it.”

“I´ll find it.” Mac assured. “But I´m gonna be late for our appointment with Pete because of that detour and you´re gonna explain to him why…”

“Fine.” Nikki snorted again.

“All right, I´ll better get going.” Mac added. “See you in Pete´s office.”

“See you… and MacGyver… thank you.” Nikki replied in a much softer tone.

“You’re welcome, dear.” Mac smiled, put down the receiver, and instantly turned to the kitchen. Now he had to hurry…

MacGyver picked up his messenger bag and the suit jacket, snatched his bunch of keys from the board, and headed for the parking lot after locking his door. He still had a bit of a smile on his face when he climbed into his jeep and drove off. He had handed Nikki a key to his houseboat quite soon after their return from Austria, whereas she had needed way more time to have enough faith in their relationship. She had given him the key to her apartment only two weeks ago when he had returned her home after their last weekend at Widow Canyon.

They hadn´t been there all too often, had rather chosen to meet somewhere else or spent their time with each other at the houseboat. But now… she had sent him there… to the center of her personal life. MacGyver knew how much her privacy meant to her, how thorough her trust in him must have grown. A comfortable wave of warmth caused by that realization spread through his whole body while he steered the jeep through the city´s morning traffic.

*****

MacGyver parked his jeep next to the apartment building at the Forster Lane, shrugged into his suit jacket as soon as he had slipped out of his car, and flung the strap of his bag over his shoulder. In the meantime, his thoughts had focused back on the work ahead of him instead of lingering with last evening, which he had spent with Nikki.

Nevertheless, Mac felt a little awkward as he approached the building, went inside, and stepped off the elevator at the correct floor a couple of moments later. It was the first time that he was here… alone… on his own. Automatically, his hand had already gone into his pocket during his ride in the elevator and now he fished out the key as he went along the corridor toward Nikki´s apartment door.

What had she said? Bright blue, Phoenix Foundation logo on it... shouldn´t be too hard to find, MacGyver thought while he reached for the door´s knob and slid the key into the lock. He hadn´t paid much attention to that action, but when he turned the key and didn´t hear the click that was supposed to signal the unlocking of the mechanism, Mac froze. The key had turned without resistance; it fit with the lock. But why would Nikki leave her door unlocked when leaving? She never does…

Suddenly MacGyver felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Something was wrong here, his gut told him. Cautiously and very slowly Mac removed the key from the lock, pocketed it, and then, evenly slow, turned the knob. When he found the door truly unlocked, Mac opened it just a bit, in slow motion, careful not to make any more sounds, and peeked inside. When he saw and heard nothing unusual he pushed the door completely open, away from himself, and took a step inside.

Once again, he froze, all senses now on high alert and focused, listening intensely and scanning what he could see of the apartment with his eyes. Everything seemed to be perfectly in order, just as Mac was used to it from Nikki. But still, he felt his adrenaline flow…

“Nikki?” he asked into the quietness and took a second step forward.

No answer… Well, it would have surprised Mac to meet her here. He could think of no reason for her to come back… especially since she had asked him to pick up the folder. MacGyver silently moved along the wall until he reached the corner and turned to his left to get a thorough look at the kitchen. He was just about to loosen up a little and take another stride forward when he heard a faint sound from behind.

But before he could whirl around or even react at all, something hit the back of his head hard. The sudden pain felt as if his skull was exploding and in the next blink of a second everything went dark and silent. MacGyver didn´t sense anymore how he dropped to the hard floor completely limp. He didn´t see his attacker step up to his side, still holding the gun in his hand that he had just a moment ago used to knock Mac unconscious.

He didn´t notice the second man that hurried down the corridor and stopped when he was just inside the door. Mac also hadn´t noticed that man tailing him in the dark car to Nikki´s apartment, just like last night. He had been too engrossed in his thoughts to pay attention to the man following him at a little distance, and hadn´t seen him walk to the staircase only seconds after Mac had entered the elevator. Now the man was standing only a few feet away, first staring at MacGyver´s motionless form, then glaring at his partner.

“What the hell happened?” he hissed.

The first man now aimed his weapon at Mac´s back.

“I was in the bathroom, trying to place the last device when he came in.” he shrugged. “I had no choice… he would have noticed me.”

“Damn.” the second man replied. “He took off too quickly… he was on the phone, but I couldn´t hear where he would be going. I had no way of warning you.”

“We could get rid of him right now.” Mac´s attacker growled while he straightened his arm and pointed the gun at MacGyver´s head. “He´s caused enough problems!”

“No!” The second man quickly raised one hand. “Not now! We still need him alive.”

He stepped closer to MacGyver, bent down, and took a closer look at his face. Satisfied with seeing him out cold the man turned to Mac´s messenger bag. The strap was still hanging over MacGyver´s arm; the bag lying next to him.

“Finish installing the device.” the second man ordered. “We can´t afford to draw even more attention. We can´t kill him… yet.”

A little reluctantly the first man lowered his gun, stuffed it back into the shoulder holster, and went back to Nikki´s bathroom. The second man crouched down next to MacGyver, opened the canvas bag, and searched through its contents in the meantime.

“All the files in his bag deal with data regarding the environmental study he´s working on.” he stated a couple of moments later when his partner returned. He got up, shot Mac a last probing look, and stepped back from him.

“We´d better get out of here. We mustn´t leave any traces leading to us.” he continued. “This shouldn´t have happened at all. We can only hope it won´t alert them too much or our mission might be jeopardized.”

Then they both left Nikki´s apartment and closed the door behind themselves, leaving behind an oblivious MacGyver sprawled out on the floor.






The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 9 December 2021 - 07:50 PM                                    
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FINALLY, back to the action! happy_dance.gif But another clifhanger!!! dry.gif



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If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 10 December 2021 - 10:33 AM                                    
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Awww, Mac and Nikki went on a romantic date! And he wore a suit without being told to! It must be love!!! I like how you summarize the summer, the time rebuilding Pete's cabin (nice touch, by the way), and the date from both their viewpoints. Yes, they are both definitely independent and need time alone! It's also great that they can cooperate on some work projects with just a minimum of annoyance...especially Nikki with Mac. And of course, Mac does the field work and Nikki does the paperwork and deals with the red tape...typical!!

I know Mac has no reason to believe they are in any danger, but he still, in my mind, is generally more observant and should have noticed the sedan or something. He's too caught up thinking about Nikki! He did notice the lock wasn't engaged on her apartment door...that's more like it! So these guys don't sound like GRU...is someone else after them too?? Oh my! And of course, another chapter concludes with an unconscious MacGyver! Great job! More intrigue ahead!



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: 10 December 2021 - 11:23 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 10 December 2021 - 07:33 PM)
I know Mac has no reason to believe they are in any danger, but he still, in my mind, is generally more observant and should have noticed the sedan or something.  He's too caught up thinking about Nikki!

So these guys don't sound like GRU...is someone else after them too??

Caught up with thinking about Nikki?? I´d rather call it 'distracted'... whistle.gif laugh.gif

And about two months after their return from Austria, no word from them and nothing happening so far... why should he suspect the GRU agents being after him?

And isn´t there always someone after him? Someone he´s previously angered? By crossing someone´s plans? whistle.gif nasty.gif

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By the way - that´s the suit I had in mind while writing this...



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Posted: 12 December 2021 - 04:04 AM                                    
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So... after the last chapter ending with a bit of a cliffhanger... whistle.gif

Another Sunday has arrived... let´s wake MacGyver up... and see what happens next during...

Part 13


Silence… a moment later distant street sounds... lying prone with hard floor below him… somehow familiar smells.

And then a hammering headache took over MacGyver´s senses as he slowly drifted back to consciousness. He pressed his eyes shut in a painful grimace, moaned, and automatically moved one hand to the back of his head. He covered the hurting spot with that hand and very cautiously felt for any damage while he tried to remember what had happened.

He was relieved that he felt no bleeding, nevertheless, the bump under his fingers reminded him that he had taken a hard blow to his head… in Nikki´s apartment… after he had found the door unlocked… But why? By whom? One after another, like in slow motion, the pictures and questions surfaced in his woozy mind. He realized, he had no idea how long he´d been out… and if he still was in the apartment…

MacGyver sensed light through his closed eyelids, gingerly turned his head a little toward it, and tried to push himself up. Yet even with his eyes still shut intense vertigo sent his senses spinning with that effort, and a wave of nausea flooding through him made him freeze again. Mac leaned his forehead against the cool floor and took several deep breaths, striving to push back the pain, the dizziness, and the sick feeling in his stomach. But before he could make another attempt, MacGyver heard someone open a door at a little distance behind himself, take a few slow steps and then run toward him.

“MacGyver!” He heard that someone call out alarmed.

Nikki! … His clouded mind recognized her voice instantly, although he wasn´t able to react to her shout. Wait…! What if my attacker is still close by? I´m not able to warn her…!

But nothing happened. Only seconds later Mac felt her kneel down next to him and one of her hands touch his shoulder. Nikki´s other hand covered his own on the back of his head and with gentle force pulled it away only a moment later.

“Let me have a look…” she asked as she let go of his hand and ran her fingers through his hair, searching for any injury. MacGyver flinched and gasped with the sting the touch of her fingers caused.

“Sorry.” she said while her hand left his head and slipped the strap of his bag off his arm. Still breathing a little heavier, Mac tried again to push himself up a bit, but Nikki held him down at his shoulders.

“Don´t, MacGyver.” she advised. “Just turn to lie on your back…”

Her hands were there to help stabilize and protect his head as he cautiously followed her instruction and turned his head toward her voice. Slowly he blinked his eyes open to look at her, but almost immediately closed them again with a groan when the sudden brightness caused the throbbing in his head to spike. Automatically his hand returned to the back of his head. Nikki stroked back some strands of hair from his forehead and then cupped his cheek in her hand.

“Try again, Mac, please.” she asked. “Let me see your eyes.”

MacGyver nodded weakly and squinted up at her.

“Working on it…” he replied hoarsely.

The room seemed to be spinning around him as he strove to focus his eyes on Nikki´s concerned face. He was grateful that Nikki moved her hand to shield his eyes from the sunlight filtering in through the kitchen window. Through his hazy vision, MacGyver saw how she forced herself to smile at him.

“Hey there…” He tried to return the smile when his gaze cleared a little.

But Nikki remained silent while she covered first one, then Mac´s second eye with her hand, and observed their reaction to darkness and then the exposure to light again. When she saw that the pupillary light reflex seemed normal, she sighed with relief.

“Hey yourself… how are you feeling?”

“Hurts.” Mac admitted after a deep breath. “A little dizzy.”

He was thankful that the nausea had diminished over the last moments. The throbbing also lessened the longer he kept his eyes open. Cautiously he scanned the room around them. Nikki´s apartment, he noticed with relief. So whoever had struck him down hadn´t moved him anywhere else… just left him behind… what the heck was going on here? And why was Nikki back? MacGyver was drawn out of his clouded thoughts when Nikki´s hand returned to his forehead.

“I´ll call an ambulance for you.” she stated and wanted to get to her feet, but Mac managed to grab one of her arms with his hand.

“No.” he said. “I´m fine.”

“Fine?” Nikki snapped back and stared at him baffled and upset at the same time.

“Yeah.” Mac nodded with a half-grin. “Help me get up.”

Nikki scrutinized him silently for another long moment but then reached out to assist MacGyver when he gingerly raised his head and pushed himself off the floor. Mac swayed a little as he got to his feet and was thankful that he could hold on to Nikki´s hands while she wordlessly guided him to the couch. The room still seemed to be moving from his point of view. He lowered himself with a relieved sigh and Nikki right next to him.

“Are you sure?”

Nikki didn´t like the way how his gaze was unsteady, how his face was a bit pale under his suntanned skin, and how he was trying to hide the pain he was going through.

“You don´t look…”

“Nikki.” MacGyver cut her off with a low voice and felt for the back of his head once more. He straightened himself on the sofa and shot her a weary smile. “It´s not the first time I got clobbered on the head. I know the feeling…”

He could see how full of doubt her eyes were when she measured him silently. He could see how worried she still was.

“I´ll be all right.” Mac added. “Just give me a few minutes to rest.”

“I´ll be back in a moment.” Nikki said after another probing look at him, stood up and went to her kitchen.

MacGyver´s eyes followed her briefly, but as soon as he tried to turn his head the vertigo returned. He closed them immediately and focused on fighting back the pain and the dizziness. Mac leaned forward, lowered his head, and covered his face with his hands with a deep sigh. He was still so concentrated on his inside a minute later that he didn´t notice how Nikki came back to his side.

MacGyver was startled and flinched when she gently, but unexpectedly laid an ice pack onto the bump on the back of his head. He gasped with the abrupt cold, one of his hands automatically grabbed her hand on the pack, and he held his breath. Only a moment later he felt how the icy cold eased his pain. He forced himself to relax, swallowed hard, and slowly let out the breath he´d been holding with a light moan.

“Thanks.” he said as he opened his eyes and raised his head a little. He saw that Nikki had dropped his bag on the coffee table and noticed how she handed her hold on the ice pack over to him and then crouched down in front of him. Her hand slid to his cheek and she eyed him closely once more.

“Better?”

Mac straightened himself once again, managed to smile weakly at her, and covered her hand on his face with his free one.

“Yes, Nikki.” he assured her, turned his head a little, and then brushed a soft kiss on her palm.

Nikki turned her hand to hold on to his and lowered them to his knees. Yes, his eyes and his gaze had steadied. Yes, a little color had returned to his face. She sighed and let go of a bit of her tension. Then a question returned to MacGyver´s mind.

“Nikki, why are you here?” he asked. “You called me and…”

“I did.” Nikki cut him off. “But when you didn´t turn up at the Foundation in good time, Pete and I got worried. I tried to call you again; at the houseboat, at your car phone, even here… and when you didn´t answer any of those calls, I chose to look for you.”

MacGyver nodded slowly and shot the clock on the wall a glance. Close to midday… so I´ve been unconscious for some time, he mused. Whoever hit me must have known what he´s doing…

“MacGyver, what the heck happened?” Nikki´s question broke him out of his thoughts, and he focused back on her.

“I don´t really know.” he related. “When I came here I found the door closed but unlocked. The lock was still intact. Something felt wrong, and I went in slow and with caution, but I was struck down from behind before I noticed anything. I couldn´t see who hit me.”

“I am sure I locked it when I left in the morning.” Nikki replied. “It was also unlocked when I returned a couple of minutes ago.”

“Then someone must have picked it.” Mac concluded. “I was unconscious for quite a while, so that someone also must have known how to take me out.”

Nikki´s face turned even more serious than it had been all the time and now a little alarm mixed into it.

“So you don´t think you only disturbed some random burglary?”

“Your apartment was perfectly silent when I came in and it doesn´t look as if it has been searched thoroughly.” MacGyver stated while his eyes wandered around, taking in every detail of the room. “No, I don´t think so.”

“Well, someone searched your bag.” Nikki replied. “It was open when I found you.”

“What?”

MacGyver quickly focused back on Nikki and then on his messenger bag on the table. His hand left Nikki´s, and he reached out and checked its contents. All the reports and folders were there.

“Is the folder I was supposed to get still on your desk?” he asked alarmed.

Nikki got up and hurried across the room.

“It is.” she confirmed. “And it seems untouched.”

She picked up the folder, scanned the print-outs and forms within, then returned to MacGyver and sat down next to him. The look of confusion on Mac´s face grew when she laid the folder next to his canvas bag.

“This doesn´t add up.” he said slowly. “Who would break into your apartment, but not search it… knock me out, be interested in the research results in my bag, but leave that folder untouched?”

“You think it has to do with the beach?” Nikki suggested. “But Stephen Knapp is behind bars… one of his investors maybe?”

“Not sure about it… and why should they?” Mac gingerly shook his head. “As far as we know, they all drew back from the project after his arrest. That´s what enabled the State Environmental Agency to step in and offer to take over the land in the first place, remember?” He leaned back on the couch and looked over at her. “I guess, you´d better call the police. Maybe their forensics can find any traces that´ll help us clear this up.”

He could see that she wasn´t all too happy about having the police come to her apartment once more this year, but after a moment she got up and nodded.

“All right.” Nikki agreed and went toward her phone. “I´ll also give Pete a call, so he can stop worrying… and tell him to ask the State Environmental Agency to postpone our appointment.”

“No!” MacGyver quickly called after her and looked up. “I can still be there on time.”

Nikki put down the receiver and turned to stare at him baffled.

“But MacGyver, you´re…”

“I´m all right.” MacGyver cut her off firmly. “I can handle that meeting.”

Nikki glared at him silently for a few seconds, not knowing how to talk him out of it.

“It is more about my results than the red tape you´ve been handling.” Mac continued. “Pete will be there with me anyway, while you can help the forensics go over your apartment with a fine comb.”

“Fine.” Nikki snorted after a moment of consideration. “But I´ll tell Pete to pick you up right here. You´re not going to drive by yourself.”

MacGyver opened his mouth to protest, but Nikki quickly held up one hand to silence him.

“Your headache´s gone?” she added with a warning tone. “Not dizzy anymore?”

Mac puffed out a deep breath and remembered the ice pack he was still holding to the back of his head. He wasn´t going to admit to Nikki how weary he still felt, how his head was still throbbing. She is already worrying too much, as far as I´m concerned. Me giving in to that compromise might ease up her worries, he mused silently with a small sigh.

“Fine.” he nodded aloud.

*****

“Oh please, Pete, stop it!” MacGyver whined when they walked out of the elevator. “I´m all right!”

“I´m just saying, that you could have put my mind a lot more at ease.” Pete sighed while he fell into step at Mac´s side. “If you had agreed to see a doctor for a check-up.”

It was early evening when the two men returned to Nikki´s apartment. Their appointment with the State Environmental Agency had gone well, and they had discussed how to further proceed with the environmental study on the beach later on in the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters. But Mac had refused a medical check the whole time and Pete still wasn´t too happy about it. Even if his friend seemed to be almost back to normal, physically.

“It´s nothing that a good night´s sleep or two won´t cure. You know, I can take care of myself.” MacGyver complained further while they walked down the corridor.

“I never doubted that. I´d just feel…” Pete tried to counter, but broke off when Mac abruptly stopped, turned to him, and raised one hand.

“Pete, I appreciate your concern, really.” Mac said firmly. “But stop acting like a mother-hen… I´ll live.”

Pete looked silently and considerately into MacGyver´s dark eyes for a long moment and then nodded.

“All right, I´ll try… I´m sorry.” he sighed.

MacGyver laid the hand on Pete´s shoulder and squeezed it briefly.

“No need to be sorry.” he smiled. “We´re friends, right?”

“Right.” Pete returned the smile and nodded again. The two men continued their way toward Nikki´s apartment.

“Besides, Nikki worrying about me is more than enough for me to deal with.” Mac added with a mischievous grin. “I don´t know if I can handle both of you.” He knocked on the door when Pete addressed him from behind.

“You´re trying hard to get it right this time… You really do love her, don´t you?”

MacGyver turned his head quickly and surprised at Pete´s straightforward question. His grin changed into an earnest smile within seconds.

“Yes, Pete, I think I do.” he said with a low voice and a glad sparkle in his eyes a moment later. “I don´t take this lightly.”

In the same blink of an eye Nikki opened the door to her apartment for them.

“Hello! Come on in!” she greeted both men, but then focused on MacGyver. “What don´t you take lightly?” she asked as she had only overheard his last words.

MacGyver allowed Pete to enter the apartment first and then brushed a soft kiss onto Nikki´s forehead before he stepped inside.

“The bump on the back of my head.” he answered afterward and saw how Pete shot him a quick intrigued glance, yet remained silent. Nikki didn´t notice, as she looked up at Mac with a relieved smile.

“I´m glad to hear that.” she replied after she had closed the door. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired.” Mac admitted while he dropped his canvas bag onto the couch. “It was a long afternoon.”

“But a successful one.” Pete cut in. “The council of the State Environmental Agency was quite impressed with the results you presented to them.”

“I just told them about our findings so far.” Mac shrugged wearily. “The study is far from being completed. I convinced them by merely stating some facts.”

“Oh, you did a lot more than only ‘convince’ them.” Pete countered enthusiastically. “They´ve given us a free rein in continuing with the research and asked the Foundation to come up with a plan for a visitor center providing information and a concept for trails giving visitors insight to the land and its habitats once it´s been turned into a preserve. Now is not the time for you to be modest, MacGyver. You were great.”

Pete singing his praises always made MacGyver feel uncomfortable. He rolled his eyes and shot his friend and boss a lopsided smile.

“Hold it, Pete.” he said and cut Pete off with a wave of his hand. “I´m just doing my job.”

“And this afternoon proved once more that you´re the best.” Pete continued beaming.

Mac sighed silently while Nikki looked from one man to the other and then stepped up to Mac´s side.

“The project grows a lot with the visitor´s concept.” she now added and looked up at him with a proud smile. “Good work.”

“Wouldn´t have been that good without you briefing me about the red tape in advance.” Mac returned the smile and reached for her hand. “This isn´t just my achievement. There´s a lot of people working on it and Phoenix certainly has qualified scientists that can come up with the plan and the concept for visitors.” Then he concentrated back on Pete. “I already talked about it briefly to Dr. Johnson after we returned to the Phoenix headquarters. He was also eager to hear how the meeting had gone.”

“I´ll get back to him tomorrow concerning the details.” Pete nodded.

“Yeah, about tomorrow…” Mac added slowly. He felt some of his headache returning with his tiredness. “I also asked him to take over for me at the beach… so I can have a day off for recovery and get some rest.”

Pete raised his eyebrows surprised at first but then a relieved expression widened on his face.

“I´m glad to hear that. Take as long as you need.”

“So am I.” Nikki agreed and briefly squeezed Mac´s hand. He returned the squeeze and turned to her.

“So, how about your afternoon?” MacGyver asked. “What did the police say?”

“Not much so far.” Nikki sighed. “Their forensics have been over every inch of my apartment. They secured a lot of fingerprints after you two had left, but won´t have the results until tomorrow. I expect most of them to be my own… The lock and handles on my door were wiped clean, by the way.”

MacGyver drew in a deep breath. All right, no amateurs then, he thought.

“I spent most of the last two hours getting rid of the fingerprint dust they scattered everywhere.” Nikki continued a bit annoyed after a moment. “The forensics didn´t find any other traces or clues whatsoever… unfortunately.”

“So much for the break-in-theory.” MacGyver stated and shook his head, but regretted it instantly. His headache spiked and he had to close his eyes for a few seconds. Nikki and Pete of course noticed it and quickly focused on him.

“You okay?” Nikki asked while her hand left his and traveled up to hold on to his upper arm.

Mac took another deep breath and smiled at her weakly.

“Yeah, fine.” he assured them. “Just a little headache returning. Excuse me for a moment.”

He eased himself out of Nikki´s hold and went into the bathroom. MacGyver turned on the faucet, bent over, and splashed some cold water onto his face and the back of his neck. He sighed as he felt the throbbing diminish a little after a few seconds and scrutinized his image in the mirror. He had to admit, he looked nearly as groggy as he felt. No wonder Pete and Nikki are concerned, he thought while he heard their muffled voices through the door. They´re probably talking about my condition right now… I´ll better drive home as soon as possible and get some sleep.

MacGyver straightened himself and turned away from the mirror to leave the room, but froze as a little detail caught his eye. He noticed that the casing of an electrical socket seemed a bit out of its usual place. Mac could see some of the wall´s color that hadn´t been affected by the light over all the years, showing a slightly different nuance close to the casing. He´d been in Nikki´s bathroom several times, but he´d never seen that before. Cautiously he reached out and ran his long fingers along the wall. MacGyver could feel a tiny gap between the wall and the socket´s casing. All of a sudden the hair on the back of his neck stood on end and the something-is-wrong-here feeling was back in his gut.

“Nikki?” he called out to her. “Did you have some electrician work in your apartment lately?”

Nikki and Pete instantly fell silent. Mac heard their steps coming closer and then the door quickly opened. Nikki walked into the room with Pete in tow.

“Not in my bathroom… why?” she asked bewildered. “I guess, I would have asked you first…”

Mac straightened himself and pointed toward the socket.

“I noticed that the socket seems as if it´s been moved… Or has that color difference always been visible? And I just overlooked it?”

Nikki stepped up to his side and took a closer look.

“No. Definitely not.” she confirmed afterward.

A tense silence hung in the small room for a moment while the three looked at each other gravely. Then MacGyver dug his Swiss Army knife out of his pocket and flipped out the screwdriver. Carefully he loosened the screw that held the cover of the socket´s casing and took it off with Nikki and Pete watching him closely. He paused for a couple of seconds at what they all saw within the casing.

Apart from the wires they had expected to see beneath the cover, there was some device hidden. Mac cautiously touched it with the blade of his knife and when he sensed no electrical charge, he pulled it out with his fingers. He took a closer look at it while he turned it around in his hands. A small circuit board with several electronic components mounted on it, some wire a few inches long hanging from it on one side, something little that could be a microphone on the other.

MacGyver heard Pete draw in a deep breath and quickly shot both Pete and Nikki a warning look along with a gesture to remain silent. He carefully laid the device onto the surface of the bathroom cupboard and quietly signaled his friends to leave the room. After he had closed the bathroom door, he led them further to the hallway outside Nikki´s apartment.

“A bug?” Pete asked alarmed as soon as they were a few steps away from the door.

Mac turned to him and puffed out a deep breath.

“Looks like one to me…” he replied dryly. “But we oughta show it to some of our technicians at Phoenix.” Then he turned to Nikki. “We need to search your apartment again. There´s probably more than one.”

“Somebody´s been spying on me?” Nikki asked exasperated. “For how long?”

“Just today, I guess.” Mac answered, trying to calm her. “Whoever knocked me out came up from behind. He may very well have come out of the bathroom.”

“You think you disturbed that someone while he was placing the bug?” Pete cut in.

MacGyver only nodded silently.

“But why? And who?” Pete continued worried.

“Don´t know.” MacGyver shrugged. “Having that device analyzed by our specialists might give us a clue. But you´d better call them in using my car phone in the jeep.”

“MacGyver, whoever is listening surely noticed that you found the bug.” Nikki objected. “Why not use my phone?”

“Because if that bug wasn´t the only one, I don´t want to give our listeners any additional clues.” MacGyver explained and looked at her with a small smile.

Pete nodded his consent and left them at once. As soon as he was gone, MacGyver concentrated on Nikki and laid his hands on her shoulders in a comforting gesture. He could tell she was shaken, although she tried to hide it under her tough and annoyed façade.

“You okay?” he asked softly.

“Yes, of course.” Nikki snorted. “It´s just that you got struck down, the police has been in my apartment for the third time since I moved here, someone chose to place bugs in it, and now the Phoenix technicians will be coming here as well.”

MacGyver sighed while one of his hands traveled upwards to gently stroke over her hair.

“I´m sorry.” he said with a low voice and tried to pull her into an embrace, but Nikki stiffened and refused.

“You don´t need to be sorry.” she snapped at him. “This isn´t your fault. I´m all right, I´m just…”

“Hey, shh.” Mac cut her off softly, but firmly. “It´s me, Nikki.”

Nikki now looked up at him still mostly angry, but Mac could also see a shadow of fright in her eyes. Nothing to be surprised about, he thought. Someone has invaded her most private space… for the third time during the span of one year. He placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, felt her body soften to his touch, drew her close, and wrapped his arms around her protectively. He sensed her bury her face at his chest, hold on to him, and sigh deeply.

“It´s gonna be okay.” he comforted her with a low voice. “We´re gonna find that guy.”

After a couple of moments, Nikki eased herself a little back from him and looked up, directly into his deep brown eyes.

“Thanks, Mac.” she said, still somber. “Of course, we will.”

MacGyver kissed her gently and then gave her his best encouraging and boyish smile.

“So, what about going back inside?” he probed. “We could have a quiet look around until our techs turn up… See if we can maybe find something else in the meantime? Something the police forensics didn´t look for?”

A little determined smile grew on Nikki´s face.

“Yes, let´s do that.”






The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 12 December 2021 - 02:07 PM                                    
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It's great to see Mac, Pete, and Nikki working together again! I'm glad Nikki found Mac and you do a great job describing his physical experiences after regaining consciousness. Nikki's reaction when Mac tells her he's still going to the meeting is very in-character. So is Pete's when he learns about Mac's "accident". Aww, Mac is so modest about his contributions to the project...and Pete is so excited! I can just see him beaming! Yay...eagle-eyed Mac found the bug! Now, who would bug Nikki's place?? Is she in danger??



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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bluegirl
Posted: 16 December 2021 - 03:03 AM                                    
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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



So, another Thursday is there... let´s find out a little more about those bugs... and maybe also if the two mystery men are dangerous...

Part 14


It was already late morning when MacGyver eased himself out of his bed and down to his kitchen on the next day. Unusually late for him, but he had stayed with Nikki for quite some time last evening and had assisted the Phoenix technicians while they had searched her apartment with their scanners until they had been truly convinced they had found all the hidden bugs. There had been three of those, including the one Mac had discovered in the bathroom. All of them had been placed strategically and hidden really well, almost professionally. The technicians had, of course, disabled them and taken the devices with them for further analysis.

MacGyver, despite his tiredness and headache, had felt the urge to be there for Nikki, but soon after Pete and the technicians had left, she had asked Mac to drive home. He had tried to protest, had told her he didn´t want to leave her alone after all this, had offered to stay overnight.

But Nikki had looked up at him sternly and said: “Mac, you´re tired and you´re hurting. You need to get some rest… in your own bed.”

He had opened his mouth to object, and again she had cut him off with a warm smile.

“There´s no need to watch over me… I can handle this… I´ll be fine.”

MacGyver smiled at the memory of her words while he set up his blender.

She´s been right. I wouldn´t have been able to relax fully if I´d stayed with her. I would have felt the need to protect her and watch over her all the time. She has also been in this line of work for quite a while. She knows about the risks. She can watch herself, he thought.

Nevertheless, Mac felt the urge to give her a call rise within while he was preparing his breakfast. He was just done with mixing his shake when the telephone rang. With two quick steps, he reached the phone on his kitchen wall and picked up the receiver while he shot the clock on the TV a glance. Almost 11 a. m.

“Hello?”

“Good morning, MacGyver. It´s Pete.” He heard the well-known voice of his friend and boss. “How are you feeling today?”

“Good.” MacGyver answered with a little smile. Of course, that would be Pete´s first concern, he thought to himself. “Thanks to a good night´s sleep. I´ll take it easy today and get some rest, but I´m okay.”

“I´m relieved to hear that.” Pete sighed.

“I should be back at the beach tomorrow.” Mac added. “I´ll be…”

“No need to rush anything.” Pete cut him off. “I already told Dr. Johnson that he might have to take over for a few more days.”

“You did?” Mac asked with a surprised raise of his eyebrows. “Pete, there´s no need…” But his words trailed off as he realized that Pete´s call to him might have another reason than just his concern about Mac´s health. “What´s the matter?” he continued with a little alarm after a moment. “What´s wrong?”

“The police just sent over their report on Nikki´s apartment.” Pete replied with a serious voice.

“So?” Mac probed after a moment of silence.

“Nothing.” Pete sounded a little frustrated. “No clues or traces whatsoever to be found. No fingerprints identifiable but Nikki´s and yours.”

MacGyver puffed out a deep breath and ran his free hand through his unruly hair.

“Well, ours are to be expected.” he then said. “I´d been hoping they would find something helpful… Any news on the bugs?”

“Yes.” Pete answered. “Our technicians are through with their preliminary analysis.”

“And?” Mac got a little impatient with Pete not sharing the details as freely as usual. “Spit it out, Pete!”

“They are quite certain that the origin of those devices is the Soviet Union.” Pete told him after he had taken a deep breath.

Mac was stunned silent for a moment.

“Russian?” he then echoed. His mind instantly went into high speed while his concern for Nikki´s safety spiked. He tried to recall the recent cases Nikki had been working on apart from their study on the beach. No memories of any connections to Russia turned up. “Have you talked to her? Does she have any idea about…?” Mac continued worried after a moment, but was cut off by Nikki´s voice.

“No, I don´t, for now… I´m here with Pete, MacGyver.” she said curtly. “I´ve already read both reports. And yes, I´ll be going over all my current files today.”

Mac instinctively flinched back a little with surprise at Nikki´s sharp answer. Neither had Pete mentioned his phone being in the speaker mode, nor Nikki being with him in his office. Nevertheless hearing her voice was a bit of relief to his sudden tension.

“Nikki, hey.” he said slowly. “You okay?”

“I´m all right. I can deal with this.” Her voice softened a bit and MacGyver silently sighed to himself.

“I´m gonna come in and help you.” he offered.

“Oh no, you´re not.” Nikki answered quickly. “You promised to take it easy today.”

“But...” Mac started to object but was cut off by Pete.

“You are able to log on to the Phoenix Foundation´s mainframe from your computer at home.” his boss stated with a voice that left no room for discussion. “You have no need to come to the headquarters.”

MacGyver took a deep breath and fought back his sudden urge to protest again, knowing very well that he was outnumbered.

“Fine.” he agreed reluctantly. “But we´ll stay in touch. I´ll call as soon as I can come up with anything.”

“We´ll do the same.” Pete added.

“I´ll catch up with you later.” Nikki promised.

“Yeah, do that, bye.”

MacGyver hung up the receiver after Pete had ended the call and slowly shook his head. The Soviet Union, he thought to himself. Nikki? What the heck? What did she get into?

*****

MacGyver leaned back in his desk chair with a deep sigh. He rubbed his tired eyes with his hands and then ran those hands through his unruly hair. He tore his eyes off the computer´s monitor and the print-outs on his desk, stood up, and slowly walked over to the French doors of his houseboat. Mac stared outside into the sunset over the marina while he tried to fight his growing mixture of frustration and concern inside.

He´d been digging his way through Nikki´s case files since their phone call and hadn´t been able to come up with anything. He´d gone through almost every piece of work Nikki had done for the Foundation, but hadn´t found any loose ends with any connection to the Soviets. Being that clueless had him feeling a little helpless and that fact worried him even more. He hated not knowing where to start off, not being able to do anything, not being able to protect Nikki.

At least my head´s feeling a lot better, Mac mused while he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. A sudden knock on the door broke him out of his reverie.

“Door´s open!” Mac called without turning around to see who was there. He wasn´t in the mood for company; his mind was too occupied with his thoughts about Nikki. He heard the door open and light steps enter.

“Hi there, MacGyver!”

The sound of Nikki´s voice made him whirl around instantly. He hadn´t expected her to drop by and she hadn´t announced her visit. After a moment of taking in her sight in her business dress, he quickly strode toward her without saying a word.

“I brought copies of the reports with me, so you can also…” Nikki continued and held two manila folders up for him, but broke off when she saw his serious expression. MacGyver reached her near the kitchen island, wordlessly took the files from her, and laid them on top of the island without even looking at them. His dark eyes never left Nikki.

“It´s so good to see you.” Mac finally said with a low voice while his hands reached up to caress her hair and her neck. He bent down, kissed her softly, and then wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace. Nikki was surprised by his intense reaction, but returned the kiss and held on to Mac for a couple of moments before she looked up at him.

“Mac?” she asked slowly. “What´s the matter? You all right?”

MacGyver sighed deeply and loosened his embrace a little.

“Yeah… fine.” he assured. “Just glad to have you close.”

He wasn´t going to admit to her how much he was worried about her safety, how much he hated not knowing who held the strings behind all this. He just now realized how tightly wound up he was after this day of research, being holed up at home, because he had promised it to Nikki and Pete. Seeing her now, safe and sound, relieved him of a bit of his tension. Nikki drew back a little more from him and scrutinized him with some doubt on her face. Of course, she had a good idea of what was going on in his mind.

“You don´t need to be worried about me.” she said with a bit of a chiding edge. “I told you, I can handle this.”

Mac brushed another soft kiss on her forehead.

“I know.” he nodded. “But I hate not being able to do anything.”

Nikki glanced past him to his slightly chaotic desk and then smiled up at him.

“By the looks of your desk, you´ve been at it since we talked in the morning.”

“Yeah.” MacGyver puffed out a frustrated sigh. “But I came up empty-handed.”

“Then why don´t you check those reports? Maybe Pete and I missed some detail?” Nikki suggested and cocked her head toward the files lying on the kitchen island. “You certainly do have more experience with Soviet spies than I do.”

MacGyver drew in a deep breath. Several memories came to his mind; most of them not all too pleasant. He slowly let go of Nikki and picked up the folders with a still somber face.

“True…” he answered quietly while he turned away from her and walked back to his desk. Mac sat down, opened both folders, and concentrated on the text and the pictures on the pages.

Nikki set her purse down on the kitchen counter, filled up a glass with water, and drank half of it, before she followed MacGyver. Mac was already totally engrossed in the information in front of him when she stepped up behind him and laid one hand on his shoulder. Nikki instantly, even through his shirt, noticed how tense his muscles were, set down the glass, and gently started massaging and kneading Mac´s shoulders and neck. But it took several minutes, until MacGyver had finished reading the analysis of the bugs, before he gave in to her ministrations, hung his head and closed his eyes with a small sigh. He leaned back on the chair and slowly let out a deep breath, while he allowed his shoulders to drop a bit and relaxed.

“Better?” Nikki asked a few moments later when she felt his muscles finally loosen up a little.

“A lot.” Mac nodded with a low voice. “Thanks.”

“How´s your head?” Nikki probed further.

MacGyver straightened himself in his chair, raised his head, and opened his eyes. He reached up to catch one of her hands, lead her around himself to face her, and looked up at her with an earnest smile.

“I´m good, Nikki.” he assured. “Especially now that you´re here.”

Nikki entwined her fingers with his, returned the smile, and placed a soft kiss on top of his head. No, there is no way of stopping him from worrying about me, she accepted internally. We´ll both have to cope with that.

“Mac, you´re not the only one who didn´t find any clue.” she said softly. “Pete and I didn´t find anything either so far. And you´re not the only one working on this.”

MacGyver got to his feet, and his free hand traveled up to caress Nikki´s hair.

“I know.” he gave in to her reluctantly. “But the Soviets must be after some information they think you can provide. I blew some part of whatever their plan is. From my experience, they won´t let them be stopped that easily… I won´t allow anyone to harm you. As long as we don´t know, who´s behind this, you are…”

He broke off as Nikki raised one hand to silence him and shot him a warning look.

“Is there any evident danger? Right now? At this very moment?”

MacGyver rolled his eyes, sighed, and shot her a lopsided smile.

“No.” he admitted. “But as far as I´m concerned, this is the safest place for you.”

“Mac, we´ve been through this.” Nikki countered quickly and a little frustrated. “I can take care of myself. Your houseboat isn´t any safer than…” She broke off when she saw that his smile had changed into a mischievous grin.

“I wasn´t talking about the houseboat.” he answered low. “I meant close to me.”

Nikki drew back for a moment with the surprise about his cheeky reply, but then her frustration evaporated and she returned a flirtatious smile.

“Really?” she asked. “Is that so?”

MacGyver´s grin widened while he wrapped her into an embrace and felt her body soften and lean against his.

“Yes, ma’am.” he replied with a husky voice and bent down to kiss her.

*****

Up on the parking lot the expression of two men inside a dark sedan was serious. The one who had been waiting there during the whole day, who had been listening to all the sounds in MacGyver´s houseboat for the whole day, had been joined by his partner only minutes ago. That second man had been tailing Nikki since the morning.

“It´s only a matter of time until they´ll start suspecting us.” the one that had been willing to shoot MacGyver yesterday growled, after they had listened to Mac´s and Nikki´s conversation.

“He´s concentrating totally on her.” his partner countered. “He doesn´t even consider that his home could be bugged as well. As long as…”

“You know very well how quick he sometimes is to make connections.” the first one cut him off angrily. “We can´t afford that. We must somehow get one of them to act. To show us.”

“Agreed.” his partner nodded. “Maybe their evening together will give us an idea how to pull it off… be patient.”

The first one puffed out a frustrated snort. “All right… but as soon as…”

“Yes.” the second man silenced him. “As soon as we´re done with our mission, MacGyver will be dead.”

*****

It was late afternoon when MacGyver returned home on the next day. He set down his grocery bags on the kitchen island and went outside again to retrieve his mail before he closed the door behind himself and dropped the envelopes next to the bags. Mac started stowing away his supplies, while his thoughts wandered back to last evening. After the emotional tension between them had loosened up, he and Nikki had spent some time discussing their individual findings and ideas concerning Nikki´s recent cases and probable connections to the Soviet Union, but still hadn´t been able to come up with anything conclusive.

They had perched themselves on the couch, had spread out the files on the coffee table, and Mac had brewed herbal tea for them. At some point, Nikki´s tough façade had crumbled and she had cuddled up to MacGyver. He had been a little surprised at first, but had wrapped her into an embrace, had softly pulled her close to himself. Mac had started gently stroking and caressing her hair, had brushed tender kisses on her forehead, her cheeks, her lips, anywhere he´d been able to reach. After a few moments, Nikki had responded in kind.

Several minutes later they had both grown still, silently snuggled up to each other, half lying on the couch. MacGyver had held her protectively in his arms; Nikki had rested her hands and her head on his chest. They´d sensed each other breathe and had finally been able to calm down and forget about the possible danger for some time. When Nikki had later on decided to drive home, Mac had at first tried to persuade her to stay with him overnight. But she had reminded him of another appointment concerning the beach study on the next day and some reports she still had at home, and he had reluctantly agreed to let her go.

MacGyver had spent a restless night filled with strange dreams, and although he had remembered only bits and pieces, it left him unsettled inside. He had driven to the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters quite early today, had dug into the archives and researched Nikki´s older cases, had even talked Pete into allowing him access to Nikki´s dossier once more. But just like the day before, Mac had come up empty-handed.

MacGyver had met Nikki briefly after she´d been through with some meeting and had told her about his lack of progress. Even through his frustration, MacGyver had clearly seen that she´d been inwardly angry about him digging into her past again, yet thankfully not as mad as last year. He had tried to apologize to her; had tried to justify it with the possible Soviet threat to her, but Nikki had just ushered him out of her office with a curt: “We´ll clear that later.”

She had even declined his offer to have lunch together and had pointed out that she had a lot of work waiting for her. He had chosen to see Dr. Johnson instead. They had talked about new data from the beach study, had discussed their progress, and had set up a rough plan for getting the concept for visitors on its way. Their conversation had taken up a lot of the afternoon, until Mac´s hunger because of skipping lunch had reminded him that he still had some grocery shopping to do.

*****

When MacGyver was done with stowing away his food, he filled up a glass with orange juice and flipped through his mail, but none of the envelopes caught his immediate attention. He dropped them on his desk, strode over to the French doors, and let his gaze wander over the marina. Grey clouds were covering the sun today. Kind of like my thoughts, Mac mused. His mind was back to trying to make sense of the Soviet bugs in Nikki´s apartment. He felt like he was missing something. Something important. It made his stomach tighten; it frustrated him. Two days of research and no clue whatsoever…

MacGyver stepped back a little from the glass after several minutes, and the framed photos on the mantelpiece above his fireplace caught his eye.

Me and Jack, me and Pete, me and Mike…

The memory of Mike sent a sudden sting to his heart. By now he had accepted that her death hadn´t been his fault, but Mac still missed her so much. It also reminded him how Nikki had come to Pete´s cabin unannounced in an attempt to help Mac through his grief. He had been really angry about her intrusion then, had snapped at her for not leaving him alone, but Murdoc had interrupted their argument before it had gotten serious. Looking back, MacGyver was glad that she hadn´t given up on him on that day, that she had pulled him back from the brink. A lot has happened and changed since then, he sighed inwardly.

MacGyver forced a little smile on his face to overcome the inner pain he felt over the loss of Mike when he slowly picked up the photo from the mantelpiece. But his thoughts broke off and he froze for a moment as he suddenly felt something strange on the back of the frame under his fingertips. As soon as he had gotten a secure hold on it, he turned the frame around in slow motion to get a good look on its back. MacGyver drew in a deep breath and held it for a few seconds with what he saw. He set down the orange juice on the mantelpiece, grabbed the rim of the frame with his second hand, and slowly removed his fingers from the device he had just discovered.

A bug. The same kind like he had seen in Nikki´s apartment the evening before yesterday. Carefully Mac removed the device from the back of the frame and placed the picture back on the mantelpiece while he tried to avoid making any sounds. His mind instantly hit high gear and recalled the report of the Phoenix´s technicians he had read. MacGyver turned the device around and disabled it by tearing one of the wires off the circuit board, just as he remembered it from the specifications that report had stated. Then he allowed himself to breathe a little easier, but his thoughts ran wild.

There had been three of those at Nikki´s place… it is safe to assume this isn´t the only one in my houseboat… but if this isn´t about Nikki alone… if whoever has been spying is after both of us… I´ve been making the wrong connections. I´ve been researching the wrong files… I´m back to square one…

MacGyver let his gaze wander around the houseboat. He needed help if he wanted to make sure that his home was a safe place. Mac puffed out a breath, walked over to his desk, and laid the bug down next to his phone. He quickly turned to the door, grabbed his keys, and hurried toward his jeep on the parking lot. He slipped into the driver´s seat, picked up the receiver of his mobile phone, and dialed Pete´s number at the Phoenix Foundation from memory. Pete answered after the third ring.

“Hello?”

“Pete, it´s Mac.” MacGyver said a little exasperated. “I just discovered an unpleasant surprise in my houseboat.”

“What´s the matter?” Pete instantly picked up on his friend´s tension. “What did you…?”

“A bug.” Mac cut him off. “Similar to those we found in Nikki´s apartment.”

Pete was stunned silent for a moment. “What? … But how…?”

“By coincidence.” Mac pressed on. “The details don´t matter now. I need you to send our specialists here. I wanna make sure, the houseboat´s clean.”

“I´ll tell them right away.” Pete agreed. “But MacGyver, if this is not only about Nikki…”

“Yeah. We´ve been on the wrong track with our research.” MacGyver ended Pete´s sentence. “Tell Nikki to stay at the headquarters. I´ll be coming in as soon as I´m done here with our technicians.” Mac expected Pete to agree once more and was about to end the call, but what he heard made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end immediately.

“Nikki´s not here.” Pete told him. “She left in the early afternoon for the beach. She had an appointment with some officials from the State Environmental Agency. She´s got to be on her way back at the moment.”

MacGyver drew in a deep breath to fight his sudden worries. “All right. I´ll leave a message on her answering machine at home. If she does return to her office…”

“I´ll tell her to wait for you.” This time Pete cut Mac off. “Of course, Mac.”

“Right… I´ll see you later.”

MacGyver nodded and hung up the phone only to quickly punch in Nikki´s number. While he listened to the ringing tone, their argument from earlier today crept back into his mind. The memory of her annoyed face sent a sting to his heart. Hopefully, she wasn´t still too upset and would be willing to talk to him. But MacGyver wasn´t too surprised when the answering machine replied to his call. He left a short message asking her to drive back to the Phoenix Foundation and wait for him there as soon as she returned home.

Then he hung up and jogged back to his houseboat, determined to have a look around in advance of the Phoenix´s technicians arrival. He didn´t notice the dark sedan that took off from a parking space two rows behind his jeep immediately when he was out of sight.

*****

MacGyver restlessly paced Pete´s office three hours later. Finding the two remaining bugs in his home had taken up some time, but at least Mac and the specialists had already known what to look for. So their task hadn´t proven all too difficult. They had come to the headquarters quickly after making sure that the houseboat was safe again. He and Pete had just started discussing the new direction their research had to take now.

“Pete, I need to look into all the cases that Nikki and I have worked on together.” Mac insisted. “There´s gotta be a clue somewhere… some connection to the Soviets… some loose end.”

“Probably.” his boss sighed. “You´ve had a few run-ins with Russian agents and military forces. But I´m afraid, most of the files have been classified.”

“If I´ve been there…” Mac protested. “How can I not be allowed to look into those reports? Or get the latest news on them?”

“DXS and military orders, I´m sorry.” Pete apologized. “Give me a little time, I´ll get everything for you.”

MacGyver puffed out a frustrated breath and stopped in front of Pete´s desk, glaring at him although he knew, it wasn´t his friend´s fault. After a moment he tore his gaze off Pete and stared into the red and orange glowing sunset as he tried to recall all the occasions that he and Nikki had tangled with Soviets. Then he glanced at his watch for what felt like the hundredth time. The fact that there had been no word from Nikki yet worried him badly.

“Nikki should have arrived home one and a half or two hours ago at the latest.” Mac stated. “We should have heard from her by now.”

“There could be several perfectly logical reasons for that.” Pete Thornton tried to calm him. “Some traffic jam on her way back… or she had planned on running some errands before returning home.”

MacGyver focused back on his friend and sighed deeply. “I know.”

“She is able to watch herself, Mac.” Pete added.

“I know.” Mac repeated with a low voice. He still felt sorry for the way they had parted earlier and fervently hoped that her anger had faded by now. Pete noticed how deeply concerned MacGyver was despite the fact that they still had no evidence whatsoever of any immediate threat.

“What´s the matter?” he asked his friend while he straightened himself in his chair. “There´s more to it… You´re worried about her safety, but…” He broke off in mid-sentence when Mac sighed again and dropped into the chair opposite to Pete. His shoulders slumped.

“Nikki was annoyed about me looking into her dossier again.” Mac admitted after he´d taken another deep breath. “She didn´t accept my reasons or my apology. She was still upset when she shooed me out of her office earlier today.”

“I see.” Pete said slowly as he leaned back in his chair and nodded his understanding. “You´re afraid she might not react to your message immediately.”

MacGyver kept staring silently at his hands for a few moments before he looked up and answered. “Probably… you know her… she wasn´t too happy with me worrying about her over the last two days… although I really tried not to…”

“I know both of you.” Pete raised one hand to cut Mac off. “But you being that tensed up won´t help either. You´re not thinking straight!”

MacGyver opened his mouth quickly to protest but stayed silent when he inwardly realized that Pete was right.

“Calm down!” his boss almost ordered him. “We don´t know if there even is some evident threat to any of the two of you at the moment… you´d better get down to the archives and look through the files that aren´t classified while I work on getting the rest. I´ll let you know once I´ll hear from Nikki.”

MacGyver drew in a deep breath, ran his hands through his hair, and then reluctantly pushed himself off the chair. He took a few steps toward the door but then stopped and half-turned back to gaze at Pete over his shoulder.

“Fine… but if there´s any word on…”

“Of course!” Pete cut him off firmly. “You´ll be the first to know… and now get out of here!”

MacGyver straightened himself, nodded towards Pete, and strode out of the office, determined to find out who was behind all this.

*****

MacGyver had been in the archives in front of a computer monitor digging his way through the records for about half an hour when Pete came in through the code-secured door. Mac tore his eyes instantly off the screen and focused on him. His tension rose again.

“Pete? Any news?”

“Nikki just called.” Pete said while he walked up to Mac´s desk. “Her meeting ran late and then she ran some private errands before she returned home and listened to your message. I told her about the bugs you found on your houseboat. She´ll be coming here soon.”

MacGyver puffed out a relieved, deep breath and relaxed a little in his seat. So at least we know she´s safe… good, he thought. Gives me a little time to fully concentrate on the files. Pete stepped up behind Mac, glanced at the screen over Mac´s shoulder while he laid one hand on it with a small supportive squeeze.

“Thanks.” Mac replied with a low voice and fixed his eyes on the monitor again.

“So? How about you?” Pete asked. “Found something?”

“Nothing solid yet.” Mac answered with a little gesture toward the screen. “I´ve narrowed it down to all the assignments we´ve been working on together with any connection to the Soviets… and then started looking for any loose ends.”

Pete scanned through the text on the screen and the names on the manila folders spread out on the desk.

“You´ve certainly made some friends among the Russians during the last year.” He stated sarcastically. “I do remember that mission to East Germany. The first one I sent the two of you off to together.”

“Yeah, that one was kinda special…” MacGyver gazed up at his boss with a frown and a bit of an eye roll. He didn´t have the most pleasant memories of that assignment, but on second thought, after their trip to Austria and Czechoslovakia and the past summer, those memories felt different. His frown turned into a little smile and he turned back to the monitor. He felt Pete once more squeeze his shoulder briefly.

“Good work… I´ll be back with Nikki as soon as she arrives.”




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 17 December 2021 - 10:39 AM                                    
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Wow, the plot is really thickening. I can only imagine how frustrated Mac must be with all that research turning up nothing! I hate how they keep saying there isn't any imminent danger...that makes me think there IS!! And I wish Mac would start noticing that dark sedan. I don't quite understand why Nikki should be upset with Mac looking at her dossier again. I understand she craves trust and privacy, but he's already seen and discovered the worst of what is in it (I'm assuming). Great chapter! You really gave us a lot to think about!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 18 December 2021 - 10:30 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 17 December 2021 - 07:39 PM)
I don't quite understand why Nikki should be upset with Mac looking at her dossier again.  I understand she craves trust and privacy, but he's already seen and discovered the worst of what is in it (I'm assuming).

I´m assuming, it´s more a matter of her feeling like he has violated her principles... that he looked into it again - without asking.

As for them not suspecting any imminent danger - We´ll see quite soon, if there is... whistle.gif nasty.gif

I´m glad, you like it!



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 18 December 2021 - 11:23 PM                                    
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Hi there! Another Sunday morning...

Some of you were worried about Mac not noticing that dark sedan... Well, he will... soon. surprise.gif The tension will rise... quite fast. unsure.gif

Let´s get back into action with

Part 15


MacGyver leaned back on his chair and ran his hands through his hair some while later. He´d scanned through everything accessible to him and had only vague ideas about who might be responsible for placing the bugs. The windowless archive room didn´t give him a clue to how long he´d been at it, so he glanced at his watch but froze while doing it. Almost three hours had passed since Pete had been down here to tell him about Nikki´s call.

‘She´ll be coming here soon.’

Pete´s words echoed in his head. Driving from Nikki´s apartment to the Phoenix headquarters took half an hour at the most. Why wasn´t she here already? MacGyver´s worries spiked again. But in the next moment, he forced himself to take a deep breath and calm down. She might have gone directly upwards to meet Pete in his office, he told himself inwardly. But is she still holding on to her grudge against me? Is she still that fed up with me that she wouldn´t come down here to see me?

The mere thought sent a sting to Mac´s heart and he puffed out the breath he´d been subconsciously holding. Maybe she just stayed with Pete to help him with his investigation of the case files, he urged himself to relax once more. MacGyver´s eyes switched back to the computer monitor while he reflected on what he´d seen and read. He was done with his work here. I could just as well return to Pete´s office and see if he has been able to get some of the classified reports in the meantime. I hope, at least the DXS has been willing to share some information, Mac thought while he logged off and shut down the computer. Then he got up and strode out of the secured room.

MacGyver stifled a yawn when he stepped off the elevator and headed through the corridor toward Pete´s office. The sight of the dark nightly sky and the city lights through a window at the end of that corridor reminded him of how late it had gotten. The sight also made him realize how hungry and tired he had grown during his time in the archives. The sandwich he had grabbed while he´d been grocery shopping hadn´t been much, and due to the technicians at his home Mac had missed a decent dinner.

But his thoughts were forced back to the present when he came around the last corner. Pete was sitting behind his desk, concentrating on his computer monitor when MacGyver stopped briefly to knock on the half-open door.

“Hey, Pete!” he greeted.

“Come on in, Mac.” Pete waved him in without taking his eyes off the screen. “Found something?”

“Probably.” MacGyver´s eyes scanned the room while he answered and slowly walked up to Pete´s desk. His thoughts ran wild as he noticed that no one but Pete was there. An awful feeling of uncertainty rose in his gut. Suddenly he wasn´t too sorry anymore about his stomach being empty. “Pete… where´s Nikki?” Mac asked cautiously, inwardly dreading the answer. “Has she left you to work in her own office?”

Now Pete abruptly looked up from his computer monitor with a frown and turned his desk chair to face MacGyver.

“I haven´t seen her… I assumed she directly went to the archives… to meet you.”

“She didn´t.” Mac replied while he felt a wave of icy cold race up his back and the hairs at the back of his neck rise.

“She wasn´t with you either?” Pete repeated slowly as he picked up Mac´s sudden tension.

An uneasy silence hung in the office for a few moments as MacGyver only silently shook his head. The uncertainty he had felt turned into real worry about Nikki at once.

“It´s been almost three hours since she has called…” Pete added after a glance at his watch.

MacGyver nodded wordlessly while he tried to straighten himself. He felt as if he couldn´t breathe freely anymore. Something was wrong, really wrong… he just knew it. Pete leaned forward and rested his arms on his desk. His eyes found MacGyver’s and he saw the sorrow his friend was struggling hard to control. Mac held Pete´s gaze quietly for several seconds before both men winced when the phone on the desk suddenly rang.

Mac froze and held his breath for a moment. Whoever called Pete this late in his office… there had to be some truly important reason. Pete reacted with the second ringing tone and pushed the button that set his phone into speaker mode.

“Hello?”

“Pete? … Thank God, you´re still in the office.”

Nikki´s voice came out of the speaker only a moment later. Hearing the sound brought sudden relief to MacGyver, yet he also picked up the unease her tone bore.

“Of course I am, Nikki.” Pete answered. “What held you up?” Both men heard Nikki pause briefly.

“Is MacGyver with you?” she asked then.

Pete looked up at his friend and again, their eyes locked for a moment. Mac stepped closer to the desk.

“Right here.” he replied quickly. “What´s the matter?”

“Mr. MacGyver, I´m glad you´re also still around.” A male voice answered only a second later. “I´m here with Ms. Carpenter.”

The blood in MacGyver´s veins seemed to freeze at once and his heart skipped a beat when he recognized the voice within the first few words. He drew in a deep breath while Pete´s eyes widened with an unspoken question.

“Zorkin.” Mac muttered under his breath. Several pictures from the evening and the night he had spent fleeing from Czechoslovakia to Austria flashed back into his mind. His body subconsciously stiffened with the memories of the gun pressed against his spine, the fever, the pain from getting injured, and the exhaustion he´d been going through.

“Oh, you do remember me… good.” The GRU agent seemed contented.

MacGyver tore his eyes once more from the phone only to see the mixture of alarm and worry on Pete´s face while he could barely keep up his own calm façade.

“What do you want?” Mac asked cautiously controlled.

“You, Mr. MacGyver.” Zorkin´s voice was flat and stone cold. “Alone.”

Pete opened his mouth to reply, but MacGyver quickly raised a hand to keep him silent.

“What for?” Mac continued.

“Details. We´ll discuss that later. When we see each other… once again.” Zorkin´s reply was curt.

“All right.” Mac sighed, leaned forward, and rested his hands on Pete´s desk. “Tell me where and when.”

“I guess, you know where your sweetheart lives.” Zorkin said. “Half an hour.”

“That´s very little time to get there.” Mac opposed as he shot his watch a glance and tried to stall for a little more leeway.

“Oh, there isn´t too much traffic this late in the evening.” Zorkin brushed his words off. “I´m sure you can make it if you care about seeing Ms. Carpenter again… alive.”

MacGyver puffed out a breath.

“Fine… I´ll be there.” Mac´s eyes briefly found Pete´s again. “But first let me talk to her once more… I wanna know she´s okay.”

“You´re not in a position to make demands.” Zorkin almost chuckled. “You´ll have to trust my word. She´ll be fine as long as you´ll follow our orders.”

“All right.” Mac said through clenched teeth. “Just don´t…”

“Alone, Mr. MacGyver. 30 minutes.” Zorkin cut him off. “No police, no agents dangling from trees… or Ms. Carpenter will be dead until you arrive.” Then the line went silent.

The tense silence filled the room for several seconds. You could have cut the air with a knife until MacGyver slowly straightened himself. He nervously licked his lips and flexed his fingers while he took a slow step back from the desk. He saw Pete look up at him as he tried to keep his feelings in check, but his thoughts were running wild inside his head.

“Mac, we didn´t get any intel on Zorkin and Baranov since you tangled with them two and a half months ago.” Pete said low and with an apologetic tone. “It was as if they had vanished into thin air. There was no indication to assume they had made it to the U.S. I kept you posted, remember?”

MacGyver nodded silently. Of course, he remembered. But Zorkin and Baranov had made it to the U.S., and they had grabbed Nikki. He´d underestimated them. No matter from which side he looked at the situation, he didn´t have any choice.

If I want to save Nikki´s life… No, I have to save Nikki´s life!

Those guys wouldn´t hesitate to kill, he knew that. He felt some of his worry and fear turn into determination as adrenaline spread through his body. He felt anger rise within. Anger at the GRU agents for taking Nikki as a hostage, anger at himself for not thinking of that possibility earlier. MacGyver took another step back and was about to turn and leave, when Pete quickly rose out of his chair and hurried around his desk.

“MacGyver, wait!” he demanded.

“I gotta hurry, Pete.” Mac answered curt and turned.

“But you don´t have any idea what those men are up to.” Pete grabbed Mac´s arm and held him back. “You´ll probably be walking right into a trap.”

“I know.” MacGyver´s expression hardened. His eyes seemed to become even darker as he looked sideways to hold Pete´s gaze.

“At least give me a few minutes to arrange some backup.” Pete asked and let go of Mac´s arm.

“Pete, you heard him!” MacGyver shot back. “No police, no agents.”

“But you´ll be…” Pete tried to argue.

“No!” Mac cut him off way too loud. His hands tightened into fists. Pete flinched back a little with his sharp and intense reaction. MacGyver drew in a deep breath to regain some of his self-control when he saw his friend retreat from him. “I´m not gonna allow anything that might endanger Nikki´s life any further.” he continued with a voice that left no room for discussion but got softer to the end. “You know, I handled comparable situations before… on my own.”

“Of course, I do.” Pete nodded and looked up at his friend probing. If there was anyone he trusted to come up with a solution for a problem like this, it was Mac. He just didn´t like the mixture of worry, anger, and determination he saw in MacGyver, which was probably clouding his judgment. But he knew he had no way of holding him back. Not with the woman Mac loved being in danger. “Please, be careful, will you?” he sighed.

“Yeah, Pete.” MacGyver answered low and squared his shoulders. He forced a little smile on his face and his hands to open again. “As always.” With that, he turned, hurried out of Pete´s office and toward the elevator.

MacGyver´s mind went to overdrive during his ride down to the parking garage. He hated leaving Pete behind like this. He had seen how deeply worried his friend and boss had looked at him. He knew that Pete cared deeply about Nikki´s safety as well. He knew that Pete might have been able to support him, but with no time left for preparation, MacGyver had chosen to rather face the situation alone. Coordinating his efforts with Pete was more than he could handle right now. Concentrating on calming down, keeping his mind straight, and focusing on getting Nikki out of the hands of the GRU agents safe and sound was difficult enough for him at the moment.

He forced himself to recall every detail of the phone call in the silence of the elevator car. They need me to do something for them, he thought. Zorkin said, he´d tell me about the details later… it is safe to assume that Baranov is with him… they can´t kill Nikki as long as they need her as leverage against me… she´ll be okay as long as I play along… and they can´t kill me until they´ve gotten whatever it is they want…

MacGyver sighed before he stepped off the elevator and ran toward his jeep. To be honest, Zorkin and Baranov left him with no time to spare and no other choices. He had to follow their instructions, hope for any flaw in their plan, for any opportunity for rescue to present itself – and then grab it.

*****

Rage and worry were still battling for the upper hand inside him when MacGyver drove around the last corner, and the apartment building in the Forster Lane came into sight. His eyes automatically started scanning his surroundings for anything unusual and for a space to park his jeep. The man had been right. Thanks to very little inner-city traffic, Mac had made good time and still had a few minutes to spare when he parked his jeep.

He puffed out a deep breath, slowly slid out of the driver´s seat, and headed for the building´s entrance. MacGyver felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end and all his senses sharpen as he strode toward the door. He forced himself to clear his mind and focus. Thick clouds covered the sky again, but Mac could barely see them in the darkness of the night. The wind had picked up speed and was causing the trees in front of the apartment building to rustle.

Mac didn´t hear the man coming up to him out of the shadows until he noticed a movement in the corner of his eye.

“There´s no need to go upstairs.” Zorkin suddenly addressed him.

MacGyver stopped and turned to face the agent standing a few feet away from him. He froze when he saw the dim light of the streetlights reflecting off a revolver. Mac´s eyes were fixed on the muzzle that was aimed at him for seconds before he was able to look up at Zorkin´s face. He wondered briefly if he would ever get used to the sight of a gun pointing at him.

MacGyver had expected Zorkin to wait for him in Nikki´s apartment. He had hoped for the advantage of the familiar surroundings and lots of stuff up there that might have come in real handy. Not going to happen…, he thought to himself.

“Where´s Nikki?” Mac asked as controlled as he could.

Nothing personal, he had told the man when he had met him for the first time. Well, by now it was. Up close and personal. Those men threatened the woman he cared so much about. MacGyver suddenly remembered how he and Diana had observed Anton Dubcek in the zoo. How he had mentioned Anton being so tightly wound up that he might snap. How Diana had blown up angrily at his comment and asked if he wouldn´t be – facing the same situation.

MacGyver took a deep breath, forced his thoughts back to the present, and internally admitted that he was. Right now. Facing a similar threat. The slightest idea of Nikki getting hurt or even killed made his stomach turn. Don´t go there!, he chided himself in the next moment. Keep your mind clear, MacGyver, keep your thoughts straight.

“Close.” Zorkin answered low. “And in good company.”

MacGyver licked his lips nervously. So Baranov is with her. The one that almost shot me in the zoo…

“Well, I´m here as you ordered.” Mac stated. “Let her go.”

“I don´t think so.” An evil grin widened on Zorkin´s face while he took a step closer. “You´ll be much more cooperative like this. I don´t think you´ll try any of your inventive tricks as long as you know that another gun is aimed at her.” he continued amused.

MacGyver´s eyes subconsciously switched back to the revolver in Zorkin´s hand. He swallowed hard. No, of course, you won´t… so I´m back to waiting and playing along for now, he thought.

“So, tell me what you want me to do.” he asked, still trying to sound firm.

“Back to your car.” Zorkin ordered with a small wave of his gun. Mac took an involuntary step backward.

“At least let me know that Nikki is okay first.” MacGyver tried once more.

“I told you, you´re not in a position to make demands.” The grin on Zorkin´s face grew even colder, but when Mac didn´t move for a few seconds he continued. “See that dark sedan across the corner?”

MacGyver half-turned, looked over his shoulder and nodded. The semi-darkness concealed any details of the faraway car, but he could make out two persons inside. A dark-haired woman in the driver´s seat. A man in the back. The distance was way too big to try anything.

“She´s fine… and it´ll stay that way as long as you follow my instructions precisely.” Zorkin assured him. “Now, back to your car.”

MacGyver gazed back at the GRU agent briefly, raised his hands in a gesture of surrender, and turned away from the man. An icy chill ran down his spine with the knowledge of the revolver pointing at his back while he walked toward the jeep. His thoughts ran wild once more as he climbed into the driver´s seat.

In a moment he´ll have to tell me where we´ll be going… then I´ll learn the truth about what they´re up to…

MacGyver fastened his seatbelt and noticed Zorkin taking his place next to him. All the time he kept Mac covered with the gun. MacGyver laid both hands on the steering wheel and tried to calm his nervous breathing. When the agent had settled in the passenger seat, Mac reached down and started the engine.

“Where to?”

“You tell me.” Zorkin replied flatly. “We couldn´t listen long enough to the two of you to hear this little detail… But I´m sure you do know where the Dubcek brothers´ home is located.”

MacGyver held his breath for a moment. Of course… this has to be about getting rid of the dissidents… aw man, two more lives at stake…

“Yeah, sure.” he answered with a low voice, put the jeep in gear, and drove off. After several yards, Mac looked into the rear mirror and saw the dark sedan following them at a little distance.

“You´d better not lose them.” Zorkin advised as he noticed Mac´s gaze. “And don´t try anything funny.”

MacGyver shot the man a quick sideways glance and nodded. Zorkin still kept the revolver firmly aimed at him. No chance of getting to it or getting rid of it without a way too high risk of getting severely injured or probably even killed. Especially with Nikki in the car behind. Mac puffed out a breath in an attempt to get rid of some of his tension instead.

“So, I guess, I do owe my serious headache two days ago to one of you?” he asked with a sigh after a few minutes of silence.

“You didn´t give Baranov any choice.” Zorkin snarled. “But you´d better keep your concentration on the road at the moment.”

MacGyver only nodded silently while his eyes permanently switched between the road in front of him and the rear mirror showing the dark sedan with Nikki driving. His mind went to overdrive. His pulse shot up. He knew the house the Dubcek brothers were living in only briefly. They had moved in only a few weeks ago. And his time to come up with a plan that would rescue all of them was limited.

Driving to the house took only a little more than 20 minutes and during that time Mac had formed and also rejected several ideas in his head. When he parked his jeep in front of it, he saw lights on inside. Good, the Dubceks haven´t gone to sleep already. At the same time, he realized that he didn´t know if Pete still kept the house under surveillance. If some operative is watching, Pete should be notified of my unannounced appearance and my company within the next few minutes, Mac thought. That might help… He tried to casually let his eyes wander around the street while he unbuckled his seatbelt, but Zorkin impatiently waved his weapon at him.

“Now get us inside.” he ordered sharply. “Fast.”

Mac slid out of his seat wordlessly, went around the hood, but froze for a moment when he saw the dark sedan stopping behind the jeep. He managed a quick eye contact with Nikki that was harshly interrupted by Zorkin cocking his gun.

“I said, get us inside. Don´t stall, MacGyver.”

Mac tore his gaze off Nikki and reluctantly turned to walk toward the front door. He heard Zorkin follow a few feet behind and also noticed Nikki and Baranov getting out of their car. MacGyver drew in a deep breath when he took the few steps up to the porch. All his senses were on high alert, scanning for any kind of opportunity, any little flaw in the act of the GRU agents. He hesitated a bit when he approached the door and risked a glance over his shoulder at Nikki. Baranov was following her closely, poking the gun into her back to urge her forward, and carrying some case in his second hand. Quickly MacGyver´s thoughts circled around that case and what it might contain.

Maybe this isn´t just about shooting all of us, a small glimpse of hope flared up in his mind. Maybe they need something the brothers have… If we can just stop them from pointing those guns directly at us… Nikki and I should be able to take those guys down… We´ll only need a little diversion…

But in the next moment, Baranov shoved Nikki that roughly forward to the porch that she stumbled and nearly fell onto the steps. Instantly MacGyver felt his rage at the GRU agents return and boil inside. Instinctively he wanted to step back, reach out to Nikki and help her, but froze as Zorkin raised his revolver and shot him a warning look.

“Don´t.”

The tone of that single word made clear that Zorkin wouldn´t tolerate any further movement. Mac´s eyes locked with Nikki a second later, when she had recovered.

“You okay?” he asked quickly.

“Yes, MacGyver, just fine.” Nikki answered firmly and a bit annoyed. Even though he tried his best to conceal it, she could see how deeply worried he was about her and also how angry he was.

Mac straightened himself and glared at the man at his side after he had torn his eyes off Nikki. He barely managed to bite back a fuming reply to the agent. Instead he turned back to the door and saw Zorkin take a place a few feet away from it next to the wall. Come on, MacGyver, he ordered himself mentally. Concentrate. You´re about to deliver a very unpleasant surprise to the Dubceks… and you´re the one to find a solution to this whole mess.

MacGyver drew in a deep breath, raised his hand, and knocked on the door. After a few seconds he heard steps coming closer from the inside, and then Pavel Dubcek opened the door.

“MacGyver!” he exclaimed surprised when he recognized Mac standing in the darkness of the porch. “What are you doing here that late? Something important?”

Mac puffed out a breath. He was thankful that he could rely on Nikki and the Dubcek brothers to trust and follow his judgment in this dire situation.

“Unfortunately, yes.” he said slowly. “Is Anton at home as well?”

“He is, we were about to…” Pavel answered, but broke off when he noticed Nikki and Baranov standing behind MacGyver. His eyes quickly focused back on MacGyver´s face and his expression turned alarmed instantly. After a second of silence Zorkin stepped out of the shadow of the wall, his gun still firmly pointed at MacGyver. Pavel´s face fell when he got a first view of the weapon. He hadn´t even seen the gun aimed at Nikki´s back yet. Pavel took an involuntary step backward when he saw Zorkin´s grim face.

“I´m sorry.” Mac apologized with a low voice. “They gave me no choice.”

“Inside, everybody.” Zorkin ordered sharply.

Pavel shot MacGyver a quick questioning look and obeyed after Mac´s silent nod. MacGyver followed with Zorkin just a step behind and Nikki and Baranov bringing up the rear. Mac tried his best to focus on the task at hand, remember the room layout, and not let himself be distracted by his concern for Nikki. She can watch herself, he told himself internally, but it did little to quench his mounting rage at the GRU agents for how rudely they handled her. He felt his breath and his heartbeat speed up despite his best efforts to keep calm.

Anton Dubcek looked up surprised when he saw MacGyver entering the living room behind his brother and rose alarmed from the couch once he spotted Zorkin only a moment later.

“MacGyver, what is this…” he started to ask, but was cut off by Mac raising his hands in a calming gesture toward Anton.

“I´m sorry… we got no warning. I had no choice.” he repeated his apology while his eyes scanned the room for anything useful. He had to stall for a little more time, somehow. Zorkin motioned for Pavel to join his brother, yet when Mac tried to follow, he pointed the muzzle of the revolver right at Mac´s head.

“Not a chance, MacGyver.” he snarled. “Stay right where you are.”

Baranov shoved Nikki past him to stand with Pavel and Anton and covered all of them with his gun, while Zorkin made sure that Mac didn´t get any closer. MacGyver was still wondering what they kept in that case. Zorkin and Baranov are considering me as the most dangerous to whatever plan they have in mind, MacGyver thought. They don´t see Nikki, Pavel, or Anton as a heavy threat… I need to use that fact… if I can get them to concentrate on me… and to act… they´ll probably let their guard down toward Nikki… and the three might get out of this unharmed… but how?

MacGyver saw that Anton and Pavel were frightened and angry at the same time when he managed to make eye contact with them and tried to signal them to stay calm and quiet. Nikki, on the other hand, seemed more annoyed than anxious and held Mac´s gaze with an unspoken question.

‘What are you up to?’

If only I knew already, Mac mused inside, still feeling uncomfortably clueless. I need more information… I need to get those two to talk…

“The two of you managed to stay under the radar real good since we met in Czechoslovakia.” Mac stated out of the blue and threw Zorkin a sideways glance. “I have to give you credit for that. The GRU has certainly improved its tactics.”

Zorkin´s glare turned a lot angrier all of a sudden than Mac had anticipated.

“The GRU deserves no credit for it. We would have caught up with you a lot faster if we hadn´t been forced to avoid them.” Zorkin said with a stone-cold voice. “Thanks to you the GRU is hunting us.”

MacGyver barely managed to hide his surprise. They were not GRU anymore? Of course he knew that Pete had passed the documents Mac had retrieved from Czechoslovakia on to the DXS but after that… he hadn´t been notified about the actions the DXS or GRU had taken. Until now… The GRU was after them…

“Thanks to me?” he answered with an air of innocence and a little nonchalant smile.

“You helped uncover and blew the network we had formed within the GRU.” Zorkin continued. “You helped those people defect. Twice.” Zorkin nodded toward Anton and Pavel. “You are supporting their dangerous, revolutionary ideas.”

MacGyver swallowed hard. He felt the eyes of Nikki and the Dubcek brothers resting on him as he concentrated on Zorkin. Aw man, in my line of work I´m used to the other side being hot when I´ve been successful, but those men seem to be out for revenge… just great… careful now, MacGyver, don´t make them too angry.

“Sorry.” Mac shrugged apologetically. “Just doing my job.”

“Enough!” Zorkin´s expression darkened even more as he cut Mac off harshly. “This house does have a basement?” It was part question, part statement.

Anton nodded silently.

“Then lead the way.” Zorkin ordered and quickly raised his hand with the gun when MacGyver tried to be the first to go. Mac froze at once. “We´ll be the last to go.” Zorkin snarled at him.

Baranov waved his revolver at Anton, Pavel, and Nikki, urging them to move. After a brief moment of hesitation, the three followed the order.

Being situated in a residential area on a slope the Dubceks´ home had a brick-built cellar that served as a foundation for the wooden house. The stairs lead down from the house to a corridor with a garage on one side that the Dubceks used mostly as a workshop and a bigger room on the other that was mostly used for storage. MacGyver´s thoughts ran wild with all the stuff around he might be able to put to use if he could only manage to get Zorkin and Baranov off his back for a few moments. But the attention of the two men didn´t waver.

Baranov quickly checked both doors while Zorkin kept all his prisoners covered by pressing the muzzle of his revolver firmly against MacGyver´s neck. Mac kept his hands raised a little to signal that he wasn´t about to cause any trouble as he watched how Baranov chose the bigger storage room and waved first Anton and Pavel and then Nikki into it.

MacGyver slowly followed as soon as Zorkin ordered him to. He saw a large room with lots of shelves along the walls, two I-beams along the middle serving as supporting pillars, and a sturdy workbench between them. Baranov set his case down on that workbench. The shelves were filled with all kinds of stuff and Baranov soon spotted some durable rope.

He used it to first tightly bind the Dubcek brothers´ hands behind their backs and then both of them to one of the I-beams with their backs against it. Nikki tried to edge herself a little closer to MacGyver while Baranov was occupied with his work, but Mac shot her a warning look, wordlessly telling her to be careful. He sensed that the ex-GRU agents were getting more wound up with every moment. He tried to keep them both in sight, still alert for any opportunity. He had noticed that Zorkin kept a little distance to him again, the pressure of the muzzle against Mac´s neck was gone, although Zorkin was cautious about covering every single move Mac made.

“Over here! With me. Now!” Baranov harshly ordered Nikki toward the second I-beam as soon as he was done with the brothers. When she hesitated and didn´t obey his command at once, he took two hurried steps over to her, rudely grabbed her upper arm, pulled her toward himself, and then shoved her against the pillar.

MacGyver´s rage flared up again when he had to watch how Nikki stumbled and hit the beam hard due to the rough force Baranov had used. His heart was pounding at once. He felt himself breathing heavier, clenched his teeth, and subconsciously balled his hands into fists.

Nikki had just recovered when Baranov grabbed her again and wanted to turn her with her back toward him so he could also bind her hands. She was also truly angry about the way Baranov manhandled her by now and resisted once more, but that earned Nikki a slap on the face. MacGyver saw Nikki stumble again after the backhand hit from Baranov, and all of a sudden his fury took over.

“Hey! Leave her alone!” he yelled as he wanted to bolt toward the man, determined to do whatever necessary to get Baranov away from the woman he loved. In his red-hot anger, MacGyver didn´t care about Zorkin or the revolver in his hands.

But Mac´s attempt to help Nikki was stopped abruptly when Zorkin stepped from his side into his way and rammed his knee into Mac´s stomach as hard as he could. The air was driven out of MacGyver´s lungs; he dropped to his knees with a painful gasp and wanted to wrap his arms around himself protectively. Zorkin was quick to follow up with a brutal kick to Mac´s side that threw him sideways to the ground.

MacGyver heard Nikki call out his name alarmed, however wasn´t able to react to it due to the stabbing pain in his chest. He tried to take a few deep breaths, fought against sudden vertigo and the darkness that threatened to take over his senses. Slowly he rolled over to his front, pushed himself up to his hands and knees with a moan and raised his head. When he blinked his eyes open, he saw Baranov bind Nikki´s hands and Nikki look down at him worriedly. In the next moment, Baranov pulled Nikki back against the I-beam rudely, and out of his protective instinct, and again without thinking about it, MacGyver tried to rise and get to her quickly.

“I said, leave her…” he croaked, but was cut off by something hitting the back of his head hard. Almost the same spot… The thought flashed through his mind in the split second before his head seemed to explode with sudden pain, and then everything went dark and silent.




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 21 December 2021 - 11:35 AM                                    
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DXS Agent
*****

Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Gender:  Female
Country: USA
SAK owned:

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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



I KNEW Nikki was in trouble!! Wow, this chapter was action-packed and intense! So Zorkin and Baranov are EX-GRU and now hunted by the GRU and they're blaming Mac. Yikes! And poor Mac has to protect Nikki and the brothers and is now once again, knocked out cold. Hopefully some of Pete's agents were indeed watching the house and will somehow get help. I like how you get in Mac's head and his thoughts throughout the chapter while he tries to process everything and think of ways to help. I do love how Nikki always seems more annoyed than anxious or scared! So they are in a real bind now...literally and figuratively! Can't wait to see how Mac is gonna get them all out of this!!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 21 December 2021 - 11:50 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 123
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Country: Austria
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Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 21 December 2021 - 08:35 PM)
I KNEW Nikki was in trouble!!  Wow, this chapter was action-packed and intense!  So Zorkin and Baranov are EX-GRU and now hunted by the GRU and they're blaming Mac.  Yikes! 

So they are in a real bind now...literally and figuratively!  Can't wait to see how Mac is gonna get them all out of this!!

Of course I had to get Nikki into trouble... whistle.gif It´s a perfect way of getting Mac into trouble... tongue.gif

Blaming Mac - revenge is one of the strongest motives, isn´t it?

Yes, they are bound... and don´t forget about the case Baranov had with him - it´ll play a crucial role during the next part! surprise.gif nasty.gif



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 22 December 2021 - 10:51 PM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
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Hello again!

Let´s recall the timeline this is set in - the story starts in late June 1988, between seasons 3 and 4, Mac and Nikki spent a beautiful summer together and by now it is mid-September 1988... season 4 starts on Oct. 31st 1988 with 'The Secret of the Parker House'...

Everyone ready for another tension-packed chapter of this story?! Remember the case that Baranov carried?! And remember that I set out to tell why Nikki is NOT there anymore from season 4 on? surprise.gif

Part 16 of 21


His head was throbbing seriously when MacGyver slowly drifted back into consciousness. The next thing he sensed was that he was lying half on his side, half on his front on some cold, hard floor with his hands tied behind his back. The floor seemed to be swimming below him. Mac pressed his eyes tightly shut with a groan, while he tried to push back the dizziness and the pain in his head and his side. Probably a cracked rib, he assessed automatically. Then he noticed a female voice cutting through the haze that filled his head.

“MacGyver? …Mac! … Come on, wake up! … Mac, please!” that voice urged frantically.

Nikki… Mac suddenly realized as the dire situation they had been in crept back into his mind. Captured by two ex-GRU agents with very little to lose… and my dumb and uncontrolled rage didn´t help us either, Mac chided himself inwardly. But at least we´re still alive as it seems…

He cautiously turned his head toward Nikki´s voice and forced his eyes to open. He saw Nikki bound to the pillar a few feet away and staring at him tense with an awkward mixture of relief and concern as well as angst and hopeful expectancy. But after a moment the image before Mac´s eyes blurred with his intense headache and he allowed his eyes to close and his head to drop to the floor once more. Just gimme a few moments, he thought as he felt the cool ground against his forehead.

“MacGyver, wake up!” Nikki called out to him again. “We need your help!”

Yeah, sure… me again… just a minute… Mac strove to calm his labored breathing. For a moment, he wasn´t sure if he´d not only thought but also murmured these words aloud.

“Mac, those guys left us behind with a bomb ticking!” Nikki´s voice cracked with fear. “Come out of it! Now!”

A bomb?!

MacGyver´s eyes flew open in the same split second that the word registered in his mind. He lifted his head way too fast for his comfort.

“What? Where?”

“It´s on the table… with only a little more than seven minutes left.” Nikki replied quickly.

MacGyver wanted to turn to lie partly on his back to get a better look around the room, and while he tried to do that he noticed that his ankles were also bound tight, leaving him quite immobile. He had to get rid of those binds first, but his mind already rotated around the bomb he hadn´t even seen yet. He took a deep breath to quench the sudden panic his adrenaline rush had fueled. One problem at a time, he reminded himself internally. You´ve got a few minutes to defuse that bomb. Keep calm!

Now thinking a little clearer, he tried to bend and twist his body in an effort to reach his Swiss Army knife in the front pocket of his jeans with one of his hands, but realized after a moment that it was useless. MacGyver let his body sag to the floor and drew in a sharp breath with the stabbing pain in his side his attempt had caused. He struggled to turn his head to all directions while his eyes scanned the room for anything he could use to free himself from the ropes. However this was a storage room… the shelves were mostly filled with boxes of all sizes, some paint cans, but no knife or even a saw to be seen.

Then MacGyver spotted several glass jars standing in the shelf on the wall closest to him. An idea instantly formed in his head and he hurried to worm his way over to that shelf. Once he had reached it, he pulled and pushed his body up against it.

“What are you doing?” Nikki asked after watching him silently for a couple of moments.

“If I can get one of those glass jars to fall and break…” Mac answered through clenched teeth. “I should be able to cut the ropes.”

He was on his knees now, straightened himself as much as he could, and twisted his body so he could reach for the jars with his tied hands. He felt for them blindly behind his back until his fingers touched something. MacGyver wasn´t so sure about what he had touched though, because his bonds were so tight that parts of his hands were numb by now. Nevertheless, he grabbed it and quickly pushed it off the shelf.

Mac puffed out a relieved breath when he heard glass shattering on the floor and instantly sat down again. He glanced over his shoulder for a quick assessment of the shards and then felt across them for one of suitable size and sharpness. Trying to be cautious he picked it up, turned it around in his only partially functioning hands to reach the bonds, and started sawing on them immediately. It was only when he felt something warm and wet that he noticed he had unintentionally also cut into one of his wrists and two fingers.

But in the next second the rope snapped and the sudden loss of tension sent a wave of agony through his arms and shoulders. MacGyver bit back a moan as he wiped the blood off his hands on his black jeans and then hurried to turn around to get rid of the bonds around his ankles. He quickly got to his feet but had to steady himself by holding on to the shelf as the dizziness suddenly spiked.

“Mac, are you all right?” Nikki called out alarmed when she saw his bloodied hands and him swaying for a moment.

“Yeah, just fine…” Mac breathed and shook his head to clear it. The headache was also back with full force now that he was standing. Hang in there, MacGyver, he urged himself mentally. Concentrate. You gotta get 4 persons out of here alive. When he turned to look at Nikki he saw the bruise on her cheek where Baranov had slapped her and the returning anger gave him the much-needed energy to continue. He dug his Swiss Army knife out of his pocket while he strode over to her and scrutinized the bomb simultaneously.

It was on the workbench in the now open case that Baranov had carried with him. Plastique explosive, several wires, and a circuit board with a digital clock display ticking away the seconds… still more than five minutes. Anton and Pavel stared alternately at him and the bomb with clearly visible angst on their faces as Mac came closer. Mac took a short moment to silently study the details of the device.

A small battery to power the clock, wires in various colors connecting electronical components, the plastique and its detonators out of immediate reach under some transparent cover, no indication that the bomb was connected to anything else in the room, but to top it off, a mercury switch wired to the circuit board. Wonderful… so much for moving it out of here… but nothing I haven´t dealt with before.

Mac straightened himself, quickly turned to Nikki, and flipped the large blade of his Swiss Army knife open.

“You okay?” he asked over her shoulder while he cut the ropes that held her to the beam behind her back.

“I´m all right, Mac.” Nikki nodded and took a step forward as soon as the rope around her loosened. She held out her bound hands for him and whirled around to face him the moment he had freed her completely. “But what about you?”

MacGyver cupped her bruised cheek carefully with one hand and brushed a soft kiss on her forehead while he placed the knife hilt-forward into her hands.

“Cut Anton and Pavel loose.” he told her and concentrated back on the bomb. “Could you see if that thing is connected to anything else? The door maybe?”

“Don´t think so.” Nikki didn´t look up from sawing through the ropes that held the brothers. “They placed it there, gave us another sermon, set the timer, and threw a switch to activate it.”

“And then they left us behind to die!” Anton added exasperated.

Mac glanced up at him and then took his knife back from her when she was done. His brown eyes locked with hers. “You´re going to get Anton and Pavel out of here safely.” he said with a low voice and stepped over to the door. “Call Pete if you can… but be careful… Zorkin and Baranov might have stayed somewhere close to watch.”

“What about you?” Nikki wanted to know.

“I´m gonna try to defuse that thing and keep it from destroying the house.” Mac told her with a little smile while his eyes scanned the door and its frame. He heard Anton draw in a sharp breath and held up one hand to keep him silent. “Nothing I haven´t done before.” he added with a quick sideways look.

MacGyver cautiously reached for the handle and turned it when nothing aroused his suspicion. The door opened without resistance, Mac peeked out to the corridor through a small crack and pulled it completely open when all was quiet outside.

“Get out of here. You´d better try the backyard.” he ordered.

Nikki was at his side but hesitated. She reached for his hand, sensed the sticky blood on it, and squeezed it briefly.

“MacGyver, please…” she started to say but was cut off instantly by him.

“Of course, Nikki… Now go!”

Nikki let go of his hand, and MacGyver stayed at the door and watched how she lead the Dubcek brothers through the corridor for a moment before he determinedly turned back to the bomb.

About four minutes left… now it´s just you and I… with Nikki on her way to safety I can finally concentrate on you, Mac thought when he approached the table and took in all the details of the bomb once more. MacGyver wiped his hands clean from the seeping blood again and flexed his long fingers to restore a little more feeling to his still partially numb hands. He felt the pain from the cuts by now but pushed it back as he did with his pounding headache.

All his experience in defusing bombs, all he had learned since his time in Vietnam, all the memories of the bombs he had ever dealt with, flooded back into his mind. His thoughts went to high gear while his eyes followed the wiring and assessed the connections. A step-by-step plan formed before his mental eye. Carefully he used the blade of his Swiss Army knife to push the wires away from each other to be able to reach the components he had to disable, while he kept the mercury switch under close watch. He would have to deal with that one, but first…

*****

The last minute of the countdown was about to begin. MacGyver had cut a few connections, had been able to separate some of the plastique from the detonation circuit, thus making that thing less dangerous, and had just been able to render the mercury switch inoperative. He blinked to get his eyes to focus properly again and wiped some blood threatening to drop from his hands into the bomb away on his jeans.

Why do those seconds always seem to be ticking away faster when I´m disarming a bomb, Mac asked himself mentally while he took a deep breath to prepare himself for the last step. Still plenty of time left though… piece of cake… but getting clobbered on the head for the second time in two days and cutting my hands with the shard don´t quite help it…

MacGyver bent down, flipped the scissors out of his Swiss Army knife, and reached into the case once more when he suddenly heard hurried steps in the corridor. Mac froze. He´d been concentrating that intensely on the bomb that he hadn´t noticed any of the sounds outside the room before. His back stiffened instinctively when whoever had been running stopped at the door several feet behind him.

“MacGyver? … you alright?”

Nikki. MacGyver´s body relaxed a little but his thoughts ran wild within the second. What the heck? How can she return? Why? Where are Anton and Pavel? MacGyver pulled back his hands a few inches and raised his head a little. Not on top of my priorities list right now, he chided himself. Focus, MacGyver!

“I told you to make sure Anton and Pavel are safe.” he replied a bit sharper than he had intended to. His dark eyes were fixed on the digital display with the red numbers counting down… 1.00 … 0.59 … He heard Nikki come closer.

“They are.” Nikki assured him quickly. “Pete was already outside with our operatives, the police, and the DXS has just arrived. He´s taking care…”

“Good.” Mac cut her off. “Now go.”

“I came back to see if there´s anything I can do to help.” Nikki continued.

She was almost at his side now. MacGyver´s hands were still hovering over the bomb case when he tore his eyes off the display and shot her a glance over his shoulder.

“You can.” he stated flatly. “Get out of here.”

Nikki was standing a little more than a step behind him and didn´t move. Her face showed a lot of worries but also the huge trust she had in him.

“Can you defuse it?” she asked cautiously.

“Yeah.” Mac answered tensely. “Almost done… now please, go.”

MacGyver turned back to the table. 0.41 … 0.40 … He sensed Nikki step back from him and focused back on the last two wires he had to get to and cut. Mac licked his lips, pushed back his tension, and then slowly lowered his hands again. He hadn´t noticed the small trickle of blood that had found its way from his hands onto the handle of his Swiss Army knife while he´d talked to Nikki until he saw one small red drop falling, followed by another in the next blink of an eye.

The moment seemed to stretch into eternity as he watched his blood falling into the bomb case, directly toward the circuit board. Aw man, no… Mac subconsciously drew in a sharp breath. The drops landed with a tiny splash, right where he had disconnected a wire, just a minute ago. MacGyver stood still, like paralyzed, his eyes frozen on the spot while he watched the conductivity of his blood cause a short circuit and saw a few sparks racing across the circuit board and its components. He watched the countdown suddenly quicken to a terrifying speed.

What had felt like a comfortable amount of time a few moments ago suddenly shrunk into a few seconds. Definitely too short for any attempt to get this device under control. Adrenaline rushed into his veins. Then he remembered Nikki being several feet behind him, and the thought loosened his paralysis that had barely lasted more than a moment.

“Nikki, run… now!” he ordered as he stepped back from the workbench. Mac saw her stunned with surprise when he quickly turned and dropped his knife. Without a conscious thought, only acting on instinct, he grabbed her arms, pulled her with him to the door and shoved her into the corridor. Even if he had reduced the amount of plastique that would go off, the brick walls of that corridor were their only chance for survival, he just knew.

“Run! … To the garage!” MacGyver shouted at her again as he turned back to the door. This time, he sensed her hurry off. Mac reached for the door´s handle, tried to close it in an attempt to shield them both a little further from the explosion, but then all hell broke loose.

The deafening bang of the blast hit his ears almost in the same split second as the shockwave caught his whole body. All of a sudden time seemed to slow down to a crawl. He was thrown backward with a force he had no chance of countering, felt his hand getting torn from the handle, but saw the wooden door being hurled toward him by the explosion. Hot flames engulfed him and burned his skin, but then he hit the opposite wall of the corridor back first, seemingly his whole body all at once. MacGyver felt like getting crushed between brick wall and door; abrupt, sharp pain was racing through his head, his back, his torso, his arms, and his legs for the blink of an eye and then all went black… and quiet.

*****

The buzzing in her head and her ears was almost unbearable when Nikki cautiously pushed herself a little up. The haze in her head cleared bit by bit as she regained full consciousness. The memory of an explosion crept back into her mind… the explosion that had thrown her off her feet and past the door leading to the garage onto the stairs. I must have hit my head on the steps, she thought when she noticed a throbbing behind her forehead. Then she smelled a mixture of burnt explosives and smoke. The blast couldn´t have been more than a few minutes ago, she realized when she had risen to her hands and knees.

The blast from which MacGyver had saved them in the last possible second. Nikki shook her head to get rid of the dizziness and bit back a moan when the pain in her head suddenly worsened. She ran her hands through her hair and over her face to regain her bearings and felt a little blood trickling down from a small cut on her forehead. Dust surrounded her in the semi-darkness when she opened her eyes. Her ears were starting to work almost normally again, and she could hear the low crackle of fire at some distance.

And then it dawned on her. MacGyver.

He´d been right behind her. He´d grabbed her. He´d shoved her around the corner. To safety. But she was awake for several moments now and had neither seen, heard, nor felt any indication of him being close so far. An intense surge of fear washed through her. Where is he? What happened to him?

Nikki managed to get to her feet and turned back to the corridor at once. She saw the flickering light of flames filtering out of the storage room, through an opening that had been the door earlier. She saw bricks on the floor of the corridor in the twilight, together with splintered wood. Parts of the ceiling had caved in. The sheer destruction the bomb had caused had Nikki stunned speechless for a moment.

Then she realized, she still couldn´t see Mac anywhere close. Her fear grew into panic when the image of the mangled car her husband had died in flashed before her mental eye. She wasn´t sure if she could take a situation like this once again. Losing the man she loved to a bomb…

“My God, no…” she whispered and took a staggering step toward the debris. “MacGyver!” she then called out anxious. “Mac!”

No answer. Nothing.

An icy cold ran down her spine as she cautiously set one foot in front of the other and let her eyes scan the rubble for any detail, for any hint to Mac´s whereabouts. The seconds seemed to stretch while Nikki searched forward along the corridor, occasionally lifting and pushing some broken wood out of her way. It felt endless until she spotted a limp and bloodied hand in the flickering light. The rest of MacGyver´s body was covered by the shattered remains of the door leaf.

Nikki frantically shouted his name again as she dashed forward and pushed and pulled the door off him with all the energy she had left. What she found, made her freeze for a moment. MacGyver was lying on his back close to the wall, motionless, unconscious. One arm was folded across his torso, the other one on the floor, stretched out a little away from his side. Other than a bleeding split lip, Nikki couldn´t make out any injuries at first sight, but that did nothing to ease her terror.

Her hands were trembling when she kneeled down at MacGyver´s side. Nothing else mattered instantly. She didn´t even feel the heat radiating from the fire in the storage room. Now being closer to Mac, she saw him barely breathing, noticed how pale his face was.

“MacGyver?” she asked with a breaking voice, fighting back the tears that threatened to fill her eyes and blur her sight. “Can you hear me? … Mac!”

Nikki didn´t dare to touch him at first out of fear she might worsen his condition. But when she got no answer, no reaction at all, she slowly and very carefully reached out, brushed back some strands of hair from his forehead, and then cupped his cheek with a feather-light touch.

“MacGyver, come on… wake up!” she pleaded frightened. “Don´t do this to me… Mac!” She laid her second hand on his shoulder. “You gotta come back to me.” Nikki urged on a little louder and getting more desperate with every second passing. “MacGyver, please… open your eyes!”

*****

At first, MacGyver felt as if he was floating. Comfortable, quiet darkness was enveloping him. He wasn´t sure if he´d really heard someone calling his name; the voice had been so distant, so faint. But the voice returned, asking him to wake up, pleading with him to open his eyes. He knew that voice… it belonged to the woman he cared so much about.

Nikki.

The abrupt realization gave him the energy and will to try and leave his comfortable darkness. But when MacGyver attempted to breathe a little deeper, an immense wave of pain rolled through him. All of a sudden his whole body was swallowed up by unbearable agony. All of a sudden he felt like drowning with his inability to breathe properly; his lungs were burning with the lack of oxygen. Every effort to inhale intensified the stabbing in his chest and his back.

He noticed himself lying on his back, felt someone touch his shoulder and his cheek softly through the pain, and tried to cling on to that feeling. MacGyver wanted to move just a little, wanted to find a more comfortable position, but couldn´t. Everything he tried just aggravated his suffering. Panic took over his mind the second he realized that his body didn´t obey as usual, that he felt like being paralyzed. His breath quickened with the rising fear, causing the hurt to worsen even more, and he couldn´t help but let out a quiet moan.

At that moment Nikki´s voice was back, calling his name again. She sounded frantic and at once Mac´s worry about her safety cut back the panic about his own condition. The bomb… the explosion… what if I haven´t been able to shield her from the blast… what if she is hurt as well… I´m not able to help her… to save her… I gotta know if she is alright…

Holding on to her voice MacGyver found the power to fight back his way to full consciousness and blinked his eyes open. It took a few seconds to get his blurred vision to somewhat focus on Nikki´s face in the flickering light. He noticed the smell of smoke for the first time, tasted blood on his tongue. His memory of getting caught by the explosion flashed back into his mind, but he pushed it back and took every effort to concentrate on Nikki.

Mac could barely make out the tears glistening in her eyes, but he saw the angst they bore, even when she now forced a little smile on her face.

“Oh thank God… MacGyver, hey.” she greeted him with a breaking voice.

Mac had to swallow hard before he could answer her.

“Nikki?” he breathed hoarsely. “You ´kay?” Talking took an enormous effort, and he still didn´t dare to and couldn´t move, not even turn his head a few inches to be able to look more comfortably at her.

But her smile widened a bit with hearing his words. She bent down a bit closer to him because his voice was so faint, very softly stroked over his cheek, and her hand on his shoulder traveled along the arm to hold on to his hand.

“Yes, MacGyver. Thanks to you.” Nikki told him. “You pushed me around the corner to the corridor and saved me.” She noticed that his hand didn´t respond to her hold, saw how much he had to struggle to stay focused on her.

“But… you´re bleeding…” Mac croaked low. He had seen the dark blood on her forehead when she had come nearer. He tried his best to hide it, but having to breathe deeper in order to speak sent fresh waves of agony through his body. Mac bit his lower lip but couldn´t suppress another shuddering moan.

“It´s just a scratch, Mac.” Nikki hurried to assure him when she observed how badly he was suffering. “I´m all right, really.”

She gave his hand just a bit of a squeeze. Her words allowed Mac´s worries about her to calm down.

“Good.” he said while he tried to return the squeeze, but couldn´t manage more than a twitch of one or two fingers.

His energy was almost used up and the panic about his own condition returned. He couldn´t even determine where he was injured since the hurting seemed to come from every part of his body, let alone tell how serious it was. His focus on Nikki wavered until she addressed him again.

“Stop talking, MacGyver… spare your strength… help is on the way.” She wasn´t completely sure about the last part but wasn´t about to show him. With Pete being outside before… she had told him about the bomb… he had to have witnessed the explosion… he had to have called in the firefighters and an EMT by now. “Just hold on, will you… Stay with me.”

“Trying.” The word was barely audible. “Tell Pete… Dubceks… ´m sorry.”

But MacGyver knew, he was on the brink of losing that fight. His vision started to black out at the edges; his eyelids were getting heavier. All of a sudden he was scared. Scared to hell that he might not wake up once more, that he might not see Nikki´s face ever again.

I gotta tell her something important before I go unconscious, he thought desperately. Something I haven´t had the courage to tell her all summer long. She needs to know… I must…

MacGyver struggled to take a deep breath, pushed back the agony for a few seconds, and forced his eyes to focus on her for one last time.

“Nikki…” he whispered, his voice breaking with the effort it took to talk. “… love you.”

He never got to see her reaction because his remaining energy was spent, his eyes closed in the very next moment, the overwhelming pain faded, and all went dark and quiet again.

*****

Nikki was stunned silent for a moment with MacGyver´s last words. How could he, in a moment like this, tell her that? She´d been patient, had been waiting the whole summer for him to confess his love for her in words but deeds, to commit himself to her. How could he, in a situation like this, still care more about her, Pete, and the Dubcek brothers than about his own condition? Or was he injured that badly that he was…? She didn´t dare to finish that thought. When she saw Mac´s eyes close, her breath caught in her throat, and the tears in her eyes threatened to take over.

“Mac? ... no, please.” Nikki begged fearfully. “MacGyver, stay with me! … Look at me!” Somewhat automatically her hand closed a little tighter around his and her second one traveled to hover just above his chest. She saw and felt him breathing shallowly. “MacGyver, wake up… please.” she urged him again past the lump in her throat, but got no reaction. “Mac!”

An icy cold rushed up her back, the trembling spread from her hands through her whole body as she felt panic rising within. Her heart seemed to stop for a second and then raced as her eyes searched for any hint, for any clue on his face that he could still hear her. The moments seemed to slow down to a crawl. Nikki couldn´t tell if minutes or merely seconds had passed until she heard steps hastening inside the house through the garage and stopping when they had reached the destroyed corridor.

“MacGyver? … Nikki? … Where are you?”

Pete. She recognized his voice at once.

“Over here!” Nikki shouted back without taking her gaze off MacGyver. “Hurry! … Mac needs help!”

Abruptly the beam of a flashlight reached out to them.

“Oh, no…” Pete sighed at the sight. “Get the doctor down here! Now!” he ordered in the next second, and Nikki heard someone else running off at once. Then the light started to move as Pete hurried to get closer to them through the demolished corridor. Nikki didn´t pay any attention to it. All she saw was Mac´s deathly pale face; all she heard was the echo of his last words to her in her head.

“Oh dear God!”

She only sensed Pete´s presence close when he kneeled down next to her with those deeply concerned words and reached out to feel for MacGyver´s pulse on his neck.

“What happened? … How…?”

Pete wasn´t completely sure what to ask… and he wasn´t completely sure he wanted to hear the answer. He tried not to imagine all the possible injuries Mac might have sustained. Seeing his best friend lying there, motionless, unconscious, tore at his heart. This couldn´t be happening… this shouldn´t be happening. Not to MacGyver.

“He was defusing the bomb when I returned.” Nikki´s voice was stricken with tears and sorrow when she answered after a moment. “Mac said, he was almost done with it… I don´t know what went wrong, but suddenly he turned, grabbed me, shoved me into the corridor, and told me to run… I thought he was right behind me. The explosion must have caught him while he was…”

She broke off shaking with a sob, and Pete quickly laid a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it gently in a comforting gesture.

“Anything else?” He tried his best to keep his voice strong and even. “Was he unconscious when you found him?”

Nikki nodded silently and then drew in a deep breath.

“He was buried under the door…” she continued low. “Mac woke up for a few moments when I addressed him. He was able to talk to me briefly although he was hurting badly… He asked me to tell you he was sorry… Pete, he couldn´t move and he couldn´t stay with me… but he has saved my life.”

Pete wrapped his arm around Nikki´s shoulders when he sensed her shuddering again.

“He´s alive and breathing, Nikki … the doctor and the EMT will be here any minute.” he assured her as firmly as possible. “He´ll make it… He always comes through.”

Pete forced himself to take a look at their surroundings as Nikki´s words replayed in his head. MacGyver must have been crushed against the wall he is now lying next to… at that short distance to the explosion… a serious concussion, maybe broken bones… hopefully no internal injuries… The thought crossed his mind before Pete could push it back like before. But sorry? What on earth can he be sorry for? Saving the Dubcek brothers and Nikki? Of course, he doesn´t know yet that we apprehended Zorkin and Baranov when they tried to flee from here… but I am sure gonna tell him as soon as he wakes up… he has to wake up…

His gaze returned to MacGyver´s motionless body. Keep fighting, pal… hang in there, please!

Only a few seconds later Pete heard people closing in on them, saw light from several flashlights brightening what was left of the corridor. The doctor crouched down next to MacGyver at Nikki´s side and started giving commands to his team as soon as he had gotten a first good look at him. Nikki didn´t really hear him. The sudden burst of activity around her and MacGyver blurred. She noticed Pete talking to the physician but didn´t listen to the words.

The only thing she saw clearly was pale Mac´s face; the only thing she felt was his limp hand she was still holding on to. Nikki didn´t react when Pete tightened his arm around her shoulders and softly tried to guide her sideways. She would have to let go of MacGyver´s hand… she wasn´t willing to give up what felt like her last connection to him.

“We need to give the EMT more room.” Nikki heard Pete say urgently as he grabbed on to both her upper arms and started to pull her away. She still resisted. “Nikki, you gotta let them work! … They going to help him.”

Pete´s plea registered in her mind only a moment later and Nikki reluctantly gave up her hold on MacGyver, allowed Pete´s firm grip to help her get up and step backward several feet. She felt somehow frozen, paralyzed by her worries and her fear of losing MacGyver, while she watched the medical team hovering around him and taking care of him.

Nikki finally allowed her tears to fall and sensed how Pete again wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, trying to comfort her and steady her shaking. Deep inside, although she didn´t look at him, although he did a much better job at keeping up at least a bit of a façade, she knew that Pete was going through about the same emotions as she did right now.




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 23 December 2021 - 03:24 AM                                    
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Wow! That's a lot happening in one chapter! You keep saying that this is your way of showing why the character of Niki leaves the series. For the last few chapters, I see two ways this could happen. Kill her off (obviously), or have her realize that both she and Mac have lost loved ones and blamed themselves for it, and both are trying the protect the other so it doesn't happen again. This will keep happening as long as they are both together, and she can't live with Mac constantly trying to protect her at the cost of his own safety when (in her opinion) it should be the other way around. The only solution, to her, is to leave. Either leave the Phoenix Foundation and find another employer, or (as MacBeth laid out so nicely in her story), transfer to one of their other branches, like the offices in Washington D.C. or in London. You started laying the foundation for this several chapters ago with her reluctance to let Mac too close to her private life. Here you can see her starting to formulate the thoughts of "I can't bear to watch him keep sacrificing himself for others". Of course you could still kill her off just when it looks like everything's going to be okay, but I think it's more likely she's just going to leave. Now she could wait until it's sure he's going to be all right but he's not really awake, to avoid the "Sturm and Drang" (storm and strife) of a loud and nasty argument with lots of name calling as she tries to drive him away for his own good. Or it could turn into a Battle Royal yet. We've got about five chapters left; that's a couple of chapters for recovery, a couple more for the thunder and lightnings between them, and a chapter for parting and recriminations. Or you could take it in a direction we haven't seen yet. My money's on the nasty argument to drive him away for his own good. The handwriting's on the wall. I think Pete's starting to get a hint of what's going on. She could storm off on her own or he could quietly help her transfer to another branch of Phoenix so they don't lose her talent and skill. It will be interesting to watch this play out.



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 24 December 2021 - 11:14 AM                                    
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Wow! What an intense and emotional chapter!! So...now we know what was in the case. Personally, once everyone was out, I would've let the bomb explode, but that's why I'm not MacGyver!! Speaking of the bomb...gosh, it sounds really complicated, but Mac seems to have a good handle on it. Why oh why did Nikki have to interrupt him?!?!? Will she eventually realize what she did and blame herself for distracting him?? Glad that the bad guys got caught, though! You do a very excellent job with the description of the blast and it's aftermath. You're making Mac's injuries sound pretty serious...even though I know he lives, I'm still worried!! You also did a great job focusing on Nikki and her emotions. How very similar to her husband being killed in a bomb explosion. So much happened that it's hard to find the words to address it all so let me just say very well done!!



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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Karenskatz
Posted: 24 December 2021 - 06:02 PM                                    
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[/QUOTE]Wow! What an intense and emotional chapter!! So...now we know what was in the case. Personally, once everyone was out, I would've let the bomb explode, but that's why I'm not MacGyver!! Speaking of the bomb...gosh, it sounds really complicated, but Mac seems to have a good handle on it. Why oh why did Nikki have to interrupt him?!?!? Will she eventually realize what she did and blame herself for distracting him?? Glad that the bad guys got caught, though! You do a very excellent job with the description of the blast and it's aftermath. You're making Mac's injuries sound pretty serious...even though I know he lives, I'm still worried!! You also did a great job focusing on Nikki and her emotions. How very similar to her husband being killed in a bomb explosion. So much happened that it's hard to find the words to address it all so let me just say very well done!![QUOTE]

I was thinking a lot about that too! You put it perfectly about Nikki!!! Also agree with "Once everyone was out..". Once the mercury switch was deactivated, it could be moved to somewhere else to explode, Depending on the neighborhood, that could be an empty lot, empty parking lot, football field, park; the only danger would be from flying pieces of the bomb shrapnel and maybe the shock wave would break some windows. That's why the nut-cases that make pipebombs pack them with nails, ball bearings, nuts and bolts and such to make shrapnel for the bomb to propel. Though the shock wave alone can pulverize your insides without leaving a mark on you if you're too close (we discovered that during the American Civil War). I think the door might have saved Mac from that. Maybe it's the bomb-tech mentally that it has to be compleatly dead? Maybe Mac just can't leave a puzzle alone until it's COMPLETELY solved? You're right, he should have bailed. thumbup.gif



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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