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Point Of View, a summer´s adventure - rated 'R'
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 24 December 2021 - 06:30 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 24 December 2021 - 06:02 PM)
[/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!!! thumbup.gif

Great minds think alike! thumbsup.gif



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: 25 December 2021 - 07:28 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 25 December 2021 - 03:02 AM)
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?!?!?
QUOTE


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.

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

As for the 'once everyone was out...' - as I see MacGyver, he would have tried to save the house his friends had just moved into. Especially since he seemed confident that he can defuse the bomb and has a 'comfortable amount of time'. "Nothing I haven´t done before." he says.

As for moving that thing out of there once the mercury switch is disabled - he´s tried moving a bomb out of a danger zone in 'Blow Out' and very nearly failed... perhaps that´s keeping him from moving the bomb. Or it´s just too little time left once the mercury swith is deactivated - only a minute or two. I set the Dubecek house in the midst of a residential area, with many other houses around it, and families living there, right next to it. Even broken windows can kill or hurt people who happen to be too close. With no parking lot or football field close enough to reach within the time left, Mac probably chose to continue working on it in the brick built basement, to minimize the risk to the neighborhood. And yes, there´s his 'I can never leave a puzzle alone'-mentality as well...

And even as Nikki returns to him - and distracts him, as you both put it - he´s still confident, he can do it and that he´s got enough time left... so, from his point of view, before he sees the drop of blood falling... why should he have bailed?? hmm.bmp

By the way, Karenskatz, which of MacBedh´s stories are you referring to? 'Reverb'?



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

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 25 December 2021 - 07:58 AM                                    
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Yup; "Reverb". Couldn't remember the name of it.



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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Posted: 25 December 2021 - 08:49 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 25 December 2021 - 04:58 PM)
Yup; "Reverb".  Couldn't remember the name of it.

That one is such a great read! I love it. But to be honest, all of MacBedh´s stories are...



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

 
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Posted: 25 December 2021 - 11:34 PM                                    
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Hi there! It´s Sunday morning (on my end of the globe) - time for another chapter...

So, after discovering what was in that case and a bit of an emotional cliffhanger... wink.gif You all ready for

Part 17 of 21


Silence. Velvety darkness. The sensation of floating again.

Slowly, very slowly the thick haze in MacGyver´s mind lifted just a little. Evenly slow the weightlessness made room for the feeling that he was lying on his back. Am I still on my back, Mac asked himself. Or again? … But if I can sense that… I can´t be dead, right? … And if I´m not dead, where am I? … How much time has passed? … Where´s Nikki? … Is she alright? One after another the questions slowly made their way into his foggy mind. The last one dawned on Mac relatively sudden. If I am still alive… what is my current condition?

At once his mind focused on his body and he felt his head pounding. At once he sensed the softness of the mattress he was lying on, something stiff that steadied his back and the warmth of the sheets that covered him. At once he came aware of the tube in his mouth that reached uncomfortably down his throat, and it reminded him of the necessity to breathe.

But before he could deliberately inhale, MacGyver felt a mixture of air and oxygen being pressed into his lungs through the tube. It came as a surprise and he wasn´t prepared for what it caused. With his lungs inflating the agony he had felt right after the explosion returned in a wave almost as bad as then. Mac wanted to moan but couldn´t with the tube in. The pressure was gone after a few seconds, and he gratefully let the air flow out of his body. He strove to relax with the throbbing and the stabbing easing up, yet a moment later the pressure was back; the air was filling his lungs again.

He noticed the brace around his neck as it hindered him when he tried to move his head in an attempt to get rid of the tube. His body continued to be mostly uncooperative, Mac realized while his eyes were still closed. He only managed to straighten out the fingers of one hand that stiffened as the anguish spread through his whole body. This time a low and hoarse moan escaped his throat. The panic about how badly he was injured returned. MacGyver flinched just a little bit when abruptly someone held on to his hand and another hand was laid onto his forehead.

“Calm down, Mr. MacGyver.” a soft female voice advised. “You´re on a respirator… Don´t fight it… it´ll help your body recover.”

The voice was unfamiliar to Mac, but it gave him something to cling on in his pained, confused, and frightened condition. For the first time, he noticed the beeping of a heart rate monitor that matched his now racing heart. Somehow he had to find a way to tell her how immensely all this hurt…

With an enormous effort, MacGyver forced his eyes to open. The image was blurry at first, got sharper only very slowly, but he figured it had to be a nurse smiling down at him. Mac tried to raise one hand to get rid of the tube, yet the woman held him down with ease.

“Don´t move.” she ordered. “You need to stay completely still… but I´m glad you woke up already.”

MacGyver wanted to shake his head but couldn´t. He wasn´t… well, of course, he was, but… while experiencing agony like this… he wasn´t. “Hurts.” he tried to say but all that came out was an unintelligible grunt.

“Don´t try to speak.” the nurse answered. “You can´t with the breathing tube still in.” Nevertheless, the expression on his face and in his eyes must have made her understand the extent of his suffering. “Is the pain that serious?” she asked.

Mac blinked, but then his eyes stayed fixed on her, silently pleading with her to help him.

“All right.” she nodded quickly. Her hand left his forehead and the other one squeezed his hand briefly. “Give me a moment.”

She turned away from him to a table next to the monitors at his bedside. MacGyver struggled to follow her with his eyes, but couldn´t completely. He could make out some IV-lines that were probably connected to the veins in his arm. He felt himself getting weaker with every second. His vision blurred again. The fear and the anguish threatened to take over. Thankfully the nurse turned back to him only a moment later. Mac barely saw her administering the two syringes she had prepared into his IV.

“This should take away the pain within a few moments.” she told him. “The second one will help you go back to sleep.” She laid the syringes aside and held on to his hand again. “Try to relax… you need to rest.” she added as she squeezed it softly. “You´re safe here… we´re all working to get you mended soon.”

MacGyver managed to focus on her face once more as he felt the pain fading away a couple of seconds later. He gave in to the respirator filling his lungs when he sensed the agony diminishing and his strength being almost used up. The hint of a grateful smile flashed across his face, barely visible, but the nurse noticed it and returned the smile. Mac was a bit surprised when he was able to close his fingers around her hand, albeit weakly.

A wave of relief washed through him when he realized that, even if only partly, but he could move again. A small glimmer of hope rose through his fears. But his energy was spent and the medicated fog settled back into his mind. MacGyver let his eyes close and allowed the darkness to envelop him again. The nurse had seemed to be quite happy with his condition so far. He drifted off with the reassuring thought that it was plausible that he would wake up again. And if he woke up once more, it was also plausible that he would soon see Pete… and the woman he loved… Nikki.

*****

When his mind and thoughts slowly made their way to the surface of the comfortable darkness for the second time, it felt different. The first thing MacGyver noticed was the constant, regular beeping of the heart rate monitor. It reminded him of the hospital of some sort he was obviously still in. Then, abruptly, the agony the respirator had caused flashed back into his mind. But it didn´t come this time.

When MacGyver concentrated on his body, he felt his head still pounding but the tube down his throat was gone. I had to have been breathing on my own, he thought and realized that the memory had caused him to subconsciously hold his breath for a moment. That implies I´m getting better… A bit of relief washed through him, as Mac now consciously drew in a breath and noticed smaller tubes reaching only a little into his nose. Still on oxygen support though…

And suddenly, when he tried to breathe a little deeper, the pain was back. It wasn´t as bad as the last time, but he felt some serious throbbing throughout his whole back and some stabbing in his chest. Mac froze for a moment, let the air flow out of his lungs with a faint moan, and drew in the next breath a bit shuddering and much more cautious.

“Mac?” He all of a sudden heard a well-known voice ask and felt someone touch the back of his hand. “MacGyver?”

Nikki. He wanted to turn his head toward her voice, but noticed that the brace was still stabilizing his head and neck. He couldn´t move.

Pain in my back, a brace around my neck… some damage to my spine probably… The frightening thought flashed through his mind, yet at the moment he had something more important to care about. Don´t panic, MacGyver… don´t go jumping to conclusions, he chided himself. Wait until you´ve got all the facts… First, you gotta make sure that Nikki´s okay…

MacGyver pushed the thought aside, blinked his eyes open, quickly found Nikki´s face, and managed to focus on her. She looked tired, worried, but smiled down at him.

“You´re awake…” Nikki said with a breaking voice. “Oh, thank God.”

Then she bit her lower lip to control the tears of relief that were threatening to fall. Mac saw her eyes glistening, saw the bruise on her cheek, saw that the skin around the cut on her forehead had turned dark blue, felt her squeeze his hand a little. He swallowed to clear his sore throat and struggled to plant a feeble smile on his face.

“Sort of…” Mac tried to reply, but it came out very hoarse, barely understandable, and the attempt to speak made him cough instantly. Abruptly it felt like knives were stabbing him, while the coughing fit sent his body shaking. MacGyver pressed his eyes shut with a moan as the headache spiked, and held his breath momentarily, desperately striving to get it back under control. He sensed Nikki still holding on to his hand and her second one softly stroking back his hair.

“Shh… easy, MacGyver… take it slow.” she tried to calm him.

After a few moments of labored and raspy breathing MacGyver was able to open his eyes again. His fears rose once more inside, but just to see Nikki, to feel her presence close by was comforting to him. He closed his fingers around her hand and swallowed once more. His throat still felt raw, and he couldn´t keep the pain he was going through from showing on his face. Nikki was now cupping his cheek with her hand in a feather-light touch, and Mac tried to lean just a bit into that touch. She had come closer, her expression was a lot more worried by now, but MacGyver could look up easier at her.

“That bad?” she asked softly.

“Yeah.” he admitted feebly. “As soon as…”

“Don´t, Mac.” Nikki cut him off quickly. “Don´t talk that much… it´s been only a few hours since the tube has been pulled out. Your throat needs time to recover.”

Mac managed the slightest hint of a nod. Yes, he could definitely feel that.

“I´ll get the doctor for you.” Nikki straightened herself, her hand left his cheek, and she moved a little away from the bed. MacGyver hurried to tighten his hold on her hand, and his breath quickened a little.

“Stay.” he breathed. “Please… don´t go…”

“I won´t leave you.” Nikki cut him off while she pressed a button close to his bed and then turned back to MacGyver. “Calm down, Mac… relax. You´re safe.” She bent down and brushed a soft kiss on his forehead.

Mac had to ease up his hold on her hand as he strove to slow down his breath. He couldn´t suppress a shiver running through him as he felt himself getting weaker with every moment. Nikki is right, he realized. I don´t have a lot of energy left. Even something as simple as breathing is exhausting right now. MacGyver locked his eyes onto Nikki´s face again. She looked worn out as well.

“You okay?” he croaked.

Nikki sighed and smiled at him through her worries. How could he still care more about her wellbeing than his own? “Yes, of course.” she assured after a moment. “As I told you, it´s just a scratch.” She ran her hand over her forehead. “Apart from that, I´m just tired… didn´t get too much sleep since…” she added but broke off in mid-sentence. Her expression darkened.

Mac sensed she didn´t want to be reminded of the explosion. He wished he could forget that evening as well… and his foolish mistake…

“What about Pete?” Mac hoarsely decided to change to another topic on his mind. It bothered him to cause his best friend that much sorrow… again.

“Tired as well… worried of course.” Nikki replied slowly. “We´ve been watching over you together… I´ve sent him away to get some coffee and take a break about half an hour ago. He should be back any minute.”

Just then the door of the room opened. Nikki straightened herself and turned her head to see who was coming in and then nodded to the doctor and the nurse accompanying him. MacGyver got a first good look at the doc when he stepped up to the bed next to Nikki, scanned the readings on the monitors, and then concentrated on Mac.

“I´m glad to see you woke up, Sir.” he addressed MacGyver while he scrutinized him.

“He was in a great deal of pain when he had to cough earlier.” Nikki told the physician.

“We´ll take care of that.” The doctor glanced sideways at her. “Would you please excuse of for a couple of minutes?”

Mac saw that Nikki wasn´t too happy about it, but she obeyed with a quick smile at MacGyver and briefly squeezed his hand before she left the room. Mac felt his tension inside build up again and some adrenaline flow into his veins, effectively suppressing his exhaustion. Now he should get some answers about how badly he was injured. The thought of permanent damage to his spine or spinal cord undeniably frightened him. The doctor´s face was serious when he looked down on him.

“I´m Dr. Marrow. I suppose speaking is still difficult for you, so I´ll just ask a few questions.” When MacGyver´s eyes steadied on him, he continued. “What´s your name?”

“MacGyver.” Mac answered hoarsely.

Then the doc held up one hand with three fingers straightened out. “How many fingers can you see?”

“Three.” Okay, so a test of my basic cognitive abilities first… aw man, do they suspect brain damage as well?

“Do you remember what happened to you?”

MacGyver needed a moment to sort through the jumbled memories in his head.

“Was trying to defuse a bomb.” he then said. The drops of blood falling into the bomb case appeared before his mental eye. His breath and heartbeat quickened. “But I was bleeding… failed… just managed to get Nikki safe… before it blew up.” Mac told Dr. Marrow between labored breaths. The stabbing pain was back with a deep breath he managed to take afterward.

“Easy, Mr. MacGyver.” the doc tried to calm him down and laid a hand on his arm. “To my information, the explosion threw you against a brick wall.”

Mac silently nodded – as far as he could. Probably… my memories aren´t all too clear about that part…

“But it seems, you are some lucky guy.” the doctor added.

MacGyver raised his eyebrows questioning. Lucky?

“As you were unconscious when you were brought here two days ago, we not only x-rayed you but also did CT- and MR-scans.” Dr. Marrow paused a moment to let the information sink in. “You´ve sustained a concussion, a cracked rib, but fortunately we found no damage to your spine.”

Mac subconsciously held his breath for a second. “But I can barely move… why?” he then asked low.

“For several reasons.” the physician hurried to explain. “Initially it was the shock you were going through after being crushed against the wall. Right now, it´s because we´ve given you muscle relaxants to keep you from moving. Even if there´s no damage to the vertebrae, you´ve got severe bruisings along your back. Some of the swellings and hematomas press against your spinal cord and may still damage it. They are likely to also cause some numbness and partial paralysis at the moment. That´s why you´re still wearing the neck brace, that´s why your torso is stabilized by the half cast you are lying in. That´s why we need you to lie as still as possible until the fluid build-up goes down.”

“Do you think, I´ll recover?” Mac needed to be sure.

“I do.” Dr. Marrow confirmed. “How fast and how completely depends on how the swellings and hematomas will respond to our treatment… and on how determined you´ll follow our orders.”

Determination? If it is for preventing permanent damage and paralysis, I can be incredibly determined, Mac thought. Now he let out a relieved breath. This news and prognosis were as good as they could get in his dire situation. “I will.” he hurried to assure the doctor. “Promise.”

“Good.” The doc straightened himself and smiled at MacGyver for the first time. “I was concerned about that last part… Mr. Thornton told us you can be remarkably impatient and restless when it comes to how long you have to stay still in a hospital bed.”

“Yeah.” Mac managed a weak and apologetic grin. “But I do recognize a serious diagnosis when I hear it.” The long sentence made him cough once more, and he bit his lower lip to suppress a moan when the pain spiked again. Dr. Marrow quickly turned to the nurse who had prepared two syringes in the meantime.

“This will ease the pain fast.” he said while he administered the first one into Mac´s IV. “But it is likely to cause some drowsiness and dizziness as well. Tell us if it gets too uncomfortable.”

MacGyver only blinked his eyes to signal his understanding. He was still striving to get his breath under control. The doctor briefly squeezed Mac´s arm when he was done with both syringes.

“The cuts to your hand and the burns the explosion left on your skin are minor.” the doc added. “They´ll be healed real soon. Just don´t pick on the bandages… but you´re not supposed to move anyway.”

Mac managed a bit of a nod. He hadn´t even noticed those yet.

“Very well… I´ll send your friends back in.” Dr. Marrow continued. “Please, remember that you need to rest. If you´re getting tired or exhausted, don´t fight to stay awake. You´ll have plenty of time to talk to them during the next days… understood?”

MacGyver managed to grin feebly through the already lessening pain.

“Yes, Sir.”

The doctor and nurse left the room, but it took several minutes until Nikki returned with Pete in tow. Although truthfully glad to see them both, MacGyver was dazed by the medication by then. His anguish had faded, but his mind and thoughts were foggy once again. Later on, he only remembered Pete´s smile that he tried to hide his worries under; he remembered Nikki´s face that seemed a little more relieved than earlier. Mac suspected that the doctor had briefed them on his condition and prognosis prior to allowing them back in. He also remembered talking to them briefly, before he had drifted off to sleep real soon, but couldn´t recall the topics afterward.

*****

From the next day on Pete and Nikki took turns sitting by MacGyver´s bedside and watching over him. Mac was still asleep most of the time, still too weakened to stay awake for more than a few minutes at one go, his mind still too dazed by the medicines to be able to hold on to a clear thought.

But he felt a lot better when the doctor looked after him during the afternoon of day four, and Mac took the opportunity to ask him to cut down his medication. He needed to have a conversation with his friends he would be able to remember, and desperately wanted to know what had happened while he had tried to defuse the bomb and after the explosion. Mac only vaguely recalled Nikki telling him that Pete had been outside, but he knew nothing about Anton and Pavel Dubcek had fared after they´d left the house or the whereabouts of Zorkin and Baranov.

Dr. Marrow had warned him to be cautious and not to overdo it, yet had complied with Mac´s wish. The different painkillers and reduced muscle relaxants held MacGyver´s hurting down at a bearable level and at the same time allowed some feeling to return to his arms and legs. The physician had also warned him not to move already, but being able to at least flex his fingers and wiggle his toes – albeit weakly – was relieving and encouraging to MacGyver. He was still trying out his possibilities when the door opened only a short while after the doctor had left and Pete came in.

“Hello, MacGyver!” he greeted joyfully. “Good to see you awake.”

Dr. Marrow had also agreed to further elevate the head-end of MacGyver´s bed so that Mac had a much easier time breathing and looking comfortably at his visitors. He only had to raise his eyes from observing his hands to Pete´s face.

“Hiya, Pete.” he replied as a pleased smile widened on his face. Mac´s voice was still a bit hoarse, but his throat had recovered well over the last two days.

“You were sound asleep when I stopped by during the morning… that´s why I left quite soon then.” Pete stated while he grabbed a chair and pulled it close to Mac´s bedside. “You look a lot better now.” He sat down, took a moment to eye MacGyver all over, and noticed his slightly raised hands and moving fingers. “You´re able to move your hands.” Pete continued with pleased surprise. “Since when…”

“I asked the doctor to reduce the meds.” Mac cut him off, now getting more serious. “They made me too drowsy, and my mind too foggy… I can´t remember much of what we talked about during the last days.”

“All right…” Pete´s answer came slowly. “But has Dr. Marrow also allowed you to do that?” he asked with a gesture toward Mac´s raised and turning hands and flexing fingers.

MacGyver froze for a moment, looked back at his hands, and then laid them back on the mattress and relaxed them.

“He told me to be careful.” Mac replied with a rueful glance, not revealing that the doc had ordered him to stay still. “But he has also told me that the returning sensation and motoric abilities to my arms and legs are a good sign.”

“Of course they are!” Pete agreed with a fatherly protective tone. “But I guess, he advised you to be patient and take the time your body needs to heal two days ago.”

“Yeah…” Mac sighed with a little eye-roll. “I haven´t forgotten the paraplegia threat, Pete.”

“Neither have I…” Pete said slowly while his expression darkened. “It scared me to death when I saw you lying in that corridor… unconscious… barely breathing… You were lucky that we had called in the firefighters and an EMT as soon as Nikki had told me about the bomb.”

“Yeah.” MacGyver slowly raised his eyes again to meet Pete´s worried ones. “I´m sorry for causing you that much anguish…”

Pete held Mac´s gaze quietly for a moment before he softly shook his head.

“You don´t need to be sorry for anything… you saved several lives that evening.”

“Speaking of which… I think I remember Nikki saying that you were outside the house… Care to tell me what happened? How did you figure out so quickly…?” MacGyver got curious now, but a sudden urge to cough cut him off and sent his body shaking. Mac pressed his eyes shut and held his breath for a few seconds with the ache the coughing fit had caused to his back. Then he drew in a slow, cautious breath and instantly felt Pete´s hand on the back of his own.

“You okay? Shall I call the doc?”

As the pain eased up after a couple of moments, MacGyver opened his eyes again only to see Pete´s deeply concerned expression.

“Sort of… No, but thanks, Pete.” he croaked low and with a lopsided grin. “Guess, I still shouldn´t talk that much.”

“Probably.” Pete sighed while his face relaxed with relief. He briefly squeezed Mac´s hand before he pulled his own back and leaned back in his chair again. “How did I figure out where Zorkin had taken you?” he continued after a small pause. “After our technicians had identified the Russian origin of the bugs, I raised the security level of all the dissidents we are supporting or watching over. Not just the Russian ones. As Anton and Pavel Dubcek had been our most recent case, I ordered 24-hour surveillance of their house. The agent in charge called in to notify me that you and Nikki had turned up together with two unknown guys, to make sure your visit was announced.” Pete took a deep breath. “I had already alerted every man available the moment you had left the headquarters, so… I only needed to send them off, when the call came in. At that point, I also called in the police and the DXS.”

Mac raised his eyebrows in understanding. “I was somehow counting on that, but I didn´t get a chance to scan the street for our man… or even signal him.”

“He had also given us a description of the sedan Nikki had driven.” Pete added. “As it tried to take off at high speed when we arrived, we stopped it with the help of the police. Zorkin and Baranov are behind bars.”

“That´s good to hear.” MacGyver puffed out a relieved breath. “They told us the GRU is…”

“Nikki has already told me all about it.” Pete cut Mac off to keep him from speaking too much. “Zorkin and Baranov weren´t all too talkative after we apprehended them, as you might imagine… but when Nikki left the house with the Dubcek´s in tow, she quickly warned us about the bomb you were dealing with. The police instantly called in the firefighters and an EMT, just to be on the safe side.”

Mac managed a bit of a nod. “But why did you let Nikki return to the house?”

“Let her?” Pete huffed. “Mac, I was occupied with keeping Anton and Pavel safe. As soon as she had related her information about the situation, she ran back inside. She didn´t ask for my permission.”

“Of course…” Mac sighed slowly. “But Pete, she could have been…”

“Killed?” Pete ended MacGyver´s sentence. “Well, I guess that´s kind of what she thought about you. As did I.”

MacGyver was silent for a few moments as he held Pete´s slightly accusing stare. “Yeah.” he then answered with a low voice. “I know… sorry.”

A tense silence hung between the two friends for another moment before Pete spoke up again.

“Nikki said, you´d been almost done with defusing that thing before it went off. Do you remember what went wrong?”

MacGyver´s eyes left Pete´s while he concentrated on his inside and sorted through his blurry and chaotic memories.

“I do.” he then said slowly as the image of two small red drops falling into the bomb case flashed before his mental eye. “I had cut my hand unintentionally with the shard I had used to free myself from the ropes. I missed some trickle of blood that had made its way onto the handle of my knife. It dropped onto the circuit board and caused a short circuit. That caused the countdown to speed up.” It was my mistake, a voice in the back of his head screamed at him. My lack of concentration, my fault… He sighed. “I only had time to get Nikki out of the room… I think, I tried to close the door, but I´m not…”

His last words trailed off to silence as the memory of the explosion slamming him against the wall surfaced in his mind. Mac´s breath quickened with the abrupt fear returning as well. He suddenly noticed Pete´s hand touching and taking his own again. Pete had leaned forward when MacGyver´s gaze came back and steadied on his friend. Mac noticed his worried and sympathetic expression.

“I´m sorry.” Pete said softly. “I shouldn´t have brought this up already.”

MacGyver took a deep breath and pushed back the memories and emotions in his head, while he forced a little smile on his face.

“It´s okay, Pete.” he replied firmly as he turned his hand around and closed his fingers around Pete´s. “I was starting to ask questions in the first place… and since you told me that the Dubcek´s are safe, that Zorkin and Baranov can´t cause any more trouble, and I know that Nikki made it out with only a scratch… I´m all right.” I´m certainly not gonna cause you even more sorrow by admitting how much guilt I´m truly feeling inside because of my mistake, Mac thought to himself.

Pete held his gaze silently and with a still serious expression, but returned the little squeeze to Mac´s hand. He knew MacGyver long enough to know what was going on in his head.

“Oh, come on, Pete!” Mac continued more cheerful when Pete´s face didn´t lighten up after a few seconds. “My prognosis is good; Dr. Marrow´s quite happy with the progress I´ve already made. He´s almost sure that I´ll recover completely and quickly.”

“I know, I talked to him.” Pete nodded. “He´s scheduled another MR scan for tomorrow.”

“Right.” A beaming smile widened on MacGyver´s face. “If the results are good enough, I might start with physical therapy on the day after.”

Pete Thornton could clearly see how excited Mac was about that possibility. Lying still, not being allowed to move was among the worst punishments someone could inflict on the younger and usually so active man.

“Glad to hear that.” Finally, Pete returned the smile.

“And I might get rid of some of those stiff braces.” Mac continued grinning. “And maybe out of this bed… soon.”

“Of course… just don´t rush it.” Pete sighed as he sat back again. “Give me your word that you´ll stay patient and take all the time you need.” Now his almost fatherly protective expression was back on and he pinned his friend with his stare.

MacGyver´s boyish grin froze with the serious face of his best friend and boss. He also hadn´t forgotten how easily the situation could have turned out far worse. It also still scared him.

“I will, Pete.” he answered low. “Promise.”




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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 26 December 2021 - 11:11 AM                                    
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Another well-written, descriptive, detailed chapter! Glad he wasn't injured as seriously as he could have been. Also glad the doctor scared him enough into remaining still and allowing his body to start healing! We'll see if Mac can continue to behave himself! And then there's the good ole Mac guilt! He blames himself for the bomb exploding AND for making Pete and Nikki worry about him. He really needs to stop feeling responsible for everyone and everything (in this story in particular as well as in general!!). I also liked how you used this chapter and Mac's states of semi-consciousness as a way to summarize and pull together the events from the last couple chapters from a different point of view. Looks like the next step will be to see how Mac responds to physical therapy. I wish the therapist luck!



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: 29 December 2021 - 01:28 AM                                    
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Yeah, remember what Nikki said when he colapsed in the hallway of Stakros house? "As usual, ignoring his limits!" or something like that.

Frankly, with how he was slammed into the wall and then had the door slam into him, I expected the concusion, but I also expected several broken ribbs, not just one cracked one. You must be in a hurry to get him healed and back in action wink.gif. I can just imagine the EMTs and firefighters VEEERY CAREFULLY sliding him sideways onto the backboard! Gives a new meaning to "scoop-and-run"!



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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Posted: 29 December 2021 - 06:01 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 29 December 2021 - 10:28 AM)
You must be in a hurry to get him healed and back in action wink.gif.

I can just imagine the EMTs and firefighters VEEERY CAREFULLY sliding him sideways onto the backboard! Gives a new meaning to "scoop-and-run"!

Well, it´s not so much me wanting to get him healed - but season 4 starts on Oct. 31st, 1988... I just gotta stick to that date. hmm.bmp I´m trying to stay within canon!

Scoop and run... yep, that would have captured it quite well! thumbsup.gif



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

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 29 December 2021 - 04:31 PM                                    
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All right everyone... since I´m still up and awake... and Thursday has just started around here... let´s post this part real early (1.20 a.m.) happy_dance.gif But after this I´m going to get at least a few hours of sleep until I gotta get up again - for dealing with the rest of Thursday blush.gif

Here we go: Let´s work our way a little further through Mac´s recovery

Part 18


Two days later in the afternoon, MacGyver was breathing heavily while his physical therapist straightened the blanket, he had just covered Mac with, again. Only a minute ago they had finished the last exercise of Mac´s first therapy session and Mac was exhausted. His therapist Ted had done most of the work and the moving this time, and Mac hadn´t supposed it could be that straining. MacGyver considered himself well-trained, but due to the bruises he´d sustained and due to being forced to stay absolutely still for several days the session had turned into a real challenge for him. Some of his joints were still aching.

“You okay?” the physical therapist asked when he was done with the sheets and blanket and straightened himself. One of his hands was lying on Mac´s arm.

“Yeah, Ted… fine.” MacGyver breathed with a feeble and lopsided smile. “Just a little worn out… you said something about easy mobilization techniques, you know?”

“That was the easy stuff.” The therapist smiled back at him. “You´ve been through a lot, MacGyver. Don´t underestimate it. Don´t expect your body to already be functioning again like you were used to it… but do expect some sore muscles by tomorrow.”

Mac raised his eyebrows surprised. “You told me earlier, we´ll be continuing this tomorrow… despite sore muscles?”

“Of course. With different exercises.” Ted assured him with a grin. “If you wanna get out of this bed soon, we´ve gotta make some progress.”

“Oh.” Mac responded with a slight nod. His neck brace had been replaced with a softer one today that allowed just a little bit of movement to his head and his neck.

“Make sure you get some rest now.” Ted continued, now more serious again. “Don´t be surprised when you feel like sleeping real soon… and please, don´t try moving on your own yet. You still need to be very cautious about your spine.”

“Yes, Sir.” MacGyver replied still a bit breathless and with an earnest expression, but in the next moment the door opened after a short knock on it, and his eyes quickly flicked toward it.

Nikki entered the room, but stopped in the second she spotted the physical therapist standing next to Mac´s bed, without even closing the door.

“I´m sorry, I didn´t…”

“It´s all right.” Ted cut her off as he turned to her. “We´re just done.” He looked back to MacGyver and squeezed his arm briefly. “See you tomorrow morning, MacGyver.”

“Thanks, Ted.” Mac answered, but his eyes were fixed on Nikki.

Nikki approached Mac´s bed slowly and with a worried expression on her face while Mac´s therapist left the room. She noticed his labored breathing and saw some sweat glistening on his face, which seemed pale compared to the day before.

“Mac, are you alright?” she asked cautiously when she reached his side and laid her hand onto the back of his.

“Yeah, fine.” Mac smiled up feebly at her. He closed his eyes for a few moments, tried to calm his breath, strove to push back the exhaustion and the ache the exercises had left him with. He was a bit surprised, but responded quickly when he felt Nikki´s lips brush his own in a feather-light kiss. MacGyver opened his eyes when she pulled back way too soon for his liking, only to see her scrutinizing him closely.

“Fine?” she repeated with a bit of a chiding edge. “You don´t quite look like fine… You were doing a lot better yesterday.”

“Nikki, I´m good.” Mac assured her. “I´m just worn out after my first session of physical therapy.”

“Physical therapy?” Nikki echoed surprised with raised eyebrows and straightened herself. “That soon?”

“Yep. The MR results yesterday satisfied the doc.” MacGyver explained with a glad but tired grin. “Today was mostly about mobilizing all my stiffened joints after lying almost completely motionless for several days. Ted did nearly all the moving for me, but… I never expected keeping some body parts still while letting someone else mobilize other ones to be that straining.”

“So the swellings and hematomas are responding well to the treatment?” Some of the sorrow and worry lines left Nikki´s face.

“You bet.” Mac confirmed with an excited sparkle in his eyes. “Dr. Marrow said, they´d switch the stiff cast for some kind of corset-like brace tomorrow. Should be more comfortable for me. And maybe get me out of bed and at least into a wheelchair the day after. Depends on how my body reacts to the physical therapy.”

“I never thought I´d see you looking forward to sitting in a wheelchair…” Nikki replied slowly and with an again darkening look on her face.

MacGyver´s smile froze with her remark. He drew in a deep breath and was silent for a moment before he turned his hand around and reached out for Nikki´s. She hesitated briefly before she held on to it.

“Me neither, Nikki… but it´s just a step along my recuperation.” Mac said with a low and serious voice while his dark eyes found hers. He weakly squeezed her hand.

Nikki only nodded quietly and avoided his intense gaze after a few seconds. Her expression worried MacGyver. He pushed back the tiredness that had threatened to take over only moments ago. He´d seen a shadow of fear in her eyes before she had looked away. A fear similar to the one he´d seen in Austria, in Starkoss´ house. Mac´s hand left Nikki´s, and he tried to raise it to her face but she caught it halfway up and suddenly stared at him sternly.

“I don´t think you´re supposed to do that already.” Nikki chided.

Mac was taken aback by her harsh change but chose not to react to it. He relaxed his arm and allowed Nikki to place it back on the bed.

“Nikki, what´s wrong?” he asked slowly. “What´s the matter with you?”

“Nothing.” she said quickly and looked away again.

Mac turned his hand so he could stroke along her arm with the back of his fingers. He felt her wince when his long fingers first touched her skin, but she didn´t pull back. He longed so much to be able to hold Nikki in his arms, to comfort her but knew he couldn´t… yet.

“Hey…” he softly tried to get her attention. “Doc Marrow expects me to make a full recovery… I´ll be all right real soon… I should be out of here in two or three weeks... if there are no…”

“I know that.” Nikki cut him off sharply. “He´s giving me and Pete daily updates on your progress.”

“So?” Mac did his best to stay calm and probed further. “What´s bothering…”

“MacGyver, stop it.” she snapped at him. “I´m okay. I´ve got to handle this myself.”

“But you do know you´re not alone with whatever ‘this’ is?” Mac sighed after a brief pause. He knew that even he had almost no way of getting through to Nikki when she raised her defensive walls. Nikki looked back at him after a moment and her eyes locked on to his.

“I know.”

“Good.” A feeble, yet relieved smile flashed across MacGyver´s face. A tense silence still hung between the two for a few seconds, but finally, Nikki took Mac´s hand into hers and squeezed it.

“You look exhausted, Mac.” she stated after another moment and returned his smile. “I´d rather let you rest and get some sleep now… I can run some errands now and be back later in the evening.”

“I´d like that.” Mac nodded with a weak grin. As his worries about Nikki eased up a bit he felt the overwhelming tiredness returning. Nikki bent down for a soft and tender kiss and left him, but he could still sense the echo of that kiss on his lips when she had already left the room, when he allowed his heavy eyelids to close, and while he drifted off into a quiet slumber.

*****

Nikki sighed tiredly when she dropped onto her couch in the very late evening of the same day. She had returned from her second visit to MacGyver at the hospital only a couple of minutes ago, had sat with him while he´d continued to sleep, had talked to him for some time when he´d finally woken up. He had still been worn out by the physical therapy. Seeing him that weakened still caught her off guard. Even if Dr. Marrow was quite convinced about his full recovery by now, seeing Mac, who was usually so active and thriving of energy, that feeble and motionless worried her. Her stomach tightened when she thought about how dependant on help the usually so self-reliant man was at the moment.

Nikki had called Pete right after she´d arrived at home; had told him about his progress, since it was Pete´s turn to see him tomorrow. Pete had seemed glad about the start of Mac´s physical therapy, but Nikki knew that he was just as concerned underneath his carefully kept up positive façade as she was. She had noticed it right after MacGyver had been brought to the hospital and taken directly into emergency care. As soon as she had come out a little of her initial shock. She had witnessed how deeply worried Pete had been about his best friend during the night, while they had sat waiting for a doctor to tell them anything about Mac´s condition, about the results of his examination. Pete had kept his composure a lot better than she had, had tried his best to be there for her and comfort her although he´d been so tightly wound up with his own worries.

Nikki pushed back some strands of her dark hair and then let her hands drop onto her lap. She silently stared at the sandwich she had prepared for herself and the glass of wine next to it for one or two minutes. Then she took a deep breath, picked up the glass and took a long sip. MacGyver wouldn´t approve, she thought wearily. But after the last few days, I´ll grant myself that favor.

A wave of mixed emotions rolled over her as she set down the glass on the coffee table. The worries about Mac´s current situation blended with the relief about his swift recovery that exceeded even Dr. Marrow´s expectations. But the relief did little to ease up her inner tension and the fear she felt since the explosion. Finding first Mac struck down and unconscious and later the bugs in her apartment two days earlier had already rattled her deep inside, more than she would have ever admitted it to MacGyver.

But she had to admit to herself that she hadn´t taken the possible danger the bugs had implied seriously enough. She had realized that fact at the very moment she´d seen Zorkin and Baranov waiting for her in front of her apartment house, when she had wanted to leave to meet Pete and Mac at the Foundation, and noticed them way too late to take any action. She had known in the blink of an eye that they wanted her as leverage against MacGyver and she had in that same second chided herself for not being more careful.

Nikki had been annoyed at those two goons for handling her roughly right from the start although she had followed their instructions to the point. They had tried questioning her, but she hadn´t known the location of the Dubceks´ house and she wouldn´t have revealed it anyway – even if she had known. It had angered Zorkin and Baranov even more.

She had been deeply concerned even before she´d seen how MacGyver had looked at her when they had all arrived at the Dubcek brothers´ house. She had felt sorry for snapping at him earlier that day, just because he had looked into her dossier again. A silly reflex out of her underlying tension. Did she really deserve a man like him? A man you could be angry at, you could scold needlessly, but he´d still be willing to risk his life for yours? She had expected him to be worried, but she hadn´t been prepared for the barely controlled fury at the ex-GRU agents she had seen in his dark brown eyes.

Despite all the squabbling and bantering between her and MacGyver over more than one year, or maybe because of it, she knew it needed some doing to get him to be truly angry, yet as soon as he was, he meant it. Unfortunately, his urge to protect her had caused a rage against Zorkin and Baranov that had gotten the better of him on that evening. MacGyver´s unique abilities had enabled the Dubceks to escape unharmed, but Nikki knew that if only a little more had gone wrong, she and Mac could just as well have gotten killed.

The thought scared her. Not as much for herself, but because she had endangered and nearly lost MacGyver. Nikki suddenly held her breath and clasped her hands together. Panic rose within her. A panic that reminded her of the one she had felt after Adam´s death and back in Austria, on that evening in Starkoss´ house. Her memory of the explosion and the havocked corridor mixed with pictures of the destroyed car her husband Adam had died in. The memory of talking to Mac before the blast came back to her mind.

I have returned to the basement. He has told me to leave. Three times. I must have distracted him. A shiver ran down her spine and her stomach turned. It has been my fault, it echoed in her head. Only MacGyver´s reliable luck has allowed him to survive. Nikki´s hands started to tremble. No, not again, she thought. I am not going to loose him the way I lost Adam. Sorry to say, but it looks as if Mac isn´t able to break the jinx sticking to me.

Nikki sighed deeply, stared down at her hands, and sat silent for a few moments while she felt the fear for Mac´s life mingle with an intense anguish that tore at her heart. She valued and loved MacGyver way too much to risk his death. Somehow she had to find a way to prevent all this from happening once more, a way to save him. After another couple of moments, Nikki abruptly lifted her gaze from her hands.

I´ve got to talk to Pete, she thought. I´ve got to know if that offer is still on the table.

*****

MacGyver let out a deep relieved sigh when he closed the door of his houseboat behind himself and dropped his bag next to the spiral staircase almost three weeks later. Home… at last, he thought as he took a moment to look around his familiar surroundings. Then he strode over to the kitchen, filled up a glass of water and drank almost all of it in large gulps. He turned to the refrigerator afterward and opened it only to see that his favorite basics were already there. Although Pete and Nikki had expected him to return home tomorrow, one or both of them had prepared everything for him. Mac smiled to himself, grateful for having friends like them.

He hadn´t told them yet that he had persuaded Dr. Marrow to discharge him one day earlier. Pete had been in the hospital to visit him in the early afternoon, had told him that Nikki couldn´t see him because she was occupied with a lot of work today, so Mac had taken a taxi home as soon as his doctor had given in and agreed to let him leave. It was only early evening and MacGyver planned to surprise Pete and Nikki with the good news.

But first, I´ve got to get settled, Mac mused as he closed the fridge, walked over to the staircase, gingerly reached down to pick up his duffle bag, and went upstairs. When he bent over, the supporting brace he had been ordered to wear by Dr. Marrow reminded him to still be careful while moving.

It also reminded him not to take the fact that he could move on his own and almost normally again for granted. With only a little more ill twist to the events on that evening, he could have ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life or even died. However over the last almost three weeks, since the start of his physical therapy, MacGyver had chosen not to be afraid of that thought, but rather to be grateful for the fact that all had worked out well.

He would have to attend those therapy sessions for several weeks to come, and Ted had warned him to be cautious about starting his own training during that time. MacGyver longed to get back into action, to be able to get his body back into shape; nevertheless, the taxi ride had shown him how quickly he tired, that his muscles were still in recovery and not as strong as he was used to. He dropped his bag on the bed and started to unpack his stuff while the memories of the last weeks crept back into his head.

On his first day of being allowed to get out of bed and sit in a wheelchair, Pete had brought Anton and Pavel Dubcek with him on his visit. The brothers had expressed how grateful they were that Mac had saved their lives once again, whereas Mac still felt a pang of guilt for not being able to save their house. He had apologized to them for failing to defuse the bomb, but Anton had quickly cut him off.

“Don´t feel sorry, MacGyver.” he had told Mac. “It´s just things. Most of them can be replaced and the house rebuilt… It´s more important that we all survived and you will be well soon.”

Mac had just silently smiled back at him. Still… if I had been more careful…

Some DXS officials had been there to get his statement about what had happened on the day after that, and MacGyver had been grateful that Pete and Nikki had been with him while the agents had asked their questions. Mac had felt comfortable with answering most of them, but at one point, they had started pestering him for information about the bomb and the defusing process he´d used. Thinking back he had realized neither could he recall all the details of the device, nor all the steps he had taken in his attempt to render it harmless. Probably due to the serious concussion he´d sustained. Mac had felt really disturbed by his inability to remember, and it had also triggered his memory of the explosion and some of the sudden fear, he had experienced back then, to return.

Although he had tried to conceal it, Pete and Nikki had of course noticed his unease. Pete had intervened quickly, had told the agents there had been enough questions for today, and escorted them out of Mac´s sick-room while telling them they would get a copy of the forensic report covering the bomb remains and the explosion´s consequences from the Phoenix Foundation´s specialists as soon as it was available. MacGyver had appreciated Pete protecting him, and he´d been grateful that Nikki had stayed by his side, just holding his hand and silently waiting for him to get his emotions back under control.

But he had also noticed that Nikki had seemed a little distant to him on that day. Like she had been keeping something to herself. Mac had chalked it up to the hospital setting and all the memories the questions of the DXS-agents had brought back. After all, she had been closely involved in dealing with the aftermath of that dreadful evening, had been helping Pete wherever she could.

MacGyver had tried to talk to her about her feelings a day or two later, like he´d tried after his first physical therapy session, had tried to console her, but once more she had refused to open up to him and blocked him off. She had quickly changed the topic to the latest reports from the environmental study on the beach, which she had brought with her. To fight his boredom, now that he had been allowed to sit up, use his arms and read, she had told Mac. Dr. Johnson had also passed on some of his ideas for the visitor´s concept via Nikki and asked for MacGyver´s feedback on them. Dr. Marrow, on the other hand, hadn´t been all too happy with Mac dealing with work from his bed but had allowed it, if only to a certain extent.

Several of MacGyver´s friends and colleagues from the Foundation had also visited him as soon as Mac had been able to leave his bed more regularly and been permitted to be taken to the small park behind the hospital, even if only in a wheelchair. Ted had tried to get MacGyver toward the feel and coordination he needed for standing and taking a few steps when he´d been in the hospital for about ten days – but Mac had urged himself to stop counting the days by then. Realizing how long he´d already been there had only made him more restless.

And it had also gotten him restless and concerned that his attempts to stand up and walk had been slowed down by some remaining numbness in his lower back and his legs. Ted had quickly consulted Dr. Marrow, who had ordered another MR scan to determine what was causing the problem. The results had shown one of the hematomas hadn´t been receding as predicted but had kept pressing against Mac´s spinal cord and some nerves close to it.

The doc had decided to puncture and aspirate that particular hematoma to keep it from causing permanent damage to Mac´s nerves; a procedure Mac wasn´t all too keen on going through again. Thanks to local anesthesia it hadn´t been very painful for him, but lying absolutely still on his side while knowing that someone was poking a needle into his back, very close to his spine… the sheer length and diameter of that needle sent an icy cold down his back, now that the memory of it popped up in his head.

But he had also felt the relief the procedure had brought to his lower back within hours, and within the next days, the sensation in his back and legs had returned to near-normal. Ted had assured him that the remaining minor problems would recede over the next weeks, maybe a few months at most.

A smile widened on MacGyver´s face as he went back downstairs after he was done with his bag. He remembered the surprised and at the same time gladly relieved look on Pete´s face when Mac had stood up from his bed without needing help for the first time in front of him. Only ten days ago. From that moment on his progress had been steady and quick. As soon as MacGyver had felt secure on his own feet, he had started asking Dr. Marrow about allowing him to leave. Three days ago. And today the doc had agreed, finally. After observing one of his therapy sessions with Ted. After having Mac promise, he´d show up for a check-up on the day after tomorrow, and keep to the therapy schedule the doc and his therapist had set up.

MacGyver dropped onto his cozy couch with a sigh as he realized how easily he got exhausted by the little things he had done so far. Nevertheless, at the same time he was grateful, he could do them… again… on his own. Without being dependent on anyone.

He was sorry that Nikki hadn´t been there to witness his progress over the last ten days. It would have helped ease up her worries, Mac thought. But she had been ordered to fly to Washington, D.C. to take care of some Phoenix Foundation business there. Mac hadn´t been all too happy when she had told him about it almost two weeks ago, but had of course understood that although he was holed up in the hospital, the world outside hadn´t stopped turning.

Today Pete had let him know that she had returned yesterday, but had been caught up with a lot of work since then. Mac shot the clock on his TV a glance. About 6 p.m. … Pete said, he´d be in the office real late this evening, but Nikki should be home by now. I could prepare myself a quick sandwich and then drive over to her place… and surprise her.

A boyish grin widened on his face despite the twinge MacGyver felt in his back when he got up and walked over to his fridge. He was so looking forward to seeing Nikki again. He had missed her deeply during the last ten days. Now he would be able to walk up to her on his own feet, to wrap her into his arms, to kiss her, to feel her again. He immeasurably longed to do all that.

And he longed to say those three special words to her again. Without the pain, the horror, and the desperation he had felt right after the explosion, but coming from his heart and soul, this time freely admitting just how much she meant to him. Mac knew, he had held back some of his feelings during the summer, and he had probably over-challenged Nikki with his confession in this terrible situation. Maybe that was why she had kept him at a distance in the hospital. Committing himself to her fully, giving her everything that he was and could be should calm down her worries, should help Nikki to open up to him again.

It was a huge leap of faith for MacGyver as well, but after all they had gone through together during the last one and a half years, and especially after all he´d been through during the last four weeks, right now he felt ready for it.




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

 
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uniquelyjas
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Well, first of all, I'm glad Mac's physical therapy went so well and that he is recovering quicker than expected...but that's Mac! I'm not surprised he was able to talk the doc into discharging him early...LOL! Sooooo, it seems like he's in a pretty good place psychologically speaking...at least for Mac. That he's ready and willing to tell Nikki he loves her (again) is awfully huge given his fear of commitment.

As for Nikki, she seems to be in a pretty bad place and throwing up a lot of walls around her regarding Mac. She still feels jinxed and guilty for both Adam AND Mac now! She says she wants to protect Mac, but how? By pushing him away...again? And what's this about an "offer on the table"? Does her trip to D.C. have anything to do with it? Is she taking a new position? Leaving town? Leaving Mac? Oh boy, only a few chapters left to work everything out! I know you've said from the beginning this story would explain why Nikki no longer appeared on the show but please don't let her break Mac's heart!!



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: 30 December 2021 - 05:42 PM                                    
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Wonder if they've dug his knife out of the debris at the house yet? Knowing Mac, he probably has a few spares around the house. wink.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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bluegirl
Posted: 31 December 2021 - 08:21 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 30 December 2021 - 03:08 AM)
Oh boy, only a few chapters left to work everything out! I know you've said from the beginning this story would explain why Nikki no longer appeared on the show but please don't let her break Mac's heart!!

Hmmm... unfortunately, I can´t give you any guarantees on that... blink.gif hmm.bmp



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

 
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Posted: 31 December 2021 - 10:39 AM                                    
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Yeah. After this latest chapter, I see them quickly (he wants to "suprise" her?!!) heading for a major collision, and an explosion that Mac can't disarm! ohmy.gif blush.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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bluegirl
Posted: 1 January 2022 - 10:39 PM                                    
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Hi there! It´s Sunday morning - at my little part of the planet...

So... we´re heading for the 'three chapter finale'... Mac´s just out of the hospital and eager to surprise Nikki, eager to be reunited with her, eager to confess his love for her...

But some of you sense trouble ahead... hmmm... Will his plan work out well? Will he end up as the one being surprised? In more ways than one? hmm.bmp

Part 19 of 21


It was just past 7 p.m. when MacGyver parked his jeep in a side road of the Forster Lane, slid out of it and closed the door. Pete had taken care of returning the jeep to the marina´s parking lot during Mac´s stay in the hospital, and he´d also sent someone to mount the hardtop and the doors. Mac had noticed it when the taxi had dropped him off and had given Pete a quick call to tell him he was home and to express his gratitude for all that he´d done for him while he´d consumed his sandwich.

Pete Thornton had been surprised, but glad to hear the good news and had brushed off Mac´s thanks off with a quick: “Hey, somebody´s gotta clean up the mess of the trouble you´re so good at getting into…” MacGyver smiled to himself at the memory. Pete was his boss, his best friend, and at times he felt almost like the father Mac had lost way too early in his life. Mac knew he could rely on Pete, come what may. Pete would always have his back and support him. He treasured their friendship.

The sun had set about half an hour ago, the air was cooling down, and he had appreciated the doors and the hardtop being back on the jeep during his ride. MacGyver pulled up the zipper of his jacket a little more, felt for the key to Nikki´s apartment in the pocket of his jeans, and then walked off toward the Forster Lane. Some large truck had forced him to park in the side road because it was occupying several parking spaces next to the apartment building, but Mac didn´t pay attention to it as he came around the corner. His focus was directed to the windows of Nikki´s apartment, and he let out a relieved sigh when he saw light filtering through the curtains.

She is home, he thought and strode toward the entrance of the building. So far, so good.

His heartbeat sped up a notch at the prospect of seeing and surprising the woman he loved. Subconsciously he quickened his steps a little with excitement as he crossed the small park and let his eyes wander around. He noticed Nikki´s sedan across the park and was only halfway through it, when he spotted Nikki leaving the apartment building and hurrying toward her car. Mac instantly changed the direction of his steps.

“Nikki!” he called out to her. He saw her flinch with surprise – probably about hearing his voice – stop and then turn to him.

A quick glad smile crossed Nikki´s face while she watched MacGyver walk closer to her, back on his own feet. His movements still seemed a bit stiff, but almost back to normal. Nikki sighed with inner relief about his improved condition, but then her heart sank with the realization of the situation he had caught her in and her decision she had yet to tell him about. Of course, she thought. With MacGyver involved, I should have known that it wouldn´t work out as planned.

“Aren´t you still supposed to be in the hospital?” she asked with a chiding edge while she managed to return to her controlled, a little distant composure.

“I persuaded the doc to discharge me a little earlier.” MacGyver replied cheerfully grinning during his last steps and stopped in front of her. “I thought, I´d surprise you with the good news, since you couldn´t witness my progress over the last 10 days.” He took a moment to eye her all over before his dark eyes settled on her face.

“I missed you so much.” Mac continued with an earnest smile and reached up with one hand to caress her dark hair. He stepped even closer, wrapped her into an embrace, and bent down for a tender kiss. Nikki returned the kiss, but MacGyver noticed that her body didn´t soften to his touch as he was used to and she pulled back relatively soon. She then looked up at him with an uneasy, but otherwise unreadable expression while his hand rested gently on the side of her neck.

“You okay?” Mac asked with a soft voice. He wasn´t sure what to make of her reaction. He´d expected to see her happy, probably concerned, but nervous?

“Yes, of course.” Nikki assured, but broke the eye contact to scrutinize him all over. “You caught me off guard, that´s all.”

“Well, I guess, that´s what surprising someone is all about.” MacGyver replied with an impish grin. “I thought, you´d be happy to see me.”

“I am.” Nikki answered quickly. “I was just so concentrated on…” Her words trailed off to silence and she shot him a hesitant glance.

“I interrupted something important.” Mac said after a moment. “Sorry.”

Nikki only nodded silently. Her thoughts were running wild. Somehow she had to deal with this unintended and uncomfortable situation…

“You were heading toward your car.” Mac stated, straightened himself, and pulled back his hand. “Need to go somewhere?”

“No.” Nikki shook her head and half-turned to her sedan, again avoiding to look at MacGyver. “Just need to pick up some stuff I left in it and get it up to the apartment.”

Some icy edge was back in her voice, causing Mac to suspect she hid her worries under her cold façade, as usual. He chose to change the topic.

“Has your trip to Washington been successful?”

“Yes.” His question seemed to loosen something inside her because she turned and walked off to her car. “I´m sorry, I didn´t call as soon as I returned, but I was too caught up with work.” she answered over her shoulder.

“Yeah, Pete told me the study on the beach kept you occupied… and you supported him with other projects as well. I appreciate it.” Mac said while he followed her. “I´ll be back to help as soon as I can.”

Nikki sighed deeply and stopped a few steps away from her car.

“Would you please take all the time you need to recover?” she snapped at him and turned to face him. “You promised.”

MacGyver flinched back with her sharp reply and raised his hands in a defensive gesture.

“Whoa!” He grinned at her mischievously. “Never said I wouldn´t.”

But then his smile froze with her serious expression. Nikki still pinned him with an accusing stare. MacGyver drew in a deep breath and in doing so was once again reminded of the corset-like brace stabilizing his back.

“Nikki, I´m well aware of the consequences I might face if I don´t.” he assured her. “I will stick to the therapy plan… and I will take all the time it needs.”

Nikki´s face softened a bit with his words but just a moment later, when Mac wanted to step closer and console her with a soft kiss, her eyes left him, and she looked at something or someone behind MacGyver. Mac half-turned to see what had gotten her attention. He´d been so focused on Nikki that he hadn´t noticed the man in the grey overall coming up from behind. He was still a few yards away when he nodded a greeting to MacGyver and then addressed Nikki.

“We´re done for today, Ms. Carpenter. Everything´s loaded and will be on its way. We´ll pick up the rest on the day after tomorrow as planned.”

“Thank you.” Nikki nodded to him. “I´ll see you then.”

The man turned and left them, leaving back a baffled and silent MacGyver. He only understood when he read the print on the back of the man´s overall and the side of the truck he hadn´t paid attention to previously. Some moving company. His thoughts relaxed a bit. Of course, if I caught her in the middle of packing her belongings, it´ll be likely for her to react annoyed… Mac´s face lightened up a little.

“You´re moving?” he asked the obvious. “I can´t remember you mentioning it, but... Well, after all that has happened in your apartment over the last year, I can understand that...”

“Yes.” Nikki cut him off curtly and turned back to her car. “It is time for a change.”

MacGyver remembered the key in his pocket and retrieved it while he followed her again.

“Then I´d better give you this one back… guess, I won´t need it anymore.”

Nikki froze for a moment with her hand on the door´s handle, but took the key from him and stuffed it into her pocket. “Thanks.” Then she pulled the car´s back door open.

“Can I see the new apartment?” Mac asked with a beaming smile. He was already excited by the idea of Nikki finding a new place to live. “Or are you moving into a house?”

“It isn´t ready yet.” Nikki stated after a small pause while she bent down to reach for some cardboard boxes on the back seat. “I can´t show you tonight.”

“Oh, come on.” Mac chuckled behind her. “Can´t be that far. Maybe I can help with whatever there is still to fix. You know, I´m an expert with almost…” His teasing words trailed off to silence as he caught sight of some personal items she had kept on her desk. In her office. At the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters. Why would she pack those? Why would she clear her office? His stomach tightened to a knot with a sense of foreboding. His breath caught in his throat. He had to swallow hard before he could speak again.

“Nikki, where are you moving to?”

Nikki left the boxes on the seat and straightened herself, but didn´t turn around to face him. Mac saw her draw in a deep breath.

“Washington, D.C.” she answered tonelessly after a moment.

MacGyver suddenly felt as if someone had punched him hard into his gut. His stomach turned. “What?” he all but whispered. His eyes widened with shock as he stared at her from behind.

“The Phoenix Foundation has opened up a bureau in Washington a while ago.” Nikki explained flatly but very determinedly. “With my knowledge of the area and the people, the executive board offered me to be a part of it… and probably take a leadership position real soon.”

She stood still and straight with her back toward MacGyver. He was too stunned by her words; he opened his mouth but didn´t know how to reply.

“This is a huge career opportunity for me.” Nikki added after a few moments of tense silence.

Mac felt his chest tightening, an icy cold rushed down his back and spread through him. Slowly, cautiously he reached out and softly touched her upper arm in an attempt to get her to turn around and look at him.

“But, Nikki…” he started out hesitantly, somehow afraid to hear the answer to the question he was about to ask. “What about us?”

When he saw her face the cold and hard expression he had been so used to before the summer was back. She didn´t even turn all the way to face him.

“Oh, come on, MacGyver, be serious.” she snapped at him with a mocking tone over her shoulder. “There never really was an ‘us’.”

MacGyver subconsciously drew back a little with her sharp response. The words felt like a stab to his heart. This wasn´t anywhere close to what he had come here for. His thoughts went berserk. His mind flashed back to that evening in Austria… on that secluded clearing… next to Starkoss´ house… and to their first morning back in the USA… waking up together on the houseboat… her words to him.

“But… you told me…” he muttered a little helpless.

“Stop it, MacGyver.” Nikki cut him off harshly. “I know what happened. I let your injuries get the better of me in Austria and I allowed you to push me even further. But realistically, there never was a future to this.”

MacGyver´s heart seemed to skip a beat. “I never meant to push you… I´m sorry if you felt as if I did.” he said, now a little more determined despite the hurt he felt in his chest. “I really felt like…”

“Hold it, Mac!” Nikki retorted, still not turning to face him. “We had a nice summer, but that´s all there is to it.” Her voice had gotten back its chiding edge and she turned back fully to her car to pick up one of the boxes.

A nice summer? Her words echoed in Mac´s head as he licked his lips. There never was an ‘us’?

“When are you leaving?” he managed to ask in a carefully controlled voice despite his crushed feeling inside.

“My flight is due on Friday, around midday.” Nikki stated coldly. “I´ll ask Pete to give me a ride to the airport, so I´m not going to need your help, thanks.”

“That´s two and a half days from now.” Some of the icy pain MacGyver felt was turning into hot rage with her condescending tone. “When had you planned on telling me all this?”

“You were supposed to leave the hospital tomorrow morning, so…” Nikki straightened herself with one of the boxes in her arms.

“So?” Mac interrupted her angrily. “Two days left to break the news?”

“I certainly didn´t plan it to happen like this!” Nikki raised her voice as she finally turned around to face him. “A lot of the arrangements happened on very short notice… but I gotta move on with my life, MacGyver. Accept it.”

Mac was stunned silent with her last words for a few seconds. He was breathing heavily with the mixture of anguish and fury he felt within.

“A nice summer… that´s all it was to you…and now you gotta move on.” He repeated her words through clenched teeth, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Nikki only held the stare of his dark eyes quietly. “And you really expect me to simply accept all you said? Just like this… You can´t be serious…”

Nikki´s ongoing silent gaze and frozen expression cut like a knife into Mac´s soul. He couldn´t take any more of this. He stepped back a little from her. How could he have been this wrong in his judgment? Again?

“I had other plans for this evening as well.” MacGyver stated bitterly and half-raised his hands in a helpless gesture. “But I guess, what I wanted to tell you doesn´t matter anymore. Never mind… If Pete´s taking you to the airport, give the key to my houseboat to him. He´ll pass it on.” He took another step back as his inner hurt and bitterness took over. “I can´t promise I´ll show up at the airport.”

“I´d appreciate it if you won´t.” Nikki answered curtly.

Mac stood quietly for a few moments, eying her all over, searching for any clue that what he had heard from her during the last minutes hadn´t been true. But he found none. Something seemed to shatter inside of him with her last words. He bit his lower lip to keep his composure.

“Well then…” he said and drew in a deep breath. “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.” Nikki only nodded at him.

MacGyver watched her for another second, then quickly turned and headed off to his jeep.

Nikki stood stiff, tightly cradling the box to her chest, desperately striving to keep up her cold façade while she observed MacGyver walking away with hurried, long strides. She had to breathe deep to keep the tears under control that threatened to fill her eyes. As soon as he was around the corner, out of sight and out of earshot, she allowed her head to drop a little.

“I´m sorry, MacGyver.” she whispered with a breaking voice. “I sure hope, I managed to get you truly angry with me. It´ll make it easier for you.” All of a sudden she felt as if she couldn´t breathe freely anymore. Her gaze blurred with tears when she turned back to her car and slammed the door shut. “It´s better that way.” she muttered to herself, wiped some tears out of her eyes, and then forced her feet to carry her and the box she held back to her apartment.

*****

MacGyver slid into the driver´s seat and closed the jeep´s door with more force than necessary. The raw pain about what Nikki had told him still fought for the upper hand inside of him against the hot anger about the tone she had used to tell him. He sat frozen for minutes until some of his intense emotions ebbed away a little, allowing him a few more reasonable thoughts. Some defiance made its way to the surface of his feelings as he managed to push back the anger a bit. He drew in a deep breath to clear his mind and forced himself to think straight, to assess the situation logically – like he usually did when confronted with a serious problem.

It´s impossible I imagined all that I felt from her, Mac thought. This can´t be. She said she loves me, after all. Months ago… But what can I possibly do?

For a moment he was tempted to go back, to try and talk to her again, but realized as quickly that it would be useless today. They were both too angry and hurt by what and how it had been said. Mac ran his hands through his hair and rubbed them over his face. The thought of losing Nikki scared him. Some resignation threatened to rise inside, but he fought it back after a few seconds.

If only I had a little more time… if only I could get her to remember how she felt during the summer… before that darn evening and my mistake while defusing that bomb… if only I could apologize to her for all I did wrong… maybe, if Pete could offer her a job with a comparable career outlook around here… I might be able to convince her to stay… and we might get another chance.

A tiny glimpse of hope rose within him. MacGyver straightened himself and reached for the steering wheel. I´m not gonna let her leave without at least trying to fight for what we had. I gotta talk to Pete. Quickly, he thought as he fired up the jeep´s engine and drove off to the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters.

*****

MacGyver found Pete Thornton behind his desk, engrossed in conversation with several men from the research department when he stormed into Pete´s office with only a brief knock on the door. Pete looked up, waved him closer, and interrupted his discussion for a moment.

“Hello, MacGyver, didn´t you say you were planning to have a quiet evening today?” He greeted Mac with a pleased smile, but it froze when he saw the tense and serious expression on his friend´s face.

“Pete, I need to talk to you. It´s important.” Mac said quickly without reacting to Pete´s greeting and only nodding to the lab guys. Pete looked up at him silent for a second.

“Of course.” he then agreed and turned to his guests. “Would you please excuse us?”

Pete Thornton had a good idea of what this conversation with Mac would be about, and he dreaded it, but knew it was bound to happen. When Nikki had approached him with her wish to take the job offer in Washington, D.C., he had tried to talk her out of it. In fact, they had spent almost half a morning talking about the situation, her relationship to and feelings for MacGyver, but in the end, she had still insisted on leaving. As the offer had come directly from the executive board, Pete had had no handle against it.

As MacGyver´s best friend he felt miserable with her decision and her having him promise back then that he wouldn´t tell Mac about it. Keeping that promise had been truly hard for Pete over the last nearly three weeks. He could empathize with why she chose to act like this but wasn´t happy about it. Pete knew how much the relationship with Nikki meant to his friend. When he watched MacGyver half-turn and observe the men leave, Pete deeply hoped that Nikki had found the right words to explain it to him. Then Mac should at least be able to understand her motivations.

As soon as the doors had closed, MacGyver turned back to his friend and boss. “It´s about Nikki.” he said tensely. “She´s about to move to Washington.”

Pete sighed and sat back on his chair. “The offer to her to work for our bureau there has been on the table almost since the executive board had finally hired her last year.”

Mac drew in a deep breath to keep his composure. Of course, Pete would know about such an offer. “Yeah, she told me it´ll be a huge career opportunity.” Mac replied with a bitter tone in his voice. He took a small pause to sort his thoughts. “Pete, I need your help.” he then continued a little firmer. “If you can find her a comparable job around here… we might be able to persuade her to stay… and I might get a chance to help her remember the emotions we shared.”

Pete was surprised by MacGyver´s request and confused with his last words. Help her remember the emotions we shared, it echoed in Pete´s head. As far as he recalled his conversation with Nikki, she clearly knew about her deep feelings for Mac; she knew how much she cared about him. What, in God´s name, has she said to him?

“I don´t know if…” Pete started out, but trailed off to a few seconds of silence. He did his best to not let his inner turmoil show on his face. “MacGyver, what happened?” he then asked a little clueless.

Mac started pacing the office in front of Pete´s desk to cope with his inner pain and tension.

“I drove over to Nikki´s apartment after I had called you.” he related after a couple of seconds. “I wanted to surprise her with the good news of being released from the hospital since I hadn´t seen her for ten days… only I ended up being surprised.” Mac stopped in front of Pete´s desk and looked directly at him. “I caught her in the middle of getting her stuff packed into a moving truck. Her personal belongings from her office here, at Phoenix, were already in boxes in her car.”

Pete looked up silently at MacGyver and noticed how he barely controlled his inner chaos under a thin veneer. He quietly waited for his friend to continue, to find the right words.

“When I asked her where she´s moving to, she told me about this great new job…” Mac finally said low. “That she´s gotta move on with her life… that there´s no future for us… that in fact, there never was an ‘us’.”

Pete´s stomach tightened with MacGyver´s last sentence. That was about the complete opposite to what Nikki had told Pete. Why would she…? For a moment he was angry at Nikki for having him swear that he wouldn´t tell Mac a single word about their conversation. But in the next, Pete´s anger turned against himself for agreeing to it in the first place. His thoughts ran wild. How would he be able to honor his promise to Nikki and at the same time console his best friend in his anguish? How could he prevent increasing MacGyver´s suffering even more? Pete drew in a deep breath. Only everyday platitudes came to his mind. Meaningless platitudes in this situation.

“Mac, I´m so sorry.” he said nevertheless after a few moments and watched MacGyver lower himself into one of the chairs across his desk.

“I can´t believe that I´ve been that wrong… again.” Mac replied crestfallen, not facing Pete anymore but staring into the distance. “I mean, you´ve seen her… you´ve been with us.”

“I have.” Pete sighed. He knew which other mistake Mac was referring to. Deborah. He knew how deeply her betrayal had affected Mac. Seeing his friend that lost and almost broken by what Nikki had said tore at his heart. But at the moment he didn´t even know how or if he´d be able to help him. Suddenly MacGyver turned to him with a both pleading and determined expression.

“Pete, I really need your help… Can you find her a similar career opportunity around here? If you´ll talk to her, she might stay and we´d probably…” he asked, but his words trailed off to silence when he saw Pete´s frozen face. Pete cleared his throat and took another deep breath.

“That offer came directly from the executive board.” he stated carefully neutral. “I can´t do anything about it. Offering her a job like this in the western division will take time. I already discussed that possibility with her.”

“You did?” A little more of the pain he felt was visible in Mac´s eyes. “Well, if that offer´s been on the table for months… Why did she choose to leave that quickly? Especially now? I don´t understand it…”

Pete didn´t answer at once. He´d known he´d find himself cornered at some point of this conversation. How could he possibly get out of this mess without hurting his friend even deeper? He couldn´t just lie to him, that was unthinkable. With an inner sigh, he gave in to the inevitable. He had to admit that he had known about it. All the time.

“It all happened a lot faster than we both had anticipated.” Pete started to explain. “Especially her preparatory trip to Washington and her flight on Friday. She came to me with her wish to take that offer almost three weeks ago…” He broke off when he saw first surprise on Mac´s face and then witnessed his expression freeze.

“Wait a minute… we?” Mac repeated baffled after a moment. “What do you know about that flight? Nikki said she´d still have to ask you to take her to the airport.”

“She must have forgotten that I already offered to …” Pete wanted to continue, to calm the situation before it got completely out of hand but was cut off by MacGyver.

“She came to you?” he continued sharply after all of Pete´s words had sunken in. “Three weeks ago? … You´re a part of this? You knew all the time? … And didn´t tell me?” The realization hit MacGyver like another stab to his already aching heart. He had been perplexed a moment ago, but now a mixture of bitter disappointment and hot boiling anger rose within him. Mac straightened himself in the chair and felt his stomach turn into a tight knot. Once more on this evening.

“MacGyver, Nikki had me swear I wouldn´t say a single word to you.” Pete tried to defend himself when he saw Mac getting furious. He just now noticed how big a mistake he´d made. “She wanted to talk to you herself. What she told me wasn´t…”

“Well, she did talk to me.” Mac interrupted Pete again harshly and pushed himself out of his chair. “Kind of… unlike you.”

Pete rose out of his chair with him. “I tried to convince her otherwise!”

MacGyver took a silent step backward, staring unbelieving at Pete. His best friend, the one he had thought he could come to and trust with everything. The one he had thought would do all he could to support him.

“I trusted Nikki about this. Had I known… I never thought…” Pete tried again.

“I thought I could trust you.” Mac stated coldly before Pete could finish and took another step backward as Pete came around his desk. “You knew how much she means to me. But you acted behind my back… both… together. And you kept it from me!”

“Of course, you can trust me. MacGyver, I´m sorry.” Pete hurried to assure and apologize. “I´ll try again… I´ll call her… I´ll talk to the board.”

MacGyver felt a red-hot rage burning deep inside and taking over his senses. His body stiffened as he straightened himself.

“Yeah, sure… nothing you couldn´t have tried during the last three weeks… while I was stuck in the hospital… don´t bother.” he replied bitterly through clenched teeth. “Never mind… thanks for your help, friend.”

With that, he turned, hurried out of Pete´s office, and slammed the door closed behind himself. He heard Pete call after him, heard him open the door and follow him, but didn´t pay any attention to it. Mac almost ran along the corridor toward the elevators. All of a sudden he felt like he couldn´t breathe freely anymore. He had to get out of here.

MacGyver caught an elevator car just before it was closing its doors on its way down, just in time to keep Pete from coming after him. He was thankful no one was there but him. His thoughts and emotions ran berserk in the sudden silence of the elevator. Mac leaned against the back wall of the car and rubbed his hands over his face with frustration. The hurt and anger Nikki´s words had caused now mixed with the bitterness and disappointment about how his best friend had obviously been involved in all this.

For three weeks. Without saying a single word. Without giving me even the slightest heads-up or chance to do something about it. They have kept it secret. Both. Together.

MacGyver puffed out a deep breath when the elevator reached the parking garage; he hurried past the security guard with only a grim greeting and strode to his jeep. He started the engine and drove off quickly, but didn´t care about the direction he took. He only felt the overwhelming urge to get away from all this, to get some distance between himself and the city.

*****

MacGyver hadn´t paid much attention to where he´d been driving. He had headed roughly north out of Los Angeles, passed Pasadena, and then chosen to turn west through the Simi Valley. Somehow he had ended up on the Pacific Coast Highway and was just past Santa Barbara when he noticed he had to refuel his jeep.

Mac stopped at some small, random gas station, filled up the jeep, and got himself some soda to drink. Just then he realized how late it had gotten and how far he´d driven in his fury. Nevertheless, he continued his way along the coast. The waning moon cast only little, but an eerie light over the cliffs and beaches of the nightly coastline. MacGyver tried his best to keep his concentration on the road and the scenery to somehow get rid of his intense emotions, but he hadn´t paid attention to the station he had tuned the jeep´s radio to. The fast, rocky songs from the early evening had long changed to softer tunes, to ballads, to songs about love, longing, and loss.

The music got to him real fast, despite his best effort to focus on the road and the landscapes he was passing through. The lyrics of a duet called ‘The Last Unbroken Heart’ reminded MacGyver of the doubts he and Nikki had shared at the beginning, when first she and then he had shied away from giving this relationship a chance. But they had convinced each other to face their fears. It made him recall their time together in Austria, his frightful awakening on their first morning together on the houseboat, but then it fueled his anger. Hadn´t his heart been broken often enough?

Several minutes later, Roxy Music´s ‘Lover’ reminded Mac of how it had felt to have Nikki in his arms, to have her physically close. The memory of why they had been late for their appointment with Pete on their first morning back in the U.S. crept into his head. How soft and warm her body had felt against his. The scent of her silky skin and her hair returned. MacGyver couldn´t recall being that nervous about making love to a woman for the first time, but with Nikki… it had meant so much. And it had been so special.

Holding her, caressing her, kissing her had felt so good, so right. Witnessing her reactions to his touch and the pleasure he´d caused her had made it even more amazing, had made him feel the passion between them even more intense. With his angriness still raging inside, MacGyver tried to push back the pictures and the emotions that came to the surface of his mind but it was no use.

Their last evening on the pier behind Pete´s rebuilt cabin returned along with how contented and whole he´d felt then… the romantic rendezvous in the high-class restaurant he´d taken Nikki out to… the whole damn beautiful summer they´d shared. MacGyver had to swallow hard to keep his composure when the anguish about the prospect of losing all this took over and mixed with his wrath.

A small while later, when The Police sang ‘Every Breath You Take’, Mac realized he couldn´t safely focus on driving anymore. He was relieved when he spotted a sign pointing to the parking lot of a state beach within a few moments and let his jeep roll onto it while this song about love, loss, and futile longing was still playing.

MacGyver shut down the engine and sat there in silence, taking deep breaths in an attempt to preserve the last bit of his self-control. Then he left his jeep behind after a quick look around the parking lot. His car was the only one around, he noticed as he strode down to the beach. Nothing to be surprised about this late at night, Mac thought. A glance at this watch told him it was past 11 p.m. No one to be seen at the beach as well, he sighed inwardly. Good, being alone is exactly what I need right now.

Some clouds dimmed what little light the waning moon was providing, letting the water appear almost black under the nightly sky. Only the sand and some breaking waves added some lighter nuances to the scenery. MacGyver stopped a few feet away from the water line and stared out over the Pacific Ocean. Somehow the emptiness of the beach together with the darkness of the sky and the water matched his emotions inside. Some rage about how Nikki and Pete had acted toward him was still boiling underneath, but for the most part, he felt his heart aching with bitter disappointment, grief, and loss. Although he had subconsciously searched solitude, he all of a sudden felt extremely lonely… and broken.

While MacGyver watched and listened to the rolling waves more and more memories of the last one and a half years washed over him. He didn´t try to control them anymore. He was simply too exhausted by the intensity of it all by now. He still couldn´t fully comprehend what had happened, and why it had happened. Abruptly Mike´s and his last conversation popped into his head.

‘All those women in your life and you never learned a thing, did you?’

“Well, obviously I didn´t.” Mac replied low to himself as Mike´s words to him echoed in his head. He allowed himself to drop to his knees, sat back on his heels, and rubbed his hands over his face in frustration and defeat.

‘There never really was an ‘us’.’ … Nikki´s declaration replayed in his mind.

What warning signals had he missed this time? Had he angered Nikki too much by digging into her past again? But she hadn´t mentioned it anymore… Had he held back confessing his deepest emotions for her too long? But it had felt so true, so genuine, so much like the real thing this time… What had he done to screw up his relationship with Nikki? Why had Pete, of all people, been helping her?

The thoughts and doubts kept rotating in MacGyver´s head while he reflected on his memories, but try as he might, he couldn´t see any solution, any reason for what had occurred on this evening. Even the wide, black water of the Pacific Ocean didn´t help; Mac only felt as if it would swallow him and his dark thoughts, given some time.

He hadn´t cared about how long he´d been first standing and then kneeling on the beach, yet at some point he noticed tiredness adding to his emotional exhaustion. Gingerly he got back on his feet and slowly walked back to the jeep. Taking on the three-hour drive home wouldn´t be a good idea like this, Mac realized. I´d better find some motel around here for the rest of the night before I get into an accident.

He brushed the sand off his jeans before he slid into the driver´s seat, wearily thought about which direction he had to take for the closest town, and then took off. Fortunately, MacGyver had to drive only a short while until he found a small, run-down motel at the outskirts of the next village that was still open and had a vacant room. The old desk clerk eyed Mac suspiciously all over, seemingly not used to new guests showing up beyond midnight, but didn´t ask any inquiring questions. MacGyver was silently grateful for it, even if he wasn´t able to show it. At the moment he wasn´t sure if he would be able to muster up any patience with the man and he hated himself for it.

Mac unlocked the door, flipped on the lights when he entered the room, and let the door snap shut behind him. He dropped the keys on the table next to the window and stood silent for a moment, taking in his surroundings, before he cautiously shrugged out of his jacket. He´d noticed a throbbing next to his spine quite some time ago. The three hours of driving in his jeep hadn´t been easy on his healing back.

Not quite what the doc has told me to do, MacGyver thought wearily. Not quite what I had in mind either…

Mac hesitantly reached for the painkillers, Dr. Marrow had prescribed him, in his jacket´s pocket. He had taken them with him considering the possibility that he might have stayed with Nikki overnight; he´d been looking forward to that... but now? Mac quietly sighed to himself. He wasn´t a fan of medication at all, but the dull throbbing in his back had worsened to a nagging pain in the meantime. The cracked rib was complaining as well. He shook one of the pills into his hand, took the few steps to the bathroom, and swallowed it with a few gulps of water from the hand basin.

MacGyver avoided looking into the mirror when he straightened himself and returned to the bed. He sat down on it, slipped off his shoes, and then stretched out on his back with a quiet moan. He didn´t bother to turn off the lights but kept staring at the ceiling blankly. He sensed that many haunting shadows inside himself that he didn´t feel like adding darkness that would have engulfed him from outside.

The pain and the brace that stabilized his spine with every move he made reminded him of how closely he´d beat the odds of dying… once more. His thoughts started running wild in his head in the silence of the room… again. He´d been through a lot in the last one and a half years.

His lost love Lisa turning up out of nowhere, asking for his help, betraying him, but finally helping him and then dying in his arms. His friend Danny getting run over and dying before his eyes; Danny´s sister Nikki stepping into his life and rather being a nuisance at first. Mike Forrester falling and dying during their attempt to climb the Widowmaker. He still couldn´t stop himself from musing about what he might have changed hadn´t he pushed her away. If he could have prevented her death… Then Nikki almost getting killed by those terrorists… and Pete almost driven out of the Foundation by sabotage… Deborah, of course… His trust in her had almost gotten him killed… twice. That unexpected assignment in Austria and Czechoslovakia… where things had changed so surprisingly between him and Nikki… and those past wonderful months he´d shared with her.

MacGyver covered his eyes with his hands as he felt that some of these memories made his eyes water due to the intensity of his emotions. Loss, grief, bitter disappointment, quite some rage… and a lot of anguish. He sighed and took a few deep breaths to regain control over the tears that threatened to roll down his cheeks.

No, I´m not going to cry. I don´t want to. Wouldn´t be helpful anyway, he scolded himself stubbornly, now also angry about the lack of self-control he wasn´t used to from himself. I´m just on the brink of it because I´m so damn tired. Get some sleep, MacGyver!

The throbbing in his back had diminished thanks to the meds over the last few minutes, giving him a chance to notice how worn out he was. MacGyver wiped some of the stinging dampness out of his eyes with a curt gesture but kept his eyes covered by one of his arms. His exhaustion took over and soon he drifted off to oblivion before he had even covered himself with the sheets.




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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 2 January 2022 - 12:08 PM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 610
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Gender:  Female
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Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
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Wow! What an emotionally intense and jam-packed chapter...again! I hardly know what to say. Poor Mac, believing he's been betrayed by both Pete and Nikki. Poor Pete for being caught in the middle, and then unaware of what Nikki said to Mac. Poor Nikki for thinking she has to make Mac angry to help him get through her leaving. And is she leaving just because she thinks it will protect him from her and her "jinx"? You did such a wonderful job describing their emotions my heart aches. And in the motel, when you summarize what Mac has been through recently, it really puts things in perspective. Soooo, it looks like there's a lot to get cleared up in the next two chapters unless this is meant to end in pain and heartache for all.



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: 6 January 2022 - 05:58 AM                                    
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Hello there! A little later today, but... let´s recall the last part...

Mac has been eager to see Nikki, but been surprised by her telling him she´s moving away, been hurt by her tone and by her stating that there never was an 'us'... ohmy.gif he´s gone to Pete for help, only to be disappointed by his best friend who had known all the time... sad.gif and then he´s fled from the city in his despair, anguish and fury and stranded in some random motel in the middle of the night... surprise.gif

Nikki´s packing her stuff, and Pete got caught in the middle... how do they deal with all this? Only two chapters left... Let´s continue with...

Part 20 of 21


Pete Thornton felt awkward when he parked his car in the Forster Lane and got out of it. He had hurriedly left his office to come here, after Mac had stormed out of it. He had failed to follow Mac, to hold him back, and to try and apologize to him. Normally he wouldn´t drop in unannounced and that late in the evening on any Phoenix employee. But this time was different. He had seen how lost and heartbroken MacGyver had been because of whatever Nikki had said to him; he had seen how upset Mac had become after he´d realized they had both kept it secret, and how mad Mac had been in an instant at him. Pete knew he had to act.

He had thought about why he´d promised Nikki he would remain silent while driving here and by now he regretted his decision badly. Now Pete desperately needed to know what had happened between MacGyver and Nikki before Mac had turned up in his office.

Before I´ve been stupid enough to add to his anguish, Pete chided himself as he stepped off the elevator and walked down the corridor toward Nikki´s apartment. He took a deep breath and then knocked on the door. He had to wait only a few moments until Nikki opened the door and instantly froze when she saw Pete Thornton standing in front of her.

“Hello, Pete.” she greeted him with a strained sigh, pretending not to have any idea why he was here. “What´s the matter? What can I do for you?”

“I need to talk to you.” Pete stated with a carefully controlled voice. Nikki´s pale face and her red-rimmed eyes told him that she must have been crying not too long ago. The irritation he had felt toward her faded a little.

Nikki silently stepped aside and invited him in with a small gesture of her hand. Somehow she had a fair idea what the main topic of this conversation would be. She closed the door, straightened herself and faced Pete, who had taken a few steps toward what had been Nikki´s living room. Her sofa was already on its way to Washington.

“Talk to me? About?” she asked anyway, trying to sound firm although she sensed Pete´s tension.

“About?” Pete echoed exasperatedly and quickly turned to face her. “You know that very well! MacGyver came to me after he had been here to see you.” The words left his mouth a lot harsher than he had intended to.

Pete forced himself to hold his breath for a moment and reign in his emotions. He knew he was upset because MacGyver was such a close friend, almost like a son to him, and the state he had seen him in tore at his heart. He had to figure out what had gone wrong between the two. Nikki just held his stare quietly for a moment and then looked away.

“Nikki, what happened?” Pete asked when she didn´t react. His voice was a lot softer now. “Mac said something about you telling him you gotta move on with your life, that you see no future for the two of you… that there never was something like ‘the two of you’… from your point of view.”

Nikki´s posture stiffened and she turned to one of the boxes she had been packing her stuff into before Pete had arrived.

“Yes.” she said with a low voice. “That´s what I told him after he had figured out that I am moving away.”

Pete was baffled by her agreement and needed to take a deep breath before he could speak again.

“But that is the complete opposite of what you told me three weeks ago!”

“I know.” Nikki´s reply was curt as she picked up some book from a pile and held it in her hands.

“You told me, you love him. You told me, you wanted to leave because you´re afraid MacGyver will get killed because he´ll protect you; because he´s so close to you.” Pete fought hard to keep his voice even. “You promised me, you´d explain it to him. That´s why I agreed to remain silent.”

Nikki lowered her head with Pete´s sentences.

“I know.” Nikki repeated flatly, but Pete could see some cracks in her hard and cold façade. He could hear that she fought back some tears.

“Nikki, that man loves you from the depth of his heart and soul! … With every fiber of his being!” Pete exclaimed, not able to fully control his emotions anymore. “Doesn´t he deserve…”

“I know that. He told me.” All of a sudden Nikki cut Pete off sharply and turned to face him. “That´s why I had to do this.”

Pete stood stunned silent and surprised for a moment. He knew about Mac´s fear of committing himself to someone. He also remembered the moment in the corridor, in front of Nikki´s apartment door, when he had straightforwardly asked Mac about him being in love with Nikki. Mac had almost admitted it to Pete, but only seconds later shied away from confessing it to her. “What? But if…” he then muttered. “When? … I had the impression he was still too cautious about…”

“After the explosion had caught him.” Nikki interrupted him low. “Those were his last words to me before he lost consciousness again.”

Pete drew in a sharp breath with this revelation. He opened his mouth to console her but didn´t know what to say. The logic of her doing eluded him even more.

“Then why…” His question a moment later trailed off to silence.

“I had to cut our bond to set him free.” Nikki continued slowly. “It´s better for him that way. It´ll be easier for him that way. He´s used to being angry at me… He would never let me leave otherwise.”

Pete let out a deep sigh. Now he understood that Nikki had used him as part of her plan to end this relationship, of her idea of driving Mac away from her, of making it less painful for him. But he knew MacGyver way longer than she did and way too well.

“Nikki, it won´t work like this.” Pete said softly. “Mac came to me for help. He asked me to find you a comparable job here, in L.A. So he could convince you to stay.”

Nikki looked up at him with an unreadable expression but said nothing.

“He was deeply hurt, he was heartbroken, but he cares way too much about you to give up that easily.” Pete carried on. “Even after all this, he wasn´t willing to let you leave. He was willing to fight for what you had, to help you remember how you felt… But he was sorely disappointed and angry with me when he found out that I had known about you moving away all the time… and didn´t tell him.”

“But you told him I made you promise, didn´t you?” Nikki´s eyes widened with shock and were glistening with tears now. “I never intended to get him mad at you…”

“Of course I did.” Pete hurried to answer. “But being one of his best friends… From his point of view, I let him down… I kept something from him. Something really important. Although I know how much he hates it if someone isn´t completely honest with him. He has every right to be furious with me.”

Nikki´s gaze lowered to the book she was still holding in her hands. Her grip on the book tightened until her knuckles turned white. Pete took one step closer to her when she didn´t respond.

“I don´t think, I would have agreed, had I known about your plan.” he admitted.

Nikki nodded slowly.

“I´m sorry, Pete.” she replied with a breaking voice after a few seconds. “I really thought I´d make it easier for him to let go… for us… I never wanted to…”

She broke off when a single tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek. She was angry with herself for her misjudgment. She brushed the tear away with a curt, harsh gesture of one hand. She didn´t want to cry in front of Pete. But Pete softly touched her hand that was gripping the book, trying to comfort her.

“Nikki… we need to talk to him… both.” he stated slowly, but firmly. “We owe him an explanation… and a huge apology.”

Nikki looked up hesitantly at him. For once she dropped her defensive walls for him. Pete could see how much she was hurting inside.

“You think, he´d be willing to?” she asked full of doubt.

“Maybe not tonight.” Pete shrugged. “But we´ve got some time left until Friday… we have to try. Even if your mind is still set on leaving… MacGyver deserves to know about the true reasons for it… don´t you think?”

Some of the doubt and pain faded from Nikki´s eyes. If I haven´t hurt him too deeply, he might agree to listen to us, she thought. After all, this is MacGyver we´re talking about. Of course, he does deserve the truth. After she had lowered her eyes to the book again, she only nodded silently. She knew she had to make up for her mistake. For all three of them.

*****

MacGyver´s body stiffened automatically when he slowly woke up the next day. Unfamiliar sounds, unfamiliar smells, and a ceiling he didn´t recognize at first when he opened his eyes. He needed a moment to reorient himself, to recall where he was and how he´d gotten here. In the next moment, the why flooded his mind. Mac closed his eyes again and let out a sigh. He forced his body to relax, took a deep breath, and pushed back his painful memories of the evening before.

When he concentrated on his body he noticed he was rested, but also felt the brace poking uncomfortably into his sides. Next thing, he noticed that although he´d fallen asleep fully clothed, he had wrapped himself into the bed´s covers at some time during the night. Without coming aware of it. When MacGyver blinked his eyes open again, he saw the ceiling light still turned on, and the sun filtering in through the curtains as well. He pulled back the sheets with one arm and shot his watch a glance.

Almost 11 a.m., Mac realized surprised. He rarely slept that late. Stiffly he rolled over to his side, swung his long legs off the bed and gingerly sat up. The throbbing along his spine had returned; the painkillers had worn off. Wearily Mac straightened his back and pushed himself off the bed. Slowly he walked over to the wall, turned off the lights, and glanced at the tube he had set down on the table last night. He cautiously stretched some kinks, the unfamiliar mattress had left him with, out of his long frame, and then ran his hands through his tousled hair and over his face.

After another sigh, Mac took the few steps to the bathroom, splashed some cold water onto his face and the back of his neck. He grabbed a towel to dry his face and hands and couldn´t avoid gazing at himself in the mirror this time.

You still look tired… haggard with the stubble on your face, Mac thought to himself. Although you slept like a log for about ten hours.

He rested his hands on the hand basin and lowered his eyes. He had to admit, he was still worn out, felt somehow drained, especially mentally and emotionally. After a couple of moments, he drew in a deep breath to gather a few ounces of energy. He returned to the main room, slipped on his shoes and jacket and picked up the painkillers. He took a few seconds to consider the ache in his back and then decided against swallowing one of the pills right now.

Not yet, he mused. I´d rather be fully aware of my condition while driving home. It´ll keep me more attentive about my limits… And I´d better grab something to eat before I hit the road.

*****

MacGyver arrived back home in the evening after taking his time on his way back to Los Angeles. He´d found a small diner close to the run-down motel he´d stayed in overnight and had eaten a very late breakfast – or early lunch there before he had climbed back into his jeep and driven southward. He had followed the coastline again, had tried to enjoy the scenery and lose himself rather in the gorgeous landscapes and beautiful weather than in his dark thoughts. He had taken several breaks to reduce the strain on his back, had spent quite some time sitting on different vantage points and beaches along the way.

MacGyver had barely been able to withstand dropping by at the beach area where Phoenix was conducting the environmental study and catching up with his colleagues there, and merely thinking about it had drawn his mind back to the evening before. The hurt, Nikki´s words had caused had returned as had the disappointment about Pete not warning him.

Mac had tried his best to reflect rationally on it during the last leg of his journey home, but it had done little to ease up his intense emotions. He´d only been able to somewhat control the blinding rage he´d felt the day before due to being caught totally off guard by the incidents. But the anguish and the bitterness were still very present in his head and heart when he closed the door of his houseboat behind himself.

He noticed the red blinking light on his answering machine quickly but opted to take a shower first. He spent a while letting the warm water loosen up his tense muscles and ease up the throbbing in his back. Then MacGyver chose to prepare himself a light dinner before he walked over to his desk and pressed the button that would replay the messages. He recognized Nikki´s voice within the first two or three words and instantly forwarded the tape to the next one. Whatever she wanted to tell him, he wasn´t ready to hear it. His grief was still way too raw; his heart still felt like it had been torn into pieces.

Pete´s voice was the next one he heard. He was asking Mac to answer the call, should he be there, and then asking him to call back as soon as possible. Pete had left a second message sometime later, this time sounding more worried, also telling Mac he hadn´t been able to reach him on his car phone.

Yeah, sure, MacGyver thought bitterly. Probably because I´ve turned it off. Probably because I wanna be left alone.

Pete carried on urging him to get in touch, telling him they needed to talk, that he needed to explain what had happened, and to apologize for it. MacGyver turned off the answering machine at that moment. He wasn´t willing to hear Pete´s explanations either. What was there to explain anyway?

Mac then chose one of his favorite westerns, flopped himself comfortably on the couch, and tried his best to keep his thoughts with the pictures on the TV while he consumed his dinner. Knowing that he needed to be at the hospital early on the next morning, he went to bed quite soon.

*****

MacGyver was startled awake by his alarm clock on the following morning. He rolled over with a frustrated groan and reached out with one arm to silence it as he remembered why he had set it in the first place. To prevent himself from being late for his appointment with Dr. Marrow at the hospital and the therapy session afterward with Ted. MacGyver took a deep breath, slowly got out of his bed, went through his morning routine, slipped into his clothes, and went downstairs to the kitchen.

He noticed, he felt differently this morning while he set up his blender and prepared his breakfast shake. He had gotten used to the pain that had settled in his heart and soul, had come to almost accept it, to accept the fact that he had lost Nikki. Mac wasn´t all too badly upset anymore, at least at the moment, and his mind was back to functioning more clearly and rationally again.

He couldn´t keep it from reflecting on the whole summer he had spent with Nikki though, while he was at work in the kitchen. He kept searching for his misjudgment, for the mistakes he´d made, for why he hadn´t seen it coming. Doubts about himself and his own doing started nagging in his mind. Had he really pushed her too far? Pushed her into something she hadn´t wanted? Or been ready for? Had he longed too much for it to be true? Had he been too desperate to find someone to love after Deborah´s betrayal?

MacGyver poured his shake into a large glass, walked over to the French doors, and took a long sip as he stared out over the marina. He felt the brace stabilizing his back when he drew in a deep breath. He´d chosen to sleep without it, as Dr. Marrow had allowed him to, but put it back on before going downstairs. He felt more secure moving around with it supporting his spine.

His thoughts turned back to yesterday´s messages on his answering machine. He still felt no intention to call back Nikki, especially since she had told him she´d appreciate not seeing him at the airport. The memory of those words sent a sudden sting to his heart.

If she isn´t eager to see me another time, what could she possibly be interested in telling me? No, thanks… I´m already suffering as much as I´m willing to take…

However, MacGyver knew he would eventually have to talk to Pete. He wasn´t only his friend, but also his boss. They currently had a few projects up and running together; the most important of them being the environmental study on the beach. Mac recalled how surprised he had looked at him at certain points of their conversation.

He has said Nikki had sworn him to secrecy. Maybe he hasn´t known all about what Nikki has been up to. But still, what good reason has he had not to warn me that she is about to leave? Not even the slightest heads-up? For three weeks? He knows I hate being kept in the dark…

The bitter sting of disappointment settled back into MacGyver´s chest. The hot spark of fury returned to his gut.

We´ll have to discuss that, Mac thought. But not today. I´m still too angry. I´m not ready yet… I still got a few days of sick leave ahead of me. I should have cooled down until I have to get back to work… after ‘she’ has left…

MacGyver stood silently gazing out the windows for several minutes while he consumed the rest of his shake, while those thoughts stayed lingering in his head. Then a glimpse at his watch told him he had to get ready and leave if he didn´t want to risk being late for his appointment with Dr. Marrow and Ted.

*****

Morning traffic had been a nuisance as always, and MacGyver had only found a parking space in a side road a block away from the hospital, but he still had a few minutes left when he came around the corner and walked across the fully occupied parking lot toward the hospital´s entrance. It was a nice and sunny day, and Mac observed the people and cars moving about to keep his nervousness at bay. He was worried about how much the doctor and his therapist would notice about how he had spent the last one and a half days.

Not as quiet and calm as they have advised me to… I can feel the aftereffects… I am stiffer than I was before, I am a little worse. I can only hope they won´t insist on keeping me here again.

But his musings were cut off abruptly when MacGyver spotted a very well-known person sitting on a bench in front of the hospital, right next to the entrance.

Pete… waiting for me… well, I did tell him about my next check-up and the therapy schedule when I called him… before I drove over to Nikki…

MacGyver froze, licked his lips nervously, and for a split second thought about how to avoid meeting his friend who hadn´t noticed him so far. But in the next moment, he chided himself for being that childish. He had no time to spare, so he couldn´t clear the air with Pete anyway right now. He had a good excuse for not being willing to talk to him at the moment. He had an important examination coming up.

MacGyver drew in a deep breath to steel himself, but felt his stomach tighten with disappointment and some anger nonetheless as he continued his way to the entrance. Pete saw him only a few seconds later. His worried face lit up with relief and he got to his feet quickly.

“MacGyver! Thank God!” he called out. “Am I glad to see you.”

Mac took the last steps and stopped a few feet away from Pete. It felt better to keep a little distance from his friend.

“Morning, Pete.” His reply was curt and toneless.

“You really had me worried when you didn´t return my calls.” Pete continued. “I hoped, I´d be able to meet you here.”

“Really?” Mac couldn´t keep the bitterness from showing in his voice. “Well, I came back home quite late yesterday, sorry. Wasn´t in the mood to call back.”

Pete Thornton sighed deeply and came a step closer. He could sense the angriness still boiling below Mac´s carefully kept up façade.

“Mac, you´ve got every right to be upset with me.” he began. “If you´d give me a few minutes to explain…”

Mac cut Pete off by raising one hand in a defensive gesture.

“I don´t have a few minutes.” he stated sharply. “I´ve gotta meet with Dr. Marrow as you very well know.” He wanted to turn and leave but Pete caught his upper arm with his hand and held him back.

“MacGyver, please.” Pete tried again to get through to his friend. “At least let me set some things right. I need…”

He broke off when he felt MacGyver´s body stiffen almost instantly in his grip. Mac couldn´t fight back the sudden surge of fury flaring up inside. At once, the fiery rage was visible in his eyes. He straightened himself, squared his shoulders, and shot Pete´s hand on his arm a pointed glare. Pete instinctively let go and drew back a little from his friend. Sometimes he forgot how intimidating and threatening MacGyver could be when he was in a truly sour mood. Something that only rarely occurred with the usually so caring and kind man.

“Set things right?” Mac shot back after a moment of tense silence. His dark eyes pinned Pete. “Such as? Me getting dumped? You not warning me although you knew what was bound to happen? For three weeks?” He took a deep breath and slowly let it out in an attempt to quench his anger.

“I didn´t.” Pete sighed. “Not the full extent… I would have never agreed to remain silent had I known what she was about to…”

Now MacGyver threw both hands up to interrupt his friend with a deprecating gesture.

“Are you trying to tell me she´s used you?” he inquired harshly. “Fine… that makes two of us.”

“MacGyver, I´m so sorry.” Pete Thornton´s shoulders slumped. “I failed my responsibility as your…”

“Pete, I accept your apology.” Mac interjected hardly controlled. “But I don´t wanna hear any more about it right now. I gotta go.” Again he half-turned to leave, yet this time Pete´s voice held him back.

“How about meeting for dinner in the evening?”

Mac puffed out a breath and looked at his friend sideways over his shoulder. His wrath at Pete had deflated with his apology. He thought about granting Pete that chance.

“Don´t know…” he answered indecisively and with a softer voice. “I´ll give you a call.”

“We´d really like to talk to you… no, need to talk to you.” Pete pleaded, but Mac´s chest tightened instantly.

“We?” he repeated with an icy edge. He still had no intention to see Nikki once again. The hollow and sore feeling returned to his heart. A vise seemed to tighten around it. He didn´t think he could take it. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans to keep them from turning into fists.

“Yes, we.” Pete confirmed. “Me and Nikki… we think, we owe you an explanation.”

MacGyver´s expression hardened again. He got mad at Pete once more for even mentioning Nikki. Pete saw the bitter pain returning to his dark brown eyes before Mac spoke up again.

“I think, I heard all the explanations I can cope with for now.” Mac replied coldly after a moment. “Don´t count on me.”

Pete opened his mouth to object but MacGyver didn´t give him the chance to.

“And now, if you would please excuse me? I´ve got an important appointment to keep. I´ll stay in touch about the progress of my recovery, so you´ll know when to expect me back at work.” His words were dripping with sharp sarcasm, and then he turned and finally walked off to the hospital.

“MacGyver, please wait!” Pete called out to him behind his back, but Mac didn´t stop.

“See ya, Pete.” he replied brusquely over his shoulder as he stepped through the entrance. This time he didn´t look back at his friend.

*****

It was early evening when MacGyver settled in a chair on the small deck of his houseboat with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. He lifted his eyes to the sunset over the quieting marina and allowed himself to reflect on the day he´d had. Meeting Pete in front of the hospital hadn´t been what he had planned on. Pete had tried to convince him how sorry he was, and Mac had sensed his anger with his friend easing up, but as soon as he´d invited him to meet for dinner with him and Nikki, Mac had instantly felt his inner walls going up again.

Fortunately the examination Dr. Marrow had performed afterward had forced his thoughts back to his recovery. Of course, he and Ted had noticed that Mac hadn´t ‘taken it easy’ for the last one and a half days. And they´d scolded him for it. Both. Had once again warned him about possible consequences. MacGyver had accepted their criticism guiltily, had told them there had been a serious reason for it, but had not elaborated on it. Reluctantly his doctor and his therapist had agreed to let him continue his rehab at home, but only after Mac had promised that it wouldn´t happen again.

He had driven off to Venice Beach after his therapy session, exhausted by it, yet at the same time noticing relieved that his condition was slowly improving again. He´d taken a small walk around his former neighborhood and grabbed lunch in a beachfront restaurant that had been one of his favorites back then. One of the waitresses had remembered him and engaged him in some small talk that had effectively kept his haunting thoughts at bay.

After spending a lazy afternoon at the beach and some grocery shopping on his way back home, the melancholy had again grabbed hold of his heart and soul. MacGyver had discovered another message from Pete on his answering machine when he´d arrived at the houseboat. Pete had left the name and address of the restaurant he and Nikki wished to meet MacGyver in. And of course, the time at which they´d be there.

Pete had pleaded with him to come, had sounded a bit desperate. Something that rarely happened, Mac noted mentally as he now thought back. He had also looked truly worried and full of sorrow in the morning. Pete had stated that they wanted to talk about the true reasons for Nikki´s decision and that it was important to them. But that statement had instantly fueled Mac´s defiance.

True reasons? What? Have they, on top of everything, been lying to me so far? Haven´t I been worth the truth? And important to them? What about me?

By now, about two hours after listening to the message, the grudge he had abruptly felt toward his friends had made room for resignation and emptiness. Up to this moment, he had chosen not to go there. A glimpse at his watch told MacGyver that even if he might want to see them, even if he´d drive to the restaurant in a hurry, he´d arrive quite late by now. Mac drank half of his orange juice, set the glass down on the deck next to his chair, and leaned back with a deep sigh.

He had no energy left for another painful conversation, for Nikki and Pete probably tearing even more at his already wounded heart and soul. He wasn´t convinced that he would be capable of dealing with them tonight already. Although he felt a pang of jealousy at the mental image of Pete sitting with Nikki in the restaurant… and not himself. The memory of meeting the two in the hotel restaurant in Vienna flashed into his mind before he could control it.

He had been unpleasantly surprised then. Pete had caught him off guard and in a mentally and emotionally vulnerable state. But as far as Mac was concerned, it had been the start of something wonderful. If the intensity of my emotions during the last days is any indication… I really do love that woman, Mac had to admit to himself. Otherwise, it wouldn´t hurt that damn bad, would it? His next thought went out to Starkoss. I guess you were right… and you were not… or is this what you call ‘being okay’? A pained smile widened for a moment on Mac´s face at the memory of the Russian and his cryptic remarks. Or haven´t you been able to see it coming?

MacGyver rubbed his hands over his face to ease up his inner tension and then tried to relax into the chair. A little twinge in his back reminded him to be careful since he´d already taken off his brace. The silence of the marina mingled with his thorough exhaustion. His eyes stared out into the semi-darkness.

No, I can´t meet them tonight, Mac made his final decision. I need some time to heal first… physically… and emotionally.

*****

MacGyver´s eyes slowly drifted open on the next morning. He moaned groggily when he rolled over to lie on his back. He´d gone to bed early last night, hoping that his mind and dark thoughts would calm down, that the intensity of his emotions would lessen with a good night´s sleep, but… well, his sleep hadn´t been restful. His troubled subconscious had conjured up all kinds of dreams. Pleasant memories had mixed with haunting ones, creating nightmares that had caused Mac to bolt out of his sleep panting and sweating a few times during the night.

Although it was already around 10 a.m. as a glance at the clock on his nightstand told him, he still felt weary and tired. MacGyver stared up to the ceiling while he did a mental check-up of his body and mused about the day he had ahead of himself.

Nothing scheduled. Just relax and recover. Next physical therapy session is tomorrow… Nikki´s flight is due sometime around midday… then it will be final…

The thought popped up in his head too quickly to control it. It sent a sting to his heart. MacGyver drew in a deep breath and let it out in a long, quiet sigh before he pushed himself up and got out of his bed. I might take an easy walk in the Griffith Park, he mused while he slipped into the brace stabilizing his back and then his clothes. Might at least get some fresh air and get reacquainted with nature…

After a quick stop in the bathroom, he combed his tousled hair roughly by running his fingers through it as he made his way down to the kitchen. Kind of automatically Mac prepared his usual breakfast protein shake and tried his best to keep his mind focused on what he was doing. He grabbed a science magazine that had been in his mail on the day before, perched himself on the comfortable couch with his shake, and started reading.

But only a little more than half an hour later MacGyver realized, it wasn´t working. In the quiet atmosphere of his home, his thoughts were running wild. Once again. After another couple of minutes of trying, he dropped the magazine, he couldn´t concentrate on, on the coffee table with a defeated and frustrated sigh. The melancholy he´d felt last evening now mingled with a deep sadness in his soul.

Sadness and grief about losing Nikki… like this. That sudden, unexpected and harsh… and even now connected with that much anger at Nikki… and Pete. This isn´t my way, Mac realized in a flash. I´ve been that caught off-guard and shocked that I haven´t been acting like myself. The disappointment and bitter pain were still there, but the fury abruptly turned against himself. They´ve offered me true reasons yesterday, a clarifying talk between the three of us, but I´ve been too pigheadedly sulking in my pain.

A tiny spark of curiosity made its way to the surface. What would Nikki and Pete have told him? Would it really have hurt even more like he had feared yesterday? Or would it have eased up things between them? MacGyver puffed out a frustrated breath. Why haven't I been willing to give them a second chance? The woman I love and my best friend? Why have I held on so selfishly to my damn wounded pride? The anger at himself mounted and he rubbed his hands over his face while he leaned back on his couch wearily. Well, do I still have a chance to fix that?

A moment later he straightened himself tense with an idea and shot the clock on his TV a glance. If I can find out the exact time at which Nikki´s flight is scheduled to take off… maybe I can still make it to the airport in time… a bit cliché, but who cares if it´s about my closest friends?

MacGyver felt a surge of energy course through his veins. His eyes found his desk and the phone on it. Would Helen tell me? Or has she promised to remain silent as Pete had? Then his eyes rested on the monitor and the keyboard, and he got up quickly. He strode over to the desk and booted his computer. If she´s moving to Washington, D.C. for a Phoenix job, Phoenix has probably also taken care of her travel arrangements… I should be able to find all the details I need by logging into the mainframe and a bit of digging through the data…

A couple of minutes later, MacGyver had discovered what he´d been looking for and shot his watch a glance. He drank the last of his shake while he calculated mentally and then froze for a moment. I can still make it on time if I hurry… I must not miss this last chance…

MacGyver got to his feet, placed the empty glass in the sink on his way to the door, and grabbed his jacket and the keys for the jeep on his way out. He ran toward the parking lot, trying his best to ignore the twinge it caused to his back. He wasn´t supposed to be running yet. However, he didn´t give a damn at the moment but hurried to slip into the driver´s seat and drove off. He focused only on getting to the Los Angeles International Airport as fast as he could.

But the further he drove, the closer he got to his destination, the more adrenaline he felt flowing into his blood. His nervousness mounted. All his thoughts from the last days flashed through his head. One part of him was curious about those ‘true reasons’, one part was scared about hearing them, one part was still disappointed and hurt, and one part feared that it had been his fault. Before he´d listen to anything, he´d have to apologize to Nikki. For a lot of things.

MacGyver felt himself breathing heavier while he searched for a parking space for his jeep. He felt his stomach tighten to a knot when he finally turned off the engine and slid out of his seat. Mac shrugged into his jacket while he left the jeep behind and hurried toward the part of the airport building that housed the correct airline. He pulled up the zipper although he knew that the cold running up and down his back and spreading through his body was caused by his inner tension and not the cool weather.

Once inside the building, he stopped and let his eyes search the huge displays for the desired flight number and destination. Mac quickly discovered the gate number and saw that the plane´s boarding wasn´t on its way yet. Good… I made it on time…

He puffed out a deep breath, took a moment to orient himself inside the terminal, found the correct direction and then headed off toward the gate. He had to dodge and round several groups of people as he neared the gate with long strides. MacGyver instinctively froze, when he spotted Pete and Nikki within the crowd of travelers waiting next to the gate. They were close to one of the huge windows, talking to each other.

He stood still at some distance when all of a sudden, a lump formed in his throat, the vise around his chest tightened again, and his heart started aching once more. He had to swallow dryly, balled his fingers into tight fists, and then straightened them out again.

Those are your friends, coward, he scolded himself inwardly. What are you afraid of? It can´t get any worse than it already is, can it? You´re not seriously considering chickening out now, are you? You came here to talk to them, to straighten things out, now get on with it!

MacGyver took a deep breath and held it for a moment to steel himself and to keep his intense mixture of emotions from showing on his face. Then he puffed out the breath and walked off toward his friends, determined to grab the last chance he might get to clear the air between them.




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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 7 January 2022 - 10:55 AM                                    
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I really want to be angry at Nikki for manipulating both Pete and Mac. I even want to be upset with Pete for going along with Nikki as much as he did. But when you hear their reasoning from their prospective 'point of view' (Nice way of reinforcing the title, by the way!) you can tell they are both hurt and, in their own way, doing what they believe is best for MacGyver. As for Mac, I think this may be the most emotionally intense chapter for him so far in the sense that he is forced to deal with such a range of emotions from sadness to rage and then looks inside himself and confronts those emotions and makes the decision to try and make things right.

I can't believe there is only one more chapter left! I know Mac won't win Nikki back, but I hope they manage to leave on good terms. It will be interesting to see what they have to say and how Mac reacts.



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: 7 January 2022 - 11:29 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 7 January 2022 - 07:55 PM)
I really want to be angry at Nikki for manipulating both Pete and Mac. I even want to be upset with Pete for going along with Nikki as much as he did. But when you hear their reasoning from their prospective 'point of view' (Nice way of reinforcing the title, by the way!) you can tell they are both hurt and, in their own way, doing what they believe is best for MacGyver. As for Mac, I think this may be the most emotionally intense chapter for him so far in the sense that he is forced to deal with such a range of emotions from sadness to rage and then looks inside himself and confronts those emotions and makes the decision to try and make things right.

Well, that´s where the 'title idea' came from - looking at what happened during this story from all sides... because every one of my protagonists has a different 'point of view'! unsure.gif

And yes, just one more part to go... but this one will be quite long!



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

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 9 January 2022 - 08:49 AM                                    
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Hello everyone!

I know, I kept you waiting today - I´m a little late... but I wanted to take my time for the last review of this FINAL chapter, this conclusion of this very long story... I had to get it right, to make it real good for all of you... biggrin.gif

Because this is the last one. It has been quite a challenge to write, but it has been suuuch a pleasure to share it with all of you. Thanks to everyone who has been reading along - thanks to those who have left feedback for me - that is what keeps me going, what will probably encourage me to take on another challenge - another idea and form a plot, maybe write the next story - if you want me to... tongue.gif

But now... here we go... Mac has made it to the airport, Pete and Nikki are already waiting at the gate for the plane to get ready for boarding... with so many ill feelings left between all three of them - will everything work out? unsure.gif

Part 21


“Moving back to Washington, D.C. feels strange… now that it´s really happening.” Nikki said slowly to Pete while she lowered her eyes to her carry-on roller.

“Well, everything happened quite fast. Unexpectedly fast.” Pete replied softly, standing next to her and looking out of the window.

“Brings back a lot of memories.” Nikki added low. She pushed back a few strands of her dark hair and raised her gaze to also stare outside to the planes. “Reminds me of why I left that city.”

Pete Thornton drew in a sharp breath and turned to face her. His eyes narrowed.

“Do you doubt your decision?” he asked surprised. “You sounded so sure about it last night.”

“I was. I am.” Nikki answered quickly. “It´s just… returning to those memories won´t be easy for me.”

“The past few weeks haven´t been easy for you either.” Pete said sympathetically. “Allow yourself some time to adjust.”

Nikki nodded silently and kept staring at the moving airplanes while she stood completely still.

“Thanks for last evening.” she continued low after a couple of moments. “Thank you for reminding me of the good time I had in L.A.”

Pete noticed a little flash of pain and regret in Nikki´s eyes as he watched her.

“Don´t mention it. It was just dinner… I had really hoped he´d turn up and…” He broke off when he saw Nikki turn to him and look up at him with now a sad and a bit annoyed expression.

“Me too… but if he chooses to be that pigheaded…”

“We both know, he can be quite stubborn.” Pete sighed. “He was still furious when I met him yesterday morning. I´ve known MacGyver for many years now and I can tell he must be hurt quite deeply to be hanging on to his anger for that long.”

“Pete, I know it´s been my fault!” Nikki suddenly snapped at him. “We´ve already established that.”

Pete drew in a deep breath to keep himself from also raising his voice.

“And I added my share.” he then replied carefully controlled. “That wasn´t my point, Nikki… I just wanted to say that given a little more time, MacGyver´s anger might cool down and I hope we´ll eventually get a chance to explain everything and to apologize to him.”

“Sorry, Pete.” Nikki sighed deeply and lowered her eyes for a moment. “I didn´t mean to jump at you… it´s just… I´ve done him wrong.” She lifted her gaze to Pete again and the mixture of sadness, regret, and anguish she felt inside was now clearly visible on her face. “It probably would have made leaving easier for me, if I had gotten to…”

Nikki suddenly broke off in mid-sentence and her face fell as she stared past Pete. “Oh, no…” she muttered under her breath. “I asked him not to come… not here… not now.”

Pete was perplexed with her abrupt change for a second, but then quickly turned to see what had gotten her attention. He could think of only one reason for her to react like this. He could think of only one ‘him’.

Pete spotted MacGyver´s tall frame almost instantly as he weaved his way through and around the crowds toward them, still at some distance. Mac´s face was frozen in an unreadable, yet tense expression; his steps seemed quite determined. The memory of MacGyver´s furious reaction in front of the hospital from the day before popped up in Pete´s head. If Mac had been too mad at them to meet them in the restaurant, what could he be up to now? At the airport? He had to prevent MacGyver from causing any trouble here. Pete touched Nikki´s arm in a brief reassuring gesture and sensed how her body had stiffened.

“I´ll see what he wants.” he said sideways to her while he didn´t take his eyes off his friend. “I´ll take care of him.”

Then he quickly walked off to intercept MacGyver. Pete met him between two groups of people and held up both hands to block Mac´s way.

“MacGyver, hold it, please.” Pete said firmly. It puzzled him to see Mac stop at once and then even shrink back a step hesitantly. “Since you didn´t join us yesterday…” Pete nevertheless continued resolutely. “Do you really think this is the right time and place…?”

MacGyver slowly raised one hand to silence Pete.

“I´m sorry about that.” he replied with a very low voice and nervously licked his lips. I should have known that Pete would try to shield Nikki from my wrath, he thought. “I should have come.”

Pete was worried by the uncertainty and shyness he saw in his friend´s eyes as they switched quickly from Pete´s face to Nikki several yards behind Pete and back. He hadn´t cared to shave today and looked haggard and strained with the stubble on his face.

“But Pete… maybe this time and place is the last chance I´ll get.”

His brown eyes now locked on to Pete`s. Pete Thornton took a moment to try and decide what to make of his friend´s words and reactions. Mac tried his best to conceal his emotions, yet he seemed almost afraid, something Pete wasn´t used to seeing in him. Pete wasn´t sure how to handle it, and it did very little to ease his inner apprehension. The sudden realization that he even felt the need to step in and protect someone from MacGyver tore at his heart.

“MacGyver, whatever you´re up to…” Pete answered with a warning tone after a few seconds. “I am not sure you can…”

“Neither am I.” Mac cut him off again. He spread out his arms a little to signal that he meant no harm, but the gesture also radiated how lost and helpless he felt. Mac took a deep breath to regain some of his determination. Pete´s firm intervention had caught him off guard. His dark eyes searched briefly for Nikki before they returned to Pete.

“I didn´t come here to make a scene, Pete… I came to apologize.” Mac assured quietly. “And I came hoping for some answers… if I still do deserve the truth.”

“Apologize?” Pete echoed baffled and fell silent for a few moments but before he could continue, he felt a slender hand touch his arm. When he half turned, he saw that Nikki had stepped up to him from behind. MacGyver´s gaze was also fixed on her within the second, and he sensed his heartbeat speed up now that she was so much closer to him.

“Pete?” Nikki said with a carefully controlled voice and expression. “Give us a few minutes alone, will you?”

Pete Thornton glanced back at MacGyver probingly. He couldn´t detect any of the boiling anger he had seen yesterday. In fact, Mac seemed oddly frozen, at least on the outside.

“Are you sure?” Pete asked as he turned back to face Nikki.

She only nodded silently. One of her hands tightly gripped the handle of her carry-on roller; the other one had dropped down from his arm. Pete looked past her for a moment.

“They´ve just opened the gate for boarding.”

“Thanks, Pete.” Nikki replied quietly. She raised her hand and Pete quickly took it. “Thank you for everything.”

Pete held her hand in both of his as he eyed her closely. Whatever Mac might be able to accomplish with his apology, her intention to leave is unwavering, he realized and let out a small sigh.

“Take care of yourself.” he answered with a forced smile, gave her hand a little squeeze, and then let go of it. “And good luck with leading our bureau in Washington. We´ll stay in touch. Just call if you need any help.”

“I´m sure, we´ll have to.” Nikki smiled back at him. “And I will take you up on that offer, thank you. Take care, Pete.”

Pete stepped back from her and, after a last probing look at MacGyver, left the pair alone. While he headed away from the gate and outside of the terminal, he fervently hoped that both Mac and Nikki wouldn´t slip back into their former arguing habit, but remember how close they had been during the last few months. He´d have to trust them on this.

Pete took a deep breath once he´d reached the parking lot, his face still clouded with concern. He noticed MacGyver´s jeep parked not too far from his own car and chose to wait there. For whatever the outcome of their conversation might turn out to be. For whatever support he might be needed to provide afterward.

*****

When he sensed Pete retreating, MacGyver let out the breath he just now realized he´d been holding. For a long moment, he and Nikki just looked at each other silently, neither of them sure how to start off.

“MacGyver, there´s so…”

“Nikki, I need to…”

They had said it simultaneously and broke off at the same moment with a sheepish expression. Mac suddenly noticed they were standing amidst the crowds flowing toward the gates. He longed for a much calmer place to have this conversation. Bashfully he reached up for Nikki´s hand and nodded toward the large row of windows between the gates.

“Let´s take a few steps over there.” he suggested low.

Nikki allowed him to loosely hold her hand and lead her to the quieter space, close to where she´d been standing only moments before with Pete. Once they had reached the windows, Nikki turned to face MacGyver and opened her mouth to address him, but he quickly let go of her hand and held up his to keep her silent.

“Please, before you say anything… hear me out.” he asked and drew in a deep breath.

Nikki hesitated for a second, looked up at Mac with a bit of doubt and uncertainty, but then nodded. She owed him at least that. Especially because the unusual shyness and unease she felt from him worried her. Especially since his eyes missed the sparkle they normally showed. Even if his unreadable and guarded façade unnerved her a little. Even if she had so much to say to him herself.

“I´m sorry, I didn´t show up yesterday.” Mac said hoarsely and nervously licked his lips. Suddenly his throat and mouth seemed to have dried out. “I should have… but I was too stubbornly holding on to the pain and disappointment I felt… I haven´t been acting like myself over the last few days… I apologize for behaving that selfishly.” He took a break to sort his thoughts and turned to look out of the window before he continued.

“In fact, I´m sorry for a lot of things. I shouldn´t have angered you by looking into your dossier again without asking… but I was so worried about your safety… I shouldn´t have told you I love you after the explosion hit me… it probably overwhelmed you in that scary situation… but I was so afraid I wouldn´t wake up anymore… I needed you to know what I feel for you deep inside at that moment… I guess, I should have told you that a lot earlier… but then you know about my fear of committing myself. I´ve lost so many people I loved… so many dear friends.” MacGyver lowered his eyes to the ground with the memory of some of those persons coming to his mind. He puffed out a breath to keep his composure.

“I never intended to push you into a relationship you didn´t want… maybe I was just too desperate to find someone to love after my experience with Deborah´s deception. I´m sure you do remember that I doubted my feelings in the first place… but I wasn´t doubting myself when I came to surprise you three days ago. I had other plans for that evening.”

Mac fell silent for a beat, sighed deeply, and raised his gaze from his shoes to the outside once more.

“But you telling me you´re moving away… you telling me there never was an ‘us’… your words came as a shock to me… I still can´t figure what I misinterpreted, what I did to screw this up. Nikki, from my point of view it felt like the real thing. I´m so sorry.”

Mac shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “I sure hope you´ll accept my apology… I don´t know if it makes any difference… just tell me whatever I gotta do… if there is anything I can do to change…”

MacGyver shrugged helplessly, but his words trailed off to silence when he looked sideways at Nikki and noticed her perplexed expression. Nikki just stared up at him with wide and unbelieving eyes, and a second later Mac saw some unshed tears glistening in those brown eyes. He was surprised by her reaction. He had prepared himself mentally for the worst, for another chiding tirade, but not for tears… MacGyver turned to face her, yet resisted his urge to reach out to her for a comforting touch.

“Nikki? What´s the matter? Please, tell me what`s…?”

“Nothing.” Nikki suddenly cut him off. Nikki held his puzzled gaze quietly for a moment before she continued. “You did nothing wrong. You didn´t misinterpret anything.” Now she noticed the intense pain she had inflicted on him in his eyes although he did his best to conceal it. She had hurt him that deeply… and he still thought about which mistakes he had made. Her heart shattered at the realization. Her face turned sad. “You don´t need to apologize about anything… I´ve got to.”

“What?” Mac whispered with a baffled frown. He cocked his head sideways, still not understanding what caused her reaction.

“When you caught me in the middle of packing… what I told you then…” Now Nikki avoided Mac´s gaze and turned to look out of the window. “I made this up to set you free. I thought, if you could go back to being annoyed and angry with me… letting me go would be easier for you.”

MacGyver straightened himself a little next to her. He still wasn´t fully comprehending what she was talking about.

“Wait a minute… you made what up? Obviously not the part about leaving for a career opportunity.” He gestured toward her carry-on roller and the planes. Some of his deep bitterness and pain made it to the surface during his last sentence, making it sound harsher than he had intended. He instantly scolded himself for it inwardly when he saw Nikki wince with his words.

“No, not the part about leaving.” she replied sharply while her eyes stayed fixed on the moving airplanes. “But if the main reason was my career, I should have left when I had gotten the offer … many months ago.”

“So?” MacGyver drew in a deep breath. Her answer got him a little impatient. “You wanted to tell me about whatever true reasons you´ve got for leaving yesterday… I´m here now… just go ahead.”

Nikki hesitated for a moment. She had to muster up some courage first. Mac saw her swallow dryly and lower her eyes to the ground.

“MacGyver, if I´d stay… if we´d continued our relationship…” she then admitted slowly and with a hoarse voice. “I`m scared about it.”

Mac was stunned silent for a couple of seconds with her words. His thoughts ran wild. Relationship? Scared? Why? He reached out and softly laid his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to get her to face him.

“So there was an ‘us’?” he cautiously asked the question that had been running around in his head for the last two and a half days, still afraid of the answer.

“Of course there was!” Nikki exclaimed and quickly turned to him. “There is!”

MacGyver saw her eyes still wet with tears and couldn´t help letting his hand travel upwards to her neck in a comforting gesture. A little relief flooded through him with her assurance but at the same time, his chest seemed to tighten again.

“Then why are you leaving?” he continued to probe softly.

“Because I don´t want you to die.”

Nikki´s voice was cracking with emotion now. A single tear rolled down her cheek, but before she could reach up, Mac brushed it away with his thumb. He let out a deep sigh. They´d already had this conversation. A few months ago. In Austria. He´d been able to convince her then... he could do it again.

“Nikki, we´ve been through this.” he said carefully controlled after a moment. “I don´t believe you´re jinxed. I won´t die because I´m close to…”

“That bomb almost killed you!” Nikki cut him off way too loud and drew back a little from him, just out of his reach. “I´m not willing to take chances that big on your life!” She turned back to the window. “You were trying to keep me safe and I distracted you. It was my fault, on top of it all.”

“No, it wasn´t!” Mac objected quickly and resolutely. “The reason that bomb went off was a drop of my blood falling onto the circuit board. I missed it. I wasn´t careful enough. It was my mistake.” His hand, which had been comforting her only a moment ago, was now pointing at himself.

“You might not have missed it if I hadn´t been there to disturb your concentration; if you hadn´t been unconscious before because you´ve tried to protect me from those goons in the first place.” Nikki insisted.

“Nikki, I should have pulled back my hands from the bomb while I was talking to you... you weren´t…” Mac tried to explain but didn´t get a chance as Nikki cut him off sharply.

“MacGyver! … You were shielding me when I froze! You dragged me with you… That bomb caught you instead of me.” she declared standing stiffly, her arms crossed in front of herself. “Our line of work is dangerous. If I´d stay… if we´d stay together… if we´d continue to work together… your urge to protect me will get you killed.”

MacGyver drew in a deep breath and licked his lips nervously. Convincing her wasn´t going all too well this time… how could he argue with that? There was no way he could honestly deny his desire to keep her safe, to know that she was all right.

“But Nikki, you know I´m trying my best not to rush dying… on every single day?”

Nikki didn´t react.

“You also know, that there´s a lot of perfectly safe things I do at the Foundation… my environmental work for example… I´m sure I could switch to a job in the research department.” His words trailed off when Nikki turned to him and stared up at him silently. Even sadder than before.

“You would give up your position?” she asked taken aback after a seemingly endless moment. “For me?”

A lump formed in MacGyver´s throat. He had already signed a resignation letter once. And then torn it to pieces. He had longed for a ‘normal’ life then. He had offered to take another job now without thinking too much about it, out of the desire to keep her close to him. Was his relationship with Nikki worth considering it again? He held his breath for a moment, letting the idea establish itself in his mind.

“I would. For you.” he then confirmed huskily, took a step closer, and reached up to caress her dark hair and cup her cheek. “I almost resigned on my birthday… last year.” His dark eyes searched for any reaction on her face, but only a weak and gloomy smile crossed it. She covered his hand on her cheek with her own.

“I know. Pete told me. But in the end, you didn´t… MacGyver, be honest with yourself.” she chided him mildly. “You are the most caring and compassionate person I´ve ever met. Your desire to help and to right the wrongs of this world is an integral part of you. You need to do what you´re doing.”

“The research department would just provide me with different means and ways of helping.” Mac cut in, but Nikki´s expression didn´t change.

“You are the best field operative the Phoenix Foundation has ever had, their main troubleshooter. You are unique at what you do and how you do it.” she continued quietly after a moment. “Even with a position in research, the board would call you in when faced with trouble… Pete would ask for your help with serious problems… you´d answer that call. You´d help out Pete. Because that is who you are. That is part of why I love you.”

Another tear escaped Nikki´s eyes but her hand holding on to MacGyver´s prevented him from brushing it away as before. Seeing that tear and hearing her words sent a sting to Mac´s heart. She was right on all accounts. He couldn´t argue with that. He couldn´t deny it. He swallowed hard against the lump in his throat.

“Nikki, I could…” he started to say a little helpless, but Nikki cut him off quickly.

“Mac, please… no more ‘coulds’, no more ‘buts’.” she requested firmly. “There´s no way I can take that away from you. It defines you. What you do, what only you can do is too important.” She lowered her eyes to the ground and dropped her hand from his. “I´ve got to leave because I can´t live with the daily fear for your life. Especially since we´d be working together regularly. Especially since Zorkin and Baranov won´t be the last thugs to figure out how to use me to put pressure on you.”

For once, MacGyver was at a loss for words. Nikki had made her case for leaving. He could understand her motivations. He could empathize with her emotions, particularly because he knew what had happened to her husband. He saw no reasonable or fair way to poke holes into her argumentation. The realization he truly had to let her go tore his heart, but the bitterness and anger he had felt faded away now that he knew the truth. MacGyver´s hand slid down to her chin and with a soft force he urged her to raise her head and look up at him. The sadness and anguish her decision caused her and he saw in her eyes made it really hard for him to keep up his composure. His heart was now aching for both of them.

“Can´t convince you this time, can I?” he asked hoarsely and with a lopsided, weak grin. “That darn bomb blew all my chances at breaking your belief in that jinx, right?”

Nikki couldn´t keep an amused smile from showing on her face for a moment with his attempt to ease up the tense situation with his sarcastic humor, but then her face went somber again.

“I can´t cope with it.” She shook her head. “Seeing you lying unconscious in that corridor, sitting at your bedside in the ICU of the hospital, seeing you in that wheelchair… I can´t, not after what happened to Adam.”

Her voice was cracking with the intensity of her feelings. MacGyver´s hand softly caressed her dark hair, trying to comfort her. His eyes wandered over her face, taking in every detail of her soft skin, her wavy hair, her brown eyes. He watched her last inner protective walls drop for him.

“I should have talked to you about how I feel in the first place.” Nikki added after a moment. Her words tumbled out faster now. “I really thought, if I´d get you angry at me, I´d make it easier for you. I never wanted to hurt you that badly. I never wanted to get you angry at Pete. He really knew nothing about my plan. Mac, I… I´m so sorry. I never…”

“Shh.” MacGyver cut her off firmly and drew in a deep breath. “I won´t lie to you… Your words on that evening threw me seriously off track… but I appreciate you explaining it to me now. It´s alright.”

He raised his second hand, cupped her cheeks softly in both hands and brushed a tender kiss on her forehead.

“I won´t try to hold you against your will, as most important for me is that you´re happy… but don´t expect me to be happy about it.” Mac whispered while his lips were still close to her face. He fought against the sudden salty sting of tears that threatened to fill his eyes. “I love you.”

He felt a slight shiver running through Nikki with his last words and straightened himself so he could look at her more comfortably. The vise around his chest was tightening again. Forming the words got difficult around the lump in his throat.

“If this is what you truly want…”

Nikki only nodded silently. She was also fighting hard to keep her feelings under control. After a moment of looking up at him, she squared her shoulders.

“I love you too, Mac. I never thought I´d be able to feel like this for someone again after I lost Adam. You made me feel whole again. I´ll always be grateful for what you´ve given me... I don´t want to leave you… but I have to… I just can´t…” Her voice was breaking with emotion.

“Shh.” MacGyver silenced her once more and pulled her into a soft embrace. “It´ll be all right.” he whispered when he felt her bury her face at his chest and sensed her sobbing quietly. Mac buried his own face in her hair, cupped the back of her head with one of his hands, and softly held her close with his other arm. “We´ll be all right.”

Nikki wrapped her arms around his back and held on tightly to him. It tore her heart to pieces. He still managed to give her some sense of safety and reassurance, even now that she was about to leave him behind. Even now, after she had hurt him that badly, his first concern was for her. He was doing his best to comfort her, even now when she felt how he was suffering as seriously from losing her himself. She had faith in his words.

For several, seemingly endless moments they stood still, feeling each other's breath, sensing each other's heartbeat, taking in each other's scent, memorizing each other's touch. An announcement through the airport speakers disrupted their intimate closeness. The last passengers for the flight to Washington, D.C. were called to board the plane. Nikki eased herself a little away from MacGyver.

“I´ve got to go.” she said slowly.

“I know.” Mac replied evenly slow. “Our paths might cross again since we´ll still both be working for the Phoenix Foundation.”

Nikki nodded and looked up quietly for a moment. “Pete might ask us to if the occasion calls for it. Hopefully, he won´t interrupt your vacation next time.” she added with an apologetic smile. “Will you be okay with working with me?”

“Of course.” MacGyver smiled back at her. “This last interruption led to something good, didn´t it?” He noticed Nikki holding her breath for a moment and knew instantly he shouldn´t have reminded her of what she was leaving behind. Her eyes were filling with tears again. “Unlike a year ago…” he added with a mischievous grin, again trying to lighten her mood with humor. “Remember our first shot at posing as a married couple? In East Germany?”

Nikki´s eyes narrowed with the memory. She frowned.

“Yes. You handed me the one and only parachute.” she said annoyed. “And made me jump out of that tinkered hot-air balloon of yours.”

MacGyver´s smirk stayed on. Then he remembered something else. His smirk turned into a knowing and contented smile as he took in Nikki´s features silently for a few seconds.

“What?” Nikki asked intrigued by his expression.

“Oh, just something else that came to my mind…” Mac answered slowly. “After I made you jump, after Starkoss and I had made it over that mountain… he said something to me… and I laughed at him then.”

Nikki cocked her head sideways waiting for him to continue when Mac took a deep breath.

“He said, I´d grow to love you.”

Nikki was baffled by his words. “You never told me that…”

“No.” Mac gave up his embrace and his hands traveled up to caress her hair. “I wasn´t taking him seriously then.” He softly stroked over her cheek with his fingers and then rested his hands on her shoulders. “I´m not laughing anymore.”

His smile sobered as his dark brown eyes locked on to Nikki´s. He saw a flash of pain cross her face and it instantly sent a sting to his heart. Nikki opened her mouth to respond, but Mac quickly held up one hand to keep her silent.

“Don´t.” he said low and soft. “No more apologies… no more explanations… no regrets… it´s okay, Nikki.”

Nikki nodded, but another tear rolled down her cheek. Mac wiped it away with his thumb.

“Promise me, you´ll remember the amazing time we had… together.”

A warm smile widened on Nikki´s face. “We had something special.” she answered. “Thanks, MacGyver… thank you for everything.”

Mac´s look spoke of the love he still felt for her.

“You´re very welcome.” he said huskily. “Know, that I´ll always be there for you… come what may.”

Nikki raised one of her hands to cover his still cupping her cheek and nodded silently.

“And hey, it´s just a five-hour flight to Washington.” Mac added with an impish grin. “I might drop by for a visit…”

He sensed, he had to make that offer to make their goodbye feel less final for Nikki, and if he was honest also for himself. They smiled at each other with the idea, although they both knew it wasn´t likely to be happening soon. Another boarding call for Nikki´s flight interrupted their thoughts.

“You gotta get on your plane.” Mac stated hoarsely.

Nikki tore her eyes from him, half-turned to reach for her carry-on roller, but then Mac´s hands urged her to look up at him once more. His dark eyes wandered over her face, his intense gaze held her captive. After a seemingly endless moment, he bent down and let his lips find hers. He kissed her affectionately, tenderly, unhurriedly, sensed her respond, and then wrapped her into a soft hug. For one last time.

“Thank you.” he whispered close to her ear. “Take care of yourself.”

Nikki held on to him with one arm wrapped around his waist. She felt the brace stabilizing his spine below his clothes.

“You be careful!” she replied with a little chiding edge. “Watch yourself, MacGyver.”

“Always.” he promised low as he released her and moved back a bit. He brushed a quick kiss onto her cheek and then stepped aside to clear her way to the gate.

Nikki drew in a deep breath, retrieved her ticket from the front pocket of her carry-on roller, and gripped its handle tight with the other hand. She saw that Mac had buried his hands deep within his jeans´ pockets when she straightened herself again.

Mac forced a smile onto his face while she walked past him toward the gate and handed her ticket over so the flight attendant could check it. He didn´t move when the attendant returned the ticket and wished her a pleasant flight. Then Nikki turned back to him. Their eyes locked for a last, long moment and exchanged a silent goodbye.

MacGyver raised one hand with a small wave while he bit his lower lip in an attempt not to let his emotions overwhelm him and to hold on to his composure. A strained smile flashed across Nikki´s face and then she hurried to turn and walk away. She quickly strode onto the plane, was escorted to her seat by another attendant, and stowed her carry-on away overhead.

When she settled into the comfortable seat and closed her seatbelt, she sensed her sadness threaten to overtake her. Angrily, she brushed some tears from her face and squared her shoulders. Leaving MacGyver is one of the hardest choices I´ve ever been forced to make, she thought. But at least we´re parting on good terms now.

Nikki looked out of the plane´s window, back to the terminal building. Its large windows were reflecting the sunlight and the blue sky. She couldn´t see through them but was certain, Mac was still standing where she had left him. She heard the airplane´s door close and only a couple of moments later she felt the plane moving away from the terminal and taxi toward the runway. Goodbye MacGyver, she sighed inwardly. It´s better that way. But I promise I´ll always be there for you, too.

*****

MacGyver remained like frozen close to the large window although Nikki was out of sight real soon. After a couple of seconds, his eyes wandered to the airplane that was about to take her to Washington, D.C. Its windows were mirroring the terminal building, effectively blocking his sight into the aircraft. He imagined her taking her seat and getting ready for the flight.

He was relieved that he´d chosen to drive to the airport. Mac´s heart was aching badly with the loss he faced, but he was glad that they´d been able to clear the air, that there were no ill feelings left between them, that he now knew about her true reasons for leaving. He stayed at the window, watched the plane´s door being closed, observed the plane moving toward the runway and taking off.

Goodbye Nikki, he thought while he took a deep breath and straightened himself. You´ll always have a very special place in my heart.

With some effort, he stepped back from the window, pulled himself together, and with long strides headed back to the parking lot. The sunlight outside the building blinded him for a moment, and he rubbed his hands over his face and his eyes, also to ease his inner tension. He wasn´t too surprised to feel some dampness afterward on his fingers.

Seems like I´m missing her already.

MacGyver puffed out a breath before he crossed the driveway in front of the terminal, resuming the way to his jeep. Several yards later he stopped baffled when he spotted Pete Thornton pacing next to it. Mac overcame his surprise quickly, walked on and addressed his friend as soon as he was within earshot.

“Pete?”

Pete´s head snapped up with hearing Mac´s voice and he whirled around to face him. His expression was a mixture of caution and concern.

“What´s the matter?” Mac asked quickly when he noticed the nervousness radiating from his boss and stopped in front of him.

“I was going to ask you something similar…” Pete responded slowly. “I chose to wait for you because…” He hesitated for a moment and eyed MacGyver all over. Then his eyes locked onto his friend´s, and he noticed the pain and grief visible in them. “Mac, are you all right?”

“No.” Mac rolled back his shoulders, bit his lower lip, but then a bit of a smile widened on his face. A smile that didn´t quite reach his eyes, though. “Not right now… but I will be.”

Pete sighed with relief, yet waited expectantly for Mac to continue.

“We´ve talked it out, Pete.” MacGyver added after a brief pause. “I can understand her reasons now… It may hurt badly at the moment, but I believe we´ll manage to continue as close friends. I don´t think I´ll meet anyone like her again.” He sighed.

Pete nodded with sympathy, nevertheless kept up his probing gaze. The anger and bitterness he had seen yesterday in his friend seemed gone, but he had to be sure.

“MacGyver, what about…”

“Us?” MacGyver read his thoughts and cut Pete off. “Nikki told me, that you had no idea about what she had planned. It´s alright. I´m not mad at you anymore. Actually, I am sorry, that I overreacted in my shock… and my wounded pride.” He took a break and inhaled deeply. “Pete, we´re friends. You know how much I value true friendship. If you can accept my apology, we´re okay.”

Pete Thornton let out another deep sigh. The last of his tension left him.

“Thank God. Of course, I can.” He reached out with one hand and Mac took it, but then pulled Pete into a bear hug.

“Thanks, MacGyver.” Pete said as they parted again. “Listen, can I invite you to some restaurant… I haven´t had lunch yet… and maybe you´d like someone to talk to…”

Mac considered his offer momentarily but then shook his head with an apologetic smile.

“Not today. I need some time for myself after all this, Pete.” He placed a hand on his friend´s shoulder and squeezed briefly. “And Dr. Marrow ordered me to allow myself a few days of rest and recuperation when he discharged me from the hospital… three days ago. I haven´t had much of that so far… as you very well know.”

“Of course.” Pete agreed with a knowing and sympathetic expression. “Take all the time you need.” He could have guessed that MacGyver would want to be alone after all that he´d been through. It is quite normal for Mac to go into solitude after unsettling or emotionally challenging experiences. No reason to be worried, he told himself. Mac´s hand left his shoulder, and he turned to the driver´s side of his jeep.

“I´ve got a physical therapy session scheduled on Monday morning.” MacGyver told Pete as he approached the door. He opened it and looked back at his boss. “I guess, I´ll drop by at the Foundation afterward. I gotta catch up with Dr. Johnson regarding our environmental study at the beach anyway. How about if I take you up on that offer then?”

“Sounds good.” Pete´s smile was now back on. “My schedule for Monday isn´t all too tight.”

Mac was about to climb into the driver´s seat and wish Pete a nice weekend, when his friend suddenly remembered something important.

“Just a moment, Mac.” he asked quickly and hurried off to his sedan. “I´ve got something for you.”

MacGyver froze surprised behind the jeep´s door; only his eyes followed his friend with a frown. He raised an intrigued eyebrow when Pete returned with a small padded envelope and handed it to him.

“Since she didn´t expect you to turn up here… Nikki asked me to give you this… after she had left.”

His words trailed off as he saw a flash of pain cross MacGyver´s face while he eyed the envelope silently. It was plain. Nikki had only written Mac´s name on one side of it. Due to the padding, Mac couldn´t be sure what it contained, but he felt at least two items, not too big but heavy. He regained his composure and his questioning look found Pete´s eyes.

“I´ve got no idea what´s in it.” Pete added with an apologetic shrug. “She said, this is for you… personally.”

Mac´s gaze returned to the envelope in his hand, then he placed it on the passenger´s seat and turned to Pete again.

“Thanks, Pete. I´ll see you on Monday.” he smiled.

MacGyver slid into the driver´s seat as Pete waved his goodbye and headed toward his car. Mac shot the envelope a quick glance before he drove off. As curious as he might be about its content, he longed for the quietness of his houseboat to open it, have a look at, and deal with whatever Nikki had placed in there for him.

*****

His ride back took a little longer due to Friday afternoon traffic; it was already mid-afternoon when he parked his jeep at the marina. MacGyver dropped the envelope on the kitchen island together with his keys after he had closed the door behind himself. Then he shrugged out of his jacket and put it away on one of the coat hangers next to the door. With a deep sigh, he opened the refrigerator, filled up a glass with orange juice, downed half of it in one go, and then grabbed an apple. Since he´d only had his breakfast shake so far, he was hungry.

Should have better gone for lunch with Pete, he thought.

Then Nikki´s envelope caught his eye again and unintentionally he found himself imagining her on the plane. Mac straightened himself, shook his head to clear the image from it, and picked up the envelope. MacGyver walked over to his desk as he had noticed the red blinking light on his answering machine. He pressed the play button and continued his way to the couch while listening to the message.

He heard Penny Parker´s voice, excitedly bubbling and over the top as always. She talked about something concerning her 25th birthday – which was at the end of October – and some estate she was about to inherit on that date. Mac didn´t get all the details since she was talking really fast, but he got her asking him to accompany her to some small town on her birthday and have a look at the place.

MacGyver dropped onto his well-worn sofa and puffed out a breath. There were still more than two weeks to pass until Penny´s birthday. He decided it would be okay to call her back later. He had something more important to deal with before he could deal with Penny.

His eyes rested on the envelope in his hands. His pulse went up a little. Mac set down the apple and the glass on the coffee table and tore the envelope open. He let its contents slide onto the coffee table as well. A key, a letter, and a pebble. MacGyver recognized the key instantly. The spare key to his houseboat he had given to Nikki. The pebble had him guessing for a few moments. It was of light grey color but streaked with dark red lines. He couldn´t recall its significance or the meaning it might have to Nikki – or him.

Intrigued, MacGyver picked up the letter, leaned back on his couch and started reading. At first, her words dealt with what they had talked about at the airport. Since she hadn´t known if she´d get a chance to do it personally, she explained her motivations, apologized for hurting him, asked him not to be angry at Pete anymore. She called leaving him ‘one of the hardest choices of her life’. Although Mac already knew most of this, reading through those lines caused his heart to ache again.

Then Nikki thanked him for all the time they´d shared. She called it special and a wonderful experience. She was grateful for all the tenderness, the care and the love he´d given her. She was grateful because after Adam´s death she´d never thought she´d be able to feel love like this again. She told Mac he had filled the hole gaping in her heart since the loss of her husband. He had healed that part of her.

A pained smile crossed MacGyver´s as he took in her words. He could relate to those feelings all too well.

Next, Nikki turned to their last weekend up at Widow Canyon. She reminded him how she had taken a walk along the shore while he´d been out on the lake with the boat, catching their dinner. Pete had already returned to L.A. by then, Mac recalled. She told him about how she´d found the pebble along with a similar one during her walk and how she´d been fascinated by their partly red color. Those had been the only ones she´d discovered showing this particular red. Those two had instantly reminded her of the similar red color of Mac´s Swiss Army knife and therefore she had kept them.

She wrote, she´d included one of them with her letter to give him something that would always remind him of the awesome summer they´d had. She would keep the second one for herself. Her letter closed with promising him, she´d always be there for him, and wishing him goodbye.

MacGyver sat there frozen for several moments with the letter in his hands after he had finished reading. Then he leaned forward, dropped the letter on the coffee table and picked up the little stone instead. Resting his elbows on his knees, he weighed and turned the pebble in his hands while his thoughts started wandering. Yes, the reddish stripes are real close to the color of my Swiss Army knife.

He remembered returning to the pier behind the partly rebuilt cabin on that weekend. She had come back from her walk a small while after him. He´d already been preparing dinner by then. He didn´t recall her mentioning the stones or showing them to him at all. But he recalled very well holding her in his arms later that evening. He recalled the amazing night they´d spent together in the tent.

Slowly he got up with the pebble still in his hands and strode over to the fireplace. The photos on the mantelpiece caught his eye and after a moment of consideration, he placed the stone between them.

When he turned back to the room, a wave of memories and feelings flooded his mind.

Finding Nikki in his bed on the first night home, right after returning from Austria – because she´d been worried about him and wanted to watch over him. Waking up with her cuddled up to him on the next morning – and a lot more than cuddling a little later… The memory of her scent, the sensation of the softness of her skin and her hair… reminded him of all the time they had spent together during the summer and also of the deep trust they had managed to establish; the intimate bond that had united them.

Yep, she is right… it has been special, wonderful; I´d call it amazing, he thought. Part of me is missing her already. But the biggest part of me is grateful for the time we had. Hurt as it may at the moment, I´m feeling less heavy-hearted than before this summer. After all the sorrow and sadness I´ve been confronted with throughout the last one and a half years… This experience has healed me as well. Thanks, Nikki.

MacGyver sighed deeply and squared his shoulders for what felt like the umpteenth time today. He allowed his mind to delve into those memories for a couple of more minutes before his eyes caught on his black guitar case leaning against the bookshelf. He´d told Pete he needed time for himself, time to recuperate. What better way than to start like this?

MacGyver puffed out a breath, walked over to the shelf and bent down to open the case. With the guitar in his hands, he perched himself comfortably on his couch, checked and adjusted the tuning of his instrument, and then started to play.

***** THE END *****



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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 9 January 2022 - 02:44 PM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 610
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Bravo!! A very well-crafted chapter to end an excellently written story!! I wasn't sure how you were going to make their parting not be terrible, but you managed to! All the conversations between the characters were just wonderful and I love that you chose to have THEM choose to communicate and be honest with each other! You also left a glimmer of hope for a reunion (but we all know that doesn't happen, but it makes the ending not so bad!). I think the most important thing for the characters, as well as the readers, is how you stressed that, despite not ending up together, Mac and Nikki both got to experience emotions they thought they would never feel again and they actually felt "healed" by this. What you did with the pebbles was neat. A little "souvenir" of their time together for both of them! I also liked the message from Penny! LOL! If anyone can get Mac's mind off his own problems, it's Penny and HER problems!! Thank you for writing and sharing such a great story. I'll be here, ready to read, if you decide to write another one!!



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 January 2022 - 11:33 PM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 9 January 2022 - 11:44 PM)
Bravo!! A very well-crafted chapter to end an excellently written story!! I wasn't sure how you were going to make their parting not be terrible, but you managed to! All the conversations between the characters were just wonderful and I love that you chose to have THEM choose to communicate and be honest with each other! You also left a glimmer of hope for a reunion (but we all know that doesn't happen, but it makes the ending not so bad!). I think the most important thing for the characters, as well as the readers, is how you stressed that, despite not ending up together, Mac and Nikki both got to experience emotions they thought they would never feel again and they actually felt "healed" by this. What you did with the pebbles was neat. A little "souvenir" of their time together for both of them! I also liked the message from Penny! LOL! If anyone can get Mac's mind off his own problems, it's Penny and HER problems!! Thank you for writing and sharing such a great story. I'll be here, ready to read, if you decide to write another one!!

Excellently written... oh, wow...

Thank you so much for your encouragement and your applause to my work! Of course, you´ll be on board if I choose to take on the next challenge of turning a vague idea into a story!! You were a great help while I was working on this one! Thanks for your support!

But the same question goes out to you - any moment/scene that stands out for you in particular, that you especially liked?



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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 10 January 2022 - 11:41 AM                                    
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I tried to mention any stand-out moments/scenes as I reviewed each chapter. And I may change my mind if I read it again! I did forget to mention that I LOVED how you had Mac pulling out his guitar to finish off the story...definitely a favorite moment! I wish he would have done it more during the series!



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: 10 January 2022 - 12:43 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 10 January 2022 - 08:41 PM)
I tried to mention any stand-out moments/scenes as I reviewed each chapter. And I may change my mind if I read it again!

I know you did, and I enjoyed that fact while reading your feedback, but now, looking back over all the chapters? Is there any particular, special, favorite moment? hmm.bmp



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

 
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