Re: Point of no Return - A MacGyver FanFiction
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:18 pm
Hi, everybody! Time for the finale... Time to wrap the story up... Time for Mac and Pete to come home...
By the time MacGyver and Pete arrived at the marina, it was already late afternoon. Despite the comfortably padded leather seats of the sedan the drive hadn´t been too easy on MacGyver´s shoulder. The painkillers, the doc had given him before getting on the airplane, had worn off over the last hour. The throbbing had worsened with every mile of the way home. He was barely able to hide it from Pete when they got out of the car and walked down to the houseboat.
Pete carried Mac´s duffle bag and his briefcase again and opened the main door with his copy of the key. He dropped the bags just in front of the staircase and then turned to MacGyver.
“I know you´re not a big fan of medication…” he said, while he helped Mac shrug out of his jacket and put it away on one of the coat hangers next to the door. “But you look like you might want to take one of the pills, Dr. Thompson has prescribed you.”
Mac met his concerned look with a little forged surprise.
“So I´m not able to hide it as well as I thought?” he asked with a lopsided grin.
“It´s been a long day for you. You´re exhausted and you do feel some pain in your shoulder. Why don´t you sit down, get some rest and let me take care of everything else? Can you allow me to help you? At least a little bit?” Pete´s face stayed concerned, but his voice got soft to the end.
Mac rolled his eyes, pulled a weak grimace and thought about objecting. When Pete silently laid a hand on his shoulder, Mac only nodded and allowed Pete to lead him to his well-worn, but comfortable couch. He sat down with a relieved sigh.
“Now, you stay here and relax. I´ll be right back.” Pete advised. Then he retrieved the painkillers from the duffle bag, filled up a glass of water in the kitchen and set both down on the coffee table in front of MacGyver.
“Here you go.” Pete said while he sat down in the chair next to the couch.
Mac had been absently staring at his fixed glass doors, with no trace of duct tape or plastic foil visible anymore, but now turned to look at his friend.
“You´ve already had the doors repaired.” he stated.
“One week certainly was enough time for it.” Pete shrugged.
Mac shot the small tube with the pills in it a slightly disgusted look, but reluctantly picked it up after a moment. He shook one of the pills into his hand and swallowed it with a sip of the water. Pete seemed relieved.
“Do you need anything else?” Pete asked as he got up.
“Not at the moment.” Mac looked up with a tired smile. “Thanks, Pete.”
Pete nodded, straightened himself and gazed back to the kitchen.
“Then I´ll go and do some grocery shopping for you, as your refrigerator is almost empty.” he suggested. “Shall I get only your favorite basics or would you like something special?”
Mac´s face lightened up.
“If you could get me some fresh fruits on top of the basics…”
“Of course.” Pete promised and smiled back. “Can I really leave you alone for a while..? I´ll be back soon.”
“Sure… I won´t be going anywhere.” Mac rolled his eyes but kept smiling.
He leaned back and watched Pete leave and close the door. When he was alone, he let his gaze wander around the houseboat. The stack of manila folders on his desk was still there, as were the two small holes that the bullets had left in his floor and his desk. Even with the glass doors repaired, it was enough to remind him of how much had happened in the last two weeks, let alone the last four months.
Mac´s last words echoed in his mind: I won´t be going anywhere…
They triggered memories that took him back right to the beginning of everything and made him recall the whole ordeal. How he´d been kidnapped in the midst of his biking tour, how he´d been alone in that wooden cell, with no way out. All the physical pain and fear he had had to endure, along with the mental anguish when the fake Pete Thornton had turned up. He remembered the hopelessness and desperation he´d felt and the devastation when he´d thought he had killed Pete on his attempt to escape.
He recalled the sickening mixture of relief, panic, guilt and grief that had ruled him after Willis had found him and during his recovery underground, until that emotional shock when Pete and Willis had confronted him with the truth. The memories of nightmares and flashbacks resurfaced, as did the sudden panic that had made him freeze when he had faced his torturer again in order to save Willis. Mac recalled how hard it had been to fight himself out of that terror and the relief after taking down Chen with Pete´s help.
It drew his mind to his retreat, his withdrawal from everyone and his torn feelings towards Pete. He remembered how the mixture of determination, inside unease and conditioned fear had turned into anger against Pete that had mounted up until that heated argument and his escape from the safe house. Although he had apologized for his furious outburst after he´d saved Pete´s life and been wounded in the course of doing so, Mac still felt sorry for and guilty about it.
He had been lucky enough, that Pete had followed him after he had taken off on his own. Mac wasn´t so sure, if he´d survived the mission he had assigned himself to in his stubborn and hurt mood, if Pete and the DEA hadn´t backed him up. He had appreciated Pete´s comforting presence in the hospital. Most of their open and natural friendship had returned during that week. Pete had suddenly respected Mac´s wish to keep some feelings to himself. And Mac had been able to accept Pete´s wish to help him, even if he had to give up some of his self-reliance and independence for some time. He had to admit it felt good to know Pete at his side again.
With another look around his houseboat he sighed deeply. It was over. He had returned home alive.
Pete came back some while later with two bags filled with supplies and groceries in his arms.
“Hello, MacGyver!” he greeted when he entered the houseboat. “I´m back… It took a little longer, but I did get everything you might need.” Pete pushed the door closed with his elbow, but then froze as he didn´t get any answer.
“Mac?” he asked as he went to the kitchen and set the bags down on the kitchen island. Getting worried, seeing the duffle bag still on the ground, but no sign of its owner, Pete walked to the spiral staircase. Had he gone upstairs to rest in his bed? Pete was just about to go and check the bedroom when his glance got caught on the couch and he froze again. He hadn´t seen Mac sitting anymore, where he had left him, but on a second look he saw Mac lying stretched out on his side on that couch, sunken into the pillows and deeply asleep.
Pete couldn´t help but let out a relieved sigh, as he quietly closed in, observing his friend closely. MacGyver was still fully clothed; he had only taken off his shoes, which were standing beside the couch. Pete crouched down and pushed them under the coffee table, so Mac wouldn´t trip over them should he want to get up. Pete saw the regular rise and fall of Mac´s chest as he breathed calmly. His sleep seemed peaceful, yet Mac´s face was a little pale and showed lines etched by the exhaustion and strain of the last two weeks.
Careful not to disturb his friend Pete got up and reached for the blanket lying draped over the back-rest of the couch. Pete unfolded it and covered MacGyver´s sleeping form with it up to his shoulders, cautious not to wake him up. He was thankful to see his friend finally being able to relax and rest.
With a little smile Pete strode back to the kitchen and stowed away all the supplies in the refrigerator and the kitchen cupboards, still attentive not to make any unnecessary noise. When he was done, he picked up the duffle bag with a probing glance at Mac and went upstairs. Pete put Mac´s stuff back where it belonged and readied bed and bathroom for his friend, while he debated with himself mentally whether to let Mac continue his rest on the couch or wake him and persuade him to sleep in his much more comfortable bed.
By the time he was done, Pete had decided to prepare a small dinner for MacGyver, in order to try to get him to eat something, and then, hopefully, he would be willing to rest upstairs. Pete had sent the driver with the Phoenix sedan away when they had returned from their shopping tour. He would stay at the houseboat as long as Mac felt comfortable with it and then take a taxi home. At least that was Pete´s plan, when he descended down the stairs and went over to the kitchen.
He had hardly arrived at the kitchen island when he heard a faint moan from the couch. Pete turned at once and hurried over to his friend.
“Mac?” he asked, but saw MacGyver´s eyes still closed as he reached the couch.
The peaceful expression on Mac´s face was gone. He was restless now, his face marked with a mixture of anguish and fear. He was moving slightly, but it got more intense with every moment, that Pete watched him.
“Oh, no…” Pete muttered. “Not those nightmares again…”
He crouched down in front of the couch, unsure about what to do, when Mac started moaning once more in his sleep.
“No… Don´t do this… no… I can´t… Pete…”
It tore at Pete´s heart to see his best friend troubled like this, and the longer it lasted, the more worried he became that Mac might hurt his wounded shoulder by moving around so fiercely in his sleep. Pete swallowed hard and decided to wake MacGyver as gently as possible.
“MacGyver… listen to me!” he called out to his friend. “This is a dream… wake up!”
When he didn´t get any reaction Pete reached out and softly touched first Mac´s good hand and then his upper arm, cautious not to hurt or harm his injured shoulder.
“Mac, can you hear me..? Please, listen to me! Wake up!”
MacGyver´s sleeping mind was filled with pictures of the cartel´s base on the coast. He relived falling off the cliff into the icy cold Pacific Ocean, almost drowning and swimming to the small bay. His memories replayed how he had climbed up the slope, seen Pete and the DEA agents, and the moment when he had noticed the rifle aimed at Pete.
But from that moment on his dream turned into pure horror. He tried to call out to Pete but couldn´t; he tried to run as fast as he could but didn´t manage to get any closer to him. No matter how big his effort was, he couldn´t reach Pete in time to save him. He heard the distinctive sharp bang when the shot rang out and had to watch helpless how Pete got hit by the bullet in his chest, stumbled backwards and fell down a cliff.
MacGyver was unable to do anything about it. After what seemed endless he reached the edge of the cliff, looked down and saw Pete lying there, unmistakably dead.
He flinched, as he felt someone touch his hand and then hold on to him. Mac heard a familiar voice cut through the terrifying pictures that occupied his mind. As sudden recognition struck him, he bolted upwards out of his sleep; his eyes wide open with shock. It took a few seconds for him to identify Pete´s worried face opposite to him and realize that he had been dreaming.
The next thing MacGyver felt wasn´t relief, but a red-hot pain shooting through his shoulder when his scapula protested wildly against the abrupt action. Mac gasped in agony, had to close his eyes again, and dropped back onto the couch with a sudden vertigo. He curled up a little, felt for his sore shoulder with his good hand and tried to push back the pain. Then he felt Pete touch him once more, holding him, preventing him from rolling off the couch.
“It was only a bad dream.” Pete said softly. “I didn´t want to startle you… I´m sorry.”
MacGyver took one deep breath after another and nodded silently while the hurt and the dizziness slowly diminished. It lasted several moments until he had calmed down and was able to straighten himself a bit. He turned his head, opened his eyes and looked up at Pete.
“It´s okay, Pete.” he replied. “It´s better than leaving me alone with this nightmare.”
Pete´s concern was back on top.
“Is your shoulder all right?”
“Yeah.” Mac sighed. “It´s just disapproving the sudden movement.” A teasing smile played around his lips.
Slowly Pete let go of his hold on MacGyver and backed off a little. He watched his friend probingly while Mac pushed himself up and swung his long legs off the couch, until he was sitting upright again. When he sensed that Mac was steady and calm, Pete got up and sat down in the chair next to the couch.
“I knew it. It was a bad idea.” Pete said a bit upset after a few silent seconds.
MacGyver had just run his hand through his disheveled hair and over his face, but now raised his eyebrows questioning.
“What was a bad idea?” he echoed.
“That visit to Chen. It brought your nightmares back. You could have hurt yourself.” Pete snorted.
Still a little caught up with the terrifying pictures Mac was surprised by Pete´s harsh answer and held his breath for a moment. In the second he thought about how he might be able to counter it, he heard Pete pull back.
“I´m sorry, MacGyver. I shouldn´t have said that.” he apologized. “It was your choice.”
Mac gazed over to Pete, still thinking about how he could assure his friend, that he was really all right, when Pete stood up.
“Listen, now that you´re awake again… what do you think… I´ll fix you some dinner, then help you get settled upstairs and leave you alone to rest?” Pete asked quickly, turned and went to the kitchen. “I can look after you tomorrow morning, if you want me to…”
Mac looked after him still silent and caught off guard by the sudden change of topic. He felt an abrupt distance to his friend. He had felt that distance once in a while during his week in the hospital, but had blamed it to the hospital setting. Sensing Pete withdraw from him now left Mac worried as he could clearly see, that something was eating at his friend. Something else than just his physical well-being. As he watched Pete open the refrigerator, everything fell into place in his mind. Realization came at once.
Almost all the time since his rescue out of that mountain camp he had kept his experience to himself, had kept his true feelings to himself. He had never talked openly to Pete about it, had shut his closest friend out, although Pete had promised to be there and never give up on him. Pete had grown the more protective the more he had felt MacGyver withdraw from him, out of worry. It had fueled both their determination until that darn argument a little more than a week ago.
They had both apologized to each other, the torn feelings Mac had had towards his friend were gone, but now Pete was withdrawing. Most possibly because he was afraid of making the same mistake of being overprotective again. Mac sighed. That ordeal they had been forced to undergo, was still standing between them. Even if they had vowed that no one from the outside would be able to ruin their friendship, the inside still could. The experience was putting their relationship to a tough test.
MacGyver all of a sudden knew he had to act if he wanted to prevent their bond from being weakened even further. He knew what he had to do if he wanted his and Pete´s friendship to be restored or even strengthened with what they had gone through. No matter how hard, painful or unsettling it would be. It was time to talk about it. It was time to open up. He knew he could trust Pete not to judge him for his feelings. It was time to stop hiding them from him. He wasn´t willing to risk the year-long relationship to his closest friend.
MacGyver took a deep breath and steeled himself mentally for what he was about to do, while he still watched Pete rummaging around in the kitchen.
“That bad dream didn´t have a connection to the torture, Pete.” he said with a low but firm voice.
Pete froze at the sound of Mac´s words and then turned to look at him.
“It made me relive, how Chen´s brother had aimed at you.” Mac continued. “But this time I couldn´t reach you. I couldn´t save you. I had to watch you dying… That´s what frightened me.”
Pete´s serious face lightened up a bit.
“Well, obviously, in real life, you did save me.” He tried to ease up the tense atmosphere.
Mac smiled at him briefly, but then his face turned dark and his eyes grew haunted. He tore his gaze off Pete and stared across the coffee table into some unknown distance.
“Most of the other nightmares are connected to the torture.” he said with the same low voice as before. “When I first woke up in that cell up in that mountain camp, I had no idea where I was or who had taken me captive. Neither had I any idea of what would be coming my way. I thought, I´d be out of there and back home in no time. After the first round of beating, before I even knew what that drug would do to me, I clung on to the thought that you´d be coming to my rescue. I was sure of that.”
Pete had walked around the kitchen island and towards Mac during those sentences. He was close to the couch when he cut in.
“Mac, stop it, please. You´ve had a long, exhausting day… We´ll talk about it tomorrow, when you´re rested.”
Mac shook his head and looked up at Pete. He could see the worry in Pete´s eyes as well as Pete saw the mixture of fear, pain and determination in Mac´s eyes.
“No.” Mac replied quietly. “I am not willing to burden our friendship for another day. Sit down.” He gestured to the chair next to the couch.
Pete didn´t move but looked doubtfully.
“There is no burden to our friendship…” he started to object, but was cut off by Mac´s still calm answer.
“Yes, there is.” MacGyver took a deep breath. “I´ve been hiding my thoughts and feelings from everybody, even myself. I redirected my anger at you. You were trying to protect me until your worries took over. We may have apologized to one another after that argument we got ourselves into, but I´m still keeping my feelings to myself… and now you´re withdrawing from me, because you´re anxious to respect my limits.”
Mac´s brown eyes met Pete´s again. He saw, how troubled and torn Pete´s expression was. Pete didn´t say a word. MacGyver sighed deeply.
“Pete, please, sit down. This isn´t going to be easy for me, but I need to share this with you.” he continued. “We need to talk about all of it. We haven´t done it yet. I don´t want this terrible experience to tear us apart. I can´t bear it any longer.”
Pete´s expression hadn´t changed during Mac´s plead.
“It isn´t going to be easy for me either…” he answered slowly.
“I know.” Mac nodded. “Would you rather go on like this?”
“No.” Pete sighed and shook his head. He sat down and concentrated on his friend. “Go ahead… I´m here.”
Their eyes met briefly, before MacGyver´s gaze again wandered away to something only he could see. He took a deep breath and continued to relate.
“A few hours later I knew what to expect from that drug. It made me hallucinate, it caused excruciating pain, and it blurred my eyesight. Although I was given some food and allowed to freshen up between the rounds of torture, after a few days I thought I was at the limit of my physical strength. That was when I tried to lie myself out of it, or to buy me some time. I was scared, I wouldn´t be able to take any more of it.”
Mac leaned back on his couch and took a small pause.
“I refused to believe it was you, when that double turned up. I thought the drug had caused a horrifying hallucination. But he was well-trained and they had me deceived real soon. I felt shattered, when I thought you were accusing me of betraying everything we believe in. I got more and more desperate with every day. I didn´t even know how much days had passed. At some point, after that double had pushed me over the edge of the cliff, I really thought you were willing to kill me.”
Mac´s stomach turned at the memory of this situation, a lump formed in his throat.
“Everything our friendship had meant over the years was gone…”
His voice was hoarse as he managed to carry on.
“I was helpless, I was hopeless, I was willing to end this terror any way.”
Pete´s face had turned from troubled and worried to shocked about what Mac had just shared with him. He opened his mouth to console his friend, but Mac noticed it and raised a hand to keep him quiet.
“I realized quite soon, that ‘you’ were following me, when I managed to escape. Somehow I knew I would have to fight for my life, but ‘your’ hands around my neck, strangulating me, were a shock. I barely survived this fight. At the cost of ‘your’ life. I didn´t know how to continue. The guilt and grief were overwhelming. When I saw you close to that dead double I wasn´t thinking straight anymore. I was in panic. I don´t know what would have happened if you hadn´t brought Willis along.”
MacGyver slowly got up and walked towards the glass doors. He saw a mixture of sympathy and concern on Pete´s face before he turned to look outside.
“It scared the hell out of me when I first woke up in that underground infirmary.” Mac continued with a husky voice. “Not knowing, what was going on behind the scenes, I decided to keep everything to myself. My world had been destroyed. I didn´t know whom to trust anymore. I was mourning your death, I was terrified after what I had endured, I felt guilty because I had killed you… And I was ashamed that I hadn´t found another way out, that I hadn´t found any way out.”
Mac had to cover his eyes with his hand for a moment to fight back the stinging tears that welled up with the memory of those days. He heard Pete moving uncomfortably in his chair.
“Even after Willis and you had confronted me with the truth, that shame made me keep up my façade.” MacGyver told him while slowly turning around to face him. “It made me hide everything, even when most of the guilt was gone with knowing that you were still alive. I wasn´t willing to accept, that they had been able to program me to be afraid of you. I also started hiding from myself. Arresting Chen took away a lot of the pressure, but it couldn´t take away the memories and emotions. I know you promised to help me, but I couldn´t cope with your presence soon after it. That´s why I fled up to your cabin. I thought I had to help myself first. I thought I could do that by getting back on the case when I returned.”
Mac sighed, turned back to the doors and let his eyes wander into the distance.
“But I was hurt soon. It felt like you were holding me back, supervising me, not trusting me anymore.” he carried on with a hoarse voice. “I was angry at those men, but I turned my anger against you… I thought I was in control of my memories and emotions by then, but I was so wrong… Pete, I broke down after our argument.”
MacGyver took a small pause before he continued.
“Everything I had repressed so consequently swept over me, forcing me to acknowledge it. It cleared my mind and fueled my determination. I had to take off on my own to prove to myself that I was still able to do my job… yet somehow I knew you would be coming after me. I admit, seeing you and the DEA arriving was a relief.”
Mac took a deep breath.
“It was only when I noticed Chen aiming at you that I remembered and realized how much you and our friendship really mean to me. I´d risk my life for yours any time again. I´m sorry, that I set our friendship at risk.”
He hung his head as a tense silence filled the houseboat for moments. Then Mac heard Pete get out of his chair.
“You´ve got nothing to be sorry for.” Pete answered as calm as possible. “I wasn´t as helpful as I could have been.”
“How could you, I didn´t allow you to…” Mac replied bitter and a little too loud when he turned back to face Pete. “You´ve tried your best and I hurt you for it… That doesn´t make coping with the guilt and the shame any easier.”
Pete flinched at the unexpected fierce reaction, even though he knew it wasn´t directed at him. Mac was still angry and hurt, but with himself, he realized.
“What guilt, what shame?” Pete asked back firmly. “You´re talking, as if you asked those men to capture and brutalize you!”
MacGyver held Pete´s gaze silent. Pete saw a shiver running through him. Slowly, carefully Pete went over to his friend and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. He was relieved when Mac didn´t pull back from his touch.
“MacGyver, please, stop blaming yourself.” Pete tried to counsel with a soothing voice. “The terror you had to go through, wasn´t your fault and it wasn´t your choice. You could as well blame me for not finding you earlier. I still feel guilty for that.”
“At least you did find me…” Mac answered barely audible. “But I´m the one known to come up with a solution to every situation, and I couldn´t… and I did choose how to deal with this. I shut the person closest to me out of it… I should have known better.”
“How could you?” Pete sighed. “We´ve never been through anything like it before.”
Mac remained silent but stepped back and turned away.
“Mac, I´ve seen you overcome the fear today. Now let me help you overcome the rest.” Pete said. He felt a sting to his heart as he watched the pain and sorrow his friend was still going through. How could he be so stubborn, even in his self-torture and self-deceit?
MacGyver stared out over the marina and didn´t react.
“You just took quite an effort to explain everything to me.” Pete told him, trying to console him. “I appreciate that… When I was anxious to respect your limits over the last week, then not because I was hurt, but because our argument made me remember how much you value your independence. I never wanted to withdraw from you.”
He paused for a moment, but still got no answer. Pete took a deep breath and continued.
“MacGyver, there´s no other person like you in the world. You are special. I treasure our friendship. I haven´t lost any of my respect or trust in you. Please, believe me when I tell you there´s no reason for you to feel guilty or ashamed. You saved my life, after all! … You told Chen today, that you´ve come back stronger. Now prove it… I´ve known you for such a long time. I know, you can do it. Return to trusting yourself, return to me, to our friendship… Please.”
It took a few moments until MacGyver slowly turned around to face Pete. Pete´s emotional appeal had touched him deep inside. He had known in advance, that opening up to his best friend wouldn´t be easy. He hadn´t expected the emotions that had returned to be that intense. He could see how moved Pete was when Mac dared to look at him. Pete still saw pain and a certain shyness in MacGyver´s eyes, when he held out his hand to him. Mac didn´t take it at first.
“Pete, I don´t…” he started out, but Pete cut him off.
“Shh.” he said firm but soothing. “Let go of those feelings. Stop hiding. Stop running away. It´s me, Mac… We are friends, right?”
MacGyver had to swallow hard.
“Right.” he confirmed hoarsely.
Slowly he took Pete´s hand, felt a wave of relief wash over him and his last tormenting emotions leave him. He sensed how Pete softly, mindful of his injuries pulled him into an embrace and gave in. MacGyver allowed himself to be comforted, and also felt Pete relax with being able to let go of his worries. Mac buried his face in the fabric of Pete´s jacket as the burden of guilt and shame released their grip on his heart and soul. With Pete´s aid he had not only solved the puzzle behind his captivity and torture, but he had also picked up his own pieces along the way. Where duct tape and paperclips couldn´t fix the problem, the ever reliable support of his closest friend had helped him fix himself.
“Thanks, Pete.” he said after a moment, while they were still holding on to each other.
Now he knew he had returned home. Now it felt like home. Finally.
***** The end *****
Thanks for reading along, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really, really appreciate your feedback.
If anyone is interested, I can provide you with a pdf of the whole story, if you´ll PM me with your email address.