GDOs and Past Pains
Disclaimer: Neither Stargate: SG-1 nor MacGyver belongs to me. No infringement intended.
Spoilers: None that I specifically remember.
Summary: Well, how would you react if you end up in a very familiar garage…that no longer exists and hasn't for the past couple of decades? Jack is confronted with a difficult decision: to cause destruction, pain, and heartache, or change the course of time. (Started as crackfic in response to a LOLMac, but it took on a life of its own.)
A/N: All credit (or blame :)) for inspiring this no-longer-crackfic goes to Beth (MacBedh). You see, she provides LOLMac's on a regular basis, and this time my mind ran away with the LOLMac 'LOLGarageDoor'. (Not familiar with them? Check them out on LiveJournal!) Anyway, this story started as a one-sentence comment, developed into a crackfic, which then took on a life of its own. I just rolled with it, and here we are.
Finished: April 15, 2014
Time travel, intended or unintended, was becoming almost normal for SG-1. Rather unexpected however was Colonel O'Neill's reaction to the slightly dark location where they had landed. The moment he took in his surroundings, he froze for a second, and his eyes widened. His jaw fell slightly open, and he took off his sunglasses.
Meanwhile, Major Carter had taken a look around as well and, deciding they were safe for now, she spoke up. "All clear. Looks like we've landed in someone's garage, Sir." She went to inspect the gate they had come through. It was a rather small for a Stargate, and strangely enough, from what she could see with her flashlight, it looked rather... amateurish.
Jack seemingly ignored her as he slowly moved forward and found the light switch with surprising ease. The light flickered on, and Carter's earlier assumption was proven correct. They definitely were in someone's garage.
"Uhm, Jack?" Daniel asked, a bit unnerved by the unusual silence of his friend. "You ok?"
"Hmm? Oh, yeah, fine. Just fine," their commander replied slowly, while his eyes seemed to drink in every detail of the messy garage.
"You do not appear to be 'just fine', O'Neill," Teal'c observed, eyebrow rising.
Again, Jack just ignored it. He picked up a newspaper from the workbench, and looked at the front page. "We've gone back to nineteen seventy-" His voice trailed off. A look of realization, followed by a quick, unerring glance at a clock. Suddenly he jumped into action, muttering unintelligible things under his breath. "...all this time…he actually...foolish...of course of all people…should have caught on..."
His team seemed frozen in place as the Colonel moved around with intent. He opened a certain closet, fiddled with something, went to the other side of the garage to a work bench, where he wrenched open a drawer with all the ease of someone he knew exactly where the drawer would get a little stuck, took something out, bumped it shut again, crouched down near the base of the 'gate', and fiddled some more.
"Jack? Do you uh, do you need some help?" Daniel couldn't decide on whether he meant a helping hand or more professional help. It seemed odd to see Jack moving around with such purpose – without a gun in his hand that is. Of course, every SG-team had been trained to do basic repairs to the gate. Nevertheless, Jack would usually just get Sam to do it.
A distracted reply came back. "Look around and see if you can find me a paperclip or two."
"Right. Paperclips. On it." The sarcasm was clear in the archaeologist's voice, and for the first time since their arrival here, one of the members of SG-1 received the full attention of their leader, in the form of a pointed glare.
"I'm serious, Daniel. No time for dillydallying," he paused to look at his watch, "because we need to get out of here and fast. Carter, finish preparing the gate for manual dialling out."
"But Sir, we don't know if there will be a solar flare in time…" Carter started protesting.
Teal'c tilted his head slightly to inspect his brother's expression, and then nodded. He did not understand what was going on, but O'Neill certainly seemed to, and if he said speed was of the essence, he would not question it. "Do you know a likely location for these paperclips, O'Neill?"
Jack sent him a look of gratitude, even as his other team members continued spluttering and protesting. "Thanks T, check the lower drawer of the work bench. Enough, Carter, Daniel. No time for explanations now, but I know there'll be a flare very soon, so get moving! Carter, come here and connect these wires. Daniel, there should be some duct tape in that box next to you. Find it."
The sense of urgency finally got through to the scientist and archaeologist, and they both shelved their curiosity for now, although they resolved to get to the bottom of the situation once they were back home. 'If they could get home,' Carter thought sceptically, but she followed orders nonetheless.
As he fiddled around with the paperclips and duct tape, Jack gave further instructions for Carter to rewire some stuff connected to the gate, ordering Daniel to find some more odds and ends. Carter meanwhile had a suspicion about all the rewiring, which was confirmed when her CO took some C4 from his pack.
"Sir, are you sure?" she asked. The Colonel met her gaze. "We'll make it as contained an explosion as possible while still destructing this gate. Now..." His eyes were once again drawn to the clock, and he took a deep breath. Almost involuntarily, he looked at the door that connected to the house, and he had to suppress a wave of longing. 'Nobody's home anyway,' he rebuked himself in his thoughts. 'Although...'
"Start manually dialling the gate, Carter. I'll be right back."
With those words, he hurried through the connecting door, leaving behind a bewildered team. Nonetheless, they started the process of manually dialling out. It shouldn't be possible, establishing a wormhole from this gate that was held together by deformed cutlery and...shoe laces? Nevertheless, they had arrived here through that gate, and they would be leaving through it as well. Just as the sixth chevron locked, Jack returned.
"Alright, when the wormhole is established, Carter, you go through first, Daniel, you're next, then Teal'c. While you're going through, I'll set up the C4, and come after you. Keep it open from your end till I arrive, and have the gate closed as soon as I get through."
"Why couldn't you set up the C4 before we dialled the gate?" Daniel asked. It was Carter who answered. "Can't risk the C4 going off with the force of the wormhole establishing."
Jack nodded. Then the 7th chevron locked, and the wormhole established with its usual splash. Daniel punched in the code on his GDO. Strangely enough, even though he received confirmation as usual that they could come through, the GDO's signal had an unexpected side effect... the garage door that was behind them started whirring and slowly opened up. Jack rolled his eyes. Of course. He wasted no time ordering his team through while he quickly set up the C4.
He hated the conflicting emotions that came with it, knowing the pain it would cause, but he knew he couldn't let this...'MacGyvered gate' stay in existence. Too many things would be changed. The C4 set up, timer set, he turned around, holding the GDO in one hand, and with the other hand he pulled his cap low to hide his face as much as possible. The garage door was now completely opened, and he saw a familiar figure of a man approaching. The timing would have to be just right. Calculations ran through his head as he hit the button on his GDO, and the garage door started whirring again.
The man yelled out indignantly, "Hey, what do you think you're doing?!" He came running towards him. Jack threw the fast approaching man a sloppy salute. The garage door closed, and Jack heard the resounding thud of a body hitting the door. He winced, but forced himself to move to the gate. Just before he stepped through, he glanced around, his gaze ending at the closed garage door. "Bye, Mac."
When he stepped through the gate on the other side, he barked, "Close the gate!"
The snap behind him informed him that his orders were heeded. Letting out a sigh, Jack pulled off his cap and drew a weary hand down his face. That had been one time travel experience he had never expected…although in hindsight, it was all very clear. And here he'd always thought his brother had gone completely bonkers all those years ago. Not that he'd ever been completely sane of course… then again, none of them were.
With a wry grin, Jack opened his eyes and found himself looking into the curious and slightly anxious faces of his CO and team members. "Sir," he said, when he stood before General Hammond, "we have just made an amazing discovery."
Hammond raised his eyebrows in question. "Well, let's hear it then, Colonel."
"GDO really does stand for Garage Door Opener."
A young MacGyver had been walking home, and was nearly there when he noticed the lights inside the garage were on. He frowned. Had he forgotten to turn them off when he'd left earlier? Then a blinding light flashed from the windows and underneath the garage door. It was immediately replaced by some strange glow. Mac stopped in his tracks, not sure he believed what he was seeing. Unaware of how long he'd stood there, his curiosity got the better of him, and he started to slowly move forward. Then the garage door opened, and as he came closer and the garage door opened completely, he could see the outline of a figure, a man. His features were covered in shadows, making it impossible to identify the man. The glow behind the man was more intense now that the door had opened completely, but with all the boxes, materials, and shelves, Mac couldn't quite see where it came from. Perhaps he should clean up some after all…
Now, what was that stranger doing in their garage? Anger coursed through him, and he yelled out indignantly, "Hey, what do you think you're doing?!"
The stranger gave a sloppy salute as the garage door was closing again. Mac began to run towards the garage, hoping to dive inside before it closed completely. Unfortunately, he was too late, and he hit the garage door with a resounding thud, head first. The glow disappeared, and Mac reached for his head. That had hurt. He blinked, trying to clear his vision. Then there was the sound of an explosion, and Mac instinctively rolled away from the garage door.
He looked around, and gazed blearily at the garage. Unable to really grasp what had just happened, he slowly started to sit up. His ears were ringing, but just then familiar hands grabbed at him. He couldn't hear anything yet, but slowly his eyes focused on the face of his brother.
"I'm ok," he muttered. "'m fine."
His brother seemed unconvinced, and if Mac were completely honest, he would be too if their roles were reversed. Neighbours started to gather, and sirens were approaching.
"I'm ok, really," he said again, once he thought he could vaguely hear something again. He wondered what the stranger had been doing in their house. Unaware of his movements, he tried to stand up to go inside and see if he could figure out what had happened. His brother's hands kept him seated though.
Suddenly Mac remembered something, and his eyes widened. "The drawing. The drawing of the ring. It was in the garage!"
His brother gave him a strange look. "What?"
"The drawing of the artefact. You know, the one I tried to build."
"Oh right." Clearly his brother did not remember. He'd never been interested in the old documents that Mac loved, and Mac had made sure to cover up his project, for fear of being made fun of. Still, his brother seemed sincere when he added, "Sorry Mac, don't think that piece of paper survived…that." His brother waved towards the destruction. Following his look, Mac swallowed. Right. That didn't look good. It only just now dawned on him just how damaged the house was. His eyes widened. "Will we be able to go get our things?"
His brother didn't reply, but the tightening of his expression said it all. He doubted they'd be able to salvage much of importance… Mac didn't care much for furniture or other things, but… "The pictures…" he whispered. His brother closed his eyes, and the hand on Mac's shoulder tightened. "I know," Jack replied, his voice clearly conveying the emotions that his closed eyelids hid.
His phone rang, and Mac picked it up, squishing it between his head and his shoulder as he continued to rapidly type strings of code. "MacGyver," he said in greeting, focus still on the screen in front of him.
"…Quit typing, or I'll come and cover your computer screen with duct tape," a rough voice grumbled. Mac quirked an eyebrow, and just for the sake of making a point, kept typing.
"Jack, what's up?" he asked. There was a pause where his brother took notice of the continuing tapping of keys, and Mac was awarded with an annoyed huff.
"Wanna go fishing sometime soon?"
"Sure, your cabin?" Hmmm, that code should have been shorter…where was the redundant part…
"Actually, was thinking a bit closer to home."
Mac frowned, partly at the code, partly at his brother. "Didn't know you had a pond in your back yard in Colorado Springs."
"Wrong home," his brother added cryptically, before adding, "I warned you!"
Catching on just a touch too late, Mac whirled around in his chair as his brother entered his houseboat. Immediately, he stood protectively in front of his computer. The roll of duct tape in his brother's hand merely emphasized that the threat was real.
"You could have just said 'hi' like any normal person," Mac countered. Jack paused, tilting his head. "I suppose you're right…"
They continued to stare at each other for a while. Then Jack threw his hands up in surrender. "Alright already, it's been too long since we last saw each other." He rolled his eyes, and put the duct tape back in his duffel bag.
Mac smirked, relaxing his stance. "Well, whose fault is that?"
Jack huffed, and muttered something under his breath, but when he turned back to his brother, Mac could see the genuine affection and longing in his eyes. And now that he looked more carefully, also a distinct weariness. "You work too hard," Mac grumbled. "Beer?"
Jack nodded, turning to sit on the couch. The events from three weeks ago hadn't left him alone. He'd known he would have to deal with a whole lot of emotions first before he could face his brother without blowing the secret of Cheyenne Mountain. That had been…unpleasant.
A cold beer being dangled in front of his face interrupted his thoughts. "Thanks," he acknowledged, accepting the bottle. Mac sat down across from him with his own beverage.
"So… why are you here?" Mac asked after a short silence.
"Remember when the garage exploded?" Jack asked. Mac blinked in surprise.
"Yes, of course." Jack had been in the Air Force, but while he was on leave, he was living home with Mac again. Mac had had several projects and experiments he'd been working on in the garage. One of them had been rather special, and Mac's archaeological heart still ached for the loss of that strange document with the odd drawing. He had tried to create a three-dimensional model of it, but he'd had to improvise heavily. All had been lost in the explosion. And though he'd tried, he hadn't been able to replicate it from memory. And of course, it was rather overshadowed by the fact that they had lost pretty much every tangible memorabilia they'd had of their deceased parents. In particular the few photos they had. The fire brigade had managed to salvage a few odds and ends, but none of those held any special memories for the brothers.
Mac winced. Why was Jack bringing this up? The explosion had happened under suspicious circumstances… had something come up after all those years? While his memories of what had happened just before the explosion had seemed very real to him, he had to admit that they seemed a bit far-fetched… and he had had a pretty bad concussion. In the end, he had decided that his concussed mind had played a trick on him. Maybe now they'd finally figured out what had caused the explosion? No, that would also be weird. It had happened years ago, and the police were busy enough trying to solve current cases.
Jack had been studying his brother's face, watched as the emotions were clearly displayed. Well, for him at least.
When his brother had claimed all those years ago, that a strange man had been inside the garage, one who had saluted Mac before the garage door closed and an explosion had caused severe damage on the interior of the house, Jack had been doubtful. His brother had had a pretty bad concussion, and his claims that he'd gotten the concussion before the explosion rather than because of it, had not exactly helped the credibility of his story. Of course there had been an investigation, but there had been no remains of a human body in there. And if Mac had been even somewhat right, there was no way someone could have escaped that explosion. So he had grudgingly concluded that Mac's concussion was to blame for the unbelievable story. The exact cause of the explosion had remained a mystery.
And now here he was, all these years later, with the fresh knowledge that Mac had been completely and utterly right. And with the unexpected and almost cruel twist that he, Jack himself, had been responsible for his brother's concussion, for destroying those precious memorabilia, and for the pain that loss had brought over the years. Not a picture of their parents left. Luckily Harry had still had some old pictures of their mother when she was young. But that was it.
No, Jack corrected himself, that used to be it. He shook off the melancholy mood, and smiled. The smile took his brother by surprise.
"What?" Mac asked suspiciously.
Jack knew he'd have to twist the truth, but he hoped the surprise would be enough to ward off any suspicions.
"Well, you know how we thought all the photographs were gone?"
Mac's wince turned quickly into an angry frown. Had to be angry, because otherwise that tiny sliver of hope would cut through, and he couldn't bear the thought of having that hope crushed. Angry it was then. "Don't be cruel, Jack."
Jack gave him a knowing look, and cut to the chase. "Not all of them. Found some."
A strangled whisper escaped Mac. "Jack, please…" he begged, not sure for what exactly.
"I was at my cabin, just flipping through some of Grandpa O'Neill's old books… I guess Mom had had a few photographs ordered double." As he spoke, he carefully withdrew the two photographs he'd salvaged while his team had dialled the gate.
Mac hardly dared to breathe. Two pictures.
One of them a wedding picture of their Mom and their biological father, John O'Neill. Their father had died when his sons were very young, killed in a bank robbery gone wrong. He'd died protecting his family.
The second picture was of the two brothers, their mother, and their stepfather, James MacGyver. It had been taken the summer before Celia Jackson and James had died in the car accident.
Mac stared at them in awe, his fingers hovering just over the pictures.
"I ehm, I already had them professionally copied and reprinted… several prints." Jack shrugged self-consciously. "You can keep these… if you like."
"You sure?" Mac asked, a quick look at his brother, who nodded, then quickly returning to look at the pictures. Finally he dared to touch them. Real. They were real. Joy bubbled up, and his eyes shone when he regarded his brother. "They're real!"
Jack grinned and nodded. "Worth tearing your attention from those squiggly lines of code then?"
Mac pulled a face, but he couldn't form a witty retort. It had been so long since either of them had seen a picture of their parents. Mac regarded his brother. "How about we both keep one original, and a copy of the other?" he offered. Jack raised one eyebrow. Then he nodded, his own spirits lifting as well. Mac's joy was infectious.
Jack cleared his throat. "So…Fishing then?"
Mac chuckled. "Yeah sure ya betcha."
It was the end of the weekend when Jack left his brother's floating home to return back to duty the next day. The two brothers looked at each other for a moment, eyes taking in as much as they could, to remember until they next saw each other again.
Then Mac spoke up. "Thank you."
Jack shrugged. "Yeah, well, right back atcha."
They grinned, and after a brotherly hug, Jack left.
Mac went back inside, still in a good mood. He looked over at the – now framed -pictures, and smiled. Then something caught his eye, and he groaned.
His computer screen was completely covered in duct tape, a message written across in black marker. "Warned ya."
Jack chuckled, and quickly escaped. Served him right. Just because he'd been asked to have a look at some weird language written on a ring of stone, had not meant he had had to try and replicate that ring in the garage of their home back then. Which reminded him… he'd have to call Catherine and figure out why she had thought it a good idea to send such a drawing to a young MacGyver. And what he really wanted to know was… had his brother unknowingly contributed to the Stargate project? Not that it really mattered, he supposed. Although now he wondered… had Catherine known that Jack and Mac were brothers when Jack joined the Stargate project? Yes, he definitely had a call to make.
First things first though… As he made his way home, he started weighing the pros and cons of smuggling a GDO off base to see if it would open his garage door too…