He'd had it, he needed a vacation, no two ways about it. MacGyver tossed his keys on the counter and his duffel on the floor as he entered the boathouse. He started to shrug out of his jacket as he hit the play button on the answering machine.
"You have three messages." It said as he tossed the jacket on the couch and sat to listen.
"Message one: Hey Mac, Jack here..." Mac groaned and slid further down in his seat, "...Gonna be in town next week, I'll look ya up. Later amigo!"
"Great..." Mac muttered as the machine moved to the next message.
"Message two: "Hey MacGyver, It's me Penny...boy your never home. I'm settled into my new place give me a call when you get the chance! Bye."
Mac sighed, Penny Parker...never a dull moment.
"Message three: "Mac, It's Pete...give me a call or come to the office when you get in. I know that last assignment ended roughly I want to know your alright and I need to talk to you anyway, so give me a call when you get in."
"Great." Mac sighed as he rubbed wearily at his eyes. He didn't feel up to driving anywhere at the moment so he settled for the phone. He picked up the cordless and started to dial Pete's office number. It was answered on the second ring, "Hello."
"Hey Pete, you wanted to talk to me?" Mac said.
"MacGyver! Your home...glad your in one piece, I heard it wasn't as easy as it should have been."
"No, it wasn't. Look Pete I'm glad you asked me to call I have a favor to ask."
"Name it." Pete said.
"A vacation, at least a month. I'm wasted Pete. It's been a year or more since my last one and all I want is some down time."
"That's fine and understandable...I'll get some of the others to pick up the current caseload..."
"Good. Now, you had something you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Actually just something you had mentioned a while back that you asked to be notified of the next time I heard anything about it."
"And that is?" Mac prompted.
"Jenna." Pete answered quietly.
Jenna Macleod had been a fellow agent and a floater for the FBI that Mac had worked with about eight months before. They'd gotten close....very close, and when the case had ended Mac had wanted to see where the relationship might have lead to. Jenna had shied away and taken another case almost as fast as she could. He'd wanted to know when she next turned up...he wanted to see her, work out whatever the problem had been, he'd discovered to his own surprise more then anyone else's how very much he cared for her. "Where is she Pete?" He heard himself ask.
"That's the funny part, you remember her boss Adam Mackenzie? He called me, said that she had just returned from an assignment and needed a quiet place to stay for a while. He said that she had actually mentioned that she knew I had a cabin up in the mountains. He asked if she could stay there for a few weeks, I said sure. I asked how she was but he apologized and wouldn't give me any details said she'd asked him not to. She knows I'd probably mention it to you..." Pete trailed off. He knew Mac had been hurt when Jenna had practically fled.
"It's ok Pete. Did he mention when she'd be there?"
He heard Pete clear his throat, "Mac...maybe you should let her come to you."
"Pete." The warning in his tone was clear as he said his friends' name.
"Yeah, she's there now, will be for the next two or three weeks. Your going aren't you?" he asked.
"I'll think about it. Thanks Pete."
"Your welcome. Let me know when you get back and try to relax and enjoy your time off."
"I will, and Pete...Jack's coming into town next week if he turns up looking for me...you don't know where I am or when I'll be back."
Pete chuckled as he said, "Understood. Take Care."
"You too Pete." He said before setting the phone back into its cradle.
Mac stared off into space as he let his mind drift back to the time he'd spent with Jenna. They'd gotten a lot closer then he'd ever anticipated and he would have liked to have seen her more after their case had ended. She'd been so quiet those last few days...it's almost like she'd been preparing herself to run. He shook his head, stood and headed for a shower, a light meal and then bed.
MacGyver let two days pass in which time he considered what to do. He was working at the challengers club when the owner Cynthia Booker approached him. "Hey MacGyver, how ya been? Been a long while since we've seen you."
He nodded as he continued to work on the piece of gym equipment he'd been trying to fix. "Yeah, got back into town a few days ago. Pete agreed to some vacation time so I thought I'd stop in. It feels like I never get the chance anymore so..."
She nodded, she'd watched him over the last day or so when he had come in, quiet withdrawn. Hurt...it radiated from his eyes. "You really ok? Sure you don't want to talk about anything?" she had earned her wings as a guidance counselor a long time ago and she had come to think of MacGyver as family, especially since the loss of her husband who'd been a good friend of Mac's.
"Yeah...I'm fine, why?" He asked as he continued to work.
"Because you look like someone shredded your heart and stamped on what remained of it." She said honestly. For that she got a laugh.
"That bad huh?" he asked with a smile.
"Spill. As the kids would say."
"How long do you have?" he asked.
"For you...as long as you need."
He nodded, put down the wrench he'd been using and picked up a rag that was beside him to wipe his hands on.
"Come on into my office...I have cold ice tea in the small fridge." She was already leading the way. He sighed and followed her.
When he had finished explaining about Jenna and how they'd met and then how she'd left, Cynthia sat listening, her glass only half empty, and a surprised look on her face. "Now tell me again why your sitting here and not on your way up to see her?" she asked.
He laughed, "Yeah, kinda wondering that one myself." He answered draining his glass before sitting it down on her desk. He cleared his throat before saying, "I think I'd almost do more harm then good if I just turned up. Yet, I get the feeling that if I don't just go...actually confront her by surprise that I'll never get that answer."
"Mac, why are still sitting here? Get up outta your seat, pack a bag and GO! I have this feeling that Miss thing up there in those mountains feels very much the same as you do, and just hasn't admitted it yet, to herself or to anyone else."
MacGyver nodded, "You think so huh?"
Cynthia nodded. "Yes I do and I also think your crazy for not having left two days ago."
Mac sighed, stood up and came around the desk. Placing a light kiss on her cheek he said quietly, "Thank you." With that he left closing the door behind him. She watched as he grabbed his jacket and said a quick goodbye to the kids by the door. Who ever this woman was she had no idea how lucky she would be if she could just open up her heart...and if she hurt MacGyver then she'd just made an enemy she didn't even now she had.
It was dusk when he got to the cabin. He turned off the ignition and sat a moment staring. There was a slow, steady stream of smoke from the fireplace in the lower living room, only a few lights where on and there was no noise except the slow stir of branches from the trees around him. He sighed, took his keys and his bag and climbed out of the jeep. He made his way quietly to the front door and stared at it a moment. 'Do I knock, or just go in...?' he thought quietly. He didn't knock, opting instead for the second choice. The door opened quietly and he moved inside closing it just as quietly behind him. He put down his bag, and tucked away his keys. At first glance around, the kitchen was empty, all lights on the second floor where off, the only light was coming from a small lamp in the living room as well as the fire that had been lit in the grate. He jumped as a quiet voice came from the shadows, "I wondered how long it'd take you to come. I knew Pete would never keep his word to me...not surprising all in all."
He knew that voice, a soft tinge of highland scots laced it...she was angry. "Won't come out and face me Macleod...what's a matter? Scared?"
He was just as angry and confused...what she had to be angry about...his thoughts died away as she stepped from the shadows out into what little light there was in the room. Jenna was a pretty, petite blonde, standing about five foot four, you'd never guess on sight how formidable she could be unless you knew her. The woman standing before him now was...different. One arm was in a sling, she sported one black eye and a bruised lower lip. Her hair was down loose around her shoulders, but her face was drained, tired...she looked like she'd gone a few rounds with a semi-truck and lost.
"What the hell...?"
She laughed but it sounded hollow even to him, "What's a matter MacGyver...don't see the person you knew? I definitely don't...want to know why? She's dead. So why don't you just go home ok? Leave me be." With this parting quip she turned and made her way back to the couch.
He couldn't move for a full minute...what the hell had happened to her. He shook it off and taking off his jacket threw it down on top of his bag before moving around the room to take a seat on the opposite end of the couch. He stared at her profile...she wouldn't look at him.
"I mean it...go away." She growled.
"No. What the hell happened to you?" he demanded.
He watched as she slowly leaned back, and closed her eyes he was also positive he had seen her flinch slightly as she moved. As he watched one lone tear seeped from the eye he could see and traced its way along her cheek. It made him shake inside...Jenna never cried...it was't in her nature.
"I'm broken Mac...please just go away...leave me alone. I just can't do this now...please. If you ever loved me, go away." She was crying openly now...her blue eyes burning into his as she turned her head to stare at him.
He didn't say anything for a good full minute or more, just stared back at her. He'd come here with the intention of a challenge...now. He sucked in a breath and swallowed. "I'm not going anywhere...I have a month or more of vacation ahead of me...I'm here to do some fishing...it doesn't matter to me if you're here or not, Pete said he'd loan me the cabin and I intend to stay.
"Bullshit...you knew I was here because Pete told you." She snapped angrily as she pushed up from the couch with a grimace. He could only imagine what bruises where hiding under her long sleeved cotton shirt and jeans.
He sighed, "Look I'm tired and there's three bedrooms in this place so unless you wanna real fight over it I'm going to get the groceries I brought and start some supper for myself. You do whatever you want to." He was winging it...he new if he pushed she might just try to run, but judging from the shape she was in she wouldn't get far. He stood and strode out to the jeep. 'Please God let me be right.' He thought silently as he grabbed up the groceries and his large duffel of clothes. He moved swiftly back inside and slammed the door behind him. Leaving the groceries he grabbed up his jacket and other bag and taking two stairs at a time made his way upstairs. She had still been on the couch when he'd come back in. He spotted the master bedroom with some of her things lying on the dresser and proceeded to the next room over...it was free so he put his bags inside and left his jacket across the bed before turning off the light and heading back downstairs. She was waiting for him at the bottom.
"You can stay the night but I want you gone tomorrow." She said angrily.
"Tough." He answered passing her by and heading for the kitchen. This was going to be a battle of wills to the very end.
She followed him a moment later and stood watching as he started to unpack the food. Someone had made sure she was well prepared because he saw that there where plenty of canned goods and dried foods as well as fresh fruit and sandwich makings in the refrigerator. He opted for an easy dinner taking out some bread, cheese and a tomato for a grilled cheese sandwich as well as opening a can of tomato soup. It got cold up here in the evenings and there was already a chill in the air and it was only going on seven at night. He started to heat the soup as he put together the sandwich on the grill. She had stood long enough that it must have gotten to her because she opted to take a seat on the opposite side of the counter. She sat in silence for a while before finally saying, "What can I offer that would get you to leave tomorrow? I only want some time alone MacGyver...I'm not in the right frame of mind for company right now as you can plainly see."
"I'm not leaving so keep the offers to yourself and deal with it. If you'd like I can help you pack in the morning...I'm sure whoever dropped you here can come to take you..."
"How Dare you! I was here first!" She yelled slapping the counter with her hand. She seemed to regret it a moment later as she rubbed at it scowling at him at the same time. He shrugged which seemed to just add fuel to the fire as she cursed prettily before finally walking away. He couldn't help the slight grin he wore as he continued with his dinner. He had been betting she hadn't eaten yet and had made the sandwich large enough for two if needed as well as heating the whole can of soup.
When everything was done he set up his plate and took it to the large table that separated the living room from the kitchen. He sat quietly and ate as he watched her stand with her back to him in front of the fire. He couldn't be certain but he thought he heard her stomach rumble and had to stare into his soup bowl in order to hide a smile. When he was done he cleaned up but set up a plate with the remaining half of the grilled cheese and a bowl of the soup, it was all still fairly hot and he set it up noting her still ridged back before he turned off the kitchen lights. As he climbed the stairs he cleared his throat causing her to turn to glance up at him. He pointed to the dinner table and said, "It should still be hot...leave the dishes, I'll wash them in the morning. Goodnight Jenna."
He watched as she glanced in surprise to the food on the table before looking back to him. He was stepping off the landing as he heard her reply, it was soft but audible all the same, "Thank you..."
He said nothing and closed the door to his bedroom. As he un-packed he listened to any noise from below. It was a good half an hour before he heard the soft clink of dishes in the sink but knowing she had at least eaten gave him the feeling of a small victory. 'It's not the war...but it's a start.' He muttered quietly.
He couldn't sleep...he sighed and tossed onto his side facing the door. He'd heard Jenna turn in about three hours ago. Her bruised face kept dancing through his mind. He wanted to know what had happened, but answers weren't going to be forthcoming from her anytime soon. He closed his eyes willing sleep to take him but it was only a few moments later he heard the scream. It was cut short and the next sound was soft sobbing. It cut him deeper then anything else. He sat up and swung his feet over the side of the bed undecided if he should go...he didn't have to make the decision as he heard her door open and watched as her shadow passed his door before she made her way down the stairs. He listened as she opened and closed the French doors at the back of the cabin letting them close solidly behind her. She was going for air. He shoved his feet into his sneakers and grabbed his coat before following her.
He exited the rear doors and stood silently staring out at the lake and the strip of sand that ran along it...nothing. He sighed and was about to step down onto the first step when she spoke from behind him. It sent him a good inch or so in the air in surprise.
"I'm sorry if I woke you."
"Jesus." He cursed turning to face her. She sat bundled in a blanket on the wooden swing at the opposite end of the porch. Her face was hidden to him in the dark but her voice was choked, she was still crying but not as hard.
"You didn't wake me...I couldn't sleep. Are you alright?" he asked almost regretting his words. Of course she wasn't alright but he didn't quite know what else to say to her.
He nodded and crossed the porch to sit on the swing beside her. She was literally curled onto the seat, her legs tucked against her, arms wrapped around them the blanket wrapped tightly around her whole body. He sighed and rubbed a hand along his neck trying to ease some of the tension he was feeling. He didn't say anything, didn't ask anything knowing somehow just his silent presence might be more of a comfort to her then anything else. Instead he started to rock the swing back and forth gently watching from the corner of his eye as she laid her head back and closed her eyes.
Minutes ticked by then a half an hour...He thought she may have slipped into sleep and sat back letting the swing slow and continue on its own merit with the only the winds help. He was just listening, watching as the clouds blew across the dark sky. He shivered when she spoke, her brogue having thickened with emotion.
"I'm sorra Mac...I never meant to hurt you."
He nodded, but remained silent. He heard her sigh, then sniffle before she continued.
"I just need time alone right now..."
"I'm not leaving." He said quietly.
Silence prevailed again for a good quarter of an hour before he started to push the swing gently. When he chanced a glance at her she wasn't watching him, her eyes instead on the water on the lake. She was far away, he couldn't not reach out at that moment his hand gently reaching to caress an exposed cheek. It surprised him when she pushed against his hand gently turning into the caress.
"Talk to me." He said quietly.
She closed her eyes then and gave a small sigh, "No...not now...maybe some other time...but not now...not when everything is still so...fresh." She said finally opening her eyes.
He nodded as he took his hand away and continued to rock the swing. They sat in silence for another half hour before he heard a small yawn from her and but remained silent.
"Mac? I think I'm going to try to go back to bed...I'll see you in the morning..." She said as he stopped the swing and watched her as she moved slowly to stand. He nodded when she looked down at him, "Yeah...I'm gonna head in as well." He said rising to follow her inside. He locked the door behind them and climbed the stairs behind her. She was in pain he could tell from just the way she carried herself but held his tongue...he wasn't sure how long he could keep watching and say nothing. He watched her as she moved down the hall to her door, she paused and turned toward him.
"Thank you..." She said with what he would take to pass as a small smile. He nodded and watched the door close behind her....His chest hurt with unspoken questions, worry and shear anger over whatever had happened to her...she had been right about one thing though, she was a different person...but he still cared...more then she would want to know. He sighed and turned in as well, praying sleep would take him soon.
Morning came with a brilliant sunrise over the lake, one that Jenna watched from the small pier behind the cabin. She had gotten maybe four or five hours of sleep but regular nights still eluded her...and would for a long time to come. She was on her way back up the pier when the rear door to the cabin opened and Mac stuck his head out, "You're up early...I was worried you had decided to ditch and leave me the cabin." He said with a small hopeful smile.
She stared at him a moment in silence and shook her head, "No...it's you who's leaving, not me." She answered making her way slowly up the steps.
He backed up and let her in, clearing his throat he asked, "You want some breakfast?"
She shook her head, "I'm just going to have some tea to warm up...but thank you anyway."
He watched her as she started to get the kettle filled and lit on the stove. "You should really eat something you know...don't you remember that I make some really good banana pancakes? I could do some other fruit if you want or eggs. He was watching her face and noticed her going slightly green. "You ok?" he asked with a frown.
"I don't do breakfast very much anymore, my stomach just can't handle food this early...give me a while." She said quietly.
He nodded and opted to much on an apple as he sat on a barstool and watched her make her tea. She had chosen black raspberry by the smell of it. He was starring out at the lake a few minutes later when he felt her gaze on him. "What?" He asked taking another bite of apple.
"When are you going to go Mac....I meant what I said last night...I want time alone, I can't get alone with you around." She told him sipping her tea.
He had finished the apple and threw the core into the trash like it was a basketball through a hoop...he made it and turned back to her. "Like I said last night...I'm not going anywhere. Look I'm sorry you want time alone and all, but I haven't had a vacation in over a year and I'm taking it now. I'll be here for the next four weeks. You want to stay...great, you don't that's your prerogative. I'm going to fish, do some light reading and just enjoy the peace and quiet." He said feeling the strain of the lie and hoping to god she didn't take him up on the leaving part. He wanted more time to dig, and truth be known he would leave ahead of her if she really started to go...he wouldn't hurt her more but damn it he wanted to understand what had happened to her, where had the old Jenna gone and why? He didn't buy that she was 'dead' as she had put it. He waited with breath held as he stared out at the lake again.
She set her mug down and ran a hand through her hair. He watched her fight an internal battle of wills as she shrugged her shoulder and winced, she'd not put on her shoulder sing and he could tell she was stiff as she moved. "Fine...you win." She said leaving the room and heading back upstairs he swallowed hard and followed her.
"Wait...what does that mean? Don't go Jenna, we can share this place. I promise to let you be...but don't go." He said stopping her with a hand on her good arm.
She had her head bent and he couldn't see her face behind a long fall of her hair...he wanted to push it side and make her face him but he waited, fighting oh so hard to be patient.
"I'll stay...on one condition." She said finally looking at him.
"Don't ask me...just let this go." She said pointing to her lip and eye..."...promise me Mac." She said starring at him hard.
He sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly, he nodded, "I won't ask you anymore...I'll let you tell me when your ready." For that last part he got a warning look but he didn't say anything more.