Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Adventure Inc. I'm making no money from this. I'm just barrowing them for a little while.

A/N: This was a response to a challenge at the mailing list I belong to. It's really short, but complete. This is episode based. The episode is "Beyond the Missing Link." If you would like the background on the episode please feel free to email me and I'll send you one. Enjoy!

Lies Between Friends

"What do you mean that I'm a terrible liar!" Gabe all but shouted at Judson Cross, his voice relaying how hurt he had been at being left out of the loop when they decided to fake Mackenzie's death. Granted that he hadn't had to lie a lot in his life, he could certainly hold a bluff when he needed to. How could they do this to him! Wasn't he a part of the team. "I thought that I was a part of this team, or was I just being naïve?" he shouted his thoughts as he willed his legs to pound past his friends and to the fresh air blowing in off the sea. He had wanted to hear their answer, but he also wanted his words to sting them, so that they would know just how much their deceit had wounded him and his ability to trust them in their schemes again.

"Gabe!" Judson called after the youngest member of his team.

"Let him go, Judson," Mac said laying a hand on his shoulder. She could tell that both of her boys were upset, but for totally different reasons. Gabe was feeling a little more than betrayed and he had right to be. Judson was upset, because the choice they had made had blown up in their face. There were no words that Judson had to say to Gabe that could kill that hurt and lay it all to rest making life all peaches and roses again. And who could blame Gabe for his seething anger, she couldn't. "He needs some space."

"I know that what we did to him was wrong, Mac, but I still can't help but feel that it was right." He could see the pain she was feeling in her blue eyes. He wished that he could heal it for her and for Gabe; after all he was the one who had put it there. He knew that she was pained to see him and Gabe fighting. She was right, the kid needed some space. But he needed a punching bag.

"It was both," she said softly, dropping her hand from his shoulder. "I shouldn't have surprised him the way that I did."

"And why did you do that?" He placed his hands on his hips to challenge her.

"Seemed like a good idea at the time," she shrugged, brushing by him on her way to the deck. There was nothing else to say. She really didn't know why she had chosen to kiss Gabe when he saw her, other than she figured that he'd fight that less than her grabbing him by the neck and clamping a hand over his mouth; she hadn't wanted to panic him any more than he already was.

"Damn it!" Judson swore to himself as he watched her leave. She was right. They'd been both right and wrong in keeping Gabe from their plans. But they had to do something and very little time to get everything into place. Having to take the time to make sure that Gabe could be convincing in his ability to lie about grief wasn't in the timetable. Someday he hoped that Gabe would realize that and forgive them.

"I'm sorry that we cut you out," Mac soft voice lilted through the air to Gabe, as he leaned against the rail watching the seagulls fly just above the water looking for dinner.

"I bet." His voice still held the bitterness that it had a few moments ago, though Mac thought that it sounded slightly less than before.

"It was a spur of the moment thing." She came to rest nest him against the rail her hands held together in front of her, as if rubbing them together would make her guilt go away and her apology better.

"No time to make that I could actually lie?" he spat hurtfully at her. He wasn't looking at her, but he knew that she flinched. He knew that his words hurt, but he didn't care. They had hurt him. They had lied to him. Treated him as if they didn't trust him. As if they couldn't rely on him. How could he not be hurt by that! Did they really that Mac could turn up alive and he would just be SO thrilled to see her that he'd never notice the treachery they'd pulled on him, or that he'd somehow let it go because she was alive and people were trying to kill them?

"It wasn't like that." She wanted to look at him, to see if he was understanding why they did what they did, but she couldn't bring herself to look into his hazel eyes and see the pain held in them. How am I ever going to be able to look him in the eye again? She thought continuing to stare at the sea and the sun sinking beyond the horizon. If she couldn't bring herself to look Gabe in the eye, how was Judson ever going to bring himself to do the same.

"Really? That's not how it feels, Mac," he said finally tearing his attention from the slow fading sunset to stare at Mac. His anger subsided some as he noticed a tear tracing its way down her silky cheek. Jackass, he thought as he reached out and brushed her tear away. Here she was trying to apologize and make amends and here he was being a jerk, making her cry. "I'm sorry." He pulled her into him wrapping his arms around her tightly.

"No, We're the one's who're sorry," she said into his chest. Giving him a hard squeeze, Mac pulled away from the embrace. "I hope that you can forgive us for this." Not waiting for his rebuttal, Mac left him alone in the near dark.

I will, he thought once again staring out at the sea, someday. Smiling sadly, Gabe headed for his cabin. There was still work to be done.

The End