"Okay, kid --"
"Daniel. Daniel Jackson."
"Name's MacGyver." Mac held out his hand and shook Daniel's. "Now, see,
you've got sand in, well, just about everywhere sand can get. Which
wouldn't usually be a problem; these Jeeps are tough." He gave the hood
an affectionate pat and regretted it. Hot enough to fry an egg on.
Which took care of lunch, but wasn't helping fix the Jeep.
"But it's a problem now, because?"
Nice kid. Blue eyes. Really blue, even behind his specs. MacGyver
smiled at him. "Because if you don't get back to that dig you were
telling me about, you'll miss them opening up the burial chamber,
"Right, but I don't see…"
"So we fix it."
"You talk a lot, you know that?" Mac leaned over and reached inside the
engine, wincing as the skin on his forearm brushed against hot metal.
He could swear he felt the hairs on it sizzle to a crisp. "This time,
the sand's gone in the one place it shouldn't, and it's shorting out
the starter motor."
The blue eyes got a lot closer as the kid -- how old? Twenty, maybe?
Okay, not a kid, not really -- leaned in from the opposite side of the
engine, his messy brown hair tickling Mac's arm.
"No, you don't." MacGyver reached out and put the tip of his finger
against Daniel's jaw, pushing it sideways an inch or two and leaving a
grubby fingerprint. "There."
"Oh…" Thick eyebrows drew together and the tanned forehead wrinkled in
a frown. "So what do we do?"
"Blow on it." Mac pursed his lips and directed a puff of breath in the
direction of the clogged valve. Sand, oil-clogged and dirty, failed to
move. "And maybe a little bit of scraping…" He got his Swiss Army knife
out and began to unfold a blade. "Keep blowing," he said absently,
watching full lips pout and form a circle. A chunk of sand fell away.
After a few gentle, careful scrapes with the blade, he decided it was
worth trying the engine again.
"Okay, Daniel. Crank her up."
Daniel pushed his glasses higher on his nose, something he did every
few moments, as he was sweating and they kept sliding back down. "You
think that's fixed it? Because if it overheats..."
"Yep. And if I'm wrong, and she blows, I'll take you to the dig myself."
"It's out of your way."
"Fifty miles isn't out of my way."
"Yes, it is."
"Could be I've always wanted to visit a dig."
Something like suspicion flared in Daniel's eyes. "Professor Blake
isn't keen on sightseers. They tend to leave with more than photographs
"Do they?" MacGyver smiled at him. "Well, look at me; do I look like a
Daniel took a bit too long answering, and his eyes lingered in some
places Mac would rather he'd moved over quickly. What a man had in his
pockets was his business. "No. But you don't look like someone who
belongs out here, either, so I don't think you were telling the truth
when you said you were from Cairo."
"No? Why is that?"
Daniel stepped around to his side and got closer. "Your nose is a
little red." A tap on it from Daniel's finger stung a little, so Mac
guessed he was right. "So you've just got here from somewhere cooler."
Finland. Tracking down a microfilm before it fell into the hands of the
Russians and gave them the blueprint for the latest nuclear submarine.
"And your hat's okay…" Daniel lifted it off the wing mirror, "but
there's a feather caught in the lining and it looks like a
hummingbird's. We don't get many of them in Egypt."
The hat, turned upside down, had transported a nest and three eggs, and
he still had a scar on his hand from the mama bird who hadn't
appreciated his efforts to save her babies from an approaching forest
fire courtesy of a flame thrower wielding Murdoc.
"Don't suppose you do."
"And I looked at your passport when you were under the Jeep and saw
that it was stamped yesterday."
"Okay, now that was just plain rude."
Daniel licked his lips, looking determined and not half as nervous as
he should be considering he was a skinny half pint of skim milk Mac
could drink down in three gulps and a burp. "You didn't stop to help me
out of the goodness of your heart, did you?"
"What? Yes, I did!"
"No." Daniel backed away. "You're hoping I'll invite you to the dig,
and you'll steal the treasure!"
"That's ridiculous!" Find out who'd been stealing it, bit by bit as it
was dug up, maybe, but as Daniel's name was on the suspect list Pete
had given him, that was one bit of information he wasn't going to pass
on. And he had stopped out of concern for someone
who'd broken down in the middle of nowhere, darn it. He'd seen long
legs, in grubby cotton pants stretched tight over a curve of ass, and
Anyone would've pulled over.
Daniel jumped into the Jeep, pulled out a gun, small and
battered-looking, and held it on him. "If this doesn't start, I'm
"What?" Mac said indignantly. "You can't do that!"
The Jeep spluttered, choked, and died.
Daniel got out of the Jeep, the gun still trained on Mac. "Transfer the
supplies from the Jeep to your truck."
"I'll shoot you."
"No, you won't."
"Yes, I --" Daniel ran his fingers through sweat-dark hair. "Okay,
maybe I'll just wound you."
"And leave me to die? Oh, yeah; that's far more humanitarian of you."
Daniel's face screwed up in anguish. "Look, I don't have a choice!"
"Sure you do." MacGyver kept his voice gentle and moved a shuffling
step closer. "I'm not a thief, I stopped to help you because you needed
help, no more than that, and if you're worried, you can drive my truck
and, I don't know, tie me up in the back, or something."
"You want me to tie you up?"
"Well, it's not high on my list of favourite things you could do to me
"How can you have a list? We only just met!"
"I was speaking rhetorically! Hypothetically!" MacGyver was sweating
himself now. Daniel was kind of hard to handle.
"So you don't want me to get some rope and tie your wrists together?"
Again with the tricky -- uh, trick questions!
"If it would make you feel safer, you can." And I can get out in about
thirty seconds anyway, kid.
"There's something you're not telling me."
"There's a lot I'm not telling you." MacGyver glared at him. "And I
don't plan to. Now, will you stop waving that thing in my face and help
move those supplies?"
Daniel's hand wavered and MacGyver stepped forward, knocked the gun out
of his hand, and grabbed Daniel by the shoulders, shaking him. "You
don't ever do that, do you hear me? You don't point guns at people, you
don't threaten them, and you don't… don't…" Daniel was staring at him,
all wide eyes and parted lips, a pulse thudding in his neck. Mac caved.
"Oh, hell, kid. Just don't, okay?"
Daniel nodded, slowly, creakily, looking shell-shocked still, and Mac
smiled, slipping his hand around the back of Daniel's neck and
squeezing it. "Good boy."
"I'm twenty-two." The frown was back.
"Not a boy."
"Seems young to me." Mac began the transfer of crates to his truck.
"How old are you?"
That shut him up until the loading was complete. Mac took out his keys
and tossed them in his hand. "So. Who drives?"
"You don't know the way."
"This is the only road."
"Yes, it is. So where were you going?"
Taken him long enough to ask.
"To the dig."
"No, before that."
"Same answer." MacGyver threw the keys up high, caught them, and turned
to get in on the driver's side. "Didn't I tell you? I'm the new cook.
My curried goat?" He kissed his fingers. "To die for."
"You're still not telling me the truth." Daniel climbed in, looking
resigned and mutinous at one and the same time.
"Sometimes you can't." He patted Daniel's knee, feeling the body heat
strike up through the thin, worn cotton. "You'll find that out for
yourself one of these days."
They drove away, leaving the sand to sift over the gun and the Jeep to
settle into the tracks it had made.
"What's this? What's all this, then?"
Professor Blake was just how MacGyver remembered him; stout, fussy, his
bald head fringed with an obstinate frill of snow-white hair, and his
faded blue eyes keen and sharp.
"Hello, Professor. Remember me?" MacGyver extended his hand, smiling in
as friendly a way as he could manage after an hour in a truck with
someone who wasn't speaking to him, and who'd landed in his lap three
times when the bumps in the rough track had played Cupid. He felt
bruised, inside and out, and very, very tired. When had he last slept,
anyway? Proper sleep for more than an hour at a time, in a bed that
stayed put, and a space that wasn't filled with dozens of people
He should have been used to the breakneck pace of his life, but
sometimes he craved just a little bit of peace, a little time to relax…
The blue eyes narrowed suspiciously, peered, and then brightened. "Good
And the professor was English. Very English.
"Well, well, well! MacGilligan!"
"Yes, yes, of course!" The professor waved away the correction with an
irritable, airy flap of his hand and glanced around the courtyard of
the house the dig was using as a base, catching the eye of several
workers, all of whom looked tired. "Redfern!" he called out to a
thin-faced man in his late forties lounging against a wall, smoking a
cigarette with a moody concentration. "This is the man I told you about
once; the one who--" He broke off to give a whoop of laughter. That
whoop had reminded MacGyver of a strangled cat the first time he'd
heard it, and it hadn't changed. "Ha! Ha! Fixed up an alarm clock on
that dig in Greece using -- what was it? Pots and pans, sand and rocks?
Incredible contraption! Pure Heath Robinson!"
"It worked," MacGyver said, shrugging. The sand had fallen, filled,
tipped, triggered a cascade of pebbles to drum against a piece of tin…
"Well, of course it worked, my dear chap!" Blake beamed at him. "When
they said they were sending someone, I imagined it'd be a frightful
Redfern gave an acidic smile, tossed his cigarette to the sand at his
feet and ground it out. "Wouldn't that have been a calamity?" His
accent was pure New York and the look he gave Blake before he turned
and walked away was cold.
"Hey, I aman --" McGyver began indignantly.
The professor wasn't listening. "But this is just splendid."
Daniel had been standing a yard away, his face having done what Mac's
grandfather used to tell him his would do, and stuck that way. In this
case, 'that way' was a frowning pout that looked less sulky than
thoughtful. Hostile, but thoughtful. He spoke up as the professor
paused. "Professor --"
That was as far as he got. Not bad for a beginner, but as it got him
the professor's attention it might have been more of an error in
judgment than a triumph.
"Jackson! Where have you been, where are the supplies, and where in the
name of all that's holy, is the Jeep? Eh? Eh?"
"I've been to get the supplies, they're in his truck, and the Jeep
MacGyver blinked, impressed. A whole sentence. Wow.
"Broke down? What do you mean it broke down?"
Daniel seemed to have as deep a dislike of that form of rhetorical
question as Mac did, because his face creased in a grimace that didn't
take away an ounce of its startling attractiveness. MacGyver could
appreciate a good design when he saw it, and Daniel's face qualified.
Big time. "I mean it stopped working. The engine died -- sand in it --
and we couldn't fix it."
"'We'?" MacGyver was impaled on a sharp glance. "A bit of sand and you
couldn't fix it? You?"
Put that way, it did sound unlikely. Pete wouldn't have bought it in a
"Well, there's only so much a man can do with a Swiss Army knife, you
know." MacGyver smiled, projecting relaxed ease. "And that Jeep was
"Old? Fiddlesticks! Stuff and nonsense! It's younger than me, and I'm
still going, aren't I? I'm still going!"
"Looks like you're going strong," MacGyver said politely.
"I certainly am." Blake twisted on his heel and glared at Daniel. "You!
On your bike, laddie. Take the spare truck and a worker and get that
Jeep back here. Off you go, boy."
Boy. Laddie. MacGyver winced, deciding to apologise for his own use of
at least one of those words the next time he was alone with Daniel.
"It's getting dark," he said before Daniel could reply -- and it
would've been a humdinger judging by the way his face was flushing.
"Can't do anything tonight, but tomorrow I'll go back with some tools,
"Tomorrow? Pshaw! It'll be gone by then! Thieves! Rampant!" Blake
looked sly and knowing, winking at MacGyver in what he probably thought
was a discreet gesture. "We all know that, don't we? Tonight."
"No," MacGyver said firmly. "I'm tired, I'm hungry, and it can wait.
It's not going anywhere, I can promise you that."
Not until he replaced the spark plug currently nestled in his pocket,
reconnected the coolant hose, and reversed half-a-dozen other little
'fixes'. He might have given Daniel time to check his passport, but
disabling the Jeep had been a job well done.
And way harder than fixing it would have been, but he'd wanted the
chance to sound out Daniel once he'd realised he was from the dig. Of
course, he'd thought they'd have exchanged some actual words on the
trip to the camp…
"Humph." Blake hesitated, his eyes going between Daniel and MacGyver,
and then shrugged and nodded. "More important things to do. Yes. Quite."
"The burial chamber?" Daniel said eagerly, his face lighting up. "Did I
miss the opening?"
"What? Oh, that room of yours, yes, yes you did. Opened it after
lunch." Another wave of Blake's hand relegated the chamber to its
proper place in the scheme of things. "Empty, boy, empty, just as I
thought. Can't imagine why you thought that was what it was. Entirely
the wrong position. Probably a storeroom." He blinked, his shoulders
curving inward. "Storeroom, yes…"
He wandered off and Daniel kicked a stone with a release of pent-up
energy and an impressive, muttered string of curses, each, as far as
MacGyver could tell, in a different language. He counted thirteen and
then Daniel ran dry.
"Don't hold back," MacGyver said mildly. "Tell me how you
Daniel stalked over to MacGyver's truck and began to pull the supplies
out, stacking them in an untidy heap. "That was how I feel. If you
didn't understand it, that's not my problem."
"No, I don't suppose it is," MacGyver agreed, lending him a hand. "What
Daniel swept his hair out of his eyes, leaving a dusty smear across his
forehead. "Why do you care?"
Not going to tell you… "Let's just assume I do, and leave it at that."
"That chamber isn't a storeroom."
"How can you be so sure?"
"He said it was empty."
Daniel dropped the last box on MacGyver's foot and gestured at some
native workers huddled around a fire in the corner, calling out to them
in Arabic and getting a laughing riposte as they stood, brushing the
sand off their robes, and came over to the stores.
"Think about it," Daniel said sweetly and walked off faster than
MacGyver, with what felt like three broken toes, could follow.
By the time someone had shown MacGyver to his room, the sun had set,
with a startling abruptness, and the camp had settled into a quiet hum
of activity centred around eating, drinking -- surreptitiously in
corners in some cases -- and talking. From the snatches of conversation
MacGyver overheard as he wandered around, wiggling his aching toes
absently inside his boot, no one seemed unduly concerned about the
spiriting away of some choice artifacts.
Maybe they just took it for granted. Which had MacGyver wondering why
Pete Thornton hadn't. Pete was an old friend of Professor Blake's, but
friendship wasn't enough for the Phoenix Foundation to expend energy
and resources on investigating a fairly low-key series of thefts that a
tighter security could probably nip in the bud.
Nodding a thanks to his guide, MacGyver walked through a doorway he had
to stoop to use, and tossed his holdall onto the bed not occupied by a
ferociously scowling Daniel Jackson, reading in the wavering, uncertain
light of a lamp and stripped down to a filthy pair of khaki shorts.
"Well, hello, roomie," MacGyver said, smiling at Daniel's bare toes
because they seemed the safest place to look at.
Daniel curled them and wiggled them.
Okay. Maybe his knees would be better…
"You can't sleep here."
"Why not?" MacGyver opened his holdall and pulled out a book of his
own, feeling like a duelist unsheathing his sword. He turned, and
Cervantes 'Don Quixote' which he'd picked up as a prize in sixth grade
clashed against 'The Egyptian Book of the Dead' translated by….
MacGyver squinted. Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge.
Deciding it was a draw based on the lack of sneer on Daniel's face,
MacGyver gave an amiable smile and repeated, "Why not? I don't snore,
and I'm tidy." His gaze took in the state of the small room, every
surface heaped with books and small, broken pieces of pottery, clearly
discards from the dig. The tools Daniel used; brushes and shovels and a
magnifying glass Mac coveted, were good quality, well-used, and tucked
carefully into a canvas roll, currently spread out on the only table.
"Tidier than you, as it happens."
"How do you know?"
"That you don't snore." Daniel's blue eyes -- okay, he had to stop
looking through the lenses of Daniel's glasses to study his eyes
because it was starting to become a habit -- narrowed. "Either you've
recorded yourself sleeping…"
"I'm weird, or so I'm told, but not that weird."
"Or you make a habit of sleeping with insomniacs." Blink, flutter,
stare. "Do you?"
"I sleep alone. Mostly." MacGyver tore his gaze away from blueness and
down to a bare, slender chest and a flat, hard belly. If Daniel stood
up, his shorts would have to stay on by sheer force of will, because
they were too big for him and gaped, exposing shadowed, secret skin and
"'Mostly'…" Daniel repeated. "I see."
"I don't think you do, but it doesn't matter." Somewhere, somehow,
everything had gotten out of control. "Look, I can find somewhere else
Daniel rolled to his stomach, his shorts inching down in the process
and revealing a dusting of fair hair at the base of his spine,
sweat-damped down against a deeply tanned back, and propped his book
against his pillow. "You can stay. Just don't snore. Or talk. Or try
and cook me something. Or lie to me. Or --"
"We got off on the wrong foot, I can see that -- unless we count the
part where I was really nice and stopped to help you -- but trust me, I
usually get along with ki-- people --"
"If you call me anything that implies I'm immature again, I'll get very
inventive when I convince you it's not a good idea."
Daniel turned his head, gave the solemn blink he seemed to use to
punctuate a sentence, and smiled. It was a scary smile, MacGyver
decided, because Daniel looked like the sort of man with a lively
He held up his hands. "Convinced! No need to get, uh, creative."
He got a curt nod and Daniel turned his attention back to his book,
making impatient little tutting noises under his breath now and then.
MacGyver watched him in silence and then went to find some food.
When he got back, a bowl of stew lying uneasily in his stomach, Daniel
had turned out the lamp, the shorts were in a heap on the floor, and
the book had been tossed aside.
Muttering, "Okaaay" for about the thirtieth time since he'd met Daniel,
MacGyver kicked off his boots, pants and shirt and got into bed in his
briefs feeling both ridiculously overdressed and naked at one and the
Praying that Daniel wouldn't show how much of a man he was while Mac
was still awake to listen and be tortured, he rolled onto his side, his
back to Daniel, and fell asleep.
Until Daniel left the room, silent as a shadow, surefooted as a cat,
having kicked over the tin mug on a pile of books that Mac had put in
between Daniel's bed and the door. Daniel had caught the mug before it
hit the cheap matting over the floor, but the string running from Mac's
big toe to the handle of the mug had still been tugged.
MacGyver got dressed and slipped into the corridor, flashlight in hand,
pack on his back, training the circle of light on the twigs he'd
scattered on the ground. They were disturbed to the right of the door
so he went that way, noting absently that the rudimentary washroom was
to the left.
The camp was silent, dreaming under a purple-black sky studded with
stars, glimmering and gleaming and twice the size they should be. Ahead
of him, Daniel's tall, thin figure was dark against the night, moving
purposefully towards the irregular heap of the dig.
MacGyver had looked around the dig and seen the tunnel leading into a
maze of corridors and small rooms, most empty, their bare walls silent.
He'd also seen Daniel's storeroom, its door ornately carved, the space
beyond larger and the walls incised with markings he hadn't had chance
It hadn't looked much like a storeroom to him, but to be fair to the
professor, for a burial chamber, it was a bit lacking in bodies, too.
By the time MacGyver got there, it had gained one, at least. Daniel lay
sprawled on his face, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, bleeding from a
cut on his head, and groaning.
When he wasn't cursing. For a well-educated young man, he had a filthy
mouth on him. A sinful, pouting, filthy mouth…
MacGyver rolled his eyes, dealt himself a solid thunk on the chin, and
hurried over to kneel beside his roommate.
"Touch me and I'll kill you."
"You're very violent, aren't you?"
"I'm going to throw up."
"Why do I think you'd aim it at my feet?" MacGyver dug around in his
pack and took out a water bottle and a handkerchief. Wetting the soft
cloth, he bathed Daniel's head wound. "Looks like you'll live, kid. And
it's what I call people twice your age, so don't go getting huffy on
me. Save your energy for whoever did this."
"You didn't see them?" Daniel struggled up to sitting, leaning against
MacGyver's waiting shoulder without comment. "If you were following me
--which we'll come back to -- you must have seen them. Three of them.
Two British guys, an old man and a thug, and a worker from the dig.
There's only one way out."
"Didn't come past me," MacGyver assured him. "Which means…"
"There's a secret passage in here," Daniel said, studying the walls
with a frowning intensity. "Storeroom, my ass."
"Uh, yeah. Speaking of which, you're on the heavy side. Would you --?"
"What?" Daniel twisted in the circle of Mac's arm, which brought his
face really close. "You want me to get off?"
"If you feel up to it."
"I feel fine." Daniel was still staring. "I've got a secret passage to
explore; why wouldn't I?"
"Good point." MacGyver swallowed. "Want to tap on some walls with me?"
Daniel looked at him with a forgiving smile. "Or I could read what it
says, work out the instructions, and open the door that way."
"Or I could look at where the sand's been recently scuffed," MacGyver
Their gazes locked.
"Should I trust you?" Daniel asked finally.
"You know, usually I'd say yes without thinking, but I'm not so sure.
There are these … factors I'm not prepared to discuss."
"You're a thief?"
"A fan of Budge?"
"Then anything else is forgivable," Daniel assured him.
"Yeah…" MacGyver sighed and heaved Daniel off his lap. "Let's see
what's behind door number one, huh?"
It turned out to be a tunnel, lit by guttering torches at intervals,
and with air that smelled fresh enough to get MacGyver thinking. He
snapped his knife closed and inspected a broken fingernail before
chewing it level. By the time it was, he'd come to a decision.
"You need to go back and wake up --"
"I hadn't finished." Daniel tried to push past, and MacGyver grabbed
his arm, concern and determination wiping out the low burn of need he'd
been feeling off and on since he'd first seen Daniel, bent over the
Jeep and cursing up a storm. "You wake up the professor --"
"The one who said this was a storeroom? The one who's been blocking
every suggestion I made to open the door, and then did it while I was
out getting supplies we didn't need, in a Jeep he had to know wasn't
roadworthy? That professor?" Daniel shook off Mac's arm. "The one
you're really friendly with?"
"I know him. It's not the same thing." Mac reconsidered. "But someone I
know really well, and trust 100%, likes him, so I
guess he gets to be on the good guy list for now."
"The person you trust; a man?"
"Pete, yeah. He's my --"
"It doesn't matter." Daniel's lips folded in a straight line, his face
a shade paler in the light of MacGyver's torch.
"No, it doesn't," MacGyver agreed, a little baffled but game. "What
matters is finding the people who hurt you, who are most likely the
people behind the thefts, which I'm not going to insult you by asking
if you know about, because a bright guy like you knows everything
that's going on, right?"
"Some of it." Daniel sounded unsure. "The workers like me, but they
don't know who's doing it, or why. It's nothing valuable you see; well,
some of it is, but a lot was really odd stuff that didn't seem to fit
with what we expected to find. There was this decorative glove…" He
shook his head and then winced, putting a cautious hand to the bump
he'd been given. "Anyway, whether your… friend likes him or not, I
don't trust Professor Blake, I'm having second thoughts about you, and
I'm not going anywhere but down that tunnel."
MacGyver looked at him, wondering if he'd been this stubborn at
Daniel's age. He had a feeling that the answer was 'hell, yes!' so he
didn't say more than a weak, "I have rope in my pack, you know. I could
tie you up."
Daniel didn't smile. "Maybe. But there's nothing to tie me to. I'd just
come after you."
"Wrists and ankles."
"Wrists to ankles."
"You are one annoying guy, you know that?" MacGyver blew out a gusty
sigh. "Fine. But you stay behind me."
Daniel smiled. It was that secretive, knowing smile again. "If that's
where you want me."
"Knock it off," MacGyver told him wearily.
"You don't want to play any more?" Daniel looked… MacGyver didn't know.
Bruised a little, maybe. As if he'd had some suspicion confirmed.
"No. I don't want to play." MacGyver reached out, took a handful of
Daniel's shirt and pulled him in for a kiss that he broke as soon as
Daniel began to respond.
Which meant, as kisses go, it was on the short side.
"Pete's my boss. Twenty years older, and put a beard on him and he'd do
a good Santa Claus impression. So whatever you were thinking, you can
Daniel was licking his lip, curiously, thoughtfully, a faint flush
rising in his thin cheeks. "I wasn't expecting you to do that."
"I wasn't planning on doing that," Mac told him. "Now, can we explore?"
He waved at the tunnel. "Hello? Secret passage!"
"More fun than kissing me?"
"Well…" MacGyver grimaced apologetically. "Sorta."
Daniel grinned. "I think so, too."
"I guessed that about you so my feelings aren't hurt."
He got a sidelong look. "I don't think you guess; you work things out."
"Sometimes. And sometimes I just hope and get lucky. Like tonight." He
took a chance and patted Daniel's face gently. "Real lucky."
When Daniel smiled and poured the sugar on, it took your breath away.
Mac started down the tunnel and didn't look back. He knew Daniel would
be close behind, and he was beginning to reconsider the relative fun
factor of a dusty tunnel leading, probably, to nothing more exciting
than a distant patch of desert and a truck to spirit away stolen goods.
Or a giant underground cavern, dimly lit by phosphorescence on walls
and distant ceiling, so deep the light of his flashlight was lost in
the gloom, so wide he couldn't see the other side.
Or maybe that was because he'd turned dizzy just looking at the narrow
stone bridge crossing the fathomless gulf.
"I'll be honest with you, Daniel," he managed to say. "Not so good with
Daniel peered at the drop. "I'll be just as honest back. They terrify
"All that space--"
"Yeah. And the hard stuff at the bottom."
"That would be the ground."
"That we'll hit when we fall off."
"And plummet to our certain death, yes." Daniel grimaced. "We're in
trouble, aren't we?"
MacGyver wasn't looking at the drop anymore. He was looking at the
second man today to point a gun at him. Who was flanked by two other
men with guns.
Putting his flashlight down, and raising his hands slowly, he cleared
his throat. "Daniel? Are these your friends from earlier?"
"What?" Daniel whirled around and froze. "Uh. Yes. Where did they come
The man in the middle smiled. "We've been standing here waiting for
you, Mr. Jackson. You and your companion make a remarkable amount of
noise, you know."
"They were lurking behind the rock, Daniel," MacGyver said pleasantly,
spotting the outcrop to their left. "Like …oh, what lurks?"
"I think they scurry. And possibly nibble."
MacGyver waggled his finger. "You know, you might be onto something
there! We'll go with roaches."
"Insulting me is neither wise nor productive," the man said evenly.
"But it's so much fun. Don't deny us the chance to die smiling."
MacGyver lifted his eyebrows. "I assume you are
planning on killing us?"
"Not immediately, no, but I'm afraid that will be your ultimate fate.
Tidier, don't you think?"
MacGyver opened his mouth, intending to keep the conversation going --
it beat moving on to whatever the guy had in mind for them --when
Daniel spoke up, his gaze fixed on the man dressed in loose robes, his
dark face troubled, although the hand holding the gun was steady
enough. "You; you're Ali's grandfather, aren't you? He pointed you out
to me when we were working on the west side; he was so pleased you were
there on a day when he'd made a discovery." Daniel turned his head and
addressed MacGyver, ignoring the two men MacGyver had labeled 'The
Suit' and 'The Thug' for want of an introduction. "Ali was responsible
for us finding the rubbish dump; we'd been searching for it for days.
So much information in there; so much to learn about their diet, their
"Fascinating, Mr. Jackson," the man interrupted. "But I hardly think
Ali here is all that entertained by the notion of his namesake grubbing
about in the dirt for pennies. Not when he's about to become a very
rich man by helping me."
"I know this man, Mr. Cartwright," Ali said slowly. "He was kind to my
grandson. I will not see harm come to him."
"If harm is needed, I'm sure Simon will oblige, won't you, Simon? And
you can look away and thus feel no guilt whatsoever."
The thug didn't look like a Simon to MacGyver. More like a … no, 'Thug'
suited him best. Tall, broad-shouldered, a faint scar running down his
cheek, disappearing into thick, close-cropped black hair… ten a penny
at first glance, but his gray eyes weren't entirely sane. Mr.
Cartwright, on the other hand, looked like a businessman; late fifties,
trim and neat. An accountant, a banker, a lawyer, maybe; not the sort
you'd expect to find in a mysterious Egyptian cavern holding a gun.
"I will not. Killing? You said nothing of this." Ali shook his head,
his gun now pointing, not at Daniel and MacGyver, but at his
companions, although Mac didn't think it was deliberate. Ali looked
distressed, which made MacGyver wonder just what cover story he'd been
fed. "The treasure, yes; that belongs to my people, and your help to
keep it here is appreciated, but --"
Simon laughed, a short bark of amusement that completed Ali's
disillusionment more effectively than any amount of words. Ali's mouth
hardened and he aimed the gun at Cartwright. "You will let them go! And
then you will leave this place. Despoilers! Thieves!"
Simon moved, a smooth series of movements, too fast for MacGyver to
intercept, stepping back, across, and then lashing out with his foot in
a brutal kick. Ali cried out, his finger tightening on the trigger of
his gun, a bullet firing, the flat crack lost in his scream as he
MacGyver and Daniel surged forward as one, ignoring Cartwright's rapped
out order for them to stay where they were. Mac felt his fingers brush
Ali's sleeve and then the man was falling, his anguished scream
heartbreaking to hear, but still easier to listen to than the silence
that ended it.
"You murdering bastards!" MacGyver yelled, rounding on Cartwright and
Simon, his arm going out to prevent Daniel getting any closer to the
edge. "There was no need for that. He wasn't any danger to you."
"Now, he isn't," Cartwright agreed. "And please don't raise your voice
to me. Mr. Jackson, I need; your services can, I think, be dispensed
"No, they can't," Daniel said flatly. "If you need me, it's for what I
know." He nodded at MacGyver. "MacGyver's the expert consultant
Professor Blake brought in; he's too valuable to kill."
Cartwright hesitated, his gaze traveling between them, seeing more than
MacGyver was comfortable with. "You two know each other well?"
MacGyver took a look at his watch. "Met him less than six hours ago.
"It's true," Daniel said wearily. "And if you need me for something,
why did you just try and bash my head in?"
"An oversight." Cartwright gave Simon a reproving look. "Simon was
supposed to discourage you for long enough to let us complete a little
piece of business. I was also curious as to your abilities to deduce
the method of opening up the passageway. A little test, shall we say."
"Piece of cake," MacGyver said, trying to distract Cartwright's
attention from Daniel before Daniel said something they'd both end up
regretting. "Your footsteps ended at a section of the wall --"
"I realised that the seemingly meaningless symbols on the wall were, if
pressed in the correct order, a pictorial representation of the life of
an ibis --" Daniel continued.
"And I found out that the lock hidden behind the dying ibis was just
the right shape to be picked by the reamer on my pocket knife."
Cartwright smiled, and MacGyver winced. Okay, telling the bad guy you
had a weapon wasn't clever. Wasn't clever at all.
"How enterprising of you both. Very well, for now you both live." He
held out his hand. "Your knife, MacGyver? And your pack, too, I think."
MacGyver slipped his knife out of his pocket, weighing it in his hand
regretfully before adding it to the contents of his pack. He let the
pack hang from his hand, half-contemplating sending it swinging into
Simon's stomach and letting him join Ali. Cartwright smiled thinly and
trained his gun on Daniel. "I don't think so. Drop it and step away."
Simon scooped the pack up and slung it over his shoulder, leaving
MacGyver feeling on the dismal side of depressed. Not because of the
loss of his gear, exactly. No; it was because as far as he could see,
there was only one direction they were likely to be going in.
"Off you go. Jackson first, then you, MacGyver."
"Now, I would, but --"
"Neither of you likes heights. I know." Cartwright gestured with his
gun. "Look at without fear clouding your vision and tell me what you
Daniel obeyed him, and after a moment, Mac did, too, staring at the
stone pathway, the top of a solid wall of stone, a few yards wide.
"This was once a floor," Cartwright said softly.
"Yes…" Daniel said, his voice sharpening with interest. "It's not a
bridge; it's what's left of the floor." His hand touched Mac's arm
fleetingly. "Look; it's not straight; it runs in an irregular line. And
it's not the same width."
MacGyver frowned at what he'd only glanced at, letting the picture
reassemble itself for his wondering eyes. Daniel was right. But if that
"Where did it all go? Thousands of tons of rock; if the floor had
subsided, it would still need somewhere to go."
"It was mined," Cartwright told him, his eyes gleaming. "By the gods.
Look at what is left; the wall of stone. See how it shines… gold. This
was all gold. And I have found where it was stored after it was
processed. Untold ingots, waiting throughout the centuries for a man of
vision to discover what the gods left behind."
"Uh, right…" MacGyver had heard this before. "Gods. Gold. Dreams of
avarice when you're tucked up at night, crazy flakes for breakfast in
the morning. Got it."
Simon's fist hurt when it connected with his jaw, but it was worth it
to have shattered Cartwright's calm, if only briefly, and for the flash
of concern and anger in Daniel's eyes.
MacGyver spat out a mouthful of blood from a cut lip and smiled sourly
at Simon. "Gee, I had no idea you liked me that much."
"How did you know?" Daniel asked suddenly. "This -- I should have known
about this place. It's incredible. There would have been records,
"Your parents knew," Cartwright said casually. "I'm sure they would
have mentioned it to you in all good time. If they hadn't died, that
is. Unfortunate accident; it set my plans back by years, you know."
Daniel closed his eyes, the grief he felt evident. MacGyver bit down
savagely on his cut lip, needing the pain to keep his head clear in
case he had to intervene and hold Daniel back. He'd read Daniel's file;
he knew what had happened to his parents. But when Daniel's eyes
opened, they were empty of emotion. Without a word, he turned and began
to walk across the narrow causeway, leaving MacGyver no choice but to
"You can't outrun a bullet," Cartwright called, his voice amused. "So
don't get too far ahead, will you?"
That really wasn't going to be a problem. Taking small, shuffling
steps, sweat breaking out on him, even in the cool, dry air, MacGyver
walked forward, his eyes fixed on Daniel's back.
It was turning out to be one hell of a day.
Anger took Daniel halfway across and then left him high -- very high --
and dry. MacGyver saw it happen; saw how between one step and the next,
Daniel realised just where he was and lost it, stumbling as he looked
MacGyver had been keeping far enough back not to crowd him; far enough
that if he fell forward there was no chance of his outstretched arms
bringing Daniel down, too -- although it wouldn't break his heart if
Cartwright or Simon tripped over his recumbent form and fell. Nope,
wouldn't worry him at all. Now he wished he'd kept within reach of
Daniel. He took a quick, long step forward, his heart pounding as
Daniel went to his knees, his hands groping blindly to the side. The
path was narrow here; not enough room for MacGyver to be able to kneel
beside Daniel, or walk with him.
"Deal with it," Cartwright called from some twenty feet back. "And
don't try anything clever, MacGyver."
"Do I look like I'm in any state to try-- oh, whoa…" The spit dried in
his mouth as his gaze skidded off the back of Daniel's neck and smacked
into the drop.
Long way down. Long.
Daniel moaned, the sound enough to bring MacGyver out of his horrified
trance. "Hang on, kid. I'm right here."
"Not…a… kid." The words were breathless and barely audible, but they
were words, not whimpers, and Daniel's head came up a little.
"Haven't we had this discussion before?" MacGyver edged forward warily
and bent down, feeling the world wobble around him. "Going to help you
up, okay?" He put his hand on Daniel's shoulder, carefully, not wanting
to startle him, feeling the shape of the bone, squeezing it
reassuringly. "Right here…" he repeated.
Daniel's hand came up across his body and rested against MacGyver's
hand for a moment, cool and strong. "So am I." He turned his head and
gave MacGyver a crooked smile. "We're not very good at being heroes,
MacGyver smiled back. "Hey, I think we've got potential."
"I hate to break up this touching moment, but if you don't resume your
forward progression, I'll shoot one of you. My patience is far from
"Cartwright, you're an idiot," MacGyver snapped, getting to his feet
and bringing Daniel with him. "And at your age I doubt you'll grow out
of it. We're moving, okay?"
They were, and it was easier now; the path widened, until MacGyver
could walk safely beside Daniel, their shoulders brushing, and with
their eyes adjusted to the dim glow in the cavern, it began to seem
When they'd reached the other side, there was yet another tunnel, this
one wider than the one on the opposite side. Under a thin, drifted
layer of sand, the floor was smooth enough to look oddly modern.
MacGyver scuffed at the sand, exposing a section of the floor, and
frowned at it.
"Move," Simon said in his ear, jabbing his gun into MacGyver's back.
"That hurts," MacGyver said mildly.
"Not as much as a bullet would,"
"Good point, and yet I'd still sooner you didn't do it, you know?"
The barrel of the gun ground into his spine. "I like doing it."
"You know, I got that about you as soon as we met. It's not endearing."
Cartwright cleared his throat. "If you're quite finished…"
"Oh, I'm good," MacGyver assured him. "Real good."
Daniel stood facing the wall, his fingertips tracing faint marks carved
into it, brushing at the dust caking them. "This tunnel. It leads to
this gold of yours?"
"Indeed it does," Cartwright agreed.
"Then what do you need us for?" Daniel turned, blinking curiously at
the man. "You know where it is, and you'll need muscle not brains to
carry it out --" His gaze flicked to Simon and he smiled slightly,
dismissively. "Looks like you're covered there. So…?"
"Life's rarely that simple, Mr. Jackson." Cartwright gestured down the
tunnel. "As you'll see very shortly."
The tunnel branched off in several directions, but Cartwright kept them
in the main one, which led to a double door, definitely on the closed
"Locked?" MacGyver inquired, already looking for a keyhole in the tall,
beaten gold surface of the doors, pierced halfway up with small,
triangular holes, too small for more than a hand to fit through.
"These? No." Cartwright moved forward and touched a panel set into the
wall. The doors swung inward smoothly, silently. "Those at the bottom,
on the other hand…"
MacGyver peered into the interior, lit by a source he couldn't
pinpoint. It seemed to come from both walls and ceiling. He couldn't
see any doors, but he could see stairs going down. "Where?"
A hand pushed him roughly, sending him staggering forward, Daniel
beside him. "Work it out, the two of you. You won't be allowed out
until you've brought back some gold to show me."
"What gold?" MacGyver yelled at the closing doors.
"God, this is insane!"
"Daniel, we'll get out of here, I promise, just --" MacGyver stopped
banging on the doors because they weren't moving, and turned to Daniel,
his words dying on his lips. Daniel was at the top of the stairs,
staring down, his face intent. "What is it?"
"Dead men. On the steps. Three, maybe more farther down... They
He took a step forward and MacGyver strode over to him. "Daniel, get
"I am," Daniel replied mildly. "I'm staying right here. But we're going
to have to go down there at some point, you know."
"I don't know. And if it means dying, I don't see
why we should."
Daniel shrugged. "It's either try or die of starvation."
"We're not going to do that, either." MacGyver patted his stomach.
"Worst comes to the worst, you can eat me. That'll keep you going for a
"Try harder," Daniel suggested. He glanced at the small holes in the
door and lowered his voice, mouthing the words. "Do you think they're
"Let's find out."
The holes were just too high up for MacGyver to hook his fingers in and
haul himself up. He tried jumping and picked up a nice set of bruises
on his chin.
"Lift me," Daniel said, coming over to stand beside him. "I'm lighter
MacGyver nodded, going to one knee and cupping his hands. Daniel
glanced down and gave him a puzzled smile. "You can't just… you know,
pick me up? It's not that far out of reach."
"Oh." MacGyver stood, took a deep breath, and let Daniel position
himself between the doors and his body. "Starting to lift…"
Daniel wasn't all that light, but that wasn't why he was sweating as he
wrapped his arms around Daniel's waist and braced himself as Daniel
scrambled up. It wouldn't have been a problem if it hadn't been for
that kiss; he'd have kept his cool and done what needed to be done.
But he could still feel the answering pressure of Daniel's mouth and
the soft flick of tongue Daniel had gotten in just before MacGyver had
come to his senses and stepped back.
And now he had an armful of Daniel, wriggling, kicking and clambering
up, and in the process getting to find out just how much that wasn't
bothering Mac. Daniel reached his objective and worked his fingers
through the holes, peering through the middle triangle. MacGyver rested
his forehead against the small of Daniel's back and closed his eyes in
utter exhaustion and defeat. He couldn't do this. He couldn't
think. How could he rescue them if he couldn't come
up with anything but pictures of Daniel sprawled half-naked across a
"No sign of them," Daniel reported. "Coming back down."
MacGyver released his grip and let Daniel slide through the circle of
his arms until his feet hit the floor. Which was the point at which he
stepped back, Daniel turned around, and they got busy finding a way
Daniel spoiled the neat sequence of events by turning first, putting
his hands around MacGyver's neck and dragging him in for another of the
kisses that shouldn't be happening.
This one lasted longer. MacGyver was starting to suspect that Daniel
was addictive and he was hooked. As addictions went on the danger
scale, Daniel was right up there with all the ones he'd ever been
When it ended, Daniel was plastered against the door, hands were in all
sorts of places, and they were both panting, eyes glazed.
"That can't happen again." MacGyver stepped back and realised his hands
were still between Daniel's ass and the door so he wasn't getting very
"The only way that won't happen again is if one or both of us gets
"You sound real sure about that."
"Mmm." Daniel pushed away from the door and stepped sideways when Mac
snatched his hands back. "When we're out of here…"
"There's this ice cream shop in Cairo…"
"You want me to buy you an ice cream?" Mac couldn't
help the panicked squeak. Daniel was twenty-two. He'd said so, and he
wouldn't lie. Would he lie?
"You're twenty-two, right?" he asked striving for casual.
"Yes. A twenty-two year old who likes ice cream."
"Yeah, well, so do I…" Feeling his way here…
"So what's interesting about it?"
Daniel walked towards the stairs. "It melts when it comes into contact
with something hot."
"And water's wet. That all you've got?"
Daniel gave him a mischievous smile. "You're hot."
MacGyver screwed his eyes shut and shook his head. "No. That thing
you're doing? The flirting? Got to stop until we're home and dry, okay?"
He cracked open his eyes and gave Daniel a hopeful look.
"We're going to die, and it matters if I'm making it embarrassingly
clear that I'm attracted to you?"
"We're not going to die, but if we do, and there's time, you can knock
yourself out with coming on to me. Fair enough?"
Daniel pursed his lips. "You're weird."
"Yes. I'm good at it. But I'm also good at staying alive, so deal with
it." MacGyver took a steadying breath. "And fasten your shirt up, will
"I will, if you will."
"What?" MacGyver glanced down. "Oh. Sure."
The dead bodies were a welcome distraction from Daniel, but they
weren't as pretty. MacGyver stared down at them for a while, noting the
way they lay and trying to work out how they'd died. All three were
native workers, sprawled on their backs across the steps, their eyes
wide, their faces contorted in agony.
"Three…" Daniel said softly. "They sent them down together, do you
"Must have. I don't see any bullet holes, and looking at the way they
died, I'd think most people would choose a bullet than whatever that
He examined the walls, looking for any apertures that might have spat
out poisoned darts, but the walls were blank and smooth.
"Look at where they are," Daniel said thoughtfully.
"The one farthest away is on the twelfth step, the middle one on the
ninth, the top one, well, from the way the dust has been disturbed, I'd
say he rolled, but he died on the fifth step."
"They're very broad steps…"
"Yes, they are," Mac agreed. About three feet deep, instead of the
normal one foot and change, which is why the bodies hadn't rolled all
the way down to the bottom of the flight of stairs. Twenty-one steps.
"Five, nine, twelve…but they'd have trodden on each step, so I don't
see…" Daniel went into a trance, his mouth hanging open slightly, his
eyebrows knotted. MacGyver wondered if he looked that much of an idiot
when he was thinking. He'd have to do it in front of a mirror some time.
"It has to be a safeguard," Daniel said. "To prevent more than one
person going down to the gold. And I bet it means we'll have trouble
coming back up with it, too."
"Great. Just great." MacGyver turned back to the doors. "You know,
there has to be a way we can open these from in here…Cartwright touched
a panel, so there has to be a matching panel in here."
Daniel didn't turn his head. "No. Another security measure; you have to
ask to be let out."
"Now, see, that doesn't --"
"Yes, it does."
"I hadn't finished."
"I knew what you were going to say." Daniel's voice was abstracted.
MacGyver slid down to sit with his back to the door. "If I still had my
pack, I'd have us out of here like that," he said,
snapping his fingers.
"You carry explosives? Isn't that risky?"
"I don't carry them. I can make 'em, though."
Daniel spared the small landing a glance. "Nothing here looks remotely
capable of going off with a bang."
"Now, that's where you're wrong," MacGyver murmured, his eyes lighting
up. "Take off your shirt."
"What? I thought…"
"I need it to muffle the sound of the explosion," MacGyver explained.
Daniel wrapped his arms around himself protectively. "You can't muffle
with your shirt?"
"Yours looks older; mine's brand new. I'm not on an expense account,
"I'm on a scholarship! And you still haven't explained what's going to
"I'm going to mix the sand with some of the gold covering from the
doors, then add some of the chewing gum I've got stuck to my boot. A
bit of spit to bind it all together and I'll smear it along the hinges."
"Using a strip torn off your shirt --"
"Oh, so you're tearing it as well as setting it on fire?"
"As a fuse -- will you stop interrupting? -- I'll then light it with a
match and we'll be in business."
"Sand, gold, and gum is explosive?"
"Yes," MacGyver said with a shake of his head. "God, what do they teach
you kids at school these days?"
"That sand, gold and gum form an inert substance?" Daniel sighed. "How
do you plan to scrape the gold off? With your teeth?"
"It so happens that I always carry a Swiss Army knife with me."
"The one they took?"
"That would be the one," MacGyver agreed.
Daniel folded his lips and looked stern. "You made me believe you. Just
for a moment. You're just trying to take my mind off our certain death,
aren't you? I wish you wouldn't."
MacGyver stood. "Yeah, I'll admit I was making that up, but we're still
not going down booby-trapped steps to look for some gold we don't even
want." He reached into his back pocket and took out another knife. "And
if one knife is good, two are better. They took my pack, but they'd
have to take a lot more than that to leave me helpless."
He broke two blades on the wall, but the corkscrew prised open a hidden
panel on the third attempt. "Now, that's better…"
"I don't recognize those symbols," Daniel said, crowding in close.
"They're familiar, but they're not, if that makes sense."
"No. So you don't know what they say?"
"I speak eighteen languages, and read twenty, but that's not one of
"Old Cartwright figured it out, though." MacGyver gave Daniel a smile.
"We're brighter than him and Simon, right?"
"The sand we're treading on is more intelligent than Simon."
"So we'll work out the Open Sesame, get back across the bridge, alert
the camp, and be in Cairo in time for vanilla --"
"Works for me."
"In time for ice cream for breakfast."
Daniel pushed his glasses up. "Just why are you here?"
"Huh? I told you. What, you didn't believe that, either? I'm
investigating the thefts, but I guess I've done that now."
"It can't have been Cartwright."
"What? Oh… no, not his style. He's not interested in the little stuff.
My money's on Redfern."
"Andy?" Daniel smiled slightly, smugly. "I don't think so."
Huh. "It's definitely Redfern."
"Are you saying I can't judge a person's trustworthiness?"
"You tried to shoot me minutes after we met. Minutes."
"Your point would be?"
"Daniel, would you just shut up while I think? Please? If you and
Redfern had a...a… thing --"
"You heard me."
"There was no thing."
"Well, it sounds like there was!"
"Because I don't think he's a thief doesn't mean I think he's breakfast
in Cairo material!"
"Oh." Daniel's eyes got bluer when he was mad. And his nose wiggled.
Made it hard to stay angry with him. "Sorry. Okay, maybe it's the
professor. Cunning double bluff asking Pete to send me out here."
Daniel sighed. "No, it's probably Andy. Never mind."
"I'm just going to start pressing things," MacGyver announced to fill
"Don't touch!" Daniel said, reaching out to grab Mac's hand. "Try the
combination Cartwright used first. You could start the roof coming down
on us or something if you press at random."
"I didn't see what he pressed," Mac confessed sadly.
Daniel smiled and tapped it out and the door began to open.
Mac whooped. "Daniel, I could kiss you!"
"Wait for Cairo."
"No, I'm going to do it now," MacGyver said with renewed determination.
Daniel eyed him with something like wonder after the brief kiss. "You
think I'm lucky?"
"Starting to think you're lucky for me," MacGyver said.
He didn't change his mind even when they ran into Simon a few minutes
later, gun in hand, coming to check on their progress. Or gloat over
their lifeless bodies. Daniel froze, breathing fast, his eyes flicking
from the gun to the triumphant grin on Simon's face, and MacGyver lost
it, totally and completely.
His first kick took Simon's legs from under him, his second sent the
gun flying, and then he launched himself on top of Simon, punching the
smirk off his face, dimly aware that he was practically snarling.
This wasn't going to end with Daniel shot, dying, lost. It just wasn't.
Simon fought back once the shock wore off. Mac guessed that Simon
hadn't really gone hand-to-hand for a while; riding his reputation and
getting by on appearances. He was all hard muscles and attitude but he
was slow and a little sloppy.
And after Daniel had picked up the gun and slammed it down on his head,
he was unconscious and bleeding.
MacGyver wiped a hand across his mouth and stared at the scarlet stain,
feeling a little shaky. "I'm okay. Are you okay? You look okay."
Daniel crouched down beside him. "Yes. We need to go. Can you--?"
"I said I'm okay." He let Daniel help him up, swaying slightly. He'd
banged his head, or maybe Simon had been the one doing the banging, a
handful of Mac's hair in his fist as he slammed Mac's head against the
Daniel looked at the gun he was still holding, a dubious look. He was
gripping it as if it was about to go off and he was planning to jump
when it did, and it was making MacGyver's skin crawl.
"Get rid of it."
"We might need it," Daniel objected.
"No, we don't. Besides, I think we've established you'd never shoot
"We've established I wouldn't shoot you," Daniel
said gently. "I don't mind shooting people who're trying to kill us. I
"Look, just give me the gun, will you?"
Silently, Daniel passed it over, and MacGyver emptied it, dropped the
bullets into his jeans pocket and then handed it back. Daniel raised
his eyebrows but took it. "Back to the bridge?"
MacGyver nodded but gave him a sympathetic glance. "You want to look
around, don't you?" He wasn't sure how he knew that, but he did. Daniel
had to be simultaneously in seventh heaven at all this new stuff to
explore, and feeling tortured because they couldn't risk sticking
"It's not going anywhere," Daniel said with a sigh. "And Professor
Blake won't let them take the dig off him. We'll figure out how to
bypass the security on those steps and see what's down there."
"I'd like to help out on that," MacGyver told him. "I've got some leave
-- well, I'm not actually employed. More of a freelance consultant, I
Daniel beamed at him, clearly happy with that idea, and then his smile
faded and he nodded at Simon. "Shouldn't we, I don't know, tie him up,
"Or something," MacGyver said. "Why not put him back in that room we
were in? I'm guessing he doesn't know how to open it and I can cover
the panel inside up in any case."
They dragged Simon along the corridor to the room and dumped him at the
top of the stairs while MacGyver began to repair the panel.
"Let me take another look at the symbols," Daniel said, taking a small
notepad and pencil out of his back pocket. "I want to copy them down."
"Hurry up," MacGyver told him as Daniel eased in beside him and started
to scribble. "Cartwright's still out there, remember, and I'd like to
get us out of here in one -- Daniel!"
Simon hadn't stayed unconscious long. His fist struck, slamming into
Daniel's jaw as the man twisted around, sending Daniel to the ground in
a silent fold of legs.
"Oh, you just don't know when to stay down, do you?" MacGyver muttered,
getting a sneer in return. Simon obviously thought the strong silent
type was a look that was good on him.
MacGyver thought bruises would suit him better.
Pushing off from the wall and hurdling Daniel's body, he kicked off
round two of the match. Without Daniel watching, it took on a darker
edge to it, somehow, with Mac not hesitating to use every trick at his
disposal to end the fight as fast as possible, by whatever means he had
He wasn't sure that included a punch that had Simon staggering back to
fall down the stairs, though.
Simon's face filled with horror as he rolled down, arms flailing, and
came to rest beside one of the corpses; the one on the ninth stair.
His hoarse, panicked cry had Daniel's head lifting. "MacGyver…?" he
said muzzily. "What -- oh, God!" He scrambled up and over to Mac, who
spared him a quick glance, noting the swelling bruise on his jaw with a
flare of anger. "We have to get him out of there."
"Why? He can walk." MacGyver turned his attention back to Simon who was
crouched on the step, his eyes wide with fear. "Get back up here; I
won't stop you. But the fight ends, you got that? All of this ends."
Simon moaned, shaking his head. "Too late…"
"No, it's not." MacGyver beckoned to Simon. "Come
on, will you?"
Frozen in place, Simon simply shook his head.
"Why isn't he dying?" Daniel hissed in MacGyver's ear. "Nothing's
"I don't know." He called down to Simon. "You hear that? Nothing's
happening; maybe whatever killed them has run out of juice. Dead
battery or whatever they used back then."
Something that looked like cunning passed over Simon's face, erasing
the panic. "Yeah. Hey, yeah." He glanced around, visibly calming down.
"The others died quick; quicker than this."
"How do you know?" MacGyver wrinkled his nose in disgust. "You stood
here and watched them?"
"Outside the door and heard the screams," Simon corrected him, getting
up; although he was still hunched over a little as if he wasn't
entirely sure he was safe. "And I'm going down, not up. To the gold."
"How do you even know it's down there?" Daniel asked, his voice hard.
"What's Cartwright basing that on?"
Simon hooked his foot under the body on the step and sent it tumbling
down the flight of stairs until it came to rest against the corpse on
the twelfth one. MacGyver got what he was doing, but couldn't hold back
his distaste for the contempt Simon was showing towards men he'd helped
to kill. "Something your parents dug up. A book… picture, I don't know.
Cartwright stole it from them, anyway. Finders keepers, right? It
wasn't theirs, anyway. They were just grave robbers. All your fancy
degrees and grants don't change that."
"We're preserving the past." Daniel's voice was steady, almost bored,
but the hand at his side had clenched into a fist. "Learning from it."
"Stealing from the dead," Simon insisted. "Well, guess what? This time
they've got something worth having and it's going to be mine."
"What about Cartwright?" MacGyver asked suddenly. He'd been listening
with half an ear for footsteps and was tensed, ready to stop Cartwright
from imprisoning them again, but the corridor was filled with nothing
but emptiness. "Got the idea this was his show."
"It was until we got this far," Simon said, jumping lightly down to the
twelfth step and sending another body rolling in a bumpy descent. "I
don't need him now, though, do I? So I sent him to join Ali. Surprised
you didn't hear him yelling when he went over."
Daniel gasped, but MacGyver couldn't work up much surprise at Simon's
treachery -- or sympathy for Cartwright. "You can't think we're going
to let you walk off with the gold -- assuming there is any -- not even
the pitiful amount you can carry back up these stairs. Or didn't you
know that gold tends to come in heavy and really heavy?"
"You can't think I had just one gun," Simon replied mockingly, pulling
an automatic out of his jacket pocket and aiming, not at MacGyver but
at Daniel. "You won't be able to stop me when you're dead -- or are you
going to tell me this place is cursed and you'll come back to haunt me?"
"Count on it," MacGyver told him, edging sideways towards Daniel. If he
could just push him out of the way…
"Say goodbye to him, MacGyver. Just don't start crying."
"I only met him today." Maybe if Simon didn't think Daniel mattered…
"And I'm sure it was the start of a beautiful friendship," Simon
MacGyver turned his head a little, just enough to be able to catch a
glimpse of Daniel out of the corner of his eyes. "You know, it really
has been," he said quietly, knowing Daniel would understand. Daniel's
face was a fierce mask of concentration as he stared down at the floor,
and he didn't react at all, which sent a pang through MacGyver that he
tried to shrug off.
"Wait…" Daniel's head lifted and he stretched out a hand, abject,
pleading. "Please… I can help you. Don't… don't kill me. Please."
Shock and disappointment washed over MacGyver. He'd have expected
Daniel to die with dignity, somehow, fighting to the end. He couldn't
blame him for trying to appeal to Simon's better nature; he just wasn't
sure the man had one.
Then he realised what Daniel was doing. Moving. Moving forward, in a
slow, gradual shuffle, barely noticeable.
And then jumping, with all his weight, on the first step, the one Simon
hadn't touched because MacGyver's punch had sent him flying over it. A
bullet sang over their heads, pinging harmlessly off a wall, but it
didn't matter; as MacGyver yanked Daniel back, away, pulling him to
safety, Simon began to die.
MacGyver could never describe it afterwards; as the first bright rays
burst out of the wall, sharpening and focusing on Simon, he cried out,
shielding his eyes, and then his ears, as Simon began to scream,
endless ululations of agony ripping out of a throat that was taking its
last breath a long moment later.
"Oh, God," MacGyver said, turning his head away. "God --"
"I killed him," Daniel said huskily. "MacGyver -- I --"
MacGyver grabbed him by the arms, shaking him slightly. "Listen to me!
You didn't kill him; his greed did. And he was about to kill us, don't
Daniel shook his head, his eyes wide and scared. "No. I did it. I did
it on purpose. I worked it out; the first step had to be the trigger
because who would miss it out? Except he had to have done, so I... and
"That doesn't make sense," MacGyver said, his brain automatically going
to work on the problem even as he pulled Daniel to him for a hug. "If
the first step triggers it, how come some of them got halfway down?
There must have been a built-in sensor or… Daniel? Hey…"
Daniel's fist struck his shoulder again, making Mac wince. "I did it.
Stop treating me like I'm some sort of idiot or about twelve. I killed
him and I don't need hugging or a fucking lollipop."
"You're acting like an idiot and don't --" MacGyver
grabbed Daniel's fist and saved his shoulder another blow. "Stop it,"
he said quietly. "It's over. Just… stop."
"I'm sorry." Daniel freed himself from MacGyver's grip and took off his
glasses, rubbing his hand over his face. "Watching him die… it brought
back some memories, that's all."
"Your parents," MacGyver said softly. "Yeah, I can see that."
"You know --?" Daniel's mouth twisted. "Oh. You've probably got files
on all of us, haven't you?"
"More or less. Yours wasn't one of the names at the top of my list,
though. Blake thinks pretty highly of you and I trust his judgment."
Daniel blinked, shoving his glasses back on again. "You're kidding.
He's on my case all the time."
"Guess it's his way of making sure you learn something just to spite
He got a reluctant smile. "Maybe." Daniel reached out and laid his hand
on Mac's shoulder. "Sorry."
"Forget it." Mac ruffled Daniel's hair with malice aforethought. "You
hit like a girl, anyway."
Daniel narrowed his eyes and then started to laugh.
"That's better," MacGyver approved. "Now, let's get the hell out of
They'd almost made it back to the bridge when Daniel stopped dead.
"Wait. I just thought -- with Cartwright dead, there's no reason we
can't look around."
Daniel's mouth was looking stubborn again. "You heard Simon; my parents
were involved. They were on a dig here before I was born; the professor
told me I was following in their footsteps. They must have found this
"No, or the whole world would've known about it," MacGyver pointed out.
"A reference to it, maybe."
"Even so." Daniel turned and began to walk towards one of the corridors
they hadn't been down. "I'm going to explore."
"No, Daniel. We have to get back…"
"Why? It's the middle of the night. Professor Blake hates being woken
"I suppose so, but, Daniel…"
Too late. Daniel had vanished. It was either follow or leave him
behind. MacGyver followed.
The place was bigger than he'd expected. Way bigger. They walked
through silent corridors, their voices hushed, finding nothing and no
one. The stone walls gave way to gold panels after a while, making
MacGyver feel as if he was in a fairy tale, some fantasy where dragons
guarded hoards of treasure.
"No nothing," Daniel said, sounding frustrated. "Just corridors…"
"Notice the shape, though?" MacGyver had been mapping it as he went.
"It's a pyramid."
"I think we'd have noticed if there was a pyramid attached to the tomb.
They tend to stand out."
"Not if they're buried," MacGyver said, annoyed at Daniel's dismissive
tone. "Or haven't you noticed that the corridors have sloped down
gradually? We're deep underground now."
"What?" Daniel frowned at him. 'That's impossible."
"When you get a bit older, you'll find out that that's a word you don't
get to use often." MacGyver took a coin out of his pocket, bent down,
and carefully balanced it on its edge before letting go. It rolled away
from them, trundling down the corridor and gathering speed. "See?"
Daniel's look of apology was enough to restore his good humour.
"But it can't go down forever, and no one would bother building this if
it was just corridors; it's not a maze or anything, after all."
"So we keep walking," Daniel said. "And hope we don't get lost."
"I've been marking the walls," MacGyver told him. "We won't get lost."
The corridor took an abrupt left turn again and this time there was a
"Now we're talking," MacGyver said triumphantly. He hesitated at the
door panel, though. "You're sure about this? Because we can wait."
"I don't like waiting," Daniel said.
"It's not my favourite thing either," MacGyver admitted. "Well… okay. I
guess we should check it out."
He tapped in the same combination as before, and the door slid open.
"Oh…" Daniel said on a long exhalation of wonder.
"Did you notice the way that all of this is a bit hi-tech for Ancient
Egyptians," MacGyver said slowly, his gaze moving around the large
room. "Because unless I'm wrong, this looks like a…"
"Spaceship," Daniel finished. "Star Trek but… flashier."
"Yeah…" MacGyver breathed, stepping inside and going over to a console
covered, just covered, with buttons to press. "Flashier…"
"What? I know what I'm doing. When I was twelve I stripped down a
Corvette and added a jet-propulsion system. I couldn't drive it -- too
young -- but I tell you, if it hadn't blown up, that baby would have
flown." He stabbed experimentally at something
shiny. "Why don't they have labels?"
"Because the people using it knew what they were doing?"
"I told you, I --"
"No, you don't!" Daniel grabbed at MacGyver's wrist and tripped on the
edge of the console, falling forward and landing on top of the buttons.
All of the buttons.
Things started to happen very, very fast. Things that sounded loud and
made the room shake. Things that made the part of MacGyver's brain that
kept him alive kick in and get to work.
"It's taking off!" he yelled, grabbing Daniel's arm and dragging him
away. "We have to get out of here! Now!"
"We can't!" Daniel yelled back, shaking him off. "We can't just let it
crash; it could kill thousands of people…"
"We're in the middle of a desert." Daniel didn't look convinced. "And
this baby's going up. Feel it!" The power surging
through the systems was palpable. MacGyver's teeth were set on edge by
it and he felt as if his hair was standing on end. "Daniel, she's
going, one way or another, she's history, and we're not going with her.
Now, come on."
Daniel swallowed, gave one last yearning look around, and nodded.
They ran through the corridors they'd walked down so cautiously, their
boots slamming down against a trembling floor. MacGyver could feel the
earth above them being shouldered aside by the sheer force exerted by
whatever was powering the ship -- if that was what it was. It was
terrifying and exhilarating and he felt his lips peel back in a grin as
they reached the place where gold walls gave way to stone.
Where a door that had stood open, unnoticed by either of them, was
silently closing and blocking their escape.
"We're not going to make it!" Daniel said, slowing down which was so
not the right thing to do .
"Yes, we are!" MacGyver grabbed Daniel and shoved him forward. "Run,
Daniel slipped through and MacGyver took a deep breath and dived
forward, trusting that if garage doors were built not to chop feet off,
so were spaceship doors. The edge of the door caught his ankle and
hesitated, just for a moment, but he had no leverage to pull himself
forward, no momentum…
Then Daniel's hands were on him, dragging him clear, and the door
closed behind them with a silent finality.
"God." MacGyver rested his head against the stone floor, breathing in
frantic gulps that did nothing to slow his racing heart. "Thanks."
"Get up," Daniel said urgently. "MacGyver, we're not safe yet."
They weren't. Stones were starting to rain down on them as the ancient
structure gave way under the stress of the take off.
"The bridge… God, we have to go."
"I just said that," Daniel pointed out, helping MacGyver up.
They exchanged a single look of mutual panic that somehow helped to
calm MacGyver down. He cupped Daniel's face in his hand, feeling the
soft scratch of stubble and the clean line of bone. One last touch in
case they didn't make it, and no time for more…
The causeway was breaking apart when they reached it, already showing
cracks, splitting apart. They got to the edge and started across after
a moment when MacGyver's legs tried very hard to go into reverse. Hated
heights. Hated them. How did he keep getting into situations where he
The first place they had to jump was nearly the place where they both
died; MacGyver made it, but Daniel slipped, falling into a fissure ten
foot deep and looking as if it was going to collapse at any moment.
"Now, I'll take my shirt off," MacGyver called down to him, popping
buttons as he tore it off and wrapped it into a makeshift rope. Lying
on his stomach, arm outstretched, it was just long enough to reach
Daniel's desperately clutching fingers as he tried to climb up a sheer
"Think I've dislocated my shoulder," MacGyver gasped when Daniel was up
beside him again. "Try not to do that again, okay?"
"Do my best."
A chunk of rock smashed down behind them, shattering the pathway and
making them both yelp with shock.
They turned as one, and began to run, hurdling gaps, dodging falling
debris. Daniel was ahead of MacGyver, which was just how he wanted it
in case Daniel missed his footing -- if Daniel was behind him, he'd
never turn in time to grab him -- but Daniel wasn't stumbling.
Daniel was flying and MacGyver was flying with him, a roaring in his
ears, a yell fueled by terror and adrenaline pouring out of him, stone
and air surrounding him.
They made it across and half way up the tunnel to the store room when
the world ended with a bang, a slap of thunder dealt out by the hand of
"This is all your fault!"
It was the fifth, possibly the sixth time Professor Blake had said --
screamed -- that at him and MacGyver was getting bored. He pointedly
adjusted the bandage around his arm and stared out of the window at the
"My dig! Ruined!"
"Everything you were planning to excavate is still there."
Everything you knew about, anyway. "You're just
going to have to, uh, dig a little deeper."
"I did dig! I've been digging for two years and I had the tomb
uncovered, ready to be explored! And now it's lying under… it's buried
under… it's gone."
"I'm sorry," MacGyver said gently turning to him and seeing the very
real distress under the anger. "But how were we -- how was I to know
that there was a deposit of natural gas there and that it would, uh,
pick that moment to ignite and… bury stuff?"
As cover stories went, he just hoped he was out of the country real
soon, and out of reach of people who'd know damn well he was lying
through his teeth. Luckily, the professor had slept through most of it
and emerged, rubbing his eyes and pish and toshing the workers who'd
told him about explosions and balls of fire shooting up into the sky
and vanishing from sight.
Memories of spaceships shaped like pyramids were fading as people
rationalized their way out of looking ridiculous.
And MacGyver and Daniel weren't talking. To the mostly indifferent
police, to the professor, to each other.
Easy to claim partial amnesia after what they'd gone through -- and in
Daniel's case, it might even be true. He'd hit his head hard and
somehow MacGyver didn't think all of the memories of what had happened
the night before had been happy ones Daniel wanted to hang onto.
He'd killed someone. Sort of. That left scars. The sort you couldn't
kiss better, and wasn't that the kissing -- something else that
might be bothering him? MacGyver thought so. He'd limped over to
Daniel's bed in the small, makeshift hospital -- they hadn't been the
only ones injured -- and Daniel had jerked his head away from
MacGyver's tentative touch and given him nothing but a muttered
assurance that he was fine, now could MacGyver please get the hell out
so that he could sleep?
Except he hadn't been that polite.
MacGyver went back to staring out of the window, where the setting sun
was painting the rubble and the pit in blood and gold.
Tomorrow. He'd get up early, leave at dawn. Cairo would welcome him
into its busy, squalid, spectacularly sprawling embrace and he'd eat an
ice cream just because and be on a plane home by nightfall.
After he'd looked up that son of a bitch Redfern and confronted him
with the thefts. His hand made a fist, knuckles white. Oh, he really
wanted to hit someone. It'd hurt, it always did, but he didn't care.
His truck jounced and bounced over another rut in what they called a
road out here and what MacGyver called a scratch in the pebble-ridden
sand. He bit back a groan of pain as his bruises complained, and
settled his injured arm more comfortably in his lap. Driving one-handed
was making it difficult to avoid the potholes, which meant his arm was
getting jarred, but driving with both hands on the wheel left it
throbbing with pain after a few minutes, so he didn't have much choice.
He'd made it out of camp unnoticed by anyone but an old man, dreaming
over a fire, who'd offered him a small cup of black rocket fuel and
chuckled drowsily when MacGyver choked and spluttered. Thick and sharp,
the coffee had jolted him alert after a terrible night's sleep, filled
with blue eyes, bitten-lush lips, and endless dreams of falling, only
his scream for company. Sometimes, it'd been Daniel who'd fallen, and
MacGyver whose fingertips had grazed Daniel's outstretched, imploring
hand and failed to connect. Those were the ones he'd woken from with an
anguished cry locked in an aching throat.
Overhead a raptor wheeled, wide wings spread, catching the warm air
rising, looking for prey. MacGyver watched him, dividing his attention
between the hawk and the road, until the bird stooped and plummeted
down, spilling air, talons extended.
MacGyver slowed down until his heartbeat wasn't choking him anymore and
then pushed his foot down, letting his truck gather speed. The hell
with it. He'd outrace his demons, leave them in his dust…
With every jerk forward of the speedometer's needle, he felt better.
The truck was flying now, skimming over bumps, the road smoothing out
under its wheels.
Just like they'd flown…
He couldn't risk driving one-handed for this and his arm was throbbing
mercilessly, but the pain kept him focused. He tightened his grip and
felt the throb become a stab of pure agony.
Again. Tighter. Again.
Wanted it to hurt. Wanted something to hurt that he could admit to
feeling. Couldn't admit to missing Daniel, now could he? Couldn't
expect sympathy for the loss of… what? A friendship? Had they known
each other long enough for that? Maybe… Some people, you just knew,
right from the start. Like Pete. Like Jack. Could go years between
encounters and it was as easy to pick up where you left off as stooping
to pick up a bright, shiny stone on a beach.
Daniel had wanted more than his friendship, though. For a few hours, he
had, at least. Making him believe that for once, just once, dammit,
he'd found someone to see him as he was, the hidden loneliness, the
need -- Daniel's eyes had held it, too, that signal, that plea; unless
he'd seen his own hope mirrored back to him.
And Daniel had changed his mind. Retreated, backed off.
MacGyver heard the engine howl and felt the truck buck and quiver as he
took a curve in a skidding sweep.
Ahead, a Jeep waited. Not the one he and Daniel had abandoned; he'd
passed that thirty minutes ago, already stripped down by scavengers,
sand-scoured scrap metal now, no more.
He slowed because it was stopped, engine steaming, and that meant
someone might be in trouble. You didn't drive on by in the desert.
Might be a trap but you still stopped.
When he saw Daniel leaning against the side of it, his eyes squinting
against the rising sun, his mouth screwed into a quizzical smile, he
almost broke that unwritten law.
"I was starting to think I'd missed you," Daniel said. He nodded at the
road. "But there weren't any fresh tracks, and this is the only road."
MacGyver got out of the truck and took three long strides toward Daniel
before he stopped. "You were asleep when I left. How did you get here?"
He'd looked. One look from the doorway at a tousle of light brown hair
and the sleepy curve of a shoulder. He'd left before the breath he'd
pulled in at the sight had needed to be exhaled.
"I wasn't asleep. I was waiting for you to come over, tell me it was
time to go. When I heard your truck start up I realised I'd been stood
up." Daniel's lips twisted in a smile. "So I came after you."
"How?" It didn't make sense to his sleep-deprived, aching head. He
suspected it wouldn't have done if he'd been feeling better. "One road,
you were behind me, no one passed me. How?"
Daniel pushed his glasses up with a finger, blood and dust held in the
crease between skin and nail. All Mac's fingers were like that, too. "I
took a short cut."
"There is no… wait. Wait." MacGyver turned and
looked at the tracks. "You cut across the desert? In
that? In anything? Are you
He got a shrug. "It worked. Success redefines insanity to…hmm, I kind
of like audacious, don't you? Reckless, if you insist."
"I'll stick with insane, if you don't mind," MacGyver told him. "God!"
He walked in a circle, trying to get himself under control and failing.
"Suppose you hadn't made it? Suppose you'd made it this far and missed
me?" he burst out. "It could've been days before anyone came --"
"No, this is the only working vehicle at the dig," Daniel said
thoughtfully. "I'm fairly sure they'd have come looking for me."
"In what?" MacGyver howled.
"Ca-mels," Daniel enunciated slowly. "Ships of the desert. Things with
humps." He smiled and quoted softly,
"'And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
When we get the hump--
The hump that is black and blue!'"
He blinked curiously at MacGyver. "Why are you angry?"
"Yesterday?" MacGyver said tightly. "You…" He couldn't find the words.
Instead, he reached out and sketched a pat in the direction of Daniel's
head, before shrugging helplessly and letting his hand fall away.
"Oh." Enlightenment was chased by shame across Daniel's expressive
face. "That. I didn't think you'd take it that way. I'm not very good
at all this. I was just… angry."
"With me? Why?"
"You blew up my spaceship!"
Deep breath. He got light-headed, but it helped. "In the first place,
we blew it up together. In the second, it wasn't yours!" MacGyver
frowned. "Whose was it?"
"I don't know." Daniel nibbled his lip. "Not Ancient Egyptian."
MacGyver snorted "Not any era Egyptian! There's not a nation on Earth
who could've built that."
They contemplated the truth of that for a few moments in silence and
then Daniel said casually. "We've got no proof. My notebook -- gone.
The ship -- gone. Nothing."
"We'd better keep quiet, you mean?" MacGyver nodded. "We spout off
about this and we'll be lucky if the worst they do is laugh at us."
"One day," Daniel said, his gaze distant. "There must be more proof,
"Yeah, well, good luck with that," MacGyver said. He met Daniel's eyes.
"I mean it. Good luck."
"And goodbye?" Daniel said softly. "You can just leave me here; I've
got water, and like I said, someone will be along. Everyone will be;
the dig's going to be shut down and the fall semester starts soon,
anyway; I've got to get back to the States."
"Why would I want to leave you here?" MacGyver asked. "It's hot and
getting hotter; that ice cream would melt way too fast."
Daniel smiling beat the sun coming up for brightness. Daniel kissing
him, sand-gritted lips working his open for a smooth, wet tongue to
slip between, beat everything.
"Will it be hard? Saying goodbye?"
MacGyver shook his head, feeling the cool evening breeze stroke across
his skin through the flutter of the curtains at the open window. They
were hot, skin sheened with sweat, marked with bruises and cuts that
hadn't slowed them down. His injured arm might have done, but Daniel
was imaginative, MacGyver was inventive; they'd managed.
Managed very nicely.
"We just won't say it. We'll be in an airport, Daniel; I start saying
goodbye to you there and I'll lose it, big time. Tears, wailing,
clinging onto your ankle as you walk awa--ow! Hey!"
"You deserved it." Daniel contemplated the new mark he'd left on
MacGyver's thigh, shrugged, slid down the bed and kissed it.
"While you're down there…"
Daniel ran his tongue in a dreamily wavering line along the crease of
MacGyver's hip and then took a sharp detour. "You have sand
everywhere," he observed. "All the cracks…"
"You'd know…" MacGyver bit his lip to hold back a moan and then ruined
it all by whimpering. "God, Daniel…"
"I'll see you again."
There was enough insecurity under the statement to make MacGyver's
heart lurch, just a little. He twisted away from Daniel's mouth and
reached down, pulling Daniel up into his arms. "You'll see me. You'll
hear from me. You need me, I'll be there."
"Bet you say that to all your friends."
"I do, yeah, but I don't tell them I'll be dreaming of them. Missing
them. I don't tell them I'll never forget them."
"So we don't say goodbye?"
MacGyver slid his hand through Daniel's hair, feeling the strands part
and wrap around his fingers. "Not in any of those eighteen languages
you speak. No goodbyes."
Daniel nodded, turned his head to kiss the palm of MacGyver's hand, and
slid down the bed again.
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