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How Did so Much Happen Without me Knowing?

Chapter Text

Mac laughed at Wilson’s story.

“So then Jack made up some crap story about his wife and hightailed it out of there,” he continued.

“Hey, it was a good story. It got me out of there didn’t it?” Jack protested.

They all laughed, remembering that story. Today, they hadn’t been called out, so they were sitting in their bunks, exchanging old stories about the crazy things they had done in the army. Mostly, the rest of the team was talking. Mac had done some crazy thing, but they were with Pena, and it was still painful to talk about him.

“Have all of you guys pissed Jack off at the same time?” Mac asked suddenly.

“Oh yeah, one time we went out without him. He was pissed until we told him what we were doing. Granted that took a while ‘cuz Jack wouldn’t stop lecturing us about how he was the team leader,” Grant interjected.

“Why’d you leave him behind?” Mac asked, suddenly curious.

“He was lying in a hospital bed with a bullet in his shoulder.”

Mac couldn’t help but laugh. Even though he didn’t Jack to well, the story seemed like something he would do. Granted, it was probably something he would do too. Mac turned his attention back to Grant who had started telling the rest of the story.

“That wasn’t a pretty mission though. We had gone out to extract a few teams that had gotten caught by some terrorists. Half of them were dead, executed. The other half was completely fine, well as fine as someone can be after seeing their team members killed.”

Mac could see flashes of images coming to his mind. The story was painfully familiar. He shook himself out of the flashbacks and turned his mind back to Grant.

“One of the men…he had been tortured. I don’t know why he was the only one who was tortured, but it was bad. He was hallucinating and beat to hell. All we could tell was he had
hypothermia, pneumonia, and a broken leg. They didn’t release any medical information to us, they only told us he was alive and would make a full recovery.”

“Where…where did this happen?” Mac asked trying to hide the shakiness of his voice.

“You all right?” asked Derek.

Mac nodded and looked back at Grant. He needed to know, it had to be a coincidence, but it couldn’t be.

 

Jack quietly listened to Grant telling Carl’s Junior the story. He really had regretted yelling at them after hearing what had happened, but the past couldn’t be changed.
He watched Carl’s Junior asking where all that had happened and frowned at the expression on his face. It was a mix of surprise and…fear? Jack couldn’t be sure before Carl’s Junior’s face turned expressionless. That was until Grant told him.

Carl’s Junior shot to his feet. He looked at them for a second with a mix of expressions in his eyes and…tears in his eyes? Jack had never seen Carl’s Junior cry, hell he didn’t know a single personal thing about him, not even his age.

“What’s wrong?” asked Davis.

“That was…me,” was all Carl’s Junior choked out before running outside. A few seconds later, Jack heard the unmistakable sound of crying coming from outside. Jack stood up, shocked.

How come we didn’t know this? He never even hinted that he was tortured. And why did the army keep him here in this hellhole after all that happened?

Though, this would certainly explain Carl’s Junior’s nightmares he sometimes had. Jack hadn’t said anything to him yet because they all had nightmares and he didn’t want to make Carl’s Junior self-conscious about them.

Similar thoughts seem to have been running through everyone’s minds.

“I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s okay Grant. We know you didn’t mean to upset him.”

“How could something like this happen without us knowing?” asked Derek.

“I don’t know, but I intend to have a long chat with our CO,” replied Jack, “First, though, I need to make sure he’s alright.”

They all nodded, knowing Jack was the best person to comfort Carl’s Junior, especially since he had been through a lot more things then them, being in Delta and the CIA.
Jack could still hear Carl’s Junior crying as he walked outside.

Oh kid, how did all of this happen?

Chapter Text

Jack quietly stepped outside and sat down next to Carl’s Junior. He didn’t know what to say or do because he didn’t know Carl’s Junior well. He hadn’t picked up on how Carl’s Junior was comforted yet.

He decided to gently lay a hand on his shoulder which caused Carl’s Junior to flinch. Jack didn’t remove his hand and Carl’s Junior slowly seemed to relax under his hand. He seemed to almost lean into Jack’s touch.

I doubt anyone’s comforted him here. He doesn’t seem like he has any friends here. And the only name he’s ever mentioned is a friend in California named…Bozer?

Carl’s Junior never talked about his family or if he even had one. Jack didn’t want to ask in case it upset him. He could have looked at Carl’s Junior’s file, but that seemed like an invasion of his privacy.

I wouldn’t want some random stranger to read my file. He’ll tell you when he’s ready.

Jack turned his attention back to Carl’s Junior. It seemed like alerting Carl’s Junior to his presence just made him force himself to stop crying.

Why would he do that? I’m not going to tease him about that.

“It’s okay Carl’s Junior, no one will say anything if you cry.”

Carl’s Junior looked up at him with red rimmed eyes and tear streaks on his face.

“I’m to old to cry,” he said.

“Who told you that? No one’s too old to cry.”

Carl’s Junior looked at him like he was crazy, “My father told me that. And it’s true. You won’t survive a day in school if you cry.”

So his father’s a bastard and he was bullied. He doesn’t realize how strong he is. He’s already been through a lot in his life.

“This isn’t school, people cry here. We’re all adults, except you of course, we won’t make fun of you for crying,” said Jack, gently.

Carl’s Junior huffed, “I’m an adult, I’m 19!”

“Ha, I know how old you are now! And that’s all you got out of my motivational speech?” said Jack, faking exasperation.

Carl’s Junior smiled, “I should have known that was your ultimate purpose,” he murmured.

So humor gets him out of his head.

Jack wasn’t sure about physical affection yet because, although Carl’s Junior seemed to like it now, he had still flinched when he first touched him.

Jack decided to address the elephant in the room, “Your team was captured,” he stated.

Carl’s Junior immediately looked down, “There were 5 teams, 20 people. Only 10 made it out alive, and it’s all my fault that they’re dead.”

Tears were running down his face again.

“That’s not true!”

“How do you know, you weren’t there.”

“Angus, it’s not like you picked up a gun and shot them.”

Saying that was obviously a mistake, Carl’s Junior flinched violently, but Jack couldn’t tell whether it was what he said or the use of Carl’s Junior first name.

“I might as well have. And just call me Mac if you’re going to actually use my name.”

“Mac…how about you just tell me what happened. I’ll prove to you that it wasn’t your fault.”

Calling him Mac will take some getting used to.

Carl’s Junior, no Mac, looked down once again and squeezed his eyes shut. Just when Jack thought Mac wasn’t going to tell him, he started talking.

“We were going along with a few teams through a highly dangerous area…"

Chapter Text

“Hey, we have an IED on the road!”

It was a hot day, almost 102 degrees.

The team Mac had been assigned to was working with 4 other teams to go through a high-risk area to answer a distress call. The call was suspicious, which was why so many people were sent in. It was also the reason Mac was working with people who he had never met before today. Mac and Pena were the only EOD with the group, so they got out of the Humvee.

“You want to take it or should I?” asked Pena.

“I got this.”

Pena nodded, handing Mac a water bottle which Mac drank in one gulp.

Mac kneeled next to the bomb, it seemed like a simple design, but he wasn’t going to take any risks. Mac was so focused on disarming the IED, he didn’t notice the strange silence around him. Having 5 teams there made the chance of being attacked slim.

But, when Mac cut the final wire and looked up, he realized they were surrounded. Everyone had their hands up and the terrorists who were pointing guns at them were starting to tie everyone up.

They must have snuck up on us, there was no gunfire. That distress call was a trap.

He knew it wasn’t a good idea to put up a fight (yet), so Mac allowed himself to be tied up and thrown into the back of the truck.

 

The trip to their hideout was short. The terrorists quickly pulled everyone out and searched them. Their guns had already been removed, but now small objects like Mac’s knife or paperclips were removed.

After searching them, the terrorists untied them and threw them all into a large cell. Strangely, their seemingly useless gear was thrown in with them. The door was shut with a loud clang, and when Mac knew the terrorists couldn’t hear them, he spoke up,

“What do we still have?”

“Nothing useful.”

“At least tell me, nothing’s useless and they might have missed something.”

Someone smirked. “You haven’t been here long, we all know they didn’t miss anything.”

Mac glanced at Pena, “Even things you think are useless might end up as the most important.”

“And now he’s talking in riddles. And you wonder why no one gets along with you,” someone else said.

Mac knew his face turned red as he recognized Anderson who was a member of his own team.

They can’t even stop mocking me here?

Mac also knew that now was not the time to back down, “Have you ever picked a lock? The lock on the door is pretty simple and if we can open the door, we can sneak out. We have more then enough people to fight anyone who catches us.”

No one said or did anything.

“Come on, did you all suddenly lose your voices?” Pena said.

That caused everyone to look in their gear and list out what they had.

Mac felt his face turn even more red, he could already hear the comments about being the CO’s pet and being favored by Pena.

He turned his attention back to the items listed. A vague plan was forming in his mind, but before he could do anything the door opened again. The mac who entered was obviously the leader. He had two guards next to him which prevented anyone from attacking him and taking him hostage. He said something in what Mac recognized as Pashto. He picked up a few words he was saying, something about many men and good job.

He’s happy about having captured so many of us.

He then said something else which Mac couldn’t catch. One of the guards pointed at Mac. Mac and everyone in the room froze. It felt like no one was even took a breath.

The leader didn’t pull out a gun and shoot him to Mac's surprise, instead walking up to him and asking him in perfect English,

“You disarmed the bomb?”

Mac met his eyes but didn’t say anything. He already knew that they had seen him disarm the bomb, but he wasn’t going to give them any leverage. He put all the fear, that would make anyone else tremble at this moment, into a box and shoved it away somewhere in the back of his mind.

The leader made a small motion with his head and one of the terrorists walked up to him and put a gun to the back of his head. He cocked the gun.

Mac didn’t move a muscle, didn’t even breath. Even Anderson looked mildly worried for Mac.

“What about now?” the leader asked.

Mac shut his eyes but didn’t say anything.

“Oh, so we’re playing it this way,” he said.

He said something to the man holding the gun to Mac’s head and the man removed the weapon. It seemed everyone in the room exhaled at once.

“Don’t worry, I can be very…convincing,” he said nodding to the man behind Mac.

The man kicked out Mac’s knee, causing Mac to fall onto the ground. Before Mac could get up, the man grabbed a metal pipe and hit Mac’s leg with it, hard. Mac exhaled loudly but didn’t make any noise besides that. He noticed the rest of the terrorists were holding everyone else back, mostly Pena. Pena was straining against the man’s hold, but another hit to Mac’s leg brought his attention back to the man standing above him. When he was hit again, he couldn’t hold back a cry of pain. And after a few more hits, Mac couldn’t hold back a scream when he heard a snap. His vision went black and all he could think, or feel was the pain that was running up and down his leg.

 

When his vision returned, Mac was being held up by two men. The leader was standing in front of him,

“Are you convinced yet?”

Mac didn’t say anything.

It’s just a broken leg. You can take it. Don’t tell him a thing.

“Fine. Bring him to my special room,” he said with a smile, “And let’s see what we can’t convince you to do.”

Chapter Text

Mac would be lying if he said he wasn’t scared. Even with all the training he had been through, nothing prepared him for this moment.

He was dragged into the “special room” and thrown onto a chair. His hand were tied behind him, but surprisingly with the leather straps.

These won’t hurt my wrists unless I pull at them, but I can’t get out of them unless I cut them.

And that was impossible from the way he was tied. They also tied both of his legs, but with rope that dug into his ankles.

Why are they taking more care of my arms?

He got his answer when the leader said,

“We know you disarmed the bomb…MacGyver," he said glancing at his uniform, “And we want you to fix it.”

“You want me to fix a disarmed bomb?” Mac asked with a smirk.

“No, we want you to fix our other bombs, so people like you can’t disarm them.”

This is bad.

Mac knew he could easily make a bomb like they wanted, and he didn’t know how long he could hold on.

I just need to hold out long enough to escape.

The leader seemed to read his mind, “And you’re not going to escape. You need to be away from us to do that.”

Mac met his glare and held it. He knew it was silly, but he wasn’t going to look away first.

“Leave his head and hands intact,” he said.

Then he stepped back as the rest of the men came towards him. Mac groaned at the first punch at then everyone was punching and kicking at him. He couldn’t hold back his cries of pain when they kicked at his leg or broke his ribs.

When they stepped back, Mac was hunched over and panting.

“You seem stubborn, so I doubt we’ve convinced you yet,” he said.

Mac flinched when he heard water being poured. He knew what was about to happen and he scared. He tried to hide his fear, but his hands were shaking. He had never been this scared, not when his father was angry, not when someone beat him up at school, not even when he disarmed an IED. All those times, he knew it would be over quickly, everything would be fine in a little while. But now, he had no idea what was going to happen to him. He was likely going to be tortured until he broke or died.

Mac looked up at the leader who was looking at him,

“Scared? You can end this now,” he said.

Mac didn’t say anything but willed his hands to stop shaking.

The man who broke his leg stepped up to him with a smile on his face. He grabbed his hair and forced his head back with a sick smile. He put the towel on Mac’s face and slowly started pouring the water. Mac thrashed in his hold because all that was going through his mind was that he couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. He was drowning, and he fought to get air. He jerked his hands and legs against the restraints even through the pain it was sending in his leg. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t move, couldn’t think.

And then it was over.

Mac gulped in huge breaths, thankful for air. Before he could do anything else, he was drowning again.

He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe. Mac was trashing and screaming, just trying to get air. He just wanted one breath. The cold water was running down the back of his throat into his lungs, filling them up with water. His body was fighting against the unnatural process, but he was completely at the man’s mercy, he couldn’t stop drowning until the man stopped pouring the water.

And it was over again. Mac curled onto himself as best he could and started coughing up water. His ribs hurt with every cough, but he knew he had to get the water out of his lungs. Mac was shivering, drenched in water. Someone poured a bucket of water all over him, completely drenching him. He heard the unmistakable noise of a taser. He flinched as he realized why the water had been poured over him. His calculations of how water conducted electricity were abruptly cut off by the taser being touched to his torso.

He tried to scream, but the electricity was stopping him from taking a breath. Pain was traveling all over his body from the taser. All the could think of was the pain everywhere. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, all he felt was pain coming from the electrical currents running through him. And then everything went black…

 

Mac woke up suddenly, feeling a rush run through him like he had just cut the final wire on an IED.

“You aren’t going to get away from us that easily,” he said as a man pulled a needle out of his arm.

“These drugs will keep you awake and alert, it probably feels like you had an adrenaline rush.”

Adrenaline, that’s what it feels like.

Mac’s head was slowly clearing because of the drugs. He knew electricity could effect signals to and from the brain.

“Are you ready yet?” asked the leader.

Mac looked at the man but didn’t say or do anything.

The man who had been torturing him stepped close to Mac and Mac couldn’t stop the flinch. He noticed and smiled, stepping even closer. Mac couldn’t stop shaking at the moment. It felt like days had passed, but in reality it had been maybe half an hour.

If I can barely take this, how will I last any longer?

 

Mac gasped as he woke up again. It had been a long three days. He had been tortured relentlessly, the only break being the few minutes it took him to wake back up from the drugs.

Mac hadn’t said a word, only had screamed when the pain became too much. He knew he had pneumonia and hypothermia, but the drugs were holding off the worst of the symptoms.

He could tell that the leader was becoming impatient with him refusing to “fix” the bombs.

I have no idea where they’re going to plant them. Anyone could be hurt or killed by them.

Only the thought of innocent people being hurt had kept him from breaking and begging for mercy.

That was until he saw the rest of the teams being dragged in and forced to their knees in front of him. He saw their looks of shock after seeing the state he was in. He looked down self-consciously. He knew he looked terrible right now and he found it hard to meet anyone’s eyes.

He looked at Pena who was looking at Mac with horror and shock. He then glared at the terrorists with anger and hatred. Mac felt something in his heart after seeing that. He had never seen anyone looking that angry on his behalf.

Then the man who tortured Mac pulled out his gun and pointed it at the man at the end of the line. They all had gags in their mouths, so they couldn’t say anything. The leader looked at Mac expectantly.

Mac couldn’t make those bombs, but he couldn’t let that man die. He didn’t know if he had a family or someone waiting for him. After a long argument with himself, Mac hung his head. He couldn’t do it.

The leader grabbed him by his hair and forced his head up,

“I want you to see what you’re doing,” he said.

Mac jumped when the gun was fired. The man slumped over, he was dead. The gun moved to point at the next man who’s eyes widened. He tried to say something through the gag and then slumped over when the gun was fired again.

“I-” the gun was fired again.

“Stop!” the gun was fired again.

“Please…I’ll do it.”

The gun was fired again, Mac could see the man smiling.

“Please, stop…I’ll do it…I’m sorry.”

The gun was fired again. Mac couldn’t see through all the tears running down his face. He begged and pleaded with them, but they wouldn’t stop. After everything went quiet, the leader whipped the tears from his eyes. Mac quickly counted the number or men dead, their were 9 of them. Mac recognized some of them, but some were strangers.

They could have children, parents, wives, or girlfriends waiting for them at home. And now they won’t ever come home.

A small part of him was relieved that Pena was still alive. And the medic who was always nice to him, Eric.

“You’ll do anything, you said…” the leader said.

Mac nodded knowing that saying that could be a mistake, but he didn’t care at this point. He would gladly be tortured, rather then seeing his team members being executed.

Someone cut his bonds and pulled him to his feet and held him up. They injected the drug into him again before he could pass out. The leader stepped up to him and whispered into his ear,

“Then kill the man with the blond hair. Do that or I’ll kill the rest of your team slowly and painfully. Starting with your friend.” He said, glancing at Pena.

Mac’s mind went blank, he had been trained to disarm bombs, defend himself, apply medical care to anyone, but no one had told what to do when he was being forced to kill one of his own. A gun was pushed into his hand.

“Only one bullet, so make it count. And my men will stop you if you try to kill me.”

Several guns were pointed at him. Mac looked at Pena. He looked confused then his eyes widened when he realized what was going on. Mac looked away, he couldn’t meet Pena’s eyes. Mac’s hand shook as he raised the gun. The man’s eyes widened as he tried to say something. Mac put his finger on the trigger, with his hand shaking violently. He had to do it, but he couldn’t. He had to, but he couldn't.

He slumped in the men’s hold and put his arm down.

The leader laughed, grabbing the gun and pointing at him. Mac closed his eyes, he wasn’t scared. All he could think of was that with one gunshot, everything could be over. But instead of feeling the pain of a bullet going through Mac, Mac heard an empty click. Mac opened his eyes. The leader stopped laughing suddenly and came up close to him,

“If you had listened to me he would be alive now.”

Mac flinched as he heard another gunshot and another body hitting the ground.

“Throw them back into the cell,” the leader said.

Tears blurred his eyes as he was dragged back to his cell.

What have I done?

Chapter Text

Mac gasped as he woke up again. He looked around wildly until he realized he was sitting on the ground in the cell. Pena and Eric were kneeling over him, looking worried.

“Are you okay Mac?” Pena asked.

Mac looked at him before looking down at the floor, he couldn’t meet Pena’s eyes, not after what he had done. Pena gently laid his hand on Mac’s shoulder,

“Mac…look at me. I need you to tell me what they did, so Eric can help you.”

Pena sounded scared and worried.

Why does he sound like he cares? No one cares about me.

“Mac…?” he asked again.

“They just beat me, waterboarded me, and electrocuted me.”

“Oh God Mac. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you from this,” Pena said in horror.

“It’s not your fault, it’s my fault, it’s all my fault,” Mac said.

“This isn’t your fault. I want you to get any ideas that say otherwise out of your head, okay? What happened isn’t your fault.”

Mac nodded to make Pena feel better. But he knew what Pena said wasn’t true. Everything was always his fault, everything happened from his mistakes.

“What…what did they want from you?” Pena asked after a long silence.

“They wanted me to improve their bombs, so it would be impossible for EOD to disarm them. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do anything.”

“I know. It’s okay now, Mac.”

“It’s not okay. They’re all dead because of that. If I had just listened to him-”

“You did what you were trained to do. You couldn’t have known what was going to happen.”

“I should have known.”

“Mac…nothing that happened was your fault in any way. I don’t know where you got that idea from or why you always seem to blame yourself, but it’s not your fault. If you want to blame someone, blame those terrorists, okay?”

Mac nodded.

“I want to hear you say it,” Pena said.

“It…it wasn’t my fault.”

“Good…now let Eric check you out.”

Eric gently tried checked Mac’s pulse, but quickly withdrew his hand.

“You’re soaked and freezing! You should be shivering.”

“The drugs…they stopped me from shivering.”

“That’s not good, they’re stopping you from getting warm. Anything else I should know?”

“I’m pretty sure those drugs are the only thing keeping me from collapsing right now.”

Eric nodded. “Broken ribs, hypothermia, pneumonia…you seem pretty dehydrated and malnourished. When’s the last time you ate or drank something?”

“Uh…breakfast at base and that water Pena gave me.”

Mac noticed his words were starting to get slurred and he was starting to have a hard time keeping his eyes open.

“We need to get him in dry clothes. Anyone have and extra shirt and pants?” he yelled to the rest of them.

Everyone looked at Mac with hatred and distain. No one moved to help him. One glare from Pena got someone to pull the clothes out of their pack and throwing it at them. Eric and Pena gently helped him into them, leaving his soaked clothes aside to dry. Mac sighed, the clothes were dry and warm. Eric grabbed some bandages out of his bag and wrapped his leg with it. Mac groaned when his leg was moved.

“Sorry, sorry.”

Mac knew he had to help them escape before he fell unconscious, “I can make a radio with what we have.”

He listed the materials he needed. Pena nodded, but before he could even get up, the cell door was opened again. Mac flinched as the leader came over and knelt next to him. He pulled out a needle and injected him with the drug again. Mac’s vision cleared, and he stopped shivering. The terrorists pulled him to his feet and started to drag him out of the cell again.

“What do you want from him?” Pena yelled at them.

“I’m sure he’s already told you,” said the leader stepping in front of him.

“Take me instead, I’m a bomb tech too.”

Mac’s eyes widened, and he shook his head, but one jab to his leg stopped him and had him curl over in pain.

“How heroic, but I think not. It’s too much fun torturing MacGyver,” he said with a smile, “But if you are that insistent, we can work here.”

The leader nodded, and the men dropped Mac onto the ground in a heap. The rest of the terrorists formed a separation between Mac and the rest of the team. One man was holding back Pena. The man who tortured him advanced towards him with the taser. The difference this time was that Mac wasn’t tied to a chair. Mac scrambled backwards dragging his broken leg. He could hear the leader laughing at his pathetic attempts to get away. Mac gasped as his back hit the wall.

And suddenly he was screaming. It hurt too much, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t think. The electricity was running through him, freezing him in place. His voice was raw from screaming and all that was coming out of his mouth was a hoarse shout.

When Mac was freed, he collapsed and curled up in pain. He took deep breaths trying to calm himself down.

I can’t take this anymore. I just want this to be over…I just want this to be over.

Mac hadn’t noticed the tears that were running down his face. He knew it was childish, but he wanted his mother. He hadn’t missed her this much in years, not since that one night his father had yelled at him for crying because he missed her.

Mac waited for the pain to come, but it didn’t. Instead, his head was pulled up painfully by his hair. The leader was smiling at him.

“Have we convinced you yet?”

Mac shuddered remembering what he had promised 4 days ago. Mac slowly nodded, trying to look down. The leader let go of his hair, causing him to collapse once again.

“Good,” he said. He told one of his men something in Pashto.

Mac glanced at Pena, surprised by what he saw. Instead of seeing disappointment and anger, he saw sadness and fear. He could see tear streaks on Pena’s face. Mac quickly looked away. He knew he had disappointed all of them.

I can’t even take a bit of torture.

Mac gasped as a deep inhale caused a sharp pain to run through him. He curled over trying to catch his breath, but he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe. Mac could hear voices calling his name and he was confused because he wasn’t being waterboarded or electrocuted. Then why couldn’t he breathe?

Mac’s vision was starting to darken. He tried to blink away the dots in front of his eyes, but he couldn’t breathe.

And then everything went dark and Mac felt himself fade away…

Chapter Text

Wilson and the rest of team stood outside the compound. He had been sitting with the CO doing a debrief when the location for the missing 5 teams had been figured out. He had immediately volunteered to go extract them.

The medics were waiting by the Humvee, no one knew the state that everyone would be in. It had been 4 days since they went missing, after all.

Wilson nodded to the rest of the team and they entered the building. They shot anyone who got in their way. The first room they cleared had a chair in the center of it. The floor around the chair was soaked and Wilson could see various “tools” on a shelf. He sadly had seen this too many times in all the missions he had gone on, and it never failed to anger him how inhumane people could be.

Wilson turned his attention to the rest of the team, who were kneeling next to some bodies, checking their pulses. They shook their heads at him and he couldn’t help the wave of anger run through him.

“They weren’t tortured, and their deaths were instant,” Grant said.

It was a small reassurance, and they took what they could get.

If they weren’t tortured, who was? And are the rest of them still alive or are we just going to find more bodies?

 

The team followed the voices until they came to a large cell. There were a lot of terrorists holding their guns to the missing men. Wilson quickly counted them, they were all here. And alive.

Well, he wasn’t sure about the man who was lying on the ground. He was still, too still. And it was obvious he was the one they had been torturing.

Why only him? What did they want from him?

Wilson quickly knelt over him checking his pulse while the rest of team secured the room. He was cold to the touch and had a weak pulse, but he wasn’t breathing. Wilson quickly started giving him breaths, until the medics came inside. They quickly took over, putting an oxygen mask over his face and sticking a large needle into his chest.

His lung collapsed.

Wilson went over to the rest of the team to see how they were doing. Everyone seemed pretty shaken up, but unharmed. The leader, he assumed, came up to him and shook his hand.

“Thank you,” he said.

Wilson read his name, Pena. Pena sounded pretty desperate and Wilson couldn’t blame him.

I wonder if they had to watch.

“Of course, if you want to go to the hospital with your team member then we can take you.”

Pena and another man, Eric, nodded, but the rest of the men shook their heads.

“Are you sure?” he asked. Why wouldn’t they want to know if he’s okay?

“Why would we want to go to the hospital with him? We’re all fine.”

“To see how he’s doing…?” Why does it sound like we’re having two different conversations?

The man smirked, “I’m sure he’s fine. He wasn’t hurt that bad, he’s just trying to be dramatic. He just wants us to pity him.”

Wilson can see Grant curling his hands into fists and Derek and Davis holding him back.

That bastard. If Jack was here he would have already punched him, and no one could have held him back.

Pena shot a glare at him and he stopped trash talking immediately. Wilson took Pena and Eric to the Humvee with the medics and let the rest of the team escort everyone else and the bodies back to base.

I hope the shock of what happened is the only reason he was talking like that and he isn’t always like that…

 

Mac slowly walked across the hall towards the memorial for everyone who had died in that terrorist compound. He had been discharged from the hospital yesterday but was still on crutches. It hurt to use the crutches, but he preferred that over the wheelchair.

I deserve to suffer after everything I did.

Pena and Charlie had insisted over and over again in the hospital that what happened wasn’t his fault, but he knew they were lying.

They just wanted me to feel better. That’s why Charlie flew in to see me, they’re just pretending.

Mac knew he wouldn’t be welcome at the memorial, but he had to go. He had to find out who died because of him.

Anderson glared at him when Mac walked inside. He already knew what Anderson was thinking,

How dare you come here? After everything you did, they’re all dead because of you.

He couldn’t blame Anderson for being angry at him, after all one of the men who had died was his childhood friend.

Mac turned his attention to Pena who had stood up.

“Sit down, you look like you’re about to fall over.”

Mac shook his head, “I don’t want to take your seat.”

Pena gave him a look, so Mac sat down.

 

He couldn’t help the tears that fell down his face after hearing about everyone’s lives, how much they were admired and missed. What they had done for people.

They’re all gone because of me.

Mac could feel the accusatory stares at him and he couldn’t take it anymore. He got up and left as fast as he could.

Mac sat in his bunk and sobbed, voices accusing him were shouting in his head.

You should have been faster…you should have noticed it was a trap…you should have saved them…

 

That’s where Mac cut off his story. Jack knew there was more to what happened afterwards. He hadn’t noticed that tears were streaming down his face from hearing what happened to Mac.

I doubt he let anyone know what happened or how he was feeling.

Jack had heard Pena died two weeks before Mac joined their team.

If my math is correct, Mac was only on duty two weeks before Pena died.

After going through all that and finally feeling a bit better about what happened, Mac’s only support died. And he went through a guilt cycle again.

Mac was wiping the tears from his eyes. Jack knew he was tired so decided to let Mac sleep, he would pound into Mac’s head that everything wasn’t his fault in the morning…

Chapter Text

Mac had fallen asleep, leaning against the building. Jack knew he had been through a long day so instead of waking Mac up, Jack gently picked him up and carried him inside. He put him down on his bunk and tucked Mac in. Mac sighed, cuddling in his blanket and murmuring something Jack couldn’t catch. Jack took a second to look at the sleeping kid, he looked almost peaceful, like he had never seen war or any of the terrible things that happened to him.

Jack turned towards the rest of the team, who were also looking at Mac. He could see the sadness and anger in their eyes. Jack knew they had heard everything Mac had told him because they were sitting just outside.

“Get some rest,” Jack told them, “I’m going to talk to the CO.”

They nodded so Jack turned around and pulled out his burner phone.

“What is it Dalton?”

“It’s about Mac.”

He sighed, “So you finally found out. I was dreading this phone call.”

“Why? Because you know you messed up? Mac shouldn’t have been kept here after all of that happened to him. He should have been honorably discharged.”

“There’s no rule stating that Dalton, as long as he passes his psych exam, he stays.”

“After all that, he passed his psych exam?” Jack asked incredulously.

“He never took one after your team rescued him, he didn’t fail any exam, so he stays.”

Jacks jaw dropped, “You can’t do that, you’re just manipulating him to stay in this hellhole.”

“Oh I can do this Dalton, and I will. He’s the best EOD Tech we have, I’m not losing him just because he can’t pass a psych exam.”

“His family will sue you for doing this,” Jack threatened.

“He doesn’t have any family,” he shot back.

“Well then I’ll-”

“Are you threatening me Dalton?”

Jack just cut off the phone before he could say anything worse and get himself arrested.

How do so many bad things happen to Mac? I always suspected he didn’t have a family, but I hoped it wasn’t true. What can I do to help him?

First, Jack decided, make sure he gets out of here alive and in one piece. Help him get through this as best as possible and make sure he never comes back here again. Just as Jack had these thoughts, he heard a shout.

Mac.

He quickly rushed over to Mac’s bunk and tried to wake him up. He gently talked to him, not knowing if touching him would make the dream worse. Mac made a noise like a trapped animal trying to escape and Jack felt his heart break.

Oh kid…how could you go through all of this and make it out in one piece? How are you still so strong?

No wonder Mac didn’t like guns and Jack couldn’t blame him, he could never imagine being told to shoot one of his teammates.

Mac finally sat up with a gasp and Jack immediately grasped his hand to comfort him. Mac flinched, but eventually relaxed into Jack’s touch.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up,” Mac said.

“Don’t apologize for having a bad dream, we all have our fair share of them. Anyways, I wasn’t sleeping.”

“Oh…sorry for disturbing you.”

“What did I just say? There’s no need to apologize.”

“My dad always said that I shouldn’t ever wake anyone up with my nightmares,” Mac said, he looked genuinely confused.
That bastard…no one deserves to have a father like that, especially not someone as smart and kind as Mac. And just what kind of nightmares would Mac have that his father would notice? It couldn’t have been about the army because Mac never went home after he was deployed.

“What were you dreaming about?”

Mac looked down, “Trust me you’ll feel better after telling me,” Jack said at Mac’s silence.

“I don’t want to burden you.”

“You’re not a burden to anyone Mac. We all love you and we all need you. I don’t care what people have told you your whole life, it’s not true, okay?”

Mac blushed at Jack’s compliment and Jack could see the appreciation in Mac’s eyes, “I was drowning…I was in that room again and he was standing over me and-”

Mac cuts himself off with a sob.

“Calm down Mac…you’re safe now. He can’t hurt you ever again.”

“But I can’t get him out of my head, I know I’m safe, but I can’t stop seeing his smile every time I close my eyes.”

“You’re in control of your dreams Mac, he doesn’t have any place in your head. He’s gone now, just think of that anytime you see him in your head again.”

Mac looks down again.

And Jack knows that this isn’t over, it’s going to take more then one nightmare, more then one conversation to help Mac get through this, but he’ll be there every step of the way.

“I’m not going anywhere kid, not without you. And that’s a promise, one I will never break.”

“Thank you,” Mac said quietly.

Jack smiled, “Anytime kid, anytime.”