MacGyver stood with his friends, watching as the members of Colton family chatted with them all the while helping them load up several buttermilk pies for them to take home with them. It had turned out to be a win for them all, but it had been touch and go for a bit. In the end he was just glad everyone was safe and the bad guys were locked up. The one thing he was not looking forward too, was explaining to Matty why Phoenix Foundation owed the Colton's four million dollars.
He turned at the sound of his name and was a bit surprised to realize it was Mama Colton who had called to him. Smiling at her, MacGyver jogged over to where she stood on the porch of her diner. "Hey, Mama," Mac greeted. "I want to thank you again for all the pies. They really are amazing.
"You're more than welcome, sugar," Mama replied, as she gestured for him to step inside the diner. She closed the door behind them and gestured for Mac to sit at the counter, where she joined him.
"Is something wrong?" MacGyver queried, because she had a very serious expression on her face. Suddenly he wondered if he had done something to offend her, which is the last thing he wanted to do. Mac found himself really liking the woman and, despite them all getting off on the wrong foot, he liked her whole family.
Mama Colton studied the young man before her, fondness and amazement glittering in her eyes as she took in his slight build, his earnestness and his youth. He was ridiculously smart, creative and he had a certain gravitas about him. When she looked into his beautiful blue eyes she could see pain and grief and sadness. There was a subtle maturity to him as well that belied his pretty young face and it was obvious, at least to Mama, that he was wise beyond his years. This boy wasn't innocent, but he was guileless. She had known he was lying the minute he opened his mouth.
Reaching out, Mama Colton patted MacGyver on the arm. "You've known tragedy in your life, haven't you?" She almost smiled at his startled reaction at her words.
"Hasn't everyone?" Mac countered, unable to meet her frank gaze. He felt as if she were able to see into his heart and soul.
"True enough, sugar," Mama allowed. "But I think you've seen more than your fair share in your very young life."
Mac shrugged, because he couldn't deny it and he didn't want to lie to her. "My Grandfather used to always say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Mama smiled. "He sounds like he was a very smart man. So tell me, is there someone special in your life?" For whatever reason, Mama wanted to get to know MacGyver better. He was unique and, most definitely, special in his own way.
"I thought there was," MacGyver admitted, and he had no idea why he was sharing his life story with Mama. The only person he ever discussed these types of things with was Jack, and they mostly did it through figurative commentary and sarcastic one-liners. "It turns out there were a lot of things I believed in were nothing but lies."
"In other words, a lot of people you trusted betrayed you," Mama countered, her heart aching for MacGyver. "What about your parents, sugar? Are they still in the picture?" Catching the way MacGyver winced, she could guess that wasn't the case, but she waited for him to respond.
MacGyver sighed softly, a part of him deciding he would politely decline to answer and say his goodbyes. But, for some reason, Mac's mouth controlled his brain and he found himself blurting out, "Mom died when I was five and Dad left when I was twelve." Seeing the sadness in Mama's eyes at his words, MacGyver ducked his head and whispered, "It was a long time ago." He had dealt with it and moved on with his life.
Mama found herself wanting to take MacGyver into her arms and hug him hard, but she settled for offering her sympathy and her opinion. "I'm so sorry about your mother, sugar. As for your dad...you can't fix stupid. Walking away from you is his loss. He missed out on getting watch you grow into an incredible young man."
"You say that as if it's a fact," Mac countered. "But you don't even know me, Mama. There's nothing incredible about me."
"I know enough to know you're selling yourself short, sugar." Rising to her feet, Mama gave in to her impulse to hug MacGyver hard. She felt him stiffen in her embrace at first, but it wasn't long before he melted into it and Mama smiled to herself. This boy needed a mother's love, he was empty and aching for it, and she was more than willing to offer him whatever he asked for. Even if he didn't ask with words.
A knock on the door made MacGyver stiffen and pull away. He found himself missing the warmth of Mama's embrace and he was surprised at himself for acknowledging that fact, if only to himself. When Jack called out his name, Mac made to rise, only to feel Mama ruffle his hair before pressing a kiss to his forehead.
Jack called for him again. "Mac, you in there? Time to go, bud!"
"Coming!" MacGyver called back. He made it to his feet this time, offering Mama a wobbly smile. "It's been a pleasure," he told her. If you're ever in Los Angeles, come look me up."
"I'll do that," Mama promised, pulling her phone out of her apron pocket and handing it over. "Give me your number." She watched him tap it in then slid he phone back in her pocket. "Oh...before you go..." she moved behind the counter and pulled out big bag with handles that was packed to bulging. "I put together a few goodies for you, sugar. You need to put some meat on your bones."
MacGyver had heard that before but he resisted the urge to roll his eyes and comment as he accepted the bag. "Thanks. I'm sure the others will appreciate it as well."
Mama was sure they would and said as much. She then watched as MacGyver turned to leave, only to call him back one more time. "You saved my family," she stated. "I can never thank you enough for that, nor will I ever forget it. I consider you a part of my family now, Sugar." Mama moved to stand before the young man, locking eyes with him. "That means, if you ever need me, you call me. I know you have my number. Call me any time for any reason, sugar. I mean it."
"Thanks, Mama," MacGyver replied. "You might regret making that offer though, especially since I might be tempted to take you up on it," he warned her, teasingly, to cover up how much it meant to him. He might have blurted out more, but Jack picked that moment to open the door.
"Let's go, brother," Jack beseeched him. "Matty will be clocking us."
MacGyver had no doubt about that. "I'm coming." He gave Mama a one-armed hug before accepting the bag packed with food. "Take care," Mac said to her.
Mama waved him off, feeling a surge of warmth for the boy. "You do the same, MacGyver, and don't be afraid to come visit."
"Me too?" Jack asked, grinning. He was thinking about more pie already.
"You too, Mr. Delta Force," Mama replied, before shooing them both out the door. She closed it behind him and hummed to herself as she headed into the kitchen. She had an idea for a new recipe, a variable on strawberry-rhubarb pie and once she had it perfected she would make plans to visit Los Angeles so MacGyver could taste test it for her.
MacGyver got into the passenger seat of the rental car, after depositing the bag of food into the back. He found himself smiling, even when Jack turned the radio to the country station. Listening to Riley and Bozer trying to threaten Jack into changing the station lulled MacGyver into a light doze.
Jack shook Mac awake when they reached the airport. "Hey, you okay?" he asked, when MacGyver startled awake.
"Never better," Mac replied, and he meant it. "So we've got a couple of hours to kill on the plane, and they say confession is good for the soul," he prompted. "Why don't you tell us about you and Matty?"
"Why don't you bite me," Jack shot back, glaring at Mac.
Which just made MacGyver laugh and clap him on the back. As annoying as it was that Jack didn't want to share the details of his time with Matty in the CIA, he knew he just needed to be patient. In the end Jack would tell him everything...they were family, after all.