And it was going everywhere, time seemed to slow as MacGyver felt something tear through the side of the canister. He glanced down, dread settling as the green gas spewed from the side. He needed to do something, and he needed to do it fast.
The small room with the locked door was Mac's only choice, he struggled to take a breath as the gas filtered into his lungs. He heard noise but refused to look Jack properly in the eye as his friend screamed at him from the other side.
He had to think of something. His brain running with information.
Nerve gas, real nerve gas… It was water soluble so he had to get rid of it with something else, how to remove air from a room…A fan? A tunnel? A vent! That would have to do... He had to stop anyone from being exposed. Cage. Jack. He couldn't let them in. They had to be safe… But he was exposed…
Too much exposure, and the gas would severely disrupt the body's signalling between the nervous and muscular systems, leading to a prolonged neuromuscular blockade, flaccid paralysis of all the muscles in the body including the diaphragm, and then... death by asphyxiation. Mac hit the side of his head as his brain rattled off a precise medical breakdown of exactly what would happen to him as time ran out. Which meant he couldn't afford to panic, there wasn't time to panic.
Okay a vent. Focus on the vent.
The vent had sucked away the gas quickly, for which Jack was grateful because it meant Mac was finally going to get himself outta there. Currently there were a lot of worries in Jack's head. He had actually been listening at the briefing when Cage and Mac had pointed out just how deadly this gas could be... But Mac was still standing, that had to be a good sign, right?
Jack knew he had spoken to soon when MacGyver opened the door and propelled forwards, loosing his balance. Jack was ready though, as always, catching Mac before he could damage himself further.
Cage looked just as concerned as he did when Mac explained that no he was not okay just yet, and that they were on the clock to get him to a hospital.
Now Jack had driven pretty crazily at points in his life, normally when their lives depended on him speeding away from gunfire and what ever else was thrown at them. This matched one of those times. His hands sweating slightly as they gripped at the wheel. Cage had Mac supported on her shoulder in the back of the truck.
"Jack, he's loosing focus." Cage updated, gripping Mac's shoulders hard.
"Now Mac, don't you fade on me yet. According to your clock we've still got a good few hours yet so stay with me." Jack yelled, trying and failing to keep his eyes on the road.
A quiet mumble was Mac's answer, Jack huffed, it was enough for now.
They drove like this for another twenty minutes before problems started to arise.
"Jack, I don't want to slow you down but Mac's getting really twitchy now. I think the muscle spasms are kicking in, he's sweating a lot. I'm worried he might be sick." Cage was swift with her diagnosis, Jack sighed, there was no response from Mac this time.
"I don't know what we can do Cage, the hospital is so close now. Right...Um, it might sound strange but you think we could swap? Let me take a look?" Jack knew it maybe wasn't the smartest decision, after all swapping the driver would cost them a few extra minutes but it was killing Jack not to be beside his partner, and really if Mac had been right then they still had time before it would become deadly. Cage didn't argue, instead quickly slipping in behind Jack as he took his foot off the pedal and slid off the seat. The van swerved to the side sharply, knocking Jack's balance before Cage quickly reined in control. They were back on the straight and narrow now, with only a couple of car horns as consequence.
"Ah screw you." Jack muttered, really those cars had no idea what they had all just been saved from. Jack clambered over the front seats, carefully lowering into the back. Mac had pressed his back up against the side of the door, head tipped back against the window. His face was incredibly pale, his brow sporting beads of sweat, eyes squeezed shut.
"Mac, you hear me?" Jack gently nudged Mac's knee.
"-ack?" Mac's eyes opened weakly, throat tight and sore.
"We're almost to the hospital okay man? You just got to hold in that bit longer."
"Not goin' anywhere." Mac confirmed managing a half smile in Jack's direction.
"That's my boy." Jack chuckled in return.
All too suddenly Mac was pressing his hands hardly into his side, back arching as he painfully gasped. His leg's kicking out as his whole body tensed in pain.
"Woa, woa Mac." Jack was there instantly, hands pulling at Mac's own, not wanting the kid to do any more damage. Mac's eyes were once again squeezed tight, his breathing harsh and quick as his body cramped uncontrollably. "I'm sorry partner I know, they're cramping, just breathe through, it'll pass."
Jack didn't think Mac was aware but the kid was now squeezing Jack's hands hard, like the spasms were taking over his whole body, Mac was wound tight. This kid's gonna be exhausted, Jack thought, all that tension and constantly stressing of muscle drained you like nothing else. Jack unfortunately had seen it before in one of his old army buddies, his fits had meant he'd slept two days away. That had been hard to watch, but this? This was killing him, because there literally was nothing he could do, nothing Mac could make, or even tell him to make. This was inside his body, and the only thing that was going to make it better was in that hospital.
"Cage. ETA on that Hospital?"
"Five minutes, Jack, five minutes."
Jack focused on Mac now, his eyes searching to keep Mac's eyes focused on his own "You hear that Mac, you just got five minutes and then this is all over. Okay? You're gonna get some killer pain meds, a lumpy bed, some mushy Jell-O. All your favourite things." Jack teased, knowing that when things looked bleak he could always rely on humour to get him and his partner through.
"J, jack, I'm sorry..." Mac breathed before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and his whole body slumped forwards into his friend. A surprised Jack caught him, again.
"Mac? Mac!" Jack called, shaking him, but the kid was out. "Brother, please, come on." Jack whispered now, holding Mac's limp head up, gently brushing back his boy's hair from his face. Quickly he made his way to Mac's neck, the pulse point. Where was the pulse point? There! Jack slumped in relief. It was much slower then he would've liked but it was there and Mac was still breathing.
"Pulling in now, be ready to get him out." Cage ordered as she swung round into the entrance.
Jack quuickly manoeuvred Mac round, getting his hands under Mac's shoulders, ready to lift the kid out first once Cage stopped the van.
"You're going to be just fine, I'll see you when you wake up." Jack whispered in Mac's ear as medics quickly swarmed them and Mac was pulled from Jack's grip.
Mac waited for Cage to leave before holding the film tape up in front of him. This was it. How could something so small, possibly hold so many answers? This concept had always intrigued MacGyver, right from when he opened his first ever clock, all the little cogs and gears bringing question after question to his brain. It was incredible, something so small and detailed created something so beautiful-
"Hey! There he is!" A voice broke his thoughts, Jack came into view, a small pot of Jell-O in his hands and a spoon of it in his mouth.
"Didn't anyone ever teach you not to eat with your mouth full?" Mac laughed.
"Course they did, but this is Jell-O Mac! Jell-O kinda defies your normal rules of food you see, I'm surprised you don't know that." Jack said through another mouthful of orange jelly.
"Alright, alright, suit yourself. I'm not a fan of the stuff any ways." Mac concluded.
"I know." Jack shrugged "That's why I'm eating yours."
The pair laughed, it was silly and ridiculous and not really that funny at all. But it was what they both needed.
"That your dad's tape?" Jack questioned, seating himself beside Mac's bed.
"Yeah- Jill left it, said she's done what she can. So this is it." Mac breathed, fingers still fiddling with the box.
"Well you'll be happy to know, I spoke with your doctor a few minutes ago and he's agreed to let you go in a few hours. Seeing that your doing so well, and I'm just so naturally charming." Mac quirked a smile at that. "Meaning you'll be able to go home and watch that tonight."
"Thanks Jack." Mac nodded, placing the box back on the side.
"Now, I'm sticking round for the next couple of hours, and course I'll get you back home. But, as much as I would love to watch that tape with you, I have some business to take care of tonight so I'll leave you to it...if you don't mind?" Jack asked, searching Mac's face for any change of emotion.
Mac just smiled gently "I'll be fine on my own, don't worry… And actually that works because I kinda wanted to watch it on my own first, I hope you get that. I-I'm not going back to doing all this on my own, I just want to watch it the first time by myself..." Mac trailed off.
"Hey of course, that's cool! I completely get it. Just so long as you do share it with me at some point, then there ain't any problems." Jack nodded, finishing off his Jell-O.
"You don't have to hang around though if you need to get off to your "Business"" Mac quoted that last word with his fingers, giving Jack a smug look that said he saw right through him.
"What? I have important errands to run..." Jack insisted, face the picture of innocence.
"No, you don't, you're going to spy on Riley's dad." Mac confirmed confidently.
"Now how did you know that? You've been unconscious for three hours!"
"I know you Jack." Mac countered.
Jack could only nod his defeat at that. "Okay okay, yes that's exactly what I'm doing, but it's for her benefit and I-"
"Jack, you don't need to convince me, I really don't want to see her hurt by this guy either. So I think it's good you're being a bit wary of him... Even if your definition of wary is sitting across the street from him all night." Mac joked.
Jack laughed "It does sound creepy when you put it that way, but I'm glad you understand, and of course you know I'll keep her safe so you ain't gotta worry 'bout that one. Just about what's on that tape."
"Thanks Jack." Mac sighed, eyes fluttering.
"Sleep man, You've still got a couple of hours yet."
"No-no I'm good..." Mac slurred. But by the time Jack had gone to argue Mac had drifted off. Jack smiled, eyes crinkling as he watched over the small, sleeping form of his partner; deciding that the next time Mac happened to lock himself in a room with deadly gas, Jack was going to be in that room with him. Right by his side.