Drowning, it felt like he was drowning. Nothing would focus, no matter how hard he tried to blink the haze out of his eyes. The colours still washed together, lines and edges folding into duplicates. The clamp of that damn mask still ghosted around his face. Come on, it wasn't there, it was gone. Just breathe.

Noise. There was noise? Good noise he thought, sounds he knew. Sounds of … Jack? His eyes finally allowed him to focus, his lips subconsciously twitching into a smile as the figure of his partner centred his gaze. Where there had just been a guy with a gun pointed at him, there now stood Jack. Uncaring as to how Jack was there, Mac breathed properly. Ears filtering only what his partner was saying, brain not active enough to respond. Only to smile.

His wrists were suddenly light and free, he noticed, nothing clamping them into splintering wood any more. Jack's scent met his nose for a minute before the stench of Nitrogen swarmed in once more. Mac's eyes scrunched up.

Get up.

His brain urged, you are free. Go. Get up.

It took a few moments but the message finally seem to be received as Mac felt his body tense in anticipation. It was weird, feeling completely disconnected to his body. He literally wasn't aware of half of what he was doing. Not something MacGyver was used to, considering he was normally way too in control of everything. Every action thought out before he did it.

Jack's spidey sense was tingling, there was something wrong. He had cut Mac's wrists free a couple of minutes ago but Mac was still to jump from the chair he had been bound too. Jack wasn't stupid, he had seen Mac's lazy pupils and sluggish response, but had wrongly assumed it to be a concussion. Looking around the room Jack's eyes landed upon the now empty canister of Nitrogen. Instantly Jack flared, his breathing tightening. Surely not. These men wouldn't of-

"Mac!" Jack cried, thoughts interrupted, as he watched his partner suddenly decide to move. There was no way Mac was staying up right and the kid quickly fell straight forwards, crumpling onto the floor. Jack was quick to scamper over.

"Kiddo? Can you hear me? Mac?" Jack called, pulling Mac into his lap. Lazy eyes blinked up at him as Mac pulled himself back into his surroundings. Jack peered down into Mac's half open eyes, yeah, the kid definitely wasn't with him right now.

"I'm gonna pull you up, okay?" Jack asked, quickly sliding his hands under Mac's arms and lifting them both off the floor, pretty gracefully considering all of Mac's weight was on Jack. Weight that was not as heavy as it should've been Jack noted with worry, he was going to have to pop round more and get Mac eating.

MacGyver seemed to become more self aware as they stood, taking more of his own weight but still blinking slowly.

"What they do to you, hey?" Jack asked, more to himself but Mac gifted him with an answer.

"M-mask, pure nitrogen, couldn't breathe..." Mac rasped out. His hands reaching out to grab onto Jack as he still wobbled on two feet.

"Okay take it easy" Jack advised, gently taking MacGyver's shaking hands and placing the kid's arm over his own shoulders so they could finally get themselves out of this place.

Mac's nerves were obvious now, as he had the kid pressed against him, Jack could feel every tremble and shallow breath. That wasn't a good sign.

"Mac, you need to calm down for me okay?" Jack hushed softly.

"C-can't Jack, everything's fuzzy-"

"Alright, don't you worry we'll get that sorted ASAP, comprende?" Jack asked, quickly trying to shut off any chance of panic, reading his friend all too well.

"Jack, m-make it stop, I don't-"

"Mac, buddy, listen ok? We're almost there. I know you wanna get that control back, and you will... For now I gotcha, okay? I promise ain't nothing gonna happen to you." Jack comforted, hugging tighter around his partner as they finally made it out of that creep's house. I mean really what a way to repay a man for busting you out of prison, poison him with Nitrogen! The thought almost made Jack laugh.

"Medic!" Jack yelled, as the two finally stumbled outside. Immediately people in high vis jackets ran over, taking MacGyver from Jack and sitting him down on a gurney.

A torch was quickly shone in Mac's eyes, which the kid didn't seem to like too much but he fisted his hands around the thin sheets and allowed it. People sped all around them, Jack hovering as close to his partner as he could but he still didn't process the medic placing an oxygen mask over Mac's face, until it was too late.

The cold plastic was strapped to Mac's face and suddenly he was back in that chair, this wasn't oxygen, this was nitrogen. Immediately Mac began to panic, arms flailing out as his hands pushed away the medic and scrabbled at the mask. He called out as his shaking limbs didn't move fast enough, that mask was still on his face.

His lungs now burning as he refused to breathe properly, he had to stay awake. He couldn't, wouldn't breathe in that gas. Fingertips yanked and clawed at the mask, but he was being resisted? There was another force on his hands, pushing them away. The presence was warm but strong. Mac started to fight against it.

"Mac! No! Let me do this, stop- stop it! I've got you." Jack yelled over Mac's cries. Slowly Mac's struggling lessened. The mask was taken and gently moved off his face.

Mac stumbled forward, off whatever he had been sitting on. Uncaring. He was getting out. There was too much input, colours and faces and sounds. It was a relentless wave crushing over him again and again.

Jack should've seen this coming. He'd been just too far out of reach to stop the mask from being hooked onto Mac's face, and then when the kid started panicking instead of removing the mask, the medics had tried to restrain Mac instead. Great. Causing even more chaos. Jack had yelled then, the delta thoroughly fed up, wishing he'd of just kept Mac to himself; driven straight to his own house and treated the boy there. Immediately he took command, pushing staff aside as they tried to hold Mac down, yelling at them that he would handle it, that they needed to step back. Noticing him, they did. In fact, they backed off completely leaving just him and Mac.

He had then gone quickly to remove the mask, but MacGyver himself had now gotten in the way. Going on the defensive, throwing punches, pulling at the mask, all stopping Jack. It had taken longer then he wanted, even if that was only a few minutes overall, but Jack had finally broken through wherever Mac thought he was, the kid finally listened to him and Jack was able to finish the job. Effortlessly sliding the mask off Mac's face, tossing it behind him.

Seemingly from nowhere Mac's arms battered the surprised delta to the side, stumbling forwards and away. Not fast enough though for Jack was able to run in front and stop him quickly. Hands now holding either shoulder.

"Mac? You with me?" Jack asked, ducking his face to stare into Mac's.

"Please, get off- no." Mac whimpered, struggling still but clearly weaker now.

"Okay so not back with me yet, that's okay I can work with that." Jack spoke aloud, but mainly to himself.

"Hey kid, so funny story but when we were in that prison you know I'd nearly found everything you wanted but this guy, well my boss I guess, you wouldn't of liked him. Had the rudest conversation with me – he was all "I placed you in section C" And I tried man, course I did pretending I didn't know what he was talkin' bout. As you can guess it didn't go too well and I-"

"Jack?" Mac whispered.

Jack smiled a beautiful smile, one normally only Mac could bring out of him. "There you are man! Yeah it's me, and don't worry, you got out, there ain't no masks or nitrogen. Just us." Jack reassured, hands squeezing bony shoulders.

"N-nitrogen? Nitrogen! Shit. Jack, I- they- almost-"

"Hey hey breathe now, it's ok."

"No, no, no." Mac spiralled, hand pushing down into his chest. "Too tight, can't-"

"Yes. Yes you can, ok?" Jack tried, but Mac wouldn't comply.

"I'm sorry." Mac choked back a sob, body crumpling inwards.

"Hey now, I gotcha, I gotcha." Jack couldn't resist and took his hands off MacGyver's shoulders, placing them around onto the boy's back and pulling him into his chest. What the kid was apologising for he had no idea, but there would be time to discuss that later. Instead he stayed calm, there was quiet for a few moments, just two best friends, in the comfort of one another. Mac shook, breathing shallow, but finally feeling safe. The feel of the mask fading away from his memory. His hands now coming around to embrace Jack, forever grateful for his brother.

He felt the vibrations from Jack's chest as the man finally broke the silence "I hate to say it brother, but your breathin' ain't gonna get any better until you get on that oxygen… You know what that means..."

"The mask" Mac sighed, voice rough.

"Yeah. Brain's still working I see...But look, I'll be there the whole time, and I'm thinking we get you to hold it on yourself that way if it gets too much you simply pull it away?" Jack suggested quietly, hoping that Mac would at least give it a try, those wheezing lungs didn't sound good.

"I… Yeah, I mean you're right, okay, I'll try." Mac nods into Jack's chest.

"Alright brother." Jack pulled Mac closer even more for a few more seconds, before reluctantly pulling away. Mac's health was more important right now, so he guided his partner's form back over to the medics.

Once their idea had been explained and the mask had been handed to Mac. They took a moment, Jack sitting opposite Mac as he watched his friend's eyes scan over every ridge and bump of the mask. Their eyes met for a moment. Before Mac slowly brought the mask up to his face. And there they sat, for half an hour, or there abouts. Jack not letting Mac give into the panic when it arose, and Mac making sure that Jack's voice and presence was more important then any scary thought he was having. Never could he imagine himself trusting somebody so much, but here he was. And he was breathing thanks to it.