Becoming Mac

Summary: How Jack's clone ended up in Sunnydale with the name of 'Mac'. Side story to 'The Only One'

Timeline: season 7 episode 3 'Fragile Balance' took place in 1997 instead of its airdate of 2003.

A/N: Posting at the same time as chapter 11 of 'The Only One' since it picks up where this ends. Most of this was already written; just had to finish the part where Mac and Buffy met for the first time.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Stargate characters belong to Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright / SyFy Channel. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Wishverse Colorado Springs, CO

18 months before 'The Wish' (May 23, 1997)...

"So can you save my clone or not?" Jack demanded of Thor.

"It will be difficult, O'Neill," Thor replied, then warned, "There may be side effects due to the type of procedure I would need to do."

The clone asked, "Like what?"

"The most likely side effect would be memory loss. Just as O'Neill's body was unable to house the knowledge of the Ancients for long, the younger mind of clone O'Neill would face difficulties assimilating the knowledge of original O'Neill. Not as pronounced as O'Neill's deterioration, but it would still affect the clone negatively," Thor explained patiently.

That sucked, but not as much as the certain death he was facing if he didn't go through with whatever Thor had planned. Still, Clone Jack wanted to know, "How much memory loss are we talking about here?"

For a race that relied on their ability to carry over memories from one body to another, Thor probably understood better than anyone else in the room what he was subjecting the clone to. If this were to happen to a member of their race, the Asgard responsible would be facing something akin to murder charges by the Tau'ri standards. Part of him wanted to refuse to do this, but unlike some others, he felt O'Neill was at least wise enough to make the decision for himself. If he wanted to be handicapped instead of dead, that should be his choice. "To limit the dangers to your mind, I would attempt to match your mental age to your physical body," he told the clone, feeling sick as he said the words. If they knew Asgard physiology better, they would have noticed an unhealthy tinge to his skin, but to the Tau'ri, he just looked a different shade of grey.

Jack seemed torn between disturbed and relieved at the news. "So he wouldn't remember anything about the Stargate?" he asked.

Daniel added his own concern, "How would we explain the changes in the world to him?"

"Maybe we could tell him that he was involved in a classified operation?"Carter offered unsurely.

Clone Jack was shaking his head, though. "I think it would be better if I made a video, telling myself whatever story we come up with...assuming I survive it, that is," he countered.

A couple days later...

As the video ended, General Hammond asked the young man, "Do you have any questions?"

'Only about a thousand or so,' the de-aged and de-memory'd clone thought. Aloud, he just said, "I think I got most of it sir. However, since I obviously can't go back to my family, how are you planning to handle the fact that I'm underage? I assume that it's a problem in this time for me to be on my own."

Hammond nodded. "Your existence needs to be kept low profile, so I'm sending you someplace that nobody would think to find you. A colleague of mine has retired to a small town in Southern California. For legal purposes, he will serve as your guardian. He doesn't expect you to consider him your father, though," he was quick to assure him.

Then Hammond sighed, worried about the clone's reaction to the next part of the plan. "Unfortunately, because your fingerprints and DNA match Colonel O'Neill's, we cannot allow you to serve in the military or federal government."

"That's alright, sir. It sounds like a different world than when I first joined. Until I get used to it again, I'm not sure if the military would be a good fit for me anymore anyway." Part of him was disappointed by the news, but on the other hand, they did have a point…at least for fingerprinting. He had never heard of DNA matches before. How far had medical advances gotten in the past 30 years?

Grateful for the opening, Hammond segued into the next part of the plan, "Speaking of which, my friend said that he would homeschool you until you feel you are up-to-date on current events."

"Gee, thirty years of history? Shouldn't take too long," the clone snarked, just like Jack would.

"And you sound like a modern teen already...wonderful," Hammond shot back just as sarcastically.

That earned him a look of surprise. "Are generals allowed to be sarcastic?"

"Only ones who have to command Jack O'Neill," Hammond muttered.

LA Airport

Another couple days later...

When they got into the truck they'd drive to Sunnydale, the clone turned to the man he was told to meet and said, "'re my 'grandfather', huh?"

"Just call me Harry. If we're in public, you can call me grandpa, though. We have a lot of work to do. As a teenager, you'll need to understand modern technology." Harry muttered to himself, "Hmm, I'm going to have to find out the slang the kids are using today. What's the full name you and George came up with?"

"I went with a blend of my actual grandfathers; Angus for my paternal one and MacGyver for my maternal. Even though I wanted something from my past life, I really don't feel like being called Angus, so I'm going to by the nickname 'Mac'. And don't worry about the slang issue, Harry. Since I'm homeschooled, that will explain why I don't know the current stuff. I knew this one guy a couple- well, I guess it was more than a couple years ago now, but he didn't know anything about television or the shows that were on it."

Harry chuckled, "I'd be willing to bet that even the Amish have heard of TV by now."

"So what can you tell me about this place we're going to live?" Mac asked.

"I think there's something off about the place, which is part of the reason I decided to live there; keep an eye on things for George and some other…friends," Harry admitted. He had already been in Sunnydale for a few months, but he still didn't understand what was going on. "The number of deaths and/or disappearances of the citizens is far too high for even a place like New York City and at only a fraction of the overall percentage."

"Some kind of human trafficking?" Mac wondered, thinking about the disappearances.

Shrugging, Harry said, "I don't know. During the day, it seems like a normal small town, but after dark is a different matter. The safest course of action is to stay at home. The few external investigations by state or federal agencies have gone nowhere. It's like somebody is protecting the city's reputation…somebody with more clout than the President."

Mac's eyes narrowed at the comment. "What about local law enforcement?"

Harry snorted derisively. "I wouldn't trust most of them to guard a hen house. The good ones are hampered by the politics. But that won't be solved overnight – especially not by just the two of us. To help speed up your learning, I've set up a computer with internet for you to use for your homeschool."

After his crash course from Major Carter, Mac knew some of the basics, but having his own computer would help hone those skills. "I appreciate that. Sounds like computers are going to be around for a long time, so it's best if I learn how to use them."


6 months later (and after 'Bad Eggs')...

"How goes the studying?" Harry asked once he finished his report on that week's deaths/disappearances and unusual occurences. Like his prior reports, it was far too long for a town that size.

Mac leaned back in his chair and sighed. "The world is a very different place, Harry…and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. In some ways, the school work is a lot easier than I'm used to, but in other ways…" he trailed off uncertainly.

Harry smiled and finished the thought for him, "It's like you've been dropped into a foreign country and have to learn the language, culture and history without a frame of reference?"

"Or knowing very little of the place," Mac concurred. "Makes me enjoy chemistry and physics more, though. The rules I learned in the past are still the same, so I feel…comfortable with them, I guess. I don't know what Colonel O'Neill ended up studying in college, but I like the familiarity of those subjects. Who knows what doors that will open for me? What about you? How's your investigation of Sunnydale going?"

Handing over a copy of his report to his 'grandson', Harry replied, "A lot of the strange occurences seem to happen in or around the high school."

"You mean where the delightful principal, Mr. Snyder, runs things?" Mac snarked, sounding very much like his older counterpart back in Colorado. "Oh, he makes me wonder if I really want to finish my senior year in public school – even if I manage to get caught up enough on current events to fit in with the other teenagers."

"The latest is another 'gas leak'," Harry explained, shaking his head in disbelief. "If they really had that much trouble with their gas lines, they'd be forced to close the school until the problem could be solved permanently. Either that, or rebuild on a new site. If I believed in such things, I'd say the school was cursed or something. The good news is that the murder and missing persons' rate has dropped statistically since about a year ago. What bothers me is I can't figure out why. It isn't as if the police have suddenly gotten good at their job, and I can't find evidence of a vigilante group doing it for them."

Mac smirked and said, "Maybe they heard you were in town and decided to lay low."

Harry slapped Mac's head lightly in retaliation. "Just for that, I think you need to do some community service work…learn a little humility. That and get you out of the house a little. Don't want you turning into a hermit. That's my cover, not yours."

"What do you have in mind?" Mac asked.

"Got some pamphlets for you to look through. I'll let you decide what strikes your fancy," Harry answered, handing over the volunteering envelope he put together earlier.

Mac dumped it out on his desk and started sorting them into piles, commenting on them as he went, "Volunteering at a blood bank? No, thanks. Beautifying the local cemeteries? That'd be a full-time job, maybe two. Hey, does it seem strange there aren't any local shelters in Sunnydale? Come to think of it, I haven't even seen any homeless people here. For a town this size in this climate, that's very unusual, don't you think?"

"You got a point, Mac. I'll do some checking on that." Harry's gut told him it wasn't because nobody was homeless in this town.

Going back to the pamphlets, Mac abbreviated his observations, "Nope. Maybe. Uhh, possibly. Absolutely not! Huh, what about this one?" he suggested, handing the pamphlet back to Harry.

"Helping kids with disabilities?"

"Sure, why not? Besides helping others, it would be a good excuse to learn sign language. Never know when that could come in handy," Mac said, making his decision.


8 months later (during 'Anne')...

"Who would think that we'd want to go to Los Angeles to get away from the weirdness of a small town? Los Angeles! Is there a stranger city in California – except for Sunnydale, I mean," Mac quickly clarified.

Harry wholeheartedly agreed with his young charge, "Like I said before, that high school should be condemned. I'm starting to believe in curses after the last several months. Are you sure you want to go there?"

"I feel mostly comfortable with the changes now and graduating from an actual school makes me less conspicuous to colleges or employers. I don't want to give them more of a reason to dig into my bogus background," Mac answered. He was sure the military did a good job creating his new history, but why risk things unnecessarily?

"Alright. Just checking. You have that shelter's address?" Harry asked before they got too far out of Sunnydale.

Mac nodded. "And the directions to get there."

Once they tracked down the Family Home shelter, Harry offered to go to the nearby diner to order them something to eat while Mac unloaded the donations they had collected over the last several months.

To Mac's surprise, nobody was there to greet him when he walked in with the first box. "Hello? Anyone here?" he called out. He considered searching for somebody, but thought it would be better to get the donations in. Hopefully somebody would come in while he brought the rest of the stuff in and save him the trouble of looking around. It was on his last trip that his unspoken wish was granted. Several people came out of the back, all dressed in rags, almost running and looking rather frightened by something.

When they saw him, they stopped dead in their tracks, then shrank back away from him.

"Is the director available? I think his name is Ken?" Mac asked the closest person. He knew something was wrong when their eyes started darting around as if looking for a way to escape at the mention of Ken's name.

They stood in a weird tableau for several minutes before two blondes came from that same back room. Mac's eyes gravitated on the shorter one. Maybe it was the fact she was pretty – although both of them were attractive, or maybe it was the fact she was the only one wearing real clothes instead of the rags the others wore.

Or it could have been the way the rest of the people shifted in behind her for protection…from him? Why would they be afraid of him?

She must have been thinking some of the same things he was because she said, "You're wearing normal clothes. Are you evil?"

Mac thought, 'What a bizarre question to ask.'

Additional Disclaimers: MacGyver characters belong to Lee David Zlotoff, Henry Winkler-John Rich Productions, Paramount Network Television and CBS Television Distribution. Stargate characters belong to Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright / SyFy Channel.

Timeline for MacGyver has been shifted so that Mac is a teen. And obviously Harry is massively OOC.