A/N: Well, this is it, folks - the final chapter of 'Head Shy.' I'd like to thank those who stuck with me through this little adventure, and a huge thanks to those who have left feedback. It really is a form of payment for hobby writers, and from the comments I've gotten about this story, I feel like I've been well 'paid.' It was an interesting story to write, and I'm glad people enjoyed reading it. Thanks again for your time and kind words. Take care ~ Bull Demon (aka Bandersnatch)

******* Several Weeks Later *********

Pete pulled his car into the private lot and parked next to MacGyver's Jeep. He turned off the engine and sat for a moment, taking in the rich wash of colors as the sun slowly set over the Pacific Ocean. Collecting several paper bags from the back seat, he headed toward the beach house perched atop a bed of golden sand. Breathing in the fresh, salty air, he could see why Mac had agreed to come here on his vacation. On this private stretch of ocean bliss, the potent healing powers of the sun, sand, and surf belonged solely to him.

The director stepped up to the door and rang the bell. He hadn't seen his friend in over a week, having left him alone to recover from the staph infection that had nearly taken his life. While Mac enjoyed the company of his friends, he knew the younger man treasured solitude. He'd jumped at the opportunity when Ferris offered him the use of her family's private vacation house, completely enveloping the small doctor in a hug of gratitude.

When there was no reply, Pete tried the knob, the door swinging silently open and allowing him inside.

"Mac?" He called, setting the bags on the counter and looking around. The house was small and homey, the sparse furnishing giving it a rustic feel. Except for a few articles of clothing, food items, and dirty dishes, the place hardly looked used. As he wandered through the open floor plan, he spotted a red binder with "PHOENIX FOUNDATION: CONFIDENTIAL" printed across the front cover. It was the information Willis had given him to read about the anti-hacker program and the pending contract with Compu-Saf.

When he reached the back of the house, he paused a moment to admire the panoramic view of the ocean through the double glass doors. Squinting against the brilliant light, he could just make out a lone figure standing waist deep in the water, their face turned up to the sky. Pete let himself out onto the deck. Silently, he sat in one of the lounge chairs and settled back to enjoy the day's end.

The sun had dipped completely below the horizon and the first stars began to appear before the person in the water turned and headed back toward the shore. About half way up, they extended their arm and gave an exaggerated wave.

"Hey, stranger!" Pete called, standing to return the gesture. He hardly recognized his friend as he made his way up the beach, his pale, skin-and-bone appearance having been replaced with a healthy tan and well-toned muscles. His sandy blonde hair was almost back to its normal length, and his strong presence had returned.

"Hey, Pete. You been here long?" MacGyver asked, taking the porch steps two at a time.

"About fifteen minutes."

"You should have said something."

"And miss a sunset like that? You sure know how to pick the hot spots, don't you?"

Mac grinned. "I told you, you could come out any time."

"Oh, I know. I'm just giving you a hard time," Pete replied, glad to see his friend genuinely smiling again. "So, how are you doing? You look like a new man."

"I feel like one," Mac replied, plucking the loudest Hawaiian shirt Pete had ever seen from the banister and slipping it on. "I should have done something like this months ago. I know I say I prefer the woods, but this is definitely a close second."

"What have you been up to?"

The troubleshooter shrugged and dropped down in one of the loungers. "A little of everything and a lot of nothing. I fixed the shower inside, straightened and painted the fence, replaced a few rotten boards on the deck – which I hope to get stained tomorrow – realigned the satellite dish…"

"Did Ferris put you up to all this?"

"Nope. She'd mentioned wanting to get the place fixed up, so I thought I'd surprise her by getting a jump on it. Plus she wouldn't take the money I offered for rent. It's just my way of saying thanks."

Pete shook his head. "You're too good, MacGyver."

"It's the least I could do," he said. "Besides, I've had about all the idle time I can handle for a while."

"Do you know when you're coming back to work?"

"Soon, I hope. I have a follow up appointment with Dr. Cobb next Tuesday to see how things are going. He should clear me for light duty by then, and in a few weeks I hope to be back out in the field."

"Has your head been bothering you at all?"

"Off and on. Ferris said it would – everything just needs time to finish healing. At least the bad ones aren't as frequent as they were before. It'll get better with time."

"That's definitely a good thing," Pete agreed wholeheartedly.

A collective silence fell between the two men, both content just to sit and watch the gentle ebb and flow of the water. Stars shimmered and winked as the twilight slowly descended, the cool night air settling over the private stretch of beach.

"I don't think I've really thanked you for helping me through everything," Mac said quietly.

"You don't have to. I'm just glad I was able to be there for you at all," Pete replied. "They locked things down pretty tight when they found out you had staph."

"If you hadn't been there that day, I would have given up. I did give up. I couldn't take it anymore. I just…" MacGyver sighed and looked out to sea. His memories of the hellish world he had visited subconsciously were fading, but the sensations he'd experienced were still very real. "And then I heard your voice and felt you take my hand. You told me not to give in and that I had to keep fighting. Almost everyone else had given up, but you never did. You gave me the strength to keep fighting and showed me the way back to the preverbal light."

Pete opened his mouth to reply, but he found himself to be at a loss for words. It wasn't everyday someone credited you with saving their life, especially when they had already given up on it themselves.

"Our friendship means a lot to me. You're a very unique person, MacGyver, and I don't just mean your talent for saving the day with the contents of your pocket. The way you look at life and the people around you is very different from anyone else I've ever known. You don't pass judgment or let what a person has done in the past affect how you treat them now. You try to find the best in everything and everyone – that's something I've never been able to do, but always wished I could."

He paused and looked at his friend. The younger man seemed to be mesmerized by one of the pineapple shaped buttons on his shirt, but Pete knew he was listening.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm grateful you've been a part of my life, and that I was able to help convince you to stick around a little longer."

There was a pause as Mac continued to study the button pinched between his long fingers. Finally he looked up, a lopsided grin on his face. "It'll be a lot longer if I have anything to do with it."

Pete chuckled. "I like that idea even better," he replied, getting to his feet. "So, have you eaten yet?"

"Nope. You?" he asked, continuing when his boss shook his head. "You want to stay? I've got plenty of veggie and bean burgers in the freezer." He pushed up from the lounger. "Just let me get dried off and I can throw a few on the grill."

Veggie and bean burgers? Pete thought, the idea alone making his taste buds curl. "Actually, I took the liberty of picking something up on the way over. Ferris was saying how good the small Asian restaurant a few miles from here was, so I thought we should give it a try. How does steamed vegetables and bean curd sound?"

"Real good. Although that doesn't sound like your normal fare."

"It's not. I got the mandarin chicken."


"But I have to say – yours does smell pretty good," the older man confessed.

"You should try some – you might like it."

"Maybe I will."

"And if you like that," Mac began, heading for the house. "Then you'll love what I've got for dessert."


"Yeah. It's a new recipe I've been wanting to try and I made more than enough for two."

"Oh?" Pete asked, his curiosity peaked. "What is it?"

"Chocolate tofu pudding. It should be ready by the time we're done," he replied, disappearing into the house.

"Tofu pudding? That um…that sounds disgust…"

The troubleshooter appeared in the doorway. "What?"

"Interesting!" Pete backpedaled. "That sounds interesting!"

"Good. And when we're done, I can show you the satellite booster I made out of aluminum foil and paperclips. The signal comes in great now," MacGyver said, ducking back inside.

Tofu pudding…aluminum foil satellite boosters… Chuckling to himself, Pete turned and headed into the house to help his friend. Oh yeah. Mac is definitely back…