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Missing Pieces

Missing Pieces

Author: Diva Email:keldiva@usa.net

Disclaimers: MacGyver belongs to Winkler/Rich Productions and probably Paramount. No money exchanged hands and no infringement was intended. This story and the characters within are my property and should not be posted on another web site without my permission.

Info: This story is my first attempt at a MacGyver fic. It's also the end result of my very first fan fic. This was first written back in 1990 and has gone through about 8 years worth of rewrites. And by the way, for those of you who know me from my Sg-1 fanfic, the name Susan O'Neil was completely a coincidence, she's always been that name since the beginning. Please let me know what you think, but please be kind. <G>


June 10, 1997

It's been about four years since Sam came into my life. After we left LA we tooled around the country. About a year ago, Sam got a contract working with a magazine in Seattle. So here we are. The Pacific Northwest is really appealing once you get past all of the rain. My old buddy Jack Dalton set up shop here about two years ago, but since I know Jack like I do I try to stay away as much as possible. Pete's still in LA, but he comes up here occasionally. Which reminds me, Pete called last night. He wants me to hire his niece. Seems she's a former hired gun who has been straight for about three years now. She hasn't been able to find steady work and she finally turned to him. He says she's a computer expert and she speaks five languages. Pete knows I work alone but he is one of my closest friends, so I suppose I should keep my word. I'm on my way over to the office right now.

MacGyver rode his motorcycle towards the office he shared with his son Sam. The office was in an industrial complex where all of the offices looked the same. This wasn't his first choice for a location, but he had left the decision making up to Sam. Sam used it more anyway. But Sam was on assignment and the office would be empty today. Except for the woman who would be waiting for him.

She had let herself in. She would really have to talk to this Macgyver about the locks in this office. It had taken her all of three seconds to pick the lock and two of them were to get a hairpin out of her hair. She looked around her. Men used this office she decided. The place was cluttered and half-unpacked boxes covered one of the three desks in the place. She piled up some of the papers on one desk and perched on it. She always sat on a desk rather than a chair. She heard the motorcycle pull up. A motorcycle, just grand, I'm going to get along with this guy so well, she thought sarcastically. Then she took a deep breath and waited.

Mac saw the deep green sports car parked out front. It was a nice car, way too expensive. He looked around and didn't see anyone. He walked up to the office and noticed the door was ajar. Carefully opening it, he walked in.

"You really should consider getting better locks." came the voice from within the office.

"What the?" he asked looking toward where the voice came from to be confronted by the most stunning woman he had seen in his life. She had legs that wouldn't quit as Jack would say, shoulder length chestnut curls, and the most beautiful green eyes he had ever seen. She was wearing a short light brown skirt and a matching jacket and a little bit of gold jewelry. Pete had said that his niece was in her mid-thirties but except for some fine lines around her eyes she could have passed for Sam's age. Yet still her beautiful eyes had a haunted quality to them as if she had seen far too much in her lifetime. Mac was to find out much later that she had. She smiled at him and he completely lost all powers of speech.

The woman was very amused. She was used to having this effect on men, but her uncle had said that Macgyver was different. Apparently Uncle Pete had been wrong. She decided to take matters into her own hands. She jumped down from her perch and extended her hand.

"Hello, I'm Susan O'Neil, Peter Thornton's niece. I'm assuming you're Mr. Macgyver."

He shook her offered hand,"Yes that's me but Mac or Macgyver would do fine, Miss O'Neil."

"Then don't call me that either. It's O'Neil or Susan, just don't call me Sue or Miss. I'm liable to hit someone. I'm sorry that Uncle Pete had to call on you for a favor. But I haven't been able to find anything other than lounge singer. Which isn't that bad of a gig, but I suppose he told you . . ."

She looked at him, as if trying to gauge how much her uncle had told him about her past.

"I suppose assassin is a difficult thing to put on a resume," he said without thinking, he didn't even understand why he had said such a thing and instantly regretted it.

Susan looked as if he had slapped her, and reached out as if to slap him but she stopped her hand midway there. Then she said, her voice shaking, "Yes, I used to kill for a living, is that what you wanted to hear?"

"Susan, I . . ." he started to say but she turned away from him.

Standing with her back to him she said, "But maybe my uncle didn't tell you, who I was hired to kill. Terrorists, rapists, drug dealers. People who are better off dead. People who prey on the weak, the helpless, the innocent, children, MacGyver. People who hurt children! Damnit, those people don't deserve to live! But," here she stopped and turned around to glare at him, "One day, I realized that just maybe I was doing more harm than good. That was the day I put down my gun and I haven't picked one up since. That was three years ago. Uncle Peter told me that you were different that you would understand. That you would help me. That you wouldn't judge me like everyone else had. But that wonderful man was wrong. Wrong about the man he considers a brother. Go to Hell, MacGyver."

She turned to leave but he caught her arm as she tried to walk out. Their eyes met, hers were full of anger, hurt, and unshed tears. He realized how deeply he had hurt her. His grip loosened on her arm and he whispered, "I'm sorry, don't go, Susan."

She looked surprised by this and just stood there staring at him.

Letting her go, he said it again,"I'm sorry, Susan. I didn't mean to hurt you. I just wanted to make sure you really wanted to start over. You won't believe how many other people have made the same claim. Please stay. I promised Pete that I would try to work with you."

"Apology accepted. But I don't know if this is going to work out so well. We may end up killing each other by the time the assignment is over."


"Um, here. Uncle Pete wanted me to give this to you," she pulled a brown envelope from her bag, "I took the liberty of looking it over this morning. Apparently Uncle Pete decided to showcase my Italian skills because we're going to Milan."

June 12, 1997

We're on our way to Milan. The assignment involves retrieving a computer disk and transporting it to the Phoenix branch in Paris. Susan seems to think that it won't be as simple as it sounds. I'm not sure what to think. It does seem odd that Pete would send us. I finally got hold of Sam during our lay over in New York to tell him where I was headed. He's in Brazil on his way to the Amazon rain forests. Funny thing is, he asked me if Susan was pretty. It was a very strange conversation. It's hard enough finding out you have a grown son, but even harder having a conversation about women with him. Susan is very pretty, but she's so sure I don't like her that it's making this plane ride even longer. And I do like her in spite of that. She has a lot of Pete in her, but she reminds me of Kate, Sam's mother. The same kind of spirit and fire. And she's incredibly intelligent; right now she's conversing with the man next to us in nearly flawless German.

The German man started to nod off and Susan turned back to Macgyver.

"I haven't left you too bored have I?"

"No, just catching up with some things. Say I forgot to ask, did you get ahold of your family during our lay over?"

"I talked to my father briefly," Susan said wearily,"I'm sorry, it's not the question. My father and I haven't gotten along very well in the past ten years or so. Talking to him is a chore. Did you get a hold of your son and Uncle Pete?"

"Pete no, Sam yes. Sam's in Rio on his way to the Amazon. Constantly on the move, just like me. Funny thing is, I worry about him, I never used to worry about myself. I wonder if anyone did."

"I'm sure my uncle did. He thinks very highly of you. Considers you his best friend. He worries about me too, he's got such a generous heart. He loves me yet he hardly knows me."

"I wondered about that, he never mentioned you until a few days ago."

"Pete is my mother's brother. She was the black sheep of the family. She married my father when she was very young and she walked out on us when I was five. I never saw her again," Susan said with a great deal of bitterness in her voice, her tone changing as she began to talk about her uncle, "When I was in college, I thought about finding her but I found Pete instead. He was so wonderful to me, he's my favorite uncle. Three years ago after I got out of my previous line of work, I came to LA and I stayed with Pete for a brief period of time. I hated LA. Seattle's much better. It's not New York, but then again what could be."

Mac laughed and said,"I don't know what could be?"

"Ah, you're one of those people who just don't understand New York. Let me tell you it's a smelly, dirty city and people would just as soon spit on you then help you out. But it's also where my family is. It's home," she sounded wistful,"It's home, it always will be."

"So why aren't you there? Why Seattle?"

"I don't know. I'm searching for something but I haven't figured out what it is. It's not in New York. And it's not in London, Chicago, Toronto, Singapore, or anywhere else I've lived in the past fifteen years. I thought I found it in LA but I was wrong. So maybe I'll find it in Seattle. But you probably think I'm nuts."

"Nope," Mac grinned at her,"I understand completely. I feel that way myself. Always searching for something, don't know what. I thought I'd found it when I met my son. But there's still something missing. Hmm, maybe we aren't so different."

"We're living U2 songs," Susan laughed, then continued, "Well, something is definitely not kids. I don't think I have a maternal bone in my body. Besides I don't think I could get that emotionally attached to somebody again."

Mac was about to ask what she meant but she abruptly changed the subject, "I think I'm going to try to catch forty winks, you don't mind do you?"

He shook his head. Walls again. Every time they tried to carry on a conversation she did that. They did fine talking about movies or trivial things, but . . . . He guessed it really didn't matter, if Susan was that determined to keep that wall up, there wasn't really anything he could do about it. But it sure wasn't helping any.

The next day they were on their way to the small parish church where they were supposed to met their contact. Mac had to admit that Susan's grasp of Italian was very helpful, they had to get directions to the place. They went inside the small deserted church.

"Why did it have to be Northern Italy, I'm not so good at the dialect, but I've managed to get by. If you'll excuse me for a moment."

Mac watched her go up to the altar and kneel. Then crossed herself and walked over to a statue of the Virgin. She flipped a coin into the box and lit a candle then knelt in prayer. He turned his head to give her privacy. It seemed strange to him that she would be religious but then again maybe she had turned to it to help her with changing her life. He shrugged. He saw a man walk into the church and he cleared his throat. Quickly, saying Amen and crossing herself Susan rushed over. The man started to speak in Italian. Susan translated.

"His name is Mico and he says that he is looking for a Phoenix which would be us."

She spoke to him again. Mac followed along as best he could. He wasn't bad with languages himself but the man was nervous and talking very fast.

Susan whispered,"He has the disk and he's says there is danger, no shock there, apparently there are some terrorists involved and that disk has something to do with it. He doesn't know what's on the disk and he wants to get out of here fast."

She took the disk and before she could thank him, the man ran out of the church.

"Well, Mac. It looks like we've already going to have more fun than we planned on. What's even more fun is that we can't get a flight out of here to Paris until tomorrow and now that there's terrorists involved I'm not so sure that's a good idea."

"Well, I guess we should go back to the . . ."

He was interrupted by gunshots as they came through the door. Mac quickly dove behind a column. Susan dove behind another one. He looked around for some kind of shield when abruptly the gunshots stopped. They heard a car screech off and another pull up. Susan nodded at Mac and tensely they made their way outside. The police had scared their attackers off. When the police questioned them, Susan quickly explained that they were Americans and that this was her grandmother's church as a girl and that they had come here to light a candle in her honor when the shooting started. The police asked them if they knew Mico, they uncovered him, dead. Susan let out a convincing scream and said that they had seen him in the church but didn't know him. The police let them go and they headed towards their hotel.

They managed to get back to the hotel without incident but they took a rather confusing route back and almost got lost twice themselves. They went into Susan's room where Mac flopped on the bed while Susan grabbed her laptop. She sat down next to him and turned it on.

"So let's see what's so important about this disk that someone wants to kill to get it. I just wonder who those people were."

"It could be any number of people, terrorists, organized crime, drug cartels, former Soviets selling secrets. The fall of the Soviet Union hasn't made our jobs any easier," Mac sighed and then added, "You know that was pretty convincing scream back there."

"Yeah, well I've had practice," she slid the disk into the computer,"Well, let's see what's so important. Hmm, it appears to be a list of sites. And there's a name on here, Masana. Mean anything to you?"

"Yeah, Masana is the head of an international terrorism ring. We've just stumbled on something big here."

"Oh yeah, nice and simple. Remind me to thank my uncle when we get back. I'm trying to figure out of these are sites that they're targeting or hideouts. But I suppose the Phoenix Foundation knows. We just have to get out of here without this guy Masana finding us."

"I'm sure they saw us enter the church and if they searched Mico after they killed him and chances are they did which is why they fired into the church, then they know that we have the disk. So the plane is off we have to find another way to Paris."

Susan made some back up copies of the disk. She surveyed her luggage. They were only planning on staying for a couple of days so they each had traveled light. She just had a backpack and her computer. She sighed if they had to make a run for it; her precious laptop might have to be left behind. Mac came back in after going to his room. He was carrying his backpack and a map. He unfolded it on the bed and the two of them poured over it trying to decide the best way to get to Paris from Milan. He was also thinking about pushing that curl that kept falling onto Susan's face back into place but that was perhaps a bad thing. But involuntarily his hand reached out; Susan caught it and held it, their eyes meeting.

"Don't," She whispered,"We need to keep to a working relationship, besides it would never work out, we couldn't be more different."

"Are we really?" he asked still holding her hand.

She shook her head, "We're complete opposites, I'm New York, the big city, fast cars, rock and roll, and neon lights. You're Minnesota, the outdoors, motorcycles, and campfires. It's just a physical reaction," she dropped his hand and whispered so softly that he almost didn't hear her, "and believe me the feeling is mutual."

"I'm sorry, Susan. I just couldn't help it, it won't happen again. But I think I figured out how to get to Paris. Masana expects us to be heading for Paris right?"

"Yeah." Susan said not completely following.

"What if we don't go to Paris, what if we go somewhere else?"

"Like where?"

"How about Venice? It's a pretty straight shot, we could rent motorcycles. They won't be expecting us to go there at all."

"Hmm, yeah then we could get a flight to Paris from there. They'd probably think to check the airports and train stations here and maybe the French border but not Venice. Good idea. Of course, the motorcycle thing . . ."

"Hey, are you chicken?"

"No I can ride a motorcycle. Nobody calls me chicken. So when do we leave?"

"Now I guess. We'll have to leave your laptop, I'm sorry."

"I was afraid of that. It's a good thing I decided to back the whole thing up before we left."

Swinging her backpack over her shoulder, she followed him out the door.

They made it out of the city without meeting up with trouble. They were making a brief stop.

"I don't like it, MacGyver. This is too easy. I could have sworn that we were being watched this morning."

"Maybe because my plan is brilliant and they just didn't see us." He said, something about being around Susan made him want to bait her, yet somehow he had a feeling that she was probably right.

"Then they're the most inept group of terrorists in the world." Susan shot back.

"I don't think we are so inept, Madame." said a heavily accented man behind them.

They whirled around to see the man holding a gun on them. They hadn't even seen him come and they couldn't even see how he got there.

"Um, how can we help you?" asked Macgyver.

"I think you know the disk please."

Mac and Susan exchanged glances. She cursed herself for not paying better attention.

"I'll get it," Mac said,"It's in the back pack on the motorcycle there."

He walked over to the bike. He had palmed his Swiss Army Knife before they turned around. Hopefully, Susan had good reflexes or this was for nothing. He reached down as if to dig into the bag the whole time smiling at the man. He quickly cut the fuel line.

He said, "Here it is." holding up a disk.

As the man moved forward, Mac aimed the fuel line at him, blinding him. Susan jumped him, kicking the gun out of his hand. Susan dove for the gun as Mac rushed him giving him a punch in the gut. He shook his hand and looked over at Susan motioning to the bike. The man started to get up when Susan came up behind him, hitting him with the gun, knocking him unconscious. She threw the gun several feet away then ran for the bikes. She grabbed the backpack then jumped on the back of the other bike behind Macgyver.

"I told you that I don't kill any more," she answered his unspoken question, "I figured I'd play it your way. Now let's get out of here before his friends figure out that he blew it."

Susan put her helmet on and they roared away. Susan was right they were soon joined by a black van whose occupants started shooting at them. Mac did some fancy driving but they were vulnerable to attack out there. He raced the bike off the highway and down a dirt road trying to lose the black van. It followed and soon Mac realized that it wasn't going to work. He got ahead of them for a bit losing them. He stopped.

"We're going to have to walk. This bike isn't made for the country and we're low on fuel. Come on."

"Wait, Mac. I've got an idea. Look over there."

It was a toolshed. She smiled, he smiled. They raced to the shed. It was locked.

"I wish I had kept that gun we could shoot it off."

"Aw, come on Susan, you broke into the office and it was a tougher lock then this."

She grinned at him and shook a hairpin out of her curls. The effect was something that he would have preferred to be witnessing in slightly different circumstances. She quickly picked the lock then looked at the hairpin.

"Ah, French industrial strength hairpins. Not even bent."

He half grinned at her and motioned toward the door. They went inside and gathered up some materials. Susan found some tacks and started to spread them out on the ground, along with any other sharp objects she could find. Mac found some matches and pocketed them. He had an idea. But before he could explain it to Susan she came back in and was poking around. She came across some chemicals in the back, fertilizers and bug sprays she figured. She read the labels and smiled, thanking God that she had learned more than the usual Italian.

"Oh Mac, I think I found the answer to our problem," She motioned to the bags.

"Tear gas?" He said smiling.

"Tear gas," She confirmed, "We just get them to stop and we're home free."

They mixed the chemicals and waited. The van came down the road. They saw the tacks and the motorcycle and swerved to a stop. Mac and Susan were behind trees armed with small portions of their mixture and facemasks they found in the shed. He had warned Susan to take a deep breath and to try to avoid breathing until they reached the van. The five men came out of the van drawing their guns. They came into range and Mac and Susan opened fire with the containers. The men started to choke and gasp for air. In the confusion Susan and Mac ran for the van, the keys still in the ignition and drove off. Mac had cut the fuel line on the cycle so they couldn't even try to follow them.

A week later, they were back in the office in Seattle. Susan was on the phone with Pete.

"Yes, Uncle Pete. Things are working out. Yes, Uncle Pete." she rolled her eyes at Mac who laughed, "Okay, Uncle Pete, I'll talk to you later. I love you. Bye."

Susan had cleared off the third desk in the office and made it her own. She still was sitting on top of the desk instead of chair. Mac wondered if that was comfortable but Susan was Susan. He noticed that she never really sat still. She was always doing three or four things at once. At the moment, she was uploading programs onto her laptop, tapping the fingers of one hand on the desk, and playing with one of her earrings with the other.

Just then, Sam came into the office, "Hey Dad, did you catch that sports car outside . . ."

He stopped short upon seeing Susan. She stood up.

"Hi." she said.

Sam just stood there with his mouth open.

Susan laughed to herself, what was with these guys anyway; they acted as if they had never seen a woman before.

Mac noticed the signs and said, "Sam, I told you about her on the phone. Susan meet Sam Malloy, my son. Sam, this is Susan O'Neil, my partner."

"Wow, I mean nice to meet you," said Sam who shook her offered hand.

Susan then turned to Mac, "Partner? You mean it, Mr. I work alone?"

"Yeah, I think you deserve it. I'm getting too old for this. I need someone to help pick up the slack."

"Well, then I'd be honored, partner." O'Neil said without a hint of her usual sarcasm. She really was touched; it meant alot to her to be trusted by someone.

Then Mac turned to his son, "Um, Sam I think she notices you're staring, try to put your eyes back in your head."

"It's okay, Sam believe it or not, your dad had the same reaction. I guess I'm just irresistible." She laughed tossing her hair and then perched back up on top of her desk.

"Things are going to be interesting around here." Sam noted to his father.

Mac only nodded looking at Susan.

Three days later, Susan and Sam were in the office. Susan had a can of white paint and stencils. She had just removed the old wording and was starting to work on the new ones.

"I was thinking Sam, why don't I put you on the lower line. Sam Malloy, photojournalist, that way you won't confuse your customers with ours."

"That works Miss O'Neil."

"Please call me Susan or O'Neil. Just don't call me Miss or Sue, I hate both of those words."

"Okay, Susan."

She started to work on the letter again. Sam was working on the story from his last assignment. Susan had finished the first line.

"My goodness Macgyver's a long name and troubleshooters is even longer. How do you want your name do you want Sam Malloy, Samuel Malloy, or just Malloy?"

"Oh my real name isn't Samuel. It's Sean Angus, you can just put S. A. Malloy."

"Angus? Boy that's a tough one."

"That's Dad's first name."

"Ugh, no wonder he doesn't use it. And I thought my middle name was bad."

"Aw, come on what is it?"

"Angelissa, it's some weird combination of my grandmother's name Angela and Alicia, my mother's name. My mother came up with it."

"I like it. I think it's pretty. Why do you hate it?"

"Well, Sam, I didn't feel very angelic for much of my life. Now, it's my stage name, well half of it, I use the Angel part. I sing at Barry's Bar and Grill. Hey, would you and your father like to come tonight? I'm doing my first set in weeks. Of course, I suppose your father wouldn't go into a bar. But it's very nice, it's more like a restaurant then a bar. A lot better then some of them I've worked at over the years."

"I'll be there and I'll try my best to drag him."

They both laughed.

That night, Sam and Mac headed over to Barry's. Mac was a more than a little uncomfortable with the fact that it was a bar. But Sam had insisted and Mac thought he probably should support Susan. But he was pleasantly surprised by the place. A no-smoking sign hung in front and the place was like Susan described. The crowd seemed sedate and friendly. The waitress came over and smiled.

"You must be Sam and Mac right."

"Yes, we are."

"Angel said to expect you, she bought you a round of drinks."

They sat down and the waitress brought over a couple of ginger ales.

"Who's Angel?" Mac asked.

"That's Susan, it's part of her middle name, she uses it on stage."

"How do you know this stuff?"

Sam was about to answer when Barry came up on the small stage.

"How are you all doing out there?" He waited for the applause to die down, "Okay, I know you're waiting for this lady, she's been away for a few weeks but she's back. Put your hands together for Angel and The Eclipse."

Susan took the stage, looking radiant in a short black sleeveless dress. She wore her hair down and Mac was surprised to find that her hair was very long the curls stopping just above her waist. She was so beautiful. Mac caught himself holding his breath and let it out. He noticed Sam do the same.

"She's 36, Sam." He whispered.

"Yeah, and she's fantastic. And you're just as gaga over her, even if you won't admit it."

The clapping died down and Susan picked up the microphone.

"Feeling alright out there?" She asked.

Someone in the crowd shouted, "We missed you Angel."

"Well, I missed you too, Dave. You and Sarah dating now?" The girl sitting next to him, smiled and blushed a little, "Well make sure you request a song later, okay. Now do the rest of you have any requests?"

"Yeah, I do."

Susan turned in the direction of the voice and her smile widened. It made her even more beautiful. "Okay, Macgyver, what's your request?"

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

"Sure I can do that. This is going out to all of you who are still searching for that something or someone out there."

Susan belted out the song to wild applause from her audience. The crowd obviously adored her. Macgyver leaned back in his chair and watched the other people reacting to her. This radiant Susan was far different than the proud angry woman who had broken into his office two weeks ago. And which one was the real Susan? He didn't know, but somehow he was sure he was going to enjoy finding out.

After Susan's set, she joined Mac at the table. Sam had gone off to the bar to talk to the pretty waitress.

"Your son's quite the player isn't he?" Susan nodded in his direction, by this time he was engaging the waitress, Rachel, in deep conversation.

Mac chuckled, "He's young. I'm trying to remember what I was like at that age. Seems so long ago."

"Hmm. I can remember but by that time I was in the previous line of work. I drank too much and danced with too many strange men and probably went home with a few too many. I drank a lot back then. Didn't like my self much."

"So has that changed?"


"Any of it. Has it changed?" he was looking at her in a way that made her squirm, she hadn't gotten the third degree in a long time.

She returned the look and said, "All of it. I like myself now, what I am what I've become. Uncle Pete helped a lot with that. Everything in moderation now. I drink a little every once in a while. I dance when I feel like it with people I know. And as for men," she smiled a bit impishly, "whom I sleep with is none of your business, dear, but thanks for worrying."

"And here I thought you were going to throw a drink in my face."

"Thought about it," she said with a straight face, "But I know you only asked because you're Macgyver. The white knight who feels he has to rescue the damsels in distress. But sir, I am no damsel, so you don't need to worry about me. I rescue damsels myself, from time to time. Perhaps even a knight or two."

"But . . ." he stammered looking at the table, "it's not just that. I'd like to be your friend, Susan. We're working together and as much as you don't want to believe it, I do like you."

"You do?" she raised an eyebrow, "So that's why you came. I figured young Sam dragged you kicking and screaming. You know something, I like you too. I figured you'd drive me nuts, what with your health food and your duct tape and all. But you're okay."

"Gee, thanks Susan."

"Don't mention it," she offered him her hand, "Friends?"

"Friends." he smiled shaking her hand.

The other band had started up, fronted by Susan's back up singer Dee-Dee. She was singing a slightly jazzy ballad. Susan had noticed Sam leading yet another young woman out to the dance floor.

"Ah, youth." she nodded toward Sam.

"What am I going to do with him?" asked Mac.

"Just be there for him. I wish my Dad had been," abruptly changing the subject, she said, "I love this song. I wish I could sing it half as well. Do you dance?"

"Aw, Susan. Don't make me do this."

"Oh come on. It's easy. Look at Sam. Come on I'll lead."

"I'm warning you. You'll be sorry you made me do this."

"Just don't step on my toes." She said hauling him to his feet.

"I make no promises I can't keep," He said but followed her anyway.

After a couple of minutes of trying really hard to follow her lead and not break any toes, the song mercifully ended. However, Susan wasn't going to let him get away.

"Susan, please don't make me keep doing this."

"You're doing fine. Now if we can get past this phase, we can work on the more complicated stuff."

"Great, I'm a guinea pig in O'Neil's teach a man to dance experiment."

"Well, I figured it could be a trade off. I teach you how to dance, you teach me how to ski. I've always wanted to learn."

"How about I just teach you, no trade offs. You can teach me more Italian or something. Or how to pick a lock in two seconds."

"Oh come on, this is more fun."

"That's what you think," Mac executed an impressive turn to avoid collision with another couple, "Hey that was kinda cool."

"See I told you. You're already impressive. There's cooler things like dips and the tango."

"Or the lambda I bet you're really good at that."

"Are you flirting with me?" she asked raising an eyebrow and just for the heck of it doing a twirl.

"Don't do that. I'm not up to a twirl yet."

"You didn't answer my question."

"I know," he said as the song ended, "That's enough of that for tonight. But I'll teach you to ski and maybe you can teach me to dance, maybe."

He walked back to the table. Susan walked over to the bar and ordered a beer. He was flirting with me, dammit, she thought. Now how come that both pleases and bothers me?

Sam joined his father at the table, "Hey I saw you dancing with Susan, what gives?"

"Nothing, Sam. She just decided to make me her latest project. She wants me to teach her how to ski and she figured she had to offer something in return."

"Well, it didn't look like just nothing to me, Dad."

"You're reading too much into it Sam."

"Sure, Dad whatever you say."

But Mac wasn't paying any attention. He was staring at the brunette woman with the beautiful green eyes who was sitting at the bar, nursing her beer and gazing almost shyly in his direction. He hadn't minded dancing with her, not one bit. He was actually considering taking her up on her offer. He had been flirting with her, he knew it, she knew it. And she had reacted like a shy teenager practically bolting away from him. Another piece of the puzzle that was Susan O'Neil. A puzzle that he was willing to do what it took to put together.

The End.