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29 July 2015 @ 11:02 am
Prison Break - Story of Faith (6/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (6/27) - Story index
Author: clair_de_lune
Fandom: Prison Break
Characters: Michael, Sara, Lincoln, Paul Kellerman, Sofia Lugo, Jane Phillips, Michael Jr., LJ Burrows, Original characters
Pairings: Michael/Sara, Lincoln/Sofia (background)
Categories: Gen, romance
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~ 1.760 (this chapter), ~ 60.500 (total)
Author’s notes: This is canon compliant and a fix-it story. In other words, I tried to take into account most of the canon, including The Final Break, and give it a different ending. See chapter one for thanks and beta-readers.

Summary: He had thought that death was black. Dark, at the very least. It was dark at first, after the fireworks he’d created had subsided and their imprints on his retinas had faded. After that, though, there were colors.
After Miami Dade, while Sara, Lincoln and Sofia settle in Costa Rica and try to build a new life, Michael awakes far away from them... (Post-series, canon compliant, fix-it story)


Chapter 6

It was a constant struggle. An ensemble of constant struggles that drained his energy but had the merit to leave him exhausted enough so that he could sleep at night. He wouldn’t have slept otherwise, eaten up by too much guilt and too many worries.

Michael struggled with nightmares in which he was dead, and some nights even worse, in which Sara or Lincoln had died. He struggled not to become crazy thinking about Sara, Michael Jr. and Lincoln. He struggled with orange and red and whatever-color files. He struggled to regain some fitness. But even more than anything, he struggled about Krantz. He fought with the General from a distance, a chess game in which the black player wasn’t aware of his white opponent and yet won, won again and kept winning. Orange file after orange file, guard after inmate, each time Michael closed a communication line, Krantz opened another one.

He talked to Yoki and admitted his frustration to Mrs. Jamison, who happened to be oddly lenient about his failures; she didn’t consider them as failures, truth be told, but as some kind of learning course. “We knew it would be hard, Mr. Scofield. This is why you’re here. If anyone could make it, we wouldn’t need you.”

He wondered if Paul Kellerman felt the same, had the same discourse. He certainly didn’t have neither the time nor the patience for a learning course.

It seemed to be endless when he desperately needed an ending. He hit the keys of his computers with the same determination with which he hit the punching bag at the gym and did lengths in the swimming pool, flipped through the files and reviewed for the umpteenth time intel that should have been engraved in his memory by now. He ended up surrounded by pics and graphics, facts and plans, frustration and anxiety. An annoying little voice he hadn’t heard in years was sing-songing into his brain that it wouldn’t work, couldn’t work, he wouldn’t be able to make it work, work, work...

All the small pieces of information were spinning around him in a hectic whirl.

“Michael.”

Yoki’s voice tore through the haze. Her hands were on his shoulders and they squeezed hard. He hadn’t even seen her entering the office. On the other side of the large room, Cat, Nat and Pat were watching him warily. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they’d called her in.

“You’re losing it, Michael,” she informed him formally, quietly. “Breathe. Focus. Don’t let it eat you.” Easier said than done. “You didn’t plan your brother’s escape being totally neurotic, did you?”

He shook his head. No. But back then, he had fully functional brain and body.

“You’ll regain that. I’ll make sure you regain that as much and as fast as possible,” she assured him. “Didn’t I tell you not to rush things, when you woke up? Krantz is not going to the chair next week or even next month. I know that right now it doesn’t sound like a good thing at all, Michael, but you have time. Make time your ally, not your enemy. Time will reward you if you treat it well.”

Her voice was soothing. He wasn’t positive that he heard or understood all her words, but they slid on him, wrapped around him like a blanket. They dampened his anguish, and slowly, slowly cleared his mind.

Trying to prevent Krantz from communicating with the outside world wasn’t sufficient. They had made progress, no matter how Michael felt about that: they knew how he worked, they knew the kind of connections he used. It was about time to open communication lines they could use rather than fight.

He took a deep breath and the small pieces started falling into place.

* * *

On the first anniversary of Michael’s death, Sara and Lincoln sat in the couch of Sara’s living room and played the videotape Michael had left them. It was the first time in a year that they watched it. Yes, Sara had ran it a few times, to copy it and even make digital copies of it just in case, because she didn’t want to watch it, but she wanted even less to risk losing it. That was her talisman. She didn’t have to — and, for the sanity of her mind, couldn’t — turn to it every day that God made; she just needed to know that it was there, within reach.

Earlier in the morning, she’d carefully dressed Michael Jr., also carefully picked her dress, combed her hair, and made up her face while Lincoln was folding a paper crane. Perhaps, she thought while observing him create the delicate origami, this was how he acquired the dexterity that turned to be so useful with those damn diapers when she lost it a few months ago.

She smiled at the image of Michael on the TV screen, heard Lincoln clear his throat to hide what may very well be a sniffle, and she nudged him gently. Not the point. Lincoln groaned as though she’d actually hurt him.

“This is Daddy,” he said, pointing at the TV for Michael Jr.’s benefit.

Sara had shown him pictures. The rare pictures she’d been able to lay her hands on. How were you supposed to get pictures of a man who shed his whole life and left it behind him before dying? Every now and then, Lincoln yapped about it, but it never lasted very long. It wasn’t as if any childhood keepsake wouldn’t have been stained by the reality he’d uncovered later, after all.

Michael didn’t seem over-invested in what was going on on the TV. He babbled and waved his white and green plush duck — that could have used a good wash if only he had consented to let go of it — but he was asleep before the tape had reached its end. Good for him, Sara decided. He would have a whole lifetime to understand what happened to his Dad.

She brought him to the gravesite, carrying him against her, no stroller, with Lincoln taking care of the flowers and the origami. Fernando and Alex were waiting for them, hands in their pockets and eyes to the ground, not sure what to do with themselves. It was kind of cute from Fernando, more unexpected from Alex. She kissed their cheeks, grateful for their presence. They had visited a few times since Lincoln and she settled here, but they’d never been to Michael’s grave. She’d rarely been to Michael’s grave, truth be told; most days, she didn’t need it.

They walked to the tombstone. The place was beautiful: calm, desert, endless blue ocean, endless blue sky, simple gray marble.

There was nobody — no body — under that simple gray marble and, just as each time she’d come here, Sara tried hard not to wonder where Michael’s body rested. It didn’t matter. What did was the two men who’d asked if they could be here, the morning spent with Lincoln watching the tape and getting ready, her son heavy in her arms, the white flowers, and the origami crane that Linc carefully laid on the grave even though he knew the wind would have blown it away in two seconds.

What mattered were the memories and the commemoration, one of the ways to keep Michael alive.

* * *

That day, Michael took care not to think about it and immersed himself in the most abstruse red file he could dig out from the seemingly never ending stack waiting on his desk.

He couldn’t. He couldn’t picture Sara and Lincoln today, he couldn’t imagine his son growing without him, so far away from him, he couldn’t wonder if anyone else had made the trip to Costa Rica. He couldn't face the craziest deception he’d ever pull on them. He couldn’t or he would lose what was left of his mind.

So he woke up early, and worked, worked, worked and didn’t think, ate because Pat put a sandwich on his desk and told him, “Eat it, Boss. Now,” and he retreated to his room only when today was almost over and already edging into tomorrow.

He couldn’t escape Yoki, though. She was comfortably settled in an armchair with her small computer in her lap to annotate her files while waiting for him. For all he knew, she may have been annotating her file on him.

She didn’t ask him if he was okay because she didn’t like it when he lied to her.

“They visited your tombstone today. Sara, Lincoln and your son.” She closed her laptop and stood up. “And Fernando Sucre and Alex Mahone were there too.”

“Please don’t, Yoki. Not today.”

“They’re not forgetting you.”

“Maybe they should, given what I’m putting them through.”

“Lose the guilt, Michael. You act in their best interest.”

He was tired, and not only physically. Thoughts that he usually managed to keep at bay had been surfacing and nagging at him all day long.

“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Who can tell? I made that decision for them. Who am I to make decisions like that for them?”

But then, that was nothing new, was it? He’d made decisions like that for them when he got himself jailed in Fox River or when he conveniently left out of his explanations an essential detail about his plan to get Sara out of Miami Dade.

Yoki tilted her head and considered him for so long that he thought she was just going to get out and leave him alone.

“You used to have an avenging angel tattooed on your chest, Michael.”

“You should update your files, it was on my back,” he said, failing to see where she was heading.

“Whatever. A damn avenging angel, Michael. You’re a megalomaniac, well-intentioned bastard with a good heart and a twisted ego. I think that you know what saves you here, and what may cause your downfall. You just need to walk the line — if possible, don’t stumble tonight.” She shrugged and felt it necessary to add: “That’s not a professional opinion.”

He couldn’t help a small smile.

“Thanks for the pep talk, doc.”

“Anytime.” She slipped her hand in the pocket of her lab coat. “I have a picture of... today. Do you want it?”

He thought about it for a few seconds.

When he said no, he wasn’t sure whether it was because he wouldn’t be able to look at it or on the contrary to inflict on himself a well-deserved punishment.

TBC
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