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01 August 2015 @ 05:48 pm
Prison Break - Story of Faith (9/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (9/27) - 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: ~ 2.850 (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 9

Mikey walked.

Now that he’d figured out how it worked, he walked a lot. That didn’t mean he’d stopped crawling, preferably in places where his uncle would never think he could fit in; he did keep crawling. But the walking? That was something he loved. Walking, and running, and climbing; falling and getting back on his feet, rarely crying. Lincoln babysat him a couple of hours once or twice a week, and when he did, it implied sticking to light administrative work at the scuba shop in order to keep an eye on the little buddy.

Lincoln had no idea what Sara was doing during those few hours. Maybe he should have asked, but it wasn’t like the woman didn’t deserve a bit of free time, and since Lincoln liked to have his nephew around, just for him every now and then, it was a win-win.

Michael was evasive today, playing a game of hide-and-seek to which Lincoln must pay special attention not to lose sight of the kid. So, when the small bell of the shop’s door tinkled, he threw a sideway glance at Michael and said without looking up at his potential client, “We’re closed for the afternoon. I can fill you in on our fees tomorrow if you’re interested.”

“Tomorrow’s okay,” a feminine voice answered.

His head was whipping up before the woman was even done talking. He hadn’t heard that voice, low and confident, in over two years, but he hadn’t forgotten it. His second reaction was to get up, grab and push Michael behind him. The kid giggled and held onto his leg, small hands gripping Lincoln’s colorful Bermuda shorts.

That was a ridiculous reaction for a dozen reasons. The main one was that, despite everything, she’d never been foe; another one being that if she’d wanted any or both of them dead, they would have been dead by now.

And speaking of dying...

Jane Phillips. Very much alive and standing before him.

“I thought you were dead.”

Not the best welcome in the history of welcomes, but she didn’t take it personally. She shook her head and answered matters-of-factly, “No. I’m not.”

She was as collected and composed as he remembered her, blond hair in a ponytail, flowery dress incongruous on her, no matter how much it was fitting for the beach. He wondered where she hid her gun — that wasn’t a corny or dirty line, he actually wondered. He would never buy that she didn’t carry one.

He did not wonder how she’d found them. He had no illusion about people knowing his whereabouts, especially people like her. Hell, he had contacted Kellerman a few months ago, which might or might not have given him away.

“Not that they didn’t try to get rid of me when they took LJ from me,” she added.

Lincoln squinted at the mention of his son. “You could have given some sign of life sooner. LJ was devastated.”

“I would have loved to be able to do that.”

The meaning of her retort sank in. He stared hard at her. She didn’t flinch, just stood and waited. If she had any scars, they were hidden under her clothes — but then that was entirely possible. She wouldn’t have been the first: there was a reason why Sara often kept her shirt on at the beach, after all.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, his tone tired rather than worried now. She was a ghost from a past he’d rather not think about and, no matter how glad he was to see her alive and well, she was forcing him months back.

Mikey went into climbing mode and attacked his leg. He scooped him up and sat him on his hip. He was pretty sure he had nothing to fear from her, and if they were in immediate danger because of anyone else, she wouldn’t have been chit-chatting.

“I work for an insurance company. I was around, I thought I would drop by and say hello.”

He couldn’t help a smirk.

“An insurance company? Really?”

“I never said I sold insurances”, she said. “I, err, retrieve things for them.”

She took a business card from her purse — because yes, she had a fucking purse to match the flowery dress — and gave it to him.

“You’re a detective for an insurance company.” It made more sense, even though it lacked the irony of her selling insurances.

“It pays the bills and I dodge less bullets than when I was working with Aldo.”

“So you being here has nothing to do with...”

He trailed off. He didn’t need to finish his sentence. He didn’t want to, not with Michael slowly falling asleep against his shoulder, exhausted by his afternoon. At least, he would give him back to Sara quiet and ready to eat and go to bed.

“If it was the case, do you think I’d show up just like that?” Then nodding at Michael. “He’s cute. He’s yours?”

He swallowed. He hadn’t yet reached the point where the question didn’t make him recoil. He didn’t picture this day happening anytime soon.

“My brother’s.”

Her face darkened in sympathy. “I’ve heard about what happened. I’m sorry, Lincoln.”

Sorry. A lot of people were sorry. Some of them were sorry that someone like Michael died because his deadbeat of a brother had been stupid enough to be dragged into such a mess in the first place. At least, Jane Phillips knew better. Jane Phillips knew that, even if Michael was the good and smart one, Lincoln was a mere pawn in an insane game and never stood a chance.

“Yeah,” he told her. “Me too.”

Later that night, Sara tilted her head when Lincoln told her about Jane’s visit. He could see it happening again, all the cogwheels working frantically in her pretty skull. Linc couldn't blame her, the coincidence was too strange. They didn’t live (anymore) in a world where they could chalk up this kind of event to coincidence.

“The company she said she works for, Lockhart & Pearson? It does exist,” LJ offered helpfully, his laptop opened before him on the kitchen table.

Right. LJ lived in the same world as his Dad and aunt-in-law. He was ecstatic to learn that Jane was alive, but that didn’t mean he didn’t wonder about the veracity of her story. LJ was too cynical for someone who wasn’t even twenty yet.

“Of course it does,” Sara said.

“And she is a registered detective with them.”

“Of course she is,” Lincoln parroted.

Jane had booked a room and scuba lessons for a week. Lincoln would have bet she didn’t need those lessons, maybe could even have taught him a thing or three about scuba diving, but he had no reason to turn her down. More importantly, the lessons would give him the opportunity to grill her a bit.

That was Sofia’s turn to smirk. It was a smirk implying that, even if she didn’t know Jane Phillips personally, Sofia had dealt with enough Company’s agents and counteragents during a few weeks to have learned a bunch of things about them.

“You won’t get anything from her,” she said.

Lincoln looked only marginally hurt. Sofia had done this to him, bringing some lightness to him when, a couple of years ago, he would have muttered and brooded.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, baby.”

He wouldn’t say he didn’t get anything from Jane; but he didn’t get much. He wanted to believe that it was because there was nothing more to get, nothing more than what the eye could see.

He couldn't help remembering about how Sara felt spied on or his own phone call to Kellerman a few months back.

* * *

Mikey walked to his Dad’s tombstone for the second anniversary of Michael’s death, one hand in his Mom’s, the other in his Uncle’s. Jane, who was still around, observed from afar, refusing to join a celebration that was family only. She’d never met Michael Sr., she explained, she’d have felt out of place.

The visit held the same ceremonial feel as the first one, but also a sense of recurrence that twisted Sara’s heart.

* * *

There wasn’t a free spot on Michael’s Wall, and Pat kept (half-)joking that at this rate, The Foundation was going to need bigger servers to secure all the intel they’d been gathering. It was all reviewed, tagged and filed according to a maniacally precise system Michael had elaborated with Cat.

(As far as searching and archiving went, Cat was a kindred soul, really.)

Diana Acero. Rajesh Chopra. Jeremy Smythe.

They knew the identities — the real ones — of the three people who might succeed Krantz. They knew the identities of their followers. They’d been working on their habits, networks and modus operandi. They had tons of intel, and each time they managed to link one little thing to another, Michael felt a thrill going through his whole body. Each tiny connection brought him closer to his family, step by step, small link by small link.

‘Succeed Krantz’ was a figure of speech. This wouldn’t be a quiet and civilized inheritance. Michael tried not to revel in the notion that the three people featured in the portraits he looked at every day were probably going to fight to the death — and he was going to help them, fuel them. He didn’t want to become that kind of person, but each picture of his son growing up, growing up without him, added to his own bitterness.

He wasn’t sure anymore of the color of the files he was working on. ‘Red’ didn’t begin to describe them. What color did you pick to file, even symbolically, ways and means to feed a war? To feed a war which outcome would set you free?

Paul Kellerman was sitting in Pat’s chair when Michael came back from his nap after lunch.

(He still needed his after-lunch naps. When he’d asked Yoki how long this was going to last, she smiled and asked him if naps were really a high price to pay after the wounds and sickness, the surgery and physical therapy. This was the kind of question that didn’t call for an answer.)

Pat was not here, neither were Cat, Nat or Tom, but Mrs. Jamison was half-leaning half-sitting on the edge of Michael’s desk, arms crossed, stilettos in full view and looking like weapons of their own, face unreadable. Kellerman was chit-chatting jovially, but that didn’t mean anything. Kellerman could be chit-chatting jovially while gutting you, and Michael meant ‘gutting’ in the literal sense.

Then, he noticed Yoki on the other side of the room and concluded that, whatever they were about to tell him, they expected him to react badly.

“Paul.” He sat at his desk and rolled the chair to the right so that Jamison wasn’t blocking his line of sight. “It’s been a while.”

And that was the problem. Kellerman hadn’t showed up in person since Michael and he had closed that crazy deal. For him to be here today, something must have gone wrong, something Mrs. Jamison had decided wasn’t covered by her contract.

“I’d like to say ‘nice to see you’, but you know...”

He rested his hands on the armrests of his chair and tried to conceal how badly they were shaking. That was another of the joys of his recovery, so little control over his body.

“I have good news and bad news,” Kellerman began. He looked up pensively. “They’re the same, really.”

“Are Sara and my son okay? Lincoln?”

“We’ve made interesting progress on The Company.” Kellerman went on as though he didn’t hear him, and he bowed a little bit to Michael and Mrs. Jamison to acknowledge their outstanding work. “So interesting that The Company has dispatched a couple of agents to Costa Rica to keep tabs on your little family.”

Kellerman kept talking and Michael kept listening to him without saying a word because that was the easiest, fastest way to learn everything Kellerman was willing to disclose about the situation. And also a bit because his heart was beating in his throat, almost stealing his ability to speak, just as Kellerman’s words almost stole his ability to move or breathe.

Breathe.

He breathed. He needed to breathe in order to bring oxygen to his brain and keep listening. Then, when Kellerman shut up and took a sip of his fucking coffee, Michael demanded, “I want them exfiltrated. Now.”

“They’re not in danger, Michael.”

It was Yoki who answered him. Michael cast her an angry, incredulous glance, wondering how she could take Kellerman’s side on this issue. They did it on purpose, all three of them, he thought: they’d choreographed the announcement, aware that a reassurance coming from Yoki would be more trustworthy than one from Kellerman.

“Dr. Evergreen is right, Michael. The Company wants to make sure that Lincoln and Sara have nothing to do with the setbacks they’ve experienced recently. They want us to know that they watch them. They can’t afford to fight on that front, but they can afford to let us know that front is under surveillance. You understand? We exfiltrate them now, it’s admitting that something is going on and Sara and your brother have something to do with it. Now, something is going on, but they have nothing to do with it, do they, Michael? Michael? Keep your head cool. It’s a chess game.”

The whole damn thing was a chess game. With living pawns. There were pawns he wasn’t willing to jeopardize, even less sacrifice.

“Now, I didn’t even have to tell you, you know? I did it out of honesty.” Such an odd word in Kellerman’s mouth. “So trust me on that one. We’ve sent someone to check on them, an operative who worked with your father.”

As much as it killed Michael, Kellerman was right. Considering the whole chessboard was not only the smart thing to do, but also a necessity. It was the best way to ensure himself that they won the game as fast as possible.

“A single agent?” he pointed out. “He better be good.”

“She’s not bad, but she’s more of... a carrier pigeon in this case: we know you’re here, don’t mess with us. You know what I mean?”

Michael got a picture of the agent, Jane Phillips, a couple of days later, courtesy of Yoki who had thought he would want to see what she looked like.

There was no big surprise here. Jane Phillips looked just like you would expect someone assuming this kind of mission would look. She was wearing khaki shorts and a white tee-shirt, and she was laughing with Lincoln — so good seeing Linc laugh — but despite her outfit and her attitude, Michael could see the vigilance and readiness in her posture. Or maybe it was because of her outfit and her attitude, the stark contrast with them. When you knew what to look for, it was there, in plain sight. Hiding in plain sight, he thought, that was the trick: hiding in plain sight.

“My brother knew her before, you know,” he told Yoki.

“I know. Kellerman thought that Lincoln would more easily trust someone he’d already met.”

“Lincoln’s trust has never been easy to win, even less now, I guess. He mentioned her once or twice. I’m not sure he liked her very much, but he trusted her enough to leave LJ with her.”

“He likes her just fine, don’t worry.” Yoki’s mouth twisted with mischief. “But as far as I know, they had a rocky start.”

No surprise here. Lincoln could be abrasive, and the woman in the pic looked like she wouldn’t back away from a fight.

They were at the scuba shop in the pic. Lincoln had it spruced up and freshly painted it, there was equipment and customers on the pontoon, Sofia was a discreet silhouette at the front desk. The place was doing good and Lincoln had obviously done everything he had to do to make it work; to make his brother’s fantasy true.

And Michael wouldn’t even know what to do with half of the stuff neatly stacked around Lincoln. He was a pretty good swimmer, but not a diver. He would need to be a diver — someday, when he went back to Sara and Lincoln.

“I need to take scuba diving lessons,” he told Yoki.

She raised her eyebrows at him.

“Sure. Just let me call the closest scuba diving instructor and we’ll drive you to the beach right away.”

He gave her his coyest smile. “I know, Yoki. Not in the realm of the possible. But maybe someone in here is a trained instructor. Or can train to be an instructor and then teach me as much as I can learn in this environment? You know, the theory, the basics, the first steps that can be done in a pool? As part of my workout routine?”

Two days later, at six in the morning, Lena from the security detail knocked at his door. She was bringing coffee and scuba diving textbooks.

TBC
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--If you enjoy the fic (or if you don't, but you know... hopefully if you do ;)), please let me know :)
 
 
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Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on August 6th, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much :D I'm taking a small break, but I'll start updating again in a few days.