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16 August 2015 @ 12:53 pm
Prison Break - Story of Faith (15/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (15/27) - 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: ~ 2.520 (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 15

“You don’t have a crush on them at least, do you?”

Michael kept typing on his laptop and didn’t bother answering Kellerman’s question. Just another jibe. Every day he was regretting a bit more the time when the other man wasn’t around so frequently, but he could deal with it. Kellerman’s increased presence was made necessary by the decisional process; choices had to be made, that, at this stage, Jamison wouldn’t make on her own.

‘Them’ were Acero and Smythe. Kellerman was eying with interest their portraits displayed on the Wall. Figured. Diana Acero was his kind of woman from head to toe — handsome, in her fifties, dark eyes and dark soul, clever and reserved to the point of coldness, as manipulative and hungry for power as Caroline Reynolds had been.

“Because you had a crush on Mahone and it caused you all kinds of trouble, remember?” Kellerman said.

Michael looked up and glanced at Jamison, collecting facts and adding one plus one. “He told you I had a crush on Alex Mahone? Is this why you offered me female and male company a while ago?”

Jamison shrugged. Right. She’d made it clear that she couldn’t care less — as long as he wasn’t sleeping with his co-workers.

“Company? You offered him a hooker?” Kellerman asked, half laughing, half impressed.

“He didn’t tell me anything,” Mrs. Jamison replied without acknowledging Kellerman. “It was in your file. In your psych evaluation.”

“I see. Well, I didn’t have a crush on Alex.”

“On his brain? You totally did,” Kellerman insisted. “This is how you’re wired, Michael, no big deal. You have a thing for smart people who can be brain-sparring partners for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had one on Mrs. J. here.” He snuffled. “Truth be told, I feel kind of offended you never had one on me.”

Michael entered data in his laptop and watched the field team react accordingly. It was freaking him out, this war from a distance; too much like moving pawns on a chessboard.

He hadn’t had a crush on Alex or on Alex’ brain, nor on Acero’s and Smythe’s. Not on Mrs. Jamison’s either and certainly not on Kellerman’s.

Granted, there had been some fascination for Alex. The man seemed — was — able to get inside his head and understand how he worked and what made him tick. Not a common occurrence by a long shot.

Acero and Smythe were a different kettle of fish. Acero and Smythe couldn’t get inside his head since they didn’t even know he existed. He, on the other hand, knew very well they were out there.

You think there’s a part of you that enjoys this? It feels to me like chasing a high.

He did not enjoy this; who would have?

Except for the part where Sara had been right all those years ago, of course, and a part of him did enjoy it. A lot.

(Not all those years ago. Four years ago, give or take, which was as good as a different lifetime.)

There was something deeply satisfying in the chase, the competition, the possibility of emulation. In being smarter than them — both of them at the same time, he should add — but also in exercising and using his brain to its full extent, pushing it, stretching its limits. Kudos to Yoki for that. She’d promised him she would do anything to help him regain a fully functional brain, and she did.

It was a simple plan, put into gear in the field operation after operation. He liked simple plans; simple premises, at least. There was elegance in simple premises. If you wanted someone who was in jail out of prison, break them out. If you had two enemies who were in a competition, let them tear one another down; help them if necessary. Simple.

The General had been constant and adamant about his chosen successor. Acero had got rid of Chopra and was working on striking a deal with Smythe. She was this close to the prize and wouldn’t let go now. She had everything to lose and wouldn't take kindly to someone trying to snatch the victory from under her nose.

“Let’s spread the word that Krantz has changed his mind,” had been Michael’s recommendation. “Ms. Acero isn’t going to like this.”

Kellerman had sneered at that. If Michael liked simple premises and crushed on smart brains, Kellerman had a thing for information; or disinformation in this case. The nice thing about disinformation in their line of work was that the harder you tried to deny it, the truer it sounded. Krantz could always swear to his protégée that she still was his protégée, Acero would know — think — differently.

The team leader made his report and gave the body count. Detached and professional and so very good at his job. He earned Kellerman’s thumb up and Jamison’s detached and formal congratulations.

Michael closed his eyes and felt his throat tighten. Despite his little display and tough attitude at their meeting one month ago, he hated that.

And he hated even more not having the strength — or would have it been the weakness? — to stop what he’d set into motion.

* * *

Rafael went out of Sara’s life as smoothly as he’d come in. After that, the time she spent at the orphanage with him around was just awkward enough to feel normal — polite salutations, too-friendly smiles, a bit of elusiveness whenever they could avoid being in the same room. She’d wanted normal, she had normal.

By way of comfort, Jane pointed out that most rebound relationships were doomed to fail; Lincoln grumbled that he liked the kid but, hey, she was the one who mattered as far as he was concerned; LJ offered to babysit Mike; Sofia asked her if she was okay.

Simple, basic reactions reminding her she wasn’t alone.

She was okay. She had scars, inside and outside, and it was okay. Somewhere along the way, she’d remembered that she didn’t need to heal all of her scars to keep on going. Some would close and the skin would cicatrize nicely; others would itch like a bitch forever. There was peace in accepting the notion that not everything was curable.

* * *

The engineered encounters between Acero and Smythe’s people, Jamison called them confrontations or clashes. The occasional reports and satellite footage rather evoked blood baths to Michael.

“I know you don’t approve,” he told Yoki. He’d ended up in her office for the first time since they’d disagreed and Jamison shut her out.

“I don’t,” she admitted, “but it’s not your problem. I’m your physician and an employee of The Foundation. You’re my first concern; The Foundation, the second one.”

“Not the other way around?” he asked with a smile.

“No, not the other way around. You, then them. Me, as far as you’re concerned, I’m not part of the equation.”

“I hate what I do, but I have to do it.” Yoki merely nodded her head, listening. “I... But when everything is over, what if I’ve changed so much that Sara and Lincoln don’t recognize me anymore?”

So much time spent in here, and it wasn’t finished yet. Once or twice, he’d considered coming up with a plan that would lead to Acero and Smythe’s capture, and to hell with their followers, minions and other supporters. He could do it, it wouldn’t be that complicated. But of course, this wasn’t the deal he’d struck with Kellerman, that boiled down to neutralizing as many Company’s people as possible. More importantly, it wouldn’t ensure Sara, Linc and Mike’s safety — who could know when the Hydra would raise a new head if he left too many operatives alive and free in his wake?

“You will have changed by then, Michael. This is how life works. But I have trust that, deep down, you’ll still be the man they love and care about.”

“That doesn’t sound like a very professional opinion.”

“You may find out that things on their side aren’t exactly how you imagined they would be either. Life goes on. Don’t beat up yourself. You’ll need a period of adjustment and so will they, that’s all.”

He squinted at her. Almost four years of care, discussions and introspection. He knew it when she was onto something, when she knew something she wouldn’t tell him because, as much as he was her first concern and The Foundation was only the second one, it was a tight finish between them.

Not very complicated to list things that wouldn’t be what he imagined — hoped — they would be.

“Has my brother run into trouble again?”

A shake of her head, firm and definitive. “No. He’s doing just fine. You can be proud of him.”

Okay.

“Is Sara seeing someone?”

The shake of head was a tad longer to come. Too much compassion in her voice when she spoke. “It’s over, Michael. It was a young man she worked with, and...”

He didn’t hear the rest, couldn’t even tell if she kept talking. Distress and hurt stabbed him, a feeling of betrayal sneaking inside his heart even though he had no right, no rhyme or reason, to feel that way. Absolutely none. He was dead. She was alive. If things had gone the way he’d planned them at Miami Dade, he wouldn’t have expected her to mourn him forever; wouldn’t have wanted it.

It was only fair that Sara had met someone; it was a good thing she’d met someone.

(Keep telling yourself that, man. Maybe you’ll feel it at some point.)

“Have you heard the part where I told you that it was over?”

Did he look so terrible that Yoki needed to say this twice and couldn't restrain from taking his hand in hers?

He pictured a faceless man making her laugh when he brought misery upon her, warm hands sliding over her skin when he had to look at snapshots taken by strangers, support for everyday life when he couldn’t even send a gift for her birthday, and sending one for their anniversary would have been the epitome of bad taste.

He snatched his hand out of Yoki’s and hit the first thing within his reach. An antique table lamp crashed through the room and broke against the wall. He didn’t even sense the pain when blood surged from the back of his hand.

Great.

Yoki handed him a compress from her personal stock. He pressed it against the cut, watched it redden, accepted another, let Yoki check if he would need stitches, all the while replaying their short conversation in his mind.

“You said it was over?”

“Yes.”

“How come?” How could someone have her and let her go? Did this guy even understand how lucky he’d been? “He was some jerk who just slept with her and left when he’d got what he wanted? Wasn’t she good enough for him?” he asked, redirecting his anger to a different angle of the situation.

Yoki shook her head and laughed at him. In his face. Not even trying to feign remorse for it.

“All right, you need to take a breath and calm down now. Sara ended it.”

She grabbed a stitching kit from her cabinet. He wondered if he really needed stitches or if this was retaliation for his outburst. Surely a doctor wouldn’t do this kind of thing, would she?

“He was a nice guy, it just didn’t work. It happens.”

She put on surgical gloves. That was one thing to know in life: if you were going to be stupid and cut your hand, do it with a doctor around.

“She wouldn’t have been interested in a loser, you know. From what I’ve gathered, Dr. Tancredi-Scofield has better taste than that when it comes to men.”

He couldn’t help a small, coy smile. Dr. Yoki Evergreen, master of low key compliments.

He dreamed of Sara, that night, of Sara and her former... boyfriend? lover? He woke up early, as dawn hadn’t even started to break, his mind full of images he tried to will away. He showered, got dressed, and sat in the armchair facing the longest wall of his bedroom. Months after months, the wall had been lined with cork panels, and the cork panels were covered in pictures. Sara, Michael Jr., Lincoln, Sofia, LJ, even Alex and Sucre when they visited. Three and a half years of sadness, happiness and routine.

The routine was the worst. You could understand wondering how they lived through sadness and loss, how happiness and joys helped them through the journey. But what was his excuse for the routine? For spying on Sara going to the grocery store or lazing at the beach, on his son sitting on Sofia’s lap, on his brother handing fees to possible customers, on his nephew checking out a pretty girl, on Sucre and Alex shaking hands with Linc and hugging Sara?

This was creepy.

He was creepy.

He picked up the intercom and punched Tom’s number.

It took two minutes for his bodyguard to show up, black suit and all, awake and ready to comply with any request. Sometimes, Michael wondered if the man didn’t just sleep on his doorstep.

“Are you okay, Sir?”

Boxer face and distinguished English accent, stylish suit fitting perfectly over bunched muscles and hands even larger and stronger than Linc’s. Jamison had a knack for recruiting interesting people, and she hadn’t derogated to the rule with Tom.

“Yes. I’d like you to remove those panels from my bedroom, please, Tom.”

The guard glanced at the dozens of pics accumulated over the years, then at Michael, back and forth, a couple of times.

“Should I leave the snapshots on your bedside table, Sir?”

“No, you remove everything. Especially the snapshots. You bring them to Mrs. Jamison and ask her to destroy them. You tell her that I don’t want... I don’t need any pics anymore.”

Tom gnawed at the corner of his mouth. It was odd, watching that man who usually executed orders without even blinking hesitate before a wall of photos.

“You sure?”

No ‘Sir’, genuine concern on his face, even raspier voice than usual. Tom No Last Name was officially stepping over boundaries as defined by The Foundation. Not that Michael cared about the boundaries as defined by The Foundation.

“Yeah. I’ll just keep these two, over there.” He pointed at a couple of pics of his wedding that he knew from before, from when he was officially alive. He didn’t know how The Foundation got them in the first place. Probably from Jane Phillips snooping about Sara or Linc’s things and making a copy of them. “And thank you, Tom.”

(For the help. For his concern.)

He watched as the guard, not sure this was the smart course of action but doing a good job at hiding it, removed the pictures, tore off the cork panels and took away everything.

He stared at the blank wall.

That was more like it.

If he wanted to see his wife, his kid or his brother, all he had to do was to work hard on reuniting with them.

TBC
--Feedback is... *looks around* ...is there anybody here? Nope? Thought so!

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dani101dani101 on August 30th, 2015 02:57 pm (UTC)
This is really good- the last 5 chapters I read,Gosh,they are fantastic!Thank you so much! Thanks a LOT for sharing!:) * runs to read the last few chapters*
Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on August 31st, 2015 09:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much :) I hope you keep enjoying it!