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13 September 2015 @ 12:33 pm
Prison Break - Story of Faith (23/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (23/27) - 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: ~ 2,090 (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 23

Smythe was on the run, and quite efficiently so.

They had inflicted major losses on him and retrieved major intel, but not major enough that he was totally without support yet. If anything, it made him more dangerous, fighting for what was left of The Company and for his very life. Michael’s plan didn’t involve killing him, not if it could be avoided, but he wasn’t sure that Kellerman’s take on the situation was the same. As for Mrs. Jamison, she didn’t have a take on the outcome per se, only on what was the safest, most efficient way to complete the mission she’d accepted; it meant she could eventually be as ruthless, if not more, as Kellerman.

“We need to stop chasing after him,” Michael had said after shutting down their current plans.

“Not meaning to second-guess you, Boss, but how do you plan to catch him if you don’t chase after him?”

Perfect logic. Still missed a point.

“We’ve been following him for four years, and actively chasing after him for two months. Are we closer to catching him than we were two months ago?”

Nat gracefully conceded on that point. “So what do we do?”

“We walk in his shoes. What does he want to do? What does he need? How can he get it?”

He’d come to enjoy those brainstorming sessions, no matter how twisted it could sound considering what said sessions were about. He’d planned Lincoln’s escape from Fox River on his own, and even once out, he only shared a modicum of information with his brother. Sona, going after The Company, Miami Dade... he had to work with people, some of them he trusted with his life and others he was — rightfully so — wary of, but then again, he never disclosed everything, not even to Sara or Linc. Especially to Sara or Linc, maybe.

Here? He didn’t really have a choice because he couldn't make it without his triumvirate of analysts, without Mrs. Jamison and Yoki, without Kellerman. But it didn’t change the fact that after a while, he’d found out that it was pleasant and efficient to have someone to talk to, to discuss plans and solutions and even failures with.

“Money,” Pat was suggesting. “A base or maybe just a place to rest and plan his next move.”

“To win back what he’s lost. Implementing his next operation would be a start.”

“That would be the op coded #15PI7 and targeting Central America if my projections are correct,” Cat added.

Cat’s projections had hardly ever been wrong in four years so working in relation to operation #15PI7 it would be.

“Why can’t he?” Michael insisted.

“Because you’re a pain in the ass who prevents him doing so?”

Michael smiled coyly at Mrs. Jamison who had just joined the brainstorming in her own way. “Maybe he’d like to get his hands on me to stop me from stopping him, then?”

Jamison snorted in a way that would have sounded insulting if Michael hadn’t known her better. She wasn’t dumb. She’d also been in that business for much longer than he’d been, and hopefully would ever be, so she understood right away what he was implying.

“That’s cute. Not gonna happen.”

He had foreseen her rebuttal and could do with it; he hadn’t thought to actually offer himself as bait, anyway. There was a time in his life where he would have done it — he had done it — but not now, not anymore. Color him selfish, but so close to his goal, he didn’t want to put himself in this sort of danger anymore. It was for him, but also for Sara, for Lincoln, for his son, and his nephew. Jamison hadn’t confirmed it, but he would have bet that Kellerman had told them he was alive. He couldn’t take the risk to let anything happen to him now and break their hearts again.

“It doesn’t have to be me. Smythe doesn’t even know that I exist. It just has to be the person in charge of the strategy: make up one. Smythe doesn’t know who it is, so it can be anyone, right? I’m sure you have a facility somewhere south where our chief strategist would need to go for whatever reason you’d feel like coming up with, where security isn’t as robust as it is here and that Smythe would feel safe enough to raid.”

(Make the prey the predator. Why run after him when you could have him running toward you?)

Jamison considered the suggestion. She didn’t need much time to make up her mind, Michael knew that much. She was starting to be disturbingly familiar with the way his brain worked and there was no way she didn’t quickly come to the conclusion that he had already planned in his mind most of the suggested operation.

“That could work,” she admitted.

* * *

The Foundation had a facility somewhere south, of course, one where security wasn’t as high as in its headquarters, but still high enough that Smythe wouldn’t think it sounded too good to be true. A few hundred miles from Upata, Venezuela, where it made sense that The Foundation sent its alleged chief strategist since it was the closest place they owned to where Smythe was last spotted, in the north of Suriname.

They spent a part of the night working on creating an alter-ego for Michael and on so-called hints that would be leaked during the next days. It was fast, bordering on urgent. It had to be. They couldn’t keep Sara and Lincoln wherever-they-were forever. And they needed to use Tom’s communication channels with Smythe while they were still active. Jamison had made sure they were kept open, and Tom — wherever Tom was being held — was more than willing to cooperate, maybe out of guilt or maybe as a means to redeem himself, and without the shadow of a doubt because Jamison wasn’t giving him a choice.

During those few days, Michael ate and went to sleep because it was the smart thing to do if he wanted to keep his mind together and be fully functional and thinking straight when he would need to. They wouldn’t have a second chance for a long time if his plan failed. Smythe would go deeper into hiding, and Michael would be stuck in here for as long as he wouldn’t be able to get his hands on the man. Not to mention his family being moved from safe house to safe house.

He breathed in. He couldn’t let himself think about it. He needed to keep the endgame in mind because it provided the best possible motivation, but he couldn’t let himself get bogged down in it. Too distracting when he had to be reactive and focused.

At the beginning of the fourth day, in The Foundation’s lunchroom, Yoki sat next to him with a mug of coffee, leaned in, and whispered into his ear, “Canada.” He threw her a questioning look. “This is where they took Sara and Lincoln.”

He bowed his head, suddenly very interested in his breakfast, and smiled.

“Are we four years ago again, when you gave me rewards for completing a green file, Yoki?”

“It’s not exactly a green file we’re working on right now, is it?”

Smythe was heading to Upata.

* * *

Days had morphed into a week, and then into a couple of weeks. The mishmash of feelings from the beginning — incredulity, joy, fear, and a few others Sara couldn’t even pinpoint — was being joined by impatience. They knew nothing: not how long it would take before all of this was over, not where Michael was, not what he was doing, not when they would be allowed to talk to him, nothing.

“No point asking her anything,” Lincoln grumbled as they were having breakfast on the morning of the tenth day. He jerked his head at Jane who was nursing her black, no-sugar coffee. “They probably keep her in the dark too.”

Jane didn’t react to the provocation. Jane had nerves of steel and the fortitude of those who knew they were doing the right thing.

Lincoln wasn’t taking what he considered a betrayal as kindly as Sara.

It wasn’t that Sara was taking it kindly, she’d tried to explain, it was that she wouldn’t waste any energy on anger and bearing a grudge when she needed it for so many other things. She was wiser than him, Lincoln pointed out, which he would have never believed two years ago when she was the one illegally buying a gun and shooting at things. Obviously, she was wiser and more insightful than him since she’d kept in mind all along that this outcome remained a possibility, and got prepared for it.

“Well, not this outcome, no,” she pointed out with a faint smile. She hadn’t even allowed herself to dream about it, to fantasize what-if-Michael-hadn’t-died scenarios because it would have been a recipe for disaster, and disaster wasn’t an option with their son needing to be loved and taken care of.

Lincoln was spending an awful amount of their days here pacing up and down and taunting Jane. They currently were in Sara’s bedroom because it was the quietest place of the home to have a conversation, and even there, he started to pace up and down. Bad case of cabin fever. Sara had been keeping an eye on him, worrying he might do something stupid. For the first time in four years, she might have to do what Michael had asked her in that vid and make sure Lincoln kept it together. It was ironic that it happened now. Or maybe it was logical? Lincoln feeling like he didn’t have to be the wary one anymore since Michael was out there ready to shoulder bath that task?

She had never dreamed of this outcome. She had never prepared for it. Quite the contrary, she’d tried to rebuild a life — the phrase that sounded like an obsession a couple of years ago drew a snort of derision out of her — and to move on. She’d kept a possible resurgence of The Company or its heirs in a corner of her mind, but never in her craziest dreams would she have imagined—

“I cheated on him,” she whispered, the memories of Rafael suddenly flooding back with the rebuilt-a-life mantra. Her fingers moved to her mouth, as if to keep remorse and guilt inside of her, to prevent them from spilling out in the ugliest way.

Lincoln looked at her without understanding what she was talking about. Lincoln did need some spilling out, apparently.

“Rafael. You do know that I slept with him, right?”

“Yeah, I had a hunch that at some point, you and the kid wouldn’t be content with just holding hands” He shrugged. “You didn’t cheat on Michael: Michael was dead.”

The blunt statement hit her in the heart. And then, the absurdity of the blunt statement made its way into her brain, and she had to bite the corner of her lips not to grin.

“Sara?”

She bit harder. To no avail. Her eyes started to screw up, her mouth to twist on the side.

Lincoln winced. “Sara, I’m sorry. Come on, Doc’, you’re not going to cry now, are you?”

She shook her head, trying to make him understand that he got it wrong, that his concerned tone and gentle expression only made it worse, that—

He sat by her and wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulders.

A burst of laughter escaped her. And another when she understood that Lincoln still hadn’t realized she wasn’t crying and held her tighter, patted her back nicer. Even funnier was the fact that he half-suffocated her with his bear-like hug and urge to soothe her. As kindly as possible, she pushed him off her and looked up, tried and failed to say, “I’m okay,” between two hiccups.

He rolled his eyes at her and gave her the brightest smile she’d ever seen on his face.

She laughed until she cried; until the tension accumulated in two weeks — and in four years — leaked out of her in fits of giggles and torrents of tears; until Lincoln joined her even though he would probably deny having cried; until she collapsed across the bed and finally fell asleep in her first resting sleep in days.

Lincoln spread a blanket on her and settled in the armchair in the corner of the room, not enough energy left to cross the hallway to his own bedroom.

TBC
--So... we're nearing the end, people: three chapters and a short epilogue left. I'll post all of them next week, on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, feel free to comment. I won't hold it against you. Really ;)

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dani101dani101 on September 15th, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC)
I really loved your story so far.Thanks a lot for sharing!:)
Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on September 20th, 2015 01:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot, I'm glad you enjoy it :)