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20 September 2015 @ 01:00 pm
Prison Break - Story of Faith (26/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (26/27) - 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: ~ 2,360 (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 26

It was dark when he opened his eyes.

(Night came quickly around here.)

He’d fallen asleep. Today was the most unbelievable day of his life — he had some pretty valid measurements to compare to — and he’d fallen asleep, crammed into the porch swing, Sara’s jacket held tight against him like some sort of security blanket.

It was Lincoln’s voice that he heard first when he woke up. A low, deep rumble that spoke of family, safety and sometimes pain, but always love. Sara’s, then, soft and gentle but with that fortitude that had grown even more with the years and hardship.

They were sitting on the top of the steps, shoulder to shoulder and their backs to him, both metaphorically and not so metaphorically leaning into each other’s support, watching the ocean and chatting with a quiet ease. Two silhouettes cut against the silver blue of the sky and the sea, a perfect image, a dream for an artist — maybe he would start painting now that he had a whole new future ahead, and he would paint this moment over and over again. A perfect soundtrack too, with the hush-hush drone of their conversation and Sara who laughed, a short, happy burst. Michael’s heart leaped in his chest at the sound. Yoki hadn’t lied: she had to be well if she could utter such a lovely laugh, hadn’t she?

They’d been waiting for him to wake up. Maybe they’d tried to wake him up and he just kept sleeping.

He tried to speak, to call for them, and found out his voice was gone. He tried to sit up, to reach for them, and found out his legs and arms refused to work.

He did manage to move in some way, though, because the porch swing shifted and emitted a rusty squeak of protest.

He had meant to ask Sara if he could kiss her before doing anything. Really, he wanted to. He would totally have asked if she hadn’t been suddenly bending over him and pressing her mouth to his, her hands gripping whatever part of him they could reach. He felt moistness and salt on his face and on his lips — his tears, hers, it didn’t really matter. He kissed back, gripped back, held onto her for dear life. He let bigger and stronger hands haul him up and pull him into a crushing embrace. He whispered about love-you to Sara and about needing air to Lincoln because it would be such a shame if he died of suffocation now, wouldn’t it?

He’d had over four years, a trip home, a walk on the beach and a nap on a porch swing to think about what he would say to them. He hadn’t found anything. What could you possibly say after all this that would tell, explain, maybe ask for forgiveness and channel the joy and the relief to be here, alive, reunited? He — they — choked about I love you and I’ve missed you, I’m sorry and That’s for real. Basic, simple things. Significant words, smart sentences they could tell their kids about in twenty years, eluded them.

He was barely able to stand on his own when they let go of him and took a step back to check him out, Sara’s hand lingering on his arm, gently stroking up and down, making sure he was real and reacquainting herself with the feeling and the warmth of his skin. He wobbled, grabbed Lincoln’s shoulder for support and leaned into Sara’s touch to anchor himself to reality. Finally, eventually he looked at them for real.

For a long time, he’d had the pics Yoki and Mrs. Jamison were providing so the changes didn’t seem dramatic. A few more years, a few more lines around their eyes, some grey hair in Lincoln’s stubble — but well, who was he to tease his big brother about grey hair when he had his fair share of it too? He prayed that they didn’t notice, not right now at least, the way he had changed, how all the bad things he’d done clouded his eyes.

What the photographs could never convey was their scent, the way they moved and spoke, how they existed, real and here and now. He breathed them in, stole another kiss from Sara, and noticed their smiles: shaky, shy as if they could hardly believe it was happening, happy to the point of being painful, having faith that no matter what would happen, they would be okay.

“So,” he said in a broken voice. “I’m here.”

Sara laughed nervously. “Yes. You are.”

“No welcoming party?” he joked.

Lincoln snorted. “Like you’re the welcoming parties kind of guy.” He slapped his back. “There will be one, that said, ‘cause I am the welcoming parties kind of guy.”

In Lincoln’s language, that meant beer, beach and barbecue ribs. Michael could live with that.

He threw a hesitant look at the house. It was late, the middle of the night for all he knew, so of course his son was tucked in and sleeping, free from the craziness of the adults. It came to his mind that maybe he wasn’t even there, but safe with Sofia and LJ — wherever Sofia and LJ were — and that he would need to wait some more before seeing him, and...

Sara caught his glance, the impatience sneaking into his composure. “Mikey is asleep,” she said. “I’m going to—”

She took a step toward the door. Michael grabbed her arm.

“No, please. Don’t wake him up.”

They still were on the door step. He couldn’t say for how long they’d been standing here, exchanging meaningless words, aware that merely being able to do that meant the world. And then the conversation hit a stop: too many important things to share, not quite the right moment as Michael needed to take a breath and a pause, not sure where or what to start with. It was quiet suddenly, the night warm and soothing.

Until Lincoln’s stomach growled furiously.

Michael and Sara looked at him and grinned.

“Why, sorry!” he grumbled, not looking sorry in the slightest. “Some of us need their food. You know what, Sara, why don’t you show him the place, and the little devil’s spawn, while I fix us something to eat?”

“I could use something to eat too,” Michael admitted. It felt like his last meal was ages ago, and Lincoln’s stomach wasn’t the only one begging for food.

It was an odd feeling, going into a place he’d imagined, fantasized about, and yet tried not to imagine too clearly because its mere evocation was painful. The inside of the house matched its outside and, as he stepped directly into the living room, he scanned it with rapture; the white walls and bright fabrics, the wooden furniture, the few toys scattered here and there. It was simple, cozy, lived-in. A perfect home in a perfect place to raise their son and be happy. Sara had created the place he’d hoped for when they got married and before more shit happened and stole life from them.

Sara took his hand, squeezed it in hers, and led him through a corridor to the bedrooms. Mike’s bedroom. He froze at the door and needed Sara’s gentle push and voice assuring him he could go in and check on him, that he wouldn’t wake him up because he slept like a log.

That was something Michael Jr. didn’t share with his daddy. Michael had always been a light sleeper — too many thoughts and worries whirling in his mind. Good thing his child wasn’t the same and felt safe enough to sleep tight when at the other end of the house, his uncle moved in the kitchen as he was about to destroy it and—

The hugeness of it hit him: he had a child. A bit of him and a bit of Sara mingled for the best.

(Not that he hadn’t had about four years to understand it, but there was an ocean of difference between understanding it and feeling it, experiencing it, smelling it.)

He tried not to make the floorboard squeak and failed, obviously, because he didn’t know the house’s quirks. The sound had Mikey rolling around in his bed, but it didn’t pulled him from his dreams, arms and legs spread over his crisp white sheets, mouth a bit open uttering a soft and steady snore. Emboldened by his son’s impassivity, Michael bent down and laid a kiss on his forehead.

He noticed it as he was straightening up and turning around to leave the bedroom. Michael Jr. slept with a white duck with a green hat and matching bow-tie tucked into his side. A slightly worn white duck with a green hat and matching bow-tie.

Tears that were stuck in his throat since he’d woken up on the porch welled up and filled his eyes. As Sara was closing the door after him, he leaned against the wall of the hallway and tried not to choke.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “For everything I put you through. I—”

She brushed a kiss over his lips, chaste and gentle.

“Shush. You’ll be sorry later. For now, let’s just enjoy this, all right?”

She knew him, knew there was no way to avoid the apologies and the culpability, and maybe it was for the best. Sooner or later, they would need to clear the air of what had happened and acknowledge to one another they weren’t guilty of anything.

“His stuffed toy... I sent it to him.”

This time, her kiss was less gentle and definitely not chaste. Her hands around his neck, her stomach pressed into his, she kissed to tease and arouse. He closed his eyes and gasped against her mouth, into her neck, in the opening of her shirt. He focused on her — mostly — and on not embarrassing himself — a little bit. At some point, he would need to mention that this was the most intimate touch he’d felt in four years, so she might want to—

“Linc’s waiting for us,” he said instead.

She grinned at him. “You are hungry, aren’t you?”

He was. In various ways, but food was the easiest to deal with, right now.

On their way to the kitchen, he took a peek at the master bedroom and the guest room. The latter had been prepared for a guest. It was a lovely bedroom, smaller than Sara’s and Mikey’s, but obviously comfortable, and it had been prepared for a guest.

He pointed at his small duffle bag that Lincoln had dragged into the kitchen. There wasn’t much in it. He couldn’t and didn’t want to keep anything from his days at The Foundation, so it was merely the few items he bought on his way back, a toy for Mike and a dozen origami cranes he folded during his plane trip.

“Do you want me to put my stuff in the guest room?” he asked Sara.

He was walking by her side; she came to a halt so abruptly that he almost bumped into her at the kitchen door.

“Only if you feel more comfortable—”

He saw it all in her eyes: the hesitation, the uncertainty that he would prefer not to share her bed right away, the reluctant will to give him as much space as he would need. He opened his mouth to tell her that it shouldn’t work like that, that it was as much about what she wanted as what he wanted.

His back to them and still working at the kitchen’s counter, Lincoln grunted as if in pain.

“Please, guys. I don’t need to hear that.” The fake exasperation and very real mockery was thick in his tone. “For God’s sake. Four years and some. Use your brains. Or, y’know, other parts of your anatomy.”

Michael sighed and looked at Sara in a way meaning, See what I had to put up with for thirty years?

Sara ignored Lincoln. “No. That’s not what I want. I want you with me.”

Lincoln turned around, wriggled his eyebrows at him, and proceeded to set the table. He moved easily in Sara’s kitchen, familiar enough with the place to know where the plates and silverware were, to fix a salad and pour some ice tea in tall glasses. Michael’s throat felt tight, suddenly. His brother was more comfortable in this place, around his son, even around Sara, than he was.

It made him equally sad and relieved. Sad because he’d missed so much and he would never get that back; relieved because they had been — still were — here for one another, and that meant the world to him.

Sara sat and drew up a chair for him next to her, Lincoln across from him. The salad was nice, which oddly enough wasn’t a surprise. Lincoln had cooked for him and then for LJ when they were younger. He wasn’t a chef, but he was quite good at the basic, simple stuff.

The place was beautiful. The food was good. The company was without equal. Lincoln told him to have another helping after Michael had cleaned his plate because he visibly needed one, and he tastefully pretended to be very interested in the contents of his glass when Sara leaned over the table and brought Michael’s hand to her lips to kiss his wrist.

He complied. He ate. He drank. He laughed, and yeah, maybe teared up a bit once or twice. He kept his ears open, waiting for the sounds from his son’s bedroom indicating the kid was waking up; he rolled his eyes at Lincoln’s silly jokes, and reveled in the warm butterfly-kisses Sara lay every now and then on his jaw. Except for the intensity Lincoln couldn’t keep out of his tone and Sara out of her touch, except for the almost overwhelming feeling of peace and elation that sat in his chest, it was a pretty regular moment: sharing a meal with his wife and his brother, waiting for his child to stumble into the kitchen with eyes still full of sleep. Extraordinary in its banality, making him feel at home.

Because he was home.

He was home.

TBC
--Feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

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