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03 June 2009 @ 06:53 am
Prison Break - Back to Chicago (3/4)  
Title: Back to Chicago (3/4) (French version)
Author: clair_de_lune
Characters: Michael, Lincoln, Sara, LJ (Michael/Sara, LJ/OFC)
Categories: Gen, het
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: “Do you at least remember why you’ve fallen out with each other?” (Post-series)
Author’s Note: This is the translation of a story I wrote ages ago: anything that happened post mid-season 2 is not taken into account (in other words: definitely non-canon-compliant). Many thanks to torigates for the beta.

Previous / Next parts



Part Three

It required a bit of effort, but years ago, he eventually managed to get most of the social niceties allowing him to be comfortable in pretty much any circumstance. He didn’t always understand people, or their acts and choices, but it went almost inconspicuous beneath his veneer of good manners.

He’s comfortable in a lot of circumstances these days, sometimes maybe a bit too comfortable (he tried but never managed to acquire Charles’ wise and benevolent detachment: it put him in situations he should have been sorry for if he’d had more good sense). But those circumstances don’t include his nephew’s wedding taking place in an upper-crust residence. It’s one the things prison took away from him. So, he’s sitting by himself, under a tree, with the plate a waitress artistically prepared for him and a flute of perfectly chilled champagne. He watches LJ and Elizabeth dance, happy for them and happy to be here.

She still uses the same perfume. It’s the first thing he notices when she approaches him, a soft, tangy and fruity odor. Not that she wore perfume back in Fox River when she was on duty, but the scent clang to her clothes, her hair, clang to her: he summoned it up often enough to know. Politely, he stands up and turns around. The guard stops far enough not to hear anything they might say to each other; she keeps on walking towards him and he feels a rush of worry when he realizes that he didn’t plan this. He didn’t plan what he would say to Lincoln – if he says anything to Lincoln – and he didn’t plan what he could say to Sara.

He breathes in deeply and thinks that, maybe, he’s already planned way too many things regarding Lincoln and Sara.

“Senator Tancredi,” he greets her with a tiny smile.

She’s so... not different from the memories he kept of her: just her hair a bit lighter, a few lines around her eyes, her expression showing, beneath the apparent softness, a strength she may not be totally aware of. Although she has to know by now, she had many occasions to acknowledge it. Partly thanks to him. Because of him.

“Mister Scofield.” She moves her arm and he thinks she’s going to hold out her hand: he takes it and shakes it formally, and Sara rolls her eyes. “Oh, for God’s sake, Michael, don’t be so uptight.”

Holding on to his hand, she pulls him against her and kisses his cheek. It lasts just a bit longer than necessary for a friendly kiss before she backs off and sits on the chair next to his. A few yards away, the guard doesn’t budge, keeps watch over Michael and pretends not to see anything. For a split second, she wonders if the guard would rat her to the Dir Com – looks like the first time she ran for an election, she lost a significant part of her freedom of action. At least, this is how the people working for her, including Elizabeth, see it.

He’s changed, more than Lincoln, but she guesses it’s quite logical: when she met Lincoln, he’d already gone through murder charges, a trial and a death sentence; the harder times for Michael came after they’d met, and his eyes... his eyes... Yet, when he sits near her and looks at her, he has the same expression he had years ago, part affection, part provocation. She shifts on her chair when she realizes she’s not totally immune to it. No immune at all.

At all.

“So, senator,” he repeats because he doesn’t really know what to say.

She nods. “Yeah.”

“Of all the people I imagined becoming a politician...”

He doesn’t complete his sentence. He seems to have a problem with completing his sentences; he never had problems talking to her, though, huh? He fumbles with his flute of champagne but doesn’t drink; he doesn’t eat either.

“So you and Lincoln are... friends.”

She nods again. Friends. She never wanted to figure out how much she was to Lincoln a substitute for his brother and made up for his absence – and reciprocally, how much he was her last tie to Michael. It was true at the beginning, it’s not anymore, not for a long time.

She bites her lips and, before even thinking about it, lets slip in a low voice, “You didn’t even try to defend yourself.”

She knows it’s the point she shouldn’t bring up. This is how their last conversation ended: he got up, asked her politely (so politely that if the thick glass of the visiting room hadn’t been between them, she would have slapped him) not to visit him / wait for him / intercede in his favor, and he left the room. There was nothing she could do about since the badge wouldn’t force him back to his chair. But now, it’s her place. And she knows the idea is going to whirl in her mind until she expresses it. Better get rid of it right now.

He stops fumbling with the flute.

“Sara... People died because I let Bagwell out. People were wounded and hurt because of what I did. Moreover...”

“You shouldn’t have gone back to jail.”

“... it wasn’t supposed to happen like that.”

“Like what?”

“I had the choice between running away to Panama and never see again...” Pause. “... the people I cared for, or surrender, serve my time and have the chance to keep seeing...” Another pause. “... the people I cared for.”

“And this reasoning worked out so well since some of the...” She pauses, and he wonders whether she’s involuntary mimicking him or merely mocking him. “... people you cared for haven’t seen you for ten years.”

“This is what wasn’t supposed to happen like that.”

“Human factor is a bitch.”

She reaches out for one of the delicate, tiny sandwiches in his plate. It’s a natural, familiar move, which makes it rather weird. He doesn’t think she realizes that.

“So...,” he prompts because she’s not adding anything. “We’re not going to have this discussion again, are we?”

“It’s not a discussion, it’s my take on the situation.” Another sandwich. “And I’m entitled to express it, since I’m one of the people who were wounded and hurt because of what you did.”

It’s a low blow. She has a few more under her belt – ten years to store them up – and she promises herself she’s going to try not to deliver all of them. Not today anyway.

“I’m sorry. This isn’t how I’d planned things,” she admits.

He looks up abruptly when she says ‘planned’. Well, she can plan things too. As it is, she’d planned to be polite, phlegmatic and not to mention any disagreements they may have. She kissed him, started the conversation she’d sworn to elude and ate in his plate: ‘polite and phlegmatic’ is not a success so far.

For a few minutes, she keeps on pillaging the content of his plate, so eventually, he offers her his flute of champagne too. She shakes her head. No alcohol for her – no substance that could lead to dependence. Of course. There are so many details. For example...

He looks down. Her hands are on the table, elegantly crossed. He glances at her fingers and, before he’s had the time to register what he sees, he hears Sara’s voice.

“Divorced,” she tells him. “Married seven years ago, divorced two years later, no kid.”

She lifts her hands, fingers spread, and let them fall back on the table as though to stress out her words. He looks at her with a bit of embarrassment. He doesn’t know why he checked the way he did: she’s a public figure, so is her marital status, and he knew.

“Have I always been that obvious?”

“No,” she retorts. “No. Actually, there was a time when your motivations were rather murky.”

There is a hint of harshness in her tone, which she seems to regret right away because she gets up and reaches out for him.

“You want to dance?”

He stares at the proffered hand. She has short nails and wears no polish. Just like before. The senator still has her doctor’s hands.

“Dance?”

“Move in rhythm with the music,” she explains. “People do that at a wedding.”

He hasn’t danced since... since... long enough so that their lapidary discussion seems more comfortable to him. It’s quite something. But she insists, wriggles her finger to urge him to stand. He wonders if he’s supposed to take her hand or if he can get away with walking by her side. He goes for another option and offers her his arm. She glances at him and probably thinks he doesn’t hear her muttering sarcastically, “Fogy.”

She does lean on his arm though.

* *

The lapidary discussion was really more comfortable. Despite his sudden inability to come up with complete and intelligent sentences and despite Sara’s digs. Because now, there is the noise of the music and of the conversations, the people whirling around them and those who’re watching them. To be more precise, someone is taking pictures, people are looking at them and the bodyguard watches over them – over him. To make it worse, Sara is so close that he can make out all the tiny hairs that slid out of her elaborated hairdo, and there’s the way too thin fabric of her dress under his hands.

Some reflexes have to be more rooted than he thought because he takes Sara’s hand in his own and starts spinning both of them, and he doesn’t walk on her feet at all. Not a single time. After a few minutes, things get blurry, in the best possible way. Now, if he could find something to say...

“There’s a guy who kept staring at us,” he remarks. OK... it’s better than nothing.

She doesn’t even bother checking.

“My bodyguard.”

“No... I mean, yes, of course. But someone else.”

He nods towards a man with an egg-like skull and a brown grayish beard. He’s standing at the rim of the dance floor, his left elbow in his right hand, his left hand tugging at the brown grayish beard. Sara smiles knowingly.

“My director of communication.”

“Oh, then I guess it explains why he looks like he’s attending a funeral rather than a wedding.”

She shakes her head.

“It’s his regular expression. I think I’ve seen him smiling only twice.”

“When you won the elections?” he deduces.

“It lasted three days each time. It was scary.” She spins faster, faster, and he arches his eyebrows. He was under the impression that the man was supposed to lead but well, this is probably fogy too. “You have to talk to Lincoln,” she strikes.

He comes to a halt. It’s not easy to think when everything around you is spiraling, but she keeps on making him dance and maybe this is her goal, prevent him from thinking, making him literally and metaphorically waltz towards Lincoln. And obviously, it’s working since, rather than protesting, contesting, discussing, he just answers, “I know.”

At some point between the time he received LJ’s invitation (or was it a summoning?) and the time he boarded the plane, he got this. Now he just has to admit it. He’s stubborn, Linc is stubborn, but one of them must make the first move. After all, Sara made the first move with him...

“Asking us not to visit you was stupid,” she adds, pushing her advantage.

... or maybe not. Anyway, the reasons why they were at odds seem less and less valid, more and more distant, more and more absurd. More and more caused by their respective prides and less and less by a sane and sound resentment.

“You refused to understand why...”

“Yes, I know. It was stupid nonetheless. Humoring you and not visiting you was stupid too. The only one who showed a bit of reason in that story was LJ.” She looks pointedly at him. “Right?”

“Right.”

It has to be the shortest and less sorry mea culpa in the history of mea culpa. Maybe it’s not a bad thing since the entire version of it could last for a while, and they’ve already wasted enough time.

Sara leans her forehead against his shoulder. The gesture is way too... too something for people who have lost touch for ten years. The guests keep whirling around them. The bodyguard makes his best not to see anything. The photographer photographs. The Dir Com frowns a bit more – if that’s possible.

“Guilt sucks big time,” she lets drop. “Yours, ours.”

“It sounds like something Lincoln would say,” he remarks, and he can tell she’s smiling.

= = =

TBC

Previous / Next parts

Comments are almost as good as chocolate.
 
 
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Maz (or foxxy!): M and Stuesdaeschild on June 3rd, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Ah! Finally the cards are on the table! Someone always has to make the first move so I'm glad Sara did. Now it's Michael's turn because in my opinion, though he's stubborn, he can't hold a candle to Lincoln in that respect!

Thank Heavens for LJ!! And she's a senator! Neat!

I'm glad Sara's divorced though. Widowed would have been worse, wouldn't it? For Michael's sake, as well as Sara's.

I think you have painted wonderful portraits of our beloved characters here with ten years of bitterness behind them. Hopefully a reconcilliation is imminent...though I shall have to return tomorrow for the conclusion since work calls!! *pouts*

“Dance?”

“Move in rhythm with the music,” she explains. “People do that at a wedding.”


Hehe!! Loved that! The spark of humour is still there in Sara! :)
Clair de Lune: pb - michael sara 2clair_de_lune on June 5th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
In his own defense, Michael did come to LJ's wedding, which may be considered as (the beginnng of) a first move - even though I highly doubt he would have missed it anyway.

I wrote this during the second season and there definitely is a 'walking in Daddy's steps' flavor in Sara being a senator.
I'm not mean enough to make her a widow. I already sent Michael back in jail... :-p (One of my French beta was horrified I dared call this a 'happy ending' because of Michael spending so many years in prison - she was a Michael girl as you can guess ;-) Now, I'm not going to start all over again with the actual series ending but... *shut up*)

with ten years of bitterness behind them

*nods* More than Michael surrending to the authorities and not really defending himself, I think Sara resents the fact that he shut her out.

Thanks so much, Foxy *hugs*
(Deleted comment)
Clair de Lune: pb - sara3clair_de_lune on June 5th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
It's a weird situation, really. They'd know each other only for a short while when they 'broke up' so I imagine there would be familiarity and distance at the same time. Glad it worked for you :)

I love the fact that Sara's a senator

I was sooo influenced by the fact she made peace with her father before he died when I decided to turn her into her politician. Looks like it's Kellerman who actually chose this path in the show...

Thanks a lot :)
sk56sk56 on June 3rd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
What an interesting variation/extension on the plot you've made here. I understand that this is going to finish with the next chapter, but at some point I'd be very curious to hear more about this possible world and these characters.

And this

‘polite and phlegmatic’ is not a success so far.

is very, very pointy!
Clair de Lune: pb - michael saraclair_de_lune on June 5th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
*clears throat* To be honest, I did write a companion piece in French. It didn't give more explanations, it was only made of so-called 'deleted scenes' and for the most part, it was silly and self-indulgent. I'm considering translating it, but I still need to gather the courage to do it.

That being said, I'm flattered you like this enough to feel like knowing more :)

Sara totally blew up the ‘polite and phlegmatic’ attempt *g*
Jackie: Family: LJyougottaletmego on June 3rd, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'm really happy you've decided to inclue LJ in this story. It's hard to find stories where LJ in heavily mentioned. Which is why 95% of my stories are about LJ :)

So I'm finally starting to understand. Sara's a senator! Like father, like daughter I guess!

I'm glad she made the first move and went over to talk to him. Now Lincoln and Michael are both stubborn, but I think Michael should initiate this.

I am really enjoying this. You are very talented sweetheart, you've done a great job. *runs off to read the conclusion!*
Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on June 5th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
Like father, like daughter I guess!

Exactly. Although I doubt she shares all his convictions o_O

I think Michael should initiate this.

I think you're right (even though I'm not really sure we can say he actually does later in the fic...). Demanding that they stopped visiting him? A bit out of line. And we know how maddening Michael can be.

Thank you for the feedback. (And I'm glad you're enjoyng LJ's part here *hugs*)
Julesdarkwriter69 on June 5th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
zomg, I can't believe I missed a day!

But, yay, Sara made the first move. I love their conversation - the subleties and awkwardness you portrayed. And I loved this:

The only one who showed a bit of reason in that story was LJ
Clair de Lune: pb - saraclair_de_lune on June 5th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
I love their conversation - the subleties and awkwardness you portrayed.

Sara wants to forgive and move on but she's not quite there yet, is she? ^^

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting *hugs*
The depressed optimistlizparker6 on June 6th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
I love it. Very tense, intense, and full of deeply-controlled emotions bubbling right just beneath the surface. :o) Wonder what the next, ale last part, will bring. :)
Clair de Luneclair_de_lune on June 7th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Glad you're enjoying it. Thanks for the feedback :D