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06 September 2015 @ 12:30 am
Prison Break - Story of Faith (21/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (21/27) - 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: ~ 1,910 (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 21

“I want to know where my family is.”

Michael launched his attack the second Mrs. Jamison stepped into the control room. He’d lured her into his office, told her on the phone he had new information on Smythe. And he did have new information on Smythe, but minor things only, nothing to justify her coming down here.

“I know. And do you know how I know? You demanded it from me six times in three days. Go back to work. I want to know what Smythe is up to. I want the rest of the intel he retrieved from Acero and the intel he’s gathered himself. I want Smythe, and you’re not giving him to me, Mr. Scofield.”

That was odd, being chastised like a bad student. He didn’t think he’d ever been chastised like a bad student in his life. Of course he could always say that he would work harder on Smythe’s whereabouts when she told him where Sara and Lincoln had been secured, but they both knew he wouldn't do that. Every second of stalling kept him away from his family. Perhaps every second of stalling cost her money or go-figure-what, but either way, it was nothing that could be compared to being kept away from his family.

He tried something different.

“I assume that by now, Kellerman has told them the truth? As much of the truth as Kellerman is able to tell, anyway. They know, so at least let me talk to them.”

She weighed her options and threw a look at Yoki who didn’t seem to leave the control room anymore. They did fear that he might break down and would become useless.

“No. It would pose a security risk.”

“A security risk, or are you afraid that talking to them would distract me and I couldn’t do my job anymore?”

It was a battle of wills. He was past the point where he could think straight, he needed to demand and argue. He needed it to keep his mind from wandering into darker territories where he was dying of fear for Sara and their kid and Lincoln. He wasn’t even sure he actually wanted to talk to them right now.

Scratch that. He was terrified of talking to them right now. He wanted and needed to, yes, he wanted and needed to see them and make sure they were safe, but he dreaded the conversation he wouldn’t be able to avoid, the how could have he done that to them? Not to mention showing himself with his cane, his glasses, his greying hair, his skin too pale from the lack of sun and his eye sockets too dark from too many working nights. Showing himself alive after lying to them by omission for four years. Showing himself with all the awful things he’d done to get back a life that maybe he didn’t deserve anymore. Maybe they were better off without him. Without him, they wouldn’t have been snatched from their lives and moved God only knew where. He was bringing pain and misery when they had managed to rebuild something.

The worries that had been nagging at him for months were resurfacing with a vengeance now that the end was within reach, and he doubled up over his desk, holding onto the cold metal so that Jamison, Yoki or the analysts wouldn’t notice how bad he was shaking.

(Except that they knew him and noticed.)

“I said no, Mr. Scofield.”

Jamison’s voice was metallic, colder than it had been in months, and so, so comforting. It was only delaying the inevitable, but at least, he didn’t need to wonder whether talking to them was or wasn’t a good idea.

“Do you need to take a break?” she asked more nicely.

He didn’t hesitate before shaking his head. He didn’t need to take a break. He needed to get his virtual hands on Smythe and bring him to her or to Kellerman.

* * *

Kellerman’s explanations were quiet and crystal clear, factual and objective. It was the former soldier reporting in precise words and short sentences, from general situation to specific matters, anticipating most of their inquiries. He talked, they listened, he answered the few questions that fell from Sara’s white lips or were ground out by Lincoln. In some way, it was the most surreal part of the whole thing, listening to an insane story told in a methodical account.

He absolved Michael of all sins before the thought of accusing him of anything even crossed Sara or Lincoln’s mind. Michael hadn’t planned this; Michael had wanted to tell them right from the beginning; Michael had worried for them through the whole thing; Michael had taken the safer decision for all of them and, as a matter of fact, they were all Michael had in mind and heart when he took that decision.

Lincoln leaned heavily into the sofa and didn’t have the nerve to tell Kellerman to go to hell, that he didn’t need him to validate Michael’s choices. Even he could see that Kellerman was trying to be nice.

Kellerman’s story matched the scenarios Sara had thought up during their trip over the States and Canada. Michael being alive was only the missing piece, the element she didn’t have and that explained why, all of a sudden, The Company and whatever organization Kellerman was running or working with were interested in Linc, Michael Jr. and her again.

Kellerman. His nose was red and swollen, blood still seeping, but it wasn’t broken. After he was done telling and they were done asking, she focused on it because she needed to focus on something safe and mundane, something she had a grip on while she digested what she’d just heard. Maybe she hadn’t healed anyone for over four years, but a red, swollen and bleeding nose was safe and mundane enough to provide a grip on reality. Kellerman had leaned back, closed his eyes and relaxed, breathing through his mouth as Sara’s fingers examined, cleaned and dressed the wound. LJ hadn’t moved or talked for about an hour, and Jane was standing in a corner of the room. The atmosphere was heavy, as if they were waiting for the other shoe to drop.

(There was no other shoe. Michael was alive and coming back, even if Kellerman couldn’t tell when for sure. Days, maybe weeks, possibly but unlikely months.)

“Sara touching one of your appendages,” Lincoln snarked from the sofa in front of Kellerman. “That must be like a wet dream coming true.”

Sara barely heard him. Kellerman didn’t bother opening his eyes or moving at all.

“Appendage is a big word for you, Lincoln. I’m impressed.”

“Shut the fuck up!” LJ, who’d been stunned into silence by Kellerman’s story, was finding his words again. Kind of. Jane tried to reach for him, to grab his hand, but he snatched his arm out of her hold. “Uncle Mike is alive and all you can do is argue about—”

His voice broke.

“Kid’s right,” Kellerman said. His breath brushed over Sara’s hand. She shuddered with a discomfort she hadn’t felt since her first days at Fox River and the likes of Abruzzi. “Michael is alive, all in all in good health, and working hard to rid us of The Company and come back to you. Good news, right?”

(And nothing here felt surreal at all.)

“I want to talk to my brother,” Lincoln said. “Now.”

He was back to reasonable and calm, his son’s outburst having talked him out of any irony or aggressiveness towards Kellerman. Reasonable and calm and very firm about his demand. Sara’s fingers quivered and pressed too hard, and Kellerman groaned in pain. She apologized on auto-pilot.

“Yes,” she seconded. “We need to talk to him.”

She moved away from Kellerman. She couldn’t do much more for him, he would just need to wait and let it heal. He was lucky that Lincoln had been thrown off balance by Jane moving away and didn’t hit as hard as he’d meant to. Though thinking of it, maybe Jane was the one lucky to have top notch reactions.

“I can’t allow it. There’s always a possibility that The Company traces back the communication. Moreover...” He hesitated, shrugged, went for it. “... Moreover, Michael’s handlers think that it would distract or upset him. He can’t be distracted or upset right now. You have to understand that our operation is far from being over. We don’t know how much time it will take to complete it, and in the meantime you as well as Michael are still in danger.”

Yes. Yes, they had figured out that one. The hasty exfiltration had been a hint that risk of one kind or another was tight and imminent.

“So all we have that assures us he’s alive and well is your word,” LJ pointed out. “Why should we believe you?”

“Why would I lie to you about this, LJ?”

LJ goggled at him with huge eyes, as if the question hadn’t even crossed his mind. Why, indeed? Kellerman was Kellerman as Sara had put it, and you couldn’t ask a leopard to change its spots. But even if that leopard was many things, he’d never lied, tortured or killed for the kick of it. And today, he didn’t ask nor expect anything. He’d just talked and answered their questions.

LJ’s doubts crumpled and fell into ashes — and LJ himself crumpled.

Lincoln squeezed his son’s shoulders with both hands and Sara gave the two men a shaky but valiant smile. She got LJ’s reaction, the incredulity, the need to be cautious. How could you believe this kind of story — even for them, it reached another level of insanity — how could you be sure there wasn’t a big misunderstanding? Kellerman’s tale was the epitome of too good to be true.

Their visitor stood up, saying something about missions, assignment, things to take care of if they wanted Michael back before the end of the decade. Walking up to Sara, he handed her a couple of items and he was gone in the blink of an eye, before she even checked what he’d just pushed between her fingers.

Maybe a comparison to a wisp of smoke would be as appropriate as the Jack-in-the-Box one?

Sara opened the palm of her hand: a small flash drive and a piece of paper with a password or the code to decrypt the data. Cautiously, as if the flash drive could burn her, she put it on the coffee table. Lincoln and LJ stared at it.

“I’m...” Jane cleared her throat to get their attention. “I’m getting you a laptop to check this. Or do you want to talk to Sofia and Michael... Mike first?”

Sara looked questioningly at Lincoln. He shrugged, as lost as she was.

“We need to tell Sofia. Mike later. I don’t know how I’m...” She was breathing too hard and too fast. She tried to catch her breath and managed only partially. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to do that,” she finished in a low voice. “Let’s talk to Sofia first.”

And then the flash drive because they all were dying and dreading in equal parts to find out its content. And Mike later, when she wasn’t so close to laughing hysterically and bursting into tears at the same time, when she could talk to him without looking like a crazy Mom and scaring him for the rest of his life.

--Feedback is always appreciated.

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