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09 September 2015 @ 07:50 pm
Prison Break - Story of Faith (22/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (22/27) - 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: ~ 2,010 (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 22

There were several documents on the flash drive Kellerman had given Sara. By tacit agreement, they went for a video file that he had smart-assly labeled ‘you may want to start with this one’.

The last time they’d watched a video of Michael, he had recorded it himself and he was saying goodbye. It was sad and moving, and oddly inspiring. It had soothed Sara and Lincoln at least for a few hours, and sustained them through the last years.

This time, the vid had seemingly been recorded without his knowledge and he wasn’t doing anything special, only sitting in a room that looked like it belonged with Star Trek, full of sleek steel, computers and huge screens. No sound, no indication of location, obviously. And Michael. Older, his hair a bit longer, grayer. Even on the image of the surveillance cam, it was obvious that he was pale from either lack of sun or lack of sleep — possibly both, knowing him. He looked tired and intense, focused, but quite well, all things considered. He limped slightly when he got up and walked across the futuristic room using a cane, but the cane was visibly there out of habit and insecurity in his own capacities rather than by actual need.

He was wearing dark jeans, a shirt and an elegant sweater, and glasses that made him look like the too-smart-to-care-about-his-look architecture teacher he would never be. And a weird silvery black stubble on his jaws.

“Shit,” was Lincoln first reaction. His voice was low and thick in a way Sara hadn’t heard in a long time. “Is this supposed to be a beard on his face? The kid has never managed to grow a proper one, you know?”

Sara gasped and grabbed his hand, her nails digging into his skin.

Kellerman hadn’t lied to them: Michael was alive.

(Why would I lie to you about this?)

Without any conscious thought, Sara reached for the screen and let her forefinger draw the contours of Michael’s silhouette. This was as close as she could get to him for now. She had intellectually understood that and grasped the concept, but it took the evidence of the video for her to actually believe it. He was alive and well, even smiling at something someone was saying. There was an underlying sadness in that smile, the kind he would never ever be able to totally ditch now, but the smile was genuine nonetheless.

Later, Sara and Lincoln would notice the other people in the room — a middle-aged woman in a white lab coat, a tall brunette with a threatening smirk, a triumvirate of men and woman with the older one looking like he couldn't possibly be over thirty. They would see the large expanses of walls that had been blurred in the vid, because they probably displayed plans and information, and Lincoln would point out that Michael had obviously found himself yet another wall on which to pin his goals and the pathway to achieve them. They would play and replay the file and look up for any and every clue in the images displayed in front of them.

But for now, when the screen went black, they reloaded the short vid and immersed themselves into it again, drinking in the sight of Michael, moving and talking, arguing and giving orders, planning and plotting.

(For the record, Lincoln knew his brother’s planning-and-plotting face, and he was definitely wearing it in that vid.)

It was nothing special: no message from Michael recorded at the end, no big plan revealed, no explanation, no code hidden, not even an origami crane sitting on his desk.

It was everything: Michael breathing and thinking and striving to reunite with them.

Sara stole a glance at Lincoln, who winked at her and pretended his eyes weren’t watery, and at LJ, who didn’t bother pretending anything at all.

* * *

It was the most frustrating thing. For months, they could have arrested Smythe — and before that, Acero too when she was still alive. They’d had several occasions; not a lot, but definitely several. They didn’t go for it because Kellerman and The Foundation needed the man roaming freely in order to define the extent of his network, the range of his activities, his eventual endgame.

(It turned out that he didn’t have one endgame, but a multitude. When their odd little group worked on taking down The Company the first time, Krantz had an endgame, something that made his moves somewhat predictable. Not so much luck with Smythe.)

And now they had gathered the useful intel, they could hardly ever locate Smythe anymore. When they managed to spot him somewhere, it was already too late to set up an intervention and send a team. Best case scenario, said team arrived on site to gather minor evidence.

Frustrating not to have arrested the man when they could. Even more frustrating that they couldn’t get their hands on him now they’d obtained so much data on him.

Michael thought of the time months ago where on a twisted level, in a sick way, he’d enjoyed the chase because it had been a game of who’s the smartest one, and he mentally slapped himself. It was nothing like a game, even less so with Sara and Lincoln brutally extracted from their little haven and locked up somewhere, at risk because The Company could find out any time now that Michael was alive.

Flushing out and capturing Smythe was becoming more urgent by the second, not only because of Kellerman and The Foundation’s agenda — he didn’t give a damn about Kellerman and The Foundation’s agenda.

“Smythe is one fucking evasive son of a bitch,” he said in quiet anger after yet another setback, his tone as velvety as his words were harsh.

Nat sighed and backed up the hypothesis they’d been working on for the last day. “Must be something Agent Mahone said of you quite a few times back in the day,” he pointed out.

Michael blushed at the joke that sounded like a backhanded insult — until it actually reached his brain.

Prey, predator. Predator, prey.

“What did you say?”

Nat smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, Boss, didn’t mean to—”

“No.” He looked at his screen filled with pictures, diagrams and reports. “No, it’s okay.”

It certainly was something Alex had said or least thought of him back in the day, but in the end, Alex caught him. Temporarily and Michael managed to escape once again rather quickly, but the main point here was that Alex did catch him. That was all what Jamison and Kellerman were asking of him today, that he caught Smythe. The aftermath, the logistics of his interrogation and detention weren’t Michael’s concern or business.

Prey, predator. He was pretty sure that Alex had caught him because he’d entered his mind. Even back then, even after they’d crossed paths only a couple of times, he’d known that Agent Mahone had managed to get into his head in a way very few people had ever been able to. He’d entered his prey’s mind and thought like that prey, and he caught Michael. Michael had been inside The Foundation’s walls for four years. It had been way too much time if he was thinking like a predator only and had forgotten what it was like to be the prey.

If he’d worked with plans and papers, he would have swept everything off his desk. Since he had a room full of computers and a Wall, he merely closed all the files that were displaying on the different screens. Hardly less dramatic as everything his analysts and he had been working on for days suddenly vanished. Cat threw him an alarmed look, worrying that he was losing it again.

He wasn’t. He hadn’t thought that clearly for weeks, trapped in this narrowed state of mind that he’d been in.

“Let’s try another approach.”

* * *

Sara felt as if she’d lived a whole life in two days. Once the shock of Kellerman’s disclosure had gone — kind of gone — time seemed to flow painfully slowly, the day-time hours never ending, the night-time hours finding her sleepless and impatient, a what-now? sensation filling her mind, worry and eagerness beating in her heart and guts.

She hadn’t said anything to Michael Jr. and wouldn’t talk to him until everything was over and his Dad was en route to see him. She couldn’t afford the full hope of a happy ending, neither for herself nor for Mikey. She needed to be cautious. Kellerman’s explanations and files made it clear that Michael was in a safe place, but safe places had always been a relative notion as long as The Company was involved.

This was not over yet. Michael was not back yet. They were not safe yet.

That being said, she was safe in Canada, at least law-wise. Among the documents on the flash drive, there were facsimiles papers exonerating her for the death of Christina Rose Scofield, acknowledging the shooting as self-defense and granting exoneration for it as well as a pardon for breaking out of Miami Dade.

She guessed this was why Jane had told her not to worry about being in Canada.

“The papers have been signed a while ago,” Jane explained. “Kellerman hasn’t released them yet because it would draw too much attention on you, but if something happened to him or if the police caught you while we’re here—”

“Yes, I saw that. I’d been officially exonerated several months ago.” She nodded at the laptop. “So you’ve been working for Kellerman the whole time?”

“Kind of. After I gave The Company the slip, I went into hiding for a while. Not much of a choice.”

Right. Sara knew The Company’s methods first hand — she’d rather not imagine what Jane went through.

“Then I started looking for what was left of Aldo’s people. I could count them on the fingers of one hand, and I... It killed me to admit it, but the smart thing to do was to offer our services to Kellerman.”

They were whispering, but even their low voices sounded loud at this hour of the night. It was dark outside, with only a crescent of moon reflecting on the white coat of snow. Sara knew for sure she hadn’t been able to really sleep for the last couple of nights, but she wondered if Jane rested sometimes, given she was always up whenever Sara was.

“I’m sorry, Sara. I didn’t mean to lie to you or Lincoln or LJ.”

“It was part of the job, keeping an eye on us to make sure The Company didn’t get too close. I understand that.”

“No. Well... yes, it was part of the job, but I do consider you a friend.” She smiled sadly. “Although I can’t blame you for not sharing my take on our relationship.”

Sara looked into the bottom of her mug of herbal tea.

“You know, about five years ago, a man admitted to me that I had been a pawn in his plan, but that he’d come to care for me. More than care, I guess, huh? That what he’d done, he’d done it for a good cause. That how he felt and what he’d told me was real.” She shrugged to chuck off the melancholy that was threatening to take over. “Apparently, love or friendship, I’m a magnet for this kind of thing.”

Jane threw a new log in the fire and watched the flames twist and crackle.

“Did this man get a free pass for what he did?” she joked.

“Eventually.” Sara gulped down what was left of her tea. “You do know that Lincoln and I never really bought that crappy explanation about you working for an insurance company, right?”

Maybe it would have been a sane reaction to hold the lies and half-truths against Jane? But she did understand why Jane had done it. More importantly, she’d needed and would need too much energy to face what was coming to waste any of it in pointless resentment.

TBC
--Feedback is always appreciated.

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(Anonymous) on September 13th, 2015 03:57 am (UTC)
so good!
I can't wait for the final few chapters!
Clair de Lune: pb - michaelclair_de_lune on September 13th, 2015 10:24 am (UTC)
Re: so good!
Coming soon :)
(Anonymous) on September 13th, 2015 07:04 am (UTC)
Eagerly waiting for the rest
Clair de Lune: pb - michael2clair_de_lune on September 13th, 2015 10:25 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading :)