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16 September 2015 @ 08:02 pm
Prison Break - Story of Faith (24/27)  
Title: Story of Faith (24/27) - 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: ~ 2,620 (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 24

He’d been dreaming of freedom a lot, recently. Actual freedom, where he would be able to walk into the sun and under the rain without fearing being tagged and needing to be escorted; where he would hug Lincoln, take his son in his arms, and laugh with Sara (and okay, make love to Sara again and again and...); where he would eat and sleep when he felt like it, go where he wanted to, laze as much (or as little) as he wanted to.

He was free within The Foundation’s walls; that was the paradox of his situation. He couldn’t do everything he wanted, he didn’t have a say over so many little or not so little things, but it was freedom nonetheless since he’d entered the deal willingly and knowing what it implied. Just a stale version of freedom.

He’d been surprised how much his dreams felt like nightmares. He shouldn’t have — been surprised, he meant. He was safe inside The Foundation, not only from his enemies, but above all from his family and friends. He couldn’t hurt them from here, he didn’t have to face their eyes and judgment, the onslaught of their pain and their joy.

Stale, sanitized freedom. Pointless freedom.

He never wanted to get out of here. He couldn’t wait to get out of here.

He’d been discussing it with Yoki. However, during those sessions, they never evoked what had happened in Sara and Lincoln’s lives since he’d decided he couldn’t stand the idea of The Foundation spying on them for him anymore. He only knew the essentials: they were fine, Sara wasn’t seeing anyone, Michael Jr. was growing up nicely, Lincoln hadn’t run into trouble, LJ was going to college. The rest...

“That’s theirs to tell, Michael. Don’t rob them and yourself of that. They’ll need to explain, you’ll need to hear it from them. And vice-versa.”

Kellerman had handed them a file with factual information, but nothing more, so Yoki was right: talking and relating and listening on both sides.

He was bursting with an energy made of dread and impatience, and he’d been making a fucking good job at channeling it into tracking and trapping Smythe.

(A fucking A-amazing job, as Mrs. Jamison would put it afterwards.)

It came to an end brutally fast. Brutally fast after four years and a few months, but brutally fast nonetheless.

* * *

He was woken up at three in the morning of the sixth day by heels clicking on the floor of his bedroom, and a pair of jeans and a shirt landing on his face.

He rubbed his eyes and blinked at Jamison towering over him.

This was getting a tad repetitive.

“Get up, Mr. Scofield.”

“I’m starting to think you like seeing me in my underwear.”

Playing along, she tipped her head to the side, admitted, “I’ve witnessed worse things in my life,” and he ended up being the one flushing slightly, if only because her smile and tone were a bit too appreciative. “Get up. You need to be in the control room ASAP.”

Pat had been the one on watch duty tonight and it showed. With the exception of Mrs. Jamison, who most probably slept in her pant suits, high heels and with her gun in its holster, he was the only one looking fully awake. His usual quiet and sure delivery had amped up as he was conveying as much information as possible, as fast and efficiently as possible.

Michael listened carefully, but the gist of it boiled down to one fact: the Upata facility was being raided just as intended and Smythe was leading the assault in person, which spoke volumes about the state of his troops.

He sat at his desk and looked over the screens displaying images from various positions and angles. It took him about thirty seconds to understand that on their side, it was Kellerman who was leading the assault in person: not from afar, from his office or even a support base, but in the field. Which spoke volumes about the insanity — or was it his grudge? — of the man, for the record. Hopefully, if needed, The Foundation would be able to provide a scenario explaining how and why a US Congressman had been killed in Upata, Venezuela, right?

Right, piece of cake. It wasn’t like The Foundation couldn’t provide scenarios for crazier stuff.

Scenario explaining a disaster or not, Michael needed to have a little faith, though. Kellerman would not get killed in Upata, Venezuela, tonight. He also needed to reflect about the fact that he cared — actually, deeply, worriedly cared — about Kellerman not getting killed, but he would think about it later, much later. For now, his whole attention was devoted to shootings and orders snapped in a loud and clear tone, smoke grenades and electrical sparks indicating that the facility was being sacrificed or, at the very least, would need some extensive repairs to be functional again. So Upata was being sacrificed right before his eyes, but all in all, things were going exactly the way they had planned them. Every single operative under Kellerman’s command was playing their part and the more Michael watched, the more it was obvious that he was of no help or use. It was a good thing: it meant the strategy and the tactics were good. And, as a matter of fact, when she woke him up, Jamison had said that he needed to be in the control room, not that they needed him in there. It wasn’t quite the same thing: Kellerman and she had wanted him here out of professional courtesy as well as for personal closure.

He’d done his job. He’d come up with the plan that was allowing them to get their hands on Smythe. It wasn’t lacking irony that Kellerman, the guy who had staged Lincoln’s downfall years ago, was now leading the charge against what was left of The Company, but Michael had got used to his life not lacking irony. And in the face of everything else he had to do to achieve his goal? It was a small price, really. Tiny teeny price.

* * *

Another, less tiny teeny, price was that Kellerman shot down Smythe and killed him.

(Not that Michael cared that much about Jeremy Smythe. He did care that he was the one who’d made his death possible. Yet another death.)

Kellerman didn’t do it in cold blood, but not exactly in self-defense either. He did the things well and almost legally, the former agent — except for the part where he was a US Congressman conducting a paramilitary operation in a foreign country without any legal authorization whatsoever, but they were past the point where they bothered about such things, weren’t they? Anyway, he gave warnings, and warning shots, and since the man wouldn’t freeze when demanded, he shot Smythe twice: once in the back of his shoulder, once in the head when Smythe turned around on himself to face his opponent. Never mind the fact that at the only possible exit of the room, a unit of three armed guards was waiting for him and would have been perfectly able to stop him, arrest him, handcuff him, and deliver him to any judge Kellerman would have fancied.

Smythe ending up dead was not in Michael’s plan, but there was little doubt it had been in Kellerman and Jamison’s.

As ruthless as ever, Jamison shrugged and commented that they had tried the legal route with Krantz and see what had happened? The survivors of The Company had taken the chance and managed to resurrect the beast. This time, it was better to burn the Hydra to ashes, and then burn and bury its head.

So burned and buried, the last head. Conveniently shot down while trying to escape, the couple of high ranked lieutenants left. Arrested and jailed without a trial, the few operatives still alive and free.

(“They should have taken the deal we offered them a few months ago,” was Kellerman’s unapologetic observation.)

They debriefed the whole operation two days later in one of the meeting rooms at The Foundation; the very same meeting room next to Jamison’s office where Kellerman had once reminded him that Michael proposed insane plans, and Kellerman decided to implement them. He had decided this time too, and his decision was that Smythe dead was safer than Smythe in prison. That was hardly how justice was supposed to work, but even if it had never been said that loud and clear, it was obvious from the beginning what he was getting himself into, wasn’t it?

“It’s not on you, Michael,” Kellerman pointed out. “Smythe, the lieutenants, the operatives, it wasn’t your call and there was nothing you could do. Stop thinking that the world revolves around you.”

It wasn’t on him. He hadn’t decided. Maybe, even, without him, it would have taken more time, made more casualties, not to mention what could have happened to his family. It wasn’t on him.

He would still have to live with the greenish, grainy, shaky images provided by the head cams Kellerman and his guys were wearing during the op’ in Upata. Those and many, many others. He remembered Jamison telling him he needed to have faith that in the end, things would be the way they should be, and that time had come, it seemed.

“It wasn’t about justice,” Yoki told him.

This was probably their last session in her office, late at night. He would miss her; miss this. He’d never thought he would appreciate talking to a shrink; he’d never thought he would miss her and this place, his team mates and — God helps him — even Mrs. Jamison. “No, you won’t,” Jamison had snorted in a dismissive way, but her voice had sounded rougher than usual. “You’ll be seeing Dr. Evergreen twice a year for medical check-ups anyway. Although... she won’t keep you posted on our endeavors, you know?”

“It wasn’t about justice; it was about taking them down. You can’t take down this kind of organization relying on conventional — legal — methods. That’s why Kellerman hired The Foundation: you fight fire with fire.”

“I thought you didn’t approve of those methods?”

She’d made it quite clear when he took the dark road months ago.

“And yet I work here.”

“If we use the same methods, what distinguishes us from them?”

An issue he’d conveniently ignored and pushed back to later while he was coming up with plans to destroy The Company and the people running it. He would have all the time in the world to reflect upon this, now.

(He didn’t need all the time in the word since he already knew the answer: nothing. Nothing distinguished him from them.)

Yoki took a long time to reply, as if she’d considered the question long ago but still hesitated about the validity of her own reasoning.

“Our endgame,” she said eventually. “The weight on our conscience or the tiny dark spots on our soul — you know, depending on our beliefs?” She tilted her head to the side. “Of course, Mr. Kellerman would say that history is written by the victors so we got to decide that we’re the good guys.”

That sounded exactly like something Kellerman would say — old Kellerman, new Kellerman, same difference — and Michael couldn’t help smirking.

For two and a half days, between the time Kellerman flew back to the US and the debriefing happening, it had felt surreal and anticlimactic, the sudden resolution so fast and swift after so many months and sacrifices.

It dawned on him on the morning of the third day: everything was over and he was going home to his family.

* * *

Besides an uncanny ability to head-butt people and make it hurt like a bitch, Jane had something in common with Lincoln: she was a woman of few words. After listening to whoever spoke to her on her cellphone for a couple of minutes, she looked up, merely said, “It’s over, they have the guy they were after,” and smiled. And then she spent five minutes telling Sara that, no, they couldn’t fly to Wherever-Michael-Still-Was because the damn place was about as secret and secured as a presidential bunker, and they wouldn’t be allowed into it. If they weren’t shot for merely showing up. Not to mention that Jane didn’t know where said place was.

(Sara knew all of that before Jane explained it to her, she knew it before she even requested it. She wasn’t a rookie and was aware how things worked in that peculiar world of Jane’s. But there was no way she wouldn't ask anyway, the words pouring out of her mouth before she could help it.)

It was easier with Lincoln because he smiled back and went up to his room to pack the little he had to pack before boarding the jet back to Costa Rica. It didn’t mean Lincoln was forgiving her for not telling what she knew — what he imagined that she knew. It meant he would deal with it later, after he hugged his brother and checked that Michael was, indeed, alive and well.

* * *

Since the first day of his deal with Kellerman and The Foundation, Michael had thought he would be on a plane one hour tops after being done with his task. He had pictured it, planned it, almost felt it.

In reality, things went slower, and yet made him feel like he barely had the time to cope and breathe. Last medical exam, goodbyes to Nat, Pat and Cat and the people he’d worked with, stern reminders from Jamison about what he could tell about The Foundation, which boiled down to nothing — followed by a few colorful threats if he ever decided to break that commandment. And, in the end, a white file handed to him by Yoki.

He smiled. “I didn’t know you did white files here.” Grey files, from the lightest to the darkest, sure, but white wasn’t something that belonged with The Foundation.

“You’ve never been here,” she replied. “That’s the whole point of what’s in that file. Read it, learn it, own it. Basically, you’ve been treated for amnesia — among other things — at the St. Catherine Hospital in Albany, Georgia for the last four years.”

“The hospital is yours?” he guessed because after all this time, he was familiar with The Foundation’s ways.

“The hospital is ours.”

“The fairy tale in that file is for anybody who doesn’t already know what happened,” Jamison added, “which means everybody except your wife, your brother, your nephew and your sister-in-law. That’s already too many people for my taste, but I’ll have to deal with it. Your pals Sucre and Mahone can’t know. Your family... you have the details of what they know in the file: you won’t give them any other information.”

He nodded and started heading for his quarters for the last time. He didn’t have anything to pack because there was nothing he wanted to keep from his years here. Even if there had been something, he was pretty sure Jamison wouldn’t have allowed it. But he needed to memorize the so-called facts of the white file. He would be tested on it before he could be released so the faster the better.

“Michael?” Mrs. Jamison called him back. “For the record, it’s not because we never assigned you a white file that they don’t exist.”

“Is it supposed to make me feel better about this place?”

She didn’t bother with an answer, only reminded him that she would be the one to question him with Yoki about the fairy tale so he’d better know his facts.

(It did make him feel better.)

--Feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

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